Sunday, October 5, 2014

Autumnal Purge Thus Far

Well, I've been working on clearing the clutter of my life since the first day of Fall and I've gotten a lot done. I've started keeping a journal and writing everything that comes up down. Let's just say that I have some work to do... Yeah, some.

I have managed to clean out my dresser, closet, and hair things/nail polish/costume jewelry/make-up/random-crap-that-doesn't-really-belong-anywhere-else drawer in the bathroom. It doesn't sound like all that much, but when things have been building up for a while, you'd be amazed how many mis-matched socks can be found at the back of a drawer. Yikes!

I am proud to say that I have actually meditated every day! Some days it is hard to do, and others I have to force myself to start, but I have sat in silence for at least 15 minutes everyday and let my mind wander then clear. I am so glad I have stuck to it, though there have been days that I didn't want to and found numerous excuses. Still, the brief moment of silence and clear thought has made a huge difference in my days.

So, this week I will focus on my linen closets. I have sheets that fit mattresses I haven't had in years. Time to get rid of them.

What's next on your list? How is the pre-Holiday cleanse going for you?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

New Approach To Autumn

Every year the start of Fall, the Autumnal Equinox, passes by without much notice. Historically, this was one of the most important times of year. It was a time to celebrate the fact that we got enough food, water, meat, wood, and other essentials stored up so we could survive the winter. Or, if we weren't there yet, it was the cue to get our butts in gear before they froze off.

Now, however, the change goes completely unnoticed until halfway through the season when we hit Halloween or Daylight Savings Time and we take stock of where we are. The focus during this time tends to be in two directions, life happenings and weather. This is the usual thought process: "What day is it? Oh crap! Only one week until Halloween?! How did that happen? Does my kid have the costume they want? I need to buy candy. When is daylight savings? Do we gain or lose an hour? Dang it's getting cold!"

Nowhere in there is the traditional meaning of the season. Not really. For me, this year was going to be just like the others. A rat race to Winter and Christmas with some half-formed resolutions that we all know I wouldn't follow through on. Until yesterday.

I had a bit of an epiphany. I don't like the way those other years shaped up after a Fall of rushing and fumbling through the daily grind. I didn't attract what I wanted and needed in my life. I didn't have the success in all areas of my life that I wanted to experience. And, now I know why.

You see, our lives become like the proverbial Junk Drawer. You know the one, that place where you throw all the odd bits and bobs of life that don't really belong, or fit, in the cupboards. Don't lie to me, I know you have one, everybody does. The fact is though, that we shove more and more and more in there until it spills over and things start bouncing out because the drawer won't close. Most of the things in there were important at one point or another, but now they're just junk. And, they are taking up valuable space that other important things need.

So, this Fall, instead of collecting more junk and getting mad at the drawer for not closing, I'm going to clean it out. This year I am purging what doesn't work and isn't needed. Bothe physically ( I've been married 9 years and have never put my wedding dress back on, I think it can go away), metaphorically (I really don't need to follow advertisers on Twitter. Buh-bye crazycakes), and metaphysically ( I have been slacking off in my meditations and have accumulated some damaging ideas about myself and my interpretation of success).

I plan on creating a beautifully open void before the new year so what I want, and need, has room to move in instead being deflected by the Spring loaded pile do junk in the damn drawer that just won't close. LOL

I invite you to join me in my journey. I will be attacking this endeavor with all the gusto and zeal I can muster. If that is not your style, or if that seems like too much, take it one step at a time. Choose one thing each week to focus on and finish what you start. By the time the new year rolls around, you'll be primed for an amazing opportunity to structure your life instead of fighting with the drawer that won't close.

What would you rather be without? What do you want in your drawer that won't fit?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Time For A Change?

There has been increasing attention pointed at the issue of body image and its manifestations in the media. It is an issue that I am fairly passionate about. You see, I was raised with Disney playing in the background of my youth as most kids are. But, none of those girls were realistic. I was never blonde, I tried dying my hair red (not a good choice for me), I was never tall, or perfectly shaped. The only thing I had going for me was that I was a scrawny, tenacious little ankle biter. I was nothing like those pretty princesses and thought that I would never get a prince, because girls like me never did.

Until Beauty and the Beast came out and Belle showed up on scene. She was a brunette! And, she liked books! And she wasn't afraid to fight for what she believed in. She became my childhood hero. I idolized her growing up because she was my match in so many ways. I do have to hand it to Disney for creating such a real character and having her triumph over the triplets (the stereotypical beauties fawning over the handsome guy). Not only does she present a more alluring picture as being the odd one out, but she doesn't hook up with Mr. Handsome. She chose the beast. The nine foot tall, furry, angry, cursed prince in a terrible fate.

Now, to my young brain and foundling heart, that story was a brilliant ray of light. It taught me that it was okay to be different, that princesses can come in any form, and that you can choose your prince based on some other factor than physical beauty. What an awesome set of lessons to teach a generation of girls!

Looking back on this moment of my life I am forced to realize something, a problem I have perpetuated: all my main characters are athletic women. Albeit in order to do what they do they kind of have to be, but that isn't the point. When I think of a strong woman, my brain automatically wraps her in a strong body. I have known many women who can take down a power lifter from a wheelchair with the strength of their minds and the wit of their words. But I don't write about them... yet.

Here's where the change comes in. I don't know if you've taken a good look at all those profile pictures of authors floating around the internet, but next time you click on a Tweet or Facebook status, look closely. You are staring at one of the most creative and dynamic types of humans to walk this earth. That mind, however it expresses itself, is a monumental force to be recond with. But, look at the face, the neck, the body if it is a full shot. Most authors, myself included, are NOT tall, thin, blonde, and top heavy. We are short, geeky, weird, usually a little pudgy (for reference, my picture was 20 pounds ago), and not runway model candidates. And we're okay with that, for the most part. So, why aren't we the heroines and heroes of our own stories?

Because society has painted a different picture of beautiful/tough/sporty/sexy/etc... And, whether we realize it or not, it has influenced the way we write. But, I am going to change that in my next novel. The story is another literary humor and the characters do not have to be yoga stars or warriors. So, they get to be real. They get to have those extra pounds they want to lose but can't, they get to eat pizza and drink beer without regret, they get to be alive.

Of course some of my other books won't be like that. The one I'm finishing now requires my main character to run through the forest and hunt mythological beings. Not an endeavor that supports a more leisurely lifestyle. But when physical fitness is not a requirement to their survival, my characters will have the freedom to be whatever shape bets suits them. From anorexic to morbidly obese, people come in all shapes and sizes. Our characters should as well.

What do you think? Do you think too much emphasis is put on body structure and image? Do you think more realistic bodies in literature will make it more enjoyable to read?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Happy Anniversary To Me!

In the brief span of time we have on this earth to play out our individual lives, passions, and pursuits, 9 years is simultaneously a long time, and a short time. Likewise it can feel like a blink and an eternity all in the same moment of reminiscence.

9 years ago today I married the love of my life. Tall? Check. Dark? Check. Handsome? Check, check. Looks good in a uniform? Check, check, and check!

We've had some interesting adventures over those years. At first we basked in the euphoria of newlywed status. Then reality hit and we had to adjust to a new life. Then reality really hit and we had to decide if we were going to stay together or separate. Then baby and parenthood completely changed our relationship dynamic and life has been a bit of stressful chaos ever since. It has been great and I would never trade being a parent for anything in the world, but every parent has to admit that children have the capacity to drive a person bat shit crazy in record time. LOL

However, he still makes me laugh every day. He has taught me how to be a bit more organized in my type B hippie lifestyle, and I have taught him how to loosen up a little bit in his analytical type A lifestyle. He supports my literary career wholeheartedly and provides for me the most joyfully abundant life. We may not have brand new cars, our house may not be the best or biggest, we may have little money in the accounts, but we are rich beyond belief where it really matters. And, I love him all the more for that.

So, it has been an amazing adventure and I have loved almost every minute of it. In honor of my anniversary, I will leave you all with a song. I own NONE of the rights to this video or the music contained in it. This was the song we danced to at our wedding and it is still one of my favorite songs to waltz to. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Lost The Map, Compass, & Directions

There is a certain sense of freedom associated with setting sail solo with no idea where you are going or how to get there... At least at first. However, after the third year it starts to feel like you are drifting on an endless ocean, running out of supplies, lonely, and have only had the briefest glimpses of anything remotely resembling land. That's a bit how I feel at the moment.

If you've been with me for a while, you'll know that I made a decision back in November that would change my entire outlook. Well, it did, but it had a few unforeseen consequences and now I am contemplating the wisdom of that decision. Was it worth it in the end? Did I think about it fully? Where the Hell did I put that damn life jacket before I jumped in with both feet? You know, the normal self-doubt crap we all wrestle with.

I cannot say that I regret that decision, because I don't. However, I certainly feel the sting of the difference every now and then. It is at times like these I know I am about to make a breakthrough. I've talked about it before. The whole world seems to get heavier and balance on my back and the only things I can see or feel are what is wrong and not working. As a generally happy and optimistic person, this is a giant slap in the face, because I almost never feel this way consistently. Yet, here I am in a funk with no discernible way to get myself out of it.

I'm sure part of it has to do with exhaustion. In the past 4 days I have written 14,000 words. That is a lot of writing and it does leave the brain certifiably fried at the end of the day. Add to it the fact that my son is officially on Spring Break now and my poor little super woman cape is getting worn thin in a huge hurry.

It does feel like I set sail with all this ambition and energy and drive to accomplish my goals. I've worked my ass off, have done everything that everyone tells me is the magic formula, followed that magic heading. I've even tried going in a completely different direction and trekking my own way through the wilderness. And nothing has paid off. Nothing. I feel all that energy and drive still fizzing inside me like a shaken soda bottle, pushing tightly against the sides and wanting to explode out into the world. But, at every single chance, the lid gets put back on and I've only been able to release a minuscule amount of that intense pressure. And now I'm choking on disappointment. And it is horribly bitter.

So, friends, I've hit a bit of a bottom. I know I will rise again. I know it will all be better soon. I know I probably shouldn't have wasted my, and your, time whining about live because we all have our own sob stories. But thank you for listening/reading along anyway. It feels good to get it out. And, perhaps that is what I need to move on to the next step. To release a bit more of this pressure.

When was the last time you felt like this? What did you do to pull yourself out?