B is for Bravery

I’m only on letter two of the creative alphabet and already I’m having a fight with myself. Because I have two absolute favorite “B” words. Balance and bravery.

Balance means being healthy and aware in all aspects of life. It’s about knowing when to start and when to stop. It’s about knowing when to “do” and when to “be.” It’s about creating harmony between work and play and rest and all the other “things” that go into this amazing thing we call life. “Balance is beautiful” is one of my top-selling Said The Butterfly cards. People tell me it keeps them centered. I love that.

"Dream Brave" is about the balance between dreaming and bravery.

But… It’s bravery that allows balance to be possible. You have to be brave to be willing to take the steps of creating balance. I can still hear Gemma telling me to be brave. To put myself out there creatively. To be willing to shut my eyes and trust myself to create something wonderful without the pressure of my eyes and mind judging it the whole time. And then, to leave the comfort and safety of her studio to enter the world and apply those same philosophies to life. To live it. That’s bravery.

Bravery makes things happen. A dream is only a dream until you’re brave enough to act on it. Even if you’re terrified and there are a million sometimes tedious and painful steps, it’s bravery that keeps those feet moving. Then one day, you wake up and your dreams are coming true. Only because you were brave.

So my dear readers, the battle between balance and bravery is over. Bravery always wins.

Good things,
Melissa

Want Good Things Darling delivered to your inbox? Subscribe here.

Have you seen my line of inspired cards and gifts? Visit Said The Butterfly here.

Want to see more of my drawings, paintings and collage? Visit my Flickr Art Gallery.

A is for Amazement

"Abundance" is one of my favorite A words and the title of this piece I did in 2003.

There are words I use all the time. They’re my friends, my confidants, the pillars of what I care about and believe in. They’re my creative alphabet. I’ve decided to share them with you here, one at a time and in alphabetical order starting with the letter A.

My favorite “A” words are abundance, awe, amazing, adventure and “and.” They’re full of power, possibility, appreciation, noticing, celebrating and continuing. They can be summed up into one truly awe-some word. Amazement.

I can’t take credit for this one. This one comes from one of my poet-heroes, Mary Oliver. Here’s an excerpt from her poem, “When Death Comes.”

“When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”

For me, this is about living, really living. It’s about being so open to absorbing the magnificence of the world around us. It’s about feeding our souls by the very way we live.

Here’s to amazement and to walking through life in a constant state of wonder. Thank you, Mary Oliver.

Good things,
Melissa

The Terrifying Magic of Pressing Pause

Today is the kind of day I always wish for. Totally wide open and free. And now that it’s actually here, I almost wished it away. Almost. Luckily I stopped myself. See, this is a magical time in my life where I am regrouping after my very long recent adventures. Reenergizing before I set sail into my next sunset. Isn’t that exciting? Yes, Yes, YES!

But… it’s also kind of terrifying. Shouldn’t I be finding my next great job immediately pronto presto? Shouldn’t I be resume-sending, linkedin-linking, job-googling and contact-calling? I’m slowly learning that any sentence that begins with should invites some self reflection. So I am letting my mind settle a bit and make some space in my life, mind, heart and soul for whatever new beginnings might be coming my way. I’m also enjoying this regrouping in Redondo Beach at one of my favorite coffeeshops.

I’m thinking of another time in my life where I felt similarly squirmy. It was April of 2006. I’d been teaching middle school for about 4 years and something within me was itching that it was time to pause and possibly switch courses. I calmed the itch by promising myself that over spring break I would do nothing but reflect. When the week came, I tried to fill it up as fast as I could. But then, thankfully, I stopped. Halfway through that week I created this:

And by this I mean the manifestation of a dream that’s been within me as long as I can remember. It’s “Relentless: The Dream Follower.” A character that came to me in an almost sleep many years before and a story that practically wrote itself in my mind.

See what happens when we allow ourself to pause? To go just beyond the busy-ness of do, do, do. And to allow the be, be, be. Here I am be-be-being me and stepping into the terrifying unknown. I’m pressing pause, letting the inevitable squirmy-ness come and go and then and only then is there room for magic. I’m ready. And it’s my great honor to share it with you all.

Good things, darling.

Melissa

What’s the opposite of bicoastal?

Hi darlings,

Today’s my first full day of being uno-coastal. Or would it be mono-coastal? All I know is it’s a beautiful change and I’m happy to be home in LA. Sweet, sweet home.

Here’s an excerpt from the goodbye email I sent to my friends at Sawtooth, the amazing NJ-based ad agency that was my reason for being bicoastal these three plus years. It was a tough decision, but deep in my heart I knew it was time.

After three plus years traveling between Los Angeles and New Jersey, I’ve decided to be in Los Angeles full time as of 2012.

Working at Sawtooth has been an amazing adventure for me. So, too, has been the bicoastal life that’s unfolded as a result of my genuine love for being here.

I’m excited to begin the next chapter of my life propelled by all the momentum I’ve gained by working with you all. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

So here I am, writing to you live from the next chapter. I am so excited to see what unfolds. And I will be sure to share it will all of you.

The photo above is from the last night of our roadtrip driving my car and all of our acquired east coast treasures home to LA. As the moon hung bright over Sedona, I took a deep breath, snapped this picture and breathed in and out. ‘Thank you, thank you.’

Good things.

Melissa