Thursday, June 30, 2005

Time Management

The only consistant thing between me and time management is that I continually manage to run out of time.

I am the kind of person who thinks she can do 10 things in one hour.... okay, I'll be more realistic... 5 things in one hour. Then, look up to realize that she's spent over 3 hours on ONE thing!

Like this newsletter that I FINALLY got out this morning. I started (this last stage of it) at 6:30 this morning. It is now 10:10 and I just completed the last step! UGH!!!! All I needed to do was do a final read through and send it to my mailing list.... Ok... so those two things included about 15 steps and a couple of unexpected complications.... but hey! I SHOULD have easily been able to do it in at least TWO hours! Right?

Anyway.... if you'd like to see the finally completed project - (I won't even mention that it was scheduled to go out June 1st!) - here it is: Create a Happy 'Tude - Transitions.

Here's to continuing the Journey.... and managing to get at least ONE project done in a rediculously large amount of time!


Friday, June 24, 2005

Honey Moon

Did you seen the full moon (the Honey Moon) Wednesday night? Gorgeous!

Whenever I see a full moon, especially low in the sky like this one, I can't help but take a moment and enjoy its beauty. There's just something about it that draws me in... a sense of magic, wonder and awe....
Traditional astrology says that the Moon signifies change and fickleness, and astrologers have long been aware of its influence on earthly events. Today, there's growing scientific evidence to support theories that were once rejected as superstition. Read more about this research.

The Farmers Almanac, which has monitored astrological activity since 1818, claims that when the Moon occupies a particular place in the Zodiac each day at 7:00 a.m. EST, it can play an important role in achieving the best possible results for certain activities. If you're thinking about starting a new project, cutting your hair, doing a little planting, quitting a habit, or potty training a child, better check the Almanac for the Best Days to ensure your success!

Other interesting links:

History of the Farmer's Almanac. This must be the "new" Farmer's Almanac, as the "Best Days" link above is to the "old" Farmer's Almanac.

Calendar of the Moon's activity. You can even get the RSS feed to be informed daily.

See all the Full Moon names. Seems that farmers refer to the June full moon as a "Strawberry Moon"

Atlas of the Moon. With way too many scientific words for me... but cool pictures!

Today is Mid-Summer - the official middle point of the growing season.

More folklore.

Here's to continuing the Journey... enjoying the Moon's glow and watching with glee as science and folklore meld together!


Saturday morning: Forgot to add this yesterday, plus I've been having technical troubles uploading images. But think I may have found a way around it.... Here's the same Moon shot with a little Paint Shop Pro Artistic Brush Strokes....

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Happy Summer Solstice

Today the sun will be at its highest elevation, giving us in the Northern Hemisphere, the longest number of daylight hours and the shortest number of night time hours.

The word solstice comes from two Latin words: sol (sun) and sistere (to cause to stand still.) In the days leading up to the summer solstice, the noonday sun rises higher and higher each day. On the day of the solstice, it only rises an itty-bitty, hardly noticeable amount, and so, seems to stand still.

Summer Solstice is known by many names – All-couples day, Midsummer, Feast of St. John the Baptist, Gathering Day, Litha, etc. It’s also celebrated by many cultures and faiths, both ancient and modern – China, Celtic, Christian, Native Americans, Neopaganism, Prehistoric Europe, etc.

Stonehenge is probably the most famous of the ancient stone structures built to mark the sun’s rising. But there are Native American structures as well. Calendar One* is in a 20 acre natural amphitheatre in Vermont. Bighorn Medicine Wheel is west of Sheridan, Wyoming along with 40 or more similar “wheels” on the high plains of the Rocky Mountains. There are also some in Canada. The term “medicine wheel” was coined by Europeans as a term to describe “anything native that white people didn’t understand.”

So what’s all the big deal about the summer solstice?

To ancient cultures, more hours of sunlight meant warmer weather. Warmer weather thawed the ground and melted the snow. It allowed flowers and herbs to grow and leaves to return to the trees. And most important – it made food was easier to find! This midsummer time also marked the middle of the growing season for most of Europe. With the planting done and a few months to go before the crops could be harvested, it was a natural time for celebrating!

It was also a good time for weddings. Traditionally, the best time to harvest honey from the hives was around the first full moon in June – called the Honey Moon. With this fresh supply of honey, newly wed couples were fed lots of dishes and beverages made with honey during the first month of their married life. This encouraged love and fertility. The surviving remnant of this tradition continues today in the holiday couples share immediately after the ceremony – the Honeymoon.

For more information, visit Summer Solstice (where I got most of my info). * Sorry, could not find a website for Calendar One, Vermont - only mentions of it on two other websites: Sacred Sites and Burlington News.

For a look at European sources and links to Stonehenge, visit my friend Paul’s weblog,
Off the Beaten Track.

Here's to continuing the Journey... enjoying the sunshine and learning more about our cultural history.

- Becky

Monday, June 20, 2005

Resistance, Reluctance, or Time Out?

I've been trying to figure out this muck I’ve been sitting in the past couple of weeks - thinking that if I can understand it (meaning name it, embrace it, figure out what it’s trying to tell me) then, I can get myself the heck out of it!

