Shh, I am not really here.

A moment of quiet in a very interesting year (translate that to complex, complicated and busy), gives me just a few minutes to update this blog. Like the new digs? With help from the WordPress-Appearance-Themes I did a little remodeling around the place over coffee last week.  Not sure how long it will last, but for now, I like it.

I have added this new Category of posts, related to a blog I originated years ago and then converted to one of my “author” blogs – from me to Him. My spiritual posts to my higher power that is sharable to the public.  It was cathartic. I think I need a little cathartic writing every now and again.. Thus, you are reading this. (Thank you.)

I was walking one morning and passed a man on his way to catch public transit bus to work, I assume.  We exchanged “Hello!”s and “Have a nice day” never stopping.  I wish I could have frozen the moment and let that be my presenting self to the world. The day before, my public contact had been last than pleasant. I had been  a ‘BLEEP!’ because the representative of a store was not listening and I had repeatedly answered and re-answered their same series of questions. We were both speaking plain English, but there was a something in the air between us that prevented either of us from understanding and making ourselves clear with the other. It wasn’t pretty.  This was my memory flash after the nice exchange in the sweltering heat with the worker on their way to work.

Why can’t my best be the only social self that everyone sees. Leave my less than nice moments hidden like the lost sock that didn’t make it out of the dryer. Just leave that ugly me as something only I know about, not anyone else. No one should have to co-exist in any moment with my bad self.

The only reconciliation I have is knowing that we all have those moments, or potentially those moments. You, you might be more self controlled and be able to remain the nicest person in the world to everyone all the time. If so, um, could you be my role mentor?

Well, this contemplation has to come to an end. The dog just jumped up and put herself between me and the keyboard. I also have a long list of things to do today. Have a nice day!

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Out of My Control

Recent circumstances have made me confront that nasty awful feeling of being in a state of mercy— both giving and receiving compassion.
Perspective, opinion, and circumstances always place us on one side or the other of receiving. Receiving is hard. I hate it. Ok, so, hate is a strong word. It is uncomfortable, unpleasant, and requires graciousness that I don’t always have. It causes me to step outside of myself.
This crossroad in my life path is also an opportunity, if I let it be, to self correct, gain experience, grace and reintroduce myself to what has become a sub focus for my year—joy.
Self respect begets joy- a discovery that I probably knew and then forgot. Perhaps this is part of our purpose in life, to give joy. (Which is hard to do if you aren’t at least near or on the cusp of joy yourself.)
Writing brings me joy.
Life is that simple. Even if we have to do things we don’t particularly enjoy to the nines, we still must find and participate in joy to spread it and share it with others.
Getting to choose how to react to news or status changes is control that is easy to forget but still available to us no matter what. In a state of joy my ability to choose my reaction is easier to make.
Choice of reaction, action and perspective can be influenced by current feelings, but feelings are fluid, ever changing and there isn’t one we aren’t allowed to feel. We also don’t have to cling desperately to any of them.
Loss of Control.
Sucks.
Flow and fluidity, learning about working with serious distractions, a wonderful lesson to learn right now. Figuring out how to do so is a challenge, but breaking it down to what can I do right now this instant and take it all moment to moment makes it a little easier.
Thoughts that evolved because of and in spite of circumstances beyond my control and stepping back to just be, and meditate before making a decision. Not an ah-ha moment, but more of an “Ah!” moment; no ha involved.
I think this maybe one of those things that until you have been at this place in your own life, it may all be gobble-d-goop. If you have been there, it is likely familiar ramblings and you might be nodding and contemplating where you were and what was going on at the time.
We aren’t alone in this, which is somehow comforting. Also why I shared my meandering thoughts. It didn’t fix or change anything; it did bring me a moment when I felt understood. For my friend that gave that to me, this is my way of paying it forward. Thanks.

Does It Bring Me Joy?

So, all this, that as well as the other thing, have left me stewing a bit for a few days. As I approach my work week and try once more to get on track, this question is now being applied to my work, and creativity as well.

A discussions with my grown daughter concerning illustrations grew leaps and bounds as we discussed tweaks to the layout and perspective of views. What is my perfect ideal and what I feel competent to attempt are sometimes at odds; but as always, she advises me to follow my own intuition and gut, try to do it and only settle as a last resort.

So, somehow one afternoon while staring out a window, it occurred to me that this question that I have been putting to myself as I cleaned out another drawer of things, could also be asked when I approach my list of to dos regarding my work, my writing work.

