Posted in Uncategorized

Harvest

I have renewed many new hobbies and started a few new one. The new one that I find most pleasurable is gardening. I have a ton of houseplants, but I wanted to try my hand at growing actual food.

I haven’t committed to a full-fledged garden, but I convinced my husband to build me a small raised-bed container garden. In it, I planted tomatoes, cucumbers, banana pepper, and jalapeños. I was so surprised that I was able to grow so much. I was so proud of myself. I had more than I could eat. I guess my next hobby will be canning.

Along with being absolutely overjoyed to actually producing food, I was also able to draw a connection to my life journey. I am beginning to reap the benefits of what I have sown.

Years ago, I made the tough decision to go back to college almost immediately after losing my grandmother, miscarrying for the second time, and coming to terms with the fact that my marriage was over. Going back to school was something that I always wanted to do, and at that time I felt I owed it to myself to continue my education. I didn’t want to pursue the path I had previously chosen. I wanted to pursue something that interested me, and I did. I had no career plans in mind for my chosen field of study, I chose with my heart and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

As a result of that decision I was able to gain a position at my university, and that position has evolved into something I really love. With a job, I was able to support myself and my son. I was able to move out and live on my own. This was my first time doing so. Surprisingly, it was very exciting and not scary at all. I had never lived on my own, but I was never afraid of it.

I loved my new independence. My son and I loved our quiet home in the country. I loved my job and everything was great.

Shortly after divorce papers were filed and I was beginning to think about what my life would be like as a single mother. I had two and a half years of practice as that was how long it took my divorce to be final, yet I was technically still married until the divorce papers were signed (thanks to the laws in my state).

During this time I was able to really see what kind of person I could be on my own. I was trying new things, enjoying impromptu ice cream runs in the middle of the night, and for the first time in a very long time, I was no longer worrying about what may happen next. I was living in the moment. I still had responsibilities, but I was teaching myself to take one day at a time. I was appreciating every small good thing that happened in my life and I devoted my energy and focus on that.

The shift in my life was extraordinary! All of the things you hear from the abundance and manifestation gurus were happening to me. Synchronicities, miracles, pleasant surprises, all became, and still are a part of my everyday life. Unexpected sums of money, gifts, and all types of wonderful things have become common in my life.

I had to change my mindset from the constant fear of the unknown to the appreciation of the present and the hope of the future. Now I am enjoying the fruits of my harvest.

Posted in Think About it Thursday, Uncategorized

Propagation

I light of my new fondness of taking care of plants, I have started relating that care and growth to my own life experiences. One of my favorite things to do is propagate plants. I love watching the roots form and multiplying my plant family.

This led me to think about what little parts of me am I taking off to grow in the hopes of multiplying parts of me that I wants to add to the world.

I work at a university. Part of my job is to help students develop skills to succeed academically and in the world. I hope sharing the good parts of me with them so they can continue to grow.

I hope I am doing the same thing with my son. It is funny to see that we have almost the same interests and similar personalities. He too in an introvert, loves to read, and he loves the arts. I’m not sure how much of that I am responsible for, but I like to think of him as my most successful propagation.

Posted in Tea Talk Tuesday, Uncategorized

Deference

As of late, I have noticed that I have somewhat traded my voracious reading of books to binge-watching. This is a habit I am working to reverse, but I have seen some very interesting and thought-provoking series.

Currently I am watching The Crown on Netflix. I am fascinated by the idea of a limited monarchy, and I struggle to see its relevance. The idea of deference is what stands out for me. My character is instantly opposed to it. I find it difficult to show blind devotion to something or someone just because, but I know that it exists.

I am a parent to a wonderful 14-year-old son. When I think of any persons deserving of deference, it is parents, but we are not always deserving of it. We are all fallible, and I am not opposed to my son pointing that out to me. How are we to teach our children to think on there own if we don’t allow them to challenge things? I am not suggesting that parents not be in control of their children, but to allow them to ask questions and not to follow blindly.

I experienced such deference with an employee at my former place of employment. I had hired a man who was homeless and had very limited education. Needless to say, he was thrilled to have a job and I was even more thrilled to give him that opportunity. One day, I watched this new employed clock out and return to work. I immediately caught up to him to let him know that he is to be paid for all work he does and to not work off the clock. He responded by telling me that he knew he was not supposed to do so, but the boss told him that he had to finish the job for the day regardless of being close to overtime which he was also not permitted to have. The man then told me “You have to do what the boss says sometimes even if you know it’s not right”.

I was enraged and saddened. I was enraged because I knew “the boss” knew this man was so dependent on his employment that he would do anything to keep it. I was saddened because this man felt he had to do what he knew was not right because “the boss” told him so. Being the person I am, I a made sure “the boss” was reported and the the worker was compensated for the work he did.

My question is when does respect turn into senseless deference? At what point do you compromise your own beliefs and values in deference to something or someone?

Posted in Introvert Lounge, Uncategorized

Introverts and Socializing at Work

As an introvert, I don’t feel I am at a disadvantage most times. I have grown to love my introversion and do not view it as a hindrance, but when you are in a situation where you are you must work with mostly extroverts those advantages don’t seem to put you in a favorable position.

Working with extroverts, especially those who try to for you out of your introversion can be difficult. Most of the work activities are stirred toward forced social interaction, team-building, and all things that they may enjoy, but we find uncomfortable and tiring. It can be challenging to be an introvert in those situations. I have found some ways to cope with them. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. When they do, it is a win-win for all involved. Below are some of the tips I have used in the past.

 

Offer to do the planning and the setup.

I love to plan.  Planning an event is never a problem for me.  It’s attending the event that sparks my anxiety.  That anxiety is exacerbated by the idea that everyone will thing I am antisocial or unwilling to participate because my energy will drain and I will begin to power down in the middle of the event. If I become heavily involved in the planning, I can still participate in my own way and often alone.  I can also busy myself with the setup and thus avoid any sustained interaction.  

 

Find another introvert

I call this the magnet method.  The introvert is easy to spot.  Search all corners of the room and that is where you will find us.  Generally introverts who understand each other are content with congregating together and not socializing.  

 

Excuse yourself ahead of time

If you are not on company time, it is perfectly fine to have other plans they will cut into the event.  When you feel your energy start to drain, leave.  It works well to have something planned ahead of time so everyone can be prepared for your departure.

 

As I mentioned, these tips don’t always work for every situation, but they can ease some of the introvert’s anxiety.  The main thing is not to feel guilty for using these or any other coping strategies. We are who we are and we cannot help that.

 

Posted in Think About it Thursday

People Pleasing

 

As a recovering people pleaser, I have done tons of self-reflection on why I do what I do.  The jury is still out on that, but I’m no longer as concerned about why.  I just want to stop.  I do okay for a while and then I relapse.  I have noticed that it is easier to stop with certain people and not so easy with others.  I am constantly saying that you teach people how to treat you.  I realized that my people pleasing tendencies have taught people how to treat me.  More importantly I have taught them that they are able to use my urge to please to their advantage.

I have made a list of the things that go through my mind in the middle of my people pleasing thoughts.  I have found that my thoughts are really based on nothing.  As mentioned previously, this people pleasing behavior only comes into play with only one or two people.  Actually most who know me would be shocked that I struggle with this.  I generally give little thought about what others think, but my desire to please or not make a certain few uncomfortable has honestly stunted my personal growth.

I think all people pleasers need to examine their reasons.  Here the list of questions I asked myself:

 

Question:  What is my true motivation?

Answer:  Duh, to please another person.  This led me to ask myself another question.  Why?  I realized that I didn’t want any conflict with that person.  The person I didn’t want any conflict with is a huge part of my life.  I interact with this person on an almost daily basis and I love this person.  There is a certain degree of “I want to please this person because I fear not doing so would cause that person to think less of me.”  After thinking about this for a while I realized that although I may disappoint that person, that person will not stop loving me.  That person has been disappointed or upset with me before.  So what if it happens again.  Is it really as big of a deal as I have worked it up to be in my head?  I began to realize the root of my people pleasing is fear.  That fear is often based on what I think may happen.  I need to learn to deal with others disappointment rather than avoiding it.  So my motivation to please is based on what I fear may happen.

 

Question:  Why am I worried about what they are going to say?

Answer:  First of all, who is “they” (also known as “people)?  “People” and “they” are our own reservations and insecurities.  We are just putting a name of group of nameless people to an issue we are not willing to address ourselves. Are they even important enough to really be concerned about?  So what if they do talk.  They will talk anyway.  This is something I have gotten over, but I feel people pleasers generally stress over the ubiquitous “they.”  What I have learned is that if I am concerned about the “they/people”, that is a personal concern of mine. This thing may be something I am not quite comfortable with.  It may be something that requires a bit of a risk, so I want to be let off the hook.  What lets me off the hook is blaming my dependence on the “they”.  This finding led me to my next question.

 

Question:  Am I making excuses?

Answer:  Sometimes.  I will admit it has been easy to say that I don’t want to do something because I don’t want to rock a boat, but in actuality I’m just scared.  I have noticed this when I verbalize my decision to do or not to do something to another person who I am certain to share my view.  Once I get that confirmation, I feel that have been let off the hook.  I use people pleasing as an excuse because, unfortunately many people can relate to it and often find it acceptable.

 

What I have learned is my people pleasing has been rooted in fear.  As I have started to break a lot of my people pleasing habits I have realized that when I fight against the urge to please, the results and reactions are not as drastic as a I thought they would be.  Of course certain people did not like certain decisions, but that’s life.  No disavowals, or broken relationships.  Life simply goes on as usual.  Once I began to hold fast to my own decisions, I got little to no interference, not two cents were thrown into the mix.  It was just accepted.

I would like to continue to challenge all of us to examine hour people pleasing tendencies.  Let’s get to the root of it and grow beyond it.

Posted in Tea Talk Tuesday

Intention

Intention has been coming up a lot lately in conversations with my friends.  Intention along with authenticity and integrity are the keys to living a life of freedom.  As I write this, I feel that is enough to say, but I can go on to how I came about this realization in my own life.

I have stated many times that I went through a season of unfortunate events.  During that time, I felt that I would never get a break.  It seemed one bad thing was happening after another.  I began to question everything.  I began to question my choices of friends, decisions, and commitments.  That is when I began to examine my intentions.  First, I began to look at my friendships.  I had and still have a pretty tight and small circle of friends.  I did not put much thought or emphasis on my friendships at the time because the friendships I had were many years in the making.  The friendships I had were over 20 years old.  I didn’t question those because they had lasted so long how could there be anything wrong with them?  It was not until my season of unfortunate events had ended that I was able to see the true nature of some of my relationships.  I began to notice that some of my friends were very present in my life when things were at their worst.  I got phone calls everyday. At the time, I thought it was wonderful.  I had a friend who was ready and willing to listen to my problems and I am thankful for it to this day.  It was what I needed at the time.  It wasn’t until my season of unfortunate events ended that I realized all the support, check-ins, and attention began to be replaced with something else.  I was then faced with out of nowhere confrontations, discouragement, and negativity.  All of this was confusing to me as I thought  friends would be happy for my life to take a much more positive and happy turn.  It seemed that every good thing I shared was quickly shot down.  Every new opportunity I shared was met with warnings and dissuasion.  Where was the celebration?  I thought friends would  be happy for their friends. It seemed to me that it was my misery that was attracting certain friends’ attention.  True friendship was not their intention.  There was some joy and comfort they found in my struggles, but not in my happiness.

As my life and the circumstances around it began to improve quickly and exponentially, that particular “friendship” began to weaken until eventually all contact ended.  Although the relationship has endured for well over 25 years, surprisingly, I didn’t miss it.  I began to realize that over the years there have been several instances when I was in a happy season, that particular person would find a reason to be absent.  That same person would come back into my life and seem somewhat disappointed when things were going well.  I also noticed that while I shared, participated, and supported my friend’s endeavors, the same was not reciprocated.  The absence of longing for that relationship was validation to me that that particular person’s intention was not in line with what I considered friendship.  My intention created what I had believed was a friendship, but the other person apparently did not have the same intention. To everything there is a season.  The same goes for relationships.

Now I am at a wonderful place and things are better and better everyday.  I am examining my intentions.  I am deliberate and focused.   Life is so much easier.  Decision making is effortless.  There is little to no back and forth in my mind as my actions are motivated by clear intention.

Posted in Tea Talk Tuesday

Gratitude

I can’t say enough about the power of genuine gratitude.  Not only is it great for others to know you appreciate who they are and what they do, but it is just  a good feeling to feel gratitude.

