518: The Barbs

I can sense fear, well enough. It doesn’t come in needle form. It isn’t injected by an outside source. There is no fluid that enters through a prick or an invasive probing. Fear bypasses exterior layers, rooting from within, expanding and growing as seedlings do. And I am but host to the cyclic process.

For most of my days, I wasn’t aware of the fear inside. Even as I was always anxious and scared, I couldn’t readily identify my emotions of fright, basically because I was fright. Even as new fear entered, there was no obvious change inside of me. There was no alarm system in place. Fear was my normal. If there were trespasses against me, there was no way to tell, because I was already overcrowded inside; one more pair of prodding footsteps made no difference to a well-established colony of thousands. Ironically, in a state of fear-equilibrium, I felt perpetually balanced.

In regards to the fear I housed inside, I don’t know when I started to shift. It was sometime between the start of my public writings and the times I had delved deeply into spiritual studies. I’d been searching for answers. And something had clicked. Something inside of me. And in those moments the fear became recognizable. Wherein it had been invisible before, this fear now had a voice and had taken form. It arrived aware of itself, pushing up and growing in a making-room-for-more manner.

The fear was real then. It always had been, but now it was set outside the shadows and staring down at me. I could feel it everywhere, a monstrosity. I knew of it, too, as if an old familiar friend had reappeared for fellowship. Foe, he was, true, but more so a companion, in the way he meandered and made himself at home, opening and closing whatever compartment he fancied.

Seeing him move this way, amongst the others, amongst the piles of pain, in the conglomeration of fear, baffled me. A visibility granted where once there had been utter blindness, seemed miracle. In this way, fear itself, in manifestation, became an element of transformation. In this way, fear was part of my breaking and making.
With my new awareness my body was liken to a musical organ, each key being pounded in by some unknown trigger, and in response piping out this obnoxious vibration, the sounds penetrating my interior and leaching out of the exterior: a lost song let out into the open.

Wherein before I might have survived in a state of saturated fear, my stagnation birthed through a tangible blindness, here, in this new awareness of continual pounding, I could not live. In response to the discomfort my instinctual nature took over. And at a subconscious level I began the process of sorting through and categorizing the discomfort. Later, again, quite instinctually, I established a way to eradicate the unwanted tenants. I’d rely on my own body. Recognizing that I was contaminated by fear, I would remove each and every cause for pain, my body an informant, verbalizing through careful unspoken word.

It whispered its tellings,
listen, stomach would say, I am tight,
listen, heart would say, I am pounding,
listen, hands would say, I am clenched.

And from here, the whys came forth. Stomach was sad from the way the stranger had frowned. Heart was upset in the way the word ‘stupid’ reminded him of the past. Hands were scared by the loud boom of the car. And I listened. Day after day, I listened. Until, with much patience and practice, I began to hear less and less. Now, new spaces opened where none had existed before. Now when a stranger appeared, when he rooted himself in me, the fear was no longer cloaked by the masses. Now when the fear came, it came with a loud blow into an empty room. Now when fear arrived I knew immediately.

The tables had turned. Instead of housing the fears that had used me for room and board for decades, now I removed the newbies, the ones that had hitchhiked in hopes of permanent residency. Now I gathered the barbs and released them—their freedom, my freedom.

485: Back Awake

“I feel the safest when I am in the lap of vulnerability, tenderly tucked in the hands of truth. Here I am my self. Here I am true. However once released, a radical dichotomy manifests. For though I am safest whilst vulnerable, the aftermath of such actions brings imminent danger. Oftentimes after being exposed in the open, the lap of safety evaporates, and I am left swimming in a mist: the fog of regret, refusal, denial, and question. Having voluntarily been stripped and gutted, torn down and replaced, and surrendered in refuge to my own self, I become infant escaped into a new blinding darkness. Here I face a rushing fear of my own making. Another layer upon layer of self-doubt breeched and set painfully still within. Until I rebalance and reassemble and understand that in the risk I am reborn again.” ~ Samantha Craft, Everyday Aspergers

I am afraid. Each and every time I share with you I am frightened. This won’t ever pass. It is essentially who I am. A vulnerable wounded warrior. I accept this. I allow this. I find strength in this. Each day, like you, I reface the demons and hauntings. Each day, like you, I don’t give up. Each day one more shadow of untruth is conquered. I recognize that I face only that which is a mere shadow of doubt and fear. There is nothing out there in the forest black that threatens me. And still I tremble, some child lost in the universe of self, desperately reaching out for companions in the company of ghosts.

