Sunday, August 29, 2010

Minimalism and Community

My sister and I went out on errands this evening, and we talked about a couple things that seemed worth talking about. I'll talk about the first, which is something I've been thinking about lately, just after coming across something on the internet, and just as I always think more about the simpler life of older times, and how I want that to shape my future.

I read this thing the other day about a minimalist challenge, which is to have only 100 personal items. I want to do something akin to the goal, but have not quite decided how I will bring it into play. I am sure I will document it when I actually go through the process, but for now it is just conceptual. I have aspirations when I marry again to buy a piece of land and with my husband build a home there. I figure what we will be able to build together will be modest, but nice. I've read about different methods that are easy to learn, and can be used easily to do most of the building, and the land is one of the most important things to me, because I want to be able to raise and process most of the food that I and my family eat.

But back to the challenge, so the idea is just to live with less stuff. I feel the appeal of this, and having my dance room, which is pretty much an empty room, which I do so many things in, and which my nieces find even more ways to have fun in, I enjoy the concept of empty space for creativity, and how less is more. I want to make it so that moving is less of a chore. I want to know what everything in my house is, and know that it is something I want to have. I actually was thinking toward this idea, but more abstractly, back when I created my list of 101 goals in 1001 days. One of my goals was to make an inventory of everything that there is in my house. I think it will be a lot easier to do once I get rid of a lot of my stuff.

And I know there are some things that I will not get rid of, but simply reorganize. Like I want to relegate most of my dishes to storage. I want to have more so that when I have guests I have dishes for them, but want to keep it to one plate, bowl, spoon, fork. Because then I will keep them washed. It will also make more room for my canned food in my kitchen, which is a logical place for it to be.

I am sure I will have a lot more to say about it once I actually begin the process. I wanted to tonight, but got busy socializing, which is always a nice distraction.

The second concept we discussed was independence, and the notion that things can be done on our own. As I began writing tonight, it made me think of my own writing. It is not my own. My non-fiction especially on this blog. I get ideas from so many places, so many people, from the things I read, from the people I talk to. It all comes from so many places. But even my fiction, it is inspired by so many other people, and as I have said, the characters that are just like me are the ones that bore me most (maybe that wasn't on this blog), and it's the one who seem like other people, real people that aren't me, that fascinate me, and that I love. And it is because they are the people around me.

There are so many people involved in our lives, and we are involved in so many other people's lives. I suppose this sentiment has been captured before in the phrase "no man is an island", but I think that is a negative spin on something that is beautiful.

We all depend and rely and affect each other. We are a vast community of people who are greater than the sum of our parts, because of what we do for each other, how we build each other up, how we spread knowledge, how we can lift and inspire and strengthen each other, and make each other better than we ever would be on our own.

I think of the simple act of committing to other people, to write 20-30 minutes a day, and just that system of support and strength, how it has helped me be more the person I want to be, to do the things I want to do. I am glad that I am so much more than just myself, but that all of it is me. I am glad that I can come to live my true potential, while keeping my own beautiful individuality, to be a part of community, and to be one. It is a beautiful thing to be an independent entity, but connected in a vast network that is humanity.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Every little bit counts

20-30 minutes doesn't sound like a lot. That is part of the reason I thought I could do this challenge. I don't really feel like I do very much each day. I've been working on my story, and it just goes on bit by bit, a page at a time. It seems like something I could have sat down and written all at one time. It is not overly complicated, and I pretty much knew where it was going for the most part. If I had a free day with nothing to do, I probably could have just sat down and wrote it.

But that is the beauty. I haven't had a free day. My day off my dad was here, and I was doing stuff with my family. Every other day I've been working. But the little steps add up, and my first story is coming together. But those little bits, piece by piece they are adding up, and I am coming to a later part in the story. I am no longer at the beginning. I know my characters better now, know this world a little better now, and things are happening. And all it has taken is just 20-30 minutes a day. Today I wrote more than that, but most of the other days, I have not written much more than that.

