There are many times in my life, where I walk to the door and open it – for no other known reason, on a conscious level, other than I find myself with the door open and must now deal with whatever is on the other side to be pondered upon further, later.
I really don’t know why I find myself, often sleep-walking, to the door to open it – in dreams, in real life, in metaphorical life – I just do sometimes.
One time, long ago, that ‘urge’ answered scared the bajeezus out of me, as I opened the door in the middle of the night to find a drunk male on the doorstep of the apartment where his long ago girlfriend used to live, and I, to this day! cannot tell you why, in the middle of the night, I got the urge to get up, open the door and look upon the night!
(It turned out okay – and is a story for another day…)
But I was recently reminded of ‘opening doors’ experiences in my life –
Experiences that encompass both literal and metaphorical ‘opening of doors’ –
Just yesterday, I interrupted ‘work’ to get up, walk to the kitchen and open the door and had done so before I was really, even aware of it
(In my monkey chatter brain, I was still sitting, working on figuring out a ‘better’ way of doing such and such on a website – then I ‘woke up’ to find myself standing in the open doorway and gazing out at the back yard.
Yup, I hear ya – it’s rather scary how lost I get in me own mind sometimes)
Oakley, the wonder dog, was not barking –
There were no sounds to ‘entice’ me to do so –
I was in the middle of working! for the love of all that’s holy!
There was simply no reason, that I can point to, for me to ‘get up and open the door’.
But I did and WOW!
I nearly cried in relief!
The local wild turkey flock that likes migrating around our small town (and whom the town website begs us “not to feed’, and all I can say is, I Don’t Feed! On purpose! I swear! Who wastes money on birdseed other than those living in apartments? Can’t we just choose instead to under harvest and call it good??)
Yes, the flock was right there for me to view and feel relieved over seeing it.
It feels like a century has passed since they last visited my place!
I “woke up” quickly enough to grab my phone, snap a couple of pics, and then came back indoors to sit and ponder upon the entire episode.
#1 Oakley, the wonder dog, never fails to intrigue me
She is getting older. Her cataracts are getting worse. This winter’s fronts moving through or colliding with each other has, despite my best deep broth with herbs in it, cooking for her and me, operations, has still been hard on our hips/joints.
Somedays? She lays wherever warm/comforting, and while she doesn’t immediately jump up to move out of the walkway, she does, often, lay so still, I figure, ‘maybe I can just carefully step over her’ and, still, despite all prior experience, believe I can do such things, without risking her scrambling up, tripping me with the end result of me falling on her….
Rationally, this ‘belief is, overall, such an insanity for me to keep repeating…. I know her history and our history together and after 10 years, why would I think she just magically changed overnight?
Yup, twice in the past fortnight (that’s 10 days or 2 weeks, right?)
I durn near killed us both, scared my son when I yelped (to save her from yelping I wrenched my back) and just a few nights ago twisted my ankle and still managed to pull her hair cause I didn’t ‘land my foot’ quite clear of her bushy, long winter coat.
What a ridiculous thing for me to think, given her and me, that I can ‘sneak by’ and get away with such things – I SHOULD know better!
I’m trying hard to nourish us both more and not repeat my insanity of ‘it’s okay, I can quickly step over her’ operations….
She has heard this promise from me before – she is not wrong in rolling her eyes when I pet, double check her and promise once more I’ll ‘do better’.
She’s heard it all before – but continues to forgive me.
Dog is God spelled backwards and I get to experience this live and in person, every time I’m an idiot in my own home.
#2 Why do I just mindlessly open the door? Just cuz?
Am I getting ANY better at paying attention? Even the slightest bit?
Probably not…but maybe…just perhaps….
I am connecting more deeply on a subconscious level and just don’t recognize it?
WHAT is it?!?! What?
But more importantly, to me, is:
Why do I continue to do this? Why? When I have memories in my brain that maybe this isn’t the best thing for me to do?
Me talking to myself
I can only surmise I do such things, still, despite past experience, because it turns out good more often than ‘not good’ and thus, the possibility of reward greatly outweighs the risk of loss.
That little thinking tangent trip didn’t take me long…..I’ve had long training in examining Returns On Investment on many levels during my life…
#3 What does Turkey represent?
