Your default: Do you welcome or fear a Change of State?

flip-your-optimism-onLife has a way of grabbing my attention and reminding me daily of what’s important.  Loved ones.  Health.  Friendship.  Family.  Compassion.  Laughter.  My lovely dog companion.  Creativity.  Nutrition and exercise.  Meditation. Generosity of spirit.  Appreciation in the moment.  When I become distracted by the trivialities that numb this awareness,  I oftentimes find myself feeling confronted . . . or greeted . . . . by a Change of State.  Confronted or greeted?  How I determine Change’s perceived benevolence factor is how I shun or welcome it.

The other day I found myself frozen in a moment of experiencing a Change of State.  Frozen.  It was inevitable that a new paradigm was opening its doors to me.  And I was immobilized with fear.

The stealth speed Continue reading

Our Subsumed Lives

to subsumeto include or place within something larger or more comprehensive;   encompass as a subordinate or component element

When you were a child, what did you want to be when your grew up?  

seashell-754015_960_720If you are doing something quite different from what you imagined you would be doing, what happened? What swerved you onto a different path that led you away from your childhood dreams?  Or maybe you are still very much there, living the dream, without even realizing it?

There are many subsuming elements that our lives encounter, embrace, deny, or challenge.  Elements that distract us from who-we-are and steer us onto paths into what  feels to be a foreign country where we don’t speak the language and we don’t understand the customs.

When I was a child, I wanted to be Continue reading

I would have hired Descartes in a heartbeat.

Cogito ergo sum

Cogito ergo sum: I think therefore I am.  If I follow Descartes’ lead and I pair thinking and being, it’s possible to stretch my thoughts beyond any perceived reality in order to become more than I think I am.  Or that I can do.  Or that I can be.  Or that I clearly need to be in a job interview.

Descartes’ well-known quote struck me today as I was performing my daily online job scan – an activity that can leave me feeling excited and bleak, joyful and defeated, all rolled into one entity of emotion.  The jobs that were listed on the sites today did not appear to be much of a match for “my skill set.”  Pricing processor, jitney driver, glue mixer, surgical sales rep, marketing assistant, lead accountant, aviation systems engineer, upholstery technician.  Who knew that our planet is populated by so many specialists doing such varied and technical work?

What exactly am I qualified to do anyway?

All of these jobs reminded me of the many things that I am not qualified to do.  Jobs for which I have zero experience or education. I don’t have the skills to crunch numbers in a way that would satisfy a scary audit, and I can’t even imagine the responsibilities of being a proficient and mindful glue mixer.  Scary.

While I have a good imagination, a part of me does not allow my mind to stretch a what-the-heck? to I-can when it comes to the Job Hunt.  A part of me quails from imagining how to best convey transferable skills from Brand X to Product Y or Z.  I am thinking that I could apply my spatial skills and learn how to upholster furniture . . . but why wouldn’t an employer hire someone else with awesome experience and skills before I can figure out what the heck to do with a staple gun?

Skills.  Abilities.  Experience.  Passion.  Education.  Hunting for a good-fitting job is challenging.  There are simply so many jobs out there that prospective employers want to fill . . . and there are people out there, equal in proportion, with the know-how that will convince someone to hire him or her.  It is quite the cycle when you step back and look at it: a task needs doing and someone is there to say, without hesitation, “I can do it!  Pick me!”

Being Too Honest Doesn’t Always Win Others Over

I went to a recent interview where the interviewer told me in her return email that she was quite impressed with my curriculum vitae.  This made me happy to hear.  A thought bubbled to the surface, This might be it!  This could be a great fit! 

Then, in the interview itself, she proceeded to tell me how so many people aren’t all that . . . that what they say on paper is a far stretch from who they actually are.  In other words, the next half hour was going to be an exercise in her de-bunking my CV until she was properly satisfied that I wasn’t some kind of con artist.

Or it almost seemed as if it would have made her happier if I was a complete fraud.  She picked, probed, and dissected.  She wanted a recounting of this and a listing of that.  The good news?  There were no fibs on my CV.  What she saw was what she got.  It felt as if she sort of liked what she was hearing, but her skepticism never really left her face or tone of voice.  Still, I thought I had a good chance to land the position, given my answers.  That was until she asked me why I wanted the job.

This was when I made a fatal mistake.  I wasn’t expecting the question, so I told her the truth.  I wanted to tell her that since the recent election, I found myself wanting to look for ways to give more back to my community.  Before I could elaborate beyond the word election, she abruptly stopped me from saying anything else by issuing the international sign of Stop right there! and raising her hand toward my face.  “Careful!” she barked at me, anticipating some long soliloquy from me on the woes of current politics.  Which is not what I meant to do at all.  Not at all.  If I could have elaborated, I would have said that I wanted to use my experience and background to do what I can to give back.  To be a part of something bigger than me.  To help others learn and be the difference in their respective worlds.   Etc.  Something along these lines.  You get the idea.  But she didn’t.

