How Much of an Impact Do You Really Have in the World?

Your True Purpose

There will come a time when you doubt your influence and significance in life. Maybe in your twenties you thought you were invincible and believed that you had the power to change the world.

In your thirties, your dreams began to shift a bit. You scaled them down as other things and people took priority.

Somewhere along the way you began to lose sight of your dreams. You now worry that you may never fulfill your purpose. And that regardless of any fame or recognition you’ve gotten over the life of your career, the most important thing is having a sense of purpose and meaning. But you’re not even sure you managed to do that.

Here’s what I think. I think you deserve a pass. Just for today, consider the impact you have by just being here.

Don’t believe me?

Ask your kids, your friends, your partner, what you do for them that makes them happy and what they love most about you. It won’t be your job promotion, your book hitting the best seller list or anything else you think you need to have in order to have a meaningful life.

My grandfather, for example, had one of the biggest influence on my life. Not because he worked three jobs on the plantation to support his family. In fact, on paper he didn’t do anything grand or momentous except for the fact that he loved his family and he loved me. He had a very simple, ordinary life.

Sometimes we get too hard on ourselves for not “making it in life.” We’re not all meant to be millionaires, best-selling authors, and spiritual gurus. What we are meant to do is to truly be who we are.

Just by the act of being authentic we free ourselves and others to be the loving, influential beings we are all meant to be.

For today, try learning to wear a garment of gratitude instead of hard cold armor. Try it and in doing so, watch as the meaning, and influence you’ve always wanted doesn’t just flow into your life effortlessly.

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What Made Me Drop to My Knees

When I was in Arizona, I wanted to fall to my knees.

And it wasn’t the canyons (Grand + Antelope) that did it for me. Nor was it the red rocks that made me feel a profound sense of peace and well-being.

Surprising since there were more than enough reasons to be in awe.

I’m embarrassed to say that my trip to Sedona RE-minded me that I’ve still got a lot to learn when it comes to this class called life.

 

The Big Drop to My Knees Moment

I felt sick to my stomach when standing on this ledge overlooking Horseshoe Bend. And it wasn’t vertigo or a fear of heights. Nothing admirable like that.

I had already experienced about 6 days of awe having traveled all the way from Phoenix to Tucson to Antelope Canyon and now here.

After taking about 500 photos of things like this:

I noticed that not only had I almost run out of battery in my camera, but I ran out of memory too. Being far from an outlet and my computer, I decided to delete a few. Guess what I did instead?

I DELETED MY ENTIRE CAMERA!!!

Over 500 photos of our entire trip.

The only reason why I have these is that my super smart husband was able to recover them-well most of them. The others came out like crap and looked like this:

And as embarrassed as I am to admit it, I have to be honest and say, “It’d about ruined my trip.”

Can you believe it?

I was willing to throw away 6 days of memorable experiences with my husband just because I didn’t have proof that we were there. We still went horseback riding, saw the stars falling from the diamond filled sky, walked up red mountains and gazed at the sun as set on the Grand Canyon.

And the Lesson Is?

I wonder if going to Arizona had less to do when the sense of spirituality and magic I felt while I was there and more about the lesson it taught me. This familiar desperation was a sign that maybe it’s time for another challenge. You know how I love my challenges.

As we countdown the weeks to another year, I’m focusing The Inspiring Bee on two words. And it’s not “eat less” “make more” or any of the normal yearly resolutions. This year I’m going to focus on different aspects of letting go.

Two words I’ve been having trouble with since I was a kid waving to the toilet bowl. {True story by the way.}

This week I’m letting go of the hope for a perfect photo and gaining acceptance for what is.

What will you let go of?

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What You Take for Granted

It’s easy to take life for granted. I have a butt-shaped indentation on my couch to prove it.

Every morning I go from my bed to my desk to my couch. Most days I muster up enough energy to go to the gym. But I spent the majority of my waking hours planted in a chair, a couch or my bed.

Not very inspiring. And I have to admit, as someone who loves to use my writing to inspire others, I was in dire need of a shot of inspiration.

I found it on a trip to Arizona recently. What I discovered in gold autumn leaves and rust colored red mountains was an insane amount of gratitude.

I felt this tiny.

In a world that was this big.

 

And I realized that all around us are pockets of inspiration.

It is in that big sky with stars that really do twinkle like diamonds, in the wind that gracefully shakes autumn leaves and in the transition from one season to the next that does so seamlessly, automatically, without fail.

We’re often just too busy to witness it.

While we’re running around preparing fancy holiday dinners and finding the “right” outfit for our next party, we’re MISSING it!!

And that makes me so sad. It reminds me of a poem I wrote last year in December. Here it is. Hope it will remind all of us to pause a little during the busiest time of the year.

Winter Poem

I don’t worry about getting to the mall on time,

Or pushing past cars to get to the head of the line.

I only worry about the bright leaves like lemons hanging on a fading tree.

The piles of yellow, orange and red that start slow,

And cascade down like molasses,

Gradual, then

Falling quick and swinging

Like a pendulum,

Back and forth,

Tumbling ever so carefully

Like white grains of sand,

Sliding down silky formed hourglass,

Into piles of time.

I grieve the bareness of the decrepit trees that remain

Standing like tombstones in a funeral line

Quietly choosing its next victim.

I see the child waiting to kick the fallen pile,

The season in transition

Preparing to change hands as athletes passing a baton,

Exchanging life from fall to winter,

And though those mounds of bright yellow leaves are an accumulation of summers and springs long ago,

Happy youth,

Well-worn memories,

I bemoan the loss.

I grieve for those who don’t see it

Honking their horns

In a futile attempt to go an inch closer to nowhere.

I worry about them and the world

And the preciousness of those leaves

Passing by my window,

Falling forever unnoticed.

I worry about who will pick them up

Or if they will stay and melt into the ground.

As I move forward,

I am conscious of the passing

and sadness creeps

anxiety beckons

as I realize

I cannot control it,

And though I’d love to sit there and pause

And watch as another leaf falls,

I know I too cannot stop.

 

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A Collage of Gratitude

I don’t think you could do enough posts on gratitude. Really.

Without gratitude, I could easily slink away into the cracks and crevices of an imperfect life without ever noticing the beautiful already perfect world around me.

Without gratitude, my mind might try to “Re-Mind” me of ways I’m not living up to the person next door.

Without gratitude, I might slide into a permanent attitude of unfairness and “poor me syndrome.”

Without gratitude, I would perceive everything through a dark narrow lens where the shadows are always on my side.

And with Thanksgiving coming up, I can’t afford to do that. I don’t have an unlimited amount of days to use up. So I choose to be grateful instead.

In honor of the upcoming holiday, I decided to create a collage of all the wonderful things in this world that I have to be grateful for. This one requires no text. My posts are text heavy as it is.

I hope you enjoy it and that it inspires you to create your own collage of gratitude. If you do decide to make one, leave a link in the comments. I’d love to see them.

 

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Creative Friday: Creating Counts

Does a creator need the attention, numbers and sales to create?

I might as well ask the philosophical question: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Of course it does.

Just because no one yet knows about the secret thrill you get from knitting, blogging or compiling photo slideshows, doesn’t mean it doesn’t count.

In fact, there is an immense list of artists who were discovered later in life, sometimes even after they were gone. Emily Dickinson ring a bell?

 

Why Your Creative Efforts Count

I know of too many people who gave up on their dreams because they believed that what they created didn’t count.

But it does. Because somewhere out there needs exactly what you have to offer. And while you’re holed up away, hiding it from critical eyes, you are denying them and yourself from benefitting from it.

I know it’s difficult because it feels like everyone younger than you has already done what you’re doing, only better and faster. But our creative gifts are like fingerprints. No one is exactly like the other.

 

Be a Crafty Creator Starting Now

Today, why not take that step to share your craftiness with the world {would love to see what you’re working on: leave your link in the comments} or at least with someone you trust?

Every time I blog I risk that this piece will bomb big time. And a lot of times it does. Then, I read how this person or that person has millions of hits per month and I want to crawl under a big rock and hide. But instead I keep doing it. Because every once in awhile I will get an email that moves me to tears. The kind of letter that reminds me empowering the disempowered, helping those believe that anything is really impossible, is enough of a reason to keep going.

For creative Friday today, I’m going to share with you a few of my quirky photos. It’s something I do often here. And I do it with both love and fear. Somewhere deep inside my creative heart, I think that one of the “real photographers” out there will criticize it.

But it’s okay.

The point isn’t perfection, it is perfect creativity. Creativity is a blend of intuition and the beauty of imperfection.

Hope it will inspire you to do something creative today and this weekend!

{my husband said my photos should be called, "reflections." guess he sees a theme in my photos.}

 

{sometimes timing is everything. caught this shot of my husband as the sun was setting.}

 

{i'm a big fan of sunlight in nature. there's something so magical & mystical about it.}

 

Reflections Photo

{a photo I took in Yosemite. loved the view in the rear view mirror.}

For more quirky madness, check out my Etsy shop here.

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Creative Friday: Baking Words

Anyone ever peruse their old docs just for the thrill of it? To reconnect with the you that wrote those words? Or review an old photo to remember what you were feeling when you captured that shot?

Or am I just the only dork that does that?

Lately, the one thing that I’ve been creating a lot of is words on a canvas and capturing a few photos along the way.

For my Creative Friday task, I’m sharing a vintage poem ala 2007 and a modern photo I took in Mendocino weeks ago.

Hope you like it!

Awaking to the thought

That everything around me

Is an untouched painting

And the people who laughed and crowd me

Just characters in my own working play

The birds that startled me

Just songs to an unheard melody

All my own creations

Waiting to be born on a productive day.

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