2 Comments

Calling it Quits

Passion for something is the engine that drives the something.

A few months ago I sat down to blog and felt annoyed. I got up and walked away, telling myself I’d come back to write later. Days went by; the days turned into weeks and I still didn’t come back to write. Finally, after some thought, I crafted a post about ending The Yellow Kite and my need for a hiatus. I wrote nothing for five months! When I did return, I thought I had regained my sass, i.e. passion. Counting today’s post there have only been two written in the past three months…that doesn’t sound like something driven by passion.

What I now realize is my inner voice has been telling me the passion for this has gone. It vanished as quickly as it once appeared. Anyone who has written with passion–otherwise known as being in the zone–knows the words simply flow through the writer. Barely recognizable thoughts and ideas arrange themselves into (hopefully) worthwhile words. I used to sit down and allow that passion to move through me, out my fingertips onto my keyboard, then magically onto your screen. I was the vessel that passion filled until the words spilled forth. I no longer feel that. I’m just a vessel.

Like most people these days, my life is full with many people and activities clamoring for my time and attention. Some of these are fun and optional, some are stressful have-to’s. As my focus deepens in some areas, it is inevitably pulled away from others, like The Yellow Kite. I’m pretty adept at juggling, but I prefer life when I’m not flitting from one thing to another without savoring the time spent in each activity or with each person. At some point there is a decision to be made: either try to cram in everyone and everything, or put an end to something and/or some relationships.

Ending things does not come easy for me and making a conscious decision to put an end to this blog is very hard for me. The words you’ve read here have been from my heart and given to you with the hope of uplifting you, helping you through a tough time, or bringing light into your life. However, with my focus elsewhere, I have only been able to give The Yellow Kite attention when I feel the guilt of neglecting it. It, and you, deserve more than that from me as a blogger.

As I look around, so many opportunities are at hand and I will continue blogging or writing in some form–most immediately in an arena that supports my growing business. However, I am always open to new and varied opportunities, so who knows what the future holds!

It is with deepest gratitude that I thank you for sharing in this venture with me. Without you, my words would have been nothing but vapid thoughts and feelings lost in my heart and head. I have enjoyed our time together.

It’s time to put The Yellow Kite to bed.

One last time,

The Yellow Kite, by Christine Conley

 

 

P.S. The site will stay up until it is next due for renewal.

Advertisements
3 Comments

Disagreeing

Permission slip
This morning I was berating myself for my lack of attention to TheYellowKite. That berating led me down the path of how we discern what gets our attention, which led to examining the difference between important and imperative, which then led to examining input from others about our new home search, which led to how personal judgment causes us to disagree, which led to realizing how much time I spent festering about other people projecting their opinions on my situation… Once my mind clicks into gear, it’s like a runaway train!

Today I initially decided to blog about the terms important and imperative, but kept circling back to how often I find people disagreeing with me lately. When I logged in to write, today’s  writing prompt was disagree. Fitting for where my mind is today, as I believe all three terms go hand-in-hand.

My husband and I want to move to a different home and have been searching for just the right place for over a year now. We don’t need to move–it isn’t imperative–but we want to and it’s something important to us. We would love several acres, a few farm animals (have you seen all the mini animals you can raise?!), a swimming pool, a place for a big vegetable garden, and simply, some breathing room. Also, a fixer-upper doesn’t scare us, but excites us.

As you read the previous paragraph, you probably began placing your own judgment on what we want: it either sounds like a dream or a nightmare to you, right? You’re allowed your judgment, but your judgment is based on what is important, or imperative, to you. Lately we have had several friends and family members tell us all the things we do and don’t want or need in our next home, including: we apparently don’t need so much land, don’t need a big house, don’t want the work of a garden, don’t want the trouble of a swimming pool, don’t need the headaches of renovating, I won’t want to be home alone at night if we live in the country and need close neighbors, and on and on and on. Guess what? We are of another opinion.

