4/2/2018 0 Comments
What happened yesterday?
There are days when in the living of them I am so drained I feel my energy seeping into my feet, everything is heavy. My hands are heavy, my feet feel cast in concrete and usually that is when the things I don’t want to do rise high above the things I think would be a pleasure to do.
This is probably why I didn’t last as a county bureaucrat.
Even as I write this, five lousy minutes of writing, my to-do list is flapping her jaw about things I must do right away or the world may explode or something equally unenticing like cleaning the oven by force or fire.
Back to yesterday.
Yesterday I took trash out, repeatedly, at two homes.
I fed animals and children and myself. I washed dishes. I did laundry. I honored requests.
I wrote, blessed God I wrote.
I wrote a poem I am proud of.
I wrote a poem that scared me, that leaped from the page and seemed pretty good and people I like liked the poem so that says something to me.
I felt self conscious yesterday about the poem and sometimes that makes me worry I did something wrong, that usually makes me want to hide but yesterday I didn’t hide. I fought the urge and I stayed present and I wrote. I wrote. I wrote.
Yesterday I cried, just a little, and I felt sorry for myself briefly and I kept moving.
Yesterday I took the trash to the curb because they keep coming early and if I don’t remember the night before, all trash hell breaks loose (or threatens to, not unlike the world explosion or the oven cleaning by force.)
I keep writing. I keep writing.
I smile because this feels good even if it is just gobbled gook it feels good and I know that bits and pieces of it will flow into story somewhere somehow I can feel. I am allowed to feel good even when aspects of my day feel pretty lousy. I am allowed to feel better.
I am allowed to feel self-conscious and say “Hey, this was pretty cool after all!
The timer goes off and I laugh, because the writing started so slowly and built as I let my fingers type aimlessly about what happened yesterday. If someone had asked me what happened ten minutes ago I would have said, “Nothing much!”
This writing below was written #5for5BrainDump style which means - it was free flow writing no editing or forethought beyond finding this quote and starting to write. I'm Julie Jordan Scott and I host a Community Writing Experience (via Livestreaming on Facebook and Periscope) where we write together for 5 minutes for 5 consecutive days. You may try it at any time or see when our next session is but for now - discover the power of Michelangelo and this very shoe you see above.
"What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?”
I am going to give myself the gift of five minutes to write about something that has had power over me for as long as I can remember and I’m sure as a tiny girl the force of it was stronger than even it is now, so I will just come out and say….
My feelings still get hurt when other people criticize my appearance or if I fall into the comparison trap of “She looks better than me so….”
The thing is, I have never considered myself attractive. I will openly say things about not being conventionally attractive (please don’t leap in to debate me here). I look how I look. I will never be a size 2 or 4 glamorous woman who wears clothes like a hanger wears clothes. I will never have perfect, unlined skin.
Especially not now.
I know all of these things yet a few years ago when someone who decided to attack me did so about my appearance I was slayed for days.
Literally cried off and on. For days.
Does this mean I’m shallow? Will never be a success?
I love that performance poem about “pretty” on YouTube. If I can find it I will link it here – otherwise google it – great stuff – I actually get angry and alternatively hurt if people compliment my appearance because I don’t believe or trust in them anymore.
I have a mirror, I know how I look. I know it isn’t pleasing.
And if I could just get over this fact, I would perhaps be happier.
My five minutes are up. I can go write about what matters now.
My guess is there are other women I find quite attractive who feel the way I do about their own appearance. Ironically, I would probably label them beyond ordinary pretty and instead see their pure beauty.
Healing, continue. The next time I start to cry, self, remind me of this. Please.
1/19/2018 0 Comments
This was a stitched together quilt of writing - what started as a five minute brain dump became an engorged writing water balloon, stretched and not quite thrown.
If this was being published in a different context, I would edit it. Instead, I am leaving as is. Just right. Exactly as it ought to be for now, for you, for us today.
My breakthrough is built with a needle and thread, moved quickly and making that lullaby sound I heard consistently as a child. The sewing machine was a mystical thing because when I was awake, it was put away. I didn’t see it at work, just sitting waiting patiently in its case to use it again.
Sometimes when I waited for sleep to come upon me and close my eyes, I would gaze with fear at the crystal doorknob on my bedroom door that sat right at my eye level. I was convinced there were bad spirits living in there, ready to pounce when the lights went off.
Sometimes I could hear the sewing machine whirring, but it was always back in its box and put away when I woke up.
My mother never left her things out like I do.
I could have learned that skill from her, to neatly stow my materials and make way for a more conventional busy day. I didn't.
