FTW, Observations, ow!

Rapture

I went to the doctor yesterday for a routine physical. The topic of stress came up and I immediately dismissed it. “Stressed?! I’m not stressed. I have no reason to be stressed!” Yep, I actually said that.
My tense shoulders and waking up with a sore jaw from grinding my teeth would say otherwise.
I am experiencing stress.
The funny part is that I knew. I have been all up in my head, caught up in shit-storm of thoughts. My normally quiet mind has been on overdrive lately. Why? Hell, I don’t know. I have some clues but the thing is, as much as I have been taught to believe otherwise, stress doesn’t come from out there (or the stuff going on in life). It’s an internal thing. A message from the body saying hey! you’re caught up in your thinking. Wake up, yeah?
And for the record, I didn’t see this all on my own. I had help. Because I was on a call with Michael Neill. Yes, that Michael Neill. (Squeeeee!!!)
I knew it. But I couldn’t see it. Continue reading

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Observations, opinion!, personal

o•pin•ion•at•ed

opinionated |əˈpinyəˌnātid|
adjective
conceitedly assertive and dogmatic in one’s opinions: an arrogant and opinionated man.

SYNONYMS: she got tired of listening to her opinionated boyfriend: dogmatic, of fixed views, dictatorial, pontifical, domineering, pompous, self-important, arrogant; inflexible, uncompromising, prejudiced, bigoted. ANTONYMS open-minded, flexible.

opinion |əˈpinyən|
noun
a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge: I’m writing to voice my opinion on an issue of great importance | that, in my opinion, is dead right.
• the beliefs or views of a large number or majority of people about a particular thing: the changing climate of opinion.
• (opinion of) an estimation of the quality or worth of someone or something: I had a higher opinion of myself than I deserved.
• a formal statement of advice by an expert on a professional matter: seeking a second opinion from a specialist.
• Law a formal statement of reasons for a judgment given.
• Law a lawyer’s advice on the merits of a case.

SYNONYMS: she did not share her husband’s opinion: belief, judgment, thought(s), (way of) thinking, mind, (point of) view, viewpoint, outlook, attitude, stance, position, perspective, persuasion, standpoint; sentiment, conception, conviction. No antonyms were offered on my Mac’s onboard dictionary.

Check out the definition for opinionated. I have to admit, all this time I’ve been walking the Earth, I have been ignorant of the meaning ascribed to this word in the dictionary. This never came up but prior to looking it up, I would have told anybody who asked that I thought I was very opinionated and proud of it. In my head, opinionated simply meant I had strong thoughts about whatever I deemed worthy of thinking about or talking about. Oops! And look at the definitions for opinion and how they contradict each other. A Google search for “word for having strong thoughts” yielded this page that suggests self-assertive might be the best choice. Other suggestions were non-conformist, free thinker and I’m not the only one who tagged this one as a favorite, perspicacious, meaning having a ready insight into and understanding of things. I find that fascinating, don’t you? That having strong opinions might mean you are a free thinker or a person with ready insight? I like that. I would enjoy having such thoughts about myself – the labels feel like right ones to me. Even if I have a strong distaste for labels. They are so limiting, in my opinion.

Continue reading

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Observations

My TV Talks to Me

“We’re all gonna die. We don’t get much say over how or when. But we do get to decide how we’re gonna live. So do it. Decide. Is this the life you wanna live? Is this the person you wanna love? Is this the best you can be? Can you be stronger? Kinder? More compassionate? Decide. Breathe in. Breathe out, and decide.”

Good advice, right? Sounds like something you might hear from a trusted friend who can see you’re on the fence about what to do next. Or from a parent. Or your life coach. Interestingly, I heard this while watching the season 10 premier of Grey’s Anatomy. It struck me. Simple truth has that power. And to hear it on mainstream TV? I wonder who else heard it? I wonder if they whispered a soft “no” to themselves in answer to the ‘life you wanna live’ question? Or a resounding “yes!”?

Are you living the life you want to live?
Am I?

I have to admit, I’m in the soft “no” camp. With firm footing in the resounding “yes” territory. A pretty messed up conflict on first glance. Not so complicated when I look deeper. When I get down to the basic truth of my existence, it’s really clear where I’m kickin’ it and where I’m not. I have some places where I could definitely kick it harder. I can see where I am making progress. I can see where I am making excuses. This kind of clarity is so fucking priceless. It’s clear direction of the most honest kind. From my TV. Coincidence? I don’t believe in those. Just another everyday miracle. A little one. One sent along to keep my ass on track. A gift from the gods of Present and Moment. They are everywhere, these miracles, if only you decide to see them. And I want to be a decider. It helps me be just a little less clueless than I would be otherwise.

Deciding is the deal.

So what about you?

“Is this the life you wanna live? Is this the person you wanna love? Is this the best you can be? Can you be stronger? Kinder? More compassionate? Decide. Breathe in. Breathe out, and decide.”

Quoted from Richard Webber - ‘Seal Our Fate’ (Season 10, Episode 1 – Grey’s Anatomy)

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Observations

Choices and shit

There’s a video on upworthy.com – well here, I’ll just make it easy for you. Watch, then read on.

I shared this on Facebook and as I mentioned on my accompanying post, I have seen this one a couple of times. My first reaction to it was, frankly, so what?! Why do I give a fuck? This information isn’t going to change what I’m doing with my life or how I choose to make my money (nor do I really believe I am hindered or capped in some way to the amount of money I can choose to make) so why do I care*? However, I was (and remain) really curious about how this information hits other people so I asked

  • What are we supposed to do with this information and
  • What are you inspired to do after watching this?

Then I wrote, if I may quote myself: “I’ll also point out that if you are living the “typical American Dream” and buying the “typical American crap” and eating the “typical American Diet”, you are contributing to the reality illustrated in the video. Does it piss you off that I say that? Good. I hope it wakes you up, too. There are choices and that is where you claim your power.”

What the hell did I mean by that?

Simple. There has been a myth called the “typical American Dream” floating around in this country for as long as I can remember that if you follow a certain path – go to school, get good grades, get a job, find a spouse, buy a house, sprout a couple of kids and go to church on Sundays, then you will be happy. More than a few Americans who followed that path would tell you that there’s a major flaw in that theory because they followed “the rules” and they are fucking miserable. To make themselves feel better, they go to Wal-Mart (or wherever – I picked Wal-Mart because I think they are particularly evil) and buy a bunch of “typical American crap” which consists of stuff they don’t really need or even really want but they saw on TV that it would be awesome for __________________ ??? and it gets hauled home or worse, stuffed into a storage unit. All that shopping makes people hungry but also tired so they don’t cook a descent meal for themselves. They go to McDonalds or some other drive-thru. Or they buy packaged food-like product from the grocery store and zap it to some form of edibility in the ‘nuker. Don’t even get me started about the “typical American diet” because I could go on and on and fucking on about the bullshit big food corporations are doing to make Americans sick as well as fat so they can make more money. Go check out www.foodbabe.com – she will set you straight.

I don’t understand why we aren’t happier, do you?!

Actually, I understand completely which is why I live the way that I live and make the choices I make. And listen to me carefully… I am not sitting here, writing this on my fancy MacBook Pro trying to sell you on the idea that I am some perfect little goody two shoes who never eats a hamburger. What I am trying to sell you on is the fact that you have choices. Choices that absolutely contribute to the bottom line of those 1percenters called out in the video.

When you buy a house that you can’t afford**, not because it feeds your soul** but because you’re trying to make your ego feel good or impress your ____________ (parents, girlfriend, boyfriend – insert appropriate human here), you’re making some banker richer than he or she already is.

When you pull up to the big box store of your choice and spend one thin dime in an unconscious, so-disconnected-from-yourself-you-would-not-recognize-your-own-ass-in-a-mirror fugue state brought on by the illusion that stuff will somehow distract you from the reality that you can’t remember the last time you laughed for real, you are making some corporate CEO richer than he or she already is.

When you “feed” yourself with fake food product that comes from a national chain and/or and large food distribution conglomerate, you are making some other corporate CEO richer than he or she already is.

When you drive some huge land yacht of vehicle, not because you actually haul something or because you have lots of humans who need to travel with you but because you think it makes you look “cool” you are making some oil executive richer than he or she already is.

Do I need to go on or are you catching my drift?

You have choices. If you don’t like what you learned in the video, do something about it.

I would argue that you tend to make better choices when you take the time to get to know yourself. When you do work (paid or otherwise) that makes you feel good and like you are useful or that simply makes you smile. When you feed your soul with real connection with other real humans in whatever ways turn you on (and let’s keep that private, shall we? I don’t need those details!). When you begin to see that happiness isn’t available as something you can buy off the shelf but instead a choice that you cultivate every day in word, thought and action – then your mind begins to quiet down and you can see… better.

*As someone who has lived through not having a pot to piss in much less a place to stick it, I DO understand that when you’re in the middle of a financial meltdown or when you had no finances to melt down in the first place, it can feel incredibly painful and incredibly permanent. As someone who has lived through that, I understand that the worst pain came from what I thought about my situation, not my situation and the fear that it was permanent came from thought to. Thought that feels incredibly real and so completely narrows your point of view that your ability to see your reality, creatively address your reality, much less take action to improve it is greatly diminished. That knowledge doesn’t make shit pretty and shiny. But at least you understand that if you’re dealing with shit, you know that more shit, i.e. any form of self-flagellation, fantasy thinking, excuse making, plugging your nose or any other avoidance behavior, won’t fix it. Taking responsibility for yourself and seeing yourself in loving clarity, while taking  one step and then another, will. A water hose might help too.

**I used that word, afford. That’s a touchy one. Personally, I think “afford” means you have the money to pay cash for what you’re buying – cash being the plastic card tied directly to my bank balance. But there have been other times when “afford” meant using a credit card. I don’t recommend going into debt because it can cause a level of misery worse than hell. However, if you are awake to what you are doing, misery turns into choice. Actually, the misery gets skipped altogether. Yeah, I know that a lot of financial experts would argue with me but I’m not giving financial advice here. I’m telling you what works for me.

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FTW, Observations, ow!

That*

I try not to default to coach mode when friends are talking to me about stuff going on that they’d prefer not be going on. But sometimes, I am a tiny bit of a dumbass and words come out of my mouth that ought noughta. Like the line I delivered yesterday about them being ready to take responsibility for their life.

I do have more compassion than Attila the Hun which is actually why I said what I shouldn’t have said. Especially because I really understand where they are coming from, having been there and done that *. But I forgot that, having left there since I was done with that *, the words “take responsibility” can sound about as unappealing as shoving a firecracker up your nose shortly after lighting the fuse. Responsibility? Um, no thank you… I’m a little busy trying to decide between a razor blade versus a chemical cocktail as viable routes to permanent snoozeville.

See, I can joke about this stuff because, as I mentioned before, I have been there and done that *. And once that * is survived, you get permanent access to make stupid ass wisecracks about end-of-life contemplations in the worldwide comedy club called I Think My Life Is FUBAR. Don’t agree? Kiss my ass. It’s not about irreverence. It’s about the pure fucking glee of coming out the other side of that * without requiring a frontal lobotomy.

Anyway, the words “take responsibility” mean something very different to me now. They are exciting words to me now. They mean that I get to go do stuff. Stuff I want to do because the actions fueling all that luscious responsibility mean that I get to enjoy what my life looks like. Because my life is perfect now and filled with rainbows and unicorns all the time. Pffftttt! Bitch, please! You don’t believe that shit, do you?

Except… perfection is perception. My dream-come-true life is an ever evolving growth process. Just when I think I’m fully awake to it, I learn something new and level up. This life creation stuff is constant work. (Ew, work! Another dirty word!) But it’s work that lights me up, not the drudgery kind of work that comes from being somebody besides me but the work that makes me a better me. I hope I keep working (on me and on waking other people up ‘cause that’s what I do) until the day I drop dead because, having been there and done that *,  I now know how glorious life is. Even when the cat has thrown up on the couch or whatever bullshit goes down on any given day.

