Join Me for #90daysofjoyfulthinking!

I'm doing a different kind of blog today. A cross between a Facebook #throwbackthursday and posts that I've so appreciated from friends in my extended network like fellow entrepreneurs Crystal Lynn Bell Naja Hayward . As part of my commitment to an idea I came up with last week - #90daysofjoyfulthinking for June, July and August - I've decided to share more of my personal journey to become a better artist and storyteller, AND my journey to make peace between my mind, body and spirit.

The foundation of this whole project is to stop myself whenever I become aware of running my mind and my mouth with negative, lack focused, fearful, critical thoughts of myself and others and doing my best to replace those thoughts as quickly as possible with happy, joyful, abundant thoughts. I'm really curious to see what this will allow to unfold for my own health and well-being, the creation of the Pedal Love Coloring Book Vol. 1, and the work we're doing with the Pedal Love Council.

Would you like to join me?

No, you don't have to be interested in biking, walking or public transit. I shared this blog earlier today on Facebook and I am so thrilled with the conversations it's sparking with my friends and network.

Above is my first selfie for this project. Most of my selfies really make me cringe. "Yep, I'm definitely in my 50's I think, no getting around that." And often too "I hate that vertical line in my forehead, I wish botox wasn't so expensive!" Which of course is one of the reasons I wear my bangs so long.

Here's what I know: The key to creating truly compelling storytelling is sharing your struggle and overcoming.

But...

I'm one of those people (maybe you are too) who has struggled to share my struggle in writing. Sure I've dipped my toe in the water here and there but not consistently. It felt too raw and frankly too bold. Oh yes, I've certainly shared my struggles in conversations with my close friends (often ad nauseam), and in my journal) but frankly, I've been ashamed of my shame. I didn't want too much of a record of it. I didn't want it too public. I didn't want to come across as weak and needy and whiny.

How about you?

This black and white image of me is from either late 2000, or early 2001, by Kevin Break. It was when I was first getting into blogging and throwing my hat in the ring as a dating and relationship blogger. I wish I could say this woman at 37 enjoyed being young and strong and sexy but she didn't. Not much. Not as often as you'd think.

She could own she was sexy but not in much more than being physically alluring. She knew she was smart, but not with or about men. She certainly didn't think she was beautiful or pretty. That was a horse of a different color, a different type of blonde.

I was a hot mess. Know that feeling?

Newly divorced, feeling so much guilt for asking for the divorce, and so frightened of being on my own again, still un-diagnosed migraines putting me in bed for days of head pounding and gut wrenching pain, I very often couldn't see the forest for the trees. I yearned to allow myself to step out and be seen as I hadn't in marriage (thus the sexy photo) but I was as terrified of the attention as I reveled in it - in very small bite-sized chews. Very very small.

I've recently read Glennon Doyle Melton's LoveWarrior. I don't think I've ever ready such an honest, articulate, raw, illuminating, groundbreaking book about body shame and the strange tightrope women feel compelled to walk on in our society.

Like Melton, I've lived in my head rather than my body except when I was on the dance floor (and now when walking or riding my bike). Now 16 years older, 20 pounds heavier, and still struggling with pain and fatigue I can look back at this frightened woman with compassion and gratitude.

She tried so hard. She allowed herself to stick to writing and created a completely new career for herself in the early days of the internet. She was often so poor she couldn't pay her bills on time, barely had enough to eat. She went bankrupt. Without the great generosity of family and friends, she would have been on the street. She discovered mindfulness and a new community of friends both online and in her birth city of Long Beach - and she discovered the joys of walking and biking and taking public transit. What gifts!

16 or so years later I'm taking another big risk and enjoying the process of picking up pencil and pen and allowing myself to be an artist in the way I haven't been since I was in High School.

I'm serious in my invitation to you to join me in #90daysofjoyfulthinking. Curious? Send me a note. I'll share what's inspiring me to take the next step and the next. I've gathered some really interesting, helpful tools that I'd like to share with you.

Love, Melissa