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Amy F. Quincy Author/Freelance Writer

Month

October 2013

Mad as Hell

angry

I’m not ready to make nice         I’m not ready to back down               I’m still mad as hell and         I don’t have time to go round and round and round

~The Dixie Chicks

                                                   Something’s been eating at me for quite a while now. Well a couple things, really. I’m not one for confrontation. I figured the anger I felt would just, well …  go away. It hasn’t. Apparently, unexpressed anger doesn’t work that way.

It came up again, as it always does, literally around the house. It comes up when I’m sitting sideways at my inaccessible kitchen sink. Or when I fall off the too-narrow walkway in my power chair. Or when I have to call someone to fix the dishwasher that was improperly installed.

Let’s just say, I have a few unresolved issues with the contractor who did our renovation. Don’t get me wrong, I have a beautiful place. In the end, and for the most part, I’m happy. I’m sure it could’ve been worse. You hear nightmare stories all the time about contractors leaving unfinished work, never to be seen again. Ours wasn’t as bad as all that. If I were to call him right now, he might even pick up the phone. Maybe.

When the latest of these issues came up, I was sitting with my mom and issued forth my standard response. I called the contractor a few choice names. Mom, who used to join me in this game of profanity, simply shrugged and told me I needed to get over it. Get over it? She used to be just as mad as me! And now here she was, the picture of Zen, telling me to move on. But apparently, she had done just that.

I decided there might be something to this whole idea of getting over it when I realized I was still nursing a wound from over seven years ago. Some cowardly man-child I had dated broke up with me in an email, you see, and I still wished him ill will. Talk about get over it! I mean enough is enough! He doesn’t know I’m still mad. And if he did, it would probably only make him feel like a super stud! Luckily, chances are slim to none he’d actually stumble across this blog. So really, the only person I hurt by holding on to my bottled up anger is me. Seven years. I might be dangerously close to becoming bitter.

If you also have one or two things you’re holding on to, here are some ways to start letting go of your resentments and learn how to forgive and forget:

  • Write about it. If you watched it this past week, you already know I was inspired by The Voice, my latest guilty pleasure. Songwriters (like The Dixie Chicks) and writers have an advantage here. I feel better already, having called my ex a cowardly man-child on the Internet (maybe Mark Zuckerberg was on to something). Just kidding, of course. While I can’t condone public name calling, here are some things that might help. Keep a journal. Write a letter and throw it away. Take a piece of paper and write the person’s name at the top. Then write down every single injustice, real or perceived, and what impact it had on you. End each one with “but I choose to forgive you and move forward.” Tear your paper into tiny pieces and burn or release them.
  • Visualize or meditate. Reflect on the person, sending then kind and loving thoughts or prayers. Think about a postive attribute of their personality. Everyone has at least one. Develop your compassion. I’ve found it helps to picture them as they once were, an innocent child. Before life got in the way, gave them issues, and hardened them, as it does us all. It’s a lot harder to keep feeling anger towards a child.  
  • Reflect on examples of patience. We all know someone like this. Maybe you have a friend that doesn’t gossip and never has an unkind word to say about anyone. The kind of person you would feel guilty and petty ranting to. Calling that person to mind helps you evoke a sense of patience.
  • Give a gift. I like this one. Maybe because I really like giving gifts. I can’t see mailing my ex a gift after seven years, but maybe I could send it anonymously. I think the point is the whole process. When you give the other person a gift — especially something you value — then you break the dynamic of your resentment. You shake things up within yourself. You have to think of the other person as a human being with needs. You have to think about what they might like. And if there’s mutual resentment, then you may shock the other person into seeing you differently.

It’s not easy. This is all still a work in progress for me. But it’s a start. Good luck!

The Sweetest Things

dahlia1I don’t want to be one of those people that start something and never finish it. I do make a lot of the same New Year’s resolutions year after year, but I usually end up doing whatever it is I’ve resolved to do — eventually.

Of course, I don’t want the “soul space” I’m creating (and blogged about last week) to take that long. So I’m writing about my progress to keep myself accountable. And it’s interesting to find that when you take small steps towards the thing you want, your goal often meets you halfway. Opportunities come about and doors open up, as if the universe is in complete cooperation with you.

Last week, a friend just happened to have a book she loaned me that tells you exactly how to construct a raised flower bed. And what flowers grow where. Next, someone helped me set up wireless speakers, so I can hear music all over the house. Then, I got an invitation to a party that introduced a friend’s new business, which just happens to be all about making your space smell great. The line of all natural, soy-based wax “sprinkles” are perfect for me, because they melt in an electric simmer pot (for those of you worried about me burning the house down.) I chose the scents of Coffee Buzz, Ooey Gooey Caramel, and Spiced Vanilla. But there are also scents like Warm Apple Pie and Fresh Raspberry. Sweet. Or I should say, yum.

So, progress is being made. My writing coach said something fitting last week that struck me as profound. She said, “What you want, wants you.” It’s wonderful to start operating under this priniciple. I believe we all have a creative side that yearns to do something. Even if it’s been buried or you’re not currently doing it. You don’t have to be an artist in the obvious way. I think even the most repressed accountants have dreams of learning to play the guitar. (Sorry, accountants. Maybe your dream has always been to work with numbers, but I kind of doubt it.) So join me as I dig in the dirt surrounded by my favorite coffeehouse scents. What have you always wanted? Take a step toward it. It may meet you halfway.

Surrounded by the sweetest things: good friends and good scents
Surrounded by the sweetest things: good friends and good scents

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Soul Space

th2I’m on a new kick. Well, it’s not a new idea. It’s something I used to do and forgot about. And it’s worth remembering.

I used to surround myself with fresh cut flowers, relaxing music and good scents. I prided myself on my apartment always smelling like Pier 1 Imports. You know that smell. I think it’s the eucalyptus. And the candles.

But somewhere along the way I stopped. I know when and why. It was the brain hemorrhage. When you’re focused on trying to re-learn walking, speaking and eating, home decor tends to take a back seat. And then learning to live independently, I let certain things go, assuming I couldn’t handle them given my new disability.

Well, I’ve decided that’s ridiculous. There are ways around everything. Adaptive sports have taught me that. And why shouldn’t I be enveloped in a space that feeds my spirit, my creativity?

It all started with a “vision board” we made on my writing retreat in the mountains. My fellow writers and I cut and pasted from magazines those pictures that spoke to us. It was an exercise in manifesting the kinds of lives we wanted for ourselves. Some people had beautiful photographs of the exotic places they wanted to visit. One person found images of ballerinas and remembered a long forgotten dream of being a dancer. I found myself ripping out pictures of flowers. Lots and lots of flowers.

Then a few weeks ago, my writing coach read to us from a book she’s been reading called Soul Space by Xorin Balbes. The author believes in creating your space both to refect who you are and to transform yourself. To create the kind of environment where you can flourish, not just exist.

The final nudge I needed came from watching Dr. Oz the other day. He was extolling the virtues of flooding the senses with calming sights and sounds rather than chaotic ones. In his experiment, volunteers watched videos with emergency lights and sirens, crying babies and breaking glass, and then more calming videos with scenes of yoga and sounds of peaceful music. Not too surprising, the more relaxing input lowered the blood pressure and pulse rates of all three participants. The good doctor then prescribed meditating every day for just ten minutes.

th4I was sold. I don’t mean on meditating (though I am, it will probably be a separate post). But I set about making my home like it used to be — bringing in fresh flowers and burning incense. My mom began buying me battery operated candles years ago. I guess the glow’s all right, but it’s not the same. I’m going to buy some real candles. I know she doesn’t want to read this, but since moving in with her I worry less about burning the house down. (I figured with two of us there, the chance is cut in half, when really, it’s probably doubled.)

So, when I went to Publix this week I bought a bouquet of mixed flowers. To my dismay, I learned their sunflowers are $4 a piece! And I was further dissappointed by my mother’s flower arranging skills. (But really, fellow perfectionists, can anyone do as good a job as us? If you want something done right …) I plan on searching for a pair of clippers that I can easily operate. I think I can do the arranging as long as someone else fills the vase up with water. And Dr. Oz would be happy to know that flower arranging is considered an art form with meditative qualities.

And look what a friend found for me!

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How’s that for solving the expense problem? I’ll grow my own flowers to cut! I told you I was on a kick. Apparently, now that the book is done, I have creative energy to spare. What are you doing with yours?

Lessons from a Classic

gwtwI may be from Miami, that modern, forward-thinking city stuck in the South, but I must be a Southerner. Every year while growing up, my mom and I watched Gone With the Wind. The 1939 Best Picture may be a classic, but I bet not many New Yorkers can say that. And the tradition continues. We watched it again last night with friends. It never gets old. Here are just a few morsels that can be applied to life today:

I can’t think about that now, I’ll think about that tomorrow.                                        (A procastinator’s gold. Always sound advice.)

gwtw5What a gentleman says and what he thinks are two different things.

(I don’t mean to sound bitter here, but …)

gwtw7Do not squander time.

That is the stuff life is made of.

 
Most of the miseries of the world were caused by wars. And when the wars were over no one ever knew what they were about.
(It bears repeating. And repeating …)
With enough courage, you can do without a reputation.

gwtw1

You should be kissed, and often, by someone who knows how. (Damn.)

The happiest days are when babies come.

There must be a great deal of good in a man who could love a child so much.

(And my favorite.) After all, tomorrow is another day.gwtw2

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