Owl Stretching

The Map is gone, the Traveled Road is far behind. And yet, here we are. Doing the thing.

It’s Been a Hot Decade

Yeah. It’s been nearly that long. It has been a while.

Following my mother-in-law’s passing (2012) and my offspring’s inevitable emergence as the adults they would become (process ongoing), I joined the ranks of “women of a certain age who blog.” It seemed like the thing to do.

Obviously, it didn’t stick. My words meandered around the page. I was developing my conversational tone, but I had no purpose. “Clever” remains an adjective and what I needed was a verb. I’m happy to trade in all the extraneous vowels in my last name for one quality verb. Please and thank you.

Needless to say, life between then and now has been constant and unsettling. I no longer live where I lived (physically and metaphorically). I no longer do what I did, think what I thought. Things neglected are reaching critical mass. But more of that later.

Suffice to say, I am still here. I’ve been here all along. I make no promises other to say, “We’ll see what comes.”

If you’re curious about that, well, so am I.


A Visit to my Two Towers

There are more significant references to Two Towers than what I have in mind; so if you’re a Tolkien fan or a native New Yorker, I’m sorry to disappoint. A more obscure meaning for those intent on building a life of purpose, is the lifelong task to build two towers: the first, home and family and the second, whatever work you do to create your legacy, make your mark upon the world.

Right now I’m ruminating about that second tower. And I’m wondering where “choice” fits in to this picture. I’d always imagined that my mark would be one of personal choice, of passionate artistic expression, but now I’m considering the possibility that it’s not like that at all. Well, perhaps it is sometimes or for some people, but not now and not me.

The more I strive to listen closely to my heart, to focus on what really matters, the less I seem to have any idea of where I’m going.  I look at many of the events in my life and repeatedly I find myself viewing circumstances that appear beyond my plans or control. Perhaps our choices, if we actually have any, come only at the crossroads; we have the free will to choose our own path, but not the destination. After all, once you take the road around the bend in that yellow wood, who’s to say where it will lead? (interesting how the path leads you…)

Is that it, then? Does it not really matter where we end up, but instead how we get there? For ultimately, we really do all end up in the same place, don’t we?

When it pours, it pours; if only it would rain instead!

This is what it feels like inside my head!

I will say this: when the holidays hit, they hit hard! As you know, I was out of town for Labor Day and that was followed by a memorial & family reunion in Tallahassee, FL. Unfortunately, the holidays coincide with “birthday season” in our family; from September to January we have 7 birthdays (not including the cats & puppy!), one anniversary, and then the requisite holidays. I’ve got my running shoes on.

Luckily I should still be able to think once in a while before the new year. So once the pumpkin seeds are baked and the Halloween costumes in order I’ll be sitting down to post again.

Take-aways from Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende

I’ll explain: a “take-away,” as I propose to use the term, is an idea or plan of action inspired by a topic of study, whether a book, lecture, film or similar event. My methodology for reading books includes but does not focus on pure enjoyment or literary criticism, but rather on personal connection and life application. Hence, what can I take away from this experience and use to transform my life?

I have 3 Take-aways from reading the book Better Off by Eric Brende:

1) Reassess my family’s use of electrical appliances and other forms of technology in order to determine what serves us and what entraps us in servitude. Increase the former and eliminate the latter. Include consideration of the mental and emotional stress incurred from the noise and vibration of many electronic devices. Focus on tools, not machines.

2) Identify ways to connect with nature on an ongoing basis: expand equinox & solstice celebrations, full-moon hikes, Perseid Showers (which we did this year; I feel so proud!), etc.

3) Seek out opportunities to create events of simultaneity. Rather than multi-tasking, cramming as many disassociated tasks into one time frame, Simultenaiety seeks to find a single activity that fulfills many areas of living (i.e. physical exercise, philanthropy, socializing, spiritual practice, etc.). Shared work is a good example and easily malleable to an urban lifestyle.

Life Gets Real

The day after my last post, I headed north with my family on a 14-day trek full of coastlines, ancient trees and roaring waters. At the end of the road were peaceful pastures and lots of filling of my personal apple-basket.

The long and the short is that there are times that are not for sifting and sorting thoughts, there are even times (gasp!) for not reading and studying books. Ironic almost, that just as I get my momentum going and the intellectual juices are starting to flow, I found myself breaking off to go a-journeying.

So while I have not been here, I have been way, far away, breathing, being, and drinking lots of coffee. My legs are stiff, my mind is full and I have only just begun…

Wait. It gets better. Now that I’m back, I’ll be gone again in about a week. (But only for a week.)

Life calls. I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait until I get back. But don’t wait here. I’m sure Life is calling you, too.

Day #22 What Comes Next? Gratitude Finds a New Home

Now that I have developed this lovely new habit of Daily Gratitude (Thank you, Ellis!), what shall I do with it?

Truth be told, my goal wasn’t to create a habit of Gratitude, although that in itself makes the effort worthwhile; rather it was to create a habit of writing daily. My bigger ongoing goal is to improve my writing and find out what I can do with it and for that I needed to be writing more often. So now I am (did I already say “Thank you, Ellis!”?); but the whole attitude of gratitude thing is too delicious to simply abandon after 21 days, so I am moving it.

Those interested will find my Gratitudes here, but not necessarily daily. I intend to branch out, stretch my little inky wings and B-r-e-a-t-h-e. I don’t know what’s next on Owl Stretching, but I hope to surprise myself.

Day #21 Onward & Upward!

So here’s the new plan:

In an attempt to organize the coagulation of grey matter that is my brain, I have created 1) a blog to explore the random, myriad ideas percolating in my head, 2) a blog for creative writing – poetry and whatnot and 3) a blog that more resembles a journal for my own personal edification.

Now that my 21 days are up, well, it seems a shame not to continue to program my brain to “see the positive.” Assuming that my writing behavior now qualifies for classification as a “habit,” it would be counterproductive to just quit. So I am moving my “Gratitudes” to my personal journal and will instead continue here with more sporadic writings of (hopefully) deeper content. With exceptions. Hope to see you here.

1) I am grateful to Ellis Delaney for catching my eye with her “21-Day Challenge.” Thank you!

2) I am grateful for the Passage of Time that renders some of our day to day problems obsolete without any further action on our part. Particularly those issues in which maturity plays a significant role.

3) Lastly (how did that get to be a word?), I am grateful for people who obsess, without whom nothing would ever get done and old treasures would be left on shelves to rot.

I suppose I could simply end by saying it is a pleasant experience to have completed this 21-Day Challenge, but that would be too obvious. So I will instead tickle your fancy with this little tidbit: I corresponded today with someone who was lying on the beach in Bora-bora. Perhaps, in a way, I got to enjoy the sun and sand vicariously; regardless, it was a pleasant experience!

Day #20 Letting Go of How It Looks

Thought I’d have arrived by now…but I still feel like I’m just getting started.

1) I am thankful for the way things look when they’re in their proper place. (You can tell I’ve been to the library today.)

2) I am thankful for my children’s friends who are also my friends.

3) I am thankful for Pinterest. It gives me hope that by using electronic bulletin boards, I may someday see the surface of my desk again!

Christopher Eccleston as Dr. Who

My positive experience today started as an undercurrent in a very busy day. In the process of planning our road trip, finally sitting down to dinner, helping my son tidy his room – on his own terms – and sitting down with him to share an episode of Dr Who, I think we are finally learning how to live together again.

Day #19 Living in the Past, Looking to the Future

I confess, Day #19 is yesterday. I’ve been trying a new experiment of not staying up so late to write, but rather waiting until the morning.

It isn’t working.

1) I am(was) grateful for the open-mindedness of others and the opportunity to contribute.

2) I am(was) grateful for the One-Minute Rule: If it can be done in less that one minute, do it NOW.

3) I was(am) grateful for people who come to an event because it’s nearby and people who come to spend time with me! Of course, the reason we all went in the first place is because it was free! I am so blessed.

I did indeed have a pleasant experience yesterday: Jim got us in to a screening of Hollywood’s first science fiction movie, “Just Imagine.” We took a look fifty years into the future to the year 1980. It is amazing how far we’ve come!

Day #18 What’s That On the Telly?

Day #18! I expected that my new “habit” of writing daily would be well on its way, but we’re having a little scheduling snafoo. While it seems logical to record one’s gratitudes & pleasant experience at the end of the day, I end up remaining awake waaay too late in order to focus long enough to compose it. Writing notes on paper during the day just keeps me from focusing on doing what needs to get done (and I’d only lose the paper) and, of course, by morning I have trouble remembering what happened!

This is a rhetorical rant; I don’t expect anyone to try to bail me out. I just have to fix my schedule.

1) I am thankful for Yahoo Groups. Mostly.

2) I am also thankful for the TV show “Sherlock.” Still. I get smarter just thinking about it!

3) Finally, I am thankful for paths that cross. We can never know what impact we might have, no, nor how long that impact will last. Best make the most of it.

I got to help an 11 year old girl pick out her school clothes today. At 6 a.m. As I have only boys at home, I was a little nervous shopping for a girl. I have no idea what is “in” for girls these days. Luckily, girls’ and boys’ tastes don’t always diverge: her favorite top was a grey T-shirt with a gigantic penguin on it. My boys would wear that any day!

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