If any of these people stepped outside their own judgments, they would understand what is important and imperative to us. We want a home with acreage, because it’s what we grew up with, as did our children for the first part of their lives, and because we want to provide a specific environment for our (future) grand babies, a gathering place for our families, and a place our friends come to escape the daily grind. We want a fresh vegetable garden because we enjoy the feeling of our hands in the dirt, nurturing something to maturity, and sharing the fruits of our labors during a meal with loved ones. We want a swimming pool because we both love water, want a relaxing activity to enjoy together, and there isn’t a better summertime draw for friends and family! We know the work of tending farm animals because we grew up doing so, but we also know the joy derived from sharing wide-open spaces with them, watching them enjoy the simplicity of life and how they inspire us to contentment. We want a home that needs some TLC because we love breathing new life into the old and worn.  These are the things that are important to us, and some are even imperative at some level.

Rather than finding support and encouragement in our quest, we are often met with judgment. My husband went as far as to ask me to stop sharing information about our home search because he’s tired of the criticism. I did stop. For a while. But, I DO have many friends and family who enjoy my sharing, are rooting for us, and sometimes are just curious as to how my mind works and how I can see the proverbial silk purse in the sow’s ear of some of these homes! I thank you, my friends, for realizing this is our quest for what suits us best. You probably have your opinions, but you allow me to share my vision without stepping on it. This is holding another opinion without forcing a disagreement.

Each and every day, all of us move through life giving our attention to what is imperative and important to us. Doing so doesn’t always fit well with what others find imperative and important, therefore we operate from varied opinions. When we use those opinions to push-back against one another, we create disagreements. I see this paradigm in every aspect of life–family, friendships, religion, work, politics, education, race relations, leisure activities and more–and have come to conclude we’d all be happier if we could learn to live and let live! You really don’t need my approval, nor do I yours. Do what you need to do, what you want to do, and I’ll do the same. Unless, of course, it’s imperative for you to stick your nose in my business and voice your opinions as truth, then we may have a problem.

What is so glorious about this life is our uniqueness, don’t lose yours or quell others’ by insisting we all want or need the same things. I could say “let’s all agree to disagree”, but why waste time disagreeing in the first place? Can we simply learn to allow room for other wants, needs, opinions, desires, and beliefs and get on with enjoying the limited number of days we each have?

TheYellowKite

 

 

 

Leave a comment

The Sass is Back!

IMG_7547

As I sat down to write this post, I thought, “It’s been a few weeks since I went on hiatus.” In actuality, it’s been several months. I’m sorry. I’m back and I’m back with a certain sass I thought I had lost!

I took a break because I felt I needed to, but I really didn’t explore why I felt that. It’s only now, after returning from a vacation to The South that I understand my motivation: I have an opinion, a voice–albeit sassy at times–and a right to share my thoughts, but I fell into the trap we know as political correctness. Not wanting to offend anyone by what I thought, not wanting to make friends uncomfortable by expressing my opinions, or to be criticized for what I wrote, I started tempering my words, which in turn, tempered my spirit, which left me uninspired to share. If I can’t be me, why bother.

Now, let’s be clear about something…even when I am sassy, I’m never mean. That just isn’t in me. So, I expect the same from you. This is my blog and I am going to share my thoughts and opinions in my own way; and I want you to feel free to share your opinions of my posts, but don’t be nasty about it. Agreed? Ok, now that’s out of the way, let’s move on.

I am, by birth, a West Coast girl. I moved to a place called “misery” (ok, really it was Missouri) with my family when I was twelve. From there I went to Tulsa, met and fell in love with the boy next door, who happened to be a Souther Boy by birth, and to be with him, I moved to the great Commonwealth of Virginia. I immediately felt at home with the yes ma’am and yessir, the sweet tea, the relentless family teasing, visits to Grandma’s and Sunday church followed by family lunch. While I wasn’t a big fan of the bushels of fresh steamed crab presented upon my first visit to The Rivah, I now know better. While it would take me a lifetime to pick a meal’s worth, I’ll take fresh crab over most anything these days!

