Breathe in the energy of a new day.
Breathe out all that's behind you, all that's done.
Today is a day you will be supported by the whole Universe.
Today is a day all your hopes and dreams will be heard by the Divine.
You are not alone today.
You are loved and supported by all that keeps this world alive and moving forwards.
Your deepest desires are held in the hands of your Creator,
where they are protected and nourished as they are brought to life.
Today is a new day, full of new possibility.
Today is a day of your own design.
What you think about today will create the world around you.
Think about what you love.
Think about what brings you joy.
Think about what makes you feel alive.
Think about the flowers blooming, the birds soaring, and all that is well, right outside your window.
Today is a new day.
Breathe in the energy of a new day.
Breathe out all that's behind you, all that's done.
I wish you many blessings and moments of joy and love today.
"No one else can do what you do," is an oft used phrase to motivate and inspire people.
In other words, no one has the perspective you have. No one has lived the life you have. No one will express themselves in the way you do, and the fact that you have your own unique way of doing things is powerful.
If you were to write a song, no one would sing it in just the way you do. If you were to create a shirt, no one would design in the exact same way as you. No one would teach, heal, or speak the same as you. You will have ideas and ways of executing them that will be entirely unique to you, and because you can put new things into the world, the world needs you!
Sounds great, right?
I guess so...
To be honest, for most of my life, this motivational message did not motivate me. It terrified me. It pushed on all my self-worth issues and made me not want to show up at all.
If I put my unique work out the world, which is essentially me putting myself out there, what happens if no one likes it? What if people don't actually want it the way I do it? What if my way is in fact the worst way? What if I'm in the way of someone better? What if my own unique perspective is one no one relates to? What if people just absolutely HATE what I put forth?
Does that mean they hate me?
And this is where people would say, "Don't worry what other people think!"
I mean seriously, UGH.
We're constantly telling each other not to worry what other people think while living in fear of being judged ourselves.
Can we all collectively stop telling each other not to care? We care, okay. We all care. Telling people not to care is like telling them not to be human. People never stop caring. We just put up walls upon walls, which is not the same as not caring - it's just shutting off the flow of our feelings. This in turn causes a major backup in the emotional system, which leads to depression, anger, and sickness.
I don't want you to get depressed and sick. I do want you to know it's okay to feel sensitive to other people's opinions. It doesn't mean you're not tough enough. You're not failing in some way. It's challenging to put yourself and your work out to a cynical and critical world. Especially a world where our humanity depends on us listening to each other and keeping our hearts open.
If people tell you that you should follow your passion because you're unique, and the world needs your unique vision, and that scares the shit out of you, I can relate.
In this world, achievement and ambition is almost always valued over self-love and self-care. And so for that reason, we are often quicker to encourage someone to "go for it" than we are to ask them how they feel and if they feel ready.
And so, if no one's asked you, are you ready to pursue this thing that scares you, or do you need a moment? It's okay if you do. In fact, I would prefer you took that moment to pause and breathe. That moment of recognizing your feelings and valuing them, that's the thing that's saying, I'm here, I'm alive, and I'm worthy of being heard.
You cannot value your unique gifts if you do not first value yourself as a person.
I wish you could. I know it seems it'd be so much simpler if we could do our thing, have everyone tell us how amazing it is, and then our self-worth would explode. But that would actually have the opposite effect - it would make you entirely dependent on other people's approval. It would not raise your self-esteem. It would just cause you to live and die based on outside opinion.
The only way to truly put your unique work out, and feel good about it, is it to start with a solid foundation. Start with you. Nurture yourself. Treat yourself like precious cargo. Do whatever you need to do in order to see yourself as a valuable and unique member of team humanity. Go to therapy, meditate, talk to a coach, float in an isolation tank, read all the self-help books you can. I've done all those things and more.
It took me years to build up the kind of foundation I needed in order to value my unique gifts and perspective.
It did not happen over night, and it did not happen because I charged ahead and overpowered my fear and did it anyway. I have put things out to the world when I was scared, insecure, and did not feel ready. It did not help. It only made me more scared.
How long it will take you to build your foundation depends on where you are and where you're coming from. I have no idea what kind of life you've lived nor how big your dreams are. All I know is, you have something to do that's entirely unique to you. And you will share and do that thing when you feel ready and in a way that feels good to you. Your way might involve two people, it might involve 20,000, it might involve the whole world.
It's all up to you, cause it's your life, and only you get to decide what your heart and soul need.
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Liz Gilbert speak at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco. It was a conversation guided by Lisa Congdon, a fine print and graphic artist. As I post more quotes and selections from her talk, I'll be tagging them all under Elizabeth Gilbert for easy finding.
I get really upset when I see people stuck.
