Meraki


Meraki (noun) Origin: Greek | Putting part of yourself into what you are doing.

This is a modern Greek word that’s often used to describe the instance wherein you leave a part of yourself (your soul, creativity, or love) in your work — so it’s like when you intensely love to do something or just about anything that you put something of yourself into it.

Love myself I do. Not everything, but I love the good as well as the bad. I love my crazy lifestyle, and I love my hard discipline. I love my freedom of speech and the way my eyes get dark when I’m tired. I love that I have learned to trust people with my heart, even if it will get broken. I am proud of everything that I am and will become. ~ Johnny Weir

I started this blog in July of 2012.  I initially started writing this and showing off the places, people, food, and art to help my kids be a part of what I was doing.  For the most part, they are largely oblivious that I am still writing this.  Initially I did it for them, but I have realized that over the years,  this blog has been something I have been doing as much, if not more, for myself as for them.  

Every time I go back and read what I have written, I can place myself in the exact place or state of mind I was in when I wrote it.  The pictures encapsulate where I was, and sometimes who I was, at that particular place and time.  A lot of what I wrote cracks me up.  Reminds me that I have not made gigantic philosophical leaps over time.  I am still the silly, weird, dorky, child that I was at 10.  I still wander and wonder about all of the things I come across. It takes very little to amuse me, make me smile, and/or destroy me.

I have on occasion gone back over some of my posts and have felt slightly embarrassed because what I wrote was a bit too ridiculous and stream of consciousness style.  I have considered deleting some posts for that reason, but changed my mind.  Those posts are likely more me than many of the other more lucid posts.  I am Sam, Sam I am, I am what I am. Auspicious beginnings was one of the first posts I wrote and yes, even now it is all true.

I put my all of me into my blog.  My soul, creativity, and love.  I started a diary when I was 9 years old (1976 if you struggle with math). Ironically, it took me over a year to start writing in it.  Like all diaries, I started out writing daily 9 year old drama and eventually moved to weekly, monthly, and eventually yearly entries.  In 2013, my daughter gave me a new diary called “The Happiness Journal” I wrote in that one for five years every single day.  I cannot honestly say those things were the happiest things I could have thought of, but they were also all me.

It’s so bizarre.  I can see myself in each of those pages in full form.  The love, hate, funny, angry, and sad person that wove me through my life.  I am 54 years old now and I imagine that at some point my kids will find this slab of my mind in print and laugh and cry as they work their way through what is likely going to be a 50+ year retrospective of my imagined but really felt joys and failures.

Seriously, leave me alone I was only 10!! Cracks me up though and I can seriously see angry little Sami, stonily sitting in her basement bedroom furiously writing out my little world’s woes.  Ah to be 10 again!

When my daughters were born, I began a journal of their lives and when they turned 17 or so, they were completely filled with my random wonderings of their lives and I presented these to them as a Christmas present one year.  I believe that they each still have that documentary evidence of my love for them during the first part of their lives.  I hope that they know that all of those words, photos, clippings bring back memories to me that are as real and poignant to me now as they were when I entered them into and onto those pages.

So my meraki appears to be documenting my own life and experiences and even the life and experiences of the ones I love.  I have been diligent about it.  Accurate to my own first-hand experiences and memories.  If you have read anything I have written here or looked at anything I have painted there.  You will see me.  You will see what I saw.  You will see and understand the things that have been important to me.  The things that are still important to me.  I hope you have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy the ride and the read.

Meraki mumblings:  Leha; Pooja; Princess; Merakisbsc; Gavin; Whisperer; Jess; Adyeshablog; Roy; DanielleAnika

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Kopfkino


Kopfkino (noun) Origin: German | The act of playing out an entire scenario in your mind.

Hard translation is “head cinema” and as the definition goes, these are for those times where you start daydreaming or imagining scenarios about how a situation will unravel.

I live in my head.  Specifically when I am stressed out. My specific types of scenarios are often referred to as “heroic imagination” scenarios.  Yes.  I am the hero of my own dreams and my own imaginations. Of course to be a hero, you have to face adversity, trials, and tribulations.  I will admit that my scenarios run the outrageous to the often outlandishly ridiculous extreme. In my imagination, I never stood quietly by why bullies beat down the underdog.

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. ~ Edmund Burke

I used to think it was weird.  Even when I was in the middle of one of these mental scenarios.  This existing in the reality of feeling inadequate, beaten down, or inadequate while at the same time co-existing in my wonderful mental reality of always overcoming the odds and taking out societies bullies and deviants through my Emmett Brown – mad-scientist high-intellect, James Bond -smarmy attitude, and MacGyver-like ingenuity.

What I believe played a part in my transition from every day nerd kid to heroic fixer of all things evil (or moderately annoying)?  As I researched this phenomena, I came to realize that this affliction might very well come from the wealth of random and situational realities that I grew up in.

When I was very young, most of my childhood heroes wore capes, flew through the air, or picked up buildings with one arm. They were spectacular and got a lot of attention. But as I grew, my heroes changed, so that now I can honestly say that anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me. – Fred Rogers

Helicopter Parents – When I grew up, the definition of a helicopter parent would have been: A parent who randomly flies by and zooms off.  From about the age of 2-7, my sisters and i had free run of the yard and back alley and possibly the block our house existed on. Parents would look out the windows or neighbors would babysit us from their own windows.  We knew how to behave (mostly) because we knew we would be ratted out by the ratfink neighbors. From 7-11, we managed to work our territory to the local playground, swimming pool, chasing ice cream trucks for miles, and sometimes even to our downtown area. As long as we were back home before dark … or before our parents got home, we were pretty much never in trouble.  From 11-18 we pretty much did what we wanted and then begged for forgiveness after the fact.  This is not to say that we never got in trouble or found ourselves in ridiculous predicaments.  I imagine this is definitely one of the reasons my heroic imagination developed.  Childhood is sometimes kind of scary and to overcome this, I developed scenarios where I could rescue myself and my sisters.

80s movies – The Garbage Pail Kids, Killer Clowns from Outer Space, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Adventures in Babysitting, Better Off Dead, Breakfast Club, Red Dawn, Footloose, Weird Science, all of the Stephen King movies.  Really, almost every 80s movie ever made. Outlandish scenarios with outlandish heroes.

You can kind of see the hero in me.  Right?  Always in disguise. Kind of amazing.

Reading Books – I was a bit of a loner and super shy as a child.  I always played the part of the underdog.  I had a great imagination.  I read book after book about children and teens on magical adventures, or misadventures.  Kids who overcame difficulties like being kidnapped, shipwrecked, abandoned, etc.  They always managed to come out on top.  They were kids with moral courage and the willingness, adaptability and wherewithal to overcome the odds and stand up to evil in every form.

Military Training – I joined the Navy at 16 and went to boot camp during the summer between my junior and senior year.  Part of this was due to my belief that I was really the only one I could count on to fix, save, repair myself or my sisters from some of the outrageous situations we often found ourselves in.  I mean, you have to learn to fight and control situations and what better way to do that. Bootcamp sucked.  But I did learn some life skills that have stayed with me to this day.  I’m not afraid of many things.

“I think a hero is really any person intent on making this a better place for all people.” – Maya Angelou

As I grew up, married, had kids, divorce, changed jobs, traveled, and everything else that happens in life, I still occasionally (often) revert back to  this heroic and positively deviant imagination.  For years I tried to break this habit because even I thought it was bizarre.  This existing in the actual world while equally and positively existing in this alternate and wonderful world where I overcame the odds every single time.

After years of doing this, I feel like it often helps me figure out daily situations.  As long as I am not zoning out and being inappropriate.  I mean I have never actually tried to wear a spandex outfit and climb the side of a building.  But this imagination has made me a little more situationally aware.  I have been told it is better to be a hero in my imagination than the one who is beaten down. I think I am more resilient these days and less afraid than I was as a child.  I hardly ever play the bystander which is super helpful in a crisis situation.  Sometimes, my imagination only brings me to a place of self-acceptance.  For me, being the hero of my own story has led me to more amazing places and good outcomes than had I chosen to remain in my less appealing realities.  They have taught me to dream big and actually take action on my dreams.  There ain’t nothing wrong with being a hero.  Even if, most of the time, it’s only in your head.

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” – Christopher Reeve

“The hero is one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by.” – Felix Adler

Imagination: serendipity; Pete; yi-ching; ambivert; sandra; ben; aarzu; rahul; rajan; ally; norah

Aprosexia – Hyperprosexia – Paraprosexia – yup that’s me


Aprosexia, an abnormal inability to pay attention, characterized by near-complete indifference to everything. Opposite is hyperprosexia, meaning to concentrate on one thing to the exclusion of everything else; and, paraprosexia, meaning the inability to pay attention to anyone thing (a state of constant distraction).

When I find myself under duress, I believe that the word aprosexia is exactly what I am.  I can’t focus, I am easily distracted and it’s not because I can’t focus, it is more because I really just don’t care about what you are trying to get me to care about.  I just do not care.  Nothing you can do or say will bring me back from where ever I am.

Ironically, I am also very much almost completely the opposite.  I have been accused of being incredibly hyperprosexia when I am really into something.  I can be so deeply focused on just ONE thing that I get angry when I am in the middle of it and just want to be left alone.  There are special things that have me intensely occupied and when someone attempts to distract me from completing that special project I can quietly lose my mind.  This happens when I am working on an art project, reading a really good book, or just trying to get an important task done.

However, if there was ever a word that described me almost completely, it would likely be paraprosexia.  I am very good at being easily distracted.  I am great at multi-tasking because I operate better when there are a million things going on at the same time.  I tell circular stories.  I can start a joke, get distracted with my thoughts, my words, my ideas and my actions, and eventually get to the punchline.  My mind is often working overtime like these dancers in Nepal.  Crazy colors, sounds, and movement.  It’s my favorite place to be.

savage; boheme; Herry; Jonathan; Divine; hubner; Judy; quest; marie

Day 7 – Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present


What a year this has been. Covid, politics, riots, death, destruction and more politics. My entire life.. nearly.. I have found positive ways to move through and past stress.  It takes a lot of effort sometimes but specifically in the past 15 years, I have legitimately found ways to bring myself into a better state of mind.. invisibility for example (Day 6).  I honestly felt that I had grown up and healed from those crazy childhood emotional wounds.  I felt I had made peace with it all.

Set peace of mind as your highest goal, and organize your life around it.  ~Brian Tracy

I’m trying to get more creative in my approach to finding more humor in everything. Sometimes this feels impossible. It used to be so much easier to do this. I felt carefree and fun for years.  I had about 10 years of absolute humorous mayhem.  Everything cracked me up and most everything made me happy.

A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.  ~Steve Martin

Not sure what happened about 3 years ago.  Don’t think it was just one thing.  I think it was a multitude of events, cuts, burns, stabs, and living in the unhappiness of others.  Trying to make them happier and feel more secure by trying to live in their reality and adjust my style, hair, clothes, and attitude to their expectations of what I was supposed to be.  I did this at the cost of my best self.  Constantly trying to be something I wasn’t.  Yet, even when i attempted to change everything about myself, it still did not make anyone any happier or any more secure. I have felt that I have regressed to that sad, angry, morbid child Sami full of hurt and resentment about the cruelty and unfairness of the world.

Life is too short to waste any amount of time on wondering what other people think about you. In the first place, if they had better things going on in their lives, they wouldn’t have the time to sit around and talk about you. What’s important to me is not others’ opinions of me, but what’s important to me is my opinion of myself.
~ C. JoyBell C

Of course, I knew this.  However, I fought against it despite my knowledge of who I was and how I was.  I always seemed to be surrounded by others who seemed to be doing great with things they way they were.  They were able to fit in nicely in their environment.  They learned to close their mouths when needed. Never did they fight the fight.  No truth to power. 

Or

Even worse, they would do all of the things I had been trying to do.  They would fight, scream, say exactly what I had just said and win…and yes, somehow always win.  I kept trying to to fit in.  Obviously, I didn’t.  I would find out that I really just wasn’t where I thought I was or doing things how others wanted me to do it. The little me had somehow managed to creep back into my head.  She began screaming at herself things like, “I am unworthy.  Nobody loves me. I am a horrible person.  I am stupid and not qualified to do anything.”

I wasn’t respected, loved, heard, and sometimes not even seen.  These facts were presented to me and only compounded the way I felt about myself.  The way I had felt about myself as a child.  The way, I apparently had never stopped feeling about myself.  The more I tried to stop digging in that well, the more these thought pressed forward.

I’ve got a bad case of the 3:00 am guilts – you know, when you lie in bed awake and replay all those things you didn’t do right? Because, as we all know, nothing solves insomnia like a nice warm glass of regret, depression and self-loathing.
~D.D. Barant

Why are you lying awake, thinking that you’re a terrible person?
~~To keep my mind occupied when I can’t sleep. Some people count sheep. I self-loathe.
~Rainbow Rowell

When I was seen, it was always when I was at my absolute least best.  I was starting to get mad.  Starting to hold my tongue and mimic all of what I thought was right and still not succeeding.  I was mad at others and even more mad at myself for doing it wrong.  Being right but somehow always doing it wrong.  I was jealous of others success or apparent success and mad that they were always so happy or apparently happy.  So respected or apparently respected. So well thought of .. so .. so .. everything.  It was a super dark time in my life.  Worst time ever in most recent years. 

Anger, resentment and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others– it only changes yours.
~ Shannon Alder

The way you think about yourself determines your reality. You are not being hurt by the way people think about you. Many of those people are a reflection of how you think about yourself.
~Shannon L. Alder

A few times I swore that i was going to ignore the perfectness of others and just be myself.  I knew that’s what made me happy.  I would laugh again.  Make others laugh again.  I knew I could do it. I occasionally succeeded and thought I had made progress.  I would ashamedly find out that I was only delusional about my fitting in. I would not hear about it directly, but be blindsided by this information in the most embarrassing of ways.

Punch after punch, blow after blow, hit after hit.  Yeah pretty violent.  Every time I thought everything was ok ……

At the same time, I also knew that I have been in the wrong group and living the wrong life. Doing the wrong thing.  Going against my own grain.  I have been going against myself and my innate nature. It has just not been working out.  But damn.. I keep on intently trying to make it work because the truth is, I love my life, my job, my friends, and my family. 

If you had a person in your life treating you the way you treat yourself, you would have gotten rid of them a long time ago…
~Cheri Huber

I have been in a mental rut.  It has been a dangerous rut.  I am now working hard to get out of that rut and what I have found is that the rut is a rut of my own making.  My own desire to make things right, fit in, be good, a rut of negative self-talk.  It’s the same rut I had been in when I was a teen.  The rut of self-non-acceptance.  Self-talk that always put the blame on me for everything wrong in the world.  My sneaky way of making others laugh to get out of challenging situations and emotions has not been working.

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. ~William James.

So, here I am.  Working on rebuilding my funny bones, reclaiming the paths of resilience that I had spent years building up, and reinventing wacky world of Sam that made me so happy. Getting my funny train back on track has been very difficult and nearly impossible.

However,  I am ready.  I get it.  I am still here. I am still as good as anyone else, not better than, but equal to. I am o.k. I am working on choosing the words that go in my head. It’s not what they say, it’s what you hear. It’s not what I say, it’s what they hear.  

Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a friend.~ Elizabeth Gilbert

I am working my way back through music, art, meditation, good friends, real friends, letting go of what does not bring happiness, and mostly bringing focus and intentional actions back into my life.  Going back to minimalism, preparing for retirement, and learning to laugh again.  Like really laugh. 

In relationship to work.. I am shooting for mediocrity.

Only the mediocre are always at their best.  ~Jean Giraudoux

In relationship to friends… fame… fortune.. etc. I have decided I would rather just be myself.  wish me luck.  Please.  Myself is a pretty good thing to be..I know this is true, but just have to keep reminding myself.

Don’t let people who fuck with your mind enter into the door of your mind.
~Curtis Tyrone Jones

I will not be “famous,” “great.” I will go on adventuring, changing, opening my mind and my eyes, refusing to be stamped and stereotyped. The thing is to free one’s self: to let it find its dimensions, not be impeded.
~Virginia Woolf

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.  ~Rob Siltanen

Other voices that rang in my head:  Thegirl; custard; lucid; language; catladysings; compound; anxiety; bop; method; mon; dry; gladgame; writingbug

Day 2 – Burn the candles; use the nice sheets; wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.


So says Regina Brett, a 90 (but really 54 year) old woman who has recently risen to internet/FB/ fame and has gone viral.  Now admittedly, she is not the first person to spout these life lessons.  Remember, they are universal!

Just wanted to post one of my favorites.  I hope you enjoy.

“I am an artist you know … it is my right to be odd.”
― E.A. Bucchianeri

Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple. (or blue as the case may be)

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“I am not eccentric. It’s just that I am more alive than most people. I am an unpopular electric eel set in a pond of catfish.”
― Edith Sitwell

“I’d rather be a little weird than all boring.”
― Rebecca McKinsey

“In this age, the mere example of non-conformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service. Precisely because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a reproach, it is desirable, in order to break through that tyranny, that people should be eccentric. Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage which it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time.”
― John Stuart Mill

Other posts I found inspiring

The Art of Disorder; Android; Writingmylife; philosophy; scream; adventures; tongueincheek