A Warning Shot of Be Careful

That issued order of “Careful!” told me that this position wasn’t probably the best fit for me.  That she was clearly overworked.  That she was part of an under-funded program that had gotten the better of her spirits over the years.  I don’t know anything about her life and I don’t want to presume, but I knew that I had torpedoed by own interview.  I thought I could redeem myself when I said that I was good at setting and meeting goals in answer to the anticipated What is one of your strengths?  She replied, “I hope that you don’t think you are actually going to change anything here.  You’ll come to work and put in your eight hours and do what you can before you go home at night.  This job is not about setting goals.”

Which is when I thought, Without a doubt, I just completely and utterly sunk myself.  The interview kept going while she interrogated me on each volunteer activity or teaching experience that was listed, and I kept answering as truthfully and completely as I could.  After an hour of being grilled and drilled, I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

The crazy thing?  I was so excited at the prospect of getting back into the field of education that I thought I had a chance at the job.  The reality thing?  I didn’t stand a prayer.  I should have known when I was leaving her office that I should immediately go back to hunting the online sites for whatever other positions I am not remotely qualified for.

But I hoped that there was some way that she could forgive my honesty.  I didn’t hear anything, and I waited until after the date she told me that she was going to make a decision.  I emailed her and she responded with the going-with-a-more-qualified-candidate response.  Which is fine.  Now I know that I wasn’t the Yes and now I am back to the hunt.

Be the Yes!

I used to teach a class in which I invited someone from an HR department to come in and talk about interviewing skills to the students.  The single most important takeaway from these informative presentations was “Be the Yes!  Before you go in to the interview, while you are interviewing, and afterward when you send your post-interview thank you . . . Be the Yes!  You would think after sitting through more than a dozen of these presentations I would have known better to not say the word election, but I guess I was so wanting to Be the Yes in giving back to my community that I should have made up some other reason as to why I wanted to contribute to learning.

Which makes me feel a little sad.  And kind of glad.  And incredibly introspective.  Sad because I blew an opportunity for saying something so taboo.  Glad because I don’t have to share an office with an overworked cynic. And introspective because I am not going to quit Being the Yes to what I believe and how I want to help others learn.

The lesson I took away?  Be myself. Answer questions honestly, rather than answering questions with what I think a future employer wants to hear.  Think first and be myself.  What a simple concept, right?

Well, maybe not that simple.  I am still on the job hunt and looking forward to a future job where I can be both the Yes and Myself.  I know that the position exists and, being a true believer in good things, I look forward to my next interview.  I will wear something “professional,” offer a firm handshake with a smile, answer the question What’s your biggest weakness? with modest confidence, make eye contact with everyone – should it be a panel interview, follow up with So what’s next in the process? at the end of the interview, get the names of everyone who was involved in the interview, and send the requisite handwritten thank-you note after the interview.

I Would Have Hired Descartes in a Heartbeat

I learned a lot from this interview experience.  Descartes’ philosophical proof of existence believed that thoughts lead to existence.  “I could feign that there was no world, I could not feign that I did not exist.” World, I am ready to Be the Yes.  And to think.  And, to be me.  And to not “be careful” in interviews.  The right job is out there for me.  I just know it.  Cogito ergo sum!

 

One Tiny Leaf of Gratitude

One of my part-time jobs is located in a building that houses several different non-profit and county agencies. My position is one of those desky-type jobs that is computer dominated, so I set a timer to go off on the hour.  When the timer dings, I take a short break from my office and go on a walkabout from one end of the building to the other, circle out and around the block, and re-enter the building with renewed focus and fresh energy to make a difference and change the world, one keystroke at a time.

These regular walks up and down the hallways have led to me meeting many people who Continue reading

A Snapshot of I Can’t Remember

celebrating or regrouping

theunseenwordsproject.com

I came across this picture the other day and am trying to remember why the heck I took it.  I didn’t take it with my phone but with my heavy, bulky, big-girl Canon . . . which further tells me that this was a special moment that I wanted to record with my “good camera.”

Weird.  I’m not sure but I think that I was celebrating, having just moved into a fantastic temporary beachfront rental for what turned out to be four exquisite months.  This transition was one of those ideas that had been on my Wish List for years: Live on the beach during the stormy winter months to write.  This recent move Continue reading

Vaporizing the Grumpies

maya-angelou-quoteI was on the ferry this morning feeling kind of grumpy.  Well, really grumpy actually.  The boat was running super late due to the crew performing practice emergency drills at the dock — some kind of MARSEC moment that put the crew through a feigned tizzy in the event of a credible security threat.

