Amanda Stuermer is a wife, mother, writer, activist, and inspiration junkie – what a wonderful list of things to be! She is also the founder and executive director of World Muse, a social change organization that provides year-round programming to support women and girls as catalysts for change.
I love what Amanda is doing with World Muse – no holding back on being a stand for change. Thanks for sharing your voice with us, Amanda!
What’s the one thing that helps you remember this is your life to steer and shape?
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman
I spent much of my life living for others – trying to either fight or fit into boxes and roles that never really felt right. My meditation practice helps me to stay connected to my true self – that inner compass that knows which direction to steer my life towards – what people, projects, and passions make me come alive. I think we have to ask that question over and over – what makes me come alive now…and now. The answer can change over a lifetime.
Do you have a daily morning ritual to help you remember what’s most important to you? If so, is that easy or a struggle for you?
“Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” ~ Buddha
I believe we choose the direction of our days, and that choice begins with our first waking thoughts. If I wake up worrying how I will ever get my to-do list done, I will feel rushed and pressured the whole day through. My words, actions, and habits will reflect that sense of anxiety. If instead, I wake up grateful for the opportunity to pursue my passions, I will feel inspired and my words, actions, and habits will reflect that. I would so much rather that my character and my destiny be guided by inspiration than anxiety.
So the first thing I do each morning, before getting out of bed even, is to say my gratitude prayer. Some days, I wake up with a running ticker tape of to-do’s in my mind. It’s quite simple – I just give a silent shout out to the universe for all the things I am grateful for – my family, friends, home, work, sunshine, coffee, etc. Sometimes the list is long; sometimes, I just remind the universe, and myself, that I am grateful for ALL of it – the beautiful parts, the messy parts, the parts I would sometimes like to hide under my bed.
What’s your most potent “reset” tool for when your head is about to pop off due to demands for your time and attention?
“Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
When I get into that head-popping overwhelm mode, I feel disconnected from my self. The best way to reconnect is through my yoga practice. Moving with intention from one breath to the next reminds me to move through life in that same mindful way. Yoga is prayer in motion. The goal is for my life to feel more like a prayer in motion and less like curses on a rollercoaster ride!
When you want something or want to affect change in the world, how do you get into action on that desire? How do you think about it, talk about it, let it become real to you?
“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
~ John Lennon
I always start with journaling. If I want to turn my thoughts into my destiny, I have to collect them first. The next step is to share them with others. That is when things get real for me. Sharing my thoughts, dreams, and plans with my community is the best way to breathe more life into them. We can do so much more together than alone.
What do you do to recharge especially in the face of despair and overwhelm? Do you have any “daily joy” rituals or practices?
“To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.” ~ Mark Twain
See above answers: I meditate, pray, journal, and practice my yoga. But to be 100% honest, sometimes I fall off the joy wagon so hard that even those practices aren’t enough to get me back up. That’s when I call on my friends and family. Spending time with them is my surefire cure-all because laughter is the best medicine and love the greatest prayer. Add in music, puppies, and sunshine and I am not only back on the joy wagon, I am pulling it up the hill while dancing a jig.
I feel a kindred spirit in you, Amanda, especially in falling off the wagon – hard. I’m so happy to get to share your insights with my readers. Don’t forget to click on over and check out World Muse!