Today I sent my mom an email, thanking her for the great idea/helpful tip she had a few days ago. The subject line of the email read; You Are Amazing. After I sent it, I thought of the other people I spoke to or emailed with over the last few days. Then I thought of my Sunday blog, and the readers/friends I connect with there. I thought to myself… everyone should know that they are amazing. I should tell them too! So here I am. I’m here to tell you that… YOU ARE AMAZING.
I know I am late to whole app scene, but I’m just recently checking out all of the wonderfulness on Instagram. Wow, so much talent & fun there! I’m just soaking it up. Below I will list only a tiny few of the Instagram accounts I really enjoy. My favorites right now are predominately professional photographers. I have so many that I’m really loving, but I’ll share just three. And I’m not sharing their photography here! I want you to troll their lives and their work, check it out for yourself first hand. You’ll be glad you did.
I snagged today’s blog post from Derek Sivers’ website. Originally a professional musician and circus clown, Derek Sivers created CD Baby in 1998. In 2008, Derek sold CD Baby for $22 million, giving the proceeds to a charitable trust for music education. He is a frequent speaker at the TED Conference, with over 5 million views of his talks.
Those of you who often over-commit or feel too scattered may appreciate a new philosophy I’m trying: If I’m not saying “HELL YEAH!” about something, then I say no.
Meaning: When deciding whether to commit to something, if I feel anything less than, “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” – then my answer is no.
When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “HELL YEAH!”
We’re all busy. We’ve all taken on too much. Saying yes to less is the way out.
I was hiring someone for a long-term project. There were many candidates. I compared pros-and-cons. Nobody blew me away, but I felt I had to choose one of them. Instead, I said no to all, and began the search again in a different way. That turned up someone absolutely amazing who is ideal and I’m psyched to be working with.
I was supposed to go to three music conferences in the next few months. They were spread out around the world and would have taken many expensive days in planes and hotels to be there. I had said yes to all of them out of habit or obligation. But I realized I wasn’t feeling “HELL YEAH!” about them, so I cancelled all three. They’re a little disappointed but I was able to clear off 12 days in my calendar! 12 days!! Do you know how much I can do with 12 free days? Maybe I could get Muckwork launched! Now that is a “HELL YEAH!”
I was deciding where to live. I had heard good things about Vancouver and Sydney. I was interested in Hong Kong and Florianópolis. But when I got to New York City I felt such an instant “HELL YEAH!” that I stayed.
The surprisingly great book “Personal Development for Smart People” asks you to think about the different areas of your life (career, relationships, spiritual, health, etc.) – and rate your satisfaction in each area from 1 to 10.
But after doing that, the next suggestion impressed me: it said to go through every area you rated a 5, 6, 7, or 8 – and replace it with a 1! That we should never settle for “it’s not so bad” – and instead face up to what you really want.
In other words: No more “yes”. It’s either “HELL YEAH!” or “no”.
Last night I was watching Maidentrip on Netflix. It’s a movie about Laura Dekker‘s journey around the world. It doesn’t sound like a big deal does it? Plenty of people have traveled around the world, but how many 14 year old girls do you know that have sailed around the world completely alone? I for one, had never heard of such a thing. The whole idea sounds dangerous and daunting. Luckily, life shows us that we are far more capable than we imagine ourselves to be.
As I was watching the movie, I got really teary eyed. Okay, I’m lying, I actually cried. I cried for a bit while watching the movie, and I was only 15 minutes in! The reason I was crying is because I identified with Laura’s challenges and insights, I identified with them so deeply. She talked about the fact that people didn’t believe her dreams were possible and discouraged her (this includes a 10 month court battle with the government in Holland). They also didn’t think that she was capable of knowing herself or being able to hear/listen to her own innate wisdom. Towards the end of the film, Laura talked about the fact that the more she was at sea, the more she became comfortable in her own company and with her own thoughts. The more she surrendered to the moment (to beingness), the more in touch she was with nature and with herself. She became stronger and sharper as the days alone at sea passed. Her innate intelligence and power became more apparent with each passing day.
