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Life. Writing & Inspiration. From the FB Status of Anne Lamott



Life. Writing & Inspiration. From the Facebook Status of Anne Lamott

This was originally posted by Anne Lamott, here!

Anne Lamott facebook status


“I don’t usually count on inspiration in my work. I count on the belief that if I show up, keep my butt in the chair, hold a potato gun to my head, and make myself sit there, something writerish will happen.


I’ll get some words down on paper, or the on screen.


They will suck.


There may be 185 of them, when what I was after is a sentence of 40 words. Or 18, or whatever. But if I stop to figure out where that one sentence is, I won’t get the next 203 words down, in which will be buried the 36 I seek, to describe the stream, or the truly most awful person in my life, or the light on my flowering pear tree.


See? It’s a lot like real life–incredibly time-consuming, with very little to show for it in terms of profit/loss, with endless, meaningless chatter, mostly about how hopeless it all is, and what a fraud and loser I am, and–most important–who is to blame for any current discomfort.


But inside that chatter, that bad self esteem and grandiosity and judgment and self-righteousness is the prize–me. My true me. Who I always was, deep inside, behind my eyes, taking it all in. My perfect precious self, who no one managed to ruin–not the parents, the culture, the worst men, the alcohol; not nothing.


The ancient Greeks called God the Really Real, but that also describes my being buried in all Fibber McGee closet that makes up the me you think you know–the persona, biography, survival tactics, scar tissue, foibles.


And inspiration is when the really real in us gets through the chatter. Not the drama and trauma addict with her Blanche DuBois inner storms, or the lawyer, and not the flight attendant, or the set director arranging people on the set we’ve created, with sand that trucks hauled in, and beach chairs. Just the child, and our animals selves, and an old but ageless person who takes it all in with a small smile, who has seen it all, who nibbles away on a bit of leftover scone, tends to the cats and the orchids.


That part of me, which gets a turn to speak sometimes when I am not agitating, enabling, scheming and multi-tasking, beckoned me into the glade of itself on Monday,even though I was busy It tricked me!


I somehow had the presence of mind to shut up, and let my mouth drop open. I was hushed, and a moment of inspiration seized me–or at least tugged gently on my sleeve. And I knew–out of the blue–if you believe in “out of the blue”–how to proceed with my work, and my life. I all of a sudden knew what I am up to now–and if you read these posts, you know I’ve been floundering and faking it for a couple of months now, since the publication of “Stitches.”


The thing is, though, that while I’ve been floundering, in limbo, I took the right actions. We take the action, and the insight follows, not the other way around. I pray, I hike, I try to take care of God’s children for Her, knowing that He or She will take care of me. I practice radical self-care, ie, I make myself artichokes, and put clean sheets on the bed, and wear shirts I feel pretty in. I take naps. I get my butt into my office chair come hell or high water, because, once again, as Woody Allen said, before I turned on him, 80% of life is just showing up.


And now I kind of semi/sort-of know what I am doing again. Wow. I know what the next two weeks work will entail, whereas a week ago, I was going to give up or put aside this mumbled jumbled garrulous narcissistic piece I’ve been slogging away at. Because inside those pages WAS a story worth telling, a story that is true and human and touching, and sort of funny–just like inside us, beyond all the facade and performance art is this wild touching tender being or person who has been watching all along and taking notes, whom no one and no thing could ruin.


But it came through me because I was not sitting around waiting for inspiration. I was getting my work done, as a debt of honor; showing up for my life.


I’ll tell you what came to me, as inspiration, over the transom, that you may not think is all that spectacular: when I was a child, I got lost all the time, because I was a space cadet. And once I got lost at the Grand National Rodeo at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. I was five, and weighed about ten pounds. I was missing for half an hour, in a crowd of 15,000. I was found by some friendly strangers–this was before all strangers were assumed to be homicidal pedophiles–and turned over to the care of a Grand National Rodeo girl. She stayed with me while an announcement went up over the PA system, that a five-year-old child would love for her daddy to come to livestock Pavilion. But I swear on my soul, I remember two things. I was not afraid. I did not know yet that if you were lost, you should be afraid. And I believed with every ounce of my being that when I grew up, I could be a Grand National Rodeo Girl.


