We have algorithms by which we live our lives. Previously, I lived from a list that included too many freakin’ I shouldn’t and Don’ts.
I shouldn't talk about myself. It's bragging. - Thanks, bro!
Don't ask for things. If you're at someone's place, never take sustenance. Never impose. - Thanks, Mom!
I'm too slow. Too much. Not enough. Well, no matter what I do, it won't be right. - Thanks, society!
My old rules have worn me out. I’m needing something new.
I do things because I like them. I eat when I'm hungry and sleep when I'm tired. I ask for what I need.
When your habits aren’t working for you, it may be time to change your ways. Make new rules.
There are subtle cues in the universe that alert you to surrounding issues. Be aware of them. It’s not always a reason for panic, but awareness is necessary. The book The Gift of Fear speaks of us losing our attention. But it’s not a permanent thing.
February 15, 2019–from my personal journal
I walked out my door, and the squirrel I call George was fussing. His chit-chat-chattering sound came from above me. He was furious. I expected a cat or bird to be terrorizing him, but there wasn’t anything around that I could see. Curious.
There might still be hope for humans if we remember to listen. Talk less. Hear more. Pay attention to your friends and family. Our greatest gift this season is attentive and mindful care. It sounds simple, but it isn’t. For most of us, we give as we want. I usually buy gifts that I appreciate. For some of my family, I miss the target big time. The irony is—I’ve always considered myself to be intuitive.
Anywhere a squirrel can go
Squirrels chatter when they feel threatened. A cat could be walking on the ground below. Mr. Squirrel will fuss, letting the neighbors know that a cat is nearby. He’s no match for that cat, and he probably knows it, but one thing is sure, he’s not quiet.
There is a time for listening, and there is a time to speak your mind. Do you know what time it is?
Space, we call it a thing. Star Trek started its program with the words, Space, the final frontier. Conquerors of times before claimed lands, they planted homes and flags saying this area belonged to them, and they now owned it.
Disclaimer: this article was written pre-COVID-19
Personal space isn’t so easily defined. Do you run and hug a new coworker? Is a handshake necessary? When talking with someone do you leave a two feet distance? What about crowded places, are you in their space? Every culture has their own comfort level. And within each culture there are variations. Children and parents can hug and snuggle without discomfort, but you wouldn’t walk up to a stranger and act the same way. Not unless you wanted to be punched. For etiquette read- >Don’t Stand Too Close.
Some days boundaries are natural. Put up a fence. Close the door. Hide in a closet. I can do these things. The one thing I have trouble with is an emotional cut-off. How do you close the door without hurting people? Clearing your emotional space is as important as cleaning your room. Sometimes they go hand in hand.
Emotional and Mental
If you were raised by controlling parents, emotional and personal space is probably an issue for you. I didn’t have the right to my own religion. Barely had the right to my choice of clothing. There was no arguing about politics or doctrine. In my state this is normal. Strict parenting meant good wholesome children. Spare the rod and spoil the child.
But when a child has no right to privacy, or they are threatened for having an opinion that is different, a line is crossed. I call foul. Emotional space is every bit as important as physical. Don’t let anyone take your life – space.
There’s a lot of information about boundaries. Here are a few links.
Traditions remind me of the monument stones ancient people used to mark borders. We start new traditions when our lives change in a big way. And habits, well they make our life easier.
I don’t think about my tooth care often. I was disciplined as a child, plus I kept those habits of brushing my teeth and seeing my dentist. We often view addictions from the negative. It controls us. I’m addicted to coffee. Truthfully addiction isn’t far from a habit. Only it’s internal—the shadow side. The craving pulls. Pleasure is the fun we wish all life held.
No place is a place until things that have happened in it are remembered in history, ballads, yarns, legends, or monuments. Fictions serve as well as facts.
Habits, traditions, addictions, cravings, and pleasures are whispers away from each other. I crave chocolate and coffee, but not always because they are suitable for me. The desire isn’t wrong, and neither is giving in to savor the coffee. These are choices.
In a split second, we make judgments. Is a person tidy or dirty? Creepy or beautiful? Whether we are determining the fate of another person or choosing which shirt to wear, these observations slip in before we can reject them. And do we know why we’re attracted to another person? Is it their looks or kindness?
Do you want to get real with yourself? Find out what you value. I’ve spoken about this before in a previous post, How To Be Strong, but I believe it’s worth repeating.
And if you don’t know your values at this moment, there’s an easy way to learn. What excites you? Angers you? If you don’t give a shit about it, then I’d say it’s not a value. There’s also a link to a helpful site at the bottom of this post.
So how does knowing a value change your life? Well, maybe you’ve always let life happen. Whoever was helpful or befriended you became your bestie regardless of their character. But this person might be a user, borrowing money all the time and smoking in your car. If you know your values, you can say, enough. “Man, it’s nice to have a friend, but I value keeping money in the bank and a clean smelling car.”
People who know their values such as “family time” or even “alone time” have more direction in life. Imagine knowing yourself that well, enough to know that being a charitable person is essential. It’s more important than taking an extended vacation. For some people this statement is true.
So, what do you need? A clean space? Steady work? Adventure? Family?
It’s alright if you don’t have an agenda sometimes. Relax. It might be healthy.
Too often when we enter a conversation, it’s to make a point. But what if we didn’t. Next time, we could let the unimportant stuff slip away.
Choose your stressors wisely. I pulled this post from psychologist Rick Hanson’s post, Just One Thing. You are free not to do these anymore.
Freedom not to
For one or more of the items just below, imagine what it would feel like for you to have the freedom not to:
• Press your point home
• Struggle to get someone to change his or her mind
• Have a second drink. Or a first one.
• Worry what other people think about you
• React to what is swirling around you
• Act on an impulse
• Get into an argument
• Be swept along by anger
• Identify with a mood or point of view passing through awareness
• Take something personally
• Take responsibility for the experiences of other people
• Criticize yourself for not being able to fit into a pair of jeans
• Resist what’s unpleasant
• Drive toward what’s pleasant
• Cling to what’s heartfelt
For one or more of the items just above, imagine how your greater freedom would help others. Also, let others be freer themselves with you; give them room to breathe, time to think and feel. – Rick Hanson PhD
Why am I so unhappy? Sometimes I don’t understand the why’s. I feel failure, a vague discomfort similar to when I’ve forgotten to apply my antiperspirant. That awkward moment when the sweat beads under my armpits. Ick. But this moment was different. I knew why.
It’s been a rough month. A rough year. I’ve tried to convince Life to do things the way I wanted. She’s freakin’ ignored me. My air conditioner is broken. And I’m trying to sell my condominium. It seems as if there’s been a conspiracy against repairing my vintage piece of cooling equipment. Somehow they keep forgetting to follow up on my work order. Maybe my phone number is written in invisible ink. I’ve nearly given up hope on selling my place in the near 100-degree heat.
Well, weary shoulders or not, I keep trying. I can’t quit. For my happiness though, I have to move my finish line. Change my perspective. I need a different goal line because I can’t control the weather or the buyers. I can’t make my realtor do a smashing job of marketing my place. My neighbors are hoarders, and their junk keeps overflowing onto the staircase. But, these are not my problem.
I must create goals within my reach and reset my mental experience. This will release my tension level. Kaboom! Instant happiness. So, I made a fun goal, an easy task, a natural thing to make me laugh. Want to hear it?
Smile three times today in the mirror. Everything else is extra. Now, have an awesome day!
It takes effort to be strong. Conscious thought and awareness are needed to bring out the good in others, but if you can do it some of the time, most of the time, try. Because not trying, not even bothering to show up, is inexcusable. And turning bitter is usually the result.
Anger, resentment, sadness, grief are the leftovers of loves unfulfilled. Unplayable songs, words we held inside a moment too long.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat… Roosevelt’s Writings
I’ve stated too often that I’d rather be happy and poor than to be rich and miserable. Or said another way, I’d rather have choices and freedom than any beautiful house, car or luxury. I realize it’s time to update that picture in my head because it’s not an either-or choice. I need money. I want money.
Nowhere else in my life do I let myself off so quickly. In my work, I put in the effort to get it right. With my remodeling or repair of my house, I have some darn high standards. So why would I lower my standards in my finances? There was a point I was trying to make when I first said I’d rather be happy than rich. It goes along with the proverb,
It is better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a contentious wife in a lovely home.- Proverbs 25:24
After living with a workaholic for years and longing for his companionship, my twisted logic kicked in. Happiness suggested less money than we had before. It sounds silly I know, but beliefs and life scripts don’t always make sense. I’m no longer in that situation, so I’m updating my knowledge.
It’s a fool’s choice. It’s not real, much like fool’s gold. You have what you have. You either have the money, or you don’t. There are no crossroads to meet the devil on, no trading of your soul for fame and fortune, no genie, no lamp, and no damn lucky rabbit’s foot. Work, rest, enjoy what you have.
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