More than words sometimes, I'm inspired by visuals. And not just art.
Flow charts, graphs and pie charts are some of the entertainment that got me through my degree in economics. Besides the fact that econ was one of the (legal) rebellions against my English professor poet and literary critic parents.
Earning my degree took me forever, through three different states across the country and four different colleges. All that moving added extra years, more parties, more boyfriends and girlfriends. Isn't that what college is about?
As my professors lectured about Adam Smith, Milton Friedman and the law of diminishing returns, I sat in the back of my mostly male classes and fanned through my textbooks looking for pie charts and flow charts. When one captured my attention, I'd pencil sketch arrows and trace the graph lines. Sometimes I'd shade in the shapes, or re-outline the rectangles and triangles. I'd doodle and imagine another world where supply and demand did not rule, a world where everyone, everywhere would have enough food.
Imagining a better world, and working to contribute, came naturally to me because my ultra-liberal parents enforced social consciousness in our home. But behind all that social awareness sat the Big Secret: Around age 12 I discovered I was born in a prison. Actually two big secrets -- the other that I was heroin-addicted at birth. For over a decade, I never told anyone I knew about this, and the Secrets turned into years and years of rebellion and rage, lawlessness, drugs and all that goes with that lifestyle. Think crime, destruction and self-destruction.
My thinking at the time went like this: If I'm the offspring of someone cast out of society, which is precisely the role of prison, than I, too, am an outcast. Growing up multiracial in the 1960s and adopted in a Jewish family was, in my view then, enough outcast for me. I was sure I didn't belong anywhere and life as a delinquent girl and an outlaw adult seemed my destiny.
My last post I wrote about my journey, more like my jolt, into reinventing myself. My practice of t'ai chi teaches me more than silent movement mediation. I also gain an awareness of my abilities to walk on fire and walk through hell. My practice helps me relax into parts of my life that I want to transform. I've also discovered three elements I pull from the practice of t'ai chi which also work for personal life changes. Here they are.
Attitude, Strength, Solid and Empty
Of course, first don't forget to breathe. We need that!
Then for me, it all begins with attitude, a desire to choose change. I may not yet reach for "reset," but I have to open my mind frame to the possibility.
Next, I find strength in my core. I go inside for my internal foundation. It's different for different people, and can't always be described. For some it's religion; others, a spiritual base; and for me, I don't name it and quite honestly, don't know what it is other than a strong core source of energy inside. It's powerful and enduring, and I embrace it even when I don't understand what it is.
Next, although it's not easy for me, I anchor myself somehow, or I'll fly all over. Have you ever tugged on a doorknob when the door is stuck?
All of sudden you fly backwards! Now imagine if you had planted your feet in preparation, before reaching for the doorknob, before any tug, and cleared your mind of any expectation. The door might be stuck, it might not, but with a firm stance, you'll be ready. Your feet slightly apart, maybe shoulder width, your knees bent a little. That stance I call solid and empty. Strong yet relaxed, ready for an easy open, or for a tug.
Are you thinking, what the heck does this have to do with doodles in her economics class?
Not much, other than my love of all things visual and noodling around with personal flow charts and pie charts to make it fun for me to visualize the real world. Isn't reality sometimes hard enough to take? So why not play with it? And flow charts and pie charts are healthier than drugs to alter reality.
I've created a flow chart for my "Enough" moments, that "something has GOT to change" notion that hits me when the time is right. You can see it when you press HERE
Why not take a deep breath, and reset what doesn't work in life? Take several deep breaths. Change is an adventure. I've reinvented myself a number of times. It's fun actually. I keep what works, and shed the rest. (I have no idea where it goes, but it goes.)
Make sure your footing is firm, and get ready to press, or bang, your reset button. Good luck with it!
What do you think? Post your comment below, or email me.
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