Everything I Thought I Wanted

Dreams, goals, pursuits, wins and loses, it all starts with a want. As early as we can distinguish between us and the outside world. Our basic needs give way to more elaborated desires. Childhood, youth, and years beyond, all full of dreams and the pursuit of those.

When I was six years old, I saw what I thought was the most beautiful coin bank at our town’s store; it was on display at the main window. It was a ceramic yellow dog with two puppies attached by a golden chain. It was the kind that you couldn’t take the money out once inside because there was no hole at the bottom of it. I remember that instance as being one of my strongest desires, and I had to have it. I remember working on all kind of home chores, and saving every penny so I could buy that coin bank (ironic). Once I had enough money, I told my grandmother to take me to the store. During that time, I was worried that someone would buy it before I could get my hands on it. My grandmother took me to the store, and I became the proud owner of the most beautiful doggy bank I had ever seen. I remember the joy and the feeling of satisfaction that day, a feeling I learned to recognized later on in life. After I admired and played with it, my goal became to fill it with coins until I could not fit one more coin inside. Again, I saved every penny, and asked my two aunts for chores, so I could earn money faster. I remember charging five dollars to wash white sneakers on one occasion. During that time, one thought haunted me – how could I get the coins out without breaking my beloved doggy bank? I loved it as much as the first day I saw it at the store. I agonized over the thought of having to break it.

The dreaded day came when I could not fit one more coin in it. Even when trying to push a coin down the opening, half of it stuck out. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was full of hesitation, anxiety, doubt, and courage. I remember taking an old towel and placing the coin bank on top, on the floor. I grabbed my grandfather’s hammer and I froze for a few minutes, unsure of my next step. I looked at the two puppies; they appeared sad. How could I be so cruel? I knew I had to make a painful decision, and I did. The curiosity of finding out how much money was inside the coin bank was stronger than my love for it. I took the hammer and smashed it against the yellow mama dog. Coins and ceramic pieces spilled on the towel, and a five dollar bill. I looked at the money; I looked at the broken dog, and finally, I looked at the puppies, now tied to an empty golden chain. I remember the silence, the feelings of guilt, and regret. There was only one way to end it all. It seemed fair. I took the hammer and smashed the ceramic puppies. Somehow, I felt better.

The odd thing about all this is that I can vividly remember and relive the moment, but I cannot remember how much money there was in the coin bank or how I spent it later on. I have broken a few coin banks throughout the years, metaphorically speaking. Today, I remember this moment as a bittersweet one, and I smile. Almost a rite of passage. What I thought I wanted, wasn’t at all.

A New Season

Seasons change, and so do people. It is part of our human nature. We change views, places, appearance, and sometimes, beliefs. To be human is to be in constant change, and whether we realize it or not, we are in constant movement along with the universe. It is so simple, yet so profound.

I have changed throughout the years. I am not the same person I was as a child, or as a teenager, or as a young adult. A combination of factors in living produces a new me until the time of death, as far as earth time living goes.

Going through the many seasons of life is necessary, if not essential to our spiritual growth, and our humanity as well. Many times we are hard on ourselves, for many reasons; whether we miss a goal, fail at something or think we did, forgetting our many efforts at trying, and dismissing the trial and error time as of neither value nor purpose. Instead we label ourselves as failures, hopeless, or whatever label seems appropriate to our restless mind at the time. We forget the road traveled, and erase all our footprints, many times wandering in our minds and souls, and feeling a void, spiritually lost. “Not all who wander are lost,” said Tolkien, and that rings true today as at any time.

Many times, we feel that our guts, efforts, experience, resources, our timing, and everything around us is misaligned and does not suffice to attain whatever we felt was important then. The whole universe has conspired against us, we think; when in reality we have been part of that same universe that we label as outside ourselves. “All I have is me!”  we scream in anger, despair, and disappointment. “Me” as a sole proprietor of this body and mind, with disregard of the universal bond that unites all. Our human nature blinds us, and many times renders us paralyzed, fearful, broken. The same human nature that we count on to succeed beyond our wildest dreams. We grab positive thinking books, one after the other, in an attempt to fix what is “wrong with me” and light up the skies once more. We don’t realize that the darkness we feel and label as an outside-in source that is there to harm us, is our dismissal of the light we carry in us. It is dark; I forgot to turn the light on.

It is a new season, full of labels, but a new season indeed. It is always a new season.

Listening to Your Inner Voice

After my quasi tornado scare last evening, I remembered something that happened to me a few weeks ago. We’d had wind and tons of rain the day before, and I was due to go into town. As I drove, a thought popped in my mind – what if a tree falls and blocks your way home? It appeared out of nowhere, and I dismissed it as such. I took me about an hour to complete my errands, so I drove back home. When I was getting close to home, I saw a large tree across the road. It was too large, so there was no way I could move it out-of-the-way. There was a field to my right where they plant crops, and if I attempted driving through it in my small car, I was surely bound to get stuck. To my left, there were two  houses, people’s front yards mostly planted with large trees, one of which that tree came from. My dilemma was that I only knew two ways to get home, both ways now blocked by that tree. I have not been living here too long and had no idea if there was another way. In the end, I decided to cross through the front yards, weaving my car through trees until I came out ahead of the fallen tree. Later on that day, I learned that another large tree had fallen in front of that one, right where there was the only way to come out if crossing through these front yards, the rest was heavy woods. This is not the first time I have not listened to my inner voice, which has become louder these days. When I have listened, I have not regret it.

Your inner voice is very protective of you. It has many names – guardian angel, intuition, God or the Divine … . It seems to be in you, but outside as well, discernible from my own thoughts or gut feeling; however, I have learned throughout the years, that it is very easy to be dismissed by the mind/thoughts. It seems to be a loud silent/non-audible voice that will be firm, insistent, and sometimes, annoying. I have learned that the more insistent and annoying it becomes, the more serious the warning seems to be. I’ve had many instances in which I thank God that I listened to it. Despite that, I think that it is in my human nature to attempt dismissal, especially when I am focused on a task. When I look back at different instances where my inner voice was right and I was wrong, I thank God for it. Eventually, I will become a better listener. I hope you do as well.

 

In Simple Words, It is Too Loud

For me, that is. I am talking about social media. This post will be about my decision to leave most of my social media sites. I dropped social media for good; my internet presence is summed in two sites, all related to writing and my art, and this blog. Simply put, it was too loud for me, and my personality could not adjust to it. I am a bit of a lone wolf, introspective, introverted, and the quiet type. I like silence, I enjoy solitude, and I have never been a social butterfly. In an ideal world one site is good for me. Some people don’t understand this, and might suggest that I am missing so much and so many opportunities by dropping social media. How can I miss what I don’t want? I believe in doing what I enjoy, and when something becomes a chore, or is robbing me of time and focus that I rather put in something else, then it is not working for me.

Another argument is that you have to be well-connected online by having many venues to promote your work. I understand this, however, I think this only works if you love doing it in a genuine way. Besides, there are authors who don’t have a social media or internet presence, or have minimal exposure.

Argument three suggests that times have changed, and things do work different these days – the internet rules. I agree. However, it is up to me to utilize parts of it to express the parts of me that I choose to express, and that is fine. I think many people feel that they have to join every social media site to become visible, even when they don’t enjoy it anymore, become stressed about it, and are in a constant battle to keep up with it. For other people, it works just fine; it is like the air they breathe, and they are happy with it. My point is, despite the many suggestions you might hear and read, ultimately you have to do what works for you, personality and working style.

Argument four suggests that it will hurt my writing, as far as exposure goes. I write because I like to write. Right now, I love doing it, and the day I don’t love it anymore I will certainly stop writing. In that aspect, I am not worried about exposure, or ratings, or money, or fame/outside recognition… . I don’t plan to become a traditionally published author either, which seems to require a huge internet presence these days. In simple words, I have been weeding out what doesn’t apply to me.

I wrote about this topic because I think that as writers, we feel pressured to keep up and beyond, even when we don’t want to or don’t enjoy it as much. It is a personal decision to work with the tools that will benefit you and your writing, and enjoy the process as well. For some people, more is better; for other people, less is more. It all comes down to what works for you.