“The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings.”

Okakura Kakuzō

I’m going abstract today because the thing that’s been on my mind lately is change. Transformation, modification, alteration… call it what you will. Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes—and it is constant and never ending. That being said, I think that some of these words, or the descriptions that they imply, can be misleading.

When I began sharing my story, some 5+ years ago, the plot was pretty obvious (spoiler alert!). It was about how my life was transformed, from alcoholic / love addict, to who (or what) I am today, which is—at this moment—sober and single. The “single” part isn’t some sort of remedy or cure, it’s a biproduct of my new and improved understanding of love. Not all relationships are created equal. It’s Ok to wait for the right one—the healthy and functional one—not the one that’s just a quick fix, seducing me with the promise of a flood of dopamine and oxytocin in exchange for my soul. That’s a little extreme, but I think it illustrates my point.

Anyway, I had a major AHA moment the other day, about this nagging feeling that I get… that my story is forever falling short… that I can never quite reach that end point; the destination. Or in my case… the transformation.

I’ve been looking at it as though there is this person “who I was” (which is true—I know, because I actually “was” her), and then there is this other person that we heard about in the teaser… the person “who I have become.” The me that has been “transformed.”

The problem behind this idea of “transformation,” however, is that it signifies, or at least hints at the fact, that it is referring to something static. Like those transformer action figure toys that kids play with. They are robots, or dinosaurs, but then you can move the parts around a little here and there, and then… voila… they transform into a truck, or a car, or some other inanimate object.

I’m not a transformer toy, dammit, I am human. I may be able to change into a car one day, but come tomorrow or the next week, I may just want to be a boat! Don’t make me commit! I’m kidding, but I hope you get my drift. Living a good life, and being able to flow, evolve, and adapt is what it’s really all about.

Everyone has a “before,” we all know that. But there will never really be this static “after” that I’ve been waiting to write about, because life is about change, and change is constant. No wonder it feels as though my story will never end! And why should it? I hope that, God willing, this fluidity that I am blessed with—that we are ALL blessed with—will continue to flow within, and without, until I take my last breath.

Water is fluid, soft and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.

Lao Tzu

About My Image: I spent a day and a half playing around with what “fluidity” looks like to me. The result can be seen in the featured image, although it looks NOTHING like it did when I started out. That was the point I suppose. I sat down to create an image using Illustrator and my usual “perfectionistic ideas,” and then each time I believed that the image had come together… I deconstructed and then reassembled it. I guess you could call it “change in motion.”

That’s about all for now. I’ve got some more things to say about fluidity and change, and the upcoming new year (which is fast approaching)… so stay tuned!

Until then,
Peace & Love.

Endurance with Ease

In thinking about the letter “E,” the words energy and endurance came to mind. As I started working on my image, I wasn’t sure which one I was going to talk about, or what I would even say, so I created something that might tie the two words together. Obviously, this woman has energy, and it’s possible she’s trying to build her endurance. Still, I was drawing a blank.

And then I found my inspiration (thank you Google). This incredible quote by William Barclay…

“Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.”

As a recovering alcoholic who is now joyously sober (going on 5 years next month), and an agnostic turned believer, this quote really resonated with me. When you’re living a life of transformation, and sharing that story with others… it can be terrifying at first. Self-doubt loves to rear it’s ugly head and whisper things like “What if you fail? What if you screw it all up? What will your story say about you then?!?

It’s a weird place to be. You want to tell EVERYONE the story of how God changed your life, with the innocence and excitement of a child, but you also sense that you’ll have to bear the weight of this HUGE adult responsibility… you have to STAY that way. You have to STAY sober. Otherwise, your story will be like so many other stories out there. “Yeah, God changed me alright. But then I turned around and changed myself back.”

If there is anything good at all that comes from the dark times that so many of us experience—no matter what those dark times might be—it’s that these trials, hardships and adversities make us stronger. They build our endurance. We have to get to the other side of them first, of course, but once we do… we are different.

The way I see it now is that if I was able to live through the hell that I put myself through when I was in my disease, I sure as hell can live out my sobriety. And with a daily surrender, there’s really nothing for me to bear. I turn it over to Him and then it’s in His hands. I get to live in His grace… and He gets all the glory.

Amen… and End of Story!

Thanks for joining me in my series Life: From A to Z. I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on the letter “E,” and I’ll see you around soon for the letter “F!”

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve changed image styles again. I was recently inspired by an interesting abstract piece that I saw and so I’ve been experimenting with these motion blur backgrounds. When I added the woman (who I photographed at the beach some time ago), I noticed that the colors of her clothes and skin were blending with the water… almost perfectly. How cool is that?!

Thoughts, Thoughts . . .

And more thoughts!

This morning I woke up tired of thinking. That doesn’t happen very often. In the short time I’ve been awake, I felt droopy, slightly discouraged, and have been questioning some of my own ideas. And then I stumbled on this image and thought that maybe I just need to change the way I’m thinking.

I need to think about things differently.

First of all, besides my WordPress class (which ends Saturday), I’m taking a philosophy class; Intro to Comparative Religion. All I can say is: “That class is exhausting!”

Anyway, the good news here is that last week I was able to hit my mark of 5,500 steps per day. It was actually a breeze once the rain stopped. If the weather stays nice I’ll be able to hit that many steps in just one afternoon walk, so I’m ready to increase my goal.

The challenge here is that the more steps I take, the more I allow myself to cheat on the food end. Like… it’s alright to eat that brownie, you just took 2000 steps! It reminded me of all of my ploys to drink in moderation, like… only wine, or only after 5 p.m., and so on.

I also uninstalled the app that was reminding me to walk around, and to drink water. It was constantly beeping and driving me nuts. Between water sips and restroom trips, there was hardly time for anything else! It got to the point where I’d simply hit snooze, and what’s the point of that?

What I’m realizing is that monitoring a “lifestyle change” is risky. If these changes are meant for the long haul, why do I keep checking in on them… and what do I keep looking for? Instant gratification… that’s what I’m secretly seeking. Every time I get on that scale I hope to see some kind of magic happen. That kind of thinking has to stop. Rome was not built in a day!

So… being the first day of the new month and all, I’ve decided that my goal for April is to Stay off the Scale. I’m kicking up my “steps goal” to 6,500 per day, for the entire month, and I’m putting it on cruise control. No more thinking about it (or checking in on it) until the month comes to a close. I’m going to put more focus on my daily gratitude list instead.

Overall, my diet has improved and I actually lost 5 pounds in the month of March. I’m certainly grateful for that!

That’s about all for now. Thanks for hanging in there with me… and have a beautiful day!

Mediocrity is easy, the good things take time, the great need commitment. —Bob Seger