Truth is, once my feet planted on Southern soil, I was home. I put down roots and those roots went deep very quickly.

Unfortunately, after sixteen firmly-planted years, we had to follow the job and for the past eighteen years, I’ve been a Northerner. While I’ve adapted to much of this life, including the long, cold winters, I miss the cordiality of the South. And the sass. There’s sass here, but it’s a different kind of sass and often borders on hostility.

Recently I had the pleasure of spending a few days in Savannah, Georgia and feel like my soul has awoken from a long, long, long slumber. While the sweet tea, slow southern drawls, relaxed pace of life and beautiful scenery had a calming effect on me, it’s what was happening beneath the surface that I wasn’t aware of until my return home.

While in Savannah, everywhere I went people–of all ages, sexes, races and religions–were cordial to one another, interested in each other, courteous, and sought out commonalities. There was a sense of kinship and respect of each other as individuals. I met vacationers, transplants and life-long residents; I spent time with tour guides, restauranteurs, shop owners, and employees of the hotel and other establishments; people danced while listening to music in City Square, sang along to local balladeers, and everyone commiserated on the stifling heat. People, even total strangers, interacted with one another! I heard stories of slavery told alongside stories of pirates, desecration of the city cemetery by Union soldiers, the hanging of Irish indentured servants, the world-wide impact of the Cotton Exchange, the success of Savannah’s favorite son, Johnny Mercer, the establishment of The Girls Scouts, Savannah’s multiple devastating fires, and her many ghosts.

Savannah embraces all of her history–the good, the bad and the ugly! There is a sense of pride and shared history that is missing here in the north.

Savannah has risen above so much tragedy and today welcomes visitors with a sense of humble Southern pride. Beneath that welcoming spirit is a certain pluckiness–a city that knows her roots, accepts who she was, but has moved forward. She doesn’t sweep her past under the rug while trying to fit into some mold, instead she is a progressive and vibrant city, intent on building bridges between the past and present, and between all who visit her.

I arrived to Savannah as a visitor, but left as a born-again Southerner. She reminded me the effects of Southern Charm. How refreshing honesty is. What it’s like to feel like part of a place. What it is to believe the past has power to positively shape the future and how the future can overcome the past. And, most importantly, how short life is, how fragile we can be, yet how strong we are when united.

In these times of so much political and religious division, it was refreshing to put that all aside and just be in the midst of grace, joviality, and a spunkiness you simply don’t see enough of these days. Savannah, you did me good.

And I’m baaaaaaaack!

The Yellow Kite

1 Comment

Radio Silence

4th 001

A few weeks ago I contemplated if I wanted to keep blogging here at The Yellow Kite, or not. I decided to go ahead. Yet, since then, I’ve not found the time, nor desire, or energy to write much.

I have realized that blogging, like life itself, is a constant ebb and flow, a balancing act, a merging of ying and yang. If I give, somehow I must also receive. Sadly, in recent months I have not had time to read any of the blogs I follow–the ones that lift me up, inspire me, make me laugh, and fill my soul. I  instead only managed time to share my own thoughts and bare my soul. In simplest terms, I am drained. I am out of balance and need to refill my well.

The winter has been long and the faces of my friends seen too seldom, loving voices and kind thoughts not expressed or heard often enough, and the warm sun on my skin is but a distant memory. All of life has seemed suspended in a cold, gray, monotonous bubble and it is time to remedy that.

Spring–my favorite time of year–is nearly upon us! While we are just beginning to see the earliest signs in our surroundings, the shift in attitudes is palpable. People are emerging, welcoming the appearance of others, looking at the clear skies, breathing deeper and even smiling! It is this energy I most crave–positive human interaction. It is the energy that allows me to keep being a friend to my friends, to share here in the vast cyber world, and most importantly, to push away the winter doldrums of my soul, refill the well, and find my zeal again. Spring is the big deposit to my account to cover the debits from months of emotional withdrawals.

So, for the next couple weeks, I’m going to focus on recharging myself. I know by doing so, it allows me to be my best self and when I’m at my best, I care more, I share more, and I live more fully.

When I feel ready, I’ll be back. For now, it’s radio silence for a while.

The Yellow Kite

 

Leave a comment

I’m Not God, But…

Before I ever sit down to write, the thoughts have swirled around in my head for minutes, hours or even days. I usually have a good idea of what I want to say and a sense of how I intend to say it. However, not today. I am distracted, perhaps even annoyed. What’s to follow is probably just a big ole mind dump. And while I’m uncertain as to what will follow, I have a pretty good inkling that I’ll manage to offend someone!

I’ve been awake since 3:30 this morning. I woke up, had something on my mind and couldn’t get back to sleep. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does I normally amuse myself by mentally designing the home I’d like to one day build. This morning was different. I lay in bed with a family member on my mind and I prayed. And I prayed some more. Then I called in the “big guns”–all the angels and spirits and my favorite, Archangel Michael. I had a true heart-to-heart with Jesus himself. I may have even begged a little.

I finally gave up the notion of sleeping and got up. However, before my feet ever hit the floor, guess what I did? I prayed some more! Now, if you know me, or even if you only know me through this blog, you know I’m not the epitome of a church-lady. However, I have a deep faith and I believe in prayer. As I prayed again, it wasn’t prayers of healing and health, I did what I do every single day: I sent up a prayer of thanks! But wait, isn’t “prayer” all about asking? I suppose if you think it is, then it is. I consider prayer simply communication with my creator. (And truly, does it matter if we say God, Universe, Creator, Mother Earth, or something else if we are acknowledging a life-giving force? Personally, I don’t believe so, but the specific religion a person practices does tend to be nitpicky on this one.)

Today, just like every other day, I expressed gratitude for the opportunity to face the day, for my health, my home, my family, my pets, my ability to make choices, the food we have, my friends, and on and on. I am truly grateful for each day I get to spend on this earth and for the people and animals I share those days with!

As the day unfolded, my thoughts started churning (and here comes the part that probably offends someone). I thought about the interactions I have on a regular basis with people and I realized how many times those interactions are negative, needy, and me based (not as in me the writer, but the other person). How many times have I heard the same conversations–complaints, why-me’s, somebody-done-me-wrong, I’m broke, I’m sick, etc.? Many. And how many times have I heard good news, strong decisions made, joy-of-life stories? Let me tell you, the scale is sadly off-balance on this one! (I must stop here and say that if any of my friends or family is reading this, I’m not saying stop calling to share with me, because I’ll continue to do the same…I’m just making an observation!!!)

So back to prayer.

Today I am feeling drained by all the recent interactions (partly because I am an empath) and I suddenly thought, “Wow, this is how I feel with a handful of people in my life, how does God do it? Every moment of every day, people asking for this or that, bemoaning the life they live, cursing God for their misfortunes. That’s why God is God and I am not–I would have snapped by now!”

Finally, my point: We all complain too much, appreciate too little; see the negative too often and the beauty too seldom; and play the victim over the warrior because it’s easy.

Over the past several years I have steadily decreased my grousing and increased my appreciation, stopped playing the victim and instead take pride in feeling empowered, and do my best to see the good in others and encourage others to see the good in themselves. Guess what…my life is so much better than it used to be.

It’s certainly not easy to change behaviors, but it’s doable and worthwhile. Right now, with the craziness of the world, the sad pool of presidential candidates, viruses, cancer, and food-borne illnesses running rampant, police brutality and a litany of other negative circumstances, it is far too easy to focus on gloom and doom and negativity. We all know the saying like attracts like and it’s true. While our circumstances may not be rosy, by focusing on the negative we feed it and give it our power. Instead we need to, collectively, shift our focus to the good, our blessings.

When we tune into the news, we get thirty second (biased) sound bites about the world around us. Do you ever notice how often the same story is repeated? Often for days. Why? Because the news is seeking out negativity and sometimes they don’t find anything new. So ask yourself this, if there isn’t enough new drama to fill a thirty minute show each day, what percent of life is really bad/evil/scary? There are a whole lot more good people, good events, and kindness stories we could turn our attention to!

No, I don’t wear rose-colored glasses, but I refuse to let a few bad people or things in this world steal my peace, cause me to be ungrateful for what I do have, or take those around me for granted.

Obviously I’m not God so I’m just guessing here, but wouldn’t God/the Universe/Creator be so much more pleased and surprised if you came to him/her with your thanks and appreciation on a regular basis rather than only sending out an S.O.S. when you are in need? I know one thing for certain: YOU will feel better about yourself, your life and others if you seek to live with an attitude of gratitude!

In gratitude,

The Yellow Kite

Leave a comment

Who’s Story are You Telling?

Just recently I have had a couple long, in-depth conversations with friends about misperceptions, frustrations, hurt feelings, and the proverbial victimization by others.

These conversations led to insights for all involved, but will they lead to a positive change? I believe they can, if even a small amount of effort is expended.

The crux of the conversations revolved around how the people in our lives upset us, make us feel small, guilt us, or under-appreciate us. Many of these feelings seem to arise from abbreviated conversations, primarily ambiguous text messages.

When looking at the different circumstances, one thing became crystal clear: the person on the receiving end–admittedly, that includes myself–often puts his/her own spin on the other party’s words. We do not necessarily read or hear what was actually said, or in some cases not said, but instead what we want or expect to receive.

As a quick example, if you’re having a text conversation with a friend and that friend stops responding, what goes through your mind? Are they’re annoyed with your side of the conversation? Are they’re too busy to be bothered with you? Do they lack common manners? Oh come on, you know you’ve thought it, just as I have! These certainly are possibilities, but so are the possibilities that the phone battery died, the person is driving or having an actual in-person conversation, dropped their phone in a cooler of water, is at an event, or that a child needs immediate attention. Do you stop to consider such scenarios or do you go right for the pity-me story?

In the case of an actual phone conversation, perhaps the person is distracted by a family issue or an overwhelming to-do list; maybe they have a headache and aren’t focusing on you; maybe they are disappointed in an outcome, but try not to show it; maybe they’re in the middle of something else. Any of these things could cause a person to seem distant or disengaged. Do you take it personally, wondering what you’ve done to upset them or cause a disconnect, or do you entertain the idea the other person has a life beyond you and your immediate needs?

Even in face-to-face conversations, it can be hard to judge a person’s true meaning, but phone calls and text messages leave a chasm of opportunity for misperception. As we begin a new year, why not begin with a clean slate? Let people tell their own stories, don’t create new ones based on a snippet of conversation or knowledge. Focus on your own story! Guess what…even if the other party is trying to cloak you in guilt, you don’t have to wear that garment! If the other party is exhibiting rude or childish behavior, you don’t have to stick around and partake in it! If the other party doesn’t find you worthy of their time, move on and find people who do! If other parties want to lie or gossip, you can rise above that and not include it in your story! If others are seeking sympathy or a savior, you do not have to buy into it! Let your story be, “I care about my well being over creating or buying into a drama-filled scenario” and I promise you’ll be a much happier person.

The bottom line is this: Whenever you’re having a phone or text conversation, you have the right to limit what comes through your phone–it’s yours and you can end the conversation at any time (as can the other party). You also have the right–and responsibility–to determine what you allow into your life and how it impacts you. You also have the responsibility to yourself to not let the story you tell spin out of control. If in doubt ask, otherwise take things at face value and nothing more.

