29Jul

Finding My Faults

Why must you always identify my faults?

Your position gives you the power to keep me silent while you rage about all that I am lacking in.

Because you have that power doesn’t mean that you are correct in any way.  You only use your status and power to make yourself right.  I’m not understanding what you gain with your superiority complex.

You do what’s called “Monday Morning quarterbacking”: Retrospectively reviewing events so that you can make a better decision sometime in the future, about my past decisions.

I have to tell you that there are others who are experts at finding my faults.  I’ve had a sibling, a supervisor and a husband who were always ready to explain to me how wrong and mistaken I am.

You are not even the best at pointing out my flaws and second guessing my past decisions.  You are not the best at telling me how mistaken and wrong I am.

You are the same in one way as the others, you have come into my life and you will go away from my life.  I cannot have an enduring relationship with one who has no use in listening to me.  I cannot have a long term relationship with one who cannot and will not validate me.  I cannot have a relationship with you.

https://medium.com/personal-growth/annie-duke-how-to-make-decisions-like-a-professional-poker-player-24686d4442ac

“Having skin in the game changes everything. It’s easy to make decisions when you’re not the one affected. It’s even easier to have opinions and let everyone know about them. But when the stakes are high — when something is on the line — that forces you to make sure you get things right.”

“You don’t always get the outcome you want even when you make the best decision. Even if you get a positive outcome, it’s difficult to tell if you deserve credit. There’s a double layer of complexity.

In many ways, life is one long poker game. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. All we can do is learn to be comfortable with uncertainty and keep making good bets.

Do that, and we’ll come out ahead in the long run.”

18Jul

Experience is “the” Truth

I’m not going to say that monks don’t know what they are talking about when they tell us to meditate for relaxation, but I am going to say that people will only ever know the extent of their experience.  There are a few wise “old souls” but that’s not who I am speaking about.

I read an article the other day written by an entrepreneur about managing employees.  He was young and he was someone who has never been a manager in any other place than his own.  He has decided that he is a successful manager because many of his staff have stuck around and because his company is financially successful.  I have news for him, his management style is only one way and that is his way.  He doesn’t know if his staff is really loyal to him, and his article did not address his relationship with his staff.  His article was a reiteration of his success with some trendy words thrown in.  His measurement metrics are flawed, because they only cover his definition of success.  This is okay, it is very human for our discussions to be limited to our own experiences.  However, you cannot say you are a good manager until you have been more challenged than what this particular entrepreneur is describing. 

Middle management is one of the most difficult jobs there are and unless you have experienced it, it is hard to describe.  It’s kind of like being butter between two hot pancakes, you melt and then you are absorbed into obscurity.  Being a business owner is nothing like this.  A business owner will not normally have his staff going around his authority and challenging his authority to his supervisors (there are none). A middle manager will panic about losing a job and facing possible homelessness.  This is not the typical worry of a business owner.

Back to the monks and other such hippies that want us to meditate.  A single male who does not commit to a relationship (a monk), cannot imagine what the working mother in America goes through just to get through a day.  Explaining to her and chastising her because she won’t meditate is ridiculous.  There is nothing that a monk can tell this working American mother about coping in America.

Take that a step further and look at the difference between the person who works casually and the person who pursues a high powered career.  My two friends bickered constantly about the differences in how they treated their jobs.  My friend with the career didn’t want to take a day off from work and was constantly driven by her success.  My friend who did not have so much at stake, thought that she was “crazy” to take work so seriously.  She wanted to gossip over coffee on the odd morning and my career friend just would not.  The friendship ended because one began belittling the other for those differences.

The point is this, we are all limited by our very own experiences and those experiences are no better and no worse than someone else’s.  I think we make a mistake when we believe that our own experience should apply to everyone and we start thinking that our own way is the best way. 

Without the ability to understand the challenges that a day brings to an American working mother, how can we prescribe meditation to her?  How can we be so thoughtless as to prescribe something that circumstance can never deliver?

We have to find the ability to go beyond our own experience by listening and connecting with each other.  In the absence of the real experience, the only thing we have is the connection with each other.  It is through this connection with each other that we can truly be the expert and have something to offer.

 

30Jun

Personal Faith in You

Magic

Magic

You have magic

Magic is a force

You can own the force

24Jun

You Talk Over Me, and At Me

You talk over me and at me.  While you have the authority to do so, I don’t know why you would want to.  It is clear that you have no interest in listening to me.  This is an extension of your desire not to humanize me.  You would rather I was an object.

A manager that I know tells me that avoiding relationships is the only way to manage people because you must enforce performance and you cannot be “emotional” about it.

The only successful managers I know are completely and committedly the opposite.  These managers tell me that successful supervision includes a rich relationship.  You should know all about your staff.  You should be able to celebrate successes and bemoan failures with them.

I think part of the reason for distancing oneself is elitism.  “I know more than you, I know better than you, there is no reason to listen to you.”

The truth about this kind of communication is never acknowledged.  However, if you have ever been treated this way, you know it.  It is apparent in the dehumanizing tone of the received lecture.

I have long believed that lack of financial success for people and for companies is this dehumanizing approach to getting things done.  The frailty of the relationship leads to a complete lack of loyalty.  Lack of loyalty leads to lack of business = lack of profits.

There is more to this equation than just lack of profits.  If you practice this idea of elitism, if you practice distancing yourself, then how do you know when it is right to be a human being?  How do you then ‘turn off’ this dehumanizing part of yourself and make positive and real relationships?  Are you able to?  Will you always suffer alone because you know everything and are better than everyone?

18Jun

This Post is Amazing!

https://warningcurvesahead.com/2016/06/04/24-things-women-over-30-should-wear/

24 Things Women Over 30 Should Wear

12Jun

Stephanie

Stephanie

They wanted you to have chemo when you were pregnant with Dom.  You refused, you thought they exaggerated the need for chemo.  You also decided that it was too much of a risk for Dom.

You thought you got away with it.  And now you are dead and gone, cancer got you and that’s the end of it.

Dom is beautiful (as is Vienne) and vibrantly alive.  How will they ever know you?  Will their father tell them what you did to keep them healthy and chemo free?

You spent your life getting to this place called motherhood and enjoyed it for so little time.

All of those conversations, all of those years ago, I always knew you were headed there.  Motherhood just seemed to fit you.  Now that I think about it, we did so much together, so many conversations and so much understanding passed between us.  You saw plenty of the bad in me and you hung in there for the good.  It really was a pleasure to be us, our friendship, our understanding, ourselves.

Thank you for not letting me smoke, that day I was craving a cigarette in front of the TC.  I’ve never smoked since.  Thank you for hanging out with Eileen and I and making us feel like we weren’t over the hill, still young enough to be interesting to a woman younger than us.  Thank you for letting us do for you, Eileen and I both felt maternal towards you, always.  It was a reward for Eileen and I to be able to give to you.  Remember that day at the mall?  The three of us trying everything on and trying to figure out what worked? 

Remember when I was at your clinic in Miami and Kleinman’s nephew called me a MILF, you just about jumped down his throat?  He never called me anything like that again.  You were seriously a damn good clinician.  The staff was our very first project, but boy, oh boy, the patients benefited greatly from your work.

You knew things from people that I couldn’t figure out and I was grateful when you shared them.  Sometimes it was painful, “did so-and-so really do that?”  So honesty was important, but it was a GIVEN.  I always believed you, never needed to question anything you said.  I know you didn’t tell me all of it.  I know you didn’t, but I didn’t expect you to.  You knew I couldn’t take all of it.

Amazing woman, I will miss you.  I already miss you, I’ve been missing you.  Goodbye Stephanie, the universe is so much better for having you.  Au revoir

God'sKissToYou

God’sKissToYou

10Jun

Elitism

Elitism is in Everyone

Elitism is the single biggest equality killer in the world.  Since recorded history humans have been practicing it.

Elitism is no more than a mind game, it’s what the millennials would call head-trash.  We think that we are better than others.  We believe that there is a reason that others don’t deserve as much as we do.

We tell ourselves it is okay for ourselves to have more because, we live in America and, after all, we have earned it.  If we didn’t earn it and we are just plain wealthy, we have a different story, such as, “I am entitled to my family’s money.”    The point is, that it’s all a story that we tell ourselves.

This kind of thinking works particularly well in America because we are all about rugged individualism and earning our keep.  If someone doesn’t earn their keep, we ignore them, or denigrate them.  If they die, oh well, not our fault.  Homeless are homeless because they want to be, or because they are drug addicts. 

Elitism is everywhere!  In politics, if you lose, you just weren’t tough enough (I’m tougher).  This is true in sports and, of course, in business.  Elitism is the process whereby we make our selfishness and greed okay to ourselves.  We tell ourselves whatever it takes to continue with our consumption behavior.  We don’t want to be wrong about how much that we purchase for ourselves and our family.  If we do feel guilty, why we can just contribute a little bit to charity and that takes care of it.

Elitism is what allows us to indulge in religious wars.  We have decided that our God is the best and so much better than others.  We believe that our culture answers all questions.

This kind of thinking has hurt us for thousands of years and it is time that we started a new way of thinking.  It is time that we acknowledge that we do not deserve wealth just because we have it. 

The Catholic church believes in it’s own wealth because they believed that they were closer to God than anyone else.  It is time to acknowledge that people don’t deserve wealth that is at the expense of another’s life or another’s well being.  An example of putting wealth and its acquisition above life and well being is healthcare in America.  It is not true that capitalism is more important than healthcare, and yet in America we have made capitalism more important than anything else, including people’s health and their lives.  One person dies every hour because of lack of healthcare, because of lack of money.  This is a moral failing of America.  It is equal to the Third Reich’s killing of all humans that they deemed less than the German standard.

In fact, Hitler began his murderous campaign by proclaiming that Germans were better than anyone else.  It was elitism at its most dangerous.

We imagine that we, personally, are not part of this elitism problem.  We are mistaken.  We must believe in elitism in a thousand little ways every single day.  What do you think makes it possible for people to cut you off in traffic?  What do you think allows a doctor to make you wait for thirty minutes in the waiting room?  Why is it okay for strangers to be rude to you when they have no idea what your situation is?  People are telling themselves that they know better, are better or have more privilege.

No matter where you go, or what you do, you will be exposed to elitism.  It’s the school secretary who looks down her nose when your child is late to school.  When you are at work, and your supervisor snubs you, or the manager tells you “we make those decisions” when clearly, managers don’t know how to make those decisions.  Elitism allows people to make these kinds of errors in judgment.

We don’t realize how pervasive and life threatening elitism is in America and in the world.  We would have to acknowledge our own elitist tendencies and then we would have to speak out against the thing that makes us feel valuable.  After all, if we are better than no one, are we good enough?

 

09Jun

No One Knows Her, or About Her

I was eleven years old when my mother’s best friend committed suicide (or so they said).  My mother didn’t believe it because Linda had apparently hung herself with barbed wire.  My mom just couldn’t believe that Linda would do that to herself.  Barbed wire is a painful way to hang yourself.  My mom was always suspicious of Linda’s husband.  Couldn’t she have been murdered?  Instead of taking her own life?  Couldn’t there be some other reason that she was dead and gone?

Linda’s daughter Sandra was my best friend.  For whatever reason, I never saw Sandra again.  I do remember my mom’s sleepless nights and once I overheard her talking, she said “I should have gone and seen her, she called me to talk, but I was just too tired to go and visit her.”  She felt guilt and pain about her friends death for many years.  Every once in a while mom would remind me how she met Linda.  It seems that after a painful miscarriage, Linda was walking our neighborhood and cut across the field close to our house.  Mom said hello to her and they never stopped talking.  Until.

About twelve years later, after I returned home to live, my mother had news for me.  It seems that Sandra had committed suicide.  I knew from my psychology studies that parents who commit suicide often pass the trait on to their offspring, but I didn’t know that it really happened until it did.

As children, Sandra and I had been very close.  We were alike in many ways.  We both liked to stay close to home and we both were enamored with our mothers, it was the kind of similarities that gave us an instant and unspoken understanding of each other.  We were comfortable together and didn’t have much need for anyone else.

Then there is a gap, because I lost Sandra.  Then there was an ending because Sandra lost her life.  So who remembers her and her mother?  Are these endings final?  When you are gone and there are none to remember you, are you more gone than perhaps the day before, when you were remembered?

Rainbows

 

02Jun

We are All an Inch Away from Homelessness

Winter

Winter

I’ve recently read some statistics that say that anxiety in America is at an all time high of 20%.  Think about that, that is one in five people.

In this country, the poor far outnumber the rich.  To make matters worse, we won’t admit how poor we are, so we deny the reality that lives here in our country.

I think America is so much better off than any other third world country – no question.  It’s just that we don’t admit to our frailty, and our love for the feudalistic system of the Dark Ages.  The rich ravage the poor and own everything worth owning.

Americans pretend that we are all well off.  We are so good at pretending.  Fully half of our retail system is built around the concept of false wealth and looking like you have it, when you don’t.

We pretend we have power, we don’t use.  We pretend we have money we don’t have, we pretend that we are smarter and better, we are not.  We have been sold out by Madison avenue.  Let’s be clear though, we are the ones who bought into this falseness.

The truth is that we are embarrassingly poor and poverty stricken in this country.  We actually don’t realize how much money our society wastes on non-humanitarian endeavors.  We don’t need any more nuclear bombs, but our country has committed itself to continually enriching the one per-centers.  It’s the one per-centers who are bomb makers, and oil company owners.  You and I don’t have that kind of influence and money.

HOWEVER, we want to pretend that we do have that kind of money.  We want to be on the Trump side, because that’s the side of the wealthy.  Ivanka sells bracelets for $10,400.00.  Isn’t THAT the group that we want to be part of?  The heavy hitters who can afford anything?

In the meantime, I struggle to pay for healthcare.  Yes, I have health insurance, yes I have an Health Savings Account, and still, because I am sick, I can barely afford my healthcare.  I have to buy a prescription that is compounded and because it is compounded, my insurance won’t cover it.  My physicians are specialists, so I must always pay the higher rate to see them.  My procedures are always paid at 80%, and any SMALL and SHORT procedure costs us several thousand dollars.

Republicans talk about how Social Security is not enough and Americans should be saving for retirement.  To keep myself working, I have to spend approximately $500.00 to $1,000.00 a month for health care.  I have been spending this much for about five years now.  How do I save money under these circumstances?

It maddens me that at least 30% of this money goes to enrich healthcare executives.  It’s not for healthcare, it’s for profit and for the greed of those one-percenters.  The reason for this is that our Congress in the United States of America, is for sale.  This congress are retiring as millionaires because the healthcare industry has paid them off.  After all Viagra is very, very lucrative.

I don’t understand this.  What I really hate about it is that in other countries, politicians and capitalist executives are likely to admit that they work together.  It’s only in America that we pretend that capitalism is a good thing.  We need to admit that although capitalism has value, it has run amok in America.

Back to anxiety and the prevalence of anxiety in America.  Americans may be in denial, but something inside (intuition) is telling us the truth about capitalism in America.  We are all an inch away from being homeless and America has no safety net for us.

Because our culture believes in “rugged individualism”, most Americans believe that if you don’t work hard and pull yourself up by your boot straps, then there must be something wrong with you.  Because we believe this about ourselves and others, it can be devastating to lose a job.  We believe that this is our own fault.  More devastating still is the idea that we cannot then find another job to replace the lost job.  America is changing rapidly, printers are out of business, paper newspapers are out of business, factories that make records, tapes, and CDs are out of business.  Americans blame it on themselves when they cannot create financial success, even when the entire industry they work in has been demolished by change.

We know, we Americans know that nothing will save us.  There is nothing in America to help people survive.  Churches are trying and don’t make the mark.  Food stamps have always had limited application and now trying to attain them can be a nightmare.   Americans are dying at the rate of 5 per hour because of lack of healthcare, tens of thousands of Americans are homeless and our own children are often at risk of hunger and going to bed without dinner.

We have anxiety.  We know that we are not okay.  We know that we are at extreme risk.  America is brutal unless you are wealthy.  Comfort is difficult to attain, often, it is only the young who have not the left the security of their parents home that feel comfortable and live without anxiety.  The only other source of comfortable is for the wealthy or the ignorant.

Being aware of the brutality of our home country is a source of anxiety for millions of Americans.

We have to find a way to regain our hearts and souls in America.  We must regain a safety net.  If we can’t do it politically, we can do it by stopping blaming ourselves for things that are so much beyond our control.  We can take back America by believing in ourselves and by supporting each other in our best efforts.  We cannot do this by being “rugged individuals”.

We can be more realistic about our beliefs.  People with money are not necessarily smart in any way.  They haven’t done anything better or more meaningful than anyone else in America.  The single difference is money.  Then one must look individually for other differences and put all presumptions aside.  Let’s not give away power and wealth by allowing this country to be managed by the greedy and the cheaters.  Let’s reclaim America.

Spring

Spring

 

30May

Betrayal, Backstabbing and other Workplace Worries

Betrayal, Backstabbing and other Workplace Worries

I have always been one who dislikes covert operations.  If you dislike me, please tell me straight up.  Don’t run around behind my back (backstabbing) telling everyone else that you do not like me.

That goes for your evaluations and judgments about me.  Don’t tell everyone else the truth about what you think about my decisions, but then turn around and smile and nod to me.  Go ahead and let me know what you think.  That is the only way to an honest and open relationship.  I am truly interested in an honest and open relationship.

In fact, backstabbing and betrayal; it’s sort of a “button” for me.  So, I have been self righteous about this for decades.  I pride myself in being open and honest with people, including my staff.

And then, then, the horrible happened, I had to work for a woman who was not, in any way, interested in fairness or equity.  Her most important function was to shore up her own ego, and she often performed this task by putting others down – but only subordinates – she never denigrated her supervisors (of course!).

Guess what?  I became a backstabber and ultimately a betrayer.  A backstabber talks about you behind your back, a betrayer is disloyal, which is much more serious.  I have always been loyal to my supervisors/companies/vice presidents, or anyone else in a position of power in my chain of command.  After all, I won’t work for anyone or any company that I cannot believe in and feel confident about.  It is easy to be loyal if you always work in a way that is in alignment with your belief system.

Somehow, this woman got ahead of me in power and she wanted to remind me of it every. Single. Day.  She was condescending and malicious.  She was also a backstabber and a betrayer.  She was hateful about everyone and told me so.  She was hateful about me, but did not tell me so.  Of course, I knew.  So, I talked about her.  I had to, I had to get rid of the poison that ate at me every time I had to tolerate her lying and manipulating.  I needed venting space and I took it, but only with like minded individuals.

Eventually, I had to leave.  The job was making me sick.  I knew it was time to go, so the first chance I got, I ran and ran and ran.  I did eventually become a betrayer.  I emailed her supervisor’s supervisor with a report on my experience.  I didn’t like doing this.  I had to.  It was my way of getting rid of the woman’s hatefulness.  No amount of washing myself could rid me of her mean-spiritedness, so I documented it.

So this is the story of how I became what I detest in others.  It’s also the reason why I left that employment, because I cannot be that: angry and mean, inferior and vindictive.  I need to be who I am and who I aspire to be: loving, generous, honest and open.

The difference between myself and her is that I had to do what I had to do in defense of myself.  She may also be working in self defense, but her defense is who she is.  For me, that behavior is an aberration.  I hope that is enough.  I hope that the fact that I will use those tools, but not BE those tools is enough.  To my very soul, I never want to lose who I think I am.