Posted by: alegra22 | April 13, 2009

parachute on slow

moving into calmer waters

moving into calmer waters

Sometimes my learning process bewilders me. In trying to unlock the front door, I often end up rebuilding the house. I go straight to the blueprint, maybe all the way back to growing the trees that ended up as the wood for the door, before I figure out how to put my key in the lock and turn the knob. But hey, not only do I figure out how to get in, I also learn to build a house, maybe even grow and fell a tree and get some serious lumberjack biceps.

This week I went back to this basic blueprint:

Feelings do not equate into reality.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, emotional maturity 101.  Entry level stuff.

Once upon a time, I thought I had these life basics mastered but I didn’t, I just wasn’t taking any risks that were close to my heart. Playing it safe does not equal proof of serenity. Now that I am a mother and pursuing this dream of writing, my deepest fears and desires have been called out of hiding. My heart is walking around outside of my body in the form of two little people and my words on the page. As I have faced both success and opportunity beyond what I had once dreamed possible and a learning process that will forever involve a certain level of rejection and criticism, I have had to go back to the basics of understanding the connections between thoughts, feelings and reality. I have had to ask myself why I want to write, why I dream of teaching at University, why I used to dance, why I surf. I have come to understand that there is not some marker of success that will achieve security in these things. What I am longing for is the connection that happens, usually unexpectedly, when I am in the middle of doing them.

I write because it makes the world come alive for me. In moments, the words come together and I experience the kind of awe and joy I see in my children’s eyes daily. Grace opens up like the universe winking at me and it is a beautiful thing. 

If the ultimate goal is to catch and hold the universe’s eye, I am learning that the best bait is to fill my heart with calmness, to breathe, to laugh often, to surround myself with beauty without purpose, and to fail with joyful abandon and succeed with a sense of astonishment. It puts rejection, self-doubt and setbacks into perspective.

So yesterday when I lost half a chapter worth of material, putting my word count back by several thousand, I had a moment of  “#*(%&)Q_%!!!” and then I put on some good music and made peanut butter cookies with my children.

There is a song whose lyrics capture the spirit of this for me.  I listened to it on repeat while I made a mess in the kitchen:

“…You will find me down by the river

getting high on my mortality.

I’ll be holding hands with my nameless beauty

or whoever wants to stand next to me…

…You can take it easy

’cause I’ve a mind to

put your parachute on slow.

We’re moving into calmer waters

where all of your loveliness will show…”

Sinead Lohan

Another week, another day, another opportunity to jump out into the blue once more. I am learning to put my parachute on slow.

An update: I just received the most wonderful acceptance letter from Bitter Oleander for my story “Naming Shadow.” It will be printed in their October journal. I have been running around the house like a yappy little dog on speed. I think I have just about exhausted myself. I will most likely get nothing done today. :o)

My goals for this week:

1. Continue my current pattern with writing, hopefully having four chapters done by the end of the week

2. Keep up with my good eating and weight lifting

3. And an exciting coming attraction so stay tuned…

How was your week?



  1. *Feelings do not equate into reality* is a very good point. I’ve had some crazy mood fluctuating days and this is an important frame of thought to keep in mind. I corner myself and life based on a mood or something somone says but as I thought to myself yesterday, my emotional situation right now does not mean anything in regards to reality.. so it’s funny you mention that.

    And funny too you mention the rebuilding of the house. My dreams lately have been involving me in a big house, finding dates written on wall paper and wanting to tear it off and paint it a new color.. and having arguements with people in the house as well that are my guests.

    Oooh, a coming attraction, I am all eyes : )

    • I am excited about the coming attraction too! It was a brain child I had in the shower and before I could talk myself out of it I made contacts so that now I can not back out…

      And yes, it seems so obvious but I have really understood lately that just because I have an attack of self-doubt regarding what I am doing it doesn’t mean it is a reality. The ups and downs are always going to be there and every high is followed by a necessary low.

      I have been having a lot of house dreams too…funny that ;o)

  2. Having a rough week, so a bit removed, sorry. Total stink about losing the half chapter, but I know that you will resurrect it, even more glamorous and shiny. But on to goals.

    I got three of my weekly goals done – finished “Digital Poetics”, finished marking tests, and have managed to get Dreamweaver arranged for my pc and laptop – w00t!

    This week is a kind of crap week all over, and I’ll be lucky if I can finish the book I’m meant to be having my tutorials on next week. I’ve got a PhD induction day all day Friday that I am expecting to be remarkable uninformative, with about 30 minutes of valuable information from an 8 hour “induction.”

    Things are starting to move about here so I should go, but sending much love and emotionally nurturing and lumberjack-bicep-building hugsies.

    • I am so sorry you are having a down week, please let me know if you need an IM date or a phone call…I would consider it an honor to be a willing ear.

      Reward yourself after the induction day – it is the only mature and wise thing to do!

  3. Awesome news A – Well done!

    I love how you roll with the punches – what’s a few thousand words when there’s cookies to be made anyway?

    My goal this week, and maybe for the rest of the year? Keep giving myself the following advice:

    Write something as if you’re saying something. I mean use YOUR OWN voice. If you use some made-up voice that you think sounds like a writer’s, you’ll never get through this!

    I’ll let you know how it goes.


