About a year ago, I decided to try to live my life similar to the way improv actors practice their art. In improv, this means saying “yes and” – never disagreeing with your fellow actor and instead accepting their ideas and adding to them.
My approach is a little different in that my goal was to say “yes” when I might otherwise have automatically said, “no” – “No, that ‘s not the kind of person I am,” or “No, I don’t like things like that,” or “No, that’s not the way I do things,” or “No, that’s not the way I see things,” and perhaps most importantly, “No, I’m not comfortable with that” or “No, that feels risky.” Read more
Hoarding your joys and despairs
As if they were clothes
You brought but never wore
Look at this bright shirt:
A possibility you glimpsed
But feared to seize.
The beloved is waiting.
You have a date.
Put on that shirt before it fades.”
-Gregory Orr, from How Beautiful the Beloved
Do you have dreams that you’re hoarding and keeping hidden away in your closet? Are there opportunities that you see by allow to pass you by?
Take the New Year as your chance to go ahead, put on the bright shirts of your dreams, and try on the outfits of possibilities that are all around you.
Wishing you peace, joy and bright clothes of all kinds in the New Year!
“Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”
―Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
It is easy sometimes to feel alone and unloved. But, this is merely one viewpoint. What if you decided to look at things differently?
What if you choose to simply believe that there is a love being stored up for you – that is your inheritance simply because you exist? What if in that love there is a strength and a blessing so large that no matter where you go or what you do, you are surrounded by it?
Spend the rest of today moving forward choosing to believe that you are surrounded by this inheritance of love. What is possible for you when you choose to believe that?
When I was much younger, there was a TV show called, To Tell the Truth. In it, three people would come on the show and present themselves to a celebrity panel. One of the three people had a unique story to tell – they had an unusual occupation or experience – while the other two pretended to be that person. The panel had to determine who was telling the truth. The two imposters were allowed to lie while the person being her/himself was required to tell the truth.
When I think about that game now, I think the person required to tell the truth had the most difficult job. Why do I say that? Because sometimes I’m afraid to tell the truth even though I hold truth-telling as a major value. When I say “I,” I don’t mean my conscious self, I mean my subconscious self. I’m not aware that I’m not telling myself the truth. It’s that at a subconscious level, I’m afraid to access my deepest feelings. And, like the beautiful poem, Our Deepest Fear, by Marianne Williamson, it’s usually because I’m afraid to stop being small and to dream big – afraid to trust and believe in myself or afraid to admit that I want a more expansive life.
What dreams are you hiding from yourself? What would it take for you to believe in yourself?
Burning the Old Year
“So much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
Orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.
Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things I didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.”
-Naomi Shihab Nye, excerpted from Burning the Old Year
As I look back over last year, I have much to be grateful for and few things that are crackling after the blaze of the New Year. I had three important priorities that I successfully worked on: (1) my relationship with my daughter; (2) international travel; and (3) writing a book
I was able to combine two of these priorities when I traveled to Vietnam with my daughter last summer. We spent a week volunteering at a bilingual school in Hanoi teaching English and two weeks traveling around other parts of the country. Soon after, my daughter started Read more