My Map To The World

globe, world Globe

globe, world Globe (Photo credit: nsikander28)

I love Daily Om. It is a website providing inspiration and guidance on a range of topics. Each day, I receive an essay, a thought on a particular topic. As is usual, I am behind on my reading and while doing so, I came across a piece titled “A Citizen of The World: Vacations.” Travel is high on my list of things to do and that I enjoy doing. I am convinced travel that is an invaluable way to experience another country and its people. Yet, more and more, I’ve come to believe that one needn’t get out of their pajamas to gain some of the same benefits.

What I am talking about is instead of hopping on a plane, train or automobile, social media has become an alternate vehicle. Initially, I was resistant to the idea and concept of Facebook, Twitter and the others. The idea of accepting a ‘friend request’ from someone who I knew little to nothing about, was intimidating, and to an extent threatening. The questions of whether people were truly who they claimed to be and privacy were huge hurdles that I had to overcome. At the urging of friends and family, and to keep up a connection with them, I bit the bullet and joined both Facebook and Twitter.

I, like most of us, still have major concerns about privacy and the rapidity at which the lines separating one from the other are blurred. As time passes, I see my participation on Facebook as a way to reach out and say “hello” to those who are way outside of my comfort zone, and geographic location. I know that many people reserve their friend requests for those within their own sphere of reference, and I can appreciate their choice. In my case, I find that it limits my opportunity to meet and get to know others from locales, places and countries different from my own. When it comes right down to it, it hinders my ability to expand my frame of reference. Routinely, I find myself accepting requests from people who I’ve never, and may never, meet in person, and that excites me.

My Facebook “friends” include people from London, Belgium, Australia, Spain, France, South America and beyond. The more that I communicate with these friends, I realize that the world has indeed grown smaller. Many of us, wherever we may live, share the same benefits and burdens of life. We share the same basic quandaries, securing a roof over our heads, putting food on our tables, and paying for the needs for our basic existence and survival. In spite of how different we believe that we are, the truth is that we are more alike than different.

Each of us faces the job of raising our children in a world that sometimes seems mad, negotiating relationships with family, friends and acquaintances, questioning our roles and paths in the world, and experiencing self-doubt about ourselves and where we fit in this huge interconnected world of ours. Yes, in spite of the obvious concerns brought by Facebook and other social media, the benefits of experiencing other people and cultures, outweigh them. The experience and expanded knowledge is a perk that I am not willing to give up. What about you?




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Cool to Hot!

Cool to Hot!
Lately, I’ve had so much fun creating these sets/vision boards with the assistance of Polyvore that I neglected to explain how I am doing it. Since I began painting this year, I’ve really become fascinated with color and composition. Polyvore is what you might call a clearinghouse of amazing fashions, printed materials, colors, accessories and home goods from around the world. The site is a smorgasbord of clothing, furniture, jewelry, makeup, shoes, vases, candles and so much more. After exploring and perhaps, shopping all the amazing products, in every color imaginable, you can follow the link to a website where you can buy that particular find.

In addition to a venue for shoppers, the site is also a boon for those not interested in spending a dime. There is a tool that allows you to create a set or , I like to call it a “vision board” much like the one you see above. Once you’ve signed in, you can choose to create a collection, set or template.  You are taken to a page like this. This is where your latent design and creative skills can really come out to play. Here, you are allowed to search the expanse of the website for any item, in any color, that you prefer. By clicking and dragging, you can create the board of your wildest imagination, positioning and resizing each item to your own specifications. You can also add embellishments in the form of backgrounds, overlays, texts, symbols and more. When you are satisfied with your creation, you can share it with your friends by publishing it to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or even as I have done, to your blog.

I’ve only given you an overview of the site with its’ entertaining tool. With it, I can wile away time “shopping” with abandon, choosing items that I cannot possibly afford, and fashioning them into a colorful, visual work of art. Admittedly, this is all in good fun, but isn’t that the point? To join in the fun, begin here.

