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Do Something Scary Every Day

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I read that somewhere and I thought it was a stupid idea. My inner seven-year-old started whining, “I like comfort. I don’t want to. Scary things suck.”

But then my inner 15-year-old (who is much more mature than most of my inner adult ages) was like, “Now wait a minute, you actually do do scary things—the good kind of scary—a lot and you love it. Isn’t that what you call living fully alive?”

My inner five-year-old belted out, “She said DO DO! Do do! Do do! Do do!”

My inner two-year-old screamed, “SHUT UP!” She’d just learned that word.

Things got a little crazy after that. We all needed to take a time-out. BUT THEN, after that—things got interesting.

My inner teenager had raised a decent point. When I did 10-day detox, all the voices in my head agreed we were covered on the scary front for those days. Badass self-care is legit scary.

Pitches are scary, but when I put my soul into it, I’m quite good at it. A few weeks ago, I had a particularly important writing assignment that didn’t go so well at first. I knew I had done my best. The scary part was separating my worth from my work. The other scary part was practicing the excruciating art of handling criticism well. Which, honestly, I don’t always do.

I shook in my sparkly pink slippers through the whole experience, but I did it. And I walked away from it feeling like a pro.

Being kind is scary, sometimes. Yesterday, at the liquor store, I smiled at the man ringing up my gin and Jam Jar and asked him how his day was going. I’ve never been a cashier, but I’ve stood in enough lines to know that many of the customers step up to the register completely consumed with their own stuff, barely aware that the person they’re giving their money to actually a real person. He smiled back big and started talking about the weather. We had a human moment and I’m sure it was scary for both of us, but it was worth it.

What about you? Can you do scary good things? What would that look like?

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Nearly every Sunday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

Week Nine :: Rules and Celebrations

Brandy Blogs the Bible

 

The Paraphrase (Leviticus 15-25)

Chapter 15—All about bodily discharges—whether naturally occurring or disease-inspired (bulking them all into the “unclean” category).

Chapter 16—The day of atonement – how and when Aaron is supposed to (very carefully) enter the Most Holy Place. Also, the 10th day of the 7th month is to be a day of fasting and Sabbath.

Chapter 17—How and where you are to slaughter animals and the importance of not consuming their blood.

Chapter 18—A long list of what not to do, sexually speaking.

Chapter 19—Another long list with more laws. From the basic (Do not steal—19:11a) to the bizarre (Do not mate different kinds of animals—19:19a).

Chapter 20—The heady consequences of disobedience.

Chapter 21—The rules for the priests.

Chapter 22—Continuation of the priestly rules. And a reiteration that sacrifices, and in this case specifically for vows, need to be pure and unblemished.

Chapter 23—Feasts and Festivals! Important because this is a nation of former slaves (who, of course, don’t get a day off—ever).

Chapter 24—Oil and bread for God as a tradition every Sabbath. Also, a break for a narrative. A man blasphemes God’s holy name and so, the Lord instructs the Israelites to stone him to death. They do.

Chapter 25—The Sabbath year (every 7th year—where they are not supposed to sow or prune) and the year of Jubilee (every 50th year, same as the Sabbath year, but also this: any land that has been sold in the last 49 years is to return to its original owners (except in the case of a walled city—there the seller has the option to buy back for a year—after that it’s the seller’s for good)).

Notable to Me

For the most part, chapter 15 makes sense as their general rules to ward off disease. But it bothers me that in my translation (NRSV), verse 33 refers to a woman on her period as being “in the infirmity of her period.” It probably speaks to the patriarchal culture, but it’s a reminder that for centuries our time of the month has been seen as a disease. The more I learn, the more I am convinced it is part of our power.

The scene where the guy gets stoned is troubling. But my text commentary points out that the author may have been raising the same questions that come to my mind when I read it about corporate punishment and blaspheme and God. The author also points out that this was probably meant to be one specific time, one brutal example, and not necessarily how to deal with blaspheme in general. It’s still upsetting, but makes me feel a little better. It also explains why thousands of years later, when we here little girls curse—even though their message is important and powerful, many of our conservative friends find themselves up in arms.

I love the year of Jubilee! It’s all about trusting God and community and giving back. As we’ll learn later, that toward the end (the last centuries before Babylonian captivity), they neglected to do it and things went to pot (ASB, pg 191).

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here. I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process!