Relief flooded into me upon seeing them. I pick apart and dig into my inner depths of brain, soul, heart, to ponder why such a huge feeling of relief washed over me upon seeing them.
I often ponder for pure entertainment – can’t help myself….there is always something to learn more about me or things to laugh at myself over – is that egotistical? Maybe, but I tired of being the ‘teacher’s pet/professor’ in school. Now that I’m in “adulting it” phase for a long time, I still strive to be the class clown – it’s more fun and I’m an adult can choose to be so, now.
Oakley was not barking outside, nor was she rushing inside, jumping up and down in her eager, notification to Mom way….
“Mom! Mom! MOOOOMMMMMM! C’mon! Hurry! Ya GOTTA come and see THIS! MOOOMMMMM! C’mon!
Oakley during thunderstorms, winter night snowfall, new feral kittens showing up, flock of birds in the driveway, lost FedEx driver who gave her a treat in hopes he could safely ask for directions, etc.
Nope no hype or notifications.
Instead, I wake up in the outdoors to see her calmly standing, with her tail down to not ‘startle’ the flock and doing her stand guard over them.
What does that mean? (oh, my fave question overall – even if I make up my own answers….)
She doesn’t just ‘bark’ for no reason, right?
Does it mean she is losing her mind to old doggie dementia when she is fine with the turkeys but not okay with most people personages that drive into the driveway?
Maybe…MAYBE her barking might mean most folks who come here are in high stress levels for various reasons and not at their best and she feels it her job to alert me?
Maybe she just knows I fear not, turkeys, but have gone deeper into hermitude from human interactions, or only doing them in a distanced way, because I WANT to hold the safe space for others, but this year has taken SOOO much energy to hold that space and put myself and ‘my shit’ into the background – sigh –
Maybe she is just doing her doggie thing and it is pure human egoism to believe it ‘means’ something in her world when I’m sure she doesn’t torture herself as much as I do, thinking such silly questions….
Perhaps I have quietly felt guilty that I haven’t made as much progress on my garden plans as I hoped to and the last two dry years during which I didn’t water things, had me worried I had ‘damaged’ the land through my inattention to the point of alienating Mother Nature.
For me? even if it’s garter snakes? (me no likey snakes, but still!) When the wildlife shows up all calm and ‘comfy’ here on my place?
Yes, I own the book, I own the tarot card set (which he signed because I ‘was led to open that door’ at the bookstore quite a few months before I even KNEW I would be invited as a guest to go to a week long retreat where I could take classes from him and/or even knew who the heck he was… I felt drawn to the box and thought, “hmm..I’ll purchase and see what is what…”
Oh, how surprised and pleased I was to show up at the workshop, with my card pack and during the lunch break, ask him if he would ‘sign’ them, while I told him the story of the magical breadcrumbs that led up to that moment in time that I hadn’t really planned for…at all.
Turkey signifies both service to community/others BUT also the news I’m about to receive a gift of some sort – such as winning the lottery (or witnessing a beautiful sunset), among other things which didn’t ‘land’ fully with me.
Another broad feeling of relief washes over me – nearly as profound as when I opened the door as saw the turkeys in my yard.
I volunteer for many local operations on a weekly basis and I often witness beautiful sunsets/sunrises/nature, so I can only surmise, I must have subconsciously latched onto ‘getting a gift of material’ help, as I have been deeply distressed over shrinking income this past year, and wondering how long I can last if things don’t perk up here soon.
I’ve also wondered whether I have the energy/creativity to ramp up some brand new thing/option to earn $ from or should I try to make a living from becoming an urban farmer as first option, with websites as the side hustle, INSTEAD of websites as main/gardening as a side …maybe someday…option ….?
Historically and STILL! Farmers do not fare well, overall, in empires either being built or falling apart…unless their first name is Dr. Steven – – 😀
Yes! That’s IT!
I realize I have been worried over it all – worried over the fact that I often spend my ‘too tired/worn out to do quality work to move forward in website land or do one more webinar, training, get better at this or that, options, but realize too, I sink right into learning more about herbs, herbalist lore, cross-checking and double-checking garden plans, how to grow the nourishing and useful here, reorganize drip irrigation and area plans to conserve water, .permaculture systems and patterns,etc.
