Scenery

We mellow. Some of us do, at least. Learn some lessons and apply the knowledge, then over time, we seem smarter. That’s the plan.

In my youth I loved trying to move mountains, making situations change to fit my needs. Except I have grown tired as I’ve gotten older. Dodging fights. Hiding isn’t the answer either.

Yesterday, was a beautiful day for me. I finally let myself be as I wanted to be. All of last week I did actually. I chose actively to be in my own life. I’m choosing to enjoy the mountain scenery, you could say.

Not everyone will understand, but showing up for life is a big epidemic lately. It’s easier to pretend that everything is fine, go to work, but inside you don’t give a damn.

Showing up in our personal life is more difficult than taking a shower and eating food. It’s choosing yourself over your job or the opinions of others.

Showing up requires effort in our thinking. We have to do the challenges life has placed in front of us.

“These spiritual window-shoppers,
who idly ask, ‘How much is that?’ Oh, I’m just looking.
They handle a hundred items and put them down,
shadows with no capital. What is spent is love and two eyes wet with weeping.
But these walk into a shop,
and their whole lives pass suddenly in that moment,
in that shop.
Where did you go? “Nowhere.”
What did you have to eat? “Nothing much. “
Even if you don’t know what you want,
buy _something,_ to be part of the exchanging flow.
Start a huge, foolish project,
like Noah.
It makes absolutely no difference
what people think of you.” – Rumi These Window Shoppers, taken from wegotthis.com

Advertisements

The Jungle of My Emotions

I get caught up in the anger. My emotions of rage, betrayal, and wrongness engulf me. There’s no compassion, only my problem. Monkey mind is in control, and I struggle to make sense of the chaos.

Maybe you don’t have this problem, but emotions are painful for me. I was trying to negotiate a bill with my homeowners association which should have been a logical discussion. But I was PISSED. How dare they say this is my bill. They agreed to pay. With each thought, my temper guzzled a gallon of gasoline before striking a match. I had an ice cube’s chance in hell to win really. I’m one against the organization and the proof I was using was vague. But emotions are the fire in our belly that keeps us fighting even when the odds are against us. Yet, sometimes we win.

This rage is my jungle. I should know my way through it by now, but I don’t. A therapist will tell you to name the emotions. Instead of rage, get down to the baser emotions. Fear. Insecurity. Feeling utterly alone and vulnerable. When I was negotiating, I was taking it personally. She was attacking me and saying I was wrong. Backed into a corner, I felt powerless. So, I defended my territory.

Here’s my thought, over time, if I keep walking back through my jungle, I will have markers on my emotions, and I will see them and their triggers. My jungle will have paths with directional markings. But I have to be brave enough to walk into it with my eyes open. Face my demons. Lose some battles. But, someday, I won’t be walking around blind anymore.

“Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.” #StillIRise #MayaAngelou

Awaken Your Integrity

Being yourself sounds easy. It’s the current advice. It will solve all of your problems from dating to your life’s work, but what does it mean?

Recently, we’ve watched society reject men doing their thing. Vulgar stuff. Alpha men have gone their ways for centuries and getting by with it. Is that the answer? Gawd, I hope not. Oppression is not me. I’m uncomfortable in that world.

Society and the current work environment makes it almost impossible to be yourself. Even your day and night cycles are timed to fit someone else.

So, what are the solutions? Claim as much of your life as you can. Take assertiveness courses. Learn your style and use the information to your advantage.

Is there an area in your life that bugs you? Can you take action? Even if it’s a small change, it can help. Tell yourself ‘yes’ and others ‘no.’ Read, learn, and find like-minded people.

Regarding integrity, I believe Anthony Bodine lived his truths. Hello Darkness, My Old Friend by Mike Rowe

check out one of my posts, To Love Yourself

This Is Where I Live

This body, life has left some marks. These last few weeks I’ve been poked and tested but, it is the only one I have. It’s my living space. I have to treat it in the way that helps it work best. If I overstress it with high expectations or overwhelm it with too many activities, it will start throwing alarm switches until I listen.

