Lessons I Teach Myself
They say the older one gets, the wiser she gets.
Who are 'they' exactly, I don't know. But I'd say the saying has some truth in it.
I have a lot more growing up to do, but one thing I've already noticed I am shedding away: The shoulds.
You know the shoulds? Yeah, you know them. They pop up a few times a day, when you should have done this, or should have said that... or when you contemplate something and really think you should this and that about it... and that you really really better shouldn't whatever about it.
It's when you are trying to squeeze yourself into a pattern, a belief, at all possible costs. Be it with the life you SHOULD have, or the person you SHOULD be.
You 'should' really means that you DON'T fit the mold, but that you BETTER.
Because if you don't.... then you'll at best have some raised eyebrows to deal with, and at worse - a family drama that you'd be apologizing for, for years to come.
The dictionary (of my beloved Mrs. Google) says that SHOULD is:
*used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone's actions.
That definition alone stirs me in a direction of 'to hell with the shoulds.' Life is too short (or is it?!) to operate out of the feeling of obligation, duty or correctness. And criticizing someone feels awful, as is being criticized.
So I say SHOULD GOTTA GO.
It just GOTTA. It GOTTA. It GOTTA GO.
So, dear 'should',
You and I are finito. We're done. Goin' our separate ways for once and for all.
Find yourself someone who actually wants to fit into some mold, because I sure DON'T.
Ruth was a gentle woman, with long fine hair of apricot color, and wide and bulky eyes.
She was told more than once, that she had Bambi eyes. Her hands were delicate and long. She could have been a pianist if she had a different life. If she was raised in a musical home or had enough wealth to buy a piano. But no, Ruth didn't have any luxuries growing up, nor did she have any now, in her fifties. She was a gentle woman who never married. She had affairs, and even one great love, but lost her sweetheart to a deadly disease, and opted for a life by herself, instead of another heartbreak. She was content with herself. Lonely at times, but content.
Ruth was a woman of daily habits, of daily chores, or work. She was a sound listener and worked in her town's administrative office. She handled all sorts of odd requests and even met the mayor a few times. An honor she held close to her heart. She had a framed photo of her and the mayor by her desk. She was proud of that photo. She would look at it every now and then, and smile.
Life was not an adventure to Ruth. She was too gentle for many kinds of adventures... but life offered different types of excitement to Ruth: The excitement of going to work, of making her meals for the week, of seeing her nieces and nephews on Saturdays. The thrill of going to a weekly knitting group with her lady friends, and the occasional fostering of her small town's stray cats. These were all that Ruth could handle. You see, when Ruth was younger, she suffered through a heart attack, one that left her heart some twenty years older than it should have been.
She was a gentle woman, and her heart was even gentler.
The day that Ruth died, the people in the town hung a sign that read: 'Only a heart so big, could be so tender.' That was Ruth, she was a gentlewoman, living with a broken heart, and a love for humanity. You may think she was quite ordinary, but she was rare in her tenderness, she was special in her loyalty, and she was unique in her ways.
We should all be so lucky to have a Ruth in our lives,
The past few months have been a... whirlwind.
For the last decade or so of my life I have been always been pretty much in the know when it comes to world or local news. So following the eruption of this global pandemic and the political, social, economical issues it brought along... was no different for me. I got sucked in to the massive amount of information and all the stress and agony that came along with it. All from the safe haven of my home, fortunately...
But it has taken a toll, and I have needed an intermission from the ongoing cycle of information thrown at me from various main stream news sources and other not-so-main stream sources.
So what did my intermission look like??
A couple of days getaway in the Sequoia mountains, a digital break (for the most part), and a lot of forest air and fairy searching in the forest. It fed my soul, nourished my heart, and gave me a much needed break from the stress of the current and recent events in the whole wide world, and also in my own little personal world.
Long plays need intermission, not just for the actors and sets to regroup, but for the audience to re-set, so they can take in the rest of the story with more clarity and focus.
I will make this a weekly thing - venturing into nature, without my phone, and without the need to be informed. May we all allow ourselves, every now and again, to have a much needed intermission.
