Tag : reinvention

One Word Becomes Many

Today is the first day of #reverb10 and I’ve got a bevy of butterflies in my stomach. Last year’s journey through #best09 was revelatory – it brought me insight, sanity, friendship, discipline. So part of me wants to leap into the stratosphere of expectations about what the next 31 days will reveal, to me and to everyone else who is taking the ride. But then, I remember one of the lessons that has taken deepest root in my mind over the past months:

life is best lived in the current…

Only now, as I write this, do I realize the full significance of my word choice.

CURRENT

“in the now”

“the velocity of flow”

Trying to swim against the current or get ahead of it tends to leave me floundering and exhausted. I’ve discovered this the hard way. Therefore, I’m letting go of expectations and entering this #reverb10 adventure with eyes wide open, arms out-flung and full consciousness of this moment alone.

WWHHHEEEEE!

Today’s Prompt: Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you? (via @gwenbell)

RECOVERY

This year was definitely one of HEALING. Anyone who has been around these parts for a while, or who wants to catch up via the memory lane of post archives, will know that 2009 kicked my ass. I was flayed, shredded, shattered and otherwise reduced to a basket case of raw and bloody pulp. At the beginning of 2010, I was overwhelmed with financial debt and jobless, lacking in self-esteem as well as trust in humanity, unable to make sense of my self or the world around me, and seriously questioning the value of expending energy enough to breathe.

by sarboom / flickr

When one is that low, there are only two choices – get up or stay down. I chose to get up.

It was as awkward, painful, messy and invigorating as I imagine pushing one’s way through a birth canal might be.

I had to learn how to get my feet back under me and stand without crutches, on limbs as shaky as those of a new colt. I found a new, rewarding, supportive job environment. I simplified my relationships and responsibilities. I hunkered down on my couch when I felt like it and dressed like a princess when the mood struck.

I’m not the same person I was a year ago. There are vestiges of my former self – both beautiful and moth-eaten – but I am stronger and more vibrant. I bend more willingly, knowing now that I won’t break. I feel solid again.

Now, looking forward to 2011, I curl my toes into the ground and reach up. I’m ready for GROWTH. I’m ready for EXPANSION. I’m ready for BLOSSOMING.

At the end of 2011, I hope to look back on the year and say, simply, that it was:

FIREWORKS

by Michael in San Diego, CA / flickr

What would your word be for 2010?

Letters to Exes

A few days ago, I mentioned my need to change priorities when it comes to relationships. As part of that endeavor, I must acknowledge the lessons learned along the way and the trail of debris left behind…

***

Dear Child Star: Of course we had to end. I could never admit how I felt and you didn’t know how to ask. No relationship can withstand the pressure of partners who are stuck only playing parts; neither of us knew of a way to put aside the masks we’d created to navigate the world at large.

Dear Greek God: You made me see stars and I wasn’t prepared for a trip to the moon. Passion that intense is the antithesis of safety. Control and ridicule kill passion with brutal efficiency. I am a skilled assassin.

Dear Angry Man-Child: Emotional safety is not the same thing as financial security or physical protection. I don’t think I really knew that until you. Love was never on the table but it took a while to realize that meant the table was just empty.

Dear Tennis Ghost: We met under false pretenses, using fake identities. How is it we were both caught off guard and so thoroughly disappointed when unmasked? We should have seen it coming; if one buys a diamond thinking it is cheap plastic, no one should be surprised if it ends up in the trash.

Dear Hitcher: You were everything I didn’t want – kind, approachable, responsible, giving, funny, loving. I didn’t know that’s why I turned you into the villain in our story. I can’t rewrite it but I hope you found another one with a happy ending.

Dear Driver: I thought you should know when I stopped playing games. I’ve since learned I never should have started them.

Dear Starbucks: You thought I was a risk-taker because I didn’t shy away from physical danger. Silly man. I have a million reasons why jumping off a cliff is child’s play compared to asking you… anything.

Dear Red: I waited for you to prove you would protect me from the inevitable. I waited so long that the inevitable happened. And the idea of getting burned twice? Inconceivable.

Dear Climber: I bought the package without any real interest to discover what was inside. I should have glanced at the list of contents. That might have saved us both a great deal of drama.

Dear Lost In Translation: You got blasted to kingdom come by the power of my intentions. I hope you can laugh about it now. I’m beginning to do the same.

Dear Moustache: I never knew manipulation could be so easy until I met you. That is heady knowledge to have. It’s taken me a while longer to realize I don’t have to act on it and that, in fact, I’m much, much happier when I don’t.

Dear Gargoyle: You wanted a wife and I hated you for that. I wanted a toy and I hated me for that. Neither one of us would have known how to be in the moment if our feet had been cemented into it. You did more for shattering my preconceptions in the midst of our confusion, however, than anyone else. I’m grateful for that, and for your willingness to concede when I demanded your defeat.

Dear Cheater: I played with fire. I got burned. I can’t blame the fire. I also can’t continue to stoke it while expecting it to retreat. I simply need to occupy myself with other elements, regardless of the allure of flames.

Dear Boy with the Band: You revealed a side of me I didn’t know. I thought I could fake it in your world without having to commit to anything. I didn’t realize I was just being a grifter until the con fell apart. I’m sorry I drew you in to such a mess. I’m even more sorry it didn’t come off a success. Honestly, I’m still intrigued by the idea of pulling it off with aplomb.

Dear Bazzaar Find: You kept me safe when I didn’t even realize I was in danger, and I will always honor that truth. But having you reveal the mine-field you’d just taken me through, I was too shaken to continue walking in your footsteps. I had to stop. I don’t think I’m cut out for navigating a war zone, and I’m beginning to be okay with living without the adrenaline rush.

***

Have I really let go of my need for danger? Am I really ready to embrace emotional nakedness and honest love instead of the edgy roller coaster that accompanies what I identify as emotional safety – relationships that I instinctually know to be doomed or destructive so I’m already braced for the crash? I guess only time will tell…

Pleasure Bouquets: Green with Envy

Green with Envy

Green with Envy

I’m heading over to Ireland tomorrow, after having spent the weekend playing amongst the manor estates outside London. I can’t imagine wanting to be anywhere else. Don’t hate me.

This vacation is an overt escape from the trials and tribulations of every day life back home, where I frequently feel a bit green when comparing the trappings of my life with those of many of my friends. I’ve decided, however, that I’m going to soak up as much green as possible while I’m here – green hills, green dales, and even little green males if I come across them at the end of a rainbow – so that when I return to “reality,” I will remember not to fall into the comparison vortex.

I have an amazing life. It’s not perfect. Far from. But it is amazing. And for today, I’m getting to do one of the things I value most, which is traveling to another country and absorbing all I can from the experience.

I’m in the midst of receiving a massive transfusion of hope and inspiration.

I’ll keep my eye out for a four leaf clover too.

Just a reminder: I’ve invited some awesome guest bloggers to have their say in this space in the coming week. Give them a hearty hello, will ya?

Crossroads

Pleasure Bouquets: Crossroads

I have a choice to make. It is a simple choice, but not an easy one, as all the most monumental choices seem to be. I am not living the life I want to live, and I’m in one hell of a tantrum over it. My discontent goes beyond the realization that my circumstances look nothing like I thought they would. It leaves childhood and societal expectations in the dust. It flourishes even in the wake of my awareness and gratitude for the things I have. And I’ve about worn myself out. Because I am, according to all outward indices, an adult, however, no one is going to pick me up off the floor and hand me a snow cone or piece of Bazooka to make me feel better.

I must make a choice:

  1. Revert to old, self-destructive behaviour, choosing isolation, self-pity and inspired rage over how unfair I perceive life to be;
  2. Remain in a heap on the floor, stuck in complete inaction, numbing myself out with caffeine and fantasy; or
  3. Heave myself up onto my feet, trusting that no matter the mess I’ve made or the wobbliness of my stance, I can move forward – in a new direction, choosing a different path, to chart a different course.
We all know that the correct choice, if this was a multiple choice quiz, would be #3. Here’s the bitch of it, though. Option #3, by its very nature, comes without a road map. And life, or life as we know it in 2009, does not include a GPS. So, what happens if I get fucking LOST? I could end up in a worse situation than I’m in now…OR…I could end up on a semi-deserted island with Josh Holloway

Hey, anything’s possible, right?

So, I’m gonna roll the dice on Option #3. After I take a nap. This floor is kinda comfy. And I’ll listen to your story – where is your road taking you?

Pleasure Bouquets: Chaos

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks chez moi. I’m being pulled in 20 different directions. I feel like every aspect of my life has been put up for review, and found wanting. Of course, this is only my perception. I can’t see the bigger picture. I do know, however, that I have no road map for where I’m going. And, more importantly, I have no clear concept of where I want to go. I am easily distracted by flash and bang. I hesitate to commit to a course of action. There are so many possible directions in which to go, and I don’t want to take the wrong route. I fear a dream is dying, but I’m not ready to say my goodbyes. At the same time, strange doors are opening, but I don’t know where they lead. I am at a crossroads. I have been here before. So I am behaving according to the script I’ve always followed. Instead of letting myself grieve my potential loss or, alternately, tightening my bootstraps in anticipation of the unknown, I watch myself fall into inertia, into chaos, into disastrous disorder. It might seem odd to compare chaos to inertia, since chaos suggests movement. Imagine a hamster wheel at Mach 2, however, and you’ll know what I mean. In many ways, I’m comfortable with this chaos. After all, repetition breeds familiarity. But just because it is familiar, doesn’t mean it brings me pleasure.

Chaos

Chaos

What if I change my perception, however? What if I decide to look at this chaos the way the Greeks did? What if my life isn’t in disorder but, rather, in a state without form? Then there is hope. Maybe I can take that flying leap off the spinning wheel. Maybe I can make that single step, in any direction, without analysis or even thought. Maybe I can simply close my eyes and trust that the chaos in which I find myself is actually blossoming into a new, better and more beautiful pattern for my life. I think, if I can do that, great pleasure awaits. I’ll let you know…

In the meantime, what do you do when you feel the tug of chaos pulling at you?

Luddite Unleashed

Engrossing novels, long walks along pine needle-cushioned paths, friendly philosophical debates while caught in doorways – these things bring me pleasure. Widgets, RSS feeds, CSS sheets, HTML, and all other computer-based acronyms – these things make me want to pull my hair out, one deep-rooted follicle at a time. I adopt each new technological advance only after it is tried, true, and passé. As an example, I acquired a digital camera only after the hard-working folks at CVS gave me a blank stare when asked where the Kodak envelopes were in which I could drop my film for developing. It is with deep shock, therefore, that I find myself embracing the blogosphere, tweet world, and “social media” prior to the creation of whatever comes after the web.

Luddite laptop created by Big Time Attic

Luddite laptop created by Big Time Attic

How did this happen? Ignorance, I tell you. I had no idea that my spontaneous decision mere weeks ago to documenting things that bring me pleasure would thrust me so deeply into the alternate universe of technology. I have spent the waning days of 2008 learning more about FeedBurner, favicons, and FTPs than I ever thought I’d need to know. Ever. The journey has tested me, perhaps made me stronger, and certainly made it easier to subscribe to my blog. And it is not over. As I reflect on what 2009 may bring, I know I have much to learn, and not just about web 2.0. I couldn’t be more excited!

Magic Pill

Magic Pill

I’ve always been a magic pill kind of person. I just want to flip a switch or press a button and have what I want, EXACTLY what I want, appear in working fashion before me. Patience is a virtue I misplaced in the process of exiting the womb – except I was delivered by C-section, but you get the picture.

Recently, however, I’ve found myself noticing signposts leading away from the magic pill approach to life. I’m not saying that I plan on diving into any wombs to retrieve an errant virtue. Or anything else, for that matter. I am saying that my intention in the coming months is to rewrite my story, the one about who I am and what I can and cannot do in this amazing life. Perhaps I am not such a Luddite after all. And if that is the case, what else may or may not be true about myself?

So here’s to discarding expectations, and joyfully embracing the unknown in 2009. Let’s be pleasurably surprised by what we reveal of ourselves and what we let ourselves achieve. Happy New Year!

Loving Airport Anonymity

December is one of those months in which the frequency of my trips taken to or from an airport tends to rival that of my trips to the bathroom.  Unless I have the stomach flu.  Then the bathroom wins out.  (And no, I do not have a bladder problem, thank you.)

This realization about how much time I’m spending in airports has me reflecting on the pleasures of airport anonymity…

Many people, when forced to envision airports, can only think of long security lines or lost luggage or over-priced Starbucks (how’s that for redundancy).  I’d like to offer a different perspective.

Airports highlight one of mankind’s greatest skills, and I’m not talking about the ability to create cool architecture like the Langenheim Theme Building at LAX or the Sky Plaza at Chek Lap Kok.  No.  I’m talking about the skill of reinvention.  Stick with me…

LAX

LAX

There is a great equalizing phenomenon that occurs in airports.  Even those who are traveling first class, and race to the Admiral’s Lounge or whatever as fast as their Louboutins can take them, must still walk the terminal corridors like the rest of us.  And it is in these corridors that reinvention is possible.  In fact, anything can happen.

As just one of millions of travelers, you are automatically cloaked in anonymity.  You can be James Bond, or Jane Bond, or a Bond Girl, or even “M” if you’re in the Medicare demographic.

Fantasy Material

Fantasy Material

As you sit in the airport bar closest to your gate and listen for announcements justifying your delayed flight, you are whomever you want to be.  Come up with a fabulous backstory and try it on the man two stools over.  See how fast he slips off his wedding ring or starts to expound upon his luck at getting out of hedge funds with his billions intact.  You soon realize that you are not alone in your anonymity, you are not alone in your fantasy, you are not alone in your need to escape.

Indeed, escaping is what airports are all about.