Blank Pages

Blank Pages

At writing group tonight, we discussed the doubts that we all face as writers, how sometimes cuddly kittens can masquerade as roaring lions.

This reminded me of one of the books I am reading right now, “You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” by Jen Sincero. She writes about waking up from “The Big Snooze” when you are ready to take control of your life and relentlessly pursue your goals. She says when we start to attack our goals, there will often be unexpected trials that start to crop up. She even used the example of a woman she was coaching who finally fulfilled her dream of opening up a music studio. Soon after, the studio burned down. This woman was obviously at a crossroads. She could have chosen to wallow in her misfortune or focus on fundraising and rebuilding. She chose the latter and has been an incredible success ever since.

This was one of many examples used to inspire her readers to persist even when roadblocks seem to magically appear. Our roadblocks may never be as dramatic as a burned down building. However, the doubts can set our mindset up to destroy anything in its path and leave us with nothing but blank pages.

 

The Day After

The Day After

After #bloglikecrazy (30 days of blogging in November) was over, I still felt like there was something else I had to do. I kept feeling like there was something missing. It’s probably because I had built a habit. I love knowing I wrote every day and when I stopped, there was a longing there. That left no room to doubt that no matter what the outcome, I will always write.

I cannot pretend I will always want to because laziness and frustration are real. But I can’t let laziness and frustration become more of a reality than persistence and consistency. The only thing I can control about this process is my effort. Even through the fatigue I feel right now, it keeps ringing in my head.

The part of me that wants to control everything is driven crazy by the fact I can’t control what happens after a submission, a pitch idea, a fellowship application or a challenge like #bloglikecrazy. But I have learned to treasure the freedom that comes with it, too. I put myself out there, fight my fight  and then let go.

I DID IT!

I DID IT!

It’s here! It’s here! It’s here! Day 30 of #bloglikecrazy is here! November flew by. I can admit there were a couple of times during the challenge that I thought about quitting. However, I knew I wouldn’t get the lessons I was bound to learn if I didn’t complete it. And therefore, wouldn’t be able to share it with all of you.

So here it goes:

1. I’ve learned my 21-Day Water-Workout-Write Challenge was not a fluke.

2. If challenged (by myself or in this case, by See Jane Write founder Javacia Harris Bowser), I will rise to the occasion.

3. I love trying new recipes regularly. I have never been a woman who loves to whip out the cookbook and dive in. I was more of a go with what you know type of cook and try a new recipe once in a blue moon. Meatless Monday posts stretched me and now I want to incorporate recipes more regularly. What I eat is a significant part of my wellness journey and deserves a place here.

4. I am capable of surprising myself. This is something I suspected while taking Life in 10 Minutes with Valley Haggard and Pens Up, Fears Down with Sadeqa Johnson. Even when I thought the well dried up, the words would find a way to appear. However, this challenge asked me to do it every day and more days than not, I opened my computer and stared at a blinking cursor and typed nonsense until I found my way or my way found me.

5. Inspiration is everywhere. It is in the photos you take, nature, the TV or movies you watch, past travels, a conversation at work, books or even as I discovered this month, in a hospital room. Life is going on around you, inside you, and has a past, present and God willing, a future. It is always ready to be found.

If you’ve ever wondered if a challenge like this would be beneficial to you, wonder no more! Give it a try! I am already excited for #bloglikecrazy 2018!

Ask and Then Let Go

Ask and Then Let Go

In the last week I’ve thought more about letting go than I have in years. By letting go, I mean letting go of control. A few days ago, I had the courage to tell someone what I needed. I may have done it through tears, but I did it. I bring this up because although I asked for what I needed, I am keenly aware that I may never get it.

And I have no control over whether or not I will ever get it.

I believe you can never be at peace if there are needs in your life you have the awareness to ask for but let fear keep you silent. From there, even if you do work up the courage to ask, the peace you seek may not be attained if you don’t accept you cannot control the outcome.

I am learning through shaky voice and tears to walk through the fear of speaking up and letting go once the words are out. Once they are out there, I can’t take them back, reverse time and watch the words slip back down my throat.

If the words need to be said, why would I?

