Don’t Speak

Helen Sinclair:
No, no, don’t speak. Don’t speak. Please don’t speak. Please don’t speak. No. No. No. Go. Go, gentle Scorpio, go. Your Pisces wishes you every happy return.
From Bullets Over Broadway

It’s time to hunker down, to stay inside, to do the opposite of what Americans do best. We do not do idle. And even when we rest, it’s not a quiet thing. We fidget. We plan. We vacation.

Today was the first weekend after Oklahoma Governor Stitt ordered nonessential businesses closed and people to remain home.

KFOR News – As part of the new restrictions, Stitt said that all non-essential businesses located in the counties affected by COVID-19 are being ordered to close at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25 until April 14.

So what happens when you’re home sheltering in place, and the electricity shuts off? No lights or television or computers. Netflix is unavailable. No binge-watching the latest show. Well, earlier, I swept the floor but couldn’t do the laundry. The WiFi was off, so I wasn’t able to edit, not even from my phone.

We took a walk. Thankfully the electricity was turned on by the time we had made the trek around the neighborhood. I had work to do: writing, laundry, and other busy stuff.

This week I will try to rest. Really.

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!

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Stumbling Around

Fear of Failure. Atychiphobia. Anxiety.

It’s sometimes the reason old people sit in their recliner too long. And why the snappiness gets lost from their step. Not on their sixtieth birthday or even in their seventy-fifth year. Just one day it’s easier not to try. Not push. Effort and achievement cause expectations.

The unknown is difficult to face. The young stare it down. Every job interview, each new friend, the new 10-page application they fill out for renting the house, new schools, and moving. But somewhere after the home and the kids and the third new job, life settles. It changes less. By the time the kids grow up, life has rolled on—around and over us.

As we age, we expect to know more. Be smarter. Shouldn’t we be advising our children? We feel we shouldn’t need to improve ourselves anymore. We did that in our twenties.

This is a new time to live. And I refuse to rust, whether it’s by sitting in a recliner or refusing to learn a new language.

We can do this. Don’t turn off your curiosity.

Is it possible, that some of us are afraid of diving, of jumping into the deep end? What’s the worst that could happen if we lived?

How To Conquer The Fear of Failure

You Win – Repost

This from a previous post. I hope you enjoy.

Your life is not a failure. My life is not a failure. We haven’t quit and we haven’t failed. Let me set the scene for what I’m talking about. Years ago, women had big families, not always because they wanted to. Men had to work long hours in the fields or doing jobs wherever they could. Coal mining, deep-sea fishing, fighting wars they didn’t start. This was their lives, how they bent. Like the tree swaying with the wind, they leaned and they bent so they didn’t break. We inherited generations’ worth of genetics and heritage. Maybe you have Granddad’s blue eyes or his height. Remember he was so tall he had to stoop when he came through the door frame? Well my gramps was tall and thin. I remember his jean overalls and his pipe. I also remember how his shoulders had a bit of slump. I also remember my mom telling my brother to sit up straight. A lot.

Most of us try to kick habits and to better ourselves. We encourage our kids to study hard and take the steps for success just as we’ve done for ourselves. So you’ve tried to lose the weight. I know you have. It’s not because you lack willpower. Maybe it’s the technique or maybe it’s not. You want to be healthy. You want to stop smoking. You want to watch your kids grow up. You haven’t failed. Get back up. take another step. If you’ve reached this point there is this one thing you need to know. There are some things in life we learn to live with. That doesn’t mean you’ll never quit that habit. It just means there aren’t any miracle cures.

I know people who have personality disorders. I’m sure you do too. I know those that have diabetes and heart problems that would love a miracle cure. And someday medicine and science may find that cure. But until that day we have to handle our bodies with their handicaps as if we might have to live with them. I think with all the self-help and positive thinking we forgot something. Genetics and hereditary still play a part in our lives. Take a tall lanky child for instance. It doesn’t matter how many books you stack on his head, or how many mantras or meditations he would do. He’s going to be tall. And with that will possibly come the stooped shoulders. Thanks Granddad.