I could be beautiful, with flowing blonde hair. I would wave and smile, astride my horse, and help lost children not to be afraid


I would lose this belief over the next few years, what with the funny hair and scrawny body. But I got it back Monday, that this IS what I am doing with my life, on this cold scary crowded planet. That this is who still lives inside me, and maybe inside you, too.


If you don’t know who Anne Lamott is, her book ‘Bird by Bird’, changed my world! Check her out on Facebook here! She is also the author of bestselling books like ‘Help, Thanks, Wow’ & ‘Stitches’.” – Anne Lamott
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Can You Receive A Compliment Without It Getting To Your Head?



a compliment (1)

Receiving compliments gracefully isn’t as easy as it should be for some people. How about you: are YOU ready for someone to give you a pat on the back? To be pushed to doing more? To have someone give you a supporting hand? To be picked up when you fall down?

Sure, we may think that’s what we want. But is it what we need to develop, to grow, and to get better?

If someone complimented you on every little improvement you made while learning a new skill, would you not start to feel a bit marginalized? That perhaps they didn’t really think you could do it? What about when you do something that seems pretty easy and everyone made it into a big deal?


Receiving Compliments When You Are Not Ready For It

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments

Developing new skills is never free of trouble. We all know the level of foundation that must be built to get from being a novice, before reaching greatness. In the learning process, we all know when we are in that frustrating stage of not being quite as good – but we know what we have to do to get there.

It’s in these moments that receiving compliments on your every action could minimize your efforts. That’s because if they truly knew you, people would be holding out for when you make that big, defining leap. 

As we overcome hurdles in our learning and development, friends, family members, and colleagues will know when the time is right to provide encouragement. They know that when that moment comes, those words will have the right amount of impact on you.

Think back to when you were growing up, playing some elaborate game. Perhaps you spent hours creating this game: building a fort, putting together things that the rest of your characters in the play could use. You pushed through despite the trials and problems.

It would have served absolutely no purpose for someone to congratulate you on every step (and misstep) along the way.  You would have lost your flow as you worked through the problem, constantly being interrupted – all while you were still trying to figure it out and understand where you needed to go.

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments


When Receiving Compliments Makes You Content with Present Achievements

You might never have finished if someone patted you on the back early in that moment, content in the knowledge that you “thought up” the idea and that was enough. If everyone was saying you did great simply for thinking up something new, would it have compelled you to stop?

Maybe. Perhaps you would have stopped with that compliment.

As a parent, you learn when to encourage your children. Usually, it’s not when they show up, and not when they do what kids around them are able to do as well. It’s when they push themselves to do more. When they pick themselves up and still lose, when they try something new for the first time, fall over and fail, not sure if they should do it again.

Those are the moments when kids should be receiving compliments – NOT when they have done the same thing over and over again, or when they didn’t try their best but won anyways.

Kids know this. They can feel it when people give false compliments or encouragement because they did something they’ve always done. But when it is something meaningful, something they have worked hard for, they know the encouragement will be there to help them.

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments

The reason you might not be receiving compliments or encouragement when you want to is because you haven’t earned them or don’t deserve them yet.

Maybe your coaches, leaders, parents, or other people who support you know you are not ready for it. Perhaps they need to see you making that next big leap in your growth and development.

Those compliments might not come today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. But look at those around you – the great people you have chosen to surround yourself with – and you’ll see that they are waiting to give you that push. They are waiting for you to make it happen.

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3 Ways to Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart




when your dreams are falling apart (1)

I truly believe that dreams must extend beyond wishes of self-improvement; that its goal should be to contribute to the world around you.

The heart is a fickle thing. Imagine how many amazing things wouldn’t have been accomplished if great minds simply stopped when they “didn’t feel like it”.

It’s human nature. I’m sure that during the course of over 300 bank rejections, Walt Disney had days when he felt like giving up. But he didn’t. He kept going. Why? It was because his dream went far beyond himself.

Here’s how YOU can keep going – even if it feels like your dreams are falling apart.


3 Ways to Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

1.) Remember The “Why”

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

Often times, I find that dreams extend far beyond the simple purpose of making one happy. For example, being a songwriter in and of itself does not make me feel happy and fulfilled. Imagine if my life’s work was to write songs that no one would ever hear. That doesn’t elicit any feelings of happiness or fulfillment (at least to me).