I have never done anything as badass or courageous as Laura, but I have gone against the grain of social norms, and still do. My ongoing struggle is that I crave the opportunity to simply be (to explore and study beingness itself), and to be accepted for it (not only from other people, but my own acceptance as well). In a world where everyone is chasing money, status, and the acquisition of stuff (or people/relationships) — I feel like I’m a foreigner in a place where I was born. I’ve felt this way since I was a child. My mind always presented one thing, and the world always showed me something quite different.
This is a quote from the movie by Laura Dekker: “In Europe and Holland, they’re thinking only abut money. Money is the most important thing; getting a car, getting a house, getting kids — and then die.”
I remember being Laura’s age, and telling people that I wanted to be an artist, and that I didn’t want to marry or give birth to children. I was told that I would change my mind as I got older, and that my desires were unrealistic and immature. (For the record, I was never told this by my parents, my parents have always encouraged me to follow my heart & dreams, much like Laura’s family. It was only people in society that I encountered negativity and opposition.)
I never listened to the naysayers, I did exactly what I said/wanted, and at 40 years of age, no one can say that I changed my mind, or that my ideas were fantasies of inexperience or lacking in wisdom. I’ve never been married, and the desire to get married still isn’t there. The same goes for the rest, the desire to have my own children has never existed for me. (This doesn’t mean that I am not open to adopting in the distant future, or taking on a partnership with someone that has kids, or even marrying in the future — It’s only to say that at 14 years of age, I knew myself. I knew myself deeply.)
People could easily say that they discouraged Laura Dekker out of concern for her well-being. They could present the argument: “It is for her safety! Her parents allowing her to sail would put her life at risk. Her parents are irresponsible and the girl is spoiled. She should not be allowed to pursue such a far-fetched self-indulgent dream.”
Often people that see/meet/hear someone that appears to be fearless and/or driven in a certain regard, they put their guard up and act as though someone’s survival is on the line — like it’s a life or death situation. People forget that it’s not life or death, it’s life and death. Death is part of life, and the ones that are afraid of dying are often the ones that live as if they are dead. It’s the ones that aren’t afraid of dying that live as though they are fully alive. (And by ‘death’ I mean it figuratively and literally. Moving outside of one’s comfort zone, or ending something familiar, or putting yourself on the edge of what you think is possible or comfortable, is a form of death. It’s the death of your former self, the death of what you formally knew to be true or necessary.)
I have to assume more people than just a select few want to go against the grain or pursue a ‘crazy’ dream. These desires have to be in the minds of billions. It’s unfathomable to me that it isn’t the case. That being said, it’s just not something I hear of or see often. And for the few that want to pursue ‘out of the box’ ideas, it makes the journey even harder — if they take on the journey at all.
If people aren’t pursuing their dreams, or highest ideals, or whatever makes their heart sing, I think some questioning is in order. Are you afraid of your own survival? Do you think others will not accept you? Do you think you will lose your life as you know it, and if so, what is wrong with having a life that is currently unknown to you?
In nature, there are always cycles of life & death that are in perfect balance in each moment. Change is embraced fully. Change is actually what makes nature so gorgeous and exciting! It makes it stronger and richer, powerful beyond our understanding. Change is what makes nature come alive. We are nature, nature is not separate from us. When we go against nature, we go against our own innate wisdom, beauty and power.
So do you see what I mean? People chase what is familiar, thinking that they can hold on to life that way. Problem is, it prevents them from living life and being fully alive. Life is change. Life is surrendering to the unknown. Life is blooming into your own being. Even if that means that it might be scary, challenging or sound a bit out of the norm.
I take my hat off to anyone that has endured the struggle of going against the grain and following their heart. It gives the people around them permission to do the same. I think that’s why I was crying while watching the movie. It’s like Laura Dekker’s journey made all the years I struggled and felt confused worth something. It showed me that is was worth the fight — but now, now that I am older, it’s worth the embrace. I still need to surrender more and trust my own heart wisdom. There is still a lot of internal nitpicking that shows a lack of unconditional love (for myself) and unshakable courage. It rears its head from time to time, and I can feel it. It’s humbling, I guess that’s the good part. But to find balance between the two is my ideal. To be humble, yet fully aware and empowered at the same time. I think that makes for a pretty badass combination, as well as a pretty badass life.