Saturday, December 18, 2010
I have to ask, “Am I really applying myself?” I mean reeeeeally applying myself.
I was resourceful though. I also valued the resource of good friends, common sense, a handful of manners, and respect for elders. I was able to get by. Some called it the”path of least resistance”; I considered it wiser to stay out of the woods and use a trail previously ventured. At least I knew where it was leading. There was comfort in that. Although many dreams for me were not going to be found on the paths carved by others, I chose the security of doing what was expected of me, what was familiar, what was pleasing.
Asking for what I wanted was often frowned upon as I may or may not have always been “traditional.” Yes I know the “squeaky wheel may get the grease”, but the squeaky may get taken to garage and replaced.
I want to find solace in the application of my efforts–in a personal avenue I find inspiring, and compelling –worthy of praise. Worthy of admiration. Worthy of notice. Worthy of forgiveness.
I no longer want to feel that I am going through life passing with a D.
I want to feel okay with the fact that I am terrified at times. I want to revel in the fact that I broke free of the “me too” mold. I want to be judged by how far I bounced, rather than how far I fell. I want to be proud that my lack of need to be praised is worthy of it. I want to be a role model by trying not to be one.
With that I think we must endure grating pain. We must hurt others at times, yet have the stones to look them in the face and say “I am sorry”–the distance between the realizations that we have hurt them, to the point where we get to make it right is a cutting wound in itself.
I think a passing grade is feeling we did not only do “enough”, but more than enough–till it hurt sometimes. The trek from a passing “D” to closer to the summit of an “A” is defined by our contributions, and the examples we leave behind in our quest for ourselves. I realize I would rather be a loser because of how much I gave than a winner because of how much I took. Our grades are not always based on the academic.
As I have said before: “In life, not every classroom has a desk, nor every church a steeple.”
Thursday, December 9, 2010
I do make plans. It is like packing a backpack with all the clothing and items you expect you “may” need–food and water, a compass, tent, and extra clothes. I plan on using some of these things, however that could change. I am okay with that. However if something does crop up unexpectedly along my journey, I hope God puts a Cracker Barrel nearby so I can get breakfast, some candy sticks, and sit in a rocking chair.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I find this fluctuation amusing. I have to keep a little notebook to be able to keep up with who is in the group’s favor at any given moment. I feel for the person who, because of a simple opinion or utterance, can fall from grace like the stock market on a downward plunge. Being not included, feeling alone, and ostracized simply for maintaining personal integrity or choosing to express oneself is a deep and profound censorship. Yes, we like to be surrounded with those of like mind, but where is the spice? It falls between controversy and complement, we must find a balance.
I have realized, “We do not have to like anybody, but we should make a strong attempt to love everybody.” (I will let that marinate for a moment.)
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I thought to myself, “Who couldn’t enjoy holidays?” I also thought, “Aren’t most holidays started, stimulated, created, or supported by some governing body?” Maybe.
I do understand the stress that they can cause. There are those without family to surround themselves with. There are those without finances to provide the festive atmosphere we associate with the chosen celebration.
Perhaps cultural diversity and differences can cause one to feel separate or left out. I know of others who have lost loved ones around the time and the thought of being happy when they are missing their beloved is difficult at best.
I empathize with my friend as I know in the past; I too have expressed my disgust at “Hallmark Holidays.” You know the ones that seem to crop up simply to stimulate the necessity for a card or purchased gesture or gift? “Happy 2nd cousins’ twice removed on your sisters’ side day!”
I then thought further...
I really do not care now what the government has to do with the instigation of anything I celebrate when it involves surrounding myself with my loved ones. However, I humbly recognize and acknowledge major components of the celebration itself like: the birth of a savior, a major religious happening, freedom achieved, war ceased, enlightenment or recognition, or an end to persecution. I guess I simply like being surrounded by my friends and family for no particular reason, and to have the government close a few businesses to allow a few friends to make it to the table, I guess I am thankful for that.
I guess I simply wish we could retain these principles on the other hundreds of days in the year!
“Happy August 17th! Here is a card!”
“Thanks man! Crap, I didn’t get you anything.”
“You don’t need to.”
I do love the holidays. Yes my lights are up and I do intend to enjoy the fellowship of my loved ones at a table exquisitely prepared by the lovely ladies in my life. I am blessed!
