Stumbling Around

Fear of Failure. Atychiphobia. Anxiety.

It’s sometimes the reason old people sit in their recliner too long. And why the snappiness gets lost from their step. Not on their sixtieth birthday or even in their seventy-fifth year. Just one day it’s easier not to try. Not push. Effort and achievement cause expectations.

The unknown is difficult to face. The young stare it down. Every job interview, each new friend, the new 10-page application they fill out for renting the house, new schools, and moving. But somewhere after the home and the kids and the third new job, life settles. It changes less. By the time the kids grow up, life has rolled on—around and over us.

As we age, we expect to know more. Be smarter. Shouldn’t we be advising our children? We feel we shouldn’t need to improve ourselves anymore. We did that in our twenties.

This is a new time to live. And I refuse to rust, whether it’s by sitting in a recliner or refusing to learn a new language.

We can do this. Don’t turn off your curiosity.

Is it possible, that some of us are afraid of diving, of jumping into the deep end? What’s the worst that could happen if we lived?

How To Conquer The Fear of Failure

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Get Well Meme

My mom had surgery. Watching her deal with pain, watching Dad’s emotions, his helplessness, grief, and feelings of failure and remorse have been exhausting.

The decisions leading to the surgery for my family have been tricky. For years, Mom has ignored her neck issues and pain as well as any arthritis. I didn’t realize she’d been using a heating pad every day as her method of treatment. There was a cortisone shot many years ago. Also, a few significant falls. All of this information, would have been useful for doctors to know, but she denied everything. She believed her recent fall caused her problems.

Decisions are difficult. Cutting is not something to jump to as the first solution. But my parents were so scared of surgery they were avoiding it to the cost of Mom’s enjoyment of life. Her hands were gone. Clasping a cup, the sense of holding a hand or feeling a face was gone. She felt nothing. All was numb. And her grip was based on sight.

Dad took over the cooking and cleaning. This is the role change many families go through. He’s helped her walk from bed to the chair and the table. And in all of this time, there has been this hope she’d get better. Until she didn’t. She kept falling. It was emotionally difficult for both of them.

After multiple attempts to see the doctor and pounding on that door to find out what Mom needed, surgery became the only option. She has rheumatoid arthritis in her cervical spine.

They finally operated early Friday morning. Both of my parents are surgery virgins. And after seeing Mom fresh from surgery, Dad broke down in tears feeling he had harmed his wife, the love of his life.

I keep reassuring them that it will get better. The first days after surgery are the worst, but that might not be true. I’m not sure. At home, there are no nurses to move you or bring you Sprite.

One thing I know is what her doctor said, if she hadn’t gone for the surgery she eventually would have become paralyzed losing the rest of her mobility and dying. Maybe this isn’t as real to her as it is to her children and grandchildren. We got it. We were there encouraging her to see the doctor. My kids were cheerleading her forward.

She is loved. If love can speed recovery, she will fly through this.

#family #pain #loveyourpeople

featured image from The Girl God

Going Solo​

This is it. I’m doing it. A Solo journey. Not Hans, although there could be an adventure. I’ve been feeling an itch to travel since before last year’s trip to France. Thank you to my kids by the way. That was a fantastic vacation. I want more!

My greatest fantasy would be to round up all of my friends and hang out in one location, but that doesn’t work well in real life. And I, oh, I don’t venture out alone. The introvert in me doesn’t even like the grocery store. Exercise outside with people? No, I do my walks early in the morning. Airports? People? Are you kidding me? Someone had better be getting married.

It’s not easy being single and I’ve been alone for quite a while. Hook-ups and two-month flings don’t count. Emotional support, backup for decisions, help with finances, hugs in the middle of the night, or just someone to share a stupid joke, these are the things couples have.

I’ve tried to make each relationship work, but it’s been square pegs and round holes. I guess people who wish to enjoy my company will do so, and they will be at ease. And maybe I have to first be at ease with myself. So I’m going to learn to be alone. Small excursions are first. Eventually, I will venture further. I have always wanted to travel.

Loneliness is an abyss. It will swallow you if you let it. Consume you. At times its grasp is comforting. Waiting for someone to be your friend while you soak in that loneliness is the torment of an unforgiving inferno.

No one holds the key to my hell. I do.

My People

We all have fears. Deep inside all of us is an ache to belong. It’s as old as our tribal root system. Rejection, being cast from the tribe, even that glance letting you know you don’t belong here.

If you feel lost, find an activity or place, something to anchor your being to the present day. My own anchor was the sunrise and sunset. I paused daily for this. It was my sanity.

You can make your own tribe. Find people who support you who understand who you are as a person. Also these are people you enjoy being around. This is your life. Create it.

Don’t get lost in the pain of the past. Go forward and make a new life. Yes we need to heal. Just be careful to not get stuck in the quicksand of self pity. Lick your wounds and be done. Your future is more grand than the past.

Namaste.

Tiny Things

Or How to Get Out of a Rut

Patience is not one of my main traits. Honesty, determination, strength, and intuition are things I’m usually known for, but I’m not delicate. My mind gets locked onto a tracked event line that it believes should happen in a certain time frame. Expectations vs Reality.

Itty Bitty

There are particles so small that they cannot be seen by our eyes. That’s not unusual. These nature tiniest particles can pass through walls and our body and we never notice they exist.

