Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Monday, Anne Has Something Important To Say

a friend sent me a link the other day to a blog I'd never been on for a purpose other than finding this. but then, I found this and the fireworks exploded and the lightbulbs flashed and these words settled comfortably into my heart in an 'oh we know you' way. the blog post noted Ms. Lamott had written this in a facebook post so I set off to find the whole thing, which I've copied in its entirety below. that might be the wrong use of it(')s, I don't know, I don't care. this is not about me, this is about her words. oh her words. so spot on. bathe in them. drink them. take them in slowly, the way you do a new lover because these words are about to own your heart.

the part above is what resonated with me the most except every time I read it, I change my mind with what resonates with me the most. the image of someone sitting by the pool, covered up, hesitating to go in for fear of that thigh jiggle. it's so delicious that idea and so spot on for being an artist and a human and how does she write like this?

mm okie doke that's all from me today. would love to know your thoughts in the comments but if you're too busy running off to write your book or paint something, I understand. I understand.

There's a whole chapter on perfectionism in Bird by Bird, because it is the great enemy of the writer, and of life, our sweet messy beautiful screwed up human lives. It is the voice of the oppressor. It will keep you very scared and restless your entire life if you do not awaken, and fight back, and if you're an artist, it will destroy you.

My pastor said last Sunday that if you don't change directions, you are going to end up where you are headed. Is that okay with you, to end up still desperately trying to achieve more, and to get the world to validate your parking ticket, and to get your possibly dead parents to see how amazing you always were?

This is not going to happen. They are either so dead, like mine are, or they are insatiable, or so relieved that you did not end up divorced--or if you did, then heavily into drugs, like the Woodson girl, or more out of shape than you are, like Esther's son. It's hopeless, and this is the good news.

Putting those tiny pesky parental voices aside, what about, oh, say, the entire rest of the world?

Do you mind even a little that you are still addicted to people-pleasing, and are still putting everyone else's needs and laundry and career ahead of your creative, spiritual life? Giving all your life force away, to "help" and impress. Well, your help is not helpful, and falls short.

Look, I struggle with this. I hate to be criticized. I am just the tiniest bit more sensitive than the average bear. And yet, I'm a writer, so I periodically put my work out there, and sometimes like all writers, I get terrible reviews, so personal in nature that they leave me panting. Even with a Facebook post, like the last one, do you have any idea what it's like to get 500-plus negative attacks, on my character, from truly bizarre strangers.

Really, it's not ideal.

Yet, I get to tell my truth. I get to seek meaning and realization. I get to live fully, wildly, imperfectly. That's why I'm alive. And all I actually have to offer as a writer, is my version of life. Every single thing that has happened to me is mine. As I've said a hundred times, if people wanted me to write more warmly about them, they should have behaved better

Is it okay with you that you blow off your writing, or whatever your creative/spiritual calling, because your priority is to go to the gym or do yoga five days a week? Would you give us one of those days back, to play or study poetry? To have an awakening? Have you asked yourself lately, "How alive am I willing to be?" It's all going very quickly. It's mid-May, for God's sake. Who knew. I thought it was late February.

It's time to get serious about joy and fulfillment, work on our books, songs, dances, gardens. But perfectionism is always lurking nearby, like the demonic prowling lion in the Old Testament, waiting to pounce. It will convince you that your work-in-progress is not great, and that you may never get published. (Wait, forget the prowling satanic lion--your parents, living or dead, almost just as loudly either way, and your aunt Beth, and your passive-aggressive friends, whom we all think you should ditch, are going to ask, "Oh, you're writing again? That's nice. Do you have an agent?")

Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you're 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn't go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It's going to break your heart. Don't let this happen. Repent just means to change direction--and NOT to be said by someone who is waggling their forefinger at you. Repentance is a blessing. Pick a new direction, one you wouldn't mind ending up at, and aim for that. Shoot the moon.

Here's how to break through the perfectionism: make a LOT of mistakes. Fall on your butt more often. Waste more paper, printing out your shitty first drafts, and maybe send a check to the Sierra Club. Celebrate messes--these are where the goods are. Put something on the calendar that you know you'll be terrible at, like dance lessons, or a meditation retreat, or boot camp. Find a writing partner, who will help you with your work, by reading it for you, and telling you the truth about it, with respect, to help you make it better and better; for whom you will do the same thing. Find someone who wants to steal his or her life back, too. Now; today. One wild and crazy thing: wears shorts out in public if it is hot, even if your legs are milky white or heavy. Go to a poetry slam. Go to open mike,and read the story you wrote about the hilariously god-awful family reunion, with a trusted friend, even though it could be better, and would hurt Uncle Ed's feelings if he read it, which he isn't going to.

Change his name and hair color--he won't even recognize himself.

At work, you begin to fulfill your artistic destiny. Wow! A reviewer may hate your style, or newspapers may neglect you, or 500 people may tell you that you are bitter, delusional and boring.

Let me ask you this: in the big juicy Zorba scheme of things, who fucking cares?

-- Anne Lamott from her Facebook page

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mustard Seed Sessions: Lauren of A Wild Tonic & Wanderlust Print Co

Meet Lauren Wilkey. The girl is busy. She runs A Wild Tonic blog and vintage shop, and Wanderlust Print Co. handmade shop (one of my favorite print shops). You can find Lauren on Instagram here and here and trust me you are going to want to - she just got the cutest, tiniest baby kitten. (Go! Hurry! Before she grows!)

Lauren, who hails from the great and powerful state of New Jersey (not that I'm biased or anything), was kind enough to be the first ever interview in the new series Mustard Seed Sessions. Scroll down to check it out!

KF: What's a day in your life like?
LW: At the moment, my life is pretty hectic. I work 6 days a week at a clothing store, and two nights a week as a bartender. Every other moment is jam-packed with shop/blog work, hanging out with friends and family, or sleeping. I try really hard to maximize my time, which means I make a lot of lists and get little sleep. I'm not complaining, though! I love being busy and working hard towards my goals.

KF: What prompted you to start your blog and shops?
LW: I started selling vintage because I had some vintage in my closet that I didn't wear anymore. Etsy seemed to be a better fit than eBay, and now (over four years later) I send beautiful vintage to new homes every week. I started my blog because it was just a thing to do. I started Wanderlust Print Co. because of my dad! He had some old maps he was going to throw away "unless you can think of something to do with them?" That's when I started printing wanderlust-inspired quotes on old map paper. Thanks, Dad!

KF: Is your business/art your full time job? If not, what else do you do? 
LW: Unfortunately at this moment and like I mentioned earlier, my online life isn't my full-time job. I've been working towards being self-employed for a while, and I have a little bit more time to put in before I can make the switch. Hopefully it's sooner rather than later. ;)

KF: What would you tell your 20-year old self? 
LW: Start paying off your student loans and spend less money at Forever 21.

KF: What's the worst job you've ever had?
LW: I know it's uncouth to talk about this kind of stuff, so I'll keep it brief. It was my first job out of college, and the lady I worked for treated me very poorly. I was only there for a few months, but the whole experience taught me a lot so it wasn't a total wash.

KF: What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten?
LW: My favorite advice is something my grandma always used to say, though I never remember hearing her say it, "I listen to everyone, but I do what I want." I think it's really smart to ask for advice or feedback, but ultimately go with your own instincts.

KF: What's the hardest part about pursuing a "non-traditional" career? The best part?
LW: The hardest part is shutting off. I find it almost impossible to not think about my blog or one of my shops at any given moment. The best part is that I never want to stop thinking about it. I love what I do.

KF: What inspires you?
LW: So many things: walking around thrift stores, blogs, boredom and anger (sounds weird, but it's true), travel, my mom, the new "Explore" tab on Instagram, my friends who are also creative and small-business-oriented, movies, vintage photographs. The list could go on for days, but I'll stop here. :)

Thanks Lauren! Make sure to check out her blog and shops for more of this great lady!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dollars For Doggies 2014

Dollars For Doggies 2014!

I'm so excited to announce my third annual Dollars for Doggies fundraiser/giveaway!
This year we're raising money for three incredible rescues:

These three rescues have really touched my heart this year. Some of their toughest rescue cases still haunt my mind and heart.
They are true examples of being selfless and a voice for animals.

Here's how it works:
2. Come back here to enter via rafflecopter below
3. Enter in as many ways as you'd like (instagram, bonus entries for higher amounts, etc)
4. Feel really good for helping to save the lives of so many dogs in need :)

Since we've got three amazing rescues, it only seemed right to have three winners this year.
Here's what you're entering to win:

Winner A will get
1. one (1) custom collar & leash set from Luca Loves Madison
2. one (1) print of his/her choice from Wanderlust Print Co
3. $25 giftcard to Amazon (c/o Small town, Big Smile)
4. one (1) $35 print of his/her choice from SS Print Shop
5. $25 giftcard to Etsy (c/o The Soubrette Brunette)
6. $20 shop credit to Mod by Mel
7. $25 shop credit to Puddleduck Paper Co
8. 52 Weeks of Treats e-book from Pretty Fluffy
9. One (1) very dog appropriate notepad from Julie Ann Art
10. $50 shop credit to Poppy & Fern

Winner B will get
One (1) 45-minute skype Photography Lesson with Katie Rain Photography. Learn from the absolute best!
Ask every question you have about that dSLR you keep meaning to use, how to advance your current skills, and tips and tricks for getting the best photos of your family.

Winner C will get
One (1) 60-minute skype session with Mustard Seed Coaching.
Please see the coaching page on this blog to learn more.

And that's it! Phew. I'm exhausted. But SO, so excited!
TO ENTER: use the Rafflecopter below. Make sure to donate first!
The giveaway prizes are amazing but what you are doing for these dogs in need is priceless.
Thank you for helping me celebrate my birthday in the best way possible. xoxo

p.s. check out the pups behind this year's Dollars For Doggies. I am swooning.
p.p.s. to enter on instagram, please save and use either of the large square images on this post or just steal from our instagrams :)
p.p.p.s. the giveaway is open to US residents only. sorry to our international friends <3 donations are able to be taken worldwide.

If you can't adopt, foster. If you can't foster, donate. If you can't donate, network. We can all do something. Spay/Neuter all pets. Never shop, always adopt. Be their voice.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy > Busy (and a question for you)

 shirt: c/o much more than me

It's nearly three in the morning. A time I've seen now several days in a row. Earlier today, I'd realized I hadn't eaten anything yet and it was nearly six at night. I finished dinner somewhere around midnight. I'm exhausted. I'm run down. And I've noticed that over the past week or so, I've slipped into a danger zone called "Trying to be Everything to Everyone". I stopped working out, felt groggy, had traded my healthy, whole meals for pita chips in my hand as I ran to the train.

Red flags. Red flags everywhere.

So I'm calling myself out. I can't be everything to everyone. I can be really good to myself and trust that love will pour out into the world and onto those people that I love and interact with. I can be honest about what I can take on and hope the people hearing 'no' will have understanding and forgiveness. I can do my best but stop pushing myself to extremes.

Yet again, I find myself circling back to why we praise being busy in our society. Why do we feel really deliciously good when our calendars and voicemail are full? Why does scheduling something weeks in advance makes us feel adult and important? What about being gentle and easy with ourselves? What about what we want to be doing?

I asked myself that question earlier this week while staring at a growing pile of emails, fear creeping up and over me. "What do you want to do? Who do you want to connect with in this moment?" and I found myself reaching out to two friends whom I've been meaning to write for awhile. Just to say hi, that I love them, I'm proud of them. That's it. That's what I wanted to do. And it felt way better than crossing something else off on my to-do list. Without a doubt, when I work from my heart, I get more done, feel better, and listen to myself along the way. When I work from a to-do list or a place of fear that I won't accomplish something, I struggle, overanalyze, and hide from tasks.

The things that we love are the things that are meant for us. I love going to Lincoln Center, I love helping animals in need, I love being silly and laughing and bouncing around like a child. These things sit in my heart (with many, many more). So when I'm not carving out time to do these things, and the other things I love, I'm actively choosing to go against myself. So that I can feel.. what? Adult? Productive? Frustrated? No thank you.

So what do you want to be doing? Not what should you be doing, not what do others expect of you today, but what do you want to be doing? Do that.

You are not being selfish, you are not being "unrealistic" (that's a curse word in my book), you are taking care of your precious body, precious spirit and using your finite time in the ways you want to. Taking care of yourself does not mean you aren't taking care of others. Actually, it means you can take care of others even more.

So now, what do you want to do today? Do that.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Lessons In Snuggling

Every morning, I wake up to a little puppy girl snuggled up against me. She likes to keep at least one paw on me at all times but sleep calls for fully up against my back, my stomach or sometimes lounging over my head (yes, it's as fun as it sounds). No one knows Layla's story except for Layla but I'm pretty sure her original human(s) left her and she'll be damned if that ever happens again (not that it ever, ever will - girl is home for life with me).

This morning, however, when I rolled over to say good morning to her, I realized the furry butt snuggled up to me was my Henry. My non-snuggler. My boy who likes a lot of space to sprawl out in. This makes sense when we factor in that he was locked in a cage for the first 6 months of his life. Kid likes his space.

My heart was just filled up with love immediately, and a thought struck me: encouraging someone to be braver but giving them the space to grow in their own time and on their own terms, while accepting them exactly as they are each step along the way, might be my personal definition of Love.

This awesome revelation was quickly followed by the pang of guilt and shame as I realized I do this wholeheartedly with my dogs.. but am not as gentle or patient with the humans I love.

One of my blessing/curses is that I can always see the incredible potential of the people that I love. I can see their greatness and that they already have within them the things they feel they are lacking. And I want to wave my arms frantically and make banners announcing it. "Hey look over here! You are already the amazing, beautiful, worthy creature you are attempting to be! Let me show you how to access that!"

And that's not my job. Unfortunately. Well actually is is my job but only with my clients and even then I can only shine a light, they must still make the journey. More over, just because I love self-growth (uh, obsessively) and striving toward always learning more about myself doesn't mean everyone else does. And just because I love someone that does not give me permission to coach them. And it certainly does not give me permission to highlight what I may feel they need to change. Not my business.

I'm trying to figure out why it's so easy with my dogs and harder with my human tribe. My dogs love and accept me unconditionally, so that's a start. And I am constantly reminding myself that they have had some tough times before so it's my duty to actively show them love. But the same can be said for people.

I remember having a similar thought about this several months ago. I was struggling to get Henry to learn something new and reminded myself to be patient with his growth, when it dawned on me that I was not being patient with the growth of my favorite human. I wanted that person to be able to be in a place they weren't ready to be in yet, and I wanted them to get there faster than they were able. When I actively reminded myself to love and accept him the way I love and accept Henry, it really shifted things. Since I'm a flawed human too, I forgot about this idea after awhile and went back to wanting him to be ready nownownow. But the good news is this great experience this morning has reminded me I get to try again with the people that I love.

So that's my current goal: encourage those I love to be braver but give them the space to grow in their own time, on their own terms, while accepting them exactly as they are right now.
Should be super easy, right? ;) If you're down to join me in this mission, let me know in the comments!