Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Enjoy Holidays with Those You Love and (maybe) Make the World a Better Place

As the reality of changes in our country starts to settle in, during the turmoil in the change of administrations, our thoughts naturally turn to “How the hell are we going to get thru Thanksgiving!?”.

What if we just talked?

What if we talked in order to move forward, or maybe to decide IF we want to move forward?

We can decide not to ditch our best ideas as a nation, and not swing with the winds that seem to grip us right now.

If we can't agree on the best way to move forward, then it is crucial to start with our shared values, and to hear each other. Being mad and upset are often warranted. There are injustices, and sometimes horrible events (swastikas, murder of blacks, of police officers, etc.).

Moving forward doesn't mean to forget the past, or to be politically inactive, but rather to learn how to deal with what is, and find a way to make things better.

Hopefully you have friends and family who see things differently than you. It's how our best thoughts are developed, in my experience, through discussion and feedback, sometimes challenging feedback. I also hope you are close enough to people of diverse backgrounds, so close you easily share various beliefs and discuss. If not, this post is fundamentally about building/rebuilding trust so you can be heard and also hear their thoughts. 

(If you are really angry, btw, and need to vent, rail, or gloat, might be too soon to engage with people who want to argue, or make you defend yourself. Nothing will throw you off center like being mad as hell. Nothing wrong with being pissed off, but this post is about surviving the holidays and not about how to resolve all our differences - that takes more than a dinner or weekend together, and I'd propose we won't ever solve even most of our differences. This post is about how to reconnect to those you love, even if you don't understand them and hate or love the changes.)

These are my best practices and thoughts, based on years of personal research while living in “mixed” families (conservative/liberal/libertarian/green/feminist, north/south/midwest, black/white/Asian/Latino communities, LGBTQ, educated/uneducated, poor/wealthy, urban/rural, Christian/Jewish and SEC football).

[Disclaimer: I am white, Jewish, Southern, socially progressive, fiscally conservative, common sense bound. I can't know if this information applies across cultures, but it seems that the goal of being able to connect to and enjoy our friends and family is important for all of us. Would love to hear from people of color and other views, as long as all are respectful.]

Before You Get There

Find Touchstones
Our best touchstones are shared values – look for and remember what you share with the people you love or know. I’ve found that all my family and friends share these core values with me:
  • We love our families and especially our children
  • We are proud of our country
  • We love our history – national, local and personal histories are a source of pride, even if some is ugly. (acknowledging some is horrible : for Native Americans, for blacks, for many immigrants past and present, for women, for LGBTQ, for those in poverty - I feel this pain daily, tho I am white, educated, CIS, and fairly middle class)
  • We have all survived hard times, and it changes us. What we come to believe from our experiences may differ, but our experiences themselves are remarkably similar: deaths, births, marriages, divorce. Aging, ailments. We have losses and joys, pride and shameful events.
  • Our shared narrative builds connections, and connections build trust. Trust allows us the freedom to work on solutions, without fear of the Other. These people may see the world differently, but remember they are simply seeking the same respect you deserve.

Gut Checks

What are Your Goals?

Are you going to spend time with family and friends because you love them and want to build memories? Do you value your connections with those you love and perhaps family you married “in to” over the differences that separate you? If so, it makes sense to plan to have a good time. It’s also smart to be prepared.
If your goal is to try to change minds, you may want to consider a) Do you have a real chance of changing someone’s view if you try to force it? b) Could you be wrong on some things? c) Having an agenda is ALWAYS discernable. You know when they have one, and they know when you do.
When going home for the holidays, it helps me to remember other good times we’ve had, especially with those who don’t share my views. Holding those memories lets me not only look forward to seeing them, but allows me to remind them, given the chance, of our shared good memories.
I love to lower my expectations. If I can enjoy a great time when in a hectic pressurized environment, lovely. If it goes off the rails, well, I won’t be surprised. I’ll do my best to keep conflict down, and release my resentments and any other baggage. In advance! And I won’t be picking up and carrying around anyone else’s baggage/crap either.

Is This a Good Time to Visit?

Your ability to navigate these turbulent waters, or at least to do it well, depends on the nature of your life and mind set right now.
My reactions to the election results have moved from “Ok – wow.” To “Let’s get it.” stoicism, mixed with cynicism and hope, to concern, to heightened concern. Through all of this I see reconnecting with my family and friends as a crucial step in both holding this administration and congress accountable, and moving the country forward. So for me it’s a core value to be with family this holiday PLUS, I’m the The Momma. (see Power Base below). But being with family right now isn’t for everyone.
It is always ok to back off going to family events if that is what you need for you and your immediate family (thinking of children and partners here). You may decide you can manage a day trip, or will need a shorter visit. You may need to plan some relief time (away, either by yourself or with a small group) or have a friend to call or text if you get in a bad place.
Remember, the reason you are making the effort to see family and friends is because you love them, right? You don’t have to agree with them to appreciate the shared history, the new memories you are making, and to reconnect.
I’ve found I share values with the people I love – always. In difficult times it is very helpful to focus on the things you agree upon, rather than where you disagree.

Self Care

Many of us have learned that caring for ourselves is crucial for all the work we do in our lives. For me this was most difficult when the kids were little and I was working full time, or single parenting teens and working, etc. or working several jobs while I started a business. You get the point. Life is busy. Given the nature of employer expectations (lower staff, higher needs for productivity) and the multitude of demands in our lives, here is a good reminder: We can do no great things. We must do small things, with great love. (Mother Theresa).

To the extent that you are centered and balanced in your self, you will be able to offer more support to yourself during difficult encounters, and to the people you are talking with. Yuge bonus: you’ll be a better parent, partner, progeny, sibling, friend, etc. to those you love.

Self-care looks like this

getting enough sleep, remembering to eat well, actually eating well, allowing more time to get things done, taking things off your plate, getting down to essentials, simplifying, lowering your expectations, taking breaks, taking walks, working out, having some silly fun, not over working in any arena, being able to be kind and firm with others and yourself, saying No thank you or Yes or Let me think about that when you need to, reaching out to supportive friends, journaling, breathing.

If you need to, make a list and keep it with you during the holidays. Notice when you are tense, hungry, lonely, tired or angry. Treat yourself as beloved, and you will be able to treat others this way too.

Power Check

Where are you on the balance of things? Can you risk a disagreement? Will you be baited or teased? Be aware that if you argue with the Grand Dame/Master of the Family, you may be in for automatic loss. If you ARE the head of the family, or a key figure, don't abuse it.

Be strategic, and engage only when it’s safe and there aren’t retributions / costs that are too high. If someone is paying your way through college, you gain more by finishing school without debt than by winning an argument.

Corrollary: Safety

Do you feel safe? Some discussions need to be away from larger groups. What does it take to feel safe? Are there certain people you feel are more open to conversation about sensitive topics? Is conversation with one person better than a small group?

There’s a Time for Every Purpose under Heaven

And a place. Consider where and when it might be good to have a conversation, and know when and where is not the best place. At a large dinner may be the worst option.

Some families are deciding in advance not to discuss politics. That's one idea and not a bad one. It can eliminate large discussions/disagreements, but allows that individual conversations happen.

If you think someone will bring up politics, you don’t have to engage/participate. If you think someone is going to challenge you, gloat or ask your opinion, be ready with an easy response. One great answer is “You may be right.” Powerful because you aren’t agreeing, but you aren’t disagreeing either.

Being authentic can also be powerful, “I have some dear friends who are [black, Hispanic, gay, old, sick, young, Muslim, sexual assault victim, Jewish, etc.] and they are really afraid of [_______] and I am worried for them.” 

Consider if people are drinking, and adjust your strategy accordingly. You may choose to leave early, or go do another activity if people get too attached to their drug of choice. Treat it like you would any other “not you” activity. If you hate football, you may already have some strategy for avoiding a big, loud game.

If you don’t drink, or are very moderate, you will be less likely to lose your cool in the face of those who may want to engage in debate.

Escape Routes – Have One

If you had a tired, fussy child or partner, or a bad knee, or some other challenge, it would be wise to plan for it before a social event. You may have to be prepared to exit graciously for the sake of the child, or because you knee makes you uncomfortable. In difficult conversations, give yourself a plan to get a break, get out and decompress if you need it.

When You Get There 

Groundrules

See if you can get agreement in advance to have a respectful conversation, and to take a break if it gets too heated. Then lead with something that states shared values, and good questions.

Curiosity - Seek First to Understand

Steve Covey, rest his soul, was amazing on this point.

Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised at how well it goes when I stay open and centered. Once a gnarly old uncle, who I loved for his sweet grumpiness, surprised me by stating emphatically a liberal position on some issue. The family and he were generally very conservative. I was shocked, but went on to have a nice conversation, with my reinforcing his belief (I think in the need for healthcare reform, something about insurance companies). For me it was a refreshing exchange, in spite of our many differences (religion, education, gender, political beliefs, etc.)  For him, it may have made me seem smarter, or maybe I just made it safe to say something he believed, in spite of the family history of rural conservativism. Either way, we connected and built a small but powerfully warm memory. I love this man, and accept his entire self, even the hard parts.

Have Open Questions

What do you really want to understand? What one thing tipped them most toward supporting Trump? What one thing would have made them not support Trump? Were there other candidates they preferred? Who would they make president if they could decide, and why?

 Don’t be a Punching Bag

I told my beloved conservative son last week I was not his liberal punching bag, as we ended a heated exchange via text. (Pro tip: don’t engage in difficult conversations via text or social media. Our ancient foremothers and fathers did face time, and broke bread together.) You can try to have a conversation, but be willing to give it up easily. If someone lets go of one end of a rope in tug of war, there is no fight. Just try to be nice when you let go.

Don't take Swings at People

No smirking. No Sarcasm. And never use your power to win a point forcefully, or hurt others. If you are smarter or more educated, be willing to consider that people who aren't may really resent you for seeming to lord it over them. And maybe you actually have done this in the past.  Own your part in any past conflicts.

Don’t Argue.

Discussions are ways to examine various views. Arguments and debates tend to be about proving each other wrong, or besting. Conversations explore and remain open, capturing nuances, and allow for contradictions (in views and feelings).

Be Compassionate

Nothing removes the fight like appreciating where someone is coming from. Remember a time when you appreciated someone being kind to you? And how good it felt to be kind when someone needed you to stand up for them? We can extend the same thoughtfulness to someone who sees the world differently. It doesn’t mean you agree with their conclusions.

My dear Mom keeps lots of things : food, extra clothes, useful tools, knick knacks, and beautiful antiques. She grew up in a wealthy home with all her material needs met. But at 14 her father died. Quickly the family fortunes disappeared in the inept care of the remaining partners in her Dad’s firm. After she worked her way through college, she married a man with a big heart, but uneven work history, just as his dad before him. As a result of her financial struggles, she doesn’t like to talk about money, or let the shelves get too bare. When I let myself remember why she finds it hard to talk about money, it’s easier to appreciate that I don’t have to know everything about her finances, even if I ask with the best of intentions (to help her carry her burdens, or to protect her).

Be Honest

No need to hide who you are. Ever notice how old people seem so comfortable with who they are? Imagine you are already old, (if you aren’t) and be honest without being hurtful.

Be Funny

If a chance comes up, to be funny, take it. Nothing dispels tension like laughter. Be careful that you aren’t mean spirited. Most of all, be willing to laugh at yourself.

Be Prepared and Brief

When I talk to anyone about my concerns about Trump I mention one or two key concerns, and then let it drop.

Sometimes bible scripture is a good supporting reference. I don’t use it often, but I can make biblical references with the best of them. It’s damn handy when I need it. This is not a suggestion for using sacred texts against people who believe. All our leaders have great ideas, or they wouldn't be leaders. It's good to quote them, when you can.

Talk about good experiences with people of other races / backgrounds/ beliefs too. It’s ok to talk about what surprised you. The kids at the mosque where I was at an interfaith dinner the other week were better behaved than my own, gracious and sweet, while still typical kids. If you don’t describe people who are “other” then some of your family and friends may never hear of positive experiences.

Conflict

Diffuse it. If necessary, be direct. You can ask someone if they are being mean on purpose. What would you tell your kids or some younglings about how to handle bullies? You can do the same things for yourself.

Be Vulnerable

IF it’s safe, you can let your guard down. Sometimes the best breakthroughs in any tough conversation come from allowing that you are afraid or mad at yourself for something. Or admit you don’t know something. This also allows others to acknowledge what they don’t know.

