We Are Beautiful People

She is broken.

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.

Soup is Better the Next Day

Soup’s hard to mess up. You can, but you can fix it by readjusting your ingredients. My life has been a lot like a soup. I’ve learned that life is complex and never simple as I pass the 56-year mark. The postman brings solicitations from AARP and Medicare. I yell I’m not old. My mind believes I’m capable of racing with the children. My legs know different. When a young man on YouTube ridicules me and calls me Old Lady, I smirk, knowing there’s a point when we all get there, even his sorry self.

Why Soup Tastes Better the Next Day (most of the time)

Letting a finished pot of soup hang out overnight means that harsh flavors soften, the ingredients have a chance to absorb the tasty broth, and everything transforms from very distinct flavors into one harmonious soup.

Christine Gallary

At ten, when I had knobby knees, it was impossible to think of marriage and sleeping in the same bed with a man. Oh, I was curious enough, but I thought the world would end before I grew up. My sister-in-law reassured me that there would be time. I kept seeing what the preachers taught, the fear speeches. I saw the cracks in the ground. Earthquakes. Wars and rumors of wars. Signs in the heavens. Yes, the world was ending, and I wouldn’t get a chance to be married or have children. I’d never had a first kiss.

“Well, I suppose nothing is meant to last forever. We have to make room for other people. It’s a wheel. You get on, you have to go to the end. And then somebody has the same opportunity to go to the end and so on.” – Vivian Maier, nanny and photographer

Life isn’t the pretty pictures you see in the magazine. Our moments, each one of them, are important. Live them. It’s not a delicate family portrait. Life is pleasure and pain. I’ve had kisses that made me weak in the knees. I have found a friend and a lover. Joy. Other moments in my life have crushed me with grief.

I was 15 when I kissed a boy for the first time. It was at a park with my youth group—a very long time ago. It was a kiss. No sparks. In those days, I’d pictured perfection, my future unfolding full of joy and happiness. I was good, kind, so I expected rewards.

I once expected a solitary perfect moment, a portrait, but life is a collage of photos. Life is the soup.

Shame on you

Invisible rules, unspoken. You know them. And if you don’t, you may be pulled to the side by the wise leader of the tribe because they’ll correct you. Chuckle. We have too many who think they’re hip.

Why is she tanning in winter? Is she trying to get a man at her age still? Her hair is getting so long. So out of date. I have heard this one from my mom and people at work. It goes with she’s too old to have long hair—over 40—darn rules.

The over 40 men with the flash of a car and smile—well, we know he’s on the prowl. Watch out, girls. Tsk tsk. If he was 38, he could get by with it, I’m sure.

Is it advice or shame? Be careful of the council you take.

DEFINE

According to Brené Brown, a researcher at the University of Houston, shame is an “intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” It’s an emotion that affects all of us and profoundly shapes the way we interact in the world.Feb 17, 2016

How to Listen to Pain – Greater Good Science Center

Some cultures, religious or pagan, use a system of shunning. They will never look at you, talk to you, or in any way acknowledge your existence. I’ve had people attempt to dismiss me, cold shoulder me, which is an attempt to gain control. In my opinion, it’s abuse.

Shunning often involves implicit or explicit shame for a member who commits acts seen as wrong by the group or its leadership.

Shunning

These forbidden activities, taboo behaviors are from a period when we needed shame-based boundaries. We needed the community to survive. Love, with its short-lived blush, planted you into a family and gave you a home. Over the years, you and your family became one. We still want to belong.

When slapped with shame, I feel angry. There’s a tinge of rejection. I want to fight and cry out, Unfair. I hurt, and like any creature, I long for safety. We must find our center. Do you have someone or something to cling to, even if it is a poem?

My one thing was the sunrise. Could you read about it here? Touchstones and Totems

Get Smarts With Stories

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.
Fortune and Fate
Photo by Los Muertos Crew on Pexels.com

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

The Keys to Life

This is an updated version ofWants, Desires, and, Actions

There is an inherent order to life. It’s as old as the earth herself. Desire plus response equals fulfillment. A baby’s cry causes a mother to feed her baby. Want plus action equals satisfaction. It’s how we all function.

