Tag Archives: Inspiration

In defense of meh

On March 29, I wrote a Facebook (FB) post exploring the qualities of being exceptional and meh. It created quite a stir. My outstanding FB community offered encouragement and I received an outpouring of virtual hugs. I was overwhelmed by the support.

I wanted to take a moment and reassure everyone and offer some insight into the inner workings of my mind. Here then is:

In defense of meh…

Deep introspective thinking can be a curse, but I find it’s also the greatest path to transformation. We need to figure out where we are right now in order to change it. Being meh isn’t a bad thing. Most people tend to shy away from questions like: “What am I supposed to do with my life?” or “What’s the point of it all?” These may seem like melancholy sentiments, and sometimes they can be, brought about by low points in our lives, but even then, they are catalysts for change. I’m not at a low point, but I am a bit rudderless in my travels at the moment. I’m searching for just what it is that I need to feel that spark of passion and creativity again. Life has a way of bogging us down in minutia and sometimes we fall off the track.

This time around, I’ve fallen and landed in a place of inertia. I’m trying lots of different things, but it’s as if I’m treading water and not really going anywhere. When I’m writing books, this inertia phase is called writer’s block. For me, writer’s block occurs when I’ve taken the story or my characters in a direction they were never meant to go, a direction that doesn’t resonate with my vision for the story. Unfortunately, when you’re knee-deep in the mire of the ‘murky middle’ as it’s wanting to be called, it’s damn near impossible to figure out what’s wrong. You know something needs to be fixed, which is why you can’t write a single word more, but you have no idea what the problem is. In this state of impasse, all you can do is reflect on where your characters have been and where they’re currently at before enough time passes and you get an ‘aha’ moment and the words start flowing again because you found where the train jumped the track and you can pull it back in the direction it wants to go, rather than forcing it to bend to your will.

That’s where I’ve been this year… off track, forcing myself to move in directions I’m not sure I’m meant to go. And this imbalance had been multifaceted, spanning several areas of my life, which has created a ripple effect, driving a strong desire for change and growth. Sometimes you need enough distance to gain a little perspective. And often, there’s plenty of damn forests to try to see through to the trees. But eventually, if you keep asking the tough questions, the clouds will clear, and you’ll find some answers.

Someone asked me if I wanted to be exceptional, and while it may seem vain or politically incorrect, the answer is yes, of course I do. But how do we define exceptional? And in the same breath, how do we define success?

Every one of us will answer those questions differently. I’m exceptional when I’m following my passions, spending time with my friends and family and engaging in life. In other words, I’m exceptional when I’m happy. Happiness creates a glow—a bubbly, warm light of energy that surrounds us and embraces everyone and everything we touch. Success comes by following my passions and engaging in something that makes me happy. But success is also practical. In order for me to achieve it, I need to do all that and contribute financially to the well-being and stability of my family. So, while I’d love to create for the sake of creating, bills still have to get paid and food needs to find its way to the table.

When I ask the tough questions, I get closer to being exceptional and successful. I’m not content with anything less. Which means, I have to hunker down and find out why I’ve hit writer’s block in my own life. Fortunately, I’ve found some answers. Not all of them, mind you, but a couple gems of insight to move me slowly toward that next great thing that will set my soul on fire and ignite a passionate adventure…adding one word after another, until I build a sentence, then a paragraph, then a chapter. I’m building toward a new chapter in my life, and I’m excited as hell to see where it takes me. Thanks for coming along for the ride.  🙂  <3

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

 

How Much Botox Do I Use?

Here’s another Dose of Inspiration. I created a YouTube video, but if you’d like to skip the performance and just read the script, feel free to scroll down below. 🙂

One of the first values I learned when I embarked on a path of self-discovery was that when you stop judging people, their judgements will no longer affect you. In other words, people will still have a great many opinions about you, but you will no longer care. And for the most part, this is absolutely true.

People come in a million shapes, sizes, and colours. When I see someone walk down the street, I don’t judge them based on their clothing choice or hair style. I don’t judge someone by the car they drive or the house they keep. I observe, yes. There is a difference. If I see a homeless person on the street, I do not judge their past, or their personality, or their soul. I see they are in need of help, and offer assistance. If I see a young mother pushing her baby in a stroller, I don’t make assumptions about who she is by the type of stroller she bought or the clothes she wears, what I will do is smile at my own memories of being a young mom, and hope the young woman is able to get help at home and some sleep.

