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Journaling Prompt

When this fighter showed up in my art journal, I thought she’d make for an interesting and revealing journaling prompt, since what we’re always trying to get at is self-awareness. Here’s a step-by-step prompt for you to work through. I’d set aside about 20 minutes for this one so that you don’t have to rush through the process.

1.   Write the prompt, “I’m fighting . . .” ten times on a piece of paper:

Now complete each “I’m fighting . . .” sentence on your paper. As much as possible, write without thought, at least until the automatic answers have all been recorded. No self censoring allowed, write everything.

2.  Read through what you wrote. Read it out loud if possible – hearing yourself is powerful. Do you notice a theme? If so, complete this prompt in one to three sentences: “The theme I notice is that . . .”

3.  Now read through your list again and choose the one that stands out now or that surprised you or that you disagreed with or felt resistance to when you were writing it. Circle or highlight this one.

4.  Five minute write (I did three minutes myself and found that it wasn’t enough). Before completing the following timed writing exercise, here are a few notes about this type of writing: Sometimes you may not, at first, know what to write – start anyway. This is the benefit of the “forced” timed writing – it makes it so you don’t have time to think. So simply set the timer, start it and just start writing absolutely any words at all, even if it’s total nonsense at first, something always comes.

When you’re ready, start your timer and write for the full five minutes on the following prompt: Use the highlighted sentence you chose in step 3, and we’re going to spin it around by answering this question:

“How can I surrender this rather than fighting it?”


Continue to write for a little longer if it feels natural or simply sit gently with whatever has come up for you, alway remembering to be patient with yourself. Self discovery and exploration is a process that can’t be rushed or forced. Looking with curiosity at what comes up for us and leaving it with a question, and especially being okay not having the answer to the question, is quite a pleasant way to end a journaling session. As you continue through your day, you might ask yourself: I wonder what that means? I wonder what I can learn from that? I wonder how I might approach that a little bit differently? I wonder . . .


My preference is usually gentleness. However . . .

Some days you just need a good swift kick in the pants.
Pull yourself up by the bootstraps?
Put on your big girl – you know.
I’m just not a fan of any of these sayings, but . . .

My family loves to watch Speechless each week. The mom, Maya, has this matter-of-fact way about her that appeals to me, plus, it helps quite a lot that she’s charmingly British. So in one episode, someone tells her something that she’s done and she says very frankly, “I don’t care.” For some reason, I found myself saying this, over and over out loud and then

These girls showed up in my art journal.
They were bizarre and were dripping with the usual elements of Resistance: doubt, fear, confusion, excuses, reasoning – you know the routine. And my girls knew just what to say.

Seems like whenever I’m getting going on a new path, the unwanted and very sneaky Resistance cousins appear. Their assignment: stop me in my tracks.

These girls are part of my tribe now, though. They know just how to handle Resistance, so I take my cue from them. You’re welcome to have them join your tribe as well. For those times when Resistance is whispering in your ear, conning you out of what you’re attempting to bring into this world, join me and these girls and say out loud, matter-of-factly (and don’t forget the accent),

“I don’t care.”

Repeat as often as necessary.


Because I’m incorporating art making as a daily practice this October, I was eager to find this list I wrote in my journal the last time I was doing a daily art challenge. Dare I admit that it was in June 2015 and that I stuck with it for three whole days? Well, even that is part of the process, I remind myself.

24 life lessons learned through art:

  1. Be willing to jump in even when you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. You MUST start where you are.
  2. Breath and relax into it. Enjoy the process.
  3. Stick with something until its obvious conclusion.
  4. Things probably won’t work out how you expect.
  5. Really, really focus on the object of your attention.
  6. Look beyond what you SEE to what else might be there.
  7. Think outside the box – how could this be approached in a unique way?
  8. Be adventurous. Have fun! Bring the joy. Open up. Loosen up.
  9. Keep at it, and you will keep learning and improving with each and every effort you make.
  10. Be willing to make mistakes. Allow them. Embrace them. They make you more free and more of who you really are.
  11. Be you. Be true to who you are – don’t try to be Van Gogh. Try to be Vicki. Don’t try to create the Mona Lisa. Create something unique and authentically YOU.
  12. Begin your approach thoughtfully, quietly and inquisitively. Approach with a spirit of curiosity and wonder.
  13. Be fully present and available in the moment.
  14. Things take time. Allow growth to be a very gradual process and to happen in its own time.
  15. Show up with your whole being, with all of you.
  16. Things do not have to be perfect to be meaningful or wonderful.
  17. Keep asking what appeals to you and what makes you breath easier, and then do that.
  18. Remember that every single experience provides a lesson, something that you can learn, and provides the potential for growth.
  19. Approach creativity itself as a practice. Creativity is one of the ways God speaks to you and through you.
  20. It cannot be rushed, forced, figured out, cajoled or pushed into place.
  21. It isn’t about the end result. You don’t have to know how it’s going to all turn out. It’s about fully experiencing each moment as you go along.
  22. Your part is simply to show up – consistently – and let it find its way.
  23. Trust the process.
  24. No holding back. Go for it!

I love how I can go back through these art lessons and apply them to my entire life. I am finding that my approach to art, and to life, is beginning to reflect these lessons. If you’re curious, which I hope you are, go back through the list and see how each of these applies to your own life.


I wonder . . . what DO they hope to achieve,
leaping around at the tippy top of the tallest trees in our yard?

Are they
showing off?
pushing themselves to the very limit of what they are capable of?

Well they certainly aren’t quivering on the ground, filled with fear at the possibility that they’ll leap and plunge to their death. In fact, nothing in them says that this is even a possibility. In their minds it isn’t, and so – in reality it isn’t

They KNOW they’re up for it.
They were MADE for this exact thing.
They are well-equipped.
They need only make the leap.
The fact that they trust they’ll make the landing
doesn’t come into the equation.
They know . . . when they get to the other side, all will be well.

The obvious answer, of course, is that they’re gathering nuts to bury in silly places in our yard
EVERYTHING in them says that they MUST.

What is everything in YOU saying that YOU must do?
Or else.
Not out of obligation
But out of an innate, deep desire
That’s bursting out of your very spirit.

It is so much a part of you that it feels like it’s pressing from the inside on your skin,
threatening to ooze through your pores,
aching to come out and play.

Will you, like the squirrel, attempt the leap?
Will you
as if there is no other possibility but making the landing?

Will you go to the top,
to the tippy tippy top of that tree,
as high as you can go

Why, though? Why must we force ourselves out of our warm and cozy nests of comfort to make the ascent? We hesitate, we internally whine, we make excuses because – is it really necessary? Can we not be content to be safely on the ground with the other woodland folk?

Wouldn’t we be just as content to wait
for other squirrels to drop food down to us?
To gather acorns off the forest floor?
Other people’s left overs, the fruits of other people’s work?

That’ll keep you fed.
But it won’t fill you up.

We were born for higher, bigger and better things, and we’ll never, ever ever be satisfied until we ARE who we were born to be.

You are up for it.
You were made for this.
You are well-equipped.
You need only make the leap.
you’ll make the landing,
and when you get to the other side,
all will be well.



“Do you really think he does that,” my husband asked at the end of the interview, knowing perfectly well that if I am actually perking up and listening to an interview on the golf channel, of all channels – it’s got to have some sort of non-golf related lesson. Life lessons learned from . . . the golf channel?? I know.

“What did you change?,” the announcer asked. “How is your game improving so drastically?”

We wait to hear the golfer’s answer of hard-earned wisdom, the swing keys he’s developed, the pre-shot routine, yeah, I know the lingo. The golf channel is on a LOT in my house.

Without skipping a beat, the golfer surprises me by saying something along these lines:

“I didn’t do a single thing to change my swing; I simply changed the way I saw my golf shots.”


“I started to not focus on what was going badly and instead made a conscious effort to focus on what was going well.”


“I go home at the end of a round and write down every good shot.”


There you have it, folks.

