When the Quiet Ones Roar

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I sometimes feel that people misunderstand. Not about me necessarily. Communication doesn’t come easily for any of us, but it’s especially difficult for the quiet folk. When the quiet ones roar, it often comes out as a meow, if even that.

I come from a family of “do-it-yourselfers.” We were all independent, which is why I broke my arm at four years old. I was the big girl and could do it by myself. I grew up being proud of my independence. My low maintenance came later in life. Somewhere along the line, my interpretation of my independence was to not ask for anything. To not protest or complain. I was the girlfriend who didn’t need you to call her all the time. The wife who didn’t want to complain about the toilet lid and the hair stubble in the sink. I didn’t cry over needles or bugs or small drama. I scoffed when others did. Dammit! I was proud of that.

Truth: Independence doesn’t equal not needing or wanting. Introversion doesn’t either. It only means we find our inner life, our thoughts, and feelings, are more captivating than all the outside drama the others have going on. Jersey Shore, Kardashians or whatever reality T.V. show holds not a drop of drama more enticing than the fantasy going on in my head. We are like cockroaches. We can survive on remarkably little outside emotional support. But that doesn’t mean we don’t desire it sometimes. When we are cared for and loved in the best of environments, we blossom into the Grace Kelleys, the Johnny Carsons, and the Meryl Streeps of this world.

We want the compliments

The quiet one in the corner of the room will light up like a child watching the Christmas day parade if you compliment her, but all she might say is “Thank you.” Givers of compliments sometimes mistake that for arrogance. Or indifference. The truth is the quiet one doesn’t know how to express her thanks or to encourage more compliments. It doesn’t mean that she didn’t feel like a beauty queen for that moment. We want the compliments. We want our day as prom queen or the Belle of the ball. Look at Cinderella. You can’t get a better example of what almost every girl wants.

059a949e2bb16ae2647b2a9dc8010640It’s easy to know what most girls want. Or at least what they don’t want. Quiet ones need coaxing as they express their needs. The trouble is, that’s not likely to happen. Not many see the need. Because the quiet one can’t express her needs, only the loudest one gets heard. It’s not that no one is listening even. Yes, there are those that don’t care what others want, but I have found that there are those that did care, but I never spoke up.

I’m on a mission to teach speech to the speechless, to give voice to the voiceless. If all you think you can ask for at this time is just cinnamon gum instead of wintergreen, then speak up. There’s a group of people who are listening. I know you’re there. I’ve met you in the store. I’ve talked to you at church. We’ve spoken on the internet. In the quiet whisper at night. In the tear that drops from your eye. You have spoken. Now it is time to voice those desires.

You see, sometimes it hurts. It hurts to ask for something knowing that you will either be ignored or told to hush. Not now. Later. It isn’t your time. We learn early that those in charge don’t care. Sounds harsh? From a child’s perspective, it seems true. The parents are overwhelmed with living and surviving. Some children realize this and will move their wants down farther on the list.

We are not children anymore.

I don’t mean to assume that only girls are struggling with this issue. Not true! My writing is affected by my personal experience. Feel free to throw in some male perspective. My latest read is Aspergirls: Empowering Females With Asperger Syndrome by Ruth Simone

Are You Just Sitting There Doing Nothing?

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Sit in the middle of the day, in a public place, not with a cup of coffee or a book, just sit. Someone will stop and ask you if you need something. They’ll worry. Are you okay?

People don’t know what to do when someone is just sitting. And pity the homeless person sleeping on the grass or the steps. We poke them. Are they alive? I work downtown, so we see a few in the week.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how out of control most of our lives seem. Or maybe it’s just mine. I posted a while back the conundrum that I have or shall I say the elastic stretch, between medication and being well. Slowing Down to a Human Crawl The medication prevents the illness, but it also causes fatigue – in degrees. The fatigue and the spinal issues have caused me to reevaluate the heads down, let’s push through to make it happen, bull-headedness of mine. I’m a bit stubborn. I like to win. I like to get things done. I’ve been known push until it hurt. Well, I’m rethinking. Recalculating even.

How Leisure helps take control of our lives.

“Leisure lives on affirmation. It is not the same as the absence of activity … or even as an inner quiet. It is rather like the stillness in the conversation of lovers, which is fed by their oneness. – Brain Pickings How leisure helps us reclaim our human dignity in a workaholic culture

Open House for Butterflies by Ruth Krauss (July 25, 1901–July 10, 1993) click on picture to see the entire book

I’ve been trying to discover this new life I have since I’m walking instead of running. The colors are different. Sounds and tastes also. I’m kidding a bit. But I am adjusting. It’s been a year of weight loss. My styles have changed. My wardrobe has changed. Today I just purged my closet. I should feel excited, but I don’t. I feel off beat. I keep walking hoping that at some moment along the way it’s going to feel alright.

