Garden Dawdler #7
Rory of Earthly Comforts is our host. Click here to join in. Here are this week’s questions and my responses:
You have awoken to a new day after a restless night filled with strange dreams and have discovered a dead person sitting on your toilet. They are a stranger to you. What do you do?
Once I regained consciousness because clearly, that shock caused me to faint, I hope I would call the police.
Are you a hat-wearing person, and if you are, which style do you favour?
Other than in the garden or on the beach, I am not, but I admire those who can pull off a hat. I would not fare well in England.
How many posts do you create and publish each week to your blog?
Not nearly enough, yet today, this is my second.
How often do you talk to strangers?
How many tee shirts do you own?
I’m not a t-shirt person, so not many.
Do you or have you ever ironed socks? If so, why?
I’m curious to see who and why anyone would answer yes to this question. There has to be a good story behind it.
Do you spend too much time online, and would you know if you were spending too much time online?
I try not to, and I call it quits when I feel I’ve gone down the mind-numbing rabbit hole for too long.
Does your family or any of your real-life friends read your blog, and perhaps more importantly, do you let them, or do you want them to?
At one point, I shared the posts on FaceBook. I do not recommend it. I concluded that family and friends don’t always have your best interests at hand, which is why I refuse to post photos of my granddaughter. I don’t want the negative energy attached to anything I create or love.
What do you think the secret is to living a happier life?
To just be.
I’m starting to get the impression that WordPress is honing in on my innermost thoughts, like Instagram and Facebook. It’s no accident that this question was presented to me today.
Freedom has three different meanings. The first kind of freedom is “freedom from,” freedom from the constraints of society. Second is “freedom to,” freedom to do what we want. Thirdly, there is “freedom to be,” not just to do what we want but to be who we were meant to be.
As I teeter on the edge of entering the third chapter of my life, the “freedom to be” resonates with me the most. Probably because it is truly the only one I can change myself, yet it seems complicated. Why?
Well, I’m learning that when you’ve been conditioned for decades that specific belief systems are etched in stone for the rest of eternity, it takes some time to believe that; well, that’s bullshit. Practice makes perfect, as they say.
For me, it all started with the labels. Oh, yes. Not that they were necessarily wrong labels. Who wouldn’t want to be crowned “the good one” or “the one with the big heart?” They seemed like compliments then, but it has been a heavy load and, frankly, a lot of responsibility. A ton of unspoken no’s on my back.
That seemingly small, good intention has created a woman who has given her power to everyone and everything for so long that she has forgotten she has the freedom to just be. A fraud!
This is not the first time an epiphany has presented itself. I’ve recognized this at other times in my life, in other situations, but this was different. Peeling the layers over time.
Things were quietly being revealed over the last two years. Bit by bit, I recognized the chains that were holding me back from the life I was meant to live. Not realizing I had the keys the whole time.
I know I must be getting very close to healing the core because suddenly, all the pieces of my complicated makeup came together, and I wept and wept. Cleansing the soul.
Someone asked, “Why are you crying?” and I didn’t have an answer. It was as if all the words I was trying to say hit a roadblock in my mouth. I was crying because I recognized the freedom.
Over the past few days, I’ve thought about my tears and those of everyone else who experienced freedom in one way or another. The only way to describe it is an enormous relief, followed by the question … Now what?
Enjoy the Ride!
Ten years ago, I came across this little parable. It arrived in an unlikely fashion. It brought me to tears, and I only recognized a portion of its power then. I was only operating on a low frequency at that moment.
Now I see that my consciousness was operating at a lower frequency. A level that prevented me from the enormity of the content. Growth is slow and steady. 10 years to be exact.
An old man and his son lived in an abandoned fortress on the side of a hill. The son was the sole support of his father, and their only possession of value was a horse. One day, the horse ran away. The neighbors came by to offer sympathy. “This is a terrible thing,” they said. “How do you know?” asked the old man.
Several days later, the horse returned, bringing several wild horses. The old man and the son shut them all inside the gate. The neighbors hurried over. “This is fabulous,” they said. “How do you know?” asked the old man.
