Somewhere Between The 10 & The 1

Times-Square-NYE-Balls-

I want tomorrow to come like a page in a book that I can’t put down because I have to know what happens next. I’ve always been this way; always wanting more, curious about the sequel, who will be left standing, who will sit out, who who who? My dad said I was in a hurry to grow up. He told me not to wish for time to fly because one day it would be gone, “Enjoy your youth, Catfish. You’ll never have this time again.”

Auld Lang Syne – times old long since

Beautiful lyrics, if you really listen. I stand almost on my tip toes every New Year’s Eve. I can’t wait to count it down. I want to yell, 10, 9, 8… I want my kiss. I want a picture. I want a moment standing on another one because new things are going to happen, don’t you know? Something is going to happen and something else. Maybe I’ll fall in love. Maybe I’ll travel somewhere exotic. Maybe all sorts of magic will happen that I can’t even imagine.

Maybe, maybe, maybe.

I come up with my New Year’s Resolution and assign my friends their own, “Your New Year’s Resolution is to be on time more often. And, you! Yours is to forgive yourself, it is about damn time.” I have to have champagne, we have to toast, you have to tell me what you loved about the year we are leaving behind us because I need to know.

Then we follow the traditions and we sing words that didn’t mean anything to me until recently. On the cusp of a new year the song changed. It isn’t a celebration of what is to come. It is a toast of what has been. All the time I spent jumping up and down and pursing my lips in Auld Lang Syne I didn’t realize that the people singing along to my left and to my right could be gone by the following New Year.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and auld lang syne?

I didn’t think of the fragility of life or how I should spend a second between the 10 and the 1 thinking of the souls that have come into my life, taught me, loved me, molded me and then moved on. I didn’t think of how fast time would begin to fly; that time dad told me to treasure because it wouldn’t last as long as I thought it would. I didn’t know so many of my friends would spend the close of the year short one person they loved more than anyone in the world. One person that wouldn’t enter a new year with them. They had no idea when they sang the song together last year. None at all.

I had no idea that I’d celebrate the close of a year short people that were glimmers, whispers and heartbeats earlier in the season, some having left in body, others because it was time.

I couldn’t imagine it as we laughed, glasses in the air.

For auld lang syne dear, for auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup of kindness, yet
for auld lang syne

I would like to believe they are there, spirits all around, as we look forward. I’d like to believe they are releasing us from grief and wishing us well as we build a new year without them next to us. I’d like to believe those that still walk this earth raise their glasses to our memories as well, thanking us for who we were to them.

And there’s a hand my trusty friend
And give us a hand o’thine!
And we’ll take a right goodwill draught

For Auld Lang Syne

Somewhere between the 10 and the 1.

Happy New Year, lovers. A toast to those who have taught and loved us and glasses up to a beautiful 2016. May it be filled with love and a little bit of magic.

You Are So Powerful: A Love Letter by Jessica Leigh Lyons

 

1909506_505323041496_3803_n

A few have asked if I’ve written my letter yet and while it is in my heart, it hasn’t hit paper, it’s complicated.

As I’ve tried to figure out what I want to say I realize there is too much. I find myself hoping that the collection of letters will scratch some of the topics I’d like to cover. You see, my letter wouldn’t just be to my younger self, it would also be to the girls that grew up in my poverty stricken neighborhood. While I was raised by a minister, the girls across the street weren’t so lucky. My letter would be to the women and girls who were trafficked out of my neighbor’s houses. It would be to the women who were beaten and choked when they got too mouthy.

I would tell them they are not where they came from and not the things that have happened to them even though they can’t imagine deserving anything more.

I would tell them they are not the person described to them by those who have taken ownership of them.

My letter would be to all the little girls who don’t yet believe in themselves, and may not, if they’re not guided to find the squeaky little voice inside. This is why Jess Lyons’ letter below resonates with me.

I hope someone who does not have access to the women writing earnestly each week stumbles across this site and realizes there is so much more. It is like a viral hug from women that hope you figure it out much earlier than they did.

Please send your love letters to loreandlittlethings@gmail.com

I reached out to Jessica upon finding her Twitter feed filled with positivity and girl-centric messages of hope and asked her to write from her heart.

She did that in spades.

Ladies and gentlemen, Jessica Leigh Lyons

bossed-up-0070.jpg

A teenager blew me away this weekend.

Sitting in a circle of women at a workshop, a 16 year old woman shared her thoughts on power. She spoke about the girls at her school. She watched as her girlfriends changed themselves to be like the boys; joking like boys, tearing each other down. They changed their dress, their makeup, their hair. The girls actively morphed themselves into some contortion of what they thought boys wanted.

This young woman looked each of us — 30-somethings and 40-somethings — in the eyes as she spoke.

This young woman was courage — unafraid to be in the wrestle.

Women of my heart, I cried.

I cried for my younger self who knew about my deepest heart’s desire, which I contorted to fit into my surroundings.

I cried for the journey of my 20s — finding myself, losing myself, selling everything, traveling, moving, and returning home.

I cried for the tears that I had spent, for the shame-talking I had engaged in.  

I cried because in this space, I could. I was surrounded by bad-ass women who grieved the losses of their younger selves and had risen stronger.

I cried because this young woman is so beautiful–in her deep knowing, in her courageous wrestle, in her coming of age.

I cried because she will go on her journey, too.

I cried because watching her, I deeply wanted to reflect back …

You are so powerful.

I shared this reflection with her.. I wrote her a letter which doubles as a reminder to my younger self AND to my future self; for those moments I feel as though I’ve lost my power.

It is this:

“I know you will be afraid that you are doing the ‘right’ thing. There will be angst because you must walk through YOUR OWN LANDSCAPE. The first time will be difficult and you will not know what to bring. But the second time will be easier, you will have more tools for the journey. And finally on the four-hundredth time, you will speak lovingly to yourself even through the difficult passes.”

And you must distinguish your truth from what women are told and what women are not told.

We are told to get it together, figure out your life, your passion and your purpose in order to achieve fulfillment… yesterday.

We are told that you are only worthy of success if you figure it out on your own.

We are told that we must stay happy and positive in order for others to love us.

We are told to say yes to what comes along because we might not get what we really desire.

I do not believe what we have been told. Rather, I’ve found my truth in what we are not told.

WE ARE NOT TOLD that OUR POWER COMES from FEELING, from SHARING, from BEING SEEN.

WE ARE NOT TOLD that TRANSFORMATION COMES from being with, from expressing our deepest emotions & letting them run their course through us, from emptying so that we can be full again.

WE ARE NOT TOLD that WE MUST CRY-LAUGH in a cycle, surrounded by women and their curves, and their fierce, and their nurturing in order to experience deep healing.

WE ARE NOT TOLD that we can BE WITH ALL OF EACH OTHER AND THEREFORE ourselves.

WE ARE NOT TOLD that anyone can handle you IF you want to be handled.

WE ARE NOT TOLD THAT WE CAN BE WITH ALL THAT IS AND THEN SOME because we are powerful just by being.

To all the 16 year olds, and the 6 year olds, and the 56 year olds: your truth is your power. This is an invitation to share the story of your journey and proclaim your power.

It is only by being SEEN — in the struggle, in the wrestle– by speaking what is true for ourselves, that we heal.

You NEED NOT KNOW YET for what purpose.

You, my sweet, wild, fierce, courageous woman, are powerful regardless of your knowing.

Please trust in your path. Please ask, seek, beg, open, receive, and create the support you desire. We are here to bear witness to your power.

In so much love + deep healing belly laughter,

Jess

Jessica Leigh Lyons is a life coach dedicated to liberating women from their stories of self-doubt and creating the biggest boldest vision of themselves. She leads an event called Storybowl, a place for women to gather and speak truth, which she is taking around the country in April 2016.

