With Much Gratitude

“Silent gratitude isn’t very much to anyone.”

Gertrude Stein

I learned several valuable lessons from my religious training.

  • It’s good to plant seeds. If you care for them, they will grow into sturdy trees.
  • Treat others with the same respect you wish returned to you.
  • Be honest.
  • Be kind.
  • Above all else, be grateful.

Last year brought new experiences for me and more growth, and I have appreciated the open doors. Creativity and the joy of sharing my thoughts with an audience are immensely satisfying. It’s something I want to do more of in the future. But I have been lacking in one aspect.

The world of blogging doesn’t make it easy to reach out, to notice those who contribute. Blogging is a lot about ME. I say my piece, and you listen. And as opinionated as I am, this can get pretty damn boring. Even for me.

Dialogue is much more appealing, even in books. So, I’ve puzzled over how to solve this for a long time without coming to a solution.

Though unsaid, your LIKES, FOLLOWS, and, READS are not unnoticed. They are as beautiful as a well-made bed, and yet these are the moments we fail to give thanks.

I see you. And dammit, thanks. Knowing you are here with me gives me the warm fuzzies. To all who are reading my blog–Thank You!

And to the ONE who has believed in me, my special Patron, You are the best! Thank You!

“The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.”

William James

Tricksters and Gamers

warning: this is from 2017

I love new beginnings. Fresh starts are more enlivening to me than finishing touches. It’s me. The end is just that, the end. It’s over. Done. The toys go away, and everyone goes home.

Infinite all the way for me.

There’s a book that tells of the two types of games people play, the infinite and the finite. Usually, we lean, each to their own, as we say. Mine is endless, but life does not cater to my preference. So with every ending of a book, I start a new one. I have a massive stack of books to read. It continues the adventure.

“In infinite games, a surprise is a reason it continues.”

Gary Carmell

About beginnings, they always meet resistance. It doesn’t matter if you’re planning a military coup or painting your newborn’s nursery, the complexity of the job doesn’t matter. You’ll face obstacles in any game you play. The way you handle those challenges is telling.

Finite and Infinite Games of Investing – Painting Your Masterpiece According to Carse, the entire purpose is not to win the game but to continue the game.

Gary Carmell, The Philosophical Investor

I listened to a podcast forecasting the events and mood of 2017. I rarely live my life according to astrology, but if a bright idea strikes me, I’ll write it down. You never know, it might contain some truth. I’m shortening it a bit and probably corrupting the message, but this is how I heard it. Please forgive my näivete. Here’s the link ->Gordon White. Talking Astrology in 2017

Jack Sparrow is a trickster. He’s light-footed, has few rules, disregards society’s constraints, has a unique style. I find it interesting that movies put the trickster as the hero. We cheer for him.

Riddle me this Mr. Joker.

The good guy, Mr. Stiff Shirt, becomes the villain. He’s followed the rules, climbed the corporate brigadier ladder, and no dirty pirate is going to steal his girl. Or naval vessel. Inconceivable! 

We cheer BECAUSE Jack breaks the rules. And our collars are feeling a little tight around our necks. We feel restricted. We’ve piled up debt, carried too many responsibilities, forgotten to laugh, and restrained our anger. Becoming a light-footed trickster is mighty tempting. Running off to Colorado in a camping trailer is also. 

Captain Jack Sparrow is a con artist, but we still love him. Impossible for long term commitments, yes. But we can hardly hate him. I’d invite him over for a beer. Just lock up the valuables.

Inconceivable!

An exclamation of disbelief. Impossible to comprehend or grasp fully. So unlikely or surprising as to have been thought impossible; unbelievable.“Inconceivable!” “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” #inconceivable #the princess bride #exclamation #gadzooks #disbelief #surprise

Urban Dictionary – Rose Pose

LIST OF MODERN DAY TRICKSTERS

Disappointment

The holidays can leave me feeling like an abused spouse. I never think I meet the hidden expectations and wonder if I’m a failure.

How was your family time? Or aloneness?

Tyler Knott Gregson

Traditional holiday seasons are triggering. I cling to unfulfilled desires even though they will never be mine. I need the light of grace to see past the fog.

Joy in connecting

Today was a day for recovery. My guy and I walked around downtown. There’s a bookstore, Magic City Books, and we’ve wanted to go. I purchased a couple of books (below) after allowing myself a lengthy browse. We had coffee at the shop next door, and afterward, we went home. It was refreshing. No rush. Like the slow stretch you do when you exit the car after a long drive.

Maybe you do well through the holidays. If so, I’m glad. Let me know either way. I’d love to know.

Boundaries and Bandaids

A friend of mine recently had a baby. It’s one of those smell the roses occasions when family and friends gather. And there together we hold a precious new life. That baby, who moments ago just forced it’s way out of its mother’s body with such ferocity to cause most women to scream was sound asleep. Some women curse and have such a personality change during childbirth their partners don’t even recognize them. Bringing the now docile tiny creature into its new environment was a fierce activity. Both mother and child become war partners together.

From the moment we are born, we have jumped into the mix that we call life. If you believe in reincarnation, then your birth was part of the big circle, and possibly a choice you made. If not, this is your one shot life! Either way, we all have a birth.

Life is full of trouble, step in that shit! -not the Buddha

With birth comes the family. If yours is like mine, it’s quite imperfect. And sometimes actually violent. They might show up drunk to your wedding or set you up with potential dates so you won’t be lonely. My mom pretends not to understand what I’m saying. I honestly thought she didn’t remember stuff or was deaf for the longest time, and now I’m guessing she was playing her form of gaslighting. Why It’s So Hard to See This Form of Childhood Abuse

As adults, we have a few bruises to our psyche. Life is the ultimate obstacle course that taught us how to drive, and we know of nothing different. We develop quirks to help us cope. Keep your mouth shut and don’t tell the family secrets. Always clean your plate. Be polite. Don’t talk back. Hypersensitivities usually develop when children are traumatized at a young age. You might say some are trained to be fully aware of their surroundings.

Listen to your life. Listen to what happens to you, because it is through what happens to you that God speaks. It’s in language that’s not always easy to decipher, but it’s there, powerfully, memorably, unforgettably

      – Frederick Buechner

The strategies that made us are not the best thing to keep us healthy. We need to put away our childhood coping methods. The new software is required. We must learn new ways of caring for ourselves.

Your best protection isn’t cowering indoors. That’s a recipe for insanity. I know you’re familiar with stories of people who have tried such things — the crazed few. Knowing your truth is your salvation. What makes you smile and brings you joy? Find a way to grow your will power. Do something for yourself every day. Yes, it’s right for you to be selfish sometimes. Keeping boundaries and healing starts with your core. Begin by building your values, and your limits will follow.

Portals and Spells

Magic isn’t candles and herbs. Enchantment whispers telling us we’re beautiful. And all things are possible. Or the opposite. It stops us where we stand to make us forget how dazzling we are. Someone else is prettier. All that was brilliant clunks like a piano out of tune. Ugly. We are ugly.

Trauma is a gateway

I watched a YouTube video to help me line up with the Universe. That’s a good thing, right? It’s the current “The Secret” guru-ish Vudu spell casting thing. But this one hit me at the wrong moment, and I was in the worst mood. Triggered. What the video was trying to say was, “Do these things, and you will be in a better position to receive.” It was good advice. Only, I heard, “You’re a fuck up. You can’t get it right.” This is bad magic. It’s the hurt that runs through the veins of scarred people and causes us to warp the words of others. The piano is out of tune, and it’s not our fault. Something is twisted, scarred, bent or broken, and we are a little off-balance.

There are ways of relearning, but it takes time and dedication. We must be patient with ourselves. It’s essential to surround ourselves with loving friends. Those who are kind are the only ones who should be allowed to stay. If you’ve made it this far in life, you deserve good friends. Let go of people who are cruel or who don’t support you. Learn to lean on those who are good. Remember you are probably better than think you are. Your vision is usually skewed. I know mine is.

Support

A good resource for healing – Spartan Life Coach Richard Grannon has been both a martial arts instructor and trauma counselor. His style is easy going. He knows his stuff.

Always Well Within Blog lists several good books

Kris Godinez deal mostly with abuse but also with trauma. She’s blunt and a straight forward person. She’s a writer and public speaker.

Cleaning Our Gunk

I’d put it off for a while. Longer than most people usually do, but I’m single and with that said there’s not anyone here to scold me or to please but me. I had a spare moment this evening when I opened the refrigerator, caught the awful whiff of the rotting unknown and decided to investigate.

It’s not that I’m untidy or filthy. Life had come at me hard like a WWE smackdown. When my sweet cat had become sick, there was some chicken in the fridge or possibly something had spilled or so I kept thinking. But I couldn’t face cleaning up. After Ms. Kitty lost her tooth, she didn’t get better. I realized she had a tumor which overgrew. A common thing in older cats and the vet couldn’t do anything. It was in her upper jaw near her eye. Within a couple of months, she passed in the night. I had her cremated.

I had been so busy and exhausted. My place was only partially maintained. I had a demanding Monday through Friday job as well as my writing. The weekend Ms. Kitty died, I had a Migraine episode. These are a frustrating fact of life. Take 3 to 5 days and toss them away. Can’t do anything. Body shut downtime.

I ignored my refrigerator. My house was quiet. I recovered. I grieved. Cried. I missed my cuddle partner. She’d been with me from the time I’d been divorced and through my kids growing up. Sixteen years is a long time to have a friend. I’ve not talked about her a lot. In my family, animals were for outside and you don’t cry over them.

I know what the stink was in the fridge– an old onion in a baggie. Ironically, it didn’t take long to clean once I started.

A couple of weeks after I had decided I’d stay cat-free, a lady I know sent me a picture of a kitten. You see where this goes. “Pattycake” had a sister also, Dottie. My place isn’t quiet anymore. They are adorable little furballs.

Not Owned

People make crazy statements. Well, you have to take care of your job. I understand what they mean. It’s scarcity. They believe there aren’t enough office cubicles to go around for everyone. But this body, this person is far more precious. I can find another desk to roll my chair under, but who cares if I can’t mentally function anymore.

The same rules apply to relationships. You must take care of yourself. Don’t tell me how much that person needs you until you’re taking care of your needs.

You cannot hold me.

I am not concrete. I move. I change. You cannot use me as a prop to make your life easier. I am not property.

The breeze blows. Whispers in your ear. The air flows and you breathe, then it is gone. Did you expect more? It returned to the wind.

We are this moment. Play, work, struggle, holding our forms. But soon the body will be dust and ash stirred by the winds while in elation what remains flies on to further adventure.

J West

How’s your sleep? Did someone hug you recently and let you know you are worth loving? We must, must remember. Our worth, our innate value is not a luxury. Tell yourself. It sounds stupid, I know, but it works. Show the world you have value by standing tall, brushing your teeth, and getting a good night’s sleep.

There are too many who will nudge you off the sidewalk of life if you let them. Don’t. And by all that’s holy, stop apologizing for being in their way. You belong.

Illegitimate

What does it mean to not belong? It never mattered how hard I tried. I didn’t feel I was part of the family. Mine. Two brothers. My middle brother finally admitted to me a couple of years ago that he hated me as a child. From the day I was born. The odd thing- I had felt his resentment as I was growing up. Sadly, it only made me want his attention more. I adored both of my brothers. But I never belonged. I was the outsider.

Feelings

Belonging is a bone-deep craving you never escape. You dress it up or down depending on your personality, but it’s the snark as you reply to your coworker. Do they make more money? Get more time off? You hate. And you don’t know why.

Keep On

It keeps you on your toes, always jumping higher. Or you hide. I’m not an expert on the whole human race with its quirky ways, but I know how I feel when I’m relaxed and authentic. When I’m in my element, I smile from the inside. Finding these pockets of authenticity didn’t come naturally. Most of my life has been a walk through a jungle of emotions I couldn’t name. Confusion. Chaos. They call from the trees above. Tangled vines surrounded me and jungle snakes dropped in front of me, even preventing my progress when I tried to do something different. Stick with the familiar, the snake seemed to whisper. Yesterday’s action might be the answer, but I’d never change and I didn’t want to stay tormented forever. Daily life is difficult. Working through the jungle, untangling the vines was tough. How did I get here?

It’s Complicated

To most people, there are paths. Yes, life has problems, sadness, grief, breakups, and pain. There is a source for that pain. Emotionally healthy people can say, “I had a car accident.” Period. In the jungle of messed up folk, such as me, or those who have feelings of not belonging, a car accident is rarely just a car accident. There are tangled vines of doubt. “Was I speeding?” Guilt and shame. “I can’t face anyone tomorrow. That was stupid to rush this morning. I was going too fast.” This torment continues. In the case of my mom, who is 82, she is still chewing on thoughts from her childhood.

Understand

I created a story in my head as a child. I didn’t know why my brother pushed me away when I was three. Logic was not involved. Only a small child’s fear. And when he ran instead of playing, I didn’t understand it wasn’t about me. I wasn’t an adult who could reason this through. And my adults didn’t know to explain. I learned twisted patterns on how to relate to life, problems, and men. I expected difficulty and avoidance. Vines and snakes. And I got them.

Resolution

There’s a way out of the jungle. The vines have names as well as do the snakes. If you put signs on the trees, you create paths. An amazing thing can happen with this jungle. It might not be the family you were born with, but it becomes a world you create. You belong. Name the emotions you feel when they come to you. Don’t ignore them. Go deep into the jungle. If it’s sorrow, put a big stamp on it. SORROWS! Journal, write, talk to friends, walk in nature, play music, whatever helps you. We are legitimate.

Thank you for being my friend!

You might want to read Belonging or My People or Memories of A Childhood

Painting by Julie Gray

Rebuilding the Brickwork Of My Mind

We are afraid we’re alone.

I’ve spent years lugging around baggage. I have issues. Pain. I was injured, and I’ve hurt people in return. “Look, everyone. See my pain.” I didn’t do a lot of workshops or therapy sessions, but I donned the clothing of the wounded, shamed warrior. My name badge if you dared get that close read, Unworthy.

Recently, I’ve started to doubt the wounded me story, ripping it away like it was ivy growing unrestrained on the side of my house. But by now shame was buried in my mortared joints. I had so much to learn. And much to unlearn. These are not the renovations you see on HGTV with quick before and after snapshots.

As I told a friend recently, our families in their generation believed they would be safe if they stayed within their safety zone. Their life mottos: Don’t color outside of the lines. Keep your clothes clean. Go to work on time. Follow the rules. Do your duty.

In most lives, there’s a sense that we aren’t doing enough. And we feel that life is complicated. It’s so freakin’ tricky as we think we have to do everything and we are alone. My mental training was built on struggle framed in the guise of independence, strength, endurance, and survival. Go Go NIKE! Just Do It!

As I told a friend recently, our families in their generation believed they would be safe if they stayed within their safety zone. Their life mottos: Don’t color outside of the lines. Keep your clothes clean. Go to work on time. Follow the rules. Do your duty. This was the way of their life, but it can’t work anymore. I cannot conform because it isn’t who I am. And I was shamed, blamed, misunderstood, and told I needed to change because I was broken. I did not fit. Who told me this? The ones who refused to change. The generation who tried to keep me safe. I learned fear and paranoia.

What if I’m not broken? Do I enjoy my day? Could I? These are my new questions for rebuilding my thoughts. Instead of the repairing, I am living.

from Circle of Stones by Judith Duerk

I wouldn’t dream of telling you to believe as I do. I am saying, and you might not be broken. And if I’m not broken and you’re going not to break, we could learn to love our lives.

You are not alone. It appears we are, but there are so many who care. We aren’t isolated from each other. We don’t compete with our coworkers for our meals. There’s no lack. Also, I believe we have access to a collective. Maybe my words fail in the description. It could be a group we belong to, and we draw energy from when necessary, anyway, I imagine a gathering of friends on a beach. We’re sitting around a fire laughing and sharing our experiences. We belong to this family. Someone has our back. Maybe your group meets at the local bar and drinks shots. Or has pie at the cafe.

I honor you. Namaste.

Chasing Cars

Are we chasing cars like a tiny, dog?

I am driving with a friend the other day in this small town. It was one of those places where kids ride their bikes on the streets, so when you drive it’s like playing a video game only it’s real. Cars are parked randomly along the way. We watch for kids, but we aren’t ready for the sudden yap, yap, yap of a dog leaping toward us, chasing the darn car for way too long. All I am thinking is, what parasite has infested this dog?

I know people who continually date. They hop from one relationship to another, not pausing long enough to evaluate why the last one ended. Sometimes there are painful endings but other instances, nope. It’s a thing we do in life. Pursue our goals. Chart the course to Nirvana. Are you chasing cars? Do you have the parasite?

I wonder if I’m unhappy because my job is wrong or if I don’t understand happiness. There’s the song, Chasing Waterfalls, which talks about people who push through life too fast. Don’t go chasing waterfalls. Stick to the rivers you know. Is it possible to have the perfect job or the ideal relationship? Would I know it? There’s no test I can take to tell me YOU ARE HERE, so I am the little creature chasing–something.

“Chasing waterfalls” song

The little dog when he’s chasing cars, is he scaring them away or trying to catch one? Slow down fido! Take a roll in the grass. And go find that chew toy you lost.

Ithaka poem

As you set out for Ithaka, hope your road is a long one. full of adventure, full of discovery…

(for absolutely no reason at all)

Hope your road is a long one. May there be many summer mornings when,

with what pleasure, what joy,

(so many delights you forget why you came on your journey)

….And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

(boys and men and relationships will not for chasing. Life will be a pleasure.)

BY C. P. CAVAFY. (parenthesis added for my delight)