Month Eleven: Heart in the Clouds

Here it is. Month eleven. ELEVEN. How did that happen? I’m sure I did a million things wrong in the last eleven months, but each month, I feel like I’m really excited to see what comes next. So I must be doing at least one thing right.


Month eleven was a good month. It was an inner soul month. Where I was able to focus on things that lit me up, that made me bounce around in my chair while I was talking, that allowed me to focus on and celebrate women in my community.

Several days ago, I was having trouble falling asleep. Usually when that happens, there’s something rolling around in my brain that I need to get out. Some blog post idea or marketing strategy or community project that has to make it’s way into my notebook so I can fall asleep. This particular page was a list of things that are true about who I am and I’m going to share this list with you right now.

•I love swimming. I love swimming because it almost feels supernatural. You’re weightless, allowed to pull your feet slowly up and fly above the ground. It’s the closest thing I can imagine feeling to an alternate dimension and I love it.

• Most nights before I go to bed I turn on a light that projects swirling lights of changing colors onto my bedroom ceiling. I try to find patterns in the lights. Sometimes it looks like horses running, sometimes it looks like a ballet performance. Most times it looks like I’m in one of those ice hotels, underwater maybe, or looking at the Northern lights.

• Sometimes I doubt what the heck in doing and think about going back to a safe, steady 9-5. Sometimes I pull myself through to sticking with these crazy dreams by telling myself that I’m creative enough to make it work. Or motivated. Or imaginative. And sometimes I tell myself, “You’re a left-handed Sagittarius. You were meant to do crazy things.”

• I believe in things that aren’t true. I believe that believing in things that aren’t true makes them true. For example: there really isn’t any proof that left handed people are more creative. I also don’t think I believe in astrology at all. But believing those things is sometimes what puts me back on track to chasing down my dreams. So they shape my reality just the same. My belief that I’m meant to be a wild dreamer because my birth date and handedness say so gives me permission to be a wild dreamer.

• I’m a gift giver. I can’t help it. I absolutely love creating and giving gifts. So much so that my business card is a gift in itself. Gift giving is my love language.

• When I was a child, my dad used to scold me and tell me I was just like my mother. “Your mother doesn’t live in reality. She lives in some fantasy land where she thinks everything should be great all the time.” And I remember thinking, “What’s wrong with that?”My mother encouraged my imagination. She made our time magical and enchanting and heartfelt. Her fantasy was our reality. What if we all lived in our fantasies and brought things back to reality for each other? My head is in the clouds. My heart is in the clouds. And what I see there, I bring back and share it. Of all the things, that one thing feels like my purpose.

In the Doctor Who episode, “The Day of the Doctor,” (*light spoilers*) three different versions of The Doctor are locked in a tower behind a wooden door. The Doctors’ Sonic Screwdriver doesn’t work on wood so they come up with an incredibly complex method of creating an advanced algorithm that will calculate the frequency of the vibration of the molecules… I’m not really sure what but they come up with this super complex plan of escape. And just as it’s about to work, someone bursts in and they realize the door was unlocked the entire time.

I remember thinking it was interesting because his method of escape actually fits in with who he is at his core. It was more obvious for him to work out the vibration formula thing than it was for him to check the door. And I thought if I was locked in a tower, what would be the most obvious plan of escape for me? Out the window? Yell for help? Try to make friends with the guard?

I was also reminded of something that happened not too long ago where, in regards to a photograph I took, someone told me they “Would have done it differently.”   And no other response occurred to me except to say, “Everyone would have done it differently, isn’t that the point?”

The goal is the same.

Escape the tower with the wooden door.

Make enough to support your family and maybe cross the Atlantic a few times.

Hopefully be happy most of the time.

Make an impact in the world.

And we all do it differently.

Some of us make music. Some of us take photographs. Some of us write books. Some of us write and produce Game of Thrones. Some of us write music for Katy Perry. Some of us teach English to second graders. Some of us build websites. Some of us defend the innocent in courtrooms. Some of us help people get healthy. Some of us dance.

Getting there, making those big goals happen in our lives has to be unique to who we are and it has to be in tune with who we are. And in order for us to be in tune with who we are, we have to know who we are first. Who are you? Why are you who you are? What were some of the key events that shaped you? Where do you bring your dreams back from for us to see? From the clouds? From the pool at your gym? From the lights on your ceiling at night?

Know who you are, love who you are, and use who you are to believe in your dreams enough that they become a reality.

Month eleven. I started taking note of who I am and why I am who I am and I started using that to light my path. And my life has never felt more true to who I am.

Denise Karis is an Arizona photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris