creativity

This just in: Comfortable in our own skin

Image by Ilya
Image by Ilya

“I am obsessed with becoming a woman comfortable in her own skin.” ~Sandra Cisnero

There is something to be said for rising up, confident in who we are and what we believe in despite the opinions of others. Washington is a town of conviction. It’s also a place where people are tightly wound and a bit too conscious of The Rules. A lot of people here aren’t comfortable in their own skin. They barely know what that concept means. They are busy striving to be someone other than who they are.

But that’s changing. There are growing pockets of people gathering with the purpose of breaking molds and embracing authenticity. It’s one reason I love my gritty neighborhood so much. There are people here who care more about heart and less about appearance, who value people over possessions. This is me and these are my people. I’m finding them at work and Meetups, in art classes, museums, and cafes, on the metro and the streets of the neighborhoods where I spend many hours wandering.

And if I do nothing else in my time here, I hope I can help more people find out who they really are, what they care about, and why we all matter.

creativity

This just in: Rest in peace, Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks
Oliver Sacks

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Oliver Sacks changed my life. His work and books showed me that curiosity is a gift that we must use, cherish, and never limit. He is and always will be my example of a life well-lived. He passed away early this morning in his home in New York City, and his obituary as well as his many decades of writing are worth reading over and over again. Rest in peace to a doctor and writer who embodied the very essence of passion and grace.

creativity

This just in: Let yourself replenish

Replenish you
Replenish you

“You are not responsible for fixing everything that is broken…It’s time to replenish.”

My yoga teacher, Cheri, posted this quote this week and it really resonated with me. I was in the midst of a wild week and a replenishing weekend seemed light years away. Now that it’s here, I plan to take full advantage of it through art, writing, music, resting, exploring, and laughing.

We are all adults, and adults are equipped to create and be responsible for their own happiness. Here’s our only charge: to make sure we are well-cared for so that we can be at our best to make the most of what comes our way.

creativity

This just in: Say, “Yes”

Image by Brian Powell
Image by Brian Powell

“Saying ‘yes’ begins things. Saying ‘yes’ is how things grow.” ~Stephen Colbert

Yes, I’ll have the conversation. Yes, I’ll try this and see how it goes. Yes, I’ll work on this. These are powerful statements that foster our learning. Every great adventure starts with yes. It’s the recognition that we are willing to be present, to have an experience that will somehow change us. Everything I’ve ever done in my life that I’m truly proud of started with those three little letters. What’s your greatest yes moment?

creativity

This just in: Advice about how to live from Jimmy Carter

I watched Jimmy Carter’s press conference about his cancer diagnosis. The statement of his that struck me the most was his philosophy about expectations: hope for the best and accept what comes. It’s a beautiful way to live. Watch his full press conference through the link below:

 

 

 

creativity

This just in: Expanding my horizons this Fall

Image by Eric Bowley
Image by Eric Bowley

“Live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas, intoxicated by the romance of the unusual.” ~Ernest Hemingway

I’ve been in my job for almost 4 months and in D.C. for 6 months. Now that I’m getting my groove back, I’m going to spend the Fall exploring. Here’s what I’ll be up to:

  1. Playing in a co-ed soccer league with a few of my friends.
  2. Capturing the urban landscapes of D.C. with a pencil in hand thanks to the DC Sketchers class offered by Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. Every Saturday we travel to a new location in D.C. and spend two hours taking a drawing class.
  3. Taking in the Fall cultural events season in DC. There are so many high quality theater, music, and literary events to attend.
  4. Finding ways to continue my public storytelling that I started this summer with Story District.
  5. Traveling. My dear friend, Amy, is going to be in Sarajevo for a fellowship and I’m hoping to take some time this Fall to visit her in this incredible city. I’m long overdue for a trip out of the country.
  6. Teaching myself to play the piano.

What new things are you trying this Fall?

creativity

This just in: Use your disappointment for good

Image by Giorgio Fochesato
Image by Giorgio Fochesato

A few days ago I got an email that really irked me. I had worked hard on a project and written a thoughtful response to advise someone who asked me to examine a company he’s thinking of buying. Though delivered professionally and courteously, I knew that the news I was giving him was not the news he wanted. I couldn’t in good conscience advise him to buy the company. From the data and from my gut, I know he’ll regret the choice to buy it if he moves ahead. Rather than taking the advice, he felt the need to criticize my analysis in a snarky way.

At first, I was upset about his response and then I had to let it go. I had done the job I was asked to do. I was honest and careful in my analysis, and now he can either take the advice or not. Rather than wasting energy being upset about his email, I plowed the energy into my own creative work. And that was the very best thing I could do. We live, and we learn.

creativity

This just in: Working on yourself is a gift

Image by Marti Sans
Image by Marti Sans

Yesterday I was talking to my therapist, Brian. I explained that while I’m proud of all of the personal work we’ve done that I still have so many things about myself that I want to improve, situations I’d like to handle with more grace, and areas of my life that I’d like to fix. He got quiet and said one of his magical phrases: “Let me give you a framework that I think will resonate with you. Working on yourself is a gift.” And that’s exactly what I needed to hear.

Most people never dig down into who they are. They stroll though life and get by, but don’t actually ever live. And I don’t blame them one bit – working on who we are and improving our character is the hardest work we can do because it forces us to see what we don’t like. And once we see it, we can’t unsee it. We actually have to do something about it. We have to change, and change is hard.

In the times when that work is most difficult, when we’re really looking at ourselves honestly to see ourselves in our entirety—the good, the bad, and the ugly—this kind of framework helps. It’s not easy nor comfortable for anyone to engage in self-improvement. But it’s worth it to see our grace grow. It’s worth it to see kindness and compassion trumping inferior actions. It’s worth it to hear the ego’s opinion and let it recede. We benefit from this work, and the world around us benefits, too. Everyone we come into contact with in any capacity is impacted by the work we do on ourselves. It’s the gift that keeps on giving to everyone. It’s a form of service. Yes, we’ve got to work for it, and with time and dedication it works for us, too.

So if you’re deep in the weeds of self-improvement and trying to figure out how to hack your way through the tangled jungle of fear, doubt, and frustration, just know that I’m right there with you. We can and will do this together.

creativity

This just in: The good news

Image by Brian Powell
Image by Brian Powell

“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news.” ~Anne Frank

The level of stress in my life has been on the high side recently, and this quote from Anne Frank has been a light post for me. There is always some light, somewhere. When I’m struggling, I find that light in wonderful friends who listen and support me. When I’m facing a difficult project, I look to my coworkers and collaborators to help me puzzle my way through it. (And when it’s really rough, I rely on a snuggle from Phin!) In those darker moments, the good news resides with the good people in my life. And for that, I’m always grateful.

art

This just in: Pancakes & Booze (and art and music) in D.C.

Art by CJ Bown
Art by CJ Bown

Last night I went to The Pancakes & Booze Art Show in D.C. My friends and I arrived as soon as the doors open and already there were lines down the block. We were thrilled by the excitement and support of local D.C. artists. I fell in love with the photography of CJ Bown, a Philadelphia-based artist, and picked up a canvas of his stunning view of the stairs to Bethesda Fountain in New York City. It’s one of my favorite places in the world and CJ captured it from such a stunning viewpoint. It’s now happily hanging in my home and I can’t stop looking at it. Something tells me I’m going to license this photo to be on the cover of my novel, Where the Light Enters.