Category Archives: Journal Entries

62 Questions – Part Seven – Negative Self Talk

Standard

Long time, no blog! Part seven yields no huge insights into my psyche upon initial examination. I’ll check back in if anything occurs later on!

I’m going to the mountains with my family this weekend. Can’t wait! Much love to you and yours.

-Stacey

ps. I use exclamation points indiscriminately. I am aware of this. In my defense, I am overly emphatic in verbal communication as well.


I am working through Life Literacy Lab’s 62 power questions to reconnect to yourself. Let me know if you’re ready to take the challenge with me. I’d love to have a buddy!

    1.  What are you really bad at?

      Following through on my plans.

    2. Who would you like to forgive and forget?

      Can’t think of any outstanding grudges off hand…
    3. Do you often hear your inner voice? What does it usually tell you?

      Yes, I often do! It’s usually positive, but often veers into “OMG YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO DO PANIC PANIC PANIC!” territory. Still some work to do in the negative self-talk arena. If I wouldn’t say it to one of my friends, I try not to think it about myself!

    4. When was the last time you cried without anyone seeing you? And why?

      I cried in my car because I was stressed out.

    5. What do you want people you meet for the first time to think about you?

      I want people to think I am interesting, intelligent and genuinely listening to what they have to say!

Part Six
Part Five
Part Four
Part Three
Part Two
Part One

62 Questions – Part Six – Princess Leia and the Phallus

Standard

I am working through Life Literacy Lab’s 62 power questions to reconnect to yourself. Let me know if you’re ready to take the challenge with me. I’d love to have a buddy!

  1.  What are you grateful for?

    I am grateful for the opportunity to learn every day. For a body that gets me where I need to go, and senses that allow me to experience the world. For food to sustain me and drink to slake my thirst. For the opportunity to give and receive love. For the ability to choose. For books, and magical used book stores. For quiet. For the robin eating berries outside our window this morning.

  2. What time of the day do you feel the most energetic? And what do you usually do in those moments?

    Early in the morning or very, very late at night. Is it possible to be a morning person and an insomniac at the same time? My muse is a fickle mistress… I usually end up writing. Sometimes I paint.
  3. If you knew you had only one week to live, how and with whom would you spend it?

    With my family, in a huge cabin in Lake Tahoe or on the Mendocino coast, with easy access to fine food and wine. Reading, playing games, hiking, bird watching, swimming, singing and talking late into the night.

  4. Why do you think your most favorite film touches you so deeply?

    Choosing a “most favorite” anything is nearly impossible for me. West Side Story and Moulin Rouge are both standing out at the moment. Apparently I am really into watching inevitable tragedy unfold.

    My favorite moments both occur after the protagonist’s death. Maria’s “…because now I have hate” monologue that leads into the Sharks and the Jets teaming up to carry Tony’s body. Oh, and when they sing There’s a Place For Us as he’s dying. ACK. In Moulin Rouge, when the curtain comes down and Satine is dying, and the audience is going crazy w/applause. They have no idea that she’s dying behind the curtain.  In summary: I really like over-dramatic death scenes. What the heck does that mean??

  5. If you could be a fictional character from a movie or a novel, who would you want to be? Why?

    From a movie, Princess Leia, bar none, for the following reasons:

    1. She kicks ass.
    2. She gets into scrapes, but she is always looking for a way of escape. She doesn’t flip out, she watches and waits. She’s ready for the opportunity.
    3. She has really long hair.

    From a novel, Hester Prynne. No kidding. I think she’s one of the most interesting characters in American Lit–and doing a feminist reading of The Scarlet Letter is super fun! One of my best papers in school was entitled “Hester’s Needle,” in which I argued that Hester/her needle was the predominate phallic figure in the novel. She’s always described as being hard/penetrating her environment, and she ends up covering the town in her embroidery. Dimmesdale, to contrast, is described as being soft and “tremulous” CONSTANTLY. There’s more to the argument, but it was pretty cool.

    Yes, English majors are often sex-obsessed. Why do you ask?

 

 

 

Part Five
Part Four
Part Three
Part Two
Part One

62 Questions – Part Five

Standard

I am working through Life Literacy Lab’s 62 power questions to reconnect to yourself. Let me know if you’re ready to take the challenge with me. I’d love to have a buddy!

  1.  What worries you the most when you think about your future?

    I worry that we will delay having kids until it is too late. I worry that I will die with the music still in me.

  2. What really sucks in your life? Who has the power to change it?

    Our apartments sucks! It’s too small, messy and super cluttered.  But guess what? I have the power to change it. And I’m working on it. Huzzah!
  3. What is your life really about? What is your purpose in life?

    I want my life to be about experiencing as much as I can. Taking pleasure in the small things. Appreciating the beauty that is around me every day. My life’s purpose is discovering my life’s purpose.

  4. What fear could wake you in the middle of the night?

    Hmm. I have night terrors about things in the window or the doorway. They are terrifying–and I always wake Adam up.

    “ARG! There’s a spider on the ceiling.”

    “No, there isn’t.”

    “Yes there is! I’m not dreaming. It’s right…” Stare at ceiling while I wake up and realize that I was, in fact, dreaming. Apologize to Adam, but he’s already fallen back asleep.

    I guess the underlying fear there is an invasion of the home-space?

  5. What joy could wake you in the middle of the night?

    The call of nature! Wait… that actually means something else, but it’s funny, so I’m going to leave it there–especially because that could ALSO wake me up in the middle of the night. When we are camping, or vacationing near the beach I always wake up at odd hours and just want to sit outside and soak up the sights and sounds. If I know I’m going on a hike, I will wake up every hour on the hour to see if it’s time to put my shoes on and go. 

Part Four
Part Three
Part Two
Part One

62 Questions – Part Four

Standard

I am working through Life Literacy Lab’s 62 power questions to reconnect to yourself. Let me know if you’re ready to take the challenge with me. I’d love to have a buddy!

Part four, and this is starting to get a little bit uncomfortable. But, guess what? They are called growing pains for a reason.

  1. What was that thing you never tried because you were afraid of failure?

    Auditioning for MFA programs and/or applying to PhD programs. See a trend?

  2. What was your greatest disappointment in life?

    I don’t really think about things that way

  3. As a kid, what did you dream of becoming when you grew up?

    A teacher, a writer, an actress, or whatever cool job I had just seen a movie about. (Lawyer after Pelican Brief, etc.)

  4. What are you really good at?

    Encouraging people. Sharing enthusiasm. Acting. Cooking. Planning vacations. Writing. Brainstorming. Singing. Clarifying. Appreciating beauty (Any ideas on how I can monetize that one??).

  5. What can you do better??

    Make productive choices. Be realistic about what I can get done in 24 hours & following through. Call/text/email people back in a timely fashion, or at all. Clean the damn house. Stay connected to friends and loved ones.

Why is it so much easier to come up with the “things you can do better” than the “things you are really good at”?

Part Three
Part Two
Part One

62 Questions – Part Three

Standard

I am working through Life Literacy Lab’s 62 power questions to reconnect to yourself. Let me know if you’re ready to take the challenge with me. I’d love to have a buddy!

  1. What is the way you often sabotage yourself?

    Procrastination.

  2. Who would you like to please the most?

    My sweetie.

  3. What do you think a stranger’s first impression of you would be?

    Oh, what a weird question. Someone recently describe me as “alarmingly perky.” Let’s go with friendly, but scattered.

  4. What recurring dream do you have? What do you think is the message your subconscious is sending you through that dream?

    I don’t have recurring dreams in the classic sense, but the same scenario plays out frequently. I revisit an old classroom or school and something is different. People don’t remember me, or my desk is gone, or the classroom has changed dramatically. Often I’m visiting the stage and backstage area of my school in Sacramento or at Cal. I first had this dream in fourth grade, and I was revisiting my third grade classroom. I was super dramatic and walked into the classroom crying, holding a purse. They find a chair for me and I sit and try to collect myself as the lesson goes on.

    Perhaps it is a warning about nostalgia? I want to revisit certain stages, but know deep-down that they no longer exist.

  5. What would you try now if you were sure you wouldn’t fail?

    I have always struggled with this question. It seems to beg for a huge answer, like “I would move to New York and become a star on Broadway.” But I don’t really want that. So instead of trying to manufacture a big thing, I’ll focus on a smaller topic. I suppose I would sing in front of people with my real voice. It’s the only thing where fear of failure completely immobilizes me. Well, not completely. It’s complicated. I can do it, especially if it’s improvised singing (speaking of, I have two shows coming up! Long-form (no singing) on 9/3 and short form (with singing!) on 9/9!), but if I am doing a recital or audition–or even karaoke for goodness sake–my technique goes out the window and my sound suffers. I’m afraid to sing with my real voice.

Part Two
Part One

62 Questions – Part Two

Standard

I am working through Life Literacy Lab’s 62 power questions to reconnect to yourself. Let me know if you’re ready to take the challenge with me. I’d love to have a buddy!

  1. If you could change your name, what would your new name be?

    Well, I actually really like my name. If I had to change it, I guess Roxanne. But that is one of my baby names so DON”T STEAL IT! *giving you side-eye right now*

  2. What color dominates your wardrobe? How do you feel when you wear that color? Why?

    *runs to closet to check* I don’t really have a dominating color, but I wear a lot of black. It is dramatic, but also flexible. I feel sophisticated when I wear it. Until I notice that it’s covered in cat hair, which happens on a semi-regular basis. So yes, I feel sophisticated but it also reminds me not to take myself too seriously.

  3. Which song do you sing only when you’re alone? What memory does it bring back?

    Oh goodness. I am an indiscriminate singer so this is a tough one for me. I guess On My Own from Les Miz. I remember crying like an idiot at the stage door after I saw it for the first time. I actually started crying before the curtain went up. I’m weird.

  4. Whom do you secretly envy? Why?

    I secretly envy people with minimalistic homes.

  5. What do you really want? But really…

    I want to fully live the life I have.

62 Questions – Part One

How do I find my passion?

Standard

The feeling of disconnection from ones “true self” is a favorite topic of philosophers, armchair psychoanalysts and navel-gazers alike. And, not surprisingly, the rift between who we are and who we want to be seems to be growing in our age of hyper-connectivity. We are constantly plugged into the internet, social networks, Netflix streaming, texts from friends and coworkers, etc. etc. etc. All of this ‘noise’ (which is fun, don’t get me wrong!) can serve as a distraction from life’s deeper questions: Who am I? What is my purpose? What do I want? After all, we don’t have time to pursue our passions if we’re obsessively refreshing our Facebook feeds and putting out fires at work! The cultivation of passion and connection to self require time for silence and reflection–precious commodities in today’s culture.

But what happens when you take the time to reconnect to your heart’s desire, to pursue your calling or to follow your passion and you realize the devastating truth: You don’t remember what it is. You have a vague memory, some scribbled notes in a journal, but it all seems so distant. If you are here right now, don’t despair. You are not alone.

My friend Sarah introduced me to Life Literacy Labs a while back by doing one of C.A.’s inspired exercises on this very topic.  C.A. has identified 62 power questions to reconnect to yourself. Sarah’s courage in answering these questions in a public forum was absolutely inspiring–and I am going to follow suit!

I plan to tackle 5-10 questions per entry. Has anyone else worked through this list? Please let me know how it went for you.

  1. What is that thing that no one, not even your partner, your mother or your best friend, knows about you?

    I swear like a sailor when I drive by myself. I can go from zero to batshit angry in no time flat. This is especially weird because I give my sweetie such a hard time when he gets frustrated while driving, but my road rage is SO much worse. :-/ Sorry, sweetie!

  2.  What would make you feel embarrassed in public?

    Making a mistake, especially in front of a large group. (Hello, perfectionism!)

  3. What do you think is your biggest flaw? What have you done about it?

    Indecision. I’ve accepted it as part of my personality, and something that I need to be aware of. I let my logical brain spin itself out making pro and con lists, and then I try to go with my gut.

    Edited to add: Hmm. After thinking it over, I think my indecision is actually a symptom of my perfectionism. I’m indecisive because I am terrified of making the wrong choice.  I’ve been working on giving myself permission to make mistakes, and recognizing that there’s no such thing as “perfect.”

    This blog is a big part of mortifying my perfectionism. It has stifled my voice for far too long…

  4. What is your biggest strength? How did you develop it?

    My biggest strengths are empathy/acceptance. I try to understand where other people are coming from, even if their behavior seems inexplicable from the outside!   

  5. What do you have to put up with in your life? How long have you been tolerating it?

    I put up with a messy/disorganized living environment. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember.

How to be present

Standard

10 Quotes about living in the present moment

1. The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. –Buddha

2. Each moment is a chance for us to make peace with the world, to make peace possible for the world, to make happiness possible for the world. –Thich Nhat Hanh

3. Be still, and know that I am God. –Psalm 46:10

4. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. –Jesus (Matthew 6:34 Message Translation)

5. Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness. –James Thurber

6. Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee. –Montaigne

7. I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It’s amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor. –D.H. Lawrence

8. Living in the present moment creates the experience of eternity. –Deepak Chopra

9. Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. –Lao Tzu

10. You can experience, on a surface level, happiness and unhappiness, but they are minor movements on the surface of your being. I compare this to lighting a candle in a dark room. The candle is lit, and then suddenly the candle is extinguished. That makes a big difference in a dark room.

But if you open the shutters and let the sunlight stream into the room, the effect of the candle, lit or unlit, happiness or unhappiness, makes little difference. In the absence of the sunlight your happiness will appear extreme, as if your ego has triumphed over the universe, but you are at the mercy of the wind of phenomena, and when, as it will, unhappiness returns, the candle flame dies and you are in the depths of darkness.

Allow the sunlight into the room by saying “Yes” to the present moment. If you go deep into the Now, there is always peace and joy there. It doesn’t depend on the ups and downs of object consciousness. The joy of the present moment is the sunlight that fills your life. The ups and downs of object consciousness are the flames of the candle. –Eckhart Tolle

Overcoming Procrastination: The Tools

Standard

Be gentle to yourself. Unless you’re gentle to yourself, no method or technique will work for you. — C.A. Kobu

It’s been with me as long as I can remember. The desire to start anew, organized, focused. To finally achieve my potential. The start of every new school year was full of new binders and planners and hopes and dreams. “This semester, I will stay organized. I will not complete papers the night before (or the morning) they are due. I will set deadlines for myself.  I will… I will… I will…”

But it never really happened. I still got great grades, most of the time. But I felt like it was a constant struggle. I could only produce when I was in “the zone,” and I had no way to control when the muse would strike. After graduation, things got worse. Instead of concrete deadlines, I was faced with the squidginess of the real world. And I realized that instead of getting a F if I didn’t turn something in, people would often cut me slack. Extend deadlines. And I abused it. Oh lord, did I abuse it.  And I castigated myself. I tried all sorts of organization and motivation systems. “Muse be damned, I’m getting it done!!” I was hard on myself. And it pushed me farther from any semblance of productivity.

I am learning that motivation isn’t a one size fits all scenario.  The tricks that can catapult one person into “the zone” will completely immobilize another. Our different learning styles, different personalities and different values combine to create highly specific and beautiful individuals–doesn’t it make sense that our approach to work, organization and motivation should be individualized as well?

The creative process isn’t just about widgets and time-lines–we do need to leave space for the muse. It isn’t only allowed, it’s essential! Charlie of Productive Flourishing  voices this very well:

“Creative people approach their work differently. Most of us don’t work 8-5, and we don’t have projects that we can plan to get done during the same times each day. The limiting factor for us is not the amount of time we have available, but rather the type of time we have available.”

We all work differently. So if you struggle with procrastination, or feeling blocked in your projects, take heart! You are not alone. You could be working in a system that isn’t designed for you. Try other planners. Restart your project. Don’t be afraid to get out your markers and draw a picture about how that *expletive* presentation you have to finish by Monday is making you feel.

Download Creative Menthol from Life Literacy Labs and try one of C.A. Kobu’s exercises to get “unstuck.” For the love of Pete, stop using Outlook to organize your task list! Try one of Charlie’s free planners. It is your right to figure out a system that works for YOU, even if it looks like madness or wasted time to an outsider. Give yourself permission to try a different approach. To fail. To refine your process and try again.

You are worth it. Your ideas are worth it.

Desiderata

Standard

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

– Max Ehrmann

Read more about the history of this poem.

Our Deepest Fear

Standard

Be free today. Be yourself. – Stacey

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?”
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

– Marianne Williamson

 

Critic

Standard

My inner critic is a defense mechanism. Self-created. A shield to protect my optimism and hope and faith from a world that seems too cool to endure. Irony and insincerity rule the day, and made me ashamed of my own hopes–my own small voice.

Yet, the cruelty of the world is formed by a collection of inner critics–cynics, all fighting to “protect” ourselves. We mock those who dare to expose the soft underbelly of a nonsensical dream–those who are “off-beat” as a method of group control. “If I am not going to let my light shine, I will viciously attack anyone who dares operate from a place of freedom. If I can’t be different, you can’t be different either.” And, thus chastised by the group delusion, another poor soul adopts the mask of the cynic and trains their soft mouth into a sneer.

Yet the danger, the huge danger is that the mask is hard to remove. We start bringing our critical or cynical protection into areas that were formerly safe for us. Areas that were unpolluted. And suddenly the true self becomes harder to find. And the dreams seem more impossible than ever.

I am trying to be aware of the cynical voices in my life, including myself.