October 7th, 2017 | No Comments »

My commute takes the better part of two hours, each way.  I use the time to think.  I’m in my thirty second year of indentured servitude, and once again the corporate machine is groaning.  I’ve always been flummoxed by a company’s ability to stay in business and make profits under a consistent flow of poor decisions.

Comparison.  Competition.  There are times when I slip into that region of discontent.  I say discontent, because it seems that the state of contentedness is contrary to the concepts of competition and comparison.  Those concepts imply winning versus losing, better versus worse.  Contentedness suggests enough.  I like the idea of enough.

It started with an innocuous comment about success.  So and so is more successful than you (me) because so and so is perched at the top of the corporate ladder and is compensated accordingly.  The comps are flying already and I’ve barely begun this post.  I feel compelled to look into the root word structures –surely there are connections.  Comparison.  Competition.  Compensation.  Compel.  I digress, in true sueeeus fashion…

I was thinking about my initial reaction to the comment.  I felt defensive.  So and so isn’t better than me!  I could have reached the echelons of corporate leadership, had I chosen.  I felt hurt, as though it were some sort of reflection of failure on my part, as though I needed to convince someone, anyone, everyone, that I am just as good.  I felt jealous.  So and so makes more (money) than I do and has a fancy pants title.  Of more concern to me is why it even mattered.  My reaction was so immediate, and I felt as though I needed to justify myself and somehow assert that I am not a failure.  I also wonder why my reaction is so binary, so extreme.  Success.  Failure.  No in-between.

The nature of my work is all about the ones and the zeros, so there is that.  But the nature of my self is all about the in-betweens, or rather, perspectives.  Just because true/false, on/off, all/none, right/wrong are points that describe entities in a known dimension, it doesn’t necessarily mean that those are the only states.  They are obvious states, but not necessarily the only states.  Perception through one facet of a crystal may be very different from perception through another facet of the same crystal.  Is either right? Is either wrong?  They are simply different.  Why does there have to be a right or a wrong?

I think it’s a limitation of the human mind.  People are generally comfortable with the knowns.  Binary things are easy to wrap one’s mind around, because they are very simple to grasp.  Multidimensional things are complex.  Matrices within matrices from infinity to infinity in all directions.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I fell into a funk for a few days, as I worked through these thoughts.  I thought about the comparison game.  I mostly have the experience of my own life and culture to draw from, and it occurs to me that life as I know it has contained a steady feed of information that has contributed to the shape of my thoughts and emotions.  I don’t remember when it dawned on me that I could choose how to steer my thoughts and emotions.

There is so much conditioning taking place with the onslaught of information that we absorb through media.  When, if ever, does it occur to us to question the validity of the information that we absorb?  We get notions of body image based on the examples we see in print and on screen.  Does it occur to us to take a look around at a general cross-section of society and realize that almost nobody looks like the actors and models we see portraying life?  We get notions of romance which stem from fantasy and set expectations for reality, then feel let down that true love seems unattainable, when in fact we are living in a perfectly beautiful loving situation.  We are fed carefully crafted information designed to promote [something, someone].  It’s called marketing, and it’s a product of capitalism. It’s reason for being is to pad someone’s pockets or promote someone’s power or influence.

It’s so exhausting to justify myself to myself!  Once I recovered from my initial reactionary response to the self-inflicted judgment of failure (since I’m not the CEO), I reminded myself that I had faced precisely such a decision in my early twenties — I recognized ‘career path’ and saw clearly that although I was and am quite capable of ‘success’, that the capitalistic model of corporate America was contrary to my soul, and although the financial rewards and professional accolades are or were tempting, the internal price of or for success was simply not worth it.  I made a choice.

In retrospect, I don’t know where or how I ever attained such wisdom (I am working on some theories), but I am grateful.  Before I’d ever read Buckminster Fuller’s Critical Path, and by the grace of God, I made the better choice, the more valuable choice.  My success isn’t measured in terms of social status, professional status, financial status.  My success is measured in terms of soul status, and it’s only measured by me.

Throughout these thought streams, some key words or concepts kept surfacing.  Source.  Core.  For whatever reason, I am driven by the need to understand.  Anything. Everything.  It consistently emerges as something core to my very being.  I don’t know why (but I’m working on some theories).

Here’s an aside.  I have this thing about connections and structures and origins.  Keys.  Some of the keys that I’ve noted in order to collect and frame my thoughts are the words ‘core’ and ‘source’.  These words resonate with my soul.  In the overlap of my personal life with my professional life, the relevant catchphrase du jour emerges, “Never outsource your core competency.”  Look at that — source, core, comp.  All neatly bundled in a span of five words.  This correlation is busy whirring about in a background process of my mind, and I’m certain that something interesting will come of it, when the forefront of my mind is ready.

I’m no expert.  On anything.  That is the nature of knowledge.  The more you know, the more you realize how little you know of what there is to know.  That is where my affinity for source and core stem from (oh, if ever I could learn how to express myself without dangling participles, split infinitives and any and all manner of grammatical faux pas).

