“I am like a falling star who has finally found her place next to another in a lovely constellation, where we will sparkle in the heavens forever.” — Amy Tan
Did you know that even a fairly basic fireworks display requires months of planning, a solid 40 hours just to produce the script (yes, they require those) and, on average, $3,000 to $20,000 worth of equipment and supplies? More energy, time and funds go into advertising, fire insurance and safety measures—and don’t forget all the time and energy folks invest in enjoying the festivities. Chances are, you’re among them.
Indeed, we Americans will go far out for a meaningful sparkle. But what if we didn’t have a reason to celebrate? What if, like our founding fathers and other early Americans, we had to carve out our own?
I’ve been pondering these matters a lot lately as Girl Boner work moves along, new opportunities and challenges arise and publishers take interest in my work. Next week I’ll host my 25th episode of Girl Boner Radio (holy schmoley!). If there’s one thing my show and guests have taught me thus far, it’s this: there’s never a reason to stop striving for authenticity, empowerment, passion-filled lives and the fruition of our wildest (read realistic) dreams. If ever I’m in doubt, all I need to do is listen to that inner sparkle. That which makes our heart dance paves the way. Seriously.
As we gather with loved ones to commemorate our country’s independence, I hope you’ll join me in a little task. Don’t worry—it won’t take much time or money, and there are no fire hazards involved (well, unless that’s your passion—in which case, forget everything I just said! ;)). All it requires is taking a moment to consider your own sparkle. What makes you shine? What are you passionate about? What fills you with giddy butterflies? If your life isn’t chock-full of the answer, what might you do about it?
We’re so blessed to live in a country where we have ample freedom to live and express as ourselves as we see fit—but it’s easy to grow complacent, overly comfy with the comfortable. If we truly want that “something more” kind of life, though, which I suspect many of you do, we’ve got to live with passion.
As I explained on the air this week, it’s so important to be turned on by our lives. When we are, Tan’s quote becomes autobiographical. Every moment won’t fill us with metaphorical fireworks, but some will. Some days we’ll have magnificent, sky-wide displays. Best of all, we’ll be better able to light up others’ skies with our glow. In between, we can dance, play, rest, learn and dream in the clouds, sunshine, rainbows and storms, gratified by the knowledge that we’re living life fully.
An awesome TED talk I watched the other night featured a woman who “faked it until she became it.” After a traumatic brain injury lowered her IQ and confidence during college, Amy Cuddy was encouraged to show up to academic challenges every time she felt afraid. She did, and eventually became the person she aspired to be—a successful grad student and, later, an esteemed professor and researcher at Harvard. When it comes to our inner-sparkle, I think we sometimes have to fake it until we reveal it. In other words, it’s always there. If it goes into hiding or hasn’t yet been revealed, it’s up to us to change that.
What lights your inner-fire? What are you doing about it? What could you do? I love hearing from you! ♥
Wishing you and yours a happy, safe holiday!
I left my husband, home, place I loved and found serenity and wrote 5 novels (and more), left most of the belongings (everything I now own fits into one room and a couple of closets), and Started Over. It’s terrifying. It’s exhausting. It’s anxiety-producing. But – it’s also an adventure. And I truly believe it will send my writing in new directions – but more important, it is sending me in new directions.
I would have thought to say my writing life is what gives me the most passion – but now? I want to find out what else does!
August McLaughlin says
You are such an inspiration, Kat! I’m so with you on the value of adventure. I’ve no doubt that your courage and hard work will pay off, and reward not only you but your pals and readers.
You’ve reminded me of something my old acting coach told me when I asked for homework over the slow season. “Live life,” he said. “You can’t be an artist otherwise.”
This is such a great reminder! I think we have to stay true to ourselves even if others find our sparkle blinding at times.
Last night, I played tennis and went out for a glass of wine. One of the ladies had worked in the Brown Palace in Denver, so I asked if she ever experienced any paranormal activity. She said she didn’t believe in ghosts, so I relayed a few of my experiences. Another lady attacked me for “dabbling” in the paranormal even though I had already explained that I had finally rid our house of it. Thank God, a new friend told a story about her daughter’s experiences. She was the oldest of the group and deeply respected.
I based my book on my own experiences and I plan to sell it by including that fact. I’ll set my sparkle in blowtorch mode so no one can diminish it!!! I gotta believe you go through the same thing with #girlboner and was thinking about you this morning.
Happy sparkly 4th of July!!
August McLaughlin says
Woo hoo, Susie! I’m sorry to hear that you were attacked in such a way, but it sounds like your response was PRIMO. I do face some resistance with Girl Boner, and so appreciate you thinking of me. Like you, it serves as mighty fuel, and illustrates the need for the work. Seems that people get ultra-defensive about issues they’re ignorant about.
Happy 4th to you, too! In case I haven’t mentioned in many times already (ha), I can’t wait to read your book.
Gloria Richard Author says
Good gosh, I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed my social media faves until I read this post, August. My glee meter has been a slacker of late, but I’m finally on a free-to-be-me road trip, relishing my time, and giving myself permission to stop demanding answers to “what I want to be when I grow up” as if it were a scheduled SAT exam.
Caught some sparkle, girlfriend. Thank you! I’m sitting here in a strange (to me) Starbucks sipping green tea and smiling.
Living, dreaming,being open to possibilities…
It’s all good, so long as I don’t let my dreams remain dreams.
August McLaughlin says
So great to hear from you, lovely! Wishing you endless sparkles as you dream and do.
Raani York says
Sometimes I forget to “visualize” what I want and then it seems to “move away” from me… like on TV, when you see things shrink by moving further away. This is what happens too often with me – and then I need to find the “rope” to pull it back to me – my wish, my dream, whatever is in my mind.
There are moments when I could kick myself for “forgetting” what I’m actually dreaming of, every single day – and what I’m working for…
August McLaughlin says
I bet many people can relate to that, Raani! One thing that helps me is asking myself every day what bold, creative step I can take toward my dreams–and do my darnedest to act on it. We’re all works in progress, don’t you think? For what it’s worth, I believe in you big time.
Matthew Wright says
Whenever Shirley Temple went out to perform, her mother always told her to ‘sparkle’. And I think the onus is on of all of us to find the ‘spark’ within, whatever that may be. We must not be deterred by fear of failure – what counts more is the attempt.
I’m quite jealous of you guys, it’s not a holiday in New Zealand…wish it was. Our equivalent comes on 6 February, ‘Waitangi Day’. Weirdly, if it wasn’t for the Declaration of Independence, via some fairly direct James Burke style links, there wouldn’t have been a Treaty of Waitangi – I really must post something on that.
Have a great Independence Day – and sparkle!
I had a sparkle August, then it rained. Could that be a sprinkle on your sparkle? We certainly need a sparkle in our lives, something to drive us forward, and make it worthwhile waking up.
Catherine Johnson says
I’m getting better at living in the moment and being calmer so I feel free to experience life more fully in all its sparkle. Great post, August!
I received this email from your blog site this afternoon. I am being presumptuous and guessing it has something to do with our unfortunate exchange over the last two days. If I’m wrong and it’s an odd coincidence, please forgive me. If I’m
correct, please let me know. I don’t want to leave things the way they are.
Thanks for the communique