Please be Kind, I’m Trying

The "surprise kiss" scene required m...
The “surprise kiss” scene required much trial and error from the actors

I started a new medicine this last week. Ugh. The brakes screeched. The emergency brake slammed on also. I went from running to walking to nothing. I felt like death. I’ve had migraines my entire life but, they’ve been worse lately. I thought I’d take a bit of action, and so, I researched. It’s what I do best.

Most medications have trial periods. One week isn’t enough time to know if they are helping, and then there’s a whole soup of chemicals in a human body already that a medication is mixing with. Each person is different. So, I’m giving it time. These last few weeks may have not been the best weeks. I may have picked a better time, maybe. Holidays, appliance deliveries, and work backlogs. I don’t know. But is there ever a good week? I’m not complaining. I’m thankful to have medication to take and time to try and try again. If it doesn’t work, I’ll move on to something else.

How do you handle new experiences? Trial and error? Try once? Never try?

Just remember kindness this week to those around you. They may be like me, trying something new. Putting a strange concoction in their body, thinking it will cure them or at least help. Maybe you can put a smile on their face today for me. Share something nice with them. Also, be kind to yourself for the same reason.

But no one is asking you to be original. We’re asking you to be generous and brave and to matter. – Seth Godin Of Course it’s been done before

 

Verifiable Results

There’s an interesting fellow I see often on my drive home from work. He’s a boxer. You can see him almost daily along the Riverwalk in Tulsa. He stands in the middle of the drainage ditch and he jumps rope and shadow boxes. I’d like to know his story, but I haven’t ever had the nerve to find out. I wonder if when he was a younger man that maybe he did real boxing, but now he might be living in his imagination, but then I think that my thoughts are presumptuous. Maybe he just likes the exercise.

Youngsters

When I was younger I spent a lot of time praying. I prayed for the children in Africa and the people I saw on the news. I had no way of physically helping, but somehow the praying didn’t feel like a copout. I felt satisfaction after I prayed and I thought it was proof of results. It seemed that it was a ping back from the source telling me Yes, that’s it. You’re on target. But it wasn’t. It’s not. It’s just the chemicals in my brain telling me I’ve done an action that my belief system approves of. It’s not confirmation of it being effective. Otherwise the continent of Africa would be full of healthy people. The bad guys controlling the countries would be dead or disabled. The wildfires of Texas, Colorado, and California would be over as well as the long drought. And yes, when I prayed for these things I had faith. I got the ping back.

If only

If there is a god and the precepts are true then the results should be verifiable. If a disease or tragedy hits because of sin it should harm only the ones doing the wrong deed, or am I a simpleton. I’m thinking the arrow of disease is coming from the hand  of a just god.

Christians should be by a verifiable percentage of reality these things:

  • healthier than other religious people
  • impervious to disease more so than other religious people
  • not dying from snake bites
  • above only, as in, not enslaved to debt
  • lead happier lives
  • wealthier or having the ability to obtain wealth

Further, the Bible makes specific promises, but these promises are never fulfilled. For instance, John 15:7 states, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” This is simply not true! How many Christian people have prayed all over the globe for a release from the grip of terrible suffering just to be left in their circumstances with no way out?  Lydia @ DogmaDebate

If something exists or a pattern is true then you should see results. For example, if you take a medication that has been approved by the FDA Federal Drug Administration, it’s already went through Double Blind testing. There are certain tests that show it works. The man on the side of the road is getting exercise. I don’t wish to mock or belittle someone for their efforts. I only want to acknowledge the difference between efforts and results. If you want the exercise of meditation or praying or even shadow boxing, yes they do have their own benefits, but if you want to knock someone out you’re going to have to punch them.

So what works?

In the Bible, James says,

Faith and Works

17Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. 18But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

 

 

You Win

Your life is not a failure. My life is not a failure. We haven’t quit and we haven’t failed. Let me set the scene for what I’m talking about. Years ago, women had big families, not always because they wanted to. Men had to work long hours in the fields or doing jobs wherever they could. Coal mining, deep-sea fishing, fighting wars they didn’t start. This was their lives, how they bent. Like the tree swaying with the wind, they leaned and they bent so they didn’t break. We inherited generations’ worth of genetics and heritage. Maybe you have Granddad’s blue eyes or his height. Remember he was so tall he had to stoop when he came through the door frame? Well my gramps was tall and thin. I remember his jean overalls and his pipe. I also remember how his shoulders had a bit of slump. I also remember my mom telling my brother to sit up straight. A lot.

