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!

 

Are You Just Sitting There Doing Nothing?

Sit in the middle of the day, in a public place, not with a cup of coffee or a book, just sit. Someone will stop and ask you if you need something. They’ll worry. Are you okay?

People don’t know what to do when someone is just sitting. And pity the homeless person sleeping on the grass or the steps. We poke them. Are they alive? I work downtown, so we see a few in the week.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how out of control most of our lives seem. Or maybe it’s just mine. I posted a while back the conundrum that I have or shall I say the elastic stretch, between medication and being well. Slowing Down to a Human Crawl The medication prevents the illness, but it also causes fatigue – in degrees. The fatigue and the spinal issues have caused me to reevaluate the heads down, let’s push through to make it happen, bull-headedness of mine. I’m a bit stubborn. I like to win. I like to get things done. I’ve been known push until it hurt. Well, I’m rethinking. Recalculating even.

How Leisure helps take control of our lives.

“Leisure lives on affirmation. It is not the same as the absence of activity … or even as an inner quiet. It is rather like the stillness in the conversation of lovers, which is fed by their oneness. – Brain Pickings How leisure helps us reclaim our human dignity in a workaholic culture

Open House for Butterflies by Ruth Krauss (July 25, 1901–July 10, 1993) click on picture to see the entire book

I’ve been trying to discover this new life I have since I’m walking instead of running. The colors are different. Sounds and tastes also. I’m kidding a bit. But I am adjusting. It’s been a year of weight loss. My styles have changed. My wardrobe has changed. Today I just purged my closet. I should feel excited, but I don’t. I feel off beat. I keep walking hoping that at some moment along the way it’s going to feel alright.

Here’s the truth of it. There are life changes that I want to make that aren’t happening yet. That leisure I talk about is my way of saying that I need more relaxation in my life. I’ve had to push for it. When others were demanding I work overtime; I was pulling away. I had to respect myself over the job. This stuff isn’t easy.

I want to fill my space with music, my walls with color, and my life with people who know how to enjoy living this life to the fullest – however it may look.

My Salute to the Restless

Should we discuss IQ? It seems to be a sensitive subject to some. A while back, during a casual chat on social media, I got into a discussion about intelligence. Bad move on my part. No cookies for me! A teacher mentioned that she noticed her lower IQ’d students sat quietly and didn’t run around crazily like the higher IQ students. Exit Janet from the scene.

Sitting still is not a quality that I either encourage or discourage. Sitting still is not the goal. It has its moments. To do it for me, yes. I learn and listen in silence. In stillness, I can go inside and find the truth I need. It gives the moment to think about what I want to do for the day, to plan, to daydream, to think even about where something went wrong in the past. Where did I get off track? What did I really want? Can I fix it? Should I fix it?

I never was a popular kid in class. 

– Nathan Myhrvold

At some point, I have to end these Facebook debates because Facebook is not the place, and hijacking a friend’s post to make a point is just plain rude. I can grandstand and soapbox here, on my blog, all day long. And if it bores anyone they can move on. It’s fair that way.

I raise my glass to the restless ones. To those that can’t sit still. What keeps them going? Money? Guts? Audacity? What keeps you going? Here are a few of my favorites, but there are so many more inspiring people, restless people. Please leave yours in the comments. I’d love to hear who you think should be honored.

31 Most Inspiring Women – Women Who Changed the World

Quite honestly I’d love for someone to stroke my ego all day and listen to me spout my poetry or listen to me boast. If I was never booed or hissed or disagreed with, I might think I was the most brilliant orator in the world. As I have mentioned in an earlier post, Living With Brothers, if all the people in the audience were mothers, we would never come to the truth of ourselves. The real world teaches us that our breath stinks sometimes and that we have to speak up to be heard. We also learn that if we want something desperately enough then we might have to elbow our way to the front. No one in their right mind is going to pay you for something they can get free.

Make the Most of Life – Click Here  

Quit

I Can't Quit You Baby
I Can’t Quit You Baby (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quit – over thinking. Quit – trying to make it work. Quit – wishing, thinking, pushing, willing, trying so hard, all of those things that make you seem like a fish flopping on the shoreline, out of his comfort zone, out of his life zone. That’s not you. We all do this. We act like we’re afraid. We act like that poor fish, gasping for air. We are not desperate. We might be afraid, but we aren’t desperate.

I have so many questions sometimes when I try new things. I start with, I’m ready. I’m excited. I crouch down like the jumper at a sporting event and I’m ready to take off, but then the questions start. How much pressure do I need to push-off? Do I land on one foot or both? Do I dig in with my toes? You get the idea. So many questions that I start doubting if I can do it or if any of it can happen. Can I really make it work? Am I just daydreaming?  We all go through this struggle. We worry. We fight the fear, then we fight the desire by telling ourselves, ‘Well, I don’t want it anyway.’ We try to shut the emotions down because they can be so raw. The open heart can feel so exposed.

