The practice of well-being: teaching, learning, and growing.

I love the idea that sometimes we have to teach in order to learn.  It becomes more clear all the time that when I share my experiences with someone or teach them something new; I learn the most and ultimately…grow the most.  I used to think that we had to be some sort of expert before we could teach something.  Through my growth I have realized that there is no hard and fast rule that we must master a practice of life before we share it with others.  Especially when it comes to the idea of well-being.  After all, the ideas and concepts of hope, gratitude, joy, love, and happiness are all a practice.  As long as we acknowledge there is no absolute method that fits everyone the same, we will teach and learn through all of our interactions each day.  Through practice we learn how to be present and treasure moments that lift us and fill our hearts and then figure out how to let go of the ones that may not be as kind or inspiring.

There is something magical about teaching and sharing ideas that you are passionate about and believe so deeply within your heart. It’s not about getting people to identify or become aware of things the exact same as you, the magic is that they consider what they agree with and what makes sense for who they are.  It’s like a light within them that shouts “Wait a minute, I know myself and I believe this or I believe that.”  It is a glimpse of their inner wisdom and exploration of exactly who they are and have always been. It’s about creating a reference point to consider and navigate your own outlook, perceptions, and intuition.

The other magical thing is what happens for my own self during this process. I am reminded of my the things I value most and my priorities when I speak about concepts like happiness, satisfaction, love, and hope.  It is an amazing moment of rejuvenation that fills my spirit and calls me to pause and simply take it all in as I hear my own reminders of what truly matters.  It is also beautifully human and empowering to admit to a group that I am growing in awareness in things like ‘letting go’, ‘self-compassion’, and ‘growing in hope’ without claiming to be an expert or some perfect model of total calm each day.

The reality is that we all practicing at the level that we are conscious.  To increase our consciousness, we grow in awareness.  And to grow in awareness we sometimes have to be vulnerable and simply acknowledge that we are perfectly imperfect.

This is my intention:  keep growing in awareness through love, understanding, compassion, and kindness.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that those four things spell out LUCK.  After all, luck is defined as “a force that brings good fortune”.  And what’s more powerful than Love, Understanding, Compassion, and Kindness? Whether you believe in LUCK or not; I am incredibly grateful to be able to experience so many opportunities to teach, learn, and grow every single day.

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Being creative

Inspiration from vacation

Inspiration from vacation

I can spend days (and even weeks) sometimes and wonder if I am ever going to feel inspired to get creative again.  Then, like a rushing creek, I am flooded with ideas around me.  For instance, I went to an art festival with a friend this weekend and was reminded how much inspiration exists all around us.  There were so many beautiful photographs and creations that at times I felt completely overwhelmed with the pure talent and creative energy at work.

I used to think that being creative meant I had to be a skillful artist, or know some amazing craft.  I thought it meant that I needed to be able to create powerful poems or sing amazing melodies.  Since I rarely can even color within the lines or carry a tune to save my life, you can imagine how elusive this whole creativity thing used to be for me. Regardless, I had this desire to create something and explore new ways of expressing myself.  And I knew that something that was holding me back was the fact that I didn’t know if whatever I would attempt to create would be judged, criticized, or even appreciated.

One day I decided that even if I sucked at it, I was going to be creative and make something.  My first project?  Sewing.  Ha!  I had big ideas that I was going to sew some awesome pajamas.  I was doing okay until there was this thing call an in-seam I had to figure out. Then things kind of went south.  I tried to piece together a few other things and eventually put the sewing machine back in the closet for a while.  Then, I dabbled in the idea of painting, scrap-book, and even card creations.  I enjoyed all of the experiences but never felt like any of them were things I just had to do.  For a while, I was convinced that I was just going to be a boring, non-creative, and uninspired soul.  Let’s face it, I was not okay with that option.    So I kept on dabbling in different things and eventually I realized that my true creativity was not so much about my finished product but the fact that I was willing to explore all of the different ideas of my personal expression. And the more I explored different ideas, the more comfortable I started feeling about even acknowledging my own creativity.

So I drag out the sewing machine every once in a while and work on something a little simpler like pillows and I take time to create thoughtful gifts for friends and family.  I even signed up for this painting class called “painting with a twist” that was one of the best learning experiences ever.  That one included wine though, so I may be slightly biased. 🙂 I like to make CD’s for people who love music as much as me and I often am thinking about new ideas to share with my co-workers.

And most importantly, I am writing again.  I know this isn’t something I am a pro at or anything but it is my passion.  It is my own personal therapy.  When I write, I am reminded who I am.  When I haven’t written in my journal, sent anyone a thoughtful letter or even a simple email, I realize that I also haven’t been paying much attention to taking care of myself.   I am finally admitting that I need to write.  It doesn’t matter if anyone else reads it or even understands it, I need to put my thoughts down on paper.  You can imagine how exciting this is for me as I am staring this blog.  I have no idea why it has taken me this long to explore this platform.  Wait, that’s not really true.  I know why it has taken me this long…because the idea of anyone being able to read this and have an opinion other than “wow, this is awesome” scares the heck out of me.  But the reality is that my comfort zone isn’t doing me any favors right now, so I’m feeling the fear but doing it anyway. As I figure out how to navigate this new territory, decide what I would like to share with everyone, simply figure out the process, and learn from this community; I can’t help but get excited about the endless possibilities.

It’s funny how inspiration can come from so many different places.  This weekend I received it while looking at a photograph; last week I felt it when I was at the park and watched about 7 deer gallop across the path; and I definitely continue to experience it as I start exploring this blogging community and see how many amazing people are out there with similar thoughts, ideas, and attitudes as me.  With all this endless inspiration, it would be unnatural to refrain my creativity!  Now, I’m going to sit back and enjoy my new photograph that I bought from the fair and see where my new inspiration takes me.

The photo above is from a vacation a while back, but if I get permission to post a picture of the photo I bought this weekend I will update it then.  In the meantime, I thought I would share this picture since it still provides me with that sense of possibilities.  Happy creating!