#MotivationMonday: Shameless Plug

Well hello! : ) Happy #MotivationMonday!

Today I would like to post something that I recently wrote for another blog this past weekend. One of my best friends has this crazy beautiful blog that does a Theme Week every month. This month’s theme was “Wander.” With my constant talk of wanting to break free and wanting to live on purpose, you can only imagine how appealing this was to me. So, if you would just click on this here link and head on over to The Duck and The Owl blog, you will find all I have to say about wandering : )

Here’s a little sneak peak:

———————————————————————————————————-

She thought Beanie Babies were going to save her life.

Swathed in a way-too-warm Christmas sweater, shoes tied via Bunny Ear Technique, equipped with a plastic bag slowly tearing from a surplus of Beanie Babies, Molly, circa 1996, had her eyes fixed on the front door. As she skated across the blue living room carpet and twisted the cold metal of the door handle, she turned her chin over her shoulder toward her family, sitting quietly in the living room.

“I’m running away,” she said with a tinge of poisonous adventure.

Before any words could fall out of the mouths of two veritably boiling and bewildered parents, Molly threw the doorm01

open and sailed across the threshold of home – the threshold of possibility – and into a wide-open world.

But seriously, you should go. —> http://theduckandtheowl.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/symbolic-fences-and-a-compass-heart/comment-page-1/#comment-1552

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#MotivationMonday: Abraham Maslow & Andrea Gibson!

Well hi : )

So, here’s the dealio. Tomorrow I have an installment of my project due that is going to end up being about 100 pages long. Being my not-sure-how-to-prioritize-my-life self, I have only 20 pages done… haha, oops : ) If that doesn’t say “senior in college,” I don’t know what does. Therefore, this #MotivationMonday post is going to have to be nuggetish. You can figure out what that means because I don’t know.

Much like last week, I’d like to share with you a quote that is often in the back, front, and middle of my mind. It goes like this:

“What a man can be, he must be.” –Abraham Maslow

Short and sweet. But the meaning is all of everything squeezed into a sentence. If we have the capacity and the means to be something, we must fight, grow, and learn until we ARE that something. Because if you’re not, who else will? My quiet thoughts ignite into screaming ideas when I think about that. It’s my responsibility to do something, whatever that something is, because I could do it. Personally, I want to write, inspire, and I want to help those who are homeless. That’s my mission, and if I don’t do it, I forfeit it to someone else who might not ever show up. If we all think “Oh, it’s alright, someone else will,” then nothing will ever change. Nothing will ever move.  Where would we be if Martin Luther King, Jr. decided he didn’t want to do something because someone else inevitably would?

Many times when that quote pops into my head, I think of something I once heard Andrea Gibson say at one of her shows. **Sidenote, Andrea Gibson is a wonderful, wonderful poet. You should really check out her stuff. She’s incredible with words. I write poetry, too, as you know, and her material ALWAYS inspires me to choose fresh words and images. You can find her Twitter here and her beautiful website here : )**

I sat in a plastic chair in an open room with high ceilings and next to no lighting, save for the spotlight on Andrea, absorbed in what she had just told us. What she had just told me. She said, in her renowned valorous way, that those with a voice need to speak for those who do not have a voice. I thought about that for a long time.

This is how I see it: if an oppressed person stands up, it is heart-catching; if a person who has no affiliation with that opressed person stands up, it’s heart-catching too, but also full of a different kind of power. It demonstrates a need for external eyes and hands– a need for change. When people not directly involved with an issue begin to see its dangers, it’s unquestionable that the issue is quite serious. Relatedly, those who are not in a vulnerable position need to stand up for those in vulnerable positions. It seems so backwards that a person who is already unsafe must sacrifice their safety to initiate any kind of change. They need someone who is in a safe spot to reach out and speak out for them.

If you can, you must.

If you can be something, go be it. Whether that means speaking up for someone or trying to make it into the NBA.  Why spend your life wondering what you could’ve accomplished? Why spend your life dreaming of the smiles that you could’ve given to people? The world needs YOU. It needs your thoughts, your opinions, your words, your actions. It needs your love. Your strength. Your spirit. Your message. This very day thirsts for your dreams, because it can’t survive without them. Tomorrow can’t advance, improve, shine without them.

