Do you want to create your own Adventure Attitude? Here’s a tip: Be inspired by others. Don’t go down the envy/jealous/comparison lane. Find people who are the way you want to be. Or do things you’d like to do. Or people who treat others the way you would like to be treated. Find inspiration to help you let go, get rid of the “should” and your own self-limits. A good mantra is “If she can do X, then I can do X…or even YZ”.
Women Who Inspire Me
Nancy and Amy, the sister-team at The Passionistas Project, interviewed me for their podcast. They asked me thought-provoking questions.
One topic stuck with me, and inspired me to think more about it after our conversation was over. They asked me about women who inspired me to be passionate about adventure.
I realized I needed to share more about this when a new friend, a man from Japan, asked me about my sense of adventure – if it was a gene or a learned behavior. In my opinion, it’s both. To learn it, be inspired by others!
Be Inspired by Family Role Models
The first woman to inspire me, and is a lifelong influencer, is my mother. Mom is highly creative. She taught my brother and I how to express ourselves through art. For me, photography became my medium for much of my life. After my rock bottom, I went back to my creative roots. Going beyond photography, it was getting involved in different types of crafts that helped me create and get to a better place.
My mom also showed us how to be tourists in our own town. I remember in high school, an English teacher who once asked “who here has seen the local sights?” As he listed the sights, I was the rare one who kept raising her hand.
People who know him, think my dad (who sold everything to travel the world by motorcycle and now lives in Spain) is why I am adventurer. What he taught me was the difference between “adventure travel” as escape vs having an adventure mindset when you go places.
I remember my mom going with her husband to Ireland with no reservations. She faced her fears of “what if’s” and learned to “keep her knees flexed” when coming upon the unexpected. Something she does even if she’s going to the local swimming hole.
She is an Adventure mindset inspiration by being creative, resilient and applying a ‘life is fun’ whether traveling abroad or in her backyard.
Both my grandmothers were strong and independent in their own ways. It was my father’s mother, Grammy, who had the biggest influence on my having an adventure attitude. In many ways, she was ahead of her time. She divorced at a time when people didn’t, but she knew she deserved better. She had a steady career in insurance, when society showed women staying at home. I remember when she was honored for donating gallons of blood, showing off the award button with pride.
Grammy always had a way of looking at things with fresh eyes, child-like wonder and joy. Although she lived through so many hard times, she would always have a way to laugh, and get people to join her in games.
I went to visit her when I was going through a rough time. I told her I wanted to go salsa dancing, and she advised “Go! Life is too short!” (Advice like this, coming from a woman who lived as long as she did, the impact of “short” was strong). My husband at the time didn’t like to dance, so I found a friend and we went dancing. That’s all we did – salsa dance and had some laughs. Turns out, salsa dancing was an early adventure before I called them that.
Grammy fell in love at 89. After he died, she missed him, but she still found ways to laugh and have fun. I have so many stories of her and how she inspires me, that I know my adventure spirit is partly from her. Even after she died (at age 98!), she made sure people would smile at her memorial…or as she had it called – an ice cream social.
Be Inspired by Friends
A friend since high school, Aileen, inspires me for her transformation, for her desire to connect with people, and for helping me see my desire for sisters. I learned she had been in Catholic girls’ school before coming to our public high school. Who she is now is completely different from then. She is an energy healer, very spiritual, very open and accepting, very loving. You will often find her challenging people to see the world through love, through the heart. I find this very aspirational.
Aileen was someone who helped me see that my self-created story was “life is hard” and helped me shift my perspective to let go of that old story and create a life filled with fun. She is one always with a quick laugh – or rather a big, infectious laughter. Aileen inspires me because she went through some hard times, and came through still laughing. If she can do it, then why not me?
She also gave me advice when I was not sure how to feel about things, or look at life, or how I wanted to be treated. Her advice is to watch movies and pay attention to what resonated during certain scenes. This is a great tool for discovering, in a safe way, what kinds of things triggered me or made me feel good. When I found scenes I liked, I would put them on my mental vision board for how I wanted to feel in my “future” life. This advice has become something I now offer others.
Eileen and Fran inspire me for showing up as those sisters I never had. Being there with unconditional love and sisterly advice. These two are so special to me that I would – and did – jump out of a plane with…even though I have the biggest fear of jumping off ledges!
