Thursday, August 24, 2017

Be Zen

I’m starting a new practice this week: Be Zen. Perhaps this has come about because of my lack of a consistent yoga practice for the last seven months, but it has become necessary. I have a bad habit of not dealing with impromptu situations very well. I actually get visually and verbally annoyed with people who either ask common sensical questions or expect to drop in on me and do things RIGHT NOW. Since this is the start of a new school year, it’s the perfect time to initiate Be Zen, where I will find my Zen, then respond.

I acquaint this with the flight attendant instructions, “Put your oxygen mask on first, then assist your seat mate.” This means that whatever your plans are, they are not to be sidetracked by the needs of others. Put yourself first. Don't do it with a selfish "Me First" attitude, but just check in with what you need to do and see how you can then deal mentally what the other person is asking or saying.

I was put to the test right off the bat the first day of school when I entered the building. There was an adult waiting for me at the library door, making demands as soon as I approached. I listened. I held my tongue and didn’t get snarky. I told this adult that I needed to put down my purse and place my lunch in the fridge, but as soon as I settled those in place, I would help. I took care of my needs and still was able to help. Of course, this didn’t stop me from thinking the snarky things I wanted to say, but I didn’t project it out loud. 

I’ve been practicing Be Zen for a few days and, for the most part, I’ve been successful. There are times where I just really want to lay into someone for whatever reason, but then I just hold my breath, think, and the right response comes out.

To be honest, here, it’s a lot less stressful to not get irritated by people. Surprisingly, once I trigger my mind to Be Zen about something, it takes away minutes, and sometimes even hours, of steaming over a situation. I just don’t worry about it much anymore. It’s really amazing. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone did this.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Writers Block or Something Else?

Mucha Inspired Mural, O'Brian's Pub- Ouray, Colorado
 I had such grand plans for this summer: Publishing others books, finishing my screenplay, journaling everyday, blogging at least once a week. What have I succeeded in? Publishing Deer Dancer, getting Panther City Review mostly ready, and…a bunch of yard, house, and business work done. It’s not like I’ve been lazing around, watching Netflix the whole day, sipping coffee in my pajamas all summer. I’ve really been busy, which seems to have taken some of my creative motivation and thought processes and used them elsewhere. The stories just haven’t been there. I used to think that this was major writers block, but now I think it’s just being overloaded with the “other” which takes up the mental space that would normally be reserved for creativity.

I have one week left of my summer. I’m spending that time visiting with my Dad in Colorado. It’s not hot here. I don’t have a ton of other work to do. For the last five days I’ve been here, I’ve actually journaled every single day. I’ve gotten back to doing my French lessons (thank you, Duolingo!). Most importantly, I’ve actually started thinking of stories that have nothing to do with “what’s next on my checklist?” I’m not sure how much will come of it, but I think, in this last week of summer, I’ve finally relaxed.

So, what do I plan on doing with this burst of creativity? I will dream. I will relax and take it in. I will write. I will read.

Next week, when I’m back to work, I will do my best to keep it all going. Even if this means I’m back to getting up at 5am and going to bed by 9:30pm.