I’m blessed with my mom’s pot belly. I’ve never had a flat stomach. When I was 20 I weighed 110 pounds and still had a belly. I could do setups on a slant board. One day I did over 50. Flat stomach? Ha! Nope. Will I stop trying to lose weight? probably not. I’m stubborn like that. And like my continual effort to write my thoughts, like my always wanting to push just a little harder, comes the constant tug of war between wanting to have a thin body and the desire for more ice cream. Some things don’t change.

You exist and no one can take that away from you.

This is a daily lifestyle. This is your daily life. How you live each day doesn’t decide if you fail or win. You win regardless. You are here. You are alive, so you win. You exist, so you can’t lose. It’s not “if I can buy status symbol car I win” sort of deal. If you have no car, if you have no legs, if you have no job, you still win. You exist and no one can take that away from you. What winning looks like to each person is different. Maybe you need to revamp the image you have in your head of what winning is to you. That’s easy.

There are some things that will not change, so we deal with them. Not in a negative “put up with” way. Every day I get up and eat breakfast and take 15 – 30 minutes to wake up. I need that. Eating is mandatory or my body will get shaky and my head will hurt. These are the things I know about myself. There’s no overcoming necessary. This is me. I deal with me. I accept who I am and take the steps needed to make sure I have a meal and slow wake ups. Caring for myself.

You may never get over your fear of dogs. Or heights. You may not finish that bucket list before you die. Don’t let that stop you from putting impossible dreams on your list. It’s okay if you never see the Eiffel Tower or dive into the deep end of the swimming pool. When I was young I thought I had to be able to do everything. I thought I had to conquer every fear and challenge. Where did this thought come from? I really don’t know, but I’m glad to know it’s not true. I don’t have to EVER climb mount Everest. I NEVER EVER have to skydive. Silly as it may seem, I lived the first 30 years of my life thinking I needed to be able to do these things and not be afraid of them. How unrealistic. Somewhere along the way I decided to just stay afraid. Then I learned true freedom.

It’s perfectly alright to live imperfectly.

So forget striving for the top and pushing yourself til you break. The living is not in constant raw edge. The living just is. Right now, regardless if you are on the edge, on the top, or laying somewhere on the bottom after falling over, you are alive. You win.

janetkwest

Your life is not a failure. My life is not a failure. We haven’t quit and we haven’t failed. Let me set the scene for what I’m talking about. Years ago, women had big families, not always because they wanted to. Men had to work long hours in the fields or doing jobs wherever they could. Coal mining, deep-sea fishing, fighting wars they didn’t start. This was their lives, how they bent. Like the tree swaying with the wind, they leaned and they bent so they didn’t break. We inherited generations’ worth of genetics and heritage. Maybe you have Granddad’s blue eyes or his height. Remember he was so tall he had to stoop when he came through the door frame? Well my gramps was tall and thin. I remember his jean overalls and his pipe. I also remember how his shoulders had a bit of slump. I also remember my mom telling my brother to sit up…

View original post 801 more words

No Other Name? and There Were a Lot of Names

I’ve called myself agnostic, atheist, and sometimes just not quite sure. But here’s a quote I like that puts it into perspective.

“The Romans called the Christians atheists. Why? Well, the Christians had a god of sorts, but it wasn’t a real god. They didn’t believe in the divinity of apotheosized emperors or Olympian gods. They had a peculiar, different kind of god. So it was very easy to call people who believed in a different kind of god atheists. And that general sense that an atheist is anybody who doesn’t believe exactly as I do prevails in our own time.”  Carl Sagan, “The Varieties of Scientific Experience”

I started writing this piece when the school bombing happened in Pakistan, which wasn’t an entirely religious incident as it turned out. But the holidays happened and I never finished writing the blog and connecting everything. As I went through my writings this week to decide what I wanted to post next, I saw this one and I decided to dot my i’s and cross my t’s as well as I could, and just post the darn thing. And then, more stupidity happens.

Three heavily armed men have attacked a French satirical magazine based in Paris – AlJezeera.com

Cabu died with several other colleagues, alongside the brave policemen who tried to stop the carnage. As the attack took place, the assailants allegedly mentioned their connection to Yemen, and that the “Prophet had been avenged.” – Charlie Hebdo: Are we not allowed to laugh any more?

