Monday, January 2, 2012

Twenty-Four Goodbyes



Ever had an anxiety attack? Nausea, dry mouth, heart racing--that inescapable awareness of being in the shadow of death that makes you want to run for your life?

The fight-or-flight response is an animal response to stress, and we human animals experience it when, for example, a lion struts into our living room or, more commonly, when we are avoiding emotional lions.

Don't flee--feng shui!



This morning, I came across a wonderful project that helps us contemplate the lion in the room and, instead of running, teaches us to open the front door and wave good-bye to the big galoot.  On her Chakras Yoga website/blog, writer and yoga teacher Marylee Fairbanks invites us to join her 24 Things initiative during which we are to let go of 24 things in 24 days.

"Letting go can be a challenge.  We sometimes feel that we are defined by our possessions or are the sum of our experiences.  Over-identifying with feelings or things can cut us off from life's bountiful possibilities."

An example she gives is her son's baby clothes, which he has long-outgrown.  The tiny outfits are like talismans, evoking a cherished time that has now passed.  Exactly what would it mean for Marylee to give away her son's clothes?  What is she grieving?  What does she want to hang onto?  These are the kinds of questions we must ask ourselves as we select what to let go.

Day 1--Here's My White Flag, I Surrender!
Ican'tIcan'tIcan't.  I've given up my house, my privacy, my illusion of autonomy!  How can I give up one more thing, when all I want to do is ClingClingCling?

Can I give up the Christmas tree?  Not so much because its needles are carpeting the floor and the cats are getting better and better at swatting balls off the tree, but because I am symbolically saying farewell to...

Oh, I know.  Just bite me.

Can I give up some of my mother's junk?  Would it count if I heaved the salad spinner and the broken electric mixer that smells like athlete's foot or the 60 or so assorted empty containers that hog every inch of shelf space?  No, of course not, because they're not mine. Fucking, fucking hell.

Wouldn't it be cool to be born on New Year's Day so you could just blow the whole thing off? I just got home from my dear friend Shaimaa's 29th birthday dinner celebration and not a word was said all evening about resolutions or new beginnings.  Driving home, though, my kids asked me what my resolutions are this year.

"Okay," I said, "but you guys go first."

My son, Omar, rubbed his belly, which was full of chocolate cake.  "Well, I just wanna get ripped.  I have a four-pack right now, and I plan on having a six-pack later this year."

My daughter, Leila, who has spent the year struggling through reading assignments mandated by our school district as an unintended form of punishment, valiantly proclaimed, "I'm going to try to actually read my books for English.  Oh, and I'm going to make up all the ballet classes I've missed.  Now you, Mommy."

"I think your resolutions are great--you've got good, well-defined goals and you know how to go about reaching them--"

Omar interrupted, "You're stalling, get on with it."

"Well, you know how resolutions are kind of punishing--?"

"No they're not!"

"Think about it, it usually involves giving something up--"

"Yeah, of course," said Omar.  "You work hard so you get what you want.  Duh?"

"Okay, that's true.  But I was just reading this really interesting article on a yoga concept called sankalpa.  It's a Sanskrit word and it means will, purpose or determination.  So with sankalpa, instead of declaring a negative intention for something in the future, like 'I'll give up chocolate,' you state a positive intention in the present tense, something like, 'I choose healthy foods.'"  (Did I mention before that Marylee starts her New Year with 24 Things in conjunction with sankalpa?)

"Mommy, you're so weird.  So what's your sankalpa?"

I'm thinking jerk, but instead I tell Omar, "You've gotta be very careful how you word your intention.  I'm not sure yet."

"Hah!  You're procrastinating again--it figures."

Leila to the rescue, "Mommy, it doesn't need to be perfect--or you can fix it later if you want to, but you have to say something now, on New Year's Day."

Breathe.  "Yup.  You're right.  So I was also reading about this cool New Year's thing where you give up one thing every day for 24 days."

