One Year Wordiversary

My notifications have dutifully notified me that two days ago marked my one year anniversary with WordPress. Upon reflecting, I’ve decided this blog was exactly what I needed over the past year. It was the most challenging school year I’ve faced thus far, and writing was one of the only things which secured my sanity– the other being music.

My #MotivationMondays successfully distracted me from doing what I was supposed to be doing during the school year. Though they caused more procrastination than I’d care to admit (seeing as many of my deadlines fell on Tuesdays), I don’t believe anything else could’ve, ironically, kept me more focused. In the future, I will probably drop the #MotivationMonday title, and just write about all the wonderful organizations that exist. 

So, thank you, WordPress. I had no idea what would come of aimlessly creating a blog and writing to an invisible audience, but it has been a perfect tool to help me grow. 

That being said, here’s what’s up with me in a list so I don’t ramble (let’s be real here: I probably will anyway):

1) I have become OBSESSED with slam poetry/spoken word/good rap. I’ve written a few pieces of my own, and I would absolutely love to perform them somewhere. I actually think that might be on my bucketlist from many posts ago.

2) Oh, hey, I graduated college. Woohoo! And I finished student teaching. Both were incredible experiences which tossed me into the ring without any preparation. I’ve never grown so much in my life. I am so grateful for the people who pushed and supported me.

3) I don’t really know exactly what to do from here on out. I would love to write for organizations (for example, Pencils of Promise, Charity : water, Invisible Children, DoSomething.org, etc.). I would also love to perform slam poetry. Or be an author, for that matter! I’d love to get involved with Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or a Mission House in my area. Or become a wizard. I’d like to put my degree to use and teach in other countries. I’m applying to all of these things, so hopefully I will have some good news to report in the near future. My life could take about 100 different directions at this point. Exciting and terrifying all at once!

Alright, I think that’s a decent update. Til next time, folks! Stay gold. 

 

#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: Zach Sobiech

What’s up guys?! : )

Happy #MotivationMonday! I hope you are all feeling extra inspired today. I know I am. Let me share with you something that has been keeping me motivated over the past few days.

Biggest Inspiration on the Planet Award goes to: Zach Sobiech

I was supposed to be doing homework this past Wednesday when I came across a video a friend posted on Facebook.  Now, I usually consider myself a pretty positive person, but after learning about Zach Sobiech, I realized I had been just scratching the surface of positivity. His story is so moving. I know this video is 20 minutes long, but you NEED TO watch it. I seriously believe everyone in the world should be forced to sit in a chair and watch it. I’m not even going to say anything else until after the video.

Okay, so I know some of you guys didn’t watch that. I’m giving you a second chance.

If you still didn’t, I encourage you to keep it in the back of your mind and watch it at some point. Seriously. I am so inspired to live life like Zach. No matter what is going on, he has a smile on his face. He’s always looking for the bright side in every situation, person, and struggle. I want to fight like he does to make every day memorable and full of warmth.

The most important thing a person can do is take each situation as a learning experience, and that’s exactly what Zach and his family did; not once did the family view his situation as a setback. At least in the video, it’s easy to see that they used the situation as a way to learn to be more alive. To love more. To do more.

You can do whatever you want in this life– anything you set your mind to. (It’s a cliche concept, but I think it’s important to remember that cliches are cliches because they hold so much truth.) As Zach says it, “You don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living.”  The ignorance of death is just an excuse people use to stay stagnant. I don’t think we should necessarily think about death every day, but the most important thing we can do with our time on this Earth is remember that it is limited. Not only is it limited, but it is ephemeral. Our lives are momentary. Truly, in the history and future of life on this planet, our little lives are but a moment– a tick mark on an endless timeline. And yet, we have the opportunity to move the human race forward with the voice we’ve been given. We have the opportunity to change even one other person’s life, whether that is a parent, a friend, or someone in serious need. That’s incredible.

There are too many things to be done, too many people to help, too many things to learn, too many adventures to go on for you to pretend like you’re going to live forever.

Because you’re not. Zach thought he was going to go to college; he had things all planned out. Everyone has things planned out, and that’s perfectly normal. We just need to make sure they’re the right plans. If you were going to be told that you had cancer tomorrow, what would change about the way you woke up in the morning? What would change about the way you answered the phone? What would change about the dreams you haven’t chased?

Everyone needs to smile like Zach. Everyone needs to love like Zach. Everyone needs to create, inspire, and relate like Zach. People would be so much more peaceful if they took a lesson or two from his beautiful life. This all sounds a little too serious for my liking, but the message Zach’s life sent to the world is that we do need to take life seriously. If we don’t, the lost opportunities to speak, move, and listen will build up and fall away before we can grasp them.

TAKE those opportunities. Take chances. Learn to see the positive in everything. Because it’s there, and it’s waiting for you to find it.

You can donate to Zach’s Children’s Cancer fund here. You can follow the Twitter account for his cancer fund here. And you can also follow the Twitter account for Child Cancer Research Fund here. Everything you do helps!

Life is too short to wait !!!

#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

#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!