Some belated thoughts about where I have been and where I am going …
I have belatedly realized that a prime driver of my year-long attempts to get back to the (comic book) drawing board, has been a personal ‘flaw’ if you will; the sense that I should do something to regain the recognition I felt I had from parents and peers when I was a boy and was good at drawing. It was not the only motivation but a motivation so strong, it made me realize that it probably overshadowed the others and thus explained why I had not been able to prioritize it for years. Only in bits and pieces, as chronicled here on The Blog as well. I felt that I could only do one thing with that insight, namely pull the plug completely on any kind of (attempt to realize a) drawing project, even the simplest.
I needed time to rediscover myself here, and ‘clean’ my motivations so I only do what my heart is really in. I feel now that I may want to at least draw something just for myself, and perhaps this blog, but mostly to use drawing as a meditative tool of enjoyment so to speak.
I might as well finish the story I started last year and which I have talked about previously, the one about dimensional travel and so on. It was meant to be a first in a series and now I think it should just be about 25 pages and a one-off. It’s the one with the I’m Not Scared-soundtrack, not the short novel I tried this April. I feel good about this decision. Maybe it was only possible once all ambition was purged, and all skewed thinking about why I ‘should draw’.
Then, of course, there is this brewing idea about a story in words, about past lives, and maybe probably based on my knowledge of different eras, mostly Medieval – gained from my live-talks. Despite my fretting initially I feel I should go forward with this too, as well as more stand alone novellas. The only caveat with these 3 creative projects is that I don’t have time for any of them until April at the earliest when Jay starts daycare and I can begin trade more business time for creative time, if I want to. Otherwise it will just be drips, consigned to entries on The Blog – I wrote a passage here, I drew a panel there. But I have decided “otherwise” is actually quite good a choice. It makes me feel whole even if it is such a small allocation of time. But I think I can allow myself to feel this because I now have allowed myself, really, to just create without ambitions. Then who cares how slow I am?
Jay is fine right now, but growing fast and taking lots of energy, because of Char’s damaged hand (as per early October). It means I can only work hours as self-employed very irregularly right now, and I’m more tired and more exhausted because I have to carry him a lot more than usual.
But in this case there is nothing much to do but have patience and slowly up the work-hours and slowly down the baby-hours, striking a balance between the need for earning money (and having some time to myself) and the need to help Char and make our family function.
And that is what I am doing, and so far it is working. I am increasing my hours bit by bit and Char is increasing some mitigating treatments with laser (which fastens the healing process).
And accepting that this is also a sacrifice she has to make … “until Jay can walk”, as the doctor said. Not ideal, but we get by.
Whatever choice my mother makes there will always be uncertainty for me, and probably for the rest of us as well. Chemo won’t kill that. The chances of her surviving until 80 or 75 or 85 aren’t really as important – really – as the quality of time that we spend together and the quality of time she makes for herself until she needs to leave this dimension.
And so there are some things I can do, no matter what she chooses about chemo and no matter what the future holds. First of all, I can call her more often (and my father), as well as my brother and sister-in-law who live nearby – I can connect more with all of them, even if we live many hours away.
Second, I can begin to give more, even when I am away – like think of ideas of what to give my mother especially (because she is at the center of events right now, but in truth this perspective holds for all of my family). I was thinking that no matter what happens in the near-term any kind of encouragement and uplifting energy would be welcome for my mother, something that helps her – and me – to see and focus on wider horizons than our own little world and day-to-day worries about the bodies we are in and how to make ends meet.
So I was thinking about making a collection of music for her – for example, Enya, Moya Brennan and Clannad. Stuff I have not delved into for a long time but which really makes me feel that there is something more and something really beautiful to this world, and this would be a chance to focus on that music again and share it and its energy. So that I will do – next weekend.
Lastly, I will focus more on how to create events, and opportunities to visit, with Jay and Char so my parents can be as much grand parents as they want to and need to. I will also focus on sending photos and little stories about Jay and how things are going many times a week.
If I do all of this I do feel empowered myself. It does not feel like a chore or something to stave of fear of death and decay (although that consideration is certainly part of the reason for re-focusing on this relation and connection in a more powerful way – with my mother and family).
So I do this. It is a choice of how to live best that does not really require an answer to how long we will live or whether or not my mother decides to have chemo or not.
It is a choice about how to empower and uplift and improve relations. And that is always something that should be in focus, although sadly it rarely is until the demand is great.
