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A Year of Yes: Finding your light

“Your greatness is revealed not by the lights that shine upon you, but by the lights that shine within you.” ~Ray A. Davis
I’m off on a business trip to San Francisco today. Over the course of my life, I’ve almost moved there several times. For a long time I thought my future was there. It was my dream city to live in when I graduated from college; when I first visited, it felt like a place where I could find my light. It wasn’t meant to be, and I ended up moving to New York. I couldn’t be happier that things didn’t work out the way I planned because in New York, I found the light within me. Still, it will be nice to see my old friend, San Fran.

A Year of Yes: What it means to be an angel

“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.
Make it a part of your day to make someone’s day. Happy Monday.

A Year of Yes: Scene from New York City’s March for Our Lives

28828610_10104256776831916_4621455774924061512_oThis young woman, mixed with a very small group of counter-protesters in the shadow of some of the greatest museums in New York City, was just asking to be free to express herself through art rather than being worried about guns. A simple ask that we must answer with an emphatic “Yes”. Take a look at the future. It’s so bright and I couldn’t be more hopeful. More photos below.

A Year of Yes: March for Our Lives

220px-March_for_Our_Lives_logoBecause my travel plans were derailed this week, I’m in New York City instead of D.C. today. I’ll be joining March for Our Lives in my hometown, standing up for an end to gun violence and safer world for all of us, especially our young people. They are our future and I want them to have every opportunity to build a life they’re happy to live. This video by Veterans for Gun Reform articulates exactly the message we need to send to all of our policy makers.

 

 

 

 

A Year of Yes: A fear of public speaking

“Say your weak things in a strong voice.” ~Carrie Fisher

Confession session: I have a fear of public speaking. Yes, I’m a storyteller, host, and writer. I do a lot of interviews on both sides of the table. And yes, I get stage fright every single time. I’ve been known to get hives, get sick to my stomach, and not eat for a day before I have a speaking engagement.

I’m scared and doing it anyway. It’s the only way we get better.

Why would I ever admit that? Because I think it’s important to help each other along. I think it’s important to help each other do difficult things. And that begins with honesty.

What fear do you continually face down?

A Year of Yes: Help children find their best environment

“When a flower doesn’t bloom you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.” ~Alexander den Heijer

In a classroom, if a student’s not thriving, our education system too often assumes that there’s something wrong with the child. Imagine what we could achieve in just one generation if we could instead see all children the way a gardener sees flowers: as something we cherish, nurture, and encourage. What a world, right? Let’s change the system so all children can thrive.

 

A Year of Yes: Balancing the head and heart takes time

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The Balance by Christian Schloe 

I’ve been using this piece of art as a focal point for my meditation since I found it about a week ago. I bought it immediately, and added it to my art collection. Balancing the head and the heart is the challenge of our lives. It’s a daily process, and one that I’m intently working on. Like a tightrope walker traveling among the stars, all I can do is put one foot in front of the other. I’m learning, one decision, one choice, at a time.

A Year of Yes: It’s better to put your heart out there

“Better an ‘oops’ than a ‘what if?”” ~Beau Taplin

Why are we so afraid of making a mistake or looking like fools? Are we afraid of embarrassment? Of ridicule? Of pain? Of failure? I got over the feeling of rejection a long time ago. I have seen too many people miss their chance, too many people settle for lives that are less than what they really wanted. And by the time they could really admit that to themselves, the time was gone. It was too late. Their lives have been a cautionary tale for me. I stopped waiting and hoping and wanting, and I just decided to give it all a whirl. Everything. And a lot of things haven’t worked out, and a lot of things have. And none of it would have been possible if I didn’t decide to try. So now at least I go to bed at night knowing I didn’t leave anything on the table. I play every card I have every day, knowing that tomorrow I get a new hand.

A Year of Yes: The necessity of rewriting and revision

“That’s the magic of revisions—every cut is necessary, and every cut hurts, but something new always grows.” ~Kelly Barnhill, author

I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot as I prep for Virginia Festival of the Book. When I think of my favorite books, plays, songs, and pieces of art, they are the ones without any fat, the ones where every word, every note, every brush stroke is carefully and purposely chosen. That concern, that love is what strikes me right in the heart. Rewriting and editing is the lifeblood of art that lasts. It’s the cuts that matter most because that’s where we find the seeds that need to be planted and nurtured.

A Year of Yes: No more dreams deferred

“What happens to a dream deferred?” ~Langston Hughes, Harlem
Thanks to everyone for all of your birthday wishes. I felt the love all day, and in this next trip around the sun I’m working on making more dreams come true. Yesterday, I made a list of 12 dreams I’ve had since childhood and I’m hoping to make them all happen in this next year. They are big and bold and beautiful. A couple of them are already in the works. Stay tuned…
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