In addition to her private practice, she regularly leads training on mindfulness and happiness at Bossed Up Bootcamp, a workshop to create sustainable success and she is the Director of Desire, Goals, and Planning for Inner Glow Circle, a powerful sisterhood of possibility and personal development.

Jess can be found on Twitter @JessLyons_ and Instagram @JessicaLeighLyons

Dear Young Amy Jo by Amy Jo Martin

Amy Jo Martin jpg

Every love letter seems as if it was written to or for me, arriving at the moment a question arises within or another idea regarding content is tucked into my iPhone Notes. The thing that makes my heart soar and shine, however, is that every single woman that has approached me has found a letter that resonated as well. Over the course of the past several weeks I have had people approach me at work functions, charity events and holiday parties to say, “Kimberly spoke to my heart,” or, “I use one of Jessica’s points as my daily mantra,” or, “Tracy was in my head!”

Forget Marc’s. His went viral and was picked up by God Updates.

The magical part? I am having conversations with people I don’t know about how we are all connected. We are talking about failure and freedom, why don’t we believe in ourselves more?

Another thing I’m finding that I didn’t expect is that letters are promised, but delayed. Every person that wants to share insists their words be meaningful, “I know what I want to say, but I have to get to a place.” There is a vulnerability and an openness that speaks, but it can be a scary journey.

Be scared.

Fear is the fraud, not us.

We are lighting the way for others; inspiring, impassioning, incandescent.

Send your love letters to loreandlittlethings@gmail.com 

We’re waiting.

I reached out to Amy Jo Martin after seeing a few of her empowered posts, but was blown away when I watched her Inbound talk, THE RENEGADE FACTOR: EVOLVING “PRETTY” TO “PRETTY DAMN RAD” FOR THE NEXT GENERATION. MEN REQUIRED.

When I received her letter I was sitting in my car outside of my daughter’s school having just dropped Olivia to her teachers with a hug and a kiss and a promise that swim class is tomorrow night, don’t worry. Preschool conversations, share day and my next meeting fell away as I read Amy Jo’s words, nodding my head, eyes watering.

This is good stuff, y’all, and I love Amy Jo’s voice. It is math brain meets soft soul.

Ladies and gentlemen, Amy Jo Martin

dR Amy Martin twitter-003A

Dear Young Amy Jo:

I write this letter to you on a plane as I fly back to U.S. soil after spending time in Asia. As I boarded the plane in Hong Kong, yet another mass shooting in the U.S. topped global news. The more we’re exposed to in this world, the more we realize how little we know or understand. That said, please take what’s useful from this advice and leave behind what is not. You will create your own journey which makes you unique.

Btw, we’re quite stubborn and it’s possible you won’t listen to the advice below. Regardless, you will still live a fulfilling life (at least until you’re 36). And, we think in bullet points and absorb content best in the form of bullet points so here goes . . .

