My Secret – not a copyright infringement

I’m going to let you in on a secret, mine even. It’s not often that people get the deep scoop you know. There are those that blab their secrets to everyone and I do have a blog so I may qualify as one. Just to set the record straight, though, I usually don’t tell a lot of my personal life. Facebook and Twitter aren’t filled with my personal details. I rarely post pictures of my meals. I don’t date a lot so I guess you won’t see many pictures of the guys I’ve dated. My cat, well she’s fairly photogenic, but she’s not much of a secret.

The bulldog‘s grip

I have this thing that I do. It’s a switch inside my head that once it’s turned on I have a difficult time turning off. Maybe you have it too. It’s like a bulldog’s grip. You know what it’s like when you’re trying to remember the name of your third-grade teacher, and it’s on the edge of your memory. Yeah, that feeling. Now if you can do something to get to it, as in the case of remembering the actor that played in Vikings, not the main star, but the one who was in the first season and you can’t remember which episode. Do you bother searching? I would. That’s my secret. I would search. Through episodes, Imdb, Google or wherever I needed to search. You don’t call this a secret? Maybe you say I’m sick or I need drugs. Well, you may be right. I say that this skill could come in handy. It did when I was in school. I’d stay up and finish my homework late into the night. I think they call it cramming now.

Can’t let go, don’t hold back

I also learned something new because of this sickness-secret. It’s freed me from my hesitation in my writing. I’ve been doing the NaNoWriMo and I’m a bit behind so I’m cramming aggressively. While cramming, I searched and listened to some helpful pointers and realized I had been restraining myself as I wrote. It isn’t enough to tell yourself to write freely. It’s like saying Be Happy to a sad person. I had to find a way past it. So I did. I wrote a worthless scene as suggested, purely for word count, a monolog. You know what? It was awesome. It worked. The difference in my word count was incredible. The ease that I’m now writing my story has improved. And the important part of the whole thing is that I can feel the bulldog grip. I want to finish this thing!

 

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It’s Still The About People, Right?

I think we as a society have forgotten something here. It’s not about the task in front us. How fast can you finish your spreadsheet? Are you a democrat or a republican? We sold more doohickeys than you. Is it about the people? Is it about the job? Is it about the thing?

Most jobs at their start were about helping, or at least solving a problem. Nutrition. Water. Disease prevention. Somewhere along the line they lose their focus. It’s easy to forget. If you’ve ever worked in a daycare with more than five children, you know how that feels. Children whine, they cry, they poop, and they need. It’s constant. You forget that you cared about these noisy, fussy children. At one time, you wished to nurture them. Now all you want to do is stop the noise. Suddenly it’s about the thing. The diapers.

The squeaky wheel problem

It seems to make sense to prioritize in order of priority.

Do the urgent stuff first. Deal with the cranky customer who’s about to walk out, the disenchanted and difficult employee who hasn’t had the right sort of guidance (lately), the partner who is stomping his foot.

The problem with this rational prioritization is that it means that the good customers, the valuable employees and the long-suffering but loyal partners are neglected. And they realize that they should either get squeaky or leave.

If the only way to get your attention is to represent a risk, people will figure that out.

(The other problem is that you end up spending all your time with cranky, disenchanted, difficult people who are stomping their feet.) – Seth Godin

I think it’s important to check ourselves and ask it’s still about the people, right?

You Are Already That

There’s a lot of noise these days. A lot of clammering and banging of drums. People want attention and to get that attention you have to make more noise. They want their chance to be on American Idol. They want their name called for their award. Fame. Spotlights. Glory. Yeah. We all understand. Maybe it’s time for everyone to settle down. Take a seat for just one moment. Get quiet and still.

Do you know what you are?
You are a manuscript oƒ a divine letter.
You are a mirror reflecting a noble face.
This universe is not outside of you.
Look inside yourself;
everything that you want,
you are already that.
Rumi, Hush, Don’t Say Anything to God: Passionate Poems of Rumi

Everything that you want, you are already that.

CRAZY CHANGES

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.

