Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
- Martin Luther King Jr.
When it comes to racial justice in this country, we haven't reached a tipping point. But perhaps we are finally beginning to inch closer.
More people are protesting in the streets, speaking out, demanding justice and standing in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. I am one of them.
Merriam Webster is revising the definition of racism in the dictionary. It's a start. What it seems like we need is a whole new language to bridge this divide so that healing can begin.
I have been deeply uncomfortable as I've recognized my silence about racism has made me complicit in the systemic racism of our country. My silence has not reflected my values at all. And so, I'm taking action. Actively listening and learning. Having hard conversations. Getting educated. And sharing with you. I've found a wonderful organization to contribute to and I wanted to tell you about them here.
During a time where so many are suffering and the ugly racist underpinnings of our country are front and center, Color of Change (colorofchange.org) is transforming pain into power. These people are bad ass. As the nation's largest online racial justice organization, they develop smart, strategic campaigns with outcomes that create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. They are a light in the darkness.
I'm proud to support Color of Change and I invite you to do the same. Together we can help bring in the light to create a more just and peaceful world.
Additionally, for the month of June, my Friday Zoom sessions are by donation, with all proceeds benefitting Color of Change. This is for you, and for anyone you know who might want extra support during this time.
To schedule, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject FRIDAY and your preferred date and time.
Sending you love love love and light,
MIXING IT UP. Deal with it. :)
I'm feeling rebellious and experimental these days, like I want to shake things up with what I create and how. And so, instead of a long, cohesive blog post today, I’m giving you a little taste of ideas to inspire your creativity. Think of it like brunch, but with words instead of eggs benedict and finger sandwiches.
Move what’s in your head to your heart and through your hands:
When I was about 10, my mom handed me an empty hardcover book with lines, and I fell head over heels in love with filling this book. This could be my story, I thought. Secrets, lies, poems, wishes, they all made it into this journal-- my first, but by no means my last. I still have a giant storage bin full of them from my childhood and they are among my most treasured possessions. And I still journal. I do Julia Cameron’s morning pages nearly every day. I also give my clients custom journal prompts to help them go deeper. Joan Didion said “I write to know what I think.” That’s true for me as well. So this is your invitation to let it flow, and here’s a prompt to help you get started:
What do you secretly long for? Describe the last time you experienced it.
When you’re ready, pick up a pen and write three pages, long hand about this. Don’t think, just write. In fact, see if you can keep your pen connected to the page the whole time. This means no stopping to edit or rephrase. You’re escaping your usual way of thinking, writing to capture what’s going on underneath, so details like spelling don’t matter. When you’ve finished filling the pages, take a deep breath, and then read. You may be surprised. Definitely reach out if you want to talk about it!
I pulled a card for you
Creative Block is suddenly blowing up on Amazon and I’m thrilled! Today I pulled a card specifically with you in mind. Think about where you’re feeling blocked and see if this opens anything up for you:
Reclaim the Muse
Creativity and Mindfulness are a little like chocolate and peanut butter: great on their own, but even better together. Would love for you to join Brian and me as we explore the intersection of our respective fields and give you a delicious taste of both. (What’s with the food metaphors, Laurie? I’m hungry ALL the time lately, okay?)
You’ll experience how mindfulness adds a powerful new dimension to your creative output, and the surprising role that creativity brings to mindfulness. No need for an established meditation practice or current creative project (though if you have both or either, they are welcome). Our experiential workshop requires only a curious, open mind, and a willingness to play. Click here to learn more.
It’s a new world, people. I’m glad we’re in it together.
Is it May in here, or is it just me?
I’m currently serving on the leadership team of a 21 day virtual coaching intensive. A colleague read a poem in our team meeting last week, and it moved me so much, I wanted to share it with you.
When asked “How would you have lived your life differently if you had a chance?” Nadine Stair, an 85-year-old woman, from Louisville, Kentucky, said this:
If I had my life to live over,
I'd dare to make more mistakes next time.
I'd relax, I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.
