Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gorgeous sunsets and another year..

What a way to spend a birthday - watching a gorgeous sunset over the ocean. It really is an awe inspiring sight. According to Avery, it looks like the ocean just swallows up the sun. And quickly since in a matter of minutes, that beautiful orange blob is just a memory leaving beautiful colors in its wake. Feels that way sometimes as another year passes -where did the time go? Before you know it, that year is gone, swallowed up by time. Just like that and the time is gone. Surely memories and the impact of the time remain; some as beautiful colors and some with darker hues.

I am entering my 47th year with a feeling of change and restlessness gnawing at me that I can't fully define. Some of it is certainly work related with changes underway to my current role and other opportunities ahead. I think part of the restlessness is due to the fact that the sun does seem to sink a little faster every year. Time does seem to go by more quickly. And turning 47 is not a big deal in terms of aging. I got over the aging issue many years ago, in fact growing older has distinct advantages. I am more concerned about what is left as of yet undone. I am very blessed and grateful for the wonderful things in my life - chief among them my incredible kids, health, friends and the ability to provide for my family. I know I have accomplished much, and at the same time, I have the distinct feeling that there is alot more left here for me to do. I have to put my finger on what it is- work based, writing, more kids, spiritual growth, love, partnership? Ever feel as though you are not quite complete? not quite doing enough or fully using your gifts? That you had better snap to it and start doing so before the big orange blob sinks down again?

As amazing as this wonderful week was with my kids, I have yet to completely relax.. the little bits of things left undone still not quite done. I am not there yet. Perhaps we never ever feel "done" and that is on purpose so we continue to savor the wonderful sweet mystery of life and stay plugged in, alive and moving forward. But this feels different..change is around me in a way that I can feel, taste and sense.

I say bring it on 47! I am more than ready for the changes! After all, following a gorgeous sunset is an equally dazzling sunrise...

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Llittle R and R

A little R and and relaxation. What a concept! Actually taking a little time away from the daily routine and work for respite, fun and a chance to re-connect with those you love. I believe it is also referred to as a vacation!

I don't know about you, but it has been a while since I have compeletely disconnected and plugged back into my children. Maybe is our culture, my work culture in particular, expectations of availability due to technology or a self created need to always keep on top of things. We have a generous leave policy at my place of employment - however that many of us don't take it. We roll over vacation days to the next year, bring our laptops to the beach and sit on conference calls while in line at a theme park or even in labor... (all are true- I admit to being the theme park violator) and yes I had a colleague in the hospital about to deliver a baby and on a conference call. As my daughter asked me.."are you really going to be on vacation, or be on the blackberry with work the whole time?" Ouch. Suffice it to say I declined two conference calls next week.

I know that this is not unique to my workplace. Look around you, people are harried, need a break and do not take it. The holiday, vacation, sabbatical is a time honored tradition and for good reason. Look around the world, in some countries it is widely accepted (for good reason) that it is imperative for good health and sanity to take an extended break from the grind. In fact, it makes you a better and more productive employee. I have a friend whose employer expects 24/7 availablity and even a week off is frowned upon. Time to reassess employment opportunities! I think there is a bit of ego involved also when we refuse to take a break. At almost 47 years old, I have finally gotten the loud and clear message that the world really is not going to implode if I am out of touch for a while.

The human mind and spirit was built to need quiet, down time and a change from the regular routine. Time to breathe and think and relax. That is when brilliance flows and ideas germinate, because the mind has time to quiet and finish a thought. It is time for me to have some R and R.. relax, breathe, re-connect..

Friday, July 16, 2010

the power of friends

I have been reminded this week about the power of good friends. When it comes down to it, relationships and the people in my life help make my world wonderful. They help me share the good times and help pull me through the rough stuff. At the end of the day, they are what really matter to me.

I have had very tough week with some challenges that will inevitably bring some additional changes to my life. Changes that I believe will actually turn out to be great when I make them happen. The power of friendship got me through the tough days this week. The former colleague who emailed me to check in, my dear friends who called and talked me through my disappointment and helped me plan.

I tend to think of the best in others and figure that most people are good at heart so I am always surprised when someone turns out not to be trustworthy. On the other hand, much more often than not, the people in my life surround me with support and love. For that I am very grateful.

People and our amazing connections...are more important..than money, material things, job titles, and status. I will continue to try and be the best friend that I can, have integrity and treat others with honesty and love. My wonderful friends deserve it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Writer's Block

Writer's block: fact or fiction. As someone who writes, or more often lately, purports to write versus actually doing it, I am pondering the idea of wrtiter's block. Is it a real affliction? Or the result of being tired? Or some wacky form of self sabatoge?

I have so much to say through words - fiction, an idea for a non-fiction book, children's stories. Some works are finished, some in research phase and some are just ideas (very persistent ideas) floating around in my gray matter.

Perhaps to overcome writer's block, one must research and write about it. Hopefully, this is not another attempt to avoid actually writing. LOL.

Here is some content (not written by me) dicovered on the concept of writer's block:

"Most writers will have trouble with writer's block at some point in their lives. The possible reasons for writer's block are myriad: fear, loss of inspireation,anxiety, a life change, the end of a project, the beginning of a project…almost anything, it seems, can cause that particular feeling of fear and frustration. Fortunately there are as many ways to deal with writer's block as there are causes."

Of the possible solutions- these made the most sense to me

"Implement a Writing Schedule.
Carve out a time to write and then ignore the writer's block. Show up to write, even if nothing comes right away. When your body shows up to the page at the same time and place every day, eventually your mind -- and your muse -- will do the same. Graham Greene famously wrote 500 words, and only 500 words, every morning. Five hundred words is only about a page, but with those mere 500 words per day, Greene wrote and published over 30 books."

"2. Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself.
In fact, don’t be hard on yourself at all while writing. Anna Quindlin wrote, “People have writer’s block not because they can’t write, but because they despair of writing eloquently.” Turn the critical brain off. There is a time and place for criticism: it’s called editing."

I write best when it I do not censor or edit during the creative process. Those are the times when I get lost in the research or the act of putting thoughts into words and on paper. Time seems to disappear. Perhaps the issue is exactly that - disappearing time..a precious commodity to me. Perhaps, I am not letting myself disappear into China in the 18th century, my stacks of research on footbinding and the precious connection between mother and daughter for my unfinished novel. Perhaps rewriting a children's book manuscript on adoption and soul connections is a seen by some part of me as a waste of time since it is incredibly tough to get a children's book published. Perhaps I procrastinated too long on my non-fiction book idea "Spirit Connects Us All" - a compilation of amazing adoption stories (since I saw that Chicken Soup for the Adopted Soul is already out there.) Perhaps, I let the more rational and logical parts of my personality take over which squashes the creative. "You do not have time to work on this- there is real work to do, laundry to be done, a house to clean and kids to care for."

This leads to the first suggestion listed above - establish a writing schedule and stick to it. Maybe that is a way of using my logical side instead of going to war with it. Building writing time and a sacred space in which to do it (another challenge altogether) would put the structure around the creativity.

My daughter Lily is an avid reader and had begun writing in the evenings. I have peeked at it (after all she uses my laptop) and am amazed at how well she has written her short stories. They are truly interesting and always have a bit of fantasy or magic woven into the storyline. Watching her at work (or should I say at play) on them is fascinating. She loses herself and track of time and seems to be writing for the fun of it and as she has said "I have a great new idea for a story and just have to use the computer right now."

Maybe my answer to writer's block sits with my daughter...