Blog Posts, Creative Writing, friendship, love, family, spiritual growth, Kabbalah, soul mates, sharing

Shiny Sparks: Meredith Myers – The Majestik Lioness

In this week’s installment of ‘Shiny Sparks,’ I spoke with Meredith Myers (The Majestik Lioness). Meredith is a heart-based healer and teacher of metaphysical wisdom, meditation, and self-worth. I asked her how she maintains her connection to spirituality.

What helps me live consciously?

Meditation helps me to live a more mindful & peaceful state of mind. I first found meditation when studying Kabbalah & went into it on a deeper level through the study of metaphysics. Meditation helps me to bring my mind to the present moment, aligns/clears my chakras, protects me & connects me on an intimate level with God, angels, spirit guides & mother earth. Meditation saved my life & brought me true inner peace.
I’m currently creating a new sacred space where I will be offering my spiritual tools, Reiki services, sage boutique bundles & card readings. I feel extremely blessed to connect with people from all over the world through email, Skype & FaceTime sessions. I love helping others to heal & grow into their own unique spiritual gifts.
I Am a teacher & student always.
I Am ll Degree Reiki practitioner, Self love coach, Fairyologist & an intuitive artist.
I Am very passionate about what I do because Holistic Healing is the only thing that worked for me.
I AM a believer of spreading light, healing through universal life force energy & plant medicine.
I help people become the best versions of themselves. I work with women & men to help them feel empowered all over this beautiful planet. My purpose is to get us back to the basics of the practice of prayer & meditation.
Meredith Ann Myers
The Majestik Lioness 
Connect with Meredith on Instagram
@themajestiklioness
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Blog Posts, Creative Writing

Nurture Your Light

___________________

nurture your light

Nurture Your Light: A Creative Spa

This package is an immersive day of nurturing YOU and your Creative Light. Are you struggling with repetative patterns or feeling a little stuck in areas in your life? Are you hoping to reignite a hobby or skill you enjoyed ‘Once Upon A Time?’ When was the last time you took a day just to honor you and your creative sparks?

I have created a special workshop package just for you.

  • We’ll start with an Access Consciousness BARS Session. This is a gentle, hands on experience that is relaxing and nurturing. After the session you will feel relaxed and nurtured. There are 32 points on the head that when gently can help you release limitations and blockages that hold you back from receiving everything you know is possible. Is there an area in your life you’d like to change? Do you feel stuck or like you’re repeating the same patterns over and over again? Are you struggling with depression/anxiety, AD/HD? The Access BARS can help you create change!
  • Next, I’ll take you through my loving and expansive Intuitive Journaling Workshop: “Write to Change Your World!” What is Intuitive Journaling? Intuitive Journaling will help you clear out your past, and begin the healing process. This workshop will expand your energy and open the channels of writing and creation for YOU – even if you are not a writer. Learn how heart-based journaling will help you answer questions, overcome challenges, and experience a deeper connection with your own intuition and soul guidance. What to Expect:  This is a one-hour workshop during which we use guided meditations, journaling exercises, and discussion to connect to a deeper place of creation. Participants will receive a handout with the tools and process used in the workshop for further exploration. 
  • Then, you’ll receive a Reiki healing session that includes a special crystal layout just for you. Reiki is universal light force healing, received through the Reiki practitioner. Reiki is an intelligent energy that knows exactly where to go for each person receiving it. Reiki is gently, non-invasive, and feels relaxing and nurturing. You can receive Reiki for any desired result.
  • And finally, I’ll guide you through an ‘Energy Board’ experience to help you follow through and actualize everything you know is possible. Let go of the outdated idea of the ‘Vision Board’ and allow me to take you on an elevating artistic journey of discovery and joy.  In this workshop, we will work with the energy you are trying to create in your life while putting together a creative collage. Don’t worry if you’re not feeling confident in your artistic skills! There is no formal training required, and I will guide you through every step of the process.
  • Also included: soothing aromas in the form of essential oils, yummy snacks and treats, lots of bubbly water and joy and laughter.