I am understanding today that this is okay. That I am entirely okay to be frightened. Of course, I am frightened, I feel the weight of the world. I feel inside of you. I feel inside of pain. I feel the all of all. And it is overwhelming. Until now I was fighting some invisible battle, the fight between strength and weakness. I was teaching myself subconsciously the ways of the world, some offset rules of behavior and insidious goals that equate strength to the absence of fear. I am beginning to see myself in a new light. Something that resembles the final breaking of the iceberg. In that I am set out, divided in myself and left to melt into the waters of union.

I am sensing that this interior battle is coming to an end. Or at least one end.

I am the meek one. I am the weak one. This isn’t going to change. But in this is my strength. In my inability to don the robe of pride. In my inability to be filled with praise and take refuge in compliments, this is my gift. Until now I felt numb and lost, in a perpetual state of always approaching. Now I feel centered and rebalanced, allowed to sit where I am and take note.

I am not that which is becoming anything. I am that. I am all. And in this knowing I am understanding multiple aspects of myself. There is no struggle, and yet I continue to struggle. There is not truth, and yet I continue to seek.

There is just being.

There is just being in this state of grace whatever it brings. The heartache, the question, the agonizing emptiness, the void that longs to be filled, it is all the same game, the same dance, and the partner is fear. And still I wait, thinking that if I move swifter than the rest of me I shall outrun the mystery. This isn’t true. Nothing is ahead of me, as nothing is behind. I am not being chased nor am I am the chaser. And thusly, I am in a place of waiting, waiting until the runner in me subsides, exhausted and forlorn, and returns to the only choice: that of basking in the light of truth.

I am what I am, and nothing I do or find or invent will change this. I am honorable, good, and opaque. I am that sunrise and sunset. I am that wave and that droplet. I am that which is everything. And like the tree, I need not surrender to the storms, I need just be: strong in the steadfast of my existence. I need not take up armor or weapon of mass destruction. There is nothing to excavate, demolish, or retrieve. I am already.

And here I am today, wondering why this took so long, remembering from before this exact place I stood, and watching all the scenarios of me pass by—the costumes, the robes, the dank-dazzling masks. Had I not been here all along, this child of the universe, entirely bathed and set out in truth?

I am tired of fighting this invisible ghost of me. Very weary. I surrender her to you. In all her ways. Her supercilious-self and forthright searching. I am as beacon and you are my light. You are shining within me and I within you. I am done looking. For today, I am done.

And when I arise to yet another version of self, I will remind her too, to rest, to be, to stop, to just wait. And in the waiting I shall let the movement and rush of the world subside, pass by as nothing but whispers of wind, touching down and embracing that which is us. Touching down and hushing us back awake.

meeee

471: A Beautiful Morning with a Beautiful Mind

It was a beautiful morning.

My Aspie son and I have such deep and complex conversations; I swear he must be at least a thousand years old. He speaks philosophically, in a manner of viewing life that I have only discovered in the ancient wisdom of great scholars across the globe.

This morning we spoke about truth, and the idea that when one threatens another’s truth by confrontation through disagreement or differing opinion, how the other naturally, quite instinctually, responds with a fight-or-flight nature. We opted for the agreement that this human response is based on human nature, on the idea of wanting to protect singular intelligence and mentality. I scaffolded upon the initial points, mentioning the concepts of limited and isolated perception based on the singular collection of reality from a limited scope of an individualized sensory input. He understood entirely.