The following day the son tried riding one of the wild horses. Alas, he fell and broke his leg. Sure enough, the neighbors came around as soon as they heard the news. “What a tragedy!” they said. “How do you know?” asked the old man.
The following week, the emperor’s army entered the village, forcing every young man into service to fight faraway battles. Many of them would never return. But the son couldn’t go. He had a broken leg.
Now for the good part. I re-read it this morning as if I had read it for the first time. Whoa!
This time around, I recognized the certainty. When things happen in our life, good or bad, they are happening for us, not to us. This trust isn’t easy, especially for me. I’ve never felt safe enough not to doubt what I was thinking, let alone being told. Even when all of the evidence proved otherwise.
Another vital message missed, primarily because I’m a people pleaser in recovery, was the power of opinions, both our own and those of others. I feel like I was hit by a lightning bolt.
This time, the “How do you know?” jumped right off the page. Suddenly, every bit of advice/opinion ever given or taken flashed before my eyes, whether it was solicited or not. Whew, that was quite a show!
I am so proud of myself for seeing these messages this time around. I’ve been working hard to heal, and it felt like my progress was being revealed.
Hey, listen up. We’re all human, so don’t think re-reading a parable and getting hit with an imaginary lightning bolt fixed decades of damage. I wish!
I’ll still have doubts, but now I’m more aware of their negative power, and you better believe I’ll be giving my two cents, but not before pausing to consider what I know as opposed to spewing off words based on my own scarcity. A work in process.
It’s never too late to resurrect your life. So, get to it.
Enjoy the Ride!
The Garden Dawdler
Every week Rory posts 9 questions to pause and get the juices flowing.
What do you find yourself splurging on the most?
My ideas on splurging have changed significantly over the years. At one time, it was clothes and shoes, followed by special things for my children and vacations; now, it’s organic fruits, vegetables, and meat. Which are equally as expensive these days.
What is your top writing tip?
As Nike says, Just Do It.
Are you a regular recycler, and if so, what are five of your top recycling tips?
Yes, reuse what you can for as long as possible. Be creative. Rinse the glass. Break down the boxes. Be mindful of the long-term effects.
Are you someone that wants to be or needs to be heard and seen, or are you content to be found behind the scenes?
It depends on the circumstances. I want to be heard and seen if it’s something important to myself and the common good. Otherwise, I’m very content behind the scenes.
How approachable do you think you are in real life and away from the keyboard, and do others feel the same way about you?
Apparently, I am very approachable. How do I know this to be true? I am constantly approached by strangers asking questions or just starting a conversation.
Do you sit more on the fence or the edge of the knife?
Over the years, I’ve spent a good amount of time on the fence, and I find that it causes anxiety. I’ve been learning to trust my instincts more as I’ve gotten older to become more comfortable jumping in when necessary.
What do you remember the most about your grandparents?
I did not have grandparents, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to witness my children be loved unconditionally by theirs.
How important to you is validation from your readers to your written content – do you need acknowledgment from others to create?
It was important in the past. However, after reading that my favorite authors of all time struggled with validation, I let down my guard. It just doesn’t matter; do it for yourself, and the rest will follow.
What is it you would have liked to have been asked about your life but have yet to be?
I feel I’ve told a good amount of my story before it was ever asked of me. One thing no one really inquires about is how did it all make me feel along the way.
Ok, I believe another word is being thrown around too freely. The term is Vintage. According to my friends over at Merriam-Webster, the definition is: of old, recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or quality. Classic. Which is precisely what I thought.
When I hear Vintage, I think of a Channel suit resting in the back of the closet for decades and re-entering the world as if it never paused. That, ladies and gents, is Vintage.
Now, back to my shock and awe regarding the over usage. There is a unique/totally overpriced but super cool store in my area that carries an array of antique, slightly used, but very high-end merchandise or local artist creations. I love to browse through every once in a while to see what might catch my eye. My eyes definitely have a separate bank account from mine.
On one of my looks, but keep my wallet in the car visits, a small bouquet of the most vibrant plumb-colored silk hydrangeas seduced me. I’m so easy.
I prepared myself for the sticker shock and went in for a closer look. I lifted the beautiful rustic tag and read Vintage Silk Hydrangeas for $14.00. Um, vintage?
