Love is What I Know

Darkness. We don’t sit there often. As soon as I get home, I turn on the light, feed the cat, and get the activity going. The dark seems empty. But it doesn’t have to frighten us.

Go back to what you know for sure. Those were the words that I heard when I was in my dark space. It’s taken me some time to understand their meaning.

tumblr_ldlfpavmov1qekgtho1_500Re-boot

In the Bible, there’s the story of Jonah, the man who didn’t want to preach to the people in a city called Nineveh. He hid on a boat until he was thrown out into the storm and he was swallowed alive by a great fish. Darkness. Crazily, he ends up back where he was supposed to be in the beginning.

I laugh because if you call the customer support line for help with your computer, the first thing they ask is, did you try turning it off and on again? Restart. That’s their answer for everything.

But start overs are impossible in real life. Aren’t they? A start over, a cleaning, a bottom level, that was the message I got when I heard the words, “Go back to what you know for sure.”  What did I know for sure? Love.

Where is the love?

I was uncertain of religion. I couldn’t tell you at that moment if I believed in God or the devil, heaven or hell. I didn’t know if the Bible was real or if the teachings I’d grown up with were true, but I did know there was a love that was buried deep inside of me that I’d felt all of my life and it wasn’t of any religion.

What does that mean? What does it look like? I had to stop trusting in everything else. I only had love. So I let myself sit in the darkness, in the emptiness with nothing to light me but the one candle of love. It sounds silly, but when you’re a traditionalist, and you let the old teachings slip away, the emptiness around you isn’t lonely or scary. The love you feel grows. There’s a freedom in that love. Joy unspeakable.

Can you find your truth?

Check out older post — My Skepticism on Religion  and Question It All

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Who Turn Out the Light?

good dayI haven’t talked much about my dark days. Most of us have them. Some call them Dark Nights of the Soul. Others say they are walking through the valley of the shadow of death. No matter what we call them, the experience is difficult to put into words. And I will sometime. Emotions don’t always translate. That gut-wrenching ache after losing a spouse isn’t the same as being alone on a Friday night when everyone else has a date. The situations are almost similar. Alone. No date or spouse. But there’s a depth of substance not seen.

“There is a season for everything under the sun—even when we can’t see the sun.”

― Jared BrockA Year of Living Prayerfully: How a Curious Traveler Met the Pope, Walked on Coals, Danced with Rabbis, and Revived His Prayer Life

Are you familiar with the story of Plato’s Cave? Here’s a link. Plato’s Cave. There were captives chained inside the cave facing always forward, only seeing shadows because they were too far from the source of the light.

One day a single prisoner was freed and taken outside into the light. For years he’d seen the play of shadows and saw the monsters and grotesque shapes splattered on the wall, but now he could see. He had the sunlight, and he knew they were only shadow play on the cave wall from objects in the cave. There weren’t monsters.

Suddenly he was grabbed and yanked toward the cave. But he didn’t want to go back into the dark, he yelled. In the light, he wasn’t afraid.

The shackles were on him again, and the darkness enveloped him. He was restrained, but this time he was different. There was no fear. He knew. How could he not have seen? He had to explain it all to his friends. Would they even listen?

I can almost hear him singing – “Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance!!”

“The new is always at our doorstep when we feel most lost.”

― Janet RebhanLearn To Be Still

Check out a similar writing: Wandering and Lost Souls

 

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

 

Lies, Lies, Lies

Lies, Lies, Lies

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.

And I’ll Say It Again, In All Humility

And I’ll Say It Again, In All Humility

Here is an updated version of an earlier post

In All Humility and Arrogance, I Say….

SEPTEMBER 6, 2009

Maya Angelou once said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

I used to be foolish and believe what people told me. I do hope I have grown past that by now. Other’s have said that they could look people in the eye and tell what type of person someone is. I don’t have that gift I guess. All I see are blue or green and if they have cataracts. For me, that is like looking under the hood of my car. I can stare all day at the oil dipstick and the battery cable, but I can’t tell a darn thing about the vehicle and why it won’t start.

