Take It Easy

Do you meditate and say, I’m just not good at this? Your mind drifts, and find yourself thinking about the movie you’d like to be watching. Might as well be sitting on the couch watching television. Right? Not quite. I was listening to a podcast earlier, which isn’t entirely related, but did make me think of this, and yes, I’ll explain.

Saints and Prophets – Real people

We love our gurus: pedestals and high statues. India is well known for putting its spiritualists at quite an exalted status. But there are those in other parts of the world who do the same. I hear people talk about how perfect someone is. “She never says a bad word about anyone. She helps at fundraisers and gives money to charities.” Blah, blah, blah. Usually, we follow with a self-deprecating, “Naw, I’m just not that good of a person.” If you come to that conclusion, you’ve missed the point. You can’t be good all of the time. You’ll miss. One day you’ll be tired and say the wrong word. Not good. Instead of being good, be real.

Games – There’s no scoreboard

Most of us grow up living life as if it’s a game. Level up. Goals to beat. Lives to live. School, job, marriage, children, etc. Somewhere in there, we throw in vacations as bonus runs, just for fun, and we call it a good game. If we think we need extra life points, we go to a doctor, a priest, or even a yoga studio. Some of us have gotten into meditation, thinking we can add even more health points. There’s some talk that it can give you some superpowers, or have you heard? Yeah, be careful with that one.

We aren’t going anywhere

The point is, we in the western philosophy are goal seekers. We want a prize. We get a trainer to get the abs to get the girl, or am I wrong? Let’s get this straight. I meditate to remember myself and to clear away the clutter of everyone else. I can do this by journaling if I wish. I could go for a long walk in the park instead. Anything away from structure and demands. Drawing, painting, sailing, biking, tanning. So if today my mind wanders a bit, it’s okay. In it’s walking, it allows me the freedom to release and let go. I relax. Then, I return to myself once again and slip out of the coils that the chokehold of daily life had held me in. And it feels so good to be me also.

The book Death on Diamond Mountain is just a glimpse into one of those moments when things go wrong. Take a glimpse. If you’re a Plus member of Mysterious Universe or want to be, they give you an interview with the author. Quite a trip, but the meditation that I’m referring to is remember your peace.

Namaste

Repost — Originally published April 18, 2015

Say It, And Speak Clearly

Honking is an annoying noise to me, so much so that it took me a full year before I realized the one-year-old car I purchased didn’t have a working horn. Hmmm, darn. My warranty was gone by that time. I’ve had the car for ten years now, and it’s still not repaired.

People honk, and it’s difficult to know, are they telling me, “Hey lady, speed up!” or “Yeah, you can move on into the spot in front of me.” A loud noise is a loud noise. It startles and offends. Honking rarely accomplishes it’s purpose unless the purpose is for the person honking is to yell. In those situations, it is useful. Honk, honk, honk, honk. Just like being downtown in Chicago.

I’m contrasting this to those who complain. My mom complained when I was growing up, and it was difficult for me to learn the difference until more recently. I asked her to voice her concerns to her doctor, which she had spoken so freely to me, and she said she didn’t want to complain. I was baffled. She told me my dad didn’t approve of this behavior, and then I understood a little more. He is the one who keeps things to himself. He is always alright. He would never let the doctor know of his issues because it exposes weakness. So, mom’s complaining to me is her way of telling me she has a problem, but she has no way of getting help.

Voicing an issue is a good thing, in my opinion. Speaking up, and even protesting is a right we should protect with all of our beings. If we don’t want to lose our humanity in this age, we need to wake up and use this time wisely. Speak up. If there’s an issue on your job, or at your apartment complex, or anywhere that is affecting your life, use your right to say something.

Community

This society we live in is built upon these customs. The structure our ancestors chose were laws, rules, and the ability to stand up for ourselves. We sometimes need to request help from others stronger or wiser than we are to speak for us, but the purpose is the same, don’t sit in the mud and complain about being wet and dirty. Find a way, ask for help, holler, cry, kick, and scream if you must, but say something until you are heard and can grab a hand that will pull you out of that mud. But whatever you do, don’t stay there.

I live in an area where complacency is the norm. This is the way it is. We’ve always lived here and don’t you dare think you’re better than anyone else. I’m watching businesses die because of this attitude, and these are ones that could update their equipment, update their ways, and stay in touch with the times, but they refuse. It reminds me of when typewriters were going out, and computers came in. So many talented older women didn’t learn how to use these new pieces of equipment. Modern ways came in and left them behind. I shouldn’t be sad, I guess. I should let it go, but I find it disheartening because this is what I see happening in my government as well. It’s time for a change. I don’t know what it will look like, but the old way isn’t working. We have to speak up.

Say something. If you have opinions and you have ideas, say them. If you are in a position to do something in a local area, use it to your advantage. Make wise decisions. Move forward.

If you’re a person in need, don’t give up hope. This is a day for you. The sun is rising. Decide what you want, even if it seems impossible. Imagine if it were. If you were not sitting in the mud, how would you live?

Esraa Zidan’s artworks Above image saved from Girl God Trista Hendren’s Instagram

Don’t Speak

Helen Sinclair:
No, no, don’t speak. Don’t speak. Please don’t speak. Please don’t speak. No. No. No. Go. Go, gentle Scorpio, go. Your Pisces wishes you every happy return.
From Bullets Over Broadway

It’s time to hunker down, to stay inside, to do the opposite of what Americans do best. We do not do idle. And even when we rest, it’s not a quiet thing. We fidget. We plan. We vacation.

Today was the first weekend after Oklahoma Governor Stitt ordered nonessential businesses closed and people to remain home.

KFOR News – As part of the new restrictions, Stitt said that all non-essential businesses located in the counties affected by COVID-19 are being ordered to close at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25 until April 14.

So what happens when you’re home sheltering in place, and the electricity shuts off? No lights or television or computers. Netflix is unavailable. No binge-watching the latest show. Well, earlier, I swept the floor but couldn’t do the laundry. The WiFi was off, so I wasn’t able to edit, not even from my phone.

We took a walk. Thankfully the electricity was turned on by the time we had made the trek around the neighborhood. I had work to do: writing, laundry, and other busy stuff.

This week I will try to rest. Really.

This Is Like Planting Seeds

At the beginning of all things, we tend to feel quite silly. Picture me, chubby girl, jogging through my neighborhood. I’ve got the shoes, the shorts, a water bottle and of course the required music blaring in my ears. At this moment, I can’t brag about my pace. My GPS phone app clocks me at 5 K in 57 minutes. And that’s estimating that my last 30 minutes will be the same as my first, which they won’t. By the time I get a mile and a half (about 2.4 K) of walking and running in, I’m sweating like crazy. My calves burn, and my knees are weak. I am no picture of athletic prowess.

Of course, it won’t always be like that. Eventually, I’ll build up enough muscle to finish in half that time. Hopefully, I won’t be as sore. My stride will look stronger, and my run will be more fluid. I picture myself as a leaner version than now, running like a gazelle through the neighborhood. Onlookers will be in awe of my agility. I wonder, should I take my hair out of the ponytail? The wind could blow it as I run. I would also be in color-coordinated clothing. Shoes, shorts, and a tank top all coordinated. Yeah, I look like I belong.

It’s humorous because when I started with my old tank top and 10-year-old shorts and shoes, I felt awkward. I was pretending to be a runner because it’s cool. And I hate being trendy.

Aside: Running vs. Jogging.

The two are technically the same. Jogging doesn’t become running at a certain pace. Jogging is just an uncool word for some people.

– Me

I’m not sure where this started except possibly in the marathon running group. You don’t jog a marathon. When I looked up the terms in all the online running blogs I could find, no one was sure of the difference between the two. Jogging implies that you are trotting through the neighborhood with no purpose. In the case of running, people mean they are training for a run or a marathon. But that’s speculative.

When I began, with my out of date shoes, I felt awkward. So to legitimize myself I purchased official running gear. Funnily enough, the models displaying running shorts and tanks are 5’10” and 100 pounds. Their BMI is probably 5%. I know, I know, it’s really 14% and I’m exaggerating, but they are skinny girls. Lanky. Anorexic. My BMI is a higher. All those chubs on my body are well-earned. It took a lot of cookies and pints of ice cream to build them.

Now that I have my running gear, at least I know the shoes are not going to injure my knees and shins. With time, I will develop the strange quirks that go with being a runner. I don’t know if I will ever feel authentic because my mental picture is unrealistic; no real person could meet it. I think we do that with a lot of things. Even being an adult, which is something that comes with age, and we don’t genuinely earn, the mere act of not dying brings us to it, we can feel like we are a fake. At the beginning of every attempt, we step one foot in front of the other until we’ve trained our senses to become familiar with our new task.

Adulthood, parenting, hobbies, and vocations are that way. It feels strained. Not quite right. Everyone sees your stumbling and fumbling. That makes me smile. Even though I may not reach gazelle-like grace in my running, eventually even I can become comfortable jogging and running about the neighborhood dressed in trendy shorts and bright-colored shoes.

This is an edited repost.  Taking Up Running from June 9, 2013 

The image above was provided by Wade Harris ”Door, New York City”

My posts might be sparse for a few weeks since I have a cervical spine surgery scheduled, which will make it challenging to write. Wish me luck!

Ugly

I was at a stoplight, and the light had turned red when the pickup truck behind me decided that stopping was not convenient for him. He found space to pass me and ran the red light.

I know I seem like a small-town girl, but this place where I live isn’t a big city. We still claim a few rural, country roots. But we’ve certainly forgotten our manners.

We can’t pretend this is Mayberry and that we live in the scripted world they did. It’s a free choice, do as you please, live free kinda life now. This country dude didn’t know me, and his action wasn’t personal. He had an agenda of his own. If I wasn’t here, it would have been someone else he’d pass.

Keep on truckin’

Fly in the soup

Bullying has been around for ages. Sometimes we call it helpful advice. Or nagging. People who honk when you drive too slow or stay too long at a stoplight think they can push you into doing what they want. Maybe it’s your brother who wants money or your dad giving advice or your wife who hates your music. The stress of this can build until life becomes unbearable. We can learn to live with it, but how? How we handle the push is a personal choice. I do have a suggestion or two.

“Hold your own, know your name, and go your own way.”

Jason Mraz

Learn to take care of yourself. Know where you are going and watch your surroundings. Don’t get embroiled in the road rage drama. I’ve been in dangerous situations that I didn’t cause, but because someone believed I had slighted them, they sought revenge with their automobile. Believe me, early in the morning, while heading to work is not the time to check the status of your brakes. When testosterone-filled young men driving little red cars pass you and then stop, it doesn’t matter if I did something wrong or not.

Idiocy is everywhere. I decide if it ruins my life. I get shaky after these events, but I realize they are like storms. It rains on everyone. Some people become offended and believe they are persecuted, but they’re not. Unless you’re a person who creates trouble, most things are random. You can’t prevent everything. Shake free of the event and go on with your day.

Remember your values. The pebbles in your shoes, rude people, can soon become spikes in your soul. It would be sad if you lost your way and let anger, disappointment, and revenge become more important than love, kindness, and charity. Your standards are essential to this culture’s survival.

What do you there’s a serious a abuser in your life? Find help. Seek counseling. Talk to friends and ask for advice. Most importantly, find a safe place, a safe lifestyle for yourself.

see also Softness Is Your Strength and Pebbles in My Shoe

Contained

Boxes.

There are three cats in my house, and they love it when I receive deliveries. We have boxes to jump into and hide. Dot, the rascally kitten probably has the most fun making himself small at the bottom, then pouncing on his sister.

In and out, and the noise continues. Paper rattles from the packing supply. I often forget they aren’t children. All of this play and fun is what they do. This is their life. And I wonder if humans forgot how to play?

After a few days of chaos and I’ve had enough of the hidden cat game, as well as the thudding sounds in the night. I stack the containers, one inside the other like Matryoshka Russian Nesting Dolls. This is my game. It pleases me.

If you have pictures of your crazy pets, I’d love to see them. You can share on this site or on Facebook/ShowUp

Exercise For Lazy People

You’re not terrible if you forget to exercise. Or even if you remember and don’t get off the couch. Or drive to the gym, change into your shorts, and do all of those foreign movements for only 10 minutes. Unless these activities were already a part of your normal day, your body is going to scream, “unsafe!”

It’s not glamorous, but the way to win the exercise routine is to have a lifestyle which includes activity organically. Carry more packages. Walk a little further. Use the stairs. And yes, we’re familiar with this strategy, but do we live it? Recognize the small things. They add up.

Handicaps and hindrances 

Oh, this is my sputtering out point. Believe me, I know handicaps. I’ve envied runners and great athletes all of my life. It isn’t happening with this body. My goal is health and not to become a lady with flabby arms.

Here’s the key: increase your safety zone. You have a standard comfort level and once you’ve reached that point each day, your body says, “level complete.” Tomorrow, try pushing the edge, but do it early in the day. If you wait until evening your resistance will be too strong. Besides, if you have an early win, you can enjoy the high all day.

How can we change our lifestyle to make them healthier? Is there a small grocery store we can walk to pick up a few items? A park nearby? Let me know if you have any ideas. I’d love to hear them.

I live upstairs. Yes, this was intentional. I also take the stairs at work. But, there’s always more.

In A Dream

It’s Saturday evening, and here I sit on my couch finally writing my post. I’d crashed on the couch earlier in a coma-like sleep. It was one of those marathon naps, and I had been out cold.

I dreamed I woke and got up, but I was still asleep. In the dream I fell asleep on the floor, only it wasn’t my place. I startled at finding myself on a floor, sleeping, and not in my house. And then I remembered that I was dreaming, and in my dream, I hugged my couch pillow tighter. Tired.

I didn’t sleep well this last week. The neighbor’s dog was noisy, there was a storm, my cat woke me howling like a banshee, and my mind started working at midnight as if I needed to accomplish all the tasks that hadn’t been checked off my list.

It’s the end of the year. And we have holidays in full uproar. The pressure is on. My nerves get a bit wrecked. But truthfully the topper, the part for me that’s the most difficult is facing my shortfalls. Am I where I want to be? Is this project what I want to do? Sometimes I have to accept the little progress I’ve made. I did as best I could. Other times I can congratulate myself for where I’m at.

Here are a few thoughts to help

  • Take positive steps
  • Is there something you want?
  • Or to do
  • Make a plan
  • Put it into steps
  • What is realistic for you
  • Forget about the feeling, of it. It will feel awkward and artificial at first, like a new pair of shoes.

When I was younger, I had a good position at a church, but I doubted myself a lot. I felt out of place. There wasn’t anyone else to do the job, so I showed up.

Be a boomerang. Come back to the same spot you want. Feel it. Live it. Be it.

Be there and eventually it will feel right.

Stop! Don’t Make Your Point

It’s alright if you don’t have an agenda sometimes. Relax. It might be healthy.

Too often when we enter a conversation, it’s to make a point. But what if we didn’t. Next time, we could let the unimportant stuff slip away.

Choose your stressors wisely. I pulled this post from psychologist Rick Hanson’s post, Just One Thing. You are free not to do these anymore.

Freedom not to

How?

For one or more of the items just below, imagine what it would feel like for you to have the freedom not to:

• Press your point home

• Struggle to get someone to change his or her mind

• Have a second drink. Or a first one.

• Worry what other people think about you

• React to what is swirling around you

• Act on an impulse

• Get into an argument

• Be swept along by anger

• Identify with a mood or point of view passing through awareness

• Take something personally

• Take responsibility for the experiences of other people

• Criticize yourself for not being able to fit into a pair of jeans

• Resist what’s unpleasant

• Drive toward what’s pleasant

• Cling to what’s heartfelt

For one or more of the items just above, imagine how your greater freedom would help others. Also, let others be freer themselves with you; give them room to breathe, time to think and feel. – Rick Hanson PhD

Have a beautiful day!