Imperfect Practice

My complicated and mysterious illness has flared up today and I’m not at my best. That’s one reason it’s a good thing I’ve already written down my goals for the next year. People with unpredictable and out-of-their-control circumstances in their lives can, of course, be successful and make progress. It’s a dance of flexibility and two of the main requirements for me is really paying attention to signs and how I’m feeling and having a high degree of self-honesty.
So, I’ll be wincing and creaking into the new year without putting a lot of pressure on myself. And because I want to learn and practice more this year does not mean I’m lacking talent and that I’m a failure. Oh, no.
I’m going to participate in the WordPress daily posting because I’ve been finding it easy and I really like to so far. I noticed that many folks don’t post daily and I felt a twinge of self-consciousness about my enthusiasm but I got over that quickly. Now I’m going to nap. I’ll see you next year.

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Word Of The Year

Instead of resolutions, I’ve been choosing a word-of-the-year for the last few years and I do believe it’s made a difference. I got the idea from Christine Kane’s blog several years ago and a quick search of this site has shown me that others like the idea also.
I’ve recently mentioned that I’m experimenting with changing my overly subjective, go-with-the-flow ways and worked out some structure and focus and goals for the coming year. After several years of numerous major losses and debilitating pain and chronic fatigue during which my main goal was to stay alive—well, some days it was–I’m finding that my life is indeed looking like I’ll have a future.
After being passive for so long it’s tempting to overreact and really push myself to CONTROL but that isn’t the life I want either. Thus I made a little plan and some habits I want to take up and I’ll pay attention to how it goes.
Back to word-of-the-year, I’ve changed my mind from the one I decided on a little while back–sustainable–and am mentioning it here for anyone keeping track (me) just for the sake of accuracy. The word had just come to me from the ethers or whatever and so I thought it was meant to be. When I looked up the meaning, I didn’t care so much for it. It seemed limiting and like I’d just “been there. done that”.
The word I really, really, really want for 2011 is receive. Yes, that’s been a major imbalance in the way I’ve lived. Giving, not so much receiving. Enough said about that.
When meeting new people and considering friendship I’m going to listen to my gut more. Do they take responsibility or do they blame? Do they practice appreciation or are they complainers? Are they about healing, solutions and uplifting or generally negative all the time? It’s really time for me to turn the corner on this.

Brit Flicks and Fiction

Still awkwardly planning my next year’s goals, I appreciate the moments when I relax and read the new Charles Finch book, “A Stranger in Mayfair”. I’m wanting it to last. The Victorian protagonist recently attended a speech given by Queen Victoria and I was delighted that he’s in the process of reading Mrs. Gaskell’s “Cranford”.
My local library has the dvd production of “Cranford” which I very much enjoyed watching this summer. When you want to see something weirdly amusing, search YouTube for when the cat ate the lace.
My favorite film series of Elizabeth Gaskell’s work is “North and South” with the wonderful and talented Richard Armitage. I am a fan, something I rarely am of an actor.
Recently I received and watched the third and final season of “Clatterford”. In the UK it was called “Jam and Jerusalem.”
It’s by the same folks who did “Absolutley Fabulous” which I disliked.
Dawn French is amazing in it and it would be so lovely to visit with the Women’s Guild of Clatterford. The scenery is lovely, of course; it makes me laugh and sometimes tear up and the people look real. They live in interesting-looking homes, not all the glass and steel and neutral tones of so many US shows. There aren’t the skinny, air-brushed, slick, plastic looking actors either. It’s a little world that’s both cozy and refreshing to enter into for awhile.
There’s something about the English that helps me feel everything is all right.

Making the Great Creator Laugh

Still working on my plans for the coming year, I’m trying not to get in a sweat about it. I simply don’t know what resources I’ll have to work with. In the recent past I’ve been fooled by stretches of greater stamina only to be disappointed and taken by surprise when overtaken by pain and lethargy.
They say it takes several years for adrenal exhaustion to begin to heal and I guess that’s what’s going on, although it’s complicated. Something is different. It’s one reason why giving up coffee would be best for me. It’s still an uneven situation–although I have more energy I’m attempting not to get too overstimulated. I’m also wanting to let go of resentment that I have to work at this and other people have a more stable and steady biological and psychological way of functioning.
So, I consider myself at my possible best and at my lowest during the next year as I plan.
Years ago a joke going around when one spoke of a five year plan was “if you want to make God laugh, tell of your five year plan”. That’s when five years seemed like years instead of months.

Grounding Cycle

We’re expected to be in sync and adapt to the rhythm of the world around us. That’s how society functions. Too bad if our natural cycles are whacked out of kilter by expectations.

There are fascinating stories and examples and tips from creative people about what does and doesn’t work. Many times they don’t work well for empaths. A lot of people aren’t really aware of what it means to be an empath, including many empaths. There is a lot of really wrong and crazy information on the internet about that these days. I hope to correct some of that in the near future.

With the new year soon to be here, I am noticing more hope and excitement than in the previous two or three new years when people were weary of getting psychologically knocked about. I’ve been intellectually stimulated to the point that it physically hurts lately. As my inspiration expands, I’ve wisely learned to balance this with some grounding.

Yesterday I scrubbed the tile floors more like a meditation instead of a get-it-done chore. I attempted to stay in the moment and focus on the sensations and relax and empty my mind. I can’t say that I was even nearly successful but it evened me out to where I became more comfortable.

Today I took more care with preparing my lunch and turned my attention away from the spinning gears in my mind. A vegetarian linguine made with shredded zucchini, chopped Roma tomatoes and avocado mixed with pesto, I prepared it more methodically than I usually tend to do and less absentmindedly. Being absentminded can be dangerous, inconvenient, embarrassing and invites annoyance and rudeness from other people sometimes.

Inspiration and energies from the higher planes help make life worth living but they need to be integrated and brought into the material world in a balanced and contained way somewhat or it can be very painful. That’s true for this creative empath. There’s enough time spent outside the comfort zone–I want to give myself a healthy, caring break.

Comparisons

The habit of comparison and competing with others is learned in school, on the job and by the onslaught of slicked-up polished role models which are presented to us by the media.  If that works well for you, fine.

It doesn’t work for me. As an empath, it throws wrenches and all sorts of other tools and emotions in my operating system and I tend to get wobbly and jerky and eventually shut down.

There was so little information about how this affected me in my earlier years that it has literally  placed a lot of wear and tear on my nervous system. As I learn to heal this, the performance of my nervous system begins to smooth out.

There will always be others higher on the proverbial skill and talent ladder than us. Also lower. What matters is where we are and where we want to go from there. When we’re in the third grade, enjoy that. When we’re in the ninth grade, we can enjoy that. 

By many people’s standards, my life isn’t so great. To me it often feels like it is amazing because two years ago I wasn’t really sure if I was going to be alive much longer. As the days stretched on and on and I was still hanging in there in a chronically fatigued sort of way, I wondered how I would look back on those years and whether or not I could even remember anything happening.

The progress I made was excruciatingly miniscule sometimes. Often it seemed like I was going backwards. Last year I began typing up some notes daily in an online journal. A private one. Just some real details of my life. 

It isn’t the sort of thing one wants to share with others. They don’t want to hear about problems, fears, details, negativity or any kind of neediness. Having a good attitude and dialing up appreciation and dialing down complaining makes for a better life.  I know that. If you don’t know and you don’t believe me, I won’t attempt to change your mind.

Anyway, these days I occasionally tend to think I’m not doing good enough until I read how I was doing last year. It is a sort of personal measure for me and happens to be inspiring.  Enough so that I will keep on doing it.  This might sound silly if you’re someone who routinely wins and improves and is relatively functional in the third dimensional reality. For someone like me who is basically decent and intelligent and persistent and hardworking but who has a rough time fitting in and accomplishing things, it can be validating in a way that doesn’t show up so much in the outer world. Especially coming back from major losses.  Other people have their hands full and their own dramas. It still is important for one to attend to the details of one’s own life, without comparing to others.

Today I impulsively invested in myself in a huge leap of faith. I may be getting way, way ahead of what I can ever realistically accomplish. It may have been a very foolish choice.  Surely I will learn something from it in the future though, if I continue to move in that direction and pay attention to my leading edges.  And also if I don’t compare myself to what others are doing and focus on my next steps. It’s can be very helpful to learn what does and does not work for others and what techniques and tools might help in one’s own life. Determining that is an inside job, requiring self-authority. That’s something I highly value in myself. 

Christmas

It’s a holiday that my family of origin celebrated in a very modest way. When I left my childhood home, I didn’t bother much with it as far as decorating and entertaining goes. There are many different  nuances of the traditions and now so many things changing for people rapidly.

I guess it’s simple for us to just continue on without questioning the way we celebrate unless circumstances or strong awareness impels us to make changes. After reading some blog posts by people I admire about the little traditions in their homes, I’m considering crafting my own to make the holidays more meaningful for me.

The people I used to celebrate with are all gone now. These days I’m fine with going along with whatever the people I’m with do to celebrate the holidays.
When people are alone, it makes a difference whether or not they offer a certain quality of life to themselves. It doesn’t have to be more complicated or elaborate or expensive or more work. If you’re somewhat lacking in imagination (like me) you can experiment in a thoughtful way and allow it to evolve.

This afternoon I was alone and so I got out my paints and unfinished canvas panel and painted a bit. The actual painting part took about twenty minutes and the gathering of stuff and cleaning up took longer. The cap broke on my brilliant blue shade and I taped it back together. There are lots of reasons I could find to give up beginning art again but this will be a year when many of my excuses of the past won’t really apply. The only thing stopping me would be inner resistance. It was awkward but I feel a bit pleased with my effort this afternoon and intend to kind of make a habit of doing some sort of art often. Like I’ve been doing with my writing.

One of my received gift books is the fourth novel by Charles Finch called “A Stranger in Mayfair.” I really enjoyed the first three, detective novels set in the Victorian era, and this one is pleasant to read as well.  It’s a book I’m wanting to last a bit longer than the pace I’m going through it. 

Christmas Eve

Listening to people on the phone, putting a brave spin on their year. Making cookies. Reading a private journal I posted in last year and understanding that yes, I have made progress. Feeling ageless. Feeling easy kindness for my fellow humans as I tended to a few last minute errands. Made chili and then added ginger chili hot sauce to it–wow! I’d never heard of it until I received some in a gift package. It’s peaceful in my world right now and I wish the same for everyone.

Wobbling Forward with Goals

While most people seem to be rushing around with last minute holiday activities, I’ve been working my goal muscles. Most of my Christmas business is finished and I’m going with the open window of motivation and focus for adding more structure to my life while it’s present and easier.

You know how sometimes you have the time, energy and inspiration to do something but it might seem to not make sense in a linear way, as though it could just as well be done two weekend from now?  So you wait and two weeks go by and all that extra ooomph for the project is gone and it’s harder and less fun to do, if you even do it at all? 

Yes, there are people who were instilled with the importance of setting goals and they’ve been practicing for years. I’m not one of them and perhaps you aren’t either. Starting with a daily list (yes, I haven’t been using lists for quite awhile, just doing what I had to and felt like doing) I’ve been more productive even though I haven’t achieved everything on the list.

It isn’t about comparing ourselves to others, it’s about getting from where we are to where we decide we want to go. For me, the resistance sometimes feels like moving underwater or I get really sleepy or think that doing the listed thing might be easier tomorrow. You might be the same way or have different kinds of discomfort and resistance.

Having a great attitude is important in life but if I waited until I had a good attitude to do things, I’d get a lot less done. So, I’ve been giving myself some slack and letting it be O.K. to be kind of grumpy or indifferent when I’m alone and working.  Even though intention and the spirit of doing things is important.

Instead of drawing a line through an item when finished, I highlight it with a pink or purple or green marker and that helps me feel better about the whole process. Also, I’m keeping most of my goals secret which goes against what most experts suggest.

This whole structured, balancing objective reality with my usual subjective bias is an experiment for a year anyway. I may not want to live the rest of my life like this.

Today, I was working at home and attempting to stay on track. I needed to get some more groceries and set out at about two to walk to the local co-op. All day I kind of noticed that I should take the time to sit down and eat a meal, but what I actually had was a bowl of Rice Chex and later, a handful of macadamia nuts. It was warmer out than yesterday but felt colder. Suddenly I felt like I was starving and craved a cheeseburger. The jalapeno burger I got at a local tavern was good, but it wasn’t really aligned with my budget, my diet (gluten in the bun) and my schedule. Protein and more oil earlier in the day would have worked better and I knew that.

Not a big deal, I know, but in the future I’ll practice setting it up for a better chance to stay in alignment with what I want to happen.

Whatever the learning curve for me, I’ll give this a whirl for the next year.

My Brand or My Stripper Name?

I’m really enjoying my blog and reading what other people write. I’m learning things here.

At this time of my life I have time to write and I’m wanting to expand that even though I don’t have a plan—just the occasional fantasy.

Several days ago I received a book about social media for writers. Reading about social media has never sounded interesting to me but I liked the writing style of the author, Kristin Lamb, who has a WordPress blog.  It interests me to read about how creative people adapt to all the changes in the world.

Also I enjoy reading about well-organized systems and strategies.  I’m only partially into the book so I’m not qualified to review it but I really like what I’ve read so far.  It’s like having a friendly, enthusiastic person sharing what they’ve learned about something that could save people from a lot of trouble and mistakes.

As I’m reading  I can get a clear idea of where I’m at with all this which realistically isn’t much of anywhere and I’m fine with that.

If I wanted this blog for professional or business purposes, I’ve already screwed up. I’m usually late to anything that comes along and anything like a reasonable username for me is already taken and then I usually pick something on a whim. Such is the case with my username here. Lamb has a solution for that.

Today while I was distracting  myself to get through checking out something that’s gone wrong in the bottom of my dishwasher…..ugh….with aching joints, I was considering my username and how it might work as a brand for something.

Then I decided it might be better as a stripper name, especially if I was male.

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