Inspired

This video is so very beautiful. It’s a short snippet from an interview Oprah did with India Arie. India Arie radiates genuine inner confidence that may just give you chills.

After watching the video, I wrote a few words in reflection (shared below).

Take time to let yourself simply be—as you are, without fixing or looking for a new direction. Sink into the present moment—approach life in the here and now—breathe in clarity, breathe out confusion. Let yourself feel grounded and supported, rooted into the rich soil of the universe.

And remind yourself that the universe will rise up to meet you. Trust the process.

… If the video doesn’t show up, you can see it on youtube.

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Over the past few months, I have truly neglected blogging. Writing here is such a large part of my identity that this unintentional time away has felt very strange.

I wrote the words above on a piece of paper yesterday and began writing without a clue as to where I would end up. It took me two pages of justifying to myself why I’ve neglected the blog to get to my “AHA” moment. Those two pages of nonsense—totally worth it!

What I Realized: Simply stated, I am not superwoman. I know, a very disappointing realization :). Not so simply stated, I recognized a pattern. In the past, I have pushed myself with no self-imposed boundaries, which led to lots of health issues. Now that I’m setting more boundaries for myself, important things (like blogging and two rubies, now on etsy!) have been neglected. I have blamed myself for not finding a way to make it all work; however, I realize (finally) that I need to approach this new and healthier phase differently. And different means flexing new muscles and persevering through growing pains.

What Does Different Look Like? Or… How Do I Get My Blogging Mojo Back?

First, I need to be vulnerable, to be open about what I’m experiencing. Silence serves no one. Next, I need to ask for help—using what I’ve learned in the past from failed “asks.” I need to ask differently, approach this new phase with more intention.

What I Know: I need a right-hand woman (or man, but my hubby may get upset since he’s my right hand man!) to join my team. I’ve worked with incredible virtual assistants in the past, but no one has really been a partner for me—someone passionate about the work and willing to help steer the boat rather than just paddle. I am an imperfect perfectionist who hates to delegate. And this is the struggle, I need someone who is willing to move through the growing pains with me as I learn to let go of feeling guilty about delegating.

What I Don’t Know: I don’t know how I will find “my person.” But just recognizing that I can’t do everything I want to do alone is liberating. It gives me hope for this new phase of my life. I am open to matchmakers! If you know someone (or think you may be “my person”) who will make my heart flutter with delight, please email me (carolynblog@me.com) and tell me why you’re my match :). I never got to explore the online dating world so I can pretend this is my little online dating experience!

Life Online

… While I haven’t been blogging or tweeting, I have been spending time online. Primarily, I’ve been feeding my addiction (pinterest) and getting hooked into instagram. I love looking into the daily lives of inspiring individuals and connecting through images. I would love to connect if you’re on instagram, my username is crubenstein :). Below is a collage of a few recent images I’ve posted on instagram.

… I have used Google Reader forever to read blogs and am so sad it’s closing on July 1st. If you’re looking for a new feed reader, I’ve explored quite a few and found bloglovin’ to be my favorite. If you’re transitioning from Google Reader to Bloglovin’, check out this post on how to switch with ease.

Thank you so much for your patience and support while I navigate this new phase of blogging. I know it’s only going to change for the better with a partner in inspiration to help me steer! After 4.5 years of blogging, I think it’s time for some positive shifts!

Wishing you a happy start to June!
Carolyn

top photo: photo credits here

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Every morning, after getting dressed, I pull on the handle of a tiny drawer in my closet. I open the drawer and grasp onto the same bracelet every single day. I slip the bracelet over my wrist and notice my attention shift to the little gold moon charm dangling off into the air. And I remember the message that arrived with this bracelet, the meaning of the moon charm: to protect and nourish along one’s path of growth and actualization. And throughout the day, this charm serves as a trigger, a reminder to protect and nourish myself—to breathe deeply, to create space for growth, and to cultivate grace from within.

This blog, this virtual space, is an extension of my life—my journey…our interconnected journeys. I realize that I’m quite protective of this space—unwilling to post for the sake of posting. As a person who craves and thrives in structure, it is quite strange that I don’t force myself to maintain a stringent posting schedule. Oh, I have in the past. And this space felt so very different for me. I lost the excitement to show up for the sake of simply being present. With time, I’m learning to protect this space from what’s expected—sadly, I have read practically all the books (and e-books) on blogging and tried for too long to conform to the various rules dictated by other bloggers. I bought into the mentality that you could be a good blogger or a bad blogger, an all or nothing mentality that fit my life at the time. But this mentality no longer fits my life. Offline, I don’t let labels define who I am or what I do (I did in the past). And I don’t want any labels to define me online either. But just as I struggle offline to protect and nourish myself along my path of growth and actualization, I struggle online as well.

I constantly remind myself to let go of what others expect or what I expect “should” be done. It’s a practice that I return to over and over again. When we enter different spaces, we are influenced by the norms of the context. This is normal. But the norms don’t have to define who we are in the space. It’s easier to show up and blend in than to ruffle a few feathers. While I do choose the path of least resistance in some instances, more often than not I choose to show up as myself, which I know is enough.

I love that a little moon charm dangling from my bracelet reminded me to return here, to this space, to write from within and simply let go of everything else.

This moment, these words, are my life. Simple and seemingly nonsignificant, but examined up close—truly profound.

This Friday (March 1st), I am celebrating my birthday. Each year, I try to do something unique for myself and others, grateful for the opportunity to turn another year older (truly). This year, I have a few ideas brewing. One of these ideas I’ll be sharing with my little paper dream (i.e., Two Rubies) mailing list on Friday. I would love for you to be part of the celebration. Simply, sign up for this separate list here.

Wishing you a beautiful end of February!

Love,

Carolyn

(the bracelet: purchased on opensky - not an affiliate, just love my little moon bracelet!)

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In my last post, I mentioned not wanting to share too much “heavy” stuff at once. Well, universe, thank you for listening. This morning, my husband shared with me a video from SoulPancake. And my heart leaped. This video makes me smile—each time I watch it, I smile even more. The message doesn’t get old.

not cool robert frost

It also sparks a deep sense of love and gratitude for everyone in the world who spends time encouraging others. The stranger who smiles at you when you’re feeling awful or the friend who sends you a sweet little gift just because. A sweet comment on instagram or an inspiring tweet. Little moments of encouragement mean the world to the recipient. You can never have too many of these moments or give too many of them either. At the end of the video, there is a call to action: to share the video with those who encourage you. Specifically, send them this video and let them know.

Today, I want you to know, that your encouragement on A Beautiful Ripple Effect means everything to me. Each kind word I receive or comment that something has resonated with you etches a space in my heart. You inspire me to keep writing, to keep learning, and to keep sharing.

I am so grateful for YOU.

Now, give the world a reason to dance :)! Get to it!

P.S. If you don’t see the video above, try refreshing your browser. If that doesn’t work, you can view the video on YouTube. 

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I rarely check comments before posting, but decided to start 2013 a little differently and checked to see if any new comments were posted on my previous post before opening this page. And there were two new comments—two of the most powerfully inspiring and moving comments that I’ve received on A Beautiful Ripple Effect. I am so grateful for these words and for your support as we begin this new year. This journey of blogging which I’ve been dedicated to for over four years becomes more beautiful as time passes. I wish I could tell the girl who first started this blog in December 2008 all about the woman she would become and the people she would meet through this blog. It would have given her so much hope for the path ahead. This is a spiritual practice that has become more important to me than I could have ever predicted. And for that, every little moment of work (yup, blogging takes a lot of time!) is so very worth it.

This post is a response to the One Word prompts in the Reverb Remix. The One Little Word exercise is inspired by Ali Edwards.

At the beginning of 2012, I chose to focus on self-compassion. Reflecting on the past year, I see this theme weaved throughout my experiences. It’s a practice that is now a part of my life—never perfect, always a work in progress. Self-compassion is a constant that I see blazing through my soul, sparkling with delight. It’s the inner light that I find when I turn inward amidst external darkness.

Now, entering 2013, I choose a new word to serve as my anchor for the year ahead. For 2013, I choose BEGIN. This word popped into my mind this morning as I sifted through more words in search of the “perfect” one word to hold onto as I begin to navigate the paths ahead.

new beginnings

This year, I want to focus on beginnings—consciously creating new beginnings. I also want this word to serve as a reminder for times of uncertainty or overwhelm, to simply remember to begin…anywhere.

To begin is to plant the seed of action, to begin a new pathway for action. Regardless of what has occurred in the past, in the here and now, we can always choose to begin. To begin is to see the power within ourselves to choose how we navigate our moments. It’s a little word with big potential.

As I look back on 2013, I hope to see a year filled with new beginnings.

What is your one word for 2013? 

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