Who Turn Out the Light?

good dayI haven’t talked much about my dark days. Most of us have them. Some call them Dark Nights of the Soul. Others say they are walking through the valley of the shadow of death. No matter what we call them, the experience is difficult to put into words. And I will sometime. Emotions don’t always translate. That gut-wrenching ache after losing a spouse isn’t the same as being alone on a Friday night when everyone else has a date. The situations are almost similar. Alone. No date or spouse. But there’s a depth of substance not seen.

“There is a season for everything under the sun—even when we can’t see the sun.”

― Jared BrockA Year of Living Prayerfully: How a Curious Traveler Met the Pope, Walked on Coals, Danced with Rabbis, and Revived His Prayer Life

Are you familiar with the story of Plato’s Cave? Here’s a link. Plato’s Cave. There were captives chained inside the cave facing always forward, only seeing shadows because they were too far from the source of the light.

One day a single prisoner was freed and taken outside into the light. For years he’d seen the play of shadows and saw the monsters and grotesque shapes splattered on the wall, but now he could see. He had the sunlight, and he knew they were only shadow play on the cave wall from objects in the cave. There weren’t monsters.

Suddenly he was grabbed and yanked toward the cave. But he didn’t want to go back into the dark, he yelled. In the light, he wasn’t afraid.

The shackles were on him again, and the darkness enveloped him. He was restrained, but this time he was different. There was no fear. He knew. How could he not have seen? He had to explain it all to his friends. Would they even listen?

I can almost hear him singing – “Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance!!”

“The new is always at our doorstep when we feel most lost.”

― Janet RebhanLearn To Be Still

Check out a similar writing: Wandering and Lost Souls

 

Advertisements

Apocalypse, Abaddon, and the Spirit of Fear

Apocalypse, Abaddon, and the Spirit of Fear

The one thing that I believe I got right coming out of the religious world was a healthy dose of discernment. Even when I was neck deep in religiosity, I kept the same council as I’m going to bring out in this short blog today. I say short because a truth is simple usually. Once you know the truth of a thing, you stop worrying and get on with your life. When you’re uncertain, as in how to drive a car, you question everything. What if I mess up? What if I’m doing it wrong? When you’re an adult, and you drive to work, you get in your car and you drive to work. Sometimes you drive too fast, but you don’t sit around worrying about checking your brake pedal or your accelerator pad every five minutes.

End of Days – Again?

Know the truth and you will be free. So what’s this big truth? Love. Joy. Peace. I’m quoting the Bible because that’s the book I was given to read as a child, but I know that’s not the only holy scripture that teaches these truths. How do you know if a person is right? How do you know that they are wishing good things for you? Jesus’s disciples asked him how they would know if the other preachers were disciples of him? There were so many people performing miracles at one time it became confusing. His answer was easy, check their character. Not by their miracles, but by their fruit. Checking a person’s character was my first test when I was a child. I was serious as a kid.

True and False Prophets

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Matthew 7:15-20

Remember Hugs

If you’ve been hugged in the warmest of bear hugs by a grandparent and loved, you weren’t feeling afraid at that moment. If there were any fears, it would only be for their well-being. Love brings with it a sense of satisfaction and safety. Love is my second test.

Love Comes from God

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

So for all of the Christians that are following the Blood Moon fear mongers, STOP. They are selling you a paper bag filled with lies and it’s dripping of fear. I am tired of calming my family down from it.

Those that get off making others afraid – like Tom Horn and even the Christian TV broadcasters like Pat Robertson and John Hagee, they are sick sadists. If you buy into that shit, then you might as well pick up the Sunday horoscope column and follow their advice every week.

The Truth:

Silly Crazy Stuff:

It’s Still The About People, Right?

It’s Still The About People, Right?

I think we as a society have forgotten something here. It’s not about the task in front us. How fast can you finish your spreadsheet? Are you a democrat or a republican? We sold more doohickeys than you. Is it about the people? Is it about the job? Is it about the thing?

Most jobs at their start were about helping, or at least solving a problem. Nutrition. Water. Disease prevention. Somewhere along the line they lose their focus. It’s easy to forget. If you’ve ever worked in a daycare with more than five children, you know how that feels. Children whine, they cry, they poop, and they need. It’s constant. You forget that you cared about these noisy, fussy children. At one time, you wished to nurture them. Now all you want to do is stop the noise. Suddenly it’s about the thing. The diapers.

The squeaky wheel problem

It seems to make sense to prioritize in order of priority.

Do the urgent stuff first. Deal with the cranky customer who’s about to walk out, the disenchanted and difficult employee who hasn’t had the right sort of guidance (lately), the partner who is stomping his foot.

The problem with this rational prioritization is that it means that the good customers, the valuable employees and the long-suffering but loyal partners are neglected. And they realize that they should either get squeaky or leave.

If the only way to get your attention is to represent a risk, people will figure that out.

(The other problem is that you end up spending all your time with cranky, disenchanted, difficult people who are stomping their feet.) – Seth Godin

I think it’s important to check ourselves and ask it’s still about the people, right?

