Do you need some inspiration? How about an easy read?
Being Strong is a collection of my writings from when I began soul searching. I was so ashamed. I didn’t know the girl in the mirror anymore. My life had changed. All of it, including my friends, my beliefs, and even my manner of doing things, had transformed. I was learning what made me strong.
We are learning to fly by intention instead of brute strength.
It’s a new day. We are learning new ways of seeing the world. And we remember long-forgotten ways. If germs make us sick, what about our emotions and the emotions of others around us. I agree that actions count, but activities without a connection are dry and blow away. Please enjoy.
Check me if I’m blowing this out of proportion, but has the scenery changed? It seems we keep stubbing our toe in the same place as if someone moved the furniture.
I’ve purchased books over the past couple of years that I couldn’t finish. Either didn’t have the time, or I was interrupted in the mid-flow. A great novel deserves quality attention to be enjoyed. I’ve discovered audio is a dimension open for me. At work, I have audio space. Besides, I welcome the barrier of my headphones, blocking out the office noise. In my childhood, I would read for hours and couldn’t wait to hoard books from the library or the book club, but now I hear those creations instead.
There’s speculation that the quality of writing has dropped. Therefore we have lost interest. It’s possible. Others state our attention span is shorter. Yeah. Of course, we have higher expectations for ourselves today. Politics, passwords, and aging issues. Take care of the kids and the parents. Oh, did you remember to stop and get milk on the way home? Make dinner. Do the dishes. Well, you know the drill.
Yes, there’s a colossal video explosion. It’s streaming addiction. I don’t knock it. I love it. My downstairs neighbor’s television plays nonstop. I don’t tease. He is elderly. And he plays it balls loud!
Truthfully though, it doesn’t pay to be so hard on ourselves. Reading isn’t a virtue. Novels, self-help books, magazines, and all of these carriers of words are opportunities for some. Never let them become a burden. Once-upon-a-time stories were passed from Grandfather to grandchild around the fire. Night after night, they told the same stories, weaving them into the tribe’s psyche. We can honor our ancestors. Tell an old favorite over a cup of chocolate this season. Make a storytime.
Landscapes change. We grow old. Maybe we notice the furniture moved. Honor is listening to the times.
If you find yourself not finishing projects and you want to retrain your mind, here is a tactic. Make a list and do one thing a day to keep yourself accountable. By practicing daily, we climb out of the ruts where we are stuck. We can make short, easy to complete tasks such as reading one paragraph or dancing five minutes. Continue until you relearn the pleasure that comes from your accomplishments. Feel the pride. It’s your thing.
Your mind will try to protect you from this but know you are safe. You’ll have enough energy left over, enough time, and even enough inspiration. You won’t run out of fuel. Your mind is locked in scarcity and is protecting you by holding that mode.
You start dying slowly, but it doesn’t need to be this way. Choices. Those are the power buttons. We can wear the bright color, do the fun vacation, eat the ice cream, go dancing, see an art exhibit. Be alive. Everyday.
The first stirrings of reality creep into our thoughts reminding us of another day. Begin again. It starts slow like an old aluminum percolating coffee pot my parents had when I was young. The water boiled, bubbling into the coffee grounds. No automation, no timer. The water, the beans, and a lot of practice made the coffee.
When the new age folks started talking about our generation waking up and about this being the dawning of the age of Aquarius, we missed the jarring concept of waking. It isn’t all daisies and butterflies. I stub my toe often on my way to the kitchen to feed the cat.
Reality has a way of slapping across our tender young faces and tossing our idealism into the trash. Really it doesn’t give a damn. Like the weather, it floods the mansion and the cheap motels. It gives no notice of your pay scale. Either way, you’re still deep in Texas flood waters.
We are a cocky people with a lot to learn. Love is more worthy than power. An army will never defeat a group of people banded together in unity. Yes, they may die, but they do so in togetherness. There are powers beyond might. Abilities that have been forgotten from generations long ago. Our world looks like a lot of school kids have been fighting. But people are hurting and we need some adults.
Mornings and awakenings are disrupting. Think about that every morning when you make your breakfast. If you drink coffee, and you make a perfect cup, how tasty would it be without the grinders and special tools?
