Saturday, March 23, 2013

Google Reader

Hi, everyone! As some of you know, Google Reader will no longer be available later this year. If you are still interested in following this blog, please click below:

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Friday, March 15, 2013

Reprogramming

I'm going to ramble for a moment. I shared a picture earlier today with a message about letting go of what you were brought up to believe.



And I thought about while I was on the treadmill. A meditation, if you will.

I was brought up to believe that having a lot of money was a bad thing. But without having more than enough money to cover our living expenses how can we donate to the charities we care about? I was also brought up to believe that being outspoken was impolite and unladylike. But if we don't speak up for our needs and the needs of those who cannot speak for themselves, how will we ever make changes? I was brought up to believe that only certain people deserve to be forgiven when they do wrong (and it wasn't me who was chosen). But, isn't it better to give everyone another chance? I don't mean over and over and they keep doing the same thing, I mean when they are genuinely contrite.

And, sadly, I was raised to believe that it was "over-reaching" to believe that I was extraordinary. Unfortunately, that last one seems to be the hardest one to overcome (and was strengthened when I felt hurt by other people). Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of times I feel pretty damn fabulous, but there are still small shadows of those words "not good enough" that creep in during odd moments of my life: when I'm writing my story; when things are rough in my personal life; when I'm looking at the 2-pound decrease on the scale; when I missed a deadline; when I hit the deadline with time to spare... I know it seems convoluted to have those shadows in the good times and the not-great times, but they are there.

I've gotten much better at weeding them out. It's a lot easier now to say, "No, this isn't right for me," and walk away from a situation. Even with the people I love and whose opinions I value. I think it's because of this that I was able to tell my Dad up front (after not being in contact for about three decades) about my spiritual choices and know that it would be okay. I think it's also because of the weeding out that I know better when to let go and when to hang on. Perhaps most importantly, I have gotten better about speaking up for myself against myself. Yes, we can be our worst enemy, as you've all heard. I'm not saying I've gotten past all the shadows, but they are much smaller now. During more humorous moments I think of them as starving to death because I stopped allowing them to be fed by anyone, including myself.

I'm not looking for anyone to tell me that I'm great, but I'd like instead, for folks to think about the words they heard when they were young and decide if they were true back then, and if they are true now. Chances are, they were spoken by someone who didn't know how deep the message would sink in. Good messages as well as the not-so-good ones, they all sink in. Pick a negative one and weed it out so that there is more room for the positive ones to grow.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Safety or silliness?

DoorknobLast night, just as I was falling asleep, I heard what sounded like gunshots. Four of them before I got the 911 dialed, two more while I was on the phone with the dispatcher, one more after I hung up, two more after the police got to this street. My peace of mind was pretty much shattered at this point. I nearly made another phone call to someone just to calm my nerves. This morning I wish I had called him... maybe I'd have slept more soundly.

I want to believe they were just firecrackers and that someone was just out there being dumb. Even though the wind chill was in the lower teens. Yes, that's what I want to believe.

What crossed my mind several times is that there are people out there who want to make it illegal for civilians to own firearms. There is a man in a high governmental position who said to get a shotgun and shoot it into the air to scare the bad guys away (regardless of the fact that someone could get hurt with the falling shot). There are people who will argue that I am safe where I live and that the police will take care of everything. And I wonder what world they are living in.

When someone jumped over my fence last summer the police took seven minutes to get here. When someone was pounding on my front door (even after I shouted out to them that they had the wrong house) a few months ago the police took six minutes to get here. When my car window was shattered a few summers ago the police took more than ten minutes to get here. When they are called for domestic violence, fights in back yards, and even the raised voices of at least five or six people in the street, the police take time to get here. In that time, there is no one here to protect what is mine to protect. I'm not talking about the crap in my house, I'm talking about the life of my daughter. I'm talking about my life. I'm talking about precious things that can not be replaced.

Yes, someone could argue that the shots I heard really were firecrackers this time. They could argue that the person who jumped over the fence was just passing through or that the man pounding on the door meant no harm or that the shattered window was probably an accident. And, it's possible that in the area they live in none of these things ever happen. But here? And where I grew up?

Perhaps things just look different to a person who had a knife in their face at the age of 14. Or who sat in a closet waiting for the police to arrive and prayed that the baby in their arms wouldn't make a sound while a man was breaking into the window. Or who had a gun pointed at them in their own driveway while their 5-year-old tried to be brave enough to protect them and the infant in the stroller.

Until things like that never happen, I honestly don't believe that taking guns away from individuals is the right answer. I've been lucky and blessed. So many others are not.

(Note: you are welcome to leave thought-provoking comments, but if you leave anything hateful, it will be deleted.)

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Growing?

A Winter's WalkToday I heard a word that I'd never heard before and it started me thinking about what it really meant and how I could use it.

MaitrÄ«. 

The translation I heard was "unconditional friendship with self." When I looked it up I found similar meanings.
Thinking about this most of the morning made my head swirl with ideas and emotions. I broke it all down and thought about each part by itself then put it all back together to see how it rolled around my mind.

Unconditional. adjective, 1: not conditional or limited : absolute, unqualified <unconditional surrender> <unconditional love>

To love myself unconditionally would mean that I would still love myself when I make mistakes. When I do something that causes harm to my inner core. When I don't feel worthy of being loved (perhaps most important). When I feel negative emotions toward other people. When I don't live up to my full potential. When I feel jealousy, rage, disdain, depression, impatience, and, yes, even hatred. I would have to love myself through all of these things. The things I forgive other people for exhibiting. The things I love other people through. If I can love someone else when they are less than perfect, why shouldn't I love myself during those times, too? This doesn't mean that I would encourage those thoughts of anger, it doesn't mean that I want my loved ones to be less than they can be, it only means that I love them through it. And that I will be there for them when they need me.

I would need to do this for Me.

Friendship. noun, 1: the state of being friends (one attached to another by affection or esteem)

Being in a friendship with myself seems like such an odd idea, but why not? Why not give myself that gift? Why wouldn't I? Being a friend to my Self would mean that I would listen (to my intuition), inspire, do little things to bring a smile, value opinions, and encourage myself to treat myself well. Other people do these things, I do them with other people.

I would need to do this for Me.

Self. noun, 1 a : the entire person of an individual

The entire person. Every bit of myself. The bad, the horrid, the beautiful, the spiritual. All of it. The desolation and darkness, the ecstasy and the illumination, the burning tears and the unfeigned laughter, the judgmentalism and the acceptance. All of it. The coldness and the fire, the hatred and the love. All of it. I would have to include every bit of me. Even the disagreeable parts. I can do this for the people I love. I have done it for the people I love (though, to be honest, I don't think they are capable of really hating another human being).

I would need to do this for Me.

-

Putting it all back together... Can I do this for myself? Can I really have an unconditional friendship with myself? Perhaps it is my struggle with this concept that keeps me from believing that someone could have an unconditional friendship or love with me. Sometimes I see the brightest glow of renewal and hope for Me. Other times I struggle to see the  beauty inside. 

At this moment, I will hold my inner Self with the tender compassion I hold my loved ones. And I will think of building a better friendship with Me.