Tag Archives: getting real

Gut check

I was traveling with my family recently, which resulted in me utilizing my smart phone a lot and the computer very little. Which means the ratio of my consuming content to creating content was quite high.

I browsed my Twitter feed any time I found myself waiting for someone to go to the bathroom or change into a swim suit or fetch the bug spray. While fending off boredom I came across the fight between the two Honests. In one corner we have Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company, and in the other we have a hilarious tweeter/author/blogger with her Twitter handle, book and blog, The Honest Toddler. HuffPo explains the battle with lots of links, should you be waiting on someone to go to the bathroom or change into a swim suit or fetch bug spray.

Mostly, this post isn’t about the battle for who owns “honest.” Considering that once upon a time I, too, got a sharp warning from a corporate lawyer, I doubt that I could be objective about The Honest fight.

Instead, while poking around, I found the true identity of The Honest Toddler (not really a secret) and found Bunmi Laditan’s grown up blog. Which, unlike her wildly popular alter-ego toddler blog, currently has no google pagerank and very few comments (moderation, perhaps?). I feel like I did on my honeymoon, when Roger and I found a deserted nook on a Greek island beach that we had all to ourselves (until a couple of days in when other tourists stumbled upon us getting suntanned in all sorts of places).*

gut instinctBumni, with prompting from her friend Doug, a performance coach for athletes, writers and entrepreneurs, brings up the idea of instinct in her gutsy post, Advice from a Mentor and Intestines. Doug speaks about differences: between what we feel and our feelings, and between being nice and being kind.

And even if we believe we know the right thing, we’re always trying to FEEL the right thing as we do the right thing.  But we can’t tell the difference between what we feel and our feelings. In other words, if you can FEEL the right thing based on experience, you don’t have to rely on this fight between feel and feelings.

— and —

It comes down to the difference between being nice and being kind.  Being nice is doing what will make others like you.  Being kind is doing the right thing knowing in the long run it is what’s best.  You have to be kind as a mother.  Being nice screws up your kids up in the long run, but they like you in the moment.

(Emphasis mine.)

That was the mentor aspect of her post’s title. Bunmi then follows with the intestine angle, finding similarities between our digestive and our cognitive processes:

It’s funny- I wrote about farts all day on Honest Toddler; the perceived silliness a small child might have at the idea that we need to be apologetic about the digestive process. One might say that the body’s biological process by which it breaks down food molecules through chemical reactions for the purpose of absorption mirrors the cognitive process by which we consume and interpret our daily experiences.

— and —

While it’s impossible to find shortcuts when it comes to the breakdown of fats, proteins and carbohydrates so that they can be separated into waste and energy, the belief in the presence of instinct is a game changer when it comes to the consumption of life: separating the infinite possibilities and choices into what we’ll absorb into our experience and what we’ll let pass.

She goes on to equate digestive enzymes with a “biological representation of instinct.” She wonders if the tummy ache one gets when ignoring one’s gut instinct is akin to suffering from malfunctioning or imbalanced digestive enzymes.

“I knew this was a bad idea.” I can recall times that I didn’t listen to my gut, didn’t tune into my inner knowing. I went on dates when I knew I didn’t want to. I took jobs I knew were wrong for me. I bought products that I knew couldn’t possibly live up to their billing. I still on rare occasion take the nice way out instead of the dealing with what I know to be true. When I do this, I pay the price in my gut and sometimes in other ways.

To be honest means to live in integrity — to bring integration among what one knows, what one says, what one does (getting back to the Honest fight).

How about you? Are you attuned to your instincts? To what degree are you able to be honest with yourself? Do you have a story about a time when you chose “nice” over “kind” or didn’t listen to your inner guidance system? Leave a link if you write up your story.

Image courtesy of dream designs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

* (Upon further research I find that Bunmi Laditan has a more developed blog in her name on the WordPress.com platform, which looks better trafficked, but I still like the deserted nookish one better.)

Navigating BlogHer12 from within

At my last two BlogHer conferences, I succumbed to the siren song of swag.

The song is so sweetly alluring. But, like a sugary candy bar, it doesn’t actually nourish, nor does it satisfy for long.

What was this swag that called to me in dulcet tones? A melange of tunes and harmonies: 10 minutes in front of an Xbox Kinect. Water bottles. Stuffed animals. Toys, alarm clocks, seeds, drinks, mugs, samples, deodorant, drink tickets, toothbrushes, thumb drives, water filters, knee braces, chances for this, drawings for that. Notepads and pen, trinkets and baubles.

Where did this swag come from? It was dangled by people who wanted my attention. Not specifically MY attention, but anyone’s attention who could bring the danglers MORE attention. People such as  conference sponsors, brand reps and sponsored bloggers.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against danglers. Thanks to its sponsors, the BlogHer Conference exists as it is,  the Grand Dame of female blogger gatherings. There is nothing quite like its festive and frenetic aura and its Las Vegas vibe (“what happens at BlogHer…”). Truly, BlogHer is an astounding phenomenon to experience.

