Sometimes Inspiration Derails Me

here's looking at you kid

I love inspiration. I am an inspiration junkie. I eat, breath and dream it. I get excited when it hits me and I get excited when other people are swimming it.

Smack in the middle of my 3 part series on personal growth, I was hit by it and it derailed me a little with getting part 3 up on time.

I was hit so hard I had little choice but to heed the call and make my trek deep into my Creative Cave. And there I’ve been for the past 3 days…and there I’ll be for a couple more.

And I’m excited. I’m inspired. And I’m scared a little shitless.

Because I’m creating something real, valuable, soul-driven.

I’m creating an e-book and audiobook on the biggest, most important piece of personal growth.

So, part three of this series is coming very soon, in the next couple days.

And soon after that, my new creation, my heart and soul and inspiration will be finished and ready and put out into the world.

Sharing the Love

If you’re interested in getting first dibs and a super special offer on what I’m creating, you’ll need to sign up here.

In addition to a super sweet deal, you’ll also get a copy of Be Organic: An Invitation to Change Your World.

If you’ve already received that e-book and you’re still on the list, you’re golden. Just hang tight and I’ll get you the goodness very soon.

Oh I’m excited! And I think I need to barf. Good, good things. 🙂

How To Make Being A Practical Creative Not Suck So Bad

Today I’m hosting a guest post from the always inspiring, always hilarious words of Michelle Ward, the When I Grow Up Coach.

I asked her to write a bit about doing what you love, moving toward your ideal work and overcoming some of the blocks along the way. She never disappoints. 🙂 Enjoy her words on being a “practical creative”!


As the When I Grow Up Coach, I’ve worked with a ton of practical creatives. I’m one, my husband’s one, and, oh, 99% of my clients are one.

By “practical creative” I mean someone who yearns to have a passionate career (aka something that doesn’t feel like work!), gives them freedom (whether it has them working for themselves or someone else), lets them use their talents in a way that feeds their bank account, and allows them to have the stability they want as a grown-up without living their life for The Man.

In other words, something that we think exists only in our dreams.

Y’ see, to be a “ practical creative” , in a word, sucks. It seem so counterproductive, so ironic, so nonsensical to want the Life Of An Artist with the guaranteed paycheck that we think only comes with being a Corporate Drone. There sometimes seems to just be no gray area to live in, and we often wish that we could just be like everyone else, perfectly content to be a worker bee who comes home every night, has dinner with his family, watches TV and hits the sack at 10:30p day after day.

Instead we race from day jobs to practices, to rehearsals, to sewing machines, to classes, to canvases, to novels we’ re in the middle of writing. We beg off of happy hours and go to bed way past midnight to work our passions, our talents and our aspirations that make us so happy and yet torture us at the same time. It’s our blessing, our respite, and yet also – (pause for dramatic effect) – our curse.

We often don’t feel like we’re in control. We wear a mask in the office, 40+ hours/week, and spend the rest of our waking hours (another 60 hours/week, maybe?) feeling like we’re not living the life we yearn for. And that’s because, well, we’re not. We’re still on someone else’s terms, under someone else’s rules, in a life that doesn’t feel like our own.

So, where’s the grey area? Is it even possible to own your life when you’re a practical creative, needing to scratch that stability itch?

Heck, even as an entrepreneur I often don’t feel like I’m totally in control of my life. If I did, I’d be taking an improv class or writing a cabaret show alongside building my business, coaching my current clients, writing my book proposal, and being a worthy wife, daughter, sister and friend.

