Daily Prompt: Silver Linings

Daily PromptWrite about something you consider “ugly” — war, violence, failure, hatred — but try to find beauty, or a sense of hope, in your thoughts.

Epic failure.  We’ve all heard that phrase at one time or another, usually in reference to a sarcastic remark or a taunting retort to something that didn’t quite work out as we had hope it would.

Between the examples above (although I am aware that I need not confine my post to the exact words in the prompt): “war”, “violence”, “failure’, “hatred” — “FAILURE” speaks to me in capital letters, loud and clear.

But I want to focus more on the lessons learned and the so-called silver lining behind all that had happened.

I can say that whatever failure I had come across, I am grateful that I can say now that I know myself better, and I look at the world with more pragmatic eyes.  (or jaded?)  I have mellowed many grades down, learning how to fade into the background instead of being in the spotlight where I used to be.  No, it’s not the background, I’ve become part of the audience.  I watch and listen.  And I just watch and listen.

In the same way that we usually underestimate ourselves, there are many respects where we often overestimate our capabilities.  Sometimes it takes a personal failure for us to get a better grasp of who and what we really are.  It is what we do with what we learn and what we find after the dust has settled that gives us that silver lining.

Speaking for myself, I like the mellowing down.  It’s given me a more practical view of life.  I am not wont to go for the fairy tale endings anymore.  HAPPY is no longer spelled in capital letters.  I’ve learned to appreciate the regular happy things — the smaller signs that someone up there is watching out for me — and I savor that and say thank you.  I’ve learned to appreciate who and what I am, realizing that the years have changed me, and what I used to be is just that – WHAT I USED TO BE.

I’ve learned to rely more on myself in the absence of friends who used to be around every waking moment.  The silence has helped me listen to my own thoughts instead of regurgitating someone else’s.  The silence has made me appreciate the presence of those who, while they may be silent themselves, are forever present in my life.

Failure can either break you or make you stronger, and while I have to admit I have been broken in some respects, I’d like to think it has made me a better person, if only because I have “come down to earth” so to speak, looking at the world with more pragmatic eyes.   Blog Graphic for Daily Prompt Post: Silver Linings

Staying put this Sunday

By late last night, I had decided NOT to go to Springfield, MA for Heirloom’s West Springfield Rubber Stamp and Paper Arts Festival this Sunday — this, despite the fact that I had been “dreaming” of being in craft heaven today.  I just hated the fact that I’d have to wake up earlier than I even do during the work week.  Saturdays and Sundays are precious for the extra hour or so to just vegetate and catch up on sleep.

There is always a next time, and there’s Amazon.com.  I received three products I ordered in the mail yesterday, and seeing my new dies convinced me I had enough to keep me busy over the weekend.   I got the Spellbinders S5-154 Shapeabilities Expandable Patterns Botanical Swirls Die Templates (on the left below) and the Spellbinders S5-148 Nestabilities Decorative Labels Eight Die Templates (picture on the right).

In addition, I got another one of my Ranger DYC-33882 Dyan Reaveley’s Dylusions Collection Ink Spray, Lemon Zest which should make for a good addition to my current stash of spray inks.

I figured I could always order online and just wait for it to arrive at my doorstep.  That way, I control the expense better and I don’t get carried away with all the fantastic demos I see in the craft fair!

I am going to color some plain white envelopes for a zentangle envelope swap over at Swap-bot.  I am just postponing “staining” my nails which is a natural consequence of using these inks.  I also want to do more of my Philippine Map postcards to make room for spoilage.  (My most recent attempt in writing the lyrics of the Philippine National Anthem as background cost me two prepped backgrounds.) 

Sometimes we really just have to take the time to slow down and recharge.  Yesterday was a good day to do that because of the scorching heat in New York. (And summer isn’t even here yet!)  Plus, I had to help the little tyke do a project for school which, I’m happy to say, turned out quite well.

I’m looking forward to the week ahead.  So you might actually see samples of projects done with my new “tools” — and I might even get to post in the shop again over at Gotham Chick (on Etsy).  I’m inspired because of a recent sale.  Time to get crafting again!

Daily Prompt: Fight or Flight? Neither.

I am a little delayed writing what I wanted to respond to as far as the Daily Prompts are concerned, so you will possibly see two coming in a span of 24 hours.  I have been busy and while I was itching to write here, I just didn’t have the energy or the time.  So here goes..

Daily Prompt (from The Daily Post):   When faced with confrontation, do you head for the hills or walk straight in? Was there ever a time you wished you’d had the opposite reaction?

I have never been one to back off from confrontation — until some life lessons I learned in recent months which saw me change my game plan drastically.  I don’t think it was because I had suddenly changed my way of thinking about the workings of life in general — I just lost the energy and the spirit to be “confrontational”.  There are things that happen to us in the course of our lives which alter the way we react to things.

My answer  would be a little “off” because while I would normally walk straigh in, I don’t.  And yet, I don’t head for the hills.  My answer to the prompt, unfortunately, is not clear cut.  It would’ve been 18 months ago. 

Not anymore.

I’ve learned that there are times when just standing still in the midst of chaos will minimize your injuries.  Running in any direction — whether towards or away from the melee — is not a guarantee of safety.  And there are times when you just find yourself glued to the ground you’re standing on — unable to move even if you wanted to.

I choose to be still.  To just stand where I am.  To get hit in the chaos if  I get hit, or to just avoid the rush of the crowd in any direction. 

For the most part, it works for me.  Now.

Perhaps it’s age that has made me more accepting that confrontation can be a costly means of dealing with a situation.  Perhaps it’s the losses that have made me realize that the victories are not always worth the energy it took to achieve the win.

Someone had once told me tha even I didn’t do anything, things will fall into place.  In an ironic and yet very real way, they have.  After the chaos, I stood where I was, not moving or wanting to go into any direction.  And everything became still.  I found myself alone — the rowdy crowd gone — the noise settling into silence.

Fall into place, things did.  I watched the world go on with me standing where I was.  In watching, I learned to be quiet so I could listen.  And I learned a lot from what I saw and what I heard.  In many ways, being still helped me to move forward.  Even when at times, I felt a painful nudge on my shoulder from someone walking past without a care.  Or when I got run over by a bulldozer who didn’t bother to swerve.

Was there a time I wished I had done the opposite?  Perhaps.

I wish I had stopped sooner.  I wish that instead of plunging head on and confronting a situation I was forced into — I instead pulled back, or I instead just stood still.  But that is all wishful thinking now.  I went forward and it cost me all the energy and spirit I had.  So now, I stand still.

If I had done that – stopped sooner before so much damage had been done —I’d still be as gungho about confrontations as I used to be.  I wouldn’t have the wisdom of the life lessons I learned in the last year or so, and I wouldn’t be standing still, watching the world go by.  I wouldn’t be listening as intently as I do now — because I’d still be preoccupied with having myself be heard instead of hearing what the world was telling me.

Yes, things did fall into place.  I found my place under the sun.  And this is where I stand.