Archives for May 2013

28May

Consequences

To say that someone must live with the consequences of their actions is to imply that consequences are fairly apportioned in a just and equitable manner.  Everyone on earth should know that fairness and justice are human constructs and nothing and no one in the universe is applying consequences either fairly or justly.

I think that even Oprah is crazy because she believes in karma.  If your life is good, I think it is easy to believe in karma.  It is certainly an American way of believing, because it allows us to hang onto our materialistic belief systems.  It is ironic that Hinduism, the source of  the philosophy of karma as a belief system, fits into the American way of life so well.  Because we all want to believe that there is some kind of justice, somewhere, somehow and in some way.  We want to know that people that are mean, hateful, violent or aggressive will receive vengeance for their hurtful actions towards others.  We want people to suffer, when they have brought suffering to us.  That is why karma is such a powerful American way of life.  It gives us the comfort of knowing that if we can’t get the ‘rat bastard’ in this life, then he may literally be a ‘rat bastard’ in the next life.  There is comfort in knowing that hurt will get hurt.

To say that I have done something stupid and therefore must pay the price for my actions, is once again, a human construct.  It is no more than opinion and is certainly not fact.  If you speed in your car, one consequence is a monetary fine, another consequence is an expensive car crash, another consequence is death and another consequence is nothing.  It is possible, even probable that if you drive your car fast, nothing at all will happen to you and you may end up at your destination more quickly than if you did not go over the speed limit.

Are there natural cause and effect relationships?   Of course there are.  I do not mean to say that there are no causal relationships.  What I mean to say is that, we can identify some of these relationships in the physical universe, but I do not believe that anyone can predict these relationships in the psychic, spiritual or psychological worlds.  Yes, there are probabilities of behavior, for example, if you treat someone badly for a very long time, eventually they will find a way to leave you.  For example, if you exceed the speed limit every time you drive, there is a very high probability that you will receive a speeding ticket and eventually may cause a traffic accident as well.

The reverse is not always true, what I mean by this is that if you never exceed the speed limit, there is no guarantee that you will not be in a traffic accident.  You may still end up in an accident even though you follow the law to the letter.  This is also why I cannot believe in karma.  I have seen very good and very loving people die in very sad and dreadful ways that had nothing to do with who they are or their life.  If you are a good person, you have that knowledge as part of your soul, yet you do not have a right to anything else, just because you are a good person.

Please stop telling everyone in the universe that people get what they deserve, they do not get what they deserve.  There is no way you can justify giving fatal cancer to a six year old boy.  There is no separate set of laws for the young or for the innocent, so you cannot justify a statement that “people get what they deserve.”

23May

Your Stress is Your Responsibility!

Coping with a High Stress situation or environment:

  1. Request a time out and take a break.
  2. In an off time, practice a meditation routine, learn deep breathing skills.
  3. Deep breathe, it’s excellent for the alleviation of anxiety.
  4. Take a walk, make it last for 10 minutes.
  5. Visit with a colleague that appreciates you and request support.
  6. Find someone what will listen to you vent without getting offended with what you have to say.

For your environment, consider the following:

  • Keep your body well hydrated, create a source of filtered water that you can access any time.
  • Keep oxygen producing plants in your workspace, not only are they good for your body by being an air purifier, they also cheer you up.
  • Consider the lighting in your work and living areas, assure that you have plenty of light for your tasks.
  • If you do not have a private work space, make a private space that you can call your own.
  • Be aware of your color preferences and choose soothing colors.
  • Decorate with pictures of your loved ones and smile at their pictures as often as you can, it will cheer you up!

At the end of the day, your stress is your responsibility.  It is your body that will suffer from the effects of high stress.  You cannot hope that life will be perfect and then you can get skinny or lower your blood pressure.  You must take responsibility for managing your own stress.  In the end, you may have to consider a job change or even a vocation change and it’s not the end of the world.  Stay centered with yourself and stay focused, you will figure it out.

20May

The UnRelieved Grief of Incest

She tried to explain to me how it was for her.  She told me “my husband doesn’t understand why I have to wear underwear ALL of the time.”  She said she had to wear underwear because it helped to make her feel safe.  She tells me that her earliest memories included being caught alone – time and time again – and dragged, sometimes by her hair, into a dark closet.  She says that she remembers the sounds of the struggle, the sounds of the panting and the awful breathing sounds that were made inside of that black closet.  For a long time, she believed that the adults must know, they knew everything, why didn’t they know what was happening to her and how bad that it hurt?  She started running away when she was very young.

