Posts Tagged ‘Dignitary’s Retreat’

2016: Brand New Year, Brand New Blog

January 5, 2016

So, here we are kicking off 2016! This will be the start of so many new and exciting adventures for all of us re-booters, including the fact that, as of today, I am renaming (and relocating) my blog. Dignitary’s Retreat is being officially retired and I’m switching over to “Rebooting a Life” as my new handle. (When you get to the blog page, click on the title and you’ll get the entire post, otherwise, you just read a squib.) I’m getting my act organized and have created a personal website as well as decided on a name for this blog that accurately reflects what it’s about! I hope you’ll come along for this revamped ride and follow me there…

http://www.chrisannawaldrop.com/2016-brand-new-year-brand-new-blog/

Springing into a Re-booting Regimen

March 24, 2015

Although those lucky few who live in the perfection that is Santa Barbara wouldn’t know that spring has sprung, those of us in DC and elsewhere are beginning to tempt fate by putting away our snow shovels and heavy sweaters. Turning our faces towards the sun, we wait in eager anticipation of the cherry blossoms. (Actually, as I write this, the ground is covered with a light dusting of snow wrought from a leaden grey sky, but I have a vivid imagination.) Our blissed out West Coast readers notwithstanding, spring is the time for rebirth and renewal all under the trusty umbrella of Re-booting! Carpe diem, baby!

 

Folk wisdom and advice columns are filled with traditions of spring cleaning and I now join their chorus. (I should tell you that I feel righteous enough to say these things because I am oozing with virtue, being on day six of a ten day smoothie cleanse.) It’s time to get your ass in gear and commit to tackling one of those projects you’ve been putting off. Maybe it’s your taxes or an exercise program or getting your brakes checked–maybe it’s something more. But, you’ve gotta start sometime, right?

 

Regular DR readers know that this blog is all about starting over, but, mostly in a different manner than we are accustomed to thinking about such things. The need to re-boot exists in one way or another for every adult out there. Even if our life situation is fairly stable and happy, each of us has something that leaves us wanting. We want to do better. We want to feel better. We want to fill that hole, whatever it may be. Sometimes but not always, filling that hole requires huge changes such as walking away from aspects of our lives in which we’re heavily (but unhappily) invested—relationships, careers, our expectations (about ourselves or others). Other times we may be required to accommodate change we didn’t choose—chronic physical ailments, death, job loss, or the disintegration of an important relationship. But, whatever form it takes, change comes. Always. It’s what we do about it that makes the difference between a re-booter and someone who’s too terrified to try. Where do you fall on this spectrum?

 

Spoiler alert! There’s never a “right” time to begin the re-booting process and, fyi, you’ll never fully finish. Re-booting takes a lifetime. This process requires the commitment and dedication to figuring out a better way of being WHO WE TRULY ARE, which means we have to 1) ask ourselves some difficult and sometimes painful questions and 2) summon the courage to move closer to what those answers tell us. (Who wouldn’t want to stall when you put it that way?!?)

 

The problem with stalling is that we can spend our entire lives putting off the answers we know lurk within, when those answers can only make our lives better. Deep down, everyone longs to be true to themselves. How true are you? Seeking the answer doesn’t have to mean launching an entirely different career or getting rid of a dead weight spouse–it can mean finding a better way of coping with a difficult relationship that’s not going to change. I’m not here to advocate for a heave-ho of your entire life (which is sort of what I did with mine), but I am here to use examples of my struggles to give you courage to tackle yours.

 

Ok, so here’s how I’m going to tie the re-booting process into the spring theme for today’s post. I want you to think about flowers. Floral bulbs have nothing much to recommend themselves. They’re dry and papery and pretty nondescript—they all look pretty much alike. We never truly know what we’re getting with a bulb, and the only way to find out is to stick it in the dirt and wait. But, at some point, while it’s buried, an impetus gets triggered and the little bud begins to push its little head towards the sun. It’s still too early to tell what it will be, but the signs are there. That’s you, right now. There’s a part of you that’s caught in that dirt, unable to squash your urge to push your head above ground. I’m here to provide a sprinkling of water to lubricate the process.

 

What are you struggling with right now?

What do you wish?

 

My blog is here to encourage you forward. I post this stuff week after week because it’s something I struggle with, too. Everybody wrestles with this stuff. I don’t care how old you are or how accomplished or how much your life is a hot mess. If you are trying to figure things out and trying to find a better way of approaching some very human problems, I am here to assure you that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

 

Ok, so, we’ll work on more specific issues in another post, but for now I wanted to provide a review of what Dignitary’s Retreat is all about. At some point, we have to set the navel gazing aside and GET IT DONE. Whatever it is you’re thinking about, spring’s as good a time as any to roll up your sleeves and pull the weeds up from their roots. Let’s spring forward together; I’m here to lend a helping hand…

 cherry blossoms

That Was Then, This is Now (2014)

January 14, 2014

Hey, kids, and welcome back to another fabulous year of Dignitary’s Retreat! Having concluded my union-negotiated winter break, I am back in the saddle, relaxed, refreshed and rarin’ to go. But, first off, let me take a moment to thank you, my devoted readers, for your interest and support. While I love doing what I do, the fact that you find it worth your time to read my posts, consider my posits, and see how they might integrate with your lives, well, all I can say is that means a lot to me. Together, let’s make 2014 a year of increased activity and insight, so…buckle up!

 

As the calendar year turns over each January, it’s a natural time to do as the Roman god of passages and transitions, Janus, did—look backwards and ahead. Where I want to focus today’s post is on the little matter of personal identity and how much of the past we carry into this thing we call ourselves versus who we allow ourselves to be going forward. (Oh, brother, you mutter, here she goes again talking in circles.) Now, while it’s unavoidably true that a great deal of who we are is based on our families and experiences, it is not dispositive—which is what a lot of people get tangled up in. There is a strong and understandable tendency to define ourselves according to what our families told us about who we are—and I have no problem in taking pride and finding solace in a shared familial past—but the past is the past. I mean, you weren’t the one hopping on board some creaky ship finding your way to the new world! You didn’t do that, somebody else did. And, if they didn’t do that, maybe they were the ones to raise a family of 13 on the Dakota plains or build a business empire in Atlanta or survey Alaska before it became a state—or even rob a bank, thus spending the rest of their lives in prison. My point is that as much as any of these episodes may have influenced your life experience, they do not define it.

 

You do.

 

So, my first question of the year, fellow re-booters, is how much of the past sets the parameters for who you are today? How far are you willing to allow other people’s choices, mistakes, or expectations to define your definition of yourself? For example, are you the caretaker of three generations’ worth of stuff you didn’t choose and would just as soon not have? What makes you hold onto it all? Now, substitute the words “perspectives” or “emotional baggage” for “stuff” and see what happens.

 

In my experience, I have seen people cling to the past because they’re too afraid to believe they might be worthwhile in their own right, without all those ancestoral references or achievements which make people sit up and take notice. Or, they fear that if they let go of large parts of the past such an action, somehow, invalidates the deceased relatives they loved and cherished. Letting go is tough, I know. But in order to make room for new things, in order to cultivate the wonder that accompanies new experiences we have to let go of the old. The same is true for you—are you, today, the same person your parents told you you were? Could they possibly know everything about the person you’ve become? Of course not! And, who you thought you’d be at fifteen is not an entirely accurate picture of who you have become. So, think on this awhile. It’s a new year and time for a new understanding of who you are—unbound from the choices and expectations of those who came before.

Going Through the Kitchen Door

January 10, 2013

OK, well, enough of the holiday hiatus. I’m back as a regular contributor, bringing Dignitary’s Retreat readers home spun wisdom, cautionary tales, and that sliver of hope when you sometimes feel desperate enough to believe it is slipping away…

So, how’s January treating you so far?

I want to tell you a story. The point of this story is to encourage you to believe that things can work out, even when your life feels bleak; but success requires your cooperation, courage, and a willingness to try against-the-odds strategies. What makes this difficult is the immediate fear that things won’t get better, that you’re bound to remain in the bad place you find yourself, and the terror of feeling like a fool. But you can’t know unless you try, right? Right.

So, as most DR readers know, I have been looking for full-time employment for quite some time. Having moved across the country to increase my odds of success, each of the applications, efforts, networking events, etc that I made have resulted in closed doors. Murmurs of occasional interest punctuated by total silence. It has been frustrating and disheartening to say the least. I have teetered on the verge of despair multiple times and it is only due to my stubbornness and underlying belief in my talents and abilities that has kept me wading through this swamp instead of giving up.

Have you ever had a time in your life when you kept trying and trying and trying and no door seemed to open? Yeah, that’s how it’s been for me, too.

Well, last week I happened to see an opinion piece published in a national newspaper written by someone who I had heard speak last summer. I resonated with his message and had thought about his remarks several times since then, admiring the course of his career and silently supporting the work he has been pursuing. But this is a well established individual who gives speeches and writes books and expostulates. (I may do all of those things, too, but my audience base is significantly less apparent. Ha ha.) This is not someone you “just approach.”

Except that I did.

Somehow, against all odds, I managed to get his personal email address and that of his wife’s. So, despite the knowingly random nature of my communiqué, I sent them an email explaining who I was, that I admired his work, and that I was seeking out interesting volunteer opportunities and did he, perhaps, need some assistance with one of his projects? By the way, he lives a good thousand miles away from where I am. I sent off my query, not expecting to get a response.

Doors opened.

Less than thirty minutes later, I received an enthusiastic reply from his wife. We’ve subsequently had a terrific, hour long conversation, a few email follow ups, and will meet later this month. They do need help. They have many irons in the fire. There are some people, locally, I should meet.

What does this have to do with you?

I share this with you because I want you to keep in mind that most household activity occurs in the kitchen. So go through the kitchen door. Climb through the air vent, if you have to. Even if polite company enters through the grand front entrance accompanied by a marching band, those gates aren’t opened very often, but the kitchen door is usually unlocked.

What back entrance might you try to pursue your dreams this year?


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