Tag Archives: habits

an exorcism of apathy and the scream of dying demons

Standard

ah, the scent of freshly mixed compost and self-sabotage. all around me are new leaves, faces turned optimistically upward at a deepening winter sky. they frost the tops of many aged, rotting ones that are decomposing finally into the soil of my habits.

still, amid the clearing and cultivating of so many neglected parts of the garden, there are sections now languishing, no longer loved nor appreciated…no matter even that they are necessary for the care and feeding of my tiny family. it’s a conundrum, a puzzle, flavored with dilemma sprinkles and disregard. mary, mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow? with silvery dreams and frustrated screams, and pretty mistakes all in a row…

pretty, shiny leaves:

my diet has finally come together. i never really made a “decision” to improve it…i’d been trying to do that for years. once upon a time i was an absurdly healthy eater, which made it even funnier and more tragic that once i got pregnant all i wanted was fast food. after delivering my mcdaughter, and through the long, dark latte-with-whip time of my soul, i found i couldn’t force myself to crave brown rice and veggies just because i used to. i began to wonder if i would sink permanently into that vat of transfats, depression and anguish. so it surprised me when the improvements happened naturally, as i watched good cravings stack themselves atop a growing repulsion from junk (coincidentally or not, right after my Reiki treatment a while back. for details see: this train of thought will make all local stops transfers are inevitable at most-stations and its prelude, the hovering of hands…how was your metaphysical today?).

i quit smoking more than 7 months ago, for good…or for as long as my life seems worth living, which i expect will be for quite some time. with a few tragedies under my almost 40 year-old belt, it would take a lot to reduce me to that place. i could imagine what, but i prefer not to. worry is only borrowed trouble.

i recently hired a giant personal trainer dude to come to my house and abuse me. i found him on craigslist, he’s legit, and posted the only ad i saw with rates for someone on a smaller budget than Jennifer Aniston or anyone in my landlord’s neighborhood. it was as though the Universe herself had been waiting these last 20 years for me to get off the bench and back in the game….i felt her pat me on the butt in encouragement as i rose and began to pluck the splinters out of my flabby cheeks. (for the record – skinny is a “shape” but not the same shape as “in shape.”)

my romantic life is a dream…my friendships are growing…my daughter is a magical delight to me, attitude and all….

new, purty leaves.

browning, curling, dangling leaves:

professionally i feel paralyzed. my 9-5er fruit is rotting on its branches. i’m letting the pieces fall. i’m eating what i’m lucky enough to salvage. i’m here now trying to get my appetite back for that work, for that success, for what i’ve promised to do and for what i’ve done for the last 12 years.

guilt from that negligence is stifling my freedom to pursue my best road out of the corporate cult. as a result, i write less, feeling that i should devote more time to my paid work, and i balk when i have the energy to work on my website and copywriting business knowing that i haven’t met other obligations. i’m as afraid of success there as i am of failure.

so my “work sector” is frozen. it almost looks stable, except that i know it’s ready to shatter, or soon melt into a crushing, freezing sludge of embarassment. sometimes i can imagine my 2012 turning into a new york city snow dump in april….with my daughter and i struggling to find food morsels and a hand up out of the muck.

then there is my battle of evermore, where i fight administrivia with the dull blade and plastic stones of procrastination. i catch up sometimes, but here i am today…ready to call verizon wielding my overdue payment, ready to slay the disconnect notice i received this week, or at least poke at it hard and run away. for logistical and technical reasons, not financial, i find myself in this position with them several times a year.  that’s just the first detail monster in a corp of oppressors…my weak efforts to bludgeon a list of simple things leaves me anxious on days like this. time to sharpen my to-do list of doom. sigh.

today the Universe (and Brain Mysteries) captured these ruminations and turned them onto a book i now desperately want to read: What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite by David DiSalvo. brain science is so cool, and apparently this a useful summation of new discoveries about our how minds function for and against us. self-sabotage seems to be a uniquely human pursuit, like golf, culinary arts or a house with bedroom-level laundry facilities. readers describe the “takeaways” from this one as “resonating,” “practical,” and “enduring.” i want to learn my way out of self-sabotage. i want to turn a leaf on the procrastination pile. i want convergence of this love and light and all of these desires. i want a consistent, authentic life where the path i seek is lined with provisions for my beloved charges.

alas, i sit here planning to change some things…neh…planning to read about changing some things…about changing this one thing to match the other changes i’ve made. i’m impatient with being patient with myself…i can hear the whip cracking in the distance…or maybe that’s my soul gettin’ crackin’ on all this desire.

brick by brick, my citizens, brick by brick, says the Emperor Hadrian of Rome…to the citizens of my brainspace, both the demons and disciples of Love…and to you my gentle readers. namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

put this antique on the roadshow…a life less lustrous

Standard

it is nighttime, not typically the right time for my write time, but this first day of a brand new year begs for words to greet it. tiny christmas lights twinkle their last wishes my way as i finally sit down and start to play with my words. mmm, words…they tickle and comfort me with soft ideas and breathy inspiration, so close to my heart they change its rhythm sometimes. so special is the feeling, that most of my reflections on the passing of 2011 fall on how i found my words again.

my writer’s mind started this day by reading again a “note” i posted the same day last year. i was in a similar mood. new year’s day seems to find me pensive if not a little melancholy…i’m noticing a trend. i wonder if it’s always been that way.

at that time, i timidly published those private thoughts on facebook, shared among friends, and was humbled and warmed by the responses. i had no idea why i would make public what amounted to a typical, front porch, rocking chair-style journal entry. i quiver a little now at the implications of that morning and of those words i released into this balance of electricity and magnetism we call life.

i’ve often claimed i was a writer, the declaration always carrying the casual, apologetic tone of weekend artists and idols.  i hadn’t earned the right to describe it as more than a hobby, often started, often stopped. i still haven’t. i’m still scared i never will. and so i was afraid to talk about how i was feeling, that my words were coming back to me, flirting with me, teasing me…that it felt like they were coming back to stay, maybe to change my life.

but seven months after describing what i could only hope was an awakening and not just another lucid dream, i started this blog. during those seven months, all filled up with other kinds of living, i almost let it happen again…the steam evaporate from my passionate breaths and dreams. but something tugged at my focus, sending reminders on airplanes to denver, pulling my emotions to the surface on the surface streets of jack and dean’s LoDo, painting rainbows over mountains and monuments like a child in a coloring book. the awakening continued.

i write. i can say that now, at the beginning of 2012, without the internal wince of a fearful fraud.

woven throughout my post last year is a desire to break through my apathy. i desperately wanted to give some things to myself in 2011. i was hoping i could find the “discipline” or “motivation,” to make and break some habits, imagining what it would look like when i got everything right. the fantasy view. knowing how my soul rebels against the words “discipline” and “motivation,” i pushed a prayer out there with a promise to myself to keep down the  “shoulds,”  embrace when possible the “coulds,” and not worry so much about making them “dids.”

looking back today was a spiritual moment. i had prophesied my year and then fulfilled it. i didn’t do it with resolutions. i didn’t do it with promises. i gently gave myself the right, not the obligation, to keep trying…to know we never really get it right…to be happy that i’m doing my best, even when my best doesn’t impress me very much.

i spent 2011 making and breaking habits i’d struggled with for years, decades, a lifetime in some cases. i was afraid to mention a single one loudly for fear i would flag again and shrink further from those who had encouraged me.  the jinx i would deliver myself was ever-impending and inevitable. i preferred to try and fail in private…no need for the world to know the weakness of my follow through.

but i did mention it…in  some detail, out here for the world to see, and on display in my physical world too…and the jinx never came. my cautious, intentional steps toward things i finally really wanted continued, even as i sensed the heights i was reaching, even as i lost touch sometimes with the earth beneath my feat. and feet.

i grew to love 2011. i imagine it will always be a favorite, despite its pits and zits. it’s in the record books for me. it started with such a lackluster opening act, but at the time, i wasn’t really interested in lustrous things anyway.  i wanted to see everything at its rawest, most naked…where i could trust it and my own perceptions. i knew that recently, as the luster had worn from some of my treasures, i found i’d been fooled by a more than a few.

sometimes your favorite things turn out to be pretty unspectacular, even ugly, when all the sparkly parts are gone.

sometimes under a little patina you find a masterpiece aging with its own tasteful hue. and that was me. my life in 2011. i found the masterpiece under all of the shiny tragedy and fantasy.

and i found out that sometimes luster can be restored. a little can be nice.

i started it all by putting it out there on facebook. my private words and thoughts. i only apologized a few times for doing it, and i will only apologize once here. i still don’t know what i’m doing. but i’m doing. and i’m less and less afraid to do it out loud…to live my outrageous life as outrageous me.

i kissed 2012’s arrival much more sweetly than 2011’s.  last year was like a rocket launch with all of that potential energy on the launchpad, not much movement at first…then slowly it rises…until it inconspicuously hits cruising speeds that barely translate in the earthly mind. and that all fits neatly into my lustrous little world view. 2012 sounds so space age to me. i think i’m cruising for a while, with some good systems go.

i’ll see you same time, same place next year, alphabet. you and me…we’re good together. and to my friends and readers, happy new year…again.

desirous of everything at the same time

Standard

with a nod to jack k in the title of this post, i’ll start the whole thing off with another quote, author unknown:

“Sometimes the heart does what it wants; without asking the mind.”

my daughter is in her crib sleep-muttering “i want more….i want more.” oh, honey, i hear ya…and i’m here to tell you, it never stops. i’m fairly certain she is talking about candy from last night’s hallowed adventures. she’ll want more of that until she’s gumming every piece. and she wants a “grankey toooo….” (toddler for “blanket” – the companion kind, small format, like a baby polio-blanket). low-hangin’ fruit for a mom. pretty easy heart desires to fulfill).

i want more too. and better. and a blanket. and most of my wants are at best vagueries unavailable by delivery or moms.

i want better health…but i don’t want to do much about it except wait for the shiny god doctors to heal me, no matter how much i know it’s up to me. it’s not as though i’m sick despite a healthy diet, regular exercise or stress-relieving meditation.

i want more business…but i’ve barely begun and can only wish for the gift gods to hand it to me without proper development, work, success and failure.

i want better security…right now. i want my business to take off and take over my income so i can stop sweating what will happen to me now that the most secure job i’ve ever had is hitting some shoals.  i want to be independent and successful enough in the next two days or two months to never worry what happens there. i want it to happen to me without me working too hard…mostly at guess work.

i want more time...to feel like i can do more than catch up, spend more time with my daughter and dog, more time giving back. i want it now, magically…the removal of some huge responsibility so i can have that mythical “free time” that we always fill with something else, many times with things outside of our intended focus.

i want more tattoos…those i’m willing to wait, work for and sit through.

other than that, i feel i have enough. enough love, enough caring friends, enough light and sense of purpose. i have enough inspiration and support. i have enough fulfillment from my child, my relationships and the goals i’m plodding toward. i have so much bounty and so many blessings. thanks to the abundance of all those things, i have the capacity to get what i want…though not at the pace and ease that seems coolest to me (instant!)…all of the things above are achievable if my heart and attitude stay in the right place at least most of the time.

i will always want more. i’m a driven person. i don’t want more “stuff,” i’m well past that demon…but i want to keep striving and giving, achieving and passing on the favors and support i get along the way. sounds noble right? (not to be confused with the nobel i would like to collect one day – oooh, there’s some ego, not exactly an altruistic goal)…but that noble desire is honest. i can tell because no matter what excuses my demons make, my heart is plugging away at those wants, filled with lots of love and gratitude. my heart is doing the work where my mind feels lazy and wants things to happen not develop.

my heart has been working for my best interest, noticeably, since my world exploded a couple of years ago. i’ve become very impressed with my heart…especially the way it takes the initiative, whether popular or not at the demons’ cool kids lunchtable. it doesn’t care if they make fun of it, or ignore it, or talk over it. it’s on a mission.

the truth is, i still think of myself as lazy. anyone other achievers have that problem? i literally have to write things down in order to believe i could have done them. try it sometime when you feel like your progress is flagging. my heart has accomplished so much more than my mind will ever allow it to take credit for. besides, those demons will still be lamenting about the glory days, long after my heart has conquered my imperfect world.

cheers. love yourself. we are all saints today. namaste.

there is a disturbance in the force(d)

Standard

i’m the engineer of this runaway day…already cramped with a morning full of possibilities, probabilities and disturbed logistics. all of that adds up to very little time to write, even less time to answer calls and a bunch of appointment times that look slightly less realistic with every word i type. i thought through three or four different things to write about as i made coffee almost two hours ago. now i’m struggling to remember my minimum task set for successful navigation of some choppy fryday morning waters.

my daughter rose early, her father was late…they are still battling over shoes upstairs. i have little room left to flex this schedule…i’m afraid today’s blog is next on the cutback list. i suppose it’s inevitable, a day, rushed with no room to meander around in my thoughts and pontificate. i guess it’s a chance to test the flexibility of my standards, to remember who i’m doing this for, and that practice makes perfect imperfections…not perfect. perfect is boring.

it’s hard to close this page and move on to the next task at hand, but easy to want to perpetuate another recent habit of mine…being on time. so in the interest of consistency, i write…in the interests of brevity, sanity and accountability, i pause…perhaps for the day…perhaps until i navigate out of this agenda cloud and into a softer, slower fryday afternoon. we’ll see…i will be flowing with the go after these few, forced words. life is full of compromises, life is not tidy nor does it acquiesce to my desired pace or planning. it’s okay, i’m smiling, the weekend is walking up my porch steps and i’m almost ready to answer the door.  may your day and your weekend bring thrill or serenity, sanity or surreality…whatever is delivered, enjoy.

up the down stairway to heaven…a game of habits

Standard

i will lament a little this morning about habits (not the kind that nuns wear…perhaps there is a nun blogger out there writing that post as i write mine…follow my tags and maybe you’ll find that one too). the whole concept of “habits” is entirely too complex. i mean, how complicated should it be? do new things that are good for you, stop some that are bad…pull it off with some consistency and call them habits. so why is it so haaarrrrrd?

habits to me seem like one of those God games…like women’s menstrual cycles or irony…like a drinking game or little kids’ game where every round, someone gets to add a new rule. God and SuperFriends sat around laughing their ethereal asses off, throwing in things like, “make the bad ones really hard to break!” and, “the easy ones all have to be bad.” and the sillier (or drunker) They got, the more esoteric and obtuse the rule:  “oh, oh! and make the good ones hard to notice…I mean, like where, like, the more good ones you make, the more bad ones you see!”

i’ve made a few good habits lately, and broken a few bad ones. i need to acknowledge that because all i see are the things i still haven’t managed to habitualize, and all of the patterns i maintain despite evidence that altering them would make me feel better in the long run. ug, and there it is…(one of) the problem(s) between habits and me. i don’t like long runs. in fact i hate them. the cross country races i had to run (slowly) in high school still haunt me like a phantom stitch in my side or ghost shin splints. i say “had to run” because it was considered “pre-season” soccer training. “hey people (coach!), there is a reason i’m a goalie!” my dad used to try to comfort me by telling me, “mastersons will get there, we just won’t get there first.” that was quite comforting, come to think of it.

i digress. my point is, i’ve noticed that bad habits seem to come with all of those wonderful things that bring instant gratification, while good habits inevitably involve “the long run.” and here’s a fun rule: most things that bring instant gratification will destroy you in the long run. ARG! so we spend all kinds of time trying to turn long-run oriented results into something that feels good now. “mmmm, i like these carrots better than chips ahoy rainbow cookies anyway.” that’s some joke. thanks Guys and Girls up there…i hope you are having a good time with this game, Someone should.

still, i have to play the game, or lose to sloth, indulgence, heart disease and/or a drug problem…or end up crippled from sports and fun my body is not prepared to withstand. so this morning i take some stock and look at some of the long run homers i’ve hit lately, to clear my vision and let me see progress that might motivate me to make more. so…the biggest? i quit smoking cigarettes (for the millionth and final time) more than two months ago. talk about easy to make and hilariously difficult to break! secondly, i’ve managed to habitualize keeping my home pretty tidy. thirdly…and now i’m stretching…um, let’s go with sleeping in my bed almost every night instead of the Couch of Even Crappier Sleep.

i have started one habit…not exactly easy to maintain…but that’s enjoyable and rewarding enough to beat the odds…it’s good now AND in the long run! it’s writing here, every day of the week except sunday. it takes some discipline. oh, how i hate that word, but in this case, its tactics are gentle. i don’t beat myself up over this habit…i don’t spend scads of time thinking up reasons to skip it before i decide to get to it (ahem…i’m talking about you, exercise!). i guess it’s easy for me to like it in the moment and let “the long run” benefits develop on their own. i have no end goal in mind when i write. (well, there is that pulitzer committee thing….).

i don’t know if i can maintain this habit. i don’t know if i can make other ones feel this good. i’ve heard rumors that they all get easier the closer you get to habitualization. (by the way, i’m fairly certain “habitualize” in all its forms is not actually a word…but i figure if i use it enough, it may become a linguistic habit across our lexicon…that’s me making up rules to my own games…hahaHA!). like i said, i’ve established some healthy habits lately, broken a few bad ones…but they are hard to see. i do see that i need to drink more water, eat healthier, drink less coffee, exercise more, walk my dog more, stop procrastinating on all the administrivia that haunts me, and meditate regularly (for more than a minute and a half).

for today though, i will try to enjoy all my new and shiny habits, and pat myself on the back for being here, for trying and for succeeding at lots of things…and for trying again when i fail. join me today…look at what you do well, for yourself and for others. shine a new light on your habits and find the good ones that keep you going everyday (if you see some bad ones you’d like to work on, that’s ok too). i think making a habit of appreciating yourself might just make this game fun(ner). i’m talkin’ fun for a girl and a boy…and though there is no victory, just “game over” at death,  i will still shake my hand at the sky and laugh every time my little slinky of a life continues its journey down the stairway to heaven…oh, wait…am i going the wrong way? ah well, it’s not the destination right? or did i just discover another twisted rule?