Perhaps I’m just in winter of the soul and yearning for spring –
But, let a flock of turkeys show up in my yard, and I ceased to worry about it at all…
On one level, I am back to resting in faith all I have to do is show up and do what I can, when/where I can and remember to rest/take care of myself, instead of worrying/stressing/burning the candle at both ends, which is, overall, what landed me in this long season of malaise/broken/stuck in the first place -and…
Walla! I took a nap in the middle of the day yesterday – 3 whole hours and I’m not even a ‘nap’ personage. But apparently I needed it even though I’ve managed to heal enough to sleep 9-10 hours per night –
One portion of inner me just KNOWS I’ll regret that wasted time sleeping, at some future point –
While another portion of me says, “Try it, you’ll like it, it’ll be fine!”
Sometimes my inner committee drives me batshit crazy – overall – oooh! so many options!
Sound Silly or Ridiculously Optimistic to you?
Yup – I’m open to either possibility. Especially since I can’t remember the last time I bought a lottery ticket….
On the other hand, I have long felt that “Whatever Works” is a good place to begin when stuck in the depths of ‘doing the bare minimum and who cares?’ cross-road junctures and I do remember/know this…for me….
If I’m low on energy, then I know at the depths of my cellular being that worrying/stressing isn’t going to bring me through to the wonderful land of insight, inspiration, creativity AND provide the energy to do what needs be done to reap material rewards from the society I live in….
So, any story I tell myself, after the story was just delivered to my front yard that says,
P.S. – In cross-linking this post to ‘back stories’ I thought some might want to know more about – I was reminded to call on Antelope when stymied or stuck – wow! The door is DEFINITELY open without me having to do much of anything – really – except to open the durn door while sleep walking….
Two things I learned early on once I started attending school – –
Saying “I Don’t Know” isn’t safe
Your ‘best’ is never good enough
The Fallacy of “I Don’t Know”
I remember the first time a mentor said to me, at work, “Tamrah? It’s okay to say you don’t know”.
I was 27 years old and had been in workforce for 13 years.
To my mind, I HAD said I didn’t know – they considered my long winded reply of,
“Not sure how that can be done now, but thinking if we did this, then that info would be more quickly available and I’ve been playing with this tool and I think, if we do a merge between our database and this document, then we can have those stats and records available in one living document that updates each time we open it….”
Me, not answering the question by saying, “I don’t know “
Apparently, as in school, I was wasting everyone’s time by not just saying, “I don’t know” and was committing a grievous sin by not living up to my potential because, well, I SHOULD have known (because they think I’m smart) and I then had to pay the price of time via listening to the lecture about how my entire survival, future, ‘place in the world’ are ALL in question right about now – how I can’t let everyone else down and disappoint them, because I was too lazy to ‘know” and I SHOULD have been prepared and known, right then and there!
It’s my Dad’s fault….
When he asked a question of me, if I didn’t know, it was an ‘opportunity’ to share, educate, inspire, motivate – It wasn’t a trap so I could be humilated in front of God and everyone –
Thus, my dad, in all his faults, was, and still is, overall, in my mind, my first and best teacher. Ever!
Systems are in place to TRAIN people
For good or for ill….
First school, then various jobs held and bosses worked for, and customer services classes I was sent to as part of ‘staff annual in-service training’, and later, massive marketing and internet “anyone can say anything at any time” were all bent on ‘training’ me to make it not safe to say I don’t know or ask questions, etc.
All educated me very well to learn – “Never, ever, EVER! say you don’t know – offer something else, baffle them with bullshit, explain to them why they don’t need/want that, keep them happy and content the entire time you do such things, say it loud enough, often enough, strongly enough and every one will believe you.”
If you do such things wrong?
Well – trip to the principal’s office OR getting blessed out/chewed out by your boss in front of the customer and burn inside while the smug smile “I’m smarter than you and I got what I wanted” plays across the customer’s face….
It DOESN’t Matter that after the customer leaves, your boss, turns to you and says,
“That’s okay – they’re a jerk. Don’t worry about it” –
BUT I have to worry about it now
That total jerk of a customer is so damn happy they got what they wanted and got to watch the show about how powerful and influential person they are, they will just keep coming back and upping the stakes, every time!”
Or in the principal’s office – I was asked ‘what happened?’ and often – the answer after I replied was –
“Okay – sit out the period here – go to your next class and don’t worry about it”
And yet the teacher didn’t change – their demeanor didn’t change – how they treated me didn’t change – and though I didn’t darken the principal’s door very often in 13 years, I did make some trips there under pressure from those in charge and over and over heard the ‘don’t worry about it’ but nothing really changed….overall.
During which time, GOOD teachers resigned or moved elsewhere under pressure from the jerk citizens in the community – or the gossip mill, etc. Because it was just easier to move on that it was to stay and the one who ‘adjusted’ into ‘being allowed to stay’ went from being one of my favorite teachers to being just one more ‘brick in the wall” –
This Music Break from Commentary courtesy of Pink Floyd
And so, in so many ways, over so many years, I learned to do EVERYTHING I knew to do, except say “I don’t Know” and leave it at that.
I gave into the Bullies of Life – oh – so many times….
I learned to anticipate and try to head off problems later, by quick ‘well, just do this now” operations – someone else will figure out how to fix the inherent issues inherent in my need to keep my job by coming up with a 2.5 second answer to an ages long system problem…..
I learned to quietly spend my off hours coming up with solutions to solve problems no one but the workers who dealt with it everyday in operations, even knew existed, in hopes, someday, someone would give a shit, while every day, to earn my paycheck, I showed up and did what I was hired to do that actually, often, just made the problem worse by ‘solidifying’ it into ‘business as usual/I should be grateful to have a job/this is how it is.” echoed thoughts planted in my brain by others.
Whether allowed to ‘implement’ my solutions or not – didn’t matter – when the day dawned, in a meeting, where higher ups were demanding answers for ‘better’ or scratching their heads and wondering how to ‘increase productivity, lower costs’ etc., happened – I was PREPARED and I KNEW at least part of the issues and I would speak up and say, “One quick win to help see gains quickly would be – – ” and truck out what I knew.
With a tool or plan to make it happen.
And then my job was to counsel my co-workers on “okay – if you didn’t have to waste time on normalizing data, doing your job, compiling that report 3 days out of every week, what would you love to launch, build, do, during that time?”
OH! The wonderful and creative suggestions that came out of those talks! How I trucked off to meetings and presented them, with all the graph charts, stats, analysis of things and at the end of the day?
Too many in charge of decisions chose to say some version of
“So what you’re saying is, we pay you minimum wage, as a temp, to build this and we can lay you and 50 other people off once it’s launched, right? That will save our bottom line AND we can charge the customer MORE because we are so efficient and streamlined – this is green, too right?”
And I would successfully streamline myself out of a job, and I started working harder to NOT streamline others out of a job because I learned all I did was sign their death warrant.
But I got used to making myself obsolete as fast as possible, moving on to the next ‘job’ and well – I learned to not invest in much in any of them, OR if I DID, I knew my ‘cut bait’ point, red-flag warnings – –
Just like everything else in my daily world was becoming obsolete AND I also learned, over and over –
Good Enough is NEVER, (really) Good Enough
I also learned early on with reminder lessons most of my working life, your best that day is never good enough – if you show a natural affinity or talent for something, oh…the hoarding masses of humanity always just want MORE!
If you have a spectacular win of a day, where you saved the sinking ship or saved the company $238,000 for the coming year with stats to show the savings after the first week of a launch – not enough –
I sincerely don’t try to ‘rest on past laurels, but seriously, can I rest for a bit to recover from the huge push done on my entire being, to get this sucker launched? Is that possible?
I actually feel sorry for public figures – they have to be nice to the camera and news crews and figure every time they step outside of their secured compound, are seen or open their mouth – they MUST, no matter what, feed the “more! Better!” crowd.
But, in my earliest memories – Getting a report card with the ‘right’ grades that reflected my potential, just got harder and harder the more time went by and become less and less fun – enough was never enough and at some point?
I got mad and rebelled
Submit a book report? Not Good Enough –
I would get it back with a serious, “you’re in trouble look” with a harsh RED “B+”, with copius red comments all over it, and an associated lecture of
“You are better than this – rewrite, do the edit and resubmit for extra credit and I expect better from you next time”
From teachers who routinely passed over any extra effort, and to my mind, were complicit in the bullying of classmates who could barely read out loud at 5th grade level, even though we were in high school.
Teachers who often shoved me into ‘tutoring’ a class mate, for free, during study hall – yeah, I KNOW that sounds harsh – I have lots of teachers in my family/friends circle – but not one of my ‘peer tutoring’ operations that ‘counted’ were ever over my own, “Can I help?” efforts – they only ‘counted’ after I was shamed into helping –
Have Reading Month Contest hit the school? With prizes individually and for the class if we all read our books, submitted a paragraph about the book and our teacher expects our class to WIN! salesmanship from the motivational teacher?
Okay, I can do my part – I pulled out my fave books from 2-3 years ago, re-read them, did my submissions, made my list and submitted weekly.
I did what you wanted, right? Those books are on our ‘recommended reading list’ and these were the ones I liked and no hardship on me to re-read…..write up a short report on and fill out the log…..
Nope, Nothing doing!
I was somehow ‘cheating the system’ or failing someone because I simply did what they asked, according to their stated rules of the game – and in my world? Personally? Each title should have ‘counted’ for each time I HAD read it – for scores on books read, because, when we re-read our faves, don’t we just dive a little deeper and learn more?
Sigh – No – the fact I counted even once, that many durn books, that I HAD READ (re-read) that WERE IN MY AGE GROUP for reading – during that time frame, was a real problem, thus, I must be saved from the criminal lifestyle early and often – cuz I’m showing signs, already…..
(Which never happened but apparently they thought it was going too…..)
I had to pack up all the books from home library, haul them to school and do a private conference with teacher who picked a book at random, opened a page, read a few sentences and then said, “So, what was happening in the story just then?”
The same teacher who said, “don’t be disrespectful and just answer the question” when I said, “That character says that often – which time? Is it when [this happened]? or [this?] Let me see how far into the book you are because he says that more than once….”
Which may have not been disrespectful, but I reached for the book because it was sorta half and half visually and a lot happened in the middle of the book and physically, the book was half way opened……
(I wasn’t lying and the teacher gave up after book six or so and finally asked,
“What are you reading now?” and I said,
“Gone with the Wind – but I’m sorta sad about the war battles and the wounded and no food at Tara and Scarlett isn’t sure what she is going to do – so I set aside while I did this assignment”
I was in sixth grade. And was informed of the horrors of slavery and how I simply COULDN’T be reading THAT book because it was horrible and disrespectful and…well – I learned and remember a lot from that book – on human nature – what happens when you buck the system, stand up to the system, how you can lose your way and lose what it is most dear to you all while you figure out, what you did hold dear wasn’t really what you wanted/needed all those years –
I learned a lot from reading that book – and when politics and society seem to be running amok – I re-read that sucker in hopes, it centers me better and reminds me of just exactly what I’m gonna hitch my wagon to, why and what price I and my loved ones will pay if I choose wrong
And Then I Grew Up/Grew Old…
I’m still operating off my childish beliefs -and what I learned over the years from mentors older than I.
It’s still scary to say, “I don’t know” and leave it at that – period. No further information at all – no further attempt at discussing the issue – or looking for possible solutions – that still – is so hard for me –
I still get really angry with folks for whom, enough is never enough – whether they are asking more of me, or those I love, or demanding more from the world – I still get really fired up with anger because, I finally let the water shed of it all come out the moment I turned 50 years old.
Training – again – ’50 is a milestone’ thinking….
I officially became a self-labeled eccentric, mouthy, ole fart that believed I knew more (on this topic or that) than others based off the number of years I had managed to live…
Why? Because I NOW had my own wealth of experience to draw on and well – I was seeing a younger generation repeating the same mistakes of past generations and well – – shouldn’t I give them a book report on it? Just to be nice and try to save them from lost to the sands of time info?
But no, that’s not the real reason – the REAL reason is, I’ve often had friends older than me – most of my life – the older you get, the more they die and you discover, hmmm…I need to hang out with those younger than me if I don’t want to spend as much time grieving without fun times mixed in
I also, AGAIN, had been trained well – my friends who were forty or fifty when I was 20 would say (back then) “You’re too young to be dealing with these health problems” and once I was 40, 50, etc., they are 80 or more and when I say, in support, “Oh, yeah! my joints say a storm front is coming in – congratulations to us! We are our own barometer!” –
They would respond, “Well you’re a spring chicken, you’re too young to have those issues” and at some point, I’m thinking, “I’ve hung around folks my entire life who can’t say anything unless they are one-upmanshipping someone else” –
Sometimes I have patience, sometimes I don’t –
Sometimes I try to connect, show empathy/vulnerability to connect with another and I don’t word it right – STILL! – and they believe I’m one upping them or trying to judge them –
Sigh – – we’re all trained – to some extent and often, to much extent on many fronts –
I Invested 15 years of my life working up to the “I’m 50!” milestone….
I learned to speak up more, say “I don’t know” with no qualifiers or suggestions even though it durn near killed me to just say, ‘don’t know/no go’ and leave it at that.
I’ve worked hard modulating my voice and asking in space where I actually am interested in hearing their answer the “Why isn’t this good enough – what, exactly, are you wanting from me?” – to friends, family and bosses – here and there because I learned in my late 20s trying to ‘carry the load of other’s expectations’ was killing me.
I started walking away earlier and faster when the ‘games’ of the past seemed to be playing out more often/intensely…
With a “hey! you do you! But I can’t or won’t walk that path with you.”
Took me a long durn time, this latest go around, to get moved past my ‘stuck’ feeling from days, weeks, months ago – maybe even years or more – on this front and that –
But, just to ‘ease myself’ back into no longer being stuck?
Well – writing here – where I don’t have to know – I don’t have to be the best – just ‘good enough’ and it’s enough for today – and, if you’ve read this far?
You may not share my ‘core stories’ that no matter how many times I wash-rinse-repeat, I STILL manage to have, and this grand age of being more than half way to a century of not dying young living, I find – when I get stuck?
Takes me awhile, but I finally work my way back to the core stories that linger in my brain, soul and heart from early training –
Every time I remember that?
Well – I see it as a nudge – from inner me – that says,
“Oh for the love of all that is holy – so what? You’ve done this several times and it’s never as scary or fraught with all the potholes you talk yourself into believing are gonna happen – so go out and say, “I Don’t Know – Say – This is what I can do, right now – Good Enough, right?” and, remember….
It’s not world news tonight – –
Just, for the love of all that is holy (note to self) NEVER run for public office or become famous – otherwise the descendants of the teachers you had, that suspect you are talking about their loved one – or the teacher’s union (which is full of great and wonderful people!) will destroy you, first chance they see….
See? I’m still not completely over the ‘mind-talk’ and all
– but ta-da! I wrote something.
And if you’re reading this?
Ta-Da! I hit the “publish button” and let the “you don’t know, you should admit you don’t know, this isn’t good enough” feeding frenzy begin –
Because, today? Instead of just being a consumer of what others write or produce?
I produced something for the sheer joy of writing it down – editing it some – not talking myself out of it and for me, where I’ve been for awhile?
Ya know what disappeared from WordPress.com some quite long time ago?
That I still miss?
The ability to hover over my top icon bar ‘avatar’ for my login and just log out right from there – –
Nope – NOW! I have to click, wait to go to profile page, wait for that screen to load on rural internet service AND then, truck from the far right corner of the page/screen to the far left side, a ways down, with my mouse, to log out – –
If I’m missing something, feel free to say so in comments – but for me? Just another example where “Please!!! DON’t LEAVE US’ desperate software marketing tactics that make it more time consuming to leave than it is to stay and/or ‘not thinking about end user at all and saving them time” coding/performance/UI” examples abound – –
That, for me, has been my grumpy-arse take on much of this stuff, for a long durn time – – oh, if I had a nickle for every time a ‘new and improved’ update in software meant more time wasted doing what I used to do fairly quickly’ was true —
I’d be retired and have all kinds of time to waste on the slew of small things, every single day – – LOL