ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ Hmmmm. Maybe today I should give up being tired. That would be awesome. Sometimes I don't seem to get enough sleep and I feel a bit off all day. I sometimes take a nap, but that seems to make me even more tired for the rest of the day and it doesn't help me sleep that night. Seems there is just so much sleep one can expect. I'm tired just thinking about it.
I am tired a lot. But something tells me it is not really tiredness I am feeling. I actually sleep quite well, and I think I get enough exercise. I eat fairly well, healthy, lots of fruits and vegetable and not a lot of red meat. that's what makes me wonder if maybe it is something else. Perhaps its this feeling being overwhelmed and under-motivated. Why overwhelmed? Well, that's a hard one to explain. And under-motivated? Well, that might just be old-fashioned laziness.
I say overwhelmed because when I make my lists of to-do's, it seems there is just so much to do. I sometimes just want to go back to bed or go lay in the hammock or run away to a desert island. The later is highly unlikely. Too much work to maintain myself on a desert island.
Oh, well, maybe I am just whining here. It is a bit of a rant. But truly, I do want to give up this tired thing. It occurs to me that the more I say to myself (or to anyone who'll listen) that I'm tired, I'm affirming just that. I am confirming the negative. I am saying to myself, "You are tired", and so I am. SIgh. That is madness. I guess I need to be mindful of that and not tell myself I am tired. Really. I am not tired. I am just energy challenged. LOL
Seriously, the point of this for me seems to be that we are, or soon become, that which we tell ourselves we are. I wake up and think how tired I am. Not a great way to start any day. Mindful! I must consciously program a new inner "tape" to play. Starting here. Starting now.
Giving up tiredness. Not giving in to it. Because in many cases, it is just a state of mind. And we can control our thoughts and feelings, at least we can control what we do with them and how we accept or reject them. I reject being tired. Soldier on. I can do it. Yep. Tired no more. That's me!
Earlier tonight a friend asked over dinner what my goals were. I couldn't give voice to any particular goals. Most of my life I have opted to be comfortable, secure and safe. I stayed at a job with the County for 30 years and got a nice retirement for my "sacrifice". I say sacrifice because certainly I could have earned more money in the private sector or by pursuing my creative/artist nature. Or not. That I will never know. But now, like most of my life, I have never really had specific goals.
Should I be concerned?
Actually, I have had some goals, some very important goals, and at those I have been mostly successful. I always wanted to be a good person. I wanted to have good friends, a "family" of my own choosing as it were. I wanted to have a nice home, a decent car, the ability to explore my interests in the arts like reading, writing, photography, pets, the theatre, and travel. I would venture an opinion that I have been moderately successful in most of these areas. I need to work on the areas of reading, theatre and travel, but I'm getting to those.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I hear the message that it is important to have goals: clear, measurable goals. It does feel better to accomplish something each day and, over the course of the year, the decade, the lifetime, something to be proud of. For the most part, I am proud of my life and who I became...who I am today. Somethings about myself and my life I might want to change, but then, who doesn't? Overall, I have met many of my goals.
The goals that remain give me reasons to get up in the morning. Even if it just, as my friend said, setting up to clean out the refrigerator and doing a good job, like I did today. Little things add up and can mean a lot. That is how self esteem is built. I do have fairly healthy self-esteem these days. That's nice.
I set a goal to write a blog for each day during the Lenten season. And I have succeeded. Not necessarily as I thought I would do it, but then goals when realized often don't look like what we envisioned. Often they are better.
I have never looked at life like it was a competition. Perhaps that is why I never aspired to much more than I achieved so far. Yet part of me still dreams of being a published writer, a fine art photographer and a husband someday. The clock is ticking, but I am not worried. My goal is to be the best me I can be. The rest will manifest as it should. Amen.
I hope you have noticed I failed to blog for days 19 and 20 because that means you may have been reading this blog until now. Now that I am at the halfway mark (one day past actually) it might be time to consider the meaning of giving up and how it has effected me.
I have to admit I have not just ignored the blog. I have actually been giving a lot of thought. Primarily I have wondered if I might have taken on a bit more than I could chew, as they say. Forty things in forty days to give up requires a lot of thought. I haven't exactly tried to give up the easy things people usually give up during Lent. I still eat chocolate and go to the movies and indulge in other food comforts. I even have been having a glass of wine in the evenings.
The point of giving things up during Lent, however, is to give up things that lead to personal reflection and internal contemplation. In other words, it is a time to realign yourself with God, the Great Spirit, the Universe or whatever you call it. And for me it has been a time to ponder the things that keep me from being the person I think I might be.
So if I were to summarize the journey so far, I would report that it has been more insightful at times than I would have thought. I have learned that I need to curb my tendency to preach or pontificate. When you get to be a certain age, you find you have a wide variety of experiences and insights into life that you might be bursting to share, but not everyone wants to hear them...to listen to your sage wisdom. (Being a bit ironic here. I wish were more of a sage and had a lot more wisdom at this point in my life).
Maybe that is the point. Maybe that is what I have learned doing these blogs during Lent. Giving up is surrendering. It is knowing that you don't know everything....and that you probably never will. It is learning to accept yourself and be open to growing. When I write my morning pages*, I usually end them with some gratitude to God or Spirit or the Maker of Us All. One thing I always am thankful for is another day, another chance to learn and to grow and to be the person I was meant to be. Some days, I actually think and feel I am getting closer.
*Morning Pages are an exercise I learned when I studied The Artist Way by Julia Cameron. The book is about recovering your artistic nature and Morning Pages are the place to dump all the negative thoughts and tapes and maybe plan your day, etc., before the day begins. I have found it to be personally beneficial and when I do them, the day see
I had a discussion with a friend who is starting his own blog today about the act of publishing a blog. Is it an act of ego? Is it some desire to call attention to onself? A search for meaning? Who are we to "force" our thoughts on an unsuspecting public? Let it happen organically, be discovered and attract people through algorhythms of internet. This conversation gave me pause. It touched on something I often think about when I write and then share these blogs. The question is: Why? Why blog? Why share it? Why do I do it? In other words, who cares?
Well, I had to wonder if I write these blogs out of some sort of hubris. Do I think I have something so important to say I need to share it with the world? As my blog from Day Seventeen talked about, nothing is important. If this blog disappeared tomorrow, I would miss doing it and I dare say, there are some folks who would miss reading it. But that cannot be the reason I do it. No, not really. So why?
I do it because I like to do it. Plain and simple. Sometimes it is easier than others. Some days I don't have a clue what to say. But I prattle on anyway. It is in nothing more, a good practice writing.
I do it also because I like to share my thoughts and feelings. Now this is where the question of why takes another turn. Is it my ego? Do I write down my thoughts and musing and publish them for the world to see because I think I am so very wise or insightful? Not really. I do like getting feedback. I do like hearing from people that they read my blog and actually got something out of it, even if was just a laugh or two. Deep down I really do believe I have something to say.
Why then turns to "why don't I promote the blog more?" Fear I suppose. What if the blog catches on? What if I develop a following beyond family and friends? I do put it on Facebook. Very few comment there. I do get comments via email and in person. But people are kind. Maybe I am afraid of not being liked, of being harshly criticized. Well, isn't that just how things are when you put yourself out there?
So why give up? Give up asking why and just go ahead. Sometimes there is no real "why" to things. Things just are. Like being important, some things just are. It is when we decide they are important or have to have some reason to be justified that we get into trouble. So there you have it, I will soldier on, just for the fun and the practice and the heck of it.
This is not important. It will not change the world. It may entertain, it may enlighten, it may offer solace. But it is not important. It has no inherent great significance or value. It is just words on a page. Nothing more.
So give up importance. It is not. I have found that things that have importance, have such only because I ascribe to them. In other words, we choose what's important to us and that is why I am giving it up.
It all is what it is and nothing more. I choose to make it so important. Let it go and let it be. Its all relative. So there you have it.
Hoarding. This is not an easy one. I have a tendency to hold onto things long past their shelf life. Just take a look in my fridge or pantry. Or, heaven forbid, in my garage or home office. There are stacks and piles and boxes enough to fill a small moving van. No wonder I get overwhelmed just thinking about even going in those places.
Part of me is kidding. The other part is deadly serious. Part of the reason I suspect is the fact that I have lived in this house thirty-one years now. I grew up with hoarders. My mother didn’t throw much away. I grandmother had a tendency to store things she probably would never use again. My dad’s garage (man-cave) was jam-packed with “stuff” he brought home he found along the road. And when he worked on a trash truck collecting trash for a while, well, you can imagine the “treasures” he found to bring home.
So I come by it honestly. But honestly, enough is enough. I have been going through things for about a year now. Last years as many of you know, I painted the interior of my home, re-did the floors and many other things. I got rid of a lot. Last spring I had a yard sale and sold much stuff, stuff from the estates of my mom, my grandmother and my great aunt. It felt good. But a lot of stuff found its way into the garage and the office. Now the time has come to deal with it.
My friend Michael got my started in earnest this morning by helping me empty and re-organize the garage. As we put things back, the rear section is stuff I need to go through and/or know I want to keep and put to use. In the middle is bigger stuff, furniture, that needs to go to consignment or an estate sale business my friend Kerry works for. And the stuff in the very front will come out next week for, you guessed it, a yard sale! And if it doesn’t sell, it goes to be donated or trashed.
Its a (re)start. And it feels good. No more hoarding. It requires discipline and, frankly, security, to release the things that you might need or have memories attached. If I haven’t needed it in all this time, why would I now? And I will still have my memories. Only the things that serve me can remain. It is time for them to go to others so they can create new memories.
Yesterday it seems I subconsciously decided to not accomplish much. I succeeded. Yesterday I frittered away the day on the internet, half watching TV, going to the 99 Cent Store and the Post Office. Yesterday going to the 99 Cent Store and the Post Office were the most productive things I did. Oh, I also went to pick someone up at Ontario Airport and deliver them to the Best Western in Corona...at the height of rush hour on a Friday night. Surprisingly, it was not stressful at all. Yesterday wasn't so bad after all.
Except I didn't do Day 15 on Day 15.
And so now it is Day 16 and I am playing catch up.
That is why I am giving up yesterday. Yesterday can be a synonym for regrets. Honestly, I am not feeling much regret. I did what I wanted to do. Well, at least I didn't do what I didn't want to do. I did a few productive things like get a letter off pertaining to the estate I am administering currently. I did get some things I really needed at the 99 Cent store and shopping there is always a bargain hunter's adventurer's delight.
So I have no regrets about yesterday. And I give it up. Not much I could do to change it now and now I am working on today. I don't think I will be giving up today any time soon. It's all I have.
There are times when I think some of the things I hope will come true are just pipe dreams. I had to look that up, of course, and I found that it comes from the late 1800's when opium was a drug of choice and people would use it to alter their reality. During smoking sessions, they would have illusions, or delusions I suppose, that were unrealistic hopes and schemes. Thus that sort of thing came to be called "pipe dreams." Makes sense, I suppose.
Well, I have never smoked opium. Never done much in the way of drugs. They scare me, so I always declined and avoided situations where the use might be introduced. Yes, I have always been a bit of a Good Boy, a brother to Pollyanna. If Dorothy's dream of Oz was induced by opium, then I guess I am no friend of Dorothy. Seriously, though, drugs have never been something I indulged in. Call me a goodie goodie, but really, like I said, I have always been scared of their effects and so I guess you can legitimately call me a scaredy cat.
But back to pipe dream. Sometimes you just have to face facts. Reality must be accepted. Fantasies are nice, but until there is some basis in reality, someway to attain them, then they will always be just that: fantasy. Give me some good old attainable realistic dreams. Something I can set my mind to and work toward. I have them still, you know. Asperations and wannabes. No pipe dreams for me.
And so today I give up pipe dreams. Flights of fantasy, yes, but no more living in foolish falderal. Bye bye pipe dreams of castles in the sky and knights in shining armor. Just do it. Make it happen. Treat and move your feet*. The vision is clear. No more smoke in these eyes. On a clear day, you know, you can see forever.
*Treat and move your feet is an expression from my Religious Science days. It means pray, but do something about it basically. In otherwords, you can let go and let God, but you have to allow God to use you and move your feet in the direction He directs.
I went to see my oldest friend in the world today. She is 95 and lives at the beach. She is one of the coolest ladies I have ever known. We met almost forty years ago while were both volunteers on a suicide and crisis hotline. Times have changed, but our positive regard and love for each other has not. She is my inspiration for the right way to age. I hope I am so lucky as to reach her age and still have the joie de vivre she has.
But give up aging? I know what you're thinking. "Who does he think he is fooling? We all age. Okay, I know there is nothing we can do to stop it. Not Botox, not plastic surgery, not hanging upside down at night or keeping a portrait in the attic can for-stall the inevitable." Okay, I get it. I'm getting old. We're all getting old. Everyday, day by day, day after day. And if I don't age, well, what then, you might ask, is the alternative? Well, I'm not going there, but it is a sure way to stop aging.
No, I am going to stop aging in ways that matter. My outlook, my philosophy, my joie de vivre. That, I know, I can control. Sometimes as my physicality suffers the ill effects of gravitational pull and other wear and tear, I think that is me. It's not. I am something much more. At the risk of sounding preachy, I am spirit, I am essence, I am a child of the universe. I am, finally, created in the likeness and image of God. And God never ages. Spirit is eternal. And so there you have it.
You know its funny, but I hesitate to say things like that. I sometimes think it will put some people off. I am not sure what that says about me and my beliefs, my faith it whatever I perceive to be my "greater power". Doubt? Fear? Maybe some. But maybe it in aging in the physical sense, that I am finding my true age transcends my self-image. Am I making sense?
Oh, well, today I give up aging. I will keep myself young in my thinking and my essence. I will work on remaining curious and open to new experiences. I will not let an aging body keep me from living and loving and all those things that make life worth living.
This is a picture of the window above my bed. I often look up and out as I think about the day ahead...setting some sort of agenda. I do my morning pages and then usually get on with the da
There are two agendas: ours and God's. Whose do you think will take precedence? "I want what I want when I want it" does not always work. Sometimes I have to surrender to the fact that I am not in control. I might have my agenda laid out for the next few hours, the day, the week, even the month or the year. But I try to remember to leave some leeway in any agenda for the unplanned event. The detour. The fork in the road. The crisis.
I was thinking about his today and thinking that, yes, maybe giving up on agendas. But that wouldn't work. I believe in having something in mind to accomplish during any given day....even if that something is nothing....like lying in the hammock and reading a good book. Or sleeping with my little dogs in my lap. That's a spot of heaven. And it is a legitimate item for any agenda.
So today I have any agenda. Some of it I have already accomplished. I got out of bed (good start), fed the dogs and cat, had some breakfast, talk our morning walk around the neighborhood, did some yard-work, (a returning item to my agenda), wrote a business letter, and now I am blogging here. That's a pretty full agenda. I guess God liked it, because He didn't send any interruptions or agenda high-jackers my way. Now its just afternoon so I can eat a bit of lunch before I go on to the afternoon's activities.
Whoa, I just felt a wash of serenity sweep over me. Cool. Agendas: not just for work anymore. And not to prevent you from what you (or God) really want to do with your day.