Take a Breath

I’m sure that as this week went by you remembered to get plenty of rest. You took your vitamins and drank enough fluids to stay hydrated. Of course, to me the most important – did you take time for your mind to reset to its normal speed? For myself, I like the analogy of the vinyl, is your speed a 45 or 78? As a sidenote, most of our podcasts are running at 1.5 times their normal speed. So for those that feel life is rushing by a little faster, it might just be.

I hope that you are, because I’m challenged in these areas. I’m handicapped, if you’ll forgive me for misusing the term. I grew up thinking that if you ate your vegetables, you could have your dessert. It’s the reward system. I even believed that if you saved your money, it would still be there waiting for you when you needed it. And of course we believed these things, because even our Grimms’ Fairy Tales had been edited for children’s innocent ears. If I sound a little down, it’s okay, I’ll take a nap and be fine in a bit. Sundays are good for that.

This week I must take care of myself first, as in, put on my own oxygen mask first. Yeah, I have to remember this because it’s important. More important than jobs, money, houses, cars, spouses or even other people.

“You are your best thing”

Toni Morrison, Beloved

The Straight Dope: Why are Record Speeds 33 45 and 78?

Speed – Radiolab Podcast

‘Lord of the Flies’ comes to Baltimore – CNN

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Never Gentle

What in your life is needing attention? I’ve given attention to many different places. Family, work, my house, etc. The one place that most of us forget to give attention to, except maybe the scraps at the end of the day, is ourselves.Yes, we give ourselves sleep. Sometimes. Even then we cut that close. Do we really need the full eight hours? Food. Well, I ate something. I think.

Stop for a moment. Those things that need attention, if they’re anything like my cat, their cries are only going to get louder. You might as well deal with them now. And take care of yourself, always.

In a paraphrase from poem of Dylan Thomas, Jason Silva from Shots of Awe, which I’ve included below, says, “I will not go quietly into that good night, but rage against the dying of the light.” Whatever you decide to do with your life, realize that only you live it. Then really LIVE it.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieve it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. – Dylan Thomas

It’s Gonna Be Alright

One Love: The Very Best of Bob Marley & The Wa...
One Love: The Very Best of Bob Marley & The Wailers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Guesthouse

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

Thanks to my fellow blogger at BeBeautifulandDance for letting me share the above poem. His original post is here, Rumi Moment of the Week — Meet Me At The Door Laughing by

Cause every little thing is gonna be all right?

There’s construction going on across the street. It sounds a little like the hitting of a heavy bell. It’s just a man hitting metal with a large hammer, but I hear the bell. Bam. Bam. Bam. That type of guest is the easier type to handle. The gentle swishing of traffic that moves like waves against the shore.

Compared to the week before of irritations and unpreventable arguments of everyday life, this is good. But I think Rumi may be talking about accepting and befriending even the irritations and bullies of the everyday, not just the sandy beaches of my barricaded relaxation time. Letting even the bad flow through, as well as the good. Yeah, I lock myself in. I close the door as much as I possibly can, because even the saints must get rid of rodents and bad fruit. Weekends are my cleaning moments. My coming to terms with this crazy world space. It’s me time.

Rumi is good thinking poetry. Let me know what you think in the comments. Here are some of my current interests.

  • #Beinggrateful – just that. Finding one thing to be thankful for. I’m so glad it’s not raining or whatever…you name it. Post it on twitter today. #Beinggrateful
  • Sam Harris – Mindfulness Meditation (no religion involved)
  • Waking Up by Sam Harris book a guide to spirituality without religion
  • Planning a summer vacation. I’m thinking of the beach. Maybe Louisiana. Browsing online is fun.
  • Bob Marley music. I’m listening to his music on Soundcloud.com. A friend at work, a co-conspirator in the beach dreaming, reminded me of his music and I can’t get it out of my head. “One love…”

Security Alert

 

Gun Barrel Proof House, Banbury Street, Digbet...

Warning! Space less than 2 inches. Air in short supply. The alarms are ringing, every muscle in my body is stiff. My brain is not functioning. Shut down in 10, 9, 8, etc.

I have felt extreme panic just driving over a narrow bridge. It felt as if my blood was ice-cold, my breath stuck in my lungs, and panic seized my entire body, just as if a tiger was right in front of me. Is it fear or is it my alarm warning of true danger? Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

When I was first married, we allowed a door to door, fire and security alarm salesman to come into our new home. Partly because the salesman was a friend of a friend and partly to hear what the guy had to say, we let him go through his salesman pitch. A good salesman can sell ice cubes to an Eskimo they always say. This guy was good. And he used fear as his purchase motivation. He casually looked out our back window. Noticing a privacy fence, he told a scenario of a burglar or rapist climbing over a fence and breaking into our home while I was alone. Normally those thoughts would scare me, but not this time. His fear tactic was a little too obvious. He painted his scary story with too much cliché.

Resetting my alarm is something I’ve worked with for 15 years and more. With the recent crime spree in Tulsa I’ve had to get a grip. My solution was to buy a security alarm, read up on home invasion prevention, and listen to some hypnosis audio to help ease the panic. Of course some of the danger was real, but like the salesman who painted the picture of danger, my mind’s vivid imagination was a bit overdone.

Update:

The Tulsa rapist came to an ironic end. After his 8th assault, he swerved off the highway and crashed into a pole. The police had already identified  him as a potential suspect and with the last bit of DNA evidence, they confirmed him as the rapist. He was brain-dead from the crash and before the DA could file charges against him, his family pulled the plug.

 

 

 

 

Your Dad Said

Summer-Fun-3My family is traditional Midwest/Southern patriarchal. They believe women grow up and walk down the aisle to marriage. If you couldn’t find a suitable marriage partner, you got a job. Simple. My mom worked in the family business and kept the checkbook, but dad made the decisions. Recently my mom needed a new car, but it never occurred to her to ask for one, pick out one or even test drive one. She has her money, but she’s never controlled it. She’s a woman of her times and has no desire to control it. So anytime she and I have a conversation, I know that if I say something that isn’t parent approved, I’ll get a call later. Mom will always start by saying, “Your dad said,” as in, “Your dad said he’d pick you up,” or “Your dad said we could loan you the money,” or “Your dad said that Kansas City is too far for you to drive alone.”

I’m a girl.

It’s usually because I’m doing something that belongs in the male category like financing a house, buying a car, or even driving a long distance by myself. Even though I’ve proven time after time that I can cope as well as anyone, it doesn’t matter. As a child, the boys went off and hunted, with guns. I didn’t care about hunting or fishing so much, but I liked exploring. Yes, I realize I was younger. Yes, I realize I was a girl. These are obvious and reasonable concerns, but I know it wasn’t only these reasons, even though those are the reasons that were stated. Girls weren’t capable, even if they were capable.

I can do it.

The fact that I can take apart a dryer or washing machine, replace my faucets, re-tile my floors, and negotiate a loan never makes it past the first facade, I’m a girl. And girls weren’t capable. I’ve spent a lot of effort trying to show my mother my independence and abilities and until recently I hadn’t realized why. I’m a girl, and I am capable. And I’d like her to stop second guessing my decisions all of the time. I want the respect that the boys have. I want her to see me, not just see a girl. I realize it won’t happen, though. My mom is a girl and has no desire to be otherwise. She sees me as she sees herself.

I’m tired of trying to prove myself because it’s not about me.

She’ll just have to stay in her patriarchal world where boys will be boys and girls aren’t capable. Me? I abhor the caste systems, and I hate being boxed in. I didn’t grow up in a time when women were limited. Today we have the freedom to make choices and live our lives. And I will just continue and do my thing.

 

Meager

Money
Money (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

It’s time for a change in perspective.

I’ve stated too often that I’d rather be happy and poor than to be rich and miserable. Or stated another way, I’d rather have choices and freedom than any beautiful house, car or luxury. I realize it’s time to update that picture in my head, because it’s not an either or choice. I need money. I want money.

Nowhere else in my life do I let myself off easy. In my work I put in the effort to get it right. With my remodeling or repair of my house, I have some darn high standards. So why would I lower my standards in my finances. There was a point I was trying to make when I first said I’d rather be happy than rich. It goes along with the proverb, It is better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a contentious wife in a lovely home. – Proverbs 25:24

After living with a workaholic for so many years and longing for his companionship, my twisted logic kicked in. It seemed happiness equaled less money. It sounds silly I know, but beliefs and life scripts don’t always make sense. I’m no longer in that situation, so I’m updating my belief.

It’s a fool’s choice. It’s not real, much like fool’s gold. You have what you have. You either have money or you don’t. There’s no crossroads to meet the devil on, no trading of your soul for fame and fortune, no genie, no lamp, no lucky rabbit’s foot. Work, rest, enjoy what you have.

Check out Stories We Tell and Change It Up

 

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Foolish Contentment

Drawing for user page

I went browsing on Realtor.com last weekend, just for kicks. I have pondered whether to fix up my place or trade to a place that has some of the features I’m wanting. With property values down I hate to add a lot of upgrades to my current place since it’s not going to be recouped for a while. This is my line of thinking at least. Thinking, mulling over, and obsessing. Here’s a bit of advice from others that I found helpful:

One of the human absurdities is the fact that we’re constantly thinking about either the future or the past. – Being Nobody Going Nowhere

Surrender literally means to stop fighting. Stop fighting with yourself. Stop fighting the universe and the natural flow of things. Stop resisting and pushing against reality. Surrender = Complete acceptance of what is + Faith that all is well, even without my input. It’s not about inaction. It’s about taking action from that place of surrender energy. – Let Go of Control/TinyBuddha

Letting go doesn’t mean we don’t care.  Letting go doesn’t mean we shut down. Letting go means we stop trying to force outcomes and make people behave. It means we give up resistance to the way things are, for the moment. It means we stop trying to do the impossible–controlling that which we cannot–and instead, focus on what is possible–which usually means taking care of ourselves.  And we do this in gentleness, kindness, and love, as much as possible. Melody Beattie

My fear is of being stuck with a piece of property that will be worthless. Remember the hot potato game we played when we were kids or even the dirty Santa game? No one wants to play the fool. Do I like where I’m at in life? Yes, I do. And not just my location, my lifestyle.

For me it’s not about keeping up with another person, it’s about pleasing myself. It’s not about someone else’s opinion. They can mind their own business. Only I know what’s best for me. It’s not about status, wealth, or fame. It’s about survival. It seems to come back to that a lot. Survival and getting stuck with the foolish choice. There is hope in knowing and wanting and then allowing things to happen. It’s hopeful to know that what I want isn’t a new house. It’s making a wise choice.

Kiva.org was foolish to think a $25.00 loan could help anyone. Kickstarter.com was foolish to think anyone else would care about up and coming entrepreneurs. Think of all the other fools out there. Foolishness could be bravery or shrewdness if the plan works.

We must learn to let go, to give up, to make room for the things we have prayed for and desired. – Charles Fillmore

As I started to picture the trees in the storm, the answer began to dawn on me. The trees in the storm don’t try to stand up straight and tall and erect. They allow themselves to bend and be blown with the wind. They understand the power of letting go. Those trees and those branches that try too hard to stand up strong and straight are the ones that break. Now is not the time for you to be strong, Julia, or you, too, will break. – Julia Butterfly Hill

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I’m Not Jealous

While sitting in the waiting room at the doctors office, I had a funny conversation. HGTV was showing a couple buying a new home. This house was too little. That one was too old. None seemed just right for their $300,000.00 budget. Envy. Jealousy. Annoyance. Comments were flying in that waiting room. We were incredulous. She wanted a bigger kitchen but she didn’t cook. She loved having a brand new home (2 months) but didn’t like the construction that was happening around the neighborhood.

Not that I don’t understand completely. If I were paying $300,000.00 for a home, I’d want it just right also. Okay so maybe I do see her side of it, but a part of me was jealous that she took it so for granted.

While waiting for the doctor in the examining room it suddenly occurred to me, I’m not jealous
really. I’m happy to be able to walk away from that TV show and live my life. My life with a capital
MY. Healthy, happy, mature, and well lived. Much like the skinned horse from Velveteen Rabbit story, I like spouting wisdom and realism. My life is full and ordered to my liking and I have no desire for a big house with empty rooms. I enjoy every inch of my cozy home. I love the yellow walls and the sunlight that streams through the windows. I love the tall Oak trees. I’ll keep my life thanks.

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Dad, The Faithful

My dad had a birthday last week which reminded me of this poem I had written for him years ago.

The race is not always won by the fastest,
the war not always won by the strong.
The faithful will be there when the war is over,
still standing, holding to the truth and waving its banner;
calling all to the challenge and helping others along.

We give gold statues to those
who flash and amaze us, or even just tickle our fancy.
But not many recognize the faithful.
It’s the faithful who inherit the kingdom.
It is the faithful to whom God will show himself strong

Because the race is not always won by the fastest.
The war not always won by the strong.
Sometimes, the faithful are the only ones standing
and have stood there all along.

My dad’s a steady person, the type that people rely on. I was over at my parent’s house and his phone rang. It was his pastor asking for advice. Then I remembered all the times as a child I’d learned how important it was to be faithful. Steady wins the race. Pastors frequented our house while I was growing up, asking for advice or just talking to blow off some steam. Dad always had the pastor’s ear, but not because Dad was charismatic. It was because they trusted his advice.

From The Power of Habit,

Champions don’t do extraordinary things. They do ordinary things, but they do them without thinking, too fast for the other team to react. They follow the habits they learned.  – Tony Dungy

Thanks Dad for teaching me your habit of being steady!

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Tell Me About Yourself

Would it be okay if I was judged by where I live? What would someone else see from my decision to live in the place I do.

  • I’m practical.
  • I like trees.
  • I don’t keep up with the Jones or the Warrens (an affluent family in my area) for that matter.
  • I like classic beauty.
  • I value the strength of things that last.

When I walk into my living room this is what I see. It’s possible someone of a different personality would see that I’m frugal.

  • I’m eclectic maybe even cluttered.
  • I’m dusty and unorganized.
  • I’m poor and I undervalue appearance.

Instead of asking “What’s your name? What do you do?”  We might have someone describe their car or their clothing choice. I’d like to try that sometime. Maybe I will.

What’s your place like and why did you choose it? Or as it sometimes happens, did it choose you? Leave a comment below. I’d love to read it.

Here’s an interesting site: Style Statement – Carrie and Danielle

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