When most people think of gratitude, they think of saying “Thank you” after getting something or and polite acknowledgement of something.  I’m speaking of a feeling, something that lasts long after the words “thank you” exit your mouth.  I’m talking about walking and living in a constant state of gratitude.  There are so many wonderful things in this world that we take for granted.  This blog post has the potential to reach people I would have otherwise had no opportunity to speak it to because of technology.  That is something to be thankful for!  The fact that I don’t have to hand write this post is a blessing (I have very difficult to read handwriting).  I have a computer of my own to make this post.  That is something to be thankful for.

Throughout the day, name at least 10 things you are thankful for.  It doesn’t have to be something grand or extravagant. Just see if you can feel gratitude in everything you come into contact with today.  Think about what your life would be like if you didn’t have it and feel those feelings of gratitude.

 

Posted in Uncategorized, Write On Wednesday

Write on Wednesday #55

 

Today’s Writing Prompt:  Your Most Embarrassing Moment

Do you recall a time when you were so embarrassed you thought you would never recover from it?  Write about it.  Describe what happened, the reactions you noticed, and how you felt.  You can even write about how you would have liked to prevent it or rectify the embarrassment.

Posted in Good Stuff

Your Crown

 

by Achille DevÈria, printed by FranÁois Le Villain, published by Edward Bull, published by Edward Churton, after Unknown artist, hand-coloured lithograph, 1830s

 

No matter how one feels about monarchy, one must admit there continues to be a fascination with royalty.  We use it in our everyday speech as a compliment.  I often hear “Good morning, Queen!” from a nice young man when I am dressed fashionably or a “I hear you, Queen!” when I say something intelligent or witty.  Last week, my cousin used “Queen” to describe me.  I then told him my crown was bought and paid for.  I just had to start wearing it.  In my reply, I realized that although I was in possession of a crown, I had not been wearing it.  This caused me to examine why.

It has been always been my belief that we all have crowns. I think deep down most people feel this is the case, but do we walk around on a daily basis like royalty?  I didn’t.  People were seeing it in me, I feel it is there, but I was not wearing my crown.  When I was younger, I was known as the smart kid, teachers pet, and all those things that go along with being a bright student.  Although it was a good thing, this caused me to be teased by other students.  Being the smart kid wasn’t the popular thing to be.  So I took off my crown.  It started with self-deprecating humor and dumbing myself down to be what I thought to be more acceptable.  As I got older, being smart was cool again.  I reached for my crown and starting wearing it proudly.  Then there were other times I felt undeserving of the crown upon my head.  I would respond to a compliment not by simply saying “Thank you”, but by pointing out a flaw in myself.  I wanted to let people know that although my royal blood is evident to others, I doubted it.   I am ready to start wearing my crown at all times, at all functions, and in front of all people.  Are you?

Some of us are afraid to touch it, some of us are intimidated power and responsibility that comes along with it, and some of us don’t feel worthy of wearing it.  We all own one.  Start wearing it!

 

Posted in Morality Series

Layers

In talking to my cousin about life, he loves to say that situations have layers.  I am quick to come to conclusions and make decisions, but he often reminds me of the layers.  I tend to overlook the layers, but I realize that I have them too.

Let me explain what he means by layers.  Layers are those experiences that determine how one reacts to things, people, and situations.  For instance, I will not eat watermelon in public because of the stereotype associated with African Americans  loving watermelon.  I love watermelon, but I will not eat it in public because I have attached a negative image to my eating watermelon. I will turn it down if offered to me even though I really love it.  I’m not quite sure if the stereotype is a negative one, but I still will not be seen in public eating watermelon.  I know it’s silly, but that’s not enough for me to change that behavior.  So if I were turn watermelon down in public and asked why, my cousin would say there are layers to my decision.  Basically, the decision and the reasons behind it are more complex than it appears.

I am generally intolerant of bad behavior.  I do not take into account the “layers” behind the situation.  I am quick to disassociate with a person who I feel has treated me unjustly. There have been several instances of my ending relationships rather abruptly because I don’t feel it important for me to understand the why.  I would rather remove myself from the relationship entirely.  My cousin often reminds me of the layers behind people’s actions.  I’m on the fence on whether or not to take these layers into consideration.  I do think it is best to remove yourself from a toxic situation as to not add any negative layers to your own life.

I feel that it is important to acknowledge these layers and not to judge people too harshly.  So if I turn down your watermelon at a public function, don’t take it personally.  There are layers behind that situation.  I’m working on it.