Show Me

My way goes back to SHOW me who you are. Yes, people can fake it, but not for long. Something of who the real person is will leak out. I had an incident happen this week that reminded me of this. I was having a conversation with someone, and they had said something but meant another, like “I went to Paris” when they meant to say “I went to France.” I was no big deal, but she was shocked, believing she SAID what she had THOUGHT because obviously her brain doesn’t get her words mixed up. At that moment, I received a very clear picture of that person. Here is a person who never faults herself. It’s not so much that she doesn’t think she is capable of error, more that she couldn’t see it.

Do you know the time when you got that car, maybe the blue one because not too many people had a blue car and especially not the brand that you had? Then suddenly you see blue cars everywhere. You COULDN’T see them before, but now they are everywhere. In that way, SHE couldn’t SEE that she could make an error and didn’t take it into consideration. In her thinking, we heard her wrong. Hmmm, all 5 of us. Blindspots.

Arrogance and Humility

In my eyes, this is the difference between arrogance and humility. The arrogant cannot see the flaws in their judgement. Their opinion is correct because their opinion is all they see. To contrast, there are those with humility. And to that extreme there are the self-abasing humble people who need to see themselves as well as others. These are the ones who have been long considered low on self-esteem and self-conscious. Psychologist have been telling them they have a flaw, and God knows that they are aware of this, and they cringe. They want to hide. They see their flaws and are very aware that of the errors of their ways.

It’s time for some moderation. It is good be kind to others but remember the arrogant ones will never see you except to use you as an example or an icon to prove their “rightness.” You had best move out of their way and shut your doors. The arrogant won’t read this, so I’m not talking to them because they know more than me anyway. So to the humble I say, be good to yourself today. Show yourself some love and lock your doors.

Quit

I Can't Quit You Baby
I Can’t Quit You Baby (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quit – over thinking. Quit – trying to make it work. Quit – wishing, thinking, pushing, willing, trying so hard, all of those things that make you seem like a fish flopping on the shoreline, out of his comfort zone, out of his life zone. That’s not you. We all do this. We act like we’re afraid. We act like that poor fish, gasping for air. We are not desperate. We might be afraid, but we aren’t desperate.

I have so many questions sometimes when I try new things. I start with, I’m ready. I’m excited. I crouch down like the jumper at a sporting event and I’m ready to take off, but then the questions start. How much pressure do I need to push-off? Do I land on one foot or both? Do I dig in with my toes? You get the idea. So many questions that I start doubting if I can do it or if any of it can happen. Can I really make it work? Am I just daydreaming?  We all go through this struggle. We worry. We fight the fear, then we fight the desire by telling ourselves, ‘Well, I don’t want it anyway.’ We try to shut the emotions down because they can be so raw. The open heart can feel so exposed.

I was sitting down with a guy I see regularly and without telling him anything he starts saying things such as, you know you can’t be happy unless you’re with someone who meets your needs. You have to have someone that lets you have room. In essence, it was all the things I’ve been mulling over in my head. Was he reading my mind? Sometimes I wonder. Is the world around me really just a hologram of my own making as the new-agers say? Matrix overload. Tilt. Tilt. Beep. Beep.

I’m afraid. I’m in the open, but I know I’m not alone here. I just have to wait. I did that thing I do so often, I got here early. I got over excited. How did I say that before? You can read that post here:  Overeager.

Here are a few items I ran into in the process of writing this blog. I love how when you start pulling strings, the blanket starts coming towards you.

The Wiggle Theory – by Buster Benson on The Medium
The Upside of Quitting: A Freakonomics Radio Rebroadcast

We Need to be Lost to Find Ourselves – YOUTUBE

Flavors and Perspectives

Dublin

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received was to get to know people for myself, then decide who I think they are. It’s too easy to listen to everyone else’s opinion of people. It’s tempting to get advice about vacations and books, but there is no accounting for some folks taste.

Micro cultures

There are many versions of the cities we visit and especially the places we live in. If you live in a historic city you would know what I’m talking about. For instance, New Orleans. There’s the highly romanticized version that’s in the movies with all the drama and music, then there’s the vilified version that the preachers on television like to blame for the downfall of society. Of course that’s not the only city I could name. I’m sure you could name a few also. London. Las Vegas. There’s an actual list. Top 10 Sin Cities in the World.

Personality

And the versions are about as many as there are people. The city varies from, nasty, busy, stinky, a rip-off, crowded, bawdy, etc. I’ll leave the rest to you. Perceptions are plentiful to opinionated people, just as ideas are to inventors. Cheap. What creates atmosphere that you can almost touch and even seem to come to life, is when a story is born. Give me a good story, combined with a strong visual perception, and you have a customer. Otherwise I couldn’t read about Gotham city. Who in their right mind would otherwise want to read about an orphaned child, a corrupt city, with a backdrop of darkly drawn ink caricatured bad guys? But all of us who have grown up with this story line for some reason have loved it. In this story line there is redemption. There’s hope for even the worst possible circumstances.

Books:

Some of my favorite stories are from well-known cities with their own flavors. Jim Butcher writes about Chicago in the Dresden files. There are underground tunnels, vampire councils, and of course the a slew of bad guys that no ordinary citizen wants to meet. And Dresden is the guy to take them all on. You see Chicago through his eyes.

Karen Marie Moning starts her Fever series in the peach of sunny Georgia but continues in Dublin. I’ve never been to Dublin but I can almost taste the froth on the beer. And the chill from the misty rain makes me want to grab a blanket every time I read another of her books. I can’t wait until the 20th of this month when the next one comes out.

Currently I’m reading a series by Faith Hunter, Jane Yellowrock, which in the currently centers in New Orleans. There’s dancing, eating, and hunting vampires. Here’s a scene that shows the city coming back to life after a hurricane/storm. If I were a photographer, I’d be itching to take snapshots.

Lanterns, lamps, and candles lit windows. People sat at tables on second story balconies, by lamplight, and the smell of food wafted down. Tinny music came from open windows, battery-powered boom boxes perched on ledges shared a soft dissonance of musical tastes. Live music, a guitar, saxophone, a drum came through an open bar door. Tables inside were lit with candles, a generator roaring in back. Small businesses that depended on the tourists trade twenty-four/seven, just to make the rent, were opening, despite the lack of city power. More generators began to hum. – Blood Cross excerpt, by Faith Hunter.

How does a view of a city apply to people? Get to know them yourself, then decide. Never judge a book by its cover. Think about it. And check out Re-framing.

All the Way to the Top, Baby!

All the Way to the Top, Baby!

If the team doesn’t make it to the top, who do we blame? The guy who gave up at the beginning? Not usually. The human link in the chain that just didn’t try? Boys will be boys. Play on player. You certainly can’t fault the one who lasted the longest, claws dug in deep into the dirt of the mountainside. If one person would’ve saved the team, she would have, but that’s just the problem. It takes more than one. It takes everyone to make a marriage. It takes everyone to build a family. It takes more than one to win a game and more than one to strike up a tune. So if you’re going to play with the big girls, if you want to wear the big pants, play your heart out and play for keeps. Because girls that make it to the top of the mountain, break a few nails, but they are strong.

Here is a short follow up to: The Passion of Hate and Love

Gears, cogs, pistons, they each have their job. If one malfunctions, you don’t blame the other for the whole machine’s malfunction. When a marriage crumbles, it’s never one person’s fault. I’ve carried around a feeling of failure for years that I realize is wrong. I’m pretty pissed about it now. I know I didn’t fail. I was the unfortunate owner of the hot potato and my ex was the absent person and the only other player in the game to toss the potato to. I hope you feel the helplessness in that. I felt his absence for years. I felt I was the muted voice yelling at the top of my lungs to a deaf man who seemed not to care or didn’t want to carry any responsibility. And I did the hardest thing I could possibly do. I left. There was no more pretty in my pretty please. I couldn’t try harder. I couldn’t try anymore. I was empty inside. I loved that man with all that I had, and it was gone. Somehow, we didn’t match. All of my young years, I had been told, marry a Christian. Marry the man God sends to you. Marry a man your parents approve of. Check. Check. Check. And I was madly in love. What could go wrong? We did the right things. We waited to get married. We had the church wedding. God was surely smiling on us. Delirium. Delusion. Once Upon A Time, Oh wait, wrong bedtime story. I woke up. And I am alive and well.

Massive-Success-Frank-Sinatra-Best-Revenge-Picture-Quotes

The tiny cost of failure

…is dwarfed by the huge cost of not trying.

This is news, a state of affairs due to the significant value of connection, to the power of ideas that spread and to the low cost of production.

Delighting a few with an idea worth spreading is more valuable than ever before. – Seth Goddin

To truly fail, is to not get up. And if you fall, get up again. Laugh again. Or cry. Turn on some Phil Collins or some other good music and enjoy the day. I’m taking song suggestions by the way. I’d like to have yours. Comment at the top of the blog. I have Phil’s song stuck in my head, “I can feel it coming in the air tonight…” and now so do you.

 

The Thing You Didn’t Say

The Thing You Didn’t Say

I have a proneness towards being involved. I’ll just state that up front, so you’ll know exactly where I stand when you read the second paragraph. It comes from being raised in a small town, in a small community church. Everyone helps. Everyone brings a covered dish for the meal and everyone helps clean the kitchen. With that knowledge in mind, I can ask a few questions.

When you’re sitting quietly beside someone and they’re talking about a topic you’re familiar with, when do you feel comfortable jumping in? When the topic is spoken to you directly? When you’re well informed? When you know the person who is talking? Never? Always? What you know and what is appropriate to talk about has always been difficult to me. I was raised to find the answers. If I have questions, I search in the library, in books,  ask teachers, read magazines, ask experts, or wherever I thought I could get knowledge. And since I grew up in a small church, I was put in leadership at a young age, so this put me in a mindset of being a know it all. Not with young children so much, but with my peers. I didn’t want that, so I was always bounding between giving an answer or staying quiet. This is the thing many women never talk about, having to stay quiet for fear of being ridiculed. By my own natural inclination, I want to help. I want to expose the truth. I want to tell all the information that might be helpful. Usually leaving people stunned and overwhelmed. Overexposed.

It’s difficult to carry on a conversation about topics that are mentally stimulating with people in everyday life. My brother and I have discussed this before. It takes an effort to find your own kind. And this is probably for everybody. There are sports bars for people who like sports, but most of society is a mixture weirdness and snobbery, myself included. What if you like beer and the opera?

Men are trying balance their Alpha maleness with their supportive softer side. Have you heard about The Red Pill controversy? Anti-feminism? It’s tough. It’s even tougher because women aren’t completely sure what they want. We have groups who are altogether sex goddesses. They believe women are pure estrogen and need to do nothing more than to wag their, whatever, to get their way. Fine. And maybe that’s all true. But some of us have a brain and are curious. I like to explore and think. We have geeks supporting brain juice. Pop culture promoting a sex-pumped Barbie image. Then there are the Vegans.

This is just to show how far away we are not from solving the role of women or even of men,

Kim Kardashian doesn’t realize she’s the butt of an old racial joke

On the flip side – those of you saying that Kim Kardashian needs to put on some clothes simply because she is a mother also need to sip a big champagne glass of “Girl, Bye!” Because this antiquated idea that mothers are not allowed to celebrate their sexuality is ridiculous and naive. How exactly do you think women become mothers? Immaculate conception? I’ve never been a fan of policing other women’s bodies, and I’m not about to start now. Ya’ll can have that. – The Grio

Somewhere in all of these types, we forgot to just be who we are. We have brains. We have bodies. Some of us like to drive and some like to coast. Pick your flavor and enjoy. It all works together my friend and you can’t ignore any of it or you have dysfunctions. I think the over sized derriere is a symptom of the dysfunction trying to find balance, but it’s just my guess. And truthfully, even if I had a backside curved like Kim’s, it would probably still be sitting on the couch on Saturday night.

