Great Expectations

Letter To Younger Me

Dear Younger Me,

I know I had big dreams.  I imagined life playing out much differently than it did.  In my mind I had my ideal job surrounded by all the  things that came with success.  I envisioned all of my fabulous ideas coming to fruition, but they didn’t.  Life did not follow the path that I thought it would.

Projects came and went, dust settled over them, dulling the sparkle they once held.  I became sad and disillusioned.  I looked around and wondered why others had success and I did not.  I doubted myself and my ability.  I stopped enjoying life.

Life went on, because that is what life does.  I wrapped myself into my daily routine and kept going, resigning myself to accept what was before me.  And then one day, it happened – a stirring, a shifting of the universe.  The cards I had been dealt were rearranging themselves into new formation.  I looked up and around, I had been caught off guard.

What was happening?  Could this be?  When I had quietly been becoming older and wiser, a new dream arrived.  With new-found patience I exhaled a long breath and wondered at it.  I hugged it.  I admired it – it was all mine.  It might not have looked like the first dream I had, but it was better, it was a perfect fit for where I was now.

And so Younger Me, I bid you farewell.  I wish I could take away the struggle and frustration that you feel in the present moment.  I feel bad for you that so many days have been lost, consumed and distracted by the “what-ifs” – while real and tangible experiences presented themselves everyday.

The only thing I ask is that today, take one single moment and immerse yourself in it.  Leave judgments, to-do lists, relationships behind.  Give yourself that.

All my best, Cavvy Ott

 

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Life Style

Laughter Unleashed

When is the last time you laughed so hard you cried?  I mean gasping for air, can’t talk, tears streaming down your face?   Even 30 minutes later little flurries of  giggles pour out.  And you feel good.  Even the next day you feel good, a smile glancing across your face in memory of the event.

Apparently, it is so few and far between that my family recalls those moments of me fondly and retells the stories as if worthy enough to hand down from generation to generation.

But that is changing, everywhere in my life.  I’ve begun to notice how laughter is creeping back in, settling into a more permanent fixture.  It certainly didn’t happen overnight.  I love going to work now and engaging with my very pleasant co-workers.  Sharing in funny stories of their personal lives or daily routine.  The hum of a happy staff person engrossed in their work, is music to my ears.  Back home I share in a laugh with my family from a clever comment or something funny that happened.  It’s a great way to start the day.

If you are jealous right now, I get it, I would be too.  It was not always like this, not for years, which is a long time to feel dead inside. A heavy fog had settled over “employment land” leaving it a barren landscape.  Sadly, it just takes one person to cast that cancerous cloud.  When that person leaves, it can take a really long time for people to feel safe again.  In my personal life, unfulfilled dreams left me feeling bitter and resentful – and I didn’t know how to deal with that.

Recently I was thinking about how I feel so deeply when a sad event has occurred.  I internalize it and feel that the only right and honorable thing I can do is to keep carrying on with the “grief torch.”  That is probably why I try to watch as little news as possible, the ugliness seems to stick.  With regret, I realized that time is passing me by and the wonderful little giddy moments –  that I actually have control over –  are nonexistent.  I CAN laugh, I CAN dance, I CAN live in the moment.

Right now, unhappiness and conflict rocks my faith community, to the point of people leaving.  I remember when this happened years before and I recall the words of my father-in-law, “We will still be here to carry on, long after others leave.  This time will pass.”  It’s often hard for us to see the horizon and that conflict is temporary.

You may think that it is the foolish that laugh, that celebrate… maybe it is the wise.

 

Planes, Trains, & Automobiles – laughing at their troubles

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Great Expectations

Your Time Will Come

I remember when my young daughter was in preschool and not hitting an important milestone. I was very frustrated when discussing the matter with the preschool teacher. This wise, wonderful woman with years of experience shared with me the words that I will never forget: “it’s not her time.”

Those are the words that I have to tell myself. I think of all of my past ideas that have failed to get off the ground. It has been a yoke to carry, knowing I have skills and talents that seem as if they have no place to go. It certainly hasn’t been for lack of trying. How many of you have had this same thought process, if you try hard enough it will just (should) happen? Despite our best efforts, we fall short. And yet we try. It must be the youth and inexperience in us that keeps us trudging along.

I know it’s annoying to see someone else have success (come on, we’re all thinking it!). I have turned over in my head many times how can one person, especially a young person, hit the jackpot, and the next person, who has toiled for years, have no results? Argh! It’s these times that reincarnation seems to be the only explanation. Life is not fair, but hey, maybe in the next one it evens out.

So we accept what might not be… and then one day it happens. We stop forcing it. That is probably the magical point where we become wise like that preschool teacher. Things start to take off – the right ideas flow and we willingly discard the old with no regrets. Somewhere I had read a quote that if a dream doesn’t work out, it’s OK, a new dream will take its place. I think that is part of success, not having such tunnel vision that you can expand and change direction, and thus rewrite your story.

Don’t be so hard on yourself, your time will come.  And if it doesn’t, I can almost guarantee you that something better will take its place!

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The Naysayers

The Great Piss Abyss

Disclaimer: I am all about keeping it classy. However, sometimes there is no substitute for the right words… Piss Abyss (I was pretty impressed with myself that I thought that up).

