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.

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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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Choking

BIGRecently I ran into a brick wall. I felt I couldn’t bust through. I had ideas, but they just hung out in the air. Pen to paper. Fingers to the keyboard. Where to start? Frustrating. This has been my struggle the last few months.

Back in my junior high days, there was a group from the wrestling team in my history class. They were often cutting up before the class started, before the teacher came into the room. Now, I knew what a full-nelson and a half-nelson hold were. I was familiar with martial arts and wrestling in general. My two older brothers were excellent teachers of how to remove yourself from holds and better still of how not to become entangled.

These three boys in class demonstrated something which shocked me. One guy would hold another wrestler up by gripping him around the neck, cutting off the blood flow. At first, I didn’t believe it was real. The guy fainted. Blacked completely out. Teen boys don’t faint. He’s joking around–right? They did it again to demonstrate. WTF. And then the teacher walked into the room. The chattering of 30 teenagers hushed to a whisper.

What happened?

They were using a modified choke hold. And the wrestlers got high from the choke out. It became a tough guy competition and a then a demonstration to show what they knew. It was even an “I’ll hold you against the wall by the throat thing” until you pass out. Which is what happened and they’d get up and laugh it off.

Back

That’s what I did to myself. Accidently. Only it wasn’t a real choke hold, just in the mad panic of getting too much done I dropped my writing. I quit editing my book. I had ideas, but I choked. I couldn’t seem to get enough air between my crazed thoughts. “Not enough time,” “that’s a dumb idea,” “later,” “everyone else has done that,” you’re a moron.” I choked.

Get up

Like those wrestlers, I’m getting back up and laughing it off. I relaxed the choke hold. I let the events pass that held me captive. One by one the stressors left. One more important thing I’ve done is to receive guidance. I’ve had therapy before, and it helped. This time I’d been thinking about having a life coach and I still might. What I did this time was order some coaching online that fit my specific needs. It has helped me tremendously. Maybe that’s what we all need, a little help, someone to nudge us in the right direction.

Relax.

I think everything will be alright.

Keep your hope alive.

Insatiable 

Take five minutes. Only five minutes. Five minutes to calm. To listen. To be quiet. To pray. To meditate. To stop and smell the fragrance of the scarlet roses in your mother’s front lawn. Slow down five minutes.

Life’s been tugging on me with its incessant neediness and each pull feels as if it will take me down with it.

I want to change the world. Change society. When I see the desperate face of a refugee, there’s a pang of empathy and a desire to help. I see the needless waste of human lives thrown and tossed into the skirmish of wars fought over pettiness or another’s profit. It infuriates me.

My idealism is a black hole of never finished projects. I cannot save the world. I cannot change society. But I absolutely cannot afford to despair. Or to check out.

So, I’m taking five minutes. Five minutes to listen to music. To feel the perfection of this moment. To heal. To give. These five minutes I can do. In these five minutes I can reflect and remember who I am. Would you join me?

Five minutes.

Hope

CdOVbD_WAAEEZzRTime is closing in on me. It’s been a problem of claustrophobia. Lack of oxygen. Not enough air. Maybe it’s depression. If I listened to the doctors, they’d give me another pill. I don’t need another. I’d like to take fewer thanks! Maybe the ones I use are causing the issue. Well, yeah, could be.

One thing I realized finally is that I’m not alone.  Society has been steadily growing more complicated. And it’s been creeping up on us all. More demanding. Greedy. Our boundaries have become porous, and we have to be the ones to say, STOP!

Bob Lefsetz in his Letter says – Who’s gonna lead us out of the wilderness? Artists. If they just grab the wheel and start to drive.

Here’s my thing-I don’t fit into the entrepreneur’s gig. I’m not aggressive enough to work on my own. I like the umbrella of a company paying my income. Unfortunately, it pigeon-holes me into the 9 to 5 cubicle workforce.

Maybe I’m looking at this wrong. The creative side of me likes to have fun. Books, movies, and music make me happy. Get my light burning again.

Gordon White from Rune Soup suggests we turn to literature for restoration

And he brings up another reason, social media, and the difficulty of speaking out, which I mentioned in my blog We Have Wet Feet 

There is another reason why creatives may want to think very seriously about unfurling their towel on this part of the beach. It is getting more and more difficult to say anything real publicly. The pH level of the discourse is hovering around 2. (Acid rain starts below 4.)

We’ve all felt this. We really only fire up social media for private conversations now. Venturing out into its public discussions is akin to looking down at the fork in your hand and realising you weren’t doing anything else with that other eye, anyway. – Gordon White

Lately, I’ve questioned my choices. Should I be more assertive? Do the Tim Ferriss thing? Jump from the airplane and be an adventurous person? I know, I know. It’s a ridiculous thing to ponder. I don’t even have a plan. It’s all self-doubt and speculation, but it’s there, sitting and waiting, in the back of my mind. I won’t do it really. I’ll read more books.

I’m just a creative needing to breathe.

We Have Wet Feet

Centurion Quintus Dias: [narrating] In the chaos of battle, when the ground beneath your feet is a slurry of blood, puke, piss and the entrails of friends and enemies alike, it’s easy to turn to the gods for salvation. But it’s soldiers who do the fighting, and soldiers who do the dying, and the gods never get their feet wet. – from the movie Centurion.

This quote is haunting. Friends and enemies together in the unforgiving harshness of battle.

No, I don’t think we’re currently living the nightmare Quintus painted. We aren’t battling alongside our friends. Many of us are hardly speaking. We’re either afraid we’ll lash out with our politics or we’ve shunned some of them already. 

Maybe my picture is too bleak. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but how many of you have dropped the social media life? Facebook family anyone? I feel like I’m recovering from a bad breakup. Or my feet got wet. I’m feeling icky. Is it soup time?

Thanks for stopping by! Take care of yourself.

Tricky Rabbit

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I love new beginnings. Fresh starts are more appealing than finishing touches. It’s me. The end is just that, the end. It’s over. Done. The toys go away, and everyone goes home. There’s a book that talks about the two types of games people play, Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse. He mentions that we each have our way of the game, even in everyday life. Yeah,

Infinite all the way for me.

But life doesn’t cater to my preference. So with every ending of a book, I start a new one. I have a huge stack of books. And the adventure continues.

“In infinite games, a surprise is a reason it continues.”-Gary Carmell https://www.garycarmell.com/infinite-games/

Beginnings always meet resistance. It doesn’t matter if you’re planning a military coup or painting your newborn’s nursery, the complexity of the job doesn’t matter. You’ll face obstacles in any game you play. How you handle challenges reveals your gaming style.

I listened to a podcast forecasting the events and mood of 2017. I don’t live my life according to astrology, but if a smart idea strikes my fancy, I’ll note it. I’m shortening and possibly corrupting the message, but here is how I heard it. Please forgive my amateur interpretation.

2017 will be a fire year, changeable. Plan but be aware of changes. It’s a Jack Sparrow sort of year. Fly by the seat of your pants, so remember to be flexible. Ad lib.  Here’s the link if you wish to listen fully. ->Runesoup Talking 2017 Astrology with Austin Coppock.

Jack Sparrow is a trickster. So was Bugs Bunny, Wile E. Coyote, Westley from Princess Bride, and Loki from Scandinavian mythology to name a few. Click here to read a finite list of modern day tricksters. Tricksters are light-footed, have few rules, disregard societies constraints, and have unique styles. I find it interesting that movies put the trickster as the hero. We cheer for him.

Riddle me this Mr. Joker.

The good guy, Mr. Stiff Shirt becomes the villain. He’s followed the rules, climbed the corporate brigadier ladder, and no dirty pirate will steal his girl. Or naval vessel. Inconceivable!

We cheer BECAUSE Jack Sparrow, our trickster, breaks the rules. And our collars are feeling snug around our necks. We’re restricted. It’s the debt, the responsibilities, we miss laughing with our kids, and we’ve held in our anger too long. A light-footed trickster makes life look easy. Almost as easy as running away to Colorado in a camping trailer.

Captain Jack Sparrow is a con artist, but we still love him. Impossible for long term commitments, yes. But we can hardly hate him. I’d invite him over for a beer. I’d just lock up the valuables.

Thanks for hanging with me this week! Peace.

Inconceivable!

An exclamation of disbelief. Impossible to comprehend or grasp fully.

So unlikely or surprising as to have been thought impossible; unbelievable.

“Inconceivable!” “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
by Rose-Pose January 17, 2006

http://gutenberg.us/articles/list_of_modern_day_tricksters

I’m not a Jackass Whisperer

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Tenderfoot. Softie. I used to hate those names. Once those words said to me could make my blood boil. I was a tough girl, and I was strong, able to take on the best of you. I ran barefoot over gravel. Snakes, bugs or even toads did not make me squeal.

I might have been a fighter with a big ole’ chip on my shoulder, but yeah, I was still a softie. I fell in love, gushed with pride over my adorable babies, felt pain before and after surgeries, had my heart broken, and etc.

Like Brené Brown, I’ve come to realize being vulnerable isn’t a weakness. Softness holds strength. I’m thinking of the almighty power in the aroma of coffee in the morning. It moves me like no bell of alarm could. Or the giggle of a young child. The smell of dirty laundry. What about the viral memes that flow through society with the ability to change a culture?

“There is no intimacy without vulnerability. Yet another powerful example of vulnerability as courage.”
Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Softness won’t make a terrorist drop his gun, leave that to the pros. Let’s remember home and restore goodwill here. <-tweet  

Ideas for hearts: Muffins and coffee. Fresh flowers and a thank you card. Kind words. A kiss on the cheek. These acts heal broken hearts, mend fences, end strife.

“UnMarketing: “Don’t try to win over the haters; you’re not the jackass whisperer.”
Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Train Station Drop Off

I have a few abandonment issues. It seems odd when you’re my age. No, I wasn’t dropped off at a train station as a youngster. My parents weren’t crack heads either.

Think of big families. Loud. Boisterous. Then there’s that one person who tries to speak up. The quiet one. No one’s listening. It’s at that moment you understand the feeling of introverts. Do we jump up and throw potatoes to get attention? Or do we sit down because what we have to say isn’t worth the effort?

People are not listening, and you can tell. Have you noticed the general trend towards perfecting our own bubble? And when we jump into our particular listening mode, you almost hear the weirdness. The “Yes, Aha.” If you were in therapy, they’d say, “And how did that make you feel?” Ick.

Narcissism and Self-absorption are more prevalent than they once were. Maybe it’s because we are living in a more crowded environment. I don’t know. More people are choosing to become attention grabbers-potato throwers. Hey, whatever works for you! I’m currently trying to decide whether to sit back down or eat my potatoes.

Thanks for listening.

Living My Words

11e8efb0de99e437aa6c5a7983a86f94I’m not a great poet or speaker, but that never stopped me from saying what I felt. Maybe at times I’d be better sitting down and letting others wax poetic. Maybe. It’s a tough call to know when to speak up and when to sit quietly, hands folded. I want that wisdom.

There were times when I’ve spoken, and the words echoed back at me. Awkward. A room full of conflicted expressions and I was reluctant to continue. I wasn’t understood. How do you breach people’s defenses? Do we have an obligation to try?

It’s awkward at best to keep speaking. Usually, we sit. Or grow red in the face, yelling at our new opponent. The enemy has been marked. There’s another strategy to try. Stop the oratory. Become ordinary. Be Joe. Be Jane. Simple people, everyday activities. Change things. It’s alright if you’re not a great spokesperson. Maybe you hated speech class or drama in school.

Do you tell your friends about your favorite TV show? That local dive you went to with your guy last weekend. Did you share those pics on Facebook? Yeah, so did I.

We’re all spokespersons, all the time. Marketing has caught on, outfitting individuals to advertise for them using Instagram and blogs. They look fun too! It’s all in the name of profit. (i.e. Kelly in the City, Read this: Confessions of an Instagram Influencer

And no I’m not talking about plastering your profile with religious or political slogans. No! This is the opposite! Live your words for awhile. Be the good.

Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But, please don’t be meaningless.

Here are some of my book suggestions:

Scary Close: Dropping The Act and Finding True Intimacy

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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World of People Who Can’t Stop Talking

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