I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles,
but I'd have fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I'm one of those people who live
sensibly and sanely hour after hour,
day after day.
Oh, I've had my moments,
And if I had it to do over again,
I'd have more of them.
In fact, I'd try to have nothing else.
Just moments, one after another,
instead of living so many years ahead of each day.
I've been one of those people who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat
and a parachute.
If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.
If I had my life to live over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.
***In this stay at home moment, we’re all spending more time turning inward, examining our choices and how we live. Reading Nadine Stair’s words, I feel the sting of her regrets mixed with my own. I’m thinking of the many, many times I’ve hesitated for too long to speak up, or raise my hand, or shine, and the moment passed. Or stayed silent or stayed home when my heart really wanted to come out and play. For what? Is what I’m asking myself. What am I waiting for?
What I really want to tell you is this: I’m coming out of hiding, and I’m bringing you with me. (Unless you have other plans, but… really?)
This means speaking up, getting messy, and using this life as a laboratory to experiment with joy and meaning and creativity and play. I don’t want to wake up at 85, look back and wish I’d lived differently, and I know you don’t either.
It’s safe to say that Nadine Stair is no longer alive, but she’s left us with an incredible reminder: No one needs to wait another minute to start living out loud and on purpose. Meaning planning less, loving more, dancing in the street. Meaning getting into the kind of trouble that makes for the best stories, the ones you get to relive and laugh about for years to come. Meaning yes to ice cream, yes to morning sex and mistakes and yes to that opportunity in disguise. Quarantine or no, we don’t need to carry everything that’s been given to us. We can set it all down, leave our shoes at the shore, and run free. The ocean is calling, and, if we’re quiet enough to hear it, so are our souls. So instead of looking back and counting our regrets, how about we start today by answering Mary Oliver’s question: “What will you do with your one wild and precious life?” And what’s one tiny thing you can do with that right now?
A few ways to engage with me/us:
Get coached by me. If you're ready to come out of hiding and make the impact you know you were born to make, let's talk. Even in these challenging times (or perhaps especially) there's work to be done, and you don't have to do it alone.
Brian has a new class offering that explores Mindfulness and Buddhist psychology. He's an incredible teacher and super excited about this one! Learn more here.
Play with your Block. Creative Block is selling out on Amazon! Get yours there, or contact me directly.
Wishing you well, now and always,
Hello, fellow housebound humans I love~
Now more than ever, we are being called to use our creativity. The way we live, work and interact with one another is changing. Like it or not, we need to change too.
Yes, there will be growing pains.
My hope is that you are spending this time reconnecting with your family and yourself, taking long walks and leaving your phone behind. I imagine you might be resurrecting that art project, and Facetiming old friends for happy hour. Or diving deep into a long, juicy novel, planting hydrangeas, fixing that broken lock, making apple cake or love, meditating, home schooling, hiking. Nourishing the parts of you that have been dormant or denied, making lemonade out of a pandemic. And I’m aware that none of that may be what's actually happening. You might be FREAKING out. Especially about work.
“Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?”
When I heard Mary Oliver’s poem again last week, I realized I hadn’t been breathing at all. I hadn’t been letting in the darkness or the light, but steeling myself for whatever came next. When I finally took a deep breath in and out, it came with a much needed cry (I love a good cry!). It’s taken me a minute to recalibrate, find my footing, and recognize that it’s time to step up and serve. So I turned off the news, made some banana bread, and now I’m writing to you.
Here’s what’s happening: I have a gift for brainstorming and getting creative, even in (especially in?) the face of extreme constraints.This is my passion! It’s what I do with my coaching clients today, and something I did for 15+ years in advertising. It’s what I’m offering to you.
I'm blocking out Fridays, for the next month, for private (pro bono) coaching sessions. This is one way I’m here to make a difference to our community during this challenging, historic time. There’s no charge, and I consider it a privilege to be here for you.
