Writing is weird. I think about writing every day. Mostly in that I'm telling myself that I should be writing. But I'm not.
Instead I am organizing, clutter clearing, looking up recipes, coming up with endless lists of creative ideas for work and my personal life. Basically, I'm doing anything other than writing. But you know what I'm doing while I'm doing each of these activities, thinking about writing. It's pretty mentally exhausting.
After spinning in mental circles day after day, I have to ask myself honestly, do I even like to write? I think I do. I would love to have more confidence when I say that. Let me clarify.
I know I like to tell stories. That is my talent. Whether through talking, acting, writing, video, photos, I know I can communicate a story. I like to make people laugh. And I like to share ideas to help people improve their lives.
The thing about writing (or acting, or photography etc.) that is so challenging, is there is always more you can do, your creation can always be better. Always. This gets me stuck. "I can't do this or that until I know or have this or that....". There is a constant road block, every day. There is always something else I think I need to really understand, or have completed, or have together before I start to write something. The thing is, if I wait to communicate until I have it all together, it will never happen.
So how can I ever finalize anything? I can't speak for others but I personally need to look at everything I create as a work in progress. Even if it's not perfect, I need to start to share it, so I can make the next piece better. I also need to remind myself that what I am creating is not for everyone and that does not matter. If there is one person who finds it helpful, useful or interesting, then I have done what I need to do. I am not communicating with everyone. I'm communicating with someone. That perfect someone who will receive the information I created, just at the perfect time when they need it.
That's really what it is about. Being authentic, sharing my creativity, no matter what, no matter where I am, so the message can be heard by whoever needs it at that moment. Even though I know this, doing what I love and doing what I want to do is often painful because I would truly rather be doing anything else at the moment. It's the reward, the feeling after I've followed through and completed a piece of writing or any other creative project that makes me feel good and accomplished (if only for a minute or two).
I am not a great writer but I am a story teller. I will continue to tell my stories in any way I can because that is what I do. That is all that I can do. If you can relate to what I'm saying then I have a recommendation for you, a must read if you haven't already read it: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Do you notice it? Do you see it?
Just a little reminder:
If you have not made it up north in California to see the Redwoods, I encourage you to go for a weekend get away. It’s not only about the Redwood National and State Parks (yes, the National and state parks are combined here); it’s about the entire area. There is a threshold you cross when heading into Northern California up highway 101 where it goes from being a bustling metropolis to a beautiful wine country to rural and old California. I don’t know quite how to describe it but it’s a step back in time. Highway 101 turns into a two-lane road where you are likely to see someone traveling the highway on foot with a pack on their back. It’s no frills. It’s wild. There is a clear sense of poverty and struggle amid the beautiful and stunning lush forest landscape. It’s real and it’s beautiful. If you don’t like gritty, maybe it’s not for you. But if you are searching for an experience of authenticity, this is one of the places left in California to go (I also recommend traveling throughout the gold country as well).
I’d love to be able to tell you exactly where to go and what to see but this is your adventure, not mine. I will list out some highlights of my experience and encourage you to create your own unique road trip and discover new and unique treasures at every stop along the way. Please feel free to share your trip tips and best/worst experiences below.
Victorian Village of Ferndale
This is where I like to stay in the area. This Victorian village sets the stage for an all American Town. You step back in time amidst the Victorian architecture and small town feel. The town is quiet and quaint with some unique and interesting shops to visit. Don’t miss cocktails and dinner at Hotel Ivanhoe Restaurant and Saloon where you can get a martini or glass of wine from whichever bottle has been opened that day, while chatting with locals. If you can book a room, stay the night in Ferndale and really take in the experience of staying in a small town. There are several cozy Victorian style lodgings available where you can enjoy a good old fashioned evening playing board games, reading a book, visiting or just spending time in a quiet atmosphere relaxing.
If you have time to browse the shops, be sure to visit BeAnn's Jams, the jam is delicious. Sadly the last time we stopped in the shop was closed for the day so if you get the opportunity, pick up some jam!
