I’m slowly adjusting to the newness of this life. I’ve been 9-to-5-ing it for so many years, this freedom to set my own hours for a while has been…almost unnerving. I keep waiting for the time off to end, for the dread to start growing in my stomach, for the clock-watching to remind me I have to go to bed in order to drag myself off to work for 8 am.
For the most part, it’s only been a relatively small thought in the back of my mind. I don’t talk about it much. I don’t think, “OMG, I’m not working!” at random points in the day. I don’t even feel ridiculously happy not to have to deal with the stress and BS that were a regular part of my day on the job.
Today, though, as I was driving around doing errands, there was a moment. It is a beautiful fall day here in Kentucky–the sky is blue and clear, and the temperature is just cool enough to be perfect. For a moment, just a moment, I was back in my desk at The Day Job™. It hit me, hard like a punch in the stomach. I could actually feel myself in the desk chair, a computer in front of me, white noise choking me, that trapped feeling all lab rats get when they become momentarily aware of their real situation.
From my desk, I could see out a window onto the parking lot in front of the Chinese buffet next door. Rain, snow, sleet, or sunshine, I would look out of that window countless times a day. My eyes would drift away from the screen and the work and the reality and fixated on that Outside place. Outside, where people were running errands and meeting friends and working in their yards. Outside, where time was just time, and not a weapon used against you.
And I remembered, like it was happening, the ache I would get sometimes, on days just like today, when I would look out and see the clear blue sky filled with sunlight and cool breezes. I called those days my Alpaca Days, because I would have rather been doing anything – even herding alpacas – than stay inside that cold, stale office. In my mind, I would just grab my purse and leave, without even telling anyone, without even turning off the computer. I’d get in the car and pick up my sweetie and we’d drive without stopping until we hit an ocean.
Today, I realized that I didn’t have to raise alpacas. I didn’t have to run away from home.
I was out there, in that sunshine, on that perfect day, doing what I wanted to do.
And I realized, “Wow, I don’t have to go to work for a while.”
Love to you all,
Just wanting to share a post by a blogger I follow, Charles Dowdy. It’s a wonderful reflection on middle age and how we can never let ourselves to continue looking down.
It is easy to get caught up in the past, and the things that did not happen. It is easier still to get caught up in life’s routine and the things that always happen. What I have to is remember that my path is not set in stone. I might be in the midst of a beautiful journey, but right now I’ve got my head down. The days of life advance and recede like waves in the ocean. It is time to live in the now. It is time to take chances. It is time bring my gaze to the horizon, no matter how bright the glare of what stands before me, and pedal forward through the rocks once again.
Enjoying a quiet Sunday with my Sweetie. Tomorrow will be the anniversary of our hand-fasting. We’ve been together almost 15 years, but we were joined two years ago today at a small ceremony in Phoenix.
No matter how difficult life gets, it’s great to know you have a partner and a friend to face the road with. I do love my wife so very much.
I hope you are all having a great weekend.
Do you want to know what my favorite saying is? “Today I learned…” (with “This week I learned…” as a fair back up). To me, there really is nothing more thrilling than learning something new, being exposed to information or ideas I did not know about, and meeting people who share a different point of view with me.
In my pursuit of stuff to learn, I have sort of chucked away conventional common sense and glommed onto the words of William Butler Yeats: “There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.” That’s right. Despite all the training given to me in childhood, I talk to strangers. In grocery lines, in restaurants, at stop signs, the ladies’ room–pretty much anywhere conversation is possible. Strangers are infinite sources of knowledge–you can sometimes learn more from a stranger than you ever could from a friend. Strangers challenge your status quo and push you to move beyond your comfort zone.
One of the best friends I ever had, Renee, was met like this. I saw her in the hallway at college and she happened to be carrying a binder with an 8×10 photo of George Takei as Sulu on the back. Now, this was long before it was “great to be Takei,” when he was just an actor in a failed sci-fi show. But I saw that picture and my dealie-boppers twitched. I pointed and yelled, “Sulu!” at her. (Yes, I was in college….) A friendship was born out of two strangers bonding over a photograph. And while we shared a lot of interests, Renee was very different from me and challenged me to move beyond my own limitations.
So many of the wonderful, crazy, inspired experiences I’ve had in my life have stemmed from the fact that I don’t let not knowing someone get in the way of an intellectual or spiritual connection.
In this light, I want to point you toward a web-site called “I Talk To Strangers.” Robbie Stokes was working at the United States House of Representatives when he made a decision that would astound most people. Determined to not just change the world, but connect it, Stokes sold everything he owned and began a journey. He challenged himself to meet and talk to as many people as he could, and encourage them to do the same.
Imagine that for a moment. Dedicating your life to meeting people, and inspiring every person you meet to do the same. Can you fathom the ripple effect of such an act? Stokes could, and he’s bringing others into the wave. His site offers opportunities for volunteering and employment, as well as blogs and videos.
All because one guy wanted to meet people!
What could you do, if you were brave enough (and crazy enough, perhaps) to follow your passion? Where would you go, and who would you become?
What an amazing world we live in, and what amazing people for us to meet! I am going to volunteer, and I’m going to keep talking to strangers.
Sleep well, and dream of fascinating conversations, my friends.
Okay, so I’m reading Debbie Ford’s book. Honestly, I’ve known about it for years, but I’ve avoided it like the plague. Why? There is a wonderful Dana Ivey quote that sort of applies here. On the 80s television show Easy Street, her somewhat self-involved character Eleanor is struggling to show compassion and empathy for husband Quinton (played by the awesome James Cromwell). At one point, Eleanor shows her true colors:
“I know that in the past, I have not been very sympathetic to your needs. That’s because I didn’t want you to have any.”
Well, in the past, I’ve not been very sympathetic to my dark side. That’s because I didn’t want to have one. But, as Eleanor found out about Quinton’s needs, I do have a dark side and I do need to pay more attention to it.
All you have to do is look around to see that our culture here in the west is becoming more and more polarized—Left and Right, Conservative and Liberal, Faith and Secularity. And while it’s lots of fun to play Us vs. Them, deep inside we know that all this divisiveness is not good for the country, society, or the world.
So why do we do it? Why do we insist on the illusion of separateness?
Last night, I saw this amazing video online that states that every single atom in our body changes about every five years or so. Atoms don’t go away (unless they’re split, with unavoidable repercussions). So what happens to all these atoms that are no longer in our bodies? They recycle, of course. Now, where on Earth do you think all those new atoms that you get every five years or so come from? Maybe I’ve got my science wrong, but I don’t think we’re constantly creating new atoms. Nope, our bodies are shopping at the Atom Consignment store.
We’re using used atoms for the construction of our own lives.
You are within me, and I am within you, and we are all connected to this Earth we live within, which is then connected to the sun that we depend upon, which is part of the galaxy that created it, etc., etc.
Everything. Everything is connected.
And that sort of makes the whole polarization thing kind of—well, for lack of a better word, stupid.
If we are all connected, all part of an enormous entity experiencing life together, how can we be polarized against each other? Do the nerve cells mount campaigns against the encroachment of blood cells into historically nerve-occupied territory? Are the arms afraid the legs are getting too many jobs and asking the brain for sanctions against new leg development?
Of course not.
But we, as humans, forgetting our connectedness, fight each other all the time.
Light vs. Dark
It only takes a hop and a skip to bring this argument to the battle of Light vs. Dark. We’ve been conditioned in our lives to seek Light and avoid Dark. I have, you have, the guy down the street has. The things in the Dark are scary, ugly, uncomfortable, and we all want to be happy, beautiful, and relaxed.
The thing is, what we push against pushes back, and becomes stronger with the effort. What we embrace becomes part of us, and all of us become stronger. As long as those of us seeking light and wisdom push hard against darkness and ignorance, those forces will only continue to push back (and grow stronger).
But what if we stopped pushing? What if we just said, okay, there’s darkness and ignorance and cruelty and inhumanity in the world? What if we stopped fighting and just started accepting?
I don’t know what the long run answer would be, but I know that in the short term we’d have more energy to focus on what we love. We’d have more energy to do what we feel is right and good if we stopped worrying about what The Other People are up to.
This is all good and fine for the outside world, but what about the inner world? How much am I pushing against what’s bad and dark and uncomfortable within myself? And by pushing against it, how much power am I giving it?
- I’m stupid (sometimes)
- I’m gross (sometimes)
- I’m annoying (sometimes)
- I’m ignorant (sometimes)
- I’m petty and mean (sometimes)
- I’m lazy (sometimes)
Ford tells us to look at the things that annoy us the most—the personality quirks that drive you crazy in other people. These are the shadow aspects of yourself that you are denying, pushing against, giving power to. And the Universe is going to continue to bring reflections of this shadow into your life until you embrace, accept, and even love that aspect of yourself.
So I’m digging deep. I’m watching my reactions to see who drives me the most crazy, and why? And then I’m turning it inwards.
It’s an uncomfortable process. I’m pretty sure I’m not enjoying it much. But I know at the other side of this, if I’m brave and persistent, I will find a sense of wholeness and peace I have not known for years.
What pisses you off, FaFa? What annoys you the most? Do you have the guts to ask yourself where these traits reside within you? Do you dare look inside your own shadow and see what’s lurking there?
Hope to see you there!
By the time Friday comes around, it feels like I’ve had a tap attached to my spine (like a maple tree). All the life essence is slowly drained by the stresses and frustrations of The Day Job until I feel depleted and weak.
The more I delve into the world of writing (and getting paid for writing), the harder it is to keep myself motivated at The Day Job. I do important work, and I’m very good at what I do. But there are days, weeks even, when I wish I could just head out in a random direction and live off my wits for a while.
The good news is that these impulses aren’t very strong, nor do they stay for very long. But they remind me, profoundly, that life is not what you do for a living, nor is it where you live and what you have.
Life is the sap of a tree, and you only have so much of it this time around.
So, what are you going to do? Let life drain you dry for its own profit, or use your own life-blood in the way you want?
Note to self–
If you ever become Rich and Famous, be good to the fans. It means the world to them.