Category Archives: Manifesting

“Lucy… is that mah name?”

Here’s a Dove “fortune” that sparked some thought. My first reaction to this one is “OK, but who might that be – who am I?”. And that question always makes me think of the old episode of “I Love Lucy” where she pretends to have amnesia in a Southern belle accent.

And then I just laugh.

Ah, pop culture – it keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously πŸ˜‰

Sent from my Nokia N97

Subscribers – if you don’t see a video below this sentence, click through to the blog http://thesinglerider.com/2010/09/lucy-is-that-mah-name/

When all is crumbling

New York State Route 231 by dougtone via Flickr
New York State Route 231 by dougtone via Flickr
Autumn, 1977

There’s a parade coming down the main drag that connects the hamlet where I live to the village by the bay. Down here in the village, the main drag has long since dwindled to one lane in each direction. This morning, it’s brisk with traffic, each vehicle racing to avoid getting caught behind the barricade that’s going up at any moment.

We need to be on the other side. My practiced eye looks briefly in either direction, assessing the traffic for relative distance and speed. This is going to be cake. Taking off at a sprint, I easily cover the two lanes well before the oncoming traffic arrives. I look around. I see my two friends still huddled where I’d left them on the curb at the other side, faces drawn taught with thinly-disguised anxiety. Finally, they feel it’s safe, and they hurry across.

[pullquote]If you aren’t bold, then you’re destined to stand a good, long time waiting to cross at that uncontrolled intersection. Waiting, wating… who has time for that?[/pullquote]

“OMG, I thought you’d be killed!” one of them exclaims.

“What?” comes my bewildered response. “There was plenty of time. Don’t you people know how to cross a street?”

I’d grown up in the city, where you take your crossing opportunities as they come, even on wide boulevards of four and six lanes of heavy, New York driver traffic. If you aren’t bold, then you’re destined to stand a good, long time waiting to cross at that uncontrolled intersection. Waiting, wating… who has time for that?

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

NYC Street by T. Ruette via Flickr
NYC Street by T. Ruette via Flickr

It’s a few years later, and I am on my way to see a friend perform in concert with his quartet. I am traveling from Long Island with the only other person I’m aware of who also has a ticket, but I don’t know him terribly well. He’s funny and nice company for the mass transit journey into the city. His eyes are fringed with those impossibly long guy-lashes that make every woman sigh and wonder, “Why can’t *I* have lashes like that?”

(A few years into the future, I would focus on those lashes while standing under the chupah, having random thoughts about anything and everything, just to keep myself from thinking about the reason we were standing there…)

Sweet by Maureen Lunn via Flickr
Sweet by Maureen Lunn via Flickr

He pulls the cord overhead to signal the driver. We de-bus near Lincoln Center and prepare to cross Broadway. My practiced eye looks briefly in either direction… my muscles are tensing in preparation for the sprint. Although we are not physically touching, I feel him hesitate beside me, drawn taught… Before he has a chance to balk, I grab his hand and give it an encouraging tug. We have ignition, we have liftoff, running hand in hand until we reach the opposite curb. His hand immediately releases mine, but for a while after, I can still feel the shape and the weight of it in mine. How odd…

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Otters holding hands by mindluge via Flickr
Otters holding hands by mindluge via Flickr

This had happened to me only one other time, the very first time I’d ever held hands with a boy. He was funny and his eyes were an impossible shade of blue; not even a color found in nature, I don’t think, and certainly not one I’d ever seen before or since. The first time our hands touched (accidentally-on-purpose), I’d gone directly for the interlaced fingers position, but he was having none of that and quickly shifted us instead to the palm-to-palm position. I was satisfied, pleased that he hadn’t rejected the idea of hand-holding altogether, but at random times for days after, I would suddenly experience the pleasantly terrifying sensation of his fingers filling the spaces between mine.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

A moment of many by sarahpetherbridge via Flickr
A moment of many by sarahpetherbridge via Flickr

I wanted to be pleasantly terrified. I wanted to be gifted with the experience of someone filling in all the places where I am blank. I’m not sure how, but somewhere along the way “pleasantly” and “terrified” became uncoupled; unchecked, terror fills the blank spaces with something that’s drawn taught, something that drives me to flinch from the sprint, to wait at the corner until the signal changes.

Oh, for my days of the practiced eye, the ability to assess, the exhilarated sprint, fully confident that I would reach the curb unscathed. Oh, for the days!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Now playing – The Fray: Never Say Never

Renaissance juggling and the survival-based career

ImFeelingInspiredI have come to the conclusion that I am a Renaissance juggler.

“Renaissance man” is a phrase coined to describe someone who has a depth of knowledge spanning a diverse range of interests. A juggler is someone who has many balls in the air at the same time. I am someone with a diverse set of passions who can and does indulge in several of them simultaneously. I’ve never felt an overwhelming, life-long pull toward any one of these interests for very long. Interests come and go only to return again years later, borne back to me on some unseen tide. At intervals during my life, I’ve had keen, intense interest in writing, performing, photography, organic gardening, Disney, sea shells, psychology and all manner of IT geekery. That last interest currently manifests itself via a fascination with consumer electronics and social media.

Photo by Helico on Flickr
Photo by Helico
I don’t believe I’ve ever been focused on only one or even two of these things at a time. I can remember a time when I was working long hours in IT and using the train commute to either memorize an operatic role in another language or else to study with the goal of acing my next psychology exam, all the while also attending classes and rehearsals at night, roto-tilling, pulling weeds, perfecting the art of the smoldering compost pile and performing on the weekends. Simply looking back at that time is exhausting and causes me to question my own sanity. Yet I was productive and active and happy.

[pullquote] because I’ve never felt committed to just ONE thing that impassioned me the most, I ended up in a survival-based career.[/pullquote]I think it takes a lot of diverse intellectual activity to keep me from becoming bored. Here’s the problem with that; because I’ve never felt committed to just ONE thing that impassioned me the most, I ended up in a survival-based career. That’s where you do what you do because you don’t hate the work and you like the money. It’s the exact opposite of the passion-based career – doing what you do because you want to, because it’s your life’s work.

I have no idea what my life’s work is, or was supposed to be.

Mary Poppins and Mirror Poppins in harmonyIt has never surprised me to find out how many of my colleagues at The Firm are coulda-shoulda-woulda-been musicians, actors and other assorted artistic types who “fell into” careers in IT during the 90s dot com boom. Like me, they were all just looking for their cushy little day job with medical benefits whilst running about auditioning, until someone figured out they had brains and promoted them. You get to an age where being a starving artist doesn’t hold as much romatic appeal as it once did, and the money you’re making doing something else is certainly seductive.

Mary Poppins thinks Mirror Poppins is showing offIt’s nice to not have to limit dinner to popcorn every night – with butter on it as an extra treat on Sundays. It’s nice being able to pay down your credit card debt, purchase a car that was made in THIS decade and go away for vacations. Thus, when faced with the realization that making a living as an artist is going to be a life-long uphill struggle, the survival-based career not only looks attractive, it seems more logical, more sensible, more likely to get your family off your back. I think a surprising lot of people are doing survival-based careers with their lives and that’s why work seems like… well, work. That is why “everybody’s working for the weekend…”. It’s because people don’t wanna work; they just wanna “bang the drum all day”.

Mary Poppins and Mirror PoppinsEarly last month, I was in Downtown Disney at the big World Of Disney store. The jumbo TV in the center of the store began to show a scene from Mary Poppins“A Spoonful Of Sugar”. I was half-listening and humming along while pawing through a rack of t-shirts when the scene suddenly grabbed my attention. Mary was singing. In harmony. With herself. The words, “in harmony with HERSELF” swam to the forefront of my consciousness, and I watched transfixed as she went from joyous to annoyed with… well again, it was with herself. Mirror Mary kept singing a mile a minute even after Real Mary had stopped. What’s more, Real Mary was peeved that Mirror Mary was grabbing all the attention for herself. “Cheeky!” is Real Mary’s tart retort. Off she goes in a stern huff to tend to the children. Mirror Mary only smiles.

(I could go off on a tangent here about Disney and the relationship between work and play, but I’ll spare you!)

[pullquote]Wouldn’t it be really cool if we could always be in harmony with ourselves, and still be able to pay the mortgage, buy some toys and have a little fun? Some people live like that, I hear…[/pullquote] And so it can happen. If any of the fun aspects of a Renaissance juggler’s life start to race exuberantly ahead, consuming more than the permitted allocation of personal bandwidth, then the part that works for a living to support your fun habits can become peevishly resentful. It’s always the survival-based career, the thing you are sort of “meh!” about, that sternly proclaims you’re “cheeky” for studying something fascinating, for tripping the light fantastic upon the wicked stage, for devoting time and brain power to figuring out how to grow tomatoes without using pesticides (hint: “companion planting”. With a heavy dose of self-discipline, that dreaded of all activities known as “taking care of business” commences, and the fun stuff takes a back seat.

Wouldn’t it be really cool if we could always be in harmony with ourselves, and still be able to pay the mortgage, buy some toys and have a little fun? Some people live like that, I hear. I haven’t figured out yet how to make that happen, but there’s one thing I’m doing consciously now to try and find the answer.

I’m listening.

The thought of abandoning the survival-based path, the good ol’ reliable method of obtaining a steady paycheck, instead trying to make a living doing what gives me joy is both intoxicating and frightening. It would be so much easier if I didn’t have so many interests from which to choose. It would be so much easier had I done this earlier on, so much easier if it wasn’t just me bringing a paycheck into this house. This is the downside of single ridership. I find myself with a serious case of SAHM-envy. OK, you’re right, not the “M” part… But I don’t have the luxury of travel back in time or of a mighty breadwinner to see me through this. Therefore, the draw toward the most pragmatic choice is strong. And yet, I cannot help but see that guillotine looming in the near future as my liberator, permission to veer off in a different direction

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Believe in the beaty of your dreamsI do realize that I have not been in harmony with myself, and that a lack of active unhappiness does not equate to living with activeΒ  joy.Β  I do realize that living a little more deliberately, a little more consciously, would make me more actively joyful. The more I send this understanding and acknowledgment into the Universe, the more the Universe has reflected it back at me.

I’ve been having more and more of these moments of synchronous epiphany leap into focus, like the one in the World of Disney store. These moments started last summer, slowly at first. In the beginning, small synchronicities presented themselves, things that, considered singly and out of context, could be passed off as mere coincidence. But as I began to suspect and then fully recognize that they weren’t a coincidence, and even began to look for them, they began happening with more regularity. Some days, they happen so rapidly I barely have time to record them. It could happen online, in text or an image. It could happen while having a conversation with your best friend or with the grocery store clerk. It could happen when you walk into a restaurant and see a piece of artwork on the wall, or while browsing a rack in a shop – something will practically leap off the display and jump up and down crying, “Me, me, me! Look at ME!”. Something that gives me pause, makes me think, connects a few of the sea of dots before me.

Maybe it’s happened to you, too; maybe you know what I’m talking about. Each time it happens, it’s as though the world shifts a little, the movement barely discernible but nevertheless a bit of a shock. There’s a focus, a click of vision and soul, and then you know – you’ve been receiving Memos from the Universe.

I’ll be sharing more about this, very soon. Promise!

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What are your “superpowers”?

Good Vibrations Festival 2008 - SydneyWhat are your “superpowers”?
Seems it is fashionable these days to refer to one’s own best attributes as “superpowers”. I was reading “O” out on the lanai this evening when I caught just such a reference and it inspired me. I quickly grabbed a pen and paper and without too much thought, listed as many of my own “superpowers” as I could as fast as I could. I stopped at ten – here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Bangs and yellow look excellent on me.
  2. Children like me, but dogs like me more than I like them.
  3. Someone recently told me that I make people feel special.
  4. I am extraordinarily lucky at finding great parking spaces.
  5. I have an ability to rally the troops.
  6. Mostly, people like me, they really like me!
  7. I can tell a story
  8. If there’s no story to tell, I can make one up
  9. I make shit happen
  10. I can silence your screaming cockatoo with one fatal high B-flat

So, tell me – just between us
I promise I won’t tell any one –
what are YOUR superpowers?

When Positive Thinking Creates Unnecessary Stress – Mind Hacks – Lifehacker

When Positive Thinking Creates Unnecessary Stress – Mind Hacks – Lifehacker.

Hah!Β  I knew it – perpetual positivity is not healthy! Well, I “knew” it for a different reason, actually. I think there’s a fine line between maintaining a positive attitude and denying reality. As the article points out, there are some situations from which lemonade cannot be made. Think serenity prayer – one must have the wisdom to know the difference. Think Kenny Rogers – one must know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em. Sometimes walking away IS the lemonade.

A definite “memo from the universe”

102320091313-WDW-DAK-Expedition-Everest-Single-RiderπŸ™‚ It’s a little extreme and a little too inclusive of gratuitous sexual references – especially the ending, which is neither here nor there with regard to the Law of Attraction.

However, as stumbling across the interwebz goes, it’s a definite “memo from the universe”. You can have what you imagine! I especially like the liberation of the people at the desks whose brains are tethered to gawd knows WHAT. πŸ™‚

It won’t be long now…

When it comes to cynicism, “I’m with Coco”

I'm With CoCo“Here’s what all of you have done. You’ve made a sad situation joyous and inspirational. So, to all the people watching, I can never, ever thank you enough for the kindness to me. I’ll think about it for the rest of my life.

And all I ask is one thing. And this is… I’m asking this particularly of young people that watch. Please, do not be cynical. I hate cynicism. For the record, it’s my least favorite quality. It doesn’t lead anywhere.

Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you – amazing things will happen.”

Conan O’Brien
The Tonight Show
22 January 2010

This is the way “Coco” departed from The Tonight Show – choked up, humble, vulnerable and a class act all the way. I very much appreciated his final farewell, but I must admit that at the same time, I was baffled and slightly annoyed at the admonishment to “don’t be cynical”. Baffled, because I wasn’t quite sure where that came from, and annoyed because I’d had my run-ins with the word before.

There were a few years during my tenure at the firm when the IT organization (barely) survived a failed outsourcing agreement. More than half of the IT professionals in the firm were outsourced but continued in their positions, while the rest of us “managed” to the terms of the agreement. Almost immediately, 20% of those outsourced were cut by their new employer, but in typical fashion, no one bothered to cut 20% of the work. The agreement was supposed to span Y years for $X billion dollars. It soon became obvious that this was a clash of the titans and a failure of epic proportions. Their marching orders were to do as little as possible for $X billion dollars over Y years and bill us for the balance. Our marching orders were to “manage” them into doing as MUCH as possible for $X billion dollars over Y years and never let them bill us a penny extra. Battle lines were drawn. Long-standing workplace relationships strained and sometimes fell apart. Some good talent left us simply because they felt neglected, cast out and betrayed.

Competition for the internal positions was fierce, and a forced ranking methodology was introduced, accompanied by “360 degree reviews”. This meant you could review each other according to a prescribed format. One of the questions in the 360 review was, “On a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being Not At All and 5 being All The Time – how cynical is SoAndSo?”. I ask you – what the HELL does cynicism have to do with my ability to execute? If I’m hitting all my targets and delivering what I said I’d deliver and then some, why should anyone care if I’m intelligent enough to see the way things are and call them as I see them?

[quote2]

I refused to participate in the process. Among my colleagues, I am famous for a few pithy little sayings, but one of the most famous is, “Don’t ever give me a free form text box. Ever.” The 360 review format had free-form text boxes, and I wrote in them – yes all of them – that 360 degree reviews amounted to permission to assassinate one another and I refused to participate. I also told them what I thought of their little outsourcing agreement. I must not have been alone. A few other little insurrections were about to occur. I’ll only tell you about the most famous one.

At the end of two years, a committee from both sides got together to develop a presentation for executive management, all about issues and outcomes and accomplishments and all that stuff. By unanimous consensus, they had the balls to leave the “Accomplishments” slide completely and utterly blank. Management got the message. 360 degree reviews were discontinued, and the outsourcing agreement was dissolved. Everyone was brought back into the firm and given their old titles back without interruption in years of service.

Although executive management eventually acknowledged and corrected their mistakes, there was some serious damage done. We did lose talent, and we did lose cohesiveness. Many fell prey to burnout. Some folks had actually been thriving at the outsourced company. Loyalties had been completely transferred, and these people were really pissed off to be brought back over to the place that had robbed them of their control over their own careers, dumping them unceremoniously. And the final point of impact? The definition of “cynical” had been warped and twisted and used as a weapon, an aversive stimulus. Recognizing and telling an unpleasant truth was bad, it was wrong, it was “cynical”.

It’s difficult to refrain from sinking into the cynical abyss when life gives you so much good material for it. Wretched realities often overshadow their counterparts in this world. The current state of the world economy serves as a prime example. Bad choices made by greedy, bottom line-driven entities for whom the word “enough” has no meaning have resulted in crisis, recession, off-shoring and layoffs, joblessness, homelessness, and financial ruin. Catastrophic “acts of God” cause destruction, devastation, disease and death. How can we prevent these harsh life conditions from eroding our spirits, when our livelihoods, our homes, the very earth we stand on threatens to crumble away? How do we resist the call of the cynic, who says, “See, I told you so!” when it’s so patently obvious that he’s right?

How could it be bad? Cynicism is a by-product of intelligent discernment. It’s a refusal to drink the kool aid. Cynicism has fueled revolutions and helped to overturn oppressive empires. Cynicism has prevented many a snake oil salesman from making off with the family fortune. Cynicism may very well be a Darwinian response, necessary for the survival of the species.

[quote]

The original Cynics were Greek philosophers. The basis of cynicism at that time was a belief in virtue and nature, and in the rejection of money and power as sources of happiness. Over time, cynicism became known much more for what it rejected than what it embraced. Modern definitions of the word tell us that today’s cynics have very little belief in the existence of virtue, and almost always focus instead on their conviction that all human motivation is selfish. It is tempting to conclude that cynics don’t believe in anyone or anything, but that is not true. Modern cynicism is not the absence of belief; it is a belief in failure, the failure of humans to rise above and reject their baser instincts in favor of virtue.

I wish to point out to Executive Management that there is a vast difference between believing in failure and simply recognizing it.

Clearly, the heartfelt speech delivered by “Coco” at the end of his Tonight Show run indicates that he still strongly believes in the good of man, despite the horrible way he’d just been treated by a bunch of them. You gotta hand it to a man who has been in television this long and still rejects cynicism. Although I’ve read an interview where he claimed to be purely as Irish Catholic as his ancestors who stepped off the boat in pre-Civil War Boston, I have the feeling that “Coco” is actually Greek for “I’m a believer!”.

I think the key to successful cynicism must be balance – go ahead and call ’em as you see ’em, but see BOTH the good and the bad. Extremism is never a good thing. See too much good, they’ll call you a Pollyanna. See too much bad, and you’re a misanthrope. See both and you’re… Conan O’Brien πŸ˜‰

Image: A poster created by Mike Mitchell during the Tonight Show controversy of 2010 displaying his “Coco” nickname.

I just KNEW “something” was coming – Mars retrograde in Leo

Believe in the beaty of your dreamsYep. It started on December 20th and it doesn’t end until March 10th – it’s the winter of my discontent! Actually, I think some leaked backwards a day or so. Recall that I was not able to get outta Dodge on Saturday December 19th because of the blizzard that struck the northeast, and I had to cool my jets down here in Florida until Tuesday the 22nd. This shortened my trip to Da Loverly Isle of Long considerably, so much so that I was able to leave half my clothes home but I missed seeing a lot of my friends.

Because the Earth and Mars orbit the Sun at different speeds, there are times when Mars *appears* to be moving backwards. When this retrograde happens – and it’s happening IN MY SIGN, I might add – we can tend toward hesitation when it comes to asserting our desires.

So what am I supposed to be doing right now? I’m supposed to be manifesting. That is to say, I am supposed to be dictating my desires to the Universe and the Universe is supposed to say, “Your wish is my command!” and deliver unto me all that I want.