Life is a game. Play it hard or play it soft but for fuck’s sake, PLAY it!

When you’re ready. When you are done with being there and doing that *.

In the meantime, just know – and yes, I am about to go cliche on your ass – this too shall pass.

((hugs))

*Disclaimer: Your that may not be the same as my that. All thats are individual. But all thats are universal in that they all seem to suck mightily while you’re in the that.

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Observations, ow!

What’s that smell?

I am in a dangerous head space. I am thinking thoughts that could easily take me out of my happy world and plant me square in another one where people are not to be trusted. Where relationship is less about connection and more about confused pain. A place where the illusion of separateness fuels fears that I really am alone in the world.

I could be really fucked here. Except…

Thanks to the gods and the humans who taught me to know better, I do. Even while looking down this very black rabbit hole, I am graced with the awareness that these thoughts are just thoughts. They are not real and I am not obligated in any way to believe them. Nor do I have to attempt to banish them, change them or resist them; No, that would be like handing them an engraved invitation to stay the night. And I want better company in my bed.

Just writing this has been enough for several of them – the smelly thoughts – to head for the door. The other free-loaders will leave too. Soon, another batch of thoughts will come along and I will feel better. Probably. I know my default headspace is happy so yeah, I feel pretty confident in this.

In the meantime, I will breathe. I will feel. I will take care of myself. Not with chocolate or wine or sex or whatever. But care. I will breathe and I will remember that the surest way to connection, available to me 24/7 is to simply say, silently to myself “connect to source” and let the love settle around my shoulders. That’s what connection feels like to me, a warm embrace shared among the all the living beings with whom I share this experience called life.

What was I saying about feeling alone? I forget…

Thank the gods and humans who taught me to know better.

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kick ass, Observations

The Universe Has Spoken

I saw an episode of The Good Life Project featuring Erica Napoletano. Wow! She had a plethora of good shit to say. I was hanging on every word and when the video ended, I went straight to her site for more magic. After a good, long session of binge reading her blog, I was ready to sit at her knee, gaze up at her adoringly and call her momma in a creepy, cartoon-like voice. This woman is my new idol. And she’s from Texas. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen somebody from the home state that made me want to do anything besides renounce my citizenship.

She also pissed me off just a little bit. Not because of anything she did or said. She could do no wrong… she is perfection in a red-headed female. An example of how it’s done. It was more like while I was reading/drooling all over her website, I kept thinking ‘this should be me’. Okay, no. Not in some weird, I want to stalk her because part of my psychotic brain has hallucinated that she stole my life and, therefore, must pay sort of deal. It’s really just good old fashioned jealousy. Because I could be her. Okay, again no. I don’t mean HER her. I mean I could be further along in my own dragon slaying.

What a gift, jealousy. There’s not much better for illustrating what you might want to change in yourself than a big whop upside the head by the Green Envy Goddess. That’s her job, ya know, to hold up a mirror and say “Hey Precious! You wanna get off your ass?”

But wait, there’s more…

Beautiful friends and a Tarot deck. Sitting around a dining room table, taking turns reading the cards. Just for fun. Except the reading I got was a second whop upside the head. From the Universe. With a sweet message that sounded remarkably like “get the fuck off your ass!”

I’m smiling… My life could not be any more lovely. I had a shitty life. I learned some really awesome (and not so awesome) stuff about myself and I turned it around. I am still learning awesome stuff and I have made a very good life. Not perfect. But very cushy. Very comfortable. Like the soft, pink satin inside a deluxe model coffin with the super-duper seal to keep the worms out.

Now I’m laughing. Because honestly, I can crack myself up on demand!

Here’s why all this is excellence and why I’m smiling and laughing, even while realizing I have so much more to do. This “so much more to do” is a want to. Not a have to. I hit the luck lottery in realizing that growth and change doesn’t have to be fueled by the “big, bad thing”. I joke and swear a lot but seriously, I am deeply grateful for my cushy, comfortable life. I worked hard for it. I can get downright teary eyed from the gratitude I feel on a daily basis. From this place of goodness, I want more and I’ve known I wanted more for awhile. But fuck me if I don’t let fear and doubt keep me from doing more of what I love. More of what I want. More of what will might-possibly-maybe land me a spot on my own episode of The Good Life Project.

Ha! I just came up with the mother of all life plans… Live a life that will catch the eye of Jonathon Fields. Can’t hurt!

In the meantime, I hear ya, Universe. I’m goin’. I don’t have it all figured out yet but 1) I never will, 2) thank the gods for that and 3) what a thrill ride this life thing is!

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Observations

Why Is Miley In My Newsfeed?

Brace yourself… I’m about to write something contrary. But I don’t get why everybody is up in Miley’s shit about her TV thing. (I guess it’s a TV thing – I haven’t seen it. Nor will I. Because it’s not my thing. Anyway…) I’m not privy to her state of mind, obviously, but if I had to guess I would imagine her performance was simply her idea of creative expression and she had the stones to share it on national TV. If it wasn’t your cup of tea, I think there are other channels available still, right? I haven’t had cable in years but I’m pretty sure they still do the multiple channel thing. Or there’s always the trusty “off” button. If you’re traveling to the YouTube video to watch it so you could be informed when you bitch about it later, then what the fuck are you doing? Get a life and man-o-man I mean that with all the love in my heart!

Of course, there’s the argument that she is influencing little girls… Well shit, maybe she is. So if you want your daughter to gravitate towards substance, teach her to like substance (by example would be great), with the understanding that she might still like stuff you don’t. Otherwise, if she’s living under your roof and tries to replicate Miley’s beige vinyl number, act like the parent you are before letting her out the door. Somebody else wrote about “propagating rape culture”. We have a rape culture? Or do we simply have a culture where some shit is going down that seems to garner less and less attention for being wrong? What about the stuff that is really right?? And who, exactly, created this culture? Go have yourself a stare down in the mirror and come on back. But smile because the good news is that if we created it, we can create something else that’s different. If we want. Because we are a bunch of living, breathing, and hopefully-for-the-love-of-Mike, thinking culture creators.

We have few real freedoms left in these grand United States. Freedom of expression is still very well intact, thank the Gods. Even for the stuff we’d rather not see or hear. I feel like if she’s willing to let her freak flag fly, we at least ought to have the guts to raise ours before shooting a bunch of holes in hers.

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Observations, Photography

Photography, Cameras, the iPhone and – I don’t know

Sunday afternoon, I’m cruising through the Facebook feed and I run across this link for a new iPhoneography magazine. It’s done by Knox Bronson and the name? iPhotographer Magazine. Go grab the preview issue for free.

I did and there’s A LOT of content. Very cool and I will most likely subscribe because I love stuff like this. I love photography in general. I’ve been playing with it for years. But never seriously and really, I don’t know why. Mostly because I’ve just enjoyed playing to play (shooting to shoot) and good God, being a pro seems to involve more marketing than I’d prefer to screw with. I could be wrong but no matter. Photography = activity that makes me smile.

I’m getting off track though. See, I just bought a new Olympus EP-5. This thing is SWEET! I love what it can do and I don’t even have it all down yet. One pass through the manual is not enough to make sense out of the famous, cryptic Olympus menu system. I haven’t done much with it yet. I pick it up when I feel like it and lately, I have been trying to get bird portraits. That’s hard because those guys will simply not sit still! However, I take pictures with my iPhone all the time. Because it’s with me. All the time. I saw this new iPhoneography magazine and while my first thought was ‘wow, this is cool’ my second thought was ‘I shouldn’t have spent the money on the Oly’. Well, damn it, I didn’t like that thought. The Oly (my nickname for the EP-5 in case you didn’t catch on) was not an impulse purchase. I’ve been ogling the OM-D E-M5 forever. (In my head, I call it the OMG camera.) I was just about set to succumb to its lure when the EP-5 came out and it had enough new features to grab me. No, the EP-5 doesn’t have the weather sealing of the OM-D nor does it have a built in viewfinder. But a viewfinder (one that TILTS!!) was an easy add on and I don’t enjoy being out in “weather” so the weather sealing didn’t rank terribly high on my list of must-have features. Besides, there are things like rainhoods. Or, in a pinch, a ziploc bag will do. Point is, the Oly does stuff my old Canon won’t. It’s lighter than the Canon too. Nice since I’m getting on up there *snicker* and my wrist hurts after shooting with the Canon for any length of time. As much as I love my iPhone, it does not do all photography well. I consider it a fabulous tool because I always have it but I do recognize its limitations. The Oly is a brilliantly engineered camera and I knew when I bought that I would use it when the creative mood struck and I had no intentions of trying to do “something real” with my photography. Being the next (insert famous fotog’s name here) was never the point. Not even in my favorite, most grandiose fantasies. Photography is just a hobby that I enjoy the hell out of. I wanted a camera that would do what I wanted it to do and by God, I got it. I can still enjoy iPhoneography too. It’s not like they cancel each other out or something.

But second guessing myself? I don’t enjoy that, not even a little bit. Yeah, the Oly set me back some serious coin but it wasn’t coin I couldn’t spare. And I don’t think it’s about the money. Maybe I don’t think I’m good enough to have such a great piece of equipment.

Yeah… those lovely thoughts… ‘I’m not good enough’ and her sister, ‘I shouldn’a.’

Bitches.

I’m a coach so I know a thing (or nothing ;-) ) about thoughts. I’m glad I experienced the thoughts I did, even if they did piss me off. It’s always funny when something that isn’t even real sends me into the land of ‘the second guess’. It’s a learning opportunity. An invitation to look. Part of the fun of being a human. I don’t have to do anything with ‘em – new thoughts will be along shortly. Thoughts I like better. In the meantime, I am going to enjoy taking a lot of shitty bird pictures. Until I get to the point where I take less shitty bird pictures. Someday, I might graduate to good enough bird pictures. Ha Ha – get it? Good enough? ha ha ha!

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Observations, Uncategorized, WTF?

Four Ways, My Ass!

There’s a magazine called YES! that I get email updates for whenever a new issue comes out. It’s usually got some good stuff in it that would appeal to a tree hugger like me and actually, I think I started reading it because they featured some bike thing a while back. Their about page states “YES! Magazine reframes the biggest problems of our time in terms of their solutions. Online and in print, we outline a path forward with in-depth analysis, tools for citizen engagement, and stories about real people working for a better world.”
A particular headline caught my attention today –

Four Ways to Escape the NSA Dragnet

Go ahead and go read it. It’s short and won’t take long.
Are you back? Excellent. So now that you’ve read it you’ll understand why my first reaction was”excuse me?” It seems to me that this country was not founded on the idea that its citizens would someday have a need to protect themselves from their own government.

What to do about this? I’ll be fucked if I know. The whole thing – our entire government seems to have become so subversive. I am certainly not the first person to say such a thing. Check out this extremely fun article by long retired Charlie Reese. He nor I will be the last to point out that our government stopped being ours a long time ago. Ah, but I am truly an optimist at heart and so I do have moments when I think that maybe our government really does have our protection – and nothing else – in mind. Then I remember that we live in the information age. We have twitter. It’s not 1620. It’s not like somebody can come over, stake their flag and take over. Good God, the Facebook traffic alone would shut that shit down before CNN could even broadcast a bio of the flag staker. So it has to be all about saving us from the ever present danger of terrorist attack, in whatever form it might take. Keeping us safe. That’s a charged word, safe. It takes us back to our primordial urges to protect in a split second. Hell, maybe that’s the issue. Maybe we simply haven’t evolved enough to understand that safe doesn’t guarantee control. And the more we try to force that illusion of control into reality, we wind up controlling us more than “them”.

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