And now I say that if there is a god,

I hope he/she is at the very least is not a tribal god, either of the sectarian or nationalist version. I hope his name isn’t Odin orThor. Or her name isn’t Freyja, Isis or Hecate. Why? Because these gods are small. They lead small countries and small tribes. If you were not in these tribes you were slaughtered. You were an infidel. Your children were burned, chopped or enslaved. Your wives were raped or tortured. Your crops were destroyed and your houses demolished. You were vermin. Disgusting. Hated. To be stomped, slaughtered, and forgotten. As the old testament states it, the enemy was to be wiped out, to be remembered no more.

If I did find evidence of a tribal god and his existence was proven to me, I could not bow to that god, no matter whether his name be Allah, Jehovah, Jesus, or Ahura-Mazda. My question would be, why can’t you love the kid that lives on the other side of the fence? Is his hair the wrong color?

And what of the Hindus and the people of Nepal? There is even a living goddess. People bring their children to be blessed by this goddess and leave gifts of money or baubles. They have little money, but they give happily. It’s easy for someone who stands on the west side of the world to judge them as deceived as they offer their gifts of money, tokens, or even the blood of goats in honor to their gods. It’s disgusting for a westerner to watch. I don’t like blood. Right? But I just watched the video of the war in Syria and there’s blood bathed bodies lining the streets. Ironically, we would judge saying they are deceived and we are much smarter.

But our god is real, we say

I’ve seen people bring their children forward to be prayed for by pastors. I know that rock star longing to be touched by the visiting preacher. It’s no different. It hasn’t changed from one famous person to the next. It’s been well manipulated in our time and even in times long past.

We need to change some things in this world we live in. Some things need to be off limits. No, I don’t mean the prophet Mohammed. I mean the killing of each other. For what purpose? A drawing? Get real. I used to draw pictures of my teachers. Did they shoot me on the parking lot or the streets of Collinsville? Gun me down?

What can we do?

  • Give to a charity or an organization that helps war-torn nations. United Nations-Refugees
  • Be secular. That doesn’t mean anti-god. It just means, doing something without having to do it in the name of a god. Every time I go to the grocery store or go to work, I don’t pay my bill or pick up my pay check “in the name of my god.” @BeSecular-twitter
  • Speak up when you see injustice.
  • Modify religion. It doesn’t have to be about hate. We all know this. Let’s first check our own hearts for any hatred, then our own religion. Spread love and kindness outwards.

 

Women are alway fixing things

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Have you taken it to heart? I just read the story of Margaret Rudkin, the mother of Pepperidge Farms. It started with an allergy. Actually her son’s allergy to certain bread products. As most mothers do, she took the doctor’s advice initially and put him on a restricted diet of vegetables, fruits, and meats. Later she decided to experiment. She wasn’t a baker, a chef, or any type of fancy cook, just a mother who cared about her child. She was on a mission. She finally found a way to make breads that her son could tolerate. She went on to other items and decided to market her baked goods. It took time. Lots of it. Years. You can read her story here, Pepperidge Farm History

Have we forgotten about women? We’ve encouraged women to study math and science. We’ve encouraged them in sports. We’ve encouraged them in higher education. Are we training them to be only automatons? Did we forget to challenge them to take risks? Not according to Linda Rottenberg. She says we just haven’t talked about the things women have done. I believe we to keep encouraging.

“Entrepreneurship isn’t just for guys who wear hoodies and work in technology,” said Linda Rottenberg. Entrepreneurship is solving problems that can make significant change in people’s lives, then scaling the solution. She should know: She’s co-founder and CEO of Endeavor, the world’s leading supporter of fast-growing entrepreneurs. Rottenberg is also the author of recently published Crazy Is a Complement: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags.

In fact, by focusing on stories only about Marc Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, we may be discouraging many entrepreneurs who don’t fit their model rather than encouraging entrepreneurs. Let’s make sure to tell stories about all fast-growing entrepreneurs including those led by women. – Forbes Women Entrepreneurs

Here are some current female entrepreneurs who are listed in the article. I’ve snipped it a bit for space. You can click the link above to read the entire article.

