Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

 

Happy Friday!

I am sending you off into the weekend with one of my favorite quotes:

 

 

Sing like no one’s listening,
love like you’ve never been hurt,
dance like nobody’s watching,
and live like its heaven on earth.”
~Mark Twain

 

 

I think these women get it.

 

Can you dance like nobody’s watching? 

 

The Soothing Power of a Smile (and Cupcakes)

Happy Friday!

After a long week filled with lists, goals, resolutions and changes, I am in need of something a little soothing.

Georgetown cupcakes_opt

Because every now and then you just need something to calm you down, and maybe even make you smile.

So for that, I offer you the obviously underrated, power of a Q-tip.

 

Have a happy, relaxing weekend!

 

Good Timing

Happy Friday!

After a week that included a power outage, I fell behind on everything.  But I can’t pin all the blame on the thunder storms, because sometimes it’s just my timing.

Do you ever feel like your timing is off?

Have a great weekend!

 

Questioning the Power of Positivity

This weekend I watched a bit on a news program that questioned the power of positive thinking.

“If things don’t go well, if you get sick, or if you lose your job, or fall into poverty, it must be your fault because you weren’t sending the right thoughts out into the universe,” said Barbara Ehrenreich, a breast cancer survivor and the author of Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America.

According to Ehrenreich, Americans discount reality for “magical thinking,” and she puts her stock in realism, rather than the promotion of positive thinking when it comes to dealing with adversity.

But adversity is a gift, right?  We’ve all heard that, but then again some gifts suck.

Remember Ralphie wearing his gift from Aunt Clara in A Christmas Story?

It’s okay to not be okay with what arrives at our doorstep. It’s normal to feel angry, sad or confused. It’s okay to want to cry, even wallow. Our feelings are real, even if you feel like no one else feels the same way.

Ehrenreich mentioned feeling guilty for not feeling the can do positive spirit during her bout with cancer, and she said she was tired of feeling guilty.

And it’s easy to feel guilty if you think you’re supposed to smile over the pain, the depression and the fact that life as you knew it feels over. And even more guilt inducing if you complain only to hear: “I was complaining that I had no shoes till I met a man who had no feet.” (Confucius)

No one should be made to feel guilty about their choice of focus. Your adversity, your choice.

But what is guilt? Could it be something wired in us to perhaps get us to rethink our direction? If we are struggling with our reaction to something, is it because we want to think differently?

There are plenty of people who disagree with Ehrenreich, in fact many say making a plan for hope actually aids in mental healing.

Because there is scientific proof that positivity is helpful. “I think there is a part of attitude that may play a role, and we’re still trying to understand that,” said Dr. Barry Boyd, oncologist and director of nutrition and cancer for the Yale Health System. “Working to build hope and build optimism may, in some individuals, change the biology of their cancer.”

Of course there are experts who disagree. “I think there’s a ton of pressure based on the belief that if they’re positive that they’ll live longer,” said Dr. James Coyne a University of Pennsylvania psychologist. “And then the downside of that is that if they deteriorate and they ultimately die of cancer, that they are somehow left being blamed: If only they had been more positive.”

But positivity is not about denial, but about interpretation. Your feelings are true and you can’t help what you feel, but you can help what you do about those feelings.

Crap happens and no one is immune, but how does staying in the crappy moment of that reality do any good?  What is wrong with hope?  Why does deciding to focus on the positive equal fantasy?

Positivity isn’t a Pollyanna view. It doesn’t mean ignoring realities or neglecting self-care for good thoughts. There’s a difference between Pollyanna and making a plan for how to live the rest of your life after facing adversity.

Just because you look toward the bright side, doesn’t mean you are blinded from the truth.

I don’t think the power of positive thinking is about living LONGER, it’s about living BETTER.

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. in fact our response is the only thing we control.
In our response lies our growth and freedom.“
– Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

But not everyone believes that, and that is their prerogative. Some find value in cynicism, in much the same way some enjoy their Pollyanna glasses.

“One man’s toxic sludge is another man’s potpourri.”   How the Grinch stole Christmas (2000)

In fact while looking at the reviews of several popular self-help books I saw plenty of negative ones that read, a lot of glass half full crap.

Cynical, right? But then again, that person not only read that self help book, but took the time to write a review.

Maybe they didn’t find what they were looking for, but still they were looking for something.

In the meantime, positive thinking is there for the taking.

What do you think about the power of positive thinking?

Once More for Luck

Happy Friday!

Guess who got lucky?

Lena Corazon! She is the winner of a signed copy of Barry Lyga’s Goth Girl Rising.

But don’t you feel left out, because I won two more books this week, which means more great book giveaways coming soon.  So stay tuned.

I hope you have a great weekend.  I’m off to see that little indie vampire movie, and maybe even the new George Clooney one too.

In the meantime, check out George right here, making some woman a very lucky lady.

 

Fan Your Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm.

According to Tennessee Williams it is the most important thing in life.  Yet it is vulnerable, open to being preceded by such downer verbs, like curb or lack or wane.

But still, it’s there like a tiny spark ready to be fanned by a funny blog post, an inspirational quote, a military hero, the smiling face of a child, a furry kitten, Monet (or a glass of  Moet), a great book, a teacher (shout out to Kristen Lamb), or even a very enthusiastic Beyonce fan.

“Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars.

Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait.

The grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas.”

-Henry Ford

So, let your sparkle flag fly and have a great weekend!

What fans your enthusiasm?