Redwood Suites Hotel (run by the Victorian Inn): These have full kitchens and are a good option if you would like to cook.
The Old Rectory (House rental run by Victorian Inn)
Gingerbread Mansion Inn
Ye Olde Danish Inn: We didn’t get to stay here but when we called to book last minute in the evening they advised we call earlier so they could have warmed the room for us, which was so sweet. I wish we had the chance to experience this!
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park:
There are lots of hiking options from easy afternoon walks, day hikes or longer. I did not make it to Fern Canyon but highly recommend it. There is an 11-mile round trip hike to get there or an unpaved road you can take to get closer and shorten the hike, you can find more details here.
Trees of Mystery:
This is an ode to the earlier days of road travel when people worked hard to create attractions to make money. While it was fun to take the tram through the trees and meander along the set paths, you can do the same in a more natural setting and skip the fee. Another created roadside attraction in the area is Confusion Hill
The Avenue of the Giants
Breathtaking and you can see it all from your car or pull off at one of the many stops for a walk or hike. Once you step into the giant woods, you’ll be reminded of the wonder the world has to offer. The towering redwoods will make you feel small.
Redwood National and State Park website
For detailed drives and information check out the 2017 Redwood National and State Parks Visitor Guide
Map of California Coastal Redwood Parks
The Lost Coast & Shelter Cove
We took the road from Ferndale to Petrolia and continued on to Shelter Cove. The drive took several hours, no food, rest stops or cell phone service along the way but plenty of beautiful coastal views, picture points and potholes. If you’re up for it, be prepared with food, water, camera and the willingness to be alert driving around large potholes (we drove an average of 17 mph). You don’t need a four-wheel drive but just need to be very attentive and cautious throughout as the road turns to dirt several times and is bumpy. If you are backpacker many people hike the coastline over several days and I imagine it would be a worthwhile experience.
Shelter Cove is another great spot. This is the perfect place to quietly enjoy unspoiled views of the ocean for hours, very romantic. If you enjoy watching a sunset along the ocean in the evening with a glass of bubbly or waking up and watching the waves crash along the coast as you sip your coffee, spending the day seaside reading a book, this is the place for you.
If you decide to stay for a couple of days be sure to bring food with you. There is only one restaurant currently in Shelter Cove with Pizza and Lasagna. There is a grocery store with limited supplies as you head into town but if you want to save a little money go to the store in Garberville first to stock up. The road into town is very steep; you will need to drive in low gears. Take your time, enjoy the ride and get ready to relax.
Shelter Cove Lodging:
The Tides Inn: This is where we stayed. It was clean, offered a full kitchen and comfortable accommodations. There are DVD's and books in the main office that you can check out during your stay. I would definitely stay here again.
Inn of the Lost Coast:
Spyglass Inn at Shelter Cove:
The Oceanfront Inn: I've stayed here in the past, the rooms were somewhat dated but may have been upgraded since that time.
Shelter Cove Dining
Delgada Pizza & Bakery: They have one table indoors and several outdoor tables, so be prepared to take your meal to go if it’s cold out.
When was the last time you looked at the stars. I mean really stopped to spend some time to gaze at the night sky? Simple actions like looking at the stars can ground us when we are overwhelmed or caught up in our own busy world. Give it a try tonight.
Yep...some days are just like this. I've got a lot to do today, that must be why I spent the morning making home made granola. A fabulous result for procrastinating if I must say so myself. The way I look at it is if I'm going to put work on the back burner it makes sense to create something else that's good or needed in the process. What I've realized is that procrastination is often an opportunity. I'm forced to put my energy towards other things I often avoid (i.e. cleaning, organizing, tedious projects). Sometimes the only way I am motivated to take on and complete these tasks is when I am working so hard to avoid another.
I recommend the next time you are procrastinating to embrace it fully. Accept that you are choosing to not do something and don't regret it. Dive into what you are going to do with all of your heart and creativity. At least you will have created something great when you go back to doing the task you originally wanted to complete. It's wasteful to spend your time feeling guilty for not working on something you should be. Release the guilt and get something done (clean the house, organize the office, paint the dresser, start a novel, learn photography). Often times the very act of not focusing on what you should be doing allows you to release some of the pressure of the original task, so when you go to tackle it you are refreshed and it's easier to complete.
The one thing I do recommend is to give yourself a hard deadline on when you will stop procrastinating, so you can start on the project you want to focus on. Until that time comes, have fun creating whatever other awesome idea procrastination brings out in you guilt free. Now go create...
How do embrace procrastination? Share your techniques below.
Something I don't talk much about is acting. It's something I've done for a long time but it's one of those things that can be hard to show. I don't always get shareable results from projects but I'm always working on it in variety of aspects. I love having fun and creating from video blogs, comedy/dramatic acting, hosting, podcasts...any chance I get to be creative I do my best to push my self, jump on it and participate.
I've started to wonder what's the point if I never share anything? Of course it brings me joy but I would also like to start to use it for something beyond that. My new intention is to start to share my work more often as well as the work of so many other talented people I come across. Don't be surprised if you see more from me, from home made iPhone travel videos/blogs (yep, I've got a bunch of these stored away) to other cool projects. I'd like to have a place where I can post everything and for now, this is it.
Motivation Monday....make it happen!
Today I would love to share more but I'm getting ready for a film shoot. As much as I understand and agree with the quote below I can't say that I always follow the advice . Sometimes I am so set in my ways that I can not even see that there is another way of doing something until long after I've already completed it. May this quote inspire you to push through your perceived limitations and apply creativity to all that you do today. Cheers!
It's Monday. Not a bad thing, I actually feel great about it. There's a lot to get done this week and I know it's going to take a lot of focus, organization and diligence. Thinking about it makes me want to drive to the wilderness and take photos for the week (especially because it's fall in California, my favorite time of year). Don't ask. The more filled my schedule is the more I want to drop it all and relax in nature, which is one of my true loves in life.
Knowing that I love to get away is what helps to keep me focused. I have learned to prioritize the work I take on each week, so I can do my best and reward myself by relaxing in nature when my work is done. Enjoy your week, give it your best and don't forget to smile and relax.
Here's a motivation Monday quote to get your week started and keep you going when you hit those little (or seemingly big) bumps on the road to your success!
“If you're trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I've had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”
- Michael Jordan
How do you stay focused when life gets busy? Share your tips with us below...
Fall is officially here. This morning for the first time I can feel the crisp air and smell the sweet scent of rain on the pavement. I love it. This is my favorite time of year so I go out of my way to pay attention to everything around me in nature and cherish it. The changing leaves, the warm days, cool nights and light sprinkles of rain. If I could capture this moment in time and keep reliving it, I would. With that, it seems like the more I focus on enjoying the changing of the season, the faster it all goes by. I remember when I was young and everyone told me that time goes by fast, I did not understand it until now.
Recently it hit me. Memories that I think happened a few months ago actually occurred years ago to my astonishment (thanks Time Hop for popping up memories on Facebook and freaking me out). It's almost as if I've been an outside observer of my own life and have not been present for all that goes on. What I am starting to understand more than ever is that I can not wait to be happy or to enjoy life once I reach a goal.
I've heard so many people say it but I did not know it until now. This is it. This is the journey. All of the ups, downs, focus, hard work, enjoyment and fun is life. There is no goal to reach, no imaginary place to get to, only the here and now. Knowing that now is the only time, I am content with all that I do. It's inspiring to push myself and try something new each day because I always ask myself "if not now, when?". There is no other time.
The purpose of this post is not to scare you about the limited time you have here on earth but to remind you that life does move fast and you need to enjoy it now. The next time you start to question if you should do something ask yourself "if not now, when?". Your answer may just be, that "now is the only time, so do it!" Here is a great article I came across years ago on "The Value of Time". Enjoy!
Have any tips on how you stay present? Please share below, let's help each other out! Cheers to enjoying the present wherever you may be in your life.
Tip: Every morning (well most of the time :)) I try to drink my coffee in silence. No phone. Sometimes I will read or write but I stay away from electronics for at least 30 minutes to an hour. If it's nice outside I sit and listen to the birds chirp. Inside, I will listen to inspiring music or clean up a little area in my house so it looks nice and tidy.
