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Going off the grid

My husband and I just returned from a blissful eight days off the grid. When I say off the grid, I don’t mean we only picked up our phones only once an hour instead of every five minutes. I mean OFF. THE. GRID. No phones, no tablets, no computers, no watches, no tv’s… For eight days. It was amazing.

This is only the second time I have done this in my long-standing tenure of owning a cell-phone; the first time was five years ago, almost to the day. It was just as peaceful and calming this time as it was then, and I took some more tie to reflect on it this time around.

Here are my top three observations…

  1. It is harder than you think!
    I am not addicted to my phone;  I don’t need to check my phone, my Facebook, my Twitter, my Instagram, or anything else. However, I do like to know that I can be in touch with people, if I need to. So that was the hardest part for me; knowing that I was, in fact, completely disconnected; out of reach of the press of a button to talk to whomever I pleased.
  2. It is very good for you!
    Having a cell phone means being connected. ALL. THE. TIME. I find there is nothing more draining, whether consciously or subconsciously, than knowing that you are always on-call. Knowing that, at any moment, your phone could bing, ping, or ring, and someone or something on the other end will request your attention and drag you away from the present moment.

    For me, I found being disconnected truly refreshing and energizing. For someone who is learning what mindfulness means, and how to be present in the moment, this was a very valuable reminder that I need separation from the threat of constant distraction to truly re-energize my batteries, every once in awhile.

  3. Re-connecting from a better perspective.
    Now that I am back online, and able to check all the instant-things that come with having my phone in the palm of my hand, I find that I am able to keep all the dinging, ringing, and pinging in better perspective when it comes to urgency and the draw on my self and my time.

    While I was off the grid, nothing and no one fell down. Everything was fine. The earth kept spinning, the sun rose and set, work moved along, news happened, time passed. None of these things needed my constant attention to happen. It was a great reminder that I am quite infinitesimal in the grand scheme of this crazy world, and that if I do not jump at the sound of my device, it is O-K.

Personally, I am going to try and keep up this practice at the very least once a week. It is good for us humans, to get off the grid.

 

 

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I love irony. I enjoy ironic situations just as much as the next person. And I find it hilarious when people behave ironically without even realizing it. I think that’s my favorite.

Wikipedia says ‘Ironic statements (verbal irony) often convey a meaning exactly opposite from their literal meaning‘. It also mentions that irony relates to someone who feigns ignorance, which in itself is ironic, because those who behave ironically are often very ignorant, whether intentionally or simply by nature.

Alanis Morissette says that irony is ‘a black fly in your Chardonnay’, or ‘a free ride when you’ve already paid’. So good.

In the last half of 2017, I noticed an increase in the irony around me, all layered with the pretense of honesty, integrity, and authenticity. Which, again, is ironic, because you might as well put some oil in a container of water and claim that it makes a perfect mix.

So what is it about the veil of irony that people feel they can use it to behave selfishly, poorly, and with hatred, ignorance, or judgement towards others?

Is it the blanket of security people use to shroud themselves in public with words like ‘trustworthy’, ‘authentic’, and ‘real as F&*$’, while in private they hang those blankets over their mirrors at night so they don’t have to look at themselves, and they can go to bed with a clean conscience?

Is it the peace in knowing that they told a good story, sold a great lie, or lived another falsehood in the name of being real to promote themselves ahead of the rest of the pack?

Is it the complexity of irony itself, that people believe they can play the role of a loyal and peaceful sheep, while wearing wolf’s clothing when things are more interesting on the other side of a fence?

I’m not sure. I don’t relate, so I can’t say I know the answer. But I do know one thing. A good acquaintance of mine said something to me the other day that really struck a chord…

  • If you are authentic, you don’t need to advertise. Just be.
  • If you are honest, you don’t need to promise. Just be.
  • If you are trustworthy, you don’t need to prove it. Just be.
  • And if you are real, you don’t need to explain. Just be.

Sometimes, the more people speak, the less they say rings true, and the less I want to hear. Sometimes a person’s silence speaks volumes.  And isn’t that… ironic.

Have I mentioned what my New Year’s resolution is, besides to do more writing? It’s to be authentically true to myself. Before I get into what that means, which I will do in a separate post, let me just say that it means for me to really do ME. To follow my path, to listen to my story in the universe, and to just. Do. Me.

Well, as it turns out, that makes me a budding Jedi warrior! I saw The Last Jedi movie tonight, the 3rd instalment of the new (old) Star Wars series, and in it, Luke spends a considerable amount of time explaining to Rey what ‘the force’ is. To avoid spoilers, I’ll be a bit vague, here, but basically when she says it’s ‘to make things float’ (ha ha) he explains just how wrong she is. In short, it is a balance; between dark and light, peace and destruction, warmth and cold, wet and dry, etc. etc. It is yin and yang, and it is that balance within a person that gives them ‘the force’.

Woah. Wait just a minute! This sounds an awful lot to me like what I have been working on, and continue to work on, when it comes to my sense of self, of yogi, of balance, of being, and of mindfulness. It reminds me of my work surrounding the idea of ‘wei wu wei’ or ‘doing without doing’ as I am learning in my yoga practice. Effortless action; or the concept that with effort comes balance, and with balance comes the need for less effort.

Aha! So while I may not be able to make my coffee cups lift themselves and load into the dishwasher, or will my dustbunnies to levitate right into the garbage can, perhaps I can learn to find a balance within myself where I am less focused on the negative and more on the positive; less focused on the stress and more on the joy of everyday life; less focused on the passing of time and more focused on the gift of it.

I am working to become a Jedi warrior and find my own ‘force’. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

Hiatus

Miriam-Webster defines a ‘hiatus’ as an interruption in time or continuity. Well, I think it’s fair to say that is exactly what has been going on here. I mean, I knew it had been a long time since I had written… but almost two years?! Goodness.

To those who wondered where I went… I’m not sure. Life just… happened. I’m hoping that being back will help me figure that out.

To those who waited for me to come back… thanks! I’m hoping to put down a few words to repay you for your loyalty.

I’m not sure how long I am going to be back for, or what it’s going to look like. All I know, at this point, is that I have missed writing, which to me is a great feeling. I am so happy, and excited, to be back at it. I’m hoping to write about something, nothing, anything, and everything. That’s the beauty of this being my blog.

Here we go; and welcome to 2018!

 

An Animal Person

I have seen an abundance of articles lately, that ask people to classify themselves as either cat people or dog people. It got me thinking, as I sit here surrounded by my very favourite furry friends who happen to be one cat and one dog, which one am I? How do I define myself?

The more I thought about it, the more annoyed I got. In my opinion, these are two very different animals, who bring very different things to the table. Is this not like telling someone: “you can like either apples or bananas, but you CANNOT like both”.

Why not?

I love my cat for his quiet, wise companionship. He has an old soul; a wise soul. He sits with me, puring quietly and calmly, and doesn’t ask for anything in return except my company, near him. He just wants me, as I am, to be with him. It is very comforting, and very good to feel loved just for me, as me – no expectations or demands.

I love my dog for his unwavering, unconditional love and energy. He is a bundle of joy and laughter, at all hours of the day and night. He asks only that I love him, and in return, he loves me and shows me in a million and one ways that I am his whole world. It is an unbelievably fulfilling feeling of being not only wanted but truly needed by another living, breathing thing.

I love both of my animals, for who they are, and the joy they bring me in their own way. I would never expect my cat to run to the back door when I get home, to ask to go for a walk, or to act as though he hasn’t seen me in years when I step out of a five minute shower. I would never expect my dog to lie completely still, not needing any attention at all, just being present with me, in my moment, with a wise and calming sense of stillness, and of things being as they should in a singular place and time.

I would not give up even an ounce of either of their personalities, their needs, or what they bring to my life, for a second, just to be able to classify myself as a cat person ordog person. I am a love person; a pet person; a quadruped person… An animal person.

And that is just fine by me.

 

My family and I were out for supper on Friday evening, in an older building that had been in existence back when buildings used to have publicly available phones. These phones used to hang innocently on building walls, waiting to help connect once person to another person.

As we walked by the wall where a telephone once had hung, I noticed what was hung there now – a hand sanitizer dispenser. In that moment, on that wall, I was struck by how different our world has become. What was once a home for a tool used to connect two people was now a resting place for a tool that effectively disconnects people, routinely eliminating traces of handshakes or high fives.

While I am the first to admit the value and usefulness of health care tools in society, I am also firmly onboard the train of thought that believes, for all our tools and connectivity, we are becoming a world of truly un-connected people. People sitting at restaurants, on their phones; no eye contract or conversation. Social media posts for birthdays; no cards or telephone calls.

Indeed. The irony of the telephone hole was not lost on me.

 

I read an article a few days ago that piqued my interest (click here to read the article in full). In short, the article talks about how the ‘modern man’ is supposed to be many things to their partner and should avoid some specific pitfalls if they are to keep their wife and their marriage in good shape.

The ‘rule’ that I have the challenge with is #1: “Providing the basics for your family”. It talks about a man working overtime shifts, or keeping his mouth shut if he don’t like his boss so he keeps his job. I disagree with this definition of ‘providing’ for a partner in a relationship.

I am in a wonderful relationship; my husband and I both work very hard at different things and towards different passions, to provide a home for each other and lifestyle that we enjoy together. We make different amounts of salary – but to me, that is the very least of being a provider.

To me, a provider is someone who loves me, when I don’t love myself. Someone who makes me smile, when I’m down. Someone who carries me, when I’m too tired to carry myself. The job or the money is only a single, very unimportant part of all of this – someone who works long hours to ‘bring home the bacon’ is NOT a provider unless they do all the other things that their partner needs them to do along the way.

The idea of a provider within a relationship should also be targeted towards both parties within a relationship, not just the ‘modern day man’. The last time I checked, a marriage and a relationship is a two-way street. Both partners need to be committed to success if the relationship is going to work. Both people need to be invested to keep the relationship, the spark, the trust, and the commitment alive to make it through the good times and the bad.

So how do you define a provider? To me, to be a partner in a committed relationship is, at it’s very basest level, what it means to provide for the person you are with. The technicalities of what that provision looks like will vary in every relationship and to every couple out there, but think about your definition of providing for your partner the next time you work late hours, take on extra shifts, or abandon your partner for the sake or ‘providing’ for them.

What are you really providing? Is it really what they need? Providing isn’t ‘providing‘ if it’s not good for the relationship.