The affinity for source and core spans both my personal and professional lives.  One can think in terms of platform or foundation.  If the foundation isn’t sound, what then?  Every conclusion drawn from such a basis is suspect.  Bad data.  This is where assumptions are dangerous.  Something can become common knowledge through careful marketing or accidental means, yet have no sound basis.  An example is the theory of evolution.  It’s proposed as a theory, yet is generally accepted as a fact.  It might be a fact.  I don’t know.  I haven’t been exposed to the proof.

The core value of what I do professionally relies upon valid source [data].  Finally I remember what I was thinking when I entitled this post, “who’s afraid of the big bad [data] wolf?”.  It’s all about bad data.  Foundation.  Source.

The society in which I live seems to be built on a basis of bad data.  Conclusions or definitions of things like success, beauty, worth, and value are vapor without real substance.

I stand in stubborn defiance and cling to the quest for source, with my own assumption that whatever conclusion(s) may be drawn will be closer to valid, and therefore have some real meaning.

Understanding, for whatever reason, is a hunger of my soul, and I am seeking the peace that passes understanding.  It is attainable, by some measure.  I’m sure of it.

from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard; and I have come for thy words

Many years ago I set my heart to understand.  It’s part of my driving force.  I don’t know why –it’s intrinsic to me.  I haven’t gotten very far.  Or rather, the farther I get, the more I realize how little I know.  I’m very slowly putting the pieces together.

November 28th, 2014 | No Comments »

Today is a be still kind of day for me.  What a treasure!  Some people want or need to be entertained, or constantly on the go, doing something, going somewhere, being with someone.  I get so few moments to just be still.  I sit in silence in my living room, looking at the ceiling, looking at the sky through the skylights, looking at the colors and placement of the furnishings and decor, breathing deeply and simply being peaceful.  It’s a friendly room.  It’s nice to just be still for a moment.  I have a thousand things I could or should do, but I’m not going to.  I’m just going to sit still for a little while.

I love my cedar ceiling. Love!

~*~*~*~

I find it tragically amusing that I posted in October about not falling apart, when I realized yesterday that I’ve fallen more apart than I had any idea!  I’m glad that I can amuse myself, even if it’s in a tragic manner.  Imagine the amusement I can attain when I’m rockin’ my world!  My core, the essence of me, always wants to find the light and bright side of things.  It may take me a while, but I’m always looking for it.

~*~*~*~

I’ve been thinking about perspective.  It’s so easy (for me) to be caught off guard and lose perspective.   I can get stuck wondering what I did or said that caused a given action or comment, and jump to some conclusion that may or may not be valid.  Or else I can’t come up with an answer at all, and I am completely flummoxed.  In my professional life, when I get stuck trying to solve something, usually if I drop it for a while, rest, and come back again with fresh eyes, I can figure it out.  I will then chastise myself for not dropping it earlier, thus saving myself the time, anguish and frustration of beating my head against the wall.  In my personal life, if I could at least remember to tell myself that problem solving is problem solving, and if I could remember that it always works well to just let it rest for a minute, allow myself to regroup, then clarity will more than likely follow shortly.  If only.  I sure would save myself unnecessary anguish.

~*~*~*~

There has been a lot of passion and agitation floating about regarding Ferguson, and I don’t know anything about the issue, other than some people I love are passionately impacted in one direction and some people I love are passionately impacted in the opposite direction.  I have absolutely no opinion because I don’t know the situation, but my heart aches and strains over the anguish and passion that others are struggling with over this very public issue.  Politics.  I can not abide.  The mere thought causes literal gut wrenching sensations.  It’s visceral.  Absolutely and completely.

~*~*~*~

Loose ends.  I have such a strong desire for conclusions, answers, solutions, closure –understanding.  Maybe that’s the bottom line.  Understanding.  For some reason, loose ends leave me feeling frustrated and incomplete.  It’s probably an OCD thing.  Sort of like writing a sentence and not using a period to punctuate the end.  That would drive me NUTS!  The thing is, it drives me bonkers in almost all elements of my life.  If a conversation just drops off in thin air, with no apparent reason why, I’m left wondering why.  I suppose it boils down to order vs. chaos.  A loose end represents chaos in my world.  A conclusion represents order.  With understanding, closure, conclusion, summary, completion, whatever it is called, I can put whatever it is away, and it will no longer clutter my mind and emotions.

~*~*~*~

Sometimes the accumulation of loose ends and lost perspective cause me to doubt myself, and I get turned around, upside down.  When this happens, I have to somehow retreat and regroup.  It’s so hard to do, when you’re stuck!  Sort of like trying to swim against the current.  I visualize myself, a lone figure, and I visualize myself spinning, arms spread, spinning around and around, sending waves of light, love, comfort, and harmony out from my extended hands, weaving a tornado of protection around me.  I stand in the center of stillness and catch my breath and gather my strength until I can emerge.  As I describe this, it brings to mind a scene from Guardians of the Galaxy in which Groot weaves himself into a cocoon of protection around his friends.  Like that.

