This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Motivated Mondays: The Artist's Way check-in for week 4

A very busy week led to less participation in The Artist's Way this past week. I didn't do as many of the exercises or write as many mornings as I thought I would. I managed to do four or five of the exercises and write the Morning Pages 4 times. I wasn't feeling anxious about that at all. It's just the way my schedule worked out.

The chapter, "Recovering a Sense of Integrity," hit home, though. Sometimes, I find myself agreeing to do something that I don't have time for, or I'll not fully commit (because I'm already over-committed) and leave people hanging, until I can supply a definitive response. I let my schedule manipulate me. This is a pattern of behavior I've moved in and out of, and I need to take better charge of that. I'll try to rationalize with myself, when what I really need to do is pay attention to what people are asking of me, take time to consider it, and then respond appropriately as soon as possible. Don Miguel Ruiz talks about this in his book, The Four Agreements. One of the agreements we need to make with ourselves is to speak with integrity. It's not possible for me to do all things and be all things. I need to be okay with that. So this chapter convicted me. Ouch. Any convictions on your end?

I was also struck by the idea behind clarity and what might happen during the process of writing the Morning Pages. You might arrive at a challenge that you don't want to deal with but realize you probably must. That's happened to me so many times.

And I liked coming across the word kriya again. I've experienced those cries many times. Not lately, thankfully. But many times in my past. "Enough!" We should listen to those inner cries, those kriyas. They mean something valuable. If we don't listen, we'll stay stuck in negative patterns of behavior. Most of the time, it takes little more than awareness to fix that.

I did experience an epiphany: I enjoy writing about arts-related topics but haven't pitched anything like that till last week. I also discovered that I like to include notes from the chapter readings in my Morning Pages. While I'm reading, I jot down notes, things I want to remember, quotes I like, passages in the book that stand out to me, for instance, this one:

Until we experience the freedom of solitude, we cannot connect authentically.

This is so key to my B.I.K.E. work here. This is why I rode my mountain bike to move past the difficult days of my divorce. While I'm hiking a lot these days, and walking with a girlfriend in the mornings, I'm not taking those solo rides as much. It's time to get back on the bike. So many good things happen from the seat of my bike. I do miss it. That was another realization that occurred to me this past week.

I'm not that heavily into the sorting out mode yet. But I know that's coming. It always does when I read this book. But I have definitely been experiencing bursts of energy, and I'm using them to market myself, with more focused direction.

I did the exercise where you're to pick five things you'd like to try, and I chose the following:

1) Enter a mountain bike race.
2) Try water skiing again.
3) Learn how to ski moguls.
4) Learn how to fly a plane.
5) Ride my unicycle.

Funny, but these are not things I think about, other than the last one -- and that's because I have a unicycle sitting in a corner of my office I need to learn how to ride. At least that is do-able. In fact, I circled it on my notes. Telling me something???

I did not do the reading deprivation. In fact, I wrote in my notes that I wouldn't. The point of that exercise is to open space for other things. But I do other things, have been highly focused on it, in fact, and felt this was not an exercise I could do right now. What this exercise should ask of me is to eliminate social media from my life for a week. I can see how that would open up space in my life.

Of all the exercises, I enjoyed writing the Artist's Prayer the most. Mine was a few lines longer than the one in the book. But I really enjoyed taking a few moments and considering what I need and asking for it. I liked being reminded that I am an instrument, that my talents and skills are not mine alone, that I have a purpose, and that through this process I will move closer and closer to it, with God's help and guidance. Please do not be offended by my use of His name. That is my belief. I will not shun yours, nor judge your thoughts about religion or spirituality. But I do believe, and that's just that.

I also wrote out Exercise #9 -- one situation that I need to change but haven't. It's my house. It's a mess. I need it organized. I need things repaired. She asked us to consider the payoff for not taking care of this. There isn't one, I wrote. So I am determined to hire help, because I am having a hard time accepting I cannot do it alone. Argghhh! But, because this is what I've been thinking about, a little serendipity occurred this week also, when a friend of mine called with the name of a woman who can use extra money and could help me get organized. Very convenient, don't you think?

Other breakthroughs this week: book ideas. I had a few and pitched queries, which were approved. So now I'll work on the proposals. I declared I need to sell another 500 books to meet my advance, and I got a call from Costco to set up two book signings. And I just feel an overall sense of clarity beginning to mature.

I hope you are all experiencing something equally as powerful in your Artist's Way work. Please be sure to comment about it here.

Motivation for Mondays is a part of a weekly Twitter party called #MotivatedMondays initiated by Lorrie Shaw, a professional pet sitter, a regular pets contributor at, and pet blogger in Dexter Township, MI. Together, we post a combination of inspirational notes, links to motivational blog posts, and tips to help kickstart your week ahead. Look for us online every Monday morning--and throughout the day--if you need to kick start your week or want to share your own motivational thoughts.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

SUNDAY MUSINGS: Facts about rainbows

According to the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the spectacular light show that is called a rainbow is really sunlight spread out into its full spectrum of colors, diverted to the eye by water droplets.

Although Sir Isaac Newton is said to have discovered seven distinctive colors found in a rainbow, there are an infinite number of colors in the full spectrum. Most of the colors are not visible to the human eye.

Since you must have both rain and sunlight in order to see a rainbow, and the sun must always be behind you when you witness one, it's not likely you'll ever see a rainbow at noon.

If it weren't for the earth getting in the way, you'd see the full circle of a rainbow.

No two people standing next to each other will see the exact same rainbow. For one thing, the person standing next to you, for example, will see light refracted off of different raindrops at a different angle. And second, different people simply see color differently.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NO MORE SUICIDES: Practical solutions to stop bullies in their tracks

Over at Parent Talk Today, Stacy Lipson tells her story in a guest post of being bullied as a young girl, and how long the bullying lasted -- till she was 16.

As yet another news story breaks about yet another child who kills himself because he's been bullied to death already, more and more stories like Stacy's are coming out of the woodwork. I would guess most everyone has known someone or seen someone get bullied, either in youth or even in adulthood. Bullies, it seems, can continue the pattern as long as they can get away with it.

Ironically, it's the bully who has the self-esteem issue in the first place. To make himself feel better, he has to make someone else feel bad. Some people are easy targets. And if you've ever been that easy target, then you know how hurtful and painful being bullied can be.

I have a few solutions that should go to market right away:

How about a BULLIES BE GONE spray? Anyone who is bullied would be issued a FREE can of this special spray to be used immediately upon the first sign of teasing. The person about to be teased would simply take out the can, point, spray -- and the bully gets it. Ingredients in the bottle or can could smell like a skunk, for instance, or freshly deposited dog crap, vomit, or any other awful scent (your choice) that would send the bully on his way. The nurse's office at school would have a supply of them on hand at all times, as needed. Bullies wouldn't be able to access the spray, however, because it would come with Bully Detecting Radar. At the mere touch, an alarm would sound, scaring the bully off and alerting school officials of his thwarted attempt to access the spray.

Or how about selling NO BULLIES ALLOWED t-shirts? Proceeds would benefit non-profits that promote REQUIRED parenting classes that teach parents how to detect if they have a bully child at home or if their child is being bullied outside of the home.

And how about those REQUIRED PARENTING CLASSES? Your child would not be able to advance to the next grade level, beginning in kindergarten, unless you've taken and passed the course. Classwork could be developed that would focus on each grade level, the type of bullying that might be seen in that grade level, and what parents need to do to protect their children from either situation. Because as we know, this kind of behavior begins at home. Therefore, the classes would also address any parenting issues that might affect a child's behavior and lead to bullying. Not only would the classes educate, but they may also act as a deterrent and help create a new culture that does not accept bullying behavior.

