Back to Square One: Or Starting Over and Over Again

by iDella Woods

Starting over? Ahhh…new beginnings.  Nothing feels as good as a clean slate, spankin’ new, never-been-done-before, that dewy soft newborn feeling of hope and awe.  Understand what I mean? Like a view from the womb?  Okay….

That’s NOT the one I’m talking about.

Square One Origin

I mean the one where you try really hard, but you keep coming up short. The ones that sends you screaming into the night – right back to the proverbial ‘drawing board’. The ‘starting over’ I mean is the one where you’ve face planted so beautifully, so repetitiously over copious attempts that look back at you with the face of days, months and YEARS. The calendar is, at best, is a suggestion, a blur of meticulously arranged numbers on a grid, waving in the breeze of your efforts.

There’s an album title by the Christian-tinged soft rock band, Switchfoot that succinctly describes this experience – “The Beautiful Letdown”. Disappointment, in its melodramatic way is quite poetic. In his book ‘A New Earth’, Eckhart Tolle talks at length about the experience of feeling pain – and how we unconsciously (for the most part) seek it out –– rather than being numb.  I call it an ‘effective defective’. Whatever the case, life is rich with various ‘square one’ opportunities:

A parking lot in Manhattan, United States with...

Loooooong walk .....

A Common One: Weight and Fitness – You’ve pounded treadmills, bought and USED one exercise DVD after the next, cried with all The Biggest Loser contestants and scream when they jump from weight scale bleeper and to commercial RIGHT before the results hit the screen!  You take the stairs in public places. You even park in section ‘Z’ of the parking lot for a further hike into the market. Maybe, by now, you feel that stationary bike is mocking you. The only thing that’s stationary (it seems) is that excess poundage or those final few kilos that just WON’T let go.  That’s not what Jenny Craig/Tony Horton/Jennifer Hudson said! But, that’s just it.  You’ve been watching it and making adjustments so….you try yet AGAIN…or you just eat the dang Frito Pie (with onions)…. then ‘square up’.

DIANA ROSS

Image by MELOMANIA.COM

A Cinematic One: In the 1970’s motion picture Mahogany, singer and former Supreme Diana Ross, played her first lead role as an aspiring fashion designer who rises to international fame and riches as a super model (though they didn’t use that term until the 1980s) turned high couture fashion designer. That song, Do You Know Where You’re Going To? –  its sweet melody and provocative queries, have forever residence my brain grooves.  I wasn’t digging that ‘thang’ she had with ‘Norman Bates’ (actor Anthony Perkins) – but -SPOILER ALERT: She goes back WITH NEW DREAMS to her first love (played by suavely Billy Dee Williams) at ‘square one’ in the end.

A Lyrical One: The song “Back at One” was a hit recorded in two genres: originally by R&B singer Brian McKnight. McKnight’s version was a Top 40 pop hit peaking at # 2 on United States Billboard ‘Hot 100’ chart for 8 consecutive weeks in 1999.  Later that year, country artist Mark Wills hit the chart with his version also peaking at #2 on the U.S. Billboard ‘Hot 100’ country chart – and went on the #1 on the Canadian country charts. (courtesy of Wikipedia and Billboard magazine)

♪♫ “Whenever I believe my work is done, then I’ll start back at one” ♪♫

Broken Heart symbol

Broken Heart

A Romantic One: I was conversing recently with a friend having an issue with a lady to whom he was newly engaged – and already having trouble in paradise. After spending a number of years seeking ‘the one’ – he’d ‘put a ring’ on it – only for her to have 2nd thoughts.  It happens. Our frailties too often define us and we so commonly identify with them as the only source of our identity. My friend asked me in frustration: “Don’t you just get tired of trying?”  Being the stubborn….determined woman I am, I said “I understand that feeling, but it’s just a feeling.  Never give up on THAT.”  There are so many dynamics involved, fickle factors that I won’t go any further.  It’s enough to say, ‘square one’ happens – A LOT in this area. The preferred ONE is ‘THE ONE’. If you’ve got him/her consider yourself BLESSED. 🙂

Prayer is the language

Prayer: The place of power

A Noble One: In a ‘Un-PC’ act, I site God Himself on this one.  Whatever I’ve ever believed, I KNOW the Great IAM, has never given up on me. Whenever God felt far away, I now understand it was because, my emotions about my circumstances, conclusions I drew with an unclear mind or a broken heart had more to do with that false feeling of separation.  Sometimes, he DOES step away from us, to test our faith, to help us see exactly WHERE we are in our walk.  He is ALWAYS willing to go back to the start with us – if needed. I believe he sees us as children, stubborn and willing to be unwilling to see His will, our destiny- his dream of us dropped us as a mortal seed, into this life. If you don’t believe like I do, I respect that.  It’s called free will.  It’s a divinely given right.

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Having to start over (and over) can make one feel frustrated and well, just plain stoopid. Of course, history is rife with famous (so-called) failures who tried MANY times before they achieved their ends.    It’d be great if it could be like Groundhog Day, and you just get an exact ‘do-over’ that you get to correct until it’s all perfect……sighs.  But, as I recall, the protagonist did NOT get a choice in the matter! Every day was an ENTIRE do over.

Master Yoda

Master Yoda

So then, how do we know when to say WHEN? How many visits to square one are ENOUGH?  The key, it seems, is making up the mind.  Sounds awfully simplistic – but this is when ‘trying’ becomes ‘doing’.  ‘Try’ leaves room for doubt. ‘Do’…well, gets it DONE. ‘Do’ sets things in motion.  Easier said than done? Maybe. But if you are the act of doing, there’s no time to worry if there’s enough time. Yoda, the wise old teacher in the Star Wars movies said it best:

“No. Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.”

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Red-Letter Day…

Seeing Red-Letter Days

There are two ways to live your life – one is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein.

WORLD WIDE WEB – Southwestern USAFebruary 8, 2011It is my privilege to report, upon full investigation there is both eternal and temporal evidence, that TODAY (meaning whatever day you are reading this) is not just any day that ends in the word ‘day’.

It’s a RED-LETTER DAY.

Today marks an event of major importance.  It is someone’s birthday, someone’s anniversary, the first day the potty training went perfect; the day someone became a parent, aunt or uncle, a sibling, made an alliance saving your time, your money, your life.

Today someone gets a promotion (economy- schmonomy), someone will get a great idea that’s changing their LIFE – right now…..in real time.

Just minutes ago, someone awoke from a comatose state ….another is going to sleep at dawn after a long night. Today someone stood up to a bully or defended another against it….today a baby took its first steps….so did someone who heard ‘you’ll never walk again.”

In a few more seconds, (3, 2,1)someone finally stops whipping out the past and looking into it like a mirror… right now someone can’t stop smiling.  Yes, your friends think you’ve lost it….yea, in a good way. :-). Today someone anonymously blessed another person they never met.  Why?  The help was needed.  Simplicity – creates a red-letter day.

This morning someone got a call that said, “I just wanted to hear your voice.” In the classroom, right after the bell, a teacher looked into the face of a student and heard the cry in his eyes…..in 3rd period class, someone earned her highest scores. Today, someone signed the papers for their dream home…..drove a new car off the lot, drove someone crazy with desire.

Wedding ring

The ring! Frodo didn't have it after all...

 

Right now, someone is shuffling through the ruins of nature’s wrathand just found their wedding ring, found their childhood teddy bear, found a soggy photo album with the photos still dry inside.  A long-lost pet sits on his human family’s doorstep. His coat full of thorns. He’s thirsty – and his tail won’t stop wagging!  The red letters woven into the mat underneath his wiggling backside says WELCOME.

