Posted in education, know better do better, mindset, parenting

Handy Smurf

A combination of misc details from around life recently…

We have Smurf glasses (think 80s McDonalds collectibles) and The Kid was asking about Smurfs.

One of the glasses features Handy Smurf which got me to thinking about how he was my favorite, and how I would pretend to be him when I was a kid, walking around with my invisible tool belt on and building invisible things. (This also gave me a little bit of insight about my kid playing similar solitary imaginative games. I had forgotten about doing this specifically.)

When I was in late elementary school, my parents put an addition onto the house. My grandfather did some of the work (mainly electrical, as I recall, but it was a long time ago), and I wanted to watch and/or help.

No. Girls don’t do that. (Which is weird, honestly, because my mom and her two sisters worked with him when they were kids.)

I did my science project that year on electrical circuits. (And got a mediocre grade on the presentation because I stood with my back to the class too much. The things that stick…)

What if those interests were cultivated?

(I would still love to be able to build things out of wood. And of course I would love to be able to change some of the questionable electrical at the house.)

A friend posted a lovely story about her kid on Facebook and said that the kid came like that (meaning it’s not her parenting that bestowed these good qualities in the kid).

My response was that while the kid might have shown up with those factory settings, as the parent, she has cultivated—or left space and given guidance for the child to cultivate—those qualities.

It seems that everyone has some spark in them that their parents or societal expectations have tried to extinguish, possibly have turned it into a point of shame. I know so many people who are working to own some piece of themselves that was consistently degraded. Something that they now always dismiss or second-guess or have that subtle constant underlying doubt or would love to do but “can’t.”

If you have no examples in our own life, you’re lucky!

Do a favor for the next generation.

Let them try. Let them explore. You never know where it will lead … even if it’s simply to an adult with less baggage.

Posted in mental health, mindset

The COVID opportunity

So much going on, both inside and outside of my brain. I’ve had a lot to say and it all bleeds together and nothing has come out clearly, so I’ve been quiet here on the writing front.

I decided to be productive (in terms of writing) by transcribing onto the computer some pieces for my book that I had written by hand a while back.

I wrote one bit about change and about how we typically require a traumatic life event before we evaluate where we are and what we’re doing. (And how that’s really too bad.) Also about the fork in the post-trauma road—some people take the opportunity to do better, to be better (for whatever that means to them), while others become bitter or closed off. I wonder why. (I’m sure people have researched this, and I’m sure I’d be interested to read about it, and I’m sure that I already have more on my plate than I can do and I will not add that right now.)

It was really interesting reading my thoughts about all that at this time.

We’re experiencing a world-wide trauma. Narrowing focus to just our country, people have been in various degrees of shelter-in-place for, at most, three to four months.

Some people have accepted it but are wilting within it. Some accepted and are thriving. (Those variations have as much to do with who’s in your house and how they interact—if there are others—as much as who you are.) Many haven’t accepted it.

It’s an opportunity to reevaluate what we’re doing day to day without thinking about it. Daily habits.

It’s an opportunity to change spending and saving habits.

It’s an opportunity to clean out the house and get rid of internal elements that are sucking up energy. (I used to be a “yeah it’s a mess but I know where everything is” kind of person and would not have believed that I would feel better with everything neat, uncluttered, tidy … and yet here I am, tangibly more peaceful when my house is tidy.)

It’s an opportunity to help others. (You don’t always need to be in proximity to a person to be helpful.)

It’s an opportunity to cook new things or read new things or explore new things (or old things that got set aside).

It’s an opportunity to be creative, whether literally (the arts, woodworking, app creation, LEGO building without directions, etc.) or in figuring out what to do with the kids … or with yourself.

It’s an opportunity to learn how to meditate. To breathe. To stretch.

Sure, you can argue that we shouldn’t have to shelter-in-place, that money is more important than people, that it’s all fiction, etc., but you’re denying yourself the opportunity to grow.

Is it hard? Of course it is. But you can do hard things.

 

 

 

*Of course it’s not possible in this moment for everyone. Nothing is. But it’s possible for an awful lot of people right now.

Posted in mindset

My photography journey 14June20

The days all kind of blend together. The walks and runs and bike rides. For you, too?

That said, early last week, the weather was amazing, particularly for June here in the Valley of the Sun. One morning, I took a walk through the neighborhood and to the canal to see if I could get any shots (ideally good shots) of the turtles that live in the canal. I see them walking, running, biking, but never when I have Sir Nikolas Cameron with me.

It was so lovely that morning—breezy, sunny, not hot (though definitely nowhere near cool)—I ended up out there for two hours!

