Posts Tagged With: hope

Emotional Overdrive and Sunday’s Serendipitous Sign

Wood, found on railroad tracks, which looks to me like an angel's wing. 12/4/2011. Canon A 3300 IS.

Wood, found on railroad tracks, which looks to me like an angel’s wing. 12/4/2011. Canon A 3300 IS.

These days I feel on emotional overdrive.  I care about everything, and everyone around me, even when I don’t want to.  Tears well up easily.

It’s like my heart has vacated its space behind the protection of my rib cage and breastbone, and has risen to the surface to rest just below the thinnest layer of skin, and refuses any sturdier protection.

The old familiar walls refuse to go up, and crumble as fast as I try to build them.

Yet, in the midst of the vulnerability and tears, I am finding a glimmer of fearlessness that I didn’t know I had.  Things that used to frighten me, I mean really scare the daylights out of me, are getting easier…Like opening myself to compassion to everyone, even when I don’t want to…Like allowing myself to be vulnerable with other people present…Like not being perfect, or not being exactly what other people want me to be.

I went for a walk yesterday around my neighborhood, and cutting down the train tracks I spotted the piece of wood up there, shaped by weather and where it had landed and who knows what else, to resemble an angel’s wing, and I can’t help but feel it echoes the feather I found on the beach, photographed, and spoke of in this post.  It feels like a good, serendipitous sign that I’m on the right track.  (Pun intended, given where I found it.)

Something good is rising, I can feel it.

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A Sign That It’s All Going to Be Alright

Feather on the beach at the lake. Taken 8/27/2011.

Feather on the beach at the lake. Taken 8/27/2011.

The day I took that photograph, I had been unemployed for two months.

I had been going around and around in the same fearful, anxiety-fueled circles for weeks, getting myself ever further into a mire, and decided the best way to get some relief was to take a trip to the lake.  Nature, and particularly this lake, is sacred space to me.  I took my journal, my camera, and a couple books and decided to see what Nature would say.

I kicked my shoes off and took a walk along the beach, wading barefoot in the water’s edge.  Up ahead I could see a small flock of ducks gathered by some driftwood.  I raised my camera and took their picture.

At the same time, I felt something brush across the top of my foot.  It was this feather.  I watched the lake lap at it a couple of times, then took the picture.

In that moment I got the answer I went for.  To me, this small gift said, “Don’t lose hope.  Keep faith.  It’s all going to be alright.”

Not even a week later, I was employed.  My new position is far from perfect, but I have been blessed to form fast friendships with my coworkers and feel like I’m gaining some momentum and direction again.  I feel like, one way or another, it’s all going to be alright.

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Ending Back at Square One

Seeded-top grass. 6/24/2011. Canon PowerShot A 1100 IS.

Seeded-top grass. 6/24/2011. Canon PowerShot A 1100 IS.

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” – Semisonic, “Closing Time”

The end came June 24th, under an extremely blue sky, lit beautifully, with perfect cotton clouds scattered throughout.  My boss entered the final stages of retiring and closing his law office, and he no longer needed me, as he will only be seeing a few clients by appointment to tie up loose ends and will begin the process of moving his things and over 25 years of files out of the office.

I received a grand send-off, with gifts and a few tears.  As endings go, it went well.

The first thing I did was take my cameras out for a spin in that magical light–my point-and-shoot for macros, like the one above, and Canon Rebel XS for everything else.  (I don’t have a macro lens for the Rebel yet.)  It seemed like an auspicious way to begin again.

After all, I’ve wanted a clean break and a new beginning for quite a while.

Now that it’s here, though, it’s nothing like I expected.

For a variety of reasons, it became clear that my original plan, what I’d hoped to make happen, wasn’t and isn’t going to work for me right now.   Plan B didn’t and doesn’t feel quite right, either.

I’m back at square one, which is a terrifying place to be because I feel like I should have more figured out by now about where I want to go and what I want to do and how to make those two things happen.  The local unemployment office is breathing down my neck, repeating these sentiments, along with a few family members and other outsiders looking in.  At the same time, though, there’s so much possibility, even though I may not see it right now.

Things end, and new things begin.  Confusion happens.  Plans fall through.   Sometimes we don’t want what we thought we did, or the timing isn’t right.  Sometimes we don’t have immediate answers.  Sometimes we need to take some time to just get quiet.  These things are natural, and okay, I think, despite what some may say.

So, right now, I’m concentrating my efforts on making time and space to go back to the drawing board, on writing and photography (likely to help with the efforts at the drawing board), and on trying to avoid sinking into the darkest of my fears.

