Are You a Magic Genie?

“Are you a magic genie?” she asked.  “Yes!”  I replied.  “How did you know?”

I wish I were a magic genie.  How fun would that be?!

This fifth grade girl with the boisterous laugh and wide grin was a participant in one of my latest workshops called, “It’s All About You.”  A group of fifth and sixth grade girls met with me for eight weeks where we used writing and expressive arts to discuss and explore what it means to have self-esteem, how to set boundaries and what to do when those boundaries are crossed, how to recognize and listen to their intuition, plus an assortment of other topics for adolescent girls.

That particular week we were talking about goal setting.  I walked them through an exercise where they imagined how their lives would look in ten to fifteen years.  They visualize themselves in this future place and time with the help of a magic carpet.  (This is one of those moments when it’s great to be a kid since their imaginations are so vivid and easily retrievable no matter how fast their brains are swirling.  A lot of adults, with equally swirling brains, can no longer access the dreamy state of getting lost in that imaginative pocket.)  After visualizing where they are in their future and what they’re doing there, the girls write down everything they remember.  Then they choose one image of their future that they most want to come true.  They write down that image as a goal and then determine what steps they need to take to get there.

It was near the end of this exercise that one of the girls asked if I was a genie.  Then she said, “I’ve never thought of my future this way before and now I know exactly what I want to do with my life.”  Though not all the participants have this kind of light-bulb moment, the fact that one does is why I love facilitating these workshops.   girl flying on a magic carpet

The girls are really the genies.  But I get the awesome wonder of watching the magic as they start to fly.


The Path of Persistence

I have a paperweight on my desk that says, “The road to failure is actually the path of least persistance.”  And yes, “IMG_0912persistance” is misspelled on the paperweight.  So this little gem makes me smile and it sobers me at the same time.  And it reminds me to use spell check when I write.

Sometimes persistence gets a bad rap and I think that’s because it’s often associated with belligerence. But I love persistence.  I’m not sure that anything gets done without it. Though the Good Luck Fairy can certainly wave her wand when she wants to and astonish all of us, I don’t rely on her.  Ever. Instead I live with persistence.  I don’t have a choice.

I blame it on this thing that lives inside me and though I wouldn’t call it a voice, it definitely shouts at me when it wants my attention.  I also wouldn’t call it a longing or a drive because it’s more than that. And it’s definitely not a belligerence either. But it does have incredible power over me.

If I could compare persistence to anything, it would be like this small, cascading creek in Colorado that I know well.  The creek rushes Sawmill Creek_0001down the mountain on its familiar path, yet whenever it encounters resistance, the force of the water either surges over the barrier or forges a new path around it. The creek simply follows what is in its nature to do.

I’ve been facilitating writing workshops for over five years now and due to the specific focus of those workshops, I’ve had to put many proposals out there before one is accepted.  Word of mouth recommendations are starting to kick in now, but there were months when I wondered why I was working so hard only to get discouraged by rejections.  The same feeling crops up with my work as a writer. But that creek runs as powerfully through me as it does in those mountains. It would be sooooo easy to give up, but I can’t. I just can’t. I’m doing what is in my nature to do.