Brain transplant

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Sometimes (actually, often), we have some unusual conversations in our family. The other day, I got in the car with W, and as I settled in to drive, I felt a twinge in my knee. “Ooo, my knee hurts,” I commented, mostly to myself.

“Is that from when you fell?” he asked, and I nodded. Back in January, I was pumping gas, and I attempted to step over the loop of hose between my car and the gas pump. Bad idea. The hose tripped me up, and I fell, my left knee taking the brunt of the landing. Let’s just say after the embarrassment, the tears, and the initial pain, I had recovered, but my knee… it was slow to heal.

“You should probably get that checked before you have to get it replaced,” he said in his fifteen-year-old matter-of-fact way. “I know someone who had one replaced.”

“I know someone who had two replaced,” I bested.

“You know those cars that have so many parts replaced they are practically brand new?” he asked, taking the conversation in a related-unrelated direction.

“Yeah. Can you do that with a human? Replace so many parts and organs they become a ‘new’ person?” I chuckled at the thought.

“That would be weird.” He looked out the window, and that was probably my cue to stop the conversation. But I didn’t.

“What about a brain transplant?” I ventured. “That might make someone a new person.”

“They can’t do that.” He went for the logical, but I wasn’t having it.

“But what if they could?” I pressed. “You would be a new person. You might not even remember who you were; you wouldn’t recognize your family or your friends….” I tried to think about the multitude of dilemmas presented by this type of major operating system transplant.

“You’d have someone else’s memories and thoughts,” W started to engage, but then stopped. “But they don’t do that.”

“Maybe it wouldn’t really be a brain transplant.” My mind was working overtime as I tried to wrap my head around this concept. “Maybe you’d wake up and say, ‘Oh look! I got a new body!’ For the person whose brain it was, it would be a body transplant.”

Oh my! I believe I’m thankful they haven’t figured out how to do this type of surgery. At least they haven’t figured it out yet….

 

 

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Anomalies

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Yesterday’s November blog challenge prompt was supposed to be “20 facts about me,” but I wrote something different. Today, I give you Fact #1:

When I was growing up, my father owned a business that was housed in what was once the town fire house and opera house. It was an interesting combination, to say the least, and I’m not exactly sure how that worked. If there was a fire in town, did the show stop while the firemen and trucks clanked out of the building, sirens screaming? I really have no idea, and that is not really the point of this story.

The point is that the building had a working fire pole from the second floor to the first. By “working,” I mean that it was still standing and connected on both ends. And it was sturdy. And since I was a regular visitor to this defunct firehouse, I was presented with the opportunity to take up a career in pole dancing… way before pole dancing became vogue.

However, the phrase “Do not play on the pole” was part of the vernacular of my house. But I have to say, it was sooooo tempting! What kid wouldn’t want to slide down a fire pole? Every time I went down the front stairs (which wasn’t often because the stairs by the stage were the ones we typically used), my eyes would lock on the pole, and I would long to slide down it. Or try to climb up it. Just once.

But I didn’t. The words, “Do not play on the pole,” rang in my head every time I reached my arm out, brushing the cool metal with my fingertips as I walked by. And I know it really wasn’t because they thought I might become an exotic dancer.

Looking back, I realize that this was one of the anomalies of my childhood narrative. Not many people can say that their parents regularly warned them about a fire pole. So I got to wondering… what are some of the anomalies from your childhood narrative?

Enough

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Some days (many lately), I am overcome by the pressures of life and the expectations put on me by so many people. I struggle with the need to be all things to all people. I think some people are more prone to this fight than others in our way too high-pressure, you-must-do-it-all society. I believe single parents have an extra tough challenge as they not only have to be all things to their children, they sometimes succumb to a need to make up for what is lacking in their children’s lives.

I am no stranger to the pressure to measure up and fit in with outside expectations. I grew up in a small town—the type of place that most people would see as idyllic. But if you have experience with small town life, you know that there is just as much drama in a small town as there is in a large one. There are just fewer people to carry the weight.

Growing up, I fell victim to the playground girl-drama. Nothing about me was ever quite right, and after awhile, I knew I was never going to be enough. My clothes were wrong. I was not pretty enough. My hair never fell flat and straight and perfect. I was not tall enough or talented enough. I was not athletic (…at all, never mind enough). I was not social enough. And despite graduating near the top of my class, I never seemed to be smart enough. There were always people around who were willing to make me feel inadequate because somehow, they were more than enough. Looking back, I thank God I did not grow up in the days of social media.

In an attempt to run away, to escape from the drama, I threw myself into solitary activities in which I could be myself without the pressure from others. I took up the clarinet and later added the flute, the oboe, the piano, and the guitar. From my earliest days, I spent hours lost in the worlds hidden in the pages of the books that lined the shelves of the local library and bookstore. I would become so lost that when I had to stop reading for dinner… or homework… or because the book ended, I would be slightly disoriented as the real world of my home came rushing back into my consciousness. Hadn’t I just been on a grand adventure with Laura or Pippi or Pollyanna? Certainly, here—in the pages of a book—was a place where I never felt the pressure to measure up.

As I grew older, I delved into art and writing. I began to run—initially because I was preparing to coach a high school cross-country team. But the more I ran, the more meaning I found in the rhythm of my steps and the wanderings of my mind. I was soothed and inspired as my muse would often come to play while I was pounding out the miles on the road. It seemed my interests were beginning to blend in ways I hadn’t known they might. And so, the solitary pursuits continued.

Through losing myself in solitude, I found myself in truth. My state of mind began to shift to encompass and accept my enoughness. I became an artist, a writer, a runner. I discovered that even though I might not live up to other people’s standards, I was enough. I had always been enough. The best of me, the me I put out in the world every day, would always be enough. And being enough is a powerful place to be.

But when life gets busy and hectic, I sometimes slip into old patterns of thought. When things aren’t coming together and I can’t please everyone and the people around me are letting me know I am not meeting their needs, my enoughness begins to fade. With a lot of work, a little struggle, and a push to refocus on my needs, I can usually return to enough.

And being enough is important. For all of us. We are all enough.

November

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Tomorrow is November 1st, and several of my friends will be taking on the challenge of NaNoWriMo, a month in which the goal is to write an entire novel or 50,000 words. While I have always thought this would be a great contest to participate in, I am realistic, and I know I wouldn’t get beyond day two.

However, in support of those of you who are gearing up to take on the NaNoWriMo challenge, I have decided to ramp up my blogging for the month of November. There are two reasons for this. First, I need to write more often, and second, my blog is feeling neglected.

I have downloaded a November blogging challenge from 2014, and I will use the prompts to fuel my writing of daily (or nearly) blog posts. The first day’s challenge: 20 facts about me. In my mind, I figure that’s 20 days of material right there!

Stay tuned, Friends. November will be a great month for us. You’re going to learn some things you might wish you didn’t know….

Creativity

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I am struggling through a dilemma that has slowed my blogging. Lately, my mind has been laced up tight with ribbons of business and busyness, trapping any trace of Creativity deep inside where I cannot access it. Every now and then, Creativity gets restless and tugs at the laces, poking a shiny bright finger through like a ray of sunshine piercing a sky heavy with storm clouds. It is taunting me, daring me to race after it. When I reach for the light, it disappears back into the far corners of my mind, and when I follow, Creativity is nowhere to be found.

I am in search of Creativity, and it is elusive. It stays one step ahead of me always, darting around corners and out of sight when I am almost close enough to touch it. I am cranky and moody and not myself. Without Creativity, I am lost.

This weekend, I spent some time hunting and engaging in activities carefully designed to entice Creativity to come back. These activities generally involved a mindful pause in the crazy weekday activity that is often my life. On Saturday, I went out for a walk, bringing my pocket sized camera just in case I happened on a moment that might inspire. Color. Nature. Feeling…. Moments happened, but Creativity did not rejoin me on my journey.

On Sunday, I baked some bread. I made two delicious loaves of sourdough, their warmth and goodness filling the kitchen with heavenly smells. But creation does not equate to Creativity. I tried sewing, but I got tangled in the threads of all that wasn’t being accomplished, and I was back to square one. Perhaps an artistic endeavor—drawing, painting, wire work, or journaling.

But time said no. And Creativity does not come to stalkers.

Creativity comes to those who are still and quiet and patient and open. It comes in the moments when our filters are down and we are least expecting it. It comes on walks, in stillness and in prayer. It comes when we are just about to fall asleep and our minds have given up the stresses of the day and are just beginning to slip into dreams. Creativity comes when it wants.

I am looking to rediscover the voice that Creativity abandoned, the voice that has become buried in the mire of every day chaos. I think I am getting closer, but one never knows. Creativity cannot be forced to join me, so I must enjoy the journey, wherever it takes me. Who knows? What I seek may be around the next corner!

Welcome Home…

Below is the first journal piece I wrote in my friend Kate’s amazing Soul Reclamation workshop over the weekend. I was not able to give the exercises of the workshop my full focus because of the demands of my job, so I will be working through some of them over the next couple of weeks.

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How long has it been since you’ve been here? Truly been present in this place? Too long ago, I saw you here, lingering just outside the bounds of your self. Lingering longingly, like you had a sense you still belong here.

We’ve missed you. Welcome home. It’s been a long road, and I am hoping you can stay for a while. I know what you’re going to say… life, and all that. That’s always the first excuse. But you need some time to hang out here. To reconnect and get to know us again. To be present with us.

This is a journey, and I will grant myself permission to reconnect with myself, my life, my soul. There is so much that pulls me away on a daily basis. So much that grabs my attention and sucks me out in all different directions so I can’t possibly focus and center and find my wholeness.

This journey, this workshop is about reconnection. It is about finding myself, becoming whole once again, and granting myself the time to recognize that I need attention. I cannot continue to put all of myself, my attention into outside forces if I do not focus some attention on me, on the inside, on the person who makes it happen.

So grab a pen and take a seat. Linger awhile and do the work you need to do.

Welcome home. We’ve missed you.