bold thoughts

The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.

I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life's betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn't interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

- By Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Day 1 Again: Building Momentum

I have started over again on my 21 days to create a habit project. My revised goal is to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, rather than run for 30 minutes a day.  After forgiving myself for slacking and breaking my commitment to run - then deciding to revise my goal to include a variety of exercise types, I'm ready to go! :-D  This being a human thing is quite tough and funky at times - but I'm learning that it's really about not getting wrapped up in a funk and pushing myself to keep moving.

Yesterday, I set out on a cycling quest. My friend Heather and I jumped on to one of Orange County's  many amazing bike paths with the intention of riding at least 20 miles round trip. Once we got rolling, I was taken by the creek that gurgled beside the bike path and the aroma of sage baking in the summer sun.

Getting out into nature and enjoying the sea breeze wafting through the canyon was exactly what I needed. I've realized lately that staying within four walls brings out the sloth within my soul. It becomes all too easy to get stuck in front of the TV or iPad. At one point in the ride, Heather looked my way and said with a smile on her face "why haven't I been doing this for the past three years I've owned my bike?"

Why is it that so many times we choose activities that add to our suffering, small-selves rather than doing the things that bring us true joy & bring out our big-bad selves? We are happy when we stay on task - exercise - fill our minds with wisdom - stay in touch with our spirit - express ourselves truthfully...

One would think that after riding for 1 hour and forty-five minutes I would be ready to crawl into bed...but when I got home I was amp'd! I was inspired to clean the kitchen, organize my room, run to Petsmart and the market, and then come back and work on a couple projects.

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Airlines, was recently asked what he does when he loses inspiration or becomes stagnant. His answer was simple..."I exercise." I had read this a couple weeks ago and am more convinced that he is right than ever. (There is one thing I'd like to share with Branson :-D -- I recently flew Virgin from London to Los Angeles and the seats in coach need some major improving...lack of padding and leg room made me want to lay in the aisle (regardless of how many amazing movies were at my disposal to watch) and inspired me to fly another airline on my last trip. He may need to run a few more laps on the track to solve that issue :-D There is always more room for improvement!!).

Once Heather and I reached the halfway point of our trip (which had been a gradual incline the whole way), we turned around were rewarded with a fast and furious ride back to where we came from. I was so happy that I began singing out loud a few times.

I'm learning that a life of action is rewarding on every level!

“Don't wait. The time will never be just right.” - Napoleon Hill

- Jen Engevik
Project Be Bold


Confidence, the Stock Market & Overcoming Fear

I awoke today quite interested in what is going to happen today on the stock market. So many
 are concerned after reading articles and listening to the numerous negative news reports on TV. Magically (or really not so magically because what would one expect when fear is in the air?) the market has lost its footing and is beginning to tumble.

There is a definite lesson to be learned in all of this. It is one that is quite obvious to many, but I'm going to spell it out for my sanity/amusement. When fear becomes the principle guiding force in the economy, within the business world, within our families, or individually - a tailspin is inevitable.

To illustrate my point, I'm going to imagine I'm walking a tightrope across the grand canyon. Let's say I
believe that the rope I am walking across is so stable & magical that there is no doubt I will make it across. I jump on and begin my journey to the other side. I'm so confident that I dare to dance my way across. I set my gaze on my destination and don't have a single thought about the possibility of a fall. Half way through my journey, I'm elated at my progress. And then...a stranger standing below yells to me..."that's not a magical, sturdy rope! It's just an ordinary one that I can find at any old rope store!!" All of a sudden I realize the magnitude of what can happen if I lose balance. I buy into his negative talk/doubt and begin to teeter back and forth. Sweat pours from my brow and tears begin to form in the corner of my eyes. "I'm too young to die!" I whisper to the universe. I become certain I am going to fall...the rope begins to sway back and forth and the next thing I know I'm flying through the air toward the canyon floor.

I am not a stock expert, but I'm thinking it's very possible that if last night we were told we gained a AAAAAA+++++++ credit rating (I know ratings don't get that high...but I have to be a bit dramatic to make my bear with me :-D)  the Dow Jones may reach new heights. Nothing has changed surrounding the companies that people invest in -- our fears have just taken over.

Our economy is based on confidence. But how are we supposed to be confident when all we hear is how horrible everything is?

Likewise, on a personal am I (or you) supposed to get anywhere when I don't believe in what the universe has in store for me? Curling up in the corner and weeping isn't going to get me anywhere. Fear brings our most monstrous nightmares to life. If you fear the loss of your relationship - you'll probably do things to lose it. If you fear you'll be poor, you just may...because you'll probably freeze in your tracks and fret. If you are creative and fear that someone will steal your idea, you won't do a darn thing...someone will release a similar idea into the market and you'll be left saying "if only I were bold enough to make my dream come to life."

When I look at the US and our amazingly challenged congress and decision makers, I see a group of men and women fearful of losing their jobs - thus their decisions are fear-based. The result is a sinking ship. I'm thinking that we must act out of truth and fearlessness to move ahead. If that means losing a job or risking security then so be it. At what point do we look beyond self-preservation and do something that will truly make a difference?

One day back in my college days, a buddy of mine listened to one of my fear-based rants, looked me in the eye with a fierceness I will never forget and uttered, "fuck fear, Jen....fuck fear!!" He snapped me out of my funk and we both laughed until tears came to our eyes. I'm not one to throw that four-letter word out into the air often; however, eleven years later when I begin to spiral into a fear based tailspin I repeat these words to wake myself up.

Fear is a part of our daily lives - our internal stock market is susceptible to instant crashes. Yet - it takes a second to put on our Superman/woman suits and force our stock back up. Moment by moment. Step by step...we can force fear out of our lives and replace it with confidence.

- Jen Engevik
Project BE Bold

My Lesson on Goal Revising and Self-Forgiveness

After spending nearly three months in Sweden, I am back in the US of A. While I am happy to be back and enjoying the bright sunny California days, I have to admit I went through a bit of an adjustment period. In one way, being in my home here was new and fresh and in another way it felt as though I had never left. Travel is strange in that way. You plan, pack, get on a plane and fly half way around the world - experience amazing moments. Time flies. Then the next thing you know you are back where you came from... jet lagged and a bit disoriented.

Prior to leaving Sweden, I had promised myself that I would run each and every day for 21 days as part of an experiment. And OK...I'm am going to say it just as it is...I failed. I haven't run each and every day. For days I've put off admitting this because maybe I'm a bit ashamed.

In the process of trying to run for 21 days straight, I have to admit that I really don't like running. LOL! There I said it!!! I've run a day here and there and then have gone on long bike rides and swam. Today I rode with a friend from Irvine to the backbay of Newport - the other day I swam for 20 minutes - the day before that I cycled 25 miles - the next day I ran 2 miles.  And I've learned something about myself in the process. I enjoy variety. I know, I know...I'm a slacker surrounding my 21 day experiment.

But...I'm thinking it's OK for goal revision and forgiveness. I can change my goal to 21 days of exercise in its various forms. I can forgive myself for failure. It took me days to write this post because of my guilt. As I've contemplated my inability to force myself to run for 21 days straight, I realized how easy it is for us not to forgive ourselves for past failures. We become angry with ourselves - we become stagnant -we look at ourselves as weak. And then there is our support system who may chuckle at our constant goal setting efforts and very little follow through.

I'm thinking I need to look at what I was trying to accomplish - the big picture. My goal really at the core is to get in shape and to grow better habits. I need to realize that there are many ways to get there. Goal revision is acceptable and maybe healthier than I know. I have to own who I am and then try to build a framework that makes sense for me. I need to analyze myself and learn to set goals that make my soul come alive. For instance, my self-analysis includes the fact that I love lots of colors - all type of people - surprises - new experiences. So it may be that my goal setting needs to include variety?

My 21 day project will be revised to 30 minute of exercise per day - running will be a part of it, but so will a lot of other activities I love.

