Work the Tangle

tangled-necklaceI had a wad of tangled jewelry, that I needed to untangle if I wanted ever to wear any of the necklaces. Based on the familiar terms of today, I should FIGHT the tangles. But I couldn’t beat them. The chains. The knots.

I’m a problem solver by nature. I use this skill in my job. Often my obsessions over a personal decorating issue can keep me awake at night debating whether I prefer the black bedspread over the navy. In the case of hands and fingers working out the tiny knots in my necklaces, I’m fine. I’m not thinking. I’m doing. It’s almost instinctive how my fingertips will sort through the tangled heap of chains until I have restored order.

Cooperation leads to working together. It ends the game. Fighting causes resistance and prolonging the battle. Is it possible that some enjoy the fight too much to learn to participate or cooperate?

 Tweet: Have we as humans been caught up in fighting so long that we’ve forgotten how to solve our problems?

Have we as humans been caught up in fighting so long that we’ve forgotten how to solve our problems? I believe so. Daily I find myself rushing home or to work, and I realize I’M NOT LATE!

My lesson to remember this week, I have enough. There’s enough oxygen, water, food, time, clothing, sleep, etc. If I need anything, I’m withholding it from myself.

Live this moment–Today!

“Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”
Jalaluddin Rumi

Are You In or Out?

Are You In or Out?

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.
  • Vote.
  • Speak up.
  • Find and join a cause.
  • Sign a petition.

What I’m reading now: Stumbling on Happiness

 

We Survive, But What Will It Look Like?

We Survive, But What Will It Look Like?

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.

caught-the-happy-virus-last-night-hafiz

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.

 

 

In Defense of the Nonconformist

In Defense of the Nonconformist

I was told a week ago on Friday that I was no longer a good fit for my company. Gasp. Incredulity. Dying with laughter here. I did suspect something. Much like the parents that were raising the offspring of the Cuckoo bird, we all felt a bit off in our office when policies abruptly changed. But I’m not a conformist. Many say, why didn’t you just conform to the new rules and just keep your job? To me, that’s about as easy as saying, why didn’t you just start writing with your other hand and while you’re at it, start singing high soprano? I can’t. I stayed as quiet as I possibly could, and I did my job. Head down and worked. But my skill set didn’t qualify me for the position they needed. Enough said.

I know who I am. No tears cried by me for not being accepted for who I am. I think it’s quite silly not to be able to speak plainly, to stand behind false accusations, to make crap up, when in the past you’ve had a great relationship with a person. I’m speaking of the people who sat on the other side of the desk, with their sour, scowling faces and dismissed me. I do realize that everyone stands in a different place in life. We’ve had different experiences. We wear different glasses. A lot of folks are blinded by their egos or by their own need for survival. The big F word comes to mind. FEAR. It chains me down often, as it does most of us. The truth is hard to see and even harder to speak for some.

This week I’ve been going over job choices. I also have been looking at some of the books I’ve read in the past that have impacted me the most such as, THE ART OF NON-CONFORMITY, by Chris Guillebeau. I’ve been writing, a lot. This I love the most. And pondering what other things that I might love to do. There’s some good advice out there and there’s also just as much hype to read, so it all needs to be taken in stride. I believe that life is just like taking a trip. You plan as best you can. You get your map, your vehicle, and you start out. What happens along the way can’t always be helped. Hopefully, you planned well, but sometimes you just have to start driving. I’ll have to talk about my trip to Magnolia, Texas sometime, and the misadventures of the GPS. Ah, but you’ve probably had a few of your own you could tell.

Baby names for Non Conformist: Hello, My Name is Pabst

Do You Belong in NYC?– Penelope Trunk

Why I’m Joining the Maximizers – JD Moyer

A Brief Guide to World Domination

The Cost of Fish

The Cost of Fish

Almost everyone has a fish story and it’s usually not about the fish that got away. No, the tale they bemoan is the about the fish they caught or the one they stayed with and they probably should have thrown back. Relationships, jobs, towns they stayed at because they were familiar and they’ve always lived there. These are my thoughts today. Should we follow a whim? Take a chance? And what if it doesn’t work out? And like me, have you forgotten how to have fun?

In most towns, there’s a carnival our kids drag us to. We spend a ton of money to gorge on fried snickers, cotton candy, funnel cakes, popcorn, and we often end up carrying around a couple of half dead goldfish in a clear plastic bag. Junior won them. Way to go little tyke! So here we are in line at the superstore, the cashier’s ringing up your purchases. The tank, food, gravel, and water purifier are all yours for a grand total of $50.00. Charlie, fish number one might live through the first day. You’ve got a decision to make. Buy another fish to replace Charlie or let the whole episode die of natural causes?

Whimsical

Most of us, including me, are not good at taking off on a whim. Quick changes. If I have a hankering for ice cream in the middle of the night, I’ll usually ignore it and go back to sleep. But there are some people I know that would go to the extreme, beyond even the ice cream in the middle of the night. I know a person who if they felt the urge to go skiing, and if there were ski slopes available, would drive across country, just on the whim. They could ski just one day, and be good to go back to work when they came home. And here I can barely get myself out of the house to take out the garbage.

I’m really not talking about goldfish. Life is expensive. Someone once told me, having a car costs. One way or another you’re going to pay for having the luxury of driving. Whether you repair it if it’s used or if you buy it new and pay for its newness. Truthfully all of life is that way. That $50.00 will be spent somewhere, whether you spend it on the goldfish or on pizza. The choice is where do you want to spend it.

My question is, what is this costing me? Every day that I sit and not act on an urge and every time that I suppress a desire to play and I choose to work instead, what is this costing me? Sometimes when you’re just putting up with stuff, you’re only taking the easy way out. If something is continually chafing you in a situation, it’s a good sign that it’s time to change. It might be time to cut our losses and get out.

How much does it cost?
  • Health
  • Happiness
  • Memory
  • Friendships
  • Self esteem

Thanks to Christi for the goldfish inspiration – if you’re reading, you know who you are!

Bird In the Parking Lot

Bird In the Parking Lot

Birds in the parking lot freak me out. I stopped at the grocery store on my way home the other day. I was in a rush because I needed to file an insurance claim on my car, pick up a birthday present for my mom, plus it was 100 degrees outside and I only wanted to go home. I’m trying to decide which item to check off on my list first when I see this big-eyed bird staring at me. Correction. Big-eyed-opportunistic-looking bird. He’s watching and waiting.

Great-Tailed Grackle (Male), Rockport Beach Park, Rockport, Texas
Great-Tailed Grackle (Male), Rockport Beach Park, Rockport, Texas

One lone bird and my thoughts are, why are you here? Of all of the places to be, this is not where I’d pick. There’s a park just 50 feet across the street, but this bird is in the middle of the stinking pavement with chaos and honking cars. Alone. Then I realize, we are similar creatures.
People rarely move far from their birthplace. So before I go judging the bird’s choices, maybe I should take a closer look at my own. Still, this bird looks creepy.

Are You Just Sitting There Doing Nothing?

Are You Just Sitting There Doing Nothing?

Sit in the middle of the day, in a public place, not with a cup of coffee or a book, just sit. Someone will stop and ask you if you need something. They’ll worry. Are you okay?

People don’t know what to do when someone is just sitting. And pity the homeless person sleeping on the grass or the steps. We poke them. Are they alive? I work downtown, so we see a few in the week.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how out of control most of our lives seem. Or maybe it’s just mine. I posted a while back the conundrum that I have or shall I say the elastic stretch, between medication and being well. Slowing Down to a Human Crawl The medication prevents the illness, but it also causes fatigue – in degrees. The fatigue and the spinal issues have caused me to reevaluate the heads down, let’s push through to make it happen, bull-headedness of mine. I’m a bit stubborn. I like to win. I like to get things done. I’ve been known push until it hurt. Well, I’m rethinking. Recalculating even.

How Leisure helps take control of our lives.

“Leisure lives on affirmation. It is not the same as the absence of activity … or even as an inner quiet. It is rather like the stillness in the conversation of lovers, which is fed by their oneness. – Brain Pickings How leisure helps us reclaim our human dignity in a workaholic culture

Open House for Butterflies by Ruth Krauss (July 25, 1901–July 10, 1993) click on picture to see the entire book

I’ve been trying to discover this new life I have since I’m walking instead of running. The colors are different. Sounds and tastes also. I’m kidding a bit. But I am adjusting. It’s been a year of weight loss. My styles have changed. My wardrobe has changed. Today I just purged my closet. I should feel excited, but I don’t. I feel off beat. I keep walking hoping that at some moment along the way it’s going to feel alright.

Here’s the truth of it. There are life changes that I want to make that aren’t happening yet. That leisure I talk about is my way of saying that I need more relaxation in my life. I’ve had to push for it. When others were demanding I work overtime; I was pulling away. I had to respect myself over the job. This stuff isn’t easy.

I want to fill my space with music, my walls with color, and my life with people who know how to enjoy living this life to the fullest – however it may look.

Things That Are Right

Things That Are Right

There are a lot of gripe worthy, fist in the air episodes in life these days. And it doesn’t take much to strike a flame it seems. Show me the video of the eight-year-old sitting in the vice principal’s office, with the sheriff handcuffing him to the chair. Why? The child’s bad behavior. I’ll start the riot myself. I would have been that child, believe me, kicking and screaming also.

When it comes to injustices in this world, I’m not one who sits idly by to put up with them. That’s why it’s a relief to see the good, the beautiful, and the things that are going right. Take a look at these two inspirations. The first is a man who has changed the world. The other is a video just for you.

Truthfully, I don’t know where to start, so I’ll start with this quote from his website,

2014 Nobel Peace Kailash Satyarthi, as a grassroots activist, he has led the rescue of over 80000 child slaves and developed a successful model for their education and rehabilitation.

The work that this man does and those that he works with is some of the most amazing work I’ve ever seen. When I was reading of his work, I wondered when he stopped. When did he eat? I read through his interview and I could hear his passion and his zeal and I could feel that same feeling as I think of that child sitting in the chair in the vice principal’s office. Kailash Satyarthi started in a similar way. He saw one boy sitting and waiting for work and he wondered why this boy was not in school. Here’s the link to the Fareed Zakaria GPS audio interview. The following quote is from his interview in the Huffington Post. I’m in awe of the passion that flows through him.

By conferring the Nobel Prize on Malala and I, the Nobel Committee has recognised one of the most pressing yet neglected issues of our times. Millions of children still remain invisible, voiceless and unheard. During the last few weeks, their suffering has got unprecedented attention by the law makers, judiciary and civil society not only in India but worldwide.

Childhood protected and nurtured will yield superior global human capital, while wasted childhood will erode all prospects of a promising tomorrow. Our tomorrow will be as good or as bad as how and what we do about our children today!!! – Huffington Post

Huffington Post-A Child Friendly World

I hope this inspires you.

Join me every week as I look for more good in this world. Or I might be standing high on my soapbox again. You just never know.

Who Is Family

We once knew, but we’ve forgotten. Families lived in one household or at least in one village. Maybe it was because grandma couldn’t make it otherwise, or she was respected. For whichever reason, it kept more hands available when it was needed to help raise the children. It was easy to describe your family.

I’m currently redefining family. I may be doing this for the rest of my life. I have a reel to reel that plays in my head. It looks somewhat like a small village, maybe too communal to some. There are children playing in a courtyard. The housing is surrounding a grassy area, and the commons area is a safe place. Here children can grow up with many caretakers. Many parents can care for them. Yes, they know their mother and father, but if there is a stressor in their household such as a new baby, it’s easy for another family to take them into their home.

In my vision of society, life is built for the good of people, not commerce. People are why we are here. Does it matter if there is money if there are no people to spend it? Economics is the most worthless of studies if sociology fails. And look around us. Our sociology is failing. What do we need to fix it? We have made some steps towards repairing it. We’ve recognized alternative families. Do you think this is unrealistic? I don’t think I’m alone in my thinking.

Last week I read a book called, Brand Strategy 101: Your Logo Is Irrelevant – The 3-Step Process to Build a Kick-Ass Brand, by Roy H. Williams and Michael R. Drew. They wrote about a cycle of Me verse We. Can you guess when the cycle of We started? The early 2000’s. The game changed. The slogans changed. Society shifted. Did you feel it? The authors wrote another book about it that I haven’t read yet, but I will, Pendulum: How Past Generations Shape Our Present and Predict Our Future. I’m putting that on my reading list.

Debt

Greece. Puerto Rico. Student loans. Mortgages.

The forces of debt are reshaping the world, creating dislocations and crises on a regular basis. And yet, few of us really understand how debt works.

….

If a mortgage is overdue, is it better to kick people out of the house and watch the neighborhood descend into rubble?

If 10 million Americans are overwhelmed with student debt they can’t repay, what should we do then? – Seth Godin excerpt    ( Seth references Debt, by David Graeber)

CRAZY CHANGES

CRAZY CHANGES

It’s a Janet thing. Or a more accurate title would be, it’s an experimental thing, but I just change it up quickly.

Success comes from trying and then trying again. Sometimes it seems you’re just banging your head against the wall, or spinning your wheels in the mud. I remember a time when I was about seven years old. My dad had an old red pickup truck that we drove on the farm. We had 100 acres of bottom land, and by bottom land I mean we lived right beside the river and parts of the land flooded when it rained. The mud seemed to suck your tires into the earth like an underground tornado. Hopeless.

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. – Scott Adams

I learned from watching Dad that it’s better to change tactics. Don’t keep spinning your wheels in the mud hoping to get out of the mud. You’ll only dig deeper in. If you notice that something isn’t right, if the feel is off, do it different. So I did. If the dress is too tight or the shoes pinch my toes, I don’t stand around and whine about it, I change them. I’m not happy in tight shoes. And I wasn’t happy with my book cover or title, so I changed them.

Like many women, by the time I’m finished dressing for an event, I have a pile of clothing on my bed that didn’t get picked. I also have several titles for my book that didn’t get selected. And since nothing happened that first week–I bet you didn’t even notice–as a woman’s prerogative, I pressed the reset button. Sigh. I love the modern world.