I elaborated that I don’t hold a singular truth, as my truths vary vastly compared to how I interpreted my world five years prior, and that I am continually changing. He concurred and expressed that I had made sense.

Of course, most of this discussion was a dissertation on my son’s part. His theories of human communication and outcomes are right up there with the geniuses of our time. It amazes me that he is Aspie, and yet years ahead of his peers in understanding the complexities of human nature and societal responses to multiple environmental stimuli.

I suppose I have taught him some by example, and he has sought out his own form of awareness and truth through observation of others and the intake of literature and films; however, the intricate ways in which he pieces the found knowledge into linear and detailed outcomes and conclusions is awe-inspiring. If ever an old soul exists, I see this as my son.

When I offer a gentle reminder to him, at anytime and in any genre of conversation, to keep in mind that he views the world a bit differently than others, and that him and I have complex ways of interpreting events, he is ever so humble, consistently reminded me that he does not enjoy the comfort of setting himself above or beyond anyone else, and that all can see and comprehend as he does, but that perhaps they do not understand what they are doing or in some way do not observe the connections.

He is insistent that his way is no better and that he is not superior by any means; to sit with the idea of being special is a great discomfort to him. And though my son may appear aloof, argumentative, and at the edge of his seat ready to engage in debate, he is at the heart of him a wise sage, insistent upon remaining humble. A concept I did not set out to instruct him upon, but one he shares with me.

I am continually fascinated by his mind. He grows in spurts that are ‘unnaturally’ fast; comprehending and taking in and retaining more than any student I have ever witnessed. And he reworks ideas in his mind to match his view of reality, a view that is extremely open-minded, whilst being seemingly narrow-minded. I mean to say that he comes across, to the typical observer, as strongly opinionated and limited in his viewpoints, but with careful analysis and granted the patience to listen, he is actually extremely open to reasonable and logical ideas that don’t initially resonate as truth with him. And, in fact, he will easily dislodge a chosen truth for a new truth, after taking in what another has shared. The barrier that exists between him and his peers (and some adults) appears to be that exact fight-or-flight mentality my son was theorizing upon. He speaks and if another interprets him as threatening to any degree then the other shuts my son down or out; no longer hearing what he is stating and instead closing off to possible connection.

We were weaving out of conversation this morning, and I found myself going down an interesting course. I had started a sentence several times, never truly completing the string of words, as my son was interjecting (albeit while apologizing for doing so) with his rapid-firing thoughts and connections. I enjoy the way he is ignited with ideas, and take no offense to his interruptions. I see myself a lot in him, and him in me.

I was trying to explain something to my son. At first I thought I was clear on my idea, but something inside of me self-corrected, in the middle of my thought process. I was speaking aloud. I had thought of the isolating factor of Aspergers. How we are so often misunderstood and ostracized. And on hearing my son talk so freely and blatantly, I imagined how this exact discourse might bring him further out of his collective circle of peers. (He attends a part-time academic school for children that are homeschooled). I began to speak from fear, but didn’t recognize what I was doing, until most of the words were out of my mouth.

“As you get older, son, I think it would be beneficial if you monitored some of what…”

The words came through at last, as one cohesive thread, and with that outpour I had time to recollect what I had shared. I immediately backtracked.

“You know what, I have changed my mind,” I shared. “I was originally thinking these past few minutes that you should be more careful around people who don’t love you unconditionally, so that you don’t live an isolated life. But I disagree with this. I think you should be exactly you, and that people will love you for you.”

We sidetracked for a bit to explore the concept of unconditional love. He didn’t understand the idea of choosing not to have someone in your life but choosing to still love them unconditionally: to hold them in love and light, to pray or keep them in thought, to hold no ill-will or resentment towards the individual and wish the person the very best.

He seemed to be taking in a lot more than I was saying.

My son looked at me, and gave me a sheepishly-wise grin. I knew that he knew. And we continued onward, back to the previous conversation, again.

