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positive change: wild sister magazine



Today's post is part of a segment on Positively Present called "Positive Change." Posts labeled "Positive Change" are featured periodically on Positively Present and will highlight the people, websites, and organizations that are striving to make the world a more positive place. Today's post features a new magazine, Wild Sister, launched by Jen of My Smiling Heart. [Full disclosure: I'm an Assistant Editor for the magazine and you can find one of my articles in the first issue.]


I'm a big fan of magazines -- both the online kind and the hard copy kind -- so I was thrilled when I learned about Wild Sister, a new online magazine created to inspire women. The magazine features artists, poets, writers, travellers, coaches, nurses, and bloggers and it focuses on inspiring and empowering women everywhere. When Jen came to me to tell me of her new venture, I was thrilled to be a part of it. Empowering women (and people in general!) is so important to me -- as is offering words of wisdom and inspiration -- so it was a no brainer to decide to get involved in Jen's project.

So what is a wild sister? According to Jen, the term "wild sister" can be summed up like this:

Being wild means embracing your light, and your dark, to be your complete, beautiful, perfectly imperfect self. Being a sister means connecting with your kiup, sharing your truth, and standing together. Being a wild sister means listening to your heart and following your dreams.

It means living your passion, loving yourself unconditionally, and being a force of good in this world. It means believing in yourself, no matter what others say or how many challenges the world throws at you. It means letting go of the past, embracing the present, and trusting that everything happens for a reason. It means facing your fears, making mistakes, and creating your own path in life.

It means speaking your truth, and liberating others to do the same. It means being real, authentic, and free. It’s standing barefoot on the grass, dancing amongst the trees, singing from your soul, chasing rainbows, and howling at the moon. It’s jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down. It’s all this, and so much more.


The first issue of the magazine -- which can be yours for only $2 -- features articles that support Jen's idea of what it means to be a wild sister. Articles like "10 Ways to Fly Beyond Creative Dream Fears and Frustrations," "Claiming Sacred Space: Living in the Here and Now," and "The Art of Listening to Your Heart" will leave you feeling inspired and motivated to live out your life as a wild sister.  

Wildsistermagazine issue1 What I love most about Wild Sister is the magazine's ability to combine the wildness we all feel from time to time -- a restless, almost insatiable passion for living -- with the need to be close and committed to one another in a bond of sisterhood. For many women, there is often a struggle between the wildness and the sisterhood, but Jen's magazine, thanks to all of the great contributions, brings these two forces together and shows us how that can coexist rather than contradict. 

If you're interested in downloading a copy (and you should!), check out the Wild Sister website. It's a $2 definitely worth spending! And come be wild with me and the other sisters on Twitter, Facebook, and via the Wild Sister Newsletter

it's TIME for some optimism: the scientific pros of positivity




When I spotted the June 6 issue of TIME on the shelf at the airport magazine stand, I was instantly intrigued by the cover's bold title: The Science of Optimism. Written by Tali Sharot, author of The Optimism Bias, the article takes a scientific look at why our brains lean toward positivity in spite of the all of the negativity around us. According to Sharot, "The belief that the future will be much better than the past and present is the optimism bias." It's because of this that, though we can collectively grow pessimistic, "private optimism, about our personal future, remains incredibly resilient." 

As Sharot argues, "overly positive assumptions can lead to disastrous miscalculations...but the [optimism] bias also protects and inspires us; it keeps us moving forward rather than to the nearest high-rise ledge." Though viewing everything through rose-colored lenses can actually be a negative thing, focusing more on the positive actually has quite a few scientific benefits. According to the article, here are some of the benefits for those embracing an optimistic outlook: 


The Benefits of an Optimistic Outlook 

  • Optimists are motivated to pursue goals because they can imagine alternative, better realities and believe these realities can be achieved. 

  • Optimists earn more money (probably because they work longer hours) -- and they also save more money too. 

  • Optimists are not less likely to divorce, but they are more likely to remarry (which is, as the article says, "the triumph of hope over experience").

  • Optimists are more likely to have less stress and better physical health. They are more likely to take vitamins, eat low-fat diets, and exercise and, as a result, typically live longer. 

  • Optimists have a chance to live longer. In a study of cancer patients, pessimists were more likely to die within 8 months than their more optimistic counterparts. 

  • Optimists expect positive things to happen -- and, even when positive things don't happen, optimists tend interpret misfortunes in a positive way

  • Optimists value and affirm their decisions so their lives are not filled with second-guessing and constantly wondering, "What if....?" 


From personal experience, I know there are a lot of benefits for being positivity. Really, if I'm completely honest with myself, embracing the idea of a more positive attitude (even if I admittedly don't always put it into practice) has changed my life immensely for the better. Since I started focusing on positivity (aka, when I created Positively Present back in February 2009), I've reaped tons of rewards in my life. Here are just a few of the things that have happened to me since I made optimism a priority in my life: 


My Personal Positivity Pros 

  • Though I am a self-diagnosed shopaholic, over the past two years I've saved more money than I ever could have imagined

  • After years and years of relationship ups and downs, I found the love of my life about a year and half ago. (A direct result, I believe, of a new-found love for myself.)

  • Every day for the past 2+ years, I spend time doing what I love -- writing -- which is something I used to keep in the "someday" file in my mind. 

  • Since focusing on living a positive life, I've stopped partaking in negative activities and stopped spending time (or as much time) with people who bring me down. 

  • About a year ago, I was hired at a new company. Though the transition wasn't initially smooth, I now actually enjoy my job and like going to work every day (ok, most days). 

  • Though not perfect by any means, my relationships with friends and family have improved since I embraced a more positive life. 

  • By enjoying my life more and looking for the positive things in every single day, I've become generally happier and focused on the present moment

  • I now believe in a brighter, happier future for myself and the ones I love, something I definitely didn't do before. 


Whether you look to the science explained in the TIME article or to the ramblings of an online optimist like myself, it's hard to deny that there are some pretty serious benefits when it comes to being optimistic. I really used to think the idea of a positive attitude was just nonsense, something people said to keep themselves believing that this god-awful existence was worth something. But over the past few years I've found that all of that "nonsense" has some serious value. And apparently, according to TIME, I'm not the only one benefiting it. If you're looking for a one-way ticket to a better, happier, and apparently healthier life, I'd recommend giving optimism a go. You don't lose anything by giving it a shot -- and, hey, look at all that you might gain! 

words to live by: looking for alaska

Lookingforalaska ()

She turned away from me, and softly, maybe to herself, said, "Jesus, I'm not going to be one of those people who sits around talking about what they're gonna do. I'm just going to do it. Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia." 

"Huh?" I asked.

"You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you'll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present." 

I guess that made sense. 


After constantly seeing references to it on Tumblr, I finally indulged myself in reading Looking for Alaska. I'd picked up the book countless times in the bookstore and, for one reason or another, put it back down again. A few weeks ago, I finally purchased it and realized what all the fuss was about. It was a great book. Inspiring and, despite the premise, oddly uplifting. Above is one of my favorite passages from the book, a conversation between Alaska and the boy who loves her. It made me realize that, really, so many of us use the future to escape the present. We keep thinking someday will be the day we'll do something -- instead of doing it today. This passage -- and this book -- is a great reminder of how we all should live in the present and stop using the future as an excuse. 


"Words To Live By" is a segment on Positively Present that features my favorite quote or lyrics from the week. Every Sunday I post a quote or lyrics that have inspired me with the hope that they'll inspire you too. Comments will be closed on these posts, but feel free to tweet the post if you enjoy it or contact me via Twitter