Every Thursday, I blog through the Bible—trying to get through the whole thing in the next two years. If you found this post interesting and helpful and you’d like to continue to follow along as I go through, you can read the intro to this project, along with week one, the detour we took into original sin, week two, week threeweek fourweek fiveweek sixweek seven, and week eightNext week, read Leviticus chapters 26 through Numbers 7.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Nearly every Sunday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

Blessing for Love and Self-Kindness

self kindness blessing

 

To the God of freedom and imagination,
And space wide enough to be broken and whole

At the same time,

Help us to begin to fathom
The love you have for us.

When labels that have been stuck on our foreheads
Begin to peel and itch,
May we find solace, knowing who we truly are.

God of the universe, Creator of the stars
In the heavens and in our eyes,

May we begin to see ourselves
The way you see us:
Beloved, a child of God, and a friend.

To the God who made wings and gills,
Who gave us hands so that we might
Gently hold ones we love,

Help us to be kind,
To each other and to ourselves.

May we use our time here on earth to practice painting heaven with the ordinary objects we’ve been given.

To the God who sends us off
On epic adventures,

We trust you and when we cannot,
We know that you allow us
The space we need to doubt.

Teach us self-compassion
When we slip up and go the wrong way.

May we love ourselves and we love our neighbors
And forgive ourselves as we would forgive our children.

We pray for restoration, renewal,
And hope, deep our souls.
Your kingdom is here, alive and thriving.

Help us to seek it and to see it.

Dear God, help us to feel—
Deep in our being—
The incredible love you have for us. Amen.

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Nearly every Sunday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

Screw “Supposed to.” Make Your Own [NaNoWriMo] Rules.

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The photo credit probably goes to my dad. He was the designated photographer for most of my childhood.

That’s me on the right, at four years old. I’m fairly certain I was doing close to the opposite of what I was supposed to be doing.

I’m not a rebel by nature, but I am kind of an oddball. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to follow the rules, it’s just that most of the time, I forgot to read up on what they were.

I also like to stand out. It’s my four wing (enneagram speak—a personality test that I will inevitably get around to writing about one day—for now, check this out to learn more). In 10th grade, I decided I needed a “thing” to distinguish me from everyone else, so I wore a sticker on my cheek every day of that school year. It kind of looked like a zit in the yearbook photo (it was actually a dolphin).

Yesterday, in Story Sessions, I asked if anyone else was doing National Novel Writing Month this year. As I waited for people to answer, I signed in on the NaNoWriMo website and discovered that last year, I only made it to about 5000 words.

Generally, the goal is 50,000, or roughly 1667 words a day. It’s a challenge, but it’s doable. I was tempted to delete last year’s “effort.” But as a rule, I don’t throw away work from my past because that’s the stuff that got me where I am today. It helps me to look back and see, in real-time, how far I’ve come.

When I got back to the Story Sessions group, several people had responded. A few were in for sure, but overwhelmingly, there was a hesitancy. A fear of failure.

“I’m just not sure I can commit to that many words.”

This is where you need someone like me. If you want to do your taxes, or show up to work on time, I’m not your girl. But if you need permission to break the rules, I am so there for you.

“Last year I wrote 5000, if it’s any consolation. You don’t have to follow the rules—make your own! I am doing it this year, and aiming for the full 50k. But I don’t even know what book I’m writing yet.”

And just like that, before my eyes, I watched the thread turn to gold.

“Ooh, I can do that. I like the idea of making up my own rules.”

On the website right now, the title of my “novel” is officially “I’m Not Sure Yet.” I’ve never actually written a whole novel. And I don’t want to start next month. If you read my post yesterday, you know my memoir ran away again. I sat down to write last week and felt myself hit a huge block. My intuition is telling me that this is not your garden variety resistance. It’s not time yet. It might not be for several months—or years.

So, I’ve decided to shift my attention to nonfiction, the spiritually-inclined, self-help(ish) genre. I have a couple of ideas, but I’m not sure exactly what I want to write about.

Also, I’m changing gears in my business, too. I’m moving away from life coaching and leaning into freelance work. I bought Jennifer Lee’s Right Brain Business Plan a couple years ago and I’ve tried (and come very close) to creating my own plan. But, in the beginning especially, my route shifted so rapidly and that I really couldn’t get a handle on specifically what business I’m in.

That has to change.