Imagination is the Preview of Life’s Coming Attractions

 reading

Do you ever have one of those days where you just cannot think?

You read the same sentence over and over, but it just doesn’t compute. You walk into a room only to forget why you went there. You sit through an entire lecture or conversation only to realize it’s over and you don’t know what happened.

That was me this past week. My brain was zombified mush.

I felt like Dory, the little fish in Finding Nemo who has short-term memory loss:

Marlin: I’m miles from home with a fish who can’t even remember her name.
Dory: Boy, I bet that’s frustrating.

 

For instance, I picked up a book at the library yesterday– How Pleasure Works: the New Science of Why We Like What We Like by Paul Bloom.  However, I could not remember why I’d put the book on hold.

Sometimes I think my brain just needs to reboot every now and then.

Luckily there was something sparkly in the book to get my attention–chapter six.

Imagination.

You gotta love it, whether it’s daydreaming or spending time in worlds created by other people’s imaginations, it can offer our tired minds a chance to start over.

According to the author, “Imagination is Reality Lite — a useful substitute when the real pleasure is inaccessible, too risky, or too much work.

Why not?  In an instant we can get caught up in a romance with a vampire, sing along with a high school glee club or run around virtual worlds shooting aliens.

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses of gray matter. . .or something like that.

Books, TV, movies and video games allow us to tag along on the journey.  We experience the story.

 “We enjoy imaginative experiences because at some level we don’t distinguish them from real ones.”

In fact the best ones are the stories that we get so engrossed in that we forget for the moment that they aren’t real.

And the fact that we can cry or laugh at a story, simply because our brains recognizes the emotion?  Well, it shows how powerful those mushy brains can turn out to be.

Imagine what we can accomplish when we simply put our minds on it.

“Imagination is everything.

It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

–Albert Einstein

 

What stories are you imagining for your life?

Hope Will Find You

 

 

All week I’ve been reading great flash fiction written by my fellow campaigners, most of which start with The door swung open and end with The door swung shut. So, it was interesting when I also read an inspiring memoir, Hope Will Find You, by Naomi Levy that offered a new take on the following saying:

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.–Alexander Graham Bell

It’s optimistic, but it also seems to require a faith or hope that we might be struggling for, depending on what is behind our closed door. If we’ve lost our faith or sense of hope, then we focus on the failure, the disappointment or the sadness.

Sometimes we stay there simply because we are waiting for improvement, good news, or The Hope.

In her book, Naomi suggests that we don’t wait. Instead, she says to turn around, face that new place and live. No matter what, keep moving forward, because that’s the space where hope will find you.

Like Dorrie from Finding Nemo said, “Just keep swimming.”

We might not have had any control over that door slamming, but we are in control of our attitude and focus. How we view our life is a matter of perception.

 

“Hope is about stepping inside life instead of waiting on the sidelines. It’s about welcoming what’s there. Because when you open yourself to it, hope is everywhere.”

What are you focusing on? Will you be ready when hope tracks you down?

*              *             *

In other news, thanks so much to Ruth Schiffman for giving me the Liebster Blog award. I will be posting my five nominations soon!

Also, I am hoping to track down all the blogs I started following with Google Friend Connect. I clicked it many, many times this past week and only one, lovely, blog is listed in my account (even after I click “manage blogs” as the help site suggested). Where did they all go? I don’t know, but now I am adding blogs manually to Google reader. I know I am missing a bunch, but I am sure I will come across them again as the campaign continues.

And thanks to everyone for the blog love, and to Deniz for letting me know my poem made the short list for stage two.   Have a great week!

 

 

Dreams and the Depths of Fear

Not long ago I had a dream that really stuck with me. Usually my dreams slip away unnoticed, but not this one.

In it, I was standing on a beach with my son (a much younger version of him). It was nighttime and the waves were numerous and way too big to consider a dip. Well, that and I am scared of the ocean.

It’s more of a yin yang fear and fascination with the ocean (my mom blames Jaws). You see I am curious about it, I find it beautiful (especially those tropical oceans), but for the most part I view the ocean from a distance, or the shoreline. Pictures, TV, movies, books or if I’m lucky a beach towel or hammock are all acceptable vantage points. I will even go on a boat, and if the water is clear enough I may brave a toe dip, but for the most part I fear what lies beneath.

Still, in this dream, the water beckoned and so my son ran to the waves, and immediately they swallowed him up.

Now the water was dark and beyond scary, but when my son made a dive for the water, I had no choice. I didn’t even hesitate. In fact, my fear of the ocean was not even on my mind, not at all.

I followed him, pulled him out and then when he was safely in my arms I stepped back and that’s when I saw them . . .

Whales.

They were everywhere. The moonlight spotlighted them and I saw them breaching the waves, rolling on the water. It was a curious and beautiful sight, and the ocean no longer looked scary.

The dream moved me so much, that I felt compelled to research the significance of whales when I woke up. Captain Ahab aside, I found that whales symbolize motherhood, calmness, the depths of our conscience, and endurance.

Most of all they represent power and strength.

I know that a big part of my fear of the ocean is the unknown, but it’s interesting to think of these amazing creatures swimming beneath. It reminds me that we also hold strength, a power deep within ourselves that is ready when we are to breach our fears, to allow us to do what we want to do despite being afraid. Of course, in my dream, the only thing on my mind was my son’s safety, so it felt like a no-brainer.

But still, I believe that power is within us, swimming in our own depths. I think it’s a matter of making what you want a priority, making your goals a no-brainer in the face of fear.

whale tail