Do Be Do Be Do

The slo-MO life I envisioned has finally arrived. The major projects that took up my brainspace and free time have mostly been completed. So, now when I have time off, I actually have time to daydream, or just be, which is the precursor to writing.

This daydreaming thing is not considered very American. We are supposed to work 80 hours a week so that we can retire and afford to be, once we’re old and not able to do anything. The American mantra — DO, DO, DO, DO, DO, be, die. It doesn’t make for a very compelling lyric.

I once again fell into that trap when I first moved here. Suddenly all these things I wanted to do in Los Angeles were available here, but without the hour+ commute, paid parking, and hordes of people. Life seemed accessible for the first time in about 25 years. I was a kid in a candy store.

Granted, there were a lot of necessary tasks to be done, like rent a house, move, settle, get a Missouri driver’s license, etc. The transition period was naturally busy, but then I started signing up for things like the a cappella choir. My job turned out to be 8 more hours a week than I had anticipated. I was taking fitness classes. Three days out of the week I was away from home for 12-13 hours. I found myself feeling just as stressed as I had in LA. Where was the slow-paced life I craved? Had I moved 1/2 way across the country to be just as frazzled by obligations?

That’s when I had to do a dream check. I remembered the life I had envisioned for the last year while still living in LA. That vision had not included spending hours sitting in front of my computer learning complex music, or rushing from my job to rehearsal with only time to grab something unhealthy to eat along the way. It had not included every day being filled with one obligation after another. It didn’t include feeling spent on the weekends and needing to recuperate. Somehow I found myself in the middle of building a life I didn’t really want.

I had come here to write.

Period.

It was time for another course correction.

The a cappella choir has been dropped. I’m temporarily out of the fitness classes while I get some physical issues resolved. I’m refocusing on my priorities. That’s not to say I won’t take part in extracurricular activities, but they will be far less demanding, and more in line with my goals. I’ve joined a writer’s group that meets once a month. Once I’ve settled into that, I will join a meditation group I checked out when I visited here last fall. They meet every week, but only for an hour. Aaahhh! Better.

One creative project I do want to undertake is a vision board. Now, almost every spiritually focused gathering of women usually involves vision boarding. For all the magazines that have been cut up, and glue fumes that have been inhaled by us women, we should all be living our dream lives. Sadly, many of us are not. Still, I want to persue this project, not to help me create an ideal future life, but to remember the life I intended to create here. When I get off track again, which I likely will, I can pick it up and remember the things that are important to me here. I don’t want to just do, I want to be. Being allows my mind free rein to run, dream, and create. Being will allow me to write. Our American culture could do with the opportunity for more being.

You can’t live without doing, but you can’t have a life worth living without just being.

Do be do be do. That makes for a far better lyric.

Have you done a dream check lately? Are your ‘do’s and ‘be’s balanced? What can you do to have more time to be?

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

At Last!

Yes, I know I missed a week. I was tired of writing about things that were impending. If I had posted last Wednesday, I still would have had to talk about what was to come. But finally on Thursday, the house sold. Then there was a flurry of paying bills and buying a car. For the past two years I had been working hard to finish up my college degree, and on Monday, all those loans got paid off. Feels great! I have a degree, but no debt. Now life settles into normalcy and I am so looking forward to that. It was a little frightening to have made my leap and not have the safety net in place. Glad it’s there now.

I joined a local a cappella group. It is a bit more of a time commitment than I had expected. The music is very challenging and requires a lot of rehearsal at home as well as the 3 1/2 hour weekly rehearsal together. However, standing on those risers and hearing the voices blend together into beauty makes it worth it. I’ll give it a few months and if it is taking too much time from writing, I may try to find a less intense group to join. There are some interesting personalities, one type I’ve had recent experience with, and it makes me a bit leery of joining. Basically it’s the kind of person who puts on a smiling face and seems like the nicest, most helpful person in the world while consistently placing the dagger between your ribs. Lots of passive-aggressiveness. I’ll do my best to avoid them, but if I can’t, there are definitely other choirs to join. Life is too short.

Now that I’m settling in, I’m a little worried I will lose my attitude of gratitude. The honeymoon phase will eventually end. I can thank that honeymoon phase on my miserable life in LA. Pixar came out with a movie recently called “Inside Out” which I thoroughly enjoyed when I wasn’t dozing off because of exhaustion. The American culture is one that only allows for happiness. If you’re not happy, there’s something wrong with you. Stop complaining. Only be happy, happy, happy, happy, happy! And if you’re not happy, happy, happy, happy, then go away! But the truth is, we are bio-chemical machines and those other emotions play a role. “Inside Out” reminded people that sometimes sadness or anger is not only necessary, it’s useful. The misery I had in the last few years of living in Los Angeles did not feel nice, and I didn’t always react well to it, but it was necessary to spur me to change.

Even futher, the misery there in contrast to life here, has unleashed much of the joy and happiness that is required to be an American. Every little things floods me with gratitutde. The short commute. The civil drivers. Quiet movie theaters (I’m part of a movie group and now go see movies regularly, somthing I rarely did in LA). Ample parking. Friendly, helpful people. Fully being a part of the team at work. Using my intelligence and talents creatively at work – designing flyers, social media posts, and working on new ways to bring in more clients. Flexibility at work that allows for a social life. No entitled celebrities. No more entitled people who think they’re special because they work in TV. Car insurance at half the price. Long showers. Green! Thunder. Lightning. The ease of running to the store and it not taking an hour or more. Shorter lines. Lack of competitiveness – because there’s enough for everyone. Watching a guy play with his dog in the park across the street (which I’m doing right now.) Not hearing a Harley at 5:20 a.m. every day as it idles at the stoplight by my old house and then roars off, being audible for well over a mile away. The new definition of rush hour – when an older couple pedaled past my house on their bikes, followed by a pickup truck a minute later. Living on one level instead of having to climb stairs every day. Old growth trees in a big yard. Activities that are easily accessible. Feeling safe. Feeling supported.

The list could go on and on and on. As I said, I feel gratitude for every little thing simply because of the contrast of what I just went through. However, I know human nature, and that contrast will eventually fade. People here complain about traffic. They have no idea, but eventually I will probably complain too. Despite loving rain, after several weeks of it, I was ready for some sun. Just too bad it also comes with humidity. See, there’s a little complaint sneaking in. But, thankfully now that I’m heading in the gratitude direction, it will be harder to turn the ship back around. It will be easier to keep the heading, as long as I am aware, and stay present at the wheel. That’s my goal. Remember where I am, compared to where I was. As long as I do that, it’s so easy to be grateful!

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather