Being Reminded of Bad Decisions Hurts Our Brains


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“You need to clear.  Now.  Today.”

 I keep hearing it.  Seeing it.  And, feeling it.

I take this knowingness to my notebook and try to write out EXACTLY what needs to be cleared.

“What?  What needs to be cleared?”  I question, “Is it energy clearing?  I feel okay.  I don’t need that today.  Is it subconscious blocks that I need to let go of?  Fear?  Obsessions?  Old stuff?  What?  Tell me, so I can take care of it!”

A smell lingers up into my writing room.  My candle can’t even mask the smell.  Being one of those highly sensitive nose type people, smells really trip me up.

“What IS that?”  I croak.

Ugh.  I can’t even focus on my thoughts to write with this intrusion.  I shut my computer and investigate.  I know this smell.  It’s a moldy, old garbage, combined with wet dog, chicken coop and baby kitties born on the couch kinda smell (that happened when I was a young girl and I still remember the smell).  I really don’t even want to know what it is.  There have been whiffs of this odor over the last week and I’ve tried to ignore it.  But, I can’t any longer.  It’s become overbearing.  The thought of what it could be is giving me the willies.  Moving might become necessary.

I scan the garage.  My skin shivers at how visually toxic to my well-being this room is.  The school year is done and summer is here and I know I NEED to clean this.

Forget the garage. . . it’s not even my junk.

But, then, I know the answer to my knowingness.

“Oh, you mean REAL clearing!  ACTUAL PHYSICAL REAL CLUTTER!”  I shake my head because I really do not want to tackle this. I’ve been avoiding it altogether.  I have other things to do!  Stuff I actually WANT to do!  It’s summer!!  The sun outside wants me to sit in it and just read!

The message is affirmed in everywhere I go.  The yard, the shed, the playhouse.  There is not a space in my house that does not need some TLC:

A Total-Lot-of-Cleaning.

 Yes, I’ve neglected it.  It’s time.

“Whether it be your closet or office desk, excess things in your surroundings can have a negative impact on your ability to focus and process information. That’s exactly what neuroscientists at Princeton University found when they looked at people’s task performance in an organized versus disorganized environment. The results of the study showed that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress.”     ~nourishment3.com

Well, I knew I was having a focusing issue, but I didn’t know it was because of my clutter.  And my stuff.

I announce to my husband that I’m on a de-cluttering mission.  His eyes begin to squint like the sun’s hurting him and his entire face scrunches up.  He knows he is going to either have to get involved or risk losing some stuff.  He also knows he has more stuff to de-clutter than I do.  The two boys find other stuff to do.

The bathroom is first, as it’s the room that bothers me the most.  Items from the shelves are purged, used once or twice and never to be noticed again, covered in dust and gunk.  Old vitamins, prescriptions, bath salts and lotions.  Yuck.  Then. . . way in the back, I discover some old boxes of Frownies I purchased a few years ago.

Oh dang.  The memory comes flooding back.

These stick on patches were going to be the ticket for those wrinkles on my forehead.  The internet said.  So, I bought 2 packages, not just one.  On my first day’s trial of stretching my forehead before applying the sticky patches to my skin, and then sleeping with it on, I awoke  to an even more dented forehead than my original one.  Apparently, I had not flattened my skin smooth enough before I stuck that baby on.  Instead of smoothing my forehead, I made NEW wrinkles.  They lasted all day.  I should have sent the Frownies back for a refund, but I attributed the problem to operator error and vowed to give it another shot.  I never did.  A reminder of another bad decision and money wasted for vanity.

Why is it so painful to get rid of this stuff?

Apparently, there is research that gives us the answer to this question.  (I found it on the internet.)

We tell ourselves we are hanging onto this stuff for a number of reasons:

1.  We are saving it for just the right occasion.

2.  We spent a lot of money on it and we might use it one day.

3.  We have sentimental value.

But,  the biggest reason we hang on to stuff is because we probably made a mistake buying it and it literally hurts our brain to come to terms with that fact.

Yup, there is.  The truth.  It’s painful to admit that we screwed up.   Bad decisions.  Money wasted.

