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Tag: personal growth

Overloaded Outlet

These past few months really threw me for a loop. Not because of what’s going on but my reaction to it. I thought I was better than this. Have I learned anything?

I read emails while I eat breakfast. I know…don’t multitask, Michelle. Be aware of your breakfast. But people, while oatmeal is delicious and nutritious, it’s just not much to be aware of. Give me a break here. Emails are much nicer to think about.

Yesterday’s “Moment of Happiness” from Gretchen Rubin was especially relevant to me, so much so, that I wrote it down in my journal.

“Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.”
— Robert Louis Stevenson, An Inland Voyage

The visual of “a clock during a thunderstorm” really struck me…pun not intended but…good one! What I wouldn’t give to be like that clock!

A couple things came to mind when I read it. The first was how do I get that “quiet mind?” I have routines, meditation times, I read, I keep a journal, I “make space for me,” yet my squirrel brain continues to race around. I can’t seem to tame this beast.

And then, how do I protect my “private pace?” Shit, how do I figure out what my own private pace IS?! From childhood to young adulthood, to parenthood, I’ve always felt like I was running someone else’s race. My parent’s, my school’s, my job’s, and then my children’s. I’m always keeping up with them, filling their needs, inadvertently neglecting my own. Only recently have I begun to have time to even think about what my own personal pace will be now.

So I sat, drinking my coffee and thinking about it and it dawned on me. The scene from “A Christmas Story” came to mind, the one where they’re trying plug the Christmas lights into the socket and it’s overflowing with plugs.

I am that outlet! I’m overloaded with plugs draining my power at a rate I just can’t keep up with. I need to prioritize. There are some things I just can’t let go of, nor do I want to. My husband, my children, my home, and some very special friends are what make life worth living. At times they are also drains on my energy, but mostly they add to my life in amazing ways.

I need fewer pulls on my attention. I need quiet time. While I don’t generally spend a lot of time outside my home, I do spend a lot of time socializing online. And that is what I need to let go of.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Medium, Tumblr, even LinkedIn, all vie for my attention. Like an outlet with a poor fuse, if it even has one at all, I’m more likely to spark and start a fire that consumes it all than to blow a fuse.

So, I’m taking some advice that I got over a year ago and letting them go. All of them, except for my personal Facebook page. I’m keeping that because I use it as an online scrapbook and to keep in touch with my friends and family. I’ve set it up so that it pulls as little attention away from my physical reality as possible.

What does that mean for my blog? It means that my posts won’t be automatically shared across platforms. I will be sharing each post to my personal Facebook page, so if you are there, you are welcome to follow me. I won’t accept friend requests from readers but follows of my public posts are very much welcome.

My monthly newsletter will also continue to go out to all my email subscribers. I love writing that newsletter! It’s mostly about the books I’ve been reading all month, but I also share my favorite posts from the month. You’d like it. Go sign up. Please!

I need more time without the constant bombardment of other people’s input so that I can create things that are uniquely me. That doesn’t necessarily mean blog posts! I’m still trying to discover what my thing is.

Bloom Where You’re…Tossed?

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This plant was unceremoniously dug up and tossed in a pile this past winter. I’m planning on replanting the porch area with several different kinds of agaves. After the old plants were torn up and tossed aside, I gathered them up and took them out to the back garden dump hole I have going. That was back in early February.

Today, while continuing the ongoing saga of backyard weed control, I found those dumped aloe plants… blooming! Some plants just don’t know when to give up.

Some plants are hardier than others. Most, if uprooted in the dead of winter, would just die right away, but these have evolved to store up lots of energy for use when things get bad.

Some humans are hardier than others too. Unlike plants, we aren’t necessarily at the mercy of our genes. We can learn coping mechanisms and strategies to buck up and be stronger, to grow anyway despite our current circumstances.

Do It “Right”

Guess what? You can do everything “right” and still end up failing. The truth is that there is no “right” that works for everyone.

How does it happen that you fail miserably while you do all the “right” things? You’re following someone else’s rule book.

You Really Are the Master of Your Own Universe

You know how some toys are kind of boring if you just buy one part and so you keep buying accessories? The car, the clothes, the house, the spouse, the kids, the career. It just goes on and on.

There are video games like that too. Sure, you can download it and play for free, but you only get two levels and then you have to pay to upgrade. You play more but now you see that you have to buy a couple extras, charms that help you rack up the points and levels faster.

Humans aren’t like that at all. We’re a whole, functioning human being right from birth. All our accessories are built-in. Sure, we need a bit of extra care at first, but we learn and grow quickly with good support and before you know it, we’re out in the world on our own, doing our thing whatever that is.

But lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of people that look like they are searching for their missing piece. They wander from job to job, adventure to adventure, and relationship to relationship, never really getting anything from the experience and lamenting that the whole thing even happened while they transition to the next. They proclaim loudly that they won’t give up, they’ll find that career, place, or person that will complete them and make their lives better. That job wasn’t right for me. This place doesn’t have what I need. This person didn’t give me their all and left, so they suck.

What if I told you (lol) that you don’t need any of that to be complete? What if you have the power to stand on your own two feet, to control your own destiny?

You do.

Every time we start a new job, try out a new location or enter into a new relationship, we could be learning more about ourselves and the world around us. We could be using that information to make our lives more interesting and more comfortable for ourselves and those around us. It doesn’t matter what the job is or how long the relationship lasts. It doesn’t matter what kind of relationship you have: long or short term, purely sexual or platonic. It doesn’t matter if you buy a house and live there for ten years or rent out a basement and live there for three months. It doesn’t matter if you go to college right out of high school, wait until you’re 45, or ever go at all.

What does matter? It matters that we learn something about ourselves and that we connect with other humans in as many ways as possible, that we live every day no matter what’s going on.

The Stoics have a decent idea, “Memento Mori” Remember, we die. We don’t live forever and (as far as we know) we only have one life. We need to stop wasting time.

Nothing is a waste of time if you learn something from the experience. That one night stand you had with that hot babe you met? Not a waste of time if you enjoyed it and look back on the moment fondly. That two years you spent at an expensive university, only to drop out and work at an amusement park? Not a waste of time or money. You gained experience, you met people, and you had fun in ways you never knew existed. And money? You can always make more. Money was created to spend. And what about that “failed” marriage? Did it “fail” or did it just serve its purpose and now you’re both moving on to something else? That job you spent five years at and then switched careers gave you fresh insight about your abilities and a set of skills that you can use anywhere.

What exactly do we think we’re working toward? What are we stockpiling for the future? What will we do with all of this shit we’ve accumulated? We’ll die. That’s it. And all your stuff will be redistributed.

So why not stop working toward anything and just enjoy what you have? If you don’t like the job you are in, find another one. If you don’t like the area you live in, move. If you don’t like the relationship you’re in, move on. Stop collecting things and start experiencing things. If you have no friends or family to experience it with, do it alone! Maybe you’d find it more fun or fulfilling if you had someone to share it with? Then blog about it and post pictures on Instagram! Or start dating…anyone, right off OKCupid! Or join a club online or in person!

You are a complete package all by yourself. You don’t need anything to start living and experiencing the world around you. Just live, damn it! Why not?

We all walk around acting as if we are pawns in someone else’s game but we’re absolutely not. It’s your life. Do what you want with it.

You do have the power. You’re using it right now.

Honestly Offended by Your Honesty

I didn’t start to write anything on Friday, so now I’m behind for my Monday post.

Note to self: Write five days, not four, and then take Saturday and Sunday off.

I did start to write this morning though and you’ll get to read it tomorrow when I finish it. Right now, I need a break from that post. But I’m still left with nothing to post for you today, so I scrounged through some old drafts and found this to add on to. Strange thing is that it comes up today, after I received a text from a friend with different views that I was immediately offended by. I’ve been sitting here thinking about how to respond in a way that won’t escalate an argument, but open a dialog. Why does every exchange have to be so complicated? Probably because I want it to be.

I wrote this short outburst after an intense exchange with another friend, accused of “playing games” and “being judgmental” when I felt I was only asking questions and being honest about my feelings that change often.


How come we all can’t be more honest and open about our feelings, our thoughts, ourselves? Why can’t we ask more questions of each other and answer honestly? Why can’t we all assume positive intent when we’re dealing with each other? I think we’d get a hell of a lot farther in relationships with other humans if we stopped taking everything everyone else says, does, or feels as a personal attack. What if we all just didn’t assume anything about others? If you want to know, ask. And when you get the answer don’t get all butthurt about the answer!

We’re all feeding off each other. I don’t tell people what I really want to say for fear they will be angry or sad about it. So they assume my silence is something other than it is. Misunderstanding breeds a deeper pain. Once it comes out, they assume I was being cruel, playing games, etc. When really I am just a human that hates to wound another. Fear. It’s a circle of shit.
What do you think? Why are we so distrustful of each other?

Belief

It seems that mankind wants so desperately to be ruled over and controlled by something.

Is it to absolve ourselves of personal responsibility?

Is it just too complicated to think for ourselves?

Writing THAT Book

Something dawned on a me a while back. I’m scared. No. I’m terrified of finishing it and putting it out there. Why? Because people didn’t believe me when it happened and that killed me emotionally more than what happened, especially when some of those people were very close to me or should have been.

When it happened, there were people (other than the DA) that thought I was hiding something. The police don’t arrest completely innocent people. There had to be something going on that led them to think it was me. That’s what I thought too. It’s why I hid nothing from the detectives that served the search warrant and ultimately arrested me. I waived my “right to have an attorney present during questioning” because I believed whole-heartedly that you could not incriminate yourself if you didn’t do anything wrong. That was naïve. They used every word I said to build a case against me.

I thought it was just the police being overzealous. It’s not evil. It’s just the way things go sometimes. A mistake that will be cleared up after a while. A year later, it wasn’t cleared up until I paid a big lawyer a lot of money to scare them into letting go. Like big ill-trained dog with a bone, I had to get a big stick to get the bone away.

And then it got worse. My church, some friends, and strangers doubted my authenticity and said so. Right as my world started to slip away from me, instead of throwing me a rope, they turned their backs and kicked dirt at me as a fell. My lawyer warned me it would happen and he was right.

I’ll admit that one of my biggest problems is self-consciousness. I feel that I need to have the approval of others, kudos from everyone I can find. I feed off it. I shouldn’t, but I do. To walk around knowing that people think of ill of me is the worst thing I can think of. Being accused of a violent crime was horrible enough, but then people didn’t believe that I was innocent. I didn’t choose to be in the position. I did absolutely nothing to be there. It was just plain circumstances. It happened to me and I got through it.

Here I am, years later, writing it all out and reliving each painful day. And it turns out that writing it isn’t nearly as hard as offering it to the world…voluntarily. This time I’m publicly bringing it on myself. Not only will my family see it and know the details of my experience, some for the first time, but strangers all over the internet will be able to read it for themselves. If people close to me had a hard time believing me, how will strangers react? And how will I deal with that? That’s what is slowing me down right now.

Why am I doing this to myself? Because the truth must be told whether or not people listen or believe. I can’t let other people’s biases, their opinions, stop me from telling my story. I’m doing it for myself, to heal. Not only do I need to become a better story teller to make that happen, I need to strengthen my defenses to deal with the responses to it. Back when it happened, I had to focus on getting through. I had a young marriage, young children, and finances to deal with. It was a like a big meal. I ate and that’s all I could do. Only now am I ready to digest it and grow stronger from the nourishment.

It will be slow going for me, but I’ve learned than any progress is better than none. My story will be told in the best way I can tell it.

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