Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Smiling Enemies


"Smiling Faces Sometimes"
Smiling faces sometimes pretend to be your friend
Smiling faces show no traces of the evil that lurks within
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don't tell the truth uh
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
The truth is in the eyes
Cause the eyes don't lie,

Remember a smile is just
A frown turned upside down
My friend let me tell you
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don't tell the truth, uh
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof

Beware, beware of the handshake
That hides the snake
I'm telling you beware
Beware of the pat on the back
It just might hold you back
Jealousy (jealousy)
Misery (misery)
Envy I tell you, you can't see behind smiling faces
Smiling faces sometimes they don't tell the truth
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don't tell the truth
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
(Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes)
(Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes)

I'm telling you beware, beware of the handshake
That hides the snake
Listen to me now, beware
Beware of that pat on the back
It just might hold you back
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don't tell the truth
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
Your enemy won't do you no harm
Cause you'll know where he's coming from
Don't let the handshake and the smile fool ya
Take my advice I'm only try' to school ya

      Sometimes I get an uncomfortable feeling/perception that throws up a red flag.  Its not very obvious and usually takes some research, and mindfulness, to understand it.  Its not an usual red flag like anger, or anxiety, it is something far more sneaky.  Competition.  There are people around us every day who will bring up this natural human response.

Definition of competition

1 : the act or process of competing : rivalry: such as

a : the effort of two or more parties acting independently to secure the business of a third party by offering the most favorable terms
  • contractors in competition for the contract to build the new school
b : active demand by two or more organisms or kinds of organisms for some environmental resource in short supply
  • the interspecies competition for food
     I know a couple, off hand, that periodically bring this feeling out in me; and I am not comfortable with this.  One person likes to passive/aggressively call people out on Facebook by making posts that infer that by not teaching kids to compete we are some how doing them an injustice while not really understanding the pros and cons of teaching competition.     There is another person, who, when entering my home, or life, likes to throw out passive aggressive comments that leave everyone in the room looking at this person like, what the *F*?!?  They will look at me, then the other person, then at me...waiting... for some form of reaction, for me to engage.  I engage by not reacting.  Usually I divert or distract onto another topic, or simply ignore it. 
      When faced with these scenarios enough times the natural human response is to start feeling insecure about yourself.  Insecurity can also come across to those around you as jealousy or envy.  After some research I am here to share that this is actually not how all of us are feeling.  Being empowered with this information helps us to over come the competitive person who is actually, in reality, the jealous, insecure one.  They need everyone around them to get on board of how they are feeling to feel better about themselves.  These types of people are very challenging and really need patience and compassion.

Irish writer Elizabeth Bowen once wrote, "Jealousy is no more than feeling alone against smiling enemies." This simple statement sets a perfect scene in our minds of what jealousy feels like; Others are happy, overtly joyful or secretly mocking, while we are left alone to look like a fool.

      This quote points out the fact that jealousy is not limited to intimate relationships with a partner, or perceived partner.  Jealousy includes all relationships of all kinds and levels.  A person will enter your home, look around with that look that we all recognize as, "wow, look at this place, wish I lived like this." and almost immediately start making comments about how much they know about that piece of furniture and this piece of art.  Followed with some kind of open ended statement about how you can take better care of your pet, or how dirty your windows are and how they keep theirs clean.  Or look up at your lighting fixtures and ceiling fans and make an obvious face that implies, "huh not so perfect after all."  This kind of person brags and blames a lot.  They are never quite satisfied with anything.  They are masters of getting everyone around them to feel as they do so that they do not feel alone in their fear and personal dissatisfaction of life.
      These types of people are masters of passive aggressive manipulation, they are very often narcissistic.  We can see it, but more often than not those around us do not.  Does this mean its not happening?  Many loved ones, out of the need to protect us, and full of good intention, will imply that our perception is faulty.  Thus leaving us feeling more insecure.  Its a horrible nasty circle which leaves a feeling of no peace.  It kind of sucks.
      You could avoid some one who wants to mess with your peace, but honestly, for this to happen we would have to avoid most of society so its not very realistic.  So what do we do?
      While many articles focus on jealousy in intimate relationship's, in fact most of them do, if you understand that the jealousy you feel is actually a natural human response to some imposed threat it becomes easier to break that feeling down, find its source and deal with it.  Many assume that being Buddhist means that you only meditate on almost everything to just calm your mind  so you don't have to think about suffering. 
     Suffering in Buddhism is anything that causes pain and/or discomfort to the point where you are attached to the feeling/perception.  When this happens there has to be more than meditation, practice has to accompany it.  Practice is not just lighting incense, candles, chanting mantras it requires some mindfulness.  It means that we go to the Buddha for refuge, we go to the Dharma for refuge, we go to the Sangha for refuge.  But what exactly is refuge?
      When faced with some one or something that questions ourselves it is always a learning opportunity that brings compassion.  When we choose to practice refuge a few things happen. 
      More often than not when we feel threatened we rely on our loved ones to give us some kind of protection, support, safety. This is difficult because their perceptions of the perceived threat may not be the same as ours.  Human nature says we should feel insulted of opposing perceptions; so we get angry that the loved ones are not backing us up.  This only causes more disruption to peace.  We start feeling more alone, isolated and resentful; like the person in question who has, whether intentional or not, caused the threat is winning.  These are all natural human responses.  The challenge in Buddhism is to recognize the natural human response and not act upon it.  Its ok to feel what we feel.  There is good reason. it actually a real threat?

a declaration of an intention or determination to inflict punishment, injury, etc., in retaliation for, or conditionally upon, some action or course; menace: 
Is the need to compete brought on by some one else's jealousy really a threat?
      For many another natural human response to a threat is fight or flight. 
However, fight or flight is suppose to be reserved for life threatening events.  Unless you are someone who has experienced an environment growing up where threat to life and, or limb is a daily event, then fight or flight is your go to.  Or if you have never been taught the skills to deal with stress the natural human response will also be fight or flight.  Once you understand this about yourself finding the tools to deal with stress is easier.
      In my case the perception I was having was not due to a perceived danger, but actually to feelings I was having that I didn't like having.  The threat was feeling out of control over uncomfortable feelings/perceptions that I didn't know how to deal with. Once I figured it all out I got my peace back.
      When dealing with a person who likes to try to mess with those around them by using passive aggressive remarks and actions to make themselves feel bigger while trying to make you feel smaller remember this.
      Don't compete. Its easy to avoid them, its easy to argue with them or stoop to their level and behave the same way.  If it wasn't so easy there would be far less of these kinds of people to deal with.  Its actually a greater, braver, more intelligent, compassionate choice to keep these kinds of people in your life.  They are there to teach you something about yourself.  More importantly, you have something to teach them.  You don't have to get all high and mighty about it telling yourself and others that what you are doing is a great and wonderful thing; then you are only playing into the dark side of competitive perception which will spawn more jealousy.  Just be you.  Just find your refuge and stay there.  Be at peace with who you are, your choices, your life and those you choose to include in your inner circle. 
      Focus on your individual Karma and by extension know that you will be helping others Karma just by doing the right thing.
Compassion is a tricky thing.   It asks that we perceive, acknowledge and try to alleviate it whenever, and where ever, we see it.  It asks that in order to do this that we be compassionate to ourselves first.  It asks that we have a deep understanding of human nature in ourselves and others.  It requires us to be mindful.  It supports, encourages, and requires self confidence.
Mindfulness as a practice is described as: "Mindfulness is a way of paying attention that originated in Eastern meditation practices" "Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally" "Bringing one's complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis"
The Pith of the Matter.  Feelings, or individual perceptions, are there to teach us something.  They tell us that something is not right either around us, in someone else, ourselves, or a combination of.  We can choose to not feel suffering attached to this opportunity.  We can be mindful, go for refuge, and develop compassion. In order to compete successfully all we need to do is be confident in ourselves and in return naturally build the confidence of those around us. These are the tools to peace.
Namaste Emaho Peace out

Criss Jami
“Man is not, by nature, deserving of all that he wants. When we think that we are automatically entitled to something, that is when we start walking all over others to get it.”
Criss Jami, Diotima, Battery, Electric Personality
Jiddu Krishnamurti
“Real learning comes about when the competitive spirit has ceased.”
Jiddu Krishnamurti


Shannon L. Alder
“Insecure people only eclipse your sun because they’re jealous of your daylight and tired of their dark, starless nights.”
Shannon L. Alder

Shannon L. Alder
“I am convinced that the jealous, the angry, the bitter and the egotistical are the first to race to the top of mountains. A confident person enjoys the journey, the people they meet along the way and sees life not as a competition. They reach the summit last because they know God isn’t at the top waiting for them. He is down below helping his followers to understand that the view is glorious where ever you stand.”
Shannon L. Alder


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Peacemaker

The Peacemaker

IT is reported that two kingdoms were on the verge of war for the possession of a certain embankment which was disputed by them. And the Buddha seeing the kings and their armies ready to fight, requested them to tell him the cause of their quarrels. Having heard the complaints on both sides, he said:
"I understand that the embankment has value for some of your people; has it any intrinsic value aside from its service to your men?"
"It has no intrinsic value whatever was the reply.
The Tathagata continued: "Now when you go to battle is it not sure that many of your men will be slain and that you yourselves, O kings, are liable to lose your lives?" And they said: "It is sure that many will be slain and our own lives be jeopardized."
"The blood of men, however," said Buddha, "has it less intrinsic value than a mound of earth?" "No," the kings said, "The lives of men and above all the lives of kings, are priceless." Then the Tathagata concluded: care you going to stake that which is priceless against that which has no intrinsic value whatever?--The wrath of the two monarchs abated, and they came to a peaceable agreement.