As in the case of my Frownies.

Tossing them in the trash really DOES hurt.  But really, I know I won’t try them again.  Even sticking all those patches to my face now and going to bed that way seems absurd.  And, I run the risk of that scene be the topic of conversation and my husband’s office the next day.

I could see if my sister wants to try them.  That would feel better than junking them.  But, then, I’d have to hold on to them longer until I see them. Should I walk them over to my neighbor?  I could tell her that if she doesn’t want to try them, she could just toss them and I wouldn’t have to know about it.  Maybe that’s the ticket.  Yeah.  That’s what I’ll do.

Then, I won’t have to feel the pain quite so much.

Unless, the next time I see her, she has more wrinkles.

Now, moving on to the kitchen. . .

What is painful for your brain to let go of?

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Reflection: Why Should I Blog?

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The other day, it took me 3 hours to write/revise/edit/publish a blog post on my Literate Mind blog.  It was only a book review, for Pete’s Sake.   I DID have some internet issues and my typical distraction problems.  Seriously, though.  I’m spending way too much time trying to create some words and put them out there for the world.  I have dishes to wash. Laundry.  Rooms to declutter.

So, I got out my notebook and did some serious reflecting.  I asked myself the question that I have began to ask myself with every blog post.

“Why am I doing this?  Why should I blog? What are the benefits of this?  Am I nuts?”

Boy, did my pen have something to say.  Words began to flood onto the page.

Here are 5 reasons (of the many) of why I blog:

1.  I am a teacher.

Not only do I teach kids how to write, but I work with teachers in guiding them to be teachers of writing.  The first must of a writing teacher is that the writing teacher must be a writer.  A pilot instructor would have to know how to fly planes, right?

I’ve always scribbled words in notebooks, diaries, and journals.  I’ve written in front of kids to model writing workshop lessons.  I wrote.  But, still, I did not call myself a writer.  Only real authors could declare themselves a writer and wear that title. Here I was, a teacher for 20+ years and a literacy coach and still, I could not call myself a writer.  Was I worried this was vain?  Did I fear others would think I was lying?  They would surely ask me what I had written if I said I was a writer. And then, judge it, of course.  Ugh.  All of this was just too risky.

What a hypocrite, I was.

Then, in 2012, I signed up for a free e-course by Jeff Goins, called  YOU ARE A WRITER.  Jeff taught me how to say these words:

 

“You are a writer.”

 

“Say them out loud,” he said.

“Write them down.”

” Tell someone.”

So I did.

And, so I was.

The blog was born as a result of claiming I was a writer.  Jeff said that if you are a writer, you have to start acting like one. This meant sharing your writing and building a community.

I guess I had to follow through if I was going to say I was a writer.

 

2.  More valuable that any writing program, I have curriculum to draw from within my own experiences.

I’m in the trenches with the kids and other teachers of writing when I blog.

Mem Fox, in her book, Radical Reflections, writes:

“Teachers of writing who have been soldiers themselves, engaged in a writing battle, are able to empathize more closely with the comrades in their classrooms than teachers who are merely war correspondents at the hotel bar, as it were, watching the battle from a safe distance, declining to get in there themselves and write.”

I didn’t want to be a teacher who sat at the bar, too afraid to practice what I was preaching.

I now know what kids and teachers go through when they try to write.  The fear.  The frustration.  The battle.  This battle can not come when we keep our writing hidden from others, in a notebook.  Notebook writing is easy, as this is first draft writing or jotting down ideas.  It becomes real when we know we are writing for someone other than ourselves.  Then, we have roll up our sleeves, get dirty and then,  clean it up.

I can teach how I find ideas to write by sharing what I do:   noticing what’s happening around me, the words others’ say, topics I deeply care about.  I can teach how to write that perfect lead, because I wrestle with it and have a few tools for this along with some favorite leads from mentor texts.   I can draw from my toolbox, a lesson that teaches others how to edit for themselves and I can model my methods for this, because I’ve done it myself.

I stand on the shoulders of writing teachers; Donald Murray, Donald Graves, Lucy Calkins and Katie Wood Ray.  They are my guides. Basically, nothing I teach is my own idea – these methods came from someone before me.

