Good Vibrations

Life has ebbed and flowed over the past year. I have missed the space in my life that allows for pondering, writing, and sharing via my blog. Authenticity is very important to me and I have not felt that I could give of myself in the way I wanted to write and share in this past year. And since I bring myself to everything wholeheartedly I shut this blog life part of my life away in a closet. What I want — and have every intention to try — is to share (at random of course) blogs as I can. Hopefully it will not be another year until my next one.

I have been fascinated lately with how I will hear an idea that will resonate so strongly with me and then it shows up in varying ways. Recently I ran across this Daily Om called “Focus on the Good.” It brings up the idea of vibrations – and it is one of those ideas that has been popping out at me in articles, books, and conversations. Everything you do at every moment is watched and seen by others. What you do and say is like throwing a rock in the pond, the impact of the action reverberates out to those that surround you. Vibrations can have an expansive, spreadable impact — whether positive or negative.

Every moment of every day you have a choice — what comes out of your mouth, the language your body expresses — is absorbed by all around you and makes up the vibration you share as part of who you are and how you show up to others.

I have been thinking a lot about the “vibe” I bring in a meeting when I react to good or bad news, how I handle Nico when he might have a tantrum, the cashier at the store, when I am grumpy, what ripple do I leave? We talk a lot at work about the “vibe” we want to leave. Your vibe is really the vibration you leave behind.

What vibration do you bring and leave for others?

Moved by authenticity.

I had been anxiously awaiting Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book: “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.” Since I am not running these days my book reading is a bit slower, but I finally just finished it. It is an easy read, but not like those of a novel that you cannot put down. It is best consumable in small chunks so you can ponder the ideas she shares on creativity. She even has a few stories that were ‘aha’ moments for me. 

One of the ideas that she shared especially resonated with me:

“These days, I’m far more moved by authenticity. Attempts at originality can often feel forced and precious, but authenticity has quiet resonance that never fails to stir me. Just say what you want to say, then, and say it with all your heart. Share whatever you are driven to share. If it’s authentic enough, believe me—it will feel original.” Page 98

Maybe because I hate when people lie, I hate deception, and all I ever really want is for people to be real. If you do not know something, do not make up bullshit to make yourself sound like you do know it, just be real and say you do not know. There is nothing I hate worse (both personally and professionally) than when people lie to make themselves look better. Just be you.

Be yourself, and do not regret it. Oh, and definitely take some time to read Gilbert’s book. It is worth it, especially if you are in a rut and want/need a kick in the butt to get you thinking creatively again.

We are in last place

It has been on my mind for quite a while. I have not been able to formulate the words I feel, yet I know there are articles and blogs out there that state the facts, opinions, and emotions of countless mothers, soon-to-be mothers, and of course fathers out there that have experienced or will soon experience what it is like to bring a child into this world. I think about it in relation to when my sister had my niece, when my friends have had their babies, and when my colleagues (both men and women) have had to come back to work so quickly, either because of financial or work related reasons. What am I ranting about?

Parental leave in the United States.

A few days ago I read an article on The Huffington Post titled: “A Working Mother’s Plea to the President” that brought tears to my eyes for its authenticity, rawness, and the poignant reality to parents and families in the United States. Over time I for some reason have collected articles and personal blogs about parental leave because I am stunned and aghast that a country that is as progressive, modern, and futuristic as the US that we treat our mothers and babies as though it is 1770. How can we have pride for a country that keeps its eyes closed about this issue?

A Wikipedia search for “Parental Leave” shares a chart of all the countries in the world. Only two countries list “0” days. Papua New Guinea and the United States. How is that possible? How is it that every other country in the world has some type of paid parental leave policy and all we have is a law that means we will not lose our job (FMLA of course). What does that say about our countries support for families and the bonding that is necessary at the beginning of a child’s life? Some of the countries on the list not only give you time off before you have the baby, but an extensive amount of time after the child is born. Note: the District of Columbia does require employers to give paid time off. So does that mean that all of our politicians are covered, but regular American citizens are not? Can you believe Sweden gets 16 months off for maternity leave? What does this mean for parents and families that cannot afford to take any time off? Who is taking care of those babies in the immediate days after birth?

A search on resulted in many petitions all of which are closed. This is an issue that deserves our attention. How can we be in LAST PLACE? Read “A Working Mother’s Plea to the President.” It is time to speak up.

Being Me and Being Seen

What does it mean to be me? Saying what is on my mind. Not having a filter. Laughing when the urge hits me, even when sometimes it might not be appropriate. Going there. Yes, I mean sometimes going there, to the gutter, and sometimes it is the wrong time. Listening wholeheartedly. Saying yes way too much. Rarely crying, but when it happens, it is because something hits my emotional core, or when someone sees and speaks to a raw part of myself.

I struggled so much during my childhood and even into my college years with being enough — wondering if I was enough. Was I pretty enough? Was I small enough? Was I smart enough? Was I good enough? Enough with all the enoughs. Eventually I got fed up. Eventually I lost it. Eventually I just wanted to be me.

As I got older, and I had the ability to see life in hindsight, I saw a little girl who loved children, who loved to be childlike, who wanted to play, but who had to keep life together and make sure that from the outside everything was okay. In many ways, having the facade of normalcy, was what she wanted. She just wanted to be normal, and in some ways trying to prove her life was normal concealed to those around her what was really happening. Sort of like a company that needs more employees, but rather than the current employees showing that, they just work harder and longer, instead of making it apparent that what was needed was more bodies and minds to help.

All this came to me after reading a recent blog post from Emily Parkinson Perry’s. I have shared her blog before, and her words are always an inspiration to me. This quote about authenticity made me think about being me.

“To me, being authentic means being unapologetically you. It means laughing out loud, accepting your faults, being present with pain, and okay with uncertainty. It means saying you’re sorry, or that you don’t know the answer. It means saying, ‘I love you’, and allowing yourself to drop into the free-fall feeling of it. It means allowing yourself to truly be seen.”

It took until I was a senior in college, but I finally understood that being me meant not hiding behind what others wanted of me, that I could be me as loud as I wanted without apology. And I am. I am loud, and sometimes emotional, opinionated, and strong-willed. I know what I want, and sometimes it is hard to get me to change my mind. Even if I am wrong. It is hard for me to say “I’m sorry” and I will always tell you if I do not know something. Then later she says:

“Your authenticity lies in the moments when you’re caught off-guard; when you blush at the compliment, laugh at your own mistake, or get caught singing in the car. Those are the precious gifts you give to the world—they are the moments when you let down your guard and allow yourself to be seen—you, as your beautiful, true, authentic self.  When you let yourself be seen, it gives others the courage to do the same, and the world needs more of that.”

I love, love, love this. It happened last week when a co-worker asked me something out of the blue. She saw me at my rawest, and that made me cry. Or when I said burger instead of booger, and Chris could not stop laughing at me. I was seen, and I laughed and I cried.

Authenticity brings inspiration

Emily has inspired me again.

There have been many days when I have not been inspired and had no clue what to write for my blog post. On other days I have published a post and felt timid about putting it out in the blogosphere. It might have felt half-baked to me, or that the topic would not interest anyone, or be inspiring to others. Many times those are the blogs where I will receive a note or comment that my blog post was just what that individual needed to hear that day, or that it brought up memories from their life and my post meant a lot to them.

That is what keeps me going. So when I read Emily’s blog, I was inspired by her honesty, bluntness, and authenticity. Emily shares that she has writers block, but then captures her present moment in such a raw and real way. It happens to so many of us, whether it be writing a blog post, finishing a painting, or coming up with that grand idea for a work campaign. Emily’s post reminds me that we need to be present in our stuck-ness. Stay open and see what comes out of it. You never know – you might find just the idea you need.

Whenever I am in that place where I am stuck, I change gears. It might mean that I go and do something else. I find that often I go for a run, organize, or clean. When I let go of the answer I need, and just focus on what I am doing in that moment, I often find just the answer I need. Sometimes it clears my writer’s block, or inspires me with new ideas. Sometimes it just gets me out of a murky thought pattern, and allows a different story in my mind. Rather than sitting in that stuck place, do something different. Like Emily did, be real with where your thoughts bring you. That is authenticity.

Emily I hope your creativity traveled back to you. I have a hunch that it has returned.