Friday, January 29, 2010

Be Kind to Yourself as Well as Others

Today, through the Behind the Book Program, I did a school visit in Queens with a delightful group of 3rd graders.

After reading aloud my book, "Not Afraid of Dogs," the students and I worked on writing a new story.

First, we came up with a list of possible main characters...dinosaur, snake, teenager, baby, adult, cat, dog, chicken. We finally agreed on a dog named Charlie.

I started to draw different kinds of dogs on the board so we could chose what Charlie looked like.

The dog shown here was one of the options.

As I began to draw this dog, one of the students said, "That looks like a chipmunk." To which a fellow student replied, "She's trying her best."

I loved that!
It was heartwarming and hilarious.

It made me think of how important it is to give each other credit for just trying things...and also to give ourselves credit for trying things.

Write, Draw, Paint, Act, Do Math, Fix Bicycles, Read History, Create Inventions, Make Films, and everything else that pops into your head because you love the idea of doing it and you want to try it.

Give yourself credit for trying and growing.

So many people in the world think of something they would love to try, then immediately shoot down their own desire with all the reasons they can't.

Be kind to your dreams and the chances you well as those of others.

When we try things, we set a good and brave example for others to try there a better gift than that?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Keep Walking through the Snowstorm

As I do the pre-pre-production for my new web series, I see more and more things that need to be done...
the treatment, the scripts, the storyboards, to say nothing of equipment, lining up actors, technical people, etc.

Projects get really bad snowstorms where you have no idea what's around you.

In college, this happened to me. It snowed so heavily that all I could see was white. I walked up a hill knowing my class building was there. But I couldn't see anything. I couldn't hear anyone. I was freezing. The snow hurt my face. I was tired, scared, and sad. I wanted to give up and lay down in the snow. This seems really dramatic, I know, but it did seem hopeless.

But I kept walking, one step at a time. Trusting I would find my building...or a building...and I would be safe.

Sure slow step after another lead me to the building, to the class, to the teacher, who had canceled class because of the snowstorm.

Okay...getting to class turned out not to matter. What mattered was how the experience affected me. From that point on, I profoundly understood the importance of not giving up...of moving forward toward one's step at a time.

Right now, there is a snowstorm of work that has to be done before my web series will be complete. Most of what I have to do, I haven't even thought of yet.

I trust that if I keep walking forward handling each step as it comes, careful to not get overwhelmed by the whole of the journey, I will make it to my goal destination.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Who Are Your Heroes in Aging?

The truth is ... everyone who lives gets old.

So choose wisely your examples of how to handle aging.

Do you want them to be people fearful of each new wrinkle? Or people who embrace the benefits of each new decade?

I've been lucky to have a mother who ages with no drama. And I don't underestimate the benefit of this.

Oh yes, I have a pretty mother, this is her in her late 40s - early 50s.

Being pretty, she could have obsessed over her looks and been afraid to get older. In turn, she would have set that example for me. But she didn't.

My mother has embraced each decade...gotten more confident, kept her lively sense of humor, focused her attentions on learning new things, working, taking care of family, volunteering, gardening, eating healthy, taking her vitamins and now at 70, she's still in great shape, physical and mental, and having a good time.

Whenever I hear someone say, "oh no, I'm going to 30!" or "40" or "50," I think how lucky I am to have my mother who didn't place that drama of aging inside me.

Each new decade, each year, each day, provides endless possibilities.

When people ask if I would want to be younger, I always say "no, not a even a day," because my best life is now and ahead.

Thanks Mom!

What Can You Learn?

In yesterday's post, the 'Going to Court over a Speeding Ticket' was my sister Jennifer. She needed to contest her first speeding ticket. (Her photo from that time period on left.)

Jennifer felt that the judge would understand that she needed to speed going down a hill in order for her car to make it up the following hill.

She was nervous about going to court. My father reminded her that it would be a good way to adventure and a learning experience.

After her 'logical' explanation of speeding and many nervous tears, the judge still made her pay the fine. However, Jennifer will tell you that it was a good learning experience. It made her braver in the future when dealing with serious issues.

Sometimes we are put to the test with smaller things so when the bigger ones come along, they don't seem so big.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Adventure Inspiration

My father's answer to any crisis or fear in our lives was to 'Think of it as an Adventure!'

He said this with such confidence that there could not possibly be any other way for us to think of things.

"But I'm scared to talk to the principal!"

"Think of it as an adventure."

"I really don't want to go to the dentist!"

"Think of it as an adventure."

"I have to go to court for a speeding ticket."

"Think of it as an adventure."

Now, his voice and philosophy are firmly imbedded in me.

Whether a good or bad situation, all can be made into an adventure. By doing so, I am the hero of my story...I can face anything because "It is an Adventure."

Who would want to watch "Indiana Jones" if he wasn't faced with exciting challenges?

The next time something comes into your life that you don't want to deal with "Think of it as an Adventure." You'll find you've become the star of quite an interesting tale. You are no longer at the mercy of fear, anger, or nervousness, you are now a confident, brave hero.