The Borders and Two Flags

Rainbow flag flapping in the wind with blue sk...
Rainbow flag flapping in the wind with blue skies and the sun. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week we filled the sky with waving flags, but it isn’t until next week that my country celebrates its independence from British rule. This week had its own colors and controversies, as many have noticed.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it once again. As a child, I’d walk naively, without the knowledge of borders, not understanding the concept of North side and West side. It’s only as adults that we learn where we supposedly belong or don’t belong. I’d walk inside and outside with a large mirror in my arms, facing upwards so I could only see the ceiling. I liked the openness, the uncluttered feeling. There are moments that I still feel the wild child inside of me stir. She gets restless and wants to run and be free, hating the constraints of the 9 to 5, the should of the day-to-day life. Living in this society means coming to terms with the borders and the rules placed by civilization, but it doesn’t mean being completely tamed. We are never meant to be slaves.

I believe human conventions, pre-conceived notions, religion and the world’s cacophony do not stifle creativity, neither should they. Rather they serve as breaking ground manifestations of the limitless parlay of ideas floating the grand mass called ‘space.’- CL Ngwe-Nwi  A Multi-faceted Creative from her About me page

Life is untamable. Life is wild. Unpredictable. There are no permanent borders. No true boundaries. We try so hard to put up fences. To keep out the bad guys. To grasp on to what we love. But it’s not possible. Somewhere in there is righteous reasoning, but if we aren’t careful, we become like the zealots who kill everything good. We kill instead of healing. There’s a line that get’s crossed, and it has nothing to do with a flag or a country. It has no heritage involved. There are no lasting borders, only love and hate. No flag representing a heritage of shame should fly. Put it in a museum with the other items of shame. But let’s not wave our dirty laundry on the top of a flag pole for all the world to see. Please, America. Let’s have some modesty.

I stumbled upon this ladies writing this week and found her post intriguing. Check her out if you can. http://www.quietrev.com/portraits/gina-stroud/

I’m Pressing Restart

Over the last few years I’ve discarded obligations and reorganized my life. A lot of these things happen because of age. It’s natural. Just like a snake sheds his skin or a tree loses its leaves, people change their habits. It doesn’t mean we’re fickle. We grow. We change. If I can’t do something anymore, I know that it’s time to let someone else do it. Mostly though, I’ve made a conscious decision to change my focus in this part of my life. In the past, I’ve been helpful. I’ve been nice. And somewhere deep inside of me it seems as if I’ve tried to make up for some unknown mistake or atrocity, which I can’t remember committing from my past. It’s as if I’m afraid of being selfish even. Whatever it is, real or imagined, it doesn’t matter, I’m moving on. Nice is too flimsy.

Are you feeling stuck? If you’ve found yourself in the middle of the road, and feel you’re not going anywhere, maybe it’s time to reevaluate what you wanted when you started walking. It’s possible you started strong, then lost your focus. Stop whatever you are doing and ask yourself, am I doing this because I want to do it? Or because I feel an obligation? If you want to do it, then keep on going. If you feel you should do it, it might be time to let someone else take over. Worthy causes need someone who can give to them passionately. That’s hard to do when you are not enjoying yourself.

What makes your heart sing? You’re going to make mistakes. You will look silly. People may even wonder if you’ve lost your mind, but that’s alright. You’re about to have some fun. I’m asking myself these same questions now.

For all of you who have matured and feel comfortable in your life…don’t get too comfy. Life is full of surprises and you never know what’s around the bend. If you want to keep your mind and heart healthy you need to think young. It could time for you to learn a new hobby or take up a new challenge. We want to stay unstuck throughout our lives. Stay nimble.

I want to start with some simple ground rules that apply to all of us;

  1. It’s time to get quiet and clear your head.
  2. Get an idea. Whatever brings you delight.
  3. Do what you value. If your heart isn’t in the work, you will have difficulty completing the task.
  4. Take one step towards that idea.
  5. Take the next step.
  6. At first don’t ask anyone’s opinion.
  7. If anyone wishes to give you advice tell them you will consider what they said and
  8. Just keep walking
  9. If no one supports you, support yourself
  10. Express yourself in some way, whether it’s with a sticker on your car or the shoes you wear.
  11. Read inspirational stories. They come in many forms; books, magazines and blogs. Feed yourself inspiration.
  12. If you’re feeling stuck, do one thing differently.

