There are plenty of posters and travel blogs promising bliss and restoration. Smooth, polished rocks, cascading waterfalls, and green plush grass are there for you. Rest and Restore. Leave your worries behind. Well, I chuckle. Life’s just not that convenient. Worries are like clingy little babies. They want to be fed, and they want only you. To remove them takes some conscious choice. Mindfulness.
Mad Max Highway
I drive the same short stretch of highway connections every day. People like me are jamming this interchange, just leaving work and wanting to go home as quickly as possible. Tired. Cranky. Maybe short on patience. Twice this week I’ve had the same thing happen. Two different people cut me off when there was an opening for me to enter a lane. Once it was my lane and the fellow thought I wasn’t quick enough I’m guessing, he passed me. The nerve! Both episodes I reacted poorly by speeding ahead, glaring or yelling. Something inside me quickened, warning me. Bad responses. Not that I might harm someone, but what if another, a third party, was injured. Was I willing to continue this same path? As I realized I wasn’t mindful or grateful, I noticed a large tire in the middle of the highway. Would I have hit it?
Allowing Stupid to Be Stupid
Last week I mentioned in Mindless Searching clicking through one book after another. I realized after twenty minutes had passed that I was not interested in any of the books I was looking at. I was in a trance. Mindfulness doesn’t happen by accident. It’s something I have to do. Pay attention. Watch the road. Stay calm. Let the anger go. Allow the stupid to be stupid and not even the score, because life isn’t fair.
Serendipity and Irony
I’m a passionate person, which is why I’m not good at just letting things slide. Some things can be planned, but there are a lot of stuff that just happen that are so much better if they happen on their own. For instance, the lemonade that I drank in Mexico. I couldn’t have planned that and made it taste any sweeter. And the memory of that day couldn’t bring me any more joy if I’d planned it.
When a moment happens and the events come together it seems perfect, as if you’d planned it, serendipitous. Athletes call it the flow or the zone. They’ve planned for it by practicing, maybe even visualizing. Who knows, that could be what happens to us when our lives have real things that fall into place. Ironic isn’t it?
While I was listening to a podcast, I heard about a book that I might be interested in reading. I popped open my browser to Amazon.com, and crazily enough twenty minutes had passed before I realized I was, at least, six books deeper in my mindless search through book after book following the connections, Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought & Inspired by your browsing history.
On Being Tired
I was tired. It was late. So why was I still up and browsing books? I was in a trance. I had followed the first book but I ruled it out. Still I connected it to a second book then a third and so on. The mind game. The whirlpool grabbed me, swirling me into its game of mindless searching. I had no interest in any of these books. Their topics or titles were similar. I’ve noticed that I do this a lot lately. I read articles when I’m not interested. I watch videos when they don’t hold my attention.
The knee-jerk reaction is for me ban myself from the internet. Absurd. Not going to happen. I’m going to browse. I love researching weird shit. The more bizarre the better. The trick is keeping my mind engaged in the activity. Mindful. Attentive. And always be aware of how long I’m doing the activity. Most importantly, asking myself, am I having fun?
Are you having fun?
This girl understands what I mean:
Random Sweetness – Mindless Searching
Women talk. They tell me about their relationships, their spouses, and sometimes how incredible their husbands are. Maybe it’s just in the game of connecting, and I’m not playing it right, but I feel I’m left with a gap, uncertain of how to respond other than with a pat response of, That’s wonderful. You’re a lucky lady.
There was a time that I would have been envious. But I’ve surprised myself lately. Their life looks more like another variation of the same old song. That tune’s overplayed and I already turned the dial on my radio. No envy, desire or lust for eventually having it all someday.
It reminds me of the Caroline Myss story of the old shoes. I’ve mentioned this in a previous post called, Old Shoes. Do you want the old shoes under her bed? Most of us want the envelope she has that contains the money, but no one cares about the old shoes that she keeps beside her bed. They’re ready for the trash bin. They’re dirty, worn, faded, and there’s a hole where your toe will stick out. Your desires don’t go out for them. Nothing draws you to them. No clamoring or yearning. They sit there, and you don’t give a damn. That’s how we know if we’re losing our power to someone or something. If it has a hold on us, we feel that tug. We yearn. We desire. Our door is unlocked, and we don’t own our power. When we look at that other person’s life and what they have feels like old shoes, worn full of holes, ready to go in the trash, then we know we hold our life. No one’s life is better than yours. Hold your own power and slam your door shut.
On a side note
I think it’s bad juju to be flashing your stuff for all to see. That’s just my opinion. But throwing it all out there in the wind is just inviting trouble, I think. Why advertise if you’re not selling?
