I’m taking time this evening, on the first anniversary of CatchlightSB, to write about a mantra I adopted a year ago.
I’ve been watching our daughters as they jump into new age brackets and confidence levels, seeking novelty every single day. They climb the tallest trees they can find. They give their strength forward in hiking, rafting, mountain biking, musical instruments, dance, the list goes on! They find their potential in new endeavors as if that’s an easy task. They make new friendships and cultivate them with time and care. They pursue new opportunities as if they are fall leaves, catching each one before it escapes their hands and falls gently to the ground.
Why are kids so intuitively good at saying “Yes,” and showing up? They know that feel-good-naturally-induced chemical well. Dopamine works wonders for kids and their pursuit of new things. And it can for us adults, too, because every time we do something new and enjoy it, that wonderful lift-you-up buzz motivates us to try something else! Somewhere along the way though, adults start to believe they have to feel good before doing something new. So, we stop trying. But, I think, we have it all backwards. The motivation is what follows any of our go-for-it-actions. It does not precede them.
For some time, I’ve stayed well within my comfort zone. I maintained a sweet hum of what I enjoyed in a neat little box. When I began writing again, through the platform of CatchlightSB, the walls of that tiny box unfolded completely.
CatchlightSB was a template for connecting with other people at more substantial levels. It was a gateway for me to share my introspections with others, and hear and understand theirs as well. It was also the first time in a long while, I simply said “Yes,” and then showed up to keep seeking what motivated me.
Opportunities encircle each one of us all the time. They can be small but sweet things, like walking with a friend, or joining someone at their new favorite class. They can be larger things, like new jobs, travel or reconciliations with friends or family.
At the beginning of this year, and after completing a local hike in town called Inspiration Point, I received a call. A dear friend had connected me to an opportunity that, at first, sounded way out of my league. She asked if I had an interest in writing a review for the Arlington Theatre on opening night of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. I had never done anything in that realm. Never. It sounded daunting. But because I had just finished hiking Inspiration Point, and the day was glorious and bright, I just said, “YES!”
Less than a week later, I showed up. A press pass hanging from my neck, I stood nervously on the red carpet awaiting the guests of honor from the film Charged. I found myself giddy with excitement. It was an incredibly wonderful opportunity that opened doors to other opportunities and connections to inspiring people and their stories.
From the inception of CatchlightSB, I began a new commitment to self, recognizing that passions can only be cultivated with engagement; not just our fleeting thoughts.
Saying, “Yes” to new endeavors, new friendships, new possibilities of connections has been so enlivening. Its allowed me to see so much more authenticity all around me. It’s helped me to have so much more hope in what exists in our world. It’s supported me to believe that truly, we each have an important role to do in living out what we are intended to do in our short, beautiful and complex life.
That’s the funny things about saying, “Yes” and showing up you have to do so right away. You can’t say, “Yes,” and then say: I’ll be ready for that in a few months… when I am better organized, in better shape, or have more time, when my kids are older, when I get more sleep. Nope. You have to say YES and SHOW UP right away.
In Elizabeth Gilbert’s newest and most brilliant book yet, Big Magic, she describes our creative endeavors as little wisps that seem to hover above us for a short while until we catch awareness that they are awaiting our attention and then we do something with them. However, if we don’t give them attention, these creative sparks find their way into other’s paths and “poof,” they exit our hands.
In this beautiful fall season, let yourself say, “Yes” and Show Up every time a fall leaf blows your way. Let yourself grasp it in your hand, do something with it and then let it elevate what you believe you can do.
I have never heard our daughters say, “What if it doesn’t work out?” “What if I can’t do what’s expected?” I do hear them say assertively, “I want to try that! I want to go there! I want to see what happens when I …” It’s beautiful. It’s strong. It’s empowering in every way.
If you are someone standing on the edge of something that has motivated you for some time, and you haven’t taken a step to allow it to happen, do so now. Make the change, go for what makes your hair stand on end, try the thing you have wanted to be part of, break free of the chatter that happens within your head that tells you otherwise. See what happens.
Our third grader just finished reading Kate DiCamillo’s, The Tale of Despereaux. There’s a tender quote in the book which states, “Stories are light… Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning…. Make some light.”
Let’s follow our hearts by saying, “Yes” and showing up. And then let’s see where the light leads us.
I would like to highlight, Naseem Hyder, Web Design. As a Web Designer, she has a giftedness in actively listening and getting underneath what a client has envisioned. As I shared my own ideas for CatchlightSB, Naseem was incredibly resourceful in helping me forward from the very beginning. I am grateful to Naseem for understanding what I wanted to do with a simple platform and openly supported me to lift it off the ground before it drifted away with a crisp fall breeze. She is a technical genius and joyful to the core.
Naseem Hyder, Web Designer & Developer, firstname.lastname@example.org www.naseemhyder.com
About the Image:
While in Whitefish, Montana I breathed in the big sky sunsets every chance I had. The best of all my remembrances of these sunsets, were reflected upon the clear water. These lilly pads lit up as the sun began to drop and created what looked like a pathway. Doing one thing that motivates us leads us to other things that can engage us as well. We build a lilly-pad path for ourselves and in doing so, keep our motivations energized as we step into new possibilities.