A book I just read: Success Through Stillness by Russell Simmons

 

Never Gentle

What in your life is needing attention? I’ve given attention to many different places. Family, work, my house, etc. The one place that most of us forget to give attention to, except maybe the scraps at the end of the day, is ourselves.Yes, we give ourselves sleep. Sometimes. Even then we cut that close. Do we really need the full eight hours? Food. Well, I ate something. I think.

Stop for a moment. Those things that need attention, if they’re anything like my cat, their cries are only going to get louder. You might as well deal with them now. And take care of yourself, always.

In a paraphrase from poem of Dylan Thomas, Jason Silva from Shots of Awe, which I’ve included below, says, “I will not go quietly into that good night, but rage against the dying of the light.” Whatever you decide to do with your life, realize that only you live it. Then really LIVE it.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieve it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. – Dylan Thomas

Lost, Forgotten, Ignored? Does anyone care?

lost toyNo one wants to feel like the lost toy. Forgotten. We hate to be misunderstood. It hurts.

I called my doctor’s office this week. My neck was in a muscle spasm and my head was hurting. I’d actually left home from work early on Monday. So I called them in desperation. Could they help? The nurse called me back promptly, stating she’d get with the doctor then let me know. I waited. Monday evening I checked my phone. Tuesday morning, I took my time getting ready for work, dreading going in since I was still in pain, but I was still thinking the doctor’s office might call any minute. I checked my phone around noon and there was still no call. I don’t like being ignored. I’m not easily forgotten. Wednesday came, then Thursday, and finally Friday morning, which was when I spoke with the nurse. After all the waiting, I wondered if my doctor really reviewed my chart when she only upped my dosage of the same medication I’d already been taking.

There are misunderstandings.

Sometimes we don’t hear the full sentence. We often aren’t fully listening to the person talking, we just think we are. We hear the words, but we hear them with our perceptions. I’ve talked about this before in other posts. For more on this read, Flavors and Perspectives. I do this so much it embarrasses me. Note to self: Practice mindfulness. Recently I had an epiphany. When I was growing up, girls were becoming more independent, going to college and getting jobs. It was the beginning of the age of the working girl.

I graduated from high school in the early 80’s without any of these big plans. I’d had odd jobs. I wasn’t lazy and I never refused work if it was offered. What I had lacked was transportation. I don’t want to be down on my parents because everyone has their faults, as well as their charms. My parents are the steady type. They are there for you when you’re in need. You need new tires or your air conditioner is broken, they are the people who will help. There was always food on the table and a bed to sleep in. But I knew where I stood all of my life when it came time asking for the extra things. And I knew what those extra items consisted of. I didn’t ask to attend extra curricular activities in school.  I didn’t do band or sports. I rode the bus home from school. I did my homework. I colored in the lines. No nonsense. No useless activities. Why? Have you ever been on a highway that has the bumps on the side for when you veered off the road? It’s like being pulled feet first down a flight of stairs. That’s what it felt like asking for more.

I didn’t realize until recently that I’d been guilty of not only misreading my parents’ values, but also of ignoring their values. Maybe I never saw them at all. At that time, they had disregarded my requests for a car. Ignored. Said No. However you wish to phrase it. When I asked to work, which I did temporarily, it was received with a lot of complaining on my parents part. Remember the bumps on the side of the road? The job lasted for a few months until I got tired of hearing the complaining. For years I’d thought of myself as lazy after high school. I should have went to college, I kept thinking. But how could I have went to college, since I didn’t have a car? I should have gotten a job. Small towns. No transportation. Guilt. Shame. Misunderstanding. The circle of life.

My brother had mentioned my parents’ different values to me a few years before and I had forgotten until recently. Dad is old-fashioned. Women don’t need educated. Men do. Men work. Women stay at home and raise children. There wasn’t a reason for me to go to college or have a car. I knew that I wasn’t lazy. I had just misunderstood. It’s just taken me a bit longer to get where I wanted to be. My generation, the edge of change, often misunderstood our parents. Just as they

often misunderstood us and our need for independence and leaving their ways behind.

