Compensations

“Life has its compensations,” my great-grandmother used to say.

Embracing life as is in the moment does not mean giving up.

Until such day as we humans inhabit an egalitarian system where every individual truly has identical currency, identical opportunity matched to their physical and mental capabilities, certain things will never be, can never be for all of us. This does not mean we failed to try, failed to dream, or live in an enclosure of self-limiting beliefs. Life and possibility shines all around no matter what, no matter who we are.

The older I become, certain things become more likely. I will likely never know what it’s like to raise a young child with a supportive partner.

I will likely never know what it is to parent a healthy child between ages 4 to 6. Yet, I can lend a supportive ear to other parents going through what I did.

I may never own a home in my lifetime or earn enough to travel how I want, financially support others in need or serve others in a way I might like. This does not mean I’ll stop working toward goals.

I do not understand how people who are good for each other find one another and more importantly stay with one another. That does not mean I’ll stop being good to me.

A friendly dog brushes my jacket in greeting on the trail. I forget and later touch my jacket, then later my eye. My eye swells shut for hours and I am reminded again of the grief that my life can never include close companionship of dogs, cats, horses, most legged animals on the planet. Yet, by some magical accident my next-door neighbors are sheep, lambs, deer and rabbits I get to enjoy and not touch.

Life is beautiful. Every day I touch beauty. I am nurtured by the texture of yarn I knit, like animal’s fur. I have kept fish alive for decades. By some happy accident of circumstance I have been able to live surrounded by nature’s wealth with basic needs met.

And I have been gifted responsibility for someone I most admire. I can hardly believe what she understands about self-esteem, hard work, balance, gratitude, not worrying about what is to come, and honoring that small voice that says, “I want to live an extraordinary life.” I tell her, “You already are extraordinary.”

  *    *   *

This post is my way of expressing response to someone who just met me saying, “you must not have wanted it that much,” to many of the things I do not have, and a bit of push-back to all the self-help content about limiting beliefs being the only cause of our life’s circumstances. The way I see it, life is a series of interconnected causes and effects, and we are always one tiny nudge away from going left, right or center, up or down in any moment. Entire careers, joys and sorrows are built on those interconnected nudges with our intuitive flashes, actions and inner work being one piece of that web of circumstance. Life well-lived for me means staying close to authentic center and riding the waves.

(I am taking a day off the Daily Prompt because fry did not speak to me).

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Earth Chuckle

Earth Collage

These images gleaned from past journeys evoke “Earth” to me. Sunsets only blocks away from me remind me to get back to the daily ritual I have let slide. Sky: Best viewing screen on Earth.

Certified Poet, Don’t You Know It

Chuckle today was opening a box and finding proof that I was at one time a certified poet. Many people can say “I am certified.” Many can say “I am a poet.” But how many can say I am a “certified poet” and speak the truth? Even though I did have fabulous teachers, my title remains questionable.

My work was often held up to the group as unique: “Do you see what she’s doing there? She knows the rules enough to break them in a way that makes sense.” In all honesty, I never could figure out the rules and broke them unknowingly. I’m certified all right.

Should anyone want poem and chuckle fodder, check out these collective nouns.
An unkindness of ravens,
a fling of sandpipers,
a mutation of thrushes,
a parcel of linnets.
The poem writes itself.

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New Creations Birthed

Looks a bit opaque

Many thanks to designer Ambah O’Brien for her Xuan wrap, which means “spring” in Vietnamese. Her wonderful designs can be found on Ravelry here. This was my first go at learning mosaic technique for color work. Here is a description of Mosaic, for those interested.

This wrap/shawl will be sold to the highest bidder as a fundraiser for my daughter’s exchange year to Poland. She will model it for her gofundme page soon.

Rust and golden wool is super soft, rich hand-dyed color, and is thanks to Palouse Yarn Company. I had the opportunity to walk into the glorious vortex that is The Yarn Underground in Moscow, Idaho while chaperoning my daughter’s band for the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival last year. Awesome, awesome yarn selection and staff.

Center color is Matrika Sugar Maple from Seven Sisters Arts whose owner has a degree in plant & soil science as well as nursing that she uses to create her amazing dyes. When I win the lottery, I would love to invest in a truckload of her yarns.

The second of three turtle journey shawls to honor my uncle is now blocked. Yipee!  This pattern can be found on Ravelry here. One more to go in forest & cucumber greens, and then photos without the pins will be taken.

Yarns are:

  1. KnitPicks Preciosa, waves from Expression Fiber Arts.
  2.  Wonderland, waves from Expression Fiber Arts.

If anyone would like to request a commission, feel free to contact me on my Knits page. I especially love making shawls, cowls, blankets, sweaters, but am up to give anything a go.

 

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Jolt

Jolted by the thought: “You are perfect.”

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Climbing

Climbing – 1968

In 2010, I met in person four people who had climbed the world’s mountains, Denali, Everest, Kilimanjaro. After four consecutive people crossed my path, I thought, “this is a sign I should climb a mountain.” So I set about imagining myself training and doing it. I obsessed about the idea. Someday. Seven years later, I have made peace with my likelihood of climbing a mountain being thiiiiiiiiisssssss small and am content to have climbed the tree stump above in my lifetime.

I will leave the mountain climbing to Sean Swarner (my daughter’s name is on that flag) and all those other inspiring and admirable folks who are called by the world’s highest peaks and survive to tell their stories.

The mountain I seem to always be climbing is understanding self, identity, purpose, and more recently my obsession with what peace means. I recently took two short forms of the Myers-Briggs personality test which I seem to feel compelled to do about once a decade. For some reason, I am always hoping something will have changed. That I will finally fall into a more populated category and be able to find my “peeps,” my tribe (not the gelatinous crusty peeps of Easter). Alas, I remain in the rarest category on the test. That’s me at the bottom. Only 1.5% of the global human population shares my personality type.

Personality Type Distribution
in the General Population

Type Frequency in Population
ISFJ               13.8%
ESFJ             12.3%
ISTJ             11.6%
ISFP          8.8%
ESTJ          8.7%
ESFP          8.5%
ENFP         8.1%
ISTP      5.4%
INFP     4.4%
ESTP     4.3%
INTP    3.3%
ENTP    3.2%
ENFJ    2.5%
INTJ   2.1%
ENTJ   1.8%
INFJ   1.5%

Data source: “MBTI Manual” published by CPP

Of course, Myers-Briggs is only one way to understand how a person fits into the human species, and many of the qualities of my personality type are admirable. Just rare. Altruistic. Strong sense of ethics and justice. Always up to champion a cause. Extremely sensitive, private and complex. One male INFJ (the true rarest type on the planet) writes a post highlighting something that resonates for me – the ability to write volumes, while challenged to express oneself verbally in a similar manner.

Enough about personality and my perpetual climb to understand my world. The quote below pretty much sums up my philosophy on Easter, but whether you are celebrating with children, eggs and bunnies or watching a fresh green bud emerge, I do hope you enjoy a pause to appreciate spring. I will be enjoying deep meditation (and mud) at the Earth Sanctuary for an afternoon and will schedule a next “peace generator retreat” for a non-holiday day in June to continue with my goal of hosting these events every other month in 2017.

 “Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.”
― Dalai Lama

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Freelance Joy and Crankiness

 

Early evidence of independence – 1968

Ah, the 1099. 55 million of us in the US or 35% of the workforce apparently work this way.

After freelancing now for three full years, thought I would jot down joys and despairs. I have 15 years worked from home, 12 years as a remote employee.

Joys

  1. Health: No daily tray of cookies or donuts wafting past my nose in an office or walking past local coffee shops. Just the health-filled items I bring to my own kitchen.
  2. Productivity: I am more productive without distractions of workplace conversations. I can get chatty when given the opportunity.
  3. Ambiance: If I want, I can light candles, incense, chant to the economy gods, and pull a daily Buddha Doodle card from the deck in front of my computer, without fear of reprisal.
  4. Multi-Freelance: I can divide my office space into different areas of interest, in my case knitting commissions and transcription.
  5. Work While Under The Weather: I can continue to work if I have a cold or allergies or the monthly curse, because no one has to care about me sneezing or pausing to curl up in the fetal position. When I worked in an office, I never went to work sick, because I was adamant about not wanting to impact anyone else.
  6. Network: I can join the Freelancers Union should I want. Upwork is another site that offers freelancers protection. Currently, I pay into my own health benefits and retirement, but networking is always good.
  7. Clothing: What is that? For the record, I cannot bring myself to work without clothing, but I can also wear the same spandex pants or potato sack for a decade and not care.
  8. Transportation: The biggest reason my car is in good shape after 17 years is due to working from home. I can work for 10 to 12 hours and still go for a walk and get other stuff done because I don’t have a commute longer than a flight of stairs.
  9. Freedom From Office Politics: So much of the stress I remember from my clinic or office work days had nothing to do with the work and everything to do with what people complained about on breaks. So-and-so was always out to get so-and-so, and the sky was always about to fall.

Cranky List

  1. Taxes: Remembering to set aside enough hundreds each month for taxes.
  2. No Vacation: Never having a full day off, let alone a paid day off.
  3. Unpredictable Workflow: No matter the specialty, freelance contract work commonly has ebbs and flows or cyclic periods. This uncertainty means financially you cannot say “no” to a job or client, and there are days when your two hands put in 16 hours, other days Nada. Lucky for me, the Nada days only occur in 2 months of the year and I have not had trouble finding more work.
  4. Portability in Theory: I still have not found an ideal way to make my theoretically portable job truly portable. To attach a foot pedal, headset, ergonomic keyboard to a laptop and attempt to sit in a coffee shop or communal space when my work requires silence and confidentiality is about as cumbersome as it gets.
  5. Isolation: This is a huge issue for many people who work from home, but as someone who has always appreciated solitude, isolation has become a lifestyle. Yes, I can go days without speaking to another adult. See #6 above for network tip. Once the young adult in my life flies, I may revert to “barista banter,” though this can become an expensive way to have human connection. The aspect of my work that mitigates isolation is listening to a wide variety of human voices. This helps me tolerate living in a not very culturally-ethnically diverse community when I’d rather live somewhere more diverse. In fact, by the end of 10 hours transcribing, I’ve probably had as much “people” input as a teacher or therapist. Only it’s one-way input. So I receive none of the positives of human interaction like someone caring how you are or that spontaneous smile or laugh or welcome-to-the-human-race thing that can happen when strangers converse. I’m likely an ambivert in true nature and would thrive in a work setting that allows half my time in direct people contact, half solo doing research or detail work.
  6. Way Too Much Sedentary & Screen Time: Less to do with freelancing and more with the nature of most jobs now. I ease the effects by having a daily nature-connection practice, walks outside, and being vigilant about a healthy, low-calorie, 100% plant diet all but one day each month when I don’t count calories.
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Measured

Measured

The moment we emerge, we are measured.
Days and months chart our appropriate or inappropriate growth.

School days drag us from bed too early, end too late.
Wall clocks stare.
Learn this: Never enough,
Never enough, never enough time.

Good worker bees produce, produce, produce
something bitter that rhymes with honey.
Learn this: Never enough,
Never enough, never enough money.

Sit on Earth, touch ground, look at sky.
Learn this: What you are is immeasurable.
Your profound accident of cells carry
Elements, atomic fragments of all.

Measure this: How we exist inside this moment inside this space.

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