On Writing about Being Tired and on Coming Home to Writing

On Tuesday, I wrote rather successfully about being tired. I didn’t think I could do it. And I almost didn’t. You know why? Because there was that little voice — my voice inside my own head (I know you have one too!) — that told me, “No, no, it won’t be good. It is pointless. Don’t waste your time with that.”

I’m glad I didn’t listen. I wish I would listen less often. And I like to think that I do listen less frequently now than I did before. Once upon a time ago, it seemed that I only listened to that tiny but powerful ever-present inner voice day in and day out (eek!).

I’m glad I didn’t listen to this voice yesterday because (1) I am trying to get in the habit of not listening to it and (2) I am trying to also get in the habit of writing, even if that means writing about being tired because I don’t have the energy to write about anything else (hey — it’s still writing!).

I have missed writing desperately. Sure, I have written emails, written notes in greeting cards, written reports and proposals for work, and written in all forms of regular everyday communications. But that is not enough — and it has not been enough.

I have felt such a void for the past couple years or so because I haven’t been writing very purposely in a creative manner. A part of my soul has not been complete — to be completely melodramatic. (The only way to live and breathe like a writer — ah, sweet melodramatic air!)

And for this longish while I sat around wondering: what on Earth is wrong? Why do I feel strange, down, trampled on and not quite so easily able to bounce back? What is this freakish void?

Likely I felt this way for different reasons, but a big reason seemed to be that I simply wasn’t attending to an important part of me that had previously always made me alert, alive, and present — my creative side.

It’s this creative side that many of us office folk let slide away like the mysterious crumbs and paperclips that cozy their way into our keyboard cracks, collecting where we don’t see them until that fateful day when we shake it out and admire with awe at what has been camping out right before our eyes each and every day.

While this is a part of us that we often push out of sight in favor of things like…work, family, work, friends, work, and all other manners of productivity and social normalcy, creativity is just as essential as any of these other parts of our lives, and arguably should be re-prioritized to have a lucky top-tier spot.

If we don’t make our own creative life a priority, no one else will.

Creativity is so individual, so personal that it is hard for one person or the next to really know what it means to you. Because of this, it can be difficult for those around you to understand why you must prioritize creativity as a part of your daily life and ergo difficult for you to see value in prioritizing it if no one else you care about sees the purpose in it. 

But we must prioritize it. Or at least, I must prioritize it if I want to feel my most alive and fulfilled. Without it I am fine, but with it I am great.

As Elizabeth Gilbert put it through a story in her newest book, Big Magic:

“Three mornings a week, Susan awoke before dawn and, in that groggy hour before her demanding day job began, she skated. And she skated and skated and skated . . . It was a revolution . . . Please note that my friend did not quit her job, did not sell her home, did not sever all her relationships and move to Toronto to study seventy hours a week with an exacting Olympic-level skating coach. And no, this story does not end with her winning any championship medals. It doesn’t have to. In fact, this story does not end of all, because Susan is still figure skating several mornings a week–simply because skating is still the best way for her to unfold a certain beauty and transcendence within her life that she cannot seem to access in any other manner.”

Creative writing is this beauty and transcendence for me. It allows to me not only to express myself more adequately, but also to be the brave person I imagine myself to be and to feel at peace, at home in some strange and beautiful serenity garden, which I imagine to be filled with golden sunflowers turning with the sun’s skypath and with lavender perfuming the feather-light breeze.

It’s a lovely place — this creative space.

And I hope if you are searching for yours, or trying to reclaim a space for it in your life, that you find it.

May you have happy travels on your path to creative living.

Cheers,

KP

P.S. I highly recommend Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert for some inspiring, refreshing and invigorating reading. It is her book, in part, that inspired me to re-start my creative writing and begin it again in a more exciting, fun and less fearful fashion.

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Feature photo credit: My Journals / KP

On Being Tired and How to Wake Yourself the F Up

I intended on writing a completely different post for today. Likely because I intended to be in a completely different mindset while writing. But I did not and I am not. All I am is tired. Tired. Tired. Tired.

(I’m sure you know exactly what I mean!)

We all reach this point — sometimes once a week, once a month, every few months, or for the really lucky ones, once a year (and for these folks I wonder if they are just way too f’ing busy to even notice they are tired).

Some of us reach this tired point more frequently, some less — it all depends on our physical and mental health, current life circumstances, and the ways in which we are using our energy, among other factors.

