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.

June 2nd, 2015 | 1 Comment »

I’m glad that I wrote about exploitation the other day.  It helped me process thoughts more productively.

Exploitation suggests an offender –the one exploiting, and a victim –the one exploited.  It absolves, somewhat, the one exploited from the responsibility of the situation.  Not that I am advocating transferring responsibility for a situation to someone, anyone, or anything other than myself….

Now that some thoughts have had a chance to mill about outside of the coulda woulda shoulda trap, I’ve finally been able to get somewhere.  Now I can and do reclaim responsibility for all of it.  Maybe I was a victim, maybe not.  Well, that man on the train had no right to invade my space, and that Iranian dude had no right to amuse himself with me in the manner that he did…    ….and that ex boyfriend really had no right to do me while I was asleep.  Had I woken up and gotten involved, well hello, that would be a different matter altogether (what’s better than barely waking and reaching for the one you love, and moving together in union and harmony in a semi conscious state?  How sexy and amazing is that?!), but I did not (wake up or respond in any way), and he proceeded, so yeah, he had no right to do that.  I was curious, truth be told.  Curious as to whether he would proceed or not.  It was a test, I suppose, and he failed….    Anyway.  I am not a victim.  I don’t know why or even how some things happen the way they do.  I am no longer hungry for an explanation for any of it.  I’ve decided to let it all go.  It’s something from the past, and the minute that it became history, it lost its power over me.  I don’t know why it took me almost 25  years to figure that out, though.

I’m learning the value of the now.  The only moment for which I have complete control is the moment that I’m experiencing now.  Now!  I am who I am.  I am who I choose to be.  I am who I want to be.  I can draw from the wisdom that has accumulated through the years and the experiences of other times, and I can choose to let all of the experiences be just that.  Wisdom.  Nothing else.  They can’t bring me down.  They aren’t an anchor, holding me down or holding me back.  I don’t want to be sad.  I don’t want to be angry.  I don’t want to be depressed.  I don’t want to be gloomy.  I don’t want to be hurt.  I have no desire for vengeance.  Besides all that, I’m a firm believer that good things come, always, always, always, somehow, from the ashes and anguish and sorrows and tears.  Always, good things come.  So in addition to that certainty, I now have this revelation, this added bonus, this wellspring of effervescent joy.  This is my moment, my life, this time that I am breathing, this instant.  This is mine!  This is my life!  I’m not going to be duped into allowing the past to steal my present.  No more!! And I’m not going to let the future steal my present either.  While I may have some input as to what my future holds, there is absolutely nothing that is certain.  Nothing except for the now.  My now.  My present.  This is what I have.  It’s all that any of  us has.  I’m claiming it.  Owning it.  It’s MINE!  This is life!  THIS.  IS.  LIFE.

brown eyed girl

I am exactly who, what, and how I want to be in this very moment.  I am good!  I am kind!  I am loving!  I am gentle!  I am strong!  I am smart!  I am capable!  I am resourceful!  I am responsible!  I am lovely!  I am fun!  I am creative!  I am happy!  I am healthy!  I am joyful!  I am alive!

Hello world.  It’s me.

Me!

August 21st, 2010 | 2 Comments »

...one of the last of the innocents and she keeps fooling herself...

I’m learning.  At a glacial pace.  Or even a plate tectonics pace.

It’s beginning to dawn on me that my body and heart and soul are all speaking to me at times, and that I should listen.  They may actually know what they’re saying.

When I recall all the nights I would cry myself to sleep, curled up in fetal position, in complete and utter anguish, I should have listened.  Instead, I assumed I was somehow at fault, that I really was that insecure, or that my hormones were to blame.  I have pages and pages of blog posts and journal entries to that effect.  Pages and pages which constitute hours upon hours of rationalization.  It’s not you it’s me.  Guess what?  It was you.  It was me too.  I should have given myself credit and honored my body, heart and soul, instead of allowing myself to be duped by my head.  What my head couldn’t see, everything else about me could.

I wasn’t then and am not now an overindulgent mother who lets her kids walk all over her.  Yes, I have a particular parenting style that is gentle, but also strict.  I believe that discipline can be accomplished without a  heavy hand.

I wasn’t then and am not now insecure and needy.  I’ve always been open and loving.  Not grasping, in order to receive or validate my existence, but simply giving. I give my all, with innocence, pure, simple,  open and complete.  If it’s met with scorn, ambivalence, or rejection, of course I wince.  How can I not, when all I’m doing is pouring out love?

Yes, I am definitely ultra sensitive.  Absolutely and most definitely.  Positively and completely.

I should do a better job of giving myself the benefit of the doubt.  At least I recognize that now.  I hope I can pay better attention from here on out.  I probably won’t, but I can at least make an attempt to try now and then.  Or at least recognize it more quickly in retrospect.

Eventually…

April 14th, 2010 | 5 Comments »

Words of wisdom uttered by my mother. I don’t remember the context of those words, or why she’d use them, but she used them enough for me to associate them with her, even though it is a quite common phrase.

20100411_14orchid

I am ultra sensitive. I always have been. I am happiest when those around me are happy. Like a chameleon, I reflect the moods of those I am near. It’s not necessarily a good thing. I’m empathetic. It can be a good thing, but it’s not always constructive. It could be constructive if I would remain vigilant and understand but not react to the emotions around me. But often, I’m not vigilant, and when that happens, then it doesn’t serve me (or anyone) well at all. My own fault.

It would serve me better to be a beacon. A light shining brightly, impervious to its surroundings. I have light within me. A fantastic light. I should let it shine brightly. As the children’s song goes. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

In so doing, I might just shield myself from the misperception of words and emotions wielded by those around me. And for the onslaught of words and emotions that are deliberate and not misperceived, I can just consider the source, and keep on shining.

Posted in me, mental health
April 13th, 2010 | 2 Comments »

20100411_16orchidsOh, if only I had the presence of mind and discipline of emotion to hold on and ride the wave of effervescent new love, never to let go. If only. It’s so glorious, to be distracted from the confines of everyday life and whisked away to new levels of thrill. Such a fantastic high.

I wish I knew how to hold on to that, and not let the other things take root. The nits, the picks, the responsibilities, the obligations, the necessities. Not to mention the blind sided attacks of emotion, mood swings, embittered exes. The small things that turn into monumental things, like missed communications and mis-communications. Assumptions here and there. Careless! Taking things for granted. How deftly these things can creep in and take hold! One must remain vigilant, in order to keep the home fires burning strong.

Picture a potter at the wheel. The wheel spins, and the artist has the clay under control, taking shape, a beautiful form. Such a fine, fine balance, because if the artist falters for even a moment, what was a work of beauty, exquisite in form, is suddenly ruined. Ruined, in the blink of an eye. Thank God my life isn’t necessarily that extreme, and nothing is truly ruined. Oh, but there is often much damage control to be run, and the running thereof is nothing short of exhausting.

These are the four agreements. Be impeccable with your word. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. Always do your best. These are the things I try to remind myself, to keep myself in check.

I’m trying to be a good parent, a good role model, a good example, a good friend, a good partner, a good person. I don’t make everybody happy all of the time. I wish I could. It makes me happy, for those in my sphere to be happy, and to know that I contribute to their happiness.

Happiness should be easy. It’s all about love.

But sometimes it doesn’t seem easy at all.

Sometimes.

Maybe it’s because I am just. so. tired.

Orchids

Orchids - Commissioned for my birthday by one sister and lovingly arranged and delivered by the other. Exquisite.