Uncover the Art of Your Right-Now Life
She used to yell it to me through my television screen at least twice a week:
“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable! Right now, this moment! This is when it counts! When you’re tired and you don’t think you can do it and you want to give up- THIS is when you make change happen!”
It turns out there’s more to learn from Jillian Michaels than how to simply not die during a high intensity cardio session.
Remember when we talked about how sometimes creative work feels impossible? I confessed that I’d gotten to “the hard part” of my project and how I’m learning to sit in that tension instead of struggle against it?
Well I thought “the hard part” was being brave.
Brave enough to step out, brave enough to share that journey with you, and brave enough to be honest about it along the way.
Because all creative work requires bravery.
We know this.
We love to talk about the bravery because it’s noble and grand, but we don’t speak much of the aftermath that almost always follows. The wake of those unsorted and far less noble feelings of confusion, doubt, and disorientation that come after the bravery.
The questions of, “Wait, did I do that right?
Should I be embarrassed right now?
Was that really true and helpful? Did I hit my mark?
Or was it self indulgent and foolish and cringeworthy?
There is a natural ebb and flow to the creative process, but because I am so new to all of it, riding that wave often leaves me feeling a bit seasick.
See, my whole life I operated under the assumption (the lie) that I’m simply not a creative person. I wasn’t even mad about it, really. It was okay. “It just wasn’t my bag, baby.” (Name that movie.)
But in the last couple of years as I’ve woken up to my creative self and begun to pursue my dream of writing, I’ve wrestled long and hard with all the wonky feelings that accompany such a process.
I am DOING THE THING.
I’m bravely entering the creative arena.
I’m boldly claiming my words as my gift, my calling, and my art.
I’m out there leaving my blood, sweat, and tears on the ground.
So why isn’t it getting easier? Wasn’t I supposed to have a thicker skin by now? Why do fear and uncertainty almost always pull me back after a sure step forward? Read More…
If you’re anything like me, then your favorite part of January is the prospect of a fresh new year stretched out before you, full of promise and hope.
And if you’re anything like me, then your least favorite part of January is that it turns into February all too quickly and without incident. Unless you count distractedness and a general sense of overwhelm as “incident.”
And if you’re still anything like me (at this point let’s just go ahead and assume you are, just for the sake of this piece, okay?) then that weighs heavily on you.
The distractedness and overwhelm, I mean.
Because at the end of the day you yearn for simplicity and focus, you just aren’t sure how to stop it from slipping through your fingers.
Finding that inner quiet you crave can be hard enough, but carrying it with you throughout the day is even harder.
The day is loud.
The day is full of to-do lists, commitments to meet, mouths to feed, and places to be.
Meanwhile it’s all set to the fast paced narrative of social media. That constant buzzing in the background; the pings and dings that remind you not only what you’re supposed to be doing, but what everyone else and their Aunt Fay is doing.
As humans living in an Internet era we’re expected to take in and process a huge amount of information at an alarming pace.
Like, an unnatural amount of information.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed. And I don’t mean to feel overwhelmed, I mean to actually be overwhelmed. Read More…
You did it! You made it through January! Before we say another word, go ahead and give yourself a high-five.
Can we all agree that January is one of the wonkiest months of the year?
Is that just me?
The holidays are over and for some some of us that means we’re still barely processing the feelings and experiences that came with them, the bank account is still smarting, the goals and intentions for the new year have been set but it’s too soon to tell which ones we’re actually being successful at, the weather is cold and gray, and some years it all just leaves me feeling a little weird.
On the bright side, I do love me a fresh start, and January is the basically freshest start of all. It’s Day 1 of 365. Full of promise and possibility.
Whichever way you slice it, one thing is for sure- we made it through.
I’m so proud of us.
Before we roll into February I wanted to write you a letter to fill you in on the highs and lows of our month over here.
Not just the highlight reel, the real reel too.
This is the stuff I share with my closest friends over coffee, but since most of you don’t live within a 30 mile radius of me (which is the exact distance I’ve deemed worthy of traveling for food or drink. *see last post regarding chipotle burritos*) I’ll just leave it here for you to read at your leisure.
These letters are a little longer and more personal in nature. I only write them once a month because I value your time and don’t want to waste it, so I choose to keep the blog more focused on encouragement and entertainment the rest of the time. But hey, maybe some of my regular day-to-day experiences will resonate with you, and maybe that will encourage or entertain you too. Who knows?
So let’s lead with the fun stuff, shall we?
They’re Nigerian Dwarfs so they’ll stay small, only growing to be about the size of our dogs.
“And why is the carpet all wet Todd?
I don’t KNOW Margo!” Read More…
So I’ve made a huge, tiny mistake…
I’m hunkered down in a cute little Airbnb in Oregon for a few days of uninterrupted, intensive writing time. ALONE.
Well, almost alone.
I decided to tag along with Amber for the weekend. Which is not some weird, third-person reference by the way- my best friend’s name is actually also Amber. (I know, how kitschy, right?)
She’s here to begin her yoga certification and I’m here to get some serious writing done. And by serious I mean there will be lots of GIFs involved and hopefully one or two morsels of actual creative writing thrown in. And snack breaks. Because priorities.