The “Piss Abyss” refers to my daily drive of “going over the cliff.” I finally came across an explanation for this phenomenon from the reference to negative effects of mind wandering from the Art of Manliness website:

“When we let our minds wander, we typically drift towards negative thoughts and emotions. We’re focused on unresolved problems, conflicts with co-workers and girlfriends, unfulfilled goals… Research has shown that even neutral thoughts that arise when our mind wanders tend to be shaded with a negative emotional tone. What’s more, once the negative thought/emotion stream gets going during mind wandering, we tend to fixate and ruminate on those thoughts (like a cow chewing its cud), which pulls us deeper and deeper into a funk. Not only do we tend to focus on the negative when our minds wander, that stream of negativity is typically directed at ourselves, because we’re the most common subject of our musings.”

Yep, that’s what happened to me almost every single time on my 30-minute commute. My brain would just drift off and away I would go over the cliff. Bitter and resentful over past events. I would pull into my parking spot at work properly pissed off and in a bad mood. It’s terrible, I did it to myself! I would play things over and over in my mind again. I would marvel at my seeming lack of ability to control this mind wandering puke fest.

It’s not like I didn’t try to snap out of it. “Think happy thoughts” I would say out loud to myself. Now with the whole new Cavvy Ott lifestyle I am doing better, even doing a little conquering. I have to be honest, at times there is some mighty super powers going on as a deflect nasty thoughts. I have to very intentionally admire a beautiful tree, or that curve in the road I’ve been over a hundred times. It’s worth it to arrive to my destination happy!

I wager I am not the only brain surfer out there looking for trouble. Anyone else finding themselves entertaining these thoughts?

via GIPHY

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The Naysayers

Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me

There are some things that never get old. I resurrect the timeless, old comedy skit, “Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me” for your enjoyment. If you are not familiar with this, it was a popular segment of the 1970s TV show “Hee-Haw.” That probably doesn’t sound too cranium-enriching, but it really was a clever show (and skit) that hit home on common everyday life challenges. In the end, we all had a good laugh.

Of course, the common element is feeling sorry for ourselves. I always marvel in watching someone “drive over” their life problems, and then throw it in reverse, just for good measure, to make sure they haven’t missed anything. I offer the example of an associate I know who has had my ear on numerous occasions. I had to chuckle when I recently saw her at an event, animated and face furious as she was undoubtedly informing a captive listener on another story of “life done her wrong.”

Aside from hitting her with a PAS stick, I don’t know how you wake these people up. They are creating their own little black hole of despair, which others want no part of. It’s one of those things that you can’t tell someone, like they have bad breath or B.O. How do you say, “Hey, you are a real Debbie Downer and you need to snap out of it!” (sorry to all the Debbie’s out there, I know some really nice ones :)).

Maybe this is a wake up call to YOU. Someone hasn’t told you to your face that all of this “poor me” bit is really “poor us” for having to listen. I’ve had some very well-meaning people in my life tell me I am a real party pooper at times (thank you, my lovely children). If you have read anything about Law of Attraction or building your positive energy, this is NOT it. I’ll leave you with a quote from my man Willie:

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson

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The Naysayers

Are You the Victim of a Plot Twist?

Today, I was the victim of a plot-twist. I cannot say I was totally surprised as there were some smaller less-than-ideal interactions leading up to it. It was awful in that it really was the last veil lifted to reveal what this person really was. I was incredibly hurt and disappointed. Read full story…

Plot twists are unexpected, something you don’t see coming. It makes a good story even better… but not so much in every day life. I am talking about when you think you know someone, and it turns out you don’t. I don’t know if its me being a slow learner or ol’ gullible me believing in the best of people. Then there is the “what happened to my gut telling me this is all wrong?”

I chalk it up to the inability to see a good, strong pattern. Or you don’t interact with the person enough to know that they are one bad apple. Or people warned you and you didn’t listen. Or maybe you are the type that rescues puppies and kitties and wants to feel needed. Whatever it is, it happens. I suspect its like waking from a long sleep or trance, and then all of a sudden, you see the person for what they really are.

They back-stabbed you, insulted, lashed out, snuffed out the very special flame of your spirit. THEY HURT YOU, for what would probably seem like no good reason at all. I would guess that your first feeling is anger towards yourself, how could you be so stupid? I’m sure closely following that is a deep sadness. I’m talking about sadness that such a person exists in this world and how could such a thing happen at all.

I don’t know if this will make you feel better, but there may be an explanation. Reflecting on the times I have witnessed this I have to say that it is very likely that the plot twister has a mental illness. I am saying this in all seriousness. A study by the World Health Organization states that 1 in 5 (or 43.8 million) adults experience mental illness in a given year. A lot of injured people are walking among us, ourselves included.

Yes, I know, it is very unsettling to be the victim of a person not thinking straight. My guess is that upon further examination, you will notice a wide berth around this same person, created by an estrangement from their own family members. It’s just not you, although there is probably very little consolation in that thought.

SO… back to my story. I was very hurt, the kind where your face is hot with anger, your heart rate is up, and you just want to hit something. Quickly, I forced my mind to switch gears and tried to put my feelings in reverse. I scanned my kitchen table to “grab” on to something concrete in the present moment. I was trying to Cavvy-Ott myself out of this. My eyes fell on a Valentine’s letter my daughter had opened earlier. It was hand-made with a kind message scrawled on the back from family who are dear to us.

 

I love this family and their beautiful hearts of gold. Their sincere words wrapped around me and melted the hate away as I touched the intricate fretwork of the greeting. It was an amazing moment – I stopped that ugliness cold.

My wish for you on this Valentine’s Day are many amazing moments in the year ahead. Maybe you experience it with others, or maybe you just make them for yourself. 🙂

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