I want to talk, I want to talk with you. I want to tell you anything.
— by Paper Kites, "By My Side"
I'm happy to welcome new subscribers. If you find value in what I'm doing, please consider sharing my work with a friend. Let's unmute together!
Randy, Nate, Sanjeev, Abhi, Johan, Raj, John, Teevee, George, Vigneshwar, Keith, Charlie, Ryan, Moe, and John.
I'm grateful to have you here.
🎫 In this Issue
- ✍️ Writing
- 👁 The Art of Seeing
- 💪 Challenge
- 🪔 Meditation
- 🔆 Inspiration
- 🌟Nuggets of Wisdom
I hope that my reflections will spur your thinking and inspire you to uncover more truth, beauty, and wisdom in your life.
🎙Unmute: Proclaim Your Story
The words of Amanda Gorman proclaiming her poetry at Joe Biden's inauguration still ring in my ears. I was surprised to learn that she grew up with speech struggles. Amanda trained herself by listening to and singing "Aaron Burr, Sir" from the musical Hamilton. On January 20, Amanda dazzled us with her inaugural poem, "The Hill We Climb."
Amanda, thank you for choosing to unmute yourself. You inspire us with the way you bring words to life.
I grew up with a speech impediment. Even through high school, I struggled with saying words with the letter "R". A sentence such as this would create terror:
Rex threw the round red rubber ball right before the great World War.
I became masterful at avoiding words that would trigger humiliation. Bullies delighted, trying to force me to speak. I learned to go on mute. I felt dumb and unworthy into early adulthood.
Up to 5 percent of children have speech disorders. Having a speech issue can create enormous social and emotional challenges.
We need to help children, and even adults, to find courage and strength to share their voices with the world.
Too many people struggle to speak because of some sort of impediment or some form of oppression.
Each of us has a song to sing, a poem to proclaim, or a story to tell.
👁 The Art of Seeing
In 2004, I taught my first online course, "Photography and the Art of Seeing." Photography is a way to be more present and aware, to express and unmute.
I took this picture in 2010 as part of daily photo project. Ten years later, this looks like a photograph from a different era. I should take a picture of a zoom screen and see how it ages in 10 years. If you are feeling disconnected, I'd encourage you to pick up the phone and call a friend.
I encourage you to unmute and share your work with others.
- Share one thing that you have created in public. Ideas: an illustration, a drawing, a photograph, an essay, a blog post, a tweet, a meal, or anything else.
- Email me a link or tag me on social media so I can see it!
- Notice how it feels to unmute in public. Is it terrifying? exhilarating? Is it a mixture of feelings?
If you are on Twitter, I have created a spot here:
Here are a few ways to inspire you to build more meaning, presence, calm, and beauty into your life.
- Watch this the :46 second video below.
- Scan your world. Look for Beauty. What do you see?
- If you feel inspired, share a reflection or picture with others.
- Reflect: How can you create or reveal beauty for others?
I have the song By My Side by the Paper Kites on repeat. There is something about the introspective mood of the song that draws me in. I'm drawn to the way the two people in the song interact with one another. As many of us are socially distancing from one another, there can be a longing to have certain people at our side. There are many evocative phrases that challenge us to reach out to one another in solidarity:
I'll light a flame and let it burn for you / If I ran then I would run to you / I want to tell you anything / I will always try and move you
🌟Nuggets of Wisdom
Bits of wisdom from a variety of sources
Finding a Niche
As I begin to venture into the world of public creation, some people have told me to find a niche. I've always been more of a generalist than a specialist. For now, I'm going to focus on following my passion, becoming a better communicator, and hopefully, providing value for you. If you see my niche before I do, let me know!
Vigneshwar Shankar, a clear thinking blogger, has this breakdown:
Finding Your Thing
Copywriter and Strategist Julia Saxena writes about finding a unique name for something you've created. She calls it micro-IP (intellectual property). I was excited when Julia linked to my G.I.V.E. framework.
Finding Middle Ground
Jenny Kim, an amazing communicator, shares some tips on how to stay engaged in a conversation. Be sure to check out her newsletter, Trade-offs and Triumphs.
Finding value in Learning
I'm excited to follow Ramses Oudt's new project, The Learning Worker Club. Ramses is a "professional learner" who consistently gives tools and strategies to help people learn more effectively.
The always effervescent and playful Reddy2go writes about finding playgrounds and playmates.
Communities are all the rage at the moment as people are beginning to realize how important it is to relate with each other. Today we can choose who we can interact with regardless of distance and the culture we were raised in."
You can more of Reddy2go's work here.
Thanks for reading! If you have any input, comments, or questions, let me know! You can reach me at https://stephenjosephscott.com/