And one more thing. This next morning, remember if this is a new beginning, yeah mornings suck, but sunrises are beautiful.
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.
The first magazine article I ever sold I wrote about an event I saw at the end of the year 2000, and it caused me to do a double-take. An older man was walking his dog. It was a little black dog on a leash. I was driving to the library in the small town that I lived in and there on Main street, suddenly the dog ran up a tree. The man was still holding the handle of the leash and my mouth dropped open. I slowed down. Not a dog at all. It was a black cat. The man was walking his cat. Please remember, this is small town America, 15 years ago. I had to tell someone. I was so flabbergasted when I went into the library. I hurried in to speak with the librarian who told me a story, which led me to write my article about her and her cat when she was in Kuwait.
I hadn’t written or even published anything professionally yet, but I had dreamed about it. I had even subscribed to the Writer’s Digest magazine and drooled over all the how-to articles. Everything was low-tech, paper submissions at that time. I had my thick paper-bound book of places to submit your articles and a lot of ideas in my newbie’s head. Just no experience. I can’t say that I’m so proficient today even. The market changes quicker than any of us can keep up, which only means that it’s always a new game. Make up the rules and keep playing.
When I got home from the library, I pulled out my handy-dandy spiral notebook and started jotting down the story. I had the subject, cats on a leash and cat training with operant conditioning, and I had my expert the local librarian who had trained her two cats with this method out of necessity while in another country. Now who could best use this article?
I was limiting my field by writing my article first, but it’s the way life happens sometimes. I grabbed my dog-eared books with all the listings of magazine publishers and started sorting through. I shot off a query letter and put in my hook line about the dog running up the tree and a bit about keeping your cat safe when you’re on vacation and such, the sort of things that I thought they might be interested in for their audience. It worked. My heart stopped almost when I actually got the “we’re interest” phone call. I was getting paid. ASPCA published my first article in the summer of 2001.
Everyone has their first story, their first photo, their first client or first whatever. It happens so quick sometimes you don’t have time to think about it. I listened to a Ted talk today by Mel Robbins called How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over, that said you have 5 seconds to act on an impulse before you lose the energy to move forward. You can use that in your favor the next time an opportunity leaps in front of you, remember you have 5 seconds to take an action forward. Write it down, take a step, make a call, or say yes. I was too young and naive at the time of my first to even think anyone would say no to my crazy story. I’m older, wiser now, which only means I second guess myself. I pause. I pull my punches. The urge has left and the opportunity is gone. I have missed a story. I have lost the chance to connect with another person. And that’s a sad thing to miss.
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.
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.
How much does it cost to feel well? What are you willing to give up to be free of pain? We know that healthcare doesn’t come cheap. Vitamins are expensive. Organic food is a bit extra so we weight the cost. Is it worth it for us? What about the medicine we take? That’s been my dilemma. But not so much about the cost. The medicine I’m taking, Topamax, helps prevent migraines. It’s also been helping in preventing my neck pain. The side effect for me is tiredness, fatigue. With each increase in dosage comes a bit of slowing down. So, my cost/ratio question is, how much pain prevention is it worth for me? How much slowing down can I adapt to?
For a while I didn’t know if I was going to make it each time my doctor kept saying, we’re going to try upping your medication. But on the flip side, I didn’t know if I was going to make it with the fire-like pain that was radiating up the nerves in my neck and my skull. I trudged and braced myself, hoping I could make it through another day, then the week. Sometimes there was a reprieve. Until now. I’ve had a full month without headaches. That’s darn good. Freakin’ amazing! It’s been close to 9 months since this process started and now I finally see the progress. The slowing down is worth it.
We live and change
This article though is a little disturbing to me. The trend towards constantly rewarding our happiness button, or shortening our attention span a bit more, is increasing instead of decreasing. I think we’d be happier as a species relaxing our attention and letting go, but that’s just me. Check out the article if you wish here, What would you pay to be happy? The Guardian.
…the poet Guillaume Apollinaire: “Now and then,” he advised, “it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” That’s worth a T-shirt.
William Davies’s The Happiness Industry, from the above article.
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