Friday, May 05, 2017

Life Never Simple but yet. . .

This morning I laughed at my huge mess of books and papers that quickly collect along my side of the bed, just past anyone else's view. My husband has purchased book cases, storage bins, desks and all are full, but yet more accumulates. I laugh at a huge mess topped with library checkouts with titles like, 365 days to an Organized life, Simple ways to Organize, Essentialism, Joy of Less, Organize your brain. . . etc.

People say you create your own experience. My closest friends along with acquaintances I most envy are ones that have simple rythms and quick ways to prioritize. As I observe I notice a few things: 1) They are very clear about what is already happening past, present, future so they can say yes or no quickly to requests. 2)Those items in existence are intentional and fit with their value systems. 3)When I am with them, they are fully with me, no distractions, no phone out on the table waiting for a buzz that needs an instant response.

I have recently come to two new or old discoveries about myself that challenge me here. Firstly, I don't allow for my past to influence or add value, so I am constantly reinventing or starting over. Its like I'm trying re-start the same short story over and over, rather then accepting it is here and working through or moving to the next phase of sharing or experiencing it in a larger context. It also happens that in relationships I am always re-working to show my value, rather then relaxing into the silence and listening, because I am still trying to prove my role, or earn my place with another.

The second one I shared with a friend recently was my dilemma at having lots of ideas and intentions, but rather then acting on them or releasing them from my brain, I persepherate and become stuck in them, and feel disappointed in myself and jealous of everyone else, who is acting. His response overwhelmed me, "Maybe there is a third possibility here," he said, "That you aren't valuing yourself enough to act on your ideas." His words sobered me right up. Value my ideas, value my past experiences, value my words, my banked activities and then go for things, what would that look like.

I've got plans, though. I can feel the value in my veins as I consider this and I want to jump and scream and really become useful to myself. I know I can write. I consider the positive responses of strangers, family and friends and wonder why it didn't settle into my finger tips as they type away. Even more, the moments I hear my words as if they are not mine, but something greater and more powerful in a way that changes me. So I got into a tiny experiemantal M.F.A program at Eastern Michigan and I can go sign up for a class at a time if I want and I do want and I will write.

Changes in Adulthood

I am embarking on a journey of change. The overused statement of crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Recently a friend mentioned a study on depression saying people who go into a situation expecting one outcome and only seeing that outcome, regardless of what actually transpires. This is me! I keep looking at events as if they have already happened and people as if they are a constant/completed. 

And yet. . . I don't want to be this person.

I don't want to have a story of why I was wronged that I grip for 50 years or a determination that I cannot host a simple supper with friends, without endless stress leading up to it. I believe that others can and do show skills that I might learn from, tap into and thus that I can become capable of accomplishing well. 

What tasks? They range from dressing up in the morning, effective shopping trips, contacting friends, and all the daily tasks of cleanliness and family care to collecting of new intelligences, supporting my marriage, making art, living with creative output, sharing my beliefs and feeling the calm and presence to respond in a loving way to myself and others.

You probably have your own great list of things you wish you were good at or might do someday, maybe when there is time or If you woke up in a new situation. . . I am by nature a dreamer and I come up with endless possibilities that are grand and complicated, but I struggle with commitment, persistence, and completion. 

I have operated through various my background and nurturing into more of a chaotic spontaneous reactor. I am great at efficiency and productivity in response to a call. You need help right now and I can make something happen! It has a huge payoff in the moment, but a longer term wear that I would like to temper. 

I've collected various books on change, have completed a masters in Adult Effectiveness and Change and now want to commit to some very practical applications. I am what I do and so the goal is practical and longterm. 

I am capable of learning new skills that will help me move freely, jump into things that are important and allow me experience the surprises and joys that will come as I begin to open my hands to new skills and possibilities! 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Listening Inward (When will I learn to hear myself?)

Seems like the cool temperature in August are pushing me to an early reflection on the next season. The season of delivering a new baby into our family, to the learning year, to a calling outside of basic existence. I drove to Songbird cafe, collected my latte and day old muffin and then reached for me phone. Missing. Its been left behind to ring at the house when the kids and babysitter try to reach me, or my husband or the contractor, or my dad in the ER or my friend who i'm to visit with this afternoon at a still TBD location. And yet, I'm here and have paid in coffee money for a right to sit in a chair and write this blog.

I begin again somehow, as I force myself not to panic or jump up and run home. I seem to have to remember who I am. In the bigger picture I have to wonder at what I have already accomplished in my almost 40 years that makes this one hour my own. I have tools inside my skull that could help me if I only did some reflection.

My first tool is shutting out my phone stress. I must counter the chaos, crazy making acquaintances, dysfunctional habits, co-depenent defaults, email requests for help from my neighbors, my dream of being a different person, etc.  What I long for today is awareness of myself, of my relationships that are open to raising understanding and my desire to consider better questions. I want to choose where my hope comes from, consider God mattering in my life, and what motivates me to love well. I consider my thousands of hrs in therapy, my art group addictions, my love for buying self-help books, Gretchen Rubin's invention of a year or Michael Gelb's, How to Think Like Leonardo or Julia Cameron's, Artist Way, or organizers that promise simple ways to operate. I idolize the people who are tackling the world through successes in art, congruently holding to their truths and drawing others into the power of belief.

How can I be someone else, but also me. How can I be satisfied and still me? My answer is begin again. Attempt, like an essayist to fill a well with many ideas, cull through and wonder at their potential and live in the balance of trying them out. I want to try out what I have already tried out, yet one more time.

So some possible goals, because I struggle with commitment:
-Wake at 6 AM, walk 40 min, write 30 min.
-Pray from Book of Common Worship 5 minutes in the morning and at night
-Create rhythms for the week - groceries, same 5 foods, laundry day and kids activities fun and stick with them
-Say no to almost everything else for today.

Do these have any substance? Is there a place for play and fun within the work here. I think this is where an hour of artist date or time alone is also key. It begins today and it happens first.

Can I stop here or pretend that I can suddenly finish a story, read Bleak House and take on 10 new committees in my neighborhood. The prayer is simplicity. Letting go of habit and urgency and doing what is next for today, which is currently being alone with myself. Available to God. Free to laugh or cry, work or play. Lord, may I listen inward!

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Lewis's Inner Ring

As a child, then teen and even now as a married adult, I watch other couples passionately kiss or hold hands or seem to be "in-love" and I feel envious. I want there deep togetherness.

In literature there is this sense of a characters connection and disconnection with others and inside themselves. With the release of the movie InsideOut, everyone likes to talk about kicking there sad character to the side, or labeling their internal feelings to explain themselves. To label myself, I struggle with attachment and belonging and feel I am forever trying to get inside someone else's inner circle.  I so want to belong to someone, that if I did not have my eyes on a God who is loving and good, I would buy into living under another's ego identity or would pay to be an insider in someone else's world.

This morning I read C.S. Lewis's essay, The Inner Ring and can't help but want others to read and then for us all to discuss. I firstly love that he writes about whatever is on his mind and that this topic matters to him. Very quickly he states that if your goal is being in, then it means playing a game and involves keeping others out, turning one into a scoundrel. This morning in my journal I saw myself in this light. I walk around imagining that there is this camera crew, or a neighbor, who is following me and noting all my great assets, like my thriving garden bed, my choice in reading a classic Dicken's novel, my kids and I out playing Fours Square at 8 AM, my roles in the neighborhood to help others, etc. I imagine acquaintances envying me and wanting to be in my circle. I am desperately trying to matter and be someone, even if it means I must pretend all the time.

 In my own world the circles apply to writing, to singing, to making pictures. There are groups and people I can pay to make me better so I can be someone who others want to know. If I get the right connection, follow the right method and schedule, then I can get the attention of important people. There is so much fluff in the way I operate, that I am either kicked out or run and hide after the honeymoon game of being cool and looking good passes.

So leave sit to Lewis to explain that the work is the joy and that doing what you love has nothing to do with Inside, but rather that it leads to natural connections and free expressions and the flexibility of others always being welcomed to add to the experience.

So often I walk into a space and say, I don't belong or I really want to belong so what do I have to do to get inside. A family member told me recently she did not feel comfortable around our family, because of our judgement. Another friend visited my church and felt it was too big and impersonal. Even within Co-Housing, the community I live, there are owners and renters and circles of people labeled for participation, or status. I want to talk about the game of an inner ring, because maybe I want to change.

Maybe I can just work today, living out of Lewis's work in exploring life in light of Jesus, and mulling it over in characters and circumstances and within the worlds I embody.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Today is the Best Day Ever

Hello Me? Did I fall into a hole or get stuck in the psych ward for a few months. The winter was cold, ay? My therapist recently mandated a treatment of 60 to 90 minutes alone every day to rep are my inner-compartmentalized bits of self that continually look externally for direction that continually conflicts with other inside segments. So i'm here contemplating my existence, my meaning, my mattering in the context of me as a whole.

O depth of wealth, wisdom, and knowledge of God! 
How unsearchable are God's judgements, 
how untraceable are God's ways! 
The source, guide, and goal of all that is, 
to God be the glory forever! 
(From The Book of Common Worship)

I am one for seeing the people and work directly in my path and following its/their shadow. But not in this moment. Right now I push the eject button on my program disk (which I recognize as corrupt). I stare at a white wall. I don't want to operate from other's program disk. I pray for God to show me a new program that allows me to see me in the equation. Me choosing to be on my own team and care for my needs. I trust him to provide bread and rest and a clear race that I am capable of finishing. I can open my palms to release living based on others mandates. I can let God speak. 

As my kids wake up early, show up often and are forever ready for life and love and play, I want to emulate their freedom while also living in hopeful anticipation. As David said yesterday morning, "Mom, your best day will always be your last one, because you won't know which is best until you have lived it." May today be my best day, tomorrow even better, and the one after the best, until I reach the fourth and its more amazing then I can imaging and so on!