Finding Your Passion

In case you missed this post from my Facebook:

Years ago I set out to draft a novel and ended up becoming a blogger. I am still working on my novel, but it’s a SLOW process to create a good book.

Blogging, though, is an instant connection with readers and for me, it’s simple. It’s something I can sit down and do as easy as breathing. It’s a safe social outlet for an introvert like me.

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I love this quote from Oprah because every time I blog, I feel a little guilty inside. Like I’m doing something I shouldn’t be doing. Or “wasting time” with a less noble profession. But there’s nothing more exciting to me than a blank blog post and making connections with people around the world. It inspires me. It excites me.

So, maybe Oprah is right. Maybe it’s in doing what we aren’t “supposed” to be doing that we find our real talents and passions.

Like this post? Read more here on the original blog.

Clarity

This post originally appeared on LisaKerr.net. You can read the original post here

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Image via Pinterest

It’s not easy to find. It’s not easy to grasp.

Sometimes I’m in the middle of a project and I see clearly. Other times I’m unable to see past the cloud of information I’ve inevitably absorbed while doing hours upon hours of research.

To gain clarity and perspective, I step back. I breathe deeply. I take a long walk and usually call my mom or a dear friend. I reflect. I stay still. I breathe.

A Few of My Favorite Things

This post first appeared on LisaKerr.net. You can read the full post here.

We all know Pinterest is the online version of Hoarders. But I love it. I wasn’t that interested in it until a friend/coworker started sending me funny pins that neither she nor I wanted the whole world to see. Or they were inside jokes about that time we both had a major issues with the same person and what we really wanted to say. I took that same “insider” approach to my relationship. I started sending him mushy love quotes daily so he’d have virtual love notes to read over his morning coffee when I couldn’t be there. My pinning has spiraled out of control and I love it. It’s a refreshing hobby. I also use Pinterest for private mood boards to store creative collections and ideas for art and writing projects.

Here are a few of my favorite boards, which are also some of my most popular boards for people to follow.

LOVE

Follow Lisa Kerr’s board {Love} on Pinterest.

WEDDINGS/FLOWERS/PARTIES

Follow Lisa Kerr’s board Weddings/flowers/parties on Pinterest.

 

STYLE

Follow Lisa Kerr’s board Style on Pinterest.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Follow Lisa Kerr’s board The Great Outdoors on Pinterest.

How do you use Pinterest? Share what you do in the comments below.

My New Blog

As you may have noticed, my last five posts (one, two, three, four, and five) have been quite different from the usual cult/religion writing I’ve done in the past on this blog. For about two years now, I’ve toyed with the idea of closing this blog and I made several attempts to do so. I’m a writer and not all writers stick with the same genre their entire lives. I felt it was time for me to explore my pre-My Cult Life love of art, romance and other subjects, but I never felt like this blog was a good space for that. I was sad to see this chapter close, though.

I wasn’t quite ready to move on and I also needed to spend more time in the creative zone with my ideas to see where this new desire was taking me. Taking a new direction blogging can be a complicated endeavor. One that shouldn’t be done in haste. So, after two years and a lot of planning, I’m ready to move forward with my new blog. It’s simply called Lisa Kerr: Life, Chronicled.

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The important thing for me was to have a name that didn’t box me in (like “My Cult Life”) to a specific subject. It can be very hard to change directions when the spirit of the blog (and readers) expect one niche topic all the time and that’s what happened here. (Not that this niche topic wasn’t insanely interesting. It was.)

It was also important that the new blog helped me do what I’ve loved doing sometimes on this blog and other times on Facebook: chronicle my daily life. I think I’ve found the perfect way to move forward.

Of course I’m excited to discover where my writing will take me and what new skills I’ll discover as a writer–reporting and writing about cults has been limiting creatively. While I don’t regret starting this blog or where it’s taken me, it hasn’t been an artistic outlet; it’s been a therapeutic and healing outlet. Those things are essential to life, but sometimes we need to close one chapter before we can discover the full beauty in another chapter.

I hope you’ll join me on this new blog journey, even though it will be void of religion, cults and politics. Here are a few posts to start you off with:

  1. Clarity
  2. A Few of My Favorite Things
  3. Finding Your True Talent
  4. The Great Outdoors
  5. A Few Mini-Disasters We Handled in Stride

And you can find my updated social media accounts on the new blog, as well.

 

Trust What You Think

I’ve owned Writing Down the Bones for quite some time now, but whatever it was that made me purchase it, wasn’t there when I needed to sit down and read it. Sometimes, however, books come into our lives at the perfect season. I think this is the perfect season for this book.

Natalie Goldberg writes in the preface that the book is backed by a two-thousand-year-old practice of studying the mind. She writes “the more we understand the human mind, our basic writing tool, the better, more secure we can be in our writing.” How true is this. In fact, I think that’s partly why I’ve struggled with my writing so much in the past two years–my mind was doing things that were (for me) unpredictable. I wasn’t in control or connected with my mind–it was a chaotic, dangerous space for me at the time. But if writing is anything, it’s about trusting yourself, your instinct, your mind. It’s that simple. There’s nothing more to it. When you lose that trust with yourself and your instinct, you can’t grasp what you need to say; instead, you grasp for straws, you second guess, and you falter at the one thing you should be in control of: your mind.

Goldberg gives the following “wish” (and my paraphrase) to those who read her book: that you come to know yourself, feel joy in expression, and trust what you think. 

There is nothing more essential in life and in writing than those three things. Today, I wish them for you as well as for me. Happy Writing to all my fellow writers!

If I Were Being Honest

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I might say that I were running from some of the best things that have happened to me.

I might say I was running from my readers.

I might say that I was running from the intimacy of this place.

