Reverb10: Wherein I only tangentially reference prompt #19 (Healing)

This should have been posted days ago. I wrote this in my journal the same day the prompt was delivered, and it took me a week to get it typed up. Because things really have been like that lately. This month has all been a blur to me.

And when I say that, I don't actually mean December, I mean the last 6 weeks or so that melded into an endless rush. Even downtime does not slow the feeling of accelerated time. The busiest weeks of the year for me at my dayjob - the second half of November through most of December - what are supposed to be happy, jolly, focused on communities, relationships, the people you love, and giving. And I didn't have enough space to focus on any of that.

All that I could do was swim through the torrent of work. 8 hours a day of extreme multi-tasking. No mind-breaks. Instant transitioning from one problem-solving to the next. My brain on overload, maybe even getting whiplash.

Oh yes, there was giving. Of work delegated to me, on top of the already-insane year-end deadlines. Racing to get everything done. Too much multitasking, too much data, my brain is mush. Just trying to gain a sense of rest, trying to rebalance, during my time off work. Forget about Christmas shopping or sending out holiday cards, everything left to the last minute or crossed off the list entirely. Skip this year - maybe the next. Perhaps at this time next year, I'll be in a different job.... Please, oh please let me not be in the same dysfunctional workspace next holiday season, so that I can actually enjoy it.

So yes. Healing. All my downtime for weeks, just trying to heal from the crazy-busy-ness.

And what I'd like to heal in 2011: Disorganized panic.

Mind-calming techniques. Perhaps meditation, in my own way. Not numbing myself so that I don't have to think about stuff, but working it out.

I can't always work stuff out with words, maybe my mind just doesn't work that way. That's one of the reasons behind my lack of posting during #Reverb10 (other reasons were mentioned before). Writing about stuff not being the way I can heal while I'm under the pressure, that is. Sometimes I just need to work things out in other ways, maybe that is why I'm so drawn to art. Color, form, combining and shifting - all get my mind into another state where answers can work themselves out in my subconscious. At this crazy time of year, with work deadlines, holidays, and my brain in some prolonged panic-attack state, what I've chose to do the last couple of weeks instead of write has been to quilt.

Yeah, you read right. I started making a quilt three weeks ago. Choosing the fabrics, pure delight for my mind. Getting lost in the colors & patterns - meditation.

Cutting the shapes. Arranging them together. Seeing the way colors & patterns & shapes vibrate next to each other - meditation.

Sewing the pieces together. Ironing them back flat. Placing the new larger squares side by side, seeing how the building of shape upon shape creates a whole new piece. The creating, the building, a metaphor. Sometimes, I want to build a whole new everything.

Photo credit: Christmas Lights by WH-B on flickr


Reverb10: Where's The Bounce?

Bounce, get it? When a sound bounces around in echoes (a reverberation)? Because it's been rather quiet around here even though I'm supposed to be writing daily.

I mentioned in my last post, and it's still going on - I'm just not connecting with the prompts for this year's #Reverb10. Maybe it's because the past couple of weeks have been brutally busy at my day job. By the time I get home, I just don't wanna think too much. Maybe it's because last year's introspective prompts were broken up by ones that were lighter & fun, and this year seems to be all instrospection. Not just regular instrospection, but the I could work on this answer for hours kind of introspection.

Not fun.

Which I know is what this challenge should be! Opening up, sharing and reading posts by other Reverbers. But that's not what I'm doing. And my Plan B of posting several responses together is just not working - I've already accumulated too many un-responded-to prompts in my inbox, just sitting there glaring at me (or so it feels). So, what to do?

I don't want to completely give up this challenge. I don't want to respond to prompts that I'm not feeling connection with, or that I don't have the right mindframe to write a decent & thoughtful response to. I don't want to push myself when it's not in me right now. And I don't need to make myself feel guilty about my limits - everyone has limits and they can change daily, these just happen to be the limits I'm currently operating under.

What I can do is post when I can, using a prompt if I feel inclined, or making up my own prompt if that's what I'd rather do. And I can squirrel away the prompts I haven't responded to, hopefully to spur me on for later posts. So I may be Reverbing well into the next year still. And that's ok.

Also, not sure if Reverbers and Reverbing are real words. I may have just made them up. That's ok too!

Photo credit: Jump! by Enid Yu on Flickr


Weekend Reverb Rush to Catch Up

Yikes there are 3 days of #reverb10 prompts to catch up on, four if you count tomorrow's (which just landed in my inbox), and I'm not really feeling any of them. Maybe because I'm just feeling rather blah in general this weekend? Anyhow, below is a mad dash to catch up. I feel I might get snarky with these responses.

Day 3 - Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe in vivid detail.

See, now this prompt just makes me feel sad. Because either my memory really sucks that I can't remember a whole lot of moments like that in this past year, or there really haven't been that many. I'm thinking it's the latter. Sure there have been some good times. But that feeling the prompt is referring to? I've felt that truly alive feeling, the one that's different than the normal happy feeling, and it doesn't show up in recent memory.

I think we can all use more moments in our lives where we feel truly alive.

Day 4 - How did you cultivate a sense of wonder this year?

Well, I didn't. Thanks for reminding me.

Isn't this the kind of thing tat you have to intentionally set yourself to achieving? Like, you know, in advance? I'm not gonna lie and apply some bs in retrospect to make it sound like that was something I did. Nope, that's not something I intended to do. Perhaps I may have thought of it, if I wasn't so preoccupied with trying to not let my dreams slip by me for another year.

What I did set my mind to doing this year, was to start sharing and selling my artwork with the world. Which I did. Months later than I'd intended, but I finally did. And honestly it's pretty difficult for me to be proud of myself for actually achieving this rather than berating myself for taking so long.

My take: Everyone is in different place in their lives. Not everyone goes through the same stages in their progression through life. We all have our own paths and struggles.

Day 5: What, or whom, did you let go of this year? Why?

I've tried to let go of my fear of visibility, of letting others see the real me - my hopes and dreams, my artwork, stuff that really means something to me. This is still a work in progress. It's like whittling away the layers of a really thick barrier I've put up. I've thinned the barrier in a couple of places, but I've got a long way to go still.

There are other things I'd love to let go of. My day job, for one! (anyone with me on this one?) My morning dependence on coffee. The extra inches around my middle. The way that I'll push someone away when I feel vulnerable. Some other fears. Again, I'm still a work in progress.

And that's why I'm participating in this writing project, even with the prompts I dislike, because I want that progress. It was tempting not to answer a couple of them. But I've been down that road of not engaging with the things I'd rather not deal with, and I know that doesn't lead to anywhere I want to go.

So, I keep trying.

Photo credit: Rush Hour by Susan Sermoneta (Susan NYC on Flickr)


Reverb10: Why lack of time is not the real problem. It's brain fog.

At first I didn't really think today's Reverb prompt was meant for me. "What do you do each day that doesn't contribute to your writing - and can you eliminate it?"  I don't really consider myself to be a writer despite this blog. My reaction was, I'm an artist. What gets in the way of my painting is much more important than the writing. But then I realized that this prompt was from the Zen Habits guy, and since Leo's pretty smart, maybe I should see where this answer would lead me.

Which was here: Brain fog. All the clutter in my brain that makes it hard to think sometimes. Maybe more often than sometimes. That makes me want to not think.

And even though I sometimes feel the brain fog clear when I write, this clarity doesn't happen always, or even half the time. So even though it would be cool to say "the problem and the solution are one and the same!" - no. I don't get off that easily. This is not a closed circuit.

The largest factor in my resistance to writing is my perceived lack of time. Whenever I've tried writing-every-day challenges, it's great at first, and I can feel my load being lightened, however slightly. But, it never lasts. And that is because during the challenge I've put off other things in order to make time for writing. And the putting-things-off is not a long-term solution. And I eventually freak out over the stuff on the back burner. About not getting a million and one things accomplished. About not having unlimited hours in a day.

I know what you're thinking: But you said "brain fog" was the problem, and here you're talking about time.

True, I did say that. And here's why.

What happens when I think there's not enough time, is my brain starts to fog up. Too much of my memory gets taken up by trying to hold in my head little bits & pieces of info about the things I want to get done. Remember! You have to do this! And that! Hurry, so you don't forget! And I can see that clearly not all of this is going to happen in one day. Heck, it might not even happen in one month. And then my brain kind of...freezes. I get stuck. I can't decide what to do first. I can't figure out what actions will have the best immediate effects, or longer lasting effects, or set up the next actions to be more efficient, and which of these things are more important. And so what fills my head is omg, what am I gonna do, this isn't working. And, fog. No clarity. This is not the kind of mental state best suited to creating anything, be it writing, painting, or even cooking dinner. Oh no! Because I can't afford that kind of time when there are all these things to do!

So no, it's not the limited nature of time that is my problem, but in how I react to that limitedness.

Which is by freezing into a big foggy block of stuck.

And this is not limited to writing, it applies to pretty much everything. Which suddenly make so much sense. So, a big thank you to Leo Babauta, the author of today's #reverb10 prompt, for posing a question about one thing that sneakily allows me to find the answer to so many things I've been struggling with.
And you know what I think will help to eliminate this? Awareness of what's going on inside my head when I'm like this. It's not going to get me all the way there, but you can't fix a problem until you know it exists. This is something I will need to mull over more. Perhaps with a mug of cocoa.
Photo credit: AM Fog by Peter Roome (lakewentworth on Flickr)


Reverb10: One Word

My oh my, what have I gotten myself into? Committed to a daily writing project that already has me stumped, that's what! Narrowing things down has never been my strong suit. Ask my what's my favorite, I'll tell you two or three. Ask me for a top ten list, I'll throw in a few extra for good measure.

Reflecting back on this past year, what one word encompasses my experience? It's certainly been different than I had planned. This was the year I was going to force myself to march toward my dreams, which I rebelled against (naturally) and went back to taking steps.

But you know what? Those baby steps were progress. Maybe not the rapid progress I wanted, but perhaps I was not yet ready for such large changes. However, I do have the feeling, that the changes I want are closer than they've ever been before. And that they're easier to come to grips with when approached slowly the way I've been doing, so as to not frighten me away. So perhaps this was a good thing. Yes, a very good thing.

So, if I have to narrow it down to just one word, 2010 was incubation. And my hope is that 2011 will be an unfolding.

And with an eye even further down the line, my sincere hope is that 2012 will be fruition. And yes, I just had to throw in something extra!

Photo credit: This lovely photo of a butterfly just emerged from its cocoon, wings still unfurling, is The Future Unfolding by valkrye131 on Flickr