the gratitude project

41st Birthweek Bonanza Day 6: 3 Projects And The People Behind Them Who Inspire Me To Reach Further

It seems the Interweeb gremlins insisted on delaying this post – something about a fiber being cut somewhere between New York and Virginia – but here it is, Day 6 of my 41st Birthweek Bonanza!

Today I share three projects and the people behind them who inspire me to a) practice intention and self-care, b) expand my notion of what's possible and c) be of service to the world.

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1. The Wear Your Joy Project

For a long time I felt frumpy. Each morning I reached for the same clothes to go to work: skinny blue jeans or brown cords paired with the usual knit suspects, with one of two pairs of sneakers. Then I came across Kelly Rae Roberts' Wear Your Joy project.

At first I didn't change anything, but the more I read about Kelly Rae wearing her joy, the more I asked myself what that would look like for me. So I started paying attention.

I paid attention to my clothing choices each morning, to the motives behind them and how they made me feel. I started putting together new outfits that matched what I felt inside or what I wanted to feel and as a result, I started to feel more “put together” and confident. Though this may seem superficial to some, it's not.

When I feel “put together”, I feel good about myself. When I feel good about myself I approach my day with a more positive stance. Cultivating this positive stance – while not obsessing over it – has become a form of self-care.

The Wear Your Joy project inspires me to take pride in my appearance and give myself the gift of choosing clothes that, as Kelly Rae puts it, “delight my spirit and light me up.”

What would wearing YOUR joy look like?

2. Type Rider II: The Tandem Poetry Tour

In 2012 I identified Maya Stein as one of my possibility tracks (a person who inspires me) because for her 40th birthday she cycled for 40 days, over 1200 miles, with a typewriter in tow to write poetry. It was Type Rider: Cycling the Great American Poem.

This year she's joined by a friend of mine, Amy Tingle. Last month Maya and Amy raised enough Kickstarter funds, even surpassing their goal, to undertake Type Rider II: The Tandem Poetry Tour. Together this July they will “ride 1,400 miles on a tandem bicycle through America's heartland, writing free poems & building Little Free Libraries.”

Watch this video to learn more about their story, and maybe consider donating to their worthy cause? The more funds they raise, the more Little Free Libraries get built.

These women inspire me to think bigger and expand my notion of what's possible.

3. the gratitude project: dare to be grateful

Full disclosure: The woman behind this project is my sister, Jo-Anne Guimond. Call me biased if you will, I probably am, but rest assured that the ripple of good that stems from this project stands on its own.

The gratitude project: dare to be grateful is “a year-long social engagement experiment” triggered by Jo-Anne's desire to celebrate the many blessings in her life in concert with others. It was sparked by the simple question: “Wouldn't it be cool to find out what others are grateful for?!"

The project officially ended in December 2013, but you can still explore its offerings on the dare to be grateful website, including stories of gratitude contributed by guest writers in the celebrating lives greatly full series. You can also listen to this insight-filled podcast recorded last month, where Jo-Anne and interviewer Deb Ozarko discuss the “radical power of gratitude.”

This woman inspires me in many ways, but in this particular case, she inspires me to serve the world in a joyful way, true to my Source.

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Don't miss Day 7 tomorrow, the final list of the Birthweek Bonanza! In the meantime, here's what we've seen so far...

Day 1: 4 Art Classes of Workshops That Were Pivotal In My Artistic Journey

Day 2: 7 Websites For Lifelong Learners and Creative Types

Day 3: 6 New Recipes We Tried That Made It Into the “Keeper” File

Day 4: 5 Animated Films Worth Watching If You Like Art, Music, and Stories of Hope & Heart

Day 5: 10 Books About Artists, Making Art or Selling Art

A Life of And + A Little Weekend Inspiration

"Because joy is so foundational to your true being, every other state or emotion can rest on top of joy, it can accommodate everything." - Danielle LaPorte

It's been a full week: last Friday we finalized a house purchase (I'm already planning Stephanie's future studio!) and 45 minutes later I found out a loved one had been admitted to palliative care.

Joy and sadness. Celebration and grief.

A life of "and."

I will be stepping away from the blog for the week to come, to be with my clan as a beloved aunt nears the end of her bout with cancer.

In the meantime I leave you with my latest contribution to Scoutie Girl and a few inspiring finds.

Wishing you peace and joy to accompany all that life brings your way.

See you soon.

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Are you in home limbo? This week's contribution to Scoutie Girl. A selfish reminder to myself on how to manage home limbo as we prepare to purge & pack up the house.

celebrating lives greatly full :: giacomo panico (Giacomo Panico, via the gratitude project) I sat at the kitchen table, questioning my slower-than-hoped-for transition to meaningful work. Then I read Giacomo's article about gratitude for new careers and second chances. Questioning begone. Perfect timing.

"Your ego wants it to be done now. Your ego wants to move through life risk-free, foolish-free, discouragement-free, mistake-free, tired-free. And the best way to trick your ego (and yourself) into letting go a little bit is to take baby steps." - Christine Kane

How To Create Anything (Even When You're Scared, Inexperienced and Don't Believe in Yourself) (Christine Kane) Y'all know I'm a big believer in taking small, consistent action to create the life you want to live. In this article, Ms Christine Kane talks about just that.

The difference between happiness & joy. And why it helps to know. (Danielle LaPorte) A beautiful article about joy, and how it is a soulful foundation to the rest of the $hit we can feel. A life of "and." Yes.