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

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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Posted in Awards

Renewed Narcissism

In my opinion, there are no truly altruistic actions.  People blog primarily for the warm fuzzies it brings to our psyche.  There are those who say technology is encouraging narcissism.  

Still, if along my narcissistic journey I can bring some good to others along the way — well then — why shouldn’t I?

I woke up this morning having been given my first award by a fellow blogger who has, herself, touched me with her writing.  Come November nominated me for my post Loving Your Inner Child, published September 3rd, 2012.  The award for which I was nominated was the Compassionate Communicator.  I am flattered, touched by the fact that she found meaning in my post.  I am honored that she thought of me after having received the nomination herself.  My narcissism is renewed!

I started this project (blogging) as a way to release my thoughts and see if they alight anywhere in particular.  These are a few stipulations I laid down for myself:

  1. I will treat my potential readers, and those they may know, with respect.
  2. I will speak respectfully of myself, my life, and those in it.
  3. I will come up with a tag-line that directs me in my writing.
  4. I will write with honesty, being as true to my own voice as I am able.

If respect is something that is needed for compassion, and I believe it is, then I accept this award with the spirit in which it is offered.

compasscommaward

The Compassionate Communicator Award

This award can be given, by any blogger who has received it, to any blogger they feel has benefitted them.

Passing it Forward . . .

The fellow narcissists I have chosen to recognize are for very different reasons.  Their particular posts touched me, though it was a monumental task to choose just one from each blog.

I would like to nominate the post Crap . . . eggs it is by Grapes, Gripes and Gratitude.  She uses humor and honesty to convey the love she carries for her children, their father, and herself.  I wish I had known her writings back when I was a mother of young children.  She would have reminded me that under the Super-Mom uniform is a real human being who needs nurturing and an occasional glass of wine.

There is someone at work who has become very special to me.  She brings treats to work.  ‘Nuff said?  Not quite.  She is a loving daughter of her mother who is suffering the onslaught of Alzheimer’s Disease.  They are the two most lucky people in the world to have each other.  I nominate Mary of Just want to ride for her post Mom and Daughter — Difference?

Lastly, there is a new blog I have started to follow, One Thousand Single Days.  I was mesmerized by the post Qualification: Pain.  She writes of compassion born of experience.  The quote she includes from a szisophrhenic patient illustrates the pain of the people she is compelled to help, ‘Even if I tell you my name I will die.

Guidelines…

1. That in awarding it to a blogger you simply link it to one of their blog posts which you feel has personally benefited you in some way.

2. You give a brief explanation of why you feel it benefited you

3. On accepting the award you link back to and thank the person who awarded it to you.

 

Posted in Lore

A Certain Age

Happy Birthday?          Yes please!

It’s been an interesting year.  Almost a year ago, to the day, I turned fifty.  It was no big deal.  Just another birthday.  It’s only a number.  That was before my body rose up against me.

Every symptom I Googled brought up an article that started with the words “At a certain age . . .”  WHAT certain age?  Surely I’m not at any certain age.

Look, it took me forty years to feel beautiful in my body, only to find a completely different one now, just a few years later.  What cruel joke is this?

Well I’m not going back to hating myself and despising the person in the mirror.  There is another birthday looming, and I am determined to find the beauty in my new self.

The following is what I have come up with so far:

  • Older and wiser.  The decisions I make are based on experience, not whim or intuition.  When people ask my opinion they take it to heart.
  • Beautiful.  People are beautiful.  Faces are stories.  Eyes are windows.  My face and eyes say I have a story.
  • Confidence.  Having experience brings confidence.  As I age, I am more confident in the beliefs I hold, based on my experiences.  Having confidence allows me to be myself.  Right out loud.  Ever wonder why Gramma Shirley was so outspoken?  The span of life experience and the confidence it gave her, earned her to right to speak up.  I can’t wait to be really old so I can say some really outrageous stuff!
  • Death defying.  Let’s face it.  Every day is a gamble.  Step out your door and you take your life in your own hands.  Heck, stay in and suffer stroke or fall on a wet floor.  I have made it through FIFTY-ONE Minnesota winters and have lived to tell about it.  As of this writing, I have defied death 18,625 days in a row!
  • Touch.  Never underestimate the power of human contact.  As we age, we are touched less and less.  It is a hunger from which many don’t even know they are starving.  Hug much.  Squeeze a hand.  Kiss a cheek.  Pat a back.  Link an elbow.  Nudge an arm in jest.  It is the one gift I receive as I give.
  • Openness.  I keep my mind open, and let everything fly in.  I believe it is when we close our mind to ideas and people that we become old.  I’ve met a great deal of young people who seem very old because they have closed their minds to new things.  And my heart.  I keep my heart open.dscn0572
  • Hands.  My hands may be arthritic, but they can type my thoughts.  They can prepare meals, work in the garden and scratch a dog’s ear.  They wear rings that carry meaning for me.  They remind me of my mother’s own arthritic hands which never stopped moving despite her limitations.
  • Peace.  The opposite of peace is fear.  Fear comes from worrying about what has happened in the past or will happen in the future.  There is only now.  Right now, and only now, can I choose to be at peace.
  • Passion.  For life, for love, for creation.  My passion starts and ends with me.  No one can give it to me, nor can they steal it for their own.  On these pages are my passion.  Enjoy it, hate it, comment on it, but you will not feel it as I feel it.  And as long as I feel it, I am new.

