24Feb

Don’t Give In, Don’t Give Up

There is a substantial difference between the life you live when you give up and the life you live when you do not give up.  I’m not speaking here about stubbornness or a blinders-on determination to get your way.  No, I am speaking of this idea of continuing to work on your goal until it can be resolved.  Notice the use of the word ‘resolve’, sometimes, we make goals that simply don’t work for us and we will have to walk away from them.

Sometimes I will be trying hard to talk with a “customer service” representative to resolve an issue, request a credit or ask for a reduction in my bills.  Each and every time that I have this goal, I am put on hold for interminable amounts of time, the call gets accidentally disconnected and I have to start over, sometimes a half dozen times.  I am greatly tempted to just give up.  I am greatly tempted to get very angry and just live with the cost of the mistakes of others.  This is not a good life strategy.  

Several years ago, I lost a job and had to take work that was an hours drive away and paid substantially less.  I worked very hard at improving myself.  I dedicated myself to learning this job.  In the mean time, I worked very hard at finding a new job.  I was on Linked-In, I had a great resume’, I applied for jobs every week.  I went to several interviews and was turned down.  One morning in July, on my drive in to work, my resolve broke and I cried and cried.  I was endlessly tired from the long days.  I didn’t fit into my work world and I was deeply unhappy at work.  It didn’t help that every penny of what I made was just getting the bills paid.

Suddenly a song came on the radio: ‘Hold Onto Your Dreams’.  That song, at that moment, was all I needed.  I held on and soon I was transferred close to home with an incredible raise.  That struggle didn’t end there, it took me three more years to land where I needed to be, but every time I got discouraged I remembered that moment in the car and that song.

I think that my life would be incredibly different if I couldn’t hang on and keep trying even when things seem very bad.  That extra effort is what brings me to the win almost every time. 

The second benefit is that it really helps to keep me from faulty thinking.  Or, at least it helps to keep my faulty thinking from controlling my decisions.

I was single for a very long time.  There were times when I thought that I must be flawed and that’s why I could not find an enduring relationship.  In this area of my life I knew that I couldn’t give up.  I did everything that I could to understand myself so that I could be a good partner.  Eventually it worked.  Eventually I found my life partner and it only happened because I was willing to keep on taking chances and to keep on trying.

Imagine me getting discouraged and giving up, single, broke and downhearted.  It doesn’t seem possible now.

Mother's Day Johanna Sr & Jaxsun 2010

Mother’s Day Johanna Sr & Jaxsun 2010

Cadence Birthday - 2010

Cadence Birthday – 2010

Rhea & Jax June 28 2010

David & Jaxsun

David & Jaxsun

Amazing StuffOur First Kiss as Husband and WifeAs We Begin the Ceremony

14Feb

Justice is a Human Construct

I was raised a Christian and taught to believe in the concept of justice.  I am the naive type anyway.  I actually always believed that humans’ default was a good one and only rare and awful circumstances created meanness and evil.

Not any of that is true.  First I don’t believe that justice exists in the universe without the intervention of humans.  Not even Karma is a reality.  In fact, it is all a sophisticated construct for revenge.  We want people and organizations who have harmed us to pay for that harm and often, we want that harm to either equal or exceed our own pain.  This is the way of humans.  Even our language supports the concept of revenge as justice: “he must burn in hell for what he has done to my family.”  This is language we recognize and condone.

As to the idea of human goodness as a default of thinking and behavior, nothing could be further from the truth.  Humans are not innately good as an overwhelming majority, indeed I think we would be lucky to claim that half of humans see good as a virtue.  The other half of humans are hard wired for selfishness, cruelty and trickery.  They have no interest in other human beings unless those humans can provide for them or profit them in some way.

At the moment that the crime is occurring, is the only time that we can attain justice, for all of the time after that, the only real thing available to us is restitution.  If we cannot stop the criminal at the point of robbery or stop the rapist from consummating the rape, then the damage is done and there will never be “justice.”  The best that we could ever hope for is to make the criminal give back restitution to the victim.  To hope that the perpetrator suffers to match your own suffering is fruitless, as all people suffer and mostly from their own awareness not from someone else’s awareness.

Justice is not something that exists out there in the universe.  Justice exists because humans make it so.

23Jan

Even Though I Expect It

And I know it will happen…

I am always disappointed when lies win the day.

31Dec

What is Next

We choose times in our life to reflect and review and New Years Eve is just such a time.

After you have survived dozens of these reflections, it becomes clear that change is inevitable, pain is necessary and Love is the stuff that makes the years worth living.  

We may never know what is the thing that will make us happy.  We could live our whole lives, never figuring it out.  Or, we can work in a direction and be totally knocked out by life’s circumstance.  We know what we want, and no matter how hard we work we cannot attain our dream.  And yet, life can bring us great treasures from the most unexpected of places.  We can find a deep satisfaction from watching something happen that we could never have guessed in our wildest of imaginings.  We can be surprised by great love and happiness.  Love and success can come to us surprisingly.

Given this random nature of life, how do we evaluate success?  It is not to be, as soon as we claim it, as soon as we think we own success, it flees.  The act of evaluation changes life into something it is not, a contest or a game, a race.  Life is none of these things, but is instead the experience.

Plan, do, judge and even evaluate, but know this, it matters not.  Life will give us all of everything, it is us that must turn it into an experience that is right for us.  It is us that must turn it into success and love. What is Next?

 

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.