A Handful of Treasures

.......she seeks seashells by the seashore.......
…….she seeks seashells by the seashore…….

#DaretoExcel Challenge- 14:

Champion someone else’s work in public.
Identify someone whose work you believe in and want to acknowledge specifically and genuinely in public online.

That someone may be a colleague you’ve connected with in our forum. It might be a team member. It might be one of your customers, clients, or participants who has done heroic work in line with what you and your brand Story are all about.

It might even be a perceived competitor – someone who shares members of your audience.

Here are ways you might champion them:

  • In a blog article or LinkedIn article, mention them and link back to their work.
  • Share their work on your Facebook Wall or Twitter feed with a recommendation.

Do It Together. It’s exponentially more fun and effective. And it’s business as unusual.

One of my plans for my re-envisioned blog is to offer up treasures–the gifts of other writers I’ve discovered on the margin of the vast electronic sea. And along comes #DareToExcel Challenge 14 from Jeffrey Davis of Tracking Wonder. Lately, these dares have been not so much daring me to explode the limits of my comfort zone as encouraging me to take more precise, decisive action on goals I already had in mind.

At the beach this past week, I spent time doing one of my favorite things in the universe–collecting shells.

.......tiny treasures.......
…….tiny treasures…….still sandy…….each of these once circumscribed the boundaries of a living being’s world…….

I’m a serious sheller, not in the way of adult collectors but in the way of children. I sing sea-songs to myself, murmuring against the hum of the waves as I comb the sand, the tideline, for treasures. I exclaim out loud when I find something. I am amazed not just by the perfectly intact but the perfectly battered. And I adore tiny-ness. I don’t mind combing a strand that’s been shelled over already by a dozen intent-faced shellers with bulging plastic bags, because there is always something missed or unlooked-for, something everyone else has left behind.

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…….corals…….calcified homes, long abandoned, tossed by the waves…….a reminder that home can be transient, but it can also be what we make it…….

I’m not in it for the shells, really. I’m in it for the experience, for the feeling of delight when, stooped over a bank of sea-pebbles and the scraps of abandoned homes, I’m sloshed to the knees by a rush of salt water. For the beach at sunset, the contrast of the vastness of the ocean against the microcosm of a shell, the world in a small whorl of nacre and sediment. For pure delight in the beauties of this world. For the sciency-ness of knowing a turret from a wentletrap, a whelk from a conch. For the nerdiness of juxtaposing the placid beauty of a shell with the knowledge of the strange slow fierceness of its boneless inhabitant. For the reminder that our soft,squishy lives are fleeting, but that we can depart from this life trailing hard kernels of beauty in our wake.

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…….inside a sand dollar is a flock of tiny gulls…….once again, the world in miniature…….

Here are some gems I’ve stumbled upon on the shores of this great inland sea. Please consider them–take them up and look at them. Examine their nuances, their beauty. Each is the creation of a beautiful being, a strange and wondrous soul.

Suzi Banks Baum’s Laundry Line Divine, also on Facebook. I don’t care if you’re male or female, eighteen or eighty–Suzi is the woman you want to be when you grow up. Her words are power and poetry. Sometimes they make me cry. I need to stress here that it is not easy to make me cry. Suzi’s elixir of honesty, beauty, and insight is powerful medicine for anyone, but especially if you are a mother yearning for an artful life of both selfless love and self-expression. Make tea. Sit and browse through her posts, which are a perfect blend of what she’s up to (mighty stuff!), what she’s thinking (oh, so true and lovely), and how she marries motherhood to art in all aspects of life. Suzi is my hero.

Vanessa Herald’s Tiny Letter #365Quote project. Follow her on Facebook for a dose of daily truth and beauty. Better yet, subscribe to her Tiny Letter. It will be the best thing in your email inbox every day. I’ve come to look forward to these–they’re like healthy candy for your brain. Is that a thing? It should be. But even if it isn’t, these Tiny Letters are perfection. Vanessa can dash off such beauty while sitting outside a pigpen after a full day of whacking thistles and wrangling chickens that I am constantly enchanted. Her unedited, unproofread thoughts are more inspirational than most people’s most carefully-considered pronouncements. How does she do it?? How does she speak poetry every single freakin’ day?? If you need to believe that there is good in the world, this is a great place to start.

Lauren Iuppa Ayer’s Apocalypse Garden, on Facebook and her blog. This is the coolest undiscovered country of the interwebs. Lauren’s take on the concept of “apocalypse” is huge, mind-blowing, and profoundly hopeful and humane. In her garden, she collects news, wisdom, inspiration, film, images, snippets of all sorts of things that will expand your notion of what “apocalypse” means, why we are all preppers at heart, and how strange and lovely a garden can be. I can’t explain to you how awesome this project is. You just have to go check it out; visit for a while. Browse around. Find out what Lauren is up to and what motivates her in her collecting of all things apocalyptic. Her vision is vast and game-changing. It’s so much more than the standard “OMG, Zombies!!” fare.

Stan Stewart’s Muz4Now. You can find the Muse on Facebook or on his blog. In addition to being a fantastic human being whose very online existence counteracts that of at least a thousand internet trolls, Stan makes music. He improvs. I cannot express how much this impresses me. You just have to go listen. In addition, Stan is your go-to guy for questions of ethics in the music industry, and is a great source of info on how you can support artists through the fairest possible channels. Check out this sheer loveliness for an example of his work–his response to the earthquakes in Nepal. This is Stan–always conscious, caring, and creative.

And, of course, check out Jeffrey Davis’s website, Tracking WonderIn addition to one of the best names ever, this site is chock-full of Jeffrey’s signature wisdom and perspective. Watch this video if you’re tired of business as usual, and long to DIT (Do It Together) rather than trudging alone through the wilderness of DIY. And if you’d like to do some deep diving into your own process and motivations for your craft or business, join me on the #DareToExcel challenge. It’s not too late to sign up; you do it at your own pace. It will help you do better business, make better art.

I’d love to hear from you if you find any of these internet oases intriguing! I hope you’ll spend some time sojourning in these places. They are truly havens of kindness, joy, wonder, beauty, and substance in the midst of shifting sands.

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