I was doing walk-on this morning and wishing that I had opted to drive on.  Brrrrrr!  It was cold.  I stood on the dock in the winter rain, cold, and wind for the added 15+ minutes, awaiting the go-ahead to board and wishing I had worn more winter layers.  I stood there, my back to the biting wind, my numb fingers texting Continue reading

Don’t Give Up Your Poetry

IMG_3112. true directionsExistence.  Being-ness.  Reality.  Mindfulness.  Presence.  Universal Time.  Whatever you call it, this Force we call Life has an inimitable way of standing silently behind us, removing its hands from our eyes, and bringing the unexpected to us in the most curious of ways.  Its gloved hands fly away from our eyes and behold!  This is now your life, lovely person.  Now what are you going to make of it? 

That’s the thing about Life.  It offers startling choices . . . even when our stuck-o-meter is flailing and railing wildly in the red zone.  Surprise can Continue reading

Things that make me happy: my new friend, Rico

Meet Rico.  I was working away at my office in town when who came in to make my acquaintance?  Rico!  Rico poked his head in to say, “Hello!  Life is good!  I see you!”  There is something about this face that says so much.  All you have to do is look in Rico’s eyes and you feel seen and heard.  Dogs.  They are beauties on earth.

“Dogs are angels sent from heaven

in order to help us to be better people.” – Robert Genn

“Angels are often disguised as dogs.”

“My earth angel came to me as a loving pet.”

“Please, let me be the person my dog thinks I am.”

10 Things I LOVE About Dogs:

  1. Dogs don’t judge.
  2. Dogs are always there to comfort and reassure.
  3. Dogs have a great sense of humor and they like to make us laugh.
  4. Dogs know more about my life than we do.
  5. Dogs have a keen sense of intuition that is reliably trust-able.
  6. Dogs know how to be in the present moment.
  7. Dogs are patient.
  8. Dogs are kind and empathetic.
  9. Dogs are beautiful — on the inside and on the outside.
  10. Dogs are warm and cozy and they smell good after it has rained.

Calling all dog lovers!

What do you love about dogs?  Please, share one (or more!) thing that you love about your dog or about dogs in general in the comments section.  Share your happiness about dogs with us, please!

 

Never underestimate the power of perspective. It can change everything.

trochus_maculatus_01

When you change the way you look at things,

the things you look at change.

Perspective.  What is it?

perspective: (noun)

  1. the art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.

  2. a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.

Perspective. 

These two definitions connect well together and grab my attention.   Perspective as an art form and as a particular attitude.

As an art form, perspective is used to Continue reading

Spiralized Motion, Elevation, & Beauty = Baby Steps

seashell-754015_960_720

Baby Steps  

Baby Steps are immeasurable according to the Theory of Irrelativity.  Their measure includes added volume and weight that an ordinary distance cannot carry.  Sometimes the very smallest of steps in the right direction are enough to cancel out those giant steps that you feel were taken in less-desirable directions.  And these redeeming baby steps can end up being the biggest steps of your life.  Why?  Because you are honoring you, your preferences, and your well being.  There is nothing that says I love you, little ol’ Self like taking a baby step in the right direction.

My affirmation last month was one that surprised me.  It wasn’t prompted by any particular incident, writing, or reading.  It was like my Higher Self spoke to me in the plainest of terms in a louder-than-usual voice:

“I am brave enough to love myself.”  

This affirmation left a water mark, as I don’t believe that I have ever linked bravery to self-love.  In hindsight, I am guessing that I have always associated self-love with acts, rewards, success, attitude, generosity, earned deserved-ness . . . but not bravery.

As the month passed and I repeated my affirmation, I began to see how being brave could make a big difference in how I honor my preferences, my priorities, and my choices.

By being brave, I put myself forward into an Unknown that I intuitively trust.  And I take baby steps.  

And these baby steps do not feel like they are taking me in any linear path that can be measured in mileage, hours, or dollar signs.  They are taking me in an upward spiral that condenses the journey into a tightly-coiled experience that I can now see resembles what we call life.

I used to think of my stand-out memories in terms of fence posts.  I go through life with my tool belt and my wire . . . stringing wire until I reach the next fence post that snags my memory’s attention.  I pause while I attach the wire and then start walking toward some mysterious and unknown fence post that will make itself known in some splashy manner.

seashell-754015_960_720Now?  I am no longer thinking in such linear terms.  The spiral that this shell represents in this image is taking me on a different kind of journey that, rather than leading me away from anything, is leading me upward and closer on a tighter and tighter spiral.

“We have already climbed many steps . . .” Herman Hesse is right: It does indeed feel like I have already climbed many steps . . . but when I take a step off the spiral and take a good look and pause to reflect . . . it does look like there has definitely been some elevation gain — which explains so many things.  No wonder I get tired, out of breath, discouraged, and fatigued sometimes.  I am only human and this is the only life that I have.  Rather than thinking of life being on some kind of vertical timeline, I am shifting my symbol-delegating thoughts to something that has motion, elevation, and beauty: a spiraling shell.  “We are not going in circles, we are going upwards.”

My new affirmation for this month?

I am brave enough to spiral upward.