August 28, 2009

Objection! Overjoyed.

Hey everyone! Where have you been? It's been weeks since I have seen you around. What happened?

Oh, that's right. I deserted my post. Bad Mara.

First let me say...oh, how I have missed you so. I am sorry it took me so long to come back.

So...where did we leave off? Ah, yes. Jury duty.

I have to be honest it took me a little while to process my feelings on this. I am definitely glad I had the experience and didn't try to get out of it. If I had, it would have been a lie because I didn't have a hardship to claim. I am glad I accepted the responsibility instead of running away just because other people have said they didn't like it.

I will say that jury duty can be mentally and sometimes emotionally exhausting. At times it can also be a bit boring because you are asked to wait, and wait, and wait while the administrative items are dealt with or when a side bar discussion takes place. However, sometimes those breaks were what I needed the most; To readjust in my chair so my foot didn't fall asleep, daydream about what I would rather be doing in the sunshine streaming through our beautiful courtroom windows, get a drink of water so I could take full advantage of the 15 minute potty break. Overall, it was a good experience that made me feel strong and intelligent...grown up even.

So what did I learn from the case? I'm not going to go into the details because it's a long and confusing story, but if you would like to know more about the outcome you can read up on that here. Basically I learned that sometimes we can change our mind...alot. All throughout the case I was rooting for a different player. The lawyers were very good at painting the pictures and pulling at our heart strings. Every day I changed my mind at least once about the case. It made me realize that we can see one issue in multiple ways when we change our perspective even the slightest amount. During an argument, or even a discussion, it is important for us to stop and try to step into each person's shoes before we act or react.

During the closing arguments, jury duty was related to a game of chess. The jury sits and watches all of the players make their moves, but they haven't been told the rules. At the end of the day we were finally told what the law had to say about all of the evidence we had witnessed. This was our best tool. We also had exhibits that had been admitted and our personal notes from each testimony. But the law...the guidelines...the instructions...gave us our direction. We entered our tiny little jury room and sat at the big table for 12 ready to start the discussion. It was our first discussion regarding the case in 2 weeks, since we are not allowed to talk to family or friends about the details...not even our fellow jurors.

Finally!

A chance to vent.

We started our discussions talking about how the case made us feel and what our emotions and guts were telling us to do. Then, we re-read the "rules" and knew that we had to throw out all of that and look at only the facts. We sorted through the emotional muck and found that the law had spelled it out pretty clearly for us. We could only take this so far. We all wanted to root for the underdog and do the right thing for the "victim," but we had to put all of that aside. It was hard, but it was necessary. We didn't have enough cold hard facts, enough straight evidence to get there. In the end, we did what we could and both parties received a little bit of satisfaction, I think.

Now that it is over, it has left me with something to contemplate. When it comes to life's decisions, do you listen to your heart or your mind? We had to choose the law (mind) even though our feelings (heart) felt differently. In cases like this where they contradict, which one is right?

We trust a jury of our peers (our thoughts, our conscience and our passions) to help us make the right decision...sometimes without knowing the "rules" of the game of life. So who should win? Is the mind really more rational than the heart? I know many people who have followed their mind to do what is best and now have regrets and many others who have taken a leap of faith with their heart and have all they have ever wanted.

I am starting to believe that no matter what our decisions, we can analyze and weight the options, but we can't truly control the final outcome. There is never a right or wrong choice. There is simply just a choice.

August 18, 2009

All rise for the joy...


Courtroom One Gavel, originally uploaded by Joe Gratz.

Just checking in to let you all know that I may be a little distant over the next few weeks. I will try to keep up regular posts, but it may be hard to find inspiration. Well, at least inspiration that I can talk about.

Today, I was selected for jury duty.

I am not allowed to talk about the case until it is over.

All I can tell you is that I am in Judge Erlich's court room on the 10th floor. We will be in session from now until next Thursday. And...Oh! We have windows. (The Judge told me to say that...they are mighty proud of their windows, since many courtrooms in this courthouse don't have them.)

So far, it has been an interesting experience.

I know many of you have never been called for jury duty and others that have been have found a reason to get out of it. I may be singing a different tune at the end of this, but today I encourage anyone who is ever selected for this process to participate if you are able to. I am thankful that I have a salary job that is slow this time of year and can take the time off.

It could be considered inconvenient, but my thought today is that I am there for a reason and I will learn something about the judicial system, my community, or myself through this process. To be a juror, you have to remain impartial. I am impartial to the case and impartial to the reason that I am there. How exciting it will be to reflect on this later...to see what I have learned.

I'll be back as soon as I can!

Sincerely,

Juror #14

August 14, 2009

"Welcome to the Joy Rebellion."


Today I became a Joy Rebel.

"What's that?" you ask...Or..."I thought you already were one." you say...

This role was brought to my attention today from a blog I stumbled upon... (through one of the other many blogs I follow... Joy Rebel by Brandi Reynolds.