"That's good, Mommy."

"No it's not, Leila.  It's stupid.  Don't Buddhists talk about giving up stuff and not being attached?  If you're letting go of stuff, then that's as much of a New Year's punishment as a resolution."

"You have a point, you really do," I said, instead of saying jerk.  "But by letting go of stuff, you make room for other stuff--on an emotional level, too."

But Omar wasn't buying any of this.  "If you have stuff, why do you want to get rid of it?  Isn't the whole point of having stuff that it makes you happy?"

As I was about to go over to the dark side, Leila chimed in again.

"So, Mommy, what did you let go of today?"

My pride?  Jesus, I still had no idea what to let go of but, as the saying goes, if not now, when?


When we moved into my mom's house in November, I treated us to a new set of sheets for the double bed Leila and I are sharing.  It's very pretty, white damask, 400 thread-count, very luxurious, and I really shouldn't have spent the money.  But I always have the same problem. I use the fitted sheet and pillow cases, but not the top sheet because we use a duvet.

The point is, I have every top sheet I've ever bought in my lifetime, for me or the kids, jammed into our hall closet like a dirty secret.  I don't have a sewing machine, and I've never actually sewed anything, but I've daydreamed, "I can use this to make a duvet cover that'll match the sheets.  Or one side of it will, anyway." It's like the paradox of one hand clapping, what's the point of a one-sided duvet cover?

Why do I keep them?  Am I afraid that I won't be able to justify the cost of the bedding I actually use if I pitch out the useless sheets that come in the same package? Should I launder and bag the lot and donate it to the Vietnam Veterans of America?  That would mean putting it off for ages, and what are the vets going to do with a bunch of old sheets?

"Leila, Omar:  you know that white sheet that keeps falling out of the bathroom cabinet?  The one we keep tripping over and Pablo grooms himself on?  That sucker's going down."

That's my wimpy white damask flag of surrender and I'm letting it fly.  The sheet's in the trash, and the next time I visit my own house, I'm purging the linen closet.  I'll have room to organize what we actually use, and I'll still have room left over.

But why do I feel so judged?  A better person would have used them.  Someone better would have lovingly laundered and pressed them for the Vietnam Veterans.

But I'm letting go.


Day 2--Giving Up On Triumph
In my meticulously organized storage closet, the mundane hidden center of an otherwise cozy, messy home--a small space where everything has its place, mostly in transparent boxes that have been labeled with a labeler and where the shelves themselves have been organized into clearly defined and labeled zones--there is a small problem.

You'd have to look very carefully to be able to find it.  On a shelf, between the boxes of stationery and a red solo cup full of my favorite Pilot pens, it's there:  the green box.  To open the box is to become Aladdin, claustrophobic and bedazzled in a dreary cave, agog before an open treasure chest of gold coins and priceless jewels.

The box is brimming, not with treasure but with an array of antique buttons: engraved brass, gleaming nickel, and miniature faces cast in oxidized metal, studded with seed pearls, carved ivory flowers, filigree, copper, mother-of-pearl, polished wood, colored glass and even plastic in sweet shades of ribbon candy.  I bought it for a dollar at a garage sale; the sticker's still stuck to the green leatherette.

Just writing about it makes me feel greedy--just conjuring its image is to fall under that magic spell.  Why should I get rid of it?

Maybe because I so rarely seek it out, and because just thinking about it gives me almost the same thrill as actually clawing my fingers through it, and also because I am making room for something else.  Although I'm not sure just what it is, I know it's magical, too.  And it needs space.

On the top shelf, I need a step stool to reach a shadow box I've been saving.  I bought it when I was willing myself out of the madness of unrequited love, and I felt an angry ritual was in order.  I had a definite plan for the shadow box, which was to house the relics of a love that never fully existed, a phantom love. The centerpiece of the shadow box was to be a yellow post-it note with only one word written on it, in his handwriting.

