What is Self?

0804-hrh-05-01They say we are not who we think we are. Experts, psychologists, those who deal with personality stuff, say that under the many layers, we are ordinary and straightforward. We eat, drink, pee, and sleep. Who are we after that?

We are the combination of our culture, family training, experiences, and the stories we’ve told ourselves. We can change our stories. Retell your story. Decide to – just because you can. Small things matter. AJordan Peterson says, you can’t reform the world, but you can clean your room.

It is perfectly possible — indeed, it is far from uncommon — to go to bed one night, or wake up one morning, or simply walk through a door one has known all one’s life, and discover, between inhaling and exhaling, that the self one has sewn together with such effort is all dirty rags, is unusable, is gone: and out of what raw material will one build a self again? The lives of men — and, therefore, of nations — to an extent literally unimaginable, depend on how vividly this question lives in the mind. It is a question which can paralyze the mind, of course; but if the question does not live in the mind, then one is simply condemned to eternal youth, which is a synonym for corruption. – James Baldwin

The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948-1985

Transformation and renewal can happen slowly. But not always. I’ve had it hit me like a wave flowing from the ocean, picking me up and knocking me off my feet. As the water rolled over me, I was unsure which way was up. When I finally found my footing and spit the water out of my mouth, I knew I was a survivor.

I’m not asking for a knockdown, but I’ll find a way up if it happens. Today, if you are feeling overwhelmed, control what you can. If you want a better life, change one thing. Start where you can. Your “Self” is a fiction that is made up. Layers that have been built over time. Therefore, it can be changed, scrubbed, twisted or ignored. It’s in your hands to mold.

Who do you want to be? Love is the greatest gift. Forgiveness I believe is the second.

Namaste.

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Are you the choices you make?

6b467915e5e5c78240284ff5c302e4dbWhy does the lady with lung cancer and a horrible cough still refuse to give up her smokes? What is the missing ingredient in all of us? We know it’s not just will power.

We make choices every day. I can wear the gray pants or the black, take a sandwich to work or eat my lunch out. Sometimes our choices seem less trivial, do we go to a state college or local, start a family or grab the golden ring on the career ladder?

Most things we do are minor. The apple we ate isn’t going to change our life on the grand scale. Not one by itself. It’s the patterns of living that creates a mosaic.

If only we could see the picture we were creating as we step out into each footstep. Is that possible? I mentioned Values in last weeks post, How to be Strong. I wanted to revisit values and add a little more information today.

Are these some of your values? Honesty, Loyalty, Love, Kindness, Individuality, Tenacity, Forgiveness, Intelligence, Nature, Education, Nationalism, Multiculturalism.

It’s not possible to see any life as a whole to know how it will end, but we do know certain actions tend toward certain directions. Rob a bank and usually you get caught. Smoke enough cigarettes and lungs develop carcinoma. Read books with a fresh vocabulary, and you’ll increase your word usage. These are mere projections, not certainties, but they’ve happened enough times in the past that the odds are pretty darn good.

The truth is something that burns, it burns off deadwood and people don’t like having their deadwood burnt off often because they’re 95% deadwood

  • Joe Rogan Experience #958 – Jordan Peterson [2]

Our life is not all one choice. We’ve created patterns that are comfortable. I like my car, my house, and my bed. It’s home. Familiarity is like the puff of a warm cigarette. Mine isn’t nicotine, but we all have a crutch. I’m afraid to jump, to grab the golden ring when I’ve been handed it. What if I fail? I’d be leaving my couch. That’s my weakness. #Hardchoices

I believe we need to know who we are before we can walk the truth we’ve learned. Below I created a link to a resource I found. Each module has a fee and takes some thought to complete. I’m starting with Virtues. Tell me what you think.

Self Authoring

If you want something easier or free, there’s the Keirsey Personality Test. Whatever your direction, take some time to know yourself. There will be choices. #Hardchoices #learning

Check out these older posts: Living My Words and Not My Grandma’s Soap Opera

How to be Strong

Values

Check out anyone’s Facebook page, even mine, and you’ll see their values. A quick glance at their Instagram and you know what’s important in their life. Beauty? Fitness? Maybe it’s their family.

