Let Go of Trying to Be Noticed

Less of Me

Today, I’m reblogging a reblog from a blog I love.

Can I do that?  Are there rules?

Well, I am.  It’s just too good to not share with as many people as I can. It’s a topic of concern with my own self and I’m hearing nudges from other like-minded souls that it’s theirs, too.  I will write more on it later, but for now, savor the words of Heather and Mark Nepo.

From Heather at soberboots.com:

This morning I read this and thought I heard God say, “This is better than any blog post you could write today. Post this and go jog instead.”

I harrumphed, and then agreed. Yet another way to quit deeper, right? I hope you get as much from this as I did.

Much of our anxiety and inner turmoil comes from living in a global culture whose values drive us from the essence of what matters. At the heart of this is the conflict between the outer definition of success and the inner value of peace.

Unfortunately, we are encouraged, even trained, to get attention when the renewing secret of life is to give attention. From performing well on tests to positioning ourselves for promotions, we are schooled to believe that to succeed we must get attention and be recognized as special, when the threshold to all that is extraordinary in life opens only when we devote ourselves to giving attention, not getting it. Things come alive for us only when we dare to see and recognize everything as special.

The longer we try to get attention instead of giving it, the deeper our unhappiness. It leads us to move through the world dreaming of greatness, needing to be verified at every turn, when feelings of oneness grace us only when we verify the life around us. It makes us desperate to be loved, when we sorely need the medicine of being loving.

One reason so many of us are lonely in our dream of success is that instead of looking for what is clear and true, we learn to covet what is great and powerful. One reason we live so far from peace is that instead of loving our way into the nameless joy of spirit, we think fame will soothe us. And while we are busy dreaming of being a celebrity, we stifle our need to see and give and love, all of which opens us to the true health of celebration.

It leaves us with these choices: fame or peace, be a celebrity or celebrate being, work all our days to be seen or devote ourselves to seeing, build our identity on the attention we can get or find our place in the beauty of things by the attention we can give–Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

Mark Nepo is a cancer survivor, a poet, and philosopher. He’s not a Christian, nor is he in recovery that I’m aware of. But God speaks to me a lot through his writings.

BAM:  When we feel the need to BE noticed, turn it around and instead, BE the NOTICER.

Please God,

Show more of yourself, so there will be Less of Me.

Let that marinate.

Shari 🙂

 

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 🙂

 

 

 

 

Settling Into A New Writing Space

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It’s officially summer.  This means that I make the move from my “in-the-house” writing space, (which is really the bedroom of my daughter who is at college) to my sanctuary, a studio room above the garage. We do not heat the room above the garage, so every fall I migrate to the indoors to write and create.  It’s always a sad move saying goodbye to my own personal sanctuary, but the move back to this space in the summer is a filling of my heart and soul as I greet my home.  I feel the layers of the winter’s old energies melt off of me once I am back to the studio.

Stacey Shubitz shared her writing area at Two Writing Teachers a couple of weeks ago and this inspired me to share mine.  Seeing others’ sacred space is a visual inspiration that gets juices flowing to clean up our own spaces.  Or, move to another one.

Let me tell you about my space.  It’s not fancy, but it works for me.

The table is one of those $35.00 tables you can buy at Walmart.  It’s white and we have several that we’ve used for graduations.  I’ve draped it with a small quilt I made years ago.  I love the softness of it.  The quilt also is a reminder to me to slow down (examining the small stitches around each Log Cabin block does this).  When my kids were small, I did a lot of hand quilting ~ for therapy mostly.  Hand quilting calmed me and was my creative outlet.

The chair is a lawn chair.  A comfy one because I sit on a pillow and cover the arms with a fleece blanket.  Again, cozy cozy.  Comfort, a priority if I’m going to sit myself down to write.

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A writing alter sits before me, each object having significance in my space.  Always, a candle is lit.  A lit candle is a reminder that my own light shine through in my writing.  I prefer sage candles as they tend to clear any negative energy as well, but right now, my sage candle is spent.  My back up candle here is creamy vanilla and it makes me hungry for cake.  Not a good thing when you are trying to write.  Note to self:  buy more sage candles.

Also here, is my writing angel.  I call her in and she sits by my side. Archangel Gabrielle is the angel of communication.  If I ask, she helps me to quiet Bernice (my mind) and all of the insecurities that hold me back.

You will also see a heart with wings, made from clay, sit upon my alter.  I am a touchy-feely person and holding this heart and saying a prayer to God to allow me to speak from the heart is so important.  If I know I am speaking from the heart, I do not worry so much about what others think of my words on the page.


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There are inspirational messages tacked up on my walls of my writing space and tissues for when tears penetrate through my writing (love it when that happens).  A small notebook is handy as it holds some snippets of words from other writers that caught my eye.  These words find their way into my writing.

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Of course, I get stuck when not knowing what to write about. Collecting tidbits for ideas is an obsession for me.  I tack them on my bulletin board, toss them into a flower pot and save newspaper clippings in an envelope.  Most of the time, I write about something pressing on my mind at the time, but quite often, I need to just pick something and see where it takes me.

There are two other spaces that I need to get set up in my sanctuary. One is for art journaling/painting and the other for sewing.  I tend to have to jump between these creative outlets.  When I’m stuck in one, I navigate over to the other.  But most of my time is here, writing.

I’m anxious for the words that will come from this space this summer. (smile)

Shari 🙂

The Sunday Gathering: Reading From the Week That Sticks With Me

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Reading is like breathing for me.  If a person is going to write, a reader they ought to be as well.

Sunday is the perfect day to reflect on all of those words and do some thinking about how to put them into action in my life – personally or in my work. Sometimes, this is one in the same.

As an educator, I read somewhere that it is our obligation to share what we learn with others.  Keeping it to ourselves only helps so many individuals.  By sharing it – who knows how far the inspiration goes?

Below is a gathering of some of the reading I did this week that I’m pondering on today.  Get some coffee and reflect along with me and let me know if any of it resonates with you as well. 🙂

Jessica Serran, an artist, guide and psycho-cartographer, blogs about owning your value and your gifts.  Mmmmmm. . . LOVE that.

Over at Circles of Faith, Elise Daly Parker shares a snippet from Holly Gerth’s latest book, You’re Going To Be Okay.  Holly writes about her grandpa’s life of serving and connecting with others.  Another book gets added to my Amazon cart! 🙂

My neice, Micara Link, writes about her panic attacks and shares how she now recognizes these attacks as her body’s way of speaking to her about needing more self-care.  She lists her key tools in her tool box to keep self-care in check. This young lady has shifted my soul in many ways.

I’m working through Jeff Goin’s Tribe Writers e-course and one big thing he writes about to build your tribe in order to share your writing is to create mouth watering anticipation.  Wow.  How do you do that?   Then, I came across Elisabeth’s Ellington’s blog at the dirigible plum.  Every Sunday, she creates a blog entry to round up her online reading from the week.  I anticipate it as I know her choices are ones I will savor and learn from.  So, I’m taking a lesson from her and creating my own Sunday list of readings.  Ta-da! Anticipation!!  Thank you, Elisabeth, for being a mentor blog for me and giving me the inspiration I needed today! 🙂

A teaching blog I follow faithfully is Blogging Through The Fourth Dimensions. Pernille Ripp writes from a deep and thoughtful place about the invisible children in her classroom.  It’s a thinker.

For a laugh, my childhood friend, Val, started a blog this fall to chronicle the issues we women have in our mid-life struggles.  I giggle at her stories because I live them, too.  I hear her voice in her writing and I’m anxiously waiting for her next entry.

Hope you find peace and love in your Sunday  and in the week that follows.

Be amazing ~

Shari 🙂

Where Writing Comes From

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Awakened by a high pitched whine outside my bedroom door, I cover my head and burrow back into my flannel sheets and quilts.  Saturday mornings are reserved for sleeping in past 6:30, but being the lone human at home this morning, it would be my duty to wake up to Sandy’s calling.

As I shuffle to the biffy first, Sandy follows me.  I sit down and and I receive morning kisses – dog licks on my chin and nose.

“Yes, yes, I’m happy to see you, too,” I smile.

After this reassurance, she rushes into the bedroom to see if her master is awake.  She returns after noticing his absence.  Ice fishing called his name this weekend and Sandy was left behind.  Up and down the hallway she paces.

“Wanna go outside?” I ask her.

Her tail wagging in gear three and jumping means an absolutely “YES!”  Opening the door, she bursts out, galloping over to the woods.

“Sheesh!” I mutter to myself, shaking my head. “How can she be so wound up in the morning?”

I venture off to the kitchen to make some coffee and wrinkle my nose in disgust.  Dishes fill the sink and tracings of yesterday clutter the table.  A full day yesterday at work and exhaustion upon arriving home meant a little reading and right to bed for me.  I pay the price today.

“You need to get this cleaned up before you start anything,” Bernice scolds.

“Well,  it’s going to have to wait,” I tell her, “I have writing to do.

She frowns.  I’m getting really good at talking back to my ego mind.

I fill my cup with coffee and head up to my sanctuary, having no idea  what I might write about today.  However, I know, from daily writing, that if I show up to write, something will come.

A candle is lit. My inspiration playlist gently fills my ears.  I rustle through my pens to choose the perfect one that wants to write for me today.  My notebook opens to a blank page.

Okay. I’m ready.

And, I sit.

My eyes close and I breathe, hand placed over the page.  Deep breaths, breathing in this moment.  Stillness.

“Give me something – something. . . ” I ask.

The trees outside are swaying wickedly as I gaze out the window above my desk.  The sun pops in and out of clouds.  The light so bright I have to squint my eyes.

“Wow! I have not seen that much brightness for awhile!” I say to myself out loud, the spring sun a gift.

The heat kicks in.  A vent on the floor to my right forces warmth up my way.

“M-m-m-m-m . . . this is heaven. . . the sun, the heat.”  I savor it.

Adelle’s turn to sing on my playlist.  Her words?

“Make you feel my love. . .”

I breathe again.  Angel arms wrap around me.  I shut my eyes and smile, a tear squeaking out, feeling His greatness.

“Thank you.  Yes,” I praise.

And, I put my pen to the page.

Notice, Name It and Pay A Compliment

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“Learning to compliment others well is a real art. . . receiving any kind of positive feedback (about writing) feels good.  Receiving a compliment that gets to the heart of what one was trying to do (as a writer) feels amazing.”

These words marinate in my brain this morning upon reading them in today’s Slice of Life Day #4 Challenge ~ words from Anna Grotz Cockerille’s post, in how we can teach our kids how to compliment one another’s writing.

Lucy Calkins,  Donald Graves and Donald Murray teach us to notice something positive that the writer did and name it for them.  I begin to think about the teachers in my school who are busy as elves today getting ready for parent/teacher conferences tonight after school.  Some are ready and confident.  Some are anxious and worry.  All are amazing in their own unique ways.

“But, do they know that?”  I wonder.

Not only is it important for us to notice and compliment our writers, but it’s equally and more important to pay attention, notice, name and compliment what others do as humans.  How often do we pay attention to the positive actions others do?  And, if we do take our heads outside of ourselves for a moment to be aware of what’s going on around us and notice it, do we give that someone a compliment SAYING we noticed?

Receiving a compliment that says “You’re awesome” is nice, but the most meaningful compliment is when someone takes the time to let you know they’ve noticed something specific that you did – and named it for you.

That’s authentic.

It’s real.

It’s the evidence that supports our awesomeness and you know what?  Those are the messages our ego needs to hear.

I noticed a teacher being awesome today.  She confronted another adult when she disagreed with something that was going on.  It took bravery to do that.  I’ve seen her be brave like this before.  I’m awed by her.  I told her so today.  I don’t know many adults that go right to the source of a problem when they have one.  She does.

She deserved to be noticed and to be complimented on that – specifically.

I don’t know about you, but my ego doesn’t always believe, “You’re awesome.”

Ego usually says to me, “Yeah, right.  What did you do? I know frosting on poop when I see it.”

But, now, when someone gives me evidence?  That gives me PROOF.

I can then say, “HA!  Take THAT, Bernice!  See? I AM awesome!!”  (btw. . . Bernice is my ego, just incase you didn’t know.)

I challenge you to pay attention, notice and compliment not only other writers today, but other people.

My Angel of Love

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Life Book 2014 Lesson for Week 9 arrived in my email inbox this week.  I stared at it and already knew that I was not going to be able to complete this lesson this week.  Just like I didn’t complete Week 8, or Week 7, or Week 6.

I joined Life Book 2014 this year because I love to art journal, but I don’t make time for it, allowing “real life” to take over most of my time.  The bliss I feel when actually creating in my art journals is pure heaven.  The world disappears and my soul is nourished.  Early on, a disciplined student was I, Weeks 1-3 were completed. Now, the lessons sit idle, waiting for me.

Writing is different.  I write every day, even if it’s only for 10 minutes.  My hang up is making it public.  Fear of putting too much out there, looking like I’m self-promoting or needing attention, or being judged are issues I wrestle with on a daily basis.  This is why I joined the Slice of Life Challenge for March ~ and hope to “put something out there” every day this month, so that it feels natural to do so.

I fear not being able to keep up with it every day, just like my Life Book class.  Who can have something worthwhile to share with the world every single day for an entire month?

A fellow facebook writer friend today told me that I have things worthwhile to say.  Her words were savored by me ~ she probably had no idea how much I needed them right then and there.

How many times have we felt that our words didn’t matter?  That our voice would not be heard even if we spoke up?  Well, it’s not true.  Our words make a difference.  Even, if it’s for only one person.  That one person who needs those words at that one time, so that’s why we write.

I’m sharing my art journal page from my first Life Book 2014 lesson this year.  She is my Angel of Love.  She is a symbol for my WOTY, which is Love.  Gazing at her, she reminds me, to love my work, love my art, love to share my message and that it matters.

What the Internet is Doing To My Productivity

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What the Internet Has Done To My Productivity

There are currently 11 tabs open on my mac.  Before 10:00 am.  (Yes, this is a fragment.  I know.  I’m making a statement.)

It’s Saturday morning, 6:45 am.  A rediculous -26 degrees below zero in frigid northern MN.  I’m thinking that I am going to get a boatload of tasks checked of my to-do list today because I’m not stepping foot out into that danger zone outside.  Cleaning, writing, school work, decorate the tree and maybe even begin some Christmas baking.  I’ve got English Toffee on my mind.

Because of the mouse that I BELIEVE ran across my face this morning as I was pulling out my REMs at 6:30am, I first go to my facebook page and post this trauma to my status.  Childhood friends console me.  Teaching colleagues and relatives were as mortified as I was.  Former students from my first year teaching appear to reminisce.  Community friends offer solutions:  peppermint oil or cats.  My daughter scolds me in that I need to wash my bedding.

Knowing I should NOT log onto facebook before noon on a Saturday, yet realizing I’ve already broken my cardinal rule, I continue to peruse facebook status’, commenting and clicking on intriguing links that grab my now distracted mind.

A fb friend posts Steven Pressfield’s Writing Wednesday post on  Managing Your Time.  Whoa.  That is the Universe speaking to ME right now, so I’d better surf over there and find out how to best do that!

Pressfield relives a narrative that makes me chuckle because I live the same one, but these are the words that I write down to remember from his post:

“You have to run your day. You can’t let your day run you.

 You must roll out of bed each morning with an unshakeable focus and intention. Your novel, your start-up, your movie. That’s your day. That’s why you’re here.

 You can’t yield to distractions and temptations. You must be like the Blues Brothers.

 You’re on a mission from God.

 Who is in charge of your day? You are!”

Ok.  He is right.  As soon as I get off here, I’m going to start some writing.  But first, I’m going to tweet this blog post on Twitter.  It’s too good to lose and others will benefit from his wise words.  Pressfield wrote the War on  Art. The man speaks volumes. He knows a thing or two about productivity and resistance.

Once on Twitter, I come upon a tweet that has caught my attention.  Cathy Mere tweets that everyone should take time to read the tweets on #nerdlutions.  “Hmmm. . . what is this?  I’d better check this out as it must be too good to miss.” I click my way over there.

I believe “#nerdlutions” was started by Christopher Lehman, but perhaps the term was derived by Colby Sharp, but I’m not 100 percent sure, needing to give credit to where credit is due.  It seems “#nerdlutions” is defined as committing to doing something or some things for 50 days.  There are no rules.  Just make sure it makes you happy.

Of course, I’m a sucker for these things.  I’m in.  Being a part of this amazing  Twitter community is the draw.

I commit to 30 minutes of writing and 30 minutes of “moving my body in some form of exercise” every day.

 I’d better retweet this and I’ll pin it to my Pinterest wall as one of my blog posts to read over and over so I don’t forget about it.

