Self-awareness 101: If I Tell You I’m Doing Nothing, This Is What I Mean

…or maybe you won’t. Who’s to say?

OH MY. Cognitive dissonance. I got it.

The other day I realized that I’ve been saying something that’s not necessarily true.

Yes, that would be me, the one known for telling the truth no matter what.

You see, I keep saying that during these last few months of low-key blogging, aka my Summer Hours, I’ve been doing nothing.

That I’ve been a slug, first class, with honors.

That’s what I tell everyone.

BUT the reality is I’ve been doing many, many things behind the scene here in Chez Bean.  Things that are decidedly not interesting or exciting or worthy of a blog post.

And that last point, I realized in a moment of self-awareness, is how I divide my life now.

After all these years of writing a personal blog.

For the heck of it.

TO WIT, there are personal stories, or topics, that go into this blog and there are personal stories, or topics, that aren’t worth the time to muse upon, let alone type onto this virtual page.

I wish I could tell you that I knew when I started to divide the events in my life thusly, but I cannot.

I just know that’s how I do things.

Now.

And that when I say I’m doing nothing I mean: I’m doing nothing that would interest you so I won’t even mention it.

While Spring Rain Falls, Musing On How I Feel Now

A prismatic spectrum of colors resulting from last weekend’s sun shining through beveled glass onto neutral chair fabric. Cool huh?

What a wet week it has been so far.

After a lovely sunny weekend that suggested Summer was here, we’ve been inundated with rain.  Constantly.  The kind of rain that brings flash floods.

Spring is back and says *HA!* fooled you, sucker.

My gardening projects are on hold because I don’t do mud.

Plus I’m a mellow woman so I’ll get to weeding + planting + trimming in due time.  It’s not like the flower beds are going anywhere.  Even with the threat of flash floods I think our yard is safe.  It won’t be washed away.

Thus instead of being outside in the garden I’ve been sitting inside our screened-in porch observing the weather, watching the gray sky above, noticing the monotony of falling rain. This has put me into a contemplative mood about these last few months.

The great pause, as many are calling it.

These long days during which many of us are not doing what we thought we would be doing this Spring.

I find it trippy to realize that everything in society is being transformed around me while I sit at home waiting to see how these changes will affect me and my relationships and my lifestyle.

This colorful and smart graphic clearly demonstrates all the feelings I’ve gone through in these last few months. You too? [Click on graphic to go to source.]
On the one hand I feel completely insignificant.  Passive, even.  Just waiting, twiddling my thumbs.

However on the other hand I feel *hell to the yes* I’m doing something.  I’m actively holding it together in the middle of a pandemic.  I’m demonstrating a bit of grace + tact + cooperation while feeling wistful about, but not dwelling on, what was normal.

A normal we’ll never see again.

I accept that life is different now, but what I think it means for me, how I feel about it?  Well, my feelings are all over the place while the hours pass and I muse a little more.

Waiting to get into the garden, and my life, again.

~ ~ ~ ~ 

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

How are you feeling about these last few months? 

Do you find yourself going back and forth, up and down, hither and yon with your feelings?

How do you hope to feel in the future?

~ ~ ~ ~ 

Photos From A Car Ride On Saturday Afternoon, Just Because

Spoiler alert: pretty photos do not necessarily make for an exciting blog post;  however I work with what I’ve got, adding some attitude with my words.

THE BEGINNING

Saturday the weather was unusually clear and sunny and cool.  It was a perfect day to do something, if there’d have been something social to do, which there wasn’t.  So instead of having a nutty at home, we went for a car ride.  Like old people.  

Here is a park bench with no one sitting on it.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen this particular bench without someone sitting on it.  It kind of unnerved me, but ’tis a different world now, hey what?  

This is a photo of a charming gazebo that suggests a refined gracious lifestyle and the patience to, or the bank account for hiring other people to, maintain such a folly in your yard.  Cute, huh?

Here is a field as seen from the car window.  To me, a non-farmer, it looks about the same as it usual does.  I include it here because it is something I saw and the sky was a snazzy shade of blue, don’t you know?  Pretty.

This is a photo of a horse doing her best to ignore me.  I wanted to get a picture of her face, but she was having none of that.  Not that I blame her, I don’t like having my picture taken either.  Too personal.

Here is a soccer field without one person on it, near it, around it on a Saturday afternoon in the suburbs.  If the first photo is one of amazement, this photo is a one of disbelief.  In over 20 years of living around here I’ve never seen this field empty like this at this time of year.  Just weird.

THE END

Which Three Personality Traits Are Helping You Deal With Today?

Photo by Johnson Wang [@jdubs] via Unsplash

• • •

YEARS AGO I TOOK AN ADULT EDUCATION night class about managing your stress. The 4-part class was offered by a regional hospital and was taught by a woman with a background in massage therapy who was at that time working on a graduate degree in religious studies.

She was wise & funny. Delightful in her pragmatic approach to life.

To be clear this was not a class aimed at finding the causes of your stress or analyzing why you had this stress. It was a class based on the assumption that the sources of your stress were your own business, specific to your own life.

The class was about creating a “tool box” of positive coping behaviors;  that is, by learning to breath in the moment or detach from your ego or chant a soothing mantra or acknowledge your own worth, you could deal with your stress in a healthy way.

The premise being, quite simply, that if you know how to calm down in any situation, then you’ll do better at whatever it is you’re doing.

Is this not true?

~ 💚 ~

ONE OF THE TOOLS I REMEMBER FROM this class was the question I posed in the title of this post. We were encouraged to think about who we were based on our own particular personality traits. [List of 600 personality traits here.]

This was trickier to do than you might think it’d be.

To wit, we were NOT describing ourselves in the sense of our relationships so saying I’m a wife, a niece, a sister-in-law was wrong.  And we were NOT describing ourselves in the sense of our job titles/hobbies so saying I’m a manager, a writer, a walker was wrong.

While those descriptions of myself were accurate they weren’t the point of this mental health exercise.  They were considered a distraction from understanding yourself better, a way to gloss over who you really were.

NOPE, we had to state who we were based on our own self-awareness.  We had to acknowledge our individual personality traits whether they be considered a strength or a weakness, then accept the trait.

To thine own self be true, you know?

~ 💚 ~

I HADN’T THOUGHT ABOUT THIS CLASS IN a long time, but over the weekend I realized I was reminding myself each day to focus on three personality traits, allowing myself to feel empowered as a result of it.

I realized why I was asking myself this question and thought that maybe someone else might benefit from using this simple approach to stress management.

So in conclusion here is my answer to the question.  For me, most of the time my personality traits that are helping me deal with my days during the pandemic are: 1) I’m organized, 2) I’m creative, and 3) I’m perceptive.

• • •

What about you, kids? Care to share which three personality traits are helping you stay above the fray, cool in every way? Or if not cool, at least sane for most of the day?

• • •

In The Countryside: A Leisurely Walk Along A Trail, A Quiet Study In Contrasts

The sun came out over the weekend so we went for a walk along a biking + walking trail that runs through the area.  [Read a previous post about it HERE.]

Usually when we walk this trail going out into the countryside the trees are leafy green so we cannot see what is beside the trail, but this being late winter the leaves on the trees didn’t obscure the views.

This is what we saw.  Much of it was new to me, even though it’s been there all along, just hidden from view.

I’m sure there’s a lesson in this post but I’ll leave it to you, kids, to discern it.  I’m still trying to figure out what time it is.  Spring forward, my Aunt Fanny.

~ ~ • ~ ~ 

The trail out into the countryside seen with hardly a soul on it.

~ • ~ 

An old house with a bowed roof that appears to be someone’s home.

~ • ~

A McMansion in the process of being built next door to the previous house.

~ • ~

Three trailers parked across the way from the McMansion.

~ • ~

A gazebo in a township park close to the trailers seen above.

~ • ~

A rustic creek with new apartment complex overlooking it.

~ • ~

Bicycle sculptures with benches, a place to rest along the trail.

~ ~ • ~ ~