quest

Searching for My Stride

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Forget about having an identity crises and get some identity capital.
Do something that adds value to who you are.
Do something that’s an investment in who you might be next.
– Meg Jay

I’ve been absent. Not just from my blog but from my WordPress Reader, my computer, and the world wide web in general. I had that “too much” feeling. So I did what I do instinctively: I backed off. I took a break. I needed to look at my life from a different perspective. I don’t like admitting that I feel overwhelmed. To me, it means I didn’t plan well enough or research enough before I started. It means I admit to being in over my head. And to admit that offends my pride. Deeply.

Maybe I got tired of taking pictures of my outfits. Maybe I felt like I was letting people down if I didn’t respond to each comment. I’ve broken all the main “rules” of successful blogging. Consistency? Fail. Specific niche? Nope. Quick, thoughtful reply to every comment? Uh uh. Then there are all the lovely awards I’ve been given and have yet to “accept” with a post and my own nominations…

I feel all tangled up in blogginess. In my writing and my life and my house full of extra stuff, I long for simplicity. But simplicity isn’t simple. Perhaps that is an obtuse view. Perhaps I have an overly-romantic view of living a simpler life. And underneath it all is a deeper hunger: to write. To just let the music of my soul pour out into words. That the few people who read this would have a little more sunshine. That the tiny space I’ve cleared in this cold, chaotic universe would hold enough light to warm a heart and start a fire somewhere else.

But something holds me back. I hesitate. I wait.

I do write but I wonder if my Eliza Doolittle literary ways shine through. Though in “real life” I do not have a low class accent, I wonder if my writing does. I’m so often careless and overly wordy. I lack formal education. I lack that sense of confidence that I believe “real” writers have. And yet I keep writing.

I’m so close to something new. Something really exciting. I can feel the heat of it near me. And I have no idea what it is.

I’m not fishing for compliments or “hang in there” sentiments. Sincerely, I’m not. I’m seeking wisdom. Advice. Random words of experience. Blogging is such a different beast. Sometimes, I spend all of my writing time catching up on comments. It overwhelms me. Do you feel this way? Why do you blog? What do you blog about? Do you love writing? How do you get in your writing and keep up with your comments and keep up with your everyday life?

This week, I start training for my first half marathon. From what I understand, it’s a different kind of training. I have to know things about myself and running that I did not really need to know for a 5 or 10K. It is where I am in my life – ready to raise the bar, intimidated by the possibility of failure, and utterly surrendered to the process of growth. I’m searching for my stride…

Thank you. Thank you for stopping by. Thank you so much for reading my words. Thank you for whatever kind thoughts you send my way. Thank you for being a writer. I wish you joy and clarity and love. So much that you have to share it all the time, wherever you go.

Cheers,
G

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A Dream Deferred…Is Liberating

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What happens to a dream deferred?

– Langston Hughes

I am itching to “make it” as a travel writer. By “make it” I mean make money (even though I know it’s not about the money). I go places. Maybe not across the world with one backpack and a laptop. But I love road trips and I see adventure everywhere. And I want to share it through writing and fun photos. Lately, I’ve been researching travel writers and I even set up a skeleton profile on Matador.com. But every time I went to the page I felt something was “off”. Something inside me just wasn’t flowing into the travel articles I was writing attempting to write – even as practice.

So I unplugged from my life, did a few sun salutations, and searched my soul to find that nagging feeling. In minutes, I found clarity. This is not the time for me to be a travel writer. Oh, I know…”you gotta reach for your dreams while you can” but how can I reach for some of them when I’m bogged down in an attic half full of junk? My biggest dream is to live a minimalist lifestyle so that I can spend more time spreading sunshine. I want to get better at being a loving person (I have so far to go on this one). I want to live my goals and “do my thing” without any nagging voices inside me.

I need minimalism for my soul as well as my surroundings.

I wrote “Travel Writer” on my list of someday projects, closed my browser tabs telling me how to be a better travel writer, and exhaled. It felt so good. Like I had been carrying extra weight in my life’s backpack that I had not noticed. I went through a box of giveaway stuff with new zeal and pleasure.

