Never Gentle

What in your life is needing attention? I’ve given attention to many different places. Family, work, my house, etc. The one place that most of us forget to give attention to, except maybe the scraps at the end of the day, is ourselves.Yes, we give ourselves sleep. Sometimes. Even then we cut that close. Do we really need the full eight hours? Food. Well, I ate something. I think.

Stop for a moment. Those things that need attention, if they’re anything like my cat, their cries are only going to get louder. You might as well deal with them now. And take care of yourself, always.

In a paraphrase from poem of Dylan Thomas, Jason Silva from Shots of Awe, which I’ve included below, says, “I will not go quietly into that good night, but rage against the dying of the light.” Whatever you decide to do with your life, realize that only you live it. Then really LIVE it.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieve it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. – Dylan Thomas

Lost, Forgotten, Ignored? Does anyone care?

lost toyNo one wants to feel like the lost toy. Forgotten. We hate to be misunderstood. It hurts.

I called my doctor’s office this week. My neck was in a muscle spasm and my head was hurting. I’d actually left home from work early on Monday. So I called them in desperation. Could they help? The nurse called me back promptly, stating she’d get with the doctor then let me know. I waited. Monday evening I checked my phone. Tuesday morning, I took my time getting ready for work, dreading going in since I was still in pain, but I was still thinking the doctor’s office might call any minute. I checked my phone around noon and there was still no call. I don’t like being ignored. I’m not easily forgotten. Wednesday came, then Thursday, and finally Friday morning, which was when I spoke with the nurse. After all the waiting, I wondered if my doctor really reviewed my chart when she only upped my dosage of the same medication I’d already been taking.

There are misunderstandings.

Sometimes we don’t hear the full sentence. We often aren’t fully listening to the person talking, we just think we are. We hear the words, but we hear them with our perceptions. I’ve talked about this before in other posts. For more on this read, Flavors and Perspectives. I do this so much it embarrasses me. Note to self: Practice mindfulness. Recently I had an epiphany. When I was growing up, girls were becoming more independent, going to college and getting jobs. It was the beginning of the age of the working girl.

I graduated from high school in the early 80’s without any of these big plans. I’d had odd jobs. I wasn’t lazy and I never refused work if it was offered. What I had lacked was transportation. I don’t want to be down on my parents because everyone has their faults, as well as their charms. My parents are the steady type. They are there for you when you’re in need. You need new tires or your air conditioner is broken, they are the people who will help. There was always food on the table and a bed to sleep in. But I knew where I stood all of my life when it came time asking for the extra things. And I knew what those extra items consisted of. I didn’t ask to attend extra curricular activities in school.  I didn’t do band or sports. I rode the bus home from school. I did my homework. I colored in the lines. No nonsense. No useless activities. Why? Have you ever been on a highway that has the bumps on the side for when you veered off the road? It’s like being pulled feet first down a flight of stairs. That’s what it felt like asking for more.

I didn’t realize until recently that I’d been guilty of not only misreading my parents’ values, but also of ignoring their values. Maybe I never saw them at all. At that time, they had disregarded my requests for a car. Ignored. Said No. However you wish to phrase it. When I asked to work, which I did temporarily, it was received with a lot of complaining on my parents part. Remember the bumps on the side of the road? The job lasted for a few months until I got tired of hearing the complaining. For years I’d thought of myself as lazy after high school. I should have went to college, I kept thinking. But how could I have went to college, since I didn’t have a car? I should have gotten a job. Small towns. No transportation. Guilt. Shame. Misunderstanding. The circle of life.

My brother had mentioned my parents’ different values to me a few years before and I had forgotten until recently. Dad is old-fashioned. Women don’t need educated. Men do. Men work. Women stay at home and raise children. There wasn’t a reason for me to go to college or have a car. I knew that I wasn’t lazy. I had just misunderstood. It’s just taken me a bit longer to get where I wanted to be. My generation, the edge of change, often misunderstood our parents. Just as they

often misunderstood us and our need for independence and leaving their ways behind.

Strange abandoned house

I was watching some new videos on YouTube and found an entire channel devoted to urban exploration with abandoned houses. I’ve included one of the most interesting ones below. It’s short and quaint. WWI era house and supposedly left undisturbed. Check it out for yourself.

Urban Explorers can be found under the YouTube channel Seeker Stories

Why Not Ask?

cat

 

When life turns on you whether that turning is real or imagined, clear your throat. Speak up. Tell someone who cares. Most of all learn to tell yourself.  – Melody Beattie Stop Being Mean to Yourself

It’s not weak to ask, to speak up. It’s by far one of the hardest things for me to do. To even get the words out of my throat, I have to make a concerted effort. I have to imagine what exactly I’m needing or wanting, like whether I should tip my massage therapist or can I borrow some quarters for the vending machine.