    • Thank you!
      That is such good advice to tell yourself. It can help reading writers with a very conversational tone…but even if you end up writing like ‘a writer’ don’t worry, it is only a first draft and first drafts should be sh*tty with a few sprouting moments of unexpected beauty.
      Go! Go! Go!
      (As in keep writing)

  4. Okay, this comment is a long time coming…

    but here goes:

    a) I had no doubt that you would be published with one of your brilliant, if less wordy, stories

    2) I knew this particular story would find a home because you are Alegra and how could it not?

    c) Peanut butter cookies are great therapy for anything.

    So, I still think that if those 2K words are imprinted on your computer’s soul, that I would be able to find them given a chance.

    But even so, sometimes a startling loss gives us a new, better perspective towards something, and we find ourselves treading even lighter, and taking more precise steps, so I have no doubt that whether those words find you again or not, that whatever words find you, they will be amazing.

    As for goals, I’m living in the moment. Goals are so yesterday for me. (I only say this because I’m too lazy to make goals I know I won’t remember to keep).

    • Long time coming but well worth the wait.

      Thank you, as always, for your continued faith in me PSM.
      When you have the time we will set up the webcam operation session and see what is hiding in the guts of my computer…hopefully those 2000plus words are huddled in a corner waiting to be found.

      I am not even going to try to sell you on the value of setting goals ;o)

  5. I’m so thrilled to have discovered your blog today! This post is so beautifully written and rings true of many things I feel as a mother and a writer. I’ll definitely be back to read more 🙂

    • Hello Kimberly! I am thrilled you have found me too. I am glad you liked the post, it was wonderful to get your feedback this morning. I look forward to getting to know you more. Strength in numbers I say! :o)

  6. I read this yesterday, and it has taken me a bit to get back here. I’ll save it for an email.

    • I am just glad you made it over here. How is the website coming along?

  7. Congrats on the publishing!

    Love the Emo 101, a course I seemed to have missed, lol. My homework:

    Feelings ≠ Reality

    Figure way to make my “#*(%&)Q_%!!!” moments work to my advantage, I have so many of them.

    This has been interesting following your blog.

    So far I’ve added ear plugs to my bike rides (what a difference!), cut down massively on sugar, I’ve completely eliminated caffeine from my diet (no longer a jittering zombie anymore, hah), so now I work out more! Imagine that.

    Are you producing some kind of good magical faery dust that seems to be whisking away in the wind and over my house?

    Coming attraction? now I’m in suspense…

    • Honestly, I use earplugs in so many situations. I never realized how exhausting noise can be until I began blocking it out, or rather, muffling it to a manageable roar.

      How are you feeling now that you have cut out the sugar and caffeine? Caffeine will be my next step. I have reduced it drastically – I used to have more coffee in my veins than white and red blood cells. I usually drink a cup in the morning, and then maybe a yerba mate midday and again when the kids come home, but my system is so sensitive to blood sugar levels I think it still causes me to get a boost and then crash.

      I love the Emo 101 line. You could make that into a t-shirt.

  8. It’s been 7days now, and the best word I can say is serene. I feel more in tune with the world around me and it feels good. I hope I never drink caffeine again. After drinking it like you did, I’m certain it’ll take a few months to fully feel great, but I’m on my way I hope. No pressure on you, I know you have a lot, but you should try losing it, you won’t regret it. The caffeine molecule blocks natural receptors sites in the brain, thus incurring the overflow of adrenalin. But caffeine isn’t harmful, just sort of like cheating for energy, something we all struggle for in this day and age.

    I learned the 101 thing from you and I love it, that’s classic and original, hope you don’t mind me borrowing it for my own therapeutic purposes.

    I’m wishing you good things in your publishing endeavor (I know you’re going to succeed) and hope matters go well with you in general.

    Thank you Alegra

  9. Well, here I come a week late! The next Monday right around the corner…

    My week has been so overly full as I’ve steamed along beyond light speed in survival mode at both school and work that I haven’t had a spare moment till now. There’s been a lot of “#*(%&)Q_%!!!” this week to say the least.

    What were my goals for this week that just passed? I might have accomplished some of them, but I can’t remember right now because of the blur. I did get everything in by every conceivable deadline that I had. I did manage to save myself from an attempted usurpation coupe with a little help from my friends. I spent my half-hour almost everyday – at least until I filled up the yard waste container and had to quit till after the next garbage pickup day…And, I even put in quality time with family and friends…yes, somehow I did it! So, I think that might cover my list from last week.

    For this week, my list on Monday should have been:

    1. Quality time with the family and friends.
    2. Keep up my ‘half-hour’ daily regeneration sessions.
    3. Get caught up on my homework.
    4. Figure out my class schedule for Fall 2009.
    5. Make travel arrangements for a short summer trip to the East coast.

    Since the week is almost over, it’s safe to say I’ve accomplished items 1, 2, and 4. Item 5 will happen tonight or tomorrow and item 3…well, there’s no hope for it this weekend either. Main goal is to write a paper due on Monday for a letter grade.

    I really like this part of the song lyrics you posted:

    “…You can take it easy

    ’cause I’ve a mind to

    put your parachute on slow.

    We’re moving into calmer waters

    where all of your loveliness will show…”

    It is so necessary in this world that moves way too fast.

    And…BTW – don’t know what happened to your file, but if MS Word, it could have been saved in a temp file somewhere. Email me the details of the crash event and maybe I can give you some techie tips.

    Love to You!

    • Hey Big Sis!
      I loved the ‘friends to the rescue’ bit.
      The file is lost, but it is okay, it sort of needed to be lost so I could find the right words. What I had written wouldn’t have really worked now that I have gone back and addressed a few issues. *sigh*
      Your goals are always so amazing and mind-staggering. I wish I had your ability to achieve so much!

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