~*~*~*~

I really should never doubt myself.  I should be more vigilant and remember, always remember, that I am empathic and absorb the emotions of those around me.  So often I get slammed by other people’s emotions, and it takes me some time to realize those aren’t MY emotions.  Those feels I feel, yes, but those feels aren’t always mine!  Empathy is a beautiful gift, and I truly love my ability to connect with people on such a deep level, but I just need to learn how to distinguish my feels from someone else’s feels.   I suppose that’s the thing about empathy though.  Those feels become my feels.  Oh, the feels.  All the feels!!  I am so often battered by the feels, like ocean waves crashing against a rocky shore.

~*~*~*~

Finding joy.  Gratitude.  It’s the simple things in life that bring me the most joy.  I grew some vegetables this year.  I planted multicolored carrots, and yielded only two.  Two!  The beets did well.  I love beets.  I also grew a mystery vegetable.  At first I thought it was a pumpkin, but it turns out it was an acorn squash.  I don’t even remember ever having squash, because I don’t like squash, but somehow it ended up in the compost, and when I built my garden, I added some compost.  That particular seed sprouted and thrived, so I decided to let it live.  It actually completely overtook the entire garden box, and produced several squash.  The slugs ate most of them, but it yielded one respectable squash.

garden bounty

I decided to take my end of season garden yield and make roasted veggies for my contribution to the Thanksgiving feast.  I roasted garlic and used fresh thyme and rosemary from my herb garden, and made a buttery spread.  I had an inordinately grand time, gathering the veggies from my garden, cleaning, prepping, and cooking them.  It felt so complete!  So wholesome!  And believe it or not, the squash actually tasted good to me.  Wonders shall never cease.

roasted and color coordinated

~*~*~*~

I’ve been struggling quite a lot lately.  I mentioned tragic amusement above…   Anyway, I’ve been thinking of all the various monumental life changes taking place, contributing to the struggle.  Work.  That’s a huge change.  The transitional dust most likely won’t be settled until at least next summer, so there remains quite a long road ahead.  I need to gird up.  Along with that, my niece, sort of the daughter I never had, graduated high school and moved across the country this fall.  This had a much deeper effect on me than I had any idea, and I was completely unprepared for the emotions that would surface.  Closing chapters of a long relationship, opening and closing and trying to navigate the waters of forming a new relationship leave me worn and depleted.  Frustrations over the superficiality of people in the singles world.  I see deep seated fears and insecurities in men manifest in various ways.  They probably have no idea of these things themselves, because they are living only on the surface.  But that’s a whole other probably very long winded post for another time.  Countless hours spent in traffic.  Darkness when I rise, darkness when I return.  Single parenting struggles, wanting my children to grow into gracious, kind, responsible, confident, and respectable men, and not knowing quite how to accomplish that.  The responsibilities of life.  I have a full plate.  It can be daunting and overwhelming if I think about it much.  That’s why I like to slow down and be still.  I get the most joy out of the simple things.  I go outside and feed my alpaca girls, chastise them for fighting each other for the lion’s share, and wander around the pasture, picking up their poop.  It’s therapeutic, really, to trudge about outside, rake and bucket in hand.  The wind in the trees releases the most wonderful cedar scent.  I feel happy.  I am very blessed.  I live a beautiful life.  I am full of love.  I love.  I am loved.

happiness is a rake and a bucket and a pasture full of poop

December 22nd, 2009 | 2 Comments »

I just found out that I have to pay somewhere around 10k in state taxes to a state in which I don’t live, for property I sold five years ago, and for which I already paid nearly 20k to the federal government.

Boo.

Ignorance is not always bliss.

CRAP.

*~*~*~*~*

Updated to say that, in addition to owing tax, there is interest added on top of that.  I am seriously sick to my stomach.

February 5th, 2008 | No Comments »

When it comes to politics, I am a buffoon.  A complete and total imbecile.  But I do care about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  So here it is, “Super Tuesday” to what, only about half of the country?  What does that mean?  My state’s primary election isn’t for another two weeks.  And what good will it be by then?  And we only have two choices on the ballot.  Democrat or Republican.  No independents, no liberals, no conservatives.  Just elephants and donkeys.  Whatever.  And if I vote on principle, I basically throw my vote away, because there’s no way an underdog candidate will win.  But then I wonder what that matters anyway, since how much can my vote matter when there’s an electoral college that overrides it anyway.  It makes no sense to me why we use an electoral college when we have sufficient technology to obtain a real vote by the real people.  Why can’t we just use the popular vote?

Okay, I’m done.  I don’t know enough to say any more (or even to say as much as I have).  It’s just frustrating.

Posted in politics