What if I don’t know what I want? Well, I guess the Universe won’t know what to deliver. A fine mess, I must say. Yet, according to Cafe Astrology, now is the time to be introspective. I dunno, is it just me – does anyone else think I’m a little TOO introspective to begin with? πŸ˜€ Seriously, it says that I’m to examine my modus operandi for getting what I want, to take some time for reflection, maybe get a little extra rest. It’s one of those enforced rest periods, like when your body decides you’ve been running too long, too hard so it shuts you down with the flu or something. There, now you HAVE to rest!

So if I’m reading this right – the Universe actually endorses this period during which I do not vigorously pursue what I want, because it wants me to reflect and understand and be SURE that what I’m asking for is really what I want.

That fits. I am surprisingly calm, so calm that I cannot muster up a great lot of surprise, actually. Cataclysmic change is occurring at work, which tends to affect the the entire rest of one’s life. Work supports our existence habit. If work is altered, in quality, quantity, proximity, any manner of dimensions, then so is our way of life.

So, this retrograde, period-of-rest thing lets me off the hook nicely on a number of fronts. It tells me that my instincts, at least, are in line with the heavens. For instance, I’ve been told that I need surgery on my sinuses or I’ll just keep getting one sinus infection after another. I hesitated, I walked out of that doctor’s office, even though I liked him (he hates Neti pots!) and had a good feeling about his motivation. I have not made a decision, and I don’t feel any especial impetus to do so any time soon.

Another thing – ever since the changes at work were announced, I’ve watched others scramble out of self-preservation. I used up Monday and Tuesday of last week to scrape a few people off the ceiling. Why is everyone so panicked while I’m so calm? This is the most unusual thing in the world that is happening right now. Everyone BUT me is taking action of some sort. It’s usually the other way around. I’m usually the one who makes things happen. Now, not so much. I’m going to LET things happen instead. They told me what was to happen, and my firmest instinct murmured, “Good. Bring it.” It’s pretty loud, for a murmur. So I’m just going to let it happen. I’m going to let it roll over me like a roaring wave, the kind that brings treasure to the beach.

I’m a treasure. I’m going to land on some beach! That’s kind of exciting, don’t you think? πŸ™‚

Yule happens

122120091916.jpg I was supposed to be in New York celebrating the Winter Solstice with my “coven” (fancy word for my back home tribe “sistas”) and a stewpot full of root vegetables but, alas! The weather had other ideas. Multiple flights have been canceled since my original departure date of Saturday 12/19, due to blizzard conditions and/or airport closure. So here I sit, doing Yule as a solitary. The moon looked fabulous on the rise tonight, like a crescent cradle in the sky, ready to rock πŸ™‚ I had a moment of panic when it looked like my wishes would not burn but I kept reminding myself that MY wish is the Universe’s command, and simply re-lit the contents of the prayer bowl before the flames went out.

Yes, the Universe will deliver; however, I was reminded today that this does not mean that we sit back and do nothing. The reminder came in the form of Disney’s latest hand-drawn (yay!) animated film, The Princess and the Frog. Tiana wishes upon the evening star, but she also works HARD to achieve her goals, none of which have anything to do, initially, with being a princess, snagging a prince, or kissing frogs. The Universe WILL join in at some point to ensure a sealed deal, but in the meantime, we must continue to strive toward the goal.

My favorite quote: “oooooh, no – there is NO WAY I am kissin’ a frog AND eatin’ a bug on the same day!” πŸ˜‰

Favorite song: a gospel number called “Dig A Little Deeper”

When you find out who you are
you’ll find out what you need
Blue skies and sunshine – guaranteed!
Open up the window – let in the light, dearie!
Blue skies and sunshine!
Blue skies and sunshine!
Blue skies and sunshine – guaranteed!

πŸ™‚

Tomorrow, I get to repack my bags for 4 days instead of 8 and jet my way north to the frozen tundra that is Da Loverly Isle of Long. I am wondering why the Universe wanted me on THIS particular flight, instead of the other two that were canceled…???

Posted by Wordmobi