A Window Into My Life

Right now is a time of transformation for me, and I’m already feeling lonely. The time has come, or so it seems, for me to find a new community of friends, and I don’t know yet where or how I’ll find this community, given that I’m not moving into a new place yet. In August I graduate, though after that I won’t automatically be a nutritionist, so I’ll have to decide if I want to stay in Maryland and get my extra 700 or so hours of supervised clinical time in so that I can become certified in this state, or I can move somewhere else and follow whatever that state’s requirements are. The cost of living here is so ridiculously high, because all the politicians live here, that I can’t imagine staying. I was all gung ho on moving to Arizona, since my best friend expressed a desire to go there, and it seemed like a sign. There’s nowhere else I can think of where I’d have a reason to go. Although now that I think of it, I suppose I could move closer to my sister in New Mexico. I’m not crossing Arizona off the list, but I will say after reading this blog about how it’s 120 degrees and scorpions sleep in your bed with you, I got scared.

Back to the present time, since I do have at least eight more months in this state, and I want to make them the best eight months I can. I broke up with my boyfriend last week, which means I need to find a new community of friends. We’d made friends who I was having a lot of fun with, but it’s the kind of situation in which they’ve known him for longer, and it feels less comfortable asking them to hang out with just me. We only dated for four months, and prior to that I had my own group of friends who’ve since all gone their separate ways, and due to two of them forming their own relationship, and one of those having been interested in me while the feeling wasn’t mutual, there’s no chance of that group getting back together. Oddly, the two who are in a relationship are going to see me as a student nutritionist in clinic, so it’s not like they dislike me, but it’s not like it could go back to the way it was either.

I don’t know that I’d want it to go back to how it was anyway. I’ll have to exercise the law of attraction and manifest a group of like-minded friends who have similar interests, who want to be healthier and more positive, and a desire to live a more spiritual life. The problem is that then I have to take the action, and being in grad school I don’t have much time to develop much of a social life. The easiest thing to do is go to AA meetings, a welcoming environment where it’s easier to find people who like to be social. But if I truly want to meet like-minded people with similar interests, I’m probably going to have to move to a trendier, more expensive part of the city, like Takoma Park in DC, or whatever the hipster part of town is in Baltimore. There are yoga studios everywhere, including one near my house, which I can’t afford, and my former friends go there anyway. There’s meditation in Bethesda which I tried already, and no one ever talks to you, plus the traffic is too much there. Also, it’s Buddhist meditation, and I’m moving away from Buddhism, though I believe in the philosophy of mindfulness, acceptance, and being present.

I can’t say I’ve ever considered myself a full-fledged Buddhist, but I guess I’d say I take beliefs from different traditions, and meld them into my own. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of guided meditation during which I envision my spirit guides and ask them to help me, and I bought crystals and tarot cards to help guide me. It’s uncanny how the right tarot card appears when I ask a question. For example, a few days ago I asked the question: What can I learn from my love life? and I got the card “Caught in Ruins,” a card with a picture of a man and woman inside a prison, which made me laugh out loud and want to cry at the same time. But after reading the card, it turns out that there’s no roof over the prison, that the limiting thoughts and behaviors are self-imposed, that I have the power to change and stop perpetuating my old beliefs and patterns. I’m just not sure exactly how to do that yet, though I’m focused on honesty.

The problem I have with relationships is that so far, about every five years, I go through a transformation, and whoever I’m dating or married to at the time no longer fits my life. I find it hard to grow with this other person in my life. I feel constricted, suffocated, like they’re somehow holding me back, and I feel as though they don’t understand me. The path they’re on seems uninteresting to me especially because it’s often unexplored, dated, conventional. The key is to find someone I can grow with, and I just haven’t found that person yet.

Back to the tarot cards, another good example happened the same night, when I asked the cards what I needed to learn about my career path, and I drew the card, “Wishes Fulfilled,” which was a good feeling. Last night I asked the cards what I needed to learn right now, in this moment, while feeling lonely and wondering where I’ll find a new community, and lo and behold, I drew the card, “Sangha-Community,” which read that I need to find a new community. Too bad the cards don’t tell me where to find this community. I think ultimately the idea around the cards (and meditation for that matter) for me is to use my intuition, to follow my gut and do what I know in my heart is right.

