Category Archives: .04 Defining

Pause and Reflect

This weekend my mother sent me an email worried that I’m not as happy as I say I am. Given my many frustrations and my continual insistence that everything is great, I’m surprised she’s the only one who has challenged me on this so far.

The problem isn’t my happiness (or lack thereof); the problem is the blog itself. You see, I’ve dealt with the major changes in my life and now I’m simply continuing on, living a conscious life while pursuing my dreams. In trying to come up with five posts a week about my life, I end up mining the minute details, extracting tiny fragments of annoyance or fear then refining them and adding to them until they are presentable as Someday Lessons.

This email comes at just the right time. I’ve been questioning the role of this blog in my life. I don’t want to give it up, but it needs to change. My recently writings (to me) have felt forced and more than a little unauthentic. I’ve therefore decided to re-examine the blog and its purpose. So, over the next few weeks while I determine and develop the new direction, I’m going to cut back on the number of posts during the week.

Think of it as an anticipatory lull.

Someday Lessons:

  • When we try to force meaning we lose authenticity.
  • Everything has a life cycle – don’t push something back the point it should end or transform.

Alex the Househubby

My sister (who has started her own highly entertaining blog) recently told me that she only does things because she 100% wants to. She doesn’t do anything because she should or because she believes others expect her to. And although she’s not totally thrilled with her job, it serves her long term goals, so she puts up with it.

I, on the other hand, spent a lot of time with resentment creating acid that bubbles out of my stomach into my throat because of the unfairness of life – specifically around housework. I work mostly from home, for much fewer hours than Raul, doing a much less physically demanding job. I therefore end up doing almost all the dishes, most of the laundry, and keep the bed made and the house tidy on a daily basis.

Taking my sister’s advice, I looked at what I do around the house and realized that I actually enjoy it – including the dishes! Take last Sunday for example. We’d had friends over for dinner Saturday night which meant on Sunday we had a mound of dishes to do. Before going to bed on Saturday I swore to myself that I was not going to touch a single plate – I’d done enough dishes for the week. Raul could do them for once. Sunday morning came and after I’d watched the latest Doctor Who episode, I got up and started washing the dishes, because it made me happy to do so.

As I was washing them, I realized that I also enjoy laundry, making the bed and keeping the apartment tidy. I can let go of my ego-driven "It’s not fair!" attitude and fulfill yet another of my childhood dreams – being a househubby, taking care of my man.

Someday Lessons:

  • Only do things that you choose to do – delegate or outsource the rest.
  • When you choose to do something, do it fully with love and your complete attention.

Someday I’ll Be Rich

In a fit of procrastination (this being Tuesday), I wrote down my "Somedays." I included only things about which I was passionate and came up with ten. In looking at them more carefully, I discovered that I had repeated myself five times. Of the five that remained, numbers two and three were a subset of number one, giving me in reality only three "Somedays" that I have not yet realized.

My relationships are awesome (romantic, family and friends – including a one year anniversary with Raul as of yesterday). I love where I live (even if it’s only 225sq ft) and although my health isn’t perfect, I know how to manage it and am content with that. "Someday" number two (learning Spanish and Basque) is well underway and number three is very personal but also moving forward. I don’t have to actively pursue these – they will happen with patience and time.

"Someday" number one, however, is totally up in the air – and it’s one many people worry/dream about: money. Someday my fiction and non-fiction writing will create enough income to support me at my chosen level of lifestyle through retirement. I work on this "Someday" daily, but I have little or no guarantee that anything will come from the effort I put in.

I can only continue to plug away at it, learn all that I can about writing and the publishing world, and maintain patience and perseverance.

Someday Lessons:

  • How many areas of your life (relationships, finance, romance and health) have "Somedays" hanging over them?
  • What are you doing to actively remove the word Someday from these areas of your life?

There is no Secret, Part II

This past weekend I switched from reading blogs at the site through their bookmarks to reading them through a feed. Suddenly I’m reading more blogs and making more comments in a shorter time. I’d been resisting using a feed, but the increased productivity has won me over.

One of the blogs I added this weekend due to the decrease in time needed to read through the blogs was ZenHabits. Yesterday he talked about the Law of Attraction and stated his opinion about it to 55,000 people (or more). I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really believe in the Law of Attraction. Today, I’ll give you more detail than I did in January.

As much as I can’t argue with the results people like Michael Losier produce with their followers, I have never bought into it. I believe that the Law of Attraction doesn’t work because there are energy waves out there and we tune into them. For me, the Law of Attraction simply encourages people to visualize not just a half-full glass, but one that never empties no matter how much you drink. More importantly, however, the Law of Attraction encourages people to make conscious choices based on clear desires and a full awareness of the consequences.

Every generation of philosophy has had a version of the power of positive thinking, right back to Plato and his cave of shadows. It’s nothing new. There is no Secret and there’s no Law of Attraction – there’s only choice and awareness.

Someday Lessons:

  • Success comes from deliberate choice and hard work.
  • Personal religion, philosophy, and the personal growth movement are all tools used to develop self-awareness and conscious choices.

My Creativity Pattern

That’s it. I definitely have a one day productive, one day not habit. For the last few weeks if I’ve worked hard on a project one day, the next day I’m unable to be creative. Yesterday I wrote a script for the Organizing Connection, and today I only had enough energy to add my contributions to an online writing workshop.

I even lack creativity for this blog post – it took me fifteen minutes to write the above paragraph and it still feels boring.

For a while I’ve been thinking that when the new school year starts in September I’ll ask for four to six hours a day Tuesday and Thursday and keep the rest of the week open for writing. Given my emerging creativity pattern, that’ll be perfect.

Someday Lessons:

  • Sometimes no matter how hard you try to make something happen, your body/brain just won’t do it.
  • Be aware of how your brain and body function. If possible adjust your life to maximize your natural rhythms.

Names Have Power

In 1985, Ursula K. LeGuin wrote a story called She Unnames Them. It’s about Eve (and Adam) and the naming of things. It’s one of my favourite short stories. When we name something we define it. We say what it is and what it isn’t. We also define how we act and react around the thing we’ve named

Take today’s theme. I never know what to say on Lazy Tuesday. I procrastinate about what I’m going to write. You’ll notice that many times I’ve used the theme as an excuse not to write anything (here, here, here and here).

I had meant the theme to represent the procrastination part of this blog. It hasn’t turned out that way though. The meaning of the name has mutated and has come to represent something else altogether. I won’t change the name–I quite like it–but I will have to be more determined to write about procrastination and to not procrastinate about writing.

Someday Lessons:
Be very careful about word choice. It can really affect you attitude and actions.
Changing the name of something changes its meaning and changes your approach to it.

Surround Yourself With Happy People

We are defined by our friends. If our friends complain all the time, or judge people, or are just generally negative people, chances are you are too. You might want to be more positive, to be less judgmental, but if that’s all you hear from others, it’s difficult to do anything else yourself.

It could be as simple as moving your desk at work away from the coworker who never has anything nice to say. Or you might have to divorce yourself from a friend or two.

Before you do, talk to them. Explain what you feel when you are together. Ask them if they understand and if they would like help being more positive. Unfortunately, many negative people will see this type of conversation as an attack, so the divorce may be inevitable.

It’s difficult to do this with family members. A literal divorce might be necessary, or a careful distancing from a negative sibling or parent. Don’t, however, withdraw from your kids. Children usually need a hug right when they’re being their most negative.

Someday Lessons:

  • What do your friendships say about you? Are they positive or negative?
  • Monkey see, monkey do. What do look at every day?