Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

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The Tao of…Me

What is Tao? My understanding comes only from my initial reading of The Tao of Pooh, so it’s pretty limited, but Wikipedia says, “Tao is the natural order of the universe whose character one’s intuition must discern to realize the potential for individual wisdom, as conceived in the context of East Asian philosophy, East Asian religions, or any other philosophy or religion that aligns to this principle. This intuitive knowing of life cannot be grasped as a concept. Rather, it is known through actual living experience of one’s everyday being. Its name, Tao, came from Chinese, where it signifies the way, path, route, road, or sometimes more loosely doctrine, principle, or holistic belief.”

I can be translated as “The Way” and I find it fascinating.

Yesterday’s epic adventure was unexpected, but highly satisfying. It started with a simple breakfast date and Target run but ended up with seeing my boys again, experiencing a bit of engine trouble (no worries, we got this), and getting home FAR later than expected. That last part, the driving home in the dark part, needs to not happen again until I get new glasses. Yikes!

The best part was…

Wait for it…

I have found my purpose!

Let me tell the story. Short version? Sure.

My son needed me, and I was available. That’s it. As we sat there in their kitchen eating burritos we’d picked up across the street, I told them, “I found my purpose.” My oldest chimes in, “Your Tao?”

Hmm…yes! I’ve been wondering for years, maybe my whole life, floating from one thing to the next, not really seeing the big picture. But yesterday, when my son called and I offered to come down and lend moral support, all the pieces fell into place.

I’m the friend that hosts the party. I’m the one that calls and texts to ask what you’re up to and if you’d like to meet for lunch or a hike. I’m the one that picks up the phone when you call and drops everything to make some cookies and visit. I’m here.

My youngest son says, “You’re Pooh, mom. You visit.”

I sighed and smiled. I guess I am. My copy of The Tao of Pooh that they had borrowed was sitting on the table nearby. They’d been reading it.

You’d think that wouldn’t be much of a purpose, but it is. It’s very important. And from now on, instead of grumbling that I have no real mission in this existence when I’m at home alone reading a book or working in the yard, I’ll sit back and realize that I’m resting between projects. At any moment, I may be called into action.

And what about this blog? Is it part of my purpose?

Yes. Listening to The Knowledge Project podcast on the way down to my breakfast date (which is a regular thing I very much look forward to), I heard Sarah Jones Simmer interviewed. I had such a plethora of notes on this podcast, but there were three that stood out to me as somehow connected. Before I went inside, I took a moment to capture the idea with some added commentary.

Note #1 “Just because you question things, doesn’t mean you have the answers or think you know better than others.”

I’ve withheld my thoughts, limited what I write here, because I don’t have the answers, but I question things. Curiosity and questioning (contrary to popular opinion right now) is a good thing. Gender identity, politics, war, public education, Covid…the list goes on and on, I have questions and concerns. Asking out loud things like, “Why are we doing this?” “Is this right?” “What will be the outcome of this kind of thinking?” “Is there some other way?” is not a subversive or malicious activity. The day we all just go along with everything that is happening around us and NOT question it, is the day we begin to lose everything.

New slogan: “Questions and curiosity are not a crime!”

Note #2 “Let’s not let the craziest and loudest of us take over all the conversation in the world. Keep speaking your thoughts and quit hiding your light.”

It’s terrifying to speak your mind (especially online) these days and more of us (including myself) need to start facing our fears. We cannot let the lunatics run this asylum.

Another podcast I was listening to last week mentioned “fringe ideas” and related them to garage bands. 99.99% of garage bands suck, but garage bands are where the great new music comes from. It’s the same with ideas. If we ban them, silence voices because we disagree, shut down people we don’t like, we miss discovering the .01% that results in awesome innovation. We need to allow people to speak their minds, throw ideas around, and be crazy, but we also need to know most of those ideas won’t work, they may even be really bad ideas, but if we ban them, ban books, ban speech, ban blogs, we end up throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I speak/write from a place of curiosity, empathy for others, and with positive intent to understand and respect others. Yes, sometimes I’ll hurt feelings, make someone mad, or even make a mistake in judgement. I am still a good person, and so are you.

Note #3 “Do I have coaches? Coaches help you arrive at your own decisions and create a safe space to talk thoughts and ideas out.”

If coaches can be books, magazines, blogs, and podcasts, yes, I do. For me, this blog counts as a relatively safe space to talk out some ideas. And I have a few very close friends and family that I can bounce ideas around with face to face and they mean the world to me.

These ideas are in no way fully formed, but they led me closer to understanding my Tao, my own personal way of taking up space in this world. So, even though things did not go as I had expected them to yesterday, it ended up being a very productive day and all because my son needed me.

Before I get the look from people about kids becoming adults… He didn’t call me because he isn’t smart, mature, or capable of taking care of himself, but because together is always better than alone. Interdependence is what works best. Community is more efficient. But that’s a whole other blog post.

Today I’m relaxing in the peaceful quiet of home and reading more of Disneyanity by Douglas Brode. I may even watch a Disney movie!

Week END? And a New Word!

I learned a new word today while reading a story in American Short Fiction magazine.

“escribitionist”
(Microsoft Word says it’s not a word, but oh…yes it is…)
:a person who keeps a diary or journal via electronic means, and in particular, publishes their entries on the world wide web.

The word was coined before weblogs.

I love it when I read a cool word and think, “Wow that just rolls around in head perfectly. I wonder what it means!” Then I look it up and find out it describes me or something I love to do. And then the whole world settles into place around me, and I think, “I’m not alone.”

Yeah…that happened today.

Chose that picture from Unsplash just because I LOVED the words! Do it!

AND
Happy Sunday, everyone!

At first, I was going to encourage you to get a rest day, or something like “restart the week” kind of message but then I thought, “Why today?” The workweek, I suppose, makes us think that the week starts on Monday, ends on Friday, with a cute little rest period we call Saturday and Sunday.

Since I homeschooled my kids and we never had a curriculum, lesson plan, semesters, or, well…anything school system related really, I had already begun to lose the sense of weekly cycles. My husband has worked from home so long that I barely notice that it’s the weekend at all, but he does because he’s free to work on whatever project HE decides on those days.

And now that the kids have moved out, and I’m essentially “retired,” things have changed again.

I do sense the week is passing. Monday is my cleaning day, my most productive. Wednesday I usually go meet friends. Friday is my neighborhood potluck and shooting pool on my porch. But there is no weekly start and end.

I just now realized that it’s all made up, a definition only needed in the industrial age of working at a factory or office. And schools are only more of the same, a training ground for that kind of work.

Hmm…interesting.

Reminds me of that scene in the first season of Downton Abbey when she asks, “What is a week end?”

A “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” Kind of Story

Or “Why I Haven’t Written”

I apologize upfront for the plethora of complaining words you are about to be tortured with, but I did say I was sharing my journey and that means wherever it takes me, not JUST the happy/joy reading journey. This is my story and sometimes I just gotta purge the dark parts so that the light can shine back in.

story
Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

Ok, my friends, here we go. I’ve been mulling over and putting off sitting down with this laptop all morning. I did get it out and sit down to write…something…but then checked my social media, became distracted, felt like I really should eat something, and then, I don’t even know what I want to say anyway, so I got up and put it away.

While I was eating breakfast (the one I got, not the one I probably should have eaten), I had a flash about what I wanted to say. I finished reading Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman on Monday morning, and while I wasn’t a huge fan of the book, I did have some t

And it’s gone…dan walked in talking about propane and solar … like I have any idea what he’s talking about. This must be exactly how he feels when I walk in telling him what the cat just did while he’s working.

I cannot focus. It’s impossible.

Goes back and starts over again.

And a text now…

Let’s try this again. I turned the ringer off.

I did have some thoughts on mythology in general and a pretty neat story to tell about a dream I had.

I wrote down a note for myself and went to take a shower, came back only to feel like…what’s the point of any of this? I have at least a thousand things to do. I started reading another book yesterday and I’m so in love with it that I can’t put it down, but I can and do because I can’t focus on anything more than about 45 minutes at a stretch.

And then there’s the housework that needs to be done. The dishes are stacked up, I’m behind on my weekly chores because I was out of town the last two days. Laundry to do. AND the house is in general disarray because we’re remodeling the back bathroom and I haven’t finished repainting the guest room, the one filled with my sons’ extra clothes they didn’t take with them when they moved, along with a bunch of other crap I’m not sure what to do with. Stuff out of place makes my mind feel out of place, and now that it’s only my husband and I living here, it should be easier to downsize, clean up, and keep things in place. But it’s not.

I have a photo album I’m working on, several quilting projects, yard work that needs tending before it gets to0 hot, and I’m making two Viking shields to decorate the post where my driveway meets the road because…people need to see where I live.

Don’t even get me started on making better food choices, getting some exercise, and meditating to relax and put all this angst in its place. Oh…and I need to make plans to see family and friends and with gas prices going up again, I’m starting to wonder if I’ll be trapped in this desert all summer with no relief.

And then there’s this blog. What happened? When I told myself that I had to write SOMETHING every day, I did, without trouble really. Sure, they weren’t all brilliant, but they were there. It made me feel good to get that done, see the writing streak grow, but I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere. I’m not building anything. I’m not sure what I’m doing anymore, or maybe I never did.

So here I sit…still wondering what to do. All these words and I haven’t even gotten to what I came to write about today in the first place.

I have an idea. A restart. Today, I’ll share these thoughts, set my books aside and clean the house up, go to the grocery store, make dinner, and then enjoy my evening. Tomorrow morning, I’ll add “write and post” back into my morning routine. It means more to me than anything else, even if it just goes on forever just the way it is. Letting it go is feeling overwhelming nasty and poisonous in my heart.

See you tomorrow. Bright eyed and bushy tailed. The gods have spoken!

Words on the Heading “Men’s Interests”

In search of literary magazines, something bugged me yesterday, and I HAVE to tell you about it. Let me start by saying, that I’m not that easily offended…usually. Come on, everyone has things that bug them! I tend to have knee-jerk reactions to some things, and then come back from them pretty quickly to see the bigger picture or someone else’s point of view. Even now, after this issue I’m about to report caused me to squint my eyes and think, “What the…?” I’m considering how I could have misinterpreted what I saw. And to be totally honest, it looks as if it were an oversight, one that could easily be resolved.

What got me so hot and bothered? What made me get back in my truck and text three different people the news? Do hear Clopin again?

literary magazines
Hush! And Clopin will tell you!

Yesterday, I was between friend visits. That sounds so funny. I went down into the city to have breakfast with one friend before he went to work, and then waited for another friend to get off from work so I could have dinner with her before I came back home.

What to do in between those times? THAT is the question. Go shopping, of course!

First, I stopped at Target for some essentials. We don’t have that store in my town, only a very crappy version of Walmart. I’m not opening a Walmart trash session. I love the place in other towns. It has always been one of my favorite stops when we are traveling with our trailer, but in California…I’m not sure what the deal is. But I digress!

Then I decided to get a cup of coffee and a delicious snack at Panera. I brought the book I just finished and my journal so I could sit there and read and write some notes, maybe plot out a blog post while I relaxed indoors. Ok, yes, it made me feel like one of the cool kids. I love seeing those people working on their laptops and tablets in coffee shops. I want to be them! But I don’t live in the city, so I have my quiet little porch, all the coffee I can drink, and pastries I make myself, so I don’t need a coffee shop.

But I still felt cool.

That’s when I realized I was right across the street from Barnes & Noble and I remember seeing a magazine rack there. Maybe I could browse through them and find something interesting to take home. I love magazines for short stories and articles far more than the internet. They are curated, printed, and (the best part) no comments!

When I pulled into the parking lot, there was a man thumbing through a book he had just bought, right in the middle of the road. We’ve all been there, right? You see it on the shelf, have to have it, make your purchase, and then crack it open as you walk to your car, only to be sucked into the smell, the words, the feel of it in your hands.

I smiled at him. He smiled at me. The connection. Hot.

Walking inside, I went straight to the magazine section at the front of the store. Where would I find literary magazines? Hmm…

I found them at the bottom of the section labeled “Men’s Interests.”

I knelt down to get a closer look shaking my head. I picked through them, finding one I used to subscribe to, Creative Nonfiction, along with a couple new ones, Oh Reader and American Short Fiction. Then I took a step back and looked at the display again. Maybe I was reading it wrong.

The shelf was labeled “Literary Magazines,” so maybe it was just thrown in at the bottom like this because it was only one shelf? But other shelves were labeled there as well, “Sports,” “Health,” and “Outdoors.” Over the top of the display was a different sign for “Men’s Interests.”

I’m not liking this. I think it’s bizarre that the two labels are even there, men’s and women’s interests. Why not just a shelf for sports, fashion, business, or writing and reading? It feels like a vestige from the past, a tail or gills in utero that has evolved away.

“Did you make a scene?” is the first thing my husband asked when I told him. No, that’s not like me. I’m too shy. I may have…if I were with friends or drinking. That’s funny: drunk bookstore shopping. Who’s in?!

And later, while telling my friend the story, I thought I should have asked where the literary magazines are and when they told me I could have made a face or some comment about how bizarre it was, especially since most of the names I see in those magazine look like female names.

Now I’m sitting here wondering if I should say something the next time I’m in there buying magazines. It’s a simple fix. There are several rows and sections of magazines, business, current affairs, food, etc. Why not get rid of men’s and women’s and just put fashion with fashion and sports with sports?

Am I being crazy here?

literary magazines

Oh, before I go. I swore I would only buy a couple magazines to check out and…maybe just walk around the store, browse the poetry section…and then I found this:

How to Live, What to Do: In Search of Ourselves in Life and Literature by Josh Cohen

How can I possibly pass that up!?

Holding Space Today

I’m trying something new today. Instead of freaking out and burning the world down, I’m holding space for feelings, just putting everything aside and relaxing with myself.

I’m not sure what to write this morning, or even if I should. WordPress reminded me that I’ve been at this for seven years today and I’ve been spiraling in existential thoughts ever since.

This is how my morning went.

holding space

I decided to take an extra cup of coffee out on the porch to think. Of course, I took my phone with me…can’t miss a text, you know. But I’m glad I did because I got these pictures.

It’s spring in the desert, so the morning sun is gorgeous to sit in. This is my favorite morning spot, staring out at the desert. Chili followed me after a couple minutes, and Abe was close behind.

“So this is where we are sitting now? Hmm…ok.”

They both watched the desert with me a while.

So what are my existential thoughts this morning? Hmm…dare I share them?

Considering why I write and if I should. Wondering if there is any point to social media lately. Longing for in person conversation over deeper subjects than what my kids are doing. Thinking about taking a break from posting (but not writing) for the month of May, but that limits my contact with the outside world even more.

I’ve recently joined a local Meetup book club and I am wondering if I’ll actually go. Meeting new people in new situations is one of my most difficult pursuits. I think it’s time, and it could be a great way to face my fears and start… I don’t know, branching out?

I feel like I’m in a rut.

Maybe writing just isn’t my thing?

So I’m holding space today just to think, in this post and in my physical surroundings.

I finished reading From Strength to Strength by Arthur C. Brooks and I know I’ll have some words about that tomorrow. For now though, I think I’ll just leave it in my head to roll around some.

Blooms, Messages, and Luck

I’m just not ready. For what? Anything really, I’m not a big fan of changes but then I get bored and HAVE to make a change. But that’s not what I’ve come to talk about. This is much more simple topic.

I’m not ready to come back to my morning routine. I’m not ready to read in the morning. Therefore…I cannot write to you about books just yet.

I have early plans this morning so I had to make a choice. I don’t have time for EVERYTHING. Read, yoga, meditate, write, breakfast. I’ve got a “pick two” from the menu type of situation here.

It took me a while but I’m picking yoga and write. And write comes first. But write what?

While on vacation, I’ve been waking up, getting a cup of coffee, scrolling and smiling thru IG and the previous days photos, and then writing something ON MY PHONE, and I’m loving it so much, I may just keep the habit. Maybe not on my phone though. We’ll see.

So…hmm…let’s see what I have in here this morning. Not everything has to be brilliant, right?

How about some simple pleasures?

Blooms

This is a tiny houseplant a friend bought me at the grocery store for Valentine’s day. I’ve repotted it and it has bloomed again! ❤

Clouds

A day dreaming type of sky. I was on my way back to the house from the laundry room behind my garage when I decided to take a break and watch this gorgeous sky. I laid in the bed of my truck in the driveway for about ten minutes just experiencing it.

The sun was warm but not hot. The wind was blowing gently. And these clouds, so dynamic. I wished I could take a video of them floating and changing as I watched. I imagined them working themselves into a private message in the sky.

Cat

And then there’s this guy. Years ago, my brother brought him over. “He’s supposed to be good luck but so far he’s failed miserably at his task!” So to test whether it was the cat or something else, he left it at my house. If my luck turned for the worse, there you go!

Yeah… we torture each other. ❤

My sons carried it back with us on a road trip and secretly left it back in his house. Another experiment! He found it and returned it the next time he came to visit. And here he sits.

He lost his arm a while ago but I can’t bear to throw him out. He makes me smile. Last week, as I sat here reading my book, I heard a weird clicking noise and turned to see the morning sun fully resting on his little solar panel. He has no arm to wave, but he cares not. The mechanism inside him clicks back and forth anyway when the sun powers him up.

Don’t we all?

Self-Help Books: Yea or Nay?

I started to think this post wasn’t going to be about books at all, but it turns out it is. The idea came to me while I was browsing through my bookcase looking for something I read recently. I realized that I have several shelves of what are labeled “self-help” books. These books are my version of therapy, books that have brought me closer to discovering myself and finding what happiness means to me.

Why do I get the feeling that in many circles these kinds of books are looked down on? Why the wise cracks in movies, tv, and radio shows about the people that read them?

What’s so wrong about attempting to help yourself through difficult times? Why do I feel the compulsion to hide and downplay how many of these books I read?

Hold the phone! Aren’t all books “self-help” books?

When I want to learn more about something, I usually go find a book (or five) to read about the subject. History, economics, religion, science, any book opens a whole new way of thinking, or dives deep into a subject I only had an inkling about. I’m helping myself to learning.

If you scroll through my Autobibilography page, you’ll find many titles labeled “self-help” and I am proud that I read them. I put them there so that someone else might find them, explore my thoughts, and decide whether or not that book might help them.

And it’s not just books that lead us to discovery of the world around us, and ourselves. Movies, documentaries, websites, and articles, all help us keep learning and growing, even when they are fiction.

Instagram has been a wealth of self-discovery for me the past few years. I’ve found writers, mental health professionals, quilters, and even comedians that have changed my life for the better. They inspire me with their posts about what they are reading, writing, and learning. They make me laugh with their observations about the world around us. They give me ideas about what I can create right here in my own home.

Three posts I saw this morning sum up what I’m currently working on in my mind.

Balanced between “I’m scared of change.” And “I’m scared of staying the same.”

Who else feels this way? Years ago, my sons pointed out that I am a special kind of crazy because I really don’t like change AND I get bored quickly. I’ve always struggled with that, but then again, doesn’t everyone? I want to stay where I’m comfortable and capable, the tried and true. I want a challenge too, but that’s scary.

And this one: “Self-Care for Highly Sensitive People Means”

Many of these suggestions sound like a nightmare, especially “spend time alone.” Being alone is something I actively avoid, the reason I keep reading, posting, and asking for input. I call people, attempt to set up dates, send texts in the hopes of starting a conversation, all in order to end the “spending time alone” part of self-care.

My fear is that if I get used to that time alone, everyone will be gone, off on their own adventures, when I finally decide that I’ve had enough and want company again.

I think I’ll print this one out and put it out where I can see it. If these things are hard for me to do, maybe that means I need to  practice them. Maybe that’s what will make me feel better.

And then I see this, “What if you told yourself you are worthy just the way you are and you believed it?”

I don’t believe it. Just this morning I found myself journalling negativity to myself. “If you would just…” “If you could only…” “You’re just asking too much.” “Then you’d be happy because you would deserve to be happy.”

Where the hell does THAT come from?

I have one more…a bonus!

A visual representation I would do very well to remember. Somewhere along the line, I’ve learned to believe that self-criticism will make me work harder to be a better person and self-compassion will make me lazy and stuck.

Neither are true.

Every time I’ve practiced self-compassion lately, in the form of some kind words to myself or one of those self-care actions described above, I feel better about myself and I’m happy and content. Happy and content are the better goals in life, the ones you lay on your deathbed smiling and reminiscing about.

When I practice self-criticism, I feel worse and get less done. I’m unhappy and spread that unhappiness to everyone around me. In response, the very people I want so badly to feel connected to begin to pull away from me. The very thing I fear is being caused by the action I have believed would keep it at bay.

See?! Self-help! The critics are right, probably the worst thing in the world for people to do is to attempt to solve their own problems with self-discovery and discussion with others instead of relying on the professionals to coach one on one and charge you obscene amounts of money to do so, making us say things like, “Hey government! I can’t afford what I NEED, so take something from someone else and give it to me so I can!”

But that’s a whole other topic of discussion!

Thanks for reading today. You really helped me out by being here to listen. I hope you found something useful as well. How do you feel about the self-help genre in general? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

An Ambivert? Sunday Repost

I’ve learned a new word. Ambivert: A person who is neither clearly extroverted nor introverted, but has characteristics of each.

You guys! I cannot believe it! Another week has gone by already and here I am, spending most of my morning on the couch with a new novel, trying not to feel bad about “wasting” a day to rest.

Rest from what? Playing? Yes.

I’m a fairly social being and lately I’ve been feeling a bit…stretched thin. I need one day a week to be alone much of the day, with nothing to do but wander around in my own mind.

ambivert

When I opened up my old blog and landed on my post, Sick Of “Community” from September 2018, I knew it was the one I would share with you today. Why? Because I’m still sick of the word “community” but not the idea of it, although my idea has changed a bit.

Here’s what I had to say nearly four years ago. Keep reading to hear my newest thoughts on the concept.

Community. I hear that word every day. I see it in print. I hear people talk about it online and on TV.

“Get involved in your community!”

“Everyone should have a community of people they rely on!”

“Know what’s going on in your community!”

“Community brings people together!”

Ugg…I’m tired of hearing it and tired of trying to make it work for me only because that’s what everyone says is important.

I want to be a part of community in some sense. I enjoy the company of friends from time to time. I like having people to invite over for a BBQ, but is that community or just friends?

What about the past? I’m looking at rural farmers and fur traders, people that lived pretty isolated and only came together in groups a couple times a year at most. Were they lacking in community?

I’ve always had a hard time finding my people. It’s me, not the people. I just don’t feel like I really fit in. The more I try to work in a group, the more frustrated I become. I end up not helping the group or myself. It all seems so futile. Then I started thinking…maybe not everyone works well in groups!

Maybe being alone more will help me focus and create. Maybe, for me, Monday’s here, Wednesday’s here, Saturday’s there, volunteer at this, help this cause, etc., is just too much for me and I lose myself in it.

I’ve never been physically alone for an extended amount of time. The longest in recent years has been a three-hour stint sitting in the car waiting for my son. I read a lot. What would happen if I were alone for a whole 24 hours? 48? I’d like to experiment with that idea in the near future.

And now here I am four years later and not much has changed for me, other than a better understanding of my own needs and acceptance that this is who I am.

In the recent past, I’d begun to identify myself as an introvert. When people asked if I wanted to go somewhere or join something, I’d simply use the excuse “introvert” and walk away. But it didn’t feel right. I do enjoy the company of people, but not all people, all the time. I’m selective and I’ve finally decided that it’s ok.

Are there only “introverts” and “extroverts?” Is there more than a dichotomy? Could there be a spectrum? The answer is, yes. I’m starting to think there are no real dichotomies in this reality, everything has shades and leans one way or another, and nothing stays the same.

Why do we feel the need to label everything anyway? Maybe “community” can simply be the people that you choose to associate with, and those people are constantly changing.

Want to read last Sunday’s repost? Check out Slightly Painful Reminders.

Allowing Things to Get Uncomfortable

This is going to be an uncomfortable post, because it’s about me learning to be ok with being uncomfortable for a bit. It’s starts as a gross personal story, so if you’re extremely squeamish, I’d skip to the next post, or maybe just the next few paragraphs.

uncomfortable
Photo by Spencer Backman on Unsplash
I picked this because it’s exactly the look I have when people are making me uncomfortable.

Years ago, I found myself with an extremely painful lump in my arm pit. I’m susceptible to ingrown hairs and I usually can get them cleared up on my own, but no matter what I did, this one just got worse. I will do anything to stay away from a doctor’s office, so you know it was bad because after a week of suffering, I went to Urgent Care in town to see what they could do for me.

The doctor there was so nice. He gently checked it out and confirmed that’s what it was. He said he’d drain it (it’ll hurt a little) and give me an antibiotic to clear it up. No problem. I took a deep breath and prepared myself for some pain that would subside momentarily, but ultimately be the cure.

Once he went to work on it, he realized it wasn’t an ingrown hair, it was a small cyst near the surface of my skin. “This is going to hurt more than I thought, but since we’re already here we should just remove it.” He was already working on it, no time for pain relievers.

I closed my eyes and leaned into it, focusing on my breath, allowing him to work as quickly as he could.

It hurt, you guys. Badly.  My high pain tolerance is source of pride for me, so when he congratulated me on being so tough, I was beaming. The assisting nurse was also impressed. I laughed (through involuntary tears), “Meditation does work!”

Bandaged up and sent home with antibiotics, the infection cleared, and I’ve never had another problem.

Why am I telling you this god-awful story?

Because this morning, while I was reading The Anxious Hearts Guide, I came to the part on “Becoming Secure” and “Sitting with Discomfort” and the experience popped into my head when I read “…those panic feelings are real, yes, but they are feelings” and “lean into and accept discomfort.”

Some feelings are unacceptable to me. When I feel them, I panic and react instantly, but rarely does this reaction help my situation. Surprise! What can I do? I think this is finally starting to sink in and be useful to me.

When I started to feel pain while the doctor addressed my wound, I could have reacted, pulled away, or punched him in the nose. Why didn’t I? Because I knew that the pain would probably be short, I trusted the doctor was not trying to harm me, and I knew I would be better for it. I am not an animal, communication was used, and I can expect a brighter future, so I let it be. I accepted it and waited.

I realized, over this past weekend, that I can do the same thing with my emotions. When I feel uncomfortable feelings, instead of running from them in panic, I can remember those same things: emotions are short lived, trust that no one is trying to harm me, and know that I will probably be better for it if I take a moment to let the feeling work its way past. Let it be. Accept it.

Emotions are warnings that something is there. They aren’t fool proof. I’ve found them to be quite susceptible to imagination and fancy. They come and go like the weather.

This is the practice I’m focused on right now, allowing uncomfortable feelings to be there.

Relaxing And Philosophy: Sunday Repost

Sundays are for relaxing and philosophy, right? I’m not sure why but I’ve never been very good at relaxing, especially alone. I get nervous and talk to myself, and then we get into arguments. It’s usually a stalemate so I go looking for someone to tell myself that I’m wrong. It can get ugly.

Today I decided to use the whole day as if I were at a silent meditation retreat. My husband is busy in the garage working on a workbench for his brewhouse. He’s one of those “focused in the moment” guys. Once he’s onto something, he loves spending his whole being there, uninterrupted. What could be worse than worrying that your poor wife is alone in the house going crazy? Probably your poor wife going out there and insisting you come in and entertain her this instant! I don’t do that, not much anyway.

My gift to him and myself is to learn to be ok with being quiet and alone. It’s good for me. I am still loved and appreciated, even when everyone I love is busy doing something they love (that’s my new self-talk).

I’ve read, worked in the yard, started some laundry, and ate some lunch. And now here I am sharing an old post from October 2018. Hope you like it. It’s subject near and dear to my heart!

Those Stinkin’ Philosophers!

Philosophers have been generally despised throughout history. We don’t like those people that come in with their wild ideas, making us think about what we are doing and the reasons behind it. Just because one of those thinkers comes up with an interesting idea, doesn’t mean we have to adopt it, so why do we get so upset?

I think it just pisses us off to have to think about things that deeply. Think of it this way. You’re humming along, taking your kids to school, going to the grocery store, picking up the mail. Sometimes you may feel a little frustrated or disappointed with how things are going, but that’s just life, you think. If you just tweaked something a bit, if your kids would just straighten up and behave, if your spouse was a little more helpful, everything would run more smoothly, and you’d all be happy.

Along comes this philosopher guy and he questions what you are doing. She says, “Hey! What if you didn’t need to send your kids to school?” Another writes a post that asks you to reconsider getting married in the first place if all you are thinking is that you’ll have a controllable permanent partner if you do. And then there’s another that pipes up with, “Maybe we don’t have to pair off and only have sex with one person for the rest of our lives.”

Suddenly, you’re thinking about your life. You’re thinking that maybe there is something to what he’s saying, maybe you should reconsider how you do things…but that’s so freaking hard! So you tell him to jump off a cliff and continue on your way.

If you’re a thinking person at all (which most people are), you now have some little inkling of another way of life tickling the back of your brain and it bugs you. It sets the balance off on your day, like an unbalanced set of tires on your car. It bugs you and now you have to give it some of your precious time. I mean, really, we are all limited on time and energy. Why can’t things just run along smoothly?

That’s why most people don’t like philosophers. If you are saying anything important, life changing, or meaningful at all, it’s going to make most people irritable. That’s the nature of it.

For those who believe they are in control of things, it’s even more difficult to take into account what a philosopher might be saying. If what the philosopher says is true, or even if it isn’t, the person in control may be losing that control. That is really irksome to us. Think about it. There you are with all your ducks in a row, marching off to wherever ducks are supposed to go (regardless of how the ducks feel about it), and along comes some guy that scatters them. Now you’ve got tons more work to do and nothing is running smoothly like it should. Someone should stop that guy!

It’s not just the philosopher’s that get hated either. It’s those that consider their ideas and try to expound on them. Those that take new thinking and run with it, try to change their own lives to see if it works or maybe improve the lives of others. Those people…what a pain. There they are, living in ways you choose not to, being happy in their own way, making you think that maybe what you are doing may or may not be the best for you. Oh…the thinking, the consideration, the debate…it’s unbearable!


I loved stumbling upon this one this morning. It made me laugh and wonder what was bugging me that day. I bet you can guess. I think I had run into more than one someone that had opinions about how I live my life, so I decided to be snarky long form on my blog instead of telling where to get off.

I’m off to have another blessed cup of coffee and read more of The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. Oh wait! My copy of The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook by Neff and Germer came in the mail yesterday, so I’ll be spending time in that as well. The work continues.

Hopefully they will let me back into my spot!

I hope you’re having a beautiful Sunday wherever you are!

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