Here is Important

Mom says I cried a lot when I was a baby. Ear infections. I don’t remember. I was too young of course. I wonder what would have happened to me if I would’ve been that easy babe who plays and could be placed on the floor.

When I was two weeks old my family, mom, dad, and two older brothers stacked the truck full of the Sapulpa house’s belongings and moved to Collinsville. Dad got an opportunity to buy some land, and he took it. He’d been driving to his business there in downtown Collinsville for a while, and this was an excellent opportunity.

I’ve often felt sorry for my mom over the years. The move from a house in town to a small travel trailer to what seemed a long ways from civilization is a time that would have been difficult for any woman. There was also the dirt road and the river. When it rained the long dirt road became a muddy mess. Like quicksand, the mud would suck the tires and root them into the rutted path. It was a hike past the cattle gate, up the long road, carrying groceries or laundry home. I don’t know if she asked dad for help, but she never quit going.

What we say might not come out openly. The words trip over our emotions as we try to get them out. But, if we keep them to ourselves no one wins. Speak up. Babies can only cry. And it’s their healthy way of getting their needs met. You can do more. Sing, make art, do poetry, dance, show love to someone, craft a meal, be with someone or read a book to a friend. Make it a way of life to share your thoughts and needs.

After you raise your hand…
Show up.

Show up and keep showing up.

Show up with at least as much enthusiasm as you had when you first raised your hand to volunteer.

The volunteering part is easy. Making promises is a fun way to get someone’s attention.

Keeping those promises is often unsung, but that’s how you build something.

Posted by Seth Godin on April 22, 2018

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Meager (revisited)

It’s time for a shift in perspective.

I’ve stated too often that I’d rather be happy and poor than to be rich and miserable. Or said 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 so quickly. 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 years and longing for his companionship, my twisted logic kicked in. Happiness suggested less money than we had before. 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 knowledge.

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

Check out Stories We Tell and Change It Up and the original Meager post from 2014.

Choices

We come into this world thinking only of our own needs. Eat. Sleep. Play. Mine. Need. Grasping. We grow, we learn, we become. And depending on our experiences we develop into an adult with the ability to give, to nurture others. Self-preservation is healthy. It’s the way of nature. But being stuck in either an ego trip or self mutilation is unhealthy.

Choose your path

Your life today is the result of your accumlated experiences. As children, we couldn’t see that our parents had bad days or were drunk when they were screaming. We only knew the screaming, so we hid. The pounding of our heart and the fear in our belly told us we caused this, so we vowed to never do it again. If only we knew what we had done then we could be a perfect person. I remember thinking crazy thoughts like that. As if there was some magic checklist to complete to become a better person. And if I became that person my parents would no longer yell at me. But none of it was our fault! We are never responsible for another’s actions. Not our parents and not our bosses. There’s a better way to live.

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I’m an adult now, and I have choices. I can keep reliving those old stories, or I can be here today. To be present is going to take some work. We have to remind ourselves where we are. Every time my mind gets lost in a clusterfuck of bad memories I have to shake myself out of them. I have to sing that song I love. “Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance.” If you can’t do it by yourself, grab a partner. Two together are hard to defeat. Friends, buddies, and partners help to keep each other healthy.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 Bible Hub

Love the one you’re with

Live now not worrying about tomorrow. Keep your life simple. Create small attainable goals and take steps toward them each day. The truth is that our brain is not structured to handle much more than this one moment. We overload it when we expect it to handle worrying about Timmy’s nightmares while calling the bank about a bounced check. Choose a practical approach. What can be fixed? And get stuff out of the way that can’t be fixed.

You can do this. We can do this. Share love with each other. Nothing else matters.

Check out my other posts – Dancing to the Rhythm  When the Quiet Ones Roar  Respect Yourself

 

Stories We Tell

I’ve talked about stories before. It’s probably one of my top 5 issues. Mostly because it goes by daily and we don’t notice its influence. We know about forgiveness. Change this one thing in your mind and so many other things fall into their perfect places. Probably 80% of us are on some type of self-improvement kick, but our story goes unnoticed.

Maybe you have no idea what I am talking about. Okay, ground rules.

  • This is non judgmental. No story is wrong. And no story is right. Mine is just mine. Not superior or inferior.
  • We don’t always know who gave us our story, but we can notice that it’s there.

  • It’s changeable if we decide to change it.
  • Only we can change our story.

  • We all have a story playing in the back of our minds. Some script we rule our lives by.

Who is the bad guy to my good guy? What is my role in life? Notice the next time you’re in a room with a group of people. We all have our drink in hand or we’re standing around our cubicles. If someone is talking, someone is telling their story. What does their tale say about them as a person or community? What does it say about their belief in right and wrong? I’m really hesitant here to say much because I don’t want people to clam up around me. Maybe if I generalize, people won’t realize how much I listen to them. But specific instances would highlight my meaning. Are you the good parent? Your ex the bad one? Are you clever? Your classmates stupid? We like to talk about how we hate stupid people, but most of us cringe inside wondering if we’re the stupid person. Haven’t most of us went the wrong way on a one way road? Yikes.

Okay, so I will dive in….

If I want to be the good guy, I have to cast someone in my life as bad. Usually we have regular cast members in our life that fill the roles we play. I’m the good one. The smart one. So you have to play my bad, stupid friend. Just kidding, not really you. The guy driving in front of you in the morning is stupid. Let’s use him. We can tell because he’s on his phone when he’s driving. Right? He forgot to use his turn signal also. Can’t he see how stupid he is? This also makes him a bad guy. He’s breaking your rules.  What about when your ex forgets to tell you of an important birthday party for your 8-year-old daughter, planned for the weekend-your weekend? Of course you get angry. Rightfully so! You’re angry because once again he has proven how irresponsible he is. On the side note, he also proved how responsible and righteous you are. So when you tell the story of your ex and his lack of consideration and his lack of planning, you add any details to flower it up a little. The time he forgot to pack her toothbrush or her lunch for school. How her bedroom at his house still isn’t decorated. What a horrible father he is. By telling these things you aren’t really concerned about the toothbrush or the bedroom paint color. You’re telling your story. Your role in life. You are RESPONSIBLE! And don’t forget smart. We might as well walk up to people on the street wearing a t-shirt saying we are responsible and smart. I’m with Stupid (arrow pointing to the side). We could start our conversations with, I am so responsible. Let me tell you what happened today to prove it.

Am I overdoing it? We all play roles in life. I have mine as well. Why do I have a blog? Why write a book or two? What’s my story? Shhhhhh..don’t tell if you know. Super undercover here.

My story

I want to tell you my story. At least one of them. I have a few. Some of them conflicting with each other. I grew up in a great home. We weren’t rich, but my family was hardworking. I was always proud that my last name was Bailey. It meant a lot to me. Strong, capable, enduring. I was a tiny girl in a small town. I was always trying to catch up with my brothers. If I could keep up, I felt big. My family had two businesses in a town the size of a peanut, so I didn’t feel obscure. I started kindergarten and graduated high school in the same town. Small town, small school. It was a perfect environment for me. I had lots of adults around me. And I have one very strong memory of a family in particular.

Not only did I start and complete school in the same town, but my family went to the same church all of my life. From 8 years old and up. I was baptized in that church and got married there. They gave me my baby showers and poured a lot of love into me. The McAfees were a family that had helped start the church. They took me under their wings for some reason. Their oldest daughter gave me her paper doll collection when I was around 10. When I was 15 I volunteered to help in a summer children’s program. I went into the classroom expecting to be a helper and wound up being the teacher. Mrs. McAfee was my helper. She told me straight out that I would teach this class and she was only the helper. Stammering and stuttering…ummm. Why? Because that’s who she was. She saw something in me and wanted to encourage it to grow. It always makes me tear up. I feel so blessed to have grown up with people like that surrounding me.  They loved me. And not only me, they did that with many children. It was their story.

Carolyn Myss has a book called Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential.  She talks about archetypes. If you have a chance to read it, I urge you to do so. She has a new one which I haven’t read yet, called Archetypes: Who Are You?. Archetypes are stories. Roles that people play. One that seems the most obvious to me is Oprah. She plays a queen. Whatever your feelings towards this woman, you have to admit she’s a queen. She’s not evil, she’s not good, but she is in charge when she walks into a room.

Just a quick note on role-playing. It’s one way to update your story. Role playing has a very powerful effect. People can often put psychological spells on you by putting you into a role, but you don’t have to play their game if you recognize what they are doing. Don’t play along. Walk away.

There’s a study from Stanford University of inmates vs wardens role-playing. In 1971, for 6 of the originally planned 14 days they conducted an experiment with mostly white, middle class volunteers to test the outcomes of the roles we play. If you’ve never heard of it, you can read about it here wikipedia or Stanford Prison Experiment. I don’t know if these people had any lasting after effects, but I can’t imagine it not having a lasting impression. Professor Zimbardo later apologized in his book, The Lucifer Effect

“of not providing adequate oversight and surveillance when it was required… the findings came at the expense of human suffering.”

Now you have a good idea how the game is played, let me remind once again you of the ground rules about the stories we tell…

  • This is non judgmental. No story is wrong. And no story is right. Mine is just mine. Not superior or inferior.
  • We don’t always know who gave us our story, but we can notice that it’s there.
  • It’s changeable if we decide to change it.
  • Only we can change our story.
  • We all have a story playing in the back of our minds. Some script we rule our lives by.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Do you ever wonder about your own weirdness? Those quirky things we do, like the way we cheer for the underdog. Or we want the crook caught. I wonder about mine. I know I’m not alone with my quirks. So I thought I’d mention some that I’ve noticed in myself as well as others. Our quirks in common.

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Why do women try to fix people? Men especially. We see a disheveled boy/man and we want to take him in. Just like a lost puppy. And then we feel disappointment when he pees on our carpet. It’s a crazy world out there. The sooner we realize our tendencies, the healthier we are. If we don’t want the puppy chewing up our new red shoes, maybe we shouldn’t let him follow us home. I guess that would be the wiser thing to do. But we enjoy the cuddly phase. And that puppy smell is intoxicating. The moment we find him all splattered with mud, we pick him up and carry him home. We bandage him and hold him tight. Our love rescues him. Once again we see our worth. We show our strength. Our love conquers all. But maybe that’s an oversimplification. Not all women have this complex.

We all love stories. The sadder, the more outrageous, the better. We can listen to someone’s ailment or how they feel mistreated by their spouse. We get involved in the other’s life and story. We feel their pain and their joy. What makes us addicted to sad stories so much that we’ll get just as outraged at another’s injustice even if we just saw it on the news? Do you find it silly? I find it draining.

Intelligence impresses me and I often mistake the spouting of facts as intelligence. Most of us idolize people who comb their hair just right or say clever things. And we know it’s all fake. We get advice from people just because they made a TV show. Are we that lost? It’s difficult to believe that the Dugger family know any more about child rearing than any other parent. Or the Kardashians can give me beauty advice.

puppy

The only way I see to stop repeating the same tendencies is to recognize that they aren’t working. I could resist kissing on the cute puppy. NO CUTE PUPPIES. I could refuse to acknowledge my attraction to people who need help, but resistance will just create a bigger need inside. It is better if can take a good look at my attraction. See it for what it is. It’s my craving. Whether I give in or not, is not important. I think it’s worse to walk into a relationship blinded by your romanticism and think it’s the guy of your dreams, the one who will save you from your despair and loneliness. And when you wake up and see his attention wandering or like the puppy, peeing on the carpet, you act surprised. He was that person from the start. You just put a hero costume on him, because you needed him to play the hero for you.

It’s difficult to remember these things in the middle of an enchantment. It’s so easy to get caught up in the thrill of dating and weddings. There’s so much energy. So much excitement. Sparkle and shine. And all the friends and family encouraging you,  keep you from noticing the flaws. Cracks in the wall. Chipping paint. Mold growing along the baseboard. We’ve found our perfect man. Our hero is a fixer-upper. How long until we wear out  from constantly repairing the leaking ceiling?