I can’t miss mentioning this, Rosetta Scientist, Matt Taylor, wore sexist shirt – Business Insider,

All of humanity made history today by landing a spacecraft on a comet.

Unfortunately, many of the women following that development — and a few men, too — were made to feel pretty unwelcome in the space exploration sphere when one of the people leading the mission decided to show up to talk about it wearing a shirt covered in dozens of half-naked women.

There’s never a lack of stuff to talk about. I think the wisdom is knowing when to speak and when to not speak. What to wear and when to not wear it. And maybe even how much to show and at what times? I don’t always know. I try to err on the side of not speaking to compensate for my overzealous mouth.

Trouble Makers

wordart forget the dog beware of the kids

Trouble kids.

What is your definition of trouble makers?

When I was 16, we had a new pastor come to our church. When I first met him I was sitting on the counter, legs swinging, in the church’s kitchen. We had a decent size youth group in our small church for the size of our town.

We were active, loud, and enthusiastic. Normal. The one thing I later learned was that I looked like trouble, or so my pastor thought. This perplexed me since I believed I was a good girl.

Going back in time, in junior high about 7th grade or so, I got into a scuffle on the bus ride from school. I was in the coveted back seat, and a bigger boy wanted my seat. I didn’t budge. We scuffled, and we both got suspended from the bus. I don’t remember much except being aggravated because I wanted to win and feeling scared of going to the principal’s office. The one thing I didn’t remember my mom had to tell me later. My dad confronted the bus driver. I was surprised since my family is pretty quiet. We each handle ourselves and take care of our issues, but my dad was miffed. The boy was big, around 200 pounds; I was a little 80-pound girl. That wasn’t right, and Dad’s all about right.

I don’t remember much except being aggravated because I wanted to win and feeling scared of going to the principal’s office. The one thing I didn’t remember my mom had to tell me later. My dad confronted the bus driver. I was surprised since my family is pretty quiet. We each handle ourselves and take care of our issues, but my dad was miffed. The boy was big, around 200 pounds; I was a little 80-pound girl. That wasn’t right, and Dad’s all about right.

We each handle ourselves and take care of our issues, but my dad was miffed. The boy was big, around 200 pounds; I was a little 80-pound girl. That wasn’t right, and Dad’s all about right.

You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.

So, is it better to raise quiet, subservient children? Not in my world. Sit and take it or cause a fuss?

If you want a quiet, compliant, factory worker then fine, don’t hire me. I taught my children to think, to question what they read. Don’t believe everything. Investigate.

We need to feel free to speak up, to call attention to injustice, and to think of solutions for our problems.

More recently in my life, I’ve had a few minor verbal scuffles. And by a few, I mean six months worth of hell. When asked to help on a project at work, I dove in feet first. I asked questions.

  • Why are we doing this?
  • What do we want to see as a result?
  • How hard do we need to push the software company to modify their product or do we adapt?
  • Are we missing any steps along the way in this process?

I ran across some gaps in our process, so I spoke up. In one instance I noticed we’d have a noticeable loss of income in 2 months. I ruffled feathers. The birdies got angry with me. Would I do it again? Hell yes.

Maybe it wasn’t my job, but it affected me. I knew the software, and I knew the steps that needed to be taken to get the money in the door.

What concerns me is how we define a trouble maker. I see accomplishing a task as getting things done, even if you have to bump a few noses along the way.

Trouble making is causing a problem because you want to stir up attention. I avoid attention, but I like to do a job well. Work done well is what counts.

Or as in the song “Stand Out.”

And if your gonna make a mess make it loud

And if your gonna take a stand stand out

I highly recommend you listen to this episode of This American Life – Is This Working. Act 3 specifically talks about a school with an unusual method of discipline. When the method reached the real world things got interesting. This episode made me want to punch an idiot. The shortened version – Act 3 Is This Working

The Talking Cure! Yeah.