Letting The Air Get At It (K.Blais)

An old wives’ tale speaks about letting a wound get air in order to heal better. Although medical opinion varies on whether on a wound site heals better covered or uncovered, I am of the belief that both physical and emotional wounds heal better when air is allowed to get in and the wound is given permission to breathe.

Hurt, betrayal, disappointment, embarrassment, and even humiliation have become emotional wounds common in life. Whether intentional or unintentional, because of simple negligence or ignorance, or because of malicious spite triggered by envy or revenge, wounds occur.

We are hurt by those we thought would never hurt us. We are betrayed by those who we believed had our back unconditionally. We are disappointed by how we are treated by others, especially when we would never treat them in the same way. We are embarrassed when we are called out in front of others, or when we are ridiculed when we least expect it. We are humiliated when we believe that what we thought would never happen to us, has indeed happened.

Image result for emotional wounds free pics

So, what do we do?

Some of us may bandage it all up, wrapping the damage of the wound tightly to us. We may hide the injury away, underneath a protective covering, hoping that in time the wound will heal on its own. And perhaps the wound will heal. It may disappear entirely with only a trace of a scar or it may seep for a long while, oozing within itself, barely contained behind the bandage that holds it, before eventually healing in its own way.

Some of us may decide not to cover the wound. We may let the wound remain open, airing it out, because we believe that when we can air out our wounds they will heal more quickly and with less oozing and scarring. We leave the wound open instead of covered, baring our injury, in the hope that air and time will heal.

Airing out an emotional wound requires courage. For some it may be talking to a trusted friend about our feelings. For others it may be writing or blogging about a troublesome issue, or in a less public forum, it may mean journaling or writing private letters. In any case, the airing out is important for those people to heal.

Airing out takes courage because sometimes people perceive us as angry. They may think that we are on a rant and pissed off again. They may think we are too sensitive, that we take too much to heart, that we need to let things go a bit more. They may tell us to focus on what really matters (which is entirely subjective), and to let things roll off our backs. And maybe they are right.

Maybe we are angry and pissed off. Maybe we are too sensitive, too heartfelt, and too conscientious about justice and fairness to others. Maybe we believe that the world needs to remember that everyone has feelings and those feelings should be valued no matter who you are or what you can or cannot do for someone else. Maybe we feel that being kind will always be more important than being right.

But that doesn’t make us wrong in feeling any of these ways. Airing or ‘talking’ about when we have been hurt, when we feel wronged, even when we feel insecure can help us face our own perspective, as well as to see and hear someone else’s. We can heal faster when we realize that we are not alone, that others have felt and will feel this same, or in a similar, way. We can learn from another person’s experiences, we can receive valuable advice, or we can simply hear “I get it. I understand.”

We may be embarrassed by our wounds. We may feel childish or juvenile. We may think that we appear weak or ineffective when we allow our wounds to be exposed for anyone else to see. We may feel that we are to blame for allowing these things and/or people to hurt us, in some cases repeatedly. We may even believe that perhaps we someone deserve to be wounded.

But, it takes a strong person to speak about hurt and betrayal. It takes strength and courage to reach out and to bare ourselves and our hurt to someone else. We may be allowing patterns to repeat themselves in our lives, but that is why it is so important to air out our injuries. When things hit the air sometimes the reasons for them become more obvious to us. We are able to reflect a little more clearly on ourselves and on the situation surrounding us. We can see and evaluate the truth about ourselves and others. We can learn, we can understand and be understood, and we can grow.

It may also take time, but airing out our wounds can allow us to heal more quickly and healthily. We will still continue to be hurt by others at times, this is most likely inevitable, but perhaps we can learn to allow the air to heal us. And perhaps we may also learn how to prevent a greater wound from taking place in the future.

(photo courtesy of steptohealth.com)

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My Fall Down The Rabbit Hole (K.Blais)

In a fall down the rabbit hole, an individual sets off on the path with a goal, gets sidetracked by various events and changes direction several times along the way, eventually ending up somewhere unexpected, typically without having satisfied the original purpose of the quest. Nevertheless, the path often leads to serendipitous discoveries. Furthermore, … the meandering path may eventually turn out to be more productive than a more direct one. (Courtesy of http://whatis.techtarget.com)

  

I fell down the rabbit hole again. Contrary to Alice’s great adventure down the rabbit hole, I haven’t been off on any exciting or intoxicating adventure to a Wonderland of sorts. Nope, just living my regular life, putting one foot in front of the other.

I ‘settled’ into life again though, content with going through the daily motions and adhering to the various hectic schedules in my family’s life. I didn’t push myself to write a lot, to challenge my thinking (or anyone else’s), and my perspective didn’t vary much. I guess in the security and calm of the rabbit hole I focused on quiet for a bit.

In the quiet of falling down the rabbit hole I stopped carving out time for writing and for doing those things that I had originally planned for my own “quest”. I quit fighting against the grain of trying to fit it all in and to make it all work. I went MIA on the literary world and on other parts of my world as well. But… I began to miss those who I had developed strong bonds with, those who supported me in my writing and the other aspirations in my life, and I realized from the quiet calm of my rabbit hole that I simply only needed to reach out, to poke my head up into the light to see that those people missed me too. 

I became sidetracked by other components in my life, none of which I regret because they have led me to now appreciate and explore life in other directions. My goals have changed because of this exploration. My perspective has been jolted a bit, but in that awakening my reality has been altered. Things I once believed to be true have been challenged, but this is not a bad thing. In fact it has been exciting and adventurous (in its own way).

In meeting new individuals I have learned that unusual and different is interesting and refreshing. The known is comforting, but there is something to be said about stepping out of our comfort zones as well. Talking to and reaching out to new people, people who share common interests or don’t share in them, can vary our perspectives in a much needed way. Even talking to someone in the grocery store lineup can change the direction of our day takes us.

I was introduced to someone the other week. The woman I was being introduced to expressed that she felt that maybe she had met me before. I knew we hadn’t met, but I had seen her comments on my blogs through our mutual friend’s Facebook profile. When I told her this, she said, “Oh that’s right – you’re the writer!” Initially I was a bit surprised that anyone would officially call me that, but it was enough to make me stop and think that it was time to emerge from the rabbit hole.

A writer writes, I thought, and that is what I need to do. Couple this with some actual requests that I post again was enough to kick start me into action. Yes, it’s a busy season, and yes, blog stats say most readers drop off reading this time of year because they are so busy with their own lives, but personally I need to refocus on what truly matters in my life. 

My reemergence from the rabbit hole is on my own terms though. I’m not promising that I can still meet the demands of posting every week and that I will finally take steps towards getting published. My goals have changed and I have meandered a bit, but I’m still the same me, my own Alice of sorts, figuring life out and trying to make sense of this crazy world which I am blessed to live in and to be a part of. 

Perhaps the other ‘stuff’ in our lives takes up too much time and energy that we have lost focus on the things that we should be giving our most time to: our loved ones, our hopes, and our dreams. 

Maybe we all need to take a peek out of our rabbit holes and take a good look at the world around us – have we surrounded ourselves with things that make us proud to be who we are or have we become someone or something we swore we never would be? 

Walk Softly, Carry A Big Stick (K.Blais)

Some of you may have noticed that I took an unannounced, unpredicted break from blogging and, actually, from writing. I hadn’t planned on taking a break; it just happened. One week I was “too busy” to write. The next week, I was “too angry” to write. The following week… Well you get my point. Somehow, along the way, writing dropped down on my list of priorities. Consequently, I suppose I dropped down on my list of priorities too.

Over the past few weeks I have allowed the burden of many things to directly or indirectly affect my life. The decisions of others beyond my control, the treatment of my loved ones, even my own personal issues with ‘fairness’ have been given permission to stand in the way of my priority list. The daily grind, putting one foot in front of the other, and the belief that ‘existing’ is enough has somehow trumped what I love and enjoy doing.

How many times do we allow this type of thing to happen? How often have we found ourselves in situations where we allow others to monopolize (control) our time, behaviours, and intentions by their opinions, words, and actions? Far too often, in my opinion.

Recently I decided to take a step back and really look at and listen to what was going on around me. I call this making the decision to “Walk softly and carry a big stick”.

Taking the time to observe the actions, behaviours, and body language of others can tell you a lot about situations and can also help to create a more accurate depiction in your own mind of what is going on. Listening, I mean really listening, hearing what is being said, as well as what is not being said, is also extremely helpful in acutely evaluating what is going on around us.

That’s the part of walking softly, which is sometimes the hardest for me. I’m a good listener, I’ve always believed, but recently I have learned to really listen to what is actually being said, not what I am hoping or wanting to hear. I’ve learned to stay quiet in order to do this.

The second part of my decision is to carry a big stick. I think it goes without saying that I have not literally been walking around with a big stick in my hands, but non-literally I have. You see, I have decided to arm myself with words that adequately and accurately express how I am feeling. I have decided to use those words to respectfully make it clear to others when I disagree with them or feel the need to stand up for myself or my loved ones. I have also thought of the idea of carrying a big stick as being in control of my own actions and responses to the issues around me. Carrying that big stick allows me to feel like I am the one in direct control of what is going on and not what is happening to me.

I have to admit that walking softly and carrying a big stick has created more of a sense of calm and peace in my life. I have felt less angry and less volatile towards the injustices and issues of ‘unfairness’ that I observe around me. Instead, I am able to understand more clearly why and where they come from. I have learned to carefully listen to others and I have realized that I am not alone in many of my concerns and feelings. I know it’s not just my own insecurities, uncertainties, or feelings of inadequacy that are pricked by certain behaviours and actions that I see around me. There is some comfort in knowing that others feel or have felt the same way.

Walking softly and carrying a big stick has also helped me to realize what, and even who, is important to my life and essential to my well-being. Taking on this philosophy has allowed me to realize that perhaps not everyone likes me, but perhaps not everyone matters either.

I have also learned that how others feel is often beyond my control, people will form their own opinions and judgments regardless of the truth, and an acceptance that we are all far from perfect is essential to getting along with others. These are all truths which have come to light, almost like moments of epiphany, during my weeks of blogging/writing hiatus.

So, if there has been something good which has come from my unexpected virtual absence, it is that I have reemerged with a new perspective, a new and more positive frame of mind, and a new lease on what matters most on my priority list.

I’m baaaaaaaacccckkkk!

Living, Writing, and Shootin’ Skeet: A Revisit (K.Blais)

This is one of my personal favourite posts from two years ago. I’ve been thinking a lot about this particular post lately because I truly enjoyed writing it.
Rereading this was also a good reminder that I once wrote a book I loved (and still do, even though two years has passed.) I still need to do something about that, don’t I?
Maybe I just need to take aim and shoot…

On February 18th, 2013, I finished writing my novel. This is actually the second novel which I have written, but probably the only one which will see publishing (at least it is my hope that it will). Don’t get me wrong, this novel still needs editing, touchups, and revisions here and there, but for all intents and purposes the story has ended… for now.

It took a long time to write the ending to the novel. For the most part, the story flowed quite freely, taking a lot less time to write than my first book. The ending, however, took two and a half months to write. Part of me thinks this was the case because I was reluctant to give up the characters with whom I fell in love, each in their own way. The more I wrote and thought about these characters, the more real they became. As well, at times, the small town which I wrote about seemed just as real (if not more) than my own surroundings. (I even had the strangest desire to seek out this place which I was sure existed somewhere, not just in my imagination, and planned a tentative trip out to eastern Canada to search for it. The journey, unfortunately, had to be postponed.)

Part of me also didn’t know how the story was supposed to end. I don’t exactly write following the rules – I don’t bother much with outlines and plot sketches. I’m kind of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants writer, or a “whim writer”, as my W fondly calls me. When I write, the only elements and rules that I follow are the thoughts in my head. Characters’ voices speak to me (sounds creepy I know, but really it’s not!). Inspiration comes from various sources: a picture, a thought, a phrase, even a name can trigger a story-line, action, behavior, or personality trait of a character or inspire a blog post. It’s a fantastic process – one that I don’t nearly have enough time to enjoy.

This week’s blog post was inspired by the above image.

This picture features the friend of a friend on their skeet shooting adventure. Now, I don’t know a whole lot about skeet shooting (I’ll get to that in a bit), but I do know that when I came across this photo on Facebook I was immediately struck by its strength and simplicity, all at once. It’s a simple picture, but its striking light, the black and white background juxtaposed by the coloured images in the foreground (completely naturally), and the strength and determination in the posture of the shooter spoke volumes to me. I was moved by this picture and I knew immediately that I had to write about it.

I actually knew very little about skeet shooting until writing this blog, but I will admit that it has always intrigued me. I think the first time I may have seen skeet or clay shooting was in the movie “Overboard” where Goldie Hawn’s husband is shooting skeet off of the deck of their luxury yacht. (Yes, that was a while ago.) It’s always seemed like a neat sport – much less brutal and bloody than hunting itself. Wikipedia.org tells me that skeet shooting “is a recreational and competitive activity where participants, using shotguns, attempt to break clay disks automatically flung into the air from two fixed stations at high speed from a variety of angles.”

From my readings I also learned that skeet shooting is meant to simulate the action of bird hunting. There are rules as to which skeet should be shot first, high or low, and stations set up to determine how the targets are launched from the high or low house. My eyes started to glaze over a bit on the rules (I’m generally a visual and let-me-just-try-it kind of person), but I think I got the general idea. I also found some interesting bits of history – the word “skeet” was said to be derived from the Norwegian word for “shoot” (skyte) and during WW II, skeet was used in the American military to teach gunners the principle of leading and timing on a flying target. Makes sense to me.

(In my research, I actually came across a great blog site devoted solely to skeet shooting: Bloggin’ on Skeet , which boasts Skeet Shooting 101. I like to support fellow bloggers and this is actually pretty cool stuff. Check it out here.)

So, here’s my big idea:

Living is a lot like writing. Writing is a lot like skeet shooting.

Similar to writing, living is about carving a path, creating a storyline for ourselves by the decisions and choices we make, and how we deal with the consequences of our actions, good and bad. For every action there is a reaction and a series of events which follow it. We are never stuck or defeated. At any given moment we have the power to say, “This is not how the story is going to end”. God gave us brains, instinct, and will for a reason. We are co-authors in our lives – we may ask God to guide our footsteps, but we have to be willing to move our feet.

When we go about our daily lives we set goals for ourselves – perhaps even something as simple as getting through the day. When we, as writers, create, we set goals for ourselves too. The goal may be similar to getting through the day or the week, perhaps it is finishing a chapter or making a blog deadline.

Shooting skeet is not much different. There is a goal to be attained: getting the best score possible. There are decisions to be made: where to aim and when to pull the trigger. There is the skill and precision in the act of taking aim and firing. In life, the skeet can be considered the goals we set and how we choose to take target them. In writing, the skeet are the writing pieces (whether they be blogs, reviews, short stories, or novels) which are thrown out into the world to be targeted by the shooters (the readers, agents, publishers). Skeet can also be ideas – you launch an idea into the air, take aim at your readers, and fire away in your writing. Sometimes you hit bang on (in skeet terms called dead), sometimes you completely pulverize the skeet itself (smoke it), and sometimes it’s a complete miss of the target (lost).

In writing, skeet shooting, and life sometimes you get a hit (success) and sometimes it’s a miss (the opportunity to try again). Just like a determined skeet shooter you keep trying, out of sheer determination at some points, sending skeet out high and low. It can test your patience and your skill, but generally it’s your innate desire to succeed which keeps you moving forward and completing the round.

You see, writing, skeet shooting, and life aren’t all that different. We might need to consider the following questions: Do we take initiative in life? Do we take aim and fire? Do we follow through with our goals or do we give up? Do we choose which battles to fight or do we attempt to work them out as they occur? Is our life full of incomplete rounds, indecisive ponderings, unfinished stories? When at first we don’t succeed, do we re-load and try again?

In my own life, I know that I need to get back to my current novel and finish its edits. I also need to finish editing my first book, just to have the satisfaction of seeing it to completion. I need to take aim at agents, publishers, independent publishing companies, and anyone who will read me. I need to send that skeet high into the air and fire all 25 shots. If I don’t succeed in this round, then I need to get back out on the range and try again.

I think I may finally be getting this living and writing thing down pat, maybe next I can convince the boys to take me out shootin’ skeet…

(Dear Readers, Special thanks to Grant Glover and Benjamin Czyz for sharing their awesome skeet shootin’ photos with me! Photo credits belong to them. I do believe I will be adding Shooting Skeet onto my list of “Things I Wanna Do”! Thank you for your likes, comments, and shares! Please like our Facebook page Writing For The Love of It and follow me on Twitter at @kim_blais. Keep on shootin’! ~ K ~)

 

 

Life (K.Blais)

I’m finally sitting down after a long day of work and an evening of conferences. Beside me sits an exceptionally yummy glass of wine. My laptop is in front of me, and once again, because of my busy, crazy, hectic week, I have not even considered a blog topic.

