Erasing the Finish Lines

Those aren’t finish lines on our body and face.crosswalk-377613_1280

Our soul’s race,

never-ending, so many infinite

miles into the heavens.

Some of us can’t even begin to see, perceive.

Our earthly race,

is only with ourselves.

Let’s set our own pace.

Never crossing the finish line,

but erasing, redrawing, and

erasing them over and over again.

Continuously resetting and

expanding.

Winners in love,

compassion,

courage,

creativity,

and grace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Intuition & Good Choices Vs. Manners & Old-Fashioned Habits.

Growing up in a southern traditional household,  I was taught mannersangel-1294116_640 and to be polite.  I was also taught to NOT rock the boat.

I suppose it’s fine to a point is social situations where you have no intention of being nothing more than acquaintances with a person. You have nothing invested in that kind of relationship. You’re not going to have a long-term relationship with them or do business with them.

As I approached the age of 16, all legal work was game to earn a living and I shouldn’t be too picky because one could never be too prepared. Yes, when starting out most can’t be picky, but the mindset was typically – “money’s money.” If someone wanted to hire you that was a good thing, never mind if you thought it was a good fit, or if you are interested in the work.

I didn’t have a name for intuition till early high school and even then, it was light discussion among friends – something mentioned in women and teen magazines as something all females should have. I wasn’t sure how to talk about that body/gut feeling and or know if it was the same as intuition. Parents and teachers didn’t give it much credit. At the time, the local public library wasn’t stocked with much info on it.

Old habits/beliefs die hard.  Until about 7 years ago, I’ve taken on some freelance clients or partnerships for the sake of money/survival/not rocking the boat/being polite that I “knew” at a gut level weren’t a good idea – and proved themselves to be a bad decision.

I’ve come a long way from those childhood/teenage beliefs. Particularly when they come in conflict with using my intuition.  I haven’t thrown my manners or sense of practicality about money out the window. I just give my intuition as much, and sometimes more notice than old-fashioned manners or my parent’s ideas about work.

Recently, a business salesman and owner approached me during a delayed flight about working for him.  He seemed like a nice enough person. He talked at length about business, family and some random topics in between. Twenty minutes into our conversation, I felt myself wanting to put distance between our seats, but it was too crowded. There was nothing he did specifically that was alarming. I just felt increasingly uneasy. He gave me his business cards for two companies he owns after he learned that I was a freelance copy writer and worked with other marketing professionals. He mentioned that in light of the advertising/marketing help he
needed, that money was not an issue, “I’m good for it,” he said.  I thanked him, but said nothing else.

I mentioned my feelings of being weirded out to my husband who was with me when we got home. He said, “Yes, you should listen to your gut. I thought there was something off about him, too.” I researched the guy’s companies later that week.  They had a mix of good and bad reviews. A recent one stood out. I’m paraphrasing here – Don’t work with this guy. He seems sketchy. I ended up not hiring him after he told me about having hundreds of dollars in overdrafts (he actually showed me proof of) to run both of his companies.

If I’d decided to work with him or refer him to a colleague for the sake of being helpful/polite/following up, who knows if this guy would’ve ever been able to pay for the work?

Anytime you have an unsettling feeling about someone take heed. Manners and good social grace won’t always save you from getting short-changed, or a lawsuit. So, if you have these old-fashioned habits/rules about manners ringing in your head in these situations, notice how your body feels. Is there tightness in your stomach? Do you feel nauseous? Or, do you feel in general very uneasy? There’s truth there.  Follow it.

Are the Hot Fires of Your Work/Creative Passion Fueling You or Burning You Out?

Growing up and until about a five years ago, I thought being passionate about my work and or, creative interests won out over everything.  I thought being passionate gave me the motivation and drive to continue pursuing my goals, and or dreams. It does, to a point. However, it made me realize it is also why I have a hard time seeing some long-term projects to completion. I’ve burned myself out on my passionate feelings in different phases of an idea, project, etc.  You may give so much energy to one part of a goal, that by the time other details are necessary, especially with long turn-around projects, your brain is toasted and fried and you want a vacation.

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A side effect of too much passion?

In this instance and others, I’m finding that passion, for me anyway, wears me out quicker – emotionally, spiritually and physically. I think it’s because I have multiple interests and pursuits as a small business owner. Maybe it’s different for those who are dedicated to one specific career path, hobby or endeavor.

According to Harvard Business Review, there’s different types of passion. There is obsessive passion and harmonious passion. The former, by name alone, is the healthier version. I know I’m committed to it and  being aware about which type I’m operating from.

A medium to high level of interest can make me happy for a greater length of time as long as passion is present. It can make its appearances, but it doesn’t need to be the headliner.  With it, I find that I’m more emotionally attached. This can serve its purpose(s), but it can also be a hindrance to cutting my losses when an idea or project doesn’t work. I also have found that with a high level of passion for something comes greater expectations -Expectations of people, outcomes, etc. If you’re even a somewhat sensitive person, this can make moving forward a challenge sometimes when expectations aren’t met.

