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Archive for October, 2014

Do you feel pressure to live BIG?

Monday, October 27th, 2014

A friend asked on Facebook…

Do you feel pressure to play it big?

My Reply

Here is what I wrote to that friend’s prompt:

Nope, not now. I want to be kind, be a good friend, and help my right people feel more confident about whatever it is that I’m teaching.

Family Portrait, Circa 1972My daddy died at 40. I was 14. My 20’s were a whirlwind, trying-to-fit-a-whole-life-into-a-short-decade. In my 30’s I went through profound inner change involving more than can fit in this post.

When I hit 40, I figured “the rest of my life is gravy.” Daddy influenced many others in his short life and I was given more time than he.

So I focus on being real, honest, kind (not nice/wimpy like “good girl” often means), truly helpful and authentic.

Community is My Everything

I can’t go out in my city or at a fiber-arts/knitting event or ukulele festival without being recognized. Last night attending a concert, a woman stopped to thank me for an excellent socknitting class years ago.

Last week at Walgreens a young woman stopped me. I taught her to knit in her elementary school years. She’s 21 now and a mother. She thanked me. She still knits regularly. Here she is at right,  many years ago, having knit a frog from a kit one of my ColorJoy readers sent. It was really heartwarming to see her again.

Youngster Showing Frog she Knit HerselfWhat would a huge income do for me? I wish to have a tombstone that says “She was a good friend.” Some people have fame and respect but nobody wants to hug them, or be their friend who can take a call at 4 o’clock. Later for that sort of “big.” I’ll take small and gentle any day.

Surprise, Surprise!

I’ll keep striving, in part because nobody really expected me to have a good, happy life. (They’d say “you have so much potential.”) I worked my emotional butt off to get here. As long as I can teach and encourage, I am content. It’s OK for people to pay me for the encouragement… But I fortunately prefer serving groups rather than individuals. I can price a group experience so that more people can take advantage of the offering.

It was a deep question. Excuse the long answer. Fewer words would not answer properly.

===

Beyond My Initial Take, if I Want to be Honest

The truth is, I do want some parts of my life to be BIG. I want a big heart, I want to help others make their lives more content.

No matter what I’ve done professionally, I’ve always been the “explainer” of the office. I was the unofficial trainer and the problem-solver long before I ever had an official teaching position. If I understand it, I can teach it. It’s a joy and a gift to see someone’s face light up in understanding!

slow and steady

If I thought my calling was “teaching” I might end up a full-time schoolteacher like so many people in my family. If I thought my calling was “art” I might try to sit in a studio alone cranking out product to sell at the next art fair. If I thought my calling was “encouragement” I might be a coach or a therapist. All of those things are part of what matters to me, but the intersection of them brings me to life and makes me the best I can offer to the world.

(Side note… I used to work in a finance department. I used to be a legal secretary. I used to be a purchasing officer. I used to teach DOS batch programming and other computer skills. I used to be a data entry operator. I used to be a Y2K consultant. I did all of those well enough to make a living. Some were even fun, and a few were life changing.)

Slow is the Way to Go

The longer I live, the more I find that real progress happens when I do small things consistently over time. If I choose to walk around the block every morning as water boils for tea, I will become “someone who walks daily” and I’m more likely to go on a longer bone-strengthening walk, more often.

Autumn Colors in my Neighborhood

If I choose to first eat a piece of fresh fruit (and make sure there is some in the house) when I crave sugary treats, then I may find I don’t want more… or that a smaller portion of the treat will satisfy me later. If I decide that my keys MUST go in my purse and the purse goes near the door, then I will have less chaos every day. Small stuff adds up.

Where Does this Hit You Right Now?

So… what about you? What are the true treasures and gifts in your life? What matters most of all? Do you feel like YOU need to play it big? Are you OK with small steps? I sure would have answered this differently a few decades ago… I’d love to hear your input.

Maybe That’s not Love

Friday, October 10th, 2014

This video has been making the rounds of the internet, and maybe you have already seen it. However, it echos my earlier posts on body acceptance and standing tall. It’s not long, and her attitude is fun and even silly, not preachy.

“People have always said they cannot get my songs out of their heads. I heard that so often, I took responsibility for what I wanted to put in there! The answer is joy. The answer is love. The answer is worthiness and celebration. That’s what I want for myself and everyone on this planet.”

–Donna Lou Stevens

“I was a butterfly all along and thought I was a worm. I believe everybody has wings and most everyone has just forgotten like I did. My job as a performer and musician is to remind people of that fact.”

–Donna Lou Stevens

The Imperfection Club

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

I run a group on Facebook called Toss-It Tuesdays. It’s more of a catchy title than what we really do. It’s more like a support spot for folks working on getting out from under this American dilemma… too much stuff and not enough room to put it in.

A Club of Confusion
Of course, this combination creates a secondary problem which is clutter and disarray. If you experience even a small bit of this, you are not alone. If you are there, and you feel shame and/or try to keep people from seeing your living space, you are in excellent company.

There is no need for shame. YOU are lovely. The space is perhaps a problem, but you are not.

IMG_2939.JPG

A friend on the Toss-It group asked how I got my kitchen counter cleared off. (Astoundingly, it seems to be cleared more than not these days.) That’s a big question and it took years.

The real answer? Keep coming back. You’ll go backward every day. Let’s face it, especially with a kitchen we use the space so often it is guaranteed to need work just about as soon as any work gets done. This is as it should be.

SO… start over. AND and and and… don’t wait to start until it can be perfect. It can NEVER be perfect. Just keep plugging. Don’t give up. YOU can do it.

A Tiny Hint with Big Results
Anytime you find something you can get rid of and not miss it? Any time you have an inkling you could let go of it? If you give it away/toss it/recycle it/somehow let it out of your home, then you will NEVER have to decide what to do with it again.

One of the members of the Toss-It group said it this way (paraphrased): “The shame went out in the trash with our junk.” I find this deeply moving, and it has been true in my case as well.

Imperfection: An Unlikely Ally
Do it over and over, Give yourself days where you do the minimum, and even when you put more effort in, practice doing it imperfectly. I was raised to believe that washing dishes was not finished until the whole counter top had been wiped down. However, in order to make progress in my own life, I must say that I can do 4 of the 10 dishes and not wipe the counter, and that’s still worth doing.

Start over again every time, and FORGIVE YOURSELF when it feels like it’s not good enough. It takes a long time to learn new stuff. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth plugging at it.

If you want to join us on Toss-It Tuesdays, it ‘s a public group on Facebook (you do need a Facebook account). Click and I’ll approve you as soon as possible. You can belong !

Photo: my countertop first thing this morning. Imperfect… Not wiped down, but also no stacks of dirty dishes or bottles waiting to be recycled. No extra food items belong stored out here,either. Score!!! (Yes, some days it is much worse… But I’m super excited that it can happen in my current life, any day.)