Sparkle as only you can

Day 18

The sun is shining bright today, making the front yard look like a fairy wonderland. It’s a welcome sight after so much gloomy weather. The cold is tolerable when it’s beautiful outside.

This was my first thought as I prepared to write.

Then I got lost in Facebook. One thing always leads to another, and I found a short video on Goalcast about Lady Gaga, focusing on how she believed in her dreams, pushed forward and achieved what she knew was possible: the best version of herself.

It also talked about how she was bullied as a child and teen.

This made me unbelievably angry. I started thinking about how our culture is based on meanness and cutthroat competition, setting up winners and losers and making it possible to achieve only at the expense of others.

We talk about the importance of collaboration, but that is not being modeled, especially not now at this point in history. Too many bosses are bullies; too many people who are bullied become bullies themselves.

It’s not enough to win. For some there had to be the added factors of shame and humiliation. This isn’t strength. Doing this to others is a sign of supreme weakness masquerading as power.

“We can’t all be winners,” some say. Why not??? We can all win at something. We can all shine in our own way.

My friend, Amy, is always about kindness, and I think she’s right. Simply being kind is a start. It would make so much difference.

Let’s start asking ourselves before we speak, before we act: What is the kindest thing we can say here? What is the kindest thing we can do?

Even the hard stuff can be done kindly.


Cat in the … Way

Day 17

Feeling under the weather on this 17th day of my 30-day personal posting challenge, so for today is simply a jazzed up photo of one of my cats, Wren — otherwise known as James Franco Kitty.

Here she’s lying on my journal and day planner — pretty much being in the way of my attempts to organize to get things done in spite of feeling icky. She mostly succeeded.

‘Natural genius’

Day 16

On the Friday Writers Oasis call, Jennifer Louden described “natural genius” as akin to “puppy-like optimism,” what you are doing when “life flows most easily through you.” That is your natural genius.

It was the perfect question, because I knew the answer immediately. Rather, I felt it in my body. It’s when I am in the midst of writers writing – or writers exchanging ideas about writing – and even more specifically, prison writers writing and learning and sharing around writing. There’s joy as I am privileged to witness the aha moments, when writers discover (or rediscover) their “enoughness,” as Jen calls it, which builds their confidence as writers.

Writing has always been for me a tool for self-discovery as well as a means to connect others and connect with others. Providing radical hospitality and holding a space for that to happen – where people are welcome, just as they are – is when I feel the most delight, the most “at home” in myself.

“In what ways do you mess with that flow?” Jen asked as one of her writing prompts on the call. I knew the answer to this one immediately, too. It’s by questioning, by doubting.

“Is this really it?” I think to myself. “Is it enough?”

This is it, and it is enough. I know it intuitively; I even know it physically. But still I question, not trusting this simple truth. As though something simple cannot possibly be enough.

But this time, in the stillness of listening to Jen’s voice, I felt my truth in a way I never have before: in my gut, my heart, my bones; in my soul.

The question is: Will this inner knowing make a difference in how I now move forward as a human being and a “human doing” in the world? How can I hone this natural genius – believe it, trust it, prioritize it?

This is what’s on my mind today.



Anonymous by choice

Day 15

I found this quote earlier today and used it to make a meme in Canva. It’s really just from a template, so I feel like I’ve cheated even more than in PicsArt, but done is done.

I also briefly researched Banksy, to whom the quote is attributed. Here’s what Wikipedia says:

Banksy is an anonymous England-based street artist, vandal, political activist, and film director. His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humour with graffiti executed in a distinctive stenciling technique. His works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world.

Click here for lots more.

Banksy also is the artist who, in October 2018, after one of his works, Balloon Girl, was sold in an auction at Sotheby’s in London for £1.04m, pranked the buyer and the process. Again, according to Wikipedia:

Shortly after the gavel dropped and it was sold, an alarm sounded inside of the picture frame and the canvas passed through a shredder hidden within the frame, partially shredding the pictureBanksy then posted an image of the shredding on Instagram captioned “Going, going, gone … .”

Creativity, political and social commentary, fun and anonymity … I love this guy!

Winter Walk

Day 14

Leia enjoying a summer walk.

When the temperature hit 40 today, Leia and I took a walk in the neighborhood. There’s more snow and cold on the way, and she’s been cooped up for far too long with only potty breaks, so we ventured out, trying our best to dodge puddles in the street (no sidewalks in this neighborhood).

There’s something luscious about thawed air. Both of us had our noses in the air most of the time, as though our sense of smell has been held captive by the cold as well as our bodies. When it’s below zero you smell nothing, and don’t really notice, because when it’s that frigid you only want to get back inside. That includes Leia.

I think we were both happy and grateful for the break in winter madness and the chance to stretch our legs. The season isn’t over, but today we were offered a reminder that spring is coming.

If only we can hold on to that thought in the coming weeks.

Creative Genius

Day 13

This little miracle was shared on Facebook by my daughter. It’s a video of a Chinese Luna Moth by Adam Grochowalski.

Here’s a screen shot of one frame.

Chinese Luna Moth by Adam Grochowalski

Another Facebook friend wrote these wise words in response:

So why are we so afraid of change? Transformation is at the heart of creation.

All I could, and can, add to that: Indeed.

‘A Whack on the Side of the Head’

Day 12

Still one day off but catching up. I’m ready for the creative juices to start flowing!

A few friends and I have been reading and discussing books about creativity. The last title was “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. This time we are reading Roger von Oech’s classic, “A Whack on the Side of the Head.”

The weather being what it is: snowy and 24, we are meeting at a local brewery, where it’s warm. Tomorrow it’s supposed to be rainy and 40. What’s that stupid saying about the weather in Michigan: “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute”?

Back to the book. We are just starting tonight, but so far my favorite insight: “Life is ambiguous: there are many right answers – all depending on what you were looking for. But if you think there’s only one right answer, then you’ll stop looking as soon as you find one.”

So far this book has really got me thinking differently.