I was sitting down with a guy I see regularly and without telling him anything he starts saying things such as, you know you can’t be happy unless you’re with someone who meets your needs. You have to have someone that lets you have room. In essence, it was all the things I’ve been mulling over in my head. Was he reading my mind? Sometimes I wonder. Is the world around me really just a hologram of my own making as the new-agers say? Matrix overload. Tilt. Tilt. Beep. Beep.

I’m afraid. I’m in the open, but I know I’m not alone here. I just have to wait. I did that thing I do so often, I got here early. I got over excited. How did I say that before? You can read that post here:  Overeager.

Here are a few items I ran into in the process of writing this blog. I love how when you start pulling strings, the blanket starts coming towards you.

The Wiggle Theory – by Buster Benson on The Medium
The Upside of Quitting: A Freakonomics Radio Rebroadcast

We Need to be Lost to Find Ourselves – YOUTUBE

The Flip Side of Failure

The flip side of survival and the fear of failure is thriving. Thriving shouldn’t be difficult. How is it so difficult to win? To succeed? Well, the difficulty is when you have achieved, what’s next? You’ve met your goal. Do you coast or do you keep pedaling?

Keep pedaling. This is why slow growth is better than the lottery winning. If you’ve slowly grown a business you got there and grew into your success. Lucky breaks give you false hope.

We are good at striving. Making changes, adjusting, sacrificing, but actual thriving seems so dull sometimes. Oh, yeah we all have the fantasy of buying an island and not having to work for a living, but how long would it be before we would want more? A month? Six months? A year maybe? Somewhere in that time, you start feeling the itchy feet. The need to contribute is too great. Building something even if it’s only a garden is a rewarding experience.

 

What’s Your Trigger Say About Your Beliefs?

DSC06430s

While driving home today I noticed two different people. A jogger waiting at the stoplight, ponytail swinging, matching shoes and outfit, then further along the way was a teen in dropped khaki pants, well, not fully dropped. No boxers were showing at least. Both of these styles can trigger either interest or anger. I’ve seen people go on full tirades about both styles. We all have our triggers and what really fascinates me is how obvious they seem to me. I wonder if everyone notices them. A coworker mentioned her young son’s crazy habit of making up words. It bothers her. It frustrates her. Why? They aren’t real words. So she corrects him. That bothers me because I know that he’s developing language skills. But I didn’t say anything because I’m practicing on being quiet and minding my own business. Here are some examples of things that set people off:

  • baggy pants
  • trash on the floor
  • interrupting a conversation
  • cutting in traffic
  • an unmade bed
  • white shoes after labor day
  • pantyhose and open toed shoes
  • watching TV all day
  • shyness 

Our inner rules guide us from birth to death on how we should dress and how we should act. If it’s something we’ve worked hard to master or it has value attached, it can trigger strong emotions. Most interesting is what our triggers say about our values. Take a look at behaviors that most consider good behaviors for example:

  • combing your hair
  • tucking in your shirt
  • washing your car
  • eating all of your food
  • reading a book
  • travelling the world
  • speaking a foreign language
  • outgoing

To the uniformed, those that do the first are bad people. Or in the least, they are considered sloppy, lazy, and worthless. The last group would be considered neat, tidy, and productive. Which ones trigger anger or pleasure in you? What value or belief is it reminding you of? I’m trying to be slower to judge and less quick to correct. For all I know the kid with the dragging pants is an excellent student with a scholarship to MIT and is just trying to fit in with the crowd.

Maybe it’s none of my business.

 

 

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Can’t Stop Running And Can’t Keep Up

I had someone tell me once that they had difficulty writing because they were always correcting their mistakes. I tried to explain the crazy and insane process of most writers but I don’t think I got the idea across. Like most people writers are nit-picky perfectionists. We want to cross all our T’s and dot our I’s also. We care about how everything looks just as much as anyone but your perfect first draft doesn’t impress me.

Writing is a craft. the correct usage of words and the perfect timing of sentences, these are the work of someone who has over many years developed the ability to hear the flow. To be able to develop a paragraph of fiction that sets you on the edge of your seat doesn’t happen in one writing. Writers have learned. First you take all the chaos of a story or whatever it is you want to say and you DUMP it in the middle of the paper. It’s a mess but it feels good to get it all out there. Then you walk away. Leave it there. Kinda like my picture of God in Genesis. BOOM, BANG! That’s where I want to hang the universe.

English: running

After some time later you start combing through all that crap on your page. Reorder here, cut there and add some more in to rephrase to the n’th degree until it reads exactly the way you want it. And it’s not finished until it’s perfect. Writers rarely sit down at a typewriter and start from the beginning Chapter 1. Never have. That’s why we have pencils and paper.

Sometimes I get myself into the frenzy of fixing everything. Those pants need hemmed. That filter is dirty. Ugh, the toilet needs cleaned. And the list goes on. If I’m not careful, I’m the frenzied lady who snaps at people in the grocery store because I still have laundry to do. Stop. Wait. Halt. It will get done. There’s no need to trip. I have to remember to enjoy this moment.

Here’s a quote from a blog I read,

WE ARE BECOMING ADDICTED TO CHAOS AND FRENZY

In talking with a bunch of MBA students at Brigham Young University the other night, I was asked whether blogging was really going to die soon. I replied, naturally, that radio died shortly after TV started, so yes, that was likely. (I wish there were a sarcasm font, but you get it). I did say, however, that we are the problem.

We are addicted to next. When we read our inbox, we’re always thinking about the next mail. When we browse the web, we are calibrated to scan quickly, skim often, and barely register what we see. It’s neither good nor bad. But it definitely is.

YOU CAN’T KEEP UP

A woman three days ago said, “I don’t like Twitter. I can’t keep up.” I said, “You don’t have to keep up. It’s a stream. Dip in. Say hi. Read what you want. Leave.”

But we think we have to keep up. We believe we have to read Mashable and TechCrunch and all those sites to know what’s new or who’s being acquired.

Hint: nearly none of us have to do that. Nearly none.

PUT. THE. PHONE. DOWN.

https://rt947.infusionsoft.com/app/linkClick/8791/7d2248d5748c4b8a/2521807/aad05136721d9f6d

Another writer I enjoy is Seth Godin. I and many others quote him a lot, because he “gets it.”

At the same time…

The lizard brain is on high alert to make sure that everything is okay. The lizard brain can’t rest until it knows that everyone likes us, that no one is offended, that all graphs are ticking up and to the right and the future is assured. But of course, the future (and the present) isn’t perfect. It can’t be.

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2013/03/fomo-joy-jealousy-and-the-lizard.html
To craft a beautiful life takes effort. It takes focus on the most important things. These usually aren’t the urgent things. These are the moments you sit and read to your child. A kiss goodbye. Having coffee with a friend. Watching a storm come in. So the next time you find yourself running around like a crazy person, remember, you can never catch up. And sometimes we get so caught up in the running that we forget to enjoy the things that matter most.

The Softer Side of Me

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I want to curl up on the couch and be warm and snuggly.  I’m on my couch now but I don’t feel warm and snuggly. You know that feeling when you were a child, home and sick. Not so sick you couldn’t watch TV, but too sick for school. I’d lay there with my quilt and pillow and doze off and on, not a care in the world. That’s what I mean by warm and snuggly.

There’s not as many times I let myself feel that way. If I take the time off to lay there then I feel I guilty about not completing a project like putting up some closet shelves. There’s always work needing done. I wish someone would give me permission to sit down. Would it be so wrong of me to give myself permission?

What makes us push so hard? We all feel it these days. The works never done. It seems there’s no dividing line between piling more things on our to-do list and the work we do for pay. It all just keeps growing and there’s no time to complete it. So we keep pushing along. Once the sun was our cue. When we couldn’t see the hand in front of our face we had to quit. Now we get out the spotlights and keep on plowing. No need to stop.

We have the good life when it comes to survival. We have food, clothing, running water, shelter and all of that. We have luxuries and entertainment. But there’s no scheduled time out. No choice. Must stop. One day rolls into another until we finally roll into our 6 foot deep plot. My personality demands a completion point. Even when I’m reading a book, I like to know how many pages are left before the end of the chapter. I look at the total minutes of the movies I’m watching. I mentally half and quarter the time. Strange? Bizarre for certain. I wonder if there are others out there that do something similar. And why do I need to do this? I like completion. When I finish something, I get that temporary mental feedback. That little burst of endorphin that says ‘good job’. We all have it in some degree. Maybe you’ve never noticed. Did you clean out the garage? Did you feel the need to tell someone? Facebook is great for this. We are such social beings that we need to tell everyone the most mundane actions of our lives. “Went to the store. Long lines at the gas station.” “Finally mowed the lawn.” And even though we know most of our friends don’t really care, we feel compelled to share. These harmless little actions just make my point. We completed a task. We checked it off of our list and want acknowledgement. No biggie.

Fudge snuggles

I’ve heard that the chemical reinforcement in our neurological structure is the reason we make lists. Also it’s the reason we add to that list if we’ve completed a task that we didn’t list originally and check it off. We don’t want to miss anything. We are reinforcing our accomplishments. Yay for us!  Pats on the back all around.

So my difficulty is, how do I allow myself to rest? Giving myself permission doesn’t come easily. One thing I’m learning is compassion for myself. I’ve started doing a compassion meditation (see below). Very simple. I sit and think forgiving and kind thoughts towards others, whether friends or strangers. I also include myself. I wish blessing and good things on others during this time. I acknowledge them as doing their best and allow them freedom themselves. I believe this makes me a softer person. And by becoming softer, I can allow myself to relax. It’s a start for me. For me this method is more effective than my earlier way, which was lists and lists and lists. As I said, they never seem to be finished. With this way I can relax even when things aren’t perfect. It’s taken me a long time to get where I am, and I know I have a long way to go. This is my journey.