Saturday, June 29, 2019

As a man thinketh...

What is your narrative? (Who wrote your cue cards?)
We all have a story we tell ourselves, about us, about the world, about others... There are key words or phrases, and snapshots of moments where we 'decided' who we are, and what is true about us. 
Often, without  realizing it, we live our daily lives out of this narrative. We put on the costume, and the makeup and we go about our days as the person we believe we are, and we respond to the external cues from a pre-set script.
That is great! If it is a good story... If what we tell ourselves about ourselves is productive, generous, honest.
But, so often, because of events in our past, and who we were at the time they occurred, our narrative is a negative story, where our character is a victim. So, we might perceive an external cue as a slight or an attack, and respond to it from a defensive or yielding stance, without ever actually  having surveyed the scene.
Here is what I am finding out, as I look into why I am so often frustrated with where I am in life.
When things don't go according to my plans, the voice in my head says something like, "oh, yeah, here we go again... nothing ever works our for poor little Robin. Why should she expect to get to..., something always comes along to rob her of ..."
You see? 
And out of that train of thought comes the natural follow-through of, "Why get your hopes up? Its too exhausting, this roller-coaster of Hope-Disappointment, Hope-Disappointment. Why not just coast out in ease? Why dream of great things? You know what will happen. You will work and try and plan, and then all of life will turn and put you back on your ass again. Why bother...?"
You can see how having this guy holding the microphone in a dark corner of your stage, a murky little spot light casting an eerie glow on his pale, bloated face would be disconcerting. You can see why,if you knew he was there, directing you around the stage, you would have an ambient sense of dread, waking up each day to do it all again. (need to look into why my narrator is a he...)
That is the martyr/victim character I have often played by default. But there are so many forms we are practiced at playing. Maybe in the narrative we believe, we are the hero, but in real life we live less than heroic. Not consciously choosing our responses to external stimuli, can effectively make us dishonest with ourselves about how effective we are at our lives, our relationships, our jobs.
I, for instance, on any given day might wake up and 'decide' to embody the character of the martyr, the hero, the victim, the fun girl, the sex pot, the inventor, the best selling author, the champion of downtrodden, super mom or grandma or both... I lead a busy life!
Because this is generally a back story, we are seldom aware of how this default monologue effects our thoughts and actions. How, if we were conscious of it, we might choose a new voice to let guide our thoughts.
And that is what I am working on changing in my life just now.
I look back and I can see, that in my attempt, for instance, to get fit and loose weight, I was simultaneously sabotaging myself with my narrative.
My self-talk was counter productive, because, after so many 'failures', I had begun to believe it was a loosing battle I could never win. What sane person would enter such a battle?! But I am stubborn, so I would start again. I would set my goal (though leave it a little loose so no one (me) could really say if I won or lost.) I would create my plan (though vague enough I had mostly wiggle room.) And then for a good few days I would talk big about it (mostly to myself)and make attempts at exercise, ("That is going to give me a heart attack. My knees can't take that. Two days in a row is fine. Weekends don't count. I'm too broken to treat myself this hard anymore. No-one expects a grandma to be a sporty model.")
And sometimes, because people in life besides you let you down, they are easy scapegoats for your personal shortcomings. "Well, if he spent as much time helping me get fit as he does on his own fitness... Well if they didn't bring food into the house they know I am trying not to eat... Well, if it wasn't so far to the gym... Well, if I had my own pool..."
The problem here, is that when you look at the most amazing people in the world, doing the most amazing things, being the change they want to see in the world, being the most amazing version of themselves, etc... they usually are doing it against all odds!
Yeah, let that sink in. They usually had the deck stacked against them and won anyway. They came from less than functional families or less than ideal circumstances, and so on.
So, maybe they give themselves the winning edge, by purposefully choosing their narrative? Maybe they write their own cue cards?
More and more,I think I am on to something. Something that could change my 'luck' and help me see results in my life, where once there were only disappointments.
As I listen to the podcasts by outstanding folks like Rachel Hollis, Rich Roll, David Goggins, Emily Fletcher, and others, I am picking up on key phrases that dispel the false narratives, that shed light into the dark corners of my thinking, that clarify and validate my true beliefs. 
I am compiling a list, making new cue cards and programming my mind to win, by being pro-active and prepared. Proverbs 23:7 "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." The task ahead is to align what I think/know in my heart about myself, and what my mind tells me.
In a future blog, I will share my list for your use...
So, for today, I will leave you with this quote, which I have had on my desk for a while and should have put who said it on the card, but I think Scott told it to me from a book he read...
"This is WAR. Maintain the initiative." 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Missouri here I come...