Most of us try to kick habits and to better ourselves. We encourage our kids to study hard and take the steps for success just as we’ve done for ourselves. So you’ve tried to lose the weight. I know you have. It’s not because you lack willpower. Maybe it’s the technique or maybe it’s not. You want to be healthy. You want to stop smoking. You want to watch your kids grow up. You haven’t failed. Get back up. take another step. If you’ve reached this point there is this one thing you need to know. There are some things in life we learn to live with. That doesn’t mean you’ll never quit that habit. It just means there aren’t any miracle cures.

I know people who have personality disorders. I’m sure you do too. I know those that have diabetes and heart problems that would love a miracle cure. And someday medicine and science may find that cure. But until that day we have to handle our bodies with their handicaps as if we might have to live with them. I think with all the self-help and positive thinking we forgot something. Genetics and hereditary still play a part in our lives. Take a tall lanky child for instance. It doesn’t matter how many books you stack on his head, or how many mantras or meditations he would do. He’s going to be tall. And with that will possibly come the stooped shoulders. Thanks Granddad.

I’m blessed with my mom’s pot belly. I’ve never had a flat stomach. When I was 20 I weighed 110 pounds and still had a belly. I could do setups on a slant board. One day I did over 50. Flat stomach? Ha! Nope. Will I stop trying to lose weight? probably not. I’m stubborn like that. And like my continual effort to write my thoughts, like my always wanting to push just a little harder, comes the constant tug of war between wanting to have a thin body and the desire for more ice cream. Some things don’t change.

You exist and no one can take that away from you.

This is a daily lifestyle. This is your daily life. How you live each day doesn’t decide if you fail or win. You win regardless. You are here. You are alive, so you win. You exist, so you can’t lose. It’s not “if I can buy status symbol car I win” sort of deal. If you have no car, if you have no legs, if you have no job, you still win. You exist and no one can take that away from you. What winning looks like to each person is different. Maybe you need to revamp the image you have in your head of what winning is to you. That’s easy.

There are some things that will not change, so we deal with them. Not in a negative “put up with” way. Every day I get up and eat breakfast and take 15 – 30 minutes to wake up. I need that. Eating is mandatory or my body will get shaky and my head will hurt. These are the things I know about myself. There’s no overcoming necessary. This is me. I deal with me. I accept who I am and take the steps needed to make sure I have a meal and slow wake ups. Caring for myself.

You may never get over your fear of dogs. Or heights. You may not finish that bucket list before you die. Don’t let that stop you from putting impossible dreams on your list. It’s okay if you never see the Eiffel Tower or dive into the deep end of the swimming pool. When I was young I thought I had to be able to do everything. I thought I had to conquer every fear and challenge. Where did this thought come from? I really don’t know, but I’m glad to know it’s not true. I don’t have to EVER climb mount Everest. I NEVER EVER have to skydive. Silly as it may seem, I lived the first 30 years of my life thinking I needed to be able to do these things and not be afraid of them. How unrealistic. Somewhere along the way I decided to just stay afraid. Then I learned true freedom.

It’s perfectly alright to live imperfectly.

So forget striving for the top and pushing yourself til you break. The living is not in constant raw edge. The living just is. Right now, regardless if you are on the edge, on the top, or laying somewhere on the bottom after falling over, you are alive. You win.

 

Re-framing

English: through the frame

A while back, out by the communal dumpster, I found a big wooden frame. A heavy one. The gilding had mostly worn off. It was perfect! I took that baby in and cleaned, primed, and painted it white. Semi-gloss white. I put some wallpaper as an insert and hung it up in my dining room. Beautiful. I love finds. I love to dumpster dive. Well mostly only when I have a great find. I absolutely adore finding that long forgotten treasure. The item that someone threw away not knowing how perfect it was.

Re-framing your life, becoming Cinderella for yourself, what is it? There’s a moment in all of our lives that we stop and wonder, how did I get here? We live our lives without a plan. We are born and we die. The life in between just seems to happen. School, marriage, family, illness, work. The boy who starts out washing cars and ends up with a chain of auto detailing shops didn’t become the speed racer he dreamed of as a child, but he’s not the failure he thinks he is. He just needs to take another look.

Frames

Why do you need to update? Do you really need to change? Aren’t you just fine as you are? Yes. Absolutely. That’s the deal. You don’t change. It’s you changing how you feel about you. That picture frame didn’t change. It just received a whole new attitude.  Just a coat of paint. There was no restructuring. Someone had given up on it and I brought it in because I saw what it was. A beautiful piece of craftsmanship. In the same way, you can look at yourself and know that you are too.

Where to begin? Starting over? Are you depressed? Hate your life? Or maybe you are in the middle of changes which are frightening. Life is step by step. It’s also taking another look. Get a new perspective. Open the curtains and let in the sun. Using metaphors and analogies is a great way to re-frame, re-picture, recapture what was lost. What went wrong that you wanted to go right? Take the part of yourself, the energy that you feel you wasted and rebuild yourself. Do something that is not requiring anyone else to show up.

What can I re-frame? Your job, your house, your friends, your life, your family. Maybe you aren’t the typical household or the lovey-dovey family. So? Find the good stuff of your family and cherish it. Make a collage of the aspects of your family that you adore. The trip to the mall with your kids? The double-dip ice cream cone your son had to have. The outrageous science project your daughter and her dad made together. This is your life. Cherish it.

Ninjas and Pirouettes

Ninja vs. Ninja vs. Ninja (Unmasked)
Ninja vs. Ninja vs. Ninja (Unmasked) (Photo credit: wiredforlego)

I bumped into a silly belief that I didn’t realize I had. It goes like this, “If it doesn’t last, it isn’t valid.” It isn’t real. Now the funny thing that I’ve noticed about these ninja, super hidden beliefs is that if you look at them in the light of day without distractions, they are ridiculous. Obviously nothing lasts. The supper I made tonight, as good as it was and as filling as it was, processed through my body, pulling out the nutrients needed and the rest discarded. And hopefully, not storing too much excess as fat.

The paycheck I received from working my 40 hours each week is processed through my life, used as needed and then is gone. It doesn’t last. Was it valid? Yes! Valid and wanted. So when that thought came in, I was sitting and talking to a friend. We were talking about relationships and those that have come and gone. Apparently there was a fleeting moment that I was feeling like a failure at relationships. I quickly tallied up my pluses and minuses and my brain handled the rest. It called in the ninja belief to protect me from my evaluation. The minuses, my so-called failures, became invalid. I guess they weren’t authentic. They didn’t last, right? If they didn’t last, they weren’t very strong in the first place. They must have been only superficial, pretty side shows that only appeared as strong relationships. Or so my thinking went. That’s it! My clever self had given me my out. The failed relationships were all just shams! Propped up to look like the real thing.

It seemed so simple. About as quickly as the super secret ninja thoughts went through the exit, the wise Yoda-like came in the entrance. Hmmm..maybe. He rubs his chin. Could be true. Something else might be. Momentary, fleeting, brief, and elusive. maybe not sham at all.

Fleeting moments like the sight of your son on graduation day. Or the moment you held him in your arms for the first time. Brief like the fear before you dive into the swimming pool. Or the elation you felt from actually seeing it through. Elusive moments, like the wisps of cologne from your lover’s shirt. The moment of passion that takes your breath away. And the memory of it an hour later. Elusive like the site of a ray of sun through the clouds. The rainbow that follows. Yes. Fleeting, elusive, brief moments. Anyone have a tissue?

tweet-able- Brief, fleeting relationships are just as real and necessary as lasting ones.

Brief moments and so-called failed relationships are just as valid and real as the longer lasting type. The day with the sun beating down on your back in the August heat is no more real than the short glimpse through the clouds. They both exist. Did the sun fail on the rainy day in April? Of course not. It didn’t take long for me to realize the belief was stupid. But what did take me a day to process was the reason for the incredibly silly thought in the first place. Rather than think of myself as a total failure, making me depressed and gloomy, my mind was helping me. By telling me it wasn’t real, it was a sham, my mind was allowing my to protect myself.

After each failed relationship, I boxed away my feelings of joy, my memories that made me smile and all the beautifully wicked first kisses and experiences. I stored them away on a shelf and they were gathering dust. I didn’t know what to do with the old wedding photos. Isn’t it wrong to look at them and smile? Those days are gone and forgotten. Shouldn’t they be put in the dumpster with the relationships? I failed. I gave up. I couldn’t finish my race. I quit. And that is why my mind was protecting me. It hurts. It cuts deep inside where no one but you can see like bits of glass or shrapnel left inside the tissue. Every time I see a happy couple, every time I’m lonely, every moment that I see my children, I’ve felt the failure.

Seeing the pretend, propped up, temporary relationship was clever. And maybe my mind was even sneakier than that. By allowing me to see the “failures” as shams, it gave me the ability to laugh at its joke. I knew that I couldn’t dismiss temporary things so easily. The shams are real. The moments of good in them were just as real as the moments of good that I haven’t boxed away. Maybe I packed them away in boxes of splinters, but I still have them. And up until that moment I hadn’t realized I’d boxed them away.

I wonder. Is the human psyche really that clever? It’s a delicate pirouette to do. The dance it took around my dusty storage room and then gently prodding me, it did brilliantly. Almost as if it had super ninja skills.

I have 2 videos here. First Linkin Park – Bleed It Out,  then Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love. Pick your poison.

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