Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Feeling Worthy of Attenion...and Living


I woke up with that sinking "I'm not worthy" feeling, which is such utter excrement.

Do you ever wake up like that? I have on countless occasions. More so when I was in my 20's, but not so much these days. Being on a healthy path has changed a lot of things, most particularly my moods (which was the whole point behind changing my diet).

So, who gets to choose if we are worthy? Worthy of what, too? For me, it means worthy of attention, which translates into "people like me" which translates into "I'm important and my existence is not futile."

How about this thought instead? "I am worthy of existence because I was born."

The conception process may seem simple, but it is an incredibly arduous process that you don't see. Atoms and cells, strands of DNA, stardust - it all happened to create you, and here you are. No matter what you may look like, what you may think, or what you do with your time, you are the nebula of so many people, places, microscopic wonders. A nebula that can expand and swallow life, vibrant and lush. You are made up of exactly the same things as everyone else, and you are connected to the whole bloody universe. Any form of life, you could connect yourself to it, if you traced the steps.

So what makes us worthy of attention? The same thing as anyone else - that you have something to say or show that someone else needs to see or hear. That won't be everyone, and good - can you imagine the pressure if 7 billion people liked you? You would have no time to yourself, no sleep, no privacy. Your star would explode.

So, to the people who gain courage, inspiration, and love from what you share, those are the people who you are worthy to.

Still don't feel like you make a lick of difference? Keep in mind that a lot of people who are the most inspiring are the people who overcame their obstacles. The people I look up to are never celebrities - they are survivors.

Breathe into your heart and know that you matter. You can overcome your obstacle, just like anyone.

I watched a video the other day that mentioned how people give up way too easily. That they've "tried everything." Usually that means they've tried less than 5 things. Thomas Edison was brought up - how many times did he try to make light bulbs work? Over 10,000. So stop looking at yourself as a failure, or unworthy, and start looking at yourself as someone who knows a few ways that DON'T work, and keep looking for the way that does.

This blog and project is my experiment on how to make my life and interests come together. How many things have I tried? Not many, really. Not in order to do all the things that I want. I know what doesn't work, though - paring my interests down. Long-term schooling. Conventional methods of living. I'm shaking my fist at those things. Time to try something new.

Here are some resources for you, if you feel like you have nothing to offer, if you feel worthless, or if you feel like your ideas aren't good enough. The most helpful I've found has been Byron Katie. Her simple questions have stuck in my head forever. I have read a LOT of self-help literature, and hers has been the most profound.

The basis of her Work is thus:

Question the belief that you have. In this case it would be, "I am unworthy (of whatever)."

Is it true?
Can you be 100% sure that it is true?
How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
How would you feel...who would you BE...without that thought?

Then you turn the thought around.

You do it three times. So, in this example:

1. I am worthy. 2. (Whatever) is unworthy of me. 3. My thoughts are unworthy.

And then you find the examples of how those are true more than the original belief.

This sort of process is astoundingly helpful because it makes you feel in control of everything that happens to you.

I did this work when I woke up feeling unworthy. Who am I to start up a selfish 7 year project? Who the hell will care what I am doing? There's a zillion motivational/inspirational blogs out there, why would anyone bother with mine?

And you know what? I shouldn't be horribly concerned. The ones who bother will be the ones who I matter to, and those are the people who matter to ME.
I also like that you can use it on any type of situation. To begin with I used this process to help myself heal a badly broken heart, with this book. It has since taken up residence in my brain.
It's most helpful to write it all out at first, but eventually you can just do it in your head.

Here's a link to some free resources.

Worksheets + Resource Materials.

And some videos (these 2 are my favourites):

More videos here.

If you feel unworthy...tell yourself over and over again that you ARE worthy. And if you still don't feel that way...what would make you feel worthy? Do that.
Questioning your thoughts will change your life.

Some more inspiring words, from Danielle LaPorte (my favourite!)