It’s a RED-LETTER day.  Mark it on your calendar. When you look back a year from now, if you don’t remember what you’re toasting – raise your glass anyway.

Come on, there’s bound to be SOMETHING!

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Becoming Real

by Idella Woods, September 22, 2010

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“You were born an original.  Don’t die a copy.” ~ John Mason

To reinvent oneself sounds so ….lofty……noble…..pompous…adventurous.  What does it even mean to REINVENT? Did I invent myself in the first place? Technically, no – but otherwise YES.   The decision to do it is actually EASY.  Usually, there’s an pivotal event or series of incidents that serve as a catalyst for change.

  • You pop the buttons on your slacks
  • Your eyes start to glaze at your umpteenth business meeting
  • Your trusty car breaks down – AGAIN (to 3rd power)
  • You style your hair and see more gray on your head than in the brush or more hair in your comb than on your head
  • You daydream – A LOT

OR SOMETHING MORE SERIOUSLY LIFE-ALTERING:

  • You experience a serious traffic accident
  • You become ill or receive a serious health diagnosis
  • You survive the onslaught of Mother Nature with your life
  • You get assaulted robbed or carjacked
  • You find no matter how hard you try, you never seem to have “enough”

If you’ve ever read The Artists Way by Julia Cameron, you will be familiar with ‘artists dates’.  As defined by Ms. Cameron (thank you), a ‘artist date’ is a weekly date to go explore your more creative, childlike being. I remember one artist’s dates, I took to rediscovering simple lessons, the things I  inherently understood as a child but misplaced in the onrush of adulthood.    On this date,  I reminded myself the importance of being genuine, being true to dreams.

The nearest Barnes and Noble Bookstore children’s section was the spot where I met up with the 7 year old me.  Defying the curious glances of the parents herding their eager offspring around low shelves full of imagination, kneeling, I found the reason for my visit.

I love the smell of books and the inner sanctum feeling I get as I wind deeper into a library or bookstore.  Last time I held a book with such a tiny spine, it was with a much smaller hand.  Knowing that the  size chairs and benches wouldn’t support my adult sized rump, I found a spot at the end of a , sunk cross-legged to the floor – and for the first time, cracked open the immortal classic ‘The Velveteen Rabbit‘ by Margery Williams.

When all else fails, reach back to the basics.

In the story, a plush toy rabbit seeks become flesh and blood. After losing the attention of his human boy owner, the Rabbit begins comparing himself to the other toys in the nursery. (Anytime you do anything like that you get the short end of the stick.) In his distress, the Rabbit seeks the advice of the wisest toy in the nursery, The Skin Horse. 

What is real?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

Real isn’t how you are MADE,” said the Skin Horse, “It’s a thing that HAPPENS to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become REAL.”

I admit, I didn’t read this timeless tale when I was a child.  These are the kinds of stories that help you learn about who you are.  As I read this one, I found, that I haven’t missed the boat after all.  I still have time to become REAL.

In a world where time and attention are at a premium, its easy to get distracted and lose direction. You can have all the talent, energy, education and drive in the world, but without FOCUS, you will lose your way. By the time, I stood to stretch my legs, a little girl walked past and flashed a shy smile.  “Is that any good?”, she inquired, pointing to the book.  I handed to her and said, with glee,  “Read it and see.”

No one can see their own face without a mirror – or photograph. What we see in the mirror – or in another person’s eyes, is more (self) perception than reality.  But guess what?  Who you were born, or made to be, you already are. Any sphere of life you enter comes under that influence. How you see yourself is what makes you more (or less) real.   So the place to begin with reinvention of oneself, is ACCEPTANCE of whatever currently is.

Think it over, write it down, pray/meditate over it daily – then express it. Reinvention is the part you CAN control.  So embrace YOU, here and now, stand up for what’s REAL.


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In the Doghouse: Slips of the Tongue

 

in the doghouse

Yep.....

Okay, it happens to the best of us. I bet even great orators like William Jennings Bryan and Martin Luther King Jr. were guilty of stepping on their own tongues – on the off occasion.  The ones I mention here have been discussed ad nauseam by now, most are old news, (even the stuff that happened a few days ago) however I must make mention of them for the latest, famous ‘slip of the tongue’ or at least a misuse of words, that earned them some a room with a view – of the back door:

Christina Aguilera and ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ flub. Ok, granted, America’s song of songs is NOT where one wants to blow it BUT…. it happened at SuperBowl 45….and as we all WELL know, people can’t wait to jump on your screw ups. Schadenfreude flowed like wine at the wedding in Cana.

Christina Aguilera performing during the Sanre...

Christina

What is it about this girl that makes people want to gloat? Her clothes?  Her makeup? The burden of immense natural talent?

(Personal opinion points to the third).

Sarah Palin – Sorry, I HAD to bring her up.  Do you REFUDIATE my doing so?  I probably would too, but I don’t think anyone has ever figured out what it means.  According to Mrs. P. herself, back in 2010, she meant to say ‘REPUDIATE’ instead.  Opponents took it as proof that she shouldn’t be allowed to handle sharp objects, supporters wavered between defending it or ‘utter’ (pun intended) silence on the matter.

This is an alternate crop of an image already ...

Sarah Palin

 

Hosni Mubarak, (now) former Egyptian president.  The people’s doghouse is where he currently resides.  Three words “State of Emergency” – that lasts 30 years? It doesn’t qualify as a slip, but holding office long enough to border on dictatorship in a society that cries out for democratic rule ‘dog housed’ Mubarak in a matter of weeks after true revolt began.  And then there’s….

George W. Bush, former U.S. president – The infamous ‘nuclear’ vs. nu-cu-lur’ debacle. I don’t think he actually got any official doghouse time for this – unless  issued by the Linguistic Society of America or Webster’s Dictionary – but no  one missed it.

President George W. Bush and Egyptian Presiden...

Bush and Mubarak

Supporters cringed and opponents schooled their faces not to show the smirks in their hearts.  Granted, I’ve heard lots of people say ‘nuclear’ Dubya style

pponents schooled their faces not to show the smirks in their hearts.  Granted, I’ve heard lots of people say ‘nuclear’ Dubya style. I have a few tricksters of my own that require

deliberate pronunciation to avoid verbal mutilation. But when you are the leader of the Free World and your finger is practically on the WWIII button…. it goes it your public file.

It can be embarrassing to get caught mispronouncing or misusing a word.  I know this from personal and professional experience.  Being a copywriter and proofreader, one is expected to KNOW when something doesn’t look or sound right, before the toner dries on the page.

In a counter-offensive, I’ll say outright, there’s probably something going on in THIS post that’s wacky and ‘inventive’…..yes, that’s a good word for it.   So put me in the DOGHOUSE for being an etymological innovator…it’s okay.

I’ve been meaning to go camping.

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In Ten Days

Thank you for following Dellagation’s blog both here and at on my site www.dellagation.com. I am celebrating 6 months ‘on the air’ broadcasting.  It’s been quite the life change for me. 🙂
To more genuinely represent the creative environment in which I THRIVE, while better serving the growing demands of business (that’s not a complaint, I got my catcher’s mitt AND my pitching arm is ready and I’m improving my swing :-), I’m making changes to present consistent content that hopefully will entertain AND provide information.
Re-stage and engage!
Dellagation’s renewed and authentic commitment is to stay in ‘readiness mode’; showing God and His Universe this is one child who is saying YES – through attitude and supportive actions, to every good thing that I have so far overlooked or sadly have outright rejected.
That pot at the end of the rainbow …..YOU have to fill it. Get out your dreams and blow off the gold dust! Follow your truth and the pot will start filling. Pay attention and recognize little signs. It all starts small-keep cultivating it through your actions.

Like a comet!

