(sometimes withershins, widershins or widderschynnes) means to take a course opposite that of the sun, going counterclock-wise, lefthandwise, or to circle an object, by always keeping it on the left. It also means "in a direction opposite to the usual," which is how I choose to take it in using it as the title of this blog. We're all in the same world finding our own way.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A lesson in relaxation

Life is a crazy, stressful place, so when all else fails you, take a moment and breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. Feel the air moving in and out of your body. Feel your chest rise and fall as your lungs expand and contract. Wherever you hold tension in your body: let it go. Relax those muscles as many times as it takes until they stay relaxed. For me it’s the back of my neck.

Close your eyes if you’re comfortable enough and it’s safe for you to do so.

But why does this work? It’s simple really, we don’t do it enough. In our everyday lives, we’re running, always running, and don’t take the time to stop and smell the proverbial lavender (really, it smells better than roses, just doesn’t look as pretty).

Now, I’m not saying we go around oxygen deprived, but deep breathing of the kind that calms? It’s nearly non-existent.

So do yourself a favor, pause your busy life and breathe.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

When my mind speaks and no one listens

Yesterday I slept in until well nigh noon, and while some would call me blessed to be able to do so, I'm not so sure.

I'm a morning person by nature. If I get up at 5 o'clock in the morning, I'm awake. There is no grogginess to compete with being aware; that only ever happens if I sleep too much. The idea of sleeping the day away itches at my sense of responsibility. Who am I to stay in bed when so many around me are up?

In my defense, I did wake up at 4:30 on Thursday and in the subsequent hours afterward took many buses and a train, traversing many miles across and to the greater metropolitan area around Seattle. Travel makes me tired. So does disappointment. I wasn't quite in time to see Alex or Sam at their school before they had to get to class. I got home about twelve hours later only to be in time to leave for an admittedly short three hour shift at Quiznos.

So I was tired the night before.

Part of me says that that is no excuse to laze the day away, but I didn't have work, I didn't have school and I didn't want to get up. In a sense it was balance. I wake up extra early Thursday to wake up late Friday. My body is rather skilled at doing that.

I've noticed the world always seems to work in balance with itself. When one event goes to the extreme, another counteracts it in some kind of cosmic enactment of Newton's third law of motion.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I wish I were a punk rocker (with flowers in my hair)

If I were to live on a deserted island for a year, I wouldn’t take with me people or modern conveniences. I’d even forgo a toothbrush and entertainment if it came down to it, but the one thing I don’t think I could live without is a supply of pens and paper large enough to last me my stay on the island.

I’m a compulsive writer. When I can’t sleep, I write. When I’m bored, I write. When I’m inspired, I write. When I have homework, I write. There’s just something satisfying to me about putting ideas down on paper, or has become the case since I got my laptop, on my hard drive.

I keep a diary most of the time, though there are stretches of weeks, even months sometimes, between entries where I forget to write or start writing but then never finish. And yes, it’s a diary, not a journal, not a log. To me, those are travel diaries meant for keeping track of adventures. A diary, despite the feminine connotations most people associate with it, is for writing about your mundane, everyday life whether you’re a man or a woman.

I also have a higher than average number of pen pals. An actual number is hard for me to give because I have a tendency to be the more reliable correspondent – which is just my passive-aggressive way of saying write me back, you dorks – but I’d hazard a guess at around seven depending on how long it’s been since I last heard from anyone.

Letters are by far my favorite thing to write, because unlike these essays I post or my private diary, they’re meant for a specific person to read. Sure there are easier, faster, more superficial ways to keep in touch, and I suppose in this I’m a bit of a throwback to the ‘70s (thank you, Sand Thom), but e-mail and facebook and the like lack the warmth of a real paper letter that arrives at your door/mailbox in an envelope.

Every once in a while I’ll find a Dear Abby rant or something similar by a baby boomer talking about how writing a letter is a dying art, that today’s youth don’t appreciate handwriting. I beg to differ. They just haven’t been introduced to the concept as they’ve been wired since birth. Look at me, I started the summer after my ninth grade year and I’m hooked. Sure, I don’t have my own personal stationary or anything and my handwriting could stand to be a little more legible, but I enjoy it, and what’s more, the people I write to enjoy it.

There’s a reason that acceptance letters and wedding invitations arrive in the mail and not over the web, and no, it’s not just to support the United States Postal Service. Receiving a letter in the mail is like receiving a package from the Unibomber, only instead of homemade explosives, you get happiness.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Washington Vote

Almost everywhere I go, it seems like I hear McCain-this or Obama-that and Palin-scmalin, but as a semi-educated young voter (I got a 5 on the AP Gov test, but I’ll guiltily admit that I get most of my political news from John Stewart, Steven Colbert and The Stranger) I’d like to hear more a little more Gregoire-what? and Rossi-Republican, going on.

Let’s face it Washington, as important as the presidential candidates are, it’s the governor and state legislators and the levies and initiatives and propositions on the ballot that will have the most direct impact on our daily lives.

This is going to come across as jaded, which I know probably isn’t something most people are used to hearing from the crazy optimist kid (or deluded fool, whichever you prefer), but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter who wins the presidential race. To a scary majority of Americans, all an election means is more annoying commercials and road signs to ignore and a different nut in the white house to blame for everything once it’s all over.

Talk to these same people about their neighborhood or local taxes or their commute and they’ll be able to tell you exactly what they don’t like. Most of those decisions aren’t made by the boobs in the District of Columbia; they’re made by the boobs in Olympia.

A special concern of mine comes into play when we talk about the “prior review thing” in the Puyallup School District. That decision was made by the superintendant and school board, one of whom is running for the state house if I remember correctly. These are good people with good intentions behind their decision, but they fail to understand the impact of what they’ve done, and the only way we can show them that is to prove to them that we are voting constituents worthy of their attention.

If you’re voting this November 4, vote for your candidate, but take the time to look at the rest of the ballot as well.