#MotivationMonday: Failures (well that’s contradictory)

Well hi!

The past two weeks have been a toughie. Do you ever have weeks where you just make mistake after mistake after mistake?

That’s been my life. I feel like people who’ve interacted with me over the last 14 days are like:

And they have the right to be. Right down to the little things like forgetting my keys and putting my shoes on the wrong feet (not joking), my world has been a hubblejubblesnorfblatasdfghjkl;. Know what I mean?

So, usually, I take a nap. Dreaming tends to be the perfect escape from pesky failures. But after I wake up from that somber slumber, it’s Go Time. I don’t have all the time in the world to pout over the things I’ve done wrong– there are too many other things to be done.

I have this thing called an “eternal perspective.” It’s partially faith-based and partially a simple reminder. This moment– whatever you’re thinking, whatever emotional tirade or peak of happiness you may be on, wherever you are– is not the end-all. For some people, that’s the best news in the world, and for others, it’s a bit disheartening. I think that’s why we don’t think about it often and why we seem to be rendered speechless when a moment (defined as any amount of time in one’s life) ends.

An eternal perspective essentially means that I know this isn’t what matters. Each day certainly counts toward the end of our lives, but rarely do moments define it. I say “rarely” because many moments will define our work in the end, but not every moment. Truthfully, will my failure today define me at the end of my life? No. In five years, even? Probably not. Are they disappointing and demoralizing? Of course. Here’s the secret, though:

To clarify, I’m not anywhere near the “Win” trophy yet; but, I believe I’m on my way. Every single failure is a springboard to a better version of ourselves. When you fall flat on your face, nose scraping the concrete, you don’t want it to happen again. So it doesn’t. You grow. Your skin gets thicker. “Mistakes” are actually incredibly necessary if you ever want to succeed. No one has ever become successful without first failing.  They shouldn’t even be called”mistakes”or “failures”– they should be called opportunities. We shouldn’t be afraid of them. Think about it– if you never accept a failure as an end-all, arguably, you HAVE to succeed at some point.

So chin up, because we all suck sometimes. It’s the only way to get to where you want to be. Remember to keep a perspective; right now will affect later, but it likely won’t define it (unless you let it… don’t!).

If you need me, I’ll probably be making 30 copies of a 17-page project with the pages in the wrong order (also not joking).

 

81 Days Later

I’m not really sure what to tell you guys.

As some of you (may) have noticed, I’ve been gone for several months.  Each passing Monday I think about my #MotivationMondays and how much I miss writing them. Every single Monday. That’s like 11 Mondays. But anyway, the truth is, I haven’t been feeling like I’m qualified to write them. I don’t want to be hypocritical.

I’m in an unstable place in my life. Who isn’t at some point? I’ve just needed some time to collect myself. For anyone out there who may read my posts, and for anyone who may care, I will be back. I’ve started to feel the fight in me making its way back into my heart.

I guess I’ll just share with you something I wrote somewhat recently that explains everything/nothing:

I have a thirst

to run

far and fast and free

so wildly

that even I can’t

catch myself–

.

or perhaps

that is why I’m running.

#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: 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.

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.

It Runs in my Blood

I discovered a lot of things a few weeks ago.

I’m really into history– especially my family history.  Luckily for me, my ancestors began a journal in the 1800’s, so people like me would be able to read about what they did and why.  I’ve always known about it, and I’ve read parts of it here and there, but it was never real to me until a few weeks ago when some of my family decided to go visit the house my ancestors lived in. These particular ancestors immigrated from Scotland to America in the mid-1700’s; they were the first known people in our family to make the trek to the Land of the Free.

The journal (and other articles unrelated to the journal) told me that these people, particularly a man named James, were most prominently associated with the development of a city around where I live.  The house they lived in was a well-known mansion in its time, and now stands as one of the city’s historical landmarks. Walking into the house, still mostly preserved, was as surreal as it gets. At least for me. I might’ve been the only one who was truly mesmerized– I’m not really sure. I’m spacey and imagination-prone like that.

Maybe this will explain what I mean. What do you see when you look at this picture?

Blair House Tour 090

You might see a window and its lock. That’s certainly the last thing I saw.

Upon seeing this window lock, I immediately began spiraling into a world of long-gone-days and what-if’s. A vivid movie reel began turning in my imagination: James’ thumb turning the latch to lock the window each night, knowing exactly how he had to jimmy it to get it to cooperate. His ensuing thoughts that came with looking out the window into the city he helped create. I thought of Anna, a later ancestor, in one of her big, elaborate dresses with her fingertips brushing the frame of the window as she held a candle in one hand. (I’d like to imagine that she was walking around reading Jane Austen, contemplating her influence and individuality as a woman and human being). I stood there in shock; I was touching the beginnings of my own life. Every decision those people made led to my existence– to my own genetic makeup. Did one of them have a wild imagination like me? Maybe one of them loved music like I do.

One thing is for sure: my ancestors were dreamers.

That, we do have in common. In this single moment with the window lock, I suddenly felt ashamed for my recent withdrawal from writing or pursuing my dreams. My ancestors had nothing. They picked up, one by one, and left their home in Scotland. With no iMessage, FaceTime, Skype, or email, they left. They said goodbye to those they loved and started from the bottom up. They began a city. They created the first bank in that city. They did what they could to contribute to their time, and they triumphed. Some of my later ancestors began the paper that still is still printed in the city, which was taken over and run by a woman in the family. (In her time, that was quite the accomplishment).

“So what am I doing?” I thought. I felt the ghosts of them looking out the window with me– looking down the hill at their lifetime of work. What is stopping me from chasing possibilities? It runs in my blood. I’m ready to take off sprinting, to not look back, to start fresh, to live with no promises, to add my stitch to the tapestry of history.  I want to feel the fire in my veins when I make a brash decision to do the unexpected. I want to look at my creations and see that I made them not because I could, but because I couldn’t stop myself. I want to stand with my ancestors as people who not only imagined, but also DID.

I carry the dreamer gene. What an absolute shame it would be if I continued in my just-exist lifestyle. It’s time to tear off the thick layers of fear and failure. It’s time to be better. It’s time to do better.