Saturday, October 26

Are you Excited? No.

Is it crazy that at this point in my life I can still be learning about me? I’m about to turn 41, and one could argue I should know myself by now.

I’m glad I have friends that like learning about themselves, and engage with me in conversations about our failings, our learning, and our growing. Lately we are discussing my inability to allow myself to get excited. I’ve become so very good over the years at putting a door between me and excitement, and often it is only when the thing I want to be excited about is finally RIGHT in front of me that I allow myself to accept it is going to happen, and I open that door to feel it.

I’ve grown very proficient over the years at stifling myself, and one of the biggest ways I stifle, is in exuberance. I don't let myself be big or call attention. I am in introvert who enjoys being social at times, but I really love my aloneness. That aloneness is safe, it’s free, and I can feel anything I want without anyone to see or be in my feeling space. I’ve wondered if my lack of excitement has to do with my introvertedness, and I think there is only a slight connection. If I’m truly honest with myself, I can see how over the years I squished, quashed, stomped down, and set fire to excitement, doing my best to kill it.

I think here is where I have no choice but to admit the WHY. I don’t want to be overly personal (which this is verging on the edge of), but I had countless occasions over the last couple decades to learn how painful it is to continually be disappointed by things not happening the way they were supposed to, or I was told they would. I reached a point where I must have finally said to myself, don’t hope it will happen, don’t expect it to happen, and CERTAINLY don’t get excited about anything happening.

I think I learned that NOT getting excited means that when you don’t get what you wanted or hoped for, you are LESS upset. I even learned not to hope. Yes, I think it’s healthy on many levels to not have expectations in life, but I think there must be some balance I haven’t yet found between the joy of hope and excitement, and being ok when things don’t turn out.

I’ve had some occasions to feel this *unacceptable feeling* recently, and the convoluted mess of Natalie trying NOT to burst with excitement can at times be -ridiculous!

I recently had to step into a public restroom to try and calm myself down because I wanted to feel excitement over something one could consider quite small. I stepped into the handicapped stall, closed the door, and tried to physically release what was happening.
I shook my hands, opened my eyes wide, and smiled my face off. Kind of doing what normal people do in public when they throw their hands up and squeal. (I can’t allow myself to squeal. What is the deal with that?)

Actually, I DO know what the deal is. I’ve let painful experiences teach me: “Don’t get excited. Never get excited. Avoid excitement.” This “lesson” has gone in so well, that I almost don’t know how to deal with the arrival of it, and then also dealing with the ending of the thing that made me excited.  

Is it possible that in normally not letting myself feel excitement, when I do, and then the thing I’m excited about ends, I find myself on a low far lower than I would if I could just allow myself to feel excited more often?  (man, that's confusing)

I hate that low!

I think what I want is to allow excitement into my life to be felt regularly, but I fight it. I am creating this uncomfortable place where I wish I could allow excitement, but I struggle to bend. It’s like I’m that parent who won’t allow their kids to play outside after 9pm in the summer, and I’m also the kid sitting on the couch at the window at 9:05 watching his friends continuing to playing ball in the street.  I’ve made the rule, and I force myself to suffer with it; longing for the end of the rule.

It boils down to my being uncertain of which is LESS painful. I haven’t figured it out. All I know is that thus far in life, excitement is painful more often than it’s pleasurable, and changing that will take experiencing the opposite. -That would be nice.

A friend of mine said, “I love feeling excited, I’d much rather get to feel it and risk being disappointed, than to not feel it.”

That sounds nice, I’d like to get there.

Monday, October 21

“…we birth our future”

Today I saw Cloud Atlas. Apparently many people didn’t like it. I was left feeling that I just needed to see it maybe two more times or read the book since so much was happening. I will admit to liking it tho!

I watched it with someone I “get” and who “gets me”, which made it for me on another level I think, because we were able to comment and understand in unison.

There was a part in the film that stood out. I had to write it down because it was so resonating for me.

Somni-451 says, “To be is to be perceived. And so to know thyself is only possible through the eyes of the other. The nature of our immortal lives is in the consequences of our words and deeds, that go on and are pushing themselves throughout all time. Our lives are not our own, from womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”

I know this is a little deep, but I totally feel these words. Who you are has everything to do with the people you interact with and those “in” your life. If you only had miserable people in your life, you would be a totally different person from someone who only has happy people in their life. Every spoken word by you and others, if given any one dominant feel, would completely shape you and mold you into a specific person. In most cases without your control. You would be a “product of your environment.” Actually, we still are, we just don’t tend to have one dominant element in life influencing us.

So, I totally believe that our lives are the “consequences of our words and deeds” and that “by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future”. And by future I don’t necessarily mean next week or next month. I mean our future in years, and decades. The person we will be -having the benefit of dying of old age. And maybe, who that person is at that point can directly influence the quality of door you encounter when you die. I’m referring to her later quote: “I believe death is only a door, when it closes, another opens. If I care to imagine heaven. I would imagine a door opening. And behind it, I would find him there, waiting for me.”

This photo is one I took today. The clouds today were full of beauty in a very blue sky, and so although the pic doesn't ever-so match the mood of the post, the cloud theme of today is accurate, and the pic and post do tie it up for me.

Sunday, October 13

It’s just a clock…

…and yes, I’m overly sentimental.

My grandfathers grandfather clock is now sitting in my house. Fitting right? Not only was it my grandfathers, but he built it.

As my mother and aunt have been going thorough my grandpa’s things, I’ve been rather fascinated to see how like him I am, and things he found cool, I do too. I now have a large number of his books on my shelves, with subject matter right up my alley. (I need to find time to do more reading than I struggled to find before.)

My grandfather built his house, built their first tv, and worked on and in radio for many years of his life. This clock is one of two he made and it is the less fancy looking of the two. It’s now in the entry of my home.

Once it landed in my entry, I started fiddling with the workings to try and make it tell time. It started lightly chiming… and then it hit me. This was the sound of being at grandpa’s house. So very strange for it to be the sound I hear while standing in my house. And how oddly comforting!

I’m sitting here analyzing the dynamic we had with my grandpa. He was German, came to the US as an 8 year old with his family, and all my life, visiting him only really took place in the living room of his home. It wasn’t until this last year as he was sick and dying that I saw his bedroom, and only a couple years ago that I saw his office. Being at his house was not a visit of play, nor was I raised to be rambunctious at someone else’s house anyway. Both of my parents ensured we had more than good manners at all times. I can see that upbringing has everything to do with who I am today, and I’m sure that having a serious German grandfather influenced me too. His wife, my grandma, died before I was born.

So this clock…

There’s a little gold plaque on the inside of the door engraved with: Handcrafted by, his name, and 1976. I’m sentimental with physical things, but for some reason, I feel even more sentimental over this clock because of the plaque and the fact it has ‘sound’ memories for me. I’m writing about it simply because of what it did to me when it started chiming. My house was suddenly different. His interesting books sitting closed don’t bring much more than a musty smell to my home yet, but this clock… it chimes and I am taken back in time, with his voice in my ears as clear as if he stood here.

Not the grandpa who was loosing his memory over the last 5 years either… The talkative grandpa who had much to say. The last couple years before he died in March were pretty silent ones from him.

I felt grateful to have the beauty of the clock given to me, I feel grateful anew to have the sound of it and him in my home.

Tuesday, October 8

Endless Tomorrows, only 1 NOW.

Lots of discussion about worry happening in life at the moment. There are so many things to be bothered by, upset with, worry over, and fear. Many of these things are Big Shit.  It’s not like we are worrying totally unnecessarily over them. We have good reason. We are thinking ahead. We are trying to “deal”. We don’t have control.

But I've realized something… it seems these things are not going to change through my worry. I don’t have a “plan” to make them go away. It seems the majority of what I worry about I have no control over, and no power to change.

I sat with a beautiful soul at breakfast a couple days ago, and we discussed this. “What are you going to do about it?” I asked concerning a situation. “Do you have a plan?” The answer was no. So it’s not just me… we all worry about things that the worry is not going to change. We have so many thoughts for tomorrow, and what it MIGHT bring, we give our time and energy to tomorrow instead of dealing with the “I’m just fine” right now.

No, everything isn't always “just fine” in this moment, but when you step back, you can usually see that the worry over tomorrow is much bigger than the lack of needing to worry right now. The thing about this is; there are endless Tomorrows. You can think of countless things that live in the future or could happen in the future, but if you set all those tomorrows down over on the other side of the room, and you look at what is in your lap right now, I bet you could sigh in relief. Putting those tomorrows on the other side of the room does not mean you have somehow forgotten them (ha, if only) but what it does do is force you to only deal with what is in your lap right now.

Why do I want to bring endless thoughts and worries of tomorrow and put them in my lap when I can’t do anything with them if they are in my lap. I’m realizing I don’t want to do this.

I am not burying my head in the sand by consciously looking at right now and what I can control now. By doing that I am choosing to be healthy. I’m choosing to help my well being, and I’m allowing myself to be OK right now. NOT full of worry and fear, because where does that actually get me?

When those awful things of tomorrow turn into what I’m dealing with right now, well then I will deal with them. But I just can’t see benefit in feeling things right now that are ONLY living in one of those Tomorrows.