I'm wondering how I can apply this lesson to other areas of my life? Maybe I haven't finished a book to be published because I'm in need of a bit of variety...try writing from new a wider variety of authors that inspire me before sitting down to write...make my home chores more fun and in a different order each time...

Writing this post is moving me beyond my shame based train of thought. I am OK even though I'm not perfect. I hope whoever reads this gives him or herself a break to. Moving to new levels cooking requires that we forgive ourselves and move on.

- Jen Engevik

My News Experiment & Why I'm Banning Most News from My Life

I experimented a bit over the past few days to see how immersing myself into news would affect my mood and my ability make bold decisions. This comes after making the decision over the past couple of months to stop reading about the latest tragedies, world conflicts, monetary woes and politics. During that period, I was quite productive and happy -- I saw the world as a place of opportunity and beauty.

Getting off of my no-news diet and delving into the wild world of news for the past few days has really helped me reaffirm my position that it's not so good for my outlook. Here are some of the things I've noticed.

  • Politics - I've read about everything from what's happening in congress - to the theories and Ideas presented by Presidential hopefuls - to conflicts in the middle east. The result = I find myself irritated and angered over many issues that I have no control over. I've wanted to get in arguments with those who don't see things the way I see them. It hasn't helped me one bit to be a more loving person. I was much happier - more accepting and hopeful when I decided to stop reading about the political games that are waged each day. I am going to continue my ban on reading about politics - and will not do it even when the election is in full swing.
  • Tragedy - I decided to educate myself on what happened to Caylee Anthony. To be honest, I didn't follow the trial or even know about it, so I dug in. I read much of the testimony, went over the timeline, listened to some of the interviews that detectives held with Casey and more. This experience filled my mind with darkness. I was frustrated by Casey misleading police and freaked out by her ability tell a lie without flinching. I was saddened when watching news clips of Americans holding signs, spitting and yelling outside the courtroom.The whole thing is troubling to me - firstly the media pulled millions of people in and made many of them more concerned over Casey Anthony's life than their own daily lives. That is a lot of wasted time, energy and emotion. I didn't miss a thing by not knowing about it or focusing my attention on the case. Because of this experiment, I've made a vow to continue turning the channel when stories of tragedy pop up. I'm going to focus on my immediate world rather than obsess on other people's realities.
  • Star news - In my search, I also caught up on the latest in Hollywood news. There are lots of divorces, disputes, stars battling the law, etc. My mind began to spin when I read about one star planning a $20 million wedding. It's nice and all - but I just kept thinking about the real world and everyday people who are struggling and couldn't help but feel a little frustrated. This experience also instilled in me that reading about stars diverts me from my own reality and causes me to wish I had more and sometimes makes my head spin.  For these reasons, I'm continuing my ban on needing to know more about stars.
This experiment has affected me for a couple of days. I'm a bit moodier and slightly depressed - keep thinking about Casey Anthony's release from jail and wanting to know what truly happened. Also I have been contemplating politicians and political positions that frustrate me to no end.
Just a few days ago before I took on this experiment, I was filled with possibility, excitement for life and now I'm a bit off my game. So here's what I'm going to do to from here on out...
  • Continue my ban on news and focus on the here and now.
  • Delete my news apps from my iPad.
  • Fill my mind with possibility -- good books, happy movies, inspiring shows...and things that make me laugh.
  • Eliminate divisive political discussions from my daily life. For me & the poor people I argue with, these conversations are energy killers.
  • Get out and get some exercise - enjoy the beauty of the day - celebrate the moment
I'm convinced that bold behavior and choices can only be made when the mind is fresh - uncluttered and free. This is why I suggest staying away from things that dampen our moods, cause frustration or distract us from our here and now.
- Jen Engevik

Principle is Not Bound by Precedent

I have been reading a very old book titled "The Creative Process in the Individual" by Thomas Troward who lived from 1847 - 1916. In the book, he drives home the point that "principle is not bound by precedent." In other words, the past is not always the best guide for present action and/or thought.

I think this is extremely important to understand for the following reasons:

1. Just because our mothers, fathers, and grandparents participated in a behavior that caused them pain, doesn't mean that the cycle has to be continued. One of my pet peeves is listening to a person define their present activities and blame it on someone else. "My mother taught me to be I am too."  " My parents fed me the wrong things when I was a kid and now I can't get healthy." "My dad was a failure and I am too." On and on the blame game goes. "The government doesn't allow me to do x,y, I'm just stuck." Don't get me wrong, I have done this in my past...but one day I decided that I was sick of the blame game. Mine use to be..."my dad died when I was a I'm a feeble little thing." To be honest, I got tired of that story and decided to move on. Action can be taken at any moment and old stories put to rest.

2. Our government did it this way in the past, so we should continue. That's the way our forefathers wanted it. I'm not going to dive into politics, but I will say that if logic tells us that we are treating others inhumanely (even if actions were justified in the past) doesn't mean that it is OK today. The world needs to move beyond an eye-for-an-eye mentality. On every side. At what point does humanity decide to put down their weapons, look each other in the eye and see that we are brothers and sisters and then work to create a unity?

I come from a country that prides itself on fact that it is "the best"...."the strongest"..."the boldest." I love my country, but after traveling many places and working to understand others...I am convinced that it's not about being "the best." Quality of life takes many forms - there is more than one way. And our past actions as a country don't mean that our current choices are justified. We should constantly evaluate our motives and question our tactics. Some charge that by questioning authority, this makes one a bad citizen. I and many others beg to differ.

If anyone suggests that someone is a bad citizen for being an individual...or questioning...they are using a time-old control mechanism called peer pressure/bullying. How is it that so many adults fall for a childhood trick? And isn't a "democracy" supposed to be based on free-thought anyway?

3. One group of people is superior to another because my mommy and daddy said so. I really don't have to say much here beyond - Thank goodness for those who fight every day for civil rights. Thank goodness there is no slavery - that women have the right to vote - and that many are waking up to the fact that gay men and women are simply people trying to do their best.

I have never been disappointed when I've challenged myself to talk to someone that I don't quite understand. I once made friends with a heroine addict living on the streets of Miami. Prior to getting to know him, I had a sort of anger toward homeless people. I wondered why they would give up. I thought it weak. One day, I decided to challenge my assumptions. I saw him sitting on a lawn chair, while the other homeless folks sat on the ground. He looked up and smiled. I asked how he was doing. "I'm great," he responded. He was an African American man in his 40s, and appeared pretty well-kept as compared to the others. Something in both of us compelled us to connect, so we started talking and he invited me to sit down next to him. I did. We then went on to enjoy two plus hours of conversation. He told me about his daughter who he hadn't seen in years, about his life before becoming an addict, and more. At one point, both he and I began sobbing. It started when I asked him if he wanted to sing a song with me and he suggested an old church hymn that we both new from our childhoods. It was about love. I held his hand as he rocked back and forth sobbing with all of his being. As dusk set in, I knew that I had to get a move on and he began to shake a bit as he anticipated his next fix. We both said goodbye and he gave me a huge embrace. "Thank you Jennifer...thank you," he said. And that was it. I went back to my life and he back to his. I have never looked at homeless people again the same way. Now I feel for them. I understand that they've fallen and don't quite know how to get back up. I saw my own vulnerabilities in him - and he say himself in me.

Regardless of class, religion, race, country, and more...we are all just trying our best.

Thank you for reading my super long post. I believe that being bold means challenging assumptions. That just because a doctor hands us a cure-all pill, doesn't mean it is good for us all. Or just because we were taught to believe one way, it is the end-all be-all. There is so much more than meets the eye. Just maybe it begins in the heart.

- Jen Engevik

-Project BE Bold


30 Day Challenge by Google's Matt Cutts

A friend of mine made me aware of a video in which Google engineer Matt Cutts shares how 30 days can transform your life. Take a bit more than 3 minutes to be inspired by watching this video:

- Jen Engevik

Project BE Bold