For you, from me, with love — 1/22

A blend of old and new offerings around and about the interwebs that I've been dipping into this week. Enjoy!

Street art in Colorado Springs photo credit Kirsten Akens 2014


Oh, yes: The Pleasure and Magic of Shared Silence

Read: The Your Turn Challenge Tumblr — after three days, we're up at more than 2,000 posts from people across the world. Go in (I've sent you to the archive page), find a few headlines that sound appealing and have a read.

Sing-a-long: Radio Romance's "You Comin Over"

Eat: Rosewater Shortbread, by 101 Cookbooks — how cute would these be in little bags for Valentine's Day?

Listen: Trapped in his body for 12 years, a man breaks free via NPR (after you listen to this short version, I recommend listening to the longer version on NPR's new radio show Invisibilia)

Watch: Undeveloped World War II Film Discovered

Learn: The Possibility in Blank Spaces: "If we choose to look beyond the emptiness, we will find something else entirely."

#TBT: Did you know you can clicker train cats? You can, and it's being done at Happy Cats Haven to help (some of the more difficult) stray felines find homes. Read my story here.

Plan: For creatives, entrepreneurs, small-biz owners, etc., one more week to sign up for the 2015 session of Cornerstone (this has been fantastic for me, seriously!)

Poetic Insight: "Blessing That Becomes Empty As It Goes," by Jan Richardson

This blessing keeps nothing for itself. You can find it by following the path of what it has let go, of what it has learned it can live without.

Say this blessing out loud a few times and you will hear the hollow places within it, how it echoes in a way that gives your voice back to you as if you had never heard it before.

Yet this blessing would not be mistaken for any other, as if, in its emptying, it had lost what makes it most itself.

It simply desires to have room enough to welcome what comes.

Today, it’s you.

So come and sit in this place made holy by its hollows. You think you have too much to do, too little time, too great a weight of responsibility that none but you can carry.

I tell you, lay it down. Just for a moment, if that’s what you can manage at first. Five minutes. Lift up your voice— in laughter, in weeping, it does not matter— and let it ring against these spacious walls.

Do this until you can hear the spaces within your own breathing. Do this until you can feel the hollow in your heart where something is letting go, where something is making way.

(This is my Day 4 contribution to the Your Turn Challenge. Read others' contributions and learn more here.)

Setting a Cornerstone for 2015

Disclosure: While all opinions are my own, this post does contain affiliate links, which means I am compensated should you decide to join. Thanks!

I love planners. And planning. And organizing stuff. But honestly, most days I'm better at organizing other people's "stuff" than my own.

And as much as I also love Evernote, the software is a great tool for organizing, but it feels like its own project some days, figuring out how to make all the bells and whistles work for me. And it doesn't give you any feedback.

As a freelancer, I get little feedback, little support and little accountability (aside from hitting my deadlines). So when I heard about career coach Laura Simms' new year-long program Cornerstone, I had a feeling it was just what I needed.

The line of hers about Cornerstone that got me the most?

Just enough support to keep you honest throughout the year without becoming its own major project.

It's got planning packs — on topics such as legacy and money and task-setting.

It's got monthly group coaching calls with Laura to help with focus and questions.

And it's got its own private Facebook group, currently sitting at 45-some (and growing) really awesome across-the-country folks, for accountability (!) and challenges. So far this in itself has been awesome for me. On the first day Laura posed a challenge to the group, she asked us to 1) do one thing that day that was revenue-generating and 2) do one thing we'd been putting off.

I did both, felt so good about the process and the accomplishment, I set a goal to keep doing both of these every day.

Right now, I've got more work for January than seems possible. And it's thanks almost entirely to that "revenue-generating" tip.

For any of you out there — freelancers, artists, creatives, entrepreneurs, small-business owners, large-business owners, business-on-the-side owners, etc. — who are seeking a way to figure out who you are and how you earn, and create what you most want for your business in a "focused, purpose-centered way," maybe you'll join me in Cornerstone? (It costs $149 for an entire year of support.)

Planning packs + coaching calls + community. What could be more awesome heading into the new year?