Privilege and Guilt

Privilege and Guilt

I have been embarrassed by my whiteness, my richness, my entitlement. Embarrassed, ashamed, repentant. Inside I was apologetic, not wanting anyone to think that I believed that I am better than another. Sometimes I wonder if I’m trying too hard to prove something. But who am I trying to prove this to? And why?

Check out this video:

We have no control over our birth. Where we are born, the family we are born into, the color of our skin, and the status of our household is decided for us. The religion of our culture is usually the one that we adopt. And yet we claim these things with such pride and place our hand over our hearts, pledging allegiance as if we chose them.

Kids do not create the circumstances they are born into.  Never apologize for who you are, unless who you are is an asshole.
Privilege is what most parents want for their children.  It’s what most people want for themselves.
The problem is not privilege, and the goal is not equality of outcome.
The goal is simple recognition that a lot of people are running the race of life with rocks in their pockets and combat boots on their feet. They are being forced to start a half mile back, and with bad maps.  – Don’t Feel Guilty About Privilege

terriermandotcom.blogspot.com/2015/07/dont-feel-guilty-about-privilege.html

We may not be able to change another’s current privilege, but we can change the future generation. It’s not necessary for me to apologize anymore. I don’t have to hang my head. Really. I don’t know why I ever thought that I should.

Quit

I Can't Quit You Baby
I Can’t Quit You Baby (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quit – over thinking. Quit – trying to make it work. Quit – wishing, thinking, pushing, willing, trying so hard, all of those things that make you seem like a fish flopping on the shoreline, out of his comfort zone, out of his life zone. That’s not you. We all do this. We act like we’re afraid. We act like that poor fish, gasping for air. We are not desperate. We might be afraid, but we aren’t desperate.

I have so many questions sometimes when I try new things. I start with, I’m ready. I’m excited. I crouch down like the jumper at a sporting event and I’m ready to take off, but then the questions start. How much pressure do I need to push-off? Do I land on one foot or both? Do I dig in with my toes? You get the idea. So many questions that I start doubting if I can do it or if any of it can happen. Can I really make it work? Am I just daydreaming?  We all go through this struggle. We worry. We fight the fear, then we fight the desire by telling ourselves, ‘Well, I don’t want it anyway.’ We try to shut the emotions down because they can be so raw. The open heart can feel so exposed.

I was sitting down with a guy I see regularly and without telling him anything he starts saying things such as, you know you can’t be happy unless you’re with someone who meets your needs. You have to have someone that lets you have room. In essence, it was all the things I’ve been mulling over in my head. Was he reading my mind? Sometimes I wonder. Is the world around me really just a hologram of my own making as the new-agers say? Matrix overload. Tilt. Tilt. Beep. Beep.

I’m afraid. I’m in the open, but I know I’m not alone here. I just have to wait. I did that thing I do so often, I got here early. I got over excited. How did I say that before? You can read that post here:  Overeager.

Here are a few items I ran into in the process of writing this blog. I love how when you start pulling strings, the blanket starts coming towards you.

The Wiggle Theory – by Buster Benson on The Medium
The Upside of Quitting: A Freakonomics Radio Rebroadcast

We Need to be Lost to Find Ourselves – YOUTUBE

I’m Not Abused, Really

I’m Not Abused, Really

Abuse is about being broken. It’s about seeing things askew. It’s like trying to put on your morning makeup while using a mirror from the fun house carnival. You just never get it right.

I just picked a bad time to ask….I should have waited.

If I’d been more polite to the officer, this wouldn’t have happened. (This is exactly what abuse feels like. Watch below how hopeless it is.)

Truth: No one deserves mistreatment. Ever.

Truthfully, once we see that the dress is really blue, it’s seen as truth thereafter.

Once a woman realizes that it’s alright to say no and that it’s alright to speak her opinion, it’s accepted by society as truth.

There are certain words that should not be used in condescension again.

Bitch. Slut. Whore. These are only some of the minor words that many women hear. I’ve had them used against me by men who’ve wanted to put me in my place. Or take me down a notch. Every time I think about the times it happened, I want to throw things. I want to jump up and down and stir up dust. I get angry. They couldn’t hit me, so a word was used instead. It didn’t work, because I’m fortunate–I know who I am, but not all women do. I hope the next generation gets a better grip on this and doesn’t feel the need to inflict pain to get their way.

The Dress – Why is so hard to see Black and Blue? Article – www.independent.co.uk/

 

Grandma and the Big Oak Tree

Grandma and the Big Oak Tree

My grandmother was a very superstitious lady, black cats, ladders, salt over the shoulder, and all of that. I remember once, walking across the yard with her and my mother. We lived in a small town and had walked to the hair salon to get Grandma’s hair fixed. On the way back into the yard I parted ways and ran ahead. I had been warned previously by my mom and knew that Grandma had very superstitious ways, but I was an irreverent child to these superstitions at that time. I ran to the right of the big oak tree while Mom and Grandma were walking around the left. The two women stopped. Mom looked at me and told me to get back around with them. Grandma was very serious about this walking stuff. After much stalling, I started walking forward towards them. And I was chided more. I skulked back around the tree. I made it obvious that I thought they were stupid and rejoined my mom and my grandma who greeted me with a big approving smile. Lesson learned. Do not provoke Grandma.

