Posted in Lore

Wisdom is Less of a Gift than a Purchase

Personification of wisdom (in Greek, "Σοφ...
Sophia, the Greek personification of wisdom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes I’m asked why I blog.

First and foremost, I blog for therapy.  Unlike a diary, it forces me to choose my words wisely.  Where a diary will take any abuse you want to give, my public blog requires I treat my thoughts with respect.  And in doing so, I find an appreciation for “life and all things peaceful, balanced, whole and precious.”

I blog for posterity.  It’s something to leave behind.  I don’t believe in a supernatural afterlife.  Even if I could, I wouldn’t want to hang around watching over my loved ones eternally.  In a recent mishap, I accidentally and unavoidably caught a glimpse of all the pictures on the Rebel’s phone.  Trust me when I say I don’t want to watch over them from above.

I blog to pass along a wisdom.  Ancient cultures sat around the fire listening to lore from their elders.  While I do have plenty of advice to share around the fire, most of it involves the perfect toasted marshmallow or the dangers of wielding hot pokers.  Besides, who has time to sit around a fire listening to their elders anymore?  Anything like that gets shared here as “Lore” for those who find it valuable enough to read.

Lady wisdom (2)
Lady wisdom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not sure at what age one becomes an elder, but I think I’m growing into it as gracefully as possible.  That is, kicking and screaming, my brittle nails shredding on the door frame of old age.  My daughter, the Romantic, reminded me that I once announced I was going to age naturally and embrace it — gray hair, wrinkles, and all.  Yeah . . . I was thirty-something and knew nothing of disappearing collagen or finding coarse, white eyebrows reaching out like odd antennae over the tops of my bifocals.  And so this thing of wisdom that comes with age is less of a gift than a purchase, dearly paid for with my declining condition.

Perhaps there is a responsibility to share what has been so expensive to attain.  Maybe I want to spare my children and readers the pain I’ve born.  After all, the suffering of my children is two-fold; once for their pain and another for the remembrance of my own mistakes.  Or maybe I just want to give you a shortcut, a life hack, so you can surpass where I have been and finish farther ahead.  Whatever the reason, sharing lore is clearly a primal need, present since men acquired the ability to speak.

English: The Seven Pillars of Wisdom rock form...
The Seven Pillars of Wisdom rock formation in Wadi Rum, Jordan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The elders of my youth have all passed away.  They, too, shared the experience of their years.  Some of it I remember, most of it has probably been forgotten.  The truth is, I gained less of my wisdom in listening than I found in living.  The toddler learns more from touching a hot oven than from being told it is hot.  Riding a bicycle can only be mastered after falling.  We learn to guard our heart once we know how deeply it can hurt.

I’m told there is occasionally wisdom in my words.  If you find it here, it is yours.  If you want to keep it, however, it’s going to cost you a couple of wrinkles and maybe a white antenna eyebrow.  But I guarantee it will be worth it.

Peace . . .

 

Posted in Lore

Celebrate Your Can’ts

Is a Maple any less a tree because it doesn’t keep its green all winter like the Evergreen?  No.  The cycle of losing its leaves opens up the possibility of turning a crimson red each fall.

A very negative post from Rara, who CAN put together some pretty awesome words,  reminds us to celebrate our can’ts.  And so, as imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, I took a page from Rara’s blog, so to speak.  This page, in fact:

I can’t. | rarasaur.

I commented, “Everyone has things they can’t do. It’s time we stop telling people they can do anything if they set their mind to it, because it’s just not true, and it only serves to make people feel like complete failures. Sure, I can do a lot of things, but what I can’t do makes me who I am too!”

I can’t climb a rope.

I can’t follow pop culture.

I can’t remember things I don’t actually see.

I can’t be president, win an olympic medal, step on the moon, or walk a fashion runway.

I can’t put eyeliner on straight.

I can’t run without hurting my knees (or peeing my pants for that matter).

I can’t dive without plugging my nose.

I can’t sing and play Rockband® at the same time (unless, of course I’m doing the singing part — come to think of it, I technically can’t do that either but it doesn’t stop me from trying).

I can’t watch anyone handle a spider without freaking out.

I can’t — CAN’T — let a spider touch me.

I can’t remember anything about my Grandma Habig.

I can’t wear skinny jeans or fashion boots because my calves are too thick.

I can’t understand insurance documents or investment statements.

I can’t, and that’s okay with me.  Because of all the possibilities these can’ts open up.  Just as the Maple is no less a tree, I am no less a person because I can’t.  Nor should Evergreens boast that they stay green all winter, because I have leaves of crimson in the autumn, and together we make a beautiful landscape.

Thank you, Rara, for reminding us all to honor every part of us — the cans and the cannots!

Peace . . .

Posted in Lore

Just The Way I Am

There was a WordPress daily prompt some time ago asking what one would say to one’s 14-year old self.  The prompts make me think, and maybe one of these days I will even join in.

This particular prompt I found very intriguing.  In the days that passed, I found myself thinking more about it.  No answer to the question really moved me, until this morning.  I felt like listening to music, and I set my iPod to play anything it damn well wanted to.  The first song that came up was Bruno Mars, Just The Way You Are.

I was already looking in the mirror, and smiled at myself.  I hadn’t realized how seldom I see my own smile.  That’s not to say I don’t smile, but I rarely do it genuinely in the mirror.  The way my eyes lit up and the lines turned to joy surprised me.  It has taken a half of a lifetime to accomplish, but I do like myself just the way I am.  I thought about my young self, sans the fine lines of the years, with soft, silky hair, stronger, nimbler.  How did that young girl lack appreciation for her beauty?  Where was her confidence in body and spirit?

