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.  


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: Friday Edition

What's been kicking my ass lately?  This heat. I love Portland up to about 85 degrees.  Even 90 is tolerable.  But hit 95....and 100....too far.  The weather is supposed to start cooling down after this weekend, which I am looking forward to.  I've been housesitting for my pals on their houseboat, which is awesome, except when it gets to over 100 and no A/C.  Yes, now I'm one of those.  I need A/C in the car and in the house.  Which leads me to a few of the best things about the last few days.

Cool Showers.  Nothing like feeling as if you've been camping at the river for almost 2 weeks.  Coming home today and taking a cool shower in an air-conditioned house and then laying down for a nap was nothing short of heaven.  Last night I didn't sleep very well, so tonight I'm kicking it at home hoping to get a good, full night's sleep.  

Face Time from Turkey.  It was awesome to talk to my friends Patrick and Jen (who I'm housesitting for at the houseboat) from Turkey today!  They are having so much fun.  It was just so good to see their beautiful faces and see them so happy.  I love those two tons!  

Kingsman.  I watched this movie today during the hottest part of the afternoon.  LOVED it.  It was great fun. Colin Firth was excellent as always.  But this kid that starred in it...brilliant.  Just a fun movie.

My brothers.  I love them.  Ben called from California yesterday and Jason texted me last night just to say hi and see what was going on.  I'm so blessed that we are so close.  And they're both pretty awesome dudes too.  

Late night wine stops.  I texted my other Jen friend last night to see if they were home.  We sat out on their porch drinking some wine talking until her husband got home.  I am also very blessed with the friends that I have in my life.  Daily I count my blessings that I can be so close with such amazing people.  I'm the lucky one.

 More housesitting adventures.  Yesterday I drove out to the hills above 213 in Oregon City to get the lowdown on my next assignment.  I get to stay in a lovely, Victorian country home next week.  The things I'm most excited about:  getting fresh eggs from the chickens I get to feed and the possibility of sleeping outside on the deck.  Should be super-fun

Coffee with Kelly.  Today my housemate, landlord, friend Kelly came over for coffee.  I set up a little brunch outside and we sat outside and talked over french press coffee, waffles, strawberries and whipped cream.  And then we walked down to the public dock.  I've been having so much fun having people over and sharing the houseboat with them.  

Cleaning.  Yesterday morning I went over to clean Jen's house.  I love it because I get to spend time with her, and I get a great workout and a steam sauna at the same time!  Plus I make some cash, which we can all use.

I always have so much to be grateful for.  I feel like I have been on vacation all summer long, even though I have been working here and there.  I've got to be in so many cool places, and reconnect with so many people I love.  It has been magical!  And it's not over yet.  Looking forward to even more adventures in August!

BestThings: Wednesday Edition

What to do when you can't sleep?  Walk down to the public dock, enjoy the cool breeze off the river and hope you don't fall in.  Because honestly, there's no one there to save me if I do. Luckily, that did not happen.  So here I am writing about the "best things" from today.

Morning. Where do I start?  I spent the morning at home, meditated, did yoga, wrote morning pages, took a long walk, found a house I love, watched the hot construction workers replacing some deck beams next door.  Objectifying?  Absolutely.  Nothing wrong with a healthy appreciation for some toned men with their shirts off.  It was a HOT one today.  

Afternoon.  Uber can't seem to get their act together.  I had the "opportunity" to give my "Partner Support Specialist", Patrick, a Lyft ride this afternoon so he could get me the $500 bonus because the "system" was having technical difficulties.  I think he just wanted an excuse to see me again.  I am pretty awesome....and yes, I am feeling a little sassy tonight.  I gave a few other Lyft rides here and there while enjoying the A/C in the basement at my actual home.  

Evening.  Tonight I had the great pleasure of having dinner with John & Lois (and Tony), dear friends whom (who?)  I love a lot.  Lois made Chicken Parmagiana, pasta, salad and a delicious chocolate zucchini cake.  We talked about family and travel, shared cocktails and coffee and got caught up on life.  I promised it would not be another 5 or 6 or 10 years until we saw each other again.  There seems to be a lot of that going around.  Reconnecting with people.  And it's good, all good.  The moon tonight is so beautiful, it puts me in a very romantic mood.  Now...if I only had someone to share it with....