I grew up in a time when, as the saying goes, men kept their word, and a handshake was as good as a contract. I’ve known people who practically killed themselves to finish something, not because they wanted it, but because they promised to do it. They desired to be trustworthy. Honest. Culture has shifted, and we now allow more leniency on contracts. Marriages end. Jobs change. We’re more flexible. Some would say that society’s gone downhill because of this—some, but not me. People still do what they desire the most; it’s just that what we want has changed.

Woman on patio

The secret is promoted by many as a hidden treasure, a hoarded bit of knowledge. But it’s as simple as scratching an itch. So the next time you have a desire or urge to accomplish something, ask yourself how big your appetite is? The next time your back itches, how desperate are you to relieve that itch? What hoops will you jump through? Which laws will you break? How many zombies will you kill? Your craving will tell you how dedicated you’ll be to achieving your goal. It’s not just willpower; there’s desire too.

You Already Have Permission

Just saying.

You have permission to create, to speak up, and stand up.

You have permission to be generous, to fail, and to be vulnerable.

You have permission to own your words, to matter and to help.

No need to wait. —- Seth Godin

Like Nike’s ad – Just do it.

It’s different from planning, pushing, and forcing life to conform. They’re two different viewpoints, two different stories, as diverse as a Mac and a PC. Nike and Reebok.

Itty Bitty Treasures

Life isn’t tidy. It’s not organized into categories for us to tick off the boxes as we go along quickly. Done! There are no rules for life to follow. Life is like a thing with mechanical clockwork, moving faster and faster as we age. Occasionally, we get lucky, and the gears chink and even stick for a moment.

You look up and see a kitten in a window.

Kitten in a window
Cats are everywhere
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
― douglas adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

I was on vacation a few years ago. Remember vacations? My son and his wife invited me along on a trip to France. There were three areas of the country we visited. I experienced a fairytale of a vacation in Aix-En-Provence. We ate genuine French cuisine, drank wine until late, sat out in the sun, shopped in the markets, and went to a museum, all before leaving for Nice and Paris, our other two destinations. I won’t bore you with my details regarding the flight or the ordeals I had before I took off to fly across the big pond. I’ll allow you to believe the flow of my life is perfect.

At a museum I toured with my daughter-in-law, I made a new friend.

A French kitty

My life is busy, painful, and rushed. But there are moments. I remember disagreeing with teachers on their beliefs and opinions. No! I do not have to live my life the way they believe. I am not confined to the rules of another. I am a success or a failure because of my standards, not anyone else. Life is active. It rolls, flows, moves, bumps, rises and falls. Sometimes it even stops. Enjoy the breaks. They don’t come often enough.

“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
― George Bernard Shaw

Your Rules

We have algorithms by which we live our lives. Previously, I lived from a list that included too many freakin’ I shouldn’t and Don’ts.

I shouldn't talk about myself. It's bragging. - Thanks, bro!
Don't ask for things. If you're at someone's place, never take sustenance. Never impose. - Thanks, Mom!
I'm too slow. Too much. Not enough. Well, no matter what I do, it won't be right. - Thanks, society!

My old rules have worn me out. I’m needing something new.

I do things because I like them. I eat when I'm hungry and sleep when I'm tired. I ask for what I need.

When your habits aren’t working for you, it may be time to change your ways. Make new rules.

Want to read more?

I Want Things

As a second-grader, jealousy gripped me and possibly taught me a lesson. A schoolmate had a Mickey Mouse watch with the gloves of Mickey that turned to show the time. I knew that she was rich. And for a few minutes, I convinced her to let me wear her fantastical watch. It didn’t matter what else happened that day. This girl and I had bonded, and I was wearing her Mickey Mouse watch. If I were persuasive enough, maybe she’d let me wear it home. At times I had guts. Raw desire made me bold.

Decisions

I always thought it was logic. Truthfully, it was about pain. Choices—which option didn’t hurt as much as the other? If I saw a new phone I wanted, I would think the process through in my mind. It cost x amount, and currently, I am in debt xx amount. But in my thinking, it was a smart purchase if I could purchase it immediately or somehow arrange it into my budget. Logic—as I was calling it—was a lie. Peel back a layer, and you see the pain.

“A lion runs the fastest when he is hungry.”

Salman Khan

As a very young kid, I learned how to earn money from labor. We had a farm. All pecans that fell onto the ground were mine to pick up, and I could sell them by the pound if the hogs didn’t eat them first. Back then, I made about ten dollars. I felt a thrill at having that money. My life also developed a good dose of shame.

Around two years ago, I went to a group meeting to learn how to organize my life. My expectations were too high. And I was clueless on how little the teacher knew. It was far too simple. Don’t hoard, Sort your clothes, and so on. But I was there with people who had five sets of chinaware.

There’s nothing shameful about wanting things.

The teacher, who I knew from therapy sessions, said I had a poverty attitude. I left angry. These people were downsizing and trying to throw their shame onto me. I have no reason to be ashamed. I’ve lived in her world—the money—and like her, I suddenly lost it. So yes, I want things.

Squirrels

There are subtle cues in the universe that alert you to surrounding issues. Be aware of them. It’s not always a reason for panic, but awareness is necessary. The book The Gift of Fear speaks of us losing our attention. But it’s not a permanent thing.

February 15, 2019–from my personal journal

I walked out my door, and the squirrel I call George was fussing. His chit-chat-chattering sound came from above me. He was furious. I expected a cat or bird to be terrorizing him, but there wasn’t anything around that I could see. Curious.

Intuition is always right in at least two important ways;

It is always in response to something.

it always has your best interest at heart.

Gavin De Becker, The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from ViolenceTags: common-sense, intuition

There might still be hope for humans if we remember to listen. Talk less. Hear more. Pay attention to your friends and family. Our greatest gift this season is attentive and mindful care. It sounds simple, but it isn’t. For most of us, we give as we want. I usually buy gifts that I appreciate. For some of my family, I miss the target big time. The irony is—I’ve always considered myself to be intuitive.

Anywhere a squirrel can go

When you follow intuition, The solutions come to you, and you don’t know how or why.

Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence

Squirrels chatter when they feel threatened. A cat could be walking on the ground below. Mr. Squirrel will fuss, letting the neighbors know that a cat is nearby. He’s no match for that cat, and he probably knows it, but one thing is sure, he’s not quiet.

There is a time for listening, and there is a time to speak your mind. Do you know what time it is?

Take It Easy

Do you meditate and say, I’m just not good at this? Your mind drifts, and find yourself thinking about the movie you’d like to be watching. Might as well be sitting on the couch watching television. Right? Not quite. I was listening to a podcast earlier, which isn’t entirely related, but did make me think of this, and yes, I’ll explain.

Saints and Prophets – Real people

We love our gurus: pedestals and high statues. India is well known for putting its spiritualists at quite an exalted status. But there are those in other parts of the world who do the same. I hear people talk about how perfect someone is. “She never says a bad word about anyone. She helps at fundraisers and gives money to charities.” Blah, blah, blah. Usually, we follow with a self-deprecating, “Naw, I’m just not that good of a person.” If you come to that conclusion, you’ve missed the point. You can’t be good all of the time. You’ll miss. One day you’ll be tired and say the wrong word. Not good. Instead of being good, be real.

Games – There’s no scoreboard

Most of us grow up living life as if it’s a game. Level up. Goals to beat. Lives to live. School, job, marriage, children, etc. Somewhere in there, we throw in vacations as bonus runs, just for fun, and we call it a good game. If we think we need extra life points, we go to a doctor, a priest, or even a yoga studio. Some of us have gotten into meditation, thinking we can add even more health points. There’s some talk that it can give you some superpowers, or have you heard? Yeah, be careful with that one.

We aren’t going anywhere

The point is, we in the western philosophy are goal seekers. We want a prize. We get a trainer to get the abs to get the girl, or am I wrong? Let’s get this straight. I meditate to remember myself and to clear away the clutter of everyone else. I can do this by journaling if I wish. I could go for a long walk in the park instead. Anything away from structure and demands. Drawing, painting, sailing, biking, tanning. So if today my mind wanders a bit, it’s okay. In it’s walking, it allows me the freedom to release and let go. I relax. Then, I return to myself once again and slip out of the coils that the chokehold of daily life had held me in. And it feels so good to be me also.

The book Death on Diamond Mountain is just a glimpse into one of those moments when things go wrong. Take a glimpse. If you’re a Plus member of Mysterious Universe or want to be, they give you an interview with the author. Quite a trip, but the meditation that I’m referring to is remember your peace.

Namaste

Repost — Originally published April 18, 2015