Inspiration of the Self-Reliance 30-Day Writing Challenge

To celebrate Ralph Waldo Emerson's 208th birthday (May 25th, 1803), Self-Reliance urges us to trust our intuition rather than conforming to the will of the majority.

Beginning on May 31st, 2011, The Ralph Waldo Emerson Self-Reliance website*** will post a daily prompt. This will continue for 30 days.

This is my unique creation of personal reflection and responses, based on those prompts.

***See link below for the site.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Call to Arms

DAY 26 ~
Call to Arms

The secret of fortune is joy in our hands. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

What if today, right now, no jokes at all, you were actually in charge, the boss, the Head Honcho. Write the “call to arms” note you’re sending to everyone (staff, customers, suppliers, Board) charting the path ahead for the next 12 months and the next 5 years. Now take this manifesto, print it out somewhere you can see, preferably in big letters you can read from your chair.
You’re just written your own job description. You know what you have to do. Go!

To make sure I understood the term “Call to Arms”, I looked it up on, and here’s what I found ~

call to arms
a command to report for active military duty.
Origin: 1840–50

For the context of this prompt, I’ll convert it to a
memo from the boss (Hey, that’s me!).

Here is my memo:

It’s been brought to my attention that a plan of action is needed, in order for all to combine our energy to harmoniously chart the path ahead, for the benefit of all.

Whether it’s within the next twelve months or the next five years or anywhere in between, there is absolutely one thing we must get right – nothing else matters.  The timing isn’t what’s important, but the action is what’s required.

Gratitude is what’s most essential.  Without gratitude, we have nothing.  This is why nothing else matters.

Gratitude is often misunderstood.  It is our responsibility to band together to spread the real meaning of gratitude, one “thank-you” at a time.

The misconception is that we should appreciate our blessings – in other words, be thankful only for all the good in our life.  But, that is only a small part of it.  It’s easy to be grateful for all the pleasant and enjoyable parts of our life.  The true test of gratitude is to be able to genuinely appreciate ALL parts of our life – even the challenges we encounter, regardless of how overwhelming or disturbing.

If this is your first introduction to this mindset, it will take some adjusting to understand how valuable this approach is.  However, once this belief modification is practiced and becomes routine, you’ll be amazed at how simple and automatic it can be.  Once you experience this epiphany, the result will be total comprehension, as well as joy.

Effective immediately, your daily assignment is to list five things for which you are grateful each day.  Yes, this is to be done daily.  No exceptions.

There is always something for which to be grateful, even within life’s troubles, frustrations and complications.  When you experience a challenge, try turning it around into a blessing for which to be grateful, instead of focusing on how difficult the challenge may have been.  This practice, along with the five daily blessings, will minimize and limit suffering.

These exercises will help you find the path and guide you to the purpose stated above – to combine our energy toward harmony, for the benefit of all.

Please feel free to inquire within – (within your heart,
 that is), regarding any questions or concerns you
may have.

Your help is greatly appreciated,


Ginny G.
The Boss

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Most Ordinary

DAY 25

"Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it."      – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are our most potent at our most ordinary. And yet most of us discount our “ordinary” because it is, well, ordinary. Or so we believe. But my ordinary is not yours. Three things block us from putting down our clever and picking up our ordinary:
false comparisons with others
false expectations of ourselves
false investments in a story

Each keep you from that internal knowing about which Emerson writes. Each keeps you from making your strong offer to the world. Put down your clever, and pick up your ordinary.

What are your false comparisons?
What are your false expectations?
What are your false investments in a story?

What are your false comparisons?
I’m not as skinny or in shape as I used to be.
I’m not as good an artist as others are.
I’m not as good a writer as some of my friends are.

What are your false expectations?
I should be eating better and exercising.
I should paint anyway, even with my limitations.
I should write, because I have stories to tell and may be an inspiration to someone.

What are your false investments in a story?
I probably can’t tell this story as good as someone else can.
A publisher isn’t going to want what I write.
My type of style doesn’t “fit” into guidelines of how it “should be”.

The knowledge I’ve gained from this prompt is that it’s okay to be ordinary, average and common.  In other words, it’s okay to be ME.  And, when I am being my ordinary self, this is when I am most powerful.  This is when I allow my light to shine.  This is when I am filled with strength.  This is when I’m inspired to do my best.  This is when my writing will be most effective, and may be a positive influence when I share it with others. 

I’m not quite sure if I’ve followed this prompt the way it was meant to be.  But, this is how I give myself permission to accept my very ordinary self.

Being ordinary is anything but ordinary.

This is when the intensity of my “ME”-power is allowed to do great things, without me getting in my own way.


Friday, July 1, 2011


DAY 24

"The secret of fortune is joy in our hands."   – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you could picture your intuition as a person, what would he or she look like? If you sat down together for dinner, what is the first thing he or she would tell you?

My perception of INTUITION, the person, is a light mystical sort of image.  Ms. Intuition is sincere, angelic, kind and compassionate.  Her graceful presence emanates tranquility and serenity.  She generates love.  She’s elegantly clothed in long flowing light chiffon, in soft blue and light purple hues.

While we’re sitting down to dinner together, Ms. Intuition would ease my concerns by convincing me that it’s okay to trust her.  In her soft gentle voice, she would whisper sprinkles of honesty.

Ms. Intuition would give me confidence to follow her lead and go with my instincts, knowing she’s with me to guide me through life’s challenges.  She would also give me the tools to be able to recognize the subtle messages she sends me.  She tells me to look into my heart and soul to find the messages.

Courage to Connect

DAY 23

"Men imagine that they communicate their virtue or vice only by overt actions, and do not see that virtue or vice emit a breath every moment."  - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Who is one person that you’ve been dying to connect with, but just haven’t had the courage to reach out to?
First, reflect on why you want to get in touch with them.
Then, reach out and set up a meeting.

Well, this is another easy one, for me, since I’ve already done this exercise.  There were specifically three people from my teenage days, with whom I had thought about for many years and wanted to get in touch with.  I was able to get in touch with two of them.  Sadly the third one has passed away just a couple years before I located where he had been.  For the sake of this prompt I will tell the detailed story of one of the other two; and just briefly summarize the others.

(Names will be changed to protect the innocent.)  We’ll call the first one Mr. “X”.

I met Mr. “X” the summer before my senior year in high school (1964).  Some friends and I had gone over to his house, and were listening to music (45 RPM vinyl records) on his record player (hi fi – didn’t have stereo yet).  Since we had just met, Mr. “X” asked me a question he said he always asked a girl when he first met her.  The question: “Do you have the record ‘My Own True Love’ by the Duprees?”  When I said “yes”, he jumped up and said “We have to go to your house right now and get it!”  On the way to my house he told me that I was the first girl who had it, and it was a sign that we would get married one day.  Now here’s the (Twilight Zone Theme) eerie part ------ when we picked up my record, he turned it over, and the song on the flip side was entitled ‘Ginny’!  We ended up going steady during my senior year, but broke up at my senior prom.  He kept my record.  Years later, when I bought another copy of the record, it had a different song on the flip side. 

Mr. “X” and I saw each other a couple times after we broke up.  I remember going to see the first Batman movie with him.  But, it seemed we just couldn’t make a relationship work for us.  After I had married my first husband, had a baby, was divorced and engaged to my second husband, Mr. “X” came over, and we went out for coffee.  He was planning on asking his girlfriend to marry him, but he said he had to see me first, just to make sure he was doing the right thing.

Now, fast-forward about thirty years.  I had thought about Mr. “X” every once in awhile.  Now, with the internet, I thought “why not?” and did a search.  I found an address very close to where I was working.  I wrote him a letter, giving him my email address.  As soon as he received the letter, he wrote to me.  We met for lunch a few times.  We had planned on getting together with our families, but the timing was always “off” (sort of like our teenage relationship had been).

After about a year, or so, of keeping in contact, we just stopped contacting each other.  The last time I wrote to his email address, it was not valid.  When I looked on the internet, he could not be found.  I’m guessing he moved out of state, where he had other family.  But, I don’t know, and it’s no longer important.

The important thing for me was making that connection after thirty years.  It was one of those things – wondering what would have happened had our paths ever crossed again.  Reconnecting again after such a long time was a great experience for me – not because there were still feelings, but because after spending just a short time with him at lunch the first time, I felt a sense of relief – relief that we had not stayed together.  It would never have worked.

Briefly I’ll talk a bit about Mr. “Y”.  He was my first “real” boyfriend.  After my parents moved West, he and I had lost touch.  I never stopped thinking about him, and often wondered what would happen if we ever connected again.  Well, we finally did a few years ago, but not in person – only through the wonders of the internet.  We’ve caught up on the events of our lives for the 40-something years we had not been in touch.  We sometimes go a few months without writing, but we still keep in touch.  Chances are, with almost 2000 miles between us, we may never actually reconnect in person.  But, it’s been nice to reconnect online.

The third person was Mr. “W”.  He was my first husband.  I really had no desire to cross paths with him again, but thought it may be a good idea to find him, when my son wanted to meet him.  I had some detective assistance tracking him down, only to discover he had passed away a couple years earlier.  But, there was a happy ending to this story after all.  Mr. “W” had remarried after we divorced, and he had a daughter.  With the help of a surname internet site, I found his daughter – my son’s half-sister.  We’ve met and my son and his sister keep in touch. 

This is a good example of something I say often --- there’s always something for which to be grateful, even in the not-so-pleasant situations.

WHEW!  With all that being said, there’s no one specifically with whom I desire to reconnect anymore.  But, it is sort of intriguing each time I’m reconnected with an old friend or acquaintance.  Part of the experience is to open up opportunities to reminisce, reflecting on the fun times we enjoyed long ago.  With the internet and Facebook, I’ve reconnected with many friends from grade school, high school and from previous employers.

With the incredible reconnections I’ve experienced over the past few years, I know without a doubt, that I will never hesitate to take the initiative to connect again, if there’s someone on my mind (or in my heart).

I’m grateful to have found some special voices out of my past, and bring them into my present moments.

It really doesn’t require courage to reach out.  All it takes is a desire. 


As suggested in part of this day’s prompt, sometimes it might be a good idea to reflect on why you want to get in touch with that person.  However, in my opinion, that’s optional and maybe depends more on your intention at the time.

So again, I’ll say it --- “JUST GO FOR IT”.  Reach out and set up that meeting now, because we never know how much time we have left on this earth.