“So you’re saying that you have a gratitude practice and that you’re perfectly aware that when you focus on the good, it completely changes your perception and you get more good, and you’ve decided to make this way of thinking into an intentional habit?” the announcer might have said if we were living in a parallel universe where everyone was as into personal growth and self actualization as I am. But alas, in this case the announcer just moved on rather quickly – probably he didn’t know what to make of such an unusual answer!

It’s entirely possible that we were the only people on the planet who paid any attention to this interview, but considering the importance of the message, I’m thinking they should have called it breaking news and done one of those notices across the bottom with the really loud, annoying attention-getting beeping sound – really get people to stop and listen because these are actually the reminders we need during our busy days!

Do I really think this golfer writes about his good shots? Yeah, I absolutely do. Because he knows the power of gratitude and training your brain to perceive the positive rather than the negative, so he’ll talk about it with anyone who will listen.

When you focus on the good, you get more good. Your perception shifts and without even applying any effort, you begin to see more good around you. Does it draw more good in, are you “manifesting” more good in your life, sure. But it’s all about perspective, as in . . .

What color are the glasses through which
you are seeing the world around you?

At the end of the day, when our brains begin to run through recent events, bombarded by the woulda, coulda, shoulda’s, let’s pause. It’s okay to do things differently today and let tomorrow take care of itself. This guy goes home and writes down the positive. He changes nothing else, nothing, nothing about how he holds the club, how far away from the ball he stands, whether he wears his pants not quite as tight – he only begins to NOTICE and appreciate the things that went well. He only SHIFTS his focus from the junk to the treasure. Let’s do that too.

smdivider*Special thanks to the golfer who gave this interview, D.A. Points.


I once had a coach tell me that 95% of the people she works with don’t take action. That figure is simply staggering to me. I’d like to pretend it couldn’t be true, but I know it is.

I always believe, though, that it’s possible to be doing things in a whole different way.

It doesn’t take a lot of paying attention to notice how often we, and the people around us, can be heard saying, “I want to (fill in the blank).” We could start feeling sort of, or COMPLETELY, irritated with hearing ourselves say this same thing over and over and over again, sometimes for years, even decades. It can be disenchanting to think of us all, with these dreams, big and little, bubbling up inside of us, and here we go about our days, stuffing them back down. No, no, you can’t come up, I’m living here, don’t you see. And all those dreams are trying to do is bring you calm, to help you be more of who you really are.

What is stopping us? Because seriously, it just is not right, is it? It’s actually quite unacceptable. It robs you, it robs me, it robs the world. And it fills me with this very determined feeling I get when all I want to do is get up under someone and give them that boost they need to help them make their dream into reality – give them the support, the encouragement and the CONCRETE help they need so that they can actually DO what they are always talking about doing.

So today I have this question:

What’s on the other side of this dream?
(You know the one.)

Really, I mean it. For as long as you’ve been saying that this is something that you want to do, and you’ve been unintentionally holding yourself back from fulfilling this dream of yours, what’s waiting for you on the other side?

Without meaning to, we’re working hard to hold our dreams at arm’s length, and we don’t even realize that it puts a lot more pressure on us to stuff it down than it actually would to just let the thing see the light of day!

You will be a lot happier when you are
actively pursuing your dream
than when you are avoiding it.

Not knowing what’s on the other side, the unknown, can be a pretty scary place. At least where we are is familiar, and we can quite conveniently use as our forever excuse: I always dreamt of (fill in the blank) but I never did – because I was too busy, because I was helping someone else fulfill their dream, because I didn’t think it was a real possibility, because I didn’t feel worthy, because I was scared of being happy and having the other shoe drop, because I didn’t have enough cash, time, the right degree, connections, talent, energy, skill. It is safe here anyway, if nothing else.

Is it possible that on the other side of this dream there might be. . . another dream . . . even greater possibility . . . a feeling of contentment we haven’t felt before and didn’t believe was possible? Is it worth it to go through the discomfort of moving into and through places we have never been before to discover the answer to our question? It’s certainly not common, when you think about it, but I don’t want to be common. I wasn’t born to be common And neither were you. We were born to be exceptional!

Darling, I want you to be one of the 5% who DOES take action! Will you discover, at last, how it feels to be on the other side of this dream, to see that you are capable of absolutely anything that you set your mind to, that you are without limit for the simple reason that the One Who created you is without limit.

When we limit ourselves, we limit God.

Because the truth is that sure, we’re not really up to the task, we can’t actually trust ourselves to be capable of something so grand and seemingly impossible. Aren’t we just the absolute luckiest to not be in this alone!? We have a Helper, and we CAN trust our Creator, and


we ARE capable of anything.

Listen up as you go around your daily life and start to notice how many people (yourself included) you hear saying, “I want to this” or “I want to that.” You might have the urge to say to a perfect stranger, “Then you should do that!”

That thing you KNOW, deep down? That thing you know wants to burst through and become reality?

You should do that.



Little karate kids running down the mat, like a red carpet, as fast as they can, leaping into the air to kick the pad their teacher is holding, trying to knock him off balance.

The kids go through, working their way down the line, laughing as their teacher falls down, exaggerating his movements, flailing through the air.

The kids are thrilled!

Next kiddo up
runs down, kicks the pad.
Her teacher does not go flying.
Not this time.
In a quiet voice, he tells her calmly, gently,

“You didn’t give it all you had.
Go back.
Give it everything you have,
do not hold anything back.”

Back she goes with a new determination to give it
absolutely everything she has.

Earnestly, her teacher looks right into her eyes and says,

“Knock me off my feet.”

I have to ask myself these questions:
Am I giving it my all?
How am I allowing myself to hold back?
Is there a little, tiny bit of extra effort I can put forth that could possibly make
all the difference in the world?

 In our heart of hearts, can we sometimes hear our Teacher whispering to us:
“Knock Me off My feet.”

Many thanks to Jethro, a truly gifted teacher. I watched our children absolutely bubbling over with joy as he taught them about karate and about life, and even the ability to laugh at themselves. I am so grateful to have known Jethro and his wife, Eden.


What are your “trigger thoughts,” those thoughts that set you off and spiraling? You know the ones – your brain scrounges around when it’s got nothing better to do or when things are going really well! or when you’re tired, until it finally stumbles upon the very thought that will upset you the most.

Now why would I ask you to voluntarily go looking for those thoughts when we spend our days trying to keep them away?!

Because I want us to realize that, contrary to how it feels, these thoughts CANNOT HURT US. They don’t feel good, they feel threatening actually, but they don’t have the power over us that we give them.

Thoughts only have as much power over us
as we allow them.

When these thoughts come, oh, it can be so exhausting! All the reasoning and pep talks we have to give ourselves to make them go back from whence they came. We don’t WANT to feel what these thoughts make us feel. We want to be AWAY from these thoughts! So we run – we do whatever we can to get away.

But if we
stop running
and really look at them, we’ll see that:
they’re only thoughts after all.

They don’t ACTUALLY have the power to hurt us.

And the awful feelings they create? They’re just feelings. They don’t have any power over us either.

This kind of thought is like a great big puppy dog, though not nearly so fluffy and adorable. The more we run from it, the more it chases us around. And usually, we end up putting a leash on it and walking it around the neighborhood repeatedly.

What if we try a different approach altogether?

Stop running.
Just stop for a second.
See the thought as what it is – just a thought.

Next time that troublesome thought tries to get your attention, for a change of pace, try stopping . . . take a calming breath and say:

“This is just a thought.
This thought only has as much power
over me as I give it.”

That big old puppy might just curl up and take a long nap.

smdividerSomething else I do when I finally identify a thought as troublesome, a sneaky, havoc-wreaking thought, is to ask whenever it comes along, “Is this thought from God?” You’ll know the answer by how the thought makes you feel. It creates an important level of awareness, and it helps you to remember that if it’s not from God, there’s no need to chase it down.


There’s this feeling I get sometimes that I have come to think of as the most wonderful clue.

A clue to who I really am.

Here’s what it is, and you may have experienced it before, but you might not have paid too much attention to it or recognized it for what it was. I know I haven’t always.

You begin to do something that you haven’t done in a long time or something you have never done before, and you suddenly find yourself taking a

really deep breath,

possibly a deeper breath than you have had in a very long time. You didn’t do it on purpose, it just happened on its own. Maybe it felt like a refreshing sigh, or you are now breathing easier than you were before. Perhaps, you have even had a sudden shock of thinking to yourself, “This makes me VERY happy.”

We need to pay attention to this when it happens.
This is a gift, a huge clue about who we really are.

Now that I’ve started paying closer attention to this clue, I have to laugh when I notice it, grateful for the confirmation that this thing is, indeed, something that fills me up and makes me me and for the reminder to include this more in my life.

Even if it appears to be very, very simple or trivial.

Among other times, I get this clue when I watch the birds flying back and forth to the feeders in my yard, when I’m spreading watercolors around on a piece of paper, when I’m doing this Classical Stretch program I’ve done on and off for years, and when I’m squirting whip cream onto strawberry shortcake to have for a decadent breakfast – ooh, that makes me so happy! Like I said, this clue doesn’t have to be all deep and meaningful and point to my life’s purpose – sometimes simply to something that creates contentment and joy within me.

I’m keeping a running list now; it has me feeling very curious to continue discovering things that make me breath easier, things that are pointing me in the direction of who I am, things that are, independently of me, revealing my TRUE self! These are the things that make me who I am as an individual in this world. Your things will not be the same as mine, but I oh so encourage you to start noticing when this lovely clue happens to you.

Write them down, do them often.

We don’t DECIDE who we are.
We DISCOVER who we are.

After all, we aren’t the One Who places these desires in our hearts. Let’s get to know ourselves better and better all the time and follow these clues to our true selves and to true contentment in our lives. Happy clue hunting!



How often do you have that sense that SOMETHING is right around the corner for you? It’s coming, and you want it, but it is . . . just – beyond your reach. If you can only try a LITTLE harder . . .

Or that making sense of this specific thing, having this ah-ha moment, is on the very, very tip of your brain. It’s almost there, so close you can almost touch it . . . until you can’t, and you realize you can’t get yourself there on your own either.

This summer as I walked and pondered and figured, in the process of creating this site, this business, this new way of life, really, these four little instructions “suddenly” began swirling around me, like voices on the wind, I would suddenly receive one of these reminders . . .

don’t reach

don’t grasp

don’t cling

don’t resist

We reach for things we feel are coming to us, reaching, reaching, stretching out to take hold of them. Reaching for understanding that we might not really be ready for yet. Hours spent trying to figure out who we are, where we’re going, what it all means. Reasoning and figuring until it just plain hurts.

We grasp for things, trying frantically to catch things, good things, things that are INDEED meant for us, but we’re so eager for them to hurry up and GET here already, and we grasp at them for fear they’ll pass us by and we’ll miss them. We want the answers now. We want the results this very minute.

We cling to the past or to the things we don’t want to, or are afraid to, let go of, even when we might know it’s time for them to go, or maybe they weren’t really ours in the first place. We create rules for ourselves and try, try, try so hard to stick with them and to keep up with it all.

We cling, we reach, we grasp, thinking that we’ll pull good things to us, but ironically, it is by these very efforts to control things that we end up resisting them.

There are other ways that we resist the good things that are coming our way. We resist with our feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness or a feeling that we need to earn, we need to be better, we need to be enough first. God WANTS to give to us abundantly, and yet half the time He’s trying to give us something (often something that we’ve been praying or hoping for) and we’re going, “No, oh no, I was asking for that, but really, I just realized that I’m not good enough to deserve that yet,” or “I’m actually really not ready yet, but thanks for the offer!” We are literally shutting Him down. We are asking for something in one breath and turning Him down in the next.

Part of surrender is RECEIVING what He wants us to have, and we are already, every single one of us, enough AND worthy, so don’t let the world try to convince you otherwise.

Remember as you go along, growth is a process that we simply cannot rush. Don’t reach. Don’t grasp. Don’t cling. And at the same time, don’t resist. The opposite way, a new and better way, to each of these is to release control (deep breath and sigh) . . . surrender.

Perhaps these lovely, helpful reminders will start gently swirling around you, too.

If you’d like to purchase the image for this blog and have the reminder to look at from time to time, it’s available here at my etsy shop.

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