Here’s the truth of it. There are life changes that I want to make that aren’t happening yet. That leisure I talk about is my way of saying that I need more relaxation in my life. I’ve had to push for it. When others were demanding I work overtime; I was pulling away. I had to respect myself over the job. This stuff isn’t easy.

I want to fill my space with music, my walls with color, and my life with people who know how to enjoy living this life to the fullest – however it may look.

It’s Still The About People, Right?

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I think we as a society have forgotten something here. It’s not about the task in front us. How fast can you finish your spreadsheet? Are you a democrat or a republican? We sold more doohickeys than you. Is it about the people? Is it about the job? Is it about the thing?

Most jobs at their start were about helping, or at least solving a problem. Nutrition. Water. Disease prevention. Somewhere along the line they lose their focus. It’s easy to forget. If you’ve ever worked in a daycare with more than five children, you know how that feels. Children whine, they cry, they poop, and they need. It’s constant. You forget that you cared about these noisy, fussy children. At one time, you wished to nurture them. Now all you want to do is stop the noise. Suddenly it’s about the thing. The diapers.

The squeaky wheel problem

It seems to make sense to prioritize in order of priority.

Do the urgent stuff first. Deal with the cranky customer who’s about to walk out, the disenchanted and difficult employee who hasn’t had the right sort of guidance (lately), the partner who is stomping his foot.

The problem with this rational prioritization is that it means that the good customers, the valuable employees and the long-suffering but loyal partners are neglected. And they realize that they should either get squeaky or leave.

If the only way to get your attention is to represent a risk, people will figure that out.

(The other problem is that you end up spending all your time with cranky, disenchanted, difficult people who are stomping their feet.) – Seth Godin

I think it’s important to check ourselves and ask it’s still about the people, right?

Things That Are Right

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There are a lot of gripe worthy, fist in the air episodes in life these days. And it doesn’t take much to strike a flame it seems. Show me the video of the eight-year-old sitting in the vice principal’s office, with the sheriff handcuffing him to the chair. Why? The child’s bad behavior. I’ll start the riot myself. I would have been that child, believe me, kicking and screaming also.

When it comes to injustices in this world, I’m not one who sits idly by to put up with them. That’s why it’s a relief to see the good, the beautiful, and the things that are going right. Take a look at these two inspirations. The first is a man who has changed the world. The other is a video just for you.

Truthfully, I don’t know where to start, so I’ll start with this quote from his website,

2014 Nobel Peace Kailash Satyarthi, as a grassroots activist, he has led the rescue of over 80000 child slaves and developed a successful model for their education and rehabilitation.

The work that this man does and those that he works with is some of the most amazing work I’ve ever seen. When I was reading of his work, I wondered when he stopped. When did he eat? I read through his interview and I could hear his passion and his zeal and I could feel that same feeling as I think of that child sitting in the chair in the vice principal’s office. Kailash Satyarthi started in a similar way. He saw one boy sitting and waiting for work and he wondered why this boy was not in school. Here’s the link to the Fareed Zakaria GPS audio interview. The following quote is from his interview in the Huffington Post. I’m in awe of the passion that flows through him.

By conferring the Nobel Prize on Malala and I, the Nobel Committee has recognised one of the most pressing yet neglected issues of our times. Millions of children still remain invisible, voiceless and unheard. During the last few weeks, their suffering has got unprecedented attention by the law makers, judiciary and civil society not only in India but worldwide.

Childhood protected and nurtured will yield superior global human capital, while wasted childhood will erode all prospects of a promising tomorrow. Our tomorrow will be as good or as bad as how and what we do about our children today!!! – Huffington Post

Huffington Post-A Child Friendly World

I hope this inspires you.

Join me every week as I look for more good in this world. Or I might be standing high on my soapbox again. You just never know.

Lies, Lies, Lies

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Simple little lies seem harmless. Your cooking is great. You look great in that dress. Those never really bothered me. I tried usually to ask what the person thought. A lie in itself is only a cover. An actor is lying when he plays the part of a police officer when he’s on the stage. He limits himself to the stage or his role in a movie. He isn’t an officer in real life. It’s a lie. It’s pretending.

There were a couple of shows that reminded me that sometimes harmless lies can be forgotten to be lies. They are the new truth. Up becomes down and right becomes wrong. Or, is it wrong becomes right? I’m confused. Anyway, the first was on Netflix. Kumaré-imdb. The second was an episode of Derren Brown which starts as a lie, but for some becomes the truth. Derren and Dawn Porter try to convince an entire town that a statue has special powers. Todmorden’s Lucky Dog (Long version click here)
Here is the short version:

Lies – Ones I’ve told. Ones I’ve believed – Spiritual Mentor that’s in my head:

  • If I don’t go to school, I won’t get a better job
  • If I don’t get a better job, I’ll struggle financially
  • Having all of my needs met is the most important thing.
  • I am better than others because of my aspirations, opinions or knowledge. I’m enlightened.

These are also illusions. Warped truth, not lies. These are just things that my eyes don’t see clearly. I don’t want them to become my truth. I squint and rub my eyes to try to look at them clearer. The crazy part is that they may be truth for someone else, but that doesn’t mean they are for me. I want to remain true to myself. What’s my truth? What’s the most important thing for me?

I received another invitation to Yoga church. The concept is interesting. I’m not sure how it’s different than going to a temple Sunday morning. Tell me what you think, hype, lie or truth? Yoga church. http://www.truenorthyogacoaching.com/yoga-church/

Join me every week for a new post.

You Are Already That

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There’s a lot of noise these days. A lot of clammering and banging of drums. People want attention and to get that attention you have to make more noise. They want their chance to be on American Idol. They want their name called for their award. Fame. Spotlights. Glory. Yeah. We all understand. Maybe it’s time for everyone to settle down. Take a seat for just one moment. Get quiet and still.

Do you know what you are?
You are a manuscript oƒ a divine letter.
You are a mirror reflecting a noble face.
This universe is not outside of you.
Look inside yourself;
everything that you want,
you are already that.
Rumi, Hush, Don’t Say Anything to God: Passionate Poems of Rumi

Everything that you want, you are already that.

Privilege and Guilt

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I have been embarrassed by my whiteness, my richness, my entitlement. Embarrassed, ashamed, repentant. Inside I was apologetic, not wanting anyone to think that I believed that I am better than another. Sometimes I wonder if I’m trying too hard to prove something. But who am I trying to prove this to? And why?

Check out this video:

We have no control over our birth. Where we are born, the family we are born into, the color of our skin, and the status of our household is decided for us. The religion of our culture is usually the one that we adopt. And yet we claim these things with such pride and place our hand over our hearts, pledging allegiance as if we chose them.

Kids do not create the circumstances they are born into.  Never apologize for who you are, unless who you are is an asshole.
Privilege is what most parents want for their children.  It’s what most people want for themselves.
The problem is not privilege, and the goal is not equality of outcome.
The goal is simple recognition that a lot of people are running the race of life with rocks in their pockets and combat boots on their feet. They are being forced to start a half mile back, and with bad maps.  – Don’t Feel Guilty About Privilege

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We may not be able to change another’s current privilege, but we can change the future generation. It’s not necessary for me to apologize anymore. I don’t have to hang my head. Really. I don’t know why I ever thought that I should.

Who Is Family

We once knew, but we’ve forgotten. Families lived in one household or at least in one village. Maybe it was because grandma couldn’t make it otherwise, or she was respected. For whichever reason, it kept more hands available when it was needed to help raise the children. It was easy to describe your family.

I’m currently redefining family. I may be doing this for the rest of my life. I have a reel to reel that plays in my head. It looks somewhat like a small village, maybe too communal to some. There are children playing in a courtyard. The housing is surrounding a grassy area, and the commons area is a safe place. Here children can grow up with many caretakers. Many parents can care for them. Yes, they know their mother and father, but if there is a stressor in their household such as a new baby, it’s easy for another family to take them into their home.

In my vision of society, life is built for the good of people, not commerce. People are why we are here. Does it matter if there is money if there are no people to spend it? Economics is the most worthless of studies if sociology fails. And look around us. Our sociology is failing. What do we need to fix it? We have made some steps towards repairing it. We’ve recognized alternative families. Do you think this is unrealistic? I don’t think I’m alone in my thinking.

Last week I read a book called, Brand Strategy 101: Your Logo Is Irrelevant – The 3-Step Process to Build a Kick-Ass Brand, by Roy H. Williams and Michael R. Drew. They wrote about a cycle of Me verse We. Can you guess when the cycle of We started? The early 2000’s. The game changed. The slogans changed. Society shifted. Did you feel it? The authors wrote another book about it that I haven’t read yet, but I will, Pendulum: How Past Generations Shape Our Present and Predict Our Future. I’m putting that on my reading list.

Debt

Greece. Puerto Rico. Student loans. Mortgages.

The forces of debt are reshaping the world, creating dislocations and crises on a regular basis. And yet, few of us really understand how debt works.

….