As a child, I would go to sleep with fabric attached to tissue paper puzzle pieces and wake up with a nearly finished dress hanging by the door frame, waiting for me to try on.
I remember one bad sewing memory. Amazing it is only one. My mother decided to surprise me with my church confirmation dress but I ‘abhorred the fabric and I really detested the pattern: it was either Simplicity or McCall's “Pounds Thinner Pattern” that looked so dowdy and matronly, not like an ugly and awkward fifteen-year-old but an ugly-and-awkward woman more like my current age.
I opened the door to what we called the TV room and found my mother, fabric and tissue paper pinned and half way cut out. “Julie," she said, frustration filling the air between us, "you ruined the surprise.”
I don't remember sitting down at all, I just remember getting up and leaving, so upset that I would have to wear that ugly thing in front of the entire church. I would have to serve communion in that ugly thing. It would be the last time some of these people ever saw me because we moved to California that summer.
I don’t know if the dress came with us on our move. I just know it was possibly the only piece of clothing I have ever worn that I only wore once (aside from my wedding dress I suppose.)
That doesn’t feel like a breakthrough. I think I need to wait for the lesson my intuition tells me.
It would be several more years before I told my Mom I didn/t want to birthday gift she sent me to college because it is something she or Sue would wear, not me. “I’ll just return it,” I said. Flatly, with no emotion. Or when I cataloged the years Sue got something for Christmas and a full year later, in January, I would get a near duplicate.
“Haven’t you noticed, Mom, Sue and I have completely different taste?” We still do, in most everything.
But that isn’t the breakthrough.
Earlier this Fall I cried when I referred to Glen Ridge as home: me who has declared herself without a home town. “Still seeking my town.” I tell people who ask. Not Dana Point, not Glen Ridge, certainly not Bakersfield where I’ve lived the longest.
That is not the breaking through, either.
My breakthrough is made up of disjointed moments in time.
I wait for it to shout itself clear.
My breakthrough is a poem, not yet written.
My breakthrough is a conversation remembered, an honest confession between beloveds. Salt stuck under my eyelids, pink fluffy socks never keeping my feet quite warm enough.
Missed deadlines, unreturned phone calls, worry about getting someone in trouble who claims to have called me back who didn’t. Why do I worry about her being in trouble when lying about calling me is wrong, especially in this circumstance.
“And I can prove it!” I told the other woman vindictively and immediately feeling remorse for this Diana I have never met nor spoken to who may get in trouble for not making the uncomfortable phone call back to me.
“I just want to make sure this won’t happen to any other people,” I tell the other her.
A day passes. Another conversation. Realization having a constructive conversation does not subtract what happened. The reality is still the reality. The humans underscoring that reality are still... that reality.
My breakthrough may be seen in retrospect in the distance, as I turn one calendar page to the next. I hear Emma behind me, eating a chocolate chip muffin. Coffee is brewing. I am at the keyboard, feeling a familiar brand of contentment.
This is the breakthrough right now. I will review these notes later, because I know there is more there in the sewing machine, in the "ruined surprise" and the dress worn only once.
I smile at my mouse pad, a slightly sunburned Samuel smiling up at me, and my desk-card table picked up at a thrift story I keep meaning to paint and haven't quite gotten to (yet).
The paint is the next breakthrough. The coffee and a chocolate chip muffin is my now breakthrough.
(You and I will talk again soon.)
We started our #5for5BrainDump late, due to fog... and during the process - I had to laugh as the garbage truck came and made noise and.... anything that might have blocked people's focus happened. Such great metaphors! As always, we may write live and with the replay (see the replay below if you would like to write "almost live" and you may write separately as I did here. Below, the prompt - and then, my words - yes written in 5 minutes.
I remember the dream I had…. I would say “Someday I am going to….”
And pffft it disappeared.
So now, I will say it like this…
Last weekend I set out three important goals, significant ones - built upon my daily choices and actions due to those choices.
Three “this is where I want to be, #Moreofthatplease” moments tucked into the moment in time when I stated them. When I spoke out and breathed them into being in front of an audience of loving admirers.
I think this is important.
I am speaking my dream in front of yaysayers, ones who share my vision and who can see me there sometimes better than I can.
To enjoy the digital nomad lifestyle, to adventure along the rails for a month this summer bringing my message to “the people” whomever lines up to hear it.
My message of the world is waiting for your words.
My messages in my books – Dear Autism Mom (You are never alone. There is hope, love and community) and Uber Poetry in Fly Over America (Restoring Hope, One Ride at a Time) will shift those I meet positively.
I can feel that. This is my dream.
