I made an interesting self-discovery today. My goal was to think in a positive way for the entire day. What better time than for the holidays and getting ahead of New Years resolutions? Initially, I thought this should be a breeze, as I am a reasonably well- adjusted person. Au contraire, it was more of a storm of negativity. I found that my mind tended to go to fears and worries rather than staying in the calm and optimistic lane. I lost count of the times I caught myself veering off into the “what ifs” of a situation. Then it hit me. I am really hooked on negative thoughts and only thought I practiced a positive outlook.

 There is the diva in me that plays a bigger role than I realized. This diva is way too sensitive and reacts so quickly to the whiff of a slight, snub, or rejection. She then gets herself into a big, but silent snit that is out of proportion to the moment. In not allowing myself to go to the well of negativity for long drinks, I simply felt better.  I wonder how long I can practice this approach to life. But of course, that is a negative thought. I think I will try this experiment for tomorrow.

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My son once told me about a George Carlin monologue that spoke to the universal human desire to belong and understand what life is all about. The funniest part of Carlin’s joke was his fear of stopping the next passerby and asking about the meaning of life.  He thought that the answer would be “why yes I do, but I am not supposed to tell you.”  This joke is both humorous and sad. So many people think that they are the outsiders and therefore are not privy to what the ” in” crowd knows. You know how we all belong? We share the common experience of  being insecure to some degree. That is a basic truth. I wonder how a person’s life would change, if they stopped looking to some group or individual to tell them what to do and began listening to their own wisdom.

I just saw the movie everyone loves this summer–Julia and Julie. As predicted by others, I did leave feeling wonderful! I found their parallel lives inspiring, as they each encountered so many similiar experiences in their respective journeys. 1) Each woman started out at a confused point. It was not clear to them what would give their lives meaning. However, feeling useful and productive were very motivating factors. 2) Once they made a commitment, the women persevered and pursued their passion with great enthusiasm. 3) Julia and Julie encountered significant periods of rejection and disappointment. However, they kept on going despite uncertainty and fear of failure. 4) There was a supportive network. Spouses and friends were loving, but unafraid of being truthful. 5) The women knew how to laugh through their bad times. 6) Fear of failure did not sideline them from taking a risk. 7) Once their paths were established, the passion created more energy, thus paving the way for new ideas and possibilities.  8) Fame was not their objective but hard work and talent did make the world take notice.

A successful life is made up of many such steps. Any of us can determine what gives life meaning and pursue it with gusto. Bon Appetit!

The word ” mistake” has a bad reputation. People , basically adults, do not want to appear foolish. Thus, they keep themselves from learning new things. How can someone master a new skill without initially making a mistake? I think that mistakes are necessary steps in acquiring new knowledge. We cannot go into any endeavor and expect perfection.  I wonder how many potential contributions to our world are unrealized by the fear of looking or sounding stupid. Fear prevents trying, fear limits possibilities and fear destroys the spirit. The true mistake is to not let yourself make a mistake.

Isn’t it strange to pair the word fear with happiness? However, when people experience joy, it often is diluted by thoughts of something bad happening. I once met an author who just received the news that her book was going to be published. Offers of talk shows and other promotional projects were coming her way. She honestly disclosed that her next thought was “I will get breast cancer.” It is scary to embrace happiness because there is so much more to lose. I think many great moments of life may be diminished or lost to a concern that happiness won’t last. Everyone wants happiness, but to embrace the feeling is not such a simple matter. It means a vulnerability to life. It means risk.

I just left a concert of the band Journey, belting out one of their songs to the full moon and my patient husband. “Aren’t you glad we went after all?” He asked. I had been very reluctant to go after a long day at work. Actually, I would have paid not to go. He gently coaxed me along by saying we did not have to stay for the whole event. The music was energizing and we had a wonderful evening. I am no stranger to the importance of having fun. However, it is odd how quickly daily routine can dull my senses and then I tend to take myself too seriously.
“The wheels in the sky keep on turning.” These words serve as an important reminder for living in the moment, as we don’t know where we will be tomorrow.

Our instincts are ultimately our best source of information for figuring out a course of action. There is an innate wisdom that we each possess but don’t always access. There is such a strong need to please others or conform, that instincts are ignored. Listening to one’s self can actually save your life i.e. an overly familiar stranger in a parking lot or a relationship where there is inappropriate controlling behavior. Our gut feeling that can feel like a gnawing sensation, isn’t food hunger,but something that deserves attention. I have felt more authentic and free when I tap into my instincts rather than what I think others want. Practice trusting yourself. Your confidence in your ability to make choices will grow in the process.

Many years ago an essay by Winston Weathers called the Creative Spirit greatly influenced my philosophy of life. He encouraged the reader to see each day as a blank canvas that can make ordinary life extraordinary. How we experience our daily moments makes a significant difference between living on automatic pilot and being truly awake to what is before us. My new blog will concentrate on what it means to live with an artistic eye to our choices and actions.