Archives for posts with tag: becoming

Boldly get on with your life.

Assertiveness is the virtue I am grateful for today. Do you know people who display a bold confidence in their behaviors or when they speak? They exude a confidence that is strikingly different than some of us. This virtue has a sister; it’s called ambition. When we are assertive, we possess a strong desire to accomplish our goals. No self-defeating actions exist for an assertive person.

Sometimes we need assertiveness in sales. Now, I’m not necessarily talking about product sales; we often need to sell ourselves first, especially if we are looking for work, being careful not to sound pushy. When I applied as a transfer student to D’Youville college, I showed my ambitious and assertive self. I knew what I wanted and had the audacity to tell the department chair my plans to withdraw my application if the college did not accept all my credits without condition. I was not unpleasant toward the person behind the desk; I just knew that my GPA was high enough to qualify, and felt much confidence in my accomplishments. Instead of complying to their conditions, I indicated my own. Needless to say, other professors heard about my interview and knew who I was before I attended any classes. One of these fine professionals was Bob Nielsen, whom I dedicated this blog.

Confidence is what makes the difference. If I had not asserted myself and my intentions, I might not have met all the wonderful people who later became my mentors. Confidence changes circumstances. Confidence changes us. Quite often, I look back and think that exuberance is needed in every aspect of life. It helps us to push boundaries and to step out of our comfort zones.
We cannot allow the negative stories in our minds, or our fears, to keep us from doing what we want – whether it be applying for a new job, talking to someone attractive, or asking for what we need or want out of life. So many times, we think things won’t work for us. How would we know until we try? Of course, my interview might not have gone the way I’d hoped it would, but I had to be less concerned about the outcome. I had to be myself. Sometimes I miss being a young girl when I had less fears. Perhaps, back then, I thought less of what people might think of me than I do now. When did my attitude change? When did I let this virtue escape me?

I think it’s time to recapture some of that confidence and assertiveness.

• Define the fear that holds you back
• Determine your desires
• Demonstrate your willingness to forget what others might think of you

I am grateful that assertiveness is never lost; they act quite like muscles. You’d need to work on them to build them up; but they never disappear, even after years of neglect.
Find and build your confidence today.

Joy,
Cheryl

2015-04-25 14.13.25

Sometimes, flying alone is the key.

Have you ever been asked to do something that just didn’t feel right? Giving into peer pressure can hurt your sense of self awareness and self-respect. In these types of instances, some people will try to convince you to do something you would not necessarily do on your own accord. The suggested task makes you feel some sort of way that may or may not be immediately explained. Whatever it is that is asked of you usually comes from someone else’s agenda. And it might not be a positive agenda at that. The task or event might be something they were pressured into and don’t want to go it alone. For your own sake, don’t do it. The pressure you feel is precisely why they call it Peer Pressure.

Now, you may be tempted at first, especially if approached by a friend, but don’t give in. Chances are, those who ask you to do something against your nature are only involved in themselves and their own reasons (self-centered). And for that, they will not miss you if you decide not to go ahead with their wishes. Remember, you never have to give in to any situation in which you do not feel comfortable. In the future, you may have to re-evaluate your friends.

It is when you break free from giving into the pressures of others is when you have reached the threshold of maturity and integrity. You are becoming your true self.

Joy,

Cheryl

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There’s nothing like panning for gold. Last month, I was in a river bed in California with a gold pan in my hands as did many generations of miners before me, each seeking his or her fortune. On a whim, a friend and I decided to try our luck and have some fun. The day was bright and sunny as we waded through the glistening water. The ore flakes float as the sun rays reflect on them as we swished the stones in full anticipation.

When I think about it today, I recall the fun we had; but I also think about the immense concentration and focus gold panning takes. We barely spoke to each other during those few hours. Each stone needed examining. Each deliberate swish of water was needed to clear away the unworthy stones. We looked for the heaviest of all, gold.
At the end of the day, we both had to be pulled, no, yanked from our meditations because we had lost all track of time.

You see, it’s like that. When we meditate and focus on the self, that same type of concentration should be used not just to pull a metal from the waters but to discover the gold within ourselves.

So the next time you want to find the treasure that is within yourself, sit quietly in nature to help you achieve this mental attentiveness. It will not only refresh you, but you’ll look forward another moment to be with yourself. Priceless.

Joy,
Cheryl

Artistic expression is the epitome of a thriving community. Whenever ancient artifacts are found, a glimpse into the past presents itself. Visions of prosperous individuals, imaginings of communal events, and evidence of the past help the modern person understand the importance of expression. After all, any artistic expression indicates the value of human events, the struggles of mankind, and perhaps the desire to demonstrate the beauty in everyday things. Sophocles’ plays are indicative of the time they were created for a certain purpose in his society. Acting out the order of events often helped the people around him see, feel, and maybe even change their minds about controversial issues. Petroglyphs, and the like, leave impressions for the viewer to ponder the thoughts and realities of a past culture. The pictures, while primitive, display man’s early need to create. Proof of this desire is demonstrative in music formed to prepare or educate those around the performers. Musical patterns are fascinating to the human ear. Our nursery rhymes are based on repeated patterns that stimulate the brain and help people learn. A past discovery of musical vibrations enabled many deaf students tremendous opportunity for growth. Recently, taking theater, art, and music out of schools has been a heated debate. Educators of these genres fight to continue these programs while others see less significance. What is troubling is a possible future without the modes of self-expression established early in life. Individuals in these fields currently bring delight to many and fulfill basic needs, especially through catharsis, an emotional cleansing. Solid cultures rely on human expression and emphasis must be made to help developing students by teaching them the basics of theater, art, and music in school all three of which enable students to learn efficiently, serve as an invest in people, and establish a sense of pride in individuality that transcends into the future.
Proficiency in any area of the current curriculum is brought forth when the style learning and application suits the students. At an early age, the brain is attracted to patterns, rhythms, and geometrical shapes engaging attention. As people grow older, established patterns of language in stories or in music trigger what is known as anticipatory skills. When one hears a pattern in either story-telling or in music, one anticipates what comes next. If what is predicted follows, the brain is further encouraged. The same happens for students who are involved in dance or performing arts. They tend to learn anatomy much quicker because they associate the movement with function. Younger students learn motor skills integral for early development. The math classroom engages a student more when she can learn time signatures when playing the drums. One of the fundamental truths about music beats and rhythms is that makes people move. “It is as important to have music in the school as it is to have clean windows, adequate ventilation, and sanitation. A half-day in school without music is like a face without a smile, or a desert landscape” (Winship 508). When something is as essential to the early development of the brain, it makes better sense to endow its abilities to continue. If schools understand and utilize the concepts here, learning becomes natural and less of a chore.
Engaged students express their individuality as they learn to become self-directed. The usual banking based education is less a problem when valuable skills are learned through discovery and not just on facts. While details of the past and present are needed to fully grow, autonomous students gain meaning when they seek out the answers on their own. A study at the Chicago High School for the Arts indicated that students became individuals during their four years: “A key part of an artist’s development comes from an acceptance of oneself and one’s point of view” (Brown 18). Maturity is useful in any situation because it prepares the student for life. It is not to say those who “embrace an artistic identity” are less likely to be team players (Brown 18). Collaboration is taught within performance, whether that performance be in the orchestra, or a single singer on a stage. The painter, sculptor, or photographer builds community as well. She understands the human condition, feels her own completeness, and aims to demonstrate her views: “Esthetic perception of art is associated with the development of personality and disposition” (Lese 184). Art in schools enables students to embrace and grown into their individual natures. The world outside the classroom needs people who are confident in their abilities and who know which temperaments they possess. A common complaint among employers is the lack of team players who can bring new approaches to difficult situations. The foundation built by allowing students creative outlets aids within the work-a-day world even if the individual does pursue a career in the arts: “Special relations of friendship were established among the students […], which in turn lead to a better collaboration between the departments” (Lese 184). The Lese study also indicates that no matter which medium a student is familiar, lessons learned in the arts establishes adaptability. Those who enter the workforce with this background are able to direct individual skills and function well across any discipline.
Empowering students should be the main focus of any school’s curriculum. Students who are allowed to express themselves creatively attain the well-rounded attributes often looked for by colleges and society. A high school transcript that reflects the grades is helpful, but it does not assess a person’s capability after receiving a diploma. True investment in students builds self esteem and establishes certain coping mechanisms. A student taught to have integrity, along with humility and balance is more likely to adapt to the ever-changing situations in life. Art allows students to learn self-calming techniques because it “brings a chance to talk, relax, get out any blocking social dramas, or forget their doubts” (Brown 16). When students unlock and focus on the task at hand, art becomes constructive, similar to the means of therapy. Concentration becomes an outlet while the student builds on his talents and confidence. Often the appropriate allotted time immersed in artistic activities, whether through movement or creative thinking, allows for stretching and attempting new things. Because disparity is rarely seen within the arts, students are free to partake in the beneficial aspects of self-expression without artistic or societal boundaries. Remember, society receives what it puts out: “A work of art triggers emotion, admiration and appreciation in the onlooker, thus revealing the author’s comprehensive view as he moves through various stages in knowing and comprehending art” (Lese 183). Schools that allow art programs authorize students to take ownership of the contributions they will make to the world.
Society needs people who are not afraid to express themselves through art. Artists and onlookers appreciate the role education plays in the world. Without the values placed on former and newly built cultures, life would seem dull. Seeing a play, watching or listening to a musical performance, or entering a gallery are some the many pleasures of the human experience. The foundation built in schools enables the new artist a position in a circle of expertise. It fulfills a human need that spans all backgrounds. Art education in the school unlocks unique abilities in all students whether or not they choose to pursue a path of artist expression as form of income. It must be emphasized again that those abilities are established because the art of learning is individual. When the schools can teach that individuality is recognized and praised, students are given the chance to learn specifically what they need to flourish. It is when the students’ ideas and talents are invested and groomed that society gains its most useful resources.

Joy,
Cheryl

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Without the arts, we would not have Harper Lee’s latest publication. Get it here:

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If you’re into Georgia O’Keefe, take a look here:

Works Cited
Brown, Tina Boyer. “A High School for the Arts.” Journal of Education 195.1 (2015): 15-19. Education Research Complete. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.

Lese, Ana-Cristina. “The Importance of Artistic Creation Resulting from the Collaboration/Interaction of Arts.” Review of Artistic Education 9 (2015): 182-5. ProQuest. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.

Winship, A. E. “The Vision of Public School Music.” The Journal of Education 77. 19 (1913): 507-508. Jstor. Web. 16 Aug. 2015.

On the flight from Phoenix to Nevada, a smaller plane makes a quick left to get itself out of our way. From my angle, I can see it coming toward our plane; it then make its turn so I could see it move away from us. I had not seen engine trails from this angle before. I could see the side view, the back, and the opposite side as we zip right by in the air. All around the plane the clouds had formed different layers in the sky. Notably, the clouds form the various shapes that we’ve grown accustomed; however, I was able to see them from a perspective never noticed before this particular trip. Their form and layers allowed me to decipher the stratus clouds from the cumulous clouds and I found myself wondering which clouds I liked best. Here’s the thing… Who cares? Right? I allowed that thought to complete itself before really getting to the real perspective of viewing them at this height. What I noticed about these seemly ordinary clouds and my first reaction to choose a preference, is that these clouds demonstrated levels or tiers. On further thought, my analysis moved into thinking of the levels or tiers of society. The upper clouds resembled the posh, fluffy, and exotic shapes that formed mountain peaks only visible as we gained height and looked down upon them. Just under the sun are prime clouds accumulating to either keep heat in the atmosphere or to cause rain, an interesting job. As we descended, the stratus became more visible. There were many of these, and I could sense that the function of these types seemed less important. I would imagine that many of us see society in very much the same way. However, at the moment I was on the ground, these clouds were no less important than any of them. Clouds are clouds. Clouds hold water. That’s their job. So, why would the level of suspension determine any importance at all? It doesn’t. What matters is each has its own beauty and mystique. Clouds are all the same. Shape does not determine anything, including levels of status. Just like people. We are all the same. Our shape does not determine our importance. Having had this thought reminded me of a moment in Jane Austen’s book, Emma. Emma and others visit Box Hill known for strawberries and their varieties, Hautboy, chili, and whitewood. The ladies engage in rising chatter while picking and enjoying before seeking shelter from the immense heat of the sun. During this moment, it is difficult to follow the conversation; however, it is a telling conversation not just of strawberries, but of levels in society. Each of the strawberries has its unique quality, yet none is superior. The novel’s ending is just as charming as its beginning. To see a film adaptation of this classic, view Clueless 1995, written and directed by Amy Heckerling.

(All these thoughts of strawberries may be the reason for picking up a giant carton of them from Costco before the 5-hour road trip to California.)

Flying over the Sierras to Reno is a treat. The mountains are so close, they seem as though you could reach out and touch them; quite a sight to behold. They are as majestic as promised, and humbling. The snow caps are intricately defined. The vast and imposing crags could envelope giants. Surely, aesthetic distance helps us to realize just how tiny we are, and equally diminishes our seemingly huge issues. It is also interesting to note that while the earth gives form to these anomalies, we aim to live in and construct our buildings with geometrical shapes. As we pass over a very circular lake with the mountain’s reflection in them, it can be noticed that the lake formed here at the base has receded over the years as if the levels of water had lowered and washed away the rock further creating the caverns along the sides as the mountains pushed their way upward providing this mirror for the heavens. My window seat pictures do no justice to the beauty of this lake.

Circular Lake at Bottom of Sierras

Circular Lake at Bottom of Sierras

I hope you seek daily adventures and see the true beauty in life. It will help you minimize your fears, anxieties, and problems when you realize the vast and limitless possibilities awaiting you.

Joy,
Cheryl

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.

Henry David Thoreau

As synchronicity would have it, this quote, which I’ve used so many times, winds up as another’s comment in a discussion I’m reading through on LinkedIn. That’s because we are all connected. I’m certain you’ve all had moments, events, that seem coincidental. Don’t overlook these occurrences. Pay attention to them; they may prove more meaningful than you’d think.

On with the chosen quote. Thoreau, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, has influenced me in many ways. This time, we should look carefully at what’s been written here.

‘What you get’ implies that goals are things or heights we strive to obtain in order of some importance to us. The end result seems the final destination. What’s in it for me? Sometimes it’s the body we desire after countless days spent in the gym. Sometimes it’s the degree we’ve earned through years of reading and writing papers. The end result. Yes. Ahhhh

‘What you get by achieving your goals’ leaves out the journey, the means to the end result. Think of this: there’s a mountain over there, lets call it your goal. You could reach the top by helicopter, yet nothing is gained in this manner. Would you know the terrain to make the journey again? No. That would be like cheating on a test and ‘getting’ a good grade. You still don’t know the material, so the reward isn’t yours. You’d need to continue to cheat, but the result remains unknown as a vast canyon. There’s something about stomping up the side of the mountain a step at a time, maybe slipping a little too, that helps you understand yourself a bit more.

Think of a time when you’ve achieved something rather fantastic. Did getting the thing, the trophy, the degree, the job leave you almost with a sense of emptiness? Were you still looking for the triumph to last longer than it did? Did you ask, “Is this it?” Perhaps you’ve forgotten to stop at each small step along the way in your journey to the end result and assess what has happened to you as a person. This is the most important part of your hike to the peak. What did you add to your character on the way? Are you more efficient at time management? Did you recognize where you slacked? Will you be able to understand now how to get past the snags? How have you changed?

Try a free questionnaire provided by the Via Institute. It’s a character test. Do the test now, and at a later date (perhaps after achieving a goal, like starting a budget) to test how much you’ve improved or evolved.

Here’s the site address:
http://www.viacharacter.org

Becoming Self Aware is the first and best thing you can do for you. Find out what your character strengths are; you’ll be glad you did.

Joy,
Cheryl