“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
—Preamble to the Declaration of Independence
1a: government by the people, especially the rule of the majority
b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections
1a: government by the few
b: a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes
Sir Peter Alexander Ustinov (16 April 1921 – 28 March 2004) was an English actor, writer, filmmaker, theatre and opera director, comedian, radio broadcaster, and television presenter. He was a fixture on television talk shows and lecture circuits for much of his career. An intellectual and diplomat, he held various academic posts and served as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and President of the World Federalist Movement. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Ustinov
I’ve been thinking about how we will collectively remember this time in history. I decided to look back—photos, emails, texts, notes and more. Here’s a snapshot of my discoveries.
Now, these images show the mostly good memories of sheltering in place. I unfortunately, didn’t document my hissy fits, pity party days on the couch watching TV, dumping the remainder of the potato chip bag in my mouth over the sink, or the times I just drove away because my family was bugging the crap out of me.
I suspect many of you can both imagine and empathize.
- A snow day.
- My rehearsal dinner dress—circa spring of 1992.
- Jen Wool appropriately social distancing.
- A multi-day March headache.
- Beer and trivial pursuit with the girls and Jeff.
- Willa visiting Joanne and Bob.
- Ellis stopping by for a front stoop chat.
- Coffee time with Karen and Jeff.
- Making coffee time a little fancier with my Grandmother’s china and a vintage wrap.
- Lucy, Willa, and Jacob at Lake Winnipesaukee.
- A Govoni family cookout circa summer 1998.
- Things I wanted to do circa 1989…I either got distracted or thought leaving 20 blank was clever.
- A note from my Dad sometime in the mid-90s after I had moved to Vermont.
- Photos of a gorgeous house Jeff and I used to house sit when we were dating.
- The wallet of my great uncle, that I was able to return to his family.
- Below, notes on my phone I found funny and insightful.
Yup, I said it and I mean it. Let me explain myself a bit.
For years I wouldn’t purchase “Proven Winners” at the garden center or read anything on The New York Times Best Sellers List. I’ve always preferred the less shiny, weathered or worn out…the underdogs.
Maybe this quality is a reaction to the relative comfort in which I was raised. I was already given so many advantages, shouldn’t I just accept second best? Doesn’t that balance the universe out a little tiny bit more? More on ZERO SUM THEORY next year.
Now, I understand this thinking as an attempt to differentiate myself. Because of course “Proven Winners“ are a solid choice, especially for casual gardeners. And not reading The New York Times best selling books…well, that’s just plain ridiculous.
OK, back to manifest and why I’ve come to dislike it. It’s lost its gravity for me. You know, like when “love ya” is tossed off and repeated far too often. Yuck, whatever...
So, I looked up the words related to MANIFEST on the Merriam Webster and found them far more provocative; bare, disclose, unbosom, uncloak, uncover, advertise, blaze, proclaim, trumpet…
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in with whatever you want to MANIFEST and the hustle of MANIFESTING kind of makes me swoon, especially as we approach the fresh start of a new year.
Oh, I do love a fresh start. Here’s to 2020…
However, this year for me I’m going to UNBOSOM or UNCLOAK what I want more of in my life.
Manifesting is so 2019, right?
Happy New Year!
I’ve had a really hard time getting out of my own way lately. So, I asked myself this very question.
OK, Lisa, are they real or imagined?
Damnit, I had to answer honestly…most of them, of course, are imagined.
They aren’t barriers per se, they’re just excuses—everyday run of the mill, tried and true excuses I’ve used for years and years and will continue to use far too frequently. However, now I have to face at least a little personal accountability, especially around my creative goals.
So, what barriers are you willing to bust through to reach your goals?
Do you possess some form of heartache, pride or even a sense of neutrality, depending on how things turned out for your ancestors?
While researching the stories of female homesteaders on the upper plains one dominant trait surfaced again and again.
Women are remarkably capable of creating something out of nothing.
Leaving all things familiar to take a chance on a new life for themselves and their families was an enormous sacrifice, requiring great courage. So often they were very young women, ages we still consider to be children by today’s standards.
It seems that perhaps we all possess some cellular residue from the migratory ventures of our ancestors. This courage is exhibited (and often maligned) every day, all over the world, as people are forced to leave their homes.
They’re not fleeing for the heady chance to “prove up” 160 free acres as the homesteaders did. They’re most often trying to stay alive and feed their children, a brave migratory gamble in hopes of a better life.
Until the last few years I’ve seen myself as a bohemian mother, artist, memory maker and caretaker/gatekeeper of developing minds. I’ve viewed my life’s work as the unrealized career of a woman who struggles with organization and focus…not anymore. Actually now that I even saw myself like that, it seems like total bullshit.
I thought as my children grew up that they might be disappointed in me that I didn’t have a traditional career. Talk of the other moms who were doctors, lawyers or therapists sometimes resulted in a sense of less than for me. I assumed my children would all want the total opposite of my life—high powered jobs with days spent kickin’ ass and taking names. Not days filled with kids, carpools, chores, errands, creative work (rarely sold), homemaking and hanging out with friends.
I know many families are unable to have a parent at home, a luxury indeed (especially regarding health insurance). However, increasingly folks find themselves in work/home situations that require a lot of strategy to keep things humming along. Commuting to other cities during the week, working remotely, running home businesses or freelancing are such common scenarios of modern life.
Now, five months into the identity shift of my empty nest, I thankfully see those family years so differently. Creating a home, trying to model a healthy marriage, nurturing my community, making art and being the historian-in-chief was an education deeply connected to my values and interests, there wasn’t a moment wasted (OK, maybe a few).
My years of unprofessional networking created my superpowers.
The world should watch out for parents who stayed home to raise their families. We maybe don’t have the references, titles or 401Ks that our peers have. However, we’re digitally savvy, well practiced in the art of endless diplomacy, good listeners and mighty grateful when our efforts are acknowledged. And now with the dailyness of busy family life behind us, we can do damn near anything.
There is a lot of heartache in the world…on social, personal and spiritual levels.
Right now it seems like an ACT of REVOLUTION to manage stress. For the sake of my mental and physical health, I’m simply trying to lighten up.
Every morning, before I get out of bed, I smile (which feels weird, but actually changes your chemistry) and ask myself: How do I want to show up in the world today?
The feel good neurotransmitters of dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are released when we smile. This not only relaxes your body but can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
Sometimes when I awaken, I want my sorrow or my anger…not too often though. However, when asked that question, the answer is almost always comically obvious.
We’re all energetic beings.
How we show up in the world has a ripple effect—both positively & negatively.
How do you want to show up in the world today?
NOTE: There is no pattern. I doodled. It’s random.
Our brains don’t like chaos, we want to believe things are connected, not random.
Researching pattern seeking got me thinking about conspiracy theories…of which I am not immune. I went down a rabbit hole after 911, wanting to make sense of the attack on our nation and all of the lives we lost. I really thought I was finding all sorts of insider information. I wasn’t.
Humans are pattern seeking creatures. There’s so much interesting research on this subject. Our brains are capable of gold medal worthy gymnastic moves to confirm our preconceptions. I know I like feeling that confirmation buzz. That heady feeling has a shadow side though.
“A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth.” —Daniel Kahneman
This quote reminded me of when I hear a song I initially don’t like. If I hear it over and over, it begins to grow on me. Next it becomes familiar…I even begin to like it…hell, maybe even love it, playing it often. With repetition my brain will eagerly override my initial dislike and discernment. This is great when you’re making a conscious choice.
Not so great when the goal is manipulation or brand loyalty.
hate + repetition = acceptance
“The premise of (most) conspiracy theories is inherently unscientific.”
“You should be skeptical of any theory that starts out with the exact same premise every time: Some malevolent and ill-intentioned individual, group, or organization is somehow out to get you.”
“It is not wrong to have a hypothesis. What is suspicious, however, is when that hypothesis never changes.”
“The interesting thing about conspiracy theories is that they start out with the need to confirm a particular premise (i.e., some evil actor must be responsible).
“…psychologists refer to it as a fundamental attribution error—the tendency to overestimate the actions of others as being (intentional) rather than simply the product of (random) situational circumstances.”
Here’s an example of FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTION ERROR:
My husband started the laundry SO obviously he thinks I’m lazy and not holding up my end of our shared household responsibilities. OR…and far more likely, he needed some clothes washed and is just doing the laundry.
It’s so easy to make this error. I know I need to slow my brain down a lot more often before I jump to conclusions in many aspects of my life.
We inadvertently create mini conspiracy theories when we attribute people’s actions as personal and not situational in their nature.
The trick is to learn when to take a moment to see if our attribution is actually accurate.
When I slow down my pattern-seeking brain, I feel more in control of the chaos around me. When I don’t, and I often don’t I feel far more anxious and uncertain.