chaos · compassion · order

My humanity is showing.

11.12.18.jpgPardon the mess, it’s just the inside of my brain.  You’ve arrived at a consequential time for me and I haven’t had the time to put all the belongings into their rightful place and order.

This pile here, atop what used to resemble a desk, is all my pending work tasks—the ones at the bottom over a month old.  Over in the kitchen, this disarray is where I collect all of my home related things.  As you see, the junk drawer holds, “Call the shade installer,” “Look up glucosamine supplements,” and “Find a better place for the Sodastream.”

In the heart of the living area is the jumble of my relationships, a pile of body parts.  The ear of my mom, for listening to the chaos and whose call I have to return.  The pointer finger of my dad for his accusation of missing his birthday.  The palm up, “Stop” sign of my inner self reminding me to pause, slow down, and remember my divinity, stillness, and truth.

On the porch, are my running shoes—sorry you tripped on them when you arrived!— dusty, beside a study about the precipitous drop-off of muscle tone as we age and a mishmash of the area’s workout classes.

So, you’ll have to forgive me if I can’t pause to look you in the eye right now.  If my fingernails have created a series of half-moons in my clenched palms, if a fistful of chocolate chips is a reasonable dinner, if my sleep cycle is a jackinthebox poised to awaken me at any moment.

Because, do know: There’s a robot vacuum on its way.

And a bed frame.  And a holiday break.  There are boxes unpacked so I have my favorite bread knife again, designated desk space, and a re-organized medicine cabinet.

Help is on its way.  I’m taking the action—some areas more slowly than others—but the pile will get unpiled, the sneakers will get sneaked, and I will learn anew what it’s like to let myself be human.

 

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balance · contentment · order

In the Interest of Time…

Calendar

“Babe, do you think it’s too prescribed to write a Habit Plan for the whole year?”

Ermmm, yeah, maybe.  Why would you?

“Well, my month-long habit tracker is working so well and I already want to extend it to a 2-month plan — because some things happen every 6 or 8 weeks — so, I figure there are some things that happen every 6 months or once a year, so why not put them in…?”

Pause.

“Yeah, I guess that’s a little much, huh.”

When I trace the origins of my newly-minted habit of habits, I can see this all started with extending my second set of house keys in November, at which point I gained the Lord’s most eagle-eyed observer: the live-in lover.

As is bound to happen in a relationship,  I’d already begun to adopt some habits from my boyfriend (and he from me).  For example, the daily making of fresh coffee, clearing the bathroom sink of my hair (instead of washing strands down the inevitably-clogging drain), clearing my car of accumulated detritus on the regular.

Most of these boyfriend-influenced habits have been in the realm of cleaning and clearing, maintaining order in a shared environment … where, let’s be honest, I’ve always been … relatively lax.

Examines fork from yesterday’s breakfast:  No crusty bits!  Okay to reuse!

Spills a few parsley flakes on the floor: No problem, sweep ’em under stove with sock!

And J’s most exemplary tidbit from me:  “Hey babe, how do you clean a toilet, anyway?”

Because of our new living situation, I’ve begun to be more fastidious in my habits but the supercharge shift happened about a month ago after listening to a podcast of Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday (as I washed dishes!).  She was interviewing one of my favorite authors, Gretchen Rubin, whose books The Happiness Project and, my more favored, Happier at Home, have been on my physical and audio bookshelves for a while.

Gretchen was talking about her new book, of which I’d not heard, Better Than Before; about the idea of not being perfect, but of working in our lives to be, simply, better than before.  I love this idea, and ordered the audiobook immediately.

Enter the Habit Tracker.  Although this is not specifically one of her suggested habit-creating tools, I’d been saying around then that I wanted to put all my daily and weekly tasks into a calendar.  This aligned perfectly with her theory that removing as many decisions from our day as possible is a delight.  I cannot tell you how much I cherish this idea:

Fewer decisions = More Freedom.

Should I clean my dishes today?  Clean the toilet today?  Wash my hair today?  Do I have the time?  Do I feel like it?  Do I want to?

ALL THESE DECISIONS VANISH!:

On alternating Mondays, I do my brows or paint my nails.  Alternating Fridays, I ice skate or clothing shop.

It’s Wednesday.  I wash my hair.  (Sundays, too.)  😉

It’s Friday.  EAT SWEETS DAY!

I’ve absolutely loved this new plan for myself.  No questions.  No doubt.  No fiddling, cajoling, coercing, convincing, denying, depriving.  No whining.  No wasted energy.

I am thrilled at this new process for myself (vitamins every day in January!), but as I look to plotting into the tracker, “haircut (3x a year), oil change (2x a year), tire rotation (1x a year),” … I begin to wonder if too much tracking is tiresome and spontaneity-sucking.

I’m not convinced yet that it is, but I’ll schedule questioning for Friday.

 

 

community · death · faith · god · health · order · reality · recovery · spirituality

In Vain.

Normal
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God? G-d? Him, Her, It, We, They?
The Great What Is?
The tendency of all things toward progress, perhaps. Toward
health and order.
Cut your hand, and assuming all other things are right with
your body, it will heal itself. In a week or two, it will be good as new.
Sometimes scarred, but altogether, well.
In parallel, cut your spirit, your psyche, and the tendency
of them are toward healing and health. If we don’t hide away the wound, or habitually fiddle with it, we’re sort of compelled to heal. It’s the natural state of ourselves,
and it’s my experience and observation that the order of life will lead us
there.
In this, I can believe.
In benevolence, I have a harder time, these days.
I’m at the part in my personal work where I’m supposed to
think about “god” and my relationship to it, whatever I choose to define it as.
I’m at the part where I come to believe that it wants the best outcome for me
and all creatures. The part where I’m supposed to take a deep breath, open my
arms, and fall into the caring embrace of this power.
Balls.
Because here’s the part that snags my shirttail: sometimes
“god’s” plan includes the death of babies. Sometimes it includes the overdose of
a friend, the death of a parent before you’re old enough to know them. Sometimes “god’s plan” includes rape. And of course, sometimes it includes
cancer in a healthy 30 year old.
I will not stand with those who say it’s part of a plan. I
don’t think it is. I think you can take those experiences, and choose to
integrate them into a theology and a world-view that helps you get through
them. Mostly, you can choose to tell yourself, perhaps truthfully, that their
or your experience will benefit those around you. That others get to witness
how you struggled, railed, and got through it anyway. I do believe that we can
choose to turn our experiences into something valuable.

(Though I do have unresolved issues with being or using anyone as a goddamned touchstone on how to life your life more fully. “I could go at any time, just like him — I think I’ll learn from his pain & in homage and reverence, I’ll paint that portrait; become a doctor; take a trip.” Balls. F’ you, man. My life is not your feeding ground. — … unless of course, it is.)

But I will not say
that I believe that “god” puts these obstacles before us on purpose. I just don’t think it’s
that intelligent.

The intelligence in focusing all flowers toward the sun (or
moon, depending), the intelligence that makes all those little newborn turtles
scurry toward the ocean, the intelligence that turns felled trees into
compost: it’s order, it’s incredible, it’s inspiring, but it’s not benevolent,
necessarily, and it’s not because a force underlies all and declares some of those
turtles will be scooped up by predators in their first moments of life – that’s simply part of the order of
it.
Because here’s another side to the whole “God as
benevolence” thing: it means (or can mean) that we believe we have an ace in the hole. It means
wishful and fantastic thinking that “god didn’t take us this far to drop us on our ass” or “god is
slow but never late,” which translates to, if I hold out long enough, if I pray
hard enough, if I act well enough, I’ll be alright. And buddy, that just ain’t
true.
It’s not really about god at all. Being or becoming
“alright” has more to do with how we chose to interpret and incorporate out
life experiences. God isn’t gonna rescue me, reward me, or punish me. It just
doesn’t care like that. But I do. And you do. And together we can form a lattice of support
that feels bigger than ourselves, that carries us through and over those hard
times. Together, we are aimed toward health, and we connect to improve our
chances of getting there.
In that, I can
believe. I can believe in our collective desire toward joy. I can believe in my
desire to clear out the junk in my heart, so that I can help you
toward joy, too.
Is that “god”? Not really. Is it good? You bet. 

abundance · life · order · priorities · vision

The Good News

The good news is that I’m alive, so I can accomplish all the
things I’d like to. In order, and in “the Universe’s” time.
Here is a list of creative projects and endeavors I’m
involved in at the moment:
  • Playing
    Bass in a band in SF 
  • Memorizing
    and practicing audition pieces
  • Looking
    up and applying to new casting calls
  • Sourcing
    a photographer for a new headshot
  • Submitting
    myself to modeling agencies
  • Writing
    new songs
  • Forming
    a new band in the East Bay
  • Practicing
    jazz and blues standards with the keyboardist from the first band, in
    order to busk in BART stations (ostensibly eventually in actual lounges)
  • Sourcing
    a voice teacher
  • Taking
    an acting class
  • Writing
    my blog

Here is a list of creative projects and endeavors that I
have on back burners:
  • Actually practicing the bass 
  • Learning the piano
  • Writing
    and developing my musical about race
  • Painting! (and sourcing an art studio — don’t do oils in your kitchen, kids)
  • Developing
    a “home organizing” on-the-side business
  • Gardening
    (learning to)
  • Learning
    to sew
  • Re-developing
    my creativity workshop
  • Reorganizing
    my closet (yes, that’s creative!) 
  • Fixing the brakes on my bike and learning to ride again.

Not to mention the commitments I have outside of my regular
work hours, including some personal inventory writing that I’ve been stuck on
for months. Plus the daily things we all need to do, like eat, shower, grocery
shop, cook food, spend time with my neglected cat. Let’s throw in “dating,” just to
make it a maelstrom.
So… I’m tired.
And I sometimes try to counter this fatigue by watching several
hours of Netflix when I come home, which means that all of the above things get
pushed back and I feel even more crunched and overwhelmed.
So, today, I’m meeting with two friends to talk about my
priorities. I know I wrote about this earlier this week or last, and now I’m
putting action to it. I have no idea how to juggle it all, and so balls get
dropped, and things important to me get shuffled down the calendar like a
shuffle-board puck. Clean cups move down no room at the inn tomorrow and
tomorrow and tomorrow.
Veysmer.
Because SOME of these things are meant to be focused on NOW.
And some are allowed to be worked on later.
Someone once told me I can’t do everything, and I nearly
lost it. She clarified and said, “You can’t do everything all at once.” Phew, okay.
I WANT to do it all. But, am I meant to? Who knows. I do
know that I’m not meant to do it all at once.
It’s like shoving a spoonful of every part of your meal into
your mouth at once. It doesn’t work, and you end up choking on a chocolate chip with gravy on your shirt.
BUT, if I take a bite in order and with precision, focus,
and priority, then I have a chance of not only enjoying the meal of life,
savoring what’s happening, and appreciating the company I keep, but this order and
priority will allow me to digest it all slowly enough to create room for
dessert. And by dessert, I mean sex.