Work It, Girl…

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A good mom teaches us a lot.  If we’re lucky enough to become moms one day, we realize more and more just how much we learned from her.  In general, moms get a bad rap, held to a much higher standard than anyone else who might enter our lives.  Her missteps are often severely judged, not just in her own mind and heart, but in those of her children.  But for better or worse, she’s the one we turn to most, the one who is always there, a constant gardener in love and care, in her way.

‘Her way’ may not always be something we agree with, but even if she’s made a mistake, we’re going to learn something from it.  She’s human sure, but beyond that, she’s mom, which means she impacts your life in a way like no other.  As we grow and become adults, it’s important to consider her not just as mom, but as a person on her own journey.  Puts a little different perspective on her mistakes, doesn’t it?

Considering her this way should likewise put an improved perspective on her love and constant gardening.  She’s just another human being on a journey, yet she devotes the majority of her thoughts, energies, decisions, and dreams toward your well-being, the epitome of unconditional love.  And though it may not always seem as though her love comes without strings (she actually expects things of you!?!) it ultimately does, because every demand is made with your best interests at heart.  And we cut her some slack, she’s lived longer than we have, she likely knows more than we do about a thing or two, so we try to listen more and judge less.  We have some faith in her love for us.

My mother struggled to raise me on her own, a struggle I’ll never completely understand because I have not had to experience it.  She worked…HARD.  Sometimes more than one job at a time when things were particularly lean or I needed something special for school or sports.  She did what she had to do.  And she made me do.  Whether it was “Go outside and play”, “Get up, you’re going to work with me today, I need help”, “Clean up this room!”, they were each lessons.  She was teaching me about work and life.  She was teaching me what work does for you, how it makes you feel, how to use it to empower and enable good things to happen in your life.  Translation, please?

  1. “Go outside and play” teaches that there is a whole world out there just waiting for you to experience it, but you’ll never encounter its mysteries unless you get up, get on with it, and get out there.
  2. “Get up, you’re going to work with me today, I need help” teaches several lessons.  First lesson: The value of gumption, of getting about the business of living, instead of sleeping it away.  Sleep is necessary of course, but like most things in life, in moderation and good health.  Second lesson: It’s good to help others.  We all need a little help every now and then, but a child who isn’t taught to recognize it and follow through, will never help anyone but themselves.  Third lesson: “You’re going to work with me today” teaches that work is necessary to life.  The perception that work is drudgery, something to be avoided in favor of relaxation, is an incorrect perception.  Actually, work (especially hard work) makes you.  What does this mean?  Work makes you by instilling a sense of confidence in your own abilities.  It teaches self-reliance.  It’s the only thing that helps you understand what being productive feels like; that to endeavor is to burn, to be alive and on fire with activity.  It’s a positive, worth-building thing, and the best thing to keep one depression-free and feeling optimistic. Having goals is necessary.  Without it, we sit static, motionless and helpless in a world that is moving all around us, leaving us behind.  Fourth lesson: By requesting that I go to work with her, she demonstrated a belief in my ability to help.  This is often the first experience a child has that helps them understand they can positively impact others through action.
  1. “Clean up this room!” teaches self respect.  It may seem like a demand, but in reality it’s a request to benefit both of you.  Mom has likely already figured out self respect and she has it, therefore she values her space, which includes the one you occupy.  But she’s also teaching you, because she learned (maybe the hard way) that respecting yourself directly impacts the decisions you make for yourself in life.  Decisions are choices and they ultimately influence life and happiness.  Choice in partner, environment, work place, health, even rest and relaxation, are all governed in some way by self respect.  Without it, we are a punching bag who believes we deserve less, which leads to things like poor performance, pessimism, lethargy, and stress, ultimately things that can have real affect on personal health and wellbeing.  Living in a pigsty translates to believing you deserve to live in a pigsty.  Essentially, think it, believe it, do it.  Believing in yourself, recognizing your value, merit, and goodness means you are less likely to accept less than the very best situation you can create for yourself.  Your environment is a direct reflection of how much you value you.  And beyond its impact on you, any devaluation of life and endeavors, purpose and potential, means you will fail to have a positive impact on others.

Mom lessons extend past instruction, into the realm of behavior.  My mom has always maintained an excellent work ethic.  She’s always doing.  This doesn’t mean she can’t relax or won’t, it means she is on fire with activity.  When she relaxes, she earned it.  This enables her to exhibit an extraordinary generosity and a hopeful, endless love.  Her spirit shines with exuberant energy, resulting in a vigorous, fun-loving attitude that always brings a smile to others.  As a result, she belies her age, often mistaken for being much younger (not a bad thing, right ladies?).  She loves to learn, read, and experience.  I’ve always found much admiration for these things, and I find that in my admiration of them first in her, I now seek them out in others.  More importantly, I seek them out in myself.  I am proud of those aspects of myself that I can directly attribute to her influence.   I am an incredibly hard worker, because I enjoy being productive, endeavoring, living on fire.  I love, appreciate, and respect life.  And each day, I wake with a passion to live that drives me in many different directions at once.  These things and more are the direct result of her impassioned efforts, her love and life lessons.

Thankfully, we never get too old to learn something new.  Work it, girl…work it.  Mom wants you to know YOU ROCK…

🙂

**Image creds go to: http://www.andherlittledogtoo.com**
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…Don’t be a Dick

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407225         (Sorry for the title, had to grab your curiosity)

The world is such a hectic place…

We live like working cogs, part of a global machine that seems to have developed a mind of its own, simply by its existence and growing complexity.  It is so complex in fact, that a single individual can only hope to be familiar with some small subset of its inner workings.  We can hope to become very knowledgable of perhaps one, tiny slice of the pie, if extraordinarily lucky and we work extraordinarily hard.

The connectivity is amazing.  At the touch of key or click of the mouse, we can go anywhere, experience anything.  Knowledge has become an endless resource, accessible anytime, night or day, as long as we have a signal.  We can know anything we wish to know…it is very hard to stump Google.

With such an endless supply of knowledge at our fingertips, why ask for help or guidance from someone else?  It takes so much time to seek out the right person to ask, and even if we find them, they may not know the answer.  How disappointing is that?!  I mean, who has that kind of time to waste?!   It’s so much more efficient to simply point, click…and forget.

In our endeavors to make life easier, we have really made ourselves quite irrelevant.  There are fewer and fewer reasons to really engage one another, have a conversation, or stop to care.  We are constantly in the way, blocking the aisle, impeding traffic, affecting life in a million tiny ways that complicate and irritate our neighbor.

And there are so many of us…

The planet is full of human beings and the number continues to grow like a newborn infant.  Thanks to all of our knowledge and advancement in areas like medicine, we’ve increased the amount of time the average human being can spend here, in Nirvana.  We can’t help but get in each other’s way.  You can’t swing a stick without hitting another human being in the jaw with it.  There are fewer places of solitude, spaces where one can commune with nature alone, without a single soul nearby.  Though we need it, so badly…

Human need hasn’t changed with the times.  Stubbornly, people still need love, acceptance, friendship…and a sense of peace.

Denying our needs is asking for trouble.  Imbalance leads to unhappiness and physical illness, yet we do everything we can to keep up, gain ground, run the race.  We make choices that favor progress more than stillness.  And people complicate progress in the worst way, because relationships require the most precious commodity in the world…

…our time

We spend so much time alienating others to save time and effort that we forget we need them.  This is where the hope comes in…the humanity…that most stubborn, needy thing.  We can’t help ourselves.  We need, whether we want to or not, whether we admit it or not.

But now it’s muddled up by the fact that we’ve done so well in our globalized existence that we’ve alienated ourselves from one another.  We no longer have the skills required to communicate intimately with another human being.  We don’t have listening skills, because we’ve insulated ourselves from having to do it for so long (it just took too much time).  We’ve forgotten what it’s like to experience the simple joy of really listening and engaging another person, that we spiral in our inabilities until we’re alone and bitter, wondering why others aren’t there for us.  

