29 March 2012

me: in all my glory

tap dancing. blowing bubbles. using grandma's lipstick. squealing with laughter. playing along the edge of the pool waiting for the lifeguard to blow the whistle, signaling adult swim is finally over. we should all be so free.

instead, we get trapped under the heavy rocks of to-do lists, spouting off lengthy explanations about why it all means something, and enslaved to the growing dark circles under our pale blue eyes.

sometimes i catch a glimpse of myself that makes me feel very uncomfortable: negative, busy, oh-my-freaking-goodness, heart attack-me is not my favorite me. i am not good at barreling through, unaffected by insane amounts of stress, constant deadlines, performance-oriented thinking day-in and day-out. 

well, i lie: i AM good at it, that's the problem. THAT is not the me i love.

 i love artsy-me, piggyback-me, my legs are so sore from that long run today-me. the me that leaves a meeting or presentation and thinks: "that went so well!" positive, thriving-me. long day, but it's all good-me.  

how do i get more of that? what do you do to ensure positive flow throughout your days and weeks? even when it's crazy and stressful and O-M-G is this for real? i believe in coping mechanisms, just haven't been swift practicing them lately. would love your input, advise or calm.

thanks for traveling with me no matter what i'm like! ///especially you, PW!/// xoxo stephanie

23 March 2012

daring greatly: brené brown

"vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change." 

if you haven't heard brené's most recent TED talk
you're simply feeling like an extra dose of courage might do you good,
i'd hop over and check it out.

her way and words bring tears to my eyes. 

"shame drives two big tapes:
"never good enough"
(if you can talk it out of that one)
"who do you think you are?"
{brené brown}

my whole life halts as she speaks into the constant inner battle. wading deep into shame and vulnerability is not easy work. and when you're going through it, i cannot stress enough how important it is that you not go in alone. recently, i've been doing a bit of exploration myself.

i started seeing a therapist a while back as a way to "get out of my own head." i really like her, and offered to fire her early so that we could be friends and i could be "messy" in front of someone else (perhaps another therapist with whom i didn't connect on the same level). i lie not. this thought actually sounded convincing and i actually told my therapist this. it made perfect sense to me that it would be easier to retreat than to keep going within alongside someone who i thought deserved better (further verifying why i need to be working with her!, ha). upon revealing this thought, my therapist said in such an affirming way that she understood this way of thinking, and how it further reflected my craving for meaningful connection. however, she felt confident that the established trust & connection would serve us, both now and as a rich resource further down the road. 

i appreciated that insight more than words can describe. to know someone is willing to go deep into vulnerability and daringly brave what reveals itself is a feeling so freeing. will i be clinging to the fence when we get there? probably. but i trust we'll find our way, bravely, while holding onto the good of what's working in the process. so important for me. so so important.

this leads me back to something that's perhaps what i love most about brené: 
despite years of research regarding what makes the wholehearted who they are  (that's me & you, btw. and brené, too!), she doesn't claim to have it figured out. it's a constant process of discovering and recovering and uncovering and shedding light. 

so take heart. wherever you are, we can start today to take hands and go in together.

on another note, recently i won a giveaway on her blog. when i found out, i had a crazy "OMG i think i'm famous now moment," when really i was just sitting in my cubicle at work doing double fist-pumps and smiling ear to ear. but WOW! i received the gift this past weekend, a book titled: "Marriage Rules" by Harriet Lerner--an author whose works shaped Brené's life. Really excited about dog-earring the heck out of this book--and the opportunity to thank a woman who inspires me so deeply with a little love letter.

here are a few photos of the thank you card & piece of mixed media art i created to send her.
card+art=postal love!

"a light shines brightly in each one of us."

killer envelope, no?!

so true what she says: when i get out of my own way and quiet the voices of expectation (doing it "right,") life gives way to the creative flow that inspires. finding ways to affirm and empathize with one another in our everyday is brave work. and i'm ever so grateful for daring souls like brené who pave the path.

you'll never know what a true, wholehearted impact you've had in my life, brené.
but i am grateful beyond grateful.

18 March 2012

unlock the combination

the queen has plans to return to her kingdom.
after many months of hiatus, (which seems to keep happening when life gets busy!) i'm finally ready to return to this space. loaded into my 2012 goals & visions was the inner voice saying, "WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!" but i've been writing strategic plans, papers, case studies and thank you cards, rather than blogs and journal entries. and while work & grad school may get a major chunk of my time, the color and spirit of life continues to inspire me, and this space has always been an outlet for that.

i was flying home yesterday and it occurred to me that each of us most certainly has everything within ourselves to create the world we crave.  my life lately has been a lesson in that course. 

whatever is holding you back from taking the next step is simply a critical opportunity for you to look deep within to find a solution. sometimes 'looking deeply within' means looking up, quieting the world around you, or bravely facing something you've avoided for a long, long time. or, a combination of all three and a big leap of faith. 

but the awakening that occurs once the stronghold is lifted--that's a moment in life you'll always look back on gratefully. i hope you're finding strength within today to be brave. 

my inspiration tank is full after doing so myself yesterday. 
with great love,

p.s. you like my photo frame? i gifted paul with this book photo frame for his 30th birthday. maybe he'll always remember me that way? also...i promise the wedding details posts are coming back (slowly but surely)