Investment:

This package is valued at $413, but because I am committed to helping people reach their full potential, I am offering it for $272 if booked and paid by May 15th.

If you need a 2-Pay Option, I offer 2 payments of $155: 1st payment by May 15th, remainder due on date of Spa experience.

Now Booking for dates in May and June! Schedule your time HERE.These creative spa experienced will be held at a private location in the Dallas/Richardson area. If you require a location near a specific area, we can accommodate that for a small additional fee. Please ask!

Would you like to take this workshop with a group of friends? That is also possible! Please ask!

Ready to invest in Your Light?  BOOK Your Creative Spa Day HERE.

A PayPal invoice will be sent after you have scheduled your time.

Cristee Cook | Author and Intuitive Writing Facilitator

817-781-5267

Mycirclegame.com | mycirclegame@outlook.com

Blog Posts, Uncategorized

No Takebacks

“I’ll trade you my Barbie for 2 of your My Little Ponies.”

“Ok, but you can’t have Twilight Pegasus.”

“Well you can’t have Barbie and The Rockers, just one of the regular ones.”

“Ok.”

“Ok.”

“No takebacks!”

My sister and I championed this phrase. It was our secret handshake.

Then, when we were older:

“I won’t tell Mom you set the trash can on fire if you let me borrow your car. And no takebacks.”

My sister is 19 months younger than me, so if I accepted this offer I’d be breaking the law. And really, she was playing dirty with this negotiation.

me and jenni pumpkin

I hadn’t set the trash can ablaze on purpose. After school one afternoon I was in my parent’s office, talking on the phone, probably to a boy. I was probably chattering, excitedly. He was probably pretending to listen. I’m not a person who just sits and talks on the phone. I fill the space with a mindless action: doodling, shuffling a deck of cards, typing random sequences on a word document, and then when I got older, smoking cigarettes. This time, I was lighting matches. I’d strike the match, watch it burn down until the flame almost met with my fingers, and then I’d shake it out until the ember became a black trail of sulfur smoke. I guess I didn’t let one of the matches burn out long enough because my one-sided chatter halted when I smelled the rancid odor of burning paper. I hastily mumbled “I’ve gotta go!” to my boyfriend, and barely got the phone back on the hook when the smoke detector started screaming.

My sister came running. “Chris! What happened?!”

“I accidentally set the trash can on fire!”

We were latchkey kids. A common part of being a kid in the 1980’s. Our bus stopped in front of our house at around 4 p.m. and my mom didn’t get home until almost 6 pm, so our late afternoons were filled with freeform adventure, mostly in the form of television, unsupervised snacking, and long phone calls with boys, which our mother hated.

Instinctively, I ran to my parent’s room and grabbed the jug of distilled water that was always on the iron board. I doused the flames.

The fire alarm screamed, and my sister was panicking. It was a brutal and invasive irritation, and I think we both feared that somehow there would be some sort of record that it had been set off. That our dad would come home early from one of his week-long business trips and know it had happened. We had no idea how to stop a smoke alarm from alarming, so we did what I must’ve seen on television: we hit it with the end of a broom handle. The scenario is always the same in these fictions: the broom handle hits the alarm case, the alarm case breaks, the batteries fall out, and the noise stops.

I frantically jabbed at the white plastic disc, which was attached to the ceiling. It was harder than the movies made it look. I could hardly reach it even with an extension. I failed to stop the screeching and instead punched broom-handle sized holes in the ceiling all around the smoke detector. I can’t remember how we got the damn thing to stop wailing, but it eventually quieted. We waited for the phone to ring, for the fire department to show up, for Dad to pull into the driveway, but instead it was just silence, my sister and I, the smell of burnt paper, and pure adrenaline.

I told her, “I need to clean up the trash can.”

