Interior Decoration for the Room for Mistakes

Image

I don’t know how much of this is obvious through my writing, but I am a micro-managing anxiety-stricken person in may situations. Being the “leader” of a therapeutic team changes a lot of that. Now may anxiety and micro-managing perfectionism isn’t just my problem; it affects the whole team. Which has led me to a great realization.

It’s good to not only leave a lot of room for mistakes, but to decorate that room. To cherish it. To give it a great new mattress and a few scarves lovingly strewn over the door. To adorn it with a tiny table for incense and some crystals that you found yourself on a mountain across the country. Give it a space.

Because mistakes are some of the best gifts. Maybe not the mistakes themselves, but the room that you give them to sit in. To stay in. Temporarily. As your guests.

You could also just put up a sign on your front door saying, “No Mistakes Allowed!” and see where that gets you. Probably, they’ll start throwing bricks through your windows and calling their friends to toilet-paper your trees. That’s not fun.

No. Instead, think about making room for them. Realizing when and where and why they are welcome, and learning from them. Maybe they leave muddy footprints in the entrance way, but they know how to cook an absolutely delicious omelet, after breaking a few eggs. Maybe they can teach you that much.

Learning to leave room for mistakes helps me to lead this team because I need to let them all make their mistakes so that we can learn and grow. Trying to prevent mistakes from happening in the first place is a recipe for stifled insecurity, it’s a recipe for a tree that dies in its tracks or a person that doesn’t know how to take care of themselves or express their true gifts for the benefit of the group.

Although this feels specific for my situation, I’m sure that others can relate, and perhaps give the topic some thought.

What are some mistakes that you are super-guarded against? (you don’t need to share, just think about it)

Do you remember any benefit that you felt after leaving room for mistakes and learning from them?

If you had a room for your mistakes in your house or apartment, what would that room look like? What would you put in there to show your respect for what they have to teach you? (Okay, you can share this part! I’d love to hear all the details!)

Just some thoughts. Hope you all are well. Thank you as always for reading, engaging, commenting, liking, and otherwise validating my intellectual mind and heart by showing me that I’m not alone in this world. I truly appreciate it. 🙂

 

Permission for Transitions

We all know how we generally “are” in the world. There are some aspects of our personalities that we consider strengths, others as weaknesses. Sometimes we put effort into trying to grow. But what happens during transitions? Do we know how to adapt our expectations appropriately for these times?

Recently, I had a piece published on the Mindful Word. It’s called The Art of Compassionate Editing, and I’d love it if you wanted to check it out. It applies mindfulness to the act of editing, much like a previous blog post. Most of my writing on this blog has to do with applying mindfulness to daily things that we may not otherwise think about.

The reason I take this approach is because for years, I worked as a therapeutic counselor at a place called Windhorse in Northampton, Massachusetts. It was my favorite job because it involved being mindful, being with interesting people, and having authentic relationships as a way to be a part of their recovery process from extreme states of mind and addiction.

And now, I am part of a therapeutic team starting in Texas. It has only just begun, and the journey is going to be something that I can hardly even imagine at this time.

I am excited, joyful, and rising up from the inside. I am leaving my job as a basic content writer, putting some of the freelance writing on pause, and embarking on this journey with my whole heart and mind.

This is quite a transition, and I notice that my expectations of myself are no longer something that I can take for granted. How much time I spend a day reading, writing, meditating, cleaning, walking the dog, and cooking are all up in the air. Things are altering, changing, adapting. My routines aren’t going to hold, most of them are going to disappear all together and new ones and old ones are going to rush in to take their places.

It makes me realize how many people I know are in transition, or have been in the past. How often do we expect people to be the same as they were last week, or last year? How often do we expect this of ourselves? How often is unnecessary pain and suffering happening because of these expectations?

It’s just something to think about in terms of how we speak to and work with ourselves during transitions of all kinds. Going to and from work, moving physically, even taking a walk. The transitions are always happening and sometimes they are tiny, and yet we can still get in a pattern of harsh judgement. “Why am I not as attentive as I should be? Why am I not getting enough exercise? Why am I not as happy?” Sometimes, the state of being is temporary. It may only last a few minutes or days if we didn’t hold onto the expectations and judge ourselves or another when we noticed they weren’t being met.

But all too often, we do hold on. Tight. And then we judge. Harshly. Then the problems can turn into a nagging presence that gets us down instead of just passing through.

These are just a few things to think about, especially as this new job may lead to changes in my writing on this blog. I think that they will be for the best, and things will undoubtedly get interesting. The focus will be the same, but it may shift away from writing a little since I’ll be doing less of it, and go more towards how we relate with each other and ourselves in an authentic way.

I hope you all are well, and enjoying various experiences of your daily, weekly, seasonal and yearly transitions!

Please feel free to share your thoughts below about transitions and how you relate to them!

 

Evaluating Emoticons: Sometimes They Deserve Respect

 

Image

A song related to not using the word “love” too much: http://soundcloud.com/starshipjenerprise/love-is-a-big-word-second

 

Recently I offended someone by mistake. I made a comment that was far too ambiguous. In my mind, it was a compliment. In their mind, it was an insult.

I used to use emoticons far too often. Recently, I was trying to give them up all together, along with exclamation points and the word “love” when referring to someone’s song or blog post.

These are the strange games I play with the world to try and improve my writing.

But when the person sent a message asking why I would insult them, they also mentioned that they like emoticons. It is a way for them to know what is going on.

In the world we live in, we are interacting with people in many cultures. If I tell one friend that I liked their song so much it made me want to puke all over it, they would know what I meant. Someone else living in a different country with a different language may think that I’m being a jerk because they don’t know my particular system of meaning.

So, now I respect emoticons. I realize that in certain situations, especially when interacting with a global audience that I have never personally met, it is actually fine to over-use them a bit. To put a smiley face in each comment, just in case.

Of course, if I am interacting with a writing group online and each member speaks my language and grew up in the same social type of setting as I did, then things are a little bit different. In those cases, my subtleties of speech will be more likely to be recognized. Plus, they may judge me harshly for using an emoticon even once.

It all depends on the crowd, the audience, the reader.

We are never writing in a vacuum!

Have you ever accidentally offended someone without meaning to?

Do you use emoticons, or hate them?

If you hate emoticons, do you think you survive wonderfully without them? Any tips for the rest of us?

Hope you are all well!

What Am I Doing Wrong? (or, You Can’t Outrun Something That Hovers)

This is a thought that is sprinkled in some of my days like corn syrup is sprinkled into the average American diet. It’s not the centerpiece by any means, but as soon as you start reading labels, you realize it’s everywhere.

It’ll come up for little things, like when people un-like my page on Facebook. Yeah, I notice those things. I have just a hair over 100 people, so it is obvious when it shrinks. What am I doing wrong?

Some people have lives that seem to make logical sense. They never have a problem with their reflection in the mirror, they sing without fear, they have dogs without socialization issues, what am I doing wrong? They remember to call their grandmas, they drive around to places whenever they want, they make all the money they need, they don’t get shy. What am I doing wrong? During one day or another, one of those things will be more important than the rest.

I started thinking about the question in more detail. What is the question itself made out of? If it is preserving my mindsets like corn syrup will preserve a muffin? Can I choose to eat an apple instead?

I feel like the question will have a subtly destructive effect on my mental health day by day, like corn syrup would have on my pancreas, until there is some full-blown problem that could have been avoided if I simply weeded it out and learned to live without it.

Let’s face it. Things with corn syrup are delicious until we stop eating them and realize they were addicting us with their illusive charms. What am I doing wrong may have a similar strength to keep me addicted without letting me realize how much I wouldn’t miss it if it was gone.

Maybe I think it helps me grow. Does it?

I don’t think that ever once that question has led to a productive result. It’s not an inspiring first step. Instead it seems useful to start with:

Why Do These Goals Matter To Begin With?

Values. It’s all about the values, isn’t it? Why do I have the goal of having a successful blog? Why do I have a goal of accepting my reflection in the mirror, singing, calling my grandma?

There’s a different answer for all of these. I’ll stick with the blog thing. My goal is to have a successful blog because I value the feeling of offering useful things into the world. I am fed when the people around me are fed, literally and metaphorically. If they are sitting by a tea tree lake in Australia, even better.

I value the feeling of writing something real. Of being comfortable with vulnerability.  I can’t control the success of my blog. But what I can do is realize that when I add things that I find useful, when I keep putting out the thoughts that have inspired me, I feel nourished. Then I can choose what to do next, and it will come from me feeding and following my values rather than trying to outrun my fears or self-criticism. Those things don’t even have feet, they just hover. You can’t outrun something that hovers.

Just some thoughts for a Thursday evening.

Can you relate?

I welcome all thoughts below!

Harness Your Inner Opposite Day!

The other day I had this thought, and it has turned out to be a really useful one.

To set the stage, it was late at night. I fell asleep reading in a cozy bed with a dog at my feet. I believe my mind was saying something like,

“God I don’t want to get out of bed to brush my teeth. I just want to keep sleeping.”

And then it went,

“I wish I wanted to brush my teeth. How would that feel?”

And I proceeded to pretend like an actress that all I wanted to do in the whole wide world was get out of the cozy bed, put my feet on the carpet and walk myself to the bathroom to brush my teeth. I even pretended to look forward to the feeling of cold water.

The result was rather amazing. It made it a lot easier to do it than when I was fighting off my loathing for leaving the coziest place in the universe.

I continued to try this with other things.

“I am going to be so nervous when my friend asks me to sing with her later.”

Pause.

“I cannot WAIT to sing with my friend later. It’s going to be so fun. I am just so excited to see what happens!”

and then, even:

“I wish I never had to sing in front of anyone, ever. I don’t want friends. I don’t want to sing. I hate the whole thing!”

Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Sometimes you have to play around with extremes to see where you actually want to be.

The thing is, there are always many ways to see things. But usually we just stick with the first one. “I don’t want to do the dishes.” “I wish it was sunny out.” “I am not the kind of person that would enjoy walking in the rain, playing an open mic, dancing with a stranger, eating a salad for dinner…” anything at all. We get stuck and save time by not bothering to see things in the less familiar way.

We get these fixed notions, but what about trying for fun to see the same thing in the opposite way? And then maybe, a third way? A made-up way? A way that just reminds our brain that really, the first notion we have about the way something “is”, especially when that something is as complex and lovely as our human being selves,  is not necessarily the ideal one.

Just some thoughts for a Tuesday. I’m hoping that by continuing to do this, I’ll get through some aspects of stage fright and other patterns. Even if that doesn’t happen, the process of doing this is fun and leads to some cool perceptions. This picture, if it was moving, would display me singing in front of a new friend. So clearly, something is working.

Do you ever think about things in an opposite way just for fun?

Are you going to try it?

Do you know some of your most solid beliefs or ideas that you wish could change but you are just positive that they won’t?

Do you remember being different than how you are now, and wondering if life would ever change?

I hope your week is going well!