It’s sometimes the reason old people sit in their recliner too long. And why the snappiness gets lost from their step. Not on their sixtieth birthday or even in their seventy-fifth year. Just one day it’s easier not to try. Not push. Effort and achievement cause expectations.
The unknown is difficult to face. The young stare it down. Every job interview, each new friend, the new 10-page application they fill out for renting the house, new schools, and moving. But somewhere after the home and the kids and the third new job, life settles. It changes less. By the time the kids grow up, life has rolled on—around and over us.
As we age, we expect to know more. Be smarter. Shouldn’t we be advising our children? We feel we shouldn’t need to improve ourselves anymore. We did that in our twenties.
This is a new time to live. And I refuse to rust, whether it’s by sitting in a recliner or refusing to learn a new language.
We can do this. Don’t turn off your curiosity.
Is it possible, that some of us are afraid of diving, of jumping into the deep end? What’s the worst that could happen if we lived?
Inside my body is a sliver of metal marking where the doctor did a biopsy last year. I forget it’s there because the information isn’t for me. The next time I go for an X-ray, the radiologist who will see it, will look at the sliver inside the lump knowing this one was marked. #benign #harmless
We carry information inside every cell of our body. Each accident and virus remembered.
When I was young, I felt a calling. It drew me, tugging and pulling. I listened, but I was a child and had growing up things to do.
So many years later and a lot of living has been done. I heard and felt it wake up.
Somewhere in my head, the image of myself doesn’t match the picture I have of this gorgeous calling. I’ve revered it in such grandiosity I can never be that person.
And then I remember the instructions given to me in the year 2000. “Take the steps I place in front of you, and use whatever I place in your hand.”
I already know what I need to do. Accept the calling and let my mental picture fall away. No person or plan ever turned out exactly as we expected.
As Greyhound Busline would always say, Go Greyhound, and leave the driving to us.
The flip side of survival and the fear of failure is thriving. Thriving shouldn’t be difficult. How is it so difficult to win? To succeed? Well, the difficulty is when you have achieved, what’s next? You’ve met your goal. Do you coast or do you keep pedaling?
Keep pedaling. This is why slow growth is better than the lottery winning. If you’ve slowly grown a business you got there and grew into your success. Lucky breaks give you false hope.
We are good at striving. Making changes, adjusting, sacrificing, but actual thriving seems so dull sometimes. Oh, yeah we all have the fantasy of buying an island and not having to work for a living, but how long would it be before we would want more? A month? Six months? A year maybe? Somewhere in that time, you start feeling the itchy feet. The need to contribute is too great. Building something even if it’s only a garden is a rewarding experience.
I 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.”
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.”
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 characterwas my first test when I was a child. I was serious as a kid.
“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
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.
“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.
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.
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?
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
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 – 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.
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.
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