When I posted to facebook about the icy/snowy/windy conditions of my travel, my aunt, with good intentions, said I should go somewhere warm. I totally understand what she is saying. My mom was saying something similar: “but do you have to do the trip in February?” That is the archetypical vacation, right? Go to a beach and relax. Read a fiction novel and get a tan.
In a word, escape.
I didn’t, and won’t, respond to my aunt. I am not trying to change anyone’s ideas about vacation. It can be for you whatever you want it to be.
This time around I wanted my vacation to be a challenge. Doing a road trip is already challenging. It requires sitting in a car for long periods of time, finding something to do with your mind that allows you not to be overwhelmed by boredom. Compounding on that some extreme weather and you are pretty much guaranteed some challenges.
One thing I have come to understand about myself is that I like challenges. I had fun preparing for the trip. I wanted to see how much I would be able to plan for, and how much would take me by surprise. I most definitely was surprised by the extremity of the weather. I have had to be extremely attentive while driving, because the ice and snow and wind have been very intense.
These things don’t bum me out though. I’m having fun. It’s just a different kind of trip. Life is all about challenges. I think vacation is just about navigating a new set of challenges.
I woke up in Twin Falls, Idaho, where snow was falling persistently. I thanked my former self for having the foresight to pack winter gloves and boots.
But you never know where your challenges are going to come from. My iPhone stopped being able to charge, and after spending a few hours this morning trying to figure that out, I ended up at the local Sprint Store (where, I should add, customer service was top notch) cashing in on my eligible hardware upgrade.
After the relative chaos this morning I am at a local coffee shop, sipping a tea/matte mixture called “Zen”, restoring both my iPhone and sense of equanimity.
I’m just about ready to embark on day 2 of this adventure.
I just finished day 1 of a 13 day road trip. I started in Portland, OR, and am going to be hitting several spots in this ice-laden country! Tonight I’m in Twin Falls, ID, and tomorrow I’m going to Cheyenne, WY. From there it’s Kansas City -> Birmingham, AL -> Baton Rouge, LA -> Austin, TX -> Albuquerque, NM -> Salt Lake City, UT -> Klamath Falls, OR -> Portland, OR.
I’m going to post to tumblr because I’ll be seeing some friends who are tumblrites and I want to keep them in the loop as my journey continues!
I’m feeling it, and I see other people are feeling it. The holidays, with their mixed bag of joy and anxiety, are upon us in full force! What to do? Crawl in a hole and cry ourselves to sleep, rocking back and forth in a fetal position? Well, hopefully not.
Things started good. I was in the spirit, brainstorming on things I could get/make for others — having fun with the process. It actually feels really great to consciously think of ways to make other people in your life happy! But then something changed. I began feeling behind, like I didn’t have enough time in the day. I got into that zone that I think people can relate to, where you are feeling highly anxious because you have overextended yourself — stretching past an already full plate. The feeling was becoming overwhelming, bringing up all of those feelings of failure and inadequacy, leaving me feeling like shit.
I had a great appointment with my counselor yesterday where I basically fell apart and then came back together again. Upon reassembly, I realized that all of this pressure I was putting on myself was a choice. And I’m choosing to say “Eff you” to the anxiety and etc!
The way I see it, I made it as far as I’m going to make it this holiday season. At this point, if I made or bought something for you before I crossed the anxiety line, then you will get something from me. However, if you are on the other side of that line, I refuse to beat myself up trying to cram it all in. Nobody really wants something that came from negativity, right? I think that point gets lost in the holiday season.
My goal is to start the process earlier next year, trying to do all of the brainstorming, etc, when it is fun — before I hit that anxiety line. That will mean more joy for me and for the other people in my life.
[This post can also be taken as a preemptive apology :P]
You are your own masterpiece waiting to happen. You have more power than you know. The world around you may seem like stone sometimes. What can you really do to change the world? What can you do to even change yourself? People seem to be “the way they are” and situations feel insurmountable. This is not the case. The stone is only in your mind. And your mind can change. Do not let your days pass by. Find meaning in every day, find new wisdom in every moment, and carve yourself out of the stone.
"When you drink your coffee as if it is the most important act in the world, savoring the flavor as it flows over your tongue, you are practicing." - Vernon Kitabu Turner
You know what is important to you and you know what you love, so radiate it. Do not fear mistakes and do not fear possibilities. Whatever you’ve done today, reflect on it (honestly). Did you make yourself proud today? When you decide to live the path of a warrior within your mind, you decide not to give up on yourself. You decide to be a beautiful, strong person in whatever way you desire. Don’t settle. Make every day a new adventure. Take the stone that you see before you and reach out to touch it. You’ll find that it’s not stone after all, it is clay. You can scrape away at anger and replace it with calm. You can reshape everything you have been told to settle for over the years and prove to yourself once and for all that you are more than a trembling cog in a giant machine. You are no cog. You are no stone. You are a gem in a beautiful mosaic.
I was just reflecting on this today, or some aspects of it. There are a few things at play here. In one way, it is good to see ourselves, our perspectives, our relationship with the world as an evolving medium, like clay. But one of my bigger issues is holding onto who I am within my relationships with people and the world. In that sense, I want to be more like the stone, and less like the clay, for fear of losing the “me” in these relationships.
With the 50th anniversary of the show having just passed, there’s a lot of buzz about “Doctor Who” out there, especially among people who haven’t ever gotten into the show. (We also did an entire Incomparable episode about it.) Fifty years of history is pretty daunting, so if you’re on the…
I think you guys will find this funny. Over the last couple of days I was thinking of joining instagram. It dawned on my how ironic that was given my latest #tumblrtirade.
I am a complex, contradictory human being. Rather than hate myself for it, I guess I will work on acceptance.
Ever since I can remember I have bounced back and forth between wanting to be socially-engaged and wanting to be alone. If I go too far in any one direction, something clicks internally and I swing the other way.
And these social networking platforms play on all of our psychological wiring like a sinister-yet-outwardly-benevolent piano player. Sometimes I look behind the curtain, and am like, “Really?!”
I’m thinking of moving most of my blogging to wayspo.com (which I’m excited about, because the URL was available!), and linking instagram into it.
And don’t worry, I’ll still be stalking the tumblr blogs I like the most :)
Okay, just a little more on this credit card issue…because I smell a rant.
The thing is, I’m definitely happy not to have the little zombie mouth to feed…but it’s more than that. All of that debt was accrued while I was married. It was a series of decisions that “we” made, that just, brick by brick, built a house of debt. It was a house I resented in the end, because I realized it wasn’t my vision — it wasn’t built for me!
Making my last payment, wiping it clean, made me feel relief both because (a) it is my proof that I am good at managing my finances and it (b) physically and symbolically marks the end of the past, and the space for a new beginning.
As I’m working this stuff out, it’s clear to me that what I fear the most about a new relationship is that feeling of autonomy. I have a really hard time keeping me, me, while someone else is right there, so close! The good news is that I am going into this eyes wide open. In my next relationship I am going to be all over this issue, as the natural foods community says, like a tail on quinoa!
“'I have no time,' we say, but we do, we always do. What we lack is the will or wisdom to commit our time to goals that would be smart of us to pursue.”—P.M. Forni — The Thinking Life: How to Thrive in the Age of Distraction
I was so glad to see “How to Feed the World" — an article in the NYT that asserts factory farming may be able to pump out the jams of the big crops like corn and soy, but that it fails miserably in feeding the entire population. I haven’t been able to articulate this, but it’s nice to have something to reference when people say, "You can’t grow enough food to feed the planet with Organic farming!"
According to the ETC Group, a research and advocacy organization based in Ottawa, the industrial food chain uses 70 percent of agricultural resources to provide 30 percent of the world’s food, whereas what ETC calls “the peasant food web” produces the remaining 70 percent using only 30 percent of the resources.
I travel for many reasons: a change in scenery, mixing up the day to day patterns, and perhaps visiting with people.
I’m just rounding out a trip to Colorado which satisfied all of these desires. But I got one added bonus I wasn’t expecting — a crystallization of my life story and my next chapter.
As I spoke with the people I visited, I realized that the next step for me was not completely clear. It was a challenge for me to present as coherent of a picture as I could. But in speaking with them, and hearing their reactions, it gave me a reflection of my life story, which helped me see it from a new perspective. The narrative became clear.
I’m psyched! I now have more confidence than I did in where I am and where I’m going.
Floyd carries a certain magic about him. He’s from Chicago, and has seen some hard times. He tells me about that while weaving a story of growth and rebirth. He quotes biblical passages, but even I — a stout athiest — have to stifle a “Hallelujah!” when he talks.
His spirituality is so genuine. It is Christianity through the prism of someone naively trying to do the right thing. It is contagious too. It all seems possible when looking through Floyd’s lens.
It makes me wonder about spirituality, and what really matters. I would take 1 Floyd over 5 cynical athiests, even though theoretically I agree with the athiests on an existential level. At the heart of it the question is: what is the result of what you believe? I mean, the content of what you believe matters, but what has been occurring to me is that what really counts is how much you care, how much you help. What you believe isn’t as important as what you do with it.
When I have a day off from work, I almost always take a nap.
I usually start the day feeling fresh. As time goes on, the fabric begins to loosen, though. I know I need a nap like I know when I need lunch. It’s a silent voice, but insistent. I get fringe symptoms, like irritability and sadness.
Normally I only allow myself 30 minutes for a nap, and that’s perfect. Today I swear I was swimming in the deep end, because my alarm went off after 45 minutes and I had to hit snooze.
But here I am, feeling renewed. I get a 2nd morning!
One where the first sip of coffee almost tastes as good.