Day Eight (Mon 8/28/12):
Well, I was surprised how much I missed checking in on Archy, last night & this morning.
He just never strayed far from His Book.
I wondered what he did outside today in The Wild.
And whether a bird ate him already. :- ( Big sigh.
* Wasn't quite feeling it today; not sure why. There were a couple things I thought I "should" or "meant to" do today, but didn't, and what I did feel like doing once I got home was that I took 3 "Every Day is a Gift"/"You are a Gift" buttons that I got from this website with me on the evening walk with the dog & left them out in the neighborhood 1) stuck into a tree on the trail 2) at the bottom of a statute at the fountain 3) on a bus stop bench.
* Fed the shelter animals this a.m. with Freekibble.com
3 things I am grateful for today:
* That I took a big fat lunch hour today that I didn't know I was going to take to go for a drive I didn't know I was going to take to cry about something that happened in the a.m. that I didn't know was bothering me that much. I like it that the part of me that knew how to take care of me just did.
* I finished the 2nd part of my gym routine left from yesterday & I may have gone a little too far so I am going to bed now, but I am glad I gave it all my best.
* I'm actually very grateful for that Archy experiment, that I have some feelings today about that little bug that I definitely did not have at the beginning... but that was the point, to not act until I was past the Fear. It did stretch me in some way. (As far as never killing anything ever--no, that's not it. Recently I bought a can of Wasp & Hornet Spray & killed a bunch of hornets building nests on my back fence when my neighbor called to let me know they were living there & invading her yard & could she send over her handyman to spray them. She is disabled and home all day & was afraid about herself & her dogs getting stung, and in that situation, the hornets had to take the bullet for my neighbor & I did it the same day she called--I guess the underlying reason being so that she did not have to be in Fear & I made the decision to kill them myself rather than ask someone else to do it if it was going to be done, once I got over my own Fear of dealing with them. There might have been another way, as they really were just minding their own business... but for her sake, that was done & over with the same day.) This thing with Archy, though (naming it did change everything, by the way)... I let it take weeks. I guess it's about the Overriding Spiritual Principle in both those situations... making the choice.
Day Seven (Sun 8/27/12):
* Well, today's Big Victory Give is that I let a bug keep its life & figured out how to get it out of my house without automatically smushing it to death as my 1st reflex just because it's a bug.
It's actually been an ongoing Social Experiment in Non-Violence... to kill or not to kill. Building a relationship with a bug, one day at a time, to save its life. I'm actually thrilled today that it seems today to have ended successfully... but that was certainly not guaranteed.
(If you don't like bugs, you WON'T want to read this.)
So a couple weeks ago I noticed--AAAAACK!!!!--this very creepy-looking bug in between the pages of a book that had been left on the kitchen counter... some kind of skinny waterbug/earwig looking thing that I did not recognize, with yucky antennaes. Yep, it crossed my mind that it was some kind of roach... although way too skinny and the wrong color for the roaches I've ever seen & I do not live in roach country & I've never had roaches that I know of in 7 years in this house... BUT WHAT IS IT???? Maybe it came in on some groceries or fruit or something.
What I did not like was the extent of the fear & creepiness that went through me... the impulse to squish it, kill it, get rid of it, MAKE IT DIE.
WHAT IS THAT FEELING?
it's only a bug.
"But it could run away & lay eggs & then I have bugs in my house."
Except every time I moved, it wanted to run away... and then for sure I couldn't get it.
And--this was my Real Problem this whole time--if I just fast squish it where it was, I'm squishing it between the pages of a book I love & then I have bug guts in my book or have to tear the pages out.
Now here is where the story veers from what most people might have done, I do have to say. And I understand that no one wants bugs in their house. And somebody else smarter than me could have figured out a solution faster than this.
But I just decided that I did not like my decision being controlled by my own fear & the degree to which I was being creeped out by a small bug minding its own business.
So I just left it there.
Knowing full well it could run behind the counter & lay a bunch of eggs & then I have a definite problem.
Or maybe already it's just one of many that I don't realize are living behind my counter already.
But maybe it's just one male that came in on a piece of fruit & won't lay eggs & is just trying to live its life.
So for the moment it was only one bug, type unknown, living in my book, and the next morning it was still just there, sitting in my book, and I thought I should try & get rid of it, and I in my fear tried to get it to run out to where I could squish it, and I wasn't successful, being very hesitant and fearful in my actions, and I stood there looking at myself, causing this same much fear in another creature, literally for its very life, all because it was "inconvenient" to me & I was "afraid"... of what, exactly?
And eventually it ran back to hiding in the safety of the book.
And I just left it there, again, sitting in the book, and when I came home from work it was in the same place, and the next morning, and the next evening; and the days were going by, and it seemed to have made its home in my book, and I gave it a name, and made sure there were crumbs and water drops nearby so he would not have to venture far to get food & I could keep track of where he was.
And he never really left the book, unless I made too sudden of a move.
And there didn't seem to be any more anywhere than just that one.
And the days went by, and we got to know each other, and I'd talk to him in the morning, and move my routine closer to him, and gradually I could move one thing at a time away from the book, and he would quick run behind something to hide, but then after a while come back out and get back in his book.
And today things were clear enough around the book that I could quick, snatch up the book with one hand and a cup of water in the other, snap the book so the bug fell out into the cup, and although it was scrambling hard to save its life by coming up and out of the water onto the cup, I just kept on my way out the back door, down the porch steps, out into the far corner of the yard, and let him drop into the foliage under the tree.
If you come back into my house & lay eggs, yes, I will have to take more defensive action.
But for today... I did not kill as a reflex action. And there is something in that statement that I feel good about.
3 things I am grateful for today:
* Going to the gym today for weight exercises before it shuts down for a week for yearly maintenance
* A long lazy weekend where I did very little & do not feel guilty about it
* My dog
Goodnight, y'all. And NO JUDGMENT AT ALL to those of you who live in bug country & have to take decisive action to keep your homes liveable.
Day Six (Sat 8/26/12):
* Today's Gift was that I made the conscious effort of chatting up every single person I ran into while I was out doing errands for a few hours... the extra effort of smiling, of saying "hey, how are you doing today"/"So how's your day going today"? and sharing something about myself... at the bank, the gas station, the grocery store, the library, the burrito stand... just standing around chatting up strangers... the teller, the clerk, the people in line around me, etc etc etc. I don't think I was obnoxious, just friendly, acting like I liked the whole world... what a concept.
* Bought $3 worth of charity chocolate bars from the table in front of the grocery store being run by the local high school girls' volleyball team. Chatted them up about how was their season going, what were they going to buy with the money, how I used to play volleyball just for fun, blah blah blah... acting like I liked the whole world, including them, including volleyball, including me, and that whole world liked me back... what a concept.
Quite the little social experiment.
* OH: Also brought flowers to the daughter of my neighbors who were having her birthday party today that I wasn't going to be able to attend, as a gift for her special day. I felt good that I did do something in response to their invitation yesterday, to keep the relationship going when we were both putting in something extra this year.
3 things I am grateful for today:
* That what I wore to bed last night look enough like regular clothes that once I put on a bra, I didn't have to get dressed in anything else to go out this morning & so I wore my jammies all day, even out doing errands. What a Big Fat Relaxing Day.
* That my internet came back up once I rebooted my computer, when before I did that I got some complicated error message that looked like it was going to take up my afternoon & it didn't.
* My car. My mom. My dog. Being able to sleep in this morning. Having my dental work done. Having pain medication so that my dental work doesn't hurt afterwards. Having a job & finally the money tools and thoughts to have a little bit of savings & the extra pocket money to be able to buy a couple magazines and some junk food if I want to. Being able to fill up my car with a tank of gas without having to scrimp. The dog park & chatting up the woman coming out who told me which dogs were a little wild today so I could keep my dog away from them. The library & the fact that it's free. Cleaning up my front porch & not feeling guilty that I didn't do more housework than that today. Having a 3-day weekend & not feeling guilty that I might be 'wasting' some of it & knowing that another one is coming next weekend.
This website & everybody on it & the fact that we *are* making a difference, every day, every one of us. I love that.
Day Five (Fri 8/25/12):
* Well, this one will sound a little backwards.... but I'm still sticking it in here because it's another lesson or thought process from this Challenge on Giving. I'm usually a pretty big tipper when I eat out (20%+), but today when I stopped for lunch at a little cafe I left a $2 tip on a tab of $11.05. Big enough, I suppose, but 20% would have been $2.20 & I would have generally rolled that up into $2.25 or $2.50. But I didn't feel like it was deserved & I did not have that 'generous' feeling of giving it anyway, of making the effort to dig around for the quarters... simply because it wasn't deserved.
And I liked that... that even though I'm in this Challenge, I'm not overspending or slaphappy about what I'm doing if it's not sincere... at least for today, in that moment. Maybe another day, I'd have left the bigger tip & chalked it up to her having a bad day & wanting to do it for her out of compassion or not judging... letting it be about me sharing instead of what was happening to her. But today, I was not feeling it, and I did not give more than I wanted to do.
So I guess it was about giving to myself, a clear boundary, letting myself know that I can trust myself with my money and I'm not giving or throwing it around just for the sake of having a Give for the day. Good to know.
* In other news, yes, I did give to the shelter animals through Freekibble.com.
3 things I'm grateful for this day:
* Won't bore you with dental details, but dental work/insurance/plan for dental care for the year all dovetailed nicely & I am relieved that some tough work is done.
* That I had been wise enough to take the rest of the day off... 3 hours in the dental chair left me pretty wiped out & I was very grateful to just roll into the little cafe for lunch, get myself home & make a couple business calls with part of the afternoon, then into my jammies & early to bed.
* Having one of the families on the block invite me to the birthday party Saturday for one of the kids. I won't be going due to another commitment, but that was a new one... and I think it may be coming from one of my Big Gives in a past round this spring when I gave all the neighbor kids flowerpots to make friends with the neighbors (remember that one?). Smile.
Day Four (Thurs 8/24/12):
* Keeping up the Freekibble.com commitment so the shelter dogs got some kibble today. I said up front for the month that could be enough some days & I know I did other things today (making the effort to be friendly & happy etc instead of just anonymous or hiding out around work or out in the world) but just the Freekibble.com was enough to fulfill the commitment per my Intentions this month & I will let that be that for today.
3 things I am grateful for today:
* My dental insurance actually sent me a preauthorization & estimate of benefits on my dental work tomorrow. I have had nothing go smoothly with them since my company changed insurance arriers last year & to have a simple statement with clear facts and figures a day ahead of the appointment so there's no wondering... boy, I was surprised how happy that made me for the whole day.
* A wonderful coffee-&-breakfast-burrito breakfast after physical therapy that kept me going the whole day
* A wonderful play time with my dog after work today & I am grateful for letting our relationship build & letting myself love him as I see different parts of his personality and even just facial expressions emerge as we do new things together.
Day Three (Wed 8/23/12):
* Dropped off 1 sweater at the Goodwill as a donation. It's beautiful, that's why I bought it (at a Goodwill I think to start with) but it's not beautiful on me... design, shape, or color... and I've never even worn it. I think that still I bought it & held on to it because it was colorful and sparkly and artistic and happy--and I am now willing to let the right beautiful new sweater *for my body* come along now that I have let go of something close but not quite right.
* Sent a "best wishes to you" email to a coworker in another area whose last day with our company was today, when I didn't realize she'd even given notice, a very short notice at best, I guess. She is very talented & ambitious & has contributed a lot to our company; at the same time, while we never worked closely together, I did get the feeling that no, she never really had much use for me, she's close friends with a person who did find a way recently to make it very clear how much she herself does very much dislike me, and the departing coworker may or may not care whether I said goodbye or not. But I found to my surprise that it was the choice of my best self to rise to the occasion & do it for the sake of being the person *I* want to be, not for the person that I may imagine *her* (correctly or incorrectly) to be.
3 things I am grateful for this day:
* Being free to leave my dog at a doggie day care so that I could work later than usual to make up some time...
* ... and still have time to stop off at the rec center & stretch in the pool 30 minutes before it closed.
* Liking one of my coworkers enough that I missed her when she took the day off
Day Two (Tues 8/22/12)
* Helped out one of the tellers at the bank by being cheerful & outgoing & that ended up getting her some help she needed. She was excited to have a customer because otherwise she was stuck reading a safety manual that wasn't the most exciting thing in the world, so we were laughing about all that. But then it turned out she didn't quite understand all about the fire extinguisher anyway (what is this pin you are supposed to pull out!!! But who you gonna ask???). Then her computer system shut down & she couldn't print out my receipt, so she had to call a coworker & her manager for help & we were joking about how it wasn't going to let her move forward until she had finished reading her safety manual HaHaHa. But as we were finishing up, I did tell her manager, "Hey, now what she does need some help with is figuring out where the pin is on the fire extinguisher so she can use it if she needs to" and we were all still laughing, so he says to her right there, "Sure, come here, I'll show you right now" and off they went & I told her, "Hey, the life we save may be your own."
3 things I am grateful for:
* Had a great team-building art exercise outside the office that our manager took us to
* Did the exercise routine that was best for me yesterday...
* Got my hair colored & cut by a new stylist at a price that's better than my previous salon
Day One--or so it seems (Mon 8/21/12):
I think I may have started again today, as often happens, when my body knows it's ready to go again before my conscious mind does. I don't "feel" quite ready, but I have found between Rounds that often if I go too long, it starts getting all about MeMeMe again & I lose the momentum on being on the lookout to giving.
Selfish Part: I gave a nice gift today & I want it to "count"... a coworker who is leaving today to move out of state for a new job also had her dog die recently & I made a donation to the animal shelter where she volunteers in memory of her dog and found a small token of remembrance for her dog that would not be a large item to move as part of her "Good Luck to You" going-away card and package. I am really satisfied that I found the right thing for the circumstance (for me, at least; I hope for her too).
And I guess it's still part of the "to do" list I mentioned from last round: so many people recently with losses that I'd like to give attention to... just to be caring... and yet the 'planned' Gives didn't get done, and didn't necessarily feel too great.
However (light bulb dawning): This is also a tough time for me every year... 3 weeks in between the anniversaries of the 2 toughest deaths in my life. So I'd probably be better off just getting attention off myself for that reason too.
Unless I just would prefer to roll around in self-pity and sadness a few more days.
Actually: I think I started yesterday w/ the giving to Prevent the Self-Pity & Sadness... I kept back some flowers from a bunch I bought to leave at a grave, but I found over the weekend that having them in the house was pushing me into Self-Pity and Sadness rather than bridging the gap of sadness... so I gave them away to someone else who could enjoy them as just flowers.
And so I guess Life seems to have already led me by the hand off into another Round.
* Keep the focus off self when Self-Pity & Sadness tend to raise their ugly heads this time of year
* Give attention as I'm able to those facing their own losses recently
* At a minimum, keep up the freekibble.com online if I can't handle anything else
* Or on another front, find 1 thing from around the house I can donate to a charity if I can't handle anything else... I have way too much Stuff & it must be sent out into the world to help others instead of cluttering me up here