I've spent the last two days at a writing conference called "The Examined Life Conference. Writing, Humanities and the Art of Medicine". It has been a great experience and I'm always amazed at how our different life experiences can very much change who we are- I know "no brainer", but I also take it a step further and think if I didn't do certain things I wouldn't meet certain people- really strangers- and I wouldn't hear certain words or ideas that light up that "light bulb" in my brain.
I'm so thankful for what I've experienced over the last couple of days and the people I've met and the words I've heard. Here are just a few examples...
"Fiction is blurred lines, not all is made up."
"Change and Celebrate your child"... this spoke to me in regard to how we look at our children. Things that are needed and important to change in and for your child you should do, but also be good about "celebrating" who your child is. Pick your battles and move on- what you can change, should change and will change. I need to do more "celebrating" of my children instead of feeling like I need to "change" them. (now we all know, we or at least I, want to change them, because I don't want them to have the 'worst' of me- just the best parts- however, some of my 'worst' parts I'm growing to love and understand as I age and is what makes me who I am: passionate, emotional, sensitive, loud, energetic, easily frustrated- this one is hard to see in my kids, but as I age I can see how having kids makes me less easily frustrated,unless tired/sleep deprived- yep not enough sleep just doesn't go well with being a perky/smiley mom).
My friend, who introduced me to this wonderful experience and conference, said she was at a talk and asked about interest in really writing, getting it done... do you need a Master in Fine Arts (MFA). He said "you need to read 40 books a year, 30 short stories and write- 'That is your MFA''. LOVE THAT- thank the lord I don't have to pay or try to get back in school :). It's like training for a half iron-man, I can do it on my own, maybe not easily, but "with a little help from my friends" (Beatles) aka freebie training schedules and great "words of wisdom" I can get it done- maybe I can do the same with writing?
I also was exposed to some GREAT writing prompts, and exercises:
1. Newspaper Poem- take a newspaper or magazine at home and pick out some words and take a Sharpie and blacken the rest of the words not of interest in an article and that is your poem.
an example- not mine
Nickname is chattynatty but today quiet.
Once asked to write a full story in six words, legend has it that novelist Ernest Hemingway responded: "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn." Yep- he is concise, clear, and these 6 words are super heavy!
There are numerous other writing exercises and so numerous I just really can't write them all. But it was the people I met that really made the "experience"...
Here is just one example:
This lady (really she was a 'big wig' someone who is an 'executive writing coach' from D.C.) who said "Stop saying 'I'm just'". She was calling me out. I had said out loud in one session, "I'm just writing for fun, I'm just a mom, a marathon runner, I'm just a triathlete..." yada, yada, yada. "You aren't Just a Mom, You are a Mom, You aren't Just a Runner, You are a Runner"- I think she caught herself knowing she was talking to me directly and knew it "This really means something to me", she almost said in apology... but this really did mean something to her... "You say 'I'm Just' long enough and you start to believe it". I realized, yep I was being self-deprecating, I was being what I hate seeing in other women, men, children- self-defeating, feelings of un-worth, and this unbelief and lack of seeing whom they are... Wake up and stop saying "I'm Just". my "Oprah Winfrey- Aha Moment!"
Thanks life for letting me meet these people and experience your greatness.
However, more so than the two days, thus of writing and listening and "light bulb" moments were the awesome realization of great "Peeps" in my life. The friend I've become close with through "sweating it out at the gym" on Wednesday mornings and the great lady I met and aspire to be like through my triathlon group I joined this year, and my super smart sister and best friend. These three women have added immense meaning to my life and taught me so much. The one has taught me or told me: you are passionate, you are energetic, you are motivational, you are goal-oriented- all these words I need to hear, I'm not sure why, well I know why- self-esteem, self-worth, feeling like "I make a difference, I'm liked". This friend sees a different me- and I appreciate her sharing what she "sees in me". We all need to do this for each other. We should tell each other "the person we see" more- not the inflation type of talk or the BS talk, but the real beauty we see in each other.
My sister, whom I love dearly and wonder pretty often "how was I so lucky to get her to follow me into this life". She is going back to school and I've been thinking of her new "road to travel" and can't seem to stop smiling with utter happiness and extreme pride in her following a higher education route, doing something for just her, and of course the added benefit of having Doctorate of PT in her credentials. Super proud of the mom, women, sister and best friend you are! I'd love you no less if you weren't doing this, but alas- I hope to live vicariously through you and your return to school and sing your praises as "DO IT ALL" Mom.
Lastly, is my triathlon buddy/mentor/'wise one" I spent most of the evening with. Besides doing this writing conference I also went to a "get together" for people involved in an open water swim group in my town. I know it sounds like all I've done the last few days are things for me- which in all truthfulness- I kind of feel is the truth. My husband is awesome and took up a lot of the "kids" duties over the last few days, which meant it truly was "me time". I've honestly not done all the "workouts" I need to be doing, and thus will pay for it, but also feel that these "life experiences" are worth the lack of hours in the pool, bike and road. So I went to this meeting and it was fun.
How did I know this person- She was someone I met in spin class through triathlon group and ended up doing a swimming evaluation of my husband and I, and also a great mentor and educator on swimming and triathlon. However, as so many things occur in life, she has become more. Tonight my 'best time" was spent driving to and driving home from the meeting with her because our conversations were so rich, real and non-petty. Great conversation with someone who is real!
Sometimes I do a better job recognizing these life experience than others. I don't know if it is all the writing I've done in the last two days, but I hope I've been able to collect these great life experiences and can look back on these few days, during not good days, or frustrating/less than "stellar" days and think wow- how lucky! how grateful!