I thought of singing that song to her . . . and my face turned to sorrow.  I cried for the love I should have given her; for the mental abuse she suffered from herself.  Lastly, I smiled for the long-overdue love I can now give this youngster, residing deep inside me.

Ignore the kissing the lips part, it’s just weird in this context.  And if my two daughters are reading this . . . Girls, you are amazing just the way your are . . .

Oh, her eyes, her eyes
Make the stars look like they’re not shinin’
Her hair, her hair
Falls perfectly without her trying
She’s so beautiful
And I tell her everyday
Yeahh

I know, I know
When I compliment her she won’t believe me
And it’s so, it’s so
Sad to think that she don’t see what I see
But every time she asks me “Do I look okay? “
I say

[Chorus:]
When I see your face (face face…)
There’s not a thing that I would change
‘Cause you’re amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)
And when you smile (smile smile…)
The whole world stops and stares for a while
‘Cause girl you’re amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)
Yeah

[Verse 2:]
Her lips, her lips
I could kiss them all day if she’d let me
Her laugh, her laugh
She hates but I think it’s so sexy
She’s so beautiful
And I tell her everyday

Oh you know, you know, you know
I’d never ask you to change
If perfect’s what you’re searching for
Then just stay the same
So don’t even bother asking if you look okay
You know I’ll say

[Chorus:]
When I see your face (face face…)
There’s not a thing that I would change
‘Cause you’re amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)
And when you smile (smile smile…)
The whole world stops and stares for a while
‘Cause girl you’re amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)

The way you are
The way you are
Girl you’re amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)

[Chorus:]
When I see your face
There’s not a thing that I would change
Cause you’re amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)
And when you smile
The whole world stops and stares for awhile
Cause girl you’re amazing
Just the way you are

Posted in Lore

Here, in Oz

As one of the most referenced stories of all time, it is not uncommon to discover you are in the Land of Oz.  You may long to go “over the rainbow,” find that you are “not in Kansas anymore,” direct someone to “follow the yellow brick road,” take a day trip with “the munchkins,” or be watching out for “Lions and Tigers and Bears! — Oh MY!”

Never having done so, I decided to read the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.  I had been told it is mildly different from the film(s), and that is true.  Somewhere in the middle, I started to find symbolism relevant to certain philosophies.  I did a search, and it turns out there are as many different parallels for the Wizard of Oz as there are readers.  This is mine.

The Yellow Brick Road:  This is my journey through mid-life.  I’ve come from the gray prairie of Kansas, where nothing changes, day in or day out.  I was tossed from a sudden storm into a land where I recognize nothing, including the image in the mirror.  Dorothy “knew very well she was only an ordinary little girl who had come by the chance of a cyclone into a strange land.”

Dorothy:  I play the lead role in my own analogy.  Dorothy is looking for a home; comfort, dscn0373shelter, rest, family, refuge.  She learns early in the story that she has taken for granted the comfort of tedium.  Dorothy explains to the Scarecrow, “No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful.  There is no place like home.”

Toto:  “It was Toto that made Dorothy laugh, and saved her from growing as gray as her other surroundings.”  Toto is my ego; my spirit and psyche.  He is my intuition that acts without thinking.  He may bark and even bite, but we are inseparable.  “Toto did not really care whether he was in Kansas or the Land of Oz so long as Dorothy was with him.”  At one point Dorothy and her companions find they are lost.  “Toto found that for the first time in his life he was too tired to chase a butterfly that flew past his head.  So he put out his tongue and panted and looked at Dorothy as if to ask what they should do next.”

Scarecrow:  My three chums are my alter egos.  Each searching for something different.  My scarecrow searches for a brain; wisdom.

Tin Woodman:  The second companion is found stiff from rust.  He searches for a heart; passion, tenderness, empathy, humanity.

Cowardly Lion:  Lastly, the Lion joins the other three, seeking courage.  The Scarecrow asks the Lion, “Have you brains?”  The Lion answers “I suppose so.  I’ve never looked to see.”

The Tin Woodman challenges the Scarecrow on his longing for a brain.  “But once I had brains and a heart also; so, having tried both, I should much rather have a heart.”  After some time, the two fellows get into it.

“All the same,” said the Scarecrow, “I shall ask for brains instead of a heart; for a fool would not know what to do with a heart if he had one.”

“I shall take the heart,” returned the Tin Woodman; “for brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.”

As readers, we know that courage, brains, and heart are most effective when used together, so the three are devoted friends.

Obstacles:  Every excursion has its obstacles.  Dorothy’s is wrought with dark enchanted forests, and deadly fields of poppies.  Doubts and anxiety loom about like a Wicked Witch, cackling at me and humiliating me.  Using the brains, heart and courage I didn’t know I had, I ease myself through.  Friends support me like Glinda the Good Witch, working magic to bolster my confidence and making me feel safe.

The Emerald City:  I’ve already been to the Emerald City and it’s not all it was cracked up to be.  It is not really made of Emerald.  I have seen the man behind the curtain.  dscn0400I now know the wisdom, passion, and courage that I need to find peace already exist inside of me, or at least as much as they ever will.   However, this is not the end of my journey.  To find my way home, it seems I still need to kill the wicked doubt and anxiety that have tormented me all along the way.

Am I to find that once I accomplish this seemingly impossible act, it will be as simple as clicking my heels together?  Perhaps . . . Perhaps.

Read more about philosophies of The Wizard of Oz

Read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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