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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Holiday Blues

The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming! We build them up to such wonder, then crashing disappointment inevitably comes.  Somehow instead of being on our best behavior, the worst manages to come.  Unresolved issues from holidays past; loved ones who have passed, and unrealistic expectations set us up for a fall.

Instead of the usual miserable holiday rut that many have gotten into, can't we look, with fresh eyes, at what holidays were meant to be? Holidays were once Holy Days, not just a fancy, British word for vacation.  For those missing loved ones, how painful is that loss? Can we see our loved ones through different eyes?  Can we ask ourselves, how would he/she have wanted to celebrate this year?  Can we make new traditions in the loved one's name? Then remember with more gladness than sorrow, the one missing at the table this year?

Family drama, politics, pecking order, what ever you want to call it, we all have it.  It isn't worth getting upset over.  Why let your judgmental, know-it-all, aunt's opinion keep you awake at night?  In reality, it only matters if you let it.  If you don't have people on this planet that know you outside of that "pecking order," you need to get out more often and make some new friends that don't know the whole tribe.  Knowing yourself apart from your tribe is as important as knowing who you are in it.

Spending the holidays alone.  That's tough for anyone, especially for one that's used to being part of a "tribe."   Spending the day at work is ok if you have someone to go home to at night.  The most miserable of holidays I have ever spent (in my adult life) are those I have worked and not had holiday time with family or friends at all.  This year, I'm facing that again, and looking for the positive spin on it all.  I do love New Mexico, and I'd much rather be here than in Baltimore, so, I will have to re-negotiate my attitude about the holidays this year.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

This is one of my favorite bits of literature. I just wrote a comparison of this work with Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea. I would love to post that in the future, but I am collecting bits of stuff I have written as well as photos to publish a book. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Adventures: Exciting can be Lonely

When I decided to pack up my house, sell my stuff, and leave for this great adventure, I weighed the cost of failure vs. success, but I didn't factor in the that the road less traveled is not usually the one populated by a social butterfly.  The landscape and transit systems in Austria are more fantastic than I have superlatives to describe them, but that I have neither friends nor family with whom to travel, is a hard adjustment to make.  Also, traveling in the US has been challenging.  My friends and family still are not with me to offer that support as I wander from the East coast to the desert.  Fortunately, Albuquerque is an easy city to get around, and the natives seem to be just naturally friendly.  That bit of grace keeps things from being too difficult.  In realizing that the road less traveled is also a harder path to take, I plan to continue this path.  This afternoon, as the sun was setting, the beautiful full moon rose in the sky.  It was so close to the mountain that I thought they would collide.  Alas, they did not.  They both seemed so near as I was watching them in the Eastern sky.  It was almost as if God himself came down to show me around his beautiful creation.  This makes the lonely moments bearable and peaceful.  Everything feels as if it has purpose, order, and time.  The desert being nearly bare helps  these truths (of purpose, of order, and of time) to be more evident.  When there are trees, lush greenery, and beautiful flowers present, it makes me realize that I really don't see the forest for the trees.  This perspective feels like as taking a step back and looking at things from heaven.  Heaven seems so close.  I wonder if it really is that far away, or if something has always been blocking my view.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The hills are alive

Every day I go out, the mountain looks a little different.  Today, it was less dusty, and it felt so close, as if someone used a camera lens to zoom in on the mountain and away from the sky (it is all so amazing).  It is easy to have an other-worldly perspective and think about eternity  in this scenery. The landscape feels alive, as if it holds secrets to life that it will share only with those who ask. I understand more about why the indigenous people believed that everything "has a life, has a spirit, has a name."


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Being Honest

Someone wrote a kind post on my facebook page thanking me for being positive with the stuff I post there and for my blog.  I have had several comments about my positive spin on the way I see things.  In all honesty, I write this way because it helps me to get a different perspective than just the feelings swirling inside my own heart and head.  The truth is that although Maryland offered some very beautiful scenery, I had difficulty appreciating it because I hated the assignment there. The truth is that from the first minute I went to work there, people were extremely rude, unhelpful, and backbiting.  I couldn't fully appreciate the mountains, hills, and trees because I couldn't wait to get out of there.  The truth is that I left Maryland with exactly the friends I had from there. Those are established friendships from my childhood and college days. How I appreciated seeing my old friends!  They were a blessing in the midst of turmoil.

The truth is that I am enjoying New Mexico.  Even with the dry weather and ragweed, I look out my window every day and see the "dusty" mountain.  To me, it is beautiful. The day I arrived here, I wasn't able to rent a car because all the car rental places were closed on Sunday.  One of the young ladies that works at the Extended Stay America (my temporary home) took me to the store so I could get my groceries.  It was kindness that extended far beyond her call of duty.  Also, when I got to work, I found people to be kind as well as helpful in making my transition as easy as possible. There have been many other acts of kindness shown to me in the 10 or so days I have been here.  Therefore, it is easy for me to look the desert and see beauty rather than a barren, tree-less wasteland. I'm welcome here.

When I have bad experiences, I tend to wax philosophical and try to see the lesson learned.  In times of failure, I tend to remind myself to be grateful for the experience because many people I know are unable to go where I go and do what I do.  I remember that I can't fail if I don't try.  It helps for a bit to prop up my ego, but I really do believe that. I also believe that people who have never failed at anything aren't the great thinkers, entrepreneurs, inventors, or really great at much of anything. Mostly, they're the armchair quarterback (or know-it-all) types who think they know what others should do with their lives. My heroes aren't the people who were born knowing what to do and living life logically; they're the ones who didn't know what to do and figured it out.  I'm inspired with success when it is earned through self-improvement. I hope to have THAT story to tell someday.