2023_BlogPrompt #35 – Ideas

There are these ideas that torment me. Constantly. Lately, I have been distracted with a big work project and a small surgery, and I have not been paying attention to my ideas. But if I don’t give them some air time, they will disappear. What is your relationship to your ideas? As always, if you choose to take up the challenge, please add a pingback to this prompt.

Ideas have been dancing a crazy choreography in my head, swirling spinning, but never coming together in a way that shows their interrelatedness. Until last night when they danced the choreography that pulled them together like magnets that have been drawing to each other forever, but finally moved just close enough to attract. And snap together.

Connections are funny like that. We might be connected to someone or something for a very long time but not know it—or notice—until some switch is thrown or some shift in the energy of the universe makes it undeniable. Once we see the connection, we cannot un-see it, and it changes how we move forward.

For me, and I suspect for other creative individuals, ideas are living and breathing in my mind. They are constantly in motion, constantly evolving, becoming bigger and brighter and faster and stronger until they get my attention. But if they don’t get the attention they seek, they slowly dim and puff out, eventually disappearing in search of a more attentive host.  

And so I am writing to capture the moment, to solidify the connection, and to let my ideas know I am still here. Despite the big work project. Despite a hobble in my walk. Despite my lack of attention.

To them.

I’m still here, and despite their fickleness, so are they. Flitting like butterflies. And lighting on the flowers of my mind. Creating connections, if only for a moment.



There is this lie I tell myself.

I’m not good enough.

And telling myself this lie holds me back from so many things.

I’m not good enough.

It instills a fear of failure before I’ve even begun a project, a painting, a work presentation, or a piece of writing.

I’m not good enough.

It weaves through my thoughts like the smoke from a campfire, winding upwards and obscuring the trees, the stars, the sky.

I’m not good enough.

It holds me back like a giant fence, too tall to even glimpse what lies just on the other side.

I’m not good enough.

It’s a common refrain in our society and not one unique to me. Sometimes it’s spoken aloud. “I could never make it [on that team, into that performance, on that hike, etc. <<< insert applicable situation here]. And what we are saying each time, time after time, like a mantra for life is

I’m not good enough.

Like all lies, if it’s fed, it GROWS. If you repeat it—aloud or to yourself—it becomes who you are. And if you share it with others, it becomes your reality.

I’m not good enough.

You are swept up in the lie as it spirals into a vortex from which you cannot escape. The lie becomes increasingly powerful, especially as we fight our way through the destructive “keeping up with the Joneses” competition that pervades so much of today’s society.

I’m not good enough.

But with a great deal of work and dedication, we can fight against the tide. Like children creating a whirlpool in a swimming pool, we can shift our thinking… swim in the opposite direction and begin to change the tide through our own thoughts and actions.


It may start as a whisper, and that’s okay. Tape that whisper to the bathroom mirror where you’ll see it all the time. Read it every day and night. Speak it aloud to yourself every time you see it.

I am good enough.

The more you see it and the more you say it, the more convincing you are, the more you will believe it. The more you will know it’s true and the more power the statement will have.

I am good enough.

This statement is your new mantra for life. It’s a mantra that shifts the power back to you.

I am good enough.

The statement spirals down into my very being and expands my soul, pulling me up and out of the shell in which I have been hiding the best of myself. It reimagines the power within me.

I am good enough.

The Joneses have nothing on me now because I don’t need to compete with them or with anyone else. I am enough, and the talents I have make me a unique presence in my circle of friends.

I am good enough.

The wall tumbles down, allowing me to move about the world on my own terms. My limits fall away as I begin to believe in myself once again and in the gifts I possess within my soul.

I am good enough.

What I believe is what I become. Hope is a muscle that can be stretched and strengthened. Dreams can come true. This new mantra is the fuel I need to keep going and keep growing.

I am good enough.

It pushes me forward. It weaves through my thoughts, strong and forceful, opening me up to new possibilities and opportunities that I never even noticed before. I look around and I begin to realize…

I am good enough.

And now that I’ve put in the work to reprogram my thinking, I recognize without question…

I am enough.


What is going well in your life? I would love to hear about it.

We have trained ourselves away from asking that question. We focus on what isn’t going well, and we endlessly pick away at those bits as if throwing ourselves into what isn’t good will somehow make it better. We believe that strengthening the weak areas and taping up the cracks that threaten our lives will somehow make us happier.

