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Category Archives: In To Me See

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

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crocheting

As I embark on learning a new skill set, I’m struck by how easily frustrated and thwarted I can get when it doesn’t come easily.  This year, it is my goal to become a proficient crocheter (is that even a word?).

I began learning to sew in middle school and have been able to hone that skill over time.  I know I’ve made plenty of mistakes and ruined lots of projects (zippers are still the bane of my existence), but it just seemed par for the course.  Now it sort of feels like I should be able to get this quicker.

One source of difficulty centers around the starter book I was given.  I don’t think its instructions are very clear.  I’ve had much better luck understanding things via YouTube videos.  I’m a very visual person and being able to picture something in my mind goes a long way towards being able to recreate it.

My biggest frustration at the moment is getting comfortable with holding the yarn and needle, keeping the whole processing moving along.  It still feels a little unnatural so I’m just trying to keep practicing the stitches over and over again before I move on to actually trying to create something specific.

I did get a bit overwhelmed when I looked through the book at all the different stitch types and other symbols for various techniques.  How the hell am I going to learn all of these?  It’s like another language.

I know practice makes perfect.  Something I have to keep reminding myself of as I slip up and start over again.  I’m not on a deadline and this is for my own benefit.  There’s no one demanding I learn to crochet except me.  It just feels like I should be getting it faster.

This is all I can do so far

This is all I can do so far

When I shared my frustration, someone quipped, “Oh maybe you’re afraid to fail.”  I thought about it for a second and came back with, “No, I’m afraid of never succeeding.”  Ay, there’s the rub.

Learn To Do You First, The Rest Will Come

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peace-serene-lake-view

Do your own thing and whoever shows up, shows up.  This is my personal version of “Follow your bliss…”  It’s your ride.  Make it a good one.  Took me a long time to learn that.

I have always tried to accommodate everyone, even for my birthdays.  When I say I’m going to be somewhere, I can almost always be counted on to do just that.  I pride myself on it.  But not everyone shares the same priorities in life.  What is important to you may be trivial to another.

One of the keys to happiness is learning to accept reality.  It’s pretty important in love and relationships too.  If I don’t accept my friends, my family, my significant other as they are, and for who they are, then it’s hard to be happy with them.  It just ends up as a fix them, or fix me scenario.

This doesn’t mean I have to like everything about someone or even tolerate the things I don’t.  I am free to end or modify those relationships as needed.  I get to set boundaries and expect others to respect them.  I get to say yes and no when I feel like saying yes and no.

I think it all comes down to the old adage, Know Thy Self.  I know who I am.  I know what I like and what I don’t like.  I know what I can tolerate and what I abhor.  I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses.  And in doing so, I’m also able to recognize these things in others.

One of the things I know is when I’ve done something that displeases another.  It was a talent I developed in childhood.  My mother had a bit of a mercurial temperament and I never wanted to be the source of any of her upsets.  But being a child, you just pissed off adults even when you weren’t trying.

So I became a very conflict adverse person, rarely being able to come at things head on and often sacrificing my wants and needs to keep others happy.  It’s probably why I enjoyed and even needed a good amount of time spent alone.  No one to satisfy but myself.

But I like people and I like shared experiences.  I don’t want to be alone all the time.  No matter where you go, there you are and my people pleasing habit was always close by.

After much introspection, I know that the way that I am is the way that I am.  It’s not a good or a bad thing, it’s just me.  And I like me.  I wish that everyone liked themselves.  Self-loathing is the source of so much misery in this world — for people and the people they inflict their misery upon.

If you do one thing this year to improve your life, I recommend you make it this.  Love yourself more and more each day.  Whole new worlds will open up for you that you never even knew were available.  Someone loves me more than I ever knew was possible.  All I have to do is let him.

We all have a light that burns brightly but it’s up to us to stoke the flame.

 

 

 

Crafty Calendar

I’m thoroughly enjoying one of my Christmas gifts, the Craft-A-Day desk calendar.

Craft A Day Calendar

It’s full of fun ideas to make various things based on a weekly theme.

The first week was Snowflake week.

Calendar snowflake

Then came Fox week.  Over the course of the year, I’ll probably have two hands worth of cute finger puppets.

Calender fox

Week three was Gnome week and so on.  So many fun things to create.

Calendar gnome

Calendar groundhog

Calendar diamond

Give me a stack of construction paper and glue or some felt squares and a needle and I’m one happy camper.  I usually have to make myself do the more necessary things during the day but I never have to force the crafter in me to come out and play.

Sewing and baking and painting come naturally.  And soon, so will crocheting.  That’s the skill I’m bound and determined to master this year.

Crochet

And I try to make a point to visit the Animation Academy at Disney’s California Adventure as often as I can because I love to draw too.

Draw Mickey

Happy Californiversary to Me!

Fourteen years ago, bleary-eyed and with my truck loaded full of all the personal possessions it would carry, I entered the state of California.  Three days prior, I had left Ohio and gotten here as fast as I could.  I had no cellphone.  Didn’t have much money to my name either.  But the Call of the West beckoned me forth.