Finally, as the sign above says, we need to create NO BULLY ZONES. Wherever bullying occurs, we need to post the NO BULLY ZONE sign. Post them on sides of school buildings, in the playground, on playground equipment, in hallways, in the lunchroom or cafeteria, at daycare centers, in the grocery store, on the doors of kids' bedrooms, or wherever else bullying occurs, up goes a sign.

If you have a solution you'd like to share, post a comment below. It's time to take a stand against the schoolyard bully to keep the bullies out of the workplace later.

And maybe save a life.

Because we don't want to have to create more suicide prevention programs. Enough is enough, don't you think?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Motivation for Mondays: The Artist's Way check-in for Week 3

We're one quarter of the way through, folks!

Today, we check in for Week 3 and are onto reading Chapter 4 -- my project as soon as I complete this post.

Were you able to complete the Morning Pages on a daily basis this week? I managed to write them 6 of the 7 days. I took a day off on Saturday, without intention. It just worked out that way. I think I might actually have slept in. For me that's getting up at 6 a.m., instead of 5 a.m., but that's a loss of one hour in the day. So I skipped the writing that morning and went straight into my day.

Nevertheless, I had a plethora of Artist Dates drop in my lap, it seems. And I even managed to do artsy things with friends as well. My week was extremely productive in a creative way. And I witnessed first-hand how very energizing that is to me. I feel like I'm playing catch-up or making up for lost creative time and am amazed by how much our minds/bodies/souls really do know what we need.

My first date this week took me inside a store in Phoenix called Write-Ons; it's a stationery story where they do custom-made invitations, sell greeting cards and gift items, and sell other miscellaneous items you really don't need but like to buy just for fun. I bought some of those, including three journals with bike imagery on them. I'm always looking for that kind of thing. The owner, who is a member of my Wednesday morning breakfast group, said she'll let me know when more come in. Yes!

I also spent an unusual amount of time this week looking at funny YouTube videos and listening to music. I get so caught up in work that I don't do that. How sad? I'm glad I'm being pulled back in that direction. I need to feed my inner senses as well as my creative mind. Clearly, I've been feeling starved and didn't even know it!

I returned to the Speakers' Lab with the Arizona Chapter of the National Speakers Association. The chapter holds regular monthly meetings which members and candidates can attend to practice a presentation. Up to four people each month can sign up to speak. Other members attend to act as the audience and learn from the presentations themselves. Then, they offer feedback. The chapter invites long-standing members to offer the final, professional critique. It's a valuable playground for speakers, and it's really fun to attend. It's also a way to develop personal relationships with other members, which is an excellent form of networking. I enjoy going, am highly energized and encouraged by this group, and am glad to be committed to returning. We pay $75/year to participate, and it's very much worth the extra fee.

My last Artist Date of the week took me to an artsy town north of where I live. It was completely unexpected, as I went there to meet friends for coffee. And when they left, I decided to poke around the town on foot, letting the road signs lead me where I went: to an antique store, an art gallery, an artist's studio, a bike shop. I met a sculptor, a woman who was feeding her pet desert tortoise, and a guitarist. I relished in the sights and sounds of this unexpected self-guided tour.

In addition to these four trips on my own, I also visited a new friend at a new wine bar in downtown Phoenix, and I went to a weekly Art Walk with my boyfriend one night this week.

I think I can safely say a creative awakening has begun over here. Because of it, I'm feeling a renewed sense of joy. I've missed that. And all it takes to reconnect with that is adding a little playtime to my day, or to the week, if that's all the time I have. So the work here with The Artist's Way is making me realize that it's far too easy to get caught up in stuff that doesn't matter, to focus on things that hold you back, when what will propel you forward is a matter of simply deciding to spend more time with yourself. This is a good lesson that I've already learned, of course, but a lesson that needs demands reminder -- and action. The B.I.K.E. isn't enough if you don't take action.

The response from my work with The Artist's Way is also showing up here. I've added a few new plug-ins on the blog: a stats counter and a list of most popular blog posts -- both on the right-hand side of the page. I've updated my speaker page on the NSA-Arizona Web site, and I'm getting ready to use these updates on my blog profile/bio and also on my LinkedIn page. The work has also inspired other posts and led me to exlore how I'm going to market myself as a speaker of my B.I.K.E. I sent out four or five letters of introduction last week for that, which I don't usually do. I'm usually just marketing myself as a writer and letting the speaking work come to me. But now I'm getting active on that level as well.


To me, this has always been the main thrust of Chapter 3. The lesson about how synchronicity can work in our lives and lead us to the work we feel most passionate about has always spoken to me the most. I believe it in. I look for it, and I experienced this several times this week. Each time, I was drawn to either make a call, send an e-mail or do something I had been wanting to do for quite some time. Once I had the sign in front of me and opened my eyes to see it, I followed. In some cases, literally.

Overall, I am so happy to see an attitude shift taking place. It's what I needed to get me back on track, and especially dump some stuff that had been clogging my thoughts of late. It's why I took this book off the shelf again.

I hope positive shifts are occurring in your lives as well. So please post your results and let us know what's going on. All you have to do is answer the questions at the end of the chapter, revealing only as much as you feel comfortable sharing.

Motivation for Mondays is a part of a weekly Twitter party called #MotivatedMondays initiated by Lorrie Shaw, a professional pet sitter, a regular pets contributor at, and pet blogger in Dexter Township, MI. Together, we post a combination of inspirational notes, links to motivational blog posts, and tips to help kickstart your week ahead. Look for us online every Monday morning--and throughout the day--if you need to kick start your week or want to share your own motivational thoughts.

Friday, October 15, 2010

10 simple things you can do to increase your blog traffic

Motorcycles on Main Street in Jerome Arizona
Are you happy with the traffic you're getting at your blog?

When I first designed this blog in 2007, I had no clear idea what I was going to do with it, let alone how I was going to gain readers. And I'm not a super techy person, if I'm techy at all. So I started off slowly.

It took me another year before I started posting regularly.

A whole year before I started posting regularly! Sounds crazy, right? It's not. It's how most of us get started with "this blogging thing." Such a foreign concept. Why do we need to do it? What's the point? Who's going to want to read all these posts? So many questions go through your head as you try to convince yourself why you don't need to do this. It does seem like a waste of time, and somewhat complicated, at first.

But then, if you're like me, you figure it out. In your own way. You start to see traffic showing up. People stop in to read a blog post or two. They poke around to see what else you have on the site, and eventually, they post a comment. Surprise!

Then, they come back. Wow! You have a returning audience. You start to perk up. You wonder if maybe you have something here. Maybe there's good reason to do this after all.

That's when you get excited. That's when you know you should take this more seriously. That's what happened to me. I had an idea. I designed the first page. And then I started writing. As time moved on, and the readers kept returning, I was able to more clearly define my purpose. It helped to pay attention to what you were reading, to try to focus on what you seemed to need from a blog like mine.

Now, three years later, I've learned a few things that could help you increase the traffic to your site. To be sure, I've learned the lessons slowly. I've adopted some of them and am working on others. But if they can help you, I'm willing to share. They're not even complicated. So here are my 10 simple tips for attracting more traffic to your blog. If you follow even one of them, it will help. If you do them all, and have the patience to wait for results, they should be positive:

1) POST REGULAR UPDATES. That was the first thing I picked up after participating in my first Blogathon a few years ago. If you can post daily, that's great, but any changes to the blog, really, can make a difference in how easy it will be for others to find you. Google likes updated content. So even if you don't have something to blog about every single day, consider changing something on the blog. Maybe add a new photo on the site or a new plug-in. Update your blogroll (links to other blogs you like, read, or would like to read). Add a new Page or some new feature. Any update helps. My goal is to blog or make some kind of update to the site at least three times per week to maintain the blog and keep it active and interesting.

You don't have to do this non-stop, but the more you put the word out about your content, the more people are going to have a chance to remember you even exist. With nearly 9 million self-development blogs out there, I know I have quite the competition. And I'm no Steve Pavlina, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't strive to gain his kind of notoriety. He's listed on many sites as one of the top self-development blogs in the world. Well, he didn't get there by staying quiet. He used his live networks to promote himself first. He told his friends, his family, and his clients until his message was clear. "I'm out here. I'm good. Read my stuff." Not in those exact words, of course.

3) USE SOCIAL MEDIA. Look, in this day and age, you shouldn't have a blog without also being on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Well, you can, of course, do whatever the heck you want. But why not take advantage of a free opportunity to spread the word and build your visibility--not just with friends but strangers, too? Bring 'em all in! Yeah, sure. If you build it, they will come. But not if you don't let people know you built it in the first place and then remind them about all the cool improvements (i.e.: new posts and other updates). Use social media to do that.

4) LINK UP! When you first get started, share links with your friends. Have them post your link on their blogrolls, and you do the same for them on yours. The next step is to use the search engines to find other blogs to link with, blogs that have more traffic than you do. Ideally, a lot more. And refer to other blogs in your posts, in general. Quote them, use them as sources, highlight blogs you have learned from or think your readers might like to read for a specific purpose. You'll see I've done this here. Eventually, these kind of steps will help people find you and want to share links with you. Their readers will find you as well, and you'll all post comments on each other's blogs. This kind of activity lessons the amount of time you have to go out and hunt yourself. That's the ideal place to be. It's what you want to work toward. The more sites you can connect with in this way, the better. That means you're going to be easier and easier to find. Traffic will roll right in, and you'll feed them good content. This is the ultimate back and forth that makes blogging so effective.

5) PROVIDE QUALITY CONTENT. If you're posting the same old thing all the time, not only will you get bored but so will your readers. Change things up. Post a mix of long and short blogs. Focus on weekly, monthly or quarterly themes. Have a picture-only day, or a video day. Do a "Question of the Day" post on a regular basis; these invite readers to participate by answering the question--and they will. They'll post comments. Readers want to interact with you. So take advantage of that and find ways to include them. If you're providing quality content, you'll know from the number of subscribers you have, the number of readers you see returning, and the number of comments you're attracting. If you're not seeing some kind of growth, you're not doing something right, and it might just have to do with your content.

6) FOCUS ON WHAT YOUR READERS WANT. Seriously. You're not just writing for the sake of writing or for something to do with your spare time. You're trying to build an audience, a platform for your book, or connect with potential clients. Whatever your exact purpose, you'll do yourself and them a favor if you focus on what they want from you. So ask them periodically. Use a post to ask them what they would like to see more of on your site. Take a poll and then dissect it for them in another post. Pay attention to which posts get the most comments. If they want you to comment on related news, do that. If they want you to tell more stories or add book reviews, do that. If they'd like to read Q/A interviews from people in your industry, offer that. If they'd like you to profile readers, incorporate that. Find out from them what works or what doesn't, and then make the necessary changes so you don't lose readers and will continue to gain new ones.

If they like what they're reading, ask them to blog about you, share links with their friends, or post an update on their social media sites. A blogging community has to work together in order for the community to stay alive and intact. If we don't work together, we fade away.

Blogger just added the ability to include a site counter, so I added that today. It also added a feature that allows you to see the most popular blog posts. I added that today as well. It's a fun feature, and you can see it on the right-hand side of the page, if you scroll down far enough. Keeping up with any new blogging features allows me to play around with what I offer my readers. It keeps the blog from staying static, and it offers me the chance to create something that may be more useful to you.

9) FOCUS ON SIMPLE CHANGES. Meagan Francis, a writer friend of mine over at The Happiest Mom (She could also use your vote to help her gain the gig as the Good Mood Blogger, if you wouldn't mind clicking and voting for her.) suggested you periodically re-evaluate your goals and then make simple changes to direct your attention to those goals. For example, she now responds to those who comment on her blog via e-mail. She likes the one-on-one contact and thinks that this encourages them to come back and continue the conversation. But even if you don't do that, something as simple as adding a "most-popular post" list, can help bring in new readers and give them a reason to dig around more on the site.

10) FIND A NICHE YOU CAN FILL. If you're not seeing growth in traffic after you've made some of these changes and given them time to take effect, then you might also consider the niche. Are you writing about something that people care about? Is it something you're passionate about? Is it a topic that is over-saturated? If so, how is your content different from the content on other popular blogs in your niche. Find a way to differentiate yourself, whether it's your point of view, your design, your attitude, and then work to capitalize on that.

If nothing else, I hope these tips comfort you in some way, because now you know there is no one thing that will boost traffic to your blog. It's a mix of action steps. It's practice. It's trial and error. If you need to consult an expert, that might be worth doing as well. Because I'll tell you what. I'm happy with my current traffic. It's grown considerably since I started blogging three years ago. I've taken all these steps and followed my own tips. But I want the blog to continue growing. So my next step is consultation.

Stay tuned for more changes, more updates, and hopefully more content you can use.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Motivation for Mondays: The Artist's Way--Check-in for Week 2

It's time to check in on your progress with Week 2. How'd you do?

For me, I was on the road mid-week, beginning last Wednesday, and purposefully did not take my book and notebook with me. I thought about it, considered it, but then decided I wanted to fully focus on what I would be doing.

On assignment with Wine Enthusiast to write about the Verde Valley wine scene, yet on an impromptu visit to the area with my BF, I was torn about how I'd approach the trip at first. Then, I decided to take it lightly, enjoy the trip, get some background detail, and return for the assignment work later. So that's what I did.

But that means I only wrote the Morning Pages three days last week. It was a conscious choice, however, so I'm not displeased with my progress. And I'm back on schedule now.

The trip itself turned out to be a fantastic non-stop Artist Date, even if I wasn't on a solo journey, as The Artist Way requires. It was am amazing feast of the senses. I tasted wine of all kinds, talked with interesting people (vintners, sommeliers, innkeepers), drove and admired the lovely countryside, experienced my first olive oil tasting (Did you know you can sip that stuff? I had no idea!), and was introduced to a new town I'll be adding in my next edition of Backroads & Byways of Arizona.

As for the chapter...I loved Chapter 2, and am happy to say I no longer fear the Crazy Maker in my life. I don't believe I allow them in or at least don't allow them in for too long, anymore. Notes in the book's margins suggest I have spent a lot of time with them in my past, however. But today I am happy to say I can spot them a mile away and know how to avoid them altogether if I feel it necessary.

I did several of the exercises but don't feel this chapter pertains as much to my life as I know it once did. I did not read it over and over again as I did Chapter 1.

Chapter 3, on the other hand, is one I will. It's about creating a Sense of Power and has a lot to do with the work I do here at B.I.K.E. WITH JACKIE. I'm looking forward to exploring this further and doing the solo Artist Date. So far, I have nothing scheduled, but I"m considering pulling out old photos that need to be placed in frames for the wall decor. I think that might be my evening task in the week ahead. It's something I've put off for long enough. It's time to get that hallway wall decorated.

What about you? Is The Artist Way starting to seep into your inner conscious yet? Are recognizing yourself in the pages? Are you noticing anything that's making you want to put the book down and forget about it? If so, don't. It's going to be a great exercise in the power behind self-nurturing. Just wait till you finish this next chapter. I'm anxious to read your comments this week, but I'm doubly curious to read your update next week.

Here's to a great and productive week ahead!

Motivation for Mondays is a part of a weekly Twitter party called #MotivatedMondays initiated by Lorrie Shaw, a professional pet sitter, a regular pets contributor at, and pet blogger in Dexter Township, MI. Together, we post a combination of inspirational notes, links to motivational blog posts, and tips to help kickstart your week ahead. Look for us online every Monday morning--and throughout the day--if you need to kick start your week or want to share your own motivational thoughts.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tips for coping when change happens

There's a discussion going on at a writers' group I frequent. The conversation started when someone asked what to do if a publication you've been writing for changes editorial direction and you don't like the new direction. My response was to stop pitching. If you feel that strongly, it's probably not worth the hassle. It's probably time to let them go. Several others' responded similarly.

And then somebody mentioned a prior conversation that occurred on this site, quoting this gem:

"All good clients must come to an end."

Perfect! It works for anyone in any business. You can serve a client for only so long, and then you've done your job or reached your peak. It's time to move on and find fresh faces, new projects, more clients. It's time to wave goodbye, metaphorically speaking.

Perhaps you've been there before. You've worked with a client that you've loved for years. The work has been frequent, the jobs have been interesting, and management of projects well executed. No problems to speak of, for the most part. But then something happens to change that perfect picture. We all need to change things up every now and then, either to steer clear of monotony or perhaps to improve or stretch ourselves in some other way.

This happens in business and in our personal lives. Change happens. A fork in the road appears before us that requires us to pause and make a decision we weren't expecting, for example. We don't have to like it. But we do have to deal with it, or else we just stop and go nowhere.

If you're struggling with a life-changing experience right now, something that's causing you pause, here are a few tips that might help you cope:

1) Accept the change. Not necessarily the situation, but the change itself. Accept that it's happening. The dealing part can wait. But acknowledging the reality of the situation will help make things easier for you down the road, when you're ready to act.

2) Consider what the change might mean. Will it make things easier for you, more difficult, or just different?

3) Think about your options. Based on what you now know the change might mean for you, what are your options? If it's a new client you need, then it's time to market. If it's a new direction of your own that you'll need to take, what would be most exciting for you? Think about going there.

4) Take a break. Sometimes change feels too overwhelming to think about at the moment, so take a break. Go for a walk. Schedule a much-needed weekend away. Do something out of the ordinary to get your mind away from what you might perceive as difficult. When you return with a renewed perspective, you'll be better able to focus on the next step.

5) Take action. Create a plan of action for what you need to do to address this change. Keep it as simple or as complete as you need in order to move forward, and then execute the plan--one step at a time, taking it as quickly or as slowly as you need to go.


6) Use your own inner B.I.K.E. To adapt to this new change, focus on what would be the best way for you to respond. That's going to result in making decisions and taking actions that will be most authentic to you, serve your values, and leave you feeling the most sure of yourself. So ask yourself the following questions:

_What kind of attitude will this change require of you in order to ensure a smooth transition? Adopt it immediately.

_Will you be able to withstand any chaos that may arise? Are you prepared for any fallout? Believe that you are.

_What are your gut feelings saying you should do--Are you listening and paying attention at the same time? Trust that you will.

_Do you know who might be able to help you make this move? Will you be willing to call on that person, or those persons? Assure yourself it's okay to ask for help.

If you follow these steps, you'll wind up embracing that which you once feared, and all that you need to adapt will reveal itself. Because, just as all good clients must come to an end, new clients are just around the corner. Goodbye. Hello. It's the natural balance of things. Don't you think?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Motivation for Mondays: The Arist's Way--Check-in for Week 1

For the next twelve weeks here at B.I.K.E. WITH JACKIE, those of us who are reading The Artist's Way will be checking in on Mondays. I have a small group of writers participating with me, and we'll be posting our progress as comments below.

Week 1
By now, you've read Chapter One, "Recovering a Sense of Safety." You've learned about the Morning Pages and your Artist's Date. You've got a pretty good idea of what's involved in the book and what you might be able to expect in the coming weeks. It's going to be extremely enlightening if you've never read Julia Cameron's work before. It's going to be wonderfully familiar to those of you who have. And, I hope it's going to be a highly encouraging, motivating, positive force for all of us, propelling us into greater success with our creative endeavors--no matter what they are or what they might be.

Here's how the first week panned out on my end:

I remember the very first time I read this chapter, it made me cry. I could quickly recognize where my "blurts" were coming from. But this time, I have a much healthier sense of who I am as a creative person. I don't feel any strong pull from anyone--other than myself--that would suggest I can't live my life creatively. I realize, at this point in my life (past my early 40s), I am in charge of where I take my career, and where I don't. I kind of like to think I have a handle on the blurts. But not always. I did find myself connecting all too well with the need to affirm. I relished the time in the mornings last week when I spent reaffirming myself as a creative person, a successful writer, a person who can "Expect the best" from this world.

In fact, coming back to The Artist's Way for motivation allowed me to hear the above mantra on TV, and I've been using it ever since. "Expect the best." I might have missed it without Cameron. She kind of saved me last week, as I had been having some really down days the month prior--and that's probably what led me back to Cameron's book. I needed it. I needed to be reminded of my strengths. I am glad to have her book to use as a tool to reconnect and work to "Find and protect the artist child."

I have a lot of highlighting in my book, and notes written in the side margins. But I still managed to write more there. I particularly liked to be reminded that beliefs are not facts. Beliefs are not your truths. You can change your beliefs for the better; thus, the need for affirmations, which provide the safety and hope your creative self needs to soar. I liked being reminded of that.

I wrote my Morning Pages every morning, except for on Saturday. I went on a very long hike instead, and that suited me just fine.

I didn't actually schedule my Artist Date, as I couldn't decide what I wanted to do. So when Sunday came, in between laundry and a little house cleaning, I ran across this game I picked up at a bookstore last year. Called the Color Game, it's a series of cut-out cards of various colors and designs created by an architect named Ted Naos. You mix and match the cards to form different patterns. I played with those for about an hour. I didn't have as much fun as I thought, and I think it's because I forced myself to do it, just so I could say I'd done my Artist Date. I think the date has to have more meaning than that, something that is more consciously chosen. Maybe. Anyway, in my search this morning to try to find the game online, in case you're interested in seeing it for yourself, I found this color game instead. It turned out to be more fun than the one I played.

I was so not intimidated by the exercises this time around. I wanted to do as many of them as I could. I remember my first reading, when I thought, "Exercises! Bah. I don't want to do that." And I did as few as I thought I could get away with. This time, I, of course, wrote my Morning Pages--such a freeing experience, and I do feel like I let go of a lot of crap that was hanging around in my thoughts for too long. Amen! I did do the Artist Date. I did one of the Time Travel exercises. I wrote a letter to the editor in my defense. That was so fun! I mailed it, but I haven't yet received it. I think I'll wait to read it till the end of our 12 weeks. I did the affirmations. I read affirmations at least four times last week, and I took my artist for a walk.

All in all, this was a great first week. I hope you all had a similar experience. If it's your first time, tell us your impressions of the book and the lessons so far. Do you think you'll be able to finish? I remember that one time I read it, I quit midway. I don't remember why. I wasn't ready for it? I don't know. But let's hear from you about your progress. Go ahead and answer the questions that are at the end of the chapter. Or, just post your overall thoughts. Reveal as little or as much as you like. We'll keep checking in every Monday till we've all completed the 12 chapters.

Motivation for Mondays is a part of a weekly Twitter party called #MotivatedMondays initiated by Lorrie Shaw, a professional pet sitter, a regular pets contributor at, and pet blogger in Dexter Township, MI. Together, we post a combination of inspirational notes, links to motivational blog posts, and tips to help kickstart your week ahead. Look for us online every Monday morning--and throughout the day--if you need to kick start your week or want to share your own motivational thoughts.