Monday, October 15, 2018

A Problem of Sunny California (It's not what you think!)

Life comes in seasons. Just as we acclimate to a new ways of being, a new pattern, a new schedule, a new way of life, the season changes. This is the nature of all that is. This is a great thing, a needed thing, a maddening thing. But, these seasons will come, and they will go. Unless, that is, you live in Southern California.

Don't get me wrong. I love living in this beautiful state with its heavenly fall and spring, it sunny winter days and fantastic summer nights. But, as most people know, rain is a seldom occurrence in this lovely (most often dusty brown) land in which I live.  So, there is no need to slow down and retreat. There is little climatic cause for returning to the warmth of a house or the glow of a fire to wait out a storm or sudden shift in weather. There is no reason to slow down and to allow the seasons to guide us. So, we go, go go!

Why not?! Right?! Right!

Our societal expectations do the same. Slow down? No need! The sun is shining so you go about your business (your busy-ness) at all costs. We begin to equate ourselves with our doing-ness. We calculate our worth according to dollar signs, and we continually wonder what else is out there to be done, checked off the list, completed, accomplished, achieved.

The problem in Southern California is that we can usually expect the weather to be at least reasonably good. A outdoor wedding in November? Sound ideal!

So, when things shift, the whole world is thrown into chaotic flux. It might rain!?!

But, the truth is, I'm not really talking about the Cali weather at all. I'm talking about the So Cal experience of life. The shock that occurs when we just aren't up to what we set out to do. How do we exit the fast paced flow of the life we have created for ourselves?

I'm not exactly sure. I just know that in the world of go, do, be, we must make space for the unexpected storm. 

Let's put it into perspective. What are we here to do? Are we here to deny our fragile nature at every turn? To push away the hurts and/or needs that exist within our ancient genetic codes? For the sake of always being sunny? Simply because we can?

Here is another twist. Our seasons come and go according to our inner worlds, and yet we exists in external structures that require us to be present, active and engaged for a given number of hours on given days (Hello! 40 hour work week!). For the tortoise running in the race, this steady pace is fantastic. Always fulfilling the regular, defined, expected commitment. No more, no less. But what about those of us that have natural highs a lows. Heck, women who have their monthly cycle! All humans have an inner rhythm; we each have our seasons. So, when are we as a society going to own the ebb and flow? What could that look like?

I grew up in Montessori school. I continually realize just how formative that experience was for me. I could work at my own pace (in fits and starts, in bursts, in long burns). As long as I did my work, I then had the freedom to do whatever I wanted.  But, life doesn't work that way. In order to function we must interact with others and as part of that we make contracts. We have to be committed to people; Our survival as individuals requires that we are able to plan and accommodate and contract as needed.  We benefit with we are able to apply and appeal and appease. 

We have to be on teams, and we are better for it in many ways. So, it is not an all or nothing manifesto I am proposing. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I know that sometimes I can be amazing. I can produce with speed, agility, vision, and focus. And other times, I am stumble, feel groggy, overwhelmed and down right irritable. Does it even out? It might, but when you work on a schedule (project to project, performance to performance, semester to semester), it doesn't matter. It can't matter, because the funding ends, the curtain goes up, the grades are due.

So, what can we do?

We do what we can. Watching the seasons change inside of us (even if they aren't changing around us). Exclaiming with a sense of curiosity and wonder, "Oh wow! I could really use a break. How incredibly interesting?" Then we take a breath, drink a cup of tea and get back to it. Sitting with the storm inside of us as it rages, thunders and sputters lighting with disagreeability. 

Then, one day we feel good again. For no reason. It might take a day, it might take a week, it might take a year. The ebb and flow of life will change as it always does. To everything there is a season.

This is just a season. "Oh wow! I could really use a break. How incredibly, incredibly interesting?"

Beth

PS Forgive spelling and grammar mistakes, I just needed ot get this out there. Maybe I will find time to edit it. Maybe later. . . maybe not.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

When Wonder Woman gets Shingles

Thanks for reading this seeing as I haven't been posting regularly. It has been tough finding the balance between work, art and parenting. (Well, duh!)

What brought me here today? Well, you know that moment when you feel like everything is going pretty well. Life is full and busy and bustling and yet, things are generally getting done, and you are generally managing. You have a moment in which you feel like superwoman before. . . you get shingles.

Hence, your body steps in to say, "Not so fast buster! I know you like burning the candle at both ends, but, I'm here to chime in and say, it doesn't work that way." As someone still in her thirties, I'm not supposed to get shingles. All the websites say it is usually seen in people over 50.  I still have over a decade to go! And, yet, these little red lesions on my waistline are undoubtedly shingles.  I know, because I have had them before.  Sigh.

I'm just so sensitive.  I guess we all are in some way or another. Whether it hits us sooner or later, whether we hide it or blog about it, we are all just doing our best to get along and figure out life as best we can in the midst of the chaos and without a compass or map in hand.

My prescription should really be: chill the heck out. Stop working, and, instead, spend an afternoon watching movies and sleeping.  Yet, I just finished a two hour stint of work and am whiling away the hour by writing this blog. Good choices can be hard to make sometimes.  But, we keep at it. We keep trying to no try so hard. We keep our focus on not being too focused, and we worry about not worrying so much. 

Now to bed. And, I recommend you try to find your way there too before your system rebels.

Beth