Learning to Fly

AttitudeCourageCreativityHappinessLife

I used to think that I could fly. I also slept on the top level of a bunk bed, which–as you can no doubt imagine–was a risky and high-stakes combination. Fortunately, I emerged from this period of my life largely unscathed. In fact, I found that the best time to fly was when I was asleep and could soar anywhere I wanted in my dreams.

I was thinking today that perhaps, though I know that I am unlikely to successfully take to the skies without the assistance of an airplane, hot air balloon, or related contraption, I still yearn to fly. Wouldn’t it be amazing, I find myself musing, to swoop high and low alongside the eagles? To hover quietly beside the hardworking hummingbird, admiring the flowers? To skim over the surface of the ocean and dive in and out of waves, only to return–salty, refreshed, laughing–to the air, out of reach of the tossing water? read more

Thank You

AttitudeCourageHappinessLife

I have been feeling a bit negative recently. So. This post is a little gratitude power-up refuel session based on the knowledge that turning my attention to those people and things for which I am grateful helps me to shift my attention in a more positive direction. So here goes:

Thank you for supportive friends and family members who remind me of the beauty in the world.

Thank you for mentors and counselors along the way.

Thank you for all of the dogs in Alamo Square Park who remind me that running can be fun. read more

Walking the Talk

CourageCreativityWriting

I have discovered something about myself. I am extremely good at talking and thinking about writing. Resistance to writing for me too often comes in the form of analysis, which keeps me happily and busily dissecting just why exactly it is that I’m not writing.

God, I find myself saying. Creative work is so hard. If only I could get past this block and just feel free to write and create…think how wonderful that would be! I wonder what’s stopping me. Maybe I need to be more disciplined. Or maybe I need to start a yoga practice. Or maybe it has something to do with my childhood… read more

It’s Enough to Show Up with An Open Heart

AttitudeCourageWork

It seems not quite right to write a blog post on New Year’s Eve and not at least mention New Year’s resolutions. So I’ll get to that. But first, an anecdote.

Last year, I entered an art poster contest through an organization called Health Through Art in Berkeley–a fabulous organization–and I ended up being selected as one of the winning artists. (Pause for applause.)

Now, my poster, done in vibrant colors, stated that “The world is better when YOU are in it,” and then, in bold letters along the bottom, the poster read: “Empower Yourself.” read more

Showing Up

AnxietyCourageCreativityFearUncategorizedWorkWriting

I have been writing pretty much every morning, and I feel like a mess. It’s never good enough. But I want to give myself credit for showing up to the page, because, frankly, my writing will never be good enough in my eyes. I have started to realize that trying to prove myself to myself is a losing battle.

The page always stares me down. The blankness of it. And you know what’s funny? Not having anything to write about often makes me feel like I’m going to die. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world. I think I’m a failure and a mess and I am going to die. I start to panic and then I resort to blaming myself. (Really productive, I know.) Why is it always so hard? And why do the stakes seem so, incredibly high? read more

Feminism: A Reflection

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Today, I want to write about feminism. Feminism can be a controversial topic. I bet you someone will read that opening line, and will say: “Enough already. Stop harping.” Or they will have stopped reading after the title because they don’t want to hear any more man-hating drivel. In which case they will miss the fabulous joke about pandas in the next few lines.

A man in a movie theater noticed what looked like a panda sitting next to him.

“Are you a panda?” asked the man, surprised. read more

Narnia and NaNoWriMo

CourageHappinessLife

I went to a NaNoWriMo catch-up session yesterday here in San Francisco. For those of you who are not familiar, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, which takes place annually in November. Participants take on the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. I have taken on this challenge.

Following this NaNoWriMo catch-up session, I am back on track to finish by November 30th, (I had gotten a little behind in the preceding days). I’m glad that I’m caught up; but I’m even more glad that I went to a group writing session. It was so much more fun than writing 3,000 words by myself. We wrote for 1.5 hour-long segments and took breaks in between to chat and talk about writing. It was great! read more

Work It

CourageLifeMorality and EthicsPoliticsWork

Today, I want to talk about work. Now, I’m not just talking about jobs. I’m talking about work in the sense of our life’s work, our vocation, or our calling. I find the concept of work to be complex, because I often equate it with anything that’s hard or that I don’t want to do. This came up for me because of the election. Now that President Obama has been reelected, I think that most people recognize that we have work to do as a country. A lot of it. And I think that most of us envision long and grueling hours of toil en route to a better world, or at least a more stable world. And it’s like: “Aw man. I really just wanted to watch TV.” Work becomes something that is the opposite of fun. read more

My Brain is Plastic

AnxietyCourageFearHappinessLife

In general, I think of myself as a pretty confident person. But every once and a while, anxiety strikes and I freeze up. It usually happens when I’m trying to do something that I consider very important, and when I am trying to do it well. And the anxiety makes it so that I am either paralyzed or I flub up on whatever it is that I am trying to accomplish. So basically, anxiety is a real drag.

I recently had a realization, however. It sprang in part from having watched Shawn Achor’s TED talk on positive psychology, and also from a conversation I had with a friend about the neuroplasticity of the human brain. Neuroplasticity refers to the fact that our brains are constantly changing throughout our lives due to factors in our environment, and (most importantly for my purposes) due to our choices and actions. The way we choose to act, and the way we choose to react, to our circumstances affects the synaptic connections in our brain. In other words, we are capable of contributing to major rewiring of our very own brains. And that, my friends, is nothing short of revolutionary. read more

Be Fierce and a Warrior

AttitudeCourageCreativityLifeWriting

The trouble is that I want to write great stories. This is a problem. If I just wanted to write stories, or words, or maybe a few sentences strung together into a paragraph or two or three, then it would not be a problem. Do you see what I mean? The pressure is paralyzing. I sit myself down in the morning with my cup of coffee to do my writing, and I think to myself:

“Okay, then. Time to write a great American short story. You have one hour. GO!”

It doesn’t work. Time and time again, I find that I write: read more

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