Centurion Quintus Dias: [narrating] In the chaos of battle, when the ground beneath your feet is a slurry of blood, puke, piss and the entrails of friends and enemies alike, it’s easy to turn to the gods for salvation. But it’s soldiers who do the fighting, and soldiers who do the dying, and the gods never get their feet wet. – from the movie Centurion.
This quote is haunting. Friends and enemies together in the unforgiving harshness of battle.
No, I don’t think we’re currently living the nightmare Quintus painted. We aren’t battling alongside our friends. Many of us are hardly speaking. We’re either afraid we’ll lash out with our politics or we’ve shunned some of them already.
Maybe my picture is too bleak. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but how many of you have dropped the social media life? Facebook family anyone? I feel like I’m recovering from a bad breakup. Or my feet got wet. I’m feeling icky. Is it soup time?
I had a wad of tangled jewelry, that I needed to untangle if I wanted ever to wear any of the necklaces. Based on the familiar terms of today, I should FIGHT the tangles. But I couldn’t beat them. The chains. The knots.
I’m a problem solver by nature. I use this skill in my job. Often my obsessions over a personal decorating issue can keep me awake at night debating whether I prefer the black bedspread over the navy. In the case of hands and fingers working out the tiny knots in my necklaces, I’m fine. I’m not thinking. I’m doing. It’s almost instinctive how my fingertips will sort through the tangled heap of chains until I have restored order.
Cooperation leads to working together. It ends the game. Fighting causes resistance and prolonging the battle. Is it possible that some enjoy the fight too much to learn to participate or cooperate?
Sit in the middle of the day, in a public place, not with a cup of coffee or a book, just sit. Someone will stop and ask you if you need something. They’ll worry. Are you okay?
People don’t know what to do when someone is just sitting. And pity the homeless person sleeping on the grass or the steps. We poke them. Are they alive? I work downtown, so we see a few in the week.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how out of control most of our lives seem. Or maybe it’s just mine. I posted a while back the conundrum that I have or shall I say the elastic stretch, between medication and being well. Slowing Down to a Human Crawl The medication prevents the illness, but it also causes fatigue – in degrees. The fatigue and the spinal issues have caused me to reevaluate the heads down, let’s push through to make it happen, bull-headedness of mine. I’m a bit stubborn. I like to win. I like to get things done. I’ve been known push until it hurt. Well, I’m rethinking. Recalculating even.
I’ve been trying to discover this new life I have since I’m walking instead of running. The colors are different. Sounds and tastes also. I’m kidding a bit. But I am adjusting. It’s been a year of weight loss. My styles have changed. My wardrobe has changed. Today I just purged my closet. I should feel excited, but I don’t. I feel off beat. I keep walking hoping that at some moment along the way it’s going to feel alright.
Here’s the truth of it. There are life changes that I want to make that aren’t happening yet. That leisure I talk about is my way of saying that I need more relaxation in my life. I’ve had to push for it. When others were demanding I work overtime; I was pulling away. I had to respect myself over the job. This stuff isn’t easy.
I want to fill my space with music, my walls with color, and my life with people who know how to enjoy living this life to the fullest – however it may look.
Simple little lies seem harmless. Your cooking is great. You look great in that dress. Those never really bothered me. I tried usually to ask what the person thought. A lie in itself is only a cover. An actor is lying when he plays the part of a police officer when he’s on the stage. He limits himself to the stage or his role in a movie. He isn’t an officer in real life. It’s a lie. It’s pretending.
There were a couple of shows that reminded me that sometimes harmless lies can be forgotten to be lies. They are the new truth. Up becomes down and right becomes wrong. Or, is it wrong becomes right? I’m confused. Anyway, the first was on Netflix. Kumaré-imdb. The second was an episode of Derren Brown which starts as a lie, but for some becomes the truth. Derren and Dawn Porter try to convince an entire town that a statue has special powers. Todmorden’s Lucky Dog (Long version click here)
Here is the short version:
Lies – Ones I’ve told. Ones I’ve believed – Spiritual Mentor that’s in my head:
If I don’t go to school, I won’t get a better job
If I don’t get a better job, I’ll struggle financially
Having all of my needs met is the most important thing.
I am better than others because of my aspirations, opinions or knowledge. I’m enlightened.
These are also illusions. Warped truth, not lies. These are just things that my eyes don’t see clearly. I don’t want them to become my truth. I squint and rub my eyes to try to look at them clearer. The crazy part is that they may be truth for someone else, but that doesn’t mean they are for me. I want to remain true to myself. What’s my truth? What’s the most important thing for me?
I received another invitation to Yoga church. The concept is interesting. I’m not sure how it’s different than going to a temple Sunday morning. Tell me what you think, hype, lie or truth? Yoga church. http://www.truenorthyogacoaching.com/yoga-church/
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.
This week we filled the sky with waving flags, but it isn’t until next week that my country celebrates its independence from British rule. This week had its own colors and controversies, as many have noticed.
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it once again. As a child, I’d walk naively, without the knowledge of borders, not understanding the concept of North side and West side. It’s only as adults that we learn where we supposedly belong or don’t belong. I’d walk inside and outside with a large mirror in my arms, facing upwards so I could only see the ceiling. I liked the openness, the uncluttered feeling. There are moments that I still feel the wild child inside of me stir. She gets restless and wants to run and be free, hating the constraints of the 9 to 5, the should of the day-to-day life. Living in this society means coming to terms with the borders and the rules placed by civilization, but it doesn’t mean being completely tamed. We are never meant to be slaves.
I believe human conventions, pre-conceived notions, religion and the world’s cacophony do not stifle creativity, neither should they. Rather they serve as breaking ground manifestations of the limitless parlay of ideas floating the grand mass called ‘space.’- CLNgwe-Nwi A Multi-faceted Creative from her About me page
Life is untamable. Life is wild. Unpredictable. There are no permanent borders. No true boundaries. We try so hard to put up fences. To keep out the bad guys. To grasp on to what we love. But it’s not possible. Somewhere in there is righteous reasoning, but if we aren’t careful, we become like the zealots who kill everything good. We kill instead of healing. There’s a line that get’s crossed, and it has nothing to do with a flag or a country. It has no heritage involved. There are no lasting borders, only love and hate. No flag representing a heritage of shame should fly. Put it in a museum with the other items of shame. But let’s not wave our dirty laundry on the top of a flag pole for all the world to see. Please, America. Let’s have some modesty.
How much does it cost to feel well? What are you willing to give up to be free of pain? We know that healthcare doesn’t come cheap. Vitamins are expensive. Organic food is a bit extra so we weight the cost. Is it worth it for us? What about the medicine we take? That’s been my dilemma. But not so much about the cost. The medicine I’m taking, Topamax, helps prevent migraines. It’s also been helping in preventing my neck pain. The side effect for me is tiredness, fatigue. With each increase in dosage comes a bit of slowing down. So, my cost/ratio question is, how much pain prevention is it worth for me? How much slowing down can I adapt to?
For a while I didn’t know if I was going to make it each time my doctor kept saying, we’re going to try upping your medication. But on the flip side, I didn’t know if I was going to make it with the fire-like pain that was radiating up the nerves in my neck and my skull. I trudged and braced myself, hoping I could make it through another day, then the week. Sometimes there was a reprieve. Until now. I’ve had a full month without headaches. That’s darn good. Freakin’ amazing! It’s been close to 9 months since this process started and now I finally see the progress. The slowing down is worth it.
We live and change
This article though is a little disturbing to me. The trend towards constantly rewarding our happiness button, or shortening our attention span a bit more, is increasing instead of decreasing. I think we’d be happier as a species relaxing our attention and letting go, but that’s just me. Check out the article if you wish here, What would you pay to be happy? The Guardian.
…the poet Guillaume Apollinaire: “Now and then,” he advised, “it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” That’s worth a T-shirt.
William Davies’s The Happiness Industry, from the above article.
He doesn’t exist. It’s a beautiful story of love and charity, but the evidence of his existence isn’t there. THERE’S NO LAND ON THE NORTH POLE! No houses, no elves, no reindeer, no toy shops, nothing but air and water in the form of ice exists on the north pole.
Saint Nicholas was real a person, but his story grew into the legend of Santa Claus then morphed into a fantasy. It makes me wonder. Is this what happens to the others? As in legends of Robin Hood and Marco Polo? I grew up believing that Marco Polo was a living, breathing man, not just the threads of a story that had been told and retold until they came to be a full-blown legend. But that’s the magic of a story. And of how it can grow.
There is ancient belief that if you tell a belief well enough and say it often enough you can create a Tulpa out of your story, giving it life. It’s almost a truth isn’t it? Maybe not as in bringing a true Frosty the Snowman to life or bringing a Santa Claus to a land of toys, but we almost have created an industry ran from just that type of story telling.
My Dad’s Tale
I was at the folks back in January and they were telling about growing up. Dad was talking about his dad being afraid of taking a government loan to buy land when he could have owned his own property. And he told a story about a “Balking Horse.” His dad had just purchased two horses, Duke and Dan, with some money he’d borrowed, for pulling the wagon for gathering his corn. They were renting some property on Grand River along White Horn Cove in Wagoner County Oklahoma. Dan was the horse that would “balk” and wouldn’t move and dad’s dad would get so furious he’d almost kill it by beating him. They’d load the wagon with the corn, then start moving forward, then the horses would stop because Dan would refuse to move. Then all the corn would fall out and they’d have to reload it. It happened several times until finally I guess Grandpa gave up and they went to get another horse they had. I can almost feel the sweat and the heat. Those good ol’ days.
A story tells so much. After listening to my dad, I realized he had some of the same frustrations that every generation has with their parents. Some he stated aloud, but some he didn’t. He never talks much about his childhood, but one thing has always stood out to me, he believes in this story – his dad should have bought some land. His dad should have borrowed the money, worked for something, gave something to his boys and somehow built something even if it meant being in debt to the government for a while. How do I know this? It’s not just this story, it’s his life also. My dad went into debt and built something, then was frustrated when his sons weren’t interested. Isn’t that how it always goes?
Over the last few years I’ve discarded obligations and reorganized my life. A lot of these things happen because of age. It’s natural. Just like a snake sheds his skin or a tree loses its leaves, people change their habits. It doesn’t mean we’re fickle. We grow. We change. If I can’t do something anymore, I know that it’s time to let someone else do it. Mostly though, I’ve made a conscious decision to change my focus in this part of my life. In the past, I’ve been helpful. I’ve been nice. And somewhere deep inside of me it seems as if I’ve tried to make up for some unknown mistake or atrocity, which I can’t remember committing from my past. It’s as if I’m afraid of being selfish even. Whatever it is, real or imagined, it doesn’t matter, I’m moving on. Nice is too flimsy.
Are you feeling stuck? If you’ve found yourself in the middle of the road, and feel you’re not going anywhere, maybe it’s time to reevaluate what you wanted when you started walking. It’s possible you started strong, then lost your focus. Stop whatever you are doing and ask yourself, am I doing this because I want to do it? Or because I feel an obligation? If you want to do it, then keep on going. If you feel you shoulddo it, it might be time to let someone else take over. Worthy causes need someone who can give to them passionately. That’s hard to do when you are not enjoying yourself.
What makes your heart sing? You’re going to make mistakes. You will look silly. People may even wonder if you’ve lost your mind, but that’s alright. You’re about to have some fun. I’m asking myself these same questions now.
For all of you who have matured and feel comfortable in your life…don’t get too comfy. Life is full of surprises and you never know what’s around the bend. If you want to keep your mind and heart healthy you need to think young. It could time for you to learn a new hobby or take up a new challenge. We want to stay unstuck throughout our lives. Stay nimble.
I want to start with some simple ground rules that apply to all of us;
It’s time to get quiet and clear your head.
Get an idea. Whatever brings you delight.
Do what you value. If your heart isn’t in the work, you will have difficulty completing the task.
Take one step towards that idea.
Take the next step.
At first don’t ask anyone’s opinion.
If anyone wishes to give you advice tell them you will consider what they said and
Just keep walking
If no one supports you, support yourself
Express yourself in some way, whether it’s with a sticker on your car or the shoes you wear.
Read inspirational stories. They come in many forms; books, magazines and blogs. Feed yourself inspiration.
If you’re feeling stuck, do one thing differently.
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.
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