Be Human

Naturally you’ll want to, as much as possible, follow rules of civil engagement: use “I statements”, keep your tone normal, and breathe. Remember to take breaks. Rome wasn’t built in a day. We have real work to do. And you don’t have to go it alone.

Let it Go

Speaking of scripture, I find that prayer helps me center myself, no matter where I am. I can pray right on top of a conversation. Down south we say “Well bless your heart.” And sometimes mean it. Some may meditate, some may need to move or clean or play. But it’s ok to just :

Change the Subject!

Totally legit way to take a break. Or be direct and ask for a break or wrap up. This is easier if you first let them know you'd like to continue talking about it later.

"Stick the Landing"/Finishing Well

It's good to end a tough conversation with appreciating the hard work it was for both of you. Even if you didn't agree on much, you can acknowledge where you did agree. Give yourselves credit. It isn't easy. But it's essential.

Reclaiming the Middle

Some think the two parties have lost touch with their voters, which allowed Trump to take control because he was willing to take beliefs of many working class (read, hard working folks) and galvanize that base. If we are willing to hear each other, we can be more effective in holding our elected officials accountable for their work. After all, they work for us. And we have the ability to make the world a better place. For us, for our children, for all.

Resources: 

If the Buddah Got Stuck, and anything else by Charlotte Kasl
Dance of Connection, and anything else by Harriet Lerner
Steve Covey – all of it. Everything he's ever written.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I feel a little bad for not posting for so long. The muse has been around, I just didn't pour her -eek! invite her here, onto this electronic page.

I kind of miss the tool that let me do quick easy posts on my blog... I think it was perhaps a google tool.. I think I stopped using it because Google became so freaking invasive. One of the (many) reasons I don't like being tracked digitally is that it takes up brain space.

Like remember when we had to navigate without GPS but use maps, handwritten notes, have conversations with people, sometimes LOTs of people, and we somehow got from point A to point B. Remember how it took up a lot of brain space to do all that?

So now, many of us mostly navigate with tools, and it makes it easier. We get to have that brain space for something else.

Thinking about how every single key-stroke can be saved somewhere takes up brain space. This pisses me off. So I'm working on stopping that brain wave, and still being able to maintain some semblance of privacy. (20 years ago it didn't matter if "they" collected all your data, they couldn't do anything with it. Now technology allows too much analysis of keywords - hell, all words.)

But the power of instant articles from across the globe has its advantages to be sure.

In online meanderings last year I came across an interesting guy. It was a post on Huffingtonpost about this guy in a coffee shop, who looked homeless, some cops and the knitting. Read it - good piece.

I've enjoyed checking out his site, and reading his views. Like a lot of bloggers, he is an excellent writer, but has gone through the pain of sudden fame.This forces a writer to make a choice: be more "politic", mild, perhaps offend fewer folks, also a privacy choice for many, or ... go for the jugular. In writing, I think there is a lot more payoff when the jugular is loved on. Not necessarily torn open, tho that is another place to find good stuff :) (can be damn messy, in my experience).

Finding one's voice is so hard in writing. And keeping it. Hell, in life, same problem, right? ("I know, right?!")

Being authentic takes guts. To me, it pays off.

Earlier tonight I was wondering about how presidents and politicians seem to enjoy the company of famous people, movie stars, as we used to call them. It dawned on me that much of this must be from shared experiences of living under scrutiny. Yeah yeah, there is the "cool" factor, from both sides, in hanging out with other hot shots. I get that.

But living under constant scrutiny, the "public lens", is a different level of difficult, and in both politics and ... stardom, there must be the constant struggle to maintain one's "center" or essential self. If you don't, well, we know what happens to those folks. They get into drugs, drinking, sex, or shooting weird pics of their private parts. Or they let the power go to their head, or they check out, or whatever.

Similar to the "brain space" comments above, I would think it exhausting to learn to maintain your core self, in the strong buffeting of exposure to, well, everyone. Interviews, radio, TV, internet, appearances, etc. Yeesh. How many of us would actually choose that life?

How many of us would REALLY be president, if given the chance? Not for a day, but four long freaking years. No wonder they come out of office deeply aged. Also, mellowed, I'd like to think.

It really is service, no matter what else. You become *owned* by the public. You BELONG to the people. Ego is needed, sure, but it also gets crushed in the process.

I was hopeful that Obama would come out as an ardent Moderate. Defender of the Middle Class, the Common People, Uniter, Reasonable Man, and Leader of the Entire Country.

I was hopeful.

I'm sad that he's seemed pretty unable to bring Knights (and Ladies) to the Round Table, to form consensus in the midst of this divisive country where extremism is allowed to set the agenda and name the costs that we all must pay.

Most of us are Moderates. Did you know that? Like 70% or more identify as Moderates.

So whassup with the fanatics taking over? Really? Are we that naive? Once upon a time we were all a bit less easily impressed by the shenanigans of the far right or left. Surely McCarthy taught us something. And drug parties of excess (I was too young, don't look at me). And other countries torn apart by radicalism: Ireland, Israel, now Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, stable Turkey even being affected.

Maybe we should stick with Radical Love. :)

I'm Sticking to my Knitting. My family, my job, my friends. Finding fewer causes. That's ok. The ones I care about get vintage that is worth something.
hugs
v


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Safety Bet

I've been lazy for the last few years. My passwords are different on every account, most are long, and yes they include at least a cap(ital) letter and a number, and sometimes even a symbol. But that's still lazy for a geek. I need a p/w vault.

I counted up my passwords the other day. Pretty sure there are about 15. None of them are written down around my desk. All live in my head. (I printed a good many of them out once (in case of emergency) then killed the file. Well, I think I did. If I didn't, it doesn't matter because I'm getting ready to change all p/w in my life anyway.)

The Point is, with a new job (in safety/security) I'm all out of brain room for more passwords! I already created a few new ones at work, in my first week, and yea, today I'm researching password vaults and getting "up to speed". In other words, install, figure it out, use it, try to break it. Usually in that order :)

Here is my advice, in the form of an email to my kids, husband, friends, family:
Greetings - It shouldn't be a surprise that with the new job I'm investigating, learning and setting up better protection for my accounts.

Below is some of my research. I like this first article because it pretty much tells you how to use the best tools plus a "hack" to make a thumb drive a physical "key" to keep all your passwords safe. Good idea *and* you can share a p/w file, (holding one or a few passwords) without showing what the p/w actually is.

Two nice overview articles about password vault applications:

Just what it says, but also explains how professional hackers get away with your data : how to make strong p/w

If you haven't already, please download (pay for it!) Avast and keep your system clean and safe :) btw, Lastpass  is also for phones if you pay the $12 per year price. Sweet :)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fullness

So much has been going on it's tough to slow down and capture it all. Still, I'm journaling most days. Feels good to work those writing muscles.

In addition to a membership at Curves I've added walking most of the other days, once it warmed up. The rest of the Spring was taken up recuperating from a grueling 9 months at a non-profit.

Actually, I have also made some progress on my desk. Very. very. slowly.

It's made me notice motivation and how low it is sometimes. To the point of resistance. A seemingly immovable force. Eventually, when the mood doesn't strike me, after weeks of waiting, I just go ahead and get it done, whatever it is. That's the thing about inspiration. Sometimes it just needs to be lassoed.

While the days have been full, somehow April, May and now a chunk of June have slipped by without a lot of visible or earth shattering progress. "Stuff" gets done, but where does the time go?

I started thinking about two big new things this Spring, well, three, and two are coming to pass. The third is germinating :)

First, I began craving a new dog. Not just for me, but for the family. No really. It took a while to be able to articulate the reasons, but 1. Sparky is getting older (he's 9 now) and 2. it's not fair to add a dog in a year or two when he will be older and less likely to want to add a new family member, 3. he seemed to miss Maggie. Today on our walk we saw a neighbor we've met twice, with her dog. Sparky kept trying to get over to visit, even tho we were really too far away to get to them. It was sweet, and also confirmation that he is happier with another dog here. 4. I was longing for the affection of another dog. So yeah, we are doing it. Bringing Sadie home tomorrow - a rescue. Chill, peaceful gal, a rott mix they tell me. Smallish - 45 lbs. Will be nice to have her, especially with G around to bond with her, etc. Pictures coming soon.

Second, been looking around for the next job. Sent a resume in in March, got a call in May and interviewed around May 21. Got a call a couple weeks later that they wanted to make me an offer, and last week finally got the offer. Or maybe it was the week before. Anyway, it's all but signed. I go in tomorrow to fill out paperwork. Cool spot - IT geek interface to the emergency management dept. for a large organization. Beautiful time off and great benefits. Lovin it. Always nice to see debt go away too!

Third, we are seriously researching farming. The good news is there are lots of materials, groups, sites, etc. Bad news is it will be a year of research, in addition to our full time jobs. It's hard to wait. Stan and I had never really examined the idea very closely... then it seemed to click. We had both wanted to have our own farms for so long... well, it was decades for me, and he just said he'd always wanted to have a big farm.

It won't likely be huge, with the price of land these days. But organic, sustainable, and enough to support us, yes. We can do that. Good that he used to care for cattle with a neighbor, when he was a teenager, and worked the family gardens/farm. And I kept bees, chickens and goats. I've shelled beans on a porch with old women. That must count for something!

I'll keep the day job while we get started and very possibly until the end of time. (Right now I like this idea best.) He will run the farm and drive when it's off season. There is a great farmers market here, and many others in the area. Also have found there is strong demand for specialty crops and products going to chefs and restaurants in Chicago (and Indianapolis I bet) as well as a huge interest now in local foods, slow foods and sustainable agriculture. Nice to be here where one of the best ag schools in the country is located. Even local school systems are looking for fresh, local food.

This week I visited 7 Sisters Farm in Sidney, IL and Morganics in Michigan. These were the 3rd and 4th farmers I'd contacted, mind you. That they were generous enough to let me come visit, show me around, explain a bit about their approach, and give some advice was just heart warming. It was the hand up I needed.

[The first two farms I asked for a visit/tour were either just "No" or "Can't, good luck". Note to self: always try to help out the new kids on the block.]

We've applied for a local year long class for beginning farmers at our local (ag) extension office.  If we get accepted it's free and supposed to be a good start. We might be able to get a VA loan, or a grant; or both, to get started.

Once we figure out what we are doing, we'd like to find more ways to bring gardens into low income communities, and see what can be done for veterans and ex-offenders who are getting re-integrated into society. That may be the far-fetched part of all this, but I'm not above learning from scratch.

Love the idea of teaching micro-housing and training men and women to build small, solid homes. So we will see. All kinds of possibilities... all kinds of good talent around here to ask for guidance. "Green" technology, including solar and geothermal need to be taught and tested somewhere...

7 Sisters was, by the way, just beautiful. The garden, the sheep, chickens, guard dogs, goats. Just loved it. Bought some amazing yarn (leicester and corriedale), and some lovely grey roving and want to go back for more! Cathe showed me the house they restored, and we had great conversation about land, local resources and how damned hard it is to keep horses in this part of the country! (Stan agreed later when I told him.)

 Genevieve, at Morganics was also gracious and showed me and Gwyneth around when we dropped in on her this week. We saw her road sign as we were heading to Leelanu way up in Michigan. There were 11 adorable English Shepherd puppies running around (I immediately wanted to bring one home) and beautiful bunnies (one spotted one like a dalmatian!). We came home with fresh eggs and a new idea - permaculture. Also learned that mushrooms put all kinds of good stuff back into the soil. Since they are first generation farmers Genevieve gave us a different kind of encouragement, especially since they are reclaiming some land that was tree farm (red pines) before and all of it is sandy soil. Nice big garden tho, moveable pens for the smaller livestock.

She also had a couple of sheep and some hogs. Sells the English Shepherds too. All good investments I think. 

On both of these operations one spouse works "off farm". Both are in it tho to make more that a subsistence living (which I'm gathering means, more than support the family with food on the table). I see where diversifying is a good idea, where the cost of land and equipment is crucial, and where help, either in kids, interns, or paid help are critical.

That's all I'm good for tonight. Off to read a little and consider. There's a full moon rising ;)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dancing by the light of the Moon





tamed, even curled up with. Ridden, slain (a trick they pull, letting you think that you won).


  But first they will terrify you.

 Sometimes they seem harmless.
 It's not the battle that is key, it's the willingness, the wiley-ness. In my experience they appreciate the entertainment.
 Sometimes they are young. Still ferocious.
 And there is always treasure they hide, protect. You have to show you want it.


Raise your flagon. Cheers to dancing with dragons, your gorgeous, glittering shadow self.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mothers

Started this post last week. I guess it's a reminder that parental units stay busy. All the time.

G asked me what is the hardest thing about motherhood. "All of it." She asked again and I said "Slaying the dragons." She said, "What's the hardest non metaphorical thing about motherhood?" I replied, "Yeah, slaying the dragons." Led to a nice discussion of how mothering is being hyper vigilant and also relaxed. At the same time. It's also being patient when you've gone without sleep or rest for too long. It's keeping too many details in your head at once, and then learning not to do that. It's studying to learn to do things differently than your instincts, and other times it's following your instincts. It's hell. It's heaven. I'm super blessed to have 6 kids now and 4 grandchildren. And if I had world and time, I'd adopt older kids who need a home. Thanks Mom, for teaching me there is always enough love to go around.
 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Clearly I have not the stamina nor discipline to post every day.

The Good News is I do write. Every day. Religiously.

Lately I've been capturing the scraps of writing in various forms. Using the Journal, which I mentioned last week, I write and capture posts from FB nicely (I put them in the "notebook" section, not the daily journal section). I write in a physical journal (or two or three) and I compose emails, which at least I send to a special account that is just for the purpose of capturing my writing. Goal there is to capture more emails in the Journal, so there is a somewhat central suppository. No wait REpository <g>.

My website is set up for the family business, but I'm going to add another website just for my random meanderings. And likely another for a new business. And a non-profit.

All this in the works, along with getting my house in order (physically and digitally), the business in order (accounting and fiscally) and the relationships in order (reconnecting with people I haven't had time to enjoy for 9 months).

It was a cool thing, to birth myself out of the last job. Well worth the carrying and pushing. Now there is a weird bit of transition, getting re-grounded, and cultivating new stuff.

Putting legs under some of these new ideas is an altogether different matter. I do think I can grow my sideline business to support us, take care of essentials, keep income flow UP. And on the side* another business germinates. Like good writing ideas, it's important to protect it from frosts of people who would judge not nurture, yet it also needs the sunshine and warmth, so I share it with a few trusted friends.

We shall see. It could be mental masturbation, but I don't think so. Even if it fails, at least I will have pursued it. That is what matters really. I've done this before and didn't get to see the idea/organization fully birthed. It was not meant to be, and I was ok. Good experience planning it all and then laying it to rest, as gracefully as possible. I've had many other successful enterprises. They have a creation curve, a lifespan, a return to dust. Legacy stuff and sustainability are topics for another day.

For the sane, it's not just the chase (of ideas and new forms) that matters, but balancing stability with exploration. I live in a smaller town now, and that by definition can hinder risk taking. After all, in a community where there are less options, fewer ideas can be chased, with back up opportunities if your brilliant idea fails. In other words, everyone knows if you are a windmill chaser, and what that means is less certain ... outcomes** can be, well, overlooked in a large metropolis. Not so in more intimate settings.

Just realized this is the first time since '85 I've lived in a smallish community. Hmmm... food for thought. I did find the small towns from '76 to '81 nice but constraining. Too small in some ways. Athens was just right, but then I yearned for Atlanta, the siren hussy Belle, and wonderful dance partner. She will always be my first big love, put stars in my eyes.

One goal for this week is to to check out John Green's*** and other vloggers' posts about online community and struggling with how to best connect. I'm considering blogs, vlogs, social media and other forms of building digital community.

Also have more plans to sketch out. There is a garden to dig. No thought required at first, just pulling old stuff out, getting beds ready. That's what I love about housework I think. It's fairly simple work. No thinking required. Let's me rest.
Shalom
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*that's only two sides, so far.. I think home and hearth are truly my main vocations. This other stuff, businesses and community are avocations :)

**by outcomes I mean failures of course but also successes. And therein lies another two-edged sword. Towns both discourage by their very nature people getting outside the box too much - it's what we do as tribe, only allow so much unknown/unfamiliar behavior. Yet small towns will love to support your success and care much more than cities. Cities encourage exploration and freedom, but care not a rat's ass if you fail. Harsher in their own way, cities sort of offer support, but not like towns.

** I know little to nothing about John Green, but am curious and would like to find info on online communities / forums. Could help the next business grow support. One of my daughters loves Green - I've watch some of his vlogs. Glad he is out there being awesome.