At first I called it resistance.

Using a stream-of-consciousness journaling technique, I began asking questions. With this, I discovered a fear of success hiding under the resistance. I was also reminded that overwhelm is one of my favorite methods of self-sabotage.

Talking to a friend a couple of days ago, she too was commenting about being in a resistance mode. She’d just finished several big projects and completed a four-year training course. As she talked about just letting go and letting herself be resistant, I realized that, while trying to let myself be however I needed to be after my crazy busy school year (or two or three… or seven…) I was also laying a guilt trip on myself for not being done with it already. After all, two months ago, I’d laid out all my summer projects on the calendar and here it was mid-June and none of them had been completed yet!

Getting my June newsletter out was one of those projects – was due June 1. Typically, I figure out the topic for the newsletter whenever it comes due, using a topic from whatever’s been going on with me or in my life.

But with all the resistance…. this strategy was not working. (And, yes, I do realize that in-the-moment-topic-searching is not really a good strategy for keeping a monthly newsletter going, but….)

Today, I went to and searched for definitions, trying to at least get a starting point for just sitting down and writing something! I found an interesting definition for resistance.

Resistance - a process in which the ego opposes the conscious recall of anxiety-producing experiences.


Further down the page I found an English translation:

Resistance - an unwillingness to bring repressed feelings into conscious awareness.

Hm…. Not really what I’ve been feeling.... But on down the page I found a clue for another angle to search through:

resistance is a kind of unwillingness - the trait of being unwilling

With unwillingness having that circular kind of definition, I moved on. Continuing my search, I came across reluctance, which paired down to reluctant with three meanings:
  1. unwillingness to do something contrary to your custom
  2. unwilling to become involved
  3. not eager
This was getting closer to what I’ve been feeling, so I went back to my journal:
Reluctance, what are you here to teach me?

Trying to get you to slow down and just be. Take a time-out.

Of course! Time out! I should have known. My computer does it to me all the time… and there was a definition for that, too!

In communications, the intentional ending of an incomplete task…. Timeouts are common in communications applications in order to free up a line or port that is tied up with a request that has not been answered in a reasonable amount of time. For each type of situation, there is a default length of time before the timeout is initiated....

Now THAT describes me and how I feel exactly! I’ve been tying up my lines with bunches of requests that have not been answered in a reasonable amount of time, which initiated a timeout....

But wait... that’s the same as overwhelm, isn’t it?

Here’s to continuing the Journey... gaining deeper understandings, and learning not to be so resistant about time-out!


Monday, June 13, 2005

Sleeping on the Job

Sleeping on the Job
Sleeping on the Job,
originally uploaded by bwaters.
Apparently the cello lullabies I've been working on really work!

DC, my almost one-year-old kitty, frequently helps me out in my home office, providing inspiration and letting me know when it's time for a break.

This time it seems he was overcome by the "power" of the lullaby!

Just added the 4th (last) one Sunday night. Want to hear them? Click here... (best not to listen while driving or operating dangerous equipment.... just in case!)

Here's to continuing the Journey... working, playing.... and sleeping!


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Getting Back in the Swing

Thanks to the Cello Lullabies I've been writing this week, I think I'm gradually coming out of my funk and getting re-energized! (Use the link if you'd like to hear them.)

I hope to have the fourth one written and all of them formatted and ready for publication no later than June 24 - when I talk to my composer friend/business partner, Jim Stallings. (He lives in Atlanta.)

Jim and I started GembeckMusic a couple of years ago - it grew out of our brainstorming the question, "How can we help each other out as composers?" during the 3-hour graduation ordeal getting our Masters degree in Composition, May 2003.

We've made some progress, but as we are both very right-brained, the business still is in a late sort of "set-up" stage.

BUT - we made an agreement with each other yesterday to meet by phone every other week so that we can keep the momentum going and keep each other accountable to our To-Do lists. (I know, you left-brainers out there are probably thinking "well... duh!" But, like I said... we're composers!)

Anyway - this is also part of the reason for my re-energization! And the anticipation that I may actually achieve my goal of getting all my finished pieces uploaded to the GembeckMusic site and ready for sale!! (It's been on my To-Do list for... yeah, 2 years...!)

Here's to continuing the Journey... getting re-energized and back on track with my passion - writing music!


Friday, June 03, 2005

Actually, the Truth is.....

.... in continuing the reasons why I have not written a post lately (as started in Life as a Sine Wave).....

The truth is that I had the wind knocked out of me.

After going on and on about how wonderful the experience was in my recent acting opportunity, (blog posts Basking in the Afterglow, Smoking Cast, Feed off the Audience and a whole newsletter dedicated to the idea of stepping out of one's comfort zone), I discovered that I was not chosen for the potential re-play of the show in January 2006 because I could not be heard consistently.

