Running

 

 

You know the song “Da Doo Ron Ron“? I always remembered it as being “Da Do Run Run.”

Inaccurate as a reference, but interesting as a motivational tool: Action inspires forward motion.

Do.

Then run and run.

🙂

 

Photo, “The Runner,” by Hamed Saber

 

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© 2008 Christine Taylor

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Published in: on August 8, 2008 at 5:20 pm  Comments (7)  
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25 Words, and More

 

Here are the results of Liz Strauss’ 25 Words of Work/Life Wisdom Project! Liz put the creations into a beautiful and moving slideshow (which doesn’t seem to want to play on this blog–:-P 😉 ). The inspiration in these words is amazing.

Enjoy!

 

 

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© 2008 Christine Taylor

Published in: on July 21, 2008 at 6:49 pm  Comments (4)  
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Going the Extra Mile

 

 

I was feeling a bit burned out one Sunday. On an impulse, I decided to visit a local nursery. I had never been there before, even though I had seen its gates from the road many times. I thought that maybe a little touch with nature would offer the renewal I needed.

At some point, we’ve all most likely been to a nursery in search of plants for our gardens, yards, or flower boxes. We’ve walked through those sliding doors at Wal-Mart or Home Depot, and entered the gardening section. It’s usually a space of concrete and chain link fencing, where the air smells heavily of chemicals. Racks of plants and flowers are interrupted by the occasional stack of terracotta pots. Maybe we also have an idea about decorating our garden with other touches, like a bench, a statue, or a fountain. Most of those accessories are lined up under the bright fluorescent lights inside. It’s nothing special; but you go there for plants, not ambiance, right? It’s functional. It works. You get what you need, and you leave.

That was what I expected when I walked through the iron gates to this nursery. But instead, I was transported to a wonderland.

I found myself in a courtyard, where paths meandered among charming vignettes–dozens of displays that incorporated plants and flowers along with sculptures, stands, and wrought iron furniture. And as if that wasn’t enough, beautiful music filtered through the yard from outdoor speakers.

I started wandering down those paths, finding each turn filled with surprising beauty. As I approached the building, I could see three other pathways, each one showing me intriguing glimpses between the overhanging leaves. Making a mental note to return to them, I went inside–and was blown away again.

Part home decor shop, part furniture store, the nursery was crammed with scene after scene of what can only be described as “outdoors coming in.” The floor was rough red brick, exactly the same as the patio outside. Lovely potted plants and decorative figurines were arranged among charming furniture. It’s been a while since I’ve seen something that took me so off my guard; it was so unlike what I had expected that it nearly dazzled me. Perhaps it was because my soul needed the renewal that nature and music could offer. Or because my creativity rejoiced in the beauty around me. Either way, I found myself wishing I could sit down on one of those comfy-looking couches, pick up a leather-bound notebook from a nearby desk, and stay for a while.

Just like the courtyard, the walkways in the shop led off in different directions. But I let my feet carry me outside again, suspecting that I would eventually see everything, if I kept walking. I passed through the wide open doors to a greenhouse that was filled to bursting with green. Whimsical garden gnomes and aged-looking statues were half-hidden among the leaves. I raised my eyes, and took a breath at the sight of iridescent glass orbs hanging from the roof–like pixie dust, or bubbles in a magical kingdom.

It was like being inside of a fairy tale.

Two things went through my mind as I strolled in wonder through that place. First, I was enthralled with how peaceful I felt–nature’s touch was all around me, and that, partnered with sweet music and enchanting details, caused my mind to reawaken to the beautiful, the fanciful, the mysterious in life.

The second thought sank in with a memory of a blog post by Chris Brogan. He very briefly said, “Be helpful.” In my mind, that had translated to the question, “How can I be helpful to my clients?”

After two months of dwelling in my Swiss-cheese memory, the statement somehow became “Do more.” (Sorry about that, Chris.)

Those words went through my mind as I stared up at iridescent bubbles. The nursery owners didn’t need the bubbles. They didn’t need the tiny doll houses arranged among miniature plants; or the white antique bookcase laden with aromatic bath products; or the butterfly that decorated the vines above a table that held Italian cookbooks. The only scents in that shop were of plants and potpourri, because the necessary chemicals and fertilizers were tucked away in a corner where hardly anyone would see them, unless they looked for them. The owners didn’t need to do that. But they did.

“Functional” gets the job done; but these store owners went the extra mile. Instead of leaving the garden to a customer’s imagination, they showed visitors what a garden haven could really look like–and even more than that, they gave an example of a daily life inspired by nature.

They did more.

How can I go the extra mile? In my business, my blogging, my personal life? How can I add that one extra, unnecessary, extravagant touch of beauty that makes another feel special—and blessed?

That’s a thought to ponder. And I think I know just the place to do it.

 

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© 2008 Christine Taylor

Published in: on July 20, 2008 at 8:33 pm  Comments (10)  
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A Good Fit

 

 

I recently created a new home office area. I had exactly six feet by five feet of space to work with. It has to function for both the writing and the artistic sides of my work—and everything has to fit.

