Starting Over

The past two months have brought upheaval, a realization of failure and a renewal of discovery. That’s a lot.

 In the past two months I have closed most of my writing business and dropped all the networking, business development, and business meet-ups. Nothing was working. I was losing money every month and my savings couldn’t take much more depletion. I’m now running on near empty.

 The last straw that made me snap was when my business development group moved to a new location and I couldn’t find it. I drove around for about a half hour trying to locate the right building and didn’t find it. That one little thing made me write an email to the leader and say, “I’m done. My business is failing and I’m done trying to hide that fact.”

 No amount of development would fix it, so FULL STOP was my answer. Partial list:

  • Aforementioned business development classes – done, but they offered me guest status.
  • My Chamber of Commerce membership was up so I didn’t renew.
  • My membership in a Construction Referral Group was up, again no renewal. They also offered me guest status.
  • I dropped my Profit Through Life Purpose group, even though I really wanted to do that one.
  • Didn’t renew a major business networking group ($700 a year’s worth of wasted time and money. I would write about the jerk in charge of that one, but he would probably sue me. I’ll have to disguise it.)
  • Business meetup once a month for Business Startups – done.

 I quit everything.

 Except two: my weekly fitness class, and my life coach. I think of both as life strengthening and affirming. I also got a job cashiering at Home Depot to help fill in the financial gaps as I retool and rethink business or job or whatever is next. This blog is part of the retooling and I wouldn’t be writing at all if it were not for Kate.

 I didn’t find Kate; she found me. Last fall I attended a conference of all women vendors and speakers. Kate was a vendor and I tossed my card in for a drawing prize of 3 free sessions with her and won. (I also won a free analysis of my handprint which was also amazing and will be part of this blog at some point.) Both wins have been instrumental in my forward movement in self-discovery. Both totally unexpected, unplanned, and unsettling.

 (Change is hard. You go first.)

 We did the three sessions and really wanted to continue. She uses a method of analysis for the saboteurs and sages each person has living in their heads. I’ve bounced around all over the place and she always seems to ask the right questions to get me positioned in front of an answer that makes the most sense. It’s not necessarily right or wrong, but it makes sense after looking at the situation a new way. Or realizing just how much I have sabotaged myself year after year, and that I can change the patterns with discovery and awareness.

 That’s what I want to write about now. I’ll do the politics and progressive writing somewhere else, but here I want to explore Me. Lynn. Friend to many, but unknown to most, especially myself. I don’t know what to expect, but I’m doing it anyway.

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Aside

Quick explanation of why I am an atheist.

This is an expansion of a comment I made on string about why people are atheists. The article was in the NY Times today.

Here y’are:

I have read that there have been about 30,000 gods worshipped at some time in recorded human history. Each was revered and believed in at that time, but dropped as time passed and knowledge took the place of superstition. In time, Christianity will take its place among the myths and the Christian/Jewish god will also land in the Olympus Retirement Home for Gods.

My Christian friends declare their belief in the One God and no other. So they do not believe in the other 29,999 from history. I have come to reject all 30,000 gods. Just one more than my buddies who hold to their patriarchal monotheistic religions and their one god. Just one more.

I feel that as humans we need community and that our instincts lead us to do what makes us feel good within that community. We strive for a feeling of wholeness and goodness which most often comes in service to others in some way. We each use our talents to contribute and feel good. We feel love from friends and give love to select others. We love nature and its beauty because it makes us feel good and humbled in the presence of greatness. That striving and sharing and connection is to me what makes up a meaningful life and a non-religion based spirituality.

A concept of judgmental, jealous god too often interferes with the meaningful part of all that. That’s why I choose to be a non-believer, but reserve the right to be spiritual in a secular, humanistic way.

Spirit is not God. Spirit is all of us. We don’t need a god to seek meaning or find hope. We don’t need a church to participate in our communities and find connections that make us feel good and whole. Opportunities are all around us to create meaning and fullness in our lives without the need to worship a distant God that increasing leaves us with emptiness and even cruelty.

I’d rather hope for real things, connect with real people, revel in a real nature, participate in a real society where I can do some real good for real people. Isn’t that more hopeful than blind faith in one of 30,000 retired gods?

The Optimist Creed

Redirecting the negative to positive begins with a new outlook. A promise to look at the possibilities of growth and prosperity rather than constriction and lack. The Optimist Creed says exactly what I hope to do from here on.

Print and post this brilliant piece of inspiration from the past. It still applies and if more of us adopt this creed, perhaps the liberal thinkers in this country can begin a new conversation. We truly need one.

