Pivot to Your Passion: Q and A
On Feb. 20, I hosted an event called “Pivot to Your Passion” at The Wonder Jam with my good friend Autumn Theodore (of Autumn Theodore Photography). Here is the Q and A from our event. Enjoy!
Is transitioning to more independent work always stressful?
Autumn: Not as stressful as showing up for a boss every day. 🙂 There are undoubtedly several things you have to learn how to do to be successful that have no relation to your industry. For example, as a photographer (I just like taking photos!), I have also become an accountant, a web developer, a marketer, a designer, a writer, and so many more things. If becoming all those things excites you, DO IT! It will be great. But if you absolutely hate the idea of doing all those things, figure out if a) it’s worth it, b) you can hire others to handle the things you don’t like, or c) if pivoting to this particular passion isn’t worth it to you. (And that’s ok! It’s like dating. When you find the right passion, all the work will be worth it!)
How can I organize my ideas into a plan/map? and How do I become discoverable?
Autumn: I believe both of these questions can be answered in the same way – it depends on who you are, what industry you’re in, what your interests are, how you organize your thoughts, your life, your business. Because of my recent pivot, plus my marketing background, I’d be happy to chat with anyone who feels interested in pursuing these questions further. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do you further develop body sense/awareness?
Brandi: Try a body scan practice! The Insight Timer app is totally free. You can download it and search for “Body Scan” for some really good options.
Ten TEDTalks to Change Your Life (for the better)
Here are 10 TEDTalks to change your life, per a request from Grandview Heights staff who took the Mindful Growth course with me last week.
#1- Kelly McGonical, “The Upside of Stress” – McGonical shares how the way we view stress changes the physiological repercussions that stress has for us.
#2- Brene Brown, “The Power of Vulnerability” – Brown discusses her research on the “whole-hearted” and how their ability to be vulnerable also allows them to be courageous.
#3- Brene Brown, “Listening to Shame” – Brown talks about the inverse of vulnerability and how shame keeps us from connecting with others.
#4- Matt Killingsworth, “Want to be Happy? Stay in the Moment” – Killingsworth shares his research on how “mind wandering” keeps us from being happy; his study is the largest on happiness to date.
#5- Carol Dweck, “The Power of Yet” – Dweck explains how mindset shapes our ability to grow.
#6- Angela Lee Duckworth, “Grit: The Power of Perseverance” – Duckworth describes the key to success in any field (grit) and why we should bring it into schools.
#7- David Steindl-Rast, “Want to be Happy? Be Grateful” – Steindl-Rast describes gratitude as the root of happiness, not a product of happiness.
#8- Julian Treasure, “Five Ways to Listen Better” – Treasure gives a quick, informative talk on the value of silence and listening.
#9- Amy Cuddy, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” – Cuddy explains how a two-minute practice can give you more confidence and change the ways others see you and the ways you see yourself.
#10- Larry Schwartz, “Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.” – Videographer Schwartz presents the video on gratitude narrated by David Steindl-Rast along with his other time-lapse nature images.
Civil Discourse: A Socratic Seminar on the Impact of Civility in Public Life
How does civility/incivility impact public life?
This is the driving question for a Socratic Seminar I hosted for teachers through the ESC of Central Ohio and PBL Ohio this Wednesday, October 26. Here is a link to this and other upcoming events I will host in collaboration with them.
To begin conversation, here are two short news clips and a link to a letter. After viewing/reading each one, write down initial impressions based upon the question: What is the impact of civility/incivility in modern, public life? Also record other questions these news items evoke for you around the topic of civil discourse.
- Watch this two-minute summary of the second presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump which CNN named the “Scorched Earth Presidential Debate in Two Minutes.” Also included on this same link is a montage video of Trump interrupting Hillary in another debate and a video titled “60 Seconds of Pure Vitrol” where Clinton and Trump insult one another.
- Also check out this three-minute video called “Going Beyond a Civil Discourse” from Fox News which describes violence and threats made to both parties during the 2011 healthcare debates.
