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.

23Jan

My Quest for a Perfect Appearance

New Years Eve 2016

New Years Eve 2016

No one notices it quite like I do. No one is at all concerned about the perfect match of my earrings to my outfit. I was quite deflated when I realized this. But then, something happened, I became immersed in my own standards. To heck with whether or not others realized that my lipstick was a perfect match for my fingernail polish, I realized it and I cared. At some point, I became the approver of my perfect appearance. When that happened, I was relieved! I didn’t become less caring about my appearance, I was the same.

18Dec

The Kind of Woman I Cannot Be…

What happens when you are faced with a person who embodies all of the things that you have been taught are wrong?

I do not condemn women who are manipulative and indirect in their communications.  I believe that it has been and continues to be an evolutionary imperative.  Women (with very few exceptions) have always been dominated and often by those who are careless of their wants and desires.  In this environment, it has always been far safer for a woman to keep her peace and find her own means of gaining what she needs and wants.

Our history tells us that if a woman disagreed with the men around her, she could be beat, tortured and in some cases, even killed.  I was taught to make my own way, to not depend on a man for my own sustenance.  My mother role modeled independence and the direct way to get there.  She did not appreciate indirect communication, if you wanted something, please say it.  If your desire was not a popular idea, it doesn’t mean your desire should be abandoned, it means you can re-evaluate, including others input, but you do not change your mind because ‘another’ has told you to change your mind.  I was taught to be direct, which leaves very little room for the fine art of manipulation.

Many women I know did not have the benefit of a strong and direct mother.  It seems that the alternative to being direct, indirectness, teaches us to be manipulative.  Often, there is a very good reason for manipulation.  Often, being manipulative turns into a default zone that a person operates in.  Over a period of time, this personality can become unable to be direct and even honest.  For some relationships this can be a satisfactory state, but for business relationships, it can be disastrous.  What happens when you have been taught to rethink commitments, and change agreements to suit yourself?  In most business environments this kind of thinking will damage relationships, particularly relationships with a boss or supervisor.

The other part to this indirect and manipulative personality style is a feature of secretiveness.  Sometimes, even often, the secrets are unnecessary, yet there is a piece to secrecy that can make one feel powerful.  Practicing secrecy is the hallmark of this personality style.  Secrecy, when recognized, can make those around you feel very uncomfortable.

The alternative, direct communication, can cause disruption and create confrontation.  “Can”, but not always, often the direct personality style is assertive and possibly aggressive.  It’s important to delineate between direct communication that can be confrontative; and aggressiveness, as aggressiveness only causes the indirect person to become more manipulative and secretive.  Aggressive people just want their will to be done.  Direct communicators are not necessarily focused on their own will.

So it is that my entire lifetime, I thought that the manipulative woman was somehow “less than”.  I do not respect this woman and I cannot communicate with her as she is completely unreliable.  How do you have a relationship with a woman such as she?  Yet, on the other hand, it is the evolutionary imperative, necessary for survival in a world where everyone is larger and harsher than you.  Where is the balance?  And how do you navigate when dealing with those who may be damaged?

I don’t know.

 

26Nov

A Letter to my Grandsons: (There will be more.)

Be aware of the primal part of you, being aware allows you to have some control over the primal animal that lives within.

Sex is necessary and good, hopefully you will meet others who believe the same thing.  Acknowledging the presence of something reduces the power of that thing.

Life needs to be out in the open.  Secrets are a tool of control and almost always inappropriate.  Witness the epiphany of the early part of the 21st century, understanding what people were really doing was an instrumental feature of justice.

Make decisions and change those decisions when necessary, clarity and flexibility are fantastic attributes to have.

Love your family and treat them as your faith tells you.  Not all members of your family will honor you.  There will be times when they will treat you badly.  Decide wisely how you will live with your family.

Giving is a gift unto itself.  Don’t expect anything in return for your gifts.

Acceptance of you is one of the most important things that you will ever do.  By accepting yourself, you stop all enemies from gaining leverage via your self esteem.  “Yes, I know I have that fault, dastardly isn’t it?”  Or “yes, I am aware that it is more popular to like the color white, however, I like the color brown.”

What is the collective unconscious?  What is natural knowing?  What is instinct?  These are all questions in which you will be part of the answer.  Be aware of the universe, your awareness will serve you well in life.  Religious dogma has not served humans for centuries.  However, kinship and fellowship are found in churches and synagogues; use them to keep yourself and your family well.

Do not be that old angry man.  Bitterness is anger that hardens into a stiffness that cannot be softened.  Do not be that.  You should know that in the end what matters is how you decide to live.  Bitterness is an angry decision that must be renewed every day.  Decide not to be that and not to have that in your life.

If you do not know what drives your anger and pain, find out.  If you don’t do that, then relinquish.  Hanging onto your anger and pain is the most awful decision that you can ever make.  Discover, relinquish and then banish that which hurts you and angers you.

Your chosen journey is as good and as necessary as anyone else’s.  Don’t allow any devaluation of you.

Protect and love others: just as you cannot allow yourself to be devalued, do not allow others to be devalued.  In your presence, all must be equally valued.

29Oct

The New Religion

It's About You

20Oct

Memes are the new Religion

Love InsideGod that you are.

22Jan

The Business Meeting and the Ego

My world and you need to change to fit it…

Why do some folks believe that the world should change to suit them?  They mire themselves in secret authority to try to convince the world that they alone know what is right and correct in all processes?

When confronted, you may ask them “you would like for ‘them’ to change the process so that your job is easier, but why should they?”  The culprit will flail around with righteousness, “doesn’t everyone see how correct I am?  Doesn’t everyone see that I should not need to work this hard?”

Conversations can be so difficult because of the conceptual depths of the conversation.  Sometimes there are so many sub-texts it makes my head spin.  Each person in the room seems desperate to hang onto their own identity and authority.  Each person wants to present themselves as powerful and all-knowing.  Very few in the room are content to listen and observe, those that are will often pose disdainfully, as if the meeting is a huge inconvenience to their own schedule.

Then there is the struggle: the sub-text of US vs. THEM!  Each and every meeting I have been in, over the entire span of my career had this sub-text woven into all of the conversations.  If it was a management meeting, the THEM = staff members and workers, if it was an administrative meeting, the THEM = the program staff.  You can always count on a THEM.

Often, the most pressing reason for this behavior (US vs. THEM) is to establish oneself as blameless; indeed a tremendous amount of energy is used to prove a victim status – if it is at all possible to do.  It’s appalling to see self-respecting managers work so hard to shift blame from themselves to others.  It is well deserved in the case of an authoritarian leader who enjoys blaming her managers.  If you work in such an environment, then pity is well deserved.  And in that case, blame shifting is a necessary means of survival.  However, for the most part, blame shifting is all about preserving my image of myself as an all-knowing and wise person who rarely makes a mistake.  This is the ego at work, and sometimes, I just want to say, “hey, can you bring your entire self to these meetings so that we don’t spend half of our time soothing your egos?”

The point is, how do we ever get down to the task at hand?  I learned a long time ago, to wrap up a meeting with a summary and a specific list of chores.  Sometimes, even this type of reiteration is not enough to jar people into focusing on the real issues rather than their own personal reality.  Therein lies the frustration, getting to the tasks at hand.  I would rather look to the chores that must be done than to have to attend to the myriad of sub-texts that are in the room, sometimes undetected, often unaddressed and always unproductive.

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.