The Art of Being Lost

My Morning Pages reveal that right now I feel lost.

Morning Pages, if you don’t know, are a creation of Julie Cameron from The Artist’s Way that asks you to write three-pages every morning.

Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages– they are not high art. They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Occasionally colorful, more often than not Morning Pages are negative, fragmented, repetitive or bland. Good!  Worrying about your job, the laundry, the weird look your friend gave you – all that stuff distracts you from your creativity. It eddies through your subconsciousness and muddies your day. Get it on the page first thing in the morning and move on with your day with a freer spirit. (Julia Cameron)

I have several journals full of morning pages, but I had stopped the practice for many years. This move, and the resulting reevaluation of my life emanating from it, made me think that perhaps Morning Pages might help me figure it all out. In typical fashion, mine of run from the mundane to the bizarre, often hovering in a zone of negativity and frustration. I repeat myself endlessly, and sometimes whine in such a nauseating way that I don’t even want to listen to myself. My morning pages are filled with bizarre dreams and my feeble attempts at interpreting them. Occasionally I write a positive entry, and I always try to end on a positive note, but mostly I just try to allow my subconscious to vomit its garbage onto the page, in the hopes that it might lead me to a creative act or better understanding of myself.

It worked this morning, as I realized that I AM LOST!

My feeble attempt at trying to express this visually. The green represents the woods all around, aka more opportunities to get lost.

I literally get lost almost every time I leave the house, but that’s not what I mean exactly.

I am a lost in a sea of words. I try to write, but I am not sure what I should be writing about. Yesterday I tried to create a more substantial post than my announcement about being reconnected to the world of social networking, and my attempt was so nauseating and full of babbling nothingness that I gave it up as a lost cause. I question every word I put on a page lately. Should I be spending time here or focusing on trying to create HubPosts which might miraculously make money? Should I focus on fiction and poetry, where my dreams lie, or should I continue to explore randomness through my blog posts. Why am I writing at all?

See, I’m lost.

I am lost in my search for my bliss. I keep claiming that I want to reinvent myself, and create the career that will make my days sing. Yet, I apply for jobs similar to what I had before, and then when I get them I live in fear that somehow I will make a disaster of it. I know that my feelings today stem from me starting to teach tomorrow, and worrying that I will be good enough and do what the company that has hired me is expecting.

I am LOST.

My only hope lies in the fact that I am on a journey, and that I don’t need to know my destination. Perhaps being lost is part of the steps I need to find myself and my voice. Only time will tell.

Or perhaps my true talent lies in the art of being lost.

What do you do when you feel lost?

Post script: In a blazing example of true idiocy, Mark over at The Idiot Speaketh asked me to make a guest post the other day. I managed to become unlost enough to provide, so please check out my post called “Confessions of a Female Idiot” 

Back on the Grid Again!

I’M BACK!!

Yes folks, the grand nightmare of not having home internet is finally over.

Why was it so horrific, you wonder, since I still managed to post once in a while and get some e-mailing done? Let me see if I can explain.

  • While I could check and respond to e-mail on my phone, I still only have basic service and I don’t have a fancy phone. This means that deleting and organizing my e-mails is a pain in the butt, and uses up precious data minutes.  Without the ability to check my e-mail thousands of times a day every morning, I would end up with over a hundred  e-mails to clear out every time I went to my coffee shop offices to work.
  • While working in bookstores, coffee shops and libraries serves some purpose, it also means spending money (except for the library, of course) because I feel guilty if I stay there too long without at least buying one drink.
  • I also felt time pressure in some ways, because I don’t want to spend the whole day in a coffee shop, so I had to prioritize my work. I guess that is a good thing, but it meant reading other blogs for pleasure and responding to comments moved down the list. Time became my enemy, when right now time should be my friend because I have time to figure out where I am heading
  • I couldn’t look up anything spontaneously, directions or pictures, information or questions all had to wait until I had access which meant I either forgot them, or my to do list got longer.

Anyway, I am back and hopefully I will be inspired to write interesting posts again soon.  For now, I leave you with a quote that I found inspirational today and a picture created by Sarah:

“‎The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a
person’s determination.”
– Tommy Lasorda

The Hand Picture by Sarah KramerLee

I Am the Best . . . But

Do you ever do that? Do you ever try to list your accomplishments or say something good about yourself, only to qualify it five seconds later? I realized yesterday that I do it all the time and it needs to stop. It is affecting my ability to create the life I want, as I discuss in this post about writing resumes.

What do I mean by qualifying? Well, here are a few examples from my own life and warped brain:

  • I wrote a complete young adult novel . . . but no publisher has picked it up, so of course it can’t be good enough.
  • I finished my doctoral program in three years . . . but I don’t have a tenure track job or a title, so I must be a failure. I am just not good enough.
  • I am a talented writer . . . but there are so many bloggers who get more hits than I do. I have never been Freshly Pressed. I must be doing something wrong. I am not good enough.
  • I am a creative and talented director . . . but I don’t have the right attitude or that mysterious drive to make a huge success in the professional theater world. (This one is more a justification of myself, when in reality I am simply scared). You guessed it . . . I am not good enough.

ENOUGH! I’m driving myself insane. I don’t want to be that kind of person. I want to be able to embrace my accomplishments and be proud of the person I am, without caring how it looks to the rest of the world. I want to feel and believe that I AM GOOD ENOUGH!!!

Ultimately, my denigration of self really comes down to my concern about how others might judge me. When I went for my doctorate, I had no real intention of entering the academic world and becoming a star professor. As a matter of fact, I really got the doctorate kind of as a fluke (not to diminish the hard work or commitment that it takes, but the choice to pursue the degree had less to do with the degree and more to do with my stubborn pursuit of education and achievement). So why, if that is true, do I care that I don’t have the job or title?  Or, to quote from Fortytude “Why do I . . . allow myself to be undermined by the very values I choose not to ascribe to?” (Brokaw 7)

The answer lies in the assumptions I make about what other people expect of me. I don’t want to disappoint anyone and I want to live up to expectations. Yet, I constantly demean myself and perceive myself as a failure because I cannot claim the exact picture of “success” as dictated by society. I don’t have a title. I don’t have the money. I have a few awards, but nothing “big.” I don’t even have a real job at the moment.

Here is a reality I don’t often admit: I am the only person who has the right to be disappointed in anything I have done. I am the only one who should judge whether or not I have accomplished the goals I have for my life and myself. Have I disappointed myself in some areas? Of course. Who hasn’t? But, I have also surprised myself in others and achieved many things that I never imagined I could. Why can’t I simply say that without any qualifications?

So today, I hereby declare. I am, indeed, GOOD ENOUGH !!!

I want you to believe you are good enough too. I want everybody who reads this to list below something about yourself that you have every right to be proud of . . . no qualifications. Let’s celebrate ourselves for a change, and not diminish ourselves. Are you with me? Well then, share your victories below! I can’t wait to read them.

One more thing, as I was driving to meet with someone who could help me embrace my accomplishments on the page at least, I heard this song and really listened to the lyrics. I am writing the story of my life as we speak, and that life is more than just good enough, it is fantabulous!

Poetry by Sarah

A number of factors have made posting a challenge for me lately. I am still struggling with internet access. I have been really sick for a few days. I am starting the downward cycle of fear that comes with changing everything in my life. I feel blocked. I am truly grateful to Renee at Life in the Boomer Lane who included me in a list of bloggers worthy of the Versatile Blogger award, but I feel unworthy and wordless.

Never fear, however, I am raising a daughter to love words as much as I do. So I will now share with you two poems she wrote over the past two days. She wrote a different poem in school, using the format “adjective, noun, verb, ending” and enjoyed it so much she wrote these at home.  Enjoy!

`Sarah  K.                                                                                                     9-23-11

OUT MY WINDOW

Gentle rain falling down

Beautiful trees changing colors

Colorful cars going by

Green playground swinging in the wind

Brown power line giving power to people

Silver street lamp guiding people

Black road waiting for cars

Brownish trash wanting trash

Gray rock sitting still

Tan fence protecting territory

                                                  Gorgeous flowers brightening house

Blue lake swaying slowly

White house letting in people

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Sarah  K.                                                                                                                                  9-24-11

IN MY ROOM

Colorful pictures hanging on the wall

Beautiful stripes cheering our house

Blue shoes white easel wanting for feet

Pink dollhouse silent as can be

Brown doors open and close

Perfect bed comfy as can be

Brown and White shelves full of stuff

Fluffy pillows soft as you see

Black stapler stapling papers together

Pretty stuffed animals sleeping on the ground

Green hooks staying still

Neat clothing scrunched up still

Achieving “Fortytude”

It’s a little challenging trying to write Hubs to get some kind of writing “career” (for lack of a better term) started, but wanting to write here, for the wonderful community of connections that I have been building. Today, for example, I wanted to share with you the lucky serendipity of my discovery of the book by Sarah Brokaw called Fortytude: making the Next Decades the Best Years of Your Life–through the 40s, 50s, and Beyond but I also realized how much it fit into my series of Reinventing Self posts on the HubPages. So, I decided to do both, allowing this post to become the more personal exploration of the topic and the other to be a little more generic. If you are interested in both, here is the link to “How to Reinvent Yourself: Living Life with ‘Fortytude'”

But enough business. I do suggest you go out and read this book, because it is making me rethink a lot of things about life. I plan on exploring a lot of the questions it is forming over the next few days, and knowing me I’ll do it right here in the blog for all to share. As soon as I started reading, I found myself scribbling notes frantically as thoughts and questions blossomed into my brain. I haven’t finished reading yet, but have filled front and back of three large note cards with things I want to write about. I wanted to share a picture of them, but for some reason I am being defeated by technology today. So instead, I am going to share some of the notes and questions I’ve written down. If they inspire you, please feel free to explore them in your own writing, and let me know or share the link below in the comments:

  • Brokaw writes about “sparkling moments” which, to her are moments that often get the label of problems. She suggests that “sparkling moments” provide “opportunities to change, experiment, push yourself, grow, and learn new skills” (3) I want to explore the sparkling moments that exist in my life.
  • “Why do I . . . allow myself to be undermined by the very values I choose not to ascribe to?” (Brokaw 7)
  • How do I exhibit grace in my life? What does grace mean to me?
  • Write about a time when I was told that I was not “good enough” and how that changed my life completely.
  • What defines my femininity?
  • What are the “sprinkles” in my life? (According to one of the women Brokaw interviewed in the book “Adding a few sprinkles to your ice cream made all the difference in the world. Sprinkles change your mind-set.”

  • How do I feel connected and establish connections? (Part of that answer exists in the very nature of this blog)
  • How do I define a quality friendship?
  • What does mentoring mean to me?
  • What does it mean to be an accomplished woman? What am I accomplished at? What is accomplishment? (This one is a really important one for me to explore).
  • Am I good enough? Why don’t I feel good enough? Will I ever be good enough?
  • What does the word career even mean to me?
  • When I am 90, what will I regret?
  • Be creative with definitions of what I do well. I need to define myself in new ways.
  • What is adventure? What does adventure mean to me? How do I define it?
  • What is my body telling me?
  • What would I love to do if age has no meaning. This comes from a discussion in the book about Blame Sally, a rock band started by women in their 40s and 50s and succeeding against all odds.

There you have it my friends, a babbling list of questions that will hopefully inspire future posts–for myself and perhaps for a few of you as well.

More later. Thanks for reading.

Lisa

 

Today I Dislike Words

Yes. Me. The person who manages to post despite having no regular access to internet (STILL). The person who sometimes posts multiple times in one day. The person who loves language and plays with prose whenever she can.

I HATE words.

Not all words, just certain ones that torture me by their existence, by their meaning, or by their elusiveness. I dislike words that seem determined to defy expectations and deny me their use.

What kinds of words do I mean? Here is a sampling of the words I currently despise:

I dislike all words that describe people’s abilities on a resume, because I do not know how to use them properly. Am I a manager? Am I a teacher? What makes me an excellent communicator or a creative thinker? How to I explain the multiple roles I have played in my life, and the skills that each of those roles require? How do I keep it all down to one or two pages, showing the qualities that make me a viable candidate for projects of all kinds.

I no longer understand the meaning of those words.

I want to change the meaning of words. I refuse to discuss progress any more, but rather talk in terms of movement. I am moving, in many directions, to get to the next step in my journey, not to achieve a specific goal. Success and failure cannot define me, as they are relative to the eyes of the beholder. But what words can I use to replace them?

Today I feel defeated by the limitations of language. Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever wish words meant something different? 

Perhaps today I need to express myself in something other than words, to help me move from this:

to this:

Perhaps it’s not the words that are the problem, but my inner critics  (this link is to a Hub Post about them) who seem to be screaming loudly in my brain at the moment.


The Flavors of Fall

Autumn has always been my favorite season. The change has only just begun, but it never fails to create a feeling of excitement and awe in me. I don’t know exactly what it is about the fall. Perhaps it is because even now it seems more like the beginning of the a new year to me then January ever does. I grew up celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, in the fall, but it’s more than that. The fall means a new school year, with new things to learn. The fall means new clothes, especially the beginning of sweater weather, which I love. While the fall technically represents the dimming of life, as the leaves fade away, to me it merely represents continuation and change, because though the beauty fades it will return again next year.

I thought I would share some of my favorite things about fall with you. I love the smell of cinnamon and apples, of pumpkin pie and leaves on the ground. I love the colors and the warmth, the blue of the sky and the ever-changing leaves. Here are a few images of the beauty and flavors of fall.

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Happy Fall and Happy New Year everyone! May the sweetness, warmth, and color of this season fill your life in the coming year.

Life Update: Painting Progress, Evil Internet, and Other Foibles of Life

As you know I have been waiting for home internet to make my life a little easier, and it was scheduled to go on-line on September 13th. But NO . . . that would simply be too easy. We are not 100% sure what the problem is, but I still have to wander from coffee shop to book store to library to different coffee shop in search of the perfect internet connection.

With the complications, I struggle even more with the highs and lows, because I cannot get into a regular routine. Yesterday I felt like I couldn’t even get words on the page, so instead I forced my brother (Taochild to many of you) who had spent the night after babysitting for me to help me paint Sarah’s bedroom. In fact, I’ve held him hostage so he can help me finish the room today.

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Meanwhile, I have made strides toward something. I’ve written a few Hubs, and allowed advertising. Even if you aren’t interested, if you could click on those ads for me if you read my Hub posts that would be nice (and I am happy to do the same for you someday too). I also actually have an interview coming up for that Saturday morning teaching gig, so keep your fingers crossed.

That’s the update! I’m sorry I am so behind on reading other’s blogs and commenting, but one of these days I will return.

Playing With Time

Have you ever noticed how much time controls us? Time, a concept created by man to create order in the universe, has become a torture device. If you take a moment to look up time in the dictionary, you will discover more than a column of definitions and uses.

Time guides when we get up and when we go to bed, when we eat and when we work. For people like my father, who is slowly losing himself to the past, time is the endless torture of the commercials, which interrupt his programs and make no sense.

Today I sit in wait for the delivery of a washing machine and a dryer, and I have no control over the time they will arrive. For weeks, I have been waiting for my internet to become accessible at home, only to discover that my waiting was in vain, as some ridiculous problem with the modem has delayed access once again. Now, I wait for the new modem, and time passes slowly.

I have only been here two weeks, and I know that it takes time to find employment or create your dream. It takes time to settle into a house and meet people. It takes time to learn your way around so you don’t get lost every time you leave the house. Everything takes time, and yet time seems to move simultaneously too slowly and too quickly for me lately. When I get lost in what I am doing, the morning flies by, and the next thing I know I have to be home to meet Sarah after school. Yesterday, when I took her to her first dance lesson, she wanted me to wait, but that was 90 minutes of time where I would have nothing to do (as I forgot to bring anything with me to work on in the rush of getting out the door and to her class on time).

Time seems to have a sense of humor, as it makes no sense. A minute can feel like an hour when the words don’t flow or when I am waiting on someone or something else. An hour can seem like a second when I am lost in a project or having fun.

But sometimes now I’m unsure how to fill my time. I am not earning money at the moment, so any moment I take that is full of pleasure seems like a waste of time when I have a list of “should dos” hanging over my head. Yet, the time I spend with my family, or pursuing passion, or just dreaming and doing nothing seems to be the most enjoyable time for me at the moment. The time that I take to make my home feel comfortable and become a place where I want to spend time seems valuable, and at the same time, it seems like it is taking too long. I want it done now.

I’ve declared my independence from a traditional work structure, seeking to create and form a career that fulfills me and uses my time well. But how do I declare my independence from the vagaries of time?

How does time control your life, or have you mastered the control of time? Discuss in the comments below, as I have nothing but time to answer. 😉

Highs and Lows

Yesterday I was on a high, single-handedly conquering the world and changing my life one word and blog post at a time.

Today I feel like crawling into my bed and hiding under the covers in a fetal position.

What happened between yesterday and today? I simply don’t know. I got so much positive feedback for my hub post yesterday, that I felt encouraged. But today I doubt my words and don’t know what to write about.

I know what’s happening. It is the entrance of the demon depression, or the ugly critic of my life. The creature that dwells inside of me cutting down my efforts by telling me I can’t do anything.

But this time I refuse to let the Inner Critic win. I am going to keep working toward the highs, while gracefully moving through the lows. But, I could use your help.

I picture a group of wonderful blogging buddies leaping to their feet saying,”I’ll help you Lisa! What can I do?” Perhaps that is just a figment of my imagination, but it sure gives a warm fuzzy feeling inside.

So what can you do? Well, you can help me come up with Hub post topics. What questions do you have about “Reinventing Self”? What would you like me to explore to help you on your own journeys? Or should I pursue a completely different topic?

You can also help me by following my Hub as well, and perhaps clicking on some of the ads.

Or maybe I am asking too much. I guess the thing that you can do to help the most is keep reading and keep writing and keep being the wonderful community that you are.

Now I have to try to get back on track, and get this roller coaster back in the right direction.

 

 

Here’s the link to my next attempt at a Hub post.

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