Somewhere in the middle of the silliness, there was a nagging doubt. What if these things mattered. That little doubt has stuck with me most of my life. I was around 10 or so at that time. Church and all the spirit woo-woo added to the accumulation of cause and effect evidence. So until this day I still get that nagging feeling, maybe I shouldn’t have said that, or may I should have said or done something else. And, I wonder, is any of this true? What if I could toss all of this stuff in the trash? Life would seem so much freer.

It made me believe that everything that exists was caused by another thing. Cause and effect. Or also called the Rooster Syndrome:

The rooster crows and the sun rises: cause and effect, or red flag?

If I tripped and fell it’s because I wasn’t paying attention. So I could prevent the fall by paying closer attention and clearing my path. You can see this if you look at my life. I was always a very attentive person. And yet somehow I’ve had similar incidences as those that haven’t been as careful. I’ve been attentive and fallen. I’ve been attentive and broken my arm. It’s all just superstition in some form or another. Live and let it all happen as it will, because some things can’t be prevented.

To quote Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory:

Sheldon (on phone): Oh, hi mom. … The Arctic expedition was a remarkable success, I’m all but certain there’s a Nobel Prize in my future. Actually, I shouldn’t say that. I’m entirely certain. No, mother, I could not feel your church group praying for my safety. The fact that I’m home safe is not proof that it worked, that logic is Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc. No, I’m not sassing you in Eskimo talk. – “The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation”, The Big Bang Theory

Do your work as best you can and be kind.

 

 

Introvert Malfunctioning

Introvert Malfunctioning

Do the thing that scares you, that’s the advice I’ve read over and over. And I, the introvert, have believed the mantra. I believed the mantra because as an introvert I function backwards in society. I push myself  to take more action than I am comfortable with.

I remember when my mom, who is an extrovert, constantly reminded me to say thank you and please, like most parents do. It was difficult at that time to get the words to come out of my mouth. I’d watch my older brother and think, he always says thank you; why is it so difficult for me? So in my mind, Difficult = Correct.

Somewhere in my 40’s my brain wiring malfunctioned. And it’s one of the best things that ever happened to me. I’ve delicately reassembled my interfacing, attaching wires in my head to where I think they should be connected. And guess what, I’m still an introvert. I’m an introvert who has learned to respond as an extrovert to society, but with all the fear and discomfort of being an introvert.

Being an introvert is not a malfunction. I must reconsider all of my earlier beliefs and this is one of them, do the thing that scares you. I get it. I know what they’re saying. It’s a quick way of pinpointing what you really want. But sometimes it’s okay to not do that thing. It’s okay to step back and decide, is it necessary to do this? Because sometimes, Correct = Not difficult.

Taking the plunge

Maybe that’s the problem.

Perhaps it’s better to commit to wading instead.

Ship, sure. Not the giant life-changing, risk-it-all-venture, but the small.

When you do a small thing, when you finish it, polish it, put it into the world, you’ve made something. You’ve committed and you’ve finished.

And then you can do it again, but louder. And larger.

It’s easy to be afraid of taking a plunge, because, after all, plunging is dangerous. And the fear is a safe way to do nothing at all.

Wading, on the other hand, gets under the radar. It gives you a chance to begin. – Seth Godin

Expectations vs Reality

Expectations vs Reality

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.

Expectations are just that, expectations. They aren’t promises or guarantees. We assume we know how life will go. I have heard that women tend towards forecasting in relationships more so than men. We meet a man, and in our mind we’ve got our house picked out along with the names of the two adorable children we will have. When the relationship crashes, we wonder what went wrong. Maybe nothing went wrong. It could be that it wasn’t as perfect as we’d thought. It’s difficult to process the difference between our imaginary relationship or imaginary job versus the one that really exists. We need to be careful to pay attention to what really is happening around us, then we approach life face to face.  Where were you looking when the roof caved in? Did you notice the first drops of rain? Or the buckets on the floor to catch the dripping roof leak? Maybe you were were visualizing life in another town.

So what are we to do? I love to redecorate my house in my mind and our imagination has its purpose. How would we ever make any progress, whether scientific or mathematically? Visualization gives us our map of how it could be. We need to remember where we are right now.

Avoiding magical thinking

But while your intent is pure and your goal is to create magic, the most common mistake is to believe that the marketplace will agree with your good intent and support you. More specifically, that media intermediaries will clearly, loudly and accurately tell your story, that this story will be heard by an eager and interested public and that the public will take action (three strikes).

Or, more tempting, that ten people will tell ten people to the eighth power, leading to truly exponential growth (some day). Because right now, you’ve told ten people and they have told no one…

Only count on things that have happened before, a funnel you can buy and time you can afford to invest. Anything more than that is a nice bonus. – Seth’s blog