Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Here I Go....

Today is the day I said I would introduce my business.

I still don't have all the details worked out, but I may never have everything exactly the way I want it.

I just need to take the leap and plan to make adjustments as I go along.

Drum roll please....

My business is Naturally Intimate Linens, which produces eco-friendly textiles for sale in my etsy store.

I have started another blog where I will journal about the business as it grows and the products as they are created.

That blog is called Naturally Intimate Moments. It will be there that I will write about what I learn, what comes to mind as I work to create products, and what those new products are all about. I invite you to visit there and let me know what you think.

If I wait until I am totally ready, I will never do this. I will continue to share the bumps in the road of life here ~ this place will continue to be more about my day-to-day journey.

Ready, set, go!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Last Monday In March

March is going out like a lion with wind whipping through the trees and rain hitting every side of the house ~

Leo had the right idea this morning. He positioned himself in the only chair he's allowed to use, on his own, in the living room ~

He quickly fell asleep and has been there all afternoon ~

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

T Minus Six Days

It's official: yesterday I attended the third and final follow-up session of the entrepreneurship skills class I took last fall. There were seven of the original fifteen of us there yesterday; some people have found employment and all of us are in varying stages of getting our businesses up and running.

New Ventures. That is the name of the course, one of the many programs offered through the Maine Centers for Women, Work, and Community, which originated in 1978 as a program for displaced homemakers. Displaced homemaker is an outdated term. It used to refer to women who were separated or divorced, women who were starting over.

I am not separated or divorced, but I am starting over.

In December I saw the movie Everybody's Fine at the theater. On Monday I watched it again on DVD. Frank Goode, the main character played by Robert DeNiro, has retired from his job. His wife has died, and Frank is trying to stay connected with his four children. He has a conversation with his daughter Rosie, played by Drew Barrymore:

Rosie: What about your plans? What did you want to be when you were my age?
Frank: I didn't have any plans. I just wanted to hold down a job and find somebody crazy enough to marry me....
Rosie: So there wasn't anything you wanted to achieve?
Frank: Nah, I didn't really think much about it. Never really gave it much thought. All I wanted to do was just be a good father.

I know what he means.

I can identify with Frank, who is doing the best he can to find his way. He needs to figure out what comes after the role of fatherhood has been fulfilled.

I am finding a new place. My own personal venture is about to begin.

Target date: March 30, 2010.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wedding Stamps

Ken made a discovery at the post office ~ stamps are now available that are made specifically for wedding invitations. The one with the cake covers the postage of the invitation. The one with the rings covers the postage of the RSVP. Ingenious...and perfect if you happen to be planning a wedding this year.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bracket Time

If the calendar shows spring about to start, it must be time for college basketball at its best. March Madness is here.

Everyone in my family fills out a bracket. By all accounts this will be a year for upsets, so it's anybody's guess as to who will win it all. I have Duke going all the way, and Ken picked Villanova.

My strategy this year for filling out my bracket was to jot down the names of any teams that I heard anybody mention, from guests on "Charlie Rose" to politicians making jokes about a point spread. Then I have certain favorites, Maryland and Georgetown to name two. And I like to spread the love around and pick schools in as many different states as possible.

Basically this means I have no strategy at all. It's hit or miss. I could flip a coin or throw darts at a dartboard to choose my teams and have the same chance at picking the winners.

But that wouldn't be as much fun.

In our family of five I got the most points a few years ago. My husband and kids were stunned. Ken could not believe that I did better than he did. After all, what could I possibly know about college basketball?

That's what makes March Madness so much fun ~ there are always upsets.

It's a great reminder that the underdog will often surprise us.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thoughts Provoked

There have been a few times when I do not publish all of my comments to a post someone else has written. I get so caught up in what the person has written and relate so entirely to their experience that I go off on my own tangent. Maybe I write too many words. Maybe I share too much. It doesn't happen often so I hadn't given it much thought...

until this weekend when it happened twice. For some reason I thought to cut and paste my overlong and overshared thoughts into a Word document. I've never done that before.

I have read over my words a dozen times, looking for answers as to why my thoughts flowed so easily into words and why they struck such a chord with me once I had them where I could see them.

Yesterday I realized that my two trains of thought are connected to each other...and to the place where I find myself now.

In response to Laura's post I wrote but didn't share:
"When I finally get through the mud I am proud of myself and promise that I won't let that happen again. Then after some time another life change lands me right back in the mess I thought I was free of. The amazing thing is that each time I know more than I did the last time. Each time I learn something new, and I now know that is because I will find myself in this place of uncertainty again and again because it's how I move forward. Until my current state of life transition I thought I had it all figured out. This time has settled that question once and for all ~ I will never have it all figured out. I need to get comfortable with the uncertainty."

In response to Annie's post I didn't post these thoughts:
"I think each one of us has something(s) about our life that we once identified with, that became an integral part of our 'story.' If it takes time for us to move past it, it makes sense that it will take others some time to digest the information if/when they learn it and then move on. We can only be accountable for ourselves, not how others react or internalize what they might learn about us. It's up to us as to when, how, or if we share aspects of ourselves because we want to or need to. Others can take or leave what they learn about us, though there may be consequences to our sharing."

In the usual way that serendipity works, add to the mix that a friend loaned me a set of CDs by Caroline Myss titled Self-Esteem: Your Fundamental Power. I've never read anything by Myss or heard her speak. This weekend I started listening, not because I think I have problems with self-esteem but because this friend knows me really well and said she kept thinking she needed to loan me the CDs.

Well, sure enough there were things I needed to hear, many things. In particular, as it pertains to what I wrote in the comments, Myss says that I cannot access my intuition if I am worried about what others will think of me and that following my intuition means that I will enter a state of not-knowing. Learning to listen to my intuition is a skill, a matter of practicing self-regard. She was right when she said that I want a guarantee that when I listen to my intuition, or take any action, that I will be okay, while the process of walking through the unknown is how intuition is developed.

So this place of uncertainty is exactly where I need to be.

Caroline Myss is an intuitive healer, and she confirmed what I already know: there are consequences to my quality of life when I do not have a sense of self, when I do not listen to my intuition. She describes high-voltage intuitive hits as not looking like anything I do in my life, directing me to do something I have very little skill in doing. Myss believes that Heaven directs us to do things we have no earthly skills for so we will depend on intuitive guidance in a way we've never been dependent before and we will pray more because we will be living in mystery and not in a state of I-know-this-and-I-know-that.

Myss says over and over again that discovery of self requires action. She says that esteem is a verb, that we learn self regard with practice. I can read about it and think about it all I want, but nothing will change until I take action. She says I am already intuitive; she is right when she says I don't want to act on what I know because I'm not sure what will happen and what the consequences will be.

So this place of uncertainty is exactly where I need to be. I will continually be led back to this place because walking through the unknown leads me to know who I am.

But I can't just stand here. When I don't take action on what my intuition tells me, I learn not to trust my self. Right now it's an exercise in self development, but at some point it could be a matter of importance that I trust my inner voice. It could someday be a matter of life or death that my self believes what I know to be true.

I have said since last summer that I do not want to be pushed off a cliff in order to wake up to my life. I have been kicked in the pants a few times in the last three years, so I have taken advantage of some opportunities that have shown up at my door. Then I put that aside until what I think should happen happens, or until another unbidden opportunity presents itself. I have totally been operating on a mental plane, no intuition needed.

But changes have been taking place and the pieces have been coming together slowly. Writing online has played a huge part in the process, whether I share all that I think or not.

I am often disappointed when I leave comments on Joanne's and Jan's blogs. The posts and other comments reflect learning, adventure, career development, and spiritual growth. I hem and haw and think about how I am in the process of striving for those things but have little to add to the conversation. Joanne and Jan always respond with caring and supportive words of encouragement. I think until now I didn't realize all that I was missing.

I am waking up.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Small Town Politics

The governing body for my town meets every other Tuesday evening for 90 minutes. In this town of 2,700 there may be a half dozen or so people in attendance at each meeting of the select board.

I went to last night's meeting because I heard that the issue of Comcast's contract with the town might be on the agenda. The residents on my road have been trying for a year to get cable pulled down our road.

Ken and I arrived ten minutes before the meeting started. The parking lot was full. The meeting room was full, with more people arriving every minute. We pulled chairs in from another room and sat on the side of the room in the front. There were at least 60 people in the room and dozens more in the hallway because there was no space for them inside.

We looked over the agenda. There was no mention of Comcast. There also wasn't anything on the agenda that seemed to call for the number of people in attendance, few of whom we recognized.

