Saturday, January 10, 2015

Creativity is not just for artists




"Creativity is not just for artists. It's for businesspeople looking for a new way to close a sale; it's for engineers trying to solve a problem; it's for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way." ~Twyla Tharp, author of The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

Twenty plus years ago, I went through a graduate program to earn an M.A. in Creation Spirituality. The premise of much of the curriculum was that if you believe in some kind of greater creative force, then you will be your truest self and closest to that source when you are being creative.




One of the daily practices we were encouraged to foster during the program was art-as-meditation, to do something creative each day (e.g. make music, sing, dance, write, paint, draw, take photos, mold clay) without focusing on the product, only the process. I was pretty regular with my art-as-meditation practice while I was in school and for a little while afterwards, and then it fell away.

Lately, I've found myself focusing Focusing FOCUSING on getting from A to Z in certain areas of my life and feeling extremely frustrated when either 1. things go from A to J to F, or 2. it seems like nothing is happening. As I've continued with pushing my metaphorical boulder up a hill, the idea of an art-as-meditation practice keeps popping up.

I even recommended it to someone else. Classic. It's so much easier to give other people the advice you need to take yourself! Clearly, I need to spend a little time each day being comfortable with the uncertainty, lack of linear thinking and chaos that being creative can bring.

If you're interested in trying an art-as-meditation practice, it's fairly simple to do:

  • Set aside time each day (5-20 minutes).
  • During that time, create in whatever way moves you without focusing on the product, just the process.
  • Don't judge what you create.
  • Social media didn't exist 20 years ago, so I would add, refrain from sharing what you create on social media so that you don't set yourself up to be judged by someone else either.

The process is easy. The challenge is committing to make space each day for the unknown.


"All the arts we practice are apprenticeship. The big art is our life. "~ M.C. Richards, author of Centering in Pottery, Poetry, and the Person

***

P.S. I'll be offering The Juicy Blogging E-Course January 20-February 17, 2015.









Photos by me.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Juicy Blogging E-Course: The Art and Play of Blogging


The Juicy Blogging E-Course is back!

Do you want to re-energize your blog and blogging practice, or rediscover the ♥ of your blog?

I’ll be offering this ever popular e-course January 20-February 17, 2015. During the course, you’ll play with fun assignments on a private blog with your fellow juicy bloggers.

“The best part of it all is that it is just so much fun!” ~ Juicy Blogging E-Course student

The course consists of three kinds of fun-work:
Reflection questions to refine your blog’s purpose
Connection assignments to build community and traffic
Creative and juicy blog post prompts to get you writing

While working at your own pace, this course will help you:
• Discover what you love to write about
• Create a big ‘ole list of juicy blog post topics
• Learn tricks and tips for building community and traffic
• Design a blogging schedule that works for you
• Connect with other juicy bloggers

How it works
  • Each week, you’ll receive an email with a link to the week’s lessons on a private blog.
  • You can work privately on your own, or interact with your fellow students in the comments of each lesson’s posts by asking questions, sharing reflections, and posting links to your blog posts for feedback.
  • I individually answer all of the questions you post in the comments of each week’s lessons.
  • Your Juicy Blogging lessons and homework assignments will be posted on Tuesdays (January 20 & 27, February 3, 10 & 17).

Juicy Bonus
At the end of the course, you’ll receive a coupon for 25% off a one-hour blog coaching session tailored just for you.

Investment
$99
Add to Cart

FAQs

Do I need a blog to take this course?
Yes and no. You will get more out of the class if you have a blog, but if you’re taking the class to figure out if you want to blog, I recommend setting up a free Blogger or WordPress.com blog to play with. You can make your Blogger blog private and your WordPress.com blog private, if you want to experiment without anyone seeing it.

Will I learn how to set up/design a blog?
Nope, but if you’re just starting out, by the end of the course, you’ll have a much better sense of the type of blog you want to create when you do set up, or redesign your blog.

I have some things going on during part of the time the course is happening. How long will I have access to the material?
I’ll keep the class blog up for a month or so after the course is over: Till the first day of spring (March 20)!

Please feel free to email me with questions about the course!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Be open to Big Vision photobombs

While visiting New Mexico this summer, I raised my phone to take a photo of some pink flowers against a blue sky when this happened:


This hummingbird flew right into my frame and posed for a long time (at least by hummingbird standards). It was a magical moment, especially because hummingbirds have always been an "auspicious symbol" for me.

Sometimes when we're working on our big vision: noticing what sparkles, letting go of old visions to be open to the new, and running towards what excites us, something unexpected shows up right in front of our face. It might even be more wonderful than the vision we imagined. Why not focus on it, before it flies away?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Don't be shy. Run towards your big vision.


As I was walking to work one day this week, I saw this cute Corgi (pictured above) on the street. At first he was shy. He watched me with half of his face hidden behind the wall. But as I walked closer, his excitement overwhelmed him. He ran out of hiding to say hello and invited me to pet him (so soft!).

Sometimes that's how we are with our Big Visions. Shy at first. Testing the waters. Not wanting to make a commitment. But here's the important part. The excitement. When we get SO excited about something that we just HAVE to do it, or learn more about it, or share it with others, we need to let go and run towards it.

When you feel pulled towards something that makes you go "Oooooooh!" Move towards it. Get closer. See what it's all about. For example, I often take photos on my walks to and from work.


A color will catch my eye and compel me to take out my phone and look closer.


 Sometimes I decide that it doesn't look as great as I thought it would, and I keep walking.


Other times, halfway through editing it on Instagram, I'll decide that the image or moment isn't drawing me in anymore. I discard the edits and delete the photo.


But a lot of the time, if I stop to photograph something I feel inexplicably drawn to, the photo turns out even more beautifully than I could have imagined. And that makes me happy. Very happy.

Big Vision experiment: Move towards what excites you, attracts you, or draws you in this week.

All photos by me.

Friday, October 10, 2014

When your big vision dies . . .

A tree grows a tree
"The Death of a tree is the birth of a log or a snag [a standing dead or dying tree]. Dead trees are essential to the health of the forest and they are the basis of its astonishing productivity. Fallen trees are a substantial reservoir of organic matter and water that other plants and trees depend on. . .
As a tree slowly decays, it becomes a nursery for plants. It may take 400 years or longer to become incorporated into the forest floor. During this time, a variety of shrubs and trees have the opportunity to develop part or all of their root systems within the decaying wood."

- California State Parks guide for the Founders' Grove in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
A couple weeks ago, I went on vacation along The North Coast or "Redwood Coast" of California. The hubs and I spent a lot of time hiking, and did some camping among the giant redwood trees. It was wonderful.

Fire-scarred tree
I was particularly struck by how intertwined death and life are in the forest (Did you know that the greatest accumulation of biomass [living and dead organic material] ever recorded on earth is in Humboldt Redwoods State Park?).

I knew in theory that when things died they provided nutrients for living things. "Cycle of life," "when one door closes, another opens," and all that, but there was something about seeing so many fallen and standing dead trees, and the life that grew out of them that amazed me.

Tree with a hole in it
There were also a lot of fire-scarred trees, and trees with crazy holes through them. The forest wasn't just filled with natural beauty, it was also filled with destruction, natural and man-made (96 percent of the original old-growth coast redwoods have been logged).


Sometimes when we are pursuing our Big Vision, things die (goals, habits, identities, ways of being, jobs, where we live, relationships). The destruction can happen by our hand, or by others', deliberately, or against our will. Reality is, death, destruction and challenges will happen. On the up side, the growth of new things and "nutrients" for existing things can come out of those deaths.

One of the things that helps redwoods survive strong winds and floods is to intertwine roots with other redwoods, so when a storm rolls into your Big Vision, or your life in general, find someone to intertwine your roots with and hold on!

All photos by me and the hubs.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Looking for Your Big Vision? Notice What "Sparkles"


Rain "sparkles" by me

A friend who is between jobs recently asked me, "Is there one piece of advice you would give to a creative person when they are looking for their next job, or project?"

I responded, "Notice what 'sparkles' for you."

I think of "sparkles" as things that make you smile, makes time fly, or that you all of a sudden become very curious about (even if you don't understand why).

If you are a "creative" type, you already know that most creative projects don't usually happen in a straight line: A to Z. They often begin with something small: a craving for an ingredient, a phrase you can't stop thinking about, an attraction to a color, or a problem that piques your interest. My experience has been that if you follow that sparkle, and the next one and the next one, they will take you on a curvy route to your next big vision.

