Friday, December 26

Humans & Labels

Humans are the most fascinating creatures in this part of the galaxy. If Aliens exist, and all these videos of spacecrafts in the sky are their ships, you know what I think they are doing? Watching us in fascination. I bet we are the greatest soap opera in the Milky Way. And the best part is they know that it doesn’t matter if we see them, we still won’t believe in them; just making us more interesting.

We are super complicated, super stupid, and super narrow minded. And yet… we have amazing skills and abilities. We have emotion, creativity, language, music, and the ability to believe anything we wrap our narrow minds around.

To compare humans to any creature on the earth, is to make a short list of similarities. Two eyes, hearing, eats, shits, wants affection, all things of shallow comparison. I’m not saying Humans are better however, Humans are just tremendously complicated. Take music as one example. We use our voice, we use strings, drums, man-made instruments like keyboards and sound mixers, and the result of “music” is magic. So incredibly beautiful I don’t have the skills to describe it easily or quickly. We humans are making that music, we do it alone, together, and it’s full of message and emotion on top of it all. Do you see what I mean by Humans are complicated? We are. There is so much to us. Our health is complicated, our relationships, our talents, our transportation, our homes… you name anything, and you further prove our complication.

I make this complicated point because I want to show that our language skills are too basic for this level of complexity. I have to use endless words to try and explain how I am seeing something, I have to pick my words carefully because if I arrange them a little differently, they mean something else, and I fail at trying to convey what is happening in my mind. I fail at explaining or sharing.

Which brings me to our need for labels. We RELY on labels. They make us feel like we are easily communicating our complicated thoughts, and we even think they organize our complicated existence. “He’s white, she’s fat, I’m Swedish, you’re lazy.” And they get pretty detailed: “You are passive-aggressive. I am intolerant. She has a personality disorder. He is a Jew.”

We use them to represent more than one thing. A label is the best word for it because just like in a filing cabinet, you label a folder and then proceed to fill that folder with things that fit under that label. It’s natural for us, it’s what we do, and as I said, we rely on these labels to make our complicated thoughts easier to explain.

And why do we need to explain our thoughts? I think we need to explain them because we need to understand ourselves. I don’t mean we label others because we don’t know who we are. I mean that labeling others means that we organize our life and relationships under these labels in our mental filing cabinet, so that we can easily know what we believe. “Here is how I am seeing this, here is how I am reacting. Here is what I think, here is what I am feeling.” For some of us it’s a way to only look at the label on the file, and avoid all the things living in the file. The label is easier for us to process and deal with.

Which is why I’m now going to say, I see labels as counter-communication. They are the short version, so they are the easy out. It’s like insisting on not seeing what lives in the folder. As though the label is plenty of information, and people who become so label-loving tend to be more hardened people. They don’t want to listen, they know everything, and they believe their labels are more accurate than anybody else’s. Their labels become “truth”. Their communication is shallow with a reliance on labels, and then they become harmful.

Harmful in a slight sense, where they damage good relationships, but also harmful in an exact sense when people are lessened by being labeled. Which needs more clarification… If I call someone by a label, I have the ability to affect how they see themselves. The label-lovers know this, and they most often use labels to be harmful and to make themselves more right. Not necessarily more right in everyone’s eyes, but possibly more right in their own eyes, and a few others.

Think right now of someone you know who is a label-lover. You immediately know how they see many of the people around them, and you very possibly know how they see you… what labels have they given you? Their labeling nature may have something to do with how you see yourself. Yes?  If so, is it a negative or self-esteem-damaging view? Yes? (you don’t surprise me.)

Now think of someone who is NOT a label-lover. Think of how they see you. Have they told you who you are, or have they conveyed how they see you over time?

What I’m trying to point out is how detrimental and yes, harmful the labeling people are. They are not uplifting, they are not easy to be around, and they are always right with a closed mind.

I would like to suggest we all pay more attention to the action of labeling. Notice when you do it, when others do it, and whether or not it’s a positive or helpful thing. Our amazing Human skills don’t require us to use labels, we don’t have to be narrow minded, and even when it’s frustrating to have to use so many words to explain yourself, the benefit of taking the time to do so is obvious and it’s using the skills you have, which is a complicated body and mind. (One that Aliens would come here to watch. ;)

Saturday, December 20

What counts? The thought?

There are some sayings that have been around since the hills appeared. Their popularity and repetitiveness doesn’t make them worth keeping, and many need to be chucked. Especially when they get misused so much.

Ever noticed that it’s one sided when somebody says “It’s the thought that counts” ? Oh? Whose thought? Because if we are looking at how the person saying this is thinking, they are telling you that how they are perceiving your thoughts is not good, and labeling you, essentially saying their thoughts matter most. So then, the comment can be made back, “If it’s the thought that counts, your thoughts make you a jerk. My thoughts are no longer what we should be looking at.”

We need some examples:

If someone thinks of you on your birthday, they don’t tell you, but they thought of you, is it the fact they actually thought of you that counts? If another friend sends you a text, that too was a thought, but it manifested in your knowing they were thinking of you… so is that when it counts? Yet another friend turns up on your door with a card in their hand, gives you a hug, and tells you in person how much they hope you have a wonderful birthday… is this the kind of thought that finally counts? One with action? The old saying insinuates thought only, so if it’s not just a thought, does that negate the thought counting? Does this make it null and void from the expression, because there WAS action? Lastly, another friend calls you, says they are in your driveway, tells you to come get in the car, because they are taking you to a concert where one of your favorite bands are playing. Does their thought count? Is it only the thought that counts, or do their thoughtful actions count too?

Are you like me and finally wondering why the heck people even say this? If all the examples ^ counted, were the numbers equal? So, if “It’s the thought that counts” is true, are we supposed to be doing continual math to measure one event against another, one friend against another, one day to another, and if one friend has great thoughts for you one day, but none the next, do you tell them you are adding things up? That you have numbers, and you are not pleased!

Ya, this sounds immature, I’m trying to see it a different way, but actually, the thought that someone gets to tell you that what you were thinking, how you were thinking it, how it manifested itself in your actions, or lack of—is crazy. And then they get to decide how to treat you because of you living your life? Well, it’s all VERY immature.

Sure actions can speak louder than words, but that’s another of those sayings where the person saying it thinks they know the situation in which you acted. Maybe they do, but maybe they don’t too! Who gets to dictate actions? The person wanting to be upset that the action was not the action they wanted? They should dictate?

I want to suggest that we don’t know what others are thinking, how they are feeling, and nobody needs to use this saying, because they are JUDGING people in using it, and then being a hypocrite, because by their definition their judgmental thoughts have to count too!!

Wednesday, December 10

Ready... Jump!

We become so used to the relationships we have, that often we are not surprised by certain situations when we should be. I take that back, sometimes we are a little surprised, but we are so used to the status quo of our everyday relationships, we don’t notice things we should be noticing.

What I’m specifically thinking about is the way we are treated by others. And even more specifically, how we are treated by the people we spend most of our time with. Those are the people that we tend to accept and easily live with POOR treatment from.

