Taking My Risk

By on Nov 19, 2013 in Risks and Passions | 10 comments

 “Courage is telling our story, not being immune to criticism. Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection. If you’re like me, practicing authenticity can feel like a daunting choice—there’s risk involved in putting your true self out in the world. But I believe there’s even more risk in hiding yourself and your gifts from the world. ” – Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are   I attended “The RISK of Pursing Your Passion,” a Spirit & Place panel discussion event on November 7, 2013 in Indianapolis. The event was life changing for me and touched my very soul. The panel was made up of five very talented and creative people, three of whom I know personally. Stephanie Lewis Robertson, fabric artist and academic arts administrator, is an amazing woman, a mentor, and a...

One Step Leading to the Next

By on Nov 6, 2013 in Risks and Passions | 1 comment

When I thought about playing my guitar at this month’s “The Risk of Pursuing Your Passion” event, it seemed a perfect fit. After all, my music is my passion and life itself is imbued with risk.  I don’t mean “risk” with overtones of menace or hazards but more like the “risk” inherent in opening one’s life to possibility. Here’s what I know about passion and risk. After an extended time away, music and I have found each other again. Passion evolves. The way I love, what I love, and even when I love, these have all changed in nuanced and varied ways during my life. My connection with music was there early on, but not clearly defined. My first guitar, black with a red rose, came to me when I was thirteen. I immediately began teaching myself how to play every style I heard. At twenty I declared that my formal training would begin, and with that I...

Doing Special Stuff

By on Nov 5, 2013 in Risks and Passions | 3 comments

Every single day I travel along the well-worn habit-path of busy.  I had a great role model— my mom. Mom was a master of not wasting one step at home, grabbing the mail at the same time she was bringing in the trash AND walking the dog, or loading shoes on top of the laundry basket to head to the back of the house.  And when we lived in the old 3-level Victorian, there was always a collection of stuff at the bottom of the stairs that my 4 siblings and I were expected to take up with us.  Mom combined running errands around town with taking us kids to appointments. There must have been some serious consequence if I didn’t operate in this manner, because it became something like a religion for me. In my daily life I move through every waking minute of every day doing.  I expend great effort working to be the most efficient human.  When the time management books were popular, one of the...

How I Know When to Take a Creative Risk

By on Oct 24, 2013 in Risks and Passions | 1 comment

“The more important an activity is to your soul’s evolution, the more resistance you will feel to it…the more fear you’ll feel.” – Steven Pressfield I heard this quote while watching author Steven Pressfield’s interview with Oprah Winfrey on her show “Super Soul Sunday.”  As I wait for my library’s copy of his book The War of Art, I’ve had time to think about Pressfield’s concept of creative resistance.  In the last few days, I’ve fashioned my own personal version of his quote: The more important an activity is to my soul’s evolution, the more I’ll want to throw up. The urge to throw up is something that happens when I’m really frightened.  Despite that, when I ponder a creative challenge, my response has always been to face that fear.  I liken myself to Albert Brooks’ character in the movie “Defending Your Life.”  He dies unexpectedly and finds himself in “Judgment City” where those...

Moments of Grace

By on Oct 14, 2013 in Risks and Passions | 1 comment

My friend Casey talks about “Moments of Grace,” and I think it’s a beautiful conception, one I want to share with all of you.  It’s very relevant to taking risks in pursuing one’s passion because it answers the question, “How can I possibly change my life from this one to the one I want to have?” A Moment of Grace is best understood as a door that quietly swings open just off to the side of our usual path.  Inside the door we can catch a fleeting glimpse of ourselves.  But not ourselves as we are, rather ourselves as we might be, if we were a little more healthy, a little more honest, a little more true. I guess you could say a Moment of Grace is a beckoning doorway to our potential, our calling, our passion. For me, one such Moment of Grace happened when I was around thirty years old, and I was totally depressed and feeling lost in my life.  I...

The Illusion of Safety

By on Oct 10, 2013 in Risks and Passions | 4 comments

I have this thing about safety and security, so risk isn’t exactly something I gravitate toward. When faced with a choice, my first impulse is to determine all the things that could possibly go wrong in each scenario and choose whichever one seems safest. I used that approach for years in deciding whether to write, and more importantly, whether to share my words with the world. And it was an easy choice.  There is nothing about writing that is safe or secure, so I chose to keep my words to myself.  There were too many risks. Of course, there’s the obvious risk of failure. What if I put my writing out there and it got rejected? Or people hated what I had to say? The idea of failing at my most passionate dream was terrifying. Then there was the financial risk; few people are able to make a living solely from writing. But if my writing was a side job, it meant finding extra time and...

Risk Living Your Dreams

By on Sep 22, 2013 in Risks and Passions | 0 comments

One of the lessons I’m learning with each new baby step I take—as I walk through fears and doubts—is that the steps I find most frightening are the same ones that lead to a wonderful and exhilarating sense of accomplishment. Yet, as soon as I successfully master one task or life goal, another challenge soon arises. If we look back carefully over our lives, enormous risk taking is not uncommon. When young, we pluck up the courage for our first kiss, our first slow dance, our first serious relationship, our first real job, our first move away from home, and so on. We don’t necessary call these changes “risks.” We just boldly go forth as each grand adventure presents itself to our rapidly shifting landscape. Somewhere along the way, as we grow older, we start to believe that change is bad and risk means potential ruin. Likely, we have accumulated some real life experiences with loss and...

Pursuing the Job I Love

By on Sep 7, 2013 in Risks and Passions | 1 comment

I never wanted to be simply comfortable with my job.  I’ve always wanted to love my job. As a 19 year old college student I decided that academia wasn’t for me.  Farming was. And though I didn’t actually begin farming until age 25, the six intervening years were critical in my transformation from young dreamer to weathered vegetable grower.  My undergraduate Spanish degree felt virtually worthless and my few mediocre skills seemed misplaced once I left college.  So what if I could write a paper?  Use watercolors? Translate a passage?  Gifts that had given me self-confidence in the overly-affirming campus environment now felt like unnecessary laurels. I needed land. I needed equipment. I needed connections. I needed a market.  Oh, and yes.  I needed to learn how to farm. So I learned. During the six years after I graduated from college I had a vision so focused that I never once...