Monday, December 28, 2015

My Girl-ifesto.

As the new year approaches, I decided I should have one. You can call it a mission or vision statement, a business plan, or a mantra for life, but I like having a Girl-ifesto. I think it sounds feisty. And I am feeling a bit feisty these days. 

My Girlifesto 
Speak your mind. 
Tell your story. 
Sing out loud. 
Own your quirks. 
Laugh at yourself. 
Laugh, period. 
Cry, too. 
Be curious. 
Be furious. 
Have fun. 
Break the rules. 
Make things. 
Go places. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


just future resentments. (Something I read recently.)

This is a mind-blowing concept to me, but I get it. I get why it’s bad to have expectations. It’s really about living in the present moment. When I have an expectation, I am living in the future. My mind has orchestrated a future that is likely not to play out exactly as I expect (or often, not even close). I can honestly say I have done this a million times. I play out scenarios in my head about how something will go. And then I am disappointed or angry when what I imagined would happen, doesn’t. And not only that, what does happen Is fairly lackluster in comparison to my grandiose ideas. And then I resent someone or something that has not lived up to my…you guessed it. EXPECTATIONS.

And resentment is just anger and disappointment that I hang onto and allow to play out over and over in my noisy head, and that is living in the past – in a nutshell. 

Accepting what IS, as it plays out, in the present moment, is the key to happiness, peace, and contentment. 

This is a difficult one for me, and I’m guessing I’m not alone. I mean, isn’t it good to get excited and to anticipate future events? I am guessing that there may be a difference between some healthy excitement and anticipation, and a detailed internal script about how I expect events to unfold. And what about the past? Aren't memories of good times a good thing? They may make us feel nostalgic and warm and fuzzy, but if we are back there -- in the past -- we are not here -- in the now. Which is where we live. And according to the experts, if we aren't paying attention in the now, then we end up missing the point.

So, today, I release my expectations (most of them), and let go of my resentments (some of them) --  take a deep breath, and look around. I am here and now. Always. Well, not always, just until I die. But that’s enough. 

“If you don’t know where you want to be in five years, you’re already there.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

That statement literally changed the trajectory of the past year for me, inviting me to almost immediate action. I’ve been following Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love fame on Facebook for awhile now. I confess, I have not read her famous book. I found the premise of being able to quit one’s job and go on a worldwide soul search more than a little bit unrealistic for me and my circle of friends. Still. I have found that I love her daily insights into finding oneself and living the life you truly want.

Being a writer, she believes in the power of writing down your dreams and plans, and I have to agree. Putting words on paper takes more than ink. It takes thought, energy and commitment. It takes honesty. Admission. So she recommended that you write down the answer(s) to where you want to be in five years. And she went further in suggesting that if you don’t give any thought to the future, you’re likely not going anywhere. And if you are perfectly content exactly where you are, then that’s fine.

She prompted readers with some basic questions -- what do you want your health to be like? Where do you want to be living? Where do you want to be working? How much money will you need, to make your dreams happen? She believes that just declaring these things shakes up the Universe and starts the ball rolling. I wanted to believe this too.

She also posed this question, which for me, was the catalyst:

What are you willing to give up, to have what you really want?

Wait. I have to give something up,? Can’t I just write down my list of wishes, like a childhood Christmas list, and then go to sleep and await their arrival?

But for me, that was the pivotal question. My list of five-year goals included the usual -- more money, more travel, a thriving art business, and a regular daily exercise program, to name a short but lofty list. But another “want” crept into my head. In five years, I wanted to be five years’ sober. And there it was. I admitted it. Of course, I’m sure I was drinking my third glass of chardonnay at the time, but it was a start. Way down deep in my gut, I knew the truth – that none of the other things that I wanted would ever be possible without giving up the thing that had become most important to me. Drinking.

This may sound melodramatic to anyone without a drinking problem, but it takes a lot of energy, creativity and time to have a deep, long-term relationship with alcohol.

But like many long-term relationships, this one had long ago ceased giving me what it had promised in the beginning. And I was ready. Right after I finished that last glass of chardonnay.

Monday, December 21, 2015

One word - 2016

Since 2008, I have been declaring my one-word resolution for the coming year, instead of making a list so specific it was bound to fail. I enjoy the ritual, and I do find it helps to remind me during the year of what’s important to me, even if I am not outlining a specific plan. It’s also much easier to delude oneself into believing one has not failed, am I right?

Don’t get me wrong. Words matter. I have always believed in the power of the written or spoken word, but I am taking this ritual a bit less seriously this year. Still, I hope it serves me well – or better yet, that I do it justice.

So my word for 2016 is... CREATE. 

Now, this word has obvious meaning for artists, but as always, I like it when a word has the ability to work its magic in any number of areas of my life, and this one is wide open with potential. 

So there it is. In 2016, I hope to create ______________!

(And just to re-cap…I do this part more for my own reference than anything else…my chosen words, from 2008 to 2015: Health. Wealth. Believe. Authentic. Power. Discipline. Love. Persistence.)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Merry Christmas...

and good will to all. We certainly need it these days. Wishing you all a happy holiday season.

I have several blog posts in draft stages, and I plan to publish more consistently in 2016. I am so grateful for those of you who visit, and for your kind words after my last announcement. It's been three months, two weeks, and five days since I took my last drink. I have much to say on the subject, but not just yet.