It All Starts with a Small Step

It may be a shaky step, a step without fear or trepidation, an ordinary step, a step of joy, a step of indecision, but a step nevertheless.

A baby makes the first step and no matter how weak or strong that step is, the joy of empowerment is quite obvious!  They did it! If they can do this one step, where will two or three take them? What if we chain the steps together, what will happen then?

And off they go! And here is where the story takes another turn. The baby now can explore and enjoy the new freedom and learn what it means to have a place in the world on another level.  Soon enough, they will run and bike and drive a car, maybe fly a plane.

We all start off as babies, in life and in everything we do. And that’s absolutely normal, to be expected and not to be embarrassed about. Every successful person, believe it or not, had to start off as a baby in their field and then they took steps… And the steps took them everywhere!

There is nothing special about them in comparison to you. The only difference may be is that they took that first step and then continued to add on. Consistency is key.

Persistence in spite of opposing forces is the lifeblood of success.

Look, if they can do it, so can you.

Nothing is impossible.

Any promotion, any endeavor can be obtained and achieved, step at a time.

Before we go any further, I want you to internalize this truth though: Success at the expense of health and family is not real success.  As long as you have these parameters in line, you’ve got balance. Keep this truth in mind, often, and make sure that this part of the equation is always satisfied. If they fall short, you will never enjoy your success the way you hoped you would. Cars and bikes, travel and recognition will not keep you warm at night nor will it drive you crazy with crayon marks all over your walls.

If you have your health (physical, emotional, spiritual) and your family balanced, you are already wealthy and your steps may be less fickle, less wobbly because you have the self-confidence and the support of your family.

Why am I bringing this up in a piece that is meant to inspire you to achieve incredible success, be it financial, recognition or on a physical plane such as running marathons?

Because I so strongly believe that if you take the right steps, consistent and persistent steps, you will get there. Of that, I am certain.

Our dreams are there for a reason. Our talents are ours for a reason as well. Why?

Because they are meant to be ours, to be enjoyed, employed, and achieved.

It is very simple. Once we take the simplicity out of success, forget it. That’s when it gets complicated.

You are reading this piece and that tells me so much. Enough for me to believe in you and that is why I care enough to warn you.

So let’s go back to the small step that I take every single day that sets me up for grander steps. I make my coffee. Fuss around with my kiddos. Pray. Then I take my first sip. That’s the trigger point for me. I am settling down to business (as much as I possibly can in spite of controlled chaos around me).

My first step each day is my sip of coffee. Then I get out my laptop or phone, whichever is easier to use at that moment.

I know that once I take out my “power” tools, I better be getting my head in the game. And even if I don’t feel like it, I still do it. Because I believe that every step I take in the direction of my dreams, it counts.

What makes a person successful? Their ability to believe that every step they make will bring them closer to the culmination point, in spite of opposition, in spite of others’ disbelief, despite the lack of reward.

There is a quote that I read in school, many years ago, that will stay with me for life.

“Failure is 100% guaranteed if you do nothing.”   Then do something! Each step you take will increase your chance of success. I think it is worth trying at least!

But try it for a month. Make a game out of it. Each day, take small steps, or if you can, big steps when you feel comfortable. Visualize yourself moving closer and closer. Feel the destination. See it, taste it, enjoy it. It can surely be yours.

Nothing is out of your reach. Nothing is too high up, or too far out. If that was the case, we wouldn’t be flying today, or enjoying our sweet little laptops.

If it is out there, it can be yours. If it is just an idea, it can materialize. All that we see around us was once an idea and now, an idea manifested.

 

Go for that small step. Then take a next one.

You never know, you might just… like it.

 

by Olga Pyshnyak-Lawrence

Back to Basics: Life Begins with Life

Many people I’ve met have the wrong assumption, taking it at face value that their life will be over when they start having children. They see these little munchkins as the end of their career, their dreams and goals. What they worked so hard towards will now be threatened or dismantled by a little bundle of joy and thus, they secretly may resent this gift of life, never really facing this belief system because it is just too harsh and too scary to deal with.

Some people contemplate abortion because they feel so inconvenienced by this surprise, afraid that their climb up the ladder may be forever perched on that “neither here nor there” step. And so, they decide to eliminate the threat, as if a baby can be so easily dismissed.

But, don’t get me wrong. I don’t judge these women, or men. They are victims, too. Victims of choices made that are often brought out by wrong beliefs perpetuated by our society’s accepted norms.

Instead of sharing positive, life giving ideals, the society at large infects the lives and perceptions of every participant with the negativity that keeps on spreading.

What if I told you, that giving life, will only give back more to you and when we place the before and after on the scales, you would end up the winner, not a loser? More will be added rather than taken away?

That you don’t have to be stuck in the victim mentality, just because it is easier to do so?

What if I challenged you to fight this belief system?

How can I speak about this topic with such passion? Because it happened to me. I believed like most of the people that with bringing a child into this world would begin the gradual decline of my dreams and ambitions, that my talents would be buried in perpetuity under diapers and princess dresses, and later old age. Never getting anywhere, never known by anyone. So, I resigned myself and thought I was ok with giving it all up. I thought I could train myself to be a happy stay-at-home mama, and a dutiful, appreciative wife, with all the trappings of the 50’s.

That’s how I grew up. That’s what my momma did. Raising eight children left her nothing of herself. She never fought against her confinement, rather, she accepted her duty as something between birth and death, something she had to do until she could do it no more. She was taught to scratch off her dreams and wants in service to her husband and children.

I saw nothing in her that would give me hope regarding my own future, except for her strong faith, without which she would’ve been lost. It was her only hope, mechanism of survival.

So, that is how I grew up and that is what I thought would happen to me, even though I was always aware of that something special within me, that little bit of greatness that never dimmed even though I tried, hoping it would make it a bit easier for me to accept my path.

But it all changed one day, or rather, one night, when the light of my world shined even brighter than any previous perceived ambition or desire. My child, my daughter came into the world. I was forever changed. I was forever inspired and empowered. That most powerful and sacred moment of birth, filled with beauty and mystery, travail and immeasurable joy, birthed a new me.

I didn’t only give birth to my daughter, but a new version of me. I couldn’t sleep, all I did was stare at her peaceful face and hold her in my arms for hours on end. The content surpassed all of my exhaustion and I felt like a superhero. Nothing could stop me. No mountain could be too treacherous for me to climb.

maya owlette

Mama’s little superhero

 

It took me a bit of time to process the majesty of that moment, the power in me that I never knew I had. Months passed and with the transition becoming more manageable, that transformation once again caught up with me.

I lived now, a more vibrant, more transparent life. Everything I ever wanted to be, I wanted to be so even more. The passions I had were now even more pronounced as I discovered the confidence and fearlessness I never knew I possessed. Life became more meaningful.

I lived for my daughter. I didn’t want to sell myself short because I didn’t want her to settle in her own life. I wanted with all my heart to leave her a legacy of courage, strength, passion and joy. I wanted her to truly live. I couldn’t teach her with words that meant nothing, so I picked myself up, dusted off my own weakened misconceptions, examined them and threw them out of the nearest window.

I will now lead my daughter by example, not wishful thinking.

Did she take my life? Yes, she took my old life but gave me something so much more extraordinary. A new life filled with vibrancy, adventure and expectation.

She woke me up. And now that I am awake, nothing is impossible, too improbable. I live in the realm of possibility. Why? Because that is how I want her to live, no limitations!

And yes, you can, too, experience this transformation. Just change your thinking and believe in the possibility that only greater glory awaits you with each life that you bring into this world.

It will be harder to go after some of those goals with children, but knowing the value of every minute, you will now know the value of every moment, and you will know that little efforts add up to great things.

If you cannot do it for yourself, do it for the little ones around your knees.

Lead by example, show them a life well lived: passionate, fearless, authentic.

Be truly you. That is the greatest freedom you will give them in this world; freedom to be them.

Life is an adventure, explore it together.

So, yes, Life begins with Life. Or so it did in my case. If I stayed in my old ways of thinking, I wouldn’t have my books written. Scratch that, you wouldn’t be reading this blog.

And with this second child, cocooned in my womb, I am excited to see what facets of me are still lying dormant. I cannot wait to awaken the power within me that will come through as I experience another magical moment of bringing a fresh-faced bundle of joy into this beautiful world.

I am not afraid to lose my life with this addition, as I know full well now, that it will be forever changed but so much richer, stronger, with new adventures and new mountains, new travails and joys.

It is up to you to define your success and your life. Don’t fall into the groupthink and accept the mediocrity, the false assumptions.

Open up your mind, hold your head high and redefine your life according to what is right for you and your family.

YOU are the Queen in your family. YOU make the rules alongside your King. Live a life well lived with your princes and princesses. It is a life worth living.

 

 

By Olga Pyshnyak-Lawrence

Forever Hopeful, Always Believing, Perpetual Dreamer and Doer

I Will Never Quit. That Word Is Not In My Dictionary

At times, the frustration of getting nowhere is so absurdly strong that we cower at the intense feelings we may have. Rather than process those feelings, we quit, while we are still intact, not realizing that every process of shattering and rebuilding can only make us stronger, more resilient and more beautiful.

The process of growth is never easy and no one said it would ever be easy. Life may not be fair but what is fairly accurate is that a winner never quits and a quitter never wins.

Therefore, I’ve decided to eradicate the option to quit.

I will never quit. That word is not in my dictionary.

At the beginning of this year, a new phase has been unlocked for me. I’ve realized that I am no less than anyone else and having accepted this truth, I’ve concluded that if wonderful things happen to others, then they can also happen to me.

Each morning I would wake up determined to create change, to go after my dreams.

I knew that consistency would get me there. It wasn’t a question of will it, it was a question of when.  Being a mommy entrepreneur, author and motivator, it is never a breeze finding the time to do anything for myself, period. I had to make up my mind to use my time wisely. Whatever free time I had to myself would now have to be allocated to working on my dreams and goals, day in and day out.

Repetitive work but also fulfilling… The great secret about following your dreams is that you are going after something you are meant to do, meaning that most of your actions taken towards getting “there” will be a labor of love. You will enjoy your growing process, your newfound talents and expressive creativity.

The not so great truth is that your path will no doubt be littered with obstacles.

You will hear many Nos. You will hear gazillion excuses from others and yourself. Many will not understand why you do what you do, or set out to do.

Some will think you are too self-righteous, too intimidating, or just simply too much.

I’ve had all those thrown my way. That “too much” that they see in me is a vibrant flame of passion that fires me up and burns all opposition. It adds zest to my life and a pep to my step.

There is nothing wrong with caring too much, too deeply or too passionately. We all need people that can get the job done, that can shake up this world and change the spiritual trajectory of this planet.

The ordinary person will never be able to do that. But what is an ordinary person?

A person that forgot how extraordinary he or she is.  So not all is lost.

You are a person that has what it takes. How do I know that? Because you have passion.

Before you stop me right there, let me explain. Yes, we all have passion, be it dormant or expressed, we all have this mysterious ability. It’s just a question of waking it up!

Here are three tips that have worked for me. Once you accept them and make them your own, your life will have no choice but to adjust and steer its course in a more positive direction.

Dreams do come true. You CAN reach your goals.

Each time I hear a NO, I have learned to re-program my brain to receive it as a positive comment.  I’ve told myself that with every no, I will only grow stronger. The people that have overlooked me yesterday will no longer be able to overlook me tomorrow. The first tip is to frequently stir up this affirmation: With every NO I will only get stronger.

Here is the second precious tip. I see myself as the one that has already achieved her dreams and goals. I visualize myself as having already arrived. The ability to do that helps me to not be attached to people and circumstance as my way of “getting there”. I don’t take it personally when people say Yes, and then soon enough they say No. Trust me. I’ve had plenty of those.

And guess what? It’s not you. It really is them. It’s nothing personal.

The third tip is a fabulous lesson I’ve learned that set me free to be me and to keep me moving forward. This is the key lesson that completely eradicated my victim mentality and propensity to quit. I will be forever grateful to the challenges and emotional anguish that led me up to this moment of epiphany; behind every setback is a setup.

This understanding fuels you to use all of your remaining energy, not looking at the problem but looking at the solution. All of a sudden you are in charge, you are not a victim but a productively victorious creation.

This works for me every time. Maybe not exactly at the time of loss or something going far from the way I envisioned, but it will always come to pass. Trust me, you will look back and realize that most of your greatness and opportunities were a result of a mishap, or what you perceived as a mishap.

Now that you are no longer afraid of the dreaded NO, can see yourself as having achieved it all already and free to look for the setups in every setback, you no longer need the word quit.

Why? Because you will never use it. Therefore, just lose it.

 

~by Olga Pyshnyak-Lawrence

Living inPassion Series: Creativity, the Spark of Life

How are you feeling today? Fantastic or Blah? If the latter, please don’t feel helpless. There is an easy solution to this lifestyle dilemma: Creativity.

When have you indulged in this, to some-a casual pastime, to others-a reason for living, very basic activity based on our very inner, but universal need to create, to access something a bit greater than ourselves, to give life to something?

If it has been a while… let me tell you, the Blahs may be calling you out to notice this dry patch of desert in your soul. Mindless living is usually one of the best friends of the Blahs. The Blahs attract so many other frenemies as well… such as Carelessness, Frustration, Restlessness, and many more universal figures.

But enough focusing on the B-word. Let’s not allow it to grow in our consciousness!

Allow yourself to gently walk along the stream to Creativity, the Spark of Life. Visualize yourself strolling along one bank of this body of water… It is so peaceful. As you sit down on top of a massive rock, you proceed to throw a few rocks you’ve picked up along the way, into the stream…

Do you feel at peace?

What do you see? How many ripples? How small or great the diameter?

You look up, what do you see on the other side of the stream?

Now, begin to notice your breathing… Has it slowed down? Have you relaxed enough to notice what is nested within your heart? Your inner you?

If you could do anything right now, what would you do? What were your dreams as a child? What are your inner desires?

Receive everything that comes into your mind and heart, gently. Be kind to yourself.

You were created to be different. You are a unique expression of God’s own creativity. You are wonderful.

How do you feel now?

Write down the thoughts that come to mind and open-up your heart to a new beginning, to a new expression of creativity within you.

You are fearless. And if you are afraid, you are courageous enough to overcome what comes your way.

Express your creativity today, from one smallest act to the greatest.

Put up a vase on your table and create an arrangement of flowers from your garden or ask your child to pick you a bouquet of wildflowers. How precious.

Read a book on a topic you were always fascinated by, but were always too busy to indulge in, because it just didn’t seem to apply to your hasty day-to-day routine.

Show yourself enough respect to deem it worthy to treat your mind and heart a little.

Write a simple poem for your loved one. Tell them how sweet they are.

Bake a cake you’ve always thought was a bit too rich for your wallet. Treat yourself and your family.

Creativity doesn’t always mean; go out and buy yourself an easel and paints, grab a few baguettes with cheese, grapes and wine, and dress up like a Parisian.

No, creativity means allowing yourself to believe that you and your family, friends and the world in general, deserve a more expressive, livelier version of yourself and your touch.

You deserve to have a little bit of fun, to play like a child. To dream like it is all possible.

And if you dare, dare to dream big. Every mama has a hidden big dream. And no, our definitions may be different, but the results are extremely similar; a passionate life that is worth living and sharing.

Bring back the Life!

Now go and bake yourself a cookie, grab a book, dance a little, smell a flower or indulge in a bit of expensive coffee…

How creatively can YOU live?

 

Special Spring Activities For Children

With Spring bringing the warmer weather, it is a good time to bring our children outside and enjoy some activities while creating beautiful memories!

Here are 5 Activities that are fun for the whole family:

 

1. Terrariums- Very easy to make and can bring nature inside to enjoy.
 Here is a cute one to make, found at The Magic Onions – Handmade for the Natural Home.

 

2. Building Fairy Houses- Collect bark, twigs, small pine cones, feathers while you are on a walk.  At home you can all build a home to welcome the fairies.

fairy

Our Own Little Fairy

Please visit The Magic Onions for some beautiful ideas!

3. Visit a Local Farmers Market- It is fun to meet the farmers with your whole family!There is usually music and children activities. Buying fresh local food to bring home and cook a meal together as a family will be a treat.

4. It is a great time to save egg cartons to start seeds. Create and keep a Garden Journal with your little ones.

5. May 1st is May Day- Time to find a May Day Festival near you or get together with other families and have fun! Make dandelion crowns, have fun with bubbles! Also, check to see if any Waldorf Schools are nearby. They celebrate many festivals.

 

Here is my list of fun ways to share nature and plants with our children. Remember to keep it simple and ~Have Lots of Fun~!!!

 

 

By Michelle Reid

Supermom and Activist Extraordinaire

Back to Basics: Nurturing your own greatness

If you don’t plant your seeds and then continuously water them, they will not take root, nor will they ever grow into a beautiful, lively plant. So it is the same with you and your dreams, they must be planted inside of you and then continuously nurtured and looked after, day in and day out.

It may be a solitary job, you being the only gardener of your own greatness, but it can be done as long as you make that strong choice to continue believing  in your own self no matter what may come, no matter the storms that threaten to engulf you in these turbulent waters of life.

Dreams may have to be planted but your greatness has always been there. By nature of being children of God, we are great, period. It doesn’t matter if you realize it or not, nothing can take away your greatness or the potential that comes with it being expressed for the world to see.

I only pray that your greatness doesn’t stay dormant, wake it up! Revive it!

Don’t shun it. Don’t be embarrassed by it.

Don’t be surprised if people don’t understand you, they are usually in the dormant stage, either by choice due to fear or through ignorance. The ones that will resonate with you will be the ones that are also on their own journey of discovery and nurturing the seeds that have been placed within them at birth.

People may laugh at you, but one day you will have the last laugh by virtue of living a life worth living, a life of self-discovery and self-expression. Not many people can claim this… not many people are as brave as you are.

If you have read thus far, then you know this truth- you are not average, never been, never will be. You cannot settle for the things and standards that most of the people succumb to around you.

That is simply not you.

You believe that there is more to life, and there truly is! No greater gift has been bestowed upon you. Life.

What will you do with it? Ultimately, it is all up to you. Will you follow the call and walk the path towards destiny or will you believe the lies that we decided to take as truth and live them out?

IMG_5480

Maternal Movement shelf at Hip Vintage and Handmade shop in Athens, GA

You are here on Earth because you were created with purpose, for a purpose. Isn’t it worth it to discover what that calling may be?

Even if no one sees what you see, it doesn’t matter. Perhaps they were never meant to see what you see. They may not understand and believe in your dream because it is not their job to understand and believe in YOUR dream. It is not their calling. Not their destiny.

It takes courage to stand up and give voice to what is on the inside of you. Boldness… Determination.

You will be tested, I guarantee you that. Big matters are not for the faint of heart. Greatness would not be great if it were so easy to express and attain.

On the other hand, look at how many people were able to scale their mountains of influence! If they can do it, so can you. So can I.

They are only special because they were open to believing in the possibility that one day there will be a breakthrough. That one day, the doors would open. That one day, a day that they decide to continue to keep moving, that shift would come.

And one day, it did. They never quit. They had faith in something that wasn’t visible on many days, but one day… became visible and tangible.

I pray that day comes to you sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, keep nurturing your greatness. Protect it from the wild birds and unruly beasts. Create boundaries and a safe space for your greatness to come through.

May those seeds bloom forth, surprising you with their ability to produce abundance. Astonishing you with their beauty, resilience, glory and wealth.

Your greatness is YOUR responsibility. Take hold of it today.

 

 

by Olga Pyshnyak-Lawrence

 

 

There’s Meaning to Your Color Choice

Aren’t you glad your life is in color? I sure am. I can’t imagine a black and white world. It’s amazing how color calms the soul, infuses life, or energizes your body. This phenomenon has led to scientific studies and that’s why we have such a term as “color psychology”. Color psychology is the study of hues as the determinant of human behavior and the impact it has on our feelings and senses.

It’s no mystery that marketing and branding relies heavily on how a certain color or hue affects a customer’s impulse to buy or experience. One may view this as an abuse of that power, but color choices are also important for spas where we go to relax, the amusement parks for fun, and the homes we want to enjoy.IMG_5382

Have you wondered why you are drawn to specific colors or why you even have a favorite color (s)? Upon seeing that particular color there’s something magical that happens in your brain that stirs up your feel-good senses. At other times you can even get an adverse reaction to certain colors… interesting, right?

When it comes to your home, consider what color(s) are right for each room’s function. Allow me to elaborate with the main colors:

Red

Red is often recognized by your brain as powerful, but warm, passionate, stimulating, and energetic. That is why you can often see red in living rooms or entertainment areas. One of the best uses of red would be in areas of high activity or where you would like to raise the energy level. It doesn’t mean you have to paint the whole wall red, but using red in accent chairs, pillows, and various décor is just as effective.

Blue

Hues of blue are fantastic for bedrooms and bathrooms. There’s something about blue that conveys that calming and freeing feeling. Blue is meditative, relaxing, and serene. No wonder we stare up at the sky and daydream as children. I myself personally am highly drawn to blues as it also reminds me of the ocean, a place where I feel the most carefree and at peace.

Green

The grass, plants, and trees give green that “earthy” tone. We feel safe and grounded around green. It is also relaxing and is a “feel good” color. It signifies nature and the great expanse of the outdoors. Hues of green are suitable for any room in the house.

Yellow

Yellow energizes your brain and makes you feel more optimistic. That is why smiley faces are yellow and the sun shines its yellow rays to awaken us to start the day. As the sunshine is life affirming, so is the yellow hue a symbol of cheerfulness and liveliness. This color captures joy and happiness and is a great choice for kitchens, breakfast rooms, and bathrooms as well.

Purple

Throughout the ages royalty has worn purple robes due to how expensive it was to dye the fabric that color. So it’s no wonder our brains associate this color with power and royalty. Various hues and tints of purple are considered refined and sophisticated. Purple when used properly can spark creativity and bring depth to a room. Variations of purple can be used to create a luxurious effect in bedrooms and a VIP feeling in dining rooms.

Pink

There’s a sweet nature to pink. It’s no wonder this color gives off a feminine flair. It is soothing, gentle, and comforting. We often find little girl rooms in pink, but various hues of pink can also be quite effective in parlors, lounge areas, bedrooms, and dressing rooms.

Orange

Orange is the warmest color. It’s sensuous and stimulating, energetic and vibrant, and fun! It is great for exercise rooms or an office. In my area there is a franchise of gyms actually called Orange Theory. I’m thinking they knew what they were doing when they named it.

Brown

The earth is brown, so it’s natural for our brain to attribute earthy and “down to earth” traits to this color. There is something reassuring and stabilizing about this color. It also conveys yummy, like chocolate, and a sense of hominess. This color can be very neutral but is also great for capturing the cozy feeling for the den or a natural/rustic look in any room.

Black

Black is sophisticated like the little black dress or elegant like a ball gown. It is also bold and defiant. Black is great for drawing attention to a specific feature of the room and can be used as an accent wall or to “tighten” the space of a large room.
However, be careful, as too much black can be overbearing. But when used properly this color can be very dramatic.

Grey

Grey is a special color that is subtle and conservative when it comes to keeping a space fresh and airy. It also has a calming factor and is understated in its elegance, not too bold and neutral enough to tie multiple spaces together in a seamless flow. This color can be combined with whites and neutrals, but it also brings any pop of color to life.

White

And let’s not forget the color white. It is clean. It is pristine. It is airy… we also see it as pure and serene and crisp. It has the unique power of making any room feel larger. Variations of warmer and cooler tones of white can be used throughout the home. However, be careful. Too much white can make a space feel sterile like a hospital or cold like the North Pole.

It’s not just wall colors but also the color of your furniture and accessories that work together to create that perfect space. It’s also the hue of the draperies and the tint of the polish. The color of the accent pieces, the vignettes, the light fixtures, and the rugs all culminate together to play on your senses. Explore and experiment with the vast array of color choices. Embrace the vibrancy and color of life and keep in mind what human behavior you want to encourage… wink, wink.

 

by Tatyana Pyshnyak, Voice Interiors