Posts Tagged ‘Very Good Lives’

Inspiring Advice About Failure and Imagination from J.K. Rowling

Morning Mist Adj

Written for In Care of Relationships by Terri Crosby

It’s a little after 6:30  am and I’m looking out at a magical mystical view that could be a scene from Harry Potter or the Mists of Avalon.  It happens often here.  I especially like the watercolor pink that’s barely there.  Such morning beauty!

Recently, I got a surprise gift in the mail from my daughter, MacKenzie.  She sent me a teensy-tiny book called “Very Good Lives” by J.K. Rowling.  You can read it in a few minutes — with it’s small size, big type, double spacing, full page illustrations, and lavish spacing. 

It’s J.K. Rowling’s 2008 Harvard commencement address.  It’s worth reading.

J.K. Rowling is, of course, the author of the Harry Potter series of seven books, which have sold over 450 million copies, were translated into 78 languages, and became eight blockbuster films.  She is also the founder and president of the children’s charity “Lumos” which works to end the institutionalization of children globally.

In “Very Good Lives” she says, “Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria, if you let it.  So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale.  An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain without being homeless.  The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass and by every usual standard I was the biggest failure I knew.”

She goes on to say that she would never claim that failure is fun, and that that part of her life was a dark one, but standing in the middle of failure, you have no idea there could possibly, be what others would call, a fairy tale outcome.

J.K. Rowling refers to failure as a “stripping away of the inessential.”  When she was at the bottom of the barrel, she stopped pretending to be anything other than what she was and began to direct all her energy into the only thing she cared about, which was writing Harry Potter.  Had she succeeded in anything else, she may never have had the determination to succeed in the one area in which she truly belonged.

Basically, she had three things:  a daughter whom she adored, an old typewriter and a big idea. 

So, according to J.K. “rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

“Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations.  Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way.  I discovered that I had a strong will and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.”

Imagination

She describes how she came to appreciate the value of imagination in a broader sense — that humans can “envision that which is not” which allows us to understand and relate to an experience of another person, in which we have never actually shared.  One of her day jobs while writing Harry Potter was working in the African Research department of Amnesty International headquarters in London.  The short story is that she was exposed to information which changed her life.

We can imagine, relate to others, expand our knowing — or we can simply refuse to know.  We can not imagine.  We can sit still in our world and live as if our world is the only world.  

One is not better than the other.  It’s a personal choice.

She says, “I might be tempted to envy people who can live that way [without imagination], except that I do not think they have any fewer nightmares than I do.  Choosing to live in narrow spaces leads to a form of mental agoraphobia, and that brings its own terrors.  I think the willfully unimaginative see more monsters.  They are often more afraid.”

And further: “We do not need magic to transform our world; we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already; we have the power to imagine better.”

And when we imagine better, and focus on the positive aspects of things, magic often appears…

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For more info: my three minute video blog Failure, Empowerment and Taking Responsibility

 

 

 

 

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Rise Up by Andra Day

What a great set of words for these oncoming days.

Rise Up

 
You’re broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry go round
And you can’t find the fighter
But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out
And move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountains
And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
And I’ll rise up
High like the waves
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
When the silence isn’t quiet
And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe
And I know you feel like dying
But I promise we’ll take the world to its feet
And move mountains
Bring it to its feet
And move mountains
And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
All we need, all we need is hope
And for that we have each other
And for that we have each other
And we will rise
We will rise
We’ll rise, oh, oh
We’ll rise
I’ll rise up
Rise like the day
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I will rise a thousand times again
And we’ll rise up
High like the waves
We’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
We’ll rise up
And we’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Cassandra Monique Batie / Jennifer Decilveo
Rise Up lyrics © BMG Rights Management

Terri’s book of photography combined with poetry is here! 100 Words: Small Servings of Whimsy and Wisdom to Calm the Mind and Nourish the Heart.

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Rippling Abs, Anyone?

Rippling Abs, Anyone?

During this strange time in history, I noticed y’all were tackling all sorts of interesting projects. I decided I needed one, too—something positive to remember the pandemic of 2020 by.
 
I decided to pay attention to something I had abandoned…
 
Nope, I’m not cleaning my garage. I am not organizing one single thing. I’m not planting a garden or cleaning up my yard.
 
Instead, I decided to take care of myself better. This, folks, has made all the difference for me.
 
With relatively little time and effort on my part, I feel so much better than I did a month ago.
 
On March 30, I got on the exercise bike and the yoga mat for the first time in a long time, and did 30 minutes each. I liked it so much that I decided to do it every day. But I fell short of that, and changed my commitment to every other day, which felt more manageable, reasonable, and doable.
 
I also get off the bike after every song, take a couple of sips of water, shake out my legs and arms for a few seconds, and get back on. This makes the bike project a reasonable proposition, too.
 
Daily walks of any length—by myself, or with my little guy, Jackson—are a fresh air bonus.
 
My recumbent exercise bike has pulleys to work my upper body while I pedal, which gets my heart rate up fast, and also helps my whole-body strength. It feels good to get up from writing, or doing a consulting session with a client, to do something physically challenging while listening to good music.
 
After only a month, I feel a sheet of muscles on the front of me I haven’t felt for a very, very long time. Goodness gracious. Who knew they were there. I’ll be posting rippling ab photos soon, I’m sure.
 
I have no idea what the scales have to say about my bike/yoga project—I don’t care. Paying attention to scales tends to send me sideways, and therefore, I’m ignoring them completely.
 
But—I LOVE the way I feel! Hang in there, everyone.
 

Terri’s book of photography combined with poetry is here! 100 Words: Small Servings of Whimsy and Wisdom to Calm the Mind and Nourish the Heart.

Read more

Check Out This Troublemaker in Relationships

Check Out This Troublemaker in Relationships

Sometimes we ask intimate partners to do for us what is actually ours to do.

We ask our partner to give us the reassurance, love or appreciation we feel is missing in ourselves, with the hope that they will give us what we’re asking for—and then we’ll feel better. They’ll take care of our problem.

But when they do give us what we’re asking for, it can never be enough, because we have insufficient context for what they’ve given. We haven’t build the inner foundation to receive it, hear it, welcome it, believe it. They try to help, but their love for us falls into our void, our black hole, our love bucket with no bottom.

As always, there’s hope. Check out the video below.

Terri Crosby. http://www.incareofrelationships.com/.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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Terri Crosby

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