I might say that I’m afraid of people watching, speculating, critiquing me from up close and from afar.

I might say that I’m so afraid of making mistakes, that I don’t do anything at all.

I might say that I haven’t felt any emotions for the past two years and I kept myself that way on purpose–because the ability to numb myself was far easier than to see myself publicly fall apart.

I might say I hid.

I would definitely say I hid.

I’ve been hiding from every request, every reader, every “fan”, every person who is exactly like me–just sitting on the other end of the screen.

And for that, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I couldn’t give you more. I’m sorry I ran when it got hard. I’m sorry I didn’t have the answers you needed, or that I needed for that matter.

I can’t say definitively that I’m back, only that I think about you and about us nearly every day. I talk about you often. I bring you up in job interviews, in therapy sessions, in conversations with my mother. And I try to cry, but I couldn’t cry until today when I read about another blogger wanting privacy in her life and I realized that there are no right ways to pull back from the public once you were so intimate with them; but sometimes it’s the healthiest thing to do. Sure, I put my career at risk and I’m not sure it will ever fully recover, but I had to take a break. It wasn’t the threat of suicide that was the problem–it was the threat of living with this suffocating paranoia and anxiety.

I had to breathe again. I had to learn to trust real humans face-to-face again. I had to learn to sit on my mother’s couch and talk about something OTHER than this blog and my issues with it. I had to walk into her kitchen–hearing the sound of the pan sizzling and smelling the roasted vegetables in the oven–and sit down on the bar stool and know that I was welcome again; because whatever hit me over the past two years did so like a fast train and I haven’t been able to recover friendships and relationships that  matter to me so very much.

If I were being honest, Blog, I hate you. I hate you so much. But if I were being more honest, Blog, I love you. You’ve taught me so much. You’ve forced me to grow through the pain. You’ve forced me to make mistakes in public. You’ve forced me to retreat, to be silent, to simmer. You’ve reminded me how much I love poetry and the Great Outdoors. You’ve reminded me who is important to me and how to hold them closer than I ever have before. You’ve helped me hope for love and find it. And most of all, you’ve helped me come face to face with the woman in the mirror and realize that she’s not so bad after all.

A Weekend at Disneyland

Friends are the best. I spent the weekend with some friends at Disneyland and can I just say I haven’t had that much fun in awhile? Besides spending the past two years working my ass off, I didn’t really make a lot of new friends in the area. Thankfully, old friendships are always there. Here are a few pictures from the weekend celebrating my friend’s birthday with California sun, beer and lots of good memories.

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When Dogs Are Like Toddlers

My life has been full…of puppy kisses and puppy breath. I adopted Olive, a poochon, last summer. I’m not gonna lie, the first year has been pretty rough. Without realizing it, I adopted a toddler. Puppies require way more work than I ever expected and I’m not going to lie, I have been grumpy all year.

I had to give up my sleep. I don’t think you realize how important sleeping in has been to my life. I love sleeping in. It’s been the number one reason I haven’t rushed into having kids. Sleep is beyond amazing.

After maybe three months, Olive started sleeping in bed with me and she slept all night (most of the time). Unfortunately for me, she would wake up around 5 am. Then 6, then 7, and now 8. I’ve learned to get up at 8 and then come back to bed for a few hours on weekends. Olive’s finally in a good place where I feel like I can let her chase Molly (the cat) around the house for a few hours while I sleep in.

Since I work from home now, she’s been doing amazing at being housetrained. She’s had a few accidents–some defiant ones–but otherwise she’s very well-behaved.

olive faceThe past few months were difficult for me, though. Olive being nine months old really was grating on my nerves. She was misbehaving, running away, having accidents, jumping out of her play area, chewing things up, eating cat feces, eating dead animals. I mean, the list goes on. We kind of hated each other.

Luckily, Olive had a few play dates with people who were not me and we got into a good system where I could leave her in her kennel for a few hours and get out of the house. I don’t know how mothers with toddlers do it. I needed a break and this was just a puppy. I can’t imagine what it would be like with a kid.

She’s been better about keeping herself occupied and not having to be my shadow everywhere I go. I love her new found independence and the fact that play-fighting with the cat entertains all of them. She’s a pretty good little dog and I think we’re going to get along just fine.

Now if only she could start taking four hour naps…

If you’re interested in more Olive, she’s on Instagram.

Wedding Stuff

We’ve been getting ready for a family wedding. It’s been busy around here. From spending days watching the bride-to-be try on bridal gowns to pinning wedding things on Pinterest, it’s been a lot of fun. On the last day we went with the bride to try on wedding gowns, she was intent on this other dress. It was a gorgeous dress. But there was a new gown in the window that she asked to try on that we had all been admiring. When she put it on, I teared up. I could envision her standing in the forest (the location of the wedding) wearing that dress. It was the first gown we all saw that we unanimously felt was “the one.” It’s interesting. I didn’t realize what a magical thing dress shopping could be until I cried over a dress.

Since finding the dress and bridesmaid gowns, things have kind of slowed down. We’re working on the bridal shower next and in the mean time, my mom and I are on a weight loss kick. It’s funny how this one thing kicked our butts into gear finally. Since the proposal we’ve been walking all the time and I even started running (and doing MMA more recently).wedding

Weddings can bring up so many mixed emotions. While I’m so, so happy for them, it’s also bittersweet because someone I love is growing up. A chapter in all of our lives is closing. As selfish as this sounds, we may not be the most important people in his world anymore. Relationships change after people get married, at least from my experience. Most of these mixed emotions have come and gone, but these are the big moments in life when you realize how much you love someone and how much you’ll miss things the way they were. I’ll always have the memories of times we spent together, but it just makes me miss those times even more.