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Saturday, December 31, 2011

On Becoming

It’s strange…feeling as if I have somehow changed shape, and my skin and my insides are now working to see how they fit together.  It is not yet comfortable, but it feels right.  As if they are communicating back and forth… stretching here, giving there…to find the perfect fit.  It’s disconcerting, though…not sure how it will end up.  I’m not afraid, though, and this is new.  Is this what it means to “find yourself”?

I’ve never understood that phrase.  Am I not a sum of what I’ve been and done?  Mother, partner, teacher, daughter, sister, friend.  Turns out the answer is no.  I am also not the words that others have given me—or that I have given myself—to define me.  I am somehow none and all of these at once, as well as something else that has yet to be defined.  That lack of definition is the disequilibrium I am feeling.  

In some ways, it is a return to a past self…a re-looking at where I came from, what path I was on as a person, and a wondering of where I am now, and where I want to be going.  I have begun to realize that it is never a done deal.  We don’t “get there”, we don’t reach our goal of becoming something or someone…we are perpetually moving, growing, changing.  For so long, I stayed where I was, oblivious to my surroundings, as well as my own self.  It is only now, as I pay attention to what is both inside and outside of me that I am seeing what I’ve been missing.  Me. 

So now I commit to being an active participant in my own life and my own definition of myself.  I commit to noticing, paying attention, and taking care.  My new year’s resolution is simple, yet so very complicated…I will let myself become. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Occupy the Weekend!

Occupy the weekend:
“What do we want?!”
“More weekend!”
“When do we want it?!”
“Every Monday, and maybe even Tuesday!”

We, the 28 ½%, are fed up!  How fair is it that, out of seven days each week, only two are represented by the weekend?  It is during these two days that the most important parts of living are done, and there is simply not enough time to do them.  Besides the obvious chores—grocery shopping, laundry, etc.—there is the need for sleep, time to be with our loved ones, and the occasional washing of dogs.  So, we are here to make a statement—to make a difference.  We will be occupying the weekend until some changes are made.  Our demands are simple, yet imperative:

1)      We demand that Monday and Tuesday become official “weekend days”.   (In the spirit of cooperation, we are willing to negotiate for Tuesday to be added every other week.)
2)      No weekday work may be expected during weekend days.  No work emails, text messages, reports, etc. will be allowed during this period.
3)      At least one of these days must include the opportunity to sleep in past 7:00 a.m.  All pets should be apprised of this rule, and serious consequences must be enacted if they do not comply. 

Until these demands are met, we will remain in occupation of the weekend.  Please send all replies directly to our beds, where we will be resting for at least the next day or two. 

*Official Occupy the Weekend song, sung to the tune of "Everybody's Working for the Weekend"
We all want to occupy the weekend
We all want a few more days
We refuse to leave our households
We will stay here, come what may

Fighting the Gremlins

I've never been an "in the moment" kind of gal. I've been a planner....more truthfully, a worrier. I have a mind that actually gets a sick enjoyment out of creating elaborate, apocalyptic possibilities. When I was recently faced with a very difficult situation, my mind saw its opportunity to do real damage, and ran with it. Over the following months, it took any chance it found to grab the worst  tidbit of any conversation or situation and create a "reality" that did not exist, making an already painful experience almost unbearable. I believed it all...and I was in agony from an imaginary creation.

But...although I may be gullible, I'm not stupid, and I can learn. And this is what I have (and am continuing to) discover: it really, truly is simply a figment of your imagination.  And you really, truly can decide how to respond. Yes, bad things happen (to ALL of us), but worrying about the possibility of what could happen is counterproductive and even harmful. Instead the key is to stay present; to truly notice what is directly in front of you at any given moment.

I don't mean this metaphorically, I mean it literally. What do your hands look like?  What does the air smell like?  What does the ground under your feet feel like?  Asking yourself these questions--and really focusing on the answers--has the tremendous power to bring you back to the literal here and now. With that solid present moment, you are able to diffuse the pain and pressure of your imagination and return to true reality.

I say none of this lightly. I know how hard it is to do this thing that sounds so simple. It is a skill that must be purposefully practiced, and has yet to become "easy" or "automatic" to me. My mind is a powerful gremlin, and it still sneaks up and grabs me from behind at times. When this happens now, though, I can most often stop myself in the process of spiraling down, focus my eyes on an object in front of me, and ultimately find my way back to the present--to what is actually real and true.This does not mean that reality is always "good", "happy", or "easy", but it is something that is actionable, and I can choose which action I want to take based on what is really happening. 

To have this power, to honestly have the ability to control your mind gremlins, to choose how to react to a situation, and to--in your heart of hearts--care for your being, is an amazingly empowering experience. So, I ask you now...what is literally right in front of you?