Peddling Joy (Revisited)

Ever read the same book, watched the same movie (or YouTube video), or listened to the same song over and over again for the purpose of igniting that something inside of you that warms your entire being, not in the sense of unhealthy pining, but rather in that it touches the core of YOU?  It could be an association with a shared cause, which gives you a sense of belonging and purpose.  It could be a color that is the essense of your nature.  I’ve written about creating a space to feel the feeling of the accomplishment in preparation of achieving the goal here.  When we revisit these visual and audio aids we are creating that space.

Whatever you revisit to envoke that feeling of achieving a goal, which may simply be to have more joy in your life, I say revisit it as often as you need.   It has been my experience that fueling that “space” of joy and accomplishment is like nourshing your body of healthy food.  You need frequent small fill ups during the day.

This summer I have suggested, on more than one occasion, that the kids and I go on a bike ride.  There is an amazing trail just blocks from our home.  It always seemed that something has derailed us from our ride.  Finally this last weekend we (actually I) made the commitment to go on the 6-7 mile ride.  The kids were always prepared to drop everything to go.    Off we went.  I handed my daughter the camera.  She’s has such an amazing sense of frame and proportion with the lens.  Literally, as she rode she snapped shots,  over 100 in all.

I’m peddling (pedaling) joy here and recommending you assemble your own personal reminder of what joy means to you.  Revisit it as often as you must.  Here’s what you’ll need.

  • Digital Camera
  • Photo’s (new or existing)
  • “JOY” folder on your computer for collection purposes
  • Free online tool One True Media which is an easy way to make a montage with music

I’m not ashamed to say that I have lost count to how many times I have watched this video montage  of our bike ride.   I hope you’ll make your own and share with us. Your joy fuels my joy.  Let’s be in the business of peddling joy.


Sister Subsets and Brother Brackets – Part 3 in a 4 part series

Each time I start a series of article, here on The Survivor Manual, I begin with a concept and an intention of sharing my knowledge and my (H)(E)art.  It’s not like I have all the articles planned out on paper or in my head before I start.   Sometimes creating and sharing your art comes easy and sometimes you just need to be hammer it out.  Let’s just say, I’m hammering away at this one.  Either way, it’s all worthy.  The goal is to deliver  your (H)(E)art,  which isn’t about perfection.  “Art is never defect free.” (Quote from Linchpin by Seth Godin).

Here is the concept, I started with,  for this series of articles;  You, Your Community, Your Job and Your Compensation.  In Part one we visualized, you as the center of  your community. In Part two we covered, how the labels we place on ourselves influences how well we can do our job.  In this installment we’ll touch more on, your job as an artist and explore your expansive reach with 1-on-1 interactions .

Everyone Is a Leader

In this physical world, if leadership really looked like this, who would be at the top and where would you put yourself?

Is this how you visualize leadership?

Ok, let’s use The President of the United States, Barack Obama, as our example.  If he were the ultimate supreme leader, who leads him?  Imagine the people that have surrounded him throughout his life and his present advisers.  Should they be placed above him?

I will reference a book given to my son, Barack by Jonah Winter to provide insight to individuals who have shaped a person, we label as a leader.  Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, son of an  African born father and Caucasian mother from Kansas.  His father left when he was a toddler.  His mother re-married and they moved to Indonesia.  Later he went back to Hawaii to live with his grandparents.  In college he discovered his art, moving people just with the power of his words in a speech.  Later, in Chicago, his job was to help poor people help themselves. His journey led him to Trinity Church, which surrounded him with the people from his neighborhood, including many he had helped.  Illinois State Senator and U.S. Senator followed and then President of the United States, with his wife and family at his side.

Imagine all the people that surrounded him and shaped him, knowing that his life was not pefect by any stretch of the imagination. Would you consider them leaders?  Would you place them above Barack Obama?  Imagine the individuals who surrounded him, centered in the core of their universe with the intention of giving their art, from their heart.

Consider the word art.  We tend to think of it a physical creation to be hung on a wall, placed in a gallery or a movie or song to be watched and heard.  Expand your definition of art to mean, emotional labor as described by Seth Godin in Linchpin.  “Emotional labor, was first coined forty years ago by sociologist Arlie Hochschild in her book, The Managed Heart.  She described it as the “management of feeling to create a publicly observable facial and bodily display.”  In other words, it’s work you do with your feelings, not your body. Seth goes on to explain. Emotional labor is the hard work of making art, producing generosity, and exposing creativity. Working without a map involves both vision and the willingness to do something about what you see. Imagine art as, listening, working a spreadsheet, organizing an amazing event.  It’s art when you lose yourself inside it and would do it without monetary reward.  It’s the inside yes, as I like to call it. Art; sometimes it comes easy and sometimes you just need to hammer away.

Your Job as an Artist

Your job is to create your art and ship your art.  Remember “Art is never defect free.”  And it has more to do with the emotional labor you put into your physical output.  So what is your clay, paint, instrument?  One person’s paint is another persons statistical equation. The only way to find out is to start creating and taking note when you feel that inside yes. Then do more of it.  Start building your body of work with less regard to where each piece  fits into the larger picture.

For Whom Do You Make the Art?

