Friday, September 27, 2013

Glitter in My Veins

Some girls are born with Glitter in their veins. Some aren't. And ya know what, there are         Glitterless people out there who just want to shake it out of the Glittered.
I am one of the Glitter Girls. I like bling and hot pink. I like to be active and live a 3-D life to its absolute extreme.  I put myself out there, realizing that I will please some and not others. I write. I organize. I act. I create. I plan. I dream of going to Africa and Paris. I love hanging out with my kids. I enjoy sitting at a bar and chatting with a friend. I knit and read books of all types. I watch Scandal religiously. I treasure my family. I am intensely loyal to my friends and love deeply. I eat French fries and drink Blue Moon and Pink Grapefruit Martinis with sugar around the rim. I work out and love fun clothes and shoes. 

But, amidst my joie de vivre, I realize that along with the other glittered who share applause, laughter and fun with me come the nay-sayers who have opinions that differ from mine and may not like what what I do, create, say, act, dream, treasure, or eat. I must be aware that amidst my living out loud, there will be darts flying my way too.  Amidst great reviews are a few zingers.

I’m a creative Glitter Girl. Yeah, I will admit that I’m a bit fragile when I share my stuff. It’s scary to put yourself out, isn’t it? But, I do so anyway. To keep it buried under a rock in the darkness just isn’t the “authentic me.” My sparkle and glitter will win out and no matter that I go to ground at times -- retracting and retreating -- I’m comin’ back. Along my path, I will challenge myself, stumble, fly, rise and fall, laugh and cry, celebrate and wallow. But, what I won’t do is burst the balloons of others who are trying to rise and nurture their own sparkle. I refuse to sink to low levels and tear down others who are trying to claw their own way up the mountain. 

I refuse to undermine. I mean, as Hayden Panetierre sang, "It's a whole lot harder to Shine ... than Undermine."

Criticism and slashing takes place everywhere. In the Board Room, amidst friends, in conversations. It just happens. I get myself worked up at times when something rubs me the wrong way. I have been known to speak from emotion and challenge others. That should be okay. When I disagree or have different opinions, I just prefer to handle those moments with “the direct approach” and have a face to face to work through it and deal with it. Or, if it’s not that crucial, I chalk it up to differences in individuals and work thru it on my own. I mean, not everything can be a cause.

I’ve blogged before about the polarity and divisiveness of Facebook. That’s a place where darts, harsh words and -- in extreme moments -- "salads" are thrown with careless abandon. Why people feel thru the anonymity associated with typed words on a computer/internet-driven network that they can be unkind, disrespectful and dismissive is beyond me. It’s hurtful. It’s mean. Heck, I’d even call it cyber-bullying. Who I vote for or support or want to be with should not be grounds for unkind "comments" or un-friending. Debate me all you want, but don’t dismiss or criticize what I have the right to believe in and do.

As a person with Glitter in my veins, I put myself out into the public eye. Sometimes I receive accolades. Sometimes it’s a dart. Perhaps it’s a barrage of tomatoes. But I’m not one to hide myself, my thoughts, my ideas and my activities under a rock. I wasn’t created that way. I do some good … I try to at least. I want to. Sometimes I mess up. But I can’t learn anything unless I go the distance. So I guess I’ll get just have to deal with a salad thrown at my face at times.  Um … If you want to toss stuff at me, could ya at least send along some Italian dressing?

When I was a kid, I learned the golden rule … Do unto others as you want them to do to you. I figured that meant, be nice to others. I teach my kids that. Thought everybody learned that but from the stuff I read on FB, guess that lesson was tougher to grasp than I thought. I just ask for kindness. Is that so hard? I also learned that only those without fault should cast a stone. Since I’m far from perfect, I’m not casting any stones these days. And, for those out there who aren’t perfect either and reside in a Glass House, I’d kinda suggest ya don’t throw stones either.

Rosalie de Castro wrote: I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.

Thanks Rosalie. I will join you on this adventure into the unknown amidst slings and arrows. If you look for me, I will be the one with Glitter in my veins who doesn't give up when a little tomato sauce comes my way. My Glitter shines thru me and doesn't fade or dim.

Do you have glitter in your veins? Don't be afraid of a few tomatoes. Just Let it Shine ....
                                                                                                                                         -- Jenni

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Unplugged and Off The Grid

When the going gets weird or tough ... when the Going is too much, make the decision to Stop ... to Unplug ... and to Go Off The Grid.

When your world is rocked and the earth beneath your feet shakes like the Great San Francisco ‘Quake of 1906 …. Move cautiously away from shifting ground. Don’t make any big decisions. Don’t react … Retract.

When the demands coming at you are too much … Breathe and Quiet down. Retreat.

Life can sometimes give us more than we can handle. Something happens to "break the camel's back" and you look around in confusion, not knowing which way to turn. Something you weren't expecting blows up in your face and you're left wondering what the hell happened. To figure it out, look inside first. And step away from the flames.

Used to be easier … going off the grid. All you had to do was unplug your land line and you were “poof” …. Gone. But now there’s more out there to find you.
  • Turn off the cell … do not turn it on vibrate or airplane mode. Just turn it off. Put it in a drawer and let it rest.
  • Ignore Facebook. My kid tells me it’s dead anyway. So, don’t open it up. Allow your name to appear for others without the Green Dot for awhile. Resist the urge to check for messages.
  • Don’t Text or Instant Message or Tweet or update LinkedIn or post to Instagram or Pinterest. 
  • Unplug your land line … if you still have one.
  • Avoid the temptation to “surf” the ‘Net. Or shop on-line. Let your computer go quiet.
  • Don’t send emails. If you have bills sent to you by email, take care of them. But get off the computer. No mass emails. No lengthy chats.
When life sends you a roadblock or a redirect, it’s okay. You will get thru it. This is just the universe’s way to cue you to Assess what is truly important and Take some time for you. With the numerous electronic gizmos buzzing for your attention and response, your only way to go quiet and reassess your values and deepest needs is to go off the grid.

Decide what is important to you and to your happiness without the influence of the outside world or clamoring posts cluttering your mind. While you insulate yourself and nurture your bruised and tired spirit, here are some suggestions: 
  • Activate your imagination with a good book. Sit in your favorite chair with a cozy blanket. Light a candle or a fire in the fireplace. Don’t allow anything to distract you from this time.
  • Start a home project … perhaps something you keep putting off. Or clean your place from top to bottom – maybe even the windows or kitchen cabinets. Put on some music and get your house in order.
  • Go into the kitchen and try a new recipe. Cook a nice dinner or bake a decadent treat. Light candles on the table and pull out the fancy tablecloth. Eat on china for a change.
  • Take time to craft. Me, I like knitting. But there are plenty of options … quilting, crocheting, sewing, needlework, scrapbooking, painting, pottery, sketching etc. Choose something you love or try something new.
  • Instead of flipping channels, pull out a full season of your favorite TV show. (I’m choosing Scandal and a glass of red wine.) Select something that disconnects you for a while so you can get back on solid ground. Something that nurtures your spirit and makes you happy. 
  • Workout. Yoga is a great choice to center your mind and body. A long run or a bikeride gives you a chance to get outside and absorb Vitamin D and fresh air. Just do it, as Nike said. Whatever it is. Exercise is a great choice to get you back on track.
  • Write ... Buy a nice journal and jot down your thoughts. Write a blog or a story or get your ideas on paper.

Resist the urge to use Alcohol as your escape route. Going off the grid can be good for your soul but it isn't a time to wallow in booze.
It’s okay to Retract and Retreat. It’s okay to step away from people and posts and publications. They aren’t real company anyway. Instead of relying on them, look deep inside and find your own way to stay connected … both with yourself and the people you care about and who truly care about you. 

Go off the Grid when you need to. No excuse needed. And when you come back ... if you choose to come back ... take each moment one breath at a time.
                                                                                                                                -- Jenni

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Adjusting to The Adjustment Bureau

What if Life Featured an “Adjustment Bureau?” 

 Time for your Adjustment … Huh. Interesting word. Lots there …..

You go to the Chiropractor for an Adjustment … Usually means they crack your back a few times and you feel better and get up and go on about your day.

You take your car to the mechanic for an Adjustment. Some guy – or gal – in overalls fine-tunes breaks or rotates tires, completing various important tweaks to your car to make it run better. Then you drive off into the sunset, the car purring like a kitten.

You return an item to a store and the clerk makes an Adjustment to your bill, crediting your account and generally improving your financial health with the touch of a few keys.

So ... how about a Mental Adjustment? Since in all three of the above cases, the participant departs in a better state than they arrived, if I make a Mental Adjustment shouldn’t I be in a better place than I began? After all, don’t I need a tune up every now and then if I’m going to purr and run right? If I want to jump and exercise and keep up with my kids and friends and co-workers and many projects? If I want to get along with the different and beautiful personalities that surround me?

Perhaps I’m thinking a certain way about something happening around me … a work project, a person, a creative endeavor, the overly perky lady who leads my workout at 5:45 a.m., whatever. It isn’t progressing or following the expected path … my expected path. As I wrote a few months ago in the blog Great Expectations: Leave them to Dickens, people, events and life occurrences tend to be unpredictable and follow their own path. I may not be able to control and maneuver things the way I would like. My way may not be possible -- heck, my way may not be best or accessible. Okay, I THINK my way is best. I mean it’s my way. (Don't we all think our way is best ... I mean, be honest.) After all ... It’s what I want. But … along comes reality to bite "my way" in the ass and the next think I know I’m sitting down on the ground rethinking options. Along comes a change in tone or an offhand remark or a goal not reached or an email not returned or a call ignored or a project not the way I wanted it .... and boom, I’m pouring my poor misunderstood or abused self into words in my journal. 

Perhaps, this is the time for me to Make An Adjustment. Change my perspective. Choose to make a lot of lemonade with the 40 pound lemon. Choose to enjoy a drive by the water alone when I was hoping for company. Choose to clean the house when I’d rather grab fries and a beer. Choose to honor the people around me for who they are and what they are versus that "person" I want them to be … for me. Choose to celebrate what I do have and what is happening instead of wallowing in the elements denied me.

A few years ago, Matt Damon appeared in a film called The Adjustment Bureau. In the film, life was meant to flow a certain way and when it didn’t these guys in suits and 1950s fedoras popped in and made an adjustment … Crack!  They pop in and everything returned to the way fate dictated it Should be. Since Fate seemed to have a one directional plan, adjustments had to be made periodically. Free Will had apparently gone the way of the dodo and these guys in suits and fedoras were in charge of what I could do, feel, be, think, have etc. And when they made their adjustment, mankind was none the wiser. Oh, that is except for Matt Damon but he’s smarter than most.

Anyway, as I walk life’s dusty road and make discoveries and encounter people who look at life differently and have different goals than I do, I realize that at times I need to choose to make an adjustment rather than have a tantrum or insist on getting my own way. Seriously, if my life were this film, than these guys would be popping in a lot. I don't tend to follow the normal, expected path in many cases. I tend to like to go off-road and explore. I ask questions and challenge the status quo. I know who I am so I choose to live life and dance in the rain. 

So if I'm honest ... I don't always want to involve the Adjustment Bureau. At times I don't want to compromise or make sacrifices and accept something other than what I want.

However, I realize that not everyone will make the same choices or place importance exactly as I do. People are unique with their own energies and dynamics. I learn from them as they learn from my intense, driven nature. So, today I will make some Adjustments. Might tomorrow as well. I don’t consider this compromise but collaboration with Fate. As for the day after tomorrow, it's anyone's guess. I am who I am. I want what I want. But I love unconditionally, so at times I make sacrifices, collaborate and bite my overly active tongue.

What about you? Can you collaborate now and than instead of having those guys in fedoras pop in to change your life for you? Perhaps we can make Adjustments together and save the future, learning a little bit about Tolerance along the way.

                                                                                                                                  -- Jenni

Friday, September 6, 2013

What's On Your Mind??

Such asks the empty box on Facebook. The Status Box. You’ve all seen it at some time. Even those who snub FB or visit only occasionally cannot help but recognize that question. It beckons me to type something … to comment creatively about some topic that would be of note to close friends and casual acquaintances alike. I feel the urge to present some clever prose to appear interesting, thus winning new friends and influencing others.

That question taunts me, demanding a response until in frustration I click away from FB.  

You see, I have lots on my mind. Observations. Questions. Concerns. Hopes. Dreams. Disappointments. Intentions and Goals. Creative thoughts. Dark thoughts. Things I’d like to do. Things I want to do but can’t do for one reason or another. Food. Drink. Activities. Plans. Books to read. Knitting projects to begin … some to finish once and for all. Plays I want to do and see. People I want to spend time with. Places I want to go. The shoes I saw on-line or the outfit that struck my fancy. The conversation with my son this morning … the worries of my daughter. The call from a friend. The words from my parents. Things I want and can't have. Things I have and don't want. Things I don't want to do. The grocery list ... meal planning. Last night’s episode of Burn Notice ….. the list goes on and on.

There is so much on my mind at times that I feel as though I am a whirling dervish of thoughts. Many I grasp from the spinning tornado and hide before anyone can sneak a peak. They are precious and mine. Not to be shared with anyone but the most worthy. Others escape from my fingers – or lips – and can never return to the safety of their origins. But few are worthy of notice or evaluation from the great masses of eyes that will review it, analyze it and judge it in the light of a Status Update on Facebook.

My thoughts might be delicate … might dissolve with an unkind comment. My thoughts might be quirky and misunderstood. My thoughts might be different from the mainstream view … causing dissent and unfriending. My thoughts might be too personal to share randomly with people who only see me as a type-written passage.

But still Facebook asks me: What’s on your mind? So, I tell … I gently tug a little piece of myself from deep inside. I tell a little of the safe stuff or the mainstream stuff or the stuff that might create a dialogue amongst those individuals whose ideas I honor and appreciate. I type an update that might connect me to someone out there in the vastness of FB. But, most of the stuff stays locked up.

How dare Facebook ask me such a personal question anyway? It’s none of their beeswax.

So, what’s on YOUR Mind?
                                                                                                                              -- Jenni