I did see a couple of turtles, but they’re both skittish and fast, so my shots weren’t that great. Also: ducks!

 

Many lovely and/or interesting things to photograph though, besides turtles. As we wind down the season where much is in bloom:

 

And, of course, there are always some that have long since given up:

 

Some of the cactus are still blooming. I really love the cacti whether they’re blooming or not. Desert plants are fascinating.

 

A school I pass by when I go through the neighborhood has a sizable garden in front where they’re growing grapes, among other things.

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There are always other random things around, which is interesting, because I’m usually on the same stretch of canal and the same bits of the neighborhood. It’s all about how you look at things…

 

I love how the sun was shining through these seed pods.

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The Climbing Daddy and The Kid went for a bike ride, and I went for a photo-taking walk one evening. Besides shots in evening light, I got a few of them.

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Walking home, it was well past sundown but not quite completely dark yet. Passing through the school parking lot, I passed a palm tree on the other side of the school fence, in that ugly sodium light. Made for an interesting shot.

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Have a good week! Stay healthy, engage in some introspection, and I’ll be back with more photos (and, in the mean time, more words).

Posted in know better do better, mental health, mindset, thoughtfulness, vulnerability

Black lives matter, toothpaste, shaving cream

This post passed through my Facebook memories and it helped me to synthesize some of what’s going on. Maybe it will help you, too.

tubes

This activity has circulated for a while in parenting and teaching circles in the hope of teaching children to understand the power of words.

In case you can’t read the text on the photo: You give kids shaving cream or toothpaste or something similar and ask them to squeeze it all out; they delight in this. Then you ask them to put it back in the container. Obviously, this is fruitless. The moral of the story is: things you say can’t be taken back. Once they’re out, they’re out.

I saw this and I thought … this is part of why so many white people dig in their heels about racism.*

Acknowledging we are wrong brings to mind years (decades?) of tubes of toothpaste and cans of shaving cream in our wake. All the damage, all the hurts that we were/are (potentially inadvertently) responsible for. We see all of that, collectively in one messy pile, and we feel like a horrible human being.

Nobody likes to feel like a horrible human being, so we don’t acknowledge that messy pile, and we continue to hurt those around us in order to protect ourselves.

To paraphrase Maya Angelou: when you know better, do better.

That messy pile of jokes and slurs and negative assumptions and offhand comments and staying silent? You own that, regardless of where and when you pivot. You own that whether you acknowledge owning it or not. Those around you know you own it, whether you acknowledge it or not.

You can say, “I didn’t know. And I feel stupid and ashamed for not knowing. Now I know. Now I will do better.”

Also know that even in the process of doing better, you’ll still mess up. Because we all mess up, because we’re human. Anyone who tells you that they’ve never spoken or acted in a way that was demeaning to a minority either lacks self awareness or is lying (or both). And also because this stuff is baked in to our culture. Fish not knowing what water is and all that.

When someone tells you their story, listen. To the best of your ability, put aside your own self-defense and listen. If you don’t believe them, if you’re trying to rationalize the other side, pause for a moment and ask yourself: what if what they are saying is true? What about that possibility makes it so uncomfortable that you’re trying to poke holes in it?

We can rant about the system. (And agreed — the system desperately needs an overhaul.) But… we ARE the system. Know better. Do better.

As an addendum to that: support people who are trying to change. Support people who are doing better because they learning. Too often, someone who had a different way of looking at things 5 or 20 or 50 years ago is vilified for flip flopping or for “well, you used to ___.” Maybe they didn’t know then, but they know now. They were part of the problem, realized it, and want to be part of the solution. Let them become part of the solution!

*Applicable to any power differential.

Posted in connections, exercise, food, mindset, motivation

Keep sharing! Ignore the haters!

There are quite a few memes circulating, as usual, that no one cares about your bread/run/anything they’re not doing.

I assume the person posting doesn’t care about them*, but that’s not generalize-able to “no one” or “everyone.”

I know personally half a dozen people who have made recipes in the last month that a friend shared on social media.

We made scones a week or so ago. A friend had posted pictures and in the comments, there were lots of recipes shared. I picked one of those recipes. We made scones. I posted pics and shared the recipe. The other day, a friend posted pics of scones they made from the recipe I shared. The next day, another friend posted pics of scones they made.

This doesn’t even count the people who see and make the recipes but don’t post about it.

I’ve had four people I can think of tell me that they were inspired to exercise in some way because of something I shared about me or us exercising. (Joined the run series, decided to go for a walk, did some pushups, whatever.)

So yeah. Keep posting. You never know who you’re going to inspire to do the same.

*I had a big tangent to this thought and will share it with you tomorrow.