Tag Archives: hobby hoarder

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!”

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Beneath, Above and Beyond

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 “The world as we know it is a remarkable place.” – Jason Mraz

 the wave

Keeping up with the blog has proved to be much more difficult than I had anticipated on this trip. Each day is filled with a wealth of novel beauty that I never know where to begin when I sit down to write. It’s all a bit overwhelming and I find myself struggling to be able to put into words the awe that I experience each and each every day that I am waking up on this trip.  I mean, how do I fit the White Sands into a blog piece—when the next day I’m soaring over Albuquerque in a hot air balloon. How do I cut a video of snowmobiling when I am taking the time to witness a brilliant sunset?  Or how do I give the Arches National Park a fair share of blog space—when the next day we are off to the next adventure?

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last two week, it’s that beauty is everywhere we look—and that it doesn’t take very much to go and find it. Letting ourselves sit and enjoy it? Embrace it? Now that’s the hard part. But once we let ourselves do that? Whew. What a feeling. I’m glad I am letting myself do that–letting myself experience the world–our home as it exists–beneath, above, and beyond what we can ordinarily see–or let ourselves see

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One morning in New Mexico, we discovered the underworld as we explored the Carlsbad Caverns.  It’s extremely easy to forget that so much more exists when each day we wake up and go through the same routines. It’s easy to forget that years of development came before our city offices—and our streetlights. It’s easy to forget that a world often exists outside our focused lives—but it does.

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Over the course of two weeks, I’ve been reminded of this on a number of occasions—even if it wasn’t always underground. In fact—many of the experiences occurred above—and even beyond as we sledded down the slopes of the great White Sands:

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Danced ourselves silly in Danceyville, Tennessee on the side of the street:

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Floated in a hot air balloon above Albuquerque

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Conquered the Continental Divide by snow mobile.

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Shimmied our way up and down an icy path to a National Arch, laid under the stars at a remote location in New Mexico, hiked our way to The Wave in Coyote Buttes:

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And took a gander at the Grand Canyon:

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The road trip was meant to serve as a finale to the first Hobby Hoarder year—a celebration of sticking to a plan—and going through with it—and additionally a celebration of finding something to be passionate about, and scheduling time for it. It’s a celebration of making a choice–a choice to go on adventures– a choice to try something new– a choice to live life to it’s fullest–even when people or obstacles are challenging us not to.  What I’ve found is that the Road Trip, while it includes hobbies—has almost grown into it’s own project—but one that continues to fulfill a similar purpose as the The Hobby Hoarder year.
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Both have been steady reminders that waking up each morning is worth it; that saying you are going to do something—and going through with it can be the most rewarding experience; and that each hobby—or activity you choose to do or place you choose to visit—has something to offer—something worth looking more closely at—something to share–Something that we can then go on to smile about–and share with others.
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The exciting part is that this trip is not even half over yet—and the more I see—the more in awe I become. This world…it is a magical—beautiful place—filled with just an abundance of opportunities–and again, even before our apartments or our cities—it is our home.  And it feels good to be getting to know home—beneath, above and beyond.

IMG_8482Photo Taken by David Tierney Lerner

Welding: More than just metal

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I’ve never been great at building or working on things with my hands- woodwork– mechanics– electronics– they arent really my fortay. Everytime I buy a new piece of camera equipment for one of my cameras, I tend to stare at it, Google terrible instructions and then walk up to my male roommate and ask him to put it together.

And to be fair, When I built the birdhouse with my mom, I admit, she did most of the leg work.

To be honest, I don’t remember ever successfully putting together a puzzle as a child. Sad isn’t it?

So when my friend Jason offered me the opportunity to learn how to weld with him over Thanksgiving , I accepted with an abundance of excitement. “learn to be good with my hands— yes why of course I’ll do that!”

To my surprise — and maybe even to Jason’s, I picked up welding pretty quickly. I followed his directions, pulled down my mask so not to blind myself and did what felt like chiseling away. After just a couple of attempts I had welded in a straight line and Jason had applauded my efforts.  However, if I said the straight line was the most rewarding part-I would be lying.

While welding away with metal– I was also welding away at something else–a friendship.

Much like my birdhouse making experience with my mom, the welding experience served as a really great bonding experience.

I met Jason two years ago at NYC Media, where I used to work. Over the last two years, we developed a friendship full of morning hellos and afternoon goodbyes–and small talk about our personal projects during breaks in the work day. On only one occasion did we head out to lunch. Sadly, neither of our schedules matched up to allow for more than an occupational friendship.

So when J first said we should do a hobby together back in April– I jumped . Again, our schedules conflicted. But finally, just this past weekend our schedules matched- and we were hobbying. We were being… Friends.

I met Jason’s fiancé, rode around in a 1969 mustang that J built, and got an opportunity to see what life was like for him outside of our 26th floor office. A lot of people asked me what I’d be making at my welding lesson—before the lesson, I wasn’t quite sure–and now I have a good answer for that, no wait–a GREAT answer for it: I was making a friendship.

 

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Check out Jason’s current project at jsworks.org

It’s All About the Rebound: Stunt Trampoline Jumping

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A trampoline can teach someone a lot about life. I didn’t know that, of course, until I made my way back to the Hollywood Stunt Center, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn this past weekend for my lesson. What’s great about a trampoline is that it teaches you the true nature of a fall–of getting back up–and the even more successful rebound (Of course I will be taking an urban rebounding class this fall!)

During many moments in life, I often feel like my feet have been swept out from right underneath me, even when they are still, right there beneath me–fully in contact with the pavement. Too often I forget to feel my feet on the ground, and the pounding of my heart against my chest–even when it’s the first lesson I learned this year in acting class.

It wasn’t until my legs and feet literally came out from underneath me, at this lesson–that I realized how important their strength in holding me up–and pushing me, really significantly matters–and has always mattered.

After several falls–regaining my balance, flexing my muscles, I found myself jumping–not only successfully–but even higher–the way I imagine the success I may find in life. It’s all about the rebound from the fall–all about the rebound. Jump up–Jump up and get around.

Special Thanks

Brent Hankins

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Hollywood Stunts
www.hollywoodstunts.com

The Hobby Hoarder Becomes a Jedi: Jedi Training

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“Truly wonderful the mind of a child is.”
Yoda

I’m afraid that we often forget how important it is that we play–how important it is that we escape from the daily rush and harsh moments are routine days. We forget that the world ran well enough long before our coffee addiction began. We forget that we are allowed to really act out on all our childhood fantasies.

And most of all: We forget to have fun.

Jedi training was the perfect escape from the routine day. From the work worries. From the stressful inconsistencies of life.

In fact, the moment I turned on the saber, I was in the zone–I mean, I was really in the zone.

The Force was with me.

And of course:

“May the Force be with you.”

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 A look at the New York Jedi:

New York Jedi

DANY Studios 

The Hobby Hoarder Gets her Dance On: Hip-Hop

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What does it mean to be choreographically challenged?

I’d say it means walking out of a Zumba class twice–yes that did happen. I’ve been a bit choreographically challenged since I was born. My parents always brag about me saying my first word when I was only six months old–but I’ve found I rarely–if ever–have heard them brag about my first steps. I bet I crawled until I was six.

It’s not just choreography that I couldn’t ever keep up with–it’s all forms of movement.

During a game of Truth or Dare at an 8th grade birthday party, I was humiliated as I was dared to show my “dance moves” on a chair.

“You can’t just hump the chair.” All the girls laughed at me. At the next school dance, I shook it off, and attempted to show that I truly could dance. The result wasn’t so hot. My, now best friend, laughed and said “It’ll take some work.” “Just don’t hump. Work it like this.”

I had no idea what I was doing. The word “grinding” was what my teeth did in the middle of the night.

Horrified, it took me years to feel comfortable enough to even “dance like no one was watching again.” And it took this hobby project, and two failed Zumba attempts to get back on the “choreography wagon.”

So on Tuesday February, 21 I headed to Dance New Amsterdam for an introductory hip-hop class. And it’s safe to say I think I found my rhythm–thanks to instructor Jonathan Lee.

You watched the video–what do you think?

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Meet Jonathan Lee–My instructor
Dance New Amsterdam

Dance New Amsterdam
280 Broadway
Manhattan, New York

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