Monday, November 11, 2013

The Power of Nope

There is optimism. The world of optimism is where I choose to live my life most of the time. Sometimes, my optimism is a bit hard to conjure up. On those days, I live in the twin world of noptimism. Pronouce is like "NOPE-TI-MISM" and you will completely understand what I am getting at. My happy, uplifting, grateful feelings are suddenly shot down by an inner voice of NOPE.

Today is going to be a great day...NOPE!
I am truly blessed...NOPE!
I am worthy of good friends and love...NOPE!
I will do this well...NOPE!

Please go away power of detention. Polyanna called, she wants her
rosy glasses back.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Survival of the Fittest, Hoarders and the Apocalypse

So, those who know me well, or even remotely, will know that I often quip, "Well, when the apocalypse comes, you'll be grateful for....[fill in the blank]" It's often filled in with something like "a plethora of fire arms," "extra knives," or even just "food bank food that you haven't eaten yet." The point of the statement is to say that some things seem of extra value when you imagine being lucky enough to be in possession of them during a time of nationwide scarcity.

One of the more recent times I recall using this statement was when I was at my ex-in-laws, searching for a bag of summer clothes we had left there for storage through the winter. Every time Scott tissue goes on sale, the mother-in-law must buy the "max per shopper" amount, because she currently has over 560 rolls of toilet paper in her basement. I poo-pooed this stocking up (pun definitely intended) until I thought about what a hook-up she would be during a world war or natural disaster. Dude, we use that toilet paper for some SERIOUS barter in a collapsed economy. Bring it on! (ok, maybe not "bring it on," I might have gotten a little carried away).

But in all veracity. Think about it. During a catastrophic event, where there are no longer stores at which to shop or a currency that holds any value, hoarders and pack rats have it made. The people who lived sparingly, always donating their skinny clothes are going to be S.O.L. when there is nothing to eat and skinny clothes are needed again. So, while I do not encourage hoarding and extreme couponing...perhaps there is a reason both are kind of in an up trend right now.

So the next time you figure that the 50-roll Costco pack of toilet paper is too much...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Life as a Good Read

This morning I had a little conversation with Elena about the book she is reading. She's on page 240. This was her proud proclamation. It got me thinking. How in reading, we slowly and ploddingly make our way through a good book. There is usually no rushing, nor obsessively reading the same page over and over and over again. We don't generally re-read the book until we have finished it. We don't continually restart a chapter, or go back to page one. We don't skip entire chunks of the book. And, most importantly, we do not give up if we don't like the pain or success the character is undergoing in any one section. We keep by by day...bit by bit.

That is how the story unfolds. This is how our life by by day...bit by bit. This is how the story is meant to be told.

If we believe in Him, we can imagine God as the author of this book, our book, the book of our lives. He knows where the story is heading. He knows that the death of a major character leaving us reeling is only making room for a new, and potentially better, one to enter the setting. He knows that the two lovers who meet in the beginning of the book, at the complete wrong time will meet again at the right time in the end. Faith is required of the author of the book. We must have faith that there will be a satisfactory end. We must believe that all things, good and bad, revealed page by page are part of the whole. All are needed for the story.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I've Never Been Much of a Touch Person

My mom said that even as an infant, I shrugged from her touch and arched to be out of her arms and into the world on my own. My daughter is exactly the same way, despite the fact that she gives the best hugs, she moans and groans and complains about it. To the day, the only way to get her to hug me is to catch her unawares and just go for it. Apologize later I always say. But from the moment my arms encircle her, I can feel her softening. Her pull away lessens as she succombs to that which we all, touch, reassurance that we are soft and loveable.

So, when I watched this video today, it made me think.
 What I take from this: how amazing that spending five minutes touching can change your inner most feelings about a stranger...Touch is magic...and it just goes to show, that basic, reptilian brain responds immediately to touch.
NOT words. 

