Tag Archive | Inspiration for the Woman's Soul

The Butterfly

FLORIDA  WILD    ~   NATURE & WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY ~ BY LEIGH A WAX: FLORA BUTTERFLYS DRAGONFLYS &emdash; WO-9889-Black Swallowtail Butterfly
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Once upon a time in a land not so far away, there was a beautiful valley nestled amidst two hills. There were open meadows filled with Milk Thistle, Shasta Daisies and Purple Cone Flower. There was a stream…wild flowers lined the sides of its banks.

This beautiful valley was the home to a community of butterflies in a wide array of colors and types.

The butterflies flew along the base of the hillside, throughout the meadows and near the stream. However, they never ventured beyond the valley. They never even flew to the top of the hillside to take a peek and what lied beyond this barrier. They were content with what they knew, and had no interest in expanding their horizons. The valley was a beautiful place, and they were just fine with that.

But one butterfly was not okay with this mediocre mindset. The valley was beautiful, indeed, but she wanted to learn new things, see new places and travel as far as her glorious wings could possibly take her.

So each day, Blossom ventured beyond the valley, taking in new sights and expanding her horizons.

The other butterflies did not like this at all. They scoffed at Blossom’s curious spirit and ridiculed her for seeking more. They did everything they could to dissuade Blossom from setting out on her journey each day,

But no matter how hard they tried to convince her that she was behaving foolishly, Blossom continued on her quest to discover amazing things. Each morning, after fluttering about in the valley, Blossom would fly high above the meadows and cross over the hillside.

She saw mountains, rivers and the ocean. She saw happy children playing in parks, far more than the few who would occasionally visit the valley to play. She visited the bushes and flower gardens of homes in quiet neighborhoods and frequented city parks surrounded by large buildings and honking horns.

And each day, when Blossom would return to her home in the valley, the other butterflies would laugh, point and stare. Some would whisper, while others would jeer.

One day upon returning from an exciting adventure, the taunting from the others was far worse than it had ever been. Blossom had had enough. “Why do you insist on being mean and spiteful?” said Blossom to the others. “Why do you poke fun at me every day and why is today worse than all the others?”  Bianca, who always seemed to be at the center of the mockery, fluttered forward. “Blossom, look at yourself,” she said in a disgusted tone. “You leave this valley every day, stretch your wings beyond their limits and spread them far and wide. And each day when you return, your wings are larger and grander than the day before. Now look at you! You are monstrous and hideously huge—a disgrace amongst butterflies.”

Blossom looked around at them all, shook her head at the sadness of this situation, drew in a deep breath and calmly responded, “Bianca, perhaps it is all of you who should look at yourselves.” They all looked around at one another, puzzled at the point Blossom was trying to make. “Have you all not noticed how much higher you have to fly before you get to the delicious bud of the Milk Thistle?” A few eyes began to open and expressions began to change. They hadn’t thought about it before, but now that Blossom mentioned it, they realized that was true. They quickly shook off any effect this truth had had upon them, and continued to scowl at Blossom. Blossom went on. “And have you all not noticed how long it takes you to flutter from one side of the stream to the other?”  Again, their expressions began to change. “And have you all not noticed how large the Purple Cone Flower is when you rest upon it, or how you must steady yourself when drinking from the Shasta Daisies so you don’t become stuck in its center or buried within its petals?” By this time, everyone was nodding in agreement. Blossom was correct…these things were true. But until this very moment, it had never occurred to any of them.

Blossom looked around at them all and said, “The flowers in the meadow have not changed. The hillside has not grown, and the stream has not widened.” She flew towards and landed upon a Shasta Daisy. “Notice my size compared to this flower. It is quite normal.” Everyone looked confused. Blossom did appear to be normal in size next to the daisy. They all looked at one another and then back at Blossom. “Broadening my horizons and spreading my wings has not caused me to become hideously huge,” she said. 

“Well then what is going on here, Blossom,” said Bianca in a flustered tone.

“Don’t you see?” responded Blossom. “It is not I who has become grand and monstrous. It is you and your wings that have become withered and wilted.”

