Music moves

I listen to my Kanye West station on Pandora when I want to motivate to build up momentum on beginning a project; I play my “Brain time with Bach” mix when I am writing on deadline; and I crank up the Wu-Tang Clan when I’m exercising.

Music moves me—thank the powers that be, it doesn’t move me ugly (or, at least not that I’m aware of). There’re studies that show the benefits of listening to music that include lessening chronic pain and increased productivity.

Music is the very reason why I answer, “blind” when people ask whether I’d want to be deaf or blind. Music lifts me out of a ruts and motivates me to DO.

I love how I can put on my big ol’ headphones and listen to musical masterpieces from any era or genre I want. I’ve got lots of respect for the musicians who create compositions that inspire me to shake my shoulders and take action to cross things off my list of Things to Do.

What music gets you going/creating/thinking/dancing?






You have Rootmix to thank

I had no plans to dedicate so much time to this blog this year, or organize the 2011 Online Power Year Pledge Class, but because of Rootmix, I did.

Check out Z’s blog; she explains how the 2011 OPYPC was born and it looks like she’s going to craft some Power Year specific giveaways. Whoop!


It’s not just a night, it’s DATE NIGHT

That which we call a “date,” by any other name, would be as special—right? Wrong.

Although I’m not a huge fan of when individuals are defined only by a name or title, I see “date nights” as being different—especially when you are in a long-term relationship. It takes creativity to keep love feeling fresh. Stale bread is gross, stale relationships are even worse.

Instead of a trip to Third Tuesday at Buntport Theater being just another night, when you say, “Hey! It’s date night,” everything changes (if you are mindful about it). When you call it “date night,” it’s more likely that feelings of giddy beginnings can be conjured up. When you call it, “date night,” there’s an unspoken understanding that both parties involved will be on their best behavior, maybe even get a little fancied up. Think about business attire and why you don’t wear pajamas to the office. For the record, much of my work is remote and although I could wear sweats all day, I dress the part for productivity when I’m doing work. I’ve heard of those people who can work in their pj’s and have to say, I’m not one of them. I digress.

Date night. It’s something that a number of Power Year pledges have noted as a focus for them. It’s important. Get gussied up, be creative with your relationship, have fun, make love happen.

Tight budget? Date night doesn’t have to be expensive. Remember how fun it can be to actually walk through a record or book store and browse (as opposed to surfing the web)? Go on a thrift store hunt together on the weekend, estate sale hopping. Free day at the museum, zoo, or if you live in Denver, ride the 15 down Colfax for a mile and you and your date will have plenty to talk about.



Positive momentum is contagious

The benefits of being an optimist are not always tangible, but I’ve gotta say, since beginning this blog, it’s easier to see the effects of what a little kick in the pants can do. Not only are the members of the 2011 Online Power Year Pledge Class kicking serious ass, but old colleagues have also contacted me, thanking me for helping to give them a jump start to living with intent.

This is an excellent example of one of the greatest benefits of the internet; an easily accessible global community, a forum to learn from the lives of others and be inspired to create your own.

Positive momentum is contagious. Catch it and pass it on.


Don’t resist the flow

I’m not über-astrology woman, but I have found that most Cancerian characteristics are in line with my personality. The third rule I made for myself during my Power Year was easier since I quit my job, but was enjoyable as well—possibly because I’m a water sign and do quite like going with the flow. As an aside, I also am in love with the ocean, enjoy being as still as an uninterrupted lake, and have been described as being more fierce than the Mississippipi. Just sayin’.

Anyway, here’s the third rule I gave myself during my Power Year:

Go with the flow. If you find yourself genuinely interested in one thing, it will naturally lead to another.

Some people call this networking. I call it quenching my curiosity.

Following this rule of mine introduced me to the world of design, which I have continued to explore more in depth to date, and it led me to taking a studio art class, where I learned about a lot of artists I had never known about before—their life stories inspired me and I have filed them away in my brain to refer to when I begin doubting myself as being able to “make” as a living.

I know it’s challenging to feel like you’re not in control, which is a big part of going with the flow. If nothing else, why not clear one of your weekends and practice going with the flow? Begin somewhere you normally don’t (flea market? park?), and see where you end up. Focus on the new/different experiences available to you, but don’t become paralyzed by avoiding the ordinary. Just pay closer attention to it. Be inspired. I love this activity.

Deadline driven creativity

Remember the second rule that I followed during my Power Year?

You must complete a different personal project each month. Your deadline is the 29th. Always.