  • Two women, Leila Velez and Zica Assis, raised in the slums of Brazil created a line of hair care products, Beleza Natural for Afro-Brazilian women so their hair would look beautiful. They employ 3,000 people and generate $100 million revenue.
  • Lateefa Alwaalan created Yatooq, which developed a coffee brewer that reduced the time it takes to make Arabic coffee by 75%. Yatooq also developed an Arabic coffee blend. Her company is projected to earn $8 million this year and $11 million next year.
  • Nada Debs has built a furniture and accessories design brand under her name. The products are  manufactured by a network of 150 artisans in Lebanon. She employs more than 40 people…Products can be purchased from New York to Dubai.
  • Bedriye Hülya, created B-fit, Turkey’s first national chain of women-only gyms…also enabled hundreds of women to own b-fit franchises and thus become entrepreneurs in their own right.

If you see a need for something different, fill it, make it, create it, design it. Sarah Blakely did. That’s why we now have Spanx. Whether you think they’re a good thing or a bad thing, every product you use, from a toothbrush to a can opener, someone had a need, then had the courage to do something about it. But before they had the courage, there was a mother or father, sister, brother or friend, who told them they were talented enough to do it. If you don’t feel ready to jump into the fray yourself, then lend a hand to someone else. Patronage is still alive today.

Under Pressure

You know that feeling you get when someone is watching over your shoulder? Or, you say you can sink a basket from the free-throw line? No pressure, right? Oh the deadline is Friday? For all of the discomfort it brings, pressure also can bring out the best in us. I’ve found the best way to motivate myself is to set a deadline. Even better is to tell someone about my deadline. If I can line up my goal with this type of pressure, I will almost always complete the task.

Here are my steps,

  • I have a thought or an idea.
  • I write it out either in Google Drive or in a personal notebook.
  • I decide what effort is needed, money or time.
  • I let it percolate inside of me for however long it’s necessary.
  • When the idea has built enough inside of me I usually get follow up ideas and at that moment I can plunge into the project.
  • I find tweeting my progress helps

My pitfalls

It’s easy for me to get lost in researching my ideas so, I try as best as I can to write everything out from the top of my head. Ad Lib if you will. Afterwards since the idea is written out I can edit as needed and add more details.

It took me a while to get comfortable with announcing my plans. Stating aloud “I’m writing a novel,” can lead to all types of feedback. Some think you’re bragging, but you’re not. Mostly I avoided it because seemed like too much pressure. It created that mind numbing turmoil in my head. Now if I don’t finish I am shamed. No one wants to look like a braggart or a fool, but people really have short memories. And they have their own lives to live. A week from now, their troubles will make them forget about the silly thing you stated. And when you actually finish the novel, run the marathon, or lose the weight, you feel the satisfaction. Isn’t that what you wanted?

Run for yourself, not anyone else. – runner’s world

suggested read:

 

Your Life is Unfinished

Life is only incomplete and unfinished business. Your life is unfinished. My life is unfinished. Everyone’s life is incomplete. I was thinking this because I was mentally checking my list of things I wanted to do. But it will never be finished. I can take this as frustrating or I can think of it as liberating.

Every day we’re assaulted with facts, pseudofacts, news feeds and jibber-jabber, coming from all directions. According to a 2011 study, on a typical day, we take in the equivalent of about 174 newspapers’ worth of information, five times as much as we did in 1986. As the world’s 21,274 television stations produce some 85,000 hours of original programming every day (by 2003 figures), we watch an average of five hours of television per day. For every hour of YouTube video you watch, there are 5,999 hours of new video just posted! – Hit the Reset Button in Your Life

To keep myself from panic, I made a list of things I wanted to keep or add to my life and things I wanted to remove or keep away from my life. After reviewing this list I realized the keepers were already there. I have family, job, love, health, books, and all the other goodies that I’d listed. So for now, this minute, my life is good. But the next time I feel anxiety over my unfinished stuff, I want to remember that all of our lives are under construction. That’s the nature of the game of life. It’s messy and incomplete.

…no answer is a complete or final one. And I think that there’s so many times when we thought we understood something and then we realized we were totally wrong. I think that it’s chutzpah to think that we know all the answers or that we’ve understood something perfectly. – Adele Diamond

 

We live the life of an unfinished novel, still waiting to be written. Depending on how we live, the longer the chapters. Depending on how interesting we are, the more we appeal to others. We’re often judged by our covers. Sometimes, some people decide to just quit reading us. We’re just forgotten until someone finds us. Our characters can develop throughout the novel, but our chapters can never be edited.
– Unknown