Zero to Sixty

speedometer gauge reading at zero

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I’m 59 and 11 months today.  Next October 25, I want to know I’ve created my best pathway to sixty, and have blogged along the way to keep myself accountable.

First step along that path is to Train My Mind For Happiness, and step one in that endeavor is to be alert and mindful of toxic patterns of thought.

There are so many books on Happiness and Mindfulness, and courses aplenty as well.  First up for me is UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Foundation Science of Happiness Class.  There, they teach that each of us can create new roads through the superhighway of our brain — that we really can teach an old dog new tricks.

adult animals beautiful daylight

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I need some.  New pathways, that is.  I have well-worn groves along the toxic thoughts highway, starting with that capital “P” Perfectionism.   But believing that I can always be perfect … that when I fall short of perfect I am not enough, I am not worthy, I am a failure … shocking as it may seem, that belief does not lead to happiness.  Not even close.  And it keeps me from taking risks, it encourages me to hold on to (supposed) control, its makes me fearful of vulnerability.  It keeps me constrained in a very small box.

While there are pitstops for moments of pleasure along the Perfection Superhighway — a refueling when I get that fleeting feeling of satisfaction for a job well done, the beauty of the perfect roundness of those zeros in a “100” atop the graded paper — the stop is always too short.  Too soon, I’m back on the road, the short-lived joy of accomplishing something perfectly already forgotten while I search frantically for how to do the next thing just right.

While refueling stations are few and far between, however, there is an over-abundance of other things along that well-worn Highway of Perfect.  Anxiety, Alienation, Knowing I Am Not Enough — those are the oxygen I breath along that drive.  Well, f*ck that.  I’m tossing out the well-worn roadmap of my life and taking Exit 59A.  What’s that sign say?  This Way to Average?  Average????  Yikes!!!  OK, I’m in!  What the hell, it might be fun.   I’m going to do my best to start believing that doing good enough is good enough.  I’m exiting the well-worn highway of striving for perfection, and I’m going to start being happy for putting in the effort, taking the chances, going for it, even if I fall short.  I’m heading to It’s OK to Just Be Me, which is much more accepted, I hear, in Averageville.

highway exittCome and meet me there!

 


Lightness of Being, Simplified

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It’s so easy to over-complicate, well, everything.  See something you like, and buy it.  Hate to say “no” to good causes or good friends or, well, just about anyone or anything?  Easier to say “yes” and figure out later how to deal with it.  Want those around you to be happy?  Go along with what they would like rather than disappoint them.  Step by step, day by day, each purchase, each “yes,” each twisting yourself every which way so that you can please those around you creates a maze of complications, of stuff, of weight on your shoulders that presses you down, that depresses you.  Resentment builds and you snap over the simplest of things, when all you were trying was to do was to be good, to do good.  And what you end up with is complications, stresses, stuff cluttering your days and your life.

It feels so good to clean out your closets, to leave some white space on your calendar, to simplify.  It leaves space to take a breath, to take a nap, to soak up the beauty of this moment before you, without worrying about what’s behind or ahead.  I constantly strive toward a goal of creating more light, both in the sense of brightness and in the sense of weightlessness.  One path of achieving that goal is to remember that it’s the simple things in life that are often the tastiest, the most nourishing, the most satisfying.

My intention for the day – to Simplify.  Check in tomorrow to see how I do!

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5 Days to 55

October 25, 1959.  That’s the day I arrived, all five pounds of me.  Mother only gained five pounds with her pregnancy, she says on Doctor’s orders but I think perhaps also because she liked her figure and feared getting fat.  (I gained 45 pounds with my first and 50 with my second.  Clearly I didn’t fear looking like I’d swallowed the largest pumpkin grown in any patch.)

Tiny Toes

Tiny Toes

October 25, 2014 is only a few days away and if I’m lucky enough to live through them then I’ll celebrate 55 years of being on this earth.  I have a feeling this is the year I’m going to start looking old.  I’ve been blessed genetically with few wrinkles and cursed with a high, girlish voice and in some ways I’m still surprisingly naive so for that or other reasons most people guess I’m years younger than I am.  But in the past few weeks I’ve seen the grey start creeping into my hair and for no reason in the world two weeks ago my lower back started aching so that one afternoon I could barely even make it up the stairs and for some reason my eyes have been feeling tired and irritated lately.  So basically I’m apparently falling apart.  And I pretty much have to consider myself middle-aged now, unless I’m planning to live a lot longer than 110 years.

But I still have a long way I want to go along the path of my life, into the beautiful unknown, taking the wisdom gathered over all these years, the relationships built, the sorrows and the joys and setting out on this next phase of my life taking more risks, laughing louder, singing, dancing, crying, loving, more, more & more.  All in glorious abundance.

My Life's Path

So yes, I’m feeling kind of old, but I’m ready for the way ahead whether I get there running or walking or crawling or being carried I look forward to all that lies ahead.


10 Minute Challenge

Protecting Myself

Protecting Myself

Go!  But my mind is blank.  Where so many thoughts were only moments ago the immediate pressure to write something NOW for 10 minutes straight has pushed all thought to some hidden recess where it remains out of sight behind a blank wall. It’s getting past that wall — of fear, mainly, of one sort of another — that is the trick of writing something authentic, interesting, meaningful.  And it’s getting past that wall, that I myself, or some part of me, erected, that’s the very hardest thing for me to do.  Even harder than “finding the time” to write.