I returned to the scene only to see that all the water I’d used to extinguish the flames had leaked out the bottom of the rickety, old school metal bin. Dark, sooty stains puddled out onto my mom’s newly installed, light gray carpet. And the clock was ticking. She was due home in less than an hour.

We devised a plan in which I held the trash can over a bucket while we carefully lifted our contraption and moved it down the hall, down the stairs, wincing at every slosh, until we got it out the back door and dumped the soot in the mulched garden bed. I used the water hose to rinse out the remaining evidence from the bin, and my sister dried it. Then it was back upstairs to the office, where we used old cleaning towels and Formula 409 to frantically scrub the soot out of the carpet. Next, I furiously vacuumed the spots to dry the carpet, begging it would be sufficient to go unnoticed.

“What about the holes in the ceiling?!” my sister cried. Her anxiety in the moment only proves our eternal bond, despite our ongoing sibling rivalry. She had not caused any of this carnage. If our efforts to cover up my dumbass actions were unsuccessful, she wouldn’t have been the one in trouble.

me and jenni redrum

“Well, Daddy always uses spackle for holes,” I said.

So, it was back down the stairs, out into the garage, where we madly searched for the miracle paste. Back upstairs, my sister held the small step ladder while I clumsily globbed into and over the holes, praying no one would notice. My broom handle attack had also cracked the face of the smoke detector, so I spackled that too. When I noticed the shade of white in the spackle was different than the detector’s hue, I used my craft paints to try and blend the color.

Finished, sweaty, and out of breath, we stood in a weird, silent expectation just long enough to realize it still smelled like smoke and burnt paper, so we turned the ceiling fan on and opened all the office windows.

We put away our crude instruments. We waited.

My mom got home at her normal time. She was happy to see us. We talked about school, and ate dinner, and watched our evening programs, and told our dad goodnight from whatever city he had traveled to that week and got ready for bed. Throughout the evening, my sister and I shared furtive looks, expecting that any second Mom would ask us why the carpet was wet, or why the windows were open upstairs, or why all the distilled water was gone, or why we were being so nice to each other…but she didn’t. It was a wildly uneventful, normal suburban evening in middle America.

me and jenni santa

So, years later when my sister brought up the small fire as a bargaining chip to take my new car, and my brand spanking new driver’s license, I agreed. Not because I was thought I’d be punished or because I believed she’d actually tell on me. I agreed because despite our complicated sisterhood, and our startling differences, she’s always been my partner in crime. This pattern of negotiation created a stable bridge for us to be united. She’s the only person in the world who really gets my wacko genius, and she’s the first to step up and protect it. Every time. Unconditionally. When we’re united, we’re unstoppable. My trouble is her trouble. Her pain is my pain. Forever and ever. No takebacks.

Blog Posts, Creative Writing

Nurture Your Light

 

___________________

nurture your light

Nurture Your Light: A Creative Spa

This package is an immersive day of nurturing YOU and your Light and includes:

  • We’ll start with an Access Consciousness BARS Session. This is a gentle, hands on experience that is relaxing and nurturing. After the session you will feel relaxed and nurtured. There are 32 points on the head that when gently can help you release limitations and blockages that hold you back from receiving everything you know is possible. Is there an area in your life you’d like to change? Do you feel stuck or like you’re repeating the same patterns over and over again? Are you struggling with depression/anxiety, AD/HD? The Access BARS can help you create change!

 

  • Next, I’ll take you through my loving and expansive Intuitive Journaling Workshop: “Write to Change Your World!” What is Intuitive Journaling? Intuitive Journaling will help you clear out your past, and begin the healing process. This workshop will expand your energy and open the channels of writing and creation for YOU – even if you are not a writer. Learn how heart-based journaling will help you answer questions, overcome challenges, and experience a deeper connection with your own intuition and soul guidance. What to Expect:  This is a one-hour workshop during which we use guided meditations, journaling exercises, and discussion to connect to a deeper place of creation. Participants will receive a handout with the tools and process used in the workshop for further exploration. 