I have a confession to make.
Deep breath. Deep breath...Okay T, you got this... drum beat...three..two..one...:
Do you see that date above, the one that says 06/30....?
It's a LIE.
Today is July 1st. And I am writing this "daily" blog post ONE DAY LATE.
I was going to cheat and not mention this at all. But who am I kidding here? Nobody to cheat but myself.
And I'm not the best liar anyways. This confession is kinda an example of how badly I lie.
Truth is, contemplating whether I should lie about this, wasn't very long. It wasn't very hard. I knew I didn't have it in me. You see, my mother raised me with a particular relationship to lying: One day, in fifth grade, I had an impulsive urge to follow my friend out of school, walk the streets of the city, visit her home, and take the bus all by myself home instead of following my normal routine of taking my neighborhood shuttle van home at the moment school ended. I am not sure whether I was carried away by my friend's charisma and lure (she had plenty), or if I just listened to a voice in me calling me to rebel that day, but when I arrived home a lot later that day, and saw my mother's furious (and concerned) expression, I opted to lie about it. I made an excuse or told a story that the van left without me so I 'had no choice.' (not the most creative lie, but I did't have much practice...)
My mother taught me a lesson about telling a lie that day.
I had never seen her so upset with me. The look in her eyes was heartbreaking. Was gut wrenching. Was memorable. I knew then and there, that I would never want to make anyone feel lied to by me again.
Of course, people do as they may, and feel as they feel....sometimes regardless of my actions.
And I realize that now. But my inner compass of truth (for the most part) feels like a solid tower of stability. Barely rocks, and stands tall, with grace. That's when I meet the temptation of 'lying to another.'
But what about lying to myself?
Well..Here's where the tower often bends backward and forward quite a bit... and sometimes falls flat on the ground, or shatters into pieces before it builds itself back up again.
I somehow developed a mindset that may protect someone else from my lies, but doesn't protect me from lying to myself.
The journey to look inward, whether through this blog, or through my mediations or whatever else through this trip of a life, is a challenging ride. Sometimes we see things we don't like in ourselves. Or notice 'bad' habits that may need a re-programming of sorts. This is a tricky mindset to 'unlearn' for me... but maybe confessing it here on the big wild web is a starting point for me to UNLEARN the habit and polish up my inner compass of truth, to be stronger, to be more malleable, to be more honest, to be more... human.
A day in the river.
The sweet smell of water.
I am sitting on a rock,
Looking towards where the river flows.
The waters rush to their destination,
As if they were a school kid rushing for the bus.
Or a lawyer on her way to court.
Or a nurse headed to his grave yard shift.
The waters rush, and yet they seem still.
As if they move without movement .
With no effort.
As if they were carried on by the wind,
Or carried by themselves.
And I am sitting on a rock
Looking towards where the river flows
Wondering, Pondering, Thinking:
The water surrenders.
Surrenders into itself,
As it rushes towards its destination.
Where do we go,
When we surrender?
Surrender is often over looked
We say ‘let go’. We sing it out loud with our princesses.
But do we ever? Let go. Do we let ourselves be carried by ourselves?
Like water, effortless in its effort.
Still in its movement.
Calm in its wildness.
So are we:
A river of contradictions.
But the unknown time stamp on this Covid-19 reality we're living, is what challenges me most.
My life, in some ways, is simply on hold right now. And that is incredibly uncomfortable to me. (Yes, I know I should be a million times grateful for the privilege of experiencing this horrible time merely as 'hold.')
The illusion of time, is the one I'm trying to hold on to the most these days.
Perhaps it's because I fear my own decay.
Perhaps it's because I fear the loss of my loved ones.
Perhaps it's because I always feel like time is running away from me, and there is so much to do still...
Perhaps it's the lesson of patience that I have yet to learn.
Perhaps it's an excuse, a distraction that keeps me from being 'in the moment' doing whatever the fuck I want to on any given moment, because what's the point of anything else!?
Perhaps it's an inner voice, my personal drive that pushes me forward to fulfill more area in my potential.
Perhaps it's because it's not an illusion at all... time is one of our only concepts that is NOT a made-up human story. (...Or is it?!)
Who knows? Not I, that's for sure.
My relationship with TIME, is an enigma. A mysterious riddle I haven't yet solved. A love & hate saga that is packed with confusion. A party that I seem to always be LATE to.
Oh, time. What art thou?
I am a... puzzler.
That means, I enjoy sitting down for hours, listening to an audiobook, a podcast, or some music, and dig through a thousand or more pieces of a jigsaw puzzle in hopes to fulfill an image of sorts. I enjoy that A LOT. I also sometimes go through phases in life when I get obsessed with a puzzle video game on my phone. Not a jigsaw puzzle, obviously... but rather a word puzzle, or a 'brain' type game, or a strategy cube game. I'll get really into a game, play it obsessively, until I delete it off my phone in protest, desperately eager to bring back some self discipline into my life. I also am really into riddles. I'm not stellar at them, but I'd say I'm above average. I'd like to think that, at least. And crosswords puzzles pretty dope. I don't solve them often, mainly because they seem to belong to the era of newspapers : A thing that existed not so long ago, and is now almost totally, gone.
So, yeah, I'm a puzzler.
But what happens when I meet a puzzle, a riddle, a challenge that I CAN'T solve?
In puzzles, like in life, I obsess over finding a solution. Putting pieces together to fulfill a picture, seems to be a running theme in my life. I used to have a clear image of the picture I was trying to make, but now, as I 'lived a little', I see that the picture is a moving image that always changes, always draws itself anew as I piece it together. At times it's a game of catch up. Other times, it's slow and nearly still, and my hands are guided to piece the pieces together as if they were lead by some superpower. Other times, the puzzle solving is slow and rigorous. And in some unforgettable moments, it's filled with a-ha moments that feel almost orgasmic. Thinking of life as a rotating, ever-evolving image of a puzzle I am putting together, gives me the sense of discovery, joy, and purpose. It gives me both the freedom of uncovering something new, and the craft of meticulous care for my moves. It takes off the pressure of life's expectations, yet also gives me a sense of 'something bigger' that us humans need so often. Some need it in a God, some in nature. Some, like me, find both god and nature in the simple playful arts we have invented, like puzzles, and riddles, and games.
The puzzle of my life, is an unsolvable one.
It keeps me on my toes, eager to uncover, and guides my hands to PLAY.
Little Lucinda was leaning on the railing, standing high on her tippy toes, letting her hands hang low. She inhaled the fresh ocean air, and stared far in the distance. "See that? Our new home." Her big brother pointed. Lucinda climbed even higher on her tippy toes, to get a good look of it. It looks just like another island, she thought. Her big brother lifted her up on top of his shoulders, she was now high above all the other people at the viewpoint. She held her arms high up, wondering if she could touch the sky. "Do you see it now?" He asked. "Uh-huh." She answered. It still looks just like another island, she thought. But the beaming look in her brother's eyes made her believe their new home was going to be very different. Different, and better. I will miss the farm, she thought. But she wasn't going to crush her big brother's dreams of their better new world, so she said nothing. She was little, but wise. And even as a small child, she knew not to break her big brother's heart. He wanted her excited - so she was to be excited. He wanted for her to have a better life - so she was going to have a better life. He wanted her away from their father... and he was right to do so. One day, when I'll be older, I'll get to choose my new home, she thought. I must be patient.
And patient, she was.
Lucinda and her big brother made it to the shores of their new home, and it was another island, but one without their father in it. One with opportunities. One with dreams. At first, this new home was smiling at Lucinda. Everywhere she walked, flowers would bloom, people would wave, and roads would clear. But years later, the roads seemed to have gotten more crowded. The flowers were replaced with artificial ones that never died nor bloomed, and the people would look down at Lucinda, telling her with their stern looks and their words, that she didn't belong there. That she should 'go back where she came from.'
This new world, wasn't so new anymore, and it wasn't smiling at them anymore.
Her big brother found a job, and another, and another. But no matter how much he worked, he would always struggle. Years later he died of a stroke at the age of forty five. ONLY forty five. "It was stress", the doctors said. Lucinda went on and fell in love with a native islander. One that didn't consider her an outsider. One that was gentle, and kind. He was nothing like her father. But he had his downfalls, his wandering eye and his addictions. Lucinda was patient and loving. She accepted him as he was.
She then got herself an education and the opportunity to serve her community: She was a school teacher.
Her students loved her. They were also little. Little, but wise.
When little Lucinda became a mother, she felt joy she hadn't had before. And for a while, it was bliss to be in her shoes. Her new life WAS better. But years later, the joy was predictable, and at times, not very joyous. Things were simply...normal. And that was not to her liking. And since she was patient, she said nothing.
At sixty years old, with a husband, two sons, one grandchild, two dogs, one parrot and hundreds of adoring students, Little Lucinda found herself leaning on a railing on the shore. Staring at her previous life. Her older home.
Was this a better home?
Well, it may not have been better, but it's home.
Her husband approached her, surprising her with a bouquet of flowers, for their 40th anniversary. He had overcome his addictions. They have outgrown his infidelities. HE was her home. She suddenly reached her arms up high, wondering if she could touch the sky, and declared to her husband: "Darling, do you see that? That's our new home." She pointed, but not to the old island, but rather to the stars above. "Let's make our golden years count, honey. Let's travel the world, go on adventures, reach for the stars. I've been patient, and lived my life for others. It was beautiful, and I am grateful. But now, now it's time for me."
And she lived happily ever after after.
I had.... a day.
My day started with my famous (or infamous, depends who's asking) morning routine that includes:
*My odd habit of oil pulling (Hey, don't knock it 'till you try it).
*My trendy habit of drinking celery juice on an empty stomach. (yes, ONLY celery. It grows on ya.)
*My fitness cult hour-workout extravaganza (The Class - it's AWESOME)
*My moment of zen meditation. (ranges from 5 to 30 minutes, usually au natural, occasionally guided)
In between some of these I read (ahem, listened to the audiobook I mean) one of the current books I'm reading, today it was 'Untamed' by Glennon Doyle, showered and got my face all oiled up with the best organic products my skin loves, fed my cats and spent extra time patting the furr-balls, and browsed through emails and texts and the infamous social media monster: Instagram.
Then, my bf and I (mostly him...) did some handy-WOman work putting together a pull-down-backdrop for filming, and I went on to work on an audition tape I had to submit. I started delving into the story, the scene, the character, the fantasy, and the playful arena that rocks my world (and that I deeply miss since Covid 19 shut the industry DOWN) and before I knew it.... it was MIDNIGHT.
Where did the day go?!?
Is imagination a real time sucker or what!?
Is this what they mean when they say 'Time flies by when you're having fun'!?
....And WHO the hell are THEY?!?
The day has slipped away and it is nearly tomorrow.
Where will tomorrow slip to, I wonder...
My mood over the last few weeks...
over the state of the country,
and the state of, well, myself...
has been moody.
Has been up and down.
Has been like a...
(Noun) A long plank balanced in the middle on a fixed support, on each end of which children sit and swing up and down by pushing the ground alternately with their feet.
(Verb) A situation characterized by rapid, repeated changes from one state or condition to another.
The verb is clearly what I am relating to right now (though I've always enjoyed actual seesaws too), as I am noticing myself; changing rapidly from one extreme to the other; looking for balance constantly; and feeling the highs of the highs and the lows of the lows much more than usual.
'Thing is....though seesaws are fun, and dramatic, and may make one feel alive...
they are always off the ground. They're never truly grounded, rooted, centered.
I think I rather feel the earth on my feet than be bounced up and down by a seesaw.
Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog that may, or may not be, of any significance to anyone other than herself. If you found her lil' life lessons, stories, poems and blurbs meaningful to you, well that's f**ing amazing! Comment and share so she can pat herself in the back - she doesn't do that nearly enough. Cheers.