Our Beautiful Mind

It’s been a long time since I shared an update on my New Lifestyle, New Me project. I’ve been quiet about my progress. Why? Well… let’s just say that I’m beginning to understand why Adam and Eve hid from God after they tasted the forbidden fruit. They failed to stick to the plan. They broke the ONLY rule. That’s embarrassing! Humiliating even.

I get it. I’ve broken MOST of my own rules already, and confession is a very hard thing. 

But today is a new day, a new beginning, with fresh thoughts. 

Beautiful thoughts.

When I reorganized my room recently, I moved my bed around. The left side of it—the side that I have been getting into for years—now runs alongside a long, narrow table that I love. There is not much room between the two, meant to give me “just enough” space to get in and do some tucking in the morning, nothing else. 

That being said, the right side—the side that used to be up against the wall—is now my new area of “approach.” There’s a small rug at the base of this “right” side, beckoning me to come in for a landing and rest my feet. There’s plenty of clearance to walk around, sit for a spell, and to launch myself into bed at night.

Here’s the thing. Every time I enter, the FIRST thing I do—without even thinking—is head to the left side and SQUEEZE myself into that tiny space between the table and my bed. I can’t help it! I’m a terrible creature of habit. I’m bound and determined to reach “the left side” of my bed, even if it means nearly knocking over a lamp and spilling paperwork to the floor every time that I do it. This pattern of behavior made me curious, and so I pondered it for a bit. Two words came to mind. 

Procedural Memory.

If I want to change that weird habit (which might seem lame, but it’s a perfect example), I can’t give up. I’ve got to force myself to veer to the right, and I’ve got to do it again and again, over and over.  

Procedural memory is a part of long-term memory that’s responsible for motor skills. It’s where information on how to perform certain procedures is stored. It’s like learning to ride a bike when you’re young. You try and you try, and you probably wobble at first (after falling several times). But you keep doing it, over and over, and then—once you’ve got it down perfectly—something miraculous happens. The task no longer involves conscious thought. You can ride a bike, and you can do it without even thinking! That’s incredible.

When I shared about the curse of the all or nothing recently, I think most of what I said was “self-talk.” I do that a lot; sharing ideas with you all as I try to teach the ideas to myself. The whole point behind my thoughts were that I should not just GIVE UP (do nothing or quit). Life is not about all of nothing. It’s about putting forth effort to do the things that you’d like to do, or to make the changes you want to make.

So, as far as my New Lifestyle, New Me goes—if I haven’t succeeded the first time around, or the second, or even the third (and so on)—it does not mean that it’s time to give up. It means that it’s time to GET UP and to try again. And again.

Because when we do something over and over, like learning to ride a bike, eventually that miracle happens. One day we wake up and we can do it without thinking. That new healthy habit has taken root, residing on its own in that place we call our procedural memory… deep inside of our beautiful mind.

God really IS great.


Thank you for reading! I hope you found something interesting or enjoyable here.


Three Things Challenge #224: Bed, Young, Curious

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Selfies


CAUTION: To avoid injury, please remain at least 6 feet away from the cliff’s edge (and other people) before you pan in and shoot.


This is another shot from my old hike to “the Hollywood Sign.” I was working on the “sketch” effect and wasn’t even sure what I’d do with the image, until I saw the 3 things challenge. The man’s shirt is what originally caught my eye: Young, Broke & Fabulous. Something I could really relate to. Hey, two out of three ain’t bad! 😉


#ThreeThingsChallenge: Injury, Shoot, Pan

Unraveling


The chaotic bold,

Hides her shadow.

Underneath this bravado,

She shrinks.

Her quilted facade,

Is unraveling,

And soon…

She will be revealed.


As I was putting this post together, I realized a couple of things. First of all, I’m not comfortable writing words that aren’t bursting with sunshine and happiness (except for my occasional rants, or whispers of self-doubt). Let’s say it another way. This poem is not about me. Ha! It did, however, remind me of what I’ve mentioned before, about feeling like an impostor at times. That being said, maybe the piece was constructed by my subconscious mind.

Secondly, although the featured image started out as a total abstract (which was originally some very blurry lights), after thinking about the poem I did an alteration—and now I can’t resist the urge to share it with you! If you didn’t notice already, there IS a girl curled up in there; the woman who’s unraveling. So, now that I’ve told you… I guess it’s not so abstract after all.

I hope you’re able to see her, and not just a blob. I was going to make her even more subtle—and not say anything at all—but then, what’s the point? And I’m not so sure I like her there. I’ve saved my original, so it may come back another day, with a different (more uplifting) message.

That’s about all for now. Peace & Love!!


Word of the Day Challenge: Quilt
RDP Tuesday: Bravado

Weathering the Storm


Not much required,
To get through the storm,
Here’s advice I was given in life:
Drive a modest abode,
Keep the tank full of gas,
Ne’er forget…
Your Swiss Army knife.