I’ve used their methods, tried them out and have internalized them as my own methods now.  Will they work for every writer?  No.  I read, listen to other writers and to the kids of how they write and their methods get thrown in my toolbox, as well.

My own toolbox is more valuable that any writing curriculum.  No writing curriculum is perfect as it leaves out the most important factor:  the kids.  If it’s all you have to follow in the teaching of writing, you will be frustrated.   And, I can draw from my own toolbox at anytime, anywhere.  If one tool doesn’t work, I try another.  I’ve tried them all, so they are etched in who I am as a writer.

3.  I’m starting to live my life differently because of my blog.

I notice things with meaning and get it down.  I take time to reflect on, not only events, but on my response to them.  I nudge myself to reflect deeper, to get to the other side, to allow new learning to bubble up, something of significance and to make it clear for me to understand.  I do this for me, but more so, for my audience (even if it is only my mother – thanks, Mom).

A car trip, a walk in the woods, shopping at the grocery store, sitting at the lake, and visiting with people are all free fodder for writing. I find myself thinking not only, “I’ve got to write this down,” but also, “Oh my, I need to write this for ______.”

If I need to write clearly for an audience to understand my thinking, I’d better be pretty clear of it myself.

I could not have done this without a blog.

4.  Blogging has been an avenue in which to use the tool of writing to serve my higher purpose.

I don’t think that writing is a  purpose or a calling.  It’s just a tool to use.  If you are called to teach?  Write.  Called to heal?  Write.  Called to inspire?  Write.  Called to serve, help others, beautify the world, create, coach, energize, collaborate?  Then, write, write, write.  There is no better tool that can reach more people than writing.  But, only if you put it out there for the world.

5.  It just feels good.

There is a sense of accomplishment and surge of satisfaction I feel every time I hit publish.  I am jolted with a little shot of dopamine upon seeing those words,   “Your post has been published.”

And, then, I do a little happy dance.

Getting it down is the easy part.  Revision and editing is hard work.  Never, would I revise and edit in my notebooks.  Blogging makes you do this.

I’ve had to learn to choose timely topics and ones that matter.  I’ve had to figure out how to stick to a topic and focus.  I tend to stray in my notebooks, but I can’t do that on a blog.

I strive to find ways to improve in my craft by reading books about writing, joining some writing groups online and taking classes about writing.  I know what I struggle with in my writing and have learned to appreciate criticism.  Always, I can get better at this.

When we know more, we do better and we gain confidence.

And, this just feels good.

 

Okay ~ I guess the rewards are worth the battle.  Whew.

The only drawbacks are that my house is a mess.  But, it was a mess before I started blogging, so I guess I can’t use that as an excuse.

Maybe I should blog about that.

What are the reasons you blog?  Please, let me know.

 

Shari 🙂

 

 

 

 

Gratitude Quiets The Mind

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Bernice is on a rampage this morning. (Incase you don’t know Bernice, she’s my mind.)

Awakening on a Saturday morning at home, after being gone for almost a week, will get her going like a crazy woman with an anxiety attack.

“Get up and clean this house, for Pete’s sake, it’s disgusting – kitchen, bathroom, bedroom. . . honestly.  The heaps of dirty clothes need to get washed, there are no fresh groceries in the house – get to the store, and you’d better bake something – the boys are home – they are looking for treats, work on some school presentations and planning being  you have all this fresh knowledge in your head from Ohio, and you should get up to school and do some planning for next week anyway, oh my gosh – TAXES!  YOU NEED TO GET GOING ON TAXES!! Your car is still sitting in the driveway, you know from when you hit that deer last weekend!  You’d better get it towed to the shop – and what are you going to drive next week?  Check with insurance and see if you can get a rental and have it covered.  You have not written a blog post all week, you call yourself a writer? TAXES!!  Ugh, walk or do yoga or SOMETHING with your body today – you certainly didn’t need to eat that teramisu and french bread dipped in olive oil last week – not to mention all the other restaraunt eating that does not qualify as very healthy, better change it up – get some food prep done so you aren’t walking that path all week.  Did you exercise AT ALL last week? (Well, yes, I did yoga one day.) THAT’s not enough.  Giddyup!  You’d better call Gracie, have you checked on her lately?  And, your parents, do you even know how your dad is doing??  Check out where the world is on the Ukraine crisis – make sure you spend some time worrying about this – you have two soldier age boys, you know, you NEED to be concerned about this. . . and pray for the people on that missing plane. . . heavens. . .”

She doesn’t stop.  Not even to take a breath.  I dread getting out of bed because I don’t know where to start.

Deep breath – get up and make coffee.

Ritual.  Start with ritual.

Climbing the stairs to my sanctuary to write, I set my coffee down, light a candle and open my notebook that begs for some words on the page.

I hear Bernice tell me to tell me to hurry up – I have things to do today.

Then,  a little nudge of an angel voice whispers in my ear, “Be grateful.”

I close my eyes and breathe from a place deep within myself.

Looking out the window, above my desk, I gaze at the sea blue sky, light fluffy clouds slowly sailing to the east – like ships moving, the sun shining directly in my window onto my notebook, still in rising mode.

My soul wells up.  Bernice quiets down.

I am so grateful for this day God gave me.  This gift of grace.  Of writing, this gift I give to myself, an honoring  of my true self.  The music serenading in the backgound – Chris Rice singing Hallelujas and guitars strumming. My deep dark coffee laced with swirling almond milk – this missing during my days away from home.  The first pen grabbed to write with begs to be written with and words flow out of it. My husband, who never harps on what I should get done on the weekend – he gives me this space.

This is my heart speaking.  I call her “Rose”.

I like listening to Rose.  She’s much nicer than Bernice.

I close my notebook and ask my husband what he’s planning for the day.

He tells me, “A little tv, I might shoot my bow, we should take some fish out for supper.”

I shake my head and smile at his ability to have a quiet mind and wish I could be more like him.  I know this is why God partnered me with him.

“You wanna get bundled up and go for a walk?” I ask.

“Yup, right after this hunting show.”

“Okay.”

I decide to have another cup of coffee and start a load of laundry.

I think it’s going to be a beautiful day.

Word of the Year. . . Courage

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I’ve been struggling over the last few weeks trying to nail down what my “word of the year” for 2013 will be.  I think too much about it, of course.  I should just go with my intuition and grab what comes to mind first.  But, then I think, “No.  This word is a big deal.  It guides my decisions for the entire year.”  It deserves some attention and contemplation.

I’ve been choosing a “word of the year” for the last 3-4 years.  Trading in the resolutions for a single word was something I learned from Christine Kane.  She now even has a free download to help you discover what your might want your word to be.  Check out her toolbox here.

Last year, my word was “create”.  And, “create” I did.  I created a lot of things I didn’t finish.  Story of my life. You know how you have that stab of inspiration?  That high of motivation?  And, you fly with it without even stopping for air?

And then, you run into a wall.

Sometimes that wall is boredom.

More likely though, the wall is fear.

Fear of the wicked voices in your head saying, “Who do you think you are?”

So, I stop.  Move on to something else.  Something I am more capable of.  Like Pinterest or something.  Something safe.  I mean, you can’t mess up on Pinterest.

Well, this year, I’m fighting that voice.  I’m standing up to the old hag in order to finish the things I’ve started.  I’m casting my sword and shouting, “Stand aside oh wicked one!  Here I come!”

If I can push the wickedness aside, I should be able to:

*reshape and resubmit my book proposal to another publisher

*sign up for that art retreat I really want to go to in California

*write and submit some articles for magazines

*open an Etsy shop

*get my body into prime shape (the wickedness has been telling me that I’m old and can’t do what I used to do – dang her)

*say what I need to say (the wickedness says to just be quiet)

*finish the writing e-course I created and actually get it out there!

This is only the beginning!  With courage by my side, amazing things can happen.

If you had courage for this upcoming year, what would you do?

