beauty, dreams, grateful, gratitude

Beautiful: Love What Is

45b9139e10a6a126038d35f7c74b3618“We spend too much time living in the ‘what if’ and need to learn to live in the ‘what is.’ “ ~ Reverend Leroy Allison

There is a casualty to being a dreamer. Sometimes we spend so much time building a world of our own design that we miss the beauty that is right in front of us. We miss the chance to be inspired right now because we’re so in love with our vision of how things will be.

I have no intention of giving up any of my dreams. I am passionate about carving my own path. However, I also want to make sure that I appreciate exactly where I am on each step of this journey. There is beauty in process, in the act of becoming. In these small, ordinary moments, there are extraordinary things happening. I want to recognize them for all the magnificence that they hold.

beauty, creativity, imagination, inspiration, Life, nature, Spring

Beautiful: The Beauty of Spring

I love this photo. It makes me want to crawl inside this scene and take Phin for a long, winding walk under a canopy of pink petals. Beauty matters. It wakes up our senses. It increases our awareness. It inspires our imagination.

Spring is slowly making its way toward us, bringing with it warmth, color, and new beginnings. Life is about to manifest in a big way in the world around us. And so it goes within us, too. After a long, cold, dark winter, we’re ready to shrug off that blanket in search of the new, untested, and yes, beautiful. Spring is a time of action, movement, and growth. It’s a time to start again, unencumbered by the past.

Wherever your winding road takes you this Spring, I hope it’s a place where you can explore and experiment, a place that is as magnificent as you.

adventure, creative, curiosity, imagination

Beautiful: Where the Wildest Things Are

From Pinterest

“Adventure is not outside man; it is within.” ~ George Eliot, British writer

I love the movie, Hugo. I was hooked when I saw the preview and Hugo asks Isabelle, “Do you want to have an adventure?” I couldn’t think of a more perfect question to ask a friend! Curiosity brings people together.

We often think of adventures as travels to far-flung sites around the globe, escapades into places that are strange, new, and even a little risky. But the greatest adventures lie not “out there somewhere” but within. They are in our imaginations. There we will find fantastical worlds that no one has even dared to dream of yet, much less build. Our creativity knows no bounds. It doesn’t limit itself. If we close our eyes, turn our attention to the breath, and tap in, we can go anywhere.

That’s my kind of adventure.

choices, priorities

Beautiful: Make Your Convictions Your Full-time Job

“Decide what you stand for. And then stand for it all the time.” ~ Clayton Christensen

Integrity is a long road. We will be tried and tested many times along its path. We’ll be asked to state and re-state our convictions, defend them, and ultimately live our lives by them. We may question ourselves, reconsider our positions, and doubt our abilities. We’ll be tempted to shrink back from criticism, confrontation, and disagreements, but in those moments our integrity will rise up, just when we need it most.

Integrity is a leg to stand on. It’s a warm blanket on a cold night. It’s a light during our darkest hour. You can hang your hat on your integrity, and there’s a lot of power in that knowledge.

How do you need to live in order to be true to yourself, to wake up and be proud of the person staring back at you from the mirror? Figure out what matters most to you and then do whatever it takes to build a life around those priorities. It’s the only way to be certain that we fulfill the promise of our potential.


Beautiful: The Battles We Face

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” ~ Margaret Thatcher, British prime minister

Do you ever feel like you are continuously fighting the same battle over and over again? Do you find yourself running into the same difficulties, the same tough times, with the same challenging characters?

A long time ago, my friend, Derek, said something very wise to me and the simple lesson it conveys has stayed with me in many tough times. He told me that the world is a very generous place. It gives us the same lesson over and over again until we really learn it and don’t need to go through it any more.

That’s not to say that you’ll never face the same difficulties, even after you learn your lesson. But you will be different. Wiser, stronger, more resilient. So while the situation you find yourself in may feel like déjà vu, your reaction can be different, and therefore you can generate a different outcome.

