inspire, perspective

Curiosity

I remember an old saying of curiosity killed the cat. Yet I feel curiosity inspires so much learning.

I often tell people to listen with curiosity. Intentionally listening to others is important. Not in the nosy sense but rather In the loyal and trusting sense when dealing with human interactions.

Listening with curiosity when learning new things is smart. Traveling to new places, one should always listen with curiosity. Maybe it’s a restaurant review or even a tourist stop off the beaten path. Just listening to the sounds around you. Sounds could be peaceful in nature such as bird chirping, cow mooing amongst others. Sounds of a big city may tell a different story. Cars, trucks, buses or even trains are part of city sounds. Listen closely. Listen with a curious ear.

Staying curious in life has helped me so much. Asking why many times. Or maybe asking why not in other situations. Staying curious is a way of life for me.

Curiosity has inspired me many times and I’m sure it will in the future as well.

What are you curious about?

What will you do next to listen with curiosity?

Get inspired. I know I am just writing this.

perspective

We Interrupt This Program…

I had a conversation with a friend recently about active listening. I don’t remember how the topic came up, but I do know listening is a weakness for me. I am just bad at it. I find it very hard to focus at times. I have a restless mind. I can be easily distracted by the ping-ponging of things I want to check, need to do, or am just curious about. It’s a challenge for me to maintain eye contact and just focus on what other people are saying.

I’ve worked on this weakness several times in my adult life but eventually I stop paying attention. Well, this conversation with a friend brought it to the top of mind and I naturally started monitoring myself and how I behave in conversations.

Just in the first morning of paying attention I noticed that I interrupted people three different times. It happened twice at the gym and once at my job. This was in the span of a couple of hours.

First, at the gym, my coach was telling people something funny I said and I had to jump in and talk over her. Like she wasn’t saying it right, I guess. I don’t know.

Then at the end of class I wanted to give a friend something and they were in the middle of an informative conversation. So I stared at them and waited for them to stop talking so I could do what I needed to do. They did the right thing and ignored me so I just left pretty annoyed. Thinking back, what did I expect her to do?

Finally, the end of the school year takes interruptions to a whole new level. I don’t have a work partner to help manage them this year and my personal workload has increased as well. Time is always on my mind. I try to stay positive but I am sure people can read my frustrations in my body and voice. When colleagues take a long time to tell me what they want and I think I already know what they’re going to say, I jump in and finish their request for them.

Sigh. Here’s what I said to myself after this realization:

Seriously, what the heck?!?!? Interrupting over and over again? Geez. That’s pretty obnoxious.

It truly is. I know that I hate being interrupted and here I am doing it to people. And often.

It makes me think of the book I am currently reading, Ego is the Enemy. The need to jump in and tell my version of the story, add my details, tell someone what I need to say, or speed things up is ego jumping in. My time is more important. My version is better. My needs take priority. My life is always the breaking news. Me, me, me. What am I losing by not listening better? If I claim to care about others, listening is a big part of that.

It’s embarrassing to admit all of this but sharing it can start me on the path to improving it (again.)

dare to be different

On the Mic

10:00 am, day before the break. A little girl, longer-in-the-back bob hair, white knee socks pulled up around her plump calves. Green jumper dress with the criss cross candy canes on the front. White blouse with a ruffled collar. Rows of kids sitting on the floor on lines, criss cross, looking up at me. It was the first grade Christmas program, Mrs. Bellamy had chosen me for the solo in “Jingle Bell Rock.” I stood, shaking, right up near the mic, stepped forward to belt out the bridge, clear and strong as I could: “what a bright time, it’s the right time to rock the night away…”

I’ve been singing and speaking into the mic for almost as long as I can remember. Solos, speaking parts, conference presentations, even karaoke. For me, it does not feel weird to be in front of the mic.

These days it’s in the press box at my daughter’s lacrosse games. It’s not a hard job, really. Just saying names for the rosters and goals, reading a few paragraphs. It doesn’t take much effort or expertise. Just time and willingness to be there. Still, as several people have told me, no one else wants that job. No one.

What is it that people fear with the mic? My biggest fear is not remembering to turn it off (which has gotten me into a bit of trouble once or twice!) I’ve heard some say they’re nervous about reading names. As a person with an easy-to-mess-up name, I get that. I’ve heard every variation of my last name, both near misses and far-fetched. People giggle. But my daughter said people commented to her that “no one ever laughs at the way your mom says the names.” Her response: “My mom reads for a living.” I laughed. Touche from the daughter of a librarian who loves reading aloud.

Really, it was singing in many different languages as a little kid that gave me some comfort with unfamiliar words. I do hope I at least come close to the correct pronounciation!

I still don’t really know why people avoid the mic. For the time being, it’s what I can do to help the team.

Just a little wondering and wandering for your Wednesday.

perspective

One Stormy Night

A rumbling sound. A light flicker. I was awake. A loud thunder. More light flashes. All seemed to get quiet but I was already startled and stirred.

I lay idle. More flashes. Flickers of lights across the back windows. One side window. The other side window. Then all on the back windows lighting up like a Christmas light show.

Rumbles that shake the house. More thunder. Now I’m wide awake. The sound of rain is constant. Now I hear the clock ticking. I hear sirens in the distance. I wonder what has happened at this wee hour.

The thunder shifts to the distance but the length of rumbling thunder and loud booms within are ever so disturbing. The sound is just blah on many levels. It’s kept me awake far too long.

I try to fall asleep but the distant flickers and thunder are preventing a full restful state. Oh how I need my sleep to rejuvenate. I wonder how many others were bothered by the storm?

As an irony, the storm is not the worst I have endured in life yet it’s doing a good job keeping me awake.

Maybe life is shaking me in other ways and the storm is just how I’m relating to life’s stormy days.
Thoughts in the dark to ponder.

friendship, mental health

I Heard the Whisper

I don’t have any friends.

Silence.

I don’t have any friends said the social teen girl. Pause. Reflect. Think.

The beautiful girl is right. She has acquaintances. She has teammates. She has adults that are supportive. She has siblings. Unfortunately she is missing the friends piece of the equation. True friends.

The bestie or group of pals that come over to hang out. The girls that go to the movies. The inner circle of sorts. What could have happened to this social butterfly.

One word sums it up: corona.

Corona has taken away spontaneous trips to the mall. Quarantine has limited gatherings at other homes. Fear has lurked in every home limiting activities. The list goes on and on.

In this community two teens have died by suicide in the last 10 days. I can’t ignore that. I can’t understand a day in the life of these teens. Their desire to end their lives is the solution to their perceived problems at that time. We have to listen to these cries even if they are masked.

So many no you can’t. So much time alone. So many milestones and memories being missed in isolation. So much time is solitude in their room. Many sleep it off. Many struggle for daily motivation.

Who does the cheerleader role fall on when parents work? What if the teen is an only child? Is the school talking about this subject with this vulnerable age?  Are they offering parents solutions? Why no they are talking about tests scores and must complete your assignments or even pick your schedule for next year.

Do administrators even consider what a day in the life of a teen is like in isolation? They lost their friends. They lost their home away from home that is school. They lost competition in the classroom. The lost giggles in the hallway. They even lost their imagery. Always covered in a mask. Gasping for air. The image of themselves in a super cute outfit on the first day of school. Shopping for a prom dress. So many important things for a girl in her formative years.

Instead they get to go to the drive thru with their parents. Maybe a Netflix movie in the same place they eat, sleep, socialize, go to school, etc. (their house). Maybe weekends of extra homework because they lack the motivation to do it on day 1 when it was due. The list of blah goes on and on.

I see this cycle repeated. I try to engage my teen to give her fulfillment in the tiny box that is currently around her. It’s by no means perfect but it’s what I can offer today.

I often wonder if she drove and had a car if it would be different. Would being mobile allow her to wave at friends from the curb but allow her time to smile away from the homestead. I don’t have these answers. I may never have them.

For today I will enjoy the time I have. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for anyone. Memories last forever. Today I will make memories with her.

Parents don’t forget to look around you. Right in front of you. Listen. Spot the abnormalities and take action. Any action that lets them notice you see them. You hear them. You want to be with them. They need you. They don’t always feel like they have anyone left. Corona has taken much from many.

Don’t let environmental conditions take away another bright future.

This post was sparked by the song Pink just released with her daughter Willow, Cover Me in Sunshine. Pink noted they sang the song because it makes them happy and they wanted to share it to make others happy. They did it together. Today I will cover those around me in sunshine for no other reason than to make them happy.

Enjoy today. No matter how shitty things may be tomorrow. Every day is a new day to get covered in sunshine.