Mary Anne Radmacher has a way of inviting those who hear or read her words to change their lives, and in Live Boldly, she continues on that engaging path. In the book, she identifies an assortment of qualities for our life's journey and defines each as it relates to laughing loudly, loving truly, playing often, working smart, and sharing your heart. Each definition is followed by a quote, a poem, or an aphorism that explores the quality. Stories culled from Mary Anne's own life and teaching practice are followed by an invitation to readers to listen more closely to their lives, to give themselves what they need and to step back into their daily lives knowing they can choose in that moment, to live boldly by their own definition.Whether readers need or want justice or gratitude, endurance or celebration, comfort or challenge, the process is the same - read and listen to the word, enter into its meaning in the lives of others and bring that meaning to your own life. Other qualities include generosity, compassion, leadership - 34 in all!
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About the Author
Mary Anne Radmacher runs a wholesale business selling her art, posters, and cards. Radmacher also is a speaker and trainer for Participant Centered Results and does workshops on living a full, creative, balanced life. Visit her at maryanneradmacher.com.
Read an Excerpt
cultivate the qualities that can change your life
By Mary Anne Radmacher
Red Wheel/Weiser, LLCCopyright © 2008 Mary Anne Radmacher
All rights reserved.
noun. an important assignment carried out for political, religious, or commercial purposes.
He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.
dare to dream of your great success. become intimate with those things which deeply motivate you and regularly work toward the realization of that mission.
—mary anne radmacher (mar)
In the overwhelming press of possibility and projects, there comes a question.
"What is the single illuminating thing which shines its light on all the elements of the best parts of your life (the sound of which makes your heart sing and your feet dance)?" Answer that and then know: that is the thing you must do.
When I think of a person's mission, I think in terms of a corporate motto or mission statement. As a metaphor, it works to think of myself as a corporate entity. I have lots of departments within my being that all carry out different tasks. The banner above all that work is the single purpose of the corporation, the measure by which work is accepted or rejected. If you don't like the corporate analogy, you can look at the mission on a personal level and call it "the one illuminating thing." When I am connected to that thing, it is very clear. My commitment and ease in any activity is immediate and visible.
One should not confuse their mission with goal setting. Goals emerge as a result of understanding what your mission is ... what fundamentally inspires virtually all the actions and activities of your life? I know what mine is—what is yours? While the sense of mission can have a religious tone, it is not solely limited to that. My mission is to inspire and be inspired. Inspiration is the word of my mission. That touches on the realm of spirit, but it is not only there that it lives. On my best days, inspiration expresses itself through all my choices.
I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Timberly Whitfield on her show, New Morning. There was a flurry of advance preparation—many telephone calls with her producer and lots of information exchanged. Television production is very tied to specific timing and deadline. Yet, as I spoke with my contact, Caroline, I was impressed by her profound attentiveness and calm. Her level of calm was so amazing that I finally asked her to identify her process. I wanted to feature it in a section about focus. As I watched her identify and unfold her process, I saw that what Caroline was really defining was her mission, her fundamental illuminating thing that makes so many other qualities shine. She also thought at first that she was talking about prioritizing and focus. Of course, she addressed attentiveness and lists and keeping the important things straight in her head, but upon deeper and continued reflection, she shared this with me:
I started to think more deeply about the ideas of focus and prioritizing in connection to my core relationship with God, and I realized that there is an outward manifestation of my faith in my day-to-day work life that I'm not completely aware of. But I believe this is what it is: every person I encounter is a reflection of the divine. And therefore, not only is there an instantaneous and deep level of respect for that person, but there is also a "kindredness," a recognition that occurs.
So that's the foundation from which the peace (and apparent focus) springs. Then there is a discerning, again—not necessarily conscious, but still very real—"What does this person need? How can I make him/her feel comfortable so we can work well together?" When people are brought into a unique situation, one which they've never been in before (being on TV, for example), they are looking for direction, for encouragement and for compassion. I reach to give that to that person, each and every time. It is not always easy, figuring out what a person needs, and you have to do that in a split second in TV land. It can occur in an instant over the phone, by the person's voice or choice of language. But I draw often on my previous experience when I was a music manager. In that capacity I learned how to pull a note out of a symphony, a lyric or word out of a composition, a rhythmic sequence from an entire bass line, listening to music and learning from a music producer. I also had to learn to read him pretty well, too. I learned to use laser beam technique similar to the one he used in music to establish a better communication between us and ultimately between myself and everyone with whom I work. I am extremely grateful for that experience—learning to produce from a master producer.
Those are the spiritual and psychological components for me.
Meanwhile, there are the deadlines and the rush-rush-rush demands of production that must be met in order for me and everyone else to get the job done. So this is where the prioritizing comes in: what needs to happen right now? And then what will happen next? And who needs what before when? Part of this thought process comes from doing this for a while—there is a certain rhythm, a certain "punch list" that you need to hit for each and every story. I make a template for every show I work on so that it includes all the basic necessities, from making sure the elements are legally sound to transportation needs for each guest. It always helps to write it down. Write out everything you need or think you might need. You need to anticipate a different scenario and know how you'll respond. A good example: What if my guest is delayed by weather or suddenly can't make the show? Who's my back-up? How do I follow up with the travel arrangements I made and don't want to be socked for? What changes do I need to make in the script right now?
As a producer, you need to be prepared with a Plan B. And if you're doing live TV, plan on Plans C-Z, too. That comes with experience and the unadulterated understanding that things will happen and things will change at the last minute, and that's just the nature of the beast. You can't fight it. You have to be willing to let the chips fall where they may and trust, implicitly, that it will work regardless.
That's where the faith comes back in—can't shake it. Because who am I to say I will control this situation? Who am I to say that I can control anything in life, including my own? You have to roll with it. And there's that ease again, that peace again. Because even if I fail, and I will, oh boy, will I! That still, small voice says, "I am with you, I will never abandon you or forsake you. It's going to be fine." And it's that realization that takes me even deeper: my identity cannot be shaken by circumstances or opinions or natural disasters or bad TV. My core is a harbor for the Peace I have been left.
A friend was talking about sanctification the other day. The down and dirty work that you and the Spirit have to do together to refine your soul. And, in a way, that's exactly what my work is about. Heck, it's what life is about! It's painful, exciting, scary, and ultimately glorious. That reflection of the divine will simply get clearer and more vivid the more you're doing the work and trusting that the God of the Universe has your back, and therefore, oh yes, therefore, everything really is just fine, fine, fine.
—Caroline Sprinkel Santangelo
noun. 1. the art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other. 2. a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
live as if this is all there is.
How may I spend this day that it may have consequence beyond my own embrace?
People say it all the time. No matter how bad things are, there's always somebody who's got it worse than you. And I ask myself, "Is that supposed to make me feel better?" Well, yes. It is. And it should. But—it doesn't always.
Perspective, which is a particular attitude toward something, is the greater thing to which many aspire. Seeing a singular or small element in the context of a larger vision or mission is perspective. While the element may be a disappointment in itself, set within the "bigger picture" or "the larger perspective," it becomes part of the process.
Who do you know that always seems to be in cadence with their own plans? When surprises come along, they are able to incorporate them into the rhythm and just keep on. Perspective. There's a reason that coaches talk about this in their team vocabulary a lot. It's an essential component for winning. Players have to bring a certain point of view to the game, and this is true in any sort of setting. Your point of view sets you up well in advance for how you view the events as they unfold.
It's an old phrase, familiar and true: Things are either stumbling blocks or stepping stones. Unexpected events can set you back or set you up. It's all a matter of—perspective.
Anyone who's benefited from a Twelve Step program recognizes the assessment, "It's your best thinking that got you here." Einstein asserted that it's a sure sign of insanity if you think the same actions are going to produce different results.
Perspective sometimes requires dramatic assistance. And the courage to step outside of your own immediate comfort or habits of thinking.
noun. 1. the faculty or state of being able to see. 2. the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom. 3. a mental image of what the future will or could be like.
If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live.
—Martin Luther King Jr.
vision: to expect a greater standard, a better result; to step up, peer over the shoulders of what is ordinary and get a good sighting on what is possible. to act with vision is to dare and believe a greater thing will unfold before you as you clear your sight.
At twenty-seven I was still convinced that I'd have to wait until I was at least forty to have enough money and accumulated knowledge to start my own company. My father always said I should either start my own greeting card company or else buy stock in one. From as young an age as eight, I would purchase my own cards at the neighborhood drugstore and rewrite the text on the inside. Go figure. Skill sets come out early, don't they?
At twenty-eight years of age, with fifteen dollars as the total of my holdings, I began my company with eighteen images and a great deal of vision. The accumulated education would present itself over the coming decades. It was a stroke of fortune that I didn't know anything about business when I started my company. If I had grasped cash flows and initial investments and market trends, I'm certain I would have "known better" and never have begun.
After a few years in business, I made the significant investment and started showing my work at the industry's pinnacle trade show: the New York stationery show. I met a woman named Susan Pfeiffer. What a character. How much she knew about art and an artist's heart. The first time she walked up to me, it was as if I were being greeted by an old friend. Over time, that's what Susan became.
Before I tell you the rest of the story let me tell you this ...
When President Clinton was elected the first time, I created a card in his honor. It read, "Change, of any sort, requires courage. I remember a place called HOPE." I told the members of my staff that someday I would be creating my work especially for President Clinton. No one scoffed, but it seemed fairly out of reach. My friend, Dr. Deanna Davis, would say that I was taking "inspired action," an important element in using the Law of Attraction.
Susan and I shared a mutual friend who I would not meet for years to come. Connie Fails. These two woman shared knowledge of my product and my work. When the time came to build a presidential library, and the Clintons asked Connie to step forward and create their museum store, Connie said yes.
Susan offered her help and both women decided, out of all the lettering artists in the country, to call me and ask if I would select and render some of President Clinton's quotes for the store. Over the years, many people had asked me to do this very thing. The answer was always no. Thank you, but no. My business vision tied my unique signature lettering style to my own original writings and no one else's words. Very clear-cut. And it made saying "no!" easy for years.
Then, Connie called. My strategically prepared answer and way of thinking about my business changed instantly.
I am not a political junkie. But when an issue moves me, or a candidate who stands for my values stands up ... I put my shoulders behind their vision. William Jefferson Clinton was such a stand-up candidate. In the early nineties, anybody who knew me knew that, given less than ninety seconds, I was going to tell them about this governor from Arkansas that the United States needed as their leader. And we got him.
In the very instant for which I had trained myself to say no, I said yes. Yes. I would be honored to be the scribe of President Clinton's words. I would be thrilled to place his timeless observations into a format which would bring his words into the homes and offices and classrooms of thousands of people. This man is artful in his communication, and I would bring my best artfulness to this project. And I did. I had my own collection of Clinton quotes all ready to go. His words had long inspired me. Both as a writer and as a citizen.
That could have been the end of this story. But it's not. Actually it's where this story of vision begins.
Ten days before the opening of the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Susan Pfeiffer called me and, in her summery way, said, "Hey by the way, I'm dying with a bazillion different things and I'm not sure which one is going to get me first. But I've had a vision and I know that I'm supposed to bring you to Little Rock and send you to the Library opening, and I need to give you, as a gift, to my dearest friend, Connie Fails; this is really important and I know you're busy and this is short notice but ... won't you come?" Her sentence may have been a little longer than that! Just as she packed a lot into a life, she packed many ideas into a few sentences.
Of course I went. I was supposed to be "gifted" to Connie, but in truth, she was gifted to me. Connie was Susan Pfeiffer's dying gift to me. Connie got a cool necklace from Susan, and I got Connie. I was gifted with the friendship of Paul and Linda Leopoulos. And over time, many of the fine souls affiliated with this work have come to my shoulder and I am honored to know them.
I came and I worked at the Presidential Museum store. I stocked. I inventoried. I took my decades of retail experience and was welcomed into the nascent team at the store who did not grasp that thousands of people were going to line up around the block and come to purchase a little piece of an extraordinary history. There weren't enough hands to keep the shelves stocked with all the pieces of the life of President Clinton that these folks wanted to carry away. In between stocking, I pulled my pencil out and signed the posters. And personalized them. It was a magical time.
Through a series of remarkable turns of events ... I was at the Clinton Library during its opening ceremony. I was one of the few people who were warm and dry. I stood ten feet from Bono singing. I wept as he sang "Sunday, Bloody Sunday." (That man expresses his vision beautifully through his music.) I was moved, then, by all that this past president was accomplishing in the world, and I couldn't really have begun to imagine how far his reach would continue to go through his foundation work. But that day, standing seventy-five feet away from the podium containing a historic collection of presidents, I would have believed that anything was possible. After all, look where I was standing—speaking of anything being possible. Eleven days earlier, my plans were completely different. Susan called. There was vision. Things changed.
Turns out, with President Clinton anything is possible. Why not gather together the most powerful people in the world and make them pay to make the world a better place, ask them to make a commitment to change and then hold them accountable to their promise on a global stage? Why not call that a Global Initiative and rock the world with it? Why not? Why not have the vision and then put the courage behind it to make it come to fruition? And as for vision—it came right back to my personal experience in that building, that day. I was there because Susan had the vision of it, and the guts to act upon what she saw. Turns out Susan Pfeiffer believed anything is possible, too.
Excerpted from Live Boldy by Mary Anne Radmacher. Copyright © 2008 Mary Anne Radmacher. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
How to Use This Book
Play as Often as You Can
Work as Smart as You Are Able
Share Your Heart as Deeply as You Can Reach
Choose in Ways that Support Your Dreams
Honor Your Actions as Your Teachers
As You Awaken
May Your Dreams Greet You by Name
And May You Answer "Yes"
As You Walk
May Angels Gather at Your Shoulder
May You Know Angels Stand with You as You Rest
May All Your Endeavors Be Rooted in Contentment
May All Your Endeavors Be Rooted in Peace