Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tip Jar: A Smackerel of Something from Benjamin Hoff

I'm thoughtful, lately, with lots of (emotional? spiritual? seasonal?) changes going on. I moved the furniture around because I don't want to cut my hair, but I needed to feel in control of something. As if, huh? [Insert here any number of proverbs about the idea of control.]

I've always been a wallflower, my usual preference hanging out by the punch bowl rather than dancing. This works for me, and I've garnered many skills that help me stay in the shadows. Quietly quiet. Comfortably comfortable. Avoid eye contact and think invisible thoughts.

But now I'm being asked to dance. Uh. *Looks helplessly around?* Damnit.

Reaching out for some of my old favorite books is a nervous tick, and will only fend off the querents for a little while, but maybe this time around reading them I'll pick up on something I can use on the dance floor?

So today I pull from the Tip Jar the following quote -- 

"Christopher Robin has just asked Pooh a question:

'What do you like doing best in the world, Pooh?'

'Well,' said Pooh, 'what I like best --' and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.

The honey doesn't taste so good once it is being eaten; the goal doesn't mean so much once it is reached; the reward is not so rewarding once it has been given... That doesn't mean that the goals we have don't count. They do, mostly because they cause us to go through the process, and it's the process that makes us wise, happy, or whatever...

What could we call that moment before we begin to eat the honey? Some would call it anticipation, but we think it's more than that. We would call it awareness. It's when we become happy and realize it, if only for an instant. By Enjoying the Process, we can stretch that awareness out so that it's no longer only a moment, but covers the whole thing."

-- Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

So rather than a) wishing the querents would just ask someone else to dance instead; or b) wishing that the dance was just over already; I'm trying to see the joy, the peace, the beauty in this process. I'm trying to be teachable, rather than turning away. And I'm trying to be awake.

What do y'all do when you're asked to do things that are extremely uncomfortable for you? Things that may or may not make you a better person for having done them? And let's not forget, none of us live in a bubble -- obviously whatever decision you make will have positive or negative (or more likely, both) affects on your loved ones. How does that play a part?

I would love some new tips, if you'd be so kind as to proffer them?

Total pages logged as of today: 183 but visit my Deadline Updates page for more info

Moment of Magic today:

Beta crawling up to the shiny black door of the dishwasher (a dishwasher, in and of itself, could be considered magical in my life -- I've never had one before and I love it. I still wash the dishes like I used to, but they're not taking up all my counter space on drying racks now. Is this shallow? I don't know. Maybe.) and giggling at his image reflecting back. Putting his hand up on the surface, patting the simulated hand in an ethereal high-five. His laughter, his crawling. Magical.


  1. I wish I could offer some tips, but alas all I can offer is commiseration. I am an incurable wall-flower myself. It has gotten to the point where it takes a great deal of my energy and strength to leave the house anymore. Every time I do, I take it as a small victory. That day, is the one day that my fear did not beat me. That is my moment of sweet longing before I eat my honey. You know what Carly Simon says about Anticipation, though. And if you don't, here you go...http://youtu.be/4NwP3wes4M8

    1. Commiseration IS a tip, don't you know? It's just advice dressed in a different shirt. What I read from this is that a) someone I know and respect a lot feels similar anxiety, and yet she is succeeding in this thing called life (or at least is really good at pretending), so I can too; b) if both she and I (and probably many, many others) feel this way, it can't be such a huge thing. If it were something only I was feeling, maybe I would just let it eat me up. But if you feel it too, bah. You and I together are bigger and better and bad-asser than this thing with all it's various names: fear, fatigue, discomfort, mistrust, self-doubt...

      Thanks for the tip, DR. I wish you daily victories.

  2. Benjamin Hoff and Pooh make very good points. Love that book, by the way. I am the wallflower who cures the nerves by dancing, if that makes sense? Things I find excruciating and uncomfortable, I look at in the third person for a while, exaggerate my discomfort a bit, and then just jump in with both feet, hearing nothing but the roaring of the ocean in my ears. It is a kind of sickness. If I'm uncomfortable with something, I force myself to do it. Usually it works out and I find I was worrying too much. Sometimes I fall flat on my face, but I have a great big laugh to cover the tears. Maybe that's not the best tip.

    1. But maybe it is.

      When I first read this I thought to myself (in a rather whiny inside-my-head tone), "But. She must not know how excruciating it is?"

      And now I think you do, though, and that you must know. Otherwise you wouldn't include the bit about having a big laugh to cover the tears.

