Joyce M Sullivan

listening. connecting. building.


surprise

surprise


Posted By on Jun 9, 2015

surpise

Sr. Renata, in her black and white body-encapsulating garb, rises above our first-grade-heads with the admonishment to not read ahead in our primers.

The verboten occurs.

I remove my reader from the space beneath my desk; it flops open to a somewhere-in-the-future page.

My eyes drift to the page with its jumble of letters falling into order with my newly acquired decoding skills turning letters into sounds.

The sur followed by prise come together.

Surprise.

The chaos of not knowing symbols fall away into images of gifts and birthdays and hugs.

Hide my joy as I enter the land I am forbidden to go.

Looking ahead.

Reading ahead.

No one else knows.

Now you know.

I know.

Surprise!

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Today, one of my online famous acquaintances stopped following my writing.

Hurling up from the darkest depths, my self-doubt demons got armchair comfortable.

Roulette wheel spinning round and round clicking and slowing on the reasons of my undesirability.

Will it land on…?

…shared too much

…shared too little

…boring content

…controversial

…not controversial

…she’s a nobody

…she’s too full of herself

Or,

… Who?

The fear of not knowing. Not mattering.

Across my desk, the neon green back cover of “Icarus Deception” sports these red glowing words:

ArtIsFrightening1

When I google “Art is Frightening” I came across a post from David Brazzeal leading me to Seth Godin’s blog post “Here I made this” is difficult and frightening.

Will everyone leave once they see my art?

Or, the better question is:

“Who will now arrive because of the art I create and share?”

Whether you stay, go or just arrived, thanks for being here now.

Today, I’m creating and shipping.

 

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Where do you find your truth?

LagunaCanyonWildernesshiking20114041

Is it a place? A memory? A feeling?

Eight years ago, I thrashed through a global project while the world watched on a multi-continent stage. The crescendo of commands knocked against each other while not knowing if I would fall or remain aright.

Would order and purpose, through my lead in a project with clashing demands, distracted owners and stridently fearful humans, survive?

Would I survive?

What does survival even look like?

Boarding a plane, I headed West to see my art student daughter, instead of going in my usual pond-hopping direction. The pull to go West to join her for an animation awards ceremony gave me a fancy reason to leave the wrangling behind for a few days.  Resisting the demands of my blinking messaging device I vowed to leave it untouched for these four days away.

Arriving West and departing the plane, the brilliant colors blazing through the palm trees gave me a smack-in-your-face blast of life.

From that moment through the following year I made multiple trips West continuing to unmask my truth. For me, that came in the silent slopes while wandering through the Laguna Canyon Wilderness trails.

The trails gave me a place to trudge and climb while figuring out what comes next. Their  moon-like rocks had me believing I lived in another world transported by an unknown force. The walks helped me to focus on what I am doing and what I need to do next.

A folded piece of paper with the trail maps sat in a crinkly mess on my NY desk for years as a reminder I could return whenever I chose.

As I reflect back on that time, my gratitude for the stark hills and dirt trails bring me back to find them again. This time, online with  The Laguna Canyon Foundation preserving this space.

Laguna Canyon Foundation

Laguna Canyon Foundation

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been eight years.

Time to pay it forward.

I just did.

Giving is the beginning > Laguna Canyon Foundation

Thanks for reading.

 

 

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My childhood school days began with my jumble of arms and legs working to coordinate themselves in some fashion to find their way:

–  from home

– to  bus

– to playground

– to classroom

– to desk

The moment when chaos transforms itself to order begins as the teacher works her way down the alpha-ordered paper list.

The sequence of surnames passes my ears and the tension rises as the letter sequence approaching my name arrives.

I am ready.

I hear it.

I reply: Present.

That word. Present.

Here. Today. Listening.

Are you here? Are you ready? Are you listening?

Present.

Today.

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Page610_1

I love books.

The paper and hard cover kind.

When I went away to college, I would pack up my bookcase and books and bring them with me.

Was it because I wanted to read them while I was away for the year? Not exactly.

