25Jan

We Have to Decide: What is Truth?

The most pressing challenge for America is how we will determine truth.  Will we believe the computer screen in front of us?  Will we believe the advertisers on Madison Avenue?  Will we research and do the work of truth?  Will we settle with what is served to us as truth?

This is such an important question as it determines the future welfare of America.  If we believe that our leader is telling the truth, when in fact our leader tells no truth at all, we end up supporting someone who leads us to doom. 

We believe the press is a place for lively discussion as well as the ability to disagree, however, we will only watch news that we agree with and that we enjoy or like.  This means that we look only for what will make us happy and will agree with our own opinion.  We refuse to examine truth, or worse yet, get angry when someone gives us a truth that doesn’t agree with our own truth.  As we muck about trying to determine a future for us and our offspring, we can do great harm if we do not at least look at what could be lies, and what could be truth.

The thing is that it is an effort to see the truth.  Some truths are harder than others, as some truths can violate how we see ourselves.  If I see myself as a strong and hard working person, I may be resentful of those people who do not work.  The only belief that I will support is a belief that strong and hard working people are good and people who do not work are bad.  It doesn’t matter to me why people don’t work, I just believe they are bad.

It would be no surprise that I would ignore any news that gave people who don’t work *the face of humanity*.  If people who do not work, are okay, then I am just an ordinary working human, not better than anyone.  This may be an unwelcome thought for me.

Let’s go further and talk about advertising (Madison Avenue).  Somehow advertisers have been able to get men to believe that having a gun and being dominant in relationships, is the correct way to express masculinity.  Additionally, advertisers have convinced women that they need no less than 14 shades of eye shadow and uncountable shades of lipstick.  For anyone who watches TV (everyone) the “right car” is fully automatic and will start itself even if you are 25 feet away.

I know that we continue to follow what is popular, whenever I go out, I notice that everyone dresses the same (even myself).  Women wear leggings, men wear cargo pants, kids wear jeans with the phone stuffed into the right rear pocket.  It is no different no matter where I go.

Society has spoken and while we must be special, special means a very specific prescription: dress according to designers, drive according to Madison Avenue advertisers, live according to Facebook, Pinterest and every other advertising means that works in the media.

So how do we get at the truth?  We can’t seem to trust experts, they are for sale.  What used to be police officers protecting our welfare, now are robots who must collect a certain amount of traffic fines in order to gain raises for themselves.  Now we have a congress and a senate that has sold itself to large corporations and billionaires.  They have sold out Americans as well.  We have been sold to wealthy entities because of our inattention to what is true.  The price of our inattention to the truth is huge.  We make our once pristine world filthy and we continue to allow wars that kill and maim our young people.

What will it take for us to get to caring about the truth and making & defining our own truth instead of that which is sold to us?  What will it take for us to make our country great again?  How do we make a country built on equality for all humans?  How do we make a country that will be healthy today and tomorrow?

We must-must decide and define “the” truth and then we must stick to it.  Back to the simple: Thou shalt not lie…

23Jan

Even Though I Expect It

And I know it will happen…

I am always disappointed when lies win the day.

20Jan

Death unto Life

If you have experienced the death of a loved one, you know what dying means.  We instinctually know that death is the end.  Nothing goes past death.  We can remember, we can believe in heaven and the afterlife.  However, for us, the living, death is the end, life is over.  You get no comfort from your loved one. ever. again.  Your loved one will never touch you, talk to you, smile at you or laugh with you.  It is a daunting reality.  No wonder that we indulge ourselves in denial.  No wonder that we walk around referring to our loved one as if the one is still here and alive.  We cannot, do not accept the absence of the one we love.

As the days and the years run forward, reality rolls on and you experience more and more the absence of your beloved.  You cannot deny the absence as years go by.  You cannot deny the ending of what was once a beloved life.  You must surrender to the ending.  You must surrender to the absence of your loved one.

So many try to pull the life forward, as if pretending the loved one still exists on earth will keep the loved one alive.  I don’t believe that sentimentality helps.  I saved many, many of my mother’s things after my mother died, only to relinquish bit by bit, painfully spreading out the separation.  My grief kept me from living in the present.  I lost myself in the grief.  I just did not want to let go of her.  I mistakenly believed that her things would transmit a piece of her heart to me.  It took a long time to separate her things from her.  It took a long time to know that she really was gone.

I do not wish to have done anything differently, the death of a loved one is ‘life interrupted’.  There is nothing you can do to change the reality of your grief.  

I just know today, that nothing could be different.  Not any amount of bargaining, denying or trying, could make my mother’s death different, nor could it have made my grief different.  My resistance did not change anything.  Hanging onto my mother’s things did not sooth my loss.  My loss was my loss.

Today is the eleventh anniversary of my children’s father dying suddenly of his one and only heart attack.  I hope that my children are not bargaining, denying and resisting the truth of today.  I hope that they can embrace the grief of the day and then walk away from the day.

 

14Jan

Be Beautiful and Practical

Bruce read that leaving the curtains open increased electricity costs.  He wants the houseplants to survive, so he compromises.

Keeping the plants nourished

Keeping the plants nourished

Let the sunshine in

Let the sunshine in

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?

 

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.