Z is for Zone. #AtoZChallenge

narrative-794978_12801 Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

I am in the zone lately, reading and writing like a maniac, learning marketing ideas as an indie author, and escaping into fiction reading just as often.

I wanted to write about something Zen for Z,  but let’s be honest, I have no true idea about Zen.  My home life is a little chaotic.  Work is terribly busy, so I just escape into a book.  It’s nothing new; I’ve done it all my life.  I had my phases where I’d binge watch certain things on Netflix, but I can’t seem to make myself a passive recipient of others’ ideas right now.  I don’t think reading someone’s book is passive at all.

“Zone out” means you become inattentive or unbothered, and I have to use that in my life right now.  There have been many changes in my home, and I have to accept them. Know what helps?  Getting in my zone.  Every now and then I have to reconnect with those around me, though.

I look forward to telling you more about what’s happening in my zone in the next few weeks.

*For the month of April, I’ve participated in the April A to Z Blogger’s Challenge!  Can you believe it’s just about over?  I’ve done it!  Each day this month, I have written something based on the next letter in the alphabet.  It’s been challenging and fun while giving me a chance to pause for reflection as well.

Want to know more about the A-Z blog challenge?  Visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

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How Much Do We Need Community?

What do a recent rap song, Johnny Cash, the movie Fight Club, and the Bible have in common?  A post on society and the ones we love. “No man is an island, entire of itself…”  R…

A re-blog of a subject that revisits me constantly. Source: How Much Do We Need Community?

I am Mother. #Poetry

Photo taken in 2008. That’s my son and I; he was twelve at the time.  (And that’s 425 steps)!  A happy memory. 🙂 I have witnessed my son growing up drastically lately.  All part of the process.  I brought out this poem while reflecting on how much he has changed.

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copyright 2015, Pamela Schloesser Canepa

I am Mother.

I feed you, clothe you, house you.

I shield you from harm.

You are my child.

I am Mother.

I stand back and let you fall,

Teetering and learning how to get back up.

You are an adult.

How did it come to this?

It seems it happened overnight.

I am supposed to let go.

But what if something bad happens?

I am confused.

As you wallow in the mud,

how can I not reach in to help?

But then how would you learn,

to help yourself?

I am Mother.

I no longer make the rules.

Life won’t tell me what is next.

Nor will you.  Nor do you know.

I feel destined to fail.

I am  still Mother.

Though I will sometimes fail.

And you’ll tell me I’m wrong.

I still love you always,

Even when I gracefully lose.

I am still your Mother.

And I will never quit. 

 

 

The stamped, addressed envelope

 

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5-26-16:  I just put it in the mail today, and I had struggled over the decision to fax it or not.  The deciding factor was that I would not have to explain to anyone what I was sending, would not risk them seeing what I was sending, had I gone to a Kinko’s or faxed it from my work office.  It would bring up my awkward, conflicted thoughts.  Now it may take longer, but it’s so much easier to lick the envelope, seal it and stamp it, and then send it  without a word to anyone.  I won’t have to hide these feelings when I stand in awkward silence, or feel I have to try to explain to someone that I am letting go of a dream.

I just sent the notice to cancel my son’s college fund, and to get a refund on the remaining amount.  At first, it was a glorious feeling, knowing I’d have that money coming in to pay for a summer vacation, and to fund my summer of doing nothing but writing, promoting my writing, and doing other enjoyable things.  It was a relief.  But the reality of sealing and stamping the envelope just brought up these conflicted feelings.  You see, it made me look back.  Back at how he loved going to the college campus but would not keep up with his studies, and the frightening alcohol overdose that landed him into the E.R and into a downward spiraling depression during that first term of college.   This was on top of some of the problems he was already having.  Of course, he withdrew, and didn’t do much, until, a year later, he tried college again.  He struggled in his classes and could not keep up again, told me I was not helping him enough, then told me to leave him alone when I tried to help.  I’d already decided I would not pay for a tutor.  I had done that through his high school years.  The college fund that paid for his tuition was opened by me when he was an infant and I made payments for 18 years.  It was hard to look at him losing a grasp on that dream I had for him.  It was sad as well, because he really enjoyed the open campus and just being there.  After dropping out, he once again, was not doing much, and appeared to feel lousy about himself for a while.

Enter the job opportunity.  A friend of the family helped him get a full-time job.  It earns entry level pay, but there are opportunities for advancement and technical training.  He is doing some really hard dirty work and is enjoying it.  He never complains! I’m amazed.  Recently, I decided to accept that he wasn’t going to college, and to cash in the college fund, depositing it into a retirement account.  Well, it makes sense to set some aside for this unemployed summer that I am about to enter.  I really do need a rest, but not only that, I really do want to continue writing and drumming up interest for my work, because that encourages me to write more.  You may have figured out that writing is my passion.

It took me a couple of days to mail this thing, but, I guess, I am using it to pursue my dreams.  Some of it will go into my retirement account.  I’m trying to feel better about this again.  It is not only going to help me pursue my dreams,  it also represents my letting go, as hard as this is, a dream I constructed for someone else, someone who needs the freedom to construct his own dreams.

There are so many different ways to let go.  Ways we have to let go.  The final step in this scenario was for me to let that stuffed envelope go that I’ve been holding onto for days.  There is really no way we can foresee the future for our children, or the roads they will take.  But we can have faith, that it will be a blessed path, where every misstep leads to wisdom, laughter, or important lessons learned.

AustenBabyAndMe.96.16841_1312867349399_3054698_n  1996.  Loved then, still loved now. ❤

When I Write, I Share Myself #sequel #communication

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I have realized, thanks to a friend’s suggestion, that writing can be a way to foster my relationship with my son, who is slightly uncommunicative. Please understand that when I write some weird stuff! He just gave me advice on knives. 🙂 This may also just keep me from being restricted in my genres. I like seeing things from many different perspectives.  I have had to, in order to understand things my son has gone through.  I am trying to communicate to him that I accept him as he is, even when silent,  but he is part of my world, and I will share my world with him.  (Even though much of it is in my head, but I chalk that up to healthy imagination).  We all carry around stories.      #‎amwriting‬ #workingonsequeltomadeforme  ‪#‎sampsonseyesholdthesecret‬ ‪#‎grittyshortstoryonthewaytoo‬ #scifi

Blessed, this Mother’s Day

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**Mother’s Day has been great, and I feel so blessed because:

My mother surprised me with these unique blue orchids!  She just does such thoughtful things like that!  She knows me, and how I love these alien-looking beauties,  that seem to whisper, “I’m beautiful, but I will eat you alive if you come too close.”  I like that in a flower… 🙂

Although my mom worked today, we were able to take her to breakfast, and it was very enjoyable, before going our separate ways….

While at breakfast, my son agreed to a picture, and he gave a genuine smile for the camera!  This means a lot to me, as he just glared at the camera when we were out for his birthday.  He really doesn’t like someone making a fuss over him in public.  So, of course, there was no singing to him in the restaurant.  To each his own.

My son went to church with me, and he hasn’t done that in a little while…

He drove me to church, in his car, that he recently bought used, which means he is working, which has been a long time coming.

At home, I got some writing done, while my son went to get a haircut.  When he got back, it was pretty quiet around here, like usual.  You see, that’s how he is.  And I have learned to stop fighting against who he chooses or who he prefers to be.

During the quiet times, while I am writing on this keyboard, or laying back, reading my Kindle, my dog is curled up next to me, loyal, faithful, always ready if I put my shoes on for a walk.

You see,  I truly am so blessed!

How Much Do We Need Community?

What do a recent rap song, Johnny Cash, the movie Fight Club, and the Bible have in common?  A post on society and the ones we love.

“No man is an island, entire of itself…”  – John Donne.

This quote has stayed with me for over twenty five years.  I have used it,  in conversations, in my classroom.  I have felt it, when I was in my third year of college, after transferring to a university from community college.  Classes were huge, and I felt very alone.  Over the years, I learned the value of forming friendships for many different reasons, to handle difficult situations at work, to enjoy life a little more, to have someone to talk to, or to share a value with others (such as charity, faith, volunteerism, recovery).  People go to many types of places to feel a part of a community:  hobby/enthusiast groups, church, bars.  That’s quite a variety of places, but a lot of it starts because we need someone to talk to.  Some of us are fortunate enough for it to happen in the workplace.  It sure makes working a lot more fun.  Some are not that fortunate, and have to seek other places like the aforementioned.  I imagine, in early civilization, hunter/gatherers survived cold weather and wild animals better if they banded together to survive.  Farmers usually rely on a community to get their work done.  They have to get along to get things done together.  I look at these huge farms in the Midwest and I know just one man alone could have never gotten all that done.  Community seems, to me, to be a key to survival for mankind.

The Christian Bible preaches the value of community.  I made a promise to myself to use or read the Bible more often during Lent this year.  It’s not too much of a cheat if I found relevant verses in an online subject search, is it?  From http://dailyverses.net/community : “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 | NIV

Since the Dark Ages, even earlier, people have gathered together to appreciate art, music, and Literature to enrich their lives and minds.  I am seeing that as one way we “walk in the light.”  We still gather to do these things.  Sometimes we just enjoy them in a solitary way.  I don’t mean to contradict myself here….

Or, take this Bible verse about supporting each other, maybe even inspiring one another to be better people:
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)
But yet, there is plenty of fuel to fire the opposing argument, that the lone wolf is that way because he chooses to be because he is totally independent.  In a current, popular song, that I just heard for the first time today while switching stations, by G-Easy, the lyrics go like this: “It’s just me, myself, and I/ Solo right until I die/ Because I’ve…got me for life.”  I at first thought the song might be a little narcissistic, then I watched the video (uncut lyrics).  It depicts a star who really struggles with himself and the fame that has come to him, perhaps realizing his large number of false friends.  Perhaps that just comes with fame and riches.  I may never have that problem.  I’ll admit the lyrics are catchy.  I was drawn to them after hearing Jonny Cash’s rendition of Empire of Dirt, a song that could make me cry on a gray day.  Similar themes, but quite a switch!
And then there was an article shared by a Facebook friend today as well, titled “Why Millions of Men Lose Friends in their 20s,” available at http://www.vice.com/read/why-men-lose-friends-in-their-20s?utm_source=vicefbus which totally touches upon the subject as perhaps not always being  a choice, or sometimes being a regrettable one.  “As we get older….we might start to wonder whether there’s a reason most wolves hunt in packs.”  As if most men interviewed by the writer seemed to acknowledge that life would be easier if they had a “pack.” By the way, the falling away of friendships in your 20s happens just as much to women.  But it was good to read from this perspective since I get concerned about my son in his young adulthood and his lack of community or even any concern for being part of a community.
Of course, modern technology makes it easier to do everything from the confines of our home, even conversing with others (through our acronyms, LOL). Thereby, it decreases active participation in a community.The quality of conversation has really declined, BTW.  🙂 On an average day for many, our survival involves sitting in our cubicle, pecking away at a computer under artificial light.  Hmmm…I am getting an image from  the movie Fight Club!   Ed Norton or Brad Pitt with a shiner, what a way to fight the artificially lighted cubicle!  The word “club” stands out here in my mind, almost as much as Brad’s shiner.  His character started out as a socially awkward young man, feeling withdrawn from society.  Modern culture seems to perpetuate that.  We were all so much thicker skinned in the past, but we did it through community and teamwork.  That was a key to our survival as a species.  It is even helpful today.  Without it, there may be many lone wolves, but I doubt their descendants will go too far.
I’ll put this in my own personal terms.  Sometimes I need something to do that I know will benefit someone else; that gets me away from selfish concerns or worries.  Or I need to talk to someone about anything that will get me out of my head or my worries (that sometimes can chase themselves like a dog chasing its tail).  I know community is a key to survival.  I also love my lone wolves, especially since my son is one of them, and I know he needs love and acceptance, even when he accepts it so tentatively.  I think they have an important place in our community, if for no other reason than to fix things, build things, produce art, Literature, or music to make us think or help us escape. Then there are also those who think up the theoretical ideas, yet can’t talk in a social setting.  They are still invaluable.  Perhaps the lone wolf is, at times, an inspiration to the broken-hearted or newly single?   They’d never admit it, but in some way, they do need us.  I just hope they realize they mean something to the rest of us.  Yet, I see that I have to accept anyone’s choice to be outside of community.  So do we just leave them be?  As a mother, I adamantly say, No.
I just hope our lone wolves realize they mean something to the rest of us.  Yet, I see that I have to accept anyone’s choice to be outside of community.  Take the example of my son.  One may speak to him and get very little reply.  It doesn’t mean he doesn’t respect you.  It’s just, you may have interrupted a thought process; he may have to work hard to switch that off.  But he may have really needed those kind words, even if you got very little response.  You see, I’ve been working on understanding this.  His mentor that we knew from church was learning this.  One day, he told me, “I got a smile and a chuckle out of him today.  It was a real smile!”  Yes, I believe it was.  Sometimes that’s all you get.  God bless him for trying.  Maybe we can’t change a lone wolf into a social being, but just let them know they’re loved and accepted.  Awkward can be awesome.  If we are truly a loving community that will survive together, we should be checking up on our lone wolves, and embracing those Emily Dickensens and Van Goghs, long before they’ve left us with nothing but their art or interesting memorabilia collections.
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