Choose Love

Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. -Yoda

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Choose love. Choose to be the light in the dark. In this time of change, when fear is ruling the world, choose not to give in.

Change begins with you and with me. I choose to take care of me and my own. To spread love in my little corner of the world. To offer respect and support to those around me, no matter their views. I choose to take action in my life to make the world a better place for me and my loved ones, right here. I will do what I can to make the world better.

If you do the same, the ripples of our kindness and our change will spread and intersect. We will change the world, one person at a time.

Choose to keep doing what you need to do. Choose to do it with respect, kindness, and love. Choose to be the change.

Choose love.

Timelines

It’s so frustrating to make plans, and base so many thoughts and actions around those plans – only to have someone else throw in a wrench and say, “nope, we’re doing this now”. Or, like I’ve had lately, the wrenches are more like opportunities to do what I want – but I’m so not ready! There are many things I want to accomplish in the coming year, but I have created a timetable for them, a general idea of when it will be best for me to achieve these goals. So why are all the opportunities showing up now? I’m not ready. I don’t have the money. I don’t have the space or the time. Other things have to change before I can take advantage of these opportunities. Stop throwing them at me!

Cycles and Seasons

Have you ever stopped to think about how much we are influenced by repeated cycles and events? For example, the holiday season. No one is truly immune to it, even when we avoid it. There is a greater sense of community, of connectedness, than at any other time of the year. There is more joy, more sharing, more giving. Also more eating, drinking, and arguing. It’s incredible, and the effects of repeated cycles often continue even when the original situation has drastically changed. About two months ago, I went through a pretty serious depression. I was moody, anxious, grumpy, and just downright sad. The thing was, I couldn’t figure out why. There were no discernible reasons for my mood. Work was going well, at least as well as it ever does. My finances are in good shape, my relationships are solid. So why was I so down?

Finally, it hit me. Exactly a year before, I was unemployed, very broke, feeling very insecure and apprehensive, and my relationships were undergoing some pretty major upheaval. So this year, despite the fact that everything in my life is better, I was still depressed. I didn’t even understand what might be causing it until it was almost over. The one-year anniversary of starting my new job passed, and like a miracle my mood lifted. I felt happier and stronger again. It was very strange.

More recently, it happened again. Spring is almost universally considered to be a time of renewal, as the land wakes up again, the sun stays around longer, and animals give birth to their young. For me, it has always been a little bit the same. Like waking up after a long sleep – which honestly is weird, because I love winter and often feel most awake during the cold months. Still, spring seems like the time to begin new endeavors, to shake off the cobwebs and get moving again. Which is exactly what I have slowly been doing since the turn of the season, both mentally and physically. Moving again. Making room for new thoughts and ideas, discarding ones that no longer serve. Boxing again, which I haven’t done in months. Thinking about travel, and road trips, and visiting places I’ve always wanted to go, even right here in my hometown. Waking up.

I’m excited to welcome spring, and to start moving again in my life. Moving forward, making changes. As much as part of me hates change, I know it is the only way to truly live. So here I am, changing a little bit every day.

What cycles do you repeat? And what are you going to change today?

New Year, Not So New You

Ah, New Year’s Day. The day when we all get to be shiny and new. Yesterday we promised that next year, we would be better: healthier, happier, kinder, more forgiving, more generous, more thoughtful, more organized. Today is the day most of us try our best to fulfill that promise. Tomorrow is the day most of us give up.

We’ve gotten used to instant gratification. Practically everything we could want is available the moment we want it. But changing yourself takes more than a day. It takes more than a promise, or a hope, or even a commitment. It takes work. That promise, and your commitment to it, will need to be reevaluated and renewed. Every single day. Change is inevitable, but if you want to be in control of where change takes you, you have to choose to be so. How many of us are familiar with deciding to work out more often? And when we make the decision, we are so determined, so full of the rush of knowing this will help us feel better. Then we get caught up in daily routines, stressed about work or family or money, and even though we’ve been working hard, there is a day when we don’t stick to our plan. No big deal, we can pick up tomorrow. But then it happens again. And again. And in a while, we realize it’s been weeks since we have actually worked out. We aren’t sure how it happened, but there it is. And now it’s starting over from the beginning, and that’s just plain exhausting.

This is why I say we have to decide to change, every day. There is just too much going on in our lives, we are all moving too fast for a lesser commitment to be successful. Time moves so fast, and in order to make the most of it, we have to take charge.

2014 was a hard year for me. I went through some really rough times, lost some important people, and perhaps most importantly, lost a part of myself. It’s taken me most of the year to realize I will never get that part back. The me that was can never be again. I have become a new shape, smaller in some places and larger in others, and I have to choose how to fill that shape in. And this is a constantly ongoing process. In the midst of all my struggles, I started a career that so far has been an enormous blessing. I’ve moved forward in so many ways. I already started my New Year’s resolution. Two weeks ago, I decided I was done with feeling weak and out of shape. And every day since, I have done something about it. I am very out of shape, so nothing is too strenuous, but there is yoga, and stretching, and the beginnings of boxing practice again. Every day, I tell myself I will do something. And there have been days it almost doesn’t happen. But because I make that promise to myself, it does. Sometimes it is just a little stretching right before bed, but it is something. And slowly, that will grow into something more. Big dramatic promises don’t work for me. I am changing slowly, a little tiny bit at a time. And I am taking charge of how that change happens.

So, my not-so-new friends, I wish you the best of luck in 2015. Whatever your goals, your dreams and desires, whether or not you turn them into resolutions, I wish you the strength and determination to see them through, and to take charge of your life. Blessed be.

Work day

Ever work with one of those people? The ones that you know have their hearts in the right place? They really mean well in everything they do. And meanwhile, you’re thinking “Oh my god, kill me now. Will you stop being such an idiot?!?!?”

I work with one. All day, five days a week. She’s a lovely person. But she drives me nuts. Too focused on one aspect of our job, to the point that she completely and utterly neglects the rest of it. Which means I pick up the slack. Want to know the worst part? Everyone we work with knows this. They all know that I do the work, and she does practically nothing. And their response? “We’ve tried for years. She’s just that way.”

Seriously? It’s okay for her to slack off because that’s her personality? What a load of crap. But she’s really good at one aspect of our job, so she stays. And everyone who has to work with her is stuck with the rest of it. Granted, I’m something of an overachiever, so some days I appreciate the challenge. But I really shouldn’t be expected to pick up her slack. ¬†And I am expected to. If I don’t pick up her slack, I’m the one who gets in trouble, not her. She should be expected to contribute.

Is it terrible of me to contemplate her upcoming retirement age and pray that she decides to actually retire? Because getting assigned to a different partner is a long and arduous process that might not net me better results.

There. That’s my rant for the day. We should all be allowed some room, but we should also all be expected to uphold our end of the deal. And that is all.

Craft Fair

Today I was a vendor at a craft fair, for the first time ever. It was a small affair, hosted in a home, with seven vendors in all. A little crowded, to be sure, but well set up. Small tables, all with white tablecloths, one with snacks and goodies to share with guests.Plenty of room to walk. It was a lighthearted, relaxed event.

Never would have known that if you’d asked me as recently as last night. I was so freaked out about whether I had forgotten anything, and if I would have enough sizes and styles of jewelry (I have plenty), and how I would arrange them, and were my prices reasonable… I went on for days, actually, stressing about it. It was exhausting, but it paid off. When I showed up this morning to set up, I knew exactly what I had, knew I had checked everything off my list in one way or another, and knew that even if I sold nothing, I get to give myself credit for showing up.

I was not outrageously successful, but I did sell several pieces of jewelry and generate some interest in custom work. Therefore, still successful. It was wonderful to see the creative works that others brought to share, and very gratifying to have my own work admired and purchased. And tomorrow, I will do it again, with even less stress. It sounds like a good plan to me.

Monday

Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day.

Mostly, I just don’t like Mondays. They’re never good days for me. Even when I worked retail and had Monday off, it still wasn’t a good day. It’s just…blah. Seems like everything bad happens on Monday.

Today, nothing especially bad happened. But I’m worn out, and stressed. So it seemed like everything was bad. It’s exhausting. Here’s to hoping that tomorrow is a better day, for all of us.

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