Blessings, Lydia

I am Loving Right Now. . .

self expression : heart-of-stone

self expression : heart-of-stone (Photo credit: cauchisavona)

Facebook has allowed me to meet so many talented, interesting and amazing people. One of those people is Mary Costanza: A Woman’s Heart and Soul. Her page speaks to every woman and those who love them. It is a community wherein a woman is reminded of her strength, beauty, power and self-worth. Mary reminds women that within them is the key to every secret dream and desire.

Granted, I regularly find that it is as if Mary’s posts speak directly to my heart, but I found a recent one especially compelling. In it, Mary writes about self-expression, which is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. She writes:


The expression of one’s feelings, thoughts, or ideas, esp. in writing, art, music, or dance.

She slowly began the process of self expression. She had so much in her heart and soul that she wanted to share with the world. She was tired of being so damn passive, quiet and unknown, and hiding in the shadows. She had a voice and wanted to share who she was with the world. She didn’t want to be loud and obnoxious; she wanted to express herself with class and style, and a little mystery. So she said to herself, let’s go for it, let’s be brave and bold, and let’s step out into the unknown, and with a deep breath, she began to write what she was feeling in her heart and soul, and the creativity was unstoppable, it’s like the sky above opened up and just started pouring down on her. Idea after idea just keep coming, the ideas kept coming so quickly that she couldn’t keep up with them all. She said I am not afraid anymore, she said I’ll dye my hair purple, red, gold whatever color she feels like wearing that day, she’ll wear leather, cover her body in tattoos, buy a Harley, travel the world, have a beer for breakfast or whatever it may be to express what she is feeling inside. She knows that there are those that will judge and criticize her, but she does care anymore, she is old enough, wise enough and brave enough to admit she is a little wild, and wants to be free, and she now knows it’s time to free that wild woman inside, it’s time for her to come out and play, she not hiding her anymore. The beauty of self expression, it can’t be explained; it can only be lived.

Mary Costanza

For the most part, I discovered self-expression through my role as a trial lawyer. I expect that given the public mindset of lawyers as a whole, it seems odd that one equates the practice of law with self-expression. Nevertheless, as a lawyer, I was able to express myself through one of my favorite medium — writing. More surprising, however, was the extent to which trying cases allowed the actor in me to flourish and blossom. Although representing the client was my first priority as an attorney, doing so placed me at center stage with an opportunity to orchestrate a performance wherein the most compelling, persuasive, engaging and believable party was deemed the victor. In most cases, that party was mine and justice was indeed served.

After years of practicing law, fibromyalgia forced me to resign from my active law practice. I landed on disability. For a very long time, my health took center stage and the idea of self-expression was frivolous and thus banished. In illness, I lost myself and with it the need for self-expression. The passage of time silenced that part of me that delighted in or curious about the act of creation or self-expression. I came to deny that such a need existed. I was lulled into an existence where my thoughts and feelings were unimportant and the only thing that mattered was my ill health and all that it had taken from me. I was told repeatedly that this was an opportunity that few had — a clean slate upon which to create the life that I wanted. I wanted no part of it.

However, as time passed, I began to yearn for a creative outlet that allowed me to express myself in new and exciting ways.  With that in mind, I created a list of activities that I wanted to learn and incorporate it into my life as a positive and healthy form of self-expression; something to counter and out weigh the self-defeating thoughts and ideas that had become the norm.  I sought to banish the idea that I was not and could not be creative.

During the past year, I’m beginning to overcome the word “can’t” and surrender to both drawing and painting. I am allowing myself to explore various forms of self-expression, some new like photography, painting, and drawing, and others like journaling, blogging and even writing. I’ve come to realize that the move of the hips in dance, every line of a pencil in drawing, every mark or stroke of a brush in painting and every word choice in writing or song, conveys a particular thought, idea, or feeling. Through these forms of self-expression, we release fear and anger, as well as love, joy and happiness. Embracing self-expression can be an antidote to negative thinking, pain and sorrow and an affirmation of  forgiveness, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual growth and self-acceptance.

As I read Mary’s post, I found myself nodding in agreement with one sentence after another. She expresses, far better than I, my thoughts, the why and nature of self-expression, and its’ pull that once unleashed is self-fulfilling. Her words remind me that self-expression is yet another of the precious gifts given to humans as a product of being human, of being alive, and “that it can’t be explained, it can only be lived.”

Blessings, Lydia