Passion is not practical all the time. I’m doing my best to apply it in moderation. I’m liking my interests with an hour or two of passion sprinkled into my life regularly. What is your experience? Share by clicking the comments link to the left.

Fun Hair for Impatient, Busy, Long-Haired Women.

If you’re a long-haired busy mom, a traveling career woman, an overcommitted entrepreneur or an enthusiastic festival go-er, this blog post may help you. Your hair may lose its pizazz 3 days post- washing, or multi days exposed to the elements outside. Whatever the situation, this may be your answer to easyFullSizeRender (1) stylish hair.

Here’s a quick and simple upgrade for your tresses. Like me, you may admire the trends of braids and twists, but aren’t very patient with the attention and time these do’s require. This mix of side twists and single braid took me about 10-15 minutes total. No, it’s not absolutely polished-looking, as my hair is layered, and I had to tuck some stray ends with hairpins.  Anyway, unless you work in the entertainment/beauty, no one will be analyzing your hair that much. This works well if you’re hair is a little unwashed. You’ll need less hair product, too. The build-up in your hair will help conceal frizziness, and make it easier to secure pieces together. Freshly washed hair may make strands silkier, slippery and may take longer than the time I mentioned. If you want an easy, fun, style that can look elegant, too, give this a try.

Directions –

  • Take 1 (or 2 like I did, if you’re feeling ambitious/adventurous) sections of hair on the side of your head of roughly equal thickness on both sides. Twist them and pin them snugly together  in the back center of your head.
  • Then take the excess of the twists and tuck these into any one of the three sections of hair you use to create your braid.
  • Wrap the end of the braid with an elastic band of your choice.
  • As mentioned earlier, secure any stray hairs with hairpins.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Following My Mother’s Example (kind of) – More Caring, Less Minding Our Own Business.

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It’s been over a year since my Mom started discussing the details of being kidney donor to her brother. I told her I’d be there for her – as she’s been for me my entire life (I know I’m fortunate to be able to say this).

I wasn’t truly ready for how I’d feel as she was being prepped  for the surgery itself, or how I’d feel just afterward as she rested in her private room. Maybe it’s the idea that the person who was the authority, the quiet strength in my childhood is in a weakened state.

It was scary. I felt alone as I stared out the window of her room. Crazy feelings! My mom is still alive. Why did seeing her in a hospital bed recovering from a kidney donation freak me out?  She could die from anything – old age, tripping on a sidewalk gap, a spider bite in her sleep. Hospitals and medical trappings not required.

Does everyone feel that way upon seeing their mom/dad/parent-figure in a hospital bed – Even if they only have a broken leg? I wondered. No one has taken a poll. No one is standing outside the patient rooms, in the hallways comparing these heartfelt thoughts. Hallmark doesn’t make cards for us.

As the children of these moms, dads or caregivers of parent-figures, what’s wrong with us sharing our vulnerability with others in the same situation – on the same hospital floor? Is it because we are adults? Are we to pull up our big girl and big boy undies and walk on? Society might say that’s fair. It’s our turn to give back to the person who did their best to raise us as upstanding citizens of this planet. But what, and who does it help – this not sharing, this stiff-upper-lipping? Are we too busy applying the phrase we heard as kids, “Mind your own business?”

My mother told me to mind my own business often when I was a child. However, she also taught me to be a caring, compassionate human being. She is a living example of these traits. I think a happy middle is possible. Let’s show we care. Let’s wear our heart on our sleeve sometime. It may be the only way others know you need some support.

After spending just a few days or more in a hospital, I can imagine for some, like me, minding the business of caregiving for a loved one is intense – at least some of the time. Sharing such business with someone else who is going through a like situation but doesn’t have heartstrings tied to your loved one (or yours theirs) can take some of the pressure off emotionally. Who else wants to not mind their business with me?

Because Surprise Periods, Tampons are Mythical in Some Corners of the World. Demand Businesses and Lawmakers Get with the Flow.

Recently, I’ve had the kind of  fun that comes with having an unexpected  period at a gym during a workout. Thankfully, I wore black that day and a friend was with me to offer support when I learned there were no tampons in the women’s bathroom. What?! This is a customer service, health and sanitation issue.

This is an upscale gym that I infrequently patron. The interior is sleek and modern. The women’s bathroom and locker area are big, have large mirrors and cushy cream-colored seating in the dressing area  – you could host a party in there.

shutterstock_391747558-1024x683The vanity area is stocked with hand soap, Q-tips, mouthwash and cups with which to swish and rinse. However, there are NO tampons/sanitary napkins. Really?! You go through so much effort to make sure one end of our bodies is fragrantly fresh, clean and hygienic, but ignore the other end?

I can see it now –

Regular upper-class gym members, heatedly pointing out that blood isn’t part of the gym’s décor. They demand a refund, or at least a discount on the membership that month.

I asked the young, tall, polite, cheekily smiling, gentleman at the front desk if they have any feminine napkins/tampons  in the emergency supply kit.  Because, when it’s unexpected like this, it may be an emergency – right?

Our exchange after my request:

Gym Concierge – “ I’m sorry we don’t have any in supply. You’re the first person who has asked me about it.”

Me – “Wow!” I say (my eyes widening in disbelief). “NONE of your other female patrons have asked you about it? Sign me up for whatever magical exercise program they’re taking that stops their periods in its tracks.”

Gym Concierge – While laughing, and maybe a bit embarrassed, he says again, “I’m sorry.”

Me – “Yes, it’s a sorry situation, but not your fault though. Please tell your management that providing these items are a health and sanitation service for your customers. Thanks.” (I plan to send this blog to their corporate office, too.)

It IS sorry. It’s sorry that tampons can be more expensive than the other goods offered at this gym. My friend pointed out that there is an old tax applied to them as a “luxury item.” What?! This is no luxury, it’s a necessity! Last I checked luxuries are nice-to-have items –  liquor, or a designer watch.  Feminine napkins/tampons, like toilet paper are basic essentials.

I think it would be more work and expense to deal with unclean facilities, stains on cream-colored furniture AND keep the gym goers calm about it; instead of having have a small supply of feminine products in the women’s bathroom. Schools in other parts of the U.S. are offering them for free, so why can’t retail and service businesses see the necessity, too?

Here is a petition to make sure the tampon tax is removed and to make it easier for companies/institutions to go with the flow – stock feminine products for their patrons/customers. Share your thoughts in the comments.

 

Those Rarer Times when Awkward Discomfort Leads to Creativity. (Cabin) Pressure Creates a Little Gem.

creativityCreativity – what conditions are best for it? In a recent conversation with a dear friend, we agreed that most of our good creative ideas come when we are doing one of the following – washing our hair, staring out the window, driving, or meditating. We are typically, physically at ease and relaxed. Even when I worked in busy, noisy office spaces, I was able to shut my door or put headphones and be productive. However, about three months ago, a strange thing happened to me. I was able to be creative under very different and unusual circumstances.

I was on a plane trip where I was pretty uncomfortable. The woman next to me had space in her seat to leave me one arm rest for at least part of the flight. She overtook the arm rest between us and randomly leaned a bit into my seat space. Additionally, she was coughing and sniffling into crumpled tissue. There was another seat on the other side of her, in which she could’ve sat. I asked her why she didn’t want the window seat. She told me that in case nature calls, she’d like to be closer to the aisle, so she was fine with the middle seat. I told her I understood and for the same reason, prefer my aisle seat. I added to this with a hopeful smile– “I’m sure we’re both good at sharing an arm rest.” She proved me wrong.

About 4o minutes into the flight, I asked a crew member if there were other empty seats on the plane, and of course, there was not. Not that it seemed to matter much, the majority of passengers sounded sick. So, besides feeling physically cramped, I was having a mild to moderate case of germ-phobia. I decided to make the best of it. I asked the flight attendant for some orange juice. I applied hand sanitizer generously. For a moment, I considered lathering up with up it – smearing it on my face, neck and arms to see if it would disturb my seat neighbor enough to move over. But, I didn’t have much left and wanted it to last the flight. So, I put on my ear buds and started reading a book I got for Christmas – Yes Please, by Amy Poehler, her funny, inspiring, and down-to-earth, nearly mid-life memoir. In it, she described her challenge in writing it –

“ Everyone lies about writing. They lie about how easy it is or hard it was . . . writing is some beautiful experience that takes place in an architectural room with leather novels and chai tea . . . what a load of shit. It has been like hacking away at a freezer with a screwdriver.”

Creativity and inspiration soon spark. A poem started forming in reply to her writing challenges. I wrote about my struggle with writing a fiction book:

Scribing Story or Sticky Sludge?

The pen is my balancing cane,
as I sludge
through molasses in
purple goulashes.
Hoping I don’t land on
my ass or in a pile of ashes –
the ashes of books burned
which never saw their finish.
Should I stick not to the molasses,
but the telling of a story to the end?
But what end? Who decides the end?
Is it I, they, or it – the molasses of gray
matter that is my mind of late?
Is it the moles, the curious on-looker of critics,
do-gooding book-readers who poke out their heads
and opinions? Or is it the asses,
the naysayers, and whybothers?
I continue on.
My pen is my support and ally as
I slip and slide down the street of molasses that seems to not end, 
doing my best to shake distracting moles and asses along the way.

 So, feeling the pressure of being confined to a small, uncomfortable space seemed to force me to intensely focus on other thoughts and ideas – and get some results. Have you had similar moments of creativity? Share your physically, awkwardly, uncomfortable, but creative moments with me in the comments below.