Rainbows and Taxes

The trick to having a happy life is knowing who you are and what you need at this stage of life.

I often get caught playing against two sides. The wall that is solid brick and constant. The unchanging realities. The weather. Death. Life. Taxes. It’s true to its word and never changes. You always know where you stand, but it is unforgiving if you slam against it.

The other is not a wall at all. Plasma. Morphing. Changing. Moving. It’s much like sinking sand. The wants, needs, and desires we all have. We want a house. College. We dream of success. It’s all intangible. The end of the rainbow. The stars of the sky. It can seem scary when the desires overwhelm us.

“Don’t seek to be happy; let everyone else chase after that rainbow.
Seek to be kind, and you’ll find the rainbow follows you.”
Richelle E. Goodrich

No one wants to live in an iron cage. To be contained without forgiveness will make your heart sink with defeat. You lose all motivation and wish only for death to come. We dream of running free or flying high in the air. If your life is constantly paying dues, living your life meeting the needs of others, being responsible, then your life is an iron cage. You are a bird in a cage.

It’s not all or nothing….

But, we all need a little support. We need fences and borders to help us along the way. Highways have markings for a reason. Road signs and access lanes keep us traveling freely. When we are developing our skills either as children or adults we need guidance. How do I travel overseas? Do I need a passport? Will I be searched at the airport? So you ask for guidance, consult the experts, get recommendations from friends and even strangers who look like they might know something about traveling abroad. If you have been a regular nomad your entire life, you don’t need these things anymore. You could write your own guidebook. Heck you probably already have.

Where are you?

The important thing to know is, what level are you in this life? Are you starting fresh or starting over? You’ll know because you’ll be asking questions and looking everywhere for answers. That bewildered look on your face really gives you away. That’s okay. It’s just one step at a time and then you’re on your way. Maybe you started over and have been on this journey awhile but you’re not sure if this is where you want to be. Maybe it’s an okay place, but it may be a bit boring. That’s when you start flexing some muscles. Add some play into your routine. You can push the boundaries a bit just to start a spark. It will be like your teenage years all over again, but without the braces.

Who are you?

Not many people will admit to being an old pro at life. I mean really, as they say, no one gets out alive. Some are more sturdy and knowledgeable though and to yell at them for getting off the safe path would just be silly. They might laugh at you. These are the ones who stare at the top of Mount Everest with a twinkle in their eye. “Yep,” they say, “I’m gonna climb that someday.” And maybe they will. If not that mountain then it might be another. You’ll find these people often helping out the Red Cross or United Way after a disaster. They’ll be reading to small children while their parents are stocking up on survival supplies. You might see them but you probably won’t because they are busy just living their lives.

“the image of those midwestern storms that rip up the world as you know it, and leave, like a sacrifice, a rainbow to make you forget what has come before.”
Jodi Picoult, Picture Perfect

There are the travelers and the nomads. Trailblazers and renegades. The gardener and the road builder. The scientist and the preacher. What do all of these have in common? You guessed it. They all started with one step in front of the other. No one is born fully whole.

Where are you? Have you recently started over? Do you even know where you want to go or what you want to see? Just know where you are now. Write it down and don’t be ashamed. If you were wanting to travel you would start with brochures. You would read up on the places that sound interesting then learn what you need for the journey.

Some books that inspired me:

El Camino road by Shirley Maclaine
The ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

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Community is Just Another Word for Us

English: Broadway show billboards at the corne...

There are always those that move to a particular city just for the atmosphere. I think of San Francisco or New York. Here in my hometown most of us are here because we were born here or got a job here. Our little place has it’s charm. I could talk it up. Maybe show you the side of the town that has a view or has the latest developments.

There’s the downtown area. Older buildings, renovated loft apartments, well-kept trails along the river. Our place has a low-cost of living compared to most of the United States. There’s not much in the way of a night life. Clubs are small and few. Mostly bars with upgraded flooring to make it danceable. If you’re looking for va-voom and panache, this is not your town. It is a friendly place to raise a family. Churches, schools, shopping. All the normal things.

