5 Things You Don’t Want But Need

Wahiawa Botanical Garden

We spend a lot of time (too much of it actually) focusing on all the things we want.

We want a new car,

a house,

a 4-person family,

a new job,

a spa day,

a luxurious trip…

Over the holidays, it’s even easier to fantasize about all the things we could have. Some of us have dreams as BIG as Oprah’s Favorite Things List.

What we rarely spend time dreaming about, however, are the things we really need. This post is dedicated to that.

During this holiday season, I hope you’ll savor a few moments, drinking in the nectar of these:

1) L o V e:

Love comes not from material things. You can’t get it from your wallet or download it like an app. It takes a good deal of time and work. But it’s as necessary as the air you breathe.

2)  Silence:

Everywhere we go there’s noise. When we’re in the city, there’s traffic. When we go out of the city, there’s white noise from our smartphones, TVs and computers. Go out a little further away and sit in silence. It will feel unnerving, even painfully quiet at first. But then your ears will rest in the place where you and your soul can finally meet. Then you will hear the trees. Then you will know the answers you have been waiting for.

3) K~i~n~d~n~e~s~s:

We’re too busy to be kind. We’re too important, too fancy, too smart…There’s not enough time to be kind, courteous, or civil. You have a list of wants to run after. But you do disservice to the world and yourself when you choose to be short instead of kind. Kindness begets more kindness. Change yourself. Change the world.

4) W*o*n*d*e*r

A little wonder can change your life. You don’t think you need it, but over time a lack of wonder will age you. It will grow cracks in your heart. It will cover your eyes. It will make you see life as mundane, as routine, as required, expected. You take life for granted. You start to miss out on the magic. Breed wonder. Kill routine.

5) Vulnerability:

The dreaded V-word. We spend a lifetime running away from it to avoid disappointment, hurt, pain. But in escaping we also flee from love, excitement and the sweetness of connection. It takes a courageous heart to venture into the world of vulnerability. But once we open to it, our lives open up as well.

What will you be dreaming about in 2014?

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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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Happy 2013!

It’s my last post of the year. 2012 was a scary year with lots of unexpected surprises thrown in the mix. My husband and I finally made our move to Hawaii halfway through. I said goodbye to a lot of good friends. And I pushed myself full force into the writing world here. It hasn’t been easy. But something tells me 2013 will be worth all the effort.

Besides taking the leap, I’ve been fortunate enough to write for Hawai’i and Pacific Edge magazine while also sadly ending my stint as a columnist for The Writer. And I’ve kept my psychology blogging job with Psych Central. In the five, almost 6 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve been able to work as a copywriter for various retailers, a features writer for newspapers and magazines and do it all from the comforts of my home. I’m a lucky girl!

But of all the things I’ve done thus far, I get the most excited when I’m in one of my favorite magazines. Yes it’s just a non-paid little commentary in the front of the book section. But it’s for O magazine! And this time, they asked for a photo. Thank you to commenter Jan for emailing me to let me know she saw it! It made my day.

I know it’s a far cry from actually writing for O, but I have BIG dreams. And as long as I keep on writing, I know I have a chance to make it a reality. Thanks for all of you for reading!



“If you could have one superpower, what would it be?”

O Magazine

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An Author Writes About Her Journey to Freelancing Success

Jordan RosenfeldWriters inspire me. They have the courage to face their fears on a daily basis. They deal with rejection about the most personal thing-their writing. Being a writer myself, I know the pain and joy that comes with the territory. That’s why I was beyond excited when contributing editor and columnist for Writer’s Digest magazine and fiction writer Jordan E. Rosenfeld invited me (!!!) to chat with her over tea and dreams. Come and be inspired with me.

What turned you on to writing?

I wish I could actually pinpoint the moment, the inspiration, but truthfully I’ve been writing since I learned how. I really do subscribe to that idea that everyone has a special talent in this life, and that some are lucky enough to find it. Mine is writing. It’s ALL I’m good at (well, and its offshoots, like editing). What I wouldn’t give to be good at sports, or a master chef, or a visual artist! But writing seized me. I have journals I kept that begin at age 8, which is also when I started writing stories. I do come from a family of avid readers, so perhaps that’s where the seed was planted. All I ever wanted to do my whole life was write.

How did you get your start as a freelance writer?

Through the back door, my favorite route! I had co-edited/produced a women’s magazine with a college friend. That gave me my first “clips.” After that, I was lucky to be on the end of a call for writers for a local newspaper after I graduated from college. I wrote a ton for them, then for the magazine they launched and by then I’d gotten my training wheels off and decided I would approach bigger (and better paying) publications. I just widened my “local” focus a little bigger and so on, until I landed my first national publication (which was Writer’s Digest magazine).


Does the fear and anxiety that comes with writing ever go away? If not, how do you deal with it so that it doesn’t sabotage your writing?

I would say that the fear/anxiety changes over time, and is different for every writer. In the beginning there’s more fear around impressing your editors. Later on, if you become established, there’s more fear about keeping a steady flow of assignments…and I don’t know that the fear of being found to be inadequate ever fully goes away. For me, the crucible of deadline pressure always wins over the anxiety. And strangely, since my first child was born 16 mos ago, I don’t experience nearly the same level of anxiety that I once did. I think children make you realize there’s more serious things to be anxious about than an article!

Do you think in this economy it’s still possible to make a living as a full-time freelance writer?

I want to be Ms. Optimism, but I have to answer honestly that I don’t know. I think if the writer is savvy about how publishing is changing (i,e. the transition from print to online), uses social networks wisely, blogs and does about 4x as much “hustle” as several years before, then yes, probably. I think every freelance writer needs to have several layers of projects going at all times, though. You have to be able to multi-task. For me, I also edit manuscripts, and teach online classes as well as write.

You’ve told me that “you don’t have to be somebody special to be a great writer,” but what do you think is necessary to be not only a great writer but a successful one?

You must be: Blindly persistent. An auto-didact (a self-teacher). Flexible. Resilient. Willing to keep learning and changing as needed.

Anything you’d like others to know about yourself or about your services?

Well, I’m rather fond of these online writing classes that I teach. My most popular class is called “Fiction’s Magic Ingredient.” There’s still room in the November, 2009 session! They’re mostly teaching fictional techniques, but I’ve got some non-fiction classes in the works. Also I do edit fiction and non-fiction manuscripts and come with references.

Thanks Jordan! Check out her website for more information and inspiring posts on writing.

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