(Hi, there. I’m having to do some scary maintenance over at the server and fix a few problems caused when I recently upgraded some plugins. Technology is my nemesis! 🙁 Until I post something new, here’s my favourite oldie-but-goodie sticky post. ~Janice )
Authenticity is not for the faint of heart. To fly in the face of history, circumstance and uncertainty, with your truth fully unfurled, takes some serious moxy. When you want to love and be loved (and what else is there really?) your truth becomes a very tender thing, and sharing it is a mighty gift. So perhaps being genuine is an every day act of heroism. ~ Danielle Laporte and Carrie McCarthy (from Style Statement: Live by Your Own Design)
This is a long post; it wasn’t meant to be. It blossomed. I could have chopped it up, spread it out, but I chose not to. I feel it’s important.
It dawned on me that I can just leave this post up for a while, let you sit with it, give you time to maybe come back and share some of your responses and creations with us. I had a dream of this being a soulfood café-bistro, so this is a long, leisurely Greek meal of a read, with a variety of mezedhes, salads, main dishes, bread, fruit and wine. I hope you find something you like. Why don’t you grab a glass of something fresh or put the kettle on…
This is a taste of what I hope to be exploring in the coming weeks. This is my heart, who I am. It’s my way of saying thank you for visiting. There are many wonderful blogs out there. I’m glad you came here.
If you want to know how to harness the power of authenticity, to improve your writing – and your life – here are the answers; it’s up to you to live the questions. You have time. You have a lifetime.
Enjoy being as much as doing.
Try writing a To be/Do/Have list and not just a To Do list. Maybe just try a To Be list for the day and stick to it. Today, I want to be a devoted mum, a serene friend, an inspiring writer. What about you?
Don’t just skim this one. Are you trying to be the next ………? How about being the first YOU. In this blog, you’ll always find questions to discover who you are. It’s like drinking water. One glass may be good for you, but it doesn’t end there.
Strive to be your best self…
Overdeliver, in everything you do. Build reserves of trust, respect, energy, goodwill, wellbeing. Edit like you were going for a Pullitzer, even if you’re the boss of your own blog. Write endless drafts, but cherish the best. Write like you’re writing to repay the gift of life itself.
…but love your whole self.
Strive to be your best self, but love yourself with the unconditional love you’d give a baby, or a toddler who’s just learning. All of our drafts are necessary. In the big scheme of things, we’re all children of the universe, learning from our mistakes every day of our lives, overwhelmed and striving to keep up; our memes are exploding exponentially while our genes – a relic of earlier millenia – can just about handle love, fear, anger and the need to belong.
Be comfortable with silence.
Inspiration slips in through the silences between the thoughts.
Give what you’re doing this very second your undivided attention. This is the only moment of life you will ever have. The past is gone; the future does not exist. This is it. Make it good. Thank you for reading this. To gift our community with your presence is awesome.
Listen to others with your whole being.
It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give anyone, listening with empathy, love, respect, kindness – not chomping at the bit, preparing your own response, desperate to give advice or talk about yourself, even if it’s to prove your credentials for being able to empathise. If you give people this attention while you listen, when you read, it will be returned – by the people you need it from and by the universe itself.
Taking notes, immortalising quotes as you read a book or a blog is sending a message to the universe that you’re really listening, that you’re open to the wisdom of others, to signposts sent straight to your soul.
Listen to the sound of your inner voice.
Listen to its wisdom, its colours, its rhythm. That’s your unique voice, right there. Transcribe it!
You have the answers already; all you need are the right questions to unlock them. Check in with your gut. How does your body feel about your choices? Is there discomfort? Learn to trust your instincts, really trust them.
And listen to the voice that speaks, that reads aloud in your head. Write it down: listen to which words it stresses, to the increased peaks and dips where your natural intonation goes up and down, when you’re excited, gushing and happy; listen to how it slows down when you’re stressed, sad…weary. Capture those rhythms, inflections, silences.