I don’t know what happens to a dream deferred. But I’m going to continue on my simplicity quest to find out. This is my dream for now. Thank you for letting me share it with you. Cheers!

Minimalism and What We Leave Behind

20130707-140800.jpgOn the road in my treasured Jeep Cherokee. Just me and my Lily. Somewhere between two small Texas towns. The AC is out. Again. (It’s a long story). Warm air rushes around me as I head toward my cousin’s memorial service. It’s my favorite white noise. Sometimes I put my arm out the window and play with the wind. Up. Down. Up. Down.

I can’t hear my phone if I get a call or a text. For about an hour it’s just me, my Jeep, the wind on my skin, and the road ahead. Time to think and process where I’m going and what I’m doing. Not just the memorial service but all of it.

My mind wanders  to conversation with a well-meaning friend about how I should keep my childhood artwork because it might be nice to display some at my funeral someday. My response was self-righteous and inconsiderate. Pssht. I’m a minimalist. I don’t keep anything. But she didn’t mean keep everything from childhood. She actually helped give me some boundaries in my quest for simplicity. My apology was a little late and a lot lame. I should have listened better. Been kinder in my response…

At the little church where we gather to honor and say farewell to my cousin I stare at the photos and things he left behind and my mind wanders again. I said goodbye to my father in the same church more than twenty years ago. I’ve since said goodbye to his three siblings there as well. I inherited things from all of them. Things. Stuff. But they left behind so much more: stories, kindness, an appreciation for hard work, and a deep love for people and Texas. I have no greater inheritance.

It’s a small service. My cousin was a natural minimalist. He lived on a small ranch in a small cabin. He fought illness and social stereotypes while training horses. People take turns standing up and telling stories about him. “He was kind.” “He loved people and animals with all of his heart.” “Even when in pain, he had so much joy.” My favorite words are “If you knew Larry, you loved him.”

And like a flash of sublime light it hits me. In seconds, several moments blend into that tiny church. My conversation with my friend about saving stuff for my funeral. Driving in my Jeep. The pictures of Larry. His saddle. Memories of my dad. My aunts. My uncle. The words. The beautiful, sweet words that people said about my cousin.

For just a few seconds I get it. All of it. Life and what is important is incredibly clear. And I want nothing more than to love on the people around me, shower the world in sunshine, and leave behind more kindness than nicknacks.

The drive home is hotter. I don’t mind. The wind dries my tears and the ice water by my side keeps me cool. I’m going back to my collection of things with a new perspective. My heart is full of what matters more than my Jeep, or the heat, or the road ahead…

Thank you for traveling this path with me, dear reader. The AC doesn’t always work but the road remains a wonderful teacher. Cheers!

How to Make Money Online (psst…it’s not about the money)

20130703-094715.jpgA few weeks ago, I ran a Google search for “how to make money online”. I love writing. LOVE it. I wanted to see if I could find a simple way to make some extra pocket change using my love and my ever-growing skills. I wasn’t searching for way to get rich quick or even get rich by pursuing a career online. Just a project or an idea that would give me some boundaries and help me grow as a writer – and put a little extra in my bank account at the same time. I didn’t find much. But I did find this bit of treasure and I thought I would share it. It’s from Seth Godin’s blog.

How to make money online

  1. The first step is to stop Googling things like, “how to make money online.” Not because you shouldn’t want to make money online, but because the stuff you’re going to find by doing that is going to help you lose money online. Sort of like asking a casino owner how to make money in Vegas…

  2. Don’t pay anyone for simple and proven instructions on how to achieve this goal. In particular, don’t pay anyone to teach you how to write or sell manuals or ebooks about how to make money online.

  3. Get rich slow.

  4. Focus on the scarce resource online: attention. If you try to invent a way to take cheap attention and turn it into cash, you will fail. The attention you want isn’t cheap, it’s difficult to get via SEO and it rarely scales. Instead, figure out how to earn expensive attention.