How far from my original voice have I wandered in the name of becoming a better writer? And has any of that brought me joy? Something that while I know this or that is the way to go, just grates against my nature. What am I talking about? Oh, I am questioning my focus this year to submit. I know, without any doubt I have rejections behind and ahead of me. I know without a doubt that my writing still needs work.

My question is whether how I am going about practicing is making that work harder or easier. To whom am I pandering? Me, the reader, or some great unknown that may or may not have bearing on the favored storytelling of the future?

If I revert to bucking the system, going my own way, is that going to be better than continuing to conform (or attempting to conform because my efforts aren’t all that dedicated)? Sometimes the hard path is also the path that you learn the most, but it is a very personal decision. I know writers who are succeeding because they are taking a traditional approach and some taking what has become traditional for self publishers and I have considered what they have accomplished and wonder if that is right for me.

Truth is it just isn’t how I want to do this. And my lame reason is that those paths, don’t bring me joy. In fact, it sucks the joy right out me. So maybe that isn’t lame after all.

Finding my own way to success is what my path is, seeing others succeed only encourages me to do my own thing. Thank you to my fellow writer friends who are also my mentors. You are encouraging my joy.

(Credit to the Konmari Method)

Shock

It has been a while since I had to deal with shock personally. Then all of a sudden, POOF! The last time I was faced with it was the death of my mother.

This thankfully was not involving anyone’s death, though it has thrown a kink in my work plans, but as always this self publishing biz is malleable, so making some adjustments in the near future, but still expect to publish this year.

For the moment, I want to address knee-jerk reactions to those moments of shock. Possibly because of recent meditation practice, there were moments that concentrating on breathing and just being in the moment came easier. Or maybe I have just matured?

The decision that had to be made right then was the only thing I tried to focus on, letting my reaction and thoughts exist for their brief life as they rushed in and out of my stream of consciousness. Not worrying about judging them as useful or not, it probably did appear that I was calm, only trying to be.

Afterthoughts that came in the days following before I forget about them are: We all live in a bubble. We have friends, family, our little circles, and some of those circles overlap depending on how big and close they are, but then even as we orbit in each other’s worlds, there is still a much more intimate orbit within our selves and the people we live day in and out with that perhaps only we and maybe one other person know and understand, yet how often do we jump to make judgement about events that happen to others?

My perspective of the situation made me think about other people, because to me, the event looked dire and something was amiss. Or, maybe it was just my writerly imagination working overtime. Still, there are marks that were left behind that will probably always leave me wondering. What is another person’s intent? Innocent or something more dire, we just don’t know because we don’t have that knowledge.

Just be, in the moment. Let the reactions and emotions flow. It was hard to do, but my perspective after the shock wore off has been much easier to live with than times in the past. I hope this become a habit.

Spring Break

Yes, it is a late spring break for me. Taking time off from illustration attempts that have been taking up all my focus and time. So far the yearlong plans have had a fifty-fifty chance of remaining. Scrapped some ideas, and even replaced some priorities as well.

It is hard to admit being an over-scheduler. Its all that empty space. There is this drive to fill empty calendar lines. It didn’t served me well. Created stress, and ate away at the focus on what is really important.

During the abandoned spring clean, yes it was abandoned. I couldn’t do it and work. So . . . back to a beloved FALL clean. Do that right before the holidays and marketing the next book sounds like a smart move to me, time out of the office and running amuk hither and yon to local events won’t stress me right before the holidays— will wait and see how that really goes to reinstitute that permanently into my routine.

However, that brief clean out did uncover the original long term plans for my writing and our business. The bad thing has been that we are years behind where my plan had us for two reasons. First was college full time for a year and second that nasty bicycle accident. Allowing for those two things, we are on target that sort of relaxed some of my agitation. You know, stuff happens, all who do their best but fall behind raise their hands . . .

Yep, there is a bunch of us. Nice to be among you.

This is exactly why my current plans for this book project got knocked off due to illness. It took some extra time to revamp my plans and build some down time in. It wasn’t easy, I am a hard task master to myself (and probably to others as well). Discussion with my kids, husband and pretty much anyone who would listen went as a more doable projection formulated.

Sitting down once more to look at what I could do lead me to this Spring break (yes, honey, I did take off federal holidays). Relax and keep things simple. Less is more, even in scheduling. Ah ha! I think I’ve got it! Slow and steady. Turtling on.

