Wednesday, February 14, 2018

C is for COURAGE

Courage is a word that stirs up many thoughts in a person.  If you ask a six year old to describe courage, for instance, you may hear a tale of a Jedi going into battle to conquer the evil ones out there in the universe.  They will describe light saber battles and hand to hand combat and give you a blow by blow of the courage of her/his hero.  If you ask a thirteen year old about courage, you may hear how someone faced off against someone else at school, or in the park, stood their ground and beat the enemy to a pulp.  Naturally the hero of the day.  Ask a teen just out of high school about courage and it may be that a little drag race on a back road for pink slips shows real courage and the winner holds the title to a new car.  Then life slips in with its realities.
A college student will sometimes describe courage as the ability to get up before the class and do a presentation or give a speech.  Or to take a class that is particularly hard for them and pass it.  By the same token, another will find it courageous to interview for a prospective employer that they feel could make or break their future.  Or maybe they are deciding whether or not to get married and make a commitment to another being.  

COURAGE DEPENDS ON WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU FACE.

To me, courage definitely comes from within.  It is not bravery and should not be misconstrued as the same thing.  “Courage” is a very wonderful friend I have who faces pain from cancer ravaging her body everyday and still feeds the feral cats dumped off on her street, calls to see how others are doing, and smiles with sincere pleasure at seeing her friends and being with them.  Yes, that is COURAGE.
Courage is another very dear friend we have who is empathic and takes on the pain of others and tries to emit positive energy as well as kind words and deeds to help anyone who hurts.  The other night I thanked her for sending positive healing energy and she said, “I felt many needed rest so I just sent it out everywhere to everyone.”  Courage to feel with others, that is special.  To share your love without reservation to help those around you who need some kindness without hesitating—that’s COURAGE.
Let me share an example of courage I often see and admire.  A group of friends, co-workers, or people simply congregating will start talking about someone else, or see someone who is “different” in some way and make a snide remark or degrading comment about the person.  Courage is not joining in.  Not laughing at a cruel joke, not adding to the degradation of another, refusing to be mean so you don’t become the one that’s different—that’s COURAGE.  I have seen peers, the kind-hearted, sages, people you would never consider brave or courageous, refuse to taunt or tease another being, holding true to what they feel to be right.  Their refusal to participate takes courage since they may be turned on at any moment simply from not joining in.
Courage is stopping and seeing those in need and supporting them.  Courage is sharing whatever you have to relieve the pain for others in some small way.  Courage is stopping to pick up a stray animal from a roadside when the others in the car are asking, “Are you crazy?”  Courage is holding the hand of someone who is terrified to fly in a plane sitting next to you.  Courage.
The list could go on and on—letting the tears fall unashamedly when someone you love hurts or a human or animal is the victim of abuse.  Standing by a friend when no one else will.  Fighting to get past your own pain to help another.  Asking for forgiveness when you know you’ve done wrong.  Asking for help when you know pride is all that is holding you back.  Saying, “I am here for you,” and meaning it.  Saying, “I love you” and showing it.
Courage is standing up for your values, your beliefs, your dreams—whether they are popular or not.  And for those you care for, whether they are popular or not.  Look at the courage displayed through the #me too movement.  Look at the people uniting against hate with courage.  Look around.  Courage abounds even as threats are made and consequences are seen for those such as the DREAMERS.
Courage comes from within.  Courage does not come from sheep who follow blindly, unthinkingly.  Courage comes from within your soul, your convictions, your utmost self.  We each have it,  we just need to recognize it.  Then we use it for good—for love—for peace.


DARE TO BE COURAGEOUS

Saturday, February 10, 2018

B for Bonnie

B is for Bonnie

Bonnie—ah, Bonnie!  Let me tell you about my dear Bonnie!
Bonnie is a wonderful, caring person of 16 years of age with the wisdom of the ages in mothering, nurturing, compassion and caring for everyone.  At her tender age, she has helped more children, teens, and adults than just about anyone I know.  And she always, always does it with love.  Allow me to relate some examples of her tender spirit.
Bonnie at one time was in charge of some precocious children that no one else wanted to have anything to do with.  One little boy, about age 6, was particularly trying to even her gentle soul.  He would listen to older ones around him and mimic them, but not in a very acceptable way for a six year old.  For instance, the older kids would swear and without realizing what he was saying, but knowing it got a reaction, he would swear like they would.  Bonnie tried to show him that he was saying words he didn’t even know the meaning of but it seemed to only foster his saying them more to show her he could.  He truly didn't seem to care what the words meant, only that they received an instantaneous reaction when he said them—and especially around her.  Now Bonnie worked on this for quite awhile, to no avail, and then went to the older kids and asked them not to use such language around the little boy and they agreed, but, as often happens, they quickly reverted back to their habit of swearing and so did the little boy.  She then tried “time outs” and stopping him from being around them so much and that maneuver also failed.  Finally, when she and the little boy had reached what seemed a true impasse, he asked her, “Why can they say what they want and I can’t?”  Her exasperated response was, “Because they are older!”  She had long ago given up on reasoning with him.  He in turn demanded, “Then how old do I have to be to say shit!”  Quickly, she said, “Twelve!  You have to be twelve!”  They stood facing off, then he said, “Honest truth?  I can say shit and all the rest like—“ and Bonnie reached out and covered his mouth, saying “Yes.  Honest truth.  You can say whatever you want when you are twelve.”  He grinned from ear to ear and said, “Okay.  Got it.  Thanks!” and so ended one little boy’s foul mouthed language.  He would stop, catch himself, and did not swear again.  When she told me, I laughed and laughed and so did she as she said, “Who would have believed it could be so easy!  Now all I have to do is figure out what I’ll say when he’s twelve!” and she kept laughing.  I asked her, “Didn’t you want to just pop him one once in awhile?  I mean, really?”
She looked shocked and said, “Do what?  No!  Never!  Why would I?  That wouldn’t have solved the problem, only made it worse!  You don’t hit a little child you love to change their behavior!  No, I never wanted to pop him!  I love him!”  That’s my Bonnie!
Another incident that shows Bonnie’s love and compassion was when I was so very angry at being accused of something I had not done and was vowing to expose the accuser as a liar and cheat to everyone.  I wanted revenge!  Bonnie listened to me rant and rave and finally, feeling spent, I stopped and looked at her and saw she was actually crying.  I felt immediate concern and asked, “Bonnie, what is wrong?  Are you all right?”  She nodded and answered, “You are so miserable and so angry!  I just hate to see you hurting so much!”  I immediately flared up again, saying angrily, “It’s the one I’m going to teach a lesson to you ought to be crying for because they are going to be sorry!  Really sorry!”  Again, she nodded and said, “I am.”  Shocked, I looked at her in disbelief.  “Bonnie!  This person deserves to have a dose of their own medicine!  Look at how she treats not just me, but everyone that gets in her way or won’t back away from her!”  Bonnie softly said, “I know.  She must be so afraid and hurt so bad to treat people like she does.  She must feel everyone hates her and be so lonely!  And if you expose her, what will she have then?  Don’t you see how sad that is?  Wouldn’t you want another chance if you were her?  Everyone deserves more than one chance, don’t you think?”  Even in my anger, I knew Bonnie was right.  I tried by countering, “But look at how many people she destroys and goes right on as if they deserve it when they have done nothing wrong except not acquiesce to her wishes!”  Bonnie looked sad and stated, “I know.  Isn’t it sad?  But do you have to be the one to destroy her, once and for all?  I wonder what would happen if someone showed her some sincere kindness?  Plus, it hurts me to see your anger hurting you so bad.  Dumb, huh?  I guess I just can’t intentionally hurt someone, even if I know something or someone should, like you say, teach them a lesson.  Do you have to do this? “  I knew Bonnie loved me enough to ask not to let the anger turn me into someone I wouldn’t like as myself.  I hugged her, sighed, and said, “You’re right.  Someone else will either take care of her or love her out of herself—impossible as it may be.  I promise, I won’t.  Thanks, dear one!”  She smiled and said softly, “No, thank you.”
One last example I would like to share has to do with Bonnie and some of her teen peers.  Some of the guys were rather self-centered and being rude toward the girls, and trying to prove they were “Men” and they would ask Bonnie to make them certain things to eat, or do things like laundry for them, etc.  It seemed they had more important things to do and obviously, to them anyway, she didn’t so they would impose on her.  Well, Bonnie has a sense of humor, too, and even though she will give chance after chance, and spreads love like butter on bread to be treasured, she will call people on stuff in rather humorous ways.  One of the guys asked if she would wash his clothes.  She said no, but she’d show him how to do it.  He said he didn’t really have time for that and she walked away.  When he realized he was left standing with dirty laundry and she was totally walking away, he followed and agreed to learn if she’d teach him.  He wasn’t as serious as he pretended to be and didn’t pay much attention.  Consequently, he later came to her, complaining about his pink underwear and socks and wanting to know why she hadn't warned him.  Bonnie smiled and said, “Did you separate the clothes like I told you before you threw them in the washer?’ He quickly nodded and said, “Of course I did!”  She went on asking questions and he had a smart reply for each until she asked, “So how many loads did you actually wash?”  Suddenly, he had no answer.  She repeated the question and the other guys around him began to snicker.  She turned to one of them and said, “Okay—how many did he do?  Two?  Three?”  They quit their snorking and looked away.  Then Bonnie laughed and said, “Gotcha!  I’m betting you only did one load and it had that new red sweatshirt in it, didn’t it?”  Suddenly it was quiet and two of the guys inched toward the door.  “Where are you going?” she demanded.  They stopped dead.  “You see, I figure that since you were all in on this, you all owe me dinner.”  Immediately they started to tell her why they could not help her out for a change but she shook her head, smiled and said, “I’d really like something different to eat this evening.  See you guys later.  About 6?”  And Bonnie got dinner at 6 that evening—from Sonic because they don’t know how to cook,  but she says she’ll teach them.

Everyone that knows Bonnie loves her and she loves everyone she knows and even people she doesn’t know.  She is compassion and chances to show compassion personified.  Someday maybe you’ll meet her.  I promise, you will feel love and acceptance when you do.  Bonnie. Ah, Bonnie!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A is for Age

A is for AGE

Age is referred to in so many different ways.  There is a chronological age, a mental age, an emotional age, a spiritual age…and the list can go on and on depending on who decides to set it up and for what purpose.
I remember being seven years old and hating it.  I was not old enough to play with the big kids and was too old to play with what I considered the babies—aged 6 and younger.  So as I progressed from age seven to eight, when asked how old I was I would reply that I was 7 and 1/4 years old, or later 7 and 1/2 years old.  Then I became 7 years and 7 months old and so on until I reached the glorious age of 8 years old and found out the ones I so wanted to hang out with had also gotten a year older and still didn’t want me following them around or joining them.  Ah, the pain…
Then life moved from being measured less on chronological age and into mental age and prowess.  By fifth grade, I was reading on a high school sophomore level—at least 15 years old.  That made me mature.  Really?  What else is a loner going to do besides escape in the beautiful world of reading where there are friends and adventures and the universe to be a part of?  So mentally, I was much older than my chronological age.  Whoopee!  Now I was a real loner!
My emotional age was less because my “people circle” was limited.  I was deemed emotionally underaged because I couldn’t seem to get past the beliefs I held in magic, a kinder and more loving world, and the fairness that would be had by all, regardless of skin color, education, sex, economic status, and such things as that.  I also hadn’t matured past seeing things in black and white, right and wrong, fair and unfair.  I delusionally held to the ideas of equality and goodness of hearts.  I thought bad should be punished and good rewarded.  Yes, definitely emotionally immature for my chronological age.  I don’t think I’ve gotten over that hurdle yet, honest truth.  I still believe in goodness, kind hearts, magical miracles such as a night passing and the sun rising to bring a whole new day of possibilities.  I feel animals’ souls, human souls, a desire to right wrongs and anger at injustice and intolerance toward other hearts.  I’ve been told to “Grow up!” and I guess I’m still stuck.  I have to admit, looking around, I’ll take being  immature enough to live my way.
By spiritual standards, I have been called “an old soul.”  I haven’t figured out why I would be called “an old soul” and thus older spiritually anymore than why I am deemed emotionally immature.  Is it because I feel connected to everything around me?  What I deem a sort of magic?  I feel others’ pain, joy, frustration, fears.  Deeply and emphatically.  I see what could be for the person, myself, and I strive to make it a reality.  My soul reaches out to other souls.  Does empathy make one spiritually older?  Who knows?  I don’t.
My inner workings have no age of any kind.  The body is in its 60s.  The inside essence is whatever age fits the situation.  I can observe an ant moving around for a long, long time.  I can watch the waves roll in, crash, creep silently onto the sand and pull back and feel every bit of it with my whole being.  The ocean speaks to me, the sand comforts my physical body, and my heart opens agelessly and with hope as my little dog licks my face in love.
Age.  How old are you?  But more, by whose standards are you a specific age defined?  Do others tell you to “grow up” or chide you as not being “realistic” about things?  Age doesn’t mean growing up.  Age doesn't require cynicism.  Age is imposed on us, all of us.  Maybe we should all be like Peter Pan—and say, “I won’t grow up!”  Just think of the fun ahead! 


BE AGELESS


Sunday, May 7, 2017

J for Judy's Answer




J for Judy's Answer
The Answer

To sleep deeply without fear—
Quietness, comfort, Peace—
To not feel rejection or pain,
But rather the comforting arms of Mother Ocean.

She does not judge, but welcomes.
There are no demands, 
Only waves reaching out,
Pulling us back to her.

We will join her—
Let her depths swallow us
And our pain—and then,
We sleep in her bosom.

We sleep deeply without fear,
Without pain and heart aching.
Our bleeding stops forever
And we are one with eternity.














The Answer

To sleep deeply without fear—
Quietness, comfort, Peace—
To not feel rejection or pain,
But rather the comforting arms of Mother Ocean.

She does not judge, but welcomes.
There are no demands, 
Only waves reaching out,
Pulling us back to her.

We will join her—
Let her depths swallow us
And our pain—and then,
We sleep in her bosom.

We sleep deeply without fear,
Without pain and heart aching.
Our bleeding stops forever
And we are one with eternity.













Z FOR ZEITGEIST

“Zeitgeist” is defined by Webster’s New World College Dictionary as follows: n. the general intellectual, moral, and cultural state of an era.
Each and every era definitely has its own intellectual, moral and cultural state.  During the days of the pioneers, when America was being expanded and people were searching for their ideal place to live, intellect was used to survive the terrain and the weather.  In that era, anyone who rustled a steer (a dear necessity in some cases), or stole a horse (a true necessity), was hanged by the neck until dead by law and a morality that demanded that punishment.  It made sense for the time it was practiced and worked fairly well for most of the people of the culture.
Then jump to the age of industry, the introduction of the automobile, and general labor practices.  Children worked in factories for 12 to 14 hours a day, were paid very little, and parents did likewise unless the woman was home caring for children deemed too small to work (usually under age five since they could stand on stools and run machines at age five or six).  Some aspired to education but those born in poverty and working at factories rarely received an education to break free and move upward in society.  Those with money who owned and ran the textile industry and factories were educated and were to be emulated as much as possible by the poor.  There were  people of an upper class and a middle class and then the poor.  Intellectual, moral states were left for the upper class to establish for all in that era.
Moving forward to another era, we enter a post war era where all classes began to prosper, for awhile.  Women had enjoyed a brief time of better acknowledgement during the war and then were relegated back to the status of homemakers who were kept in the kitchen and barefoot and pregnant.  Racism was open so minorities, in particular Negroes, were kept in an even lower “place” than women.  God, government, and church, were all run by white males either interpreting what God had told them, making laws and running the church dominated society and culture.
The era of rebellion and anti-establishment came into existence after this.  Women demanded to be heard, burned their bras, and refused the kitchen tradition.  They went to college to become professionals and not just teachers and nurses.  They worked in developing space programs, as physicists, doctors, business leaders/ owners, as did some Negroes.  Flower children and hippies marched against a senseless war, free love and LSD were the culture that strove to expand minds and find an end to hate and offer peace.  The draft saw many young men fleeing the country as killing was not something they could stomach.  Peace and Love were the by words of the era.  Nixon resigned as President as citizens refused to believe anyone was above the law, including him.  Education was valued and universities were thriving as creativity, new ideas were embraced.  Yes, there was chaos, but there was also an awakening that came as people began to think, create, challenge the status quo.  Wonderful music, art, writings came out of the chaos and the common person could speak, expound, be heard and things changed rapidly.  
Next came an era of complacency.  Going with the flow.  Laziness of intellect.  Morals were questioned, zealots were more and more ignored and the economy faltered, but still, advancement could be made.  Money became more and more important, and the moral climate shifted from fair pay for fair work to who you knew that could get you into that desired job.  More hours were spent watching TV than outside.  Job hours were longer.  Advancement depended on sexual favors demanded, intimidation, and there was less time to spend on fairness as a moral standard.  The culture was mainly concerned with technology, how they could acquire it, and how much money they could make to keep acquiring it.  The arts began to give people what they wanted, as they seemed to have little or no message to put out for anything other than temporary stardom and money.  Religion became televised and as people starved and were evicted from homes they could not afford, televangelists  begged for money for private jets to spread the word of God and lived in mansions while their supporters donated money to support the ministers’ lifestyles.
Now we are in a zeitgeist of upheaval once again, similar to that of the 60s and 70s.  People have been shaken.  There is a sense of ambiguity towards intellectual edification.  We say we want education, but we do not finance it or keep raising the bar so it moves upward.  Instead, we lower the bar, require less of students and smile shamefacedly because our children cannot read nor write script/longhand writing.  They print or type on a computer.  The educational standards for most universities and colleges guarantee a worthless degree in a chosen field where if a student is asked to name the three branches of our government, an astounding number do not know.  History will be whatever a teacher decides it will be.  Math is not important and few cashiers under 50 years of age can count change back to you when you pay for items.  If computers go down at public offices, doctor’s offices, schools, government offices—some will actually close their doors until the computers are up and running again.  Insofar as morals go in our culture, no one is sure.  Morals require truth.  There needs to be consequences resulting from actions.  But if no one knows what the truth is, how do you make sure appropriate consequences follow?  Morals also involve compassion, mercy, kindness.  Morals demand that one do what is right.  What was once right no longer applies to morals or ethics.  But as in the 60s and 70s, good is rising out of the zeitgeist now.
This era is seeing people actively searching, thinking, demanding answers to questions they never considered in the era of complacency.  They acknowledge the upheaval, how it affects them, their families, neighbors, communities, and every facet of their lives.  Differences fall away between races, sexual orientation, genders, religions that are true to a Supreme Being, the disenfranchised by poverty and illness or disability.  People are coming together, uniting.  Their worlds of complacency and apathy have been jolted, cracked, shattered.  Bigotry, class disparity, discrimination against those considered less than by the rich is not being tolerated.  This zeitgeist is now prizing intellectual prowess and progressiveness, encouraging creativity.  Music is coming forth again that speaks to and for the people not being heard.  Literature is coming out that speaks for the people, encourages and inspires.  The arts are flourishing with pointed paintings, cartoons.  Comedians are standing up for the oppressed.  Corruption is being exposed because the people are now demanding it be exposed.  Morally, people are demanding truth, justice, fairness, a democracy they can support and live under.  Morally they are marching, joining with those on the fringes and humanity is recognizing we all need each other and we need to embrace every human in need!  Our culture wants freedom, compassion, justice, equality for all, mercy as needed and is now willing to speak out for it.  
My truth about zeitgeist is that ours now is hopeful in that we are waking up, rousing ourselves and each other, and if those who are creative keep fostering hope, love, compassion towards each other, this era will be one that will be remembered for people embracing people and the world to better the lives of all!

  

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Y for Yahoo

The definition of “yahoo” according to Webster’s New World College Dictionary  is: n. a boorish, crass, or stupid person (Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels).
I grew up thinking yahoo was a word cowboys yelled when they were happy or drunk.  Then I read Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift in school and found out Swift had used the word to refer to another group of people, and it was no longer an expression of happy and/or drunk cowboys.  I liked it.
I began to notice which persons I encountered might be true yahoos.  People I met that seemed “boorish” were never that boorish to me because I never spent more than a few minutes with them.  Why would I?  Why would anyone?  They offer nothing but requiring one to bear witness to their ego trips.  They are so obvious in their boorishness that they are easy to avoid.  Truly, I so adeptly sidestep them that I never bother to tag them as a “yahoo.”
I started watching what people might be yahoos by virtue of being crass.  I can honestly state that I have few associations with what I would call “crass” beings.  That is probably because I hold to the philosophy that crass is different by the way one looks upon it or experiences it.  I might find someone crass who picks their nose in public while you simply find the act disgusting.  But you may find someone who belches unchecked at a formal dinner party quite crass and I would probably laugh aloud at their audacity.  No, crassness would be hard to pin down in a yahoo depending on who is subjected to it and their beliefs as to what being crass is or is not.  Agreed?
The last qualification listed to be a “yahoo” is being stupid.  THAT certain characteristic I know about and have seen enough times to call out “You  YAHOO!”  to a person.  One can write off comments and actions to ignorance for a while.  Or claim there are extenuating circumstances surrounding actions or words.  And then… when there are no more excuses to cover these continued actions and statements—well—it becomes stupidity.  That warrants the label YAHOO.  And unfortunately, Stupid does exist, and THERE is the Yahoo.
As Forrest Gump said in the movie by the same title, “Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’ll get.”  Here’s to the Yahoos.  They are alive and well in the 21st century.  And that’s my take on it and my truth.  God save us all from Yahoos.  As the song says, “They’re here… they’re there… they're everywhere…so beware!”


Friday, May 5, 2017

x for X-Men

Well folks, the word X-Men is not in the dictionary and I won't use wikipedia for a source, so no definition—at least a literal one, this time around.  But I do have a blog about this topic!
I read comic books as a kid (still enjoy them) and have seen all the X-Men movies.  I have favorite characters and seeing them in action on the screen endears them to me even more.  
I love the people that are blue.  Every one of them.  They can morph!  Here they can be anything they want, take on any form at will, and fool all the people all the time!  Now is that cool or is that cool!  I forget as I watch them whether they are representing the good mutants or the bad.  I just watch them morph from one state to another, entranced and envious of their powers!  
I also like Charles, the head of the good guys.  But I don’t envy his powers.  I would not care to read people’s minds.  I have enough trouble with having empathy for others.  To read minds and thoughts, to see everything  would be my end.  My feelings for others tend to weigh me down when I see others in pain or need.  Read their thoughts?  Not going there.  I may say I want to know what others are thinking, but in reality?  No, not really.
A favorite character is the girl who has to wear gloves because her touch is so intense it destroys.  She I empathize with in the respect that sometimes I feel like my touch will destroy others or dispel anything that is beautiful.  Plus, what a lonely life without touch.
The boy who has wings and can fly is wonderful!  Wow!  How fantastic!  Or the boy who can freeze everything.  Or the one who can shoot fire.  All these fantastic powers!  To be able to use a power to change things!  How awesome—truly awesome!
So why did I choose X-Men, besides the fact that it is the letter of the alphabet I need to blog on?  Because I see their different powers attributed to their being mutants, enjoy their wild escapades, and it gives me hope.  Here, you will have to bear with me.  In their exaggerated powers, my desire to have those kinds of powers, I actually stop and think.  And that is what happened this time, too.
I realize, when I think about it, that each of us could be classified a mutant in that we have unique and special powers.  I have seen some people seem to set things on fire with a literally fiery glare of anger.  I have seen others stare so icily at a person that the person being stared at seems to freeze.  I have watched people morph in front of my eyes.  You know what I mean.  My mother can be a ball of anger and rage and the minister drive up and she morphs into a soft-spoken, well-controlled example of a Christian mother and wife.  That is as spectacular a morph as the best of the X-Men can pull off!  I have also had people read my thoughts without my ever saying a word.
Thinking about X-Men makes me realize we each have our special mutations that give us special powers.  It is our recognizing our special powers that starts us on our journey.  How we use those powers takes us further on our journey.  And sharing the benefits of our powers with others—well, that’s what it’s all about.

My truth in all this?  If I use my powers to help and you use yours, and others use theirs—there is no end to the good we can bring to the world and each other!  Power is wonderful used to help others.