Each person’s tiredness is not quite like another’s since we arrive at this state in various ways. And so, we should not compare our own tiredness to someone else’s. No point in judging those around you or comparing yourself to others.

Feel compassion for your fellow tired companions — we are all in this messy, confusing and inspiring thing called life together.

Remember: we’ve all been here, and know how it feels once we are here.

It doesn’t feel that bad and it doesn’t feel that good. Just kinda so-so. Meh.

So what to do? Well, we have a few options:

  • Keep being tired and live in a perpetual tired-cycle (eek!).
  • Get a shot of adrenaline and perk up real nice until you crash (eek again!).
  • Figure out why you’re feeling tired and sluggish and determine small steps you can take to gradually wake yourself up (seems like a good option!).
  • [Insert options to your contentment here.]

I will focus on option number three — the “figuring it all out” part. I know, I know — just thinking about that makes you tired…I know how that goes!

But let me break it down into three very simple steps and maybe by the end you’ll feel more refreshed!

Let’s go:

  1. Take your energy temperature identify what has changed around you. If yesterday or last week you had more energy, why not today? What is different? Have you been out-and-about more than usual? Had more meetings than you would have liked? Have you not chatted with enough people? Do you need more face-time? Less? Are there other factors at play? The type of food you’ve been eating or not eating? Etc. Etc. Etc.
  2. Discover how to re-balance yourself — this will depend on your answer(s) to the first step. For example, if you had too much face-time last week, then you likely need some one-on-one with yours truly (i.e. some good ole “me” time). Or, if you had too little face-time, perhaps you need to get yourself out there and scout out some good conversations, even if it’s with your Starbucks barista or friendly banking associate. By determining where there’s a gap in your energy cycle, you’ll be better able to figure out where and what you need to re-balance yourself. (I sound like a hippie right now, don’t I?)
  3. Go! Do something! Or do nothing! — just do what YOU gotta do. Practice self-care to reinvigorate your mood. Just be honest with yourself — do you need to do more to regain some semblance of balance and energy, or do you need to do less? Whatever it is — just f’ing do it. Ignore the guilt tugging at your heart and screaming in your ears — you’re not that great to anyone or yourself until you get back your energy. Do something or nothing — whatever you need — and your mind and your body (and maybe some folks around you) will thank you.

With this simple list of three I’m not asking or expecting you, dear reader, to paint an f’ing masterpiece or write a gorgeous symphony or even finish that report that’s lying idle on your desk. Nope, none of that.

All I’m saying is to just try on the darn shoe and see what fits, then take a step — be in the moment and move yourself on forward.

In conclusion, I am still somewhat tired (it is late on a Tuesday that I am writing this anyhow…), but I am also a little bit more awake, more refreshed. Perhaps you are too.

We will weather this gloomy cloud of tiredness together, friend!

Just keep on moving (or stay the f still) and things will start to realign themselves within you and the world around you.

Have faith. Have hope. And for f sakes — take care of yourself!

Ciao bella,

KP

P.S. Some parting food for thought from poet Charles Bukowski: “The tired sunsets and the tired / people — / it takes a lifetime to die and / no time at / all.”

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Feature photo credit: Fuzzy Napping / KP

Once a Groundhog, Now a Killer Whale

Let me explain.

Today, I attended a staff meeting for work and we began it with this icebreaker: if you had a spirit animal, what animal would be yours and why?

I love this icebreaker not only for its self-reflective nature (I am, after all, writing this blog about life journeys…), but also that it features an animal — and as anyone knows who knows me, I have a deep, profound love for all animals — they make my heart melt with ooey, gooey goodness!

But what I love even more than the icebreaker question itself is the way folks respond to it.

Answering it myself today, I realized something important: my spirit animal had changed.

Leaving the Old, Welcoming the New

I no longer consider my spirit animal the groundhog (more on this in a moment). I now consider the killer whale my spirit animal, amazing myself that I even voiced it out loud today as it served as a public acknowledgment of how much I have grown, and who I have become (even if my colleagues didn’t realize this — I surely did).

For a long while, I was more of a groundhog — adorable (yes, always adorable), silly, people-shy, grass muncher (vegetarian here), boundary-setter, treasurer of down time, fairly laid back, and rather connected to family and community.