By the way, the tarot cards are the Akashic Tarot Cards from Sharon Anne Klinger and Sandra Anne Taylor. Lately I’ve been drawing a lot of cards to do with writing and publishing, which has always been my dream. The problem with my writing is that it doesn’t offer help to anyone else; I’m just offering you a window into my life. Yesterday I listened to a podcast interview that Oprah did with Sue Monk Kidd, and Sue Monk Kidd said something along the lines of—or rather, this is my interpretation of what she said—which was that it took her being vulnerable and honest to put her writing out there. And that is MUCH harder than it may sound, for me. Kidd’s first book was a memoir, decades before she published The Secret Life of Bees… So maybe the ticket for her was to write fiction, which some may say is thinly disguised memoir.

That being said, I’m not going to not become a nutritionist, although I will say I’m already becoming discouraged. When I started, I’d gone to the orientation in which they told us there were all kinds of jobs everywhere, and you could make $95k, etc. But last semester I was sitting at lunch with some of my classmates, one of whom casually mentioned in passing that this wasn’t a career path you follow for the money. Then last night someone posted on our private Facebook page that she talked to an RD (registered dietician) who told her she’d never heard of a CNS (certified nutrition specialist), and that basically it’s much harder to find a job for a CNS than an RD. A lot of comments followed that revealed this is not the easy career path I thought I’d chosen.

So I may end up writing about nutrition at some point. Whatever I do, I find it hard to imagine balancing a relationship, career, social life, and physical exercise all in one life, since I’m imagining myself spending all my free time writing a nutrition blog. But this is not exactly how manifesting the life you want works. Haha!

One thing I’ve learned is that the idea is to follow actions that come smoothly. Not without action or work, but to explore different avenues, and when doors open, they’re meant to be. If I have to force something, it’s probably not meant to be. I just have to remember to take it one day at a time, one foot in front of the other, and try not to project into some unknown future. My biggest fear may be coming true: that I’ve chosen the wrong career path, again, and now I’m even deeper in debt than before, six figures this time. It could be that I tried to force something instead of following my passion to become a writer. But on the other hand, if my biggest fear is coming true, it’s because I’m making it into a self-fulfilling prophecy. I do love nutrition, and have already been spending way too much time on my first two clients, out of sheer interest, so that’s worth something, right? My deepest interest lies in spiritual matters and finding one’s purpose, so maybe I can somehow tie that in with writing and nutrition… Everything happens for a reason, so it could be that I needed to take this winding path to come back to my origin, and maybe I can somehow tie these things all in together.

I really have no idea how I’m going to do that. But then I guess that’s what life’s all about.

PS: I feel that it would make more sense to separate this into three different posts: one about career, one about relationships, and one about community. In each post I’d explore each topic in more depth. But, I have homework, and then work, so I’m going to publish this meandering post as is.

 

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Live for Today

A miracle will need to happen for me to finish this semester and return to school for good. As of this moment I’m sure I’ll collect my student loan money and then withdraw from school to focus my free time on self-care and writing. The worst that happens is I don’t get published, and if I decide in a few years to get training of some sort to do some other type of work, or maybe I just apply to some other better-paying jobs and actually get one, then I’ll do that. For now, I don’t see how I can focus on all the things I want to do while studying. When I was in school every free moment was spent studying, and I cannot do that right now.

My sisters won’t agree. They’ll think I’ve given up, that I’ve given in to depression and maybe they’ll worry that I’ll never do anything. I cannot worry about that or what anyone else thinks. I must follow my gut and do what I know I need to do.

What really needs to happen is for me to make this decision and be okay with it. To stop putting pressure on myself to do something, to do anything but write this book I’ve wanted to write all of my life. And I don’t want to put pressure on myself for that either because then it will never happen.

There is only one thing I’ve ever wanted to do for my entire life, or since I was eight years old, and that is to become a writer. (And I’m aware that my blog posts need to be edited, but the desire to get the word out surpasses my discipline for the time being.)

One of my co-workers, who I’ll call Rashad, told me the other day that I remind him of Dolores on “Westworld.” Either he is extremely perceptive, or my life is an open book, because I relate to her character so much. One of my favorite lines from her is this one: “There aren’t two versions of myself. There’s only one. And I think when I discover who I am, I’ll be free.”

I’ve probably talked more to Rashad than most of my other co-workers, apart from my friends in my own department. He’s the one who I first told about Mom dying, mostly because he’s the first one I saw when I returned to work, and the horrible nightmare I had a week or so after her death. We’ve talked about God—mostly just that there is one—and I know he’s a recovering addict and budding actor. He knows I’m divorced and used to have a very different job. But I don’t recall telling him that I don’t know who I am, or that I’m on a journey to find myself. I didn’t know he could see me so clearly. And if he, a near-stranger, can see me that clearly, then how transparent am I to the rest of the world?

It doesn’t really matter, though I feel vulnerable. The funny thing is, I’ve been like this my entire life. And it’s been obvious to anyone with eyes and ears throughout this whole time. My identity is wrapped up in finding myself. Seems ironic, like a dog chasing its tail. In high school and college I wore different clothes and hairstyles as part of the quest. After that I looked inward. Then I just tried not to let anyone else know that because I felt ashamed and hopeless, and often I gave up, and tried to pretend to be like how I thought everyone else was.

It has always been a mystery to me, how people do this thing called life, especially those who seem to have it figured out. I call bullshit on them. The ones who walk a straight path to their destination—those people I don’t get, and I imagine they’re in denial, dead to the real grittiness of life. Who knows? My own path has been messy, winding, a roller coaster at times. Hitting rock bottom, crawling out, taking baby steps sideways to find peace. Before you know it, life becomes beautiful, and it starts to feel like you’re winning, that everything will be okay, and then life slams you with something like death. You hit rock bottom again, thinking it can never get worse than this, and then it does. But then life gets better again.

My boyfriend and I have started to talk again, and I feel that we will be getting back together. Baby steps though. He’s talking to his therapist today, and then we will have a talk some time after that. In the meantime he sent me a few sweet texts, so I decided to text him early yesterday morning. I didn’t hear from him by the end of the work day, so I texted again. Still nothing after a couple of hours. So I emailed him. Still nothing. So I called him, twice, and still nothing. I imagined he’d changed his mind. Then I thought maybe he’d died. Perhaps he’d committed suicide after contemplating this relationship. He felt doomed and decided to end it. But no, he wouldn’t do that, as depressed as he can get, because he loves his kids too much. But then, I’d thought that about my friend who either committed suicide or overdosed by accident last year—to this day I don’t know how she died. Maybe my boyfriend had had a heart attack. He could have been dead all day in his bed, alone in his basement apartment, and no one knew it. That’s what happened to my co-worker last year. He woke up and got ready for work, then sat down in his living room chair and died of a heart attack. He was found by the store manager the following day after not showing up to work for the second day in a row.

So maybe it sounds crazy that I got dressed and got in my car at eight o’clock at night and started to drive to my boyfriend’s house. But when people just die all of a sudden, when everything seems normal, but then you realize you got a text from your sister two hours ago asking you to call her, that it’s urgent, and you see that she’d left a voice mail before that, but you hadn’t checked your phone in hours because you were at work and trying not to be on your phone, trying not to be obsessive about whether or not your boyfriend had texted, and then you find out that your mother had a stroke and isn’t breathing on her own, that there’s absolutely no hope of recovery–well, I guess you get a bit of PTSD. I did, anyway. Maybe I’d have been that way anyway. I do have an active imagination.

Anyway, I barely got out of my driveway when I saw that he’d responded. He’d been asleep all day with a bad cold.

That’s when it hit me. This is how it is. This is how I am. I catastrophize. I project into an unknown, doomed future.

Living with uncertainty—that’s the real task. There will never be a moment in which I have it all figured out. Period. This is life, now. This is it. This.

Even now, as I’m writing, I’m realizing that I have no idea what I’ll do, and that’s okay. Today I will go to class, and see how it goes. There’s no need to decide today what to do for the rest of my life, or even for the rest of the semester. All I can do is live for today. Learning how to focus on that is the real challenge. Although I know it intellectually, and it’s a lesson I learn again and again, the challenge to live one day at a time is an ongoing lesson for me.

But that’s okay. Just remember: one day at a time.

Ten Thousand Spoons

Today is the first day of my “staycation” and I plan on spending this time wisely. This morning I’ll go back to the gym, back to Zumba. I’ll make some turkey and rice casserole with my leftover turkey. This week I’ll de-clutter my room and paint the walls lavender. My boyfriend’s kids will be in town Wednesday, so that day will be spent with them. The rest of this time will be mine to spend working on self-care.

Almost every day I pray to God to give me some direction with my life, to send me a sign, to open my eyes and ears to the messages. When Mom first died I saw feathers everywhere, then nothing. The feathers are supposedly a sign of angels, but really it just means there are a lot of birds around. But then the other day I saw a feather on the ground at work, inside the grocery store, and then another feather when I was talking to my therapist. They could’ve come from my down coat… but then maybe some higher being made them come from there, or from birds. I guess you just choose to see whatever signs you want. It’s like Dolores on “Westworld.” She says some people choose to see the ugly in the world, but she chooses to see the good. She chooses to believe there is some purpose, some greater good in the world. She’s a beautiful character, and I can’t wait to learn about her journey.

Then the other day, one of my former co-workers, who just graduated from the grad school I’m attending, came into the store to say hi. She’s a nutritionist now, and she said that it’s so hard, and if she had to do it over again, she wouldn’t. There’s so much to remember, and she can’t, when talking to clients, and she spends all of her free time studying and working. On the one hand, anything will be hard, and no one would ever do anything if they knew how hard it will be, but then on the other hand, it sure felt like a sign to me.

There’s a man I know, a friend of mine, who’s an artist and a professional gardener who owns his own business. He’s single and lives with his sister, and spends what little free time he has painting. To me his life seems so wonderful. He does what he wants. But to him, his life is not what he wanted, not what he had planned for himself, yet he finds gratitude in it anyway. He wants to have a boyfriend (he’s gay) and not have to work so hard. Maybe to someone else my life looks desirable. It would’ve looked that way to an earlier me, because I romanticize unconventional lifestyles, and would’ve seen myself as someone who has the best of both worlds. And I do have a good life. I’m in a relationship yet I live as a single person in a comfortable house with everything I need. I can always come back to this safe place, my own space, free. I am free.

Last night I was talking to my friend, the artist-gardener, and he told me not to be so hard on myself. To give myself a year to grieve. He lost both his parents so he knows. I told him that I don’t deal well with big life changes, that I never just keep doing what I was doing. He said, “And you shouldn’t.” I asked, “What about all those other people out there, who just keep doing what they were doing?” He said that most people are unconscious, most people don’t think about all that stuff, that I have the heart and soul of an artist. Because what happens with me is that I search and search for a path, then I think I’m on it, then boom! Something happens and I get lost and confused about what path to get on. All I know is this doesn’t seem to be it anymore.

When I woke up this morning I stared up at the ceiling for a long time, and I thought, how can I just make money doing this? If he can garden and make money doing what he loves, then why can’t I do the same? There’s a book in all of this, I know it.

I read somewhere that big changes come in your life to snap you into being who you’re meant to be. My former co-worker friend I just mentioned, when she came into the store the other day, I told her that I’m lost, and she said to read Wayne Dyer, and I said I know all about him, and it was all easy for him to say when he became rich and famous. She said Wayne Dyer had a terrible childhood, and so did Oprah. Then last night I listened to interviews with Alanis Morissette on Spotify, and I thought of all the things she (Morissette) said.

She said she’d had this idea she’d meet all these celebrities and they’d live in harmony, but what happened was some of them were mean to her, and she found that what meant the most to her were random, everyday people saying that a song of hers touched them in some way. That’s what I’d want too. I just need to come out on the other side of this, and I will. I think of all the people I know who weren’t able to hang on, who committed suicide because they too had the heart of an artist, but they couldn’t find motivation for their path. Those who make it seem to be those who are the overachievers, the workaholics, like Alanis Morissette, Oprah, Wayne Dyer. I fall somewhere in between. I don’t want to commit suicide, nor do I want to work hard enough to become like Alanis Morissette, nor would I want to deal with criticism from random people about all the crazy or sane things I’ve written. But I do want to do something meaningful with my life. It would be so cool if I could somehow earn a living doing that.

Alanis Morissette is just two years older than I am, and became popular when I was in high school, but back then I didn’t listen to her much because I thought of her music as too popular (as if that made it somehow inferior). But now it really resonates with me, and I listen to “Ironic,” “Hand In My Pocket,” and “Right Through You” on repeat. One of the things she says in her interviews is that when she became a success, she had to write songs, then discuss them with executives, but she found that it impeded her ability to write, so she decided not to have the meetings until after she finished all of her work. She recommends that any artist do the same. When I’m in the middle of something, I don’t want criticism about how it’s not working, or how it should be. This is a lesson I can’t seem to learn, because it’s a mistake I repeat. Asking someone else what I should do with my life, or telling someone else what I’m doing, knowing they disagree, then feeling hurt that they disagree, because the sick part of me thinks I need their approval. Definitely the codependent part of me. Some people get burned once and learn to stay away. Not me. I dive into the fire like it’s a swimming pool. It’s the only way I learn.

Because here’s the thing. I don’t need anyone else’s approval. I’m the only one who has to live my life, so I get to make my own decisions about how I want to live it. All this asking everyone else what they think I should do, of apologizing for who I am, of explaining why I’m doing what I’m doing, it has to stop.

One of my favorite lines from “Ironic” is this one: “It’s like ten thousand spoons, when all you need is a knife.” It speaks to the frustration and disappointment I’ve felt lately, and it’s fitting of how I feel about my mom’s death. Then she ends with, “Life has a funny way of helping you out,” which feels appropriate for this blog post.

Musings on Art

Wednesday I’m going to meet a healer, and I have no idea what to expect. Will we dance naked in the backyard amidst a cloud of incense smoke? Will it be like a therapy session? I don’t know. She did make it clear that she’s not a medium and won’t be conjuring any spirits, but she communicates with the spirit world though it will not communicate with me. This is for my healing process, to say whatever I need to say to my mom, for closure.

The thing I’m mildly anxious about is that this healer asked me to make something for her as payment; she does not accept money. And it can’t be just anything, it has to be created in a meditative state, without thought of the outcome or how it looks.

nefertitiWhen I was about eight years old, I drew a picture of a horse based on these horse figurines that belonged to my oldest sister. The drawing looked just like the horse, which impressed my grandmother immensely. I too was surprised and flattered; I didn’t realize I could do that. It’s not something I’d ever thought about, that I recall. In high school I thought I’d become an artist, after being a writer; writer was first on my list. I was my art teacher’s favorite. Creating sculpture was my favorite. I’d made a papier mache sculpture of Queen Nefertiti, of whom I had a papyrus drawing brought back from my uncle’s travels to Nairobi. Her beauty and power drew me in. I had read about her, and wish that I still had the drawing and sculpture. But my dad had called it garbage, and I threw it out in college—not because he called it garbage, although that hurt my feelings—but because I felt that it took up too much space, and I didn’t want too many things. I have been doing this all my life–even discarding sentimental items–and I believe it has its advantages. Anyway, when I got to college I stopped creating art, and rarely created anything since, except for the occasional dabbling in painting or beading. That’s how I veered from my path, the path that was intended for me, the path of who I really am. Of course, my mom had always been encouraging and supportive of my writing and my art; she was big on being true to yourself.

In recent years my oldest sister has taken up painting, and described to me the process of painting:  it takes over you, you don’t know what you’ll end up painting. You don’t start with an idea of what it will be, and then it becomes that. But that’s not how I’ve ever done painting or drawing or any kind of art. Well, maybe my writing sometimes. But usually I have an idea beforehand of what I want to create. I think about how it looks, and I want it to be beautiful. I never start as a blank slate. Now, it may not ever end up the way I had in mind of how it would look, but that’s not because I wanted it that way.

When I was in high school I dated an artist. We kept in touch over the years, until the past few years anyway, and I remember him telling me that he’d made a painting that sold in his girlfriend’s hair salon, and that the buyer asked him what it meant. If I remember correctly, it was a painting of a fetus that looked like an alien. The question pissed him off. “It doesn’t mean anything,” he’d replied. He hated being asked that question.

But I knew it meant something. Everything means something. Whether we’re aware of it or not, it means something. And as an aside, my interpretation of an alien fetus is that you’re pregnant with something that you don’t recognize; you’ll be giving birth to, or creating, something new and otherworldly. An appropriate theme for this blog.