The world is waiting for you. If you can be something, be it. You must.

Who else will?

#MotivationMonday: Mary Oliver & Her Two Lines

Hi : )

Alright, y’all, I’m failing at this #MotivationMonday biz.

These posts are supposed to be published so that you guys (and so I) can be inspired to take hold of Mondays and squeeze all the potential out of them. This is definitely going to be published by 12:15 a.m.-ish on Tuesday. Woops.

Well, anyway, this post is going to be really short, because I want to share the poem that slides across the marquee of my mind day in and day out.  Nearly every hour of every day, the last two lines of this poem run through my thoughts– am I really doing what I want to be doing at this very moment? Is what I’m doing honoring the one wild and precious life I’ve been blessed with?  Read away, friends:

The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Since I first read this poem, I’ve carried it in my pocket. It’s never not with me. I love that other people’s words can do that. If only Mary knew that her words have made many of my decisions for me. Like she does in the poem, I marvel at life– at its complexity and diversity. As I soak in the beauty of the natural world, the unthinkable achievements of men and women, and the bottomless well of possibilities the world offers, I can only fall down in the grass and feel blessed. Haven’t you ever been there– feeling so overwhelmed by the warmth of life and spending time doing nothing but draping that warmth around you in peaceful silence?

That deep, peaceful contemplation throws me into forward motion. I have this one life. It IS wild and it IS precious. How is it I sit here and accept “normality” or anything “realistic?” How is it I have accepted to be average– to leave the waters undisturbed?

Thank you, Mary Oliver. Because of you, I am motivated. Because of you, I can’t look at a Monday, or any day for that matter, as anything less than extraordinary.

If you have any poems that do something like this for you, PLEASE share them below! : ) I’m always looking for inspiration, and I love to hear all about your stories!

#MotivationMonday: The Giving Keys!

Friends! Happy #MotivationMonday! ♥

Today I’m going to share with you another organization I hold closely to my heart.

As you’ve probably read about several times in my posts (or, if you’re new, WELCOME, GOOD PEOPLE! 🙂 ), my passion lies in helping those who are in need–particularly people who are homeless. Some of the most interesting and lively people I’ve met have been homeless. Truly, my biggest calling in life is to help lift up those who need a hand. I long to learn from them– to have them teach me more about the human heart. I hope they tug at your own heartstrings from time to time, too. After all, if we’re not here for others, what are we here for?

I had a riveting conversation last night– the kind where thick words fill your thoughts and flood out of your mouth in torrents– about helping people who are homeless. We spoke so delicately of the humans inside what most perceive to be a hopeless shell of person. We spoke so vociferously about how they need more than people’s money and clothes (though, those are surely needed, too); they need belief.

These people need belief in themselves. So many I’ve talked to mentioned the estrangement they’ve experienced from families, living each and every day of their lives on the streets, failing at everything they try. They need to believe that they can turn their lives around. But who is going to give them that opportunity?

I feel that it’s my responsiblity to believe in these people, to lift them up, and to show them that life is beautiful when we harness the  creative and compassionate energies of other people.

The creative energy between even just two people is astounding; I find it both heartbreaking and startling that so many are blind to the power of collaboration. The things we can do alone are incredible. The things we can do together are boundless and inexhaustible. Just put two people together in one room who are on fire about the same thing  and see what happens. I truly believe if I, or any single person, could collaborate with people who shared the seemingly lofty dream of getting every single person off the streets, it would be possible.

I don’t think that’s unrealistic. I don’t think that’s impossible. I think it’s something that the general public isn’t very concerned with; thus, it isn’t a problem that is frequently approached with enthusiasm or any kind of solution.

Except for one majestic organization.

Without further ado, I introduce the organization that embodies everything I’ve mentioned thus far: powerful collaboration, creative energy, belief in people, high expectations, and the opportunity for people to succeed–

THE GIVING KEYS!

