17Dec

Now I’m Judgmental: My View, the Graduation

Unfettered power, is it always selfishly concerned with self?  I attended a graduation this weekend and was deeply disappointed with the pomp and circumstance, there was none for those who deserved it.  Rather than the acknowledgment and coronation of these graduates, rather then giving these students their due…the ceremony was nothing more than a few old white men congratulating themselves on their own achievements.  There were young men and women who have spent $35,000.00 and more on the degrees being awarded here.  Instead of acknowledging those who have completed a course of difficult work, a decision was made to acknowledge upper management at the college.  These managers each took their own sweet time screaming their own personal message from the pulpit and not a bit of it had anything to do with the now “poor souls” who had worked so hard to be there at this graduation ceremony.

What is happening in the world when those among us who have power, care not for anything but themselves?  What is happening in the world that so few recognize this selfishness in others?  It is no wonderful thing to award a degree in exchange for $35,000.00.  You have done nothing special or important, it is simply an economic exchange and yet you wish to pretend that you are noble and wise and do great things.  No sir.

You, who spoke, are all disappointments.  You gave nothing and you served no one, you do not belong on the pulpit.  You are no leaders.  You are simple self-aggrandizing old white guys looking for a pat on the back and using a Graduation ceremony to get those needs met.Beautiful Church F2AA5F57-EB2B-485E-923A-59F83B42381A

07Dec

Respect Your Past

The PathBut it doesn’t define you.  A great psychologist once said that “if you don’t like your childhood, then re-invent it.”  It is part of you and yet, the emphasis is up to you.  You can give power to any part of your past that you want to.  Do you want to remember the embarrassment of your mother’s harsh words or do you want to remember what your mother gave to you?  Do you want to remember the teacher who treated you badly in grade school, or do you want to remember the pride you felt when you earned a B in Math?  All are true, but which will characterize you?

The more you tell yourself you have suffered, then the more you have suffered.  What you tell yourself becomes your truth.  In this brave new world, where we are scrambling to understand our higher and better selves, we are prone to an over emphasis on psycho-analysis.  Both psycho-analysis and behavior modification work when you want a change, but behavior modification skips over the emphasis of what went wrong to you in your past.  We have all suffered, some of it awful and traumatic, all of it traumatic, yet we cannot compare a sports injury to a rape, we cannot, one induces much more trauma than the other.

I don’t suggest that we have no need to work through our very own trauma, I suggest that we move through our traumas, not into our traumas.  That may take a long time.  We must be aware of the time that we spend there.  Is the time we are spending inside of our past traumas, damaging the life we have available now?  Are the past traumas causing belief structures that damage us, for example, does the rape victim say to herself “what’s wrong with me?  I don’t matter.”?   Does the child bullied live in fear for years?  If this is happening to you or to one that you love, how do you empathize and encourage, either your loved one or yourself?  How do you make it across the divide of great sadness to being ready to move on with this life?

The way to moving forward is not to be in the past, reliving it and psycho-analyzing it.  Work through the past, yes, yet use behavior modification at its best.  Decide to make things different for yourself and reward your different ~ every step of the way.

Give yourself the very best childhood that you can recall and then move proudly and confidently into the very best future that you can build.

30Nov

She Thinks She Knows Everything

Cadence F5E4F86C-76B0-40BD-B991-E01F03088653 AD383B8A-E189-430B-A03E-D4517F497421 67B15615-7638-4D98-934D-F4FDA95C9B90 7CC16644-729A-4F82-A910-B71D640B2D67 A96AD6F8-8EF9-4783-AC44-5FCA02031301 5BE24DC8-DDFC-4471-B933-4EAB0C1E43E4 17E71E81-FFA3-4652-9045-4CE43A0B384D 3678D167-D957-497D-B35A-8BE22E640BD3And why not, she has certainly earned it?  She is not the simpering miss telling people what to do just to prove power.  Instead she is a strong and experienced woman, who does know.  She knows you.

Yes she understands you, and yes, you are even a bit scared of her.  You are scared of the depth of her understanding.  She reminds you of your mother, or perhaps your grandmother.

Maybe she is prettier than you, or smarter than you.  Maybe she is successful and has power.  Perhaps she has more money than you or a handsome husband.

So you hate her and you want to hurt her.  She has done nothing to you, except to be.  You will try very hard to destroy her .  You don’t need evidence that she has committed a crime, All you need is your own fear of her.  You are afraid that she knows you, you are afraid that she is “better”than you, so you will not forgive her.

