Time to Buy Squirrel Leash

So, a bit of background:

I started this blog because I randomly watched a Tedx talk by Scott Dinsmore on Youtube.  I was led to the Live Your Legend  (LYL) website and a blog challenge that has writing prompts… So…

Here’s today’s writing prompt: What do people thank you for?
The point of this question is to give some thought to the ways you help people with your talents, skills and passions that you might not be realizing (or giving yourself credit for). Another way to look at it is “What do you love helping people with,” or “What would you be happy and excited to help others with even if you didn’t get paid?”

I usually love writing prompts.  They make me think, something I love to do.  But this prompt:  What do people thank you for?  It stumped me a bit.  My short answer was:  I am thoughtful.  I help and work hard. I am a fierce friend and a huge cheerleader of others’ passions.

That seemed quite generic, so I emailed a friend for feedback.  She said:  “I am thankful for your abundant empathetic generosity.” Yea!  Thank you! Warm fuzzy feelings!  But how does this lead to “talents, skills, and passions?”

I’m still basically stumped about the prompt, BUT I have found a bit more self knowledge as a result of this prompt and blog challenge.  I need accountability to force me to distill and simplify my ideas into actions.  All fine and good to think about this prompt, but if I did not take action on my commitment to write a blog post, well, what was the purpose of the blog prompt anyway?   Thank you LYL for being my Accountability Partner.   I knew I needed one.  I just didn’t know how badly I did!  You see:

I’ve been dreaming. I’ve been reading.  I’ve been thinking. I’ve been planning.

I’ve been convincing myself that these things were preparation for doing something great.  BUT I never put anything into action.  I knew I was an Obliger according to happiness and habit author, Gretchen Rubin .  I need accountability.  But who was holding me acountable for getting an accountability partner?  See how that was a problem?

So here’s my internal dialog when my brain geared up to think about this prompt and write a blog post:

…Nothing gets me more excited than letting my mind wrap itself around a complex idea, feeling, or question…Awesome…So…What do people thank me for?  …Trying to see it from every angle and perspective…hours pass…got to get on with my day..feed the kids… cats… schoolbus… work… Hmmmm…Write a bit…Thankful for….Helping others excites me…creative big picture thinking…Processing and trouble shooting Ideas and plans excites me…Email my friend for some input/feedback… hmmm…Helping with almost anything and everything…Dirty, hard, physical work is cathartic… got to go to work and work on landscaping project…Talent for coming up with creative solutions… wow!…a cool idea for a community garden …usually a long and winding process…Thank me for what?…get lost in the connecting the dots… can I write/get a grant for urban vertical gardening scheme? …I get distracted easily and find it hard to finish tasks …Full of thanks?…Skills?…My mind Jumps… Starts one place ends up somewhere else entirely. …Hops somewhere else to help with something else… hmmm…Help others process their problems?  My world becomes a blur of thoughts…I love this process, but it is neither direct nor simple nor fast…  This thinking is fun!… Rarely is there a simple yes or no answer… all a matter of perspective…attitude… hmmm… My process for thinking makes many people NUTS, mainly my husband…Takes forever to put ideas into action…I blame it on Larry the squirrel… Yes…The chatter in my head is made by a squirrel, named Larry…  I know he is in there… Why can’t I get my thoughts in order…so many distractions…I think I’ll start a sewing project…  no I have to clean the bathroom… yes…need to clean…

Soon…happy fun thinking become worrisome because I am not taking action on my commitment to write the post and publish it!…arghh… No action equals anger, frustration, shame…and Larry the happy distracted squirrel turns to the dark side…

…he starts chittering: “Yeah, but you can also be thoughtless, and often so distracted.   You never finish anything. Talents? Skills? Ha!  You are erratic, moody and often judgemental, impatient.. You get too serious about the simple tasks of life and lose sight of the joy and fun in things.  You are way too practical and a bit of a worrier… and…also… but… chit,chit,chit.”

So I may not know what people thank me for.  I may not know what my talents, skills, and passions are.  BUT trying write this blog post made one thing CLEAR.  If people only knew, they’d thank me for keeping Larry on a short leash.  If I want to find what I am capable doing and start leading a life I can be proud of, then Larry needs to be trained to be still and quiet.

Time to get Larry a leash.

My nemesis named Larry
My nemesis named Larry chatters in my head with all sorts of distractions and negative talk.  He’s cute and fun to watch from a distance, but no fun to have in your house.

What Makes Me ANGRY?

Bumpersticker from my very first car, a 1986 red Nissan Sentra
Bumper sticker from my very first car, a 1986 red Nissan Sentra

Being mean, spiteful, hurtful, deceptive. Being wasteful, careless, lazy. Being close-minded, impatient, jealous. Being condescending, arrogant, greedy.  Being ungrateful.

These things make me ANGRY, but what makes me even angrier is the way I can get sucked into filling my time with reading and watching and ranting and complaining about humans acting this way! In fact, I am most angry (and frustrated and ashamed), when I find myself being what I profess to despise. The old saying about those in glass houses…

I want to pay attention to living according to my values.  I can use my anger to fuel actions that make a difference (and hopefully let go of the frustration and shame).  I think I need a mission statement of sorts.  Something like:  I will seek out and learn from the kind, helpful, useful, caring, determined, open-minded, patient, content, loving, joyful, humble, selfless, gracious, and grateful in my community.  I will be a person of integrity and lead a life that matters.

It’s a start anyway…

Oh…lots of reading to start this process…I am revisiting a few old basics that stood by me when I was younger and better able to listen to my heart:  The Serenity Prayer, The Invitation, and the Desiderata, and recently a modern, Desiderata graphic novel approach that I love!  I am also taking my eighteen-year-old self’s advice to: Think Globally, Act Locally. All a bit cheesy, but my nostalgia has gotten the better of me…and so I leave you with another oldie but goodie…

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step ~Lao-Tzu


Being Here

Elvis and Rocks and Mint and Nasturtiums...these are a few of my favorite things.
Elvis and Rocks and Mint and Nasturtiums…these are a few of my favorite things. Here. Now.

On the good days I smile and think about how lucky I am to be here.  On the bad days, I despair and whine about how unlucky I am to have ended up here.

Where is here?

Here in my head, here in my body, here in my heart, here in my life!  Here is Orange, Virginia.  I have been taking my life for granted, just waiting and wishing for all the different threads of my life to weave together and point me in a direction.  As if here and now is simply a dress rehearsal, and my real life will start tomorrow.  But tomorrow comes, and I still make lazy choices as if each moment is not a precious gift.

It is time to begin. Begin what?  Something.  Anything.

But first I think I will just begin by being HERE. Be present and show up to my own life with my best self ready to learn and grow.  Begin living a life that matters right here. Right here in Orange, Virginia. Right Now.  My first blog post ever…at least it is a start…

Want to join me?