Alyse In Words

DIYing the Next Part Of This Life


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I Didn’t Do It

Day 69:  There were a number of things that I didn’t do today that were rather fabulous as far as I’m concerned.  I got up at what would have been 4 AM last week and didn’t whine or give in to a big urge to consume coffee.  Caffeine is not my friend.  I chose plain tea and some Michael Franti on Spotify to jolt me awake.

I did not spend time telling myself how bored I am at work.  I thought about how much energy I would have this evening (and I did!) to begin work on my office/craft space.

I did not flip out and begin imagining the horrors to come when I determined that the new(ish) car needed to make a trip back to the warranty garage and Magical Keith because now the transmission is having petit mal seizures.  There was a calm, rational conversation and I am driving another loaner car.  Inhale:  The car is going to be fine.  Exhale: I am so grateful for warranties.

Sometimes it’s what we don’t do that’s the real accomplishment.  Who knew?


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Balance and Serendipity

Day 56 – I really like paying my bills.  No. Really.  I don’t make a ton of money.  I haven’t had a raise in pay in 4-5 years and the cost of living in Colorado has gone up about 14%. I probably have a reason to whine and complain but the fact is, every month I am able to pay the bills. I have more than enough left to make my life.  I had the extra expense of a garage door repair and still managed to save around $100.  I am not a financial genius by any means but I do trust in checks and balances–actually serendipity and balance to be specific.

I think that if I act responsibly then the Universe or the Great Whatsis takes note and when I need a hand I get one.  I pay my bills early.  I buy food for the birds and critters in the trees around my house. I pay for boxes of Girl Scout cookies and tell the kids to give them away to seniors and people in uniforms. It’s not rocket science. It’s what I can do. In return when my computer monitor blows out (like it did on Sunday), a friend hands me the monitor she’s been hauling around in the trunk of her car for a year and Monday night I have a whiz bang new monitor.  You may think it’s dumb luck.  Philosophical folks would say that we speak our realities into existence and that what we say happens is what happens. I must admit that I have been on the ‘thoughts become things/words create our realities’ train for a long while now.  I believe in serendipitous events,too.  And I believe in balance.  There is only one part that puzzles me.  It goes like this:  If I try to sell my stuff, nobody buys it. I can help other people sell their stuff and what I tell them to do works–people buy their stuff.  If I spend money, I usually get great bargains. It’s how I’m built–someone out there got long thin legs and I got short legs but great bargaining ability. There’s some balance there.  I think. There is an asterisk:  *If I sell my stuff to use the money for a cause, it all turns out well very quickly.  For example, I bought a set of amazing handmade, artist signed vintage Native American jewelry from a wealthy person for $5.00.  Two weeks later I needed money to take donated books and clothing to the Pine Ridge Reservation.  I sold the jewelry to a collector for enough money to finance the 1000 miles of driving, truck rental and expenses. As I clear my clutter, friends keep advising me to sell the stuff.  They look at me with puzzled faces when I say I can only give it away.  I could sit here and write 50 stories about giving away something and how much joy and serendipity it has brought to my life.  I don’t know how it works.  I just know that it does work. Playing tag with the Mystery.  I like this game.


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Day 55

Day 55 – Keeping with that whole past/present/future thing from yesterday, my day had a dose of each.  It’s amazing how the older stuff makes my shoulder blades stiffen and my mind scrunch up.  When I think of the unknowns of the future, for some reason, it’s much more easy.

In the present, work was work and I got a call from the car dealership. Heroic Keith called to ask if I was planning to drop my car off.  I explained that I had done that on Saturday and am driving their shiny silver loaner car.  Keith said he would have to find my car.  I asked him if I got to keep this one if it turns out they lost mine. He said he’d get back to me on that.  At home I was able to rejoice over junk mail and credit card offers but not one invitation to get myself set up for cremation.  (Last year’s birthday brought an onslaught of offers for retirement homes and crematoriums.  Eww.)

