Thinking About Good Vibes Only: What Inspires You? What Limits You?

A friend said she was looking for inspiration.

She wanted it to be online, not in her real life because that was what she was trying to rise above– the people and situations therein.

To be clear, she wasn’t talking about inspiration about how to remodel the kitchen or plan a party or how to take better photos. Nothing like that.

She wanted to find something/someone online who had an encouraging message that resonated with her.

She asked me what inspired me online and I said people who write about their lives, share their joys and defeats, perhaps a few photos, a few quotes. I like getting to know individuals and how they process their lives.

However that was NOT what she wanted.

No, and this is where I thought the conversation got interesting, she was looking for an online group of people, a niche really, wherein she could belong. She said that her idea of inspiration was to be part of a group, then do what the group did.

That idea, in the context of looking for inspiration, seemed foreign to me, someone who joins in group things every so often but doesn’t make a practice of it. I’ve nothing against being part of a group, but I usually find it limiting, not exhilarating.

The conversation went on a bit longer, morphing into a discussion about what it means to be independent. That is, do you find yourself thinking you are independent because you have the freedom to join any group you want? OR because you are free to not join any group and do your own thing instead?

Obviously there are no right or wrong answers to the questions posed in this post, but the conversation prompted me to contemplate how I live my life, where I put my power, and the assumptions on which I base my actions when seeking inspiration.

Thoughts, anyone?

Ally Try Again: Re-evaluating My Rules Of Life, As One Does

As you may recall The Spectacled Bean is on Summer Hours.  

This means I continue to show up here every few weeks. I write about anything that isn’t current events, instead leaning into my penchant for flapdoodle and twaddle.  

Thus I give you the following.  

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Deconstructing What Was

SORTING through old paper files I found the above.  I published it 13 years + 6 months + 21 days ago on January 01, 2007.  I wrote it, complete with disclaimers, in the context of a New Year’s Resolution + my guidelines for how I wanted to live my life.

For many years this is how I approached my life.

However thinking on my rules of life in light of today’s world I find the above useful, but not in step with how I conduct myself now. And that’s where I want to be, not stuck in the past, like some lost soul who longs for what was.

So I sat down with myself and analyzed what I’d written before.  I decided that when it comes to rules of life I liked short action statements that get to the point.

I also decided that I didn’t want my new rules of life to include pithy sayings [like the watermelon seeds one in the example above].  I say pithy things, but those are personal mantras or succinct commentaries on a particular situation rather than actual rules of life.

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Creating What Will Be

PONDERING what my new rules of life might be, I deleted the ones from before that no longer served me.  Then I made the following list of potential rules adding ones that I believe might be helpful now.  In the bracket behind each rule I wrote what core value I was thinking about when I chose this rule.

Do your best [trustworthiness]

Less is more [simplify]

Maximize your options [creativity]

Pay attention, life is in the details [knowledge]

Ditch the mean people [self-respect]

Keep moving forward [growth]

Say thank you often [gratitude]

Follow your muse [authenticity]

Do no harm [kindness]

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Questions Of The Day

Comments, anyone?

Do you have rules of life you follow? If so do you rethink them, then update them from time to time?

This list is not definitive, it’s in process. What am I missing here?

TGIF: I Answer Jill’s Questions Over There While Announcing Summer Hours Here

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THE JILL’S QUESTIONS OVER THERE PART

Jill Weatherholt asks questions, oh yes she does.

In fact she asked me to answer her questions, so I did.

Should you care to read my answers to her questions then click on I WANT TO READ ALLY BEAN’S ANSWERS TO JILL’S QUESTIONS and you’ll be magically taken over there to her blog.

Forsooth.

THE SUMMER HOURS HERE PART

Wanna know a secret, my gentle readers? Yes? Well then lean in closer and I’ll tell you one.

When I chose SIMPLIFY as my word of the year I planned on taking this summer off from blogging.  Just bug out completely.  Detach entirely.

However plans change.  Perhaps you, too, live in a state where you are still being asked to stay at home?  Well, we do and we are.

This is the end of Week 13, by the way.

Now clearly I have the time to post to this blog, but summer [in the northern hemisphere] is when I’ve found that personal blogging slows down to a dribble.  Plus I’m in a blogging rut, in the mood for a change, a simplification as it were.

Thus I’ve decided to adopt what I’m calling SUMMER HOURS.  To wit:

  • I’ll be posting my usual flapdoodle and twaddle here every other week instead of weekly.
  • I’ll be posting mid-morning, probably on Tuesdays, thereby allowing me to have a relaxed morning in keeping with summer’s mellow vibe.
  • I’ll be commenting less frequently on your blogs, keeping up weekly with the cool kids who keep up with me.

And with that I wish y’all a groovy weekend and a happy summer.  I’ll be here when I’m here.

LOVE ‘YA. Mean it.

Which Three Personality Traits Are Helping You Deal With Today?

Photo by Johnson Wang [@jdubs] via Unsplash

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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?

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Flowers Of Yellow Make Me Feel Mellow When Words Escape Me

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It’s Tuesday, the day of the week when I plan on posting to this blog.

‘Tis a fact.

However, I’m finding that I have less to say than normal, words escape me.  Or perhaps I’ve become more succinct with my words when I use them.

In truth I’m becoming more relaxed, introspective about my current lifestyle.  All things considered I’m cheerful and content to spend more time at home;  I figure if this is how you stay healthy, why not become a hermit?

[Meant to be a rhetorical question but worth pondering.  How well are any of us adapting to this stay at home lifestyle?]

So in lieu of me rambling on here, attempting to write about my usual flapdoodle and twaddle, I’ll give you the following which is delightfully wordy and worth a listen.

On The Allusionist, a podcast by Helen Zaltzman, there is an episode called “Tranquillusionist: Your Soothing Words.”  It’s 10 minutes of unexpected aural mellowness while Zaltzman reads 343 words.

[Click on HERE to be taken directly to the page on which you can find the doohickey thingie that lets you listen to a podcast on your computer. Or follow The Allustionist on a podcast app on your phone and find the episode there.]

And with that, I wish you well, my gentle readers.  May you find ways in which to honor and center yourself while remaining safe during a strange time in the history of the world.

Live with intention. Engage with clarity. Share with joy.

Everyone doing OK under the circumstances?