I have a friend who is so poorly treated by her family members (ex-husband and children), that she doesn’t usually even see it. She has been shown that she doesn’t matter, that she does not have value, and they continually put her down. They even quantify her level of love for them by her willingness to be pushed and told what to do. So when they continue to walk all over her, she doesn’t feel anything but sad. She’s not angry when they are jerks, she doesn’t stand up for herself and say to them, “you don’t run my life”, and despite being quite the adult, she even apologizes when they are mad because of the rare occasion when they say “Jump!”, and she can’t. Her unavailability to jump when told to, becomes reason for them to harass, to label her as not caring about them, and inevitably she is left needing to try and explain herself, when really, her living her life shouldn’t be explained to anyone or apologized for.

In telling me what is said to her, and what is expected of her, she doesn’t even hear what she’s saying, so when I come out with advice about how she owns herself—nobody else does, she isn’t sure how to hear that. She hasn’t belonged to herself for so many years, that continual put downs, and the endless pushing around means that she is always living with the knowledge that she needs to be ready to jump when told to.

There are many things difficult for me to stomach in this situation because of the importance I give self-esteem and self-respect. And no “Christian” people should be allowed to call themselves so when they harass, belittle, bitch, and pick at a person like this. For them to feel they own anyone to the point that they think it’s ok to dictate choices, actions, and even availability… well, blow me down, I am in awe. She even has to continually lose hours at work to be running around, for these family members, and that is totally expected of her.

It wouldn’t matter who this friend was, how well I know her, how much I care for her. To hear how she is talked to, how she is put down in every way thinkable, and for her level of love to be continually measured by her willingness to jump, I would still be giving the same advice.

  • Stand tall!
  • Say “NO” more often.
  • Teach them how they are going to treat you.
  • Notice when they are telling you that you are last on the list of people who matter.
  • Excuse yourself from being a punching bag.
  • Refuse to acknowledge being TOLD how much you love anyone based on your availability to jump or do what you are told.
  • Accept you are not a slave to anyone, and YOU OWN YOU!
  • You can’t change them, but you can change how you react.
  • Know they will not like you being strong.
  • They will be very bugged by not having you to push around, because they can’t push most people around the way you have allowed them to push you.
  • Consider saying “no” when you don’t want to. Not just when you can’t.
  • Be strong, realizing that if you are weak you are teaching them you are willing to be walked all over.
  • Notice all wording that sounds like you are being told what to do, and repeat it back to them. Insist they hear what they are saying.
  • Show that you think it’s strange, and unacceptable.
  • Don’t let them make you hate life.
  • Consider opening your door less. (how available you are)
  • Look at your beauty more, and remember most of the world sees it.
  • Accept there are people in this world who will never want to change.
  • Accept you can’t change others.
  • Negativity and put downs are sticky, the faster you refuse to listen to them, the less they stick.
  • Do your best to remember others who think highly of you, and don’t ask you to jump are important too.

Tuesday, December 2

Kindness and Acceptance

I started writing about kindness, and I realized I wasn’t writing about one thing. In the aspect that I was thinking about kindness, I was noticing how often kindness is connected to acceptance. No, the two don’t have to go together, but neither do ice cream and caramel sauce, but the marriage of the two is great.

If somebody forced me to find a name for my religion, I would have to answer “My religion is kindness, and I’m a hardcore believer.” The sacrament I partake in in that worship is acceptance of others.

There is so much to be said for accepting people as-is. In doing that you don’t need to involve yourself in what they believe, what they think, how they react, or what they do. THAT is liberating!

When you are kind, and allow people to completely be themselves, accepting they are not like you, you are doing yourself favors. You are making YOUR life easier. 

 Why don’t we all already know this? Why isn’t this already a core belief in human kind? Why isn’t human kind—kind to everyone and everything? I have numerous hypotheses, but truly I don’t know. What I do know is that we need to learn more and realize the benefit of kindness.

Yes, benefit, because I’ve learned this thing about kindness and acceptance… they are building blocks to self-esteem. Many already know this on an unconscious level, because when they treat people bad, they feel bad about themselves. And when they are kind, everything feels comfortable, happy and good.

But what many people don’t do, is practice kindness all the time to experience it being a builder of self esteem and self respect. I think people are continually alternating between being kind and not being kind, that they are continually undoing the benefit of kindness. One cancels out the other. People don’t build up a reserve of this awesome feeling from being kind all the time, and if they would… if they would create this mountain of kindness they would see they are creating this giant reason to like themselves. It is cause and effect. And accepting others is like practicing how to accept yourself. 

If you are kind all the time, you are someone you can respect. Respecting yourself means you like yourself. Liking yourself makes you comfortable in your own skin, and you have that magical thing called self esteem.

No, kindness and acceptance aren't the only things that contribute to self esteem, but it’s a big enough deal to write about, and it’s a big enough benefit to suggest everyone reading this acknowledges how kindness makes them feel. Not just when they give it, but when they receive it. It’s easy enough to prove to yourself. Pay attention to your feelings when being kind, being unkind, and when you are treated kindly or unkindly. Separately notice the same things about accepting, and not accepting people as they are.

Your world can change from average to amazing. I suggest you give yourself the chance to experience it. Especially if you feel like there is room for more happiness in your life.

I bet there is.

Friday, November 21

Gimme a hug.

I’ve accepted a “truth” for me in my life, which is I never stop changing. I hope I never do either, because I can’t think of anything less fun than being stagnant. Whether it’s work, ideas, life, friends, anything, I am embracing continual change.

I went through a huge chunk of life where nothing changed, and I often found myself telling people who asked how life was: “Same old, same old.” And I saw that lack of change as a good thing at the time.

Now I’m on the other side of that “same old” I think I’m super cool with change, and it is cool with me. One of the changes I’ve experienced is related to hugs. While I was married, I never hugged anyone but my husband. It actually felt odd when people wanted to be touchy or huggy, and I decided I was not a physically affectionate person, except to him.

Two and a half years out of marriage, being single, I am super secure with myself, who I am, and I’m seeing I’ve BECOME an affectionate individual. This has been a slow process, but a few key individuals have been an example of easy affection, and how harmless AND beneficial it is. Harmless meaning it doesn’t need to be uncomfortable or have motive, and beneficial because it allows you to let people know you care about them.

I think I have to elaborate… In my job I supervise people younger than me. I’m continually telling/asking them what to do, and in my quest to be a supervisor who is respected, AND enjoyed, I’ve learned that people need to know you care about them and appreciate the work they do, especially when you keep asking them to do things. (It’s not that I’m bossy, the job requires lots of flexing.) So, a hand on arm or shoulder either in passing or in conversation is an extra way to convey I see them as important, I respect the work they do, and I genuinely care about them. This also means that they know where I’m coming from and if at any time they need to express themselves through touch or a hug, they know I will be receptive.

Key here is hearing that the majority of the people I work with are young. Young people aren’t so threatened by touch, they aren’t so shut off to affection, and for some reason they “hear” touch the way it’s meant to be heard. As we get older, it becomes stranger, less comfortable, and as I said earlier “odd”.

One of my biggest teachers in this physical affection lesson I have written about before in Energy Givers.  I talked about her energy in that post, but not the sweet way she touches your back when she walks past, just to say, “I’m walking behind you, and I care”. It’s the most simple and beautiful thing the way she does it, and there couldn’t be a person in the world who could find her way of doing this “odd”. I sometimes feel like my mind stands open mouthed when I learn lessons from young people, and truly, her physical-ness has made her one of the most influential people in my lesson on affection. Since I mention her, and I started with hugs, I have to say she is one of the best huggers I’ve ever met. She should give classes. Her hugs are free from expectation and all you feel when she hugs you is that she is genuine. I have hugged her when she was happily just married, and when she was struggling on the anniversary of the death of her two sisters, and all I ever feel from her is her genuineness. Her affection has no motive, it is part of her in a way that I think most people don’t have. I didn’t have it, I’m still trying to learn it, and for some reason, she makes me more aware of hugs being as unique as individuals.

The funny lesson I’ve learned in all this, is the best huggers always have been.

Tuesday, November 11

Children are the Strongest

A lesson I started to learn at 19, has proven true still today. Today I turn 42, and I’m reminded how bad I wanted to grow up when I was 19. Not that I wanted to be treated differently by anyone, but I wanted to know more, to be less naive, to be able to carry on a conversation with anyone over anything, and since I knew so little, I longed for the day I was “grown up”.

At 19 I spent a year in Romania volunteering in a couple orphanages. I wrote about the experience at 23, and I made a realization while I was writing. That realization has proven to be true many times in my life, and that is: the older I get the weaker emotionally I become. When I went to Romania I was so young I was strong enough to handle the sadness I was seeing. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard at 19 too, but I think it would be impossible for me to experience the same now.

The not having grown up yet was what saved me. As the year came to an end I was feeling very weak, very old, very worn out. After that year of living alone, ya I was more “grown up”, I could carry on a conversation better, but it really meant I was weaker. I was wiser to what happens in the world. I’d seen things, sad things, and things that hurt my emotional and physical heart.

Children don’t know how strong they are, they don’t know what it is to be weak, so it is in their getting older that they stop being so strong. Their ignorance of strength keeps them strong. They also don’t live in an overly emotionally world because they don’t tend to over-think things. All that comes with age and experience.

I have a book, well, a few books about health problems being related to emotional problems and that fixing the emotions fix the body. This is an idea we want to resist because we can’t be responsible for our physical problems. Our emotions are too hurt by the thought they are at fault. But we are only ONE body: completely connected. One of the reasons this connection of emotional and physical health rings true to me is because I already know that I am weaker emotionally as I get older and I am more physically challenged as I get older. Age = weak, so if older equals weaker, what can I do about this?

Because I’m not ok finding everything harder in life, here’s my only plan: face everything. Insist I’m not a wimp. Work on emotional strength, Analyze what emotions I'm feeling and face them. Decide to keep moving forward, and pay attention to thoughts that sound like I’m not capable or not enough. It has to be possible to stop aging in this weak way. (at least a little) I see and feel if I'm conscious of this, I can alter the speed of my emotional age, slowing down the rate of losing strength and the depth of those emotional wrinkles.

Because it’s my birthday, I’m going to share one of the most beautiful parts of my day.
This song: Don’t Fade Away by Dead Can Dance

Monday, November 3

"Worry about yourself!"

About a year ago, in an attempt to communicate with a co-worker who suddenly started having attitude toward me, she said: “Worry about yourself”. At the time I was confused, since I was trying to discuss her recent rudeness and wondering what went wrong. So, hearing “worry about yourself” seemed out of place. I thought I was. I wanted to know why I was being treated so poorly by her alone, and I was even left wondering: “What does that even mean?” I don’t think anybody has ever said that to me since I’m not nosey, and I was questioning the way I was being treated.

Her words rang in my mind for weeks. It was like a mantra, the way I kept repeating them. In doing so I made sense of it. I started seeing examples all around me of people who needed to do their own thing, and I… I should worry about myself.

This took on bigger and better meaning the more I repeated it. I need to feed me, I need to clothe me, I am really the only person who completely cares about everything in my life, my sanity, my need to sleep, and I only should be worrying about myself. AS SHOULD everyone else only be worrying about themselves.

In consciously putting effort into not worrying about others, I had new perspective when people would come to me acting like their problem was my problem, or it was my responsibility to fix an internal struggle for them. I realized that I had some people in my life actually expecting me to worry about them. As though their happiness was my responsibility, and they owned having the right to expect me to be available in any moment.

In the realizing what “worry about yourself” means for me, and how much I have benefited by realizing this is amazing advice, it is now advice I want to share with others.

The co-worker who said it to me happened to be in a time of healing herself, and although I thought I was getting more of her attitude than I would like to have, she also was worrying about herself at the time.

Most great advice comes in longer sentences, thicker books, and I struggle to immediately acknowledge better advice in my life than those three words.

A couple of months ago I let her know that she gave me one of the most profound lessons of my life. (I have not done the explanation of this fact justice in this post.) And I asked her if she minded that I share this story. To my surprise, she didn’t even remember telling me to “worry about yourself” all those months back.

Well there you go… proof that we are taught what we need when we need it. Glad I listened and didn’t have to learn that lesson a harder way. I think we should all worry about ourselves, stop worrying about others, and make sure we are who we should be, living a life we are proud to live, and being a “top quality human” to put in another way. If we each did this, our interactions would improve, our lives would be easier, and happiness would increase.

Shame so many don’t want to look at themselves, consider what they are doing, how they are treating people, and not worrying about themselves, but pointing fingers instead.

What we have to do, is say we are (each of us) ok with worrying about ourselves, and expect others to worry about themselves. We shouldn’t put more on our plate for no reason what-so-ever. Other people and their choices are not your worry. They have their own life to live, let them live it, let them be a pessimist or an optimist, let them do their thing, and you do yours.

Someone who was born knowing this lesson... I had to learn it after 40.

Thursday, October 23

Living in a Bubble, and it’s a good thing…

The world we live in could be seen as a box. This box is dominated and run by money, corruption, politics, war, disease, poverty and all the awful stuff you can think of. This is where we live, with no ability to exit.

Inside this box, each of us has the power to create a bubble if we want to. A bubble that not only protects us from that harsh box, but allows us to be a unique individual floating around in the awfulness; sheltered and somewhat in a world of our own. We also get the added benefit of seeing things with that colorful bubbly sheen. We still have the ability to see through the bubble, interacting with the box as necessary, spending money, paying taxes, living with corruption, all the cruddy stuff, but with less of the mental turmoil. The sharp edges don’t hurt, and everything looks a little iridescent.

Those living in the box not wanting to create bubbles are sitting on the sharp edges without protection, without hope, without the added benefits that come by choosing to create a bubble for themselves. In addition to the general yuk of the box, people without bubbles have to come in contact with one another, and be directly affected. Without bubbles, those bubble-less individuals have to live lives according to others because they have no bubble to dictate otherwise. No cushion, no saving grace, no shield, and no ability to float away and off the harsh surface. This is particularly uncomfortable for us if the bubble-less individuals are a forceful spouse or a problematic child. When family members don’t have bubbles, it’s very easy to struggle with having our own bubble.

The people most able to create and keep bubbles are single individuals. These people don’t have to deal with someone else, they don’t have to take kids into consideration, and what their bubble is based on -is their call. No partner dictating what they do, no husband or wife constantly complaining… and the reason single individuals are the most successful at creating bubbles, is that bubbles are only created individually. There are no two-man bubbles, because we are individuals, only in charge of ourselves. We can’t make decisions for others, we can’t dictate beliefs, happiness, actions, or anything for anyone but ourselves.