I’ll be doing further posts on this. It’s an obsession, a passion of mine.
Love details – live details with all of your senses.
Another obsession. How can you be happy if you’re not grateful? How can you be grateful if you don’t notice? How can you attract abundance if you’re not grateful for what you already have?
We all need to have a big picture, a framework for our lives, the border of our jigsaw, the fabric of our tapestry – but it’s the details that make us feel rich, make us feel alive, make us unique. Use all of your senses. Listen more, smell more, relish every morsel of life, make every day a feast for the senses.
Discover your essence.
What would be left if your body evaporated and your mind, heart and soul were transplanted? The clues are in everything and everyone you love.
Discover what you adore.
Your choices, your preferences, your passions, what you choose to filter through you are all windows to who you are. So choose with your heart and soul, not just your head. But choose! If you’re lucky enough to be able to eat an apple, drink clean, clear water, why would you want to choose to drink litres of brown sweeteners, carbon dioxide and chemicals?
Express that essence.
Why skim, scrape, swipe, emulate and live on the surface, in the shadows when you could be telling the only story that hasn’t been told yet – yours!
Express your essence in what you wear, what you read, what you eat, who you keep company with, what you contribute, how you celebrate your rituals, how you adorn your home, how you listen, how you converse, how you bring flavour and fragrance and music and movement to your life. Express your essence in every semi colon, font, plugin, widget, button, colour and photo on your website, in every word, syllable and silence of your writing.
Strunk and White have this advice for all writers: ” Your whole duty as a writer is to please and satisfy yourself, and the true writer always plays to an audience of one.”
The same applies to being yourself, to loving yourself. How can we love others as ourselves – as we are told to do by every religion – if we do not first love ourselves, and love ourselves well.
Long to connect.
If you treat people like traffic passing through your life, someday you’ll be run over, or left behind to smother in the smog.
There are hearts out there to capture, real people to reach and inspire and support with your gifts. Money’s good – it buys food, clothes and education, medicine and shelter, entertainment and art. The more you have, the more good you can do. But it’s not the only form of currency. Don’t buy financial abundance with your soul.
Long to leave a legacy.
The love and memories you leave behind, the people you touch, your words and gestures scattered across the internet, around the world, they’re your legacy. If you want to know how to harness the power of authenticity, to improve your writing – and your life – here are the answers; it’s up to you to live the questions. You have time. You have a lifetime.
Be brave, be vulnerable.
Be brave enough to explore the depths, to find a way out and shine a light for others to find theirs. Don’t be scared to live, to hold out your heart in both hands like a trembling bird and say “Here I am, love me as I am or leave me.” Be more afraid to die with your song still in you, to cheat your loved ones, your readers and the world of the greatest gift you have to give. You.
…”Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.” This moral observation would have no place in a rule book were it not that style is the writer, and therefore what you are, rather than what you know, will at last determine your style. ~ Strunk and White, (from The Elements of Style)
It’s a lot to take in. Here are a few questions to help you discover your real self. Sit with them a while…roll them around in your soul. Add a “Why?” to any of them and you have a personal safari to discover fuel for your writing. I promise, your writing will improve. So will your life.
What scares you?
What thrills you?
What do you want more of?
What do you want less of?
What do you say YES! to?
What do you say no to?
What expands you?
What contracts you?
If your writing was a drink, what would it be? What would you like it to be?
What do you find yourself longing for?
That voice that whispers in the depths of night, what does it say?
If you were a fragrance, what would you be?
Who do you long to reach? What do you want them to feel?
If you could carry one object in your pocket that represents you, what would it be?
If you were an animal, what would you be?
If you were a colour what would you be?
Has it been a while since you wrote poetry? Try writing and randomly rearranging your answers to some of the questions above. You may surprise yourself. This is off the top of my head…
a sea green pebble
worn smooth by the restless tides
a gift from the sea