Some of the items I had on hand; others, I’ve been collecting for this purpose. I have a new desk, file cabinet, and book case. I’d really like to add more storage containers—maybe even a small craft table, or a folding chair for reading business material. Or a floor lamp.

Truthfully, I can buy as many items as I want. Each may have value. But only a certain number of them are going to fit into that space.

It’s a lot like life.

I have 24 hours in my day. 365.25 days in my year. Maybe a few decades, maybe a few minutes left in my life. I don’t know.

I can make the choice to do whatever I want with my time…but only a certain number of things will fit into my day. There will be many things I wish to do, and many things that are important. But I can not do all of them.

When I take on too many tasks or agree to too many responsibilities, I’m filling my days to the brim. Like my cramped home office space, my days get tight and cluttered. I don’t have creative freedom, I can’t give my best, and I don’t enjoy my activities as much as I could. So…what’s the solution?

Deciding what’s important

For instance, in my home office, there is a monstrously large art table. It needs a lot of my space. I’ve had it for years; it was there when I started my project. But as I began filling the room with all my new acquisitions, this art table seemed to be getting more ungainly. It takes up so much space that I couldn’t fit all the other things I wanted—not unless I made the table inaccessible. As I arranged and rearranged that room, I began to get frustrated and annoyed with the table. I started thinking, “Why does it have to be so difficult? The new cabinet would fit perfectly in this area, if only I didn’t have to work around that table.”

But at one point, I stood back, took a deep breath, and looked at what I had. I realized—I love that table. It belongs to me, has meaning for me. It was one of the first business purchases I made with my own money. I’ve created characters and worlds on that surface. We’ve been through different states and a lot of life experiences together. Yet here I was, ready to push it away just to make room for something else that needed the space.

How many things in my life do I treat the same way?

Perhaps it’s when I cut back on family activities to do extra work, because family “understands and won’t mind.” Maybe it’s that old friend that I don’t call nearly enough, because new occupations take up so much of my time. Maybe it’s my personal renewal that suffers, because I think it’s more important to answer a few extra emails than to shut down my computer and read a book before bed.

What I realized with the office project is that the important things will all fit together, somehow. It may take a while, and require some trial-and-error; I may have to say “no” to other things I don’t really need. But I’ll find a space for each necessity. It will work.

There are set numbers to our days. The numbers aren’t infinite. When you step back and take a look at your life, what’s most important to you?

Are you giving it enough space?

 

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© 2008 Christine Taylor

Published in: on July 19, 2008 at 7:29 pm  Comments (7)  
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25 Words

 

 

Blogger Liz Strauss has invited her readers to participate in an intriguing challenge: Put 25 words of advice or wisdom in a blog post. Having just come off a challenge to write 50 thousand words, I thought I could manage twenty-five. Twenty-five words is easy.

Smoothing her skirt and straightening her shoulders, the young woman faced the door to the boardroom, took hold of the knob, and entered with confidence.

To her surprise, the room erupted with applause: clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap.

See? Easy.

But twenty-five words with meaning? That’s the challenge. Liz’s own offerings ring true, like insightful poetry. So I found myself pondering the subject for days, wondering what I could say.

Today, reading others’ creations, it came to me how much they resemble Twitter posts. And that reminded me of a moment of enlightenment I recently experienced—which I Twittered. I looked it up, added three words, and here it is:

It’s not enough to have, you also need to hold.
Whether love, talents, or possessions—
Love must be enjoyed,
Talents and possessions used.
Take action.

 

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© 2008 Christine Taylor

Published in: on July 19, 2008 at 12:52 am  Comments (13)  
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Are You Hot?

 

 

I had a moment of enlightenment this evening. And I choked on it.

I was standing at a window, pondering a decision I had to make. As too often happens with me, I was waffling between one option and another—and the less risky option was winning.

With the thought still fresh in my mind, I turned to get a drink from the water cooler. As I poured a glass of room-temperature water, I glanced up at the calendar that hung on the wall. The Bible verse said, “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9)

The verse was especially meaningful to me at that moment, with my insecure thoughts. But I let the words roll off my consciousness, returning to the thought of my “safe” decision, as I raised the glass of water to my lips.

One swallow was all it took—instant choke. For some unknown reason, I can not drink tepid liquids—my throat seizes up, and I’m left coughing and gasping for breath.

In mid-wheeze, another Bible verse suddenly appeared in my mind: “Because you are lukewarm—–neither hot nor cold—–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:16)

Whoa.

I had been studying my decision from a decidedly lukewarm point of view. I knew exactly what I wanted, but didn’t think it was possible, so was resigning myself to settling for less. I was being lukewarm—and if I admitted the truth to myself, I approached far too many other daily decisions in the same way.

I caught my breath and looked out the window again. What would happen if, just this once, I cast aside the tepid option and went all-out, full-tilt for the choice that required all my fire, enthusiasm, and confidence? The potential for failure was huge. But like the quote says:

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

 

I know what I’m going to do.

So how about you?

Are you hot or not?

 

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© 2008 Christine Taylor

Published in: on July 15, 2008 at 8:09 pm  Comments (11)  
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