But I feel empowered even so. I feel encouraged thinking about all the things I can do to share some beauty and joy and power, no matter what turn events take.
I still have a lot of work to do on my Robinson Crusoe-talk but it should be finished before January, if all goes well. However, I sent out a lot of direct mails to advertise this as well as my 4 existing talks about fascinating persons in history, and I have not sold one for 2018 thus far – not any new sell. I’m not going to push this, though.
This is a market that is very seasonal, with schools for seniors and open universities and libraries all filling in their programs for next year at different times a year, and suddenly something may come up. Besides, there is not much more I can do if I want to avoid being labeled a spammer, except perhaps seek out new leads for my mailing lists.
I will consider this, but given the situation described above with my family, I don’t expect I will have time and surplus for doing more about this income stream I am passionate about in the near future. I will just have to hope what I have done is enough to earn me, well, enough. I will just have to see how much opportunity comes along with this one.
I don’t feel there will be much in the immediate future, but each of my current 4 live-talks are a long-term investment. And those are good to have, no matter what.
For the moment I can afford to tread water while I wait for some course as regards my mother. But my credit account is propped up by a loan from Char’s inheritance, and it won’t be sustainable to use the former nor the latter as income. It’s just chipping away …
Anyway, I need to take action here and have already described how I will slowly up my hours, in cooperation with Char who should be okay with her ‘broken’ hand as long as she can pay for treatments to mitigate the pain and as long as we both agree on some balance, where I sometimes don’t work when I could or should, and then we siphon cash from the credit account and ultimately what remains of her inheritance.
When we get to April, though, Jay will start in daycare and Char may or may not have found a new job by then. In the latter case, I have more time, all other things being equal, but it is not sustainable either. The sustainable outcome, just with this, is if Char gets a new job in her old business – which is most likely – and which is about humanitarian fundraising. Then my income can be allowed to vary more, as it inevitably will when one is self-employed, but I will also be more flexible to take care of Jay, for example when the day-carer is ill.
But right now it feels as if there is a long time until spring, so this one will just have to be in ‘wait-and-see-mode’ like so much else.
As usual in times when there are a lot of waves, I have barely had time for friends which is a major misstep and one I am repeating constantly. Okay, I have tried to meet up with JO, and we did. I have constantly postponed a meeting with FS who I really look forward to seeing again. HK was here briefly, but she lives several hours from here, so that was a one-off. And then there is MRN, my oldest and best friend, who is facing some heavier waves with both parents ill and soon – a little new one.
So I’d say I’m keeping my relations intact but nothing more. I could definitely improve here, but as I suspect I will be writing many times, I find it hard to see how. It’s not just my time that influences this part of my life – I am quite flexible despite my personal situation, or perhaps because of it (self-employed). It is also the time of my friends, most with families and demanding jobs that sometimes take them over seas.
And some live far away from our city, like MRN and HK.
So in all honesty this will have to just take care of itself (almost), and business as usual. The only thing I can say is (and not in the least because of my own challenges): I have made a note in the calendar that every week I should try to contact one of my friends, preferably by phone, and preferably with a view to setting up a meeting.
I’d lie if I said this initiative has worked smoothly and chronologically, but it is my own little way of being aware of this very important part of my life and taking care of it.
I have missed gym for over a month, and I had just renewed my membership after a year’s absence. This will not do but given the overall shortage of time I have decided to pause my membership until early December and then see if I can’t get back on track, with at least 3 times a week. Watch this space.
This is the domain of The Blog – it is blogging that gives me the sense of strength; that I reflect and feel deeply about something with a view to the silver lining. It is a hard-earned lesson, especially from the years in and about 2005 when I was in psychiatric hospital for some time due to rampant anxiety and whatnot. I know I have to focus on the positive, on the good, in every thing – Everything.
Not deny the negative, or suppress it, but use the ‘focus on the ray of the light house’ so to speak to steer me through storms, to strike a balance. That is what Inner Power is about for me these days – not transcending fear, not suppressing it, not succumbing to it, but learning how to live with it, manage it, overcome it and sometimes dissolve it, but forever moving on towards something greater.
I know it sounds a bit … but this is really important. It is ultimately the emotional capability to do this – to look for the light, and use it to brace oneself as the dark comes – which is the key to survival in life. At least when physical survival is relatively assured as it is for people in my part of the world, for the statistically given number of years that we have.
Not much knew here, except that I will definitely try to work on improving my experience of myself and my world first, then try to change the world second. Time and time again when I run into a wall, like fret over my finances, I am reminded that it is all very, very subjective. Maybe like 90 percent, unless you are outright starving or something. And that can be applied to other areas of life, as well.
I have a bad habit still, after all my experience over the years, of latching on to certain aspects of the outside world and try to control them before I stop and reflect about my motivations, if there were some other way or viewpoint that would negate my need to force something upon the outer world, or point me in an easier direction. It is not so bad anymore – that habit – but it still rears its head often.
First and foremost I have been affirmed through these baby-months, with so little time, and through my trials of trying to set up my business to be sustainable that I just can’t lose focus of what is important. And aside from the aforementioned – income and family – I am focusing on only one really important meaningful thing, in the greater scheme of things – so to speak. And that is The Blog. The friendships are meaningful, yes, but that’s not the meaning I am talking about. The creative projects, if they ever come to fruition, are meaningful, yes, but not in this way. Good customer service in my self-employment business holds a certain kind of purpose – helping people with their life project or business (which is often the same). But aside from all that and the usual about being a good man, brother, father, friend … there is not much in the way of Big Purpose for me, I believe, than to try to share my experiences.
I believe that it is not really possible anymore, as I believed when I was younger, to really change the world in my lifetime only contribute to some level of flow of positive change. Not very good way of putting it, but change is so slow and incremental if you want to contribute to something global and not just your immediate family or friends’ lives, or your own personal development. You can work all life as a politician or voluntary worker and only see very local, very limited effects. Even the president of the United States don’t have much power, since the powers that be are locked in Congress and in the idiotic voting system, and – ultimately – in people’s belief systems and emotional readiness for change and for reaching out and not hiding and being reactionary.
All very high-brow, but if there is one way to truly make a difference – over time – today it is on the Internet where 17 year old fashion bloggers attract 17 million followers easily. So you can get attention, you can share something widely, and – over time – you can make a difference in people’s lives. I may only be able to reach a few thousand people over the years, in a way that really matters, and many more in more superfluous ways, but I do believe this is the best way – to blog. And blog to share. Experiences.
That is a very common thing to do and a very grounded thing to do, but the sense of purpose for me now is just as big as when I was younger and felt I had to take some kind of education that could help me know what was good for people in poor countries and then go advise their leaders or whatever. Oh, I did take such an education, all right – International Development – it was called, and added Communications to it.
But lots of people can do that better than I now, after I have been running around so much and doing all sorts of other things for years. And lots of people should just stay home and not get in the way of what the governments of Uganda or Chile decide to do – and what their people decide to do. But some down there might need to read The Blog for awhile and feel some energy from the experiences and conclusions I draw. It could work for people everywhere, not just here in the cold North.
Char and I have a serious need to catch up. Not with sex or ‘adult talk time’, obviously, because those things will only stress us given the current situation. More about really getting the feel that we are in this together to help each other, to sacrifice for each other, to think of each other. Even when there is so little surplus. We really need to refocus our love through our work with Jay – starting by focusing on talking nice to each other all the time, especially when we are tired. Some adult time now and then, won’t harm the project either, though.
I have asked for help, out into the universe which I believe to contain some … power or other … that I may get inspiration for this or that. Recently on how to deal with my mother’s new illness, but also about money. Two topics pretty set in my mind, it seems. I feel I have been helped, but it is not very concrete yet. What I do have to report is that I got a very powerful idea the other day that I should try to link to beautiful photos (not stock, obviously) or works of art on the Internet to promote The Blog on the one hand and to connect with others and share The Blog, too. Well, two sides of the same coin but I have felt really out of ideas with regard to marketing, if you want to call it that, for The Blog. That idea came, I seem to recall, when I was fretting about money again. Maybe the universe is really smart about trying to direct my attention to what is important and not what I think is important.
Have to take care of itself for awhile. I think things are really bad in many places, but there are also good people out there who will prevail. I want my webdesign business to have a surplus eventually which can be channeled into some kind of CSR-project, but that is in the long run. Right now I feel the best I can do is to try to adhere to my Internet detox promises and not focus too much on Trump or Mugabe or other stupid and, well, nasty people and events, and spread some positive energy – here and elsewhere. It may look like a cop-out but isn’t it the only way?
Lots to think about here, but for another post. This one has gone on long enough.