Not My Grandma’s Soap Opera

Not My Grandma’s Soap Opera

Train wreck. Can’t stop watching. Addicted. Yelling. Screaming. Ugly names. Why do I keep watching?  But here I am. Even though I despise the narcissism, I view the TV in fascination. I’m into the fight. I’m annoyed by the name calling. I yell at the television just like my grandmother. She argued with her favorite show, The Young and The Restless. This time, it’s me, and I’m watching the presidential debates. Grandma would be proud.

Shake It Off

Here’s what I know, we all slip. We say stupid stuff. At times, we can be downright rude, mean, and abusive. Kick the dog even. It doesn’t mean we are a complete waste of oxygen. Let’s get our shit together. I’m a good judge of character, but the flash, the mania machine, can sometimes blind me. That’s why we set up and teach guidelines we call enduring principles. Coming to an agreement on what these principles are has been the biggest difficulty. The wall of Mexico is the least of our worries.

Speaking at the Hubert Humphrey Building dedication in Washington, D.C. on November 1, 1977, former U.S. Vice President (1965-69) Hubert Humphrey spoke about the treatment of the weakest members of society as a reflection of a government:

“the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”  

– The measure of a Civilization

Focus

There are surviving principles in life. We know of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Everyone brings up the subject of the right to bear arms.  Is that an eternal principle? I’m not certain. I do like to bare my arms and my legs in the summertime, though, just FYI. That’s a joke. I feel strongly about the freedom of speech and the rights of all people of society to have access to education. Principles? You tell me.

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Vacation Poster Promises

Vacation Poster Promises

There are plenty of posters and travel blogs promising bliss and restoration. Smooth, polished rocks, cascading waterfalls, and green plush grass are there for you. Rest and Restore. Leave your worries behind. Well, I chuckle. Life’s just not that convenient. Worries are like clingy little babies. They want to be fed, and they want only you. To remove them takes some conscious choice. Mindfulness.

Mad Max Highway

I drive the same short stretch of highway connections every day. People like me are jamming this interchange, just leaving work and wanting to go home as quickly as possible. Tired. Cranky. Maybe short on patience. Twice this week I’ve had the same thing happen. Two different people cut me off when there was an opening for me to enter a lane. Once it was my lane and the fellow thought I wasn’t quick enough I’m guessing, he passed me. The nerve! Both episodes I reacted poorly by speeding ahead, glaring or yelling. Something inside me quickened, warning me. Bad responses. Not that I might harm someone, but what if another, a third party, was injured. Was I willing to continue this same path? As I realized I wasn’t mindful or grateful, I noticed a large tire in the middle of the highway. Would I have hit it?

Allowing Stupid to Be Stupid

Last week I mentioned in Mindless Searching clicking through one book after another. I realized after twenty minutes had passed that I was not interested in any of the books I was looking at.  I was in a trance. Mindfulness doesn’t happen by accident. It’s something I have to do. Pay attention. Watch the road. Stay calm. Let the anger go. Allow the stupid to be stupid and not even the score, because life isn’t fair.

Serendipity and Irony

I’m a passionate person, which is why I’m not good at just letting things slide. Some things can be planned, but there are a lot of stuff that just happen that are so much better if they happen on their own. For instance, the lemonade that I drank in Mexico. I couldn’t have planned that and made it taste any sweeter. And the memory of that day couldn’t bring me any more joy if I’d planned it.

When a moment happens and the events come together it seems perfect, as if you’d planned it, serendipitous. Athletes call it the flow or the zone. They’ve planned for it by practicing, maybe even visualizing. Who knows, that could be what happens to us when our lives have real things that fall into place. Ironic isn’t it?

 

 

 

Profiling Me

Profiling Me

 

I have a profile.

I’m a type. What the heck?

Hang on you say, people aren’t that easy to label. I agree, but we do label. Sometimes it comes out in our favor.

A few years ago I was in Texas with a friend and we walked across the border into Mexico. As we maneuvered through the narrow streets, we were greeted by shouting street vendors calling out, Hey Blondies! Wanna buy? Just five dollar. It overwhelmed her. I was used to the whole Blondie bit. That’s been my life. Her, not so much. She’d only recently become a blonde. I wonder how that felt.

We escaped into a small bistro and ate nachos topped with real cheddar cheese and downed glasses of freshly squeezed lemonade. I can still taste that juicy lemonade. The best cold drink I’ve ever had. The quiet conversation was a relief also.

OOPS!

When we finished and had our arms full of shopping stuff, we started back across the border. It was then that I realized I’d forgotten my birth certificate. It was only a block away from Texas, but I still panicked a bit. I explained my situation to the guard, he looked at me and smiled with a wink, No problem. You’re American.

I’ve been told more than a few times that I look like an all-American girl and I was never sure what that meant. I see females from Ireland or France that have the same coloring as mine, so what’s the deal? I’m certain there’s an attitude or a mannerism that I’m not aware of. Whatever others see, apparently it’s enough for someone to call it a profile.

Type ME

What about you? Are you a type? Something quirky? Witchy? Maybe you can be pegged as afraid of spiders or a cat lover. Foodie anyone? Nerdy?

Here’s one that I ran across on a podcast this week. This American Life-Vocal Fry. I hadn’t heard of this voice nuance before until it was mentioned. Then I realized I’ve noticed it but never named it. They say it’s common in college-age girls, sometimes in boys also. It’s an inflection of the voice that squeaks or grates a little towards the end of a sentence. Interesting, but it doesn’t seem as annoying to me as it did to their audience.

Let me know what you think! What’s your type?

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.

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.

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.

Grandma and the Big Oak Tree

Grandma and the Big Oak Tree

My grandmother was a very superstitious lady, black cats, ladders, salt over the shoulder, and all of that. I remember once, walking across the yard with her and my mother. We lived in a small town and had walked to the hair salon to get Grandma’s hair fixed. On the way back into the yard I parted ways and ran ahead. I had been warned previously by my mom and knew that Grandma had very superstitious ways, but I was an irreverent child to these superstitions at that time. I ran to the right of the big oak tree while Mom and Grandma were walking around the left. The two women stopped. Mom looked at me and told me to get back around with them. Grandma was very serious about this walking stuff. After much stalling, I started walking forward towards them. And I was chided more. I skulked back around the tree. I made it obvious that I thought they were stupid and rejoined my mom and my grandma who greeted me with a big approving smile. Lesson learned. Do not provoke Grandma.

Somewhere in the middle of the silliness, there was a nagging doubt. What if these things mattered. That little doubt has stuck with me most of my life. I was around 10 or so at that time. Church and all the spirit woo-woo added to the accumulation of cause and effect evidence. So until this day I still get that nagging feeling, maybe I shouldn’t have said that, or may I should have said or done something else. And, I wonder, is any of this true? What if I could toss all of this stuff in the trash? Life would seem so much freer.

It made me believe that everything that exists was caused by another thing. Cause and effect. Or also called the Rooster Syndrome:

The rooster crows and the sun rises: cause and effect, or red flag?

If I tripped and fell it’s because I wasn’t paying attention. So I could prevent the fall by paying closer attention and clearing my path. You can see this if you look at my life. I was always a very attentive person. And yet somehow I’ve had similar incidences as those that haven’t been as careful. I’ve been attentive and fallen. I’ve been attentive and broken my arm. It’s all just superstition in some form or another. Live and let it all happen as it will, because some things can’t be prevented.

To quote Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory:

Sheldon (on phone): Oh, hi mom. … The Arctic expedition was a remarkable success, I’m all but certain there’s a Nobel Prize in my future. Actually, I shouldn’t say that. I’m entirely certain. No, mother, I could not feel your church group praying for my safety. The fact that I’m home safe is not proof that it worked, that logic is Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc. No, I’m not sassing you in Eskimo talk. – “The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation”, The Big Bang Theory

Do your work as best you can and be kind.

 

 

Not Waiting

Not Waiting

Sometime after the blame and the anger, you realize it’s no one’s fault but your own.

Recently, I realized that I can take care of myself. And I kept saying those words, aloud, I take care of myself, over and over. I’m sure my family thought it strange, but for some reason it seemed more real to me than at any time ever.

Yeah, I’ve always wanted to and struggled to be independent, but something inside of me these last few years finally grew up. Yeah, I’m responsible for me. And there’s no easy way to describe that feeling other than the reverse. I know what it feels like to not have the choice. To be the one who waits for someone else to decide. In those cases you somehow disengage. You stop caring. You forget how to want, how to choose. 

I have always been taught that I must forgive. I must not hold onto unforgiveness or hatred. I tried for years to heal and forgive. Finally I stopped and decided it was actually normal to hate and be angry. And I don’t mind my anger anymore.