Image result for peace buddha

      You may have noticed a drop in my blogging.  Its not because I have grown tired of writing; but because I find myself in a different place in my life.  The times where I look at the world, and the people in it, and think wtf, are very far and few between.  Which is good.  I also find myself wanting to be more selective of what I share.  Is it worthy of a read?  Will it benefit some one other than me?  So when I write I lean towards my spirituality, Buddhism.  I try to look at the world through Buddha eyes.  Am I perfect at it, no of course not, and thankfully not, I never want to stop learning, and making mistakes. 
      I will begin my tale with a question, as so many of my tales do.  Ever have some one suggest you do something, for your own good, and you cant get rid of that nagging feeling that it is the wrong thing to do?  Ahhh I hear a resounding yes coming through my puter.  ;)  I was told recently, with out much of an option to say no, that I should sit down and talk with someone to clear up some issues that seem to be causing others some suffering.
     Now this is not as clear cut as it appears.  I believe if you come in contact with a person on a daily basis, at work for instance, then the logical choice is to follow the advice and find a way to communicate that benefits everyone exposed to the suffering.  If for no other reason to show, and know, that you made every effort to get along with said difficult person and make an environment that others share with you, and said difficult person, a little less stressful.  But what if you don't see someone on a daily basis?  What if its just holidays?  Or family gatherings?  Which is maybe only 3-4 times a year?  Is it really necessary to stir the pot?  Is it necessary to make everyone try to understand you and vice versa?  What if you have already tried and others have just not seen it?  At what point do you tell yourself that you have done everything possible and its now in the other persons court?  At what point do we give ourselves permission to just be compassionate to ourselves first?
    So many long term arguments between persons, who are considered just acquaintance's by the way, happen because there was an un-necessary push by someone, some where, for everyone to understand each other on a far more personal level than perhaps either party wished.  The persons usually pushing think they are being peace makers and peace making always has good intentions.
    Peace makers don't make each other get along and like each other, they ensure peace by making sure that everyone can work together peacefully for the benefit of everyone around them.  They set up boundaries that are fair and work for everyone involved.  They do not push anyone into doing something they don't want to do unless there is some compromising going on.  They ensure give and take.  They also listen to what each party has to say, not blindly following one point of view because of their partial feelings towards someone.  They are neutral, and unselfish in their goals. 
    I am not pointing fingers here at anyone.  I can share, rather uncomfortably, that I have on many occasions been a failed peace maker with intentions that just say they were not good Karma.  :P  I also like to tell myself that I am the peace maker and rarely, emphasis on rarely, need anyone to do any peace making for me.  The persons who are most successful at making peace in my life are hubby, and family in general, because they "get me".  Which brings me back once again to knowing who you are, and what, you are peace making for.
    Mothers are notorious peace makers.  Many mothers, myself included, try to protect under the blanket of peace making.  We tell ourselves that peace making between our child, and a bully for instance, is necessary for all kids to learn.  The bigger picture, and the harder thing to do however, is to just give the tools necessary for successful relationships and stand back and trust that they will be used.  Learning these, and using them, ensures peace in most relationships.
   When my sons were young I put a great deal of emphasis on communication skills.  This not only meant learning to be polite, but how to use words, how to stay calm, body language, and most importantly, listening skills.  I am proud, and slightly biased, when I say they are pretty successful at these.  I gave them tools on how to use them all, and tried to be a good role model, along with hubby.  I remind everyone that sometimes being a good role model means failing and making mistakes.  Being a bad role model means making the same mistake over and over again and not learning from it.  Hubby and I like to learn.  ;)  So our life is ever changing, evolving and never dull.  Our sons are pretty self assured despite failures.  There is not regret for past mistakes or transgressions; if there is they have learned that regret means that something was left undone; so they get it done with in their time line. 
   It is all fine and good to want to make peace.  We all want everyone to get along and be happy.  But the reality of life is that there are a multitude of different people, ideas, cultures, faiths, opinions out there.  Debate is wonderful.  I love a truly great debate with someone I trust.  Sharing ideas, differing opinions encourages wisdom.  BUT sometimes we are faced with ideas, opinions that go against how we have defined our individual morals and values.  And that is ok too.
   I think many problems occur when society starts thinking, even believing that it is impossible for us to all get along unless we all truly understand each other to the point where we all must be thinking and believing the same way.
To understand someone means to basically listen with out biases and/prejudice while still holding on to your own beliefs/thoughts.  This is possible; you just use your good listening skills and set boundaries for the relationship.  No one has to be forced into a lifestyle that is not one of their choosing; or change has to be forced to change morals or values.
   Speaking from experience it is possible to "get along" with persons who we think and feel are living an inauthentic life.  Then my mind immediately goes to, "but who am I to judge inauthenticity?"  See where I am going here?
   In Buddhism the greatest challenge is learning and practicing compassion.  Compassion isn't just looking at a homeless person on the street, feeling bad, and then giving them a buck.  Compassion is the true understanding that everyone has different thoughts, feelings, opinions on life in general.  It is understanding what promotes unnecessary suffering and knowing when you can and, more importantly, cant do something about it.  Its the cant part that is tricky because choosing to do nothing also sometimes causes suffering.  So it is important to meditate and try to see the bigger picture.
    Choosing to do nothing goes against basic human nature.  We see someone suffering, we know we can do something about it, we have the intelligence, wisdom, and means to do something about it, but is it always the compassionate thing to do?  As a human development professional, retired social worker, and mom I can share that the need for independence in humans is great.  When we learn something on our own from trial and error the internal motivator to have a success, or avoid failure, next time around is far greater than when someone jumps in , does it for us, or protects us from outcomes; either good or bad.
    Choosing to do nothing sometimes is the braver more compassionate choice.  It has a greater learning curve for everyone involved.  It encourages trust and self confidence.  For persons who have trust issues sometimes it is necessary to do nothing for them in order for them to trust not only themselves, but others intentions.
    Doing nothing means not detaching from the situation to the point where more suffering occurs.  It means not attaching to the idea that the only way something can and will be fixed is by your total immersion to the point of interference (almost addiction in appearance) into it.  We can attach to a multitude of unhealthy things.  Drugs, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, these are all obvious.  The less obvious are ideas, perceptions, feelings.  We tell ourselves that if only someone truly understood us, thought like us, believed like us, saw what we saw, the world would be a much better place.  But how boring would it be? 
   Doing nothing means sitting back and watching your kid fail while standing behind them.  Letting them know that you are there if they need you.  Sometimes just listening and saying nothing.  Letting them fail and learn from it.  Doing nothing means sometimes not getting involved in the drama.  It means not complaining about everything from a great vacation, to your wonderful kids, to your awesome devoted hubby of 30 something years. (that was a shout out to my wonderful hubby)  Doing nothing means understanding that you cannot fix everything; trusting that the universe, and the people, in it are capable of learning, growing, and changing, and just letting it be.  Doing nothing means having an understanding of human imperfections and being ok with them, even when they are your own.
   Simply put doing nothing sometimes means trusting that everyone every where wants the same basic thing.  To live in harmony. To be loved, understood, and accepted for who they are.  Even the terrorist thinks that they are fulfilling that purpose.  I agree its a bit twisted in thinking, and is not a route that I would take, but knowing that we are all basically on the same page brings me some peace.
    Doing nothing means detaching from feelings and perceptions that are negative.  Not attaching to unhealthy perceptions, well meant peace makers, and anything that may cause suffering.  It means supporting love, kindness and compassion.
   After a great deal of meditation on, and research on, the subject, because I am an over thinker and its what I do, I have come to a conclusion.  It is a conclusion, I have been told, that sounds slightly vain.  But I have also researched this perception and have drawn the conclusion that sometimes perception is enlightenment.  Enlightenment should always be shared.  The vain part is saying that I feel enlightened in this area now.
  •     We are human and subject to all the wonderful imperfections that go with being human.  Just accept it. 
  •     We can understand, even get along, but we don't have to agree.  Just accept it.
  •     We all make mistakes; most of us learn from them in our own time.  Learning is a choice.  Accept it.
  •     Change is the one sure thing in life.  Let it come at its own pace; don't force it.  Accept it.
  •     Its ok to be compassionate from a distance.  To understand what you are capable of doing and when.  Even acknowledging that perhaps the best thing you can do is nothing.  Accept it.
  •     Many things are beyond our control.  We cannot change others perceptions we can only change our own.  Accept it.
  • The best way to ensure change is to be the change.  Role model what you want to see.  Give it time to take place.

The real world is beyond our thoughts and ideas; we see it through the net of our desires, divided into pleasure and pain, right and wrong, inner and outer. To see the universe as it is, you must step beyond the net. It is not hard to do so, for the net is full of holes — Sri Nisargadatta

Image result for peace buddha

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Super Hero Pose: Or how I learned to have the last word.

   Image result for superhero pose
A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom. - Bob Dylan

François Rabelais
“I go to seek a Great Perhaps.”
François Rabelais

John Green
“Francois Rabelais. He was a poet. And his last words were "I go to seek a Great Perhaps." That's why I'm going. So I don't have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps.”
John Green, Looking for Alaska

    People who don't know me tell me that what I share is perceived as ranting.  People who do know me, and know me well, tell me that they, these inner circle people, understand that what I share are my thoughts and perceptions.  Not directed at anyone specifically.   
    Sometimes I vent, which is not the same as ranting.  Venting is blowing off steam so I can continue to try and deal with life, and all people, and circumstances attached to it, with as much compassion, patience, love and kindness as I can muster.  Thank you to the handful of friends and family who understand this and have my back. Ranting is constantly complaining and never have any intention of making a change. Recently a old friend entered and left my life attached to this value I keep and taught me something about myself that I want to pass along; once again in hopes of helping who ever reads my humble little blog.
   Periodically I make a Facebook post that is about a paragraph long, sometimes shorter, on a perception that I have had.  A couple of weeks ago I made a post that basically shared that we all get tired, we all feel that we have hit a brick wall.  We all feel the need to get away from it all, but its not always possible to do so.  My solution was, and still is, to take time to be in the moment.  Stop take a deep breath, meditate (what ever form it is for you) read a book, hold a hand, give get the idea. 
   This old friend replied to my post, and this is not a direct quote but you'll get the jest, "You are so lucky, we live such different lives."  I replied that luck has nothing to do with it.  She disagreed and I left it alone.  But one of my inner circle friends replied that happiness, especially optimism, is a choice.  Which I completely agree with and told her so, complimenting her on her insight.
   I didn't want to call this old friend out on Facebook.  I personally don't like engaging, and causing conflict, in general I prefer to confront respectfully and compassionately.  So I messaged her and shared my perception of why I chose to post what I did. 
   Admittedly, looking back I really did not need to do this.  Realistically I know that I have no control over how anyone, but myself, chooses to perceive anything.  But there will always be a part of me that wants to try and ease someone's suffering, no matter how big or small that suffering is.  I am hard wired for this; when I try not to help in anyway that I can I feel lost, unfulfilled, sad and angry.  Feelings I personally don't like to subscribe to.
   People who don't know me have tried to imply that I am a control freak and need to have everything my way.  People who know me say I am always trying to do good, and to just set up appropriate boundaries so I don't hurt myself.  Which is usually what ends up happening.  I get hurt, not because I tried and failed, but because there is someone in the world who not only chooses to live a life filled with suffering and immerses him/herself in it, but because they made every attempt at trying to not only bring me into their suffering but to make me understand that living with suffering and living within suffering are the same thing.
   I am condensing the story, but I hope you can read between the lines.  The old friends reply to my share was, "I can see you still need to have the last word."
   Honestly this enraged me, and looking back now I think she new it would. (and shame on me for feeling the anger that I did)  I had forgotten about this ploy, this attempt that is used by some people to get someone to stop talking. It didn't work; I did reply but I went to a dark place and momentarily thought, in the end, who really cares what she perceives?  Then I remembered...I do. 
     I don't care what she perceives about me, in the end I continue to do what I know and feel to be right for everyone.  I strive to be selfless in everything I do not selfish. I choose to listen to the people who try to keep a positive outlook no matter what challenge the universe gives them.  And I choose to not let anyone diminish me.  These choices I make give me strength to help people who perceive that they are diminished.  No one should ever feel less.
   When I have the last word it is because I genuinely feel that their is another perspective that someone, even myself, has not considered.  That perspective should be talked about, and thought about.  That perspective neutralizes everything.  It doesn't give anyone the edge or makes winners or losers.  It brings understanding for everyone.
    So here's The Pith of the Matter.  No matter how hard it is.  No matter what your feeling; whether it is fear, sorrow, anger, or doubt, or all of them combined.  You have every right to be brave; share the last word when that word is kind, respectful, loving and compassionate.  Say what you have to say honestly then just back away from it.  Never stop fighting the good fight.  Look at the person trying to diminish you and/or life in general using the super hero pose.  Head held high, hands on your hips, a confident content look on your face, a slight compassionate smile, cape flying in the wind and use the super power we all have.  Your voice.  Someone somewhere will be listening.
Emaho  Namaste Peace out

Brodi Ashton
“Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with.”
Brodi Ashton, Everneath
tags: choices, heroes, paths

Czesław Miłosz
“In a room where
people unanimously maintain
a conspiracy of silence,
one word of truth
sounds like a pistol shot.”
Czesław Miłosz

Monday, March 27, 2017

Drop the Story Line

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“THE GOOD LIFE requires that we take pleasure in new things; A GOOD LIFE requires that we take pleasure in moments.

To enjoy THE GOOD LIFE we have to get ahead; to enjoy A GOOD LIFE we have to make the trip worthwhile.

THE GOOD LIFE is not supported by feeding our pocketbooks; A GOOD LIFE is supported by feeding our souls.”
Steve Goodier
Orna Ross
“If you can't change your mind, you can't change anything.”
Orna Ross, After The Rising
“Optimists think badly, but live well.”
Marty Rubin
       A bit of truth about myself.  I have days where I actually don't like people, which is why I am choosy about who I let into my life.  When I'm feeling pessimistic I too feel, like all of us, that people in general are pretty stupid. (I include myself in this thought.) They are full of hate, anger and many other emotions that I find very hard to deal with.  So I choose to live my life surrounded by people who promote, to the best of their ability, love, kindness, compassion and optimism. 
      There is a part of me that morns deeply when I cannot get along with someone.  I know it takes two to have a relationship so, being wired as I am, when a relationship fails, for what ever reason, I question; why can't we all just get along?  Why does life have to be so hard?  
      I have been told and called various things when I feel like this.  I have been told that I am throwing a fit. I have been told that I am unbalanced.  I have been called a Pollyanna. Some have said that I need to just let it go, get on with my life.  Thoughts and questions gifted to me for a reason.
      The universe has been throwing me challenges as of late in the form of learning to deal with persons who are, quite frankly, extremely hard to deal with.  I am not blind to the fact that, one- our greatest challenges will be our greatest teachers and; two- some people you just have to detach from for what ever reason.  This is the nature of things.  
      The people who cant be dealt with, compassionately, kindly, who insist on arguing, being angry, trying to change who you are, who constantly show, and feel, disappointment in you will be the ones you don't need in your life.  As my sister so eloquently put it, "They are not major players in your life."   But they are their to teach you something, about yourself. 
      These persons will be the ones who make you see, and or feel something that you don't like feeling.  Not just once, but every time you spend time with them.  Angry, sad, embarrassed about who you are, insecure.  These are the persons to say good bye to, not to spend your time trying to convince that what you choose to do with your life is worthy.  Some of these people may not come straight out and be so obvious about their displeasure with you.  These are the passive aggressive's.  Everyone knows someone like this.  The person who always throws out those comments that leaves you wondering what the hell did that mean?  Making you question, well, everything.  Sometimes questioning is good, but if it leads to, "Too much mind" then time to drop the story line and move on.
      Too much mind means that thinking has gotten out of control to the point where we allow thinking about anything to become destructive to ourselves, and sometimes those around us.  The thinking has stopped becoming constructive, and compassionate.  When thinking becomes this it is time to stop, take a deep breath, and drop the story line.
      The story line is something many of us do. It is all the what if's, the why's, that we ask about anything and everything.  However, the story line can be self destructive.  It can be addictive to a point.  The person who loves drama will build countless story lines and be in an almost constant state of too much mind building anger, hate, blame and resentment.
     There is balance in thinking.  There is balance in feeling.  But when both of these are allowed to rule you instead of you ruling them a persons perspective on life becomes unbalanced.
      We cannot change how someone else chooses to perceive our lives.  We can only change how we choose to respond to these people.  Some people will automatically walk away from someone who challenges their lifestyle.  I'm not so sure this is wise.  If everyone, and every situation, we meet and come across is there to teach us something why would we choose not to learn? 
      I personally go into all relationship's as best I can with an open mind and open heart.  Which is why perhaps I mourn a loss when they fail.  But here's the thing.  I need to know that I have tried everything that I can to get along with someone and if they choose to continue to treat me badly, to not try to understand, or if they can't understand at least be respectful of my choices then that is not a reflection of me, it is a reflection of the mirror they look into.  That is what I learn.  That is my challenge.  To know when to step back, to let go, but never stop trying.
      Even though we all try to make the world a better place.  To try and go out daily and make it a better place even if it means just smiling at a stranger.  Sometimes it will not be enough.  But we persist not because we like feeling bad, but because when a connection is made it feels good not only to ourselves, but to whom ever we touched. 
      The Pith of the Matter is this. A good life is not achieved by having stuff, more and better cars.  Bigger houses filled with stuff. Doing something doesn't mean keeping yourself busy to the point where you can't think anymore.  Mindlessly going through your days, the same routine, with out stopping and listening to the birds chirp, kids laugh, people smiling, the breeze on your face.  It means being in the moment and fully being aware of that moment.  With that said I will continue to go out and save the world in my small little way every day.  Even if that day is blogging, making optimistic Facebook posts, smiling at a stranger, making my husband a great dinner, hugging my grand daughter, telling my kids how proud I am of them; because maybe doing these simple things will encourage someone to go out and pay it forward.  We all do the best with what we have and that should always be enough. 
Peace out Emaho Namaste
Maya Angelou
“When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.”
Maya Angelou
Oscar Wilde
“Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary.”
Oscar Wilde
I love mankind ... it's people I can't stand!!
I love mankind ... it's people I can't stand!!”
Charles M. Schulz, The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 5: 1959-1960

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Blame Game: Or How A Horde of Orc's Changed My Life

 Image result for critical failure dice        

       We all do it at one time or another don't we?  Play the blame game.  The bad experiences we have, and the feelings associated with those experiences, must be some ones fault.  I mean we must feel this way for a reason and Buddha forgive that we hold our selves accountable for our own feelings and actions.  Recently I read something about blame, "If blaming is a game then why doesn't it feel more fun?"
         I believe I have blogged some where before that I feel that blaming is part of human nature.  Unless we have been taught from an early age how, and when, to be humble blame just kicks in.  The people who know how to be humble are more often than not perceived as being victims so people associating with the humble have a tendency to try and take advantage of them, or dismiss their feelings and opinions.  Blame appears to be much more empowering to many; but not really the brave option.
Image result for quotes on blames
        I don't think I need to point out the many different ways we as a society blame each other.  Ill leave that all up to your imagination and personal experiences.  What I do want to point out is this.
       Blaming handicaps us in all areas of life.  It causes a stand still to change and progress both as a society and as individuals.  We have a tendency to become so mired in the negative fall out of blame that we are blind to its consequences.  The people who most often suffer are those closest to us. 
       Over time I have spent more time than I can count working with persons who are stuck in the blame game.  They keep on rolling the dice and coming up with critical failures.  They don't understand why they keep on feeling so crappy.  They've identified what they think is the source of the blame yet they keep on getting 1 on the dice.  Maybe some more wrist action would help?  Maybe a new set of dice?  A set with better Juju.
     If it is our goal in life to spread joy, love, compassion then blaming goes against that basic human nature.  Blame supports being a victim, not being brave.  It keeps us from taking the kind, loving, compassionate path.  It wont matter what dice you use or how you role them.  I know I know I just wrote that I feel that blame is part of human nature.  This is where it gets interesting.
      In every spirituality, including science, there is always a reference made to duality, heaven and hell, yin and yang, atoms, protons, neutrons, and electrons.  A path with a fork in the road...supposedly.   I don't believe in the fork, I just believe in the path.  There is good and evil in everything making it work, or not work, the trick is realizing this so that we can become balanced.  Traveling the path while gaining wisdom and experience from the good and bad.
      Becoming balanced takes work.  In Dungeons and Dragons some of the hardest role playing scenario's are those that take place on planes that rely and function on balance.  The game player can be neither good or evil, they must find the middle ground to finish the quest.  How ever in order to have balance you must have good and bad.  Does this mean the whole party, each individual in it, becomes balanced?  Or does it mean that you rely on the good and bad inherently in each person and have confidence that in the end everyone will do their job to ensure a success in the end?  So here's how it works. 
     Shit is happening and you feel like what is happening.  Instinct tells us to blame, and who we usually blame is the one closest to us.  That reaction, not response, is a red flag that we need to stop, think and even feel.  Trust what we feel. 
     Why are we angry?  Is it really the other persons fault?  Or are we angry at ourselves?Did we take an active role in what was going on?  Did we some how fail to communicate our true feelings over the situation and just went along for the ride?  Did some one not validate how we felt and was that some one who you went on the ride with?   Was there enough praise given to everyone involved?
     I always think of my hubby when faced with blame for a few reasons.  I will do this by telling a story about D&D.  Years ago we played in an adult D&D game with some friends.  It was a fun cheap way to spend regular time with each other and other people who's company we still enjoy to this day.  My husband is not a gamer he did this for me.   How ever my hubby is a very good role player and a very mischievous one.  He's one of those people who, while everyone else is going this way he is going that way.  Games really do mirror reality sometimes. 
      So we are in this town, cant remember why.  What I do remember is while we were going this way, he went that a way and next thing we know he is being chased by a horde of angry Orc's that far out numbered us.  A lesson imagined by our Dungeon Master to teach hubby a lesson.  It didn't work.  He found the whole thing hilarious.  Still has pride and a big shit eating grin on his face when ever some one talks about it. 