A Joy Rebel is someone who revels in the art of being authentically themselves.

Today, she reminded me of what I am here to do...

Be ME.

I am here to be authentically myself. To share with you the joys of my every day life.

And now...I have a name for it!

"Joy Rebel"

I don't believe that I have lost this focus at any point on this blog, but I have found it harder some days to offer the inspiration that I would love to bring to everyone who visits this space I call The Joyful Life. Thanks to Brandi, I have joined the Joy Rebellion and will now embark on multiple joyful missions with the joy rebel army.

Hopefully, this weekly joy bootcamp will be just what I need to keep focus on bringing the joy.

Now...let's talk a little about "focus." (This discussion also inspired by a post on Joy Rebel.)

I am the queen of starting projects that I don't finish. I have a hard time choosing one thing to work on and running with it, so I often start multiple projects at once. When a muse sings, it's often a harmony of more than one and I end up scattered and trying too hard to create. Let's call it Creative Multiple Personality Disorder. (Now that my BADD has been treated and is in remission.)

I have found that sometimes it just takes a little bit of clarity and patience with myself to focus and allow the ideas to start flowing. This blog is an example of that struggle.

Many days I am dying to write something to you all, but nothing comes. Other days, I find myself overly inspired and I have multiple things to say. Either way, this blog is the longest running project that I have had so far. Once I found my voice, I have had a hard time shutting her up.

"Mara, Honey. Mommy's ears are tired."
- said by my Mom to little me.

So, this is where we meet the inspiring post on Joy Rebel. She shared this quote:

"What we focus on expands."

This is so completely true.

For the good. And the bad.

Opportunites arise when we focus. What we focus on grows because we water it with attention. Our thoughts become things. Our dreams come true. The one to be careful of...our worries become real.

Today, I would like to remind you to focus on the good. To meditate on what you desire. If you find yourself worrying about something, remember that you may be asking for that 'bad thing' to come into your life. Instead of worrying about it...flip it over...change your perspective...ask the Universe for the opposite and focus on the joy that 'good thing' would bring.

Viva la JOYFUL revolucion!

August 13, 2009

Just Face It...


Faces, originally uploaded by MaraRayanne.

This face.

Made of so many parts.

Some I have always loved and some I have learned to love over the past year. While taking these pictures for an Unraveling eCourse assignment I found that it was much easier to embrace each part when I broke them all down into the Good:Bad.

Ok....here goes...

(In order from left to right...skipping the middle me.)

My eyes -
Good: Golden Hazel is so pretty, especially in the sun.
Bad: They are starting to lose their strength.

My smile -
Good: It's like my dad's. I love the shape, the dimples and its multiple personalities.
Bad: My teeth are yellowing and a little crooked.

My cowlicks -
Good: They are curly and the baby hairs are growing!
Bad: Extra Extra bad bang days

My eyelashes -
Good: Long and lovely.
Bad: Grow in crazy directions.

My ears -
Good: They are teeny tiny (less than 2 inches)
Bad: This one has 2 holes from having them repierced and the piercing girl missed the original hole.

My laugh lines -
Good: They come from lots of laughing.
Bad: They are technically wrinkles.

My eye vein -
Good: It's a pop of color!
Bad: It's sometimes scary in pics.

My nose -
Good: It's little and like my mom's.
Bad: 2 words...nose hair.

My lips/mouth -
Good: Nice shape and color. Lip gloss does the trick.
Bad: Has a tendency to eat foot.

My eyebrows -
Good: Naturally shaped well.
Bad: Who likes to pluck, really?

My lip scar -
Good: Reminds me of that camping trip when I was about 5 or 6 and my big sis and I were playing cowboys and indians.
Bad: Reminds me of the little front tooth that turned grey after going through my lip. Ouch!

My brow -
Good: Shows skepticism well.
Bad: I feel like I could lose change in there! Anyone seen my keys?

My nose wrinkles -
Good: Bunny impressions are convincing and it's a little cute.
Bad: They too ARE wrinkles.

My mad brow wrinkles -
Good: Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Bad: I find them sort of manly.

So that's the...well...long of it. My face...perfect in every way that is ME. Dimples, freckles, big pores, acne scars, blemishes and all.

What do you see when you look at the parts of your face? Do you like what you see? Do you cringe at the thought of looking a little closer?

If so, I encourage you to embrace your face. Find the beauty in each part. It's ok to see the bad, but for every negative try to find a positive and see what happens. Put it all together into the 'big picture' of you and love love love what you see.

August 7, 2009

I Heart Friday

I heart Fridays. I heart the Weekend. And I heart all of You!

Happy Friday Everyone! Have a wonderful weekend!


August 4, 2009

spread the joy...


This post by Karen Maezen Miller at Cheerio Road brought me JOY today...
I have even cooked up my own joyful experiment inspired by her thoughts. I will post more details later, but I don't want to spoil the surprise or skew the research data. I will wait a good week or two after the process begins to tell you the joyful details.
What brought you JOY on this beautiful Tuesday?

August 3, 2009

Sunday Adventure

Photobucket


Everyone remember that motorcycle I bought a few months back? The one that I jumped at the chance to buy and haven't mentioned since? The one that has been held captive and remained non-ridden?

Vaguely?

Well...I'm here to announce that she is officially in my hands. She is officially on my daily radar. She has officially been ridden.

To demonstrate the triumph of this moment, not just the excitement that it is finally done, I will tell you a little story about this little motorcycle's journey.

About a week ago "A" and I set out on an the adventure of moving my motorcycle from its temporary storage space (his parent's house)in the city to its cozy little space in the suburbs where it is safe to ride.

We arrived at his parent's house and uncovered my lovely new friend. I pulled her out (engine off) into the sun and set her up on the street. "A" started her up, with very little complaint from her...thank goodness, and we pumped up the tires for the ride. After she was warmed up, we made our way to the gas station and then to the freeway.

About an hour later, we had made it safely to the storage facility and went down to unlock the unit and make sure she really fit through the narrow door. When I signed up for the unit the door stuck a bit and I had to pull hard to get it open, but it was nothing much to worry about. I undid the locks and pulled as hard as I could...

No budge.

So I pulled again.

No budge.

"A" encouraged me to pull as hard as I can.

"I am!" I said and try it again.

No budge.

Shortly after we realized that not only was the door stuck, they had all been freshly painted and now it was painted shut!

Of course it was after 5pm and all of the underpaid, semi-bright storage employees had gone home. So I reached in my bag for the after hours number...the number I was told to call if I ever needed anything and the manager would be right over...the number that I called and received no answer...the number that I left an angry message on asking for a refund for the month knowing that I wouldn't hear back from anyone until Monday.

So there we were, standing in the heat on a Saturday evening trying to pry open a storage locker door with the handle to my car jack. After much of the new paint had been chipped off the door and the latches had been bent, we decided to surrender. That door would never budge. Luckily, "A" has a unit at the same facility and there was barely enough room to store my little friend inside. Phew!

So a week goes by and she was still held captive and still non-ridden. The storage facility calls to tell me that I can move to another unit, but I have to come in during business hours to sign a new lease, which translates into..."Come in on your day off since we are only open during the day to sign paperwork that could be as easily faxed." Joy.

This brings us to yesterday...lovely Sunday.

I wake up late (after a grueling week I needed some rest) and head to their office for a quick little signature and then be on my way to enjoy the sun. I arrive to find out that they cannot print the paperwork because I would end up getting charged some sort of enrollment fee again...it's complicated, but it comes down to a mistake by the district manager in the computer system. So, finally, after some firm discussion on my part, I end up selecting a different unit to put my things in until they can get this all sorted out. An hour later, I am happy with my new space and I call "A" to tell him that I will be moving the bike. He hops in his car and heads over.

So...some of you may not know that I have been a little hesitant to ride. It's been a few months since the class and I am nervous to go out on the road until I am comfortable with downshifting, signalling, quick stopping, etc. "A" has been a great coach so far, but he has also been doing almost everything for me up to this point. Before he arrives, I decide I am going to take the reins for this one.

I open up his storage unit, slowly back my baby out, find some level ground for the kick stand and fire her up. Of course she starts right up and I am well on my way to my first ride. I quickly change into my jeans and boots and wait while she warms up. I walk to the end of the row and look at my path of travel.

Uh Oh.

I forgot about the hill that goes from his unit to mine. Not a hill! I've only ever been on flat ground. The anxiety creeps up again. Not so brave afterall. Shortly after "A" arrives.

In the end, "A" rode it down the hill to my new unit and I drove down to meet up. While he ran back up the hill to move his car, I stood there staring at my shiny new friend. Once again inspiration hit, I hopped on, started her up, and I was off!

I did it!

I finally rode my motorcycle!

Finally!

After a few turns around the storage facility, a little practice downshifting, and some rallying at 18mph, I pulled her safely into the unit and locked her up. Now she is there whenever I need her...whenever the spark hits me...whenever I need an adventure.

So, I started Adventuresome August off with a bang. A little bang, but a bang none the less. I cast aside my my fears and took a little joyride. My adventure only took me around the parking lot a few times, but it was a fabulous "in the moment" adventure on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Sometimes that's all we need (especially in the face of adversity)...a moment to be powerful. To be spontaneous. To surprise ourselves. To act like a kid again. To take control of the moment and run with it.

Here's to adventure! (...and learning how to downshift properly)

August 1, 2009

Adventuresome August


reflection in the tide, originally uploaded by MaraRayanne.
Happy 1st day of Adventuresome August! Go out and have an adventure today...then come back here and tell me all about it!