There are just so many varieties of battle you’ll face in life. The difficult boss, the person who tries to bully and intimidate you, the relationship that goes awry, the stresses you didn’t expect. But the chips can fall any number of ways. There is no end to the learnings that are available to each of us in every circumstance that arises.

art, community, teaching, writing

Beautiful: We Are Angels to Each Other

“I’ve seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives.” ~ Tracy Chapman

When I think about what I really want to be, an angel is an accurate description. Whether it’s through my writing, teaching, art, or business work, I hope it’s all useful to someone. I hope that it makes someone’s life a bit easier, happier, and healthier. I hope that it helps me connect to others and helps them connect to me.

What good are angels up there somewhere? We need them down here, on this Earth, right now. I can’t imagine any work that would be more valuable or gratifying than to know that what I’ve done has in some way helped someone navigate this wild world with more grace.

art, books, creative, creative process, creativity, design

Beautiful: Blender Master Class from No Starch Press

blender_simonds_complete_V7.inddDesign skills are quickly becoming a part of the necessary knowledge base of professionals in a wide variety of fields. Plenty of courses, online and off, free and fee-based, are cropping up to demystify the process of design. Open source design software is also paving the way to help us evolve from media consumers into media creators.

If 3D design is on your wish list of skills, you’re in luck. Blender is an incredibly popular open source 3D design suite with a massive user community. No Starch Press has just published the book Blender Master Class by author and professional 3D artist Ben Simonds. The book guides you step-by-step through 3 intricate projects by teaching you modeling, sculpting, materials, and rendering skills. The book also explains how Blender interfaces with GIMP, an open source graphic design program, and includes a DVD with all of the relevant files for the projects described in the book.

Simonds makes Blender, a sophisticated program, approachable by breaking down its basic features one by one. Blender is used by many artists for animation, simulation, and game design. However, these features are not covered in this book. Simonds focused his efforts on the niche that needed to be filled – helping new Blender users understand the basics of creating still images.

With this book you can quickly get started on the task of getting those 3D designs out of your imagination and into the world. While Blender can feel overwhelming at first because of all of its bells and whistles, you’ll have Simonds with you on every step of the journey as a guide and supporter. I can’t wait to see what you create!

apartment, choices, decision-making, home, time

Beautiful: We Get What We Settle For

56c4727c6ae55ca9ddfedcc23445eb2e“We get what we settle for.”

This powerful statement is one of the most incredible lessons I learned working with my therapist and coach, the amazing Brian. I used to think of settling as such a negative word, as if it meant we were somehow giving up or selling ourselves short by settling. Brian turned that around for me.

I learned this lesson in a big way yesterday when I secured my new apartment. Phin and I will be taking up residence at a new place in our neighborhood on April 15th. I wish I could have found a place that was a little bit cheaper, sans any broker fee (though they did give me a discounted fee), and a full one-bedroom. Still, the place is beautiful. I get to stay in my lovely Upper West Side neighborhood right across the street from the park. Because I’m sticking with my current management company, the paperwork was a lot less than it would have been otherwise (especially since I work for myself). It has all the conveniences of my current full-service building and is newly renovated. I will continue to enjoy my western facing view, can break my current lease without penalty, and won’t waste any time hunting for a new home on a tight timeline.

I settled. The new apartment isn’t perfect. I didn’t get every single thing I wanted, but it’s a wonderful fit. And that’s what settling is all about – doing the very best you can with what you’ve got.

career, choices, decision-making, time

Beautiful: The Doors of Our Lives

3c33fede4cc8d8cc5206d8873851c641“The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.” ~ Flora Whittemore

I’m in the midst of choosing among different doors, literal and figurative. I’m looking for a new apartment. I’m considering where to take a long vacation this summer. I’ve got several new career opportunities in front of me – I’m now trying to decide whether to take all of them, some of them, or none of them. At the ripe old age of 37, I’m thinking about what matters most in my personal life and how that should take shape going forward.

While these big decisions can be daunting, I also have to remind myself that this is the real stuff of life. This is the fun stuff. Choosing which doors to open, which paths to take. Each of these choices alters the course of the journey, in big ways and small ways, and I am so fortunate to have the ability to decide which way to steer. Life doesn’t happen to us; it happens because of us.