Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Evil HR Lady had a very funny post ( the one with the you tube video of "Charlie bit me" watch it again That short little clip reminds me of something that rubs me the wrong way about this society that we live in.

Everyone is an actor. The little boy saw that a camera was pointed at him--and he performed. He bit his (I assume) brother. And even worse--he smiled! He knew the camera was on him so he performed and smiled knowing that the world would laugh with him.

I feel like I don't know what it means to be me. I have been living a 'role' (that of good Mormon girl, or Good Mormon Daughter) my whole life. How I saw everything was based on the role. How I related to people. How I treated myself (not very kindly, mind you) was all based on 'performing' that role well.

Well, almost a year ago I quit that contract. I have gone through a major personal upheaval trying to figure out "who am I?!" because I never acted or made decisions based on my own desires. I still get caught up in 'role' thinking. It takes time to let go of that. And you don't necessarily let it go on it's own. You do need to replace certain thinking or ways of thinking with something else.

Letting go, of people

I visited some professors of mine this last week and enjoyed staying in touch with them, and listening to their positive encouragement for my personal growth and professional development. It was very nice. But I also noticed, something always seems to strike a nerve--not in a bad way. But something tugs at my heart where I almost always tear up about something.

As I thought about this more, I realized that perhaps this tug at the heart is more deeply about loss. One of my professors passed away. I attended the funeral, the memorial service, and the lunch. But I still miss this person. I recieved approval and encouragment to live my dreams from this person. This person was also very influential in my choice to return to graduate school. I still miss this person.

I have never really had anyone close to me die. Yes, I've had grandparents pass away, but they lived far away and I didn't have a very close relationship to them. Here I find myself, stuck--still dealing with grief and loss every time I set foot back on campus, remembering this wonderful person.

It seems to compound the loss I feel about losing so many other people in my life as I stepped away from my religion. I have bumped into a few of these people on occasion, but it's not the same. I'm different and they are different. We don't share the same basic assumptions about life, so 'how do I act around you now?' seems to be the feeling I get from them as well as feel myself.

I don't have any advice about letting go of people of this sort. I have plenty about letting go of people that are clutter or negative influences in your life. But loss through death, or voluntarily leaving a community mind-set of people--I still struggle a bit on how to make peace with this.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

the healing garden

I started my 'flower garden' (i.e. the seeds) indoors not even two weeks ago. I have already transplanted the Comos because they grew too tall for the starter storage container so quickly. I now have two sweet pea plant that are banging their heads on the roof top of the starter kit. Wow! It is fun to see them grow.

I was just finishing reading "Tending the Earth, Mending the Spirit: The Healing Gifts of Gardening" by Connie Goldman and Richard Mahler as I began my flower garden. If you love gardening, I highly recommend this book. If you don't like gardening, but have suffered a loss or are going through a difficult time, I highly recommend this book. It doesn't focus on the how-to's of gardening, but rather the emotional healing, the spiritual connection people feel towards the earth and others as they create and tend to their gardens. Connie Goldman shares comments from gardeners from all over the country about how they feel while they garden, why they garden, the healing and help to endure/survive difficult times that has come through gardening in peoples lives.

I really liked it. And I do believe that many people are suffering in various ways (high stress, anger, disconnection and isolation) by a lack of connection with the earth and growing things. One day I became extremely upset over something a (distant) family member said. I was livid. I knew I needed to get out of the house and run to a store with a plant nursery. Let me tell you it helped. Granted, I did a lot of self talking, but just being around plants truly helps me to calm down. There is a large indoor garden in my city that I love to visit on occasion. It helps me to feel grounded.

As I feel like I have cut off friends from the past, and even a large portion of my family (by way of leaving the church) I realized-I need new friends--I need a garden! Check out this book from your library (that's where I found this) and see what you think. Let me know your thoughts. I would love to send a copy to Molly over at Green Hope Farms (see my link to her blog on the right of the screen). Molly is often writing about the connection people have with plants and flowers, and the incredible healing power of plants, flowers, and flower essences.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A new take on being unemployed--part 1

The Career Encourager is on vacation this week. Lucky her. I recall a sibling lamenting the problem with being unemployed is that you can't enjoy your leisure time because that is all you have. Now, my unemployed life is not all leisure time, but it reminds me of my spouse making the comment: "Enjoy it [being unemployed] while you can. Think of this as retirement, because once you start working, you'll be working for the rest of your life."

Good point. Others have also advised me to enjoy my "free time" now before it's gone. This has been fun to fantasize about. As I have cultivated the mindset of 'enjoying my retirement' right now, I've been thinking about the things that I've always wanted to do. It has allowed me a little space to determine what do I really want to do with my life?

Some things aren’t feasible (like vacationing and traveling around the world). But others are in my grasp, and now begun--like starting my flower garden. With this kind of mind-set, perhaps I can refocus my job search and find employment that allows me to make the contributions I want to make to the world and satisfies my life goals. This a great time to contemplate what life pursuits I really want to undertake.

Monday, April 7, 2008

A new take on being unemployed--part 2

As I've been trying to determine how I want to enjoy my 'retirement' (i.e. being unemployed) right now, I realized that I have been resisting becoming clear on this. I cling to my excuses of the past-as a Mormon I never was allowed to think of what I wanted, my life was all about others. I now realize that this is just an excuse. This excuse perpetuates a 'victim' mentality AND provides the additional excuse or 'out' from responsibility. If I can't clearly state what I want to do, then it is ok for me to remain in this icky state of floundering and not take action (i.e. go nowhere). By stating what I want--I have to accept responsibility for doing something about it and moving forward. Or accept responsibility for not taking action and moving forward.

Hmmm. I recognize that I am resisting it. And now I know why. These lame excuses don't serve me any more. I am trying to let go of the 'victim' mentality. Yes, it's scary to take responsibility for my life, but I know I can handle it. Previously I believed that God could make something good out of any situation. But what if I now believe that I can make something good out of any of my life's situations? Think what exciting things I can accomplish! I could create my dream job or employment opportunity. Yes, on the flip side I could totally mess my life up (but what's the statistical probability of that? Not very high. And besides-in theory I've already done that!) I'm the type to look on the bright side of life. I find opportunity everywhere.

And what I love about decluttering is the space it opens up for CREATIVITY. So, now that I recognize why I'm resisting, I can declutter it out of my mind, create space, and create the life I always wanted. An early retirement and a job I love!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

I made cookies

Some time in the past week or so my spouse asked me to make cookies. I obliged. I used a favorite recipe but couldn't find the brown sugar. I was certain we had some but couldn't find it. So I looked online to figure out a substitute. After "tweaking" the recipe I found that when I mixed it all up it didn't stick together like cookie dough normally does. I recalled that one of the resources I consulted online mentioned to use something like 3 less tablespoons of liquid when using (whichever substitute that source mentioned). Well. My dough wasn't sticking and I didn't use any liquid in my recipe so I decided to add some. I added about 1 tablespoon of milk and mixed it up. It was working, so I added just a little bit more. Then I dumped in the swirled chips and went to work plopping them on the sheet and threw them in the oven. I was pretty pleased with myself for figuring out how to make it work despite all the minor set backs. I went to share my ingenuity with my spouse whose reaction was not at all what I expected. I was told you never add milk to cookies (mentally I thought--unless it's after they are cooked and when one is consuming them). So I ended up a bit discouraged. When I pulled the first sheet out of the oven they were pale. I think I baked them for a bit longer (more tweaking!) and they never really did get very brown.

But you know what? I realized a little bit later--I had made cookies! They might not have been the best batch (or the worst either!) but they were cookies. I had used what I had available and made cookies out of it--yay for me! If my spouse didn't want to eat that batch of cookies, I would. Because despite the odds, I did make cookies. That's what we all do in life--we take what we have available to us, and do what we can with it. We don't need to listen to other people's concerns or judgements (or expectations, for that matter) about what our lives should look like. We can all make cookies the best we can with the ingredients we are given. And everyone likes slightly different qualities in a cookie. (By the way, my spouse did eat the cookies, and realized I had done well given the circumstances.)

I found the brown sugar slightly before throwing the cookies in the oven--but it was too late then. No regrets, no looking back. I just made those cookies. And you know what? I'm smarter and wiser for the experience!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

job hunter blues

Well, I heard back from places where I have interviewed, and the responses were "we're proceeding with another candidate". It is always a blow to the self-esteem (especially if you aren't currently working). I may have mentioned I love reading some HR blogs and remembered some wise cousel I've read on the Career Encourager's website, including this posting

I realized that I would not have been a good fit for the position, nor feel fulfilled in the work. I knew I would have gotten bored once I had mastered the necessary skills. I also remember's the Career Encourager's advice from this post

so I emailed a brief, profressional thank you (it's nice to know for certain where you stand) and wished them good luck with their new candidate. Because I'm not bitter. It's just a bit dissapointing, even if I didn't want the position. Thank goodness I have my flowers to nurture me through this!

Simple Pleasures

ok, so I went AWOL for a little while. In that time various things have happened (or haven't happened). The most important is that I started my flower seeds earlier this week. A mere 1 to 2 days later there are tiny sprouts shooting up from the dirt! I can't resist looking at them every time I walk by them. It is amazing and very heartening to see. Also, amidst a fairly heavy snow-fall, I saw a robin hopping on my deck, out of the wind and snow, taking a little breather. I actually suspect that the previous owners of this place had some bird-feeders and this robin was looking for some grub. I woke up April 2nd before my alarm clock rang, and heard birds singing. Ahhhh. These are the simple pleasures of life--for me at least!