Urgency, The Weakness of Leadership

Before my recent surgery, I had a hilarious incident with a nurse telling me the RIGHT way.

Before my recent surgery, I had a hilarious incident with a nurse telling me the RIGHT way. I should use the rigid collar after surgery and take only that one into the surgery. She was abrupt in a way to let me know there was no argument over this. No purse, no shoes, not a damn thing else would go with me other than the rigid collar. She grabbed the item, tossing it onto the bed, and let my boyfriend know that he would be responsible for all of the other things.

The nurse’s instructions were different from my doctor’s instructions before my hospital visit. My doctor had instructed me that I was to use the foam collar. The rigid collar was only for the car ride home. I mentioned this to her, but she was insistent. When the doctor was in for his visit, he changed the whole of it all back. The soft collar came out, and the stiff collar was stuffed back into the plastic bag. I trusted the doc’s judgment because he was to be in the operating room and knew what I would need after it was over. He also had a history with me.

I’ve experienced this over and over recently. The pharmacy updated my doctor’s prescriptions without permission. I’ve had doctors change reliable medications, canceling some which I had previously used so they could replace them with a brand of their choice. I picture this as a male lion killing off the children of the former males to ensure they are the top sire.

I have been at least a week without access to a needed prescription due to pharmaceutical restrictions and the narrow sightedness of the healthcare system. One doctor was in surgery all week, and another didn’t have legal access to prescribe.

Leaders may not realize it at first—and some start with charitable intentions, but the game changes over time.

Two things-1. Leaders believe they know the right way, so they need to show everyone else. 2. It’s easier for the person in charge to decide how it needs to be done and dogmatically enforce it.

I’ve had the feeling for a while that most—I do mean only most and not all—wish to silence the masses. Big groups have opinions, and it’s such a freakin’ hassle sometimes to try to explain the WHY of your decisions, then you should take polls asking what that LARGE GROUP wants. Exhausting.

I have watched businesses with big plans and high ideals start by saying they had an open-door policy with nonjudgemental discussion, and management was always available for the employees. A former job of mine was like this. When it was small, you could speak your piece without reprisals. They wanted your opinions. Later, as the company’s debt grew and the structure changed, they held everything you ever said against you. It didn’t make a hill of beans if you were valuable or if you got your work done. You started feeling the cold shoulder of isolation.

That’s my thinking. What’s yours?

Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.

Harry S. Truman, Special Message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States [August 8, 1950]

Whenever someone listens to me, at least tries, I like to acknowledge it.

The Dragon’s Blade

The dragon is old and always hungry—needy. Ages ago, alongside her teeth, her mouth fused splinters, blades, knives, and other strange objects—things your mom warned you. Her claws and teeth are now deep in my neck, and my muscles seize in response. I’m recovering from a recent Posterior Cervical Diskectomy and Fusion.

Pain is an annoying Dragon

Some moments I cry—weep like a baby. One morning, I was fixing my hair and make-up. While I was doing the mascara, my neck muscle knotted and seized. The pain was so intense that I went into the bedroom to sit. The tears flowed and flowed. After a few minutes, my body finally calmed, and I went to repair my makeup.

I wish I had a picture to show you how my face looked after that. It was a mess with black smeared eyeliner and mascara. I had hilarious raccoon eyes—a complete do-over on the makeup.

I chose to have a second surgery. I am no victim. My spine will heal stronger, straighter. I like this. I know this dragon isn’t going to hold me, keep me on my knees, beat me down forever.

One thing I know, I win if I keep strong.

Are You Worth It?

Do your words command attention? Or do they fall flat, shriveling, sliding onto the ground? Most of us want to stand tall even if it’s not behind a podium in front of large crowds. We value the strength it takes to stand up. Our words show our values.

How do we measure worth? By the pound or by meter? Obviously we recognize pride and the ability to command in someone who is small. We respect achievement, merit, and grit.

The North Wind

The North Wind and the Sun had a quarrel about which of them was the stronger. While they were disputing with much heat and bluster, a Traveler passed along the road wrapped in a cloak.

"Let us agree," said the Sun, "that he is the stronger who can strip that Traveler of his cloak."

"Very well," growled the North Wind, and at once sent a cold, howling blast against the Traveler.

With the first gust of wind the ends of the cloak whipped about the Traveler's body. But he immediately wrapped it closely around him, and the harder the Wind blew, the tighter he held it to him. The North Wind tore angrily at the cloak, but all his efforts were in vain.

