Friday, June 30, 2006

"Don't let negative people determine your self-worth."
Denis Waitley

Negatives function as drains, while positives operate like fountains. Negative people can quickly suck the life out of you, even in the best of times, but when they criticize their words cut soul-deep. Tender hearts get crushed under the weight of a heavy tongue, and if it is wagging in the mouth of someone you love it is hard not to believe the messages it delivers.

Love is not meant to deflate; to insulate, inflate, and elevate are loving actions, none of those can be accomplished by using negative means. How could a minus add anything of value to a friend or loved ones journey? Hard truths can be gently said, if it is your place to voice them, but most would be much better left unuttered. Examining your motives, with an open mind and a closed mouth, might save everyone a lot of agony.
If you are on the hearing end of derogatory remarks do not instantly swallow them as if they are factual. If you love the one talking it makes it harder to ignore. The person speaking may have an agenda that depends on your taking the baited hook they cast your way, but be a fish with a clue and swim on by.

I received the following as an email. It was a joke with some great advice mixed in, so I deleted the foolishness that made me laugh, and share here the profound that made me think. I added a new flash movie to this post, under title, just click it to watch. Enjoy, pay it forward, and as always.... think about it.... let it ride... then YOU decide!!!

In ancient Greece (469 - 399 BC) Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom. One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance who ran up to him excitedly and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?"
"Wait a moment," Socrates replied. "Before you tell me I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."
"Triple filter?"
"That's right," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my student let's take a moment to filter what you're going to say. The first filter is truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"
"No," the man said, "actually I just heard about it and..."
"All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?"
"No, on the contrary..."
"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him, even though you're not certain it's true?" The man shrugged, a little embarrassed. Socrates continued. "You may still pass the test though, because there is a third filter - the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?"
"No, not really"
"Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all?"
Keep this philosophy in mind the next time you either hear, or are about to repeat a rumor.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

"Always hold your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level."
Max L. Forman

There is such a fine line between walking with confidence and prideful striding, crossing it can be a very humbling experience. Life has a special way of punishing vanity. Conceit isolates, while self-assurance elevates. Anything totally ego based is selfish, both by nature and by design.

Imagining ourselves as truly superior, quickly erodes our perspective. Perfection is simply not a possibility, yet an egocentric person will claim it as their surname. Viewing so few as being worthy of peer status leaves little chance of developing any real friendships, anyone good enough to be considered a contemporary is certainly smart enough to recognize a peacock. Life should have some sort of balance and symmetry, but extremes of any sort instantly disable our equilibrium. An ego maniac is rarely rational enough to achieve any sense of balance.

Thinking too little of yourself does the same thing in reverse. Nothing derails confidence and takes the wind out of our sails more quickly or completely than a negative self-image. The real truth is that most of us are either less important than we imagine or more precious than we realize, depending upon our nature and the input received from whoever shares our space.

Sometimes we get positive encouragement, sometimes we are overburdened with negatives. We think much less of ourselves when we suffered constant censure, but there comes a point when we have to stop believing the bull-shit and start believing in ourselves. We should not feel better than anyone else, but if effort is put into improving our balance, we can certainly feel better about ourselves. Making peace with who we really are keeps our heads erect and our noses at a much friendlier level.



Wednesday, June 28, 2006

"I claim the right to contradict myself. I don't want to deprive myself of the right to talk nonsense, and I ask humbly to be allowed to be wrong sometimes."
Federico Fellni

I claim all those rights as a human, yet examined a bit closer a contradiction is not always what it seems. Nonsense has a valid place and time, and being wrong is not a crime any of us is ever free of committing at periodic intervals. They are every humans birthright, but we should try to limit their use to a controllable level. A proper balance is the position to strive for, reaching it takes forethought and dedication to understanding yourself then making yourself understood.

A contradiction is defined as an opposition between two conflicting forces or ideas. Sometimes, when we contradict ourselves it is because we have not fully examined what we really think, so we wobble this way and that in the most irritating fashion. Sometimes we say something and only then think about all the implications involved and flip the script to rearrange our point of view. Changing our minds in mid-stream, can be our way of setting things right, not simply a fickle nature in action.

Talking nonsense is therapeutic in the most delightful way, if it is purposely done at the right moment, and not just a mindless around the clock babbling. Our minds should be hooked to our mouths, and the former ought to be engaged before the latter is given free rein. Saying the first thing that pops into our brain is asking for trouble. A few seconds of pondering can often save us a fat lip or puzzled frowns from anyone standing near enough to hear whatever is said that would have been much better off left unuttered.

Mistakes are certain, looking at them as opportunities to learn helps make them far less torturous. Many can be avoided by keeping our traps shut and our options open for as long as possible. We should not rush to decide things, or too quickly take a stand. Eating crow is not a pleasurable meal, it tastes like shit, is hard to swallow, and leaves the most bitter taste in your mouth.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

TODAY'S QUOTE: "It's not what you pay a man, but what he costs you that counts." Will Rogers, 1879-1935, American Humorist and Entertainer

The personal cost of every encounter with our fellow man is worth so much more than any amount of cash that may be involved. Some people bankrupt us on all levels at once; others pick and choose, taking a bit from various spots so we don't become unduly alarmed before they're done. They may simply take as if we're some sort of vending machine and grow angry when all the treats are gone. They may seem to deposit freely while they linger then poof they're only a memory. We may win or lose in ways much too precious to calculate. The possible combinations are limitless and as unique from one another as snowflakes.

There is no way to assess beforehand just what kind of outcome will occur at any given time. The mystery is part of the driving force that moves us toward one another. Our own personal needs figure into it too; pretending otherwise won't make us any less needy. We may hunger for someone to fill what's empty and fix what aches, which signals to the vultures we're an easy meal. Until we learn that nobody else can fix us we continue to make the same poor choices. When brain surgery is needed calling a plumber is asking for a bad outcome. Seeking inside ourselves for the answers is half the battle won, and most of the war guaranteed.

Nowadays with the anonymity of the internet we're often out on a limb long before we even hear the saw cutting into our perch. I was badly burned, but it didn't stop me from believing in my fellow-man. It did not shake my confidence in myself either; all it did was prove that in this one case I paid a staggering price for NOTHING. Hell, that happens to all of us from time-to-time. Once I realized my true worth and altered any self-destructive actions the vultures stopped circling overhead. Once I stopped short changing myself it became impossible for others to do likewise.  

Learning from it before traveling on is the only way to get rid of the bitter taste. Faith has proved me right, often enough to allow me the honor of controlling the final cost of each encounter. I refuse to add to the bill by giving into negatives. Disappointment is only important in the lessons it teaches, so in a twisted way it pays its own price for its brief journey inside my orbit.

I thank God every day for that bitter disillusionment and the price I paid. If I had held onto that dead horse, I would have been in the wrong place to discover what I possess now. God bless the broken road that led me here. Travel swiftly through the bitter times, they hold nothing worth keeping once the lesson is fully learned. A better tomorrow is fairly earned by living through all the less than perfect yesterdays.



Monday, June 26, 2006

"Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words." Dorothy Parker, 1893-1967, American Writer

Words are wonderful tools. Every emotion under the sun can be invoked instantly by words spoken, heard, or read. One of the best uses is humor, and the spark ignites in an ever widening circle as others just naturally join in with the nonsense that one truly witty phrase can inspire.

Irony is one of my favorite styles of humor, using it as a measure most things can be seen as worthy of a chuckle or two at their expense. Ironic topics teach us to not take everything so seriously; often dry humor removes the stinger from a pesty situation, making it much less threatening to contemplate.

A well-put witty notion can be like a snowball rolling downhill, picking up speed as it travels. I have seen dozens of people transformed into quivering jesters, with tears running down their faces, by some of the strangest inane statements. A whole mass of people with the same foolish notion become as one, each trying to outdo one another, and nobody within earshot is immune to its healing magic.

When life seems too burdensome, there is nothing quite as welcome as a belly laugh to get some perspective. Giving into doom and gloom only weighs down an already too heavy load, but laughter gives us more energy for carrying whatever we must. Mirth is as beneficial to the spirit as a daily workout is to the body. Exercise your wit and it will transform a sagging spirit to buff and beautiful in seconds flat.

I wrote this in 06 and as I look around 11 yrs later I'm often horrified by how insane the world has gotten. First off speaking at all has become as iffy as walking through a mine field. You might reach the end of a sentence without being blown to bits but making good sense without calling a spade a spade is a real challenge since so many of our precious words are suddenly verbal TNT. The list of things that cannot simply be said grows daily... like crossed off items on what used to be a rich and delightful menu... and most of the waiters in this twisted banquet hall have an agenda. Request the wrong item and you'll surly get lectured about something.

Humor has been altered by the censorship of a sort of mass madness that has infected a loud and angry portion of the audience. Irony is still thick and rich in possibilities, but left mostly untouched. Laughing at ourselves has been replaced by the strange fashion of being overly offended by damn near everything. I refuse to jump on that bus. Words are my delight... all of them... it's only how they're strung together that matters. And frankly I think that too many people simply don't listen to the whole of a message before they get stuck on stupid because of a word or two here and there. Words gently put could be our salvation, but nowadays they're all too often bent on our destruction.

Too few are gently said... and fewer still are truly heard. The struggle is all too real nowadays; when every word is picked over, twisted, and reported as poison it's difficult not to find yourself intentionally misunderstood by someone with an agenda and too much attitude. Land sakes lets get a grip before speaking at all goes out of style. Stay sane or who'll man the asylum? Stay centered in this tipped sideways world or risk being driven off a cliff by the stampede of those freely spinning people who feed problems until they're bloated beyond recognition.

They never offer any solutions while they gather, create, manufacture, and mutilate our language to be used as weapons in a war of words that never encourages any healthy debate. Remember just because someone is the loudest it doesn't mean they're correct... fact is when any human is driven to such madness to get their point across then more often than not it's ego that's talking and not reason. All bullies don't look alike, but they do sound the same. Nowadays we have more need than ever for laughter and less reasons to exercise it.

Rebel... don't play their game. Say what's in your heart, but say it gently. Use all your words in a reasonable manner so that when the screaming stops there'll be a choirs of peacekeepers singing for the benefit of every listener. Don't give voice to your ego... let your soul be your spokesman and have a message worthy of our beautiful language... uncut, uncensored, and unconditional in its love for our fellowman. God Bless You All AND GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!!      



Sunday, June 25, 2006

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it: Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The art of dreaming is a humans saving grace, without some sort of image of something dream-worthy it is all too easy to become hopelessly overcome by life. Without day dreams of a better tomorrow, today would often be too brutal to contemplate. But a vision is only that, and nothing more, unless solid steps are taken to create it as reality.

As children we use our imaginations constantly, fine tuning them to a flawless point. I can recall countless times when kids from my neighborhood and I created a world all of our own, without the aid of the fancy gadgets they have today. We role played through years of summer days and most of the magic came from the creative thinking of young minds. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood too many of us misplace that ability or smother it, until all that is left is the distant memory of a time when anything seemed possible.

We forget how much power a dream can possess. We forget to believe that they can come true, and without faith we simply cannot manufacture enough energy to breathe any life into them. We forget often enough to make dreaming at all pointless. The remembering comes hard, but the magic is still there waiting for us to recapture its wondrous spell.

Dream large and small, short and tall then do what it takes to see one of them as your reality. Reach as high as you can then pull yourself up above where you stand now. Soar upon the winds of a real awakening and before long what was lost will find you. Have faith in yourself and create a life worth dreaming about.



Saturday, June 24, 2006

"The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own."
Benjamin Disraeli

I know people of great value who for one reason or another doubt their own worth. I speak gently of the jewels I see sparkling here and there amid the fresh wounds and old scars that mark their travels. I offer a point of view that comes from long sight. My eyes don't simply scan the surface and dismiss someone in crisis as deserving of their burden. I look beyond the debris and clutter of the storm, overlooking the image of victim that they portray and see so clearly what can be if they choose to remove the costume they wear. Hell, there comes a point where it's up to you to change your footwear, no matter who put your feet inside of those cement shoes in the first place. What matters is how to move forward and the blame game is useless fuel, all it creates is more dead bitter space.

I used to walk in the same posture of defeat, head down, feet dragging; I know what an effort it takes sometimes to just breathe in and out. When life kicks you in the teeth often enough you start to expect it and somewhere along the line you lose any true sense of self. I've been there and will never go back down that dead-end road. When I'm very lucky someone shuffling along raises their head and sees their true reflection in my eyes. When they can match what they see with what I do it's a victory for both of us, but it takes faith in the worth of the journey and effort of the deepest kind to guarantee their transformation.

I try to let people come to the point of effort on their own terms, pushing what I see down a clutched throat is too hard and yields much less benefit than encouraging them to swallow at the speed that is most comfortable. I attempt to stay mostly silent, except for what I write here, unless asked point-blank, but I stand firmly beside those who wish to have me nearby. I'm not a miracle worker, but I've watched many being performed. Lives changed in my arena have changed me and how I view all who travel within my range of vision.

Hope is my tool of choice, I use it often and produce it without trying. I place it here freely for use by all who come for their daily fix. Nobody close to me is without merit; each earned their special place in a different fashion, but all are valuable beyond what they realize. I'm acquainted with swans in tranformation mode, and mice who have learned to roar like lions, and stompers who struggle to glide more smoothly without losing any of their attitude, and true seekers of understanding who study constantly to find true enlightenment. I know and love many walking wounded in various stages of healing. My life is peopled with warriors of many kinds, from yummy mummy's to brightly tighted knight's and I see their beauty even when they don't. Stop demanding that other's continue to fail, when just a bit of gentleness can encourage them to fly. Help them up or get out of their way!!!




Thursday, June 22, 2006

"Conquer your foe by force, you increase his enmity; conquer by love, and you will reap no after-sorrow."

This quote has such depth. I've seen it in action in my own life, so I know the truth it foretells. Force implies wrestling of body or mind; one opponent overpowering the other... one left prone in the dirt... the other towering above. To allow goodwill to direct the actions of your spirit and the moving of your lips often alters the ones you're dealing with from foe to friend, leaving no bitter residue behind for either to swallow.
Synonyms for the word conquer are: dominate, overpower, subdue, subject, subjugate, vanquish. These are all powerful words with negative definitions, unless they're used in the context of conquering a negative inside of yourself. To place any other person in the subjective role by force enslaves them and slaves have such a nasty habit of rebelling.

Enmity is defined as hatred which may be open or concealed. Either way it'll rise again to bite the one it's directed toward, while damaging the one who harbors it inside the deepest recesses of their being. A bit of restraint and patience can eliminate the need for any after-sorrow on either side. Even if it doesn't help your foe, it'll always benefit you.

To respect the boundaries of anyone you're in conflict with instantly leaves space for compromise. I talk gently to people even when they don't do the same to me. I don't take instant offense at things said out of anger and frustration. I attempt to stay balanced especially when others are wobbling. I've found that to do so helps my state of mind and also leads to a spot where real communication can and mostly always does occur.