The Declaration of Deserving...Just Because You're Here.

Self-Hatred: Between Sugar-Coated Criticism.

And the post that won me over in the first place:

Your Permission Slip From the Universe.

(Read her archives...brilliant work).

What do you do when you feel unworthy?

I usually:

+ sleep
+ eat way too much (healthy food)
+ read inspiring things
+ do "The Work"
+ write it all out. Spin it with ink into a tapestry of words.
+ go outside
+ tell people how much they mean to me
+ tidy
+ puzzle games

What I don't do:

+ anything that damages myself, physically or mentally

It all will pass. Then it's time to move on and continue to shine.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Enrolling in Passion School: Year One


Today is my 33rd birthday, which means for the next week I am going to transition into my new self-schooling.


This year I am going to focus on writing, but there are a few other things I want to do as well...actually, a lot of things, but I am trying to focus on the most important ones.

I have made myself a chart modeled on a pretty one I discovered this year, and it looks like this:


Basically, I will fill in the squares with colour if I have accomplished my pre-determined goal for the day. It will keep me honest, and show me if I need to step up my work in any of those areas. These are the four things I really want to make into daily habits this year:
1. Writing 2. Raw Food 3. Exercise 4. Meditation

Raw food will be an easy one since I have been doing it for 2.5 years, though I could do it BETTER - I will write out some guidelines for myself (like...instead of cacao/honey/cashew for breakfast, have a green smoothie or some micronutrients instead, like bee pollen).

Exercise will consist of walking, hiking, swimming, hooping, and yoga/pilates - something I have been meaning to do for so long, and with the future purpose of making me strong and limber for my surfing year (when I was previously living in a surfing town and going surfing on a regular basis, my endurance, upper body strength, and flexibility sucked, so I want to be very in shape and nimble when I start again - I did have great paddling skills, though, after a while).

Meditation is something I want to do to center myself when I wake up, and look deep within myself. I have overcome a lot of issues in the last couple of years - at least for the most part. I still have a lot to work on, especially regarding my irritability levels and procrastination. Mostly the former. I constantly work on my patience because it is an important attribute I desire to have. It is not something that comes naturally to me - since changing my diet (which used to be VERY HIGH in sugar) and living with 19+ people in the surf town (Tofino), my patience levels have increased...a LOT.

And of course, writing. I want to do this as a daily practice, and more than just journaling, which I already do every day. I have kept diaries for 21 years and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. For the past year I have kept it up every single day, which I've never done before. Even if it's a short entry, I still do it. There have been times where I go long periods without, and instead wrote in an online journal (which I have done for 10 years), but nothing is like writing for yourself.

I am going to school myself in writing. I have chosen the following as "textbooks" - 2 per month for 2011 (most of these I have owned for years and not read yet):

1. Sin and Syntax - Constance Hale
2. A Passion for Narritive - Jack Hodgins


3. Bird by Bird - Anne Lammot
4. Zen in the Art of Writing - Ray Bradbury


5. The Creative Habit - Twyla Tharp
6. Writing Down the Bones - Natalie Goldberg


7. On Writing - Stephen King
8. If You Want to Write - Brenda Ueland


9. Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life
10. Negotiating With the Dead - Margaret Atwood


11. The Elements of Style - William Strunk + E.B. White
12. The Right to Write - Julia Cameron


13. Writing Life Stories - Bill Roorbach
14. The Artist's Way - Julia Cameron


15. On Writing Well - William Zinsser
16. Becoming a Writer - Dorothea Brande


17. The Writer's Journey - Christopher Vogler
18. The Art of Non-Fiction - Ayn Rand


19: The Hero With a Thousand Faces - Joseph Campbell
20. The War of Art - Steven Pressfield


21. The Art of Fiction - Ayn Rand
22. Word Painting - Rebecca McClanahan


23. Eats, Shoots & Leaves - Lynn Truss
24. The Joy of Writing - Pierre Burton


+ The Renaissance Soul - Margaret Lobenstine
+ The Heroine's Journey - Maureen Murdock
+ Style Statement - Danielle LaPorte
+ Problogger - Darren Rowse

I don't want to assign myself too many books because I find new ones to read all the time (it happens even more than it used to since I've worked in a bookstore for 2 years) and need some freedom, or I know I'll deviate and go on a tangent. As long as I can stick to my original goal most of the time, I'm golden. I do well with structure.

