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

 

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.

Rump-shaking Mood Enhancement

Using dance to find your inner strength

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This post was going to be about the importance of shaking your booty. I love to dance. I wanted to be a dancer when I was a kid … back when I had some balance.

Dancing is cathartic. It connects you to your body and mind, as well as to your heart and spirit. Obviously, from my last post, music means a lot to me. Dancing is a way to connect to that music beyond just singing it or hearing it. You feel it.

I’m actually considering adding in at least 30 minutes or so of dancing to my routine. If not every day, at least once a week.

In addition to that connection to yourself and to music and to everything that is, dance gives you a sense of power and freedom. Or it does me. I don’t care if you’re flailing about or if you’re as graceful as a swan. My body changes when I dance. The way I hold myself. Plus, it just feels good. It makes me happy.

But today, I went to Pilates class. We had some folks in from out of town. One woman, I suspect she was in her mid-20s at the oldest, but everything about her felt so much older. She was rail thin. You could see every bone in her body. Now, this is not coming from a place of judgment so much as a place of concern. I told myself perhaps she’s ill or that’s just her body type or perhaps that’s the weight that makes her feel strong.

It was a dancer’s body in many ways. Sinewy. Birdlike. Slightly on the frail side because of the small bone structure. There is obvious strength in her body.

My concern came from her posture. She kept her head down. He shoulders slumped. Her tail was tucked underneath her. Everything about her curled into herself.

If you’ve ever seen an animal that’s been beaten and abused, that was the posture she had. It made me sad for her. Of course, I didn’t know her and I am jumping to conclusions but body language says a lot. You can tell when someone is not fully connected to their inner strength.

I wanted to give her a hug. I wanted her to hold her head up high. I suppose it’s wrong to say that. We women have it bad enough as it is. In my defense, my intention is good, even if it sounds judgmental. As someone told me on here, good intentions don’t always have good results.

To be honest, she was stronger and fitter than I am … and I’m no slouch. I was the one being corrected on my shoulder blades moving, not her. But her stance, her posture made me feel sad. I don’t normally claim this, but I sensed how she felt. Or at least I thought I did. Her demeanor made me feel like curling into myself or projecting some of what’s inside of me out to her.

And I’m shy. We’ve had this discussion. But my shyness doesn’t necessarily come off in my posture … not generally anyway. It depends on the circumstance. That’s probably why people say I seem cold and aloof. I’m quiet, but I have some strength in my posture.

But my intention was to uplift her. To give her some strength … when in reality she may not need it. It is just a perception based on body language. Let’s face it, though, our brains are wired to notice those things first and notice them more than what is said.

I wanted her to strike a Wonder Woman pose. Back straight, legs set apart, hands on hips. I stand like that more than I should. In fact, I took a ballet class earlier this year. I stood like that in class as the teacher was giving instruction. He told me my stance was aggressive. Well, I guess that’s who I am. I dropped my hands at the request of the teacher, but I didn’t go back. Nobody puts baby in the corner, I suppose.

Part of my whole thing about this mind-body connection is that we should feel stronger in our bodies. When you feel stronger — whether physically you are or not — it changes your posture. It changes your outlook. I could be entirely wrong and this woman is the strongest person in the world. I will never know that. But, her posture will never present that either. For me, that’s unfortunate. For others, it may not matter.

This, however, does bring me back to dancing. I recommend dancing for that reason. Do it in private with no one watching if that gives you your power, but find your power. Even if your power isn’t noticeable to everyone else, you will feel it. When I dance around, I feel more like Mick Jagger on stage. Or if I’m bold I try to be Baryshnikov.

It doesn’t matter how I’m dancing or how well I do it, it connects me to my strength. Even if I spin until I’m dizzy or trip over my own feet — yes, I do all of those things — I feel happier and stronger.

So get your booty on the dance floor … or the living room floor. Wherever. It’s amazing what a little rump shaking can do for your mood and your confidence.

Peace, y’all.

The Cosmic Machine

Integrating positive influences to make the world a better place

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Influences are funny. You know immediately when something has an impact on you, but you forget about it over time. You forget about the impact and maybe even forget about the thing that had the impact.

Yesterday I heard the song Imagine by John Lennon. I don’t remember the first time I heard the song. I don’t recall how old I was or where I heard it. All I know is that when I hear it, I still tear up. That song touches something so central to my being I am overwhelmed by it.

The simplicity of it is beautiful. The message, of course, is beautiful. I don’t really believe in perfection, but that song is pretty damn close if you ask me.

That song and The Lorax by Dr. Seuss pretty much sum up everything I am or everything I try to be. They are what this blog is all about when I get down to it.

If you read that book, listen to that song and maybe throw in the Golden Rule, you have my philosophy on life. My outlook on the world and how we should be. Maybe a Bob Marley quote or two could be added into the mix.

Yoga and meditation have recently come into my philosophy, and now Pilates as well. It’s really more just a mind, body, spirit connection. Physical well-being leads to mental well-being and eventually spiritual well-being. For me, I add on one more layer. The energy within us affects the energy around us.

OK, for my complete philosophy I have to include Einstein’s theory that energy can’t be created or destroyed, it simply changes form. Everything, in my opinion, is made of energy. That mind/body/spirit connection influences our energy. The world around us, the planet we live on, is also made of energy and connected to everything. Our energy influences the planet and vice versa.

So, in my mind, a pop song, a children’s book, and a scientific theory walk into a bar and a new world order is born. I think I’ve said this on here before I’m good at seeing the big picture. True or not, I think I am and that’s really all that matters, right?

Seeing the big picture means seeing all the moving parts and how they connect. To fix a problem in the big picture, you have to find where in the machinery the gear is stuck. Sure we have large-scale problems in this world, but don’t they all start from the individual mind? How the mind perceives something? How it reacts to it? That’s the stuck gear in the cosmic machine.

When that tiny, single gear is stuck way down in the machine it seizes up the rest of the operation. Perhaps it’s not completely stuck. Perhaps it just has buildup and turns slowly. Or it’s rusty and needs some lubrication. Still, it affects how the rest of the machine operates.

I’m just trying to get the gears at the beginning of the process to work properly and then we can start to fix the other things. Or maybe they will fix themselves.

We start by getting ourselves in proper working order. I’m not saying we have to perfect human specimens and we can never fuck up. If you don’t fuck up, you don’t learn, so being human is part of the process. Once you start understanding yourself and how you think and react, though, you can make changes that improve your well-being and eventually those around you.

You’re still going to fuck up. I mean, let’s be serious for a minute. That’s OK. It’s the effort that matters really.

People think you have to move mountains to make the world a better place. That is not my intention at all with this blog. I don’t move mountains. I write a blog. In the grand scheme of things, that’s pretty insignificant, considering there are hundreds of millions of blogs in the world and tens of millions of posts made every day.

I’m just a single plankton in the sea. In the end, though, it is the small things that matter. Giant, bold moves matter, of course, but how often do those happen? How many of us would feel comfortable doing that? Not many.

That’s OK. It doesn’t mean we can’t play a part. Helping someone move a piece of equipment in the gym when they’re struggling to move it helps. Saying thank you and hello to a cashier helps. Telling someone you appreciate them or they look nice today helps.

It may not seem like much. It may not seem like enough, but it is. If each of us did one truly kind thing, without expectations, each day or made one small positive change, that’s billions of good vibes out in the world within the same 24-hour period. How good would that feel? Pretty fucking good, I think.

I’m shy, though. Terribly shy. I always have been and have had to overcome it to function in this world. Lately, because of the type of work I do, I’ve fallen back into my shell.

I’m focusing on yoga, pilates and that sort of thing to feel more confident in myself. So I can be in a group of people and not wish I could disappear. I love people, but I’m shy as hell. The mind/body/spirit connection helps me with that.

One, it helps me make a bold, strong statement if I need to — one that may change things for the better. But, really, it also helps me be friendlier, especially to strangers. To bring me out a little more. I had learned to come out of my shell for work years ago, but I don’t really have to do that anymore. I can be a quiet little mouse, and I have been.

What I’ve noticed is that I shy away from more now than I used to. I refrain from saying hello or smiling at strangers. There was a point in my life when I didn’t shy away. I smiled and said hello to everyone. Not a boisterous hello or anything like that, but a smile and whisper. I spoke to everyone.

Just speaking to someone can have an impact. Those little things make a difference. At least I believe they do. Even when someone looks at me sideways for speaking to them, I don’t want care. That’s the way I used to be. I felt better for being friendlier and hopefully, somewhere deep down, it made them feel better, too.

I want to get back into that habit again. The world responds differently when you do. It may be a small difference, but if you pay attention, you’ll notice it.

This blog even is a bit of me working on being out there more. Trying to have a small impact somewhere, somehow. I’m not a great writer. It doesn’t matter. My ability to write is not the point of this blog. The point is trying to make a difference. To influence change if I can.

I heard that song and I remembered the influence it had on me in my youth. It still has an impact on me. I read The Lorax sometime last year, I recall, and I cried like a baby. A grown woman crying at a children’s book. Eh, I’m a sensitive type.

But that’s where I’m trying to go with all of this. Improving ourselves so we can make just a small change in our day, in someone else’s day. Get back in touch with those influences that make us realize our connection to one another. To what’s important in the world.

I’m trying to build that world John Lennon imagined. That place where the Truffula trees still live. Where the cosmic machine is operating at full capacity. I think it all starts from within. That we can make a difference one person at a time. It’s as simple and as beautiful as Lennon’s lyrics. Maybe I’m crazy or maybe Lennon was right. Maybe he’s not the only dreamer after all.

Peace, y’all.

Tornado Phases

A shout out to anyone dealing with life changes

For a while, I had recurring dreams about tornadoes. Usually, there were herds of tornadoes coming toward me. Is there a group term for tornadoes? I like herd. It felt like a stampede in the dreams.

These went on for about 6 months or a year. Not every night, but consistent. In one dream, an unearthly sized tornado picked up my childhood home. My entire family was inside, including me. At first, there was a lot of rocking back and forth, and then suddenly, everything was still and quiet.

We were all sort of floating within the space of the house. It had a feeling of weightlessness. Similar to being in space, I assume. It was strangely peaceful although I was thinking we were probably all going to die. It was silent. No one spoke. We just looked at one another as if in some way to say goodbye. Strange feeling. I still recall it although it’s been a few years ago since I had the dreams.

At the end of the dream, my dad disappeared from inside the house. I don’t know what happened or where he went, but I looked around he was gone. The rest of us were still there in the house in the eye of the storm.

That’s all I remember about that particular tornado dream. It stuck with me, though. I suppose because a year or two later (I can’t recall exactly when I had these dreams), my dad passed away.

I probably wouldn’t have thought there was any tie to my dad’s passing and the dream had I not had another set of recurring dreams just before cat passed away, which happened just a few months before my dad’s passing. The year leading up to my cat’s death, I had recurring dreams that he kept getting under the house (a house, not always mine) and getting lost. He always found a litter of kittens in every dream, but one. The last dream, he didn’t run away or get lost. He spoke to me in that dream. He was unfriendly in that dream, like he didn’t feel well or was upset with me. At the end, he told me I cared only about him until Charlie came along.

I didn’t know who Charlie was even in the dream. Charlie didn’t exist in my life in that dream. Charlie was someone I was going to meet later. In fact, I was going to the back of this extremely ‘70s beach house to meet Charlie. I woke up as I walked into the room where Charlie was supposed to be … somewhere in the future room.

My cat passed away soon after that. So, recurring dreams are not usually good signs for me. I’m not saying I predict the death of loved ones, it’s just maybe some trigger in my brain knew that day was coming someday.

I digress talking about my dreams, though. The point of bringing up the tornado dream with my dad was that feeling when the house was lifted into the tornado and we were just floating. Anticipating the future, not knowing what’s going to happen. How bad it’s going to be or if we’re all just really lucky? Except for my dad, who disappeared.

That feeling is the feeling I’m having with my life right now. It’s not a bad feeling, but uncertain. Trying to remain calm in the uncertainty.

The beauty of being laid off from my job is that it has given me the opportunity to reflect on life more than I do when I’m working. I know I want to make changes in my life. I am working toward those, but I’m not sure if any of them are right. It’s not bad or good, just uncertain.

The other uncertainty is how much change can I make at once? Can I go all out and change my entire life? Or do I find a bit more stability in a job that fits my experience and training and then make small changes. I have tried that a few times in the past with not a lot of success. That’s why I feel pressure, within myself, to make bigger changes while I have the opportunity.

Income is such a pain in the ass, isn’t it? If it wasn’t for needing to pay the bills, all of these decisions would be so much easier. I have no fear of trying something new or going down a different path. I fear not being able to make ends meet. That wouldn’t be a fear if I could find part-time work. It’s not happening, though.

Is it failure if you can’t make all the changes you want to make at one time? Does it matter if it’s failure? Failure isn’t a bad thing.

I’ve never failed. At anything. Ever. I mean, I’m a terrible public speaker. Anything I set out to do, I did. And, if I say so myself, I did it pretty well most of the time. I’ve always received good reviews. Positive feedback.

Until this last job. I received good reviews. Raises. After my third boss in three years, though, I was told I couldn’t write. That was my job. It’s been my job my entire career. Then I was laid off with several other people, but the rub of it was still there.

it shattered my entire being. Normally, in the past, I would have taken that in stride and kept going. But, I had already been looking for a change in my life. I wasn’t happy with my work. I knew I needed to change. I don’t know. I tripped.

It’s funny when I think about it. Never really failing. Never getting laid off. It’s not from staying in the safe zone. I’ve changed careers. I’ve changed jobs (fairly frequently the last few years). I changed majors six times in college. I’ve tried so many new things. Gone to countries where I didn’t speak the language and still had a good time.

But I never failed. Then I did. Now I know I want to make changes, but I can’t quite figure out what the changes should be. How far out there should I go? Do I take a small step and try to be a creative writer and get a part-time job? Do I go all out and change everything? Go back to school or learn a new skill? But then how do I pay the bills?

The eye of the tornado. It’s not the same feeling as the spiral of the spiritual journey. Well, it is, I suppose but at 180 miles an hour instead of a slow pace.

Dealing with your first failure while trying to change your life is a bit of a challenge? You have to overcome the insecurities that being laid off gives you while convincing yourself you can do anything you want. Plus, it doesn’t hurt when you don’t know what exactly it is you want. I go from being a life coach/health coach/nutritionist to therapist, to musician, novelist, poet, herbalist, pilates/yoga instructor and more. The other day I tried to determine if there was anything close to being a professional student? I haven’t identified such a career yet.

Each day passes without income and I can’t determine how to move forward. I realize I need to just devise a plan and stick with it. As soon as I do, though, I’m not sure if it is the right way to go and I change gears. Eventually, I will run out of time, unemployment benefits.

At the same time, I see all the opportunities available to me. I can go in any direction I want. That gives me joy. That peace I felt in the dream. The calm in the center of the tornado.

Given, I spent the first three months of my unemployment incessantly looking for new jobs instead of moving in a new direction. Well, besides the pilates certification. I wasted some time, but that’s what you do when you’re laid off. Looking for a job is your full-time job, or so they tell you.

How do you take risks? Big risks? I take small ones. Calculated ones. Big risks scare me. Is it even that big of a risk to go down a different path? Not really. Not if you can find income. Maybe I do Uber or Lyft for a while. Make a little money try to do something else.

I don’t know. I would love to hear if others have thoughts on this? If anyone else has gone through this and what did they do? Did you change or stay on your regular path?

What is the point of this post? To learn from others. It’s for me. It’s selfish in that sense. And to let others know it’s OK to question your life. To question if you’re heading in the right direction or if you should jump on a different path. And, since I know some many folks who have recently been laid off, you’re not alone. We all deal with these same questions and being laid off does suck in some ways and is very good in other ways.

I read a book a while back called Guitarlo by Arlo Hennings. It is an entire book of going through these tornado phases. He always followed his heart, though, and the doors always opened. It’s rather inspiring story if you ask me.

My problem is finding what’s in my heart. I can’t seem to nail that down. Again, if others have suggestions on how to identify what’s in your heart, finding who you really are and why you are here, I’d love to hear about it. Or do you just do what you love and not care about purpose so much? That has always been a stumbling block for me.

And if you don’t comment here, that’s fine. But if you know someone going through this process. Whether they are laid off or not, but especially if they are laid off, reach out to them. Let them know what you think they are good at, what their good qualities are. That’s what I’ve been seeking without an answer. That’s the difficult part for me. I know it’s supposed to all come from within, but hearing something from without helps. It just does. It confirms something you already knew or it opens up a line of thinking you had never considered before.

If you do that, it may help them to make that decision. To make the big leap … or take the small leap. Either way, it’s good. It’s helpful. Either way, their house gets placed gently back down on the ground when the tornado passes.

Peace, y’all.