It All Starts with a Small Step

It may be a shaky step, a step without fear or trepidation, an ordinary step, a step of joy, a step of indecision, but a step nevertheless.

A baby makes the first step and no matter how weak or strong that step is, the joy of empowerment is quite obvious!  They did it! If they can do this one step, where will two or three take them? What if we chain the steps together, what will happen then?

And off they go! And here is where the story takes another turn. The baby now can explore and enjoy the new freedom and learn what it means to have a place in the world on another level.  Soon enough, they will run and bike and drive a car, maybe fly a plane.

We all start off as babies, in life and in everything we do. And that’s absolutely normal, to be expected and not to be embarrassed about. Every successful person, believe it or not, had to start off as a baby in their field and then they took steps… And the steps took them everywhere!

There is nothing special about them in comparison to you. The only difference may be is that they took that first step and then continued to add on. Consistency is key.

Persistence in spite of opposing forces is the lifeblood of success.

Look, if they can do it, so can you.

Nothing is impossible.

Any promotion, any endeavor can be obtained and achieved, step at a time.

Before we go any further, I want you to internalize this truth though: Success at the expense of health and family is not real success.  As long as you have these parameters in line, you’ve got balance. Keep this truth in mind, often, and make sure that this part of the equation is always satisfied. If they fall short, you will never enjoy your success the way you hoped you would. Cars and bikes, travel and recognition will not keep you warm at night nor will it drive you crazy with crayon marks all over your walls.

If you have your health (physical, emotional, spiritual) and your family balanced, you are already wealthy and your steps may be less fickle, less wobbly because you have the self-confidence and the support of your family.

Why am I bringing this up in a piece that is meant to inspire you to achieve incredible success, be it financial, recognition or on a physical plane such as running marathons?

Because I so strongly believe that if you take the right steps, consistent and persistent steps, you will get there. Of that, I am certain.

Our dreams are there for a reason. Our talents are ours for a reason as well. Why?

Because they are meant to be ours, to be enjoyed, employed, and achieved.

It is very simple. Once we take the simplicity out of success, forget it. That’s when it gets complicated.

You are reading this piece and that tells me so much. Enough for me to believe in you and that is why I care enough to warn you.

So let’s go back to the small step that I take every single day that sets me up for grander steps. I make my coffee. Fuss around with my kiddos. Pray. Then I take my first sip. That’s the trigger point for me. I am settling down to business (as much as I possibly can in spite of controlled chaos around me).

My first step each day is my sip of coffee. Then I get out my laptop or phone, whichever is easier to use at that moment.

I know that once I take out my “power” tools, I better be getting my head in the game. And even if I don’t feel like it, I still do it. Because I believe that every step I take in the direction of my dreams, it counts.

What makes a person successful? Their ability to believe that every step they make will bring them closer to the culmination point, in spite of opposition, in spite of others’ disbelief, despite the lack of reward.

There is a quote that I read in school, many years ago, that will stay with me for life.

“Failure is 100% guaranteed if you do nothing.”   Then do something! Each step you take will increase your chance of success. I think it is worth trying at least!

But try it for a month. Make a game out of it. Each day, take small steps, or if you can, big steps when you feel comfortable. Visualize yourself moving closer and closer. Feel the destination. See it, taste it, enjoy it. It can surely be yours.

Nothing is out of your reach. Nothing is too high up, or too far out. If that was the case, we wouldn’t be flying today, or enjoying our sweet little laptops.

If it is out there, it can be yours. If it is just an idea, it can materialize. All that we see around us was once an idea and now, an idea manifested.

 

Go for that small step. Then take a next one.

You never know, you might just… like it.

 

by Olga Pyshnyak-Lawrence

Back to Basics: Life Begins with Life

Many people I’ve met have the wrong assumption, taking it at face value that their life will be over when they start having children. They see these little munchkins as the end of their career, their dreams and goals. What they worked so hard towards will now be threatened or dismantled by a little bundle of joy and thus, they secretly may resent this gift of life, never really facing this belief system because it is just too harsh and too scary to deal with.

Some people contemplate abortion because they feel so inconvenienced by this surprise, afraid that their climb up the ladder may be forever perched on that “neither here nor there” step. And so, they decide to eliminate the threat, as if a baby can be so easily dismissed.

But, don’t get me wrong. I don’t judge these women, or men. They are victims, too. Victims of choices made that are often brought out by wrong beliefs perpetuated by our society’s accepted norms.

Instead of sharing positive, life giving ideals, the society at large infects the lives and perceptions of every participant with the negativity that keeps on spreading.

What if I told you, that giving life, will only give back more to you and when we place the before and after on the scales, you would end up the winner, not a loser? More will be added rather than taken away?

That you don’t have to be stuck in the victim mentality, just because it is easier to do so?

What if I challenged you to fight this belief system?