This is the rule that led to the widest array of opportunities and surprising outcomes.  Sometimes I didn’t have a clue what my project was going to be until the 28th. And then, without fail, something would present itself. It always does. It’s just a matter of whether you’re paying attention or not. Well, that, and once something does present itself, your willingness to hop on to the idea and ride it. Having the monthly deadline of the 29th helped me practice keeping my eyes and ears open for potential projects.

It was difficult at first, and still is sometimes, to take promises to myself as seriously as promises to others. BUT, like anything else, practice helps. After completing my Power Year of personal projects, I now use the 29th of the month, every so often, to kick me into gear to do any random thing that I’ve been too lazy to cross off the ol’ list during the rest of the month. It works, even though my Power Year is over.

We are all capable of dedication and focus; my deadline driven Power Year taught me this.



February Focus—framing your Power Year

Here is what I charged the 2011 Online Power Year Pledge Class with at the beginning of this month:

(three-part) TASK:

1. Write a SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time bound) goal for your creative project. *This activity requires time and thoughtfulness. You are building the framework of your Power Year.

2. Write down five or less rules (or if you like the word “guidelines” better, cool) you will live by, in order to help you achieve your goal.

3. Identify five or less items that will be your FEBRUARY FOCUS.

Here's my personal February Focus Task List, which has since been slightly revised

Here’s what Jennifer, one of the pledge members, came up with:

It is my objective to become unbounded by circumstance. During my adult life I have exhibited a tendency to be confident in my creativity, but have fewer examples to show than my capacity. I want to reverse this, and become open to the possibility of:

1) Completing

2) Showing

3) Communicating

I sometimes find myself wrongly assuming that everyone knows what I am thinking. I assume that people know and / or believe in my strengths and talents. But that is a distant assumption if the audience never sees the fruit of my capabilities. Perhaps I should not even worry about what others think. And so there is a second prong to this intent. It is very satisfying to see a project come from the depths of the mind into reality. So, selfishly, I am excited to feel that satisfaction more frequently.

A focus on goal-oriented creativity is now the vehicle that will bring more of my ideas into reality. I will fail. This sounds negative, but there is tremendous learning in failure. I will succeed as well, with a resounding ovation, even if it is just the sound of one hand clapping!


1)Have fun

2)Realize that even though my schedule will seem very full, that there is a lot of enjoyment to be had through a productive life

3)Work towards actual benefits. Often goals can be ‘completed’ but there is no net change. Make net change.

4)Make it about more than me. Family and friends can be part of the Power Year, and there will be benefit to limiting introversion of ideas / tasks in this year.

Project Specifics:

Professional Goals:

1) Complete my ARE Process (7 Architectural Exams)

Purpose: Obtain my architectural license

Timing Goal: By end of year

Measurement: Accomplish a test every 6 weeks

2) Truly engage in my community committees

USGBC Education Committee (outreach, planning)

Real Estate Diversity Initiative (learning, community)

Purpose: To gain benefit from my community work

Timing Goal: Ongoing

Measurement: Book speaking assignments for AR7 / NAC

among other things

Social Goals:

1) Set up and enjoy Date Nights with my husband every 2 weeks

Purpose: Actively pursue strength for my relationship

Timing: Bi-weekly

Measurement: Rate success of various elements on a scale of 1-10 (was it fun, romantic?).

2) Host monthly social functions such as Family Dinner, and Dinner Party with friends

Purpose: Deepen my friendships

Timing: Monthly

Measurement: Rate success of various elements on a scale of 1-10 (Did people have fun, did guests get along?)

Personal Goals:

1) Meditate

Purpose: Exorcise stress, anxiety. Boost creativity, confidence, relaxation

Timing: At least once per week.

2) Continue to track energy input / output balance

Purpose: Improve health, energy and happiness

Timing: Daily

Measurement: Monitor weekly calorie intake, and exercise expenditure according to pre-set numerical datum

Creative Goals:

1) Music: Continue to actualize learning opportunities with my musical mentors, and learn more songs, better technique

Purpose: To live

Timing: practice 3 times per week, one lesson per week

Measurement: Make a recording of a new song every month

2) Writing: Begin to create poetry that conforms to a pentameter, that can become building blocks for writing songs.

Purpose: To become able to make the type of songs that I love.

Timing: As part of music practice, take ten minutes to write down poetry. Then on the bus ride home when I am not playing music, write for ten minutes.

Measurement: To be determined

3) Design: Do a Competition by end of year

February Focus Items:

1) Take (and pass) an ARE exam by 2/28

2) Write a (good) poem by 2/28

3) Finish learning “Houseboat” by 2/28

4) Attend Design and Construction Networking by 2/9

5) Run/exercise at least 4 times per week (every week) by 2/28


Needless to say, I’m very excited for the day that Jen’s update arrives in my inbox!