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Changes Meditation Musings Pondering Reflections Uncategorized

Pandemic Contemplations

  So, it’s been a minute. The pandemic, coronatine, quarantine, whatever we are calling it, gave me a nice brain fog.  I inhaled in shock and it took me a really long time to exhale. I, like everyone else, was caught by surprise. I’m not a stranger to a lockdown. When I need to focus inward or learn something new, I’ve quarantined myself many times.  I don’t want the world disrupting my learning curve, so I was not completely opposed to a shutdown. I, however, have never had the experience of the entire planet having to shutdown with me.  I can take it. I can go with the flow. Can everybody else?

  Is “shock” a good word for the feelings I felt? You bet! I know how to be quiet. I know when I need to be quiet to allow new information in. Most of the planet, I’m not so sure about. At first I was grateful for the rest. I saw it as an opportunity for the planet to reset.  How long would it take I wondered. How long would it take for enough people on the planet to learn to think in new ways? 

  After my initial panic, I started to see it as a beautiful opportunity to pivot. Pandemic contemplations I’m calling it.  We all have an opportunity to look at our lives, to really look at our little worlds, our bubbles, and decide what we love, what we really don’t need, and what we can live without. We can look at the things, the many many things we can let go of.  It can be a nice surprise to see how much we can really don’t need and can let go of. Honey, people are cleaning out closets, and garages, reorganizing homes and giving away massive quantities. It’s freeing.  How long will it last?  Will this new way of being stick? How many people will it take to create a tipping point for the whole world to change?

  There are a million conversations to be had right now. How can we maintain the good things this world slowdown is showing us? The air is cleaner. The world is quieter. I cannot tell you how much I love waking up in the morning and can actually hear birds chirping! I also love the fact that I don’t hear people rushing off to places in robot fashion without taking the time to think about why they are doing it and if it’s really what they want, or if it’s worth it.  

  Cooking meals, eating with the other members of the household, gardening, baking breads, putting together jigsaw puzzles, crafting in hundreds of new ways, rediscovering what a slow existence is and how good it feels.  Going deeper. I love it, but I know not everybody does.  Not everyone wants to sit with their thoughts.

  Here’s the good thing though, many people welcomed the opportunity to sit with their thoughts.  They didn’t even know they wanted to do it but here’s this opportunity.  The whole planet didn’t have a choice.  

We’re discovering what the definition of real power is. We’re seeing what real power looks like, or is it that we have the time to define for ourselves what real power is? We can define for ourselves how we want to participate in the world.  You know what? That can be really scary.  We’re accustomed to having the world dictate to us what we should be doing, and now in a quiet world, in a world shut down, we get to decide for ourselves how we want to participate in the world.  The world had to get sleepy for its wakeup call. I being a contrarian, I being the person who doesn’t always want to follow a crowd is pleased at the prospect of a shift.  

There is so much more to discuss, so I’m going to take these pandemic contemplations in small bites. How are you doing?

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Changes Journey Meditation Musings Pondering Reflections

Where does this road lead us?

Where does it lead us?

This road.

Where are the answers?

Buried under rocks?

Should I kick them?

Turn them over gently?

Scream?

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Changes Inspiration Meditation Musings Reflections

The Lentening. Letting Go.

The Lentening. Forgiveness. Release. Letting Go.

 I’m not Catholic, but I’ve heard of Lent all my life, or at least as long as I can remember anyway.  On Ash Wednesday you start seeing people with those black “smudges” on their foreheads.  It makes you want to reach up and wipe it off, if you know the person, or point it out if you don’t.  Then you realize it’s Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent.  I always thought it was when Catholics gave up something they loved for forty days.  I always heard people talk of giving up chocolate or alcohol, then they eat fish on Fridays.  Yup, turns out that’s not exactly it.  This is not a religious post, so I’ll let you look up the real rules of Lent.  

  I didn’t need to give up something for forty days, that’s what January 1 is for, plus there’s that part where I’m not Catholic, and the cult of me doesn’t participate in Lent.  