Sometimes I feel like I have all this love to give.  Well, not sometimes, all the time.  I'm not always very good about getting it out there, I'm definitely better with words than I am talking half the time.  I don't know, I've felt something shift in the last few weeks or so, maybe even the last month.  And I'm talking personally now.  Maybe I'm not ready to "settle down", and maybe I don't have to be.  But I think I am ready for the greatest adventure in my  Not just any love, but a true love.  I am a master at being alone...Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to master something.  I've got being alone down, maybe a little bit too much.  And I'm probably going to look at this tomorrow and think "why in the hell did I write that?" but hey, it is my blog.  I have learned there is something freeing about being completely honest and vulnerable about what you want.  So that's it.  I'm publicly telling the world and Universe at large that I am open.  Open to love and open to romance.  Who doesn't want the adventure of a great love story?  I most definitely do.  

BestThings: Saturday Edition

Right now it's raining.  Yes.  That's right.  Rain. And it's kinda awesome.  We spend so much time complaining about the weather, I decided that is one thing I am not going to waste my time on.  Accept what is, and adjust accordingly.  So, I'm enjoying listening to the rain on the river and going to a movie a little later this afternoon.  

Weather.  Yesterday's weather was amazing!  I spent the evening out on the Willamette River with my brother and nephew, grilling up some brats and enjoying the beautiful sunshine.  Connor swam and we sat in Adirondack chairs watching the boats, kayaks, paddle boards and various other watercraft go by.  The sun blazed a golden path across the river, and once it dipped below the trees on the West bank, the weather got a little breezy and a little chilly.  I could spend every sunset just like that.  I did not see one single other person out on their deck.  If I lived in a houseboat, I would never get anything done because I could be out on the deck all the time.  It was an amazing gift, spending the evening on the river.

Wildlife.  I've seen a beaver two times now, just after sunset.  I wasn't sure if it was a nutria, or a beaver, but after looking at photos of both, I've determined it was a beaver.  And the heron.  Ever present on or near the docks closest to the river bank, below the ramp.  I took the dogs out for one last walk before bed and that's when I saw the beaver.  And of course, in addition to all the normal ducks, geese, swallows, and fish I always see.  I cannot help but feel alive with so much evidence of life around me.  

Driving. I sucked it up and signed up to drive with Uber yesterday.  Got my vehicle inspected and everything.  I found out after I am approved and have given 10 rides, I get a $100 bonus.  I was kind of bummed because I wasn't going to get to use my brother's referral code, for he and I to get a $300 bonus, but then they told me I would get a $500 bonus after 2o rides because I drove for Lyft also.  Awesome!!  So, once that comes through I'm going to kick back $300 to my brother because it was his prompting that sent me to get all set up with Uber.  I gave a few Lyft rides yesterday to some really nice people .  I am so very grateful to have a job where I can flex my schedule around to my liking.  And, why should I limit myself to one company?  I decided to maximize my earning potential.

I was thinking about what I was doing last summer.  Working my ass off, that's what.  Making tons of money, but no time.  The only day in July I half remember was my birthday, and then going to Harefest one night.  The interesting thing is that I am not making anywhere close to that amount of money, and I am just as happy.  I am having all these amazing experiences instead.  But, working that hard last summer put me in a position to be able to explore and figure out what I wanted to do this year.  I've applied for a bunch of different jobs, even tried some, but the doors were not opening. So, I got the message, loud and clear, that driving is what I need to do.   I make decent money, anywhere from $20-$25 for the hours I do drive.  And, if I can get away with working 15-20 hours a week to pay my expenses, why wouldn't I?  I'm not looking for a career.  I already know what that is.  I am a writer.  Until I monetize that, however, I do need a job that pays the bills.  And this is perfect for me.  Doors keep opening up for me for other options too, such as housesitting.  I've asked for adventures, and I've definitely got them.  

I am grateful.  For everything.  I did a meditation today explaining grace and gratitude have more to do with true success than the ego does, always trying to grasp and control.  I have found this to be so true. As I am grateful for what I have, though in the eyes of the ego world it does not seem like much, more abundance comes to me.  And in ways I do not expect.  As I expand, rather than constrict, the Universe or God, the Great Author or Creator breathes "Yes!" and gives me more.  And, I in turn can share that more with others.  It's so fun!  Life should be our greatest adventure, not a cage we construct for ourselves in order to create some false sense of safety.  The world is exquisite in all its' beauty and can be equally deadly.  But getting out in it is what gives us the knowledge to know how to navigate those potential dangers, not a reason to try to keep ourselves safe.  So get out there and do some adventuring.  Free your soul.  Trade things for experiences and really live, and then share that with others.  That's where the gold is.  Happy Adventuring!