I stated: “I mean, I tried the other way for years. To pretend and hold back myself and I was miserable. Why would I want that for you? I just want you to be free to be you, and others to appreciate you for who you are.”

He listened and answered. “I know. I thought you might change your mind once you said it. You realized you were contradicting yourself before you were finished. That is clear. I understand.”

I smiled. Still in disbelief at the level of this young man’s ability to comprehend others’ thought processes. I added, “I guess I just wish as you grow older that you can focus on being less injurious, if that makes sense. What I mean is there is a difference between choosing to say something that you are highly certain will hurt someone’s feelings and saying something and unintentionally hurting someone. If you are injurious, it will be harder to maintain friends. Does that make sense?”

“Yes,” he said. “And I already do that Mom. Don’t worry. I understand.”

We talked further about the complexities of human communication and the limitations based on others’ interpretations and emotional responses.

As we approached the school, he looked at me and responded more, “Thank you for such intriguing conversation.” He nodded, sounding much like the little professor I have grown to adore in astonishing amounts. “It was quite a good conversation.”

I half expected him to add ‘indeed’ to the end of his last statement.

His voice was monotone, without hints of rejoice; he made no eye contact, and he mostly huffed away as I said, “Enjoy your day, Baby.” But I knew how he felt. We’d connected at an intellectual level without judgment, without expectation, and with equally open minds and acceptance. It was another freeing moment, the way in which the two of us communicate; this unabashed arena in which anything said is okay and doesn’t affect the other’s equilibrium or sense of self or worth.

It was a beautiful morning, indeed.

468: Extremes lead to Happiness

I center naturally and instinctually by going to extremes. I tend to make huge changes in radical fashion with haste. This is my way.

The change is dynamic, akin to a wildfire brought on by drought—drought of the spirit, the psyche, the body, etc. As humans, we all naturally address and confront the need for change when we feel we can no longer tolerate the state we are experiencing. There gets to be a point where the energy spent to maintain a constant place of discomfort is more exhausting than the energy required to take steps towards change.

I know my mind well enough to recognize that when I instigate change, I become partially blinded to the past. I have the tendency to drop all of what I was a part of in order to move on. Only to return, once recovered in a state of balance, to pick up some of the pieces. There is no doubt that when I am undergoing transition, I become increasingly more stubborn about maintaining any pieces or parts that resemble or bring up what I am, in essence, escaping. I move on, but I don’t move on with casualness or a sense of ease, and I certainly don’t move on without shaking up my world a bit.

When I reach the point of misery about anything, I don’t like to sit in it. I don’t like to take an extended amount of effort and time to weigh all my options either. I don’t take months to make up my mind. And I generally know when it’s time to move on. And I do. This isn’t to say I don’t logically theorize and contemplate my options. I just do things at hyper-speed, partially when I am asleep and partially when I am awake. I am continually processing and digesting ideas. I have some sort of back burner in my brain where I can place unfinished ideas and decisions, and the mental items simmer there until they reach a boil. And then, with a splatter, the conclusions spill over in my mind. And then I know. So perhaps it seems like I am moving quickly or not taking a lot of time to process, but truly I have been contemplating and theorizing beyond the realms of obvious observation.

I reached an extreme point of discomfort about a month ago. I’d gone through a very traumatic, life-changing illness that left me clinging to fear. I jumped full force into some old habits, kind of jumped back a couple of decades into over-obsessive behavior, codependent tendencies, withdrawal from life, and more. Part of this was definitely biological, as my body recovered from lack of nutrients. Part of it was my psyche recovering from the drama that had been my life.

I found myself having magnified obsessive compulsive behaviors. I justified this by claiming I was self-soothing and self-stemming; and most of my brain believed me. I know now that my actions were a necessary part of my healing process. Cognitively and emotionally, and even physically, I didn’t have the strength to be strong. I didn’t have the strength to do much of anything. So I retreated. I retreated into my home, into my self, and into my mind. Until there finally came a day where I’d had enough of me. I started to disgust myself. Not in a low-self-worth-way, but in a what-the-heck-am-I-doing-way? It was time for change.