So I sit down at the desk this morning full of hope and good intentions, open my laptop, and go to plug it into the wall only to realize I’VE LEFT MY CHARGER AT HOME.
Classic Salhus. 🤦🏼♀️
I did manage to bring my iPad as backup, but failed to remember the keyboard that goes with it.
Can you tell it’s my first writing getaway? (Don’t answer that.)
So I’m sitting here writing to you because, well, for starters I needed a break from book proposal stuff, and for enders, I just love you guys so hard and I needed some of our good ol’ fashioned banter.
Can I make a confession?
Writing to you here is my favorite kind of writing.
Sometimes when I’m having a hard time knowing where to start, what to write about, or just feeling stuck in general, I just sit down and start typing to you. I don’t know why, but I feel safe with you guys, like I don’t have to filter myself or try to hard. I feel laid back and easy with you, like we’re sitting on a couch with a glass of wine just catching up on our things.
So tell me your things, dear friends. Read More…
~ Guest Post by Abi Partridge ~
As I write this I am in the middle of a month where I have committed to write every day on simple creativity. This daily challenge, is motivating me to write because I can sit around thinking that I don’t have something to say, but just the act of putting fingers to keyboard is enough to prompt me to write something. To write something, anything, and most of it – some of it- will be helpful, encouraging to someone else – I hope! But it’s not easy, almost every day I battle with getting something down in words, and the truth of it is that I know some of it will resonate, some of it will hit blank ears. There may be some gems, there will be some duff posts. There will be some words that help someone, some that may hinder. But it is a process and I know that I will learn more about myself and my reader through putting the words out there. I write because I can’t not write, and I write that it may help someone else, because I can’t only write to get my words out. I write because my heart is to share what I know because I know we read to know we are not alone.
I know some of you think: “it’s all right for you” – “you have days of time with your children in school, you don’t have a job, you have time and space to be creative”. How do I know this? Because I’ve thought it too. I’ve done comparison and thoughts of “it’s all right for them but… I couldn’t, I can’t.” But do you want to know a secret? It’s not easy for me either. I do have children in school but if I don’t have the writing done by the time they are home then I lose out on the computer, my eldest son has an important school year and usually needs the laptop for homework. My husband also is currently between jobs and needs our only laptop for job applications and freelance work. I am also juggling applying for jobs – (writing doesn’t pay the bills yet), the stress of a life-changing situation that has caused much heartache, disappointment and doubt, and a home that we are never sure quite how long we are to be in it.
Behind every story, every creative’s work, there is a life going on. Read More…
Some days having a dream to pursue feels dreamy. But some days it’s like an elephant is standing on your chest; you feel a lot of pressure and you’re acutely aware that you’re dealing with something much bigger than yourself.
Can I be honest? Today was one of those days. I woke up and before I even opened my eyes I remembered that I’m carrying around a dream. A dream that suddenly feels as is if it weighs a thousand pounds.
I’ve tried putting it down, I’ve tried ignoring it, and I’ve tried shouldering it alone only to realize two steps further that I’m exhausted and not cut out for this nonsense because I’d definitely rather be watching Netflix.
As you might imagine, none of these tactics actually worked, so here I am with my book dream. We’re no longer strangers, startled to find each other there every time we turn around, but we still havent quite figured out how to co-exist, either.
We’re sort of just chillin’ here together, except nothing is chill and The Book Dream and I are either madly in love or completely at odds, depending on the day.
It’s all very dramatic, you see. Read More…
How are you, even?
I’ve been thinking about you guys a lot lately- all you moms (and dads!), creatives, and dreamers. I’ve been wondering how it’s going for you. Summer, I mean.
It’s a tricky time, amiright? We want to slow down with our kids, we want to speed up with our work, we want to remember to be present along the way. It can get a little dicey when all the kids-at-home and the work-at-home priorities “cross mojonize” for an entire season. (Bonus points if you can name that☝🏼 movie reference).
Dude, I get it.
I get it “big time.” (Double bonus points if you can name that movie reference. HINT: Terrible Jamaican accent.)
Anyway, last time I wrote you, we talked a lot about this middle place between motherhood and creative work. I confessed that I worry a lot about whether I’m getting it right. We also talked about rest as an act of resistance.
Ever since I came across those words of Sarah Bessey’s:
– Rest… “as an act of resistance” –
I haven’t been able to shake them. So I’ve embraced them.
I’ve been resting.
I’ve been having a relatively unplugged, undocumented summer… and can I tell you something? It’s been revolutionary. I’ve been off my computer and away from my phone more than I have in a long time. I’ve been living moments with my people and capturing them in memory only. And you know what? The world keeps spinning. In a way, it even feels a little brighter and more spacious.
And besides, does the internet really need to know that I went paddle boarding or rode a horse for the first time? Do they really need to hear about that or see pictures? (Answer: No, because it’s decidedly not pretty.)
Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those conversations about how terrible social media is and how we should all post less in revolt… Because first of all- YAWN. And second of all, I honestly love social media and I think it’s a fun, useful tool.