It’s hard to do something without thinking about it, or attaching a meaning to it. Even the color I choose have a meaning associated with it, and for me to try not to do it imposes… I can’t think of the appropriate word, but maybe anxiety, or struggle, that defeats the purpose of the exercise.

On the other hand, maybe that’s the problem with my art. Maybe I need to start over with a clean slate and do it without thinking so much. That’s what I’m about to attempt to do, right now. We’ll see what happens.

Here’s a beautiful song by Valerie June–she reminds me Queen Nefertiti on her album cover.

More Things I’d Say to a Younger Me

Last night I dreamed I was riding my bicycle in a parking garage trying to get through a locked gate to the floor below where I could ride my bike up and down hills. There seemed to be a lot of obstacles getting through this gate. Then I looked behind me and saw another bike rider already in the cycling part of the garage, easily riding through some other gate he’d found, which he seemingly already knew about, and I wondered why I didn’t just try that gate, but I think I knew that, for me, I had to choose this other gate.

The cyclist was a young guy in my 12-step group. He was a troubled teen who got sober a few years ago, and now he’s 20 years old, getting his bachelor’s degree in physics and astronomy. A very smart kid who has his shit together at such a young age. Thinking of him now, his story reminds me a bit of my boyfriend’s story:  he too had not done well in high school, but then figured it out in college, and chose a meaningful career path of which he’s enjoyed ever since. Never did he set out to make a lot of money or have a powerful position; instead he did what he loved to do, and those things just happened.

My path was different. I did well in high school, but did not do well in college. I didn’t find myself there. I lost myself, mostly through alcohol and drugs. On the surface my life looked fine, but inside I felt like I was dying, and I was. I became increasingly out of touch with my soul and who I really was, and that’s why I didn’t find the right career for me. That’s why I was unhappy.

At the time I would not have told you that. I would’ve told you that I didn’t know what to do, that drinking had nothing to do with it, and that I was just doing what was in front of me, which is true. Drinking was something I was going to do anyway, because everyone drinks, right? And how could I possibly live my life without drinking? As far as a career went, I did what I thought I had to do, based on what the rest of the world thought I should do, and that was my best at that time. I didn’t believe it was possible to follow my dream of becoming a writer, but that I needed a back-up plan, which quickly became my primary plan, and that was just to take whatever job was out there, unrelated to writing, and to write at night after work. But the only writing I did was some drunken self-pitying scrawls about how miserable I was, and that became my reality. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The following quote is a magnet on my fridge that I often ignore because I see it every day:

your-journey-2

I can’t beat myself up for my journey. What good would it do? I’m still here, now. While it would’ve been great to have figured it all out at the age of 20, it would not have brought me to where I am today. We grow through pain, and some of us have a high threshold for pain until we’re not, until we realize that the self-inflicted kind of pain is not worth it. Life will give us enough pain.

It occurred to me last night as I was reading Wayne Dyer’s I Can See Clearly Now that I don’t have to be the kind of writer that I think would be the most respectable, prestigious kind I once aspired to, who gets published in all the hoity-toity literary publications. Because that’s not me. I don’t like exclusivity so why would I want to be a part of that elitist bullshit?

It’s difficult for me to write about writing and becoming a writer. I feel vulnerable. I don’t even want to put my name on this blog. But isn’t vulnerability what it’s all about? I didn’t like feeling vulnerable. That’s one reason why I drank. I could not be social without alcohol. That means I could not be me. I was afraid that people wouldn’t like me for who I was. The irony is that people like you only for who you are; no one likes an imitator. I suppose you could say I’m still afraid that people won’t like me for who I am, because I still won’t put my name on this blog. Ah well. It’s progress not perfection, my friends. One day at a time.

Here’s a song by LCD Soundsystem that’s been in my head since last night. I love the lines, “You’re afraid of what you need / If you weren’t, I don’t know what we’d talk about / You’re afraid of what you need / Look around you, you’re surrounded. It don’t get any better.” This video is so perfect:  Don’t close the door on yourself. Stop trying to be perfect, and stop trying to be someone else. Just be you.