Or logic.
Or reason.
Or gameplaying. 
Or etiquette.
 It's all about touch and experience and that is the world in which our hearts live.

Monday, October 28, 2013

OK...This Here, THIS is Getting to the Meat of It

My gnawing hole theory, with much better advice as to how to fill it.

Makes me think of the Beatles song, "I'm fixing a hole where the rains gets in and starts my mind to wandering...."

And, oh yeah, selfies are not self-love...not even close.

The Real Cause of Inner Emptiness (And What to Do About It)

Posted: 06/02/11 09:16 AM ET

Do you often feel empty inside? Do you believe that others should be filling you up? Discover the real cause of inner emptiness and what to do about it.
If you feel empty, you are not alone in feeling this way.
Many people feel empty inside, and most people who feel empty have some deep, false beliefs regarding why they feel empty. Below are some of these false beliefs.
I feel empty because:
  • My partner is not giving me enough love and attention.
  • I don't have a partner.
  • I'm bored because my partner doesn't provide me with enough stimulation.
  • My work is unsatisfying.
  • I'm not successful enough.
  • I don't have enough money.
  • I have no one to play with on weekends.
  • Nothing excites me. Life is boring.
  • I don't get enough love, attention and approval from friends and relatives.
  • I don't get enough sex.
None of these situations is a real cause of inner emptiness.
What do you usually do to try to fill the inner emptiness? Do you try to fill up with:
  • Substances, such as food, sugar, alcohol, drugs or cigarettes?
  • Processes and activities, such as TV, Internet, sex, computer games, work, shopping, spending, gambling, telephone or email?
  • Attempting to get others' attention or approval with niceness, caretaking, over-talking, story-telling, anger or blame?
There are many substances, processes, behaviors and activities that people use addictively to try to fill the emptiness. These may work for the moment, but not for long. Soon, the emptiness is back and you are looking for someone or something to temporarily fill up the black hole.
The problem with all these behaviors is that they only address the symptom of inner emptiness -- not the cause.
The Cause Of Inner Emptiness
There is only one thing that truly fills the emptiness. Love. There is only one cause of inner emptiness: a lack of love.
But it is not a lack of someone else's love that causes your emptiness. Inner emptiness is caused by self-abandonment -- by not loving yourself.
Inner emptiness comes from a lack of connection with your spiritual source of love -- from not opening to the love-that-is-God and bringing that love to yourself through true thought and loving action in your own behalf.

When you abandon yourself by judging yourself, ignoring your feelings by staying in your head, numbing your feelings through substance and process addictions and making others responsible for your feelings and for loving you, you will feel empty. You are causing your own emptiness by your self-abandonment.
Your ego-wounded self is filled with false beliefs regarding who you are. Your wounded self may see you as inadequate, unlovable, not good enough, not important, selfish, bad, wrong. Your wounded self operates from core shame -- that you are intrinsically flawed.
These are programmed beliefs that have no basis in truth, but they may be running your life. When you believe that you are not good enough, then you turn to others and to addictions to try to feel okay -- to fill the emptiness that you are causing with your self-judgment/self-abandonment.
Filling Your Inner Emptiness: Learning To Love Yourself
The truth of who you are comes only from your personal source of spiritual guidance -- whatever that is for you. When you open to learning with a source of higher guidance about the truth of who you are, and about what is loving action toward yourself and others, you open to the love-that-is-God coming into your heart and filling your inner emptiness.
This occurs when you shift your attention -- from protecting against pain and avoiding responsibility for your feelings through your addictive and controlling behaviors -- to learning, with your higher guidance, about what is loving to yourself and others.
Today, choose the intent to learn with your higher guidance about truth and about loving yourself -- even if you don't believe that anything is there to answer you -- and see what happens. You might start to feel full of love inside!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

No Darkness at All

Today I am giving the children's message at's what I have prepared.
1 John 1:5

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

Today, we are going to talk about what it means that God is light.

What is the biggest and most important light in our world? [the sun]

What do we get from the sun? [Hopefully responses include warmth, growth, light, energy, etc]

OK…all true…Now let’s try a little experiment revealing another property of light. Can I get a volunteer? 

[I then hold a flashlight and shine it on the volunteer’s back – if possible with a white wall behind the child to cast a shadow]

First I turn on the flashlight, tell them it is on and ask them if they can tell it’s on. – I make the point that God is always on…always shining on us, whether we know He is there or not. And in fact, just like the sun, he is stationary and reliable and predictable. But, we are given that light…for us, but we have to turn towards it to see it. 


Then I point out the shadow (or if there is not one cast, I talk about the concept and describe that sometimes we cast a shadow). I ask the kids, When we turn away from the light and stare away from it, what do we see? A dark spot. A shadow. Darkness created by ourselves. 

Everyone has times in their lives when they all of a sudden realize they are not basking in the light…they are staring into a darkness that they created by turning from God. So, what things can we do to remember to face the light of God? 

I'd like to end with something I think is amazing. Helen Keller, who was both blind and deaf, still understood this concept of turning to the light...She couldn't even see and yet she penned this advice:

“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.” 
 Helen Keller

So, God that is all light. 
God that is THE only light. 
Like our sun, You nurture us. 
You give us the energy that keeps us alive. 
You keep our bodies, minds and spirits facing You and basking in Your beautiful light. 
You keep us out of the shadows and darkness, Lord. 
Help us to know that Your light is always there to show us the way. 
And, like Helen Keller, help us to know that Your light is there even when cannot see it. 
You are always there, shining on us, lighting our way.  

Monday, October 14, 2013

That Old Common Denominatrix

Tonight, I told someone to look at what the common denominator is in their life around certain charged issues and repeating patterns. Examples from my own life...Do I always choose
unavailable people and then flogs and keens over the fact that the people they have chosen are unavailable? Does a person continually blame people for being untrustworthy? Do certain kinds of tragedies tend to befall a person over and over again? I say ask yourself what the common denominator in all those events or interactions is? Or more importantly, WHO is the common denominator? (in this case the number 5)

Over and over again we seem to be dealt the same hand, given the same chess board, that reduces to the same challenging end. Over and over and over we are tried to be taught. Eventually, do we give our forehead a good old V-8 thump and realize it is us? WE are the reason some pattern keeps repeating. WE are the problem. But, you know what? WE are also the solution. Break out of the pattern. Figure out what the common denominator is and solve for it. Learn. Acknowledge. Calculate. Find the answer.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

A How To...Related to this Morning's Blog

How to Build Self Esteem...

Aces High

High or low, with aces in some games, you get to choose. Why did I get blessed with a self-esteem that plays by this same rule? In a way, I have high self-esteem. I believe I am smart, creative, capable, not ugly, and have a very engaging personality. On the other hand, I have issues with acceptance. I feel like the world doesn't like me, want me, or care about me the way I passionately care about it and it's people. I am wondering how a person can really feel that they are an amazing, beautiful person, but still feel super inferior and insecure while surrounded by their peers (or in other situations)? Why is this self-esteem so capricious for me?

I believe myself to be a pretty good person most of the time. By certain angles, I'm pretty. (I know because I take selfies all the live long day). In some arenas and pursuits, I excel. I have a great brain and ability to think divergently. I am really tops in business. I am extrovertedly gifted, but socially awkward...which just means I am always really out there with my awkwardness (it sure would have been less damaging to be an awkward introvert). Or maybe I just can't read people all that well or they misread me all my life?
Maybe it's just a function of the "Stage Front Theory of Self" I wrote so long ago. Which is basically about the fact that we see the back sides of our stagefronts, while everyone else looks in from the audience. It's impossible, then, to truly know how we are perceived and even harder to unperceive the experience of knowing all the secrets backstage.

Is it related to just plain being weird? In other words, when you don't fit in ALL YOUR LIFE due to being eccentric, does it make a person just constantly question themselves? Maybe I am confusing "confidence" with "esteem?" Recently, a friend told me she isn't like all the other reindeer...Man oh man can I relate to that sentiment.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013


I was thinking, and wrote about in my last blog about the main motivator of my life: engagement. This got me to thinking about how I seek out engagement and connection almost as if with blinders on. There is a spot on the horizon at which I try to stare. That spot is a place of success, personal success for me. I am not even sure of what goals reside there anymore, but I know that place is one where I am connected with the world, where I am engaged in creative exploits and doing something to keep myself active and out in nature and the world. The analogy of driving along a road is helpful to me. If I imagine my life as a road and that I am in a car (or on a bike) traveling towards a destination, I can put in place some very helpful psychological devices related to that analogy. 

Along the road, there are icy patches and challenges: addictions, frustrations, depressive periods, bad choices, short-sighted impulsive actions and the like. This means the path is never, ever smooth. But I am learning and have found that if I focus on where I need to be heading, but not to the exclusion of where I am today, I am best off. I also have found that there are guardrails that keep me on track. Becoming aware of the pitfalls and oil slicks along the path, I have had to build guardrails to help keep the car on the road.

The guardrails that work for me are physical, real things that take me out of the mental derailing.
1) Hike everyday, so I stay in nature and in shape and truly see the world around me.
2) Church so as to remember to practice spirituality and realize that the "road" of my life is there for me to travel.
3) Give up vices and addictions...or at least rein them in. When they start to cause me to skid to the edges of the road, it's time for this guardrail to kick in and help stop the fishtailing.
4) Practice journaling and creative writing.
5) Get sleep.
6) Clean up my space - house, car, yard, etc.
7) Read.

What are the guard rails that help keep you on track? 

Thank God for Mich Zeman....

It's interesting. Once, a long, long time ago in a city not so far away, I went to therapy. I had the most gifted therapist and he helped me to learn an awful lot of truths about me and the world and interpersonal relationships, etc. He taught me that in order for a relationship to continue, you need to make choices at the pivot points (or points of change) to change in ways that don't separate you. These points of change come routinely. We are like snakes shedding their skins. If we don't make choices that consider our partners, we might just drift apart.

He taught about "outsourcing" in a marriage. He said that so many marriages and relationships get bogged down in the mire of everyday chores. He pointed out that if something is important to one or both parties, but neither feels inspired or able to accomplish it, they should consider outsourcing it. He said, for example, getting a cleaning lady to remove the battlefield of keeping a clean house, can be a brilliant solution.

He taught me about codependency. Not to avoid it like the plague, but to embrace that relationships, by their very nature, are codependent. What good is a relationship when you do not need each other for anything? To depend on your partner for some things and augment each others' strengths, sets up a solid and strong union.

He helped me find my primary motivation in life: engagement. He even gave me that word specifically to describe it. He helped me come to realize that in order to feel fulfilled and happy, one has to know what makes them fulfilled and happy. How he was so brilliant to point out that "engagement" was my thing, I will never know.

I have spent much time on couches since then, but none have helped me even a fraction of the amount that his chintz covered, comfortable couch in Rowayton did! There were the therapists I could easily out think and manipulate (certainly not intentionally, but as a defense mechanism or to avoid discomforting self-analysis). There were counselors who were adequate at providing a forum for whining and release of emotions. There were those who frankly just weren't smart enough or quirky enough to "get" me. And, of course, there were my least favorite kinds of workers who relied on paper tools such as worksheets, list building and homework assignments. 

So, today, I thank God for Mich Zeman and for having a therapist like him. The conversations we had, the tears I shed and the frustrations I voiced are still, to this day serving me.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

More Questions than a Two-Year-Old

I find myself in a state of constant thinking and pondering. I seem to enjoy, more than any other pursuit, the unraveling of personalities and categorizing of them. Why does a person do what they do? Why are they aware (or disappointingly unaware) of what they do? How does the mind work? Lately, I have been seeing and observing with new eyes. The goal? To get as "out of my own head" as I can get. I want to know what it is like in someone else's shoes.

Recently, a friend asked me what my "superpower" would be, were I granted only one. I knee-jerkedly answered FLYING. I stand by that choice, but hers was MIND READING. I am completely on the fence as to whether or not I would like to be able to see inside others' minds. Although it is my source of greatest enjoyment and engagement, I don't think I would like having it all laid out in front of me. I think it would remove my grandest source of noodling. Plus, we've all seen that movie "What Women Want" where the cacophonous whinging of all the, in this case female, people in the room is overwhelmingly annoying.

Yup. I think I'll stick to flying.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Drama on the Mountain

I have started a novel. It's historical fiction. It's based on the last year up here on the Mountain. This place is like a fly strip for drama. I haven't figured out why, but that does not stop me from asking the questions. Is it the people who live up here? Some supernatural effect? The work of the devil? Me?

Well, whatever the reason, it is definitely providing some wonderful fodder for a book. If the only thing harvested on this farm on the Mountain is quirky, colorful characters and hearty story lines, I will not be disappointed!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Off With Her Head

For a long time, I had been wondering what the coitus ritual of the praying mantis is...Ironically, a friend posted some praying mantis sex pics on Facebook yesterday and another friend told me that the praying mantis is her totem creature. Here is the skinny on their sexual behavior:
Rumors of the praying mantis' cannibalistic tendencies began when scientists observed their mating behavior in a laboratory environment. Entomologists would offer a captive female a potential mate, and would quite often be horrified to watch the female bite the head or legs off the smaller male. After the male had served his copulatory purpose, he was nothing more than a good meal to the female. For a long time, these observations of praying mantis sex in the lab were thought to be the way things were in the mantid world.

Once scientists started observing praying mantis sex in a natural setting, the story had a different ending, which is good for the males. When unconfined in laboratory terrariums, the majority of praying mantis mating ends with the male flying off, unharmed. By most estimates, sexual cannibalism by praying mantis females occurs less than 30% of the time outside the lab. Those are pretty good odds for the fellows. Praying mantis sex, it turns out, is really a rather romantic series of courtship rituals that typically ends satisfactorily and safely for both parties involved.
There is a decided advantage for the female, however, if she does decide to behead her lover. The praying mantis brain, located in his head, controls inhibition, while a ganglion in the abdomen controls the motions of copulation. Absent his head, a male praying mantis will lose all his inhibitions and consummate his relationship with wild abandon.

And what if she's hungry? For certain, a slow moving and deliberate predator like the praying mantis is not going to pass up an easy meal. If a male makes the unfortunate choice of a hungry female for a mate, he's probably going to be toast once they've mated.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Damned in the Present, Damned in the Future

Present self vs Future self TED Talk.

New York Times article on the same
 It's about the battle between the two-headed beast inside us.
The present self. "I want an oompa loompa, Daddy, and I want it now."
The future self. "I may not have considered all the costs and annoyances associated with having an oompa loompa."

I am not interested in the second half of the talk on the "financial" relationship between our present and future selves, but instead it's the concept of commitment devices (to keep ourselves in check) and the misestimation of our future selves (that we will do better than our present) that intrigues me. I definitely fall into a category of impulsivity which disregards my future self completely. I am also quite good at manipulating my best intentions and breaking, getting around, or breaking my commitments.

I can really relate to this sentiment, postulated in the NYT's article:

Ignoring the needs of our future self is one way we create problems for our present self. Another way is by dumping all the issues we don’t want to deal with now on the mythical future self who’s somehow going to be more patient, more organized, more restrained — more everything we’re not now .
“It’s hard to imagine that we’re going to be under the same stress” when we’re older, Dr. McGonigal said. “It seems like we will have more time and energy and we can let the future person deal with what we can’t deal with now.”
And that gives an excuse to procrastinate. In my case, I’ve been putting off eating better for some future time when somehow I’ll want to eat bulgur wheat rather than chocolate cake.
 Let me eat cake, I say. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

What am I doing? I love what I'm doing!

When Elena was about three, she uttered this great little gem. It just floated to the top of my conscious mind and then wedged there for awhile on repeat. It occurs to me that it not only is good report of what Elena was doing at that time - she was dancing "Lord of the Dance" style in the kitchen - it also is an amazingly insightful prescription for life.

What am I doing?
It's a good idea to ask frequently what one is doing. It's an interesting question. It encourages introspection and furthers self-understanding. What AM I DOING? Accent on the AM or the DOING, not the I. A lot of times we focus too intently on the "I" and what the "I" tells us. Rationalizations, justifications, white lies to our self are prevalent. Look objectively at the "AM." The AM just looks at the DOING, the action occurring, non-judgementally and objectively.

I love what I'm doing!
This is self-love at its most perfect. After objectively noticing the action, then accept it. Hug it! Love it! It's part of you. With the innocent optimism and unjaded mind, love what you are doing at any given moment. If it's a good and healthy thing, loving it is easy. If it's a broken, obsessive, addictive, harmful action, love yourself in spite of it. Embrace it and realize it is good because it is still part of you and part of what is making you.

I think those of us who can REALLY look at what we're doing and REALLY love what we're doing...even if it is not ideal, can reach a place of peace and acceptance. And who knows, by asking "What AM I doing?" more often, perhaps we will more and more often truly love what we are doing.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Take the Thick with the Thin

As my children play outside and I am practicing my sometimes "Lord of the Flies" parenting approach, I think about what they will say in their (inevitable) future therapy sessions. I wonder what kind of label I will get from the psych---- with whom they are conversing. Usually when I think about my parenting, I revel in the high moments: the hikes, the frog hunting, the cooking together, painting, walking, learning about the world by doing...but these will most likely not be the themes explored in their therapy. No. Their therapy will focus on my shortcomings, of which there are many.

They will talk about how I was "hands-off" in my parenting. They will forget that this gave them independence and a sense that they were trusted and expected to make strong decisions, and the will focus on abandonment.

They will say I was critical of them. That I made them change their outfits that blaringly didn't match. They will not know that this was more a criticism and distrust of mean gradeschool kids.

They may say I kicked them outside when I didn't want them bugging me. What they won't remember is that I kicked them outside when their energy levels were imploding and they were on hour two of couch wrestling and it was apparent they needed to let outside to run like puppies.

They may say I forced playdates on them when they just wanted to sit around and watch TV. They will not know how deeply I feared them not having a best friend relationship and how much I longed for that for them. So much that I invited every potential opportunity to meet kids their own age up to our house. Maybe this one will become her bestie? Maybe this one can match his energy levels?

They'll claim I dragged them to church. The flea market. Concerts in parks. Friends' houses. Parties. Hikes. Parks. But all these things were meant to teach through experience and help them learn by doing and interacting and engaging with the world.

They may say I was always buried in my world of work, computer, iPhone and the like. And they will probably be right. I do take my "me" time and I do keep my own interests. For I believe that a parent has to "put his or her own oxygen mask on prior to being able to help anyone else."

They may remember me taking selfies all the time. I struggle to turn this one into a positive...but maybe, just maybe they will come to believe that their mother loved herself and photography. When there were no subjects around, she would use herself...or her kids...which is another thing they may disdain. There was often a camera lens, or iPhone peering into their souls trying to capture that which the momma sees in them and loves in them. I really hope they will see that I just wanted to collect and save every sweet moment with them.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Juicing the Creative

Lately, I have found my creativity has returned for a spell. I've been taking more pictures, even "seeing" more photo opporunities. I've been doing a little art. I've even started a book based on my first year here on The Mountain...called (of course) Drama on the Mountain. Even my sense of humor seems to have returned.

I attribute this all to being free of a controlling relationship, daily hikes and the beauty and perfect weather of my surroundings. When my relationship ended, I enjoyed a period of clutter subtraction and tidying that has only served to make room for my new creative efforts.

Yesterday, I found a rusty piece of metal at mile one of my three mile hike. I wrested a piece of it off and carried it the remaining two miles. This morning I made it into my morning "artpouting" and I love how it came out!!



Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Tasty Apples

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”
Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum LP

We are ALL broken.
We are all BROKEN.
We are also all perfect in our brokeness.
We hold the healing power for our brokeness.
No one else can fix us.
We can only fix ourselves.
We must embrace that broken part and pull it deep into ourselves.
In accepting and loving the broken parts of ourselves, they lose their power over us.
We are afraid to look at the broken parts.
We continually run, fast and furious, away from them.
We are defensive.
We are depressed.
We seek external solutions.
When we do not find them, we are more broken.
Then, one day, we become aware. The common denominator in our lives is us. All problems are us. All worries are us. All doubts are us. We are our pain and we can ease it. It's no one else's problem and it's no one else's to solve.

XOXOXO to me.

Monday, September 02, 2013

I'm Bored

No, not me, I am rarely bored. I have such a rich inner monologue and inspired ideas, I only get "bored" when I am doing something I don't love to do, but am required to...such as work, or waiting in line at the DMV, or listening to my kids complain that they are bored for hours on end. Is there anything more boring than small people whining that they are bored? No, I assure you, there is not.

I think back to my own childhood. I always had something going on. I woke up in the morning with a project on my brain, or a story I was burning to write, or a tree had set my sites on climbing. I remember many a parental "nap" time when I produced copious drawings or wrote my own song on our little rickety organ. So, why then, are they so easily bored?

Is it just our modern world? TV, compared to the snow-filled, underprogrammed one of my day, is highly entertaining and features such amazing instant gratifiers as "On Demand" "Streaming Movies" and 4045 channels from which to choose one's entertainment. Have we just so discouraged down-time now that entertainment comes at such a frantic clip?

If there is an exception to my never-bored childhood, it's Sunday afternoons. To this day, I remember my parents choosing to nap or do yard work or keep themselves occupied with their household chores. I remember that I was tired...I had played out all my scenarios and plans and was tapped out. It was a time when I really did just want to put on the TV and turn off my brain. All that was every on at those times was ABC Sports and (for some reason it always seemed) Big Valley. Was there ever a show more boring for a child of the 70's than Big Valley? Even Ponderosa was better!

As I write this though, I realize that I am now the parent, who spent all day organizing drawers and folding laundry and they are the kids (just like I was) antsy for my attention. And off goes the computer...and off goes the TV...time for some quality time.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

If It's a Question of Commitment

I have a simple question, which I assure you does not have a simple answer.

Which is scarier, being afraid to commit to a relationship or being scared you will never be in a committed relationship?

I flip-flop between the two fears. Fear of being improperly committed...or just tied down and no longer independent, and fear of being alone forever. I love the feeling of sleeping next to someone, just feet touching, but when arms and hot body surround me, I get clausterphobic. When I am alone with my own thoughts and lonely in my house for too long, I long for companionship. Am I relegated to forever be trapped running towards or away from one of these circumstances.

In a related question, which is finer act of bravery, commiting to a relationship, even though you are scared to death and feel truly unable to carry through long-term on the commitment or avoiding commitment, even though a part of you longs for it, because you are afraid in the end you won't be able to hack it?

Friday, August 30, 2013

And Today's Feel Good Moment...Changed for Good

Brought to you by this article:
And this video:
And the lyrics of this song that are intrinsically FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC:
I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you...
Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good
It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made from what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...
Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
Because I knew you
I have been changed for good
And just to clear the air
I ask forgiveness
For the things I've done you blame me for
But then, I guess we know
There's blame to share
And none of it seems to matter anymore
Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a bird in the wood
Who can say if I've been
Changed for the better?
I do believe I have been
Changed for the better
And because I knew you...
Because I knew you...
Because I knew you...
I have been changed for good...

Read more: Wicked - For Good Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Rubber Band Theory of Porcupine Warmth

Ted talks. They are a great way of having ah-ha moments. Today's about porcupines as an analogy of people successfully navigating the playing field of love got me thinking. A long time ago I read the Mars/Venus book. It was odd since, at the time, I was a Mars woman with a Venus man. My man at the time acted much more like the needy woman and I needed to go into my Martian cave all the time. I have since been in relationships which were flipped the other way. So, although I believe the Mars/Venus relationship exists, I don't believe it can be tied to specific genders consistently (which, on a side note, is what I believe about almost every gender stereotype, but I digress). The ONE thing that Mars/Venus had BANG ON was the rubber band theory of courtship (I paraphrase).

It went something like this:
If you imagine that two partners are connected by a rubber band which must always be kept at a certain tautness to stay together, you realize that when one partner moves in, the other will retreat to keep the band at a comfortable tightness. If one partner pulls away dramatically, the other will chase, again to stop the pinch of the band which is stretched almost to breaking. (Again, hope John Grey doesn't mind my paraphrasing).

This video proposes the exact same concept, but with a different analogy: porcupines. Watch towards the end to hear her lovely depiction, but in Kiki Cliff Notes it is this: when two porcupines are out in a cold, cold winter and they need each other's warmth, they must get close to each other. When they do that, they get closer and closer until they are getting pricked. Then, they retreat. Then, they get cold and need each other's warmth again. Then the huddle together again, until it's uncomfortable because they get too close...Porcupines as an analogy for love, who knew?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ego, Pride and Narcissism...oh my

"Except in the sense of primary narcissism or healthy self-love, narcissism is usually considered a problem in a person or group's relationships with self and others. Narcissism is not the same as egocentrism."

I am trying to understand the different between narcissism and egotism. No matter, why I am trying to do this (hmmmm). Let's just say, I am intrigued by healthy vs. unhealthy self-love. I am interested in knowing where self-love falls off the edge and becomes unhealthy.

Some interesting facts I uncovered in my research are that Narcissus, the man every one knows as "in love with his own image" was actually in love with his reflection, but he did not know it to be his own image. He didn't realize he was in love with himself because his concept of reality was so skewed, he was unable to understand that he was only able to obsessively love the object that was actually himself, instead of others. This set up a house of cards for the poor guy. Everyone around him was a projection of himself. Everything he saw or experienced as reality was constructed to keep his own fragile self from pulling back the curtain.

An unhealthy condition, the narcissist is unable to love anyone but his or herself. There reality is as faltering as a reflection in a pool.

An egotist is about self-promotion and being a celebrity in their own life. They are unable to acknowledge and empathize with others' thoughts and needs. "Looked at differently, the conceit of egotism describes a person who acts to gain values in an amount excessively greater than that which he or she gives to others."

After a lot of reading and studying this morning, I've come to the conclusion that the Narcissist lives in a self-reflective reality whereby he or she can only see things that are bounced off his or her own self. An Egotist lives in a bold world colored brightly by his or her self in it. I think of the Narcissist as viewing the as an extension of themselves and the Egotist viewing the world as a play where they are at the center and the star character. Both struggle wholly and completely with putting themselves in someone else's shoes.

As a final note, I think I am overly concerned with issues of self, but I am neither a Narcissist or an Egotist...well, anymore than the next guy.

As Ann Landers once remarked, "At age 20, we worry about what others think of us. At 40, we don't care what they think of us. At 60, we discover they haven't been thinking of us at all." - Source: