reflection

Life without Exclamation Points

question mark, exclamation point, ampersand, and other punctuation symbols - vintage letterpress printing blocks in small wooden typesetter box with dividers, isolated on white

Life came to halt last week and it was all because of one very tiny computer malfunction…

My exclamation point key stopped working.

Yes, I know in the real world this is no big deal. Its one key out of 30-some, but being without it affected me in interesting ways.

As a writer, I know better than to litter a manuscript with exclamation points, however when I chat with my friends on facebook, I like to do a lot of exclaiming…because that’s how I talk, with lots of drama, excitement, passion. In person I communicate loudly, dramatically, flapping my hands like a baby bird trying to leave the nest, pantomiming life’s dramas with animated finesse.

However with that punctuation mark missing my words just lay flat.

All of this happened at an interesting time. I had been oscillating between really happy and really miserable—singing in the morning, crying in the afternoon, and ready for bed by five. From a psychiatric perspective one might say I was “rapid cycling”.  Personally, I just saw it as growing pains. I was processing a lot of new information and like a teenager exposed to rapid life changes, I was feeling moody.

My friend, who for better or worse, has had a front row seat to the pageantry of my emotional ups and downs found my keyboard predicament amusing. After a hearty dose of teasing (and flaunting his own exclamation capabilities), he paused to point out a possible advantage to my predicament.

He suggested that maybe without the highs (as expressed with exclamation points) that maybe the lows wouldn’t be so bad.

I smiled at the notion that a punctuation mark could change my mood …but then again…I thought. Why not?

And so as a silly experiment, instead of taking that five minutes necessary to fix the key, I decided to let it stay broken.

At this time I was also trying out another experiment: mindfulness—letting go of negative thoughts, letting them pass through me, like watching birds migrating down the coast, each one moving by slowly, silently without significance.

And so the days without my favorite punctuation mark progressed. It was frustrating at first. My words didn’t have their normal power, but something else was happening as the mindfulness began to set in, I was watching my intense thoughts pass through me.

At first this made me feel kind of dull. I wasn’t used to the quiet.  I thought to myself,

What do I fill my head with when the intensity is gone?

The answer was astounding: in the quietness, in this life without exclamation points, there was something hidden…JOY.  Love in its purest form.

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure if there was any correlation between my broken computer key and my feelings of rapture. Could my missing punctuation make me feel more calm or was it the gentle acceptance that nothing in my mind needed to be grasped so tightly? Or maybe it was a little bit of both.

I do like to think that by removing the exclamation point I symbolically let go of some of the drama in my head. I don’t know for sure, but it’s fun to think about all the same.

I’m just beginning this lifelong path to mindfulness. It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve chosen to do, but I’m tired of the roller coaster. Sure, I’d like to keep the nice rolling hills, but I’m ready to say goodbye to the violent ups and downs.

Now, I’m not saying I’ve given up on excitement or passion. I love life and will gladly live it with a happy heart. I just want to start recognizing those overwhelming emotions—the useless, fear based ones that cause me so much suffering.  I’m ready to let them go.

I can do this and I will. It’s going to take a lot of love and perseverance on my part, not to mention forgiveness and a dedicated willingness to change.

Since I started this story I’ve fixed the exclamation point on my keyboard and I’m going back to telling my stories with pizazz, however something has changed. I am now a little more conscious of my highs, my lows, and the glorious feeling of life in between.

Peace,

Becky

Check out my books at www.beckypourchot.com

I Am Not Me

18535064_s

I’ve always been skeptical of epiphanies…you know, those shining moments when the world finally makes sense? Frankly I’m not an epiphany sort of gal…I’m more a mull and worry until something vaguely resembles a solution, but here I’ve been this past year and something has changed—radically. I’m not me. I mean I’m very much me…but not quite the me who I was raised to be. This emerging self is comfortable with who she is. She’s forgiving and loving and sees her life as not a series of failures, but a series of triumphs. Shame, my greatest enemy is just an echo. For the first time I am not in the passenger seat, but behind the wheel, making choices. In control.

So, I know if my old psychiatrist read this…or my dad for that matter (he was a psychiatrist as well) he would say “We better check your meds. You’re sounding a bit manic.”

I mean yeah, I suppose that diagnosis could fit. Tragically mania has been my go-to explanation for the times when life was going well.  Honestly, I find it hard to believe these feelings are caused by illness. This new mental state is grounded and steady…and in fact I feel healthier than I ever have before. I’m the one in control of my mood, not the other way around.

