~ K is for ~

An animated GIF of a kaleidoscope.

An animated GIF of a kaleidoscope. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kaleidoscope is the first word I thought of that begins with K. I do not know why. I remember having a kaleidoscope as a kid and being totally fascinated by the colours and changing patterns. I could get all deep here and say that a kaleidoscope is a great metaphor for life and that constant phenomenon we all have to put up with: CHANGE.  I have read that the only thing we can really rely on in life is change, so I guess we should enjoy it in all its glory.

Did you know that a synonym for kaleidoscope is phantasmagoria? What a great word! Its synonyms (thanks to that handy-dandy thesaurus someone thought to put in my computer—I know it is part of my word program, but I would rather think of it as a more magical force) are dream, hallucination, mirage or fantasy.

A kaleidoscope does show us a kind of dreamy fantasy world–and an ever-changing one at that. Gail Sheehy I think said it best, when she stated:  “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”

My favourite definition of change from the Encarta Dictionary is the word “deepen”. I think change gives us the opportunity to “deepen” and “to become”.

“To become” means we are not stagnating, or as Ms. Sheehy said more eloquently: not growing.

If I were honest, sometimes I don’t want to grow. Sometimes I get tired of change. Sometimes I just want to be comfortable and stable and content. But that gets old. I was asked recently if I am retired, and  my response (after being exceedingly surprised to be asked this as I think of myself as youthful—although it could just be immaturity in disguise) was to say a simple “no”. But I thought to myself: I am just getting started.

Now, I know that people retire young from some professions, and they too are just getting started on their next life. Personally I think the term “retired” should be re-tired. I have lots of tread left.

A toy kaleidoscope tube

A toy kaleidoscope tube (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Published in: on September 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm  Comments (33)  
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Stroke of Genuis ~ Lost to the Cosmos

“Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea forever.”  ~ Will Self, novelist


idea (Photo credit: Tony Dowler)

The fact that our short-term memory can only retain information for three minutes explains a lot. Sometimes this can be a good thing, as there are things we would rather not even retain for three minutes. But how about those other things—those things that we want to remember?

On the rare occasion when I come up with a good idea, I am sure it is so good that I will remember it forever—no need to write it down. Inevitably, I am left with later trying to piece together just what that good idea was. And if I cannot find it in my short-term memory, then it probably got filed in that vast vacuüm (at least in my brain) called long-term memory, never to be excavated at will.

Why do we never get good ideas at convenient times? Why is it when we are weeding the garden (okay, this is just an example—and yes, I have weeded my garden—just not lately)or burning—err….I mean cooking dinner, or hiking in the Appalachians? (No, I have never hiked in the Appalachians—I am not even sure people do hike in the Appalachians. And second: No, I have not hiked all that often—but I am using my imagination here.)

Amy Peters, in her book, “The Writer’s Devotional”, says that: “Ideas can—and do—surface at any time, and sometimes at the most inopportune moments. Chopping onions when the next great thought arrives? Put down your knife, pick up a pen, and jot it down. A stroke of brilliance arrives while you are en route to the store? When you stop at a red light or pull into a parking lot, take a moment to write it down.”

I am not sure what world Ms. Peters is living in, but if I am chopping an onion, I am probably doing it to create one of my wonderful gastronomically and palate pleasing creations, and could not possibly stop the artistry to write down an idea! And anyway, my eyes will be streaming because I did not take one of those precautions you are told to take when chopping an onion, so I would not be able to locate a pad and pen anyway because my eyes will be gushing onion tears!

A stroke of brilliance on the way to the grocery store? Stop and write it down? I am lucky to have remembered the list I took painstaking time to create and probably left at home on the dining room table (and thus will forget something basic like eggs and have to make a trip back to the store, and on the way to the eggs go by the bakery and pick up something verboten that I bypassed heroically on the first trip.)

The other advice Ms. Peters gives is to keep a notebook by the side of the bed, and “When you wake in the morning, record any thoughts that may have come to you in your dreams. Many writers find inspiration from their dreams.” Those who find inspiration from their dreams do not have the kind of dreams I have. When I wake up from a dream, which is usually confusing to start with, I am generally in no mood to write it down.

My dreams consist of three themes: not being able to find my geography lab in Windsor Hall at the university I attended almost four decades ago (I think I found it three times the whole semester of first year); believing I am awake while I am dreaming and wondering if I could do things in this dream that I would not dare do in real life, but not being convinced totally that I am dreaming; or having some kind of nightmare—and who wants to remember that?

Having said all that, I do carry a notebook with me almost all the time. But I do not use it to write down random thoughts. Whenever I have done that in the past, I go back to the notebook, find the supposedly “good idea” and cannot make heads nor tails of it. In what I thought was a stroke of genius, like “the red dog never dies” or “why can birds sit on electrical wires and not keel over”, I find the stroke of genius not so brilliant.

So, I am left with all those “good ideas” swirling around, lost in the cosmos. And you are left to read this. Sorry.

Published in: on August 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm  Comments (58)  
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Manifest This!

Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines

Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“…the way a man does one thing is the way he does everything.”

~written in Zen according to Regina Leeds

I will be the first to admit that I take instructions well, if I like the instructions. Case in point: Regina Leeds, in her book “One Year to an Organized Work Life” suggests that we create a dream board as a prelude to getting organized. She says that by taking on this project “you invite your inner thoughts and longings to rise to the surface; you will discover more of who you really are and what you’d like to manifest in your life.”

I am not too sure I want to discover more of who I am, but I would not mind doing a little manifesting—which is a term that seems to be thrown around a lot these days. Manifesting according to the Manifesting Your Dreams website is the “process to create what we want in our lives by bringing ideas and desires into physical form.”  Alrighty, then. According to Leeds, one of the ways to bring our ideas and desires into physical form is to cut and paste “images that correspond to the life you want” onto some poster board.

Anything that involves cutting and pasting is right up my alley. I can cut and paste with the best of them. So I gathered a bunch of magazines together and perused the pages, looking for things to manifest. Manifesting sounds like a lot more fun than organizing– maybe I can “manifest” my way to being organized.

Calling this exercise “simple, creative, inexpensive and powerful” Leeds believes that once the board is completed and you keep it in a prominent place, you will be inspired to go in the direction that it leads you. So, just where is my dream board leading me?

It immediately becomes apparent that I am not averse to the good life and all it entails.  I have a picture of a house which is a little smaller than a mansion, and a little bigger than one really needs; a Mercedes-Benz logo; a pile of cash with the word millionaire placed strategically across it; and a fine bottle of wine. But if you fear I may become a bit crass, I do have a whole corner of my poster board devoted to family life, home and good food; another area dedicated  to good health; and smack dab in the middle, a picture of my dream “ home” office, organized to the ‘nth’ degree.

The words “giving” , “smiles”, “friendships”, “laugh out loud”, “imagination”, “logic and emotion” (a seemingly weird and at odds combo), “gratitude” and “live life graciously” are dotted among the pictures.  The whole right hand lower corner of my dream board has a number of travel destinations listed that I want to manifest (how I am going to go to Hawaii without boarding a plane though is a mystery to me).

The centre of the dream board features a quote by Humbert Wolfe, a poet who was born in 1885. He said; “Listen! The wind is rising and the air is wild with leaves. We have had our summer evening, now for October eves.” This celebrates my love of all things autumn, and of course there is a picture of my favourite fruit of all—the pumpkin. (I know I cannot manifest Fall all the time, but that is what gets me through our hot, humid summers.)

There is also a picture of a drawer, with neat little compartments, and everything in its place. This denotes my need for organization. Under it are these word by the graphic artist, M.C. Escher: “We adore chaos because we love to produce order.”

Creating a dream board is introspective, and it took me months to do it because I had to talk myself out of thinking that it was silly. But it appeals to my sense of order, and if something comes of all this manifesting stuff, all the better. (Tried to talk my husband into doing a dream board, but his heart was just not in it. Guess he is not as enamoured with cutting and pasting as I am.)