- Lastly, here is the recently released letter that George Bush left in the Oval Office for Bill Clinton after he had lost the election.
At the workshop, we used this entry event to generate a list of questions together. They are as follows:
- What is civil discourse?
- What is the current level of interest in civil discourse in our society?
- What is the impact of social media on our civility?
- What is the impact of our modern lifestyle on civility? (The immediate gratification culture)
- When is civility more difficult and why?
- What is the future of civil discourse?
- Have we become less civil?
- Where is the line between public and private life? Does this line impact our civility? Explain.
- How can we stay engaged in the discourse when we have been disenchanted and do not want to do so?
- Why do I want to engage in this modern discourse?
- Where is the line between civility and incivility?
- Is incivility necessary and when?
- Why does there appear to be greater public response when the discourse is not civil?
- Which is worse, secret judgement that is civil or uncivil, outward judgement?
- How does public discourse influence private behavior?
- Should we, as educators, model and expect civil and/or uncivil discourse from ourselves and students?
- How do we model civil discourse as teachers and role models?
- How does civility, or a lack of, influence production?
“Where Does it Hurt?”: Ruby Sales Beautiful Question
From The SpiritHouse Project website where Ruby Sales is the founder and director, Sales is a “nationally-recognized human-rights activist, public theologian, and social critic, whose articles and work appear in many journals, online sites, and books.” Sales came of age and took part in the Civil Rights movement and has continued her work since that time.
On Sept. 15, Krista Tippett had a conversation with Ruby Sales on On Being, Tippett’s podcast/radio show. They discussed Sales beautiful question, “Where does it hurt?”
Sales points us to the realization that “you can’t talk about injustice without talking about suffering. But the reason why I want to have justice is because I love everybody in my heart. And if I didn’t have that feeling, that sense, then there would be no struggle.” In this context, the question, “Where does it hurt?” brings us back to love.
On Being is continuing the conversation nationally by inviting people to answer the questions,
“What do you see in the way of generative relationships, of new openings and surprising connections, in your communities. Where does it hurt? And what gives you comfort? Where are you planting and finding hope and courage?”
I asked myself this question while running along the Olentangy River this weekend. The tearful answer re-centered me. I hope the practice is meaningful to you as well.
Photo taken of Anis Mojgani’s book of poetry and illustrations The Pocketknife Bible.
“What Would You Do Even If You Failed?”: Risk and Vulnerability
“What would you do even if you failed?” These words from Elizabeth Gilbert guided my time with a group of teachers, coaches and administrators with whom I have been working for the last couple of months. This particular class session was focused on risk and vulnerability.
I’ll begin with a story that I shared with the teachers about how I got started teaching mindfulness.
In the winter of 2015, I was contacted by a woman whom I respect and love. She wanted me to write a chapter for a book written for teacher and by teachers. The content and format was totally up to me.
At the time, I was in a major life transition. I knew I was going to be leaving my job, but I had no idea what I was sending myself into afterward. The only piece in place so far was that I would be starting a counseling program through Methodist Theological School of Ohio (where I am now a student).
During this huge life transition, I had begun a number of practice that had helped me. One of them was mindfulness. Honestly, without my formal meditation practice, I don’t know how I would have stayed grounded through all of the experience. (To read more about my personal mindfulness journey, you can click here; this is actually the beginning of the book chapter that I wrote).
4 Research-Based Tools for Building a Healthy Marriage: Functional Conflict, Tool 1
As part three in the marriage series, I am sharing four research-based strategies for building a healthy marriage: functional conflict, scanning for positive interaction opportunities, affirming one another’s successes, and building a trusting environment.
For each of these four, I will summarize the research and suggestions from the experts, with a particular focus on the work of Dr. John Gottman, an influential researcher in the field of marriage.
I have also created resources for couples to inventory their current use of these strategies and look for opportunities to grow together. Each strategy will have a short quiz couples can take and score. These quizzes are exploratory tools; they are not definitive measures of a couple’s health. I hope that they will be useful in creating discussion, exploration and possibly growth; that is the only goal.