When we use hate or resentment as fuel we only build a fire that's out of control in seconds flat. The person you direct it toward may counter with a similar blaze. Two negatives, pointed from opposing sides causes an explosion in each persons soul. When the smoke clears on the battlefield whatever hate each felt at the beginning is magnified to measures beyond description. The war never ends there, no matter who won the battle. PLEASE TAKE SOME QUIET TIME TO THINK ABOUT IT...LET IT RIDE...THEN YOU DECIDE!!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Every evening, write down the six most important things that you must do the next day. Then while you sleep your subconscious will work on the best ways for you to accomplish them. Your next day will go much more smoothly. Tom Hopkins

I used to follow this advice. I still make grocery lists, which are oftentimes left behind when I go shopping, but beyond that  I don't write things down like I once did. Nowadays my, "to do" lists are penned with thoughts upon the surface of my mind. I'm an excellent list maker, but I'm an even better list loser. But I do require lists of some sort to gain a healthy level of productivity; doing so inside of a mind I haven't lost yet seems a sensible compromise. It's my belief that when something is written down it constitutes a contract. We pledge future actions, and most of us do our best to accomplish what's put to paper. Lists put to memory can be even harder to ignore. A piece of paper can be mislaid or turned face down, but the mind travels within us no matter where we go.
From time-to-time, life will surely demand a more than fair share of emotional energy from each of us. When times get rough I won't hesitate to make use of pen and paper to redirect my attention and jumpstart my actions. The great thing about owning a useful tool is that once it's yours it remains within easy reach for a lifetime. Just knowing it exists makes needing its assistance much less likely. It allows us to grow stronger, smarter, and more capable of coping without the risk of undue damage. It alters weakness into strength as long as we don't push ourselves past the point of reasonable expectations.

Personally, I think six tasks may be too much to ask of anyone who's easily overwhelmed. The force of whatever knocked us down in the first place simply has to be given some sane consideration. After all, losing a job doesn't sit on anyone's chest as heavily as losing a loved one. Some of us have physical limitations that must  be factored into any equation. Some of us expend a ton of energy into the service of others, making the importance of dusting or mopping less list-able. Our lists must make sense inside of whatever our reality is before we begin or we might as well save our lead. Eventually our catalog will grow to include more of the grunt work, but being too demanding at journeys start can cancel the trip before the first step is ever taken, so list wisely! 

Taking a moment to examine your mindset can also save a lot of disappointment later on. The setting of goals that are clearly unattainable could be your subconscious way of failing while appearing to be really trying. We each have our demons; putting them in charge is like putting a two year old behind the wheel of a car. The trip will be brief and the chance of running into something certain. The unmotivated will see it as torture... the under-motivated will view it as bondage... but anyone who hungers to shake off the do nothings will see it as a lifeline. Don't incite a riot. Don't create a sit down strike. Don't push yourself into yet another nap.  To succeed all that's necessary is to simply reduce the number of tasks, and highlight their importance to better fit your nature and circumstances.



Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacations with better care than they plan their lives. Perhaps that is because escape is easier than change."
Jim Rohn

This is a scary thought, because it's so incredibly true. A person must continue to grow and change or we simply exist in a kind of zombie state of mind. We all seek escape from things, but the most certain and lasting freedom comes from facing the things that are inspiring our need to get away. If you're weary of the urge for flight then the only solution is to stand and fight.

Ignoring something does not make it invisible. The truth is that the longer you avoid facing something the larger it grows. It feeds on the fear it produces, and flashes into mind just enough to keep you irritated. I've come to accept the fact that if a worry is thought of even one time, I better solve it or get used to hearing it again and again. Sometimes the only solution is acceptance of a bitter fact, but until it's faced there's no way to get any peace of mind.

I've been knocked down more times than I can calculate, but so far I've gotten up one more time than I have hit the dirt. Hell, to just lay there means the other guy wins. I demand the right to fight on. The experience of being hyper aware of what goes on inside of me during any crisis has given me a clear understanding of my strengths. I know with certainty that nothing on earth will ever make me hopeless enough to just turn belly up in surrender.

Change is brutal sometimes, but if the alterations are positive the final fit is flawless. It does not happen overnight, which takes the pressure of time out of the endeavor. Your rate of speed matters hardly at all, if it's forward motion. The road to change has the most marvelous people on it, so finding someone to walk beside is a simple matter. When your soul sings in perfect harmony with a fellow traveler then the journey gets much easier.

Those who walk together as one should view it as a blessing and take comfort from its unconditional qualities. Sometimes the support of another walking wounded warrior is all we've got to hold onto. By combining our strength we always have enough to equal whatever's needed for any task. Linking arms with someone who's traveling the same path makes any obstacle surmountable. You never have to travel alone, unless that's your preference. If you've got a need and can't find anyone in your circle that'll adjust their pace to accommodate your speed just give me a holler and I'll be honored to stroll by your side for as long as it's necessary to reach safer ground.


Monday, June 19, 2006

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek"
Mario Andretti

Motivation is a problem for any human who's been brought to their knees often enough to cause a natural aversion to voluntarily putting themselves in harms way. Trying becomes an enemy, failure an expectation, and desires get smothered as soon as they surface. Why want something you can't have? Why attempt to grasp for something so outside of your reach? Without desire there's no motivating force to inspire forward motion. Sitting on the sidelines eventually becomes a way of life. It doesn't have to stay that way, but the change is a mighty challenge.

