What’s Your Thing?

Do you have a passion for something? Something that you do really well? Something that you think about constantly? A thing that you live to do?

I’ve grown up hearing people ask about that. At every stage of my life I’ve heard people on tv, writing articles and books, and now podcasters and social media gurus, droning on about finding your niche, your passion, your thing that sets you apart. “That’s where you’ll fit in perfectly! If you can make a career out of it, you’ll be the happiest person!”

So, what’s mine? Reading my blog, scrolling through my social media feeds, looking around my house, you probably wouldn’t be able to guess it. I’ve always felt a bit uninspired on the “passion” front.

When I was a kid, getting some friends and playing was the goal. When I was a teen, I focused on, well, honestly, getting any boy to chase me. And then I kind of fell into theater work, sets and stages, lights. I went to work in that field and did well. Then I got married and had some kids and raised them. I have things I like to do. I can sew a bit, knit, make soap. I read a lot. I love to read. I’m not a big people person, but I do like people watching. I like to go out and do things, but generally I’d rather do it anonymously with my favorite person or two.

But today, it hit me.

I have a passion for being in this world among the people I love. It’s simple really. I am truly passionate about being, that’s it. And that’s what I write about. When I find something interesting, I write about it. When I find something that works for me, I write about it. When I’m confused, angry, or frustrated, I write about that too.

What’s your passion?

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What Can I Do?

Aubrey Marcus is in my brain the last few weeks. His interview with Tim Ferriss was amazing, so much so, that I went out and ordered his book the next week. I finally got to reading it and I’m captivated once again. I love reading his words. It’s like he’s in my head!

I highly recommend “Own The Day.” It’s a great manual style book that can change your life and your perspective on a lot of things. Many of the things he suggests are things I’ve already been doing. Some I’ve tried and gave up on, but I’m trying again because his explanation of why or how gave me a new reason to give it a chance.

From his blog, I started reading “Sex At Dawn: How we mate, Why we stray, And what it means for modern relationships” by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha. That’s a book to wrap your brain around! Buckle your seatbelt while you read that one. I’ll be writing more about it later.

And then, of course, I had to listen to his podcast while I do the dishes, ‘cause that’s my thing. And the first one that comes up is The Game of Life with Erick Godsey. It took me three mornings to hear it all and I was floored the whole time. Where have these guys been all my life?! Lucky for me, there was a .pdf to download that had all the “quests” and notes written out. It’s in my hot little hands now!

The very end of the podcast, he read a poem he wrote called “Why.” I had to sit down by the second stanza and by the end I was bawling. It just touched my soul.

The quest from the podcast episode that really hit me was “Quest 9 – Serve Your Medicine”

And from the .pdf, “Everyone is trying their best, and you can help their best be better, even if just a little, if you serve your medicine.”

He talked about defeating Self-Judgment and Self-Criticism with Forgiveness.

I imagined it like this. If you were climbing up a ladder, would you be helping more if you immediately reached back behind you and gave someone a hand or a hint to make climbing easier, or would it be better to leave them down there at the bottom, get all the way to the top of the ladder and then yell down instructions?

We don’t need to be at the top of our game to help those around us do better. We can help from right we are. I may not have this whole life thing figured out, but I do know I’m doing better than I was yesterday and what I’ve learned so far I can pass on right now.

So what’s holding me back? Am I so critical of myself that I don’t think what I have to say is important enough to be said? Much of the time I re-read what I wrote or even think about my notes and wonder what the point is. Anyone can write this stuff. There’s no revelation in it, nothing original. But then again, no one has seen this flower from my perspective, through my eyes, from my experience. Why not describe it again? Would a painter not paint a sunset because someone else already has? Would the painting not be as beautiful on my wall?

So, I think he’s got something there. This is resonating a lot. Now if I can just find a way to remember this feeling, to put it on a post-it reminder.

But there is something else. Distraction. I’m distracted way too easily by inane things. I scroll through Facebook looking for entertainment like I open the fridge a hundred times looking for the perfect snack that never appears. I need to find a way to remember an insight or idea I had earlier and then be able to focus and write about it later. There’s good stuff in this brain. I just need to find a consistent way to get it out.

I get a lot of ideas while I’m reading, but then lose them by the end of the book. I’m wondering if it would help me to make a few notes after my morning read and throw some sentences together to come back to when it’s my time to sit and write. The same goes for podcasts and even some social media posts that inspire me.

It’s like I’m in a room full of butterflies. I see one that fascinates me and I want to catch it to take a closer look. Two things can happen when I reach for it. The first is that I can crush it when I finally get a hold of it. That’s when I doubt my ability to think clearly and communicate, or when I decide that my words aren’t worth speaking.

The second is that I get distracted by the others floating around and start chasing those as well. That’s when I remember the laundry in the dryer, the book I read yesterday, the disgusting display I saw on Facebook, or the thing my husband said. Exhausted and disgusted with my lack of ability, I give up and walk away.

So this is my quest, to share my medicine. I currently have the most amazing life. I’ve never felt better, both physically and emotionally. I have talented and intelligent kids that are starting to move mountains. I have an interesting and evolving relationship with the most wonderful man. I have some great friends and family and honestly, I’m working on that front a little better. That’s the only word I can use to describe it, “better.”

The bottom line is that our family has lived a different lifestyle, an odd way of doing a lot of things. Every day I learn more, more veils are lifted, more doors are opened. Can I help others out there see those doors, or at least that they are out there?

Sick Of “Community”

Community. I hear that word every day. I see it in print. I hear people talk about it online and on TV.

“Get involved in your community!”
“Everyone should have a community of people they rely on!”
“Know what’s going on in your community!”
“Community brings people together!”

Ugg…I’m tired of hearing it and tired of trying to make it work for me only because that’s what everyone says is important.

I want to be a part of community in some sense. I enjoy the company of friends from time to time. I like having people to invite over for a BBQ, but is that community or just friends?

What about the past? I’m looking at rural farmers and fur traders, people that lived pretty isolated and only came together in groups a couple times a year at most. Were they lacking in community?

I’ve always had a hard time finding my people. It’s me, not the people. I just don’t feel like I really fit in. The more I try to work in a group, the more frustrated I become. I end up not helping the group or myself. It all seems so futile. Then I started thinking…maybe not everyone works well in groups!

Maybe being alone more will help me focus and create. Maybe, for me, Monday’s here, Wednesday’s here, Saturday’s there, volunteer at this, help this cause, etc., is just too much for me and I lose myself in it.

I’ve never been physically alone for an extended amount of time. The longest in recent years has been a three-hour stint sitting in the car waiting for my son. I read a lot. What would happen if I were alone for a whole 24 hours? 48? I’d like to experiment with that idea in the near future.

Road Trip Perspective

What should I write about today? I made note after note on my long weekend of nothing. My husband and I spent two nights at a hotel away from home, not to visit anything, or go anywhere. We did it to be alone, away from housework and the “to-do” list. To be honest, we spent the weekend pretending we were having an affair. It was blissfully romantic. The quiet distraction made me think. I wrote down several ideas. Those ah-ha moments of clarity came often. I came back to them today and found myself empty handed once again. Like smoke from a campfire. It disappeared when I tried to touch it.

What’s bothering me? I don’t know who I am or why I’m here. Why do I continue to write out words that don’t make any sense? Fear again. Sometimes what I want to say, who I really am…I don’t think many people would like that person, so I hide it away behind writers block.

Or maybe I don’t really have anything to say. Or do I?

Driving down the freeway on the way home, I looked at the road. From my side of the vehicle it always looks like my husband is driving way too close to the left side of the lane. People must think he’s about to change lanes. I’m afraid passing trucks will clip off our mirrors. In our VW bus, the feeling is even more pronounced. I just don’t see how he can possibly not know how close to the other lane he is!

It hit me right then, not the road, an idea. It’s perspective. He’s on that side of the vehicle. He knows better than I do because he has a better vantage point. He isn’t close, it only looks like that from where I am. Why, as I look over and cringe when a vehicle passes us, do I not yell, “What the fuck?! Why do you drive like this?!” because I trust him. Experience has taught me that. He’s never hit another vehicle. So, when I see the nose of the vehicle dangerously close to the yellow line, I take a breath and remember that he has a different perspective and I trust him.

Relationships are like that. It’s two people, or more, heading down the same road. Sometimes we’re in different cars, caravan style. Sometimes we’re piled in a van or RV and we have to ask the driver to let us out and take a break at a rest stop. There are rules of the road that must be negotiated, sometimes renegotiated. But ultimately, we have to trust each other on the road.

When someone makes a mistake, we adjust ourselves and move on. Honking your horn, cursing, and waving your fist doesn’t help in the long run. It only makes us angrier, distracted, ready to make more mistakes of our own.

When we share a vehicle, like in a marriage, we have to communicate our needs. Stops along the way, costs of travel, breaks, the music on the radio, all need to be negotiated. The more people in the car, the harder those negotiations can be. The reward is great though. And just like in life, it’s not the destination but the travel time that is important. You’ll spend an hour at the destination. You spent days getting there. Which is more important.

Honestly…

So…I thought I’d sit here and write something…still trying to get thirty minutes of writing anything every day but failing on a regular basis. I’m so distracted! My son messaged me right as I sat down to do this, so I answered and then scrolled FB for a couple minutes, commented on a post, searched for an airport job and passed along an idea. I have to go the bathroom and now my stomach is growling. Screw it.

Ok, I’m back I found something in the back of my brain, something that’s been bugging me for a long time. Why can we not be more honest with each other?

And…my husband is talking on the phone. Every time I sit to write, something interrupts me. This happens at work as well. Every time I hear someone talking, my mind focuses on that voice and tries to understand what’s happening. It makes me crazy. It interrupts my train of thought and I have to keep reorganizing my other thoughts. Ugg. Ear plugs!!

The excuse I usually hear when I ask this question is that when we’re honest sometimes people get hurt. And that’s valid in some instances. I shouldn’t tell my husband that his breathing annoys me. There’s nothing he can do about it and it only hurts his feelings.

Ear plugs aren’t working…he’s so loud…I shut the door. Perfect! I’m all alone in my brain.

But there are perfectly valid reasons to be honest with people on most things. I may love going to Disneyland, but not all my friends do. If I invite someone to go with me, I’d much rather they answer that they don’t like going and would rather do something else, than to just ignore my offer or go anyway and be a complete drag. There’s no need to be weird the next time I ask you to do something. It’s like “Oh, this person doesn’t like to do the thing I love to do. We can’t be friends now.”

This is going nowhere. No one wants to read this shit. Everyone knows we should be more honest with each other. Why bother writing another word about it?

I really do wonder why people aren’t more honest with themselves more than anything else. I mean if you enjoy something, why not just enjoy it? Why do we have to beat ourselves up over loving chocolate, a good TV show, or just great sex? Why guilt ourselves out of our joys?

If I’m irritated about nothing and just feeling like I’m angry at the world, why not just say so? Why do we come up with excuses? Yes, my love, I’m just pissed at the world and you happen to be in my path. I could really use a hug or just someone to complain to.

And when someone says no to you, it’s not a reflection on you personally. They just don’t want to. Can’t we just respect someone else’s preferences and move on with our lives?

Could I Be Losing My Mind?

I find the Christian image of God as a perfect father an intriguing idea, one I return to over and over again in my thoughts. I know some people get bent out of shape at the suggestion, but it comforts me. I think the ones that don’t like it are the ones that are looking at flawed human fathers and projecting that image onto God, instead of looking at the way the bible describes Him and trying to emulate that idea.

Ugg…I have an idea rolling around in my head while I do the dishes and I tell myself, “Self. You need to finish the dishes and then go spend some time writing that out. I bet it’s going to be fantastic.” I finish, sit down to write, tap out one paragraph and get lost. Nothing. Not a shred of inspiration. Is it gone or just incomplete?  If I sit here and keep typing, will it form up and become more solid?

It bugs me. I flip to Facebook and scroll for a few minutes desperately wanting to type “F…! I just can’t!” and then I can spend the rest of the afternoon coming back to see the influx of crazy comments I get. That sounds productive, right?

“Oh, don’t worry! Every day can’t be productive.” Yes, I realize that but I’m not productive on any day. I take that back. I’m productive at reading a book, watering the yard, cleaning the house, doing the laundry. I’m just not productive with anything I really want to do, like write a new post. I’m frustrated with myself.

Earlier this week I decided I’d spend thirty minutes a day working on my book and thirty minutes writing anything. So here I am trying to fill the thirty minutes I promised myself I would write for. It makes me crazy. What am I even here to write about? This blog seems random. There’s no unity to it other than pretty much a perfect reflection of my thinking without the curse words, like a squirrel brain on drugs. Maybe that’s the whole point? Maybe that’s exactly where I need to be right now, just floating? <bangs table in frustration>

So…God the Father. A perfect father doesn’t reject you when you aren’t what he wants you to be, if you make mistakes, or even willfully disobey. He may have a problem with you turning your back on a him and yelling “You’re not my Dad!” but when you change your heart and turn back, he’s still there. He may have a list of rules that he knows will make your life easier and more perfect, but he is well aware of your limitations.

Do I have scripture to back that up? No. That’s one of the things I’ve not mastered, remembering where I read something in the bible and quoting. It would probably help if I spent more time studying my bible but reading it every morning doesn’t really help me at all. It’s gone the minute I close the book. I do enjoy bible studies where I have to answer questions and write out my thoughts. Maybe I’ll find a new one of those. You know, because I don’t already have 800 things to do each day! Then again, priorities, right?

There’s No Time!

What gets in the way of writing? Or really anything that we feel really want to or should do to better ourselves? It seems we all have that thing, that project that we really think would be a great service to the world if we just got it done but then, for some reason, don’t find the time to do. “Life gets in the way!” we say. Facebook posts, a tv show, or in my case, blank staring out into space, takes up the little time we have to pursue those goals, no matter how lofty our ambitions.

Yesterday, I decided to give up getting any physical work done. I was exhausted from the previous days outdoor activities and just needed to rest. Of course, I chose to start a new book! I started a little “light reading”, “Utopia” by Sir Thomas More. Written in 1520 in LATIN and translated into English in 1550, this book is not an easy read, but the subject matter interests me and I’ve heard it’s a great book. This is going to be one that takes my full concentration to interpret due to the old language. Within a few pages, I have already received a gift from 500 years in the past!

Read this passage! It’s difficult but you’ll get the gist, I promise!

“Howbeit, to the dispatching of this so little business my other cares and troubles did leave almost less than no leisure. Whiles I do daily bestow my time about law matters, some to plead, some to hear, some as an arbitrator with mine award to determine, some as an umpire or a judge with my sentence to discuss; whiles I go one way to see and visit my friend, another way about my own private affairs; whiles I spend almost all the day abroad among others and the residue at home among mine own, I leave to myself, I mean to my book, no time. For when I am home, I must common with my wife, chat with my children, and talk with my servants, all the which things I reckon and account among business, for as much as they must of necessity be done, and done must they needs be, unless a man will be a stranger in his own house.”

Did you get that? Once again, I’m reminded that there is nothing new under the sun. Seriously. Reaching back into the distant past, I pull up “I’m so busy with work and family, that I have no time for myself!” You just have to love that.

He did finish the book though. I know that because I’m reading it! How many other people didn’t finish their book though? How many finished it and never had it published? How many had them published and we’ve forgotten all about them? But this one made it through the time machine. This one has come through to say to us, “Peace, brothers. All is as it always has been. Take a breath and keep trying.”

I’m off to put at least few minutes into my book today!