Tag Archives: cave dwellers

Stepping Off the Path–and Getting Lost in the Weeds

 

From Pinterest: Mystic path. Sendero místico.  by Zú Sánchez. on Flickr

From Pinterest: Mystic path. Sendero místico. by Zú Sánchez. on Flickr

 

For the past four years, I’ve worked diligently to establish my sense of myself as a writer. Following my own plan and routine, I’ve spent pretty much every waking moment writing or thinking or talking or dreaming about writing. I’ve given myself short breaks, a day or two here and there, but for the most part even during those hours and days of respite, the stories continued to flow through my mind, the voices muted to a whisper but always in the background, patiently waiting.

For the last few months, I feel as though I’ve stepped off my life’s path and have been stumbling around in the weeds that grow beside it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I’ve come to realize that the more I ramble about, the more I learn to identify and admire the weeds, the more comfortable I feel meandering away from my path and that is a scary thought.

I had great expectations for the New Year. I decided that 2014 was going to be positive, “The Year of I Want To,” twelve months of doing exactly and only those things that I want to do rather than doing the things I feel like I have to do. Into my routine, I’d insinuate a disciplined hour of journaling every morning (rather than scribbling down my thoughts about the day in a few hurried minutes at night right before bed); I’d burn incense and meditate each and every morning without fail; I’d stretch back into my yoga practice; I’d still get up early but I’d set a more realistic schedule for myself, beginning my work day later (9-ish) and end it earlier (6-ish) so that I could bring walks and fun and balance back into my life. (In retrospect, I’m convinced that the sound I heard outside my window as I sat at my desk and planned my year was not the wind at all but was, in fact, the Universe laughing hysterically.)

January rolled around and my life took a sharp turn. My routines were interrupted, my days were spent focused on everything but writing, everything that had to be done or needed to be done rather than what I wanted to do. I convinced myself that once the work was done, once the house was painted, the garage was emptied and organized, the shed was cleaned out, the yard was fertilized and weeded and pruned, the car was replaced, our money issues were resolved, and my life was turned on its head, I’d get back to writing, that I’d get my plan back in action and the writing would commence in earnest. (Or I’d just abandon all hope and get a real job.)

In my mind, I see this detour as a strange little road trip. I see myself bumping along my path, eyes forward, scanning the horizon for dips and turns, hills and valleys. I swerve to miss a pothole now and then but for the most part I am right on track, aiming for the sweet spot right in the center where the going is easy. Then, out of the blue, a storm kicks up and my little patch of paved road turns to dirt and mud. Lightning strikes up ahead and I find my path is blocked by downed trees and blown debris. But hey, there’s a rest stop right there so I pull off my path and take a breather. Before I know it, the rain’s gone, the sun’s shining, and it’s time to get back on the road. But while I’ve been sitting in the parking lot waiting for the storm to pass, eating Cheetos and watching the road wash away, nagging little thoughts have crept into my mind and they’re not just about the long and winding road ahead but about the vehicle I’m in. When was the last time I changed the oil? When was the last time I bought new tires? Checked the blinkers or the brake lights? When was the last time I looked down at the gas gauge or the odometer reading? And–oh, look! Is that a dandelion? I love dandelions! There’s another one over there! No, that’s a daisy. I love daisies! (Sigh.)

The weeds have grown tall around me. (They’re green and have the sweetest little white and yellow flowers.) I should get a blanket and sit down right here and read for a while, I think. Reading is a good thing, an old passion that makes me happy. But it feels like there’s something I’m missing, something I should be doing. I’ve stepped off my path and gotten lost in the weeds but I can hear a rumble off in the distance. Maybe it’s my path calling me back. Or maybe it’s the Universe laughing hysterically.

When I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

George Lucas Got Married and I Feel Dizzy

 

 

George lucas 01

Is George Lucas a Cave Dweller? I’ve always thought so. He seems like someone who values his privacy. Then again, if he has everything he needs at his ranch, why leave? But maybe that’s just the impression I’ve gotten from what I’ve read about him. Or maybe it’s just that I like the idea that he’s a quiet soul living a sequestered life away from the weirdness of the real world. Nevertheless, I read this morning that George Lucas got married. Good for him!

Now the dizzy part: I’ve taken to cruising through Goggle Trends lately, checking out the big top ten of what’s happening in the world. It sure beats wading through website after website. Then again . . . George Lucas was the top trending story, so I clicked to find out why.

Tread lightly through the mine field!

I use Chrome as my web browser with all popups turned off, yet I had to wade through a myriad of advertisements just to get to the story (and heaven forbid you accidentally click on an image while trying to X-out of a pop-up!). Upon arriving at the landing page, I was lambasted by more ads surrounding and clouding the seven sentences in six paragraphs that briefly identified Lucas, his bride, and a short list of attendees at his wedding. Had the story not been in large font, the better to take up space, I would never have been able to find it among the whirly-gigs vying for attention.

Shiny, whirly, shiny!