The only positives among all that chaos is that up is the only possible choice of direction, while the rate of acceleration is up to you. The real trick isn't the major rise; it's the minor lift that's most brutal. To get your dead ass up off the bench you must first defrag your brain and validate your soul. Wrestling notions and adjusting attitudes on the one hand, while paying careful attention to a gentle spirit on the other is a real battle. Once you realize that the war is worth winning it's impossible not to enlist as a willing warrior. But you didn't get stuck instantly and getting unstuck takes a chunk of future and staying that way takes a lifetime.    

When you suffer from a self-defeating mindset you're held hostage by your own sticky web of negative emotions.  You're like the students in the back of class who sink deep into their seats, hoping to be totally ignored until the bell rings and they can escape. Life becomes a burden if it's not really lived. Without desire or motivation breathe-in-breathe out seems to be the most you can do. Nothingness only lasts forever if you're determined to be its constant companion. So what if it takes an implosion to evict it from your journey? Big deal if it takes strength you fear you don't possess? Trust me, if you're determined enough to lift a hand the strength will be there to make a fist. Trust me, until you can trust yourself! I'll walk beside you... you're not alone!! I understand!!! 

I know about pain and the overcoming of it, I once was that person scrunched down in the back row. It took me forty years to begin to unfold and move nearer to the front of the room. Since then I've tossed many lifelines to fellow travelers, but unless someone is willing to grab hold whatever I do does no good. The agony of seeing someone drift away is intense. My own sense of failure, at such moments, is overwhelming; hope can't be force fed, no matter how I wish otherwise. I plant seeds, but I can't hope to oversee every garden. Micromanagement isn't one of my weaknesses, but anyone who needs a hand is always within my reach. I walked alone, but you don't have to. 

I found my way back from the edge. I KNOW hope and self-awareness can unlock the prison doors. I KNOW that to believe in yourself is to validate your RIGHT to the pursuit of happiness. I KNOW that the road back is brutal, but at least it is not a dead end. The possibilities are there, like a field of wildflowers, but you can't make a bouquet without picking them one-by-one. What you tell yourself will dictate what you end up with; say you amount to nothing and you'll end up empty handed by default. Convince yourself that you matter and your possibilities will be limitless. Trust me!

I had to remind myself often that I mattered. An act will become fact if you're determined enough to keep at it until it's your reality. I chanted, "REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE" into the mirror every day once my make-up was on until I finally stopped forgetting. I had to silence many voices inside my head, but the hardest to control was my own. I had bought into bull-shit for so long that I was close to certain that the bull-shitters were correct in their assessment of my worth. But inside my weary brain there rested one small shining grain of hope. I grabbed ahold and built a life around it, knowing that to surrender would be sure suicide even if I continued to breathe.
I won't meekly take whatever life hands me, folding under the pressure that's part of this journey. I'll thrive no matter what happens to me or around me, because safely sheltered deep inside my soul is that grain of hope I discovered so long ago. I exercise it every day, inside my own mind and heart, but also within the limitless boundaries of Sisterhood Support.



Sunday, June 18, 2006

When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability... To be alive is to be vulnerable.
Madeleine L'Engle

The down side of this is instantly evident, pain is certain at whatever stage we're at in life, but then again so is joy. Sometimes it's blessing, sometimes it's curse; really living is a crazy combination of those two polar extremes. Reality can travel from the highest mountaintop to the deepest valley in the time it takes to blink. The other direction is more than possible too, making being as alive as possible well worth the risk. Experiencing even one moment of perfect happiness is worthy of the pain of the journey to get there.

Odds are good that the price will seem high at the time of payment, but once joy hits like a lightning bolt the cost matters not in the least. Any bliss should be slowed to a crawl and absorbed fully, no matter its duration. The mind will take magical snapshots, when joy reaches a certain level, complete in every breathtaking detail, and those images stay vivid over time.

It doesn't matter at which point in life that understanding occurs. The full life often feels like many lifetimes in one. The ending of one to reach the next isn't always voluntary, but it's certain that to really live today, letting go of yesterday is mandatory. Take the past joys, abandon the pain and begin anew. Why look behind so hard that all the possibilities in front of you are ignored? True joy could be standing just a forward step away.
The point may come when all that's left is the scrapbook created during a lifetime. What's inside of its weathered cover is the sum total of the journey. When the book is opened it seems best to have pages worth turning slowly. Here's to living every moment as if it was the last and collecting memories that add depth and beauty to cherished images in a book well worn and treasured.


© GLENDA ALEXANDER   6/18/2006

Friday, June 16, 2006

No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently.
Agnes DeMille

The silent times of true soul searching are sacred. Where else would you go to ponder something as magical as destiny, than the depth of very your soul? The gentle surroundings there can take the worst sting out of most painful situations, or multiply joy to limits that are almost orgasmic in intensity. Contemplation of anything of true import has clarity that cannot be reached anywhere else, because the only voice you hear there is your own.
Finding the route to your destiny is simple when you look for it soul-deep; a path with heart is a phrase a wise man used that instantly caught my attention as being a flawless way of describing a worthy avenue.

We all alter the lives of everyone we touch, whether for good or evil is the only uncertainty. If we imagine we give nothing worth receiving then chances are good that we have a deep well to draw from that we have never really tapped. Humans who only take never even bother with such thoughts, so if you are thinking along those lines you are half way home already.

I know some who think their passage is pointless, but they could not be more mistaken, although convincing them of that fact is like trying to move a mountain using chopsticks. I see so clearly not only their reality, but also their possibilities. It may seem to some that I am simply naïve, but this too is a falsehood. I see with the eyes of a craftsman, viewing a weather beaten house. I see what is, what was, and what can be. The first cannot be changed, the second is pointless to ponder on for long, but the last is most important, yet it is given the least attention. What can be is what I see first, eclipsing all other considerations, and if that makes me naïve in some minds then I just figure they are too short-sighted to really have a clue anyway.

A house can be rebuilt from the ground up and so can people. The only reason either does not get done is our unwillingness to do the work. Hell, it is hard to change, even brutal at times. The parallel between remodeling and remolding is similar enough to be mind-boggling when you think about it.

In both cases you have to:
1- Tear out and replace what has been weakened by time and the elements.
2- Pay the price asked for whatever will make it a place worth inhabiting.
3- Spend long hours cleaning up the mess that a work in progress inspires.

The list continues, but my mind has already gone on to some wonderful differences I would like to point out. In the case of a human restoration there are things that do not apply, and thank God for that I say.
1- You do not have to apply for a building permit.
2- You do not need a blueprint.
3- You do not need any tools that you do not already possess.
4- What was does not lock you into any set pattern.
5- What the neighbors think matters not a bit, since they will continue to see you as who you were long after you are who you were meant to be.

This list goes on too, but to place all I can come up with here will not encourage you to take the concept further on your own terms and see the big picture as it applies from your unique point of view. Some will read this and instantly see it as truth, others will doubt on in total oblivion. Some will let it breathe life on a spark of hope and build a roaring fire to better see its reality. Some will read the words then pffftttt and try to forget their challenge. Some will start ripping out walls and others will simply pick up their chopsticks and continue mountain-moving one pebble at a time.



Thursday, June 15, 2006

"I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty."
John D. Rockefeller

Our possessions all too often posses us. Without a balanced perspective of what's really important in life we lean toward the things that give us instant pleasure, yet ask nothing in return. Owning the most up to date technology equates worth to so many people. It doesn't seem to matter much that a majority of owners remain mostly clueless about how to fully operate them. My cellphone isn't smart; my TV's mostly stupid too, but that's okay. I don't have any need for brighter toys. The computers already own enough of me, but in my defense I always struggle to ensure that any footprint I leave behind leads somewhere worth going.  

What's most popular is sought after in an never ending treasure hunt and the more expensive the better for some. Advertising and media lets us know what we need to own if we hope to be labeled elite. I'm more of a bargain hunter and get my pleasure from treasures found at a discount. I never marched with royalty... never wanted to be one of the, "in" crowd either... I just wanted to be real, whatever that meant at any given moment. Owning myself became my priority, so if I ever lose all my stuff I'll walk away as whole as I am today. Equating what you possess with what you're worth is dangerous.  If being held elite by possessions and unworthy without them makes perfect sense to you then I'd venture to guess you're possessed. But it's surely not a club I'd ever wish to join.   

The, "fast food" of the internet overfeeds our minds and mass produces gluttons with insatiable appetites that are impossible to satisfy. There's such a demand for information that the ones in charge of gathering it alter it to fit their own agendas. One source leans this way... one source leans that way, until we're surrounded by dozens of options for opinions about everything. A captive audience rarely gets straight talk. The world's at our fingertips, but the images are distorted and the voices all contradict each other. Some of us become so confused that following the loudest chants seems the thing to do. Following the most hysterical won't make the your world a saner place. Over-reaction is in fashion nowadays. And once again I fail to measure up... THANK GOD!!!

Our gadgets not only inform us, but they can also isolate us from real human contact. My cellphone is deep in my purse and not even turned on, unless we're on a trip or there's an away from home emergency. Because of my distance from any temptation I see countless examples of disconnect and discontent in every direction I look. I'm so clumsy by nature that if I had a device that I couldn't stand to look away from I'd break my neck the very first time I tried that zombie walk. And again I'm out of step with what's become the norm. I've never been truly normal, which once upon a time long, long ago made me fret a bit; now it makes me more than a little proud. Dare to be different and it's much harder to be critical of anyone else... it's also more difficult for the ones that want you to wear a certain costume or play an assigned role.

Technology blesses as well as curses. I thank God daily for the blessing it is to the housebound and unhealthy population who use it to stay connected to the world at large. People who've been made isolated by real life issues never have to be completely alone. Game rooms bring people together from all walks of life and all who enter are equal no matter their circumstance. The world shrinks and age or infirmity matter not at all. Support groups connect people with the same issues so that nobody has to feel alone during crisis. Fund me pages allow us to assist each other in times of trouble. They also allow us to invest in someone else's dreams or bring life to our own. The good is there along with all the rest. The internet is a powerful tool; uses vary and every user puts their own distinct spin on time spent there.   

It doesn't matter what anyone else's agenda is, if ours is right-minded. Balance is the key! If we dodge the sticky spots... avoid the less than honest... produce laughter... dry tears... research any hysterical ranting, before chanting along... spend some valuable time with the ones who hunger for human kindness... while giving the people who populate our life all the attention they deserve then you still own your device and your own life in equal measure.   



Wednesday, June 14, 2006

TODAY'S QUOTE: Deep listening is miraculous for both listener and speaker. When someone receives us with open-hearted, non-judging, intensely interested listening, our spirits expand. Sue Patton Thoele

The true art of listening involves more than just the ears; eyes, mind, heart, and soul are mandatory to mastering the ability to truly absorb all that's said and at least some of what isn't vocal. There's nothing that'll make me go instantly silent faster than to see a listeners eyes grow dim, signaling inattention as surely as if they put out a neon sign. On the other side of the scale there's nothing that'll inspire my urge to say something worth hearing faster than the light of true interest in their gaze. The best ears reside in a face that welcomes an honest exchange enough to stay positively engaged even when the subject matter isn't agreeable. Some things are for the common good... it can't always be about YOU... being a team player benefits everyone in the long run. GO US!!!

Deep-listening blesses both the speaker and the listener.
The one hearing doesn't need to say a word to perform pure magic. Comfort is instant and soul-deep. Listening well, but gently, means you suspend all judgment. Each of us needs at least one person that we can speak to without editing every word. Unconditional ears are such a rare and beautiful treasure to have at our disposal. When you're very lucky, the same person returns the favor and trusts you enough to say the things that are hidden deep inside of them without worry of any censure. GO US!!!

Every lasting relationship, of any sort, has deep-listening at its core. Trust and love are great building blocks, but without the sound structure of true communication the richness and depth of the whole structure suffers. I thank God for the deep listeners I know, loving and being loved by them enriches my life in ways that are priceless beyond description. You know who you are and why I love you. If I mean half as much to you as you mean to me, I'm very lucky indeed. WE ROCK!!! GO US!!!



Tuesday, June 13, 2006

TODAY'S QUOTE: Next to knowing when to seize an opportunity, the most important thing in life is to know when to forego an advantage. Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), The Infernal Marriage (1834)
Learning how to behave at any given moment in any situation requires knowledge that we often don't even bother obtaining. If we don't learn to view the big picture from a depth inside ourselves that we don't even know exists how can we possibly pretend to know enough? By standing too long and hard upon a, "I know it all" platform a mind never has the chance to expand, since any notion not already possessed is made somehow counterfeit. Chances get missed... hope gets misplaced... bad choices lock us up into prisons of our own construction, and keep us there under false pretenses. It's impossible to learn that we possess the only key to our true quality of life when nobody or nothing can teach us shit!
Some of us are most unwilling students once we imagine that the finish line has been crossed. And each of us seem to have a different point where we're instantly transformed from student to mastermind. Once the ego inspired among us aren't required by law or pressured by parents they enter the rat race and consider themselves fully grown and in charge. Dreams of grandeur are an ego's blueprint to a lifestyle most never achieve. Their heads stay stuck in the glory days and they truly expect the stasis quo to automatically continue. An ego's sense of entitlement can be gigantic; without the drive to do the work to become true master of any dream all we're left with is a nightmare that haunts night and day. We must be willing to unpucker our ego if we want to truly view and retain the treasures of wisdom that are our successes and failures true rewards. We have to continue learning about life inside and out or we miss the point altogether.
Higher education, of a certain sort, isn't enclosed inside of brick buildings. Every spot you stand is of equal importance. Formal education may be in the past, but the informal one continues day-by-day, year-by-year as long as we're in our right mind. We stop paying tuition to schools, but knowledge isn't free even if no money ever changes hands. We pay attention... we invest time and effort... we struggle to understand our fellow travelers, while struggling even harder to understand ourselves. We may be of age, with a job, family, and home, complete with a dog and two cats. On the surface it appears perfect, but without real depth it becomes little more than a comfy narrow rut. Building a surface life isn't always easy, but digging deeper never is; one requires a heartbeat, while the other demands a hearts true desire. Whenever we stop pursuing knowledge we abandon growth and admit that being stuck on stupid is good enough. Doing the very least of what can be done then redoing it daily will sustain life, but it truly discourages any really living. The more we know... the further we go!
Being true to our nature is a spiritual responsibility of monumental proportion, yet many spend a lifetime ignoring its very existence. Truly, if we can't even decide what we're really made of we aren't fit to decide much else. Many bitch about the ruts they're stuck in, yet never attempt escape. Freedom is possible for everyone; determination is the only key. We gaze at the surface and believe that's all there is, when just a peek behind the façade will reveal so much more than the obvious. We rush too much, like this is a race, and miss so much in the mad dash to the finish line.
Making every day a little life helps adjust our vision, so the little things of great import don't get so easily overlooked. Sight is relative; the direction we point our attention is where we see the most of whatever scenery surrounds the thing centered inside our gaze. The length of time we focus and the intensity of the attention paid either earns knowledge or robs us of it, according to our determination to really see and understand the landscape.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Anger is the real destroyer of our good human qualities; an enemy with a weapon cannot destroy these qualities, but anger can. Anger is our real enemy.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Anger is defined as belligerence aroused by a real or supposed wrong (personified as one of the deadly sins). Living with it is akin to having cancer of the soul. The negative emotions it inspires eat away healthy tissue until a mental collapse becomes certain. It's important to remember that any negative emotion does the most harm to the person feeling it. You're more likely to inspire positive emotions inside of a foe with any ire they inspire. Hell, I never promised any of this would make perfect sense or be fair in any fashion. Sometimes it simply is what it is and settling on a reality we don't agree with is the medicine that must be swallowed. Take heart that it doesn't have to end with your surrender. But the karma connection comes later... for now let's just focus on the hard parts.

