Hi. I'm Kirsten. You can call me KO (K-oh!)
My author website is at kirstenogden.com
This is my bloggy blog blog.
I have no idea what this blog is for. Seriously. Back in the day I had a newsletter and lots of projects and missives and writing prompts and I monetized it and got some cash and so forth. I had a "theme" and a whole deal. But honestly, who is reading blogs these days and what are they for? I find myself going back to analog (well duh, I never left it). But you know what I did this week? I bought beautiful paper covered in pineapples to cover my analog organizer. Do you Gen Xers remember, back in the day, covering your books with grocery paper or those free white shiny book covers and then spending an entire year doodling and writing junk all over the book cover? Man, I miss that. My niece (is she a millenial? My high schoolers this summer argued that they're not "millenials" they're "generation Z" or "the iGen" and I'm like UGGGGH--but I digress) -- My niece, who is 18 and headed off to college, mostly spent her high school years texting to her friends in class, so there's less time for doodling eyes and faces and spirals and rainbows on your book covers. I miss that though. Time to breathe and zone out. Yes, I'm a teacher, and I know I'm basically saying "school was zone out time" but really, we have totally overprogrammed ourselves and our kids and they're weird. THEY ARE WEIRD. They can't hold a conversation. They don't know how to apologize if they've been shitty. They think thank you notes are dumb but they don't mind taking the presents! And they are addicted to their phones!
Cranky ole lady just showed up. HAHAHAHAH. Back to my post about breathing and zone out time.
My niece is off to college. She's been living with me for 7 years and I'm going to miss her. And she's off to live in the dorms at a big 4-year urban school. I'm the first person in my entire family to go to college, and I did it with 2 community colleges and transfer credits from 4 undergraduate institutions while working full time and wracking up student loans. Then I got an MFA and a PhD too. Yes, I'm a working-class bad ass -- BUT my niece: She's going to get to go and have that college experience I always dreamed about. She's so lucky. So -- since my delicious writing retreat this past summer, I have devoted every day to getting her ready and I've neglected myself AGAIN. I went back on my healthy eating plan, lost 7 pounds, and then put back on 2 pounds and have woken up stressed out with a headache for days. And my own teaching and classes begin next week and the week after. It feels like there's been no free break at all. I long for the days when I was sitting on the porch staring out at the expanse of Virginia trees.
How can I get back to more bounce?! Yeah. There it is. A blog post. Enjoy.
#SI have a Facebook page called the Super Secret Writing Squad and often post Missives and Missions there. This month I thought I'd gear that up again after reading BrainPickings great post full of Love, as well as another book I've been spending time with, Loveability by Robert Holden. The August #SSWS mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get the #SSWSLoveRevolution started!
August 2018 Mission for Super Secret Writing Squad Members - Spread the Love!
AUGUST MISSIVE! Your mission, should you choose to accept it:
Spread Love Quotes, Love Messages, Love Reminders
Guerilla Publishing challenge! Make a series of business cards, flyers, postcards, handwritten notes, etc. and tuck them into bus stops, leave them on trains and subways and busses, post them to coffee shop boards, etc. Pictures welcome!
Lets get #LoveRevolution started!
In his wonderful book, Holden says "The decision to be the presence of love is the most powerful influence you can have in any situation in your life and in this world."
These days, with all of the craziness going on in the world, we sometimes forget the incredible influence we can have on other people, simply by being a presence of love in the world.
In the film "Dead Man Walking," Susan Sarandon, playing Sister Helen Prejean, says "I'll be the face of love for you" as she agrees to bear witness to the death of Matthew Poncelet, a prisoner on Death Row in Louisiana.
I was also inspired by 18 Year Old Paige Hunter who places inspirational messages at Wearmouth Bridge in England where a large number of people often take their own lives.
Reminding people that they are loved is a powerful act of social justice, and a reminder to ourselves that we have more power to change the world than we know -- it must begin with us.
I've just spent the most delicious two weeks at a writer's retreat in Virginia, and during the retreat, a Thai Yoga Therapist came and did some "body work" with me. Less massage and more stretching, hands on body touch healing, and energy restoring. During our session she asked a lot of questions and I responded, and parts of my body "spoke" for me. One of the things she said was "you can't pour from an empty cup." I told her about my desire for connection. I told her about my desire to step into a new phase in my life. She helped realign my energy and I felt different afterwards. More powerful. Having let go of some things. This is good. I was reminded that this is what we have to do sometimes beause we give so much and then we're left with nothing for ourselves. I am a giver. An empath. A healer. I rarely say no. I champion others. This makes me feel good and I like to see other people happy and achieving. There is enough abundance in the world for everyone to have all of their dreams come true if only we would operate in the world with love. This is why I teach. I love to see students step into their best biggest dream selves. We each have to remember that everyone is on his or her own journey, and it does no good to compare and despair or to lament what has come before or to criticize or judge. One of the things I'm always working on is not "shoulding" on people. It's tough. You see people in pain and you want to help, but you can only save yourself, and in saving yourself, it is possible -- I believe this -- to save the world. Standing in love and forgiveness is the only way to a creative life. I know this. I write because I have to. I write because I believe that writing can change us from the inside, and when we do that, we can change the world we live in. So for the past two weeks I've filled my cup -- after dumping out the grounds. I did a lot of journaling -- letting go, self-forgiveness, forgiving others, and recognizing that we're all on the same journey back towards our 'god' selves. Everything is ok. Everything will always be ok.
One of my favorite videos to show my students is "The Most Astounding Fact." I love it because it reminds me of how big life is and how big I am. Our atoms come from those stars. We each have stars and the stuff of the cosmos inside of our bodies. When I show them this video, sometimes students cry and wipe away tears just in time before the lights of our classroom come back on. Then I release them out into the world -- the stuff of the universe, each of them a little seed. Just a missive from over here where the full moon shines down on me as I sit on this porch and write to you, from where the cicadas clamor in the trees and the fireflies circle their way up to the highest treetops, and the bull frogs belch and the birds call to one another checking the mail. It's a beautiful night and I'm grateful for it. Write that. Write your beautiful night and your gratitude, or your beautiful morning and your joy. If you do that, the world will be better for it.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO MAKE BIG CHANGES!!!!! -- Josh LaJaunie
Today I woke up feeling gross. I had gone to bed at 3am after a rousing debate discussion with a friend. This week has been a sort of timelessness. Days of feeling peaceful and relaxed with a few pockets of excursions, adventures, lots of naps, contemplation, and yes, a little bit of stress too.
Mostly, this time is an opportunity to reflect and make a decision. I say "decision" instead of plan today because that's what it is. I was talking to a family member this morning who is overweight, depressed, and stuck in a routine of ignoring self+love. Recently she bought a skin care regimen advertised on television, and for three days, morning and night, she's been using this skin care regiment and taking daily pictures. On this third day she'd taken her glasses off and was smiling in the picture, and I thought, not A LOT has changed in three days but she FEELS better about herself.
This reminded me that routines for self+care can have such a strong and amazing impact on us. My own self+care routines have been pretty non-existent the last year or so. With work, getting a senior ready for high school graduation and entering college (oh the college applications!) I have been putting my self last on the list. And waking up without a solid self+care routine is waking up without a foundation.
Today, Josh LaJaunie posted a little video showing his pre-weight-loss jersey when he was at 400 pounds, on his svelte, muscular, athlete's body today and he said "Don't be afraid to Make Big Changes." A lot of this has to do with being VULNERABLE.
It's a tough thing to do.
Josh says, "vulnerability is really a very strong thing to sign up for, to volunteer for."
Yeah. And being positive all the time can be really tough and really hard too.
This cat is so inspiring! I have been following his journey a few years now and have been up and down and off and on my own health journey and I find his words so inspiring. FEAR is the #1 killer -- it's not heart disease, it's not cancer, it's not diabetes, it's not smoking, it's FEAR. What would happen if you CHANGED EVERYTHING? It's like jumping out of an airplane with a parachute for the first time. IT IS SCARY! It's scary to make big changes and be public about these changes. And it's so so so so hard to keep focused on yourself in a world that pulls at every limb of you and wants nothing more than for you to take care of everyone else and everything else but you.
I'm talking about me. LOL.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO MAKE BIG CHANGES!!!!!!!!
Or, if you ARE afraid, BE AFRAID AND DO IT ANYWAY!!!!!!!