I LOVE THESE PEOPLE AND THIS ORGANIZATION. I love what they do. You need to look at their gorgeous website. Follow them on Twitter. On Facebook.They employ people who are homeless to transition them out of homelessness. AKA: they BELIEVE in these people. They give them a second chance. I can’t imagine anything more beautiful than that. What a breathtaking concept. I’ve had my giving key for a while now,  and it’s hard to think of myself with out it; but that’s the catch– you have to give it away at some point (hence “giving” key). You give it to someone that you think needs the message on the key. Talk about spreading inspiration, motivation, and positivity! I would love to get involved with these courageous philanthropists.

SO. Look at how cute their jewelry is! It’s for guys, too, actually. You get them custom-made and there are a billion options. And, it’s for a wonderful, marvelous, magnificent cause.

People always ask me about my key. At least once a week. And it’s my favorite motivation to share.

This one is mine 🙂 Not very good quality in the picture, but you get the point.

photo

BELIEVE IN PEOPLE. Be CREATIVE in solving the problems you want to solve in the world. Most of all, keep the attitude that you can change lives in the forefront of your thoughts. You can.

#MotivationMonday: Steve Jobs, Ashton Kutcher, and Brian Preston!

Here we are again, friends! 🙂 Happy #MotivationMonday!

So, I’m working on a project for a class that will end up being anywhere from 150-200 pages long. I have a big installment of it due tomorrow, and I am definitely going to be up til wee hours of the night trying to finish it. Actually, I probably won’t sleep at all. But hey, gotta do whatcha gotta do. Anyway, doing this project has really opened up my eyes in the past month and a half. The amount of work that has gone into this beast has been overwhelming. I have had days in which I have broken down crying, telling myself “I really don’t think I can do this.”

But then, something keeps me moving: the idea of where I’m going when it’s finished. Like any obstacle in life, we can choose to see it as a wall, blocking us from where we want to go, or we can see it like monkeybars. I’m looking at this like monkeybars over hot lava. I can’t let go or give up, because, well, hot lava wouldn’t feel very good, but also because I have a clear destination I’m trying to reach. I am hanging in the middle of the structure, white-knuckling the bar, staring at the end where I can finally let go of the bars and stand on solid ground again. It would take just as much effort for me to turn around and go back to where I started as it would to simply keep going and finish, so I might as well keep pushing forward. And there’s no way I’m touching that lava. I HAVE TO get through this. I WILL. I have too many things to accomplish– too many people to lift up– to stop now.

SO! I’m going to share with you a few things that have inspired me recently. They’re all short videos that I beg you to watch. I need to be reminded sometimes that it’s okay to think differently, to be smart and thoughtful instead of skating by, and to stick with what matters to me. I hope you’ll feel the motivation I felt when you watch these.

  • Firstly, I’d like to start off with a video that I’m sure you’ve seen before. It’s one of my favorite, quick videos I use to get inspired. It’s Ashton Kutcher (or should I say, Chris?) giving a very moving 4-minute speech about what is really important in life. I specifically like it because it’s delivered to kids– the future of our world.

  • Secondly, I’d like to share my all-time favorite, 1-minute commercial by Apple. I get chills each and every time I watch this.  As you know, I consider myself a dreamer. I don’t like to think like other people (and that often gets in my way). I have my sights set on changing the world from a background stance. I want to lift people up. I want to inspire happiness. I want to bring about movement. I want to change minds. I want to honor my existence by USING it instead of skating by through life. Most people think I’m crazy. I used to dislike explaining myself simply because of the blank stares/discouragement I often received. People generally dislike what they don’t understand; it’s not a super common thing for someone to have “world-changing” ambition– it makes some people uncomfortable. But, you’re always going to have that when you challenge the status quo. It hurts, but you’re probably doing something right if you’re being faced with foundationless opposition. So, I’ve decided over the last year that I like to hear when people think I’m crazy. I like when people think I’m absolutely off my rocker. That’s when I feel like I’m doing something right.  Without further ado…HERE’S TO THE CRAZY ONES.

  • Thirdly, just because it’s another favorite 4-minute video of mine, I’d like you guys to listen to this little bit of a Steve Jobs speech. He is so incredible with thoughts and words. “Death is very likely the single best invention of life; it’s life’s change agent… your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life… stay hungry, stay foolish.”

