Moss

Bryology-The study of moss

Simple and Elegant

I started gathering ideas, muses and relevant tidbits that could add to the content of this blog and then finally

One thing I can say with certainty is that I tend to overcomplicate things. No matter what it is, if there is a way to make it more elaborate, detailed, on the edge of gaudy I have mastered that approach. As I move away from my 50s and closer to my 60s I am becoming aware that having this personality trait isn’t helping me get closer to fulfilling my desire to know the meaning of…

I Am That, That I Am

Acrocarps-upright, tufted moss

I went for a walk with a friend I made at the ashram. We were in the forest soaking up as much early spring life energy as we could stuff into our spirits. I mentioned my long time love affair with moss. I am obsessed with it. Every chance I get, I touch it, photograph it, smell it, see if I can differentiate between the types. I am not surprised that she agrees with my assessment on the virtues of the green substance.

Easter Rock

We meander up the trail until we come to a place called Easter Rock. There we stop, sit and go in and out of some meditations. The big slab is covered in varieties of vegetation including rich displays of mosses. She has mentioned a book before called “Gathering Moss” by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I am excited to read it. It’s about the natural and cultural history of mosses.

What is it about this species that has me so curious?

The colors are vibrant and magical. They seem to illuminate light from within. The more I discover about moss the more I am marveled. It lacks roots, seeds and has no flowers. It has no way of retaining water internally and yet somehow there are thousands of types all over the world.

Leafy green shoots of Gametophytes

What lessons can I take from this plant?

You can still thrive without roots. Chances of success become improved when you don’t over complicate the process of survival. Since there isn’t a need for seeds, flowers or even fruit, moss doesn’t require much to continue to grow. Making associations with the moss I encounter helps me to see its potential beauty to photograph. The angel hair fingerlings that cling to the pine branches, the beard-like bristles that cling to rocks or any numerous variations I stumble across on my trails. All give me a sense of gratitude that I can gaze at the natural living mural before me. It has endless life, grace and beauty.

I look forward to spring and summer to witness the forest floor coming alive with vibrancy and vigor. Feeling pretty lucky to plan some hikes to document and, with any luck, capture some mystical energy digitally and mentally.

Mystical energy of a forest floor

I have tried to grow moss…

I have tried to migrate moss to my yard from various sources. I thought I had all the similar elements recreated only to be disappointed that the moss didn’t take or dried out. Moss isn’t meant to be contained or long term. I could use that information in my own life. 

Let go, stop hanging onto things, keep it simple,  cover more ground with less t0 unpack.

Namaste

Perception Vs Perspective

black and silver dslr lens
Photo by Cody King on Pexels.com

What’s the difference?

I was curious just how different perception and perspective are so I went to trusty Google to take a look. 

Perception– The ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.

Perspective– One’s point of view or particular attitude towards something.

I found these definitions interesting. Can you use one without the other?

I would struggle to separate the two and yet, I know it can be done.

When I was young, a friend of mine tried to get me to like avocados. She raved that they were delicious if I would just give them a chance. I tasted a piece and found it a bit slimy. It reminded me of white glue. Before you go there, yes, I have tasted white glue as a curious kid. It was understood by me, from that day on I didn’t like avocados. I assumed all avocados tasted the same.

Fast forward a few years to a different scenario on vacation where guacamole was made right at the table. I watched as they added the green fruit and thought “ I am not going to like this”. To my surprise I did like the taste and began to perceive them in a new light. My perspective towards avocados was changed forever!

I have been working through the chakras of the Kundalini system within a course sponsored by the Yasodhara Ashram called Liberation. It’s based on a book called “Kundalini-Yoga For The West” written by Swami Sivananda Radha.

The senses have an important role in each chakra. The course challenges you to unpacked and put them through rigorous tests. To use perception to reach new awareness. Change perspective.

Which am I more likely to believe? The insight I am gaining based on my connection to senses or an attitude (perspective) entrench deeply in my past belief system?

Where am I going with this?

My perception is hinting that there is something wrong. The world doesn’t quite look right for some reason I can’t quite put my finger on it. Call it the sixth sense-intuition.

I find myself less distracted these days with the luxury of not working. That can be a good thing or a bad thing based on your perception and my perspective. 

