A misfit. She doesn’t fit anymore. The whispers surround her. You see that lady, the one at the end of the bar, her clothes were once beautiful but now are wrinkled with lingering odors.
When the men knew her name, they poured glasses of champagne, brought her lush red roses, and whispered sweet things in her ear. Now, she drinks alone.
In her dreams at night, she still stands on the stage. She’s engulfed in a cloud of cigarette smoke and wearing her favorite dress. She belts out a song with such enthusiasm that the audience rises to their feet—the best day of her life.
I love stories. A good story isn’t only for kids. A hearty tale is filling, leaving me satisfied. I am entertained and I learn, but learning wasn’t the point. Stories are my sunshine, my light. Here are some I enjoy.
THE NORTH WIND AND THE SUN – ÆSOP
A dispute arose between the North Wind and the Sun, each claiming that he was stronger than the other. At last they agreed to try their powers upon a traveller, to see which could soonest strip him of his cloak.
The North Wind had the first try; and, gathering up all his force for the attack, he came whirling furiously down upon the man, and caught up his cloak as though he would wrest it from him by one single effort: but the harder he blew, the more closely the man wrapped it round himself. Then came the turn of the Sun.
At first he beamed gently upon the traveller, who soon unclasped his cloak and walked on with it hanging loosely about his shoulders: then he shone forth in his full strength, and the man, before he had gone many steps, was glad to throw his cloak right off and complete his journey more lightly clad.
Along similar lines, here is an audio which I listened to recently. I hadn’t heard either. I especially enjoyed Luck vs Wisdom. It’s about 15 minutes or so. There’s a commercial and then the second story. No torture, I promise.
LUCK VS WISDOM (with Host Simon Brooks)
What is more important? Luck or wisdom? Discover the answers with host Simon Brooks and Joel Ben Izzy telling “Luck vs Wisdom” and Jenni Cargill- Strong telling “Reaching for the Moon”.
“The universe is not made of atoms; it’s made of stories.” — Muriel Rukeyser
My parents make bizarre statements, “But I thought your headaches would be gone by now.” And I feel as if I have failed. So I start to explain the process of migraines and how treatments work. And the difference between the cervical spine issue. I’ve been stuck in a perpetual defense for long enough.
Next time I talk to them, I want to hear the words and not react. I don’t want to answer or explain. It’s about paying attention to my emotions. My parent’s words are not important. I have to separate the two. This is how I heal.
Turn on a light.
By naming the emotion I can plot its place on my map. Label the bastard. Nail it. When it becomes recognizable then I can see it clearly. Read The Jungle of My Emotions to understand more.
I started a new medicine this last week. Ugh. The brakes screeched. The emergency brake slammed on also. I went from running to walking to nothing. I felt like death. I’ve had migraines my entire life but, they’ve been worse lately. I thought I’d take a bit of action, and so, I researched. It’s what I do best.
Most medications have trial periods. One week isn’t enough time to know if they are helping, and then there’s a whole soup of chemicals in a human body already that a medication is mixing with. Each person is different. So, I’m giving it time. These last few weeks may have not been the best weeks. I may have picked a better time, maybe. Holidays, appliance deliveries, and work backlogs. I don’t know. But is there ever a good week? I’m not complaining. I’m thankful to have medication to take and time to try and try again. If it doesn’t work, I’ll move on to something else.
How do you handle new experiences? Trial and error? Try once? Never try?
Just remember kindness this week to those around you. They may be like me, trying something new. Putting a strange concoction in their body, thinking it will cure them or at least help. Maybe you can put a smile on their face today for me. Share something nice with them. Also, be kind to yourself for the same reason.
There’s an interesting fellow I see often on my drive home from work. He’s a boxer. You can see him almost daily along the Riverwalk in Tulsa. He stands in the middle of the drainage ditch and he jumps rope and shadow boxes. I’d like to know his story, but I haven’t ever had the nerve to find out. I wonder if when he was a younger man that maybe he did real boxing, but now he might be living in his imagination, but then I think that my thoughts are presumptuous. Maybe he just likes the exercise.