If someone wants to persuade you they can try. They can show you what they think you’d like to see. Flash some images across your mind. Dazzle you with illusions. I remember looking for housing developments when my children were young. The realtors poured you coffee while they talked about the community play area. Give the kids some popcorn or cookies and show you around the model house that they built in just 2 weeks and decorated in the latest colors and styles.

English: A rainbow flag affixed to a lightpole...

But nothing is like what they present. After you move to a place, you become the community. Your routine and your life habits follow you like a lost puppy. All the personal quirks you have, like not taking out the garbage or unloading the dishwasher, they are still there. Your fill new house with all your clutter. It came with you. And this town you moved into shows it’s true face and that’s okay. Now you are truly a part of this community and you get to know its real charms. You may fall in love with something other than the play area for the children, like the ice cream truck that comes by on Sunday afternoons. It could be that the next door neighbors have the same interest that you do. Or the view across the valley as you drive out of the neighborhood. You can’t predict these things. Life has a way of happening that you can’t plan. You move to a place for the weather, but it’s the people you enjoy the most. If you think you can plan for what type of husband you want or what type of city you should live, I wish you the best. Life is full of unexpected delights. I have a saying,

The things I am afraid of never happen. And the scary things that happen I never expected.

When we get to the daily task of living, if we want a peaceful world, one filled with love and encouragement, we must act peaceful. We teach our children to settle disputes peacefully. We are the good neighbors and citizens. We are the community.

You’re Not Listening

Angry Talk (Comic Style)

I AM NOT YELLING!! I’M TRYING TO MAKE MY POINT. DO YOU HEAR ME?

What happens when we yell? What happens when we get yelled at? I cower, run for cover, or if backed in my corner, I get defensive.

Why do we yell?

We want to make a point. We have an issue or a gripe and we want you the listener to hear us. If we yell, then you know without a doubt we mean it. Right? Stomps foot! Or do we turn off? Walk away? Put up our hand? Some might start crying. Some might yell back. But NO ONE listens. We can’t. It goes against every little fiber of our being to listen. Yelling hits us at our nerve core and radiates up our spinal cord until-ding, ding, ding-you ring our fight or flight bell. Every time. 

So why do we do it? We are scared. We are afraid of you, the one we are yelling at. You may have hurt us or you remind us of someone who hurt us in the past. We have to square off first. Like the bird ruffling up his feathers or the cat with all hairs on end. I’m bigger than you. Bigger, badder, meaner. Don’t mess with me. But I thought I was scared? I am. I’m hiding my fear underneath these scary, ugly, loud snarls.

yelling.
yelling. (Photo credit: J-Urban-Hippie)

So what happens when we yell? We turn off what we want to turn on. We push what we really want to pull. We scare those for whom we care. Mostly we make ourselves tired and weak, because we’ve wasted a lot of energy.

Electricity is a wonderful thing. It’s power is amazing. We, mankind, have harnessed it. I love my computer. And my washer and dryer. Electricity helps me be comfortable and entertained on Sunday afternoons watching Netflix. Or listening to Vevo. Watching silly videos on YouTube. But electricity without being channeled through the right wires, circuitry, and breakers would kill me. Zap! Ka-bing!

Fire is the same way. Wintry evenings by the fireplace and a warm blanket, mmmm. That’s a great place. But fire raging across the plains of Texas or the mountains of Colorado or coming towards my house, makes me want to run. To cower. Or to fight back.

You know where I’m going with this. Me yelling at you, has the same response as the fire coming towards you. Or a lightening bolt. Run for cover or run for your life. There must be a better way. I have to tame my fire. Harness my anger. Yelling uncontrollably feels right. I’ve vented.

I am big.

I am bad.

And I am one tough cookie. Don’t mess with me. But who got burned in the end? Even if they deserved it, razing the enemy doesn’t heal my pain.

We need an expression that works. Stop before we yell. What is the point I want to make with the person in front of me? Can it wait? Maybe this moment isn’t the best moment to make it. With some, those you’ve told a thousand times, the point may never reach them. Those you walk away from and let them be. Others may need something beyond words. Remember tough love?

Yelling makes us feel like we’ve accomplished a task. We made our point. We vented our anger. Open your eyes. No one’s listening.

The Rescues-You’re Not Listening (Live at the Troubadour)