What I will ‘judge’ someone on, is their actions. And I use the term ‘judge’ here with a qualification: to judge is to form an opinion about something after careful consideration, or to regard something as either good or bad. (Webster Dictionary) Note in this definition there is no mention of emotion or slander or maliciousness. It is simply an opinion or an organization of something into categories. But society’s use and definition of judgement focuses on the negative. Judgements can be cruel, and the way they are thrown around, for example on the internet, between peer groups, or coworkers, can be extremely destructive and hurtful.

Therefore, I prefer the concept of contemplating a person’s actions and making a decision based on how it affects me. In other words, I will not tear a strip off you, or bash you as a human being to my friends. I may consult my friends and seek advice as to how I should cope with and/or respond to something a person does­­—again, if it is affecting me. What they wear is not affecting me, but if they are doing something that hurts me, or threatens my boundaries or personal code of ethics, I will have an opinion on it, and I will make a decision.

Decisions will result in a category placement. And again, categories are not based on derogatory terms, personal slights, or reactive emotions, but based on how that person affects me. Categories run the gamut from, ‘I’d really like to get to know this person.’ to ‘This is someone I do not want in my life.’

I don’t harangue the point, I make a decision and move on.

Labels hurt. Slut, bitch, stupid, fat, cultural or gender slurs… all labels carry an image—a stereotype or perception—and they affect how we interact with the person. If someone has assigned a label in their mind, the person being judged doesn’t get a chance to change that perception, or offer a different viewpoint. ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ as a phrase comes to mind, and it has no weight in that scenario.

I’m not here to examine why people judge, or why they label. The key is realizing when it’s happening and making a conscious effort to stop.

There are plenty of labels out there about me. Lots of people have lots of opinions and judgments. I’ve heard some and the universe knows there are plenty more. Just this week I learned that people assume I use Botox and that my hair isn’t real—that I use extensions. I’ve known forever that people don’t actually think I’m blonde. And here’s the thing. I don’t judge people who do any of that. In fact, if I ever win the lottery, the first thing to go will be those pesky marionette lines and maybe a little tweak of the nose! And when I do start going grey, which by the grace of good genes has not happened yet, I can assure you I will colour my hair. And if it was short, I’d have no problem using extensions to mix things up once and while. The issue is not whether people do these things… the issue is that people feel the need to make a judgement call about that person for doing it!

People in glass houses should never throw stones. We are so much better than this. We are highly evolved beings on an incredible adventure for a very short period of time. Getting pulled back down in the primordial muck and flinging dirt at one another is an incredible waste of our precious resources and time. And while I’d love to see a society where bullying, labels, and judgements become a thing of the past, in the meantime, we can all be part of the solution. Refuse to get drawn into the mud pit of judgment. Instead, choose to walk around it and see the world through eyes of acceptance and humility.

 In gratitude,

Marissa xo

 

Kicking Anxiety to the Curb

Kicking Anxiety to the Curb
Reading an excerpt from AVELYNN

You may not know this, but for almost a decade, I suffered from debilitating panic attacks. I didn’t know what they were at the time and every few months, I would find myself in a doctor’s office or emergency department with a plethora of reports to my name: blood work, CAT scans, MRI’s, ultrasounds, x-rays, EEGs, and EKGs. No one could figure out what was wrong, and never for one minute did I think my mind could be making me so violently ill.

It took a great deal of investigating and personal research about my symptoms to begin to put the pieces of the puzzle together. After seven years of suffering and fearing the next attack, I finally knew what was going on. I was experiencing repetitive panic attacks. Wave after wave after wave of attacks that would last two weeks at a time, keeping me bed ridden with nausea, dizziness, pain, migraines, and even a low grade fever. My mind had taken over my body and was controlling it like a helpless marionette. But knowledge is power. Once I learned what was happening, I was determined to make it stop, determined to get my life and my body back under conscious control.

One of those interventions involved recognizing panic and anxiety the moment it started. I gave my anxiety a name: Bob. I got very good at sensing the warning signs, the little indications that Bob was going to pay me a visit, and when that happened, I would dance.

My heart would race, my hands would turn clammy, and the surging wave of panic would start to build, but instead of letting it take over, I seized the reins and turned on my stereo. I cranked up the bass and danced and jumped, turned and twirled until Bob slunk back to his hiding place.

Bob doesn’t come around much anymore. But there are occasions where I still feel anxious. Speaking in front of groups is one of them.

Last night I had to get up in front of a lovely supportive group of writers and read an excerpt from my new novel Avelynn. I’m getting better at calming the nerves, but each time I get up behind a podium, I’m reminded how much I need to keep practicing. It’s like building a muscle at the gym. The more I use it, the stronger it gets.

I talk all the time in my yoga classes. I’ll ramble on about life, wellbeing, the chakras, philosophy, or even regale the class with amusing antidotes and jokes to lighten the mood during a tough set of poses. I don’t get nervous, and I can talk for hours.

Years ago I was involved in local theatre, once even delivering a monologue twenty-six, single-spaced, typed pages long. It was a feat of memorization and iron clad balls. But I did it, in front of a room full of strangers and discriminating judges. I preformed on stage in several plays, never once feeling nervous or worried about missing a line. But then out of nowhere something changed. I blame hormones.

I had just given birth to my third beautiful son when I started having terrifying dreams of getting up on stage and forgetting my lines. Despite the fact this had never before happened, the fear seeped into my consciousness, and I had to quit the theatre. Flash forward several years, and too many panic attacks to count, and getting up to talk in front of even one or two people became challenging.

I was determined to get my anxiety under control and enrolled in Toastmasters, a wonderfully supportive group that encourages you to step out of your comfort zone and lasso fear for good. I learned a lot during my time in the group. The most important? Practice makes perfect and reading out loud, in front of others, over and over again slowly desensitizes you to the fear.

I still get nervous reading, but no one else seems to notice. My hands still tremor a little, my knees still quake, but my voice is strong and confident. My relationship with public speaking is now healthy. It won’t be long before I can step back onto that stage as if it’s just another day in the yoga studio. 🙂 xo

In gratitude,

Marissa

Balance – ABCs of a Passionate Life

Balance by Marissa Campbell

Can too much of a good thing really be bad?

Chocolate? Perish the thought.

Time with good friends? Never.

Shopping? Say it isn’t so!

Yet, I am loath to say that yes, indeed, too much of anything isn’t good. We need balance. A little of this, a sampling of that, a pinch of something old, a smidge of something new. Taken all together it creates a wonderful harmony, a delicious symmetry in life.

Too much work causes stress. Too much worry and fear leads to disease. Too much blood, sweat, and toil leads to disillusionment and dissatisfaction. There must be time to enjoy ourselves, to stop and smell the roses. To nap, to read, to play. There must be passion and motivation to drive us toward our dreams but we must seek to find a work ethic that maximizes efficiency yet allows ample time for relaxation.

The most disheartening word I hear often is ‘guilt.’ We feel guilty if we take time for ourselves. We feel we should be doing something else—slaving toward financial freedom, toiling toward the next rung on the corporate ladder, striving and struggling for the bigger house, the prestige, the title, the coin. Ambition is a wonderful thing, but not at the expense of our souls, our life force, our passion, and our enjoyment of life, with all its wondrous experiences waiting for us to savour.

Yes Man with Jim Carrey is a wonderful movie, filled with inspiration. A reminder that fantastic things happen when we stop trying and just let life happen, giving into the moment, allowing ourselves to experience. I try and say yes to each new opportunity that flows my way, not worrying about why they are presenting themselves. If it is something I am interested in, or find entertaining, I will usually give in to the experience, and rarely am I disappointed. While I appreciate, I can’t spend every waking moment smelling the roses, I make sure to grab each opportunity as it arises and make space for the unexpected and pleasurable.

Take a nap. Read a book. Go for a walk. Dance in your living room. Laugh over lunch with a friend. Put the work down. Breathe. Live. Enjoy. Relish a quiet moment. Break the mold. Rebellion is exhilarating. 🙂

In gratitude,
Marissa xo