Monthly Archives: December 2011

Resolving to Make Friends With Change

This is the time of year when we all want to start over, to make things better, to move forward into a brighter future.

Perfectly understandable. As humans, we have the intelligence and forethought to choose goals and work toward them.

But I think for most of us, myself included, our underlying desire is to create a positive, permanent state that will eliminate discomfort and uncertainty forever. We want our lives to be perfect, and then to stay that way. We want to solve our problems once and for all.

Also perfectly understandable. But not the way life works. As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, change is the only constant. So as we resolve to attempt some big changes in our lives, perhaps one of our goals could be to make friends with change itself, to acknowledge whatever the tides bring and to figure out how to take full advantage of it, even if it seems “bad.”

Pema Chodron, in her book When Things Fall Apart, talks about this approach to life’s uncertainties:

Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.

When we think that something is going to bring us pleasure, we don’t know what’s really going to happen. When we think something is going to give us misery, we don’t know. Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. We try to do what we think is going to help. But we don’t know. We never know if we’re going to fall flat or sit up tall. When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may be just the beginning of a great adventure.

So let’s make goals, envision a better future, and move bravely in that direction. But as we go, let’s know that curve balls happen, winds shift, the tide will come in and go out. Let’s be ready for whatever the future brings, open to its gifts and its challenges. Let’s breathe through change, that dear friend who is always present.

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The Nature of a Blog

I had the insane idea this morning that I should challenge myself to write one post a day every day next year.

Talk about setting oneself up for failure.

What I come up against, over and over, is polished versus organic.

Is the goal of this blog to have shiny, perfect essays with which to dazzle readers?

The idea pops into my head when I see the amazing things other people consistently do with their blogs. I covet the appearance of being an award-winning, high traffic site.

The reality is, my current circumstances do not allow for me to even finish a sentence, much less a thought. This frustrates me to no end, but should I sit in silence because I can’t turn out the most amazing post you ever saw?

No, if I sit for a minute and forget about what everyone else is doing, I don’t think the value of my blog, or my life for that matter, is to be grandstandingly impressive. No one ever has or ever will look at me or get to know me and think, holy crap, she’s hella polished, dude!

My chocolate chip cookies are going to look imperfect, but taste awesome.

My children will go out in public in mismatched clothes, but be kind and polite (that’s the goal, anyway!)

My hair will be wild but clean.

My garden will look like a jungle but will yield deliciousness (knock wood.)

My blog will be a disorganized ramble, but will be accessible, useful, inspired, or inspiring. Sometimes all at once.

If you’re along for the ride, it might seem like I don’t have a map. Cuz I don’t. Who knows where we’re going. But we’re going to hit a couple great restaurants on the way, all of which look like dives on the outside but serve authentic grub on the inside. We’re going to meet some real people who tell us some great stories and show us where the non-touristy, must-see spots are. We won’t think twice about sittin’ a spell, watchin’ the flora and fauna until we’ve soaked in that moment in time and it becomes a part of us, more than any paper photo or digitally recorded image could ever be.

The Wise Way may not be clearly marked, smoothly paved or dotted with modernized rest stops, but it’ll get us where we need to be.

Sent story off… learning to talk budget in Spanish

My children’s picture book story has been sitting quietly in a corner, collecting dust for some time. It is now winging its merry little way to a publisher who will with any luck adore it and give it a new home. Or lots of new homes, on the shelves of kids and libraries everywhere.

I’ve been working feverishly on a new opportunity to teach budgeting at a local DSS office. I was contracted to develop a powerpoint that would be informative and engaging enough to last 3 hours, so people seeking cash assistance from the government could fulfill the new requirement to learn how to wisely and responsibly spend said funds. I’m then to translate it into espaƱol. Then, supposedly, I get to teach both classes. I’m excited about the class itself, as well as the possibilities it might open up in the future.

To continue my assessment of where I am as the new year approaches: I am an officer in my homeowner’s group (secretary), I am moderator on three parenting forums, I want desperately to: finish my parents’ quilt, post regularly on my blog, practice yoga every morning, polish my French novel translation, homeschool Hank, explore new recipes, have a successful garden and put in more landscaping features in the yard, be active in my neighborhood and maybe even my community at large, and maybe develop new ways to make money.

I’m sure there’s some stuff I’ve forgotten, but my list is too long, and I don’t know how to trim it.