Formula:  2much knowledge + 2little empathy = 1 selfish, self-righteous dick 

Still, there is a lot of light left in the world.  People are impressed by the little things. Heroes are made by the smallest display of kindness.  Those who listen, empathize, and communicate well are valued beyond words.  These are aspects that bring humanity back into focus, and as long as there are still people in the world that really see their value, we’re going to be okay.

Advice for the future should go something like this:

  • Do your best to slow down.
  • Stop talking, listen more
  • Respect life, all life, as something meaningful and independently sacred
  • Spend your time on something worthwhile, like a conversation
  • Endeavor to meet new people, because they will fill you with knowledge you cannot get anywhere else in the world
  • Make eye contact
  • Exercise faith in something besides yourself
  • Strive to introduce kindness, generosity, and good things into the world, simply because you are capable of doing so
  • Do not manage people, take them as they are, without bias
  • And above all, love

Rock on, my humans….rock on 🙂

*Image credit goes to: http://pixgood.com/human-population-clipart.html*

Optimism and the Promise of Potentiality…

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Optimism naturally seeks ouFreedom Faith & Letting Got the potential for what is hopeful, kind, and promising.
Every experience possesses potential.
Potential occupies powerful neutrality, good or bad, catalyzed and shaped by individual interaction.
If we approach the potential of a moment with optimism, we allow it the power to gift us with good things. Moments cannot be owned or controlled, so expectations are out of the question. Freedom to exist in the moment dictates a level of surrender to what is unknown. The freedom to surrender is only achievable through an optimistic spirit, and it opens the senses to that which is beautiful and wondrous.
Feed yourself a steady diet of optimism by making habit of opening yourself to the experience the moment has to offer.

The lyrics of the Matt Simons song, “Catch and Release” provide a wonderful description of this process…

There’s a place I go to
Where no one knows me
It’s not lonely
It’s a necessary thing
It’s a place I made up
To find out what I’m made of
The nights are stayed up
Counting stars and fighting sleep
Let it wash over me
I’m ready to lose my feet Take me off to the place where one reveals life’s mysteries
Steady on down the line
Lose every sense of time
Take it all in and wake up that small part of me
That day-to-day I’m blind to see
And find how far
To go
Everybody got their reason
Everybody got their way
We’re just catching and releasing
What builds up throughout the day
It gets into your body
And it flows right through your blood
We can tell each other secrets
And remember how to love

There’s a place I’m going
No one knows me
If I breathe real slowly
Let it out and let it in
It can be terrifying
To be slowly dying
Also clarifying
We end where we begin
Let it wash over me
I’m ready to lose my feet
Take me off to the place where one reveals life’s mysteries
Steady on down the line
Lose every sense of time
Take it all in and wake up that small part of me
That day-to-day I’m blind to see
And find how far
To go
Everybody got their reason
Everybody got their way
We’re just catching and releasing
What builds up throughout the day
It gets into your body
And it flows right through your blood
We can tell each other secrets
And remember how to love

{To listen, use this link to hear a great version: https://youtu.be/HZm9P0w61_U}

Adventure and happiness often coexist within the courage of great abandon. The practice produces an affect not unlike the way filtering sunlight through a dense wood finds the dark ground beneath to illuminate and induce healthy new growth.  Optimism becomes a light that spawns the growth of happiness and new forms of optimism.
It is its own confidence…
Confident optimism is born of a million faith-tested moments. Be courageous. Run off the edge. Work without a net, arms wide to embrace the inherent potential of a moment to change and color your life forever in ways that defy all logic and definition 🙂

Sad is not bad, it’s necessary…

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Recently, we experienced the ordeal of our daughter, our youngest, leaving home for college. What followed were several evenings of looking awkwardly across the dinner table at each other, lots of silence, and a profound, unshakable sadness.   Obviously, there was some anticipation of emotional pain prior to the event, since our son had left home three years earlier, but it did little to cushion the blow of our suddenly-empty house and empty hearts.

When your children leave home, even in happiness and excitement for their future, your life completely upends. Everything changes, and the loss of their presence is tangible.  Adjustment begins slowly and naturally, in urgent necessity, accomplished through the process of grieving what has been lost.  A shroud of sadness settles over us like a healing cocoon, incubating against a world that continues to move, unmoved, by our personal hell.  For a time, we curl into our memories of hugs and spoken words, the sheets that smell like a distant perfume, and trophies lovingly packed away into boxes with labels.

Such an incubation period is necessary to healing, yet people outside our grief are not comfortable with our sadness…

The concept of ‘being sad’ has somehow been perverted. It has become a status of disdain, to be avoided or treated away as quickly as possible.  But just as happiness has its place in our life journey, so does sadness.  If we weren’t so preoccupied with the belief that one should be in an impossible state of ‘constant happiness’, we might be better equipped to see the positive aspects of something that makes us, essentially…’feel bad’.

Sounds like a contradiction…I mean, how can something that makes us feel bad, be good for us?

In the case of our daughter leaving home, I can say my sadness is good, because it comes from a place of deep, intense love. I’m grieving my personal loss of her presence, which added so much immeasurable happiness to my daily life.  However, I grieve for me, yet rejoice for her and for the world that will now have the unique opportunity to get to know her.  It is in the hope for her future that I find my way through the grief of her leaving.  Thankfully, I grieve a change, impermanent in that I still have her in my life, though no longer under my roof.

A few days after her arrival at college, one of the students on campus went missing. Two days ago, as we visiting our daughter, a body was found just off campus and identified as the missing young woman.  I will not pretend to be capable of comprehending the level of grief her family is now experiencing…

What I do know is that their grieving, like mine, is necessary

Grief, on all levels, is an acknowledgement. We are fragile creatures.  Without acknowledgment of the truth, the pronounced permanence and unpredictability of change, we cannot find the acceptance necessary to move on.  Grief simultaneously teaches us and puts us in our place.  The stages grow in us a steady, burning desire to continue to live, learn, love, and inspire.

When we’re on the outside of grief, watching another in pain, we want to make it better. We recognize pain is painful and our compassion wishes it away, especially when it’s someone we love.  We just want to make it all better, but we need to exercise patience and respect for the process and acknowledge it.  It’s important to remember that grief, sadness, and pain are necessary components to the human experience.

Nothing highlights great happiness as much as marked sadness. Never was one so overjoyed to come into the light, as one who has just emerged from the darkest forest floor.  The key to grief and sadness is maintaining, and promoting, hope.  Hope is the tiny light that beckons through the darkest hour, pointing us toward acceptance and beyond.

No matter the cause, we really shouldn’t seek to counsel those who are grieving. Grief is a natural process, like breathing, so let it be.  Grief shouldn’t be chastised simply because it makes us uncomfortable.  Instead, grief should find respect for its process.  It should be met with patient compassion and loving hopefulness for its promise to yield to brighter days  🙂

 

*Image courtesy of:  http://evolvingfaith.blogspot.com/p/grief-quotes.html*

MOVING…onward & upward to New Mexico!

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NMBlogIt’s official:  I’ve been accepted to Graduate School with NMSU!  I will begin my study Spring 2015!

I’m very happy and excited, although the work of moving 14 years of accumulated ‘stuff’ is quite intimidating ;P

…totally doable, and do it I shall! 

The physical move is really only one small part of this new change.  Nothing in life seems to come in tiny, bite-sized pieces, but I like to remind myself that I learned to ride my bike uphill, so I seem to be hardwired for it. 

Our youngest is leaving home for college next month.  She will be attending in-state and our son just recently moved back in-state…and now we are leaving.  Am I right to say that it seems to run counter to what is ‘normal’ in these situations?

I mean: ‘kids-leave-home’…normal.  Check. 

But….

‘Kids-and-parents-leave-home-at-same time-and-parents-move-allllll-the-way-across-the-Continental-United-States-away-from-kids’…hmmm…normal?  Not so much!

Being always hopeful in life and maintaining an optimistic attitude is so incredibly important.  Now more than ever, personally.  BIG changes coming on the horizon, folks, but it’s all good.

I’ll be sure to keep ya’ll posted 🙂

 

*image credit: http://deafnetwork.com/wordpress/blog/2013/09/18/nms-schools-for-deaf-and-visually-impaired-provide-little-online-data*