Tag Archives: self expression

The H word

There comes a time, that while you like to think you can do it all, by yourself, that you start to realise that maybe you need a hand.

Asking for help is a natural thing. It seems it should be the easiest thing in the world to do. But I will push on, putting off a request that will stop the ever rapidly reducing impact on my lifespan that stress and anxiety has, until I am literally falling apart. When the chest pain starts, the tears flow too easily, the self imposed pressure to be perfect thickens the air and breathing becomes difficult…

And then I ask. I ask for help from work colleagues on that team project, I ask for help at home, I call on my friends, read a poignant book and lo and behold I can breathe freely! My chest is not so tight, the air no longer feels thick, I feel balance is restored and my brain functions the way I am used to. I begin telling jokes, bouncing around the house and serenading my love with made up songs. My sense of humour returns and so does my ready smile.

I once read somewhere that there is grace in asking for help. I certainly think so, particularly in contrast to the state you can wind up in while you are holding out. Especially when you are not asking for help because you think you have to be perfect without it. Because you think people will think less of you if you have to ask for clarification, support or input. Especially when what you produce is enriched by the input you receive when asking for help. When your creativity is inspired or your intellect fully engaged by the input from those you asked for help.

Help is not a dirty word. And it should never be perceived as such, not by the most proud perfectionist (read- anxiety ridden perfectionist) or anyone hoping to get by in a happy whole way. Help is how we multiply energy, answer tricky questions, generate passion in the things that we do and share the joy of any process. The H word has now found a happy home in my vocabulary.

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“The man with insight enough to admit his limitations comes nearest to perfection.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Open the window

Floating along
breathe in the air
calm and center
go on I dare you 
to calm yourself

Open the window
relax your mind
let everything go
be gentle, be kind
you still have a long way to go

Energy you need
clarity too
if you are going
to impact
the way you want to

Bring back your humour
curiosity and patience
apply them to you first
then all other spaces
and joy will return

See your critics eye
return from it’s slumber
applied with finesse
you no longer blunder
a tighter ship sails

The work you spread
is full of good uses
all who hear of it
are happy for a new tool
and you have achieved your end goal

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”  ~Attributed to both Jim Goodwin and Sydney J. Harris

Crisis of confidence

I normally prefer to write these sorts of things when they are not so close. When they are not pressing in on you, the walls shrinking, deadlines breathing down your neck, a mountain of responsibility weighing you down and the expectation that you’ve got this and are performing brilliantly crushing your soul…

In an earlier post I briefly touched on my motivation and drive for work being AWOL and my working to find it again. Well I adopted more of a “fake it ’til you make it” sort of approach to try and coax it back. I think it is starting to work. But the early glimmers have been fitful and fleeting at best.

There are times I strut my stuff confidently, arms swinging, bouncy gait, head held high “I have got this”. However, recently I have been red faced, avoidant, my memory has been shocking and the pressure of deadlines almost undoes me. Feedback framed in purely negative terms makes me want to throw myself under a bus, or at least my thesis and all the many hours of work that have gone into the last three years of my life in any case.

Over reactive, ill equipped to make informative and clear responses, highly stressed, tired and flustered. I wouldn’t see a helpful sign if it bit me on the bum. The truth is that sometimes, months on decisions don’t always make sense in the current context and it is my role to clearly present an argument in support of those decisions that are unable to change. It is also my responsibility to request help where I need it. I have been struggling with this a great deal in recent months. I am holding myself to an impossible standard and the ensuing waste of energy limits my capacity to do awesomely at a manageable level. But there is a reason that people start small. I am small in my role. A little fish. I am learning. I am also leading the way. I have responsibility. I can do as much or as little as I want with all of it. I can walk away. I can commit the rest of my working life. It is all on me.

I need to find the way out of feeling like a stupid squishy mess. I am not an idiot, I have a very capable brain on my shoulders. How to take a breath, calm and relax? Let life flow without the harsh expectations. Simply be satisfied that I applied my skill set to the best of my ability. That is my current challenge. I love what I do and I am good at it. But right now I don’t feel good at it and I am taking things that are not personal and making them mean something about me and how good I am at my job. I know that as soon as I lift off the self imposed pressure I will perform at the level I want. In the meantime you will find me quietly reading a Toltec wisdom book and chipping away slowly at some deadlines in my pyjamas.

“It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.” ~Attributed to Hanoch McCarty

For the romantics

I am always aware that expressions of love can make people around you uncomfortable. Screwed up faces, vomit finger gestures and uncomfortable laughter often accompany a showing of affection. My awareness does not give me a clue as to why. And I wonder. In this day and age we are very quick to (well in fairness, not all of us are quick to…) accept people as we find them how is it not the case with public affection. 

I am not talking about the full on graphically sexual displays in which you may see one person trying to retrieve another’s lunch by means of deep throated kissing. I mean the hugs, touches, occasional heart shapes made with hands. The gentle affection, eye contact, laughter without words preceding it. I am puzzled that this can make people uncomfortable.

I think that people should hold hands more often, they should dance in the kitchen, shower together, laugh, play, sing! Have fun together in every sweet way possible, and share that so that it can warm the hearts of others around them. We should hold love lightly and shine in its glow.

aww snuggle halloween goodnesssoggy bottom brigade star wars

This weekend just gone my love and I went camping. While camping we came across a well known and gorgeous swimming spot- Greens pool. Greens pool in Denmark is chilly, like ice cold. My wonderful man raced in, came back for me and grabbed my hand and on the count of three we dived in. This may have required some cajoling of me on his part- it was so very cold. But once in we played and laughed and joked, it was the most marvelous day in our time together. When we got back to camp he got cooking and I got writing, a brief poem because I just so loved that moment. Here it is.

Magic Water

The blue and green scene
With sunshine glinting
Draws us nearer, inviting
The icy chill hits
Breath escapes me

You grin and move forward
Further ahead and beckon
Then make up the space between us
The gleam in your eyes should have been my warning
You take my hand and draw me in

On the count of five, no three we’ll do this
Together we will dive and acclimatise in two minutes
The water we hit in unison and rise gasping
Laughing and swimming we did it!
Playing and laughing hugging to warm up

Kissing carefree who care who might see
Share in the joy expressed here
The love streaming through us demands expression
The sun and the waves enhance the mood
The ocean washes over us enjoying our mirth

The giggles, sweet looks and ginormous embraces
The chill unnoticed by us as we play
Revelry does not cease as the time comes to emerge
To dry off and warm up but we will return
We move our dance on now, each moment pulsing with love 

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Be free to be a goofball, be free to have fun and express your love for another, you will find it is returned in kind and then some.

“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”  ~Erich Fromm

Sun puppy

I have a step daughter. When I met her she seemed to be a spoilt brat with her pa wrapped around her little finger. He would come running when she called, he cancelled dates when it might rain and at 10 years of age she remains and will always be his Sheila puppy.

Fur baby

Sheila puppy is a doberman. She is on the small side for this breed of dog and she has a gentle manner that would melt your heart… if she didn’t spend most of her time crying for attention. This sweet little girl was wrapped up in a love so full, so giving and so responsive to her every look that she need only cry and everything she could want for was hers.

When I met Sheila and her dad, Sheila was on time-share with a cat. This meant that for the most part she was an outside dog and when she did come inside she and the cat were kept separate. Sheila cried a LOT. Poor love. No longer was she a sleep inside in the bed with dad kind of dog, as she had when he was a single man.

Since spending time with me meant being apart from his girl, sometimes Sheila joined us on our dates. Mostly we took her to the beach where she would shouty bark at other dogs and fret at the water. Then we would go to my house where we ate dinner with her outside and she looked in at my cat, quietly observant of the fuzziness that was his majesty. And so our lives entwined.

Three months later Sheila’s dad and I joined our now blended family under the same roof and Sheila showed me just how much a well loved dog can cry and cry and cry. This particular method of getting needs met is an incredibly irritating one. Worse still, if you live next door to your landlords and you find out that it is distressing to them how much your fur baby cries, you begin to worry for the longevity of your tenancy. Sheila is in no way wanting for anything. She has simply learnt that she can get a large amount of affection, or prompt action of any sort through crying, and this escalates when you try to ignore her.

At this time, Sheila was, for the most part still an outdoor dog. Scott was concerned for Tenshi- my furry cat child. He did not believe that Sheila would be able to cohabitate peacefully with a cat creature. But I could no longer handle her noise. I started to shake up her routine and not respond immediately to dinner time antics and shouty noise. I responded with a sharp telling off, progressing months on to a newspaper for reprimand of excessive noise all the while inviting her inside when she was calm and quiet. A wonderful thing. Stretches of quiet increased to the extent that our landlord neighbours remarked on the quiet. Sheila did not try to maul the cat. And better still I began to love her.

As I asserted my role as pack leader, this previously irritating little beast who sooked when her dad and I had a cuddle, turned into a courteous and loving friend. I felt a care for her I did not imagine was possible. And the joy for Sheila is that she is far more calm and gets a truck load of inside family time.

Sheila puppy

When Sheila recently got sick, it was me sitting beside her coaxing her to eat, me working from home to monitor her health status and ringing the vet, and me who did not have the heart to send her outside at bed time. The bond that we have built through working damn hard at integrating our lives in a loving and sustainable way has caused such a love that the sight of her old hips giving out breaks my heart. The suggestion that further investigations are needed is met with a “then that is what we will do”. The thought that she is getting old and may not have a great deal more time breaks my heart. I love this little girl, she has forged a place in my heart, one I was not expecting. We just met, it doesn’t seem fair that she start on a health plummet. The solace that I take is in knowing that the quality of her years has improved, and though she had to work hard for it, she has everything she wanted. And if we are very lucky, she will surprise us and we will have her company for many years to come.

siblings

“Properly trained, a man can be dog’s best friend.”  ~Corey Ford

Smiles from a passerby

Smiles from a passerby
A word or two with friends
The feel of cool clean fresh sheets
A cup of coffee that never ends

The salt fresh air upon an ocean breeze
Perfume wafting from unseen
Dampness on the air at dusk
Sunshine gently warming me

a hug, a touch, a tender kiss
Advances from a lover
The firm and gentle welcome embraces
Connecting me to another

Time spent looking around
Seeing more than earthly stresses
Perfection exists in every corner
Relishing the realization

Every breath of life a gift
Joy in every immersive sigh as life ebbs and flows
Precious detail oft times fleeting
Like morning dew upon a snow-white rose

This is my earliest and favourite piece of writing so far. It began mid-shower as the best ideas tend to do during a particularly introspective period of time. Many thoughts raced through my head- questions about what is perfection, is it a worthwhile pursuit, does it inherently exist, how does it express itself in my life? And so smiles from a passerby was born. My perfection. I do believe that is why I like it so much. It is not perfect, but it is perfect in it’s imperfection, much like me, and I dare say like you.

A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault.  ~John Henry Newman

Just one more time

This old heart of mine has been kicked around a little bit. Some stories are stranger than fiction and I am considering writing a book… But not today. Today I would like to share some prose induced by pain. I would like to assure you first that I present it from a very happy, secure and safe place but the insights for me in the second piece are gobsmacking. Bear with me.

The morning is unwelcome
I don’t recognize today and am weary
The clouds hang low, menacing
The tear soaked pillow beneath my head is uncomfortable
Too warm under covers I seek out the coolness of the empty sheets beside me and remember
Tears spring forth with force adding their weight to an already sopping landscape
I fall asleep with tears and wake to them
Today and I are not friends, I hope I can recognize tomorrow
If only sleep would return so I can slip quietly from this unfamiliar place
It will not come

white wash silouette

I don’t think I need to explain this one. But it came out of the most extraordinary pain. It was exquisite. I have never felt it’s like before and nor will I again. But I am glad for it. My heart bled these words out quickly and within hours followed it up with these:

Bright eyes shine with a sense of fun
I don’t think you are prepared for what you’ve begun
The girl reserved you thought you knew
Has been diluted since meeting you
Now full strength her essence glows
She’s all a twinkle and full of prose
Her way in life is one of fun
Of spirit, confidence, friends with you being another one
Full of life and love and a depth unfathomable
She may delight in making you uncomfortable
Not to excess but certainly seeking
To challenge your current ways of thinking
She is amazing that’s for sure
This belle of whom you are about to see so much more.

There it is. The very reason we were doomed. I read these words back and I sigh. It is so clear. And I don’t know about you, but this was not the first time this girl had been subdued since meeting someone. There are a few things that will do- the person you have decided to share your time with will not remember why they were drawn to you, and you will feel isolated, gagged and not free to express your spirit and assert your wants and desires. I would love to analyse all the ways and reasons this happens. But the bottom line is we put the other person first, bend to their lifestyle choices, and essentially join them in living their life without rocking the boat instead of sharing our lives.

Literature on co-dependence will tell you to leave this person, find someone you actually connect with and can express yourself freely around. Someone who shares in affection, adventures and seeks you out equally. Once upon a time I didn’t know what this looked like. But trust me, you should listen to the experts. It is worth it. Heartbreak and loneliness within a relationship cease to exist when you share your time with someone who you can shine with.

