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DIVE….Do what the French Do!

30 Jun

I was in France a few weeks ago with my husband for vacation.  It was my first time in Europe.  And I had an amazing time.   I learned so much about myself during this trip that I didn’t realize.  We live in a world of always having to be busy.  I will talk for myself, I always have to be busy, always have to be doing something new.  I feel unproductive if I’m not doing something.

966204_10201500832301643_1808902320_o (2)How did I come to realize this?  My husband and I went to the Eiffel Tower and below we saw a beautiful park name The Parc Du Champ de Mars that people were just lying on the ground relaxing.  I was so excited about lying down on the ground, looking at the Eiffel Tower and relaxing.  Well guess what I couldn’t.  My husband had no problem, but I felt so restless.  First half hours it was nice just people watching and they all looked so relaxed.  Some eating cheese , bread and drinking wine.   I just got on my phone and started reading my facebook, walked around, till I had tell my husband it was time to go.

It drove me crazy why I JUST couldn’t relax.   The more I thought about it, I realize that I was always running around doing things.   I did not know how to relax.  Just to lay there and do nothing and admire the small things.  Like the sky, flowers, grass, watch the kids play. Why have I never just taken some food, blanket a good book and enjoyed all the blessing that I have.  How can I appreciate everything I have if I’m always trying to stay one step ahead, always running around trying to do to many things and not really enjoying it.

Well I got my chance again.  8 days into our trip we were heading to Barcelona from South of France on train.  Well guess what?  We missed the train and were forced to wait 6 hours with our entire luggage for the next train.

Here was my chance!  The funny thing was that the night before someone had recommend for us to buy a bottle of wine, some cheese and bread to take on the train.  My husband was so upset but in front of the train station was a beautiful park and I looked at my husband and told him lets go sit on the grass and have a picnic.  My husband said “for 6 hours?”  YES!!!!!  And we did!  We had our wine, cheese and bread, we talked, he took a nap, I read a book and just people watch for 6 hours.

Was it a coincidence? Maybe or maybe not, but it was what I needed to renew my energy and come back with a clearer mind and learn to take time to relax and enjoy the outdoors without feeling that I have to always be doing something.

So, I’m diving into new territory here.  In hopes that it makes me a more rounded person, a better wife and mother and more creative.

Now you know what I will be doing this summer and it’s OK to enjoy the little thing in life, like sitting in the park with some good food and great company.

So thank you France for teaching me to relax!

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DIVE! at your target

30 Jun

I must make a confession: I just came up with what DIVE! means to me.  And it’s the end of June.  So much for it being my power word for the month.

A power word is supposed to be a mantra I can use to focus and motivate myself.  I’ve gotta feel it deep in my gut.  All month, I’ve thought about different forms of diving – scuba diving, sky diving, springboard diving, cliff diving. None of them spoke to me.  Actually, they did, and they all said, “Meh…”

Ahhhh...

Ahhhh…

I went to Hawaii on vacation and thought I’d find inspiration for my metaphor there.  But even there, I never dove!  The pool, the pond at the bottom of the falls, the snorkeling lagoon at the hotel, they were all too shallow.  We took a surfing lesson, which was way cool, but they advised us not to dive off our boards because it wasn’t that deep and there was a reef scattered throughout the waves.  Of course, Hawaii was gorgeous and fun and I can’t wait to go back.  But I still couldn’t find the meaning of DIVE!  What my brain kept saying was relaaaax, wander, enjoy…  

This is largely the approach I’ve been taking to my writing as well. With predictable results.

Then, this past weekend, I went on a writing retreat with some great writer friends. It was fun, we met some other great people, shared our writing and got some great feedback.  Yes, I can’t stop saying ‘great.’  It was.  For me the most important benefit was getting some feedback which helped me focus and motivated me to pursue one particular project like a hawk.

Coopers Hawk (William H. Majoros - CCA-SA)

Coopers Hawk (William H. Majoros – CCA-SA)

Now, like a hawk, I’ve got my prey in my sights and I’m going to DIVE! until I nail that sucker.

DIVE! to Your Quiet Place

26 Jun

You’re standing at the deep end, waiting for a clearing, your toes palpating the smooth brick edgers. The pool is packed. Children squeal and splash, whine and wade. Parents chase and cajole. A toddler passes behind you screaming, “Nooo!”

You bend your knees and stretch your arms forward, bringing your hands to a point. You, too, are a parent. You, too, are a child. So you dive.

Gliding below the surface with a gentle break, you slope onward and downward. You open your hold and touch your splayed fingers to the bottom. When you look up through the rippled light, bodies run but their words are muted, distant. At last you can hear your own thoughts, your own words. You realize that you can stay here for as long as you want. You’ve always felt restless, but now you rest contently in your comforting, watery quietude.

You are a mermaid, one made for two worlds. For you, breathing the water below the surface is as natural and essential as the air above it. When you stay on land too long, you suffocate. To this peaceful place you long to return, muffling the noises and focusing on your private passion. Here is where you find your flow. Ideas pour out, and time passes unnoticed. Why did you wait so long, you wonder, so long to return to this place you love.

20130626-112358.jpg

Have you ever had a dream like this, too, that you could breathe underwater? For us mermaids, going down for creative air is essential. But contrary to common artistic guilt, getting there does not require planning a solo vacation. Instead, we each can slip into it unnoticed amid the chaos by claiming small moments with ourself and our laptop, piano, paints, sewing machine, whatever.

During this season of busy family fun, how do you get to your quiet place? What would you like to do next there?

DIVE! When you suck at blogging, blog more

18 Jun

So I’ve come to a realization about myself. I suck at blogging. Really—it seems hard to come up with one smart thing to say each month (how do you bloggers do it?), and I use the word “smart” loosely. So what does one do when one sucks at blogging?

I bet you didn’t guess start a new blog.

But that’s what I’m doing. In addition to my role on this blog as one of the 4 Chicks (‘cause I’m not going anywhere!), I’ve started a blog on my own website. Diving into new waters, as it were. And that one I need to really keep up with, since I don’t have 3 other friends to cover for me do the dirty work post in my absence. I can’t guarantee it’ll be earth-shattering posts every time, but I’ll try to say more than um…um…

Although that may very well be part of it.

Vivi crazy

My usual expression

Seriously, though, I know I’m not the only one out there who is pulled in a million different directions every day. The problem is that I love every one of those directions, be it hanging out with family, writing, revising, working. I just never seem to have the time to devote one hundred percent to each one. I mean, unless you’re a Twilight vampire (and if you are, bite me—literally), who does? That’s why I posted a picture of me pulling my hair out, because I seem to do that more often than not.

My sister-in-law recently told me something that stuck with me – give 100% of yourself to whatever you’ve got scheduled at any given time, and not worry about the other items on the list. For example, when working, don’t think about the revisions sitting on your desktop. When with your family (and this one has become much more important to me), don’t think about the work you have to do later. This has actually helped me become a little more focused, and I’ve been able to accomplish more. It didn’t hurt that my son gave me an acrostic poem for Mother’s Day and my computer/writing was listed at least three times (and more than any other theme). So yeah…Momma needs a new attitude.

As for my blog post – it’s on www.vivibarnes.com, and I’m giving away something related to my upcoming debut novel, OLIVIA TWISTED. So come on over and dive in! And leave a comment below if you have any tips to share on how you balance everything OR suggestions for what I can talk about on my new blog. Because anything is better than um…um…

Have a great week!

June Power Word: DIVE!

1 Jun

It’s summertime!  Time for sun and fun.  And cooling off  in the ocean, the pool, the lake.  Wherever your favorite watering hole may be.

Rafi B/CCA 2.0

Rafi B/CCA 2.0

Whether you’re lazily dangling a foot off the dock, sitting in the calm morning surf, or swirling in slow circles on a plastic float, it’s all good.  But nothing is more freeing than leaping into the air and flying for the length of a of heartbeat, until splash, your hands hit the cool water.   It’s time to DIVE into summer and into your art.

What will you DIVE into this month?

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