Moving Beyond a Shadow

In search of creating real connections with meaning

People gather to watch Lunar eclipse over Hamburg

Connection. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I want to write something on here that will connect with someone. But, I’m finding I have nothing to say … or at least nothing that I feel will connect with someone.

Human connection is funny. I have friends and family. I connect with them, but not so much on things that matter. Or things that I’m feeling. They don’t even know this blog exists or, as far as I know, they don’t. I come here to connect on those things that matter.

We need human connection. Especially about things that matter and how we feel. That’s when we need it the most.

I’m an introvert. I’m used to being alone. I’m not used to feeling lonely. Lately, I’ve been feeling lonely. Is it my personality? Depression? Just simple lack of employment? I don’t know. I think if I could identify it, I could deal with it better.

I keep returning to the idea that I’m an empath. I’ve been told this many times. It comes up in different assessments. Or maybe it just appeals to me to be an empath. It makes me feel special in some way.

If I am an empath, though, maybe what I’m feeling is not even my own. Maybe as I connect more and more to all that is through yoga, pilates, meditation, I’m realizing how disconnected we are as a society. When I write that it makes me cry. That means I’m either really fucking lonely or I’m picking up on some not so awesome vibes in the universe.

I want us to feel connected. To know that we’re there for each other. That when one of us is in trouble or unemployed or sick that we’re there for each other. That we’re not all just out there alone in the world.

I look out my window and I see power lines. That’s what we are right now. Power lines. We’re all connected. Energy exchanges. But it means nothing. Maybe that’s just me. Maybe I’m just depressed. I have been down.

Then again, maybe I see potential in the world. I see potential in myself as I sit on my sofa typing this in my state of unemployment. Maybe I see all the connections, know the energy is exchanging but it’s just that. An exchange. Neutral. Not positive. Not negative. Just an exchange.

How do we make those exchanges more powerful? More meaningful? Instead of a text about what you had for lunch or the traffic you’re in, what about something good in the world? Or something moving?

There are good things in the world. Good stories. Positive initiatives.

Even the little things. The mourning dove that sits on the power line right outside my place. She’s always there. I don’t know why I think it’s a she, but I do. She’s always there. Sometimes she has friends. Sometimes she’s alone, staring into my french doors. That exchange is positive for me. The bird may not get much out of it, but it’s good for me. It’s positive.

I want to move people and I feel powerless to move people. I write this blog. I hope it’s something to move someone. At least connect to someone in a real way. Not just an exchange, but how do I know? And if this isn’t the place and format for me to connect, what is?

For some reason, I connect my state with the state of the world. It sounds dumb and self-important. But, I believe it to be true on some small level.

I want us all to connect and to embrace that connectedness for what it is. What it can be. I wish I knew if this blog was contributing to that, but I don’t. For now, it’s all I know to do. All I can afford to do.

I’m sorry. I intended for this blog to be uplifting and positive. Unfortunately, the majority of the content has been written since I was laid off from my job. Kind of a low point for me. I want to remain positive and to provide more positivity here. It’s slipping from me at the moment. It’s another reason I decided to not post as often.

I will try to end on a positive note. One thing that I do feel connects us is nature and the universe and things we don’t really control in any way but surround us at all times.

Friday, we had the longest lunar eclipse in a century. It was beautiful visually and spiritually, if you ask me. These things that are bigger than us — nature, the universe, the stars and moon — they have the power to connect us. When the total eclipse happened last year, the world stopped. When the lunar eclipse happened Friday, we all stopped again. In awe of something as simple as a shadow.

That’s all it is really. A shadow. If a shadow can connect us as a species so peacefully and so dramatically and with such joy and wonder, what could happen if we put our best foot forward? If we made an effort to connect on a meaningful level instead of watching something passively. Now that’s a beautiful thought.

Peace, y’all.

https://www.nytimes.com/video/players/offsite/index.html?videoId=100000006029254

 

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Perspective Is Everything

I over explain myself sometimes. This is something I’ve learned about myself over the past year. I’m working on it, but I’m going to overexplain something here.

I like to think it’s my empathetic side. I can see where someone might take something I say the wrong way. This one is just as much for me, though, because honestly, I don’t know where I’m going to end up as I move through this process.

I mention several times (or I think I have) things about sitting behind a desk or a desk job. I don’t mean to belittle those types of jobs. To be honest, I have had “desk jobs” that I’ve enjoyed.

What I mean when I say this is that you have to enjoy what you are doing at that desk job. Sitting at the computer. I write sitting at a computer. I enjoy it. I don’t mind sitting at a computer for something I enjoy.

And some of it, too, is simply your attitude toward a job sitting at a desk or behind a computer. The thing I had lost track of at my last few jobs was my attitude. I didn’t like the politics or the aggressiveness or whatever about some of my more recent jobs. My life became that job, and when my job made me unhappy, I was unhappy.

I didn’t look at it as I just mentioned in my previous post. Paying my bills. There are things I have to do to have some of the things I want (like a roof and that sort of thing). Instead of simply looking at it as I’m paying my bills and I’m doing all of these other things to make me happy, I got lost in the frustration of one part of my life.

Regardless of where I end up — whether it is an office job or not — there are things that must happen in order for me to have the other things I want. Basic human things. I just have to remind myself to stay focused on the big picture.

For me, my list of things to do in the day helps me stay focused on that. I can easily see that I’m spending as much time (if not more) on things I enjoy and taking care of myself as I am on things I have to do. Just seeing that helps. So, even if I end up in an office job, the person sitting behind that computer will have a different mindset. And I have to thank the Universe for giving me this time and circumstance to understand that.

Office jobs can be great, and even if they aren’t exactly what we want, they are probably helping us get something we want. Perspective is everything. Life and happiness are choices. Choose wisely (and sorry for overexplaining).

Peace, y’all.

In Pursuit of Living

Finding happiness through how you live rather than setting goals

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I read this article about Hunter S. Thompson’s advice on finding your purpose earlier today. I like this idea very much. Live your life in a way that will make you happy, not to obtain a specific goal. The goal bends to your way of life. I think I’m getting the gist of it right. My perceptions are always a little off compared to others, so eh, maybe I’m close.

I’ve been going through this myself. The whole question of do you target a goal or ride the tides. Thompson’s idea, though, is somewhere in the middle. I always say the answer to anything is somewhere in the middle of the extremes, so that’s why this speaks to me so much.

There are things I know I want in my life. I want to do more creative things. I want to have more freedom and flexibility in my life. On the other hand, though, I want to pay my bills. I want a roof over my head.

Can I have all of that at once? Sure I can. Any of us can. But perhaps trying to set specific goals or label ourselves in some way isn’t the right path to take. Because, let’s be honest, jobs really are only labels unless they are truly who we are. I’m not a marketing manager. I’m a writer who just happened to work in a role with that title … if that makes sense.

I know I like to get up and do yoga, meditate and then take my pilates class. Yoga and meditation give me time to focus on myself, while the pilates class gets me out of the house for a bit and interacting with people. Plus, I just like to exercise. I like being physical. It makes me feel good, energized, happy. So working towards certification in this makes the goal fit the way I want to live. Is it the end game? I don’t know. Probably not. The only end game is death. Everything else is just a move on the chess board.

After my workout, I enjoy coming home to write for a bit, so that’s what I’ve been doing since I’ve “formalized” my daily routine (I mentioned it in my last post). My days are mine right now. I can do what I want and need when I want and how I want to do it.

I hadn’t planned on writing a post about this, but it made a lot of sense and I thought that others could benefit from it. So, I’m sharing it, mixed in with a little of my own experience. An experience that’s probably a lot like others’ experiences.

For me, scheduling out the things I want in my daily life helped me. That may be goal setting for some, but I kind of need checklists to focus. Otherwise, I flit about and get nothing accomplished. That’s just my way of functioning. It’s not for everyone.

