Itty Bitty Treasures

Life isn’t tidy. It’s not organized into categories for us to tick off the boxes as we go along quickly. Done! There are no rules for life to follow. Life is like a thing with mechanical clockwork, moving faster and faster as we age. Occasionally, we get lucky, and the gears chink and even stick for a moment.

You look up and see a kitten in a window.

Kitten in a window
Cats are everywhere
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
― douglas adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

I was on vacation a few years ago. Remember vacations? My son and his wife invited me along on a trip to France. There were three areas of the country we visited. I experienced a fairytale of a vacation in Aix-En-Provence. We ate genuine French cuisine, drank wine until late, sat out in the sun, shopped in the markets, and went to a museum, all before leaving for Nice and Paris, our other two destinations. I won’t bore you with my details regarding the flight or the ordeals I had before I took off to fly across the big pond. I’ll allow you to believe the flow of my life is perfect.

At a museum I toured with my daughter-in-law, I made a new friend.

A French kitty

My life is busy, painful, and rushed. But there are moments. I remember disagreeing with teachers on their beliefs and opinions. No! I do not have to live my life the way they believe. I am not confined to the rules of another. I am a success or a failure because of my standards, not anyone else. Life is active. It rolls, flows, moves, bumps, rises and falls. Sometimes it even stops. Enjoy the breaks. They don’t come often enough.

“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
― George Bernard Shaw

Melancholy

I’m battling through overgrown weeds of depression and the bramble of my mind, getting my thoughts in order. Following the confused tangle causes me to lose my balance. And direction.

I indulge in my despair and failure.

I’m comfortable sitting on the forest floor, and I cry. Scream. I can’t stay here forever. So, I get up and go …again..

Janet West
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

The holidays are a difficult time for me. Our culture has high expectations, and there’s no way for most of us to live up to those. We are disappointed. Somehow I must change my way of living. I need a new view of life, so I will not cry half of the day for two months.

My challenge is yours. Start your own traditions by creating a holiday or non-holiday for you and your family. Live on your terms. Release yourself from other’s chains. And may each year be better than the last

Happy days ahead!

Love in Cuchara Pass

I’ve wanted to share part of my Colorado trip, but I haven’t taken the time to organize my thoughts. Sometimes you have to do it. Organize later.

Off the highway in Las Animas County, Colorado, my boyfriend and I stopped for a chance to rest and take few pictures. It was more interesting than I was expecting. I found out later the area is called Cuchara Pass. We were north of a town called Cuchara on the downhill grade before you get to La Veta.

We both love Aspen trees. And driving through scenic Colorado in September is divine. The Aspens were beautiful—but they were Summery green—not yet turning golden for fall. It was a sunny day with a blue sky over us and the wind blowing softly through the round leaves. Perfection. As I walked into the grove, I noticed the fallen logs, which make for outstanding photography. Nature shots are my favorite to take. I happened to look up and see the Cupid hearts with initials carved into the bark of a tree. Several of the initials are replicated on other trees. Aha, a story. Those are the things that keep me curious, what keeps me alive. Art.

Disclaimer: I don’t encourage this practice—it’s harmful to trees. If someone finds this location, please don’t add more scarring to their skin.

Wind in the trees

Interested in learning more about the area? Here are some links I found.

Thank you for stopping by!

Their World, Not Mine

I have felt the need to pull attention. Grab, grasp, latch onto it—the amorphous thing we all desire—as if awareness was a scarce commodity. At times, when you’re parenting children, there can be moments when there’s a shortage, but I think it’s more like our current situation with toilet paper. Stay calm. There’s enough for all.

I’ve often been jealous of the selfish people who could capture everyone’s eye, whether it be beauty or victimhood. As if by gravity—there are plenty of people orbiting around them. I fume. I want to poke their eyes out. Yes, I have issues.

Entitlement

When the Coronavirus started, there were concerns for our elderly parents, actual problems. Whose family was the most vulnerable? Why aren’t we staying home? The weeks have grown long. Somewhere along the way, this all became a competition.

Maybe you know the feeling. There’s a person you talk with about life, and suddenly their tragedy is worse, far worse or their life is more demanding. Sad story. After a time, you’re not chatting. Your blood is boiling because your calm talk is a rivalry.

Conflict is a trigger moment for me. I’ve retrained my response to these moments. I must first remember there’s no shortage of talk time. I can chat with other folks. Second, I respect the other person as best I can, but not to my harm. Sometimes I simply walk away.

We are in strange days. Stay calm. There’s enough for all.

My thanks to Wade Harris for the featured photograph. Find him on Flickr or Instagram.

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.

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