half-written, whole heartedly…

I have so many half-written posts from the last few weeks. I’ve written about democracy, racism. aging, my fears about the state of the world, cults & narcissism, sexism, motherhood, the artist Milton Glaser, the con of 1980s televangelists, kayaking with seals, our intricate vascular systems, humanism, menopause, radical acceptance, letting go, and realists vs. optimists. I haven’t felt like posting anything. Why?

I got curious, then it hit me…I think I have PAYING ATTENTION FATIGUE and I suspect many of you do too. The world is asking us to pay attention to so many things. I don’t need to add to anyone’s electronic burden now.

So, for the summer anyway, I’ll be posting mostly art, photographs, and short quotes…unless I change my mind, of course. The summer is still young.

“What if pain—like love—is just a place brave people visit?”

―Glennon Doyle Melton, Love Warrior

the space betwixt & between…

Featured

As I age, it seems much of life is experienced within the gray areas of uncertainty. Thankfully, now at fifty-three, I’m finding not knowing is sort of interesting, perhaps even a bit wonderfully mysterious.

study in grays, June 18th, 2020

Thank you Pema, Dusty & Emily…

I’ve been reading Pema Chödrön’s book When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, she writes about hope and fear—

“Hope and fear come from feeling that we lack something: they come from a sense of poverty.  We can’t simply relax with ourselves.  We hold on to hope, and hope robs us of the present moment.”

HOPE verb: to cherish a desire with anticipation, to want something to happen or be true

FEAR verb: to be afraid of, expect with alarm

Hope was on my mind, so this morning Dusty Springfield’s 1964 song—Wishin’ and Hopin’ popped into my head as did Emily Dickinson’s poem—Hope Is A Things With Feathers. Oh you brilliant, creative women…you’ve been homesteading in my psyche the last few days. Thank you, your timing is impeccable.

Wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’
Plannin’ and dreamin’ each night of his charms
That won’t get you into his arms
So if you’re lookin’ to find love you can share
All you gotta do is hold him and kiss him and love him
And show him that you care

Songwriters: Hal David / Burt Bacharach—Artist: Dusty Springfield

All of this hope talk made me think about parenting, religion, and my childhood. My mother’s prayers for me when I was growing up were that I would eventually become someone or something else—an idealized version of the raw potential she saw in me. Please help Lisa stop picking her fingernails, overeating, cussing, being lazy, not caring about her grades, reading the wrong books, listening to the wrong music, drinking beer, or NOT believing the way I do.

I don’t blame her, this was her programming. I’m sure it felt quite loving hopin’ and prayin’ for my needed improvements. She feared who I might possibly become, and truly believed her prayers could turn things around for me. Her faith then required that she gave the God of her understanding credit whenever my improvements, no matter how barely detectable emerged.

I did the same thing to my children—always hopin’ they would become the best version of themselves. I guess I thought wishin’ for the hidden potential in them to emerge would reflect what a stellar job I’ve done mothering and flatter my ego. Damn, that was my programming too.

Emily Dickinson’s poem, Hope Is The Thing With Feathers reveals the unsettling nature of the never ending loop of constant hope…and never stops – at all -.

Hopin’ I believed would make all of my sleepless nights and heartache worthwhile. However, instead, what I’m finally understanding is that all of that motherly wishin, hopin’, thinkin’, and prayin’ kept me from accepting them as they were/are in the present. I’m truly sorry Ellis, Lucy, and Willa that I did not learn this sooner.

Wishin’, hopin’, thinkin’, and prayin’ doesn’t seem to actually be working in any part of my life now that I give it more though...and never stops – at all—thanks Emily for that reminder.

What if I practiced more acceptance in all areas of my life? What would that feel like? Complacent? Uncaring? UnAmerican? Untethered? Unbelievable?

Let’s experiment, take a moment…breathe, just let the word acceptance settle into our soul a bit…repeat it a few times. Thoughts?

