Saturday, April 30, 2011

April 30: Play Nice

Tension has been building between me and my sister.  It got really ugly yesterday and when she left to go out for the evening were pretty much hated each other.  A couple exchanged texts confirmed that we were going to have a serious talk about all of it.  And yet, when she came home, hours later, it was so late at night and we were both so tired, we kind of had a mutual unspoken agreement not to get into a heavy conversation about it yet.  We were so nice to each other it was as if nothing had happened.  Our moods were light, our conversation was unstrained, and today we hung out (while chaperoned by her boyfriend and our other sister) at a wedding, some sightseeing, dinner, and chillaxing with the family.  All the while, we talked, laughed, and felt completely comfortable.  I think both of us realized that even though we do need to clear the air, 1 a.m. was not the time to do it.  NEVER have important, emotional, or serious discussions late at night, it almost always ends badly.  A busy day full of fun things like today was, was not the time either.  Now when we do discuss it, we will have had time to reflect.  We'll be calmer, have better, more compassionate perspectives.  Hopefully.  Anyway, I thought it was kind of weird because this has never happened to me... ever.  Usually I resolve issues as they come, or I can't enjoy time with them until we've each had our say, made our apologies, and it feels like some healing has occurred.  I don't like things to feel aggravated and unresolved.  But sometimes I guess you have to just grow up, put your egos aside, move forward, and play nice.
If you're angry at a loved one, hug that person.  And mean it.  You may not want to hug - which is all the more reason to do so.  It's hard to stay angry when someone shows they love you, and that's precisely what happens when we hug each other.  ~Walter Anderson, The Confidence Course, 1997

Friday, April 29, 2011

April 29: Explore

Had a really bad migraine (have had off and on for weeks now) last night, so the last thing I wanted to do when I got up this morning was go work with my Dad.  But I'm so glad I did, because not only was it pretty painless (only took a couple hours and I got a yummy lunch out of the deal) but we got to talk a lot and then because I was stressing out about submitting two articles for, he took me by GTMNERR (Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve) and Fort Mose Historic State Park (which I'd never been to).  I couldn't stay long, but I got a thrill gathering my pamphlets, walking quickly through (and vowing to return when I could take my time) and getting some good pics.
     It's amazing how our lives can become so insular with the daily stresses, emotions, and worry that permeate our lives.  If we aren't careful, we can become a completely self-absorbed, self-obsessed, detached person, oblivious to the wonder and beauty around us.  Sometimes we need to take a few minutes, or hours, or even days, rediscovering life.  So go someplace new, take a different route when you walk, turn down that untraveled road, you never know what you'll find.
     I am a girl that loves to explore, but I don't do it often enough.  I go through phases of loving a place and walking it's road, getting to know it as if it's a person, sometimes missing places as if they are people I have loved and lost.  And as time goes by and I visit some places over again, some of them seem so different, depending on what we've both been through since the last time we met.  I hope I can keep my gypsy spirit, because some of the best things in my life have come to me because of it, and I'm sure there's more amazing things to come.

We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started... and know the place for the first time.” ~T.S. Eliot

Thursday, April 28, 2011

April 28: Reach Out

So, I have been having a hard time lately, as some of you know.  And I am in the preparation stages of a major revolution of spirit.  I mean, that is the idea of this, after all.  So today I was trying to catch up on some things, among them my overdue dailies.  And one of them is to "reach out."  This is something I made a priority to remind me on a daily basis to reach out to the people in my life that I love- through visit, email, phone, text, or a letter, and to see how they are and let them know I am there for them.  Most of the time not a whole lot comes of it, but it is still a rewarding experience that helps me keep in touch with people and not be too anti-social.  This month, however, since I have been in my dark funk, I haven't been wanting to talk to or visit people, even people I love.  But today I went out of my way to reach out to about a dozen people I'd been thinking about but hadn't talked to in awhile.  Turns out a few of them had been going through some of the same things I had.   I got to talk to a couple of them on the phone, and it made me realize how much I love and miss them, and how lucky I am to have them in my life.  So reach out to those people in your life, at least one a day.  Mix it up a little, clear your mind, and see who pops into your head.  You may be answering a prayer.  Or they may answer one of yours.

“You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”  Winnie the Pooh, by A. A. Milne

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April 27: Get a Life

This was the original title I wanted for my blog, not sure why it didn't work... I read it a while ago in a book by John Bytheway, and have since adapted it into a memoir I'm working on.  But I digress... In the book, titled "What I wish I'd known when I was single," he advises that while we are "waiting" for "the one," we should get a life.  And by that he means that we shouldn't be "waiting" at all, but should be actively pursuing career, education, trying new things, developing our talents, and anxiously engaged in a good cause.  Ironically, sitting around "waiting" for someone or something amazing to drop into our laps, makes it even more unlikely to happen.  Who wants to be with someone who isn't accomplishing their own amazing goals, but is waiting for someone else to fulfill them?  And who wants to give an opportunity to someone who is bogged down by discouragement and self-doubt?  Indeed, without putting ourselves out there in every way available to us, how do we even meet these people or find these opportunities, let alone get rejected?
Anyway, this post feels a little discombobulated, but I watched a movie this evening that brings it all together, I think.  "Hello Dolly!" has been one of my favorites since I was a kid.  In fact, my Aunt owned it, and I'd watch it every time I went over until finally she said, "Um... why don't you just take it..."  So I did, and when I wore it out, I got the dvd!  Dolly is a passionate and confident woman who, despite her thriving social connections, is seeking a deeper companionship.  She sings a song called "Before the Parade Passes By," about joining in the parade after being on the sidelines for awhile.  These lines...

I need got a goal again
I need got a drive again
I wanna feel my heart coming alive again

...perfectly exemplify what I want for my life right now.  I am trying really hard to get back in the parade of life, one step at a time.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April 15-26: Snap Out of It!

Well, as you can probably see, I have gotten pretty behind in blogging. So behind and out of it, in fact, that today I actually had to sit down and have a long think about why I am trying to do this in the first place.  I knew when I set out, right?  I certainly know why I stopped.  I have given up.  Not just on blogging, on lots of things in my life.  And so I am trying to snap out of it.  What does it mean to snap out of it?  According to "The Free Dictionary," it means "to move quickly back to one's normal condition from an undesirable condition, such as depression, grief, or self-pity."  Now I'm not sure that I have a "normal condition," but depression, grief, and self-pity?  I have been all over that.  Lately things seem to be getting worse and worse, my efforts have been getting more and more feeble, my enthusiasm has been dissolving.  "Loss in things that used to interest me?" Check.  "Difficulty concentrating?" Check.  "Feelings of sadness, guilt, insecurity, worthlessness, irritability, and restlessness?"  Check, check, check, check, check, and check.  Do I like admitting this? Absolutely not.  Can I change it?  Definitely.  
So after being grounded for way too long, I am preparing for takeoff once again.  Checking engines, securing seat-belts, testing the flaps, blah blah blah...  Here we go again.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April 2, 4, 6-14: Once More, With Feeling!

Ever feel like just when you're starting to put your life together, like a giant, beautiful puzzle, some stupid kid runs into the room, screaming, with peanut-butter on his fingers and slathered all over his face, and runs right over it, scattering the pieces and losing a dozen under the couch?  No?  Too specific?  Well, that is how my life is feeling lately.  Just take the date title of this post- if that isn't confusing, I don't know what is...
So, making things up again and getting back on the wagon... Here are some thoughts from the days I missed: 1.) If you're open to it, spiritual inspiration is always trying to reach you when you need it most.  2.) Good food and music are like salve to the soul.  3.) Light and knowledge are spiritual gifts that enable us to act and move.  4.) Being grateful for the good things in your life brings you more good things.  5.) Give things a chance, because you never know.  6.) Keep trying.  7.) Get lost in an incredible performance (Hello, 5 Browns!)  8.) Keep trying again.  9.) Go on an adventure (and make the best of it when things don't quite turn out like you'd planned.) and 10.)  Keep trying more.
Ah... that feels better.  All caught up!  (Well, kind of.)  I think that I've missed some really good post opportunities, because so much has happened.  Today I was kind of down.  I was thinking of all the things I need to do, feeling stuck and trapped and depressed.  But then I gave myself a mental slap in the face, because I refuse to be in a bad mood just because it's easy.  And THEN... after buckling down to work for 3 solid hours, I rewarded myself with a piece of chocolate.  And b/c it was Dove, it not only tasted amazing, but  had a quote inside.  And it just happened to say, "Happiness is in the heart, not in the circumstances."  Like I said before, inspiration reaches us when we need it most.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April 5: Be You

I had a great conversation with a friend the other night about the importance of being yourself, specifically when it comes to close, personal relationships.  Being unique, quirks and all, is something we should cherish, not try to hide.  If we find ourselves "switching hats," as he put it, then there is something unbalanced and untrue about the way we are living.  And how many times have we been disappointed by someone in our lives who turns out to be different than they'd  led us to believe?
In "Harold and Maude," a movie I love for it's poetic wisdom, off-beat humor, and originality, they visit a beautiful field full of flowers.  At first Harold says that he'd like to be like one of them, because they're all alike.  But Maude is quick to correct him, "Oh, but they're not," she says.  "Look.  See, some are smaller, some are fatter, some grow to the left, some to the right, some even have lost some petals.  All kinds of observable differences.  You see, Harold, I feel that much of the world's sorrow comes from people who are this (she says, holding a single, unique flower), yet allow themselves to be treated as that (she says, gesturing to the entire field."
     May we all try to be our true selves as often as possible, to bring all of our costumes we use throughout life- mother, daughter, sister, wife, professional, spiritual, into harmony with one another.  May we try to live out of a balanced consistency of spirit and character, and never be a stranger to ourselves.  May we try to love ourselves and each other for our unique differences, and work together, like different colored crayons, to create a more beautiful picture.  And may we each find someone who can love and appreciate those differences without seeking to "bend or remove" parts of our character.  That is my prayer for all of us.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April 3: Be Wise

Let me start off by saying, I do not consider myself a "wise" person, by most standards.  I don't have a degree (yet), I'm not very advanced in years, there's a lot of aspects of life I've never experienced, and in many ways I am very foolish.  For example, I am horrible at sticking to things.  I've had over 20 jobs in my 10 years of working.  I'm also very impulsive.  If I want to do something, (within reason) I do it.  It doesn't matter if it isn't rational or responsible, I get the urge and then I act upon it.  I'm also quite careless.  I'll go out and do something spontaneous and fun, like climb a volcano or walk alone at night or drive through the mountains in a blizzard... without the slightest hesitation or fear that something might happen to me. In fact, just last week I went for a walk to get pics for an article, unaware that the slight sprinkle would turn torrential and the wind would end up turning my umbrella inside out a dozen times.  Luckily, others were looking out for me, and my Dad picked me up, mentioning that there was a tornado watch in effect, and "What was I thinking?"
     I've been thinking a lot today about wisdom.  According to Wikipedia, "Wisdom is a deep understanding and realizing of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to choose or act to consistently produce the optimum results with a minimum of time and energy."  Or in other words, it is not merely to have intelligence, but to apply that knowledge in making our decisions.  This can apply to all aspects of our lives- relationships, financial, health, spiritual.  Imagine if, when we were faced with a decision, we took a moment to reflect, to draw on our reservoirs of experience, knowledge, and observations, and to then make a decision.  Surely, our lives would be completely different, ever-rising before us an escalator of progression, rather than a set of stairs that we keep jumping up and down.  (This reminds me of the "Doe, Ray, Me" song in "The Sound of Music", my fellow nerds out there will know exactly what I mean:)  Through exercising wisdom, we can avoid many of the trials and temptations of life, and experience more fulfillment, peace, and happiness.

“O be wise; what can I say more?” (Jacob 6:12).

Friday, April 1, 2011

April 1: Be a Friend

It's funny the way our friendships change over time.  My first friend, no doubt, was a toddler.  I've no idea who it may have been, but we were likely joined by similar interests such as drooling or putting things into our mouths.  As I got older, my friendships became a little deeper, based on things like common values, shared memories, mutual respect, compassion, and loyalty.  It's strange how sometimes we can get so close to someone, we think they'll be in our lives forever.  But that isn't always the case.  
     And while we can be uplifted and gain a lot from our friendships, we can be hurt by them too.  Sometimes it can be hard to forgive or to let that person back into our lives, or to open our lives up to new people.  There's always a 50/50 chance they'll hurt us too.  We don't want to be made a fool of.  True friends will know our most embarrassing secrets, our worst qualities, our terrible weaknesses.  And while we can't control what they will do with all that power, we can control what we will do with the power they give us.  We can decide to be loyal, compassionate, thoughtful, and supportive of them.  If we are lucky, they'll do the same for us.

Real friends are those who, when you feel you've made a fool of yourself, don't feel you've done a permanent job.  ~Author Unknown

March 31: Crunch Time

No, this is not about doing crunches (thank goodness).  But rather about what happens when we wait until the last minute to get things done.  I'll admit, I am the kind of person who gets a sick kind of thrill from the rush of doings at the last minute.  Though it stresses me out, it can be kind of fun to gamble away time, hoping things will come together at the last minute.  Most of the time, thankfully, they do.  But is it really worth it?
     According to Wikepedia: no.  "Procrastination may result in stress, a sense of guilt and crisis, severe loss of personal productivity, as well as social disapproval for not meeting responsibilities or commitments. These feelings combined may promote further procrastination. While it is regarded as normal for people to procrastinate to some degree, it becomes a problem when it impedes normal functioning."   
     Geez, calm down.  I mean, what's the big deal, right?  The dishes will be there tomorrow, there's plenty of time to (insert thing you don't want to do here) later...  Except that the contrast between starting early and waiting until the last minute when preparing for something important (like a test, a talk in church, anything) is so huge that it shouldn't even be a question.  However, today I rode that little rush of pressure to catch up on my overdue dailies of the month, and boy, was it effective!  I caught up a weeks worth of reading scriptures, a weeks worth of walking, and almost an entire months' worth of working on my book, all in 1 day.  Ah... the things we can accomplish when under the wire...  I'm so glad I finally did those things, and I'm not sure why I put them off for so long....

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.  ~William James

March 30: Let's Get Together

Oh, boy.  I am kind of cheating because it is not really the 30th (sh... don't tell).  But I remember my thoughts from that day, so here goes.  My dad's side of the family gets together pretty regularly.  We meet with them for major holidays, birthdays, and occasional fish fries and things like that.  As I kid I was always excited to get together with the extended family, see my cousins, swim in the pool, eat delicious food.
     But let's face it, family's change over the years.  Kids grow up, people get married, move away.  The older I get, the more disillusioned I become by things I sure thought I understood when I was younger.  Suddenly this person is really hypocritical, that person is rude, this kid is annoying and spoiled rotten.  It can be hard to love family sometimes, especially when it feels like we have to.  But even though I went through periods of feeling like I didn't want to see them, it's usually me, not them, who is different.  Am I happy with my life and confident in who I am becoming?  Am I positive and do I try to see the best in people?  Do I go in an attitude expecting to be given fun, or do I bring it myself?  Lately I have tried to bridge the gap between childhood and adulthood by taking the reins with the kids and making things fun for them.  I'd like them to enjoy family gatherings as much as I used to.
     Even though we are all different and it can be hard to get along, we can learn to harmonize our differences and make beautiful, groovy music.

p.s. this is one of my favorite movies of all time, check out this scene