Posts tagged words
Word of the Day: Exhale.

Yesterday's post about the language in The Lord of the Rings got me thinking about words. Words in general, and verbs in particular. I love their evocativeness, and the layered meanings they can produce. So today's word is: Exhale.

Now before you go on to read what I have to say, sit and look at this word for a minute. What comes to mind? Memories or emotions, even sounds? Where does exhale take you?

Here's my take

There's something really beautiful about breathing out. Somehow focusing on this cycle of in-breath and out-breath connects me - roots me to earth, to the space I'm in. I'm brought back into the present moment. Focus. And for me, there's an aspect of letting go - letting go of held breath, letting go of held emotion, letting go of held worry and fear. Just an exhale, out into the world, and a space inside waiting to be consciously filled again. 

Your Take

What does exhale say to you? You can write it here, or on your own blog and link back! Be sure to pin the image so you can collect them. There'll be more. :)

Happy New (February) Year!

Happy New Year!

That's what I meant to write one month and six days ago, and somehow January disappeared. So the fact that I didn't even START my New Year's Resolution (this one, and a couple of others) doesn't really mean I broke them, right? Just - delayed for a month. :)

What I do know, is that I'm really glad that 2013 is over. Whew. I know that December 31 and January 1 are just days, and not really that different from one another, but a new year feels like a new opportunity. Maybe to start something we've intended to do, or to get better at something, or to shed the scales of routine and drudge and try to see the world with new eyes again. To learn how to be patient with the process. To get back to joy. 

I got a new case for my iPhone from Uncommon for the new year, and after thinking long and hard I decided to put a Bible verse from Hebrews 12:1 that has felt really apt the past few months. Here's how it turned out: 

IMG_0523.jpg

(I will say that the difficulty of taking a quick picture of my iPhone without the actual phone took a couple of minutes of figuring out. ;)

Do you have a quote or a verse on your phone case or something else you carry everywhere? 

The Business of Being in Business

 First I must share a quote:

“Everybody go back to work…Because this is a business, and we’re in the business of being in business and we’re doing business and nobody’s business…Do it!  Business.  Good!  I want business done…Just the way it should be!”

- Monty Brewster  |  Brewster’s Millions (1985)

Pretty much sums up the last oh, 3 months of my working life? Things are a lot different with me since finding out about lupus. Some of it has just been acceptance. Learning to run with patience. Learning that there are good days and bad days, good hours and bad hours. There wasn't much equilibrium in my life before, what with the working and traveling and teaching and mama-ing and wife-ing and whatnot, and there certainly isn't any more now, but somehow the past few months have felt like permission. Yes. It's ok. Sleep. Feel better. Let it go.

I taught a digital organization class in January, which will be going up for sale as a self-paced class soon. There are other classes in the works. Photoshop isn't going away, memory-keeping isn't, and I'm not. I'll have more to say about this a bit later, though. It IS a slowing down process, for now. Not 9 new classes, like I did last year - but maybe 5 or 6? 

I've been reading a lot of books, designing some new stuff, and taking naps And it feels really good. Especially the naps. ;)

The Business of (Being Afraid to Share My) Writing

I've also been writing. A lot. Trying to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard every day. And I'm finding something interesting there - I have discovered that my writing is one of the very few parts of myself that I'm really shy about sharing. Weird, right? I mean I share my scrapbook pages without batting an eye. I've told personal stories in dozens or hundreds of classes, given talks and speeches since high school. I've blogged for almost 8 years. But my own stuff - the writing like poems and stories? Terrifying

I've been writing (a writer? one who writes?) since I can remember. It's part of the reason I decided to take English as my undergraduate major. I love words.  I love reading them both out loud and silently, savoring the best of them with closed eyes. I'm moved by them, and when they are put together well, they resonate in my soul like nothing else does.

I remember the first time words made me cry. I was sitting on the floor in 2nd grade, surrounded by my classmates, learning the words to the song Puff the Magic Dragon from a flipchart (I assume we were planning to sing it at some point, but I can't remember). We came to the third verse:

A dragon lives forever but not so little boys 
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys. 
One grey night it happened, Jackie paper came no more 
And puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar. 

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain, 
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane. 
Without his life-long friend, puff could not be brave, 
So puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave.

All I remember is that this part was so - hard to bear - that I could only cry. Tears ran down my face, in grief at these two friends parting forever. I couldn't believe we were learning a song that was so tragically sad, and that I seemed to be the only person who saw that. I know for a fact I was the only 8 year old in the room who was sobbing her face off. Even now that last refrain makes my heart constrict and my throat close. 

This certainly wasn't the last time - everything from Gone With the Wind (high school) to scripture (also high school), to Annie Dillard's The Writing Life (about 5 years ago or so), to The Lord of The Rings (I cried unashamedly through almost the entire Return of the King - all four times I've read it) to Harry Potter (Snape in Book 7! *sob*) to the third book in the Infernal Devices series (maybe a month ago?), words of poetry and prose, song and scripture and "high art" and "low art" has had me crying my whole life, it seems. Tears of resonance, of recognition, of grief or longing, of humility in the face of great deeds or great sacrifice. 

What I do know, is that there are words inside me. Maybe that's part of the resonance. Sometimes I'll read something or think something, and I must respond to by writing. With this year's new adventure I'm trying to make the writing part happen that more often than those occasions when I can't NOT write or I'll explode. 

So I've been writing. But the fear hasn't gone. 

We shall see. 

As for the rest, Rowen celebrated her 10th birthday on Tuesday. Jared left this morning to attend the Tucson Gem and Mineral show. I bought new shoes (although really, is this much of a surprise?), Elliott got FOUR new Lego sets over this past couple of weeks and has put them all together. 

So, friend, Happy New Year. Let us run with patience.

xo,

-JS

Thinking About Working

Picked up a new book a couple of weeks ago that I have really come to love. It's a set of essays from creative people about being a creative person. Mostly in the area of managing routine and focus and getting all your ideas done.  

It's called Manage Your Day to Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind, edited by Scott Belsky

Among the empowering, inspiring thoughts is this gem: 

"...your mind and energy are yours and yours alone.  You can surrender your day-to-day and the potential  of your work to the burdens that surround you.  Or, you can audit the way you work and own the responsibility of fixing it."

 

 

Wise Words Wednesday - When You Arise

I’ve created the following quote both as a web-sized file and as a printable PDF with crop marks for a 5x7 image. Through the year, you can collect the PDFs to print a quote card collection. :) The image and the link below will open the PDF file for saving and/or printing:

Click here to download this file as a printable PDF with crop marks for a 5x7.