My checklist though is not about reaching some end goal. Well, maybe a little it is in places, but a lot of it isn’t. I’ve made taking care of myself and doing things I enjoy priorities. They are the first things I do in the day, and then mid-afternoon when I’m at my peak business functioning (which is the opposite of most people), I take care of the business things I have to take care of. I set aside time to do the things to pay my bills, but it doesn’t rule my life.

I’ve even applied recently for jobs like dog walkers. Not because my goal is to be a dog walker, although I love animals. The particular job I applied to, though, would let me work for a few hours in the middle of the day, giving me a little structure, a little stability, and peace of mind. I need that … at least as I transition from where I am to where I’m going. It’s an active job that doesn’t require me to sit at a desk all day. The schedule gives me the flexibility to schedule my day the way I see fit. I have time for creative work, for self-care, and to “pay my bills.”

This involuntary break from a typical 9-to-5 job has allowed me to structure my day, my life, in a way that makes me happy. I would have never experienced this had I not gone through it. So, when you think sometimes life doesn’t give you what you want or need or the universe is just dead set against you, that’s probably when you are receiving what you need most.

Try to look at it from that perspective when you find yourself in the situation that makes you unhappy. It’s not easy to see, but if you can, it lifts your spirit quite a bit. Or that’s how I feel.

Sure, I could sit around and complain that I have no job, no money. Don’t get me wrong. I have my moments where I do that, too. After reading this article, though, I’m realizing right now that I’m building or living my life in a way that makes me happy. Now if I can just work the income into the mix, I would be set.

I have nothing profound or poetic to add to this philosophy of Thompson’s. I think it’s a productive way to look at your life and your purpose. Lord knows it is a hell of a lot less stressful. I hope you can take something from it.

Peace, y’all.

Stop the Soul Ripping

Using structure and direction to give yourself inner peace

So, I want to apologize for my breakdown in my last post. I don’t know what happened. I honestly don’t. I was good and happy and then I wasn’t.

Well, I have an idea of what happened. Do you ever see someone’s life and they are happy and pursuing their dreams and you ask yourself why can’t I figure my life out? That’s what happened in my last post.

Although I’m happy when I see others with their lives figured out, I kind of fall apart because I don’t have my life figured out.

The chasm I talked about in my previous post — between who I am and who I want to be — is created by my personality type. I am not 100 percent certain, but I believe I fall into the INFJ category. That means I use logic and intuition in equal parts — analytical and creative at the same time. That means I use both sides of my brain, usually at the same time.

In some ways that sounds wonderfully balanced. Some ways it is wonderfully balanced. In other ways, it’s a tug of war. When it comes to life decisions about following your heart or your head, it’s not so pretty. The logical side tries to analyze and justify everything, even less traditional, less logical options. Rationalizing matters of the heart doesn’t always work very well, unfortunately.

When both sides of the brain are pulling your heart in different directions, sometimes the whole self just splits down the middle. That’s what I just experienced. My need to do something more creative pulled against my need to be responsible and pay my bills to the point that I split.

So I gave myself a break for a day. A break from thinking about my situation and where I’m going to go. I went to bed early. A good, long sleep can help quite a bit. It always seems to help me.

I woke up this morning in a better place. I’ve devised a plan for myself. I’m not going to talk about it here. I’m kind of superstitious and I worry that I’ll jinx something if I state it out loud. This plan, however, does allow both sides of my brain to feel happy.

I know some folks in this world (in my life) won’t necessarily like this approach. They want to see me make a full jump into one area or another. But this is not their life. I have to do things my way. I have to feel comfortable. I’m moving in a different and better direction for myself, but it’s my process. I have to do it my way … even if it’s slower and it takes me longer to get there.

I also don’t expect it will be my final destination, but it is the next step. That’s what I’ve been struggling with. I’ve been making my next step my final destination in my head. Thus, the extreme tug of war with both sides of my brain.

I will say that my plan includes a creative option and a practical option that I will pursue simultaneously without overwhelming myself. I’ve been doing that anyway, but I’m formalizing it now.  In fact, I’m going to write it down and set up a schedule to make it happen. I’m going to put time on my calendar each day to remind myself of these goals and to set mini-goals for each day. That’s the J part of the INFJ personality. I need structure and I’m trying to also improve my self-discipline.

I will have to put a few other things I’ve been working on to the side for a short while or at least limit my activity with them. That’s why I’m writing this post. I’m not closing down my blog, but I am going to spend less time on it while I focus on these other activities.

I still believe in the purpose of this blog. And in some ways, I am working toward that same goal in my new plan, but I have to focus. I’m spread too thin right now. I’m forcing myself to have more direction. Eventually, I will at least try or possibly incorporate all the things I want to do with my life. I just can’t do them all at one time.

I have to stop ripping my soul apart and move in a direction. And I have to do it in a way that gives me some peace while I move through the process. That’s my plan, so until I post again … peace, y’all.

Rise and Fall

As quickly as I rise up, I fall down. Suddenly, I feel ordinary. It happened in a flash. Are these swings creativity or instability? Are they temperament or depression? I’m not sure I’ll ever know the answers.

There is a chasm between the two sides of my soul — between what I want and who I am. And rather than connecting the two, I suspect I will fall into the crevice someday never to be seen again.

Perhaps normality and routine are my calling. I should accept it rather than swinging across the divide, barely grasping the other side of my soul. Some day I will lose my grip.

Settle and be done.

The Stray

Is faith or knowing the best route for your journey?

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Today is a weird day. I had already written one post, went to my Pilates class and then came back home with another thought I wanted to share.

Why do I want to share? I don’t know. I give up trying to figure out what is propelling me to ramble incessantly to no one online. It’s like drinking alone, but with an audience.

Anyway, I’ve always considered myself a bit of a stray. I don’t really have a home. I do. That practical character in that other story I talked about in the last post bought a condo years ago and has lived there forever. I don’t really consider it home in some ways, though. It’s shelter. It’s not home. Does that make sense?

Don’t get me wrong. I like it. I enjoy it. I appreciate it and am grateful for it. But is it my final destination? I don’t know. I don’t know where home is. I’m not sure there is a place called home.

I think maybe home is a feeling. I’ve read that. I’m not the first to say it, but I think it is a feeling. I don’t quite have that feeling. I’ve never felt settled. Do I want to feel settled or do I prefer to be restless? I don’t even know, to be honest.

I took the photo for this post of the neighborhood cat. I don’t know if the cat actually belongs to anyone. Perhaps it does, but I don’t know. She’s always outside. Some of the homeowners put food out for her. But, she’s been here longer than those homeowners, so I’m guessing she’s just milling about because we feed her.

She’s skittish. You can tell she’s not petted often, which lends to the stray theory. I relate to this cat in ways. I think I envy the cat really. She’s just out there living. Focusing on the day, the moment she’s in. Avoiding things that need avoiding. Finding shelter in the rain. Enjoying the sun when she lays out in the parking lot, stretched as far as she can stretch. Eating the food we provide for her. She’s not worried about the future. The universe is providing to her everything she needs.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I felt the need to talk about this cat and how I relate to her. How I want to be like her. But how do I release that security-based creature in that other story to become the stray I think I was meant to be? How do I unlearn what I taught myself over and over again?

I don’t know. I don’t have the answers. I mean, looking at everything as an opportunity is a step in the right direction. Filling my heart with love so that I don’t fear and fret as much is a start. Be more like this cat. If the food goes away, then I move to a new neighborhood.

Is that aimless or is that faith? Is one better than the other? Right now I envy this cat. I want to be a stray.

Peace, y’all.

The Big Surrender

Re-telling our stories and finding a path without the logical mind

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Do you ever feel like you’re living someone else’s life? I never had until today. I woke up at 1:39 a.m. and I thought this isn’t my life. Who am I?

I don’t feel like an imposter. Not at all. But perhaps I’ve been listening to the stories I tell myself too much. I’ve read a lot about that over this past year. We tell ourselves things about ourselves. Good or bad, and we believe them.

I read a short little post this morning by an author I follow, and I had this epiphany of sorts. Or my mental stability went right off the tracks.

I’ve been telling myself this story all my life. That I’m practical, level-headed, grounded. Honestly, though, I’m not sure that’s who I am at all. Obviously, it is part of who I am now, but at the core of me, that is not who I am.

I’m flighty. I’m a dreamer. I am also a hopeless romantic. I became practical out of necessity. I raised myself a lot as a child. There are no bad feelings around that. It is just a fact. I’ve taken care of everything in my life on my own. Now whether that is the result of some trauma as a child or just survival instincts, I don’t know.

I’ve told myself this story until I believed it. I’ve built my life around it. On the one hand, it has grounded me. Made me responsible. I take care of myself and my bills. Those are all positive things, and I am grateful for having that. Who knows what kind of a messy life I’d be in if I hadn’t developed that side of myself.

This story, though. This practical, dependable story. It has kept me on career paths that have not made me happy. Still, I’m sort of staying on that same path now. It’s the most difficult part of this transition I’m trying to make. Can I really walk away from what I’ve known? The world I have built for myself? Can I jump out of this book that I have written for myself and start a new one?

I don’t know, but I think it’s time to give it a try. Over the past year I’ve learned there are a couple of ways to determine your path and purpose. You either know it, identify it yourself, own it and work toward it. The other option is to totally surrender to some higher being.

The practical me has always followed the first route — at least in terms of career and purpose. Know it, own it, do it. And when I didn’t know it, I pushed and pushed to identify it just to come up with a logical answer that in the end didn’t serve me.

So, I’m going to take a leap, I think. It’s the big surrender. I’m going to keep doing what I know I need to do, but I’m approaching it differently. I’m going to look at everything that comes my way — meeting a new person, hearing about a job opening, everything — as an opportunity. As a new path.

I realize this will likely take me down some wrong paths. That’s OK. I can cope with that.

As for the post that prompted this whole idea, I feel the same way the author feels about love. It is the one thing I’ve always wanted. I will break my heart 5,000 times over to find it. But, perhaps I’ve been telling myself stories there, too. Stories that I believe. Now, I need to crawl out from the pages and slip under another cover. I keep telling myself I’m not right for most people. That I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. That no one is ever going to understand me and like me for who I am, just as I am.

I think I’m pretty awesome as arrogant as that may sound. Obviously, I’m not for everyone, but I’m right for some. Some is all I need. One is all I need. Instead of focusing on the ones I’m not right for, I need to focus on the idea that I am right for others.

The other thing I’m surrendering to is who, exactly, I’m right for. I’ve never had a checklist of characteristics — physical or otherwise — that my dream guy should be. I always felt that was too limiting in the manifestation realm. I want certain things, of course, equality, freedom, respect, love, caring, understanding. Those things, of course, I want. I want positive attributes, knowing that bad things come with those. Arguments happen. It’s life. It’s not a relationship with some pitfalls and disagreements.

But, I have honed in on one thing that I’ve always wanted. I wanted someone creative. Smart. Preferably an artist, a musician or a poet/writer. Free-spirited. I think I wanted this because part of me thinks that’s who I am truly at the core of myself. I’m not this practical, grounded person. I’m overly emotional, erratic to some extent … not to stereotype creatives. But I think that’s more of who I am and that I’ve denied myself all these years. And I think that’s why I’ve looked for that in someone else because I didn’t allow myself to be that.

So, perhaps this type of person is right for me. Perhaps they aren’t. I don’t know. I’m surrendering to the Universe. The Universe will bring the right type of person to me — whatever that person may be like.

As for my career, who knows where that’s going to lead? But, I’m taking a different approach this time to everything. I’ve tried the practical, logical route to this point. It’s time to surrender to something bigger. Everything now is an opportunity. Everything could be the happiness that I’ve been seeking.

The big surrender. It’s kind of scary. I’ll admit. But it’s time, I think.

Peace, y’all.