It’s Complicated

I love Lily Tomlin. Back in the day, when other kids were playing their Genesis and Journey albums, I was listening to Lily Tomlin’s comedy album over and over. What a strange young girl I was!

One of my favorite bits from the album went something like this,”Today I went to the hardware store to buy a wastepaper basket. I brought it to the checkout, paid for it, and the cashier put my wastepaper basket into a paper bag. When I got home, I took my wastepaper basket out of the paper bag, and put the bag into the wastepaper basket.”

Anyway, I got to thinking about this on my run today. It was 55 degrees here in Chicago, so I laced up my new pair of Barefoot Merrells  and ran down to the beach.

I found myself walking along the beach in barefoot shoes.

Shoes – by the way – that come with a set of instructions about how to run in them.

What the heck? How did we humans come to this? If I’m going to run barefoot, why do I need shoes? Why did Lily need a bag? Why must we complicate every thing?

We are all familiar with the magazine, Real Simple. I do enjoy it at the orthodontist. But how did we arrive at the point where we need a monthly magazine instructing us on how to pare down? When did “simple” become so complicated?

And, in pondering the above, I am somewhat hesitant to get into it all. Dare I say, it is a complex problem.

For heaven-sake, it took me the better part of a year to re-learn how to run in my “barefoot” shoes. I now land on my forefoot rather than my heel, such that I am smoothly rolling forward along, rather than constantly applying the brakes and starting over with every heel strike.

To run more simply, as nature intended, was a complicated process.

Somehow, in these modern times of ours, with so much innovation, and so many products and advertising, and stuff, and opportunities, we get lost among it all. And now, many of  us are looking for a way out. Looking to simplify, to be more mindful, more natural, to have more leisure time. To, simply put it, be more content.

I suppose we do need some instructions for that. We really have veered way off course.

So, where to start? Right here. Right now. Breath in. Breath out. Keep it simple for this moment. Breath in. Breath out.

Gifts Among the Dreary

I watch the news while I fold the laundry. The news is bad. And dreary, and sad, and crazy, and pessimistic, and seemingly without hope.

There really is some pretty bad stuff going on – well – everywhere.

And when you watch the news – there is a sense that it is all affecting you while at the same time, you have absolutely no control over it.  News reporting these days has a sense of making everyone helpless to do anything about it.

What good is that? I mean, our world is so big – that it almost makes watching the news irrelevant. Like – why bother knowing about this stuff if you can’t fix it. And if you can’t fix it – or even effectively react to it – what is this barrage all about?

And yet we watch. And I suppose we stay informed about what is going on in the world. And on many levels that is important.

What if we could change the news? What if we could fix it? What if we could make the news good?

I say we can. We can train our minds to stop being so negative, and hyperbolic, and so full of fear for the future that we only know how to compete and fight rather than cooperate and share.

We are not helpless.  We can change the news. By training our own mind, our own heart.

How?

A simple beginning is to start noticing stuff. Stuff that makes you smile. Stuff that can take you out of your mind that is stuck with the gloom of the evening news.

I ran up the Green Bay Trail yesterday. Commuter train tracks on one side of the path. A strip of trees on the other. February in Chicago along the trail is brown, and dreary. No leaves on the trees, not much wildlife to speak of.

I’m always on the look-out nonetheless for birds – and about 4 miles in, finally – there they were. Way up in the oaks two nuthatch, hopping their way upside down, hammering at the bark looking for lunch. And at my feet? A cluster of red berries still hanging on to a Charlie Brownesque twiggy bush.

The pop of red, the call of the nuthatch – made me smile. Gifts among the dreary. To acknowledge these gifts in our life. Makes a difference.

Imagine

As ever – thanks to all for visiting the Carrot Seed.

There’s a lot going on behind the scenes.  Along with observing all the fun goings on of every day life – Aristotle and the Buddha have been advisors – okay – I’m dropping names  – and it’s getting a little late – so I’ll only drop one more name.

John Lennon.

Imagine

Imagine there’s no heaven,
It’s easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky,
Imagine all the people
living for today…

Imagine there’s no countries,
It isnt hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for,
And No religion too,
Imagine all the people
living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one.

Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say Im a dreamer,
but Im not the only one,
I hope some day you’ll join us,
And the world will live as one.

Could Somebody Bring Me My Glasses

First of all, I would like to congratulate myself for helping Max with his math. Yes. Somewhere from the very depths of my brain, I pulled out how to multiply a whole number with a fraction. And get the correct answer.  I need do nothing else today!

And yet.

I have been working on some short stories, and some longer stuff  (code word for “a novel.”)

I’m at the beginning. I’m still working out the process. What will the habit of writing be like? Coming up with ideas, characters, stories. And then following through with a finished work. Will the well run dry?

Even more to the point, the past few days I’ve had great amounts of difficulty deciding precisely what story to submit (write) for an upcoming contest (deadline in 6 days.) I have been going back and forth and back and forth. What the heck? I mean it has been a total struggle. Like trying to read the menu at a dimly lit restaurant but I forgot my reading glasses.

So frustrating! Someone get me some glasses!  Turn up the lights! Or – you across the table – hold the menu up for me.

And then. Eureka! Today around 3 o’clock. It just dawned on me. The story that I’m going to submit is the story that I need to write right now.  I’ve got notes and half a draft or two that I have been pondering since October. Why didn’t I see it until today?

Well. Maybe a few reasons. I wasn’t ready. It wasn’t ready. It needed to percolate and all that. But if I’m being honest? I know that I didn’t want to see the truth behind this story. I didn’t want it to be revealed. To me.

And so. I suppose fear was holding me back. And courage will move me forward. It takes courage to see things we don’t want to see. To feel emotions we don’t want to feel.

And, not to mention, a good pair of reading glasses to read the words on the page.

Don’t Text a Rant

I recently learned that a friend texted another friend that a mutual friend was a horrible human being. (The language was just a little bit stronger than that.) Here’s the catch. She texted the horrible human being directly by mistake. And thereby told her to her texting face what she thought of her. (Even though she didn’t actually intend to. And of course, pleaded that she didn’t really mean what the text said. She was just having a bad day.) Whoops. They are no longer friends.

Are you aware of your mind? What are you ruminating on right now? What’s your mood like? How is it affecting you? How is it affecting others?

I’m going to reveal something about myself that I only learned recently, after sitting for a very long time with the above questions. I discovered that I was angry. A lot. And I didn’t know it. Because I thought I was wrong to be angry.  So I pretended I wasn’t. I denied it. To myself. To everyone.

This is very complicated and difficult to parse, and to admit. But very important.

When I started to accept that I was angry. And explore it. And sit with it. A very amazing thing happened. I stopped being angry. Granted. That took some work. (Ok, loads of work!) But it has made an incredible, incredible, incredible difference. When anger arises now I work to understand it. I know that it will pass. I do not have to keep it or hide it. If I act on it, it is for a reason. To set a boundary, or to right a wrong.

Acknowledging my anger, working with my anger, has allowed me to stop hurting myself and other people in anger. It has allowed me to forgive the many people and things I was angry about.

And so. To the title of this post, “Don’t Text a Rant.”

Where do you put your anger? Do you yell it out to the world?

Why?

I guess that’s today’s contemplation. Do you cause harm when you are angry?

In the next post, I will endeavor to tie these thoughts together with their implications on “Eating is not a Luxury.”