"The so-called 'secrets of success' will not work unless you do."
-Anonymous


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"Do what you can do, and God will do what you cannot do."

Have you ever read or heard something that cut you to your core? That sucker punched you when you least expected it? This quote from a well-known speaker and preacher got me. Hard.

For months I’d been griping and complaining about my day job. How it robbed me of my time, my energy and, worst of all, my creative drive. I whined nonstop to anyone who would listen (or pretend to listen) how all I really wanted to do was write.

There was one teeny, tiny problem. I wasn’t writing. At all.

This quote—these 13 little words when strung together—brought me face to face with what I’d been trying to avoid for months now. The work. The old fashioned, roll-up-the-sleeves-it’s-time-to-get dirty work that any goal worth achieving requires.

Don't misunderstand me. I strongly believe our thoughts and the law of attraction do play a role in our success. I had vision boards and dream boards decorating my desk at work, adorning my refrigerator. There were Post-It notes with quotes and inspiring messages plastered all over my bathroom mirror, car dashboard and computer monitor. But I also believe visioning is just one part of the equation. To gain anything of real, lasting value, you have to pair that burning, inner desire with a healthy dose of sweat equity.

Wishing could only do so much. I’d already wished my circumstances were different. I’d already wished I were living the writer's life. I’d already wished I had something with my name on it lining bookstore shelves. I’d already wished my way into the byline of all my favorite magazines. I’d already wished I were working from the cozy comfort of my own home. I'd already wished I had the freedom to work my job around my life, not the other way around.

But all that wishing with no writing was like sitting in a car wishing I’d get to my destination without putting gas into the tank. Whenever I had a few minutes to spare, I didn't spend them writing or seeking out story leads. I didn’t spend them researching publishers or crafting query letters. So how on earth could I realistically expect to see my first children's book in bookstores if the story was still in my head? How could I expect to quit my day job to write full-time when I wasn’t even writing part-time? Something had to change, and it wasn't the images on my latest dream board.

I had to make the decision that my writing would be given the same priority I gave my running while I was training for a marathon. Any coach will tell you that visualization is an important aspect to athletic success. The more an athlete visualizes herself running strong, pulling ahead of the pack and crossing the finish line in personal record time, the more likely it is to happen. But the athlete must also train her body. She must make the time and the commitment to run the miles.

As a runner, accomplishing my marathon goals was important to me. But was it more important than my life’s purpose? One evening, I asked my husband about this.

“Why is it that I was able to make the time to train for and complete five marathons—something most people won't do even once in their lifetime—but I can’t seem to get myself to give that same level of dedication and sacrifice to my writing?”

He simply replied, “I guess it all depends on how much you want it.”

Touche.

How much did I want this? How important was my writing to me really? Wasn't it something I wanted not just for recreation and creative escape, but also for my profession, my purpose?

Both the thought of it being that important and not being that important to me made me feel cold, clammy and sick.

Was it fear? Fear of failure? Fear of success? Fear of sacrifice? Fear of what might be?

The only way to find out was to start doing something. Anything. Write a sentence. A paragraph. A page. Just get the pen moving. Make the time. Step out in faith. Do my part, then sit back and let the supernatural do what I cannot.


Your One Step

What project or goal have you been putting off?  The next time you notice a long-time goal just sitting on the shelf collecting dust, take 10 minutes to journal about the following questions:

Is this something I really want?

This can be the scariest question to ask because it involves a great amount of transparency and vulnerability with yourself. Still, be brave and be honest. There's no use in pursuing something—or feeling guilty about not pursuing something--if it doesn't light you up.

Are there too many things demanding my attention making it difficult to accomplish things of real value?

In today's society, we wear our jam-packed agendas like badges of honor. But why? For whom? What obligations are currently on your calendar that, if eliminated, could free up just a couple of hours for you to pursue your dream? List all the obligations that fall under that category, then compare the benefits you receive from each to the value of your goal. Then pick one obligation, take it off your schedule and make room for your dream.

Am I afraid of the outcome? If so, why?

List all your fears associated with accomplishing this goal. Then examine what you wrote and ask yourself if those fears are valid or simply stories your inner gremlins made up about you in order to hold you back from the creatively fabulous life you were meant to live.


It's time to get real with ourselves. It's time to face our fears and reclaim our gorgeous, sparkly creative right. Don't worry. You don't have to claim it all at once. Just take a step, and watch the magic unfold.
 
 
"You can only become truly accomplished at something you love...
pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that
people can’t take their eyes off of you."
-Maya Angelou

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Oh my. Where did the night go? I was typing away, writing an article on tai chi that's due in a couple of days, when I glanced up at the clock. 10:40 pm! Eek! I'd better save this story right where I'm at, take off my reporter hat and put on my my blogger hat.

Ok. Now that I'm properly attired to blog, let's talk about today's step. I guess I sort of did already, didn't I? Today my step involved working on an article for a local magazine. It doesn't surprise me that I lost track of time while deciphering my chicken scratch notes and composing my thoughts...writing has always had a way of enveloping every inch of my being. Nothing else, except for the challenge of long distance running, makes me every inch of me feel so incredibly alive. So completely present.

A few Christmases ago, my sweetie gave me a copy of The Truth About You by Marcus Buckingham. Part motivational book, part find-your-life's-purpose toolkit, The Truth About You comes with a small, pocket-sized notebook Buckingham calls a "(re)memo" pad. The reader is to use the (re)memo pad to take note of the activities that create that magical sense of being wildly alive and "on fire." These activities and their characteristics would fall under the "strength" category. The notebook also includes a space to record all the activities that create a drained, spent and otherwise disinterested feeling. (And yes, this second list can include things we are "good" at. Simply being good at something doesn't make it a strength.)

I don't know why I thought doing the exercise would lead me to some crazy discovery, enlightening revelation or otherwise out-of-body experience. What appeared in my top 10 list notes were things I've loved doing since I was a kid.

1) creative writing/storytelling
2) feature writing
3) learning new things
4) singing/performing
5) being creative/making things (art projects, crafts, etc.)
6) challenging my body/staying active (running, biking, etc.)
7) helping others/knowing I made a positive difference
8) exploring/hiking & "playing" in the woods
9) traveling
10) spending time with those closest to me

What I absolutely adore about the project I worked on today—and the new one I will work on this weekend—is that it engages so many of these strengths. It's feature writing, so that takes care of one of the top 10 strengths. But it's also creative writing in the sense that my mind is engaged in creative play as I try out and decide which lead will work best, or how to construct this thought while creating a smooth, logical transition into the next. Writing a story is like puzzle play for me. I spill all my notes, quotes and thoughts onto the page, and then shift them around, one by one, until the lock into place to create a seamless, sturdily constructed story.

The project also engages my love for learning new things. When I went into this study I knew very little about tai chi...other than the fact that I think that's what I saw a small group of students doing occasionally on my college's campus lawn. But I was more than willing to learn more about tai chi in preparation for my interviews and even more eager to attend a class and try it out first hand.

And because it's a physical form of exercise, this project can also fall under the category of challenging my body. My main forms of exercise are long distance/endurance running and spinning (cycling), both of which are high intensity and fast. To slow my body way down would definitely challenge for this frenzied multi-tasker.

The fifth strength this project enlisted was my desire to help others...at least I like to think it does. I like to believe that after this story is published, someone will read it and want to try tai chi for themselves. Maybe it will be the first step for someone who is struggling to maintain good health and self-care. Maybe it will bring friendship into the life of someone who feels lonely and isolated. Maybe it will save someone's life, as was the case for one woman I interviewed who used her tai chi breathing exercises to bring her heart back into a sinus rhythm during an episode of atrial fibrillation. I may never know for sure, but I find such joy in the possibility of being able to help someone in some small way.

Everyone has strengths. Everyone. The challenge isn't so much to identify what they are, for I truly believe the foundation of our strengths are laid early on in life. Where I believe the real challenge lies is in giving up the things we are good at, think we are good at or are told we are good at, but that don't bring any sense of joy or fulfillment. As a people please, this was a difficult challenge for me. But when you let those things go, there's more room for the things you are good at—and ENJOY—to flourish more than you ever imagined.

Your One Step:

I'm going to borrow the (re)memo exercise for today's one step challenge: For the next day, keep a small notebook with you everywhere you go. The minute you recognize yourself as being "in the zone" while doing a certain activity write down the activity and the way it makes you feel. For example, "I am writing a feature story and I feel excited, energized, creative and eager to learn more."

Also log those moments when an activity bores you. For example, "I'm helping a friend spruce up their resume. While I enjoy helping my friend, editing and rewriting content that is formal and static leaves me feeling bored, drained of creativity and eager to get the project over with."

At the end of the day, take inventory of the things that fueled you, and the things that drained you. Therein lie your true strengths and where you might want to focus more of your daily energy.
 