We throw resources at our lack of talent and our lack of happiness. We chase after the goals we can never reach—but that wouldn’t make us happy, anyway. These goals are not ours, but someone else’s goals imposed upon our lives.

And these are just band-aids.

What if, instead, we focus on what is going well? What if we take some time to truly examine our lives and untangle the good from the not-so-good. The amazing from the “eh….” And then, once we have figured out what is working, what makes us happy, we focus on those areas. What if we look at life from the standpoint of abundance rather than from lack? What if we concentrate on the things we do well and the things that make us happy? I believe we should take what we’re good at and the activities that bring us joy and do more of those things. These things, these activities… they will lift us up.

This is a strengths-based approach—to use our abundance to create more happiness. If we bring more positivity, the rest will work out. By focusing on what is working, we will be happier. We will be more rested. We will feel cared for. And rather than making the “tough” our main struggle, tough can be our side job. Because focusing on the things we are good at and the ones we enjoy, we can make the tough that much easier.

So what is going well in your life? I would love to know!

The Path

Photo by David Talley on Unsplash

The path we travel is seldom straight. It twists and turns, skirting the edges of danger as we hold on tight. Our path takes detours around pothole-ridden streets and over stumbling blocks in order to set us in the direction we are headed. It redirects to new routes and sometimes presents more opportunities than we can handle. And others we might not want.

Nowhere is this meandering more evident than in our young adults. They spend their early years in state-mandated school until then they are suddenly expected to choose what comes next. The choices can be overwhelming.

There is no doubt there are many 18-year-olds who know exactly what they want to do for the rest of their lives. They step from high school graduation onto a fully paved path they’ve planned out for years, and they never waver. They go on to reach their lifelong goals in careers they chose when they were small children.

The vast majority of young people, however, have no idea what they want to do when they ‘grow up’ despite teetering on the line between childhood and adulthood. And a large portion of them are afraid to admit it. We put so much pressure on kids to know what they want to do that they feel they should know even though they don’t have enough experience to know. Or worse, we have steered them in the direction that we think they should go rather than letting them decide for themselves what is best and which path(s) they will travel. The pressure to choose a direction is so intense for kids this age.

What they don’t realize is that very few grownups know what they want to do next week, let alone 10 years from now. Adults—young and old—are expected to be solidly on a path with one career in view. But this is not often the way life works anymore.

Young people are much better off when they take the time they need to figure out their own best direction. Will they pursue a degree? Work? Go to trade school? Join the military? There’s nothing wrong with trying out some of the available options before they settle on one. The only way to figure out where you truly want to be is to recognize where you don’t want to be. Rather than push kids to make premature decisions about their futures and expect them to know exactly what they want when the emerge from high school, shouldn’t we be laying out their various options? Maybe we should be encouraging our children to experiment and try new things rather than taking the “safe” road and ending up somewhere they suddenly realize they don’t belong.

The path is not straight, and it is not easy. The bumps along the way…, the uncertainty in the choices that arise…, these are all part of the process. They help us to put things in the proper perspective. And for young people, this early part of the process sets them up for many of the obstacles they will face on their journey through life.

The path we travel is not straight, and the obstacles are many. But somehow, with a bit of trial and error, we all figure it out.


Photo by Lauren Kay on Unsplash

I had an awesome idea for a blog post last night. It slipped into my semi-conscious mind just as I was sliding off to sleep. It was such a fantastic idea, and the pieces began to come together as my head remained firmly planted on the pillow. I thought about getting up to write down this great idea so I wouldn’t forget it. No, I told myself. This one is definitely too good to forget. As soon as you wake up, you will remember it. Write it down then. I even settled on some key words to help me remember, and with that, I drifted off to sleep.

Now, there is no doubt my years of experience with half-awake idea generation should indicate that this idea—like so many before—would be gone as soon as I slipped into sleep. That thought did occur to me as I resisted the urge to jot down a note or two—a word or a line—because I was tired. I wanted to sleep. And I was comfortable….

Of course, when I woke up this morning, the dust had settled in a heavy film over the ideas that flow so freely in that space between wake and sleep. Try as I might, I could not find my key words. I could not reconnect the dots to recall the awesome idea that flitted like a butterfly through my brain, alighting only for a second before migrating far from here.

Tonight, as I settle into my bed, I will be sure to have a notebook, pen, and flashlight in easy reach—like a butterfly net at the ready, just in case another idea floats through.

