Tag Archives: balance

the metaphysioball, a sarcasm sixpack and tips on mole care in the morning

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i can’t keep playing my life like whac-a-mole. whac-a-mole as the daily grind is a pretty good metaphor, but so violent and adversarial in the end. and lamenting my (mostly) charmed life as sisyphean in its monotony and myself as a punished or martyred chosen one isn’t working for me either. to be me, to live my most outrageous life, i must find my gratitude for the opportunity to work through the most thankless of tasks. and upon that assertion, as is my mood this morning, my crankiest me wants to throw down some banana peels, shake out my umbrella, hide the wet floor signs, grab some popcorn and wait for optimistic me to bust ass and cry. comic relief. and fiber.

so how do we keep up with life’s most repetitive activities without straining patience tendons or irritating enthusiasm ligaments? i know that part of it for me is a regular core work out on my physioball of sarcasm. but i’m guessing at this point, the enlightened would use some insipidly simple phrase like, “you must maintain balance in your life, grasshopper,” or throw me some shit about the meditative state achieved during common chores like shoveling dog poop in rain boots. (pun intended…once i accidentally wrote it.)

while in this mood i’ll also take a moment to decry the recent proliferation and viral nature of weepy motivational speeches delivered by over-achievers touting the power and importance of “balance,” of putting your family first and always remembering and honoring what’s truly important. they like to throw the adage around, attempting to massage the cliche out of it before hurling it at the crowd…something along the lines of, “no one ever wishes on their death bed that they’d spent more time at the office.”

ra, ra. sis (yphus) boom ba. of course i believe in balance and getting your priorities in order (…blah, blah, blah)…but none of these over-achievers actually lived that life. every one of them “sweated the small stuff” they tell us to blow off. these powerpoint weilding generals, IT icons and terminally ill PhDs…all manner of folks who excel through insane dedication…they turn to their admirers in the end and say, essentially, do NOT follow the path i followed…you will be happier if you put your family and soul first, at which point you can still reach impossible professional heights and enjoy your family and personal life all in one happy, glowing snow globe of fulfillment. 

these speeches all come from recovering workaholics who spent lifetimes whac-ing important moles…usually of one specific mole species. their historically significant single-mindedness makes for biopics on the Discovery Channel or NOVA. their spouses and children admire their work and wonder what intimacy with them would look like…how it would feel to laugh their asses off together shoveling dog poop and making faces at each other, later celebrating a mole whac-ed for the weekend, even if it was of the less glorious variety. or how it would feel to see the object of their admiration bask in their attention instead of the attention of other generals, IT icons and PhDs.

the point is, i know it’s about balance…between the little things and big things, self and others, achievement versus fulfillment, the everydays and the once-in-a-whiledays. i know i’m writing this, starting from grumbly sarcasm and snark, to remind myself of that more than anything…to throw a little washer on the side of pleasantry and hope…to outweigh the bags of garbage that sit on my back deck after weeks of travel, sick kid and sick me. this little exercise, with time gifted by my over-sleeping toddler, rebalances my day’s heaviest weights…the ones i saw all around me upon waking late with belly and back aching. it’s a little fix, an attitude repair, a hit of fulfillment on yet another morning full of moles and their holes.

i’ll try today to treat them sweetly and usher them back to their abodes without my mallet or a frustrated holler. they are part of my life. they are pets, like the dog that makes so much weighty poop but gives back so much love and security…the dog who spoons as well as most humans and whose large-poop-making abilities come from the satisfying warmth inside his giant black fur coat and heart. and i’ll try to enjoy this whole balancing act…understanding that cranky balances out something (too good of a mood?). i’ll try to remember that these icons are mostly right about the happiness part, and that i’ve pretty well pushed achievement out of my top five – live with kindness, love my family, protect human life and dignity, give through service and pay my bills.

my day is slipping away now. it’s time for me to pet-a-mole, feed-a-mole and/or put-a-mole-soundly-back-to-bed-until-next-time. i’m tired of whac-ing. (take that where you feel you must, you 7th grader.)

 

 

 

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funhouse receives wrong mirror shipment, house of horrors missing reflections

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ok, fine. i have to get in here and write something before the amount of aggravation in my bloodstream overwhelms my sarcasm gland. today is one of the ones where people keep expecting me to deliver things i’ve promised and meet deadlines who clearly have plenty of friends already, as evidenced by how well others meet with them on a regular schedule.

i’m also having a very passive-aggressive day with my various forms of electronica. i’ve been taking things very personally…like slow response times from my laptop and its inability to prevent all operator errors and/or to stop the release of curse words embedded in various programs designed to frustrate me. i’m wasting precious time trying unsuccessfully to concoct a plan to hurt my computer’s feelings the way it’s hurt me today. i’m accepting all suggestions, short of the Office Space stomp.

in other words, i’m cranky and it’s obviously someone else’s fault. i started out ok this morning, but so far i haven’t been able to pull together the perfect, flowing work day that then translates into the perfect, flowing week-long routine, or the perfect, flowing lifestyle of grace and fitness, comfort and ease. what the hell is wrong with me??? i’ve had 4 whole months since my divorce, a good 20 years of adulthood, 2.5 years of motherhood…certainly no interruptions, life changes or setbacks to speak of…why aren’t i and all my days perfect and exactly how i want them to be? ARG!

breathe, breathe. am i alone on this one? how am i suppose to succeed without keeping myself to impossible standards? i look around my world, and for many folks, they don’t seem like impossible standards at all. i see them everywhere…people who are happy, fit, balanced, hardworking, successful, kind, nurturing, magnanimous, consistent, on time…these people volunteer, love the outdoors, train for marathons, raise special-needs quads, work on their third masters degrees, publish short stories and academic papers in their off-time, remember everyone’s birthday and still send christmas cards in november, right after daily yoga and at least an hour of meditation.

but see…here’s the thing…i know better, intellectually speaking. i just need to feel it. so i’m spending a lot of time today trying to be happy with my imperfect performance in this life. i’m trying to take my own advice, and to stop looking at myself through the funhouse mirror of losers in my head. i’m here blowing off some perfectionist steam so i can stop blaming everyone and everything else for all the reasons i’m not happy, fit, balanced, hardworking, successful, kind, nurturing, magnanimous, consistent, on time….all the time.

shake it off, trish. we can fail at things and not be failures. we will always fail at things, so i really, really need that to be true. i’m in a giant hall of funhouse mirrors today and i’m ready to get to the funny-looking reflections instead of these creepy portraits of self-loathing. ok, self-loathing is a bit strong…most of the time. the funny thing about negative feelings, self-images, grieving, fear and pain is that no matter how much we intellectually understand their role in the human experience, they still suck at the time. even this little aggravating, sneaky hate spiral kind of thursday morning stuff.

breathe, breathe. laugh, laugh….(i’d seen this some time ago, but was reminded yesterday of its brilliance…thank you best friend and the Universe…you knew i would need this today):

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/05/sneaky-hate-spiral.html

balanced beaming and bumper cars

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bleah. monday morning. my illuminated life still delivers plenty of dimly lit, squinty-eyed, grumbly-breathed monday mornings. i polished off a particularly outrageous, particularly “me” weekend last night knowing that the physical and psychic transition into this day might drag a bit…and it is. Reluctance is leading Team Motivation this morning and a couple of important members are missing from the round table.

coffee is speaking up, and like my dad, is always a little miffed at the ones who call in sick on a monday. it means that coffee has a LOT of extra work to do, and has to listen to the others bitch and moan while it covers the whole team’s ass. now coffee and another motivator..the one i’ve never met in person and whose name i don’t remember (instinct? survival instinct? something base like that)…are pushing me to live today, to do the things that make me proud and happy and that fund the rest of these words and dreams. work, dishes, laundry, cat-food shopping…it’s hard to push a limp body up a monday morning hill.

so this limp body is twitching, stretching proudly (and gently, ouch), and straightening up to face the parts of life that come after a weekend of friends, shooting guns for fun, baking yummy treats, playing scrabble, watching movies, losing sleep from all the excitement and then tubing my way down the shenandoah and potomac rivers on the clearest, sunniest day of the summer. i’m recovering from a weekend “off” – of a lot of things. i left my monday through friday job where it belongs, my baby girl was on her own vacation for a few days, and the darker side of my attitude took a good long hike. two of my favorite people provided companionship and affection and enough laughter to make my belly sore. i believe i made the most of a rockin’ summer weekend. if there was more to be made, i was too happy, busy and exhausted to notice.

i did notice this morning, however, all of the chores, tasks and obligations i either skipped or that were already laid out for this week. ugh. i’ve never been great at balance. i mean the physical kind. it plagued me in some sports that i was otherwise good at, and looms in my mind as the inevitable reason i would fail a roadside sobriety test, no matter my condition. i can’t even walk down a sidewalk without playing bumper cars between friends. i know there are ways to work on balance…core muscles, muscle memory and practice…but my innate sense of balance has a starting point, a set point…and it’s a little squirrely on its best day (except that squirrels are actually pretty good on a balance beam, if not a little spazztastic elsewhere). the point is, i know i can’t pull off “the dream,” my purpose, without working this balance thing.  the elated, the dreary, the bone-crushingly sad, the euphoric, the mystical, the blue, the exhilarating, the exhausting, the indignant and the livid…all of those influences inside me have to balance, at least enough to stay on or in view of the Path…wherever its twisty terrain leads. so right now i’m grateful for all of you “bumper cars” who help me stumble along. i’ll need a beltway-monday full of them today.

(c)rickety morning

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the flood gates opened yesterday and words upon words tumbled out of my head, through fingers, sneaking into posts, emails and texts, some well and some badly. now i feel a bit spent, a little weak…like the morning after a good puking drunk. i want to write with inspiration, and i do feel inspired…to do something…but somehow the jackhammer outside my front door at 7:27 am on a fryday is jarring me out of any deeper thoughts than these. i thought jackhammers were only metaphorical anymore, or only used in inherently loud places like highways and metro stops. it seems more meaningful, like a sign (of what?), for the crew to be here, disturbing my tiny townhouse neighborhood where children’s elevated laughter is tolerated…sometimes. i’m more grateful this morning than ever that “puking drunk” appears rarely in my adult lexicon. jackhammers and hangovers? too poetic to be real.

so under all of the rainbows exist very normal days…the to and fro of the workaday world…our noses and eyes cast downward at the grindstones that feed us, cast away from loftier things. that workaday world beckons me, a reluctant participant again lately, as i steal morning moments and tuck them away for myself, here behind these words. i suppose that will be easy enough to remember if i want to peruse them again later…i hate when i put things in that “special place” i won’t forget. it’s always the same special place that i will never remember later. i try not to spend too much time browsing old moments, but sometimes i need to refresh my memory of just who i’ve become and who i want to be today, so it’s nice to keep certain ones in a safe place. and i will admit to some reminiscing and sentimentality when it comes to my relationship with letters A-Z. that, and with a life full of outrageously ALIVE moments, it’s nice to capture a few and use them to fuel the rush and the desire to make more. it helps to remember how i can feel sometimes…because feelings are so fickle…like my big family, they can’t sit still or stay all together very long without causing some chaos, and some of them are rather reluctant partners when paired for certain tasks.

it’s early, in a quiet house, a quiet heart and a settled mind…that wasn’t very much jackhammering after all. even in the quiet i’m not finding some profound thing to say, some “hook” for a reader other than me, so let these words be part of my peace meditation today. let me find joy and balance and soul on a soft, crickety friday. and please let me find one more cup of steaming coffee in the carafe in the kitchen. please.