Thursday, February 3, 2011

"Just Do It" isn't just for selling sneakers...

I don't spend much time at all on this blog or elsewhere in my life preaching at people.  It just isn't something that I do.  I'm not clergy so I don't suppose I consider myself qualified to preach and even if I were clergy I don't personally find preaching an effective method of congregation herding.  That is probably one reason I am not Christian.  Of course, the reason I am beginning this post with these disclaimers is, of course, because I am about to preach.  Maybe preach is a harsh word, but I have something I really need to say and I want as many people as possible to really read what I have to say about it. To really listen to me.  Ready? 

One of my favorite motivational quotes is the famous Gandhi phrase "Be the change you wish to see in the world."  I use to think this really just meant "in regards to human rights and activism." But after years of reflection on these few words I honestly believe that it applies to everything someone does in their life.  This is a principle I refer to as "Positive action creates positive action."

I spent a good portion of my life waiting for something to happen.  I waited for someone else to present me with the opportunities to advance whatever part of my life that needed advancement.  I waited for raises or promotions. I hoped someone would see that I was a talented writer and give me the opportunity to write.  I waited.  Then one day, I had a revelation.  There was no magic opportunity fairy.  I could wait for "a better time" for the rest of my life and "a better time" would never come.  Some people say "God helps those who help themselves." Same is true for The Goddess.  I realized that I was the only person in my life who could create any of my own opportunities. And if I created my own opportunities I might be blessed with more opportunities. And so I dove in; deep.

It started small about 10 years ago.  On a whim, I emailed Anne Newkirk Niven the editor of Sage Woman magazine and offered a proposal for a series of articles.  She informed me it wasn't right for Sage Woman (initial disappointment) but would be great for PanGaia (yay!) and directed me to the editor of that magazine.  For the next year and a half I had a featured column in PanGaia.  And what that really did for me was boost my confidence.  It was no longer "I want to be a writer when I grow up" but "I'm a writer."  I was emboldened to share my work with other markets and was subsequently published in Llewellyn's magical almanacs for two years.  I met people and made connections.  I felt good about myself because I took a positive step in the direction I wanted to go.

Then I moved to Georgia and that was a big change in my life as well. I started out still writing and still active in a community that would empower me.  After a while, though, I began to get comfortable and complacent again.  I kept writing but I stopped publishing and I kept thinking "one day" I would do something else.  One day an opportunity would present itself to me.

I suppose one day it did. My best friend emailed me about 2 years ago and said "You know, I want to write and you want to write but neither of us are writing.  What are we waiting for?"  And she was absolutely right. Positive action breeds positive action.  We began writing and sending our pieces to each other.  It didn't matter if they were good, but just that we were doing them.  During this period of time I also began to publish this blog. It started, and remains, primarily a blog of inspiration.  It is dedicated to the Goddess I am most devoted to and was simply intended to be a platform for me to express my relationship with her.  I didn't really care that people read it, just that I was writing it.  And positive action bred positive action.  The more I wrote here the more I wanted to share.  Next thing I know I was volunteering for other aspects of the greater community.  Since May I have been writing for the PNC pop culture blog The Juggler. I feel like I am contributing to the world in my own small way. My best friend, by the way, has also been writing a lot.  She finished a novel and half of another and just started a new one as well as several short stories.  Positive action breeds positive action. 

I also have two other blogs.  My partner, who also believes in action over words, put his money where his mouth is and began a lifelong dream of building his own small house with his own hands.  With no building experience and armed with a dream and amazing research skills, we began to build a 120 foot cabin in the mountains.  I wrote about the process on my more private journal primarily for safe keeping.  I started to realize people were interested.  I started to realize strangers were interested.  So I started the blog.  I don't do it for the recognition but I do get really excited when I see the blog featured on other blogs or in local newspapers.

Then, over the last year, I started to get really interested in another project - beer.  Sure, I like drinking it but what I really loved about it was the art of it.  I was fascinated by the overwhelming variety and by the community of people it seems to bring together.  I also became interested in the science behind it.  I wanted to learn to brew my own.  For the first time it occurred to me that blogging could be a significant motivator in the process at inception.  If I write about what I am doing I have a responsibility to actually do it.  It makes it real. After I started posting to my blog a few friends who have made beer before were suddenly inspired to do it again.  Positive action breeds positive action.

I get really excited when my friends express an interest in starting something.  I want to be involved, I want to encourage them.  You want to start the movement for International Pagan Coming Out Day?  I'm behind you 100%.  You want to train to eventually try out for the roller derby?  Where's the next skate party?  I'm here for you.

This isn't about "Hey look at me!" or bragging about the things that I've done.  I'm not perfect and I have a lot of work still left to do.  This is more about "If I can do it, so can you."  I don't really care what it is that you do, just do it.  You want to build a tiny house in the woods? Just do it.  You want to write a novel?  Just do it.  You want to travel the world?  Just do it.  You want to change your life?  Just do it.  No one can do it for you.  I am here specifically to give you the encouragement that you can, in fact, do it. There are always sacrifices. Sometimes, there is even failure.  There are always small steps, but your opportunities are out there. Positive action breeds positive action.  Be the change you wish to see in the world.  Go ahead, I'll wait here...


  1. I needed this post right now. Thank you! *hug*

  2. "God helps those who help themselves." Poor Richard's Almanac 1736. One of my heroes, Ben.

    I'll check the AtlantaRollerGirls schedule and send you an invite :)

    This article is oddly familiar :) but I swear I didn't read it until now. As I say, it's in the air.