Then the Sun began to shine. At first his beams were gentle, and in the pleasant warmth after the bitter cold of the North Wind, the Traveler unfastened his cloak and let it hang loosely from his shoulders. The Sun's rays grew warmer and warmer. The man took off his cap and mopped his brow. At last he became so heated that he pulled off his cloak, and, to escape the blazing sunshine, threw himself down in the welcome shade of a tree by the roadside. - The North Wind & the Sun from Aesop's Fables

Importance, & Weight

I pondered the topic of importance and wondered if nature ever thought about its value. Would rocks regard their elements? Water, can it worry if it has enough flow? How do we determine our worth? If we decide to measure our efforts and existence, should we try to grow our lives’ value? Thinking of value in this way seems egotistical. Who judges it to be the correct amount of worth? It seems rather odd, if not wholly foolish, peering at it in this way.

You exist. You belong. Your worth is inherent because of this existence. There is a lie that brings torment into our reality. We feel it in the fiber of our culture. If we believe the lie of a sin birth, broken, already marked as lost and worthless, then we start living from the lowest dregs of power. To know you’re powerful and can achieve happiness, we need to think we can overcome the generations of guilt. This is deeper than any merit-based system of worth.

You is kind. You is smart. You is important.

The Help

Here’s where I find the division of values—ego-based versus love. Explaining the importance to others is challenging. Many believe you can get to interior worth and love through merits. Maybe at times, it’s possible. I’m uncertain. We long for belonging. We need family, but blood-ties aren’t the only solution for a community. Many times there is more little solace in traditional unions. Society will need to rethink its ways, but the individual pioneer’s way isn’t the answer. We need each other, and we need love.

Your Rules

We have algorithms by which we live our lives. Previously, I lived from a list that included too many freakin’ I shouldn’t and Don’ts.

I shouldn't talk about myself. It's bragging. - Thanks, bro!
Don't ask for things. If you're at someone's place, never take sustenance. Never impose. - Thanks, Mom!
I'm too slow. Too much. Not enough. Well, no matter what I do, it won't be right. - Thanks, society!

My old rules have worn me out. I’m needing something new.

I do things because I like them. I eat when I'm hungry and sleep when I'm tired. I ask for what I need.

When your habits aren’t working for you, it may be time to change your ways. Make new rules.

Want to read more?

What Is Your Compass?

What if no point of view is correct? We both are wrong. Me in my strong moral righteousness and you in your idea of keeping America safe. Is it possible I am wrong? Is it possible the wool was pulled over both of our eyes? Is truth in neither of our hearts? About this, I have always worried. What if?

What if there is someone who has a reason to keep you and me apart? If we are not a whole group, we can never be healthy if we are always at odds. The strength of the people–against all the odds–will undoubtedly win. It’s a winning team. Why would that be bad? About this, I have always worried. What if?

What if we can never heal in this lifetime? Is love not enough to heal a nation of people, a race, a community, a world? I have been on both sides of the political ticket. Once I was a Republican, then a Democrat, I’ve known both sides’ frustration. I walked in the shoes of the Fundamentalist, the Christian, and the Agnostic. In the middle of this country, walk a group of people who are hungry for truth. They long for it. We believe we are right. Until a new reality shows us we are not. About this, I have always worried. What if?

“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.”  Augustine

--Around the year 2000, I was awakened to a reality I didn’t know existed. It was as if someone turned on the lights. About this is what I’d always worried. I could see that I’d been stumbling around blindly looking for a pot of gold, but the rainbow’s end had been moving. Now I knew why. There wasn’t a goal. There’s no end of the rainbow to locate. No certainty. I’d been cheated. I was lost and so alone, even in the middle of my own family. I cried and prayed. The word came from inside of me, saying, “Go back to what you know for sure.”

All I knew for certain was love. It was and had always been my compass. Follow love, and not fear. It was the only commandment from Jesus. I grabbed that as if it were my lifeline. Right now, I’m throwing that out to you. Your lifeline is love. Guide your life by love. Follow the light of love.

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”  John 13:34-35

“Let all that you do be done in love.”  

1 Corinthians 16:14

Squirrels

There are subtle cues in the universe that alert you to surrounding issues. Be aware of them. It’s not always a reason for panic, but awareness is necessary. The book The Gift of Fear speaks of us losing our attention. But it’s not a permanent thing.

February 15, 2019–from my personal journal

I walked out my door, and the squirrel I call George was fussing. His chit-chat-chattering sound came from above me. He was furious. I expected a cat or bird to be terrorizing him, but there wasn’t anything around that I could see. Curious.

Intuition is always right in at least two important ways;

It is always in response to something.

it always has your best interest at heart.

Gavin De Becker, The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from ViolenceTags: common-sense, intuition

There might still be hope for humans if we remember to listen. Talk less. Hear more. Pay attention to your friends and family. Our greatest gift this season is attentive and mindful care. It sounds simple, but it isn’t. For most of us, we give as we want. I usually buy gifts that I appreciate. For some of my family, I miss the target big time. The irony is—I’ve always considered myself to be intuitive.

Anywhere a squirrel can go

When you follow intuition, The solutions come to you, and you don’t know how or why.

Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence

Squirrels chatter when they feel threatened. A cat could be walking on the ground below. Mr. Squirrel will fuss, letting the neighbors know that a cat is nearby. He’s no match for that cat, and he probably knows it, but one thing is sure, he’s not quiet.

There is a time for listening, and there is a time to speak your mind. Do you know what time it is?

Melancholy

I’m battling through overgrown weeds of depression and the bramble of my mind, getting my thoughts in order. Following the confused tangle causes me to lose my balance. And direction.

I indulge in my despair and failure.

I’m comfortable sitting on the forest floor, and I cry. Scream. I can’t stay here forever. So, I get up and go …again..

Janet West
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

The holidays are a difficult time for me. Our culture has high expectations, and there’s no way for most of us to live up to those. We are disappointed. Somehow I must change my way of living. I need a new view of life, so I will not cry half of the day for two months.

My challenge is yours. Start your own traditions by creating a holiday or non-holiday for you and your family. Live on your terms. Release yourself from other’s chains. And may each year be better than the last

Happy days ahead!

Love in Cuchara Pass

I’ve wanted to share part of my Colorado trip, but I haven’t taken the time to organize my thoughts. Sometimes you have to do it. Organize later.

Off the highway in Las Animas County, Colorado, my boyfriend and I stopped for a chance to rest and take few pictures. It was more interesting than I was expecting. I found out later the area is called Cuchara Pass. We were north of a town called Cuchara on the downhill grade before you get to La Veta.

We both love Aspen trees. And driving through scenic Colorado in September is divine. The Aspens were beautiful—but they were Summery green—not yet turning golden for fall. It was a sunny day with a blue sky over us and the wind blowing softly through the round leaves. Perfection. As I walked into the grove, I noticed the fallen logs, which make for outstanding photography. Nature shots are my favorite to take. I happened to look up and see the Cupid hearts with initials carved into the bark of a tree. Several of the initials are replicated on other trees. Aha, a story. Those are the things that keep me curious, what keeps me alive. Art.

Disclaimer: I don’t encourage this practice—it’s harmful to trees. If someone finds this location, please don’t add more scarring to their skin.

Wind in the trees

Interested in learning more about the area? Here are some links I found.

Thank you for stopping by!

Makeup and Neckties, Following Social Norms

If orange is the new black, I find myself wanting to wear blue. Colors are trendy. Early summer may be eucalyptus blue, while in the middle of Autumn, people will be tired of the pale colors and want vibrant colors. Oranges and reds will seem comfortable. It never seems to change my mind about what I should wear, though. My palette comes from an inner need.

What drives you?

Wearing makeup is about fitting in and blending for some women. For others, it’s a statement. “This is who I am,” they say. Audrey Hepburn had a classic style. Bold eyeliner with black lashes. Crisp and classic. We love this style. Marilyn Monroe had a rigid formula for her makeup. Besides the eyeliner and eyelash routine, she added a white line on the outside corner, which extended her eyes’ width.

Statements.

When I read the article, Kamala Harris wears white, I had forgotten about the suffragettes. I didn’t remember Hillary Clinton’s white pantsuit or Geraldine Ferraro wearing white when she accepted the nomination to become the first female candidate for vice president in 1984. Heck, I didn’t grasp the significance of women and white suits. 

First Lady Melania Trump wore a blouse with a pussy bow to a presidential debate in 2016.

USA Today

There are groups, movements, non-conformists who refuse to wear what the tribe wears. Few men wear suits today, just as few wear hats or wigs. But there are still those who love to wear matching khakis and shirts—uniforms. There are many more who enjoy following the trends.

What Your Clothes Say to You, Not About YouAnd how they make you feel.Forbes

Style can be a statement or expression. I like options.

Confinement

Stay in your lane, boy.

The other day, my therapist asked me how I was doing in this worrying time. Without familiar touch and close contact, some people become depressed, she said. I smiled and told her I’d enjoyed the freedom this time has brought me. I don’t like human contact except with my closest family.

Every culture has their comfort level. And in each culture, there are differences. The area is not so easily defined. How do you decide how close to stand to someone? Are you in their territory?

“You create within your mind your own cages that confine you.”

Steven Redhead, Life’s Impressions

Reset

Moments such as these are history makers. They are a little uncomfortable, a little too tight, like a pair of new jeans. If we break them in, they’ll be old favorites. But until then, we have to learn to live as they are today. This is a time for rethinking our lives.

It is not a right or wrong challenge, contrary to the talk around the water cooler. We don’t need to pick sides. Let the others dispute over the correct number of people allowed to gather. Or, if any, should congregate.

Know one thing, it matters how well you can adapt.

When Everything Changes, Change Everything.

Book by Neal Donald Walsch

For me, this is time for space clearing. Healing, learning, and creating are on the list today. I can do things differently. When the rules are changing, pay attention.

I wish you health and joy in the coming days. And remember to take care of those you love.

Namaste.

artwork by Arna Baartz