This is for you, AND If there’s someone you know who you think would benefit from a coaching support call – to be a soft place to land, to brainstorm ideas or to find ways to succeed in these challenging times – let me know. You know where to find me.
Wishing you well, now and always,
School's in session.
My son Bodhi is learning to play “Let it Be” on the piano right now, but I’m the one getting schooled. He’s been working on this piece for weeks, approaching the piano with enthusiasm-- at first. At a very tweeny 12 years old, Bodhi frustrates quickly but knows he needs to spend 20 minutes practicing, so he switches to a piece he knows well-- "Bohemian Rhapsody"--and then plays around with scales to pass the time. Eventually he returns to McCartney’s masterpiece, always juuuust before the 20 minutes is up. I’m always nearby, listening, saying lame things like “Oh, I’d love to hear more of that one.” I know enough by now not to interfere too much in his process.
What amazes me is that the next time Bodhi practices "Let it Be," it’s exponentially better than the time before. This is true even though he plays this piece the least. Bodhi’s Juilliard-trained teacher Beth admits that this happens with her too. She can’t explain it. She doesn’t really even try. At first, this annoys me. Then it gets me thinking more deeply about how we define effort. About how so many of us feel like we need to push so hard to “make” things happen. And about how there's always another way (dare I say a better one?) to get the job done.
What kind of magic might unfold if you simply
put in your work and then
let it be?
I dare you to try it. Once you do, please drop me an email and share your learnings!
It might’ve been something artsy, like drawing or writing stories. Or maybe you adored building miniature wooden structures or racing snails in your backyard or staring at the moon through your window and counting stars. And definitely, whatever the activity, the doing of it felt glorious. Liberation by imagination. Then, you grew up. You moved on, got practical, maybe married, and eventually you forgot about your thing and how it made you feel. But not completely.
I'm here to remind you.
Sometime in our childhood, a seed of our passion is planted. Whether or not this seed grows depends on how—or if-- we nurture it. I believe our happiness and fulfillment as grown ups depends on this nurturing. When we ignore these childhood longings, it can feel like an important piece of ourselves is missing. No amount of accolades or accomplishments can fill that gap or lead us to wholeness. What’s needed here is to get quiet, to listen, and to remember what thrilled and enthralled us when we were young and free.
Instead of asking kids what they want to be when they grow up, I think we ought to be asking grown ups who they were as kids.
So, I’m asking you. And, here’s a bonus question from my friend and co-author David Taylor-Klaus:
Would the child you were be proud of the adult you are today?
We can talk about this. I’d love to hear about what lit you up when you were little. And, if you’re ready, to help you connect the dots to make this part of your life today.
Text the word LOVE and your name to 310.936.0464 and I’ll get you on my calendar this month for a complimentary
30-minute sandbox session.
Here's to the you of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I love you all!
P.S. Yes, I co-wrote a book! It's called Mindset Mondays: 52 Ways to Rewire Your Thinking and Transform Your Life. I'm really excited to share it with you, and you'll hear more as we approach our launch date in the coming weeks.
If I know you, you’ll be turning another year older sometime in 2020. :)
I want to help you make this year—and your birthday-- a memorable one!
You are cordially invited to join me on a Zoom call on January 17th from 1-2pm PST called The Adventurous Birthday Challenge.
Before I turned 40, my husband asked if he could throw me a big party to celebrate. It can even be a surprise, he teased. NO I said, emphatically like the introvert I am. I knew what I didn’t want, but it took some soul searching to figure out how I did want to mark the occasion. Turned out, it wasn’t one thing I wanted to do, but 40! So, I got to work.
Whenever I tell people about my birthday project (which included getting on stage at the Hollywood Bowl, being a nude model for an art class, eating insects + 37 other adventures) they light up, and this is what I hear:
I’ll explain how my birthday project came to be and share some highlights from the forty days prior to my birthday. You’ll have the chance to ask any questions about creating a project of your own.
Please RSVP by texting me at 310.936.0464 with your name, email and the word BDAY and I’ll send you all the details for our Zoom call on January 17th.
Consider it an early birthday present!
According to informal research, Busy is the new Important. But look closer and you’ll see that Busy is actually just another four-letter word, in this case one that means “I have no control.” Ouch. Hard words, but true. We’re all guilty of hiding behind busy, but just because you’ve got company, doesn’t mean it’s good.
“You're far too smart to be the only thing standing in your way.” – Jennifer J. Freeman
You are. We all are. AND, busy can be seductive. It makes it seem like everything you are doing MUST be done, when actually you have a choice. It’s easier to stay busy with what you know than it is to make change and create something new. New is scary, but it’s also where the magic happens. So this is me, cordially inviting you to prioritize your real passion and do the thing you really want to do. Get clear, focused and into action with me and a small posse of like-minded bad asses here, starting next week:
In January of 2018, my writing teacher Michelle asked her students to spend the beginning of class thinking about what we wanted for ourselves in the year ahead. Goals. Hopes. Dreams, big and small. Then she had us write a letter from our future self, telling our self of today about all of the amazing things that had transpired. We wrote from the perspective of already having achieved, instead of projecting far into the future. It was a deceptively simple exercise, and a powerful one.
The real thunderbolt came last week, when I went to the mailbox. I had forgotten that the exercise included giving Michelle the letter in a self-addressed envelope. I opened my letter slowly, with anticipation usually reserved for when expecting love or money. Reading it was like correspondence from a wise old friend. She whispered in my ear and I listened.
DECLARE WHAT YOU DESIRE
Everything I had written in that letter had, in some way, come to bear fruit. I finished my book of stories and pieces of it have been published. I grew my practice. Deepened my relationship. I am becoming more comfortable with my body, and more forgiving of my appetites and my quirks.
I believe that putting our heart’s desire on the page—declaring it, in a way, out loud—is an important step toward making it all real. It’s not magic though. A shit ton of sweat and strategy must follow. For me, the writing of it is where it all begins to take shape. And now, I offer the same beginning to you.
Looking back at 2019, write yourself a letter, reflecting on all you’ve accomplished and what has made you most proud. Be specific. Write with the energy and feeling of future you, and sign it with love.
If you’d like to give me your letter to mail back to you in January, 2020, just drop me an email and we’ll work it out. It’s not too late. In January 10th. You’re just in time to make it an amazing year. ;)
When I made the decision to switch my focus from copywriting to coaching, I was mildly terrified. Coaching people to help bring their creative ideas to life meant that I had to be doing the same—no excuses. And yet…. I still found ways to rationalize avoiding my own projects (specifically my book).
I prioritized writing projects that weren’t meaningful to me.
I overbooked so I had nothing left to give myself.
I played online Scrabble until I thought my eyeballs might bleed.
And then I meditated.
That last one saved me. When I finally got quiet, I recognized that I was being run by my fear. I’d been scared that I had nothing valuable to say or that I what was doing had been done before. Mostly, I was afraid that I wasn’t good enough. And while sitting with that, this sassy voice inside me said, “Who would you be without all of this angst?” I had to laugh, because that’s what I was really doing—angsting—and it was getting in my way.
This was a really good question.
For me, the answer is this: Without all the angst, I’d be able to create more freely. The energy spent avoiding can be used more productively. However it’s unrealistic to think that the angst won’t return.
So this answer is also this: When the angst is there, I can choose to create too.
The need to be creative is innate—it’s an essential part of us that needs nourishment regardless of our state.
Since becoming aware of this, I’m more able to choose freedom and let fear come and go. Which means sometimes I’m writing fearlessly, and sometimes with the acknowledgment of fear’s presence. But my commitment is to write no matter what. In being dogged, some of the darkness tends to recede.
Maybe you can relate to this struggle? If so, consider getting quiet for a few minutes and ask:
How can you make peace with your angst? In your creative endeavors, your relationship, and this one wild and precious life?
And see what comes up.
Laurie Shiers is an LA -based writer, coach and experience junky on a quest to find meaning in the mayhem.