She said that it is hard to translate the damage from being raped into adulthood.  She told me that she hated wearing flip – flops because “flip-flops are too loose”.  She told me that “feeling loose, is like being caught alone, it just isn’t good, so I can’t wear flip-flops.” She is a lovely woman who is well into her 50s.  She knows that these things that she does to comfort herself and to make herself feel safe are only symbols of her loss.  She knows this, but she continues.

And I, who have heard so many such stories, I tell her “go ahead and wear your underwear, do not wear flip -flops”, do as you must to give yourself safety and comfort – and I remember that it was Carl Jung who said “neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering”.

I think that sometimes nothing resolves legitimate suffering.

16May

With-holds, Sneaking, Lying and other Problems with Honesty…

I have the occasion to think deeply today about all of the ways around honesty and disclosure.  I am well aware that lying builds walls between people, but I don’t think I honestly counted the costs of with-holding and sneakiness.  Outright lying is a no-brainer, anyone can see the damage, anyone can buy into the negative effects of lying.

Here is the question: What about when you are simply with-holding your truth from being expressed?  I am not speaking about lame thoughts, such as “your hair is ugly”.  That is not what I refer to when I speak of with-holds.  What I am speaking of, is an on-going truth that I hold back from you.  This can be many things and many types of things.  One good example is when an addict with-holds the addiction from loved ones.  One clear violation is when a married man or woman, becomes intimate with someone who is not their partner.  Definition of intimate: of a very personal or private nature; marked by very close association or contact.  Intimate, in no way implies a sexual act, but it can still imply cheating between partners.

It does not have to be that complicated, it can be as simple as I don’t want you to know something important about me until I am sure that you will accept me unconditionally.  Perhaps, I never tell you this important thing about me.  The price of this with-holding of information is that now there is space between us, we are not close.  Our intimacy is now in question.

Feeling that space between us is very uncomfortable.  Sometimes good friends will separate until both can forget that painful thinking that they just cannot share with each other.  Families usually cannot do that, they cannot separate to make space for difficult thoughts and discussions to be forgotten, they must communicate.

Being close with anyone is not possible if there are untruths between you because untruths create space.  That is the price you pay for dishonesty, your dearest loves are very far away.

 

15May

Esmus and York Family Sayings

“How dare you have fun without me?”  Travis York, Sr.

York’s Law of Economics: “Expenses will automatically rise to meet any unexpected income.”  Travis York, Sr.

“It’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.”  Ella Mae York

Remember wallpaper?: “Busier than a one-armed paper hanger.”  Travis York, Sr.

Cuairn” = anything gross, particular “stuff in the bottom of your pockets”.  Banta York

“I’ve been unfaired against!”  One of the kids?

“I’d rather crawl across a field of broken beer bottles than do that…” Doug Asay

My mother, Patsy Delores Quinn, (who was a bartender) always said “don’t drink coffee to sober up, all that you will be, is a wide-awake drunk!”

My father, John Henry Esmus, trying to keep everyone in the car happy used to sing songs and often made up the lyrics: “Two snakes were crossing the railroad tracks, one was red and the other one black, the red one said I hear a train and the black one said, let’s not rema-ain!  Howdy dowdy fiddle all day, howdy dowdy, fiddle e dee, howdy dowdy fiddle a dee and howdy dowdy fiddle all day.”

Friends:

“Time has told a tale here.” Kim Raymond

13May

Making Someone Else Change… Make the World Change

That is where we get confused.  We think that our own frustration, anger, anguish and pain are someone’s fault.  Further, we find ways to prove that this other person who is causing all of these feelings in us, must change.  They are wrong, imperfect examples of a human, someone who could be more perfect.  Their perfection would then cause our happiness.  (In the meantime, our ego can inflate well above the norm as we thrive on the imperfection of others.  It helps us to know that someone else is making mistakes also.)

How sad we are to think that another person causes our own feelings in any way.  It is our love for others which gives us pain.  It is our wish that they do well, that is what causes our grief, if they do not do well, we hurt.

There is also the pain of separation, our wishes and expectations are broken with separation.  So often, separation is unfair or unjust.  The universe does not care if we agree.  The universe simply keeps on moving in an endless dance with both life and death.

Disappointment, separation, death of a loved one, these are all things which come to us at least once in our lives.  Our suffering does not change the world, or make the universe different, it is simply our suffering.

As human beings fully engaged in living and loving; we must pay the prices of disappointment, grief and pain.  These are the currency of loving deeply and vividly.  At one time our heart was filled with intense joy and passion, that time comes and then it goes, yet, it will come again.

