Jul 26, 2014

Building a flying machine

Over the last few months, since March, I've been hard at work re-inventing my life.  I'm sorry that I haven't been sharing all the ups and downs here, the journey as it unfolded, but I think I have the time now to tell my story.
  So let's start at the beginning, rewind to March:

Have you ever been going along in your life, ho-hum, knowing things could be better but content to just carry on, status quo?  All wrapped up in the little dramas of your day-to-day?  And then all of a sudden your status quo gets turned on end and you find yourself at the cliff's edge?  That's where I was, at the cliff's edge wondering what my next move should be as a result of my job going from dull to stripped of anything worthwhile, boring as Hell and physically damaging. 
  I am not a zombie, and have always disdained those who live like zombies, mindlessly carrying on, indifferent.  So I was a bit surprised by life's little slap in the face telling me to wake up, this is not all you are, be what you want to be.

So of course I looked for a bit of help in books and into my hands fell "The Passion Test" by Janet and Chris Attwood.  At first the many inclusions of "God" threw me off (no need to complicate matters with imaginary friends) but as I went deeper there's good sense in what they've written.  Here are the best 3 exercises and how they helped:

Good exercise #1:  Creating a list of what's important to me, my passions, and then prioritizing the list.  This was very helpful, making it clear I need to make something and I like tasks with a clear start, finish and directions.  How do you prioritize?  Write down 10-15 passions and then pretend if you could only have Passion #1 OR #2, which would you pick?  Take the winner and ask the same question with Passion #3 and keep going down the list.  Then, with your most important passion removed from the list, do the same with the next, and so on... In the end, you have your passions in order of importance.
Good exercise #2:  Writing the speech that my best friend would read at my 80th birthday party (or funeral, but the book avoids that morbidity).  This was eye-opening, making me realize I would be terribly regretful if at the end of my years I did nothing but remain in my current career.
Good exercise #3:  Creating a list of my assets.  This was very calming, putting on paper a list of all the qualities I have right now that would make it likely for me to succeed... when I finally decide what I want to do.  (No, you do NOT write a list of all the things that would make it LESS likely for you to succeed, this exercise is meant to be empowering.) 

After the initial excitement, I found myself walking in a wasteland of thought, overwhelmed by the need for change and uncertain which direction I should go.  Everything was foggy, my greatest possible "job" passion (creating critters) isn't feasible as an income-maker and my other options weren't clear.  I kept rubbing that crystal ball but it stayed murky...  The help I teased out of "The Passion Test" was certainly great, but no road map came out of it.  I was still waiting for my "Aha!" moment.
  So, I knew I needed a change, a big career change.  I knew I needed to make physical things in order to feel happy.  And I knew I had many personal qualities that would make it highly likely for me to succeed in my chosen new life...  but what WAS that life?  I didn't know... yet.

~~to be continued~~

Jul 17, 2014

Butterfly outlaws

Law-breakers that we are, we grow “noxious weeds” along the back of the house (milkweed has been classified as a noxious weed where we live and "must be destroyed").  Our reward:  we are blessed with Monarchs!!! 

Since our kitchen window is right over the plants, we can see when the Monarchs come flitting about and so yesterday I went out with my camera... Trying to photograph a butterfly on a windy day as it dances about the garden is quite a challenge, but the butterfly always came back to the milkweed and I believe laid eggs on the underside of leaves!  Eventually (what did we do before digital cameras?!) I actually managed to capture a few good pictures!

Since records have been kept (going back about 20 years), last year the number of Monarchs making it to their winter destination in Mexico fell 59%, the lowest on record.  So help them out!