Any time I find a fairly healthy snack that tastes good too, I get excited. I’m going to do my best to keep track and share them with you. If you don’t like them, no prob. If you have an alternate idea or change to a recipe, feel free to share it!
I’m attempting to eat healthy. I say attempting because I honestly know how to do it, it’s the keeping up with the choices and not getting lazy that gets me all the time. Fall is almost here and I just happen to love fall food so it’s easier for me to get excited about cooking at home. My sister and I are kicking the mid-month off with a program to stay fit and I’m hoping to document it here, to talk about the struggles of keeping focused on being healthy every day.
One of the biggest challenges for me is breakfast. I don’t like breakfast very much and I’m not usually hungry right when I wake up. As a result I find myself fueling up on coffee getting, shaky and hungry, my mind racing so fast I can’t decide what to eat and I start to get anxious and irritable. Not a great start to the day. So I’ve been challenged with making breakfast a priority.
I’m also not into juicing. Not that there is anything wrong with it at all. If you like juicing go for it. For some reason I just have a mental block that will not allow me to juice. Honestly, it’s the idea of cleaning the juicer every day. Am I the only one who finds it super challenging to clean a juicer?! Perhaps I’m just lazy. Either way I need to do what works for me to keep me eating nice and healthy.
Here is my first recipe which can be used as a breakfast, snack, or heck you can have it for dinner if you’d like. All I know is it tastes good, gives me an energy boost from the protein and is a nice sweet option without a bunch of added sugars. Here goes, let me know how you like it or how you make it better!
Banana Almond Protein Shake
½ frozen banana (we buy bananas in bulk, pre-slice and freeze them)
1 TBL of almond butter (I prefer crunchy but get what you like)
1 TSP of high quality unsweetened cocoa powder (I love Lake Champlain)
¼ cup of rolled oats
1 TSP vanilla
1/4 TSP of cinnamon
1 cup Almond milk (you can sub for regular milk, coconut milk or any other non-dairy beverage you like)
1 TSP of protein powder (whatever kind you use)
Adjust the amount of ingredients to your liking (I use ¼ cup of oats and 1 tablespoon of almond butter) and blend. I can’t stress the individuality of the recipe enough. If you don’t like vanilla, leave it out. If you’re not an almond butter person, use peanut butter instead. Make it your own creation that will get you excited to eat it and enjoy! It’s important that you enjoy your food, it will bring you joy which is healthy!!
One last thing, I’ve got the Ninja with the single serve cups, which are easy to use for single serve stuff. Use what you've got but I have to say, I love the Ninja.
This is not written by me. It's an article that I came across at a watch repair shop several years ago. When I read it, I was quite moved. Apparently the article had an affect on a lot of people because the watch repair man had photo copies of the original article on hand and he shared one with me. I've kept the photo copy in my art room for years wondering how and where to share it. I've looked online to see if the article was published somewhere else that I could link to, but have not been able to find it. I tried to look up the writer and contact him for permission but I could not get in touch. If anyone knows him or has a contact please let me know. I would love if he would re-publish the article himself somewhere for all to read and where I could link to.
The Value of Time by Charley Reese
Originally featured in Contra Costa Times on December 26, 1997
Charley Reese is listed in the original article as a writer for King Features Syndicate Inc.
"When each human being is born God opens a checking account in his name and makes a single deposit. The currency is more valuable than gold or platinum. It's time.
Now this celestial life account operates quite differently from human checking accounts. There is only one deposit. The account holder can draw on it, but he cannot add to it. No deposits are allowed. No interest is paid.
The most intriguing thing about it is we are never allowed to know the balance in our accounts. We just write checks on it until suddenly one day we are notified that the balance is zero and the account is closed.
Time also differs from human currency, like dollars. When buying something with money, we can take it back and get a refund. When we spend time, there is no refund, no exchange, no credit. Whatever we spend our time on, we are stuck forever. Hours spent watching television, for example, cannot be reclaimed and relived. We have paid units of life for the view, and for better or worse that's what we get - memories of sitcoms or ball games.
Money can be invested and we can earn more money but time cannot. No matter what we do we cannot increase the balance in our life account by a single second. We can only draw it down. Even if we do nothing but sit in a corner and start out the window, we are spending time units and drawing down our balance,
Contrary to popular and profitable misconceptions, we cannot manage or save time. No matter what we do it flows away at the same steady inexorable rate. All we can do is choose what activities we will pursue during the flow of our time units. We can control ourselves but not time.
Time units do share one thing in common with money. If we have $1 billion, then $1 seems insignificant. This psychological phenomenon has a name in economics jargon 101, but I can't recall it. It just means that the more we have of something, the less valuable each individual unit seems. And "seems" is the key word, for we are talking about perception not reality.
When we are young and imagine that we have a large balance in our life account, then time doesn't seem all that valuable. We perceive that we have so much of it, we don't think twice about idling away or even wish fretfully that it would pass more quickly.
It's only later, when our account has been drawn down a good bit and when we have seen other people's accounts closed, that in retrospect we sometimes regret the choices we made.
The samurai, that stern warrior class that ruled Japan for centuries, had a solution for the problem of discounting the value of time. The samurai would begin his day meditating on his own death. He would even visualize all the ways he could die that very day.
That may sound morbid but it's really a jolly good idea. This crazy, materialistic world is obsessed with planning - daily plans, weekly plans, five-year plans, retirement plans. The tricky thing about plans is that they lead you to assume that you will be around to complete them, though in fact, at any given moment, we don't know if the balance in our life account is five minutes or five years.
Visualizing our own death to start the day will clear away the false assumption that we have all the time in the world. It would help us to appreciate the day we have. It spurs us to decide what is really important and what isn't. It's a reminder that sharing money is far less generous than sharing time because money is replenishable, but time is not.
Funny thing is, children know this while most adults don't."
I am in a major clutter clearing overhaul right now. I'd like to tell you that it's part of my yearly routine to keep my home organized and clean but the reality is when it comes to home organization I'm more of the type to wait until things are a little in disarray and then I realize "hey, something needs to be changed here". I'm not proud of it, I envy the amazing cleaning schedules that folks on Pinterest stick to. I love organization and schedules in theory but my personality can't seem to stick to a rigid schedule. Perhaps you are the organized one and cheers to you.
I thrive off of cleanliness and organization but I don't always keep up with it. So here are my three tips for spring cleaning and organizing or as I like to call it "the slightly unorganized individuals guide to clutter clearing and organization".
First...Why Do It
Simple, a clean and organized space makes you feel good. When you feel good you are more likely to be at your best in all aspects of your life. You will spend less time stressing about why things are in disarray and more time doing the things you love.
Three Quick Tips
1) Stay on top of daily clutter by picking things up 20 minutes/day, every day
2) Group your cleaning and organizing by room and section
3) Hire someone to do a major deep cleaning overhaul once a year
Put clothes or items that you haven't used in awhile in a maybe box. Store it away somewhere and take a look at the box in 6 months or a year. Often times you will be less detached to things and be able to give away things you no longer need or use.
Give Away Pile
Get rid of it right away. I mean right now. Go put it in your trunk, take it to a donation center, share with your friends, whatever you can do to not bring it back in to your house.
The secret is to keep it up, do a little each day. Good luck! Have any tips to share?
Have you ever felt this way?
I have a little bit of an obsession with going into my garden and looking at all of the small and miraculous changes that are taking place. Today I found this Dahlia just getting ready to bloom, tomorrow it will be a full flower. So beautiful isn't it to see something the moment before it blooms? Pay attention to each moment in your life. Each moment is precious and has beauty and lessons that can be found in it.
This is the first time I have owned an orchid that successfully re-bloomed. I waited patiently for one year and took care of the plant with no blooms and suddenly voila! I'm extremely proud, I don't attribute the plants success entirely to me, I know there is a source much larger then me at work here but it feels good to know I played a part in helping this little plant along.