It’s starting to become a bad habit, I suppose, this ‘allowing the week to get away on me and Thursday evening arriving with no topic in mind’. But, that’s what life does, doesn’t it? It gets away on you.

Sometimes I wish I could tether ‘life’ down, maybe like a dog on a lead. I wish I could teach ‘life’ to sit, to heel, and to obey my simple commands. Wouldn’t it be nice if ‘life’ simply did what we told it to?

If ‘life’ would only ‘listen’ to us, wouldn’t things be a lot easier?

Unfortunately, we are not always in control of what ‘life’ hands us. Sometimes we are dealt a crappy hand and we must somehow stumble through the round, hoping for a better deal next time.

Sometimes ‘life’ allows time to get away on us too and we are rushed and stressed because of our lack of time to get things done and to accomplish what we need to.

We may even feel like we are sailing through the sea of ‘life’ on a good and even course, only to hit a storm which sends our sails crashing down.

In other cases, we are a continuous train wreck – one so bad that we cannot even look away ourselves from the disaster which ‘life’ has allowed us to become.

One of the biggest smacks in the face that ‘life’ can give us, though, is disappointment. Am I wrong?

Disappointment comes in many forms – we can be disappointed in situations, things which we really wanted to see happen or not happen. A perfect example – many of us were extremely disappointed when our local ski hill closed down. No one wanted it to go – especially not my family who can see the hill from our backyard and who had just started skiing and snowboarding last winter.

We can be disappointed in people, friends or loved ones who may have let us down, betrayed us, or hurt us in some other way. Perhaps their behavior was out of negligence or intention – disappointment can wreak havoc on friendships and relationships. It is often hard to face those who have disappointed us, or who we have disappointed ourselves. Forgiveness is possible, but it takes time.

There is also personal disappointment. This is often the one which is the hardest to overcome for when we disappoint ourselves it is extremely hard to reach the point where we are able to forgive ourselves after. When we make the wrong choices and realize it after-the-fact, it is hard to “right things” and forgive ourselves.

‘Life’ isn’t always fair; it doesn’t play equally or on equal ground. ‘Life’ will stab in you the back as soon as you look away and, some days, ‘life’ will sooner spit in your face than say hello.

But…

Life can also be beautiful and good. For in all the negativity that life can bring, it also brings learning lessons and opportunities for growth. There are realizations which we can come to about ourselves and about others through the lessons that life gives. We can learn to prioritize and to place what is most important first, knowing that the rest (like blog topics) will fall into place. We can learn to love deeply and to care passionately about the people and things that matter to us and to let the rest go. We can acknowledge that life will have its ups and downs, but we can take each one for what it is and we can move forward into a new day.

Life is what you make it.

Who Is Truly Listening? (K.Blais)

“Listening is a positive act: you have to put yourself out to do it.” (David Hockney)

It is becoming increasingly difficult to listen. Equally importantly, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find people who are willing to listen. And, by listen, I mean really listen.

Many of us have been blessed with almost perfect or, at least, adequate hearing abilities, but how many of us actually, truly hear and listen to what others have to say? Do we listen with the intent to understand? Or do we listen with the intent to reply?

Last week I shared a perspective on writing from a fellow blogger. I loved her thoughts on writing because, while she blogs quite regularly sharing her thoughts and opinions several times a week, she admits that writing can be a very solitary thing. Perhaps writing can even be a lonely occupation or hobby. It can be something that a writer ends up just doing for herself, even if it means no one will ever read her words before she lights them on fire and sets them free. Perhaps the words are not written for others and perhaps others are not ready to read the words.

Talking about any hobby or passion can be fun, but talking about ‘writing’ can be a touchy thing for many writers. Many people are so busy and caught up in their own lives they barely have time to sit down and listen to what is going on in someone else’s world, let alone when it’s a fictional one. And when one talks too much about oneself, or one’s writing, it can border on feeling a bit egotistical and self-centered to both the talker and to the listener as well. Vulnerability is also exposed as we open ourselves up to criticism, judgment, and scrutiny even from our most well-meaning audience and when we feel vulnerable we are less likely to open up again in the future, even if there was someone willing to listen.

I’ve often wished that I was important and/or wealthy enough to have a personal assistant. It would be fantastic to have someone to help keep me organized, to do the bill-paying, finances, and other organizational things for me, but the real reason I wish I had a personal assistant is that there would always be someone who was there to listen. Now before you think that sounds sad and pathetic, let me explain. While I would paying her (most likely it would be a her), she would be there at a moment’s notice for me to bounce ideas off of, to listen to me rant and rave about my lack of creativity or whatever else was currently irking me, and to encourage me and be in my corner 100 % of the time cheering me on during my more creative or successful moments because it would be her job to do it, without any other distractions. I wouldn’t feel badly about her having to listen to me because it would be a requirement of her employment. (And, hopefully, she would enjoy her job.)

There are many of us, writers and non-writers, who have friends and people in our lives who are great listeners and wonderful pillars of support, but there are also those who may feel that they go about their days not being heard. They feel that they cannot express their true thoughts and feelings because they are afraid that there will be no one willing to listen. The best gift anyone can give others is their time – but not just their time alone, but the time to truly listen to what is being said and to what is not being said as well. True listening is hearing the words both spoken and unspoken. True listening is not about wanting to ‘hear’ so that gossip can be spread around, to have something juicy to share with others, or to hold information over another’s head. True listening is about hearing, feeling, and reading body language out of what the other person needs you to realize and understand.

When we are truly listening we realize when it is the time to stay quiet and when is the time to speak up. We know when we are expected to ‘help’ and when it is hoped that we will just ‘hear’. Truly listening is not about fixing what is broken, but about allowing someone to figure out their own repairs through talking things out to someone else. When we are truly listening we are not interrupting or looking for a way to interject our two cents worth, although we may ask questions to further our understanding of the situation or to clarify the speaker’s feelings to us. Truly listening has much less to do with us and much more to do with the person we are listening to. It’s not about what we can add, but what we can help to take away – the stress, frustration, fear, worry, etc.

Truly listening is indeed a positive act – it requires more of us to be quiet and to completely hear than it does to speak and thereby potentially close ourselves off from an opportunity to help someone else.

Who is truly listening in your life?

She wrote about her life and then lit the words on fire and set them free.

This week I wanted to share a heart-felt perspective on writing by a lovely fellow blogger, Crysta. I haven’t stopped thinking about this post since I read it in August. Writing is baring one’s soul, whether we intend to or not. It takes courage and strength and, like other things, it takes time, energy, and passion. And, most of the time, we don’t write for anyone but ourselves; it’s just a bonus when others do read and enjoy what we have written. “We don’t write because we can, we write because we must.” (Totally Crysta). Please read and enjoy ❤

Dancing With Fireflies -

I am in a funk.  I know why, I dislike why, and still I am there.  I wrote a book, a memoire.  I finished it last week.  I kept it all to myself and I sat there and stared at it for a few days.  I walked away. I tried to ignore it. I tried to reason with myself before I pushed the delete button. I even tried to have a rational conversation with myself and tried to talk myself out of it… but the truth was evident. I had done what I set out to do… and now my need to do it was gone.

The thing is, I have meant to write it for many years.  I had a purpose for writing it and I felt as if I actually NEEDED to write it. So I did. I wrote it out, every single word that I felt like…

View original post 1,181 more words

Focus, Please! (K.Blais)

I’m sitting down to write this blog post rather late. It’s been a busy day and I am home now, both kids are in bed, recycling has been taken out to the road, laundry has been moved from the washing machine to the dryer, the laundry from the dryer has been folded, a glass of wine has been poured, and now it is time to write.

But what is there to write about? What is there to focus on this week?

Many thoughts have run rampant through my head – maybe I should take a lighter tone this week as I was pretty rough on “people” last week. Maybe I should have just bailed on posting this week due to busy-ness and/or unpreparedness (although I really and truly hate not posting). Maybe I should “cheat” and post some fiction, even though I save the fiction for the third week of each month.

Then I realized that my focus this week, my blog topic, could be just that – focus.

Now before some of you start to giggle (there is an acronym for F.O.C.U.S. that some may know), I intend to write this post on the real meaning of focus as the center of interest or activity (Google dictionary).

I struggled to find a focus, a center of interest, for this week because, usually, at some point throughout the week, a topic will come to me and I will play it around in my head, deciding if it is something that I want to write about (by want I mean need). There are some weeks, however, where there seems to be nothing ‘jumping’ out at me, nothing which seems to need contemplating or hashing around through and in my blogging perspective.

Focus though is extremely important. It is important because when we are able to focus on something in particular, our focus drives us to complete, succeed at, or accomplish whatever it is that we have set our sights on. When we have a center of interest or activity in our lives, we have goals in mind, steps which we want to take, and motions we need to go through.

When our lives lack focus it is difficult to become motivated. We may feel like we are stumbling around aimlessly looking for something to point us in the right direction or to lead us down the correct path. When we have no focus, the days can seem long and empty with no real direction or aim.

Personally, I find it easier to focus on certain things when I make a list of achievements for myself. At the beginning of this summer I made a list of things which needed to be done in my home, for example cleaning areas which I can never seem to find the time to get at. I took great pleasure in creating this list as I focused in on striving to get to things which I hadn’t done since moving into this place three years ago! I took even greater pleasure in checking off the things as I accomplished them. What a sense of achievement! I spent less ‘wasted’ days feeling guilty for not getting anything done and more days feeling proud that I had been productive with my time.

But… as you all know, for everything that I was able to check off on my list, I found something new to add on to it. Since I was focusing on getting my house clean and organized, the more I cleaned and organized the more I found that still needed to be cleaned and organized! My sense of achievement waivered daily between pride and frustration at the amount I had accomplished and the amount that still needed to be done! Arghhh.

I thought about my focus quite a bit and decided that while it was important to have a clean and organized home, (for how long though, really?) I also needed to spend my summer off focusing on doing some things which I would truly enjoy as well. I’m still working on the list for those things, but on it I know I certainly need to reach out to friends who I haven’t seen or talked to in a while (you know who you are), to write more (to write anything!), and to try to have some carefree fun which I find harder and harder to carve out time to do, sadly enough.

The next (last, gasp!) two weeks will be busy each in their own way, but my focus will be a combination of completing a bit more of my cleaning list and doing some more enjoyable things that I want to do as well. I guess as long as I have a clear focus on what I need and want to accomplish then things will get done when and how they are supposed to. I am going to put my faith and focus in that.

A Fish Out Of Water (K.Blais)

(image courtesy of Google images)

Are you feeling like a fish out of water lately? Or, maybe all of the time? How about, ever?

“A fish out of water” – a phrase used to explain someone who is in a situation they are unsuited to (phrasefinder.org); a person in unfamiliar, and often uncomfortable, surroundings (Wiktionary.org)

This phrase came up in conversation with my KS a few times the other day. We were sharing our reflections on life and, when I caught myself using this term at several points in our conversation, I thought it might make a great topic.

Some of us may experience times, moments, incidents where we feel out of our realm. We may feel inept to deal with issues presented before us whether they are work related or just things that need to be handled. We may be out of our comfort zone, our choice or not, and we may struggle with how to deal in this “out of water” situation.

There are moments when I feel like I’m out of whack with everyone and everything. Nothing I attempt seems to go right and I struggle to find the right words to say. I feel like a train wreck which I am unable to disentangle myself or even look away from or an unwilling participant in The Gong Show in which no one will take pity and gong me to get off of the stage. Some people believe that this unharmonious discordance with the universe has something to do with the planets not being aligned properly or something like that, but I’m not sure about those theories. All I know is that there are days where I feel “off” and definitely like I’m a fish floundering out of water.

There are also times when we may feel like a fish out of water because of things imposed on us. We may find ourselves in a situation where we don’t feel like we belong because of our abilities or lack thereof. Maybe we have even been “left out” of some event or placed in a position where the intention is that we will feel uncomfortable or awkward. We may feel that others have done their best to keep us “out of water” so to speak in an attempt to render us feeling inferior or inadequate in order to make themselves feel better. We continue to deal with bullying and exclusion in our schools and in our community, but these issues happen over social media and in adult social circles as well. It’s not a great feeling to be “left out”, even as a grown adult.

In some cases, we may opt to take ourselves “out of the water” intentionally. When I began this blog almost a year and a half ago, I knew that I was taking a leap out of my comfort zone, out of my own fish bowl in a sense. By creating this blog and opening up my thoughts, opinions, and perspectives on life for people to read, I was stepping out of what was comfortable in my world and into the zone of the unknown. I have not regretted my decision to open up my writing to others, but at many times I have felt like the proverbial fish out of water for sure. One doesn’t have to look far to find success stories of people of who have “made it” in the writing world. Just opening up my Twitter feed reminds me of how many of us out there call ourselves writers. I am more often than not overwhelmed when I think of trying to compete in a realm where so many people seem confident and successful in their own abilities and have done something with them! So, while I may have jumped out of my own fish bowl, I still struggle every day with whether I can find success out of water or if I’m simply floundering.

While it can be uncomfortable, unsettling, and make us feel vulnerable, feeling like a fish out of water can be a positive thing in many ways. I think we all need to experience the out of water feeling from time to time to be perfectly honest. Being a fish out of water can offer a reminder to us to be humble, to not think we are “bigger than our britches”. It also gives us some perspective as to how others might feel when they are “out of water” and allow us to empathize with them. Being out of water can remind us to be kind to others, that everyone we meet is fighting some sort of battle, and even to step out of our comfort zones once in a while. “Out of the water” can offer us an opportunity to be brave, to try something new, to dig deep within ourselves, or even to find a place to belong. “Out of the water” we may even find people like us, people who are searching for their own understandings, or that someone who just listens, really listens, to what we have to say.

Being a fish out of water may not always be pleasant, but it’s important to remember that life can also be so much bigger than the bowl.

(image courtesy of Google images)

52 Weeks: A Letter To My Readers (K.Blais)

Dear Readers,

It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since this blog was born. Fifty two weeks, fifty three posts later (I wrote two blog posts one week when I needed to clarify and add some thinking on to the first post, for those of you doing the Math), Writing For The Love Of It is alive and well.

When I first started blogging, I honestly didn’t even know what blogging was all about. And, for those of you who know me well, you know that I took some time to read up on it, trusting Wikipedia and Google for some help of course. When I figured out what a blog actually was, then I realized I didn’t know what to write about. Next came the doubt; I wasn’t sure that people would even want to read what I wrote, or would care about what I had to say. Truthfully, I had not idea in which direction my blog would head. I thought I would blog solely about my writing journey, and I do at times, but mostly the blog has become my life perspective put into words. I realize that my perspective is not always the same viewpoints as others. Most readers though, and I include myself in here, are able to respect the differences of opinion they might have with a writer. Open mindedness is an essential character trait to have in society today.

As I began to expand my blog horizons, I started to write on how I felt about different issues and my thoughts on different topics. My blog topics have ranged from my writing journey, to connecting literature with everyday life, to self reflections and contemplative ponderings. If some particular issue was prevalent or causing some concern in my life, then I would blog about it. There were (and still are) some weeks where my nails were/are literally being bit to the quick as I nervously click the publish button. I’m still not sure if people will want to read what I write, but most of the time the feedback is positive. It has been especially rewarding when you, dear readers, have shared your own experiences and have expressed your thankfulness for the “timeliness” of the post. And, no, for all who have inquired, I’m not a mind reader. 😉

This blog has also been a place where I have found myself. So, while I write for others to read, it’s also been an outlet for sorting out my own feelings, thoughts, and ideas. My blog has connected me with people who share similar values, goals, and ideas, and has reconnected me to many people who I had lost contact with. I’ve “met” new people too and, I’m proud to say, Writing For The Love Of It is read in over 50 countries around the world!

Blogging has become a passion for me, just as creatively writing is. Writing has become a center focus in my life. Many of us are looking for something more in our lives; sometimes we look in the wrong places, sometimes we search in vain, and sometimes we stumble upon that ‘something more’ without even knowing it. I personally have experienced all of the above.
I have always believed in goals and in following your dreams, but I never really believed in them quite as firmly as I do now. I think that Writing For The Love Of It has helped me to solidify my dreams into real goals which I continue to work towards achieving. I know I’ll always be a work in progress, and that’s ok. I once read, “You’ll never be brave if you don’t get hurt. You’ll never learn if you don’t make mistakes. You’ll never be successful if you don’t encounter failure.” That’s what life is all about; trying, failing, and trying again. I’ve shared my goals with you, my dear readers and followers, and many of you have helped me in different ways to get one step closer to my dreams becoming reality. I thank you for that.

I encourage you all to follow your dreams. It’s never too late to shoot for the moon. A place among the stars can be just as rewarding. Take the journey for what it is. Enjoy it. It is the journey, how hard you work to achieve your goals and the character you build in fighting for them, that is truly the reward.

Thank you again, dear readers, for your faithful support and encouragement. Without you, Writing For The Love Of It would be simply words left unread.

Love and belief,

K.

(photo courtesy of flickr.com)