What really drove me was the opposite of this Shakespeare line, “And makes us rather bear those ills we have. Than fly to others that we know not of?”  I could no longer bear my current situation.  It wasn’t horrible but it could become what Henry David Thoreau once described.  “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”  Fear of the unknown can sometimes only be overcome by the fear of never knowing.

So if you feel lost or stuck or even just unhappy, listen closely to that voice inside.  No outside source can give you the answers you seek.  Just like Dorothy discovered, you had the power all along.

By the late, great Shel Silverstein

By the late, great Shel Silverstein

What I Like About My Life: Part C

like-circle

We are… until we are not.  And all we have is Now.  This is the drilled down, cannot be made simpler, truth that is life.

Argue all you want, but in the end, there is nothing else but Now.  You cannot experience anything else but right now.  Bring me the past.  The actual past.  Not an object that you tell me is from the past or a photograph of what you call past.  Bring me the actual past.  You can’t do it.  Whatever you try to show me will only be more Now.  You also can’t do it with the future, but I doubt I’ll get as many arguments about that.

Your memories of the past are no proof either because you are recalling them in the present.  We’ve all agreed that there was a past and there will be a future but those are nothing more than abstract concepts.  Even as I look back on the words above, there was no past when they were written.  There is only the present moment in which they are here now.

point fuck you

Life is one big fuck you.  And this is what I absolutely love about my life.  I love the absolute pointlessness of it.  I went on a spiritual journey and all I came back with was Nothing.

Life is a big, crazy, beautiful, maddening cosmic joke.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So no matter how this leaves you feeling, I know something that always makes me feel fabulous – laughter.  And nobody laughs better than Ricky Gervais.  Seriously, is this not the greatest laugh?

 

 

 

 

What I like About My Life: Part Deux

Continuing on with what I was saying yesterday, another thing I like about my life is that no matter what happens, it just keeps going… that is, until it doesn’t. One minute, you’re inhaling and exhaling.  Then the next, no mas.

Many people find the topic of death unsettling or even downright upsetting.  But death is real.  It’s final.  And there’s no way to avoid it.  What, or if anything, happens afterwards is up for debate.  Who cares who’s right?  We’ll only know when we get there.

shrug

I actually find comfort in the certainty of my death.  I don’t have to wonder if I’m going to die.  I just wonder how and when, and usually not that often because there really is no point to that.  It’ll happen.  I can trust death.  There aren’t many things in life I feel that way about.

Death is the key to life.  Death defines life, gives it shape and meaning and context.  Without a clear and honest relationship with our mortality, we live in a state of endless spiritual sprawl, a soupy gray fog that creates the hellish illusion of life stretching endlessly in all directions.

Death-awareness is the universal spiritual practice.  What we have sought in books, and magazines, in teachers and teachings, in ancient cultures and foreign lands, has been breathing down our neck the entire time.  It’s not just another mood-making spiritual technique that you dabble with for a few weeks and blame yourself when it doesn’t deliver.  Death always delivers.  Death is your only true friend, the only friend that will never abandon you and that no one can take away.  It slices through every lie, ridicules every belief, mocks every vanity and reduces ego to absurdity.  He’s sitting with you right now.  If you want to know something, ask him.  Death doesn’t lie.

Jed McKenna, author of Spiritual Enlightment: The Damnedest Thing

We are, and someday we will not be.  That’s what I like about my life.  It makes the whole thing a little more exciting, eh?

'This had better be important, I'm in the middle of a conference call!'

What I Like About My Life: Part One

i_like_that_workaholics

I’ve done a lot of complaining in my blog recently and I’ve been stumped for topics in a world full of them.  I don’t want to talk about who died this week, or which country is at war or what stupid thing the people in Washington, D.C. are doing.  I have opinions but I don’t feel like sharing those.  They provide nothing new in a cacophony of opinions.

So I’m going to talk about what I like this week.  What I like about my life specifically.  It’s not to make me or the reader feel good.  I just felt like talking about something different.

I could rattle off a lot of material possessions or fortuitous circumstances that I like.  But I don’t wish to praise something in my life that might leave another person feeling insufficient.  I am all too aware of the many privileges in my life.  And I am all too aware of the lack of those privileges in others’ lives.

Can we discuss what we like about our lives that could be felt universally?  Perhaps there is one thing that we can all choose to like because we share that one trait.  We are.

If you spend any time in a spiritual or existential quandary, you will eventually grok that the only thing you will ever be certain of, for as long as it is true, is that you exist.

grok

Someone is witnessing and experiencing life.  That someone is what you call “Me”.  Now what you are witnessing and experiencing is up for debate.  But from your point of view, someone is there to take it all in.

What I like about my life is that I am here to witness it.  I am here to experience what occurs and that it’s mine to take notice of or mine to ignore.  And the more I stay present to life, the more of it there is to observe.  I like that.

now-moments