Blogs I found along the way:
The Core Stories – The Truth About Costumes – I could quote the whole blog and be happy about it. :)
I remember my first favorite pair of shoes. I was about ten years old, so it was sometime in the early 2000’s, and they were Skechers sneakers. They were shiny black patent leather with sparkling silver glitter and chunky white platforms….
KickAss Witch – Book Nerd Weekly
★ “What you may think of as your ordinary attributes are not a fair indication of what spiritually extraordinary attributes lie within you. The obvious is never the whole truth.” -Caroline Myss
Does anyone else find the whole flirting – connecting thing just a bit awkward? Here in the Southern United States, we tend to be friendly. Just like we sweeten our tea, we sweeten our language and everything around us. Lace, Doilies, Please and Thank you. And there’re a lot of friendly talks, even during a business transaction.
What I’ve noticed about myself.
When I’m at work, I can be friendly, joking around. It’s harder everywhere else. I know the people at work. I’m at home. What gives with that? Then I wonder am I confusing people by being too friendly?
When is it inappropriate?
What about the other side of the coin? Some people can’t turn the flirting off. They use their seduction to get what they want. They have affairs or sexually harass their coworkers. I once had a manager who creeped me out. He told my friend and me that we’d look cute in cheerleader costumes for Halloween.
What makes it flirting?
Here’s the problem. If you’re a bubbly personality, you might always be seen as flirting. I’ve had to deal with it. I smile, listen, laugh, and joke. I care. Real flirting is reaching out and connecting.
Some forms of flirting are more likely to be done in private, when no other observers are close enough to hear or see, suggests Elizabeth Bernstein, an award-winning columnist for the Wall Street Journal, in her article, “The New Rules of Flirting.” If someone asks a direct question such as, “Are you seeing anyone?” that person will likely ask that question privately. Beyond what a person says, a person may also communicate her attraction to you via a combination of vocal signals and body language. A seemingly simple line such as, “It’s nice meeting you,” can take on a romantically charged connotation if the speaker drags out the last word, while simultaneously raising her eyebrows and smiling — and if she hangs on to the handshake a few seconds longer.
Tell me what you think. Have you been accused of flirting? Or do you have trouble approaching people? It’s a cold cruel world sometimes and it shouldn’t be. Let’s try to make it a little nicer for each other if we can.
I have a profile.
I’m a type. What the heck?
Hang on you say, people aren’t that easy to label. I agree, but we do label. Sometimes it comes out in our favor.
A few years ago I was in Texas with a friend and we walked across the border into Mexico. As we maneuvered through the narrow streets, we were greeted by shouting street vendors calling out, Hey Blondies! Wanna buy? Just five dollar. It overwhelmed her. I was used to the whole Blondie bit. That’s been my life. Her, not so much. She’d only recently become a blonde. I wonder how that felt.
We escaped into a small bistro and ate nachos topped with real cheddar cheese and downed glasses of freshly squeezed lemonade. I can still taste that juicy lemonade. The best cold drink I’ve ever had. The quiet conversation was a relief also.
When we finished and had our arms full of shopping stuff, we started back across the border. It was then that I realized I’d forgotten my birth certificate. It was only a block away from Texas, but I still panicked a bit. I explained my situation to the guard, he looked at me and smiled with a wink, No problem. You’re American.
I’ve been told more than a few times that I look like an all-American girl and I was never sure what that meant. I see females from Ireland or France that have the same coloring as mine, so what’s the deal? I’m certain there’s an attitude or a mannerism that I’m not aware of. Whatever others see, apparently it’s enough for someone to call it a profile.
What about you? Are you a type? Something quirky? Witchy? Maybe you can be pegged as afraid of spiders or a cat lover. Foodie anyone? Nerdy?
Here’s one that I ran across on a podcast this week. This American Life-Vocal Fry. I hadn’t heard of this voice nuance before until it was mentioned. Then I realized I’ve noticed it but never named it. They say it’s common in college-age girls, sometimes in boys also. It’s an inflection of the voice that squeaks or grates a little towards the end of a sentence. Interesting, but it doesn’t seem as annoying to me as it did to their audience.
Let me know what you think! What’s your type?
Growing up there were those in school who stood out. You noticed them. They were involved or engaged as my manager at work once called it. Take a look at those who are involved in society. They attend functions. They are on boards or are members of certain organizations.
Innie or Outie?
One of the questions at my employment is – do you have a friend at work. Why is this important? People who are involved, have friendships, vote, and attend functions are the ones who are cooperating. They feel like they are a part of the team. In the corporate world, that’s an asset to a manager. You care.
Confidence, self-esteem, validation, and greatness
Remember the qualities I listed last week, the ones I said we crave, confidence, self-esteem, validation, and greatness? Understand that greatness didn’t always come to those who were involved in your high school years. Even though Miss Prom Queen got the chance to wear the crown, that doesn’t mean she is still someone you would admire today. To be great, you have to continue to do great things. That requires a strong inner strength.
