Archive for the ‘Hope’ Tag

Tidbits and Rage

I can’t think long and critically enough to research and write something substantive. I’m struggling, like so many of you, with the toll this pandemic and the social distancing and isolation has taken on my cognitive acuity. The isolation is necessary, I know. But still…My concentration is shot, my patience is thin, and I’m not sleeping well. So deep thinking about things other than my job is a big deal.

Yet, I have a desire to keep this blog going and have something to say. While the “something to say” may be of dubious value, I am going to do it anyway. In list form. Sort of stream of consciousness-style. Here are ten random things from my head that I want you to know.

⁃ I wore at least one thing rainbow every single day of June.

⁃ The facts on Snapple lids are an incentive for me to stay hydrated.

⁃ Achievement unlocked: I ordered something off eBay and it took so long to arrive (9 weeks!) that I forgot I ordered it, ordered it again several weeks later from another supplier and received it 3 weeks before the first one. 🙄

⁃ I managed to set myself an achievable chore list for every room in my house and completed all but one task in the time I set for myself. I’m feeling proud about that, especially since the one task undone was a last-minute add that was not essential.

⁃ I have discovered, in the process of cleaning out my old house and getting it ready to sell, two Christmas gifts that I received two and three years ago, respectively, that I completely forgot I owned. It was like Christmas all over again!

⁃ I am hopelessly in love with my motorized tie rack. I purchased it for my new dressing room a couple months ago and installed it a couple weeks ago. It’s so freakin’ cool! And it holds every bow tie I wear regularly. There are five bow ties that didn’t make it onto the rack because I never wear them and they’re going in the next batch of donations.

⁃ I got some schmancy new shoelaces from a horribly niche online seller. I’ve installed one pair and am loving them! Can’t wait to try the other pairs in some other boots. This could be my next sartorial addiction!

⁃ It is ridiculous how guilty I feel when I don’t wear a tie for work, even though I’m working from home. I normally do – I’ve been dressing for the office every day as if nothing has changed. But this week has been so blistering hot that even in my comfortably air conditioned home, my dress shirts have felt stifling. And since all my short sleeved shirts are patterned, I’m hesitant to try pairing bow ties with them. Feels like a Butch Fashion Fail.

⁃ I was asked to advise the Crisis Management Team at my work in regards to various issues attending the re-opening of some of our global offices. In the course of the call I had to physically stop myself…seriously, I put a hand over my own mouth…from verbally slapping our head of physical security as he spouted nonsense that he believed was substantive contribution to the discussion. I exercised restraint, I remained courteous, I corrected numerous misstatements of fact and disabused many urban legends masquerading as science. All without jeopardizing my job. I feel like a bona fide adult professional.

⁃ Lastly, I need you all to know, internalize, and live the following pieces of irrefutable truth: science, not pandering to politics or economics, is what will bring this pandemic under control; wearing masks, practicing good hygiene, and maintaining social distancing and isolation save lives and the inconvenience of masks and remote work and distancing is an abysmally poor excuse for sacrificing those lives; racism and racial violence thrive in an environment of ignorance; police brutality is real and killing people daily – yes, even though you know and love someone who is a cop; black, indigenous, and trans lives matter and are being systematically jeopardized, both intentionally by racist, misogynist, patriarchal systems of power, and by the ignorant, would-be eloquent, language of harm, hate and pseudoscience spewed by privileged people with a public platform who choose to persecute difference, rather than embrace and celebrate it; love is love, love wins; and no one is free until we all are free.

Peace, my friends.

Portents

Sometimes there really are coincidences and inexplicable juxtapositioning of separate things in life. Not every seeming pattern is actually a pattern or a sign from the universe, spirits, ancestors, angels or demons that may have the ability to communicate such things.

And sometimes they are.

Lately, over the last several months at least, I have seen an uptick in the frequency with which I have encountered certain phenomena, most especially in the frequency of the feeling of anticipation, of something impending, coming my way.

With most feelings and phenomena, the over- or under-tones they bear can fall anywhere on a spectrum from wildly hopeful and positive to abysmally bleak and dreadful. This feeling of pendency, of possibility and opportunity is mostly hopeful and positive. Occasionally, it acquires an ominous flavor of apprehension, presentiment, augury and foreboding. Other times it’s somewhere in the middle resonance, tasting of expectancy, chance, suspension, and promise. And at still other times the prickly, eerie aura of divination, foreshadowing, premonition and prophesy are most prominent.

But at all times in this recent surge of this anxious foretelling is a strong sense that every instance of it is a genuine portent of things to come.

I struggle mightily with this, as my logical, linear-thinking brain has no framework of scientific analysis in which place this phenomena to satisfactorily explain this possibility. While I am not so arrogant as to believe that I know all that is knowable about analysis and examination, I have ample evidence that my application of these fundamental cognitive tools is usually effective and accurate. So, when faced with the inexplicable, my inquisitive mind fritzes over its thwarted desire to explain the why and how of a thing.

Indeed, in the last 48+ hours I have confronted two very big and significant portents that have had my guts and grey cells tied in knots trying to rationalize the utterly irrational, as well as internalize the surprisingly rational. In particular, my instinct to uncover the logistics of how these things might come to pass has occupied many hours and much of my energy that I would otherwise have spent sleeping or in more productive pursuits.

Working through some of these puzzles with friends, I’m challenged by the repeated advice to let go of the “how”, the “why”, the urge to control logistical outcomes, and simply trust that the universe will bring about what is meant to be. I have been reminded by multiple sources that it is faith, and not logic, that is the ideal tool for dealing with this impending advent. Scraps of scripture learned in my youth concerning the nature of faith…substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen…are on infinite loop playback in my head. And the war between logic and faith, will and willingness, rages in my chest.

I wonder if that isn’t the ultimate, meta portent? What if the pattern of prescient contemplation is not only a tool to prepare for whatever is coming, but is also the substance of the impending revelation. If the universe wants me to see that the logic and reason I treasure and rely on is not a pathway but an obstacle, what better way to show me than by filling my life with phenomena immune to logic and only discoverable by faith?

That’s some epic, angsty, emo, existential crisis-driven fever dream right there.

Maybe I should just stop looking for patterns and methods and answers and explanations. Maybe being “blown about by every wind of change” is the best policy – going with the flow, as it were. But I don’t know how to do that, either.

So what’s left? If logic is unavailing and extracting the how and why of something impedes the advent of the portent, yet passively floating from swell to swell on the ocean of chance is not possible, what’s next? Is it simply doing nothing?

Can anything that results from such a process have lasting value? Will whatever emerges from such inactivity be salubrious, nourishing? Doesn’t the lack of effort to bring about the outcome necessarily diminish it? Does accepting such a windfall call into question my personal standard of ethics and integrity?

All these questions arise from the values with which I was reared, and they are evidence of the challenge to these values that this policy of inaction incites. I don’t have answers. I suspect they cannot be answered this side of the outcome being realized.

Which begs the question: Can I perform this experiment, sticking it out until the end, or will I retreat to the safety of my illusion of control and forego the chance to know the outcome?

Anti-Positives (not Negatives) For Those Days When Sunny Positivity Just Can’t Cut It

As you know, I’m on a mission to center positivity, gratitude and kindness in my life. I want to be the best version of me that I can be, every day. But because I am human and imperfect, I don’t always succeed. Sometimes finding the silver lining, the “one good thing” in a day utterly full of crappy, negative experiences and energy is simply too much. Some days I just can’t fake it ‘til I make it.

On those days, honoring the darkness, letting the emotional, political, mental sludge breathe and have its moment in the middle is all I can do. And, if I’m both lucky and careful, that momentary dominance will satisfy the perverseness of the universe and let me pin that day to the past, moving forward into positivity once again. It’s brutal and not at all pretty to live through, but once on the other side, relief at having given the darkness that moment makes the light a little more bright and a little more bearable.

So that’s the silver lining, the good out of the bad.

But what gets you to that place is acknowledging the pain points, the dreck that’s built up and is clamoring to get out. Catharsis, I guess. But not necessarily just a good ol’ fashioned, wracking, sobbing cry. Sometimes it calls for naming the enemies, a litany of the poisons steeping in the blood, to extinguish their power and potency. Only after being called to the fore can some of these venoms be neutralized – the power of light to bleach the stain of the dark.

To that end, I’m braving my fears of vulnerability and derision to call out some of the poisons currently plaguing my peace:

Imposter Syndrome

Being a Pathetic Loser

Loneliness and the Fear it is Forever

Inadequacy in Every Dimension

Fixating on the Unobtainable

Reliving Humiliating Moments of the Past

Beating Myself Up for Giving in to Anger

Fear of Change

Wow. That’s a lot of mental and emotional poison.

I wrote all of that over a month ago, after nearly a month of lost sleep and continual stress. I set it aside to breathe, thinking that it was too raw and left me too exposed to actually publish. I thought I just needed to get it out of my head and it would be enough. But it hasn’t stopped.

So last night, Wednesday October 24th, while I was, again, not sleeping and after my eyes called it quits on reading anymore as an escape from the poisonous thoughts, I lay still and let the poison wash over me. I decided all the fighting I’d been doing to avoid it had been futile, so maybe giving it its freedom would bring some relief. Again, maybe if I honor the darkness it’ll let me go?

So I spent the entire night reliving the most cringeworthy, painful, humiliating moments of my life, watching each scene and acknowledging it’s continued sting. It felt like walking through a thrift store, cruising the aisles full of dusty, dented, useless junk that somehow still holds a degree of fascination, picking up items and replacing them on the shelves. It was a miserable experience, yet I managed to get to the end of the aisle without shedding a tear. Despite feeling the oppressive weight of humiliation and shame that each memory carried, I looked at each one and then set it aside without further judgment or sorrow.

No profound conclusions resulted and no existential clarity emerged. I did notice a pattern in the moments that rose to the surface and it’s still percolating through my brain trying to resolve into a clear shape that I can put a name to. But there’s been no epiphany.

Still, I think it helped, in some perverse way, to let my brain purge the dreck. I’m not certain that I won’t have to confront those moments again another time, but I feel that surviving that ordeal is a triumph. Even though it cost me a day of vacation time (I was in no shape to go to work today) and a day-long headache that’s still pounding, in addition to the night-long anguish, I’m calling it a win. It’s not a bright, shiny, joyous win, but a win nevertheless.

And because any positive out of all this oily, oozing darkness should be celebrated, I’m taking my courage in both hands and am publishing this very personal realness, despite feeling naked in the spotlight by doing so.

Mini-reframe

A recent attempt to be positive that I posted on another forum:

So much has sucked the big one lately. But I don’t want to be always negative. What often makes me feel better is looking up at the ever-changing, beautiful sky. Here are a sunset, a rainbow, and a sunrise from earlier this week – bright spots of beautiful things in a very stressful week. #lookingup #sunrise #sunset

Thinking…

So the stars didn’t align and that blog collaboration I’d hoped for won’t happen. But I’m still working on the more substantive post. It’s just going to take a bit longer. 

I’ve had a weird week. It was quiet at work, with sporadic bursts of crisis and tension. And on a personal level, I’ve been in a strange, contemplative space. I’ve been thinking…

Thinking about gender. Thinking about what “living life” really means. Thinking about past hurts and past joys. Thinking about how adults make friends and how loneliness takes hold unexpectedly. Thinking about how being happy is sometimes hard work. Thinking about how inner voices can be both builders and destroyers. Thinking about how ambush emotions suck hugely. Thinking about visibility and representation in media can mean so much and yet disappoint so much when it’s done poorly. Thinking how hard it is to be positive some days. 
Thinking about so many things can be heavy work. 
And if I’ve decided anything about anything I’ve been thinking, it’s that I made the right choice to stay off of social media. I did a little lurking in my FB and Twitter accounts and am sick at how awful it was. The tiny pinpricks of light that a few friends’ posts bring to my feed are not able to bleach the dark stains of hate and anger and awfulness that otherwise flood the feeds. And I believe that negativity is a huge contributor to the flat, inky, downer thoughts I’ve been stuck in for the last few days. 

So, to get back on the positivity path and be the happy, positive, hopeful person I have been forging myself into these last few years, I am reimplementing the social media moratorium. And for good measure, I’ll skip the regular media as much as possible, too. 

Until I’m back to my old self, I’ll hang my hat on these few rays of positivity and hopefulness:

  1. My boss gave me a great compliment on Friday in the midst of delegating authority to me for the week he’ll be out of the office. He has confidence in my skill, intelligence and integrity. That means a lot to me. 
  2. I got a new game for my Switch, Kirby Star Allies, and spent a couple hours today in total escapism. 
  3. I’ve developed a liking for Mediterranean food and have found a couple great places in my town that serve it. Bonus: the place with the best falafel also has a really nice wait staff that I enjoy speaking with when I’m there. 

Have a great week, my friends. I hope there are bright sparks of joy in your lives that make staying positive less a chore and more a relief. 

Tiny Bit of Catch-Up

It’s been too long and too much has happened in my life since my last post to truly catch you all up. But I haven’t forgotten about this blog or any of you faithful readers who still remain despite my neglect. Here’s a quick hit list of a few things I want to share with you all. 

  1. I had a neat experience today. I was asked to move into an office in the executive suite. While it puts me very close to my boss, it also puts me in a situation I’ve never experienced before – I now have the support of an executive assistant. It was weird to have her bring my mail, ask if she could help with my unpacking, and generally just be very supportive. Honestly, I’m not sure how to feel about it, since I’m so used to fending for myself. But I’ll admit it’s pretty nice! 
  2. Stress is a fact of life for everyone, to some degree. It is an unavoidable facet of being a corporate executive and attorney. I’m used to it in some ways. But it’s been sustained and even building for months and I’m exhausted. Balance. It eludes me and taunts my mind. I very much want to get back to a balance (or semblance of it) between rest and demand. I need to find that mythical happy medium of work-life. Dunno how to get there. Anybody got a map?
  3. It’s fall again. Soon (tomorrow!?) it will freeze and my eyes will stop itching and burning to the point of rage and I’ll be so happy! It also means better, more colorful skies, especially at sunrise and sunset. That I’m usually at my office for both events is a bit sad. But look at these pics from this week. Almost worth always being at work just for this! Mornings on top, evenings on bottom: 
  4. Blade Runner 2049 was a bitter disappointment to me. I know this is an unpopular opinion. Too bad – they could have done so much with the talent and resources they poured into that movie, but settled for what I can only describe as pedestrian, predictable, gratuitous flash over substance. What a shame. 
  5. My Vikings don’t suck too badly this season…yet. I have my annual hopes up and fervently hope they don’t dash them to pieces. Fingers crossed!
  6. BONUS:  I’m sticking with my moratorium on social media. Though this blog posts to Twitter, I haven’t been on Twitter or Facebook since the election – nearly a year and I don’t regret it. Even though I miss the interaction with friends, the hate and stress and anxiety I don’t miss. It’s just too hard on my heart and mind to be so saturated by all that negativity. So, I’m waving hello to all my Tweeps and online pals as this posts. I hope y’all are doing well. But I won’t be back online any time soon. 

Peace and love and light to you all. 

Pathway of Light

Just snapped this pic of the sunset from the window out the back of my office building. I love sunsets and love getting to see them, even when stuck in the office. This one, with that long ray of light shooting straight at you, is especially cool. That ray looks like a pathway straight into the clouds, a roadway to heaven. 

I hope you’re finding something uplifting in your day, even if it’s as fleeting as the sunset. 

Hope In Imagery

I haven’t posted in a while. Mostly because of…life and reasons. Lol. But I did have a stray thought today that can serve for a quick post.

My Tweeps will have noticed that I Tweet a lot of pics of the sky, especially sunrises & sunsets. One of you even commented recently that I seem to look up a lot and that was good.

I agree. It is good on so many levels.

Visualization is as much a belief as a technique, but I feel it has had very positive effects in my life. Picturing the outcome I desire helps me to frame my state of mind and align my actions with that target. So looking up, both the action and the metaphor, are a big part of my personal campaign for positivity.

Also, pictures are a huge help for me. I can and do keep an image of something beautiful, hopeful and positive in my mind all the time (often accompanied by an up-beat song). But even the strongest imagination needs help occasionally. So having actual pictures to look at helps me stay in that frame of mind.

I find the sky is a great metaphor within the metaphor to help stay on the positivity track. The vastness of a clear sky speaks to me of infinite possibility. A clearing sky, with remnants of clouds can be an amazing teacher. Clouds can be hopeful by reminding us that there’s always blue behind the gray. They are also anchoring: clouds are markers, reference points that let you see the depth of the sky, putting even the biggest, blackest cloud in perspective against the hugeness of the whole.

Sunrises and sunsets take the exercise even further by layering elements of time and eventfulness on top of the hopefulness. They are beginnings, milestones, fresh starts and second chances. Often, they also add spectacular color, beautifying even the angriest looking stormy skies.

So, I look up and take snapshots of the beauty my eyes drink in. I share them to spread the hope. Keep looking up!

Here are a few of my favorite shots:

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