What if right now in America we just quit wishin’, hopin’, thinkin’, and prayin’ for things to be different than they are? What if collectively we ACCEPTED that the God of our personal understanding is desperately trying to reveal to us that all of the political division, rage, wounded egos, destruction, inequality, brutality, greed, spiritual aches, righteousness, grief, and suffering requires our heart’s immediate attention right now and we can no longer keep hopin’ and prayin’ for it to magically disappear?

All you gotta do is hold him and kiss him and love him
And show him others that you care

distraction from mending…

Yesterday I went to Target., usually is a fun way to distract myself, especially after months of sheltering-in-place with no shopping—except for groceries, gas, booze, and take out. I was quite enthusiastic as I set out. I even put on lipstick…and then my mask.

I didn’t need anything, just some good ole’ aimless browsing, a coffee from Starbucks, drive home, put things away, recycle the boxes, packaging, or tags. Whew, an hour or so that I didn’t have to think about the state of the world, our nation, my family, or myself.

Thank you Target for the distraction, although upon returning home, I realized just as B. B. King sang, The Thrill Was Gone, at least yesterday anyway.

Q. Why did shopping feel so empty to me? This became my thesis for the afternoon.

I sat outside in the yard with my eyes closed for a few minutes—not meditating, just quiet without distraction.

At first, nothing specific came to me…I sat in the heat a few more minutes. I hate being hot, so that was pretty distracting…and bugs were nibbling at my ankles.

Then something Glennon Doyle wrote about in Love Warrior hit me.

“You are not supposed to be happy all the time. Life hurts and it’s hard. Not because you’re doing it wrong, but because it hurts for everybody. Don’t avoid the pain. You need it. It’s meant for you. Be still with it, let it come, let it go, let it leave you with the fuel you’ll burn to get your work done on this earth.”
Glennon Doyle Melton, Love Warrior

Glennon also wrote about going to Hot Yoga, her only goal was to stay on her mat and not run out of the room. I think I need to sit more often with my uncomfortableness (and others as well) and stop seeking so much avoidance and so many distractions.

Wait, I love my distractions…let me count the ways…avoidance always serves me so well…

TV, food, my studio, scrolling through my phone, podcasts, a nap, a beer, Netflix, Amazon Prime, news, HGTV, books, magazines, ice cream, potato chips, cleaning anything, driving anywhere…my list of distractions goes on and on.

Come on distractions, work your magic. These feelings are so damn uncomfortable. Make them go away.

At least every once in a while, I think I have to say to hell with my much-loved distractions. Welcome in all of the uncertain, uncomfortable feelings, and let them teach me something about my own heart and how to best mend it.

Then after that exhausting heart-mending work—I’ll reward myself, grab some potato chips, a beer, and watch The Gilmore Girls.

othering/a transitive verb

by Lisa Lillibridge

to treat or consider 
(a person or a group of people) 
as alien to oneself
 
Merriam Webster

I want to blame
I need to blame
someone else
something else 
anywhere else
for my inner tornado

alienate
vilify
repeat

easy breezy
automatic, unconscious

our world’s challenges
far too complex
and exhausting
to metabolize 
entirely on my own

quell my fears 
confirm my programming
please just tell me who, what, and where
I should other today

my team’s constant drumbeat
deliberate, unyeielding
laboring 24/7 
to justify
their clouding of my inner knowing 

click, forward, like, share, and tweet
fair and balanced
the daily diary of the American dream
all the news that’s fit to print

immutable 
and distracting
like a howling airplane baby

poor mum
damn baby

damn mum
poor baby

othering

seductive 
like an ice cold beer
hot, salty french fries
or another slice of chocolate cake

how did I other today?

those people are not my people
that problem is not my problem
that place is not my place

alienate
vilify
repeat

conformity is obedient and compliant
far easier
than looking in the mirror
and down into my own heart

I know I should not utter a word
until I’ve walked at least 
ten steps in someone else’s
work-boots
sneakers
high heels
wing tips
flip flops
or bare feet

but I do
we all do 
and it’s destroying us

I don’t like the word manifest

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…

and the underbelly words too; beliemisrepresent, distort, falsify, garble, camouflagedisguise, gild, varnish, whitewash, concealcounterfeitmaskobscureveil

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!

Finding ways to be grounded…

when the world feels like a batshit crazy place is pretty challenging. I don’t know the best way to access a more grounded version of myself, but I do know the quickest. When I’m acting childish and feeling like I deserve more (or less) of whatever—a little gratitude for all of the good things in my life seems to ground me the most.

Gratitude not attitude seems to do the trick.

grounded—mentally and emotionally stable: admirably sensible, realistic, and unpretentious (Merriam Webster)

I’m not entirely sure about “admirably sensible” or “unpretentious“. However, feeling grounded, well, that’s worth a little exploration.

the art of communication…

I woke up this morning with a desire to share these 5 brilliant techniques I use to communicate all the time. I’m certain that I alone can help you with any communication challenges you’re facing in your life.

🛒 📞 ☎️ 🗓 📲 💻  💵 📬 🕰 💔 ✍🏽

My ideas are basically always the best anyway…or so I’m told. I know loads of brilliant people who know a lot of things and they always adore most, all of my ideas.

I’m intelligent, kind, creative, and generous. Always. Anything that challenges that belief based on my behavior, I will just have to flat out disagree with every damn time.

I don’t like having things pointed out that are in conflict with how I view myself. It feels yucky. I want that feeling to go away quickly.

🤒 🤕 🤢 🤮

Below I’ve condensed my five most effective communication tips:

#1 When someone brings attention to something I’ve done that doesn’t fit my personal view of me, I simply say that it’s a false narrative. 🤦🏼‍♀️

They’re clearly mistaken about what they think they witnessed me say or do.

For added effectiveness, I throw out some questions to help people understand why they are confused. 😳 🤪

Are you sleeping well? Still taking that medication? Do you have your eating/drinking/legal challenges under control these days? Is your brother/uncle/dealer out of jail yet? How’s that rash? Did your haircut turn out as you intended? 👍

Repetition creates familiarity, use it to your advantage.

Folks just love this technique because they don’t have to waste any time being discerning. The wordage becomes ingrained, second nature.

NOTE: Because people felt brave in even starting a difficult conversation with me, they burned a lot of their emotional energy. 😫 😴 

Capitalize on their fatigue. 🛏

#2 When someone writes me an email and I respond in a way that was confusing, somewhat cruel or insensitive to them and they take me to task about it, I have a brilliant idea for that too. 👎🏼

Well, of course I do.

I just say that someone on the internet, some bad actor must’ve edited my email to persecute me.

Then I add…you know I’ve been hacked a bunch of times, right?

See what I did there? I “primed” them by repeating that I’ve been hacked a bunch of times before.

See, you just have to plant a little, tiny seed for honest communication. 🌱

#3 When someone doesn’t want to do or say what I want them to do—here’s another fun technique I’ve come up with. I create a harmless, little nickname for them.

All in good fun, of course. 😁 😂 🤣

Here’s an example: I write a blog post about something that I think is clear and spot on. Someone decides to speak their truth about what they see or tell me how it could be improved or better understood. I don’t want their stupid feedback so I have to find a way to knock it back…so I make a joke of it.

Here’s how this technique works. After their feedback, I give them a mean, fun nickname.

Say, Clueless Miss Know-It-All, are you here from the Office of Bullshit Observations? 🕵🏼‍♀️

Who died and made you the editor of everything, Little Lord Fauntleroy? 🤴🏻

So much fun…basically a brilliant team-building exercise. 👊🏻

#4 Whenever something is said that just doesn’t really jive with how hard I work and how efficiently I get things done all the time, I have this communication skill at my disposal.

Do you know about the brilliance of “whataboutism”? You don’t? Well, that’s sort of stupid of you, anyway… 💁‍♀️ 💁‍♂️

Whataboutism is so disarming that it makes people just walk away, confused and forgetting what you were even talking about in the first place. This technique is such a blast!

Merriam Webster: Whataboutism gives a clue to its meaning in its name. It is not merely the changing of a subject (“What about the economy?”) to deflect away from an earlier subject as a political strategy; it’s essentially a reversal of accusation, arguing that an opponent is guilty of an offense just as egregious or worse than what the original party was accused of doing, however unconnected the offenses may be.

The tactic behind whataboutism has been around for a long time. Rhetoricians generally consider it to be a form of tu quoque, which means “you too” in Latin and involves charging your accuser with whatever it is you’ve just been accused of rather than refuting the truth of the accusation made against you.

Here are some whataboutism examples:

If my husband says or texts

I wished you had called to say you were going to be late? ME: Well, you were late last Tuesday and the dinner I slaved over was ruined. That really hurt my feelings.

Why didn’t you mention X, Y or Z? ME: You never tell me anything that I need to know and it’s really taking a toll on our marriage.

Did you deposit the check in the bank? ME: Remember when you forgot to send that payment in and we paid that huge penalty? So…

What time will you be home? ME: Why are you so obsessed with knowing where I am all of the time? It’s really creepy.

I just love whataboutism. 💁‍♀️ 💁‍♂️ You will too.

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” —Benjamin Franklin

#5 Everyone really seems to enjoy this final and really cool technique. It’s so simple, even you can understand. It’s chaos…dizzyingly, exhausting, constant chaos.

From morning till night, make sure no one actually knows what you’re doing or talking about. This creates a clever, hard to pinpoint mystery about you. You’ll look so busy, important and then you’re off the hook for any of your words or behaviors.

🚖💃🏌️‍♂️🏇🏽🎳🤹🏻‍♀️🎭 🎨🛩🚦🔍🎱 📊 📈

This technique really works best if you can be on-the-go a lot—in and out of cars (or better helicopters), shuffling stacks of papers, off to meetings, taking phone calls (they don’t have to be real) or doing whatever busy looks like in your little life.

The chaos technique is really effective if you have lots of people around you who also enjoy playing the chaos game. But, it works just fine as a solo act. Trust me. 👼

In conclusion, if anyone asks questions anything you’ve said or done that doesn’t fit how you see yourself, just breathe and use any of these five techniques I’ve so generously offered today. 🧘🏼‍♀️

Here they are in a nutshell:

1. You don’t like what someone said about you, call it a false narrative.

2. There’s evidence that you wrote or said something crappy, say you were hacked.

3. Not in the mood for honesty or criticism, play the fun nickname game.

4. If someone asks about your behavior, use whataboutism and walk away.

5. To dodge questions about your words or actions, try constant, dizzying chaos.

Good ☘️ Luck!

tight knots, loose ties & and everything in between…

Last week I posted photographs of fabric fraying with this quote: “Once the fabric of a just society is undone, it takes generations to weave it back together.” —Deepak Chopra

Well, it sure sparked some interesting dialogue. Right now, I do feel that it could potentially take generations to weave our society back together. However, as a rather optimistic realist…I wholeheartedly believe we can. Don’t we all want to feel safe, loved, connected and purposeful? What if we focused on our similarities, not our differences? Threads.

Humans need threads—tight, loose and in-between to other people, places and groups. How we choose to connect our threads is up to us individually.

Are we going to weave from a place of FEAR or LOVE?

When we’re anxious or fearful we tend to look outside of ourselves to make sense of our feelings. It’s so much easier to scan for someone or something else to blame than to be self-reflective and take responsibility for our emotions and actions. I would sooooo much rather blame someone else than acknowledge my own bullshit. I’m working on it. It’s a process.

Right now, it seems to me that politics are filling some sort of identity gap where other threads should be continually and carefully woven.

WHY? Why now?

Our party affiliation won’t ever bring us homemade soup when we’re sick, pick up a middle-of-the-night call when we’re in distress or just show up, even when we don’t understand what we actually need ourselves.  

are we frayed beyond repair?

“Once the fabric of a just society is undone, it takes generations to weave it back together.” —Deepak Chopra