So… maybe I’m NOT the sharpest tool in the shed. It’s the 19th of April and I’ve just learned (via Google) what NaPoWriMo stands for! With just 11 days left, I find out that it’s National Poetry Writing Month. Ha! One would think that—with my unusually low tolerance for curiosity—I might have inquired about this sooner. Anyway…

The image is another photo from yesterday’s walk (with 1 or 2 hours worth of playful editing included). LOVE the RV!

That’s about all for now. Peace & Love!


Written for RDP Sunday: Swiss

Rainbow

Love Wins

Long ago, in the hood,
Way back in the day, 
The streets were all empty,
And the city was gray.

Anger was brewing,
The rains, they poured down.
No one would listen,
To a positive sound.

Without a warning, 
Light shone in the dark.
Beauty was forming…
In the sky. In an arc.

Hearts began melting,
As they all looked above.
They found what they needed,
In the rainbow of love.


Happy Sunday! Be the light, spread the love…
—Janet


Written for the 3 Things Challenge: Arc, Hood, Back

Photo by trashhand from Pexels

Common Cents

old wood fence

A little patch of wild grass,

Some flowers draped across the fence,

Times are hard; dollars obsolete,

So we decorate with our common cents.

About the Image: I saw this exterior fence while walking today, and I just had to take a pic. The simplicity of it, and the fact that it “almost” looks staged, really caught my eye. I’m pretty sure that’s a bougainvillea creeping out of someone’s backyard. My son has been fist-fighting one of those plants since he moved into his house a few years ago. Apparently they have a strong will to survive!

Painted boarder

Not an Island

I am not an island,

That is what I have been told.

But I am alone when at sea, it seems, 

Paddling out in the cold.

I am not an island,

Isolation takes its toll.

But the fish and birds accompany me,

While the ocean feeds my soul.


Written for the Word of the Day Challenge: Island. The accompanying image is a photograph I shot at Malibu beach a few months back.

Note: We all do what we can to stay busy during these long days of social isolation. Apparently swimming out in the ocean should not be one of them though, as a man was arrested on this very same beach for paddle boarding during the quarantine. Yikes!

typewriter

A Dieter’s Journal

Dear Diary,

It’s the 6th of April, the month that I vowed NOT to step on the scale.

Why is it so damn hard?

When I brought up eternity the other day, there was another definition that I skipped right over and it’s pretty applicable right now: a long period of time that seems endless. Yep. This month—or this week even—seems endless.

Bouncing back and forth in front of the scale got me thinking about this lifestyle change. One word came to mind: REWARDS. I realized that the reason I wanted to get on that scale was to see if I had a reward. Why is everything a reward to me?

Food is a reward. When I work… money is my reward. Drinking and smoking were rewards too (or so I thought)! And now… after depriving myself of brown sugar & cinnamon pop tarts, pizza, three scoop hot fudge sundaes with whipped cream and nuts, and good old bleached white flour products, all I can think about is…

Where is my damn reward?!

…to be continued…


Word of the Day Challenge: Bounce

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

The Quest

They came in droves and they filled the store,

Faces straight, they were on a quest.

Carts overflowing, non-perishables,

That they’d safely keep in their nest.

An innocent act, at first it seemed,

But some… oh they failed the test.

They bought, and they bought, and they piled it HIGH,

Leaving nothing, not a stitch, for the rest.


Written for the Word of the Day Challenge: Quest

Vintage Camellia

Intricate Details

I think the Everything Red series is fading. I haven’t run out of ideas, but I guess that anything we do needs to be done in moderation. That includes red images. Maybe I’ll come back to it when we’re well into spring, when bright colors dot the landscape. For now… I’ve seen enough red. 😉

So… I thought the intricate petals on this flower would be a sweet submission for the Word of the Day Challenge: Details.

It’s actually a hot pink camellia, but it’s faded. Kind of like my Red series. I normally don’t care for camellias. They turn an ugly shade of brown and refuse to leave the bush, and then they litter the soil below. But… if you look at them very, very closely—they’re intricate and beautiful. Like all things in life, we have to look beyond our first inclination to notice beautiful surprises.

That’s about all for now. I’m trying to stay busy and keeping my mind occupied while my snacking habit adjusts this week. So far so good!

Peace & Love

Hawk on a Pole

One Eye Open

On a beautiful day, as I scout the land…

I keep one eye open, my lens in my hand.

I look down, I look up, and then what do I see?

A beautiful creature…

Who is prospecting ME!

My backyard wanderings were pretty successful today. I was thrilled to capture this Hawk who was checking things out. When I saw the Word of the Day Challenge: Prospect, I knew it was the perfect prospect indeed. 😉

I hope you enjoy it!

—Janet

The Excursion

This morning I drove into Pasadena. It wasn’t a major excursion, but it was in the opposite direction of where I normally travel and everything was unfamiliar. I wish I had taken my camera. It’s the perfect place for street photography, but it was just TOO hot! I wanted to get in—and get out.

I went there to pick up the kit for my drawing class. I’m already enjoying the course. It’s not so much that I’ve learned anything yet (it’s only been two days), or that I even see the possibility of getting really good at it. It’s the fact that I’m putting aside my fear, putting the pencil to the pad, and making an effort.

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the little things

I love…

  • morning coffee
  • to tinker; a little bit of this and a little bit of that
  • thunder and lightning, especially when I’m enjoying coffee and tinkering
  • the sound of rain on a tin roof
  • rainbows and butterflies
  • the way my body feels after doing something strenuous (rare, but happens)
  • swimming in cool waters
  • when the sky explodes into colors (missing Colorado)
  • road trips—I’ll get out there again, eventually
  • walking on sand
  • the ocean
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Karma

Whatever goes up, will surely come down;

Like a boomerang, it just all goes around.

You get what you give, or reap what you sow;

If hate’s what you plant, then hate’s what will grow.

If you want to see change; if love’s what you thirst,

Be bold with your kindness…

Dare to go first.

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On the Edge

I think the definition of artist is a bit enigmatic. I’ve never called myself an artist. I’ve said things like “this is some art I created,” or “I love to create art,” but that’s as far as it goes. I think the first explanation that pops into my head is the fact that I don’t use pencils, pens, or even brushes (although that may change after the new semester).

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Living the Dream

Chaotic workday— a scuffle with friends,

Five o’clock traffic— the stress never ends,

Pressure to do well— fearing failure, too,

Stuck in a pattern— afraid of what’s new,

Plan for retirement— look forward to rest,

Where children once played— is now empty nest,

Dating disasters— a marriage from hell,

Lack of investments— there’s nothing to sell,

No regrets linger— My head’s not for rent,

All of these moments— are evanescent,

March forward, full steam— toward what is unseen,

Faith is eternal— I’m living the dream.

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Looking Back

Looking at your past is not a bad thing. Not to brood over it, but to cherish fond memories; see what you’ve done right (and wrong); and to learn from your past mistakes. When you take it all in and reflect, you figure out what’s worth repeating, what you should do differently next time, and—more importantly—what you should never do again.

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In the Quiet

Beauty comes to rest

In the quiet of the day

Gently, with no force

I had to share another photo of the butterfly that stopped to visit yesterday. Mainly because I took so many pictures, but also because while standing on the grass to get the shots… my ankles were eaten alive by what I can only assume were mosquitoes.

I guess even beauty has its price!

Peace & Love!!

Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge: Beauty & Quiet

Wishes Come True

A wish, like a dream

Is only the beginning

The challenge comes next

Prepare for the fight

Fear will say: “Impossible!”

You must not listen

Like “look, but don’t touch,”

Always leaves you wondering,

What did that feel like?

You will never know

What you are capable of

Until you have tried

So take a gamble,

Up the ante, raise the stakes

Make your wish come true

Written for Daily Addictions: Fight, RDP Friday: Prepare, Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Touch & Your Daily Word Prompt: Raise

Be Real

Be unique. Be awesome. Be you.  

Do whatever it is that is true.  

Take chances. Make mistakes. Step out.

No one else knows what you are about.

Encourage. Give a hand. Be kind.

Speak gently, of what’s on your mind.

Do what’s right, when others go wrong.

You matter. You’re here. You Belong.

Being phony will fracture your soul,

So be real. Be authentic. Be whole.

—Janet

Word of the Day Challenge: Phony

An Ode to Blogging

We’re going out in public,

So please put on your mask.

Say “I’m fine” and “thank you,”

If anyone should ask.

I know your thoughts run rampant,

You want to share them all,

But these are not the places;

The grocery store, or mall.

Wait until you’re all alone,

And type them with your hand.

Share them on the blog instead,

Where people understand.

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Nurture

RDP Thursday:

Nurture

verb: care for and encourage the growth or development of.

noun: the process of caring for and encouraging the growth or development of someone or something.

My featured image is kind of random! I did so many assignments in the past semester that the rebel in me has been fighting to break free and do something that’s just “because.” No judgement, no grade.

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Eclectic Thoughts

How does one decipher,

Mixed messages conveyed?

Go where there is no path,

But be careful not to stray.

Reach for the stars is guidance…

That often goes around,

But can this be achieved…

When keeping both feet on the ground?

Am I shooting for the moon…

If I aim to rise above the crowd?

Or is this evidence…

That my head is in the clouds?

Unraveling ancient proverbs,

Double edged, their meanings dual,

Will knowledge bring me power…

Or the wisdom of a fool?

—Janet

Written for Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Eclectic

Wool-gathering

BAD DAY AT SCHOOL

It required too much effort;

Listening to his speech…

Dreaming of tomorrow,

Things just out of reach…

“Learn anything?” he asked…

As I exited the class,

“Well…” I answered softly,

“These chairs sure hurt my …”

—Janet

Weekend Writing Prompt #92: Wool-gathering (36 words)

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Anything

RDP Saturday: Effort