When you no longer fight your feelings, fight your needs, fight your wants, and fight your loves, you can look at yourself as you are. I can stand and say, I want this, I need that, I hate this, I love that. I don’t know exactly how it works, but I know that by acknowledging the facts I freed myself. I realized that I provide for my needs and I can take care of myself. I’m not the sad little girl who waited as in Amelia Pond on Doctor Who. Twice.

Amy Pond: In fact I think I can now definitely say I hate him. I hate the Doctor. I hate him more than I have hated anyone in my life and you can hear every word of this through those ridiculous glasses, can’t you, Raggedy Man?

The Doctor: Uh, yes. Putting the speakerphone on.

Amy Pond: You told me to wait, and I did. A lifetime.

The Doctor: Amy!

Amy Pond: You’ve got nothing to say to me.

The Doctor: Amy, behind you! – imdb.com/quotes

It’s not necessary for me to actively try to forgive anymore. It never worked anyway. When I realize I’m a free agent and I’m the responsible person here, I am free to walk away or stay. Being responsible helps me forgive. No, I take that back, being responsible helps me not to notice that there’s anything to forgive.

 

I Rant Sometimes

I hate being negative. I hate being judgmental and I hate being on a rant, BUT, I’m going to rant anyway. You are free to skip over this one. No hard feelings. Or join me if you’d like.

I’m tired of the fighting and the political posturing. If the people in our government can’t do their jobs, maybe they need to step down. Can we sue the congress or the senate? And they’ll say anything almost. The most ridiculous things just to stir up the people.

And when do Guns, Flags, Bibles, and Republicans go together? In Oklahoma they do. Is it possible to think independently these days? I have family members who post pictures of Flags and Bibles. You’d think Jehovah was an American. Or is it Jesus-only now? Do they still include Jehovah as god. I’m not sure.

If Christians’ preach about love and believe in love so much, why are they not concerned about loving the orphaned children that came across the border? Yes, I realize some of the parents sent them here, but it’s not the child’s fault.

14 facts that help explain America’s child-migrant crisis

 Jesus told this story when speaking of the day of judgement,

The Sheep and the Goats Matthew 25

37“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? 40“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

 In the Old Testament

Proverbs 19:17

Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.

Micah 6:8 

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

I angered a SUV driving lady with a fish symbol on her car. She was upset because I let another vehicle into traffic. How dare I take up her time by being nice. What happened to just being kind?

My rant’s over for now. You may return to your regularly scheduled program. Thank you for your mercy and kindness.

In This Light

Before you repaint your living room, my advice is to always get a big enough sample to try out on the real wall at home. When I was redecorating my home, I picked out many different colors and had difficulty deciding. And some of the colors I’d picked, thinking they would be just right, weren’t just right. In the light of my home they all grayed out. I have a lot of Oak and Elm trees outside my window filtering the light, leaving my place with a bit of a dark look. I like it because for me it’s relaxing, but for picking out colors it’s tedious. I finally chose a Cornbread Yellow and yes, it seems incredibly bright in the store, but not on my walls. It’s sunny. Cheerful.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
People, including myself, say often, “I would never do that” or “It won’t happen to me.” *cough* Like picking out a swatch of paint to repaint their place, they are looking from their own perspective and critiquing. And somehow if they do get in a similar circumstance they start justifying their actions. Well, I had to divorce, punch them in the face, have an affair or run the red light, and in their current situation they’re probably right. They didn’t intend to hurt anyone. It just happened. Their perspective and lighting changed.

“When a problem is disturbing you, don’t ask, “What should I do about it?” Ask, “What part of me is being disturbed by this?”
― Michael SingerThe Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

Walk a mile in my shoes.
In my city there’s a rapist and he’s already molested six women. This shit scares me. Friday night I started researching security measures and decided I wasn’t up for my usual jogging bit. I thought I’d wait until I get some personal protection and maybe run in a more public place. Precautions. Sensible and methodical. Or so it seemed. I sat on my couch Friday night in a total panic, feeling waves of terror go through me. In the daylight, when morning came, I rethought some of my decisions. I’m overreacting and being completely silly or so I thought in the light of day. At this moment, as I’m typing this, I know that both of these are right. I’m both terrified and calm. And I want the security system which I used to bash and think was silly. I need it because part of me is afraid.
If you’re struggling with an emotion or a decision, try looking from someone else’s perspective. It won’t change how you feel immediately but it can help you understand why you are feeling what you feel. Then just feel it.

Recommended Read: The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer