Is That a Superwoman Cape or Just Toilet Paper Stuck to My Shoe?

My main intent for this blog is to make sure I’m always looking for the positive side of things and that I’m practicing the art of really living in the moment.  Noticing not just the obvious things, but the small and beautifully awesome things as well.

I feel like a long stretch of my life has been so stressful and seemingly full of one struggle or crisis after another, that I really need to just focus on breathing, experiencing, dreaming a little and learning how to recognize my inner voice again.

Have you ever noticed that the longer you operate in performance or survival mode the less you are able to hear your true inner voice?

I’m not saying I’m yoda material yet, I’m just saying I have good intentions and the desire to improve the quality of my life and I recognize some of the traps I’ve fallen into.

Part of coping with life’s every day challenges comes from the fight we have within us. The determination not to give in, not to lose, not to let our loved ones down. But we can tend to focus too narrowly in a couple of areas; getting through the current situation, doing damage control where ever possible and setting up new preventions and defenses to avoid going through it again.

With that kind of tunnel vision we can lose sight of ourselves or become disconnected from our own feelings, wants and needs.

We can fool ourselves for a very long time about what we are doing, the savior we are trying to be, the fears we may be trying to control or avoid or the ways we become martyrs serving everyone around us and neglecting ourselves. We want to believe we do what we do because we have to and because it’s the right thing and because people depend on us.

Often those things are true to an extent. Sometimes it does fall to us to act and protect and save. Caring for those we love is the right things to do. And…yes sometimes people depend on us. Sometimes too much. Sometimes for the wrong reasons. But the real disconnect comes when we fool ourselves into thinking that managing everything around us gives us more control over the rough spots in life.

Sailing the ship of resolute perseverance straight through an ocean of storms can be courageous, even when the choice wasn’t ours. Maybe even especially when the choice isn’t ours.

It can also carry a heavy price when you realize one day that while you were busy saving the ship and protecting all your loved ones, your spirit had been caught in the storm and pulled overboard. On the plus side of it, you develop fortitude, strength and adaptability when you weather a storm. You may also learn to trust or believe in yourself a bit more when you realize just how much you are really capable of handling. Still, I tend to believe that we thrive and experience joy and happiness or inner peace much more effectively when we are in touch with that inner spirit or inner voice that we often spend years ignoring and neglecting or even sacrificing.

Part of my approach to reconnecting with me the person, rather than me the performer, survivor, mother, daughter, sister, lover, friend, employer etc., is the search for awesome in unexpected places and simple moments .

Why?

Because it confirms for me that it’s all a big beautiful mystery and that there is order even in the chaos and that the picture is so much larger than we are, so much deeper, and so much more vast. Some people feel overwhelmed or insignificant when they think about that. But I just feel awe and for some reason awe is one emotion that has always inspired and motivated me. It propels me forward.

Another part of my approach is making a deliberate decision to try to broaden my focus. Previously I was too focused on getting it right, keeping things in perfect order, managing the risks and anticipating everyone’s needs, to be aware of anything other than whatever challenge or crisis I was determined to eradicate . I think of this as the superwoman complex. The deep often subliminal belief that we must be able to manage all things at once or we somehow fall short. I try harder now to take a break from slaying the dragon and look for the positive or the lesson . I’m also trying to learn how to let go of control and shut off the adrenaline spigot that has flooded my body and brain during so many years of functioning, overcoming and pushing through. Adrenaline can be a good thing. It can also literally poison your body and dis-ease begins to solidify into disease and ailment.

Last but not least, if I’m to hear my inner voice and learn to recognize my true self again, that restless rebel spirit that has been caged behind bars constructed of concepts like;      must,      should,

have to,       supposed to,

                                  survival,                      winning,

approval,            expectations,            necessity,     practicality,

                                    responsibility,             obligation, 

stereotypes,            and             self-esteem ..

then I have to learn how to take off the superhero cape and learn to be vulnerable.              This by far is the hardest thing for me to do.

Being a super hero in a human body is a lonely job. The risk of failure becomes dark and looming when after saving the day or pulling off a miracle yet again, people begin to assume that you’re invincible. A rock. Dependable and indestructible. The perfect person to turn to and rely on. The one who has it all together.

How does a hero refuse a call for help? What kind of hero would he or she be?   And how does a hero admit weakness?  I mean really, who wants to see Superman cry? Who expects Batman to cower in a closet and refuse to face the joker? How many fans does the superstar have at that moment  he bobbles the ball and loses the world series?  Messed up as it may be, we don’t like to think about weakness from the people we rely on or look up to or even the ones we love.   Weakness is uncomfortable when we hear it coming from another person.  Finding the right words is hard, we’d rather look away or offer platitudes.   Empathy can be difficult because it requires that we imagine what the experience or feelings of another person are like and that can be uncomfortable.    Knowing all of this,  how , when we find ourselves trying to be a hero for the people we love, trying to be a beacon of light and hope, do we dare to show our weakness?

There are heroes of all sorts and I’m sure their circumstances vary but for me the hero archetype is the same basic story where ever you go. It starts with an everyday average Joe who finds their self in the middle of a difficult situation or crisis or challenge and is somehow transformed into something that can beat the monster. They rarely ever really planned on it, rarely ever believed it could happen to them, scarcely believed they would win, but they did and each time it got a little easier to do and a little harder to say no and each time they felt a letter stronger and more capable. Eventually they come to believe it’s their purpose, their calling, and their obligation.  Or just their lot in life.   And then with time they begin to also understand the price they’ve paid. The isolation that trying to manage things and never fail brings with it.  And there they are,  caught in the middle.  Wanting to love and protect others, wanting to prevent anything bad from happening, wanting to always come through and feeling the tremendous weight of it all.

It’s a difficult web to untangle.    Sometimes people have become so accustomed to letting you be the manager that they try to find ways to try to keep you there.   Sometimes people are so accustomed to seeing you as strong and competent that they get uncomfortable when they see you vulnerable for the first time.   And sometimes we have disciplined ourselves so well that it feels strange to listen to our hearts or to choose play over responsibility or to allow ourselves to feel and act on child like wonder instead of practical and logical planning.

Between you and me,  I’m stumbling quite a bit as I make my way toward that inner me that has waited so patiently to be set free again.   I’d like to think I’m all about this spontaneous new me!   That I’m an old gypsy in my soul and I’ll travel where ever my passion leads me and dance in the moonlight with abandon!  I am totally digging the path of awe and wonder and freedom from that damn superwoman cape….. and I’m beginning to hear myself again,  starting to feel the stirring of excitement and sense of adventure.   I’m being kinder to myself, giving myself more space and more forgiveness.  But it’s not always easy and sometimes I could swear I am still dragging that cape behind me.     Kind of like exiting the ladies room with a long strip of toilet paper stuck to my shoe……

 

 

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Headline Reads Motels Attracting Martians

I was driving along in my car today when I caught a fragment of a news story on the radio.

Now I can’t tell you much about the story because my mind was elsewhere, but I caught a fragment of a phrase and listened long enough to discover they were discussing the potential for locating the world’s newest commercial orbital launch site in Brownsville, Tx.

I can’t tell you exactly what was said or what my brain heard.  I can tell you that what ever it was my subconscious mind decided it was an opportune time to submit humor to the rest of the brain for my personal entertainment.    The thought that popped into my head is therefore a little on the crazy side.

But first, let me tell you why on some levels it makes good sense.

Let’s start with the debate on alien life form. Is there intelligent life out there or isn’t there?  I personally think we take ourselves a bit too seriously if we truly think we are the most advanced beings in what is so far turning out to be a pretty big universe.  But that’s neither here nor there, because the question is what matters and thus far it’s gone unanswered.  Some say yes, some say no, some believe they’ve been abducted, some believe aliens built the pyramids in Egypt.   Still, we really don’t have a definitive answer.

Let’s jump now to the economy.   Stick with me here…

While the economy is rebounding in many ways, we have a long way to go.  I think everyone would agree that adding jobs is a good thing.  People want to work.  Having jobs injects money into the economy.  Yadah yadah.

Construction is a viable industry to create jobs with.   Right?  And tourism is another industry that most cities seek to capitalize on.  Where there is tourism there are entertainment venues, and restaurants and lodging required.   More people, more jobs, more money.

Now, considering all these quite logical things, I think my crazy thought has a least a small particle of potential.

So what was my thought?

Let’s build some hotels for aliens.   That’s right!  Something that really says welcome and have yourself a good time on Earth!

Why?  Because we need to create jobs and we all want a final answer to whether or not there is intelligent life out there somewhere.  And if when you really think about it,  everybody knows……

If you build it,   they will come.

At this juncture after hitting enter I lean back in my chair, take a sip of coffee and I have to wonder,  does this make it too obvious that I was born in the state of Iowa?  🙂

http://www.npr.org/2014/01/30/268891254/spacex-could-give-struggling-texas-city-a-boost

45 Ways to a Kick Ass Life — The Good Men Project

45 Ways to a Kick Ass Life — The Good Men Project.

Somewhere there might be an unwritten rule that to be a truly serious blogger you need to write ALL of your own material.

That’s just nonsense. When I find something I like, I’m going to share it and spread the word!     Blogging, after all, is about sharing our thoughts and ideas and sometimes sharing someone else’s thoughts and ideas is just as valuable as pounding them out on the keyboard yourself.

Sure ..I know  we are inundated with self help articles and advice every day of our life.   Still, I happen to like this list of 45 ways to a kick ass life.

Why? Well, for one, I kind of fancy the idea of a kick ass life! But more than that, a few of the points made in this list really resonate in my own life.   Hard lessons learned and to be truthful maybe a few that I still need some work on.

My favorite? #23.

Be eccentric now. Your eccentricities are often the surface of your talents and gifts. Love being weird. Weird is awesome.
 

Yes, weird can be awesome! And.. I’m all about finding awesome in life and awesome in others.   How boring to be someone too cool to be weird.     Do I want to be so concerned with  what others think that I won’t allow myself to freely be ME, quirky and all?

One of my favorite things is watching people. I always enjoy the quirky, eccentric, full spirited ones the most.  I love compassionate people,  and creative people and intelligent people and down to earth people.   I love so many different types of people, but what is more fun than watching someone break into song in the supermarket check out line? Or the individual sporting a style that breaks all the conventional rules of fashion?

Recently I listened  to a broadcast of Ideas Worth Spreading on NPR. (Ted Radio Hour) A young girl, was giving a talk on a website she created.  A long and interesting story to try to retell, but the short take on it is that from my perspective she, in all her brightness and her willingness to dare to be different, wanted to reach all girls struggling to be themselves and meet the world around them with a fierce strength and an open heart.

In her closing statement she said,  “I only have one bit of advise for you.  Be Stevie Nicks.”   I literally laughed out loud.   It took me completely off guard.

Be Stevie Nicks. Seriously, what absolute brilliance from this 17 year old girl.   She gets it. Or at least she gets something important in life. Weird is ok. We are all weird in one way or another. In fact, there is no weird.   Well, maybe the real weird is trying to conform to what others think we should be or trying to be something we really are not.  And if that’s the case,  I’m certainly guilty of being that kind of weird at various times in my life as well.   Very unhappy times of my life.   I’ll take eccentric any day of the week over that.

I love Stevie Nicks.  For her talent, for her quirks, for her style. For the power she is not afraid to show on stage, for letting herself become the music, for her willingness to share her struggles and her train wrecks. For not being afraid to be fully human even when she is terrified of being fully human.  Many of the same reasons the young girl doing the Ted Talk, loves her as well.

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So, in the search for AWE I have gathered three very good lessons this week. Be eccentric now.   Contemplate all 45 ways to a kick ass life. Because sure as sunrise, there is something I probably need to learn on that list.   And… be Steve Nicks-like.    Which really means, have the  passion and courage to overcome fear and reveal every ounce of quirky inside me. 🙂

Stevie-In-A-Top-Hat-stevie-nicks-29564442-382-551

Living As Art

Happy New Year everyone

Wow, it’s been awhile since I posted anything.  Longer than I realized!    I knew going into this that finding time and discipline to maintain regular posts was going to be a struggle.   I’d like to say that I’m going to be MUCH more disciplined this year.   Well, that’s not true,  I could say it but the truth is…. this year is all about learning to be less disciplined.   In fact, being too disciplined is the precise reason this blog is so empty!  I seem to have acquired a compulsion for responsible behavior.

GASP! 

Oh yes,  and not just responsible behavior but the obsessive never let anything go, never miss a deadline, always be organized, never dare to forget anything, always be there for someone else, never stop short of the extra mile, NEVER let the house fall into disarray, always do this,  always do that, never slow down, never let up….. kind of obsessive responsibility.    GOOD GRIEF!

Now, if a person can be an oxymoron… then I’m a full fledged card carrying member of the oxymora society.  I’m a walking contradiction of huge proportions.  I’m like accidental intention or controlled chaos.   You see, at my very core I am anything but responsible, structured or obsessive.   I am willy nilly.   I’m a daydreamer.  I’m imagination that never ceases.  I don’t like rules.  I don’t like schedules.  I don’t like perfection (even though most people call me a perfectionist). I don’t like to be limited or held back.  I don’t like negative attitudes.    I like possibilities.   Inspiration!   Awe and wonder.    Yet to those who do not know me intimately I am the model of efficiency, control and order.    Again…. GOOD GRIEF!

Sometimes I look in the mirror and I wonder how they see all that.  I make my version of what I think are responsible faces and peer into my own eyes and I think to myself, HELLOOoooooo!!! are you in there?  Who is this odd anal person the world sees that I can’t begin to relate to spiritually?

Other days I look into the mirror distracted by a dozen priority tasks and schedules that have to be maintained, fear of letting anyone in my life down, refusing to come up a fraction of an inch short least my superwoman cape be repossessed by the invisible council that measures a women’s worth and upon catching my image I sense the need to pause and scream.       HELLO!!!!!   Where am I?   Am I in there?   Yoooohooooooooo, come out, come out wherever you are.   Where is the free spirit me?  Where is that quirky, don’t tell me who I can be or how I fit in, rebel?  Where is that goof ball I love so dearly?  When was the last time I danced naked in the rain?  Why don’t I sing?  When did I last write anything?  Why are my paints drying up from years of non use?  WHEN did I become this good old reliable super achiever?  Holy shit,  when did I get OLDER?   Those days scare the hell out of me.   They stop me short in my tracks.   I’m telling you, that’s an emotional wedgie that will wake your ass up!

And so,  this year is about learning to let it go.  Learning to stop pleasing the whole world at the expense of living life.  Being me.   It’s about making inspiration more of a priority in my life.   It’s about thumbing my nose and giving the finger to anyone who feels the need to try to define me and tell me who I really am or to stereotype me based on the necessary roles I fill in my life instead of learning what my soul is about.     I know, It’s not going to be easy.   Especially in the context of my life.   A high pressure job and a special needs child are just two aspects of a life that requires structure, discipline and enormous amounts of energy.

But at what cost?   

How do I allow my children to stay true to their spirits if I make the daily choice to sacrifice my own?  How do I inspire the people I love to express and live a life of joy and creativity if I fill mine with a never ending focus on necessity and order?   It’s a role I molded myself into.  Never a natural fit,  but a perfected and efficient way to survive and be successful.   Avoiding chaos is in many ways my way of providing stability and security for the ones I love.  Being a dependable rock for the people I care about is my way of showing they are always safe with me, always have a place to turn, a heart they can rely on.   And there is nothing wrong with that.

Nothing, until you forget that the best way to be all the things you want to be for all the people you love, is to keep your soul nourished.  Alive. Vibrant.   Maybe a little nutty.   Embrace your inner quirky!!!!     Freedom to be who you are and love the things you love and do the things that energize you is a powerful way to live.  It’s likely to make you a whole lot happier than the hollow satisfaction you get from maintaining order and stability at all costs.  At the end of the day it’s a simple principle.    Being Happy is the best way you can love somebody.    So be happy!  Be you! 

We can do both.   We can be responsible without losing our inner child.  We can be grounded without losing our inner gypsy.  We can be practical without losing our inner dreamers and we can learn to recognize that no matter what we choose, what we try to be, how it all plays out, we are art.    Art affects the world.  It affects those that listen to it and those that view it.   Listen to music you love and music you don’t care for and notice the difference inside of you.  Look at something that inspires you and you may notice that it makes you feel good or creates new ideas in your mind.

The point?  WE ARE ART.  We are one of many forms of art the universe has created and constantly embellishes.   We can choose to be positive art or negative art.   Bright art or dark art.    But we can not escape the simple truth that whatever we do or believe or become, is an expression of ourselves.

This year my resolution is to LIVE AS ART.  To be aware of what I create and how I’m living and how I’m letting life affect and shape me.  This year I plan to break a few rules,  let a few compulsive “responsibilities” linger.   I doubt they’re going anywhere.   Let them wait.  I will get to them on my own terms.  When I am damn good and ready! lol

This is a piece I wrote for my son and had my brother craft onto a cigar box guitar as a Christmas present.   It fits this post so I’m sharing.

Image 

Image

        Living has always been an artistic expression.  

The art of creation is hard-wired into our souls. Self expression is born from the chaotic vibration of being human.  

          Art is the essential element of “being”.  

   The unique manifestation of our souls throughout this crazy gig called life.  A life time of accumulated layers that make us human and flawed …

                   but also insanely beautiful.

       Art is misunderstood.  It’s not just something we produce,   

          art is how we live and who we become.

             It comes from our light and from our darkness to become the great articulation of our genius and the breath behind our madness.                

      Art, is simply what we are.                    

It’s deeper than words we put on paper.  It starts before the first brush stroke is ever placed on the canvas.  Exists long before the first note is heard in our head and lives well beyond the last note we play.  

  No… art is not a single project conceived and created to completion.  

                Living is the project. 

                               Life is the canvas.   

We are the color, the texture, the medium, the music…. 

                     Art is what we create by being authentic.   

     Art is the crazy, mad, powerful magic inside, 

        that lets us create and express anything we want to be.

Why Peeing Near a Cornfield Might Be Good For Your Health

When is the last time someone invited you to pee in a cornfield?   Yesterday?  Last month?    Probably much too long ago, says I.

But wait,  let me go back to the beginning….

Recently I allowed myself an entire week off work.    Ok, admittedly, I caved when Friday rolled around.  I knew  my email would be overflowing, so  I went to the office to spend 3 hours cleaning it up in preparation for the coming week.   Now,   I say allowed myself an entire week off because that is literally true.   I allowed it.   Usually I don’t.    My daughter’s condition and other medical and family responsibilities often require me to miss work for conferences, medical appointments, consultations.    It causes me a great deal of guilty stress, feeling that my flexible schedule somehow represents a failure to apply myself properly to my career.    I think a lot of working moms or dads in similar situations will understand what I mean by that.    Torn between two worlds and two demanding sets of responsibilities.

In the company I work for,  your birthday is given as an extra annual holiday.    Which is a super cool thing for our corporate office to provide us with.    Since my birthday was last week and since I also had to be away from the office a second day for parenting obligations I convinced myself that the world would not stop if I added three more days and provided myself with some serious quiet and relax time.  After all,  I have 6 weeks coming and typically only use 2 weeks at most, scattered through out the year with a week between Christmas and New Year.    This was something I was  desperately needing.

I didn’t go anywhere overly special during my vacation or do anything exceptionally exciting.  I enjoyed a mostly low key day trip with family during my first weekend off,  and had a wonderful day shopping for back to school items with my mother and my daughter on my birthday.  I took a solitary road trip to test out my new camera.  Other than those events my time off of work was spent largely around the house doing chores,  attending school open house,  visiting the doctor, paying my bills.  The sort of business that usually ends in…UGH.    Definitely not what you typically think of when you day dream about a longed for vacation.

  One thing that especially sticks with me from my time off is the pure joy of being boss of your own time!  Holy freedom and flexibility Batman,   there is nothing quite as satisfying as having control of your own time and decisions.    My position as a senior manager of 90+ employees may give the impression that I’m already my own boss.  But that would be a little bit of an illusion.      I’ll admit that my corporate office is typically hands off when it comes to micromanaging and I rarely hear from them.   Still, there are other forms of control that are just as burdensome as working to someone else’s pressing agenda.  Things like full responsibility for profitability,   legal compliance, worker safety,   and providing enough leadership to keep the organization on track. 

   I have been blessed with a team that by and large always comes through for me.    They are mostly self- directed.  They know their jobs, they understand what needs to be done and when push comes to shove or when impossible deadlines are imposed on us, they rise to the challenge.    I am routinely amazed.   It never seems to lose it’s affect for me and that makes me ever the more grateful for what they do.  

   Of course the other side of the coin is that any time people gather with the intent of accomplishing one objective,  there will be anything but one direct path toward reaching it.    Inevitably as much as they awe me, they can also thoroughly exhaust me.     It still surprises me how easily coworkers will throw one another under a bus, or how freely they will spread gossip.   How unabashedly they will file a complaint against a team member they have worked closely with for years.  How much exaggerated indignation they display when the train travels the other direction on the track.  How guiltlessly they will take credit for work they didn’t do or knowledge they don’t have.  In general, just how much DRAMA people can create.    

  However hard I work to make my visions clear and my objectives easily understood there will always be at least one in the crowd  questioning my intentions,  absolutely convinced that my sole objective as manager is to take advantage of the working guy.    That it’s all part of a conspiracy to hold them down.   That I probably receive these orders from President Obama directly.   There is always at least one who unexposed to the workings and regulations of administration, will  question whether I really do any work at all or whether I’m even qualified to assert my direction on them.   Some who will complain that I assert too much direction.  Others who will complain that I don’t assert enough.   

  I’m sure you understand my point; being manager doesn’t exactly mean you have control of your own time.  That’s to be expected and I’m lucky that the greater majority of my team is truly nothing short of exceptional!  Never the less, words fall short when trying to express how truly satisfying being boss of my own time feels.  

   This is where my next revelation came to the surface.   Not only was it nice to have control over my time…but even the tasks I don’t normally like, seemed  somehow.. better.   You would think that doing laundry on your vacation day would feel like an imposition.   Normally it feels like a chore that’s just shy of being of a pain in the a**.   Just one more thing I’m trying to cram into a day  that requires me to suck up a bit more energy. Something to rush through and feel relieved when finished.     Yet,  I didn’t experience those feelings last week.   Perhaps it’s because I could choose when I wanted to tackle the laundry and when I didn’t.  I could choose to start it, leave it unfinished and then return to it or to do it all at once or spread it out over the week. 

I fully enjoyed the fresh scent of laundry taken directly out of the wash and the feel of warm towels pulled from the dryer.   With each load I felt less of the normal agitated relief and more a sense of satisfied, maybe even purposeful, accomplishment.  

 I was at one with my laundry.    I know, it sounds crazy.  Right?  But it was ZEN like….

Guess what?  Laundry wasn’t the only thing going right for me.    Typically I make the beds 99% of the time before leaving for work in the morning.    Mostly that’s because I’m OCD and also I’m pretty certain that house elves enter my home at random during the day and the mean little pips will report me to a higher housekeeping authority if I’m not in compliance.     While I might be in compliance, at least on most days,  it’s typically a helter skelter flipping of the covers over the mattress and tossing the pillows, hopefully, somewhere near the head of the bed just before running out the door.   

   Ah,  but not last week! 

  Last week bed making was no longer a mandatory chore I barely had time for.  No sir, it was an out and out art form!   Covers were straightened, balanced on each side, smoothed to perfection, pillows were fluffed and spaced evenly with decorative pillows landing in a deceptfully  precise method of carefree styled randomness.    I wasn’t rushing out the door…I was sauntering across the room, throwing open the blinds for sunshine and lifting the sash to feel the cool morning breeze.    I was leaning against the dresser, taking in the entire room, noticing the play of light on the bedspread, smiling at the cat who made haste to undo my finished creation and lay claim to her preferred napping location.   I was running my hand across the top of the bed as I walked by and coming back with oil infused linen spray,  which I made myself, and placing my seal of perfection on the scene before casually moving to the next task.    Whatever that might be….  I would decide later,     perhaps after another cup of coffee.

This is what freedom with your own time does for you.   It CHANGES you.  It slows you down.  It lets you see.  Hear.    Feel.   Appreciate things just a little bit more!

It has taught me things like:

Getting up in the morning doesn’t have to feel like a chore.   Not when the absolute bliss of savoring a cup a maple walnut coffee on the patio lays ahead of you.

Reading a book and getting lost in a book are two very different things.   Carving out time to fit in some reading is essential for me.  But it doesn’t compare to the kind of reading that allows you to fully connect with the characters.   To do the detailed work of creating the scene before you.    Of creating an alternate world to step into.

  Fresh asparagus and a newly picked tomato from the garden can rival any gourmet meal when you eat when and what you want and you don’t have to cook.

There is a difference between a shower,   and a long lazy retreat under steamy hot water, followed by crisp cool refreshing spray.

My hair looks a hell of a lot better when I have the time to let it dry naturally

Silence can truly be golden.   It can be comforting, relaxing and make a moment feel full where others might sense it to be empty.

The joyful expression of a special needs child when the waiter places a plate of meatballs on the table before them….. is nothing short of priceless.

Strangers notice when you are at peace.

Smiling more is good for the spirit.

When you lose all the chatter in the world.   All the voices and demands that consume your life.   All the negativity,  sarcasm, complaints that people tend to heap on you… you begin to really hear your own thought.

For quite a while now I have been asking myself the question and pondering the sad reality that I might be depressed.    That perhaps I have allowed myself to be defeated by the stress and trials of life.   That perhaps I have even become jaded and skeptical.    I am delighted to report, that when left to my own devices,  allowed to enjoy moments on my own terms without any other opinions, needs or responsibilities superimposed on my thoughts,  I am an abundantly optimistic person!!!   I still find joy in the simplest things.  I can still laugh out loud even if I’m alone in a room.  I can still day dream.   I can still hum a tune without needing to censor myself.    I can appreciate a cold drink of water and a soft breeze, the sound of birds, the movement of trees, and the color and smell of grass.

I can go an entire day without letting a worry interrupt me,  or a negative thought possess me.

I have learned that childhood summer days still exist.   You know how a day can seem to drag on forever when you’re at the office and thinking of everything else you need to do?  You know how a day seems to slip away in the blink of an eye when you have a day off?   Now remember when you were a child.  When summers seemed to stretch on forever.  When a day was full.   From sun up to sun down you had a hundred adventures and you were saturated by living at the end of the day when you slid under the crisp cotton sheets?   Those days still exist.    Days when time continues to flow but it flows like a lazy river, twisting and turning along the way.

First day with my new cam 022

I learned that a two and half hour solitary road trip is anything but lonely.  Especially when your mind if preoccupied with seeing.   Really looking and really seeing.

I learned that you can pee by a cornfield at the edge of a nearly forgotten cemetery with no one but a deer present.    Hmmmmm,  well, perhaps that’s  a little TMI!   But I don’t care.  Because on that day, for that time, I was more free than I have felt in a decade.    There was no one there to make fun of me or shake their head in disapproval.   In that kind of state of free happiness social graces simply don’t apply!   And in my defense I had a handy supply of Kleenex and a fast food bag and so that you know,   I absolutely did not leave litter in that tranquil place I was so blessed to visit.  🙂

First day with my new cam 047

That is why I  ask….when was the last time you were invited to pee near a cornfield?  Because if you haven’t tried it lately, I highly recommend it!

Finding opportunities to be boss of our own time and our own thoughts is a hard thing to do.   But one we must absolutely try for.   It may be a long, long time before I see another week like that and admittedly just 2 days into my week back in the world of reality, deadlines, demands, and schedules I find myself struggling not to fall back into the depths of robotic functioning and rushed experiences.    Those feelings of optimism and simple  pleasures are ones I will strive to hold on to when I find myself being worn down by life.

Perhaps these are not things I actually learned on my private staycation so much as they are things I have remembered.   Knowledge inside of me that I have let myself forget and that I will hopefully remember for a long time to come!!

 

A movie trailer for awe.. find some awe in your life today

A movie trailer for awe.

I am a big fan of Ted talks! There never seems to be a shortage of facinating, inspiring, mind opening material. IF you haven’t checked it out try Ted.com and see if you don’t find something that fits your interests as well. This is one I recently ran across and enjoyed.

The subject of awe being one of my most recent interests. The search for awe everywhere being my focus this year. What perfect timing to find this now..

ENJOY 🙂

1Curiously Inspired and HAPPY to meet you!

Welcome! Come on in, put your feet up, make yourself at home.

This blog space is my own personal corner of the universe and guests are always welcomed. It’s a space that draws it’s life from the everyday reality I live in. For example the slightly distressed but solid oak desk I’m setting at. The bookshelves I love dearly standing at attention behind me, holding treasures that wait for my frequent visits. Or, even the steaming cup of Maple Walnut Coffee setting in front of me. The events I witness or participate in, the news that causes me to stop and think or shake my head in wonder.

It’s also a space that draws it’s life from the imaginary spaces within me. All the dreams and visions, questions and oddly quirky thoughts that rattle around in this vastly wide (notice I don’t say empty) space called my mind.

Here my two worlds, both tangible and intangible, converge and form the ever changing landscape of my world. My office/library one moment, maybe a far off land the next. Raging curiosity today and perhaps a passionate rant tomorrow. I never know what the weather here will be or where the journey will take me. I never stop thinking. It seems I never stop searching.

To tell the truth, I have no idea how far this “space” might expand or contract. In fact, I have no idea if I will be back tomorrow or the next day or…well, ever. Between you and me, I’m not always as disciplined as I like to think I am. Just don’t tell anyone I said that.

But, it’s true. I admit it. I’m an obsessive compulsive with an equal dose of procrastinater. How’s that for your initial indicator of my potential weirdness? lol Still, I realize that blogging can take a certain degree of discipline so I’m here to tell you I am certain to be a random blogger. Oh yes, discipline will be attempted but don’t be surprised if random wins out 🙂

Never the less, there always seems to be something zigging and zagging around in the vault, with even more stuff popping up everyday. Which to me, is a perfectly good reason for blogging. Right? What better solution to your endless mind traffic than to create a parking space for some of it?

So, the first order of business was naming the blog. I didn’t want this important task of naming the blog to become overwhelming or intimidating. I wanted it to reflect who I am. I didn’t want it to be too formal or too sterile or too cute or too… well, you get the picture. I just wanted it to feel natural. I didn’t want a theme or a purpose though I realize that the bloggers who have the huge followings, generally accomplish those things.

I knew only a couple of things when I made the decision to start this new blog. (I’ve blogged a time or two before, only with more private subject matter. I guess you could say more journaling than blogging) This time I knew that I wanted a place to connect and share. A place to talk about things that interest or amuse me. Someplace to share what inspires me and someplace to ask questions and get feedback.

I’m curious, I’m looking for inspiration and connection. Curiously Inspired seemed like a logical choice. But only after I ruled out a couple of other pretty catchy names…

Normal is Over Rated.
I’d Rather Be Interesting.
My Big Girl Panties and All.
Lace Panties and Beer Nuts.
Holy Underwear and Other Inspirational Nonsense.
Nutty Buddy.

Ok, you can begin to see why none of these made the cut..lol

So, now I have done it! Signed Up, chosen a name, filled in the About Me page, AND…..posted my first post. It’s official, I have started the blog. What follows is unknown.

Now, since this first post didn’t really accomplish anything other than to welcome you and hope you might drop in again, I’d like to leave you with a YouTube video that I’ve recently enjoyed…

The only thing I can add would be these words….
Please just do it! It changes the world, it changes you. It’s the right thing to do. The smallest gestures matter.

Woooohooooo!! Have a great week!

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