Posted by: devonellington | September 21, 2020

How Do You Plan in Chaos?

image courtesy of janeb13 via pixabay.com

One of the difficulties of navigating the pandemic these past months is that it’s difficult, almost impossible to set goals and resolutions and to work on dreams when so much of our time, energy, and focus is on basic survival.

I know I’ve had to throw out almost everything I both wanted and needed to accomplish this year. Some things are postponed. Some things are in limbo, and I live in the additional dread of knowing I will have to deal with them on top of the pandemic, and without the resources I’d hoped to put in place over the last few months.

With so many people acting like the pandemic is either over or didn’t happen in the first place (in spite of the enormous, avoidable death toll), it’s also difficult to fend off exterior pressures to put yourself in danger in order to either make other people money or make them feel more comfortable about their own choices.

We talked, a few weeks ago here, about the importance of inner resources. Building a strong inner life will help deal with external pressures. Whether it’s home-related projects or reading or pets or garden or cooking or yoga or meditation or creative pursuits – all of this will help build your inner strength and help you face the exterior challenges.

That’s an on-going process, and what gives you strength and feeds your soul will change over the years. That growth process is positive, not negative. It doesn’t mean everything you’ve done to that point is negated – it means you build on it.

Another helpful tool is to strip everything down to what you need to survive this. Not what you WANT, but what you need. What do you need to do, and how can you do is safely, in order to fill those needs?

Then, take time to realize how many people live focused on just filling those needs because that is their daily necessity.

Decide on actions, tools, processes that will help you fulfill your basic needs while keeping you and others safe.

Don’t give in to pressure from those who pretend everything’s back to “normal” and fine again. It’s not. Don’t buy into “new normal” being “just live with it and hope you don’t die next.”

Those pressures are for and from people who do not have your best interest at heart.

You’ll need to take some energy to figure out workarounds where they’re concerned. Some of them will need to be removed permanently from your life. None of that is bad. It’s necessary.

From the necessities, build on what you need to strengthen your inner resources.

Build in that which gives you pleasure (safely), and DO NOT FEEL GUILTY ABOUT THAT WHICH GIVES YOU PLEASURE. A “guilty pleasure” is a form of bullying. We’ve been told we should feel guilty about pleasure. No. It’s another tool of oppression.

Now you have a foundation that keeps your life running, and you can take information (REAL information, from vetted sources) and use that information to make decisions and start building back your goals and resolutions, and start dreaming again.

This takes time, a little bit of time every day, but it is worth it. Five minutes a day figuring out how to keep things running smoothly and how to make progress to where you want to be physically and emotionally is 35 minutes a week is progress.

Five minutes a day isn’t overwhelming.

In meditation class, they say that starting with 8 minutes a day will lead you to a strong daily practice.

Once you’re comfortable with 5 minutes a day of goals, dreams, and resolutions, move it up to 8. This gives you time to focus.

Psychology Today talks about how 8 minutes of walking can change your life. There’s an entire meditation practice based on 8 minutes a day. They can give you ideas on practices and benefits.

If it winds up being more than 5 minutes or 8 minutes, great! But a little bit of work every day adds up to a lot of work by the end of the month. It’s not overwhelming.

Also, by working a little bit every day, it gives you the chance to integrate new information.

We are in the midst of chaos, and there’s no end in sight. We need to learn to ride the chaos dragon WHILE also taking steps to positively change the chaos.

There are too many people out there, in positions of power, who don’t believe that each of our lives matter. We need to take care of ourselves and each other, as much as we can.

Build slowly, steadily, keeping immediate needs balanced with longer-term needs. A little bit of steady works builds a full creation.

Posted by: devonellington | September 14, 2020

Honor Yourself For Surviving

image courtesy of JillWellington via pixabay.com

We’re in the middle of September. I haven’t posted a To-Do list or a Wrap-Up list in months.

I had a lot of goals, and I had a lot of things that have to happen going into the year. They’re stalled, many of them, but some of them still have to happen as soon as I can pull them together.

I keep on top of deadlines and keep an eye to the future, but that’s about it. I’m not setting myself the dozens of tasks each month, because sometimes getting through the day is the best I can do.

We need to celebrate our survival, while we mourn those who died. Especially because so many died needlessly.

I’m working on questions for 2021. In the meantime, I’m also looking for coping tools and caring tools and ways that we can survive so that we can thrive when there are solutions to the virus and those solutions are enforced.

We won’t go back to normal. That might be a good thing. There were many elements of what was considered “normal” that we now realize are toxic. One of the things we need to do as we work our way forward it to redefine what we want and need in our lives and put systems in place to get that – while breaking apart the systems that have demanded that we don’t achieve what we want and need to achieve in order for someone else to profit.

A big part of this is redefining work.

Take a breath. Celebrate yourself. Take time to assess. Stockpile both physical and emotional resources. It will be a tough winter, but we want to be in a good place to build something better by spring.

 

Posted by: devonellington | July 20, 2020

Mon. July 20, 2020: Re-Establish Your Sense of Self

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image by Free-Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

One of the hardest things to hold onto in all this is feeling a sense of self, and a sense of worth.

So often, these are entwined.

When I first started working in theatre, I was so tied up in whatever show I worked on at the time that I wasn’t sure who I was outside of the theatre. That was not healthy. It took trial, error, and life experience for me to detach my “self” while still keeping the passion invested in the work.

I have value outside of and separate from my work.

With so many people unemployed right now, it’s hard to detach personal value from the work. We’ve been taught to define ourselves by the answer to the question, “So what do you do?”

Especially in the case of the pandemic, remember that, “it’s not you, it’s them.”

Too many businesses are ignoring the reality and expecting their workers to put their lives on line daily so the business can profit. This is how little they value their employees. If they truly valued their employees, they would allow remote work whenever possible and put in as many safety measures as exist to protect workers.

They would also pay workers a living wage and benefits no matter what. That, however, is a bigger discussion for another day.

Some businesses truly have been crushed by the economic depression we’ve entered. They have tried everything, genuinely worked to do the right thing for themselves, their employees, their customers, and still couldn’t survive.

Hopefully, those owners can step back, take a breath, regroup, and start a new business that will be even stronger. We need to remember these businesses, we need to respond to the way they valued those around them, and support them when we can in turn.

We also need to remember the businesses that aren’t taking precautions and demonstrate, daily, that they do not value us. We need to recognize the businesses that believe we are expendable.

We need to recognize that “at will” employment is an embodiment of the belief that we are expendable.

We have value as individuals, which is separate from our work. We have value in what we contribute to our families, to our communities, to art and science and gardens and clean houses and meals on the table and love and friendship and the hundreds of other ways we each contribute positively to the world every day.

Once we realize that value, and once we stop letting other people define our value in terms of their convenience and their profit, we can start looking at each situation and seeing how it becomes a mutually beneficial relationship.

The company gets completed work that generates profit from creative, dedicated individuals.

The worker gets a living wage paycheck in an environment that respects creativity and human dignity.

When anything is out of whack in that relationship, it causes a sense of dis-ease.

We are taught that if we work hard and do what we are told, we will be rewarded – financially and emotionally. What we learn is that if all we do is work hard and do what we are told, we will be gutted emotionally, toyed with financially, and told we should be “grateful” for such bad treatment. If everything you do and are is wrapped up in your work, then your employer will drain you like a vampire on every level and leave you an empty husk.

Retaining a personal sense of value and dignity if vital. Remember who you are away from work. Remember your value to those precious to you.

Use that sense of value to renegotiate your current work situation, or to search for something new. If you’re working, keep looking for a new job. Yes, it’s difficult now. But do it. Put out the energy, get the emotions flowing, and put change into motion. You may need to work a few stopgap jobs in between. But keep searching for a mutually beneficial situation that offers and cares about value on both sides.

Remember that “at will” can work both ways. If your employer will not commit to a contracted period of time, and reminds you, repeatedly, you can be fired at any moment, you can leave as soon as you find another job. You are not required to give two weeks’ notice, although you may want to in order to keep professional lines of communication open.

Take a few minutes every day to center yourself in your own value. Refill your emotional wells so that, when you are challenged daily, whether it’s on the quality of your work or the expectation that you should put your life in jeopardy for someone else’s profit, you have the emotional resources to make the best decisions you can.

“I deserve all that is good” may sound like a pop psychology affirmation, but if you believe and embody those words, they have power. They can give you the energy and momentum you need.

Remember the old saying: “Words have power. That’s why it’s called spelling.”

 

Posted by: devonellington | July 13, 2020

Monday, July 13, 2020: Inner Resources & Creative Need

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image courtesy of Activedia via pixabay.com

One of the lessons from the pandemic is the importance of having strong inner resources. Depending on other people, on the Internet, on Netflix, on cafes, on venues, on anything outside of yourself for sustenance doesn’t always work.

As someone who always loved books, I’ve found a great deal of solace in reading during these times of isolation. There are plenty of characters inside books I’d rather spend time with than people in the real world (especially those who are refusing to wear masks or listen to science – I want them OUT of my life).

Reading has helped build my inner life, since I was a child. Because I read across genre, a mix of classic, contemporary, and various genres, fiction and non-fiction, poetry, plays, it expands my world and my worldview. I get to learn how different people experience the world and learn from that. It helps me be more aware and empathetic when I go out into the world.

I disagree with people who demand that we remove art and books and films with crowd scenes and social interactions. I think it’s important to remember how it was, and then we can evolve into what we need to build now. Yes, it’s difficult not to flinch when we see party scenes or crowd scenes or concert scenes or Times Square at New Year’s Eve. At the same time, those experiences were a vital part of our previous life and society.

There are still books to be read and written that include that. There are still films and TV productions to be made that include that.

And there will be more written set during isolation and quarantine and sorrow.

There is room for everything.

There is NEED for all of it. Not just a want, but a need. We need to understand close interactions. We need to understand the period of time where we can’t have those interactions or they might kill us, and find a positive way through. We need to find ways to deal with people who would rather force death on us for their own pettiness and greed than act with basic human decency. We need to learn how to rebuild our society into something more equitable and just for everyone in it, and stop thinking that the minute you can’t fulfill your whim of the moment, it’s a threat.

If you CHOOSE not to watch it or experience it anymore, that is your choice. But you do not have the right to bully others about it, nor do you have the right to say it shouldn’t exist. You can turn away if you choose; others have the right to make their own choices. You aren’t being forced to watch or read it.

You do not have the right to tell artists they can’t create what they need to create.

You DO have the right not to interact with the material created, and not to put your money into it.

What I suggest doing is find ways of your own to create in a way that fulfills needs, and add that to your array of inner resources.

I’m an introvert. I have had less difficulty than many of those around me with the isolation and lack of social interaction. However, I have also actively worked to keep myself engaged and happy. This doesn’t mean I haven’t hit stretches where I’ve been so overwhelmed by the basic requirements of survival that all I could do was lie on the couch for a few hours. I also often wake up in the middle of the night and worry until dawn.

But active engagement with things I’ve enjoyed in the past, but haven’t made time to do lately, and trying to expand my engagement and stimulate my mind and my creativity, have helped a lot.

The things you do to build your inner resources should provide the following:
pleasure
–peace
–absorb your full attention for a period of time

Some of my tools:

Reading
Both in print and eBooks. I had a big stack of books from the library before the shutdown, and didn’t have to rush through them. I also kept ordering eBooks, and then, when the library and local bookstore started curbside pickup, ordered from them to support them. I also re-read books I enjoyed in the past, and got to re-experience them with a new perspective. Reading and thinking about what I read has always been one of the central pleasures of my life.

Try reading something you’ve never read before; either a new-to-you genre or a new-to-you author. Comfort books are always a good thing, but expand your reading horizons into something new.

Watching theatre and dance performances online
A filmed stage play is different than a film adaptation of a play. The filmed stage play is filmed during a live performance, with the audience there, and there is a sense of the wonder of the theatre. An adaptation uses the stage play as its foundation, but opens it out to its full cinematic possibilities, with the audience as voyeur instead of participant, the way one is during a stage play. I’ve enjoyed the National Theatre and RSC performances in particular. I have not particularly enjoyed watching film and television during this time. But I have enjoyed filmed stage productions. And dance! So many dancers and choreographers have found ways to express their art while in isolation. It’s wonderful. Actors are working with writers and directors to post monologues.

It’s been heartening to see how creatives are finding new ways to create. Instead of being restricted by the pandemic, they find ways to expand their creativity, and it’s inspiration for the rest of us.

It makes me miss my theatre life and family. At the same time, it gives me hope that theatre will evolve and survive, as it has since its inception, through wars and disease, because the immediate connection between creatives and audience (so different from the film experience) is intense and beautiful.

Museums Online
I love going to museums; it’s one of the things I miss most. But there are museums that I may never be able to visit in-person that now offer virtual tours. I love it. It gives me ideas for my own work, and it encourages me to add more places to my list of places I want to visit in person, once it’s safe again to travel. Looking at a piece of art on the screen isn’t as intimate as standing in front of it, being caught in its thrall, but it can still offer inspiration.

Writing
Writing is my business, my profession, and my passion. If I don’t show up and get it done, I can’t keep a roof over my head.

My creativity has been strained, and my productivity is slower. But I show up most days and get something done. I give myself breaks. I try not to beat myself up when I don’t meet my own criteria (I fail on not beating myself up).

But it’s as it always has been: the work doesn’t happen unless you show up regularly, whether you feel like it or not. That’s the difference between a professional and an “aspiring.” The professional makes it happen.

Yoga and Meditation
I upped my daily yoga and meditation practices, and that helped enormously. I already had a morning yoga practice, and a morning and evening meditation practice. I now do yoga morning and evening, and, sometimes, add in an afternoon session. I sometimes add in extra meditation, when I feel outside pressures increase.

Some local studios are open again, but they aren’t requiring masks once you are on your mat. Right. Enclosed space with people huffing out breath of fire, etc. Six feet between mats is not enough if people are unmasked. I don’t think so. Not going there any time soon. Nor am I doing beach yoga, because, again, there won’t be enough room between people, there’s wind, and there are other people wandering around unmasked and not distancing. No.

I do some classes via Zoom, but for me, it’s more beneficial to learn a routine and do it on my own than use a video or take a class via Zoom. Although Kripalu has some great resources.

Exercise
I would like to walk around. I live in a beautiful part of the country. But around here, they are walking unmasked in groups, not social distancing within groups or between groups. I’m not willing to take the risk.

I’m exercising at home, with weights, exercise bicycle, gardening chores, and thinking about adding jump rope into it. I’m exploring Pilates, and going back to some of my basic ballet barre and floor exercises.

I’m not big on watching videos to exercise. I want to be in the moment with what I’m doing, not watch someone else. But lots of people are taking yoga and exercises classes via Zoom and love it.

Gardening
There’s something very soothing and refreshing about digging in the dirt, and then watching things grow. I love my garden. I do have someone come in to mow, because it’s too much for me to do physically at this point. But I putter and plant and weed and love watching the garden. I even have a blog about it, Gratitude and Growth.

Write Cards and Letters
I was one of those kids who had lots of international pen pals. Some of us kept in touch for decades. A letter or a card is more intimate than an email. It says to the recipient that individual is worth the time it takes to choose a card, to handwrite it, to stamp it, and mail it. Because I love USPS, I order lots of pretty stamps. I order stationary, too, and write cards.

The act of writing the card gives me pleasure. And so many of the recipients are happy to receive the cards. As time passes, and we have been more and more isolated (those of us who are smart enough to hang in there until there are medical breakthroughs), the simple gift of a card or letter makes a big different.

Cooking/Baking
Cooking and baking have always been sanctuaries for me. Sometimes I work out plot problems when I chop or stir; other times it’s a respite from a long day at the computer. I found a great deal of comfort in the kitchen during this entire experience.

Although it was nowhere near as bad as it could have been, there were plenty of times when shelves were bare of this or that (things like flour and yeast, for a long time, certain canned goods, etc.). So I got creative about recipes.

I read cookbooks the way I read novels anyway. Reading a lot of recipes means that when I go into the store and something is missing, I can look at what is on the shelves, and create menus as I shop. I decided to make the creativity of it a positive challenge. We wound up eating well, thus far. I experimented a lot at the beginning; about the middle of the stay-at-home, I burned out and turned back to familiar comfort foods; now, I’m back to trying new recipes again.

Even if you don’t like cooking or think you “can’t” cook, learning a few basics will serve you well throughout your life. It’s simple to learn how to roast a chicken, boil a potato, cook eggs, steam vegetables. Experiment with herbs and seasonings; see what you like, and you can eat well without a lot of effort.

Listen to Music
I’m not talking about having it on in the background while you do other things. I’m talking about putting music on a sound system (not your earbuds) and really listening. Float away on the lyrics. Allow yourself to be transported by the art of the music. Let listening to music be an activity on its own. It’s restorative.

Textiles
I like the idea of knitting, but I don’t actually enjoy knitting. It’s taken me decades to admit and accept this.

But I do love yarn. I crochet. I used to do cross stitch.

I love fabric in general (one of the reasons I went into wardrobe in theatre). I hauled out my sewing machine, which had been gathering dust in a corner.

First, I made masks. Then, I found a fabric stash, and have started making clothes again. Simple pieces, but I can shape them and embellish them exactly the way I want. I have something tangible at the end of the work session.

Online classes
I’ve loved online classes for several years. While some of you may shudder at this, because you’ve had to help transition your kids to online schooling, I hope you’ll consider some online classes for yourself. I’m a big fan of bothCoursera and FutureLearn, although Oxford University has some great literature classes.

In the past, most online classes were with an eye toward careerism. Expanding my repertoire of Areas of Specialized Knowledge,

But during this time, I am taking classes in things that interest me: The Book of Kells, the Miracle of Human Language, Not Shakespeare.

I have no doubt they will translate into writing I will use in my career, but I’m studying because it interests me.

Trying Something New
I haven’t tried much that’s new during this period, mostly because I’m trying to keep up with what has to be done. Trying something new can be refreshing or stressful. If it’s refreshing, try it; if it’s stressful, wait until we have a solid path forward.

Among the list of things I want to try are learning how to play the piano (a long-term goal) and drawing/painting.

I’m lucky in that my natural hoarding tendencies meant I had books and textiles and yoga gear on hand. I haven’t run around spending a lot of extra money, because let’s face it, most of us are struggling. We need UBI. A government who cared about the survival of its citizens would have put us on UBI back in March, and worked on a reasonable plan forward as a society, instead of focusing on cruelty, corruption, and division.

Rest
The list above makes it sound like I’m one of those people saying we should be doing a lot in “all this spare time.” Um, no. We don’t have spare time. We have less time, and less energy, because so much of our resources are spent in basic survival. So much extra time and energy has to be spent fighting the Covidiots who can’t behave with basic human decency that we have even less time than before. We also need to face the fact that so much of our forced busy-ness was unhealthy. As we restructure our work lives and our whole lives, we need a healthier approach to work.

Rest will build your inner resources as much as any activity. But it’s important, even with the stresses pressing on us right now, to build those inner resources.

We have a long road ahead over the next couple of years.

Posted by: devonellington | July 6, 2020

Monday, July 6, 2020: Using Your Will as a Tool

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image courtesy of EliasSch via pixabay.com

We’re not doing a list this month, again. With a pandemic still raging amidst reckless re-openings and people who are too selfish and stupid to take the most basic precautions, a basic To Do list, for me, adds more of the negative stress and does not make me feel secure and functional.

If list-making and crossing items off as you do them makes you feel better during this time, then, by all means, please do it. We have to make the individual decisions to get us through this as long as they don’t harm others.

Refusing to wear a mask and social distance causes harm.

Making or not making a list does not.

There’s a huge difference.

There are things that HAVE to happen in the scheme of my universe over the next few months. I am out of time. The fact that I’ve been ill (non-COVID-related) and there’s a pandemic doesn’t change that certain changes are coming.

What I have to do is pull myself out of feeling helpless, angry, and in despair, and feed all of those emotions into my will so that I can use my will as a tool to get done what needs to be done, in spite of additional obstacles.

It means, for me, strengthening boundaries. It means NOT letting things go that are harmful, just to avoid confrontation. Too many people are taking advantage of what’s going on to claim that whatever they’re thinking and feeling takes priority over anyone and everyone else’s needs, and that working together for a collective good gives them, somehow, less.

Have you noticed, these are the same people who behave this way when things were so-called “normal”?

What do you NEED?

Not want but need. Those are different, and far too many people think the minute they want something, it’s a need. It is not.

What steps to you have to take to fulfill that need WITHOUT causing harm to those around you?

Again, too many people believe that if they are inconvenienced, or if they have to change “what they’ve always done” in some way because not changing causes harm, THEY are being harmed. That’s simply not the case.

What do you NEED?

What actions do you have to take to fulfill that need without harming others?

How will you go about fulfilling the need?

What is your timeline? How much of it is decided by external factors you can’t control, and how much can you control?

How does that change your action steps?

When you feel like you just can’t anymore, take a breath, take a step back. Rest. Recharge. Maybe you can only do so for a few hours. Look at the issue from a different angle. Look for a different approach that will fulfill your need without causing harm.

Change your action steps as needed.

Dig deep and WILL it to become a reality through your actions. Wishing won’t make it real. DOING will.

My month of July will be filled with searching for answers and appropriate actions to these steps.

Because there are several issues on which I’m running out of time, and only through using my will as a tool and taking action will I be able to chart my own course, rather than be forced into something I don’t want, that will cause harm to me and my family.

Best of luck with July.

What are you working on?

Posted by: devonellington | June 15, 2020

Mon. June 15, 2020: Just Rest

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image courtesy of Frank Winkler via pixabay.com

Normally, this would be a mid-month check-in.

My creativity this month has been all over the place. I’ve gotten some good work done, but it’s been difficult to maintain the pace I need.

While I’m frustrated, I’m also trying to cut myself a break.

Anger took too much of my week last week, and I did not do a good job of riding the wagon.

I’m preparing for surgery next week, so for the next few weeks, I’m going to rest as much as I can, and try to be gentle with myself.

Please do the same.

Peace.

Posted by: devonellington | June 8, 2020

Mon. June 8, 2020: Ride The Dragon

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image courtesy of momo_sc via pixabay.co

 

We’re going through a lot of emotions right now. Every day is a roller coaster. Feeling more than one thing isn’t wrong. You feel what you feel. You’re better of acknowledging it than repressing it.

I’ve read a couple of hundred articles at this point about the psychological strains – for myself and hoping to find something great to share. Bits and pieces of many of them give a second or two of relief. Nothing gives me the sense of safety I need or want right now.

In fact, most of them leave me feeling worse, because so many phrases became overused so quickly that when I see one, I instantly turn off.

“Unprecedented times”

“We are in this together”

Neither of the above are true. Diseases have wiped out large percentages of the population throughout history. The difference here is that there was advance warning. Which was ignored. There was advance planning. Which was dismantled. There is a lack of leadership.

We are NOT in this together. If we were, there would be leadership. People would not refuse to wear masks or stay home; they wouldn’t demand re-opening to put everyone at risk so they can get their nails done. If we were in this together, we’d have UBI until it is actually safe to re-open, not as we are doing now, because the top executives don’t like making single digit millions instead of double digit millions and would rather people die.

We are NOT in this together or black people wouldn’t be murdered for simply existing. And those murders would not go unpunished.

Of course we’re angry. The people who are supposed to handle this, who are put in place to keep us safe and free and healthy so we can go about all the different daily details of our lives – they are the ones actively trying to kill us.

So what do we do? How do we juggle a government with absolutely no care or respect for our lives with the pressures we already have of keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table?

I think of it as riding the dragon.

I think of my anger personified as a dragon, and learning how to ride it. Learn how to aim and focus the anger and find constructive ways to help create positive change. I want a better world for most people. I won’t say “everybody” – that term is bandied about too much.

It’s a great utopian concept that we should have a better world for “everybody.”

My amendment to that is that I want a better world for those who do not actively try to destroy the just, peaceful, better world we are working towards.

Those who are trying to kill us, those who don’t want social, racial, and economic justice – there need to be consequences for their crimes.

I’m trying to learn to ride the dragon, to use my anger constructively. For me, destructive anger means I let it eat me up while paralyzed and overwhelmed. Constructive means I find ways to work for positive change. It may not be the same way others do, but it’s a piece of the larger puzzle. Constructive doesn’t mean I go along with the route of conformation. But it does mean I’m taking action instead of letting the anger fester and destroy me.

The anger, the exhaustion, the fear: they’re all debilitating. But if I learn to ride the dragon effectively, and I join others working in the same direction (masked and properly distanced), I do believe we can rebuild something better and more equal. We cut out the rot, we have consequences for the crimes. We don’t pretend they didn’t happen. We make the changes so it will be a long, long time before the cycle begins again.

I can’t predict what will happen by the end of the day, much less in a few weeks or months.  But I also can’t be a voyeur instead of a participant.

Posted by: devonellington | June 1, 2020

Mon. June 1, 2020: The Self-Defeating Argument

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image courtesy of DarkWorksX via pixabay.com

Normally, I would have a list ready on June 1, of all the things I wanted and needed to accomplish in the month.

There are many things that must get done this month, including survival.

But there’s no list.

Because things continue to change so much, day to day.

I’m berating myself for not having a list, and yet it makes no sense to set myself up for failure like that.

There are enough exterior pressures trying to daily put my life in danger. I need to tone down the internal pressures.

Every time that nasty voice starts up, I remind myself that I am surviving. I have a roof over my head, food on the table, I’m working to stay healthy, I’m still working, in general. I find I need a lot of emotional space right now, as well as physical.

Everything else needs to build from that foundation, and it needs to be on MY terms, not those who want to use me for their convenience at my risk.

It’s not an easy internal conversation to have multiple times a day, but I’m working on it.

How are you holding up?

Posted by: devonellington | May 25, 2020

Mon. May 25, 2020: Just Rest

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image courtesy of realworkhard via pixabay.com

Today, in the US, is Memorial Day. We have a lot to remember right now.

But it’s also important to just rest.

Give yourself the room to rest.

Posted by: devonellington | May 15, 2020

May 15, 2020: Mid-Month Check-in

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image courtesy of Myriams-Fotos via pixabay.com

Normally, this would be a list of what we’ve accomplished thus far this month.

Life is different, so we are different.

You’re alive?

You’re doing great!

Do something nice for yourself this weekend. Love and peace!

Posted by: devonellington | May 11, 2020

May 11, 2020: Adaptability

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image courtesy of badalyanrazmik via pixabay.com

Monday, May 11, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

A few weeks (or maybe it was months?) ago, I talked about the need for flexibility. Life throws curve balls; how we deal with them has a lot to do with achieving our goals and dreams.

It has never been truer than what we’re going through right now. If we get careless or lazy or distracted or bored, we could, very literally, die. Or kill someone else.

Those of us able to work remotely are doing so. Despite bosses and managers who are convinced that if they can’t stare at us in their own space while we do it, it must not be “real work.” Hopefully, that is one positive change that will come out of this – that, in some professions, they realize we don’t have to be onsite to do our work, and, often, we do it better without them looming and interrupting. Because, let’s face it, it was never about productivity. It’s always been about control.

We are learning how to navigate out of the house wearing masks. At least, those of us who actually give a damn about other human beings are doing so. Many of us are making masks. We are learning to plan ahead – we can’t just run out to the grocery store for “one thing.” We are learning that we need less.

We are finding our inner resources and inner life. We have days when we feel like we can take on the world, and days where anything sets us off into tears. Sometimes we feel all of that in the space of a day, a few hours, a few minutes.

Parents are learning how to be co-teachers in an online learning environment, and kids are learning a new way of socializing that’s even more dependent on technology than before.

We are learning that the people we trusted to handle basic issues of living in society have failed us, and that they don’t give a damn how many of us die, as long as they can profit.

How we adapt to all of these new rules of living so that we can actually stay alive, and how we step up to shape the rules moving forward to that we remain alive to LIVE a life means we have to be both adaptable and smart.

Humans have the capability. But do we have the will? History will tell us, even if we’re not here for the answer.

On a daily basis, we need to remember that our actions have consequences. We need to protect ourselves and our loved ones. We need to, as much as is possible, distance ourselves from those who wish us harm, or are so selfish they don’t care if we’re harmed as long as they can satisfy a whim of the moment. We need to figure out how to work together (even if we can’t be physically together) to fix what is broken in the system that got us to this point and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

On a personal level, I am working remotely as much as possible and minimizing contact when I’m forced out. I am only going grocery shopping, and as infrequently as possible, and occasionally doing curbside pickup for other things that I either can’t get delivered, or where I’d rather put the money into a small, local business than a big box store. I am keeping abreast of the facts and using them to make decisions moving forward.

I do not have “all this extra time” that so many talk or whine about. I have worked, flat out, a full work week ever since the stay-at-home has been in place here. I’m working for clients, pitching, sending LOIs, working on my contracted fiction, and trying to land as much freelance work as possible, since we’re in the worst shape since the Great Depression, and who knows when the work dries up completely?

I’ve ignored the snipes and sarcastic comments from those who wonder what I’m doing with all this “extra time.” I’m working as much as possible, and I’m also adapting to the fact that mere survival takes a good deal more time and energy than it used to. I was already in the process of cutting some deadwood out of my life; this accelerates the process.

We don’t know what the future has in store right now. All we can do is the best we can do, each day, be as kind as possible as long as our safety is not compromised, and our boundaries not breached.

Adapt.

How are you adapting?

Posted by: devonellington | May 4, 2020

May 4: Goal–Survival

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image courtesy of kelseyannvere via pixabay.com

Monday, May 4, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

It’s been a long time since Imposter. First, my surgery. Then the pandemic.

Kind of makes the lists and the struggles look different.

The first goal, right now, s survival.

One of the biggest shocks and disappointments of the past months has been how so many of our fellow humans don’t care if we live or die, as long as they get what they want the moment they want it.

We must create and hold boundaries in spite of them.

We focus on survival. Then, we adapt our skills and our new perspectives to include survival — something we usually too for granted on a daily basis — and work toward reimagined goals for the new reality we face.

There have always been times when we needed to be ruthless about removing toxic people from our lives. Now, it is even more important, because they can, literally, kill us.

I will share some ideas these coming weeks, and I hope you will, too.

There may be false starts. We may need to take breaks because we are exhausted or disheartened. But we will find a way through.

Peace, friends.

Posted by: devonellington | February 14, 2020

Feb. 14, 2020: Break

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image courtesy of Bessi via pixabay.com

I’m not sure why Monday’s post didn’t go live as scheduled, and I apologize.

On Monday, everything went haywire, and I’m dealing with a health emergency, with surgery scheduled for next week.

So I’m taking a break here, although I hope to be back o regular posting in a couple of weeks.

Needless to say, my February To-Do list has gone to hell without even the handbasket.

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