In our Top 5 Posts from 2007 series, this post is #2! The message is as important and valid today as it was when we first published it in 2007, so we’re pulling it out, dusting it off, and giving it another moment in the sun. Enjoy!
Openness is awesome.
By openness, I mean sharing a lot of information about myself publicly. For instance, blogging openly about aspects of my life that many would consider private. Being out about all those wacky things I have the opportunity to be out about. That sort of thing. Here are the three big reasons I think openness is so awesome.
Being open can help others.
By sharing enough of myself that I feel like a real person to those who read me or know of me, I enter many people’s monkeyspheres. Just by living my life and sharing it openly, I become an example that it’s possible to be X (X = bi | poly | pagan | trans | B | interdependent) and be a real, living, breathing person with feelings and hopes and desires just like you.
And furthermore, that it’s possible to be all these things and live a happy life — a life that’s more like yours than you might expect. And if people do include me in their monkeyspheres, a whole lot of good can come of it. More understanding of what it means to be X, more compassion toward X’s as people rather than objectified freaks, more recognition that there are X’s living in harmony with others in this society, etc, etc, etc. In a word: connection.
Openness makes me invulnerable.
Openness makes me invulnerable to a whole lot of potentially hurtful things — various flavors of fear and shame. Just imagine how you would feel if some of your secret or private things were discovered. Betrayed? Violated? Hurt?
The degree to which one is open is the degree to which one is immune from these sorts of attacks. I don’t need to live in fear of people finding out any of my secrets, because I’ve already shared all of them publicly. And when I dig deep into my motivation for wanting to keep something hidden, it almost always bottoms out in fear or shame. I feel ashamed of being a certain way, I feel fear that others will shame me for being something unacceptable to them, I feel fear that others will think I’m crazy or unhealthy if they know the truth. I’ve made a sacred promise to not let fear rule my life, and shame is just another kind of fear.
So I refuse. I refuse to hide things out of shame or fear.
I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I don’t have any reasonable fears that are big enough to compromise on. For instance, if we feared that Dru was vulnerable to being taken away from us, we might compromise. If I feared that I might lose my job, we might compromise. But luckily, we’re not in those situations, so I choose to take full advantage of my opportunities to be open.
I think society’s current concept of privacy is deprecated.
Technology continues to develop, more and more people are trading more and more of their privacy for more and more convenience (e.g. using credit cards instead of cash), and more and more data is becoming more and more trackable. As Kate reminded me, this tide isn’t inexorable; it’s possible to fight against it. But it feels inexorable to me. I think that the way we think of privacy today will be outmoded and old-fashioned in just one generation.
The paradigm shift is already starting. Kids and teenagers today have vastly different concepts of privacy than their parents did. And when those kids become adults, not too long from now, their new attitude toward openness is going to become the norm. It’ll be easy to dig up personal information about almost anyone, and when that becomes the norm, many forms of privacy are going to stop being such a big deal.
People can finally stop being ashamed of huge portions of their lives, because when everyone starts openly sharing those parts of their lives, it becomes okay; it becomes socially acceptable to be all of who you are. I think that’s awesome and beautiful, and I want to be part of that. I want to ride the wave; I don’t want to be left behind as an old fogey clinging to the old paradigm.
I also think that there are scary political concerns — it’s important to make sure that this upcoming lack of privacy can be shared by all (e.g. Little Brother), rather than the powerful spying on the powerless (e.g. wiretapping, subpoenas to access harvested data). But I don’t want to get into that here.
Hooray for openness! (:
I believe in motivating ourselves with love instead of fear. I’ve firmly rejected the philosophy of “If it must get done, just suck it up and do it even if you hate it” at every opportunity, and I’ve found a better alternative.
(Also, you get to see a kitten, poorly drawn snakes, and Tim Ferriss getting hit on the head with a stick.)
Please share this video with others if you think they could use some peaceful motivation in their lives. I believe that the world needs a lot more carrot and a lot less stick.
In our Top 5 Posts of 2008 series, this post is #3! The message is as important and valid today as it was when we first published it, so we’re pulling it out, dusting it off, and giving it another moment in the sun. Enjoy!
I am alone, laying in bed, re-reading ‘American Gods’. I brace myself as the part that scares me most approaches, and the dead woman comes to talk to her husband. I get through the scene, frightened, and this time I pause my reading to examine the fear fresh in my still-racing heart.
Why am I so afraid of this scene? Laura is dead, but animated… but not particularly zombie-esque. More vampiric, actually, and vampires don’t scare me. The imagery clearly suggests she clawed her way out of the grave, and that certainly scares me… but this feels different. Bigger. What is this fear?
This is the fear of death, quietly stalking my every move. The deep-seated fear of death, silent and backgrounded, creepily crawling across my subconscious.
A long pause in my exploration as I let this sink in, test the waters to see if this resonates true. It does, resounding in me and sending shivers up my spine. I give it much thought – why am I so very afraid of death? No answers, but the realization that this fear has become second nature to me, has been in my heart of hearts for many turns of the clock. No beginning; it stretches back into my past.
Eventually, the shivers pass and I groggily give up the process for sleep.
The next morning, I break open my current life-changing non-fiction book for to read a few pages while my beloved tinkers on her computer. The book tells a story to illustrate a point, and this is what I read:
“On Monday, Hans returned to his law office in Century City, LA’s posh corporate haven, and promptly handed in his three-week notice. For nearly five years, he had faced his alarm clock with the same dread: I have to do this for another 40-45 years?
Immediately, a strange shift began – Hans felt, for the first time in a long time, at peace with himself and what he was doing. He had always been terrified of plane turbulence, as if he might die with the best inside of him, but now he could fly through a violent storm sleeping like a baby.”
Tears pouring from my eyes, and I grok in fullness. Death stalks me and fuels my fears because I am failing to live my life as my heart needs to live! Life is precious and fragile, and I have wasted so much of it, spent so much of my life doing the wrong thing, on the wrong path, in the wrong marriage, ignoring my intuition and my dreams, doing instead what others wanted or expected even when it went loudly against my own needs or desires. I’ve been reasonable and rational instead of magickal and intuitive. I’ve disrespected and dishonored myself, lost my self-esteem and self-respect.
I spend excited moments flailing about and reading aloud to Pace, somehow managing to get the words out through the knots in my throat. She cries, too, and in our tears we vow to make our life what we want, to listen to our dreams and be irrational and loud and go against the grain, and most of all, be true to ourselves and each other.
I feel the fear unraveling in me even now, as I begin to open and listen to myself, my intuition, and my dreams.
Without uterus, I am still woman.
Without ovaries, I am still woman.
Without breasts, I am still woman.
With short hair or long, I am still woman.
With pride, with fierceness, with bold strides, I am still woman.
With fire flashing in my eyes, I am woman.
Curvy, geeky, spiritual or cynical,
with child or without,
pleasant, angry, gentle or soft.
For woman is in my heart, in my song.
Woman is the breath I breathe, the way I move, the way I hold my lover close.
Woman is the steps I take, the path I tread.
Woman in my eyes, in my spirit, in my grace.
Woman is the way I hold myself, the way I nurture and love and connect.
I free myself from the chains of your definitions, and I free my sisters, too.
Woman is within.
Woman is self-defined.
I am woman.
We asked Courtney Ramirez to be our Awesome Apprentice; she’s taking the 52 Weeks to Awesome course and will be writing us a post at the end of each month to share her experiences with us.
Five Ways to Make the 80/20 Rule Work for You
This month’s lessons were all about increasing your awesomeness in profound ways. At this point in the course, I’ve been busting through old patterns, releasing negative ways of thinking and approaching the world in a more awesome way.
But now it’s time to up the ante.
If you’re familiar with the Pareto Principle, you know that you can expect 80% of the results from 20% of your efforts. It applies to other things in life as well; for example, 80% of your enjoyment comes from 20% of your activities.
If you want to see more good stuff in your life, you need to focus on the 20% that is getting you the good stuff in the first place.
So this month I tried to put the 80/20 rule (aka the Pareto Principle) to work in as many ways as possible. Here are a few ideas to get you started!
With your kids.
This may be controversial, but it’s the norm in our house – we focus on the 20% of the rules that are actually get results. Cookies before lunch? It doesn’t really affect the big picture as much as brushing teeth or playing nicely together.
It wasn’t until this month’s lessons that I realized that we’d been naturally applying the 80/20 rule to the way we parent.
With your entertainment.
How much television do you watch each week and really enjoy? With streaming content like Hulu or Netflix, you can pick what you want to watch the most – drop the 80% you don’t love and focus on the 20% you do!
Stop yourself from turning the television on for no reason. Plan your viewing habits – and you’ll not only enjoy what you watch more, you’ll gain more time because you’re cutting out the junk.
With your online communities.
How many forums do you belong to? Social networks? How much value are you really getting out of them?
Although it may feel like spending time in forums or on social media is valuable, 80% of your time is actually being wasted.
Focus on the 20% of connections and friends that make the most difference in your life!
With your eating habits.
We all know that eating more vegetables, avoiding fast food, and drinking more water is important to health. But getting everything just right all of the time can be a pain.
I used to go into a tailspin of fried food whenever I slipped up, but now I apply this 80/20 rule: I get 80% of the results from the 20% of the time that I focus intently on my diet. (And, of course, I try to do my best the rest of the time.)
If you’re working on self-improvement, the intense amount of change that you need to undertake is often overwhelming!
But you can apply the 80/20 rule to yourself, too.
Start with the 20% that is causing you the most trouble. Maybe it’s a relationship problem you need to sort out. Maybe you need to focus on a particular career problem. Maybe it’s time you started working on your fitness. Whatever the biggest issue you’re facing, tackle that first – and you’ll get 80% of the awesome right away!
After all, you can’t change the world overnight – but you can make a lot of progress if you step forward 20% at a time!
Courtney Ramirez is a content, seo and marketing superhero consultant by day and geeky BBC sitcom watching mom and wife by night. When not developing carpal tunnel by writing for her clients or playing the Sims, she’s homeschooling two girls and toying around with the idea of starting a new blog. You can follow her on Twitter.
Sweetie pie schnookums-heart!!
Today is the last day of Early Bird for Permission to Make a Difference!
Julica and I will be so very tickled to have you in our class. We’re mixing up all kinds of awesome things to share with you and teach you!
Here’s the 8-week overview:
* Week 1: Permission to Be Yourself and Feel Safe
* Week 2: Permission to be Powerful
* Week 3: Permission to Believe in Possibility
* Week 4: Permission to Receive and Connect
* Week 5: Permission to Be Compassionate
* Week 6: Permission to Protect Ourselves
* Week 7: Permission to Be Autonomous
* Week 8: Permission to Have Faith
Oooh, I get shivery just reading the list! I’m kind of ridiculously excited about this class, actually.
And here’s a delicious podcast (it’s just under 10 minutes long, but well worth the time, if I do say so myself) of Julica and me running down the weeks and what we’re planning to do with them.
This! Class! Is going to rock!
As a special treat, I’m going to be live on Facebook chat tomorrow afternoon from 2:30pm to 4pm Central to chat about the class – and just generally hang out and be awesome.
I’ve created a special group for this occasion; it’s open and free and you can come on over and spend some chatty virtual time with me.
Jump in by clicking this link and joining the group, then sign into Facebook chat and say hi – tomorrow afternoon!
A few months ago, my dear friend Julica Hermann called me.
“Kyeli!” she said, all a-flutter and excited. “Kyeli, I just dreamed up this fantastic class idea – and it’s got your energy all over it! (She does flatter me from time to time.) It’s about helping people find their internal wellspring of joy, it’s about self-love, it’s about creativity and love and power and being open!”
I think she said more, but my brain had exploded from the awesome and I was already nodding with tears streaming down my face.
“Good gods, Julica,” I said through the explosion, “yes. The world needs this class! Our people – they need this stuff! We’d be fools to say no!”
Well, we’re not fools.
We jumped in, having long and laughter-filled planning sessions from the get-go. We’ve made offerings to the technology elves to encourage them to stop breaking our webcams. We’ve given each other goosebumps, we’ve danced our way through obstacles, and here we are, today at last, opening our offering to you.
You have the capacity to be fiercely compassionate.
At your core, you are playfully unstoppable.
When you allow yourself to connect to that source, you make amazing change happen.
And we believe in you.
It’s time to put yourself first. It’s time to create a safe and nurturing environment that will become the foundation for your work in the world. It’s time to reconnect to creativity, magic, and trust. It’s time to be your glorious authentic self! (Don’t you agree?)
We want to help you find all that.
We want you to believe in you, too.
Julica and I are so honored and so excited to bring to you:
Permission to Make a Difference
8 Weeks to Creative, Connected, and Compassionate Change-Making
We’ve created an 8-week course to reconnect you to the rituals and creative practices that nurture you and inspire you to make a difference in your community. We’re going to give you mad amounts of permission to make all kinds of leaps and bounds in your own live, in your own creativity, in your own self.
Because sometimes, we need permission. And often, we need support. And we’re gonna give you all of that.
Permission to Make a Difference is an 8-week class, starting January 26th and running through March 15th. Classes will be held virtually – you can attend in your pj’s – weekly on Thursday afternoons.
In this class, you will…
* Renew your commitment to be an agent of change from a place of joy and curiosity.
* Discover the practices that “fill your well” — keep you connected to spirit and joy.
* Lovingly explore how best to nurture yourself and get the support you need to do this work.
* Choose A Thing To Do that lights your change-making fire, and start doing it.
* Enjoy a community of fellow movers and shakers who celebrate and cheer each other on.
Early Bird Registration is open right now and is $197 for the entire 8-week course. At 11:59pm on Friday, the Early Bird flies away, the cost goes up, and the worm is relieved.
Click here to see our spiffy logo, read all the enthusiastic details over what we’ll cover each week, and to get registered!
If you want a fiercely compassionate space to nurture your authentic self and strengthen your capacity to make a difference in the world, we encourage you to join us!