Friday, March 25, 2011

Spotlight On... Vol. II March 2011

Photo courtesy of
Bing images
This is my second installment of my new Spotlight On series at Healing Morning and I'm happy to say that I've received a lot of support and interest from many bloggers!  If you are interested in your blog being spotlighted in this series in the future, please take a moment to read the basic criteria to be considered.  The criteria list is short and simple. You can contact me via my Facebook email if you would like to submit your blog page for this series.  I look forward to meeting many new bloggers and spotlighting talented writers and creative people as this series continues to grow.

Here are the five blogs I've chosen to shine a Spotlight On for the month of March:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Newly vacated space

Photo courtesy of
Bing images
From the moment that our human minds mature enough to understand cause and effect, we are in an endless search for peace, satisfaction and happiness.  Life definitely throws us curveballs regularly, keeping us challenged in new ways.  I don't think that we ever truly maintain the same definition of "normal" throughout the years.  In fact, I've often thought that achieving an endless state of satisfaction might be a death knell to myriad facets of life.  I know that I thrive when I am consciously aware that I am growing, changing and being pushed to broaden my horizons. In fact, I tend to pursue such a state.  I call it "Low Boredom Threshold", as I am always happiest when I have something new to conquer in my personal or business life.

A recent question was posed about how our immediate environment affects our emotional state.  What works best to create a sense of calm?  Obviously, this is going to vary widely from person to person, and from day to day.  I have found, on a purely personal level, that where I am emotionally is what strikes the tone for experiencing solid happiness and contentment.  That sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it?!  You're thinking, of course your emotions dictate your level of happiness.  Yes, they do, but what I'm talking about is delving deeper. 

For a good part of my life, I based a lot of my personal happiness on outward labels.  The most important label was what I did for work - what I did to pay the bills, where I occupied 80% of my time in the business week.  Given that I also spent a good number of years searching and trying on various careers to find the right fit (Low Boredom Threshold, remember?), I kept thinking that it was me....something I was doing was the problem.  In a way, that was the truth, because I was identifying my dissatisfaction with each job I held.  That dissatisfaction boiled down to the fact that I wasn't recognizing who and what I really was. 

I wasn't any of those jobs.  I just hadn't come to that state of conscious realization yet.  I did identify myself as what I was doing at any given time - be it office management, retail management, real estate, medical research, holistic health provider, and a whole slew of other industries.  Underlying the success that I experienced in each endeavor, there was always this nagging sense of dissatisfaction.  Some of it came from various corporate rules, and I'm the first to admit that I'm not a fan of a lot of those rules.  The majority of it came from the fact that I was putting so much weight and demand into the label I carried.  Those various job titles never felt "right" to me.

Fast forward to the last four to five years and the whole global economy changing so drastically.  Like everyone else in the world, my cozy little existence got turned upside down and I was forced to revamp and reinvent myself, more than once....more than twice, to be honest.  In a curious manner, the ups and downs that I experienced forced me to be much more present and practical about what worked best for me in all areas of life.  When things get pared down to bare essentials and you're starting from zero more than once, you quickly develop the ability to identify key elements that make the most sense. 

For me, this translated into creating a freelancing business and being my own boss, per se.  It's not always the easiest existence, as you're dependent upon the vagaries of the job market and economy in a slightly different manner, but it is a satisfying one.  I am able to choose the clients and industries where I want to work, and I am able to focus my career in directions that I choose.  I no longer depend on any sort of corporate entity to be the sole source of income, and I don't know that I ever want to go back to that way of life.  I am much happier knowing that I have multiple streams of income, and multiple opportunities in a much wider pool of clients and industries.  When bad things happen - as Life has a way of handing us those challenges in that out of the blue delivery mode - knowing that I have alternative options immediately available gives me a stronger peace of mind.

While this is my own specific experience, the deeper message that I am conveying is that it took me almost half my life to learn to stop identifying and qualifying who I am with any job that I do.  I now identify myself as a writer, plain and simple. And an entrepreneur.  Whatever I do in an ancillary manner to pay the bills is simply that....a means to an end.  I no longer invest my whole identity into someone else's vision, unless it is in a support application with my freelancing business.  I now invest my heart and soul into what gives me joy, and that is being a creative person.  The emotional freedom and sense of wellness that comes along with this new approach cannot be underestimated.  The fascinating thing is that by freeing up myself in this manner, I have noticed that prosperity seems to flow more efficiently.  Connections flourish more easily and timing seems to click more readily.

Does this mean that I no longer have difficult moments?  Absolutely not.  In fact, a bad moment hit me today that I wasn't quite prepared for.  I had had an intuition that things with this specific situation might not be all they appeared on the surface, but I wasn't prepared for the hitting the brick wall at maximum velocity delivery manner that occurred.  Ten or fifteen years ago, this type of bad news would have been devastating to me, as I would have internalized and beaten myself up as the sole source and reason for things going wrong.  I no longer do that these days.  Instead, as many dear friends pointed out upon hearing this news, this type of abrupt closure is always a clear indication of better things being prepared to come into that newly vacated space. 

What I am appreciative of at this point in my life is how I react to seemingly bad news.  I look much deeper than I used to.  I delve into the message and lessons being conveyed and I take the obvious opportunity for growth very seriously.  I recognize where I have impacted any given situation in a positive or negative manner, and I learn from it.  But the most important realization, for me, is that I am at a point in my life where I do not predicate my self worth on outside sources.  My emotional health definitely comes from within, and from there springs my complete happiness.  Even in the midst of admittedly bad news, such as that which I received today, I can honestly say I'm not broken hearted, dismayed or even too terribly upset.  I'm at an emotional and mental stage where I see balance and logic in every occurrence.  I won't lie and say I'm not frustrated with this temporary snag, because we never like to weather bad news, but all in all, I see Divine Order in everything around me.  This newly vacated space is waiting for new and different energy to set up housekeeping and provide new experiences.

So, from the perspective of how our environment affects our emotional well being, I guess the stronger message would be to first look inward and see how reactive each of us may be to a given situation.  I'm choosing to view my own recent experience of this newly vacated space as an opportunity.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Grasshopper Thoughts, Vol. III March 2011

Photo courtesy of
Bing images
The grasshopper urge is upon me, and I am indulging it.  I was writing in my journal yesterday - it's an 8 x 10 hard bound artist's sketch book with unlined pages - and my pen ran out of ink.  I don't know about anyone else, but I'm picky about the pen I use.  I prefer black medium ball point pens.  Finding just the RIGHT black medium ball point pen is the challenge.

I've tried those gel pens and they skip on the page.  They're also invariably only available in fine point and I hate that.  Fine point on pens leaves too spidery a line of ink, and because I tend to use a lot of pressure, they can literally scratch a hole in the paper. Felt tip pens get pressure points on them and then you can only use them at that specific angle, so those don't make the list for me.  Some ball point pens get snotty noses.  You know what I'm talking about, right?!  They get globs of ink that collect and eventually smear across the page.  Drives me nuts, personally.  And of course, when my preferred pen ran out of ink, I didn't have any replacements in the house.  Off to the store I'll go tomorrow to see if I can find more, and this time, I'm getting several boxes to have on hand.  My writing demands it!

While we're on the subject of office supplies, who decided to change the formula of Crayons???  I don't know when it occurred, but sometime in the past 2-3 years, they've changed.  Maybe you haven't noticed, but I have nephews in elementary school, so crayons are a necessary item in my household for when they visit.  Crayola crayons smell different these days, and the consistency is different.  They're softer, kind of mushy when you color with them.  Not that this stops the world from turning in any dramatic fashion, but I noticed.  Yep, I'm a purist.  Certain formulae shouldn't be tampered with.  Ever.  Bring back the old Crayon formula, I say! 

I'd like for someone to invent newspapers that do not crinkle loudly when being read, please.  Yes, I know, the world is being taken over by those infernal electronic reader contraptions, and newspapers are dying a rapid death, soon to be extinct.  Whilst still here, though, couldn't someone come up with a treatment of the paper that makes it less rustly?  And there I go, contradicting my prior paragraph that certain formulae shouldn't be tampered with.  Well, this is my blog where I rule supreme, so I'm making an arbitrary ruling that newpaper formula CAN be tampered with.  Tamper away, anyone out there reading this!  And let me know when you've perfected it.  There are people in my life that really need to have that formula applied to their newspaper, because they're overly enthusiastic newspaper rustlers and it makes my teeth hurt.

There are moments when simple pleasures are pure perfection.  This month, for me, the simple pleasure is fresh strawberries the size of small plums.  I have no idea where these berries hail from, but they're HUGE, with just the right blend of sweetness and tartness.  Not a mushy berry to be found (don't get me started on mushy fruit - if you're curious, you can read an old post Unripened fruit, sparkles and twinkles, Healing Morning 2/4/2010) in the carton, and I am enjoying them immensely.  And while I'm on the subject of perfect fruit, it just KILLS me to watch a cooking show on TV and see them take beautiful fresh berries and puree them into a sauce, or slap sugar all over them.  More of my purist tendencies are cropping up - I really like fruit w/ no accoutrements.  Unless it's the dark chocolate with raspberries combo, and then I make another arbitrary ruling.  ;-)

There are more grasshopper thoughts hopping about in my brain, but these will suffice for now.  I don't want to overwhelm you with the bizarre directions my brain flits about all in one shot, after all!