Be Inspired by Celebrities
Carol Burnett is my top pick for a celebrity I looked up to – for being so “out there” to make people laugh, and totally being herself. I remember reading her autobiography, One More Time. It started as letters to her daughter, to tell her about Carol’s life. I saw her as a strong woman. She had a variety show, the first one to be a woman to have her own comedy show on television. I loved how the actors would crack up at their lines. The smirks and little giggles she had with Tim Conway and Harvey Korman. I felt connected to them because they could show their imperfections and laugh about it. Carol’s inner strength and ability to laugh at herself is inspirational.
I can’t remember when I started admiring Susan Sarandon. I like her sense of self she projects through movies. I also like her off-camera persona. She’s a ‘Cougar’ and doesn’t care. She states her mind and stands up for her opinions. I crossed paths with her once, and I regret not having reached out to say hello. We were in the same fabric trim shop in the garment district. I overheard the staff whispering because they didn’t know who she was, except a movie star. As I shopped, I watched. She was buying appliques to put on a little white jean jacket – I guessed for her granddaughter. She went from celluloid to real for me in that moment. I probably have the same chance of bumping into her in Manhattan again as I do bumping into her at Burning Man.
Amelia Earhart has a special place in my heart. For her courage, determination and conviction, to follow her passions despite many obstacles. She liked being the first woman in many flying records (and died trying to break another!) I learned that she kept a scrapbook of newspaper clippings about successful women in predominantly male-oriented fields, including film direction and production, law, advertising, management, and mechanical engineering.
This last celebrity is not a real person. Ms. Frizzle, the science teacher character in the popular children’s books and animated cartoon video series called “Magic School Bus.” She had a fun phrase to help children (and me) learn. “Take chances. Make mistakes. Get messy!” When you know the results most likely will be that you make mistakes and/or get messy, it’s so much easier to take that initial risk, to take chances. Repeating that phrase often inspires me to take the chance to go on adventures, not knowing what will happen or if it will get messy or if I will make a mistake. It’s all ok because that’s how to learn.
Mama Gena (Regina Thomashauer) helped me discover my true desires, flipping the question from ‘what I do for others’ (aka ‘people pleasing’) to ‘what I do for myself’ (aka ‘self-care’).
One way to describe her is to say she’s a strong feminist. Her mission is empowering women to find and pursue their desires through their inner Divine Goddess. She’s written several self-help books, the latest called “Pussy: A Reclamation” and runs a program called “Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts”. I admire how she holds women’s transformational weekends. There, amidst 3000 women (Sister Goddesses), she quickly creates a safe container in which participants feel secure to share their deepest, incredibly intimate fears and traumas.
Over the years there has been one tool which has inspired me called a dance break. Find music to match your feelings – from celebratory to grief. The underlying part of this is moving the emotion through you, so it doesn’t get “stuck” and create a problem in your life later. This tool brought to life one of the slogans from 12-step programs “move a muscle, change a thought.” I enjoy the dancing, even when it’s to work on upsetting emotions.
My first encounter with Sonia Choquette was through one of her many books. As coincidence – or as she calls it, synchronicity, would have it – after reading her book I was able to meet her in person. She inspired me for her emphasis on everyone having a sixth sense. By discovering my intuition, she helped me discover that to trust others, I need to trust myself first. One of her favorite tools is the “I Wonder” game, which helps you develop your intuition.
Sonia says that intuition operates most powerfully in the realm of imagination, and the best way to access it is through creative play. Tapping into your curiosity, you ask questions starting with “I wonder”… (I wonder who it could be at the door? I wonder what’s on special today?) It’s like a guessing game, except instead of random answers you try to feel the answer – tapping into your intuition. If you got it right, cheers! If not, laugh it off and try again on something else.
It’s a Big Sisterhood
With all these examples, who are the women who inspire you?
I’m sure there are many more women who have inspired me. In this time of women’s empowerment, it’s a sisterhood to be appreciated. People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime (as the saying goes). There isn’t just one person who inspired me, it’s a series of people.
Who are your inspirations? What women have influenced you? For me, that’s part of having an Adventure Attitude – being inspired by others to motivate you to be more, do more, and have fun!
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