13May

Right Life, Right Now

There is a certain change that comes with age.  When I was not satisfied with my life I would say to myself that I was working towards the right life and that soon I would gain it if I worked hard enough.  Now that I am older I cannot say that and there seems to be an urgency to have the right life, right now.

08May

Emails Encourage Bullying

There has been a lot of coverage on the news about cyber bullying.  I know that many have mentioned that communicating via internet puts distance between you and the person you are communicating with.

When we are together we can absorb every nuance of the other person’s stance, facial expression, reactions.  Often, these indicators will help us in our communication because we might alter what we are saying next, based on the reaction to what we have said last.  This communication feedback may be why we are diplomatic and sensitive.  The lack of human feedback may also be why we are insensitive via text and email. 

Feedback also helps us to clarify the message.  A fairly innocuous message can become ridiculously overblown in the absence of human feedback.  The receiver does not know what was meant and if the receiver is someone who suspects that the world is bad, the receiver’s bad thoughts could dominate fairly quickly.  It’s called a misunderstanding.

Think about it this way, when communicating we are always in a state of emotion.  In the absence of feedback and in the absence of clarity, we may end up responding quickly and most assuredly inappropriately.  This is why I think email bullying is so common.  I think that in the absence of a face and human gestures, we may forget that we are, indeed, speaking with a human being.

03May

Mindfulness for Dieting

Yesterday, as I was taking my daily walk, I had to stop on the sidewalk on the south side of a driveway onto a busy street.  I stopped and just stood there for a few minutes because the women driving; poised to pull out into that busy street was busily eating and watching towards the north.  I could not walk in front of her vehicle because she just was not seeing anything to the south.  What she was seeing was her food and the street to the north of her.  I did not mind waiting, but I felt sorry for her.  What has been cropping up in my life lately are heavy-set women who swear that there is no way that they can lose weight.  They spend many minutes explaining to me or anyone else who will listen why they are heavy and why they ‘cannot’ lose weight.  I’ve heard so many justifications for being heavy: my mother-in-law’s favorite “I have a slow metabolism because of the thyroid.”  Other favorites for maintaining heaviness: “since menopause, I just can’t get it off” or “I’ve never had enough money to eat right, we only have enough money for pasta instead of whole wheat.”  My own excuse has been that I hate exercise.  I actually went to the gym for several years of my life and loved it.  I eventually quit because the pool and whirlpool were important parts of the gym experience – but I kept getting infections from sitting in the whirlpool – yucky!

One of the most successful tactics that I have seen for weight loss is the practice of what Eastern religion practitioners might call “mindfulness”.  I want you to be conscious for your life.  Even the boring, day to day, drudgery is for you.  I want you to be center stage for your life.  That means that you must be present for all that is possible and all that you do.  Eat at mealtime and dedicate mealtime to eating. 

Don’t eat food while you are sitting at your desk, driving or watching TV.  Research has proven over and over again that when you do this, you will eat more and therefore consume more calories.  Many people divert themselves by eating and do not realize that eating = calories = weight.  There is no diversion from this fact about our bodies.

My husband tells me about someone he works with who eats snacks all day, will inevitably rush out of the office to go and get lunch at 2:00 in the afternoon.  She speaks as if she is so busy that she just could not get to lunch earlier.  My husband believes that she eats unconsciously and is therefore not aware that by eating all day, she cannot get hungry, but pretends instead that she is busy.  We were talking about this because my friend at work eats from a box of ‘wheat thins’ almost all day.  I am sure that manufacturers congratulate themselves on how they name their products in order to trick the human brain.  It works.  People inherently believe what they read and continue from there.  Reading a package that says lo-fat and looks delicious is everybody’s dream of reality.  Unfortunately, particularly when it comes to nutrition, reality is reality and dreams are dreams.  Remember: eating = calories = weight.

I have one other observation about those of us who are currently hanging on to a lot of extra weight – what you drink matters, it matters very much.  Here is what I mean about that.  I am constantly speaking with dieters who do not understand why they do not lose weight, while they clutch their bottle of 210 calorie juice desperately to their breast.  Many dieters believe that if they stop drinking soda they will soon drop excess pounds.  Nothing could be further from the truth if you are just adding a high calorie juice.  The other fable is that diet soda will resolve the issue.  It will not.  Diet soda is nothing more than poison and it expresses disrespect for your body.  That kind of disrespect can get your body into trouble in so many ways.