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~E.E. Cummings

Writers and Their Notebooks

I have at least 30 or 40 notebooks and journals filled with my writing.  They are all over the place.  This is a photo of some of the notebooks that would show up for a portrait.  Others are in boxes, shelves or drawers, or just in hiding.

If you are an avid writer, you know how fast notebooks can fill.

I’ve always struggled with the next step.  A filled notebook.  This treasure. . . where should I put it?

Put it on a shelf. . . or in a box. . . or a drawer. . .

I have been doing some reading lately in a couple of new books on writing.  One book, A Writer’s Book of Days, by Judy Reeves has shifted some thinking in my mind about organizing all these notebooks for actual productivity.

First and most importantly, a writer has to be clear on the kind of writing that the notebook contains.  It could be any of the following:

1.  Journaling

We need to clarify this term.  A journal is a noun, which defines it as a notebook, book or a log.  To journal is a verb, which is defined as to personally record occurrences, experiences, and reflections  on a regular basis.  This is writing that is for self-exploration, self expression and is probably private.  I usually do this kind of writing when I am in deep despair, wrestling with a deeper issue or problem, a catharsis of sorts.  Much of my writing is this.  I start with an issue and answers appear in my writing magically.  No one gets to see this stuff.  I really should burn these notebooks when done purging.  Therapy on a dime.

Journals can also be used as a record keeping device.  My father-in-law has kept journals for years.  He documents daily weather, visits with others, trips, and events of the day.  It amazes me how well the journals can help him remember details from his life.

2.  Morning Pages

I attempt to write every day.  I start where I am and try to fill three pages. I usually do not know where I will start or end up.  I sometimes start with how I have nothing to write about.  The muse almost always shows up and gives me a topic.  Many a day, this writing is blah, blah, blah, just to get writing flowing on a regular practice.  It also helps to diffuse the inner critic.  I don’t care what I write here.  I tell the critic to take a break.  It teaches me to not listen to this gremlin.  I write what I want and see what appears.  Any topic is meat for morning pages.  And, sometimes, morning pages ends up being journaling, although, I try to keep that in separate notebooks now.  Most of my really good ideas come from morning pages.

3.  Writing Practice

This is writing where one tries out a craft or a focused creative writing on a topic.  For me, I love to make captive a powerful sentence and then make it work in my own language with a variety of topics.  Love Love Love mentor sentences.  I think I need to start a menu item of just this.

Writing practice would also include those that like to respond to a prompt and creatively write.  Personally, these feel like fingernails against a chalkboard, but some writers flourish from these.  I’m forcing myself to try them.  All in all, it’s work on craft.

Again, a separate notebook for this.

4.  Project Writing

I typically start a journal just for the collection and writing of a single topic.  All my quotes, thoughts and new understandings about his writing project go into this notebook.  Once I determine a focus for an article, book or idea, I will dump everything to this one place.

5.  And this. . . is the biggie.  Writers notebooks entries.  Beginning writers tend to use the same notebook for everything:   journaling, project writings, writing practice, morning pages – all of it.  That’s okay, at first.  Just getting started writing is a feat in itself.  Applaud yourself if you are writing every day!

However, here is the rub, once you begin focusing on a project or a blog entry later on, and intend on revising and working on craft,  you can never find any snippet of writing that you know you wrote at some previous point in time that would have added that little pizzaz to the writing that you are craving!   I enter this dilemma constantly!

If you have over 25 something notebooks filled with random stuff, including moving quotes, phrases and words to describe a moment, scene or person, you might as well call it a night.  I’m banking that MOST writers don’t magically have this continuous flow of words that stream out of their consciousness like Hemmingway.  Real writers steal.

Seriously.

Read, notice, be astonished, save it for later use.  But tweak it to make it your own.

What to do?

I have decided that I need to have one notebook as my collect-all notebook.   I can capture conversations overheard, like today. . .

I was sitting in the clinic and listening to others sitting in the waiting room.  (I love waiting rooms for this reason.  So much writing material for free.)  This rough looking guy walks by with his jeans all ripped up like has intentions of wearing them that way.  An elderly man sitting next to me, leans over to his wife and says, “Now, what would make a person want to dress like that?” (My dad would say this.)

