Circles

 

Walking the circle of my neighborhood, I'm telling myself that no one promised that my micro and macro world would make any sense. ...that I shouldn't expect calm over chaos, predictability over absurdity, cooperation over conflict. ...that existence itself is no guarantee of food and shelter, much less a guarantee of a reasonable reality. So stop expecting it all to make sense, right? Just stop...and that will fix this feeling?

Two circles in, I take my attention by the hand and turn it to all that is, even without promise: air, health, love, sustenance, safety, community. So much is there yet nothing guaranteed; all is Gift, to be received with a "thank You" of Serenity Prayer on my tongue. There it is—the thing that will break the cycle of circles and get me back on track.

So be it.

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It's about connection, sharing, authenticity...

so I quietly sent these little mail-arts out into the world last week, filled with honesty about this past summer's storms, and they've already boomeranged back:
1) A story about a daughter in Florida who's doing an art report on me, and some of her classmates already knew who I was. (???) (I have questions!)
2) An invitation to be interviewed by a creative podcast, as I seem like just a normal person. (Hmmmm we'll see what they say after we chat.)

Most of what we create has a subconscious tone of truth to it. And we never know who might need to hear the depths of our creations. 

Share. It'll do the world a world of good.

 

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Rituals...

In the past few years, I've leaned into the rhythms of the year. It's been a sort of hybrid of holidays, school calendar, and actual seasons -- a personal calendar of sorts. And here I am building artomats again, not realizing I was doing the same this time last year.

I was talking with a friend recently about how to find our center amidst the everyday micro and macro chaos. We talked about my "rituals" of morning, the soothing predictability of my after-school time with the girls, and our family dinner-time which is a "no phone zone" and (ideally) a chance for us all to connect at the end of our day. Some of you know that over the summer we also added "no-tech nights" of piano jazz and books and magazines and no digital distractions, giving our brains and chance to slow down and take a minute of peace. 

Sounds amazing, right? We all need a bit more of those "no-tech nights" these days. Build your version, add that ritual to the end of one of your days, and see if you might sleep better afterwards. 

Downshifting...

Ironically, up early thinking about the-opposite-of-hustle:

"Downshifting is a social behavior or trend in which individuals live simpler lives to escape from what critics call the rat race of obsessive materialism and to reduce the “stress, overtime, and psychological expense that may accompany it”. It emphasizes finding an improved balance between leisure and work and focusing life goals on personal fulfilment and building relationships instead of the all-consuming pursuit of economic success."
(From Wikipedia)

When we evacuated, we stayed at a lodge on the side of a mountain in western North Carolina. It was at the end of a long steep gravel road. We had to drop the Element into 2nd, then 1st gear, to have enough pull instead of getting stuck spinning our wheels. A car downshifted to a lower gear is not in a hurry, but lemme tell you: it's got the patience and power get to the top of a mountain.

Lessons...

Lessons:
-- We can learn as much about a person from what they don't say, as what they do say. People talk about what they care about. So, now I'm seeing the clues to puzzling personalities in those frequent blanks, those predictable silences, the things they continually fail to say. Listen for patterns of what's not important to others and you will learn a lot.
-- Learning the disempowerment that comes with unnecessary helping, and ways to budget empath-energies. My empathy transports me into others' experiences, but that doesn't mean that 1) they need my help and 2) their problems are mine to solve. I am learning to ask myself objective questions to clarify my responsibilities for how I can best serve others. (& yes, "not my circus, not my monkeys" fits nicely into all this.)
-- Up next: What slows us down more, the cough medicine or the cough?