Clicking on the cupcake photo above will bring you to a recipe for
Brownie Batter Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes
on Kevin & Amanda’s Recipes/Delicious recipes to spice up your dinner rotation.

Posted in Family, Great Outdoors

Dearly Departed

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It was heartbreaking.    I walked out to the garden, water in hand as usual.  I looked at each plant; checked on the leaves, the stems, the soil.  Checking for new blossoms, my heart lifted at the tiny little promises of fruit.  Each plant received water and was cleared of unwanted intruders – weeds, slugs, Japanese beetles.  And that was when I saw it.

The zucchini plant was withered and laying on the hot soil, its leaves greenish grey, its fruit wrinkled and limp.  There were other zucchini vines with other blossoms, but so far this was the only one producing fruit.  There had been two little baby zucchinis, one almost an inch, the other over two.  I watched over them daily, bearing witness to the love of their plant mother feeding them from the earth and the sun.  Now she lay dead on that same nurturing soil.

There was no C.S.I. work to be done.  It was not a suicide but an accidental homicide, cut and dried (no pun intended).  The zucchinis grow in a dangerous plot of land on the back side of our lot, directly in the Frisbee flight pattern.  The Frisbees have a limited area of safe flight.  It is a fifteen-foot area of grass.  With a good toss, Sabbath (Sabbie as we call her) can jump easily 4 feet into the air, snapping the disc from its flight.  More commonly, the cheap discs we buy from the local pet store fly left or right, landing over the fence in the neighbor’s yard, just inside our yard in last year’s Christmas tree, in the fire pit, on the garage roof or yes . . . in the zucchini.

At first glance, dismay overcame me.  Then anger.  Then sadness.  I picked up the  once thriving plant and laid it sorrowfully on the picnic table.  I reasoned the large plant had cost me almost nothing in the price of seed, or time.  Still, a feeling of hopelessness reduced me to a sigh.

Then I pictured the energetic Sabbie, in the pursuit of her prey, tail waving wildly in the air.  I pictured the one I knew had thrown the Frisbee, cringing in horror as the dog tore through the plant with passion.

And I smiled.  There is so much more brought to my life by the wet nose of a dog, or the warm hug of a loved one than by rearing a zucchini from a seed.  Surely there will be more zucchini if they can save their lives from the plight of the Frisbee.  There will never be another Sabbath who follows me at every step and looks upside-down back at me from where I sit tapping on my keyboard.

Posted in Lore

On Goal Setting

What is it about goal-setting that unnerves me?  The exercise is paralyzing, the final product dispiriting.  Let me share my agony with you.  I’m going to use the ever-popular SMART method.

SMART:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Timely

Specific:  Here is the who, what, where and why of the goal.  Here is the core.  The foundation.  The point.  Here is where I usually ask, “What’s the point?”  Already I am shutting down.

Measurable:  This is the unit of measurement and quantity of units.  This is how you can tell if you have or haven’t — as the case may be — reached your goal.  Not lose some weight, but lose 10 pounds.  Not save a bunch of money, but save 100 dollars.  Units are easy.  Quantity is touchy.  Too few, and it seems fruitless.  Too many and it’s unattainable.  Which brings us to the A in SMART.

Attainable:  Here is where you figure out how to make it happen.  This looks great on paper, but come Monday, it’s going to look like recycling.

Realistic:   What am I both willing and able to achieve?  As a child I was told, as so many kids are, that I could be anything I want to be.  I consider myself a realist.  I suppose I was born that way.  I always knew I was never competing in the Olympics, walking the Miss Universe runway, or  being inaugurated for the presidency of the United States.  Mom and Dad were either full of it or got the wrong kid at the hospital.  Realistic?  Chances are, I’m going to bite without getting too much to chew.

Timely:  Make a timeframe.  When is this going to happen?  Most likely, no time in the near future.  If I start at all, I’m going to choke near the finish line.

Listen, I’m not being cynical.  I’ve lived in my head for 50 years now, and I can’t keep expecting it to be something it isn’t!  I am very unlike most people.  Sad to say, it took me 40 years to accept and — yes! — enjoy it.  A lot of my time is spent biting my tongue, minding my manners, and acting all grown up.  I can come up with a SMART set of goals, but I get more done and feel better about myself using the SMART ASS method:

Abandon
Sponaneous
Sincere

Abandon:  This is the part where I drop all of the above.

Spontaneous:  Eyes closed, I ask myself, “What do I really want to do right NOW?”  Not as reckless as it sounds, sometimes I actually want to clean, or change my oil, or even exercise!  Then sometimes, having been asked such a question, I might take myself on a picnic!  Or lie in the grass with the dogs . . . hike in the woods . . . call one of my children . . . or eat something sensational!

Sincere:  Whatever is done, do it wholeheartedly.  Be true to others.  Be genuine in love.  Do to yourself as you would do unto others.  Absorb the beauty of all things, and then reflect it back.

I like this method better, and as I am well-known for saying

I’d rather be a SMART ASS than a DUMB ASS.

 . . .Yes, I know I didn’t make that up.