Inspiring Yourself

If you’re reading this, you are a survivor. Yay, you!

An inspiring internet friend of mine runs a Facebook group called Club Moxie: Bouncing Back from Difficult Sh*t. I highly recommend this group if, like Stephanie and me, you’ve been through some of that sh*t yourself. As she says in her “about” section, “Club Moxie is a place where ordinary people have candid conversations about the ins and outs of bouncing back from all kinds of difficult life circumstances. Honesty heals. Being heard heals. Togetherness heals.”

On any given day, you can go to this group for inspiration on how to reframe your situation into one that you can not only survive, but also learn, grow, and thrive from. The group also shows you that you’re not alone. It is an uplifting place, and we all could use one of those every now and then.

I can sometimes be a fly in the ointment in that group, because I am nothing if not cynical. And sometimes I just can’t join the cheerleading squad. Not that day. Not for that meme. And that’s okay. This group doesn’t judge. In fact, it usually makes me see things from perspectives I haven’t encountered before. It gives me fresh eyes, and fresh ways to cope. And it doesn’t hurt that it has inspired many a blog post.

Recently, Stephanie posted the meme below, and also wrote above it: “We don’t have to look outside ourselves for inspiration. WE can inspire OURSELVES. When I’m feeling down or on the verge of defeated, it can be really helpful for me to recall all the times in the past when I kept going and made it through.”

Wow. Insight!

I have often drawn inspiration from others. It’s my gut instinct to do so. I even did it above, when I said I’m inspired by Stephanie’s group. I think this is a great habit to have, but her Facebook post made me realize that I often overlook a very important resource for inspiration. Me. Because here I am. And that means that I am a survivor.

Good news! If you’re reading this, you are a survivor, too! And you know yourself better than anyone else does. Think of the untapped potential for inspiration you’ve got, just sitting there in your own head.

Many of us have been taught that pride is a bad thing. I’ve never believed that. I think it’s perfectly natural to be proud of your achievements, proud of your strengths, proud of your skills, proud of those moments when, against all odds, you brought your best self forward and did what you needed to do.  The right thing. The hard thing. You may have had help along the way. We all have. But in the end, it’s you who got yourself to this point, and that’s impressive as hell. Own it!

We all have our unique life experiences. Think of yours as pearls of wisdom that only you possess. Even those moments that you wish had gone differently can, at the very least, provide very important lessons that you can draw upon moving forward. You have wisdom that you earned all on your own.

I am setting the intention, right now, to stop overlooking the unique treasure within me. Every single one of us has value. Most of us don’t hesitate to share those assets with others. But we need to remember that we deserve to benefit from our own experiential strength as well. Think of it as a gift from the past you.

And oh, what a gift it is!

A big thanks to StoryCorps for inspiring this blog and my first book.


Another Frantic Waltz with the Random Word Generator

Quite profound and unexpected.

Writer’s block has taken up residence in my brain, and seems to have made itself quite comfortable there. Times like these, I cast about desperately for ideas. I ask friends, read about current events, and I have even been known to Google “What should I write about?” Because you never know where you’ll get an idea.

Sadly, all those sources came up empty this time around, so I went to my place of last resort: the random word generator. I asked for three random words. And even that was no help the first 4 times I asked. Nothing inspired me. But then I asked one final time, because I couldn’t think of anything else to do. And this is what the generator generated:

release distant situation

Okay, whoa. I don’t know if this just highlights my tendency to read something into just about anything, or if this is as profound as it seems to me. Because, yeah, I do need to release some distant situations.

There are a lot of things I need to let go of. Resentment about abuse perpetrated by people long dead. Disappointment keenly felt when people whom I thought I could count on have let me down. Insults. Hostility. Cruelty experienced or observed. Manipulation. Lies. Corruption. Criminal behavior.

Letting these things fester in my soul doesn’t do me any good whatsoever. It doesn’t solve anything. And the only one it hurts is me.

So, yes, I think it’s high time I work on releasing distant situations. In fact, it’s overdue. Like draining an infected wound, it may not be pleasant, but it will make me feel much better in the long run.


Like this blog? Then you’ll love this book!

Nature Doesn’t Clash

I have a friend who is an artist, and when choosing his color palette for any given creation, he looks to nature for inspiration. He’ll take a leaf or a flower petal, for example, and put it under a microscope, and then use the colors he sees there. I think that’s a brilliant idea.

If you want the ultimate arbiter of good taste, nature is it. First of all, it’s been around a heck of a lot longer than we have. It knows how to play the game. It doesn’t like short-term trends. I can’t think of even one example of a natural thing that irritates my sensibilities. I definitely can’t say that about humans on an average day. (Nature wouldn’t be caught dead in sandals with knee socks.)

Nature also doesn’t wage war, shut down the government for selfish reasons, or pollute itself in the name of greed. It sees no need for firearms. If anyone were to support health care for all, it would be nature.

While nature can seem arbitrarily cruel, it definitely looks at the big picture and the long term. These are qualities that modern man seems to lack, to our everlasting peril. The more we ignore nature’s warnings, the more we will suffer. Nature is patient. Nature will win. The question is, will we be around to see it?

Painted Hills Oregon
Painted Hills, Oregon

Read any good books lately? Try mine!

Lost Epiphanies

I keep a notepad beside my bed. Often, I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with a blog idea or a brilliant realization, and I know I’ll forget it by the time the alarm goes off in the morning if I don’t write it down. I know this because it happens all the freakin’ time.

Just as with a brief period of bed wetting as a very small child, the inner dialogue goes something like this: “I really should wake up and… oh, screw it. I’m too tired.” I always regret that decision. There’s nothing worse than that feeling that there’s something amazing rattling around in my head that I just can’t seem to access.

Those moments of clarity, inspiration, and/or brilliance are so rare, at least for me, that they shouldn’t be squandered. How many epiphanies have I lost to sleep? For all I know, I’ve cured cancer or come up with a strategy for peace on earth, or plotted out a Pulitzer prize-winning book. But nooooo…

It kind of makes you wonder what the world would be like if all of us kept notepads beside our beds and actually used them consistently.


Like the way my weird mind works? Then you’ll enjoy my book!


An Avalanche of Inspiration

Writing a daily blog for years on end can be a challenge. Sometimes I really struggle for a topic. I’ve even been known to post things on Facebook that say, “Help! I can’t think of anything to write about in my blog!” So far I’ve always managed to come up with something, but a few times it was a very near thing indeed.

And then there are times like these. Times of abundance. I’m flush with a bountiful harvest of ideas. I have to make lists of things so as not to forget them. As we used to say in the South, I am in high cotton. I am looking at a few weeks where I won’t have to sweat at all.

Why is this time different than others? That’s my one source of frustration at the moment. I don’t have a clue. Perhaps my muse just got back from the Bahamas or something. She’s well rested, nicely tanned, and ready to get back to work. If there were some magic button to press to keep this momentum going, I’d be hopping up and down on it. As it stands, there just seem to be moments of feast and moments of famine.

The blog as a metaphor for life. I’ll take it.

[Image credit:]

Writing Ideas, Like Love, Multiplies

I’ve mentioned more than once in here that I’m amazed that I keep coming up with new writing ideas for this blog every day. But one of my followers made me realize that I’ve been looking at inspiration incorrectly. Ideas are not like water in a bucket, the level of which lowers every time you take a sip until one day you discover that the bucket is dry and empty.

No, when it comes to inspiration, you need to apply more mystical mathematics. Inspiration is like love. It multiplies. The more you love, the more you are able to love, and as you add more people into your circle of love, it does not reduce the amount of love that you have for any one particular individual. The heart has an infinite capacity for this emotion. That seems miraculous to me.

So, too, the soul seems to have an infinite capacity for inspiration. The more I write, the more ideas seem to come to me. The more I open myself up, the more brainchildren seem to be born.

I have no idea what the source is of all this creativity, but maybe I’m not supposed to know. I will just do my best to remain grateful and try to never take it for granted. Whatever the formula actually is, it’s at a mathematical level that I never quite reached in college.

[Image credit:]
[Image credit:]

I Feel a Blog Coming On

People often ask me how I’ve managed to come up with a new topic for this blog every single day for the past few years. Frankly, it surprises me, too. I assumed that I’d only be able to keep up this pace for 6 months at most, and yet here I am. I think it helps that I am a bottomless pit of curiosity, and I’d like to think I’m leading an interesting life. I also have a job that lets me live deep inside my colorful imagination much of the time.

What I discovered is that after a while you get into a sort of blog mindset. Every conversation you have, every daydream, every Facebook post, radio broadcast or billboard is potential blog fodder. It’s gotten so there’s actually a distinct feeling I get. It’s usually triggered by my thinking, “That’s interesting,” or “Wow!” or “I never knew that,” or “I wonder why…” When that feeling comes over me, I tend to say, “I feel a blog coming on.”

I’d be lying, though, if I said that it always came that easily. Sometimes just reading the bumper stickers on my commute home doesn’t quite cut it. I’ve actually been reduced to looking at words in the dictionary, or cruising randomly through Wikipedia. I’ve even been known to post on Facebook, “Gaaaaah! I can’t think of anything to write about in my blog! Help!”

Wherever inspiration comes from, I welcome it. This blog has become a huge part of my life. Thank you, dear readers, for taking the journey with me.

[Image credit:]
[Image credit:]

Revealing My Soft Underbelly

When you write a blog and have to come up with a brand new topic day after day, month after month, you find yourself getting more and more personal. The other day a rumor got back to me that several coworkers have been shocked at some of my revelations. “I can’t believe she would say that.”

Well, I’ve never had much of a filter to begin with, but a daily blog tends to boil you down to your basic elements rather quickly, and you find that you have less and less to hide behind. That was part of the experience that I wasn’t expecting. People who value their privacy shouldn’t blog.

If you read everything I’ve written for the past 15 months, you basically know everything about me except my name, rank, and serial number. I mean, yes, I’ve changed a few names to protect the innocent, but one way or another this is all about me and who I am and what I think.

I’ve told you that I’ve been fired. I’ve told you that I’ve been scammed. I’ve told you my politics, my preferences, and my bad taste in clothes. I’ve revealed that I’m fat and extremely well endowed and prone to depression and that I make mistakes. I’ve showed you my dogs and my socks and my friends and my fantasies. I’ve described who I admire and what gives me the creeps. I’ve taken you with me on my travels and shared a few laughs with you.

So far none of this has come back to bite me in the butt, and I hope it never will because I don’t expect I’ll suddenly encounter a sense of discretion at this late date. I’m having too much fun. Having said all that, I invite you to continue to join me for the ride. It might get exciting when you least suspect it.


Blog Fodder–Finding Your Inspiration

Blog fodder is a term that a friend of mine invented, I believe, after we talked about ways in which I could come up with new topics on a daily basis. It’s not easy, and I’m amazed that I’ve been able to pull it off for 286 days straight. I’m rather proud of myself.

Now not a day goes by when I don’t think “blog fodder” at least once. I’ve begun carrying around a little notepad so that I can write down ideas. Many is the time when I’ve thought of something, neglected to write it down, and then promptly forgotten it, only to kick myself soundly about it later. So I also keep a notepad by my bed, because I’ll often think of things as I’m drifting off to sleep.

So what are good sources of blog fodder? The main one, for me, is new experiences. This is followed closely by new observations. I also look to the past for inspiration, discussing my travels and incidents that I remember which have impacted my life. Sometimes I’ll chime in on current events.

I have to confess that I’m also a shameless thief. Not in the plagiarism sense of the word. But if I hear a conversation that intrigues me in the grocery checkout line, for example, I’ll write about that. If a story I’ve heard on NPR while I’m driving to work makes me curious, off I’ll go in that direction. On desperate days I must admit I’ll go to Google Trends, Wikipedia, the dictionary, or even Facebook to spark my imagination. Once or twice I’ve sent out a desperate plea to friends and family for ideas.

When I started writing this blog I must admit that I had no idea how much it would expand my horizons and increase my observation skills. It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Thank you for joining me on this adventure!

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