It's a Process…

I would ask how you’re doing…you know…living through this unprecedented pandemic an’all. It continues to reveal itself, doesn’t it? The ripples extending softer and wider each day passing…but I think the better question is…how are you processing?

How are you processing, Chickens?

Let’s do be sure we all have the same eggs in our baskets:

As a verb, let’s consider how “processing” can be defined:

  • the act of performing a particular series of operations on information
  • actions that are taken to change raw materials during the production of goods
  • the use of a computer to collect, store, organize, and use information

And when we use our glorious gray matter to collect, organize, and apply all the “stuff” coming in…all the ‘sees,’ ‘smells,’ ‘feels,’ and ‘thinks’…we make this “raw material” into “goods” or something good…in the form of learning, awareness, experience…

And so when we ask “How are you processing?” we’re asking the most essential human question:

How are you making meaning of your life?

Dive with me, Chickens…this is an unusual time for us as individuals and communities…our lives have been interrupted in the smallest ways (have you tried buying toilet paper recently or avoiding memes and GIFs about buying toilet paper?) right on up through the biggest…the global economy, our health care systems, international relations, life and death, if we get right to it…

Many of us are experiencing our work, our families, our communities in entirely new ways, feeling the whole while like our heads have been separated from our bodies…so who has time to ‘process,’ you Crazy Chicken Wing-o, you may be asking.

But I think that ‘processing’ time has to be included on our ‘To-Dos’…it’s what has allowed homo sapiens to reach the top rung of the evolutionary ladder, after all. It is our ‘job‘ to learn and grow…to develop our self-awareness and our connection to the world. So what is a crisis, but the universe reminding us to do our jobs.

I know we are all just survivin’…but I also know we will. So let’s agree to step back and make time to ‘process’…we live our lives on continuums and ‘processing’ is no different…some of us can’t stop (to the detriment of everyday activities like recognizing we’re almost out of toilet paper) and some of us would rather extract our own teeth with a rusty monkey wrench…wherever you fall, there are ways to make time for ‘processing’…the following are some ‘breeding ground’ activities…

  • Go for a walk/jog, any kind of individual exercise
  • Sit for 15 or 20 minutes by yourself, if it feels weird…make a cup of coffee or tea
  • Find a ‘processing buddy’ – someone who likes to think deeply about life (you don’t at all need a Ph.D for this…my dad has only a high school education and worked in a steel mill his whole life…he was my first ‘processing buddy,’ an armchair philosopher…he has an endless curiosity for psychology, sociology, biology, astronomy, music…he is still, after almost 8 decades, fervidly passionate about living in the world and loves to spend time thinking and talking about “being human,”…he was and still is, for me, a most valued ‘processing buddy’)
  • Go for a drive to nowhere (stay in the car, social distancing an’all, and find some ‘country roads’) wonder and wander
  • Listen to music…it ‘frees the mind and the rest will follow’…music is always ‘en vogue’ (yikes! that’s a “dater”)
  • Do 10-15 minutes of “stream-of-consciousness” writing…write anything and everything that pops into your head…DO NOT CENSOR yourself, that’s super important…and surprisingly hard to do…to kick start your ‘processing brain’ write on napkins
  • Take a nap

These activities give your brain time and space…when your brain has time and space it defaults to ‘processing’…yep, we are literally built for it! Even when we’re sleeping, maybe especially because we’re sleeping, our brains are ‘processing’…

Usually, we’re so busy…often creating ‘business’ (e.g. distractions) for ourselves…socializing (virtually & F2F), shopping, eating, running errands, helicoptering and bulldozing for our children…and on and on…we work really hard to oppose ‘processing’ in the course of our ‘normal’ lives.

So Chickens, I hope to keep connected with you (I know I’ve failed fatly and epicly for at least a year now…) to keep ‘processing’ with you…

It is, after all, a ‘job‘ we share.

And the ‘Jury-Rigging’ Gold Goes to…

I know, I know…I’ve been a real slack*#~ blogger this summer…no fear…pre-season football, daylight dwindling, the somber stares of children everywhere…all telling me it’s time to get back in the saddle…the season is here…

I come from a long line of proud jury-riggers…

SIDE NOTE: This phrase has an interesting etymology…originating…as many of our idioms do…from nautical terminology…hmpf…I always thought it probably started with some madcap genius named Jerry…

Anyway…our kitchen faucet’s leaky. My father, while house-sitting recently, reminded me of my proud heritage by jury-rigging the handle with some rubber bands he’d taken off the newspapers he was bringing in…

I only hope my son has inherited ‘my side’s’ knack for the make-shift, make-do, work with what ‘ya got, work around, ingenuity inherent in being a first-class jury/Jerry-rigger.

Necessity breeds invention, right? When I was a kid, we didn’t always have the means to buy a new table, toaster or dryer when they went on the fritz…what we lacked in resources, we made up for in resourceFULNESS.

And, I mean, talk about life-skill! When was the last time you had all the resources you “needed” for…well…anything?

Let me be clear: my faucet still leaks.

But chickens, this is the icing on the cake…(mmmm, cake)…this is the reason why  I’m throwing out right here…right now…BAM!…a fall semester challenge to practice, practice, practice and perfect your jury/Jerry-rigging abilities. Not only will your brain bloom, like some kind of steroidal lotus at dawn,with creativity, inspiration and good ole’ fashioned gumption…but you will grow, inch-by-inch, more comfortable with human fallibility.

There are some things we cannot fix, make right, or get rid of and replace.

But you cannot…must not, chickens…allow this chapping fact to deter your jury/Jerry-rigging efforts! (⇐This is the challenge part…) Because if you do your brain’ll start dropping off, petal-like, into a dark pond of abyss.

So this semester, when you find yourself faced with a problem…before you quit,max out your credit cards or compromise your sanity…tap our collective, American heritage…put your jury/Jerry-rigging skills to good use…slapdash, ad-lib, improvise and invent…because this is what really makes us human.

Stay-tuned for my upcoming post on octopuses…yes, it is octopuses, not octopi…but right now…I’m off to Lowe’s to faucet shop.

OMG! I’m a CAVE Woman?!?!

Yep…this week…I was forced to look in the mirror after being introduced to yet another droll acronym:

bird in mouth.bmpCAVE = Citizens Against Virtually Everything

Caught bird-in-mouth…I’m a cynic.

I admire positive people…genuinely positive people. I do. I mean, it’s the hardest work to cultivate and maintain a sunny disposition. Even Pollyanna had a temporary lapse.

Cynicism is, by definition, being distrustful of human nature and motives…it implies doubt, caution, a desire to protect oneself. All of this, I suppose, does ring of “Debbie-Downer-ness.”

But…just hear me out…but…I’d like to suggest that Pollyanna and Debbie need each other…BFF-like. And…and…I’d like to plead with Pollyannas everywhere to offer patience and prayer for all of us Debbies.

Remember, it is as George Carlin said, “Inside every cynical person, is a disappointed idealist.”  We’re just not as strong as you Pollyanna! We are, I suggest, a sensitive lot…

And cynicism, after all, is pragmatic, is it not? I mean just turn on the television, walk down the street…consider Donald Trump is the leading GOP Presidential Candidate (generally, I steer clear of politics…but, c’mon…)

Where would we be without a healthy dose of Debbie, chickens? Feet firmly on the ground…head in the clouds…Pollyanna and Debbie balance the scales.

Did you know teeter-totters have been banned as “unsafe”??? I mean…really??? Geesh, kids, you have to be smarter than the equipment…oops…there I go again!!!

So…this is my cry for help Pollyanna…I need your wisdom…I need you to spill the jellybeans. How do you do it? Huh, how?

I’ll be searching the comments, Pollyannas. Please…don’t disappoint me?!?

I’ll Never Need to Know (fill-in-the-blank)…

You’ve said it…I know you have. Everyone has. It’s a rite of passage.

As is the response you got from a parent or teacher…

Never say never.

I was reminded of how learning and knowledge, of all kinds, are always useful…(why does no one ever say always say always...or never say always??)

Just because it isn’t learning or knowledge that seems useful at that particular moment…I mean…it would be great if we were able to learn everything at exactly the right moment…but there’s too much to learn, too many people…all having too many moments…you get it…(ZPD is a narrow zone)

And the thing about life is…there is no such thing as a crystal ball.

In school, I let go of so many opportunities because my world was limited by the four walls of my home (and cray-cray parents, but that’s another post)…I guess I felt stuck…I guess “Oh, the Places You’ll Go…” wasn’t on the graduation gift circut yet.

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

So…I was sure I’d never need to know Spanish. While traveling in Mexico last week, I lamented again allowing myself to be so limited and short-sighted. All I could say when asked, “Habla espanol¿” was “muy mal estudiante.”

And I felt sad. Sad that I doubted the…brains in my head…feet in my shoes…the ability to steer myself any direction I choose. I’m on my own…And I’LL be the one who’ll decide where to go…

 You and I, Chickens…we can never, never, know what we may need to know!