I look back with longing a lot of times on the days of early 2008 when I would wake up, and spend the day reading and writing. I would spend an hour in my different kinds of writing. It is when I wrote a few of the stories of people close to me. I had time, and I felt like I was just living the dream, and I was disciplined, and it was what I was doing with my life. Now I feel pulled in so many different directions, and feel like I barely get a moment to write. But I see it's adding up. It is working. I am moving forward.

Every little bit counts. In everything we do. Every little bit counts.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Gonna do another post inviting responses. I assume a lot of people who read this are into blogging themselves. So what got you into blogging? What do you like about it? What is your goal with it?

I am a person who is drawn to journaling. I'm usually keeping 3-4 different records that I write in periodically, with pen and paper, that have to do with my life. My first blog was a livejournal, because I had a couple friend who were doing them, and loved to keep up with them, and figured I could add it to my extensive journaling repertoire. Then Carolyn and a couple of my other friends were doing xangas, so I moved over there. Then it kind of died off. My sister got into blogging, and that's when I got on blogspot, which I guess I have liked since I have stayed on a long time, and spent the most time sprucing up my blogs, and also have about 15 open blogs (open as in, ones I have started or write on occasionally, as opposed to blogs that are open to the public!).

A friend mentioned my blog on her blog, saying that it is talking about improving myself. I guess I had never really thought about what it is, I just write when I feel like writing, about whatever I feel like writing about. But blogs do take on a character of their own. Like if you look at my xanga and livejournal, they are replete with references to boys, which I generally steer clear of in this blog, except for the briefest mention, because 1) I think a lot more people read this, and it is much much more public and 2) because I got out of the habit when I was married.

I started this blog and called it the Adventures of my life, because I wanted to view my life with more excitement, vigor, and passion. It is not so much that I do a lot differently, but that I like having a different perspective on it. And so that is a lot what I do with this blog, is to find, create, and share meaning that I find in my life. Which is really just one big grand adventure in itself.

But come one, come all, and share your own experience in coming into the blogging world, even if only just as a reader.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Barefoot Experiment

Maybe a month or so ago, I was sitting in my sister's living room, and just kinda listening as her and a friend talked. They somehow got on the topic of bare feet, and running, and these shoes that are kind of like bare feet, and all these other things. It sparked a curiosity in me, of what it would be like to walk with bare feet.

It kind of mixed in with this scene from... I think it is Fire of the Covenant, if not, it was one of the Work and the Glory, but pretty sure it is Fire of the Covenant. There is a part where they are preparing for their handcart journey, and they tell the parents to let their children go without shoes, so they can build up calluses, and strong feet, so they will be able to use their feet on their journey. I've thought about that from time to time throughout my life, how the skin on feet can be built up, and protect against the things that would come to hurt our feet.

So I decided I wanted to try it out. I've been trying to appreciate the senses that my body offers me, and figured paying attention to the sensation of touch would be another worthy pursuit. So I just made a loose goal to take a 15-minute walk each day in bare feet.

I do not have appreciation for grass. I think it is nice pretty much for when you want to play something that requires a field with low grass, otherwise I am more prone to appreciate more natural vegetation, with a greater mix and variety of things, and especially in a desert climate, with plants the require a lot less water. Lawns seem very pointless to me, and it seems like there is so much effort in maintaining them in our culture.

When I first started walking through the grass, paying attention to how it felt on my feet, though, I felt like - this is why we do it. This is what grass was created for. It feels wonderful on the feet.

I liked feeling the different textures, avoiding the rocks that would dig up high enough to cause pain to my less calloused areas. I went to my family reunion for 3-4 days, and did not wear shoes at all, and my feet felt great after that. I could walk across seemingly any surface without worrying about hurting my feet.

I went up to this activity for my ward the past couple days, and I went out yesterday to take a walk barefoot, and it was the smoothest pavement I had walked on. Felt wonderful.

I don't really know where this experiment will lead. I have read about hiking barefoot, and that is something I would like to try. Tall grass still scares me, because I would never want to step on a snake. But walking barefoot has given me an appreciation for my feet, and the wonderful textures of the ground around me.

It is a wonderful thing to have feet.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Four Years Ago...

It is hard on a day like today to not take a walk down memory lane, and so I have.

Four years ago this day I was married to Janardan.

I hold myself accountable for a lot of what has happened in my life. I know his choices weren't my choices, but a fair few of my choices were incredibly dumb.

In retrospect, the decision to marry Janardan was a pretty rash one, a snap decision that once I made, I never questioned, never revisited, never analyzed against the evidence. It is also a decision I made before we even dated.

Our dating life was not incredibly better than our married life. There is a moment in our courtship that I have thought back on a lot the past while, the moment when Janardan told me he wasn't really ready for a relationship, and suggested that maybe we should break up, and I did not even consider it. If we broke up, we would get back together and get married. If we stayed together, we would get married. I had already decided, and I stubbornly clung to that decision, willfully oblivious to any event but that final event. The details didn't matter. I knew what was going to happen.

I will sometimes idly wonder why -someone- didn't say -something- to me in that time, and then remember how I was, and know exactly why they wouldn't have. There is nothing that anyone could have said, nothing that anyone could have done that would have changed my mind. I am stubborn. Stubborn beyond reason.

I made the decision one morning in May of 2005, as I went about my work at early morning custodial. It was probably around 6:30am when I decided unalterably the decision that I would marry him.

Every one of us is a wonderful son or daughter of God, with an amazing potential, a capacity to do a work beyond our greatest dreams. And I saw in him that potential. I saw in him a greater potential than I had ever seen in anyone, and I wanted it. I wanted the future that was possible with him. I wanted to partake in that greatness, in that life that would shape the world.

In retrospect it sounds like delusions of grandeur.

And I held that view, that possibility, until I finally saw a crack, a chink in the armor, when the potential began to seem impossible, and it was not until I came to terms with the fact that he was leaving me, and until I stopped talking to him that I began to fully understand that the reality of my world, the reality of his choices, my choices, had been leading nowhere near that potential, and that a grand potential for greatness was worse less than nothing when the choices being made were heading for pain, misery, and control.

I was reading through a conversation we had in December, where I was still intoxicated with that idea, where I said that I thought even if some other guy could make me happier, I would always want the potential with him, and I would go back to him at the drop of a hat.

I don't like to place blame. Yes, I think he was controlling and manipulative, but I think that I let him control and manipulate me.

I wondered all the years of our marriage why he had married me. Before we were married, I was so focused on my goal, so focused on being with this amazing guy, having this great potential in my future, and then as soon as we were married, I began to question why he had married me. He never really answered me. I still don't know why he married me.

But to my self in December, I say, You're wrong. There's no way I'm going back there, not no way, not no how (...trying to think what movie that is from, can't remember! Ah, google reveals it's the wizard of Oz). Because I have my own potential, and I don't plan to put it with someone who is wasting his away. In the vein of the parable of the talents, I would rather be with someone with only one talent, but who is using it for good, than someone who has ten talents, but is burying them (I know the parable goes the other way, but it works better for my metaphor this way).

I have always been someone who thinks a lot about the future. Still do. Think about what the future will bring, plan for the future, anticipate the wonders of the future, and find happiness in the happiness that there will be in the future. It was this taken to misguided levels which led me to be so blind to my life and the problems I was facing, to the tremulous issues in my marriage, and even the relationship before the marriage, because I had this hope for the future.

But eternity is not a bunch of tomorrows. Eternity is today. All we get is today, every day, forever.

I find the biggest impediment to me making the use of my own potential is my own belief in myself. I really am my own worst enemy. Today, I want to be my friend.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What pieces of writing have change your life?

I think there is a lot of subconscious affect on us from all the media we take in. But there are those moments when we know that the thing we have just read has unalterably changed us forever. So what sentences, paragraphs, articles, books have changed your life? And how have they changed you?

Harry Potter 7 is probably the piece of fiction (not that I'm looking for only fiction, just that the scriptures change me over and over and over again all the time, but besides the scriptures, this is probably one of the biggest experiences I have had) that has had the most impact on me. Reading the end of Harry Potter 7, it was so emotional for me, and inspiring, and lifting. And it reminded me of how much I loved to write, how I wanted to do something like that, how I wanted to create something akin to that book. It was in the late hours of the night when I realized the path of my life, that I wanted to write, that I am a writer, and that that was what I would be. There are tons of passages in there that I love, but it was just the overall effect of it that changed me the most.

The days following I began to realize I have always been a writer. I remembered that I have been writing since I knew how to draw letters. I also realized that when I had become afraid of the idea of being an author, I still had words flowing out of me into tons of different journals. It just flows from me.

So that is the biggest one, though there are countless others, and maybe I will share more in the discussion that will (hopefully) follow. So tell me! What writing has changed your life, however big or small, and how?

Telling you all so you can keep me in check

I read this blog. Today there was a post, offering anyone to commit to writing 20-30 minutes a day. I've been praying for help with my writing, especially the motivating me to write, and so when I read this, seemed just like an answered prayer. Social pressure! Always a good way to keep yourself on track.

So I thought with that, besides just telling her that I committed, I would tell everyone who reads my blog, so you all can keep me accountable too. Wrote in my journal today, and here I am writing again, though this is not super content heavy, just more of an announcement.

I think maybe I will start a series of blog posts that discuss motivations for writing, and opening up for discussions for everyone to share their thoughts on the different topics.

Hm...gonna go run and make one right now!

Friday, August 13, 2010

To Tatiana

I have one friend who understands the mother/son relationship I have with Mark more than anyone else does. It is because her son came to her the same way. He even came to live with her. She's been with him as he's gone to the hospital many times for suicide attempts, and other physical ailments. She has tried to teach him, to help him grow independent, but above all, she has loved him.

He took his life last night. I woke up to a message from her, asking me if it had all been a waste. Love is never a waste. Caring for someone, even though they may make the decisions that will hurt you, is never a waste. Cherishing a life, that is not a waste.

The loss of a child is always going to be heart-wrenching. Suicide has got to be one of the worst ways for them to go. But though it may make us feel like we're helpless, we need to remember we still helped.

And so today, I dedicate this blog entry to Tatiana, and to mothers everywhere who have lost their children. We never know the time we will get to keep our children. But no moment, no love spent, is ever a waste. It matters more than we know.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Lamp

I had a dream about being back together with my ex this morning. We were together, making out, and whatever else. Then he was talking to me about his teeth, and the work he had had done while he'd been gone, and how he didn't think he was going back to the dentist, but going to go to these (don't remember the word from my dream) next time, and tell his dentist that he wasn't going to see them anymore.

This part of the dream was a representation of probably some of the best times I had with him, not quite the best, but the best times that ever happened on a semi-regular basis, meaning maybe once or twice a month.

After this part of the dream, my sister and mom were there, and my sister was packing up a lamp. Right now I have decided I want to get a bedside lamp, so I can read and write in bed, and just reach over and turn it off, without having to turn off my overhead lamp. And so I told my sister I wanted the lamp, even though she was packing it up. My mom said it was a sewing lamp, which in the dream meant it was for some reason hotter, and put off a lot of heat.

And then he was there, and I could tell he would prefer I not have the lamp, and I left it in my mind that we would think about it, but I knew that I would cave to what he wanted, and that I would not have a lamp.

I woke up disturbed, alone, and wanting to cry. I don't want to want that life. I didn't even wake up thinking much about the lamp. It was thinking about the good times. They were not good enough to justify everything else I put up with, with the way I didn't respect myself, how he didn't either.

I've been on a couple dates with this other guy, and other people as well, but this one guy in particular, who knows how to treat me. He makes me feel special, powerful even. He empowers me. And I don't know what will happen with him, but I'm glad I've at least had that glimpse to know that I am worth so much more than how my ex ever really treated me.

The more I have thought about it, the more the lamp is the part of the dream that bothers me the most, because it is me giving something up I want, me putting myself last, me putting him before me. I've spent the last 8 months learning to not do that. And I know that I am fragile enough that if I let him back in my life, I very well could go back to that.

So that is the choice I can make. It is the power that I have, that I take, and will take.

I was somewhat scared to post this, because I am pretty sure he reads my blog. But it's not worth avoiding that not to post it. I need to work through my own stuff, and want my friends, family, and even any random stranger who wants to, to be able to help me and support me through it.

Think I might buy a lamp today.