The Optimist Creed

PROMISE YOURSELF . . .
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of life and make your Optimism come true.
To think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

By Christian D. Larson
Originally published in 1912 in a book titled: “Your Forces and How to Use Them.”

The Drive-by Kissing.

I have a friend who just lost her grandmother yesterday. She and I talked at length last night about it, and what she told me was the total opposite of what I expected.

My friend is usually one who will let emotions not just wash over her but crash over her and press her into a black hole of helplessness. She told me she is the one in her family that feels the effect of changes and events the most. She’s the one bad news hits the hardest. Emotions are not half-way for her. It’s all the way sad, happy, depressed, joyful; never just a little. Whatever the emotion is, it inhabits her completely.

So last night’s conversation was a big surprise.

She said that instead of feeling completely overwhelmed by emotion the way she usually is, she wasn’t sad. She instead felt grateful for the time she had with her grandma and had no regrets about her death. She asked me repeatedly if there was something wrong with her because she wasn’t all that sad about her grandmother’s death.

Grandma was about 92 and had been ill for a few months, declining steadily toward the inevitable, so her dying was not a surprise. My friend had been visiting her regularly for the past few months, sometimes doing what she called a “drive-by kissing.” I love that.

Imagine being at home just puttering around the house and all of a sudden a bunch of people you love and see often, drop in unexpectedly for a quick hug and a kiss and then just as quickly go away and on about their business. There you are with a smile and a lot of love swirling around you. Five minutes max. That’s a Drive-by Kissing.

Well, that what she and her three kids would do. Stop in while running errands just long enough for a hug and a kiss and then be on their way. Grandma loved it, the great grand kids loved it, and my friend loved it. Win win win.

Now Grandma is gone, and my friend is remembering these good days, the drive-by kissings, and memories of a beloved woman. She has no regrets.

That might be the end of the story but for her question: Why wasn’t’ she feeling worse about this?

When I think about her I realize that her whole life has been a series of intense events with intense emotions attached to them. Her childhood and adolescence was unhappy, fraught with uncertainty, panic, and abuse, and her adult life naturally followed that same pattern. Intensity became the norm for either good or bad, mostly bad and it reflected her reality of adolescence. Everything was intense and therefore became her interpretation of what was real and true. She got stuck there.

So when her feelings and emotions are not intense, when she feels calm and happy or finds herself dealing with a new situation without panic, she questions whether it is real or correct. It’s an out of the ordinary experience and she can’t take it at face value. She had to ask me if it was okay to not feel strong sadness.

I can’t second guess anyone’s emotions, but it seemed to me on this occasion that she was actually maturing past her adolescent fixation on intensity. She was feeling genuine grief mixed with relief that her grandma was no longer ill and suffering. She expressed sadness and some tears, but not hysteria or panic. Her emotion was more real to me last night than it has been in the past because it was not tinged with that desperate intensity. It was the true person expressing joy and sadness in real time for a real person she loved and who had loved her.

I have another friend who seems to have the same way of express emotions. They have to be intense and they have to stay intense or they aren’t real. Her relationships are usually short lived and sometimes devastating. I don’t think she will find someone long term until she realizes that her need for such intensity actually keeps her emotional maturity level in adolescence. Maybe she has found that out by now and matured past it, I don’t know. I hope so.

It also made me wonder if the opposite reaction, detachment, happens for the same reasons. What is detachment? If the events causing the intensity are too hurtful, block them and escape to a safe place in your head where nothing gets close enough to hurt you. And stay there for the rest of your life because although people say they won’t hurt you, they will. So just don’t go there, except for the very few who for sure really love you.

My mother dealt with it that way, and much of the time so do I. It’s making me wonder what’s on the other side, and where the sweet spot middle point is where the emotions feel good and relationships are rewarding. Where belonging feels better than solitude. That place where I can commit to something, anything, and feel secure. How do I look for it, and where will I find it? Where did I get stuck and how can I mature past it even at my age?

My friend has no idea what her lovely comments of last night stirred up in me, but I’m grateful that she did.

Drive-by Kissing. What an absolutely, supremely sweet concept.

Playing Chicken – A simple question, an intense moment

I was holding a roasted chicken leg in my hand around 7:15 tonight, ready to take a bite when an odd, unexpected and unexplained thought stopped me. “What if you knew this was the last time you would ever eat a piece of chicken? What if it was the last thing you ever ate?”

It wasn’t morbid, just curious. But it made me open my mind.

I hesitated, noticing the spicy, warm aroma from the meat just inches from my mouth. I thanked the bird that had lived and died just so I could enjoy a meal from its body. We shared life and death in that instant – one chicken out of millions, and me, eating it. Odd, that just asking a question that implied my own death could so sharply point out the implications of another life and death in my meal. Then I brought the chicken meat closer noticing the intensity of its smell, and put it in my mouth.

The flavor became an intense secret between me and the chicken. The texture of the meat was a surprise. It was as if I had never eaten chicken before, and since I would perhaps never eat it again, it was directly sensual, immediate and intimate. And I felt gratitude for the sustenance and the pleasure, and for being alive and aware to taste it.

Biting, tasting, chewing, swallowing, smelling, breathing, digesting, being nourished, giving thanks, excreting. What begins the cycle? In that moment the entire cycle was in me, was entering me, leaving me, being me. I was the cycle. I knew the chicken, the meal the chicken ate, the agony of being killed or kept in a cage, the pleasure of scratching warm, fragrant dirt.

That moment is forever mine because asked myself a question and I stopped to be completely in the answer and in that moment. If it had been my last moment, it would have been enough for a lifetime.

Talk Thursday – Breaking Habits

Few people really know me and I have not been terribly revealing about Me-self in this blog. The following is a cryptic and incomplete synopsis of who I am and some of the habits that inhabit Me.

Baby Boomer, single, female. Born and raised in Eastern Oregon town of about 10,000 people – one-third cowboys, one-third farmers, and one-third college professors – set in the lovely and enduring Blue Mountains. Moved to Colorado November 2009 to be near my daughter, but lived in Utah for too long a time prior. Mountains have become a Happy Habit.

As a result of the Utah experience and several unexpected awakenings, I escaped the Mormon Mind-Fuck. I am now an official Ex-Mormon happily learning to cultivate the habit of enjoying each moment without guilt as a student of Buddhism (which also means I’m an atheist). I hold that fundamentalist religion, including fundamentalist Christianity, is one of the most destructive forces on the planet.

Being addicted to being ADD (or maybe that’s a habit too), I have collected disparate interests, none of which I have developed to any high degree but some of which I’m pretty at in spite of everything: Music (classically trained in voice, piano, and the woodwinds), art, politics, bellydancing, writing (technical and copywriting), cats/pets, crafts, wire and gemstone jewelry, and a big one, spirituality without religion (humanism). I have a knack for setting people at ease. Probably some more I’ve forgotten, but we’ll catch up later.

My one child, a daughter, and young grandson are both are major influences and loves of my life. (Unlike birth in some Mormon familial herds, parenthood of one child is not a habit.) I moved here to be closer to them after her ex-husband killed himself and left her with a good deal more than her fair share to deal with. Plus I didn’t want to repeat my own mother’s pattern of being distant from beloved people. I love my daughter immensely and I want to engage as fully as possible with her and her son. So far, good habit.

Well educated: I have a BA degree in English with a minor in music, an MBA, and half a BA degree in art, and half a Master’s degree in technical writing and editing. I have also coached with Steve Slaunwhite and others, and have certified in business copywriting. In spite of that I’m also unemployed, carving an income out of thin air writing and editing resumes and business documentation. Oh yeah, and maybe blogging, writing website copy, investing, thinking positive thoughts, and professionally trolling for business – otherwise known as networking.

Some Boomers were activists and protested everything. (There was a lot to protest). Then they turned to conservatism, apparently in a form of misplaced guilt. I did precisely the opposite. I was fanatically apathetic during the 60’s, then later opened to being as liberal and progressive as others turned conservative. Which brings me to this blog.

I can’t seem to shake the politics, arts, music, crafts, spirituality blend of interests, so I’m not going to try. I used to apologize for being left of everything, but it’s part of who I am. I used to apologize for skipping around in my interests, but that’s who I am as well. You may find threads of all that here, and that’s okay. (Warning: sometimes inconsistent in posting, but I mean well.) Inconsistency is a habit I’m trying to break.

However, we are not our blogs nor are we our habits. Blogs are not obligations. Blogs are for whatever you need them to be. The very few people who read my blog will notice that I changed the appearance, and that is intentional. Blogs can be amplified, changed, broken, ignored, or dumped; ditto habits.

When asked as a teen what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was, “Eccentric.” It has become my Habit. However, unlike Inconsistency, I won’t even try to break it.

So be it.

Talk Thursday – Forgotten

It’s a little late this week. I’ll catch up.

go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itwL5y0He-k

Listen to the end of the song and you’ll catch it.

Words
Favored son
Turn in the garden
Shades of one
Sins forgotten
Favored signs to find hope
In the rounds of life
Favored rhymes to find hope
In the sands of life
Favored son
Fence in your heart
Saviored son
Sins forgotten

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