Episode 121 Notes To Self

October 9, 2023

Good morning from New York City. What I’m noodling this morning is something I scribbled down during a recent workshop I took. I am a big note taker. Oftentimes, I can’t even read my own writing. I know that about myself, so I put lots of stars around things when I want to be sure to go back to them.

When I stumbled upon this one this morning, I thought to myself ‘wow, that sentence is like the magic key to life. It pretty much captures everything I think and believe.’ Yet at the same time it’s something you have to do over and over and over again. Okay, you ready? Here’s the magic formula: layer positive emotion over clear intention. Let me say that again. Layer positive emotion over clear intention. That will for sure be one of the few sentences that frame the front page of my new notebook. I don’t know about you, but I take my new notebooks very seriously, and the first few pages are always important notes to myself.

It’s funny because I’m always sad when I have to change notebooks, and as I’m preparing my new notebook, I always go back and I re-read everything. I make circles, I star things, and I bring some notes forward into my new notebook. Then I of course go back to look at the messages I wrote to myself at the beginning. This one – layer positive emotion over clear intention – feels perfect for my new notebook.

So as I’m taping this, I stopped the recording and I went and grabbed my old notebook to see what I wrote. I thought I’d share a couple of things. This is very personal, but this is how I operate. I’m always capturing quotes and leaving messages for myself. In many ways, Dear Constance is me opening up my notebook to share some of my most intimate thoughts. These are like my wisdom notes to self.

Here’s the first one I found: words from the heart speak to the heart. It makes sense that I wrote that to myself because January was the very first days of Dear Constance, and I was feeling vulnerable and feeling my way forward. Anyway, it’s true that words from the heart speak to the heart.

The next thing I wrote is “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. It reinforces the vision you hold for yourself.” That comes from Atomic Habits by James Clear, and when I wrote that I was clearly thinking about playing the long game with Dear Constance and being consistent and keeping a promise to myself. That was very important as I set out to do this. I was trying to shut out all of the external noise. My intention was to do this as creative self-expression –  for myself – and to consciously unwire this need to have a strategic plan. My ultimate goal was to nurture a beginner’s mind and to experiment.  I wrote in my book here actually at the beginning, ‘experiment equals conscious incompetence.’

Anyway, I won’t read everything I wrote to myself, but I’ll read a couple more. Attunement is an intentional act. Again, attunement is an intentional act. Next one, breathe in more creative stimulation. To the right of that one I wrote theater, books, lectures, and quality conversation. The last two are keep promises to myself, which I said before, and put myself in the way of interesting people. I know I’ve said that many times, but it’s important to me. I love to meet new, interesting people, and for me, that is not only about intelligent, accomplished people. I’m interested and intrigued by people’s personal stories.

One of the things I realized this year is that I so loved the Martha’s Vineyard Writers Workshop with Nancy Aronie. She convenes a room of 15 people and it’s cloaked as a writing workshop, but the truth is it’s a storytelling workshop. It’s an opportunity designed for people to capture their stories and get them down on paper. Speaking for myself, stories inspire me. I see them as the great equalizer. They give me ideas and it’s a privilege to hear people’s stories.

So there you have it. That’s what’s on my mind today – what is going in the front of my notebook? What are my notes to self that I want to carry with me over the next months? The first one is to layer positive emotion over clear intention. For me, this is about reaching, going outside of my comfort zone and leaving my home for five months.

The point is to clarify your intention. Get really clear on what you want, what your desire is, and then think back on something you did – something similar – and close your eyes for a moment and remember how good it felt. Feel it in your body. Layer a positive emotion over clear intention. For me, this is about creating positive expectation.

I don’t know who needs to hear that today, but that’s all for now. Until next time, from my heart to yours.

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dear Listeners,

Friends say I live my life out loud. That’s because I’m a curious, adventurous person and, as an appreciator, I simply love to share what lights me up. Consider this is your invitation into my fun, multi-faceted world.

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