Welcome Winds

Photo by TOMOKO UJI on Unsplash

Here in the northeastern United States, winter has been cold and bleak, as winter so often is. The first day of spring was glorious—sunny and warm—but a few days in, Spring turned her back. Winter temperatures and a dusting of snow greeted us one morning, and the wind has continued its bitter assault, letting us know who’s boss.

These winds, they are the winds of change. On the horizon, the golden glow of the morning brightens the dark sky as a long, low rumble of thunder can be heard in the distance. Winter always turns to spring eventually. The spring peepers begin their evening song—slowly at first as one then two then dozens of frogs join in. The earth and air warm and the colors of blooming trees dot the mountains.

These are the winds of change, and they are blowing fierce and free. The change is welcome as the creative embers, buried deep for far too long, are glowing brighter. With a bit of TLC, the sparks will catch and spread their warm energy, bringing new places, new friends, and new opportunities.

Dark winter has lingered long enough, and spring will bring a needed respite. These winds—the winds of change—they are welcome here.

Piece by Piece

Pieces of an intricate antique puzzle

I have become the keeper of the puzzles. These puzzles, they are very old, yet nearly new. They are barely used, but they’ve been saved for decades, tucked away in a box under the eaves in the attic, a treasure long ago forgotten. They were created with great care and attention to detail back at a time when all things were created this way.

These puzzles are the definition of jigsaw puzzle—cut from a sheet of thin plywood. They are in boxes that look like standard gift boxes, some red, some white, and some off-white, weathered and stained. They come with no photo of what they will look like when they are assembled. Hundreds of pieces. No photo.

That’s right… the puzzles of yesteryear were sold without a guide, so when you first remove the pieces from the box, you have no idea what goes where. Color won’t help you other than grouping like-colored pieces together. Pattern is irrelevant. Even the edge pieces—or the pieces that appear to be edges—could be assembled upside down before the orientation is slowly revealed. It is only in the process that the end-product starts to make sense. Piece by piece.

As I put these puzzles together, I have realized they are much like life. We did not arrive here on Earth with a guide. There is no manual for many of the things we experience as we travel our journey. There is no map or even a sign to point us in the right direction. We are simply left to figure it out as we go.

The pieces we discover along the way are random—sometimes they fit, and sometimes they don’t. Most of the time, the pieces make sense. We can see their colors and shape, where they fit—and how—as soon as we discover them. Their edges slide seamlessly into the bigger picture. Sometimes, the pieces are here for a time, and then we discover that their angles are too sharp, their picture is too dark, or the color disrupts the environmet we are creating. And every now and then, we acquire a piece we don’t want, that absolutely doesn’t fit, but we are forced to make it fit. We must do the work to smooth the edges and reshape the experience, so we can work it into our lives and find a place where it not only fits but somehow enhances the whole.

As we move through life picking up pieces, we need to remain open to possibilities, and we need to draw upon the vast array of resources we have accumulated. The more of life we have traveled and the more experiences we’ve endured, the closer we may be to figuring out how to proceed with the next piece—unexpected or not—that we stumble upon. If we are having difficulty with one piece or other, we can lean on those around us for support. They may have dealt with a similar piece, and they can share how they eventually got it to fit in their own puzzle.

No, there is no guide to this on-going challenge we call life. But with patience, persistence, a lot of work, and a little bit of luck, all of the pieces will eventually fall into place in a way that is far more beautiful than you could ever imagine.

Fork in the Road

The other day when I was out on my early morning walk, I happened to walk by a fork in the road. It was just there, in the middle of the road, tines up. And it happened to be directly in front of several not-quite-middle-school kids who were on the side of the road waiting for their bus. I stopped, took a couple steps backwards, and used my foot to brush-kick the fork over to the curb. The fork complained in a metal-on-pavement clangy whine.

“No one should run that over now,” I said, as much to myself as to the kids in the grass.

“Is that a fork?” one of them asked as he took a step closer and stretched his neck out to see what was resting just beyond the curb.

“Yes,” I replied. “Kind of silly, isn’t it? A fork in the road?” I would’ve kept going, pushing the puns, but I have enough experience with kids these days to know that wordplay is not really something that most families engage in anymore. In fact, conversation among family members is something that doesn’t happen nearly as much as it should thanks to all of the distractions of life.

As I walked on, I could hear the boy in the background yelling to his mother. “Hey mom! There’s a fork over here! Can you believe that?”

How sad, I thought, that he missed such a great opportunity to expound on the fork and its location. Meanwhile, as I walked, my mind was racing with possibilities. A fork in the road! How odd would it be if you had to tell someone you popped your tire on a fork in the road?

Random Ramblings on a Rainy Evening…

Lately, I have been having trouble carrying a thought beyond a few short sentences to something whole that has potential. Because I have been unable to get to potential, I have countless ideas sitting undeveloped in dark corners of my mind and in documents on my desktop. These ideas, they seemed promising when they arose, but they fizzled and died before they took root. I suppose you could say I have been dabbling in dead thoughts for many months.

There have been a couple of live thoughts… BIG thoughts that gain momentum without my attention as they rattle around in my brain. These are thoughts I have been trying to ignore—putting them off until I have time to sit with them, cultivate them, tame them. They take up lots of space in my head, and they’ve settled in as if they are teenagers on a couch, gangly limbs splayed every which way, leaving little room for anyone else. Or any thought else. Before long, they will take over as they cast aside empty plates and cups in their attempt to quell their insatiable appetite. These out-of-control thoughts… they could use some nurturing.

Nurturing takes time, and these are not simple thoughts. They are project thoughts—undertakings, really—that need to be planned and implemented with the greatest of care. Or maybe they demand attention so I will implement them sooner rather than sitting on them forever, as I am wont to do. Whatever the issue, they are taking up a massive and increasing amount of my limited headspace.

And speaking of headspace… it has been an interesting reentry to a back-to-nearly-normal school schedule. If you don’t work around a great many people, you might not truly appreciate what social distance had to offer. I am a relative introvert—a reluctant socializer—and I took great comfort in the need for social distance. But this year, not so much. This year brings a lack of restriction that is uncomfortable and overwhelming in so many ways. Students have slid right back into the need to be up close—in my office, in my space, in my face, and sitting elbow-to-elbow. There is no question those Covid germs will make it across the few-inch span to my air-space. My random ramblings started earlier this evening, as I worked on a recommendation for a student. I was thinking back to the fall of 2019 when she sat in my class. Two years ago, we had no idea what was coming. Truth: you never see upheaval until it knocks on your door and stares you in the face, stares you down, and scares you beyond measure. In two years, we have learned there is much to be gained from upheaval. There is so much strength to be found in the broken pieces as they mend and heal.

Something Good

Tell me something good that happened today.

I have been struggling to pull my thoughts together—to come up with some inspiration for writing. It has been too long. There is so much negative energy in the world these days that finding the positive and the good is often a challenge. The negative has kept my creativity from flowing freely.

But you see, as in the case of a river, the water must flow. It flows around rocks and boulders, carving its own path, sometimes re-routing around barriers in its way. If we build a dam to hold back the flow, the water will find a way. It will collect in a pond or lake, flowing outward. Or it will gather so much power that the dam will break, flooding the towns and villages below and washing away the very people who tried to restrain it.

Creativity is much like a river. It flows regardless of whether it is being restrained or inhibited. It is fluid and sometimes fickle. Lately for me, creativity has come like grains of sand, tiny snippets that capture my attention but evade my grasp. If only I could write about an image or idea that passed through my mind or that story not fully formed in my head. If only….

As I start to write, to flesh out an idea, my mind fills with the negative that inundates us from the daily news. It sneaks in and takes hold, permeating my thoughts and squelching my creative flow. Covid cases are rising. Political unrest is growing. Power hungry political leaders are taking over. Corporate greed. Impending climate disaster. Economic crises—all sensationalized by the news that streams 24/7 from our TVs, our computers, and even our phones. And that’s just the list of global disasters. There is also the national list, the local, the family, the personal.

And so I say, “Tell me something good that happened today.” Because logically, I know there is more good than bad. Good people doing good things are quiet people who don’t get attention because they don’t demand attention. And good news doesn’t translate into corporate revenue. Good things are happening—on a personal level, a family level, a local, national, and global level. Good things are happening, and we need to shift our focus. When we shift, creativity flows. We can see our way out of the situations we have gotten into. We can allow the solutions, consider alternative perspectives, analyze our positions—and those of others. When we shift our focus to the good, we recognize our role as an individual in a greater whole. When we shift our focus, we are more likely to work for the good of all.

So… tell me something good that happened today. Or yesterday. Or this week. Let’s open the floodgates and let the good wash over us.

Tell me something good that happened today.