That's it, that's all I've got right now. Just wanted to share my excitement with you all today. What are you excited about today?
Today I went out in my garden to find a bunch of daffodils blooming unexpectedly in one area of my yard. I was so excited, they are one of my favorite flowers and I've always dreamed of having an area of my yard filled with daffodils. For a moment I thought it was just by chance that the flowers had decided to make my yard their home. Then I remembered that a couple of years ago I came across some daffodil bulbs and on a whim I planted a bunch of them in the ground. Then I forgot. Last year I vaguely remember getting two or three small flowers and being somewhat disappointed, then I forgot about them again. This year, the plants have expanded and filled a full area with blooms which bring a smile to my face every time I pass them.
It struck me how the seemingly insignificant action of planting some bulbs in the ground a couple of years ago could bring me so much joy today. I was reminded that we all have the opportunity to create our future with the little actions we take every day. The difference is that unlike the clear and obvious outcome of ending up with a gorgeous bed of daffodils, we can't always see the direct connection of our past actions to our current situation. But they are deeply connected. Sometimes you may notice the connection, many times you will not.
There are countless actions and interactions you will make today that will seem meaningless or go by barely noticed, that will have a great impact on your future. They are the catalyst for what you create in your life, even when you don't realize it. So today, tomorrow and moving forward walk with your head held high and try to remember that with every choice and action, you are creating your future. With every action you take do your best to choose to create from a loving place. Trust that the more often you choose to create with love, the more love you will see in your future.
Have you ever connected a past action to a positive outcome years later and if so, what did you learn from it?
Valentine's Day is often polarizing. Some feel it is a day of love. Others think it's a "Hallmark" holiday, perpetuated by the greeting card, candy and flower industries to sell products. Lastly, there are those who insist it's a day of loneliness for everyone who is not in a romantic love relationship. I think it all depends on how you choose to look at it.
I personally love Valentines Day. I've celebrated the day in many ways throughout the years. Some with romantic partners, others on my own. I can't really say any of them were better than the other. I can say that I had a wonderful time celebrating and enjoying the day year after year in whatever way I chose.
Personally, I like to have an excuse to make a day feel extraordinary and to celebrate. I love the excitement in the pit of my stomach, just like when I was a kid, when Valentine cards were passed out in class. I love embracing the idea that a day is different, special, extraordinary, simply because it brings about excitement.
I know it would seem wonderful if every day felt extraordinary (I think in some ways it can...but I'll save that for a different post) but often day-to-day life brings about monotony. We need to be able to break up the patterns of everyday life with positive new experiences or days that are special. It's an act of self love to make your day feel special. It does not need to be special because you got a box of chocolates or you are "in love". It's special because you decide it is. When you love yourself, you choose to create and embrace a day as extraordinary because you can. So allow today to be a day where you feel extraordinary, simply because you love you and you can create a great day.
This reminds me of a post I did a while back about being your own best friend, so I've included it below along with a brief exercise on loving and support yourself.
Be Your Own Best Friend
We all need to lean on others at times but when you need encouragement or are in a position where others can not understand your vision, you need to be able to be the friend and cheerleader that you need to make your dreams come true. Be confident and believe in yourself no matter what others think. If you love yourself, you can be your own best friend. What does it mean to be your own best friend? You give yourself the love, support and encouragement you need to accomplish your goals because you know it can happen. If you are waiting for others to approve of your actions or encourage you to follow your dreams, it’s time to reevaluate. Here is a quick exercise to help you practice giving yourself support:
1. Write a list of your current fears or obstacles, get whatever is bothering you off of your chest. Some examples:
I don’t know what I want to do.
I’m not smart enough.
I don’t have the resources to reach my goal.
2. Take a look at your list as if it’s a list your best friend provided you and asked for your advice/support. Next to each fear or obstacle write out a reply as if you are speaking to your best friend. Be encouraging and provide support to get them through their fears and doubts.
3. Read over your responses and trust the wise advice you have provided yourself.
If you have other tips on how to support and encourage yourself, please share them in the comments.