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?

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Victim Investigator: Special Whiney Unit

As quickly as I was on the trail of joy, I have temporarily lost it. This blog was meant to be light and fun, however, if I’m going to be honest here, I have to admit that things aren’t always sunbeams and rainbows. Still, I will always attempt to find some fun in the misery.

Last week was a difficult week. Having workers in your house doesn’t seem so bad at first, but as the days wear on, you just want it to end. They’re still here. I’ve been informed that they will either be done today or tomorrow morning. What really took the wind out of my sails was more bad news regarding the value of the house. Of course it came late Friday afternoon when nothing could be resolved. I was left to sit for an entire weekend, imagining all the worst-case scenarios. I saw my dream of a writing life go up in smoke. I quickly slipped back into fear and the anger that always accompanies it.

It set me off on a journey, gathering evidence to prove that I was the victim of a cruel universe whose sole purpose was to toy with me, giving me hope than yanking it away. Issues with work came flooding back. I had told myself that despite the unfairness that my 20 years of involvement with the show meant nothing to production and was not rewarded, I would be okay because of the house sale. That perhaps the purpose of being stuck for so long was so that I could have this payout and finally get a shot at my dreams. So, what exactly was my reward for that 20 years of stagnation? I kept asking myself why other people were allowed to make big profits on real estate. When the market is booming all around me, why am I only allowed modest gains? Why is it that the banking system, which made a killing on selling me a house they foreclosed on, is now limiting my profit? Why can’t those who “have” ever allow those of us trying to make some progress even a few crumbs? I know those gold plated toilets, expensive vacations, and Ivy League schools for the kids don’t come cheap, but can’t we peasants even have a roof over our heads in old age? I’m not asking for a million dollars. My dreams are modest. I want a chance to write, and I don’t even want to be a rich and famous author. I just want to earn a living doing what makes me happy and be able to take care of myself into old age. Apparently only the dreams of the “haves” matter. I should know my place and just keep toiling away so the deserving can go to the ball.

Yes, monkey mind is alive and well. My thoughts actually reminded me of someone I used to work with who demanded perfection at all times. You could do it right a million times, but make a mistake once and you would be subjected to a tirade of, “Just once I wish people would do their job right. Every single time…” Except it wasn’t every single time. The mistake was a rare anomaly, but he only saw the mistakes. It was not an attractive trait, and the memory held a mirror up to my own thoughts. Sometimes you really do have to thank people for who they are, and showing you who you don’t want to be.

I reminded myself that there were many times I had something within my grasp and managed to get it. I’ve had some remarkable and unexpected successes. While we don’t live in a fair society, and at times I have felt like I’m going through life with one arm tied behind my back, I also can’t deny that I have enjoyed privileges of which others can only dream. I can focus on how unfair it is that I have to keep downsizing my dreams, or I can rejigger things and find a way to succeed despite the limitations forced on me. I can think about all the times I’ve lost out on something, or I can focus on all the times I’ve succeeded and let that inspire me to succeed at this.

The battle hasn’t been won yet, but the tide is turning. I’m keeping at it, one thought at a time. Hopefully next week I’ll have a far more upbeat post, and perhaps finally some good news about the house.

And on a side-note – I have decided to give the Whole30 program a try. Since being out of work, I have had a hard time avoiding sugar and fast food. I’ve also experienced increased inflammation. Coincidence? I think not. It will likely be hard to complete with goodbye dinners, etc., but something needs to change, and so it has. Day one had me running for the bathroom like American Pharoah. There was hunger, but I enjoyed the tastes of the food I did eat. Today I am tired, partly from the lack of sleep from continuing to go to the bathroom throughout the night. Sure am glad I don’t have to work today!

Have you tried Whole30? What were your experiences?

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