December 22, 2009 and Daily Om sent its regular missive. Some days, I hold onto my Daily Om, ride on its beautiful back; some days the words are what take me from dawn until I get to sleep again to see what daybreak will bring.

May this one bring you clarity. Or at least encouragement. It will lift.

Coming out of a Haze

When we feel muddled and unfocused, unsure of which way to turn, we say we are in a fog. Similar to when we are in a fog in nature, we may feel like we can’t see where we’re going or where we’ve come from, and we’re afraid if we move too quickly we might run into something hidden in the mists that seem to surround us. Being in a fog necessarily slows us down by limiting our visibility. The best choice may be to pull over and wait for the murkiness to clear. If we move at all, we must go slowly, feeling our way and keeping our eyes open for shapes emerging from the haze, perhaps relying on the taillights of someone in front of us as we make our way along the road.

By and large, most of us prefer to be able to see where we are going and move steadfastly in that direction, but there are gifts that come from being in a fog. Sometimes it takes an obstacle like fog to get us to stop and be still in the moment, doing nothing. In this moment of involuntary inactivity, we may look within and find that the source of our fogginess is inside us; it could be some emotional issue that needs tending before we can safely go full steam ahead. Being in a fog reminds us that when we cannot see outside ourselves, we can always make progress by looking within. Then again, the fog may simply be teaching us important lessons about how to continue moving forward with extreme caution, harnessing our attention, watching closely for new information, and being ready to stop on a dime.

We cannot predict when a fog will come, nor can we know for certain when it will lift, but we can center ourselves in the haze and wait for guidance. We may find it inside ourselves or in a pair of barely visible taillights just ahead. Whether we follow the lights out of the fog, wait for a gentle breeze to lift it, or allow the sun to burn it away, we can rest certain that one way or another, we will move forward with clarity once again.

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Holiday's here and a year has past. Last year, only weeks after we fell into the swirling current of our national crisis, we staged a Christmas for the record books. With all the fear of a new, upside-down life situation, we made a daily decision to keep stepping forward, to remember what was important. This time last year, that was to fulfill the annual obligation to our family and friends. Christmas, Come Hell or High Water.

And it was a great Christmas. I can still feel the relief of December 26th 2008, knowing what we accomplished working with a daily (recession) recipe of nausea and resentment. We managed through the holidays with even a bit of cheer and festivity, by inviting people around and sharing a laugh. Community helped us come face to face with the pound of flesh we were about to donate, and despite the anxiety, propelled us forward.

Oh, those days, how I wished for a crystal ball. I remember thinking that if I could just pace myself, I'd make it the weeks or months of joblessness, wondering, waiting. If I'd had a crystal ball would I have believed that another Christmas would come, replete with fear and wondering, and we'd still be breathing? Indeed, if Santa had given me that crystal ball and I'd been seen a vision of the longevity of this limbo state, I think I'd have gone down in a puff of smelling salts.

We're still here. We're facing into Christmas with the same gritted teeth as last year. Committed to making the season light for our passengers, the three who didn't sign on for a year like we've had, much less another to come. The task is, again, daunting, but since I know I've done it up to now (still breathing), I can go a bit further.

Here's what worked last year:

  • Scented Candles, always. Pomegranite or fir from K Hall
  • Cocktail gatherings - manchego cheese, fig bread, music, someone else bring the wine
  • Easy dinners - roasted chickens from the butcher, arugula, dates & parmesan
  • Good and constant playlists from Pandora: type in "holiday"
  • Setting up a team gift for the extended family with Heifer

What I'll add this year:

There's a great deal of relief knowing we've made it this far. John goes off every day to a tentative workplace, intent on making it permanent. I throw creative balls in the air and hope they don't drop - but if they do?????

There have been so much inspiration and resources gained during this year of unpredictable tides. The threads are here, now we move to tie them together.



So I think we all agree, it's not a matter of how we got here, it's what color carriage we'll ride out on.

Before we arrived in the New Now - this age of "who the hell are we?" in the face of there being no free lunch after all - we didn't think much about the way out. Delivery? From what?

And yet, even with full time and satisfying employment, folks have changed their orientation. Target and Walmart are flourishing as go-to sources for fashionistas and freestylers. Dry cleaners and tailors are reporting record numbers as we continue to shop our closets. Contractors' phones are ringing off the hook, yet design magazines are falling like dominos. Even homeowners with a budget for renovation are finding the wherewithal to do it on the inside. (An arbiter of style, a friend who has always done things just so, had her children splash Benjamin Moore on a wall-sized canvas as anchor for her new dining room - isn't beauty in the eye of the beholder?)

I'd argue that this wave of homespun creativity should have rolled in a long time ago. We'd be a nation with a lot more style and character if we were more DIY.

In the New Now, the sane option is lifting your head to hear the stories. Creativity is individual, but I have a developing theory that nothing is NEW. I have a great idea which spurs one in you. You ask for advice from an acquaintance and he discovers his gift for giving it. Creativity is a knock-on effect. You've got to be creative, and you'll come up with the color of your carriage.

The blogs out there are legion, and each of them is based on a great idea carried to fruition. I suggested a reading list in Cyber Beauty. They're all sources of inspiration, but also these blogs are just great ideas.

Read blogs! Pass blogs along! Support those who wrote them with your time and attention, and that support will come back to you in chain-letter fashion. And in them, I'll wager the bet that you'll find a calling, something that leads you forward.

Are you looking for a great idea? Do you need creative inspiration? Is it a new job, the first line of a story? Is it a subject for your next oil painting or a Partner to brainstorm with? Look up and look around, the answer is there.