Friday, June 15, 2012

The Walls Come Tumbling Down

I read the most touching blog post at Single Dad Laughing this morning called That Moment When...

This line really hit home for me:
That moment when you realize that the walls you put up to protect yourself were the very walls that destroyed you. Again.
Walls, limits, boundaries... whatever you call the things you do to guard your heart.  To keep you from feeling vulnerable because being vulnerable makes you feel weak and fearful.  And it can be a scary thing to give someone enough of your heart to realize that they have the power to break it.  Scary to feel naked and exposed and risking the rejection of not being enough.

But what about the times when the other person loves us despite our flaws and faults and deep dark secrets?  Isn't that the kind of intimacy that makes living worthwhile?

Keeping people out with our self-erected walls that we so carefully lay brick by brick only serves to keep us away from what we need and want most in human interaction.  It seems awfully silly to put all that effort into something we very much don't want.  And not silly at the same time because our intent in building walls and containing our self is to avoid the pain, whether physical or emotional, that has devastated our psyche in the past.

Expansion by Paige Bradley
 “From the moment we are born, the world tends to have a container already built for us to fit inside: a social security number, a gender, a race, a profession, I ponder if we are more defined by the container we are in than what we are inside. Would we recognize ourselves if we could expand beyond our bodies?"  asks sculptor Paige Bradley when speaking about her work Expansion.

I really like the imagery of this sculpture.  It says to me that when we make the conscious decision to start tearing down those walls, to let down our guard and be open to new people, ideas and adventures, that's when the light inside begins to shine.  That's how we expand beyond our body and finally find our authentic self.  And yes, I think it is a decision to take down the walls.  It's a very calculated risk.  Even if we aren't completely conscious of it while it's happening, something inside is weighing the pros and cons and always asking if it's worth it.

Yes, it is scary to step out onto that ledge where the possibility of being hurt exists.  It takes my breath away to look out and consider all the possibilities that I set aside in the past.  But it's also exhilarating.  And so freeing. I've calculated the risk, drawn a deep breath for courage and I'm taking the jump.

One by one I'm pulling the bricks away.  It's a slow, sometimes tentative, process this tearing down. I think it has to be.  All at once would be too much - too frightening, too risky.  Sometimes I'm surprised by how thick the wall is when one layer is gone and only reveals another behind it.

Looking back, I'm not sure how or when I got to be so damaged.  Maybe that doesn't really matter.  Because I am determined that what held me down in the past will not bind my future.  These walls will come tumbling down!

Monday, June 11, 2012

What To Do With Old Tires

I think the picture is pretty self-explanatory.  No, I haven't done this.  Yet.

Actually, I just wanted to pin it on Pinterest but since I found the link on Facebook and you can't pin directly from there and I couldn't find a way to get this specific picture into a format that would work, I'm blogging it here specifically so I can pin it.  And yes, that you can post from Pinterest to Facebook but you can't pin from Facebook to Pinterest annoys me.  It really annoys me today...

For those of you who want to trace the source back and see what other cool stuff they have, here's the link from Homesteading Self Sufficiency Survival's Facebook page.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Menu for Tonight

My roommate, Tami, is having a little BBQ Bash to celebrate a friend's birthday... and lucky me, I get to hang out with them.  And have dinner!

On the menu is steak.  It's marinating in the kitchen now and the whole house smells somewhere beyond incredible.  She started with Famous Dave's rub and then mixed Lawry's Signature Steakhouse and Tuscan Sun-dried Tomato Marinade together and poured it over the top of the meat for a couple of hours.

To go over the steak, once it's grilled, there's a Cucumber Raita.  Totally new to me, but oh so tasty!!

Cucumber Raita

8 oz plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 - 1/2 cup coarsely shredded unpeeled cucumber
2 T finely chopped red onion
1 Tbl snipped dill
1/4 tsp sugar
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Minced garlic and horseradish to taste

Combine and let chill for 2 hours.  Spoon over grilled and sliced steak to serve.

In addition we have corn on the cob and a couple of pretty amazing salads.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

Toss together:
Fresh baby spinach
Sliced (or quartered or halved depending on size) fresh strawberries
Sliced (or slivered) almonds
Crumbled feta cheese
Dried cranberries

Dress with mayonnaise blended with a fat-free Raspberry Vinegarette just before serving.

Broccoli and Mango Salad

Toss together:
Fresh broccoli flowerettes broken into small pieces
Sliced red onion
Coarsely chopped mango
Mandarin oranges

Dress with a mixture of bottled ranch dressing, horseradish and orange juice.

Oh yes, we're eating good tonight!!

Update:  I've been holding this post back for almost a month now thinking we might make it again because I failed to take pictures.  And it was beautiful, picture worthy food!!  But we haven't and the recipes are too good not to publish and urge you to try.


If, like me, you've so far missed this acronym of modern language YOLO means You Only Live Once.  It's the impetus, and sometimes excuse, being tossed around for many adventures and personal discoveries of late.  And it has great value if you are seeking out things to enhance your life and not just a way to assuage your conscience for bad behavior and choices.

Our founding fathers went to quite the effort to promise each of us "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."  Note we are not guaranteed happiness, just the ability to pursue it.  And 'pursue' is a verb; an action word; implied is getting off your butt and doing something.

Now and then we see this idea repeated by other bright thinkers, eloquent and not, with phrases like "carpe the heck out of that diem" and "life is for the living."  Today, reading the 2012 Wellesley High School Commencement Address by David McCullough Jr. these sentences stood out to me.  "The point is the same: get busy, have at it. Don’t wait for inspiration or passion to find you. Get up, get out, explore, find it yourself, and grab hold with both hands."

He went on to explain further, "None of this day-seizing, though, this [YOLO]ing, should be interpreted as license for self-indulgence. Like accolades ought to be, the fulfilled life is a consequence, a gratifying byproduct. It’s what happens when you’re thinking about more important things. Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you."

The fulfilled life is a consequence.  Now that's something to think about.

Over the last year, I think it's fair to say I've given myself license for a lot of self-indulgence.  Yes, I've done some hard things and learned a great deal but I'm not really any closer to the life I would call fulfilled and gratifying now than I was then.  I also think it's fair to say that in large part this stems from lack of direction, lack of tangible goals, and lack of discipline to do the hard things to bring them about.

I need a big goal and someone or something that will help me by following through with holding me accountable.