Reframing Marriage: A Commitment to “That Which We Are”
In my last post, I told the history of my marriage to my husband Jamey and ended at a crux moment: the moment our marriage almost ended. This was not, however, the end of our story. We stayed together and are very happily married today. So why did I decide to begin my series on marriage by talking about this difficult moment?
One reason I did this is to try and alleviate some of the stigma of difficult and failing marriages. When I was struggling in my own marriage, I felt a lot of shame. When I did talk to others about it, however, what I found is that there were many other people dealing with the same issues and emotions that I was feeling.
I’ve read a lot of research on shame and vulnerability (shout out to Brene Brown) and shame and secrets cause disconnection, pain, and suffering. Marriages fail. It’s a fact. I don’t want to idealize marriage. It does not come easy, and even when it lasts it is often not as good as one might hope. If by saying this out loud I can help one other person to say “Me, too” or “I’m not alone, and it’s ok that this is happening” then I want to do that.
I also believe that seeing how bad it gets and then knowing that it can get better is life and marriage affirming. Couples can go through the lowest points, and come back from it and be better and healthier than ever. It happens. It happened to me.
Why “You’re So Pretty” Sucks: Being Mindful of Dangerous Beauty Standards
In the arena of beauty standards, a personal position is not available to me without admitting to things that are embarrassing; shameful; or even, in the case of “you’re so pretty,” a little vain. Knowing this, dear readers, please understand that I speak from my own experiences with as much honesty as possible, owning the fact that I am one person among many. In no way do I intend to speak for all women. I learned already (from my makeup survey which I will publish later on the blog), that there are MANY different perspectives on female beauty standards and many stories to tell.
Disclaimers aside, here is one.
“Is this Hell or Enlightenment?”: Ten Days of Silence in Pecatonica, Illinois Continued
The following will be my attempt to summarize my ten days of silence at the Vipassana Center in Illinois. If you want to get the gist on what Vipassana is before you read it (which I would recommend), check out this post. It has some of the rules, guidelines and a little about the ideology- all good background for what I experienced.
In my program, I am required to take multiple courses on drugs and addictions. Last semester I took a chemical dependency course where I was required to write a paper about popular street drugs. One drug I chose was Ayahuasca. Why? Because people I knew who didn’t use drugs were talking about this substance and seemed interested. This was strange. Here is my opening paragraph from the paper:
“If there was a chance to experience [improved] healing and wholeness in the matter of twenty-four hours, but the path to reach that end goal was going through hell, would it be a temptation? This is not [only] a figurative hell of bad emotional places, but a literal hell of demons battling and slithering serpents, a replaying the worst experiences of one’s life, a sweating, panting, heart pounding experience complete with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. For most people, this particular path would probably not be a temptation, which is why the drug Ayahuasca will probably never enter main stream society as anything other than a subversive and interesting sub-culture fad. However, [according to some] for those who are willing to venture into the dangerous and terrifying possibilities inherent in using the drug, there is the possibility of a renewed self and an extended spiritual experience- a calculated risk not without serious dangers and consequences.”
This drug was not, and is not, a temptation for me, so I want to make it clear that I do not advocate for the drug nor am I a user. This being said, I had no idea that Vipassana would be, for me, the closest I could ever get to this experience without taking a mind-altering substance.
Ten Days of Silence in Pecatonica, IL: See You In About Two Weeks
On Wednesday, I will be leaving for a seven-hour drive to the Vipassana Center in Pecatonica, Illinois. I will be going alone and leaving behind quite a few things I love- my family and friends for one, but also things like: books and other reading materials, pens and paper, COFEE, yoga and other forms of recreational/health-based exercise, alcohol of any type, SUGAR, my laptop and cell phone, eye contact with other humans, and the ability to speak at will without breaking social norms and written agreements. Oh yes, and also yoga pants and leggings- for modesty’s sake.
…So… This should be interesting….
The schedule for a day in the life of a silent retreat is something like this:
4:00 a.m. wake up call
I won’t go on as you probably get the picture
So what is this about, you are probably wondering? Here is the description of Vipassana practice from the code they sent me: