I woke up at 4:44 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I am in the middle of a transition.  A change in my life.  I was thinking a great deal about this change and what it means to me.  But this got me to thinking about transitions in general.

What is a transition?  To me, it is the movement from one place to another.  It doesn’t have to be a physical move, it can be emotional shift or a change of thought process.  I think transitions are when you change from one state to another.  For example: the changing of a job, going to school or back to school, ending or beginning a relationship, a change in a relationship (from child to care-giver), etc.  A transition may be a positive, negative or even neutral experience.  It is simply about change.  It is like going through a door……..from something that you know and understand into something different.

“There are things you know about, and things you don’t, the known and the unknown, and in between are the doors…….” -Ray Manzarek & Jim Morrison, 1967 Newsweek magazine

Transitions can be scary.  They can be painful and they can be joyous.  A transition can be all of those emotions and half a dozen more.  It may be that you are letting go.  It may be acceptance.  A transition may be letting go and accepting that you are letting go.

In these nebulous areas of transition it is important to remember that some of the most interesting things happen at these times.  It is in these moments of in-between where we are the most open and accepting of what is to come.  I know, this is a vulnerable place to be.  But if we just allow ourselves the opportunity to feel through these moments, when we go through that door, we will be prepared for anything.

Found Audio

Some books you open the cover and leisurely stroll through them.  Other books are clunky and slow and a struggle to get through.  Some books grab you and pull you into the story and don’t let you go even after you have finished them.  The novel Found Audio by N.J. Campbell is the third type of book.

The description of the book from the jacket cover is as follows:

“Amrapali Anna Singh is an historian and analyst capable of discerning the most cryptic and trivial details from audio recordings.  One day, a mysterious man appears at her office in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, having traveled a great distance to bring her Type IV audio cassettes that bear the stamp of a library in Buenos Aires that may or may not exist.

On the cassettes is the deposition of an adventure journalist and his obsessive pursuit of an amorphous, legendary, and puzzling ‘City of Dreams.’  Spanning decades, his quest leads him from a snake hunter in the Louisiana bayou to the walled city of Kowloon on the eve of its destruction, from the singing dunes of Mongolia to a chess tournament in Istanbul.  The deposition also begs the question: who is making the recording and why?

Despite being explicitly instructed not to, curiosity gets the better of Singh and she mails a transcription of the cassettes with her analysis to an acquaintance before vanishing.  The man who bore the cassettes, too, has disappeared.  The journalist was unnamed.”

This book is a page turner.  The author seamlessly weaves his story together.  I started reading this book on a Saturday night, thinking I would read a chapter or two and go to bed.  At 1:30 a.m., I had to put the book down because I kept falling asleep.  When I woke up the next morning, I picked up the book and kept reading until I finished it.  It is a mystery, adventure story, and so much more.  I highly recommend Found Audio by N.J. Campbell.


Judging a Book by it’s Cover

The verb judge is defined as “form an opinion or conclusion about.”  Merriam-Webster dictionary defines judge as “to form an opinion about (something or someone) after careful thought.”

You may have heard the metaphorical phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  The phrase was first used in 1860 in George Elliot’s “The Mill on the Floss” and means that “you shouldn’t prejudice the worth or value of something by its outward appearance alone.”  There is a very good reason that this phrase exists….. we are visual creatures and we do this all the time…. judge other people and things based on appearance.

Liking something/someone simply because it/they are attractive is not a wise way to live.  Looks can be deceiving.  Some outwardly beautiful things can have very nasty stuff inside.  In nature there are plants that look or smell in such a way to attract certain types of bugs.  Some of these plants simply need the insect to spread its pollen.  Other plants actually digest the insect in order to survive.

Alfred Hitchcock said that “the villain has to be attractive or else we would never allow him to get close to us.”  Think about it.  The serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was able to attack so many because he was considered very good-looking and had a charming demeanor.  The evil enchantress in stories is able to seduce men by appearing young and beautiful.  The apple in the fairy tale Snow White was beautiful and a perfect specimen; but filled with poison.

What is this leading to?  Things are not always as they seem.

The truly interesting thing that I have noticed about our culture is that so much of success is based on how the person looks in accordance to societal standards.  I recently read an article written by a woman doing a study to see if her weight would affect her ability to get hired.  Even though her resume was very accomplished, because her 5 foot 4 inch frame appeared to be over-weight she was often passed over for younger, healthier looking women (according to societal standards).  What she found out was that often the women hired had less experience and in one case a serious eating disorder.

In the film “Notting Hill” there is a scene in which Julia Roberts character talks about being an actress.  I am paraphrasing an entire scene but she says something to the effect that she is on a permanent diet and is always hungry.  Dealing with paparazzi and the constant judgments made about her by people she has never met.  There is a funny scene in a sushi restaurant that really illustrates this point.  In essence her success as an actress is based on her looks and is subjective.

We are visual creatures and we make judgments from the things we perceive to see about others.  But we also judge ourselves…….. and in my case I am often my own worst critic.  I have heard this statement from others as well.

The irony of all of this is that you can’t truly become the best possible version of yourself until you quit judging yourself and accept yourself, flaws and all, as you are.  Nothing will make you feel accepted and you will always feel judged until you decide to accept yourself for who you truly are… a unique individual who is creative and whose creativity is important.  The world needs your creative work.  We need you.  Just as you are.  No judgments.