When I was younger I spent a lot of time praying. I prayed for the children in Africa and the people I saw on the news. I had no way of physically helping, but somehow the praying didn’t feel like a copout. I felt satisfaction after I prayed and I thought it was proof of results. It seemed that it was a ping back from the source telling me Yes, that’s it. You’re on target. But it wasn’t. It’s not. It’s just the chemicals in my brain telling me I’ve done an action that my belief system approves of. It’s not confirmation of it being effective. Otherwise the continent of Africa would be full of healthy people. The bad guys controlling the countries would be dead or disabled. The wildfires of Texas, Colorado, and California would be over as well as the long drought. And yes, when I prayed for these things I had faith. I got the ping back.
If there is a god and the precepts are true then the results should be verifiable. If a disease or tragedy hits because of sin it should harm only the ones doing the wrong deed, or am I a simpleton. I’m thinking the arrow of disease is coming from the hand of a just god.
Christians should be by a verifiable percentage of reality these things:
healthier than other religious people
impervious to disease more so than other religious people
not dying from snake bites
above only, as in, not enslaved to debt
lead happier lives
wealthier or having the ability to obtain wealth
Further, the Bible makes specific promises, but these promises are never fulfilled. For instance, John 15:7 states, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” This is simply not true! How many Christian people have prayed all over the globe for a release from the grip of terrible suffering just to be left in their circumstances with no way out? Lydia @ DogmaDebate
If something exists or a pattern is true then you should see results. For example, if you take a medication that has been approved by the FDA Federal Drug Administration, it’s already went through Double Blind testing. There are certain tests that show it works. The man on the side of the road is getting exercise. I don’t wish to mock or belittle someone for their efforts. I only want to acknowledge the difference between efforts and results. If you want the exercise of meditation or praying or even shadow boxing, yes they do have their own benefits, but if you want to knock someone out you’re going to have to punch them.
…17Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. 18But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
Your life is not a failure. My life is not a failure. We haven’t quit and we haven’t failed. Let me set the scene for what I’m talking about. Years ago, women had big families, not always because they wanted to. Men had to work long hours in the fields or doing jobs wherever they could. Coal mining, deep-sea fishing, fighting wars they didn’t start. This was their lives, how they bent. Like the tree swaying with the wind, they leaned and they bent so they didn’t break. We inherited generations’ worth of genetics and heritage. Maybe you have Granddad’s blue eyes or his height. Remember he was so tall he had to stoop when he came through the door frame? Well my gramps was tall and thin. I remember his jean overalls and his pipe. I also remember how his shoulders had a bit of slump. I also remember my mom telling my brother to sit up straight. A lot.
Most of us try to kick habits and to better ourselves. We encourage our kids to study hard and take the steps for success just as we’ve done for ourselves. So you’ve tried to lose the weight. I know you have. It’s not because you lack willpower. Maybe it’s the technique or maybe it’s not. You want to be healthy. You want to stop smoking. You want to watch your kids grow up. You haven’t failed. Get back up. take another step. If you’ve reached this point there is this one thing you need to know. There are some things in life we learn to live with. That doesn’t mean you’ll never quit that habit. It just means there aren’t any miracle cures.
I know people who have personality disorders. I’m sure you do too. I know those that have diabetes and heart problems that would love a miracle cure. And someday medicine and science may find that cure. But until that day we have to handle our bodies with their handicaps as if we might have to live with them. I think with all the self-help and positive thinking we forgot something. Genetics and hereditary still play a part in our lives. Take a tall lanky child for instance. It doesn’t matter how many books you stack on his head, or how many mantras or meditations he would do. He’s going to be tall. And with that will possibly come the stooped shoulders. Thanks Granddad.
I’m blessed with my mom’s pot belly. I’ve never had a flat stomach. When I was 20 I weighed 110 pounds and still had a belly. I could do setups on a slant board. One day I did over 50. Flat stomach? Ha! Nope. Will I stop trying to lose weight? probably not. I’m stubborn like that. And like my continual effort to write my thoughts, like my always wanting to push just a little harder, comes the constant tug of war between wanting to have a thin body and the desire for more ice cream. Some things don’t change.
You exist and no one can take that away from you.
This is a daily lifestyle. This is your daily life. How you live each day doesn’t decide if you fail or win. You win regardless. You are here. You are alive, so you win. You exist, so you can’t lose. It’s not “if I can buy status symbol car I win” sort of deal. If you have no car, if you have no legs, if you have no job, you still win. You exist and no one can take that away from you. What winning looks like to each person is different. Maybe you need to revamp the image you have in your head of what winning is to you. That’s easy.
There are some things that will not change, so we deal with them. Not in a negative “put up with” way. Every day I get up and eat breakfast and take 15 – 30 minutes to wake up. I need that. Eating is mandatory or my body will get shaky and my head will hurt. These are the things I know about myself. There’s no overcoming necessary. This is me. I deal with me. I accept who I am and take the steps needed to make sure I have a meal and slow wake ups. Caring for myself.
You may never get over your fear of dogs. Or heights. You may not finish that bucket list before you die. Don’t let that stop you from putting impossible dreams on your list. It’s okay if you never see the Eiffel Tower or dive into the deep end of the swimming pool. When I was young I thought I had to be able to do everything. I thought I had to conquer every fear and challenge. Where did this thought come from? I really don’t know, but I’m glad to know it’s not true. I don’t have to EVER climb mount Everest. I NEVER EVER have to skydive. Silly as it may seem, I lived the first 30 years of my life thinking I needed to be able to do these things and not be afraid of them. How unrealistic. Somewhere along the way I decided to just stay afraid. Then I learned true freedom.
It’s perfectly alright to live imperfectly.
So forget striving for the top and pushing yourself til you break. The living is not in constant raw edge. The living just is. Right now, regardless if you are on the edge, on the top, or laying somewhere on the bottom after falling over, you are alive. You win.
A while back, out by the communal dumpster, I found a big wooden frame. A heavy one. The gilding had mostly worn off. It was perfect! I took that baby in and cleaned, primed, and painted it white. Semi-gloss white. I put some wallpaper as an insert and hung it up in my dining room. Beautiful. I love finds. I love to dumpster dive. Well mostly only when I have a great find. I absolutely adore finding that long forgotten treasure. The item that someone threw away not knowing how perfect it was.
Re-framing your life, becoming Cinderella for yourself, what is it? There’s a moment in all of our lives that we stop and wonder, how did I get here? We live our lives without a plan. We are born and we die. The life in between just seems to happen. School, marriage, family, illness, work. The boy who starts out washing cars and ends up with a chain of auto detailing shops didn’t become the speed racer he dreamed of as a child, but he’s not the failure he thinks he is. He just needs to take another look.
Why do you need to update? Do you really need to change? Aren’t you just fine as you are? Yes. Absolutely. That’s the deal. You don’t change. It’s you changing how you feel about you. That picture frame didn’t change. It just received a whole new attitude. Just a coat of paint. There was no restructuring. Someone had given up on it and I brought it in because I saw what it was. A beautiful piece of craftsmanship. In the same way, you can look at yourself and know that you are too.
Where to begin? Starting over? Are you depressed? Hate your life? Or maybe you are in the middle of changes which are frightening. Life is step by step. It’s also taking another look. Get a new perspective. Open the curtains and let in the sun. Using metaphors and analogies is a great way to re-frame, re-picture, recapture what was lost. What went wrong that you wanted to go right? Take the part of yourself, the energy that you feel you wasted and rebuild yourself. Do something that is not requiring anyone else to show up.
What can I re-frame? Your job, your house, your friends, your life, your family. Maybe you aren’t the typical household or the lovey-dovey family. So? Find the good stuff of your family and cherish it. Make a collage of the aspects of your family that you adore. The trip to the mall with your kids? The double-dip ice cream cone your son had to have. The outrageous science project your daughter and her dad made together. This is your life. Cherish it.