Triumph.

It's the name of a bar.

I'd saved that note for ages and put it in a safe place--so safe I can't remember where. My shadowbox composition depended on that scrap of paper, on that word, and it was lost.

Time to give up on Triumph.  I had wanted to believe that I could, somehow, conquer my feelings--that if I couldn't be loved by this man, at least I could stop loving him.  Perhaps I can control some things--assign them labels and store them in clear boxes on designated shelves--but not this.  Triumph, alas, is not a concept that belongs here.  It is what it is.

So.  I want to arrange my buttons inside the shadow box, on a black velvet background.  I have a few ideas.

1. Which ever buttons are particularly evocative, arrange them in neat rows, up and down.  (I guess I'll need to borrow someone's hot glue gun.)

Then use the beautiful origami paper I bought, also for my original Triumph piece, and write the tiniest, almost undecipherable labels for each button, as if they are artifacts--emotional artifacts--or samples on a specimen board.

These labels can include the emotional spectrum, but also phrases or reminders of whatever feels relevant to me right now, at this particular time.

For me, it's playfully turning the idea of managing emotions on its head.

2. Take a few of the most interesting, beautiful buttons to the beading shop and make a bracelet.

3. Give whatever is leftover to my mother, who has an even bigger box of old buttons she's hanging onto or, God help me, give it to the Vietnam Vets.

I'll post a photo of my masterpiece whenever I finish it, but in the meantime...


Day 4--Happiness is a Warm Gun
Houston, we have a problem.  I was supposed to be getting rid of stuff, not buying more stuff.

The thing is, to realize my creative vision let go, I needed the following supplies:


1.  tiny brass pins
2.  black velvet
3.  a hot glue gun
4.  parchment paper
5.  a calligraphy pen


So I compromised and bought tiny brass pins, black felt, a mini-hot glue gun, drawing paper, and the slimmest sepia marker.  And I enjoyed every purchase.  I enjoyed asking where to find each item, and I enjoyed selecting each one.  There, I said it.  Biggest thrill all year.

But there's more.  Instead of paying my bills or doing laundry yesterday, I plugged in my hot glue gun.  It looks like a toy and is the color of a Granny Smith apple.  I arranged 36 buttons in six rows  containing six buttons each.  And then I shot my gun 36 times.

But there's still more.  I drew 36 tiny, curlicued banners and inscribed each one in elegant calligraphy, including such words as grief and receding hairline.  Before I'd finished I was already sick of it, sick of every flourish, every whining, suffering, sniveling verbal ejaculation of unrequited love.  And then I stuck 36 pins in it.

I took my drawing book to bed with me and brainstormed words describing the love I want, and I framed each tiny word in a more modest banner and this morning after I'd cut out 17 of the 36 words, carefully gliding around the wavy outlines of each banner, I stopped.

Alas, there's more.

I wrote 36 words describing what I want from life, surrounded by a small rectangle, and I snipped away.  According to Sartre and the rules of sankalpa, I'm acting in bad faith when I share with you one of my secret, sacred words:

fun

That's right, I said it.

After admiring my finished shadow box, I noticed a scrap of paper on the floor with five extra words, and I'm letting go of them.

I figure, this ordeal is worth at least five days:  one for throwing out some buttons, two for ditching Unrequited Love, three for ditching Ideal Love, four for ditching the extra words, and five for questioning rules that don't serve me and letting them go.  Six for giving up the blog?



Day 6--Letting the Genie Out of the Bottle

My father's office

In the house where I grew up, my bedroom was the largest, a mirror-image of the living room directly beneath.  After I left home for good (or so I had believed) my father used the room as his "office."  (He had an official office downstairs, but mostly used the dining room, where he spread out papers, knee-high, on the floor, stacked the table with books, kept his ancient Royal typewriter which, to my dismay, my mother sold after his death.  Every time he changed the typewriter ribbon he had a ritual.  He would type a short story, usually erotic, and often titled "Attempts.")  His upstairs office was a bit like a stage set, with a desk and a file cabinet, but it was mostly used by my father and his mistress.

This morning, I let go a little more the idea of leaving here, and decided to roll my sleeves up, make the best of it, and open a path into the big bedroom.

The built-in bookcases are haphazardly lined with the detritus of past lives.  One shelf is devoted to desiccated perfume bottles, sensuous, rounded shapes labeled with beautiful names like Nuit de Noel, Arpege, Eau de Caron, Balenciaga Le Dix, Quadrille, Shalimar, Tigress, Sandalwood, Ivoire de Balmain.

The bottles are mostly empty, with a kind of resiny essence clinging to the inside of the glass, but if you open a bottle and lift it to your nose, there is a hint of scent, a reminder.  The bottles form a beautiful collection one might label Nostalgia. Nuit de Noel was the most potent.

In 1984, after I'd been home from college for a few months, having been dispatched from the school infirmary because of debilitating anxiety, April 18 was the first day I was able to do any work on my Baccalaureate Essay.  I was surrounded by perhaps 20 books, and instead of fear, I suddenly felt greedy to read and write.  (I can't remember the title anymore but it had something to do with a very ambitious explication of a teeny-tiny portion of Genesis from a feminist perspective.)

I closed my bedroom door and sprayed myself with my favorite scent, Nuit de Noel--lots and lots of it!--in celebration, and I worked till it was dark and dinner was ready. While I had plunged into the sanity of books, across the hall my grandmother, during her afternoon nap, had died quietly in her sleep.

The next time I used Nuit de Noel, it was like reliving that day; all of it had been captured in that bottle.  I returned the perfume to its shelf and, I admit, opened the bottle from time to time when I came home again over the years.

There's no thrilling genie in that bottle; if there is, what dark wishes does he grant?  Why capture the precise, alchemical  horror of a particular day?

Unless I'm the genie.  With the blink of my eyes, I command.

Bye-bye bottles.

Sayonara fire extinguisher, circa 1974.

Ciao broken ironing board that was last used by my grandmother more than 20 years ago.

As-salaamu alaykum moist towelettes of questionable origin.

Arividerci three gross, rusty loose-leaf binders.

Hasta la vista two defunct telephones.

And don't let the door hit ya
Where the good Lord split ya.

Day 10--Unplugged



In the spirit of letting go I went home this morning and unplugged my cable box.  Actually, three cable boxes, my modem, and a wireless router.  After unscrewing 75 cables that apparently connect each box to another seven devices--cables that I hope belong to Comcast because I wouldn't know what to do with them if they're mine--I packed them up, with the three cable boxes, the modem, the wireless router and three remotes, and returned them all to the nearest Comcast depot, four towns over.

But before leaving the house that was formerly my home, I emptied the fridge.  All the furry fruit and wrinkled veggies were reassigned to the garbage and the garbage was taken to the curb.  Anything that wasn't past it's expiration date was put into a cardboard box and moved to the trunk of my car to live out the rest of its natural life in my mother's fridge.  Our fridge now.

I emptied the freezer, too; my Totino's Pizza Rolls and Trader Joe's Vegetable Gyoza will now reside in my mother's freezer alongside her Lean Cuisine and her six glasses (painted with jousting knights) that she likes to keep frosty.  In our freezer.

I scrubbed the glass shelves with warm, soapy water and then spritzed everything with Fantastik.  I buffed the damp surfaces with with paper towels.  Then I pulled the behemoth away from the wall, and I pulled the plug.

Day 21--Boomerang Consciousness




The law of karma may sound goofy to skeptical Westerners, but our tradition readily grasps the Torah's eye-for-an-eye model of mirror punishment and justice.  (How the concept of mercy enters East and West is a little murkier--Jesus is all about love and turning the other cheek and Buddhism is about compassion, but in the end, we still fear Judgment Day and the merciless cycle of reincarnation.)

The concept of karma may be mystical, but it's undeniably logical. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Karma is just the law of moral causation.  What goes around comes around.

So, after 21 days of consciously letting go of one thing and another, what do I find?  Not emptiness, not regret, not pride.  I find more stuff.

In the last three weeks, I've donated seven bags of items to the Vets.   As I set the bright yellow bags marked VVA on the porch for pick-up, I wondered uneasily what on earth the vets or anyone else would want with my old sheets or a pair of ugly gray metal bookends or any of it.  I'm creating sacred space, I remind myself.  Or am I just cluttering the universe?

Then Rambo stopped by with the air mattress that had been on permanent loan.  He was returning it to me, along with a garbage bag full of extra hangers for baby clothes that I'd given him; he hadn't needed so many hangers after all and the kids preferred sleeping on the couch.  At first I had a heavy heart:  Oh, no, more junk.  Then:  Eureka! Someone else can definitely use those little hangers and now all we have to do is make up the air mattress and one of the kids' friends can come for a sleep over.

As the 24 days draw to a close, I see there are many ways to understand the elegant karmic equation that to let something go means to let something else come.  We can't always predict what will come based on what we've let go.

I've been bothered lately by the name of my blog.  It started off as a kind of irritation--like a grain of sand stuck in the fleshy maw of an oyster.  I wanted to explore the shameful thing that makes me hold myself captive.  A psychic cab driver in New York once told me, "You are like a horse perpetually rearing."  Maybe that was his standard pick-up line, but I don't think anyone has ever described me better.

Debilitating as it is, I was always kind of amused by my grand-scale procrastination, and I could laugh at it--and the more I blogged about it, the freer I felt.  I was still not doing the same things I had always avoided, but I was finally doing something else I'd always wanted to do.  When you share important, unseemly things about yourself, like being fat or horny or scared to death, you experience the dreaded shame and fret over possibly being dismissed as a narcissist, but then you finally move along.  You move!  The most gratifying is to discover others have felt as you do, that you're not alone, that maybe to share one's own fear is to ease someone else's, and then you've made a connection.  That moment of connection is the moment of bliss.  But just the risky act of sharing one's innermost thoughts--as if they're of any consequence to anyone else--that builds confidence, and confidence builds trust.  Trust in what?  Trust in oneself.  Trust in (I'm so sorry to have to say this, please don't let me die of embarrassment) the universe.

I don't know quite how to let go of The Daily Procrastinator.  It was a funny name, a neurotic name, and to change it means I have the audacity to take myself seriously--and who will like me if I'm all serious and stuck up?  Will I like myself?  God, no!

Well, let me be brave and tell you my New Agey story.

One evening, when I still lived in my own home, not long before my mother learned she had a critical heart condition, I was driving up the hill to my house and I saw an enormous red cat glowing in my headlights.  I stopped, the animal stopped, we assessed one another patiently, and I said to my daughter, "That's a fox."

A small red fox with a pointed white face that was illuminated by calm, remarkably intelligent eyes, and an astonishing red tail that would put a Maine Coone to shame.

Should I have told Animal Control?  Would they help the creature find a more hospitable habitat?  Or would they kill it.

I saw the fox again after I'd moved in with my mother, on the same road, but this time as I was driving away from our old house.  Again, we both stopped and acknowledged each other before continuing on our way.

I wondered if the fox had moved on or been hurt until I finally saw him again, on New Year's Day. Evening had just fallen and he was, to my horror, halfway between my mother's house and my old house, crossing Harrison Street by the Princeton Shopping Center, no longer headed for the woods.  There were no other cars in sight and, as usual, we both paused.  I felt certain we could have sat down, right then and there, and had a meaningful conversation.  But even if he's my familiar, one always experiences a measure of fear in the presence of an untamed animal.

Last night, I gave in.  I didn't call Animal Control, I searched the internet and found Kitsuné, the spirit fox.  Japanese lore from the 7th century describes these creatures, found even earlier in China and India:  they're not poltergeists but creatures of metamorphosis,  and they do not normally live in the human world. "Kitsuné are the outsider, whether as [spirit] or as demon...Japanese stories do not explore their world."  They often appear disguised as a charming girl.

My personal kitsuné is not traditional, and it's impossible to tell if he is spirit or demon.  Either way, he extends an invitation I find hard to resist.

So, just in case, I reserved the blogname, "The Kitsuné Journal."


10 comments:

  1. Love this and your writing! So glad you are joining in! Your image of letting the white flag fly is PERFECT..

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  2. I think you should give the sheets to charity. Or at the very least, put them up on freecycle.

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  3. Thanks, Marylee! All I can think of this morning is, "What next?"

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  4. Leslie! You came to play!

    Okay. You have a point, and I do feel karmically inadequate and properly shamed, and sad for all the sheetless masses, and I actually agree with you.

    But. You've got to understand my point of view. I was under pressure, the clock was ticking--it was almost midnight--and I had a job to do.

    And I did it my way. Cause I know if I held onto the sheet under any pretext (the Vets, or repurposing the fabric, etc.)I'd just end up procrastinating indefinitely.

    How's this: when I round up all the sheets from my closet at home, I'll donate THEM.

    Done.

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  5. I am the slow one! It has just hit me that procrastination and resolutions are one and the same thing!!!!!
    We are in Bad Faith (Sartre ... check it out) just by announcing for all to hear what our New Year resolutions will be. This very public act implies that we don't REALLY believe we will do what we say and hope for ... even writing a secret list to yourself ... same thing; trying to convince yourself that you will DO IT in the New Year!
    The minute we utter our wishes procrastination sets in ... if not straight away, I guarantee it will two weeks into the new year.

    I am very choosy what I loose ... and why not?
    If I follow a kind of 'no gain without pain' Calvinistic logic should I then feel good about my self (inflicted) discipline?

    Why not keep little sneaky wishes like 'I will loose weight', 'I will get fit', 'I will ...etc'. and pounce when the time is right ... no, I mean, when the time is right I will pounce! So what if it is the end of March or the middle of May ...

    No predictions = No procrastination!

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  6. That's brilliant! Did I mention that sanpalka thing (don't laugh) about having an affirmative intention rather than making a resolution MUST be kept SECRET. (I'd forgotten.) Yet another parallel between Buddhist thought and the Big E(xistentialism), right?

    Words are powerful, but SECRETS are more powerful!

    That masochistic (Calvinistic) crap is so deeply ingrained and really no fun at all.

    How about selfish, indulgent resolutions? I resolve to have a full-body massage in 2012. Take THAT, Calvin!

    I like that you are choosy about what you lose. We both love our "things" and imbue them with all sorts of meanings and associations. What's the point of having things if they're merely "things," just tools. We crave beauty and soul.

    Minimalism has its selling points, but I think it's cruel to impose that kind of austerity, as if emptiness is a virtue that confers tranquility.

    Time to go play with my buttons!

    xxx

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  7. (Alpaka? Sorry, it's sankalpa.)

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  8. Alpaka? Sankalpa? Nope never heard of them.

    Maybe there is something about resolutions that touches on this 'striving to be whom we are not' syndrome?

    IF I were the kind of person who lived in a minimalist living space then why am I living in a cluttered one? So why the hell 'should' I assume that to get rid of my mess will transform my life and make me happy. If that were the case, I would have already done it and be mindful to be constantly attending to 'it'.

    Accept that if I REALLY wanted to, I could make many changes that I think I want to. Really wanting to and then doing it must remain a non logical mysterious happening!
    But if it is not happening (like you wanting to loose weight, me wanting to loose some weight) then I am making it not happen cause something is more important ... like this morning, having my second piece of toast with peanut butter. I put that first. When I am in serious diet mode than nothing would make me even consider eating that second piece, or chocolates etc etc.

    Moral of the tale?

    Swim with the flow not against it and make changes when they happen: silently and for myself.

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  9. Sis, I like disagreeing with you almost as much as agreeing!

    Here's where I agree: proclaiming my good intentions publicly is sort of like empty propaganda--I'm trying to convince myself and/or someone else by publicizing my intentions. It's bullshit.

    I'm not so sure that change just happens. Of course things change that are beyond our control, yadda yadda, or we gradually evolve, but...

    When the inside of my car is spotless, I feel good. I like getting in and I like having passengers and I feel (God help me) that things are as they should be and my mind is clear.

    Right now, my car is filled with debris. My trunk (your boot?)is sky-high with Xmas kitsch I need to take 'home' and I can't see out the back. Whenever I turn a corner, empty coke cans (some of them are empty)and plastic water bottles roll around the floor and clatter like mad. There are dead leaves under the accelerator and sticky crumbs on the dashboard (Leila, not me). And it smells funny.

    When I drive, I feel like all the creepy crawly shit of the world is pressing up against me and my sole purpose is to ignore it and keep driving. I want to go straight into detox as soon as I get out of the car.

    I don't like living in chaos and I don't like cleaning up. There's an eternal power struggle between Clean Me and Dirty Me. I always want to BE clean and I never want to DO clean.

    I think it still goes back to procrastination and living in the moment--doing nothing provides the illusion of freedom and is always preferable so that's what I usually go with.

    Isn't 'cleaning up' swimming against my natural flow? But I feel so much better AFTER I've swum upstream. I flow towards gluttony and self-indulgence, but I feel better when I exercise and back off sugar and fat. It's a constant battle.

    I think that you are a rather disciplined person and I am a rather undisciplined one. When you make your mind up, it's done. The flood gates slam down and when you're determined, nothing else gets through. When I make my mind up, I'm still battling the current.

    It's like you 'choosing to procrastinate.' Every action and inaction is a choice, sure, but it's neurotic (should we just say unhelpful?)to consistently make damaging choices because they are they easier to make.

    With the 24 Things, I agree that it's stupid to chuck an item a day for 24 days just so you can say you've done it and feel good about the sacrifice. I'm looking at it as a kind of spiritual exercise--because I'm a hoarder, and because I feel better with a little space and order. The right choices, it seems to me (in my life) are always the more difficult ones, and I usually take the easy way out. With this exercise, I'm experimenting with self-discipline.

    QuaQuaQua.

    I picture you swimming slow and steady and muscular, and every so often taking time to just float on your back and rest, or splash around and play.

    I picture myself...well, I don't know how to swim! But I do float extraordinarily well, and I know how to flail.

    (Toast and pb sounds so good--I'm off!)

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  10. I know, I know! And guess what, I feel the same:

    I don't like living in chaos and I don't like cleaning up. There's an eternal power struggle between Clean Me and Dirty Me. I always want to BE clean and I never want to DO clean.

    Look how excited I get when I sort through my papers and throw mounds of stuff out ...or clean my car INSIDE and out ... or clean a kitchen cupboard so the shelves are smooth and clean, not sticky and furry and everything looks clear and neat!

    But I doubt that it would be so fucking satisfying if it never got chaotic, or shitty ... would it? Like washing dirty windows: LOVE IT!

    I agree when you say: I'm not so sure that change just happens. Of course things change that are beyond our control, yadda yadda, or we gradually evolve, but...

    I sure as hell have to make it happen, but I also have to have a kind of patience and wisdom if you like, to know that there are moments where it is more likely that I will be able to make something happen.

    The mystery ingredient includes incentive, which can come in many different shapes ... and hit me unexpectedly.

    To be cont. babe! xxxxxx

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