“Fall seven times and stand up eight”~ Japanese proverb

Heartbreak to hope

There are some incredible people sharing their stories with the world on the interwebs and I am wholeheartedly thankful. The world can sometimes be a shitty place full of money grubbing use-your-tax-payer-dollars-to-ruin-the-environment-and-kill-all-kinds-of-life-to-line-my-pockets types of people… and then there are the ignorant minority who know little but speak loudly who have no care for the harm they do, and boy do they do harm. Well this has been the kind of week where bigots and insane government policy got me down. Tears were shed, hopelessness felt, and a very real, very distressing desire to step out of society and dwell in the wilderness became a strong pull for me.

This week came at a time that I was trying to get my mojo for work back. I do work that has always been fulfilling and intrinsically rewarding for me. I couldn’t work with computers, engineering, money. I want none of it. What has always floated my employment boat has been working with people. Making life better in big and small ways for people that have a hard time doing what they want and need to do through disability, injury or old age. I just love me some warm fuzzy helping make things better/easier/possible for someone else. And this hasn’t been tarnished for me by media reports about humans doing bad, scary things because I have successfully managed to have my head in the ground about current events for a long time. Probably very much on purpose actually, from a time that I started to feel jaded and pulled myself out of the way of reports of nastiness, vile actions of hatred, violence and (ironically) ignorance. But then in my ignorance I was free to love helping people with a full heart, unfettered by the capacity for cruelness that seems to lie in each of us…

So in this week, this strange but poignant week, many things collided in my psyche. The environment, our habitat, our life support system called. My heart and passion for my work was still incredibly AWOL and I had no idea how to retrieve it or if I could. I started writing, preparing for my website because the website started out as a way for me to express myself in my rambly, bumbly way and maybe share with people who experience some of the same or entirely different experiences to myself. I cried for baby wolves locked in steel cages, I raged at the cruelty and ignorance of people taking lives of sharks when a heavily contentious piece of policy was still not in action. I felt helpless that my government could risk the lives of people who travelled a long way in dangerous conditions seeking sanctum, by turning them back, turning them away, refusing asylum. This week my heart broke, repeatedly.

And from the wash of my own pain, through voicing my concerns, bombarding my dear friends’ facebook news feeds, I was able to hear that I was not alone. At a dinner party with friends the issues I had been struggling with were raised by my hosts and they let me know, in the extraordinary comfort of face to face exchanges, that I was not the only one feeling pain, whose heart was breaking at the sight of the world around us, a world gone mad, a world in disarray. In this care I saw hope. I reflected on all of the examples of people coming together to shine a light on so many causes, some of which I have been moved to action on. I felt comfort.

There is hope. I can draw a deep breath and have faith that we as a community are moved by the circumstances we face. All around us, when I looked, are people fighting for causes and shining the bright light of hope and human compassion. People risk their lives every day to promote the importance of maintaining the natural balance of our eco-system, advocating for the lives of people who find themselves in difficult circumstances and sharing wisdom to free us of our brow beaten entanglements. People fighting for what is right, what is fair and what is healthy for this planet and all she supports, human and other. I am grateful, I am humbled, I am hopeful.

“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” ~ Howard Zinn

Bumbly first steps

Deciding that I was going to write a blog as a vehicle for creative expression and development of my writing coincided with my partner claiming a domain name for his online business. And so, in a very bumbling move I failed to google search the name I wanted for my blog- bumbling through life, instead I searched domain names… And it was available! Hooray! So I erroneously thought that I had struck gold with an original name and I could not believe my luck! I mean bumbling through life is such a wonderfully honest, open and candid name for a blog right?
Then came the day that I was finally rested and energised enough to write my first piece, which has not yet been posted due to this website needing some work before I could use it… And I finally google searched “Bumbling through life” and what should happen? There are at least five blog spot/wordpress blogs dedicated to bumbling through life. I didn’t go further because I just felt pretty rotten that I had failed in the most obvious of steps in looking into undertaking a blog. I could be up and running by now. I would have not offended the honest, get down and real with life people already actively exploring life from this perspective- because that is definitely not what I want to do. I just got caught up in the website name claiming goodness that comes with a business and didn’t see that there were other, cheaper options available to me… because I didn’t look. Should I join masses of users of blog sites where I may get some exposure, or stay here on this website hoping someone may bumble across my path? I’m going to stay. I started this process to develop my writing and express myself creatively. If you come across this, welcome! I hope that the words you find here are heart-warming and encouraging more than they are sad. And thank you for your time in reading and sharing with me.
It reminds me of the time I walked into the wrong room at a conference because I mis-read the title of the meeting and met some of the people that would prove to be important collaborators in the progress of my work… It was awkward and yet so rewarding!

muddy oops

And the time I was hell bent on capturing a moment…

dark balloons

 Worth it.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
That’s how the light gets in.
~Leonard Cohen