Ok, points for the tag and maybe even a few for the perfect penmanship, but I had to draw the line at trying to pass off used silk flowers as Vintage. They didn’t need the extra marketing. It was love at first sight.
According to Google, something has to be at least 40 to bear the vintage title, and these beauties were toddlers at best, and for that reason alone, I put them back on the shelf. I’m not going to lie; it was a long goodbye.
Two weeks later, I was still thinking about the purple beauties. Were they still available, or would they go home with someone else? Ugh …
Feeling like a needy first date, I went back for answers.
It wasn’t easy because the entire store was rearranged to accommodate new temptations. After what seemed like an eternity, we were reunited. It was like a scene from a movie.
Once our eyes locked, it was over. They were in my hand, at the register, and out the door in a flash. Not because they were Vintage but because they were beautiful.
This was a lesson to be mindful when I choose my words. Labels, whether placed on objects or people, can be harmful. It’s just an easy way to market people, places, and things we don’t understand.
Enjoy the Ride!
Let me get something out of the way right from the start. I have never had a teacher in a traditional school setting who I consider influential. Sorry, not sorry.
The first person to teach, influence or guide me through a learning process was Lawrence T., a partner in one of the largest law firms in Philadelphia. He was a man who perspired wealth with a reputation for being complex yet brilliant at his craft. For whatever reason, we clicked.
I was 24 years old and in the process of divorcing my high school sweetheart, who left me in a financial disaster. The mortgage company seizing my wages was only one of my many hurdles.
This time in my life was challenging, to say the least. I was trying to navigate selling a house, negotiating payments to creditors, and accepting that everything I believed to be true about love and marriage was a lie. I’m sure I was still doing laundry for my kids when they were 24.
Somehow, by the grace of God, that slate was cleared off in a little over a year when Lawrence T. approached me with an employment opportunity that would change my life, not because of the job, but the chance to replenish that emptiness with positive challenges. I was scared to take this plunge but had nothing to lose.
On my first day, Lawrence introduced me to the department in a way that had me looking over my shoulder, swearing he couldn’t possibly be talking about me. He handed me a title with all the perks without the formal education required. He convinced me that my experience outweighed any certification from an institution. He clearly saw something I never saw.
He gave me free rein to make decisions, which I was not accustomed to. I was drafting legal motions without any direction aside from the order. My face was undoubtedly asking, “are you insane?” because I was quickly told, “you know what to do; give it a shot.” I felt like a first-grader asked to do calculus.
Lawrence always used a Montblanc fountain pen, which was something foreign to me. I didn’t know anyone who used a fountain pen daily. I didn’t know they existed outside of signing the declaration of independence.
Over the next several months, I drafted many documents, and they were returned to me with so many revisions I was left thinking, “why not just write it yourself.” FYI: Those revisions stand out when someone uses a Mont Blanc pen.
This process continued until he walked into my office one day with a clean document, a big smile, and the words, “I knew you could do it.” I hadn’t felt that good since, well, forever.
While sitting here today, thirty-five years later, I was forced to remember what his influence taught me to do and recognize things within myself that had been beaten down by the world around me.
This daily prompt came at the perfect time. I haven’t thought about Lawrence or this blip of time in my life for quite some time, yet it was the first thing that popped into my head when I read the question.
There are no accidents. Thank you, Creator, for showing me the lesson I needed to see today.
Enjoy the Ride!
Well, now, this certainly has a different answer than other decades of my life. My response is Whole Foods. Oh, you think Saks 5th Avenue is expensive? Please, designer shoes have nothing on eggs these days. Am I wrong?
My first investment would be a freezer chest to store my stash, then it’s off to the fish, meat, and poultry section like my life depended on it, handing the butchers my list of demands, which would be simple and to the point, “Give me everything you have, hold the feet and anything that still has eyes.“
Next up, produce. I love me some fresh Whole Foods produce. Fruits, veggies, nuts, dried fruit, candy from that excellent bulk section nearby, and some pressed juices. This is equivalent to robbing a jewelry store.
While heading over to grab a large snowstorm survival kit, a/k/a milk bread, and eggs, I’m going to get some coffee, tea, vitamins, and maybe even a pair of those outrageously priced random socks handmade by a group of women somewhere in the world, who now are running a corporation from their hut, as indicated on the packaging. That backstory grabs the heartstrings, but not on my dime.
The middle section is somewhat affordable, so I’ll pass and head over to the frozen section. Come on, I’m not that greedy. More veggies, some prepared frozen lasagne, and of course, ice cream; that’s for the hubby, who is addicted. Maybe I should grab him some funky beers from the spirits section too?
Looks like I’m ready to checkout, just in time to grab some of those fantastic sales that constantly taunt me at the register, some gift cards, and let’s not forget the 14.99 magazines. Oh yes, I damn near fainted. When did that happen? I must really be out of the loop.
I’ll undoubtedly have one of two types of cashiers. The friendly, tattooed twenty-something who is only there for the discount while they pursue their passion after clocking out or the retired sixty-something, also there for the deals, who is still a twenty-something at heart. I think it’s the discount that makes them so happy.
Now that my bags are perfectly packed, I hand the cashier a gift card and hope the new freezer can handle the load.
Enjoy the Ride!
Morning Dawdler #16
Here is Rory’s latest set of questions:
Who do you think you might be in an alternate universe?
Everything fear prevented me from being while I was in this universe. The sky would be the limit!
What would be the most surreal situation you could imagine finding yourself in?
Going viral in a way that would bring joy to an enormous amount of people. I enjoy watching viral videos of babies, animals, and unsuspecting musical artists.
You have five minutes for a Supermarket Dash in the FoodHall – what will you fill your trolley/shopping cart with?
Everything organic that I could freeze to last.
You have 60 minutes to hide 50 million in hard currency [Notes] in your house – where would you put the money/cash – to avoid detection?
Now, wait a minute, what if I do win? You and everyone else will know where to look. Sounds like the plan of a Mastermind to me. Well played, Rory; well played indeed.
Enjoy the Ride!
The Morning Dawdler, 1/10/22
The Morning Dawdler is Season 2 of Questions Over Coffee with Rory.
There is something about the word dawdler that I find attractive. Anyway, that’s what I’m doing over here before I head out to work.
Can you find the mistake in this lineup A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z?
Oh, aren’t you tricky? The double the in the question is the mistake. But, I will admit, I examined the alphabet for far too long.
What old-fashioned way of doing things is better than how they are currently done?
Having Sunday family dinners. Not just with our immediate families, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. This connection provided an opportunity to connect, converse and sometimes solve world problems. Today, you’re doomed if your older relatives are not on FaceBook.
Are we consuming too much information and data, and is the modern world bad for us?
Yes! I, for one, have stopped doomscrolling and don’t watch the news. Removing these two things from my life has helped me tremendously. Negativity has a way of creeping in on its own; I don’t need to hand it the keys.
If global warming continues, what will happen in the future?
I have faith in the fact that some brilliant climate-conscious folks are working hard behind the scenes to ensure this does not happen. In the meantime, our small efforts add significant changes, and we should continue implementing them daily.
Share Your World 2023
Considering I only have one day under my belt in 2023, I will do my best to share.
1. Did you stay up to see the New Year?
I did not see 2023 roll in here in the United States. However, a friend in Italy posted the entire shebang 6 hours before via FaceBook. I watched the fireworks and enjoyed an incredible outdoor concert. So, technically I did stay up. This would hold up in a court of law with the right lawyer.
2. Are there any special occasions or events coming up in 2023 for you or your family?
I have four milestone birthday celebrations this year. Three occur in the year’s first half, and the last is at the end of 2023. Last year broke the bank with three weddings and a baby.
3. Do you keep a diary?
No, but I keep a gratitude journal that I hope to become more consistent with this year.
4. How did yesterday differ from January 1st, 2022, or was there n difference?
It was dramatically different. Last year we were in an apartment in Pennsylvania. It was raining, and I took down all of my decorations. This year I am in a new home in another state. The weather was unusually warm and sunny. I went on a 4-mile hike exploring an area of the state park that’s beauty left me stunned, followed by a stroll on the beach where I put my toes in the water.
Gratitude: Be Kind
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