Seeing and hearing the healing effects that come from the songs I create for others to hear? Now you’re talking. Healing and helping others is the part of my dream that keeps it alive. It gives me purpose in this world that goes far beyond myself and my skills.

I’m reminded of the character Ebenezer Scrooge from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. Scrooge’s goal in life was to have money – and lots of it. He set aside love and relationships for that dream. The result of this life goal was a lonely, cold, bitter old man.

I won’t ruin the whole story for the very few of you that may not have heard it. In the end, Scrooge discovered that what brought him fulfillment and happiness were community and generosity.

So what is the “why” to your dream? How is your dream going to affect those around you? Get beyond yourself. As many have said, YOU are your biggest obstacle to success.


2.) Take Off The Rose-Colored Glasses

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

You know what I’m talking about. The “I’m going to make it big” and “I’m going to famous/rich/etc.” I hate to take a pointy realistic needle to your big ideas, but I’m doing it out of love. Here it is:

Your dream isn’t going to look exactly how you pictured it.

Take a minute to take that one in. Still here? Yes. Alive? Yes. Not Bleeding? No? Hurt a bit?

It’s OK. I know. I’ve been there. Dreams are vulnerable. We spend countless hours imagining what it would be like and how we will get there. But the truth is, in my experience, they have never turned out exactly how I have imagined. Why? We live in a world of people and circumstances that we can’t control.

Here is where the “why” comes in. The beautiful thing is that your works are a direct result of your heart’s intention…and what you put out into the world never comes back void. Here’s an example:

As a singer-songwriter, the common idea of making it big for my line of work is to have a hit song or perform in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden (I’m more inclined towards Red Rock Amphitheatre, but you get the picture).

Let’s say that I work and strive tirelessly to do everything I need to do to reach that goal. I release a song, I tour around the US, develop a large following, get on the radio, etc. Along the way, I hear stories of how this song has impacted the people who have heard it. Stories describing how it brought healing, encouragement, and hope.

To go further, what if I never even make it that far? What if circumstances happen and I can’t tour? What if everything “falls apart”? What if I end up playing at open mics for the rest of my life? What if it doesn’t happen in the next year? Two years?

Does that change the fact that my song helped heal and open the heart of a broken and depressed Vietnam Vet? Or how it helped encourage an author to keep going and writing? Or how my song started a conversation on how to look past the labels overshadowing soldiers and their families?

It’s all about your perspective of success, my friend. To me, because my “why” and my heart’s intention are to help people, those stories above are my version of success. It’s what keeps me going. If I get to Madison Square Garden (or Red Rocks), well that’s just icing on top of the cake.

Keep going on your dream. Make a plan, and in the words of .38 Special, “Hold on loosely, but don’t let go.” Roll with the punches and understand that even greater things can come when things don’t go according to your plan.


3.) Make Your Dream Your Job

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

No, I don’t mean quit your job and have no income while you work on your dream. That’s an entirely different article (and completely up to you). I’m talking about treating your dream like it is your job.

For example, if you completely failed at a presentation at work, would you just quit and not go the next day? No! You have a livelihood and an expectation to show up. So why quit on your dream at the first sign of failure?

Treat your dream like your job. Make a plan, show up every day, and understand that it may take a while to see any results. I know many songwriters who wrote hundreds of songs before they wrote a hit. However, they never would have reached it if they didn’t take that first step, made a commitment, and wrote 100 songs first.

Dreams don’t just happen. They take work. So go get started!

My best advice under this theme is check out the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. It is by far the best resource I have discovered in my journey of living out my dream.

Here’s the deal. With every goal that I have set and achieved, I never sat at the end and thought to myself, “man, look at what I did”. Believe it or not, I was more overwhelmed with the thoughts of the journey that I had to take to get there – the good and the bad.

I would admire and laugh at the unexpected things that came. I would smile and enjoy the character it built, the person that I became in the process. In the end, the best thing about dreams and goals isn’t their achievement, but the journey that you take to get there.

Never forget that the dream in your heart was put there for a reason. You were made to make an impact on this world.

Enjoy the journey and never, ever give up. Keep going.

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