Defining Myself in Negatives

Seems my inner voice can be quite contrary. When I pay attention to the louder conversations I am having in my head, I notice that I’m often using negatives to stop the conversations. As in, ‘I can’t do that because’ or ‘I don’t have time’ or ‘I’ll never have enough’.

We gave our 9 year-old a hard time for his extremist expressions. We were having a “discussion” and his part went something like, “why don’t your ever let me…? I never get to…” And the extremist opposite which is, “You always…”. And I realized that, although that is probably his age talking, if I don’t provide another example, I will be leading this habit by example right on through to his adulthood. They do as you do, not as you say.

purple coneflower on

What I suspect I’m keeping myself from when I use my ‘can’ts’ and ‘nevers’, is success. I have a fear of it you see. So I am cluelessly calculated. I will never Succeed if I don’t try. Nor will I Fail. Imperfectly won’t be attempted either. And so the nevers and can’ts make sure I’m in control of the outcome. Twisted and yet makes perfect sense.

I have this aching memory of being at a pool birthday party. Side note, I nearly drowned twice as a child but by this time, maybe 11 or 12, I’d learned how to at least tread water or do the frog, still my go to stroke. When you attend public community pools, it seems a standard practice to have the children perform and prove to the lifeguard that they won’t be the first to drown. And I refused to take the test. And dis-included myself from the fun. I was an outcast by my own choosing. But at least I was in control of not failing. Or of not being accepted into the group.

Shirley McLaine in pink on

Conceptually, I could write down these thoughts as soon as I notice even a whisper of them. And allow them to sit somewhere until I’m ready to take a good look at what I need to do anyway despite myself. I can if I believe I can. Simple as that. I can’t if I don’t. But sometimes those negative thoughts disguise themselves as something else. Helpful and necessary perhaps.

When fear is standing in the middle of your psyche like a big bully daring you to pass, it’s prickly and oozy and scary and loud. It’s a familiar foe and may smack of too much effort to pass and shove your way by. But your story won’t get rewritten unless you redefine yourself right past that fear and into the “I can, I will, and I’m gonna” land beyond.

Our Day At the Alpaca Farm

Last weekend, we took the opportunity to leave the house with the children (if we have to) and went to an event at the Outstanding Dreams Alpaca farm here in Caroline county. I’ve taken Eamon there before and he really enjoyed these odd and peaceful creatures. This time, we had Fiona with us, lover of all animals. She giggles at squirrels and fearlessly approaches horses and sticks her fingers up their noses.

Fiona spotted the alpaca at the Outstanding Dreams Farm on

Fiona's smile at the Outstanding Dreams Farm on

outstanding dreams farm on

Fiona at the Outstanding Dreams Farm on

Cornbox play at the Outstanding Dreams Farm on

Cornbox play at the Outstanding Dreams Farm on

The event happens every year and featured antique cars, a bouncy ride, pony rides (Eamon’s nervous he’ll fall off), a cornbox, and vendors selling their wares. Highland Creamery from Oxford had a Scottsman scooping ice cream. So it was a quick and happy visit to hang out on a farm with fellow humans and a bunch of soft furry alpacas.Eamon on a pony ride at the Outstanding Dreams Farm on

The Outstanding Dreams Farm on

Alpaca wool was being spun into yarn and dyed right there on the path in and out. So soft and warm and so not itchy. And animals are dear and only have one row of teeth so there’s no biting to fear. The owners are the sweetest nicest kindest people. We’ll venture out at least this time next year when their event happens again.

7 Steps To Take When You Are Pursuing a Goal

I have felt a little more ambitious of late. Feeling the pride of a few recent achievements and thinking maybe I want a little more out of life. And then there’s that fear. The doubt. The resistance. When your silly survival self kicks in and asks, “Do I really want to achieve that goal you are finally talking up?” If you answer is a, “Hell Yeah!” then I feel certain in saying, if you put some effort, thought, and a little energy into the following 7 steps, you will achieve the goal you are after. (And let your inner doubting naysayer know that they have become boring and unoriginal.)

  • Pace Yourself – Take it slow and steady. It feels really good when you start so try not to sabotage yourself by doing too much in the beginning. Biting and chewing. Lay out a long-term plan that feels doable in small chunks with time enough. Schedule it all out and follow through. Nice and steady.

  • Arm Yourself – With the tools that you need and people who can if you can’t. The time you need and the tools necessary to start.

  • Face Yourself – Say it out loud. That which you want, are afraid of, are choosing to do to thwart your own efforts. Own it and then leave it on the ground and walk away.

  • Cheer Yourself – Music, rewards, notes and supporters. They’re called incentives. They’re kind of good thing.

  • Allow Yourself – Write yourself a permission slip. “I Shalagh do hereby give myself permission to go ahead and take an exercise class” or “submit a piece of writing to a magazine I have no confidence will want to publish it” or “make art today”.

  • Surround Yourself – Friends, people you admire, for accountability and belief. Tell one person and then another what you believe you may be capable of and listen to them as they agree with you. Ask them what your strengths are and bask in the feeling of being admired. And collect your kudos and team member names somewhere to remind yourself you are never alone.

  • Write yourself – Write out the goals, the steps, when those steps are actually taking place, how it feels to be doing this, and a note to future you that you can seal and open when you get to a designated point.

    I find it funny how I can have a dream for such a long time, years maybe. And never say it out loud or write it down. That something so simple and human as an itch for change or growth or curiosity can remain unscratched. And all I ever really need to do is say it out loud, write it down,  and tell it to someone else until it begins to take on a form and a life of its own. Until, when it finally happens, I think back and laugh how it wasn’t even a possibility at one point. Like my children. Or my writing a blog. Ludicrous then, reality now.

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