Day 46 – Fringe #30dreamdays

12 Oct
Follow your curiosity inch by inch and it will lead you to your passion. - Elizabeth Gilbert

Follow your curiosity inch by inch and it will lead you to your passion. – Elizabeth Gilbert

We all feel on the fringe at times.   We ARE on the fringe most times.  We are on the fringe of “mainstream” or “normal”…or at least that is how we feel.

The reality is that there is a tribe of people who think a lot like us.  Who like a lot of the same things we like.  Who want to connect with people who are like us.  They belong in this tribe and so do we!  So are we ever really on the fringe?

Here’s an update on where I’m at in the Dream Challenge.  Obviously, I didn’t stop at 30 days or even 40 days.  Why should I?  If I am finding this helpful…I’m going to keep at it.  Rules (like 30 or 40 days) are meant to be broken, especially when I choose to make the challenge a lifestyle.

I finished reading More or Less by  Jeff Shinabarger.  WOW!!! Not the topic of today’s post but I highly recommend it and let’s just say you will hear more when I figure out what my first “enough” experiment will be.

I also just finished Malcolm Gladwell’s new book David and Goliath.   I read to absorb so it is hard for me to recap or review but I will make this connection for you.   When you think of the fringe and a small tribe of people who believe in you and your ability to do anything you put your mind to…do you feel like that is still inadequate?  That its not big enough yet?  That you are too much of an underdog to do anything amazing?  Think again.

This week I’ve also considered co-creating a book and/or publishing an anthology of collected writings from a group of writers that has yet to be decided on a topic that has yet to be decided.

Again, I remind you all that I may not do ALL of these things but the time spent dreaming about each is vivid and I get to think and feel through the process and so the things I actually blog about are things I will consider in the future.

I was inspired this week watching the Emerging Women Live conference by something said by Elizabeth Gilbert, famous author of Eat, Pray, Love.  She is critical of the “find your passion” mindset as she thinks it paralyzes people.  And then she said…

Follow your curiosity inch by inch and it will lead you to your passion. – Elizabeth Gilbert

These ideas I am dreaming about are my curiosities.  They are leading me to investigate new directions and I believe that one day when I look back at these early dream days I will find the seeds of my future.   And my dreams may look very different than their seeds but that’s to be expected.  Does any plant look like its seed?

(Photo Credit)

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Day 40 – Design the Future #30dreamdays

6 Oct
Design Thinking

Designers, on the other hand, are forever bound to treat as real that which exists only in an imagined future and have to specify ways in which the foreseen thing can be made to exist. – John Chris Jones in Design Science

Throughout this dream process I have pushed myself daily to explore the things that make ME tick.  The passions that lie within.  To observe the meandering of my mind.   The results are conclusive.

I am a person who loves all things creative.   I wouldn’t classify myself at this point as “artistic” as I don’t actually express my creative side in an artistic way.  Most people connect artistic and creative and have never looked at creativity as an isolated skill that can be applied to any other field.

Through my entrepreneurship escapades I have recognized that I have a creative problem solving approach and creative thinking style.  I can make connections between really random things and I see things in terms of puzzle pieces fitting together or analogies.   It’s never been easy to describe.

Until I spent time during this challenge trying to understand what makes me unique.  Then I found DESIGN THINKING – and I was like EUREKA!!!  Now here’s a way to describe what I do naturally, and would love to study further and teach others!

Below are excerpts from the Wikipedia page.

“As a style of thinking, design thinking is generally considered the ability to combine empathy for the context of a problem, creativity in the generation of insights and solutions, and rationality to analyze and fit solutions to the context. While design thinking has become part of the popular lexicon in contemporary design and engineering practice, as well as business and management, its broader use in describing a particular style of creative thinking-in-action is having an increasing influence on twenty-first century education across disciplines.”

“There is momentum to create awareness about design thinking among designers and other professions by teaching design thinking in higher education. The premise is that by knowing about the process and the methods that designers use to ideate, and by understanding how designers approach problems to try to solve them, individuals and businesses will be better able to connect with and invigorate their ideation processes in order to take innovation to a higher level.”

“Design thinkers share a common set of values that drive innovation: these values are mainly creativity, ambidextrous thinking, teamwork, end-user focus, curiosity.”

Solution-based thinking

“Design thinking is a methodology for practical, creative resolution of problems or issues that looks for an improved future result. In this regard it is a form of solution-based, or solution-focused thinking that starts with the goal or what is meant to be achieved instead of starting with a certain problem. Then, by focusing on the present and the future, the parameters of the problem and the resolutions are explored, simultaneously. This type of thinking most often happens in the built environment, also referred to as the artificial environment (as in artifacts).”

“Design thinking differs from the scientific method, which starts with defining all the parameters of the problem in order to define the solution. Rather, the design way of problem solving starts with a solution in order to start to define enough of the parameters to optimize the path to the goal. The solution, then, is actually the starting point.”

Differences from science and humanities

One of the first Design Science theorists, John Chris Jones, postulated that design is different than the arts, sciences and mathematics in the 1970s. In response to the question ‘is designing an art, a science or a form of mathematics’ he says:

The main point of difference is that of timing. Both artists and scientists operate on the physical world as it exists in the present (whether it is real or symbolic), while mathematicians operate on abstract relationships that are independent of historical time. Designers, on the other hand, are forever bound to treat as real that which exists only in an imagined future and have to specify ways in which the foreseen thing can be made to exist.

MY DREAM

I dream of designing the future, specifically in Education and Social Innovation.  The beauty of mastering design thinking is that I would aim to be a facilitator/contributor on multidisciplinary teams to work on Wicked Problems (ill-defined and tricky problems) which are the kinds of problems I get a thrill from.  I would teach as many people as possible how to employ design thinking.

I am researching the new Master of Fine Arts in Design Thinking offered by Radford University.  I have time to look for other programs that may meet my needs so if anyone has anything to suggest, please do so in the comments below.

(Photo credit)

Sources: Wikipedia Design Thinking

Day 35 – All I Need Is You #30dreamdays

2 Oct

AllINeedSitting down dreaming of being so surrounded by His presence that I have no hunger for anything else.  I’ve been a “Christian” for more than 10 years but I have not been hungry for His presence.  I’ve settled for less than God’s best because I didn’t do my part and seek Him.

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

I have not humbled myself.  I have prayed but did I truly seek Him?  I don’t think so.  I’m repenting but I realize that it’s to be expected since I am only really coming to understand what that means.  I could have read my Bible more.  I could have attended more Sunday School classes.  I could have done a lot of things.  Maybe I would have gotten it before now.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have a strong faith.  I believe in God.  I believe that Jesus was God’s son and died on a cross for our sins.  I believe that He was resurrected and now lives inside me.   I BELIEVE I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME.

But I have “believed” that in a way that has barely scratched the surface of what that means for ME…NOW.

I have lived off Fill Me Up by Jesus Culture for over a year now.  As I’ve already stated in a prior blog, I have been asking God to move my heart through new songs.  Quite honestly, listening to worship songs is another one of the things I could have done more of.

God has made it clear to me that I am to live my faith out loud.  I trust Him.  I believe that people reading this in October 2013 and for years to come will need to see how people wrestle with God.  How we chase Him and then get sidetracked by a squirrel right before we catch Him and have no good stories to share other than it was a brown squirrel.

I know people of faith and people who want to believe in something…just not God or Jesus…need to hear that I didn’t want this either.  I was minding my own business living my own life when I fell in love with a licensed minister.  Really?  With 3 young kids too?  Does this sound like I went out looking for this?

Looking back I can see how God pursued me.  I started realizing that a few years ago.  I was so in awe of being pursued by Him.  I was amazed at how perfect this ready made family was for ME that I made an Idol of my life and all that He had blessed me with.

He is showing me all this.  I naturally fall into trying to figure out what to do with all this and then I realize that is me back at it…idolizing the puzzle solving skills that I have been blessed with instead of pressing in and seeking more of Him.  More of His revelation.  Do I not trust Him to continue to reveal this to me and help me work out what to do NOW with this knowledge?  Why do I always resort back to “leaning on my own understanding” when All I Need is YOU, Lord.

Day 31 – I Surrender #30dreamdays

27 Sep

IsurrenderSo I originally intended this to be a 30 day challenge.  I decided yesterday that it should be 40 days and intended for these last 10 days to be just between me and God.

In my quiet time I kept asking God for a new song for this new season.   He is faithful and today I discovered the song below. I spent some time in His presence today soaking in this song.   I was excited, so excited that I wanted to share this with you.

Then I had the moment where I felt guilty, like I was violating some promise I made to God by not just keeping this experience between Him & I.

And then I heard it…

Your life and your faith are meant to be lived out loud.

So here I am.  Living my life and faith out loud…I surrender.

“All to You I surrender, all of my dreams, all of me.”  “No turning back,  I’ve made up my mind.  I’m giving all of my life this time. ”

 

Day 30 – God’s Will #30dreamdays

26 Sep

YouProvideTheFireToday is the last official day of my 30 Dream Days Challenge.   It has been an eye opening experience.

I have decided to extend it 10 more days to make it 40 days total but the next 10 will be strictly between me and God.  A lot has come up for me over these 30 days and I know the work that was started will continue long past the 40 days but I need at least the next 10 days to gain clarity on all that God has poured into me through this dreaming process.

I had the pleasure today to meet with Princess Bola Adelani, a powerful woman of God.  We were referred to each other by a common friend and it was obvious to me that this was a God ordained connection.  We’ve been trying to get together for months and set this date up last week.  I did not realize at the time that it would be the last day of my dream challenge but He has a way of working out those details.  It was her words that inspired me to take the next 10 days alone with God to gain greater clarity.

I don’t know what will come of this new connection but Princess Bola is organizing a Call to Destiny Summit in Hartford from Oct 24-26, 2013 and I plan to attend.  Click the link to find out more.  If you are interested in attending with me, please contact me.  I would love to experience this with a group.

At the end of our time together Princess Bola summed up what she heard from me and said “Your heart is crying out to know and do God’s will”.

I know this to be true.  I have known this for awhile.  The hard part for me is clarity on this.  My deep passionate dream is to know clearly the will of God for my life.  When I know that with clarity, I will walk in power and am 100% convinced that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  CLARITY is what I seek now.  I will enter into a time of prayer and fasting pressing in to get that clarity. To my purpose and destiny.

About a year ago, I realized I needed more of Him and less of me.  I cried out to God for a worship song.  One that I could sing in the times when I needed encouragement, when I needed to get into His presence.  One where I could remember the lyrics (as music is really not my “thing”).   I love Revelation Song, especially when this amazing woman at my church Katynia sings it.   But it wasn’t “my song”, at least not at that moment in my life.  I also love Hosanna by Hillsong.   It was also not the song for that season.

Then one day, Krista left K-love on in the car and when I got in and started the car, there it was…

Such beautiful, simple lyrics.  I can remember them anywhere at anytime and this has been the cry of my heart for the last year.

Fill Me Up by Jesus Culture

You provide the fire
I’ll provide the sacrifice
You provide the Spirit
And I will open up inside

Fill me up God
Fill me up God
Fill me up God
Fill me up

Love of God
Overflow
Permeate
All my soul

I have certainly felt the fire over the last year or so.  I have opened up inside.  I know that God is filling me up.  The love of God is overflowing in my life.  It permeates ALL my soul.  I can’t contain it.  It’s all consuming…

ALL CONSUMING…

I will always love this song.  But there is a new season starting.  I am looking for a new song.   My friend Katynia sent the song below to me the other day.  I fell in love with it.  The part that resonates the most with me is the “you can’t buy my silence”.  For me this is the inner turmoil in my own head fighting against itself.  I know change is about to come and there is a voice coming out of me from what God has been pouring into me and I don’t know what to do with it yet.  I just know that I can’t still it.  No amount of money can silence it.  AND I WILL BRING THE NOISE…

STAY TUNED!  The time is now…

Day 29 – Learn from Others #30dreamdays

25 Sep

EmpathyExperimentMy daughter Krista is pursuing a Bachelor of Social Work degree at Cedarville University in Cedarville, OH.  Her Intro to Social Work class just completed a poverty simulation today.  They got to be homeless for a day! The only thing they knew going in was that it would be 27 hours long, they were allowed to bring a sleeping bag, their bible and $3.25. That’s it.  Before she embarked on this journey she posted:

“While I’m kind of nervous, I’m also incredibly excited to see the work God is going to do through this experience! Please be praying for my class tonight! Thank you!”

I have yet to actually talk to her about this experience but below is her post upon completion of the simulation:

“Words can not even describe how awesome that experience was! I mean it was probably the most humbling thing I’ve been apart of and my experience does not even compare to what the homeless go through on a daily basis! I went a couple hours without eating, some go days. I had to walk for hours on end, my feet hurt and I was so tired, but some homeless people do it every single day. I mean the knowledge and resourcefulness of the homeless astonishes me, I doubt I’d even be able to survive on my own for two days, let alone months and years on end. Even with the difficulties that came about during my experience, I still had the comfort of knowing that I could reach my professors if anything too serious happened and that I’d be coming back to my dorm today, with a shower waiting for me, with food, and with a bed that I get to sleep in. This last day was such an eye opening and heart breaking experience but it was also a confirmation that I’m meant to be a social worker. I’m so excited to spend my life helping the people around me!” 

Empathy is a powerful learning experience.  We can develop a deep appreciation for the resourcefulness of the homeless or other’s who struggle with things we pray we never have to actually experience.

em·pa·thy

the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.

When people talk of empathy they almost always refer to empathisizing with negative emotions or experience.  I value that ability and consider it a key to connection and relationship.  It also has learning benefits as my daughter Krista clearly articulated.  However, I don’t want to put EMPATHY only in a negative box. I want to learn from others who are passionate and excited about stuff that I know little about.

In college I had to choose a Philosophy or Ethics class to meet the curriculum for whatever degree I was pursuing at the time (I changed my major a few times and attended 3 colleges before graduating).   I chose Philosophy of Religion.  I absolutely loved that class.  It was taught by a Hindu professor and the main “text” we used was Varieties of Religious Experience, a Study in Human Nature by William James.   I misplaced or sold back my copy but was SUPER excited when I realized I could download the Kindle version for FREE from Amazon.  You can too…click on the hyperlink above.  If you don’t have a Kindle (like me) you can download a Kindle reader for your computer and read it on screen, print it…whatever.  My gift to you!

This book is considered “one of the most important texts on psychology ever written, not only as a vitally serious contemplation of spirituality, but for many critics one of the best works of nonfiction written in the 20th century. ”

What I loved most about reading it was that it dug into a variety of religions from the perspective of people who were REALLY passionate about that religion and who felt they had an encounter with the divine.  I didn’t feel preached to or like a target convert, it was more like  I was invited into a love story.

Sometimes I think we just need someone who LOVES something to introduce us to it in order for us to have a deeper appreciation for it.  We may even come to love it just as much, if not more, than they do.  Isn’t that what happens to kids?  Isn’t that how many of us first found the things we love and are passionate about?

Do you think we outgrow this ability?

I don’t like hiking.  Or at least I don’t think I like hiking.  But I have to wonder if my perspective would change if I were to be led through a hike with a person who was so passionate about that activity–the physical, emotional, spiritual side of it and could walk me through it step by step with why they love it so much.  Maybe I just haven’t had the right experience or I just needed a passionate guide.  Maybe I really haven’t even tried it…which I haven’t…not really.

Same goes for gardening.  I am intrigued but really clueless.   I am not passionate enough about gardening YET to bother to try to learn it on my own.  But might that be different if I worked alongside someone who was passionate about it and could share with me why they love it so much and make the hard parts easier?  Might I then spend hours trying to dig deeper and learn more?  Maybe.

I decided to look up Hobbies on Wikipedia to see if I missed anything (I’m still a recovering perfectionist remember) and found a rather thorough list.  The only one I would add to my “interests” that I am not currently pursuing would be Urban Exploration.  That one definitely seems like you would need a tour guide!!!

If you’ve been following my blog, you know I love learning.  I am committed to Lifelong Learning.  I want to inspire others to continue learning, especially those who hated school and who never considered the Varieties of Learning Experience that exist beyond the classroom.

People who are passionate about their interests and hobbies LOVE talking about them with others who share those interests or are curious.  You can learn so much by listening to a passionate person and you are building connection and encouraging that person simply by being interested and listening.  This is how I have kept learning over the last 13 years since I graduated from college.

I never thought of it this way.  But now that I have, I will actively pursue learning from other’s experiences and hope that I will discover even more things that interest and excite me.  I realize this is one of my favorite ways to learn and teach.

What are you passionate about?  Do you like it when people ask you about it?  When was the last time you learned from others?

Day 28 – Do things worth doing #30dreamdays

24 Sep

SayYesWHY do it?  Because you CAN.  Because you WANT to.

I’m not advocating doing anything just because you can or want to but there are some things that are worth doing and we stop ourselves thinking…why am I doing this?  What purpose does this serve? Don’t I have TONS of other things I SHOULD be doing?   The answer to that last one is ALWAYS YES.

However, even though there are tons of other things I should be doing, sometimes doing what I SIMPLY can and want to do IS the thing I SHOULD most be doing.  Sometimes I need to do that thing just for me.  Just because I want to.  Just because it is worth doing.

When I realize that my energy, passion and motivation are on a rhythmic ebb  & flow…I MUST add things into my day that I simply do because I can and want to.  Sometimes those things will be wildly productive in their own right.  Most times, those things won’t.   But those things are THE THINGS that refuel my energy, stir my passion and spark my motivation…and get the flow going.

Do the things that fuel your energy, stir your passion and spark your motivation.   If you need a good reason I simply say…Life is harder when you don’t.

(Image Credit)
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