I enjoyed the frenzy the first two times — mostly. It was difficult, though, in 2008 and 2010, for this introvert to have no recharging time, to feel pulled in a dozen directions at once and to know that for every experience I was having, I was missing out on twenty others.

Not this year. This time I aim to attend BlogHer in New York City with an intention to focus on what is important to me. Which would include (in no order): delivering value at the session on which I’m a panelist (it’s called My Blog No Longer Fits Me! and you are invited), meeting my bloggy friends from various tribes I am part of, meeting my agent for the first time, making genuine connections with new friends (not the looking-past-you-for-someone-more-important variety) and doing activities in NYC that make me feel good,  grounded and centered. Not drained, weighted and regretful.

I have RSVPed for no parties. I may or may not get to the Expo Hall (if I do it will be to thank sponsors for keeping BlogHer affordable, and not to accumulate their stuff). There are no Big Bloggers or celebrities I feel the need to stalk “accidentally” share an elevator with (even Katie Couric, whom I would like to meet but not in a fawning-over way).

I shall try to remember I need nothing. Anything good that comes my way at BlogHer12 I will view as a gift, not a gimme. I have all my mug and toothbrush and thumb drive needs taken care of, and for what it would take to ship the swag home, I can buy the products myself. Nor do I “need” people. I want to meet interesting people, but not for what they can do for me. I am more starstruck by the people I already know, my ALI friends and my Colorado peeps, than I am by the celebrities and Big Bloggers who tend to get swarmed at the elevators.

So if you see me at BlogHer12, say hi. I should be even more able to hear you this year because I am not tuning in to the siren song of swag. I am simply tuning Inward.

Image: webdesignhot on Freepik.com

Opposing forces and unsolvable mysteries

Not long ago I wrote about what a cad John F Kennedy was. Not news to anyone, but in the news because of a book. As some of you pointed out, the President is not able to refute any claims, so we must be aware that we may never know the truth about his philandering.

Speaking of never knowing the truth, who was responsible for JFK’s murder may go down as one of the biggest mystery/controversy of my lifetime. Commissions and reporters have investigated, forests have been felled for the resulting documents, barrels of ink have been spilled — all in attempts to find the truth. When I was a child I thought that one of the perks of going to Heaven would be that there and then, I would know the full story of Kennedy’s assassination (I was an odd child).

With this post I want to marry the philandering with the assassination.

I try to put myself in Jacqueline Kennedy’s place. What would it have been like to have your friends and family, your husband’s political enemies and the media know that your husband was stepping out on you? Did she feel pressure, either internal or external, to DO something — grin and bear it, shut the hell up, make a statement, make a stink? Did she ever want to leave him? How did she deal with anger and a sense of betrayal? Or was it possible she felt neither? And most importantly, did she still love him, despite the huge (to me) flaw of infidelity? The heart doesn’t always follow the mind.

Have you ever seen the Zapruder film? I ask because a friend of mine recently admitted she’d never watched it. For all her life she hadn’t wanted the images of a person’s moment of death imprinted in her mind. I had seen it countless times, sure. Before the Internet, the Zapruder film was shown repeatedly every year around Thanksgiving. Always grainy, always as if you were looking into the wrong end of the telescope, always choppy.

But advancements in technology have resulted in enhancements to the film. I found a high-def, closer-up, frame-by-frame video on YouTube. I’m not embedding here, but click over if you want to watch. From frame  226 you can see the first shot and Jackie’ reaction to it. The most difficult frames to watch (for me) begins at 313 with the second shot. You can imagine that from her vantage point, she realized that her husband had been mortally wounded. By 344 she begins to flee the car by crawling over the back of the trunk.

Who could blame her? Adrenaline pounding, sudden shock that her husband is dead — who would have the presence of mind to sit still for that? It’s no wonder that the fight or flight mechanism kicked in and she tried to get herself out of the line of fire.

But that’s was not what she was doing. According to Clint Hill, the First Lady’s secret service agent, she was not madly fleeing.  “She was reaching for something. She was reaching for a piece of the President’s head.”

How mindful is that? Even under that extreme stress few of us will ever face, she was caring for and loving her husband (my interpretation of her actions), gathering the pieces of him — no matter the cost to her, emotional and otherwise.

That, I believe is astounding. I could imagine such action perhaps, for a Great Love, a Fairytale Love, a Perfect Love — was that what Jacqueline Kennedy had with her husband? But love is not that simple outside romance novels and story books and the minds of disappointed perfectionists. This was real life. Real, messy, complicated, multi-layered life in which competing emotions can occupy the same space at the same time.

This is where my mind goes when I try to put myself in Jackie Kennedy’s place and marry the philandering with the assassination.

Has there been a time when you’ve held two opposite emotions? How did you deal with the tension between the two, and did resolution ever come?