In Pursuit of…

Peace of mind

(C) 2021 by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…

It’s our right.

How much does the pursuit of happiness cost?

Is it found in a mall,

In a thrift store, or a horse stall?

Does it result in a mountain of clothes on your closet floor

Or moments in the sun, fluffy dog at your feet on the floor?

Is it day after day working hard and staying late

Pursuing the money, or….is it the simple fun you can create?

I find that my stuff starts collecting dust

One thing hides another, and I forget what the motive was.

Maybe happiness is to be minimalist and free

To enjoy a given moment and just

Be.

Happiness means different things for each of us.

I hope to find the answer to this.

I’ll make sure to let you know

If I find true bliss.

***Written in response to the word of the day prompt at https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2021/03/08/rdp-monday-pursuit/ Visit the link and check it out!

#WeekendCoffeeShare, My World

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, where we sit and respond to the ideas that form in our minds, accompanied by the cutest mutt at my feet and David Bowie music in the background. I think it’s a nice little coffee shop, personally. I’m drinking green matcha tea, but you may have your drink of choice. The sun is up, and I’m feeling bright today!

A new day is dawning! There are a lot of changes in our nation coming up, and in my mind as I navigate my health. I try to deal with the worry; it’s a little chaotic, but one can choose to harness the chaos in order to create or destroy. I have new ideas and hope something is going to pan out at work. This would be a bright spot in my work-week while we grow closer to testing season, which, as I live in Florida, is sure to be thrown at us like it’s business as usual despite the COVID pandemic. You know state testing is a money-making venture, right? (*This is not necessarily the opinion of my employer; these are my views alone).

Meanwhile, I am investing in the socio-emotional aspects of teaching and my students’ needs. I’ll admit, there are some I don’t reach, but most of my days are pleasant despite the chaos of middle-school changes. We can harness the chaos and use it for good! I believe that. I will present the proof when it presents itself, LOL! Still, believing it is keeping me going right now. At home, I am keeping up with exercise, eating healthy, and filling up my mind then learning to tune it down when it’s time to relax. I’ve found working a puzzle keeps me from worry, and good thing, because it’s hard to maintain a social life during the pandemic.

Yeah, I haven’t perfected it yet. This week I’ve been making up creative projects for my Highly Advanced and Gifted kids based on Fears and Phobias or Animal Wisdom. It requires some work time at home. I’ll work a little more on that while the ‘cafe’ is quiet. My dog deserves a walk later though, and I could use the sunshine.

I may have mentioned before that I have a little bit of writer’s block lately. I am dealing with anxiety and ways to tune down the noise when I need to sleep. Journaling helps me release frustrations, and I am not at the point where I can share all of this or convert it to cathartic fiction, though I believe that may happen one day. I did write a poem based on fear and how it blocks our creative energies and ability to be there for others or to show love. You may read it here: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2021/01/08/the-occupation/

It’s quiet in this cafe right now except for the music playing and the occasional pitter-patter of my dog’s feet on the tile floor. Right now, Harlem River by Kevin Morby is playing, a new song I discovered by accident, a little jazzy, bluesy, and sultry with electric guitar in the background. Check it out! I’m typing while it’s quiet, but I look forward to your shares of what’s going on in your world. Have a great week, everyone, and be optimistic. Change can be a great thing, and if it’s not, we will adapt until change will come around again!

#WeekendCoffeeShare. What’s New?

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. Today, I drink green matcha tea, since I had coffee yesterday and experienced some bothersome sciatica. I started the matcha tea in an attempt to improve sleep and stress/anxiety reactions. I do think it helps in the long run, and I allow myself coffee 3 plus times a week. So now, I am experimenting to see if my nerves are calmer with the matcha tea, hoping that means I know one way to keep sciatica at bay. We shall see, right?

Bixby has had a haircut, and good timing, since it was 78 degrees yesterday here in Northeast Florida! It’s supposed to cool off again but won’t be below 40, so it’ll be fine.

The always-poofy tail! #pommix

On New Year’s resolutions

I always liked the idea of New Year’s resolutions. It is a great time to start over and look forward to a better year. I sort of did it differently this year. I’m reading and working on something called A Mindfulness for Beginners Journal. (That’s because, despite trying for fifteen years, I still suck at meditating, but I’ve accepted that some ideas that pop up at the wrong time could still be good ideas). Anyway, this journal gives recommendations on things or ways to ponder and disconnect from worry and the every-day grind. One suggestion was to think on an inspiring mantra, shut my eyes for a certain amount of time, and then write down the mantra or whatever variations occur to my mind.

Perhaps I was not narrow enough or focused enough (which I’m not), and I always break the rules with these ridiculous exercises; still, I will actually own it if I do it my way. I only call them ridiculous because I don’t do them exactly as they are prescribed. I’ll own that too. 🙂 Since mindfulness is a personal thing for all of us, don’t we need to access it in a way that works for us? I was writing each time something good popped into my head, thinking of the things I need to remind myself all throughout this coming year. Here’s what I have, in a quaint little graphic:

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”-quote by Amit Ray, from A MIndfulness for Beginners Journal

Yes, I am enough.

My running joke is that I take selfies merely to document the aging process. Believe what you want. 🙂

My gratitude today is for sleeping well last night, which is overall much better for my sciatica. They say practicing gratitude is a great way to stem off or fight anxiety, which I believe affects the nerve pain of sciatic. I will make it so. My belief is that, day after day, I can make a difference in this world while honoring my own needs and boundaries. I will make it so!

Happy New Year, everyone! Thank you for stopping by. I hope your life is wonderful, and I’d love to hear what you feel gratitude for during, and despite, this COVID pandemic.

Peace!

Weekend Coffee Share: In Dreams I can Fly


Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. There is a fuzzy dog at my feet, and my mug contains matcha green tea, a ritual I follow three days a week in my attempt to be ‘awake but not wired’ and to ensure that coffee doesn’t interfere with my sleep later. Enjoy whatever beverage you’d like for our little chat!

Today I want to talk about dreams. Some nights I don’t have them. Other nights, I wake from a dream and think about it, then I start thinking about work or bills or, you name it, my thoughts start racing. It’s handy at 5:30 a.m., when I would soon be waking, but it’s agonizing at 3 a.m. However, I’ve noticed a recurring dream and wondered how it fits in with my life.

This recurring dream subject is the dream where I am lost on the streets of my city, trying to find my way home. In one of them, I am with my son as a child. In a more recent one, I am on my own. In each, my goal is the same, and I am completely unfamiliar with the streets I roam. They seem a little dangerous, or maybe they’re just different to me. In each dream, I entrust myself to strangers I meet on the street to help me get back to the main street and find a central point with which I am familiar. Some of them seem unsavory characters or street people, maybe young ‘thugs,’ but that is just a stereotype. All of these people help me and prove to me I was right to trust them. This certainly applies to my life. I’m learning.

****From the website https://realdreaminterpretation.com , a site heavy in Jungian psychology which earns points from me, I found these quotes helpful:

The problem of a dream like this is that you cannot find your way home.  The meaning of the dream lies in the symbolism of home and your inability to find your way to it.

The Symbolism of Home and Your Conscious Attitude

Our home symbolizes our whole situation in life, meaning our entire system of adaptation to life: our relationships, our motivating forces, and in particular, our dominate attitude.  By attitude I mean it in the way C.G. Jung defined it:

  • our habitual point of reference toward life
  • how we respond to typical life events without even thinking about it” (This hits a nerve, as my fight-or-flight tenses me up so often, automatically)

‘If you feel anxiety in your life (Duh, have you met me?), then now you know where to look for the problem. It has something to do with home and finding your your way into yourself.  If you do not feel anxiety, then the unconscious says, “Okay, there’s something wrong here and you don’t see it.  You haven’t found your way home yet.”

This dream image of lostness is an archetypal image: lost in the world.  It’s part of the Hero’s Journey. Anyone who takes the road less traveled will certainly  find themselves in this lost state. It’s the only path to your true self.  If this is you, then be happy that you have lost your way, even though it’s scary.”

****

Finding my way home for me could mean writing; it could mean writing the truth instead of making up fantastical stories, or it could mean just getting back to writing , as I have a sort of writer’s block currently. It could mean striking a balance between my traits I’ve developed to protect myself and those which move me to be fearless at times. I’ve spent years trying new things; perhaps that was just part of the journey, and now I’m figuring out which of these things are for me and which are not. For instance: getting a dog (keep), certain extra volunteer work responsibilities (lose or shuffle), my job (keep for now) :), teaching during COVID (well, I’m still doing it), church volunteer activities (not doing much in that way currently), writing (not doing enough of it), health and exercise (Yes, girl, keep it)!

Here’s the thing, if something does not feel right for me, such as, I feel controlled, feel boxed in, or mistreated, it is not my home. At my heart and soul level I have to lose or be rid of that thing (such as my former marriage). However, being who I am, I normally beat around the bush, negotiate, ask for small changes, and still suffer when I know I am not at home in my heart. Well, I have made such a move recently, and I feel so at peace. I’ve also been talking to people about my perception and my needs, and it feels great. It is the trusting I’ve done.