It seems this life has us spinning like we are whirling around in a tornado and we are flying out of control. This is a year that we need to know who we are. So for the rest of this year, I’m going to go beyond holding on for dear life. I’ve decided it’s time to build a better foundation.

Rankings

What’s important to you? You don’t need a deathbed experience or a rare disease. The answer will be clear. It can be a person you love so much it hurts or an experience you’ve wanted to try. Maybe it’s something that gives you hope. This is the first step. For me, it’s my family.  After them, it would be travel opportunities.

Now, step further. Name your values. Do some research. If it helps you find your purpose, study other people’s values. Where’s your core truth (I never lie) or (I’m a geek) come from?

Always Learning

This is more than a days project. And it’s something you can do over and over. One thing I want to do and you can consider also, once you realize a new value, post it. Here is one of mine – > #finishwhatyoustart  Add a picture with it. Make it yours. Follow me in if you want. Find me on Instagram

Here’s an older article with a list of VALUES. What do you think?

#Respect #Industriousness #Wisdom #Responsibility #Accountability #Beauty #Nature

Are you ready to build a better tomorrow? Let’s start today.

Link: Mindtools.com

The Good Life

The Good Life

“We’re on the go for love to open our lives to walk tasting the sunshine of Life.”

It’s getting cold up north and I don’t like the cold. I’m never ready for wintertime. The chill. The ice storms. I’m summer’s girl. Give me the beach, some sun, and a book. That’s my good life.

It’s the oddest things that make us smile. Our favorite songs. A good hot dog. Popcorn at the movies. Hugs from our grandparents.

Life is lived in the small moments. What do you enjoy?

Walk through life

Beautiful more than anything

Stand in the sunlight

Walk through life

Love all the things

That make you strong,

be lovers, be anything

For all the people of

Earth

You have brothers

You love each other, change up

And look at the world

Now, it’s

Our’s, take it slow

We’ve got a long time, a long way

To go,

We have

Each other, and the

World,

Don’t be sorry

Walk on out through sunlight life

and know

We’re on the go

For love

To open

Our lives

To walk

Tasting the sunshine

Of Life. – Amiri Baraka, Answers in Progress from Brain PickingsSelected Plays and Prose of Amiri Baraka

Smart Words

People enjoy feeling smart. I remember when we tossed the phrase 24/7 about like it was going out of style. That’s right there with handing out business cards and carrying pagers.

I’ve listed some words that have we use to get more clicks (click bait), plus one name. If you’re on YouTube watch for Elon Musk videos. They often use his name as a tease. He often isn’t in the videos, just the titles.

Echo chamber

Users tended to seek out information that strengthened their preferred narratives and to reject information that undermined it. – Washington Post

I like you, so I’ll listen to you.

Metadata

Descriptive metadata describes a resource for purposes such as discovery and identification. It can include elements such as title, abstract, author, and keywords. – Wikipedia

Name, rank, and serial number.

Binge watching

The practice of watching multiple episodes of a television program in rapid succession, typically by means of DVDs or digital streaming. – Google dictionary

Binge watching is bad, but the shows are so good according to an article in Forbes.

Elon Musk

Currently the CEO of SpaceX, Elon Musk is a South African-born Canadian-American business magnate, investor, engineer, and inventor. – Wikipedia

Elon Musk is the modern-day Leonardo da Vinci.

Simulated Universe (Matrix)

…the notion that everything humans see and know is a gigantic computer game of sorts, the creation of supersmart hackers existing somewhere else, is not a joke. – Is Our Universe a Fake? Space.com

I prefer books. Yeah, reading is a better mind simulation for me. Ready Player One is about a simulated world. 🙂

What words can you add?

The Thing About Neighbors

I was walking into my complex and overheard a conversation inside my downstairs neighbor’s condo. Not strange, except she lives alone. I paused in my curiosity. Yes, I’m nosy. “You don’t appreciate anything I do for you.” I imagined her little dogs lined up on the couch being lectured. It’s like she was playing school, but she wasn’t a child. Medication needed?

Young

One of my young guy neighbors was trying to hide his motorcycle inside since management was trying to impound it. He didn’t like parking it out front with the cars and as he stated it, “they are on my ass.” So up the stairs, he struggled and shoved until it was inside the condo. I wonder how his girlfriend felt about the chunk of metal in the living room?

Old

We have an older gentleman, one of the few condo owners who live here, besides me, who is working to clean the grounds. He is a well-dressed fellow, dress shirt, suspenders, and slacks. I’ll see him sometimes in the morning getting into his Mustang GT. I’ve never asked where he goes. Is he still working at his age? I’m not sure even how old he is. In the evenings and weekends, he’s picking up leaves and trash.

All

Neighbors remind me of the story Stone soup. At first glance my neighbors are annoying and I don’t know why I stay at this place. But I’m the stone, the rock in the middle of all this pot of water. They bring the flavor. The painter, a dog trainer, a nurse, and many more good people live here. If I get to know people their lives become more than static, more than the ugly boom, boom bass that disturbs me. Neighbors are people living their life. I have to re-frame it sometimes, understand the annoyance and let it go.

Something to read:

I Am Safe

I’ve admired the European lifestyle for many years. What I’ve watched in a carefree manner began to be the way I wanted to pattern my life. I’ve felt stressed from the uptight expectations of the American society, stretched thin from not enough down time to recharge. I complained that I wanted to move to France or Italy or even Sweden just so I can get away from our hectic ways. Give me siestas and long vacations.

Wine and bread

While I’m working through my lunch cramming down the last bite of food, I’m thinking there’s someone in France sipping a glass of wine with her friend and eating a crusty baguette. Vacation only made this worse.

Somehow, the other side of the pond has always seemed greener. Europe’s healthcare system, vacations, their unpretentious philosophy of life, more liberal politics, all of these were more to my liking. But something interesting happened while I was driving back to work from a doctor’s appointment. I glanced out the car window and noticed there was a flock of geese lounging on the golf course, safe. Only golfers were near enough to chase them.

What Happened?

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There’s a lot of talk about healthcare in the states, and you’d think we were all dying on the streets without any care at all. I don’t want Medicaid defunded because this affects everyone, hospitals and doctors included, and of course, the patients receiving care. But that’s a political conversation. What I did realize about my own situation is that I am doing alright. And I came by this truth by changing my inner picture. Instead of seeing bad, I caught a glimpse of what’s good in my life, but this has taken retraining. Rehab for my brain. Neurolinguistics. Read this post. Can you Neuro Lingo.

I’m alright

I was returning from an appointment with a doctor who was helpful and kind. I have good healthcare. My job allows me to leave in the middle of the day for an appointment. Yes, our system is complicated. It needs improvement, not abolished as some want to do. I’m also trying to remember that the grass is pretty damn green on my golf course.

Some helpful links:

Neurolinguistic training that helped

Similar blog posts:

 

Name That Cookie

Years ago, when I was married, my mother-in-law shared her memory of the best sugar cookies in the world. But, she didn’t have the recipe. It was her mom’s recipe, and her mom never wrote a recipe on paper. Earline remembered eating them as a child fresh from the oven. They were soft and cake-like, somewhat crumbly. She tried adapting sugar cookie recipes to create something similar, but they weren’t quite right. What’s a woman with a cookie craving to do?

Another Strategy?

How many times have we spouted the great words of wisdom, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing but expecting to get different results?” Psychology Today We sometimes mock people who keep trying, but I wonder if we don’t give up too quickly. Anyway, I call trying and trying determination. There’s also a time to do things a little different. Sometimes calling a friend can help. Or get some air.

Feedback, please

I’m tenacious. Sometimes to a fault. That spot is coming out of the carpet. It’s difficult for me to know when to call it quits. I’m uncertain when to stop scrubbing the carpet or to stop trying different cleaning products. There’s not an indicator light to give me feedback, to let me know I’m at peak cleaning potential. At least not until the carpet is restored to the original color. If I succeed, I’ve fed my belief that Tenacity rules! But I tell myself this tale whether it’s true or not.

My motto as a teenager was to not give up. I loved this quote,

Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.Sir Winston ChurchillSpeech, 1941, Harrow School
British politician (1874 – 1965)

Know Your Team

It’s funny how we can mislabel things for years, misjudge, and misunderstand. Yeah, I went there. I work in the health care industry, so I see symbols all day. Hearts, snakes, and poles. Their meanings along with all of the medical language make me aware of how we communicate with each other. The hearts aren’t referring to love. The poles aren’t sexy. And if you see a naked man or woman, you might want to close your eyes.

Cookies

Oh, and those weren’t sugar cookies by the way. Earline eventually asked her older sister if she knew the recipe. Sis called them Oma’s cookies. Together they found a recipe for Oma, German for Grandma’s cookies. It’s a simple, no-fuss cookie recipe by the way.

My recipes-Omas Sugar Cookies

project pastry-Omas Sugar Cookies

 

Hard Times Come Again No More

1803421922-tumblr_mevga9vhge1rla79eo1_500Some weeks are exhausting. Getting out of bed is more than I can do. But then I meet people who are suffering, lost their job, a child has cancer, and it makes me realize I’m okay. Just whining here. This song is for those who have had some real hard times.

Maybe this is you. Did you take two steps forward and slip three steps back? If this hasn’t been one of your good weeks and it seems that only the vultures are your friend. I’m sorry. I wish I could be there with you and help. Could you consider singing part of this song with me? It’s one of my favorites. The band is Eastmountainsouth.

let us pause in life’s pleasures and count its many tears
while we all sup sorrow with the poor
there’s a song that will linger forever in our ears
oh, hard times come again no more

’tis a songa a sigh of the weary
hard timesa hard times come again no more
many days you have lingered around my cabin door
oha hard times come again no more

while we seek mirth and beauty
and music light and gay
there are frail ones fainting at the door
though their voices are silent
their pleading looks will say
oh, hard times come again no more

’tis a songa a sigh of the weary
’tis a songa a sigh of the weary
hard times… hard times come again no more
many days you have lingered around my cabin door
oh, hard times come again no more

’tis a sigh that is wafted across the troubled wave
’tis a wail that is heard upon the shore
’tis a dirge that is murmured around the lowly grave
oh, hard times come again no more

Read more: Eastmountainsouth – Hard Times Lyrics | MetroLyrics

I hope tomorrow is full of joy and delight.

Check out Crimson, Eleven, Delight, Smell of Dust After Rain

Hiding from Our Power

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There are Many Truths.

I hate when people say they don’t want to talk politics or other current hot issues. But I understand. They don’t want to isolate their friends or family. And neither do I, but isn’t putting your head in the sand similar to losing power?

I never considered ignorance a virtue. Blindly doing what I’m told isn’t my style. My goal isn’t to debate. There are a lot of issues and I want to learn. I’m not trying to slaughter an opponent. If I were, which team do I trash and which do I defend? There’s more than one truth, more than two sides to every story.

When I started following the foreign relations debacle, it was a war issue in my mind. I was young. I’d read the history of the Islamic culture and the religious clashes. Mostly I was familiar with the biblical context and like most Americans, I dismissed it and went on with my life of raising a family. I was naive.

Pick A Side

As the years passed, the sects morphed from Al Qaida to ISIS. The United Nations and other joint efforts moved troops from Iraq, Afghanistan then into Syria. The issues have ranged in scope from violence, human trafficking, and the debate over women’s rights. In the American sphere, we’ve passed the baton of power from one president to another, changing the man behind the desk, without changing much in the world sphere. It feels like a game of whack-a-mole, but real people are harmed. This isn’t a funhouse. No one wins.

I was so appalled at the beginning of Trump’s presidency, that I couldn’t hear differing opinions about the banning of Muslims. Even though I’m still not in favor of it, I won’t try to remove your skull. My opinion has changed on some matters, but none are fully formed. I’m learning.

Forget Debate

Possibly we don’t want to offend our friends, but we can still learn. We can listen to podcasts. Read books. Talk to people. Learn about the current news subjects. Pick one that’s right for you, maybe even a bit frightening. The difference-do it with a goal in mind. Not to win, but to learn.

0407a1669bb870cd6839a4a8bcbd70ad-monday-face-angry-cat

My current podcast:

Sam Harris – The Waking Up podcast

Mysterious Universe (they make me smile)

My current read:

The Way of the Strangers Encounters With the Islamic State by Graeme Wood

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