      That's the part I need to remember, because no matter what the situation may be, magic can always be found in laughter.

    2. To add to this: the excruciating discomfort is nothing to the guilt of disappointing someone because I'm too afraid to try.

      That's what gets me through.

      And big gulping guffaws.

  3. I do a little like TL does. I exaggerate about it, I avoid it, I ignore it. Then I grab it by the horns. Or I grudgingly do it. Either way, I'm (almost) always glad I did it. I always learn and grow. Sometimes, I even like it enough to try again. Except zip lining. I don't need to try that twice.

    1. Even with the stuff you don't want to try twice, at least you know, right? Instead of just assuming through/because of fear? I like this. Especially because you point out it doesn't need to happen all at once. It's okay to approach it from different angles first, to take steps, as long as the end result is doing.

  4. I Like TL's answer!

    Another thing that helps me is this quote: "We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down." ~Kurt Vonnegut

    Yes, jumping off cliffs is scary! I guess it's all about trusting that I'll develop the wings on the way down. :) And I guess I'll never know if I don't jump.

    1. Ah, what a lovely and frightening visual. You're right -- I'll never know if I don't jump. I'll just wonder and assume, hope and fear, but never actually learn to fly. Maybe I won't like flying? But maybe I will.

  5. Wallflower? hmmm Not me, and that would be my most uncomfortable position. It doesn't mean that I don't enter into circumstances which are uncomfortable, that happens as part of growing, of life.

    What I do, is look at those things which terrify, scare, intimidate, or produce anxiety and ask myself "how tall is that fire?". I've done this enough now to recognize that the "fire" will strengthen me, not consume me, and that when I get to the other side, I am no longer intimidated by the situation, circumstance, emotion, etc... I am exhilarated by having experienced it.

    It really is the "journey" of life that matters most, not the destination. This is MY life, and I am going to experience as much of it as I am able, each day, every day, all day!

    Thought provoking post :-)
    A-Z 2012 (#49) - Bloggit Write A-Z 2012 - Poetry
    A-Z 2012 (#861) - Bloggit Write A-Z 2012 - Haiku

    1. Another beautiful image. Very nice. I like this because you assure that there is another side, that the fire strengthens rather than hinders...so many parallels I'm running with this in my mind now.

      Thank you. A beautiful comment.

  6. These are things I have struggled with with some regularity and, for me, there is nothing to fix it, but the doing of it. I have let many opportunities (dances) pass me by and have finally gotten hold of the idea that nothing is ever as scary or dramatic as I think it's going to be and that, in the end, I would rather live with the consequences of a decision I've made than letting indecision or fear rule the day.

    Adding the potential consequences for those closest to me always makes for a more tangled mess, but all we can do is to make the decision truest to our own heart and hope for the best, I think.

    Which is all easy to say from the safety of my computer desk and not always so easy to live.

    1. It's just so hard to recognize, when you're in the moment, that it's not scary or dramatic. Why do you think that is? Why do we get so wrapped up in the fear?

      You're right, though, that living with consequences of a decision I've made is much better than feeling sad, overwhelmed, frustrated, whatever, that IF I'd just done something, maybe things would be better...

      Like being able to hold an object in your hand and then figuring out what to do with it, vs wishing you had something in your hand to hold and dreaming about all the things you could do if you only had that object.

      Or something. You've got me thinking. Thanks.

  7. One thing I've found is that the worrying about how awful something is going to be is almost always exponentially worse than the feared event itself. That was a lesson that I was hard-headed in learning, so it presented itself over and over (and over again) in my life until I finally got it.

    I get it now, so I usually just put one foot in front of the other, take a deep breath--not one for calming purposes, though it helps with that, too, but to take in the moment. To smell it, to be in it. To feel every bit of it.

    1. Mmm, I definitely hear you. I'm thinking this thing is very much cyclical, and that I need to learn from it. If putting one foot in front of the other is the answer, I can do that. As long as it's just one foot at a time, maybe.

      And I like that you mention the deep breath, and taking time to be in the moment. I think this will very much help with the fear factor too, because I'll be less focused on what I'm worried about and more focused on all the beauty, the wholeness, around me.

      Love it. Thank you.

  8. Definately one foot in front of the other, one moment ata a time!

    I used to be a self certified wallflower, always hiding myself away for fear of something that was just in my mind!

    It is the fear that lets us know we are still alive. Take that breath and live life, I am usually always glad I did ;-)

    Keep us posted on how you get on stepping into the light!!


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