Story Eater

Philadelphia Story

Stories are the way we navigate our world, our chance to make sense of who we are and what we do. -Seth Godin

I like TV shows. I love to get into a good story and the very best ones you can get so lost in them, you forget they aren’t real. I’ve watched so many that it’s hard to remember them all. Some are still going strong, some have ended whether gracefully or not. Doctor Who, 24, Lost, Supernatural, Sons of Anarchy, just to name a few. I’m not sure what captures my attention. It’s not all in the suspense. It’s not all in the realism. It’s really not in the looks or sex appeal of the actors. I’ve watched shows that didn’t cast the best looking, but by a few weeks into them you adored the character and the actor. There’s usually an emotional tug of war. You can feel their struggle, either with their own temptations or their failures. Sometimes they are weak, but yet there’s some part of them you relate to. All I know is they have sucked me into their drama.

I sometimes wonder if this life is like that. If there is an afterlife, maybe we will look back and say, that was a damn good story. It might be like walking out of the movie theater after an intense show. Everything else seems a bit unreal and you just want to run back in and watch the movie again. Yeah I can imagine that.

What do you want your story to say? What emotional flavor is it? Happy? Charming? Cozy? Horror? Eek. That one’s not for me. I have mine pictured in my head. Lots of golden lighting. I update it now and then. I see the person I want to be as I grow older and how I want to live my life. With a name like, Wisdom and Grace. Or Sunlight on Raindrops.

Here is an interesting look at charity as it relates to stories:

What do we get when we give to a good cause?

Why on earth would a rational person give money to charity–particularly a charity that supports strangers? What do they get?

A story.

In fact, every time someone donates to a good cause, they’re buying a story, a story that’s worth more than the amount they donated.

It might be the story of doing the right thing, or fitting in, or pleasing a friend or honoring a memory, but the story has value. It might be the story that you, and you alone are able to make this difference, or perhaps it’s the story of using leverage to change the world. For many, it’s the story of what it means to be part of a community. – Seth Godin

Seth’s  full blog is available if you follow the above link. Thanks for stopping by and being a part of my story..

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My World

The nice thing about the internet and our current global society is that we choose our influences. We choose our world. You may not realize how much of this you do. Our world is no longer the gas station attendant on Main street and the store clerk on Broadway. Our news isn’t from the local barber. It’s from around the world, even foreign websites if we wish. Our world is made up of people that we see everyday in blogs and news casts. I recently realized how different this makes my life while talking to my parents. My mom still gets her self-esteem from her high school days while my dad’s morality is from his own generation’s creed. And they are not alone. Certainly they aren’t the minority in this. It’s their generation.

I often daydream (seriously) about creating my town. I’d populate it with people I admire and enjoy being around, which can change daily. On the most part I choose people like Seth Godin, Derren Brown, and Meadow DeVor, because they represent the values that I want to encourage in my life. They value people and honor individuals. Who do you have in your perfect society?

What values would I want? I pick Seth Godin because he makes me think by saying things like this,

Society benefits when people selfishly choose the long view and the generous view. The heroes we look up to are those that sacrificed to build schools, to overcome evil, to connect and lead–even though it didn’t necessarily help them in the short run. Culture and Selfishness

I also pick Derren Brown, a British illusionist. He challenges my perceptions and makes me think. But not only is he an illusionist, he encourages people to live their lives to the fullest and not to let opportunities pass them by. I saw these on YouTube, episodes The Secret of Luck and The Apocalypse.

And I can’t forget Meadow DeVor and her blog. There are so many wonderful people out there, I can’t name them all. I think you understand. The people in my imaginary village are the laughing, kindhearted, generous people who make you proud to be human.

 

Find Your Soul, Find Your Fun

Otherwise known as LIGHTEN UP!

So, you’re feeling grumpy.  A little out of sorts?  Maybe the house is a mess and the kids aren’t doing what you think they should.  Sometimes we are so mired in our tasks that we forget to look at the whole picture.  The details.

 “Our life is frittered away by details,” – William David Thoreau

Before your life fritters away, don’t forget fun.  Like medicine, fun can revive us and keep life in perspective.

Here are 15 options.  Join me as we dance to the song of freedom.

  1. Turn on some music and dance.  Either alone or with your family.  Just don’t complicate it too much.  Dancing is the key.
  2. Get out the crayons, colored pencils and paper.  Remember the smell of new crayons? What color makes you smile? Does one of them bring back a special memory? Mine is cornflower blue.
  3. Plant a flower.  Go to the flower shop and pick out one plant that draws your attention.  Take it home and plant it.
  4. Play ball.  Find an old ball, whether it’s a football, soccer ball, or whatever.  Just get outside and PLAY.  I can hear my mother now.
  5. Get out the photos.  Find the pictures and browse through them.  Take your time.  Find the one you like the most.  Put it on your desk at work or your refrigerator. Change pictures every month or so.
  6. Make a mess with shaving cream.  The preschoolers that I once taught loved this one. Take a can of shaving cream squirt it on a clean counter top or table.  Now draw pictures in the glob.  Pile it high, then smash it down. Go ahead and make a mess, it cleans up with a wet dishcloth. It’s just soap.
  7. Go to the zoo or park and feed the ducks.
  8. Get an ice cream cone.  Enough said.
  9. Have a foot race.  This one obviously requires someone else to be with you.  Run your hardest for a change.
  10. Remember hula hoops? Get one. Practice at it for a few days, then surprise someone with your new skill.
  11. Go for a drive.  Find an interesting or unusual neighborhood and cruise through it.
  12. Blow some bubbles. Make your own with dish washing soap (Dawn, Palmolive, etc.) or buy a bottle at the store.
  13. Sing in the shower. It doesn’t even have to be a full song. Make up a song. Hum your own tune. Just let the music flow.
  14. Take 20 bucks and spend it on whatever thrills you. Don’t have $20 then do $5.  It’s the attitude behind the spending not the amount.
  15. Let it rain. On you. Stand in it. Feel the water run down your face. Look up in the sky. Jump in a puddle. Then when you dry off, remember what it was like to have no worries.

As adults we forget what it feels like to run as fast as we can. We forget the patience involved in watching a cloud float by, or a leaf drop to the ground. Keep it simple and you’ll have a good time.  It’s about doing something for yourself. It’s not about doing what others would approve of or what you think you need improving on. We do so much for others in our lives that we often put ourselves last on life’s to-do list, then never get to the last item on the list. There are no rules. Just be yourself. And remember your soul.

Missing Identity

I was listening to a self-help guru in the 1990’s and the strangest thing (to me) happened. The man asked, “If you could do ANYTHING and you knew you could not fail at it, what would you do?”  The first thing that popped into my thoughts was to write. I wanted to write. I hadn’t thought of writing since I was in the 8th grade and my teacher circled at least half of my essay and noted it heavily in red ink. Inside, a dream that I had buried and forgotten for dead, clawed its way back to the top.

Listen to your inner voice. Is she happy? Does she want to sing? Does he like the shoes he has on? The color of his tie? How about his activities? Are they something he does to belong or does he enjoy them? If there is one thing she could change, what would it be? Now after pondering this a little while, don’t do anything yet. Let the thought sit inside of you for a time. Like a seed planted in the soil, let it germinate. This is scary. Sometimes the dissatisfaction and restlessness can build up if I ignore some aspect of my life.

Nothing has to be done or changed or removed or even happen immediately. I’m not saying that your life will even change dramatically, but I am saying make time for you. It’s time to see the beauty and strength that is in you. There is gold and jewels underneath all of your restrictions. There is talent that has been dormant for a long time because a parent or sibling told you not to show off.  I think you should let some of it show. Just a little peek for now. The process will also involve learning to trust your own judgments. You will learn how much is too much or not enough, of food, of activity, of friendships. Do you know what you value? Whether it’s people in need or friendships you value; or if it’s caution or even reckless abandon, only you can decide what is right for you.

Lost Thoughts

Earlier today I had a wonderful thought and I was going to write about it. Something about perspective. I’ve done other things since then and the incredible thought floated off to lost thought heaven. Or wherever good thoughts go when they die. Or get lost. Maybe it will reincarnate into an ever more so incredible thought. I don’t know if I will recognize it, since I don’t remember the earlier one.

I’m not the best at holding a thought anyway. They’re slippery. If I don’t write them down or remember them, what would happen to all the thoughts I think throughout the day? Would I use them anyway? Are they there in me already therefore I think of them or are they floating around like gnats that have to be captured to keep them? I guess I haven’t really thought of it so much before. Speculating here, but if the thought is mine already and I don’t write it down would I keep it?

Tenacious. I want new ideas and new truths so much that I refuse to let anything drop. I ruthlessly want it, but I know I should relax.  I can’t imagine relaxing. All that is in me wants to grab hold of ideas and wisdom. I need to learn. I need life. It is the part of my personality that is eager and likes to run ahead, but also gets caught up in an idea and lingers, exploring the various parts.Writing Like Mad. I think I just got lost in my own thoughts.

Community is Just Another Word for Us

English: Broadway show billboards at the corne...

There are always those that move to a particular city just for the atmosphere. I think of San Francisco or New York. Here in my hometown most of us are here because we were born here or got a job here. Our little place has it’s charm. I could talk it up. Maybe show you the side of the town that has a view or has the latest developments.

There’s the downtown area. Older buildings, renovated loft apartments, well-kept trails along the river. Our place has a low-cost of living compared to most of the United States. There’s not much in the way of a night life. Clubs are small and few. Mostly bars with upgraded flooring to make it danceable. If you’re looking for va-voom and panache, this is not your town. It is a friendly place to raise a family. Churches, schools, shopping. All the normal things.

If someone wants to persuade you they can try. They can show you what they think you’d like to see. Flash some images across your mind. Dazzle you with illusions. I remember looking for housing developments when my children were young. The realtors poured you coffee while they talked about the community play area. Give the kids some popcorn or cookies and show you around the model house that they built in just 2 weeks and decorated in the latest colors and styles.

English: A rainbow flag affixed to a lightpole...

But nothing is like what they present. After you move to a place, you become the community. Your routine and your life habits follow you like a lost puppy. All the personal quirks you have, like not taking out the garbage or unloading the dishwasher, they are still there. Your fill new house with all your clutter. It came with you. And this town you moved into shows it’s true face and that’s okay. Now you are truly a part of this community and you get to know its real charms. You may fall in love with something other than the play area for the children, like the ice cream truck that comes by on Sunday afternoons. It could be that the next door neighbors have the same interest that you do. Or the view across the valley as you drive out of the neighborhood. You can’t predict these things. Life has a way of happening that you can’t plan. You move to a place for the weather, but it’s the people you enjoy the most. If you think you can plan for what type of husband you want or what type of city you should live, I wish you the best. Life is full of unexpected delights. I have a saying,

The things I am afraid of never happen. And the scary things that happen I never expected.

When we get to the daily task of living, if we want a peaceful world, one filled with love and encouragement, we must act peaceful. We teach our children to settle disputes peacefully. We are the good neighbors and citizens. We are the community.

Piecrust Promise

English: Screenshot from the trailer for the f...
English: Screenshot from the trailer for the film Mary Poppins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well what did you expect to happen?

There’s something both wonderful and  scary about expectations. It’s just a dream, a wish in your mind. It floats there taunting you and teasing you making you believe it could happen. It really could. The rainbow’s end and the sunbeam through the window. Like the kitten that is chasing the flashlight beam, we crouch and then pounce. After a while of chasing after the illusive dreams we become cynical if our hopes have been out of reach for too long. We hear of people who have put their hands into the heavy pot of gold. Surely it’s real. Right? What about true love? Is it as false as the Easter Bunny?

I get aggravated when I’m watching a television show and the character – who is definitely in charge – instructs everyone to trust him. Just trust me. I’ll handle this. And it’s always in the high crisis moments and you can tell that he/she expects everyone to blindly follow his sage advice. I cry foul!

I want to know which direction we are going. Yes, it’s scary and potentially deadly, but just let me know. I might want to just jump out of the moving train. Especially if it’s heading for the cliff. Trust me. I won’t let anything happen to you. It reminds me of the chivalrous days. The knight on the white horse shows up at just the right moment,  last desperation. He saves the day. The damsel in distress prettily wipes her brow. She knew he’d be there to save her. She expected it. She trusted him with her life.

What kind of game is this? Do you walk out to the edge just to see if they will save you? What did you expect to happen? Would the town be saved and the big scary monster die a bloody death, then we’d all live happily ever after? No more bad things?

If you’ve been around me any time at all, you know that I love a  good drama.  Movies, books, around a campfire, I don’t care. I want to get lost in the drama. But life is not a movie. It’s not a game that we can play and get to reenter at our last saved spot. There’s no pause or no rewind. We would all like to rewind. And there were some moments that I would love to have just lingered in the euphoria.

I’m probably looking at this whole process wrong. It’s possible I am missing a key ingredient. If I’ve missed something, feel free to email me or leave a comment. I do want to see this all through clear eyes. Are there those you can just blindly trust? Is that a realistic expectation? What about expectations? Can we blindly walk towards the rainbow without looking for the cliff? How do you follow your dreams? Do you keep your expectations in check or  let them run wild? I don’t know if I have all the answers now. I want to hear what you say.

A little further on….

I love it when movies do a funny twist. You know what I mean? You might have watched a movie or two like that. The usual story is going along and poof! The story line took a sudden turn. The Sting is one of the older ones, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford.  And did you expect The Sixth Sense? But I guess we should have. The little boy kept

Cover of "The Sixth Sense (Collector's Ed...
Cover via Amazon

saying “I see dead people.” If you haven’t seen it, well now you must.

The expectations we hate the most are the ones that leave you flat lined  You’re walking along, maybe taking in your groceries, like I was doing one afternoon, then boom, you’re face down on the ground. Speechless. You just lay there for momentarily, your lip bloodied. How did that happen? And even, what just happened? It’s the unexpected phone call in the middle of the night. Your daughter was in a car crash. You need to come to the hospital right away. The look on the doctor’s face. You know the surgery didn’t go well. the call from your boss telling you there’s not enough work for you. Can you clear out your desk? These are the moments that you’d like to fast forward through. Not at all a Hallmark moment.

What do these moments have in common? Interrupted expectations. You got ready for work and expected to do project A and make a few phone calls. Life happens. Doesn’t it. There’s no way to plan or foresee any of the events. Some wonderful and some not so much.

I read in Psychology Today  that our anger and disappointment comes from your unfulfilled expectations. You can read about it here Psychology Today. I expect traffic to flow smoothly. I expect good weather. I expect for my children to go to bed without a fuss. So when I’m angry at the creeping car driving in front of me, it is because I expected it to flow at my pace. That’s an unrealistic expectation.

So do I expect anything out of myself? If I lower my expectations about life then I will always be happy, right? I think that would be a pretty pathetic way to live. Low expectations are worthless. My way, I let my dreams float up there in the ether of my mind. Yes, I’m blonde. They are like beautiful butterflies. Not all dreams are flights of fancy though. Growing up is real. Going to college is believable. You can put some feet to your dream of a good paying job, writing a book, and  traveling to Europe.

So what makes a dream or a promise just a pie crust promise? Can you take a step towards it? An action you can make? Dreams are wonderful. There are those that I really do trust. You cannot help unexpected events. And you surely can’t stop traffic on the freeway on Monday morning. What’s a girl to do? Dream.

See also: Burnside Writers Your Wonderful Powerful Imperfect Story

 

How To Save Your Life

The thing about life is that we usually troll along our merry way thinking that everyone lives or thinks the same way. It’s just that some people have all the good luck, right? They win the lottery or their rich great-uncle-three-times-removed dies and leaves them a fortune. But you on the other hand are just out of luck. You got the rotten job, the car that breaks down, the felony boyfriend and every time you get a little money someone needs it more than you, so you get stuck with nothing.

Well that’s the way it seems because all we know is who we are, what we’ve experienced, and what we think. Have you ever met someone that thinks totally different than you? The same situation that you were in, but they handled it like it was nothing. That’s what I want you to see. Just a few different actions, just a few different responses will change your life.

Decide what you want
I’m not talking about “I want to be a millionaire” or “I want to win the lottery”. I’m thinking along the lines of handling your money wiser, making good choices, not blowing your top the first time someone makes you mad, or making more friends.

Change what you remember
If your childhood seems like one misfortune after another, that’s what you are thinking of and that will define who you are today. Think of one memory that is along the same thinking as your wants. If you want to make wiser choices, remember a time when you did. Even just one memory. If you want to make friends and have fun with them remember a time that you did, even if it was just one time and it only lasted a week, remember it. The surprising thing is how you will get more memories to back up the first. It works that way.

Act like it is true
If I want to be successful in something, I start by first, deciding I want to be successful at it. Second, I remember a time or times when I was successful. Third, I begin acting or pretending that I will again be successful. If I don’t act like it, I’m falling back on the old beliefs. And beliefs are like muscles, the more you use them the stronger they become in your life. The less you use them and ignore them then the weaker they become while the new beliefs are growing stronger.

So change your life by deciding what you want, remembering the memories and feelings that reinforce you wants, then act like it is so. It may take some practice and it will probably feel a bit fake at first, but keep at it. You’ll come out on top.

A DRESS, A DREAM


About 10 years ago I had a very epic dream.
It started with an accident on the freeway with anger and confusion. It was overwhelming. I wanted to hide.
The next part was a horrible blood-filled and sad scene. The third scene was of picking up debris after a tornado and storm. Tree limbs and broken things were lying all around, then someone called for me.
My dress was ready, a wedding dress. When I came out, a procession was waiting and I was walking down the outdoor aisle. At that moment I saw myself. Rare in my dreams. I almost didn’t recognize my own face. I was beautiful and innocent looking. All of the horror and fear and grief passed in a moment. There was joy.
It was a moving dream and at the time I didn’t know if it was for me personally or the world. I’ve thought often that it was mine alone because my life went through those things, but now I realize it was for our world also. I hope that we as a people are progressing along these lines and will be beautiful brides.