"Writer, Certified Instructor of Integrative Yoga Therapy,
Usui Reiki practitioner"
Tina M. Marks Shirley calls herself a "corporate refugee". In 2003 she was nominated for the Charles County Chamber of Commerce Working Woman of the Year Award.
But she left the corporate world this past January (2006) - to devote herself to writing - and has already had work published in numerous places. She's also establishing herself as a seminar leader.
This woman has lots of energy! Besides writing, photographing, doing seminars and taking care of her pets and family she also teaches yoga several times per week. Meet Tina:
How Do You See Yourself as a Square-Peg?
I like to think of myself as a "corporate refugee" - dropped out January 1st of this year (2006).
I would go to upscale board meetings and the whole time I'd be gazing out the window...it got worse over the years - I'd cover minute books with blurbs and drawings. I'd go to transcribe my notes and find it was all doodles.
Now I'm spending time getting to know myself - know where my gifts are - getting to know me - what I enjoy and what I'm gifted at...I look for "doors" - ways to use my talents to help others.
I live in a Square-Peg household - no doubt. My husband is a musician and Square-Peg - he's really an octagon peg...My daughter is artsy - creative. Her stuff is different, not the "norm", and I'm glad she turned out that way...
What Has Been the Hardest For You as a Square-Peg?
In my Yoga and Reiki trainings I became more awake. The more awake you are, the more attuned your senses are.
It's like suddenly being able to hear after being deaf your whole life - very, very exciting but...the volume can be - well, deafening at times! Painful. Sometimes it's tempting to go back to being numb.
It's hard to open your heart when it's bleeding - when you want to shrink up.
Tina talked about realizations she had while working in the corporate world:
Someone I worked with gave me a card with words by Maya Angelou, it said:
"Survival is important. Thriving is elegant."
I had it for awhile, hung it on my bulletin board, looked at it everyday, then it dawned on me - I was doing a good job surviving, but I didn't want to just survive anymore. I wanted dignity and grace - I wanted "elegant".
I couldn't when drowning in rules and measurements, which is how the corporate world felt to me - I felt exhausted by it.
A huge turning point was when I started developing a plan. I knew what I had to do - I had a vision of where I wanted to go. The vision was my fuel for life - it kept me. I made a plan and didn't lose sight of it.
Part of Tina's plan involved practical planning - and part of it involved continuing reflection on who she was - what she wanted - what would make her Square-Peg heart shine:
I used to write during lunch hours on a bench with my face toward the sun...I also have particular areas I want to pursue. Like women's networking. I'm finding more and more (especially for Square-Peg women) - women need other women.
My main goal is to touch people - and help them in some way - energy healing, yoga, writing, taking photographs.
How Do You Maintain Your Square-Pegness (in a round-hole world)?
I like to engage in simple pleasures - like enjoying beauty - and sitting with my dog - with my hand on his heart. I'm trying to treat myself as my best friend.
I'm very comfortable in my world, but it is tough "out there" - it can be hard to stand in Square-Pegness. I'm learning that an ember can be just as intriguing as a flame - I live as an ember.
I don't have to be out there full force in the world to make a mark. I let my little light shine. I have to be ok with that.
What is Your Favorite Square-Peg Trait?
...many people pay attention to things like hair - what the other is wearing, but I see people only as hearts - as exposed hearts.
I mean that literally and figuratively. I feel blessed to have that gift. I wish and hope that people will see me as an exposed heart - my heart - it's my favorite Square-Peg trait.
What Is Your Favorite Book?
This Time I Dance! by Tama J. Kieves.
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Visit Tina at her site, The Little Yogini That Could.
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(Full Disclosure: we're affiliates of Amazon.com - so when you buy from the book links above you don't pay a penny more, but you help support Square-Peg People. Thanks!)