Seeing With Fresh Eyes

The other day, I was out walking in a neighborhood next to mine.  And for some reason, I started thinking Rosa_Rosas_Flor_249965_l about the name of the neighborhood that I live in, which is Rose City Park.  And the thought occurred to me that it is a lovely, evocative name.  This is something I've always known, but forgot. 

As I walked I pondered how cool it sounds when someone asks what part of Portland I live in.

"Oh, Rose City Park."

Something about that sounds so elegant.  There are roses involved for one thing.  And then there is the element of having a city within a city.   As if our little enclave is so important it has been elevated to city status, even though we're just a neighborhood.  And then you add on the park part and that evokes images of lush green and tall firs.  All of which are true about the actual park that lies a few blocks away from my house. It is true of the neighborhood itself, come to think of it.  One of the things that drew me here in the first place are the tall firs that tower in nearly every backyard.

But I hadn't thought about the name of the neighborhood for years.

Which got me to thinking.  What else do I need to look at with fresh eyes?  Are there things in my writing that I need to take a new look at?  New genres to try?  New worlds to conquer?  New skills to develop?

I don't have answers for these questions.  But I'm pondering them.  And co-incidentally, I'm thinking a bit about going back to the basics.  About which I will write tomorrow.

In the meantime, how about you?  Have you taken a fresh look at anything recently?  If so, what did you see?  Or does reading this bring to mind an area you think needs some looking at?  Please share.

Writing and Resting: The Winter Solstice

A theme is emerging as we near the official start of winter.

A friend emails that she's tired, depressed and depleted, the end result of consistent beating herself up for not writing.  Never mind that a beloved friend of hers recently died, her business, like so many others, is rapidly changing, and she suddenly finds herself back in touch with people she's not heard from in years.  (Facebook, ya gotta love it.)  Stress much?  Ya think?

A family member tells me she's not going out much these days, hasn't seen friends for awhile.  Never mind that she's got a new love with whom she is deliriously happy and that she doesn't really want to go out.  She worries about it all the same.

And I myself spent much of December wringing my hands and flopping about the office, sighing dramatically as I resisted the new ideas that so desperately wanted to take up residence in my brain.  In a session with my very wise coach yesterday, I voiced the thought that I'd been feeling the urge to reinvent myself.  Yet at the same time I felt stagnant and unmotivated.  Plus I hurt my knee and there's been ice all over the streets and sidewalks so I couldn't get out and run.  And my computer is failing fast and my 92-year-old mother's furnace broke on the coldest day of the year.

I-yi-yi, what a season.  Oh right–it is an official season, the holiday season,  when we are all supposed to be of good cheer.  Nothing like a little forced gaiety to ramp up the resistance.

In the aforementioned session with my very wise coach, she reminded me that December and January are traditionally times to rest and take stock.  To eat healthy food and go to bed early and take care of ourselves so that we have energy for the more active seasons to come.  Yet we, in our modern society, resist the idea of slowing down, of being passive, of storing up, of resting.  We feel the need to go, go, go and when we feel the urge our automatic response is to resist it and keep going. 

And thus resulteth the running injury, the negativity turned in ourselves, the constant shoulding.  Conversely, giving yourself the time to relax opens up space–room in your brain for that new writing project to finally take shape, for the fresh idea to bubble to the surface, or simply for your whole being to just say, "ahhhhhh" and do nothing.

So just remember, to everything, even writing, there is a season.  If you're struggling with the desire to rest, quit resisting and let yourself go.  And report back to me when you awaken again in April.  Kidding!  You only get until March.