My Own Rules

For NaNoWriMo this year, I’m going to create a gorgeous book proposal that outlines exactly what I’m writing AND a lovely little handmade business plan packed with creativity and the details of what I want my business to look like in 2015.

I’m really excited. I’m still going to count my words. I have a feeling they will add up and that stuff fuels me on. When I’m done, I’ll ask Jermaine to make the book proposal designer. For nonfiction (except memoir), you don’t have to write the whole book before you start doing the work to get you a book deal. By the end of November, I’ll have a piece of art that will help me fulfill my dream of becoming a published author. AND, I’ll have clear plans for both the book I want to write and the business-y direction I want to go in (That is, of course, unless I get that sweet gig I’m vying for—and that I’m still really hoping I get).

Alright, friend. Your turn. Are you participating in NANoWriMo this year? Are you intrigued? Have you been considering it, but feel nervous about failing? What rules are you going to make? You could commit to writing in your journal every day (sometimes the thing you need to write is only for you). You could write a short story and submit it to a contest. You could paint or art journal every day. Or maybe, giving yourself permission not to participate would be the best gift. You get to pick!

Screw convention. Screw the idea that you’re not *really* participating. Only you can decide that. What do you want?

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Nearly every Sunday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

Immortal Diamond (the Invitation)

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” . . . what we seek is what we are . . . ” +Richard Rohr in Immortal Diamond

For the past eight weeks, every Monday, I’ve shared bits of my memoir.

Unfortunately, I’ve hit a roadblock with it (again) and need to sort things out before I continue Monday Memoirs.

Fortunately, The Shalom Experiment, a class (of sorts) I’m teaching, chose Immortal Diamond as our main text for these next several weeks and I feel that it makes for a beautiful detour to do a book series for the next several Mondays as I sort out my own book.

Immortal Diamond: The Search for our True Self is one of those books that sticks to your ribs. It has the capacity to change the way you live and breathe and act. In this series, I’m going to go through it chapter by chapter (starting today with the Invitation). So, if you wanted to follow along, all you would need to read is the Invitation and the Preface by next week.

The Invitation

 “We have spent centuries of philosophy trying to solve ‘the problem of evil.’ yet I believe the much more confounding and astounding issue is ‘the problem of good.’ How do we account for so much gratuitous and sheer goodness in this world? Tackling this problem would achieve much better results.”

I love invitations. In my work as a pseudo-preacher and an entrepreneur, I cannot overemphasize the importance inviting people into the work that you’re doing (as opposed to commanding or—even worse—trying to trick them). Rohr talks about Life and Death not two separate entities, but rather one coin with two sides. He invites us to see the world from this viewpoint—he invites us to Resurrection, or what he calls your True Self.

He also notes that the false self is not evil or even bad. Instead, it’s temporary. It’s the stuff we hide behind. Useful for a time, but not for an eternity.

“God-in-you already knows, loves, and serves God in everything else. All you can do is jump on board. I would call that jump consciousness, and I believe the Risen Christ is the icon of full consciousness. In the human mind of Christ, every part of creation knows itself as (1) divinely conceived, (2) beloved by God, (3) crucified, and (4) finally reborn. He carries us across the journey with him, assures us it is okay, and thus models the full journey and final direction of consciousness. That is my major thesis about how Jesus ‘saves us.'”

When I stop to consider the sacredness in my daughter, my son, my dog, the man whom I loathe . . . I feel great hope and comfort. I know it’s true. I know we’ve all got it. It’s impossible to quantify, but that doesn’t make it less so. I’ve witnessed God through all of those beings. Truly.

One of our problems is that even if we acknowledge (1), we skip (2) and bury ourselves at (3), refusing ever to launch out into (4). Some of us have turned hating ourselves into an art form. That is what we really need saving from. Not our sins.

Rohr wraps up his invitation with a poem—an excerpt from Julia Esquivel’s “They Have Threatened Us with Resurrection.” It is maddeningly on point.

“What keeps us from sleeping
is that they have threatened us with Resurrection!
Because every evening
though weary of killings,
an endless inventory since 1954,
yet we go on loving life
and do not accept their death!

. . . because in this marathon of Hope,
there are always others to relieve us
who carry the strength
to reach the finish line
which lies beyond death.”

With that, I would like to extend an invitation of my own. To come along on this journey with me. To explore this wild book. And to see if you can find that diamond you truly are.

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Nearly every Sunday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

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