Dare To Be Great

One of the tendencies I find most troubling in contemporary culture is that of mistaking cynicism for critical thinking. – brainpickings.org

It takes effort to be strong. Conscious thought and awareness are needed to bring out the good in others, but if you can do it some of the time, most of the time, try. Because not trying, not even bothering to show up, is inexcusable. And turning bitter is usually the result.

Anger, resentment, sadness, grief are the leftovers of loves unfulfilled. Unplayable songs, words we held inside a moment too long.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat… Roosevelt’s Writings

Advertisements

Scarred But Not Dead

I loved frogs and toads when I was growing up. I’d capture them and hold them in my chubby hands. I loved their exotic skin and long legs, but mostly it was their soft underbelly where I could feel the beat of their tiny hearts.

We’re drawn to babies. Kittens, puppies, and youngsters of all varieties. Kittens pounce and attack, batting at fluff. Their playfulness can make even an old crank of a person smile. Because somewhere inside that cranky person there’s still a child. Life wore him down, and he forgot how to play.

accept yourself

as you were designed

– rupi kaur, Milk and Honey

I was driving home today and stopped at a red light, my hand automatically went to rub my neck. Tight muscles. When my fingers touched my pulse, I jolted with a thought. I’m alive. Corny. But the thrill was the same as touching the tiny animals, the frog’s pulse. I rubbed it again, and yes my response was the same. I’m thrilled to be alive. And to feel my pulse. Is this crazy?

Life is a strange and fragile moment. You can take machines apart and put them back together without causing much damage. Tinker with it until you get it running. But people and critters are not as easy to piece together again. We do surgeries, but we are hesitant because if the life goes out, we haven’t learned how to retrieve it. So, no, I don’t think I’m crazy for being overjoyed or even ecstatic about being alive. Being alive is fantastic and beautiful. And I don’t want to forget about the beating of life in all of us.

You have scars, wounds, and bruises. Don’t let them keep you from living. It’s possible you might need help or therapy, don’t give up on yourself. Don’t let anyone else bring you down. Be your best. Live.

image from Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Here is Important

Mom says I cried a lot when I was a baby. Ear infections. I don’t remember. I was too young of course. I wonder what would have happened to me if I would’ve been that easy babe who plays and could be placed on the floor.

When I was two weeks old my family, mom, dad, and two older brothers stacked the truck full of the Sapulpa house’s belongings and moved to Collinsville. Dad got an opportunity to buy some land, and he took it. He’d been driving to his business there in downtown Collinsville for a while, and this was an excellent opportunity.

I’ve often felt sorry for my mom over the years. The move from a house in town to a small travel trailer to what seemed a long ways from civilization is a time that would have been difficult for any woman. There was also the dirt road and the river. When it rained the long dirt road became a muddy mess. Like quicksand, the mud would suck the tires and root them into the rutted path. It was a hike past the cattle gate, up the long road, carrying groceries or laundry home. I don’t know if she asked dad for help, but she never quit going.

What we say might not come out openly. The words trip over our emotions as we try to get them out. But, if we keep them to ourselves no one wins. Speak up. Babies can only cry. And it’s their healthy way of getting their needs met. You can do more. Sing, make art, do poetry, dance, show love to someone, craft a meal, be with someone or read a book to a friend. Make it a way of life to share your thoughts and needs.

After you raise your hand…
Show up.

Show up and keep showing up.

Show up with at least as much enthusiasm as you had when you first raised your hand to volunteer.

The volunteering part is easy. Making promises is a fun way to get someone’s attention.

Keeping those promises is often unsung, but that’s how you build something.

Posted by Seth Godin on April 22, 2018

Neuroticism on Board

I sat at the kitchen table and listened to my mom, the same one who ripped at me since I was a child about my friends and my clothes, were they too big or should I by a size larger because I could shoot up a couple of inches in height this year.

There was a time she’d read the letters from my friend in Wyoming. Janie had moved at the beginning of 9th grade. Her parents divorced, and she’d decided to move north with her dad. Not quite a Twilight story since there were no vampires involved and Wyoming has skiing. Janie and I kept in touch throughout our high school years by writing letters every week. It was the thrill of my day when I’d go to the mailbox and run back with an envelope in my hand. My mom would ask, “Is that a letter from your friend Janie?”

Yep. And being the teenager that I was, I’d go into my room to read it away from prying eyes. Janie would tell me about her classes and friends, about her guys and her after school job. I never thought there was anything different about her. She was me but with different parents. Well, she was able to do things I couldn’t. School dances, dates, and she had a real job. I never thought about it until my mom said one strange comment. “Your friend Janie seems a little wild.”

What? Of course, I was surprised. I never talked about Janie or read the letters aloud. I realized what had happened, and I didn’t have a lot of options. There wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. She’d read my letters because I had left them out. And I didn’t understand the wild girl accusation. So, I dismissed it and hid them all away and anything else I didn’t want her to find.

The years passed, and many incidents like that one. I’ve put each aside. I didn’t give them a lot of weight other than thinking, Mom is strange, or where does she get these ideas? My mom believed particular women, like Kim with the red hair, were going to steal my husband. Then she felt my mother-in-law was actively plotting to take our money. The list goes on. It’s been a constant battle for me to shield myself from her jabs. They’ve felt like accusations. As if I couldn’t see the evil in others.

Here’s the truth: she stripped me of my self-confidence. I was always defending myself against the person who was supposed to nurture me.

I saw her last night when I was back at the kitchen table. I was doing some financial planning with her, my brother and dad. This time the neuroticism was not directed at me. I saw the blood red eyes of the monster. I saw my mom rip into my older brother, and it disgusted me. It was ugly, and I want nothing to do with it ever again. I’m not toying with it anymore.

No more putting it aside. I call it what it is. My mom is insecure. She is high in neuroticism. It’s a personality trait, yes. Even that can’t be excused, though. I’m glad I saw the monster.

Belonging

Socks that match, folded and placed in a drawer or cheese and crackers with a glass of wine, these things belong together.

My tribe, my peeps.

Some times I get morose, lonely, and angry because I wasn’t born into a family in which I fit neatly. I feel like a baseball bat at a football game in my family some days. We relate but it’s not a warm snuggle-in feeling with my parents.

I learned like many people, the belonging I need comes from outside of our blood family. It can be a spouse or friends. Building ties in groups we enjoy or online forums can be what we need to feed our mental and emotional hungers.

I have a small space and a few good friends. I pad my nest well. Pillows, blankets, books, and plenty of chocolate. And a lot of love for those around me.

Strengthening Character

At the end of the day, it’s only you. Alone. How you met each challenge and each conflict was up to you. Did you face your demons or pretend they didn’t exist?

There’s a lot of talk about being real. Authenticity. For me, it’s not always easy to be myself. It’s not that I try to fake people out by pretending to be someone I’m not. I’m not an impressive person and never wish to be.

My nature is to relate to people on the level they are. You might think me inauthentic at times because I’m a human who has been damaged by life. My cracks show.

When I feel I’m in an emotionally dangerous situation I’ll plaster a fake smile on and spout out the trite phrases, whatever it takes to get me through the situation. This is the game we call life.

Our character is built by the choices we make. We develop strength or kindness or wisdom through practice. Such as continuing to practice grace and mercy if you’re wishing to become a more forgiving person. Truthfully, it comes down to living intentionally, as best you can.

Show Them You

It’s easy to respond in kind. Someone cuts in front of me in traffic and I want to yell, raise my fist, maybe run them down to show no mercy to bullies. It’s a quick impulse requiring no thought. Any stupid person could do it, yet I consider myself smarter than average. Laugh with me, please.

I’ve had a few road rage issues in the past that could have gone wrong as I’ve mentioned in past posts here. I stepped back from those as if I’d been burned. Anger turns to rage so quick. And it can lead to some horrific results.

