I do this thing. When I’m feeling unsatisfied, or insecure, I start collecting. I Pin beautiful images, and try to figure out how to make my life mirror them. I read memoirs and try to imagine my life as theirs. I look outside of myself for the missing piece. As if there is some room I can sit in that will make it all clear, or a tiny slice of wisdom outside of myself that is going to make the difference.
I know that’s not true. And still, I collect. I used to beat myself up about this but recently I took a look at one of my collections – a list of inspiring women – and I learned something.
What all these women seem to have in common is that they aren’t copying someone else. They’ve forged their own paths, ones that might look very different from what they thought – or what anyone else thought for that matter.
This is awesome and frustrating. Because there is part of me that is still looking for an instruction book on life: “The 5 Steps to Being Happy,” “Here’s How to Be Radiantly Yourself.” But the longer I go at this, the more I realize, there isn’t a model to follow. I can look at these women and be inspired by their stories, but in the end, they are not my stories. I can’t do what they did. I have to come up with this life on my own.
That said, here are some women I admire for their vision, commitment and pluck, honesty, and individuality
Erin Loechner of Design For Mankind
Andrea Scher of Superhero Life
Katie O’Connell of Dragon Fly Yoga Barn (Not a website, a real-life place)
Shauna Ahern of Gluten Free Girl
I read this post from Andrea Scher recently, and teared up a bit. Oh, how I know this feeling. The glimpse of self confidence, and the light-speed trajectory into doubt and recrimination.
Where I go in my mind is like a superhighway to the darkest dark.
I’ve been riding a roller coaster myself recently. People talk about doing “the work” or “being in the inquiry.” And that all sounded like nonsense to me until I started looking at myself more deeply. Doubt, love, fear. It’s all in there – like a good spaghetti sauce.
I’m so grateful that people out there are sharing their experiences. It makes me feel less alone in the whole process.
Andrea Scher hosts e-courses, takes photos, and shares delights and truth on her blog Superhero Life. We don’t know each other. I read her blog, and thought she might inspire you, too.
Image from Vintage and Flea.
I saw this great DIY post on sewing your own yoga bag over at Design*Sponge. It looks super simple, if you’re into that kind of thing. I don’t have a sewing machine. And if I did, I’m pretty sure I’d injure myself. But someone could make something horribly cute.
Check out the full post and instructions here.
Molly Hahn is an illustrator and author of children’s books who hosts a Buddhist-inspired comic on Huffington Post.
[image from GOOD magazine]
Sometimes, I think that reading about how someone else improved their life will help me improve mine. More often than not, it’s an escape fantasy. I can achieve inner peace, too, if only I started gardening or went to Tuscany or India or … did almost anything but immerse myself in my own life.
Scrambling down an internet rabbit hole while doing some research for a work project, I found this article by Starlee Kine called, “Magician, Heal Thyself!” She doesn’t offer advice or tell anyone how to do it. She hasn’t fixed herself, but she’s exploring. And her honesty is awesome.
Anna is from Olympia, Washington. This means if she were given a crystal for her birthday, she would say, “Oh my god, I love it!” and this would be the truth. Still we manage to get along because she’s good at trash-talking.
I’ve been thinking about intention and integrity a lot lately. When I read anything from Gwen Bell, I feel a mix of admiration and envy. In this case, I am admiring her daily routine and taking inspiration from it. Intention and integrity from dawn to dusk. It sounds like hard work, and delicious.
This is an image of Gwen Bell from her site, linked above.
Oh my. THIS is lovely in so many ways.
Found at The Awl. Worth seeing the whole (brief) series.
Amy Jean Porter’s first book, Of Lamb, a collaboration with the poet Matthea Harvey, was just recently published. Her show at P.P.O.W. Gallery in Manhattan is up through this Friday, July 22.