This doesn’t mean that people who aren’t single, can’t keep a bubble of their own, they can. But often it comes at the sad realization of it being necessary because the partner or spouse becomes too painful to deal with, when we have no bubble. Which brings me to the point that sometimes when we feel the need to create this bubble, people don’t like it, and they try to bust it. They'd rather we sit on the harsh crowded surface with them. We literally start creating a world for ourselves where we choose how we see things, and others can become very NOT ok with that. They use any means to try and pop it, wanting you to live without a bubble like them.

This all sounds just a little bit like craziness if you aren’t used to me and the way I try to explain thoughts through visual examples. Really, how should I explain the fact that we each decide our lives? We choose how we view things, how we interact with things, and how we are (or can be) in total control of our own happiness? (or lack there of) We decide how much worry we live with, how much pressure we have, how little pleasure we enjoy.

From inside my bubble, I am deciding who my “god” is, who I want to become, how I want to view my life, what I aim to achieve, and really… really… who I want in my life. I know this sounds like a crazy concept, but I just can’t wrap my head around other people being in charge of my life, my time, my happiness, and my PERSPECTIVE.

That’s pretty much it. I decide everything. So do you. Who knew we were so in charge?

Well, we are now.

Tuesday, October 14

Fantastical Fear

If you haven’t already noticed, you really need to give some credit to the amazing nature of fear. Its qualities are thoroughly impressive, its success rate incredibly high, and it might just be the second most powerful force in the universe. It’s fantastically capable, fantastically superior, fantastically useful, and fantastically successful.

I say it’s the second most powerful force, but it is not the second most successful force... it is number one on the success scale. Fear hasn’t just got a mantle of trophies for all its wins, it has baseball fields full… no, oceans full of trophies. We all regularly let fear win, we throw the game, and we are losers.

I wish somebody could show me a win, living and playing on the same side as fear. You can’t. People who know the power of fear, use it. Not just individuals either: groups, sects, parties, clergy’s… All their power is fear based, and all you have to do is try to explain out loud to yourself why that isn’t true to hear yourself explaining how successful fear is.

This fact is so basic and part of who we are, we can’t even see it. It’s like breathing air. We are so used to it, it’s just part of our existence. We have integrated fantastical fear into life so well, we don't even notice it.

Well what if you started noticing it? What if you decided you aren’t going to throw the game anymore, stop handing over trophies, and you started calling out “foul” to everything using fear tactics?

First you would have to stop watching the news. Very little “news” these days isn’t full of fear. It’s getting almost ridiculous the lengths “they” are going to, to ensure you feel fear. They also want you to feel you need to know “what’s going on”, so they can be sure to keep you bombarded by fear.

What if 75% of people disconnected their TV’s? Or what if they just stopped watching the news? If that was the only thing that changed, guess what would happen? The drop in the level of control would have them freaking out! If people don’t watch TV, they aren’t made to feel fear, if they are not feeling fear, what is making them do what they are told to do? How will people all end up with the same opinion? (–the desired opinion) They wouldn’t, so the need to control what people believe is huge. We must be kept in fear for the success rate of control.

Fear = Success. Don’t forget that. We can’t always see the end goal of fear, but you can hear it in the coaching.

Another reason I think it’s so successful is that a crazy number of people like to be unhappy. They need reasons to complain, they insist things aren’t good, and nothing an optimist does or says will change that. There is some freakish type of pleasure that is gained from unhappiness and living in fear. People even say how uncomfortable they are, how much pain they are in, how unhappy they are, and if given an alternative, still say “no thanks”. I have no idea why people do this, they just like to be uncomfortable, unhappy, and feeling scared.

My ability to see this does not make me immune to fear, but it does mean I don’t play the game. I’m unwilling to play. I’m not going to be a loser, I am not believing all the fear, and although I don’t often know what the alternative is, I don’t need to know, since I am just choosing NON-FEAR every time I hear something attempting to make me afraid.

I even consciously decide “I don’t believe you” when the attempt is the creation of fear. Ya, whatever it is might be real or true, but if they are going to be all about fear, and what I should fear, and what I do because of fear, my new answer is essentially “I don’t play that game”. And I walk on.

Fear either exists in our heads, or it doesn’t. Our only true freedom is the freedom we have to think what we want. You can be told to be afraid, you can choose unhappiness and worry, and you can swim in fear, or you can acknowledge and ignore it.

You might even be afraid to believe me…your call my friends, your call.

Wednesday, October 1

Genuinely Genuine

You know how, when you put something on your radar, you notice it all over the place?
Like when you get a new car, you start noticing your car driving on the road around you, when you didn’t before.

I’ve had self esteem on my radar for so long I’m at the point where I think I can see in the expressions of people when they like themselves, and when they don’t. I can hear it in their voices, the subtle expressions they make, and sometimes I try to change it just by my short interaction with them.

I won’t say for definite I’m totally accurate, because it also looks and sounds like comfortable vs uncomfortable... So I can easily say they are uncomfortable, but I might not be accurate to include with that having a poor self esteem, or them not liking themselves.

However, I do find the one thing that is totally connected with self esteem in most cases is the comfort/discomfort thing. Where that comes into play is the way we feel after assigning assumptions to the way we think OTHERS perceive us. Or another easier way to say it… whether or not we think people like us.
Thus, my interaction with them, my tone of voice, my intention to convey acceptance always changes the persons expression, changes their tone, and I very seldom fail. So… it seems they find it easier to like themselves, or to be comfortable if I do my part to communicate acceptance and non-judgemental-ness.

And this, has everything to do with MY being comfortable. I’ve even noticed that if I’m comfortable enough to communicate through body language and facial expression (like being silly) that I don’t care how I’m perceived, people like me MORE. If I am genuine, and just open to looking or sounding silly without repercussion, people get comfortable.

Now, I don’t know if you can see where this is going, 'cause it’s a little hidden. But, If I start out comfortable, I encourage them to be comfortable, then if I SHOW I’m comfortable, they show they like me, which in turn increases my self esteem which allows me to be more comfortable. If I put it in a circle… I can show that the first thing leads right back to itself, and at each revolution of the circle, self esteem only increases. BTW, I’m not just talking about myself here… I’m saying you should try to notice this, and do it.

So the more you are genuine, the more you are you, the more comfortable you become, the more people like you, the more you feel liked, the more you like yourself, and then the more comfortable you are… and on that revolution of the circle turns.

I’m not saying that every person out there is going to have to be relied on to make your circle turn. That’s impossible: No way everyone will like you, that has to just be accepted, but… as you are genuinely you, and comfortable, many people will inevitably like you. And for most, the acknowledgement that people like them, DOES affect whether or not they like themselves. I wish we could all just easily and quickly make our choice and be happy with ourselves. Like whether or not we want Pizza for dinner. “Hell ya, I want pizza for dinner!” That was easy!

The reason I write this, is because I experienced this the other day. I was a bit animated in a story I was telling, and for some reason was very comfortable. It was in a conversation with someone I am familiar with, they noticed, and commented on how much they like me. THEN immediately after, I spoke with someone who was a stranger but I used that same comfort level, and told another story, (animated) and I got the same reaction!

