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.

The Busyness of Being

Ideas excite me, wake me. I feel the novelty bubble up like soapy suds flooding out of the washing machine. I know joy. At that exact moment, there’s a lie hiding among the zeal of promise. If you scratch away the top layer, you’ll find the untruth—everything would be perfect if I tried harder.

I expect by finishing my tasks, I will feel at peace, and I will enjoy my life, knowing I have things in place. But life doesn’t cycle in that manner. There’s always something that breaks and issues to solve. There’s another needling, prickly urge. And I scratch.

Restless

I’ve often griped about my mom not sitting still. She would get up and down to get things, all in the name of taking care of her family. It was as if she had Mexican jumping beans in her veins. She annoyed me by continually asking if we wanted something else to eat or drink. Do we need a napkin to wipe our not yet dirty faces? As the perfect hostess, she didn’t want to leave anything undone.

Mom called it, “Fretting.” I’ve heard it said as, “Worrying the bone.” At the age of 55, I not only understand, but I have the diagnosis—Attention Deficit Disorder along with anxiety.

Bubbles

I want to do so many things. Travel. Take pictures of places I’ve seen. Buy a rug. Clean the closet. Paint the bedroom. Redecorate. Change something.

Hypervigilance, OCD, and Anxiety- someone save me from me.

I want to write a short story about the dream I had last night. Edit my other stories. Work on a new article that came to me while I was showering. Update blog pages. And I want—more.

Today, I am stressed. I’m having surgery again. In my head, I think if I get everything prepared, all will be fine. No mistakes. I now laugh at my arrogance. I’m not in charge. Fear makes me cling to control. Anxiety isn’t shut off like a water tap, so my brain gives me soap bubbles of new ideas. At least in my doing, I’m distracted from my pain.

For more

If you relate to any of these things and are needing help, please ask. Talk to a doctor or a counselor. I have a great psychiatrist who works with me.
 
I’ve studied my issues for years. My education is in childhood development, so I understand the importance of the developing mind. Trauma and PTSD are real. Abuse of any type can scar a person and even change their personality from upbeat and positive into a frightened, self-loathing person.
 
There’s counseling available, even online. Heal the pain. Namaste. You are worth it.

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.

Hell Is Love – With a Side of Abuse

When I am with you, I seem useless.
With all of my caring
Straining to be my best,
yet, you criticized, scrutinized, and rejected.

I wonder about your parents.
Were you abused? Was your life this hell?
I’ve bowed and pampered you
as I did my own mother.

I fell for her schemes.
But now, I must learn a new way.
Amusing you is impossible.
Impossible, impossible, utterly impossible.

It’s the dog with Mother Hubbard,
Always looking into a cupboard.
I will not give myself to exhaustion,
I’ll not lead a bone-weary trek to the grave.

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Their World, Not Mine

I have felt the need to pull attention. Grab, grasp, latch onto it—the amorphous thing we all desire—as if awareness was a scarce commodity. At times, when you’re parenting children, there can be moments when there’s a shortage, but I think it’s more like our current situation with toilet paper. Stay calm. There’s enough for all.

I’ve often been jealous of the selfish people who could capture everyone’s eye, whether it be beauty or victimhood. As if by gravity—there are plenty of people orbiting around them. I fume. I want to poke their eyes out. Yes, I have issues.

Entitlement

When the Coronavirus started, there were concerns for our elderly parents, actual problems. Whose family was the most vulnerable? Why aren’t we staying home? The weeks have grown long. Somewhere along the way, this all became a competition.

Maybe you know the feeling. There’s a person you talk with about life, and suddenly their tragedy is worse, far worse or their life is more demanding. Sad story. After a time, you’re not chatting. Your blood is boiling because your calm talk is a rivalry.

Conflict is a trigger moment for me. I’ve retrained my response to these moments. I must first remember there’s no shortage of talk time. I can chat with other folks. Second, I respect the other person as best I can, but not to my harm. Sometimes I simply walk away.

We are in strange days. Stay calm. There’s enough for all.

My thanks to Wade Harris for the featured photograph. Find him on Flickr or Instagram.

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

Take It Easy

Do you meditate and say, I’m just not good at this? Your mind drifts, and find yourself thinking about the movie you’d like to be watching. Might as well be sitting on the couch watching television. Right? Not quite. I was listening to a podcast earlier, which isn’t entirely related, but did make me think of this, and yes, I’ll explain.

Saints and Prophets – Real people

We love our gurus: pedestals and high statues. India is well known for putting its spiritualists at quite an exalted status. But there are those in other parts of the world who do the same. I hear people talk about how perfect someone is. “She never says a bad word about anyone. She helps at fundraisers and gives money to charities.” Blah, blah, blah. Usually, we follow with a self-deprecating, “Naw, I’m just not that good of a person.” If you come to that conclusion, you’ve missed the point. You can’t be good all of the time. You’ll miss. One day you’ll be tired and say the wrong word. Not good. Instead of being good, be real.

Games – There’s no scoreboard

Most of us grow up living life as if it’s a game. Level up. Goals to beat. Lives to live. School, job, marriage, children, etc. Somewhere in there, we throw in vacations as bonus runs, just for fun, and we call it a good game. If we think we need extra life points, we go to a doctor, a priest, or even a yoga studio. Some of us have gotten into meditation, thinking we can add even more health points. There’s some talk that it can give you some superpowers, or have you heard? Yeah, be careful with that one.

We aren’t going anywhere

The point is, we in the western philosophy are goal seekers. We want a prize. We get a trainer to get the abs to get the girl, or am I wrong? Let’s get this straight. I meditate to remember myself and to clear away the clutter of everyone else. I can do this by journaling if I wish. I could go for a long walk in the park instead. Anything away from structure and demands. Drawing, painting, sailing, biking, tanning. So if today my mind wanders a bit, it’s okay. In it’s walking, it allows me the freedom to release and let go. I relax. Then, I return to myself once again and slip out of the coils that the chokehold of daily life had held me in. And it feels so good to be me also.

The book Death on Diamond Mountain is just a glimpse into one of those moments when things go wrong. Take a glimpse. If you’re a Plus member of Mysterious Universe or want to be, they give you an interview with the author. Quite a trip, but the meditation that I’m referring to is remember your peace.

Namaste

Repost — Originally published April 18, 2015

Say It, And Speak Clearly

Honking is an annoying noise to me, so much so that it took me a full year before I realized the one-year-old car I purchased didn’t have a working horn. Hmmm, darn. My warranty was gone by that time. I’ve had the car for ten years now, and it’s still not repaired.

People honk, and it’s difficult to know, are they telling me, “Hey lady, speed up!” or “Yeah, you can move on into the spot in front of me.” A loud noise is a loud noise. It startles and offends. Honking rarely accomplishes it’s purpose unless the purpose is for the person honking is to yell. In those situations, it is useful. Honk, honk, honk, honk. Just like being downtown in Chicago.

I’m contrasting this to those who complain. My mom complained when I was growing up, and it was difficult for me to learn the difference until more recently. I asked her to voice her concerns to her doctor, which she had spoken so freely to me, and she said she didn’t want to complain. I was baffled. She told me my dad didn’t approve of this behavior, and then I understood a little more. He is the one who keeps things to himself. He is always alright. He would never let the doctor know of his issues because it exposes weakness. So, mom’s complaining to me is her way of telling me she has a problem, but she has no way of getting help.

Voicing an issue is a good thing, in my opinion. Speaking up, and even protesting is a right we should protect with all of our beings. If we don’t want to lose our humanity in this age, we need to wake up and use this time wisely. Speak up. If there’s an issue on your job, or at your apartment complex, or anywhere that is affecting your life, use your right to say something.

Community

This society we live in is built upon these customs. The structure our ancestors chose were laws, rules, and the ability to stand up for ourselves. We sometimes need to request help from others stronger or wiser than we are to speak for us, but the purpose is the same, don’t sit in the mud and complain about being wet and dirty. Find a way, ask for help, holler, cry, kick, and scream if you must, but say something until you are heard and can grab a hand that will pull you out of that mud. But whatever you do, don’t stay there.

I live in an area where complacency is the norm. This is the way it is. We’ve always lived here and don’t you dare think you’re better than anyone else. I’m watching businesses die because of this attitude, and these are ones that could update their equipment, update their ways, and stay in touch with the times, but they refuse. It reminds me of when typewriters were going out, and computers came in. So many talented older women didn’t learn how to use these new pieces of equipment. Modern ways came in and left them behind. I shouldn’t be sad, I guess. I should let it go, but I find it disheartening because this is what I see happening in my government as well. It’s time for a change. I don’t know what it will look like, but the old way isn’t working. We have to speak up.

Say something. If you have opinions and you have ideas, say them. If you are in a position to do something in a local area, use it to your advantage. Make wise decisions. Move forward.

If you’re a person in need, don’t give up hope. This is a day for you. The sun is rising. Decide what you want, even if it seems impossible. Imagine if it were. If you were not sitting in the mud, how would you live?

Esraa Zidan’s artworks Above image saved from Girl God Trista Hendren’s Instagram