Frame the ask properly. Don’t say, “I am so swamped. I just don’t have time for this” or “I’m an idiot and can’t figure this out.” You need to frame the ask positively, so it is mutually beneficial. – Fortune.com

cat

 

Overeager

I’ve been over-anticipating. I live in Oklahoma, not Minnesota. We have winter. We have snow and ice. This year it feels that Winter has dug in its toes and hung on. Our Dogwood trees are budding. The Daylight saving time changes this weekend. And still we had more ice and snow last week. I’ve had the urge to clean it all up. I replaced my car windshield which was broken from the sand and rocks from the road debris. And now I’m itching to clean my car. I even picked up a load of household cleaning supplies, ready to do a whirlwind of spring cleaning.

overeager – excessively eager; “overeager in his pursuit of the girl”

eager – having or showing keen interest or intense desire or impatient expectancy; “eager to learn”; “eager to travel abroad”; “eager for success”; “eager helpers”; “an eager look” – http://www.thefreedictionary.com/overeager

 

It seems I’ve been a bit preemptive on several things. I’ve been waiting for my oldest son to get back to the states so I could call him. It’s too expensive at overseas rates. I had text him, thinking he had already returned, only to receive a text in the middle of the night saying he was still away. I will wait. I was also thinking my favorite show, Game of Thrones, was back on in March. Nope. It comes on in April. So, still I will wait.

And while I wait I will leave you with this,

The Darkness

The journey into the darkness has been long and cruel, and you have gone deep into it. – A Return to Love, Marian Williamson (also an excerpt from A Course in Miracles)

I’ll remember that Spring is coming.

 

One Foot in Front of the Other

Originally posted on janetkwest:

English: Fog in Wayanad

No one looks at the middle. We see beginnings and we see endings, but it’s the stuff in the middle that really counts. Without the actual journey there would be no adventure. It’s the best part of the story. Yes, the warrior’s calling is exciting. The moment of realization, that mission to complete, gives you a burst of energy. And the promise of the happily ever after keeps us going. But we all know where the true tale is. The place in the middle. It reminds me of the classical poem, Ithaca.

When you start on your journey to Ithaca,
then pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
-K. P. Kavafis (C. P. Cavafy), translation by Rae Dalven

I have the bad habit of forgetting about the journey and just remembering the result that I want. Even thinking that I’ve messed up, when really I just need to…

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I Have X-rays, But Not X-ray Vision

I’m looking through 18 pages of X-ray films from my MRI on Thursday. I’m to hand deliver them to my doctor, when I have my follow-up. The brain films make no sense to me it all. The one that starts from the back of my head and progresses through to the front of my face is either funny or slightly scary. I look like the angel of death in the last frame. A specter. But I still see nothing that makes sense. I almost didn’t do the MRI. My insurance has a deductible and on top of that is the 30% for diagnostic tests. So hello payments. Saint Francis and I will have a nice arrangement.

We grow

Through all of this ordeal, I thought I knew who I was. Some of that is a topic for another blog, like the fact that I’ve denied my chronic pain for years. My health issues have been completely overlooked in my mind. It’s surprising the things we don’t see of ourselves.

I’ve found surprisingly also that I’m more than that person. I’ve taken this in stride better than I expected I would. I haven’t panicked. I’m not afraid of some dire diagnosis. Really I just need a direction. Because I know it wasn’t what I had believed it had been for so long, migraines. Yes, I have migraines. And have had them since I was young. Sometime in my 30’s a different headache started. I felt similar, but different from the migraine, so I had no idea how to explain it. And when it recently didn’t go away, even after treating it for 3 months, I thought I might go psycho.

When I was in the MRI machine, the tech had asked me if I’d been in a wreck and twice he asked me if I had any pain running down my arm. This caught my attention. When I went through the neck scans I had an idea what I was looking for. And I think I’ve found it. I’m no doctor and I haven’t been in to have it confirmed, but the tech highlighted an area. There’s a narrowing in the spinal canal that looks like it’s the source of my problem. So BINGO. On a bad day, a long day, there’s tightness, swelling, and pain. Lots of pain. Make my head pop off, pain. Next step – follow-up with the doctor.

Not official

My unofficial self diagnosis is Cervical Spinal Stenosis. Let’s see how close I get. Oh, and one of the symptoms of this is clumsiness. Well anyone that knows me, knows that I stumble over ants. When I tried to put the X-ray’s away they all fell on the floor. They’re crazy to read and slippery to sort.  I’m glad they’re numbered or I’d feel I was in a Lucille Ball episode trying to put them in order again. Embarrassing. Hello Nurse. 

A Book is a Book is a Book, Even if it’s an Audible

I find myself in this same position a lot. It’s the one I found myself in when I was in religion. I dislike it when people take words and interpretations so literal. I think they do it just to win their argument, not so much that they feel they are right. But even so, it builds the fire under my already overused soapbox.

For instance, when has a book been read? When my eyes have skimmed across the page, word by word, page after page, until I’ve finished the entire copy? Seems obvious. I counted up the books I read last year and totaled out at around 54 or so, including audible books. There lies the contention. Some would say that audible books don’t count as books that are “read.” Some, but not me. As I told a coworker that has a small child, there’s no rule that says how the words should be assimilated into consciousness, just that they get there. If I were blind, I would be using my fingers and braille script to read. Would that be cheating? I’m certainly not using my eyes.

And while we’re on the subject of twisting our sensory perceptions, there’s a guy who is colorblind and sees only in gray scale. His name is Neil Harbisson and he did something very unique about his disability.

Artist Neil Harbisson was born completely color blind, but these days a device attached to his head turns color into audible frequencies. Instead of seeing a world in grayscale, Harbisson can hear a symphony of color — and yes, even listen to faces and paintings.

go to site: Ted.com/Neil_Habisson

Science has now learned that the smell of coffee is what gives us it’s flavor. It’s really not our tongues after all. The whole theory of the taste buds, you know the ones, sweet, salty, sour, bitter, etc, that theory has been debunked. The Tongue Map. And the tasting of wine? The Trouble With Tasting Wine They believe that the flavors come from all the accumulated flavors you have built up. Of course they may learn something new later on, but that’s what I heard recently. Another source: Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat. It’s also available on Audible.

Another Soap box jump

When I hear people like former Mayor Giuliani saying stuff about “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country,” I want to slap someone. Firstly, because I know that Mayor Giuliani wasn’t raised anything like I was, so I can’t even begin to relate to him. Secondly, Everyone expresses love for people and country differently, not to mention that I don’t need the President’s love. How should one express love for country? Is there a protocol for such expression. Three god bless America’s and Five baseball game ticket stubs? Maybe I don’t love my country enough? Show me how. I drink iced tea in the summer and hot coffee in the winter. The vodka on Friday night does look a bit suspicious though. Maybe I should be more careful. It’s a point to ponder, but I’m still counting my audible books as being “read.”

 

 

Don’t Be Foolish. Don’t Be Stupid (Satire)

It’s foolish to work hard at something and not get paid much. If you get paid squat, you know everyone else is looking down at you. They despise you and make fun of you. If you work hard at something, like campaigning for public office and fail, you need to hide. You know everyone will call you a fool. You failed. How stupid of you to think you could win.

Abandon your project as soon as you notice it’s not going to work. It’s a stupid idea anyway. Don’t even wait that long. And if anyone doubts your abilities, bluster. Tell them you knew all along that the task was stupid, and that you usually finish what you start, unless they’re stupid. And more advice for the future, check often to make sure your future projects are worth finishing. You must always know where you’re going and what you’re doing. Never wander around aimlessly.

Don’t be foolish. Don’t be stupid.

Fools are ignorant. Stupid. Laughed at. Fools don’t deserve good things. I’m a fool. I’m a fool when I try and I’m a fool for waiting and not trying. A fool is never admired and doesn’t get the good seat. Well, sometimes he does, maybe. We all get a turn and even I have but I forget. Maybe I’ll just be a fool and not worry about it, then I’ll realize that we all are fools.  Because it doesn’t matter.

There’s no such thing as a fool, just people.

To End Suffering

I grew up loving the candles, the quiet, the chanting, the sitting and waiting, that I found in religion. The ceremony. It was serious, pure, and poignant. Which to my mind as a child meant powerful. Like weddings and presidential inaugurations.

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. Dalai Lama

To End Suffering

Humanitarians try to end human kind’s suffering by making the world a better place. To make society better. Can you feed your family? Can you get water? Education? Equal rights? Equal access to funding or resources?  Top 5 Humanitarian Aid Organizations – BorgenProject.org

The Buddha taught that suffering came from our mind. We resist. We think. We worry. Stop these and suffering ends. When suffering ends, we simply are. There is no more “I.” There is no more “Want.” All that remains is the stillness. Even when the good things in life happen, there can be suffering. Good days, bad days. The Buddha, himself, was a man. He also left his religion. He left his home and family. He left his gods. He never claimed to be a god. He only claimed to be awake. In this awakening, he wished to teach others. There was no conversion or baptism or cutting of the flesh.

The wisdom of the Buddha is currently trapped within the religion of Buddhism.  Killing the Buddha – Sam Harris

Buddhism vs. Humanitarianism

I’d always respected Buddhism with their mindfulness and care for others. Recently I wondered how it differed from Humanitarianism? Don’t they both with to help others? I didn’t know until I explored. There is religion in Buddhism. But how much you want to get into it is up to you and which version of Buddhism you study. Some are heavy on the Karma. Karmic debt. Karmic cleansing. It wasn’t as clean and simple as I had once thought it was.

I never believed in Original sin from my religion, so I can’t see myself picking up Karmic debt. I’ll be as good as I can and see what happens. I can’t follow a guru or wear a toga. I can be kind. I want to see society change. It won’t happen overnight, but I think it can happen. It can happen if we change who we are first. Because, isn’t that how all things start? You can’t make good coffee out of dirty water. And you have to pull the splinter out of your own eye before you can remove the board from another’s eye. At least that’s what I heard from another wise man.

My Take

Helping and giving is my religion. I don’t need people bend their knees at my prayer mat or light their candle with my brand of matches. I hope they can be well and help others to be well. You don’t even have to know my name.

What If – Repost

pict_original

If I could ask you to do one thing, I would ask you to watch, Living On One Dollar. It’s available on Netflix and goes well with this post.  And now for the re-post–

What If

What if we changed our culture? What if we no longer applauded great wealth at any cost? What if we applauded generosity, compassion, and forgiveness? Yes, it’s easy for me to say these things since I’m not wealthy, but I’m not alone in saying them.

Malcolm is targeting the systems we’ve built, the truths we hold so dear and the possibility that maybe, just maybe, we can produce some more heroes. – Seth Godin in review of Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book.

http://www.squidoo.com/david-and-goliath-malcolm-gladwell-s-tour-de-force

From ABC news -

Hugh Evans presenting the Global Poverty Project

Hugh Evans presenting the Global Poverty Project (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the age of 14, Hugh Evans spent a night with cockroaches crawling all over him. That experience turned out to be life-changing for Evans, now 30. Far removed from his comfortable home in Australia, he traveled to the Philippines with an aid organization that set him up with a host family. Their home was in Smokey Mountain, a teeming slum in Manila. A boy in the family, Sonny Boy, was the same age as Evans. The disparity between their lives struck him hard. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/05/could-you-live-on-a-dollar-a-day/

In some circles we have improved. But there are enough sub-pockets in our culture that keep the generosity movement bogged down. We are a generous nation and so are people all over the world. You can see groups which care about cleaning up oil spills, those concerned about animal endangerment, and many are helping provide clean water for those in need. But we need to start at the bottom, at the base of society. Our desires. Our ambitions. Our vision of ourselves. There is a level of crud and corrosion that we must clean or we will all drown. We envy and want great wealth because we are afraid. I am afraid. If I don’t get that job, that bonus, that raise, that particular car, I’m afraid I will starve. I will perish. I will not exist anymore. I feel jealous, unloved and abandoned. Over an iPhone that I didn’t get. It’s ridiculous. My whole mindset needs rearranged. I live in a rich country. So rich that I have never missed a meal because of lack. Others around me live the same and yet we feel poor because we don’t have cable television. Or internet. Or whatever latest gadget that someone else has.

There’s an experiment going on all across the world now, or I should say it’s a conversation. It’s called by a variety of names, but in essence it’s living at the poverty level for days or months, voluntarily.

The next post in the continuing frugal gastronomy series features a pair of schoolteacher-writers who gave themselves the toughest of all restrictions: All their food had to cost no more than $1 per day per person. Amazingly, if they invited guests over to eat, the guests’ food had to be covered by the $1 allotment. You’d have to really like the guest, I suppose.

Once again, I’ll repeat: Eating on a budget is not a contest; it’s a conversation.

Read more: http://business.time.com/2009/08/18/how-to-eat-on-a-dollar-a-day/

And the most famous instance is probably Ben Affleck and his challenge from April 29 through May 3, 2013.  Could you eat for $1.50 a day?

The challenge is simple: Agree to spend no more than $1.50 on your daily grub from April 29 to May 3. That figure represents “the accepted global figure used to define extreme poverty,” according to The Global Poverty Project, which created the challenge. – Live Below The Line

Some advice from Joe Vigil:

  • Practice abundance by giving back
  • Improve personal relationships
  • Show integrity to your value system
  • Eat like a poor person

What can you do?

Get involved.

To help other countries:

  • Micro financing – KIVA.org or others like it.
  • Help with clean water Charitywater.org

Help your local homeless shelter or food pantry. If you don’t know if one exists in your town call your town council or a YMCA.

Help to change attitudes one person at a time. Start small. Show them how changing one life makes a difference. Immigrants and the homeless aren’t nameless or faceless. They are people. They are you and me. They hurt. They dream. They cry. They smile.