You will do anything to destroy her and remove her, how dare she be better than you, how dare she be better than a man?

Her name is Hillary Clinton.

We can do better, as women, we will do better.

It’s time, we must take back our power and we will.  We will take back our power by working together, by supporting each other and by believing – in each other.

 

29Nov

Finding Myself after Fibromyalgia

Finding Myself after Fibromyalgia
It was so gradual, it was like a pine tree growing, you could not see how it grew from day to day, but you noticed at different intervals that growth had occurred.
The most intense emotion that I remember feeling was the fear. I had no idea what was wrong. There were so many symptoms. I want to say the first really scary symptom was my stomach. I began to feel discomfort on a daily basis. It seemed like no matter what I ate there was no getting away with anything because my stomach was going to hurt. I was constantly nauseated. I finally ended up in the emergency room and from there to the gastroenterologist. It was a journey of fear and doubt. Was my body betraying me, was I finally getting old, did I deserve a terminal diagnosis?
During this time my body aches are getting worse and worse. Most of the time the pain is chronic, but often it would become acute. I remember talking with the orthopaedic doctor and being told that there was nothing that could be done about the pain in my hand. He gave me a horrid cream to measure and then rub on twice daily. I found no relief and was nauseated by the smell. When I went to the follow up appointment, he announced that the cream had no smell.
The usual pain in my neck, knee and lower back came and went, but mostly came. I began to feel all kinds of pain more acutely; a small bump became a debilitating incident. I remember crying over a small injury and being mystified by the level of pain.
Again, it was the fear that was the most exhausting. What is wrong with me, why am I hurting so often, why am I tired, why is it difficult to move around after a lot of activity?
After an endoscopy, I found out that the amount of ibuprofen I was taking was burning holes in my stomach. I had lots of painful ulcers and a hiatal hernia. I was elated to learn: no celiac disease and no h. pylori. However, ibuprofen was the only magic to work fighting my pain.
From my hand, to my neck, to my back and my knee, everything was measurably worse. The new hand doctor started with cortisone shots, he was somewhat cruel in the application so that doctor did not last long. In the meantime, I had to go to a different doctor for the rest of my body. This was a daunting task. No pain relief and now my chores and errands have doubled. I had to have x-rays and MRIs and all sorts of other evaluations and sometimes the doctors themselves became the problem (like the cruel one).
The medication to help cure my ulcers was an unfortunate mix of help and hindrance. While the medication reduced acid in my stomach and my unrelenting nausea was slowly receding, my body became unable to properly absorb necessary nutrients: an old diagnosis of anemia reared its ugly head again.
Months and months go by and it seems endless, I find a pain management doctor who performs several procedures. Her choice of medication for me makes me faint and dizzy, so once again I am without even a hint of pain relief. Lying down on the bed becomes agonizing as the muscles refuse to respond to pain relief. The procedures help, but cortisone is dangerous to the body.
Now I have to change my primary care doctor, the new medications confuse my hormones and now, my thyroid is not operating correctly (again). Does the madness ever end? Then I remember that I am basically okay. I can still work, see, feel and hear. I am not able to walk as much anymore, but I AM STILL WALKING. No more sissy-baby for me, I had to get myself through it.
Eventually, the right medication begins to work. It takes months to get the correct dosage and finally, I feel as if I can maintain. It’s been over a year since that trip to the emergency room. I am finally at the point that I understand the disease and I have accepted it. My fear has somewhat abated. I am not looking for the worst anymore. Fibromyalgia has become manageable.
Several people have blamed the fibromyalgia diagnosis on stress and over extension of my energy. I don’t know how it started, but I sure wish I knew how to make it end.

While I was in it, I wasn’t me.  I wasn’t the person that I used to be, I’m still not that person.  Reconciling the new me with the old has been a difficult task.  I judged that old me as better, after all, she was younger, prettier and she had more energy.  I know that who I am now is good and good enough, broken and bent do not mean spent.

14Oct

It’s a Downer to Hear about the Failures of You

Silly Train, You are not a BoatI don’t want to hear about what you have done wrong.  I don’t want to hear about the mistakes you have made.  They are only ammunition to justify some behavior, somewhere.  Or, perhaps you use those “admissions of truth” to demonstrate that you are, indeed, a good person.  Whatever the reason that you unload your negative self statements on me, I don’t care, just stop it.  It’s a downer to hear how little patience you have with yourself.   It’s a downer to hear about your self loathing and your self doubt.

