Monthly Archives: April 2014

Positive Forward Progress

Just a brief thought this morning:

I have many pieces of paper taped to my computer, my walls, pinned to a pullet in board and under plastic on my desk.  They are motivational to me.  I can’t tell you why one ends up one place and another ends up somewhere else.  It may be due to size or shape, when they “joined” my collection or perhaps the subject.  I really haven’t taken much time to figure that out.  Maybe I should, but that seems like procrastinating from something else…like a task I don’t want to do or I am afraid of doing.  Which is another subject for another day…

When I sat down with my coffee to read email and blogs this morning, I noticed one of these quotes that I attached to my computer.  I admit, I don’t really notice them very often anymore, as they have been there so long.  One of them says: “Constant Forward Progress!!!” I no longer have any idea where the saying came from, as I did not write the source on the paper, so I cannot give credit where it is due.  My first thought this morning was “no, not just constant progress…it has to be positive forward progress.”  The constant part is nice, but the important part is the positive.  It doesn’t matter if I take a breather and stall out for a few hours, or even for a day, as long as I just stall and don’t go backwards.

So, I will be changing that slip of paper today…and reassessing some of the other ones.  I am thinking that this is Positive Forward Progress!

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Changing Focus

I did not write last week, which means it was the first week that I did not make my goal.

Yesterday, I found out I have another infection, which is common with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis, even if this one is a bit more serious.

The curious thing about both of these things:  neither of them has caused me to want quit.  That would be my usual response.  If I set a goal for myself and I do not meet it, I immediately see it as failure and I move on to the next thing.  Hence, blogging would be history for me at this point.  Yet, here I am wanting to create another post.  And the health thing would have caused me to curl up in a ball and start my own, private pity party.  Not today though. Interesting. Even to me.

When I woke up this morning, I had to do my usual, “what day of the week is this,” routine.  It’s hard to keep track sometimes.  Then, instead of thinking,”what am I going to do today,” my thoughts ran to; “gosh, I’ve got to get some things done today!”  There is always a list, no matter how “quiet” you think your life is, there is always a list.  Maybe if I didn’t have a house, or if I didn’t have dogs, or I didn’t have… put in anything you’d like, but then I’d have to add, maybe if I wasn’t alive!

I recently read Anna Quindlen’s book “A Short Guide to a Happy Life.”  It actually started as a commencement address she was to give at Villanova University (they canceled it because of protests).  As of my first reading of the book, I think these things change as we reread things, the premise was: In order to have happiness you had to have a life! Seems like a pretty straightforward idea, until I thought about it and realized that a lot of my depression centered around my not having a life.  Oh, I live.  And considering everything, I live in a blessed way.  But to have a life, one must live differently.

There will always be limitations that I will have to deal with,  just as everyone does.  Financial, physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, the list could go on and on.  Everyone has them.  I am no different from anyone else.  I just have to decide that I can have a life even though I can’t do all the things I might want to do.  I have to find those things that I can do, to make a life; to find my happiness.  No one can help me be happy, nor can anyone help me to make a life (although there have been a few who have helped me to live recently).  I have to own my life and my happiness; I have to take responsibility for it.  I have to stop looking back and wondering “why,” and start looking forward and thinking “WOW!”  I have to realign my lens, so that I can focus more clearly on what is in front of me and around me now. I have never seen a picture dated today but taken of something that happened in the past. Pictures of the past are always faded with time.

Will a change in focus be easy? Probably not all the time, but I am going to give it a valiant try!  I have learned in the past few weeks that focusing on what you want, does not make it happen; focusing on what you have, tends to bring it closer to you.  Lamenting what you have lost only brings more pain; while recognizing all the beauty that is around you, brings more joy.

I am back on track with my goal of writing a blog once a week and I will not quit just because I missed a week.  After all, I have pretty nasty infection that was not being treated until yesterday, I think I can cut myself some slack on that one.  Another thing I never did before! Hmmm……. And the infection will heal and I will go back to dealing with the Rheumatoid and Psoriatic Arthritis again, without the infection.  It will be okay.

Most importantly I will follow “A Short Guide to a Happy Life” and go out and find one, just as soon as this infection clears up and I can.  And then I will be able to say “WOW!”

Getting Back on My Path to “Just Be”

I admit the past week has been a bit “rough” on my theme of the year.  I have struggled to “Just Be.”  One of those “things” happened that just hits you in the gut and leaves you looking around saying “what the hell; where in the hell did that come from; and did that really just happen?”  We’ve all had them, I know I’ve had them more than once.  This one isn’t random and is personal.  It has hurt me in ways I thought I had shut down years ago.  Guess not.  I still don’t want to, even now.  I can’t go into details, as it would causer even more shit problems.  Let’s just say that I was accused, since I was never given a chance to discuss anything, of saying things I did not say and attempting to break up relationships that are very important to me.  And it was done by someone I felt I was close to and could trust.  There be the kicker.  I don’t care so much about being accused of saying things I didn’t say, we all get that, all the time.  However, breaking up relationships that are important to me, by this person, is incredulous.

Needless to say, my ability to “Just Be” through out this has not been stalwart.  I have been angry, sad and hurt.  I have retreated and haven’t been able to reach out my support systems.  I allowed this person to access my self-esteem, despite my brain telling me repeatedly, that what  is being said is false and is a reflection on them, NOT on me.  I have been able to use my brain to be rational about the entire situation.  I have NOT been able to reconcile my emotions.  They are just not there.  Oh, there have been glimpses when my emotions and my brain are in sync.  Like now.  I just never know how long this will last.  But the ability to “Just Be” and let whatever happen’ that has not even occurred to me, at least, until I opened my blog this morning.

Something in me clicked when I read Holistic Wayfarer’s comment about Lessons of My Tree-Part 2. (And that you for that!) I realized how far away I have traveled from my path. In just an instant!  I realized that we are all given moments that will lead us away from or to we are going.  We just have to decide which we want to notice.  We have to make choices everyday of staying true to our Self or going down different path.  I read so often about people trying to “find their way,” and I believe that this is all we are all trying to do.  Find our way to lead a “better” life: for some that is in the now, for others it is about an afterlife and some are trying to live better now for their next life.  Whatever the reason, we all have a path to follow. The problem is when one person decides that another person cannot be “allowed” to live their path. So they interfere.  Whether that be globally, nationally, or individually; taking away someone’s choice to live the life they have chosen results in conflict, of not allowing someone to follow their path.

So as I reflect today about my path and my desire to “Just Be,” I realize that I cannot change anything or anyone but me.  My response, my attitude and my behavior is all I have control over  (at least on a good day).  So for today, I will “Just Be.”  I will take things as they come and let them go.  I will learn what I can and be the best that I can.  I won’t always get it right, at least I have learned that much.  I will do the best that I can in that moment, though.  I will do better than I did yesterday, for I am different today; I have learned something, just as I do everyday!

One of my favorite quotes is from Mr. Rogers, and I need to remember it more often:

 “It’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood!”

It WILL be in mine and, I WISH for you that it is in yours!

April Writing

April Fool’s Day.  I am going to challenge myself this month.  I have “signed up” for the NaNoWriMo April Writer’s Camp.  I didn’t know about it until a couple of weeks ago, but I decided to give it a try.  It is a motivational “camp” where you join eleven other “campers” in a “cabin” and together you motivate each other to meet your writing goal for the month.  My writing goal: 50,000 words.  Yep, that is not a typo, 50,000!  That breaks down to 1,667 words per day! I wish there were 31 days this month! Not that the one day would make all that much difference, 55 fewer words per day, but maybe I could miss a day? Already looking for a way to procrastinate, and I have never procrastinated before!

There are only a few people in my life that know about my life-long dream of writing a book and having it publish and having it sell!  I’ve revised that dream to a realistic goal of writing the book.  If it gets published, which I can now do myself it no one else does, that is a plus.  Of course, the writing is the first step.  There are more people in my life who know that I am a perfectionist.  Writing a book and being a perfectionist are two things that do not mesh well, I am finding.  At least not when I am writing the first draft of my first book!  I am trying to follow the advice of the saying I have hanging above my computer by Iain Banks: ” Writing is like everything else: the more you do it the better you get. Don’t try to perfect as you go along, just get to the end of the damn thing. If you try to polish every sentence there’s a chance you’ll never get past the first chapter.”  

So, I will be writing, not polishing, not perfecting, not proofing; just writing.  This will be hard for me, as it is totally against my natural tendencies.  But isn’t that what writing, like life, is all about:  stretching ourselves beyond our comfort zone, stepping outside the box, trying new things, etc. I haven’t done much of that either, at least not recently.  I’ve been too complacent with staying inside my safe, little cocoon where I know what will happen.  Part of that is because of my health and part is because of finances and those concerns remain, however, there are ways to step out a little and writing is one of them.  That is why I started this blog, to step out a little, to try my hand at writing and see if I received any positive feedback.  I have and it has felt good.  This is NOT a plea for positive feedback now…I wouldn’t feel it was genuine if I received a plethora of positive responses! I am grateful for all that I have received and will receive (hopeful thinking)!

And my writing journey continues, albeit a bit scarier and more intense…