I Am Safe

I’ve admired the European lifestyle for many years. What I’ve watched in a carefree manner began to be the way I wanted to pattern my life. I’ve felt stressed from the uptight expectations of the American society, stretched thin from not enough down time to recharge. I complained that I wanted to move to France or Italy or even Sweden just so I can get away from our hectic ways. Give me siestas and long vacations.

Wine and bread

While I’m working through my lunch cramming down the last bite of food, I’m thinking there’s someone in France sipping a glass of wine with her friend and eating a crusty baguette. Vacation only made this worse.

Somehow, the other side of the pond has always seemed greener. Europe’s healthcare system, vacations, their unpretentious philosophy of life, more liberal politics, all of these were more to my liking. But something interesting happened while I was driving back to work from a doctor’s appointment. I glanced out the car window and noticed there was a flock of geese lounging on the golf course, safe. Only golfers were near enough to chase them.

What Happened?

golfing-geese_zps9716b6961

There’s a lot of talk about healthcare in the states, and you’d think we were all dying on the streets without any care at all. I don’t want Medicaid defunded because this affects everyone, hospitals and doctors included, and of course, the patients receiving care. But that’s a political conversation. What I did realize about my own situation is that I am doing alright. And I came by this truth by changing my inner picture. Instead of seeing bad, I caught a glimpse of what’s good in my life, but this has taken retraining. Rehab for my brain. Neurolinguistics. Read this post. Can you Neuro Lingo.

I’m alright

I was returning from an appointment with a doctor who was helpful and kind. I have good healthcare. My job allows me to leave in the middle of the day for an appointment. Yes, our system is complicated. It needs improvement, not abolished as some want to do. I’m also trying to remember that the grass is pretty damn green on my golf course.

Some helpful links:

Neurolinguistic training that helped

Similar blog posts:

 

Choking

BIGRecently I ran into a brick wall. I felt I couldn’t bust through. I had ideas, but they just hung out in the air. Pen to paper. Fingers to the keyboard. Where to start? Frustrating. This has been my struggle the last few months.

Back in my junior high days, there was a group from the wrestling team in my history class. They were often cutting up before the class started, before the teacher came into the room. Now, I knew what a full-nelson and a half-nelson hold were. I was familiar with martial arts and wrestling in general. My two older brothers were excellent teachers of how to remove yourself from holds and better still of how not to become entangled.

These three boys in class demonstrated something which shocked me. One guy would hold another wrestler up by gripping him around the neck, cutting off the blood flow. At first, I didn’t believe it was real. The guy fainted. Blacked completely out. Teen boys don’t faint. He’s joking around–right? They did it again to demonstrate. WTF. And then the teacher walked into the room. The chattering of 30 teenagers hushed to a whisper.

What happened?

They were using a modified choke hold. And the wrestlers got high from the choke out. It became a tough guy competition and a then a demonstration to show what they knew. It was even an “I’ll hold you against the wall by the throat thing” until you pass out. Which is what happened and they’d get up and laugh it off.

Back

That’s what I did to myself. Accidently. Only it wasn’t a real choke hold, just in the mad panic of getting too much done I dropped my writing. I quit editing my book. I had ideas, but I choked. I couldn’t seem to get enough air between my crazed thoughts. “Not enough time,” “that’s a dumb idea,” “later,” “everyone else has done that,” you’re a moron.” I choked.

Get up

Like those wrestlers, I’m getting back up and laughing it off. I relaxed the choke hold. I let the events pass that held me captive. One by one the stressors left. One more important thing I’ve done is to receive guidance. I’ve had therapy before, and it helped. This time I’d been thinking about having a life coach and I still might. What I did this time was order some coaching online that fit my specific needs. It has helped me tremendously. Maybe that’s what we all need, a little help, someone to nudge us in the right direction.

Relax.

I think everything will be alright.

Keep your hope alive.

Hope

CdOVbD_WAAEEZzRTime is closing in on me. It’s been a problem of claustrophobia. Lack of oxygen. Not enough air. Maybe it’s depression. If I listened to the doctors, they’d give me another pill. I don’t need another. I’d like to take fewer thanks! Maybe the ones I use are causing the issue. Well, yeah, could be.

One thing I realized finally is that I’m not alone.  Society has been steadily growing more complicated. And it’s been creeping up on us all. More demanding. Greedy. Our boundaries have become porous, and we have to be the ones to say, STOP!

Bob Lefsetz in his Letter says – Who’s gonna lead us out of the wilderness? Artists. If they just grab the wheel and start to drive.

Here’s my thing-I don’t fit into the entrepreneur’s gig. I’m not aggressive enough to work on my own. I like the umbrella of a company paying my income. Unfortunately, it pigeon-holes me into the 9 to 5 cubicle workforce.

Maybe I’m looking at this wrong. The creative side of me likes to have fun. Books, movies, and music make me happy. Get my light burning again.

Gordon White from Rune Soup suggests we turn to literature for restoration

And he brings up another reason, social media, and the difficulty of speaking out, which I mentioned in my blog We Have Wet Feet 

There is another reason why creatives may want to think very seriously about unfurling their towel on this part of the beach. It is getting more and more difficult to say anything real publicly. The pH level of the discourse is hovering around 2. (Acid rain starts below 4.)

We’ve all felt this. We really only fire up social media for private conversations now. Venturing out into its public discussions is akin to looking down at the fork in your hand and realising you weren’t doing anything else with that other eye, anyway. – Gordon White

Lately, I’ve questioned my choices. Should I be more assertive? Do the Tim Ferriss thing? Jump from the airplane and be an adventurous person? I know, I know. It’s a ridiculous thing to ponder. I don’t even have a plan. It’s all self-doubt and speculation, but it’s there, sitting and waiting, in the back of my mind. I won’t do it really. I’ll read more books.

I’m just a creative needing to breathe.

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.