Category Archives: Life

WHAT IF THE SOURCE OF ….

WHAT IF THE SOURCE OF WESTERN problems all stemmed from one evil? Societal restlessness, increased suicides and attempts, especially among the young, increased violent crimes, an increasingly hopelessness infused into each moment.

I wonder if we have let ourselves be duped, not unlike those of times long past who fell victim to purveyors of handy dandy things to make your life better, happier, bring you joy, ease.

You see I wonder if all our problems exist because of a collision of expectation and reality. Just like the anorexic young girl who cannot resolve her body image with that of skinny air brushed models we have been sold a load of nonsense about happiness.

That’s right. What if our expectation of happiness is not real, but an idea invented by small time scammers who made delusion a big time business.

Just like the simple country folk in the frontier days, shelling out hard earned dollars or cents (cents were so much more valuable then) to a shyster convincing them that the purchase of a bottle of mysterious happy juice would make your life, heart, or soul better, we began, decades ago buying up and into nonsense that life was all about being happy.

By the way the purveyors of this nonsense, who kept saying, look at me, how happy I am, You can be happy just like me, were indeed happy as society shelled out billions of dollars in books, on courses, in classes, advertising. At least they appeared that way externally, though I suspect their inner souls were just as bleak as any.

In the sixties the cry was, I am trying to find myself. Who am I?

Then along came the big roll out. Meditation, examination, imagination, any ATION, and all you had to do were pay. Happiness became a product. Buy this, be happy. Happiness in a bottle, a pill, a house, a car, a dress,……Or the most dangerous, Buy This Book, Idea Psychobabble told us imagine, visualize, believe, and it will manifest. The use of the word Manifest in itself should be a crime. And for those who tried to MANIFEST and did not succeed? Well they just did not do it right. We were, and continue to this day, we are being sold a Bill of Goods. It only fills the pockets of the sellers who are scamming you me and future generations. Sure they are happy, laughing at our gullibility all the way to the bank.

Then we came to believe that we had to convince our children they are happy or rather they should be happy. That life is all about being happy. They are not allowed to fail, to feel the pain of loss and know that it is okay, a part of life that makes us stronger. And they buy our Bill of Goods and become confused, depressed, and fearful when they cannot quite grasp this feeling they should have. What is wrong with me, they say. I must be deficient.

The pursuit of the illusive HAPPINESS has gone off to a realm of ridiculousness and people, especially our young are falling apart.

What if it all could be fixed?

What if we made a society (and we can by the way) where key words became, DIGNITY, HARD WORK, DETERMINATION, PERSERVERENCE, KINDNESS, NON-JUDGEMENT, VALUE PERSISTENCE.

What if we retaught ourselves that it is okay to fail, that there is a dignity in failing and falling? That failing does not mean unworthy? What if there was honor in the struggle?

What if we let our children know that it is okay not to feel happy in any given moment?

What if the new word became Satisfaction? Not in the result but in the attempt to live a good hard working honorable life. (with heavy emphasis on the hard working) and at the end of each day to feel a satisfaction?

Life is messy, and hard, and at time so sad and lonely, and painful but there is a worth to life, a Satisfaction that must be earned.

Let’s take a huge load of our children’s minds. It’s okay to be sad, mad, even glad. Let them know LIFE IS HARD, but can be rewarding instead of setting up an illusion called Happiness. And rewards must be earned.

What if Happiness exists as a by-product of this thing called LIFE?

World Access in Isolation

World Access in Isolation

depositphotos_2823384-Access-denied

I should start by saying this is not a complaint. Merely an observation.

It seems almost paradoxical. The way of things today I mean. Everywhere you look people are focused only on the device in their hands. Out on the streets heads are bent as fingers fly across small keyboards. Are they even called keyboards anymore? No one makes eye contact anymore. Okay there are some.

I used to comment it was only the young people ( meaning anyone younger than I), but I notice on the streets, in stores, in cars (a no no) eyes are cast down and some of them belong to pretty old people. If you speak or otherwise engage and the head comes up, the eyes seem out of focus if they meet yours at all.

What I find strange is that at the very same time we have personal access to people across the world. Which in my mind makes this little planet that much smaller. Each week I come face to face in real time with my cousin in Scotland, my BFF in Winnipeg or Mexico or the west coast or the east coast or points between, wherever this Gypsy Road Warrior chooses to be, and then halfway around the world to my friend freshly recovered from an accident and still brave and back as good as new Judith Baxter whom you know as growingyoungereachday.wordpress.com who lives in New Zealand.

I am pretty sure the outcome of this will be a world of folk unable to engage in proximal reality, physically close together. Even with skyping or messaging our reality becomes that face on the screen. Social skills lost.

How will next generations be able to interact? Will they be able to tolerate another human in close proximity? Will they be aware of trees, skies, breezes, natural beauty at all?

Will they lose their humanness? I read a prediction from a very science type on Quora that ultimately that is exactly what will happen. I am also sure that if someone from the nineteenth century were to glimpse our world as it has become they might also deduce we had lost our humanness already.

Times they are changing, as the saying goes.

Having said all that, I am most grateful that those I love around the world are as close as ‘this’ and we can look in each other’s eyes and raise a glass of red wine as we chat about any old mundane thing that crosses our minds.

Permanent Press in the Dryer of Life

Are you in control of your life? Really can any of us be in control ever or is it an illusion? That we have control of anything I mean.

Everyday things come up and we deal. Sometimes events occur that are so huge all we can do is hang on and sometimes we are not even aware of hanging on. We just are. I am not sure how we survive sometimes, but survive we do.

Faith helps but it doesn’t necessarily spare us the pain. It does give us strength. I guess sometimes the pain is the only thing that lets us know we still exist.

I have been tumbling about my own dryer of life and it seems to be settling for a bit at least, but the pain I speak about is of loss. I have a friend who lives on the other side of the world whose loss has been extreme and while my pain is not hers, it hurts to think of her hurting and struggling.

I feel like she and I are surviving the tumble but not yet able to see what the future will bring. Neither of us has control but we are blessed by love and people who care about us.

I have another friend half way across the country who came within a hair’s breadth of the most terrible loss, that of a son. Fortunately that situation worked out okay but there were hours that seemed like days or years when it seemed the worst would occur.

We have no control except over our selves. We are being buffeted by the winds of change – now how cliché is that – and some have no idea what the next step will be. We can only wait. Breathe. And wait some more.

It seems to me that love is the answer. To love and to be loved is permanent press in the fabric of life.  Okay that last bit was a little in the extreme but you get the idea.

On Waking Early Ridiculously Clear of Mind

‘It seems to be an age thing, this waking up at 1:45 am, all rested and bright and mercifully doesn’t happen every day – yet.  However there seems to be a certain creativity in the hour or is it merely misguided perception, or I guess really, misperceived perception?

Laying very still listening to thoughts on free range you might say before the presence of the day cages and labels them .. these were this morning’s treasures….

Thoughts-

What do Judge Judy and Liam Neeson do for us? (Honest honest this was the first thought.)

What if your world changed in a blink?

Are you capable of looking after yourself?

What am I not seeing in this moment?  And why does it take decades to be able to look back and wonder why we could not see what is so obvious now?

‘Decisions we make today

The things we do or do not

Temptation to evil is less glitzy, glamor and noise

Heralding its arrival and intent –

And more the quiet seductive luring and alluring procuring

It is not the roar of cannon fire warning of danger danger danger

Giving time to suit up, armor up, prepare

But the barely heard snake like slither sliding, guiding and twisting into our minds and hearts

Mindlessly following, allowing, plowing past caution.

The nonsense of consequence easily dismissed ,

Until we see the collalteral damage of broken hearts, broken children, broken homes, broken futures.

Broken us.

Now where did that come from? Guess I should go tackle that Judy/Liam thing now cause I think my mind has reached the deepest it is going to go for the day.

Why do you read Fiction?

What do you think about when you pick up a story?  I hesitate to say ‘pick up a book’ because stories are accessed in many ways today.  The most obvious answer is entertainment, a peek at, and an opportunity to enter someone else’s world for a while. To become a part of another experience and by the time the last page is perused a sigh perhaps of satisfaction, or frustration, or contemplation.

Most of us have favorite authors we depend on, knowing what we will get, not necessarily in the events contained within, but a guarantee of familiarity.  What I like to think of as the Comfort Food of literature.  Some of you follow the top sellers keeping abreast of what’s in, providing opportunity for new experiences and thoughts.  I make it a point during my weekly library trips to include new authors, at least to me, and when a book is recommended by a friend, I read it.  I am not much for romantic themed or erotic stories and therefore have never read Fifty Shades of anything, the series that brought shades of education and blushes to the cheeks of females who otherwise may never have admitted publicly taking delight in sexual adventures.  When pressed by many acquaintances to at least give a read, my response has consistently been that I do erotica, I don’t read it. Ha Ha.  Whether that is true or not is not for discussion, but it was a glib enough response to satisfy and take the encouragers off on another path.

My Comfort Food Fiction list is fairly extensive and is the source for rereads as well as waiting in anticipation for the next volumes to appear.  Included are Koontz, Crichton, King, Cussler, Meyers, Rowling, Buck, and Dickens.  Of course those that have passed on can only stand as rereads and that is fine.

Comfort is hard to come by with a few authors and yet I embrace them heart and soul.  Reality in fiction can be sad, even depressing but the struggle, or rather surviving the struggle is a story worthy of notice.  I wonder in this western culture of pursuing happiness, if we have done ourselves a disservice and weakened our ability to survive by believing that happiness is indeed the gold ring of achievement and not survival itself.

Reynolds Price wrote a book published in 1998 called Roxana Slade which was referred to me by a friend.  It almost seems that this man merely channeled the voice of Roxana who at ninety odd years relates her life tale and takes you, the reader on a journey of struggle, loss, and survival.  His (the author) is so skilled that you quickly embrace Roxana and fold her being into your existence.  Whenever I put the book down for a bit, the characters and situations stayed with me, and I found myself thinking about them throughout the day until I could again curl up and turn another page.  Now that is amazing writing.

I have another favorite author that I simply cannot allot to my Comfort Food Fiction list, and that is Patricia Cornwell.  Her Scarpetta Series and characters are as familiar to me as my own family, but I seldom feel a sense of comfort.  The most recent read is ‘dust’.

Cornwell is a must for me even though I know there will be questions, anxiety, and frustration from time to time.  All of her characters are flawed and not in the cute little way popular fictional hero characters are flawed but overcome, but in a haunting kind of way that strikes me at times as too real.

As a Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta always has a mystery to solve but the story is more about the struggles and survival of our characters, the things they battle internally to still carry and on and succeed.  People get unjustly fired, are not well liked, have struggles with what they wish life was like and is not.  Justice does not always prevail.  Solving the mystery, catching the bad guy is often anticlimactic to the process, the living, the surviving.

Frankly, for me, experiencing the discomfort of some of these stories, the reality and the survival helps me keep my own reality in perspective.  There are sad, bad, unjust, horrible things in life. But there is much more to be valued.

Have you found the same thing?  What do you get out of Fiction?  Why do you read Fiction?

Ironing Out the Wrinkles of Life In a Wash and Wear World

മലയാളം: Charcoal Iron Box for ironing the clothes
മലയാളം: Charcoal Iron Box for ironing the clothes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ironing Out the Wrinkles of Life In a Wash and Wear World

I did something today I have not done for years.  I ironed.  Most people I know stopped ironing clothes when wash and wear made our lives easier, although I am not sure where the easier comes in as we have a tendency to fill the time with some other activity and the general pace of life itself has been accelerated so that it occurs to me that ironing in some way might just slow it down.

Now there are still lots of daily and weekly ironers out there.  In fact my cousin in Scotland and her peeps do it all the time.  My SIL here in Canada still irons.

I had the ironing board out to finish off a project when it occurred to me that I might just press a few articles of clothing likes blouses, sport tops etc just for the heck of it, and I found myself seized by the need to organize drawers and closets.  This is a common urge when large projects are completed.  Why? I don’t know.  Common sense tells me a better celebratory activity might be taking a cruise, or vacation, or even just out for a lovely dinner.  Maybe it is reactionary to spending time focused on one thing and neglecting a hundred other things.  For instance, IF I had put the board and iron away when I finished with it, the thought to do anything else probably would not have drifted through my grey matter.

Anyway, there stood board and iron.  Emptying drawers and a pile of fresh laundry from yesterday – because I did not put it away then – beckoned me on.

As I was pressing lace and designs I realized that by accepting wash and wear I was missing intricate beauty brought by a little heat and pressure and at that moment when I removed the iron did I see the fine stitching, the ivory sheen.

My mind started to wander a bit as I considered how much of our own lives do we just wash and wear?  A large part of the world I see figures that all they have to do is ‘put it out there’, believe and it will be, without realizing that it takes some heat and pressure and persistence to make it so.  Didn’t someone say that luck is 90% hard work?  Or something like that.  The idea being that verbalizing and thinking something is just the first step.  Then come the actions, the work; the energy to make it happen.

A positive frame of mind and spirit is invaluable but unless we use it to iron out the wrinkles in our lives we are forever stuck in a wash and wear existence.  And really, is the fabric of our existence not the quality material we want to show and display?

Rhythm

Rhythm, a sequence in time repeated, featured ...
Rhythm, a sequence in time repeated, featured in dance: an early moving picture demonstrates the waltz. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rhythm

Ya Gotta Have Rhythm

I’ve been caught up in a few projects lately, setting goals which look good on paper or screen, and wondering why I am not getting all the things done I want to or need to accomplish.  It seems that with the arrival of the vernal equinox there came a need to reflect, to assess, to plan.  At the same time it seems the chain on my wheel of life slipped off the universal cog, and while I continue to function I am out of step.

I have come to the conclusion that reflection, for me at least, is not best in the long run.  At least not when said reflection takes up the entire day. Day. After. Day.  I pondered days of yore when I was organized, and enjoyed the thoughts so much that I returned to them again and again.  Aren’t memories wonderful?  One can be so selective in choosing them.

Then when I noticed I seemed to be out of sync I spent a great deal of time thinking about that.  Wondrous thoughts like ‘I’m dancing as fast as I can’ came to mind, but really I wasn’t dancing, I was stumbling.

Now how can something like that happen to someone like me?  Fleet of foot, well balanced, witty me?

It finally occurred to me that I was missing Rhythm.  The Rhythm of getting up and getting started getting done.  Of course then I had to ponder what Rhythm does for us.  Aside from musical Rhythm which is obvious in its expression I considered the successful people I knew.  What did they do differently?  Was there a secret to their success?  And the answer?  Rhythm.

There are all kinds of Rhythm; some may remember the old fashioned birth control method, which didn’t work as often as it did work, then there is the toe tapping finger snapping feeling good kind, and then there is the very intrinsic, silent to the world but loud to the soul type.

This Rhythm gives us momentum as we dance across the floor of life.  This Rhythm is life.  It is energy.

I am not sure why I lost my Rhythm.  Does it mean I am not doing something I should be doing?  Is it Writer’s Block?  Or is it Life’s Block?  It is more than the inability to write anything worthwhile.  I feel like it is a shadow I am chasing, just catching it in the corner of my eye and then disappearing.

I am not depressed or sad.  I am my own enigma.  A puzzle.  The feeling is intriguing, and certainly entertaining.

I expect it will depart soon.  One can only be entertained by such things for a while.  I also expect that the secret to finding that particular kind of Rhythm is just in the doing.

Have you ever felt the same way?

Odds and Sods – Late Night Early Morning Musings

Physical bullying at school, as depicted in th...
Physical bullying at school, as depicted in the film Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s 3:30 am and here I sit wide awake.  Yesterday the boys and I headed off to Kitchener to meet my SIL and her 3 grandchildren at one of the city’s museums.  There was a special area set up for Circus themes and activities which included high wire walking for the children.  We waited.  In line.  For almost 2 hours.  Each child after being strapped from stem to stern with safety wires and harnesses had the opportunity to walk the high wire and we quickly figured that the wait would be about 5 minutes per child in line.  That meant of course that 12 children equaled a 60 minute wait and the adventures therein were many but that will have to wait for another post.

The point is that by the time I got home I was exhausted, stiff, and sore.  The day was tons of fun so it was worth it, but I knew when I got home I would want to sleep so I kept moving, puttering about here and there and finally gave in to a couple of glasses of fermented grapes and a little TV.  I finally surrendered to the sandman way too early, but oh my, it did feel good to slip between those sheets and head off to the land of nod, just to wake bright and early – well the bright part is me as it is still dark outside my window- thinking great thoughts, and pondering all things ponderable.

I noticed more brave little stories on FB about bullying and an article about Charlie Sheen on yet another rant, this time about his daughter being bullied, and this got me to thinking about this way too sensitive subject.  And from that pondering came questions.

Where will the heroes of tomorrow find their brave?  So many outstanding people suffered some form on bullying or rejection (which seems to somehow have become equalized to bullying) and in doing so became braver, became stronger. They became our leaders, our artists, our models for success.

Strength, I have heard, comes from Adversity.  Are we removing or trying to remove all adversity for the younger generations?  And in doing so are we making their future more difficult?

Are we over defining bullying?  When does a taunt between children playing become bullying?  The lines have become blurred.  I can clearly see brutality, which I think is a more accurate word than bullying, which ends in child suicides and torturous lives, and should have far more severe consequences than it seems to.  But where do we draw the line?  How will anyone learn to ‘suck it up’ and carry on?

When I was a child there were lessons to be learned; Life is not fair, some people are jerks who will be hurtful and the challenge was not in negating hurt but recognizing it and becoming stronger because of it.

I fear that because of the extreme cases of brutality we are going too far in teaching our children to cry ‘poor me’ in less severe situations, instead of teaching them to stand up, be strong and understand the reality of the world.  The reality is that in spite of our great hue and cry against brutality (bullying) there still continues to be bullies and there still will continue to be bullies in the future.

George Carlin and Dean Koontz have both expressed, one on stage and one in fiction, that when we over protect our children we are doing them a disservice.  They cannot become immunized against adversity because we do not allow them to experience adversity.  Is that what we are doing in this situation?

You see, I applaud anti-bullying programs.  We have more situations when groups of people, particularly students are standing up as a group against bullying. That is a good thing.  There are all kinds of education on recognizing when bullying takes place, stopping the act of bullying, and denouncing it publically, but I have yet to see a program that teaches us the reality of the how and the why of it and coping.  It just seems that we are so busy with the ‘buzz word’ of it all, that we are failing to carry through with the successful coping of it all.

 

Boy you check out of life for a bit and…

It’s been a few weeks since I have been able to look outside myself for any period of time due to health issues.  Nothing with deadly consequences mind you, but enough to make me wonder if it was time to get ready to pay the piper.  As horrible as it sounds it was a cold.  Just a cold.  Except it wouldn’t go away.  Dec 18, 2012 I finally went to the doctor rather embarrassed to walk in and say, “I have a cold.”

Doc says, “I hear chest sounds lower right quadrant (he knows I am a nurse) so let’s do an x-ray and depending on results I may have to order medication.”  I was impressed that in this day of madly writing prescription physicians who are overburdened by our health system and who just need to push on to the next patient, this man sat back and said what he did.  I thought this quality kind of health care was long gone.  AND he was a younger doctor!

Long story short I get a call I have right lower lobe pneumonia (something I have never had before) and can pick up a prescription at my pharmacy.  The ten day supply seemed to go on forever but by the end I was all ‘Yeahhhh I am healed’.

That is until two days later when I awoke coughing and sneezing.  I couldn’t, wouldn’t, believe I had a cold so spent another two weeks convincing myself it was a figment of my imagination before relenting and heading back to the clinic.  This time definitely bronchitis, also something I have never experienced.  More antibiotics.  Ten more days.  Yesterday I returned to the clinic on my last day of this round of meds.   Chest clear but my cough sounds, as someone said, like it comes from the soles of my feet.  Follow up x-ray to ensure all is clear and puffers to take for a few days.  Good grief.  These were meds I gave out for years to patients, mostly the elderly.  Was it possible I was now ‘elderly’?  Yikes!

But none of this is the point of my post.  Now that I am securely back in the land of the living, and I am not sure if that is something that is ever ‘secure’ I started looking around at the world around me.  What is going on?

http://weather.aol.com/2013/02/11/photo-lightning-strikes-the-vatican/
http://weather.aol.com/2013/02/11/photo-lightning-strikes-the-vatican/

The Pope resigns – unusual since it is the first time it has happened in 600 years, but later that night lightening is photographed striking the Vatican not once but twice.  To paraphrase one comedian who said, “It looks like his Boss is not happy with his resignation.”

Asteroid2012 DA14 – buzzed earth then continued its cosmic cruise.  It came a little too close for comfort I think at 27,600 km away.  I consider our moon pretty close at 239,000 odd miles so this asteroid flew closer than some of our satellites.  This guy weighed 143,000 tons. How do they know that?  Are there interstellar weigh stations these objects but stop at, much like truckers on our highways?  That baby may be much smaller than the one that supposedly ended life for the dinosaurs but it could still have done considerable damage wiping out about 2,000 square km *Associated Press.  But while everyone was watching this spectacular show the cosmos had a bigger surprise for us.

Photobucket meteor
Photobucket meteor

Meteor Explodes – While all eyes were turned to our expected cosmic company a meteor speculated to be about the size of a bus but weighing 7,000 tons blazes across the Siberian sky exploding before hitting our little blue marble, but the resounding explosion which equals about 20 Hiroshima bombs caused incredible damage to buildings and people.  Had it not exploded prior to actually hitting the earth, the press (and we all know we can trust what they say) said that the result would have been similar to the destruction shown in some fiction movies.  I don’t doubt it.  We never knew this meteor was coming, and the only reason we had any warning on the asteroid is that it was discovered not too long ago by a dentist whose hobby is looking ‘out there’.

I am surprised that all the folk who forecast the end of life December 21, 2012 have not come forward saying, “This is the beginning of the end.”  Of course there is always someone out there making forecasts, and while some may not believe, you just never know.

There is nothing mankind can do to change the way the universe functions.  We don’t control space.  Heck, half the time we can’t control our own immediate inner space.  I figure that the best we can do is to live well remembering the Golden Rule, accept the miracle of our existence, whether Science or Creation based, and get on with it.

Except of course for those days when micro bugs take over and force us to have a ‘Benylin Day’ or two, or three.

Daily Prompt: In Loving Memory and The Last Word

An oil lamp, the symbol of nursing in many cou...
An oil lamp, the symbol of nursing in many countries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (video game)
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (video game) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

‘Write Your Obituary

 

Christine loved words.  And her favorite were the last words.

She lived her life well enough to bring special meaning to the word, ‘Regrets, I’ve had a few”

But they certainly were too few to mention.

She never quite took life seriously enough feeling it was all so transient

And most of tragedy had a good maniacal comedy about it.

Life itself was not a joke to Chris, it was the seriousness that people persist in believing it to be that was funny.

Christine wanted to impart some good to the world so she became a nurse and thought, ‘Yes this is doing good.’

Then she became a teacher of nurses and thought, ‘If I can fill one person with the passion for nursing that I have then that is good.’

Then she became a manager and director thinking she could make the most impact there.

She sat in Queen’s Park on the Emergency Health Services Committee and though, ‘Yes here I can make a difference.’

By the time she retired Christine wondered if in fact she had made even a ripple in the great ocean of health care and then

It occurred to her that she had – not to the great cumbersome machine itself but to individuals which may seem small but in the larger picture is not.

Christine raised two sons who were her pride.  She loved each fiercely and respected them and their families in all the choices of their lives.

She had two great great loves in her life – her grandsons and the opportunity to be in the moment with them every day meant more to her than all the riches on earth.

She thought herself a poet and writer but the best stories stayed deep within.

She wanted her death – well her passing since death itself does not exist – to be a time of great joy and hilarity.

No tears – do not let the best part of her earthly being, the joy, insane laughter and stories be lost to sadness.

Get out and party and laugh.

Talk about the time she and B got lost in the golf club parking lot and could not find their way out.

Talk about the time she and J CSI’d the vacuum cleaner bag.

Talk about the time…the time…

Christine would want you to know that you should be smiling and laughing this very moment

And all of the ‘times’ she remembered are on CD for your viewing pleasure because after

All – She did want the last word!!