The process is called quantum tunneling, and occurs when a particle passes through a barrier that it seemingly shouldn’t be able to. In this case, scientists measured electrons escaping from atoms without having the necessary energy to do so. In the normal world around us, this would be like a child jumping into the air, and somehow clearing a whole house. [Graphic: Nature’s Tiniest Particles Explained]–livescience

skk7xoeuu3_1407320986211Curiouser and Curiouser

What made the scientists look for the particles? How do you search for something you can’t see? And if scientists can get out of their ordinary thinking, possibly their method could help me. DiscoverMagazine.com

Here are some suggestions I came up with:

  • Be curious.
  • Hypothesize then work towards proving your thoughts.
  • Ask questions of yourself and others
  • Watch your environment like it’s an experiment. How do the other monkeys handle situations?
  • What if you are right? What if you are wrong?
  • Start over and question everything again. Don’t get stuck on any one thought being absolute. Science questions everything.

Here’s an alternate plan in case mine isn’t your flavor of choice, When You Don’t Know What You Want Anymore – Tiny Buddha

“Curiouser and curiouser!” Cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).”

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Otherness

At four years of age, I jumped out the doorway onto the crude steps outside. I’d been told not to do this repeatedly, but I was excited, and I knew I could do it. It was a big leap. And I was little. The ending wasn’t how I planned. I landed onto the concrete, with my left arm pinned underneath my body, snapping my arm bone in the process.

Conservative vs. Explorative

7d87a3be938e35d0e50de7f978574c95There is something I’ve noticed about personality traits. Some people really don’t like new things. Even if they have them over and over, they would prefer to go back to their original favorites. We call them the meat and potatoes people. What they grew up with is their traditional style, and it makes them happy. They are conservative. It’s not the same as being a Republican, though. This isn’t about politics. It’s style and moderation.

Seeing the color

I run toward otherness because I’m curious. Chase the rainbow. Yes, this might lead to trauma. Should I learn a lesson, slow my roll? Can we really change who we are? What I haven’t said about my jumping out the doorway from the forbidden height is that I’d done it many times before. Those other times had been successes. I’d watched my brothers who were older and wanted to do what they could do so I learned. I had been successful. Just not that one time. Life must be lived. Some of us will run towards the different things and what many would call otherness. And maybe someday we might fly.

Love is What I Know

Darkness. We don’t sit there often. As soon as I get home, I turn on the light, feed the cat, and get the activity going. The dark seems empty. But it doesn’t have to frighten us.

Go back to what you know for sure. Those were the words that I heard when I was in my dark space. It’s taken me some time to understand their meaning.

tumblr_ldlfpavmov1qekgtho1_500Re-boot

In the Bible, there’s the story of Jonah, the man who didn’t want to preach to the people in a city called Nineveh. He hid on a boat until he was thrown out into the storm and he was swallowed alive by a great fish. Darkness. Crazily, he ends up back where he was supposed to be in the beginning.

I laugh because if you call the customer support line for help with your computer, the first thing they ask is, did you try turning it off and on again? Restart. That’s their answer for everything.

But start overs are impossible in real life. Aren’t they? A start over, a cleaning, a bottom level, that was the message I got when I heard the words, “Go back to what you know for sure.”  What did I know for sure? Love.

Where is the love?

I was uncertain of religion. I couldn’t tell you at that moment if I believed in God or the devil, heaven or hell. I didn’t know if the Bible was real or if the teachings I’d grown up with were true, but I did know there was a love that was buried deep inside of me that I’d felt all of my life and it wasn’t of any religion.

What does that mean? What does it look like? I had to stop trusting in everything else. I only had love. So I let myself sit in the darkness, in the emptiness with nothing to light me but the one candle of love. It sounds silly, but when you’re a traditionalist, and you let the old teachings slip away, the emptiness around you isn’t lonely or scary. The love you feel grows. There’s a freedom in that love. Joy unspeakable.

Can you find your truth?

Check out older post — My Skepticism on Religion  and Question It All

What is Self?

0804-hrh-05-01They say we are not who we think we are. Experts, psychologists, those who deal with personality stuff, say that under the many layers, we are ordinary and straightforward. We eat, drink, pee, and sleep. Who are we after that?

We are the combination of our culture, family training, experiences, and the stories we’ve told ourselves. We can change our stories. Retell your story. Decide to – just because you can. Small things matter. AJordan Peterson says, you can’t reform the world, but you can clean your room.

It is perfectly possible — indeed, it is far from uncommon — to go to bed one night, or wake up one morning, or simply walk through a door one has known all one’s life, and discover, between inhaling and exhaling, that the self one has sewn together with such effort is all dirty rags, is unusable, is gone: and out of what raw material will one build a self again? The lives of men — and, therefore, of nations — to an extent literally unimaginable, depend on how vividly this question lives in the mind. It is a question which can paralyze the mind, of course; but if the question does not live in the mind, then one is simply condemned to eternal youth, which is a synonym for corruption. – James Baldwin

The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948-1985

Transformation and renewal can happen slowly. But not always. I’ve had it hit me like a wave flowing from the ocean, picking me up and knocking me off my feet. As the water rolled over me, I was unsure which way was up. When I finally found my footing and spit the water out of my mouth, I knew I was a survivor.

I’m not asking for a knockdown, but I’ll find a way up if it happens. Today, if you are feeling overwhelmed, control what you can. If you want a better life, change one thing. Start where you can. Your “Self” is a fiction that is made up. Layers that have been built over time. Therefore, it can be changed, scrubbed, twisted or ignored. It’s in your hands to mold.

Who do you want to be? Love is the greatest gift. Forgiveness I believe is the second.

Namaste.

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.