Enlighten Me, Hard to Label, The Write Life, Write Your Life, Writing Business, Writing life

My Niche is Life

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Someone asked me recently how I would categorize my blog.

This is important:

Niches MAKE a freelance writer’s career! 

I know this from the multiple webinars and classes I’ve attended given by successful freelance writers; writers who make enough to support themselves with their writing; writers who are well-known by editors and get major assignments for feature articles; writers who are paid to ghostwrite books for uber-busy CEO’s, who sell every essay they write for a nice amount; writers who…do I need to go on to convince you? Probably not.

So when asked that question, I began to mini-panic because even though the questioner is not a freelance writer and therefore doesn’t know all this, it’s still important for me AS a freelance writer AND a blogger to have a well-prepared sound byte.

Which I don’t have because I don’t have a niche for my blog.

As a writer, I like to write creative nonfiction pieces about spirituality, self-improvement, travel, and education. These are my passions. I love to write personal essays about those singular seconds in life that snap us awake like alarm clocks blaring in the predawn. Do you know these seconds?

The second you heard your newly born child or grandchild cry, or coo, or say your name.

The second you spotted your soulmate.

The second you got your first big career break.

The second you had your first loss.

The second you heard bad news from your doctor.

The second you shared your darkest secret with a friend and realized she would never judge you for it.

These are the seconds that change our lives and they fascinate me because in that tiny space of time, a pinpoint is poked in the fabric of the universe and light pours in like a laser tattooing a new synapse in the network of your brain. Nothing is ever the same…and it was just a second.

You could have ignored it, missed it. But you didn’t.

That’s what I love to write about. How do I collapse that into a sound byte?

So, when my questioner asked me to describe my blog, I said I like to blog about life, and insights, and enlightenment.

I wasn’t satisfied with the answer and I’ve been trying to edit, rewrite, and re-phrase for a week.

My blog is about those seconds that poke holes in our lives so our universe can expand.

How’s that?

Let me know what you think, so the next time someone asks, I’ll be able to answer with something that sounds at least an iota more writerly.

 

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Uncategorized

5 + 1 Amazing Things I learned at TEDx Hilliard

I learned 5 AMAZING Concepts at the Hilliard TEDx event on August 9, 2019:

  1. Social Media is like going on 50 First Dates. Not the movie, but actual first dates. Remember those? You kept your conversations to positive, superficial topics even though just that afternoon a colleague stole your biggest client which sent you down a deep, deep well of self-doubt! You wore Spanx under a dress that you bought at Saks 5th, because heaven-forbid anyone would discover you’re a REAL person.  Stefanie Jackson tells us in her refreshingly honest style how the never-ending first dates of social media are killing our FLOW! DO NOT MISS IT! Watch this TEDx talk AS SOON AS it’s posted online! (In 5 weeks.)
  2. Around-the-House Football is a thing! Maybe that wasn’t the big idea Brent Wise wanted me to come away with, but once you put your ideas out there, you no longer control them! What is around-the-house football? Instead of playing backyard football between the trees, young Brent and his friends incorporated the front AND backyard for their games which included over-the-roof passes and circular yardage. Get it? You don’t have to stick by any arbitrary rules of the game if they don’t fit your purpose. It’s just slightly possible I got stuck on the ‘around-the-house-football’ thing and missed the major point…you be the judge when you watch Brent Wise’s TEDx Hilliard talk online. It should be posted tomorrow next week in 5 weeks! 
  3. Data solves a lot of not-problems. Bill Balderaz listed a number of them: getting the make-up you ordered on-line quicker than driving to the store; finding website suggestions on your smartphone; seeing Facebook ads that fit the exact thing you were looking for next! These are fixes for not-problems, but Bill says the same data and algorithms can be used to predict and prevent urban blight, hunger all over the world, and the addiction crisis. How? you ask. Bill will tell you when you watch his TEDx talk …Statistics are showing that people want to see that now, but that 95% will wait the entire five weeks until it’s posted. 
  4. I should take an Improv Class! Again, that’s not the message that Mihaela Jekic was trying to send, but once your message is out there…  Mihaela’s message had more to do with using our humiliating experiences to transform ourselves into fearless critters who will try anything at least once. What does that have to do with Improv? Well, you’ll have to find out when Hilliard TEDx hits the web. And when will that be, you ask. IN ABOUT 5 WEEKS!
  5. Talent’s just another word for ‘work’. That’s what I learned from the youngest speaker on the TEDx stage, Elise Byard. That girl can sing! But beyond that…she can play piano while she’s singing! And beyond that…she can do both while remaining on tune, in rhythm, and error-free! And she says it’s because she doesn’t quit when it’s hard. Pshaw! She got ALL the talent, that’s all! You be the Idol Judge when you watch Elise on the TEDx Hilliard stage…when? IN FIVE MORE WEEKS! 

AND, (you should be hearing a drumroll) the PLUS ONE AMAZING THING I LEARNED AT TEDx HILLIARD:

Our math teachers lied to us!

Raj Shah’s talk on using video game principles to help children love math made me fall in love with math! If you want to know the secret lies that our math teachers told us…that’s right, you have to wait the requisite...5 weeks! 

Books

Great-Reads and Listens For The Weekend

Because why waste your time reading or listening to anything less than great?

Here’s one I’m reading now with a group of friends at the Columbus Center for Spiritual Living where I worship. I think you’d enjoy reading this book if you want to re-map your brain to lean toward happiness instead of negativity.

I’m not calling you negative…I’m just saying that we’re all predisposed for it. All of us! Even Pollyanna!

It’s a good read with a lot of solid commonsense ideas with scientific background…which many of us like to have so we can misquote it to our friends when we recommend that they read this book.

Remember, I am an Amazon Associate which means if you click and buy here…you’re helping a not-starving writer fund her addiction to blogging!

As far as the listening portion of this post goes…let’s stick with our theme of happiness, okay? And who’s the happiness guru-ess? That’s right, Gretchen Rubin!

I do not listen to Gretchen religiously, but I do think her podcast is light, filled with talk that spurs my own thinking about how I define happiness for myself, and entertaining.

Here’s a link to Gretchen’s podcast, but if you use a different platform for your podcasts, just put the name in that app to pull it up.

more

 

I won’t even claim to know anything about platforms and apps and all things technical that allow you to listen…very much like my inability to tell you how Netflix works…only that I push a button on my remote and I’m HAPPIER!!! Wanna know what I’m binge-watching this weekend?

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The Story of God with Morgan Freeman 

Enlighten Me

Reflections on Reflecting

Everyone’s reflecting right now. I attended my husband’s church with him this morning and heard several people reflect on 2018…what went right; what went wrong and how it played into their purpose, their dharma.

President Obama posted a list of things that had impacted him in 2018 on his Facebook account. You should check it out…it’s basically a list of nonfiction books that he read…movies he saw…songs he loved…which filled me with awe and wonder! How can the guy read that much and still have time to see movies and listen to music? If I had done all that reading, I’d never have had the time to play Words with Friends, Destination Solitaire and Fishdom!

As it is, I barely squeezed in my favorite podcasts, and forget about exercise…I abandoned walking 5 miles a day somewhere in muggy-forest of August.

Tomorrow night, I’ll attend a Burning Bowl ceremony at the Centers for Spiritual Living. It’ll be a ritual of reflection, letting go, ushering in. I like rituals like this one…it allows me to contemplate the insights gained over the last twelve months and the obstacles that need dismantled.

So, what are my BHI from 2018? (BTW, BHI stands for Big Hairy Insights…oh, and BTW stands for By The Way, as if you didn’t already know that one.)

BHI #1:

Miracles happen every day. REAL miracles. And they happen to REAL people like you, like me, like my husband. They happen because there’s a force bigger than us who listens when we pray on a thought. Ok…I call this force God, but that’s a trigger word for a lot of people. A lot of people believe in a creative being who set everything in motion but they don’t believe in a bearded, angry spirit who lives in the sky.

I don’t care what you call Her. I call Her God and She came through for my family BIG-TIME this year, in a number of REAL MIRACLES.

We have a GOD-team behind us who won’t leave us stranded on third base. 

BHI #2:

Love isn’t always kisses, heart-filled cards, red roses, and blindness. My biggest irritant in life is the guy who’s been by my side for 42 years. This year I realized when I almost lost him to a subdural hematoma that he really is the love of my life…even though, like I said earlier, he also keeps me in a state of constant irritation.

Love is the commitment we honor with another person through thick and thin, even when it isn’t pretty. 

BHI #3:

Manifesting Miracles doesn’t mean that The Sun or Creative NonFiction editors are going to contact ME and ask what inspirational essays I have stored on my computer. IF I want to get published again, I need to SUBMIT!

We are active participants in manifesting MIRACLES!  

BHI #4:

Honoring my boundaries means that I don’t say yes to something out of obligation, guilt, fear. If my heart isn’t filled with love, it isn’t the right thing for me to do.

Honoring my boundaries keeps me sane, kind, balanced, at peace. That means that I take all that good energy into the next thing I do with you…for you…because of you. And isn’t that better than sending more regret, resentment, bitterness out into the atmosphere?

Boundaries are wonderful things!

BHI #5:

There’s 3 Kinds of Business: Your Business, God’s Business, My Business. And if I’m in yours or God’s business, there’s nobody home to mind my own business. That’s lonely…and a little crazy because I can’t control you anyway, so minding your business is like running on a treadmill…it wears me out but gets me nowhere. ANd minding God’s business just fills me with anger and hopelessness because Her issues are way above my pay grade!

Minding my own business is my new mantra! 

BHI #6:

Traveling continues to teach me that my priorities can become really mixed up very quickly. In other countries, people are satisfied and HAPPY with so much less stuff than we think is absolutely necessary in this country. I come home from traveling and empty one more excess from my life. It’s cleansing, refreshing, exhilarating. The idea of keeping things I haven’t used for a decade because I might need it someday, is a little wacky. The thought that the brand of our cars, the size of our homes, the label on our shoes means anything is lunacy.

I HAVE enough. I AM enough. I DO enough. 

BHI #7:

Who do you remember from your life?

I bet you answered that with people from 2 categories: people who made you feel special and loved, and people who made you feel stupid and inadequate.

When there is fondness as the thought of a specific person crosses my mind, I know that that person is from category # 1…they add love to my life and therefore to the world. That’s the category I want to be in too.

There is nothing more important in life than how we treat other people. 

BHI #8: 

I love this quote from Winnie-the-Pooh. It’s been my favorite ‘insight’ for years!

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

BHI #9:

Plastic is everywhere…some of it is good and some of it isn’t. Single-use plastic isn’t…plastic in our cosmetic isn’t… plastic in our food isn’t…plastic in our oceans isn’t. A good life isn’t just about morals and legalities. It’s also about ethics. It’s been tough to refuse straws in restaurants when I love straws; to remember my reusable tote bags every time I walk into a store; to pay more (a lot more) for disposable utensils made of bamboo instead of plastic. But it’s the right thing to do for our future.

Being ethical isn’t always easy, but it’s always right. 

BHI #10:

I always want to be right. Always. I know it’s an ego thing and I should be over that by now, but I’m not. I admit that I have ego issues…I want to be right. And I don’t just want to know that I’m right; I want you to know it too. I know that everyone has this need to be right…we’re all part-ego, so it makes sense. But this year that realization hit me in the gut. I mean, I finally get it… my need to be right conflicts with your need to be right when we’re on different sides of an issue. Last evening I had dinner with a dear friend and learned that we disagree on a very prickly issue. I couldn’t believe it, actually. I felt myself digging in and then all of a sudden there was a flash of awareness…EGO! I love this friend, so do I dig in or let go? I let go…as soon as I did…she did also. We had a good discussion about the issue and it turns out…we’re both right to some degree. And to that degree that we’re both right, there’s a small pinpoint of resolution…I mean actual resolution to the decades-old argument. We stopped debating and began creating and it was an amazing feeling…energizing, inspiring.

EGO has created a rift in this country politically. We cling to our party-identity instead of prioritizing our relationships, our country, our fellow citizens and friends. THat’s ego. And the fact is…it’s stopping us from solving so much. Wayne Dyer said that EGO stands for Edging God Out. If you don’t like the ‘God’ thing, replace it with ‘GOOD’.

A world that works for everyone is a better goal than always being right. 

 

Those are my Big Hairy Insights from 2018. I want to hear yours. In sharing your thoughts, you are expanding your influence and helping us all build a better world…one that works for all of us.

Let us hear from you.

Movies

Are you a Cindy Lou or a Clark?