How can I change my world if I can’t see it clearly? I know I always have choices. Can I trust perceptions to guide me?

There is a quote that goes something like this…

Either you are the master of your life and decide where you are going or you are controlled by your emotions and life masters you. 

You are what you think. You think then become what you are.

A simple exercise to change your perspective is to lay on your back with your feet placed up a wall. How do you see the world now? Do you perceive a difference? If you are able, do a handstand. When your world is upside down does your perspective alter?

Stay in this position and ask yourself “Do I want to build something different?” If the answer is “Yes” then use perception and perspective to build awareness and discernment.

Orbiting Retirement

Change of Mind-graphic(created by vknecht)

I am a little bit older than Sharon. She just turned 55 and I will be turning 58 this year. One of the reasons our partnership works well, in my humble opinion, is that our lives are similar and yet very different. You get two perspectives for the price of one.

I was surprised to see though that our younger selves had very close dreams of how we would retire. A hut on the beach was ideal in my naive teenage brain. Doing something creative and being able to supplement retirement income would be a bonus. 

I always thought I would do something with art or music. I never considered banking or corporate life as a permanent thing. It lasted almost 40 years and became my priority. It also funded my ability to explore spirituality, art and music at leisure which kept my soul fed. 

Now, I find myself having a desire to explore the potential and benefit of reconfiguring retirement. A liberation to shed a traditional path most of us feel compelled to follow.

What if there was another path to a sense of freedom you never knew existed?

Simplifying life, opens your mind to new possibilities. I ask myself what parts of my life hold me prisoner? Can I let them go in order to find a new orbit?

Fear is an interesting four letter word. It can seem to have a bigger hold when looking at the unknown future. Knowledge of gained experiences helps me to dispel fear. The more things I try the less control fear keeps me chained down. 

Can you create a new world within your mind of what retirement should look like for you?

I have been working through the Kundalini system. The 7 Cakra’s to liberation. In the space of the 6th Cakra there is a new definition of mind that functions within two realities. The manifested and the unmanifested. 

As I get older I have the gift of experiences to help guide my decisions. The knowledge of how actions I make impact my intuition to alter my choices and the truth that remains once the journey is completed. The more aware I become of my ability to control my intended orbit, the easier it gets to become insightful and intentional with my directions. To plot a path and trajectory that will land me in the spot I desire is first imagined in my mind. 

What if I was able to maintain a “skylike mind”? A mind that welcomed new experiences that bubbled up from unmanifested parts of me. Those parts had been stored for later and are now showing themselves to be key tools for my current journey.

I am building a new world in which to accommodate a new version of me. The material is drawn from a well of known experiences instead of a well of intellectual conditioning. There is power and energy I can intuitively draw on that knows how to balance the flow. 

If all of my experiences are a creation of my mind then what do I have to fear?

My desire to be liberated puts me on a path towards a freedom I never knew existed.

Feedback Is A Gift

Feedback is a gift. Use it to improve your life and perspective.

letters carved using wood
Photo by Ann H on Pexels.com

Rejection is a hard thing to accept. Rejection without knowing what the cause was leaves you never to not understand what you could have done differently. If you are lucky enough to receive feedback at the same time as the answer is “no” to hiring you then take what is being said and examine it for growth opportunities.

It takes courage to share your rejection with others. It takes time and effort to give someone feedback when they don’t fit your company. Some might even say that you are brave enough to write a blog post about it. Well, Sharon and I have been pretty open on this platform with our lives. We include our wins and our losses. Our relationships both professionally and personally.

So it seems pretty natural that I would share my insights with you about rejection and feedback.

I was given feedback on my interview journey with a company on a job I didn’t get. How can I use this information to improve my professional skills and get better at communication and listening?

I am going to share the details with you, in hopes that you may find some commonality in your own struggles and benefit from using it as a gift.

Here is what I was told about myself or the perception of me as I went through the interview process.

  1. After a presentation to a team that would have been my fellow peers, the feedback was that I was passionate but I didn’t share anything that they could use about the topic.
  2. The hiring person thought I would be bored after 6 months if I was the successful candidate.

Ok, there we have it. Two gifts, now what to do with the information given?

