Joy Abounds

falkorThe best part of having survived a shitty childhood is that it makes for a grateful adult. Of course the downside is that you also have a tendency to be anxious ’cause you know what kinds of serious shit can hit the fan. The stuff of movies. The stuff you don’t even see in movies.

So when I heard Brene Brown talk about fear at the World Domination Summit last summer, I got it. Yes, I’m the spouse who said to her partner, what if…? Buzz kill.

Switching gears…I’ve always loved flying. Actually I am almost always overwhelmed with tears as the plane accelerates down the runway and the nose lifts. The possibilities are endless. I could be anyone going anywhere. And for a brief moment I am.

But sometimes before I can relax into this bliss, I am overtaken with anxiety. The “what if” scenarios are endless.

But not today. Today joy abounds. And I slice through the clouds on the back of Falcor, the dragon in The Neverending Story. And the joy of it makes me smile. And I cry. Because the possibilities are endless and I am flying.

Revealing my story with help from Chris Martin

My hatred for being photographed is inordinate. I dread photo sessions like most people dread root canals. Remarkable, award-winning photographers have taken hundreds of photos that yielded only a few satisfactory shots.
So, when I scheduled a photo shoot last month, everyone asked why. They loved the old photo. The white pants. The candy-red patent Via Spiga pumps. (What’s not to love?)
I’d responded with, “It’s time…it’s been four years,” but I knew better. The lackluster photos had nothing to do with the photographers or the skills of the make-up artist or the number on the scale at the time. They had everything to do with me not showing up. The results portrayed my shell without my spirit.
So this time around I decided to focus on being present. And I chose to work with Chris Martin. Yes, the Chris Martin: documentary filmmaker, photographer, writer and speaker. I’d seen many exceptional examples of his art but had never had the opportunity to work with him. Chris’ relaxed manner and casual smile put me at ease. We drank coffee at Breken Kitchen and talked for about an hour. And then he said, “Let’s take a walk.” What’s scary about a walk? Absolutely nothing.
And so we walked and laughed. I soaked in the beautiful day, our surroundings and basked in the moment. With Chris’ guidance and exceptional skill he positioned me in the best light. Looking at the exceptional resulting photos, I find that Chris revealed the real me.
Do you need help revealing your story? Give Chris a jingle.

An evening with Michaela Murphy

Tonight I had the privilege of basking in the presence of “a good woman to know,” storyteller Michaela Murphy. These are the points that stood out to me:

  • Sometimes you have to wait 31 years for a story to resolve.
  • Stories are interactive. The more you avail yourself to your audience and what they are telling you, the better the story will be.
  • If you don’t know where to start, try this one of these: Start with yourself. What scares you? What’s something you don’t understand about yourself?
  • Relax. Enjoy. Don’t worry. Worry is like a chew toy in your mind that you use to distract yourself.

How can you use Michaela’s wisdom to better present your story?

The art of the story

My love affair with books and an engrossing story can be traced directly to my mother who began reading to me in utero. She continued reading, everything from The Sneetches to Black Beauty, to the Bible. She even taped herself reading–first on the old reel-to-reel with a mic, then onto cassettes–so that we could listen to her as we played during the day or drifted to sleep at night. Continue reading

Embracing Negative Feedback

What do you do when you notice that someone on Twitter is bashing your product? So many businesses just ignore negative feedback, using a head-in-the-sand technique. Why? They’re either hoping that by ignoring them the naysayers will disappear, they’re a little afraid of them or they just don’t know how to respond.

How do you deal with negative feedback or push-back from customers? I suggest you embrace the criticism and engage with the customer. Continue reading

Knowing when to let go

The final straw came when she couldn’t find my cervix. That’s right. You know the position: tail scooted all the way down to the end of the examination table, heels in stirrups, knees “relaxed” open. Meanwhile Dr. S. is spending an inordinate amount of time squinting into my vagina as she used the speculum to hunt for my elusive lady part.

Continue reading

The Power of Storytelling

During one of the sessions at today’s GoGreen Conference the audience was asked to turn to a stranger and tell her a story that’s told and retold in our family about one of our family members. I turned to Lisa Watson, of Cupcake Jones fame, and told her the following story which I’ve been asked to retell here:

Before heading into surgery for testicular cancer my father-in-law said to the nurse, “I sure wish I would have bought that boat.”

“What boat’s that?” she asked politely. Continue reading

Not by the Hair on My Chinny Chin Chin

Why is it that when I leave the house in the morning my chin is smooth as silk and stubble free, but by the time I get to, say, the Sellwood Bridge on my way to a meeting, a lone prickly chin hair makes a midday appearance when no tweezers are in sight? How can this be? Could this solitary sprout have experienced a growth spurt in the matter of a few hours? Continue reading

How Do You Tell If It’s a Boy or a Girl?

The most meaningful conversations take place effortlessly as we move through our busy lives. My son was nearly seven when he accompanied me as I carpooled his sister and her friend to an early morning band class.

Jesse: “Mom, did you know what you were going to name me when I was born?”

Me: “I sure did.” Continue reading