~

Are you a Blossom or a Bianca? Will you allow your wings to wither and wilt?

Or will you spread them and take flight?

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Giving Myself Permission

Today, technically yesterday, I kept it low-key. I slept in, fixed breakfast at an hour that is probably considered late even for brunch, went in the back yard with the family, and, even walked to the park with my husband and the kids. We had a blast, and for the second day in a row, I gave myself permission to relax…to keep it simple…to feel the moment…to open the door for clarity!

Oftentimes, we neglect to give ourselves permission. Permission to feel, to think, to say, to do…to live and live happily!

Giving myself permission is like setting my soul free!

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Day 7 of my journey to Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics thanks to the Ultimate Blog Challenge!

Saying What I Need to Say

Today, I fully expected to pick up where I left off yesterday. For me the next reasonable step was to begin examining my why’s.

Why have I put myself in this position? Why do I continue to assist others in reaching their goals and realizing their dreams at the expense of my own? Is it fear? Greed? Competition? Inadequacy?

However, instead of exploring these very important questions, I remained stuck on one, single, solitary thought…

How will I “break up” with all my freelance clients? How will I tell them, “It’s over.” How will I get them to understand that “it’s me, not them?” 

Instead of facing the Why’s, I’ve gotten all ahead of myself and have fast-forwarded to the How’s.

My amazing friend Angie Mizzell, whom I mentioned in my last post, asked my advice today on a completely unrelated topic. She asked, “How do you find the courage…?” I had all the answers as they pertained to the topic we were discussing. Ironically, as it pertains to clearing my plate of all projects that distract me from my dreams, I don’t seem to have a clue.

Since she and I ended our conversation, all I can seem to ask myself is, “How do I find the courage?”

All day, I’ve tussled with this.

This evening, around 9:30 pm, my family and I popped The Karate Kid (the remake with Jaden Smith) into the DVD player. The kids were spread out on the floor and couches with blankets, pillows and stuffed animals. I sat here, on my corner of the couch, laptop open, staring at a blank “Add New Post” screen.

As the movie began, I couldn’t help notice how this mother and son were in the midst of making life changes that would inevitably lead to Clarity. Within the first 15 minutes of the movie, this mother and son arrive in a new place…China. And as they are taking in their new surroundings–uncertainty all around–a song is playing in the background.

That song spoke to me. It brought everything I’ve been feeling today into focus, and it answered my new question of How.

How do I find the courage?

The answer is: I may never find the courage.

How do I end these relationships with my freelance clients?

By Saying What I Need to Say…whether I’m courageous or not.

 

Even if your hands are shaking, say what you need to say...

Even if your hands are shaking, say what you need to say…

 

Thank you, Angie. Thank you, kids for wanting to watch The Karate Kid. And Thank you, John Mayer.

 

Using this blog challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!

Using this blog challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!

“I Gotta” Get Off of this Runaway Train

I opened my eyes this morning, and, no sooner than my feet hit the floor, my thoughts were consumed with “I gotta…”

“I gotta” meet this deadline. “I gotta” meet that deadline. “I gotta” deadline approaching next week. “I gotta” get that project done. “I gotta,” at least, brainstorm on the other.

Every “I gotta”–each having absolutely nothing to do with my current business and career goals–left me filled with angst, turmoil and breathlessness.

When you find yourself sighing, huffing, puffing, gasping for air at the very thought of a task or tasks at hand, then that is a sure indicator that it should be removed from your list of obligations.

You see, Time is so precious, valuable and, in my case, limited. I only have so much with which to work. My sweet friend and fellow writer, Angie Mizzell, says it best…”Working in between the cracks!” Any woman who juggles marriage, motherhood, career and individuality knows exactly what that means. Sometimes, we only have small shreds of time to channel our creativity and talents into something productive and meaningful. Sometimes, it’s 20 minutes…Sometimes, you’re fortunate enough to get an hour…Sometimes, only a mere fraction of that.

When my tiny slivers of time are filled with “I gotta’s” that solely benefit someone else, then “I gotta” problem with that.

It feels like I’m flying down the tracks on a runaway train that’s sure to crash and burn.

Chaos is like a Runaway Train. If you don't get off, you're doomed!

Chaos is like a Runaway Train. If you don’t get off, you’re doomed!

You’ve seen the movies and cartoons. Some damsel in distress is trapped on board a train car with no engineer, no conductor, no brakes and the track abruptly ends at the cliff of a mountain. She’s yelling for help, and her hero risks it all to bravely save her just in the nick of time.

Humph! How convenient…

In my story, my only hero is me. If I want to be saved, I’ll have to do it myself.

But before I can even begin to devise a plan of escape, I must first understand why. Why did I re-board this same train? And why did I do so after I had already claimed and embraced my Clarity?

Am I placing the dreams of others ahead of my own out of fear? Fear of what? Fear of failure? Fear of success?

Am I piling more and more on my plate out of greed? An insatiable thirst to be seen as some type of Superwoman?

Is it out of competition? Or a need to prove myself?

I need the answers! I fully intend to explore all of these questions and more, because the only thing “I Gotta” do is Get Off of this Runaway Train!

Using this blog challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!

Using this blog challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!

Recognizing the Chaos & Calling It Out!

This is day 3 of my 30 day journey to find Clarity, embrace Simplicity and get back to the Basics.

In my last 2 posts, I have tiptoed around what truly lies behind my quest. Perhaps that’s part of the process. I’ve been in denial for so long, that now I’m almost fearful to publicly admit the truth. So here it is…in a “not-so” nut shell.

I have been blessed with a husband, 8 children, artistic talent, career goals and aspirations. (Yes…I did just say eight children!) As a result, I wear many hats. I am a wife, a mother, a floral designer, a writer, a business owner, a daughter, a sister and a friend. Regardless of how much I long for one, there’s never a still moment.

I’ve never been one to use marriage and motherhood as an excuse to place my personal dreams on hold. In fact, I’ve always used it to fuel my passions…to ignite my creative spark. I want my children to see their mother as a woman who is loyal, strong, driven and passionate–A woman who can be fully present for them, as well as continue to develop as an individual. And I want my husband to be proud of my accomplishments and rejoice in my endeavors, knowing that he has a wife who lives life on purpose. After all, he married me for the person I am, and I’m certain he would want me to be true to my uniqueness, always.

My plate is larger than most, and it is always full. And there are certain things that just cannot be removed. My husband and children have a permanent position on my platter; they’re supposed to, and I like it that way. My floral design business, this blog and my quest to move from being a writer to a published author all take prime real estate on that platter, as well. Anything else that requires my time and talents but does not assist me in moving forward in developing my brand is Chaos…sheer CHAOS!

NO CHAOS by alles-schlumpf

NO CHAOS by alles-schlumpf

At this stage of my business, I have diagnosed myself as having Starving Artist Syndrome. The treatment…freelance writing work, and lots of it. Honestly, too much of it. So much, in fact, that it consumes my time and talents, and I find myself laboring over obligations that have me feeling disconnected and uninspired. Let’s face it; these freelance jobs are designed to catapult the successes of the individuals for whom I do the work–not for my business.

I also seem to have this uncanny inability to say “No.” New projects and ventures are presented to me and I cannot, for the life of me, seem to say, “Thanks for thinking of me, but no.” And it’s not like they’re horrible mistakes…they’re actually wonderful opportunities…for someone else. For me, they are distractions that will only serve to deter me from my goals, steer me off course, and drown out my purpose.

Clarity is no new concept for me. I had recently moved away from doing all freelance work so that I could focus, intently, on growing my brand, Creole Magnolia Creations. Then slowly, I began adding more and more and more to my once manageable plate. Now, deadlines for the projects of others have taken precedence over my own commitments, and my mind has become bogged down and overloaded with the impossible burden of juggling it all.

This Chaos is paralyzing, as I have become stagnant in my purpose, and my ability to move forward has waned.

But, I see hope…

As someone with the need to always be in control, it takes courage for me to admit that I am overburdened and stressed. But I realize that a sliver of Simplicity is far more appetizing than a plate full of uncontrolled bedlam.

So this is me…fearlessly Recognizing the Chaos and Calling It Out!

Using this blog challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!

Using this blog challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!

 

 

Navigating My Murky Waters, Feeling Strangely Refreshed

What a surprisingly amazing day today has been.

I reclaimed my position as captain, and today was my first day back at the helm. And though I was navigating through dark, murky, unclear waters, I felt renewed…light…lifted…hopeful and refreshed!

"Muddy waters should never prevent proper navigation of the ship or the spirit." ~Chase LeBlanc

“Muddy waters should never prevent proper navigation of the ship or the spirit.”
~Chase LeBlanc

I cannot allow the dreams, visions, aspirations and goals of others to steer my vessel any longer. As long as I permit the purpose of another to chart my course, I’ll always feel as though I am in unfamiliar territory. This realization alone has brought me so much joy.

I can taste the freedom that Clarity promises, and it makes me want it all the more. It makes me wonder why I ever gave it up.

As I coasted through this day, I realized that it’s not a matter of “IF” I will get back to the basics and claim Clarity, it’s “WHEN!”I drifted through the confusion and clutter and saw glimpses of beauty, freedom, peace, contentment…glimpses of me and reminders of my purpose.

Everything is lining up, and I know I’m moving towards the right decision…I know I have to throw any desires and dreams that are not mine overboard, or else risk sinking into the swampy, watery deep.

I’ll not drown in the labor-filled, uninspired tasks of others. I have far too much to give, far too much to do, far too much to create to do anything so foolish.

I haven’t even lightened my load, yet, and it already feels so good…

 

This is Day 2 in my Ultimate Blog Challenge and my quest to find Simplicity. Are you making moves toward Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics? Please, tell me in the comments below!

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Using this blog challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!

Using this blog challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!

Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics

For me the greatest beauty always lies in the greatest clarity. ~Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

For me the greatest beauty always lies in the greatest clarity.
~Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Children understand the importance of clarity, simplicity and keeping ideas and concepts basic. They want clear answers without the layers of garbled muck.

We can learn a great deal from children.

Recently, I’ve been in a state of confusion. The Clarity I once, so victoriously, claimed seems to have slipped just out of my reach. The Simplicity I created for myself has become convoluted and complex. And I now find myself desperately trying to return to the Basics.

What are my basics, you ask? Growing my floral design business and becoming a published author…as simple as that.

Yet, everything I’ve done as of late has been designed to catapult someone else’s business or endeavor toward success. I have filled my plate with tasks and obligations that assist others and have, once again, allowed my dreams and goals to take a back seat.

I had, at one point, moved away from taking on any new projects that were unrelated to my specific career goals. I had made a decision to make precious use of my time and to focus on certain aspirations that required specific action to become realized. But, now, my Time is filled with deadlines that serve another’s purpose…deadlines that take me farther and farther away from the simplicity…from the basics…from me.

I feel lost in the crowd…bumped to and fro as hurried individuals shuffle and hustle on by. I keep thinking, “What about me?”

Then I found the Ultimate Blog Challenge–a challenge to write a fresh blog post everyday for 30 days. I thought this would not only be a wonderful opportunity to breathe new life into my blog, but also would afford me the opportunity to truly delve into why I continue to allow distractions to steer me off course and why I continue to place the dreams of others ahead of my own. This blog challenge will force me to sit face-to-face with this issue. And hopefully, at the closing of 30 days, I will have regained the Clarity that I once knew.

My theme for this challenge is Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics. During the next 30 days, I plan to ask myself a series of questions. When all is said and done, I intend to have clearer focus. Decisions will be made and my plate will only contain items that are good and healthy for my personal goals.

I hope you’ll join me. Perhaps there’s something in your life that has you wading in murky waters. Or perhaps there’s so much noise swirling about that you are unable to hear the symphony in the silence. Whatever has you feeling confused, stifled and bogged down, know that we can claim clarity together.

How do you plan to get back to the basics? Tell me in the comments below.

Using this blog challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!

Using the Ultimate Blog Challenge to find Clarity, Simplicity and the Basics!