Posts Tagged With: DPChallenge

Starting Over: A Little Piece of Fiction

In this week’s Daily Post Writing Challenge, we’re asking you to write a short piece of creative writing (fiction/poetry/prose poetry/freeform mindjazz/whatever floats your boat) on the theme of Starting Over.
Drop Starting Over on your page and see where it takes you.

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Starting over was what she did all too often. Scrounge for boxes, pack up stuff, tape and seal, haul and load, clean and leave.

packing up

packing up (Photo credit: Joanna Bourne)

Then reverse the process, arrive and clean, haul and unload, rip open, unwrap, and unpack.  Then the decision: store the flattened boxes for the next inevitable move, or recycle them and scrounge again when the time came.  Neither decision carried any assurance, or saved any work.

Sooner than she’d want she’d be back at it, finding boxes, packing, taping, hauling, loading, cleaning, leaving. Once again, she’d find herself arriving, cleaning, unpacking, starting over, settling in very lightly.

Starting over was something she’d have earned a degree in if it were a college major. She should be a pro by now, but she wasn’t.

She had always dreamed of a settled, permanent place called home. But she refused to admit it out loud. The disappointment would be more tangible if she did.

The first few months after starting over she resisted putting out personal effects, choosing instead to leave them in boxes, stacked and stored.  She certainly wouldn’t hang curtains or put up pictures.  That jinxed things immediately.

It was what they did.  It was the path they had put themselves on years ago.  It wasn’t really running.  It was simply not staying.

Planting something in the yard all but guaranteed there would be a move before the plant came full circle, bloomed, self-seeded, volunteered again the next season.

Wildflowers in Death Valley National Park

Wildflowers in Death Valley National Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a way she was a wildflower seed, except she was the seed that blew across the top soil with a breeze and landed far down the road, in an unpredictable, unusually rocky untilled soil. Waiting for dust, rain, a thin grip on ground so she could grow clingy roots.

It was wearing her out.  She wanted to stop.

Maybe someday she would say it out loud.  “No more.”

Sure she would.

Probably not.

There was never any choice anyway.  Saying “no” would make no difference in the outcome.

Someday, yes, someday she’d get planted deeply and stay forever. Then she might flower.  Then she would rest.

But that wasn’t likely to happen for a long while. And so, she continued starting over and starting over and starting over.

Categories: Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Matter of a Few Degrees: A Meteor’s Close Call

I am not a resolution maker, partly because I’m not a follower. I’ve also never been much of a goal setter.  I don’t like being dictated to by a calendar, or by tradition, or peer pressure, or even by a meteor aimed at the Earth.  Every January arrives and I ignore, resist and, yes, even look disdainfully on resolutions.

Here are three things that I do instead.

Small Moves

“Small moves, Ellie, small moves.”

That’s what Ted Arroway says to his daughter, in the movie “Contact,” as she’s searching on her ham radio for an open airway, an opportunity to make a connection.  If you’ve ever tried to tune in to a station by hand on a radio, then that concept of “small moves” makes sense to you.

Radio

Radio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s easy to get impatient while fine-tuning. Trying to zoom in on a specific point feels like it should be easy, should be done in one quick movement.  What’s required is a delicate hand, a gentle touch, a tiny shift.

That’s how I see changes taking place in my life. Sure, I can try to make big sweeping renovations, but they aren’t going to last.  The details of the change will get lost, the balancing mechanisms that allow permanence in the change won’t be in place.

I’ve found that it really is in the details, the minutia, the tiniest of adjustments, that big changes take place.

I don’t “resolve” to make changes.  I simply make a small move in the direction I want go with an idea, a change, a to-do list item or a habit.  It’s more like an experiment.  What happens if I do this one thing this way, instead of that way?  Then I observe the result.  Sounds simplistic?  Good.  It should.  It’s a simple thing.  A small thing.  A small move.

Taking Aim Again

There’s another concept I’ve had bouncing around in my head for a few years since I first heard of it.  May be it isn’t that different from “small moves” but it explains it best.

The idea finds its roots in two Hebrew words “chait” and “t’shuvah.”   Here’s a better explanation than I can write for those two concepts.

“The word for sin in Hebrew, chait, means “miss,” as in “miss the target.”  You have unlimited chances to take aim again, again, and again to hit a bull’s eye.  You have unlimited chances for atonement… unified with your own highest and best self.”

t’shuvah… is much more than just repentance.  T’shuvah is a return to our essential being, a re-alignment… a reorientation to our best selves.  In what ways are we off-center, out of touch with our own best selves?  How can we acknowledge responsibility, make amends, seek forgiveness… and return to the good? “ –Shofar Sermon – 2009 – Stewart Edelstein (http://congregationbnaiisrael.org/hihopage.html)

How often do I feel like I’ve missed the mark, been off target, failed in my aim?  All the time!!  Do I berate myself for being a failure? Not any more.

Archery Practice

Archery Practice (Photo credit: imarcc)

Now I simply employ the concept inherent in the word t’shuvah and reorient my aim, get back on center, pull back my arrow and try again.

The human experience is all about trying again and again and again.  Slowly working at getting it right.  Realignment and improvement.  Small moves.

Falling Down, Getting Up

Watching a toddler navigate and move is a fascinating practice.  Every time a fall happens, which is often, the adult wants to rush in and dust the kid off and reassure them.  Often the child will look to the adult to gauge how they should react to the fall.  If Mom or Dad’s face is full of worry, or sadness, then the crying and wailing will commence.  Baring any real injury, if the parent’s face is neutral or smiling, the kid will jump up and get back to what they were doing, or get on with something else all together.

An assortment of Guatemalan worry dolls made f...

Guatemalan worry dolls. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There isn’t any angst or drama or self-evaluation going on in that tiny toddler head. Bent on exploration and learning and moving forward, the kid just goes!

I try for  child-like in that way. Forward motion, learning, going and doing. Toddlers don’t seem to do much worrying.

They just fall and then get up and go.

 “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, but only saps today of its strength.” ― A.J. Cronin.

That quote is famous because it’s accurate and true. It plays a note that resonates in our brains.    Sing along. Hum that tune. Worry less.

So there’s a comet aimed at the earth?

Worry less, fall down then get up.

Realignment and improvement.

Small moves.

Let the stars fall from the sky.  I’m making progress a bit at a time.

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Today’s Post was prompted by this Daily Post Challenge: “Tell us about the three things you’d most like to change about your life, and make a bold, I-don’t-care-who-knows-it-because-there’s-a-meteor-a-comin’ assertion to the world that you are going to get these changes made. And that you’ll have at least started making them happen by March. When, erm, you’re probably going to wind up as dust.”

So tell me, do you make resolutions?  What would yours be if the world really were going to be hit by a meteor in a couple of months? Or are you like me, a non-resolutioner?

Categories: Mental Health, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Temporary Blue Funk: Not A Musical Group or Genre

I’m feeling like a helium balloon that has lost its lift, hovering somewhere between the ceiling and the floor, the curled ribbon dragging the ground, the shiny color of me now a chalky version of myself.

A blue funk. That’s the only word I know to describe this.  Tears keep pushing at my eyes. Sighs keep escaping from my mouth. I want to close all the blinds, crawl under the covers and sleep until I wake feeling new.

Why So Blue?

A few days ago my parents flew into town for a visit.  And today they left.

There is nothing I can do about the feeling.  I am a grownup adult type person.  Very grown.  Very up, usually.  Why would I miss my Dad and Mom like this?

It happens every time I have to say goodbye to them.  I know it’ll happen like I know the sun is going to come up in the morning.  I can’t head it off at the pass.  I can’t sidetrack it.  I can’t make it not happen.  I’ve tried to analyze it.  I’m trying again, right now, as I write.

Why My World Turns Indigo:

Theory 1.) My parents seem to view me and treat me like I’m this amazing person.  I feel like I’m on a pedestal when I’m around them.  I’m pretty sure that’s because the teenager I was and the who I am now are so diametrically different.  I’m sure they wondered often if they would survive raising me.  I turned out okay after a while though, in good measure, because they never gave up on me, loved me anyway. And, I didn’t want to disappoint them.

It is nice being seen in such a good light.  I’m really not all that amazing.  Okay, maybe a little amazing, since I have such great parents.  It probably helps that I live two states away and they don’t see me that often.

Theory 2.) When I’m around my parents, maybe I’m more me than the usual me.  Or maybe I’m the ideal me.  Maybe I’m the best of both of them especially when we’re all together.   Does any of that make sense? So when they go it’s like the best me goes out the door, too.

Theory 3.) Nothing else in the world matches the feelings between parents and children.  There’s some connection, some energy, some something, that happens, that fills and feeds both the parent and the child when they’re together.  Maybe it’s more noticeable as we get older.  I’m not sure.  I’m just throwing out theories here from my blue state of mind. The more I think about this the deeper the blue gets.

Theory 4.) If I think about these things from my own kids’ points of view, (which is nearly impossible and a bit frightening actually) I’m not sure any of these theories hold any water, or hold up, or hold out, or whatever cliché I’m trying for in this sentence.  Do my kids miss me when I leave them? Are they more themselves when they’re around me?  Do they feel loved and idolized? (I hope so!) Do they get some energy from me that make them more…them?

Theory 5.) I’m really just a five year-old kindergartener at heart.  Every day is the first day of school.  The world was so much safer at home, so much more manageable, so much more kid-friendly.  Being around Mom and Dad makes me feel safe and loved and secure.  When they go, that sense of security, of “all’s right with the world,” goes with them.

Where’s My Blanket and Lambie?

There you have it.  I’ve analyzed it as far as my temporarily funky cerulean mood will let me take it.  I’m thinking it’s probably a combo of a few of the above theories.  Although, if pushed I’d say I’m leaning toward Theory 5.

Enough of the analysis.  The only way to get through this kind of short-term blues is to ride it out.

I’m gonna volley this deflated balloon around the room for a while.  Maybe I’ll eat a PBJ, break out the crayons and do some coloring, practice tying my shoelaces.  Then I’m going to curl up on my bed and sleep until I wake up to a different color.

Weekly Challenge Post 

Categories: Relationships | Tags: , , , | 11 Comments

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