February 15th – “The changes you’re making in your life require more education.”

 

Doesn’t all change require education? Change is about doing something different, challenging yourself, and going into uncharted territory. If we don’t venture into the unknown, how would we ever learn anything new?

Education can take many forms and the biggest lessons I’ve learned didn’t come from school. I’ve gained the most from encountering perspectives different than my own, difficult decisions I’ve made, and experiencing immense moments of pain and joy.

According to my I Ching, Tarot, and birth chart readings, my lot for this lifetime is to gain sage-like wisdom. When I become the sage, success will follow. I am a far cry from it, so it’s no surprise that I’m being directed to continue my education, whatever that means. It’s too bad I can’t transfer any of those educational credits I completed in college to earn that sage-like wisdom!

On learning, Confucius advises, “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

I’ve been reflecting a lot, so I don’t mind doing that. Imitation is not particularly exciting to me, but they do say that it’s “the best form of flattery.” The only form of learning I’m not a fan of is of experience. I don’t want to have to suffer and learn the hard way. I hope those days are behind me.

But beggars can’t be choosers. I’ll take those bad experiences any day because, “Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.”  I’m not the wisest and certainly don’t want to be the dumbest!

November 12th – “New discoveries happen every day that change your environment in radical ways…stay spry, get up on your toes, and be ready.”

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Change is inevitable. Kids grow up, photographs fade, and the color of leaves change with the seasons. In this world, change happens whether we will it so or not.

Even inanimate objects are not exempt from change. My printer can attest to that. It used to spit out paper at 17 pages per minute and now every other page gets jammed. I don’t welcome this particular change, but I must deal with it nonetheless.

Above all else, I think our thoughts and feelings change, even for stubborn people like me! I don’t think people are capable of sustaining one feeling or thought for a long period of time. Have you heard about the 7 stages of grief? It’s helpful to remember this especially when I have negative emotions. I tell myself, “Hey, it’s just temporary!”

FYI: I’m aware that I’m totally conflating feelings, emotions, and thoughts. For my purposes right now, I am grouping them together and using the words “emotions” and “feelings” interchangeably. I might change my mind tomorrow, but that’s what it will be today! If you’re interested, psychology does make a distinction between feeling and emotions. To learn more, click here.

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My zodiac agreed with my horoscope today. It told me to “find ways to deal with changes.”

Yesterday, I had great plans to be proactive, get ahead of deadlines, and write cover letters. I was feeling motivated, inspired, excited and ambitious!

Much to my disappointment, I had a difficult time stringing simple words together. My mind was a mess! I felt disorganized, frazzled, frustrated, and annoyed. The blog post I wrote had way more typos than usual, so I accepted this setback. I decided to give up on the cover letters for the day.

After a nap, I felt refreshed and decided to work in the garden. It’s been days since I’ve given the plants any attention, and I was surprised to find that the brussel sprouts had taken over the beds. I didn’t read the directions when I planted them in early spring, so they didn’t have enough space. I’ll be surprised if they produce anything.

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In contrast, my basil starts were still tiny after weeks in their trays, so I transplanted them.

The succulents had a few more new sprouts as well.

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I hope you grow big and strong in your new home!

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I was satisfied with the effort I put into the garden and continued “work” by reading The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle.  It’s an incredible fairy tale fantasy book published in 1968. I got through the first 200 pages even though I was mentally exhausted from the whirlwind of emotions. As you can probably guess from the title, it’s not a happy story!

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In the course of one day, I experienced a range of emotions. I felt:

  1. Motivated
  2. Inspired
  3. Excited
  4. Ambitious
  5. Disorganized
  6. Frazzled
  7. Frustrated
  8. Annoyed
  9. Refreshed
  10. Satisfied
  11. Proud
  12. Sad
  13. Fearful
  14. Exhausted
  15. Curious
  16. Angry
  17. Pity
  18. Love
  19. Disgust
  20. Intrigued
  21. Quiet
  22. Paralyzed
  23. Worried
  24. Pessimistic
  25. Eager
  26. Sympathetic

It’s crazy to see my feelings documented this way because this is just a truncated list! I’m sure there were more feelings that I experienced and didn’t include.

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What have you been feeling lately?

 

October 15th and 16th (Part 1)- “Better plan to work this weekend”

Fall finally arrived in the form of dark clouds, gusty winds, and pouring rain – the perfect time to stay in and do some reading (or, in my case, work).

My cat philosophy book is en route from Amazon, so I went to the library. I had plans to pick up two books which were recommended by my friend, but there were no copies available. I ended up in the “new” section and picked up a mini James Patterson book called Little Black Dress. I had never read a Patterson book before, so I thought, “Why not?”

The book was terrible! I thought that I would be able to relate to the main character, Jane Avery, who was advertised on the back cover as “spend[ding] her nights alone with Netflix and Oreos.” Had I bothered to read the first line at the library, I would NOT have taken this book home. It started with, “I spotted it on the Bergdorf sale rack.”

Despite my inability to care about the unintentionally pretentious character in the story, I finished the entire book. I kept going partly because I had nothing else to read, but mostly because I hoped the story would somehow redeem itself. I don’t like seeing people fail (especially when watching theatre), so I have a habit of sticking it through to the bitter end. I’m sure Little Black Dress isn’t representative of James Patterson’s entire body of literature, but it will be a while before I pick up another one of his works.

What I learned: If I want change, I need to let go of bad habits. When my gut tells me that something isn’t working, it’s probably a good idea to abandon ship! I can often get sentimental and attached to a thing/person/idea, but my feelings rarely have any power in altering the situation. I sure had magical thinking when I thought that hoping that the book would get better would actually make it better!

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sleepingbearAfter my hour and half of cringing through Little Black Dress, I read the first few pages of Alice Hoffman’s The Red Garden on Google books. It was amazing! Here’s a short sample:

Hallie stopped. Her breathing was quick. Her choice was to go back in to the snow and die with Harry, or live beside the slumbering bear to warm their nearly frozen bodies. She chose the latter. The big bear seemed dead and even thought it snuffled. It didn’t move and its eyes were closed. Alongside were two cubs, one dead, the other alive and nursing.

I felt so engaged and alive reading The Red Garden. It was easy, enjoyable, and it immediately healed my self-inflicted wounds from Little Black Dress. I can’t wait to read the rest! Thank you for the recommendation, River!

What I learned: Sometimes it is hard to see how bad something is for me until I stop doing it. I hadn’t realized that Little Black Dress was causing me so much pain until I experienced joy when reading The Red Garden. I had truly forgotten how fun reading fiction could be!