I will also review all of these books!

I've set up my table to be a desk for writing with lots of goodies - all the books I want to read that I currently own, plus some new delicious Moleskines (check out the giant sketchbook one!) I just got myself for Christmas presents.



My goal is to write for at least 2 hours a day. I have an entire book sitting in my head (it has been there for years) and a series idea, too. Both need to be written, so these are mainly what I am going to work on, though I want to branch out and try different styles of writing to broaden my horizons and get a lot of variety in there. Variety is good soul food.

If you know of any other fantastic books or resources, please let me know in the comments!

Monday, December 13, 2010

What This Blog is All About

This is the beginning of a rather long journey I’ve decided upon. It came to me while on a walk one night when I wasn’t particularly trying to come up with any answers to my “problems.”

You see, a lifelong “problem” I have had is that I have too many interests. I’ve always been envious of people who viciously dedicate themselves to one core passion for life, for it seems to get them very far. They never stop, even when there are obstacles, or if people do not listen or see what they do. They do it anyway, because they have to.

I have been this way at times, but my interests wax and wane. They rarely disappear completely, but they may be overshadowed by something new. They are almost ALWAYS overshadowed by something new.

It’s always been an issue because most of the time, despite this hungry brain of mine, I cannot decide on what to focus on...and end up doing nothing at all. I’ll squander my time, or just give all of my attention to reading, instead of doing.
I’ve had many ideas for businesses and careers. I’ve been to college 3 times and ended up losing interest or not taking it further (photography, multimedia, vet assistant). I’ve considered art school, creative writing, zoology, and library sciences. But those take so many years, and so much money...and what if I end up not wanting to do those things, like the others? And I stay in low wage jobs (which do reflect my interests – being books, and raw foods).

So many people in my life have said I need to choose one thing, or just 3 things – and I have tried. And I have been an utter failure at it. I don’t WANT to focus on so few things – I would be miserable.

Recently I have come across a book called “Refuse to Choose” by Barbara Sher. No book I’ve ever found has described me so well – I am what she deems a “Scanner.” I am always on the lookout for new things to learn, new talents to cultivate, and new information to fascinate me.

I don’t have to give this up, as I have realized, but I do want to maintain SOME focus, and decided that going back to school for anything was not worth my time or money. When I did go to school, I realized: 1. I could have taught myself from books , and 2. I could have learned this by volunteering.

I wrote down all the passions that I have had since I was a kid – my MAIN obsessions, the ones that never go away, but might be put on hold due to whatever reasons. I am going to fiercely dedicate a year to each one for the next 7 years. These will be my Majors, in what I am calling Passion School. I will teach myself everything I can possibly teach myself, and if I need outside help, I will get it.
I will also have Minors, but will decide those as I go along. I will have "textbooks" that I read monthly, as well.

The main focuses are going to be the following:

1. Writing
2. Surfing
3. Fine Arts
4. Music
5. Survival/Self-sufficiency
6. Photography
7. Travel

I am starting with writing because it will affect the rest of the project, and it has been my longest interest along with art. Each category contains several aspects and will not be delegated only to a particular year. It will just be my main focus. I will also chart my progress, write a lot about creativity, and hopefully inspire you and find even more inspiration through others.

I will begin each year on my birthday, which is on December 22. This will give me just over a week to transition into a new year, and the hope is that by the end of the seven years, I will have carved out a career for myself. And if not...well then I will have spent 7 years deeply immersed in my passions, and that is amazing.