The Path Not Taken

Today, like any other weekday, was a work day. Filling in spreadsheets with numbers and relationships and variants. I used to do a little writing for my company, but with personnel changes and new directions and new horizons  to be discovered, it’s mostly the data routine.

Yet I wonder.

How many of you work full time? (show of hands)

How many of you like your job? (fewer hands still up)

How many are doing what you want to do? (only one or two still up)

Why is it that so many people in the work force have issues with their jobs? Admit it. Most of us fall between the “I can barely stand this place” to “this is a pretty darn good job.” But do any of us really enjoy what we do day to day, week to week?

Tell the truth. The main purpose of any job is to make money in order to live. To pay our bills. To have a few extra dollars so we can order a pizza or go to the movies once in a while. A means to an end. Sometimes we are lucky and land our dream job in the world, in the field, we love. We get a job doing something we’re good at, something we’ve trained for.

But more often we get stuck in jobs that really don’t fit. We think it’s a side step to where we really want to go, but we get stuck in that sideways direction so long that we don’t recognize the road ahead. The job turns into a routine, our future prospects narrowed by our present occupation. The field we really want happens to be pretty saturated at the moment, so we stay where we are for just a little longer, and when we do apply for something we want they focus on our current experience, not our intent.

Suddenly we have been a secretary or a truck driver or a warehouse worker for most of our lives. Now we’re invested in three or four weeks paid vacation and 401K and co-workers we’ve gotten to know. We didn’t mean for our lives to take this fork in the road — it just happened. And we were so busy making money to feed our kids and pay for our house and to make car payments that there was no time to “take a chance” on that perfect job.

I am lucky to have had steady work in fields that were pretty decent. I’ve owned my own business, been a coordinator/proofreader, secretary, and salesperson. I am now at that point where my vacation and age leave no room for turning around, for the end game is in sight.

But as I sit and put numbers on a spreadsheet and copy and code catalog information and send and track emails and waste away hour after hour in silent calculations, I wonder if things would have been different if I’d gone to college. If I’d worked in an advertising agency instead of a savings and loan association. If I’d started writing professionally at 20 instead of 60.

I’m at the point in my career that I’m working hard to get to the finish line. To retire and really start my  new life. I’ve been preparing for it for over 47 years. And I am so ready.

But I still wonder…

 

 

 

Cosmic Questions

dogcatYou would think the winter chill would freeze my wandering brain cells, or at least slow them down some.  But as pretzel thinkers know, nothing can slow down a wandering, criss-crossy mind.

I thought about this blog this morning on the way to work. I was listening to the results of the New Hampshire primary, and wondered how our political future was going to turn out.

One thing led to another, and in my own wandering mind, I thought of putting out there some metaphysical, ethereal, weird thoughts that have no answers. Take away all political bias, all psychological jumble, and just wonder….

  • The number π (pi) is a mathematical constant, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Whatever that means. The point is, the digits go on and on with no pattern. π has been calculated to over two quadrillion decimal places and still there is no pattern to the digits. So why are we still calculating?
  •  They say it’s better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. Does that mean if I tried to read the dictionary backwards while sitting in a bathtub and singing God Bless America and I didn’t want to stop until I was done singing and the house caught on fire because my cat knocked over the candle I had burning in the other room and I had to stop reading the dictionary, was it better never to have tried that stunt in the first place?
  • How do cats purr? There is no purring organ in the throat of a cat, and even though extensive research has been done on the function itself, the exact origin of the function in the anatomy of cats is still unknown.
  • If infinity is infinite, and we can see no end to it, how do we know it’s even there?
  • If Mr. Spock went back in time in Star Trek and changed the timeline, did he change it for just those in his area of space, or did he interrupt the entire universe’s timeline? And how would we know if our timeline had been changed?
  • Is Donald Trump popular because he says the first thing that comes into his head? Is this something we all wish we could do, but fear getting fired/losing friends/being chastised?
  • And if the shoe fits: I have no opinion on Hillary Clinton accepting $675,000 for 3 speaking engagements, but just think — that is $225,000 per speech. If you spoke for 30 minutes each speech, you were getting paid $7,500.00 per minute. That’s $125.00 per second. That’s a lot of bongo bucks to be paid for opening your yapper.
  • If Pluto was once a planet, and now is called a dwarf planet, isn’t the word “dwarf” an adjective describing the main noun “planet”, and, therefore, once we strip all the fluff away from the basic nature of the being, Pluto once again becomes a “planet”?
  • It is a fact that the closer you get to the speed of light, the more time slows down. So isn’t a moot point to drive faster, when you actually arrive at your destination later?
  • They say light travels as both a wave and a particle. If that is so…..nevermind. I don’t understand what I don’t understand.
  • And, finally, the most important cosmic befuddlement of all: Why is it that drivers always zoom up behind you like a bat out of hell, swerve around you, jam into the spot right in front of you, then turn 30 feet further?

THAT would be the answer to all answers…

 

 

 

 

 

To Win or Not To Win

money tree plant 3I’m not going to talk about it.

I’m not going to dream about it.

I bought one.

Enough Said.

Really, I bought two.

How many houses can you buy with $1.50 billion anyway?

How many islands?

How many pizzas? Martinis? Mocha Lattes?

Deep down inside, my muse is telling me I really don’t want to be a single winner of this out-of-control Powerball thing. After taxes and lawyers and doctor bills for the heart attack I surely will get, I might not be around to even SPEND money.

I mean, with all the poor, struggling, lost people in the world, how can one even enjoy 1/4 of a ridiculously ridiculous sum of money? How can you fly to Hawaii on a whim when there are driveways to be shoveled and PTA meetings to attend?

I’ve heard tales of people who have won — normal people — who have had strangers throw themselves in front of their car, slip on their driveways, and/or even fall in front of their desk, threatening to sue the winner for all the money they had. I’ve heard of groups of people suing a single winner, claiming they contributed to the purchase of the afore-mentioned winning ticket.

I’ve already dreampt away millions of dollars on wasted two dollar investments. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve published, how many museums and churches I’ve visited in France and Italy, how many Scottish moors I’ve wandered through, how many pubs I’ve visited in Ireland and how many Buddhist temples I’ve visited.

I suppose if you win half of the pot — $700 million — there’s a few more places you could call home.  You could build wings on hospitals and update falling apart nursing homes and create 10,000 scholarships in 10,000 schools.

Do you see what I mean?

I already have an ulcer just thinking about how many good things I could do for the country, for the world.

My blood pressure is rising as I barely touch on who I would share the money with, how far my personal connections would reach. Kids? Grandkids? Friends? Friends of Friends? Kids of Friends? Grandkids of Friends?

You see, it’s much too much for me to think about.

Better to be poor and calm than filthy rich and confused.

I bought two.

Enough Said.

 

What Is True Success?

So many things make us happy; so many things make us sad. So many times we wished we  had turned left instead of right; so many times we are soooo glad we did turn right instead of left. Sometimes I get really sad that I’m soon going to turn 60 — where has my life gone? Other times I look back and am sorry my mother never made 54. I’m sad that I had breast cancer; other times I’m so glad they found it when they did.

Life is packed with highs and lows, yellow and blacks, snow and scorching heat. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what it’s always been about. For us, for our grandparents, for George Washington and Kublai Khan and St. Joseph. I’m sure they all had a hundred things they wanted to do at one time, too.  Just like us. We all want to be appreciated for what we’ve done. What we’ve become. We all would like to think that our time here on Earth has been for the Greater Good.

This is not a confessional blog; this isn’t a tell-all or a bad news bomb.  I’m sitting on my sofa this cold Sunday afternoon, looking at the bare treetops in my front yard. Of course, you know me — I’m also watching football, eating lunch, doing laundry, getting ready to write some in  my latest novel, wondering what I’m gonna wear to work tomorrow. I’m also thinking about the fun I had with my grandbaby this weekend, thinking of taking some drugs for my achy legs, and feeling guilty I haven’t played fetchie with my dog today.

That’s really what this blog is about. Sometimes I feel I should be pushing this blog harder, trying to share the Word with more readers. Other times I think I’ve run this horse to the finish line, and should start a new creative venture.  Yet more often I think  I’ve let my writing simmer on the back burner for so long it’s started to dry up and stick to the pan.

How do you know if you’ve succeeded at what you tried to do? What is the measure of success? Big paychecks often are an indicator;  good health, always. Waking up every morning is a success all on its own. Family? Kids? Making the perfect apple pie? All of the above are successes if never done it before. Success has always been measured from the heart first, from the masses second. And often it takes on a meaning more cosmic than one thinks. I think I make the best spaghetti sauce this side of the Mississippi. If you don’t agree, does that mean it’s not good? Of course not. All it means is that I can eat it all myself.

Writing is the same thing for me. What is being a successful writer? Have I ever been published? A short  story here or there in the past 10 years. Have I won awards for my creativity? No. Have I ever I gotten a call or email from a publisher? No. Do I think I’m a successful writer? Yes. Definitely.  I’ve had people say positive things about my stories; I’ve brought smiles and tears to readers.  I’ve written 4 novels, 1 novella, 32 short stories, 42 poems, 84 blogs, and 3 novels in-progress. I think that’s being successful. Why? Because Ive continued to do what I love, no matter what the  result. I’ve had fun making friends, creating worlds, and trying things that make me uncomfortable. I encouraged people to believe in themselves, given life to middle-age heroines, and never killed off  the main character.

There are still so many paths to follow, worlds to explore. And that’s only after I play with my grandbaby, fetch my dogs, pet my cats, cuddle my husband, go to work 40 hours a week, clean my house, grocery shop, get together with family and/or friends, and dozens of other responsibilities. Life has only so many hours, and I’m still struggling on squeezing a few more out of every week.

So what this all boils down to is that I’ve driven the Humoring the Goddess train long enough. Hopefully I’ve encouraged you to believe in yourself, have fun with your life, and laugh as much as you can. There are so many things you can’t change, so why not toss your hands up and laugh and move on? You’ll know the things you CAN change..that little voice in your heart/head/soul is always there to remind you. Your job is to listen.

I have enjoyed entertaining you all these years more than you know. I have learned so much from you. I might try another blog, or finish one of my novels, or sit and spew poetry until I feel nauseated. I’m sure I’ll be back and visit sometime. If I start something new I’ll post it. I will look foward to hearing from you and YOUR projects. You will always find me at my email world…  humoring_the_goddess@yahoo.com.

There is always a path ahead of you. Always. It’s up to you which one you take, or how often you turn left or right. In the end, none of that matters — the only thing that matters is that you keep walking.

Keep Humoring the Goddess…and Loving your Life…

Claudia Anderson

Astral Traveling on a Budget

There are so many things that fill our lives — work, family, laundry — that it’s hard to find time to do the thing that we are born to do: Astral Travel.  Now, you may snicker — astral traveling? You say it sounds a bit too airy fairy for you. Way out in left field and all. Well, believe me, you do this all the time.

You finish your to-do list for the day and finally sit down for five minutes to relax. You put a bit of music on in the background, or, on the contrary, turn off every electrical device in sight, and take advantage of your few minutes of peace and solitude. You sit on the sofa, close your eyes, and where do you go? You may think you are working out the number of people to invite to your birthday party or what to make for dinner, but what you are really doing is heading for that sphere of energy known as the ethereal. It’s that place full of light and insubstantiality; that place at the edge of heaven, at the edge of another dimension. You are standing at the gateway that opens to other worlds, other times, and other possibilities. Oh sure, every day annoyances come into your head like popcorn, but if you just follows your own rhythmic breathing, you will find yourself leaving office politics behind and wandering through the hallways of the fourth or fifth dimension. Pretty cool, eh?

Astral traveling, astral projection, is a meditative state of being; the suspension of time and space, getting lost in the Zone somewhere between Timothy Leary and Captain Kirk. It’s taking the zigzaggy path through the woods, finally coming across the trail that leads to “what if?” Traveling with your mind takes you back to a time when there were no restrictions on your imagination. It taps into your adult innocence in surprisingly wonderful ways. I mean, where else could you and Johnny Depp share espresso in a small café in Italy and talk about Renaissance art? Where else could you deliver that awe-inspiring speech that brings the audience to its feet? Where else could find out what really went on behind the closed palace doors of Henry the Eighth?

Many a truth floats between the zones of reality when you let your mind roam, especially if you can turn those five minutes into fifteen or twenty. We figure out ways to cope with loss and disappointment. We strengthen our weaknesses and sort out our emotions. We relate to characters in the books we’ve read, people we’ve met, places we have been. Or want to go. There are no computers in the astral world. There are no ringing phones, no screaming kids or dirty dishes. The longer one meditates, the further one drifts away from the nonsense of the day to our own crystal innocence.

And your heart really is innocent. You may think it is jaded, crushed, bruised or frozen closed. But the human heart is continually growing, adapting, learning, and feeling. When you “astral travel” you wander over to the other side of growing, adapting, learning and feeling. Back to the time when you believed in the good of your fellow man, to the time when you saw dragons in the clouds and faeries dancing at the edge of the woods at sunset.  Back to a time when words like adultery and cholesterol and obsessive/compulsive disorder sounded more like Japanese than English.

Alas, it’s hard to ride the astral train for any long stretch of time, One is not meant to stay in nirvana forever. The secrets of the prophets, the shamans, and the elves will often have to wait for another day. Sooner or later you will glide back to your body, back to earth, back to the way things were before you took that left turn at Jupiter.

Who cares if the astral trip was real or not? What matters is that you are never quite the same person as the one who closed their eyes fifteen minutes earlier. No one will know — or care — if you heard the cries of those waiting to be executed in the Tower of London or the whispers of aliens in some distant galaxy or if you remember swinging on the swing set when you were little. It doesn’t matter what you find in the depths of your mind. What really matters is that you keep that mind open.

You will not change the world on this journey: you won’t put a stop to war or abuse or neglect. You can’t pay your bills on the astral track, nor will you be able to stop tornadoes or make lima beans taste good . But you will find that your thoughts are clearer, your eyes can see further, and your breathing is more regulated. You’ll find that quiet spot in your soul where the spirit and the beyond are one. Your step becomes a little lighter, and your endurance lasts a little longer. You may be skeptical — but just give it a chance. Five minutes at a time. Surely you have a spare five minutes somewhere. Or, as they say, baby, make the time!

The great thing about astral traveling is that you can return to this energy plane any time you want. All you need is you. You, a little time, a little fresh air, and a little imagination. Astral traveling doesn’t cost you a thing. You don’t have to pay anyone for the information; it doesn’t turn your hair blue or change the love you have for others.  All you have done is found a different way to play. And people don’t stop playing just because they are middle-aged, you know.

And, in the end, who cares what others think? After all — Johnny Depp is still sitting at that table in Italy waiting for you. Or rather, me.

Ciao, baby…

Harry Potter vs Hannibal Lecter

 I just finished watching the movie Silence of the Lambs. This movie is brutal and unnerving and psychological and graphic. It forces the audience to watch in fascination one minute and hide our heads under the blanket the next. It’s kinda like people who slow down to take a peek at an accident on the side of the road ― it’s scary yet fascinating.  Voyeurism at its worst. And it makes me wonder why a simple, hard-working, middle class wife and mother, catalog coordinator, ex-soccer mom and spaghetti queen, watches a movie about someone who kidnaps women and strips them of their skin.

Why do we watch what we do? Why does society make movies like they do?  Movie making, like writing, is a bizarre connection of our deepest fears and highest nspirations.  The thought of such travesties existing outside our sphere of consciousness practically takes our breath away. Yet movie moguls make cinema magic focusing on psychos, mass murders, and psychological monstrosities all the time, and most of us have shared at least a piece of their legends. Writers such as Stephen King and Dean Koonz strip away our walls and prey on our vulnerable humanness. So I have to ask ― do movies and books reflect our true self?

 The human mind is a confusing labyrinth of thoughts, impulses and memories. That’s why it’s so easy to get lost in it. Not only do we want cuddly children and sentimental songs and feel-good endings ― we want to be confronted with things that terrorize us. Things that unconsciously test the possibility of taking us to that last fishing hole in the sky. Because of this always-changing labyrinth, we find ourselves asking eternal question, “What if?”  What if we/you/they had made a different choice? What if the chick that was captured in Silence of the Lambs decided to stop for a beer with her girlfriends and got drunk and wound up in Cleveland instead of helping the dude with his sofa? What if Melanie in Gone with the Wind had not died? If Luke Skywalker had grown up hanging around with his dad?

 When we are young, there are many choices in front of us. Our love life, our jobs, our cars, all are ripe apples to be picked from the abundant tree of life.  Life is nothing  but one big choice. But often the energy and pressures of our existence make our choices come from circumstance and necessity rather than free will. Hence, one of the trials of being human ― the ever eternal million-dollar question.

But back to the crazy movie. In watching this psychological mess, I oft-handedly wondered if this kind of movie reflected my inner self. I have many friends who talk about the movies they watch:  middle-aged love comedies; retro pot-smoking, chick-banging absurdities; historical pieces.  Some are huge fans of horror; others cannot live without s lot of sex and drama. Do these favorites define who they are? Do these choices influence their cosmic journey? Does Star Trek and Fried Green Tomatoes influence mine?

I think I make too much of a simple case of being human. For more years than there are leaves in a tree,  homo sapiens have been pigeon-holed into categories and titles and labels that may or not be true. Not only are we defined by our religion and our politics, but by our style of dress, choice of music, and our diet. Eventually, many of us figure out that labels, like time, mean nothing. They are nothing but illusions created to give us a feeling of being in control. Which is an illusion in itself. We all know there is no such thing as control ― only the temporary organization of chaos.

Are we too old to appreciate the humor of movies that showcase bare breasts, devil lawyers, psychos, marijuana, and farts? On the contrary! One of the challenges of getting older is there are so many new thoughts, impressions, and attitudes in the world that we cannot possibly keep up. The older we get, the more we want to show the world that we can indeed fit in with the aforementioned thoughts, impressions, and attitudes. And you know what? The gift of experience gives us the tools to do so. It may be that our attention span is much narrower, our need to shoot off at some erratic angle not as strong as hen we were 16…but it shows us that the more the world changes around us, the more it stays the same.

You see, the voice of individuality has never really changed. An individual can be Frank Sinatra mixed with Elvis mixed with Metallica mixed with Keith Urban.  Why can’t we like chocolate and vanilla and tooti fruiti too? Why can’t we talk about football and Texas sheet cake and transcendental meditation in the same breath? Why can’t we wear silk one day and denim the next? We should revel is our uniqueness; revel in the fact that we can enjoy all of the above and not compromise who we are.  Peeking at a horror movie doesn’t mean we are going to dismember the neighbor; watching two women run away and drive off the cliff does not mean we will get the same uncontrollable driving  urge.

I am quite satisfied with the landscape of movies and music before me. The only problem is that I keep dreaming of Harry Potter vs. Hannibal Lechter. Both powerful main characters that keep you wanting to know more. Where does this polarity leave me?

            Satisfied.