 

  • Then, you’ll receive a Reiki healing session that includes a special crystal layout just for you. Reiki is universal light force healing, received through the Reiki practitioner. Reiki is an intelligent energy that knows exactly where to go for each person receiving it. Reiki is gently, non-invasive, and feels relaxing and nurturing. You can receive Reiki for any desired result.

 

  • And finally, I’ll guide you through an ‘Energy Board’ experience to help you follow through and actualize everything you know is possible. Let go of the outdated idea of the ‘Vision Board’ and allow me to take you on an elevating artistic journey of discovery and joy.  In this workshop, we will work with the energy you are trying to create in your life while putting together a creative collage. Don’t worry if you’re not feeling confident in your artistic skills! There is no formal training required, and I will guide you through every step of the process.

 

  • Also included: soothing aromas in the form of essential oils, yummy snacks and treats, lots of bubbly water and joy and laughter.

 

Investment:

This package is valued at $413, but because I am committed to helping people reach their full potential, I am offering it for $272 if booked and paid by May 5th.

If you need a 2-Pay Option, I offer 2 payments of $155: 1st payment by May 5th, remainder due on date of Spa experience.

Now Booking for dates in May and June! Schedule your time HERE.

These creative spa experienced will be held at a private location in the Dallas/Richardson area. If you require a location near a specific area, we can accommodate that for a small additional fee. Please ask!

Would you like to take this workshop with a group of friends? That is also possible! Please ask!

Ready to invest in Your Light?  BOOK Your Creative Spa Day HERE.

A PayPal invoice will be sent after you have scheduled your time.

 

Cristee Cook | Author and Intuitive Writing Facilitator

817-781-5267

Mycirclegame.com | mycirclegame@outlook.com

 

 

Blog Posts

Shiny Sparks: Miranda Chop

This week’s inspiration highlight is provided with awe and acceptance by Miranda Chop. She takes us on a short but no less profound journey into her creative process as she answers the question, What Inspires You?

_____________________________________

I’m never short on inspiration. It is everywhere, all the time, if you know where to look, but more importantly, if you know how to see. I find it in all the usual suspects: new spring growth, the stories our friends tell, our lived experiences, the waxing and waning of the moon. Life seems to conspire to inspire us. While the messages are prolific and constant, they are easy to miss in the chaos of every day living. No matter what shape our lives take, we tend to bury ourselves into them. The appointments, chores, errands, surviving and staying afloat take so much energy, there is often little time for grounding or conscious awareness. In these moments, when I’ve finally reached my limit of outward motion, I take solace in the inner stillness of “what is.” Sometimes this means accepting completely the idea that, in this moment, washing the dishes is my highest spiritual path. I focus on the movement of the broom as I sweep the floor, or on the pock-marked and fading wood, scratched and in desperate need of re-finishing. If the temperature is right, I immerse myself in nature. Walking barefoot in the dirt and grass, planting my feet firmly, I imagine strong roots coming out of them and burrowing deep into the earth. Even sitting with a green houseplant and crying it out when necessary. Plants are great listeners, never interrupting and always holding space for evolution. Nature is the perfect spiritual guru because it accepts where it is in every moment and recognizes the cyclical nature of the universe. It helps me to remember no matter how bad things feel, or even how good they feel, this too shall pass, and return. Ride the waves, the ocean says. Dig deep while reaching higher and higher, chime the trees. Sit in the stillness of the everchanging flow of life like a river stone, letting the water flow under, around, and sometimes through us. All the magic we could ever need is hidden in the plain sight of present moment awareness.

shiny sparks_miranda

Miranda Chop is a lifelong writer from Texas intent on using her innate pioneering spirit to initiate change and transformation in her own life and others’. Follow her on Twitter @MirandaChop and see more of her work here:

North Star Press

The Tattooed Buddha

Hatch Words

Blog Posts

Shiny Sparks: February 26

I had just finished setting up my table for a book event yesterday, when a women walked up and asked me what my book is about. She looked really tired and I could see she had been crying. I answered her question and we got to talking, and she’s going through some serious life challenges. She ended up purchasing a few things from me, and as she started to walk away, she shared with me that she hadn’t intended to come to the market and didn’t really know why she was there or what she was looking for – but after our talk, she felt like maybe she had come just to meet me and talk with me.

