April 26, 2012

Wait. Where did they say the emergency exits are located? Ooh! Snacks!

Hi, kids. Yeah, I've been scarce. Again. But I did leave you with that enthralling mayo versus Miracle Whip poll. So, at least my blogging and journalistic integrity is still well in tact. [Gulp.]

While I've been busy with things outside of the blogosphere, the reality is I just haven't been 'feeling' it. And not just "not 'feeling' it" with the blog, but "not 'feeling' it" in general. The truth is I've been dealing with things that run much deeper than coming up with engaging content or even other exterior life stresses. 

I've hesitated to say anything at all and simply muster myself back up into the saddle and simply get on with it. I think there are times in life when one must simply rally and fake it to make it. Those times, I've found, are usually during a general moment of malaise or melancholy or just a good old fashioned pity party. That's not to say that there aren't hints of those aforementioned meddlers as they always seem to invite themselves in even during more profound moments of being heavy-hearted. But this is not a time for mustering. This is a time to get quiet, still, reflective. It's a time to check in, instead of checking out. Now, I'm not trying to bring the room down. Really. But as I've mentioned in a previous post, I'm wanting to put forth more authenticity here. And with that, I also think that sharing our stories can hold tremendous power or at least be helpful to someone somewhere.

If I had a nickel for every time I've heard someone declare some kind of defeat over how someone else in the blogosphere has such a great life, well, I'd probably have a couple of bucks and some change. But, still, that's a lot of nickels. It also makes me think about those who have emailed or tweeted me over the years about my "fabulous" or "perfect life" (?!?!) and wishing their life was more like mine. Kids, my life is far from perfect. SO far. The reality is, no one's life is perfect - and we know that. So why do so many of us engage in the comparison game? Furthermore, why do so many of us put so much heart into something based on such false assumptions. Are we just slightly sadomasochistic? Or maybe we're just trying too hard to find beacons of our future happiness only to cut ourselves down for not being there already. Wherever 'there' is anyway?

Believe me, I'm still trying to move past that knee-jerk response of thinking that the key to my happiness lay somewhere 'out there'. I know it's not. But too often things get so overwhelming that it's simply easier to set things to auto-pilot and coast through self-deprecation, self-pity, mindless consumer consumption, or the refrigerator. Or, I just let myself get my magpie on and get distracted by all things sparkly and aesthetically pleasing. The thing is, when you fly on auto-pilot too long you can start to forget how to fly the plane in the first damn place. And you just feel utterly lost. That's when you know it's time to quit popping packages of peanuts and stop your irreverent chatter with the flight attendants and get down to business. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare for a landing. Oh, and there's gonna be turbulence. Buckle up.

"Be careful what you're good at - you could end up doing it for years." 

~ Danielle LaPorte

Another byproduct of zoning out on auto-pilot is that you become much more susceptible to others' opinions about you, who you are, and what you should be doing. It can feel deceptively good. Letting others take the reins and just guide you on your way. Ah! And, oftentimes, they'll even guide you toward things you're good at! But, BUT, just because you're good at it may not always mean it's what you should be doing or, more important, that you even want to do it in the first place. I don't know about you, but that's been a recurring theme in my life. If you don't put in the effort to learn what genuinely moves you, years can go by before you understand just how comfortably numb you've allowed yourself to get. Hey, what's that flashing red light on the control panel? Co-Pilot? Co-Pilot?!! Crap.

So, yeah. While contemplating a blog redesign and content reconsideration I came to realize that those were merely understudies to what I actually need which is something much bigger - my own truth. (Lord, that sounds daunting!) I suppose the issues with my mom's health have made me understand most profoundly that life truly is short. It's gotten me down, but it's also made me understand and value what's really important. And, it also makes me feel like I know where to start. And that's not such a terrible place. Right? 

We'll see where all of this takes us. To start off the excavation process, I'll be digging into Danielle LaPorte's new book The Fire Starter Sessions. It's going to be some serious work. It's not going to happen overnight. It's going to be an adventure. And I hope you'll be patient with me in the process.

Still standing.


PHOTOS BY UNCLE BEEFY.

32 comments:

  1. At one of my very first jobs, I had a superior tell me to be good at my job, but not TOO good. His point was that it's becomes hard to move up if you've made yourself utterly indispensable in your current position. You get stuck.

    I'm not even in that career path anymore, but I take those words of wisdom with me in my current life. It's not that I don't want to be good at what I do, but I don't want to become numb, either.

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  2. This really resonated with me. Especially the part where you said,

    "Another byproduct of zoning out on auto-pilot is that you become much more susceptible to others' opinions about you, who you are, and what you should be doing. It can feel deceptively good. . ."

    I've always cared too much what others think. I'm a words-of-affirmation person. Words make me feel loved.

    I've also had many of the other struggles you mentioned--the comparison, am I doing what I should be doing--what is most important?, wanting to be original and have content that is pertinent.

    I've had to just tell myself time and again, I am writing my blog for me. If it helps someone or inspires them in some small way that makes me super happy but if I don't that doesn't define me or mean that what I have to say isn't valuable.

    I'm not perfect. My life is not perfect. My blog is not perfect. Frankly, I don't want to give people the false idea that I *do* live in a world of perfection. I'm also trying to focus on being happy now and not living for the future. My kids are growing up too fast as it is. It's a challenge for me, but there it is.

    This is really long, and a little disconnected. I didn't mean to become so verbose, but I guess what I'm saying is, I understand where you are coming from. And, for what it's worth, I find your blog a joy to read and a pleasure to visit. Take it where you will, but as long as you are true to who you are, I don't think you can go wrong.

    All the best, Uncle Beefy.

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  3. Sweet Uncle B:
    You are so generous - and brave: not only dig down deep to try to unearth "your truth" - but also your willingness to be vulnerable and share that with the rest of us. You, my friend, are as authentic as it gets, and you deserve all the beauty and happiness you put out into the universe without a thought.

    A good friend always tells me, "you've got to MOVE THE ENERGY." I think that's what you're starting to do. Here's to forward motion!

    LUMI. I am always, always here for you.

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  4. Hell yes. This is what it's all about. I am just now wrapping my head around the fact that 'there' doesn't really exist. All we've really got is the process. So you've got my patience. xo! Kathleen

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  5. I feel for you. I hope your mother gets better soon. We have been having a lot of parental health problems here as well. For a few years now...its tough...no doubt about it. Sometimes it seems impossible. Just focus one day at a time. Glad you are still standing :)

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  6. I'll still be here...take your time.

    I'm doing a lot of soul searching myself these past few month. It's scary and exciting. But mostly scary.

    I took a course online with (the amazing) Karen Walrond. She has a Path Finders e-course that was worth every second of my time invested. You should check it out.

    http://www.chookooloonks.com/path-finder

    I promise she won't bite and the course really help clarify a lot for me.

    Keep in touch!

    xo

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  7. Here for support Bradford...I think we can all relate to how you are currently feeling. Some of us discuss it publicly (moi), some do not...but you have articulated it so naturally. Take your time, we'll still be here! xo

    p.s.--that first sentence...LOL...thank you for an early morning laugh :)

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  8. B, Are we the same person these days? (Check my post today. Not exactly the same, but...). Whatever you're not feeling, I'm not feeling it either.

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  9. I totally get that, but I also have a very strong inkling that you will figure it all out perfectly, dear. xo

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  10. I have only commented once before (I think) & so will just say: I hear you. Go on as you think best. Everyone will be here when you return. (If they're not, that's not your biggest problem, believe me:) xoxo/Susan

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  11. Showing the love and support for Uncle B!!I know it sounds so fuzzy-zen, but when they say "it's all about the journey," a lot of wonder and exploration is involved, and the destination isn't the be-all, end-all. (Examples: the series finales of Lost and Battlestar Galactica. Hello.) Creative minds are restless and searching. It's good to never feel totally at rest or complete. Question something every day, but don't be hard on yourself. On a clear night, go outside when it's late and it's just you and the midnight air, and look at the stars. Be reminded how profoundly small we are, including our worries, but be reminded of all the infinite possibilities in the universe, and that we're never alone.

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  12. Right there with you, Uncle B. And we are NOT alone. There's something to this skewed perception of reality instigated by styled photos and carefully curated snippets of life.

    ;)

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  13. My mom passed away a few years ago after having a stroke. Nothing prepared me for what that course of events would do to my psyche way beyond just the sadness of her illness and passing.

    Midlife crisis is no joke- you can be 30 or 60, but when your youthful naiveté is replaced with a host of adult-type worries sometimes it's hard to get your head & heart in the right trajectory.

    Don't feel any responsibility to anyone else but yourself for a moment. Do the introspective work as you plan without the distraction of outside expectations. You will be the better for it.
    Good luck and have faith in yourself. Best, best wishes.

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  14. i think times to stop & evaluate are necessary if you ever want to move forward in the right direction.

    obviously, i hope you never ever leave blog land, but if you needed to get away- i would totally applaud you for having the guts to do it.

    best wishes as you get things sorted... xo- lauren

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  15. I can relate to this. Thanks for sharing!

    Also, I wonder if you have by any chance read Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection? If not, I recommend it - I think you might like it a lot.

    All the best to you.

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  16. I feel what your saying.

    You're still standing, we're still reading :)

    Thanks for the link to Danielle LaPorte. Looks interesting...

    Xx.

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  17. I've been wondering where you've been. I'm glad to read that you're moving forward and figuring out what it is that YOU want from your life. I'm here for a gab session whenever you're ready. xoxo

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  18. Hi Beefy.....it's me. I know it's been an eternity. I wanted to check in and see about you.....and smack! You hit me with a sucker punch.

    You see, LOTS has happened in my life since the last time we spoke. Most of it I NEVER in a million years expected. And let me tell you I could cry a river over the last three years of it.

    It sucks sometimes to think of how much has been lost. Not financially mind you (although, things could ALWAYS be better in that department.) No..... it's not that. It feels more like a broken spirit. There are days I feel broken emotionally even physically (damn!) I know what it's like to reflect with regret for what my life could be if it were not for this or that. Mostly, I wish I had heeded the warning signs. Maybe if I had been paying attention I could have seen it coming and interceded. I didn't though, and it has forever changed the course of what I thought my path in this life was supposed to be.

    And even though it sounds cliche and maybe even hollow (sometimes words just can't express a true feeling)......you're not alone my friend.

    Hugs,
    Carol

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  19. Thanks for writing this. The vast indifference of nature---and the vast indifference of the Internet---sometimes get me down. Thanks for being honest and open about this.

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  20. Hello Uncle Beefy. This post hit really close to home, for me. I thank you for that. I completely understand where you're coming from. Take care, and take your time. As for Danielle Laporte, I shot her years ago when she worked on the "Style Statement" book. Will probably pick up her new book too!

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  21. THANK YOU, everyone, for all of your kind, thoughtful, and supportive comments! And, probably, an even bigger "thanks" for having read through the whole post. That's commitment and support, I tell ya'! And, it's all very much appreciated.

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  22. I like your shoes.

    And I liked your post.

    I hope all my favorite bloggers don't stop blogging! Is it the Supermoon? I feel like everywhere I look, everyone is so disenchanted with other blogs or with their own blog. I love blogs! Hurray for the brave folks who put a bit of themselves out there for us to see and read.

    Continued good wishes to you and your Mum :)

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  23. Like Paul Simon said, "Kodachrom gives you those nice bright colors.They give us the greens of summer, makes you think the world's a sunny day"

    Working in interior design has taught me that even clients with the most fabulous lives have problems and are suseptable to despondancy.

    Just because it looks perfect in a photograph doesn't mean it is...

    Keeping perspective on that is extremely important! Thanks

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  24. I love your blog and miss your posts, most of all I am glad you are still standing.
    S x

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  25. My very first time ever on your blog and the first post I read totally hit home. Going through much of the same personally, now, too. Good luck with being more open on your blog! I am inspired to be on mine, too. Lord knows the world has enough of perfectly styled and smiling photos and the blogs to go along with them out there. Real is so much more refreshing.

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  26. I heart you Bradford. Thank you for being honest and stating the truth. You are an amazing person, no one's life is perfect but it is what you make of it. I know you'll do what is right for you. Best of luck, let me know if there is anything you need.

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  27. Hey Bradford! first, I am sorry to hear about your mom's health. Sending some good thoughts to her and to you! What you have to say about going along with people's expectations for you and letting other people take the reigns is really interesting and insightful. I'd been struggling with something similar this year. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Hang in there! Hope to see you soon!

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  28. Wow - I've only ever visited but never commented. What is WRONG with me?!? You've hooked me. It's admiring to see someone taking a step back to evaluate what they want out of life. I hope you get what you're looking for. And I'm excited to read all about it!

    PS - Mayo 'til the end!

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  29. Sometimes it is so hard to keep on in that saddle. Uncle B, there are some wise wise readers and commenters on this post. They say it better than I ever could - and no, that's not envy. And you say it so well too - that's what I love about your posts, you write so well. There is a lot of introspection in blogland at the moment. Thanks for being so open and honest. It is inspiring. Keep standing. Come back soon. Safe landings.
    Amanda xx

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  30. Oh Lord- this is me. I cannot understan how I always freakishly connect with you, I just do. I really don't look at blogs anymore -at least not like I used to and I miss it. When I do look at yours I am struck by the feeling that you wrote this so I would know how to explain how I am feeling. So thanks. Just went to a book reading last week and saw Augustan Burroughs -my all time favorite author and human. He speaks of telling and living in your truth so well in his latest book and it is all I can think about. To be funny I thoght about starting a movement on FaceBook called Tell The Truth Tuesdays. Prob would lose my FB friends but would that be a bad thing?? Dunno. Happy Findings B. You are loved.

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  31. Hi B, Just nipped in to see if you were back and caught up with all your posts. First of all, I sincerely hope your mother has improved since this post, and I am doing my best to send healing via cyberspace to you all...really tough stuff. I guess the reason why I am so drawn to you is not as aesthetic and serendipitous as I imagined...let's just say I really get where you are at darling. Sending you a hug, I wish we could meet for dinner/wine/chat! Take care xx

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Thanks for taking the time to comment. I always appreciate your thoughts. Your comment will appear as soon as I can publish it.

Even if I don't always get the chance to respond back, know that you're sending smiles across the miles. Warm wishes right back atcha! Thanks again!

p.s. - Contrary opinions or constructive criticism are also fine but "The Bedlam" isn't a platform for random acts of nastiness. Keep it classy.