       Cant remember what the out come was but I can tell you that he was probably to blame for something bad because almost 20 years later the whole party blames him...for something.  That's the thing about blame, you hold on to it long enough with out addressing it properly and eventually you can't remember why you blamed who ever for what ever anymore.  Unlike the D&D story how ever its not so funny in real life.
Image result for horde of orcs running down a street
     Eventually we become so comfortable with the anger associated with the blame that it just becomes second nature.  Then it becomes hard to let it go because, well it must have been important right?  Why else would we feel so strongly about it?  So we look for other things to blame, some one else to point the finger at, just so we can hold onto that feeling that has become so important to us.
      If we let go of the blame and anger what would take up that portion of our lives?  What would fuel us on everyday?  Make us feel what we assume is passion and motivation?  Or worse what, and who, would we blame for our lack of passion and motivation?
      At some point you just have to stop and say, "OK, next time we play D&D if you run down that ally we are not going to save your ass, you will be alone in your decision."  And then just let them think about that for awhile. 
      Just like in D&D in real life we are all suppose to work as a team.  Towards the same goal.  This takes compromise, a lot of compromise, constant get the idea.  If you feel over compromised to the point where you feel you need to blame some one then you need to fine tune your skills of communication.
      So once again, stop, take some time to feel and think, ask yourelf why you feel that way.  Journal what you are feeling, come back to it, re read it, does it sound like you?  Does it sound like who you want to be?  Talk to some one you trust.  Some one who you know will give you a straight answer no matter what and still love and respect you, and you them.
      Another reason I always think of hubby is because of something he said to me once when we were "compromising."  He implied that he was not responsible for how I feel.  I looked at him with a "pardon fucking me" look but there is some truth to what he said.
While we are ultimately responsible for our own feelings it is near to impossible to let some one we love struggle alone.  Hence the reason for the great Orc rescue.  It is with in everyone's right to say, after wards, that we need to do that differently next time because I am not happy with the out come. 
     The Pith of the Matter.  We very often do things for the ones we love with very good intentions.  We try to be unselfish, loving, and compassionate.  These extraordinary deeds should be praised.   It does no one on either side any good if we don't speak the truth of how we feel about the whole situation before, during and after.  While speaking our feelings this should be done with a tone of respect and love. 
      In my 34 years with my hubby I can tell you there has been plenty of blaming on both sides from time to time.  But looking back I can tell you a couple of things.  We wasted a lot of time on blaming that could have been better spent.  Ultimately we both played a part in the out come of every situation so the blame never rested on just one of us.  We were both very unhappy while playing the blame game and so was everyone around us.  When we finally let go of the blame we were happy to find happiness.  In the end, we are wiser for all of it.  Now I look back on that horde of Orc's and praise hubby for a fun filled adventure.  We rolled the dice in the game of blame and in the end rolled a critical success.  Not a fun game to have played while playing it, but looking back now I smile.
Emaho Namaste Peace out

Image result for d20 dice

Shannon L. Alder
“People that hold onto hate for so long do so because they want to avoid dealing with their pain. They falsely believe if they forgive they are letting their enemy believe they are a doormat. What they don’t understand is hatred can’t be isolated or turned off. It manifests in their health, choices and belief systems. Their values and religious beliefs make adjustments to justify their negative emotions. Not unlike malware infesting a hard drive, their spirit slowly becomes corrupted and they make choices that don’t make logical sense to others. Hatred left unaddressed will crash a person’s spirit. The only thing he or she can do is to reboot, by fixing him or herself, not others. This might require installing a firewall of boundaries or parental controls on their emotions. Regardless of the approach, we are all connected on this "network of life" and each of us is responsible for cleaning up our spiritual registry.”
Shannon L. Alder
Steve Goodier
“An important decision I made was to resist playing the Blame Game. The day I realized that I am in charge of how I will approach problems in my life, that things will turn out better or worse because of me and nobody else, that was the day I knew I would be a happier and healthier person. And that was the day I knew I could truly build a life that matters.”
Steve Goodier