People want you to be genuine. They want you to be yourself. They find it (really each of us finds it) refreshing and nice to be around people who are happy in their skin. The ones who are chill with the life they’ve been dealt, and comfortable having genuine interactions. We want to be around those people, so lets be those people.                                                                                                                        

Friday, September 26

This little Four-Letter word.

The size of a word has no relation to its importance in the universe or in language.
I’m realizing that “life” consists of an immeasurable number of things. Once you start to quantify what equals life, you realize how incredibly magical and miraculous our existence is. From blood to emotion, tissue to feeling, DNA to experience… you don’t realize who you are and all the innumerable components that make you YOU, with LIFE.

In this last year I’ve opened my mind in many new ways while shutting doors to availability. What I mean is I’ve said I want to know more, more about me, about the universe, and LIFE. Then I’ve said I’m going to stop giving so much of my time, space, willingness, skills, to others. Whatever IT is, I’ve given IT less. I’ve learned to say no and accept that the reaction others have to my unavailability is theirs to decide. They can be upset I’m not “there” for them, or they can accept I’m living my life. They are welcome to do so too.

I realized I literally can’t go in all directions because I don’t have limitless energy for everyone. Good for those who do. I’m putting myself first. Feeling whatever I want, whatever comes up, and allowing myself to LIVE. Breathing, laughing, crying, learning, loving, breaking, making, and doing anything I feel I should.  This isn’t being reckless either, I don’t mean I’m “rebelling” as such. I’m not lashing out and going crazy. I’m going inward and saying it’s important for wholeness and sanity.

Some people don’t like their own company. They don’t enjoy silence or concentration, they feel incomplete alone. I’m not that person. I encourage everyone to not be that person. Loving who you are and enjoying yourself is one of the most important things I can think of, and seeing your LIFE as a precious gem that needs to be treated right is what we all should do.

The knock-on effect of that, would be nobody taking energy. Each of us would have enough, we would be content with ourselves, and sense our importance and value. Then all interaction would come from a place of inner fulfillment, which would be more like sharing than giving or taking. 

Back to wholeness. I think it’s odd how unnatural so many of us find it to be ourselves. For almost all my life I didn’t know who I was, and it wasn’t ok to just be me, having an opinion, doing what I want, and saying NO when I felt like saying no. Getting to know myself means getting to a place of being able to say no. Now I’m living, feeling, thinking, allowing, and relaxing into being me… Into the thing taking up residence in this complicated piece of flesh, blood, bone, cell, and energy I call ME.

So, LIFE is a giant complicated word, more than I can define. The more I learn, the smaller my mind becomes in this maze of existence that so quickly falls out of my mouth as a four letter word: “LIFE”. 

Monday, September 8

What’s going on around you?

I’ve come outside to sit in the dark and write because a lightning storm has started in the west, and I want to enjoy it. The last 3 days have been so much hotter than the 3 before it, so the temperature out here is lovely. There starts the thunder… I’m hearing it in the north and the south. Maybe this storm is a big one. Hard to tell because the sky is so black.

Right before the days went hot, we had two days where it rained in the afternoon while the sun was out. The raindrops were huge, and with the sun shining as they fell. It looked like big chunks of glitter were falling from the blue above. It was not just lovely, but cool. If you are a regular reader, you know I love photographing sunsets, and paying attention to the sky. I try to notice clouds, and the momentary beauty they share. Sometimes in the span of 4 consecutive photos, the clouds and the light change. Which makes sharing my photos on fb or instagram hard to choose from. Each one has differences while being identical.

(Wow… big crack of thunder there. Surely it will start raining with that arrival. Phish the cat just headed into the garage through the cat flap, so I guess he finally had enough of the lights and noise.)

One of my favorite things in life is to watch a sunset, and to keep telling it in my mind how much I am enjoying it. Sometimes it feels like the sunset gets prettier by being appreciated.

I often wish to write about what’s going on around me, share some random beauty I’m seeing, and usually I just tell the universe, figuring there isn’t really anyone who cares to hear my thoughts about glittery rain, or clouds anyway.

One of my favorite and most influential books in life is about being present. To not continually think about tomorrow or yesterday because you can’t change what did happen, and you don’t know what will happen. I haven’t perfected the being present thing, but I work on it continually, so I catch myself when I’m not giving my full attention to the task at hand, or the person at face. 

One thing I’ve noticed about this, depending on who I am interacting with, and how present THEY are, usually affects how present I am. I don’t mean to do it, which is to say I treat like with like, but it seems a bit inevitable. Like my mind acknowledges the lack of presence on their part, so I turn inward, and find myself not being as present when they turn and speak to me. This also becomes part of a dynamic you have with some. Some people give you their full attention, so you give them yours, you interact this way, and it’s great fun. Others are in and out, and frankly I find this dynamic puzzling. I’m not good at juggling or playing personality games, so I really find it confusing to know how to act and how to feel when someone regularly jumps from being present to not being so.

I have a friend who regularly checks her phone. Not only is she checking it, she’s playing games, scannning fb, replying to email, texting, listening to voicemail, and seemingly looking for any opportunity to stare at that little screen. It makes my interaction with her very uncomfortable for ME. She is engaged in many things, she is paying attention to lots of stuff, so she does not know or see that I find myself wishing to just excuse myself, so she can be present with her phone only. It’s almost like I’m the interruption, not the phone, and I’ve secretly wished quite a few times I had the guts to say “Should I leave, so you can do phone stuff?”

“Why don’t you?”,  you ask. Well, a few reasons. I’m the one who has chosen to be present. I can’t walk around telling people to read my favorite book before they interact with me. AND, quite a few people tend to do this now-a-days. Some worse than others, regularly picking up their phone to see why it just beeped or vibrated. Others, dealing with every vibration, interrupting conversation to do so, or waiting for the next break in something said, so that it’s not overly obvious they are making the phone important; not being present. Also, in part I see it as a cultural “thing” I have to deal with. This is what people are like in this day and age. Then there’s the fact I’ve mentioned it before, and I don’t like to repeat myself. Not only do I feel like I shouldn’t harp on about it, I feel like if I’ve already said something, and they do it anyway, they are DECIDING it is not something they need to change or stop. I too… am DECIDING it is something I consider rude and inconsiderate. Our freedom resides in how we choose to see things. I also remind myself: I’m in America. People here do not see many things as rude, which would be considered so elsewhere. We are not a country of great manners and courtesy. I get reminded of that just by going to the grocery store.

I fear I sound like I think I’ve perfected being present, and nobody else has… far from it. I catch myself not being present all the time, I’m trying to be present for strangers I speak to, people I know, and people who are not present for me. I fail often, but my attention is on it, and I notice most of the time when I do it.

For now the solitary sunsets and funky weather help me practice being aware of what’s going on around me when I am alone, I will continue to wish for more in my life who want to be present with me, and don’t care as much about phones as they do actual people. Maybe the world is just changing and I would be harping on about swimsuits that cover the upper thighs if I were in the 1920’s.

The lightening has stopped.

Thursday, August 28

Rainbow sprinkles and cherries on top

I work with people. I see every hair color, every skin color, every gender, size, shape, age, every accent, every attitude, every everything that makes us all different and unique.

