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Daily Joys and Simple Pleasures

Daily Joys and Simple Pleasures

Editing: It’s Not Just For Writing

“Editing. It’s Not Just For Writing.”
I’ve spent much of my writing time since I was 28 trying to get rid of words. Editing down. Paring down. Getting to the core.

I woke up this morning clear on the matter: that is what I am doing with the whole of my life. I see I am less defined by what I have and more represented by what I have passed on and given away. Similarly, I am better understood when what I do not possess, nor have ever held, is observed (in its absence).

The contents of my closet may seem too ordinary to make much fuss about. And yet, “how we do anything is how we do everything,” (said by dozens of sages over the last many hundreds of years that we’ve been taking note of such things). I’ve gone through and sorted and shared the items in my closet at least 7 times in the last year. I’m about to do it again. Each act of diminishing the volume of my clothing manages to enlarge my world view. This shedding of things lets me stand up taller, freer, with less encumbrance.

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Editing. It’s for words, things, people, commitments, thoughts, ideas, impulses
and this list is simply a short one.

When I was 25 I had a bumper sticker on my truck that read, “Live Simply that others may simply live.” I’ve been spending/investing the years since that declaration letting my impulse catch up to my actuality. I am still surrounded by abundance and stuff – increasingly each of those things are attributed meaning. I suspect, just like the process of my closet, that many of those items will also, ultimately, find another garden in which to take root. Editing. It’s good for everything.

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“In Case of Emergency…”

There are two lines that people have to fill out when enrolling in school, in a new program, camp, new doctor…

“Nearest relative.”   “Person to call in case of emergency.”

In LIVE BOLDLY I explore several sides of the concept of family.  There’s the family that you are born into and then there is the family that you choose for yourself in various stages of your life.  I consider myself blessed to still be close and associate with many people with whom I went to grade school and high school.  One of my dearest friends in this time of my life I have known since I was 18 years old. Some others I treasure I only met just last year. Time seems less significant than true connection.  (page 80, LIVE BOLDLY reads)…

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fate makes us family. choice maks us friends. there are two lines i fill out with your name: nearest relative and person to call in case of emergency. that i was born in this circle – i am blessed. that i choose to stand in this circle – i am proud.

Who in your life is your “person” to call in an emergency?  Have you mentioned to them, lately, how much you appreciate them?  THIS might be the perfect moment to do so.

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Wondering About Racism, Jingoism and All The Other ISMS

Conversation around equality is uncomfortable. To begin with.  This is not a fresh circumstance. Equality has been a core component of conflict over the ages. Race. Age. Gender. Belief. Economic state. Land ownership. Ownership of all sorts.  It is disturbing for so many reasons. The way chauvinism shows up in all the layers of our culture is so ingrained it becomes virtually invisible.

I complimented the lovely young woman at the AT & T store saying she looked very much like their national spokesperson on television.  Laughingly I said, “Or perhaps she looks like you.”  Her response?  “Well, she is really OLD.  I hope I don’t look THAT old.”  My many decades tucked into my pocket, I  smiled at her.  I recognized the opportunity for affront on both sides. I’d apparently insulted her by suggesting she  shared a “look” with a woman she  believed to be really old.  And since I beat  both their ages  added together I had the opportunity to take offense. “If you think THAT’s old…”  Instead, I decided to be observant instead of offended.

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So the concept of equality is informed by so many elements, both observed and unobserved.  I  was raised by a bigot and an inadvertent misogynist.  I think my father would have told you that he loved his wife and respected women.  And yet he raised me with, “It’s too bad you aren’t a boy – you are just a waste of a good brain in a girl.”  If a program on television featured any face besides  pasty white, it was turned off. Unless it was Sammy Davis, Jr. who, “Wasn’t bad for a ______.” It was not until I was 11 that I learned that the n word was not the preferred way to describe an  African American.  I bring this up for a significant reason.  My father has been dead for 24 years.  His prejudice still, accidentally, informs my first view.  A driver in a turban cut me off in traffic yesterday.  Because he drove so close, right in front of my car, I could see the texture of his turban.  Was it annoyance that brought my father’s  voice to my ear, whispering, “towel head?”  The instant I became aware of that rolling around in my brain (which took seconds, by the way) I was appalled. Ashamed of myself, actually.   After decades  – those derogatory labels still float in my DNA.  They rise up, unbidden, at unexpected moments. IF my father was an inadvertent misogynist, I have to conclude that I am an inadvertent racist.  It is from this realization that I want to provoke conversation, thought, examination.  {I am not pleased that an ethnic assessment of that sort comes to my thinking at any time.  And yet, it does. It is topical as I begin to explore the nature of creating a personal path toward justice and equity.}

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Noticing difference is not racism.  I am an artist.  I noticed yesterday that there were more silver cars parked in the bank lot than any other color: 5 silver, 1 white, one blue, one red.  That’s noticing.  Thinking that silver cars are better than white, blue or red cars is judgement, at best, and has the opportunity to be a manifestation of prejudice.  I wonder about the line between judgement and discernment. Have for years.  I know there’s a line, I just don’t know where it is.  And there’s a line between noticing difference and experiencing prejudice.  I don’t know where that is, either.

Do you?

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Do You Hate House Work?

I formalized an approach to house making last year. An approach I’d inadvertently applied (willy nilly) for many years.  I created a set of cards (that I offered in a bundle) titled THREE MINUTES, Seven Minutes and ELEVEN MINUTES.  Those were the most common time frames that various house keeping tasks seemed to take.  I filled them out.  I but them in a bag.  I pulled one or two or three out in the course of a day when I had 3, 7 or 11 minutes in between things that I was willing to invest in house making.  I used it as my “get up and move around” activity when I was sitting writing or designing for hours.  When the bag was empty: I started all over again!  The house started looking increasingly better and increasingly I felt less pressure about “getting it ALL done” at once.  Because I was starting to get it done, consistently, little bits at a time.  Doing that for months built a habit.  I don’t need to use those cards now because I’ve fully embraced the system and have trained myself to the various tasks. And somewhere in there I managed to reframe my assessment of “I hate house work,” to “I love enjoying a clean and presentable living environment.” Viola!  So today, as I waited for my hot water pot to boil for a beverage I pulled out the elements of the stove top and cleaned underneath and washed the little catch bowls.  Finished just as the water pot clicked off.  And THAT’s how I’m rolling out my house keeping mojo in 2015.  You?  Does this seem possible if you, also, are inclined to say, “I hate  house work?”

There are other elements to this story of transforming my relationship to keeping house.  They are longer and more complicated.  If you would like me to tell THAT story, let me know.

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Editing: It's Not Just For Writing
"Editing. It's Not Just For Writing." I've spent much of my writing time since I was 28 trying to get rid of words. Editing down. Paring down. Getting to the core. I woke up this morning clear on the matter: that is what I am doing with the ...

posted 11:44:53am Mar. 24, 2015 | read full post »

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