What's in an address?
We are moving again...
That statement is so packed with positive and negative emotions.
I love my house in Missouri.
I miss my middle daughter and her family a lot!
I miss my mom, and even more so, my sister.
I miss our solid, longstanding friendships that are so comfortable and familiar, yet still so fresh and alive and engaging.
But that's pretty much it.
When we moved to Texas last year, it was like an adventure, an energizing new shot at life as a couple. The only thing I don't love about Texas, is in the 4th-7th lines above.
Plano is expensive, but I feel so at home here and I have made some wonderful new friends.
One of them has since moved to Colorado.
What's in an address?
I live best wherever my love is. And he is going to Missouri.
I am a gypsy, a vagabond at heart. I adore travel! I love to make new connections and connect old friends with new.
So, wherever I lay my head, if we were ever friends, we still are. If I can visit, I sure will! But out of sight, is not exactly out of mind. I still think of and pray for people I have not seen in years.
New adventures and old friends await, and new friends... see ya on the flip side!        This kitchen, I miss!!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Catching cast pods...

2019... forty years since I graduated from Smith-Cotton High School.
I try not to lean on markers for support to do great and courageous things. But I am not going to lie... there is a teenage girl inside of me who longs to be truly known and if not loved, at least appreciated by those who hardly even noticed me then! I am currently harnessing that desire to create growth and change for myself in a rather tough time of life. One tool I have found very helpful, is podcasts. There are some tremendously brilliant people out there with a pure love of others, who give themselves daily to the task of weaponizing the masses to overcome evil and become the best version of themselves! My middle daughter spent the best part of a hard couple of years with headphones on and I thought she was mostly just avoiding me. (Because everything is about me, if you were not aware...) What she was really doing was gathering. She found great voices to talk to her and comfort and educate and entertain her when things in her life were exhausting and she was to weary to engage. She was getting the perspective of people who were out of our physical range of companions, because they took the time to put down in audio sessions, the best ideas they were working with.
Now here is the thing that will make you pity me and laugh...
While I was jealous of the connections she had away from us and the new and exciting thoughts and ideas she was learning, and while I was longing to do the very thing she was doing, I did not. I had actually convinced myself that somehow, I couldn't do it! Oh, the excuses! "I don't carry my phone all the time." "I don't always have pockets on what I wear." "Headphones hurt my tiny ears." (that is actually true, but earbuds are not the only way! See how self-crippling?!)
Now, finally, because my hubby is listening to podcasts to and from work every day and he is engaging me in dialog about all the cool ideas and I finally feel like it is okay to have dreams again, I am in!
Be ware... a lot of the coming blogs will be spawned out of the exciting stuff I am hearing and how it relates to my own life and love and longings and winning the struggle. I hope you will not only read and enjoy what I write to you, but let it spark wildfires in your own life.
Oh, so I have thirty-one weeks to recreate or at least clear the clutter and refresh, before my 40th class reunion. Stronger than single birthdays, anniversaries, New Years, or approaching swimsuit seasons, I believe I have something to tether my flag to in a strong wind in this event! When a nice looking piece of pie sits next to the teapot on RCIA nights, I can look at it and know it is not part of my plan. When I sit at my desk with my back to my Peleton, the vibe it is sending my way in its silent presence becomes, not the accuser I thought it was, but the friend who says, "Hey Buddy! Lets take a spin, 'kay?!"
If you need the sort of friendship and encouragement and accountability that I have in my house, reach out to those near you, who love you and want the best for you.
Or start by listening to Rich Roll podcasts. The February 26 with Tom Bilyeu is good, or the February 5th with Marco Borges' Greenprint, or the Feb 12 with Todd Herman if you are an aspiring artist (adult content caution). But be sure not to miss the January 8 with Zach Bush, if you have any health problems that have you stuck in a pharmaceutical quicksand.
Peace, Love, Pineapples...xo

Thursday, February 21, 2019

What an Elephant Forgets by not Forgetting: An Encouragement to Remember You are Free
They say an elephant never forgets…
The way I heard it, it is just the one thing he remembers that has caused this to be an oft used phrase.
When an elephant is small, a chain is put around one back foot, and attached to a peg in the ground. The little elephant is thus trained to remain where it is pegged, even after it becomes a huge creature who could easily pull the peg from the ground.
I thought about that the other day. About how we are tricked, or we trick ourselves, into feeling powerless to move from the tiny spot we are pegged to.
It could be in a feeling we had when we once believed we could pull away and find new adventures, only to be snapped back into place at the end of our proverbial chain by fear, or failure, or others saying we could not go. Maybe we tested that restraint in other areas or in the same area, reaching for a dream or a vision we had. Or maybe we never knew our power and potential and left it go at one try.
Over time, something gets in our heads. A voice that says something to the effect of, “you know you can’t, why try?”
Now, an elephant calf, when captured or born into captivity, has not had the time to build memories of being a wild and free being. He doesn’t know how big and strong he will become. He doesn’t know that there is a whole herd of other elephants who remember him and miss him and could give him the support and protection and encouragement he needs.
In his little circle of grass around the peg, he feels alone.  As he grows, he begins to accept that the trainer and keeper are his pack, that the work they give him to do is his lot in life. He forgets his dreams and hopes of the wild, of the family he longs for.
And so, while a bull elephant who grew up at the end of the chain never forgets that his freedom is limited, what he does forget is how amazingly strong he is. He forgets how gifted he is and how unique among other elephants. He becomes dull and uninterested in life, because his kind have greater emotional depth and wisdom than many humans, and like humans, needs others to feel fulfilled and happy. And so he spends his days doing the few mundane tasks he is compelled to do, and then just sways with the breeze, dragging his wondrous trunk in the dust, lost in thought or not thinking, Feeling sad or not feeling.
When I thought about this the other day, I had a sudden burst of laughter at myself. And a sense of relief and renewed hope. How easily pegged I can be, when I have been given so much with which to obtain and maintain my freedom!
You see, no one has chained me to a peg, but me. Without really realizing it, I had made the choice to let myself be limited by my circumstances. Truth be told, I used them as an excuse to stop pulling at the peg and brake the chain, out of laziness and self-pity. I have been in a season of giving up. My self-talk had become seriously pathetic, and like the Good Father He is, the Lord gave me a gentle slap to bring me to.
That is the inspiration to share my thoughts about what an elephant forgets, that it may give you a slap and a giggle and the lift and force to break a chain or two of your own.  Because, maybe you are not where you want to be. Maybe, like me, you had hopes and dreams of certain outcomes, and they have slipped out of your grasp. Or maybe, like me, you find yourself sort of floundering in a whirlpool without the energy or direction to pull out and swim upstream.
Whatever the case may be, I encourage you, remember. 
Find a quiet place to spend a few minutes or a few hours alone, recollecting. I like that word, recollecting. It brings up a picture of treasure strewn about, some hiding under things and nearly lost, and me gathering them all back together, collecting them, again. Now with them all before me, I can consider their worth. Maybe I have held on to some that no longer have value to me. Or maybe they never had and now I am in a place to recognize that. And then, among the bits and bobs I may find forgotten treasure of great worth! Maybe I have never seen it in this light before, or maybe it is a thing I have held onto for that some day when I could finally take it out and put it to good use.
Maybe today is that day.
Do you have a talent or a special gift that you don’t use? (Notice I did not say that you don’t, get to use. I find myself whining at times that I don’t get to write, when the truth is, I just don’t write.) Whatever it is that the Lord has given you to use, use it. If it is love, then love. If it is song, then sing. If you are a gifted hostess, have a party! (Social media has made us less social. We need to actually get together!) Maybe you have the gift of compassion. In nursing homes and hospitals all around you, there are hurting and lonely people longing for someone to just sit with them and listen. A plate of warm cookies can go a long way to comfort a grieving friend or neighbor.
I know, there are real limits to our freedom. We only have so much time, or so much money. We have obligations, etc., but these are some of the things to really consider. Can/should some of them be cast off? Who or what is compelling obedience to a certain task, or denying us a certain liberty? Sometimes we chain ourselves to a small spot to feel safe. Sometimes we cripple those we serve when we do not recognize they no longer require the level of devotion we have given.
 I am not suggesting we don’t care for our families or pay our bills, but even in those areas we could possibly be more creative how we do them, in order to buy the time to learn a new skill or use a gift we would enjoy giving. I like what Scott Adams says in his book, “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big”… which is an amazing by the way… that (and I am paraphrasing a whole chapter) we are obligated to take care of ourselves first, so that we are fit to care for others. We are more delightful to be around, when we are satisfied with how we are spending our lives. So like Scott says, there is a sort of selfishness that is appropriate to being a generous person as a whole.
Conversely, there is a certain amount of guilt of sin that comes along with not being a good steward of the gifts that we were given. This creates an ambient level of unhealthy stress in our lives, which in turn can make us crabby or sad and depressed or even angry. There is no pill for this but action.
I don’t know specifically what anyone but me has to act on to forget the limiting chain and remember what a wide, wild, world there is to explore and relish each day.  What I do know is this. Every single one of us has at least one thing to give that no one else can give in exactly the same fashion. And not a single one of us can find true fulfillment if we do not invest those gifts in those around us. If you will look, you will find that the dreams and longings we have correlate with the talents and gifts we have.
As for me, I have to create. I have to obey the force inside of me that is always dropping pictures and ideas and poems and songs in my heart. I never stop thinking of how to help and heal and tickle and move and provoke with words and song and food and pictures and engaging in stimulating conversation about everything and nothing! Not acting on those things is maddening!
I look now at my chain, my peg in the ground, and I see it for what it is, a hoax. With one deep breath and a little focused determination I can yank that sucker out of the ground and take off at a steady pace toward the life I know I need.
It’s not Monday, or New Year’s Day, or my birthday, or any other marker I would usually need to convince myself it’s a good day to start anew. It’s just an average raining Thursday.
It’s a great day to do something wild and satisfying, and beat a new path to freedom.
Find your herd and live wild! xo

Friday, November 30, 2018

well, i did it! 50,222 words in November!

Here are a few of my favorite...   
in case I hadn't mentioned, the story I chose to tell this year is Scott's and my love story. how we got from start to where we are now. just prior to the following exerpt I have brought in and decorated that tree with several of the wonderful people we have been blessed to share parts of our lives with... here goes-----

Again, you may ask, how does any of this have anything to do with the promised love story of Scott and Robin?
Here is what I believe about that. Everything. Life is about how we connect with other lives. If we are fortunate enough to have many people touch our lives, we are the most fortunate, as they all come and go and pass by trailing laughter and tears for us to share, that there be one person who remains. One person in whom you feel you are home. Wholly loved, cherished, forgiven over and over and adored. One person who encourages you to be your best. One person whose spirit and soul and body fit yours and serves to recharge you when the world takes more than its share. One person whose laughter fills your need for the far off sounds of your heavenly home. One person whose tears draw from you the memory of your own pains and sorrows and longings, and binds you together that you might not be lost and alone on your journey home.
But all these other people? They are reflections and songs and energy and light along the way. They bring the pain that moves you toward or away from a path. They are the joy that beckons when you are lost in a dream and forgetting to trudge on.
I am not a huge sports fan, in the sense that I often have little to no idea what is happening, or what rules are in play. But I love to be at a game of any sort. I love to watch the people, to feel the shared excitement and expectation and hope. But my favorite? The Wave at a Cardinals game! You’ve seen it. At some moment chosen by a felt need, a handful of people rise from their seats and lift and lower their arms in a flowing motion like the raising and dropping of an elephant’s trunk. Someone nearby spots it and joins in, and before it has moved half way around the stadium, nearly everyone becomes part of this fluid wave of bodies, speaking silently to the team on the field, “we are with you.”

If you could watch from above as in a time lapsed shot of the blooming and dying of a single flower, I imagine that is what we look like to God. Or, like the lichen growing on a rock or coral under the sea. A symbiotic life connected one to another by moments and “coincidence and accidents.” 
We come in on the scene and we find and loose and find one another, grasping and shoving away, swaying together as if one with the wave that moves us.
In this scenario, Scott would be the rock I cling to. No, that is Jesus. 
But Scott’s heart and mine are so connected, that when one of us dies, the other will likely soon follow.
This month is National Novel Writing Month, and this year I have chosen to write about the love story that is mine and Scott's. When you read it, and I hope you will, you will find, not just a bunch of mush, but the saga of a couple who have been through some shit and are closer than ever.
My working title has been, Return to Love, for reasons you will understand when you have finished the book. But it just occurred to me a fun name might be, It Starts with Cake. (See photo!) I may use that to do a fiction piece about the same story, for those who can't enjoy a historical account of some amazing lives. But that's not you.
So, see the blog I will post later in the day with some chosen clips from my finished rough draft. But for now, I must get cracking! 8000 words left to complete my challenge and get my badges! Go Me!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The girl that I have left behind to be the gal I’m now

Has given up the pony and the Cessna and the plow

Has tried to be the one you want

Has willed her to conform

To what the world expects of her

To something close to norm

Still inside desire rages

To burn with passioned fire

To fuel and feed the inner need, to swim in mad desire

The girl of dreams and passions, now a woman quite subdued

But such intensive energy to this pull off, is used

And so she must imbibe to find or rather somehow loose

The fierce and fighting woman who is strangled by the noose

 Of modern thought and civil tongue and proper frame of mind

And so the gal her holy girl, has had to leave behind

But set upon me, stoke the flame, and brother you will see,

The holy fire an ember still
Alive inside of me