You are who you are and within a millisecond of meeting you, I know who you are.   So give me that in our conversation.  Give me who you really are.  I know you aren’t Mother Teresa; I know you aren’t Martha Stewart; I know you aren’t John Wayne or Clark Gable, and, guess what?  I still like you.

08Oct

Worrying Crowds my Brain and Pain makes Me Dumb

I have made a couple of poor decisions in the last couple of weeks, and, I cannot apologize.  Those decisions have come from a brain crippled with worry.  At my age, one gets very good at disciplining the emotive side of the brain.  My brain leans towards the analytical thinking side on most days anyway.  But, when I worry for my children, I turn into a full blown idiot.

There is something primal about love for children.  Specifically, it is a love that has no cause, it is simply consuming; part of the universal law of survival.  To concern ourselves with our offspring is to ensure that life goes on.  Perhaps this is why parental love is so enduring and encompassing.  It must be, or humans would perish from the earth.  (I digress.)

My daughter, my youngest, coincidentally, also the smallest.  She is the fiercest mother I know.  She has had to be, the challenges are astronomical.  I have heard that her situation is more and more common in today’s world.  My daughter is held hostage 800 miles from her home and family because of the fact that she had a child with a resident of a state that she visited.  This hostage situation has turned into the worst nightmare for her and (of course) by extension to her family.

The most common activities that I can take for granted with my other grandchildren are an impossibility.  My daughter has two sons, both handsome, smart and kind.  I cannot see them unless I buy a plane ticket and they are an impossible driving distance away.  (But enough about me.)

Imagine my daughter’s life, no familial support, an ugly and mean man as the father of one of her sons.  Every time she works she needs a paid babysitter, must do all of the driving, and all details of life sit squarely on her shoulders.  Getting the boys to school Monday morning can be a huge ordeal because her work schedule may keep her into the wee hours of the day.  Most difficult, most painful, is the fact that she is alone – and for the time being – nothing can change that.  So when a trauma occurs; can you imagine the length of the long distance calls?  When that trauma cannot be remedied; can you imagine the tears cried into a pillow, no strong shoulder to cry on here?  When the worry for her children cannot be abated, the suffering begins to show in her body, her eyes, her life.  Because this suffering has gone on so long, it becomes a pervasive part of this life.

I know for sure that this suffering will end.  It has been going for so long, I know that it must stop.  In the meantime what damage has been done?  What hurts have been internalized?

I also know for sure that the best path for me is not to be her mother and tell her what and how to do.  This fierce woman is in survival mode.  My best path is to be the quiet and kind friend.  Please, please God, deliver us from this evil and give me back my daughter and grandsons.

24Sep

An Egomaniacal Personality Makes You a Liar

In the world, when we are mindful, we cannot help but be aware of what is wrong and more important, what we have done wrong.  It can be as simple as buying the wrong dish towels for the kitchen.  It can also be as important as hiring the wrong assistant, one who hates you and spends all day, every day, trying to destroy your career.

We make mistakes, we are, as the poets put it, only human.  If you are mindful, this information about being human, can also keep you humble.  It is not as if you are less than any other, it is not as if you should bow down to any other.  It is only that we are, as human beings, all of life’s possibilities.  No one person gets to have all of what is good, or fun or bright.  We all must carry our burden, we all must make mistakes and we all will make very wrong decisions.

If we are single, bereft of family, our faulty decisions are of little matter to anyone but our own self.  However, if we are influential, then our own decision may be of some import to others.  The more influential, the higher the import, the more who will be affected by our decisions.  Again, sometimes, these decisions can be very wrong.

If you are egomaniacal, you will not believe any truth which disparages your perfection.  You will deny all which denies your perfection, often fabricating lies to prop up their own point of view.

Take “Papa John”, he loves capitalism and won’t hear a word about interdependence.  He believes that his ownership entitles him to using other human beings as indentured servants.  He lives in a 40,00 square foot home and pays his staff 7.25 per hour.  He thinks that he is entitled to every single profit that his company makes.  He has threatened to pass the costs of “Obamacare” onto his franchisees.  It does not occur to “Papa John”  that his wealth is dependent upon the sweat and hard work of others.  All wealth ‘belongs’ to him.  It does not occur to him that his well-being is a reflection of interdependence with the rest of the world.  He has adopted the rule of capitalism and will defend it to his dying breath.  Why?  Because it allows him to take all, without the guilt of greed on his conscience.  He believes in capitalism and will fight for the right to pay his staff poverty wages and to ensure that his staff cannot access health care.  He has made this reality his right as an American in a capitalist culture.

He will never admit that he creates poverty.  He will never admit that the family members of his staff die because they do not have access to health care.  He will never admit that he has created undeserved wealth for himself using unethical laws in a country that does not care for the weak and poverty stricken.

The egomaniac knows only his own truth.  It does not matter to the egomaniac that his truth is singular, it is his truth.

17Sep

Why Do We Have to be Strong A.L.L. the Time?

It is as if, there is shame in weakness.  Worse yet, illness is a condemnable offense.  I don’t understand this, because as mothers, we realize that there are good days and bad days.  As mothers, we don’t hesitate to provide love and care to our family members no matter who and what they are, or how they behave.

My challenge is this: why aren’t we women defining society?  We understand, we acknowledge the different faces of the human condition.  As women, we should be defining the societal structures of being human in America.  It’s ok to be weak, it’s ok to be sick, it’s ok to be ignorant, why add insult to injury and shame those less capable than the strong?

This strength thing has become its own illness, in the sense that lots of people say and think, “I don’t need anyone and I don’t need anything.”  This can go past the point of wisdom and could even cause self harm.  Look at those who die after refusing medical help, or women who are murdered by a husband or boyfriend because they refuse to go to the police?

This norm of strength is fostered by our society.  Perhaps it is the pushback from the way people are treated when they are in economic need.  Our society is not very nice to the poverty stricken, but again that is because we all believe in this notion that strength is enough to overcome anything.

Needy people are normally put down, made fun of, ostracized and of course, they are deprived of very real and very normal opportunities.  This can become a hamster wheel of frustration along with denial that keeps those in need – in need.

How do we balance all of this out?  Strength and weakness, need and satisfaction?  How do we ensure equality in spite of the fact that not all humans are strong?  Those that are strong, what price do they pay to exhibit that strength?

Mother and Son, modern life

15Sep

To Women Everywhere

PinterestMM by WarholI hope you are beautiful for as long as you want to be.  And I hope that when you lose your beauty that you love yourself enough that you don’t care what happened to your beauty.

I hope you admire the beauty in others.  I hope you know that you are as important as any other human being and as important, that you treat other women as if they are important also.

We deserve to be loved for our being.  We don’t deserve to be thrown away at age 40.  We have the power and with each other, we are ridiculously strong.  It is up to us to redefine the social structure.  It’s up to us to make women important, to make beauty unimportant.  It is up to us to give meaning to just being.

We can’t possibly create equality if women will not support each other.  It is just too difficult to navigate through society and to deal with another woman’s hatred, jealousy or condescension.  How can we show the world women’s strength and power, if what we do to each other is brutal?

So please be beautiful inside and out, proud and happy with your looks, with your brain and with other women.  It’s our only route to equality and ultimately to equanimity.

 

26Aug

The Pressing Need to be Better Than

This universal pressure here in America permeates everything, in almost every way.  People have a need to be better than someone, almost any one will do.  Most of the time, this need manifests itself blatantly.  Men who buy the biggest truck, they may have no need for a truck, but they must display the largest truck.  Women who spend an entire paycheck at the spa, getting manicures and pedicures, as if to say, I don’t have to work, look at my manicure: perfect.  In these situations, for the most part, it is a matter of successful marketing and is harmless, except perhaps to the wallet.

However, there is nothing harmless about the crushing need that certain sectors of our society have to be better than entire races and cultures.  This “being better” ideology allows a belief system to justify harsh and hate filled judgment of others.  This harsh judgment separates humans from each other and consequently allows cruelty to proliferate.

What I don’t understand is where does it come from?  In almost every conversation, particularly in business and social settings I see the conversations slipping into comparisons of wealth, status, intelligence, to say nothing of displays of wealth and privilege.

Not all societies have this need, and certainly there are gradients to the need.  This need is causing more destruction than can be counted.  One-up-man ship is a relationship killer, so we can readily acknowledge what it is doing to the melting pot of America.  Throughout our short history we have punished and denigrated all new cultures, indeed, beginning with the genocide of the American Indian.

Long term world peace is a real goal.  The attainment of such peace must begin with the individual who is willing to be equal in rights and privileges to all other individuals.   That can be a scary thought, as we can’t seem to imagine the abundance that is enough for everyone.  We want our own wealth and an assurance of survival.

As long as America grants person status to corporations and idolizes wealth and the wealthy, we will struggle with equality.  That is shameful for a nation founded on the tenets of equality and emancipation.