In this busy and technology-filled world, any of us can come off as abrupt, rude, or self-centered. Let’s all try–on both sides of our devices–to put more thought into what we say and less thought into what we think was meant. It’s not easy, but with practice it can be done.

Now, about the crazy things my spellcheck sends you…

The Yellow Kite

Leave a comment

Reflections

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The sun is setting on another day, another year.

As the year comes to a close, I am preparing for my annual reflection. I like to set aside some quiet time to consciously and purposely reflect on my year. I find doing so can be cathartic, memory-invoking, clarifying, and/or prepare me for what’s ahead.

I am not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions, as we tend to pile on too many things–new goals, changes in behavior, career motivations, etc–and set ourselves up for failure when we scatter our focus. Instead, I do find one or two aspirations I want to include in my upcoming year. These aspirations are generally positive changes in my life, things that empower me, things that make me feel good, and for the most part, are unseen by and unspoken to others, but often felt by them.

In order to arrive at my new aspirations, I first take time to consider the previous year. I like to start with the big picture: Was it a great year, a good year, a mediocre year, or a year I’d rather forget?

When I think I’ve identified the status of the previous year, I then ask myself, “Why was it a ______ year? What/who stands out as having impacted that the most?”

Once I identify key components, such as the passing of friends or family, reaching a milestone in business, financial success or failures, or changes in friend or family status, I spend some time reflecting upon those.

It is at this point many people would make some sort of blanket statement like, “My life sucked last year, I want it to be better!” or perhaps, “Life gave me lemons, but I managed to get by.” or even, “I was lucky and everything came up roses for me!” However, I go deeper and look not only at the event’s impact, but on how I perceived the event and how my thoughts, feelings and actions impacted my life.

You see, that’s the truth of life: Things happen. Good, bad, great, unexpected, joyful, hurtful, saddening things. And they happen to us all. However, it’s how we choose to manage ourselves, our thoughts, our feelings, and our perceptions that determine how these things impact our lives.

It’s the greatest gift of our lives, this ability to choose! We may not always choose to live or work exactly where we want; we may not choose our medical, financial, or relationship health; we may not be able to choose the amount of demands placed upon us, but we can choose in the most important way: We can choose to find happiness and joy within. I know some of you reading this now are shaking your heads and declaring that I don’t know jack! Trust me, I do.

I’ve had many, many conversations with people that go something like this: “But you don’t understand…they hurt me, they don’t respect me, they didn’t do what I want, so I’m unhappy!”or “I am broke, I have a horrible relationship, nobody helps me, and I hate my job, that’s why I’m not happy!” That is so far from the truth, but we are conditioned to be victims rather than warriors. And for the record I know how to play the victim card as well as anyone–being a victim is easier, for some reason more socially acceptable (misery loves company and all that), and garners far more attention than being happy. Countless numbers of people give their happy away to their circumstances or to the actions of others. My heart breaks for them as they don’t realize they still have the power to be happy, regardless what is happening around or to them. I sometimes just want to shout, “Aspire for more–you’re worthy!!”

In fact, no matter where you are on life’s scale–ASPIRE FOR MORE!!

Aspire to be joyful despite whatever circumstances you encounter. Aspire to live your life–your one and only chance at this–with a full and loving heart. Aspire to see the glass half full every time. Aspire to forgive others and keep them close to your heart. Aspire to be the voice of understanding in the room full of fear. Aspire to be authentically you. We are blessed beings and we should each own that. We have so much to share with one another.

As you reflect back and make your aspirations, I remind you the only way to turn down the negativity, to bring light into darkness, and to bring love where there is misunderstanding is to start within. Won’t you aspire to shine your light brightly this coming year so next year you can fill in the blank and say, “This year was GREAT!”?

May your aspirations bring you many blessings in 2016,

The Yellow Kite

 

P.S. I had a GREAT year and I aspire for an even greater one in 2016!

%d bloggers like this: