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Living Gracefully

IMG_0115Graceful is not a word I’d ever use to describe myself – as a teen, a young woman or someone in the throes of midlife. Never had much style, coordination, or panache – things I once associated with grace. Am I aging gracefully? Am I embracing getting older with any decorum or style? I’m certainly embracing midlife with more authenticity than my early years. Why? I think my definition of grace has changed.

Grace is the space where I’m comfortable in my skin. The past no longer defines me. My mistakes are now experiments expanding my comfort zone. The recovery process (which I’ve mentioned in previous posts was from food addiction, perfectionism, codependency, relationship addiction, & abandonment issues) had released a grand scale of introspection and hindsight – two key elements to living in the grace that allows me to be transparent with those I work with, counsel, and in my writing. Grace is an attitude that allows others to be who they are in my life without impacting my joy and peace and allows forgiveness to be active in my relationships.

Thoughts living gracefully:
1) Know thyself. Work a program that will allow you to discover your motivation, desires, dreams and emotions.

2) Allow yourself to feel. Denying or postponing your emotions is a pathway to poor coping habits that will only hinder you on the path to creating and living a life that you enjoy.

3) Take control of distorted thinking. Understand that your negative or positive self-image is something everyone else sees no matter how hard you try to project another persona. Your self-talk influences all you do.

4) Recognize your values. Trade compromises, people pleasing actions, should haves and have to’s for actions that truly represent your cores values.

5) Take advantage of hindsight. The past remains with us for a reason. It can hold you back or take you past your comfort zone into creative pursuits you may have never imagined.

6) Be unstoppable. Realize that your opinions, your art, your work, your experiences – your voice matters and using that voice will strengthen not only yourself but others exposed to your vulnerability.

7) Be selfish. Don’t compromise on the time you take to discover you. After all, that time will result in the best version of you and everyone benefits – kids, spouses, partners, friends, the workplace.

8) Boycott ‘busy’ and ‘multi-tasking.’ Both behaviors interfere with how present you are for your life which is happening right now. You’ll experience a different quality of life when you engage fully in the person or experience in front of you.

9) Declare yourself. If you’re a writer, say so, a artist, speak it. There’s no more time for “Well, I like to _____’ or ‘I’m sort of good at _____.” At this point you either are or are not so tell the world and pursue it.

10) Risk love. Yup, I know. Take a leap for love and there could be (will be) hurt. There comes a time when you realize that there is no permanent downside to loving others when you’re living gracefully – aware of who you are and what you want in your life.

Need program suggestions? There are thousands like AA, Alnon, CODA, Celebrate Recovery, Who Am I?, Creative Recovery or a good read on the subject is also Turning Pro

How are you living gracefully? Your sharing blesses us all!

Create joyfully today!

– Carol

© 2013 Carolyn Moore

“Creativity is contagious pass it on” ~ Albert Einstein


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Breathing Deeply…

 © 2013 Carolyn Moore

© 2013 Carolyn Moore

It’s obvious I’m a Northerner. I crave the sun. The shutters are wide open, inviting the uplifting light to warm the house as well as my soul. My mind envisions sunbathing and my body longs to go running. I don’t want to miss a second of gorgeous daylight. It’s about 20 degrees too cold for the casual walker to be out. For me, anything above thirty at this point in winter is welcome respite. I’m a Jersey girl at heart though, through and through, enduring the winters, loving the spring-summer-fall transitions, needing the city-country connection. Florida humidity just isn’t my cup of tea. Yet.

I’m so happy to experience this much sun and warmth in March! I don’t mind that bursting outdoors will have to wait till I am fully spent creatively. My butt is firmly planted. Mornings are my creative time but I do have to discipline myself daily not to succumb to distraction. I struggle with maintaining a steady output of words because I love research, brainstorming, reading, and encouraging others. I could spend all day just discovering and posting encouraging quotes and articles from others to stir up my friends.

But that wouldn’t serve the words I want to share and after a several decades of life, I do realize what I have to share matters and is worth something. We all do. Our stories are important; evidence that as humans we have so much more in common than we ever could imagine. Each unique personality paints a compelling masterpiece illustrating that we are not alone in our fears, our successes and failures, and our tragedies and triumphs. People connect through story. They heal; they grow bolder; they reach out to others who need stirring up.

All we have to do is show up. Be vulnerable. Try transparency. Risk everything. Serve your calling to create. Look past the possibilities of embarrassment, failure, ridicule. Sure, all that will probably happen occasionally, but those experiences serve the greater purpose – for growth and to serve others. If you’re not committed to a set creative time each day, make a decision to do it without self-imposing restrictions that hinder – just do it (oh, so Nike, but so true!) Creativity is not about being perfect – make a leap!

What stops you from a daily creative practice? Stir up others and share!

For a little extra inspiration, try a dose of Eric Maisel, creativity expert and author of Creative Recovery. An excellent online course at en*theos Academy – Your Best Life in the Arts course, also by Maisel.

Create joyfully today!

– Carol

© 2013 Carolyn Moore

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Life Interrupted

Suitcases Packed Life Interrupted

© 2013 Carolyn Moore

My mother’s life was violently interrupted this month by bacterial meningitis. Of all things that might befall this hardy 71 year-old woman, I suspected a landscaping debacle involving a palm tree, hedge clippers, and a ladder would bring her down. Great genes, great bone density, good BMI, physically activity – health concerns shadowed the recesses of my brain with a taunt of ‘someday when she’s old.’ She had a brief episode of cancer 20 years ago and has never been seriously ill since. But a handful of days and a chance encounter with a carrier landed her in the ICU intubated, sedated, and experiencing renal failure.

A splenectomy, 18 years ago, left her more vulnerable to meningitis than the rest of the population. The fight of her life began after being discovered on the floor of her bedroom by the police. I wept when the police officer described the entry and rescue, but I had no clue of the emotional nightmare to come. As I was pelted by phone calls states away with urgent decisions and approvals, my brother raced to the hospital through seven hours of rain. We quickly began to see how tenuous life the hold on life is and how heartbreaking it can be to make life-saving decisions for a loved one. Sixteen days later all I can recall clearly are the plethora of times my brother and I have said to each other ‘What do we do now?’

I have to admit I barely listened when my mother spoke of her ‘arrangements.’ My brother knew all those details for when she passed and I thought it inconsequential to think so far ahead with her so healthy. I didn’t know what I didn’t know until I was in the moment. I couldn’t ask my mother if she was allergic to penicillin, her blood type, the name of her primary doctor, or tell the police which neighbor was okay to leave her purse and keys with since they’d broken a window and left the house vulnerable. I didn’t know the difference between being on a vent for life support and being intubated or if either of those procedures violate the DNR. I had to learn the difference between EEGs, EKGs, and MRIs quickly so I could keep up. Initially the prognosis appeared optimistic at the weeks start; it became a ping-pong game of stabilize one symptom, create another problem, over and over again.

The situation vacillates between overwhelming and humbling with chaotic days plus an uncertain future created by the meningitis, the hospital-supplied MRSA, and erratic levels of care. But I’m not the one laying there fighting for her life. I pray she’s truly not in much pain and that she hears our voices. I pray for peace for her mind and body.

Life is on hold and out-of-state until then.


Life Unconnected…

Some Facebook friends were reminiscing recently about the pre-personal computer era with some fondness. Most baby boomers are well acquainted with typewriters, mimeos, fax machines – old tech. Frankly, I do not share the nostalgic feeling these relics evoke. I adore cut & paste, spell check, HTML. PHP, research on-line – and the absence of rubber cement, white-out, waxers, rubylith and all the mess design used to entail.

I love my computer and the instant gratification it provides – my designs, in color and live on the web; my writing, in print not just ‘typewritten,’ as well as the benefit of near-instant communication with anyone anywhere. Am I a social media junkie? Not exactly. As a designer, I spend a lot of time with Adobe products. I write, so, therefore, I am an information junkie. Distraction by tweets and posts happen occasionally, but not obsessively.

If I miss anything about the low-tech era, it would be the physical separation from these tools. I rarely have a day that I do not turn on my computer. Whether working or not, email, Facebook, and Twitter feeds at worse, are glanced at. A note is sent, a show watched, a post commented on, a game played perhaps. Not too long ago, technology was left at work or in the home office for ‘work hours.’ My extracurricular tools were pencil and paper or a camera – nothing that connected me to an entirely different realm. Time with technology was scheduled into life, not something my life revolved around.

Having opportunities to be unplugged has shown me how important scheduling computer time into my life is rather than just having that tool available 24/7. Being disconnected –  on a trip to Haiti; during Super Storm Sandy; on a sudden trip to visit a hospitalized relative in another state, for example – showed me another state of being present which I’d lost somewhere along the way. The urgency to read, to post, to connect, slipped away, slowly, but the freedom was refreshing. I was more eager to connect with (real) people. I did not have to share, Google stuff, or keep up with training videos. And best thing – I could still write and draw with some lovely low tech tools.

Now, I have one computer-free day a week. I don’t even have the urge to check my email. If I want to share, I make a phone call, instead of tweeting. Now, I schedule personal social media time, during my work day, time instead of always just being on-line and available. The noise of the web is minimized, controlled, and not as important as it once seemed. My head is clearer and I feel more focused. I’ve even begun to leave my phone at home – much to the amazement of the (much younger) people with whom I work.

It’s true that technology has made life a lot easier, but I lost sight of how important it had become. My tech-free day helps me keep life and relationships in perspective and that’s a good thing for someone who works at home. On a computer. All day.

As I was getting ready click the publish button on this note, I noticed that Lois Alter Mark of posted a video that expresses the joy of a tech-free life. And I get it, I really do. Could the marketer and writer in me let go this much? Very tempting, as Lois commented. Very tempting.


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