This is Not Good (again)

Pixabay: OpenClipart-Vectors. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.

My dad, as a teen, hit a skunk at night while driving his father’s car past curfew. When he got home and climbed out of the Pontiac, the skunk smell was strong. He smelled of skunk. There was no chance of slipping unnoticed into the house. His father would ask questions.

This is not good, he thought. This is not good.

I’ve had that same thought, said the same thing when something went wrong.

This is not good.

We don’t say, this is bad, which is odd.

This is bad is shorter. Precise and to the point.

The opposite of not good is bad.

But this is bad somehow sounds worse than this is not good

This is bad is clearly bad.

This is not good subtly leaves open possibilities other than bad.

This is not good is maybe…OK? Permissible? Forgivable?

Not good interrupts a definitive and final conclusion of bad.

It gives wiggle room; buys time; offers hope.

Fuzzy logic? Probably. But it works for rice cookers and my dad, so it’s good enough for me.

How’d my dad’s story with his father end? I’ve no idea.

I just know he survived.

Photo source: OpenClipart-Vectors on Pixabay

I wrote a version of this in July 2019. This is similar, but I’m exploring style, voice and layout, so this reflects changes. If you read both and like one better than another, I’d love to know which one you like better and why. Me? I’m of two minds about it. Thanks :-).


 

Anxiety and Unwinding It

If someone had asked you in early 2020 if you were an anxious person, what would you have said? I’d have probably said no.

And yet, in January 2021, I started using Unwinding Anxiety, an app-based behavior-change program developed by Dr. Jud Brewer.

Now, after two years of practicing many, small moments of mindfulness around uncomfortable behavior habits, I’ve concluded I was more anxious about more things than I’d realized.

And from what I read in the news, see on social media, and observe during weekly zooms with Dr. Brewer and program participants, I’m not alone.

If someone told you anxiety is a feeling of worry or nervousness or unease about an imminent event or something with an uncertain future outcome, you might be suspicious that anxiety is nibbling away at the corners of your calm.

Our world is full of opportunities to feel worried, nervous or uneasy.

Continue reading “Anxiety and Unwinding It”

Rapid Rabbiting on October 1st

Pixabay: Alexas_Fotos. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.

If you’re a Rapid Rabbiter, we’re coming up to another first-of-the-month: October 1.

The day on which to practice the good-luck-rabbit-ritual of saying Rapid Rabbit before anything else.

Or Rabbit Rabbit.

Or Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit. 

It depends on who you ask.

My advice? Just pick one and stick with it.

And have fun.

Happy October everyone.

Photo source: Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay

Rapid Rabbiting on January 1st

Pixabay: Alexas_Fotos. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.

If you’re a Rapid Rabbiter, I encourage you to try and remember to do it on January 1st. That way, if you miss other months, you’ve got the year covered with your good luck charm.

At least, that’s my story.

Even if my dad disagrees.

Happy New Year everyone.

Photo source: Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay

Rapid Rabbit Reminder!

Pixabay: Alexas_Fotos. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.

I forgot to say Rapid Rabbit on April 1st.  I remembered on May 1st. And I’m reminding myself—and you!—tonight to say it on August 1st.

If you know nothing about Rapid Rabbit or Rabbit Rabbit, read my prior posts.

Or just know this: saying Rabbit Rabbit first thing on the first of the month will, according to lore and legend, bring you luck. It certainly brings me a morning smile.

If you forget, this blogger shares some ways to set things right.

 

Photo source: Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay


 

Black Dog

Years ago, driving down a dark road with my young daughter, we came upon a black dog in the middle of the road.

An utterance arose from within, without invitation. Sometimes life delivers succinct messages—no needless words—that remain permanently branded in our brains.

Pixabay: Pexels. Free for commercial use; no attribution required

Black dog.

In road.

At night.

Not good.

 

I tensed; swerved.

And missed it.

 

Photo source: Pexels on Pixabay


 

This is Not Good

Pixabay: OpenClipart-Vectors. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.My dad told me a story from his youth about hitting a skunk at night while driving his father’s car. When he got home and climbed out of the car, the skunk smell was strong. He smelled of skunk. He knew his mother would ask questions.

This is not good, he thought.

I’ve had that same thought; said the same thing when something went wrong: This is not good.

Like my dad, I don’t say, this is bad.

Why is that?

This is bad is shorter. To the point. Clear. Definitive. The opposite of not good is bad. Right?

But this is bad somehow sounds worse.  There’s good and there’s bad and this is bad is clearly bad.

This is not good subtly leaves open possibilities other than bad. Maybe this thing that is not good is actually…maybe…great? Not good slows down thinking; interrupts a clear and definitive conclusion of bad.

It gives some wiggle room; buys some time with the inner Judge.

Maybe that sounds like fuzzy logic, but it works for rice cookers, so I’ll take it.

And…I never learned how the skunk story ended.

But my dad survived.

 

Photo source: OpenClipart-Vectors on Pixabay


 

Rapid Rabbit: May Will be Lucky

Pixabay: Alexas_Fotos. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.

I forgot to say it on April 1st. But I successfully remembered to say Rapid Rabbit this morning; along with Rabbit Rabbit. Covered the bases. May will be lucky.

If you forgot this morning, this, it says, will help you set things right. And give you a cute baby bunny video, too.

Happy May Day!!

 

Photo source: Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay


 

How a Decision I’d Felt Fine About Suddenly Felt Wrong

WaLk the Goats

A lot of my childhood stuff was discarded over the years, but neither I nor mom ever discarded Sad Baby.  Plush in all parts except the face, she had a zippered-pouch in back cradling a music box.  The soft body, with lilting musical tones, was a comforting snuggle.

The plushie eventually made her way from the east coast to California, her cloth frayed and worn, the music box long dead and disposed of. I washed her face, aired her out and alternately displayed her on my bed or stuck her in the garage.

Years passed. Sad Baby had been in the garage a while when a desire to declutter arose. My decluttering urges loop around regularly. Each time, something that survived the last cycle, does not make the current cut.

One de-clutter tip I’d read was to take a picture of an object cared about but no longer wanted. It would keep the memory without having to store the thing.

I looked at Sad Baby. “It’s time,” I thought. “Time to let go of you.” Sad Baby had been mine for 55-years.

I took a picture, tucked her into my trick trash, and she was gone.

Sad Baby comfortably lived in my memory. I didn’t miss her. I was content with my decision.

Until…I wasn’t.

Continue reading “How a Decision I’d Felt Fine About Suddenly Felt Wrong”

I Was Raised in a House of Heels

125_HighHeels

I was raised in a house of heels. And now I’m done with them.

High heels were a family thing. Dad bought them. Mom wore them. And I adored them. Many came from Frederick’s of Hollywood, a catalog company carrying sizes large enough to fit mom’s feet, with a selection not available at our local shops.

They were usually stiletto’s, tall and sparkly, with a heel strong enough to be used as a weapon. For me, they were real versions of Barbie’s peep-toe mule sandals. When mom and dad were going out for a night of dinner and dancing, these are the shoes mom would wear to finish her outfit.

I loved watching her get dressed up. I loved watching her glow as she slipped on the magical shoes to complete her outfit.

She’d come down the stairs and swirl before dad. Her full skirt would rise, revealing a bit more of her long legs, their curve enhanced by the heels. Dad, watching appreciatively, would emit a low whistle.  Mom beamed.

Continue reading “I Was Raised in a House of Heels”

Rabbit Update

Pixabay: Alexas_Fotos. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.After writing about the Rabbit Prophecy on March 31st, and putting a note by my clock-radio (a permitted reminder), I forgot to say Rabbit Rabbit on April 1st.

“Are you awake?” Bubba asked that morning at 2 a.m.  “Yeah,” I answered.

With that exchange, April’s good-luck rabbit-fortunes were derailed.

For these situations, should anyone ask, I have a trump card. I said Rapid Rabbit on January 1st, which covers the year. It’s my insurance policy.

“No, you have to say it each month for it to count,” my dad argues.

It turns out my dad also disagrees with my conclusion that Rabbit Rabbit was correct.

“No, no, no,” he said, after reading my blog and the Wikipedia post. “I don’t care what the internet says. It’s Rapid Rabbit. That’s how your mother and I always did it. That’s how we taught you.”

Rapid Rabbit was the way I always said it, and according to dad, was correct.

My sister had learned Rabbit Rabbit, and when she did her on-line sleuthing, that was correct.

We were both right, by different sources.

I’m glad to get this resolved. Again.

I still have to remember to do this the first of the month. But my options have expanded. Now, I’m confident the rabbit wand can be waved many ways.

One Rabbit, Two Rabbits, Three Rabbits, four.

Rapid Rabbit, Lapin Rabbit, It’s all rabbit lore.

 

Photo source: Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay


 

Rapid, Rabbit Rabbit

Pixabay: Alexas_Fotos. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.I don’t consider myself superstitious. Until I am. Then I do various things to avoid jinxing myself: knock on wood; keep umbrellas closed indoors; sidestep walking beneath a ladder.

I also, on the first of a month, start the day off with the words “Rapid Rabbit.”

Talking with my sister today, she reminded me that tomorrow is “Rabbit Rabbit” day.

“Wait, did you say Rabid Rabbit?” I asked her.

Continue reading “Rapid, Rabbit Rabbit”

It Wasn’t Just an Avocado

120_Blogging-Mindfulness2

It wasn’t just an avocado. It was an instant of attentiveness, of being awake to a moment in life I usually sleep through. Were I not blogging, I likely would’ve slept through that moment. Instead, I experienced avocado-man with an awareness that saw his small act as something bigger.

As if in slo-mo, I fully took it in.

That’s been a wonderfully, unexpected benefit of blogging.

 

Photo source: coyot on Pixabay


 

Yes, We Have No Avocados

Pixabay: ponce_photography. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.

A fellow ran down the sidewalk from Whole Foods, an avocado in his hand. I was in line at a sidewalk sandwich spot off our town square. Avocado-man popped behind the sandwich counter, cut the fruit open, sliced it, and laid it perfectly onto a partially-made sandwich, which he handed to the man in front of me.

Wow, I thought. What a great customer experience.

Can you imagine! I picture him telling his friends. The guy ran over to Whole Foods to get an avocado. For my sandwich!

And his friends would shake their heads in disbelief.

As my friends shake their heads in disbelief when I tell them how things went awry during my birthday outing.  The birthday without clean coffee cups, bananas or bread. And with no one going out of their way to deliver any of them for me.

That customer and I; we each had stories to tell.

 

Photo source: ponce_photography on Pixabay

I wasn’t sure if avocados were fruits or veggies; they’re a fruit. Here’s the scoop from the California Avocado Commission.


 

A Different Puzzle

Walk the goats

I had 1,000 pieces to choose from.

I would put my puzzle together. I would include straight border edges.

If I couldn’t do it following instructions, I could do it my way. It didn’t matter if all 1,000 pieces were there. I was only going to use thirty-one of them. I’d make them fit.

Sometimes you have to bend rules; think outside the box; stretch boundaries; break clichés.

Sometimes you have to own the puzzle.

I owned it.

 

Photo source: Walk the Goats


 

Lessons in a Puzzle

Walk the Goats

1,000 pieces. That’s what the puzzle box said. I bought it. I’d try this puzzle thing.

Last time I was around a puzzle was 2-years ago. I was at a birthday party and the puzzle was 2/3rd complete. The remaining pieces were nicely laid out, face up. Several folks were standing over the puzzle, chatting, while scanning and trying to fit pieces in. I hit 3-clean picks in a row: snap, snap, snap. It was satisfying. “I’m a natural at this,” I thought.

I figured I’d buy a puzzle and try it at home. Lots of folks like puzzles. Maybe I’m one of them.

A thousand-piece puzzle is not a good place to start, if you aren’t sure you love puzzles.

Continue reading “Lessons in a Puzzle”

Red Chair in the Snow

I love this chair. Lots of friends shared their memories of similar chairs when they were growing up. I told dad I thought the red chair would look great against snow. When enough fresh powder lightly blanketed it, he obliged and took pictures for me.  It’s beautiful in any season. May it remind you of a peaceful place, time, moment.

 

DSC06299 4x6-6b
Holiday colors….

DSC06294 4x6-5b
A light dusting of snow…

DSC06291 4x6-3b
Come…sit….

DSC06292 4x5-4b
Snowflakes glisten…

 

Photos: Walk the Goats’ Dad


 

Road Lesson #3: Don’t Take it Personally

106_RoadRageLesson3_2-26-19I’ve written two blog posts inspired by a place I dubbed mindfulness intersection. It was a stretch of road I drove regularly, giving me plenty of opportunities to practice mindfulness.

My first lesson was about my rage at another car cutting in front of me.

My second lesson had me being the cutter, at a different, but similar, intersection.

My third lesson—I’ve stopped saying final because life keeps surprising me—I tell here.

This lesson captures the essence of Don Miguel Ruiz’s second agreement—don’t take anything personally—in his book, The Four Agreements.

“Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”[1]

This third lesson, surprisingly, happened while I was walking. Having had a disagreement with Bubba, I was outside, stomping up the street, trying to clear my head and make sense of what had just happened.

Continue reading “Road Lesson #3: Don’t Take it Personally”

Wintry Mindfulness Moments

105_WintryMindfulness_2-24-19

My blogging efforts remind me of learning to drive a stick-shift: fits-and-starts. In January, I met my goal of posting three-times a week. So far this month? Sketchy.

My excuse? I went east to spend time with dad, to celebrate his 95th birthday. Generally I avoid flying cross-country during winter; too unpredictable. I haven’t been home for Christmas in decades. I tried to get east for dad’s 90th birthday, but snow-storms cancelled that year’s trip.  With mom’s death last September, the urge to go east for Christmas or for dad’s February birthday was strong.

I opted for dad’s birthday, both to miss the holiday madness, and so I could get information together for his tax return. Dad might discourage my traveling for his birthday; but to get the taxes done would be a compelling enticement.

Whether I was going to get east seemed dicey.

Continue reading “Wintry Mindfulness Moments”