If a mortgage is overdue, is it better to kick people out of the house and watch the neighborhood descend into rubble?

If 10 million Americans are overwhelmed with student debt they can’t repay, what should we do then? – Seth Godin excerpt    ( Seth references Debt, by David Graeber)

CRAZY CHANGES

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It’s a Janet thing. Or a more accurate title would be, it’s an experimental thing, but I just change it up quickly.

Success comes from trying and then trying again. Sometimes it seems you’re just banging your head against the wall, or spinning your wheels in the mud. I remember a time when I was about seven years old. My dad had an old red pickup truck that we drove on the farm. We had 100 acres of bottom land, and by bottom land I mean we lived right beside the river and parts of the land flooded when it rained. The mud seemed to suck your tires into the earth like an underground tornado. Hopeless.

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. – Scott Adams

I learned from watching Dad that it’s better to change tactics. Don’t keep spinning your wheels in the mud hoping to get out of the mud. You’ll only dig deeper in. If you notice that something isn’t right, if the feel is off, do it different. So I did. If the dress is too tight or the shoes pinch my toes, I don’t stand around and whine about it, I change them. I’m not happy in tight shoes. And I wasn’t happy with my book cover or title, so I changed them.

Like many women, by the time I’m finished dressing for an event, I have a pile of clothing on my bed that didn’t get picked. I also have several titles for my book that didn’t get selected. And since nothing happened that first week–I bet you didn’t even notice–as a woman’s prerogative, I pressed the reset button. Sigh. I love the modern world.

Repost – The Price of Being Right…But first an Announcement

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Shameless self promotion time! My new book is available on Amazon.com. I’ve been so busy getting it ready that I didn’t take time to polish a blog for today. Next week I will be ready!

The Price of Being Right

When I think about my beliefs on how society functions and what I would like our world to look like, I get this wish to make it happen. Visionaries in our society have often been glorified and sometimes rightfully so. I think of Martin Luther and Mother Teresa, who have freed many from the bondage of religious beliefs. There is a balancing act. Churches exist to help the needy. To give strength to the weak. To feed the poor. Somewhere in the process they become the cripplers, the takers, and the tyrants.

I was speculating recently about my perfect society. The one where we all live together in harmony. The one where goods are shared, and all are fed. All are honored. Can’t we all just get along?

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I was curious about my hopes for society, how they compared to earlier beliefs and social systems. Marxism was one that stood out to me. And that is disappointing to me since the results were nowhere near what I had dreamed. The dreamer in me, that blonde-haired idealist, wants peace, but so much more. I want children to grow up strong and whole. I want parents to have what they need to raise those children. I want teachers to have tools to teach and children to have the access to learning. I love growth.

 

It’s not peace I want, not mere contentment. It’s boundless joy and ecstasy for me. -Kugell

Before we all start singing ‘round the campfire and holding hands, fan away the smoke from your eyes. Here is my issue. Yes, I want these things. What I don’t want is another Stalin or Jim Jones. So for a reality check, I have to take a step back. What makes a monster like Hitler? What causes a leader to brainwash his followers? They are RIGHT! They have The Truth.

Leaders take note. If you are headstrong and charismatic, people will follow, regardless of any truth or you even having the people’s best interest in mind. I find this sad. There are many helpful people in our world. These helpful folks don’t have the charisma that David Koresh had. Therefore, people aren’t listening en masse. Does this devalue their truth? No. I think our issue is more that we want a Messiah. We need our white horse riding, strong-armed warrior. We want and crave a leader who is elegant and fierce. And why?

Why do we crave a hero? For the same reason social systems such as Marxism swerve away from their origin. Social Equality is a great idea. There are those who could work with each other and make a village style society work. On the other side of that argument, people are afraid without guidance. Not everyone has grown up. Many still believe that we need a church or a government instructing us, or else we would end up in chaos and violence. Possibly, they are right.

So my point is, I don’t wish to push my ideal society or my ideal lifestyle on anyone. The price of being right is tyranny. It’s Jim Jones and his mass suicides. The truth is never forceful. Love is kind and patient. It doesn’t need to use charismatic persuasion to make you believe. And it refuses to allow others to follow blindly.

If there is no savior what will we do? The end of the world didn’t come. The pot of gold was not where we thought it should be. Now we stumble along until enough people wake up. When enough wake up and realize that maybe it’s time we take care of ourselves, then it’s possible we can discuss this around the table. Then we can treat each other with the respect we all deserve. We are all equals. No one man or one government is RIGHT. Not even ourselves. It’s very tempting to believe that an angel on high gave us the answers, but what made us so special? Isn’t that the beginning of madness? My next question would be, why do I need to feel that special?