When it snows in December, I hear a song playing in my head…it’s on an endless loop.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go
Take a look at the five and ten, it’s glistening once again
With candy canes and silver lanes that glow
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Toys in every store
But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be
On your own front door
A pair of hop-a-long boots and a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of Barney and Ben
Dolls that’ll talk and will go for a walk
Is the hope of Janice and Jen
And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go
There’s a tree in the Grand Hotel, one in the park as well
It’s the sturdy kind that doesn’t mind the snow
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Soon the bells will start
And the thing that will make ’em ring is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Toys in every store
But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be
On your own front door
Sure it’s Christmas, once more
I’ve already begun my Christmas tradition of watching a different Christmas movie every evening, the multi-colored lights of our 30-year-old tree illuminating the near-dark living room. A mock-up of Scrooge’s small town graces the three-quarter wall around my kitchen, bookstores, candy stores, churches lit with a single small bulb. And of course, there’s Baby Jesus in his creche surrounded by shepherds, kings, and barnyard animals. Who would’ve imagined that guest list?
But there’s something in the way I think…and write…about Christmas that seems a little odd…or maybe not odd as much as not as ideal as I’d like.
Ideally, I want to be a bit more like Cindy Lou Who and a bit less like Clark Griswold, but did you notice that I started by describing the tree? the lights?
Sure, Clark gets to the point where he admits it’s more about being with family, sharing moments with those you love and less about light displays, presents, and perfect meals; but not until he drives himself a little mad.
What do I know for sure about the meaning of Christmas?
  • I know it isn’t about the presents, making sure everyone has the same amount and that you spent enough on each of them…it’s about giving the gift of time, love, laughter to the people you love.
  • I know it isn’t about the tree lights, the neighbor’s gorgeous light display, or the number of inflatables in your front yard; it’s about what shines from each of our hearts to illuminate the path of connection we share.
  • I know it isn’t about the perfect meal, getting everything to the table on time, baking until your back hurts; it’s about the communion that only happens around a dinner table.
And how do I behave to show that I know these things?
  • I keep meticulous records about how much I spend on each person so that no one is short-changed.
  • I make lists, check them twice, forget where I put them, make new lists, find the old ones, combine the lists, share the lists with someone who can help me remember what it is I forgot to put on the list, because God knows, if I forget to do something on that list, CHRISTMAS WILL BE RUINED!!!!
  • I plan meals, cocktails, desserts, snacks; finding recipes for home-made cranberry sauce, Christmas bread, new types of cookies that require hours of decorating, chilling, baking, or mixing.
  • I climb into the crawl-space to pull 100-pound Rubbermaid containers of decorations from their parking spots and spend three days putting everything out on display…even if the ground is too frozen to secure the Christmas dog and his reindeer friend.
AND FOLKS, THAT’S THE BEGINNING OF HOLIDAY STRESS
When your actions don’t follow the edicts of your authentic self, stress follows.
You’re out of alignment.
Ever drive a car that was out of alignment? It pulls you around. You fight the steering wheel to stay in your lane and sometimes, you bounce a lot. By the time you get to your destination, you’re too exhausted from the conflict to really enjoy yourself. And you’re dreading the drive home.
I wish upon the Christmas Star that I could say I’ve got it all figured out…that I’m always in alignment, living a stress-free life and enjoying every NOW that I have.
But see, chasing that would just add stress.
I’m only human after all. I’m not perfect.
I’m better than before, though.
This year, I’m not worried about the meals that I’m cooking. They WON’T be perfect, but they’ll be very good! And we’ll enjoy them all because we’ll be together…my entire family: parents, sisters, niece and nephews, children and grandchildren, husband and even Mika…and I KNOW she won’t be perfect either!
This year, there are several 100-pound Rubbermaid containers still parked in the crawl-space and the things that are out on display may actually stay out on display till Easter.
I’m enjoying THIS NOW.
And I’m sending my Christmas wishes to each and every one of you to enjoy your NOW too.
I’m claiming for you the laughter you so richly deserve; the connection of friends and family that will warm you for the rest of the year; the unconditional love that surpasses all understanding and stays in your heart forever and ever…longer than a DeBeer’s Diamond.
Merry Christmas Season Friends!
Enlighten Me, Hard to Label

Post-Thanksgiving Ramblings

There are a few events that have triggered some deep Thanksgiving reflections this year:

  • The 57th birthday party of a sweet woman who suffered a stroke 7 months ago and is now struggling to re-learn to talk, move, walk.
  • The memorial celebration for the 53-year-old music genius who gave in to her cancer on the last full moon.
  • The Parliament of World Religions discussion about the mistreatment of farm animals in the United States forcing me to really, really consider vegetarianism. (But I did eat turkey on Thanksgiving.)
  • A visit to see my Aunt and the uncle whose overachieving bladder cannot stop making tumors.
  • A visit with one of my cousins and her family.
  • 86-year-old Ruth who is an environmental warrior and an independent lady.
  • A text message that my brother-in-law had a massive stroke.

Maybe you’re waiting for me to tell you what they all have in common; what my ramblings and reflections have taught me about life. I’m sorry to disappoint, but I cannot. Not because you as the reader need to make sense of it all for yourself, though that might be true; not because I’m being coy, because I’m not even sure what that means having never been coy in my life!

No, I can’t tell you how they’re related because I don’t know. I have no clue.

That’s probably why I’ve been holding them in my heart. I like things to make sense and so much of life does not. I like organized thoughts and events to follow patterns, but my mind usually jumps from one topic to the next so that I have to make notes to stay on track and the steps I take to finish my to-do list are anything but sequential.

I keep reading and re-reading this list. What do they have in common? What does it mean? What lesson am I to be learning from these several events? I feel like there’s one piece of the 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle missing…THE PIECE that makes the picture come together.

I can tell you that I love my family. All of them…I have the best family in the world…from my grandkids to my parents; from my sisters to aunts; from my daughters to nieces and nephews. My cousins are truly, truly special people. I’m just so lucky to have all these great people in my life.

I can tell you that I love my life…except for winters in Ohio.

I can tell you that God is a real person in my life and I don’t talk to her nearly often enough.

I can tell you that I’m so flawed, and in spite of …maybe because of…the flaws, I sincerely like who I am.

I can tell you that the gratitude I talked about on Thanksgiving doesn’t end with that day. I’m grateful every day of my life…for everything I have in my life: health, family, friends, the ability to pay my bills.

And I can tell you that I still don’t know what triggered so much reflection this year. I still don’t know why these events impacted me so profoundly.

I can only tell you that they did.

That they helped me feel vulnerable, powerless, blessed.

That they triggered a loving response, prayer, and prayerful thoughts.

That they illuminated for me the careful layering of our emotions: the bedrock sadness, gratitude that constitutes more layers than any other single emotion, the grief, the too-generous portion of fear, inspiration to do better, motivation to do more, love, more sadness, and even more gratitude.

These are emotional reactions. They don’t give me a neat little quotation that will trigger the same emotional responses for you. Nothing I’ve written or thought of writing has helped me make sense of why my mind is stuck on these events specifically.

They are just a diorama of life, right? Miniature figurines in action before a construction paper background, sun, trees, grass, stick figures playing ball drawn in black crayon.

It’s just life. Nothing to make sense of; nothing to reason out; nothing to acquire.

Life in its complexity, simplicity, irony.

Maybe I don’t need to make sense of it. Maybe feeling this deeply was enough.

Maybe.

Enough.

 

 

 

Enlighten Me

F.E.A.R.

I don’t know why but the Edwin Starr song WAR is my current earworm…just began playing when I typed the title and I suppose you could interchange those two words:

FEAR, huh! What is it good for?

Absolutely Nothing!

Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet too…

Except, technically, that isn’t true. Fear is not evil, harmful, or bad in and of itself. It’s value-equal with joy, shame, happiness, guilt, anger, calm…and any other emotion we human beings experience.

The emotion itself is neutral.

Our reactions to the emotion are what can cause positive or negative consequences.

Fear can create reactions that keep us safe…like staying back from the edge of the Grand Canyon where there are more deaths from falling than you might think. (In 2012, the count was 685 with two or three deaths added each year.)

But if we let fear keep us from ever SEEING the Grand Canyon, then we’re letting it limit our lives.

I’ve been to the Grand Canyon once in my life…on my honeymoon. My crazy husband could, and did, lean out over the rim of the 6,000-foot drop and was lucky enough to NOT experience a dizzy spell, slip on loose gravel, get pulled off balance by a gust of wind, all of which have been reasons for GC deaths.

I never made it closer than 15 feet from the edge. I saw the brilliantly colored layers of rock glisten in the Arizona sun while remaining at a distance that kept my fear at bay.

Adrenal junkies may test their fear by hang-gliding off the edge or flying across it on a jet-packed motorcycle, but I feel fairly proud of myself for just getting out of the car.

In my life I’ve known a LOT of fear:

  • of flying, though now I fly three or four times a year
  • Of riding a motorcycle…before I married a Biker
  • Of public speaking…until I began facilitating presentations for my career
  • Of embarrassing myself…until I became aware that my embarrassments turned into fabulously funny stories that entertained friends and family and became some of the best essays I’ve written, one of which won a Thurber prize.
  • Of having surgery…until one saved my life
  • Of going to the dentist…until…okay, I’m still a little nervous about dentists, but I have found one who doesn’t terrorize me!

Once I told a friend that I was like Piglet in the Winnie the Pooh books; afraid of anything and everything. She said that made me one of the bravest people on earth.

Because I challenge myself to get uncomfortable, even through the fear. If you are never afraid, you don’t have the opportunity to be brave. Pooh told Christopher Robin:

You are smarter than you think,

stronger than you believe,

and braver than you feel.

I go back and forth on whether or not I believe her…or Winnie the Pooh, a bear of little brain, but most days, I choose to believe them both. And why not? To believe I’m brave gives me the ability to face my fears and do it anyway. If I believed that I am a coward, I’d act like I’m a coward and then fear would be the boss.

The Loving Wisdom of Molly Cameron

Last Sunday at the Columbus Center for Spiritual Living, Rev. Molly Cameron talked about fear. She talked about how limiting it can be when we allow it to push us around and she gave us a great acronym for fear that is the antidote to fear:

Feel

Everything

And

Release

 

Here’s how it happens according to Molly:

You don’t deny your feelings or shift them to the bottom of your to-do list. Feelings give us valuable information that we MUST pay attention to if we want to make effective and productive decisions. When we feel fear, there’s a reason. Don’t ignore that. Feel everything…even the negative emotions that can rain on a great parade.

Start with your head:

What do you think about this fear? Is it rational/irrational? Is it there as a caution light or a stop light? Am I feeling afraid because of the Grand Canyon or afraid of falling?

Move to your heart:

Is this true? Is there evidence this is true? What’s my heart saying? Do I want to see the Grand Canyon? Will I regret staying in the car?

Then to your soul:

What do I truly believe will be the highest vision for my life? What actions will be a lighthouse for others? How does this all fit into my purpose?

 

Release it to your higher power. By this point, the fear has dissipated; the rational part of your brain is back in charge.

You can decide to stay in your car if that’s what ration is telling you…as I said, I got out of the car but stayed back far enough from the rim that I could actually enjoy the vision of natural beauty that was in front of me without worrying about vertigo, a major gust of wind, or a bout of the ‘klutzies’.

A braver person might have walked to the edge.

I can only be as brave as me. I can’t be as brave as you.

 

Be Braver than you Feel…

If this is a topic that speaks to you, practice Molly’s process this week in the privacy of your own head, heart and soul.

When you feel afraid, ask yourself what your first thought was before the fear crawled up your spine. That thought will point you toward what you’re REALLY afraid of…and it probably isn’t the 6,000-foot ditch in the middle of America.

Tap into your heart’s wisdom. Is that something I really believe? Is there evidence for it? Will being close to the Grand Canyon cause me to absolutely fall? Will a great gust of wind? Vertigo? Slipping on loose gravel? Well, there’s evidence for those things. Will I regret missing the vision if I stay in the car? Yes.

Get in the spirit…what is it you believe is part of your purpose? What’s your highest vision for your life? I have a passion for travel, so to be in the parking lot of one of the Natural Wonders of the world and NOT get out of the car would go against the learning from experience that I believe is part of my purpose.

This fear was a caution light for me…and once I took precautions, I could enjoy the wonder this site had to offer.

I’ll never forget standing fifteen feet from the Grand Canyon; the oranges, reds, golds illuminating the space between the bottom and the soft blue of the Arizona sky. I’ll always remember the insights gained there as I stood mesmerized by a 6,000-foot ditch made by the power of water, a power I knew about from physical science classes and could now feel in the deepest part of my heart. Water, that keeps us alive, relaxes us with its rhythms and fascinates us in its flexibility; reflects back to us the images of heaven in diamond sparkles on its surface; holds us in its arms as we trust in the science of buoyancy.

That same water is one of the most powerful forces on earth.

Authentic power isn’t physical strength; it’s flexibility, adaptability, the art of influence and persuasion; it’s challenging the status quo of the shoreline gradually, gently without violence or hatred.

I doubt I would have seen all that from the car.