This Is Like Planting Seeds

At the beginning of all things, we tend to feel quite silly. Picture me, chubby girl, jogging through my neighborhood. I’ve got the shoes, the shorts, a water bottle and of course the required music blaring in my ears. At this moment, I can’t brag about my pace. My GPS phone app clocks me at 5 K in 57 minutes. And that’s estimating that my last 30 minutes will be the same as my first, which they won’t. By the time I get a mile and a half (about 2.4 K) of walking and running in, I’m sweating like crazy. My calves burn, and my knees are weak. I am no picture of athletic prowess.

Of course, it won’t always be like that. Eventually, I’ll build up enough muscle to finish in half that time. Hopefully, I won’t be as sore. My stride will look stronger, and my run will be more fluid. I picture myself as a leaner version than now, running like a gazelle through the neighborhood. Onlookers will be in awe of my agility. I wonder, should I take my hair out of the ponytail? The wind could blow it as I run. I would also be in color-coordinated clothing. Shoes, shorts, and a tank top all coordinated. Yeah, I look like I belong.

It’s humorous because when I started with my old tank top and 10-year-old shorts and shoes, I felt awkward. I was pretending to be a runner because it’s cool. And I hate being trendy.

Aside: Running vs. Jogging.

The two are technically the same. Jogging doesn’t become running at a certain pace. Jogging is just an uncool word for some people.

– Me

I’m not sure where this started except possibly in the marathon running group. You don’t jog a marathon. When I looked up the terms in all the online running blogs I could find, no one was sure of the difference between the two. Jogging implies that you are trotting through the neighborhood with no purpose. In the case of running, people mean they are training for a run or a marathon. But that’s speculative.

When I began, with my out of date shoes, I felt awkward. So to legitimize myself I purchased official running gear. Funnily enough, the models displaying running shorts and tanks are 5’10” and 100 pounds. Their BMI is probably 5%. I know, I know, it’s really 14% and I’m exaggerating, but they are skinny girls. Lanky. Anorexic. My BMI is a higher. All those chubs on my body are well-earned. It took a lot of cookies and pints of ice cream to build them.

Now that I have my running gear, at least I know the shoes are not going to injure my knees and shins. With time, I will develop the strange quirks that go with being a runner. I don’t know if I will ever feel authentic because my mental picture is unrealistic; no real person could meet it. I think we do that with a lot of things. Even being an adult, which is something that comes with age, and we don’t genuinely earn, the mere act of not dying brings us to it, we can feel like we are a fake. At the beginning of every attempt, we step one foot in front of the other until we’ve trained our senses to become familiar with our new task.

Adulthood, parenting, hobbies, and vocations are that way. It feels strained. Not quite right. Everyone sees your stumbling and fumbling. That makes me smile. Even though I may not reach gazelle-like grace in my running, eventually even I can become comfortable jogging and running about the neighborhood dressed in trendy shorts and bright-colored shoes.

This is an edited repost.  Taking Up Running from June 9, 2013 

The image above was provided by Wade Harris ”Door, New York City”

My posts might be sparse for a few weeks since I have a cervical spine surgery scheduled, which will make it challenging to write. Wish me luck!

Seriously Happy

There’s no guarantee for success or one formula for not ending your life with regrets, but there are a few pieces of wisdom which have been shared over many generations.

  • Hang around positive people.
  • Don’t fix negative people.
  • Help your tribe.
  • Seek tasks and lessons that are challenging to you.
  • Respect the human needs: camaraderie, love, family, tests, learning, struggle.

Keys And Locks

There are too many passwords to remember. I carry a badge for work and a FOB, keys for my car and my home, multiple identification cards, money cards, and insurance cards of various types. The doors at work have levels of protection, so outsiders can’t enter. Has it always been so difficult? Have you counted the number of passwords you need daily now?

Are we safe yet? Or is this about something else?

Gatekeepers

When I came into the world, I met my first gatekeepers. I didn’t realize how much my family’s lack of acceptance disabled me, not until I peered back with adult eyes. I understand why my tiny self raged. I was stubborn and battling an invisible wall of resistance.

Many feel threatened by others who enter their area. It’s normal. Others change the way worship, the way we eat, and even challenge what we rights we have. Fear of others is a survival skill, but so is expansion and acceptance. Learning new skills can keep us pliable and young at heart. Consider before you react in fear.

See also Softness Is Your Strength

One Thing List

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.

Be Strong

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.

Do We Create or Channel?

I look back at work I wrote a year ago, and I don’t recognize it as my own. Yes, I know the piece. I wrote it. The characters are mine, and the art is authentic, but sometimes as if another person works through me.

I DO ME

Flow is the place we aspire to be. It’s a surfer’s dream. To lose the struggle and only know exhilaration and glory, man! That’s the ideal. We all want that, don’t we? Then why do I white knuckle it?

Losing control is not a feeling I enjoy. When I was younger, the coasting downhill on my bike was good. Not flying through the air and losing my sense of direction. But in my fear I find release. There’s a comfort—An “Oh dear gawd I’m going to die—Okay maybe not.” And relief that I didn’t. All is alright. It’s a time when I learned to let go of me.

The greatest benefit of being a solo performer is that it is seriously frightening, but at the same time very empowering. It’s just you and the audience. All the weight is on you to deliver the songs.

Zola Jesus

CRUNCH TIME

Some of the things I’ve done which scared the shit out of me, I leaped into them fully, feet first. I had an idea and started. Once I painted my kitchen cabinets. Yes, I researched the hows. I bought supplies. But I had no experience. I took the first step, then the second. Sometime in the middle, I realized there was no turning back. I was committed. I would finish this project. It’s at these junctures when you turn the music loud and get to work.

Holy

There’s a part of me still trying to prove she’s okay. The good employee. The daughter who loves her parents. But dammit I keep failing even those. Good is a lie. And honestly, my boss doesn’t want me to be kind. She wants a result.

There’s an ugly side of being too eager. In the middle of being the best is a gooey center of false perfection. For a goddamn moment, you think you’ve reached nirvana until reality slaps you in the face. All of the meatless meals and chanting won’t keep your lungs free from exhaust fumes. We work as we are able, living in as much grace as we are given.

One of my favorite YouTube creators recently shared that he is doing the 75hard challenge. I’d not heard of it before, so I went on the website to learn. It is WORK. If you want to feel you’re accomplishing something, here’s a plan for you. 

The Challenge:

Do 5 things a day for 75 days. No excuses, no stopping, no missing anything. If you miss something, or cheat, you go back to day 1!

  1. Strict Diet – No Cheating, not even one bite, and No Alcohol!
  2. Two Workouts per Day – At least one outside and both at least 45 minutes each
  3. Drink One Gallon of Water per Day – Nothing but clear, plain water counts
  4. Read Ten Pages per Day – Non-Fiction self help or business book
  5. Take a Progress Picture Every Day

On display

We wear badges and gather tokens without realizing it. I accumulated my own display and allowed them to become my story. Look at me, they say. Like certificates on a wall, I displayed my trauma, my failure, and my illness as if they were the only parts which had a right to speak. But there are other pieces, the loving and healthy portions, which had every right to be heard.

Society is complicated, and so are the problems we’ve inherited. And yes, I said inherited. I doubt any of you created the homeless situation or understand the dynamics of solving it. For more info read The History of Homelessness in the United States. If the solutions were clear, they would have been done. Instead, the homeless are hidden from sight, bused from one city into another, herded like zombies in The Walking Dead. No one has a fix.

I question whether trauma takes an emotional toll on society’s collective soul if there is such a thing. I’m speculating. What would that look like? Anxiety and unrest? Anger issues?

Let me know what you think in the comments below. What are your opinions on society? Have you tried the 75Hard? I would love to hear your stories.

My Purpose

There are mornings when I wake, and I don’t dread the day ahead. There’s a slight thrill running in my veins. I enjoy this feeling and wish I could recreate it. Bottle it and save it for a rainy day.

I once believed that if only I had a calling or a mission, it would be so easy to jump out of bed each day. I’d want to walk out the door and help others. Passion would be a part of the package.

(Success is about a happy life, and happy life is just a string of happy moments. But most people do not allow the happy moments because they are so busy trying to get a happy life.) Esther Hicks

Now, my bones creak more, and my muscles have less vigor. Aging has brought experience also. I’ve paid attention. There are people with ordinary jobs who do them with the enthusiasm of an artist. I’ve seen love smiling through the eyes of a neighbor. And kindness, I believe is appropriate anywhere.

Maybe you have a unique voice and can say the words which need to be said. One person to one person. One person to one thousand. If you help one person in your life, isn’t it worth it? Don’t hesitate. Our gifts can be lost in the noise, the hatred, and the confusion. Turn off the distractions. Put joy on your list.

Why are you here?

Live. Live Everyday

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.

Read more: Are We The Choices We Make?

Or Power of Choice

Finding Meaning in Life

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?

#Mindtools

#Self-authoring

The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.

Muriel Rukeyser

How To Be Strong

Are You The Choices You Make?

bliss by jakki moore- painting shared from thegirlgod.com