If you're in the middle of a transition and trying to figure out what to do next, follow you sparkles, even if they don't make logical sense. They will light the way.

Try this:

Over the next three days, notice what "sparkles" for you:

  • What brings you joy?
  • What are you attracted to?
  • What are you curious about?

Capture your "sparkles" in your journal, in a conversation with a friend, or with photos.

  • Are there any themes that run through all of your sparkles?
  • How can you bring more of what sparkles into your life?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Big Vision Tip: Stay on Track. Text Your Big Vision Buddy

About a year and a half ago my friend Heather and I decided to try the Oprah and Deepak 21-Day Meditation Experience. To make sure we completed it, we texted each other right after we meditated. There were many mornings when I would "forget" to meditate (isn't it funny how our minds do that when we're resisting something?), and her text would prompt me to do it.

It worked so well that even when the 21 days were over, we continued to text each other after we meditated. A year and half later, our meditation practices certainly aren't perfect, but they're so much a part of our lives that we no longer text about it. We've moved on to new projects!

Heather is working on finishing her book, and I'm trying to get back into the swing of regular blogging, so now we text each when we're going to write, and when we finish. Once again, it's working! I'm posting here for the first time in almost two months.

It's such a simple process, but one that has made a huge difference in our lives.

Below are a few tips for texting with your Big Vision Buddy:

    • Pick a Big Vision Buddy who is also working on a project, or habit. It's more fun for the support to be two-way, rather than one-way. 
    • Also, your Buddy should be someone who you aren't competitive with, or who isn't emotionally invested in the completion of your goal, or project.
    • Nudge don't judge. If your Buddy hasn't texted you in a while, gently ask them how things are going, and how you can support their getting back on track.

    Big Vision to-dos for you:

    • Pick a project, or habit you would like to work on this week, this month, or this fall.
    • Ask someone to be your Big Vision Buddy.
    • Start texting!

    Speaking of which, I'm going to go text Heather now!

    Photo of Heater by In Her Image Photography

    Saturday, July 26, 2014

    Bye-Bye Big Vision Podcast: 70+ Interviews Over 7 Years with Social Changemakers

    East Bay Express, Best of the East Bay 2007

    Today is my day for letting go of things to make space for something new.

    I just told my VegCookbook Club that I'm stepping down as its organizer, and now I'm letting go of the Big Vision Podcast. It has been REALLY hard to let this go, but after not posting an interview for a year, I know that it is time.

    I started the Big Vision Podcast in 2006 about six months after starting Have Fun, Do Good. When I told my husband that I wanted to interview social changemakers for my blog, he suggested that I start a podcast. He had the audio equipment to help me with the recording and iTunes had recently added support for podcasts.

    And so began seven years of talking to some pretty amazing Big Visionaries. What an incredible experience.  Every single one of these people inspired me in some way, and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to spend time with them.

    I'm not sure how much longer I'll pay for the podcast's hosting, so if you've been meaning to go back and download any of the old interviews, now is the time. You can listen on iTunes and on the podcast's home page. I'll also embed a podcast player on the bottom of this post. If you click on Menu, you should be able to access all the shows from there as well.

    I've listed the interviewees by year below. I didn't put their organizations or titles because many people's jobs have changed. Sadly, one of the Big Visionaries I interviewed, Priya Haji, passed away recently.

    I want to thank all of you who have been listeners over the years, and of course thank all of the people I interviewed for making the time to talk with me about their big vision.

    Lisa Truong











       

    2013
    • Tara Mohr
    • Marianne Elliott
    • Kristen Zimmerman
    • Lisa Truong
    • Akaya Windwood

    Will Allen











    2012
    • Beth Terry
    • Will Allen
    • Deanna Zandt
    • Stacey Edgar

    Kathy LeMay













    2011
    • Ben Mangan
    • Sara Potler
    • Carinne Brody
    • Halle Butvin
    • Naomi Natale
    • Kathy LeMay
    • Samin Nosrat
    • Rachel Cohen
    • Aneesha Raghunathan
    • Robert Wolfe
    • Gabriela Masala
    Jensine Larsen