I read a post that said when someone gives you a taste of their medicine hit back with yours. Be you. Relax. Don’t stoop to their level. You’ll just make yourself miserable otherwise. Give patience in place of their anger. Show kindness to every insult.

Examine your motives and check yourself before you respond. The more often you do this, the better you will be at governing your rage.

In Your Face

FaceTime, Facebook, we are up close and personal. You would think we all loved each other like cult wives, but we don’t. We’re afraid of getting lost.

 

Lost

Our world is too busy, and we have lost touch with each other, so we place our close conversations and intimacy on Reddit and SnapChat. Our birthdays are celebrated on screen as well every relationship status and break up right down to the dramatic ending.

We long for exposure. It isn’t enough anymore to enjoy a cup of coffee and slice of apple pie. We talk about it. Share. Instagram a pic of it in nostalgic shades. Touch me, see me, like me. Am I real? Do I matter?

Mind Numb

Our chase of meaning only comes to one conclusion. The need for another try. The system is rigged against us. The game is a casino slot machine. Pull the lever and hear the bells. Watch the lights flashing again. How many times have we done this? Have I been sitting here long? My butt is numb. Oh well, I’ll do one more quarter then go home.

Please and thank you can be used by everyone. They are the salt and pepper of society. – JW

Spells and Magic

If this were a magic spell being cast in a children’s fairytale book we would be screaming at the characters. Run. Get out of the building. Turn off your phone. It’s a plot by a wicked queen. But we know these are not fairytales. There are no plots, right? Well, there is the one guy who says otherwise. I’ll link to his Ted talk HERE.

Acknowledge

How do we take care of ourselves since we are aware of our need to be noticed? Acknowledge it. Post the wedding pictures. Enjoy the Likes. But try to find a life outside of your profile. Give to others. Remember to show respect to those around you.

…and my mouth said, “It was his way of saying he loved me. He used to say, ‘I see you Yi-yi.’ ” – Jada from Feversong: A Fever Novel, by Karen Marie Moning

A complaint I heard recently is when a man opens a door for a woman many times she walks through without saying a word. Not even a Thank You.

Here in my part of the country, men are taught to open doors for women, to take out the trash, to say, ma’am. These are courteous actions yes, but so much more. Please and thank you can be used by everyone. These acknowledgments are the salt and pepper of society. Without these ingredients our lives become irritating. Life chafes from constant obligations. It’s not an enjoyable way to live a life. Kindness is needed to keep our society healthy. I want to support others, to see them, show them love, every day.

Namaste

What Are We Saying When We Are Saying When We Are Saying Namaste?

 

I have warm memories of my grandparents. They were an extension of the family I had close to me every day, and the promise of more. More love. More cookies. The extra part I didn’t know consciously extended into the linage and the hint of longevity. These people made it through hard times. Lined faces and crinkled smiles told their stories. Grandma’s mole was duplicated on my mom’s face just as I had inherited my dad’s small pinky toenail. So, I’ve wondered what other characteristics were passed on to me.

Below I have an article from The Girl God. We’ve forgotten much of our family ties but it’s never too late to remember.

“As you move through these changing times… be easy on yourself and be easy on one another. You are at the beginning of something new. You are learning a new way of being. You will find that you are working less in the yang modes that you are used to.

You will stop working so hard at getting from point A to point B the way you have in the past, but instead, will spend more time experiencing yourself in the whole, and your place in it.

Instead of traveling to a goal out there, you will voyage deeper into yourself. Your mother’s grandmother knew how to do this. Your ancestors from long ago knew how to do this. They knew the power of the feminine principle… and because you carry their DNA in your body, this wisdom and this way of being is within you.

Call on it. Call it up. Invite your ancestors in. As the yang based habits and the decaying institutions on our planet begin to crumble, look up. A breeze is stirring. Feel the sun on your wings.”

Message from the Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers

Photo by Joey Lawrence