Less is More 02/23/2011
 
"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary
so that the necessary may speak."
-Hans Hoffman
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What I love about dream boards (or vision boards) is that they create a space for our innermost wishes, some of which we are aware and others still waiting to be discovered.

As I continue to walk down the path of my 180-day journey, I'm taking more and more cues from my current dream board, not just in my professional endeavors, but my home life, too. One word continues to present itself when I look at my board: SIMPLICITY. From the image of a spacious, open, sparsely decorated yurt to the picture of a couple who gave away the majority of their possessions with the exception of a few limited "luxury" items (a surf board, lap top, ipod and ipod dock), each makes me reevaluate the items in my home and the role they play in my life.

Are the items necessary? Do they support who I am or what I want to become? Do they foster my creativity, or do they hinder it? Do they give me time or rob me of time? Do they make me feel happy and fulfilled or regretful that money spent wasn't put into the "Dream Fund" instead?

Over the past week or so, I've taken up a habit of keeping a box on the main floor of the house and a box in the basement. Each day I devote 5 minutes—or more if time allows—to decluttering my space. We're not talking major overhauls here or transformations. It's been as simple as seeing a shirt in my closet that I haven't worn in a year. Into the box it goes. Or, opening up my kitchen drawers while making dinner to see that I own six spatulas, two soup ladels and three vegetable peelers. Into the box goes the excess. And all of those CDs collecting dust on the bookshelf in the basement...why don't I import the songs that make me feel happy, alive and creative onto my laptop and sell the actual discs to the used book and music store. That extra bit of cash could go into the "Dream Fund," toward a workshop or purchase some fun new art supplies.

It's been an eye-opening experience. One that's led me to the conclusion that owning a lot of "stuff" only causes us to want even more "stuff." When my husband and I go camping, I'm in my most content state of being. And yet there are so few creature comforts surrounding me. Our stuff is not who we are. It only blocks that which we already are or want to become. When we learn to live on less stuff we open ourselves up to opportunity and serendipitous blessing.

That's why today's wishing prompt over at Jamie Ridler Studios couldn't be more appropriate: What do you wish for your home?

I wish for simplicity and space. I want to pare down my husband's and my home to the basics plus a few limited "luxuries" (my laptop, ipod and stacks of books would be on the list for sure) to make room for new dreams and new opportunities to enter our space.

I want us to have space to think, to dream and to create without distraction. I want us to have space to simply be.


Your One Step:

You've heard of the expression "take five" in reference to taking a break, right? Well, today I'm challenging you to "take five" from the clutter in your life that's stunting your creative growth. At some point during the day, set a timer for five minutes. During those five minutes look through your home, office or studio for five items that no longer bring you joy, fullfillment or creative inspiration. Get rid of them. You can gift these items to others who may have use for them, donate them to a second-hand store or find a way to recycle them. The only rule is you cannot hang on to them. You're challenge is to clear the space...then sit back and watch what this great big beautiful world has in store for you!
 
 
"All of us have moments in our childhood where we come alive for the first time. And we go back to those moments and think, this is when I became myself."
-Rita Dove

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I didn't post yesterday...and you know what? I missed it!

But I miss my sister, too, and she was in town for the weekend. So I set aside my original plans to spend some time with her. While she was here, my family and I watched some old home videos my dad found in the basement. My favorite was, hands down, the one from the Christmas morning I received my first diary.

One thing I noticed right away upon seeing and hearing my 7-year-old self was the genuine excitement and enthusiasm I had for absolutely everything. Absolutely. Everything. Every single present I unwrapped that morning was greeted with equal delight. Watching the video was a bittersweet moment as it brought feelings of being both lost and found. Lost in that the inner joy, that pure, radiant, contagious joy and the unshakable confidence that filled me from the top of my permed blond hair to the soles of my white, lace anklet covered feet, disappeared for a very long time. And found in that I can feel that same wide-eyed curiosity and unwavering self-belief finding its way back to my soul.

And, let me tell you, it's incredible!

Today's step wasn't anything tangible in the sense of writing, or marketing, or workshop development. No, today's step was internal. It was reconnecting the self with the spirit. And those steps, those connections with the self, are just as important, creative dreamer.

Our inner-child never really disappears. The past year has convinced me of that. It's just a matter of whether or not we slow down long enough to notice her sitting in the corner, just waiting to be asked to play.


Your One Step:

How long has it been since you invited your inner-child out to play? If it's been awhile (or even if it hasn't) why not extend an invitation today? If you're lucky enough to have a film or video of yourself as a child, treat yourself and your inner-child to a "movie date." If you don't have a film or video, a few photographs will work just as well. As you watch the film/movie or look at the photographs, note what characteristics set you apart. Now is not the time to focus on that goofy outfit or bad hair cut. This exercise goes deeper than outward appearance. This is a chance to view your soul, your heart and all the dreams you kept tucked inside it.

After you've made your list of the qualities and characteristics you noticed, pick one to try on for size once again. For the next week, inhabit that characteristic as much and as often as you can. Were you creative? Set aside part of the day to color in a coloring book or make art using nothing but the basics—crayons, construction paper, scissors and glue. Were you funny? Read a joke book, or try writing some of your own. Were you energetic? Take yourself to the playground and swing on the swings. It doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate. It just has to be you.
 
 
"What simple action could you take today
to produce a new momentum toward success in your life?"
-Anthony Robbins

Yesterday's act of typing up my story's manuscript, making sure everything was properly formatted and spaced, seems to have set the dominoes into motion.

Highlighter and Post-It notes in hand, I spent a couple of hours thumbing through my Writer's Marketplace dog-earring, highlight and flagging any page with a potential publisher. It wasn't a very big or time-consuming step, but the size of a step doesn't mean it's exempt from its own group of gremlins.

Really? You're highlighting that publisher. Did you miss the fact that only 15% of the books they publish come from new authors?

That publisher is located in New York City. Only "real" authors get picked up by publishers in New York. Maybe you should look someplace smaller.

Do you really think your manuscript is ready?

It would've been easy for me to give in, put down the highlighter and close the book. "You're right. Who am I kidding," I could say, handing over my power and dream to the group of gremlins. Or...I could flip the negative comments on their head, reclaiming the momentum to move forward a little bit more.

Yes, I did see they only publish 15%. How awesome would that be among them?

Um...I am a real author. And did you forget that I dream in two sizes and two sizes only: big and BIGGER?

It's as ready as it can be for right now. I'm not sending the publishers a solid story that embodies perfection. I'm sending the publishers a solid story with potential they can't resist.

Minor adjustments, just a quick flip of the gremlins' negative statements, was enough to fuel the desire to take another step. There's still more to do—tomorrow will consist of further research of the publishers I marked—but the momentum is set. To paraphrase Anthony Robbins, right now, the most important thing you can is to make sure you begin to create momentum.


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Your One Step:

When you're working on a new dream, especially one that's a little tender, it's easy to let the negativity of our inner gremlins squelch our momentum. To stop any negative self-talk the next time you're working on your dream, come prepared to fight it with a hefty dose of positivity.

As soon as a negative thought challenges your dream...

1) Get out a few blank index cards and something to write with.

2) Whenever you run into one of your Gremlins, stop and write down the negative message your self-doubt is sending you.

3) Now, under that negative message write the opposite, which is your truth, plus a few pieces of evidence to back it up. For example:

Gremlin: You're not really a writer.

You: I am a writer. I am a writer because I am writing right now. I am a writer because I have a story inside me that needs to be told.


Remember, as you think, so you are. So who will you believe? The gremlins or your own beautiful truth?


 
Do Something. 02/19/2011
 
Day 3:

Today's "one step" was one I'd been putting off for a long time. I mean a LONG time! So today I sat myself down and finally wrote the manuscript to a sweet little picture board book I penned during a lunch break a while back. The rough draft, complete with critique comments from a writers' group I belonged to last year, was still folded and neatly tucked between the pages of my idea notebook.

Seeing it still untouched brought a pang of guilt, like I'd been sucker-punched in the gut. That story had become the proverbial elephant in the room...or in this case, in my notebook. I'd put it off and put it off again, each time with a new excuse. "I ran out of time." "I'm not sure it's ready." "I don't know how to format a manuscript." "I'm not sure what to do with the manuscript after I write it." I had one excuse for every fleeting moment of motivation.

While sorting through a box of school day memories, I came across a picture book I'd written and illustrated for a class project. Across the title page my teacher had written, "You should consider writing and publishing children's book someday."

Someday.

There's that word again.

And it hit me that the distance between right now and "someday" is something. That's it--do SOMETHING! Make it a baby step. Make it a leap. Just do something that inches you closer to the goal. You don't have to do it all at once. Today, I didn't sit down with the mindset that I was going to write, finesse and send in my manuscript. No, I broke it down into smaller, less intimidating steps. Today I wrote the manuscript. Another day (probably tomorrow), I'll tweak it and edit it and whip it into shape. And on another day, I'll research potential publishers. And on yet another day after that, I'll finally place it in an envelope and send it on its way with a wish and prayer.

But until then, I'm content knowing I've done my something for my someday.



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Your One Step...

What's your someday? What do you envision yourself doing? Accomplishing?

Sometimes the beauty of the end goal can leave us feeling overwhelmed, paralyzed by possibility.

Here's where you take a deep breath, get out your trusty journal and ask yourself these three questions:

1) WHY do you want to achieve this goal? What benefits will you receive?

2) Now close your eyes and VISUALIZE the way the end result makes you feel. Do you feel energized? Fulfilled? Content? Peaceful? Relaxed? While the idea of the process of getting to the desired destination can result in a few holy-crap-what-am-I-doing moments, picturing yourself in the destination should cultivate nothing but positive feelings and thoughts. As my high school cross-country coach would tell the team before a big race, "The body believes what the mind perceives." Routinely picture yourself working on your art, writing a book or traveling to Italy and the body will eventually have no other choice but to follow the mind.

3) If your goal becomes the "elephant in the room," remember the proverb about how to go about eating an elephant. One. Bite. At. A. Time. Break down your goal into manageable, bite-size piecesby BRAINSTORMING and jotting down everything you can think of that will propel you forward. Then pick one of the items on your list and commit to it for that week.

"There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still."
—Franklin D. Roosevelt

Live Creatively!
Sara

 
See the Dream 02/18/2011
 
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
Live the life you imagined."
- Henry David Thoreau


Each month, I get together with a lovely group of creative magic makers and enthusiastic dreamers to create full moon dream boards. It’s part of Jamie Ridler Studios “A Year of Dreams” telecircle. (Side note: if you love to dream, collage or simply want to fill your life with more intention, these workshops are a fabulous place to grow!)

If you’re not familiar with dream boards (or vision boards as I’ve also heard them called), they’re an artistic approach to “writing” out your goals and aspirations. By combining visual images and words that represent what you want more of in your life, you learn to shift your focus onto those goals. Think of it as a tool that summarizes the proverb, “Where the mind goes, the human follows.”

After making my first dream board last month, I didn’t think it was possible to make another one that I would like nearly as much, that provided me with so much joy and journaling inspiration.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

What I’m learning is that the goal of my dream board isn’t to get me from “here” to “there” in a month’s time, but to slowly, gradually, gently wake me up to my dream. Each month is a piece to the puzzle that reveals a new step toward my destination.

So what am I learning from this month’s dream board?

So far I’m learning that not only is it ok, but it’s necessary for me to blend my “personal” life (left side of my dream board) with my “purpose/career” life (the right side of my dream board). I fought this idea at first, ignoring the images and words I found in magazines that spoke to home and relationships. But then I remembered my purpose behind Project 180: to design a life that blends my purpose and personal life in a way that results in a existence immersed in creativity, writing and exploration.

Is there a way to make a living doing that? That’s the question I’m exploring now. I think so, but I feel it’s going to take some scaling back and a long, hard review of necessity vs. want. (hmmm…I’m seeing signs of simplicity in my dream board, too).


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Your One Step:

Over the weekend, why not try creating a dream board of your own...You may be surprised by the discoveries you make by this time next month.

• Find a piece of poster board, a blank page in your art journal…even a piece of cardboard will do (and you’ll score extra points in my book for being eco-savvy!) ;)

• Round up a stack of old magazines, a pair of scissors and a glue stick. Those are the basic supplies, but feel free to bring along some markers, crayons, stickers and even photographs, too.

• Cut out images and words that speak to a certain goal you have in mind, or let intuition be your guide.

• Once you have your images and words cut out, arrange them on the surface in the way you want them to appear, then glue them to the surface.

• Display your dream board in a location where you will see it daily (mine is in my bathroom so I’m sure to see it first thing in the morning as I get ready for the day, and the last thing at night as I get ready for bed.

I’d love to know how this exercise goes for you! Feel free to leave a comment (or question) about your experience. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from creating dream boards in a group setting like that provided by “A Year of Dreams” telecircle and other workshops I’ve taken, strength lies in numbers.


Live Creatively!
Sara

 
 
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"Baby step by baby step, you have what you need right now to start moving
in the direction of your happiest dreams."
Marta Davidovich Ockuly

When I ran cross-country in high school, my coach called me his "ever not satisfied runner." No matter how many seconds I shaved off from my previous race, I always felt I should have run faster. No matter how many places I moved up on the team, I felt I could have placed higher had I tried a little bit harder.

I'm experiencing some of those same feelings tonight, more than decade later.

I wanted my first post, my first step, on this 180-day journey to be something grand. Impressive. Not a step, but a leap. So tonight I had it all mapped out in my mind that would finally type up the manuscript for a picture book I'd written a few years back, and that's sat in my notebook every since. It's still sitting in the notebook.

Just as I sat down with my laptop, I remembered some flyers I needed to design for the upcoming workshops I want to teach. And then there was my artist's statement I needed to freshen up and send off to the shops selling my Re•Told Journals. And—shoot! Did I post my February dream board to the Ning site for the teleworkshop I'm participating in? I'd better get to that, too.

Before I knew it, it was nearly 10 pm—already a half hour past the bed time I'd promised myself this morning having woken up much too groggy. And I still hadn't updated this blog.

SIGH...first day in and no steps taken. Or so I thought.

"Did you post to your blog," my sweetie asked.

"No," I said, defeated. "I didn't do anything. I have nothing to post."

"Sure you do. You made your flyers," he responded, as if how could I forget?

Does that count? It's just a flyer. It's such a minuscule step.

But it's a step, I heard myself argue with my inner gremlins. And, as the quote on last month's dream board read, "with a few baby steps in the right direction, you will soon reach your goal of a million miles."

After all...

How did I learn my first lead role in a musical? One line at a time.

How did I graduate from college with honors? One class and one paper at a time.

How did I complete each marathon I've run? One mile at a time.

How will I reach a life lived on purpose? One step at a time.

Tonight that step was creating a flyer. And I'm ok with that.


 
 
"It's always best to start at the beginning...
and all you do is follow the Yellow Brick Road."
—Glinda the Good Witch to Dorothy | The Wizard of Oz

I'm feeling sort of excited today. Almost giddy, really. Sure it helps that it's sunny and the temps are expected to climb to nearly 50 degrees...that's a heat wave for those of us stuck smack dab in the middle of a frigid Wisconsin winter.

But what really excites me is the goal I've set for myself. In exactly 180 days from today I’ll be celebrating a milestone birthday. To celebrate, I've decided to give myself the best birthday present one could ever receive...a dream fulfilled. And so, today is the official kickoff of what I’m calling “Project 180: Life Lived on Purpose."

Quite frankly, I’m done staring at a list of things I wish I could do...or would like to do...someday. What’s wrong with today? What’s wrong with taking one step everyday (for the next 180 days) to bring those dreams over to reality? At least that’s the plan. When August 15, 2011 finally arrives, I can’t wait to see what dream is waiting inside that beautifully wrapped box with the big shiny bow.

That’s right...I don’t know what the dream looks like. At least now exactly. Instead, I’m unwrapping a small piece of it each day. That's what's makes this so exciting...such an adventure! Now, I do know the dream involves writing, lots of writing...and art (maybe something with my handcrafted recycled book journals?)...and adventure...and exploration...and curiosity...and creativity...oh, yes, lots and lots of vibrant, colorful, delicious creativity.

Throughout the journey I'll jot down the lessons learned here, and hopefully inspire others who may be embarking on a similar path. (Don’t we all have that crazily creative inner child who’s screaming to scribble outside the lines again?)

I’m simply bursting with joy at the thought of launching this project...and it wouldn’t be happening if it hadn’t been for the support of many special people—those I know personally and those who I know through blogs, Facebook and Twitter. Over the past several months I have received an incredible amount of inspiration from creative bloggers and entrepreneurs...Jamie Ridler of Jamie Ridler Studios, Patti Digh of 37days, Andrea Schroeder of ABCcreativity, Megan Monique of If I Were a Rainbow, Nate of It Starts With.Us, Melanie of Dose of Creativity, Connie of Dirty Footprints Studio, my friend and creative cohort, life coach Jeanette Stevenson of Point of You...and so many other magically creative, beautiful, inspirational souls.

Speaking of these inspirational mentors, Jamie Ridler’s “Wishcasting Wedensday” prompt for today couldn’t be more appropriate. “What aspect of your personality do you wish to express more of?” she asks...

The dreamer. I wish to express my inner dreamer.

The brave dreamer. The bold dreamer. The creative dreamer.

The dreamer with child-like faith. The dreamer with insatiable curiosity. The dreamer with a wide open heart.

That’s what I wish to express today...and for the 179 days to follow.