Onward into the past.  If I am to sort out my computer and craft space, I must own up to the pull of my soul to create some art.  I can tell you that it was late in my junior year of high school when I stopped drawing and painting.  Life was not much fun then and there were few successes, but art was always safe.  One day we were working on water colors and mine was not transparent but my instructor took time to really look at the work and tell me to forget about the rest to just–go for it.  It was the first time anyone afforded me that. About 10 minutes later his student teacher rounded the room, came upon my work and said–No! It’s supposed to be transparent!  Then he proceeded to splash water all over my work and muss a brush through it.  I picked up my things and left the class.  I never went back and I never painted again. Wowser, I showed him. I’m sure it didn’t ruin the life of the student teacher who most likely didn’t know my name to start with and certainly forgot it later that afternoon.  Yes, to show him what-for.  I deprived myself for all these years to nobody’s loss but my own.  I have no idea how well or poorly I am going to do when I pick up a brush again.  I just know how incredibly foolish I feel for taking away from myself something I loved.  The doofus student teacher was just learning his job. I stopped my own enjoyment, my own opportunity.  And I may discover that I am truly awful at this but I am ready to cross the bridge from past to future and find out.

Ah, the joy of discovering that the obstacle in my path is me.


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Breathing

48 Days – I spent part of the day thinking about the balancing act of creating new habits while shedding old ones.  Sometimes it feels like a lot of pressure on myself and before I am even done typing this sentence I think the first part of it is just procrastination and pure BS.  The part I didn’t anticipate in all this would be stirring up memories that I now need to filter through new knowledge.  Not as bad as a root canal but less fun than the nausea after riding a Tilt-a-Whirl.

The only solution I have right now is to just breathe.

It’s been about 20 years that I’ve been practicing conscious breathing.  Connecting your thoughts to your breath is a simple practice and it’s one I was fortunate enough to practice with one of the Dalai Lama’s right hand monks.  You’d be surprised what $45 and an afternoon at the Free University can get you sometimes.  Breathing in with a thought and exhaling with another thought can be pretty powerful stuff.  I breathe in procrastination; I exhale timely actions.  I breathe in my angst and breathe out peaceful life.  After a few minutes it feels like your entire body is taking it all in–that thing that is fearful or difficult or so hard to release.  And you are present with it, face to face.  Then the air whooshes out and the seed-sized essence of what you want to grow is exhaled and covers you like a satin sheet.

Breathing. That’s the progress of the day.


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Shifting Gears

Day 45 – Today had something to do with resuming trust.  I am determined not to repeat processes even if I am faced with a repetitive circumstance.

A few years ago I bought a car from a local dealership with a pretty good reputation.  I mean, it’s owned by a retired football player.  What could go wrong?  Oil pan.  Oil pans can go wrong.  So can my patience with mechanics and car people who assume that if you have a vagina you can’t possibly know a gasket from a gear shift.  In this particular instance, the dealership mechanic explained that they had stripped the threads on the oil pan plug and that their mistake would cost me $800 to repair.  I fussed and fumed and did nothing to wear them down then went to Auto Zone, bought a $5 temp plug and replaced it every few thousand miles.  And to commemorate my anger, I kept the broken plug in the glove box.

Well, guess what happened?  The new-to-me Equinox has an oil leak and since it’s under a 60-day warranty I scampered off to the dealership prepared not to do battle.  The dealership guy was apologetic from the first minute and I faked being awake and pleasant at 6:45 AM. For the next 3 hours I listened to 90’s Muzak, drank tea, made a couple of phone calls, read my Kindle and played Alpha Bear on my phone.  Dealership Guy (henceforth to be known as Keith the Heroic) shared his findings with me:  Forty-five days later, the dealership had still not filed my 60-day warranty paperwork.  Translation: We can’t do any work on the car today.  We found an oil pan leak and several other leaks that need repairs. This should have been done before.  Translation: I argued with the sales people on your behalf.  He said he would call me when the paperwork was complete.  This is the part where my brain scuttles to worry and distrust–except I was determined to have some faith in the guy.  I took a breath, did not complain about the 3 hours, and thanked him.  He said he had looked up some items on my car that have a lifetime warranty and gave me a printout.  Heroic Keith did call back later in the day.  The warranty is in place.  Parts are ordered and I can have a free loaner car while mine is being fixed. He explained that I’m getting an additional non-warrantied repair for free by way of apology for my lost a day of work. I think I told him that he’s my new best friend. I was tempted to kiss him.

The whole demonstrate-some-trust, fail-to-assume-the-worst thing worked in a big way. You might think that I just lucked out but I prefer to think that I got a little revved up.