But here’s what we can put into practice right freakin’ now:

  • Track your time for an entire week. You can use one of these templates to help you out so it’s not entirely torturous. Make it as specific or as general as you want (i.e. 8-9a: get ready for day OR 8-8:15a: shower, 8:15-8:30a: make-up; 8:30-8:40: get dressed, etc), and don’t change anything that you’re already doing. Just go about your normal week. On the 8th day, do the math. How many hours did you spend at work, including the commute? How much time was spent in front of the TV? How long were you writing, or sewing, or rehearsing? This isn’t an exercise to beat yourself up for working too much or too little on your passions, but to really assess what’s working and what’s not. Which leads me to…
  • Be brutally honest. Pretend as if you owe nothing to nobody, you haven’t made a single commitment, you wouldn’t upset anyone by saying “ no” , and there are no such thing as repercussions. How do you want to spend your day/week/month? What would be fun for you? Make sure you turn off your brain for this one, just for a bit. Listen to your gut. Listen to your heart. See what they say and give that great stock. If that proves difficult…
  • Lay down on your couch or nestle in to your favorite chair and close your eyes. Envision YourNameHere Land, where you paint the scenery and decide on the laws and activities. The trees might be purple and everyone might have to sing instead of talk – who knows? Let yourself go to this place and live there for just a few minutes. When you see that scene and walked around in that universe for a while, open your eyes. What did you do? Who was there with you? What did YourNameHereLand look like? What made it so amazeballs? Write down everything you can remember, or at least what made a difference. Then, see what you can translate to The Real World. You might not be able to paint the trees purple, but you might be able to give yourself a purple fence in your backyard. And how awesome would a purple fence be?
  • Pick up The Artist in the Office, especially if your day job is killing you. This’ll totally help you not only have fun while you’re there (as much as possible, anyways), but might even help you appreciate the gig with new eyes. I know it sounds impossible, but just trust me on this one.
  • For the love of Pete, don’t bite off more than you can chew, and/or never leave time for yourself, and/or burn the candle at both ends. Nothing hurts the creative part of the practical creative then become a headless chicken. Trust me on this one, too. It’ s not a pretty sight.

Above all, try and remember that you’re not a human oxymoron. Who wants to be an accountant that does nothing but work, eat, sleep, and watch TV anyway? (Not us!)


Michelle Ward, aka The When I Grow Up Coach, works with creative people to devise the career they think they can’t have – or discover it to begin with! A certified life coach by the International Coach Academy & a musical theater actress with her BFA from NYU/Tisch, Michelle has been featured in “Newsweek” and “Metro News”; is a co-host on Spring; & encourages everyone to discover what makes ’em amazeballs on The Declaration of You, an e-course with Jessica Swift. She could be found coachin’, bloggin’ & givin’ away free stuff at whenigrowupcoach.com.

Susannah Conway: An Interview on Unravelling and Recreating

I’m so excited to bring you this beautiful interview with Susannah Conway.

Susannah is a photographer, writer and the creator of the Unravelling e-courses. A Polaroid addict and very proud aunt, she is currently hard at work on her first book, to be published in spring 2012, and collaborating with Jenifer Altman and Amanda Gilligan on a how-to book about Polaroid photography, also coming out in 2012.

Hi Susannah! Can you introduce yourself and tell me a bit about what you love and the work you do?

Susannah: I am a photographer and a writer and for the last two years I’ve been teaching a self-awareness e-course called Unravelling. The course has been the inspiration for the book I’m currently writing about healing and creativity, and I’m also collaborating on a book about Polaroid photography with Jenifer Altman and Amanda Gilligan. Both books will be published in spring 2012.

You have such a gorgeous creative style. How would you describe it and your inspiration?

Susannah: This is actually a really tricky question to answer! My home is filled with mid-century furniture and I shoot all my photographs with vintage Polaroid cameras, so I guess that vintage aesthetic filters through into everything i do. I’m also very inspired by simplicity – in colours, words, intentions and living. I own a lot of books, and way too many cameras, but everything else is kept to a minimum because i don’t like clutter, either in my house or on my website 🙂

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You talk a bit on your website about always having a hand in photography but rekindling that inspiration after the death of your partner. Can you talk a bit about those middle years…the years you weren’t as inspired, and why?

Susannah: Those middle years saw me pursuing a different path for a while. After art college I didn’t have the confidence to pursue my photography dreams so I worked a regular job before going back to university to do a journalism degree. From there I worked on several national newspapers before taking a job as a fashion editor – that lasted two years before I left to go freelance. Writing has always been a part of my world, but I am so grateful to have now come full circle back to photography. The two work together for me – a 50/50 even split that bounce off each other!

