Autumn’s Inspiration

DSC01008-3I started this blog years ago with the intention of fueling my own undernourished spirit. Job after job of soul crushing work depleted me. This blog has been life giving and worth every ounce of time I put in it. It’s led to connections, jobs, and podcast interviews. But more importantly, it pushed me to stop living in the lines and start shaking things up a bit.

And then one kid came. Then, another. My freelance writing career took off. I began to live the dream instead of just dreaming about staring out my window typing on a Mac laptop like Carrie Bradshaw.

But somewhere along the way I started to sacrifice my dreams a little. I became the mom that I saw everywhere. The mom who put her kids first and everyone suffered as a result.

I saw author Wes Moore on Super Soul Sunday, which you can view here, this past weekend and was reminded of all the magical, mystical, whimsical dreams I had for myself. In this wise sentence, he stirred something in me:

“I knew it was incredibly risky to go out, but I think I had to make a very conscious decision that I would rather flirt with failure than never dance with my joy.”

How many of us live just getting by because we were taught that there was a single equation for happiness and any diversion would ruin us, put us on the streets, and shame us for life?

Maybe those impediments are placed so we can grow into the fierce people we were meant to become. But if we use it as excuses to stay small and safe, we’re wasting space in the world. We’re wasting the unique, quirky, beautifully messy life we were given. We were given it all for a reason. When we don’t use it to heal others, speak, write, create, we are wasting it all.

I don’t know what my next chapter holds. I know that I will continue to write, make an impact, and pursue what’s scary. I know that I won’t give up on my dreams. The rest is all up to faith.

People let’s spend our energies fueling our spirit and investing in our purpose. Let’s stop overworrying, overjudging and overgossiping! Use it instead to create what you’ve always wanted to do. Even if it’s not perfect right now. Even if it’s not the greatest thing in the world. Do it. Do it because you were meant to do more than live in the lines.

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5 Habits of Successful People You Know

biker

You’re no different from me. You know uber successful people and ones that only talk about success. If you’ve spent any time studying them, you’ll have discovered a few interesting ingredients that separates the two. In order to make all your dreams come true in 2016, I think it’s pertinent to understand the difference. Here are a few ways you can leave the dreamers behind and begin living the life of your more successful friends.

  1. Fear

Everyone experiences fear. The difference is it’s not a deterrent for successful people. Less successful people will see fear as an indication they shouldn’t move forward. They stop even before they’ve entered the gate.

2. Failure

Failure is a necessary part of success. No successful person has gotten to where they are without a few epic failures. It’s how you learn. It’s how you grow. It’s how you get better. This is often the step that propels an unsuccessful person towards success.

3. Belief

Successful people believe that they will eventually get there. They may have experienced the above two, but this third tenet is what keeps them going. I’ve heard people say, “I didn’t know how I would do it. But I knew I’d get there one day.” And they did.

4. Work

It takes brutal rolling up your sleeves work to get what you want. You may love it. It may excite you. But there will come a time when your big dream will require some heavy duty effort. Elizabeth Gilbert calls this the, “Shit sandwich.” When you meet the not so fun part of what you want to do (e.g. paperwork, cold calling, networking events) and throw in the towel, it probably means you’re not serious about what you’re trying to do. Everything good takes hard work. If you’re willing to put in the effort, you will get there eventually.

5. Perseverance

I’m embarrassed to admit it now, but last year my goal was to publish my first children’s book. This is great and all. But just doing the above four were not enough. Patience, shaping my work so it was the best it can be and continuing despite ongoing rejections were key. All the successful entrepreneurs I know persevere despite a rocky economy, uncertainty and fear. There will always be an excuse to not do something. Deciding to do it anyway is what keeps them at the top.

What successful qualities have you witnessed in someone you admire? What qualities have helped you soar and grow?

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5 Ways to Move Toward Inspiration

{Etsy print by SpoiledRoyalStudios}

{Etsy print by SpoiledRoyalStudios}

Not many people realize it. But inspiration takes work. If you’re feeling uninspired, read these top 10 ways you can lift your spirit, nourish your soul and dig into what really matters. You may find it’s surprisingly easy to get your inspiration on. Jump in and be inspired!

1) Move your nose.

One way to get inspired is to tickle your senses. Smell is a powerful memory keeper and maker. A whiff of suntan lotion can take me back to the beach while the smell of plumerias returns me to my youth.

Try it: Visit a tea shop and breathe in the various subtle scents. Linger at a perfume counter. Revisit an old relationship through a past fragrance. Before you eat a meal, close your eyes and inhale deeply.

2) Move your toes.

Thank you Jack Johnson and Colbie Caillat for bringing attention to this often neglected part of our bodies. Toes are fun, playful, and can inspire us if we let it.

Try it: Wiggle out of your shoes for once and walk barefoot at home or outdoors. Feel the dirt or sand in between them. Get a pedicure to celebrate them.

Blue toes

*UpDate – Yes my foot looks like a hand. It’s pretty freaky actually! But try not to think about that. I really wanted to show you my bold new blue nail polish. I had fun with this one and for a good cause too. The Hoala spa at Ala Moana did a spa-a-thon tonight and participated in the cut-a-thon a few weeks ago. All the proceeds to these pampering services went to the local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, which helps improve water quality on the island of Oahu.

3) Move your ears.

We take our hearing for granted. Traffic, ear buds, the news, all can desensitize us to the beauty of sound.

Try it: Go on a sound fast. Shut off your television and computer. Turn off your smart phone. Leave your e-reader on your nightstand. The best thing I ever did for myself was go on a silent retreat. It was so quiet, the frogs outside appeared to be croaking in stereo sound. If you can’t go away on a formal retreat, create a silent weekend, day, hour or even a moment to let your ears fast.

4) Move your mind.

Puzzles have been shown to prevent memory loss. But if it’s not your thing, don’t do it. There are other ways to sharpen the mind and welcome inspiration.

Try it: Take that class that you’ve always wanted to try. Be bold. Be courageous! Remember what it was like to be a babe when everything was new. Do something that would make your friend look at you in awe and say, “You! You did that?!”

5) Move your body.

Dance, play, build, create. Do something that involves your entire body. Shake off what’s bothering you. Loosen what’s tight.

Try it: Get a massage. Take a dance class. Do tai chi at home. Try yoga. The more ridiculous you feel, the better. You’re not trying to win an award. You’re trying to release the fears attached to making a fool of yourself. You’re trying to let openness in. Move your body and you will create more flow and zeal in your life.

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Forcing Inspiration

{Etsy print by LoriPlylerArt}

{Etsy print by LoriPlylerArt}

Inspiration often sits at the edge, teetering between busy-isease (sickness of modern times) and sweatpants wearing days.

Many artists would debunk the myth that creativity is something that can’t be worked, talked into, argued into existence.

Maybe I’m a strange writer.

I believe inspiration cannot be forced.

It can be coerced out of its shell.

It can be lured like a wagging rattle in front of a babe.

It can be tempted with sweet treats like good reads, lying around and being unproductive.

Inspiration does not respond at gunpoint.

It does not like to be shouted at like an old school teacher banging her ruler atop a wooden desk.

But it will come, if you let it.

If you schedule it in, as time spent watching the sunrise and set.

If you be still like the trees before a storm.

If you’re so quiet you can hear the sound of a page turning.

If you stare out a window and have enough patience to watch as the clouds disappear into the blue sky.

There she will find you

Calm,

ready,

impatient,

but grateful for her presence

at last.

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Love on a Monday

I’ve been busy writing these past few months. Business is booming, which is always a good thing. Look for my articles in Go Kapolei and the Star-Advertiser in the next several weeks. I’m also [*crossing my fingers] working on a few other magazines, an essay and what I hope to be a published fiction story one day. Now that I put it out there, you need to hold me to it!

In the meantime, I’ve realized the importance of prioritizing play, which explains this…

You are so loved

I know everybody has their own version and mine’s is a little on the childish scrawl version. But painting is so soothing and love? Well it’s a much needed reminder these days that it’s the most important thing.

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Instant Joy

One of my favorite things to do besides write is create inspiring photo slideshows. It’s always something I wanted to pursue. But sadly it hasn’t been a priority.

This year I want to devote more time to it. In the meantime, here’s one I did in 2010 on living an inspiring life. Feel free to pass the inspiration on:

How to Live an Inspiring Life from BRANDI-ANN UYEMURA on Vimeo.

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Follow Your Obsession

{Joy pillow cover by LovesParisStudio}

{Joy pillow cover by LovesParisStudio}

I naturally have an obsessive personality. It started when I was a kid. I couldn’t stop asking questions. Unfortunately for my mom, I didn’t stop asking even if it was the middle of the night. This led me to do fairly well in school and in my professional life. It did not bode so well personally, however. (I admittedly spend too much time on the internet googling potential illnesses, for example.) Nor did it fair well when I didn’t have something concrete to focus my energy on.

That may be you too. If you’ve got a tendency to pour into a subject as if it could save your life, you’re also probably pretty creative. I learned early on that while it was a blessing to be so passionate about something, if I didn’t pay attention to what was really calling me, it could also be a curse.

If you want to get on the “right” path toward your dreams, you need to be inspired. And you need to follow what calls you, what inspires you and what you’re truly obsessed about.

If you find that you’re thumbing through gossip magazines, surfing the web for every physical symptom you have or spending more time reading other people’s blogs than working on you’re own, you’re probably off-track.

This might be the wake up call you need.

Maybe you’re ventured too far from your dream of being a writer, an artist or an entrepreneur. Instead of expressing your creativity, instead of working on your goals, you got scared, burnt out or lost your focus. Now’s the time to get back to it.

One of the biggest clues that’ll help you figure out your true purpose is to observe when you feel happiest, most at peace and filled with joy. For me, it’s reading through catalogs. I pour over copy the way some people read through novels. I also love watching reality TV shows that show people who are positive and inspiring. These little bread crumbs have shown me that copywriting and inspirational writing are my true passion. And online shopping and DIY medical diagnosis? Not so much. Just ways to temporarily sideswipe me from my dreams.

What about you? What fills your life with joy? How are you incorporating them into your every day life?

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