No, this is one of those conversations where we make room for the possibility that it’s allowed, it’s okay, and it’s even good, to let ourselves off the hook every now and then. To rest and be a real person for a while. It’s okay to get off the carousel ride and go get some cotton candy and lie in the grass looking at the cloud formations with our kids. The ride will still be there. It’ll still be going round and round and you can hop right back on when you’ve gotten your bearings again.
Rest needs a full stop and it’s okay to take it.
I don’t know… Maybe this is bad advice?
I can’t be sure. I mean, deadlines and contracts and appointments are all real things that can’t be ignored just because we want off the ride at the moment. I guess we have to account for that.
All I know is that rest has been absolutely life giving for me at this juncture. For me, this juncture looks like the pause between two notes. It’s a quick refuel halfway through the marathon of my creative project. (Okay fine, if a marathon is 26.22 miles then I’m probably only like 2.8 miles in, which I’m pretty sure is technically less than half. Whatever. I don’t know. I’m bad at math.) The point is, I just googled how many miles a marathon is, so obviously things are getting serious between us because I fact checked, and I told you the real truth of how far along I am.
No wait- the point is, I’ve been resting hard over here and loving it, but also thinking about you often. I wonder what your summer has been like. Has it been full of rest? Has it been full of work? Has it been full of both? If so, I’d love to hear how you’re balancing it. What’s working for you? What’s not?
If it has been full of rest, then please share! What are you reading? Watching? Listening to? Learning? Feeling? Leave a comment, tell me your things!
Tag, you’re it. 😎
*this post was sent from my computer and my heart*
P.S. Because I hate to leave you hanging, the movie references were:
I Love You Man
But you knew that already, right?
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about blooming.
I know, how deep, right?
Thinking about blooming in the springtime?
Call someone call Oprah! Tell her to get out the overstuffed chairs and place them in the forest! It’s time to sit down and talk about how deep and unique I am for having a revelation basic to the human existence! (Btw, I never planned on referencing Oprah so much in my writing. It just happens sometimes so I’m rolling with it.)
Anyway, blooming- I’ve been thinking a lot about it.
Which is sort of new, because I don’t exactly have a green thumb- In fact, I’ve killed every plant that I’ve ever owned. Every single one. Even the succulents on my front porch, which I assumed were basically indestructible. After 15 years of attempting to have greenery in my home, the plant-killing became too much for my conscience to bear so I finally gave up.
I’ve never even been one to notice flowers, much less learn their names, how to care for them, or appreciate their unique beauty. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not some kind of cold, cynical monster who landscapes her front yard with exposed aggregate instead of grass, I guess you could say I’ve just never exactly stopped to smell the roses.
Last week flowers made me cry.
They weren’t even flowers that someone picked or bought or presented me with. They were just out in the wild. And by “the wild”, I mean that one island of trees in the middle of the parking lot at my kid’s elementary school; the one that runs the length of the carpool lane.
There were cherry blossom trees in full bloom there, in the middle of all that asphalt, bursting with so many pink petals that they covered the entire surface of the ground below.
It probably feels like I’m about to ramp up here into some metaphor about life springing up out of dead places or something, but that’s actually not where I’m headed. (Although, maybe it should be a post for another day? ??♀️Please mark yes or no and put in locker #7.) Read More…
Well folks, can you believe we’re already halfway through January?
^ Apparently I like to start off my blog posts by highlighting the obvious. It really helps me get those creative juices flowing, you know?
I love it and I hate it.
January is the best because it is the freshest of all the fresh starts. Lord knows I love a clean slate. Regardless of whether it’s a new workout program, a writing project, or that whole ‘meal planning’ thing I keep hearing so much about (what sorcery is this?), I’m the queen of “I’ll start on Monday”, or “Next month”, or “Tomorrow. Definitely tomorrow.”
So the allure of a whole new year, stretched out before me, full of promise and good intention is more than enough to make my organizational little heart go pitter patter.
On the other hand, January is also kind of the worst. The weather is dreary, the days are short, the magic of the holidays has faded, and our bank accounts are still recalibrating from Christmas. Summer is a distant mirage, Spring hasn’t sprung yet, and we find ourselves in that weird, cold, grayish area of the year where we feel like we have a lot to do but not a lot of motivation to do it.
Or is that just me?
Don’t answer that.
Anyway, I can’t think of any better cure for the January Blues than a rousing game of Let’s Play Oprah.
If you’re new around here, this is a series we do once a month, where I share with you guys 3 of my most “Favorite Things” at the moment, and then at the end of the month I give away one of those things! To you guys! Because why not?
This series is purely for fun, and my absolute favorite part of the whole thing has been getting to know you all on a much more personal level. (Besides sending prizes in the mail. I really love that part too.)
The amount of interaction from you guys on these posts has been a completely unexpected delight. It turns out that you love to dish about your favorite things and chase the fun just as much as I do. So please keep joining in and telling me all of YOUR favorite things either by commenting on this post, emailing me back, or by sharing/commenting on social media using the hashtag #letsplayoprah.
Okay, are you guys ready? Because it’s time.
Let’s Play Oprah!
Here are my Top 3 Favorite Things this month: Read More…