:: WHY WE BE ::

Boo to false, self-imposed limits, we say. These champion oracles want to live enthusiastically. Follow our trip through projects that challenge, frustrate, and/or scare us. In the end (which is really the middle) we want to live like big bright free and authentically awesome people.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Time to Brew a New Pot of Coffee (Becky)

If you recall from my last post, I was feeling pretty negative and cynical and gave up on nanowrimo. I’m not ready to scrap the writing thing altogether, but that was a little (a lot) unrealistic for where I’m at right now. I seem to be stuck in a bit of a rut, just going through the motions, so one of my new goals—or maybe it’s more of a strategy to identify and then achieve my goals— is to become more observant and aware and mindful and to live with intention.

I stopped at the grocery store after work last night and as the check-out guy was scanning my groceries, he said, barely looking up from what he was doing, with little emotion or expression. “What did the blanket say when he got on the bed?” “Oh sheet!” Or something like that. It seems like a pretty lame joke so I’m not sure if I’m retelling it wrong, or if it is just a really lame joke. But that’s not the point. The point is: How often do you run into deadpan, teenage, check-out boys telling jokes? This is the kind of random stuff that makes life goofy and interesting and helps you to get out of your head. These are the kinds of simple pleasures I need to notice and embrace and enjoy. (Thanks, Tanya for tuning me into the check-out lane).

Then I went to a yoga class. It’s been a really long time since I’ve done that and I forgot how much better it makes me feel, not just physically, but especially mentally. The instructor talked about having an intention for the class. What do we want to get out of class tonight? How do we want to feel after class? And then, of course, to direct our movements and thoughts toward that intention. Seems simple, but for someone who’s been in a fog for awhile, it was a valuable reminder.

Another reason I want to be more observant of my surroundings is because on Thanksgiving day, I slammed the back of my brother’s car door on my head. Not one of my better moments. I walked back to the house holding my head, wondering how the hell I managed to do that, not noticing the gushing blood until I took my hand away to open the garage door. I then had to knock on my aunt’s door to ask for a towel while looking like Carrie minutes before 19 of my family members were sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner. Those head wounds sure can bleed! Blood was dripping down my forehead, into my eyes, off the tip of my nose, and all over the garage floor. There was a slight delay in saying grace and piling our plates with turkey and lefse as we applied pressure and mopped my blood up off the garage floor. I felt pretty stupid for self-inflicting a blood-gushing head wound with such fabulous timing. Pay attention to your surroundings, Beck! Sorry for the gory aside, but I thought it was kind of a funny story.

So in order to live with intention and listen to my body and mind and observe my surroundings, I should have some specific things that I intend to do. I am going to swim the 100 100s every 100 on New Year’s Eve Day. But I don’t know if that counts as a project because it doesn’t scare me and it’s something I would do anyway, COFFEE or no COFFEE. Likewise, I think I’m going to do the Kosama 10-week Complete Body Transformation in January, but that probably doesn’t count either. I’ve always been in touch with my athletic side. Granted, in varying degrees over the years, but getting in shape is always something I return to eventually. It’s my creative side that has long been neglected so my COFFEE project needs to be something that pushes me in that direction.

So these are my new ideas . . .
  • I have some really nice photographs, especially from my time in Madagascar. Sure, it helps that the content and landscapes were amazing, but I also think they have a pretty good composition and balance. I’ve long been meaning to do something with them, beyond scrapbooking. So I need to get them scanned in and reprinted and framed. I’ve got tons, could decorate my house, my office. Hey, maybe I could sell them at a craft fair! I’ll be interested in your next steps, Katie!
  • I’ve also always thought it would be fun to make jewelry. . . . or at least fix the pile of broken earrings and necklaces I’ve been hanging on to for that day when I start to make jewelry . . .
  • Take an art class—drawing, painting, pottery, still looking into my options. A quick search online reveals that most classes don’t start again until the new year and the schedules aren’t posted yet.
  • Journaling, morning pages, gratitude journal, do-be-have. I really want to set aside at least a few minutes at least most days to put something on paper.
  • Continue to post comments on new and old friends’ blogs. I posted comments on everyone’s blog during this last round, albeit often several days late and not very profound, but I did it. Doesn’t it seem ridiculous that this is even a goal? Seriously, writing comments should be effortless. I’ve never considered myself such a shy introvert that I can’t think of anything to say in response to the amazing stuff you ladies you are doing, but whatever, I’m clearly in a bit of a funk right now.
  • Listen to more music, both at home and out and about. Do I know anyone who is going to be playing any coffee shops/open mics soon?!?!
And in conclusion (to borrow a phrase from Amy), there you have it. Round 4. Wish me luck.
P.S. I thought I remembered another post about living with intention so just went back and read Stephany’s post. You said it, Steph! I will read and re-read that for inspiration when I need it! How easy it would be to just forget all this business and keep doing the same old, same old, but it’s NOT WORTH IT!


Wendy Jans said...

Becky, I so appreciate your honesty and I can sense a slight feeling of defeat in your tone. Hang in there, sister. It's hard when the holidays come, Christmas shopping, traveling, events to attend, heads getting smashed (ouch - I cringed reading that - hope you're okay now! Hey at least you've made a memory, right?)...
I like all of your ideas and I don't think they're lame (even the posting a comment on friends' blogs -- I have the same goal).
Don't worry about nano... It's like Bonnie Raitt says "I can't make you love me if you don't" -- it's better not to trudge thru a goal when your heart's not in it - that just makes you resent it. Focus on the things you ARE interested in right now.
Good post!

Steph said...

