Creativity Outburst: New York City

My husband and I just got back from a long weekend in New York City. My sister + husband live in Manhattan, which means I get to spend time living and feeling like a native, which is amazing. I could do a whole monologue about how traveling, NYC and my personality mesh perfectly, but I’ll keep it short.

The second I walked off the plane in New York I felt like I was surrounded by my people, and I raided my sister’s closet in my multiple outfit changes. Not due to uncertainty, it was simply the enjoyment of exploring new combinations alongside an entire population who does the same.

new-york-city-stripesI’ve always had a mean creative streak in my personality, though sadly I never found myself naturally artistic. Or maybe, I just haven’t yet discovered how my artistic abilities should be expressed. Anyway, I am also a very powerful personality. When my husband and I first met he immediately noted we would never work based on the strength of my handshake and I thought he was too big a dick to be worth any effort. True story.

So, obviously New York is the perfect place to stimulate my entrepreneurial spirit. Walking the the Brooklyn Bridge at night, and looking out over the city skyline was powerful. Hello, Humanity and thank you, Capitalism.

NYC-skylineComing back home has been tough, because the lazy mindset is closely united with my old routines, so the struggle has been to keep the New York inspiration going strong. How do you stay motivated in an uninspiring schedule?

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myilaria Power Animal

I’ve thought a lot about what my animal counterpart would be (especially when I read The Golden Compass series, I wondered what form my daemon would permanently take) and I could never figure it out. Horses are my favorite animal with bunnies close behind, and for a while I thought river otters were my best animal reflection. But pictures like these just move me from deep down.

leopard panther white-jaguar c63b6ad47db9fb26874b063f478fcdd0 black-pantherI’m drawn to their power, their vicious beauty and their grace. Plus, they tend to be solitary creatures but they do congregate in small prowls at times, which is how I work.

Fun fact: Leopards and jaguars are the same animal. Leopards are found in the northern hemisphere while jaguars are found in South America.

My Husband v. High Fashion

Fact one: I am married.

Fact two: I love man repeller clothing. (Definition here.)

Fact three: My husband is very patient with my fashion choices.

Fact four: My fashion choices are incredibly muted, in gratitude to his patience.

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When the person you love, and work to make happy, watches in horror as you try on something fashionably up-there and asks if you really intend to wear it in public, how often do you shrug your shoulders and say “Too bad” and when do you say “Alright, I won’t get it.”?

It’s a balance my husband and I have been trying to find since we started dating. I have a quirky sense of style, and enough self confidence to wear the ultimate man repellers, but he hates it. I’m still working on maintaining that fine line of self-expression and selflessness.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Inspiration Wall

I have so many thoughts and ideas; too many avenues of interest. I know there are common threads connecting most of them, but I have a hard time seeing them. I need to start and inspiration board where I can rearrange, contemplate and discover the unity between all my random interests.

inspiration-wallIt’d be really nice to have an office, someplace I can put Hilary everywhere without worrying about impinging on my husband.

Maybe I’ll just take the corner next to my night stand. Or move the lamp on my desk so I can start attacking the corner I stare at all day. Yes, let’s do that.

Unpotting Passion Thanks to a Gerber Daisy

Premise #1: I bought myself a set of three potted Gerber daisies from Costco for my birthday and have them out on my apartment balcony.

Premise #2: I work from home. As much as I try to make my work area thought-friendly and inspiring, it can be rough.

I brought one of the pots inside to keep me company and by the afternoon the flowers were all drooping, even though the other two were happy as clams out on the porch. So, I returned the sad flowers to the porch in a patch of sun and a couple hours later they were perky again.Gerber-Daisy-Potted-Plant

Conclusion: Ironically, it took a cheap potted flower to see what happens when I stick myself to my desk and refuse to do anything beyond pass the clock. Thanks to E-How’s “How to Make Gerber Daisies Bloom More” I itemize how to be better at taking care of my passion.

Gerber daisies will wilt or produce less if they have to compete for soil, nutrients or water even a little. Make sure your Gerber daisies have plenty of room, and they will reward you with multiple blooms.

Sadly, I struggle with competition. It fuels some people, but I’m a defeatist. I need to remember that I do have room, and currently no competition other than myself. So what do I have holding me back? Me.

Fertilize your Gerber daisies.

Easy. I love easy entertainment as much as the next girl, but thoughtful articles and TED talks keep me growing. I need to spend my free time ingesting those.

Dead-head your Gerber daisies carefully.

I guess the most important take-away lesson for me is to remember to dead-head. (If don’t know what that means horticultural-ly, it is the process of cutting off dead flowers.) Remove the baggage holding me back so I have room for what I want to create.

Make sure your Gerber daisies are getting enough sunlight.

Take breaks, but more importantly: Find the sun from your desk. It’s there, you just have to see it.

Regular misting can help a Gerber daisy really thrive.

This one I thought was really cool. Spray the plant, don’t just water it. As a lover of all things water, and a very intense self-critic, this is an easy connection: Have fun. Give myself credit and enjoy my hard work.

Influential Thinkers: Aung San Suu Kyi and Thein Sein

“If ever there were a year for Big Ideas, and a frustration at not hearing them from our leaders, 2012 was it.”

-Foreign Policy

Since 2005, Foreign Policy magazine has built an annual list of those people considered to be the most influential thinkers of that year. The list is built on reader’s ballots and focuses on key living public intellectuals who are active in the public eye.

This year’s top thinkers are Aung San Suu Kyi and Thein Sein, “For showing that change can happen anywhere, even in one of the world’s most repressive states.” If you don’t know the story of the Lady, Aung San Suu Kyi, I recommend reading about her. TIME magazine wrote a fascinating article about her not too long ago.

Thein-Sein-Aung-San

The modern history of Myanmar (Burma) is a fascinating study on the tug-o-war between extremist government and the will of the people, and Aung San has been a beautiful symbol of peaceful but powerful resistance.

Burma gained independence from Britain in 1947, in large part due to Aung San’s father Bogyoke (General) Aung San. After Bogyoke’s assassination, his wife became an influential politician in the new Burmese government as ambassador to India and Nepal.

Aung-San-Family

I think it’s fascinating a newly widowed, young mother would be appointed this position by the government then, not long after, the government of the same country becomes notorious for various and violent violations of human rights, and harsh restrictions on freedom of speech.

The beauty of the change in Burma/Myanmar is that it happened slowly and in large part thanks to the patience and selflessness of two people. It’s difficult when I see all the dirt of the world, it makes me feel impossibly small and useless.

“It’s also testament to the notion that individuals and their ideas can truly change the world, a theme that resonates in ways large and small throughout this year’s list”

-Foreign Policy

The biggest lesson for me is one person can make a difference, it just takes time and work, and that inspires me to keep going.

What inspires you to keep going?

Wordnik: Think

If you have not heard of wordnik.com, I recommend you go check it out immediately, especially if you consider yourself a linguaphile. It’s like Google and the Oxford English Dictionary had a child; its slogan is “Connecting people with meaning.”

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You can search for a word and then just jump around every possible tool they offer to help you understand and use the word: definition, usage, connection, variation, rhymes. You can also create lists of words to save interesting or related words and see other people’s lists.

Here are my highlights from the “think” entry. I picked anything that gave me a deeper understanding of thinking or words I think are fun to say:

Definitions:
v. To have or formulate in the mind; To reason about or reflect on; To devise or evolve; To exercise the power of reason, as by conceiving ideas, drawing inferences, and using judgment.
idiom. think big

Synonyms:
Cogitate, Muse, Imagine

Hypernyms (words that are more generic or abstract):
Ideate, Envisage, Weighing

Hyponyms (Words that are more specific):
Plan, Speculate, Philosophis(z)ing

Think Quotes:

swami_vivekananda

“We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.”
Swami Vivekananda (Hindu Monk)

mlk-jr

 

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”
Martin Luther King Jr. (Activist)

What are your thoughts on thinking? Share what inspires you to think.