  • You’re going to experience some amazing things. Humble yourself or the universe will do it for you. The world is much bigger than us and it doesn’t revolve around us. The people we respect the most, including our mentors, are the humblest people we’ll ever meet.
  • We can’t bank sleep. Meaning, we can’t deposit and save up hours into a fictitious sleep account and withdraw rest when needed. This strategy simply doesn’t net out well regardless of what grades we earn in math. After averaging 4-5 hours a night for several years, our 36-year-old version has finally learned to respect sleep. She guards it fiercely. I encourage you to protect your sleep at a younger age. (PS – math is one of our sweet spots. It’s our jam. We like black and white answers and scenarios. This poses challenges for us. Read on.)
  • Learn to push your own buttons. Inspire yourself. Everyone else is busy. It’s wonderful and convenient when others inspire us but there will be droughts between the supply and demand. Subsidizing with a self-sufficient supply of inspiration serves as our safety net. This is how we make inspiration sustainable and scalable. Personally, our strongest source of inspiration is nature – being outdoors.
  • In third grade, you will be put in a ‘special’ reading and writing class because you’re not quite performing up to par with your classmates. Accept, listen and learn. We will apply these skills years down the road when we write our first New York Times bestselling book. We must always appreciate the opportunity we are given to slow down, listen and learn. Timing is everything. Trust the process.
  • Where purpose, passion and skill collide, bliss resides. This sounds like fluffy BS but it’s your reason for not worrying about knowing what path or profession you want to choose when you enter college – just be open, try everything and listen to how you feel. Purpose. Passion. Skill. Collide them. (Heads-up, they change so don’t get too comfy)
  • Don’t let other people rent space in your head for free. That’s valuable real estate. What other people think of you is none of your business. Be you and let go. Repeat. This is a tough one for us. It requires constant practice. We struggle and trip over this one at times.
  • Learn when to make things happen vs. when to let things happen. When you’re feeling strongly about one or the other, move confidently in that one direction. Down the road, if you don’t like that path after you’ve given it a red hot go, then simply choose again. If you are torn on whether to let something happen or make it happen then sit down at the fork in the road and pause. Hint: We have a tendency to make things happen (force it) at times. Ease up, sister.
  • Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is extremely powerful. It takes daily practice. Take risks. When in doubt, ask yourself: What’s the worst thing that could happen if I try ____? And then what? And then what? Also ask: Is ____ safe enough to try?
  • Read. Read. Read. Make it a part of your day, your world. Surround yourself with people who also love to read. Give books as gifts. The benefits are unmatched.
  • Travel. Even if it’s an hour from where you live. Exploring will open your mind. If you have an opportunity to travel due to your career, take the ticket and explore while working – especially while you’re young and have less geographic anchors. Don’t spend 36 hours in Australia for the first time because it’s a “quick work trip”. Add a few more days and explore, chances are that nobody will question the request. Hint: You just have to ask.
  • Words matter. With all relationships, exchange “we” vs. “me” as much as possible.
  • Try not to worry so much about: your career, your weight, your finances, your future, etc. It all works out. We are warriors, not worriers.
  • Your career is going to take off, but please, please don’t get caught up. Make family a priority. I didn’t attend my grandmother’s funeral because I had a business trip that was “critical to my career.” We are one of 19 grandchildren and only two of us didn’t make it to the funeral. To this day, I don’t remember what that very important “career-altering” opportunity was. Show up for family. It matters.
  • Be kind and smile. It’s good for the soul, it’s a mood-changer, it’s contagious and … it attracts. Kindness and a smile are the ultimate positive boomerangs.

I love you and hope you learn to love yourself at an earlier stage than I did.

Ajo

Amy Jo, author of New York Times best-seller Renegades Write the Rules, founded Digital Royalty in 2009 to help corporations, celebrities and sports entities humanize their brands online through social communication channels. Amy Jo has worked closely with world-renowned brands such as Hilton Worldwide, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Shaquille O’Neal to successfully humanize their presence. Her motto is, humans connect with humans, not logos.

Amy Jo herself has a social media following of more than a 1.1 million people and was named the third most powerful woman on Twitter by Forbes. She travels the world to speak about the latest trends in innovation, the future of social communication and women in business.

In 2012 Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, and Baron Davis, NBA player, invested in Amy Jo and her company. After a successful seven-year run as the Founder & CEO of Digital Royalty and growing the business globally into ten different countries, Amy Jo recently exited the company.

Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Amy Jo began working for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns during their 2005-06 season. These were the wild wild west days of social media and there were no rules or regulations in place. After asking for a lot of forgiveness instead of permission she became recognized as a social media pioneer while trailblazing through this new unchartered territory.

As a young female building her career in male-centric industries, Amy Jo has developed a passion for helping women thrive in business leadership. She is currently spending her time investing in other female entrepreneurs so they can reach their full potential.

Amy can be found at www.amyjomartin.com or The Guild Agency. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AmyJoMartin.

Dear She, Love He by Marc Graham

Holding Hands #heforshe

This one really needs no introduction.

Just read it and then make yourself aware of the #heforshe campaign that is growing in strength and numbers. These are men that are standing up for women. It’s gorgeous.

So is this letter.

Please click our Love Letters link for details and email yours to loreandlittlethings@gmail.com

If you work with at risk populations, have worked with (or are) survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, are a woman that has overcome adversity – we’d love to hear from you.

We’d love to post love notes from students to their moms and teachers. Email them, screenshot them, send them our way!

When I received this letter I could only sit quietly, moved. I couldn’t wrap my head around big, feeling words, simply emailing Marc, “It’s beautiful.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, Marc Graham –

JMwdg03

Men are strange creatures. Frankly, I don’t know what you people see in us, or why you put up with our shenanigans, but I’m grateful you do. Much of what we truly feel goes unsaid, and what we try to say comes out wrong most of the time. So, for the times I’ve misspoken, when he said the wrong thing, when we completely biffed a conversation because our tiny brains were trying to process a message from our big hearts, here’s this.

Dearest She,

Thank you.

Among the many things I forget to say, this is right up there. You do so much every day, every moment. Things that aren’t necessarily your responsibility, but that need to be done and if you don’t do them, who will? So (1) please know that you don’t have to do it all and it’s okay to ask for help. And (2) I recognize all you do, and I’m so thankful.

I’m sorry.

Two words don’t adequately cover it, but there it is. I’m sorry for the times I judged you, rather than trying to understand you. I’m sorry for the times I made you feel less ­than, rather than celebrating all that you are. I’m sorry for just hearing you instead of listening to you, looking at you instead of seeing you, touching you instead of feeling you. Mostly, I’m sorry for when I acted like a boy instead of a man.

You balance me.

It’s become a lovely and sentimental notion to say, “You complete me.” It’s also unfair to you. Boys­, ­those needy, selfish creatures­­ naturally look to woman as a source of nourishment. That’s straight biology. But if I’m the man you deserve­­, whether my role is brother or partner, friend or lover­­, I’m complete already. Still growing, still learning, still changing, but complete. What I need is balance, and you do it perfectly. You counter my weaknesses with your strength. You temper my arrogance with your sound judgment. You smooth my rough edges with your gentle touch. You make me better, and you make me want to be better.

I’m proud of you.

Let’s face it, I’m awfully proud as it is, so I hesitate to use this phrase. Male pride is too often focused on self rather than others. But this is all you. You awe me. You’ve accomplished so much, in the face of challenges that would have had me cowering in a corner, tucked into a fetal position. The world puts so much on your plate, and you handle it with grace, which amazes me. And where you really shine, what makes my heart burst with admiration, is when you gently and courageously say, No. When you set your needs and higher goals above the expectations of others. When you recognize that, astounding as you are, even you can only do so much, and your energies are best spent on those things that matter and that feed your soul. You are a rock star.

You’re beautiful.

I mean it. You have a gorgeous soul, and when you let that shine through, when you’re being authentically Who You Are, you take my breath away. That way you smile and your eyes light up, because there’s so much Light inside you that has to come out. That way you laugh too loud, because your joy must be expressed. Even when you ugly-­cry, because you’re capable of feeling so much and so deeply that your body can’t contain it, that’s beauty. Oh, and those little things you try to cover up, those blemishes you try to hide? Don’t. Not for me. Those scars, those wrinkles, those stretch ­marks, all those so ­called imperfections tell the story of you, and are part of how you came to be who you are. Who you are is beautiful, and they are all part of that.

I love you.

Nothing more, no elaboration or justification. I just, plain love you.

Always,

He

Marc Graham is a writer, actor, singer, engineer, bard, and novice alchemist. His debut novel, Of Ashes and Dust, is slated for publication in 2017. He and his wife, Laura, live with their Greater Swiss Mountain Dog in Colorado’s Front Range.