About Erin Terese

The views of others inspire me, intrigue me and propel me forward. Exploring this life, through words.

Paperback or eReader? That is the Question.

The fact that you are reading this is proof of how you would answer “To read, or not to read? That is the question”.  In an age where most people turn to video for stories and news, we still turn to written word.  And I can also wager you read quite a bit online since you are reading this blog.  But how do you prefer to read the books you buy?  Paperback or eReader?

The environmentalist in me wants so badly to love the ever-so-popular eReader.  Why can’t I just be happy sitting on the subway with my Kindle or reading in the cafe on my Tablet?  I suppose it is because I am a romantic.  There is something about turning the pages that excites me.  Feeling the paper in my hand, unable to see the words that come next.  The seconds feel like minutes as the page moves from right to left, letting out the scent of dust and time in the turn. It just is not the same with the scroll on a screen.

My favorite books have coffee spills and corners turned down.  Highlighted words and notes in the margin. Pen marks and business cards for bookmarks.  The scent and markings of each book becomes as much of a joy as the words within the binding.  The memories of reading the book are not only stored in the corners of my mind, but are evident in the scars and battle-wounds etched into the paper. Raindrop damage from when it shielded me as I dashed to my car during the downpour. Bite marks on the corner left by my scruffy nephew Molson when I was his caretaker and dog walker.  Proof of our time together. Love bites.  Does he too love David Brown adventure novels, or was he trying to play fetch?

paperback

Yes, I know there are apps and add-ons to make notes and mark pages.  But it is not the same as when it is done by hand.  With ink that smears and lines that curve.  Misspellings and markings made in error.  Evidence. Proof of where I was when I read it – mentally and physically.  For me there is love in those pages.  Love of life.  Love of words.  Breaths of anticipation and spills (literally) of excitement.

To me, there is no contest.  There is no doubt that I would choose the weight and heaviness of the Paperback every time.  Yes, I can see the allure of carrying hundreds of books on one small device that slips easily into my purse.  But it doesn’t make my heart dance and sing when it catches a glimpse of it.  The color doesn’t grab my eye and steal my attention.  It doesn’t make me want to curl up on the couch and spend a rainy afternoon flipping pages and turning down corners. Only Mr. Paperback does that to me.  And to him I will remain loyal.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

P.S.  Thank you Weekly Writing Challenge for the prompt.

Following Your Happy

I remember a time when it was difficult just to make it through the day.  When I would wake up, dreading the day ahead of me, barely able to put myself together and make it to work.  I’d be sitting at my desk, choking back tears and trying just to breathe through the moment.  Just to make it.  Trying not to fall to pieces and leap out of my skin. Not to crawl into a cave and hide away from the realty of the pain.  I remember those days.  I rarely think of them now, but I will always remember what it was like to live in that kind of existence.  The walls and loneliness and guilt and despair.  The hurt and anger, regret and disbelief.

I am so grateful those days are gone.

It’s almost hard to believe that was me.  That was my life.  That was my pain and my prison of emotion. I remember wondering and hoping and wishing I could break free and breathe easy again.  But never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would find this kind of peace and happiness in my life. That it was even possible to feel so content and so at ease in my own skin. To feel so loved and so supported and so fulfilled.  I never imagined that as a single woman turning 30 with an old beat-down car and shoes that need mending, I would feel so blessed.  That I would be able to see beauty in every day and every thing that crosses my path.  I never knew it could be like that.  I never knew that kind of love.

It began by wanting more.  Being sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.  Not wanting to cry and feel defeated.  Wanting to feel happy.  Wanting to know what made me happy.  Wanting to know that happy was possible.  It began by following my happy.  That was my first step out. My first grasp at the light and a world that was more possible that not.  Following my happy.  It seems so simple really, and yet it was, for me, the biggest leap of faith.  How could following my happy really help?  Isn’t it self indulgent to chase after happiness?  Yes.  And what better than to indulge yourself in happiness.  What a beautiful act of self care and self love.

Yes, that is me skipping toward the water!

Yes, that is me skipping toward the water!

Instead of staying home and eating ice cream on the couch with a glass of red wine and a horror flick, I called a girlfriend and we went on a walk.  Or out for a glass of wine.  Or to see a band.  Or to a movie.  I started saying yes.  F$ck it, I had to try new things.  Maybe I would like it!  Maybe it would make me happy.  Maybe it would give me hope and inspiration and help me figure out what I wanted.  Maybe if I said yes and went to every concert and cooking class and drum circle.  If I went to every symphony and art opening and karaoke night.  If I just said yes when I was invited and pushed my comfort zone.  Maybe there was more beyond the walls I built for myself and safety net of friends and hobbies I had built.  And there was.  And so much more.

To write about it all would be a novel in and of itself.  But I can tell you one thing that is so incredibly true:  the state of peace and serenity I now live in all began by wanting more.  By making the choice to follow my happy.  To follow the laughter and the smiles and the things that make my heart dance.  To embrace those moments and seek them out. To cherish them, to share them and to hold them in my heart.  To make those moments the ones I carry with me forever.

How about you?  What has helped you live a life filled with passion and purpose?

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

The Language of Intent

We live in an age of great technological advancement.  Every year brings a new smart phone, a new application, website and quicker means of communication.  I Skype with my parents back in Wisconsin to see the snow and hear how the Packers are doing. FaceTime with my friend in Texas to see the view from her rooftop deck. Text with the men I meet to line up dates. Talk on the phone with my Grandmother. Write letters via snail mail with my sister. Email with my coworkers and friends. Tag my friends on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Stay in touch via Pinterest and Tumblr.  Oh and I talk to these people in person.  With so many means of communication, is it any wonder why there is such great miscommunication?

How often do we feel alienated by a post we see or a text we receive?  How regularly do we misinterpret an email or text and assume it said one thing, when the intention was really something else?  How often is something we wrote in good-fun or humor taken seriously or with offense?  How often is our silence or non-response taken as an insult?  I’m guessing there is some head nodding, eye rolling, or sighs of agreement going on as you read this. Am I right?

There is something that unites us all.  A language that is spoken in every corner of the world. A universal language. The Language of Intent.

Behind every spoken word, text sent, picture shared, high-five given, hug squeezed, or letter mailed, there is an intention.  A meaning.  A purpose.  A feeling felt and a feeling meant to be expressed (not always the same).  With all of this going on, of course we experience confusion! We are wading through the words and images, through the smiles and sounds, to find the truth.  The authentic message.  The intent behind the exchange.  So often, the intent does not match the words or presentation – thereby causing more confusion.  We are in such a rush to “express ourselves” and “fix” the situation, that communication is often sent abruptly and without proper care and attention to timing.

It is really best to take a moment, focus your feelings and intent before moving forward.  What are you trying to express?  Are you trying to share, help or confront?  Are you looking for resolution, an apology or are you just looking to vent?  Be clear in your mind before you move forward.  Seek the answers within your soul and see what your true intent is.  Is it for you or the person you are addressing?  And with that intent in mind, which mean of communication is best?  Is it truly urgent or can it wait?

This unspoken language is seen in many forms, but we feel it and know it best in our gut.  Our intuition. 

Knowing that this universal language flows through the undercurrent of every exchange, what if we all took a moment to set our intent before moving forward?  If we were to do this, would we communicate more effectively?  I really do think that understanding your intent and becoming clear on the intent of those you are communicating with, is the best way for everyone to be understood.  For exchanges to be truthful.  For voices to be truly heard and an authentic moment to be had.

language of intent

What do you think?

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

I Vow To Hold You In My Heart

Nothing is coincidence, I know this to be true. Each step and breath and instinct, has lead me straight to you. Already we have grown and changed, and loved and learned and saw. The greatest moments we create, when no effort is placed at all. Within your arms I build my home, and there I will reside. And should I ever lose my way, your eyes will be my guide. On this great day and each to come, I vow, my dear, to you. To love and cherish everything, that flows through all you do. I choose you as my friend and partner, lover, constant guide. I vow to hold you in my heart and to these truths abide.

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marriage vow

*This was written for a very dear friend of mine. May she have a lovely wedding and a lifetime of love.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

Why Starting Over is a Good Thing

There are many ways to view starting over. It may seem daunting, overwhelming, exciting or exhilarating. In truth, the concept of starting over generally brings about anxiety in most people. It implies scrapping all that has occurred and starting from the beginning – insinuating that all work up to this moment is null, void or a waste of time. I’d like to re-frame the idea of starting over as a rebirth. A new opportunity. A chance to create, start fresh and begin anew. An opportunity to reflect upon the past, gather all that you have learned and apply your new self and ideals to this endeavor. If you were to think about it that way, wouldn’t your new approach yield a result much more spectacular than before?

Starting over in your career, relationships or hobbies can feel frustrating at times – but it may be what is absolutely necessary. Presenting your authentic self to the world is one of the most important pieces of this puzzle called life. In order to lead a life filled with love, passion and purpose, we must feed our soul. And what feeds our soul? That which speaks to our authentic self. If we are in a career, relationship or partaking in a hobby that does not align with our authentic self, we most likely are not receiving the nourishing love and energy that feeds our soul. Starting over in a way that represents your true self allows the space for you to thrive. Beginning anew and starting fresh from a place of pure intent allows the world to recognize your authentic self and to respond accordingly. Moving forward carrying a renewed sense of purpose will open doors that have not been opened before. Paths will illuminate and guide you on your new course.

C

Starting over is not something that should be feared. It is something that should be embraced. Welcomed. Cherished. Creation is the ultimate source of life and all that exists. Any chance we have to create should be appreciated and accepted with gratitude.

How will you create the world in which you live?

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

P.S. Inspired by the Daily Post Writing Challenge: Starting Over

Learning to be Mindful

This post was written for The Lotus Effect – a group created to aid in Spiritual Development.  Enjoy!

Today’s challenge is one I hope you all choose to partake in.  This challenge lasts for one full waking day.  From the time you wake until the time you drift into a peaceful sleep, I want you to be mindful of your thoughts, actions and the words you speak.