So, if it’s not a misfiring of a mentally ill brain, what is it?

Things started opening up when I picked up Neale Donald Walsch‘s Conversations with God. I won’t go into it all, but I will tell you two key tenants 1)There is no good or bad. Everything we are, everything we do is a part of “God”. 2) Everything in life is a choice. We have absolute control. Our decisions can be broken down into love or fear. Which you choose is entirely up to you.

Since then I met a woman who is a certified hypnotist. I must say I was skeptical, but when my friend with excruciating pain returned pain free I decided to give it a try.

I was scared, but somehow I also knew it was time to try.

The day after my first session with Sue, I felt strong. I was refreshed, relaxed and at ease. Now, for someone whose mind is like a grazing rabbit, always on the lookout for danger, this feeling was liberating—if not a little bit perplexing. But you know what? The feeling has stuck. I’ve since been practicing hypnotism on my own, resolving inner turmoil by visiting the dark parts of my mind and I realize I AM in control.

I see now there is no need for fear, nothing to be ashamed of because we are 100% beings of love. That’s it—just pure love and if we treat ourselves as such we can become powerful, compassionate beings without the baggage of fear and hate to weigh us down.

Now I must say, these revelations didn’t come by just picking up a book. These are ideas I’ve had with me my whole life. They are things people I love have shared with me, but it’s just now that it has clicked and ceased to be merely ideas. Now, I feel as if these concepts are embedded in my soul.

I’ll keep blogging about this wonderful journey I have found myself on. I’m expecting there to be snags along the way.  I’ll share those too.

In the meantime I’m going to keep up with the self-hypnosis and let go of the shame I was taught as a child. I am no longer afraid of my own power. I am not a helpless daughter, but a woman with the strength to do amazing things in her life. The power is in my hands, what I do with it is yet to be seen.

Have any of you out there experienced life revelations?  When is it mental illness and when is it personal growth?

Peace to you all!!

www.beckypourchot.com

Wisdom from the Dung Beetle

dung beetle

My husband, Shawn and I were headed barefoot up to the beach for a stroll when he suddenly stopped me and pointed at the road.

What I saw, I kid you not, appeared to be a small piece of crap rolling itself across the street.

“What the hell?” I asked getting as close to a piece of crap a one can comfortably get.

I then noticed a beautiful iridescent insect, working diligently, pushing that tiny ball of doggie doo with all his little-bug might.

Shawn and I watched the guy for longer than I’ve ever watched a bug do anything…we were enthralled, captivated by his determination to manage something that the rest of us view as waste.

He eventually made it to the grass on the other side and we cheered for him (much to the confusion of passerby’s). Rather than stopping for a bow, he continued onward pushing that crap in the neighbor’s yard.

Now, I’m sort of weird this way… because in this moment of watching this dung beetle do what dung beetles do, I reached an epiphany…

“Holy shit….” I said aptly, “This dung beetle is me!” I looked at my husband who just smiled like he does when I don’t make much sense.

“No I mean it…my life… Here I am just thinking I’m doing something lofty and important, but in reality I’m just pushing a ball of shit around.

Sometimes I’m too introspective for my own good, and in this case it might have been true.

As a writer/stay-at-home mom I am not technically employed.  I write books, poetry, short stories, but I have yet to see my name in lights. I don’t have the great Amazon rankings and I’m putting in a hell of a lot of time for not a lot of money.

With the life of a dung beetle weighing heavy on my mind I did a Google search and sure enough our little green friend appeared on the screen. It turns out the dung beetle’s efforts are not fruitless. The beetles roll the poop to a safety then lay their eggs in it, insuring that their babies are born snuggled in tight in smelly, yet nutritious crap.

These beetles are not living the prisoned life of Sisyphus, forever rolling a rock up a hill, instead they have lofty goals. Dung is not dung to a beetle. It is food and it is a promise of a future for additional little crap rollers.

Similarly everything I write propels me toward something greater. Every book signing I do, every event I hold is part of this movement forward.   It is me laying the ground work, developing my platforms, increasing my repertoire.

So on those days that I feel like I’m just pushing doggie doo around I’m going to remember that small beetle, who never gives up. He knows that ball of shit he’s pushing around is worth a whole heck of a lot more than us humans think it is.