Friday, November 25, 2016

Pink Culture


Well, the whole thing isn't pink, just the reds on the TV. While visiting my sister some time ago, I was surprised to see how pink the reds were on her TV. The reds were all shocking pink and blue jeans were green jeans. Yet they didn't seem to notice. I mentioned that the colours seemed off. But they seemed quite happy with it, so I let it go and watched TV with them. The longer I watched, the more I accepted it. It didn't feel right, but I got used to it. I suppose that if I stayed long enough I'd stop wondering about it and start to think that IKEA changed their logo to yellow and green.

It makes me wonder though. How much of the world I consider normal is my adaptation to something?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Should-less Days


In an interview with New York Public Radio, actress Ellen Burstyn was asked how she takes care of herself after many busy days. She said, "I’m very lazy. I have what I call should-less days. Today is a day where there’s nothing I should do. So I only do what I want to do. And if it’s nap in the afternoon or watch TV, and eat ice cream, I get to do it. I had that kind of day yesterday."

I love this. "Should" is a word we use too much. It always signals an inner conflict between the expectations around us (even our own) and what life wants us to do. Maybe by giving ourselves more should-less days, we can learn to trust that flow of life.

First published December 2016 in my free monthly email newsletter, Starry Night. Sign up here.

Upside Down


Every time I drag out the box of last year's hats and scarves from the back of the closet, I am reminded of a conversation I had years ago with a pond specialist. He told us that lakes turn over by themselves twice a year - even the ones that are not fed by fresh water. The changes in water and air temperature turn them over each spring and autumn - the bottom water coming to the top and the surface water to the bottom, bringing in fresh oxygen.

Life insists on change. It's always turning things upside down.

If I attempt to keep things the same, over time, my energy gets depleted. It steadily seeps away with the effort to resist. On the other hand, if I can move with what life seems to want of me, my energy gets revitalized.

Times of change ask me to re-think things: habits, people, activities, beliefs, assumptions, obligations. "Do I really need to bake him an Angel Food cake this year? Does he care?" "Do I think that anyone other than me cares about my hair?" "Is it okay if I don't go to every meeting?"

Times of change ask me to wonder "Who or what energizes me? and who or what depletes me?" so I can make choices based on today's reality. That hat may have worked last year, but, ummm, not this winter.

I resist though, because this is when some of the murkier bottom-of-the-pond stuff might float up. "I'm not as limber as I was. What if it's just a downhill slide from here?" "If I don't go to all the meetings, will they think I'm just there for the pot luck in June?" "Jenny asks too much of me. If I say no to dinner next week, will she stop being my friend? Was she ever really a friend?"

Yet it's no co-incidence life has given me this right now. These fears don't float up before their time. They float up at the perfect time. Life does its best to bring balance and joy and ease. I have to trust that.

It helps me to dial back my responsibilities during times of change. If I don't, life might do it for me. Ever ended up with the 'flu when you've been doing too much?

Then once I have enough energy and room to assess, I can see what's floating up and work with that.

Sorting through the box of winter stuff felt good. "I forgot I had those boots. They'll be perfect for tomorrow." "That hat has got to go." "Well look here... five bucks in my coat pocket."

The five bucks was nice but the real payoff was the sense that I was working with life. Like the pond inversion, it renewed me.

First published in December 2016 in my free monthly email newsletter, Starry Night. Sign up here.

Friday, November 11, 2016

What is Seen With One Eye


"We have to learn what we can, but remain mindful that our knowledge not close the circle, closing out the void so that we forget that what we do not know remains boundless, without limit or bottom, and that what we know may have to share the quality of being known with what denies it. What is seen with one eye has no depth."

-- Ursula Le Guin, from "Always Coming Home."