It makes me anxious when I see people who want to be doing something and they're not doing it. I think part of the kind of physical anxiety I feel is similar to watching an animal in a cage and the door is open. And the animal is pacing in the cage, and you're like, "The door is literally open." And the animal is like, "Get me out of this cage! Get me out of this cage!"
When they release chimpanzees back into the wild, they open their cages, and the jungle is all around them, and the chimpanzees literally do that - pacing, circling the cage, stuck inside of it. They could just walk out. But they don't know what the wild is, and so they stay in there, freaking out.
The jungle is your natural habit. The cage is an artificial reality. It's like you've been living in captivity, but that's artificial. What's natural is the wild.
I want you to come out here, and come into the jungle where you want to be, and play, and make things, and make noise, and try stuff. Because it kills me to see you in that cage.
I have no idea who made this, and if anyone does know, please let me know in the comments so I can update this with a reference. This was shared on Facebook, and I think it's one of the most helpful things I've ever seen. I've caught myself using trite positive expressions before, and will certainly refer to this when I'm struggling to find the right words.
If you'd like to share it, you will see icons for Facebook, Pinterest, and to copy the link when you hover over the image. Or else you can download it and share it directly by right clicking on it and selecting "save as".
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Liz Gilbert speak at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco. It was a conversation guided by Lisa Congdon, a fine print and graphic artist. As I post more quotes and selections from her talk, I'll be tagging them all under Elizabeth Gilbert for easy finding.
Passion is very much unpredictable.
And it's very much at the whims of the Gods. It will come and go. And when you've got it, ride it. And when you don't, back down and rely on curiosity.
Curiosity is a much more mild, gentle, impulse.
Passion is something like: burn your house down, get divorced, move to another country, and get a face tattoo. Curiosity is more like, pottery's interesting! And you don't have to sacrifice anything - passion demands the full sacrifice. Curiosity just asks you to turn your head a quarter of an inch and look a little closer at something that's got your interest.
When I'm in a place where I don't have any ideas, and I don't feel any passion, and my head's not on fire - which is most Tuesdays - what I pay attention to is 'what's got me interested? What's like a little blip the radar?'
Awhile ago, I'd just bought a house and I thought, I'd like to put in a garden. I was just messing around with it.
It was as simple as 'this is nice. I want to do this.'
Over the course of the summer of creating this garden, I wanted to know the history of the plants. I found out that a lot of the plant people were women, and that botany was the only science women were allowed to participate in during the 19th century.
And then I'm like, I'd like to read about that. Wait - I might even like to write about that! All of a sudden it's growing and growing, and the next thing you know I'm writing a 500 page novel about it.
I didn't wake up one day and say, "I want to write this book." This was a year and a half after my garden was planted. These things take awhile. To me, curiosity is a series of clues on a great scavenger hunt. I've had things in my life that I've created out of passion, but mostly, of the stuff that I've done, it came from curiosity. If I waited for passion to strike, I would've written maybe one book.
Miracles happen everyday. Change your perception of what a miracle is and you'll see them all around you.
- Jon Bon Jovi
During the holiday season, people tend to talk about miracles.
Sometimes it's in a joking way, like they'll get the last parking spot and say, "It's a Christmas miracle!" Sometimes it's in a fond way, as they think of all the blessings in their life. Or maybe they just think of all those Hallmark movies that have a miraculous ending (did you see the one about a woman who crawled through a dryer to a parallel universe? It's my favorite).
Whatever it is, we talk a lot about miracles during this time of year. But do we actually see them? Is it real? Or is it just a thing we do in December, like the same way we hang lights?
Perhaps miracles are just another holiday concept we'll box up and forget about until next year...
Or maybe not.
I've shared two blog posts before on miracles, and I have to tell you, they're still two of my favorites posts. So much so I re-read them myself.
The first one, The Miracle of the Diaries, is about the only story I've ever heard that's a real life, I can't explain this, the only way this happened is divine intervention miracle. The first time I heard it I was listening to a podcast and I was so moved I ran home to write a post about it. I had to share this story. It was powerful and beautiful and best of all, real.
The second one, Expect Miracles, is the inverse of the first. It's not a big story at all. In fact, it's about the small miracles that are all around us. It's about how the entire world conspires together to make even the smallest things come together in your life. It looks at how miraculous are world really is, and I promise you, you'll never look at a cup of coffee the same way after.
I hope you enjoy these posts on miracles. And wherever you are, whatever your beliefs, I wish you a wonderful holiday season.
Just because a leap of faith is small doesn't make it any less important.
It may, in fact, be the most important thing you ever do. Your leap may be so small no one notices but you. It may be so small it seems you're only a few inches further than before.
But that's all it takes to shift your world.
All you are required to do is love and cherish your courageous leap, just as you would this little frog, who also makes small leaps. But to her, they are the grandest leaps of all, because they are hers, and she knows each small leap helps her legs grow stronger.
She must grow them now, because it will prepare her for when she's bigger. And when that time comes, she will effortlessly take the big, huge leaps that she can only now dream of.
Have you ever seen this photo of a potato? It sold for a million dollars. It's by the artist Kevin Abosch.
One potato. One photo. ONE MILLION DOLLARS.
For real. No tricks. No gimmicks. It wasn't being auctioned for charity, so no one did this out of the kindness of their heart. Someone wanted to pay it, and someone wanted to sell it for that amount. I don't know about you, but when I hear this it triggers all kinds of intense thoughts in me.
The idea that someone did this forces me to question my feelings about greed, value, self-worth, and limitless potential.
On the one hand, I'm amazed that someone valued themselves and their work so highly that they didn't bat an eye at this. On the other hand, the idea of doing this myself terrifies me, and so I want to judge the people who participated in this.
The only way Kevin could sell a photo of a potato for a million dollars is if he believed he could. If Kevin believed in lack and scarcity, and if he believed art has no real value, then this photo would probably be in a flea market right now, where Kevin would be struggling to sell it for $20. But Kevin doesn't play small. Kevin doesn't limit his potential. Kevin clearly believe that all possibilities are available, and that his work is worth whatever he damn well decides it is.
Now, let's be clear here - the price was a million from the get go. Non-negotiable.
Potato #345 (2010), as the photo is known, was always priced at $1,000,000. And that was exactly what Kevin told people when he showed it to them. The fact that he had the chutzpah to do this blows me away.
Because I don't believe in myself in that way, and I don't believe this is possible, I want to be cynical about this.
I want to believe this is just a reflection of the absurdity of wealthy people. I want to believe this is ridiculous, and the reflection of one man's out of control ego. I want to believe this is greedy and wrong.
What I don't want to do is ask myself why I would never value my own work in this way. I don't want to have to consider that when I say all things are possible, it includes this. I don't want to have to consider that I am a firm believer in thoughts become things but ONLY in a way that makes me comfortable.
If I'm being honest, this challenges so many ideas I have about myself and my potential that I can hardly sit with it. It makes me realize I have constricting and limiting conditions attached to the idea of value. It makes me so uncomfortable I don't want to believe Kevin and I exist on the same planet, with the same sets of Universal, cosmic laws.
And yet we do. If I really wanted to, I could stretch and expand myself and face all my worthiness issues until I too did this, in my own way. But as I write this, I don't believe that I can. And since I don't believe it... well as Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right!"
In life, we're always waiting for something. Waiting for a dream to come to pass. Waiting to meet to right the person. Waiting for a problem to turn around. Much of life is spent waiting. There's a right way to wait, and a wrong way to wait.
We hear that word wait, and most of the time we think that means do nothing. Be passive. Waiting is not supposed to be passive. True waiting is actively expecting.
I prayed, I believed... now I'm expecting my health to improve. I'm expecting new doors to open. I'm expecting to have a blessed year.
That's what it really means to wait. When you're waiting expectantly, you know, this could be the day you get the break you need. This could be the day the problem turns around. There's an anticipation in your spirit. You talk like it's going to happen. You act like it's going to happen. You're on the lookout!
When you're waiting with expectancy, you're not moved by what you see. You're moved by what you know. You wait with expectancy like that, and you'll see God show up and do amazing things.
- From the Joel Osteen podcast
Come, gather round the fire. It's story time. Here now is a fable as old as time... the story of the invisible door.
You see that sweet pup below? Yeah, he thinks that his family has closed the screen door on him. It hasn't. But he won't come in until someone "opens" the door. So someone does. Except the door was open all along. He just needed someone to help him BELIEVE it.
This "door" represents all of the reasons you have that you can't have or be or do that thing. It represents all the things in your way. Because all those things... they're an illusion. The way through is open. Has been all along. You just need to believe it.
I know you can have or be or do anything. But do you? Do you believe the door is open?
You are an unlimited being created from the same cosmic star dust as the highest mountains and the most powerful rivers. You are the mountain. You are the river. You are as worthy and valuable as the wild flower in the spring and the colorful leaves in the fall.
You have all the tools and resources you need to achieve anything. But maybe you're still waiting for someone to open a door. Maybe you're waiting for that obstacle to be removed, without realizing the only obstacle is your power of belief directed in the wrong way.
Maybe today is the day you stop letting illusions hold you back. Maybe today you'll stop waiting for someone or something to open an invisible door. Maybe today you'll realize that belief is so powerful, it can stop you from walking through a wide open doorway.