Mindful

Our Mind is an amazing tool.  We use it to assign words and values to people and things.  We remember past experiences and formulate wishes and hopes for our future.  It is an amazing and beautiful tool we use to help express our soul and emotions. But I want you to “keep in mind” that your mind is a tool – it is not you.  It is a tool to help you. And as we all know by now, your mind can also speak words of doubt, hurt, conspiracy and gossip.

I want you to be mindful of the words that are passing through your mind and across your lips.  Are they serving you?  Do the words in your mind express doubt and uncertainty?  Do the words you speak express love and acceptance?  Are the words you think and speak reflecting who you are?  Does it reflect your spirit?

All of us participating in The Lotus Effect are trying to open our mind and our heart to a more loving and peaceful existence here in our bodies.  We need to eliminate our self-doubt, negative thinking and judgment of others.  Our primary concern during this process is finding peace and love within, thereby allowing us to share this wonderful state of being with others.  We are looking inward.  As you catch yourself having negative thoughts and conversations throughout the day, I want you to stop and recognize them.  This is not to say you shouldn’t explore why you are having these negative thoughts and speaking in such a manner, but today I want you to realize how much of your energy is spent in this area.  Until we understand how our mind is perceiving our experience, how will we know where to start our healing and what issues need to be addressed.

Do not feel badly about your negative thoughts and words you speak, just recognize that they are there.  If you so choose, feel free to correct your thoughts with a positive affirmation or stop your gossip or conversation in its tracks by changing topics.  But for now, the most important thing is that you observe yourself.  I want you to experience your thoughts and interactions as if for the first time.  Let them resonate with you. What is your mind doing and is it serving you?  Your mind is a tool and is here to help you live the life your innermost self is meant to live.  Do not let your mind get in the way.  Your mind is not going to like this challenge, but your soul, spirit and inner light (whichever you choose to call it) will love this.

Ultimately, we want to trust our intuition and soul.  Part of this is learning the language we have taught our mind to use, and training it to work in a manner that serves us now.  Whether this means quieting your mind, calming negative thoughts or learning to be present rather than thinking about the past and future, we need to first see where our mind is going and what we are doing in there.

This exercise is to know your Self and better understand your inner workings.

It is more challenging than you think.  Please re-read this challenge, take it all in, turn on the Awareness Button and observe your thoughts and the words you speak all day.  Be Mindful of your Self. Once you are aware of how your Mind is serving you and how it is viewing the world around you, you can better assess what areas and issues are in most need of your loving attention.  We all have issues, triggers from our past and hidden things from our childhood that flow in the undercurrent of our emotions.  This exercise is to help you see what parts of you may need healing.  What issue is manifesting itself as impatient, judgmental, anxious, nervous, worried, lonely, overly busy, overly concerned?Be mindful of your thoughts.  Be mindful of your actions.  Be mindful of your words.  Be mindful of your inner voice that speaks through the knot in your throat, the pit in your stomach and the butterflies in your heart.  Be mindful – all – day – long!

Now, re-read, turn on the Awareness Button and observe.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

2012 Blog Posts in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

Farewell, Dear 2012.

As I prepare for a night of music and dancing with some of my favorite people, I feel I must take pause for one final moment of self reflection this year.  There are only hours left in this year and it’s as if the past year is flashing before my eyes.

My heart swells at the amount of joy in my heart, laughter in my breath and gratitude in my soul.  Tears have been brimming in my eyes throughout the day, recalling all of the wonderful people and life lessons that have come and gone.  I have learned so very much this year, but one of the things that I am most grateful to have learned is to remove the idea of “bad” and “good” and simply take what happens as a lesson.  It makes letting go so much easier when you can take your lesson, say thank you, and move forward.  When you can remove ego and simply enjoy your moment rather than feel as if you won by your accomplishments.  Finding the space to live purely within the moment is the greatest gift. One that I will continue to work on moving in to 2013.

farewell 2012

This is going to be an amazing year.  I know this.  I feel this.  I trust this.  Awe and wonder, beautiful and bountiful change, lie around every corner this year.  Awaken the magic!

To you and yours: enjoy this moment and each-other.

Much love,

Erin Terese

Silent Night

Silent Night has always been one of my favorite Christmas songs.  While there are many songs that are beautiful, fun or filled with holiday spirit, this song just seems so pure and filled with love.  Beauty hangs on the notes, dances with the words and warms all of the corners of my heart. Such pure joy is found in the birth of a child, in the twinkling of the cosmos and in “love’s pure light”.  This song is about the birth of Jesus, but in a way, it feels like a song meant for us all.  For we each are born with pure love and light.

Silent Night

This recording is for my mother.  She is a bright shining star of love and guidance in my life and my biggest supporter.  Since she wants so deeply for me to sing again, I recorded Silent Night on my iPhone for her this Christmas.

This is a rough recording, but may the feeling of love and light be with you today.

Merry Christmas!

Yours truly,

Erin Stafford