The fact is that most people you actively hate get more pleasure out of the agony it brings to you than anything else. It always pesters my brain to the boiling point that hating them pleases them somehow. That notion alone is enough to make me drop it like it's hot. The last emotion I'd ever want to inspire in anyone I'm irritated with is pleasure. Let them get their cheap thrills at someone else's expense. Seems to me that whatever they did to cause any displeasure in the first place is plenty enough pain to feel from one source.

Being angry at a situation does no good either; it just makes the hardship grow until it's so huge it overwhelms your good sense. If anger solved anything, welcoming it with open arms would be a no-brainer. Impotent rage inspires rapid growth of any obstacle to an even greater height, making it all but impossible to overcome. Don't get me wrong... I believe there are many things worthy of anger. But fighting fire with fire only increases the height of the inferno. Recognize them as the arsonist and view yourself as the firefighter. Assign yourself a positive role or they'll force you into a costume of their choice.

Words used a weapons only compound the problem. When two people are both screaming then nobody's listening. Don't feed the monster or he may end up eating you. When anger is dwelled upon in that fashion it makes it harder to find a solution or accept reality if no solution is possible. Sometimes leaving the battlefield is the only sane way to end the war. That won't make you a coward; it takes real guts to turn your back on a lunatic. Allow them to imagine they gained a victory. When you do the right thing for the right reason what does it matter what a bully believes? 

Learn to feel it when it's valid then let it go and move on. Change it if possible, accept it if not, but to allow it to rule your actions or ruin your life is a total waste of precious time and energy. It scatters thoughts as surely as if a bomb exploded inside of our brain. It keeps all wounds seeping. It breaks hearts and shrivels souls. It's like quicksand, sucking us under with such speed that there's no time or energy for escape. Don't follow a fool into bad behavior for the sake of a truth they'll never accept. Be a leader!!!

We all wish the world were a gentler place; doing what we can to make that happen should be a priority. I know that to make my portion of it less brutal, I must let go of the negatives. If you lay down your anger and turn it over to a higher hand to sort out then your surrounding are instantly gentler. This is where karma shows it's lovely face. When you insists on continuing the war past this point you end up reaping whatever you deserve. Lay it at God's feet then get out of His way. Only a fool tries to micromanage past this point. You may never see the result of His judgment, but never doubt there'll be one. Stop looking for justice served and focus on the benefits inside of your own personal space. You don't have to wait to view the good that comes; it's instant, it's soul-deep, and it's completely empowering.



Sunday, June 11, 2006

TODAY'S QUOTE: When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you until it seems that you cannot hold on for a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.
Harriet Beecher Stowe

The giving up spot should always be in a place of power, where thoughts are stable and the reasons for jumping ship outnumber the ones for standing firmly in place. A location of panic or pity is not a sensible spot to make choices that'll affect the quality and direction of your life. Decisions made during crisis are often the wrong ones, because of all the negative emotions and thoughts that attack at such times.

There's a time for giving up on some things, but to end something in the midst of high drama just exacerbates the problems to a level that often leaves us no turning back spot once reason returns. I try not to over-react. If negatives attack I go for a walk or perform a mindless task and direct my concentration there as if my life depended upon the scenery I pass or the dust bunnies I chase. The quality of my life depends upon my staying firmly in control of self, especially when everything around me teeters on the brink of madness.

I have an aversion to giving up, thinking that one more day... or hour... or minute just might finally earn me a victory. In life failures are so easy, all you have to do is nothing and they fall into your lap. Successes are hard, sometimes brutally so... but that's what makes them so sweet. Dreams lived are the most beautiful things life has to offer, but they don't come free of cost. Imagining something doesn't give it breath. A spark won't start a fire if there's nothing there to ignite.

Gathering the ingredients for a healthy blaze isn't always an easy thing. Life can be a cold place and the landscape is often barren, but to willingly lay down and freeze is unconceivable to me. If there's nothing to build on where you are, walking in circles won't make magic. Move on to someplace that offers more in the way of likely fuel, and build a fire you can sit beside in comfort. Once it blazes bright, glance sideways and say hello. :)