The Mentoring Life

Mentors

 

Sometimes we forget where we are and how we came to be. Maybe our contribution isn’t on a grand scale, worthy of a Nobel Prize, but never underestimate the value of your daily life. Small gestures, little acts of kindness keep us from killing each other. The bricks of human society are held together by spit and grit and have for thousands of years.

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I have moments of bitterness in between the good spots. Pain in places I don’t want others to see. I remember hurtful people telling me I either shouldn’t be here or I’ve made idiotic choices. Complete errors that I’d never recover from. Those times were directed to hit me with fists of words. Had my life been built on a weak foundation it would have wiped me out. But as I put on my Facebook page, Honestly, I’m in love with living this life. I can’t be trusted to voluntarily stop!

Hold your own
And know your name
Go your own way

Are the details in the fabric
Are the things that make you panic
Are your thoughts results of static cling? Jason Mraz James Morrison Details in the Fabric

Gifts

There have been good people also, surrounding me, supporting me. Those men and women strengthened the fibers of who I became as a woman. I learned from watching their resolve and I learned because they encouraged me to contribute, to show up in life. They saw something in me that was worth encouraging. these are the people worth remembering. They are Bud and Wilma McAfee, Ginger and Kelvin Limbocker, Vicki and Mike Sowards, and I could go on. There are the many pastors and teachers I’ve known. Rose Scanlon my favorite English teacher, Mr. Brewster from my four years of history classes. That man had a lot of patience.

Honor

I honor them and thank them for their gift. I never want to forget each step of the way. I want to feel each mountain ledge under my calloused toes. Pain, joys, everything. I know this path. My feet and hands have memorized every ledge, rock, and crevice. If I get knocked back I can climb it again. And maybe I will.

“There are certain emotions in your body that not even your best friend can sympathize with, but you will find the right film or the right book, and it will understand you.”
~Bjork

A Wild Woman’s Soul

#collinsvillenews #CollinsvillePeople

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Can You Neuro Lingo?

There are two different emotions I have when I feel I am losing my power. One is anger, the other is fear. How I choose to act is up to me. I can lash out at everyone else or I can learn to get a better grip of my life.

Neurolinguistics – Retraining

What is Neurolinguistics? I think Salim Ismail may have said it best when he explained,

You have your body which is your hardware, and then you have the external world, right? At an early age you develop the software operating system to interact between the hardware and the external world. And that operating system is formed in the first seven years… So that early education inputs did you get bullied. How did you respond? How do you navigate playground dynamics?….. You kind of form this operating system. Then we become adults and we run out of applications on this operating system. Career, love life, money, sports, money and the applications start crashing. And we blame the appliication. We never go back to rewrite the operating system. And so, in the newer world we live in today, infinitely more complex, global information based, we need to rewrite our operating system.  – The Unmistakeable Creative with Salim Ismail

Some of us never update that software. It’s like never retraining for a new job. For most of us, our training at best wasn’t any official practice. We grew up. Got by. Most of our lives looked like Jed Clampett who moved to Beverly Hills. And we feel that way too. Out of place and out of sorts. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Skillsets

Is there a skill you seem to be missing? Money management. Parenting. Organization. Boundaries. Relationships. Or it’s possible you don’t know what’s wrong. Find a mentor or a helper. There are many motivating and helpful life coaches and teachers now.  I know, these things cost money. Yes, they do. So does stress. Worry makes you sick. If you want to live longer and live healthier, find a way. Invest in an hour or more of their time. An emergency room visit will cost you much more.

Do It

3935_8bj3i_Backcountry_Gate_at_Jackson_Hole_Mountain_Resort_mdBuy a book, audio or paperback. Take a class in money management. If you’re having difficulty with your teenager, don’t think you have to do the parenting thing on your own. Learn. You wouldn’t go skiing down a double black diamond mountain path without either some experience or a lot of stupidity, would you? Certainly not blindfolded. Life is not any different. There are also other avenues that are available. Some have tried hypnosis. There are many therapies, besides talk. I went to a yoga therapist who did work with the body and mind relationship.

Extra Extra

Getting things done in a chaotic environment is sometimes difficult for me. Noise distractions. Here is a site that offers help Focus @ will. Purely used for mental focusing for a task at hand. Not a retraining program, but a temporary helper. They have a trial offer.

It’s not the leaps, sometimes we need the gentle nudges. We need to learn and relearn.

WHAT SILICON VALLEY ENTREPRENEURS DO AT NIGHT

Here are some books I like:

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Living With Brothers

I never wished for sisters. It’s not something I really thought about. Maybe that’s how we all are. We only know what we know and don’t know anything else. I played with dolls. I wore dresses with ribbons and flowers. I was mostly a normal girl. The main difference that I noticed growing up with brothers was that there was no codling. Moms do that sort of thing, cushion you. Brothers don’t. Brothers roughhouse. They wrestle. We fed the animals. I tried to help them work on cars.

Resilience

My brothers taught me take up for myself. They taught me how to be an individual. I learned to change my bike tire and how to fix a flat. I learned from watching my oldest brother that manners were important, things like saying, thank you and please were expected. I learned from my middle brother that it’s okay sometimes to do things for yourself if you need to, because people won’t always do it the way you want, or won’t always listen to you. I learned to be who you are even in the face of resistance.

I did wish at times I could live closer to my cousins. I missed the times we all got together and played hide and seek in the trees in front of their house. Late at night, when the lightning bugs were out and the grownups drank their coffee, it all seemed magical. We played for hours. During the day we’d play basketball or go fishing in the pond. Here’s an excerpt from a book I’m reading.

Thinking we had to talk to connect, I asked her if she’d rather swim in a pool, a lake, or the ocean. Betsy sat up, dangled her feet off the dock, and said she’d rather swim in the ocean. She grew up going to Florida with her cousins and they’d spend the entire day playing in the waves, poking jellyfish with sticks and eating peanutbutter-and-jelly sandwiches with sand in them. She and her cousins would lie in bed at night and giggle because they could feel their bodies lifting and falling as though they were still in the waves. Those were some of the greatest days of her life. She asked whether I would rather swim in a pool, a lake, or the ocean. I said I’d rather swim in a lake. “Why?” she asked. I said in a lake you didn’t have to deal with the jellyfish and the seaweed and the sharks and whatever else. Betsy thought about that for a moment then reminded me that trying not to get stung by a jellyfish was part of the adventure. Betsy ran her fingers through my hair and kissed me on the forehead. I told her I’d put some jellyfish in the pond if she wanted me to. “It’s worth it to get stung by a jellyfish every once in a while,” Betsy said. “For the occasional sting, you get to go to sleep feeling the waves and you get to giggle with your cousins.” – Scary Close by Donald Miller

Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy

Is It Too Late to Play?

I just finished listening to a podcast with the guest speaker, Adele Diamond. She’s a neuroscientist and has studied child development and talked about a subject I struggle with, The Science of Attention. There’s a lot of talk in the last 20 plus years about revamping our school system. The problem is that we think we know what it should look like, but the ideal education image changes with every generation. For a time we looked to Korea as a guide. Then more of a free-for-all was ideal. Is it rote memorization or phonetic writing? With children it could look one way and be a great school for 20% of the kids, but not the remaining 80%. No child is like another. There are also those dear adaptable kids that flourish in many environments. This just screws up all the statistics.

So what makes a good education? Right now there’s a lot of talk about how we’ve removed all the fluff and it’s the fluff that is as needed as much as the rest. Music, noncompetitive play, art, philosophy and life skills. Good play which can be sports, music, and pretend increases children’s ability to pay attention. It cultivates executive decision making.

Is it too late to play?

Adele Diamond spoke of a normal thing called mirror writing. I remember my kids doing that when they were learning to write.

“And Elena Bodrova has a very simple way, and after an afternoon or an evening, the mirror writing is gone. What she says is, when you go home tonight, and you do your math homework, every time you’re supposed to write a 6, put down your pencil and pick up a red pencil. That’s all she says. That’s the whole instruction.”

Is it too late to play?

Is it possible to increase your adult organization skills by continuing to play? So let’s experiment with some of the things mentioned. This week when you’re defaulting into a bad habit, do it differently. Try standing on one foot. Or using  a red pencil. Take your laptop or tablet to write into the kitchen. Stand instead of sit. Eat your ice cream with a fork. Run without music and watching the mileage. And don’t forget to play, because I don’t think it’s too late.

Here are some educational links meant for teaching but go ahead and take a look:

 

To Love Yourself

Love
Love (Photo credit: Swamibu)

Most of us would agree mutilating our body because we hate ourselves is unhealthy. Acting against our health by withholding food or making unrealistic demands on ourselves seems obviously wrong, but yet we see it happen. Neighbors, actors, models, even family members mutilate themselves out of hatred.

Sometimes we also try to better ourselves because of fear. We feel we don’t fit in or we aren’t pretty enough. We are too fat, too ugly or too nice. So we try to change because we fear rejection.

I’ve heard many times that we need to love ourselves as we are today. How do we do that?

  • Highlight one part of yourself, your voice, your slim fingers and focus on that one attribute.
  • Steal someone’s persona. If you adore a well-known actress for her hair and yours is similar, hijack that feeling. Someone once told me I reminded him of Kate Winslet. Recently Vogue photographed Kate and used Photoshop, as is their norm, creating a big brouhaha. Kate Winslet’s Vogue Cover.  Once before, GQ visually slimmed her down but stated it wasn’t drastic. I’m glad that someone noticed her original beauty.
  • Be. Just be who you are and meet your own needs. Don’t withhold food, clothing or love. Just as you would see a child’s need for these things, see your own need. 

That’s where I’m at. I’m still looking and may stumble upon other ways to love me. What’s yours? In the meantime, I refuse to be cruel to myself.

 

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Is it Judging?

I was a naive child. Usually playing on the playground with the same group of kids every day. We’d played games like tag or tangle. But one day I was playing in the dirt with a different group of kids. And then there was “Dee,” obviously not her real name. She said open your mouth and close your eyes and I’ll give you a big surprise. Suspiciously I asked if she was going to put something in my mouth. Of course not she said. Okay, silly person that I was, I opened my mouth. Guess what? I got dirt in my mouth. I spit and sprayed while grabbing dirt to throw on her. She was long gone laughing all the way. I need to find her and thank her for a lesson that should have been well learned. You know the lesson, don’t believe everything you’re told. People lie. Be skeptical.

I grew up in an honest home. My parents are upfront, trustworthy, salt of the earth people. You could hand them your entire life savings and when you returned to pick it up, you’d get it all back. My mom would drive back across town to return a penny if she was given too much change. Of course it’s also true that if you did them wrong by trying to cheat or harm them, they will never darken your door again. So I didn’t know deceit. Elementary school was a wake up for me. It was my first experience with lying and cheating.

I’ve learned. I can make better judgement calls now and more so as I get older. I try to discern if they are intending to scam me or if they are honest. What I’m uncertain about is if there is a difference between discerning and judging. I looked the words up online since I’ve always thought there was a difference. Judging was something the Sunday school teacher taught that we shouldn’t do. And it was left with that. No talk about it’s okay to decide to avoid people who appeared dangerous, just Don’t Judge. Judging is wrong. Which left us good little girls in a bad situation. If you prevent judgement in all cases then we don’t have any defense to prevent rape, murder, or any other harm. Surely that’s not what they meant. But God protected us. Where was he when the girl put dirt in my mouth or when some boy was pressuring us into sex? Did we have the right to say no?

Being good and subservient does not go well with standing up for your rights. At the same time purity was taught. If you don’t understand the dilemma I completely understand. I’m not sure I do either. There were very few secrets from the all-knowing God or the pastor that God spoke to continually. He knew every evil thought and every judgement you made about another.

Today, I hate and despise these ideals. I don’t believe kids need to sit down and shut up. I also believe they need to learn how to decide. I say eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eat often. Learn, decide, choose, and be skeptical. We were not meant to be sheep thrown out into the pasture with wolves and dogs. I was unprepared for life and I know that I was not alone. It was a sad trick someone played on us. Dressed up in our frilly pink dresses, we were told to go outside and play, but don’t get dirty.

Maybe I’m just angry. I was powerless and told it was right. Any power I had felt wrong. I worried for years that someone would find out and reprimand me. NO MORE. I’ve worked very hard in my life for freedom. To have the right to discern and judge for myself. I now decide if something is good for me or will do me harm. It’s not based on anyone else’s ideal, only my own well-being. And it feels right.

There are other words. Maybe you can tell if there is a difference.

Discern – discriminate, distinguish, differentiate, separate, contrast

Judge – examine, determine, evaluate, figure out, inspect, interpret

Skeptical – cautious, suspicious, leery, unconvinced, not following

Curiosity

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I’m a curious sort. They say curiosity kills the cat, but really that cat had a lot of fun before he died. I have a lot of information in my head from my years of probing and learning. I can be fascinated for weeks about a topic and talk about it until I drive my friends insane. Ah, but they are a nice sort. They pretend interest. I’ve spent a lot of energy encouraging people teaching people things and encouraging them to change. Not only to change, but that they can change. I suppose I won’t ever change from that, so how do I expect them to change from who they are.

I have a Popular Science magazine in front of me just because I’m curious. Under The Sea. While reading through it, I kept thinking of different ones to show articles to, thinking they might like it. I came across one regarding oil rigs. That would be fun to show my folks. My brother is a mechanic and he travels to many different sites to repair oil rigs. Lots of travel and lots of work. And I don’t think my parents understand. Even though they are wonderful parents, they don’t understand his need for travel. It’s an interesting article about an oil rig off the coast of Alaska. And it floats. My parents love us and I appreciate them greatly, but there was something that I didn’t understand until recently. They don’t change. They don’t want to change. They are very content with who they are and where they are and have been for a long time.

English: Cover of the October 1920 issue of Po...

How do you get to be 40ish years old and not realize something so basic as contentment? As I said, I’m a curious sort. Contentment comes in brief spurts for me. Not happy sitting still with how things are. I want to change things up and repair and replace. I have to remind myself that others are not like me. They don’t always feel the need to upgrade or try a new approach. Often I’m so excited about my latest discovery or something I’m learning that I forget the basic need of most people is familiarity. And we all like to make our own discoveries. To be second is not nearly so cool as the person who discovered it first, whether it be the North Pole or the latest TV show.

So I sit here somewhat contently, learning my new stuff and getting excited about my next project.

Aging Is Not About Wrinkles

Strawberry ice cream in a cone.

Aging is not a disease. None of us want to grow old but we have to learn a new way of dealing with it. If we treat it like a plague and attempt to deny it’s very existence, then in our avoiding we will slam into it like a brick wall.

I look at my pictures from 20 years back and miss the firm skin and not so puffy eyes. I miss not being able to eat 3 hot dogs and two ice cream cones in a sitting, without feeling guilty and regretting the excess when the heartburn develops. I miss being able to jog 8 miles nonstop. I miss feeling excited about the possibilities that tomorrow will bring and the belief that everything will be alright no matter how horrible today seems. These are the standards of youth that can never be regained by a new facial serum. No vitamins will bring the innocence back again. But is that really what we want?

When I speak today, I have something to say and I can say it with confidence. This is the truth that only experience can give. Would I wish to forget my knowledge? No! What I have learned cannot be unlearned and I don’t want to forget. My experience has taught me patience and kindness.

English: Picture of Waffle ice cream cones fro...

We all long to grow up. We want to learn. The inner drive to mature is strong. How can we not open the door and satisfy our curiosity? We can pretend all we want that we wish to stay young, but I don’t know a single person who can leave the door closed. We open the door to peek because that’s our nature. What does it feel like to be grown up? What does it feel like to have the answers? We are all intrigued by climbing to the top, by achieving and when we get there we want to shout for joy. We have done it! And our lives will never be the same. We now have experience. Others join in our cheering and congratulate us and silently envy us. They want it too. So why do we not do the same with age?

I once thought my dad knew all the answers. I’d ask him questions all the time. I was young and he seemed so wise. He read, he learned things and he encouraged me to learn. I worshiped him. As I grew older he told me that he didn’t have all the answers and that I needed to search for them myself. So I did.

double scope ice cream cone

As I learned, he didn’t lose his wisdom, but I gained some of my own.

If we look at faith, religion and God, it often looks like that child that worships her father. He knows so much. Maybe one day when we ask him a question he will also tell us to search for the answer ourselves. It’s possible that God is still learning. It’s possible that he wants to share experience with us. I don’t know for sure, but it’s possible God will still seem wise even as we grow old.

 “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

“Don’t exist.
Live.
Get out, explore.
Thrive.
Challenge authority. Challenge yourself.
Evolve.
Change forever.
Become who you say you always will. Keep moving. Don’t stop. Start the revolution. Become a freedom fighter. Become a superhero. Just because everyone doesn’t know your name doesn’t mean you dont matter. – Brian Krans http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/424703.Brian_Krans

“Even in the mud and scum of things, something always, always sings.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you do not wish to be one of the tortured slaves of Time, never be sober; never ever be sober! Use wine, poetry, or virtue, as you please. – Charles Baudelaire

There is No Savior Coming

There is no savior coming. The world didn’t end and the planet is still spinning. We waited. We went to our rooftops and waited. Patiently. We looked up and knew our salvation would come. Our justice. Our time of redemption. Our toils and hard days are over. Finally there was a reward for our long labor. Surely, it wasn’t in vain.

Ha! Nothing happened. But what does that mean? No Santa coming down the chimney? No Peter Rabbit? What about Jesus? Or the Saints? Surely someone is coming. They do know we are looking for them, right?

Why has there been no savior? Where is our hero? Better yet, have you looked at ourselves lately? We are acting like children. We are acting like teenagers whose parents are out-of-town. We have the house to ourselves and we’ve wrecked it.

I was thinking about this in the light of Santa and childhood stories and it dawned on me. What if no saviors are coming because they want us to grow up? It’s entirely possible that if there are gods watching over us, they are using tough love. When the fridge is empty, we might have to go to the store ourselves. We might have to wash a dish or mow our own lawn. Jiminy Cricket! Has it come to that?

Yikes! God can’t be that cruel could he? This is all speculation on my part. I don’t have a divine link or anything mystical like that. I do know child development. When a child is on the floor throwing a tantrum, the most effective method is to walk away. We want, as parents, to grab the child and stop the noise, but that’s not the best way for a child to learn. People learn experimentally. Or, in the words of science, empirically. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Empirical

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We learn by trying. We learn by failing. We learn not to stick our hands on the hot stove because we have done it. Ouch. Hot. Parents that protect their children from failure aren’t really helping them at all. They are crippling them. Children allowed to explore and grow can make better decisions. They aren’t innocent but they are wise. There is a sense of fullness to their energy.

If I were a god, if I were in charge, I would wait. I would not jump in to rescue us. We have not come to the fullness of our learning. We need to experience our own strength. This is not to show us how inept we are or how much we need a big strong god. This is how you grow a strong person. You let them make choices. You let them try.

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Appreciating Fear

Construction
Construction (Photo credit: [Sazzy B])
You just never know. You start a project and have it all planned out in your mind, but BAM! it morphs into something different from what you expect.  What I would like is to see from someone else’s eyes for a time. I like to read a variety of books to see how other people think. I live with myself all day long. I keep thinking that my way isn’t the best or maybe I don’t know what I’m doing, which often I don’t.

Aren’t we really all blundering around until we have an AHA! moment of our own? We read guides and how-tos or listen to advice from friends, but all they can tell is how to get there from the place they started.

While writing this bit, I have realized that honestly people might want to hear my story, from my point of view. Yes, it’s nice for me to learn different views, but others want to hear mine. Learning is good, but my learning is sometimes a duck and dodge move, an avoidance because I’m afraid.

There are scary monsters under my bed and they pop their heads out to remind me of my insecurities. Wouldn’t want to forget and get all big-headed, would we? So my fears remind me of my humanity. My fears keep me tethered in this reality.

It’s good to remember our human side. I sometimes forget that it’s my humanity, my falling down and getting back up, my bleeding bandaged psych that gives me any wisdom at all. It is my wandering that teaches me the best way to go. I would always question, is my way better or theirs? So since I have wandered and gotten lost, then found my way back out again, I can say with confidence, this way works.

Hello Kitty Bandaid
Hello Kitty Bandaid (Photo credit: c.a.s.e.y)

I have a thing for experts, as many of you know. I’ve written about it before. How to win in 10 easy steps. Become a superhero! Yes. That’s what I want. The reason is simple. I like shortcuts. I don’t like being stupid or even appearing stupid. Being caught in my insecurities is embarrassing. I’ve never liked it. Maybe no one does. Lately, learning to get comfortable with my fear has been my greatest strength.  It has come in handy many times.  Each time I feel the fear, I know I’m in new territory. New territory is a good thing for me. It means I will keep my mind young and I’m learning and developing my adaptive mental muscles.

If you read any of Seth Godin’s work, you know that he talks about this new age we have entered. No longer in the Industrial age, we are all learning to adapt to the Communication and Connectivity Age. Conformity and Standardization are the trademarks of the Industrial age. Raising our kids to be “good” and to sit still and be mindless sheep are no longer the best ways to prepare them for the future. They must learn to adapt and to watch for trends themselves. To assert themselves in difficult situations. Handle conflicts diplomatically. Life is no longer about might equals right.

It’s sometimes hard for me to spot the trends. I’m not talking about skirt lengths and fall colors here. More the way we earn money or do business. I’m thinking about the story “Who Moved My Cheese?” If you have never heard the story, it’s a very simple one.  Mice in the maze know where their cheese is stored. They know the quickest way to get to it and check on it everyday. as all good mice should. These are the cleverest mice. The fastest and the most efficient. Mice college, work hard ethics and all of that stuff.  But one day their cheese wasn’t in it’s normal spot. What to do? Sit and cry in the corner? Yell and scream? Protest on Wall Street? No, that’s not how the cleverest mice handled it. They immediately went looking for it. No pause, no emotional damage. Pffft,…that didn’t work out. Move on. No indignation or resentment. But you promised! How dare you? Just move forward. Try the next door. Then try the next. Forget what this one or that one promised. Forget how it’s always been done or the way it’s supposed to be. Try every door. Check every cabinet, every shelf. Keep trying until you find it.

People that succeed don’t just try once. They try this way, then that way, then another until they figure out what works.