227 Victims and Victimizers

Byron Katie and the Work.  I don’t want to think about how each of us relates to the word victim, and how we rarely have insight into how each of us might be perceived as a victimizer.  It’s an old story, tired, coming up for completion.  But, it’s a hot topic.  So many of my friends are looking at it personally.  The media is looking at it nationally, even globally.

Byron Katie and the Work.  Everyone wants to grow.  Our hearts are screaming, our actions grasping.  This is the time to reach up to the next rung in the ladder, and the next, and the next.  We need support.  Counselors are booked solid.  Mentors are adapting to meet the overwhelming need coupled with the Covid regulations.

How to Confront Your Fears through Meditation—The Work of Byron Katie®

Byron Katie and the Work.  I am telling my mind to be quiet.  In my heart, I hear Byron Katie gently guiding a person through a Worksheet, through the Work.  Tears.  I have cried, watching the process, more times than I can count. Comprehension. Healing.  Releasing the word victim.  Embracing the true beauty of the human experience.

When a person gives Katie a chance, the new mindset can resolve the pain.  We all emerge with the power of growth.  We become One.

Day five of 31 Days of Gratitude.

225 The Law of Attraction

Law of attraction is a method of putting the mind on only that which you wish to create. It isn’t a fully “self actualized” space… but it’s on the road.

Three days in to 2021. This morning I opened a card deck that Debby gifted me at Christmas. I hadn’t read the fine print on the box, and was a bit confused that my first, second, and then third card were all health based. All 60 are health based, Abraham Hicks, Law of Attraction cards. Laughing at myself.

This may be the third component of the ritual of making 2021 into the world changing, eon changing year. Ask for help from the Eternal. Gratitude, always gratitude. And now… control your thoughts.

For some reason, thoughts want to control us, control me. They are actually just drifting around out there in the atmosphere, and I choose a cluster of ’em to focus on, and then select one in particular. Whoosh, I’m swept into the apparent power of the mind.

Oddly, my mind isn’t in control. But the Western world sure believes it is. Often, by some tragic irony, it becomes the “reality” that I see.

I am questioning whether “gratitude” and “control your thoughts” are the same thing. They are. But maybe each is a sub heading of the other, intertwining.

“Control your thoughts” can seem harsh, and send me down a path of self judgment. “I created my own illness.” Very doom centered.

When I come from the light of gratitude, the statements are rightfully illuminating. “I am so thankful for all of the time with the kids.” “The sun is rising over the mountain with the incredible pinks and reds.” “I am grateful for my PC (’cause I drowned my laptop, because now I am listening to guidance to focus my time differently as far as computer living…).”

Maybe the third step is actually “watch my thoughts”. Allow some compassion. I notice that my ostomy is burning, and needs me. My attention can be love and physical action, and the thoughts can be about how incredible the process of having an ostomy and a life saving surgery is.

Or, it could be that the thoughts try to vear to the dark. At worst, I might need to step away from thinking that I am my thoughts, to watch that darkness present itself in the thought realm, and put love and self understanding into the process.

At best, I am able to be the “glass is half full” kind of person. Law of attraction is a method of putting the mind on only that which you wish to create. It isn’t a fully “self actualized” space… but it’s on the road. Gratitude can be aligned purely with “Thy will be done”. Law of attraction has a mini twist, where the personality creates and shifts the nature of creation to the individual, and perhaps away from Divine Grace.

If you don’t like what you are thinking, don’t agree with the path of the thought, quit giving it attention. Pet the cat. Find a different path. Think of a list of gratitudes.

If the thought is too persistent, give yourself the gift of facing it with love and compassion, and just treat it like a small, overtired, distraught child… hug it, hand it a stuffed unicorn, listen for the thought’s pain and soothe it.

And then attract the wanted, or attract the Eternal. Start with whichever is easier, and slide your way up to Spirit. 2021 is going to rock the world! Literally. What a beautiful beginning!

CONTROL YOUR THOUGHTS BY DOING THIS! Simple Technique to Attract Success & Happiness

202 Wedding Advice

Thank you notes are important. Gratitude is important. Some of the best advice ever:

I do want to document my consistent wedding advice.  The parameters will likely hold true for my grandchildren and great grand children and is certainly something that is NOT advocated in the consumerist world of Pinterest and Bride magazine.

Even as I share this, I know the biggest order for the day is “go your own way”.  Do the marriage and commitment part for you.  Do not buy into how you have seen it done before, or into making your wedding better than the last three you attended.  That is a recipe for disaster.  So maybe my advice is don’t take advice.  Chuckling.  You can look for your own truth inside other’s advice.  That makes this worth writing.

man and woman holding hands walking on seashore during sunrise
Photo by Asad Photo Maldives on Pexels.com

Consider eloping.  If you can start with a day for just you and a couple of very important witnesses, you dispel the jitters and nerves, get to enjoy each other without performing to a crowd, and have a personal memory that is yours alone.  Check in with the groom.  Many grooms are not thrilled about the party scene, and really appreciate a chance to have an intimate marriage before the day of the wedding.  And the end result will be a restful evening together, a night to create connection and intimacy… rather than incredible exhaustion.

Avoid debt.  When it comes to the big party, don’t allow it to go over budget.  Certainly, stay away from the credit cards.  Anyone who really loves you would rather that you put a down payment on a house, paid the future forward for your life with children or supporting societal growth, or just stayed in your bank account for emergencies.  If you are swimming in the fluidity of economic abundance, be willing to do the crazy dream.  If not, find a dream without high tags.  Evening and mid afternoon weddings can have cake and appetizers, and skip the meal.  Weddings can be in wild locations, and receptions are optional.  Think about what fits you best.  

Ask for help.  The big wedding day.  No responsibilities.  Literally!  You can hire people who cover this.  If you have close friends, figure out how to delegate, and do it flawlessly.  The bride and groom should be able to eat, to dance, to laugh and talk and share, to mingle, to pose for those millions of pictures (or not, you can limit the ridiculous).  Someone else should be the go to person, who knows where everything is, where everyone belongs, how the plan unfolds.  Delegate.  Then release and relax.

A traveling show.  We have a lot of people who have families that spread across the globe.  Mini receptions in travelling locations are a thing.  You can have a house party, cater it with chips and dips, cheese trays and punch, resay the vows, cut a new cake, and take it all to a more manageable, spread out sort of joy.  Costco can be your friend sometimes… this sort of time.  I recommend the Chocolate Mousse Cake (dare to add ice cream).

Tuxedo Chocolate Mousse Cake From Costco with roasted chicken and wine and empty wine glass and flowers
Tuxedo Chocolate Mousse Cake From Costco for wedding

Thank you notes are important.  Gratitude is important.  Some of the best advice ever:  Have your delegated gift watcher hand people who are passing off a card or gift an envelope to self address.  You know that it will be filled out correctly!  When the envelope can be lightly taped to the gift, it helps to identify items that separate themselves from identification.  It’s just smart, and it saves the busy newlyweds time.

The big and the small.  Just an ounce of advice.  The biggest goal, have a happy life.  Remember that you are not the center of the universe and that the marriage is not about you alone.  Find compassion.  Research communication, forever, constantly growing, constantly honing your listening skills.  Reassess yourself.  If things aren’t going well, you own a part of it.  Find the part. 

These are the real keys and advice that I hope I do not need to convey.  They should be an inherent part of commitment.  To your spouse, your parent, your children.  Your world.  Keep growing.  You are love incarnate!  Act like it.  I would like to insert a smiley here.  I don’t think writing is where a smiley belongs.  My ending conundrum.

200 Shame Shit Storm

I’d actually say this storm has already capsized the boat and has tried to drown the occupants several times.

I was having a conversation.  The person was in a Shame Shit Storm.  If you haven’t met Brené Brown on a Youtube, Ted Talk, or on her contribution to Netflix, you have not yet come across one of our current leaders in human self awareness.  Brené Brown is a Shame Researcher, one with scientific teams and background, a history of being a professor and researcher, forwarding social dynamics.  Her stories are both touching and hilarious.  And you will learn from her books or speeches.  We are blessed to have her down to earth information!

My friend was in a Shame Shit Storm.  But the truth of humanity is that none of us has committed a new “crime”.  No one has done anything truly new since the origin of mankind.  We are repeating loop after loop.  It would be difficult to do ANYTHING that has not been done before, positive or negative, small to so large that it shakes the world.  But not really new.  Granted, we can find some pretty out there examples of new-ish boundary crossing in the last four years, but it isn’t new to the world order.

In other words, all of us have friends in our boats.  We might not like the boat we are in, but we can swim over to another.  Warm water, crystal blue.  If you don’t like your boat… if the Shit Shame Storm cloud is hovering overhead, swim to a new one.  Leave the other behind.  Guilt and shame are going to sink that craft anyhow, so it’s better to get wet now than spend time wallowing.  Watch some Brené Brown, pull up the swimwear, and dive!

We hold ourselves in these paradigms, self created.  This moment is a new moment.  If something rocked the world, it is in the past, was a lesson, and can be observed, learned from, and left behind.  It can.  There are so many ways to meet the new day, to embrace a new story, to create a new world.

The United States faces this challenge.  If you don’t feel embarrassed, if you don’t feel a push to dive out of at least one boat, if you are not noticing that our nation has choices that are  in front of each of us, you missed the storm brewing overhead.  I’d actually say this storm has already capsized the boat and has tried to drown the occupants several times.  So if you haven’t noticed that you are either swimming toward other boats (the ones with clear skies overhead) or that you are going under for the third time, you are living in a denial and lack of self awareness that will not only kill you, but have you bring down a group of other swimmers as you drown.

The opposite of self awareness?  The denial of a Shit Shame Storm?  Peril.

Don’t get overwhelmed.  Maybe that’s a part of the denial.  Too much.  Too hard.  Seemingly impossible.

One small stroke.  One tiny goal.  Start with just one, just simple, just you.  Eat a stem of broccoli.  Put a can of food in the box at the store.  Pay for the person behind you in line.  Open to listening. Compassion.  A phone call.  One small stroke, today, now.

Then add another, and another.  We can do this.  We can have a better world, a better today, a better future. Just don’t look too far out, because you will see the storm brewing and heading your way.  But do focus outward.  

Notice that this is not an individual world, but a collective, a group project.  See your storm, and then notice that it is shared.  Your growth, your stroke, moves the masses.

177 Sleep Poetry

milky way galaxy during nighttime
Photo by Hristo Fidanov on Pexels.com

When the night is there, but you will not sleep,
And there is no point of counting sheep, 
The brain spins tales, with no woolen ends,
And the thoughts are strange with twists and bends.

The heart delights in a journey told,
Of memories and stories of old,
Of the clarity of a challenged mind,
The Duality intertwined.

Fight not, the nights of little rest,
Use them for the Eternal’s best
Interest and your own as well,
Because each of us has tales to tell.

Pick up the project, journal, or art,
Let the progress come from your heart,
You are chosen to do take this flight,
No better time than the dark of night.

173 Gaia, the Site

But Gaia did return, as a Netflix style video site. It has classes and movies for the transformational journey.

Back in those early transformation days, more than a decade ago, there was a site called Gaia.  It was a connecting site.  The goal was to bring people together for the advancement of us all.  Back then, I met Saidi from Kampala.  We converse still via email.   He started a Success in Education school in Africa, married, and has a young son now.  Leaps and bounds.

Also Rich entered my world, a best friend (at a great distance) whom I could not have lived without, quite literally.  We were doing the transformational journey at the same time.  It is wonderful to have Divinely placed mentors.

Kwami led a book group on Gaia.  Was it When Fear Falls Away?  I can’t remember.  But that definitely brought a lot of us onto the old form of the website.  When the creators could no longer support the worldwide site financially or in its expansion, it folded.  A sad day.

But Gaia did return, as a Netflix style video site.  It has classes and movies for the transformational journey.  It lets people explore interests that are bubbling to the surface, or find out about quirky anomalies that are often ignored by the mainstream.

Not quirky at all, I watched a movie about juicing.  

My intestines, apparently, had their linings stripped during the last chemo cycle.  Not pretty.  So now on Cycle 5, Day 4, this is a different ball game.  I came in more proactive. I have watched the foods and timings closely.  I am eating bland and bland and bland food, chicken soup, applesauce, saltines, hot cereal.  Dr. Wilfong’s guidance rang “No milk, low fat.”  I was already on top of it.

My plan was to ride the hard days with the bland stuff, and then intensify the healthy stuff on the opposite weeks.  That means smoothies.  I don’t see the point of juicing when one can Ninja the whole food, and experience the fiber.  Well, I do see the point of juicing, because it’s about getting the pure nutrients of 10 times what one could ever fully consume.  It’s just not my thing.  Cleaning the Ninja is annoying enough.  Juicers are exceptionally painful in the cleaning realm.  

But the movie was uplifting.  People with chronic, debilitating diseases moved to great success in one month.  They dropped their medications.  They changed their outlooks.  They came back to life.  It was truly inspiring.  

I jump in and out of the smoothie world.  It’s time to jump back in.  Green smoothies.  Fruit smoothies.  Maybe I will venture in to some new vegetable combinations this time around.  It is an adventure!  

Our bodies are crying for food that is real.  If it comes processed, it isn’t real.  If we feel “like crap”, food and water are the basic elements of the body battleground.  It is the place to start.  The first place.  Before the doctors and the pills and the chemo.  Add the professionals when you need them, but start with the basic building blocks of the body.

171 The Dump

There was a period of time where I would load my stuff, then stop in town to pick up Judy and her cans. It was actually a lot of fun!

The concept of going to the dump has changed a lot.  I can vaguely picture Dad loading a truck when I was young.  Things loosely thrown in the back.  Stacked high.  

When we lived in Granite Falls, the garbage went to the dump.  Garbage service only came to end of the easement road, far, far away.  So, the trash was loaded into the pick up truck and driven to the Drop Box.

There was a period of time where I would load my stuff, then stop in town to pick up Judy and her cans.  It was actually a lot of fun!  I connect trips to the dump to release, to joy, and to connection to people.

When I went alone, I inevitably conversed with random folks, dropping off their own discardables.  We mused about our collections, or spoke of mysterious topics that came randomly to the situation.  When no one else was there, I enjoyed the forested location, the quiet, and the sense of accomplishment.

Judy and I would stop for coffee, or just talk and laugh.  

The dump at Airport Way is not as pleasing.  It is loud, all concrete, and doesn’t provide for interaction with anyone.  But my mind holds the same reward sensation.  When I visit, I feel the connection and the happiness that history has built into my cognition.  The relief of unburdening my world of trash, overwhelm, and clutter wins.  I win.

170 What Were They Thinking?

Mom wrote an apology letter, probably some time before she died. She knew that she was leaving the project for others. And she also told me directly that once she was facing the extent of her pancreatic cancer, the psychological hoarding increased. Mom and Dad hoarded. Functionally hoarded.

Kwami and Nyasha were under the house yesterday, accomplishing stuff.  Under.  Through a trap door.  Below the floor.  Kwami handed up gallon after gallon of water… and garbage, a stack of old vents and rings and furnacey stuff.

It brought back that inner sigh.  I feel more “push” to get the space cleaned up and cleared out.  And there are always surprises.  When I think I know what is left, another nook or cranny unearths more miscellaneous items to think about, to sort, to discard.  My mind jumps to the phrase, “What were they thinking?”  

When I moved into Dad’s house, the full intention was to prepare it for the possibility of sale, if it had to happen.  

Jan did so much sorting and discarding back when she moved in.  It was miraculous for me!  But it was a terrible mountain for her.  She never complained.  I am complaining for her. 

Mom wrote an apology letter, probably some time before she died.  She knew that she was leaving the project for others.  And she also told me directly that once she was facing the extent of her pancreatic cancer, the psychological hoarding increased.  Mom and Dad hoarded.  Functionally hoarded.  They had space to store stuff and still live without it affecting their existence. Two bedrooms were packed to the gills (where did that idiom come from?).  The garage, two storage sheds, the attic… apparently a little trash and water in the crawl space.

What were they thinking?  

It is something about the brain.  It is said that children of the war time acquired this.  During the war, it was hard to get what one needed, and so the thought of having things stored, on hand, was built into the strategy for survival.  But the brain continued that thinking on past the sensible timeline.  

And in my parents case, they were not organized enough to access what was stored.  So, as I sort, there are probably more than 20 saws in the garage, found in as many locations.  Before I pared down, the shed stored six or seven of each type of yard tool (because Mom and Dad kept the ones the grandparents left behind).  Oddly, not as many redundant wrenches turned up.  I think Dad’s hand tools have more reasonable numbers because he DID know where they were, and he did have his own form or organization for that which was important to him.

I am going to do a load for the dump.  We have literally taken full loads, numbering to the teens now.  At one point I hired a hauling company, who transported a dump truck load of the enormous stuff.  Many trips to the toxics site, several to take donations, one full load gifted to an antique store, numerous to the recycle center.  

Mark would tease our parents, “When you die, we will just hire a truck and haul it away.”  Who knew that it could be truck after truck after truck?   I am pretty sure that everything I own will fit into one truck.  One trip. I hope

169. Aligning Truth, Beauty

Grandparents, family elders, wear the gray hair as a gift, each one earned by the emotional ride of their lives. The sagging skin, the wrinkles, scars and creases, show the time on the planet, the exposure to the elements, pain, and the intensity of a million smiles.

As a nation, we have spent the last six months considering ourselves in comparison to truth.  What is the truth?  Is it based on science, on world view, on religious value, on surface level beliefs, on mesmerism, or historical wisdom?  Is it relative or is it universally concrete?

Whether people believe it or not, each individual has a different definition of the truth.  I find that paradoxical.  The truth is debatable. How can something that is the truth be something that is under scrutiny?  The key is comprehending that the truth is individually variable.

I was pondering my grandmothers, and beauty.  

The American standard of beauty is based on the ideal body of a fifteen year old girl.  

One day, we were washing the boat in Lake Stevens, actually in the lake.  A pair of 70 something people pulled their ski boat to the launch, zipped the sports car and trailer around in the parking lot, and pulled the sparking vessel out of the water.  I watched them, and I watched myself.  They were thin, sharp, tan, wearing clothing and sunglasses that matched the overall aesthetic.  I was repulsed.

The kids were young.  I was young.  And these were not the grandparents of my truth.  I shuddered.  These were the grandparents of the American standard.  It was not wrong. In fact, most people would admire the standard of existence of these retirees, their image, their apparent well being.  Most people would encourage the plastic surgery, the make up, the hair plugs and beauty appointments that pulled that together as a package.  “If it makes you feel good, do it.”

But I saw my own truth in that one moment.  It was so striking that the image has never left me.  Grandparents, family elders, wear the gray hair as a gift, each one earned by the emotional ride of their lives.  The sagging skin, the wrinkles, scars and creases, show the time on the planet, the exposure to the elements, pain, and the intensity of a million smiles.  The soft bellies, soft bodies, welcome the grandchildren into their laps, make cushions for the tears, speak to moments spent in endeavors of listening, support, stillness.  Their quiet motion in practical cars matches the nature of their internal peace, to the satisfaction with the moment.  

There was nothing wrong with Barbie and Ken, Grandparent Edition.  Through them, I saw my truth.  My bias.  My love.  I observed my acceptance of a process, and how my values differ.  I was thankful for my grandparents, and their presentation of a meaningful truth. 

168. The Great Fir

It takes a lot of determination and perseverance to do chemotherapy, but also to relax into the outcomes of the Eternal plan.

In the center of the back yard, a magnificent fir tree stands. It has always been there. Always, as far as my lifetime, and likely, always as it goes for my parents lifetimes as well. You couldn’t hug it alone. Perhaps two people could circle it and touch fingertips. My guess is that it is nearing its 100th birthday, a centurion among us.

When I sit in the family room, it stands in the middle of the vision out of the window. So during meditation, reading, sharing with family, if I look out, there it is. Stoic. Constant. The overseer, observer, grounding force. It is also the tree that continues to gift us with cones. This year has been less cone-full, perhaps a kindness that it shared because of my inability to do battle, to scoop or rake them up.

The Magnificent Fig Tree

The symbolic meaning of fir trees is vast. The google search uses sunsigns.org for the highlighted answer:

“Fir symbolism stands for power of determination and perseverance. Celts also appreciated the importance of remembering the past, learning from one’s mistakes and cherishing the wonderful times. Life is a gift and fir trees serve to remind us to not take that for granted.”

Sooooo, that pretty much sums up my current life situation. It takes a lot of determination and perseverance to do chemotherapy, but also to relax into the outcomes of the Eternal plan.

Trees bring us to our roots. This tree has been here since we moved here in the early ‘70s, was large in the original pictures of the yard. It was not removed when the housing development was built. It has seen the droughts, storms, and earthquakes of the century. And in our small, Sims like, inconsequential existences, it has watched me grow since I was five (we met before the house was built), watched my children since they were born, watched the beginning of the next generation being presented in the arms of Indrayani, or on Chelsea’s and Nyasha’s leashes.

Learning from our mistakes, we live a quieter, more accepting life. We listen a bit more closely. We feel more intensely. We ponder deeply, and see significance in a broader, more Universal interpretation.

Life IS a gift. We hear the Fir Tree tell us not to take the moments for granted, the visit to the pumpkin farm, the family meals, tie dye on the breeze way, the laughter, the tears.

We are grateful.