Whoa, stop the trains – once at Pinterest,  after pinning this blog post, of course other pinners who have pinned this to their wall as well, pop up.  My mind tells me that these are “like-minded” souls, so I need to check out their walls.

I click on a pin that pulls me in.  It leads me to Brainpickings, a site that I have become lost in before.  Uh-oh.  Don’t know if I should be here this morning, but I’m already astray.  The post I’m called to is by Maria Popova and titled,

The Psychology of Getting Unstuck: How to Overcome the “OK Plateau” of Performance & Personal Growth”,

 which leads me to a book, Maximize Your Potential, by Joshua Foer.  These words from the blog post resinate in my mind for awhile and a rereading in necessary:

“In the 1960s, psychologists identified three stages that we pass through in the acquisition of new skills. We start in the “cognitive phase,” during which we’re intellectualizing the task, discovering new strategies to perform better, and making lots of mistakes. We’re consciously focusing on what we’re doing. Then we enter the “associative stage,” when we’re making fewer errors, and gradually getting better. Finally, we arrive at the “autonomous stage,” when we turn on autopilot and move the skill to the back of our proverbial mental filing cabinet and stop paying it conscious attention.”

The problem most of us have is staying stuck in “autopilot”.  By staying in our comfort zone, we tend to ‘cease to care about improving’.  Our mind tells us, “Ah, this is good enough.” I begin to think about the areas in my life I am on autopilot on and which areas need some improvement.

After savoring this post, I navigate over to Amazon to toss the book into my cart.

I don’t think I have to tell you what happens once I get there.

After losing two hours, I shut my laptop, I begin to wonder if I am crazy.  Am I alone in this world of distraction?  Are there others out there that are not able to accomplish their daily to-do list because of our online communities and getting lost in the internet playground.  I know I can’t be alone.  I ponder that if this is a struggle for me, an educated adult, what are our children going through?

I glance over to my bookshelves next to my desk.  A book seems to pop out at me.

The Shallows:  What the Internet is Doing To Our Brains by Nicholas Carr.    I don’t even remember buying this book.  I pull it off the shelf and realize I need to read this today.

After I post this to my blog today, an “unplugging” for the remainder of the weekend is in order.  I have things to do.  My mind needs a rest.  My husband will be home soon as ask me how my day was and what I did.  I’d better get something done, fast.

I might sleep with a sleeping bag on the dining room table tonight.  I don’t think mice can climb table legs.  You might say they can’t climb bed legs either, but when you blankets creep off to the floor, this creates a nice ladder for the little varmints to climb.

Did I mention I ran out of my decaf beans and perhaps ground caffeinated ones instead?  They were displayed in an unmarked glass jar.

Explains a lot.

Shaken ~ By A Coffee Shop Employee

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I’m blessed to be able to travel to Ohio a couple of times a year for training at Ohio State University for my job as a literacy coach.  I travel alone and to be honest, I love spending time with myself alone.  The traveling is a bonus.

The mornings in Ohio are glorious.  Temperatures about 30 degrees warmer than MInnesota, the sun rises and warms the sky to wrap around you and just fill you with bliss.  My rental car, a spiffy little Chevy Cruz (a change from my big Trailblazer)  hugs the curves of the road as I drive about 15 miles to my destination.  The radio stays set at 104.9, The River, a Christian radio station that touches my soul each morning.  Yum.  Life is good.

Each morning in Columbus, on my way to training,  I swing by a Caribou Coffee shop for a large dark decaf, two shots of hazelnut syrup and steamed, whipped skim milk. ( M-m-m-m, just writing that makes me miss Ohio)  The drive through line always long, so I end up parking my car and walking inside to order.

One particular day, after placing my order and paying, I slide along the counter to wait at the end for my drink to be ready for pick up.  The gal who takes the order is never the maker of the order. She gives the order to this big, burly, 20 something year old guy who does all the coffee fixings.  I’m watching him and waiting, hoping he gets it right.

He hands me my cup and states, “Here’s your coffee.”

“Yay!” I’m rejoicing.  Happy day!  Life can begin now!

Then. . . I think, and I ask, “Is it decaf?” just to be sure.  I’ve been handed a regular coffee before, after a decaf request, and my body and mind do not sit well downing all that unintentional caffeine, so I NEED to double check.  Always.

“What?” he asks, looking at me confused.

“Is it decaf?” I ask again, a little clearer and a little louder.  Maybe he has a hearing problem, I don’t know.

He looks at me strange, then glances over at the gal who took the order and she says to him, “Yes, it’s decaf.”

He then, reports to me, “Yes, it’s decaf.”

“Thank you!” I tell him and I smile, taking my coffee and heading towards to door, all happy and warm inside.  Life is wonderful!

How could a morning be any better than this?  A perfect coffee, amazing weather, and an opportunity for me to engage in trainings that expand my mind and connect with other literacy coaches?  Honestly, I am so lucky!

Upon approaching the door, I then, hear the burly man say to the ordering gal, “Is this decaf???” in this loud, mimicing, obnoxious voice.

I stop dead in my tracks.  Jolted, I look over at him and he’s chuckling to her.  She looks at me with a “I don’t know him,” look.

What? I caught that.

Seriously?  In shock, I have trouble making my feet go forward.

My mind is asking, “Did that just happen?”

I am shaken.

As I walk to my car, stunned over this episode of pure disrespect for another’s well being, I almost forget where I am, what time it is and what I am doing there.  I manage to get inside the car and just sit there for a moment.  I take some deep breaths.

And then, I cry.

For Pete’s Sake.

“Really, Shar? You are going to let some idiot allow to enter your state of mind and wreck the flow of glorious love you are feeling?  What’s wrong with you?  He is not worth your energy or thoughts!  Shake this off!  Get a grip!”

I’m angry at myself for letting others affect me in this way.  I thought I had moved beyond this.  I’m an adult.  I can take a little criticism.  But, it’s the years of teasing in my elementary and early high school years that come flooding back.  Once a target for teasing, if that thorn is not yanked out, a little brushing up against it causes all the pain to come rushing back.  The pain is raw.

Or, (my mind running rampant now) is it that fact that I’m not some cute little young thing? I’m a middle aged, late 40ish, woman, who means nothing to this younger generation.  Ignored, unnoticed and unappreciated.  I’ll bet he would not mimic a cute 20 year old, like my daughters Gracie or Lauren.

I hate how the mind works in these situations.

I then realize that I have to write this down.  These disturbances within us are cause for a deeper exploration.  I don’t want to lose it, as uncomfortable as it is, I need to get to the root of why this stranger’s remarks can hurt me in such a way.

I drive to my training site and sit down next to a friend.  She asks how I am.  My story creeps out of me.  She looks at me with feelings of empathy and pain and tries to lift my spirits as women friends do.  “What an jerk,” she reassures me.  Then she asks, “Did you say something to him?  You should have, you know.”

Ughhh.  I know.  Now I’m even more perturbed with myself because I could not be calm enough to take a stand and say something in defense of myself.  What’s wrong with me?  I’m a mature, strong person?  Dang.  Double Dang.  I missed a major opportunity to practice standing up for myself. I’m so weak, I tell myself.

And then, this amazing thing happens.

Our topic of study in training that day?  Persuasive writing.  We dig into our memories of unjust acts towards us, how we might make the world a better place for all and putting our words on paper for the appropriate audience to make changes where change is due.

Boy, did I have stuff to write.

The Caribou Coffee shop manager was going to receive a letter from me explaining my experience.  I voiced how I did not want this nimbusul fired, but that I just wanted to make sure that they trained all their employees to treat their customers with the utmost dignity and respect.  For heaven’s sakes, the coffee shop people are often the first humans others speak to in the morning.  Their energy emits a tone for the entire day!  It should be their JOB to spread light to all they come into contact with!

Synchronicity again. The occasion happened to ready me for several opportunities, not just persuasive writing.  But, to examine what is deep inside of me that needs to be healed, and to awaken me to the fact that I need to work on wordage to stand up for myself and for others when unkind acts take place (without being a bitch ~ there is a line, you know.  However, Madonna says you have to be a bitch to get things done).

All I know is, I refuse to be a wimp anymore.  I will build my character.  Grow.  Teach others what it means to be kind and have compassion.

Maybe those idiots just don’t know. . .

Maybe their lives are far worse off than our own.

Sadly, because of their ignorance, I now, will get my coffee from Starbucks.