His wife replies softly, “I don’t know what they’re thinking.” (My mother would say this back.)

I don’t know what I will do with the conversation, but I know that I need to safe-keep it somewhere that is easy to access when I want it.

I stored that tidbit in my main writers notebook.  The “stealth” notebook as Howard Junker, editor of the literary journal ZYZZYVA, calls it.  This notebook will go everywhere with me, so I can capture all those secret bits of ideas, language and noticings and house them for safekeeping.

Later this month, I will do some re-sorting.  I’ll pull out the snatches of words from this main notebook and catagorize them into different notebooks.   I might have  notebook for these catagories:

*ideas for writing (books, articles, blog entries, etc.)

*poetry

*character development (this would include the dialogue snippets and character descriptions)

*five senses notebook organized by the senses (I would capture vivid descriptions here)

*quotes (not sure how I would organize these)

*sentence study (I love to collect cool sentences just because I love how they sound.  Then I try to replicate them using my own content and language.  Way fun. I know, I’m weird.)

I’m not sure what other categories will evolve. This will be a constant work in progress, but my hope is to be able to actually FIND some of the stuff I tuck into my notebooks. Yes, I’ll have notebooks galore, but I do anyway!  At least now, I’m a little more organized and focused on more purposeful writing

I’ll let you know how it goes.  Maybe I’m just dreaming.

So, I’m curious.  What kind of writing do you do?  What kind of notebooks do you use? I’d love to hear! 🙂

Shari 🙂

Why Aren’t I Writing? I Have Some Issues. . .

The first winter storm of the season has arrived to northern Minnesota with a welcoming sense of relief.  The blazing fires just north of us  subsided just yesterday, and the war zone-ish land along with charred buildings and trees can at least be hidden by snow, if only for a brief time, till some of the pain subsides.

School is cancelled.  Inner joy day for me.  This means I have a day to “catch up” at home.  Laundry piled high, dirty bathrooms and a good day for baking. . . but deep down in my core, I’m mostly being called to write.

I have not written on my blog for almost a month.  School started.  Whether a teacher or a literacy coach, the profession is all-consuming.  I vowed not to let this happen, yet I did.

But, today, I have to write.  I’m being given this day.

I’m going to write, I tell myself.

The house quiet, the snow falling.  My notebooks overflowing with some nuggets of gold in there, each screaming to be chosen by me to write about today.

Being given the perfect conditions for a writing day, I am still not writing.

Why, I wonder,  aren’t I writing?  What’s holding me back?

What really IS my problem???

As I ponder this, I’m recognizing the issues.  Several blockades are getting in my way.  The most prominent of these is being a highly sensitive person, not just in an emotional sense, but in all my senses.

First and foremost, a  prerequisite to all of my happiness. . . is heat.  This nosedive to 34 degrees (from 84, just 4 days ago) is a shock to my poptarts.  I gather my belongings (notebooks, books, laptop, tea)  and decide to climb into my warm bed.  I’ll do my writing here.  Getting snuggled in so that napping does not seem more pleasurable than writing is tricky here.  However, I’ve spent many a day writing in bed before, I know it can be done.  A nap later on will probably be necessary from all the hard writing I’m going to be doing.

Set up takes some time. Pillows need to be positioned appropriately.  Is the flat pillow best under my laptop, or none?  If my wrists get sore because they are up too high, I’ll get cranky and stop writing.  I debate. I pull the pillow out.

I need a softer blanket.  This one that covers myself, to keep warm, is stiff and kinda scratchy.  I get up to search for the log cabin quilt that my mother and I made.  The flannel strips, cut from work shirts of my dad’s and my husband’s bring me warmth, comfort and safeness as I cover my lap.  I smile.  K, I’m ready.

Type away, baby!

Let ‘er rip!

Tell that story!

Geez, what IS that smell?

My hyper sensitive nose is a gift, but also a curse.  It can always sense what’s been going on while I’ve been away (gun cleaning on the dining room table, fish cleaning in the kitchen) or not been done (dirty dish rag buried under mountains of dirty dishes, a toilet that needs unplugging).  But, usually, it distracts me from getting things done as when my nose knows there is an issue, it must be solved before I am able to move on to my task at hand.