At the top of the screen, just below the banner that hosted every social icon known to man–as well as small ads for sponsors–was a camera limping along pushing letters out of the way; a video on the right showed running commercial segments for unidentifiable products; below video number one ran video number two advertising a credit card. Sandwiched between the paragraphs and the videos were other advertisements, sponsor notices, and links to other news and trending topics and related stories and more news about other people only marginally related to anything on the page.  I’m assuming there was a little profiling going on here along the lines of, “if you like this story about this guy, then you might like these stories about these people, too!” Yikes!

And people wonder why we suffer from attention deficit disorder. Even that discussion is enough to cause symptoms: AD/HD [A.D.D. OR ADHD]–the whole strings of letters–is now the acceptable term. How can anyone not be distracted from original intent if we are constantly bombarded by–Oh, look! Shiny!

A couple of years ago, I considered walking away from TV for good. I found myself turning more toward the internet for news and weather updates, where everything I needed was instantly accessible. I’m finding that’s not necessarily true anymore. If I have to click through ad after ad, wade through tons of video clips and news bytes just to get to the information I need, it defeats the purpose. My purpose anyway. I don’t want to be smacked in the face by advertisements. I realize that many people are making a lot of money on blog/news ads, but this is ridiculous. I don’t watch CNN because I hate that scroller that brings me all the news I don’t want all the time. The internet is now inundated with the same stuff presented in the same way.

Where’s a Cave Dweller to go for simple, straight-forward news? I’m still looking. And clicking, and . . . Oh, look! Shiny!

Just for Fun!

Dandelion

I love this image and it feels appropriate today.

Anchored in Time

stonehenge 2

Today is June 21, 2013, the longest day of the year. I know the date; I know what year it is, but I’ve noticed lately that I have to stop and think about it as I save a file. It has long been my custom to identify my files by name/subject and date. This helps with draft updates and revisions and it also helps keep me anchored in time and space.

When the heck did I write that? I often ask myself when I run across a stray journal entry or errant dream fragment or short story. Oh, I remember now. September 18, 2003. That was about the time this or that happened. Lately, though, I’ve been hesitating before hitting 3, even catching myself typing a 0 or a 1 for no apparent reason. It makes me think where my head is, where my mind has cast itself back to, and what my higher self is trying to tell me.

Make it so.

Time is a funny thing, stretching and twisting and expanding at will, then warping back with a snap. My kids and I have a time warp theory that stems from common experience. We’ve all experienced moments when time seemed to stretch out before us, allowing us to cover miles of road or innumerable pages in the seeming blink of an eye. My first experience came in high school when my mother drove 45 miles in 15 minutes. No kidding. My mother who never exceeded the 55 mph speed limit. We left my uncle’s house at 4:00 in the afternoon and arrived at our exit–45 miles away–at 4:15. Now, unless that old Oldsmobile had hidden warp speed capability, the only explanation we could come up with was a time warp.

That strange sensation of time slowing down has a boomerang effect though, too. As it’s happened time and again throughout the years, I’ve come to realize that at some point, time catches up with itself–and usually while I’m brushing my teeth. When I was working at a real job, brushing my teeth was always the last thing I’d do before walking out the door. Dressed and ready to go, I can’t tell you how many times I looked at the clock as I headed to the bathroom and it would read 7:22 (or so–plenty of time), brushed my teeth (quickly), and then glanced once again at the time: 7:44. Holy crap! I hate to be late and I’d rush around the house settling dogs and locking doors. My son used to call me on his way to work and he could always tell. “Time warp?” he’d ask. “Yep. Playing catch up.” It happens.

Happy Summer Solstice!

So, on this longest of days I get the distinct feeling that time is, once again, playing catch up, allowing us to drink in the sunshine for just a little longer, holding the darkness at bay for just a few minutes more. Time can afford this stretching out of the moments at play. Winter will come soon enough and it all balances out in the end.

What a Difference A Day Makes

Is it just me?

Is it just me or did the internet change overnight?

I took yesterday off, a rare thing for me, but I decided I needed a full day of no work, no hanging out on the internet, no scrambling for ideas for blogs or stories. For once in a blue moon, I did not spend several hours formatting a document for upload or working on a book cover. Instead, I sat outside and read free short stories from Amazon. And I watched ‘Hemlock Grove’ on Netflix. (All I can say about that is YIKES! My daughter, on the other hand, had this to say: “That is the most gruesome transformation I have ever seen. I hope they do a second season!” Hint: it’s about werewolves and other creepy things).  So, it was a day of change for me and I woke up rested but feeling completely out-of-sync.

Good morning, Max!

I logged on later than usual and after checking my email, I went straight to Google. There, instead of a colorful logo or a holiday-themed search box (although today isn’t a holiday), I found an animated Max from Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are and an arrow to click. So, I clicked the arrow. You’ll have to check it out to see what popped up.  (You can click on the link above.) I was pleasantly surprised and if you are –or ever were–a Sendak fan, I think you will be, too. I also noticed that there’s a microphone in the search box. Was that there two days ago? If it was, I missed it. Now that I’ve noticed this small change, I’m wondering what else is new. I’m on the lookout for other things that are different before they smack me in the face. Unfortunately, I am a creature of habit, doing the same things over and over again until I’m forced to make a change, even for the better. But I’ve noticed that Google has a different feel this morning and a different way of searching.

Visualize . . .

I am a believer in visualization. I believe that it is possible to manifest a better world. See it, feel it, be it.  Google seems to believe in visualization, too. On the Google Trends page, it’s now possible to bring your search to full-page with a scroll of clickable hot topics. I’m not exactly sure why that’s a great idea given that a full list with photos is available just to the right, but apparently this is helpful for some people. Or maybe they’re moving incrementally toward another change. I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

So What?

Granted, these small changes may not seem BIG to you and in the stream of all things on the internet are actually quite small, but it seems to me that as one platform changes, so go the others. One small change urges another and another until everyone is, once again, doing the same thing. I’m not so sure that’s a good thing. Maybe Google is reacting to a change somewhere else along the line and, having been in my cave, I just missed it.

Are you noticing changes in the way you’re doing business on the internet? Is added visualization a good thing? Do you want a screen that appears in mid-air and comes complete with holograms? (I do! I’ll be on the look-out for that one!)

 Just for Fun

Game of Thrones Season Three ended last night. After the Red Wedding, this felt like somewhat of a let-down. If you’re a fan, you might get a kick out of a compilation of the Top 20 Most Shocking Moments of ‘Game of Thrones.’ I’m not sure I agree with the order, but it’s a pretty good list thanks to Nora Grenfell.

If you have other shocking moments, leave me a comment.

And don’t forget to take today’s poll.

Thank you!

Thank you

We’ve had a GREAT first week! I’m very excited about the number of views and followers Cave Dweller has gained–thanks to YOU!– and I hope that the numbers will continue to climb as word spreads that we’re here. I’ve had a lot of fun writing and developing the pages  and finding topics to include and share with you. As I’ve said, writing is what I love to do. Being social? Not so much.

Moving forward, I want to continue to explore what it means to be a Cave Dweller in a social world, and your suggestions and ideas are always welcome.

If you’d like to be a guest blogger, let me know. I’m always happy to listen to and share new perspectives. We’re wide open here and ready to talk about anything that you might find of interest.

I hope you’ll take a break from life and work or whatever keeps you busy each day to take a poll and leave me a comment. I know, I know–this isn’t a social site. But your insights will help me keep Cave Dweller a cave you will want to visit again and again.

Have a great weekend! (And don’t forget to take today’s poll!)

A Cave Dweller Goes to the Movies

It’s Friday and I’m thinking that at some point over the weekend, I’m going to go to a movie. (First showing, small popcorn, bottle of water, back row, exactly in the middle of the aisle.) Here’s my dilemma: I don’t know which movie to see. I was all psyched, ready for MAN OF STEEL, and then discovered that it doesn’t open until 6/14. Bummer!

So, what are my other choices?

THE PURGE opens this weekend. My only reaction to the trailers I’ve seen lately is YIKES! The premise sounds intriguing and I like Ethan Hawke and love Lena Headey but having survived the Red Wedding last Sunday night, I don’t think I have it in me to sit through another blood bath. Click here for a  link to the NYTimes review in case you’re interested. 

How about AFTER EARTH? I guess I have been living under a rock because I was surprised to learn this morning that M. Night Shyamalan directed this one. I liked Signs and The Sixth Sense but I don’t know about this one. Here’s a review from Wicked Local (Plymouth).

And then there’s FAST AND FURIOUS 6. I can’t decide if it’s a viable choice or if I’ve seen enough of The Rock and Vin Diesel–even as buddies working on the same side. I might have to wait for this one to come out on DVD. The reviews I’ve seen don’t look too promising. Here’s one from JoBlo.

Star Trek: Into Darkness: Seen it. Iron Man 3: Seen it. I liked both of them but I have to admit to being more a Trekkie than a Stark fan. (Well, except for the Starks of Winterfell but that’s another story!)

Maybe I’ll wait for MAN OF STEEL after all. Besides, the finale of GAME OF THRONES is on Sunday night and that might just be enough excitement for me for one weekend.

Help me decide. Take the poll and let me know which movie you’d like to see this weekend.

Animals and Humans: A False Divide?

“We don’t just share our lives with animals; we are animals — a reality that we often choose to forget in modern Western culture. Research published in the June special issue of SAGE journal, Social Science Information (SSI), delves deeper into our relationship with other creatures, critically examining our own animal nature, and looking at how animals profoundly influence our culture — perhaps more so than we had initially thought.”  (from Science Daily 6/5/13)

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130605133712.htm

A friend of mine, another Cave Dweller like me, sent me this link this morning. I’m not sure how it’s relevant to my quest to understand my desire to step away from 21st century society and the strange demands I feel it puts on me as a human/spiritual being, but it’s an interesting article.

 “To be human does not mean to have fled animality, but on the contrary to live within it and to let it live within us…we are animals and animals are us.” And that is an intriguing idea. 

In some respects, I think we’ve evolved beyond our early survive-by-the-seat-of-our-pants (or animal  skin shorts) mentality. Then again, sometimes I think we’ve simply learned to design better clothes and weapons, added more social structure for crowd control, and that we’re all Cave Dwellers at heart just trying to survive in our modern world.

What do you think?