The McManual

Blogging my little heart out in poetry and prose.

Category: Cheer You UP!

Existentialism and Motivation

So I’m reading “The Woman in the Dunes” by Kobo Abe this week. I picked it up at the library because I wasn’t sure if a movie I had seen long ago that I remember as “Woman of the Dunes” might have been based on it. Anyway, reading this book has been very motivating for some reason.

It’s been my general understanding that existential philosophy is supposed to make people think that there is no point – that pushing on every day is tantamount to a punishment, as in the myth of Sisyphus.  I see it as otherwise.  If you know that you are going to have to do a certain amount of work in order to continue to survive, what is the sense of putting it off?

This leads me to feel more motivated for some things in my life that I have a hard time with on occasion.  I am especially referring to exercise.  When I am on the treadmill, I have a tendency to start off feeling very negative about it.  Once I have been going for a few minutes, I feel good, and I generally feel terrific right in the middle, even though that is the hardest part.

In thinking about this, I realize that when I do not look at my life as a whole, and consider all of the things that I want out of my life, I can get very negative or lazy (or both!) ‘in the moment’.  It’s when I realize that to live the life I want to live – simple really, I want to be healthy and energetic, then I am more able to simply do the daily things that need to get done.

It’s the opposite of how I would ‘think’ one would react to existentialist literature.  I guess the experience of life balances out our mental faculties with our physical realities, and maybe that’s why there’s a difference.

Anyway, keep pushing your own stone up your own hill – life is short, be in it!  Sheila


A New Morning

It’s a new day today.  I hope that you awoke feeling refreshed.  After all of this grief and loss this month, it feels good to have a lot of rain – it feels refreshing and cleansing.  I am not saying that I am ‘over’ any thing – not sure that I will ever be, but the sting is abating and acceptance is taking its place in my heart and mind.  We are still assessing damage done to long standing relationships – thought they were mighty oaks, but I guess they were as shallow as willows.  There are still a lot of hurt feelings, and I’m not sure that will ever be resolved.  Still going to take it one day at a time, and for now I’m going to go make a batch of pancakes.

Good morning, Yoga and metaphors.

And a good day to you.

Something I was thinking when I woke up this morning was that metaphors can so often only be explained through the employment of another metaphor.  As I was considering this, I thought of several metaphors which would illustrate what I mean.  This made me laugh.  Laughing reminded me of my yoga practice yesterday with my amazing yoga teacher, Leslie.

We were doing what we always do, but what I do not feel I understand.  We were contemplating awareness.  I had a revelation as we were practicing.  It was like two bars that are supposed to line up end to end were slightly ajar, and they suddenly, but gently slid into place.  I shifted a bit.  Leslie said something about awareness, noticing awareness, I think, and I realized that what she’s talking about has been right in front of me the whole time.  And I can clearly remember myraid times when I have experienced exactly what I experienced in the studio, was aware of my experience, and just didn’t have a name for it.  It feels strange, like seeing a word that I never knew or understood and then suddenly I can read it and know its meaning.

Anyway, I am trying to carry that awareness further into my ‘regular life.’  Ha ha.  I just realized the absurdity of writing that.  But at least I entertain myself.  Of course yoga is part of my regular life – it’s not special, it’s part of the fabric of what I’m doing here.  I find that I can apply principals that we use with our physical bodies to my mental state.  But the key is awareness.  How is it possible that we are awake so much of the time, and yet unaware?  And being unaware is kind of neutral but kind of miserable.

And with that I say, good morning to you.  Sheila

What to do when you’re bummed out.

I am going to attempt something that sometimes works for me:  I am going to write myself into a better mood.  Right now it would be very easy for me to sit and complain about all of the things that I think are wrong in my life right now.  I could complain that I am generally disappointed with other human beings.  But would that help me to be in a better mood?  Would that even be true? 

I am sitting in my classroom where I teach high school.  I have aobut 12 students right now, and they are either reading or writing.  Some of them are coloring, even though I told them not to.  I do not feel that it is my job or responsibility to make them stop doing that.  I feel that it might even be good for them in this moment to let off some steam, to not be stressing out… it’s just really hard to tell when you should be strict with people and when you should cut them a break.  And I certainly am not perfect at deciding when to do which.

I mean, coloring rather than reading really isn’t that big of a deal.  And that’s not what I’m grumpy about, anyway.  I am more grumpy because I have chosen a profession where I am pushing people to always be learning, always be progressing, and it takes a lot of energy to push all of these people in the right direction.   Especially if they push back! 

Overall, I’m sure that it’s a worthwhile pursuit, it just becomes so much harder to do when you aren’t feeling well.  It’s funny that my mood is somewhat improved now that I’ve written a bit.  I feel that I haven’t even actually clued you into my true feelings, it just feels good to write.  So thanks for indulging me, made it through to the end of this. It’s clear that what you, or at least I, should do when bummed out: write.  K bye Sheila


Hi friends. 

Whew, I’ve had a grumpy morning.  Luckily, I started to explore on the internet, looking for inspiration… and I found some.  There’s this, and I love it.  Suzi put me in a good mood and she reminded me to let my muse out a bit.  So I’ma gonna go paint a bit now, I think I need it.  I also feel inspired to start making my blog include pictures and maybe videos.  I don’t really know how to do those things, but soon, soon. 

Ok – why don’t you go create something right now, too?  There’s no time like … (cliche prepackaged in yer brain) k – see u soon. sheila

I just saw Juno

Hi friends and others.  Jay and I just got home from seeing Juno.  It’s been a while since I have so thoroughly enjoyed a movie.  I think part of me was in there – not literally, of course, I just really related to the Vanessa character, if I were more like my sister, it would be a perfect fit.  But my personality is more like the the kid played by Michael Cera; at least when I was that age, that’s pretty much how I acted – paralyzed by people I liked.  Anyway, I don’t want to ruin anything for you, so maybe you should just go see the movie.

I like movies that try to get to the root of what love is.  I like seeing movies with that theme with my live-in boyfriend/husband, Jay.  Jay and I have a really good and happy relationship.  It’s actually sort of shocking to be a part of something that’s so right when all around are examples of relationships that are damaging and sad.  I feel a little guilty or something, like I got the biggest piece of the pie; but I can’t help it if I recognized him as my partner.  And as sheepish as I sometimes feel about telling other people about it, I believe that I got the best of all possible worlds for me in the love category.  So yaye me.  Love at first sight turns out to be my forte.  Of course it’s a skill you only need once, so that’s maybe a waste or something.  But I’m not complaining.

Ok, have a nice night.  Oh – I’m on winter break now from school, so you can be expecting lots of poems to be entered in the near future.  Sheila

Gearing Up to Change My World

Hi and welcome to my first-ever blog!  My name is Sheila and I am currently a high school English teacher.  I’m looking to change, but I have a lot of exploring to do.  I hope that this blog will serve two purposes:  it will show that, yes, habits can be changed, and it will show a step by step account of one set of possibilities – possibilities that have yet to be invented.

I hope that this will turn out to be fascinating reading, but you are reading at your own risk right now.  Of course, that’s always true, and what are you really risking but a few minutes of your time?  So go ahead, keep on reading.

This morning I am convinced that I am to be a writer of some sort.  I have some pieces which I have already completed – a few poems here and there, a one act play, some short stories that may or may not be part of a longer novel, things like that.  I’ll be posting them sporadically.  If I get obsessive, it could become a regular thing.

Since this is my very first blog, I have no idea whether I would be better off if I kept writing right now, or if it should be kept short and sweet.  I have lots of questions about what to do next, so I think I’ll go off and find answers.  Maybe you want to know my questions.  Fine, demanding reader, here they are:  Do I get to post this on my own website?  Why do I own a domain name if I don’t know what to do with it?  (I don’t expect to find an answer to that one.) How do I make everything look cool?  Where do ideas come from?  🙂 ok peace out – Sheila

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