“Square one, my slate is clear…Took a long time to get back here.” – Tom Petty, “Square One”

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Freeing Myself and My Writing

What do you do when chasing a long-held dream begins to feel like you’re trying to shove your feet into glass slippers two sizes too small?

Do you let it go, accepting that you are no longer the same person who originally dreamed that dream?  Do you try harder to push yourself toward it, convinced the problem is only your gremlins chattering away?

These are the things I’ve been asking myself now that November is over and the 50,000-plus word novel I’d planned to write during NaNoWriMo did not come to fruition, as the Muse led me in other directions last month.

In elementary school and beyond, my teachers frequently commented that I was a talented writer.  This showed up in notes on papers, in my report cards, in parent-teacher conferences, and so on.  My family took notice as well.  There’s a long line of storytellers in our family, including my late grandmother, who forever influenced my drive to tell stories myself.

Somewhere along the line, people began assuming I would become a novelist.  I began to assume I would become a novelist.  Becoming a novelist seemed like the Holy Grail, the land of the brightest and best, and, for most of my life, I was a perfectionist and over-achiever.  (I’m now recovering from that.)  If a brass ring dangled in front of me during my marriage to academia–kindergarten through undergrad, really–I didn’t even consider how high I’d have to jump to grab it, I just jumped and jumped and jumped again until my fingers found purchase and pulled it loose, with little regard for my well-being or what I really wanted.

I’ve spent at least half of my life jumping and reaching for the brass ring labeled “Write a novel,” never truly considering whether it was meant for me.  I can write, I love to read novels, so it would follow that I’d write them, right?  I’ve spent a lot of my time berating myself for not grabbing that brass ring, but it hasn’t helped and only hurt.  I get tired, and have to stop jumping and grabbing.  I jump and the ring seems to rise higher, out of my reach.  With every failed attempt, I curse what, until recently, I assumed was laziness and writer’s block.

The thing is, last year–or maybe earlier–I realized that, at the very least, my writing had shifted.  I wasn’t, and am not, blocked as a writer, though my devotion toward the goal of writing a novel sometimes blinded me to that fact.  I write nearly all the time.  I write sometimes for work.  I write in my journal.  I blog.  I have a small notebook with ideas for blog posts and other nonfiction.  I have poems, a few promising beginnings of short stories, and, in a purely-for-fun vein, fan fiction, littering flash drives and my laptop’s hard drive.  Nearly every evening I tell stories gleaned from my time at work, frequently working in wit with which to regale my family.  No, I am neither blocked nor lazy as a writer.

I simply needed to figure out that novels are not the only legitimate forms of writing.   I needed to give myself permission to allow my writing flow freely into whichever form it wishes, even if that meant letting go of a long-held goal and dream.

Therefore, I am hereby freeing myself and my writing.  I am letting go of my quest to grab the ring labeled “novelist,” and opening the door to any and all possibilities.

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Things I Wish Everyone Recognized

The state of the world at the moment is troubling to me.

The country I live in is polarized, politically and otherwise, with each side demonizing the other.

Young people are committing suicide because people can’t stop telling each other that there’s something inherently wrong with them, can’t stop bullying each other because they’re different.

The institutions we’re inclined to look to to find peace and answers, such as religions, are criticizing each other, and some are even fighting amongst themselves with rival factions, each proclaiming themselves the holders of the Absolute Truth.

I just want to press “pause” on it all.  I want to make everyone listen to a few things I have to say, things I wish everyone recognized.

First, I want everyone to listen when I say that no one believes as they do because they think they’re wrong.

No one loves who they love because they think or feel it’s wrong.

No one person or institution has the answer to all the world’s problems.  (I don’t.  I only know what is pouring forth from my heart as my fingers move across the keyboard.)

Every vision of how our nations should be run has its pros and cons.

Everyone should be allowed to be themselves, without being verbally abused, physically abused, or otherwise punished so long as they do no harm to others.  (Existence is not harm to others.)  Even if someone does harm others, abuse should still be out of the question, as it is likely abuse that led them to harm others.

We are all human, and we’re all in this country and on this planet together.  We may not agree with each other all of the time, or even most of it, but we need to learn to live together.  We may get frustrated with each other.  That’s okay.  We’re all different, and no one is perfect by the standards we use to judge perfection.  We may not understand why someone is different from us, but we need to try to walk a mile in their shoes, and, if that doesn’t work, just accept that this is one of life’s great and wonderful mysteries.  Agree to disagree.

In some moments it may be more difficult than others to hold all of these things with open hands and open hearts, but we owe it to ourselves and each other to try, and to try again and again and again, as many tries as are necessary.

We owe ourselves and each other forgiveness for our perceived failures and offenses.

We owe it to ourselves, to each other, and to all of our descendants to try to make the world a better, more peaceful place.

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