Tag Archives: Grief

The world doesn’t have enough I love you’s

25 Aug

Have you ever wondered what fills you up? Lights you up? What replenishes your cup? Well, I was challenged by Jonathan Fields of the Good Life Project to do just that and I thought I’d share some of it with you in case it helps.

The challenge is to fill each of these buckets: community, vitality and contribution. They just so happen to be three of my core values. Community and vitality are also two of my core desired feelings (from the Desire Map). How do I feel these feelings or do things that fill up these buckets? I wrote a list. If I am ever at a loss I can do something small on this list or something a bit bigger.

  1. Write a list of your closest friends, near and far. When you feel sad or lonely, write to one of them. Pick out a piece of paper or card and write something nice. Then pop it in the mail with a good old fashioned stamp. You’ll feel good and they’ll feel better having received it.
  2. Pick up the phone and call a friend. So often we think we should text, email or instant message them. This isn’t connection. It’s a farce. Social media can fool you about what’s going on in a person’s life because it’s filtered through them and through the channel itself (ever heard of Facebook algorithms…don’t get me started). By picking up the phone you can hear the tone in their voice. You can ask questions and you can listen to the answers. You can laugh or cry together. You can’t do that online. It’s not the same.
  3. Hug someone. They say that hugging someone for 20 seconds is really good for you emotionally and physically. Don’t believe me, here’s some proof.
  4. Tell someone you love them. Bonus points if you can also tell them one reason why you love them. Extra bonus if it’s in person.
  5. Write love notes to yourself or positive affirmations and stick it somewhere that you’ll see it on a daily basis. If you don’t like writing it yourself they sell cards or calendars that you can flip though or look at when you need to feel more awesome. Here’s one I like: The Present Moment: 365 Daily Affirmations
  6. Do something with a friend. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something with someone. You’ll feel better if you listen to them, hug them or even tell them you love them while you are hanging out. There shouldn’t be any more of this stingy “I love you” business. If you love having someone in your life tell them you love them (in the platonic, I’m already married but you are an awesome friend sort of way).
  7. Get out of your head. Meditate and/or listen to some emotional balancing systems. It totally helps to clear out the clutter and try to have some quiet for a few moments every day. I know I feel like a better person when I do this.
  8. Do morning pages. If you have never heard of this check out The Artist’s Way. It teaches you about morning pages. They are pretty much a brain dump that you do every morning. It does help to make you more creative. So can reading The War of Art. Fight the resistance! Create more! Or as another friend of mine says: Make. Make. Make.
  9. Exercise. So often when I’m busy this is the first item that gets cut but it’s so beneficial for my mind and body. To me running is a form of meditation. When I don’t get my exercise in I can be more crabby. I don’t have all those happy brain chemicals that I need.
  10. Get out into nature. Nature helps you feel more grounded. I know that when I’m cranky, if I just go on a hike or go to a park I feel better. I feel more at one with the world. It’s not all woo-woo and it’s different than running though the city as I often do. Being in nature just works. I’m sure there’s a study on it too! I just didn’t look because I know it works for me. Try it.
  11. Treat yourself as a friend. This is a big struggle for me. I give the best advice to friends but am so hard on myself. Gosh darn it, I should be my own best friend. I should be treated that way. So instead of being hard on yourself, ask what you would tell a friend.
  12. Ask yourself what do you need in this very moment. Listen to the response. Your heart should help you answer. There’s some techniques to help you with this if it’s hard for you to hear the answers.
  13. Keep it simple. Sometimes all you have to do is do something simple for someone like pick up something they dropped, hold the door, tell someone thank you, smile, look someone in the eye when they are talking to you, listen when someone talks to you.
  14. Go on a date with yourself. What do you like to do? Go by yourself and enjoy the time alone.
  15. Join a community if you haven’t found one already. I’m a part of the WDS group and they are always ones to fill my bucket.
  16. Play. What is something that you enjoy that you don’t do enough? Or perhaps you can think of those things you used to do as a kid that lit you up. Chances are you’ll probably still enjoy those things today.
  17. Ask someone how you can help them. Just offer, even if they say no, they’ll appreciate it.
  18. Give a compliment. It doesn’t matter who you give it to, a perfect stranger or a friend. Giving compliments can change someone’s outlook on life. Believe me. I wrote blog post on it.
  19. Do something you’ve never done before. Be a kid again. I know I said this already, but it needs repeating (maybe just for me, but maybe for you too).
  20. Travel. Whenever I travel that fills my bucket for a long time. I’m over flowing. I do so many of the above things when I travel, especially when I head out of the country.


I think my favorite item on the list (besides travel of course!) is to write a hand written letter to someone that means something to me and tell them something nice. I’m working on doing that at least 20 times before Camp GLP. But first I endeavored to make the cards. I wanted to be more personal. I think this might be a bit of procrastination. But I know it means something when you give something of yourself. Giving your gifts to the world is the best thing you can do. Just remember that you don’t have to be perfect with your gifts. It’s your imperfections that make you, you.

You are not alone, we are all in this together.


I sell prints if you want one. I can change the colors too!

P.S. You’re wonderful. Thanks for reading. You’d be wonderful even if you didn’t read this but you’re here so I thought I’d tell you how much I appreciate you.



What world domination means to me

21 Jul

What does World Domination Summit mean to me? Well in 2012 it was a life changing weekend that I will never forget. I have been three times since that weekend. WDS just celebrated 5 years as a “conference”.

The themes of WDS are Community, Adventure and Service. Each of those may mean something different to each attendee as we are all pretty unconventional types. The saying goes, we are trying to live “a remarkable life in a conventional world.” Most of us have non-traditional work or we bring our unconventional mindset to the “corporate” job. To me, we are a bunch of misfits, weirdos and rebels. We buck the system in order to make a better one. We want to leave this world and the people in it better than we found it.


Community to me is the people. They are my tribe. I have never had a tribe that I loved so much before. Even though we are thousands of people, I know that everyone in this tribe is awesome, someone I could talk to and learn from. Someone that would listen to me if I had a problem. Someone that is doing something cool.


I love adventure. In fact, I live for adventure. A lot of the members of WDS are travelers. Either they have their own business so they can work from anywhere in the world or they love to travel far and wide when they go on vacation. Chances are pretty good that if you are going somewhere in the world you could run into a WDSer. If they have room, they’ll probably even put you up in their place or find you an awesome local place to stay.


That brings me to the service aspect of WDS. The people in this group are such givers. If you have a problem they’ll help you troubleshoot or connect you with someone that can. They often give you help for free. More of a “pay-it-forward” approach. If you do pay for their services it will be well worth it as I’m sure they’ll go over and above their already awesome contribution. Their work will be great because they love what they do and love that they are working on with you.

If we aren’t giving to each other than we are probably giving it to some other great organizations in the form of monetary donations or community service. The people in this community are just so giving.

#WDS2015 (check out the twitter feed)

This WDS was particularly raw and vulnerable in the main stage talks. I think we were all crying on and off at certain points in time and none of us cared that we were doing so in “public”. We were sharing a moment and that was fantastic. We were listening to someone be real and we loved it.


The past three years I was an attendee but this year I wanted to give back to the community that has given me so much. I wanted to be that helpful person for those first timers or that friendly face to those that knew me. I was thanked so many times. I thanked them right back for coming and being a part of this great space that Chris Guillebeau created for us. I told them I wasn’t working too hard as I was loving what I was doing. Anything I could do to help!


Some of my favorite quotables from the weekend:

There is something bigger than yourself. — 

Self confidence grows every time you promise to yourself.

Follow the path. See where it goes. Embrace uncertainty. — 

Don’t trade your voice for things that don’t matter. It’s OK to say no. — 

Loss is what cracks us open. It’s natural and leads to growth. — 

It’s not about what you do but WHY you do it.

Even elephants are born small. —

Adulthood is a process of reinvention.” — 

Abandon your ego and good things will happen. — 

Sometimes you just have to let the tapestry cone completely undone to start again. — 

Love is the only thing that lasts. — 

Don’t make money, make a difference.

When you are an adult, try to be a kid again.

When you see people as just a platform, you eventually stand on them. — 

No label will embody all of your gorgeousness, ever. Get over it. — 

Something I always tell people who wonder why I am a photographer and designer, not just one or the other:

The same principals of design apply to photography. — 

Till next year…keep the magic going!

WDS party

Past inspiration from WDS

WDS 2013


5 Nov

Many people have told me that I am crazy. I prefer to think that I lead a very interesting life, a fun life (mostly), unique, for sure. I have a very eclectic and long bucket list, but it’s my list and I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve done. I have jumped out of a plane, climbed the Great Wall, ran a 5k, learned to sail and traveled to many countries and states. I have many more items on my bucket list and I’m sure I’ll enjoy doing each of them.

The past month was filled with interesting things, expected things, unexpected things and travels. I stared the month visiting family, celebrating new lives and remembering those close to me that have passed. Things turned even more sad with another death in the family but it led to a wonderful family reunion. I learned a Native American ritual to ease the passing of a loved one to the other side. I hope it’s as comforting for those on the other side as it is for us to share these experiences. I ran in two fun races, The Color Run and Bill’s Beer Run. Both are races that brought much joy to my life in different ways and took me to Portland and Sarasota. I sampled my way down distillery row in Portland and secured the last bottle of J Witty Camomile liquor from the Owner of New Deal. All it took was asking. And lastly, I have visited with many friends and eaten at many great restaurants. I haven’t been home much to write, except to work on my book submission but I hope to have more to say soon.

States visited this past month: Oregon, Washington, Florida, Michigan California. Whew!

I hope you’ve had an interesting month as well. Through all the bad times there’s always a light that shines through. Look for that light and let it guide you to more light.

Next stop: Hawaii for more sunshine! But for now a picture from the #1 beach is the USA, Siesta Key. Enjoy the light!


25 Jul

I’ve been in a fog of grief. It’s been hard to see backward through the fog and it’s been hard to move forward. It’s been hard to act and it’s been hard to organize. To recognize this fog is to know that I’m moving forward, out of the fog and to a better place.

I feel like I tip-toed into reorganizing my life about a year ago. I started working more on my house and on myself. I’m feeling like I’m physically in the best shape of my life and my house is shaping up to. I feel like mentally I’m catching up to the reorganization fad too.

I stared running again. I forgot how freeing that is to be taking care of yourself and your mind at the same time. I love running with no music or sound, just the thoughts in my head. The sound of my breath and my feet on the pavement. I feel alive when I run.

I’ve been running around at home too. I’ve not only been cosmetically fixing my house but I’ve also been purging. I’m not a huge fan of that word (just like those that don’t like the word moist) so we can say that I’ve been finding better homes for my once loved things. This is also a great cleanse. I’ve been so cluttered in my space that it’s been clouding my mind. It’s freeing to let go!

If you don’t walk by the items in your home and say you love it, why do you have it? Let someone else love it.

I know now that I’ve stepped out of the fog by making these changes. I’m moving forward, out of the waiting room. I can never forget what I’ve gone through, but I can, shake off those cobwebs and continue freeing myself. I can continue putting one foot in front of the other. Action leads to more action. And more is what I need.

Forward, never forgetting but continuing on.

Thanks so much to Christina of Second Firsts for helping me permanently leave the waiting room. Thanks also to the local Hospice Grief group for making me feel normal.


24 Dec

The holidays are here again. It’s always hard around the holidays when you’ve lost a loved one. The holidays are never the same.

I struggle to be happy and cheerful at the holidays because I feel pain for my loss. I struggle to know what to do. What are my family traditions? Why are they important? What do you want to do for the holidays? What do you not want to do? I have struggled to answer these questions for the past three years. I have not felt like celebrating but this year as the fog lifts things are becoming clearer. I want to honor my mom and carry on with the way things were when she was alive as Christmas was her favorite holiday. She was like a kid in a candy store when it came to Christmas.

When I was a kid we had so many lights on our Christmas tree and our house that you needed sunglasses to look at them. We had Santa Clause and 9 (four foot tall) elves that graced our yard and candy canes that lined the driveway. All of these items were hand made by my mother. She was pretty handy with a jigsaw and some paint, although she never considered herself creative next to me. I wish she would have known just how wonderful and creative she was. Her love of Christmas brought joy to so many faces. Our street would be lined with cars looking at the Christmas decorations every year. Each car was filled with families that were amazed by the lights. The hard work was always worth it to her so she and everyone else who drove by could enjoy it.

Thank you mom for showing me joy. I miss you this holiday and every day since you passed.

I wish everyone the happiest holiday they can have!



5 Oct

I’ve started this blog post several times in the past few days. The question became: how do I make this topic relevant to design, art, photography, travel or my career and future? I guess, it’s all relevant because it’s about me and who I am.

Almost two years ago to the day my mother passed away from cancer. It was the end of a long, painful struggle for life. I was relieved that she would no longer live in pain but sad that she would no longer live. This was, and still is, a struggle for me. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t miss her. She was a great inspiration in many ways. She helped make me who I am today. Without her I may not have pursued my passion for art and design or even travel. She always encouraged me to do what makes me happy even if it wasn’t going to bring in the biggest paycheck. Maybe that’s also a generational thing but being happy in my work and constantly learning new things is all I ever want in a job. It’s a great thing to love what you do since you do it for 40+ hours a week.

Since her passing I have wondered if I have done enough to help others. My mother was never able to have Hospice take care of her because she was fighting for life until the very end. I was amazed at her strength and her will to fight even when the pain was unbearable. Yet, for me, she wanted to live. You see, she was not just my mother, she was my best friend.

After losing her I didn’t know where to turn and someone suggested the Hospice grief group. What an amazing organization and the group was just what I needed. Hospice does so much for those faced with losing someone or having lost someone. I would love for my work to be that meaningful. I can only look for opportunities to help and hope that someday my work or my job or my writing will make that much of a difference in people’s lives.

Sometimes I feel that my love of helping others is opposed to my love of art or my love of travel but maybe it doesn’t have to be. Maybe I just haven’t found the right opportunity. So, I’ll keep my eyes open and keep doing what I’m doing and hoping that in some small way I’m doing my part to help others. I hope that I’m making my mother proud and living up to her dreams for me. She was an amazing woman and I miss her dearly.

Thank you mom, for your love, encouraging words, inspiration and love of life.