The Chief Curator of Inspiration

Hello my people!  It is your Chief Curator of Inspiration here.  

Meet Todd Henry

Where did that come from? I've been "pre-reading" a new book by Todd Henry, the Accidental Creative, called "Louder Than Words".  And so, earlier today, while finishing up his book, that title came to me as far as one of the things I do.  I curate inspiration. Pulling from this source and that source to encourage people to live their own adventure and trade in boring for brilliant.  I've had the privilege to be part of Todd's book launch team and send him a few questions, so once he answers, I'll be posting those.  The book releases on August 11th.  If you don't know who he is, get to know him.  His prior book, "Die Empty" was a huge part of my quest for my passion and pursuit of adventure.  I did not want to die with my best work inside of me, and so here we are. He remains one of the biggest creative inspirers in my life.

What I Learned

It has been a whirlwind summer.  I've been on so many adventures, learned so many things, been so many places.  In the last year alone the amount of places I've gone is staggering, compared to the four or five years prior.  Here are a few things I've learned so far:

I need trees.  I need to hear the wind in them, I need to see their vivid colors, need to be near them.  And thus, I do not care for the desert.  Too hot and too exposed.  I can appreciate it as a different kind of beauty, but not for me.   

I need space.  I get very stimulated by too much activity around me (a little known quality of introverts). I have to have a place I can retreat to.  Too many people drain me and I have to recharge on my own.  I like to see and hear neighbors, but I don't want them right on top of me.

I need nature. I feel most at rest when I can be outside.  Whether that means sitting on a deck reading or writing, taking a walk, getting in the water, being near water, or any other way to get out into nature, I crave the peacefulness of being outside.  The concrete jungle is not for me, nor can I stand being cooped up inside all day either.  

BestThings

As always, there are a slew of things to be grateful for.  I haven't written a "Best Things" since Friday.  I had a busy weekend, and this is what I appreciated most over the last five days:

Housesitting.  I wrapped up my job housesitting on the houseboat, and now I am out at a Victorian country home.  The wind rustles in the trees, clouds grace the horizon and a train whistle blows in the distance. I can see the edge of the hills in the distance, a darker blue than the sky.  Birds call and twitter, somewhere a lawnmower starts and the breeze carries snippets of the neighbors' conversation.  Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.  My soul feels rested and recharged.  

Birthdays. On Sunday I had the privilege of attending my goddaughter Bailey's birthday party.  She opted for an Optimus Prime Transformers party.  Such a cool, unique girl.  And she's only six!

Karaoke. We haven't been to Chopsticks III for quite a while.  What a fun night!  I got to spend it with some folks from Open Mic that I don't really know and we had a great mix of people.  I think another one will be coming around soon.  Everyone did incredibly well, the singing was awesome!!

Open Mic.  Every Monday, at Corkscrew Wine Bar in Sellwood, my friends host a great open mic.  I read a new poem I wrote (the first one in nearly two years) and listened to some very talented musicians play some great music.  My attendance has been hit or miss for me this summer, mostly miss. The list filled up with 20 attendees and my well of inspiration filled up at the same time.  I suppose it's time for me to ante up and play some of the songs I've written.  Chris and Jen have built a strong, supportive community of the most amazing people.  You should drop by and listen if ever you are in the neighborhood.  

Relationships.  This is a constant because I have such good ones and I'm so blessed by every single one of them.  This summer has also been a lot of re-connecting old relationships, forging new ones and maintaining the ones that have been a constant in my life.  How can I not be grateful for them?

Work.  This comes in many forms for me.  Driving is what I do to pay my bills.  Lyft and Uber, for now, and a few odd jobs.  My true work is writing.  I feel a clarity coming back to me in the last week or so that has been a little lacking.  Fresh ideas for both of my books and a desire to complete them and get them published.  Resistance still tries to keep me safe, keep me from getting them out there, but that is a cheap way to live.  No more.  I am figuring out this new way of being an independent contractor, without a guaranteed salary.  It's the first time in 25 years of working that I have no idea what my salary will be.  It is a little terrifying at times.  And, sometimes I feel guilty because I don't work 40 hours a week. But, my vocation is writing.  So whatever I do in regards to bringing money in has to be in support of that.  40 hours a week of working takes my best energy from me, so for now, I'm not doing it.  Period. On that I will not compromise.  




BestThings: Sunday Edition

At this present moment, there are so many things I can write about.  So many little things I am grateful for.  And this is what it's about - what can I be grateful for right now, right at this moment.  Here's what happened between yesterday and today:

Lyft.  Last night I worked for a few hours.  Most of my rides were okay, but I gave one guy a ride and he told me I was his favorite Lyft driver ever.  I ended up giving him my card so if he wanted to get in touch with me again he could.  It was just a cool ride, easy conversation.  You never know who you might meet.  

Bowling.  Today my nephew, Connor, called me twice and texted me 15 times until I got back in touch with him.  He and I and his dad ended up going bowling, which ended up being really fun.  Jason actually used me as a Lyft driver too, to take them.  Haha!  After bowling we went back and watched the end of a disaster movie and ate homemade pizza.  Such a fun, unexpected afternoon!

Wine, Coffee and...more coffee. I've been watching my friends' neighbors dogs over the weekend while I'm housesitting their place.  And so then, one of the other neighbors asked if I would water their plants over the next few hot days.  Michelle brought me back some Green Salmon coffee from Yachats and gave me a bottle of wine.  And Cathi, the other neighbor, gave me a $20 Starbucks card.  That's what happens when you say yes.

Antman.  Yesterday Jason (my brother), Connor and I went out to the Beaverton Cinetopia to see "Ant Man".  I had no expectations of this movie and ended up loving it!  One of the best movies I've seen lately.  And, the awesome thing was Jason had some expired Groupons so we paid under $10 for three of us to see a Saturday afternoon movie.  

Brunch.  I stopped in at home this afternoon, while working for Lyft, just in time to finish off the last little bits of brunch Kelly (my housemate and landlord) had made for herself and her guests.  Perfect timing!  And, I was starving anyway. 

The Pugs.  Ollie and Yogi.  Pugs are not my favorite dogs, but these little guys were really good.  Even if I fed them a little late, or sometimes they had to stay in the laundry room at their house while I was gone, they were such good dogs.  Michelle said this has been the least crazy reunion she has had with them

Connor. Tonight my nephew is over hanging out again.  I warned him he was going to have to watch some "Lord of the Rings" extended-version movies, and he said he was okay with that.  So I think we're going to have ice cream and watch some movies.  It's nice to be housesitting so close, and we get to hang out. 

My life keeps expanding and expanding and expanding.  I am having so much fun right now!  Embracing new experiences and meeting new people.  This has become the constant in my life.  Blessings upon blessings upon blessings are being heaped on me, and not always in the way I think.  This week is sure to be full of more magic and fun.  Happy Adventuring!!  


BestThings: Wednesday Edition

I've been up since 6:30.  What the hell have I been doing all day?  Well...some of the best things, of course.  

Meditation. Lately I've been spending about 20 minutes a day listening to and meditating with Oprah and Deepak's most recent meditation program.  I was talking about this with my brother last night and meditation is nothing more than getting still, and listening to what your deepest, truest self has to tell you.  Getting past the surface monkey mind and just chilling out.  I find it starts my day in the best way.

Yoga.  As time goes on, I don't really have an option to not exercise daily.  Especially for one who can sit for hours at a time writing and doing whatever else on the computer.  I do a simple morning program with Rodney Yee, AM Yoga, that gets the juices flowing and puts me in a calm state of being.  It is one exercise program I have been pretty constant with over many years.

Walking.  Last night I took a walk up on the railroad tracks.  Sunset was approaching, it was cool and the light was too good to waste.  Walking is another thing that helps me still my mind and work out whatever might be troubling my mind at the time.  I never have a set speed or time, I simply meander around, and let my feet take me where they will.  This time I ended up over near the Waverly Golf Course.  I considered hopping the fence just to see if I could, but then decided it probably was not a good idea, and headed back home.

Watering.  The whole reason I'm staying on the houseboat is to water the plants.  There is something so soothing and rhythmic about taking care of other living things, even if just plants.  I do believe we humans are meant to nurture and take care of other living things, not exploit them.  I think we were given more sentient knowledge for a reason, not just so we could destroy other living things, but so we could nurture and protect them.  

Connor.  I got to spend some time yesterday with my 12-year old nephew.  He stayed the night with me on the houseboat.  I swear, this kid is 100 if he's 12.  I don't know, he's got such an old soul sometimes, and then other times he can be a silly, spacey 12-year old boy.  He hacked my Facebook account and made some comment about how I liked to smell his farts all day.  We went to a comic book store in downtown Milwaukie, and then stopped in at Mike's Drive-In on the way to take him home.  He's a good kid, always up to go adventuring with me.

I am continuing on in my journey of grace and gratitude.  Taking time every day to reflect on "BestThings" helps me stay in that flow.  There is ALWAYS so much to be grateful for.  As Deepak says, in every moment we have a choice to be grateful.  Can't wait to see what the rest of the day brings.  Happy Adventuring! 

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BestThings: Tuesday Edition

I'm sitting here thinking about all the things I have to be grateful for.  Every second, every moment there is space for gratitude.  I've been thinking about this lately as I've been doing a focused meditation about gratitude and how it relates to grace.  It is pretty true, and pretty amazing.  I think grace for yourself and others expands directly in proportion to your level of gratitude.  When I start constricting is when I am not grateful.  And when that happens, when I start feeling mean or small, I think about all the specific things I have to be grateful for and the constriction expands and I am right back into the openness and abundance of life.  Try it for yourself.  We could all use much more grace and gratitude in our lives.  Less things, more grace, more gratitude for what we do have instead of what we don't.  And just watch what comes your way once you let go.

The river.  This morning I took my tea and my notebook out to the public dock and wrote morning pages while watching the river go by.  For me, I am so soothed being near water.  I don't always have to go in, but I love to be on it, or by it.  Last night my nephew and brother came over and my nephew spent some time swimming, doing flips off the dock.  And around sunset we were up on the ramp from the houseboat to the parking lot watching the fish jump for bugs.  I had one jump right in front of me this morning when I was on the dock.  The world is simply teeming with life, all the time, and there is so much beauty.  I find myself wanting to be outside as much as I can, to experience this great and amazing world.

Lyft.  I will be getting a paycheck from Lyft this week for the first time in two weeks.  Now that is something to be grateful for.  The awesome and totally scary thing, all at the same time, is I am completely responsible for how much money I do or do not make.  I can flex my time, take off whatever days I want.  I don't need to run on everyone else's schedule, I can make my own.  And for me, that might be the most important thing right now.  My freedom.  And that makes the uncertainty of what my paycheck will be worth it.  It comes down to trust again.  If I make myself available, then the rides come in, I get to meet some amazing people, and my rent is paid.  The things I need or want have been reduced to a very small amount.  I am about experiences vs. things, totally.

Relationships.  Last night I got to spend some time with my brother and nephew.  I am seriously so blessed in the relationships I have with my family.  My brothers, my dad, my extended family. But not just with them.  With my friends, and with other people, the world at large.  I have been doing a lot of re-connecting lately, as well as welcoming new people into my life.  It is awesome to have the space in my life to do that.  I just came back from a trip to see my best friend, her boyfriend, her family and my Dad.  I find as I open up to the world, the world opens back and reflects back to me the love I have for life.  I still don't know exactly how or why that works, but it does.  And as I look over at my still sleeping nephew, I realize, again, how very blessed I am. 

This year for me has been about letting go.  Letting go of the things that might be good but not great and making room for the amazing things that are coming.  Adventuring, exploring, people and opportunities that come my way.  That's also letting go of fear of the unknown, and embracing it wholeheartedly.  And pssstt....you don't have to live your life the way someone else thinks you need to.  Go find your own adventure!  Be the author of your own story and fill the pages of your life with magic.  Trust me, you will not regret it.  Don't be afraid to free fall for a little while.  It's kind of awesome and utterly freeing.  Happy Adventuring!