April 28, 2009

It is here where she must begin to tell her story...

I am a huge fan of these great new workbooks by Compendium. I bought two of them over the weekend at Fireworks. I have said that I won't have one of those blogs where I just show you pictures of things I love, but I can't resist these. Don't worry...I will tie it into something.

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This one says..."'Once you get over the fear, then it's a cinch,' she said. And then she leaped into a mountainous and unexplored region of her heart." This statement reminded me of my commitment to this month...to Fearless April.

April has always been a time of rebirth for me. I have had a lot of new beginnings and jump starts to my life in this springtime month. So what about the other months? Well, I have decided that change, evolution, and progress should not be reserved for one month out of the year. I have created nicknames for each of the months in my calendar year to help remind me and inspire me to always strive for more. I will keep track of each monthly goal in the workbook above. My journal keeps my hopes and dreams, but this workbook will keep score and the proof that fear will not hold me back and that joy will push me forward.

Make Every Day Count:
New Beginnings January
It's All Possible February
Bold & Brave March
Fearless April
Confident May
Rejuvenation June
Joyful July
Adventuresome August
Daring September
Outgoing October
Never Say Never November
Delightful December

I encourage you to find what inspires you...to set your goals for the present and future...to set the foundation and plant what motivates you. Be authentic. Be joyful. Be you.

April 23, 2009

Fearless April

Something that many of you may not know about me...
I played Cello in grade school and I...was...awful.

Well, maybe not awful

I was as good as you can be playing songs like "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on an instrument that sounds like a sad goose. It really is quite a depressing sound. Unless you can play so well that the fury in your fingers surpasses the limits of this instrument and something beautiful comes out of it. I unfortunately did not hold that power.

So...what does this have to do with my joyful life?

Well, yesterday I attended my first guitar lesson.

That's right...the guitar I have had for 5 years is finally seeing some action!

I was reminded of my brief stint with cello playing so long ago and how my lack of practicing led to my demise. Today, I solemnly swear to practice my little heart out. I may end up being terrible at it, but atleast then I will know that the guitar can find a better home. A home where it is not a sculpture in the living room.

So far I have learned to warm up my hands...that I need to cut my finger nails...to read a little sheet music...and play one more chord than I knew a couple of years ago. I can play G now! Next thing you know I'll have a hit song on the top of the charts!

For so long I was afraid to learn the guitar, no matter how bad I wanted to. What if I failed? I have always believed that I was bad at music, that the musical talent in my family went all to my mom's amazing accordion skills! I can't believe how she can pick up the accordian after years of not playing and still bust out a tune. I can't even remember how to play the recorder. (Remember the plastic flute type instrument that most people learned in 1st and 2nd grade music class?) Even then, I was lucky if I could make it all the way through Hot Cross Buns without breaking a sweat.

This month I have dubbed Fearless April. I am taking the first steps towards everything that I have always been afraid to do. Well, the things I have WANTED to do anyway. You won't see me wrapping a python around my shoulders or kissing a scorpion anytime soon.

(Or maybe I will...Isn't he cute!?!?!?)

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I have started guitar lessons, signed up to refresh my skills on a motorcycle so I can finally buy a Harley, started prepping my home and mind for starting a business, started trail running...yes, running, and soon I will write the first page in my journal (That's a scary one, huh?), and next month I will be on my first solo trip to another country.

So from now on...with my fingers callused and bugs in my teeth...I will tackle the world with no fear and no regrets. I have waited a long time to have the butterflies in my stomach settle before taking the first step and I realize now that I had it in the wrong order.

Go forth! Conquer your fears! It is Fearless April afterall.

April 20, 2009

One feeling...one word...

Last year I was asked what one feeling is that I would like to feel for the rest of my life...if I only had one to choose from.

One feeling? One emotion? But we are built with so much more!

I thought about it every day for a week. I asked my friends and family...even perfect strangers.

I went back and forth between a few words...successful...happy...fulfilled. All good words, but they didn't quite sum it up.

I kept a list of words in my planner to keep going back to, but only one stuck out.



Joyful.



Many of you may be wondering where the title joyful.life came from. Besides the obvious that it stemmed from this page being a place to share my life, the question above is where it all started. This word has also become a mantra for me. I remind myself every day what it means to be authentic and to live and breathe joy into my life and others.

So, what is your one feeling? If you had to pick. Make a comment using this link below this journal entry to share it with me. Even if you can't pick just one...I would love to hear them all!

Be joyful. Live joyful. Share joy.

April 17, 2009

Welcoming Life...

Last night at the end of yoga I was asked to welcome the feeling of joy into my body...to fill the room with that joy...then, to push it beyond the walls of the studio and fill the universe with the feeling of joy.

A year ago, and even a few months ago I would have been stuck searching for inspiration to grasp that feeling. But now, thanks to my wonderful family, friends and my creative spirit. That joy was already burning inside of me and it swelled to the point that my eyes began to water from how immense it was. That's a lot of joy!

I just wanted to take a moment to say "Thank You" to all of you who have touched my life and encourage me through both difficult times and creative journeys. I hope that I can provide all of you with the same wonderful support when it is needed.

Remember to create joy and allow yourself to feel it. You are worth every drop.

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April 10, 2009

joyful life

What are you happy for today? What brings you joy?

As inspired by a post on quaint.handmade, which was inspired by the HSJ blog...here is a list of 5 things that make me happy today...

* TGIF. Good Friday! I know I just got back from vacation, but this change of pace has simply worn me out.
* My family and friends. You are all so very special to me. Happy Easter to you all!
* My creative juices. They're flowing more than ever & I am so excited to see what I do!
* Travel. I just can't get enough! The possibilities are endless. Come along for the ride!
* Chai Tea Lattes! I have been craving one all day...and soon I will have a hot little cup of my favorite drink in my cold little hands. I just love how such a simple thing can calm me so much.

Share your joyful list by commenting below. It warms my heart to read what makes you happy. Don't be shy.

Much love and have a joyful Easter!

April 6, 2009

How Tough Is Your Shell?

seashell photo taken by joyful.mara
I made it home safe and sound from Costa Rica, and I can't wait to see all of your lovely faces. On a trip with so many different personalities, we had our share of rocky moments, but overall it really made me appreciate the differences among my friends...the differences among us all. We all share a common ground, but each of us has something that sets us apart, which is something wonderful about human nature. We all have the ability to shake things up, to see things from another point of view, and to run the show our own way. It's time to embrace those differences instead of using them to build walls between us.

I have my fair share of walls. Typically they stem from being shy and insecure. I know many of you don't see that in me, but when I meet someone new I am often quiet and reserved and just trying to get my footing so the butterflies in my stomach can emerge and spread their wings. I wish I could be that beautiful butterfly all of the time, but it's been easier said than done. Why do I have this tough shell that makes it so hard to soar? Why do I put up walls between me and the world around me? It's a question that has so many answers, but what it really needs is a solution.

Yesterday on my flights home I sat next to two very friendly and secure people and it made me wonder why I am not so outgoing? It came down to one or two split second decisions that we all make several times a day. When you pass someone, do you make eye contact or not? When you make eye contact, do you say "hi", smile, or just keep on moving? More often than not, I fail at the first decision and fear making eye contact. How different would my life be if I just made the opposite decision, no matter how awkward it may be?

(Side note: How weird is the word awkward anyway. I can never remember how to spell it!)

So...what if I made eye contact and said "hello" to everyone I came in contact with? It may or may not go any farther than that, but that's ok too. Either way, today, I am pushing myself out of my shell, breaking down the wall, and choosing to make eye contact with my life. If a 30 year old autistic man and a 6 year old girl (the two people I sat next to on two separate flights) can survive out of their shells, so can I!

I encourage you all to analyze your own shells today. How hard are they? How colorful are they? How comfortably do they fit? Add a comment below this post and tell me your stories about coming out of your shells. We can all learn a little from eachother and our differences.