 

Knowing

owl-and-babyRemember how the other day I wrote that Dyer’s memoir I Can See Clearly Now was not inspiring to me? Well, I’ve changed my mind. He writes about how the seeds of who he is were planted when he was a little boy, but how he had no idea of that at the time. At the same time writes about how he has this knowing that I find hard to describe in my own words, but the way I interpret it is his knowing of who he really is at his core. The part that really caught my attention is on page 39:

“My writing is like having a friend with me at all times. I love my space where I escaped each day to bring my characters to life, though the story is becoming less important—it’s just the opportunity to sit in a sacred space with a blank piece of paper staring back at me that I so enjoy. When I take the time to write on my novel, I think to myself, Writing is not something that I do. It is what I am. I like the feel of it and saying and remembering, I am writing. What brings me the greatest sense of accomplishment is feeling aligned with what I am on the planet for in the first place. That’s what writing is to me.”

I get this. I really, really get this.

The way he talks about this knowing, the way I understand it, is that it’s a deep knowing, more than a knowing in your bones. It’s a knowing in your essence, at your core, in your center, in your soul. It’s something you know from early childhood. I can’t name it or describe it in any other words. It’s not a knowing in the sense of knowing what will happen or how it will play out, or what it will even be, just that it will, somehow. Just that there is something there, something big, something powerful, something meaningful. A connection to God.

Today would have been my mother’s 67th birthday, and she passed just two months ago. During this time of loss, it’s important to remember and feel that connection to God. Rest in peace, Mom.

Mom loved owls, so I’ll end with this beautiful painting of an owl:

owl-art

This Is My Plan

no-plans

This is what showed up on my Pinterest feed this morning. It’s a Hallmark card, designed to heighten the sense of failure that people who are stuck feel, as far as I can tell. My interpretation is this: You have no plans? You’re a big loser, you’re just a dreamer, you’ll never get anything accomplished in life. It sounds like something a (well-meaning, but misguided) parent would tell their teenage kid in order to try to motivate them to do something with their lives. Well, I guess I have a lot of wishes. Because, guess what? I ain’t got no plans! Hahahaha! Eff you, Hallmark. The cards at my store are more inspirational cards, such as this one from Borealis:

mountain

Speaking of work, it stresses me out lately for no good reason. A man was mean to me a couple of days ago, and I had to go to the back room and cry. For an hour after that I wanted to cry—and to be honest, my boss would’ve probably allowed me to do that—but I felt that I had to hold it together. The customer had to repeat himself three times before I could understand him, and that pissed him off. “I don’t speak English,” he hissed at me, and slammed his fist down on the counter as he stormed off. I felt like a child. I wanted to cry after him, “But I’m one of the good ones! I’m on your side,” that I think Spanish should be mandatory in elementary school classrooms, etc., and it wasn’t even that I couldn’t understand his English as the fact that I could not hear him… though I doubt that he cares or would believe any of that anyway. It hurts even more when I feel like I’m kind to everyone who walks in the door. Some people are just rude, and it doesn’t matter who you are or what you do or say, and ultimately it’s their problem, not mine. It helps to remember that rude people act that way because they’re miserable, which is sad for them. It’s not that I celebrate their sadness or misery, but understanding that it’s not my problem helps.

I think Wayne Dyer would say to focus on doing what you enjoy and not to worry about the outcome. Whatever is meant to happen will happen in due time. The important thing is to enjoy what you do. When I’m at work I can focus on practicing love, compassion, kindness, and tolerance of people, regardless of their actions or words. It doesn’t mean I have to let someone walk all over me, but I can be patient with that person and recognize that whatever they do is a reflection of them, not me. When I’m not at work and I just want to write, then enjoy that to the fullest. Maybe I’ll never be a Shakespeare. Maybe I’ll continue to be a blogger with three readers on any given day—but does it matter? If one of my posts made one person smile, laugh, or even cry or feel inspired in some way, then it would have made a difference. Besides, sometimes the thing we think we want is not what we want at all.

whatever-you-do

I think if I could find a tiny house in the valley of the mountains and write in this blog every day while drinking my morning coffee outdoors and watching birds and the sun rise, I would be so happy. I suppose a house in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. will do for now instead. Because this girl right here ain’t got no plans. These are my plans. This is my plan, this life right here, this space here, this moment. This is it.