Strange abandoned house

I was watching some new videos on YouTube and found an entire channel devoted to urban exploration with abandoned houses. I’ve included one of the most interesting ones below. It’s short and quaint. WWI era house and supposedly left undisturbed. Check it out for yourself.

Urban Explorers can be found under the YouTube channel Seeker Stories

Overeager

I’ve been over-anticipating. I live in Oklahoma, not Minnesota. We have winter. We have snow and ice. This year it feels that Winter has dug in its toes and hung on. Our Dogwood trees are budding. The Daylight saving time changes this weekend. And still we had more ice and snow last week. I’ve had the urge to clean it all up. I replaced my car windshield which was broken from the sand and rocks from the road debris. And now I’m itching to clean my car. I even picked up a load of household cleaning supplies, ready to do a whirlwind of spring cleaning.

overeager – excessively eager; “overeager in his pursuit of the girl”

eager – having or showing keen interest or intense desire or impatient expectancy; “eager to learn”; “eager to travel abroad”; “eager for success”; “eager helpers”; “an eager look” – http://www.thefreedictionary.com/overeager

 

It seems I’ve been a bit preemptive on several things. I’ve been waiting for my oldest son to get back to the states so I could call him. It’s too expensive at overseas rates. I had text him, thinking he had already returned, only to receive a text in the middle of the night saying he was still away. I will wait. I was also thinking my favorite show, Game of Thrones, was back on in March. Nope. It comes on in April. So, still I will wait.

And while I wait I will leave you with this,

The Darkness

The journey into the darkness has been long and cruel, and you have gone deep into it. – A Return to Love, Marian Williamson (also an excerpt from A Course in Miracles)

I’ll remember that Spring is coming.

 

A Book is a Book is a Book, Even if it’s an Audible

6e047afdfec3681a15d360ae355918b7I find myself in this same position a lot. It’s the one I found myself in when I was in religion. I dislike it when people take words and interpretations so literal. I think they do it just to win their argument, not so much that they feel they are right. But even so, it builds the fire under my already overused soapbox.

For instance, when has a book been read? When my eyes have skimmed across the page, word by word, page after page, until I’ve finished the entire copy? Seems obvious. I counted up the books I read last year and totaled out at around 54 or so, including audible books. There lies the contention. Some would say that audible books don’t count as books that are “read.” Some, but not me. As I told a coworker that has a small child, there’s no rule that says how the words should be assimilated into consciousness, just that they get there. If I were blind, I would be using my fingers and braille script to read. Would that be cheating? I’m certainly not using my eyes.

And while we’re on the subject of twisting our sensory perceptions, there’s a guy who is colorblind and sees only in gray scale. His name is Neil Harbisson and he did something very unique about his disability.

Artist Neil Harbisson was born completely color blind, but these days a device attached to his head turns color into audible frequencies. Instead of seeing a world in grayscale, Harbisson can hear a symphony of color — and yes, even listen to faces and paintings.

go to site: Ted.com/Neil_Habisson

Science has now learned that the smell of coffee is what gives us it’s flavor. It’s really not our tongues after all. The whole theory of the taste buds, you know the ones, sweet, salty, sour, bitter, etc, that theory has been debunked. The Tongue Map. And the tasting of wine? The Trouble With Tasting Wine They believe that the flavors come from all the accumulated flavors you have built up. Of course they may learn something new later on, but that’s what I heard recently. Another source: Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat. It’s also available on Audible.

Another Soap box jump

When I hear people like former Mayor Giuliani saying stuff about “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country,” I want to slap someone. Firstly, because I know that Mayor Giuliani wasn’t raised anything like I was, so I can’t even begin to relate to him. Secondly, Everyone expresses love for people and country differently, not to mention that I don’t need the President’s love. How should one express love for country? Is there a protocol for such expression. Three god bless America’s and Five baseball game ticket stubs? Maybe I don’t love my country enough? Show me how. I drink iced tea in the summer and hot coffee in the winter. The vodka on Friday night does look a bit suspicious though. Maybe I should be more careful. It’s a point to ponder, but I’m still counting my audible books as being “read.”