California, choices, future

Beautiful: I’m on the Road Ahead

We spend so much time looking in the rearview mirror and pining for what was, that we forget to take a good look at what’s staring us in the eyes right through the front windshield. The road of life is so unpredictable. It’s full of wonder, magic, and experiences that we cannot yet imagine.

So here’s the first decision of my creative break: I’m done looking back. From here on out, I’m living my life forward. Thank you to my beautiful friend, Sara Alvarez Kleinsmith, for posting this picture and always inspiring me to live fully.

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adventure, beauty, California, creativity, dreams

Beautiful: Day 1 of My Creative Break in Santa Monica

This photo perfectly captures the serenity I’m feeling in Santa Monica. It’s my first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean on Day 1 of my creative break. Pretty remarkable. I can barely process that I’ve come this far in my life, a place I never thought I’d be.

For my album of photos from Day 1, please like and visit this blog’s Facebook Page by clicking here.

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California, music

Beautiful: California, Joni Mitchell-Style

Since I started imagining a summer by the sea, Joni Mitchell‘s  song, California, has been running through my mind. “California, will you take me as I am?” I sure hope so…

This is a BBC video of Joni singing her hit song, California, live in 1970. The lyrics are just below the video window.

California
Sitting in a park in Paris France
Reading the news and it sure looks bad
They won’t give peace a chance
That was just a dream some of us had
Still a lot of lands to see
But I wouldn’t want to stay here
It’s too old and cold and settled in its ways here
Oh but California

California I’m coming home
I’m going to see the folks I dig
I’ll even kiss a Sunset pig
California I’m coming home

I met a redneck on a Grecian isle
Who did the goat dance very well
He gave me back my smile
But he kept my camera to sell
Oh the rogue the red red rogue
He cooked good omelettes and stews
And I might have stayed on with him there
But my heart cried out for you California

Oh California I’m coming home
Oh make me feel good rock ‘n’ roll band
I’m your biggest fan
California I’m coming home

Oh it gets so lonely
When you’re walking
And the streets are full of strangers
All the news of home you read
Just gives you the blues
Just gives you the blues
So I bought me a ticket
I caught a plane to Spain
Went to a party down a red dirt road
There were lots of pretty people there
Reading Rolling Stone reading Vogue
They said “How long can you hang around?”
I said a week maybe two
Just until my skin turns brown
Then I’m going home to California

California I’m coming home
Oh will you take me as I am
Strung out on another man
California I’m coming home

Oh it gets so lonely
When you’re walking
And the streets are full of strangers
All the news of home you read
More about the war
And the bloody changes
Oh will you take me as I am?
Will you take me as I am?
Will you?

adventure, blog, photographs, pictures, writing

Beautiful: My Blog is Going on Summer Vacation, Too

From Pinterest

Occasionally, a leopard can change its spots. A Christa in New York can become a Christa in Los Angeles, at least for a little while. We can break patterns. We can do things differently. We can evolve.

Last week, my friends Susan and Richard shared a post from the New York Times that discussed how technology is helping us connect and leaving us feeling lonely. We get absorbed into our screens at the expense of looking people in the eye. I’ve fought hard against the argument that all of our connecting is causing us to become disconnected but I couldn’t refute the points made by the post’s author, Jonathan Safran Foer.

Have I fallen victim to this trend? Maybe. And that answer scares me. This summer I’m going to spend more time connecting, less time connected. This blog will take on a different shape to support that effort so that I can spend more time in the world and more time on my personal writing projects. As someone who thinks in words, I’m trying to improve my visual skills and this blog will support that goal, too. I’m going to attempt to chart my summer in pictures with a couple of lines of text thrown in to record the a-ha moments. The joy. The happiness. The peace. The clarity. The adventure. The world as I see it with my eyes and not through the filters of online information.

Each day, I’ll try to post one photo that perfectly captures what that day means to me. Some will be pictures I take. Some will be pictures I find. And it’s all TBD…

creativity, happiness, opportunity, passion, work

Beautiful: For Maximum Happiness, Master Your Passions

38e40d42061784fd0a6b46626a4a1751“The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.” ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

Somewhere along the way we got the crazy idea that work is work and therefore it shouldn’t be equated with happiness, purpose, and passion. We were supposed to leave work at the workplace and not let it seep into other areas of our lives because we had to create a wall in order to have that coveted possession called balance.

I once had an extremely unhappy and bitter friend who was fond of saying, “It’s called work, not play, for a reason.” Not surprisingly, our friendship didn’t last long and never had much depth. I want my work to be my passion, and my passion to be my life.

Put your time and energy into what you love, even if it’s not how you make your income – yet. Master the things that make you happy and recognize that your abilities have no limitations. Stay interested, stay active, and the world of opportunity will reveal itself.

creativity, discovery

Beautiful: We Can Always Be More Than We Are

From Pinterest“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” ~ Buckminster Fuller

I always think about this quote whenever I find myself saying, “I don’t think I’m qualified to…” or “I don’t have any experience in…” The truth is that if we’re passionate and committed to getting something done, we’ll find a way to do it.

We all start at zero. None of us had any kind of expertise in anything when we were born. We gain experience by living and learning. That doesn’t stop once childhood is over. We’re all in process throughout our entire lives.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. So many of our capabilities lie dormant until we need them. They are just waiting to be discovered and the only way to discover them is to live.

creativity, discovery, dreams, product development, work

Beautiful: Want to Find Your Purpose? Forget Avenue Q and Take a Page from the Product Developer’s Handbook.

from Pinterest“Purpose is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s needs.” ~ Frederick Buechner

Finding Purpose can be a daunting task. Just ask Princeton, the lead puppet in the show Avenue Q. He’s looking for purpose and his life takes a number of twists and turns, some happy and some incredibly unhappy, in his quest.

But finding purpose doesn’t need to be a torturous task. You don’t need to be a Princeton. There’s a better way, and it’s very similar to how companies create products every day: they identify what they do well, then they look at what the market needs, and they build products and services at the overlap between their strengths and the market’s needs.

You can do the same thing, and it won’t take long.

1.) First, figure out what you like to do and what you do well. These areas can be as broad or as narrow as you like. “Writing” is just as good an answer as “writing poetry for children”.

2.) Second, identify a pain point in the market. A pain point is something that causes people to waste time or causes frustration. For example, many people in New York City don’t have cars of their own and it can be difficult to transport a lot of goods from a store to home. For this reason, many stores and service providers have delivery service. This reduces frustration and saves time for consumers. As you go through your day, think about things that cause you to waste time or energy and things that cause you to be frustrated. Ask your friends, family members, and neighbors about their pain points. Observe other people’s behavior on the street, in stores, at work, etc. What pain points are they experiencing? Again, you can make these pain points as broad or as narrow as you’d like.

3.) Now for the fun part. Look at the list of what you like to do and where your strengths lie side-by-side with the pain points you’ve identified. This is where your creativity comes in. What can you build in the places where these lists overlap? That’s purpose, and a profitable purpose to boot!