I decide to get a candle from way upstairs above the garage in my studio.  Citron Basil.  I search for matches and once lit, I gently arrange a spot for it on my night stand.  (First, I am distraught by the newly piled clutter on my nightstand, so I have to clean this off.)  I grab the lavender linen spray and pump a couple of squirts over my bedding.  Both of these, a band-aid approach to the smell, I know.  But, I’m hoping it will detour my nose until my writing is done.

There, now let’s write.  I’m thinking about topic choice today and had planned on writing about the transition from fall to a sudden winter.  Let’s go with that.

It’s really blowing out there now. . . the wind is just a howlin. . .

My stomach growls.  Geez, I just ate a couple of hours ago, and I’m already hungry. This is a problem with being at home.  You can satisfy these callings quite easily with a kitchen at hand.  I climb out of bed, hike off to scrounge up some food and settle on a couple of slices of toast with some sensuous farmer’s market orange rhubarb jam.  Mmm. . . better get some more tea, too, while I’m here.  Save time.  I can’t be wasting time, you know.

I settle back into bed and am a little perturbed that this annoying scent is back.  It smells of someone who hasn’t taken a bath for quite some time.  It’s gotta be my sheets.  I get up and strip the bed.  Take all the pillow cases off the pillows (all 7 of them, yes, I sleep with 4, husband with 3, that’s another story).  I dig for new sheets and cases and make the bed so all is fresh.  Quilts back on.  Perfect.  Gotta love fresh bedding.

Now, where the heck was I?  For Pete’s Sake.  It’s already 9:30.

The front door slams out front.  My 19-year-old daughter enters from her 5:30 shift as a waitress.  She is giddy with glee because of the snow.  She allows Sandy in and they are both gallivanting throughout the house like a houseful of children at a birthday party.  After a small tornado in the kitchen, from her breakfast creations, she barrels into my bedroom to voice that she is NOT happy because the college has decided NOT to cancel classes and my school has.

“I can’t help that, hon,” I say.

“Well, it’s not fair!”

She packs up her backpack and hikes off to her politics class.

I shoo Sandy back outside.

All I can think is, “Thank the Universe for not canceling college today.”

Back to writing.  Now, you’d think I’d be giving up by now, but no.  I have all day.  I carry on.  I’m just not a quitter, you know.

It’s still quite chilly in my bedroom and my fingers begin that numbing whine of, “I can’t do this anymore until you get me some heat.”  Ughh.  I check the thermostat and notice it was turned down to 67.  67!  Now, this can only be the work of my husband who is highly conservative when it comes to heat.  I decide to crank it up.  Just for a while.

Up in my studio above the garage is also a little space heater.  I decide this is a necessary device for my bedroom this morning just to give it a little head start since the heat will take a little while to kick in.  I also change my socks.  I figured that it’s time to dig out my Smart wool.  My ankles were a little frosty.

It’s toasty now.  My fingers will be happy.  I won’t be, though, if they don’t produce something here.

I carry on, but more of the same ensues.

The front door slams again and Gracie barges back into my bedroom.

“Class was cancelled!”

“Haha.” I chuckle.

“There was a sign on the classroom door.  I don’t know why she couldn’t have emailed us!  Oh well, I’m gonna clean my room today, and Sandy’s gonna help and then I’m gonna make Pumpkin Spice cookies and decorate them with orange cream cheese frosting!”

Off she skips.

Oh my.  Expect kitchen clean up later.

And on it continues. . .

A large oak tree branch from a dead tree falls on the roof with a crash.  I have to get up and seek out the damage.  Squirrels outside my window are digging ferociously for acorns now buried under the new blanket of snow.  I watch this for a while and wonder when they will have enough stored up.  Music is now blaring from Gracie’s room.

I really need to get some decent writing done.

My fingers are just weeping at what is coming out.

Maybe it will quiet down around here later on.

Maybe I should do laundry.

Then. . . the power goes out.

I take a nap.  It’s a good day for a nap.

Maybe I’m not supposed to write today.

Ann Cameron calls this procrastination.  Steven Pressfield says it’s resistance.  Nancy Slonim Aronic:  lack of discipline.  I say it’s all of the above, with a touch of ADD.

All I know is that I had most of my day to write, and I didn’t write much.

Well, I did write this post.  I guess that’s something.

Again, my fingers weep at what comes out.

Listening to My Vulnerability

I am lacking some pretty serious direction today. Kinda feeling heavy, stuck, and frustrated. So, I grab my jug of coffee and trudge up to my studio to see what whispers I might receive about what avenue to take next.

I turn on my Pandora Helen Jane Long Radio station, burn some sage (for cleansing all that junk in my mind) and just sit.  Breathe.  Breathe again.  One more time.

I am anxious.  I can’t listen to the message if I’m anxious.  Well, I usually get this way towards the middle end of July.  I am a literacy coach and the summer is over half gone.  My todo list has, ummmmm, well. . . one thing crossed off.  That would be my 2 week vacation of solitude.

And, of course, I’ve started some new things that have to do with writing and art.  My soul craves to keep that creative part of me growing, yet my rational mind is thinking about the things that need to be done around the house yet, and planning New Teacher Training in  August.  Work is creeping into my creative brain.

But, more than any of these things causing anxiety today, is my body.

K – I’m sorry for complaining here, but, I feel like crap.  Getting carried away writing and painting and reading cause me to retreat inward and then I lack of consistent, vigorous exercise.  I’m talking more than the half hour walk with the dog.  I’m drinking way too much coffee lately and not enough water.  Meals?  Not telling.  It’s summer!  Grilling and an evening drink so hand in hand with summer, right?

Well, maybe not hand in hand with this body.

This body is screaming for attention.  My joints ache, my skin hurts even, my back feels out of whack and my stomach is acting up, not liking the garlic and onions I put in my food last night.

Why is it that it seems like when you finally feel at a good place with your mind and spirit, the body cries.  I’m afraid that if I get all hooked on exercise and the health track, my mind and time will be consumed with this and peaceful mind and spirit with suffer.  I’ve been obsessed with exercise and every bite of  food I put in my mouth before and I just am so not there anymore.  So much of it was vanity and my ego – so I let it all go when I figured that out.

So, how do I get back to a healthy balance?

I have lacked balance my whole life.

So, I check my emails before I write this morning.  I should not do that, I know.  Write first.  And then. . . worse than that, I check face book.  Another no-no if you are trying to write every  morning, first thing.

But, the message came through face book this morning.  A friend had posted this picture on their wall:

Thank you, Debbie May, for finding this for me today from Jenny’s blog.

Vulnerability.  This word described me to the T this morning.  I clicked on it and soaked up Jenny’s words.

And cried.

Do you do that when someone’s post touches your soul so deeply?  I often think I’m a pathetic mush, but, I’ve realized that when I cry, it’s my soul either crying is sadness or gladness.  This was gladness.  Because Jenny gave me the direction I needed today.

Jenny wrote about her transformation through fitness and how it’s guiding her creativity and her life.

My soul was screaming, “I wanna be fit! Your entire being will align if you feel better physically, Shari! Do something!  Do it today!”

Well, I didn’t have to concentrate to hard to get that message.   And, I don’t have to go too far for help.  My daughter, Lauren, is a personal trainer.  She is the epitome of commitment and strength.  I have never seen someone so dedicated to fitness and health.

She doesn’t live far from me either.   She still lives at home with me.  In my house.  Who is blessed enough to have a personal trainer live with them??????

Lauren is constantly giving me advice as to what I should eat, how I should eat, what exercise would help me the most.  I listen to her sometimes.  She doesn’t hound me.  She often tells me, “It’s a good thing you don’t pay me!”  I’ve told her I should get her services for free since she lives here, but. . .I’m her worst client.

Maybe I need to start paying her.

Maybe it’s time I’m serious about my health.

If I pay her, I’ll feel guilty if I DON’T listen to her.  So, today, I’m asking her for help.  And, I’m paying for it.

Sometimes, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness, right?

Shari