I could go on and on about the symbolic meanings of this.... but the short story is:
  • I know that I have a quiet speaking and singing voice.
  • I had a body mic on during the shows.
  • I didn't realize I was not being heard.
  • So I didn't even think about needing to project.
  • I have projected and been heard across a noisy room several times in my life.
  • But this takes a tremendous amount of energy (and in these instances a bit of frustration and fed-up-ness).
  • I believe that being in the show helped to "cure" my fear of being seen by giving me the opportunity to "feel the fear and do it anyway".
  • I am still grateful for the whole show experience and for the many things I've learned from being in it.
  • I take this "rejection" as information that apparently I have a "fear" of being heard also.
  • With this new "awareness" I've noticed other situations in the past weeks where this "fear" is being pointed out for healing.
  • I sense that the two fears - of being seen and of being heard - are interconnected.
  • Even though I intellectually understand all this, I think emotionally, I have been hiding and "licking my wounds".
  • It's interesting that after the first weekend of the show, I woke up with a sore throat on Monday and could hardly swallow by Tuesday morning.
  • I am grateful for doctor friends and strong drugs that helped me say "NO! This drama experience will not be sabataged!
  • It's also interesting that this past Sunday I woke up with swollen, painful, stiff joints in my toes, ankles, fingers, knees and upper vertebrae in my back/neck.
  • According to Louise Hay's book, Heal Your Body, swelling has to do with being stuck in thinking and clogged, painful ideas; stiffness has to do with rigid, stiff thinking.
  • Working on the inner issues behind these physical symptoms has led to some interesting "aha's".
  • These symptoms have nearly all gone away now.... I can wiggle my toes, make a fist, move my neck around and walk down the stairs without hanging onto the railing and grunting with each step!
Here's to continuing the Journey.... and learning more about myself from every experience life sends my way!


Thursday, June 02, 2005

Life as a Sine Wave

I guess I need to just accept the fact that my life is a sine wave.

I’ve known for a long time that I tend to go through a down period after finishing a big project. And I learned after grad school, that the longer or more intense the event, project or experience, the longer and deeper the down phase.

“Normal” projects like recitals, concerts, finishing a composition or web project, taking a weekend workshop, or going on a business trip, the usually down time is a day or two.

So after finishing my graduate degree a couple of years ago – a seven year project – I figured I’d be generous and give myself a whole month to recuperate. Then, I figured, I’d bounce back and get on with my new leisure life as a non-student, filling my time writing music and being a church organist.

Nice plan in theory. In reality, however, the down time lasted all summer. And somehow by mid-August, I’d filled my plate full of outside commitments and it was already time for the school year to start!

Even though it was a good, productive year – won lots of composition contests, wrote a couple of commissioned pieces, performed in several concerts, made a few business trips to hear my pieces performed, completed a six-month coach training course and went on a 10-day mission trip to Lithuania – the year was so busy, I had no real down time between projects.

And I didn’t even realize what had happened until the next August, when I was ready for summer – i.e. ready to go to the pool, enjoy a less busy schedule and work on some projects of my own – and “woke up” to realize that my summer was gone and that I’d spent it in a sort of unconscious haze.

And that at this point, the only thing left to do was grab a hold of the merry-go-round and start another equally, if not more busy school year than the last.

Finally, May 17, I checked the last thing off my list from this horrendously busy year then took a couple of “conscious” days off. After a weekend workshop in Atlanta where I had some major “aha’s,” I came back on Monday to begin a semi-conscious post partum down time.

I say “semi-conscious” because even though I’m aware of this down pattern, I still did not really plan time for it. In the last weeks of the busy-ness of the semester, as things were winding down, I scheduled all my summer projects, giving due dates, assigning specific days to work on each one, and even noting the specific number of hours to work on each project. My rationale was that since these “project hours” only added up to 15 or so hours each week, so I’d be able to easily work in my down time around them.

Again, a nice plan in theory. In reality, though, the strategy is not working.

Seems my body and my energy levels – physically, mentally and emotionally – have their own plan, and the past 10 days I’ve been doing a lot of sleeping, playing with my kitten and just sitting….

Last night I was talking with a friend I hadn’t seen since April. We were catching each other up on what we’d been doing and I realized that I was really embarrassed about not having worked much on the five projects I’d scheduled myself to be working on these past two weeks – a couple of which should have already been finished!

When he said, “oh, you’ve just been hanging around” like it was no big deal and a perfectly natural thing to do after a long busy time, I realized what I’d been doing to myself….

Over the last two weeks, I’d been becoming more and more antsy about potentially “wasting” another summer and I’d been berating myself for getting further and further behind on my projects!

Feeling like I’ve been catapulted out of a fast moving car and thrown onto the side of a cliff, hanging on by my fingernails, but sliding down slowly, slowly into dark canyon…. I’d been worrying about what to DO: Do I try to climb back up? Or do I let go? If I let go will I fly? Or will I just fall faster? And trying desperately to figure out a way NOT to get back on that merry-go-round in August!

His words were a reminder to give myself time to just BE….. instead of fighting it.

A poster on my wall says…
Stop sinking… change your way of thinking.
Maybe I’ll go back to my project list and pick out five things to work on during the whole summer! (instead of five in two weeks!)

For now though, I think I’ll go play with my kitty cat and maybe take a “regroup” nap before I move on to something else….

Here’s to continuing the Journey… finding out the hard way about energy cycles and sine waves… and learning – slowly – how to just ‘hang’ and BE!