Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Social Media, Mental Dullness

Since I've begun using social media - and I only use Facebook with less than one hundred 'friends' - I notice I have become duller in my thinking, in my creativity, in my mental clarity.


This information was discovered just now as I searched my five blogs for a certain post, which I never did find. In wondering why that particular post was so hard to find, I tallied up my post count. Over one thousand posts since 2006.

What? Over one thousand posts? I let that sink it for a bit. How in the world did I do that?

Sure, many people have created more posts than I.

But did they post them while home schooling four children?

While being Highly Sensitive People, easily overwhelmed?

While being married for decades to a husband with Low-Spectrum Autism?

While doing home additions, planning weddings and funerals, gardening, making meals, cleaning house, running an online business, doing the family finances, learning two foreign languages, planning extensive overseas vacations, and otherwise just being the Girl Friday to a family of six and then eight?

Well, maybe they did.

But I am stunned that I have written each post. And they are good posts, writings that inspire and encourage and challenge me still today.

This is an unedited post, written quickly for the purpose of marking what I hope will be a turning point, a point at which I turn back to operating with a clear mind rather than one dulled by social media, which frankly has done me very little good and a whole lot of harm.

I do love my friends, though.

When they come to my Facebook page.

And engage.

But I'm not going to wait there so pathetically anymore.

I miss creativity. I am sad that my post count has drastically waned.

I am happy, however, to have this rope thrown to me to, pulling my stuck mind from the mental quicksand of Facebook.

On with life!

Monday, March 04, 2019

Tea and Me

Piccadilly Tea, Whittard of Chelsea
"Believe it or not, most teas come from the same type of leaf - it's all in the planting, the picking, and the processing, you see..." ~~ taken from under the flap of a package of Piccadilly Loose Leaf Tea from Whittard of Chelsea, purchased in England

I do love tea, but not all flavors.

Some, like Piccadilly, excite and soothe me both at once. Intoxicating aroma when dry, delicious flavor when properly steeped, a bit of cream for me, please and thank you.

Some teas disappoint.

Upon learning that most teas come from the same type of leaf my mind begins to churn. Compare the fact that certain tea leaves are the starting point for most varieties of tea with the idea of human beings beginning as babies who grow into adults. While it's the picking, planting, and processing of tea which bring about varied results, it's in the childhood, chances, and choices where differences in adults are determined.

Okay, maybe in my alliterative attempt I have restricted the analogy. In any case, you are clever enough to flesh out the comparison.

Just as there are tea flavors I adore, and a few I dislike, there are people who bless my life and some who don't. Why the difference?

The difference is partly because of who I have become, and also partly who others choose to be. Not every tea complements every palate, not every person smoothly rubs along with every individual.

In tea - as well as in people - vive la différence!

If the little shrub can be knowledgeably planted, its leaves picked at the exact right moment in order to be thoughtfully processed to create the perfect cup of tea, cannot we likewise curate our lives with integrity in order to form the best possible version of ourselves? Can we not at least try?

I think this idea merits a good amount of steeping, don't you?

Let's take a little tea break, shall we, and mull over the notion that each of us plays a part in who we become, for better or worse. We cannot forever blame our parents, our childhoods, or the unlucky events that came our way for the less than ideal aspects of our lives. That being said, there are certain cards we are dealt that we must simply play. We understand this.

However, within our constraints each of us possesses power, space, and freedom to create. What exhilarates me is realizing that no matter where we find ourselves in this moment - right now - for the most part we don't have to accept what doesn't please us. The choice is ours. We are free to keep doing what we've always done, or change our course a little or a lot. With intentional cognizance we can determine what sort of man or woman we'd like to present to the world, who we'd like to be, how we'd like to move through our lives, what contributions we'd like to make, what experiences might enrich us, and what we'd like to receive from these endeavors. A little tweak here, a little discarding there, and the ever-embracing of the new and intriguing can enliven us not only in the day-to-day but in the long run.

Mixing things up a bit, aiming at a definite goal, taking control and responsibility for the outcomes of our effort can be quite enjoyable and most satisfying. At the very least, we will learn about ourselves, others, and the world around us.

It's all about self-examination.

And courage.
"I believe that happiness comes from looking around us and finding the good and the beautiful." ~~ Letitia Baldrige

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Lessons from a Storm

One simple cluster rose bush
Yet, aha! 
Tiny red buds

Dark Fence
Light white snow
Dark branches
Light gray clouds

Perception in opposites
Supporting the whole
Relieves tedium
Forces new vision

In solitude 
And cycles
Life reveals
The already known
Growth persists beneath

In nature

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Not of a Kind

Sparky lives in water,
In simplicity.

Funny thing about Sparky,
While new leaves appear now and then,
Sparky stays the same size.

Sparky remains immature.
Sparky survives.

Sparky cannot reach his little shoots
Out toward the sun or receive fresh rain.
Sparky prefers the status quo.
And for Sparky that's okay.
It's all he is capable of being or doing.

Sometimes Sparky grows reactive in anger
When expectations are not met.
Clenching fists and fits
Sparks, but no fire.

Sparky is content to
Merely exist
In self-imposed restriction.
It is safe there,
Doesn't take much work,
Just living is not must have sunshine, 
freedom, and a little flower.
Hans Christian Andersen
Or thought,
Or self-examination.
Sparky baffles his world.
Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility. Sigmund Freud
But Jasmine,
Darling sensuous Jasmine,
Captures air, soil, and water,
Dares, stretches, thrives,
Vibrates with vitality.

Jasmine expands and curls
Supple, dark green tendrils around Her trellis.
She reaches toward the sky,
Spreads wide and tall,
Roots deep and vigorous,
Leaves nourished in sunlight.

Jasmine bursts forth with
Blossom upon white blossom.
Delicate Beauty,
Delicious fragrance carried on the breeze,
Available to all.

Jasmine thrills at life,
Energized by possibility,
Courageous and wise,
Tenacious in hope.
Explores, enjoys, understands.
Jasmine grows.
Jasmine matures.
Jasmine enriches her World.
The secret to happiness is freedom...and the secret to freedom is courage.Thucydides

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

"Only Bad Writers Think That Their Work is Really Good"

You know how, after eating a lousy meal, you feel remorse so strongly that you do something about it? Right away? You make a flavor-rich meal in your home kitchen, or you return to a trusted restaurant knowing your taste buds will be expertly stroked instead of murdered. The bad taste is removed, the high ground restored.

In the same way, reading bad writing can send a person reaching for a sure antidote in fine literature perhaps authored by a curmudgeonly broken angel or divinely-gifted human. Savoring the creation of a wordsmith genius replaces involuntary shuddering with magnificent profundity or delicious bliss or both or more.

In each case, a world is righted.

There are many ways to be poisoned.

Keep antidotes nearby.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Here When I Need You

Me, journaling in an olive grove in northern Italy, 2017
When I get to feeling this way - sort of lost in the dreary and solitude that yesterday felt so essentially necessary - I re-read my blogs.

I am a good writer. Why this continually surprises me, I do not know, but it does.

My words set me aright, comfort me, inspire and encourage me.

I don't know if my writing helps anyone else, but I do know it is there for me when I need it, like a trusted friend who completely understands and knows just what to say.

It's a rather remarkable thing when your own creation stuns you.

Gertrude: Copied and Pasted

“The one thing that everybody wants is to be free...not to be managed, threatened, directed, restrained, obliged, fearful, administered, they want none of these things they all want to feel free, the word discipline, and forbidden and investigated and imprisoned brings horror and fear into all hearts, they do not want to be afraid not more than is necessary in the ordinary business of living where one has to earn one's living and has to fear want and disease and death....The only thing that any one wants now is to be free, to be let alone, to live their life as they can, but not to be watched, controlled and scared, no no, not.

~ September, 1943” 
Gertrude Stein