  5. In addition to attention, focus on trust. Trust is even more scarce than attention.

  6. Don’t worry so much about the ‘online’ part. Instead, figure out how to create value. The online part will take care of itself.

  7. Don’t quit your day job. Start evenings and weekends and figure it out with small failures.

  8. Build a public reputation. A good one, and be sure that you deserve it, and that it will hold up to scrutiny.

  9. Obsessively specialize. No niche is too small if it’s yours.

  10. Connect the disconnected.

  11. Lead.

  12. Build an online legacy that increases in value daily.

  13. Make money offline. If you can figure out how to create value face to face, it’s a lot easier to figure out how to do the same digitally. The web isn’t magic, it’s merely efficient.

  14. Become the best in the world at something that people value. Easier said than done, worth more than you might think.

  15. Hang out with people who aren’t looking for shortcuts. Learn from them.

  16. Fail. Fail often and fail cheaply. This is the very best gift the web has given to people who want to bootstrap their way into a new business.

  17. Make money in the small and then relentlessly scale.

  18. Don’t chase yesterday’s online fad.

  19. Think big, act with intention and don’t get bogged down in personalities. If it’s not on your agenda, why are you wasting time on it?

  20. Learn. Ceaselessly. Learn to code, to write persuasively, to understand new technologies, to bring out the best in your team, to find underused resources and to spot patterns.

  21. This is not a zero sum game. The more you add to your community, the bigger your piece gets.

To read the full article, go here.

It reminded me that I don’t need the extra pocket change as much as I desire to add beauty and light to the world. It’s not about the money. It’s about the big picture and how I can share the strange sunshine I carry with me wherever I go. It’s about who I’ve always wanted to be and deciding that it’s not too late to be that person…and maybe make a living while I do it.

It’s not too late to “make it” as a writer (whatever that may look like). It’s not too late so I must keep writing. Keep searching. Keep my eyes open and my soul free to find just what I want to share with the world. It’s the reason I’m on my quest for simplicity. It’s the reason I get rid of my stuff and focus on minimalism. Simplify. Minimize. For what? To find the beauty that waits inside me.

That’s what I offer you today, dear reader. Don’t give up. Whatever your dream. Whatever your “calling”. Don’t give up on it. And stop Googling “how to make money online”. 😉

Cheers to you and your dreams!

The Closet Countdown: T-1 Day

20130629-102250.jpg“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine

I show up early to events. Meetings, movies, parties, The Closet Countdown… I’m pretty much ready to go. Even though I consider myself a fairly skilled minimalist when it comes to managing my closet, I have trouble imagining “making it” with just 55 items. Not sure why but I’m willing to explore it in the next 100 days. I look forward to what I learn about that and my strange relationship to my closet.

Deep down I know it’s not about the clothes. It’s about doing what I think I need to do to get my head out of the closet and into my life. Big goals. People. Work. Life. You know, the important stuff. I do not work in the fashion industry and I’m constantly surrounded by people who love me (and even like me sometimes!). They don’t care about the fit and fabric or style of my clothing choices. They care about how I treat them and how they feel when they are around me.

If I can relegate my entire wardrobe to “tools” in my mind, perhaps I can learn how to become more present in each moment. I can make space on my mental stage for different life skills. Like kindness and encouragement. Things that make me happy to be a part of the human race…

Basic updates in the decision making process.:

  • I worked in the yard long enough to feel good about my decision to keep the overalls.
  • The rubber boots have been categorized as garden/work tools.
  • Wore a “chosen” dress to dinner last night. Helped me decide that it wasn’t a Hell Yeah!

Thanks for joining me on my simplicity quest. I appreciate the company and I promise to keep posting updates. Cheers!

 

Minimalist Closet Essentials: Merrell Emery Dress

“Look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman, there is no dress.” – Coco Chanel

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This past Spring, Merrell introduced my second favorite dress: the Emery. I snapped one up as soon as soon as I saw it. While my Lily Sleeveless Dress is not as suitable for work, the Emery dress is. My old commute was almost two hours long and I spent a large part of my day indoors. That job actually gave me many opportunities to experiment with my wardrobe. I wanted to see if I could come up with something that would be suitable for both a meeting and a walk in the park. The Emery does that with understated sophistication and comfort.

It looks great with simple, black pumps or flats or another one of my favorites: my Merrell Tetra Launch Boots (keep an eye out for a post about those babies). When the stress of my job started to creep in on me, I would go to my car, grab my casual shoes, and head out to the surrounding area to just walk and clear my head. The Emery is made of a moisture-wicking material so I stayed cool and dry.

The top part fits like a cute, capped sleeved shirt and then the hem falls down almost to my knees in a flowy-ish A-line. Flattering without being too huggy and easy to move in. I would hike mountains in this dress. Might have to try that someday. 🙂

It’s another go-to item for work, play, and travel for the following reasons:

  • Flattering cut/style
  • Comfortable
  • Coordinates well with other articles of clothing
  • Easy to accessorize
  • Moisture-wicking material
  • Wrinkle resistant
  • Easy to spot clean
  • Dries quickly
  • Looks great alone or with leggings
  • Opaque material (no need to wear a slip)
  • Versatile style
  • Wearable in all seasons
  • Durable
  • Excellent for travel

As always, thanks for your time. I promise to post more pictures of this dress and the different ways to wear it. While I’m a little conflicted about other items, the Emery is definitely one of the “chosen” for The Closet Countdown. Cheers!

If you’d like to see other pictures, you can check out the Merrell website and Zappos. I think Zappos has better pictures and better reviews.

Please read my Merrell disclaimer here.

Experiment 2: The Closet Countdown

“All of life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m feeling that nudge again. That need to try another experiment and see how I feel about increasing the minimalism in my life. I call it The Closet Countdown (ta da!). Here are the basics (with personal commentary to follow of course!):

Who: Me (Ginny Love Moore), and you if you want to try it.

What: The Closet Countdown.

When: Starting July 1, 2013. Ending October 8, 2013. 100 days total.

This project is great because it can begin at any time, really. Just pick a start date, add 100 days and there you go. Jump in any time!

Where: My Closet, My Life!

Why:

  • To see if having fewer clothes helps clear some brain space to get more done on my “Big Goals”. Less time taking care of/thinking about things = More time for people
  • To get a different taste of minimalism without actually getting rid of things.
  • When I see that I made it one hundred days without a certain piece of clothing or pair of shoes, perhaps it will be easier to get rid of it.

How: Begin with the number ten and choose a category of clothing (shirts, tops, dresses, underwear, etc.). Gather ten of those (favorite pieces are recommended). Then continue with the process with different item categories until the number one. Hide away the “unchosen” articles. Use only the chosen 49 items (another chance to bypass my perfectionism because I really want to bump it up to 50) as the working wardrobe for 100 days. New shirt? Then tuck away (or get rid of) one of the current shirts. Do this for all chosen items.

My Hypothesis: I’ll be just fine. I might miss a top or pair of shoes but I’ll manage. I’ve been culling and reducing and experimenting for years now. The Closet Countdown is certainly more constricting but I like challenges. They keep me sane.

Some background information on the idea behind The Closet Countdown

Many years ago I heard about a woman who went to Sears and bought seven of the same dress and it struck a chord in my pre-minimalist soul. I honestly don’t remember why she did it. I’m pretty sure it was for some higher cause. But what higher cause do we have but to shake off society’s fashion shackles and live in freedom? Whether we choose the craziest wardrobe or the same dress seven days a week, we should do it, do it boldly, and feel good about doing it.

My inspirations include Project 333, The One Dress Protest, and 100 Thing Challenge. I think quantifying our things helps us realize how much we have. It helps our brains understand in a concrete way just what we are responsible for. So I decided to try The Closet Countdown as my own little minimalism project. The idea seems fairly simple and doable. I’m excited about what I will learn on this part of my quest for simplicity.

More soon with updates. 🙂