Time Flies

Time Flies

Where does time go?  It’s always here, always the same, but despite my best intentions I manage to waste plenty of it.  I moved a few months ago to a home that’s 30 minutes closer to my office, thus saving myself at least an hour a day in commuting.  But it isn’t as if I’m an hour more productive, or I’ve “found” an hour that I can now use for my writing, or my errands, or anything else.  Sure I love my new, shorter commute.  But as to what I’ve done with my extra time, I couldn’t begin to tell you.  Despite multiple organizational tools I haven’t managed to better organize myself.  I do make lists to check off, and I remind myself to “Be Mindful” and “Live in the Moment” but so far none of that has helped.  What do you do to make the most of your day?  The most of your life?  That’s what most of us want, isn’t it?  To feel as if we’ve lived the best life we can.  For me, it’s wanting to do God’s will.  To use the talents I’ve been given, whatever those are, to their best purpose.

I watch my newly hatched adult children as they make their way into the world, struggling to know what it is they should be doing, and I cannot help because here I am 30+ years their senior and still struggling with the very same thing.  I have no words of wisdom for them.  Well, that doesn’t stop my from trying to give advice, but I know how easy it is to give advice, and even how easy it is to hear what you know must be good advice and have every intention of living by it but somehow despite those good intentions letting life slip on by without somehow managing to live it the way you really, really intend to live it.  Just making it through the day and giving each moment what you can, even though sometimes you don’t have much at all to give.

Advice

That’s my 10 minutes.  Guess some words escaped over the wall and made it into writing, after all!


Blogging 101: Intro to A Brave New World

OK, it isn’t completely new.  I started my blog last year, or even the year before.  First, to write about my vacation.  Then, one early morning when I was still doing Kundalini Yoga and working on Chakra 5 the Voice the thought that I wanted to do things that enriched my life popped into my head.  And it had nothing to do with travel.  Or, at least (since travel can be enriching) it wasn’t limited to only travel.  So I started An Enriching Life.  Now I’m the proud owner of two blogs, both of which sit unused most of the year.  Until I find spurts of energy or inspiration, like now!

This is me, with my husband, taking our tourist shot of the Prime Meridian on our vacation to the UK this summer …

Straddling the Eastern and Western Hemispheres in Greenwich, UK

Straddling the Eastern and Western Hemispheres in Greenwich, UK

I love, adore, am passionate about, dream of Europe.  Always have, presumably always will.  When I was dating my husband I went with him on lots of trips to the Tropics (his dream locale).  As soon as we married, I declared it my turn and ever since we’ve been getting to Europe as often a I can get us there.  Which is never often enough but so much more than I ever dreamed would be possible.

I love planning the trips almost as much as being there.  The research, the finding little out-of-the-way “secret” places to visit, the days on which special admissions may be had … I once considered becoming a Travel Agent and now I don’t know why I never did.  And I love to read, research, and write.  My husband encouraged me to start a blog and it seemed the perfect way to share our trip with our friends and family — I could just direct them to my blog and everyone could live vicariously through me.  But it’s time consuming to upload the photos and remember exactly what we did when, especially when it’s months afterward before I get around to finding time to blog.  And so my travel blog is very light on postings.

Despite not posting much in my one blog, I had the brilliant idea of starting a second blog, An Enriching Life, so I could expand past travel entries into spirituality and other topics that have enriched my life and that I want to share with others.  So now I have two blogs and still very few posts, and have yet to master the most basic blogging tools.  But I’m persistent if nothing else so will try Blogging 101 and see if that is the secret ingredient I’ve been missing all this time.

My goal — that a year from now I can look back at a long list of blog posts that get better as they go along, that have more variety and more use of the tools offered by WordPress and more understanding of what makes a blog the best it can be.

This is me:  I spend most of my day in a large, international law office practicing Land Use /Environmental Law.  For 23 years I’ve been doing that.  So if you’d like to hear about the California Environmental Quality Act or in general about land use issues in San Diego, I can talk for hours.  About San Diego politics.  CEQA.  404 permits.  The RWQCB storm water permit.  Lots of other acronyms.  But that’s not what I hope to do on this blog … in fact I hope to talk about almost anything but that.

Maybe my kids?  Here’s my recent college grad son, contemplating life as he gazes over the Pacific.

Peace in the Pacific

Peace in the Pacific

And my daughter, with her roommate Freshman year:

With the roommie, freshman year

With the roommie, freshman year my step kids:

And my step-daughter, with her Dad:

Waitin' on the train, with Dad

Waitin’ on the train, with Dad

And my step-son (Dad again):

Sunset

Or my amazing husband, who runs one company and is starting a second one to bring a broader spectrum of LED lights to the agricultural market so each of us can grow more of our own food, indoors, year-round.

So hard to decide.  So much to write.  So little time.  Come along with me, and let’s work together to find An Enriching Life.


Are You Overloading Your Common Sense?

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Information can overwhelm us, seeping in from sources that surround us.  The internet at my fingertips, the cell phone in my purse, the iPad in my messenger bag, the television in my living room and the radio in my car … all pouring out facts and ideas in an endless stream whenever I open them up.  People have been accused of having more Book Sense than Common Sense long before the internet added to the tidal wave of data, though.  You can’t blame the information that’s simply existing out there awaiting your command to be let loose for not listening to what your gut tells you should be said or done (is “body wisdom” the same as “common sense”?) or not doing what experience and life lived thus far tell you should be done (or is that a better way to describe what makes “sense” common?) or whatever it is that is perceived as Common Sense.

Information is there to be used, absorbed, manipulated and turned off or on at your behest.  You can let it overtake you and wash you away, or you can master its rhythm and have a great ride by using it to support but not overwhelm you, by valuing your gut, your experience, and your spirit as well as all of the information in your mind to bring you in a wild, exhilarating ride through life — common sense, book sense, and all of your other senses fully engaged.  #postaday