netpositive: (firehand)
We, so tired of all the darkness in our lives...
    Some years ago, I realized that the concept of
    “noblesse oblige” was strongly ingrained in me
    almost to the point of deformation of character,
    traits and abilities. That in some way one (I)
    is always required to do the “highest” duty one can –
    that one must devote oneself to the most complicated,
    abstract, mentally-intensive work one is capable of
    performing – because there are many people who can't
    do that kind of thing, and it's unfair of one to not
    live up to one's potential when others can't do it.

    So I felt like I was not supposed to – or more like,
    allowed – to do things that “just anyone could do”.
    Or anything that might be the only thing someone
    else could do – that I couldn't take anyone else's
    job away from them.

    Of course, there's a lot of definitional questions of
    what that would involve (or exclude). Mostly it seems
    to involve concrete thinking (anyone can read or write
    simple things, add numbers together...) or practical/
    household skills (anyone can clean a room or polish
    furniture or dig a hole...) or physical techniques
    (anyone can do rudimentary sewing to repair clothes,
    or paint a wall, or drive a car, etc.).

    So there are many things I'm not supposed to waste my
    time learning, much less doing, because I am “too smart”
    for that.


We are young but getting old before our time...
    I was pondering this because my dad, specifically, is a
    very “handy” type of person (he worked as a machinist
    mate in the Navy, and then was a mechanic in the Martin
    airplane factory before he went into teaching). Yet
    while I helped him with several home and/or car repair
    projects, I don't feel like I ever learned much in the
    way of actual, systematic repair skills or techniques
    from him – i.e. how to analyze a concrete problem and
    then either troubleshoot or resolve it.

    Did I ask my dad to teach me? No, but I'm wondering if
    that was a subtler version of my “don't bother someone
    if they are busy” fear. Could he have taught me that way,
    those things? I have no idea, though the times I watched
    him as a teacher or heard him tell stories, I know he's
    very emphatic and intent on teaching people things that
    are applicable to their lives.

    Either it just didn't dawn on him that he could (or should)
    teach me those type of things (but certainly he did share
    other things with me) – or maybe he tried to and I didn't
    have the capacity to learn that kind of thing (though I
    do like to solve things systematically) – or maybe, as I
    perceive it right now, the expectation was that I should
    be learning the highest-level abstract things I possibly
    could so that I could aspire to bigger and better things
    than being a janitor or repairman or farmer or factory worker.

    Similarly, my mother went to college and became a teacher
    because she was intelligent, and that was an intellectual job
    that was acceptable for women back in the 50s, not to mention
    the fact that my father was doing the same thing and she wanted
    to be with him.... but she didn't like teaching, it wasn't a
    good fit for her personality. The rest of her jobs went
    “backwards” from that – from basic office/clerical tasks in
    my grade school, to being a meat cutter/cashier at the local
    grocery store, to her last attempt to work as an expert/
    salesperson in a craft store... where my own perception is
    that she panicked at the added responsibility, began to feel
    like she had failed/was about to fail, and got sick in order
    to quit.

    Which goes back to, I'm not supposed to take someone else's job.
    I'm not allowed to do simple work or tasks. I feel like I have
    to do what other people expect me to do, or need me to do because
    they can't. That I am trapped into doing intellectual work, or
    thinking academic thoughts, all the time, and forever.

    I fear that if I take any time off – or if I stop doing this
    type of work for any reason – I'll be perceived as quitting,
    or irresponsible, or failing my potential and not fulfilling
    (others') expectations. (Also that if I then try to go back
    to doing it, I will have lost all ability for it. I already
    have a lot of that fear just in the fact that I've done little
    explicit user-centered design or testing in the last year.)

    I don't know that I would want to stop doing it completely and
    permanently – I am good at it and there is some value in it –
    but I've been in some version of the “information sciences”
    field for over 25 years (if you count my library assistant/
    grad school years, it's been 26 years where this has been my
    career path) and am now feeling quite a bit exhausted by both
    the constant change, challenge and pressure of having to learn
    new things to “keep up with the field”, and the parallel feeling
    that actually both the problems and solutions just keep getting
    recycled rather than actually resolved.

We'll leave the TV and the radio behind...
    At this point in the formal essay-writing process, the
    expectation is: having discussed the fundamental issue,
    one should now propose realistic ideas or suggestions
    to resolve the problem and not play “yes, but...” with
    the reading audience. However, I don't feel able to
    find solutions or possibilities that aren't radically
    drastic and thus perceived to be unrealistic since people
    don't dramatically change all at once – if they think
    they do, it tends to be a “Flitcraft moment” where they
    move out of their pattern briefly but eventually lapse
    back into the same type of existence they ran away from
    previously. Because as Buckaroo Banzai and all the Buddhas
    say, “Wherever you go in life, there you are.”

Don't you wonder what we'll find
Stepping out tonight--

    I don't feel like I can stay the same.

    But I don't feel like I'm allowed to change, either.

    And there's damn little fruit juice in this bottle....

We'll be there in just a while...
If you follow me
netpositive: (Default)
If I had a boat
I'd go out on the ocean
And if I had a pony
I'd ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony on my boat

-Lyle Lovett
    When I was a child, I read Thor Heyerdahl.
    So I've been in sacred caves on Easter Island.

    When I was a child, I read Joy Adamson.
    So I've been to the savanna and run wild.

    When I was a child, I read J.R.R. Tolkien.
    So I've been to Middle Earth and met Ents.

    I'm not bad at traveling once I get going.
    But I never really understand it
    until I get there.

    If then.

    I want to go to the place where I want to be.

    You know where that is?

    I don't.
It is not down in any map; true places never are.
-Herman Melville
netpositive: (Default)
[Part of this was originally posted private on 9/30/2008.
Updated 12/1/2009 as closure for Black November 2009.]


The message for me in what you've said is that
ACTION is always better than inaction, a lesson that
for some reason I have had to relearn again and again.

It goes like this: You must take a step in the direction
that you think is right, because you will otherwise never
know what that step might reveal. Whether that step reveals
the error in your thinking, the missing enabler, the proof
you've sought, the beauty or ugliness you never imagined,
the nature of resistance, or nothing particularly meaningful,
it is worth the effort to pull back the curtain, because
it will expand your knowledge and guide you.

Linda from Deerfield
    Step, step, step.

    If your foot lands in mud, pull it up, shake it off.
    Go on.

    If your other foot lands in shit, pull it up, shake it off.
    Go on.
Take the first step in faith.
You don’t have to see the whole staircase,
just take the first step.

–Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
netpositive: (iconnerific)
Go, PowerCat, go!
    Walking home from work last evening,
    I walked into the wind.

    Walking to work this morning,
    I walked into the wind.

    I feel on the verge of uplift --
    but the wind is always in front,
    and I don't know how to sail.
    Or remember, yet, how to fly.
A man traveling through the darkness
is yet traveling. The disciple is learning
when he does not know that he is learning,
and as a result he may well chafe. In winter,
Rumi reminds him, a tree is collecting nutriment.
People may think that it is idle, because they
do not see anything happening. But in spring
they see the buds. Now, they think, it is working.
There is a time for collecting, and a time for
releasing. This brings the subject back to
the teaching: "Enlightenment must come little
by little—otherwise it would overwhelm."

Idries Shah
    I realize that I am very lucky.
    It is a measure of my own 'success'
    that I have room to look for more.

    Sitting out in the sun to read, it helps.
    And the scent of hyacinths, in the market.
    On the verge of something I feel, I can't see.

    I try to savor today, yet can't help but ask:
    is it tomorrow yet?
Discipline is remembering what you want.
bmindful affirmations
netpositive: (frenchy)
I say good night to you by quoting the words of
an old Negro slave preacher, who said, 'We ain't
what we ought to be and we ain't what we want to be
and we ain't what we're going to be. But thank God,
we ain't what we was.'

attributed to Martin Luther King
    If you haven't laughed this week, do it,
    if only to spite everyone and everything else.

    If you haven't seen the stars, don't worry,
    they still see you.

    If you are having trouble now, go and do whatever
    boosts you and energizes you most at this time.
    Even if sometimes, that simply means sleep.

    Thank you, Barbara Dubin.

Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it
depends on what you put into it.

-Tom Lehrer
netpositive: (frenchy)
The tragedy in life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal.
The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.

– Benjamin Mays
    One can do things without having a goal, but
    then there's no good way to measure progress.

    The last couple of years have been both personally and
    professionally difficult, but useful. I learned that
    things happen, and you deal with them, and move on.

    And sadly there *were* a lot of positive things
    that I never wrote about, mostly because it takes me
    such a long time to write anything -- and then often
    by the time I figured things out, the urgency to write
    had passed.

    I am always very happy about good things that happen to
    other people. My friend noire has a new book coming out,
    as does ctan. Whuffle and halleyscomet are about to have
    their first child. Other people are graduating, marrying,
    getting new jobs, studying abroad, moving on, moving out.

    Where am I right now?

    I'll try to talk more about good things as I go along.
    But I know I'm not perfect. And I don't want to crow,
    or make other people envious. I work hard -- but I also
    know I'm very lucky. And I'm grateful for those of you
    who have supported me in good times and in tough ones.

Remember not only to say the right thing
in the right place, but far more difficult still,
to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

-Ben Franklin
netpositive: (Default)
Ive seen so many things that made me wonder
But sometimes its hard to tell--

-Lindsey Buckingham
    Yesterday:

    - sunny
    - 8 AM conference call, sounds like workflow is picking up
    - still sunny
    - sent director, logistics my current project status and upcoming availability
    - did I mention sunny?
    - went hiking in woods without leaves
    - put sunscreen on nose and cheeks
    - ate already-shelled pistachios
    - sunny and warm!
    - saw tadpoles
    - made sure to drink water
    - heard birds, but never saw one other than a lone crow scouting overhead
    - hooray for sunny and warm
    - laughed at hearing a power saw
    - bought a flyswatter at Target
    - my car smelled like hyacinths
    - started rereading _Barrayar_ (the one Vorkosigan book I don't own myself)
    - dinner involved ground beef, mushrooms, spaghetti squash, and radishes
    - relaxed a bit (about 37 on the 40 point scale ;) )
    - dancing, did a lot of broad smiling even though no basket whips tonight
    - this week's band has improved back to "yeah, gotta remember I like them now"
    - still warm when I came home
    - but felt cool mist when I went back out to the car
    - put the comforter back on the bed


    Today:
    - wild thunderstorm at 4 AM
    - didn't bother to open my eyes to see lightning, just listened to the booming
    - dreaming about screaming at someone else
    - Stojko was cuddly: purrs, licks, headbutts, flops, the whole kitten kaboodle
    - got up late, had my morning cups of tea
    - had an article on Bob Dorough read to me after breakfast
    - listened to "Verb! That's What's Happening" [cause and effect :) ]
    - my desk smells like hyacinths
    - Sato seems to have suddenly decided my lap is a okay place to glom onto
    - weather sucks. overcast, cooling. blah. more than ready for spring.
    - check arrives in the mail
    - start planning next few days at least
    - keep looking up, if not always forward
Here comes the night time
Lookin' for a little more
Waitin' on the right time
Somebody outside the door
Don't blame me
Please be strong I know I'm not wrong

-Lindsey Buckingham
netpositive: (iconnerific)
Look at your own circumstances. Ask yourself
if there is an unimagined source of strength
that you can tap into. Look toward the future.
Imagine a time in which you have widened
a place for yourself and have flourished
through your difficulties.

Daily Om
    I'm trying to breathe.
    I'm trying to breathe.
    I'm trying to breathe.

    I know I'm needed, I know I'm useful.
    But am I valued? Time is telling.
    It takes so many people to be me.
    I want to work and play. Help me.

    I've been trying to look up again.
    Sometimes I see the sun.
    Sometimes I see the moon.
    Sometimes I see the ceiling.
    At least I can still open my eyes.

    I'm trying to breathe. Where is the air?
Some people get crazy,
some people get lazy,
some people get hazy,
some people get out--

Joe Jackson
netpositive: (firehand)
We either make ourselves miserable
or we make ourselves strong.
The amount of work is the same.

Don Juan Matus
    Ah, I must have a very full life,
    if adding just a little bit more
    makes it overflow so.

    New wave and heavy metal.
    Tae Kwon Do and lindy hop.
    Social work and reading alone.
    Design and testing.
    Housecats and cheetahs.
    Regency romances, Civil War history,
    all the science fiction I can stomach,
    and all the fantasy I can stand.

    more text and some images behind cut )

    "Well... he tends to promise the moon,
    but then too often he tries to deliver
    a medium-sized asteroid instead."
    -me

    If I'd only had a spoon, I could have turned
    that sweet corn cake upside down, for you.
    But there is no spoon, yet.

You are the Sun in drag.
You are God hiding from yourself.

-Hafiz

Footwork

Oct. 25th, 2004 05:55 pm
netpositive: (firehand)
Come, come, whoever you are.
Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
It doesn't matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow
a thousand times
Come, yet again, come, come.

Rumi

Look up, look out, don't you see?
Seek with your ears if your eyes are blind.
Seek with your hands if your ears are stopped,
with your heart if your hands are tied,
with your feet if you've lost your heart.

Stop blaming others for your cold bare feet;
put your shoes on. Walk if you can't yet dance.
At least then perhaps, we'll hear some music.
netpositive: (Default)
Outside a garden, looking in )
    Please return
    my connection with the divine.

    Let me see each day my life is
    filled with wonders and magic.
    I look up and out, struggling
    to lights found in the darkness.
    Let me hear all your voices now
    calling me inside, calling me home.

    Breathe and beat, beat and breathe.

    Let me move in your grace
    or just lie still, surrendering self
    in trust and complete faith.
    Let me feel far beyond when we touch,
    hands the boundary for the body - but
    skin no more a barrier than air.

    Bend and break. Ground and center.

    Look up. Look out.

    Please return my connection
    with the divine.
netpositive: (Default)
Focusing on the present
helps me heal my fear
of the unknown.
    Walking to the Metro this morning, I notice
    the earliest blossoms and flowers are fading away.
    But the birds are out and singing, even in the bitter wind.
    I contain my tenderness within my heaviest coat.

    I look up and out of myself: up into the clear sky,
    and outward to all those who are present in my life,
    be it in body or in spirit. Touch leaves no mark...
    at least not on the outside.

    I look downward and inward: down to the ground,
    to place my feet carefully but firmly; and inside
    to try to understand who I am and why I am here.

    Then I see your smile upon seeing me. And I know.
My friend, the sufi is
the friend of the present moment.
To say tomorrow is not our way.

-Rumi
netpositive: (Default)
I appreciate my jealous feelings -
they point out areas I need to work on
within myself and my life.

    I am learning about what I want
    and also what I don't want. I support
    those I care for in triumphs and trials.

    I am learning about what else I need.
    I hunger, and I thirst. See that clearly.

    And I'm still here. That's something.

Make some time for play and don't worry
what other people think.
netpositive: (Default)
Just for today
I will respect both
my own and others' boundaries.
    Walking to the Metro this morning,
    the hard March west wind freezing face and hands,
    gusts forming construction dust into shotgun blasts.
    Good thing I tend to wear glasses on Fridays.

    Sometimes you give so much light to me.
    More often, you simply help me to see it -
    what is new found, what was already there.
    I look in, look out, look around, look up,
    adjust the viewfinder, check my exposure.

    It's okay to use a tripod to steady things
    when the winds are wild and strong,
    when the light is difficult or weak.
    Whatever gets you through the night - or day -
    yes, it's alright. Don't discard what is working
    for you just because someone else doesn't get it.
    Should I throw away my glasses, so I can't see at all?

    Overexposed, incandescence may burn into the eyes.
    Underexposed, fine details are likely to be lost.
    Yet each can be used to achieve a desired result.
    Two points joined create a line; many pixels, an image.
    If we could connect the dots together, what results then?

    Let me be a coat of comfort to wrap yourself in,
    a blanket of security against the cold and the dark,
    a hint of an outline of a ghost of a presence espied nearby.

    It takes so little for me to give you so little, you see.
Just for today
I will balance others' needs
with mine.

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netpositive: (Default)
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