 There was a post online where the challenge was to give away one thing a day for forty days, #40in40.  It sounded like a great opportunity to let go of some things, declutter a bit, so I took up the challenge and I’ve really been enjoying myself. 

  My search began. I started to look around the house for things I no longer used, things I no longer needed, and planned to give them away.  It was like a treasure hunt. I was a detective. I’m part of a group on FB called, Buy Nothing, so I put the items up for gifting and waited as my neighbors reached out to request the items.  

  I always try to have a theme for each month of the year, something to focus on, and for the month of March 2020  my themes are forgiveness and release.  The 40 in 40 was a great way to do a release, if not a forgiving of myself for accumulating a bunch of things I didn’t truly need, and allowing myself to move them forward to places where they could possibly be used more. I called it, The Lentening and I decided to give away forty items, not necessarily in forty days.  I put the items up for gifting as soon as I gathered them. I also didn’t exactly start on Ash Wednesday anyway.

  It felt like an adventure to look through the house and discover what I didn’t need, knowing I had an opportunity to give it away, a myriad of items from a variety of categories gone.  I gave away the extra stock pot and the green cutting board I no longer used.  My shelves already looked more spacious with the removal of those two items. I gave away the garlic press sitting at the back of the kitchen drawer.  I’m the garlic queen.  I put it in almost everything I cook, but I chop. I squish with a knife, but I don’t press.  Garlic press gone, space freed. I breathe easier.  

    There were a few things I threw away as well.  This is a freeing experience remember? A pair of black boots that were beyond repair.  I just loved the style.  Was I keeping them so I wouldn’t forget the style? I don’t know.  I mean I loved them.  They were my black go-go boots. Every time I opened the closet, reached up to grab the other black boots, I stared at my go-go boots longingly.  I could walk for miles in those things and be comfortable. It’s probably what accounted for their bad condition. Did I mention I loved those things?   I will buy some more just like them, actually that was my second pair. There will be a third.  The style is timeless, but trends come and go, and that’s not where fashion is right now.  They’ll be back and I’ll wait.

   Many of the items had stories to them, a reminder of a past that I might have wanted to forget. I had had the blowdryer since high school. I was always terrible at blowdrying my hair. Straw anybody?  I found ways around it. I stopped blowdrying a very long time ago.  The shower curtain was an impulse purchase of excess.  I wanted something bright and colorful to change the look of my bathroom and I had had the previous shower curtain for more than ten years.  It was one of those moments where my old shower curtain had to go NOW.  It wasn’t even what I really wanted, but it was different, so I bought it.  It made my bathroom feel like a spa, but not in a good way. It was in that, this is a generic spa environment kind of way. Blah, just blah. Several months later when I found something really cute to spruce up the bathroom, I bought that one and stored the spa shower curtain.  Perhaps it would go in my second bathroom I reasoned, the one that I’m going to have eventually I told myself.  The shower curtain had to go.  

  The flow-y and flowery golden skirt was part of one of the outfits I bought for the fourth of July last year.  I chose not to wear it.  It looked more like an autumn skirt anyway.  I eventually wore it and HATED it. Did I mention that I never tried it on in the store?  The size was fine, but it just felt so heavy.  I prefer clothing that caresses and feels lighter on the skin, like a teeshirt material or a light knit.  What was I thinking?  I got caught up, whatever that means.  

  I let go of the jean jacket for the same reason.  It was super cute but just too darn heavy.  It was an old school mens Levi jacket that had been tapered in the sleeves and waist for a woman’s body.  Generally, I don’t care where the items go, but this one went to someone I knew and I was pleased.  She looked really cute in it too!

  Kitchen items, books, kids toys, mini electronics, appliances, art and art making materials, stationery, and clothing. The list and the the variety was great and boy did I have fun doing it.  I met lots of new people who were very kind, and I was able to make some physical space in my home and probably in my spirit.  I felt lighter as I looked around my home and saw all the empty spaces. I even felt like I could breathe easier, especially after I dusted.  

My Lentening has come to a close, and well before Easter.  Once I started I didn’t want to stop, so I gave away several items at a time.  It was a very freeing experience to let go of things and share them with others.  It gave me an opportunity to pare down what I have, while taking a look at who I’ve become, and releasing the things that represented the old identity,  while it created new space to invite new roles, new ways of being. I’m making it a point to let go of something should I decide to bring anything new into my home.  Care to join me in my Lentening?  What do you need to let go of? I could probably do a whole Lentening with my email accounts..

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Changes Inspiration Meditation Musings Pondering Reflections Uncategorized

You’re Welcome?!

I have a new friend.  I’m not sure if I like her.  She shows up when she feels like and she affects the way I behave in the world, the way I feel, and how I act with others.  She wears a pink skirt and combat boots.  You’d think with the pink skirt that she’d be nice, but those damn combat boots give her so much attitude.  I don’t know if she is a friend or not, but what I know for sure is that she is not going anywhere.  She’s made that abundantly clear.  

One minute I’m fine. I’m living my life and doing my thing and the next minute there’s a furnace in my midsection that decided to turn itself on high heat.  I didn’t make any requests. I didn’t over-exert myself.  In fact, I was keeping my mouth shut and minding my own business.  I very politely disrobe, if I’m alone of course, and I stand in front of a fan. Five minutes later it’s over and I hear Perimini’s (that’s what I’m calling her) quiet cackle in the background.

Was it something I said?  She’s persistent and quite capable of kicking my a$$. She’s made that abundantly clear.  I don’t know.  Do I love her?  Do I hate her?  I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel about her.  I find myself wondering how long she’s planning to stay. Here I am looking at cute babies in the vicinity and cooing over cute cartoon and commercial children.  What did I do to you Peri? 

On days when I feel like I’ve had enough, I think about how I can get rid of her quietly without her knowing I’m plotting against her.  I still don’t know if she’s a friend yet.  Would she answer me if I asked her how long she’s planning to stay?  She’s not very forthcoming, and even if she knew, I’m not sure if she’d tell me.  What does she want?  It can’t be just to torment me.  What’s her message?  Can she possibly deliver it in a much easier way?  Maybe without all the hot flashes and the night sweats.  She’s not the one who has to wash the linens after all. 

Does she know she’s the reason I have a thousand and one new fragrances? This situation is throwing my Ph balance off.  I’m not saying I stink.  I just don’t smell quite like myself, and my skin is dry from sweating all night. So, not only do I have to spend more time doing laundry, I have to spend extra time looking for a variety of fragrances that I wouldn’t normally wear, fragrances that work one day and other days not so much, which is the reason why I have so many now.  First world problem, I know.

I want to make friends with her, but I also want her visits to be as short as possible,  If she can’t do that, maybe she could just not be so disruptive.  Is she saint or is she sinner?  Does she love?  Does she hate?  Is this what neutral is?  Can I request a different comforting angel, a less intrusive one?

   It’s hard to explain if in the middle of a conversation, I start dabbing my forehead with one tissue, then a paper towel, then several paper towels, when there have been no outward signs of a significant temperature change or exertion. You didn’t see that part where I just finished a HIIT workout, but that’s what happened…just not on this plain of existence.  Does that sound like a reasonable excuse?  No.  Okay.  I am still sweating like I just finished that HIIT workout though. Just sayin’.  It’s possible.  Wait!  Does it count as a workout?  The steps were done in spirit.  Does that mean anything?  I want it counted somehow.  

  I drift off to sleep and I’m fine. I’m in Goldilocks territory, not too hot, not too cold. Then Peri makes an appearance.  My sheets are soaked.  My hair is soaked.  I’m wide awake trying to find a dry spot on the bed.  Why isn’t anybody else awake for this? Should I take a shower now or wait til the morning?  Am I going to towel off? Rub myself down with one of my many new fragrant oils?  Will I be able to go back to sleep?  

  The philosophers and spiritualists say that if you wake up in the wee hours then spirit is trying to tell you something.  OK, first can they talk to me at a more reasonable hour?  Second, does nature’s alarm need to be so darn dramatic?  What about a feather or a gray cat walking across my path at noon, and not like 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning? Can Peri relay that message to the spirits for me?  Is she one of those whispering spirits, that someone gave a sledge hammer by mistake?  

 

I appreciate that she’s here to usher me into the next phase of my existence.  I really do.  There’s a horizon over which I look and she’s right next to me pointing and letting me know that’s where I’m going.  Then she pushes me out into traffic.  You’re welcome?!

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Changes Inspiration Meditation Musings Pondering Reflections

Hey You. Yeah, you!

I want to be seen. I want to be acknowledged, most people do, if not all.  A hello or a nod on the street goes a long way.  The problem with growing up in a limited household is that people didn’t always get that attention.  Everybody is or was always too busy.  Folks don’t recognize the importance of acknowledging their fellow man. Or, maybe they do, but they don’t want to be the first to do it.  No one wants to be put in a position to be taken advantage of, or to feel like the nerd.  No one wants to do it first. What about me we’re asking. I acknowledge you. Who’s acknowledging me? The trick is to fill your own cup first, like that whole airplane oxygen mask thing.  Put the oxygen mask over your face first.  

  A lot of people didn’t get what they felt they needed emotionally as children so there’s a constant feeling of emptiness, an unfulfilled need, a half-filled cup with a drip drop of water not allowing the cup to be filled.   The cup is also tipped slightly so even if there were a steady flow of water, the cup never gets filled.  You’re the cup. You got that right?!  What to do first? Sit the cup upright on a stable foundation and let the flow of emotional water fill your cup.

 When we start out with lack, our first instinct is to seek fulfillment outside ourselves.  As we hopefully blossom into mature adults, we grow to understand that fulfillment comes from within.  Emotional fulfillment comes from within.  So, we start to exercise that muscle. We gradually start to take care of ourselves first.  We then stop looking for fulfillment  outside of ourselves. We start to dwell in that feeling of, “so, this is what it’s like to feel taken care of.” Not gonna lie.  It can feel uncomfortable, as new things do.  It can even feel a little scary, maybe even a lot. You bask in the feelings and start to ask yourself, if I can take care of myself, then why do I need other people?  Don’t worry.  You don’t need to have other people take care of you, but it can still feel desirable to have company.  It feels better having company around when you’re emotionally healthy.

  Start with something small. Acknowledge yourself.  Look in the mirror and say “hello.” Look yourself right in the eye and say “hello.” Really look.  Hang there for about five seconds, perhaps three if it gets to be too much. That’s it. Go on with your day.

  We don’t realize it but we are in front of mirrors several times throughout the day: brushing our teeth, combing our hair, putting on makeup, sunscreen, washing our faces, washing our hands after using the bathroom. You are washing your hands afterwards? Right? Every time? Every time! Well, there’s usually a mirror there. Look into it. Say, “hello,” five, four, three, two, one.  That is all. Acknowledge you first. Build that muscle, then we’ll go from there.

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Changes Inspiration Uncategorized

Bloglovin

Hey y’all I’m blogin’ on bloglovin.

The plant thrives.

Flowers bloom.

What is lost is found.

 

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Changes Inspiration Pondering

Broken things.

Breaking up is hard to do…wait.  No it isn’t. I broke a plate a few days ago.  I live in one of those households were the dishwasher has a name.  It’s mine.  I wasn’t upset. In fact, it gave me a sense of satisfaction, not because I was angry and it felt good to break a plate.  The broken plate gave me a sense of satisfaction because seeing something broken always feels like there’s a possibility for something new.  Out with the old, in with the new as the saying goes.

A broken plate felt like the symbol of transition, a change is coming.  I didn’t fear it.  I relished it.  It was a beautiful plate.  It still is in its brokenness. A previously complete set isn’t complete anymore.  I  could go to the store I bought it from, get a replacement and put the set back together. Do the same old thing, but I knew I wasn’t going to do that.  Truth be told, I already gave the cups to the set away several months ago. I felt the winds of change even then, so no, there would be no repurchasing of the same plate.  The breakage puts me at three plates from a set of five, five salad plates, five bowls,  and zero cups.    I guess I only break plates…and those cups I broke before I gave the remainder away:-)

  I came up with a clever plan where I would buy one place setting at a time, each with a new pattern, complementary coloring of course.  In the end, I would have eight new place settings with different patterns with similar color schemes.  I thought it would make for an eclectic table, and my dinner guests would always have something to talk about…and I would be entertained.  It felt like a neat way to live life as well.  I wouldn’t conform to the same old pattens everyday.  I could live an eclectic existence, and do something different on a regular, not quite daily basis.  It gets me out of the same old routine and I get to explore new ways of living.  Change is inevitable.  We can be as careful and cautious as we want, but breakage is bound to happen. No need to fear it.  Let it take you on a new journey.  Buy a new plate.

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Changes Pondering Uncategorized

Ch. Ch. Ch. Choices

The best thing about life is also the scariest thing.  You get to decide what you want to do with yours.  We always have choice.

I remember back in college. I met this kid who knew exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up.  He was going to be a small town doctor.  He was going to be a doctor in his hometown in Georgia and make house calls just like his father did, and his father before him.  Boy, was I envious.  Growing up I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I’m not even sure I know now.  I liked lots of things, and despised just as many.

The running joke when I was in college was that I changed my major every week, or at least quarterly.  I only changed my major once officially, from civil engineering to rhetoric and communications(true story).  I was however in constant discussion about a new class or idea I was exploring.  Did I have a love for civil engineering?  Nope. I was however very good at math in high school and I had a guidance counselor who was completely absent of guidance.  I think I may have met with her once.  She saw a kid with stellar grades in math, so engineering was the major for me, or so she decided. I got to pick the discipline.  I wasn’t completely oblivious.  I chose the college I wanted to go to for all of my own reasons, one being if I didn’t like civil engineering, they had other majors I was interested in.

In between civil engineering and rhetoric and communications, I went from landscape architecture to plant science to physical education to a love for marketing and chemistry to anthropology and many more I probably don’t recall.  At one point I was going to design exercise wear for Paula Abdul or work for a cosmetics company like Revlon.  My plan was to formulate my own lipstick colors of course.  I loved chemistry.

From the first day to the last I took a wide variety of classes: anthropology, engineering basics and calculus.  Every time I’d take a class pointing to a career I was interested in, only to be bored by the class.  It was quite the adventure. I would never trade it.  Economics, art history, a smattering of everything until I started to take rhetoric classes, then literature classes, and communications classes both interpersonal and organizational.  That’s when I started to light up.  Lots of writing in there, which I wasn’t so great at in the beginning, and found to be drudgery.  But, I felt its importance immediately.  Self-expression, the communicating of ideas, I loved it.  I wanted more of it.  I wanted to be better at it.  I even learned how to give a speech. 

What I really learned is that my ideas and opinions were valuable and it was okay for me to express myself. 

I interviewed for a reporting job after I graduated and got it.  Here’s the kicker, it was as a sports reporter in a city so small I don’t even remember the name of it.  Oh, and there’s the fact that I didn’t know ANYTHING about sports.  Apparently, I was the only one who interviewed for the job…clearly. 

I love Bob Costas to this day, but I cannot do what he does. He is a sportscaster as well as a writer.  He group up loving sports.  I did not.  I was not a sports loving kid.  I can’t state the truth in that enough.  I was NOT a sports loving kid.  Like a lot of girls I took the occasional dance class and watched gymnastics during the Olympics.  That’s the end of that sports story.

When you’re young, having to find your way in the world and discover who you are can be quite scary, actually as an adult too, but when you have some years on you, you realize that change happens all the time and it’s not as scary as you thought it would be; in your youth, not so much.

“Change is the handmaiden Nature requires to do her miracles with.”

                                                                                    Mark Twain

Change is inevitable.  Choices are always available.  One day at a time, one choice at a time, that’s how I’ve decided(see that choice there) to live my days, me and nature creating miracles together, or at least a life of my choosing.