Philosophy

5 Ways To Not Sweat It

Planning gets people feeling all the feels. In one moment nothing is together, and then in the next moment everything is together, and that sliver in between seems more like a dagger, and one that could go either way, killin’ it or killin’ you!

Here are 5 ways to keep cool and not sweat yourself into a funk before your festivity:

1. Keep hold of the positive perspective that brought you into this in the first place.

Don’t let your vision die because uncertainty is spooling-up doubt. If you are doing it right, things ought to feel uncomfortable. Learning is uncomfortable and mastery is the prize.

There are times when you applied this positive perspective before and it led to amazeballs results, remember? Believe it now, and again. If you don’t believe it, who will?

2. Take one thing at a time.

If ever there was a time that you would consider giving your right arm to quit your plan, it is when you have let a list of to do’s, each sing their own chorus of uncertainty in unison, play like a broken record in your head.  The song is unbearable and the thought of quitting your plan entirely, and the relief it will provide, is more palatable to you in that moment than, well, the benefits of retaining your right arm.

Stop the song. Take just one thing, and see it through.  Map it out, assign it, deadline date it–take it’s power over you, away.  See how smart you feel when you commit to taking one thing at a time.

3. Have no fear.

A perspective: The way is not to avoid failure. The way is to fail often and faster. Sounds nutty right? Let me explain. When you try to avoid failure as your main purpose, you get further invested in things that may fail regardless, and then it sucks more because it takes you longer to recover. And you are delayed in trying a new way, if you try again at all. Getting stuck in pain, self-loathing, and shame is real.

When you accept failure as a good sign–that you are applying yourself, putting yourself out there to face challenges that will bring you to a new level of awareness–you are free to keep trying things to realize your vision.

4. Plan B & C and, possibly, D, E, F, G…

This is the hardest step for me (and anyone else feeling particularly stubborn). To cling to the details you started with, is to potentially miss the point of the festivity, and puts you at high-risk of quitting and not realizing the event at all. Which is the ultimate shame!

It is like a child throwing a fit, and the parent losing their shit, and the whole afternoon being ruined. When really, it could have been a nice time if the parent just let the kid-fit blow over.

So, make a list of other options before you are thrown into having to consider other options by surprise.  This way you will be in a better place to see the virtue of other options, and feel sane sliding into other options to save the day. There are always other ways but not more time to do them, which brings me to my final point.

5. It ain’t over until the fat lady sings.

One thing is for certain, you will run out of time. Therein is relief, ultimately.  Until then, keep your mind and body about progress. Don’t quit because the quitting will come for you before you are ready. This is your time–to learn, to grow, to take care, to maintain, to feel all the feels. Make your plans and festivities happen, one way or another, you have only to lose the experiences you forgo creating.

If you have other ways of not sweating it, please share in the comments section.  I look forward to hearing what works for you!

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Philosophy

In Service To

What keeps us from life satisfaction? There are many theories. The one I posit regards a giving of yourself to a cause beyond the sole purpose of benefitting just yourself. It is to be incredibly vulnerable, and to empathize with the incredible vulnerability of another by taking action. Action! What we find when we stick our necks out, to give to others what we also need ourselves, is an eventual rush of collaborators in kind. To find community in this way is one of the joys of life, and it can also be a way of life! I urge you take action to stand for the kind of world you want to live in, not only to bring sustainable satisfaction to your life, but for the effect it has of drawing others into confidence to stand for others, too. Today.

Here is just one example for your consideration, something you may model and/or participate in this week:

Leave Them: Un-Silencing Victims of Sexual Assault

100% of the funding raised from ticket sales, mercy sales and donations is going into this project: a music video serving as a PSA/social justice piece giving voice to the silent victims of sexual abuse. Two solo shows to fund the project happening May 21 – living room on Pleasant Beach Drive and June 3 – store on Madison Avenue.

What are you creating now?

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Philosophy

Surprises & Bikinis Are Not Swimsuits

How to throw a surprise party for someone who detests surprises:

  1. Anticipate the needs of the person the surprise is honoring, and make those a priority.
  2. Inform guests of the schedule (and verify their knowledge) so they may be the best co-conspirators on the face of the planet.
  3.  Allow a graduation of events.  Expect something to exhaust itself and be ready with the next order.

How it started

My 2nd baby just turned a year old, I was still nursing, and I was particularly tired at the moment that planning ought to have started for my 30th. My husband wistfully reminded me of my favorite restaurant on the island, and the capacity he and my brother had together, to take me to it. That minimal effort on my part, would produce the maximum reward. I nodded Yes. The promise of getting ready for anything gave me hope, and I liked to encourage people to go places and take people along, even the sullen; creating occasions, even if there were none prior. Yes.

What I wore (Act I)

Monochrome palette of cremes with gold accents. Long gauzy skirt; linen tank tuck-in tight; double string of oversized pearls wrapped in fine netting, with a tired satin bow in front and to the side; four-inch stack heels, thick and strappy. I felt like an angel that had been flying too long, worn on the edges and beautiful for the effort.

Details

On cue, I floated to the back table at Hitchcock and around the bend, there sat all of my girlfriends. All of the good ones anyway. I was overwhelmed and so I ignored them. When the males remained standing with the baby, and handed a gift card to the nearest girlfriend “for the drinks” I realized the company I had arrived with would be abandoning me to this newfound crowd, and I had either to assimilate or to run.  I kept run in my back pocket.

They sat side-saddle looking at me expectantly, their faces especially dolled-up for an island party, their perfumes wafting, the whole of them sumptuous and embarrassing. I did what I could do at least, which is to shrug my shoulders at each pair of sweet inquiry eyes until something else happened. I don’t like surprises but I soon forgot this and settled-in like a regular surprise go-getter, chatty mcChatster.

The food courses came and went, as did the jokes we played off one another. We laughed and laughed.  My face was sore, presumably for all the smiling and not for all the eating when one of my friends remarked that the night had only begun and I was not going home.

Momentarily, I was cross. Already my shoulders were getting cold and this didn’t bode well for the rest of me, should I be subject to the rest of the night out. What had happen to me? Had I become a lame-ass ninny a mere 30 years in?! I decided that if I had, I may be young enough still to outrun it. Also, I blamed hormones, which are transitory in their effects and may be powered over and through by a willing-enough subject.

What happens with hormones is, your baby needs you (food) so your cave (feeding space) becomes desirous over anything, even the stuff you once thought entirely pleasurable. It’s like a depression only you don’t feel depressed, you feel focused, and right. I tried to be quiet about it, least something like I love my cave, leave me alone! burst out, a statement I could very well not pass without fanfare in this company, for they would pull me into explaining, and well, I might kill them. It was paranoia without the fear; sort of amazing.

I digress. What ensued felt like a movie.

We carpooled through the winding roads in the woods, on the darkest of nights. Screaming as we hit bumps in the road and turned onto dead-ends that we had only to back our way out of. We spooked ourselves into a delirium like the grown women that we were.  I loved everyone a bit more for it. The friend driving could see well out of only one eye. I was thankful she had the one eye.

Eventually set before us was a compound of sorts, a lovely estate on the water, complete with a pool house that rivaled the main house for old-world class and sophistication.  I fell in love again.  I decided to be a lover of surprises from there on out.

What I wore (Act II)

My moment was crushed by the idea that the presence of the pool would require my presence in a swimsuit. I was sure I didn’t own a swimsuit.  My husband packed a bag.  Of course he packed a bikini I thought I had thrown out when I turned 19. Of course I hadn’t shaved in this millennia, and my breasts look like something someone going into the porn industry may very well like to try on for size before they commit to the surgery because they were so large.  

I wanted a solid, sleek, racing swimsuit that cut right up to my neck, with a slight turtle, a zipper in the back, and high-cut leg holes so I could scissor kick fast or swim like a frog without any chaffing or slippage. Assholes made bikinis and even bigger assholes wore them, I was convinced.

In my master suite on the bed, my dear friend had so carefully laid out a razor all tied up with a bow, and I cried at the site of it.  It was a 5 blade thing, I could do anything now, even wear a bikini.  Certainly, I had the best friends in the world.

Note: Never underestimate the power of anticipating needs.  The smallest acts of kindness can make the all difference.  There is always something you can do in a moment to connect with another person; it’s one of the gifts of being alive. If the best gifts could talk, they would say “Me, too.”

Candles, food and drinks, hot tub and pool, jaunty photo from the 60’s or 70’s of people in this very place having a hay day, stuck in the mirror of the changing room just like I was. And here we were, making another hay day! Was I dreaming? How long could I stay in the changing room stuck in the mirror with the picture?

It occurred to me that to socialize would require that I show off my crazy big nursing boobs in asshole swimsuit. It felt like a fair trade after a few glasses of wine. I was the birthday girl after all.

The rest

After kibitzing in the pools with my friends and forgetting about my breasts, the lot of us padded-out onto the lawn that rolled into the Puget Sound out back.

We took turns making wishes and lighting lanterns to hold them together until they summoned enough heat to rise into the air.  We watch them rise and reflect on the water, dancing with the moon twice.

Eventually we shuffled into hot showers and slipped into pajamas. One friend unrolled a poem she had written for me and read it aloud. We clapped. She went on the write a book. Another woke from sleep crying and begged forgiveness for missing her family. We consoled her. She went home. I fell in love many times over that night, rolling into the morn.

Thank you

I never met the woman that owned the estate, Mrs. Webster. She lived there in the main house, on the night of the party, too. I imagined her discrete, understanding, and to think bikinis assholes, although not one to use that language, but the kind to share a knowing smile.

To give of one’s place is a giving of one’s self–for a fete in my honor at the ask of a dear friend–what a gift!  I learned today that Mrs. Webster died a few weeks ago. This article is dedicated to her, and to all of her dear friends.

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“Are you ready?” Klaus asked finally.
“No,” Sunny answered.
“Me neither,” Violet said, “but if we wait until we’re ready we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives, Let’s go.” ― Lemony Snicket
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Philosophy

Some thoughts on being social

Being social is an element of being human that we cannot escape, any more readily than we may our opposable thumbs.

Parties provide an excellent framework for true socializing to occur, and be practiced. I define true socializing as maintaining presence and engaging all the senses along with at least one other person for a duration of time.

What true socializing is not: binge drinking or drugging episodes. These are numbing and distracting actions that may be under the promise of true socializing, but are actually the opposite of maintaining presence and engaging all the senses.

Numbing and distracting has its place in society no doubt, but there is no sense in calling it something it is not.

Like, there are fruits and vegetables in the world, and arguably you need both in your diet for some semblance of health. Choosing to leave vegetables out of your diet is one thing, but going around telling people the fruits you are eating are vegetables, is another thing entirely. Or worse, telling someone the fruits you are feeding them are vegetables.

Remember that misery loves company, and so it is not too personal when these things happen.

If you become setback in your true socializing diet, let it go, and try again.

Social media. It is helpful to think of it. To turn it over and feel of it. The nature is a reflection or a symptom of our lives, and not the thing itself. We may read-in to a picture or a post and relate ourselves to it, but the fact of the matter is that we are dealing without all our sense engaged, so how well can we determine how well in fact we relate to these things?

Also, who the fuck cares? If a picture or a post doesn’t have a remarkable impact on you, it doesn’t matter how great everybody thinks it is, or whether it was photoshopped or not.

Consider your return on your investment, spending your time in front of a screen instead of truly socializing. You may have a smart investment if you own a small to medium-sized business and want to get the word out in mass. Still, don’t lose sight of the prize.

The allure of staying behind a screen is getting the fringe benefits of a sustainable connection that true socializing provides without having to do any of the work. When you start to feel bored and baseless within your person, it is a sign that something is the matter, and also, that you are free to work on figuring out a new way about yourself and your time.

If you want to find out how what you spend your time on is affecting you, try just one thing for awhile, see how you feel, and then believe your feelings. Less is more. The proof is in the putting. (I am a bottomless pit of one-liners.)

Social media lacks the benefits that in-person, party socializing provides, and most people don’t stop to see their role in their experience. Instead, they treat their experience like just the next thing in front of them that has to get done. This is not taking responsibility, and is sucky in the long-term.

Furthermore, taking responsibility is required to create anything remarkable. As long as we live, we are creating. It is the what that is the question you can answer.

Try going without socializing, and then going with socializing, at regular intervals to have any stake in the full human benefit. When it comes to what matters, you get what you give.Try getting in touch with what is important to you at a basic level so you will be of super substance to share.

Spending time on a regular basis getting to know what you love, and especially what you don’t despite what you are good at, is an ongoing process. Our current culture promotes doing over just being.  While culture changes over time, our individual lives are short, so try just being now while the gettin’s good.

I can feel the collective nervousness of people considering not doing…their ego voices hollering and jeering with self-defeating sentiments. What we know is being alone is independent of feelings, including that of the popular association of being alone, with feelings of loneliness.

Being alone and just being (allowing a moment to unfold on its own without the shit you may be tempted to throw into it) is really good for you.

Try breathing as deep into your person as your drive to do, do, do is, and you may very well experience your best self, and so others’ too.

Be well, socialize.

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“The purpose of life is not to win. The purpose of life is to grow and to share. When you come to look back on all that you have done in life, you will get more satisfaction from the pleasure you brought to other people’s lives than you will from the times that you outdid and defeated them.” ~ Harold Kushner
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