Monthly Archives: December 2011

Seize the Moment!!

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‘Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over.’- F. Scott Fitzgerald

We’ve come to the end of another year.  Whew!!  What an interesting ride 2011 proved to be.  I enjoyed (?) a lot of firsts, a lot of lessons, a LOT of tears, a lot of progress and some setbacks (perceived setbacks, anyway).  I am grateful for all those experiences because I know they moved me closer to a fuller expression of ME.  Yay!

 

A brand spanking new year with 527,040 minutes (leap year) is before us.  527,040 opportunities to change how we feel, how we think and how we live.  Every moment presents us with a clean slate.  We can start over 527,040 times! How exciting!

 

Instead of making grand, sweeping resolutions that will likely be abandonded within 24 hours, I’m going to try something new:  in 2012, I will strive to be more mindful of the moments of my life and what I’m creating in those moments. The only thing in the Universe over which I have complete control is my thoughts in any given moment.   I can choose how I think and feel about any situation in which I find myself.  I can take the high road and try to see how the situation can benefit me or I can wallow and moan about it.  Even if I do choose wallowing and moaning (and sometimes, I do) once I’m done with that, I can CHOOSE again.

 

Make each moment count! Don’t waste time, energy or thoughts on things that don’t matter to you if you can help it.  You’ve got 527,040 chances to change your life.  Saiser le moment!  Seize the moment!

 

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Finding My Religion

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‘My religion is very simple.  My religion is kindness.’ – Dalai Lama

 

I’ve been having quite a few discussions lately on the topics of religion, non-religion, spirituality and the like.  Some of the discussions have been quite heated, which is why they say you shouldn’t discuss religion or politics with people.  I’m always fascinated to find out what people believe and why.  The why is what intrigues me.  There doesn’t even have to be a legitimate (judgement, Ejay?) why, I just want to know why.  It makes for very interesting conversation.  I actually lost a dear friend because she chose to constantly belittle my spiritual path while I was very tolerant and understanding of hers.  Anyway, I digress.

The point of this blog is to say that we can disagree without being disagreeable, we really can.  It’s not my place, job or responsibility to judge your path, nor are you bound to do the same for me.  It’s not my job to convert anybody to anything and please don’t try to convert me to your way of thinking.  I believe what I believe, which doesn’t make me more or less, better or worse than any other human being on Earth.  The same is true of you.  Your chosen path doesn’t elevate you or degrade you above or below.

I think we spend (waste?) an inordinate amount of time, passion and creativity trying to tell someone else that they are ‘wrong’ in what feeds their spirit.  What if we used that same time, passion and creativity trying to figure out a world that works for EVERYONE? Let’s try and figure out how ALL children can get a quality education, three nutritious meals a day, quality housing and medical care for ALL humans, clean drinking water for ALL humans and the list goes on and on.

I’m going to expand on the Dalai Lama’s quote: ‘Love, Compassion and Kindess are my religions.’  Period.

 

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Feed or Starve?

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“Feed your dreams. Starve your fears.” – Ejay Moore

 

I recently painted a canvas with the above words.  I started thinking about what that really means.  Your dreams and your fears thrive by one main source of sustenance: attention.

I have spent a good deal of my life focused on the fear-filled ‘what ifs?’ of  life instead of the hope-filled ‘what ifs?’  I had fed those fears so much attention that they were huge!! They are starving now, though.  They are dwindling away from lack of attention.  I’m not sorry to see them go, either.  They were taking up way too much space (and not paying a cent in rent!!) lol.

I’ve shifted my sustenance to my dreams.  Feeding my dreams seems a much better use of my resources than feeding greedy fears.  I find that when I focus my attention on my dreams, not only can I improve my own quality of life, but it ripples out and affects those in my sphere of influence.  Each one, reach one, right?

I don’t think you have to sit and focus on ignoring your fears (seems counterproductive), but time spent focusing on your dreams is certainly time well-spent.   It makes me feel really good to think of all the beautiful possibilities for my life.  I may not achieve everything I dream of and that’s okay.  But if I don’t achieve something, it won’t be because fear stopped me from even attempting it.

My gargantuan fears didn’t get that big overnight, so I know they won’t be gone overnight.  But every ounce of attention I can divert from fears to dreams is a step in the right direction.   Feed your dreams and watch them grow and thrive! Starve your fears and watch them slowly fade to nothingness.

 

 

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Crash!

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“Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Gandhi

 

On March 21, 2011, a patio collided with the vehicle I was driving.  Rude, right?? I know!  lol

That was one of the most bizarre, comforting things to ever happen to me thus far.  Bizarre in that I still don’t know how it happened.   Logic says that I probably hit the gas instead of the brake in a moment of panic.  I’ve been driving long enough that I pretty much have the brake and the gas pedals down by heart.  Yet, there I was, careening through a patio, stopping just short of running through some poor lady’s living room.  Not a good look!

Within a few moments, I was surrounded by people including the woman whose patio I had just destroyed.  Everyone was asking if I was okay.  I couldn’t respond beyond a nod because I was too busy hyperventilating.  I had never felt such a strong mixture of fear, confusion and guilt.  The crowd of onlookers advised me to just sit tight until the Fire Dept. arrived.  During this entire ordeal, the voice I really focused on was that of a woman to my left.  I could hear her saying in the most comforting ‘Mommy voice’,  “You’re okay, sweetie. You’re safe.  You’re okay.”  I have no idea who she was, I never saw her face, but I heard her voice and it made me feel better.  (Thank you, mystery Mommy, you’re awesome!)

The reason I was freaking out besides the crashing aspect, was the fact that the vehicle did not belong to me.  I had borrowed it from a friend.  So, in addtion to the guilt of destroying part of someone’s home, there was also the guilt of wrecking someone else’s car.  Geesh! I was putting myself through all kinds of hell internally.  I just ‘knew’ everyone was going to be angry with me and I’d be in so much trouble.  I felt like a little kid who had broken the neighbor’s window with a snowball by accident.

Something surprising happened, though.  Everyone was so nice to me! One of the EMT’s who came to check me out was constantly making jokes (none at my expense) to calm me down.  The property manager said that sort of thing happened more often than I could imagine.  I was expecting the worst or at least a whispered, ‘What kind of dumb ass drives into a patio?’ , instead, I received an outpuring of care and concern from total strangers.  It was beautiful!  When the car owner made it to the scene, she just hugged me and said she was so sorry it happened.

The message I got from that little adventure was that we can be harder on ourselves than anyone else.  I was beating myself up for an accident.  That’s why they call them ‘accidents’, otherwise they’d be called ‘intentionals’. lol

We’re all going to make mistakes, have accidents and speak out of turn – those experiences come along with being human.  Apologize if appropriate, make amends if possible, but above all else – forgive yourself and keep it moving!

The Silver Lining

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“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” – Bernice Johnson Reagon

In October of 2004, I was in a staff meeting at one of my favorite jobs.  I was the Children’s Church Director at a large church in Dallas.  I was feeling pretty good.  I had a job I loved, it was about a week before my birthday and I had no complaints about my life.  As the meeting went on, the Senior Minister handed me a birthday card signed by all the staff members.  I didn’t think to question why they were giving me the card early, my birthday was still a week away.  Well, later I found out why.  A few hours after the meeting, the minister called me into her office and fired me.  Her exact words were, ‘I’d like you to resign.’  I was speechless!  I had never been fired from a job in my life.

I went back to my office and sent an email to the Children’s Church parents telling them I’d been fired and started packing my stuff.  It’s hard to type an email and pack while sobbing uncontrollably, let me tell you.  I didn’t understand what was happening or why.  I was hurt, angry, disappointed, afraid and just an emotional mess.  I finally gathered all my things and left in what must have looked like the most pitiful ‘unemployment march’ in history.  lol I can laugh now. It wasn’t funny worth a damn when it was happening, though.

Over the next couple of weeks, I cried and cursed a lot.  A lot.  I questioned God, cursed the church, cursed the minister and all the staff, cursed myself (‘I must have done something wrong’) and just cursed in general.  If I had a dollar for all the expletives I uttered during that time, I could probably take a couple of you reading this out for a nice dinner at Outback Steakhouse. lol

Thankfully, I had someone in my corner.  My aunt proved to be a great sounding board and ultimately, an inspiration.  She had just begun to tap into her creative side by painting.  One day during my rant to her about ‘the unfairness of it all’, the idea came that I should start playing around with paint, too.  While I had always fashioned myself a writer and poet, painting had never come up as a possibility for me.  I figured it couldn’t hurt, though.  I went to my local craft store, bought a little acrylic paint starter kit and the rest is history!  Since then, I’ve painted hundreds of pieces, done commissioned work, had several shows and even exhibited at a local cultural center, city hall and a local museum.  I’ve branched out into photography and who knows what else is on the horizon.

Being fired from that job was one of the best things that has ever happened to me.  I know that when I’m comfortable somewhere, it takes nothing short of a stick of dynamite to move me.  I could have been very very comfortable in that job and remained there for years and years to come.  I probably wouldn’t have ever tapped into my creativity outside of writing.  I probably wouldn’t have met the amazing people I met at subsequent jobs or acquired the skills that I have.

In short, everything happens for a reason.  I know it can be a challenge to see that in the moment, believe me, I know.  When life’s challenges come up, curse if you must, but leave a little space for ‘what if?’  ‘What if this is being moved out of the way for something better?’ ‘What if I’ve learned all I can from this relationship?’  ‘What if it was time to get out of my comfort zone?’  ‘What if I’m really going to be okay?’

Look for the silver lining, kids.  It’s there.  I promise.

 

 

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In(her) Peace

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“The mind is never right but when it is at peace within itself.” – Seneca

 

 

 

 

 

These days, it seems there is a ‘war on peace’, as strange as that sounds.  Aside from the actual wars our country is involved in currently, individuals are engaged in warfare also – with each other, with institutions, and probably most damaging, with themselves.  A man at peace with himself will be at peace with the world.  If you’re fighting with YOU, most likely you will want to fight with everyone else, too.   You know what they say, ‘Misery loves company’.

 

I recognize that I am at varying times my own biggest enemy, supporter, detractor, cheerleader, opponent and proponent.  I fight with Me more than anyone else on earth.  Isn’t that crazy?  Yes, yes it is. lol  I fight with myself over the decisions I make or don’t make, over things I say or don’t say, over my fears, over my successes, over my failures… just about everyfreakingthing! It’s exhausting!

 

The way I stop the fighting is simple: shut up. lol  I shut up the internal dialogue telling me what I should have done, said, worn, painted, blah blah blah.  I shut it up and quietly remember that I’m okay.  Right then, in that moment of quiet contentment and peace, I’m okay.  I breathe in peace and breathe out stress.  I breathe in knowing and breathe out uncertainty.  I breathe in ‘yes’ and breathe out ‘no’.  I breathe in possibilities and breathe out roadblocks.

 

Occasionally, I’ll do a little visualization exercise with my breathing.  I’ll use ‘lack’ and ‘prosperity’ for my examples.  I imagine a blackboard with ‘lack’ written on it in chalk.  I take a deep breath and imagine actually inhaling ‘prosperity’, then I blow it out through my mouth onto the blackboard, erasing ‘lack’.  I do it several times until all the letters spelling lack have been fully erased.  It may seem silly, but it changes the energy around the issue.  Sometimes, all you need is a temporary shift so you can see it from a different angle.

 

So, breathe, friends and be at peace.  You’re okay.

 

 

 

 

We Are Sisters

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“A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life.” – Isadora James

Lately, I’ve been very appreciative of the presence of strong, supportive women in my life.  While I have loads of love for my guy friends, there is nothing quite like enjoying the company of my sisters – one biological and the countless others I have encountered during my lifetime.  There is a comfort and power in women coming together to encourage, uplift and edify each other.  I started a group called ‘Pasta & Positivity’ in 2009 to do just that on a monthly basis.  I wrote the piece below and handed it out to all in attendance, to say that no matter where we come from, we ARE all sisters.  Take a moment today and acknowledge the women who have made a difference in your life through their support, presence, kindess, words, deeds, or examples they’ve set for you.  Love, Your Sister, Ejay

We are Sisters

We are sisters; more connected by our similarities than separated by our perceived differences.

We have all loved a child, whether we birthed him or not.

We have all cried from laughing & laughed to keep tears at bay.

We have all looked at ourselves and felt we were ‘not _____ enough’, when in fact; we are all walking, breathing Perfection.

That makes us sisters.

We have all been peacemakers and hell raisers.

We have all kept relationships on life support when we should have long ago pulled the plug.

We have all fallen short of our immense potential at one time or another.

That makes us sisters.

We have voiced our opinions.

We have kept our mouths shut.

We have been brave.

We have been afraid.

We have made wise choices and we have made unwise ones.

That makes us sisters.

I may not always agree with you or travel your path with you, but I will always love you.

Because we are Sisters.

 

 

 

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