A Poem for Hard Days

Loneliness is holding onto
that which has let you go.
Sorrow is clinging to connection
that has passed through a veil
into the unknown.
Anguish is forgetting that
for everything there is a season
and every season has its time
and that the trick of joyful living is
growing gardens in pain’s rhymes.

©2022 Sheralyn Pratt

My New Favorite Toast

I went camping this past weekend. This was the view:

The first day I was there, 3 hawks, a slew of hummingbirds, and a black-and-white butterfly greeted me, along with this baby Scarlet Bugler:

It was a weekend where logic said I should have stayed home to work, but I went anyway. I put my phone, notebooks, and work to the side and just spent time with the people around me.

Storms blew in, storms blew out, but it was clear about 60% of the time and never got too hot.

Maybe I should have adventured out and explored a little more, but I mostly stayed in our spot and got to know friends-of-friends a little better.

And that is how I came to hear my new favorite toast:

“They call it life.”

Felicia taught it to me. She got it from her Aunt Mary, who was a full-on character. Think of an Italian mother who was also a welder and a foreman, and that’s a snapshot of Aunt Mary.

And when situations around her didn’t really need any more words than they was already getting, Aunt Mary would simply say: They call it life.

And leave it at that.

It’s kind of the perfect phrase for everything.

Two people are arguing and you’re resisting the urge to correct both of them: They call it life.

Miraculous events come together to make for a perfect night: They call it life.

You’re trying to be impressive but end up embarrassing yourself instead: They call it life.

You work hard for years and finally build your dream home: They call it life.

You have plans to go on a trip but get rained out after paying all the fees: They call it life.

Because it is.

None of us are quite certain as to what we’re all doing here, but it’s undisputed that we:

  • share a stage together
  • are collectively ruled over by forces of nature
  • meet in the shared choas of overlapping dreams — past and present
  • call it life

People may debate who/what we are before we come here, or about where we go when we die, but we mostly agree that we’re here now. Together … for some reason.

Even if we would rather not be.

And Aunt Mary’s toast embraces that chaos with a wink and a smile every time.

Not only that, it’s also a hearty reminder to choose your dreams wisely and not insert yourself into every bit of chaos someone brings around.

It was a wink I needed someone to put into words this weekend, to be honest.

You see, I was raised to be a fixer. When things escalated around me, I was the third-party interference that tried to break things up before they exploded, and I never got the memo that I was allowed to stop that as an adult.

I was the anti-Aunt Mary: I tried to fix the chaos while it was hissing and rearing to fight, which … 😂🤣😅 yeah, take it from me, is no way to spend a life.

A better life is to just carve out your little spot in the world, make it into your personal heaven, then ride the bumps and bruises as they come with a can-do attitude and people you like being with.

Of course, you don’t have to do that. You can do anything you want to. After all:

They call it life.

And you can live yours however you want to.

My advice, though?

Don’t get lost in the dreams or legacies of those who came before you OR in the dreams of those currently surrounding you.

Build on them, sure; honor them, if you can; but your time and stage is different than those who came before, and it’s your job to rise and adapt.

They call it life.

It can be a dream or it can be a nightmare. It can be torture or bliss. It’s all in how we meet the chaos that becomes the story we tell when it’s over.

So choose a story you want to tell and get going. Because there are only two things that are certain: the clock is ticking and chaos happens.

Might as well have the chaos find you where you want to be, surrounded by people you enjoy, and with a life’s work you’re proud to leave behind as a gift to those who follow you in time.

Diving Stars: a poem

We are not here to ascend;
we are here to dive like stars
into the abyss of night
until darkness surrounds us
so we can release our light
— unveiling the unknown
by bringing it into sight.

No, we are not here to
retreat to the glory of
our former homes,
but to transcend the void like adventurers
mapping paths to greater roads.

So, dive, my stars!
Descend to unconquered depths
to plant your beacon on
the path to what’s next.

– Sheralyn Pratt, © 2018

A Quick Bio

Hi. My name is Sheralyn Pratt. And the first thing you should know about me is that if I don’t become a DJ before I die, then I definitely didn’t complete my bucket list.

Despicable Me 2 Dancing GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

“But, Sheralyn,” you may say. “You’re not even close to the music scene now and I’ve never seen you touch an instrument.”

True enough. But a quirk of mine is that I sometimes take the long way to where I’m going — imagining the final destination will be richer for the diverse experience gained along the way. *

*Yet after several decades of this approach, I must confess that I’m not certain my approach is the best around. There is something to be said for taking the short roads when you are young, but oh well.

Time will tell. The story’s not over yet.

Let’s see … what else is good to know about me?

I was born and raised to be a devout Mormon, but these days I think I qualify more as a mystic.

Calling myself a “mystic” used to make me feel like I was trying too hard to appear wise or mysterious, but a mystic is really just someone who makes it a practice to sit with difficult thoughts in a meditative state.

And I do that a lot.

In hindsight, it’s kind of hard to tell if being a mystic made me a writer, or if sitting in writerly thoughts created the discipline required to not look away from the uncomfortable.

Either way, the history books will show that I became a writer before I achieved my deejay dreams.

If you look me up now, you will find my reputation has mostly been built in creative writing. I’ve written successful commercials and award-winning fiction. I’ve written manuals and training courses and speeches.

But I much prefer simply speaking.

Honestly, I would probably be a better podcast host than I am a writer. Maybe someday I’ll put that to the test.

Why? Because I’m the kind of person who tests those kinds of things

Maybe the most interesting/frustrating thing about me is my tendency to do things for a time and move on. My resume reads like an ADHD journey filled with Big Fish stories and epic faceplants. And I’m at a spot in my life where I’m embracing that.

Yes, I was once a karate instructor. Yes, I was once a stage performer. Yes, I was once a publicist. Yes, I have written over a dozen books. Yes, I sold t-shirts in Hawaii. Yes, I taught tourists to pan for gold in Alaska. Yes, I have been an aerobics instructor. Yes, I have sat in meetings with Fortune 500 executives and achieved exceptional results in helping them train their employees.

And, yes, I am also known for reading palms at a local crystal shop … among other things.

I am a fully random person who has been around the block and worked at most of the shops.

This makes me a great consultant and an excellent person to meet with when it’s time to look at old things in new ways and strategize for your future.

Funnily enough, my strength as a consultant is actually a little painful for me to admit.

You see, I was raised to be a good worker. Punctual. Reliable. Someone you can count on rain, snow, or shine — 365 days a year. I literally made it from kindergarten to high school graduation with no unauthorized absences.

My parents did their best. Never doubt that.

But in the battle of Nature vs. Nurture, it would seem that Nature may be my winning team. And my nature thrives on variety and changing scenes. And when you catch me in those spaces, you catch the best of me.

So, yeah … there’s a little about me.

Basically, I am a writer who should probably move into podcasting so I can raise myself up to a place where I can just be a DJ for fun. And if I’m mixing my own playlist while surrounded by inventors, creatives, and performers, then you just walked in on my living my best life.

For now, I would love to connect with you online.

Let’s talk — especially if you’re looking for a podcast guest or a quick consult to reflect on your best next steps.

Reach out on Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok.

I look forward to meeting you soon.

It’s Time to be a Headliner: Main Character Energy

The spotlight is on and the house lights are down. Are you ready?

Cuz it’s “GO” time!

Image source: wallpapertag.com

I don’t know about you, but I feel like it’s date night and my date is knocking while I still haven’t figured out what to wear.

Lisa Kudrow Clothes GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I’ve been feeling like that all year … not that you’d know that, since I’ve basically been MIA online the whole time.

If I was on your radar in January, you may remember I started out this year by telling you that 2022 was going to be the Year of Main Character Energy. I even made this spirited header:

I told you that 2022 was the year where anyone not establishing their authentic online presence was missing the boat. Then I ghosted you and went off and did the EXACT opposite of what I’d just advised you to do:

I went dark on the internet for seven months and only engaged with others in person.

And I did this in case I was wrong about the importance of showing up in the digital world during this time — just in case connecting only in the physical world was still a viable way to work.

But it isn’t. Today, I’m actually eager to step into the online energy … even if I’m still not sure what to wear.

Music Video Singing Gif By Katy Perry GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Keeping it real, the past seven months have been a rough grind through some hard knocks. I learned a lot and I’m sure I’ll share some of that super-fun wisdom with you sometime.

But it’s not time for that yet. Now is not the season for unpacking drama.

It’s Leo season !! The season of maximizing your potential by unapologetically embracing your shine.

Leo vibes bringing Main Character Energy, image source https://warriorsofmyth.fandom.com

It’s the season of enjoying all the things that make it fun to be you and calling it “summertime.”

It’s the season for everyone — me, included — to show up to the party NOT as the staff, but as a guest others came to speak to.

In my case, this means it’s time to:

  • start posting videos
  • start online conversations
  • discover my preferred medium
  • enjoy life more
  • develop my reputation

And that all starts today — with this blog and TikTok, soon to be joined with greeting cards, stickers, and other types of unique designs.

Why? Because two things I like to do with my time are: design and write. And I’m going to get in the habit of sharing those things with you.

In life, I am a random, creative person you seek out when you want to look at old things in new ways. But it’s time to stop selling my labor and reputation by the hour and start standing for things that are genuinely mine by showing up real-time.

After all, time marches on, even if we don’t. So why not find the beat of our own drums and dance with it as we go?

Why not choose own our narrative in the chaos and have some fun?

That is Main Character Energy: self-awareness and purpose paired with impeccable timing.

Here’s my last tip as your coach:

Authentically express yourself online in the next 3 weeks.

You’ll be cutting it close on catching your summer rays before pumpkin-latte season sets in, but we’ll do it together.

Image source: Hello Fresh ad

Just remember: Be authentic! The days of positioning yourself like a static brand are done. No one wants to hear a rehearsed monlogue on improv night. You’ve gotta flow.

The online mood now is all about being genuine and in the moment, so that’s all you’ve got to be — while picking your niche and being known for something.

What do you want to be known for?

Embrace that vision today, and step into your main character energy.

It’s time.

__

Want to book me as a guest on your podcast? Message me on Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok.

The Future is Pro-Choice

With gas prices on a runaway train and corporations making record profits during a recession, there isn’t really much for voters on the left to get fired up about this next election.

Or, at least, that was the case until the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent reversal of  Roe v. Wade.

Now even Republicans are ready to march in blue.

It’s not going to make me too popular to say this but, as an Independent voter who knows how these games are often played, I’m not too worried about the Roe v. Wade reversal. I see it as an open door to move a woman’s access to reproductive healthcare into this century — rather than relying on the dated, and somewhat problematic, Roe v. Wade case.

Progress is a pendulum. As a society, we rarely get things right out of the gate and it is typical to overcorrect one way – then the other – before we find homeostasis and a communal balance in the middle.

And sensibilities have definitely changed in the decades since Roe v. Wade made history. So have perspectives on what it means to be Pro-Life and Pro-Choice.

Pro-Life & Pro-Choice in the 20th Century

Once upon last century, you could get away with voting “Pro-Life” if you were voting for your own conscience. If you would never get an abortion, it was considered fair to vote accordingly to express your values as part of a community standard.

Back then, if you voted “Pro-Choice,” the social assumption was that you were a person who might want to get an abortion at some point and were voting for your right to do so.

Those standards are gone.

Pro-Life in 2022

Today, if you are “Pro-Life,” you believe that any healthy woman who gets pregnant should be required to carry the baby to term. Full stop.

You believe you have the right to make moral choices for your neighbor.

You argue that a pregnant woman made her choice when she had sex (or had sex forced upon her) – even if:

  • the contraception she used at the time failed
  • she isn’t ready to be a mother
  • the father isn’t one she’d choose for a child
  • she just had a night of fun that didn’t turn out as planned
  • the child has a medical condition that indicates and short, challenging life
  • … whatever

If you are Pro-Life today, the position you must defend is that any woman who finds herself pregnant has lost her right to not be a mother. She must carry the child to term and either raise it herself or grant the child to an agency to sell to someone else through adoption.

She cannot choose to terminate the pregnancy.

If you are Pro-Life, you consider voluntary termination unethical and unnatural, even though the child in her womb might naturally self-abort during any stage of the pregnancy – first trimester … second trimester … third trimester … stillborn.

All of these are outcomes that might be chosen for the mother by natural selection but, if you are Pro-Life, you believe that the mother has no right to make this decision herself.

Only God or nature can terminate a pregnancy. Not her.

That is the ground you must defend if are Pro-Life in 2022: That you’d never do it so neither can anyone else.

By law.

If a woman becomes pregnant and is capable of carrying a baby to term, she must. Period. If she doesn’t, she is a criminal and subject to prosecution.

Pro-Choice in 2022

If you are Pro-Choice, you believe that a woman should have a choice in if she becomes a mother, when, and with whom.

Perhaps you would never personally get an abortion yourself, but you acknowledge that as your choice and allow that the world is a diverse place with people in all types of circumstances.

You understand that women become pregnant under all sorts of scenarios– some desirable and some less desirable. You believe a woman has a right to a “Reset” button when it comes to whether or not she is tied to a man, a child, or a memory for the rest of her life.

You allow for all sorts of scenarios when determining whether it’s the right time for a woman to have a baby. Maybe:

  • she went out for a night of fun and walked away with more than she planned for
  • she’s being abused and doesn’t know how to stop it
  • she tried to break up with a guy and he got her pregnant to lock her in
  • she’s madly in love but not ready for parenthood
  • she already has children and doesn’t have the ability to support more
  • … anything

If you are Pro-Choice in 2022, you believe that a woman has a right to look at her own situation, say, “Not now,” and receive professional, safe, respectful care.

Those are the lines in the sand.

Current Community Standards are Overwhelmingly Pro-Choice

Anyone is welcome to stand wherever they like on the issue but if you imagine that the majority of U.S. citizens don’t believe in a woman’s right to say “Not now” when it comes to having a baby, you are incorrect.

Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z are all overwhelmingly Pro-Choice. It is a majority-held cultural value now.

This is why I’m certain that the reversal of Roe v. Wade is simply setting the stage for a massive pendulum swing away from anything that looks like a Handsmaid’s Tale.

When history looks back on this moment, I feel confident it will say that the Supreme Court Justices actually did the Pro-Choice movement a huge favor. Why?

Because the U.S. Supreme Court just swung the pendulum back to the 1980s in the middle of a generation that was raised by Gen X.

And no one raised in the 1980s wants to go back to those talking points. They’ve seen how they play out and are not interested in a replay.

The course correction on allowing a woman to decide when and if she becomes a mother will be swift. I’d argue that the only thing democrats have to worry about is that it will be so swift that it won’t impact the upcoming elections in the way they prefer.

Not that it should anyway.

Democratic leadership has had more than enough time and opportunities to solidify Roe v. Wade into law over the past half century. But they haven’t – mostly because they still like it as a single-voter-issue bargaining chip.

And their voters know it.

I personally don’t know a single democrat who doesn’t see the Left’s failure of leadership in this area as intentional manipulation of a hot-topic issue. They’ve lost faith in any politician — except maybe AOC — doing anything and are simply ready to make the change themselves.

They’ll do this in many different ways, but one of the ways I’m most interested in watching is how they’re going to start making Jury Nullification a thing.

Because it’s totally going to start being a thing if women and doctors start getting prosecuted in restrictive states.

If you’re unfamiliar with jury nullification, it’s the finding of a jury that a law shouldn’t be a law and, therefore, even if the person on trial is technically guilty of breaking every letter of it, the accused is not in the wrong.

The law is.

Jury nullification puts the law on trial, not the person. And you’d better bet it will become a rampant phenomenon if mothers and doctors start getting prosecuted for terminating pregnancies according to unforgiving state laws.

Today’s generation waits for no politician. They are more than willing to subvert the system themselves. In fact, they’re chomping at the bit to do it.

Change is Coming

So if you are Pro-Life and you’re celebrating, you can stop now. The U.S. Supreme Court did your cause no favors this summer.

The good news is that you still have a right to carry all your pregnancies to term. The bad news is that community standards no longer support you making that decision for your neighbor.

If you are Pro-Choice, congratulations. It may not look like it, but the winds just shifted massively in your favor.

If current, impotent leaders don’t step up, it doesn’t matter. Community standards are on your side and you can rewrite the laws yourself without wasting your time, money, and effort marching for the attention of politicians — only to have them workshop your talking points into rallying speeches intended to draw your support as they continue to avoid taking action.

That old-school merry-go-round is a dying model and the new model is to replace anyone not taking action.

Be bold, or get out.

And a women’s right to choose just might be the issue that gets this new model organized and ready to take on an entitled establishment.

We shall see.

Regardless, the future will be Pro-Choice.

The good news is that anyone can still be Pro-Life – they just can’t make their neighbor be Pro-Life … just like their neighbor can’t force them to be Pro-Choice.

Because who wants their neighbors deciding if they have a baby or an abortion?

No one.

And that’s why the future is Pro-Choice.

Diving Light

Remember,
we are not here to ascend;
we are here to dive like stars
into the abyss of night
until darkness surrounds us
so we can release our light
— unveiling the unknown
and bringing it into sight.

No, we are not here to retreat
to the glory of our former homes
but to transcend the void like adventurers
mapping paths to greater roads.

So, dive, my stars!
Descend to unconquered depths
to plant your beacon
on the path to what’s next.

Sincerely,
Sheralyn

Do You Have a Brand -OR- Are You the Brand?

A few nights ago, a friend issued me a challenge:

“Meditate on what you take for granted; question your assumptions.”

Turns out, this mindset is pretty much a bottomless well for self-assessment.

Because — I don’t know about you — but I’ve developed a lot of assumptions over the years … many of which are long past their expiration date for needing revisiting.

For example, at the beginning of my career, I accepted the argument that:

It is an author’s job to write to a branded experience;
if an author wants to switch audiences or ratings, a pen name is appropriate.

Since that day, I have never challenged the assumption that this was a requirement of me.

But what if I was wrong? 😲

What if I can write anything I want under my own name? 🤯

It seems like such a silly question to type on the screen in front of me because, of course, I can write whatever I want under my own name.

Duh.

In fact, I should!

So I’m going to do something different this year: I’m going to challenge my assumption that I’m supposed to create branded experiences and simply create.

Stop trying to be a brand, and simply be.

This may sound simple to some of you from the younger generations, but I’m Gen X — we were raised to find purpose in performing well in a role and got in trouble if we made things uncomfortable for anyone with seniority.

So it’s no wonder that the idea of splitting myself up into branded experiences made sense across the years. I was simply being considerate to the comfort of an audience’s experience … while coming across as completely schizophrenic in the process.

Seriously.

If you’ve been watching me these past two weeks, you’ve seen how I’ve struggled to turn myself into a predictable, branded experience.

I’ve given you 5 headers in 2 weeks as I tested different visions on people around me.

On January 1, 2022, I was the Coach of Champions:

But then I decided I needed to CREATE a character for my coaching and billed myself as the $5 Storyteller.

Then there was the $5 Bard — similar concept, but with an even-more targeted experience.

Then there was Z Bard for a few beats.

Sheralyn Pratt is Z Bard in 2022

No lies, ALL of these tested horribly.

Response the concepts were universally flat. And that was because I was not understanding my own assignment.

All because I had an assumption.

This was the assumption:

I am not a model, but I have the skillsets to build models.

I have believed this for actual decades.

But what if I was wrong this whole time?

So that’s what I will be exploring in 2022 as part of the Main Character Energy journey I am sharing with you.

I’m just going to be me … even if I end up doing things that surprise you.

Because surprising you just might be my brand. And who would ever want to trade that in for a predictable experience?

So … the new header is this:

I am the model and this is my storytime.

And I’m going to follow my heart from here.