Here I am, back in this space. Things that have happened since my last post… I worked, I saw friends and family, I turned 40, I had some fun. Life has been busy and good. I don’t know what I am going to do here, but I want to come back to it, even though I am very likely the only person here. I want to write, so we’ll see. It will likely be just as sporadic as ever, but I’m happy to have this space. It is mine.
I totally meant to do an end of year post for 2014, but I really don’t know what I would have said. It was a funny year. Lots of good, lots of stress. The fall flew by in such a flash that I could hardly catch my breath. I’ve never had time pass that quickly. I almost don’t want to say more about it here, because we’re in 2015 now and I want to focus on that.
I was given a word a few weeks ago that I’ve decided to make one of my words for 2015. It is “enchantment.” I was told to stop looking for peace, and look for enchantment instead, because through enchantment comes peace. I really like that, it rings true for me. So, I am going to look for the enchantment this year and see where that takes me.
Other words I like have been “thrive,” “nurture,” and I’m still keeping “home.” I think enchantment will serve well as the overarching theme and these other words will fit nicely into what follows. Let’s hope so, anyway.
This year promises to be a big one, as I am starting a new life decade. People tell me it’s a good one and I am going to hold onto that, because right now I am not sure how I feel about it. Mostly excited, I think. We’ll see what comes. I’m hoping for a few celebrations with people I love who are also making this transition. Should be fun.
My wish for all of us for 2015 is a year that is even better than we ever could have dreamt for ourselves. Happy new year!
During a recent conversation, I was asked what freedom felt like to me. I answered in a common-sense kind of way, but afterwards, I found myself thinking of what freedom really feels like to me; what I feel in my body when I think of that word and what I see in my mind’s eye. I wanted to record all of that here for myself.
Common-sense-wise, freedom feels to me like not having to worry about money, being able to do what I want when I want (in a positive way, of course), being able to say what I want to say (while also being positive about it), be where I want to be, without having to answer to anyone (i.e. ask permission) and just being able to be myself and be accepted and loved for who I am.
When I got to thinking about it on the way home, I realized when she first asked me, I immediately pictured and felt the sensation of what freedom is to me, rather than go straight to that which would “allow” me to feel that way, which is how I think I answered her above.
My picture of freedom is my arms flung open and I am sprinting, sort of like a dancer, but covering fields at a time, like I have done in dreams that I still remember, despite having dreamt it so long ago. The wind is in my hair and it is long, loose and wild (and curly, for some reason), the sun is on my face, and I am in the country, with lush, rolling fields of green and other colours around me, dotted with trees, and there is blue sky above. I am wearing clothes that flow in the wind behind me and they don’t hamper me at all. I am smiling. My heart is open and leading the way.
The feeling of freedom to me is in that sprinting. It feels like flying. It feels like dancing. It feels light and graceful and thrilling and I barely touch the ground. It feels expansive and unencumbered by anything. It feels like joy. It feels limitless.
I sometimes get to experience that feeling when I get into my car for a road-trip with some great road trip tunes and a coffee or tea, with clear roads. I love it when I do.
I say all of this because freedom has been a topic for me of late and I think my biggest limiting factor to not feeling this way comes from within, not from outside people or circumstances. Worrying too much about the little things, what would “everyone else” think, etc. (as it stands, I am often surprised with just how accepting people are of what I term my “weirdo” interests — I think we can all see where the real struggle lies here).
Instead, I want to consciously invite that beautiful, expansive feeling into my being much more often and pursue those things that would encourage it to stay. I’m not sure what that is yet, but I know I am well supported as I continue my journey to find out.
I’ve been asking myself a question more and more lately: Who would I be if I didn’t worry all of the time? If I wasn’t waiting for the other shoe to drop, what could I be doing with that time? What could I create if I wasn’t afraid of trying?
Okay, so that’s more than one. One seems to beget another, and so on. You see, I am a bit of a worrier. I come by it honestly, as we all do. I think I feel like if I worry about all possible outcomes, then I’m prepared if things go pear-shaped. Or even prevent them from doing so. By worrying, I have some sort of control on the outcome, because I won’t be surprised or blind-sided.
But holy cow, does it take a lot of work and energy, this trying to anticipate every possible outcome. And actually, in thinking about it, I don’t work on anticipating every possible outcome, because I seem to only focus on what could go wrong. Rarely do I bring my attention to what could go right. And that needs to change, because this is tiring and I’m especially tired of being such a downer to myself.
So… How do I do this?
I am going think out loud for a few minutes, as this seems to help me with stuff like this, so please bear with me. I took a Mindfulness course last year, a meditation course (aside — based on the teachings of John Kabat-Zinn, a doctor in Massachusetts. It was great and there is a lot of empirical evidence to support its success, should you ever want to look into it). Previous to that, I had always wanted to meditate, and tried lots, but that whole “you must clear your mind of everything” thing that I thought was meditation left me feeling like a failure, because who can do that? Honestly, no one. This was the first time someone was able to explain to me that you don’t have to actually clear your mind, that what you do is allow the thoughts to pass through without getting hung up on them. BUT also, that if you do catch yourself getting caught in them, that you still haven’t failed, because you noticed this and can now mindfully bring yourself back to the breath and start again. You do the same for sound, sensation, etc. Some days you are good at this, some days you are less good at this and it is all okay, because the point is that you are doing it.
So while the meditation part of that course has slid a bit in the last year (I’m working on it), that concept has really stuck with me and it has only just now, like right now, occurred to me that maybe I can apply this to turning my worried thoughts around. Maybe if I catch myself worrying about what could go wrong, I can notice and ask myself, “What could go right about this situation?” And I haven’t failed for having a worried thought, because I have succeeded in noticing it and working on turning it around. I know this isn’t a new concept and I am fairly certain I have heard this in other ways from other sources, but now that it’s sort of bubbled up again from within, maybe I can do something with this.
I think part of the reason that I have struggled with this in the past as well is because as a society, there is a big movement these days that might have started similarly to this, but has been morphed into a Think And Express Only Positive Things All Of The Time kind of thing, which can just make people feel like failures again when a totally valid worry or negative thought makes its way into the mind. The way it was best explained to me through that Mindfulness course is that the mind is made to think. That’s all it does. And it thinks about everything – that which is positive and that which is not. And when we fight a thought, it gets bigger and bigger, the more attention we give to it. Have you ever noticed this? “What we resist, persists.” (Carl Jung). So I think if I can calmly see it, acknowledge it, and then think “So how could this go right,” I can help myself turn things around and also have some lovely little daydreams as a side benefit, instead of the alternative — still only a daydream, but much less fun.
I should also say, I don’t think that it will totally eliminate my need to problem solve and anticipate and there might be some worries that are more persistent than others; however, maybe I will be better able to draw on past experiences of how I have handled things well, instead of freezing or catastrophizing. Almost a step-by-step of what I would likely do, how I have always been able to handle things in the past, and that should the worst happen, I will be able to work through this too.
So. There it is. Sounds easy. Maybe it will be easier than I think. :-)
I want to write more here, more often. I have no idea what about, but my fingers itch to type and write here. It would be nice if a topic would spring to mind. Maybe it would while I typed.
I am a little preoccupied these days, there’s a meeting tomorrow that could determine if and how there might be a way for me to stay at my job and at least be internal for new postings, if still having to search to supplement my hours (although having lots of hours would also really be a great thing!). There’s also an election coming up where new funding that got promised right beforehand could be honoured, or go up in smoke. I am hoping for honoured.
So, I say this all to ask for and invite any and all positive thoughts towards these things going my way and keeping me in a job I love, where I learn every day and work with amazing people, doing something that makes me feel good. And I will wish the same for you, because I think no matter what job it is that we have, it should make us feel good and put us in touch with good people and good energy.
So, thank you.
Update: My contract has been extended to the end of August! Thanks for all of your positive thoughts, I so appreciate it! I am going to continue to hope that I can just stay and do what I can to make it so.
So far, it really is much better than I thought.
I published this and then I made it private because I thought it was dumb; however, I’ve been seeing a bit of a trend in this topic on (ironically) some of the sites I follow, so I’m publishing it again. It’s been somewhat edited, including the title. Hopefully, I’ll like this version better. Incidentally, one of the things others have mentioned was meditation and quiet time, which has been coming up a lot for me and is something I don’t do nearly enough. Do I sense a possible solution in the works? We’ll see.
First off, thanks for your patience with that last posting. I wanted to know if those who receive e-mail updates would get the whole post automatically if I password protected it. Thanks to those of you who e-mailed to ask what was up, because I think you answered my question!
I have been thinking about me and the internet. The blogs I follow, the tweets I see, the information that comes to me through this medium. I wonder if it is too much sometimes. If some of my “knowing too much” problem comes from what I am allowing in, without even realizing it’s happening.
What’s funny is that I am pretty choosy about what I look at on the internet. I have a hard time not reading what is in front of me (actually, it’s pretty near impossible. Lots of hand-flapping and the visual equivalent of “la-la-la I can’t hear you!” happens when I try) and once I have read/seen something, I have a very hard time un-reading/seeing it. For this reason, I don’t follow media websites, I don’t follow people who radiate drama or negativity, if I start reading a site and realize it doesn’t resonate with me, I stop and delete it from my saved pages. I rarely read comments on other sites. However, I do read the personal stories/blogs of some very good people and I find, like most people who read the stories of strangers, that I get caught up in them. I love the ordinary things they write about. I enjoy finding commonalities. Usually, I tend to follow pretty evenly-keeled people, so I find it a positive experience, one I can even learn from. I rejoice in their happiness and I feel for them in times of sadness. I worry for them when things are rough. And sometimes, when they have a crisis, I think, “That’s a thing? Like that can actually happen? Could that happen to me?” It’s silly, I know, because it is rare and random, but hard when there seems to be a number of people (albeit, still rare and random when the whole of the population is considered) who chime in with “OMG, me too!” I know I shouldn’t take it on and yet I have a hard time shaking it off sometimes.
Ironically, I can’t stand soap operas. Or most shows on TV. I think I drive my family a bit bonkers, because I actually find it a bit difficult to be within earshot of the news or the plethora of police-based dramas, or other dramas where people seem to be out to get each other every week (what is with these shows?). I used to think that this was so different and I was so above all that, but I’ve since realized that I’m the same. It is only my chosen media that is different.
But, my brain is full. With my job being the way it is and having family and friends that I care deeply about, I am already caught up in the daily dealings of many people’s lives (this is before checking Facebook, even), and while it is certainly not up to me how their lives work out and how they get on with things, I spend my days listening to a lot of stuff. Some days, I just can’t listen to any more. I can’t watch the news at night; sometimes people get the short shrift if they want to tell me about their friend’s cousin’s aunt who has something truly horrible happen to her and they can’t wait to tell me. I swear, people seem to seek me out for this sort of stuff and I would like them to stop it already; but I also wonder, if I weren’t contributing to some of this bombardment, would I have more patience?
I don’t know where this line of thinking is going. I will fully admit that I really like the internet and I don’t think it’s practical in this day and age to give it up entirely, but I wonder if there is further culling I can do. Maybe limit some things to “real life” friends only. Really, I don’t have access to any non-professional sites at all at work, so I have a mini-internet-break every day. I don’t plan on quitting this anytime soon, even though it looks like every post might just be the last. I wonder if there are other ways to halt the overload. I wonder if I can turn myself into one of those people who things roll off. I wonder if there is a way for me to be able to listen, yet be separate at the same time. I hope so. This didn’t used to be so hard. Maybe people have quotas? Who knows.
Anyway, just thinking out loud. I’m working on it.