“Impact is rewarding. Mattering makes us happy.”
― Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness
I never had the nerve to try out for the lead roles in plays or start a protest, even though I wanted to. Being in front still makes me uncomfortable, but I realize it’s not the only way to greatness, to mattering. Show up this year. Care.
Be the change for this new year
- Be a friend.
- Start a charity fund in your office or group.
- Take part in giving.
- Teach a class or contribute to a class.
- Speak up.
- Find and join a cause.
- Sign a petition.
What I’m reading now: Stumbling on Happiness
Confidence, self-esteem, validation, and greatness.
These are qualities we all crave, but none of them are automatic in life. Many of us grow up trying to find ways to cope. We reach out for our validation and affection in places that aren’t expected. We’re like grass growing from cracks in the sidewalks. Resilient. Stubborn. Read the biography of John Lennon or listen to John Lydon of the Sex Pistols tell his story.
I was four and a half when I started school, and that’s when I noticed that I was different. It’s at this time that most of us started some type of formal school. We either fit in or stick out like sore thumbs, awkward and in pain.
Whether we were the culprit that spilled the glue that pooled onto the floor or we forgot to bring a pencil and had to borrow one from another student. At some time there was the look of disgust.
I remember Mrs. Johnson, my third grade teacher and her clock shaped like a black cat. It had a tail that flicked back and forth distracting me from listening. She liked to ridicule her students. With me, she also sighed a lot. I was usually the last in line, not in a big hurry. I never felt she liked me. So here’s my turn around; I give no stars to Mrs. Johnson. Well, maybe two stars for being there on time.
Who is on your list? Is it a teacher or a family member? I hope you take a moment and give yourself the love you need, because you’re worth it.
I realized after the listening to several French citizens’ response shortly after the tragic concert bombing in November that what I felt some of us are missing here in the states. Love. One of the girls that came out of the concert stated it so clearly, not that she loved those that bombed them. No, but she felt love for those that she was with at the time and she was glad to have been with people she loved enjoying an evening of freedom. And her heart was filled with love even while she was searching for her boyfriend and friends. She wasn’t the only one that I heard say statements like that.
Their response to terror wasn’t to build a wall or blast the shit out of those evil bastards. It was, we are put on this earth to enjoy life. We will live. They want us to be afraid. The terrorist want us to fear because they hate our freedom, but we won’t let them take it away.
We become what we fear or we become what we love. We in the United States of America should not forget this. I want to live, not hide or pretend to be Rambo.
Contentment hasn’t been an easy topic for me. It’s a subject I’ve struggled with since I don’t understand it. I rarely feel it. There are moments when I lose myself in a movie or a good book and forget about contentment, and I might even feel bliss.
Don’t believe anything is dead until you’ve burned it, poked around in its ashes, and then waited a day or two to see if anything rises from them. Jerricho Barrons in Bloodfever, by Karen Marie Moning Ch 10
IS IT DEAD?
I get angry when I hear the outrageous lies of quick schemes for getting rich told to simple people and that’s probably an expected reaction, but I’ll tell you the one that caught me off guard recently. It’s a simple, cute blog, it’s called, Cupcakes & Cashmere and I like it. BUT. I like fluffy and sweet, mostly. I hate my reaction because I wish I could be content with being the type of person that reads blogs about fashion, dating, and cupcakes. BE HAPPY, JANET! Then there’s the entry -> The Moment I Knew G Was the One. Oh dear! I swoon. I think that was probably my issue. It wasn’t her fault. I blame the darkness within. You did read the quote above by Jerricho Barrons, right? Darkness.
WHY IS THE FLUFF NOT ENOUGH?
Making assumptions is easy. I can frame or reframe any scene as scary, happy, cheerful or content based on the wording that I use. Music has the same power to change perception. Play a bit of sad music along with any reel of video and most women will feel the need to cry. The music will pull at our heart strings, loving creatures that we are. Watching little children playing on the beach seems innocent enough, but I dare you to play the music to Jaws while you’re watching.
THE GAME OF MORE
Is a person’s life all that it appears to be? A picture may be worth those thousand words claimed, but today’s gloss & splash advertising has trained us to polish ourselves as beautiful as the photo. And what if we don’t match up? Try harder. Buy more product. People will buy just about anything for the promise of perfection. What does this have to do with contentment? Heck, if I know. For me, there is no ONE, of anything or anyone. Most of life is a game we all play. There are a lot of adventures in life and a lot of experiences.
Here’s an interesting blog – Calm Things, A Monday Morning Blog – To Carry Joy
“She wanted something else, something different, something more. Passion and romance, perhaps, or maybe quiet conversations in candlelit rooms, or perhaps something as simple as not being second.”
― Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook