Thursday, March 28, 2013


Back in the day, we used to play a drinking game called Categories. It was a little bit like Scattegories. Someone would shout out a category and then around the circle we would go, shouting out items in that category. If you failed to produce an item for the list for that category, you had to drink (of course) and come up with a new category. I think. My memories of the exact rules of this game are a little fuzzy for obvious reasons.

Anyhow, the reason I bring this up is due to a recent conversation I had about my propensity to categorize every blessed thing. I like to put things into boxes and tie them up with a neat bow. It serves me to be able organize people and behaviors. For example, I believe there are personality traits common to first born children. I believe that people who live in different areas of the country have certain regional tendencies. When you grow up orbiting around NYC, you snap your fingers and want things to happen tout suite. Things tend to happen tout suite, too. When I moved to Florida, I could not begin to tell you how much of a fish out of water I was in the culture there. Things just don't move fast like they do up North.

Anyhow, this little discussion was about my categorization of people by gender. I tend to do a lot of characterizing people by their gender. I even liked "Men Are from Mars..." I was very drawn to a PBS special years ago where I remember the thesis of evolutionary development of the different genders. Men, having to hunt and be out on the plains for long periods, were required to be think more not be as easily distracted. Women, whose survival required them to socialize and raise their children in community, learned to focus on many things at once. They thought more relationally, they attended to many things at once: the pot on the stove, the children, the peers, etc. This made just a heck of a lot of sense to me. It wasn't meant to be sexist or judgemental. It was meant to distill things down, to simplify. To find clarity where there is confusion. That is what I seek.

Here are some of the blogs I have written using my "categorization talent":

Monday, March 25, 2013

Indeed. Timing IS Everything.

There are theories I have about life and the nature of things...humans being of the most interest to me. My thought today is this: timing is critical in all things. Right thing, wrong time. Wrong thing, wrong time. Right thing, right time. The worst are those things that you know are right, but they seem a little early or a little late...not dramatically so, just a tiny bit off, or those things which are ALMOST right, but arrive exactly when you expect them.

Love is like this. We find a person who plays that particular chord that we know has been missing. It even might not be the exact chord we had expected, but it's beautiful nonetheless. Maybe, in some cases we even think the dreaded thought that with practice, it will improve. We gloss over the small, not quite rights. If we are positive and hopeful, which are almost always characteristics of early love, we believe we can turn the almost into the just right.

Time is a brisk wind, for each hour it brings something new... but who can understand and measure its sharp breath, its mystery and its design? ~Paracelsus

Each hour, each second, each minute it brings something new and anew in it, we are. I am remembering the movie Sliding Doors, in which there are two versions of time which shunt off from each other and progress separately into two futures. Each moment of time that passes, creates a new me. Well, I am always me, but my willingness, stubborness, openess, closedness, moods, likes, dislikes, wishes, wants, expectations, all change. Suppose you meet the right person at a time when you are not open to meeting anyone new? Or what if you have your expectations set on something else, so you allow something amazing to pass you by? Maybe you were hurt and beaten down and so, in reaction, you will no longer let anyone in? Maybe you are in the healthiest of places you have ever been and you meet the opposite of you, someone in a deep, dark crevasse of their life.

The only way I know to be able to not overthink every single solitary interaction and influence in my life is to try to remain open. No, not try. If you try to be open, you are doing it wrong. To be truly open, you need to suspend judgement. You need to cancel the shoulds and shouldn'ts in your mind. You need to allow yourself to be swept away. Or, perhaps you have to just sit in the activity of not-thinking. How is a person right or wrong, how is timing right or wrong, but from our own perception and judgement of it as such?

If we do not judge the minutes as they traipse by, we can gleefully dance in them.
If we keep our expectations from being goal-oriented, plans of execution, we can free ourselves from a contrived future.
If we believe in a plan that is outside of time, does this mean that things can and will happen regardless of timing?

This is an awful lot of thinking and overthinking about timing, when the goal is to drop the stopwatch...turn off the alarms....stop staring in dread at the clock hands. Just be. Trust and be.

And here, at the end, I have refuted my first statement and title of this blog. Timing is only everything if you let it be.

Friday, March 08, 2013

A Pre-Savings Plan

I just completed my taxes and I'm getting money back. When my brain hears that I am getting money back, it gets excited for all the items I need that I might be able to buy. I saw a couch at the local second-hand shop...$200...seems like almost nothing with the refund I am getting. So, my question today is, "Why does $4000 in "refund" feel like spending money, while $4000 of savings feels untouchable?"

The reality of the situation is that a lot of people use their refunds as savings.

But what do you use your savings for? Vacations, furniture, big purchases? It seems I use my tax refund as a "pre-savings" plan. It's like I am just one teensy refund off from being able to have a savings plan. I live in such paucity year round, paycheck to paycheck with cash flow issues, getting a windfall is like a "pre-savings" plan. It gets my brain a-thinking about what I might want to buy with  my "savings." I have to stop the pattern!