This last week my body has started reminding me that while frugality is admirable, stinginess is cruel. Pushing myself again past my limits for my job and staying up too late, this creates pain in my muscles, and a massive headache.

A couple of years ago my washing machine quit so I had been “making do” until I could save enough to buy a new washer. While that sounds admirable, I wasn’t frugal for a purely financial reason. There was a massive chunk of ego that wanted to boast of how worthy I was! Quite a laughable thing once I realized what a tricky thing our psyche is. After taking a step back and looking at the situation, I went to a local home improvement store and financed a washing machine. Yes, I could have waited, but it was stressing me unnecessarily.

Have you ever tried to push a shopping cart with a broken wheel? That’s how it felt. I kept going, kept working because that’s what I do. I keep pushing because I know I can. I’m active and capable, right? But, when I took care of my needs, I realized how tired my enduring had made me. When I stopped trying to push the broken cart down the aisle, I could release the burden I was carrying.

Real

I have unrealistic expectations of myself, and I frequently don’t allow myself to live in the moment.

  • I choose not to kill my soul with harsh criticism and unrealistic expectations.
  • I choose to let joy and life flow through me so that when the time comes, I can also bring joy to others.
  • I choose to be a part of life in the now and not above it. The future is sometimes frightening, and I don’t want to face it, but there is always a way. There is still a simple step. It’s not always the boastful, shiny, impressive way, but there is a solution.
  • I choose to glean the joys of yesterday, and like seeds in the garden, I will sprinkle them with honor and watch them blossom.
  • I choose to honor myself, as I am, even all the jiggly parts.

Dare To Be Great

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

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

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

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

Neuroticism on Board

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strengthening Character

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

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

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

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

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

The Mentoring Life

Mentors

 

Sometimes we forget where we are and how we came to be. Maybe our contribution isn’t on a grand scale, worthy of a Nobel Prize, but never underestimate the value of your daily life. Small gestures, little acts of kindness keep us from killing each other. The bricks of human society are held together by spit and grit and have for thousands of years.

23380236_1655759781150158_8979761597047004119_n

I have moments of bitterness in between the good spots. Pain in places I don’t want others to see. I remember hurtful people telling me I either shouldn’t be here or I’ve made idiotic choices. Complete errors that I’d never recover from. Those times were directed to hit me with fists of words. Had my life been built on a weak foundation it would have wiped me out. But as I put on my Facebook page, Honestly, I’m in love with living this life. I can’t be trusted to voluntarily stop!

Hold your own
And know your name
Go your own way

Are the details in the fabric
Are the things that make you panic
Are your thoughts results of static cling? Jason Mraz James Morrison Details in the Fabric

Gifts

There have been good people also, surrounding me, supporting me. Those men and women strengthened the fibers of who I became as a woman. I learned from watching their resolve and I learned because they encouraged me to contribute, to show up in life. They saw something in me that was worth encouraging. these are the people worth remembering. They are Bud and Wilma McAfee, Ginger and Kelvin Limbocker, Vicki and Mike Sowards, and I could go on. There are the many pastors and teachers I’ve known. Rose Scanlon my favorite English teacher, Mr. Brewster from my four years of history classes. That man had a lot of patience.

Honor

I honor them and thank them for their gift. I never want to forget each step of the way. I want to feel each mountain ledge under my calloused toes. Pain, joys, everything. I know this path. My feet and hands have memorized every ledge, rock, and crevice. If I get knocked back I can climb it again. And maybe I will.

“There are certain emotions in your body that not even your best friend can sympathize with, but you will find the right film or the right book, and it will understand you.”
~Bjork

A Wild Woman’s Soul

#collinsvillenews #CollinsvillePeople

Blind Fish Red Seas

In the Odyssey, Homer describes the ocean as “wine-dark” and other strange hues, but he never uses the word ‘blue’. Science Alert

There’s actually evidence that, until modern times, humans didn’t see the colour blue at all. In a fascinating feature over at Business Insider, Kevin Loria breaks down the evidence behind the claim.

man-person-cute-young.jpg

Blue?

Wine?

Does it matter?

Whatever we ignore will fade away. If your opinions are not listened to, or those around you act as if your ideas don’t matter, you learn to be quiet. Keep your thoughts to yourself. No one cares anyway.

At times trying to fit in becomes so numbing that a person forgets even to have a desire or an individual thought. We wear whatever is available because our senses are dead.

The limestone caverns of Mexico’s Sierra del Abra Tanchipa rainforest contain deep cisterns cloaked in utter blackness. This is where researchers at the University of Cincinnati traveled to find a little fish (Astyanax mexicanus) that has evolved to feast or endure famine entombed hundreds of feet below the ground.

“They have been able to invade this really extreme environment. They are exposed to darkness their entire life yet they’re able to survive and thrive,” said Amanda Powers, a UC graduate student and lead author of a study on blind cavefish published in May in the journal PLOS One.

“They’ve evolved changes to their metabolism and skull structure. They’ve enhanced their sensory systems. And they can survive in an environment where not many animals could,” she said. Phys.org

To the other extreme, many have overdeveloped patterns of behavior to protect themselves the same as the blind fish. I’m hyper-alert to what I’m wearing, thinking, saying or doing because I never want to offend anyone. My spidey senses are always on alert.

When children are yelled at or ridiculed, they learn to avoid exposing themselves. They learn to walk away from confrontation and challenges. Life becomes full of danger instead of the hope it could have held.

Stepping out of the dark into the light takes time. It is possible though. I’ve been rewriting my thinking to know what is safe, but it takes time. And practice.

Nothing happens without putting in the work. Panic, Anxiety, Rage, Depression, and Codependency, these are just a few of the symptoms that show your nervous system is overreacting. It’s not to blame and neither are you any more than if you had a cough.

Understand why you are anxious. And decide if you’re ready to get help. The same if you went into a rage. This is not solitary work.

Our environment made us blind, and we need help to heal.

And now have I put in here, as thou seest, with ship and crew, while sailing over the wine-dark sea to men of strange speech, on my way to Temese for copper; and I bear with me shining iron. – Odyssey

Choices

We come into this world thinking only of our own needs. Eat. Sleep. Play. Mine. Need. Grasping. We grow, we learn, we become. And depending on our experiences we develop into an adult with the ability to give, to nurture others. Self-preservation is healthy. It’s the way of nature. But being stuck in either an ego trip or self mutilation is unhealthy.

Choose your path

Your life today is the result of your accumlated experiences. As children, we couldn’t see that our parents had bad days or were drunk when they were screaming. We only knew the screaming, so we hid. The pounding of our heart and the fear in our belly told us we caused this, so we vowed to never do it again. If only we knew what we had done then we could be a perfect person. I remember thinking crazy thoughts like that. As if there was some magic checklist to complete to become a better person. And if I became that person my parents would no longer yell at me. But none of it was our fault! We are never responsible for another’s actions. Not our parents and not our bosses. There’s a better way to live.

img_2109-1

I’m an adult now, and I have choices. I can keep reliving those old stories, or I can be here today. To be present is going to take some work. We have to remind ourselves where we are. Every time my mind gets lost in a clusterfuck of bad memories I have to shake myself out of them. I have to sing that song I love. “Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance.” If you can’t do it by yourself, grab a partner. Two together are hard to defeat. Friends, buddies, and partners help to keep each other healthy.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 Bible Hub

Love the one you’re with

Live now not worrying about tomorrow. Keep your life simple. Create small attainable goals and take steps toward them each day. The truth is that our brain is not structured to handle much more than this one moment. We overload it when we expect it to handle worrying about Timmy’s nightmares while calling the bank about a bounced check. Choose a practical approach. What can be fixed? And get stuff out of the way that can’t be fixed.

You can do this. We can do this. Share love with each other. Nothing else matters.

Check out my other posts – Dancing to the Rhythm  When the Quiet Ones Roar  Respect Yourself