A Good Story

Sometimes all it takes to motivate us is a good story.

a good story

Good storytelling moves us–it inspires us and it enlightens us. Good storytelling motivates us. It asks us to stand up for our current beliefs or question them. Good storytelling brings people together. It make us laugh. It makes us cry. And it challenges our every day decisions. A good story can warm our hearts. It can make us angry or it can sober us up. A good story doesn’t need a happy ending. A good story invites us to take an adventure or to go on a journey. Good stories teleport us to different times and different spaces. They are one true way to escape our own realities and step into someone else’s –or a different world.

Good stories are what move us-shake us-make our hairs stand up on our skin-and drive us.

Good stories are what we come back to when we’re searching for that one quote or one paragraph or one chapter that somehow managed to encapsulate everything we couldn’t put into words ourselves.

More than anything good stories stay with us. 

These are the books filled with stories or moments  that have stuck with me–that have and continue to move me–some since childhood–some since only more recently. What’s on your bookshelf? What motivates you? What books and stories do you always go back to?

1. Born Standing Up, Steve Martin

“I was seeking comic originality, and fame fell on me as a by-product. The course was more plodding than heroic: I did not strive valiantly against doubters but took incremental steps studded with a few intuitive leaps. I was not naturally talented—I didn’t sing, dance, or act—though working around that minor detail made me inventive.

I was not self-destructive, though I almost destroyed myself. In the end, I turned away from stand-up with a tired swivel of my head and never looked back, until now. A few years ago, I began researching and recalling the details of this crucial part of my professional life—which inevitably touches upon my personal life—and was reminded why I did stand-up and why I walked away.”

2. Yes, Man, Danny Wallace

“Take the stupidest thing you’ve ever done. At least it’s done. It’s over. It’s gone. We can all learn from our mistakes and heal and move on. But it’s harder to learn or heal or move on from something that hasn’t happened; something we don’t know and is therefore indefinable; something which could very easily have been the best thing in our lives, if only we’d taken the plunge, if only we’d held our breath and stood up and done it, if only we’d said yes. // The fact is saying yes hadn’t been a pointless exercise at all. It had been pointful. It had the power to change lives and set people free… It had the power of adventure. Sometimes the little opportunities that fly at us each day can have the biggest impact.”

3. Wild, Cheryl Strayed

“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.”

4. Bossypants, Tina Fey

“Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it. // There are no mistakes, only opportunities.”
“Am I just chasing it because it’s the hardest thing for me to get and I want to prove I can do it?”

5. On Writing, Stephen King

“Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life. // Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don’t just make speeches–Just believing is usually enough.”


6. The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin 

“It’s about living in the moment and appreciating the smallest things. Surrounding yourself with the things that inspire you and letting go of the obsessions that want to take over your mind. It is a daily struggle sometimes and hard work but happiness begins with your own attitude and how you look at the world.”

7. Siddartha, Herman Hesse

“It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world, to explain and despise it. But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect.”

8. Love With a Chance of Drowning. Torre DeRoche

“Dedicated to those who dream–and those who dare fall for dreamers.”


9. The Art of Travel, Alain De Botton
 

Journeys are the midwives of thought. Few places are more conducive to internal conversations than a moving plane, ship or train. There is an almost quaint correlation between what is in front of our eyes and the thoughts we are able to have in our heads: large thoughts at times requiring large views, new thoughts new places. Introspective reflections which are liable to stall are helped along by the flow of the landscape. The mind may be reluctant to think properly when thinking is all it is supposed to do.At the end of hours of train-dreaming, we may feel we have been returned to ourselves – that is, brought back into contact with emotions and ideas of importance to us. It is not necessarily at home that we best encounter our true selves. The furniture insists that we cannot change because it does not; the domestice setting keeps us tethered to the person we are in ordinary life, but who may not be who we essentially are.

If we find poetry in the service station and motel, if we are drawn to the airport or train carriage, it is perhaps because, in spite of their architectural compromises and discomforts, in spite of their garish colours and harsh lighting, we implicitly feel that these isolated places offer us a material setting for an alternative to the selfish ease, the habits and confinement of the ordinary, rooted world.”

10. Oh the Places You’ll Go, Dr. Seuss

“Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!”

Moving Forward

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted—and to be honest it had been a while since I had hobbied. 2014 has been an interesting year—between a small biking accident, breaking my hand in April and then spraining my ankle in July, I’ve spent more time on the mend than I have on my feet.

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And I’ll just say it: those four months were really, really difficult.

But they were more difficult than they should have been:

because I chose to let them be.

A good friend of mine is currently reading the book “Dear Sugar,” by Cheryl Strayed. And throughout our trip to Orlando, she went about reading me brief blurbs from different chapters—brief blurbs that affected her and that in turn affected me.

One of those blurbs happened to hit me just before we entered the 165 mile per wind tunnel at iFly Orlando —where I officially broke my hobby hiatus:

“You do not have the luxury of despair.”

Sitting cross-legged on top of a cabinet, I stared at the group of people who were indoor skydiving ahead of us, and I breathed into that thought and repeated it in my head several times:

You do not have the luxury of despair.

 When bad things happen—we are very quick to issue blames of circumstance, to sit and to brood. To over-think. To think all of our issues are worse than those of the person next to us. To fall into traps that “the world is out to get us.” And that “Life is just so not fair.”

The small things become big.

So when each of my physical incidents happened, I went through a series of heightened emotions:

First I was sad—then I accepted it—and by the time I sprained my ankle, I was angry.

But it wasn’t fair to me or the gift I was being granted: the gift of time to sit with myself, time to give my body the break it deserved, and time to heal.

Yes. I said it.

Hurting myself over and over again was a gift.

Through those four months, I learned a lot about myself. I learned how to listen to my body. I learned how to ease back into things. I learned how I deal with injury; I learned about my level of neediness—and selfishness; I learned about how to control my neediness and selfishness; I learned when I am both my worst and best version of myself.

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And above all: I learned how to accept that not everything will always go the way we’d hoped it would—but that’s okay.

 Because no matter what—we have only one option:

 

And that’s to move forward.

 

And what better way to move forward—than to fly:

 Special Thanks
iFly Orlando

Special Thanks
The Albertsons

 

iFly Orlando
6805 Visitors Circle, Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 903-1150

 

 

Top 10 Hobbies

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A lot of people ask me what my FAVORITE hobby has been. I usually answer that piloting a plane was my favorite hobby–and that I’ll be looking to earn my pilot’s license after this year. That’s 100 percent true, but ranking hobbies at all is incredibly difficult, because each one has done an incredible job in helping me to overcome fears, build courage and manage both my mental and physical strength. Additionally–for several of the hobbies, friends joined me–and being able to watch some of them overcome their fears was more often more rewarding than anything else. AND one of my favorite parts of the year outside of the hobbies that I did–was watching a friend complete her own challenge: Tears came to my eyes as Rena completed her 100th Bikram Yoga class in under 100 days. What I can’t drive home any more is that it’s not until we try everything–that we realize just how capable we are of anything. I hope that these posts do nothing more than inspire you.

If I had to answer “the top 10″ questions, this is how the activities would play out from 10 to 1 (1 being my absolute favorite):

10. Ziplining 

“At 650 feet in the air going that fast, let me tell you something,  you’re not thinking about falling to your doom–you’re thinking about living. You’re thinking about how free you feel–how amazing of an experience you are having, how you don’t want this 3,200 foot zip to ever end, and how your smile is going to be plastered to your face for the next few days after completing this. No, you aren’t thinking about falling–you aren’t thinking about landing–You are indeed doing nothing but living.”

9. Subway Singing / Dancing

“It’s great to see what makes people really crack a smile.”-Grant Ryan

8. Chess

” The truth is, when a stranger has faith in you—after only moments of knowing you—it is an incredible feeling—and it makes you wonder how you’ve ever doubted yourself.

Checkmate.”

7. Pon De Flo

“Halfway through class, I had a hobby breakthrough: As I began giggling to myself while I messed up another dance move (sorry Heather!), I noticed that I didn’t care if people thought I was America’s next best dancer–I didn’t care if people saw me mess up–and I didn’t care if my right foot accidentally went when my left foot was supposed to. Eventually, I felt tears begin to fill my eyes. I wasn’t in pain–and I wasn’t ready to run out of the room screaming. No, instead the tears had developed because a great amount of pride had come over me. I realized in that moment, that the fears and worries that I had carried with me just 11 months prior had now dissipated completely. While it may sound insignificant when written down, it was one of the highest points of my hobby year, because it had meant that the hobby year was coming full circle–revealing bits and pieces about myself and how far I’d come, without me realizing that it would.”

6. Surfing

“As I surfed closer to shallow waters, I splashed off the board and was congratulated with a nose and mouthful of salt  water. When I surfaced–I fist pumped into the air, and yelled “I did it.” Joel looked at me and smiled from a distance, though I’m not sure he actually heard me with the crashing white waters. But it didn’t matter. I didn’t do this for him–or for anyone else–I did this for myself.”

5. Meditation

I had escaped–I took a quick short vacation, a brief leave from the world. I spent time sitting still in a moment of ultimate calmness. What one could consider a thing of beauty.”

4. Chalking Happiness

“And what I learned most about happiness–aside from where to find it (ahem, again, everywhere): was that much like my chalked out versions of the word: Happiness doesn’t always come in a straight line–in one swoop–or even in one size–but it always, always feels good.”

3. Trapeze

In the end, all that matters is having the courage to jump.”

2. Hang Gliding & Skydiving (tie)

“I open my eyes back up, and I take in the world around me. I don’t want to lose this feeling–this feeling that nothing can knock me down, this feeling of being able to hold the entire world in my arms and hug her tight–this feeling that I am flying–this feeling that I am living. “

I’ve learned this year that the more you let yourself “just do” the less you try to stop yourself–the more you go with your heart’s desires–the more your fears subside–and the more fun you have. And life is supposed to be about having fun.”

1. Piloting a Plane

I enjoyed piloting a plane so much that I just had to do it twice…There is absolutely nothing more freeing than using the plane to paint the canvas of the world down below.

“No fear. No looking back. No hesitation. I was–and still am–on top of the world.”

“I don’t believe that I’ve ever taken on a challenge of such great magnitude before–one that set me off into the world to tackle my fears, overcome my personal issues, and become an all around go-getter. This flight, now, gave me the time to see that.”

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The Hobby Hoarder Ziplines

The Hobby Hoarder Dances her Pants off

The Hobby Hoarder Flies a Plane

Celebration of Happiness

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If you are in the New York City area on Saturday, come on out for a Celebration of Happiness being hosted by The Hobby Hoarder! The only requirement? Wear yellow! (even if it’s just a post it note!) There’ll be karaoke and dancing! Stout has food and drink! So come out and get happy!

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“Scratching the Sky”

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I recently came across this documentary which is both visually stunning and emotionally heart warming. I won’t say much more than that–I’ll let the video speaks for itself. I truly hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

“Sometimes the biggest risk we can take is to truly live.” – Scratching the Sky

10 Reasons to Try Something New

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1. You have the opportunity. Take it:  It’s easy to say “I’ll try that tomorrow or the next day,” or “Maybe I’ll do that some day…” but it’s more fun and likely, more rewarding to say “I’ll try that right now.” Make SOME DAY—today.

2. You can make new friends and meet new people: If you’re looking to branch out and make new friends, trying something new or hitting up a group class is the perfect way to find people with similar interests. You never know, you may just find some of your closest friends.

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3. You can overcome a fear: The only way to overcome a fear, is to face your fear. Maybe talking to strangers terrifies you—head to a group class/you’ve never taken before, and see if you can start a conversation with just one person. Or maybe the ocean kind of sort of gives you the heebie-jeebies—head out there with a boogie board and ride the waves!

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4. You may find something you’re passionate about that you may not have known otherwise. If we never gave something a chance, how would we ever know if we were passionate about it or not?

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5. You may surprise yourself: Maybe you didn’t fall in love with what you tried, but perhaps you exceeded any expectation you had going into whatever you tried. In my opinion, we are truly capable of anything–we just have to give ourselves the chance.

6. Trying new things is FUN. You may be stuck in a rut, so what better time than now to break your usual routine: Exercising your soul and your mind and your body are a lot like going to the gym: If you keep doing the same thing every day, life may feel mundane or you’ll start to feel stuck or stagnant. If your days are starting to feel like this, then it’s definitely time to mix up what you’re doing. Don’t keep going through the motions if you have a chance to spice it up.

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7. You may start to feel yourself getting comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. GOOD.  You may not be perfect the first time you try something new–or the second time you try the activity. Heck, you may feel fully and utterly exposed, but that discomfort, as long as you don’t let it overwhelm you, is what brings the pride when you’ve completed something you never thought you could do or you may have never even thought you would try.


8. Getting out of bed is more rewarding than snoozing all day. Woody Allen once said that showing up is 80 percent of life. You may be tired, but you’ll never know the reward if you don’t give something a shot.

9. Natural Highs. So often, we forget how good “Firsts” can feel. Remember when firsts used to be celebrated? First step—first word? First A+? Now we tend to celebrate only firsts when they seem to be HUGE life happenings: First jobs, first baby, first (only) marriage. Try something new—and each time you do—celebrate a little more. You don’t get a first time, again.

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10. Why not?

Heads Up: A Penny a Day: Take 2

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Last January, I started a hobby and a second project in addition to The Hobby Hoarder called “A Penny a Day.”  I wrote about the project initially in this blog post.

The idea was that I would leave a heads up penny somewhere each day, every day, for a year, for someone to find. Then I would post to a blog, photos like these:

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About two months in, I fell off the wagon, leaving pennies only sparingly through the rest of the year.

This year, I am ready to get back on the wagon and try again. You might wonder what drives me to leave a penny each day, heads up, in a random location.

It’s simple.

 I personally believe that something as simple as a heads-up penny can trigger a shift from negative thoughts to positive ones. I couldn’t prove that to you scientifically–but when was the last time you found a penny and didn’t automatically check to see if it was a heads–or a tails? And what did you do when you discovered it was a tails…or a head? To be honest, I’ve read that many people don’t pick pennies up at all– “too small.” But I want to believe that the kid in us will still get excited over something as simple–and small as a heads-up penny. Besides–Remember when a penny could buy one swedish fish?—Those were the days!

On January 1, I rebooted the project and left a penny in McCarren Park, Brooklyn:

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Like the idea? Leave pennies and send photos over to libbysegal12@gmail.com. This is a blog to host your lucky cents as well. I hope you’ll join me in the fun. OH and if you happen to find a heads up penny, hold on to it–you never know how far a penny may take you.

You can follow all the pennies over at: A Penny A Day

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