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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

Catch Me

Is there a lesson here? A thousand times or so in my life I have taken too large of steps. I’ve leaped when I should have walked. I’ve ran toward when I should have stayed away. I’m impetuous, curious, and want more than my heart can hold at any one moment. And when I catch it I feel I could explode for joy.

I’ve not always known where I was going. This is a problem. If you don’t have a destination, how do you know when you get there?

But now I’m ready for something bigger, better. I want something that I haven’t been able to reach before on my own. Sometimes you can’t invite good into your life because you’re surrounded by darkness and all you see is the shadowy monsters that play on the wall in Plato’s cave.

I’ve read and listened to instructors that said we should believe the good, think positive, but if we’ve never experienced the upper levels, it all seems like a fantasy. It’s difficult to believe. A ghost. Like flying without wings. Grasping at the wind. I needed more than a self-help book this time. I was stuck in a cycle of trying and quitting. I felt like a car stuck in a muddy rut. Frustrated.

Many people come to reinvention when life changes around them, but people come in all different stripes. I’m oriented to change. Jane Pauley

I realized I needed a mentor, a coach. Someone who’s been there. This would require changing my influences and changing my approach. I wanted a better life.

If you enjoyed this, you might like Can You NeuroLingo?

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