My dream to be in movies realized – and to win awards, realized, to be a Mommy, realized…. To be significant…. Realized.
Add to these increases daily, moment-by-moment. I say my dream like this – the ultimate: to play a part in positive world transformation. Revolution by the People. Loving one another without the spewing hate or hurtful, destructive words.
To understand and come alongside, build and lift up.
This only took five minutes and I feel like everything has changed.
(Because it has)
There is something exciting about playing a game with friends, especially a really fun game where many of our favorite friends are playing along, too.
That’s one of the reasons I created the Word-Love Scavenger Hunt!
I know how fun it is to experience the miracle of word-love… and I know how fun it is to find unexpected blessings in random tucked away places and for that reason, I decided it would be fun to introduce this game via my live streams broadcasts.
Here’s how it works:
Join any of my broadcasts live or during the replay.
Does everyone really win something?
YES! You will receive up to 5 works of art if you submit 1 – 5 correct answers during the 10 day period. Anything more and you will get entries for the Grand Prize and naturally a lot of loving attention from me forever more.
I wrote twice about this prompt - so far. It was an achy prompt - and it hit me unexpectedly.
Strange when one's own prompt has this impact. I also wanted to look more closely at the first image I created without the words of the prompt in it, so I will post that one here, too. It spoke more deeply to me than the prompt with words.
Look into the face of this stop - no parking - support love - protest - small child looking stop sign and listen to what it says to you about being blocked and breaking free of block. Now. for my first five minutes:
My block is made up of colliding voices and misplaced words of fear and dislike and misunderstanding.
My block is made up of trying to get “it” right (whatever “it” was) and not believing I ever could.
My block is made up of people looking at me with what I translated as embarrassment, dislike, disapproval, meanness, judgment or…
I notice my flow leaves when I try to find a “perfect” word to describe what is a feeling, an emotion, a memory of receiving that glare and not knowing what to do with it so as a result, constructive movement stops.
No more slapping of the sneaker on the pavement. No more heels clacking on the linoleum. No more laughter and conversational banter or collaborative change making or day dreaming.
Sucked dry by glaring. Vacuumed up by embarrassment, wishing for invisibility. Suddenly realizing what I was doing was labeled wrong and since my self-esteem (like many) is astonishingly low, I stop progress for fear of continued retribution, not yet willing to engage my inherent strength.
And then….. (part two is below and now that it has been overthrown I am almost up to smiling.)
I wrote about block and got blocked.
It makes me wonder if going to one’s confessor makes one sin more: it just makes you feel bad and ugly and all that old garbage just floats up and damn, it feels bad.
I wrote about block and then did my Mom duties and felt bad about my Mom duties. Even my moments of tenderness and praising my son somehow made me feel like a less able mom when actually, having confidence in him is….
I remember when I went to girl scout camp and all my mother could do was talk about how brave I was for going to camp without any friends. I was excited to go on my own: lots of new people, a fresh start, and every time she praised me for it made me feel bad.
How could she not notice what I naturally enjoy?
I made that mean, “She doesn’t notice me,” which was actually an assertion I strove for so I wouldn’t get in trouble, but what I also made that mean was, “She doesn’t care about me,” which I could never verbalize would naturally tumble into “I am not loved.”
Recently I read somewhere that attention equals love. That’s what many think. If you love someone or something, you pay attention it that person or that object of your passion.
When you are in a family of six kids, one expects not to be noticed which is why I sought being noticed elsewhere.
The gift of being able to go to Girl Scouts camp alone translates into being comfortable traveling alone, being comfortable doing most everything alone (although I would enjoy having friends along most of the time.)
It turns into a block when I make it mean all sorts of extraneous stuff it doesn’t mean at all.
Then there is that other side of me:
When people glare, are mean or belittling, I put on that “These people don’t know who they are dealing with” sort of energy.
That “I’ll show you what I can do!” attitude that is one of my trademarks.
I used this when I was in coaches training quite a bit. It brought me gifts of physical prowess (shocking!) and other successes and until now, though, I think my trainer's voice echoed in my ear and in my blocks when he said, "You can't do that" to me when I said, "Except, I know I am." burst from me.
The “I’ll show you what I can do!” attitude is what fueled me to make calls to a local service agency today in attempts to unblock a broken piece of my story. This agency provided context for my most recent personal horror. I've been trying to reach out to them for some sort of fixing it or healing or at least entering into a conversation and their continued unwillingness to engage me in conversation is getting tire some.
It was attempting to work through this block that may have been what caused my resulting brief visit to the brick wall called the doldrums.
(All these words are an illustration of where the block may take you and the freedom of free flow writing which helped remind me of the multiple associations AND MOST IMPORTANTLY has helped me find and fuel the way out.
Standby, beloveds - for more resolution.
I am grateful for my stubborn nature. I am grateful for winding roads, dappled with shadows from leaf rich trees that remind me of home. I am grateful for people who do listen to take away the sting of those who ignore or who are so busy thinking of their next argument they just don't hear.
I am grateful, I am so grateful.
Word Love Scavenger Hunt is HERE!
Here’s the scoop in a sweet little gift box for you:
11/30/2017 0 Comments
I facilitate the writing. I hold space for the writing. There are times before I even have a chance to move my pencil that the impact of sitting with others while they write has an enormous impact.
Before we write, we breathe deeply in order to become more present to the prompt and to each other. The breath connects us. Today was like every other day except for my broken coffee maker and later the smell of vinegar.
The prompts were so simple – which is sometimes a key to the breakthroughs that come as a result.
Today I am choosing to… Today, I am shifting – or something like that. There was a choose and there was a shift, but given my own five minute timer I am worried less about getting it absolutely right than I am remembering into what happened while writing and remembering my own shift.
Today I am choosing to stay centered and fine with whatever happens. The coffee maker ceases to work so I am not caffeinated and that’s just what happens. I move along.
Today I am choosing to slowly and surely put pieces in order, pieces that have felt broken or missing and I will be aware of the steps I need to take not in a rigorous lock step way, but in a “oh, yes, here it is I’ll take care of it now” sort of way.
Today I am shifting out of my harried, do everything for everyone else space. So when I washed my car so carefully and mindfully it was as much or more about anyone else caring, even though I know it will make the car more pleasant for anyone else who rides along with me, that was neither the focus or the intention.
The focus and intention was my greatest good, my pleasure, my awareness.
That just feels slightly…. No not slightly, revolutionary and contrary.
The timer is going off.
But before I go – I read a great poem this morning I believe I found because of creating this shift with the others who participated in the #5for5BrainDump broadcasts this morning.
It is called “Gretel in Darkness.”
It was exactly what I needed to read, exactly what I needed to ponder and be open to today.
Today we wrote using a technique I first learned from Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones, The True Secret of Writing and more phenomenal books. We used two "couple" phrases to write from and when I did my own writing, was amazed at two different "findings" - read this brief writing to see what I discovered.
None of this has been edited from the original, it is all straight brain dump.
At the end of the writing you may see the original recording and write with us! YAY!
am receiving/I am not receiving.
I am giving/I am not giving.
I am receiving more time – yesterday I definitely did. It was fascinating when I opened the door through repeatedly focusing on “receive, receive, receive” my nemesis – TIME – suddenly calmed down. I actually found more time to get more things done more effectively. I am receiving more time.
I am not receiving pain. I am not receiving pain unless it is fruitful for me to receive the message and take action. Pain is my friend when I receive it constructively.
I am giving love and hope on my broadcasts for #5for5BrainDump this week. Have you ever felt you are onto something bigger and better and yet so familiar from the past it is like returning home, to the home you didn’t know you had? That’s how I’m feeling right now. Traces of heaven – I realize, I’m receiving because I’m giving myself the gift of broadcasting on a subject I’ve covered in the past successfully via teleclasses and as of before had not done so in livestream. I am giving.
I am not giving myself over to lack. I am not getting trapped in the lack labyrinth.
I am receiving unexpected and yes, very welcome, praise.
I am not receiving harsh critique.
I am giving kudos to myself and giving “thank you’s” when I’m praised.
I am not giving in to my fear, niggling fear like may come in tidbits this morning at Samuel’s IEP. I am remembering the Catherine Ponder quote we used today: “Whatever your problem, it is but a test in love. If you meet that test through love, your problem will be solved. If you do not meet that test through love, your problem will continue until you do! Your problem is your initiation in love.”
I am receiving the realization five minutes may be a long time to write when it is this rich, this abundant, this full of goodness even at what might sometime may be seen as “negative.”
I am not receiving that sort of label – it isn’t positive. It isn’t negative. It is what it is…. And that… is.
I am giving peace, love and joy as the five minute concludes.
I am grateful for timers. I am grateful Catherine Ponder wrote and shared and wrote more. I am grateful for YOU, reading this and those who participated on today’s and yesterday’s broadcasts.
I am grateful. I am receiving. I am giving. I am whole.
Julie Jordan Scott
is the founder and creator of 5For5BrainDump. She has been inspiring artistic rebirth since 1999.