This was a high compliment, and the primary reason I embarked on the crazy task of being a self-published author as full-time as I possibly can: I want to share through my writing.

The experience stuck with me. I thought about her on and off all day.

This week I want to talk about being inspired by our own progress and journey. Basically, to be inspired by YOU or ME or US.

As I write this, I find I’m uncomfortable…what if I lose the small number of followers I have?

What if someone takes what I say the wrong way?

What if people think I’m just tooting my own horn and I’m not really talented enough to do that?

You know what? If I want to be a successful author, I can’t listen to that kind of talk.

And I want to share a secret I’ve learned: it’s hard to be a writer.

It’s hard to be a self-published author trying to make a living with your books – for different reasons than I thought in the beginning. The writing itself isn’t actually hard. It takes effort and some days I’ll fight for every word, but I still usually produce something.

The absolute hardest part for me has been quieting the voice that tells me I can’t do it.

The voice that feeds my questions and doubts.

The voice that feeds the fear that invades when I think about whether anyone wants to read what I have to say.

The voice that creates Imposter Syndrome.

The voice that causes me to compare myself to others.

van gogh

But you know what?

I’m doing it anyway.

I’m selling books at art markets and book events.

I’m sending emails to my followers.

I’m writing every day even if I think it’s garbage.

I’ve got two new children’s book in the works and I just released an educational resource for my first book.

I’m not an award-winning bestselling author, but I’m still shining my own light and sharing what I can through writing.

It isn’t ego to tell people about your work because you think it can be a contribution to them.

The ego is the voice that says we can’t do that.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of trying to use the negative thoughts as motivation. It doesn’t really work. It certainly doesn’t create unlimited possibility.

I want to be inspired by my own journey. To be self-motivated not out of greed or a need to have the spotlight, but a true desire to share what I can with those who are looking for what I have to say.

impossible

Maybe there will be people who don’t like it.

But that’s not who I’m writing for…

This week, let’s focus on following through no matter what.

Don’t worry about the size of the progress or positive feedback from others.

Do it because you have the idea and a desire to do it.

There’s no one in the world exactly like you, and if you have the idea it means it’s yours to create. And no one will do it or say it exactly like you…so, go shine your own special light.

Be inspired by YOU.

 

 

 

 

Blog Posts

Shiny Sparks, February 12

This week my husband was out-of-town for 5 days, and I was basically a single SAH Mom. I realize there are families out there who do this on a consistent basis, but our family doesn’t, so when one parent is gone, our kids are definitely affected. My husband is extremely hands on, and we share responsibilities equally, so I was affected too.

I enjoy special one on one time with my children. But if I’m honest, I’m spoiled by the partnership my husband and I have created and after 4 days with no break at all from the littles, I was hungry for some quiet time. My youngest was actually sick all week and my oldest was extra needy because she was missing her daddy. On Saturday morning I had a moment where I felt like just getting in the car and running away! I’m sure I’m not the only mom in the world who has experienced this, and because of that, I want to share a few motivational quotes and images about motherhood that help ground me back into my heart center, and help me remember why I even chose to be a mom in the first place. Because let’s face it: motherhood is crazy, messy, challenging, frustrating, and burnout can come quickly.

As I’ve mentioned, part of the purpose for this blog is to share my own struggles so that others can find motivation and a deeper sense of purpose. Sometimes inspiration has to come from simple sources and within a 5 minute time frame. It’s not always a grand adventure. Here are my shiny sparks for the week.

kids 1

This image and quote helps me to take it easy on myself when I’m listing all the ways I think I can be doing better. The truth is that right now our little family is actually struggling financially, and we’re having a hard time replacing lost income. When I’m centered in myself spiritually, I know that money should be the least of my concerns, and this helped me to remember that. Kids are so simple, right? All they really want is our attention and love.

kids 2
Mother and Child, Xi Pan

Why does carrying a sleeping child to bed always feel so sacred?

kids 3
Mother and Child, Pablo Picasso

This image helps me remember the quiet place I have inside that knows the moment I’m in is exactly where I am supposed to be. And the outside world and my concerns about what’s next just disappear.

kids 4
The Drinking Jug, Joaquin Sorolla

My son is at that stage of wanting to do everything himself. In the moments I allow myself to let go and not be such a control freak, I see him becoming his own little person. It’s inspiring to see kids develop from infant to toddler to kid. I can’t wait to see what they become.

kids 5
“That 70’s Show” – Kitty

Ok, we’re all fibbing if we say we haven’t felt this way! This was me on Saturday morning!

klimt children
Mother and Child, Gustav Klimt

This image is one of favorite paintings in the world. Every time I see it, I feel my heart swell with the love I have for the two little souls that chose me to be their mom in this life. This painting successfully dampens my selfish nature and makes me want to work harder to connect to my children.

So, there it is. Motherhood kicks my butt sometimes, but I wouldn’t change it. I’ll tell you a secret: I actually never saw myself having children, but life had different plans and here we are with two strong souls to care for. I’m changing for the better, whether I like it or not.

If you’re a mom and you’re reading this, I hope you have an amazing week of ups and downs. I hope you can find the grand adventure within the mundane.

 

Blog Posts, Creative Writing

My Crowdsourced Life

I want to talk about community.

The dictionary defines community as:

  • a unified body of individuals
  • a social state or condition

There is an implied consciousness behind it.

And the word togetherness:

  • warm fellowship, as among members of a family
  • the quality, state, or condition of being together

They are ideas that sound easy enough on paper, but I’ve found that actually creating community and togetherness takes tremendous inner transformation.

Sometimes in my enthusiasm, I come on strong in relationships. I go full force, straight forward with no pause to think if the other party needs or wants that amount of energy. Sometimes I make a mistake in thinking that because we have common interests or are members of the same community there is an automatic bond. I forget that things take time to build. The same applies to personal interests and challenges: it can be all-or-nothing.

People that I admire or look to as examples tell me to “let go.”  Let things flow. Don’t try to always have the answers. (Insert a sigh, eye roll, or scream.) This is a challenge for me. The cycle of negative tape plays in my head, where I imagine the worst case scenarios of what will happen “if”…

My chest tightens, my energy gets small and trapped and I feel like I can’t breathe. My brain plays the common trick of convincing me that if I can control everything, I won’t have anything to worry about.

This approach doesn’t yield good results, so my focus in the past few months has been to take the hard advice: let go, let things flow, and don’t try to always have the answers. It requires constant vigilance. It’s baffling how quickly I slip back into trying to do everything myself and the chaos that often follows the decisions made in this state of mind. I have some challenges in my life that are so familiar: old patterns, old thinking, all of it the same old garbage that I can’t seem to break free of. I feel broken, helpless to change myself.

This is where I think community and togetherness come in. This is the energy behind the contemporary trend of crowd-sourcing: we can do it alone, but we’re so much stronger when we do it together. When we invest in something as part of a group of like-minded people, we want to contribute instead of expecting a return.

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My life is crowd-sourced. People who love me more than I deserve at times contribute to my potential. They look past my flaws and over-sharing and child-like enthusiasm and see my light. My parents accept my out-of-the-box lifestyle and support me in more ways than I can write in an essay. Sometimes I’m so committed to my own point of view that I can’t even receive this love. People in my life show me their heart and I reject it. Or I twist it to fit into my own understanding of what it means to share and miss an opportunity to experience the growth that can only come from admitting that I don’t know.