 

Telling a Better Story

Telling a Better Story

I  was listening to a podcast earlier today and they were discussing why people don’t try to change or at least don’t stay consistent in their efforts to change. The interviewee pointed out how easy it is to stay the same and do nothing. The interviewer agreed, acknowledging the comfort of being static. Forgive me for not remembering names, I listened to many today while working so I don’t want to attribute the interview to the wrong people.

It got me thinking that of course it’s easy (and convenient) to continue down a path you’ve always gone or to tell yourself the exact same story about your life. “I always do this…I never remember that or I never follow-through on….

It reminded me of a a quote I first heard from Jim Kwik: “Your mind is always eavesdropping on your self-talk.”  What if I’ve been telling myself a story about myself, convinced that I already know the ending? And is my mind being programmed by my negative self-talk?

When I engage in negative self-talk, I believe I am giving myself permission to give up. I’ve done it with some of my writing and wellness goals in the past. It makes the bad medicine go down, nice and smooth.

Except that it’s not so smooth, is it? While you’re swallowing, the taste gets a little sour–even rancid, doesn’t it?

When our self-awareness grows, the harder it is to feel the comfort, to convince ourselves we are at ease when we quit. Now that I am writing on a regular basis, I am not choking down anything.

I am too busy telling myself a better story.

 

 

Meatless Mondays: Black Bean Taco Salad

Meatless Mondays: Black Bean Taco Salad

I decided to make a salad tonight. Since the misconception from many people is that vegans only eat salad, I have shied away from posting one. However, I found a recipe for one that is hearty, colorful and sure to fill anyone up. I even made the dressing–Creamy Cumin Ranch Dressing! Both recipes come from Jenn S. at veggieinspired.com.

Ingredients
Black Beans
Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas (rinsed, drained and dried really well) (or 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 20171127_184417
    Chickpeas tossed with spices–ready to be roasted!
Salad
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce (chopped) (romaine would be great too)
  • 1-2 chopped tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 avocado (diced)
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Toss chickpeas with the chili powder, cumin, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Place chickpeas on a baking sheet in one even layer and bake for 20-30 minutes, shaking them around 1/2 way through. Chickpeas should be slightly crunchy…they will continue to crisp up as they cool. Set aside.
  4. Toss the black beans with all the spices and warm in a pan over medium heat with 1/4 cup water. Stir occasionally until warmed through, about 5-6 minutes.
  5. To assemble the salad, toss the lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, avocado and corn in a large bowl. Plate the lettuce mixture on each individual plate or bowl. Add the black beans to the individual servings and top with the crunchy roasted chickpeas. Drizzle with the Creamy Cumin Ranch Dressing.
Creamy Cumin Ranch Dressing:
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth. Add additional water by the tablespoon if needed to thin.
  2. Enjoy!

Hubby says we should have it every night! The roasted chickpeas, avocado and black beans along with the dressing made this meal as filling as promised. This is the last Meatless Monday I will be doing as part of #bloglikecrazy. Challenging myself to try a new vegan recipe each week has made me push myself. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut with 4 or 5 of your favorites and take-out but this has opened my world up. I will definitely be posting new recipes in the future.

It’s Everywhere.

It’s Everywhere.

Everyday during this challenge, I find myself looking for inspiration. Sometimes it comes from a picture, a message heard, a memory, a book, a meal, a quote or is birthed from just typing words until I see the words forming into a message. Today, I was watching an episode of the new Spike Lee Joint, the updated “She’s Gotta Have It” on Netflix. Nola Darling and her date walked into The River Cafe in Brooklyn. The entrance was lit beautifully and the greenery was incredibly lush.

My mind wandered to a restaurant in Aruba we went to on our honeymoon. I don’t remember the food but I remember the trees and the lights. The air. A lonely dog strolling back and forth in front of the entrance.

A connection was made. Watching Ms. Darling saunter confidently in her black dress into a cafe extracted memories of lovely trees lighting up our dinner in Aruba. There is beauty in finding inspiration everywhere, from leafing through an old notebook to standing on a balcony to sitting in a church pew to the cinematography on a TV show.  I hope I never lose sight of that–even after the daily challenge of looking for it is over.