Chaos and Courage


Yokohama

Hi my dear readers,

Sorry to have been away so long.  It’s been a crazy, busy, challenging year.  A roller coaster ride if you will.  I just returned from a trip to Japan.  My sixth visit.  I never imagined ten years ago that I would be saying that!  But my life has changed in amazing, unexpected, and positive ways by embracing this new life of adventure that comes along with marrying someone who is a different background than mine.  I wouldn’t change it for anything.

At the close of this year 2016, there is a lot to think about.  Big changes for this country and the world.  What can we do about it but embrace it?  Dive into the unknown and hope things continue to progress and change for the better.  Continue to stand up and fight for the things we believe in.  Hope in our future.  If there is one constant in life, it’s change.  We can expect it just like taxes.  And when we begin to ride the tide of it, we see some amazing sights and begin to transform in unimaginable ways.

It is hard to let go of all the things we hold dear.  The safe and familiar.  For me, flying halfway across the world, living in a time zone completely opposite of ours, is always an adjustment.  Japan in some ways is the complete polar opposite of the U.S.  Their culture is polite, quiet, and small compared to our freestyle lifestyle, chatter, and super-sizing.  But sometimes there’s a beauty in living a life different from your own.  Like the city mouse and country mouse switching places for a day.  You see the world through new eyes.  You find out the way you always do things is not “The Way” but simply the way you always do things.  You learn to adapt and find new things to treasure.  You also better appreciate the familiarities of home.

On this particular trip, I embraced both flying alone and getting around Yokohama for three days by myself while my husband finished up his business trip.  With the jet lag, feeling under the weather, and not knowing the language very well, I wasn’t sure if I could manage.  But I took up the challenge anyway, even knowing how directionally challenged I am.  I managed to ride the subway a few times, explore the city, shop, and eat out at restaurants.  Sometimes not being able to talk was a welcome blessing.  A quiet I don’t often experience at home.  Other times, especially because I’m a Gemini and love to talk, not being able to communicate was frustrating, lonely, and even a little terrifying.  But luckily, it’s very safe to walk around Japan alone as a foreigner.  And if you’re lost or confused, someone will undoubtedly come to your rescue and try to help, even without knowing much English.  As it turns out, I found many ways to connect with others.  Laugher being one of the best universally shared experiences.

So I challenge each of you dear readers to end the year by stepping out of your comfort zone.  Don’t wait until 2017.  Do it now.  Take that first step toward your dream.  Meet someone new.  Go somewhere foreign.  Experience a different culture.  Learn a new language.  Talk to someone of a different background or faith and really get to know them.  And if things become awkward at any moment, don’t walk away, embrace the moment, and simply LAUGH.  Imagine the kind of world we would live in, if we all laughed just a little bit more.  Feared a little less.  Life is chaos, but we can all join in the dance.

“We live in a rainbow of chaos.”- Paul Cezanne

I Kissed a Frog

Not really, but according to the book I just finished, kissing frogs is the equivalent of going after your dreams, the things that make you happy and fulfilled.  The frog is the very thing holding you back, so why should you kiss it?  Because you can always transform something negative into something positive and change your life forever.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Kiss That Frog by Brian Tracy.

“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance.” —Bruce Barton

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” —from John Milton’s poem “Paradise Lost”

“There is no failure except in no longer trying.  There is no defeat except from within, no really insurmountable barrier save our own inherent weakness of purpose.” —Orison Swett Marden

The final quote I want to share comes from a middle grade novel I just finished reading called A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd.  It’s funny how once you start focusing on an idea, the more it shows up in your life in different places.

“It’s as simple and difficult as that.  Sad memories don’t just come in ice cream, you know.  Everything you touch, everything you smell, everything you taste, every picture you see—all of that has the potential to call up a sad memory.  You can’t choose what comes up first.  But you can choose to replace it with something good.  I choose to think on the good parts.”

May positive thoughts bloom in your mind instead of weeds 🙂

 

Quote of the Day: Courage

I read a really great quote in the recent SCBWI Bulletin.  Richard Peck gave this advice to author Ruta Sepetys.

“The only way you can write is by the light of the bridges burning behind you.”

Feel free to insert whatever activity you want here.  The point is, we can’t always move forward towards our goal without leaving something behind first.  It’s okay to take small steps, just don’t let anyone tell you that what you’re reaching for isn’t worth the risk.  If it lights you up, that’s enough.

Quotes for Your Arsenal

Here are some quotes to keep you going during the change in seasons.

I just finished reading Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus, which follows the fictionalized true story of one of  the first Japanese people to set foot in America.

“Have your whole heart bent on a single purpose.”  –from Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai

“When meeting difficult situations, one should rush forward bravely and with joy.  It is the crossing of a single barrier.”  –from Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai

“When one’s own courage is fixed in his heart, and when his resolution is devoid of doubt, then when the time comes he will of necessity be able to choose the right move.”  –from Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai

A friend recently shared this quote by Georgia O’Keeffe.  “Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing.  Making your unknown known is the important thing.”

My favorite dreamer, SARK, suggests we try not to let fog and pus get in the way of our ability to take action and make decisions.

Fear

Obligation

Guilt

&

Pressure

Urgency

Scarcity

I stumbled on the Confidence Blog by Cathy Sirett and found two great ways to unmask fear.

FEAR = Future Events Appear Real

FEAR = False Expectations Appear Real

My neighbor recently recommended an environmental fantasy movie, Beasts of the Southern Wildwhich I finally had time to watch.  Here are two of my favorite quotes from this moving film.

Hushpuppy: “The whole universe depends on everything fitting together just right. If one piece busts, even the smallest piece… the entire universe will get busted.”

Hushpuppy: “I see that I’m a little piece in a big, big universe. And that makes things right. When I die, the scientists of the future, they’re gonna find it all. They gonna know, once there was a Hushpuppy.”

How will you let the world know you exist?