A little experiment to hack out a post. NO editing except for spelling errors (if I can find them).
So I've been practicing practicing. Quite interesting.
Some of the things I've been practicing were not on my original list. That's okay. The important thing is that I am persevering at things I am not so great at.
Among other things, I've been practicing being more generous, getting back into my paper decluttering and learning to play a new instrument. A little bit of everything: psychological, physical/environmental and tautological. (Is that what i mean? Probably not! There's another word more accurate... pedagogical? Yes.)
Okay, so being "naturally" generous is hard for me. My cousin might call that a "scarcity" mentality. I am nervous about having enough for myself. Some of that is habit, part of that is not *taking care of* myself. Part of that is worrying that I will have enough money/energy/mental head space to feel good. So it's a defensive maneuver with some just cause. However, I am experimenting with doing things differently. I admire generous people. My husband, for instance, is a naturally generous person. He'll give time, money, attention to lots of people who need it and to some who don't. He's just wired to want to pitch in and contribute. So cool, eh? So myself is wanting to be more active in my own social relationships... and part of that, I feel, is giving of myself. Not so much as to give myself away but certainly MORE than I do now.
(pause to think of some examples)
Here's a list of things that might qualify:
I showed up at an art opening of a friend and former co-worker. I made that effort to show up despite other things on the schedule. Sometimes I just can't make the openings, but this time I could and I did. I can be supportive and appreciative and enthusiastic. And I enjoyed myself too!
I went to a memorial service. Okay, this was more for me, but I really wanted to be there and bear witness to the stories and the memory of this friend, even though I didn't know him well nor had reached a deeper friendship phase.
(I am having to brainstorm this list, so it's not perfect, okay?)
Ah yes. I bought some lovely earrings for my mother's birthday and contributed a huge platter of veggies and hummus. So often I cannot decide on the best gift for a person or event and I find myself paralyzed. This time I just went out and made it happen. The food was to help out my youngest sister who was coordinating. I already had this especially delicious hummus in mind, so when she responded enthusiastically to my idea, I went out and found an especially delectable selection of raw veggies.... sugar snap peas, for instance. It was goood!
I helped care stuff down stairs. And afterwards, while various clumps of people scattered to talk or play games or had to leave, I made trip after trip between the downstairs room and the kitchen to help clean up; I did not want my sister OR certainly not my mother! to have to do the larger share of the clean up.
(Okay, so this might sound trivial; I am celebrating what I CAN do.)
I've been trying to contact my friends more frequently for getting together for lunch. Rather than wait for them to call me, I'm trying ot be more proactive. It's been really nice in the last several months.
I took care of my friend's cats while she was on a 10-day trip to Europe. We do this regularly, trading cat care, etc, but here I practiced giving a generous amount of time and then MENTALLY not grousing about any of it. Not that I usually complain about helping out my friend at all! I am practicing not complaining.
Oh wait.... did you notice that? I AM PRACTICING NOT COMPLAINING! This is huge, ya'll. Not that I am good at abstaining, no. I am an accomplished complainer. But to give my attitude and karma a boost, I am *consciously* working on not grumbling so much in my everyday life. My reasoning is that I can do something happily or I can do something grudgingly, and it's usually more pleasant for EVERYONE if I don't verbally blow off steam about whatever trivial inconvenience I must endure. I tell you, I am mostly quite proud of myself and the progress I am making. I'll say that the people most positively affected by this change is my husband and myself. ATTITUDINAL ADJUSTMENT - woot!
Back to my list...
Okay, so I am working o the huge amount of paper clutter in the office. I am "sorting with extreme prejudice*. I am taking out all sorts of gar-bage. I am getting back on the FlyLady bandwagon. SO nice.
Aaaaand, yes! I am learning to play a new instrument! I had another instrument in mind as well, but my local string shop did not have one free to rent while I determine whether I am into it enough to buy one. But they did have lots of great ukuleles! And they are a modest investment, so I bought one. Not the most cheap model, but a step up, a nice little instrument. And I have myself a book, and I found a uke tuner online, so I am set.
I've had this a few weeks now, and I am really liking it. I've learned a basic set of C chords and nearly every day, I get it out and play a little. Play and sing, rather, since I am singing to the baby a lot. Being about to play chords to my singing is a lot of fun.
Once I even figured out how to apply a chord to a singing note that was not the note but a complimentary one. I was tickled with my discovery.
My strategy here is slow but steady. I am finding all kinds of songs in this self-instructional book to practice different strumming rhythms and chords. I am practicing holding my fingers and thumbs correctly. I'm not convinced I have the strum position down well (correctly), but I'm experimenting.
Today I started learning a couple of new chords. Oy. My brain is slightly confused. But I have confidence that my brain and my fingers will figure it out with enough exposure and practice.
And now I must close down for the night and see if everyone else in the house is actually going to bed for the night or are going to get up for one last round.
Thanks for listening. I'm hopeful that my practicing practicing will improve. Go me. :)