You Win – Repost

This from a previous post. I hope you enjoy.

Your life is not a failure. My life is not a failure. We haven’t quit and we haven’t failed. Let me set the scene for what I’m talking about. Years ago, women had big families, not always because they wanted to. Men had to work long hours in the fields or doing jobs wherever they could. Coal mining, deep-sea fishing, fighting wars they didn’t start. This was their lives, how they bent. Like the tree swaying with the wind, they leaned and they bent so they didn’t break. We inherited generations’ worth of genetics and heritage. Maybe you have Granddad’s blue eyes or his height. Remember he was so tall he had to stoop when he came through the door frame? Well my gramps was tall and thin. I remember his jean overalls and his pipe. I also remember how his shoulders had a bit of slump. I also remember my mom telling my brother to sit up straight. A lot.

Most of us try to kick habits and to better ourselves. We encourage our kids to study hard and take the steps for success just as we’ve done for ourselves. So you’ve tried to lose the weight. I know you have. It’s not because you lack willpower. Maybe it’s the technique or maybe it’s not. You want to be healthy. You want to stop smoking. You want to watch your kids grow up. You haven’t failed. Get back up. take another step. If you’ve reached this point there is this one thing you need to know. There are some things in life we learn to live with. That doesn’t mean you’ll never quit that habit. It just means there aren’t any miracle cures.

I know people who have personality disorders. I’m sure you do too. I know those that have diabetes and heart problems that would love a miracle cure. And someday medicine and science may find that cure. But until that day we have to handle our bodies with their handicaps as if we might have to live with them. I think with all the self-help and positive thinking we forgot something. Genetics and hereditary still play a part in our lives. Take a tall lanky child for instance. It doesn’t matter how many books you stack on his head, or how many mantras or meditations he would do. He’s going to be tall. And with that will possibly come the stooped shoulders. Thanks Granddad.

I’m blessed with my mom’s pot belly. I’ve never had a flat stomach. When I was 20 I weighed 110 pounds and still had a belly. I could do setups on a slant board. One day I did over 50. Flat stomach? Ha! Nope. Will I stop trying to lose weight? probably not. I’m stubborn like that. And like my continual effort to write my thoughts, like my always wanting to push just a little harder, comes the constant tug of war between wanting to have a thin body and the desire for more ice cream. Some things don’t change.

You exist and no one can take that away from you.

This is a daily lifestyle. This is your daily life. How you live each day doesn’t decide if you fail or win. You win regardless. You are here. You are alive, so you win. You exist, so you can’t lose. It’s not “if I can buy status symbol car I win” sort of deal. If you have no car, if you have no legs, if you have no job, you still win. You exist and no one can take that away from you. What winning looks like to each person is different. Maybe you need to revamp the image you have in your head of what winning is to you. That’s easy.

There are some things that will not change, so we deal with them. Not in a negative “put up with” way. Every day I get up and eat breakfast and take 15 – 30 minutes to wake up. I need that. Eating is mandatory or my body will get shaky and my head will hurt. These are the things I know about myself. There’s no overcoming necessary. This is me. I deal with me. I accept who I am and take the steps needed to make sure I have a meal and slow wake ups. Caring for myself.

You may never get over your fear of dogs. Or heights. You may not finish that bucket list before you die. Don’t let that stop you from putting impossible dreams on your list. It’s okay if you never see the Eiffel Tower or dive into the deep end of the swimming pool. When I was young I thought I had to be able to do everything. I thought I had to conquer every fear and challenge. Where did this thought come from? I really don’t know, but I’m glad to know it’s not true. I don’t have to EVER climb mount Everest. I NEVER EVER have to skydive. Silly as it may seem, I lived the first 30 years of my life thinking I needed to be able to do these things and not be afraid of them. How unrealistic. Somewhere along the way I decided to just stay afraid. Then I learned true freedom.

It’s perfectly alright to live imperfectly.

So forget striving for the top and pushing yourself til you break. The living is not in constant raw edge. The living just is. Right now, regardless if you are on the edge, on the top, or laying somewhere on the bottom after falling over, you are alive. You win.

janetkwest

Your life is not a failure. My life is not a failure. We haven’t quit and we haven’t failed. Let me set the scene for what I’m talking about. Years ago, women had big families, not always because they wanted to. Men had to work long hours in the fields or doing jobs wherever they could. Coal mining, deep-sea fishing, fighting wars they didn’t start. This was their lives, how they bent. Like the tree swaying with the wind, they leaned and they bent so they didn’t break. We inherited generations’ worth of genetics and heritage. Maybe you have Granddad’s blue eyes or his height. Remember he was so tall he had to stoop when he came through the door frame? Well my gramps was tall and thin. I remember his jean overalls and his pipe. I also remember how his shoulders had a bit of slump. I also remember my mom telling my brother to sit up…

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Women are alway fixing things

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Have you taken it to heart? I just read the story of Margaret Rudkin, the mother of Pepperidge Farms. It started with an allergy. Actually her son’s allergy to certain bread products. As most mothers do, she took the doctor’s advice initially and put him on a restricted diet of vegetables, fruits, and meats. Later she decided to experiment. She wasn’t a baker, a chef, or any type of fancy cook, just a mother who cared about her child. She was on a mission. She finally found a way to make breads that her son could tolerate. She went on to other items and decided to market her baked goods. It took time. Lots of it. Years. You can read her story here, Pepperidge Farm History

Have we forgotten about women? We’ve encouraged women to study math and science. We’ve encouraged them in sports. We’ve encouraged them in higher education. Are we training them to be only automatons? Did we forget to challenge them to take risks? Not according to Linda Rottenberg. She says we just haven’t talked about the things women have done. I believe we to keep encouraging.

“Entrepreneurship isn’t just for guys who wear hoodies and work in technology,” said Linda Rottenberg. Entrepreneurship is solving problems that can make significant change in people’s lives, then scaling the solution. She should know: She’s co-founder and CEO of Endeavor, the world’s leading supporter of fast-growing entrepreneurs. Rottenberg is also the author of recently published Crazy Is a Complement: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags.

In fact, by focusing on stories only about Marc Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, we may be discouraging many entrepreneurs who don’t fit their model rather than encouraging entrepreneurs. Let’s make sure to tell stories about all fast-growing entrepreneurs including those led by women. – Forbes Women Entrepreneurs

Here are some current female entrepreneurs who are listed in the article. I’ve snipped it a bit for space. You can click the link above to read the entire article.

  • Two women, Leila Velez and Zica Assis, raised in the slums of Brazil created a line of hair care products, Beleza Natural for Afro-Brazilian women so their hair would look beautiful. They employ 3,000 people and generate $100 million revenue.
  • Lateefa Alwaalan created Yatooq, which developed a coffee brewer that reduced the time it takes to make Arabic coffee by 75%. Yatooq also developed an Arabic coffee blend. Her company is projected to earn $8 million this year and $11 million next year.
  • Nada Debs has built a furniture and accessories design brand under her name. The products are  manufactured by a network of 150 artisans in Lebanon. She employs more than 40 people…Products can be purchased from New York to Dubai.
  • Bedriye Hülya, created B-fit, Turkey’s first national chain of women-only gyms…also enabled hundreds of women to own b-fit franchises and thus become entrepreneurs in their own right.

If you see a need for something different, fill it, make it, create it, design it. Sarah Blakely did. That’s why we now have Spanx. Whether you think they’re a good thing or a bad thing, every product you use, from a toothbrush to a can opener, someone had a need, then had the courage to do something about it. But before they had the courage, there was a mother or father, sister, brother or friend, who told them they were talented enough to do it. If you don’t feel ready to jump into the fray yourself, then lend a hand to someone else. Patronage is still alive today.

Rainbows and Taxes

The trick to having a happy life is knowing who you are and what you need at this stage of life.

I often get caught playing against two sides. The wall that is solid brick and constant. The unchanging realities. The weather. Death. Life. Taxes. It’s true to its word and never changes. You always know where you stand, but it is unforgiving if you slam against it.

The other is not a wall at all. Plasma. Morphing. Changing. Moving. It’s much like sinking sand. The wants, needs, and desires we all have. We want a house. College. We dream of success. It’s all intangible. The end of the rainbow. The stars of the sky. It can seem scary when the desires overwhelm us.

“Don’t seek to be happy; let everyone else chase after that rainbow.
Seek to be kind, and you’ll find the rainbow follows you.”
Richelle E. Goodrich

No one wants to live in an iron cage. To be contained without forgiveness will make your heart sink with defeat. You lose all motivation and wish only for death to come. We dream of running free or flying high in the air. If your life is constantly paying dues, living your life meeting the needs of others, being responsible, then your life is an iron cage. You are a bird in a cage.

It’s not all or nothing….

But, we all need a little support. We need fences and borders to help us along the way. Highways have markings for a reason. Road signs and access lanes keep us traveling freely. When we are developing our skills either as children or adults we need guidance. How do I travel overseas? Do I need a passport? Will I be searched at the airport? So you ask for guidance, consult the experts, get recommendations from friends and even strangers who look like they might know something about traveling abroad. If you have been a regular nomad your entire life, you don’t need these things anymore. You could write your own guidebook. Heck you probably already have.

Where are you?

The important thing to know is, what level are you in this life? Are you starting fresh or starting over? You’ll know because you’ll be asking questions and looking everywhere for answers. That bewildered look on your face really gives you away. That’s okay. It’s just one step at a time and then you’re on your way. Maybe you started over and have been on this journey awhile but you’re not sure if this is where you want to be. Maybe it’s an okay place, but it may be a bit boring. That’s when you start flexing some muscles. Add some play into your routine. You can push the boundaries a bit just to start a spark. It will be like your teenage years all over again, but without the braces.

Who are you?

Not many people will admit to being an old pro at life. I mean really, as they say, no one gets out alive. Some are more sturdy and knowledgeable though and to yell at them for getting off the safe path would just be silly. They might laugh at you. These are the ones who stare at the top of Mount Everest with a twinkle in their eye. “Yep,” they say, “I’m gonna climb that someday.” And maybe they will. If not that mountain then it might be another. You’ll find these people often helping out the Red Cross or United Way after a disaster. They’ll be reading to small children while their parents are stocking up on survival supplies. You might see them but you probably won’t because they are busy just living their lives.

“the image of those midwestern storms that rip up the world as you know it, and leave, like a sacrifice, a rainbow to make you forget what has come before.”
Jodi Picoult, Picture Perfect

There are the travelers and the nomads. Trailblazers and renegades. The gardener and the road builder. The scientist and the preacher. What do all of these have in common? You guessed it. They all started with one step in front of the other. No one is born fully whole.

Where are you? Have you recently started over? Do you even know where you want to go or what you want to see? Just know where you are now. Write it down and don’t be ashamed. If you were wanting to travel you would start with brochures. You would read up on the places that sound interesting then learn what you need for the journey.

Some books that inspired me:

El Camino road by Shirley Maclaine
The ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

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.

Under Pressure

You know that feeling you get when someone is watching over your shoulder? Or, you say you can sink a basket from the free-throw line? No pressure, right? Oh the deadline is Friday? For all of the discomfort it brings, pressure also can bring out the best in us. I’ve found the best way to motivate myself is to set a deadline. Even better is to tell someone about my deadline. If I can line up my goal with this type of pressure, I will almost always complete the task.

Here are my steps,

  • I have a thought or an idea.
  • I write it out either in Google Drive or in a personal notebook.
  • I decide what effort is needed, money or time.
  • I let it percolate inside of me for however long it’s necessary.
  • When the idea has built enough inside of me I usually get follow up ideas and at that moment I can plunge into the project.
  • I find tweeting my progress helps

My pitfalls

It’s easy for me to get lost in researching my ideas so, I try as best as I can to write everything out from the top of my head. Ad Lib if you will. Afterwards since the idea is written out I can edit as needed and add more details.

It took me a while to get comfortable with announcing my plans. Stating aloud “I’m writing a novel,” can lead to all types of feedback. Some think you’re bragging, but you’re not. Mostly I avoided it because seemed like too much pressure. It created that mind numbing turmoil in my head. Now if I don’t finish I am shamed. No one wants to look like a braggart or a fool, but people really have short memories. And they have their own lives to live. A week from now, their troubles will make them forget about the silly thing you stated. And when you actually finish the novel, run the marathon, or lose the weight, you feel the satisfaction. Isn’t that what you wanted?

Run for yourself, not anyone else. – runner’s world

suggested read:

 

Mind, Body, and Spirit

Mind we know. Body we get. But, what is spirit? Grace, kindness, joy, love, peace? Things you can’t see. Spirit doesn’t mean it’s a ghost or even that it will live after our body dies. I can believe in spirit without believing in Jehovah, Thor, Ahura Mazda or Allah. I believe those things named above are spirit. These live on after we have left the building. They are in the memory of every love letter you wrote, every kind word you said, and every cookie you baked. Think about these two things for a moment: Using your body to pray. Acts of kindness as gifts.

Grace is a power that comes in and transforms a moment into something better.

— CAROLINE MYSS

Yes, I know that love and joy and anger and confusion are emotions, ruled by chemicals. Our language and concept of self came at a time in history before we had knowledge of chemicals. At that time we often loved with our bowels. Spirit described anything or force that could not be seen or explained, but the chemical response in our heads never belittles the reality of love. It only shows it’s ours.

King James Bible

But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? I John 3:17

Never underestimate the power of kindness. You never know when a smile or a kind word or hug could save a person’s life. We are social animals. Even me, sometimes. We are meant to interact and bounce ideas off of each other. Without this we are stagnant and we die. If you don’t think you have anything to give, think again. Any kind act, any kind word can change someone’s day.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

I use my physical body as a way to express my love. Seanne Corn – On Being

Set your intention. What prayer would you pray with your actions or your movements? Do that today.

My Attitude? I Blame Westerns

I watch the AMC show, Hell on Wheels and I often smile at the lengths the character Cullen Bohannon goes to hold to his morality. He will do whatever it takes to get the job done, whether it’s legal or not. Whether it’s lethal or not. Then step out of the muck and mud, put on his hat, and walk away.

Work hard. Clean up your mess. Speak softly and carry a big stick. Let your actions do your talking. Take care of your family. Don’t air your dirty laundry. It’s better to be poor and stand on your own two feet than to be carried around by someone else. That’s the codes of conduct I grew up with and they developed my attitudes.

 “A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.” – Shane

Someone asked me once, if you had a disease and the only treatment or cure was illegal, would you get it? My answer is easy. Absolutely, but I’m not alone. The rise of self publishing shows our love for individualism.

Whether you call it an American attitude or something we picked up from John Wayne in the movies, there’s an internal moral compass that tells us what is right and what is wrong. Even though the law says it’s right, it isn’t always the right that we believe. We honor independence over group thinking. It’s a western, as opposed to an eastern, way of thinking. See what I mean: Minimalistic Visualizations Explain Differences In Eastern And Western Cultures 

There are downfalls in this thinking and I’m not touting it as a recipe for success. Sadly, there were proud fathers who turned down help from neighbors when their children were starving. Charity wasn’t for them or their kin and they would state it proudly. No one is perfect and no political stance is complete. It would be refreshing though to see a politician or an individual who could look at a problem from a neutral viewpoint, without the blinders of pride or prejudice. The ability to hold two differing points of view in your mind and judge is a difficult task. If they could do that, then they could solve the problems of today, like the wise men of long ago. No, not just like Solomon, but like Rooster Cogburn also.

Rooster Cogburn: Well, out in the territory, we prize a dead shot more’n we do a lady’s charms.

Eula Goodnight: Then I’ve come to the right place, haven’t I? You mean the men in the West do not mind if their women outshoot and outsmart them?

Rooster Cogburn: If they’re quiet about it. No, here we value a spirited woman almost as much as we do a spirited horse.

Check it out: The 16 Best Western Movies-The Art of Manliness

 

Up

Change.....
Change….. (Photo credit: B Gilmour.)

Change is a lot of work. I’ve update my life and restarted more times than I want to think about. Packing, moving, unpacking. I went through a 5 year period in which we moved 5 times. Crazy. I’m the girl who has lived 40 plus years only 30 miles from her home town.

This week my office was doing some reconstruction around my cubicle. It’s funny to me since I’m the only one left in the area and I’m expecting to hear at any moment, “you have to move.” They’ve asked if I want to move and no, not really. I like my quiet corner of the world. It’s dark and I’m not bothered much. I sometimes feel like the old guy from the Disney animation, Up (2009)

I ponder buying a new car or moving to a new place like I’m looking at a spreadsheet of credits and debits. Is the thrill and novelty of changing worth the effort it takes to change? Even in just trying to set up a new habit, the benefits have to outweigh the effort. Some are worth it. For example, working out, or more specifically, running has been worth it. I enjoy it and miss the effort when I can’t hit the pavement. Even beyond the euphoria of the run, the sweat makes me feel I’ve accomplished something.

Most of my changes are for progress. It’s not the novelty that makes me put in the mileage or sign my money away. I will sweat and endure the pain if it’s important to me. Maybe we’re all that way.

I just watched a family member move to another city and state. It’s difficult to watch someone go. It’s difficult to see the emotions on their face. There’s the uncertainty mixed with the excitement. New experiences and new people. A bigger city means more opportunities for the activities you like, but there’s also the trouble of finding a place to live and new friends. It takes time for the new place to feel like home. Finding a favorite store or a favorite running trail.

If you’re feeling like the earth has moved out from under you, don’t worry. Just breathe. And remember why you’re doing it. Over time you’ll find your balance again.

In the Name of Love

What overtakes us when we’re in love? What is this passion, this force that motivates us to set ourselves aside?

What you don’t understand is
I’d catch a grenade for ya
Throw my hand on a blade for ya
I’d jump in front of a train for ya
You know I’d do anything for ya
Read more: Bruno Mars – Grenade Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Last winter, after a ridiculous ice storm, I got out of my warm home for two reasons, both for love. Early that Saturday morning I went to watch my oldest son walk across the stage with the other college graduates. I wouldn’t have missed it. Zombie attacks, apocalypse, earthquakes, or whatever. I love that boy.

Later that day, and not a bit warmer, I stood in a line that wrapped around the corner and the along the side of The Brady Theater. A light drizzle of ice was falling, but my friends and I stood and waited and shivered. Why? Our favorite band, Thirty Seconds to Mars, was playing for the Rockin’ Christmas concert.

But I would walk five hundred miles
And I would walk five hundred more
Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles
To fall down at your door – Proclaimers

Passion motivates us to do many things. And you can’t fake it. I’ve tried to be passionate about things but there’s no life if there’s no love. No zest. It’s an internal motivation that can’t be bought or borrowed. Forcing yourself to complete a task you hate is necessary at times, but you won’t hurry up to do it again and the time spent doing it is draining. Exhausting. I’m currently reading a book called DO NOTHING. It’s a very Zen or Taoist concept. I’ve played with this notion for years as I’m sure you have too, but I think I understand it now. So I stop grasping at every loose end and unfinished task. Focus on what’s the most important and the tasks that are lead by my motivation. There are two questions that have stuck with me that I read a few years back in a time management book,

What gets you up in the morning? What keeps you up at night? These are your passions.