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#72148 - 01/09/05 11:08 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Prill Offline
Member

Registered: 08/24/04
Posts: 201
Loc: Connecticut
Evie, I'll talk about the panic of doing workshops and teaching kids to drive in a few minutes--after I get some lunch--but first I want to respond to Smile.

Smile, I love your input. By the way, I checked out your website, and it looks like you’re still in full bloom. Anyway, there’s a fine line between reasons and excuses. It’s a reason if you feel good about it, an excuse if you don’t. At least that’s what I think. Sounds like you’re content. Life isn’t all about doing. Sometimes one needs to sit back and enjoy the fruits of one’s efforts and/or take time to fertilize new ideas, new dreams.

But here’s the thing about blooming—and the problem with the metaphor. Unlike the flowers in a real-life garden, we can bloom again and again and again. There’s no end to blooming. No age limit. It’s dicey for me to give advice because it’s such a personal process. Every woman has her own unique circumstances, her own unique “baggage” to take—or discard—as she makes her way in life. That’s why I wrote a book of stories rather than a self-help book. I believe in the power of stories. I believe in the power of role models. I think what we often need is not advice, but inspiration to light a fire in our hearts and examples to lead the way.

Here’s a powerful question: “Am I doing what I want, right here, right now?” In other words, what--if anything--are you doing that you want to stop? What--if anything--are you not doing that you want to begin? If we're honest with ourselves, we might find that we love being the mom of an 8-year old—or the mom of a 28 year old, as I am—and want nothing more at the moment. Or, we might decide that we want to shake things up a bit. There’s no right or wrong here.

Here’s something I wrote in my journal a while back that I came across again recently. It expands on this idea of blooming:

“It seems to me that as we spiritually evolve, we become more and more ourselves. More vibrant, more elastic, more feet-on-the-ground, more head-in-the clouds. Like a snake, we shed our old, dry, tight-feeling skins and allow fresher, more colorful selves to emerge. In line with this, the late-blooming women whose stories I've been attracted to aren't those who merely switched careers midlife. To use another metaphor, the women in my book haven't simply tried on a new set of clothes. They've stripped their old garments of fear, self-doubt and self-consciousness and allowed their true beings to be exposed to the light.”

I guess you could say I’m on my third blooming, but I really feel like I’m just more myself than I’ve ever been. I recently interviewed a man in San Francisco who became a painter in his seventies. ( web page ). I guess you could say he’s on his third blooming, too. In his most recent show, he sold 30 paintings! He told me that when he walked in the door of his first art class at San Jose State at age 76, he felt like he’d finally come home. It’s not that he wasn’t previously himself and wasn’t using his talents when he was a real estate developer (career #2); it’s just that each transformation he’s made has brought him closer and closer to the heart of himself. Now he’s just pure Art! (That’s a pun.)

So...gotta go get something to eat. As I said above, I'll add my two cents to the kids & driving issue in a little while. The bottom line: Teaching my older son Gabe to drive was wonderful--a chance to bond one-on-one with no distractions. Teaching Ev to drive, on the other hand, was the most terrifying experience of my life, not to mention the fact that he ended up concluding that I was a neurotic nutcase.

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#72149 - 01/09/05 11:47 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
smilinize Offline
Member

Registered: 11/08/03
Posts: 3512
Loc: outer space
Thank you Prill.

I think you are going in the right direction with the stories. I have said that in my plays and in my writing, I want to speak a message of love to the heart and to the spirit of the reader. When I spoke to a Christian writing group recently, I did a lot of thinking about that. I concluded that the really important messages of life address the heart and those messages are best taught, as Jesus taught them, in parables (stories). When Jesus spoke the message of love to the heart and spirit of man, he spoke it in parabales. Sermons, essays, lectures, nothing teaches lessons of the heart like a story.

As to my not doing anything much lately, I'm not sure I feel bad about it within myself. Maybe it's others who seem to think I should be publishing, submitting, etc. Maybe I now have too much time on my hands and put things off and it's a luxury I never had before and don't know how to handle. ??
Just a thought.
Thanks for the great book and interesting info.
smile

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#72150 - 01/10/05 04:51 AM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Prill Offline
Member

Registered: 08/24/04
Posts: 201
Loc: Connecticut
Evie— I used to be petrified of speaking in front of people, except in a classroom situation where, for some reason, I've always felt at home. I love the idea of acting and was even the lead in some plays when I was growing up, but when performance night came, I’d panic. My mouth would get dry (it occasionally still does, but now I just bring along a bottle of water and sip as needed) and my underarms would get wet. If it wasn’t so embarrassing, it would be funny. My fluids were in all the wrong places!

Again, it’s a practice thing. I’ve been all over the country promoting my book these past six months—10 states in all—and loving each speaking engagement more than the previous one. I can’t wait to get on the road again. I look in the mirror, metaphorically speaking, and can hardly recognize myself!

Anyway, bravo for saying yes to presenting at the breakfast. [Big Grin]

Don’t know if this helps or not, but a friend said to me last spring that the best public speakers, either consciously or naturally, incorporate the 3 H’s in their speeches: humor, humility and humanity. Just be yourself as they say. For a while, I thought humor meant telling jokes, which I'm TERRIBLE at; but then I realized that just letting my humanity shine through was humorous in itself.

Here are some other practical tips (I learned these at Toastmasters): (1) Don’t focus on yourself; focus on making the audience comfortable. (2) If your heart is racing and your hands feel clammy before you stand up and give your talk, squeeze your legs tightly together and feel the floor under your feet. It helps you get out of your head and into your body. (3) You can also practice belly breathing. (Do you know what that is?) These simple techniques really work for me.

As far as the teen driving thing goes, I can relate to your valium comment, although I’m so tiny (5’2") that even an Advil makes me feel doped up. But, yes, it can be terrifying to sit in a car with your inexperienced teenager at the wheel and just as nerve-wracking to be home at night while he's off driving around town with his buddies. Anyway, I wish you all the best. It's an adventure, that's for sure.

Finally, Smile, I appreciate your validation of my philosophy about story-telling. As I said earlier, I was teaching community college when I got the idea to write Defying Gravity. Many of my students took years to earn their degrees, and they performed intricate juggling acts to keep schoolwork, jobs and families simultaneously aloft as they realized their goals. They were dealing with so many serious issues—poverty, different types of abuse, a lack of English skills. One of my female students had even been raped by her father and gotten pregnant. There are no easy answers in cases like these, no simple steps to success. But I thought that if they digested a story like Jean Kelley’s (see my website and read her bio), they would say to themselves, “There’s hope for me.” And from the fuel of that hope, I thought that they might somehow forge a way, just like Jean Kelley did, to get where they dreamed of going.

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#72151 - 01/10/05 05:27 AM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Evie Offline
Member

Registered: 08/27/03
Posts: 791
Loc: Nipigon, Ontario Canada
quote:
Originally posted by Prill:
But, yes, it can be terrifying to sit in a car with your inexperienced teenager at the wheel and just as nerve-wracking to be home at night while he's off driving around town with his buddies. Anyway, I wish you all the best. It's an adventure, that's for sure.

yup you hit the nail on the head there
[Big Grin] I don't know whether to get in the car with him or stay out of it! Either way, it's an adventure [Smile] My mom just learned to drive when she turned 60, had never driven before. While I most definitely admire her for getting her driver's licence (especially with my father getting less and less mobile) I refused to teach her how to do it - just did not have the nerves/patience. So, my son will definitely take a driver's ed course and I'll probably stay out of the vehicle till he's 30 [Wink] [Wink]

Thanks for the tips on public speaking. My problem is my hands shake terribly when I'm in front of people - I read a tip somewhere about keeping your hands in your pockets to hide this, but I'm not sure that's a comfortable stance for me - I'll have to practice I guess! [Smile]

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#72153 - 01/10/05 04:58 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
TVC15 Offline
Member

Registered: 09/03/04
Posts: 2538
Loc: North Carolina
Prill,
I am totally enjoying your posts. They are so inspirational. I realize that I have become as far from bold as I possibly could get. I am going to try your advice and do something bold daily. I will start small and work my way up!

Evie, As for the son driving thing, here in NC the kids can start taking drivers ed at 14 1/2, yes you read that right, and guess how old my youngest is. You got it, 14 1/2! I have a 22 year old whom I went through this with and even though he is a more experienced driver then I am (He drove back and forth between NY and NC more times then I can count on my fingers and some toes) I am still not comfortable getting in the car with him... [Smile] I think it's just a Mom thing.

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#72155 - 01/10/05 06:08 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
jawjaw Offline
Da Queen

Registered: 07/02/03
Posts: 12025
Loc: Alabama
To me, boldness evolves. It's not something you just wake up one day and do...it's a process. I can almost remember when I started blooming. I heard someone say one day, "what's the worst thing that can happen?" I thought to myself..."what IS the worst thing that can happen?" In that particular situation, it wasn't that bad so I bravely moved forward. Then the next situation came along and I repeated to myself, "okay, what's the worst thing tha.." you get the idea. Time after time...situation after situation, I repeated this phrase to myself, and 9 out 10 times, things worked in my favor, AND I became a little bolder.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I had a job I detested. It made me miserable and I knew something had to give. An incident happened that in all honesty wasn't my doing but I got blamed for it, simply because I was a subcontractor. The straw broke the camels back. I resigned. I said NO MORE.

I truly did not know where I was going to work, or how I would make a living, but I had worked for this company 24+ years and knew I couldn't work the job they had forced me to take any longer.

They asked me to stay and even gave me a new, wonderful job and a new office. Hello? If I had stayed in the job I had, I would have burnt bridges...However, because I was bold, this squeaky wheel got the grease. I am NOT advocating quitting your job! DON'T TRY THIS AT WORK....but I am saying that years of asking myself "what's the worst that can happen?" has payed off.

The worst is usually NOT as bad as living/doing/staying in a situation that is not right for you. Just my quarters worth.

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#72156 - 01/10/05 06:35 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Prill Offline
Member

Registered: 08/24/04
Posts: 201
Loc: Connecticut
Wonderful advice, JJ. That's much more than a quarter's worth.

For a magazine article last spring, I was asked to poll the women in my book and ask them what was the most important piece of advice they’d ever received. Echoing Georgia, several responded that someone along the way said to them, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Maybe later today, I’ll compile the other pieces of advice and share them with you.

By the way, I just had a personal e-mail exchange with JJ. (Hope you don't mind my sharing this, Georgia.) Besides directing me to her new blog entry ( web page ), we got to chatting about grandchildren. I told her that I loved what she had to say about her granddaughter in her blog entry titled “All Things Now.” She wrote me back and said , “I found out that when grandchildren are born, so are grandmothers.” Isn’t that great? (I love the way JJ puts things!)

Two other quick comments.

Evie— about your shaking hands, if you’re not holding a piece of paper, I doubt anyone will notice. If you need to use notes, ask for a podium. Then you can place your hands on it when you speak, hence solving the problem of where to put them.

Smilinize (what a sweet screen name; it makes me feel good just reading it)— you said that maybe it’s others who think you should be publishing and submitting more. Tell them if they’re so interested in submitting and publishing, they should try it themselves. I’m only half-serious, of course. But in a similar vein, my husband once said to me, “Stop being ambitious for me; be ambitious for yourself.” It was one of those defining moments in my life. I realized he was right. I was in my early 30’s at the time, and that one remark prompted me to go to college and get a degree. My darling husband made me see that I was projecting my hopes and dreams on him rather than living them myself. Anyway, it’s easier said than done to not care what others think, but it’s a worthy goal. Very liberating. Our lives our own to live, not anyone else’s.

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#72157 - 01/10/05 07:54 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
jawjaw Offline
Da Queen

Registered: 07/02/03
Posts: 12025
Loc: Alabama
Unique -

I forgot to say that boldness comes in sizes too. The example I gave was super-sized; however, boldness comes in small, smaller, and petite.

For example, last week some inhumane person brought in a large jar of peanut brittle, donut holes, and a marble pound cake and left it all in the work cafeteria for any one to eat. How sick is that?

Anyhooo...passing it up was a bold move for me. Very bold. So see? Boldness does not have size boundaries...

JJ

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#72158 - 01/11/05 08:32 AM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Dianne Offline
Queen of Shoes

Registered: 05/24/04
Posts: 6123
Loc: Arizona
I love how your agent dropped into your lap. Same thing happened to me and it was proof, although I didn't see it until later, that my book was supposed to be in the world. So, to hear that you experienced the same thing is another miracle story that inspires me.

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#72159 - 01/10/05 09:33 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
Evie, I have a 16 year old who has taken Driver's Ed and has his Learner's Permit. I also have a 17 year old who has taken Driver's Ed, but doesn't have her permit yet. [Eek!] My oldest just drove from MD to SC yesterday ALL by himself. All I can do is ask the Lord to wrap His loving arms around them and try to leave it in His hands. Then I also need to keep getting on with my life so I don't have the moments to worry myself sick. Wow, many of us are inthe same boat!

As far as teaching goes, I was going to make the very same recommendation about the podium. Also, would it help if you taught your class by having teh participants in a circle sitting in chairs? I've done this and it's much less threatening than standing in front of everyone.

I've been asked to teach an Adult Ed class at church too. I'm doing it...by the grace of God. It's not until after Easter so I have lots of time to prepare. I just decided on the title. Finding Your Golden Nugget: Discover Ways To Grow Your Faith. Evie, what is your topic?

Prill, I'm sure we connect because I feel the very same way you do about sharing our stories! Also, you speak aobut women blooming. I like to think of us as a perennials because we are forever blooming. Some years our blossoms are better than previous years. It depends upon how we nurture ourselves. [Wink] The more tuned in we are to the spirit within, the richer our blossoms.

Smile, your posts remind me of the Bible passage about seasons. For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. I think it's Ecclesiastes. Timing is everyhting and I believe He's giving you this time to hunker down with your new hubby. [Wink]

Jawjaw, thanks for sharing your bold self with everyone in here. I'm so glad it worked for you. I totally agree with you about taking bold steps. I think of it as growing into ourselves. Little by little, and with each step comes more CONFIDENCE. That's what's at the root of being bold.

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