You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘inspiration’ tag.

Listen, are you just breathing a little, and calling it a life?  — Mary Oliver

Taking a late summer stroll through the winding streets of Panarea—a magical island north of Sicily—I was talking to my friend about my writing.

FullSizeRender-7.jpg

She’d asked me why I wasn’t blogging anymore. My goal had always been to maintain a positive outlook in the blog no matter what was going on, but that had begun to feel inauthentic. I was thinking about this when she asked her question—and instead I blurted out, “Since the election, I haven’t been feeling very positive.”

Now. I don’t share that to get political. Like, at all. I share it because it startled me, and I’ve been trying to make sense of it ever since. I’ve voraciously consumed the news over the last year, thinking I was merely staying informed. What I hadn’t realized was how deeply the rollercoaster of events was altering my worldview. I hadn’t understood how much it changed me.

When we’ve lost our way, how do we return to ourselves? 

FullSizeRender-5

I have always been someone who feels deeply.

The page has always been my safe place for processing all those feelings. I don’t always know how to express them in person—if I’m quietly thinking, I can be seen as aloof and withholding; if I’m vocal and opinionated, it can come across as overbearing. But on the page, they find meaning and hope.

Until now. Now the words are stuck. The emotions feel big and complicated and aggressive in my body, but they won’t work their way out into the world. They just sit there, stuck in sludge, unmoving and unable to find a way out. So instead of writing, I read the news. Endlessly. And then I watch it on TV.

A few months after that Sicilian conversation, it occurred to me that I was in an abusive relationship with information. Too much of it isn’t helpful; it can actually feel toxic. But I like being informed, so I wrestle with balance. How can you stay connected to the world around you, while somehow managing to be completely disconnected?

I don’t know. But if you’ve figured it out, I want to hear about it.

Aside from that, life just feels so complicated. And exhausting.

Shopping in Whole Foods a couple of months ago, I found myself trying to pick up a dozen eggs on the way to the cash register. I stopped and stood in front of an entire wall display of eggs. There must’ve been 50 different varieties, each labeled with one of four classifications. Cage free. Pasture raised. Outdoor access. Mobile houses on pasture. (Wait…do chickens have mobile homes???) I was confused. Which was better for the chickens? Who had the best quality of life? What’s the difference between a pasture and the great outdoors? I wanted to be a good person, to make the right decision.

But. There. Were. So. Many. Eggs.

I became overwhelmed with indecision. I began to breathe heavily, and perspiration started to bead on my forehead. I felt ten seconds away from the onset of a panic attack. So I walked away, egg free.

Our lives are so complex. We have too many choices. I’m not sure this multitude of options is adding quality to our lives.

FullSizeRender-4

Even my relationship with food—long my simplest and easiest partnership—is complicated. I’m allergic to everything. (Okay, not everything. But, so many of the things. How can you have creamy coffee when it seems you are allergic to dairy, almonds and coconut and aren’t supposed to have soy?) I took a break from my beloved cup of caffeine for two weeks and then, craving a steamy hot latte, I returned to it one Sunday morning. It made my heart race so fast I thought it was going to pound right out of my chest. I took a break from coffee and, in return, coffee quit me.

I find new gray hairs every time I visit the office ladies room, and a new wrinkle greets me each morning in my home bathroom mirror. Who is this person reflected back at me?

Can you return to yourself when you no longer recognize yourself? 

FullSizeRender-3

All of this left me overwhelmed and wondering how I could ever feel hopeful again. I seek to make meaning in my writing, but sometimes I question whether it’s possible anymore. Did the optimistic l part of me move on, as people we know sometimes do? Or is she still living in me and just on a break, off somewhere recalibrating?

At the resort in Panarea during our Sicilian excursion, there was one young woman working in the cafe who took care of us every morning. Her joy was palpable, infectious. I asked her what her secret was—why was she always so joyful? Her eyes widened. She stretched an arm out in front of us.

FullSizeRender-6

“Look where we are! How could you be anything but happy looking at this every day?”

IMG_9312

She had a point.

Months later, sitting at my desk, feeling spectacularly grumpy, I emailed a friend to discuss the foul mood I couldn’t seem to shake.

She wrote back, bossy with instructions. She ordered me to take my camera and go outside—that very minute—and to not go back to the office until I’d documented something beautiful.

All I can say is, I hope you have friends like this.

I did as told, ending up in Central Park for a brisk walk. The heavens did not part; rainbows did not magically appear in the sky; Moses did not part any sea. But on a cloudy and cool day, I found a respite from city life, if only for twenty minutes. My mind calmed down as I took in the fall landscape. Trees letting go of their auburn leaves. Birds swooping and soaring. Lake water flowing in a singular direction.

FullSizeRender

Life moves on. The seasons change, and so do we. And we can focus on chaos and nonsense, or we can search with another purpose.

And so I am left with this: I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. I don’t know who I have become or are on the road to becoming. I don’t know when hopeful words will once again flow on my laptop. But there in the midst of the uncertainty and the rage and the questioning, beauty is lurking. It may be right in front of me at every turn while on vacation, and it may lay hiding in the dustiest of corners. But it is always there.

Beauty persists.

IMG_6634

And as I make my way back to myself, I persist, too.

 

Advertisements

I have inspiration block.

It’s like writer’s block, but worse. I don’t really want to write. I don’t really want to snap photos. If I were honest, I just want to pick up my phone and aimlessly swipe. Swipe. Swipe. It’s mindless and strangely meditative. And it’s exactly what feels good right now.

Now, ever the picky Pollyanna, I’ve become swipe selective. Facebook is too full of political opinions and missing children and awful things you don’t want to know about your friends. Twitter, with all the news in my feed, reminds me of everything I don’t want to think about. All those dating apps? I literally can’t even.

No. I want Instagram. Pretty pictures. Pretty posed pictures pretending to be snapshots of a real life. Pretty pictures move my mind away from current events and crazy people.

So I swipe. Swipe, swipe, swipe.

But here’s the thing. When inspiration is napping, it’s important to keep moving. All of you, not just your fingers. You may want to give up, to think this is how it all goes down, that creativity and grace and beauty are gone for good.

Instead, find the courage to walk and walk and walk, and little clues suddenly litter the pathway. Answers—and inspiration—maybe, just maybe, find the way to the rightful owner.

Maybe they were always there, waiting to be discovered.

IMG_0015

That’s my goodness of the week.

xo, with goodness and grace.

Grace Quote

Feeling a bit rundown and overwhelmed, this quote provided just the right amount of inspiration.

 Don’t ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive and go do it.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

–H. Thurman

What makes you come alive?

I love words.  They can offer comfort and inspiration when all else fails.

When the day is long and you are weary from your circumstances and lacking in inspiration, a quote or a passage or a poem can lend a reassurance that no conversation can give.

This is my favorite passage to lean on in times when I need a soft place to fall but cannot seem to find one.  From Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke – one of my favorite books of all time – it has gotten me through a dark night or two.

“So you must not be frightened…if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloud-shadows passes over your hands and over all you do.  You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hands; it will not let you fall.”

When inspiration and comfort are hard to come by, I hope this will help you too.

It’s time to celebrate!

I’ve been looking for some inspiration.  Overwhelmed by the madness of each day,  I’m longing to look at life through a joyful lens.  Goodness is in every aspect of life, but we often overlook it in the midst ordinary chaos and craziness.  Or at least I do.

Goodness, Grace and Grub is my attempt to embrace the pleasure that lurks everywhere.  It’s my own personal intervention to move away from the mundane and the inane and towards simple pleasures.  It’s time to pay attention.

In this blog, I hope to share the products and other items that bring me joy (goodness); the intangibles, both small and large, that offer pleasure and awe in the everyday (grace), and the food stuff that transports to the island of hedonism (grub).  I promise to write an inordinate amount about  food – my greatest love.

Since I write this on Thanksgiving evening, I think a great start is to share what I am thankful for this year:

  • I am thankful for my family, who have taught me more about courage and love in the past year than I ever thought was possible.
  • I am thankful for my nephew, who demonstrates the joy of laughter and pure fun without even trying.
  • I am thankful to have reconnected with childhood friends this year that I thought about often, but never thought I’d see again.
  • I am thankful to live in a country where anything is possible.
  • I am thankful for bacon.  And for its distant cousin, chorizo, that elevated my cornbread stuffing to new heights tonight.

I hope you will share the things that make you happy, too.  Goodness is a two-way street.

Join me in saying yes to life!

xo, with Goodness and Grace

IMG_0032

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: