Dare to Excel

Who can believe it’s already the middle of 2015?

Not me.

It feels like just yesterday I was cracking my heart open to find the answers to my best [business artist] self. That was Quest2015, an orient-yourself-to-the-upcoming-year-as-a-business-artist inspire-a-thon, whirled by Jeffrey Davis at Tracking Wonder. But that was last December. A whole half year ago. The Quest immersion propelled me to write and write and write. To write and connect. To write and create. All of which served as the dinghy to carry me through rough waters, to keep me just safe enough so I could read the map and route my way to safety among the stormy seas. Beyond safety. It afforded me the opportunity to sit in that boat and read the stars at night and chart my plans by day to intentionally route myself toward the harbor of joy and the peaceful open waters of creativity. Whoosh and splash. It’s been quite a journey over six months. I don’t quite know the name of this ocean yet, but the waters are warm (and shark free!) and the company I meet along the way is exceptional.

And, here I am, six months later, still in the habit of of finding myself tucked into bed and typing like a mad woman well beyond my bedtime. Tonight the writing is toward the Dare to Excel Challenge posed by the Tracking Wonder crew (more on that below). But in the interim, my commitment to a #ContinuousPractice keeps me fueled into the late hours, unfurling as the #365Quote Project, which started as a quote-a-day clacked out on the typewriter and shared on Instagram. Then a daily TinyLetter newsletter (you can subscribe here), which I love. It feels good to share ‘my medicine’, and all of the connecting and sharing encourages me to keep creating. And creating. And writing.

But that is all looking backward, and the best thing is really to just move forward. And at this mid-year point, Jeffrey Davis is prompting us again, this time with Dare to Excel, a 30-day challenge to advance our big, burning question, guided by short questions and exercises every-other-day.

Question #1: What burning question of possibility will influence what and how you create for the next 30 to 90 days?

Two big questions unfurled. The first I scribbled on my notepaper when I had the pleasure of seeing Jeffrey live and in person at The Hive in Gastonia, NC on the Tracking Wonder Tour. The second, well, that’s what I’ll call the ‘less selfish’ version of the first question.

big what if

creative why

But this all felt and sounded a little bit familiar. And that’s because we were prompted with the same question all the way back in January. So I want to take this moment to simultaneously look backwards and forwards…

Possibility, Gratitude & Chicken Butts,

The answer to my ‪#‎burningquestion‬ became clear when I got to move back to my home and farm on Monday after a month and a half away. All is not said and done, and I can’t guarantee I’ll get to keep this place. I do hope that I can. When I arrived back home, the question instantly became ‘HOW?’. I know this farm is my place of possibility, but how is it all going to fall into place? How am I, and a pack of DIT-ers, going to make this possibility happen? In the last year I have definitely learned that you can’t force, squish, race, plan or whip anything into happening. You just have to coordinate the chaos and guide life into its desired landing spot. If you have to force it, it’s just not going to be right (or fun or good). How will this all happen as it should? How will I have the patience to not overdo it, avoid coming out of the gates too fast?

My question feels small and selfish among all the other grand, world-benefiting questions that are being asked in this group, but I do think it is my path to ‪#‎livethequest‬ in the year ahead. Saying all of this out loud (and showing my face on the camera!) feels scary and brave. Thanks for creating a safe place to dream and test new waters.

Here’s to the possibility ahead!
January 9, 2015

That’s where I was in January. It’s July. I feel like I’m still on the right track. Still asking questions stemming from the same source. The farm is still a working farm. I’m 99.9% sure I’ll continue to be here in one form or another. I am continuing to write and work and make things and mow the grass. And I am moving (turtle-like) toward opening this space as a creative haven. My goal (oh, here’s to saying it out loud!) is to start hosting a monthly, free, creative retreat day on the farm. To hold this as a place free from the regular daily pulls (laundry, sweeping, bills, kids, partners, stress), and instead full of inspiration, community, and connection to self. I hope to host the first by the end of July, and then regularly until it’s too cold or too-something-else. That seems to be the first step in unwinding the thread of the question and sewing it into the life of this place.

My good friend B sends me little musing every once in a while. Yesterday this popped up in my mailbox.

Q: The memory of my wonderful experiences haunts me. I want them back.
Maharaj: Because you want them back, you cannot have them. The state of craving for anything blocks all deeper experience. Nothing of value can happen to a mind which knows exactly what it wants. For nothing the mind can visualise and want is of much value.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

These words, they really struck a chord. I love living in these big questions, quests and dares. I love using it all as the big gravitational magnet that guides my compass heart. But the lesson I’ve learned of late is that the questions have to stay soft, and the vision has to stay blurry. Maybe it’s blurry because it’s so far in front, so far off in the distance and I don’t have my glasses on so I can’t quite make out all the shapes. There is a value to flexibility over stubbornness. To the importance of holding the big goal, but staying soft with the bumps and changes and shifts. That you can’t force anything, and that it’s not quitting to change direction, sometimes it’s just what is. “Nothing of value can happen to a mind which knows exactly what it wants.” So I hold these burning questions softly, the rough map created while sitting in my dinghy. Open to interpretation and change, depending on the weather and stars and wind, as long as I keep moving forward (or somewhere. As long as there are not sharks).

Can’t wait to see where the Dare to Excel Challenge leads this month. (And I thought July was going to be quiet, ha!) Here’s to asking the big questions, and staying soft and tender to the answers that arise.

 

 

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