Thursday, January 27, 2011

Who Are You?

Someone asked me this question recently and I decided to write down my answer:

Who am I?
"I am a passionate, positive woman who works hard for what is important to me. I definitely dont travel an easy path and am not very mainstream in my beliefs and approach to life. Family is very important to me, relationships are very important to me.
I am a person dedicated to self-growth and the nurturing of growth in others. I use my writing to do this. Honesty, clarity, sincerity, love, justice, and compassion are very important values to me. I love to laugh, love to have fun...children are the most awesome creatures in the world to me. I nurture my spiritual self in many ways daily. This allows me to continue to be the essence of who I am despite many obstacles in my life."

If someone who didn't know you wanted to get a sense of the person you are, what would you tell them? How honest would you be? How complete in your answer?
It really comes down to how well you know yourself. There is a difference between an idea of who we are or want to be and our actual daily be-ing. If there is gap between those realities, all we need to do is observe ourselves, be honest, and make conscious efforts to transform anything that falls outside of the vision we have of our best selves.

So...who are you?


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Monday, January 24, 2011

When the People You Love Fight Your Progress

                Protecting your sacred space to ensure your continual growth and progress is very important.  Sacred space includes your thoughts, your heart, your environment, and whatever you allow to enter into these areas.  Everyone in your world (your family, co-workers, neighbors, and friends) may not respond positively to your movement towards change or personal growth.  When these people identify themselves by their negative comments, dismissals, or even out right attacks, decide how you want to deal with them.  Do you want to distance yourself from them for a time?  Not invite them into this area of your life by limiting the information that you share?  Whatever course you choose, it is important that you not be swayed from your journey when you attempt to explain and include others so that they will overstand and accept you and your new choices.
                Know that the only acceptance that really matters in the end is self-acceptance.  Once you have that, your world will begin to shift to support the new be-ing.  Don’t waste your energy.  Send the negative energy forth with love and keep on moving.  Either others will see or they will not; come along on the journey, or get left behind.  We all have a choice, many choices in fact.  Choose to honor your highest good and keep moving forward.


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Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Importance of our Ancestors and Elders

I was reminiscing the other day about my great-grandmother, the mother of my grandfather, who I was fortunate to know and spend years of quality time with into my adulthood. I was sharing stories with my husband of how I felt when I would go visit her when I was growing up. My great-gran was the matriarch of the family, mother of 8 with numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Small but strong typified who she was to me then. Now I see her only as wise.
I spent a lot of time visiting my great-grandmother in the summertime. I was the oldest grandchild of her third son. This position of my birth gave me a benefit that I never fully appreciated until I was much older. Going to visit her was like being in another world because she had particular ways and routines that no one else I had ever been around adhered to. I groaned when she woke me up at dawn everyday…remember this is summertime! Before breakfast we would go outside and work in the flower garden. I pulled weeds, watered and whatever else my gran told me to do. Inside the house the duties would include one or more of these tasks, dusting, polishing silver, washing windows, watering house plants, making a proper bed with military corners, proper table setting and more. I had no appreciation for these tasks at all and complained to myself. It seemed unfair that I was spending my summer being a slave to my gran. Gran was a very religious woman and she read her bible everyday, so a bible reading was included in every day. Then there was the night routine! She watched her favorite TV shows which included Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy and the 11pm news every night and following the news the house shut down. Though there were 2 unoccupied rooms out of the 4 total bedrooms, I always slept with gran with a few exceptions; this was not by my choosing. Gran had a habit that she maintained that utterly amazed me: She got down on her knees every night and prayed for about 30 minutes! This meant that I had to do the same…I always wondered what she had to say to God that took so much time. I imagined that she was listing every person that she had ever known with a thanksgiving or request with regard to each of them! Then after the prayer we got in her Queen sized bed on our respective sides. I was not the most conscientious sleeper in those days so my gran suffered many a night from my knees and elbows. At her advanced age, this was not a good thing, but she never kicked me out of her bed. She did however place three pillows between the length of us to absorb my blows. I’m not sure how much the pillows helped, but she didn’t complain much.
One of the other unique things my gran did was call people on birthdays and holidays and read out of the Daily Word. She always took time to share a word of wisdom and positivity with everyone. She also sent every grandchild and great-grandchild a birthday card for their birthday which always contained new crispy dollars. We looked forward to this every year! It wasn’t the amount that mattered but the fact that they were new and crispy that we children loved. Her home was where I nurtured my love of writing. It may have been where the passion began. I remember my first songs and poems written on her front porch swing at the age of 10. Since I always visited alone and there being no other children in the area to play with, I had lots of solitary time to think and explore myself. I also began my true love and connection with animals here as I developed a close sharing with her Weimaraner, Pepper. Pepper was the playmate and confidant that kept me company during these visits.
As I look back I see how much richness and virtue and value my gran taught me by her seemingly strict methods. I learned discipline that has served me well in many areas of my life. I learned the value of hard work, the value of taking care of things that belong to you, of keeping a clean home and entertaining others. These are things that were not only taught to me as a female, but to my other cousins as well and my brother. We each got our turn in our training. At the time, I thought that I was the only one. I learned to think of others as well as myself and to serve in whatever way I can. These are all things that our children need more lessons in today and the messages are not being passed on because we have changed our methods so much. Much of childrearing is self-directed by the child. Parents have few or no expectations and requirements of the child. I remember when I began to see the marked difference in the generations…the lack of discipline and responsibility. Sometimes the wisdom of the elders may seem harsh or unnecessary, but it is their experience that guides them and we need all of that wisdom.
I was listening to the radio this week and heard an interview with a Chinese-American elder who wrote a book about what it is like for an older person to advance in age: I Love a Broad Margin to My Life By Maxine Hong Kingston. She chronicled her thoughts and experiences starting from the age of 65 to 70, her current age. It was profound to listen to her simple wisdom that reached far deeper than any grand philosophy of any professor or leader. She gave a definition of what it means to be an elder and who is an elder that was the most comprehensive definition that I have ever heard. I will attempt to paraphrase: An elder is not a specific age designation…it is the recognition of responsibility to teach others and guide the community and world to make it better…using wisdom earned through experiencing life. Not only was her sharing profound, but the callers, also elders, continued to floor me with their depth and wisdom. See the link at the bottom for more on this wonderful woman.
There is so much lost in our present age when we fail to tap into the wisdom of our elders and stories of our ancestors. Take time to talk with those who are still among us, hear their stories, their wisdom. Record the memories that we are to pass down through generations so that we know who we are, where we come from and have a more solid sense of where we can go.
A 'Warrior Woman' Confronts Mortality, In Verse : NPR
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Good Way to look at the "Recession" or the Economy Issue

The Statue of Liberty front shot, on Liberty I...Image via Wikipedia
I read this today...see if it contains some wisdom to help in this time when people are struggling...

 " is ironic that at the abundant banquet of life, most poor suckers are starving or trying to buy what should be had for free. Don't be one of them. Use this downtime to appreciate your current status, to make practical decisions that are based on the actual effort you are willing to expend and to reassess where your relationship is heading in the future. What you value, protect or work at will eventually take on a life of its own and give back to you that which you have put in. Get real about the progress, priorities and quality of your love life, domestic situation or standard of living. Above all, keep it simple and don't worry about what other people do."

If we really overstood this and applied it, our reality would be completely different from that which we speak today I think.  Entitlement, ingratitude, greed, excessiveness, independence and more rule our daily lives as we pursue what is called "The American Dream" or believe in "The survival of the Fittest."  These are concept sold as the American way...concepts that do us a disservice as a whole as opposed to concepts such as interdependence, responsibility, and temperance.

Anxiety, fear, and hopelessness need not be our reality...there is another way, and the answers are often very simple.  Let us examine ourselves and find the simple in the seemingly complex and create change right where we are.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

The Movement towards the use of Natural Products

Food for Life distributes food on an internati...Image via Wikipedia

How often do you find yourself looking at the ingredients of what we put in or on our bodies? Not often?  Well, you might want to.  What you will find in food and non-food items alike are ingredients that you have no idea what they are.  So it follows, if you don’t know what the ingredients are, how do you know if it is something you want on or in your body?
As consumers we trust that if it has made it to the market, it must be safe even if it is not necessarily good for us, right?  That is not necessarily true.  Just because the FDA or USDA approves something does not make it safe.  In fact the criteria that these agencies use are bare minimum criteria:  What is the amount of something a product can contain and still be ok to use or consume.  For example, the level of mercury that can be in our fish or in vaccines and be considered to be ok for consumption or use.  Or the acceptable level of blood present in milk from the host animal that can still be used.  Who sets the criteria?  Based on what?  Are these standards shared with the public to determine if the public agrees that this is ok for them?  It is our choice whether to partake or not.  It would be nice to be informed about what and how much of something we are partaking of before we choose to or not to.  We are told that scientists, who do research, know the amounts that are harmful to the body.  So we are to trust them because consumption or use in moderation is ok, even of toxic elements.  That’s the theory.  Really?  So we can use minute amounts of mercury (and not so minute in terms of babies and vaccines) overtime and it not harm us?  There is no additive effect?  So the use of lead is bad and we accept this as poisonous.  We warn people of its usage and effects and we can keep the public informed in this case, but not others that are used in manufacturing and products such as mercury, fluoride, manganese and more?  We just absorb it or flush it out of our system.  That’s what our liver and excretory system is for right?  To cleanse us from the poisons that we put in our body?  Here’s an idea, why don’t we choose NOT to put things in our body that we KNOW are harmful.  Let’s stop crossing our fingers with regard to the medical, pharmaceutical, and agricultural cartels that are willing to gamble with our lives in order to make a profit.
Is there any doubt that many of the “advances” that we have made in the name of convenience, progress, and profit are the very same things that are creating the rapid increases in disease in our time?  The statistics are going up, we’ve all heard them.  Do we not see a link or is it ok just to put the responsibility on the person and blame it on lifestyle choices?  In fact, it is those who produce the products to be consumed that have control over the increase or decrease in the wellness of our society as a whole.  It takes each of us to do our due diligence to pay attention and choose consciously.  Not to consume something just because it’s easily accessible or cheaper.  As we struggle in this economy, how can we afford to spend more when we have less?  I say, how can we afford not to?  It is a matter of sacrifice and making a decision about what is more important to you: saving money or prolonging your life and improving the quality of it, saving time or getting more out of the food you eat by how you prepare it?  In the long run, the very thing that you are trying to save, money, is what you end up giving away as you pay for the results after we become sick or pay for medication or vitamins to supplement what we can do ourselves. 
I choose to spend a little more now for my family to ensure that what I offer to them  is safe and nurtures their being and development, and not harming or degrading them in any way.  What about you?

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sex in Relationships

Sexuality and gender identity-based culturesImage via Wikipedia

I'm up late on this one my family 'cause it's important in many ways...what am I talking about? Sex. How it is approached in your relationship is very important and says a lot about who you are as individuals as well as a couple. You ever heard it being said that the foot represents a map of the whole body and the wellness of the body can be indicated by what you see in the foot? Well I think the same concept applies to life on the large scale. If you look at any aspect of a person's life you can get a snap shot of who the person is, what their issues are, their strengths etc. Well I am talking about sex now, so this applies as well. Unfortunately due to society's inability to relate to sex in a way other than secretly and taboo or overtly crude and boorish, we have a lot of issues when it comes to sex as a society. Individually, we have feelings of inadequacy, we have our egos tied up in our sexual prowess, we have wounds from sexual misuse and abuse from those who use sex as a way to exert power over others, we have shame...the list goes on and on. What do we do with all these things? We take them into our relationships that we have with one another and they react. So how do we deal with all of this? Whatever "this" is, the answer is truth, transparency, patience, and understanding. So often issues reveal themselves because we are not communicating when we are going through something, or when something doesn't feel right, or when something is bothering us. Communicating about the issue can be the most difficult part. Why? Because it requires the courage to be honest with yourself about what is going on and then to be courageous enough to share your truth with another. That is a tall order for most of us. It is not easy to do. It requires discipline and a commitment to yourself to be the best of who you are capable of being. Then after such consideration, to display that truth before another takes something special. The act itself should be highly reverenced, respected, and recognized for its significance and the trust and intimacy that it communicates. If we go into our verbal encounters with this frame of mind it will be so much easier to listen and participate with open compassion towards the person that we say that we love, rather than the defensive jousting that often occurs as if we are engaged in a battle with our enemy. I would like to suggest that as we approach our mates in a discussion about sex or as we engage in sexual activity that we think in these terms: 

"You nor I are lacking in anything. I dont need you to prove anything to me nor I to you by performing to a certain level. All I desire is an intimate experience with You. It is the spirit of the act, the mutual intimacy and sharing that drives the me that is satisfaction. It's about us. We make it what it is, and what it isn't. "

If this is not where you are in your sexual relationship, you have different goals and objectives in your sexual activities. Explore those and know what they are. Make sure the person you are participating with knows what they are so that you truly are consenting adults. By all means fam, let's keep talking...please share comment, encourage... Peace
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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Even On bad days...

Sometimes in life we have those setback days, days when something happens in your experience that triggers a weakness in your make-up.  We all have them, the growth edges that we are still fine tuning.  Even if we acknowledge and accept the wholeness of ourselves with our growth edges, when these areas are exercised in our experience, it can be a very trying time.  The purpose of the surfacing is for healing and growth to occur.  We often just see it as someone pushing our buttons and making us feel uncomfortable and so we avoid the conflict.  I encourage you that as you go through times like these, that you don’t lose sight of the fullness that you are.  Don’t make you, your weakness. You are more than this.  Negative self-talk can strip us of every ounce of progress you have made and reduce you to a helpless child—if you allow it.  Know that even in our weakness, we can still be strong and know that nothing stays the same.  The next day or even the next moment allows new opportunities to recreate ourselves anew.  It is this reality, that is more than some distant hope, that gives us a reason to be.
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Giving our power away...

Group of children in a primary school in ParisImage via Wikipedia
Soooooo...I go to my son's school today and had a pretty positive experience. I got to reminisce on how much I miss teaching and being around children. Children are so refreshing and enlightening and they tell you so much about what is going on in the homes of the people we never see but make up the world we live in. We find out beliefs and attitudes and more. I like to use these times of sharing with children as a time to check in and find out whats really going on in the world versus what we say is going on.

The only aspect of the visit that had a moment of pause for me was a brief exchange that I had with the teacher while we talked about my son's behavior in the classroom and his academic progress. We both spoke of his difficulty in staying focused on a task and being very interested in socializing and what is going on around him to the point of interfering with the task at hand. So the teacher asks me: "Have you taken him to the doctor to see if they can give him something to help with that? I mean, he is not hyperactive..." 
Now in the past I would have gone into a whole speech about not approving of medicating children in order to get them to behave the way that we think that they should and closing the discussion down. But I chose to teach by example and said, "No, what we do is work on ways to help Solomon calm himself at home. Help him to recognize that he does not have to be doing something at all times. We encourage stillness and time for reflection as a daily practice."

What I recognize is that the very things that we seek to medicate in not only our children, but in society as a whole are things that with a little effort and discipline we can take care of ourselves. Instead we have been conditioned to take a pill to make the undesirable thing go away. We start at an early age teaching how to give your power over to something else. We let institutions control us, other people control us, and the new acceptable form of control: legal prescription drugs. You don't teach a child how to be self-disciplined by giving him a pill to let something else control him. You teach him how to have control over himself! And we wonder why we have generations of children who seem to be out of control! We have been conditioned to give it away...
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