I bumped into a silly belief that I didn’t realize I had. It goes like this, “If it doesn’t last, it isn’t valid.” It isn’t real. Now the funny thing that I’ve noticed about these ninja, super hidden beliefs is that if you look at them in the light of day without distractions, they are ridiculous. Obviously nothing lasts. The supper I made tonight, as good as it was and as filling as it was, processed through my body, pulling out the nutrients needed and the rest discarded. And hopefully, not storing too much excess as fat.
The paycheck I received from working my 40 hours each week is processed through my life, used as needed and then is gone. It doesn’t last. Was it valid? Yes! Valid and wanted. So when that thought came in, I was sitting and talking to a friend. We were talking about relationships and those that have come and gone. Apparently there was a fleeting moment that I was feeling like a failure at relationships. I quickly tallied up my pluses and minuses and my brain handled the rest. It called in the ninja belief to protect me from my evaluation. The minuses, my so-called failures, became invalid. I guess they weren’t authentic. They didn’t last, right? If they didn’t last, they weren’t very strong in the first place. They must have been only superficial, pretty side shows that only appeared as strong relationships. Or so my thinking went. That’s it! My clever self had given me my out. The failed relationships were all just shams! Propped up to look like the real thing.
It seemed so simple. About as quickly as the super secret ninja thoughts went through the exit, the wise Yoda-like came in the entrance. Hmmm..maybe. He rubs his chin. Could be true. Something else might be. Momentary, fleeting, brief, and elusive. maybe not sham at all.
Fleeting moments like the sight of your son on graduation day. Or the moment you held him in your arms for the first time. Brief like the fear before you dive into the swimming pool. Or the elation you felt from actually seeing it through. Elusive moments, like the wisps of cologne from your lover’s shirt. The moment of passion that takes your breath away. And the memory of it an hour later. Elusive like the site of a ray of sun through the clouds. The rainbow that follows. Yes. Fleeting, elusive, brief moments. Anyone have a tissue?
tweet-able- Brief, fleeting relationships are just as real and necessary as lasting ones.
Brief moments and so-called failed relationships are just as valid and real as the longer lasting type. The day with the sun beating down on your back in the August heat is no more real than the short glimpse through the clouds. They both exist. Did the sun fail on the rainy day in April? Of course not. It didn’t take long for me to realize the belief was stupid. But what did take me a day to process was the reason for the incredibly silly thought in the first place. Rather than think of myself as a total failure, making me depressed and gloomy, my mind was helping me. By telling me it wasn’t real, it was a sham, my mind was allowing my to protect myself.
After each failed relationship, I boxed away my feelings of joy, my memories that made me smile and all the beautifully wicked first kisses and experiences. I stored them away on a shelf and they were gathering dust. I didn’t know what to do with the old wedding photos. Isn’t it wrong to look at them and smile? Those days are gone and forgotten. Shouldn’t they be put in the dumpster with the relationships? I failed. I gave up. I couldn’t finish my race. I quit. And that is why my mind was protecting me. It hurts. It cuts deep inside where no one but you can see like bits of glass or shrapnel left inside the tissue. Every time I see a happy couple, every time I’m lonely, every moment that I see my children, I’ve felt the failure.
Seeing the pretend, propped up, temporary relationship was clever. And maybe my mind was even sneakier than that. By allowing me to see the “failures” as shams, it gave me the ability to laugh at its joke. I knew that I couldn’t dismiss temporary things so easily. The shams are real. The moments of good in them were just as real as the moments of good that I haven’t boxed away. Maybe I packed them away in boxes of splinters, but I still have them. And up until that moment I hadn’t realized I’d boxed them away.
I wonder. Is the human psyche really that clever? It’s a delicate pirouette to do. The dance it took around my dusty storage room and then gently prodding me, it did brilliantly. Almost as if it had super ninja skills.
I have 2 videos here. First Linkin Park – Bleed It Out, then Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love. Pick your poison.
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