Saturday, May 31, 2014

Contribute You

I have been volunteering for over 20 yrs, from spicing up my lean undergrad resume by providing free tax help through VITA to raising money and awareness for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by running the Marine Corps Marathon in honor of my father. But my absolute favorite contribution to date is volunteering with SMART (Start Making a Reader Today).

Every Thursday, from October through May, I read for a half hour with two students one-on-one. After eight months, it was hard to say good-bye to my spunky kindergartner and grounded first-grader. So instead, I doodled a unique picture for each as my way of saying thanks for bringing great joy to my Thursday afternoons. 

Whenever I heard the word 'contribution' it used to mean donating your time or money to your favorite charity. But after watching The Theory of Awesomeness with the founder and CEO of Mindvalley, I was reminded that it means so much more. I've redefined contribution to 'sharing me and my gifts' with the world.

Whether offering a stranger a smile; sending a postcard just to say 'Hi - I miss you!'; or spending an afternoon with a newborn so my friend can spend time on herself -- these are just a few of the ways I contribute me to make the world a happy place.

Make someone's day; contribute you in your unique way.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Put a bird on it!

Multnomah Village, Portland
Banking used to be boring...until you put a bird on it!

Oh, Portland. You never disappoint.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

There's no one I love more

ⓒ Stefano Vitale - Mother and Child

you're the first person I reach out to
when I experience amazing
or the one I wish was near
when my tummy hurts.
you taught me unconditional love,
the way you give of yourself
without thought or complaint or an expectation 
of something in return 
but just because it's from your heart.
thank you for your faith in me,
even though it keeps you up at night.
you taught me I can do anything,
just spread my wings and fly
and hold my head up high
even if my neck is dirty.
one day I hope to be half the Goddess you are.
there's no one I love more.

the above was inspired by and is dedicated to my beautiful mother, Lydia Thomas. 

Mother, Mother, I miss you. I love you.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Say it loud!

Failed! by sonja
I am a perfectionist.

Don't worry, I'm not sticking with an old label. I'm reframing the definition. Turning my Achilles into a strength. To be "perfect" for me now means to accept and love me as I am, right here, right now. And to continue to experience, grow and become more of who I really am...perfect.

In the past, my perfectionism required that everything I do, from grades, to sports, to drawing, had to be "the best." An A+. Never miss a fly ball (even if it smacks you square in the forehead and you have your first MRI). A hand looks like a hand and not chicken scratch.

Failure was not an option. So fear started to take hold, making new experiences full of anxious hesitation. And slowly, life turned into a suffocating routine, full of missed opportunities and resentment.

With redefining perfectionism, it also changes the way I see failing. A necessary step (usually several) along the journey to achieving mastery. No one can run a marathon the first day they try (well, there was this one guy dating an ex co-worker of mine who did it, but there's always exceptions). But no one can circle around the earth the first day they learn to walk...not that I've met yet.

But we can try something new. And if we like the experience, then we keep at it. Failing along the way. Maybe even becoming an expert. The next Serena Williams. Or following in the footsteps of Miss Dolly Parton or Lady Gaga. Or maybe it's just for fun, playing tennis with friends. Singing karaoke on the weekends. Or maybe we hate it. And move on to the next experience.

You may even find yourself wanting to try, but not quite giving it a go. That's OK too. Revel in the experience of finding out more about who you really are and love yourself for it.

So, get on up and say it loud: "I've failed and I'm proud!" And then take that next step.