While I still house many groundhog characteristics to this day (and likely forever — I mean, who wouldn’t want a groundhog around them in spirit — such adorable fat, furry beings? *squeel*), I have outgrown other groundhog characteristics.

With the journeys I have chosen to undertake throughout my life, I have been bruised, shaped and chiseled with experience. I now find myself looking in the mirror at a very familiar friend rather than someone to poke holes in and hang out to dry on a flimsy clothesline.

Given this, I can now finally see myself as a more powerful and evolved manifestation of the groundhog spirit — a killer whale (natural transition, eh?).  

Rennett Stowe_Flickr
“Killer Whales and a Glacier” by Rennett Stowe is licensed under CC by 4.0

I feel honored — having this big, beautiful, respected and powerful member of the dolphin family as my spirit animal — honored that it has come to me after all I’ve pushed myself to become and all I am still looking forward to becoming.

The killer whale in me has arrived just in time as I embark on this new blog journey and await many others ahead. I send my thanks out into the universe for having it join me.

Amazing Killer Whales

Killer whales are truly stunning feats of nature.

As one of the most widely distributed mammals in the world after humans, they are the fiercest fighters in the ocean.

They also, so very interestingly, have a “complex form of communication with different dialects . . . from one pod to another,” according to Defenders of Wildlife.

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Photo credit: NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center

What’s more, some killer whale groups have even been known to be extra silly:

“They wag their tails, slap their pectoral fins and ‘spyhop’—bob into the air to get a better look at the above-water world. They also engage in ‘greeting ceremonies’ in which whales line up in two opposing rows before tumbling together into a jostling killer whale mosh pit. ‘It looks like they’re really having a great time,’ says Ken Balcomb, a biologist with Washington’s Center for Whale Research.”

On a more spiritual level, killer whales are said to protect those who leave home and “lead them back when the time comes.”

Me and Killer Whales

As many may know, killer whales are, by nature, matriarchal. I feel that by my own very nature, I am aiming to be a sort of matriarch — a strong, successful woman leading the way to making the world better around her.

Killer whales are also very relationship-oriented, staying tight with their pods throughout their lives as they grow and change themselves.

In a similar fashion, I have always kept my dear friends and family close throughout the years as I have grown from a preschooler once upon a time ago all the way to the professional adult I am today. I still have a dear girlfriend from preschool and still keep many friend groups from each part of my life. This makes my heart swim with joy!

Moreover, as highly intelligent and creative beings, killer whales are amazingly self-aware and attuned to their surrounding environment.

Thomas Quine_Flickr
“Killer whale carving” by Thomas Quine is licensed under CC BY 4.0

I fancy myself as someone who is like this too — aware and responsible for myself at all times while also easily sensing shifts in mood of those around me. I like to think of this as my sense of compassion, and my ability to feel empathy. I hope my spirit animal would agree.

Killer whale culture is also very much focused on food in addition to family and play. Many killer whales travel long distances to hunt together.

As Eva Saulitis stated in Into Great Silence, “Food is place; food is culture. For us, for whales. The way an animal hunts, the way a human hunts, is culture.”

This resonates greatly with me as I am all about the food. I have grown up surrounded by a culture of food — good, old country Croatian cooking from my grandma and relatives and mother, dishes made of simple yet delectable ingredients that you savor like the taste of butter long after every last bit is spooned up — yum!

The one aspect of killer whales that resonates with me most, however, is this — that a number of killer whale populations are now endangered and facing extinction. Yet — despite the threats they face, they continue to swim on, feed on, play on, and ultimately fight on.

I have always considered myself a fighter. I have always fought against unfairness, inequality and for the protection of our rain forests, environment and the other animals we share this world with in addition to human rights.

I am a fighter to the core — and sometimes I think I was born fighting, fighting against social norms that too often chain us to certain socially and culturally-constructed identities that suck the diversity out of us and repress our individuality.

What’s more, even when I’ve thought I would give up during some of my most tiring times — I didn’t, and I still don’t.

Even after the very worst day, I will get up and face the new day called tomorrow in the eye and quietly sing it awake in my bones, taking one stroke then another until I swim back into the world to fight on. Because I believe, above all else, that there is still more to do — still more to see, more to explore, more to experience, and more to love.

As David Grimes said (as quoted in Into Great Silence), “In the end, we all just want to repay with our lives some measure of the love we feel. Don’t you think?”

Cheers,

KP

P.S. I want to hear from YOU, dear reader! What is your spirit animal? Or, what spirit animal do you aspire to have? Please feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email! (And I’d love to hear your personal story if your spirit animal has changed over time as mine has.)

P.P.S. Thinking of getting this type of killer whale design as a tattoo one day — good fit, eh?

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Featured image photo credit: Pod of Killer Whales” by Rennett Stowe is licensed under CC by 4.0

Why This, Why Now

I have this hunger gnawing at me — but in a pleasant way. So gnawing is not the best word….nor is hunger, perhaps…

…let’s revise! One more go…

I have this deep, deep and ever-replenishing well of creative energy inside of me and it’s going to burst and explode all over like f’ing confetti at a kid’s birthday party if I don’t start this damn blog and write the shit outta it.

There. Much better. (BTW — I’m PG-13 rated.)

With that, I welcome you to my very first blog post of my second, third, fourth…(who’s counting anymore?)…blog.

(You can find one of my still active blogs from a few years here — from a time when I explored Croatia as an English language teacher post-undergrad. I also have a fun, new Tumblr of GIFs I started with a good friend that you can check out here.)

I am excited to be here, and writing and publishing once again — finally! (Hallelujah!)

But why this blog, and why now?

I’ll tell ya: because it’s time!

It’s time to fully embrace my creativity once again — that creativity I once had by the boat-fulls in high school art classes and overflowing in college creative writing workshops — and harness this crazy energy inside me that wants to jump for joy and scream at the same time.

(Creativity is such a marvel, isn’t it?)

And so, as all good writers and poets do, I will tell you a story:

Once upon a time, like many folk, I was self-conscious to the extreme, very shy, and very self-critical, always second guessing my words, my actions and ultimately, myself.

Why? I’m sure for a variety of nature and nurture reasons — but let’s not busy our pretty selves with that now. Because frankly my dear, I don’t quite give a damn any longer.

And so, not long ago I decided it was high-time to kick that silly self-critical bandwagon to the curb (because we’re all pretty frickin’ awesome BA people just walking each other home) and focus on what really matters — living your life the way you want it to feel.

Now, I live for myself — but also to help others.

I continually strive to be a strong, successful woman working to make the world a more sustainable, humane, compassionate and happy place, knowing that every little bit helps. (Personal mission here, folks — hello buzzwords!)

I also live continually inspired by the retrospective thoughts folks have later in life that whisper to their internal brainlobes, “Looking back on my life, I wish I could have experienced that or done this differently. I regret…yadda, yadda, yadda…”

I am inspired thinking of this often quoted generic scenario not because I aim to think such thoughts myself as I grow better with age (pinot grigio, anyone?), but because I aim to not have such thoughts, or at the very least to minimize this nostalgic and sad internal dialogue.

We only have one life anyway — so why cloud up our precious mental landscape with sad, worrisome and negative dialogue if we have the ability to change our thoughts and our ways?

Of course, we will all reach a day when FOMO* becomes a reality you can’t rewind — but I would prefer, as much as I possibly can, to embrace life with all its warts and bruises and all its soft spots and light, breezy skies — because this is it.

This big, beautiful, strange, at times horrible, and usually pretty okay thing we have going for us is life. Our life. One. Just one, folks.

Let’s just say I’m ready and willing now more than ever before to explore this life to the fullest and see how far it can take me until I can look back on all the wonderful and challenging experiences I’ve had by myself and with those I love and think — “Wow. That was a pretty damn good ride.”

Onward — and rock on.

Ciao for now,

KP

P.S. Here’s what you’ll discover on this site over time:

  • Musings about life growth and journeys.
  • Thoughts on all sorts of relationships (friendships, familial, romantic).
  • Travel posts that go beyond the “see this, do that!” formulatic article style.
  • Musings on the world of activism and movements.
  • Random injections of humor and lightheartedness.
  • Less click-bait, and more meaningful content.
  • Posts on writing, reading and books as my heart desires.
  • Random posts on my personal obsessions.
  • Occasional guest posts by some extra, special folk.

P.P.S. You can check out my writing on other online spaces here, here, here, here and here.

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*FOMO = fear of missing out — a brief footnote for all the folks like me still stuck in the early 90s and beyond who have no f’ing clue what everyone around you has been talking about in this 21st century of ours…

Feature photo credit: Book and Relax / KP