This also happens to be my favorite part of my job: talking to people and exchanging this miniature space of time. The variety is awesome.

Having so little time with so many people, is like getting to eat the top part of an ice cream Sunday over and over. I get the good bit. The cherry on top. I don’t have opportunity to get full, overwhelmed, or have enough, I just get the colorful and flavorful; the yummy bit.

As I meet countless strangers from all over the world, I only become more amazed by the diversity and beauty out there, which mystifies the existence of racism and hate. Billions of people on this planet, and some seem to think diversity is a bad thing. Are there really people out there who think every human should have the same skin color? The same religion? The same clothing, the same attitude? And if it’s not that they wish us all to be the same, is it they wish for those with differences to not exist? Like bombing the shit out of them till they are all gone?  I have to wonder.

There is an old saying: Live and let live. And that saying has two parts!!! What you need to pay attention to is Live. In doing that, in worrying about yourself, you Let Live.

I think there are way too many people out there needing to be told:

Go live your life, do YOUR thing, experience YOUR dreams and desires, don’t get bogged down or care what other people are doing. Don’t pay attention to their skin or hair, their religion or their land. Live YOUR life, caring about what YOU are doing. Accept there are rainbow sprinkles, cherries, cookie crumbs, caramel sauce and every kind of topping you can imagine. And be ok with it because you are living YOUR Life, and enjoying YOUR happiness.

Simple really. So do it.

Tuesday, August 19

You can’t see how beautiful you are…

I asked my friend recently to have her kids draw a Mandala for me. My goal was to replicate what they drew in order to “build” the Mandala in photoshop; creating a circle from a non circle design. So my friend being clever, and knowing Mandalas are round, cut paper into pie shapes, and had her kids draw on those.
Clever right?

2 of her 4 children loved it, the other two were not impressed with the project. What I got back was two from the kids, and two from her.

In scanning and playing around, the design I used was one my friend drew, not her kids.
When I finished the Mandala, I sent it to her. She was shocked. She said she had no idea it would look like that… even tho SHE drew it.
-so beautiful.

Then I got thinking… (as I tend to do)

A number of people I know can’t seem to see they are more than a slice of Mandala. They are unable to see their complete beauty. The single slice is all they know, they drew it, they are familiar with it, but the ability to see anything more than that one slice, is just not there. Essentially they are too close for anything more.

Then I come along, I am not in a position to only see the slice. I see the whole Mandala. I’m not involved in the intricacies of their little slice, the bits they concentrate on, or have hang-ups with. I just see the big beautiful design and feel perplexed by their inability to see what I see.

I find this so often with people I really like. People who I think should see how great their wholeness is, and yet, they only see a slice.

What do I do other than enjoy their beauty, and keep trying to tell them what I see?

Wednesday, August 13

August Awareness

August has been a beautiful month for me. I don’t want to say good bye to the warm weather, and August normally represents that letting go of beautiful warmth. We have had some funky weather all summer, so I will continue to hope it stays funky, and maybe the warmth lasts longer than it should. Heck, I think I have seen the sun set in the north a few times this summer, so maybe anything is possible with the weather.

It’s been a beautiful month not just because of weather, but because of people. I seem to have so many loving and giving people in my life, that I am receiving smiles and love in many directions. In addition to being extremely busy with fun projects, and a social life squeezed into every available hour. Which is why I’ve found it so difficult to get my first blog post up this month.

 I’ve had a few things fall together in my mind the last couple weeks, and overall I feel great.

A couple nights ago I went with a Dearheart to a really cool event called a Sound Bath & Sonic Massage. It was in a Krishna temple, where the floor was covered with people on yoga mats and blankets. I had never been to one, so didn’t know what to expect, and afterward I felt like everything in the world was where it should be.

There were no mantras, there were no meditations per se, it was just sound, lovely sound made by two individuals with crystal singing bowls, Himalayan metal bowls, drums, flutes, rattles, gongs, tingsha chimes, and a little singing. They say they are “producing sounds which invoke a deep relaxation, naturally assist in meditation, stress reduction and holistic healing.” This was not a description I saw before the event, only after, and I was like –“Ah, ya, I totally felt that.”

I both laid and sat on my soft blanket during the ‘sound bath’, and afterward some thoughts came to me, so I grabbed my notebook and wrote:

The life I want can be the life I have. If I accept I’m in control, I invite, I expel, I love, I allow, I decide, I live… my life. We spend so much time wishing for the beautiful to arrive, the comfort to come, and for the “everything is ok” dream. We think it’s unattainable. The older we get the more we seem to accept there is no green grass, not on this side or the other. I had nearly accepted that lack of green, well… I in fact had, but something happened and I started to notice the green grass is growing under my feet, and it has everything to do with my willingness to look down and look around. In doing that, I’m seeing beauty everywhere. It’s life. It’s MY LIFE. And I’m seeing it’s the life I want. I’m making and living the life I want to have.

I need to own my life, take possession, and be the one dictating what I do, how I feel, and what ground my feet step on. I have to be self-full. I have to own me, take care of me, shut doors to some people, and pay attention to energy to and from myself. Consider what I’m willing to have in my life, and what I’m insisting leaves.

What if there is no “doing what you are meant to do”? What if you’re just supposed to follow your heart and act on what you feel? No path is already paved with you forced to find it. What if you pave your own using dreams, desires, loves, joys, interests and the things that make you happy? That’s the path that will bring satisfaction and lead to what we call fulfillment. There might not be any “meant to”, just “want to”.

Happy August. ;)

(Photo is one I took down at "the farmers path". My favorite place)

Thursday, July 31

“I’m Ready!” “No, you aren’t”

Don’t confuse being ready with wanting to be ready. It’s one thing to be standing at the starting line about to run the race, and it’s quite another to be at home having just decided you want to run a race.

Saying you’re ready doesn’t make you ready, even if you say it over and over.

Sitting on a couch saying “I’m ready to run” when you haven’t even purchased proper shoes doesn’t make you ready. It doesn’t matter how much you believe it. The actions you take after the decision are what make you ready.

Sometimes the action is just getting off your ass, depending on what you are feeling ready to do, but until you actually act on being ready, you are only still wanting to be ready.

It might sound like I’m saying, much preparation is required in being ready for something… No, not necessarily. Depends on what you are wanting to do. If you want to climb Everest, you have a lot of preparation. If you want to be learning something so you can use it in life, you only have to open a book. What you need to remember if your goal is to learn something, getting the book is one thing, OPENING the book and reading it is another. Once you’ve read it, you are ready to use it.

Many of us want to run the race and want to be ready for the race, so lets get some shoes, lets get some miles in… lets do more than just want!

Tuesday, July 29

What’s up with sharing?

You go to a restaurant, you order an appetizer, it arrives and tastes like heaven. You are freaking out over the amazingness of your dish, and what is it you want to do next? You want to SHARE!
”Taste this! Can you believe how smooth and creamy? Have more!”
Whenever something is wonderful to us, we want to share it.

I feel this with sunsets, with laughing, with a good movie, with MUSIC!! I feel a desire to share lovely and beautiful things to the extent that when I don’t have anyone to share with, it’s like the thing, isn’t real. 