    2010
    • Secret Agent L (Laura Miller)
    • Jensine Larsen
    • Marsha Wallace
    • Temra Costa
    • Jessica Prentice
    • Tom Aageson
    • Anna Lappe
    • Melinda Kramer and Amira Diamond
    • Ashley Rowe and Carol Webb
    • Rebecca Kousky
    Zainab Salbi













    2009
    • Patricia Loya
    • Kimberly Wilson
    • Lisa Witter
    • Jose Corona
    • David Cohn
    • Kjerstin Erickson
    • Zainab Salbi
    • Seane Corn
    • Bryant Terry
    • Jennifer Lee
    Cristi Hegranes













    2008
    • Favianna Rodriguez
    • Marianne Manilove
    • Cami Walker
    • Marisa Handler
    • Martin Fisher
    • Ari Derfel
    • Janessa Goldbeck
    • Anisha Desai
    • Kavita Ramdas
    • Cristi Hegranes
    • Christina Arnold


    Solutionary Women Panel










    2007
    • Andre Carothers
    • Paola Gianturco
    • Shalini Kantayya
    • Marsha Wallace
    • Elizabeth Pomada
    • Chris Messina and Ivan Storck
    • Solutionary Women panel I organized for the Stanford Women's Leadership Conference: Alli Chagi-Starr, Ilyse Hogue, Melinda Kramer and Reem Rahim
    • Van Jones
    • Paul Rice
    • Priya Haji
    • Jodi Van Horn
    • Reem Rahim
    Anna Lappe













    2006
    • Kevin Danaher
    • Melinda Kramer
    • Ingrid Severson
    • Jessica Jackley
    • Jonah Sachs
    • Lisa Russ
    • Nola Brantley
    • Anna Lappe
    • Steve Williams
    • Ilyse Hogue
    • Abby Jaramillo (Rosenheck)
    • Mei-ying Williams (Ho)
    • Brahm Ahmadi
    • Ari Derfel and Eric Fenster
    • Alli Chagi-Starr

      Saturday, June 07, 2014

      Color = happiness


      A few years ago, I had a vivid dream that I went into a dark therapist's office to meet with my client, Cameron Diaz. She wanted to know the secret to happiness, so I told her:

      • Cook
      • Connect 
      • Care
      • Color

      I've heard that all of the characters in your dreams are aspects of yourself, so I've thought a lot over the years about my advice to the "Cameron Diaz" aspect of myself.


      Cooking, connecting and caring made sense, but I didn't fully understand the color part until last week when I joined Andrea Sher's e-course: Collecting Color: 30 Days of Photo Joy. I'm having so much fun!


      Each day, for thirty days, she sends out a photo prompt (e.g. take a photo of a flower, color at your feet, a splash of red). I take 1-5 photos based on the prompt, and upload them to the course's Flickr group. It's self-paced, so I can do as little, or as much as I want, whenever I want.


       

      Walking around each day on a "treasure hunt" for color has helped me to see beauty in the everyday. I took all of the photos in this post walking on the not always pretty streets of Oakland. When I look at them, I feel like I live in a magical land full of luscious flowers, yellow brick roads, and luminous symbols.


      Last week, I wrote about the healing powers of different things. I think color should be added to the list. Turns out there is actually something called color therapy or chromotheraphy. Who knew? (OK, probably a lot of people knew, but not me).


      I now understand what my dream was trying to tell me. Color matters: in my home, my clothes, my food, my environment. Everything. It is one of the keys to happiness.


      How can you add more color into your life this week?

       

      P.S. I think registration for Collecting Color is still open, if you wanna join me!

      Saturday, May 31, 2014

      The healing power of . . .


      I woke up this morning feeling kinda poopy. It was one of those mornings when I felt like a "broken" person. When I feel like that, I sometimes wonder if it is all me, or if I am also feeling the pain and sadness everyone is feeling (I'm a bit of an emotional sponge).

      I began thinking about what heals, what helps us feel more whole, and how there are a lot of things we say have "healing power":

      • Healing power of nature
      • Healing power of listening
      • Healing power of art
      • Healing power of hugs
      • Healing power of laughter
      • Healing power of tears
      • Healing power of animals
      • Healing power of children
      • Healing power of eating together
      • Healing power of food
      • Healing power of water
      • Healing power of sleep
      • Healing power of compassion
      • Healing power of friendship
      • Healing power of connection
      • Healing power of community 
      • Healing power of telling your story
      • Healing power of music
      • Healing power of silence
      • Healing power of medicine 
      • Healing power of movement
      • Healing power of prayer
      • Healing power of creating
      • Healing power of letting go
      • Healing power of love

      Most of the things on the list usually refer to healing for an individual, or a small group, but I wonder if they work on a national, or global level. Can laughter heal injustice? Can eating together heal environmental destruction? Can music heal crime?

      What I see on that list is a lot of basic human needs, activities and qualities. No single one of them is more "healing" than another.  Together, they form a quilt of things, and ways of being that help us feel whole.

      So, if you wake up feeling poopy, try one of these healing powers (that's why I'm writing this blog post!), and if you are struggling with something that is "broken" on a community, systemic, or global level, why not try some of the healing powers as part of the solution? I have a feeling they'll help.

      Photo by me with my iPhone (how cool is it to see the bee up close?!)

      Sunday, February 23, 2014

      Feeling Between Seasons

      Is it spring yet?
      It is warm and lovely outside today, and I'm feeling between seasons. It's technically winter, the time of the year when we're supposed to stay inside and embrace the quiet and the darkness, but it's also spring-like (at least in California), which is inspiring a desire to bloom.

      Very confusing weather that is reflective of the transition time I'm in.

      In January, I joined the staff of Rockwood Leadership Institute as the Senior Communications Manager (yay!), which has been awesome, and a big change after working for myself for about eight years. Over the past couple months, I've been learning the ins-and-outs of my new job, and getting accustomed to working in an office (no more working in my PJs with the cat on my feet!). Simultaneously, I've been trying to figure out what to do with the business, blogs, podcast and other social media channels I created while self-employed.

      One of the wonderful things about working for Rockwood is that they have a four-day workweek (how cool is that, right?), so there is a possibility that I can keep some of the things I created, but definitely not all of them. In fact, not many of them. Maybe one, or two.  So, what should they be?

      My springtime urges make me want to know how to do my new job perfectly, and have the decisions made about my old work life sorted out and settled, but the part of me that knows it is still wintertime says, "Slow down there, pardner. It's not time to sprout yet."

      Like our kitty on her new perch, I need to keep an eye out for the sunshine of spring, and know that it's coming, but stay "inside" during this transition process, until the winter's work is done.

      How are you feeling during this late wintertime season? Is there anything you're trying to make bloom before it's ready?



      Monday, January 20, 2014

      Are you giving to what you really want to change in the world?


      "Everyone is a philanthropist whether you're giving five dollars, or fifty thousand dollars. What sets this apart as philanthropy is, are you giving in a way that really affects your passions, your interests, what you really want to change in the world. . . . Are you giving mindfully? That to me is really the mark of thinking about this as a philanthropist." ~ Lauren Brownstein on the Tranquility du Jour podcast.

      While listening to Kimberly Wilson's Tranquility du Jour podcast interview with fundraising and philanthropic consultant, Lauren Brownstein on Saturday, the quote above really resonated with me.  When it comes to giving donations, I don't think I've ever really thought about it that way: am I giving to what I really want to change in the world?

      I use that framework when choosing where to volunteer, but not necessarily when I make a donation.  Maybe that's because I usually donate to a cause because 1. someone I know asked me to give, 2. a crisis happens (e.g. earthquake, tsunami, fire), or 3. I like the org because I'm connected with them in some way either through a friend, work, or volunteering.

      Over the last few years, I cut back on my donations because I felt like they were all over the place and not making much of an impact (especially when I give my little donation to an organization and I feel like they spend it by sending me pounds of direct mail).

      This year, I would like to be more mindful with my philanthropic giving, even if it isn't a huge amount. Each year, Lauren picks three causes that are a priority for her, and gives money and time to them.  She offered a handful of questions during the podcast to help determine personal giving priorities:

      • What brings me joy? What really excites me? What inspires me?
      • What makes me sad?
      • Is there a way that I've needed help that someone, or an organization reached out to me?
      • Are there things that my family gave to when I was growing up?
      • Is there is someone I want to honor?
      • Do I want to pool my money with someone else and/or put together resources with a group of friends to have a bigger impact?

      Some of my answers to her questions would be:

      • What brings me joy? What really excited me? What inspires me?
        Cooking. Making things. Writing. Social innovation.

      • What makes me sad?
        The state of our public school system. Lack of arts in the schools.

      • Is there a way that I've needed help that someone, or an organization reached out to me?
        Having arts and great theater and writing teachers in school changed my life.

      • Are there things that my family gave to when I was growing up?
        Groups working on poverty and homelessness issues.

      • Is there is someone I want to honor?
        Not at this time.

      • Do I want to pool my money with someone else and/or put together resources with a group of friends to have a bigger impact?
        I would actually. I've always been interested in giving circles.

      Looking at my answers, I would say that the three causes to prioritize my giving to in 2014 would be  public education, arts in the schools and social innovation.

      How do you prioritize how you give your time and money?
       

      Do you feel like you're giving to what you really want to change in the world?

      Flickr photo credit: Colored pencils by Alan Cleaver.


      Wednesday, December 18, 2013

      Both Are True



      As we head into the darkest day of the year I'm trying to remember that so often, "both are true."

      • This is a time of year for rest and solitude and of celebration and company.
      • The holidays are a time of fun and of sadness.
      •  It is OK to feel gratitude and grief.
      • There are a lot of good and bad things going on in the world right now.
      • Person/corporation/political party x is harmful and helpful.
      • Others do and don't need my help. 
      • I help others for selfish and unselfish reasons.
      • I am perfect and imperfect just how I am.

      As someone who tends towards a right/wrong, black/white, good/bad way of looking at the world, I think practicing "both are true" will give me comfort in difficult situations, and perspective in joyful ones.

      Is there a "both are true" situation, or belief you want to hold for yourself during this holiday season, or in the New Year?

      Hat tip to Adrienne Torf for helping me to really understand this idea.

      Sunday, December 08, 2013

      What I've been learning, cooking, reading, teaching and making

      Hello Have Fun * Do Gooders!

      I've missed you. The last seven weeks (since I last posted) have been a whirlwind. I love Marianne's Elliott's e-news where she shares what she's been "learning, reading, writing and listening to," so I'm doing my own version.

      Learning

      After working as a communications consultant since May for Rockwood Leadership Institute, I finally had the opportunity to participate in their signature personal leadership development training, The Art of Leadership.

      Myself and 28 other social changemakers spent five days at the Earthrise Retreat Center learning how to use Rockwood's six practices (Purpose, Vision, Partnership, Performance, Resilience and Personal Ecology) to be more effective leaders for social change.

      It was a deep and profound experience. I learned a lot about my strengths and challenges as a leader, and gained a bevy of tools to help me be a better one.

      Although I will use what I learned about myself and the tools for a lifetime, the most powerful experience was watching the evolution of trust and love in my group of 29 incredibly diverse people (e.g. issue, gender, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, background). As a Rockwood alum I recently interviewed put it, "It could be blueprint for something bigger." It was quite an amazing experience.

      Cooking

      In November, the VegCookbook Club (my other blog) cooked from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's new vegan cookbook, Isa Does It. 

      I made the:

      • Carrot Cake Pancakes
      • Kale Salad with Butternut Squash and Lentils
      • Lentil-a-roni
      • Lentil-Quinoa Stew with Kale
      • Omaha Yakisoba
      • Puffy Pillow Pancakes
      • Sunflower Mac
      • and the Roasted Yellow Beet Salad with Warm Maple-Mustard Dressing
      I wish I'd had time to try more recipes, but I'm really struggling with finding the time and energy to cook now that I'm working outside of my home a few days a week.

      Four years ago I wrote a post, 5 Tips for Finding Time to Cook, but I'm realizing now that it was written from the experience of someone who works from home and has a much more flexible schedule than I do now. I don't know how in the world people who work full-time outside of their home do it.  I would love your tips and advice about how to find time to cook.

      On a related note, an interview with me about the VegCookbook Club was featured in Viva Vegan last month.

      Reading

      I've been too tired lately to read any heavy nonfiction, and in general, I usually don't enjoy adult fiction, so I've been reading children's books, and loving it. I read The Summer of May by Cecilia Galante, and The Aurora County All-Stars by Deborah Wiles. I really liked The Summer of May, so now I'm reading The Patron Saint of Butterflies, also by Galante.

      If you're a fan of children's lit, I'd love to hear your suggestions. Some of my favorites (all old) are Harriet the Spy, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, My Side of the Mountain, and A Wrinkle in Time.





       Teaching

      On Friday, I taught a fun Social Media for Coaches unit as part of a "Building a Successful Coaching Practice: Nuts, Bolts and Social Media" course in San Francisco State's College of Extended Learning's Core Strengths Coaching Skills Program. Super fun.

      While researching different examples of how coaches are using social media, I came upon Heather Plett's 12-point social media manifesto.

      At the beginning of her post, Plett writes, I’ve been giving some thought to what kind of presence I want to have online, and I realize it’s not much different from the presence I want to have everywhere I go.

      A number of the students in yesterday's class were hesitant to use social media to promote their coaching practice. They wondered if social media was a space where they could bring their authentic, non-flashy, non-shiny, non-polished, non-branded selves. It was wonderful to be able to share Plett's manifesto which includes declarations like: I will share my messes from time to time to remind myself and my friends that I am human and beautifully flawed.

      Making

      I've been trying to take time lately to make stuff for no particular purpose except for the joy of it. I've been doing a little collaging and embroidery. When I was a teenager, I used to do a lot of embroidery. I find it soothing, meditative and satisfying.

      In early October I bought a pre-printed embroidery sampler (left) that says, "Love What You Love. Make What you Make." Seemed like an appropriate reminder for me ( :

      That's it for me.  

      What's new with you?


      Thursday, October 24, 2013

      Writing as a Spiritual Practice with Pat Schneider


      "The thing that I have learned through my own practice, and writing this book, is that the dragon is there guarding it for me." ~ Pat Schneider

      As some of you know, in addition to the Big Vision Podcast, I also produce the Arts and Healing Podcast for the Arts and Healing Network. This month, I posted an interview with Pat Schneider, the author of How the Light Gets In: Writing as a Spiritual Practice.

      If I was Oprah, I would make this book my book club pick. It is not only one of the best books on writing I've read in a long time, it's one of the best books I've read in a long time, period. It inspired me to explore why I "do good" here on Have Fun, Do Good.

      You can listen to the interview on the Arts and Healing Network's website, or on the player at the bottom of this post, and you can learn more about Pat's work on patschneider.com.





      Wednesday, October 09, 2013

      Why I Do Good: Starry Night

      I'm exploring the roots of my desire/need/compulsion to "do good." I don't usually share personal stories here on Have Fun, Do Good, and I'm not sure where this is going, but I'm giving it a whirl. Here's the link to my first post, Why Do You Do Good? and my second post, Why I Do Good: The Center and Agape.

      I was raised to serve.

      In addition to being very involved with our church community, my parents' professional work was service-oriented. My mom had a variety of teaching and counseling positions while my dad worked mostly for nonprofits. Outside of his paid work, my dad organized CROP walks in our community, co-founded Martin House, volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and Witness for Peace, and visited elderly people at the local convalescent home who didn't receive much company.

      Being a dutiful only child, when I went to college, I unconsciously followed a service-oriented path. I studied sociology, did a summer internship for the National Coalition for the Homeless, studied in Sweden for a semester (so that I could understand how their public policy worked), co-chaired Vassar's Hunger Action chapter, and wrote a couple pieces about social-changey things for the student newspapers.

      Even though I was studying and doing things related to social justice, I ended up writing my senior thesis about the holistic health movement as a social movement, and my most transformative moment came from reading in the library one night about the Atman, or "world soul" in The Upanishads for a History of Religion class.

      As I walked back to my dorm across the dark quad from the library, I remember the sky being incredibly full of sparkly stars, the grass feeling extra soft, and the people I passed seeming simultaneously close and far away. I felt a blissful, joy-filled rush of connection to all things and all people. I wasn't on drugs, but it felt like I was.

      I've never had an experience like that again, but I think of it often, and wonder why I had it at that moment. I wish everyone could have that feeling at least once. If I could figure out a way to make that happen, I would do it in a flash.

      Photo of stars at night by sukchander.