Wendy nailed it, girl. She sure did. You did, too. I loved this post!
Sometimes we get these brilliant ideas that in our heads seem just that - brilliant and totally going to change the course of our lives. Then, when the cold, hard light of reality hits, we realize it was a great idea but not what's best or appropriate for us. It also is possible that the goal's just not what you need to do at that time. So maybe nanowrimo, while it isn't what you need to do now, will be something you come back to at some time in the future. And if not, oh well. A new pot of coffee it is!
Throwing out the old pot and making a new one with intentionality and purpose is a fabulous metaphor for starting things over and changing course. I love it! And you're absolutely right, it's not worth it to compromise where we could be just so we can live in the same old way.... Kudos to you for choosing a new path!
I'm starting to think we could start a blog detailing our experiences at the check-out counter, too! Isn't it funny what you can see/experience/learn in the checkout line??? A SHEET! ROTFL! Okay, maybe not OTF, but that's funny from the sullen teenage checkout boy!
Keep on pluggin' away, and I'm behind ya 100%!

Steph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tanner May (Tanya) said...

Becky, Right-on, Sister. I read this THREE TIMES! And if I haven't said it before, I rarely do things like that as I have a bit of adult add. I am serious about that one by the way..... But, back to business. Being observant and mindful and intentional, that is all so right on. I loved reading your post.

Your story also made me touch the back of my head. Why you ask? Well that would be because on the back of my noggin is a big fat scar from where I busted it open one night yrs ago in an apartment when I passed out in the middle of the night. I am a passer outer at times, and this was an unfortunate way to do this, resulting in me waking up confused with lots of blood everywhere. It looked like a crime scene, and dried blood is difficult to get out of hair for the record. So Miss Becky, I am so sorry to hear of your mishap. Stupid car door is what I say!

Right on with your list. One intention after another. Woo! All you COFFEE chicks are so inspiring.... it's getting to the point I'm forgetting who says what. Woo!

amy said...

Becky, I have 5 minutes, so I may be back to say more.

First of all: thank goodness you're okay! I *hate* when I have bloody head wounds that bleed all over the garage floor. SO inconvenient.

Second of all: I love your Madgascar photos idea! And the part about joining Katie in a craft fair. I think each one of us should come up with some type of craft-y idea (mine will be poop: I can turn candy into any kind of fake poop and stick a clever name on it, like "Congressional Poop: Send this to your congressperson to let them know how you really feel").

3rd: blog commenting can be hard--this is a BIG goal! You have to make the time and then you have to be clever and then you have to go back and edit to make sure you made sense and sometimes you don't and sometimes you worry you said the wrong thing and then you mull about it...that's HUGE, Becky. Go for it!

4th: I hear Patresa H. is a new, upcoming coffee shop open mic artist. You may want to go and check her out.

Also, I really love it when I run across random goofy stuff like deadpan teenage grocery store checkout boys cracking odd jokes. Stuff like this always makes my day, and renews my faith in humanity. Always.

And in conclusion (heh): I think your goals are fabulous, because many people in the world don't even think about things like goals and inter-inspection and branching out. You rock on with your bad self, B.

Holly said...

Becky, I love your post and the expressive description of the Thanksgiving door incident!! I think all of your ideas for a project are good, and I'm so glad that even through your "rut" you are continuing to post and get alot out of being in the group. Did you think about doing the AW? From what I can tell there are about three COFFEE peeps that have already done it and loved it. It certainly has helped me in my cauldron and I think would be helpful for you in your rut. Both are sucky places to be, especially for very long. If nothing else, the 2-3 pages of stream of conscienceness writing, whether it be in the morning or evening, I thing would help wonders to sort some of these things out for you. you might end up doing a lot of your projects as a result!
Love ya Becks!

patresa said...

becky! your head wound story is gruesome! just gruesome! (and kind of funny.) also, this post further suggests to me that you and katie really need to meet. both swimmers. both photographers. and i would like for katie to tell you, in person, how she broke her leg.

next. i love this paying attention thing, and the goofy cashier. i see a connection here with your photography! the way i see photography is that, at the point of taking the shot, you're not "making" something beautiful. you're finding it and capturing it. so, it's like paying attention. we're surrounded by all this amazing, incredible, goofy, humbling, beautiful, heart-wrenching stuff--small stuff, still lifes, freeze frames--that it's just about paying attention so you don't miss it. …which reminds me again of katie, because one of my favorite katie photos is of those "helicopter petals" from a tree that had scattered on the porch step. while 99 people may have stepped on/over these helicopter petals without noticing, katie bent over and said, "hey, that's pretty!" and took a photo.

anyway. that's what i was thinking while i was reading.

oh, and one more thing: my nano efforts this year stopped at 3,400 some words. no harm no foul. this was your warm up.

T-Free said...

I love "live with intention" so much. I think we all get into a going-through-the-motions rut from time to time, where we aren't actually living our lives, we're just watching them roll by like yesterday's tumbleweeds. I want to be more aware of everything around me too. I want to live in the now, not in the someday. I do that waaaaay too much. I could so relate to this post.

I adore that dry joke-making check-out guy. Seriously. That is the most boring job in the world, aside from factory work (I've done both), so good for him for trying to make it entertaining. And good for you for appreciating. :)

Oh my goodness. That head wound sounds like a doozy. I'm glad you didn't need to head to the E.R. for stitches. That would have really delayed your turkey day family festivities!

I am looking forward to hearing about your artistic and photographic endeavors. And I am with you on the funk-having. Is it the beginning of winter? Major case of the blahs. It seems like I go through this every year around this time. So annoying. I am finally reading all of the wonderful blogs I missed when I was out-of-town, and last week when I was busy or feeling too mopey for socializing, and commenting. There are so many great pieces of writing and thoughts on this COFFEE site, so I don't know what I've been waiting for.

Thanks for making me feel not alone, and for the inspiration to keep moving forward mindfully. :)