Monthly Archives: September 2014

Tuesday Talk: The Richest Years

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I debated, today, about sharing with you how I am feeling uninspired, how I don’t know where my writing inspiration went, how I feel a little dried up, and, lastly, my contemplations about how writing less might be good for my writing later. But all of this seemed a little boo-hooey and a little unfocused and a little ‘dear diary.’ So, I decided instead to share something that I was thinking deeply about on Saturday evening.

Alex and I spent Friday and Saturday with about 17 high school sophomores and about 17 staff from our school district. We all went floating down the upper Colorado River together, and it was, seriously, a blast. Despite my nervousness about the big, scary high-schoolers ( I am used to elementary school students who think I am pretty much the coolest…as little kids tend to do), I laughed so hard so many times in those 2 days that my abs were sore. The sun was out, the leaves were turning, the water fights were endless, and the singing was jolly. It sounds kind of cheesy, but it really was fun.

So, as the staff spent the bus ride reflecting on the trip, I got to thinking about how grateful I am to work in a school district that values taking kids down the river, and has for 40 years. I got to thinking about how grateful I am for all of the people and adventures that have filled my life, especially in the last few years. Despite my meager income, these have been my richest years.

In my little ‘soup of life,’ the recent combination of people met, relationships built, family members born, places been, things written, trails skiied, mountains climbed, weddings celebrated, and homes found has filled me to the brim, I realized.

My second pondering on this matter was that these were also some of the struggliest years there ever were. Of course, it’s wonderful to look back and feel that good energy, that rolling momentum, and that fullness that has been created in recent years. But I can’t help but remember all the breakdowns about how I didn’t/don’t know what I am doing with my life, how I am not making enough money, how I don’t know where to go next with this or that writing project, how this or that friend hasn’t called me back and maybe they forgot I existed, and, lastly but not leastly, how damn miserable it is in the mountains in May.

Maybe that is why the years feel rich. Maybe I feel like I got through the struggles (for the moment) and earned my happy moments. Or maybe I’ve just realized, as I am writing this, that the rich life is the life lived in the balance of struggle and joy. And that the rich life is the life lived while knowing the importance of both πŸ™‚

I’m jazzed about my life today! Celebrate yours πŸ™‚

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Tuesday Talk: ‘Cheers, to adventure finding us when we’re not looking for it’

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This Tuesday Talk is a day late. Here’s why:

It’s about 10a.m on Monday morning and Alex and I are sitting on the edge of a bridge in Silver Plume, Colorado, drinking coffee and eating a croissant. Normally at 10a.m. on a Monday morning we would be at school. But we’ve called in. Despite the circumstances that led us here, to the bridge next to the babbling creek flanked by yellow-leafed trees, the morning is beautiful. I smile and raise my coffee cup to cheers Alex.

“Cheers,” I say. “To adventure finding us when we’re not looking for it.”

He laughs and we clink our paper cups as best as we can.

Our weekend in itself was a good adventure: hiking and wining and dining in Telluride, Colorado with Alex’s brother. We left Telluride Sunday at about 1pm, reality of the upcoming school week setting in as we embarked on our 6 hour drive home. Little did we know that our 6 hour journey was about to turn into a 28 hour journey.

Within an hour of home, our car died. It was 8:30 at night and we couldn’t get a tow truck for 4 hours. Alex cussed. Exhausted and slightly hungover, our very unplanned and very real adventure began! Lucky to have all of our camping gear with us, we slept in the car that night. In the morning we went through a series of events, trying to get the car over the hill and home.

While we were debating what to do, an industrial truck pulled in and began working on the far side of their car. I asked them if they had an air compressor and was answered by a mustached mountain man: “What do you think young lady.” He pointed to his associate, fixing a flat tire. We used their air compressor to blow out our fuel filter, as we thought it was clogged. Then we jumped the car, and she started right up!

We cheered.

We got on the highway, the car died, and we coasted 6 miles with no engine and pulled off at the next exit. Here, Alex’s other brother met us with a new fuel pump. Waiting for him is when we found the time for a cup of coffee and a rest in the sun by the creek. So, we installed the new fuel filter…no luck.

All day we’d been in touch with a tow truck driver, and decided that now was the time to have him come retrieve us. We waited some more. Then we got towed into nearby Idaho Springs. We hung out in the park there while the mechanic figured out what was wrong.

The fuel pump had gone out. Even though we replaced it 2 years ago. I cussed.

We had missed the bus going toward home.

We called Alex’s 3rd brother for a lift, got home about 21 hours later than planned, went to work Tuesday, went to Idaho Springs to retrieve the car.

And we remind ourselves that sometimes the unplanned adventures are the true adventures πŸ™‚

Tuesday Talk: Do we really ‘create’ our own lives?

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I often see articles and quotes about creating the life you want, and saw one such article just yesterday on one of my favorite ‘life wisdom’ blogs, Tiny Buddha. We’ve all seen these articles right? I usually feel like they are hinting at me to stop living the life I have and start living the life I want! Actually, some of them aren’t hinting. They just come right out and say it.

So, last night, I got to contemplating this question: Do we really create our own lives?

It seems to me that most of-if not all of- the best things in my life were not things that I necessarily created. They were more like intuitions, vague whispers that nagged at me until I did something about them. Things I just couldn’t get out of my brain.

Now, I certainly believe in listening to and following these intuitions when they come up.

But I don’t believe in force.

I do believe in paying attention to what life is offering, and what life is telling me.

But I’m honestly not sure that active searching ever really works.

The second facet of this life-creation question that I began to ponder was this: Should we be constantly searching for and trying to create what we want, or should we develop strategies for being happy with what we have?

Sure, I believe in desires and goals.

But I also believe in doing the best that you can where you are with what you have.

And, if I’ve learned any big life lesson since college it’s to take each new job as an opportunity to learn as many new skills as I can, and then learn how to apply those skills to many different situations.

The bottom line is this: The idea of creating the life you want instead of living the life you have screams discontent to me. I don’t want to be discontented in my life because it feels yucky. So, even if it sometimes feels like a small piece of the puzzle is missing,Β I don’t really want to ‘stop living the life I have and create the life I want.’ Does this make me apathetic? Maybe.

But instead of being motivated by discontent and trying to ‘create’ a new life, I’d rather ‘create’ strategies for knowing when to take a good opportunity, learning as much as I can from each one, and being happy with what I have. And a couple of years ago I probably never would have said this, but I don’t want to create my life. I want to continue to be okay with working towards my goals slowly, and with not having everything right now. I want to continue to know my ‘heart’- my true desires- and I want to see what happens. I want to be surprised.

Tuesday Talk: Zenergy

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My, my it’s about time I get back to writing.

I’ve realized something recently: I believe that routine really has something to do with how ideas flow through my brain, and with my creativity. If it is in my routine to have time set aside to sit down and write and think every day, then I am much more likely to do it, and to keep the brain moving and the ideas flowing!

For many other reasons, breaking routines is very necessary and I am grateful that I have the opportunity to break routine on breaks from the school where I work. However, as school starts back up, I am trying to get back into some semblance of a writing routine (and many other routines that I am not quite as excited about πŸ™‚ )

Also with the start of school I have been thinking a lot lately about a word I recently made up (I think) : Zenergy.

After spending the majority of the summer with just Alex, some family, friends, and a bunch of Ecuadorian strangers, it’s slightly overwhelming to walk into a school of 200 students, their 400 parents, and 20 odd staff members….all wanting to know how you are, how your summer was, what’s wrong with your ankle, what’s going on, how was your trip…and a host of other questions. I love it!…but it is overwhelming. And just to top off my nice cup of overwhelm I chose to take a new position in the school this year; I am now the library and media gal! I also love this!…it is also overwhelming.

Why am I telling you this again?

Oh yeah, Zenergy!

See…I need it.

‘Zen’ is that thing that I believe has a connotation involving these things: Om, yoga, deep breathing. Urban dictionary tells me that it is “a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind. Zen is a way of being. It also is a state of mind. Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts.” Zen is also a school of buddhism that started in China.

‘Energy’ is that thing that I believe has a connotation involvingΒ these things: buzzing, running about, accomplishing many things. The dictionary tells me that it is “the capacity for vigorous activity.”

Zenergy is what I am striving for! Yes, I want and need to accomplish many things during the day at home and at work. That is why I want to have energy. And yes, I certainly want to accomplish them in a calm, totally focused state of mind instead of vigorously running about in a frenzied state while I complete tasks (I see many school workers doing this πŸ™‚ ). That is why I want to ‘have’ zen.

When I really try to stay on top of monitoring my Zenergy levels throughout the day (specifically the Zen part) I find that I am less stressed, happier, more willing to go with the flow, more willing to help people out, and just generally in a better state of mind when the work day ends. And then my Zenergy transfers to the homefront so when I get home I don’t feel like I have been habitually rushing around like a crazy lady all day, and I know it’s okay to not rush around at home.

Thus, Zenergy is a challenge and a gift, and quite an outstanding new word discovery, I think πŸ™‚