Let’s break down the first comment:

One of the number one foundations of instructional design is to know your audience.

That can be a bit trickier if you have no way of asking ahead of time the knowledge level or the background of the participants. It can be overcome though. You have to ensure that the content covers the lowest denominator and then stays about in the middle of the skill set. I missed the mark here and assumed too much about my audience.

There are further challenges when you have to decide what to present in a 15 minute window.

Which is better though? I think taking the time to add details and assuming your participants know nothing about what you are presenting is a safe bet. If you lose your audience quickly by talking in a different language than they are, you fail to make your points understood. So using KISS- Keep IT Simple Stupid is better than the alternative.

Less passion? Is that what is meant by saying I am very passionate? Do I come across more animated than I should? Talk too fast, too much?  Maybe, or it could be I missed the mark in using WAIT-Why Am I Talking? I missed some opportunities as I reflect on the group interview now. If I had it to do over again I would have simplified the key points to maybe one or two. Then asked more questions about what  the group would have done. Hindsight right? If statistics are right I could get a lot of practice at this by applying for 15 jobs a week. At this stage of my life I am not sure I am THAT Passionate….lol.

I would get bored within 6 months

This comment is harder to decipher. What do you do with that? 

I can take it many ways…

  • Polite way of saying over qualified or too expensive 
  • I come across as arrogant in my skills and knowledge without meaning too
  • This company undervalues change or growth opportunities
  • Being with another company for over 30 years doesn’t show patience or loyalty

As you can tell I am still contemplating this feedback and what I am to learn from it.

So now that I have this gift of feedback, what are my next steps?

The first step was to write about it here to help me see it, read it and unpack it. The next step is to remember it. Watch and listen for cues that it is happening with other interviews I am lucky enough to encounter.

The key is that feedback is truly a gift. An opportunity to reflect on your behavior through someone else’s eyes. If you receive it, thank the person or company. Have others given you this feedback before? If yes, are you getting better or worse as you try to change your muscle memory? Take the opportunity to break it down into segments you can review then come up with a strategy. Record your progress so you can look back and hopefully see a positive change.

My job search continues with a new set of tools to practice with based on the feedback.

Wish me luck and if you can, please share your feedback with me.

We both learn and thrive this way and will use your feedback to help myself and anyone else interested in learning from it.

The Waiting Game

brown wooden framed hour glass
Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

I have applied for a few jobs and even had the luck to get interviews. I was trying to figure out the other day a ratio between how many jobs you should apply for before you should wait for responses? Well being curious I “Googled it”. According to experts you should apply for 2-3 jobs per day up to 15 a week. Holy that’s a lot I am thinking. If you apply for too many it goes on to say that you might not look credible. You may even be overlooked in the future for a job with a company that is a perfect fit. 

I am now down the rabbit hole exploring how many jobs to put on a resume, how many skills to list and what education to include. Cover letter or not to cover letter, what determines this?

On the number of jobs to list on the resume, the consensus is to go back 10-15 years if you can. This will help you decide the jobs to include. Highlight ones that relate to the position you are applying for. That makes sense to me. I would caution against applying for too many jobs as quite a few ask you what you know about their company. If you can’t articulate anything you may be passed on. How many mission statements, business goals or strategies can you remember?

The same logic goes for skills to list. Make sure they are relevant to the posting. I want to share my love of bonsai tools but if I am applying for an instructional designer, potential employers might not care about that. If I want to show diversity in interests I might include it in my hobbies. Does anyone put hobbies on their resume (CV) anymore? Does anyone call it a resume anymore?

How long should you wait for a response to your application? I turn to Google once more for advice. Statistics say wait 10 to 14 business days. That makes sense and seems like good advice. Let’s play a game of counting, if you applied for 3 jobs a day and up to 15 a week. Keep that up for 4 weeks. How long could you potentially be waiting for a job offer???

Short answer is a long time. I am in a position to wait I suppose as I have other sources of income I can draw on. I think of it as a bit of an adventure in which I am curiously exploring and then recording what happens along the way. The great thing about advice you find on the internet is you can take it or leave it.

There are parts of the process not mentioned in the applying and connecting ratio that I think are critical to my search. Call it maturity or call it having the means to be selective, either way I have time and patience to explore “best fit scenario”. I am trying to apply to companies that I believe can offer something that enhances what they are looking for or doing in the near future. It has to be worth the wait for both parties and it will enhance the experience in the long term. It’s very tempting to start your own company. I struggle with narrowing down my interests enough to find something viable and profitable.

In the meantime, I am learning new skills, polishing old ones, doing a bit of exploration as to what’s trending. My bonsai tools are being sharpened just in case they are needed. I bought a Cricut so I can make t-shirts that can capture my mood while I wait. You have to maintain a sense of humor and have a jar of patience kept warm. I am nowhere near the 15 job applications this week or this month so I better get busy.

Wish me luck!

Ready To Know More

2021 in rear view mirror

I do love a good reflection. It’s even better if I can look back on a year with a sense of satisfaction and contentment. I feel like I am finally becoming me. More than I have ever settled into my core system in my entire adult life.

How did the year start? I was struggling with what to do with myself. I had been given a year’s grace and needed to decide whether I would take and explore “me” or go back into a world of distractions. I chose to take a deep dive into my psyche. I felt the best way to do that was to “get myself to a nunnery”…lol…no but almost. I chose to travel to an ashram on the banks of Kootenay lake in BC Canada. I really had no clue what that might entail. I didn’t know what I would be doing, where I would be staying or what kind of COVID protocols they had embraced. It really didn’t matter to me anymore. I needed change. I needed time and space to sort out what was going on inside my mental state of being.

I had my niece’s son drive me so I had no way of leaving if I found myself not liking the place. I am pretty good at “toughing it out” and completing what I start no matter how uncomfortable it becomes. Somehow, I knew this was going to be the best experience of my life so far and the worst experience of my life so far.  The first two weeks, I was in quarantine in a cabin by the lake. I hadn’t stayed alone for that long ever in my life. I do like my own company so that wasn’t a challenge. I have many hobbies that I had brought with me so settled into a routine of painting, writing music, capturing video footage and editing videos. As the time rolled on, the group I was with were slowly introduced to the community. We were able to work outside with masks on and get to know the daily routine of those that lived there.

Most people that go to the ashram are there to examine their behaviors, thoughts, emotions and core beliefs. It’s a heightened focus on how you integrate yourself into a new village. One where traditions and protocols have been in place for many years. I struggled, at first, with someone telling me when and what to eat, when to sleep, how I needed to contribute to the greater good. I was curious as to what was being triggered for me to feel that way. It was a struggle if I am being honest. I learned that I can be pretty uptight and aggressive. Meditating and doing Hawtha yoga really helped me to “chill out”. The longer I stayed the more free I felt. Which seems so bizarre when you consider most of your days is made up of doing routine and mundane tasks. There is something to knowing that your actions have a direct impact on the sustainment of a community. The food is grown on site, it’s prepared and cooked as needed. If you don’t help clean the plates no one eats. If you don’t help shovel the walks or clean the rooms everyone suffers. The direct link between cause and effect is very apparent in such a place.

I left the ashram with a full heart and a new awareness that has only strengthened as the year progressed. I began to understand relationships I had with my husband, kids and siblings through a new lens. The discernment between selfless service and self gratifying service. My ego was exposed in many ways.

I decided to buy a van after many years of following vanlifers and dreaming about the adventures I could take with it. I love it! I have enjoyed learning new skills. I took a sledgehammer to the inside of it. Replacing everything while trying to keep the old seventies vibe still at its heart. It’s a labor of love and seems to be an ongoing project which I am having fun doing. 

A year later where am I now? I find myself once again at a crossroad. Should I go back to work full time or on contract? Should I pursue more writing opportunities and find ways to make a passive income that helps me to keep my options of traveling open and spontaneous? I have decided to let the universe guide me here as it hasn’t let me down yet. Some offers are percolating so time will tell which direction I go. I am grateful to be in a position where I can choose my adventure. I have discovered that I really liked what I did for a living and hope to continue to find projects that have meaning and connect with many diverse perspectives along the way. I am passionate and curious about the world and how we learn to navigate it. I am grateful for all of you who continue to support us at Midlifearises. 

Namaste

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