Survive Today

You only have to make it today! For some, that’s good news.

I grew up in the positive thinking days, the Name It and Claim It generation. Thinking made it so. The reason Aunt Marge had cancer was she was a negative thinking person. Our counterbalance was to cross stitch positivity and frame it. With that much potential to fail it’s almost impossible to get out of bed in the morning. I’m gonna fuck something up today.

Well here’s to the hearts that you’re gonna break
Here’s to the lives that you’re gonna change
Here’s to the infinite possible ways to love you
I want you to have it
Here’s to the good times we’re gonna have
You don’t need money, you got a free pass
Here’s to the fact that I’ll be sad without you

I want you to have it all – Songwriters: Becky Gebhardt / Mai Bloomfield / Mona Tavakoli / Chaska Potter / Jacob Kasher / David Hodges / Jason Mraz Have It All lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.- Jason Mraz

Survive Today: Take it in small bites such as thirty minute or 1-hour time slots. I can make it for thirty minutes by enjoying the sunshine. Sometimes I survive until Lunch approaching my work with a Zen energy, ignoring everyone for 2 hours. Or if I look past today, overlook the present time entirely, and peer into the evening, I can plan a good meal, pick a movie. I forget my sucky day.

Ways of making yourself smile: Watch some comedy clips on YouTube or Comedy Central. Make funny faces in the mirror. Read funny stories or comic strips. Listen to music. Walk in nature. Pet something fuzzy. Take a silly selfie. Be goofy. Rest. Take a day to lay around.

Help Another Person: Listen. Listen. Listen. Care about them. Be who you are around them. Show your true self. Be there when you can. Don’t be phony. Let them help you. Most important, be honest. If you are with them, be there. If not, quit pretending.

Accept Your Life: Stop changing. You’re complete. It’s time to get to know who you are. There’s an old phrase which states we should love ourselves as we are, broken pieces, scars, and bruises. Some of us got hung up on the damaged part and forgot the love. Forget that you need to be fixed. Stop running, stop hiding, and stop fighting life. It’s better to have ruthless acceptance. This is me at this moment. Overweight or underweight. Whether I love the me I perceive as I stare in the mirror each morning, or I hate my image, it is the bare truth.

If you hate the way you look, so what? Brush your teeth and go to work anyway. Your job will still pay you. Someone in Hollywood remarked that we must love our looks. Honey, we don’t all drive beautiful cars. I might have decent looks, and I’m happy enough with them. It’s good enough. Move forward and Survive. Thrive.

Check out: What If I Thrive?

Check out: The Flip Side of Failure

Check out: You Win

Advertisements

Lies, Lies, Lies

Simple little lies seem harmless. Your cooking is great. You look great in that dress. Those never really bothered me. I tried usually to ask what the person thought. A lie in itself is only a cover. An actor is lying when he plays the part of a police officer when he’s on the stage. He limits himself to the stage or his role in a movie. He isn’t an officer in real life. It’s a lie. It’s pretending.

There were a couple of shows that reminded me that sometimes harmless lies can be forgotten to be lies. They are the new truth. Up becomes down and right becomes wrong. Or, is it wrong becomes right? I’m confused. Anyway, the first was on Netflix. Kumaré-imdb. The second was an episode of Derren Brown which starts as a lie, but for some becomes the truth. Derren and Dawn Porter try to convince an entire town that a statue has special powers. Todmorden’s Lucky Dog (Long version click here)
Here is the short version:

Lies – Ones I’ve told. Ones I’ve believed – Spiritual Mentor that’s in my head:

  • If I don’t go to school, I won’t get a better job
  • If I don’t get a better job, I’ll struggle financially
  • Having all of my needs met is the most important thing.
  • I am better than others because of my aspirations, opinions or knowledge. I’m enlightened.

These are also illusions. Warped truth, not lies. These are just things that my eyes don’t see clearly. I don’t want them to become my truth. I squint and rub my eyes to try to look at them clearer. The crazy part is that they may be truth for someone else, but that doesn’t mean they are for me. I want to remain true to myself. What’s my truth? What’s the most important thing for me?

I received another invitation to Yoga church. The concept is interesting. I’m not sure how it’s different than going to a temple Sunday morning. Tell me what you think, hype, lie or truth? Yoga church. http://www.truenorthyogacoaching.com/yoga-church/

Join me every week for a new post.

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.

Being Chosen, Blessing or a Curse?

Painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme of a veiled Circa...
Painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme of a veiled Circassian (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you like it when you get special attention from your boss? Do you want to be the favored son or daughter? Or is it better to fly under the radar? The sad fact of being special or chosen is that it’s difficult to be known for anything other than your trademark. You’re special. You’re chosen.

I was watching the show Reign, on Netflix this past week and although it’s not true to history, I was enjoying it. It showed King Henry’s two sons, Francis and the bastard, Sebastian. Francis had privilege and status and the future betrothal to Mary,  but the bastard was freedom to take chances and explore. Which made me think of other “chosen” types in history. One big one I think of is the people know to be the most beautiful in history.

The Georgian women, from the North Caucasus mountain region in European Russia, are known for their great beauty. So much so, that families were known for selling their own children for the same price as a horse. They sold as their children as sex slaves, as circus beauties, as sultan harems, or whatever else.

An advertisement from 1782 titled “Bloom of Circassia” makes clear that it was by then well established “that the Circassians are the most beautiful Women in the World”, but goes on to reveal that they “derive not all their Charms from Nature”. They used a concoction supposedly extracted from a vegetable native to Circassia. Knowledge of this “Liquid Bloom” had been brought back by a “well-regarded gentleman” who had traveled and lived in the region. It “instantly gives a Rosy Hue to the Cheeks”, a “lively and animated Bloom of Rural Beauty” that would not disappear in perspiration or handkerchiefs. – Wikipedia Circassian beauties

And then there is this blog, which I’ll only show you the first paragraph, but I’m a geek, so I find these things fascinating. I hope you don’t mind.

A Freakish Whiteness: The Circassian Lady and the Caucasian Fantasy

by Gre­gory Fried
Published March 15, 2013

When I first stum­bled across the photograph repro­duced below, over 15 years ago at an antique show, it struck me as ludi­crous, inex­plic­a­ble, and yet also some­how haunt­ing. Per­haps it was the jux­ta­po­si­tion of the young woman’s abstracted gaze with the absurdly wild mass of hair flam­ing around her head. I found a name, inscribed by pen­cil more than 130 years ago on the back of the pho­to­graph, “Zublia Aggolia,” and a title, “Cir­cass­ian Lady.” Even today, I still know noth­ing about Zublia her­self apart from her name, and even that is not what it seems. Despite that, her por­trait has taken me down a path of dis­cov­ery whose con­nec­tions I would have never guessed.

https://i0.wp.com/mirrorofrace.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/zubliamedium4.jpg
Mirror of race

I don’t want want to be chosen. I don’t want to be special. This is good as it is. Ordinary. Regular. Gotta get up on Monday morning and go to work and all of that kinda of stuff. Right. I’ll let someone else enjoy the limelight. That’s why I will win survive the zombie apocalypse.

And if you are really interested in the subject, I’ve included a YouTube video of a black professor speaking about why white people are called Caucasian.

Saddles

Ever see a cowboy dragging a saddle behind him? It doesn’t matter how well constructed the saddle is or how long the cowboy has owned it. It could have been in the family for years. Maybe it was his grandfather’s, then his father’s, until finally it was given to him. A saddle is a proud thing to own. Well crafted, hand tooled. I have nothing against saddles, but…

There’s no horse. Faith is like dragging a saddle. Old habits die hard because they’re familiar. And familiar feels right. That first Sunday you don’t go to church feels empty. I felt like I’d missed a step in the stairs and I was going to fall headlong. If you’ve ever noticed, people who have strong beliefs are afraid to let go of them. It’s been in the family for years. Their grandfather was a preacher, their dad a pastor, and they’re a Sunday school teacher. To leave this legacy is like spitting in the face of your heritage. It’s also how you define who you are. Sometimes you feel you’re not special anymore. I know this because I left this heritage myself.

To say I lost my faith is somewhat of a misunderstanding. I walked away. I walked away because I was going through the motions, which I could still do if I wanted. I could walk into church and still teach. No one would know the difference, but it wouldn’t be true. The horse isn’t there and I’d just be dragging a saddle around behind me.

 

Wannabes and Discouragement

The problem with critiquing is in the measuring. When is it good? When has it passed good and into great? How do you know you’re improving? Enough? If I apply more effort will it help or hurt? With physical exertion, you know almost immediately when you’ve gone too far. Pain. Sharp. Sudden. Stop. That’s your feedback.

The only true measure of whether a piece of writing is any good is the impact it has on its intended audience.

Did it engage them? Did it move them? Did it change them?

All other questions are irrelevant.

Of course, this creates a problem for serious writers like you who want to hone their skills. Because by the time you publish your work and learn your audience’s reaction, it’s too late to make any changes.

And if your writing isn’t connecting with your audience, the most common reaction is no reaction at all:

  • No comments on your latest blog post.
  • No emails praising (or damning) your bold manifesto.
  • No reviews of your latest Kindle novel.

So where does that leave you? How do you get good? How do you know if it’s even possible? – 3 Habits Separate Good Writers Tragic Wannabes

The problem I have with the above excerpt, is the assumption that if you are really good, you’ll get noticed. And tons of accolades. But I have read poems and novels that are pieces of crap and there are plenty of comments. Has anyone out there read 50 Shades of Gray? It’s becoming a movie. The story line is cheesy and it was originally intended as a Twilight fan fiction. The media attention this book received was unreal, but it remains a poorly written book (not good, not great)

No comments

Which brings me to my point, I’ve read a lot of great, exceptional, and life changing blogs that I never comment on. Some have no obvious place for comments, see Seth’s blog And even some that do see receive only a few comments at best. Mostly (not always) the blogs I see with comments are encouraging a new writer to continue writing or comments shooting down what the blogger stated. You can’t write for comments and prizes. You write because it feels good, just as in running. I write because I must write. I must express myself. I need my voice heard. I feel like this lady: You Don’t Have to be Napoleon to Change the World.

It’s possible I took this article in the wrong light. I admit I can be a bit touchy sometimes, but if you don’t meet the criteria in his bullet list does that make you a wannabe? Or maybe it’s just my definition of Wannabe.  You tell me, am I being touchy, or is it insulting?

 

To Love Yourself

Love
Love (Photo credit: Swamibu)

Most of us would agree mutilating our body because we hate ourselves is unhealthy. Acting against our health by withholding food or making unrealistic demands on ourselves seems obviously wrong, but yet we see it happen. Neighbors, actors, models, even family members mutilate themselves out of hatred.

Sometimes we also try to better ourselves because of fear. We feel we don’t fit in or we aren’t pretty enough. We are too fat, too ugly or too nice. So we try to change because we fear rejection.

I’ve heard many times that we need to love ourselves as we are today. How do we do that?

  • Highlight one part of yourself, your voice, your slim fingers and focus on that one attribute.
  • Steal someone’s persona. If you adore a well-known actress for her hair and yours is similar, hijack that feeling. Someone once told me I reminded him of Kate Winslet. Recently Vogue photographed Kate and used Photoshop, as is their norm, creating a big brouhaha. Kate Winslet’s Vogue Cover.  Once before, GQ visually slimmed her down but stated it wasn’t drastic. I’m glad that someone noticed her original beauty.
  • Be. Just be who you are and meet your own needs. Don’t withhold food, clothing or love. Just as you would see a child’s need for these things, see your own need. 

That’s where I’m at. I’m still looking and may stumble upon other ways to love me. What’s yours? In the meantime, I refuse to be cruel to myself.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tell Me About Yourself

Would it be okay if I was judged by where I live? What would someone else see from my decision to live in the place I do.

  • I’m practical.
  • I like trees.
  • I don’t keep up with the Jones or the Warrens (an affluent family in my area) for that matter.
  • I like classic beauty.
  • I value the strength of things that last.

When I walk into my living room this is what I see. It’s possible someone of a different personality would see that I’m frugal.

  • I’m eclectic maybe even cluttered.
  • I’m dusty and unorganized.
  • I’m poor and I undervalue appearance.

Instead of asking “What’s your name? What do you do?”  We might have someone describe their car or their clothing choice. I’d like to try that sometime. Maybe I will.

What’s your place like and why did you choose it? Or as it sometimes happens, did it choose you? Leave a comment below. I’d love to read it.

Here’s an interesting site: Style Statement – Carrie and Danielle

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sticks, Stones, and Ugly Words

blackwhite heartBeauty is in the eye of the beholder and so is ugly. I once had an ex who told me he couldn’t give me a compliment because I wouldn’t let him criticize me. Ridiculous. I had a different ex that called me a fat N*gger. Seriously. Now, regarding the first, if I stand outside and enjoy the sunshine, it doesn’t mean I have to stand out in the cold freezing rain also. That argument’s illogical and stupid. As for the second insult, I was 120 pounds at that time and I’m the whitest blue-eyed blonde girl that I know.

Insults are jabs that come straight from the person that sent them, having nothing to do with you or me. They say that we can only see the qualities that we have in ourselves. If that’s true, then withholding a compliment seems like punishment to one person, but an ugly name is punishment to another. While both of those stung a bit, I must admit, they didn’t hold the pain or suffering either of those men intended.

Theres a song that’s been going around in my head all week long. Here are the lyrics.

Mamma told me not to waste my life
She said spread your wings my little butterfly
Don’t let what they say keep you up at night
And they can’t detain you
Coz wings are made to fly
And we don’t let nobody bring us down
No matter what you say it won’t hurt me
Don’t matter if I fall from the sky
These wings are made to fly- Little Mix

Enhanced by Zemanta

What Color Are Your Towels?

Quite a few years ago I watched an episode of Oprah that didn’t sit well with me. Like food poisoning it made me feel ill and I just wanted to expel it. Normally she doesn’t bother me. Normally I agree with her style. But this one episode was about towels. Towels that match, to be precise. Actually the episode was probably a lot deeper psychologically than the blues or greens of your towels, but it’s been a few years ago.

Of all the things I can do to help the world be a better place for my children or other’s children, matching my towels is very low on the list. I can think of feeding the seniors in the Dallas/Ft Worth area that Dogma Debate recently promoted until the end of 2013 Dogma Debate-donate. There’s supporting the gift of water to those who have no access to clean drinking water that Matt Damon’s organization sponsors, water.org.  The ASPCA  programs to help abandoned and abused animals. Kiva organizes low-interest loans to those wanting to better their economic circumstances. There are hundreds of projects and programs to help those around me.

Also, throwing away perfectly good towels just because they are red, blue, brown or pink when I really want a blue bathroom today, seems wasteful. Replacing the towels and wash cloths will cost me, and why? To help my self-esteem? No, it really won’t. So when I get up in the morning and take my shower, if my towel is the red and blue striped one with faded spots on it, I really don’t care. I got to share in the water.org project and feed a low-income senior citizen for a month instead. That brings value to my life, but most importantly is there’s absolutely no reason that our elderly should go without a meal, EVER! And you know those people in India or Latin America? They can cook their food in safe water.

Alright, I’ll get off my preacher box now. It’s not that getting new towels is so horrible. It’s only that people with influence over the minds of others could encourage us to so much more. It bothered me then and it seems it still bothers me. Please, I welcome your comments. For or against? Let me know.