Observations About Giving Up

There are a lot of things I don’t know. Sometimes I’m amazed that I got to be this age without learning some basic things–things that seem like trivia to me–that other people take for granted as fact.

Today I’m writing about something I do know and I don’t really care anymore who believes it or not.

I am very empathetic, which is I can feel what it’s like to be something or someone. People who are not wired this way don’t have a clue. Also I’m very observant and very interested in the creative expression of others. In the particular genius of others.

So, I notice amazing, amazing people with talent and they are seemingly not recognized and supported. Brilliant blog posts. Moving pieces of art. Singers on the street corners of my city. You know what I’m talking about. They are reaching for the stars, putting their hearts out there and they have drive, passion and the willingness to work hard.

Often what comes back is apathy….like they are creating in a world full of zombies.

Anyway, then I feel their bewilderment and bitterness. Cliches come to mind. “Leap and the net will appear.” “Do what you love and the money will follow.” “Build it and they will come.”

But this is the part that I know and I’m not going to attempt to convince anyone. Everyone else is responsible for their own journey.

Our world is changing rapidly into a new one. It really matters what choices we make and how we travel in attitude and energy and all that. Things are not as they appear and everyone needs to navigate according to what they feel is best.

It is totally worth it not to give up now. Well, perhaps one needs to quit doing something and begin something else. But keeping calm and carrying on? Nurturing our dreams and talents? Expressing our gifts? Having some faith?

It is so worth it. It sucks sometimes, things look unfair and I have really crappy days. No way do I want to give up. I don’t want to look back on this time and feel that I wasted it in whining and pouting.

And that’s why I keep rocking whatever I’ve got in the moment. And I’m thrilled when my fellow humans keep putting it out there even if it appears no one is paying attention. There is more attention on what we’re doing than we realize.

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No Autopilot For Me

Japan has permeated my world and I’m not even reading beyond the headlines. Still considering what I posted yesterday, I can’t imagine living life on autopilot these days.
I’ll write it again. As I move through my day, I consider these things:
Being fully present in the moment as though it were my last day on earth.
Making responsible choices for the future as though I’ll be here for decades more and that my decisions impact the rest of humanity.
And what I didn’t mention yesterday–I believe when this life is over, we still exist and that we participate in a life review. With clear eyes, we review our life from a different perspective. That’s why I check in with my sense of values and integrity even when no other human is watching. When there’s a sense of painful unfairness where I seem to have no power, the life review idea gives me purpose and courage.
Any meaning in life is usually what we bring.
Works for me.

The Gem at the End

The quality of discernment is worth cultivating. It adds ease, efficiency and flow among other things, to our lives. Our individual balances differ from each other and they fluctuate constantly. I’m getting more bang from my effort lately by paying attention to nuances rather than the grosser (for lack of an immediate better word) activities. How about you?

Some things are diversions and time-wasters for sure but sometimes a practice can feel that way as a kind of resistance. Like when you’re a kid and you just know that brushing your teeth is a total waste of time that could be spent doing something more fun.

Morning pages (from Julia Cameron) is a practice that has been very valuable for me and can also seem questionable–a waste of time and paper. Not so. For another to read what I’ve written in the three pages of longhand each morning, it would certainly seem so.

When I grow as a writer and blogger, I could look at what’s been written and take the good stuff, do some editing and post it here. But I’m not there yet and I like this being kind of an organic thing, not pushing myself too hard. It might be different for you. When you get glimmers of your leading edge, do you like to seize the moment?

This morning I was writing (drivel) along, mostly about my day and what I “should” do and what I felt like doing and (not doing), kind of pleased that I’d shown up again for the three brain-dump pages and I noticed I was at the point where I had two lines on the yellow legal-pad page left. Something I heard about therapy flashed through my mind–that lots of times the client beats around the bush for most of the session and then blurts out a deeper truth just when the session ends, when they can then leave–or escape.

I’d been writing about the weather and at the last line and a half, I abruptly switched to a different topic–as an empath, much of what I’m doing here and elsewhere in my life is to convince myself that I actually do exist as an individual. Wow–that is a subtle but also big deal to me.

Most of us can’t afford years of therapy and many wouldn’t choose it even if they could. Do they wait until something hits them over the head enough times? Maybe those who actively look for change are really in a minority from those who really want the status quo. Me, I want to embrace growth and change and writing morning pages is a welcome tool for that.

Oh Really?

One of the most important things for me to remember as I navigate my life is not to compare myself with others.

I just read an an online piece about a survey that showed how Facebook made the grass seem greener in other people’s lives. All the photos of fabulous times friends are having and their numerous successes can make one feel like a loser. I know it does me and anything I might have to post on Facebook seems lame. So I don’t. It’s understandable that people would want to present themselves in the best light possible and most of us don’t really want to share our dark nights of the soul in our blogs. But it’s easy to forget that our glamorous, confident friends have doubts and awkward moments.

In this age of rampant self-promotion, how can we be sure what’s presented is true? I remember in the 80’s when I worked at a job with mostly men. In that workplace during that time, they were allowed to say almost anything no matter how uncomfortable it made me. I tuned them out but was aware that there was a lot of sexual bragging going on, which I didn’t believe to be true at all. Then in other circles I was in, people would share the glorious tales of their spiritual experiences, which made my subtle moments of divine connection seem pale in comparison.

Two of the stars of the mind/body and new age community have admitted to their burn out and exhaustion while they were accomplishing amazing things in the public eye. Joan Borysenko, a stress expert has written about her own burn-out in her latest book, Fried. It’s very informative about the stages and signs that are about so much more than just depression. Debbie Ford of “Shadow” fame has had to choose priorities after her serious bout with pneumonia and shares that she was exhausted most of the years she was out there as a leading voice. She’s now had to disconnect from many of the obligations and often accessible communications with everyone she was available to before.

I’ve learned the hard way that it calls for sense and awareness of reality when determining just what I can reasonably do and whether or not it’s worth the cost. Sure, I have goals but at age 56 I very much want to enjoy my remaining years, not hyperventilate myself to the same success it looks like other people are achieving. And when I tune in to someone, I want to pay attention to their authentic self, not an image they’re promoting. It’s so refreshing to have someone connect with me for just a moment or so—and they’re not selling some thing or some agenda.

When Other People Grow

Relationships are constantly changing, people grow and it isn’t all in Grace, all the time.
When people are behaving dysfunctionally and we call them out, they aren’t going to change simply because we know what they’re up to. First they must have an awareness and then they must want to change and this is all a process.
We all know what it’s like when the dynamics of a relationship change–adjustments have to be made.
What surprises me is when someone I’ve looked up to and consider an expert, one who handles everything in an awesome and cool way, ups their game and the usual prickly, uncomfortable, awkward energy is broadcast just as it is from us lesser mortals. Especially when they don’t achieve instant mastery of the new growth they are incorporating.
People striving really hard and striding forward at a brisk pace–well, I try to stay out of their way. People becoming more assertive and empowered can be quite unpleasant to be around and while supporting them in theory, I like to back away and give them space and dodge whatever might be flying around. I tend to walk on eggshells around them and watch to see if it takes.
When I make these kinds of evolving changes, I am somewhat sneaky about it, rather apologetic and hope I don’t make too many waves. The amusing thing is that it often isn’t noticed in the outside world very much. I also need to be careful that I don’t judge myself for not having the awareness sooner and feel embarrassed that others were aware of my previous shortcomings. Of course, these other people aren’t paying that much attention–they have their own stuff to pay attention to.
I’m not totally clear about what my point is here. I am an empath and can feel how it feels when other people make these changes (when I’m not careful) and I’m noticing it more lately. It’s distracting and it takes work on my part to come up with an appropriate response.
One thing I’m not, is fast on my feet when it comes to verbal communication. Not being on the same wavelength as many folks, it often takes longer for me to process what they’re saying and how it jives with what they’re energetically broadcasting. As a conflict-avoider I certainly don’t want to push any buttons.
So back to the recent encounter with a professional who apparently has made a great leap as far as goals go–the person who prompted this reflection–I am reminding myself that it’s all about them and not so much about me.
It’s confusing, almost like dealing with someone who’s possessed, to have new territory and rules when you haven’t gotten the memo, to find oneself in a new landscape when you don’t have a map. When a business stays open during remodeling, there are usually “pardon our progress” signs. Heck, I often (as an over-explainer) verbally tell people “please excuse my mess”. Not so with many folks.
This person is someone I’m paying and it seems to be like “figure it out yourself– hop to it!”
One of the major breakdowns for me when hiring professionals to assist me with managing my life (and yes, I mean Doctors and anyone–I give all due respect, but I am in charge of my life and they work for me) besides running out of money, is when it becomes about their timetable and pacing and reputation regarding my progression or lack thereof.
It isn’t about them. It’s about me.
The clarity about this latest instance isn’t here yet. I want to move my focus to what is within my own power to do and change instead of having this hangover my day.
Not being a mind-reader, I’ll live with the mystery and unknown of how this is going to turn out and just take care of my part in it. Which now seems to be the above-mentioned giving space and using care with my response.
It could be that people are way more resilient than I give them credit for. I just prefer civility and kindness and patience in a real and not surface, phony way.

Entertaining My Subconscious

Several times I’ve run across information about the subconscious not being able to tell the difference between seeing violence in life and seeing it in a film. The images one sees are said to be imprinted on your subconscious forever. I tend to believe that but like so many other things in life we have to make choices. We’re here to live life not practice as much avoidance as we can.
I barely watched television from 1970 to 2005. I was doing other things. All those shows that are part of people’s history like Friends and Seinfeld and Cheers and Lost—don’t know much about them. That added to my weirdness factor in the eyes of my peers and co-workers back in the day. Fashion trends, slang and cultural references–I had few clues.
Then when my life changed drastically and I had more time on my hands and not much energy to do things, I began watching television shows. Mostly through Netflix which helped me survive a bleak winter. Now I much prefer watching marathons or a whole season at a time instead of waiting for an episode of something.
It was quite a shock when began watching television again. My goodness, it had changed. As an empath who picks up things as though they were my own energy when they certainly are not, I was careful about what I exposed myself to at first.
One thing that fascinated me in the beginning was how sophisticated some of the writing was, as though the viewer had some degree of intelligence. Not everything obvious had to be laboriously pointed out. I said some writing. Of course there are many lame, stupid shows.
And it wasn’t as though I’d never seen any television during those years. It would be on in the background at someone’s house but I never could get drawn into it. The noise bothered me.
There was a writer I liked who was on Oprah one time and a friend invited me over to watch the show. I was disappointed and horrified at the pacing of it and how Oprah would interrupt and not let the guy talk. Everything seemed so on-the-surface and, of course, that must be normal. No one is going to watch an in-depth, intimate conversation about ideas. Except for me and maybe a few other weird people I’ve never met. It made me want to jump out of my skin. And that’s almost nothing compared to The View.
When I was ill and lonely a few years ago and missed humanity (in theory), I subscribed to Netflix shows and later watched television on the internet with the caution of knowing the images would be in my subconscious forever. (Although I believe everything can eventually be healed.)
And I ended up deliberately choosing shows that could be considered gross or violent or graphic like Burn Notice and Bones over shows where smart-ass, snarky, hip people stabbed each other in the back, displayed rudeness, lack of compassion and made fun of each other’s big butts and weak chins. Seriously. I would rather watch Fiona and Sam blow up a building that watch some office worker make a cutting, harsh remark to a co-worker.
Even though some of those shows can be graphic, I like the dialogue and the relationships–people caring about each other and having each other’s backs. Yes, I know it’s not real but if I’m going to be having something in my subconscious as though it were real, I don’t want it to be stupid, mean, everyday people. Anyway, it’s boring to watch and cheap. I’d rather see compassionate, friendly people (like me).
Except now that I’m having this adrenaline thing going on, I need to avoid that kind of suspense and excitement in my viewing.
I enjoy the character, Dr. House, but as someone who has had health issues that show is traumatizing. Half of it I spend cringing and closing my eyes. Don’t tell anyone but I can’t stand to watch someone put eyedrops in. I have to look away when someone is applying mascara too.
And yet there are people walking around with the sensitivity of a post and I guess I wouldn’t trade who I am for that.

Farms

My blog has a tag about farming and it isn’t totally random. I have a farm and I consider myself more of a land steward than land owner.
My farm is over one thousand miles away from where I live and I can transport myself there to the ideal of it. The reality is that I am unable and unwilling to tolerate living in the country where it’s humid and there are so many more bugs and snakes and there’s so much more pollen.
When I was a child I spent a lot of time roaming around outdoors. I had chores but no structure. It wasn’t the sort of life where there were piano lessons and all those scheduled things kids do now. Many of the few books available to read were enjoyed sitting in trees or up in the hayloft of the barn.
It was very difficult adjusting to being away at college. After so much space and isolation, the chaos and intense bombardment of other people’s emotions and thoughts were overwhelming. I thought I was a freak and it wouldn’t be until decades later that I would learn I am an empath and that there are techniques I can use to turn down the volume on what other people are going through and tune in to the fact that I really do exist and that I have a home frequency.
One of the things I chose in an attempt to cope was to smoke cigarettes. I smoked a lot–from two to four packs a day. It took up most of any discretionary income I had.
Cigarettes are considered physically addicting. The odd thing was I could forget about them when I got out of the city. I wasn’t even in a city; it was a town. But when I would accompany someone to visit their family on a farm and we spent time outdoors, I had no desire for cigarettes.
The summer after my freshman year was the last one I spent on our farm. I had worried about my need for smoking (I had to hide it from my folks) but I didn’t even finish the packs I brought with me. The first day back at school in the fall, I smoked two packs. They were harsh and nasty.
It wasn’t just being back with my family, as some suggested. When I went camping for any length of time, I didn’t want to smoke.
When I finally quit, it was very hard to deal with the crowded feeling and waves of other people’s anger, envy and fear. And their boring, numbing focus on objective reality only. This was way stronger than any physical addiction I had.
Oh yes, this started out to be about farming. My farm and my interest in it. Maybe I’ll blog about that tomorrow.
In the meantime who I am now, is someone who must live in the city. I would like to go to the country more often but am unable to do so alone and am unwilling to put up with other people’s lack of patience and understanding. That’s O.K.
What I love now is the proximity to art and coffee shops and bookstores and movies all within a few blocks from me.
For my own peace of mind, I don’t have a car. That used to be considered weird but now people seem to have gotten it that lots of things other folks do is none of their business. Really, no matter what other crap is going on in the world today many people have learned how to mind their own business. Even though there are plenty of obnoxious, opinionated people who think they know what’s best for others.
Anyway, I love my farm and am interested in organic, sustainable farming. Now, I’m a city girl too. I enjoyed writing this and am satisfied with it. If asked what my point is, I’d have to guess. I was thinking about how farming is something I’m interested in enough to write about and I am thoughtful about my relationship to nature?

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.