Part of trusting is trusting yourself. We’re normally ashamed to tell anyone we feel twisted up inside, but when you do so, and they hear and understand, you have also trusted the world and trusted you will handle it if they break that trust. You’ve put your truth out there, and if the world wants to judge you for it, that’s their problem. Remember the lotus? It’s even stronger because it struggled through the mud to bloom and become a beautiful flower. Lotus is a constant returning symbol that I use in my mindset. Let me tell you, as a writer, I am putting contents of my mind out there constantly…and every time I read Bad Boy by Walter Dean Myers where he bears his heart in his life story, I am encouraged to share my stories, and I feel a little more fearless.

The future is bright, my friends. I will find my way home, and it may be an atypical home, but I will feel at peace there and won’t hesitate to tell you about it.

Thank you for stopping by! Weekend Coffee Share is a global once a week event where we share our thoughts, lives, and progress with other bloggers far and wide. I know my share was a little specific; I’m just proud I was focused on something! You will find good people from all walks of life through the coffee shares, teachers, bloggers, writers, poets, community activists and you will be heard. Check out Allison’s site at https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/2020/12/04/weekendcoffeeshare-catching-up-2/#comment-12672

Have a great weekend and even better week next week!

Weekend Coffee Share, 8/08/20. A New Contract

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. This week, I decided to focus on filling the days that are left of my summer with things that I want to do. I otherwise might have been obsessing about the upcoming school year, and what a waste of time that is! Too much COVID anxiety could get in the way of living. I have a mask to be careful, so the worry is not needed.

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This week, I met a friend and we took our dogs to the dog park for a blissful hour chock full of cuteness! My dog, Bixby, also got a haircut this week and looks so adorable! I went to Physical Therapy twice, and that is easier now. I am doing well, and the PT and I decided when my last appointment would be. I’m nervous, but I will ask questions at the next appt. to hopefully become more confident. Wednesday, I went to the beach with my son again. Any time I go there, the stress melts away the closer I got. I felt tension build up in my body as we left. It seems a constant struggle at times. Friday was not a great day; my sleep was affected because I slipped out on the patio after it rained. It seems the only pain was in my left leg; sadly, that is the side I sleep on due to my shoulder most nights. So it made sleeping more uncomfortable. But I exercised after slipping, and I think that was the right call. I will do more stretching today.

I’ve been thinking lately, that many of us seem to have a contract with ourselves, that we may have a job that serves others, and we sacrifice so much of ourselves for it. I really do not want to put my happiness on the line for a job, so my new life contract is to put my health and mental well-being first. If I don’t have those things, I cannot help anyone and cannot attend to anything else. Next is my family, third is God. Does that seem strange? Well, I believe that honoring my family is honoring God, so maybe those two go together. Many of us also put volunteerism in the ‘serving God’ category, allowing it to get in the way of time with our family. This is why it is not moved up. Moving on. Fourth is my job. It cannot get in the way of the first three. If it does, then I am hurting myself and doing this life thing all wrong. Fifth, a balance between my friends and my hobbies or passions, depending on how social I may feel. I cannot go without either of them; I need them both, but my hobbies and passions do require time to myself. That’s it. Pretty simple, right?

In the writing/book world, there is not much going on except for the production of Malachi, Ruse Master in audiobook. We don’t expect it to be finished until some time in Sept., but I am meeting through Zoom today with the producer of the audiobook. Then, I can find out how he is progressing. Exciting!

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I also posted a short story you may like in response to the one word prompt from Ragtag Community on WordPress.  Read it here: Home. #homeless

That’s all for today.  I hope you all enjoy your weekend and have a great week to follow!

Home. #RDP #homeless

It was early morning, in a park on the bay

when up comes a homeless man with a stray.

For both, it was a typical day,

But Chester, excitedly, approached to play.

 

“Chester, come back,” his owner called nervously.

“It’s okay, Shoo-Shoo won’t bite,” the homeless man said with a wide smile.

So the owner sat down, keeping his distance.

“Why do you look so happy?” Chester asked.  “You both have to search for food and find benches to sleep on, right? My owner always warns me when I go up to a stray, homeless animal.”

“But you don’t listen, do you?”  The stray said, smiling.

Chester shook his head.  “I guess I’m too curious.”

“I’m smiling because the sun is up, my master still loves and appreciates me, and I have made a new friend today: you.  That doesn’t happen everyday.”

“I am amazed that you are so happy with so little, you don’t even have a home,” Chester said.

Shoo-Shoo nodded toward his owner.  “Jackson is my home, and I am his.  My home is always with Jackson.  We are always there for each other.  He feeds me even when he is going hungry, and I share scraps with him. We are always by each other’s side.”

Imagine that, Chester thought.  “Watch this,” Chester pleaded, walking to his owner.  He put up his paws in the begging posture, and his owner gave him a treat.

Chester walked over to Shoo-Shoo and dropped the treat, tail wagging.

“Look at that, you have a generous dog, Mister,” the homeless man, Jackson, remarked.

“Ah, he surprises me sometimes.” Chester’s owner seemed to shrink into himself.

“Why’d you do this?” Shoo-Shoo asked Chester, taking the treat into his mouth.

“Your attitude inspired me, Shoo-Shoo.”  It was true.

His owner was gesturing that their time was up, though Chester wished he could stay out here all day like Shoo-Shoo and Jackson.  Well, maybe not if it rained.  He wondered what they would do if that happened.  Going to his master’s side, he called, “We’ll be back. I hope to see you again.  There will be more treats!”

“I hope to see you too!” Shoo-Shoo called.  “You are so kind!”

Chester’s owner put the leash back on and took him to the mini-van.  They were back at the park the next week.  Chester didn’t see Shoo-Shoo and Jackson there, but he never forget the lesson: Home is where the heart is.  He would still be looking for Shoo-Shoo every time at the park, hoping for another encounter with the wise, happy dog.

*#RDP is a daily, one-word prompt given at the Ragtag Community WordPress site.  View today’s entries at https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2020/08/06/rdp-thursday-homeless/

close up photography of two dogs

Photo by bin Ziegler on Pexels.com

Weekend Coffee Share, Unwind.

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at http://eclecticali.wordpress.com and observed by bloggers all over the world! My dog is my source of stress relief today. School has been terribly busy this week, and the pre-holiday ants-in-the-pants syndrome is widespread in middle schoolers. I was running on a large cup of hazelnut coffee and Advil yesterday.

Today, I’m really taking it slow. I need that, sometimes. Mind you, I love my job, because I am teaching a novel I love, by Walter Dean Myers. I’ve made connections with my students by discussing things I have in common with Myers, things that go beneath the surface.

I’ve also been sharing about things that I have written, like this book, From Bedlam to Ben, something I have been proofing before I get it into paperback, even though it was published for Kindle 3 years ago.

As I’ve probably already mentioned, Undercurrents in Time is now in audio, and it seems to be doing well!

I almost have no energy to deal with writerly things today, though.

I’m writing this on my phone while I’m couching it with my dog. He sort of accompanied me as I exercised on the porch this morning.

He also was glad to sit outside with me for 15 minutes in the sunshine on this 78 degree day. You’ve gotta love the Southeast! I really needed some lazy time with my dog! Now, I think I’ll go read a book.

Yes, it just may be a tearjerker, and I really don’t mind.

Have a great weekend, my friends!

Weekend Coffee Share. Work/Life Balance… Still a Challenge.

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at http://eclecticali.wordpress.com

Grab a cup of whatever pleases you, I know I myself had a good cup of coffee today with milk and honey creamer. After spending the morning alternating between sending parent e-mails, entering grades, and working on my Class Dojo site with 30 min. exercise at one point and a little time working on my authorship, I think the topic of work/life balance is a good one to bring up at this time.  Don’t worry, we can talk about the rest, too!  Pull up a chair and your favorite beverage!

It has been another busy week.  Work, grades, planning new lessons.  Students are more of  a challenge the closer we get to the holidays. (Hence, the parent e-mails this morning).  Thursday consisted of two separate doctor appointments.  No new issues were found, but the doctor, after a discussion of the pain in my shoulder and arm, is sending me for an MRI and x-ray and referring me to physical therapy. The physical therapy is probably a good thing, since this has been bothering me even after going to chiropractic for a year. Don’t get me wrong, visiting a chiropractor has really helped my back and spine. So I’m adding one more appointment and it’s increasing my need for work and life balance. I can do this.

I may have mentioned I was going to be visiting Kingsland, Georgia with my boyfriend in last week’s coffee share. We were there visiting his dad who recently got a new health diagnosis that has been worrying my boyfriend. Well, we had a nice visit, and afterward decided to visit Neutral Zone Studios which, as a friend had told me just that day, was having a Star Trek exhibit where you could visit the set. Evidently they do a lot of fan films there. Well, we hammed it up and had lot of fun. I think we really needed that.  Beam me up!

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I have been spending a little bit of time each evening for about a week listening to the narrators chapters for my book, Undercurrents in Time. It will soon be an audiobook, and I am so excited. She is doing a great job, and it’s all going smoothly, except for a little delayed with the ACX audio system. That doesn’t really bother me, because I really can’t listen to more than one chapter per night with everything else going on in my life. So no problem. I also actually enjoying listening to her read the story, and like hearing it again through the narrator’s tone and inflection. I think you all will enjoy it too! I have also sent my manuscript, Malachi to another beta reader. I think that pretty much be done with the story soon, and it will be on to editing and soon, the designing of the book cover, which really gets me excited!

**Today’s coffee share has been written with the aid of Dragon dictation, something I have not used for a while, but I felt like I should give my arm and shoulder a break. So as a result, I have noticed a font change when there shouldn’t have been, and I have had to stop and change some of the words that the dictation misunderstood from my voice. I feel like I might have discussed a few more topics here, but it’s just time to lay back and relax and read a book now. I did a lot of this morning, though. Thanks for stopping by, and have a great weekend and a wonderful week next week.

 

Weekend Coffee Share, 10/05/19. Author, teacher, mom

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, where dreams run rampant and reality competes for equal coverage. The Coffee Share is hosted by Allison at http://eclecticali.wordpress.com and takes place every week. Grab your favorite beverage and join me, I know I sure needed coffee this morning!

My week was busy and packed with meetings as well as at least two nights late at work. We’re getting toward the end of first quarter, testing is happening next week, and I’ve volunteered for a low-paying leadership opportunity at my school, mostly because no one else wanted to do it. I may talk more on this later, but not right now. It’s time for the fun stuff.

No, not the grading I did this morning before getting my hair done, and not the sciatica that robbed me of early morning sleep. 😦 I had an appointment to get author photos today after my hair appointment and lunch. I wasn’t sure I could pull it off after the lost sleep and the resulting eye bags, but I wore real mascara for ththe first time in years, slapped on some extra foundation, and got going

The photographer was a friend I taught with last year. She seems knowledgeable and had lots of ideas for poses. We even did a few casual/fun ones! The author headshots don’t show my jeans, so when they come out, just forget what you know. 🙂 Here’s one of the casual ones (I rather like the shadows) :).

There is more on the author front, such as the release of my novel, Detours in Time in audiobook! I also worked a little on the paperback of From Bedlam to Ben, because my students are asking about my writing. I think that’s a good one for teens with identity crises. I also owe Malachi some editing time sometime soon. I still think I can make an April release!

Speaking of owing someone some quality time, my boyfriend and I are going to an open-mic comedy night, I’m taking my dog to the dog park tomorrow, and my son and I had some conversation at dinner last night. That felt good. He has a new job, is getting more responsibility, and is getting home later as well. Such is life. Enjoy every little moment, and I do.

I hope you all have a great weekend! Someone is begging me for playtime…

Weekend Coffee Share. Keep Your Family Safe.

 A week ago.

Come on real quick,  Come on outside,                                                                                          Just sit and breathe with me                                                                                                         There’s a beautiful breeze that I hear in the trees                                                                  Before it rains,  come see!  

Poem (c) 8/25/19 by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali

A week ago, my dog beckoned me to go out in the yard. Now, we prepare for Hurricane Dorian, and I think about all the dogs that get left behind when families must evacuate.  Please, check a list for pet-friendly shelters or hotels!  They are family.  Here is a list for my fellow Floridians:

https://www.bringfido.com/emergency/hurricane/

Pet-friendly hotels in Fla.: https://www.bringfido.com/lodging/state/florida/

Before yesterday’s rains.

Bixby can smell something in the air….

While I could go on and on about my son’s new job (Hooray)! Or, my job and the fever I had this week due to rampant middle school germs, or the progress with my authorship, I am weighed down with thoughts of preparing for the hurricane and will have to finish out our coffee chat quickly.  You see, I live in Northeast Florida, and we may not get the worst of the storm, but it is predicted to be a level 2 when it hits us.  I pray for those in South Florida.

My drink today is a V8, trying to stay healthy today, but I’ll still likely need a nap later!  At any rate, I should get a chance for writing and more reading if the weather keeps me sequestered this Labor Day weekend.  I’m not sure what I will find to watch on Netflix, since I just finished the second season of Mindhunter which has started in me a Forensics/ Behavioral Science interest.  When the lights go out, I will read by candlelight!  Forge onward!  I hope you all have a great weekend, and if you are in the Southeast, I pray that you and your family, including any furbabies, stay safe and calm during the impending hurricane.  God bless!