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I think lots of us have experienced that lack of confidence in pursuing our dreams. What do you feel was holding you back or bringing up that self-doubt? And how did you overcome it?

Susannah: Age and circumstance. When I left college I was 22 and back then (1995) the photography I wanted to do didn’t seem to have a place in the world yet. I didn’t want to be an editorial photographer, which is where most of my peers were headed, and I couldn’t see how I could make a living as a fine art photographer. I also didn’t own a computer and digital photography was still in its early days — i didn’t know how to find an alternative path.

What has changed for me now, aside from advances in technology and opportunity, is that I feel more confident in myself and my voice. As I healed in the years after he died I really got to know myself, a painful yet powerful journey which has changed everything for me — I guess this combo of being older, a bit wiser and feeling more ‘me’ has helped me to feel more confident in my work. I still have my bad days and lots of insecurities, but going through a bereavement like I did means I know intimately how short life is, and I just don’t want to waste any more time. We’ve gotta be brave and put ourselves out there, in whatever way that means for us.

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Wow! Such a powerful message to absorb, that life is short and we have to be brave, put ourselves out there and stop wasting time. Was it this message that inspired your Unravelling e-course?

Susannah: Unravelling started as an evening class I taught locally. I didn’t want to teach a regular photography class so I drew inspiration from my healing journey and how I’d been using photography as a way to get to know myself again. The class was a great success and as blogging was such an important part of my life it seemed natural to find a way to share the class online somehow.

Can you tell me more about your course, what kind of transformations it’s inspired in yourself and others, what are your intentions with it, etc?

Susannah: Unravelling is an eight-week course for women that I first led online in January 2009. It’s not a photography class in that I don’t teach any photo techniques or talk about processing — instead, I invite the Unravellers to use their cameras to look at their lives, almost like they’re looking for clues and documenting what they find. The writing exercises get them digging even deeper into how they view themselves and their world.

In week five we turn our cameras to our faces and time and time again it’s the Unravellers who didn’t want to share their face photos who end up making videos of themselves talking to camera! The magic happens when women gather together in a safe space and are willing to delve into their lives with fresh eyes — they support each other and the transformations are always so incredible to witness.

As for me, leading the class has taught me how to be brave on camera as I share a new video with the class every week; it’s given me the confidence to share my thoughts without being embarrassed. Going forward into 2011 I’ll be launching an Unravelling members’ site in June—it’ll be a cosy supportive space where people can hang out, make friends and nurture their hearts. As soon as I’ve delivered the manuscript for my book I’ll be starting work on the new site!

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I talk about unjobbing on my blog and I’m always fascinated with the creative ways in which people fulfill their life purpose while also paying the bills. Can you talk a little bit about fulfilling your own purpose with the work you do and some other challenges you’ve overcome (or are overcoming) in the past few years?

Susannah: In the years since the bereavement I have learned how to live on my own as an independent and self-supporting woman. It hasn’t always been easy— and I have the credit card debt to prove it! — but I got a first sense of my true purpose when I moved to a new city (by myself and not knowing anyone there) in the autumn of 2008. That was when I was invited to teach the evening class, and from that small beginning I discovered the work I feel most passionate about — holding a space for women to heal their hearts and reconnect with themselves. Helping them learn how to become their own greatest ally.

I always hated working in an office and have been self-employed in one way or another since 2002, but for the last two years I’ve been creating this online business of mine; there’s no how-to manual so every step of the way I am learning and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. I’ve never considered myself to be a business-minded person so it still surprises me that i have a business at all – I guess it helps that it’s not exactly a traditional business 🙂

SO loving what you have to say here Susannah; so many tangents we could talk on. But I want you to leave everyone with one answer: If you had to sum up in a single short sentence one piece of advice you’d give to women, or even one piece of advice you’d give to your younger self, what would it be?

Susannah: Next time you stand in front of a mirror, smile at the woman you see there; she is your greatest ally and it’s time to get to know her.


Thank you Susannah for your beautiful, wise words!

You can read more about Susannah Conway’s shenanigans on her blog at SusannahConway.com and connect with her on Twitter. Registration for the next Unravelling class opens on Saturday December 4th.

Unjobbing: What It Is and What It Isn’t

I’ve thrown the word “unjobbing” around here a few times. Like unschooling, it’s a word we use that, at first glance, does little to really describe the idea.

Just as unschooling doesn’t mean uneducated (nor is it against school or always done outside of school), unjobbing does not mean unemployed. Nor is it really against jobs or always done outside the presence of a job.

Instead, unjobbing is more about how you do what you do than what you actually do.

Unjobbing is about making a life instead of just a living.

Instead of living for work, we work to live (and to learn and grow and experience). We love what we do; it brings us fulfillment and it enables us to do some pretty wonderful things. But it’s not all we do. It’s not the only focus of our life.

Unjobbing is often used synonymously with entrepreneurship, working for oneself. But I think the greatest downfall of entrepreneurship is the insipid ideas and lessons we learned as children that still linger in our ideas around our work.

Just like deschooling, dejobbing has its place.

Unschooling and Unjobbing (Deschooling and Dejobbing)

If you look at unjobbing like we look at unschooling the definition becomes clearer. It’s obvious to see that the same paradigms linger over us long after the school years are past.

You could say that having a job (or which job you have) is a choice and school isn’t. Except that school is a choice, just one we fail to see.

And like school, we often fail to see our jobs as a choice, too.

Most working adults, just like concerned parents, don’t realize there is another choice: when you’ve been taught a lesson for 13+ years, you come to see it as the only way of doing things.

Adults are just grown kids, continuing to believe the same lessons we learned in our youth:

Obligation

A sense of obligation to people that don’t even matter to us is taught at a very young age. Extrinsic motivation and meaningless accolades (grades, rewards, punishment, guilt, praise, admonishment) feed our desire for approval and attention and our fear of ostracization. Those lessons linger long after we’re grown and we continue to feel obligated to have “a real job”, to work hard and to be grateful for it.

Hard work and gratitude aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Unless we’re doing something that is meaningless to us.

Life is not meant to be lived for others.

It’s meant to be fulfilling by our own definition. Obligation doesn’t do that. Loving what we do, knowing our reasons for it and loving those reasons does.

Competition

Likewise the environment of competition sets us up to compare ourselves to our peers. Who is “passing” or “failing”? Who has the more expensive designer shoes? Who has the hotter girlfriend? Who’s a nerd, a jock, a punk, a slut? Who has the most friends or the highest or lowest GPA?

Just putting that many similarly-aged and -interested people in one room creates an environment of judging, competing and comparing.

In order to stand out amongst the crowd you have to either do better than the others or act out against it. Both are a form of competing for attention.

That competition plays out in our adult life as we try to keep up with the Joneses’. Most of us get stuck always trying to get ahead, get a raise, get a bigger house. (The rest tend to resort to drugs or alcohol abuse, complete disregard for others or a total withdrawal from society.)

We compare and base our value off our neighbor’s value – or what we perceive it to be.

Sadly, while we compare what another family may have we rarely compare what they don’t have. We may see the bigger house and nicer car, but we rarely take into account the extra work, the disconnection, the dissatisfaction.

So as we run to keep up we find ourselves overworked, disconnected and dissatisfied and can’t understand why.

Worthiness

Perhaps the biggest elephant in the room, our sense of worthiness is so strongly tied to our salary it’s a wonder Big Pharma hasn’t created a disorder for it and patented a drug already.

Our sense of self-worth strongly relates to the words used to describe us (or other children around us).

A lack of compassion or attention, an unfulfilled need for validation, even things like “good boy” or “bad boy,” “that’s not nice of you”  or “she should be ashamed of herself” and so on, all plant seeds in our young minds that germinates into self-doubt and fear.

Only if a Superior deems our actions as okay are we to be considered worthy.