If I have nobody to also taste, hear, see or smell this great thing, it kinda becomes less real. Now I’m not saying it isn’t real… what I’m saying is how much MORE REAL the thing is when you have someone to also taste, hear, see or smell that lovely thing too… you get to look at one another and nod, smiling, and then be exuberant WITH. Those parts make it feel more real, more amazing, more fun, and a life without anyone to share it… is less.

We have all experienced it with fb. People share everything, yes often out of a need for validation, (which isn’t a bad thing), but mainly out of a desire to not just experrience the thing alone.

I had a hummingbird fly into my back window, the 1 hour ordeal of waking him up, holding him and stroking him back to life was such an interesting experience for me, I wanted to share it with those I knew on fb…  AND when others share their cool things with me, I get to have MY life enlightened by them!

I know this isn’t really going anywhere, but I just wanted to SHARE, that I see the importance in SHARING, and I love having someone to share WITH!

Love, peace, and joy to you. 

Thursday, July 24

Bangs & Pops

I’m supposed to start work in less than 6 hours, and the thing stopping me from sleep is the continual fireworks outside on this state holiday.

When the bangs and pops started I was at a friends house, and the children outside ran screaming to stand where they could see the bright sparks in the sky.

On the other side of the planet, also this month, people are listening to the exact sounds and bangs, children there are screaming too, but not in excitement. The difference is here the sounds are harmless and full of color, and there, each bang is harmful and full of murder.

In the most densely populated place on the planet, walled in with nowhere to go, people are being attacked. They are attacked on a regular basis, but the world is so used to hearing about it that the continual deaths from bombs and artillery are something “westerners” ignore.

I lay here wondering what it would feel like for each pop and bang outside to be coming in contact with homes and apartments. We would be freaking out. We’d be freaking out even more if we had no military, no defense, and our children were dying in the attacks. “Will my family be hit next?” would be the overwhelming fear every second.

I have many friends sharing images from the other side of the world, some who live there, and some who like me just have friends there. They don’t live in anything remotely close to free or peaceful. Which is essentially what all the fireworks outside my house ARE about.

For one country to occupy another, and for the occupier to be murdering the occupied, free countries such as the one we live in should not be standing holding hands and supplying money and arms to the murders. And yet, this is precisely what “we” are doing.

The reality is we are not educated in the awfulness, we don’t go out of our way to learn about the abhorrent situation, and the abhorrent ways of these “occupiers”.

I don’t even have to name the countries, and you likely already know who I speak of. If you don’t, you could take information I’ve said here, search it, and you would land right in the thick of what I’m speaking about.

I’m now going to say the only thing I can, in my hope for change.

Pray for the weakness of evil, and the Strength of Goodness.
There is no picture for this post, I've seen too many images that don't bear sharing, and an image shouldn't make you care more.

Monday, July 21

Using your Wings

I have a friend who is like my guru. She says the stuff I need to hear, and over the years she has helped me figure myself out more than anyone ever has. She just says the right stuff at the right time, handing over understanding. It’s incredible, and makes me hope everyone has a guru.

She is my spiritual teacher and my guide without even trying to be. She’s just herself.
An interesting side note, she’s one of the smallest people I know, and one of the most soft spoken. She doesn’t seem to accept how incredible she is, and maybe she’s not playing an important role in many lives beyond mine. What I do know, is that I need to hear the things she says.

One of the things she said recently that was perfectly accurate for many of us and our lives; was her analogy of having wings.

What she said was not to me, but I sat there listening and felt it was so perfectly accurate for many people. I don’t want to forget it.

We can forever wish to be capable of flying, soaring, and owning the skies. We sometimes sit and watch others soar, and we say “I wish that were me”. Either we are afraid to fly, we don’t believe we are a bird, or somebody told us flying was impossible and we believed them.

Often you know you are a bird, but saying “I wish I had wings”.

What will it take for you to fly? At what point are you going to look down and accept you too could be soaring through white clouds and blue skies if you just took off?

Does it take another bird to come along and land next to you and point out you have wings? And does their pointing it out mean you will be able to suddenly fly? Will this one comment from a strange bird mean you can ignore the birds who have been telling you for years you aren’t capable of flying?  If you insist on ignoring your instinct, if you insist you don’t have wings, if you just sit there believing you aren’t a bird, you are choosing not to fly.

At what age, what point, what event, what thing happening will you accept you can fly?

I would bet that others investing their thoughts into your worth are what stops you.

You are sitting there alone, look down, see you have wings, let your instinct kick in, and take off already!

Monday, July 14

Undoing the Effects of Conditional Unconditional Love

I was listening to some friends talk recently about how they have been ostracized in many ways by their families and friends because they decided to walk away from “religion” in all forms. The area where we live is largely one religion, which professes CHOICE to be paramount and necessary in THE PLAN provided by JESUS, but the overall attitude of one CHOOSING differently than what everyone else is TOLD to choose, is an UNACCEPTING one.

I listen to my friends talk of their struggles wanting to live however they want to, not being told who they are or how to live, they continually speak of the disappointment, and being made to feel guilty or wrong for wanting to make choices themselves.

The reason I’m even writing about this as something interesting to me is because my parents have not done this to me. I lost my enchantment with religion while I was still a “teen”, so I have not had it in my life for more years than I did have it. AND I have had the support of my parents for all those years since.

I can’t personally relate to my friends stories and experiences, I don’t know what that struggle feels like, so my perspective is one of awe. I’m amazed that people allow the important idea of religion to stop them from treating their loved ones the way their religion says they should treat everyone.

I listen to the “unwelcome” attitudes my friends have to deal with from the people that should care most about them in life, and I hear a predominant theme… that they are going to have to find ways to heal this realization of conditional love. They have to fix feeling shame for not wanting to be religious, guilt for living a different life, and blame throughout it all.

They are made to feel wrong, bad, unwelcome, and struggle to fully wrap their heads around the fact that they are good people despite how they are treated.

What’s amazing is these friends I’m talking about are the highest quality of people I get to associate with. These are incredible friends, with amazing integrity, beautiful hearts, and generous natures. I am totally mystified that their FAMILIES can’t see this, but I can. And no, it’s not only their families, its friends too, who don’t understand their choice to walk away from religion.

I know how incredibly lucky I am to have lived more than half my life without religion or religious friends, and family members that love me irrespective of the word religion and that sad conditional love it embodies for most.

I’m not writing this because I feel lucky however. I’m writing this because I don’t know how to heal my friends. I can tell them how beautiful and wonderful I find them, but until they feel ok with believing it themselves, (silencing the shame, guilt, and blame) they are living outside of a level of happiness they are more than worthy of having.

All perspective is about choosing to feel the way we do, but when we have outside influences by those who are family it’s harder to not listen, and to choose “I’m incredible, irrespective of your beliefs about religion or me”.

I’d like my friends to allow their hearts, minds, and eyes to see their amazingness, and revel in the fact they already are the type of friend they want to have. I adore them, I label them “my bests”, and I love them JUST THE WAY THEY ARE!!

Friday, July 4

Independence & Influence

I just took pictures of an amazing sunset, which apparently was the signal for the fireworks to start. My valley is still lit with residual sunlight, but irrespective of that, there are bangs and burst in the sky in all directions. I just drove home from my moms house, and as I entered my town from a slight height, I looked down on the explosions, too many to count.

I’m not a patriotic person, I can’t see any point in it. I don’t disrespect the past, but I don’t believe how it’s told, and I don’t need to have pride in something I was not involved in. Anyway….

I see these lights as an expression of a conversation I had with a friend yesterday, which hinged upon independence day not being about “patriotism and independence” for me as it is for most. For me, it’s more about the fact that most people get to be free from work and responsibility, able to enjoy family and friends for a day. And what a wonderful thing to celebrate and have fireworks for… enjoying the company of the people you care most about.  

I have also had conversation with this same friend over the last week about how in control we are of our feelings, and if we want to look at a negative thing as a negative thing, we are choosing to see it that way. I used the example of a strangers critical opinion vs a loved ones critical opinion. For me, a stranger criticizing me isn’t worth even a few minutes thought, compared to the criticism of someone who knows me well. And yet, what is the actual difference between the two? How I decide to feel about them. Yes one might be based on history and the other not, but I GET TO choose how I react or feel to said criticism. -ME.

So I actually get to react In-Dependent of what they say. [If I choose to.] The key is seeing that fact, and doing it. AND what has kind of hit me recently in regard to this, if I choose to not be affected in a negative way, and I choose the opposite, to kind of spit in the face of negativity and go for positivity, I get to influence how others react to me. (spitting is a poor metaphor, but you get me.)

I feel like what I’m saying is profound for me, and obvious for others… but it’s so profound to me that over the last two days, I have tested my ability to affect others around me with positivity, by not just being my usual jolly self, but actually trying to influence others to be in a good mood. Paying attention to my expression, my tone of voice, and my casual conversation. It’s been very interesting. I’ve already learned, that a consciously cheerful demeanor generates cheerful interaction. As I’ve said before, I work in a coffee shop, so I get to analyze people, their reactions, what’s acceptable and unacceptable to say, and I not only get to learn by doing, I get to learn by watching and listening to others.

So, my feelings and actions can be independent of others and how they are acting, but I can also influence others for good with my happiness -generating their happiness.

In the end, I sit here listening to countless fireworks, and saying Happy Independence Day, with a personal meaning of not being dependent on another for how I react or feel.
Do you see the irony?
*oooooh…. ahhhhh….*

Saturday, June 21


I am fascinated (said with bug eyes) how situations unfold, relationships change, and interactions with people are as different as every individual is.

I wrote something called Relationship Dynamics over a year ago, and this is again along those lines.

The type of interaction we have with people depends completely on what combinations we end up with when we mix two people together. Kinda like flour and eggs. All sorts of different ingredients added to flour and eggs will produce completely different foods… and in different amounts; the combinations are endless. This is also true of people.

I recently met someone IRL that I only knew through the internet. A ‘top quality human’ by all accounts, and from the moment of first interaction, the type of dynamic was questionable. That’s a broad word to use, but I struggle to find a better word. I say questionable in that I was unsure about everything. The interaction was not fluid, not comfortable, and this seemed to be true for both of us. Not understanding, not communicating. Not being the friends in real life we thought we were online. One of us wrapped our head around it for the most part, but the other built an interaction dynamic in their head that was specific, judgmental, and wholly inaccurate. Then proceeded to try and make it reality.

The enlightened Byron Katie talks about the need some people have to tell you who you are. When they do this, they are essentially telling you about them. She says: “When you do The Work, you see who you are by seeing who you think other people are. Eventually you come to see that everything outside you is a reflection of your own thinking. You are the storyteller, the projector of all stories, and the world is the projected image of your thoughts.”

There is another story like this, which I feel really nails it:

"It’s a story of two dogs…
Both at separate times walk into the same room.
One comes out wagging his tail while the other comes out growling.
A woman watching this goes into the room to see what could possibly make one dog so happy and the other so mad.
To her surprise she finds a room filled with mirrors.
The happy dog found a thousand happy dogs looking back at him while the angry dog found a thousand dogs growling back at him.
What you see in the world around you is a reflection of who you are."

Over the years I’ve given many friends advice based on these ideas of the dogs and what Byron Katie says. If someone is telling you who YOU are, they are REALLY telling you who THEY are. It is not healthy to walk around telling people who they are. We need to worry about who we are. “worry about yourself” is great advice, and a tangent I will have to revisit on another day since I have great examples.

My experience of having my “friend” point a finger at me: “You are ___”, “You’re so ___”, “You need to ___” I was left realizing that they were creating the world they were insisting to live in, and it had nothing to do with who I ACTUALLY am. I also realized that if I am to believe they are telling me who they are, I should listen carefully, and realize they might be telling me this is a very unhealthy relationship, and to walk away quickly.

Pay attention to what is in the mirror, don’t avoid looking in it, and maybe sometimes we even need to notice when we are standing there looking in one.

Wednesday, June 11

Unicorns and Rainbows

The older and wiser I get the more of an optimist I become. I realize how lucky I am to say that, because many grow cynical with age.

I know why… they become hardened by life’s lessons. Its not that I don’t think I could take that path too, I totally could. It’s that I’m choosing not to, and in choosing not to, I’m choosing to essentially look on the bright side by consciously and sensibly saying, ‘what can I learn from this?’ Instead of just insisting to be more cynical, and less willing in the same circumstance next time.

It’s not that I’m letting my circumstances and life lessons keep me willing to go through them again; on the contrary, I’m kinda over analyzing them, seeing how things took the route they did, and I then do that sensible thing I mention, and I learn from it.  I don’t let any blanket take over either. We all love blanket statements. Blanketing the “next time” with a “never again”, doesn’t actually stop the never again from arriving.

There is a giant side benefit from thinking like this; the optimism I mention to begin with. I have NOT always been an optimist. Most of my life actually. I’m getting myself to optimist more and more every day by being willing to learn from everything, admitting I’m totally flawed, and accepting it’s totally ok to spend this life learning.

One of these lessons I’m learning is that if I allow the Universe to play it’s part in my life, believing things will work out (like an optimist would) the universe gets on my team and things DO work out. Over and over this has been proven to me, to the point that I even say this optimistic thing regularly: “Everything always works out”.

In a conversation with a man I love dearly, we were talking about how everything seems to always work out for me, but not always for him. I brought up this allowing the universe to do its part, and he said to me, “But YOUR life is so unicorns and rainbows”.

I was like: “Rewind, what?” He told me that my life was so different from anybody else’s, and that I was living a life where I experience unicorns and rainbows. I don’t remember my exact words to him, probably because I was laughing, but we have come back to this idea many times since that conversation. He feels I’m somehow living in a different world. He has found many ways to tell me this over the many months I’ve known him, but this was the first time it was put this way. I thought I understood when he finished explaining.

Then recently we were in Home Depot, and after our interaction with an employee and a fellow customer; as we walked away he said to me: “That was unicorns and rainbows.”  I saw clearer what he meant. How he sees the aspect of my interaction with people that makes me have different perspective, and makes my life different. It’s actually an optimism thing.

In allowing the universe to make things always work out, in accepting that I get that “god given right” (to say it how some might understand), this belief that I will only have good things happen and good interactions with people, it means that is exactly what happens. Not 100% of the time… hell, I’m not Jesus, but most of the time.

It’s like working with the universe, is working WITH optimism. And what does that get you? Unicorns and Rainbows.