Within a minute, I’d had enough. And within another minute, I knew what to do to affect change. I knew what action to take, because part of me had already been planning and deciding (on the back burner), without my conscious recognition.

A part of me had already contemplated that with my recent trauma my online interaction had become way out of balance in comparison to the rest of my life. For months I had partaken in obsessive image/quote searching and posting, obsessive researching and searching for songs and song lyrics, obsessive observation of others’ postings on a social network site, obsessive analysis of my own thoughts, obsessive dependency on certain friendships, and the obsessive need to check and recheck patterns, messages, and comments on various venues online. To justify my obsessive behaviors, I had convinced myself I was a hermit afraid to go out of the house and that the only solution was online interaction.

I had swung my pendulum of self-balance to the far right. And I was close to swinging right out of the “sane” arena. I knew by observing my own emotional state, I’d hit a sort of bottom. I knew I needed to clean up my act.

With this realization came some tough decisions. I had to let go of a lot I’d been holding onto. I had to let go of what I thought was keeping me afloat. This action of release required much courage on my part. However, I’d reached that point of personal discomfort where the angst outweighed the fear of change.

My immediate decisions and actions surprised some. I dropped almost everything. I made changes literally overnight. With life changes came various states of emotional pain. I went through a mourning period of missing my ‘old’ ways. I went through a state of not understanding my own identity. I went through self-doubt about my own choices. But the pain quickly passed and the reward was clarity of mind and a renewed sense of energy.

I have been very much content and at peace now. I have adapted ways of being that have proven beneficial to my sense of serenity and wellness. I have made adjustments to my routine and to my thinking-patterns. Mostly, I have decided to be courageous, to stop being a victim to my own self and thought processes, and to take risks daily. I am being all I can be through changes in the way I talk, the way I carry my body, the way I choose to spend my days and nights. I am not doing this with any inkling of self-punishment, self-cohersion or ‘must/should’ voices. I just am.

I reached that life-altering point where enough was enough. I was ready. Ready to take control of my life by releasing all of what was weighing me down and causing affliction to spirit. I embraced physical movement (walking, cleaning, leaving the house), social interactions, and the desire to become free of anxiety. I immersed myself in comedy, live entertainment and the rekindling and building of friendships. I put all the energy I’d been using towards obsessive online behavior into a plan: obsessively escaping obsessiveness.

In essence, along with my ability to obsess, I took all of my character traits, and put them to work for my betterment. I roped in my acute focus and keen intelligence, and used my attributes to produce purposeful and powerful self-metamorphis. In a way, I faked it until I made it. I tricked my own self into being happy, and I didn’t give me a choice. I used the inherent tools that had once imprisoned me to free myself from the constricts of mental-affliction. I decided I was done. And I was.

My whole life I have had the capacity to be the best at whatever I choose to be. So why not be the best at being content?

Present day I have maintained a state of equilibrium. Now I am ready to go back to retrieve parts of what I freely let go of for self-survival. I can dip my foot back into some of my old behaviors without going overboard into self-abuse. I am taking away some of the rigid rules I established of what I could and could not do when I first instigated change.

I don’t think I am a miracle worker; I do know I am a hard worker. I am also optimistic and hopeful. I carry a strong faith in people and in the world. I see the good. I always have and always will. I see the good in me now. I think because I have never given up on myself, through all the trials and tribulations I have encountered, that I shall also never give up on others. I know the capacity we carry for growth.

I forgive myself entirely for trespasses into discomfort. I forgive myself entirely for the lessons I learn and relearn. I am a constant student. I accept where I am. I suspect I will swing on the pendulum again, far to the left or right; and I suspect I will return, right where I am: Happy.

*********
I am the stillness
The gentle breeze asleep
Before the dawn
Beneath the night
Attuned destiny
Unraveled
Ribboned time undone
A cousin to history
The ancient scholar
Atop the mountain high
Who calls out
To awaken the calm
I am
Without choice
Adrift
In the wake of absence
Falling before reaching
Into the whistle of forgotten
A melody harmonized
Within the intricate lining
Of our conjoined souls
~ Sam

466: I am what I am Becoming

I was going to title this post: Chocolate Gives me Hemorrhoids.

Then I laughed, as I logically made a streamline of comparisons about my love of chocolate and my love of community, and how, much like chocolate, community always leaves me with an uncomfortable, yet very bearable, consequence.

And I chuckled more, as I deciphered the numerous ways in which I still over-share and over-quauntify my thinking.

Divergent, I am. This is true. Definitely true. But far less true than I believed two years ago.

I woke up with a flash this early morning. My brain wanted to write a post, my body adamantly disapproved, and fortunately vetoed the whole reckoning, and forced us back into sweet slumber. Yet, before I fell back to sleep, a good hour of delightfulness (not), I kept hearing these words over and over: I am what I am becoming. I am becoming what I am.

It made a lot of sense at one in the morning. Not so much now.

Still, I gathered this little summary, from my mind, this afternoon:

“Identity is a pendulum. Each individual is grasping onto what he thinks he is and releasing what he no longer believes himself to be. Even as no one is what he seems, and all is as illusion, we give and take based on temporary boundaries set upon the image of ‘self.’ In saying ‘I am what I am becoming,’ I recognize I am in state of constant transition, never stagnant, undergoing various degrees of transformation. In stating ‘I am becoming what I am,’ I am aware that I become those elements that I hold onto as truth.”

Indeed, the complexity of my mind carries on.

I have hesitated in regards to writing another post, as I had opted to give myself ample time off and away from the computer. I found myself being sucked into the online life, instead of attending to my very relevant and real existence outside the computer. In other words, I used technology to escape reality.

I did this escapism for about two years. I have no regrets. The journey was necessary, relevant, and fostered much growth. But I am done.

I thought I would soon be writing my last post. But I don’t think so, yet. I am not quite ready.

Since pulling myself off of the computer, I’ve made some dynamic shifts in my life.

Here’s a list. Because I love lists:

1. Recently, I have stopped going on social networks (Facebook), except briefly for one day a week. I might occasionally have a private chat with a friend there, but the rest I leave alone. This has been hugely freeing. I was spending a good four to five hours a day on Facebook, and though it felt necessary and even ‘good’ at the time, the energy I gave out and took in (from others) affected me greatly. Now with more time freed up, I find myself having as much energy for endeavors, outside of my home, as I did some nine years ago, when I would have easily been identified as a ‘social butterfly.’

2. I have adapted a bit of a ‘bitchiness’ to me. Likely because I am PMSing, but primarily because recently I allowed myself to get hurt one too many times. As a result, I felt the need to lather on a thicker coat around my aura. My husband reassured me this morning, without my probing, that yes, I was still overall very kind and loving to others. This came as a huge relief, because my little bit of bitch-waves feel like the titanic of disaster-moods. In actuality, I probably behave like most typical nice people now. I am just quick to say ‘no,’ set boundaries, self-talk the necessities of self-care, and make appropriate choices based on what is ‘best’ for me, not others! What a concept.

3. I jolted myself out of some dark place of self-wallowing and self-pitty; and to tell you the truth, when I observe similar behaviors in others now, I get kind of jaded and sick to my stomach. Like I want to barf and scream: Stop focusing on yourself! I feel I can do this because I have been there and done that. I’m surely not innocent. And I am not trying to judge, either. Just merely wanting others to find some inner peace and self-love. Somehow, likely through a series of letdowns and heartaches, I got a good look at myself. Somehow, the curtain to my current reality opened long enough to see that I was bleeding out with borderline narcissism. Yes, it was beneficial to spend some ‘cave’ time taking a good look at myself, my weaknesses, my strengths, my challenges, my hopes, my dreams, etc. But enough is enough! There finally came a day where I woke up and truly shouted out loud: ENOUGH! And you know what, I have barely had an Asperger’s trait since. Genius traits, yes. But stuff like looping, fixating, over-analyzing, worrying to extreme, and all that pain-in-the-butt nonsense, I just stopped. No pill. No magic. Just one word. Enough! And so it is, going on two weeks now, even as I enter the PMDD zone, that I adamantly refuse to drudge into the muck of self-pity, self-rejection, and agonizing fear. Like I said, I adapted a bit of bitchiness to get me through. But that too will pass. Ironically, it’s a nice change.

4. I have realized to a GREAT extent that I become what I focus on. It’s like my super power. I can become fantastically brilliant and fanatical at whatever I choose to spend time on. I can become so engrossed and impassioned with my endeavor and laser-focus that I pull others in with me. Case in point: this blog and my like-page, and the following. I reluctantly and without plan, became some sort of Aspergers super-hero. And I say this with no pride, whatsoever, but with a rather oh-my-fricken-godess sigh. Seriously? What was I thinking. Not that I don’t love people I have met and continue to meet along this journey. But the act of continually losing my self-identity and morphing into something brilliant I barely recognize as self has become quite the bother.

5. Recently, I became so much ME, I lost sight of the rest of the world. And I became so much ASPERGERS, I forgot who else I was or could feasibly be. I forgot that before I found out I had Aspergers I was highly-sucessful in social arenas. I forgot I liked going out. That I liked people. And that even though I was an introvert, I was what could be classified as an outgoing, very likable introvert. Somehow I convinced myself, in the past 24 months, that staying at home was a viable option of entertainment for the rest of my existence. I kind of became a Chicken Little, only the sky wasn’t falling, my whole life was.

I had five more things on this list and accidentally deleted them all; which is likely for the best, for the bitch in me was taking over a wee bit more than I am comfortable with. I will end this post with a brief list (yes, another list) of what I have done for myself in the past 12 days.

1. Joined several social groups in the area including spiritual groups, socializing gaming groups, jazz and music groups, movie groups. I schedule an event and then go meet an entire group of strangers. It’s so fricken scary and fabulous, all at once. And I am enjoying myself without the post-game evaluation of am I good enough and did I say and act the ‘right’ way. I don’t go there anymore.

2. I have started to practice my guitar more often and continue to take lessons.

3. I have rented dvds on Buddhism, set up a prayer table in my room, hung up cool white lights in my room, and have been reading books that aren’t in my typical genre. One currently is a humorous non-fiction book about a womanizing drunk.

4. I have given up gluten and try to eat very little white sugar. Though my intense moments of chocolate indulgences continue to surface; thusly I sit less.

5. I have bought myself some new hats and sweaters and boots. Nothing spiritual or ah-ha about that, but still fun.

6. I have made a set schedule so everyday I know what’s ahead. For example on Mondays I go to a quaint cafe and have the freshly made soup and salad and read and I walk three miles around the lake. On Thursdays I go to a coffee shop and go online with my laptop. On Fridays I make dates with friends and I go to the mall and play Netrunner with a lot of introverts. I am taking myself to see movies, too.

7. I try to walk five days a week 1.5 to 3 miles. Something I am ever so thankful I can do.

8. I am listening to my mediation and positive affirmation cds more frequently. Visiting the library to attain uplifting music; lately I’ve enjoyed Mozart. It’s a nice break from love songs that currently make me either gag or cry.

9. Tonight I am going to a poetry reading and bringing some of my poetry to maybe share. Tomorrow I go to a cafe that is having their monthly gathering on the planets’ alignments. I have tickets to many performing arts events, some with friends, some with my spouse, and some with strangers!

10. I have on my calendar to check out the weekly mediation at the Buddhist center and to join a community group, such as Rotary, soon.

The way I see it is: if I keep my interest varied enough, and nothing consumes me, I won’t morph or attach into any one genre, event, or way of being.

Until next time. Wishing you the best in all you are becoming!