Self Respect

So, about that journal entry thing, to make it sink in and leave me with a strong inner impression, reorganization of the words others supplied was necessary. (http://byjuliekolb.com/2017/01/07/focus-2017/) Taking those words and making them into a sentence that would speak volumes to my soul and spirit wasn’t difficult.

“I am an outgoing, caring, smart mess; a friendly, caring, intelligent, indomitable, imaginative, funny, active, creative, strong, gorgeous woman; a loving, intelligent, strong, tenacious, mother.”

After four months this statement has begun to settle in. There is something to this whole positive thinking thing; along with some prayer and meditation that go hand in hand to make self respect and confidence increase.

So with a month of solid yoga stretching under my belt, which was haphazardly begun at the first of the year, my daily flow is starting to evolve into a work habit and exercise habit and eating well habit. It still isn’t what I had envisioned but they exist a more solid consistent form.

Procrastination and resistance were absolutely a problem. As you will see next week, I was pushing and expecting way too much, way too soon. From my research and readings, it is a common problem, nice to know I have company. My original idea was so restricted to fitting within a set expectation of norms, there was no room for my creative imagination to play; no room for my relationships, even the most important spiritual ones.

It wore on my energy, patience, and yes, even my happiness. It wasn’t any one thing that made me stop pushing and expecting so much to happen within the limited hours of the day; it was a lot of them. Taking the time to respect myself, my personality, my way of doing things.

Thus far it has been a little of this and a little of that, making adjustments for what works for me. Or, maybe it is reincorporating things that always worked with me. A little shift of perspective, sure sometime new is better; but then again the tried and true works, too. Putting new and old together works.

I have had this before, and I do again. 😉

Artists And Art

Ever viewed the show Abstract? I hadn’t until recently. Only two shows thus far, but the second hit me like a ton of bricks.

It was all about shoes. Athletic shoes. Tinker Hatfield. I came away with a couple of quotes. No, you have to go watch it on your own and find your own takeaway quote.

Still reading the Legend of Drizzt by R.A. Salvatore and finished some regional (to me) authors of the midwest. A couple recently finished- a Maggie Adams and an Amy Hale. (Check them out on Amazon.)

As much as the need to actually sit down to write, there is also the need for encouragement. No one works exactly like anyone else. Honor your own method. That is still a bugger for me at times, like this spring.

Spring is upon us.

The improved weather and sunshine aren’t conducive to sitting in front of a screen or at a drawing table. My mind is drifting to finding ways to work outside for the couple of months before the real heat of summer sets in.

Knowing that other writers have mastered how to craft their stories and manage their time is both encouraging and discouraging at the same time. I know that life has gotten in their way at times, yet they have not let it stop them. They just adjusted and got back to it, otherwise their work wouldn’t be available to read today.

Once upon a time I was comfortable with my writing style, but then I got all caught up in improving and just got completely lost in all the advice. As a writing instructor told me, just write.

There is a lot of advice out there, some is very good, some is questionable and some is scam. Be careful dear writers. Weigh the advice carefully and consider the source. Research! It pays off. And above all stay true to your voice.

Reactionary Much?

Why has our society become so . . . reaction oriented? Not that wrongs shouldn’t be righted, but why are we so spontaneously unwilling to listen to the other side? Why are we so adamant that our way is the only right way?

When did we stop trying to find the win-win for us all? When did we stop being aware that others have a viewpoint, perspective that is valid even if we don’t agree with it?

We have become a society of bullies, which is ironic since so many of us are concerned about bullying while in the next breath without self awareness we bully our friends and family when they no longer agree wholeheartedly with us.

Is everyone so peeved that they are taking their balls home, only to come back with a baseball bat? If I were to draw a editorial comic strip that would be the series of images I would put on an editorial page. That’s my sense of what’s the rage on social media.

A societal need to meditate and pray or what ever spiritual renewal needed to instill as much kindness as we can muster for one another. We all need to sigh. Sigh, as my daughter advises me when my emotional temperature is off the chart, so we don’t explode.

Because, people, we are about to explode. We are ostracizing our selves. While we express our thoughts and share our viewpoints, we should also try to be compassionate to the other side.

Myself? I am just as guilty in over reacting; going with my knee-jerk reaction (emphasis on jerk). It is a tough decision to make, whether to react immediately or just allow the response to peak and calm inside; to open our minds before we open our mouths. I fail at making the right choice sometimes, too.

It is something I am working on.

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