Tag Archives: core story

Reverb11: Yours, Mine, Ours

1 Dec

To the surprise of no one, Gwen Bell announced that there would be no official Reverb11 this year.  I’m disappointed — that was an excellent exercise for me.  However, it was an excellent exercise for me, so I’m going to do it again this year.  I wrote 31 prompts and I’m excited to start ending 2011.

Despite writing new prompts for myself, I want to begin this project with a nod to Reverb10.  Today’s prompt comes from Kaileen Elise:

Where did 2011 begin?

Skiing is my big passion, so every year I eagerly wait for cold weather and snow so I can gleefully slide down a mountain.  The year never really feels complete until the ski season ends, and this year that was especially true.

This year I was working as a ski instructor in the morning and cooking at night, leading to 60-70 hour work weeks, so the first third of 2011 is largely a sleep-deprived blur.  However, by May the weather was finally too warm for the snow to hold up and Tahoe’s amazing 2010/2011 season came to an end.  My year began a week later when I performed my end-of-season ritual with my roommate.  That ritual pushed us from roommates to friends and hit the reset button for me, so my year began.  I moved to Spokane within the week.

I’ve spent this year working to find my place here, trying to define my identity so clearly that I can take it anywhere without feeling like I’m starting over.  I’m re-evaluating and rebuilding my core story, examining my beliefs and making room for a little more faith in myself, a little more self-compassion.  It has not been an easy year, but last December I recognized that I had a lot of work to do if I wanted to change my life.

I’m not sure when 2012 will begin or how 2011 will end, but I do hope that I end 2011 with copious amounts of gleefully sliding down a mountain and begin 2012 feeling love and compassion for a new friend.

* * *

How do you end the year?  Are you participating in a reincarnation of Reverb or some other project?  Share the links in the comments.


My Internet Dependency Is Okay!

22 Nov

Besides, I stopped using the internet for escapism years ago.

I essentially went a week without the internet when my computer died.  (I did have my Ipod Touch, but I used it sparingly because I couldn’t charge it.)  During that week I caught myself thinking that I should be just fine without the internet and wondering if it was healthy to be so dependent on technology.  It was an interesting insight to an aspect of my core story that I haven’t really examined yet: apparently I think the internet (all of the internet, no exceptions) is nothing but a means of escapism and I should be strong enough not to need it.

This is exactly why I’m rewriting my core story.  Now that I’ve brought that belief into the light I can see it for the craziness and hypocrisy that it is.  Obviously there are plenty of ways to waste time online, but just as obviously that’s not all that’s possible and that’s certainly not all that I do with the internet.  I use the internet because it is a useful tool.

I also realized that I’d unwittingly picked that idea up from a few friends and family members who feel intimidated by computers and the internet and that makes them feel a little insecure.  They’re dealing with their own “shoulds” on the matter, and their disparaging comments are a means of justifying their choice not to use these tools, not a criticism of me or my actions.

No one has ever suggested that I am too dependent on these things; I intercepted their self-talk and internalized it and let it influence me.   I don’t need to feel insecure about my enthusiasm for all the internet has to offer; it’s a useful tool, and I’m very happy I have a beautiful new machine to enjoy it with.

* * *

What messages have you intercepted and internalized?  Have they helped you or hindered you?

The Artist’s Way: Week 5

6 Nov

Chapter six, Recovering a Sense of Possibility, was all about learning what we want and how we limit ourselves.  I found it the most interesting and approachable chapter thus far.

The Basics

Morning Pages: 7/7

Artist’s Date: Super hard this week; I could not relax and I did not feel terribly creative.  I finally just watched Battlestar Galactica in the bath.  It was more passive than creative, but it was some nice, quiet time with myself.

Tasks: This week I did the majority of the tasks.  I love making lists and this week was all about lists designed to give me a little insight into what I want and what I can do.

  • 5 Things I Would Do If It Weren’t Too Crazy
  • 5 Things I Would Do If It Weren’t Too Selfish
  • 10 Things I Love That I Am Not Allowed To Do
  • 19 Wishes
  • 5 Grievances I Have With God
  • 5 Things My Wealth, 65-year-old Self Will Do
  • 10 Ways I Am Mean To Myself
  • 10 Items I Would Like To Own


  • I can do this.
  • Progress, not perfection.
  • I am focused and disciplined.
  • I have a beautiful, healthy body.
  • I deserve the wealth of the universe; I return it with joy and enthusiasm.

What I Learned

I’m starting to see that my problems are very basic in nature: Fear of deviating from that core story poverty mentality is huge for me.  I still see life as a zero-sum game, so if I have something good now, that means I can’t have it later.  Next week we work on recovering a sense of abundance, something I think will be very helpful for me.

* * *

I found it illuminating to look at the things I don’t do out of fear of selfishness.  Are these things really selfish?  What does it mean to be selfish?

If it weren’t too selfish, I would…

  1. Get the hell out of Spokane today.
  2. Buy nice clothes.
  3. Resume my annual trip to my favorite music festival.
  4. Let go of the friends who rarely put effort into our friendship.
  5. Spend more time, money, and attention on my appearance.

What are your selfish desires?

How Do You Wish To Nourish Yourself?

2 Nov
Photo credit: colon+right.bracket @ Flickr

Photo credit: colon+right.bracket @ Flickr

Wishcasting Wednesday: How do you wish to nourish yourself?

I wish to nourish myself by exploring my faith.  I’m not sure what this means yet, but I want faith to become a bigger part of my life.  I would like to have faith in myself, faith in my friends and family, and faith in something larger that brings us all together.

Faith, or a lack thereof, has been a part of my core story all my life, but it’s always been ephemeral, never clearly defined.  Maybe that’s just the nature of faith, but I am hoping that I will learn where it fits into my new core story and how to let it nourish me.

* * *

What do you do to nourish your faith?  Or, how does your faith nourish you?

Core Story: Religion

1 Nov

St. John's Cathedral, Spokane, WARecently I’ve been thinking about how faith has shaped my core story.

I grew up Catholic, but around the age of nine, I began questioning that and soon rejected it on feminist grounds.  (Seriously.)  In high school I began to do some reading on Wicca and paganism, which had an appeal, but a lot of what I was reading was historically and scientifically inaccurate, so that didn’t take either.

Later I identified as an atheist, but I’m not.  I might not believe in the Judeo-Christian god, and I might have problems with the idea of a variety of rather specific gods and goddesses to choose from, but I do have faith that there is something larger than myself, and something worth a bit of reverence.

Last year I tried going to Quaker meeting (the unprogrammed version) and I enjoyed it.  It was an hour each week to sit in contemplative silence, giving attention to faith and waiting for something to speak to me.  I’ll probably continue that in the future, but it’s not a practical choice for me here in Spokane.  It allowed for me to be agnostic, but still actively interested, which I appreciated.  (Several members of that particular meeting were Christ focused, but no one felt moved to evangelize.)

Looking back, faith has always been a part of my core story.  I remember having endless discussions with my more devout friends, and even going to church with them purely out of (respectful) curiosity.  It’s always been an interest and right now it’s an interest I would like to pursue.  I don’t need answers, but I would like to have room for both faith and doubt in my life.  I would like to find a way to satisfy my appreciation of science and fact while still giving attention to my faith in the as yet unknown.

* * *

If you’re comfortable, please tell me about your faith or lack thereof.  I am always very interested in how people feel about this subject, so I would love to hear your thoughts.  Also, if you have any relevant books (besides obvious choices such as the Bible) that made an impression on you, I would appreciate the recommendation.

Announcing My Second Childhood

28 Oct

LEGO!I’ve decided to make 2012 my second childhood and I’m excited about it; this seems like an excellent tool to help me rewrite my core story.  I have two major goals that I hope to accomplish: learning to have more fun and building better friendships.

Turning my two original goals into a core story changing project will make me more productive; instead of just tackling those two things, I’ll be able to fit in many tasks under the umbrella of a second childhood.  I’m going to want to buy some new bedding in the next several months —  every child needs that special blankie to help her sleep, so what bedding does my inner child want?  Can she have some pillows too?

Neither of those goals excite me on their own, but now that I’ve packaged them as a year long opportunity to return to childhood, I am just bursting with ideas.  I’m trying to remember the things I loved from being a child so I can use them to achieve these goals.  I have ideas for trips and activities, I have book lists, I have toys I want to buy.  I’m glad I’m giving myself an entire year, because there is so much potential here.

* * *

I’m very excited about this project, and I’ll write a more detailed post when it’s closer to 2012.  For now, I would love to hear about your favorite activities as a child.  What did you love?

People, Places, Things

27 Oct

PerfectI’ve been thinking about the environment I want to live in this week; moving to Spokane has made me aware of how important my living environment is, beyond my immediate home.

During my last trip home to rural Michigan I saw deer, coyotes, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, possums, porcupines, turtles, turkeys, and hawks.  There are a dozen lakes and two rivers within ten miles of where I grew up.  My community was small but close-knit.  Even now, years after moving away, I’m still welcomed with genuine affection every time I come back to visit.

When I lived in Tahoe I commuted 40 minutes each way in the winter; it didn’t matter how overworked, tired, or stressed I felt, I always enjoyed that drive.  Who wouldn’t?  I drove past Lake Tahoe, through picturesque mountain towns, and up to the breath-taking Donner Summit to go ski.  All of those gorgeous things were just part of my trip to work, part of my environment.  The people I met were usually interesting; everyone was pursuing some ambition.  My passion for skiing meant I fit in.

My brief stint in Reno was pleasant.  I could see Mt. Rose in the distance (but not too distant) and the Truckee River ran right through downtown.  At night the strip was a blur of neon and tourists.  Between the casinos and the high unemployment, there were a lot of desperate people, but I still felt safe walking alone.  I felt like I could be every part of myself there, without having to explain anything to anyone.

I haven’t found much to appreciate in Spokane.  The fall colors are nice, but that’s temporary.  The people I meet seem far more settled than I want to be.  People my age are married and own houses.  Good or bad, they have careers.  No one seems to be trying anything new, or deviating from the American dream if they can help it.  My wanderlust makes me an oddity, so I’ve stopped sharing much personal information.  I don’t belong here.

I think I have a lot to learn about the type of environment I want to live in.  I don’t think it’s the geography that matters (as long as I can ski), or the population density.  Instead, I think I want to live somewhere where there are interesting, ambitious people.  People who are eager to try new things, who like to experiment.  The people I surround myself with change my core story.

I plan to move  to Los Angeles this spring.  I’ve never lived anywhere like it, and I’m very interested to learn how I feel about that environment.  Will I find it challenging and stimulating?  Or will it feel too busy and overwhelming?  What will I learn there?

* * *

What makes an environment home for you?  Is it the people?  Is the setting enough?  Do you consider other things entirely?

Choosing to be a Wage Slave

25 Oct

One of the reasons I’m working on my core story is because I’ve never had a good job.  (Aside from teaching skiing, but working five months a year is not practical.)  I have some preconceived ideas about the type of jobs I can get and how I can be compensated for my work, and it’s well past time to get some better ideas.

I’m trying to create a career for myself, something that bring in the kind of money I want to make while providing me with interesting and challenging work.  I’m starting to get a sense of direction in all of this, so I’ve decided to keep my current wage-slave position.

Let me explain.  My current job doesn’t pay very well, I’m not learning much, and I routinely feel taken advantage of.  However, the hours and schedule are consistent, something I’ve rarely had in the past.  That consistency is allowing me to schedule time to work on my own projects, to make an effort toward creating a career.

I’ve spent the past month applying for a better job, but I don’t think that’s the best use of my time.  Looking for a new job is a short-term goal — I only plan to be in Spokane for another five months; spending time on the skills and portfolio that will help me create a career will help me achieve my long-term goals.

I’m having a hard time settling for this job, but I think I’ll be very happy I had the discipline to stay focused on the long-term when I’m looking for a new job in five months.  I can do this.

* * *

How do you prioritize between long-term goals and short-term goals?

I Love My (Fat) Body

20 Oct

My core story should have warped my attitude toward my body.  My mother has been trying to lose weight my entire life, and that is part of her core story — the oldest of six, she was also the biggest, but not what I could consider fat.  Still, she was constantly subjected to words like pudgy, or told she’d be so pretty, if she’d just lose a little weight.  Nothing intentionally cruel, but the same bullshit a lot of women hear every single day.

I’m not sure my mother has ever seen herself as pretty.  (She is beautiful.)  She did gain weight after having three children and she’s been trying to lose it my entire life.  I’m 27.  I’ve spent 27 years watching my mother diet, exercise, and berate herself for the way she looks.

I love my body.  As much as my mother struggles with her own body, she never projected that onto me; she never once implied that I should lose some weight, or skip dessert, or start a punishing exercise regimen.  My grandparents, who did so much damage to her, have provided me with unconditional love and support and not one comment about my weight, ever.

I am not skinny.  I don’t own a scale, but I probably weight between 170 and 180 pounds at 5’3″.  That makes me technically obese, which makes me question the validity of the “obesity epidemic” I keep hearing about.  I feel fat, but when I say that, I mean my body has a wealth of adipose tissue; I do not mean that I am unattractive, or unhealthy, or “letting myself go,” or undesirable, or inadequate, or any of the other terrible things that word is supposed to mean.

I love my body and I want to spend more time living in my body.  I think my body is beautiful, so I’ll end this post by quoting something I wrote a few years ago that I still believe:

“My fat body is also beautiful. Beauty comes in many forms, and one of them is the way my ample hips curve into muscular legs. Another is the circular form of my stomach; I do not have a concave absence, I have a slightly protruding substance.

My fat body inspires people to ask me if I’d like some pie.”

I’m not sure I understand how, but my core beliefs about my body are drastically different than my mother’s.  I am grateful that she did not refer to her own core story when she was helping me write mine.

* * *

This post is part of the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival.  What’s your body’s core story?

How to Identify and Change Your Core Story

18 Oct

The purpose of this blog is to document and share the changes I’m making to my core beliefs.  In the past few weeks I’ve started to see some real change and growth, so I thought I’d share some of the tools and information I’ve found helpful thus far.


The Reverb prompts were what started this blog.  I’d written a few posts prior to December 2010, but I was never consistent or focused.  It was the final prompt that really gave me something to think about and something to write about.  It took some time to commit to making such big changes though, so aside from a valiant effort in January, I wrote very little between Reverb10 and August.


I can’t remember how I first learned about Wishcasting Wednesdays, but I’m so glad I did.  I can’t change my core story without having an idea of how I want the new story to read.  The Wishcasting prompts have been useful tools for asking myself questions about what I want, a vital part of writing that new story.  They have also connected me to a lovely, supportive community, which I greatly appreciate.

The Artist’s Way

It’s an entire book about changing your core story.  It doesn’t matter what your old story was or what your new story will be, this book is about how to get from the old to the new.  I’m happy I’m reading it right now and I’m finding it very helpful.  I’ll give the book its own post once I’ve completed it, but it already deserves mention here.

My Affirmations

I started these on my own, but I received some reinforcement from The Artist’s Way.

  • I can do this.
  • I am focused and well disciplined.
  • Progress, not perfection.

After a few weeks, I’m actually starting to see evidence of all three of these.  It sounds so hokey, but they have made a difference for me and they’re becoming an important part of how I rewrite my core story.

750 Words

It’s the space where I write my morning pages for The Artist’s Way, but I love it and I’m sure I’ll use it long after I complete the book.  It’s simple, yet fun, and provides me some extra little incentives to write.  (I love the badges.)  As I write (it takes about 20 minutes to write all 750 words), I notice patterns, or things I didn’t realize I was thinking or feeling.  The stream-of-consciousness nature is an excellent way to get in touch with what I want.


I enjoy Havi Brooks’ blog.  She inspires me to listen to myself and offer myself some compassion.  Rewriting my core story isn’t going to be easy, so I’m going to need that compassion to help me through this project.  I’m also going to need to listen to myself, so I can remember who I am and learn who I want to be.

I also used her Very Personal Ads as the template for my weekly Hello, Universe post.  Those posts have become a great practice for identifying what I want or need at any given moment.

How to Change a Habit

It’s not just about fixing the bad habits, we also have to try to create new good habits.  Scott H. Young offers some great advice on how to make those changes, all of which is directly applicable to rewriting your core story.  I’ll give a brief summary here, but it’s worthwhile to read the entire post.

  1. Set a conditioning period.  Don’t focus on results yet, focus on actions instead.  A perfect example of my “Progress, not perfection,” affirmation.
  2. Do it every day.  That’s the best way to turn a fluke into a habit, and the reason I post daily.
  3. Replace what you’re eliminating.  There’s a great explanation in the article and I think this is the crux of being able to enjoy the habit.
  4. Begin with the start in mind.  Focus on doing something and scaling up from there; the end goal will eventually become more attainable.

Remember Who You Are

I read Pam Slim’s contribution over at Gaping Void quite some time ago, but it was the phrase “remember who you are” that stuck with me.  Who am I?  How did I become this person?  Who do I want to be?  How can I become that person?  How did I get so far away from her in the first place? Those are the big questions I’m asking myself as I try to change my core story.

* * *

What tools do you use when you’re trying to make big changes?  What inspires you to examine your core beliefs?