And thus we become performers, doing something that doesn’t resonate with us, all for the external validation we crave.

And it’s not just those that have a job that are affected. In fact I’d bet just as many entrepreneurs suffer from these hurtful lessons than anyone else.

Unjobbing vs Entrepreneuring

I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 19 years old. For seven years I owned my own mobile massage therapy company, contracting upwards of 20 or more massage therapists, yoga instructors, estheticians and nail techs for bodywork and treatments in homes, hotels and at conventions. I made good money, enjoyed what I did and had big goals for the future.

And I was miserable – we were all miserable.

It took several years to realize that no amount of money, power or job satisfaction alone can fulfill me. I worked for myself, but that didn’t keep me from being overworked, disconnected and dissatisfied.

Many entrepreneurs mistakenly think the key to happiness is the freedom to work for oneself.

But no amount of independence can make you free when your mind is still shackled to the same ideas passed around Corporate America or Corporate Education.

And that’s what happens to a lot of entrepreneurs: we’re driven by the same sense of obligation, the same competitiveness and sometimes a whole lot more of need to prove ourselves. We carry forward those same lessons of our youth, except now funneling it into making a lot of money.

Don’t get me wrong – making good money is not a bad thing.

But I’ve met too many entrepreneurs (*raising my hand*) who become consumed with their businesses and forget why they work for themselves to begin with.

Will The Real Unjobbing Please Stand Up?

Which leads me to unjobbing, what it is and what it isn’t:

Unjobbing is not about loving your work, although that should probably be a piece of the puzzle.

Unjobbing is not about working for yourself, although most unjobbers do.

I’d argue that unjobbing isn’t even about making a life instead of a living, although it’s certainly an important part.

Unjobbing is about changing the way we think of and view our world.

Unjobbing is about letting go of the obligation, losing the competitive drive and determining our own self-worth.

It about questioning what we take for granted, finding truth among the bullshit and deciding for ourselves what has value in our lives.

It’s about deschooling our adult minds and living outside the status quo, giving ourselves the same freedom we give our unschooling children.

It’s not job satisfaction, it’s life satisfaction.

It’s purpose and passion and following our interests.

Our work either becomes our soulful purpose and contribution to the world, something we feel passionately about and something we feel drawn to do.

Or our work is something that provides what we need to do the thing(s) we feel is our soulful purpose and contribution to the world, enabling us to continue something we feel passionately about or drawn to do.

Either way it’s not a “job”. It should never be something we loathe or put up with for a paycheck. It’s one aspect – perhaps the biggest or the smallest – of one entire life.

Our Unjobbing Journey

Even though I’ve worked for myself for the past decade, I still had a lot of dejobbing to do. Most of it was done around the time that we took Zeb out of school and I began unschooling my life right along side him.

I reevaluated my business and quickly found the meaning and the meaninglessness. It didn’t take much time to decide to sell the company. I worked for another year in my own private practice, seeing clients 5-10 hours a week. (The paradox became that I was working less, making more money and finding fulfillment in new areas of my life.)

Justin’s dejobbing/unjobbing journey has been drastically different. So much of a man’s value is tied up in his ability to provide for his family that even when Justin is providing for our needs (not just monetarily, but our need for time with him as well) he still worries that it’s not enough if his work doesn’t consume 40-80 hours of his week.

He’s written privately about his process over the past year of losing his job and transitioning into working for himself. It’s been a challenge, albeit a fascinating one. Perhaps someday soon he’ll revive his blog and share it with you.

The past year has brought us to a very different perspective.

We don’t want to work hard through our best years only to retire, exhausted and physically incapable, decades from now.

Nor do we see retirement as something we’re likely to ever do. We love what we do and we plan to continue doing the things we enjoy our entire lives, expanding it or changing it organically.

We don’t view work as a necessary evil either. Nor do we think we need to stick to one thing.

We’ve found doing several things – like writing this blog, running the new website, and offering our mobile services – to be much more enjoyable. We can follow our own inspiration, our own passions and we can allow them to evolve as we do. No more stagnancy. No more boredom.

Our work reflects the evolution of our minds and our lives.

We’re entrepreneurs. We’re unjobbing. We’re unschooling our whole lives.

Want some more reading on unjobbing?

This is obviously just one person’s perspective on what works for us. There is plenty more out there to draw inspiration from. A few favorites:

So…what do you think about unjobbing?

This is obviously a big subject and one I’ve barely even skimmed the surface of, so stay tuned for more posts on the topic in the coming months. And feel free to ask questions in the comments below or send me a question directly: theorganicsister at gmail dot com.

On Balance and Passion

Balance by Mari Dieumegard

Balance - artwork detail by Mari Dieumegard

This is my newest piece of art, a gift from the lovely Mari Dieumegard and I can’t wait to hang it in the new rig (I plan to have a real desk again – this will be above it).

I love this print, called Balance, especially right now. It reminds me to keep moving, to be daring, to go for it. It reminds me to keep my head up and my eyes on the goal but to enjoy the view and the company. It tells me to keep my arms and my heart open. And it feels powerful to me, but also carefree, as if it says “Look what amazing thing I can do on an average Sunday afternoon.”

Life has been a tightrope these past few weeks and through the madness I’ve had to harness that carefree, open-hearted power. I’ve had to remind myself of what I am capable of on any given day. It doesn’t always look like such an amazing daredevil feat but it sure feels like one.

I’m launching my new website on Tuesday with a BIG giveaway here on the blog and having a very real deadline with very cool sponsors can be a little daunting. Add to the mix a deep desire to not sacrifice our personal life, while also handling the emotional upheaval of so many changes and it was enough to elicit concern from loved ones.

It reminds me of this one from StoryPeople:

Tightrope by Storypeople

“Most people she never tells about the tightrope because she doesn’t want
to listen to their helpful comments from the ground.”

Yes, I was on a tightrope, one that looked unnecessary or dangerous at times. But I walked across it. It had its messy moments and moments where I nearly fell, but I took a risk. And for that I’m proud.

I’m also proud that I DO tell people about the tightrope, the challenge, the maddening moments of frustration, the days I want to quit. I’m proud that I have the courage to be vulnerable. It’s uncomfortable (for me and sometimes for others) but it makes my accomplishments all the more real for me.

I look at these two pieces of art and they remind me of what I so often forget: I am open, accepting of a challenge, ready to be daring, push my own envelope, take risks and grow. And as the madness winds down and I have time to lounge, I can look at those personal achievements and hurdles and feel good.

So how did I find this balance through the mad rush of work?

By accepting it wouldn’t look the way I thought it would.

It didn’t look like equaling doled out chunks of time. It didn’t look like me keeping up with my early morning routines or my physical therapy. It didn’t always look bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Instead it looked like me passionately devouring my Task List, sometimes for hours on end, several days in a row. A few late nights and hectic days and lots of personal successes and reminders from my husband to eat or take a break. Then, right around the time my eyes went crossed, I’d pull back for days or weeks or even months at a time. I worked went I felt inspired to work, played when I felt inspired to play.

With Zeb immersed in a new computer game, we often sat side-by-side on our laptops, he sharing his accomplishments while I shared mine. And when you make your own schedule you get to do cool things like take your son on a lunch date or curl up in bed with your hubby all morning or stay in your pajamas on laundry day.

When I think of balance, I don’t think of how many hours I spend in each area of my life. I think of how I feel: how much time I spend doing what I love and enjoying it. That feels balanced.

That’s the purpose of life for me: enjoying the hell out of the adventure of living. And I feel balanced.

What’s balance look like in your life?

Inspiration Monday – Busy, Busy, Busy

Bear Smile

This is our dog, Bear. He has a great smile. He’s been living with Justin’s mom and we’ve been missing him a lot lately. We’ve had a couple chances to see him, but it’s been tough to arrange our schedule and sadly, my step-dad is allergic so we have to be careful of dog hair.

It’s been a bit of a juggling act over here. We’ve been in Vegas for a week and we only have three months to accomplish what needs to be accomplished so we can hit the road by the beginning of January.

I have a new business to launch this month and a campaign to orchestrate to do so. Justin has projects to finish and work to find. Zeb has friends to see. We have more things to sell. And we all have dreams to realize. You know, in between regular life.

Justin and I are making a concerted and concentrated effort to make unjobbing work for us. I plan on talking a lot more about that in the coming weeks. It’s a pretty big deal to shift towards a different way of viewing your life and providing for your needs. I suppose we’ll be one giant experiment as to whether we can make it work.

I’ve been working pretty hard on this new website I’m creating, so I haven’t spent much time reading online. I’m lacking for some inspiration, and really feeling it! So if you have anything inspiring to share, please do! In the meantime…

  • I’ve got an interview over at Pixie Polly’s
  • Love what these two are doing
  • A new find
  • A pretty good explanation
  • Another cool giveaway scheduled for tomorrow!
  • And then there is this article, which I could go on about for some time but will suffice to say DUH to the following quote:

For instance, ever more companies are realising that autonomy isn’t the opposite of accountability – it’s the pathway to it. “Rules and policies and regulations and stipulations are innovation killers. People do their best work when they’re unencumbered”…The idea is that freedom and responsibility, long considered fundamentally incompatible, actually go together quite well.

Play along with Inspiration Monday on your own blog (you can submit your link below)!

Singing My Song: My Photography Giveaway

Good Morning Anne

I’ve been up to something.

Something both yummy and provoking that challenges my self-doubt and insists I push through the fears I’d rather avoid, thank you very much. It’s exciting and terrifying in the very best of ways.

I’m now selling my photography.

The idea fell into my head several months ago with such determined assurance I felt for sure it hadn’t come from me. And the way it quickened my heart and stirred up my fears confirms (as it always does) that it’s exactly what I’m suppose to be doing.

Of course, as is my fashion when I’m confronted with facing my own self-loathing demons, I procrastinated a good four months. But thanks to Visionary Mom and her awesome teams, I’m finally moving forward with a dream I’ve only toyed with for several years.

I’m still wracked with doubt. As a self-taught photographer, there is much I have left to learn and I seem to insist on perpetuating my doubts by comparing my work to the work of the many other fantastic, experienced artists doing their thing.

I almost gave up completely until this quote was whispered to me:

“Use the talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.” – Henry Van Dyke

I am very, very far from the best. You could write encyclopedias on what I’ve yet to learn. And some of my attempts make even me laugh. But occasionally I stumble across a shot that lights me on fire, and am in awe to hear it do the same for others. So, this is me singing my little bird song, adding my voice to the chorus of very best in the woods.

Bench Monday - Boxcar Edition

To add to my awe and amazement, within a week of putting my prints for sale, I sold my first! Not only did I sell my first, I sold it to someone in the UK. And I don’t care what anyone says, no one is bursting the bubble of excitement I create by calling myself an international photographer. 😉

So without further ado, I’d like to introduce my RedBubble.

It’s where you can find my favorite prints, and order them to your specifications. You can also find cards and postcards with some of my favorite shots combined with some of my favorite quotes. And if there is something you’d like to see added, let me know!

Buy my art

The Giveaway!

I can’t wait to share my prints with TWO lucky winners:

  • The first winner will receive an 8×12 laminated print: you choose your fave photo and border color.
  • The second winner will receive a collection of each of my cards: you choose either postcards or notecards or a combination of the two!

How to enter:

There are FIVE ways to enter:

  1. Leave a comment here telling me your favorite print or what you’d love to see me place on RedBubble
  2. Tweet this giveaway (you can use the ReTweet button below) including the name of your favorite print
  3. Share this giveaway on Facebook, including the name of your favorite print
  4. “Like” The Organic Sister on Facebook
  5. Blog about this giveaway, linking back here and to my RedBubble account, as well as sharing the name of your favorite print.

Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry for them all to be counted!

The giveaway will close August 31st at 8pm CST and the winners will be announced shortly after.

Good luck!

Playing, Parents and Podcasts (On My!)

It seems like everywhere we go is better than the last…or maybe our excitement is simply renewed with each turn of the key?

We’ve been chilling in DFW since last week and despite the humidity (can I overstate how much it sucks?) we’ve had a blast with the unschoolers in this area. If you’re looking for a hoppin’ mindful parenting community, this is the place!

We were told of the Whole Life Unschooling Meetup and planned our arrival to coincide with their park day last Thursday. I’m SO glad we did! The whole tribe was amazing and we enjoyed the discussion group as much as we enjoyed swinging like monkeys.

Zeb Swinging 2

Tara Swinging

We met LeeAnn and her kids there and Zeb and Seth hit it off immediately. We made plans for ice skating with them on Tuesday. That lasted about 20 minutes before the boys had other plans. They all set up their laptops and played Age of Mythology for the rest of the afternoon. 🙂 I wish we had had more time with them!

Starbucks Gamers

Thursday night we boondocked with Sarah and Chris Parent and their kiddos. (Yup, the same Parent’s from Discovery Health’s Radical Parenting!)

Parachute Bouncing

Sadie and Sarah

We totally clicked with them. They are getting ready to hit the road full-time this summer, so we talked non-stop about transitioning and deworking and RVing. Then we talked some more about unschooling and family and neighbors and on and on…Then they joined us for not one, but TWO potluck dinners at our campsite where we met up again with the Happy Janssens (they can’t get enough of us). And we hooped and laughed and chatted and played.

Seriously, I think I’m in love with this family. Sarah and Chris are such inspirational parents, and just wicked cool people. (Wah! I didn’t get any photos of us together!)

I can’t wait for them to get on the road so we can see each other again. There has been talk of a gypsy caravan. 😉

Sarah also does a rockin’ podcast over at Humans Being and we had so much fun doing a live interview with her! Be sure to check it out!

Podcasting


Current Location: Hanging out in a campground outside Dallas and watching the weather. We’ll either head into Louisiana tomorrow or hunker down and wait until the rain blows over us this weekend. Until then I’ll be plenty busy practicing my new hooping tricks! 😀

The Map, The Pull, The Inspiration

Sunset Cruiser

It’s strange how quickly life can change. Wednesday will be two months that we’ve been on the road and I think we’re finally starting to settle into it. I think.

It’s not without its challenges, but such is life. And even during the worst moments, I can’t imagine anywhere else I want to be. Seeing as how I’ve never experienced such a deep sense of belonging, it seems ironic that I’d find it in a continual string of places I technically don’t belong.

These places on the map are not my home. And yet I feel at home.

Have you ever had the impending feeling of excitement? Like a kid waiting for the car to pull into Disneyland. You’re bubbling inside, ready to jump and whoop but your seatbelt is keeping you to a slight jitter in your seat instead.

That was me through most of April. I felt it approaching but the time wasn’t quite right to start jumping up and down. So I allowed it to jitter just beneath my skin.

About two weeks ago, it finally started spilling out. Inspiration. And it’s been steaming from my ears ever since.

I’ve been writing and creating and photographing and building. And it just keeps coming. Ideas and things toward which I feel an undeniable pull.

I’ve felt this pull before: with massage school, with my dreads, with this RV, and many other more personal moments that have forever changed and shaped the path my life is taking. Choices that are challenging and amazing and completely beyond my realm of understanding. And yet they always seem to work.

See, the thing is, I think this may be it. I think we may have found a place for us to be. And it’s not a spot on the map. It is the map.

I think.

And the only way we’ll know for sure that we’re heading in the right direction is if we can make a living while we make this life. And that’s what all this inspiration has been about: making a living out here on the road.

I have so many things to share in the coming months, things I’m working on and things I haven’t yet begun. A new website (!), an e-course, coaching, mobile services, maybe even an Etsy shop. One of these you’ll be seeing within a few days. 🙂

Yes, it’s a lot. And if you continue to not see me online much, you can know that I’m jumping up and down inside, whooping quietly to myself and enjoying every ride this amusement park has to offer.