How can I speak about this topic with such passion? Because it happened to me. I believed like most of the people that with bringing a child into this world would begin the gradual decline of my dreams and ambitions, that my talents would be buried in perpetuity under diapers and princess dresses, and later old age. Never getting anywhere, never known by anyone. So, I resigned myself and thought I was ok with giving it all up. I thought I could train myself to be a happy stay-at-home mama, and a dutiful, appreciative wife, with all the trappings of the 50’s.

That’s how I grew up. That’s what my momma did. Raising eight children left her nothing of herself. She never fought against her confinement, rather, she accepted her duty as something between birth and death, something she had to do until she could do it no more. She was taught to scratch off her dreams and wants in service to her husband and children.

I saw nothing in her that would give me hope regarding my own future, except for her strong faith, without which she would’ve been lost. It was her only hope, mechanism of survival.

So, that is how I grew up and that is what I thought would happen to me, even though I was always aware of that something special within me, that little bit of greatness that never dimmed even though I tried, hoping it would make it a bit easier for me to accept my path.

But it all changed one day, or rather, one night, when the light of my world shined even brighter than any previous perceived ambition or desire. My child, my daughter came into the world. I was forever changed. I was forever inspired and empowered. That most powerful and sacred moment of birth, filled with beauty and mystery, travail and immeasurable joy, birthed a new me.

I didn’t only give birth to my daughter, but a new version of me. I couldn’t sleep, all I did was stare at her peaceful face and hold her in my arms for hours on end. The content surpassed all of my exhaustion and I felt like a superhero. Nothing could stop me. No mountain could be too treacherous for me to climb.

maya owlette

Mama’s little superhero

 

It took me a bit of time to process the majesty of that moment, the power in me that I never knew I had. Months passed and with the transition becoming more manageable, that transformation once again caught up with me.

I lived now, a more vibrant, more transparent life. Everything I ever wanted to be, I wanted to be so even more. The passions I had were now even more pronounced as I discovered the confidence and fearlessness I never knew I possessed. Life became more meaningful.

I lived for my daughter. I didn’t want to sell myself short because I didn’t want her to settle in her own life. I wanted with all my heart to leave her a legacy of courage, strength, passion and joy. I wanted her to truly live. I couldn’t teach her with words that meant nothing, so I picked myself up, dusted off my own weakened misconceptions, examined them and threw them out of the nearest window.

I will now lead my daughter by example, not wishful thinking.

Did she take my life? Yes, she took my old life but gave me something so much more extraordinary. A new life filled with vibrancy, adventure and expectation.

She woke me up. And now that I am awake, nothing is impossible, too improbable. I live in the realm of possibility. Why? Because that is how I want her to live, no limitations!

And yes, you can, too, experience this transformation. Just change your thinking and believe in the possibility that only greater glory awaits you with each life that you bring into this world.

It will be harder to go after some of those goals with children, but knowing the value of every minute, you will now know the value of every moment, and you will know that little efforts add up to great things.

If you cannot do it for yourself, do it for the little ones around your knees.

Lead by example, show them a life well lived: passionate, fearless, authentic.

Be truly you. That is the greatest freedom you will give them in this world; freedom to be them.

Life is an adventure, explore it together.

So, yes, Life begins with Life. Or so it did in my case. If I stayed in my old ways of thinking, I wouldn’t have my books written. Scratch that, you wouldn’t be reading this blog.

And with this second child, cocooned in my womb, I am excited to see what facets of me are still lying dormant. I cannot wait to awaken the power within me that will come through as I experience another magical moment of bringing a fresh-faced bundle of joy into this beautiful world.

I am not afraid to lose my life with this addition, as I know full well now, that it will be forever changed but so much richer, stronger, with new adventures and new mountains, new travails and joys.

It is up to you to define your success and your life. Don’t fall into the groupthink and accept the mediocrity, the false assumptions.

Open up your mind, hold your head high and redefine your life according to what is right for you and your family.

YOU are the Queen in your family. YOU make the rules alongside your King. Live a life well lived with your princes and princesses. It is a life worth living.

 

 

By Olga Pyshnyak-Lawrence

Forever Hopeful, Always Believing, Perpetual Dreamer and Doer

Special Spring Activities For Children

With Spring bringing the warmer weather, it is a good time to bring our children outside and enjoy some activities while creating beautiful memories!

Here are 5 Activities that are fun for the whole family:

 

1. Terrariums- Very easy to make and can bring nature inside to enjoy.
 Here is a cute one to make, found at The Magic Onions – Handmade for the Natural Home.

 

2. Building Fairy Houses- Collect bark, twigs, small pine cones, feathers while you are on a walk.  At home you can all build a home to welcome the fairies.

fairy

Our Own Little Fairy

Please visit The Magic Onions for some beautiful ideas!

3. Visit a Local Farmers Market- It is fun to meet the farmers with your whole family!There is usually music and children activities. Buying fresh local food to bring home and cook a meal together as a family will be a treat.

4. It is a great time to save egg cartons to start seeds. Create and keep a Garden Journal with your little ones.

5. May 1st is May Day- Time to find a May Day Festival near you or get together with other families and have fun! Make dandelion crowns, have fun with bubbles! Also, check to see if any Waldorf Schools are nearby. They celebrate many festivals.

 

Here is my list of fun ways to share nature and plants with our children. Remember to keep it simple and ~Have Lots of Fun~!!!

 

 

By Michelle Reid

Supermom and Activist Extraordinaire

Living inPASSION Series: What happened to your inner child?

I love my Fridays. I truly do.

Every Friday I am lucky enough to lead a mama group at the Athens Pregnancy Center in Athens, Ga. I cannot wait for 10am to roll around, nor do I want 11:30 am to creep up on me as well. Often enough, we stay together way past the allotted time.

I love these women. In turn, they’ve accepted me. I hope they know that they truly belong there; exactly as they are, because of who they are. In my mind, they are perfect. In my eyes, I’d change nothing about them, only what they themselves want to change in honor of progress and living on another level.

I believe in them.

And I believe in you as well. Otherwise, I would not be writing, spending my time, a precious resource, more precious than gold.

I would be deeply honored if you would stay close to me as I unpack the inPASSION Series over the coming months. They correspond very closely to the material in my Living inPASSION Series of workshops based on my ‘An Everyday Mama Finds a Passionate Life’ book. True story. My story.

You won’t be alone on this journey, our mama group will be right alongside you, spurring you on.

Today was the first day of this introspective material.

But before I get into that, let me tell you how great our mamas are. Sing a few praises.

We welcome every new woman with open arms. No judgement. Just love. Kind advice. Hugs. Prayers.

We tear up together. Laugh together. Dream together.

We share our stories knowing that we will certainly be heard. That someone is on our side.

We check up on our individual progress. We give a bit of our heart each time we come together.IMG_5372

A community of belonging.

I just want to honor them.

Now that I’ve satisfied my desire to brag, let’s move onto the material that may be relevant to you; the material we embarked upon today. These will be slight steps, so as not to overwhelm anyone, but to give everyone enough time to digest and alter their course in life or continue on stronger than ever before.

Our step one, a very important step, is to tap into our authentic selves. We cannot access the passionate side of life if we don’t know who we are, don’t know our inner voice and/or dreams.

The positive news are that you can definitely find the answers to all the three questions. You don’t even need to know the complete answer, but be willing to learn, to access life on another level. As soon as you start being open and willing, things will start to shift for you.

To help you tap into your authentic self, I’ve designed a few exercises that grow into each other and over time you will understand why they’ve been arranged in the order you are about to receive them and the reason behind every question.

To the best of your ability, with every ounce of honesty, please answer the following questions:

  1. What did you enjoy doing as a child?
  2. What do you enjoy doing now?

Think of activities, things, etc., that made/make you happy.

Take all the time in the world. Don’t rush it. This is not a sprint.

As cliché as it sounds, life is definitely a marathon.

Now that you’ve got those answers down, look back to see if you notice a discrepancy between then and now. Are these answers in stark contrast to each other? Are you surprised that the answers are relatively the same? Have you added on some items as you’ve matured?

By now, you are probably eager to find out why these answers are relevant and why I’ve placed so much importance on them.

Here is why:

I may not be an expert in many things, but in this area, I’ve developed a sixth sense.

The individuals that were successful enough to transition their childhood likes/wants/desires into their adulthood, prioritizing them, including them, and nurturing their inner child in that manner, tend to be the happiest. Especially the ones that were able to hold onto their inner child authenticity AND added on a few mature likes/wants/desires as well. But those are the cherries on top.

If you are in stark contrast to what you used to enjoy to what you enjoy now, it is time to evaluate.

The inner child is still there. Perhaps hidden behind the cares of the world, screen time, and easy fast-food entertainment, but still there, nevertheless. Eager to run around in nature, listen to music, draw, sing, paint, write, explore, express, be silly, be creative, be joyous, willing to connect, willing to try again and again. Fearless. Free. Fun.

If you don’t remember what it is like to be a child, look at the children around you.

If that is not an option, I triple dare you to take on the homework assignment I’ve given to my dear ladies: GO OUT THERE AND HAVE SOME FUN!!!

Remember the word FUN? Children place so much emphasis on that word. Why? Fun allows us to forget about rigidity and to live in the moment, flexible, feeling, free to explore facets of ourselves that can only bloom within that space of possibility.

For all the type A people, don’t overthink this. Smiling at yourself in the mirror can be a great start. Why? Because you may start laughing! You never know where a bit of laughter may take you. Dangerous! (Haha!)

Perhaps looking at yourself in the mirror is something we all must do. No judgement. Just love. Create a space of safety in which the child will be free to peek out, and then perhaps, emerge!

So what happened to your inner child? Perhaps nothing. Perhaps something. What I do know for a fact is that you’ve still got it. As long as you live and breathe…

 

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If I made you think just a little bit and you haven’t been put off by it, but in fact, liked it, please come back soon and check up on this series.

You just never know what is waiting for you on the other side of the Door of Possibilities!