As I write this I’m in the middle of a situation that has an open ending. I don’t know how some of the challenges will resolve. But in the past few weeks, I’ve had people step forward to offer a hand up in ways that I would have never imagined. And it seems to happen in the blink of an eye. Somehow, I’m in the right place at the right time and an opportunity is presented through people and places that surprise me. So far, the results have been far better than my original plans. I’m humbled by my small perspective. I limit my reality if left to my own devices.

My crowd-sourced life is a wonder. I am in awe of what we can accomplish when we set our egos aside and commit to a common goal. My relationships are stronger when I step back a bit and let things build organically. My fears of not being loved are replaced with the knowing that sometimes love shows up in minutia, but is no less grand. If I get out of the way, I don’t miss it.

unity

Blog Posts

Shiny Sparks: January 29

When I decided to take my blog more seriously, and really treat my idea as the magical possibility I know it is, I wanted a simple way to plan the weekly content. I want consistency and ease for myself so that I don’t self-sabotage. I also want to create the blog/website that I want to read. So, the idea of a “Monday Motivation” came forward, and this will be my weekly interpretation of that.

I want to share a few things that have inspired me this week. I know myself pretty well these days, and I’ve observed that if I don’t actively seek out inspiration, I let my creativity take a back burner. Well, since the publication of my book, and some personal challenges this year, I find I’ve got a bigger desire to maintain a level of creativity that actively pushes me toward greater personal expression. Here are this week’s shiny sparks: 1 book and 1 documentary that ignited my creative fire.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

This non-fiction book offers funny, inspiring, and poignant insights into the art of living your creativity. Author of  Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert delivers sparkling observations of brave and joyous creative action. She shares a story in the beginning of the book which sets up the whole idea of “Big Magic.” It’s a funny, fascinating, enchanting story that will delight you. I was completely hooked! In each section: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, and Divinity – the creative process is dissected, reorganized, and put back together in a way that makes you just want to go out and make your dreams actualized. I loved the book. It took me a long time to read it because I’m a mom, but it’s a page turner. I related to many of the stories, and now that I’ve finished it, I feel like I have a deeper and more spiritual understanding of my own creative process. I also have a stronger courage inside to pursue my vision with more joy. I highly recommend it.

 

BigMagicPB

 

Theatre of Life, directed by Peter Svatek

This documentary, currently available on Netflix, follows chef Massimo Bottura, who is opening an unorthodox soup kitchen – gourmet meals for the needy from food waste at the 2015 Milan Expo. I enjoyed learning about Massimo Bottura and his work when I watched the Netflix documentary series, Chef’s Table, so Theater of Life was an easy sell for me. Massimo Bottura is a fascinating person with a positive and adventurous outlook. Theater of Life is a captivating meditation about waste. The story is intercut between Bottura’s experiences opening the kitchen (the Refettorio Ambrosiano), and the personal lives of 6 people he feeds. The homeless people and refugees interviewed have incredible stories to share, and each of them do so with elegance, acceptance, and urgency. Despite their hardships, they maintain the hope that their lives will improve and their dreams will still come true. Their time together at the soup kitchen, the “Refettorio,” is not only a delicious meal, but also the opportunity for friendship, camaraderie, and support. Bottura enlists the helps of 60 chefs from about the world, and 19 of them appear in the film. (Including one of my favorites, Ana Ros. You can watch her episode of Chef’s Table on Netflix.) Directed by Peter Svatek, this film will leave you contemplating the idea of waste, and what it means to be a helper in the world. It left me wondering what kind of world we’d live in if everyone with the resources would be willing to contribute so much to others? At just 90 minutes, you can watch this after kiddo(s) bedtime or in short sections. I was moved by it, and I am excited to recommend it.

e14f4ec7101afa4f6e46780ae57a8707afd870d3
Mossimo Bottura in Netflix’s Theater of Life.

Have you found any new inspirations lately? Feel free to share! If you check out one of these, I’d love to hear your response. I hope your week is nurturing, creative, and inspired. If it can’t be that way all the time, I hope you can at least grab it in moments, and use it to propel you to bliss.

Blog Posts

Use Your Words

I’m working on the second book in my children’s book series. It’s about our mouth: our sense of taste and our teeth – the material world aspect of our mouths. It’s also about the power of words – the spiritual world aspect of our mouths. I write about how to use our 5 senses in a deeper way in daily life. So, it’s no coincidence that I’m writing about words. I started my books in early 2017, and because I illustrate them myself, and I’m a SAH mom, the process can take longer than I would prefer. I started working on the second book late in the summer, and soon after, I began to see the deeper lessons in our speech reflected back to me, practically at every turn.

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We’re in a moment with words. Our collective experience of #metoo and #timesup have offered a safe harbor for people to share their stories of abuse and harassment. Personally, I am glad it’s happening. Whether it is Hollywood, sports, religion, or business organizations, it’s time to let it all out. It isn’t easy. I see myself as a compassionate and supportive purpose, yet I see my prejudices and judgements pop up. I must examine where they originated. I read testimonials that trigger my own victimization and must ask myself why I haven’t spoken up. We’re all being forced to look at the ugly side of some intense issues, and my hope is that by doing so, we can truly begin to heal.

But speaking up and speaking out is a lingering challenge. I don’t think we’ve been trained to use our words. Our society doesn’t accept a survivor’s tale at face value. We’re not surrounded by encouragement.

I have an entire folder on Pinterest that’s nothing but pretty words against pretty backgrounds. Sometimes when I need a pep talk, I’ll go there and read and read until the heavy feelings lift. I have images that remind me not to compare myself to others, quotes about honoring your truth, poem excerpts I find lovely, and many other examples. I consume a substantial volume of positive words because I want the words I say and write to be beautiful. I keep thinking that if I hear and read elegant artistry as much as I can, I’ll quiet the societal brand. It takes a tremendous effort to undo the negative things we see and hear. Think about it in your own life for a moment: how many years has it taken you to let go of the negative things you heard as a child?

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A glimpse of my “Words Have Power” Pinterest Board

I was never trained how to use my words. I became a people pleaser. It’s easier to tell myself that I’ll just let it go instead of speaking up because I don’t want to rock the boat. But if it’s a big enough issue, it will turn into resentment. Then, there are the times I’ll muster up the courage to say difficult things out loud, but my delivery is harsh because I feel insecure. Or I spend so much time apologizing for what I’m about to say that all the energy behind what I had hoped to express gets deflated. Sometimes I feel nervous, and that insecurity turns into lack, so I’ll try to fill the space with chatter. My messages get lost in my tone or delivery. I can see a lot of personal growth in this area, but it takes work on my part and there are times I still fall back to the old pattern of thinking I, and therefore my experiences, don’t matter.

Honoring my own truth as a writer has primarily been about changing negative thought patterns. It’s an ongoing process of letting go. I’ve let go of the fear of feeling exposed, or the need for every person who reads my work to fall in love with it. All I can do is write in my truest voice about things that are valuable to me and hope that it helps those who read it. Sometimes I think it’s all been said before. Why bother? Get a real job. Then, I’ll remember that I haven’t said it yet, and therefore it’s inherintely valuable. Speaking as honestly as I can becomes paramount.

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A line from my little book keeps running in my head as I write this: When you use your words, think of all the love you feel…

This is my dream for the future of words. That whether we have to say something painful, or we’re offering a sincere compliment, our words will remain heart-opening. That our words will continue to be a catalyst for positive transformation. And I know it begins with me.