Mar 18, 2013

Turtles, Water, and Other Fears

I talk a lot about fears. They are a prevailing force in my life. Why I give that much power to the moments I feel weakest is beyond me. A few years ago, I proclaimed that I would go on a conquest to abolish my fears. I said that I would hold a turtle in my hand before the end of the year and skydive over Lake Michigan. I thought those experiences and several more would make a great book.

I have not gone on that eradication expedition. There's still time. As I create schemes to challenge myself, I become aware of more fears. The more I meditate, the more accepting I am of those fears. I am in an foreseen cycle that seems to be more effective than my idea of taking on my fears.

Beside meditation, another part of the cycle that has helped in a book by Dr Susan Jeffers titled Feel the Fear ...And Do it Anyway. So far, the biggest thing she's taught me is that fears do not disappear. It's how we handle them that change. And if we do not feel any fear in our life, then we know we're not challenging ourselves.

I'm all about challenges, both physical and introspective. You already know this. But I am constantly wondering what it is it for? Why do I challenge myself? Is it for the outcome or is it for the journey? I posted about jumping off the breakwall last summer in an effort to overcome my fear of water. I am still freaking scared of water, but I better understand its place in my life.

Even as I write this post, I wonder where I go from here. Do I kick it up a notch, or do I continue on this journey of acceptance? I think a combination of the two is the way to go. I need to push myself to finally hold that scary ass turtle in my hand, but I need to journal before and after that experience.

Mar 15, 2013

Do You Eat Spoiled Blackberries?

The fruits of our labor. You know the cliche. Work hard and things happen.

What about the fruits in our life we do not want: weight gain, stress, apathy, bad habits? There are many decayed ends to the means that seem to happen to us. We take ownership of the positive outcomes in our life when we use the above cliche, but we tend to not take ownership of the negative. Why is that? Why can't we simply make the positive changes we believe will improve our lives?

I went through a phase where I thought daily affirmations would create the change I sought. I outsourced my changes. They helped, a lot. But they did not change me. The affirmations did place seeds in my mind that helped me to view the world differently. I began to consider what I did and did not like about myself. I like that I can produce art that seems to surprise and invigorate people. I dislike that I am not a very good listener and I rely too much on recording what people say. The list is endless, but not in an unconquerable way. I like that my writing voice is solid, but I dislike that I do not take my writing craft as seriously as it deserves.

These days, I am not flipping through the affirmation card collection like I used to, but the ideas on those cards surface every now and then. And it's valuable for me to review them every now and then, but to understand that the change exists within myself.

I've improved my listening skills through meditation and little listening challenges I give myself at work and school (via Julian Treasure). I have subtly taken my writing more seriously through classwork, but have done little to live those values outside school.

In my last post, I wrote about my desire to 1. learn to cook and 2. learn to cook well. I have not taken up that challenge to myself in the last week. I think my first step will be to take up my sister on her offer to help. I think I'll also contact some of my foodie friends and see what they have to say.

Enjoy your weekend! And enjoy yourself.


Mar 8, 2013


I am Facebook friends with people from a wide spectrum of philosophies, values, beliefs, habits, preferences, etc. In theory, we all are. On occasion, I narrow in on one of my followers by accident. I like on of their posts, and suddenly there's a flood of their posts that seem as if they're speaking directly to me.

The most recent example of this is a Facebook friend of mine who frequently posts about foraging. I look over the photos and read her words like a ten year old boy with a book on sharks. I envy her for her skills and her life. I sound like a housewife.

In true housewife fashion, I quickly come to wonder what's preventing me from learning the ins and outs of foraging? (Especially considering I live on 80 acres in the countryside of coastal Michigan!) I thought, I should message her and see if she'd be interested in a foraging workshop at the college. That's what I do, I provide myself with ample opportunities to live vicariously. It's really quite satisfying.

That is until I have the realization that I want to be the one giving the foraging workshop to my neighbors and peers. That realization always comes. Today's realization lead me to another realization, as they should. I need to learn how to cook. And cook well. Cooking is, for me, one of the single most scary thing to do.

I once made a faux cheesecake out of a box. Jello brand, methinks. It took me two hours.

Learning to cook healthy, sustainable meals seems to be the skill I have been working toward. I proved to myself several things in the last four years. I can give up alcohol; I did not drink for 13 mos. I can control the amount of meat I eat; I chopped 70% of the meat I used to eat from my diet and learned to like salmon and other meats I'd avoided. I can educate my friends on the benefits of buying local without lecturing them. Clearly, I can prove to myself that I can learn to cook.

But the stakes are higher than they might be for anyone else. I am in this weird place where I am an advocate for smart eating and eating smart. But I still enjoy my bags of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles. I let my pocket win out almost every time. Before a meeting, do I buy veggies from the farm stand down the street or purchase a pop tarts from the vending machine? Well, those s'mores pop tarts are really freaking good. But didn't I once prove that I can conquer my tastes? I did a few times, as evidenced above.

So where do I go from here? My dream would be to buy a house with some land and a small barn (that I can one day turn into the helm of a writers' workshop and non-profit). I want to learn to grow food as I learn to cook it. I want to write about it. And write about it s'more. I want to have friends over who know more about food than I do; I'd consume their ideas like a bag of Ruffles. I want to have friends over who don't give a shit about food quality; I love converts.

But this all sounds like a lot of work. And I really like to sit on the couch and watch HGTV as I twirl the strings on my hoodie clicking on Pinterest wishing I wasn't living vicariously through my Facebook friends.