Squirrels on meth

I have been meditating for approximately a week now and I would like to share 10 things with you about this experience thus far:

  1. My brain is full of squirrels
  2. And I am pretty sure the squirrels are on meth
  3. I am trying to the get the squirrels to slow down but they are fast little buggers. Really fast. And I think that has to do with the meth.
  4. I may have to send the squirrels to detox (not sure what this will do to my brain but there could be a few really ugly days coming up)
  5. Meditation is really hard. Especially if your brain is full of squirrels. On meth. Or full of lots of thoughts that never seem to stop.
  6. Meditation seems like it should be easy but that is an illusion. It is magic and it is hard.
  7. So… for meditation you just sit there, right? And you think about nothing, right? And you just think about….  Ha. That’s when you notice the squirrels. They are zooming all over the place. They never stop moving. Never stop. Stop squirrels stop.
  8. And then sometimes one squirrel does stop. And it stays there staring right into your face like a three-year old trying to figure out what you are and what to do with you. And you say, “Hey squirrel, move on. I’m meditating here.” But the squirrel, it just runs around you and comes right back – front and center with it’s beady squirrel eyes looking at you. And the next you thing you know you have spent your whole time wrestling with one squirrel instead of clearing your mind and such.
  9. Meditation is reportedly one of those things that can change your life if you commit to it. After one week of doing this I can see why. If everyone else’s brains are full of squirrels or monkeys or bats or frogs on stimulants, well… it is quite eye-opening when you realize what is actually going on in there. Anarchy. When I finally catch the squirrels and harness that energy, well… imagine what will happen. Just imagine.
  10. I truly believe all those people who do amazing things and who swear that meditation is a key part of their amazing things are onto something. First, conquer the squirrels in your brain. Second, conquer pretty much anything you want because this meditation stuff is one of the hardest things I have ever done (and just for reference, I went through 38+ hours of labor to deliver our second kiddo and I did an IronMan and I went to Walmart on Black Friday and survived all of them – but meditation is harder than being in labor while doing an Ironman and shopping at Walmart). Once you figure out meditation it is all there.

So, if I were my own best friend I would tell myself to keep on meditating. There is gold at the end of the rainbow. And I would tell the squirrels to sit the heck down, close their eyes, and namaste the heck out of life. Peace out.

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Plan A

I was listening to a book last week and one of the characters was trying to convince the other character to do something she was not sure she wanted to do. The first character said something to the effect of “If Plan A doesn’t work it’s OK. There are 25 more letters in the alphabet.”

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I love it. 25 more letters! 25 more chances to make it different or tweak it or try again. 25! I was trying to think of the last time I tried something 25 times in an effort to “get it right” or to get to what I wanted to achieve. The only thing that comes close has been my ill-fated attempts at sandwich bread making which I’ve posted about here before. I might be somewhere around Plan R or Plan S by now and to be honest I had given up, but I have another 8 or so letters to go so I think I’ll try again. However with everything else I think I might get to Plan D or Plan E and then I stop. I am short-changing myself – there are 26 letters in the alphabet! It is time to become more resilient, to not give up so easily, to persevere.

So if I were my own best friend I would remind myself to try-try-again, if plan A doesn’t work there are 25 more letters in the alphabet.

And what about you? Do you give each new opportunity at least 26 chances before you walk away? Do you move on to Plan AA, AB, AC and so on? Or are you closer to what I have been doing recently, stopping after a maximum of 5 or 6 attempts and moving on? What could we accomplish if we gave everything at least 26 attempts, each slightly different based on what we learned from the previous ones? Imagine!

Fail often.

Failure has a bad reputation but once you get to know it, it’s not really the bad kid. It’s the cool kid in disguise. Failure means you tried something. Failure means you took a chance. Failure means you found something you can improve on the next time. Failure means you have the opportunity to get better. Failure means you have the chance to grow.

I like all those things… trying something new, taking a chance, improving, opportunity, growth… So, if I were my own best friend I would tell myself to fail a bit more often.

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Cookies and Living in the moment.

Sometimes a reminder to live in the moment and find the simpler pleasures comes along and just makes me smile. This such reminder happened to show up in a book I am listening to right now when I commute to/from work. I pulled out a piece of paper (while driving) and instantly scribbled down as much as I could remember because I truly wanted to remember it (and then blog about it later).

Living in the moment can be such a challenge – not reminiscing or regretting the past, not dreaming or dreading the future, but just being in the present moment. And sometimes those present moments are really hard. Life can be really hard. Sometimes I really really want to think about the past or the future and not face the icky or painful or hard or “real life” stuff that is there, in the present. And sometimes when facing that icky/painful/ooky stuff I need something positive or kind or fun to get me through. That’s what this quote makes me think of – finding the positive in the midst of the not-so-positive.

So without further ado, a quote from a well-known, blue furry friend on Sesame Street, Cookie Monster:

“Today me will live in the moment unless it’s unpleasant in which case me will eat a cookie.”

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Tribes. Revisited.

It was in August of 2016, over 7 months ago, that I last wrote about finding a tribe. It feels like it was only a week ago or maybe a month but that is how time goes these days, fast and furious and recklessly moving forward.

I still strongly believe, maybe even more so now than seven months ago, the following  key things about a tribe:

  1. It’s PEOPLE. Not just one person. I don’t think your tribe (well my tribe anyway) is complete with one person. I think multiple people bring multiple gifts and qualities that make the tribe a richer whole.
  2. Tribes are often formed over time. I think it’s quite rare to step into an already formed group of people who become your friends. I think that is especially rare as I get older. Tribes take time and effort to form. The process is organic and slow.
  3. Tribes change. People move. People move on. People die. People change. The people who make up your tribe will change. I think it is so very important to remember that (especially as we can get set in our ways) being open to new people entering our tribe is a beautiful gift we can give ourselves and the new people who may “join.”
  4. Membership should always be open. This piggybacks a bit on the previous point but I think it is important enough to merit its own mention. If you are part of a tribe, if you have a tribe, if you are a leader of a tribe, please don’t close the membership.

So do I have a tribe? Nope. Not completed yet anyway, but bigger than it was before. Am I still working on it? Absolutely! To reference #3 above, tribes change, and mine is still evolving.

In an effort to evolve my tribe here is a recap of the last half-year. Again, holy crap, how have seven months gone by???

  1.  I have made an effort to talk to people and smile at people and say hello. Even people I do not know. Crazy, right? Yup. I’m that person that smiles and says “hi” if we happen to make eye contact when we are standing in line waiting for coffee. Are you the person who says “hi” back or are you the person who buries your face so deep in your smart phone I would think you were charging the phone with your nose? No judgement, I promise. I have been both those people, but I am trying to do less nose-charging and more “hellos”.
  2. I have especially tried to connect with people even when I feel nervous or awkward because I am not quite sure what to say or do, like if I am at a social event for my kid and there are a bunch of other parents there too. I assume they are feeling nervous or awkward, NOT that they don’t want to talk with me. And I jump right in. As an added bonus I have gotten slightly better at making small talk with random people and I have discovered a few new coffee shops and stores I would never have known about by complimenting people’s shoes or shirts or mugs. Now I just have to figure out how to translate that into a friendship! Baby steps people, baby steps.
  3. I have joined groups that met in person and met virtually online. I have participated and really attempted to connect with the people in these groups. However, it turns out the groups were not quite the right fit for me (like I was the color orange and everyone else with yellow). Everyone I met was very nice and very polite, but I never really connected with anyone. Finally, after six months I was able to say “not my place” and walk away. Which was also kind of scary, because I thought I SHOULD fit and that is why I joined, but then I didn’t. I know though, there are other groups out there and I will keep hunting for that group that is the right fit.
  4. I have been happier knowing I am trying even though it has been hard work and waaaaay out of my comfort zone. Or maybe I am happier because of that nightly foot massage, glass of wine, hot bubble bath, home-cooked meal, no dishes to do… hahahaha, fantasy world people, pure fantasy!  

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So, if I were my own best friend I would remind myself that good things often take time, do not give up, persevere and keep making small talk. Eventually those connections are formed and they grow. Brick by brick is how a castle is built, why not a tribe too? 

Are you trying new adventures and expanding the bounds of your world? Are you already in a tribe and inviting new members into the fold? Are you getting nightly foot massages, glasses of wine, bubble baths, and so on, if YES, then please share your secrets!

 

Bathroom doors.

I think this particular post today is both a glimpse into my life (for those of you who were ever so interested to know what it’s like) and a public service announcement for anyone who visits our house.

We have bathroom doors in our house. We actually have two bathrooms in our house and there is a door for each one. The doors work, meaning they open and they close. This may seem like obvious, well-duh kind of stuff but it is important to note, again, the bathroom doors work.

You wouldn’t know it though if you came to visit our house. The moment my husband or I step into the bathroom and close the door it sets off a strange chain reaction of events tg

Exhibit A: Bathroom door closes. The 20-month old stops whatever she was contentedly doing and suddenly panics that the bathroom (a completely benign space 3 seconds prior) has morphed into a tunnel to another dimension that is going to suck whomever has entered that bathroom into, never to be seen again. Pitter-pat-pitter-pat go the feet in rapid succession as she runs to our rescue. The door crashes open. She breathes a deep sigh of relief that the bathroom has not sucked us into another dimension. She then proceeds to sit on the floor and watch us do our business until we are done, just to make sure that pesky inter-dimensional-bathroom-travel stuff does not happen on her watch. All the while the bathroom door remains open.

Exhibit B: Bathroom door closes. The 4-year-old, also happily ensconced in some activity that requires no supervision whatsoever from a parent, is suddenly seized by the need to ask a question. I am certain the sound of the door closing triggers something in his brain that goes “ASK YOUR PARENT A QUESTION NOOOOOOOOOWWWWWW” and he of course, responds immediately to that primordial command. Knock, knock, knock on the door, then the inevitable question, like “where are my socks” or “why is the sky blue” or “when are we going to go to Hawaii”, and the expectation of an answer right then.  As the answer is being given the door is opened because the four-year-old points out he cannot hear the answer so well and we cannot really have a proper conversation through a bathroom door. (Then wait until I am done in the bathroom and come back out, I briefly think. Ha. Ha. Silly silly thought.) And the conversation continues until we leave the bathroom. All the while, with the door open. (A funny little addendum to this: I have noticed that as soon as we leave the bathroom, the four-year-old ceases to have burning-must-be-answered-right-this-moment questions.)

So, back to the topic of today’s post. We have bathroom doors that work but I am not really sure why, because they are never closed when they need to be.

Conclusions:

  1. The bathroom doors in our house are for guests, not the actual occupants of the house.
  2. If you are visiting our house (as a guest!) be forewarned that when you do your business in the bathroom, even though the door is for you, you may still be visited by a small human.
    1. If it is the 20-month old just continue what you are doing and make sure you do not get sucked into another dimension. We are hoping she will eventually realize people go into AND come out the bathroom AND she does not have to be there to make sure everything is okay.
    2. If it is the 4-year-old be ready to answer some random questions that will just keep coming until you are done. Why are there 7 days in a week? Why does Monday come before Tuesday? What is 7 + 22? Why? What is a number? Why is the tile white? Why are your toes pink? And so on…
    3. We will attempt to run interference in provide you with the glorious privilege of going to the bathroom with a closed door. No guarantees though.
  3. We should get better locks on the doors (because honestly they don’t work very well and that might solve this whole issue once and for all).

Hi. Bye.

There are so many things I could write about, deep, thoughtful, dark-times, hard-decisions kind of things but I find it hard to get started right now and there seems to be enough of that out there right now. So I figured today I would simply say “HI.”

I hope you are a having a decent day. It happens to be Monday when I am writing this, so if you are reading it then, I hope your Monday is decent, but I like all the other days of the week too and I am a believer in equal opportunity when able, so I hope Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and last but not least Sunday are also grand.

I hope you woke up on the right side of the bed today. And if you woke up on the wrong side of the bed I hope a really good cup of coffee, tea, milk, juice, margarita got you going in the right direction. And maybe a hug. Those are good too.

I hope you are looking forward to something fabulous in the upcoming days. Something to dream and think about and keep you motivated to be moving forward. Because there is actual research out there (that I am not going to dig up right now to footnote this because I am really only saying “hi”) that shows people are happier when they have something to look forward to in the future. That seems like a “well, duh” statement, but someone researched it and I read it. So there.

I hope if you are not moving forward then perhaps you are moving backwards. Because sometimes in life we do have to retrace or repeat a few steps to get it “right.” Even though I believe that each time you do something it was “right” for that moment. But maybe you had more lessons to learn, so you were presented with the opportunity to do it again. So, you’re not going backwards, but on repeat. Instead of moving forwards, you are repeating or retracing to learn more lessons. Smart move you!

Finally, I hope you have a nice evening to close out your day. Something with good food or drink to feed your body, good company or solitude to feed your soul, and good thoughts to feed your mind.

Bye.