  • AND FINALLY. This man followed me after last week’s #MotivationMonday. His name is Brian Preston, and he has a Twitter! He was featured on this TED talk and has a really cool business called Lamon Luther which he started. (It also has a Twitter!) Their slogan is “Hope for the Craftsman,” which is quite fitting as it supports homeless carpenters in their work. It is so hard for carpenters to make it in this economy. They need jobs and opportunities. He quit his stable job to start a business in which he hired men who were homeless and living in the woods to build things for people, and worked with them until they could live in a home. I can only imagine how hard it was to dedicate his life to this cause, because we live in such a mass production, “I-Need-This-Now” society. I think it’s absolutely beautiful that he believes in something so much and wants to give a select group of dreamers a chance to fulfill their dreams. Check out the website (with this really touching video) and show the man some support! He was called to his mission in life, and he went for it. That, in and of itself, motivates me. His work ethic and belief in possibilities should be admired by everyone!

So, friends, think different. Be unreasonable. Be unrealistic. Be crazy. Be a gamechanger.

#MotivationMonday : Adam Braun and Pencils of Promise

HAPPY #MOTIVATIONMONDAY : )

For today’s motivation, I wanted to share the organization that I am personally really passionate about. Being that I am studying to become a teacher, it might not come as a surprise to you that the organization I care most about has to do with– you guessed it– education!

Ever heard of Pencils of Promise?

If you said yes, then hello and let’s be friends forever. If you said no, I still want to be your friend forever, but be prepared for a quick education about education : ) It’s definitely an organization I would love to be directly involved with!

Quick Sweet Fact: One of the coolest stories from this organization, in my opinion, comes from how the organization was founded. Adam was walking in a developing country and ran into a boy who was begging on the street. He asked the boy what he would ask for if he could have anything in the world, to which the boy replied “a pencil.” What a simple request with such huge implications. Thus, five years ago he gave up everything, invested just $25 in his organization, and has since built over 150 schools in developing countries. How. Incredible.

This video is 1.5 minutes dedicated to telling you exactly what it is that PoP does:

This video is about 2 minutes. There isn’t much said, and it isn’t the most moving video they have, but what you get to see are the conditions some students are forced to learn in; there are classrooms under trees outside. I think you can only imagine what that might be like if the weather didn’t comply. Not to mention that, in this technology-driven world, many students don’t have access to even one computer. Check it out:

The Pencils of Promise YouTube channel has tons more videos if you want to find some other goodies : ) I challenge you guys to go to the PoP website and learn more. There are options for everyone to get involved, including everything from direct donations, to ordering a T-shirt, to becoming an intern. They even have a Twitter! The point is, they’re super accessible and I want to urge you guys to at least check them out. I believe everyone deserves a school to learn in. No one should have to sit outside or in a lousy, falling-apart building each and every day. Every child should have a pencil. Every child should be given the key to a future–education.

OKAY STOP FOR A SECOND. If you’re feeling like, “Hey, you blogger person, I was hoping for a TED talk or something,” which you might be, I’d like to accommodate for you. So, did I mention that this is one of my hero’s organization? And that his brother is my other hero? If you remember me mentioning Adam or Scooter Braun in any one of my earlier posts, this is Adam’s organization. Please ready yourself to meet one of the most inspirational, driven, and kind people I know of. Just listen to the endless amount of wisdom and drive in this man’s voice and TELL me you don’t want to drop everything at this very moment and go conquer the world.

Make it count, folks. Til next time!

I LOVE MONDAYS (not a joke)

HI 🙂

I’ve decided to try something new. Fresh. I want to do it each Monday.

And I might accidentally forget about it, but I solemnly swear I will try to do good. (Grammar and Harry Potter references clearly aren’t meshing well for me today).

DRUM ROLL PLEEEASE… I call it:

#MotivationMondays

I will be posting something that inspires me every Monday, because you know what?

I LOVE MONDAYS.

Yep, I said it– I. LOVE. MONDAYS. Yes, I’m usually exhausted, jello-legged, and holding a gallon of strong coffee, but what is more exciting than a fresh start? A new week full of possibilities? So, without further ado, I give to you Scott Harrison and his #PassionProject to bring clean water to communities without such a basic need. He’s great. He’s so determined and humanistic and all that good stuff.

Go forth and burn with a desire to change the world, friends. But don’t actually burn.