2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 720 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Who Am I?

Can you really and honestly say you know exactly who you truly are?

Garth Brooks has a song titled I’ve Got Friends In Low Places. While it’s very good, and I like it, it’s never been my most favorite. It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it; I’d give it a six, Mr. Clark. Years after I first heard it, though, I saw myself. This little country ditty has become a wake up call that I’ve needed for far too long. If you know the song you are very likely scratching your head. The wannabe posh girl wears cowboy boots? Well he said “I showed up in boots” he didn’t specify COWBOY boots. Yes I do wear boots, black leather high heeled ones in fact, but that’s another blog post.

For once, it’s not about the lyrics, though. Not at all. I do not have friends in low places and I so do not like whiskey! Still, when this song plays it is a reminder to me. Always be myself above all else.

Let me explain. When I first saw Mr. Brooks perform this live on a premium channel years ago I just tucked the experience away in some corner of my brain not to emerge again for almost 20 years. The thing that stands out in my memory today is what he did at the end of the song. The base line continued softly in the back ground as the applause died down and then he began to tell a story. Now, I do have a way with remembering conversations verbatim, but for the purposes of this post I’ll just paraphrase. He said he was back home driving around when his song, this song, came on the radio. As he was listening, he paused a moment and said to himself, “Garth,” that’s what he calls himself back home he said, “would you handle this situation like that?” He paused, a blank expression on his face, mouth gaped open then suddenly closed as he slowly started to nod then quickly shake his head while a broad grin grew on his face. He said no he wouldn’t have handled it this calmly and so he just had to write a third verse to the song. It became an almost bigger hit than the original, certainly a huge demand at his live shows. All from knowing himself, truly going with his gut feeling.

There’s a lesson there.

Through the years, it seems that those of us who live for others end up losing ourselves. We know those closest to us intimately enough to be able to get them what they need before they even know to ask for it. Then one day we wake up and realize that those we were living for no longer need us. It’s natural, it happens. Even the birds eventually leave the nest. They may still want us, but they don’t need us. We end up wondering who we really are, if not so-and-so’s mom or dad, not so-and-so’s spouse, not the 4th grade principal, then who? Who is this person in the mirror staring back at me every morning?

It takes time to figure out who that person that has been submerged for so many years truly is. It’s almost like getting kicked in the head hard enough that you suffer amnesia. Humans don’t come with reset buttons. We can’t delete and reinstall in a matter of just a few hours. There is no quick and easy switch in our brains from who we were, or who we thought we were, to someone we ought to be, that someone we always were but kept so deeply buried in our pursuit to put others first and adhering to societal norms.

It’s not just figuring out who we really are, it’s about being okay with that person before anyone else can even think about accepting the change. If a married mother of ten is secretly deep down inside a naturally skillful belly dancer, so be it, she must accept who she is despite what her family and friends may think of it. I’m thinking her hubby won’t complain too much. Next will come the process of change, sometimes from the inside out, sometimes the other way ’round. Those around us may be a bit weary at first as they see the transformation begin but don’t stop. As I said in a pervious post, only you have the responsibility to make yourself happy. Falling in love with yourself and becoming the best human being you were meant to be is a pretty joyous feeling to be sure. Once you are self-assured, others will rejoice with you.

I hear you disbelievers out there who knew me as a Type A++ personality. You all think this is just another do-as-I-say-do-not-as-I-do kind of lecture. No way that uptight, OCD, ducks in a row, little box ticker can change. But oh no, you would be very surprised to learn that I have in so many ways mellowed and truly changed, for the better. Comes with age I suppose. Like a fine wine, right?

I know myself far better today than I ever have my whole adult life. Who am I? I am a brilliantly witty social butterfly with a genuine, easy smile that puts people at ease. Oh, and I write a little too.

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Dangling Carrots

In school, teachers are encouraged to use reward systems for inattentive students. We are told to tell them, for instance, if they do fifteen out of forty-five math problems they get to spend five minutes on the classroom computer. The idea is to get them to do what they don’t want to do in order to get to do what they would much more prefer to do. This is motivation. This works. Supposedly.

Today I had a lot on my plate. I had lesson plans to write for the coming week. I have an article to compile from the newsfeeds and I have to edit my short story chapter submission for my critique group.

“Get the lesson plans out of the way now and then you can have the whole rest of the day to write,” my husband encouraged.

I didn’t want to do my lesson planning. I wanted to write. I pouted.

“Do the unpleasant task first then you get to do the fun stuff,” he reminded me.

“Fine.” I stomped to the dining table and opened my laptop. The carrot was there, WRITING, dangling just out of reach taunting me from behind this nearly insurmountable wall of required work to be done. This is motivation. This will work, right?

Uh-huh. Have I told you I have ADD?

First I had to check email, that’s always important. Checking email led me to reading blog posts of people I follow.

Ping!

Someone just entered the online writing chat room that stays open when I’m online. I clicked the tab to see who it was. It would be rude not to at least say hello. An hour later I was reminded it’s lunchtime.

I’ve still not opened my lesson plan book.

Who can work on a full stomach? Back to the blogosphere I went while lunch digested. I found a seminar on writing I wanted to sign up for, but then realized there were no specific directions of how to join the class, so I went back into the chat room to get answers.

An hour later, the monster calls, “Caffeine. Must. Have. Caffeine.”

You can’t drink a cup of coffee until it’s cooled sufficiently. Taste buds don’t take kindly to being burnt. Nothing tastes right for a week afterward. Might as well do something while you wait, right? So I checked email again. It had been a whole four hours since I last checked it, there could be something new. Nope, no new email so I went back to reading blogs while I drank my coffee. After all, I can’t write with my coffee cup in my hand. Made perfect sense to be on the computer instead.

Yes, I was stalling.

I finally stopped reading the last blog posting and got my lesson plans started around four o’clock this afternoon. It only took me an hour and half to get them done. I knew it wouldn’t take long; I just didn’t want to do them.

Now it’s time to cook dinner and I haven’t written one word on the news article I had to compile or even opened my short story to begin editing. The only thing I can cross off my to-do list for today is lesson plans.

My dangled carrot didn’t seem to work. I have not learned discipline. Sigh.

10 a.m. Epiphany

I’ve heard of epiphanies, but had never truly experienced one before.

I’ve heard it is a completely surreal experience; that you feel an overwhelming calm sensation throughout your whole body.

It’s like an unearthly, omnipotent presence has enveloped you and planted the thought in your head, they say. Time stands still and you aren’t aware of the actions and sounds of others around you.

You are frozen in that moment, perhaps the most wonderful moment of your life, I’ve heard them recount, when everything you’ve ever done or said finally makes perfect sense. When your true path is laid out for you in dazzling light and all you need do is take that first trepidatious step.

I had an epiphany yesterday. I believe it was around ten o’clock, I’m not exactly sure of the exact time. In that moment time had no meaning, though I do realize it was only a moment, a very brief encounter with clarity.

I did not hear the sounds going on around me. I did not see the movement that was all around. I was calm. I’m not even sure I breathed in that small moment. I simply remember hearing a thought, whispered in the recesses of my mind, the idea washing over me like a soft spring ocean wave.

I felt cleansed. I felt freed of guilt and obligation and responsibility even. I knew this thought was right and it was right for me, right at this time in my life, in my career.

Now to action.

The path I saw in that brief moment of vision will take a couple of years at best to come to fruition, but it is an achievable goal. One I am now eager to embrace and quickly.

Having had that moment of truth, a brief encounter with the infinite, I believe I can finally put everything in my life into a better perspective. I have been freed of day to day trivialities and have a much healthy attitude as a whole person.

If you have never experienced this euphoric feeling, I hope that you do some day. I also hope that you take from it the peace, joy, and tranquility of mind that I have.