It didn't take us long to figure out what was going on.

In February there was a special election to fill one of the three seats on the select board. The office of the state's attorney general is now investigating that election. According to an article in the local newspaper, a complaint has been filed that makes accusations of impropriety on the part of staff in the town office.

That's what the people there last night wanted to talk about, but they were told in no uncertain terms that the topic would not be discussed until the investigation has been completed. The agenda was moved quickly and the meeting lasted all of 25 minutes.

Ken and I had no idea of what was afoot, but I'm glad we were there to support the beleaguered town manager. Everyone I know says she has done a lot of good for this town.

No one I know knows the details of the current brouhaha.

There is a group of malcontents in town who hold clandestine meetings and keep their cards very close to the vest. I know a few names but I don't know any of them personally. I do know they were behind the secretive write-in campaign to defeat me last June when I ran unopposed for a seat on the select board.

That's all I want to know.

I have been told that this is how small town politics work. I don't think it has to be that way.

There is a small group of us who have started meeting to share ideas about what we want for our town. We keep minutes of the meetings and are putting together an email list. Our goal is to find out what matters to people and to invite people to get involved.

The group I belong to talks about how to build community.

That's what small town politics should be about.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Do You Canoe?

Ken and I now have a canoe. My friend in town who moved to Boston has been feverishly cleaning out her house, which sold after being on the market for less than two weeks. We were lucky enough to inherit the canoe. Having a canoe is one of those things that Ken and I have talked about for years, and this one is a beauty. Twelve feet long and three feet wide, it barely fits on top of my car. It holds three people and is very stable in the water. There is a small motor that fits on the back and two oars that are more for keeping it on course than moving it forward. The canoe is called a "Discovery Sport," which I think is an apt description of what it will be for us.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Looking For A Sense Of Purpose

I first titled this post "Finding A Sense Of Purpose." I changed it because I am still looking.

Is it possible to find a sense of purpose? I ask because until now my purpose has been in response to the people in my life: the family I was born into, the person I fell in love with, and the children born to me.

I did not question my purpose. I always felt like I was doing what I was meant to do.

My life made sense. There were people to love and take care of. There were things to do. It felt like my life had a direction.

The last three years have been an intermission of sorts.

It was three years ago this weekend that we signed the papers on this house. At that time I had a vision of what my life would look like. Yes, things would be different in a new house, with all the children grown and on their own. I had a plan.

Over time that plan has unraveled.

I tried to hold it together. I held onto my idea of what was supposed to happen, of what I was supposed to be doing, of what I thought my purpose should be.

The universe obviously has a different plan. Nothing has gone as I thought it would.

My thanks to those who read here and leave thoughtful comments. I take your words to heart and am grateful for your support.

I do not feel so frumpy today. It's a new day and with it comes new possibilities.

Break's over. What's next?*

It's time for me to move on.

*I admit I have been watching West Wing on DVD. In this situation, President Jed Bartlet's words are the perfect fit.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Feeling Frumpy

I looked up the word "frumpy" to make sure it means what I think it means. It does.

I feel frumpy.

I have lots to do and it will get done. But none of it gets me any closer to my goal of doing things differently, of creating new patterns for my life. I am in a rut of doing what feels familiar.

This is no one's fault but my own. I am angry with myself, but I am short-tempered with the person closest to me, my husband. I owe him an apology. It's not his fault he has the life I want. He works hard and deserves to be happy. He likes his job; he loves his family; he's a happy guy.

I have the same home and the same family, which makes me happy, too.

I am lacking the "something to do" that makes me feel like I have a purpose. I am at the midpoint in my life and have to change horses in midstream. It's up to me to find something to do with my life, and I resent that, which doesn't change a thing.

It does make it harder to move forward.

I feel like the toddler who cries, "I don't want to!" I want someone to take me by the hand to tell my why I should and help me over the rough parts. I want someone to stay with me and be my friend through the scary parts and reassure me that everything will be okay.

I am an adult and know better. I have handled life and death issues with more grace than I am handling this period in my life. I don't like myself very much right now, so it's hard to see why anyone else would like me or want to spend time with me. If I had a choice, I know I'd like some time away from me.

Yes, I feel a lot of things right now. Maybe it's best to just go with I feel frumpy.