You are enough




I opted to create a video in response to this prompt (inspired by fellow Quester Brenna Layne)

Theme:   Imagine Your Future To Be Wholly Present
Visionary:  Dr. Tina Seelig

Prompt:  “What advice would your future self a year from now give you today?”

It is a mid-December night in 2016.  Mike and I have just finished decorating the tree and it is quiet in the house and dark.  I am watching the lights spark against the just hung ornaments, and am alone in my favorite reading chair . . .

* * *

Dr. Tina Seelig is a faculty director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP), the entrepreneurship center at Stanford University’s School of Engineering. She teaches courses on creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship in MS&E and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford. She has written 17 books and educational games, includinginGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity (2012) and Insight Out (2015), both published by HarperCollins (and both highly recommended).

Still behind

“And remember, we can talk about making a difference, we can make a difference, or we can do both. — Debbie Millman 

Quest 2016.  Day 9.  I am moving through this journey as though in some deep and daydream-y trance.

Don’t ask me why because I couldn’t tell you.  I just am.  8816505_s

I wish it was the fact that I was savoring things. I’m not  really savoring.  I’m mostly feeling behind, unable to keep pace, running out-of-breath, longing for rest.

Okay so the the 3rd prompt was offered by Debbie Millman of Design Matters.  (Her brand’s tagline – pasted above – caught my attention.  Such interesting resonance with to my Quest 2016 post and UBS ad serendipity yesterday – check it out)

Theme: Get Clear with Yourself
Visionary: Debbie Millman

Prompt:    “How would you do business as unusual in 2016 if you knew – no matter what you chose – you would not fail? “

Good question.

I could quit my job in finance and open the coffee/flower shop I’ve daydreamed about for years.  (The place is called All Good Things and so many people enjoy hanging out and creating art there.  I’d brew Peets coffee and serve it in heavy,curved mugs perfect for holding, sipping, savoring.  I’d  serve baked-from-scratch orange marmalade muffins and sell fresh flowers ‘just because’ for  $5 a bunch (like I used to buy when I was a girl).  But you know what?  This is really just a fantasy.  It’s not how I would choose to do business as unusual.

If I were to do business as unusual in 2016, I would open the moving box of writing that is in my closet (though I packed it with the intention of opening it on Mother’s Day 2016).  I would open it early.  I would take out one piece every morning.    I would type it.  Maybe I would post it here. Maybe I would share it with you. Even though it isn’t perfect.  Even though I don’t think I am supposed to do that (it should have a story arc and be professionally edited, be represented by an agent, then published by some big NYC firm, have a pretty book cover, be on a shelf somewhere.)  So I’m not sure where I am going with this . . . but that would be business as unusual, for sure.






3627658_sIt is Day 7 of Quest 2016, and I have found myself slowing, pulling back, drawing down,  resisting the sparking pace that others – also journeying through these same December prompts – seem to be able to muster.

The second prompt offered by Jonathan Fields, which we received last Thursday,  was long and unwieldy.  I wished I could easily place it in my heart’s pocket (which is normally what I do, after writing it long-hand on an index card)  It just didn’t fit and was challenging to ruminate over and meditate on and there were just no easy answers.

Here’s my journey wrestling with this prompt:

Friday:   I am standing in the kitchen with my coffee and iPhone, hoping to interrupt my husband Mike who is at his laptop:

“Can I read you this question? I just don’t get what it wants me to do.”

Theme:  Get Clear with Yourself
Visionary: Jonathan Fields

Prompt:   “You wake up to discover a knock at your door. A wealthy uncle you barely knew has passed and left you a fortune. It’s more than enough to live out your days in glorious splendor, but there is a condition. To be eligible to collect, you must commit your full-time working energies to the pursuit of an answer to a single question of your choosing for the next 12 months.

You are welcome to continue that pursuit after the year ends, for years or decades if it warrants, but you must remain fully focused on seeking the answer until the last minute of the 365th day.   A minute shorter, the entire inheritance goes to your annoying and equally long lost cousin, Philly.

 What is your question?”

Well that’s easy, Mike says, assuredly. “My question would be: ‘How can I solve the world’s energy crisis?’ [Yes, he is a chemical engineer in the petroleum sector]. So what are you thinking about?”

“I don’t know.  Things like ‘Is there a God?’ or  ‘What happens when you die’

“Those sound good.  Go with one of them.”
Then, a moment later, he adds “though, you know. with questions like those, you’ll never get to an answer, Colleen”

I know this, but still, these are the questions I most often ponder.


On Saturday:   Again with coffee mug in hand, I say to Mike:

“I hate this question.” My husband is trying (unsuccessfully) to read The Economist.

“I think it’s trying to get me to quit my job.”

“It’s not telling you anything,” he says, amused with me, I think.  “Look if you think you should be writing more, then write more.”

I offer a harumph, and turn to watch the birds.


On Sunday:  I am at the kitchen table (yes, with coffee) sloughing through The Economist’s “The World in 2016”  [I have made a pact with myself to read every page of its year-end edition – even if I understand only 5% of it –  because I absolutely need to learn more about the world]

So here is the ad I open to on the magazine’s first page.


UBS ad in The Economist

Okay, so I’ve found my question.

JONATHAN FIELDS -is a New York City dad, husband and lawyer turned award-winning author, media producer, and entrepreneur. His last book, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel For Brilliance (Portfolio 2011) was named the top personal development book in 2011 by 800-CEO-READ.

Jonathan’s current focus, Good Life Project, is a global movement that inspires, educates, connects, and supports mission-driven individuals in the quest to live better, more engaged, connected, and aligned lives..

Do what makes you happy

Day 8 - do what makes you happy

There is a lightness to having packed the Stories.

Upon completing this task  (one which I wondered about doing for a week), I felt giddy and childlike to the point that my husband may have wondered just who he married.

Last night, we went to Dairy Queen and I ordered a chocolate-dipped cone (I always get a peanut-butter-cup Blizzard or Buster Bars).  I haven’t enjoyed one of those cones since I was little and my best friend Bernadette and I would sneak deep into the woods that backed to our houses in New Jersey and follow the path that led all the way to the shopping center with the Thrift Drug (oh Bonnie Bell Kissing Stick strawberry lip gloss!), Woolworth (always smelled like popcorn), a pizzeria that sold by-the-slice, and the Dairy Queen.  The journey meant disobeying our parents and also trekking across 2 quick moving creeks that had mossy-slick shopping carts and shipping pallets cast across them. We’d  creek-walk both ways, my sneakers and jeans usually wet from falling in, though my mother, who forbid me to go that far in the woods, never seemed to notice them.  I guess I was only a rule-follower to a point.  I think we paid for our cones in carefully-counted change – not sure where we got that change as 8-year-olds (selling lemonade at the golf course, I’m thinking), but we had it.

This weekend Mike & I biked, despite Weather Center’s  “dire storm warnings” and danced in the kitchen (well, just I danced in the kitchen) as we were cleaning up from a stir fry dinner.  We went to the movies (“wasting the day” my mom’s voice in my head), ordered a medium (not small) popcorn, and experienced Mad Max, in 3-D, a film Mike thought I’d hate, but I didn’t.  (A classic Distopian quest story, what’s not to like?)

Do what makes you happy. Good and wise advice I received today from Reader/Friend, Andy Hampton.  This ones for you . . .

I am doing what makes me happy, how about you?

Day 8 - kids in creek
Oh the adventure, what lies ahead!!

With gratitude, Andy Hampton