07/28/15
"Inspiration lives in the possible." Mary Marcdante

Inspiration Lives in the Possible. Gnarly Trees, Dr. Seuss and Chainsaws

Gnarly Old TreeThe light on this twisted tree limb called to me from a distance. My first thought was what happened to it to cause such a crookedness in its growth. When I got close enough to really look at it, I had the strangest sensation of awareness run through me. Suddenly, just for a few seconds, it was as if I was looking at an gnarly old man crossing his legs while enjoying the view of the sky. Then it morphed into frog legs. And then I saw Dr. Seuss characters starting to appear.

And then, back to reality by the sound of a chainsaw across the street being started by the landscape team in the neighborhood.

Tree, Mary. Old tree. Branches. Blue Sky. Walk. Get going. You have work to do.

Right. Work. And then Dream Time. Maybe. If there’s time. And now yesterday’s moment is a memory and this morning I’m thinking again about that tree.

When an image is that strong for me, I’m always curious to revisit it to see if there’s a deeper meaning, message or metaphor for me. It’s a way for me to access ideas and insights and problem-solve.

Scanning through my iPhone photos this morning, there was that gnarly old man tree again standing with crossed leg and now he was smiling and reminding me to let go of preconceived notions, to enjoy the freedom of the moment, to see beyond appearances and truly feel the beauty, inspiration and creativity of the natural life that always surrounds us and lives within us…if we will only pause long enough to drop the judgment, open our minds and hearts and then take the risk to create from this space and share our creative expression with others so we can all feel more alive in this wild adventure called Life.

I flashed again on Dr. Seuss. One of the most creative minds and greatest teachers in my book. He lived just a few miles from me. The trees in his neighborhood are similar. What if the Cat in the Hat and the Grinch got their legs from Dr. Seuss pausing long enough to look up at his trees and let them talk to him? Wild. I know. But possible. Inspiration lives in the possible.

What possibility is calling for your presence today? It’s out there waiting for you to feel it.

And I’m here waiting to hear about it. Have a creative and beautiful day and let me know what you experience.

07/22/15

2,920 Days: The Power of Your Presence, Words, and Kindness

TOPS International Recognition Days with Keynote Speaker Mary Marcdante

TOPS International Recognition Days with Keynote Speaker Mary Marcdante

2,920 days. This weekend I had the privilege of speaking to 2000 TOPS members at their International Recognition Days on “Finding Your Genie Within.” So much energy and emotion moved through me – I felt anxious, excited, humbled, grateful… At the end of my speech, two women – mom and daughter – came up and asked if they could have their picture taken with me and then surprised me with a photo of the three of us from eight years ago when I spoke at another event. Eight years! 2,920 days of our lives had passed and it was important enough to them to stand in line for over an hour to remember and connect with me. What a gift they gave me.

If I’m really honest with myself and you, I share this selfishly and humbly to celebrate a personal milestone with you, but equally important, to remind you in your weaker moments that your presence and words are ALWAYS an opportunity for impact. Even if it doesn’t look like it on the outside, we all need each other’s kindness — and maybe even more for some us — our own kindness to ourselves.

If you don’t know me well you may not know that I suffer self-doubt and worthiness issues in my quiet moments, which is one of the reasons I speak on the topics I do – I need the positive reinforcement as much if not more than the audience. In my strong moments, I sense that I am a channel, catalyst, example, role model, and human post-it-note for others to experience the power, value, and beauty of their presence within themselves and their relationships, but oh how those weak moments can rise up out of nowhere and try to dim my light. And then out of the blue, Grace flies in through two beautiful human beings and says, “Thank you,” just like you do with your presence right now.

Thank you.

04/5/11

Inspired Action: Life is Always Guiding You. Are You Listening?

I am always amazed – although I shouldn’t be because it happens often enough to know it exists – when Life intuitively provides for the continuation of our joy, well-being and safety if we take the time to listen. And actually, even when we don’t listen, given the number of accidents and unexpected deaths around the world on a daily basis that don’t happen to us.

Life’s guidance shows up in so many unique, wonderful and surprising ways as I discovered again in a news report from Good News Network that is so good it’s worth repeating.

Tami Akanuma, 83-years-old, who lives in Miyako, Japan, saved her own life by following her dog Babu’s insistence on going out for a walk and taking a different route minutes after the big earthquake in Japan struck. Instead of going toward the beach as they usually did, the dog pulled her in the opposite direction up a steep hill and wouldn’t stop pulling, as if to rush her along.

Tami was surprised because the dog never wanted to go that way in the past. But she relented, flashing in the moment on a memory of an earthquake and subsequent tsunami 78 years earlier (78 years!) that destroyed the town in which she lived. Imagine! She was only five years old back then! Her intuition – her inner GPS that tapped into her life experience, along with her dog’s natural instinct for survival – and possibly even love for Tami – offered her information and guidance. Fortunately for Tami and Babu, she listened, took inspired action and started walking up the hill.

As Tami got to the top of the hill just minutes later, where an evacuation center just happened to be located, the woman turned around and saw a tsunami roar through the neighborhood below and wash away her home. According to Wikipedia, 339 lives were lost in this small city and only 30 of the 1000 fishing boats that support the livelihood of 57,000 people remain.

Every time I read one of these stories that shows the powerful guidance system that Life provides us for free, I feel excited, relieved, more confident, and determined to pay closer attention to my own inner voice, now lovingly referred to as Life’s IV – the energetic intravenous therapy that keeps me alive and well – when I listen and take inspired action.

One technique to connect to my inner GPS that I’ve found really helpful when I’m reading information, especially news information, is to notice the thoughts, memories, or messages that my mind gives me about my own life while I’m reading. These insights often come quickly – in less than a second – and disappear as quickly, but their impact registers in my body, usually from the area around my heart and up to the top of my head (also believed by some to be energetic communication centers, also known as chakras). Occasionally, they’ll show up in other areas of my body – my gut, my feet, an old injury, triggering cellular or muscle memories.

Some people dismiss this information as frivolous. Others are afraid of it so push it away. Some are so outer focused, they miss their inner guidance altogether. I’ve done all, but when I listen and take inspired action, I am always amazed by the results. What about you?

Life is always talking to you. Are you listening?

Read the story about Tami and Babu on Good News Network.

Share your thoughts in the comment box below. Thanks for connecting.

07/13/10

How to Use Enthusiasm to Create Your Future Now

Expectations are powerful indicators of your future. Positive expectations strengthened with enthusiasm help you to access your deeper desires and create a path for more abundance to come your way.

Let me share a great example:

When I was writing Day 6 of The Smile Diet in my book, Living with Enthusiasm: How the 21 Day Smile Diet Can Change Your Life, I was looking for a way to explain how you can increase your enthusiasm for an activity you’ve scheduled in the future to help maximize and increase the enjoyment of the experience.

I created the example of anticipating a massage that you would schedule a week after doing your daily reading for Day 6. I suggested doing a conscious 16-second savoring smile every time you think about the upcoming activity to increase the pleasure of the experience, but then deleted the story because of space.

Because of the synchronicity that happened two days later, I added it to a later chapter and still marvel at how Life is always giving us clues and gifts to help us live richer (in all meanings of the word), healthier, and more inspiring lives. Continue reading

03/30/10

“Eat Slow or Die Fast” with Dr. Bruce MacFarland (1923-2010)

Last week I was privileged to celebrate the life of a great friend, father, and a pioneer and leader in the nutrition and holistic health fields, Dr. Bruce MacFarland.

We were invited to bring a favorite food to share, which in my case, that day, because I was pushed for time, would have been chips and salsa, picked up at Costco. But as I thought about all the things I’d learned from Bruce over the five years I’ve known him including his infamous “Eat slow or die fast,” and “Don’t cross your legs or risk varicose veins,” I realized I wanted to do something to honor his health conscious ways (well, except for Kopp’s Custard in Milwaukee, but who can resist that!) so I decided to make homemade hummus with sliced carrot sticks.

I got out one of my favorite (and beautiful to look at) recipe books “The Raw Goumet” and made the Hummus recipe, which is good, but still kind of bland. I wondered what I could do to spice it up and asked the Ethers, “What would Bruce add?” Continue reading

02/17/10

[Inspired Action] Enthusiasm Mini Retreat

“Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.
~ Napoleon Hill ~

Yesterday evening at dusk in heavy San Diego evening traffic, I heard a screaming fire engine siren behind me.  As it became louder, I quickly veered toward the right side of the street curb along with a trail of cars in front of me. Within just a few seconds, the major thoroughfare was clear and a firetruck roared through the intersection.

As I watched traffic clear so quickly, I felt this odd welling up of emotion that initially perplexed me. I flashed on the thought that hundreds of people made an instant decision to act. Now, you might argue that it was to avoid a collision with a 28 ton piece of speeding steel, but you could also choose to think that people were inspired to action because their need to get wherever they were going was less important than helping an unknown person (or people) in distress get the help of the fire and life protection services in our community.

Perhaps because the relief efforts in Haiti or hard times that have affected so many have been forefront of my mind, or maybe because I am continuously humbled by the goodness of friends and strangers wherever I am, I experienced a moment of grace that still touches me even as I write. It’s these moments of insight and choice, strung together that create more inspiration, meaning and value in my life. What about you?

TIP: Journal 5 Minutes a Day on Your Immediate Surroundings

There are so many ways we lose our connection to our Spirit throughout the day, which leads to making unconscious, unhealthy choices and unnecessary stress and burnout.

Taking the time to reconnect to what feeds our Creative Spirit will always re-energize any project you may be procrastinating or a goal or dream that seems unreachable.

Over the weekend I participated in Jennifer Louden’s Virtual Comfort Retreat 2010, which included a session with Christina Baldwin, author of Life’s Companion Journal. She spoke of the power of capturing daily moments and journaling about them for 5 minutes as a way to stay connected to what’s real and true in your life, especially when we’re bombarded with so many media messages without even realizing it.

Use this information for both acceptance of what is and taking inspired action toward what wants to come into being in your life.


RESOURCE:
NEW! Enthusiasm Mini-Retreat Journal and Guidebook
7 Minutes a Day for 7 Days

I am so excited by what I experienced with the Virtual Weekend Retreat and want to give you a mini version that still has the impact but takes less time per day and fit’s anyone’s budget. The resource I’ve designed for you does all three.

If you ever find yourself wishing for both a quick-fix energy-builder and a long term solution to low energy, fatigue, stress, depression, anxiety or lack of appreciation in your life, you are going to love this new mini-retreat workbook I’ve created for you.

The Enthusiasm 7-Day Mini-Retreat Journal & Guidebook builds on my book Living with Enthusiasm. The retreat workbook and journal gets you in the daily habit of doing one EnthusiAction that increases your energy and productivity and adds more joy to your day in a relaxed and easy way.

It’s fun, and healthy, plus it creates a stronger connection to your Creative Spirit. Share it with a friend or group of friends if you want an even more enriching experience.

Treat yourself to a week of self-discovery, insight and fun. To find out more click on 7 Day Enthusiasm Mini Retreat Journal & Guidebook.

02/10/10

What Inspires You About Yourself?

“Who are you to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?”

~ Marianne Williamson ~

In my program “Staying Inspired Through Challenge and Change,” I’ve asked the question “What inspires you?” to thousands of people over the years. I have heard many amazing and wonderful answers, however, have yet to hear someone respond to the group genuinely, without joking, “Myself,” or “My ability to write,” or “I am an awesome volunteer (mother, photographer, networker…),” or whatever strengths and gifts they embody that clearly inspire others.

It’s easy enough to understand why: we’ve been trained not to talk about our strengths and gifts and sometimes even hide them so as not to appear conceited or arrogant or potentially diminish someone else who isn’t as talented. But here’s the good news. When we are inspiring to ourselves, we are naturally expressing our strengths and gifts because we’re being our most creative inspired selves, and that naturally inspires others with or without talking about ourselves. If you question this, watch the upcoming Olympics.

Taking the time to discover our strengths and gifts becomes self-inspiring, especially in difficult times. When life has its way with us in a way that isn’t our way, we have the resources to bounce back and reconnect to the world in a “brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous way.”

TIP: Answer this question several times over the next week: What inspires you about yourself? If you get stuck, other questions that can lead to the same answers are “What do you appreciate about yourself?” and “What do people tell you they value in you that makes you feel “brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?” Make a list of your top five qualities, strengths, or talents. If you’d like some help with the answers, here are links to two excellent assessments:

1) Marcus Buckingham’s “Find Your Strongest Life.”

2) VIA Strengths Questionnaire. There are two assessments available; one is f*ree. Millions of people have taken this assessment, which measures results based on what strengths will bring you the most happiness when you use them. I’ve taken it and highly recommend either profile.

Once you’ve answered “What inspires me about myself?” then go and ask five people – three whom you know and love and two strangers or new people you meet at a networking event or in the grocery line. Notice the different conversations you have and listen for the inspiration that follows.

RESOURCE: My friend and colleague Lynn Robinson has a new book that I think will interest you. It’s called LISTEN: Trusting Your Inner Voice in Times of Crisis.

When you know how to listen to your inner voice in times of crisis, you’ll possess an unfailing source of wisdom that will guide you through good times and bad, moving you steadily through the inevitable crises of life and always towards your hopes and dreams. Put the principles of this remarkable book to work, and you will discover that bad times can actually be good times if you know how to listen to your inner voice.

I also want to be sure you know that there’s a great opportunity if you purchase a copy of LISTEN: Trusting Your Inner Voice in Times of Crisis. A group of well-known business authors and experts, including myself, have come together, to offer valuable bonus gifts like e-books, audio programs, and tip sheets, to anyone who purchases a copy of Lynn’s new book!

The promotion is one week only; it ends at midnight, February 14th. So don’t miss out! Purchase your copy of LISTEN: Trusting Your Inner Voice in Times of Crisis.

Once you’ve purchased your copy, then visit Lynn’s Listen Bonus Page to claim your gifts:

As always, I love hearing from you and I’m…

Inspired by your presence,

Mary