In aligning with my friends’ sentiment that I do not like or need any government to dictate what I do when, and what I celebrate, and show thankfulness for, I get that. I am however, glad that some in and out of my family get a little respite from their normal routine. Sometimes it takes that to slow us down to wave what we should be thankful for in front of us if only for a day.
(*My statement of “widely celebrated holidays” does indeed recognize Hanukkah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, etc, and many other holidays celebrated by all cultures. I simply got tired of re-editing the stupid title to make a point. The exclusions were neither intentional nor insensitive, and please feel free to add delete or disregard the title or this post entirely. Happy Hanukkah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, and any other holiday (or none) you enjoy!)
Related Posts: It's beginning to look alot like Christmas by Ladaisi
Friday, November 12, 2010
In the past couple of months, as many do in my situation, I have cursed, reflected, researched, regrouped, cursed some more, and re-embarked on my next path to not only seek financial stability, but I have started to answer the question: “What the hell am I gonna do now?” I have a few ideas. The plans are in the works.
I do find though that attaching an idea of “worthlessness” can accompany one who does not have a “nine-to-five ritual” to participate in. Although fleeting, I do battle with flushing out of my mind the perception of not having “value” or “worth” due to my current unemployed status.
My self-worth has nothing to do with my net-worth!
Okay, I do not currently have a boss, a weekly paycheck, a set schedule, a cubicle, or a commute. However I do have a “job.” (Note–The word “job” used for the purpose of this writing. Read on.)
I pack lunches, make breakfast, check homework if needed, offer encouraging dialogue, attend to the family pet, tidy up, and then accompany my son to school on our bikes because he likes the company. I return home to assess the daily duties, maybe cleaning, always groceries, cooking, personal growth obligations, meal preparation for my wife (who works outside the home) and my kids.
My wife passes on some of her to-do list as I now have the time. She works hard, and I enjoy helping lighten her load.
I have the house tidied, dinner made, stuff done so when my wife gets home at night, she can relax. She likes having a “house husband.” I guess it is nice to be able to have an avenue at redemption for times I may not have been as fun to have around. I like that she notices. I have realized that women value this sort of thing more than I thought. Tip: Men–do even “slightly” more than is expected of you and you will get 200% return on your investment!
I have found that I do have a “job.” My job description involves caring for a family. I lovingly monitor the needs of the inhabitants and the ongoing household maintenance. I provide security and in some cases executive protection. I offer transportation services, entertainment, and life coaching. I am a personal chef. I am a housekeeper, therapist, handy man, fashion consultant, and personal assistant.
I find the key to maintaining a feeling of usefulness is two-fold:
One is always doing my duties with compassion and love and in service of those I care most about, both in house and in the world. I never look at these things as a job, but something I “get” to do. (Yes at times I will still bitch and whine, but that I don’t want my family to get too comfortable with this situation.) If I do not stay busy, I will find the idle time for the negative feelings to infiltrate my space and distract me from the happiness I bestow on others, therefore getting a hearty dose in return.
And second; I realize that sometimes it is the things I will never receive a W-2 from that are the most rewarding accomplishments I can ever achieve. Although I do hope this scenario of employment is temporary, I have had the ability to serve my family in newer and more valuable ways. I have gotten a chance to get to know them in new ways. I also realize a lot of these things I can do around a career. Many of the simple gestures are only a result of me taking the time to focus on needs of people other than myself. (Wow! - *tear*)
So class; today’s lesson will require you to remember only two things: (Please repeat)
“My self-worth has nothing to do with my net-worth.”
“I am never ‘jobless’.”
Related Posts: Wonderfully Chaotic~ Encouragement in Unemployment
Friday, November 5, 2010
I travel time a lot. It can be an addiction really and is actually difficult to overcome the urge. Sometimes it requires a focused effort to not achieve lift-off. Since my ability to travel through time is often against my will, I find it nowadays more of a nuisance than a super-power. I find that I don’t want to go. I like it here.
This morning as I write, I have already sped through time, both forward and backwards. I have leapt from one place and time to the next with reckless abandon. My hair a mess, morning clothes on, and coffee mug in hand, I zipped about unnoticed; visiting the times and places that lie in my wake as well as that were awaiting me in the future. The morning quiet was lost upon me. My peaceful solitude I often crave lost through the busy shuffle of experiences I encounter as I traverse time’s boundaries.
Here is an example of a trip:
(I better make sure the kids have warm clothes, I bet it is going to rain when the kids are out of school.)