Yes, I care about the dollars – but it’s more about what it brings out in you. Whatever isn’t working  is consumed in the heat of the light you are throwing off as you reenter the Earth’s atmosphere like a comet!
So, from the bottom of my heart, where lies a reservoir of divine grace and untest ed acts of courage, I THANK YOU for the experience as we’ve lived it so far.  Even with the challenges it’s like Mom’s pineapple upside down cake – so sweet it hurts your teeth…but oh, man. …savor the flavor.
Pictures of me baking pineapple upside down
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100 Days of ResNOlutions

 

“Every time, we break a promise to ourselves, allow minor details to interrupt the power of our declarations, it separates us from what we truly desire.”

100 Days of ResNOlutions.

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Word Weaver Series: Life is Like A Song

“Touch me, Take me to that other place. Teach me, I know I’m not a hopeless case” – Beautiful Day by U2

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I think I was born with music in my blood – fed music and milk – in that order

My veins are guitar strings, strumming the life through me!

My heart is a drum beating out the rhythm of breathing

I don’t play a damn thing…….but I know this

My pulse is a melody that responds with just the right lyrical phrase, at the right moment

It says, “I understand”

All I know is this, songs have always been there for me

When parental understanding failed, when my crush didn’t crush me back, when I bombed a   test, or forgot to do my homework,

When grandma went back to God… when my dog decided to meet her at Rainbow Bridge

Even when I didn’t know I needed them

Telling my true feelings like an honest man on the witness stand

Telling on my soul, before it hits my awareness

No matter the time of night or day

Or if a radio was tuned to my favorite station

That was a tough one – My favorite station

Because no one ever told me what I am “supposed” to like

I developed a musical oeuvre of genres one would not expect

Thank you God – think of the colors I would’ve missed

And how lackluster daily living would be – just alphabets and arithmetic

Just A B C, and 1 2 3 with the Jackson Five singing them to me

Thank you for superimposing a dream scape  path for my feet

I remember the concerts in the dresser mirror

Command performances in the backyard, encores for my family dogs

A most excellent audience, who sat dutifully – pre American Idol

No heckling, only spectatoring

My fingers curled around my hairbrush microphone

And bath towel draped over my head

So I could flip back my hair like Cher when Sonny was there

‘ An ‘unpretty’ yet cute little garden of energy

Growing my green stems of dreams, with buds coaxed from pruning

Sometimes I’d choose a song, but most often – it chose me

For what you believe is what you speak (even when your lips don’t move)

It entered my being through my ears and into the fertile ground of my heart

And drove the notes to my little brown feet.

Even now songs speak to me, through me

After all……

What makes a grocery store excursion better than those heinous original ditties

Revealing there’s a butcher inside the loud speakers as well as in the meat department?

What makes an elevator ride less claustrophobic?

Trying to figure out if the familiar melody assaulting your ears is

A watered down version of Hey Ya by Outkast or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

(How I wonder where my earplugs are….)

A song is a gentleman. It accompanies everywhere.  A chaperone for living, a soundtrack

He pulls out the chair of your understanding; he holds open the doors of the soul.

A mad genius that reads your mind; an intuitive suitor who tells you your heart.

It isn’t mood music……Your mood IS the music

If rhythm is a dancer, than music is the Maestro

And life is a symphony.

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Confession is Good for the Muse

Lightning is a highly visible form of energy t...

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Okay, confession time.

I don’t know who’s reading this or even LOOKING at it for five seconds but here it comes….

I have NO clue what to write about here……..(drum roll here)

I have a serious case of writer‘s drought.

I know…..shocking right? (shakes head in the negative)

I KNOW its called ‘writer’s block’ but I left the block long ago…I am out onto the open highway. I am far from being the only one – but that doesn’t make it any better.

It’s either foolishness or courage that makes me even put this in writing.

If you happen to have been reading any of my posts, you will notice that I have not been around for……a bit…:-( That’s death to blogging  – yes. If you don’t blog often, people will forget you. The world is full of distractions and demands. How familiar I am with these seducing spirits

But it wasn’t enough impetus for moi. So I did die – for a minute.

That minute stretched into a day…that day stretched into a week…..that week stretched into a month…:-(  There just wasn’t time to live on the page again…..uh huh.

That’s a long time not to breathe across the page.

It would seem I issued a DNR to my keyboard. It would seem my fingers could not find their way back to it.

But then I read something (my once and future coach) Jill Jepson said when blogging about writers who don’t write:

“They [writers] are doctors and stay-at-home moms, fifth grade teachers and law students, taxi drivers and programmers. And some of them have brilliant fiction or dazzling poetry locked inside them. But they will never know it. Because they don’t pick up a pen and write.”Jill Jepson,  The Ninja Writer blog

Shivers.  I walked over my own literary grave.  Impetus crystallized.

I reached for an ancient instrument; just as useful as a keyboard, but more intimate AND…. I began WRITING, WRITING, WRITING….about anything…

Everything.

The weapon? A simple gel ink pen – black or blue and a spiral notebook. As simple as it is with a keyboard – however….I write in fractured sentences that I didn’t change when I moved it from there to here.  No biggie because now:

I’m a literary superhero shooting words like lightning bolts from my fingertips. The electrified ink hits the page and burning sentences into living form….To the rescue, like knights charging around the perimeter of my being with alphabetical eyes.

Hey, whatever it takes.  It’s adult play minus the sex….unless you’re scribbling erotica..

And I can give excuses, reasons…. Life happens – yes: work, school, circumstances…AND? It rings hollow even to the ears of my own heart.

No one who knows me would even say I had ego…but how sly ego can be….I cannot deny I wanted to be ‘brilliant’…..but I cannot be a party in my own duplicity (sorry I am ellipsis crazed on this post).

Writing IS life….who would I be otherwise?

It is said that God has written each one of our members in a book. Even God writes…..okay, no pressure there. 😉

But from the time I could put sentences together the muse within said YES. Stories emerged, worlds formed. I didn’t know if any of it was any ‘good’.

And it didn’t matter.

Old, Old Fairy Tales: "Cinderella". ...

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It was fun to retell Cinderella with a more….PC ending…(the 2nd best place for her missing slipper)….to create my own music magazine, write my own lyrics to songs I didn’t like.

But isn’t ego clever? Not bad, per se, just smart. It’s our defense against temporal assaults. It says, “I’ll protect you from the pain of rejection.” “No don’t go there, nobody’s going to care.”

Well, I AM not nobodyI care.

And like a song once said, “I know too much, to go back and pretend.” (‘I am Woman‘  by an artist named Helen Reddy).  The song arsenal is my greatest offense

That’s one I HAVEN’T dared parody.

So let the chips fall where they may (or some such wise cliché). I still need to toss the handful I’ve been given. It’s funny how more will appear – but your hand has to be empty first.

So as I formulate this post it’s Sunday, I skim a stone across the pond in the park and watch the sunlight wriggle on the water. I eye the ducks, watching so they don’t snag my skin as they boldly yank on my pants leg, demanding: “Faster with the stale bread lady!” Then I park it on an empty bench, take out my pen and describe the experience – in stereo… word for word.  No wonder Edward Bulwer-Lytton said, “The pen is mightier than the sword” – but no less bloody, if you ask me. 🙂

If ego must have something ‘genius’ to gnaw on, here’s the lean diet snack:

Brilliance is getting something onto the freakin’ page!

Free hand it, type it.  Smoke signal it….okay, so maybe not that last one.

Nothing beats what Christians call “rhema” – for that’s what this is. The word come to life, made real – when you have your own understanding about a thing.  It’s violence of a benevolent kind.  A mighty, ink filled arsenal.

Sparkle, shine….draw your sword.

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