Two reasons:

1) They were my friends and I would miss them terribly

2) They might be gone when I returned

Growing up in a small house with many people, space was scarce. When a household item had outlived its usefulness, it would find a home somewhere else. Clothing that no long fit, would be shared with one of the neighbors’ kids. When it came to books, one of the grownups would ask why I didn’t give the books away for others to read when I was done with them. I couldn’t imagine giving my books away. Learning they were in danger of losing their home when I was away studying, I vowed to keep them safe so they traveled with me.

What does this have to do with the title of this post?

Fast forward a few decades and I find myself in my own home cascading with books. Since I’m the landowner of this one, I no longer need to trundle my books with me as they have a permanent sanctuary.

I continue to buy books, still the paper and hard cover kind, and don’t get around to reading them, though still cherish their presence making me feel wanted and welcome.

So here’s the confession and revelation.

During his Kickstarter campaign for “The Icarus Deception” I supported Seth Godin’s latest release which came with a bonus book called “This Might Work”.  A very large book. 15 pounds worth – the gravity to earth pulling kind, not the British sterling variety.

ThisMightWork_bookcover

 

Now Seth’s 15 pounder also known as “Unboxing the Behemoth” inhabits a special place under my desk, still in the mailing carton. Those of you who get books from Seth know that the mailer is just as original as the book inside so the entire package remained unwrapped.

The time had come to bring the book into the light and while taking a break from my office cleaning, I finally unwrapped it and began enjoying paging through this anthology of Seth’s daily blog columns.

It’s beautifully laid out with glossy and bright-colored background pages with bold lettering. I enjoyed holding the book and paging through it feeling the turn of the pages and studying the text and occasional photos.

I came to a section called: “New World Order: Change. Connection. Tactics”

Continuing my paging journey with the intoxicating scent of new bound paper, a series of pages that look like girl scout badge – you know the kind with the round circle and a photo of some activity inside appeared on page 610 with a facing page shouting in bold capital white letters

“SO, HERE’S THE QUESTION: WHEN YOU’RE GONE, WILL THEY MISS WHAT YOU DO?  IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO CHANGE THE ANSWER…”

SHTQWYGWTMWYD

By some invisible force, my eyes drifted back to the previous page to those badge-like photos and staring back at me, was my own Girl Scout badge face.

IMG_1093

How did my photo get in Seth’s book?

Maybe it was part of the Icarus Kickstarter campaign? I couldn’t recall.

Such a surprise – and embarrassed to think I had only unwrapped it now.

How do you tell a friend – because everyone who reads Seth’s blog considers him a friend – who has given you a gift that you

1) haven’t unwrapped it and even worse

2) you didn’t even know they sent you a gift?

So, Seth, I hope we’re both around for a long time but today I think closely about:

when I’m gone will they miss what I do?  it’s not too late to change the answer

Today is still here and it’s not too late to change the answer.

I’m doing something that I hope will be missed, so I’m starting today.

Writing this blog.

Thanks.

 

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And the day begins

And the day begins


Posted By on May 23, 2015

Each morning, before I open my eyes, I say to myself  “thank you for another day.”

My gut is happy.

No more grinding of emotional gears to arise and join a phalanx of commuters as we wind our ways to cubicle desk farms to perform forgettable tasks.

Instead, walking into the garden, I photograph and share the morning blooms with my world.

Alliums_SullivanCliffGardens_May2015

Each share gives me the gift of connecting with another human being in a way they most want to be reached.

My two questions:

Am I honest with myself ?

Am I doing the next right thing?

My two answers:

Let me be open to what comes my way.

And, yes.

Do the next right thing.

And the day begins.

 

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Secret Gardens

Secret Gardens


Posted By on Jan 28, 2015

IMG_3847

This past week as part of #YourTurnChallenge, I got to know hundreds of new voices through their daily posts.

One in particular that struck me was the one written by Vanessa Thomas. She shared two blogs, one on martial arts and the other on floral photography. I loved that she shares her love of floral photography fearlessly as best expressed in her blog post, LinkedIn doesn’t like flakey.

I too am a floral photographer – more of a wildflower one.

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