I’m Glad I Don’t Know Everything…..Anymore

There actually was a time in my life when I thought I knew everything….worth knowing.  Okay that’s not really accurate.   Even then I didn’t have the hubris to believe I knew EVERYTHING.  However, I did believe I knew quite a lot.  Then life started teaching me.  Now I realize how little it is even possible to KNOW.

What I have learned through experience is life is fluid and words are like mercury. We see life as we are…not as it is.   Having made decisions and judgements in several different frames of mind it is fascinating to discover just how much influence there is in perspective and attitude.  So, how is it possible to “know” things, if that is true?

While living life from intellect seemed the only safe and predictable way to go, there was always a flatness to it.  And mistakes were embarassing…to say the least.  Allowing feelings to run the show was a whole different can of worms.  Some days little or nothing got accomplished while other days were action packed from dawn to dusk.  You could call that balance, I guess.  Either way…something seemed to be missing.  Certainty.  I know what I’m doing.  Or, I know what you are doing….

Living without certainty, predictability is not new to me anymore.  It may surprise you, as it did me, I have gotten more comfortable than I ever thought possible.  The surprises are more often pleasant, the shocks are fewer.  It’s not that life is all peaches and cream….more an acceptance of pits in life as a bowl of cherries.

I have a VERY limited understanding of quantuum physics.  Perhaps it is even a misunderstanding. That said, I believe we see the effects more often than we realize.  Should we ever decide to work in unity, the world, as we know it, will no longer exist.

You won’t see me walking around with a sign saying THE END IS NEAR because that’s not what I’m talking about.  I did actually see someone with a sign like that when I was a kid.  Fifty years later, we’re still here. The end I’m perceiving is quite different and nothing like the destructive scenarios Hollywood is so fond of.  And it’s still a long way off….for better and for worse.

What I’m seeing is more people disatisfied with intellect and machines as the be all, end all of human development.  More people are seeking meaning in life outside work, money, religion, politics, etc. More people are seeing how faulty most of the doctrine is.  If we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water…we should be okay.

Having jumped into this rabbit hole I feel compelled to continue.  Bear with me or not as wisdom leads you.

I am in contention with “new age” religion, as I have seen and heard it, because I perceive it as sugar coated wishful thinking.  Perhaps I didn’t give them a fair try, judged them by the little I have experienced and read of it.  Entirely possible, even likely.  I get quickly annoyed when people go on about positive and negative thinking in a superficial way.  It does not gel with my experience. When I hear people announcing far and wide how happy, joyous and free they are my first thought is, liar.  Lately, being in a more compassionate space it’s more like…wishful thinker……or…who exactly are you trying to convince?  Changing attitudes and perceptions requires effort.  Examination and ownership of mine. As they are now. Living with the discomfort while finding the honesty, openness and willingness to change. Knowing all the while that it won’t happen over night.  Oddly, not as grim as it sounds…although. there are moments, days, sometimes weeks or more.  Even at the grimmest times there are rays of light, moments of joy and laughter, grace.

And that is why I don’t believe the end is near…unless we really do have Hollywoods’ cataclysmic destruction.  We have the tecnology for it.   That’s a scary thought I choose not to dwell on.  I accept the reality of it and keep putting one foot in front of the other seeking ….ways to change from inside out and demonstrate that change so others may choose to follow.  Moving on whether others follow or not.  Knowing that because I don’t know everything I could be wrong in my perceptions and beliefs, or,  just in a different place.

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If it’s Trendy, it Certainly doesn’t require my attention!

Harry Callahan, played by Clint Eastwood

Image via Wikipedia

I came to the conclusion, don’t ask me when, that if something is trendy it doesn’t require my interest and especially not my attention.  If it’s trendy far too many minds are giving it interest and attention already.

I do understand that if more people thought like I do, unemployment would likely be much higher.  People magazine would not exist.  How many people do they employ?  How about MTV?  The list could go on.It’s not like I’m totally incognizant or even immune to trends.  Being human and having a need to be part of society I see and hear things and even form opinions. I don’t often feel compelled to share them; most often they are more wait and see anyway.  Wait for the initial excitement to die off and see if anyone even remembers the next day, week, month, etc.  I most especially don’t follow “news” trends.  When they learn to tell only who, what, when and where, I might try listening again.  There are a couple of reasons for this perspective.

  1. they seem insistent on why, which is most times inexplicable, especially where crime is involved.   What makes their best guess any better or worse than mine or yours?  And that’s all it can be without knowing a great deal more than is revealed by the “investigative reports”.
  2. placement matters.  Lead stories sell lots of product.  Selling product is why there is “news” at all.  Wonder if those folks are in the least insulted that more and more people consider them “infotainment”?  As i fail to see either information or entertainment, I don’t miss them.  Never formed the habit of watching, so, don’t miss them even though I don’t see them.
  3. it insults my intelligence when they rehash, well, most everything really. At first i was going to mention debates and presidential speeches; things like that. Then realized they rehash most things.
  4. Can you remember a time they asked a question you wanted answered?  I can’t.
  5. they trivialize or ignore important things, especially if it’s contrary to the thinking of sponsors.  Tell it all or shut up.
  6. I , personally, don’t care what “celebrities” think about any given topic, more often than not.  When we become personal friends, I’ll ask, if I really want to know.
  7. Since I wouldn’t choose to have my tragedies, screw ups and personal business scattered to the four winds, I certainly don’t like being bombarded with sound bytes and photos when it’s done to other human beings, celebrity or average citizen.   I’d suggest turning the cameras around except that would be cruel also.

Sorry, went on a little tear.  Is it any wonder there is so much stress in the world?  It is my personal belief that all the wrong people are being stressed.  I’d really like to see bright lights trained and doors unlocked on many of the dark places where decisions are reached.  All those places protected, shielded by moneyed sponsors.  The places where some ONE  decides you and I shouldn’t be bothered with information we wouldn’t understand.  It might confuse us!!!!  What’s to be confused about?  If we knew what you were doing, action would be taken to delay or stop what you are doing!

I will say right here, in case you haven’t already guessed, these are my opinions, thoughts, ideas.  They are only being expressed here and now because I found a safe venue to express them, as completely as possible, that no one has to hear, or read or watch.  If you like them and agree, good.  If you don’t like them and disagree, good.  If it gets you to thinking and verbalizing without causing harm, even better.  We need more people thinking, weighing and evaluating.  Most particularly about things we are effected/affected by that don’t ever get presented on the “news”.

Here’s the thing; for many years I said and even believed, “I don’t care”.   Ignored the anger, resentment, frustration in my tone of voice.  Imagine my surprise at learning how much I actually do care.  And learning that powerlessness is not the same thing as hopeless.  It’s a whole new way of looking at things and I’m curious to see where it leads.

Denial doesn’t actually make things go away, it just removes things from our active focus and attention.  It might be what is necessary, for awhile.  And if you’re not diverted by the infotainment, chaos and disarray of modern media, it’s entirely likely you are depressed to some degree.  Maybe not.

There’s a thought running through my mind and I can’t quite catch it.  I think it has something to do with change of attitude and perspective, sorry, no bells ringing yet.  Something about denial involved and I still can’t pin it down.

Ah, yes, All or nothing thinking!!!  If you had confronted me on just that topic, even a couple of weeks ago, I would have told you “I don’t do that anymore”.  See, denial!  Right now there are any number of times I would still say “off with their heads” or “This is the only way to go”.  Or, things similar to that.

Please hear this, before reading further; what follows are sarcastic, cynical, tongue in cheek solutions to a few of the challenges we face as humans and citizens in the world today.  I do not own weapons of any kind!  I do not suggest, recommend or encourage the use of violence or weaponry for solving interpersonal, international differences.

So, tongue in cheek, ………………never mind.  Old thoughts, clearly seen as no longer valid and mostly encouraged by the vicarious catharsis of revenge movies.  Can I hear a big round of applause for Dirty Harry!  I used to have other favorites, but they just got too outlandish to be believed.  Maximum destruction of property and no collateral damage! Please!  Only the “bad” guys got maimed or killed?  Truth is, I don’t even know how Clint Eastwood movies still make my view list.  Still watch’em, still enjoy watching ’em.  Go ahead, make my day!

Another old habit, hard to lose is taking things personally.    It’s another one of those things I would have sworn I’d given up.  Until I found out I hadn’t, not really!  That was surprising.  Note to self: denial is not your friend.  It leads down so many wrong roads.

And I don’t know how well this transitions, but, the above got me to thinking about things I hear people say and the single thought that runs through my mind, when I hear them saying some of these:

  • I’m not a victim
  • I’m happy, joyous and free
  • I am (or am not)____________________

The single thought is: I think thou doth protest too much!  Okay, there is a common corollary thought: Who are you trying to kid?  And, in the interest of mental and spiritual health, I have to ask and answer myself, honestly, first.  Not new, just recently refreshed.  Backed up by self examination and revelation to a living breathing other.  I can bs myself quite well.   It all changes when the information is shared.

It is most definitely not trendy to admit perceiving oneself as a victim.  How else would you describe a fairly constant, possibly low threshhold, state of feeling hopeless and helpless?  Compounded by attitudes and beliefs that life is tough, I have nothing to offer, good things don’t happen to me, if they do it’s a fluke……shall I go on? Before I forget, aided and abetted by the fear mongers spewing scarcity and chaos at every flick of the dial. (click of the remote)  Sounds a lot like depression, doesn’t it.  And, odd as it seems, I believe depression is trendy.   Between that and bi-polar, ADD and ADHD, seems everybody is at least one of them these days!  Why is that?  Because the drug companies have a pill for it?  If the first one don’t work, there’s three more we can try.  In succession or altogether.  Whatever your insurance will pay for!  Doesn’t pay to be depressed and uninsured, at all.   Unless you’re willing to take a non-drug approach and find a way to look at the person in the mirror, honestly.

Finding a comfortable place in the middle ground is something of a challenge.  Sometimes, finding the middle at all is a gift.  I didn’t get to where I am now all on my own and I didn’t get to where I was before on my own either.  The difference between now and then is, I do less kicking and screaming.  I still balk at some things, however, I choose who to follow, who to believe, who to trust.  It makes a difference.  Remembering that my feet are made of clay and the same will be true of any person I ask for help keeps me from idolizing anyone.  It helps.

This has been a rambling diatribe if I ever wrote one.  If you’re still here, thanks.  If you’re not…….

I’m still thinking what I started out saying:  If it’s trendy, it Certainly doesn’t require my attention!

Thank you for sharing!??

I woke up this morning already thinking about this blog page!How did something I had never heard of until a few years ago ever become SO important? The answer seems to include, don’t cringe, sharing.

 

We are taught as children that sharing is good manners. If we want to have friends we have to share, whether we want to, or not. And I often wonder how much of this particular type of sharing leads to problems in later life. The consequences of sharing when I’d rather not are different than the consequences of sharing when I do so freely.  Seems strange, yet I believe it to be true.  What would the world look like if people only shared when they chose to?

 

I have seen, first hand, that children given the choice, often choose to share. Having the freedom to say NO seems to increase the likelihood of saying yes! And the yes led to a very relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. How often have “good manners” resulted in resentment, contention and isolation? The tendency towards outside in living is so ingrained in most of us, we don’t seem to know it.  It’s a cage that is difficult to break out of because living inside out, even briefly, can be uncomfortable.  Like living in a foreign land without knowing the language or customs.  Reverting to habit is just about automatic.  When I give myself permission to say no I am bombarded by the voices from the past telling me how selfish and self centered I am, among other things.

What I thought this was going to be about was the benefits of sharing: thoughts,ideas,goals,activities,skills and also toys and possessions.  One of my quirks is that I’m usually more than willing to share material things quite freely.  Other things, intangible things, not so much. I guess the first five things are intangible. While revealing them to others might make them more real, can you touch them? OK, it doesn’t matter and going down the rabbit hole won’t alter that. The thing is, when I cook a meal or bake something, I enjoy it more if there is someone to share it with. When I read a book I get more from it when I discuss it, whether in a group or with just one other person.  The list could go on, but, I think you get the idea.

With all the different diets and health concerns, not to mention personal likes and dislikes, allergies, styles of cooking…sharing a meal has become a challenge. It just doesn’t seem to be as much fun anymore.  Gone are the days when the expectation was that people would eat whatever you put on their plate.  That’s why I like pot luck so much now. prepare one dish, set it on a table with a choice among others and don’t take it personally, whether your container is empty or not at the end of the meal.

I stopped for awhile cause that last paragraph sounded like whining.  Still not sure, but, I’m leaving it.

Sometimes,when I hear thank you for sharing, I cringe.  It has become what I would describe as cutesy.  One of those in vogue expressions that can trip from anyone’s lips in any setting. I’ve been guilty of using it sarcastically myself a time or two. It’s an expression I first heard in twelve step meetings that has made it’s way out to the world at large.  Usually, if you hear it there, it is meant sincerely because it follows someone having spoken from the heart.  Sometimes it sounds pro forma even there.  A courtesy and an invitation for someone else to speak up.  I guess what’s stirring around in my cranium is a resistance to chorus-like responses.  Sometimes an original response is called for and more apt to sound genuine and sincere.  Then again, maybe it’s just me!

Gathering courage

This whole blogging adventure started because I found a program on my handy little Netbook that was designed specifically for that purpose.  I had heard of it, probably from its’ early stages and pretty much dismissed it as having no redeeming value.  Until I watched Julie and Julia my opinion remained pretty much unchanged.  Something in that movie flipped a switch in my brain and nothing has been the same since, having the program pre-installed seemed like Kismet.

My approach to blogging is very similar to my approach to swimming….s  l  o  w  and exceedingly cautious.  The difference is I can go years at a time without swimming and never miss it; it’s not the same with writing.  Since I first started this I have been aware of the subtle and insistent whisper; “write something”.  And private journaling hasn’t been the answer.  The potential contained in blogging is the possibility of interaction with other human beings.  Someone might read what I’ve written and have a thought, feeling or belief and express it!  Hence the slow and cautious approach.  What I dread most about swimming is total immersion in cold water; anything below 98.6 is cold to me.  I have actually just dived in a time or two and yet the success of those experiments was not enough to convince me that every other time would be the same.  What I dread about interacting with other human beings is a similar kind of immersion.

One of my favorite expressions is; opinions are like as______, everybody has one.  And whether my opinion on any given topic was formed slowly over time and resulted from intense research, or, came suddenly to me in the aftermath of an experience, I hold them , defend them, resist changing them with every fiber of my being.  I might be using the word opinion interchangeably with beliefs here.  Time and a few more thoughts might clarify.

I rarely, if ever, wear my heart on my sleeve.  It has taken some time to internalize that vulnerability is a constant state and even though some behaviors seem to be protective that is only an illusion.  What I’ve been noticing lately is that wise people take risks on a daily, even hourly basis.  Not jumping out of airplanes, cliff diving type risks.  They risk revealing themselves, warts and all to the people around them.  Quite frankly, I’d rather jump out of a plane. 

People who know me know there are several life endeavors my heart beats for.  I would be hard pressed to list them in any fixed order of priority.  They can’t all be number one and yet, some days , well, I just don’t know.  Here are some of them, just to give you an idea.

  • Two grown children
  • six grandchildren
  • six brothers and one sister
  • Dad
  • twelve step recovery
  • essential oils
  • physical healing, alternative medicine, organic food

Overcoming spiritual bankruptcy, however slow the process seems at times, surely has to be number one, even if just as a program running in the background.  I can say, with a high degree of certainty, I couldn’t be doing this if I hadn’t embraced that almost twenty years ago.  Life expands and contracts for me in direct correlation to my willingness to use the principles I learn (or at least hear) in the rooms. Being stubborn and rebellious by nature my learning curve sometimes looks more like a straight line.

I tend to listen more than speak about God, Higher Power, Creator…….call it what you will.  Not because I’m embarrassed.   Quite bluntly and frankly I detest proselytizing.  If you believe in God, Jesus Christ, Buddha, whoever, don’t tell me……show me!  Talk is cheap!  And with that belief, I attempt to live my life.

The truth is, most of the time what I engage in is survival.  And I don’t knock it, too much, because I have experienced real moments of life and have faith that more will follow.  Being a turtle has allowed me to continue living through times and experiences I tend to think I might not have survived, intact.  Altered states, while temporarily viable at times, are not something I welcome as an ongoing condition.  I define altered states as drunkenness, pharmaceutical cures, insanity… you know, fun stuff.  I much prefer the inside out approach of attitude adjustment that occurs when I apply the principles and tools derived from the twelve steps.  Never ceases to amaze me how well they work.  Always amazes me to find I’ve been resistant AGAIN.   

If I did the math correctly, there are seventeen people alluded to on the list above.  The most important people in my heart, but not the only ones.  I left out spouses of children and siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, dear friends and lots of acquaintances.  So many people.  I love them to pieces and am particularly inept at demonstrating it more often than not.  Some of it is my responsibility to change and some of it isn’t.  I find myself wishing for some kind of instant, permanent fix, all the time knowing, it just ain’t gonna happen!  It’s not even possible.  We change, all the time.   Ideally we are learning and growing.  Sometimes the learning process is exceedingly messy and growth can only be measured like the movement of glaciers.  If patience could be packaged and sold it could be a booming business.  It seems I run out of it at the worst times, more often than not, with myself.  What tends to get my attention first, however, is when I run out of patience with people, places and things outside myself.  I’m not sure of the complete truth of that last sentence, but, for now, let it rest. 

The last three entries on the list intertwine, might even be considered elements of one topic.  However you perceive it, my interest and pursuit of information in this vein grows as time passes.  The more I learn, the more I seek to learn.  Before I started writing this the “self help” nature of it totally eluded me.  It’s always been there, I just haven’t acknowledged it.  Mostly because the discoveries and experiments have seemed more of an adventure than anything else.  When I come across a new to me idea I just have to try it out.  Since I discovered Essential Oils about five years ago I’ve been something of a mad scientist.  They are SO cool.  I “play” with them on a fairly regular basis.  My collection, while nowhere near complete is extensive.  I use them in so many different ways, for so many different things I wonder how I ever functioned without them.  Mostly I limit my sharing on e.o. and related topics to  people I KNOW to be like minded.  I really don’t like proselytizing on any subject.  And there are a growing number of people who are like minded these days.  Kind of reinforces the whole idea that we are rarely alone, really.  If anything, singularity is a matter of degree and/or comfort zone.  The larger your comfort zone, the less singular you are likely to feel.  I believe if we are unique in any way it is in the combination of beliefs, experiences and all the various and sundry other things, which, when added together become one human being. 

Just found out it took me over 1200 words to spit all that out. It has taken me these many months to weigh and balance the decision to write something close to my heart and post it to my space.  Something tells me it’s a risk worth taking.   Might have to rethink the title, or, not.  Here goes!

Sometimes Life Looks Like a Blur

 

IMAG0014

When I took this picture, I was standing still.  Scouts honor! 

 

Apologies to the folks in the picture.  I’ve been fiddling around with computer programs and found out I could do this!  They know who they are and all things being equal, will NEVER see this picture or read this blog!

 

I love that I can blog as I did originally, offline and not so many bells and whistles as to get confused about what I’m doing. Don’t generally consider myself ADD, but, look, there’s a lion!

 

Doesn’t look like I can edit from here. hmmm oh, wait a minute, there it is … right there where it says editing!

 

Hurray, the color changed!  This is cool! Now all I need are emoticons.  Just kidding…sort of  Rolling on the floor laughing Not!! I just found them.

Map picture

Look what else!!!  Birds eye view of, guess where?  Oh, this is going to be fun!!!

It’s looking like this whole stream of consciousness thing is getting out of hand.  I mean, really.

Are we back to “normal”?  Okay, just checking. This has been the most fun session for me.  Can’t promise I won’t do it again, but, I’ll give it my best shot.

Lost in my easy chair

I’ve got this green easy chair that rocks and swivels.  In addition to it’s inherent comfort, it was given to me by a friend, who got it from a mutual friend and has significant sentimental value.  You could say it has velveteen rabbit qualities, it’s very real and well used.  It’s a great chair for reading, writing and contemplating your navel.

This is an easy chair to get lost in, more figuratively than literally.  This blog began with the thought that I was sitting in an easy chair and lost on the website.  It altered when I actually started writing.  It’s amazing how often that happens.  I’ve heard of automatic writing and sometimes wonder if that’s not what’s going on.  My fingers hover over the keyboard and words just start appearing on the screen.  Magical!  I’d swear on a stack of Bibles little thought is involved.  But then, I swear a lot!  Not kidding!  Ask the people who know me.

I have a love/hate relationship with words.  They are so often misunderstood.  Seem to be anyway.  And I hear things funny sometimes.  Usually funny HA HA, not always.  And the more tired I am the more literally I hear things and that has created some very humorous experiences.  Oddly, it doesn’t seem to help knowing about this quirk.   I’m a great believer in “knowing your audience”.  While there are undeniable elements of manipulation contained in the idea, it greatly contributes to complete communication.  Some of biggest misunderstandings I’ve dealt with have come from not knowing the other person was hearing me from one perspective and I was speaking from an entirely different one.  It’s like speaking different languages.

In my late thirties, early forties I began learning the language of the heart.  There is no Rosetta stone for this language.  It takes years to learn because the first element of the process is listening.  Not just hearing, listening.  I’m still a novice.  It’s more difficult to listen than I ever realized.  Quieting all the thoughts, opinions, advice,hopes dreams, prayers, criticisms, etc. just to hear another human being is challenging.  It takes time, present moment skills, willingness, humility and patience.  That’s really just a short list.  Don’t know that I will ever proceed beyond novice.

For most of my life I have spoken the language of the intellect.  It is a very rational, logical language, for the most part.  Any reasoning person can understand it.  The difficulty arises when logical, rational encounters feelings.  If one is incapable of expressing feelings rationally, one is often not heard.  And therein, ladies and gentlemen, lies the problem.  Feelings are often neither logical nor rational.  While it is true feelings are not facts, it is a mistake to discount and/or deny them.  It is also a mistake to let them run the show.  What is the working alternative?  Wisdom…the combination of intellect and feelings that can bring peaceful resolution to the most difficult situation.  It is the language of the heart.  One of the more difficult languages to learn, no matter what tongue you speak.  It begins with listening.

See, I told you this was a great chair to get lost in.