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.

13Aug

Envy

Quintana RooI remember vividly the two most prominent cases of envy that I have felt for another.  My envy always starts with me and what I feel I don’t have.  As a young woman (in my early twenties), I wanted very badly to go to college.   My family of origin didn’t have the funds (nor the inclination). By the time I met Brigitte, I had children and could not even consider a college education.

Brigitte was a cocktail waitress who worked with my mother.  She was tall and beautiful and had movie star hair.  Her hair was a deep brown, naturally curly and framed her face naturally and provocatively.  My mother marveled at Brigitte’s choices as Brigitte had traveled the world with her military parents, spoke a foreign language and had a college degree.  I saw and met Brigitte many times.  Once, on a cruise dinner party that I attended with my mother, Brigitte was present.  I was a bit lonely and it must have shown as Brigitte spent a lot of time befriending me.  She was sweet and loving and beautiful.

I met Brigitte’s boyfriend, who was a highway patrolman.  They seemed happy together.  Secretly, I nursed a grudge against Brigitte.  I thought that she was wasting her college education working as a cocktail waitress.  I felt that I should have been given her educational opportunities as I would have made use of them.  I felt that the world was unfair, giving gifts to those who don’t care or don’t appreciate.

And then I got the call. My mother asked me to come over.  My mother told me “last night Brigitte and her boyfriend were arguing.  Brigitte went home with another one of the cocktail waitresses and a male friend was with them.  Brigitte told her boyfriend where she was.  Sometime between 3:30 and 5:00 a.m., he found them.  Brigitte’s boyfriend took his gun and shot all three of them.  Clearly, Brigitte’s girlfriend ran, because she was found in the hallway with a bullet in the back of her head.  The only survivor was the male, who was shot in the face”.  He suffered a deformity for the rest of his life.

It came to light that Brigitte’s boyfriend was a combat veteran who had served in Vietnam.  For the next fifteen years I was afraid of Vietnam vets.

My next example of Envy is much, much later, after my divorce from my husband: the father of my children.  It took us quite awhile to finalize our divorce and he struggled mightily to avoid our debts and to avoid paying child support.  It was an extremely difficult time for me as I could never quite pay ALL of my bills.  Taking care of the kids financially always left me feeling inadequate.  I took a second job and just kept trying.  My ex-husband remarried and I was so very envious of their financial security.  They bought a new home, drove new cars and had a vacation home in North Carolina.  In the meantime I couldn’t afford a new prom dress for my daughter.  I envied my ex-husband’s wife’s financial security.  She is childless and could focus all finances on her self.  I went five years without buying new underwear, I just couldn’t afford it.

And then, the unthinkable happened.  My ex-husband died from his one and only heart attack.  He was only 54 years old.  The new wife got to keep the estate, but it didn’t matter because my children’s father was gone.  That single event shattered everyone’s security for many years.

And now when I look back, I think Envy is the most wasteful emotion of all.

17Jul

Dishonesty

Unknown author

Unknown author

For the first time since I started this blog, I am materially aware that I have an audience.  It has stopped me from writing.  I have been through a painful experience which made me leave my job.  I have been grappling with such issues as self control, my ability to modify my environment and the effects that another person can have on me.  In some ways my experience has been at odds with my belief system, which has caused a cognitive dissonance.  As you can imagine, I have been struggling.  This does not cause me to write less.  Indeed if you know me, it actually causes me to write more.

What has caused me to write less, is this awareness of my audience and the fear that my life would be negatively effected by my work here on the blog.  There is nothing more anxiety producing than losing one’s income.  I am not willing to be a starving artist, I have too much going on in my life to stop the train for the sake of my own written word.  Trust me, I have saved the words.

Some things that have caused me concern is the idea that my old boss, who is vindictive and mean spirited, would work hard to block my efforts to find new employment.  Another concern is that, a person interviewing me (with hiring authority) would turn out to be a Trump lover.  Based on experience, I know that these things can be real and I want to avoid the effect of someone’s negative feelings on my future.

Today, I read some research about why we want to believe that the universe is just and that things happen to people because they deserve it.  It’s far easier for us to believe that the universe will treat us right if we act right.  We can then believe that we have some control over life.  We can believe that people get what they deserve, even when there is an injustice.  I have known that this is not true for many years.  The universe is full of injustice and apathy and even evil.  We humans do not have control over the universe.  We are subject to life.

Which is why, in order to thrive, we must sometimes resort to dishonesty.  I have dishonestly withheld my truth from this blog, in order to create a transition as painless as possible.  My feelings had endured enough pain and I would not be my own perpetrator.

I have been dishonest with my blog, and I hope you will forgive the lapse.  It was intentional and it is over.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading.

 

08May

The Truth

Why is it so hard to convince people that the truth is rare and certainly doesn’t exist in their heads?  So many people believe that they know “the truth”.  Not so.

It is “a truth” that some police officers are violent with innocent people.  It is not “the truth” that policemen are arbitrarily violent with innocents.

It is also true that if a person repeatedly shows violence, that person is violent.  Nothing that we think can change that.

As humans, we want our own truth to be “the” truth.  No, specificity is the only real truth.  Generalizations do no justice to anyone or even to our own selves.

Isn’t that why freedom is so important in this world?  Not just here in America, but everywhere.  We don’t want to be generalized, we want our own individual chance to demonstrate our choices.  And yet there are those who will close their mind to the possibility of goodness in others.  It is not okay to be this, it is not okay to do this.

13Feb

A Day

A Day

03Jan

Some Truth for the New Year

Accept yearning in your life, you do NOT have to fulfill every desire.

Everything WILL change, you can’t stop it.

Will this matter in two years?  Study it, look at it, decide it: if it will not matter in two years, save your energy.  Don’t give energy to the unnecessary.

Don’t imagine that anyone is better than you, they are not.  Much of life is luck, you nor they control circumstance.  Some people will have better circumstances, some people will have terrible circumstances.  This is true.

Memories are nice, but they are not now.

Remember that big companies have proven that they do not want to “save you money” and remember that advertising is highly successful because it “makes you think…”  Consequently, beware, if you “buy into” the concepts that Coca Cola is about love and McDonalds is about home and hearth, then you have been fooled and you will buy products that do harm to your body.  The same is true for the “new” big companies including the “Whole Foods Grocery” stores.  It is up to you to take responsibility for researching reality.

Other people’s thoughts and actions are not within your purview, you cannot control other people.  Accept this idea and make decisions from this knowledge.

Doing hurtful things to others is NEVER okay or correct.  Those who do harm must be restrained.

13Dec

Christmas Gifting

We all have our own sentimental thoughts, feelings and beliefs about Christmas gifting and I want to set the record straight about my own philosophy. You can bet that any philosophy I have is related to my own life philosophy about everything.
I remember meeting people that only gave gift cards for Christmas. They would hand out cards to all the members of their own family, uncaring as to whether the gift card was right for that person. I thought that this practice was abhorrent. One should at least care what KIND of gift card was appropriate and even more caring would be a thoughtful gift that actually reflected the care that you have for that person.
We all get nervous about getting the “right” gift for a loved one, but, rather than reacting cowardly and purchasing a gift card, dig deeper and think deeply about the person that you are buying for. Even a silly gift is excellent if it reflects the recipient’s taste instead of your own.
There is the crux of the matter, if you are giving, it must be about the other person that you are giving to, the giving cannot be about you. Otherwise it is not giving.

19Jul

Elitism is the Murderer of Humanity

Anytime a society allows members to believe that some members are more important than others we invite our own demise.
Our society, particularly here in America, believes that money cures all evil. Now if you speak with an American 1:1, that is not the tale that an American will tell…
But I come to you with the mundane, not the grand gesture of philosophy that would allow you to hide behind yourself. When we read about people who commit spectacular crimes, we pretend that their wrongness does not exist in ‘regular’ life. We hide behind the glamour of the news report saying to ourself, “that evil exists over there”.
It does not, evil exists in every body and the most common evil is elitism. Elitism is the conversation of your own ‘rightness’ over another’s ‘wrongness’. We tell everyone how our own point of view is the correct one and, indeed give a convincing and innocent argument of suffering. It is this innocence that perpetuates the evil of elitism. We use this belief in our own superiority to allow others to suffer…
“He deserves to be fired, he is a know it all!” “She deserves a dressing down, look how pretty she is!” And so the punishment goes until we find a way to justify what happens to others, as long as it does not happen to us in a personal way.
We must examine this need within us to be more important than each other. We must find a way to see all with equal importance. If we do this, we will change the world.

31May

Sunbeams will always dance on the water, whether someone is watching or not.

19Jan

No Rhyme, Nor Reason…

No Rhyme, Nor Reason…

I spoke with an anguished mother this morning, who told me “this isn’t fair, we are good people.”  She was recounting a story about how her landlord had collected rent from her family illegally, as the house she is living in was foreclosed on.  She has to move from her home today, with her disabled son and husband.  She has never missed a single rent payment.

I thought about all of the conversations I have with people about positivity.  Being personally positive sets up an expectation for positive results.  Sometimes, things just don’t work out that way.  It brings to mind a book that came out in the eighties titled “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”.  At the time, I thought the author did a good job of explaining some of the vagaries in life.  As with anything difficult, the point was to cope for the moment, to get through the moment so that one could go on.

I am an analyzer and I want a formula.  To get back to positive thinking, I want positive thinking to be meaningful and to control what happens in my life.  It does not.  Positive thinking won’t stop a hurricane, it won’t keep me healthy and it won’t guarantee that I get to keep and use all of the money that I have worked hard for, for all of my life.

I attach meaning to the work I have done in my life.  I want my past work to pay my way through my future.  I think this is a reasonable social contract and I have done all of the things that the prescribed formula advised me to do: I got an education, I got a steady job, and I worked and worked and worked.  I put money in the bank; I put money in the 401K.

All of our “choose-in” choices, by life design, are also “choose-out” choices.  Money in the bank can’t be spent on a child’s new braces (until you take it out of the bank) and time spent at work, cannot be spent at leisure.  I understand this concept completely.  I have had to choose between emergent needs on many occasions in my life.

What I missed, what I did not comprehend, is that at some point, all of those choices do work out to something in your life.  What I mean by this is that, if you are a person who has no competing interests in your life and that makes you able to put your money in the bank, then at some point you will probably have money in the bank.  The price you pay is “no competing interests”.  In other words, you have nothing to spend money on, no family, no partner and no children.

The reality of our material construct called life: is that, we have what we most focus on.  If we focus on our children, it is likely that our children will be around for our entire life.  As we have taught them to be concerned and to have compassion by giving those gifts to them, so they will also demonstrate those same gifts to us as we grow older.

Again, every “choose-in” has a corresponding “choose-out”.  In other words, we pay a price for all that we decide is important to us, because we are also relegating other things to unimportance.  When we choose to have children, we are also choosing a very large financial investment.

The unpredictability of life circumstance is that, no matter what choices we make, good, bad or indifferent, life can and does, intermittently, destroy it all.  That’s the problem.  That is the issue which terrorizes my analytical brain.  It is as if life mockingly laughs at my need to draw lines and to keep accurate spreadsheets.  Yes, yes, Mrs. Smith, we see that you are organized, but now you have been fired from your job and all of last week’s planning is for naught.  Or yes, Mr. Smith, we see that you have saved money and paid for your house, but now your daughter is sick and you must take out mortgages to pay for medical care to keep her alive.

We know that justice is a social construct.  We work hard to make justice real in our society.  We work very hard to mitigate the whim of life by purchasing insurance and being safe.  It matters that we take these precautions, yet it does not guarantee that life won’t happen.  Bad things do happen to good people.

As to choosing in and choosing out; I always did the best that I possibly could in every moment.  There are lots of things that I did not choose, good and bad.  As to positivity, it is what brings me through the changes and unpredictability of life, and then forces me to take the next step.