A lot of the stress we feel in the modern world comes from this conflict between the small world in which we’re wired to exist and the large world we use to make a living. (Linchpin page 155) .  A tribe is a community in which you participate and do not charge interest.  The whole bit about not charging interest makes me chuckle because I know married couples who would indeed charge each other interest, so I guess technically their blood family isn’t considered their tribe in this instance.  And if you charge everyone interest I guess that means you are a one person tribe, in this instance.  Looking at the circles above, imagine your tribe as the purple ring around you.  These are the people that you don’t charge interest.  They are the recipients of your free art via 1-on-1 interactions.

I’ve come to call my tribes, sister subsets and brother brackets.   These subsets include my family, close personal friends and 2 organizations that have synergistic goals, values and generosities to my organization.   The sisters and brothers in my tribe have other people in their tribe for whom they do not charge interest.  They may not directly interacting with me, so by virtue of me sharing my art it benefits a person I may not even know through mutual tribe members.   Together we create value which may or may not be sold for monetary gain, which is never the overriding goal.

In the past three years I have found a subset of sisters that I wouldn’t have found if I hadn’t of traveled, explored and made an effort to connect.  I spoke to people  about my dreams and aspirations.  Some listened and encouraged.  Some gave me strange looks, but ultimately the explorations and declarations were key to me re-discovering my art and giving it freely.

Your Compensation

Here’s the beauty of community, as Angela would say, “You make my work, work.”  As it turns out another artist wrote the final installment of this article.  Part 4 – Get Rich – A Secret to Absolute Wealth by Lia Mack.  When I read Lia’s article I thought, “This couldn’t be more perfect.”

Call to Action

Now to get our artistic juices flowing consider this; for 29 days straight wake up every morning with the intention of giving.  Your gift can be anything and doesn’t need to be of monetary value.  It will open you up to what you have to offer, which is your art, your gift.

What Labels are YOU Showing Your Community – Part 2 in a Series

Hello, The last time we were together I shared the above image.  It illustrates YOU as the center of your community.  Now, would be a good time to review the first article in this series,  You – Your Community – Your Job – Your Compensation, but it certainly is not a requirement to understand the information and exercise I will share in this article.

If you did the exercise from the previous article, you have a piece of paper that looks something like the illustration above.  If you didn’t do the exercise, guess what, it doesn’t matter.  Don’t you love it when you can jump right in without an extensive review.  Okay, if you did do the exercise from the first article in this series, you are looking at YOU with your community surrounding you.  What do others, in your community,  see in you?  What labels have you put on yourself?

This is very important, because the labels you place on yourselves will determine your job in the community and how well you will do your JOB, good or bad.  How do you know what labels you are placing on yourself?

#1 – Listening to what you are saying about yourself in your head and #2 – Writing them down.

You’re going to need another piece of paper (colorful construction paper or page in your journal) and a writing instrument (crayons & markers are welcome) for this exercise I like to call Cancel – Cancel.

First, draw lines to make three category columns. At the top of each column label them, 1)  My BAGGAGE, 2) My FUEL and 3) Go to My Dreams. You will need to carry this piece of paper with you for a week.

When you place a label on yourself, write it down in either the Baggage (negative self talk) or the Fuel (positive congratulatory self talk) category.

To complete the, Go to your Dreams category, you will need to tap into the realm of limitless possibilities. Can you go there? Think about what you wanted to be when your were young. New skills you would learn if money and time were not a factor. Think about people you admire. What do they do that resonates with who you are? I’m not saying write down, “I want to be just like Martha Stewart.”  You can’t BE Martha Stewart.  What I am saying is, if you have a burning desire to create beautiful things with paper and glitter, write down, something like, “Paper Glitter Goddess.”

At the end of the week reflect upon your list. Only you really know what it means, but just being aware of the labels will help you make sense of them.

Here’s the first, Cancel – Cancel,  list I made. The Baggage column took an early lead, but the Fuel and Go to your Dreams columns made a huge comeback later in the week.  I read the Baggage labels and canceled them out with a counter acting Fuel label.  Here’s my partial list.

Late Night Person cancels out Non Morning Person
Distracted Dreamer cancels out Disorganized
Clothes Folder Yay! cancels out Poor Housekeeper
Good Mother cancels out Bad Mother
Prayerful cancels out Fearful
Doer cancels out Fearful
Prayerful cancels out Angry
Capable cancels out Checkbook Balancing Challenged

Here are some leftovers from the first two columns:

Happy #2
Good Friend
In Pain

Go to my Dreams List:

Super Star (in that Molly Shannon kind of way), highly sought out key note speaker, author, columnist, dancer, radio show host.

All of the labels in the Fuel column will help me Go to my Dreams. Doer, Capable, Prayerful and Expressive match up very nicely with these new labels.

Which Baggage Labels did not have a counter label?

In Pain and Tired. This is where I am out of balance. I need more sleep, exercise and a better diet. My chronic back pain would probably get better with the sleep, exercise and weight loss. Stretching and yoga would also help my pain. If you find several more Baggage labels you need to give yourself permission to dig up all the incredible things about yourself.  Go ahead and write them down now; smart, funny, kind, happy…….

This exercise reminds us that the answers are not in the answers, they are in the exploring, reflecting and doing part of life. This exercise also applies to our awareness of putting labels on others. Let’s not limit others with the labels we place on them.  Now stick your fingers under those arm pits, pull them out and sniff. Lunge down on one knee and PROCLAIM it! YOU ARE A SUPER STAR!  And you have a wonderful job in your community.  Can’t wait to talk more about it next time.

On a side note: As part of this healing, joyous community would you please consider sharing your thoughts in the comments.  I know there are wise insightful readers, so join Lady J in the comment section.