LIFE BEGINS WHEN YOU DO premiered in its first month as the number 2 best seller at simpletruths.com Number two. Right out of the gate. In it’s second month it holds the #3 position. If I were an Olympic competitor both those standings would put me on the Medal Stand.
There is an incessant drive to be NUMBER ONE. It is pervasive. The compulsion for superior performance is every where. But here’s what I know: I already gave my most excellent performance when I turned my manuscript in to Mac Anderson at Simpletruths.com LIFE BEGINS WHEN YOU DO was a marathon. A triathalon! testing my skills as one who longs to inspire.
So I’ll take the Silver Medal for February. I’ll take the Bronze Medal for March. And since I tend to do things backwards…perhaps you will help me realize the GOLD in April. This very day Mac is offering my newest book at $10. (It’s usually $15.95). A good day to get those Graduation, Promotion, Don’t-Worry-It-Will-Get-Better gifts you have been meaning to get.
Is that a contradiction? Saying I already won and asking you to buy my book? Every natural competitor reading this will understand that it isn’t. My Dad, a manufacturing production floor manager drilled in to me, “You are today’s accomplishment, not simply yesterday’s awards.” I also know that having the courage to ask for help is a significant part of realizing one’s vision. Any one, any vision.
So, yes. This is me, asking. I’d like to see my new book take a Number Place on the Stand for the month of April. And I’d be honored if you would help me stand there.
That sounds good, doesn’t it?
I recalled one of my former employees loved these little chocolate bites that were wrapped in colorful foil with sage advice printed on the inside. We could always tell when she’d devoured a sweet bite because she’d announce to advice to the whole crew! A fine spot we’re in – I pondered. Taking life lessons from chocolate wrappers. Today I received my due lesson.
With the season of delectable pastel treats fast approaching my husband graced me with a bag of wrapped chocolates. Not endorsing any particular brand here but perhaps you know they are Dove chocolates. In telling this tale you will all know that I had three bites of chocolate before lunch. But so it goes with sharing good information!
The first wrapper said, LIVE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT. Aghast, stunned that the chocolate knew I’d been venturing with small bits of anxiety into future days. I took the hint.
Just moments later, on errands serving the needs of others I received another piece of advice, TAKE SOME TIME FOR YOURSELF. Well advised. I went home, brewed a cuppa java and sat and contemplated the day.
Energized and entertained I launched in to my third tidbit and what awaited me but this, ENCOURAGE YOUR SENSE OF DARING.
It’s easy to think we know and value the appropriate sources of kindness, knowing, intuitive bits of wisdom, Occasionally what I think I KNOW keeps me from profound discovery. There’s learning and lesson to be drawn from many unlikely sources. And today my finest teacher so far has been wrappers from small bits of yum. Who knew? Well, yes, my staff member knew and I’ll have to let her know that the good information finally sunk in!
Sure to draw a chuckle from my friend and graphic designer was my emphatic promise upon delivering illustrations, “I promise! None of them will have crowns on their heads.”
This, of course, was a sweet little industry joke we shared about the proliferation of crowns, various pointy hats and not-to-be-overlooked-wings on nearly every trendy illustration in the marketplace.
And now, I come to the crowning all heads party late. Unhappy with a piece I was working on I muttered to myself, sounding every bit like an old curmudgeon, “I might as well put a jester’s cap on that head.” The head of reference was mine – at barely three, on my tricycle. (The tricycle that expanded my experience of the world by three square blocks – a rather hefty piece of real estate for almost three).
On goes the jester’s cap. Next thing you know I’m putting a crown on a bee. Well, THAT makes sense, doesn’t it? Queen Bee and all. But then, the real trouble began. It was the crown on the crow that made sense of it all. There are so many crowns, pointy hats (and for that matter, wings) on things because it’s downright fun. Go ahead. You skeptics out there – go ahead. Try putting a crown on something. I venture it will not be your last.
All my friend, Shelley had to do was ask, “What’s your favorite read?” That did me in. I didn’t mean to take the turn to the Library. I didn’t know today was the library’s book sale. Succulent, luscious, seducing books calling to me, “Just a quarter. Isn’t there room on your recently cleared, EMPTY shelves for me at just a quarter?” Mesmerized, I was drawn in to the door. The book pheromones began uninvited transmission.
He was pleasant enough – at first I thought his tastes just ran along the same lines as mine. Until I turned around and caught him in the act – sniffing the back of my neck. Some might say he was attracted to the smell of the pain patch there to assuage the many bins of art supplies and books I’ve been hefting in my studio move. But his red face told a different story. He was drawn to the scent of a book loving woman. I held up Mary Gordon’s memoir, CIRCLING MY MOTHER, with my left hand. Where those shiny double bands should say to him, “Stop sniffing my book-loving neck, all my books are spoken for by the man at home.” But no, he followed me to the naturalist’s area where I seized upon Hummingbirds: My Winter Guests, a gift intended for my dying friend in Nevada, who loves hummingbirds. I slipped away and he caught up with me at Vivian Swift’s WHEN WANDERERS CEASE TO ROAM – A Traveler’s Journal of Staying Put. Really? Really? Side step to side step this is how it’s going to be?
I had to call it a day at Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST’S WAY AT WORK – Riding The Dragon. He took note of the promise of Twelve Weeks to Creative Freedom and looked like he might invite himself along for the journey. “No dragon riding for you, buster. I’m checking out of this book sale and saving my book pheromones for the man at home who loves that I read.”
It was Julie Andrews’ COLLECTION OF POEMS, SONGS AND LULLABILES that snuffed out the pheromones and lost him to my trail. Who can explain the what of that? Was it my disappointment that the “exclusive CD with poems read aloud by Julie” herself was missing? Maybe it was the lullabies that threw him off. Never mind. I left him behind, in the Political Science section, soaring with the words of Victor Hugo in my Own Voice:
Be like the bird, who
Resting in his flight
On a twig too slight
Feels it give way beneath him,
Knowing he has wings.
library book sale