(Damn, that means traffic will be backed up. I guess I will have to leave early. Last time I had to drive entirely around the block to get in line for the pickup. That day sucked.)
(I guess the economy wouldn’t matter to me so much if I had only made better decisions in the past. Idiot. Heck, even if I started saving in high school, I still would be hurting. High school was fun. On second thought...What was I thinking with that hair? Eighties fashion was a bit outrageous. So was the music. I miss the music sometimes. Reminds me of good times. I wish there were more good times. )
“I have to get the kids up in a few minutes.”
(I hope they don’t start today, like every day, fighting over the blanket. They fight over everything. They still love each other. I guess I will miss this someday. I will miss them when they are gone. I hope they call and visit. I hope my grandkids are as cool as my kids are. They will be. Hopefully)
“Man, I hate infomercials. I mean, do I really need a Steam Mop?”
I have gotten better at my little impromptu trips. They depart less frequently. They depart with less fear and judgment. They used to swiftly snare me and drop me off back in time in the worst situations I could remember. Sometimes in the worst I could conjure.
They could also take me at light speed to my own personal Armageddon–fear greasing the rails and projection pointing the way.
Be where you are when you are there.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
At times I used to believe prayer made me lazy. I felt if I “whined” enough, or perhaps asked and then did not receive, I could “blame” my circumstances on something or someone and just casually go back to what I was doing, professing that “it just wasn’t in the cards for me” then. The opposite of what I asked for being more of a punishment–penance.
Many times, and I mean many times I fell short of a desired goal. Many times “Santa” did not bring what I wanted for Christmas. Many opportunities fell short of my expectation and many times did I resort to feeling cheated, victimized, hated, forsaken, violated, and bitter. Life became cruel
Oh yes I would receive some things–just not what I asked for! The nerve...
In awakening to the principle of life’s lesson in alchemy, my experiences started to transform.
I see how alchemy is the ability to transform.
It is the ability to shift our perception of a potentially negative situation and position it as one of value. What are we to learn? What are we to gain? To whom are we to share this with? To whom are we to serve?
It is easier for me to see the blessing knowing that I at least have the ingredients for that I wish to create in my hands; I just need to start working out the recipe. Like the fledgling chef preparing a new dish for his loved ones, when the intention behind the application of skill is a gesture of love and providing for the greater good of those I serve, I rarely have my deeds fall upon unappreciative receivers. They can feast even though more skill is needed.
The beauty of alchemy is simply the ability to reframe our perspective. We are able to shift our vision to be able to see the presence of that which we ask we currently have–simply in it’s not yet altered form.
As an alchemist, if I am able to take a less-than-desirable event that has happened to me, and save another from treading down the same path or at least from treading on it as long, I have started the transformation.
If I am able to see the strength, wisdom, fortitude, and courage I have gained in spite of the adversary, I am that much more prepared for future conflict. Forethought in the ability to avoid repeating danger is gold in and of itself.
If I am able to simply get cut to the point where the “scar tissue” is a reminder to avoid the same situation again at all costs, and to help others abstain as well, I have validated the incident.
So when life hands you heavy lumps of dull gray lead matter, worthless in appearance and burdensome to carry the load–remember this:
Alchemy is learning. Alchemy is growing. Alchemy is mysterious and transformative. Alchemy can be the initiative of gratitude, and when shared with others–alchemy is love, and love is golden.
Will you practice this skill?
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
As I reflect, I see many of us always seem to look beyond where we are. We seek that nirvana of our “freedom”–the concept of: “there” is better than “here.”
Is it not paradoxical that if we continually focus on something or someplace beyond our current grasp, that the space between actually becomes our jailor? How can we feel free? We become trapped by our longing...
Someday we will get to someplace at some time to receive something from someone somehow. How many people live life in these shackles?
I wanted freedom from a career and received unemployment. I wanted freedom from relationships and received loneliness. I wanted freedom from pain and received intoxication. I wanted freedom from a schedule and received boredom. I wanted freedom from reality and found it wouldn’t leave. Which is more binding?
I offer you this taken as an excerpt from Viktor Frankl's - Man's Search for Meaning:
"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
I see how restraining my chosen perspective on things has been to me in the past. I see how my internal dialogue leveraged my inability to see the true gold from the pyrite. How often do I now humbly desire for one more chance to be confined within the walls of the spaces I wished to break free from. Sometimes only momentarily...