Sunday, June 2, 2013

Hope is a function of struggle.

When I think of hope, I don't think of struggle. I tend to feel that hope is out of pure optimism but perhaps that is too Pollyanna....of course I've always loved playing the "Glad Game."

 Not to digress into talking about being glad, which is another discussion, I will journey into "hope." I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel like the "struggle" in life is never ending and it just creates massive stress in my life and my husband. Poor dear, he has such a sensitive heart and ironically it goes out of rhythm when his mind takes hold worrying about money and the struggle he feels. I told him to talk to his heart to ask what it needs. Shouldn't we all do that?

I sometimes call my television and Youtube, "The Oracle." I will turn on  either of them and find the perfect inspiration, answer to a question or food for thought that is so necessary to my continued growth . So today I felt a bit hopeless. Dare I tell anyone? I am supposed to be the "Fearless Leader." I've created three books about it. You would think I could get it right? Sometimes when I share my hopelessness and struggle with my inspired new thought friends, they coach me to watch my thoughts and look at the words I use. They share that life does not have to be a "struggle." So I tend to not share these days when I dance with my shadow as it just throws me into shame, which is another interesting subject.

In my dance with my shadow self, I began to search for women who inspire and inspirational speeches. This became my perfect lesson and just what I needed to hear.  I was delighted to find  Dr. Brene' Brown speak about feeling worthy and being in hope. It amazed me to hear her say, "Hope is a function of struggle and it's the product of not tying our failure to who we are. What we see in high hopeful people is that they can separate their achievements from their struggles and their failures from who they are as people. Dreams don't work unless we do."

Reflecting on what she said, I believe "struggle" has been given a bad rap. I also believe "being in balance" is over rated. I'm all about being in harmony and dancing through the journey, sometimes joyously and sometimes with deep dark drama. Both of these beliefs probably raise the hair on the back of many of your necks. It makes me feel relieved to know that "hope is a function of struggle." It makes me realize not only do we all live in struggle and feel guilty about it but we live in such stunning scarcity....not enough of anything....time, money, work, client or "Likes." Ultimately, we have enormous amount of vulnerability (which is not a bad thing) but leads us to sitting in shame. I don't know about you but this realization makes me want to take my clothes off and dance in the rain of pure celebration. 

So my fearless friends, once again I share and bare my fearless soul to you about my struggles and my oh so fabulous journey to discover and rediscover the fearless woman that I am.

I invite you to pass this along to any friend you know that my want to read this. Perhaps it my just inspire them to dance in the rain too!

I also invite you to join me for the upcoming Fearless Visionary Mountain Retreat, June 20-23, 2013. Give yourself the gift of time and the space to be vulnerable and sit in a group of powerful visionary women who dare to live greatly!

Thank you for baring witness to my vulnerable self. I am forever grateful.

Fearlessly yours dancing joyously in the sun (it's not raining today)!

Mary Ann

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Feeling Vulnerable

I haven't blog since my 31 day blog challenge ended. I just didn't have the inspiration. Today, Sunday, St. Patrick's Day, I slipped into a funk. I go there at least once a week. Today's darkness was no different than other days. I wake up after having anxiety dreams and thoughts and just say to myself, "Just get out of bed and go upstairs." So I get my tea and look out the window with my mind running a muck. It's Sunday, don't you think I can give the anxious ego a rest? No, not me. Joe comes up looking groggy and down as well. He tells me he was up at 6am with anxiety and did some tapping (EFT) and it made him feel better.

Seeing him so fragile made me dive head first into vulnerablilty. I shared how I just felt no confidence, I felt my photography was lacking, my focus (figuratively and metaphorically) was challenging. Is it because I am getting old. Am I just not in enough good health or good physical shape? I feel a lack...of confidence of engery of inspiration and motivation. My business has been off and I'm scared. I haven't been focused on marketing. There's that word again "focus." Funny how it keeps turning up. As I share with Joe I go deeper and deeper in that dark paralizing place where it's hard to climb out of. I feel my big oversized chair, I call the Queens chair, sucking me in and down. And speaking of the "F" word, in my depressed insanity, I think about a new project around Fear. F.E.A.R.=Fuck Everything And Run! I share with Joe, let's just sell everything and dive head first into fear and all the shit we feel and just run! I laugh through my tears. That's a place I go in my head now and again.

I hang on until 11am when Super Soul Sunday comes on and I know that I will be inspired. There it was Dr. Brene' Brown talking about vulnerability. She shares her study on vulnerability and that we are in a social climate of "scarcity." We wake up every day putting on our suite of armor to brave another day. We measure our success by how many "likes" we get on Facebook and how we are looking. I have a fear of softening into joy because I antisipate the other shoe dropping at any time and then there is deep disappointment.

Brene' Brown shared her inspiration for her new book, Daring Greatly:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”  US President Teddy Roosevelt

I've been in the arena and I have jumped out. I felt knocked down, tired and that all I did was not enough. I made the mistakes of focusing (there's that word again) on the few critical comments from friends, family and strangers. Wow, if I had armor on it was very thin!

So I have decided to jump into my vulverablity and bring my camera on our journey today to see my Mom...being the dutiful daughter that I am. I will let me camera lead me. Joe said he would do the same, bring a camera and do a city safari.

So my friends, there you have it. I am fucking vulnerable, pissed that I feel this way. I'm putting my hip boots on and wading through the much and embracing my vulnerability and jumping back into the arena. If Brene' can do it, so can I! Fuck depression! Fuck judgement! Fuck my ego being the doubting darkness! I am willing to go the distance to being in gratitude and ultimately softening into joy!

Yours in feeling everything and skipping,

Mary Ann

PS. I'm not even going to proof read this cause I just don't fucking want to!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fearless Women with a Purpose

For several months I have pondered what is next for Fearless Women? Should I back burner all that I put sweat equity, passion and pain into? My physical health break down and break through at the end of last year, gave me moments of enlightenment. Of course, just when you think the door to enlighenment opens, the wind shuts it closed. Damn that wind!

So I spoke to a few of my fearless friends to gather ideas and opinions on the subject. The questions were, "Do you think there is a hole that needs to be filled with another membership site and women's groups around the country? Where do you see it going?" What I got back at first are questions, "What do you want?" I just wanted suggestions. I wanted someone to flip the switch and light up my room on the subject.

At the end of the conversation, when everyone except one woman was on the call, Betty Liedtke, we discussed more ideas. She expressed such passion about being part of Fearless Women and what it meant to go to the event in LA last year. Then I thought, if I could bring purpose to it in the most simple form, I could do something meaningful and NOT burn myself out.

I revisited the inspiration I felt from these two women, Betty Liedtke and Tabitha Kyambadde. They met because of Fearless Women. Betty was in my Fearless Women, Fearless Wisdom. She spoke about being a fearless woman and being in the book at a Toast Masters gathering in Minneapolis. Tabitha who lived there but is from Uganda, was very moved. She later asked Betty more about Fearless Women. Long story very short, they became fast friends and Betty went to Uganda to help Tabitha with her mission to build a community for women and chidren who live in a slum brothel in Uganda. This village is to become "Miracle Village."

I was so moved by Tabitha's passion that I asked her to be in my newest book Fearless Women, Visions of a New World. I felt that Tabitha had a huge vision.

In the simplist most intimate way to carry on, I will be doing a webinar once a month co-hosted by another woman in my new book, Teresa McKee from Knoxville. We will be interviewing Tabitha and Betty about their passionate cause and give everyone a call to action to buy the new calendar, Fearless Women, Visions and Wisdom with Tabitha on the cover and all the proceeds going to build "Miracle Village." Every month we will feature a woman from either the books or calendar who have a passion to change the world! Yes, that feels very good!

Sometimes you have to surrender what you think you should do to find what just feels so so very right! Exhale....

I would appreciate hearing your comments about your fearless purpose!

Yours in Fearless Purpose,

Mary Ann

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

If you think you can...

...or if you think you can't, you're probably right. Oh, that Henry Ford...what a guy! Here's a man who was brought up on a farm, encouraged by his parents to tinker with clock in the kitchen and had only an eighth grade education. Most would look at him and say that, this is a kid going nowhere in life. He turned out to be the most influential man in the industrial revolution.

PBS had a really interesting documentary on Henry Ford tonight. If was educational and very inspiring. He fought for the common man at the very beginning and then later caught up in competition and egotistical accomplishments. We have much to learn from Henry. His story encourages us to think outside the box and  passionately follow your dream...your calling. However, he was not the greatest father and his son, seemingly much more sensitive and malleable, did not meet up to Henry's expectations. Edsel (an unfortunate car was named after him) died of an ulcer due to stress before he was 50 years old.

I suppose you can't change the industrial world and be a totally sweet guy, can you? The things I want to take away from this example is his perseverance and steadfast focus. I admire his ingenuity and fearless vision a changing world.

Looking at these historical figures, I am stunned by what they accomplished to shift the planet into the next realm.

So it's about vision, following your dream...your calling and going for it fearlessly, no matter what other's may say.

Fearlessly dreaming,

Mary Ann

Monday, January 28, 2013

I Don't Know

This is day 28th on my 31 day blog challenge. I don't know. I think that is a declaration. A statement that I have been sitting here contemplating. We say it alot but do we mean it and embrace the "don't" part of the "I know?"

If I truly don't know, does it mean I've lost my head or just my mind? If that is the case, isn't it a good thing? Aren't we truly too much in our heads? Isn't that what mediation is about...getting out of our heads?

Speaking of which, and to take another journey from the rediculous to the sublime, you must do me a favor. Take your earphones and put it into your computer or smart phone and absorb yourself in this trancendent chant by Deva Premal.  I will leave you with this beautiful song that will take you out of your head and into the relm of you heart. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and Enjoy!

 Go to Youtube:

Yours in blissful...I don't know,

Mary Ann

A photographer with a Big Vision!

My visionary friend, Joe Sohm, spent thirty years traveling across America capturing images of with his camera. What drove his creative pursuit was one phrase, "How to you photograph Demoncracy?" He captured a historic, heartfelt portrait of all 50 states of America. Photographing American presidents to American homeless, from national monuments to small town America, Joe passionately explored and took tens of thousand of photographs.

In 2009 Joe Sohn assembled his 30 years of images into an amazing photography book, Visions of America. Being a photographer of now four photo/essay books, I was impressed with his journey to create the images and in awe of his commitment to creating this 12x12, 312 page photo book! It is an extraordinary accomplishment and not a project for the faint of heart. But Joe's passion and inspiration doesn't stop there,  he felt called to create a photo symphony!

One of Joe Sohm's close friends is the talented composer, Roger Kellaway. Roger loved the idea of setting music to Joe's visual show of Americana photographs. Roger then brings into the project Allen and Marilyn Bergman (known for hit's such as "The Way We Were") to write songs for each segment, Clint Eastwood narrates the show telling Joe's story with Steve Tyrell and Judith Hill singing the songs.

Tonight we were honored, and inspired to be in the audience of Visions of America for it's west coast premiere with the New West Symphony. What a beautiful concert filled with music that breaks your heart open and photographs of America that covers part of Joe's passionate journey that led up to this moment in time. It brought tears to our eyes and filled us with a rekindled love for our country.

I am grateful to Joe for his encouragement to create my last two books, publishing them myself through his designer, Peter Green. I watch Joe do such "outside the box" creations. Watching him take these huge leaps into the creative abyss makes me realize that anything is possible.

Yours in fearless inspiration,

Mary Ann

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Simple Gratitude

I talked to my Mom yesterday who turned 90 year old. We celebrated her birthday last Saturday with the family. When I spoke to her yesturday, she shared how busy she was with all the phone calls and she received 15 birthday cards. She was pretty tired but so very grateful for her well wishes.

Whenever I talk to my Mom, she reminds me of "simple gratitude." She remembers every kind gesture, every card given to her and everything in her day that gives her joy. At 90, it is inpiring to see her in such appreciation. It makes me inhale the joy of life and exhale what's not needed.

Finding this image that sybolizes simple gratidude, I found these 7 Simple Steps to Cultivate Gratitude. As I was looking through the seven steps, I noticed the second step was "never compare."  I don't usually compare myself to anyone but lately, let me ask you, do you ever read stuff on Facebook and feel just a little inferior? Perhaps feeling like you are just not doing enough in your life or business or have as many people commenting on your posts? Everyone seems so full of joy with inspirational sayings, cleaver musings, incredible events to promote, campaigns for remarkable products and new photos of themselves that are showing them so full of positivity that it would make anyone run out and buy a button that says, "have a nice day." So when I start feeling that, I fold my laptop and take a nice walk around Lake Hollywood or watch House Hunters International. 

That's why my Mother is such a touch stone to the simple gratidutes in life. She doesn't have a computer, a cell phone or even a CD player. She recently got high definition TV and was beyond thrilled. 

So as I inhale the simplicity of life, I exhale the need to posture, prove that I am something  I may not be at this moment. But honestly who really cares? Only me! The truth is we are all extraordinary humans on a spiritual journey! I think we just need to relax more and not try so damn hard.

So I hope you are appreciating and loving your life with "simple gratitude."

Yours in Fearless Simple Gratitude,

Mary Ann