Archive for September, 2013

Oil painting - Path

“The Path to the Cottage” – oil on canvas by Barbie Dallmann

My brain is full. There are no more expansion slots available. I have a gigabyte brain in a terabyte world.

When I was little, my grandma’s phone number was four digits, which I still clearly remember: 2980. And my beloved twin cousin’s phone number was 8-2548. It was common knowledge then that human memories just couldn’t easily handle more than five numbers. Wow, has that ever changed!

This morning it was raining, and so I turned to my XBox 360 Kinect to fill my exercise requirements. Oh, but it needed to download a software update, and I was asked to enter my XBox Live Account information. I couldn’t remember it. Just how many user ID’s and passwords do I have? Two hundred and twenty-nine (yup, I counted!) Everything from on-line bill pay, credit cards, and bank accounts to Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon. I have so many accounts that I keep track of them in an old-fashioned address book, the kind I formerly used to keep track of my friends. Now I need one just to keep track of myself! What about everyone else? I leave that to my Smartphone and computer. 8-2548 has been replaced by a home phone, cell phone, email address, Facebook, Flickr, blog site, and Pintrest. I think there’s probably more.

Is it any wonder, I can’t seem to concentrate? At any given moment, I feel as though a dozen or more things need my attention. How does anyone NOT have ADD in this age of overload? My things-to-do list just hit #16, and that’s just for today. Actually, that’s just for the next 8 hours.

As the rain pours down outside, I have the urge to go back to bed, pull the covers over my head, and pretend someone else will finish the chores on my list.

That’s how it starts, isn’t it? You forget a user ID and password, and the next thing you know, you’re headed down the road to ruin. I think I’ll take a detour around this time-wasting side trip and find the path to some simple compassion.

Yes, it’s a complicated, fast-paced, information filled world. And, yes, it can feel overwhelming at times. But with a few deep breaths, a touch of self-awareness, and a desire for alignment with inner peace, I can easily come back to myself, back to what really matters. In this moment I have the power to choose my next thought, and as it says in A Course in Miracles, “I can choose peace instead of this.”

Oh, the XBox download is complete. Time to exercise!

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Painting on tile

Summer Beauty (Acrylic on Tile by Barbie Dallmann)

I know I’m supposed to be an enlightened, got-it-all-together coach type person, but this morning when my iPod wouldn’t turn on, an enraged control-freak grabbed the reins and took over.

“Piece of s**t iPod! I’m the boss of you, and I say, WORK!”

She Googled “dead iPod” and followed the directions for a reset. Nothing. She plugged it into a wall socket and tried again. Nada. She cajoled, caressed, lightly pressed buttons, and then slammed it on the sink. Still nothing but a trashed iPod.

“So, now I can’t go for my morning run!” declared this stubborn, irritated, acting-like-a-child part of me.

From somewhere deep inside Coach Barbie whispered in that irritatingly calm voice of hers, “Is that true? You can’t run without an iPod?”

A heavy sigh accompanied a defiant response, “No, it’s not true. I can run without an iPod … but I don’t want to!

“Is that  true?” she asked again. “You don’t want to run? You’re all dressed and ready to go. You love morning runs. Is it true you don’t want to run?”

“No . . . but still . . . ,” she whined, losing bravado. And then she left the house, and as I gained my stride, the resistant, negative, stubborn part of me began to dissolve, and I allowed myself to compassionately observe what had just happened.

Something didn’t go my way, and I resisted. I made it wrong. I fought reality with everything I could muster. I was looking for everything that was wrong about the situation … the money, the time, the inconvenience, the lost activity records … not to mention that I have no clue where I left off in the audio book I was listening to.

Before I had the tools to process this sort of thing, I would have been caught in a negative spiral for hours, maybe days. But with the simple question, “What’s right about this?” I was able to use my entire run this morning to find the good.

And the best thing I found was a memory of my 12-year-old self on vacation with my family. There was no room for me in the cab, so I rode alone in the camper on the back of the pick-up. From Nebraska through Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and home again. For a month, I rode alone with no iPod, no video games, no laptop, no cell phone. Just me, a few books, and my endless imagination. I lost myself in the scenery and entertained myself with stories of what my life would be like when I was grown up and on my own. I imagined going to work, buying a car, marrying my sweetheart, moving into a house, and giving birth to a baby. I day-dreamed a happy life for myself, full of freedom and beauty and travel.

One very good thing about not having an iPod (especially when you’re 12) is it gives you lots of time to work on manifesting a life worth living.

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