Tag Archives: goals

Putting pen to paper or how to do anything, including write.

One of the faults I am most aware of in myself is the desire to “do it right,” and that goes for anything, from how I get out of bed in the morning  to interacting with animals, people, and even the feelings in my heart and the voices in my head.  At first that may seem a strength, perfectionism has its perks and many of life’s tasks are best learned using other’s experience.  My innate intelligence, desire to learn, and ability to mimic made me pretty good at many things relatively quickly.  However, believing there was and wanting to do it “the right way” is not the same thing as wanting to be better, so a disproportionately large portion of my life was spent taking classes, reading books, studying others, trying to learn the “right” way to live instead of living. I was frozen, stuck in my past choices, wondering which road would lead me out of the the dark, dreary wood.

I kept gorging myself on large helpings of this spirituality or that self-help book. I  owned a dozen books each on how to parent, how to write, how to cook, how to sew, how to house clean, how to decorate on a budget,how to knit, how to crochet, how to exercise, how to lose weight, how to be happy, how to be grateful, how to be a good person, etc. Sometimes I would start the project, a few I even completed but I was still a fat (actually not really), sedentary, unhappy person who “almost finished” everything, I rarely even completed a craft project. I knew   I was a fake, I was doing life all wrong and although at the time I was regularly completing paid writing projects, I was never even starting all the crazy ideas in my head that mattered to me. I felt I was a failure at all of it, and so I just kept looking for the “right” answer that would make it all, make me, okay.

I wish I could pinpoint the epiphany moment, but I think it was more of a gradual process.  In the early 90’s I knew I was running away from a failed relationship and a belief I had failed at life and I realized how scattered I was. I was fleeing me, although to the world it looked like a move towards a writing spot on a smaller paper more in-line with my beliefs I espoused and a chance to focus on  parenting-friendly and insurance-granting stability of  multi-store retail management.

In preparation for flight, I was packing box after box of books to donate or sell and do remember realizing that I had read hundreds of how to books but “done” none of them for very long, if at all. So I carefully picked and packed a box of those books I meant to actually put into practice once my now much smaller family and I were settled in Albuquerque, because in this new place, I was going to do it right, the way my friends thought I should.

And I did. I burned my politically incorrect bridges and road off onto the sunset to do it right this time.

I was “doing it right”. The company I worked for helped us find an apartment in the right part of town for the right price, I was doing Yoga daily, cooking nutritious meals for the boys, reading my meditations, writing in my Journal.  As a journalist I was covering things like “Womyn’s Festival” and as retail manager I turning a nice profit at the two stores and making all my goals at work.  That lasted all of about 4 months, maybe 5, and the rug was pulled out from underneath me when I came to work one day and the doors were chained shut. That is someone else’s tale, but lets just say the owners son had been using interstate shipments for more than stocking the store shelves. I was without a job except for the pittance I was earning at the paper, and then two months after that, they folded.  Everything fell apart. Long story short, I ended up homeless for the second time in my life, only this time I had Wil, Rick and Dallon to take care of as well.

So just like the little claymation Christmas characters, I started putting one foot in front of the other again, building a life the books, and magazines and friends and family told me I should have. I was the little train that could. Of course my “doing it right” castle of sand crumbled again and again.  And the next (but not final) time, not only were we temporarily without a place to call home (this time due to my health, no FMLA benefits, chemo) but someone  had stolen every single thing we owned right down to baby pictures and underwear. So again I did what I thought was the “right” thing, and I agreed to move in with and marry a man who was seriously courting me, said he would take care of me and my boys; and I married the right situation again even though my gut opposed the idea, and yea that was the final sand castle.

Today, I don’t believe there is a “right” way to do things. I do believe there are rules that make functionality improve or  deteriorate, like never stirring sour dough starter with a metal spoon or never licking metal sleds when its zero degrees outside. I also believe that there are many people who have tested and tried behaviors and are willing to report their own findings which I incorporate into my daily life without trying the same experiments myself.

But when push comes to shove, the only way I can ever be good at anything is just to do it, frequently badly, many times over before I show improvement. Today I still own a plethora of cookbooks, craft books, spirituality writings and even a few self-help books. The difference  is now I implement the author’s suggestions and if the “do” fits, I wear it.

That is how I, or anyone else, can actually do anything;by listening to their own instincts and then doing it, allowing for the fact they may do it badly at first, and second, and sometimes third. Achievements are sometimes easy, sometimes hard, but achievement always take action.

I still write professionally today, although I try to avoid a byline, instead I write the things that matter to me. I do that today by putting pen to paper (or often like now, fingers to keyboard) for the time or the goal I have allotted.  I am currently in the infancy of a writing project I would never have attempted, even five years ago, that just may be the most important thing I have ever written. I believe this not because I have a lucrative contract, or that others would even get why I am pursuing it, but because  my gut tells me it is important.

My gut is pretty smart. My gut also led me to pursue nursing as a profession; to travel to London with a friend;  to take a patient to Kenya as a volunteer; to take that job at Borders; to start a game night; make friends with Jen, Sara, Anne, Regina, Angela, Pat, Gil and others,  to train for a Sprint Triathlon. Basically my gut has pushed me in the direction of all that is good in my life today. My gut gave me the direction but then I have said hello, got the passport, said yes, put pen to paper, studied for classes, took the tests, put my face in the water, feet on the pedals, and went the distance.

And that is what I know to be true for me today. If I am hiding something, or making excuses, or feeling stuck today, I will still probably pick up a how to book, but more importantly I will meditate, journal and talk to the universe (some might say I am just talking to myself, that’s OK too, I just believe its more than that) figure out where I got turned around, what I need to accept, what I need to change, where I need to go next and if I need help to get there, and then with my goal chosen, I start moving.

When two roads diverge in a yellow wood today, I will still have a moment of freezing and  wondering which the right one is, but then I breathe and I just take one…..


A train, a train….would you, could you on a train.

 My days do revolve around "train"ing, and my mantra these days is certainly about increased locomotion, but actual steam engines are kind of off track, as are Green Eggs and especially Ham, green or any another color. However, the first fifty years of my life, my response to any form of on-going non-theater related physical exercise received a response very like Sam-I-Am’s response to a green breakfast. As of right now, with a little help from my friends, this triathlon train is still the one on which I am booked.

Yesterday, three of the four women showed up for class at the pool, even though we knew Phil (trainer) would be absent. I managed for the second time to complete the full homework in length, if not with its requested continuity.

Here is my current swim training schedule (again), with actual how it happened commentary.

2 Lap Kick Board warm up, focus on breathing and consistently moving. (I get this part done and keep my face in the water, at the end of one lap I am already breathing like I am exercising; during second lap I feel it in my legs; by the end I am kicking more efficiently.)

4 Laps free style with no, or minimal (30 seconds or less) break ( I get all 4 laps done but the breaks are more like 30 seconds between halves, and 60 seconds, 90 seconds, 90 second, 2 minutes between the laps. I swim all four  75 percent breast stroke-like style. My heart at this point is racing to get out of my ribcage and I thankfully need a potty break)
1 Lap Kick-board (Still able to keep face in water at least half the time, legs are feeling energized rather than earlier sore, can emptying your bladder reduce lactic acid?)
3 Laps free style (These are my WTF do I think I am doing even trying to be an athlete laps. It was also here that I managed this week to do a half a lap in my poor form breast stroke without flipping or stopping and it was at this point I started bargaining with myself about how if I could just do a full lap without stopping I would allow myself to quit early. This pushes me to really focus on trying to swim face down, but can’t do the full lap without a half-way 90 second pause.)
1 Lap Kick-board.( I just do it. Slow but steady, goggles off. Just locomotion)
2 Laps free style.( I really try to do these well but I am physically tired and so the "can’t breath" voice gets quite a bit louder. I Did manage one more half lap in breast stroke without stopping or flipping to back stroke.)

1 lap Kick-board. (By this time I am constantly telling myself, "OK, just do another half-lap. Just another half-lap, then if you really need to you can stop. My desire to finish means taking no break at the turn is a lot easier)

1 Lap free style (I try to make this my best lap, it isn’t but that approach at least gets me through it.)

Cool down
2 laps with kickboard focusing on breathing. It will be little extra hard here because you will be tired. Thats ok, try to push through it. (I pushed through, barely. Actually crying inside as I make myself breath out under water while my little voice has a full on fit. Cheered as I finished and was cheered by Dawns support!)

Then Rick and Dawn took me to breakfast at the Coffee Shop. I am borrowing Dawns Ipod since mine burst into flames. The funny part of the fire in my car story was that I was listening to an audio book by James Owen and the heroes had just arrived on an island representing Dante’s sixth hell. I would expect Apple will attribute it to the realistic prose. I put it out by pulling the FM broadcast/charger out of my lighter socket and using my swim towel to smother. Car still smells a bit of smoky plastic and wire solder, but nothing worse than the loss of my Ipod to show for it. 
So much more to tell about this week, but it is time to get ready for work. I will work today, go swim tonight, work on my Twenty Wishes (Ladies book club thing) and my outline for next months camp nanowrimo novel. Probably no new entries till Monday unless I achieve some unforeseen amazing breakthrough.
P.S. I did not go swim tonight but will tomorrow. I was starving when I got home and decided to cook dinner instead and then it is early to bed. I was yawning all day at work. As important as training is to me. Job comes first.
Namaste, fellow star catchers.