I live in Arizona. A place that doesn’t get much rain but in the late summer we get the monsoon season harsh thunderstorms which usually last less than an hour dumping rain on the desert. In the middle of the night a monsoon blew in. My small girls frightened by the storm cuddled in with me and we rode the storm out and the subsequent power outage together.
Now there are many ways to look back on this event. The negative mind will think about the lack of sleep, the 2 inches of space I was forced to try to get some sleep on and the hogging of the covers by the two little people in my bed. It would think about my five-year-old giving a play-by-play of the storm at 3am as a bother and concentrate on the groggy, grumpiness of the morning and how the day is ruined because of exhaustion. Well that is one negative rain cloud of thought for sure.
The shift comes when one thinks of it as a refreshing much needed storm. The fact that the outside temperature was brought down from 106 degrees Fahrenheit to a much cooler 84. The thought of how nice it is that there are people in the world that look to me for protection. That can cuddle up to me in a storm and how peaceful they looked as they slept. How fortunate I am to have such an intelligent and observant child who was doing her best to be “brave like mommy”. This is the exact same situation with two very different perspectives.
With the negative perspective one becomes grumpy all day spreading the dark gloomy rain cloud of her mood and story to all she meets. Or she can be the sun that comes out after the storm. Focusing on the many blessings and treasures given to her by the storm. The storm brings flowers. Flowers in the mind of the positive blessings that are to be taken from the experience.
Both perceptions can be equally correct or accurate however what realities of the situation a person chooses to focus on will determine their “What next?”. Because that is really what matters isn’t it? When something happens do we take from it negatives that cause even more of life to be negative? Or can a person focus on the positives and even though that specific storm may have brought some discomfort at the time. The negativity can be left there in that moment and more positive productivity and satisfaction can come after. It is up to the one who perceives where they want to take life from that moment on.
Life sends us many storms over the years. The next time life sends you a storm. It is up to you as the one who perceives to decide, will you be focused on the thunder and rain or will you be happy because you know that a good storm is a part of life and from a little rain many beautiful flowers may bloom.
On Facebook and Twitter there are many temptations when interacting with others, especially in the comment sections, to just type instant reactions to what you are thinking with no filter. Most of us can get away with that but what if you are a “somebody” you are defined by that title. It is no longer appropriate to say certain things or say them in a way that could offend someone. The problem with that is the moment an opinion is expressed there is a high likelihood that it will offend someone, somewhere and so it can feel quite stifling and prison-like when trying to cling to the positive opinion of many people.
I often rebel against being labeled. I certainly don’t want to be labeled anything important because that takes away my Freedom to shoot my mouth, or in this case my fingers, off the way I like to. My current status or lack there of affords me the luxury to just put it out there and let the chips fall where they may. The disadvantage to that scenario is that I am just me. I don’t have much power on my own to influence anything. However, I do have Freedom.
I look to those who are considered leaders, celebrities, general famous people and I see how some turn into virtual contortionists trying to stay in favor with the public. It is what must be done for fame and fortune. However, there is a small group of people who manage to stay fairly authentic, to be able to have a shoot-from-the-hip communication style and still be able to stay famous. Anderson Cooper, Oprah Winfrey, Ralf Nader and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are just a few that come to mind off-hand.
I don’t know if these people have shaped their personal lives in a way that may be thought less authentic in order to be accepted by the masses. Only they know that. Yet it is well known when scandals come out how many people feel they need to live a shadow life to be themselves and keep their position in society at the same time.
We appreciate people who can stay authentic. People who speak from a space of knowledge, walk their talk and seem to hold a standard of integrity and truth. They seem to care. One teacher told me once “People want to know how much you care, before they care how much you know.” And I feel that is true.
The public allows those that seem to really care more latitude in the things they say and do as long as they are in alignment with the power they hold. Those who crave more power and fame must also embrace that because their opinions hold more power they must be much more thoughtful about expressing them and in their lifestyle choices. Because frankly it means more.
Is the fame and power worth the lack of Freedom? That is for each individual to decide for themselves. Maybe it is just a matter of trading one brand of Freedom for another?
As I approach my magical 40th birthday I begin to think about age. My mom is twenty years older than me and we talked about how the way you feel does not always match the number of your age. She still feels young and I have a joke if you are as old as you feel I am about 95! At least I feel that way some days, other days I am in my early twenties or any of the many other ages I have had the good fortune to be able to experience.
George Carlin did a great bit about age and how you get to keep all of the other ages you once were. Is age a number, a state of mind, why does it matter what the number is? We need to know when we are 5 so we know when to go to school, when we are 16 to be able to drive, 18 is when we become adults in America, 21 legally able to drink alcohol, 25 is a reduction in car insurance premiums, 35 for women is when the biological clock starts to tick, not too much going on until 65 the current time of retirement though many are working longer now, but you can join AARP at 50 and get your senior discount. After that there is a long quiet black void as every night you go to sleep to play the life lotto game to see if you wake up the next morning until one day you don’t.
That’s quite simplistic though. Abe Lincoln had a great quote “It’s not the years in your life, it’s the life in your years.” That seems true to me. It’s about the living we do, what we pack into the time we’ve got that matters. What difference does a number make? I’m not just saying that because I am turning 40 either. I think 40 is a fabulous age for a woman to be. I’m the most confident, most independent and self-empowered I have felt during this whole time I’ve been on this planet. I love this age!
Many talk about being younger but when I was younger, I felt obligated to take in so much more of what everyone else thought. I needed a man to want me so I could have children, I needed an employer to like me so I can have a job, I needed the teacher to like me so I could get a good grade. Now, although it’s great to be liked, I don’t have to be. I don’t feel the need so much to sacrifice who I am to assimilate and I love that feeling. I think that is the best present to receive in my 40th year.
So what’s in an age? Just a human created number allowing the government to properly track us for civil planning and census counts, it’s a ticker that lets us know how far we’ve come? I think a higher age number is a great testament to survival and that is pretty cool in my opinion.
The twenty-fourth installment of the A-Z series. X is for Xie Xie.
Xie xie pronounced sheh sheh means thank you in Mandarin Chinese. My daughters often like to watch the show Ni-hao Kailan which exposes the children to the language. I find languages to be fascinating. I love to hear the tones and inflections of different languages, especially when they are spoken by children.
Even more than the sound of the language is the way people say things and what that says about the culture. For example the Inuit in Alaska have at least 18 words for snow. In many ways the structure of language and what they most like to talk about says a lot about the culture as a whole.
In America probably more than any other country in the world there is an unfortunate snobbery about language. The American English spoken varies a bit from region to region although it is pretty much the same throughout the nation. Many Americans feel that since they already speak the language of Business and Money they need not learn any other language. Emphasis on learning languages is not the same as it is in many other countries where students often learn three languages or more.
There is something special about speaking with people in their native language. It takes away the fear and strangeness when a person is able to communicate. Even if you mangle it in your attempt many people appreciate the gesture. In the future I hope that more attention is paid to language, with more opportunities to speak the languages of many nations. Language is certainly a use it or lose it proposition.
I wish that all nations would make it easier and more affordable to travel. I think this is an important action toward world peace. We must have the opportunity to see where each other lives. Experience the various options and opportunities that come with different life choices. How can a person truly make life choices for themselves when they haven’t seen more than one or two options. There are so many!
It is easier to understand people when you see where they come from. It is an opportunity to see how much each human being has in common. Most of us live the same type of day, we get up, we try to feed ourselves, we work in some way, we long for community and a sense of belonging, we have families and those families often have similar benefits and issues, we all know someone who has died and have felt that pain at one time or another. We all have our feelings about death and what happens after. We all want what’s best for the children of the world. We all want security and peace for our loved ones.
When we are able to share language, culture and all that is wonderful to share, good friends, good food, good music. We can truly come together in the world. What could be better than that?
Part eighteen in the A-Z series. R is for Romance.
What is the state of romance in the modern technological age? Is it dead or has it merely morphed into something that may not be recognizable by pre-industrial age standards? Did the women’s liberation movement kill it or the instant gratification expectations that have developed over the past thirty years? Is romance dead or is it alive and well?
I am kind of nostalgic, a romantic at heart and would like to see the return of old school romance. Now I am not advocating the return to the prudish and oppressive mentality of the earlier centuries. What I miss are the romantic correspondences, the flirting games, the nuance and subtlety that comes with delaying sexual gratification which is ultimately sensual and can lead to more passion when that special moment finally arrives.
For many modern Earth dwellers of the working class there is no time nor energy left in most days for authentic romance. It takes preparation and thought to create a truly romantic scenario. Money varies, many thoughtful interactions can occur without a large monetary investment. Because of the need for prep work the prospects of romance becomes lessened after the age of thirty when commitments, obligations and possibly children come into the mix. These same challenges are also great opportunities to be romantic and to practice those fun little games of love.
There is great potential for romance in this day and age. We can take all the best from history the ages, give it a little mix of current knowledge and apply it to our relationships. Compliments, smiles, simple trinkets and correspondences ,snail mail kind with stationary or a card or a text when the moment calls for it, gives spice to life and makes it fun and interesting to be alive.
What can you do to add more spice and romance to your world?
Part thirteen in the A-Z series. M is for Memories.
What is the meaning of life? This question has haunted humans over the ages. Philosophers ponder it, writers write about it, artists paint about it and at some point it seems the question comes to each individual at some point in their life demanding some sort of answer.
In someways the answer is very specific to each life experience what is a particular human beings optimum potential. That is an answer that must ultimately be answered through the journey of living for each person. However, it seems there is a Universal purpose of meaning of life… to create memories.
In the end if we are afforded the luxury of basking in old-age that which is amassed as treasure are the many stories that a person is able to tell about their time here on the planet. Your personal record, field journal, biography, epic or not so epic legend to be told for the ages. What fills the pages of your book of life?
Waking up in the morning each person has the opportunity to create memories for a lifetime. What memories are you capable of creating? What stories do you want to be able to tell? What is keeping you from creating these memories? Are these challenges able to be overcome?
Some call it a bucket list. A list of things that people want to accomplish before they die. However, this is grandiose in nature. Create a memorable moment everyday. Just a little something special. My youngest child taught me this when she was old enough to appreciate her birthday and decided that everyday should be her birthday. And why not? Why can’t all of our days be a version of our birthday? Maybe not blown all out as the actual day might be but in little ways that mean a lot. Our favorite breakfast, lunch with friends, a small treat to make us smile, a tasty dinner, cuddling and connecting with those we love. Why not do that to some degree everyday?
Our life is a series of memories. What memories are you creating for yourself?
Hello everyone. I am taking part in an A-Z blog happening with a writer’s group of mine as such I will be creating a blog for each letter in the alphabet. This is the A blog and it stands for Authentic.
Growing up like many children of the 1970’s we watched Sesame Street and they told us to Be Yourself. However the actual truth of the matter is that most people do not want us to be ourselves. Especially if what we are makes them uncomfortable.
Now that I am approaching forty, a very liberating time of life for a woman I might add. I am finally beginning to understand and live my authentic self. To find out if you are living an authentic life it all comes down to motivation. What motivates you? What gets you going? Don’t be so quick to answer you are your motivator because many times it is not true.
This became evident to me the other night when I was talking with my five year old daughter. She loves to fix hair and I often find the remnants of her hair cutting exploits on the floor. The other night she asked me if she could cut my hair. Me, being a fairly self proclaimed free thinker immediately went into a thought script about “What will people think of my hair? What if she messes it up?” and on and on. I had to stop myself and think for a moment “How did I get so wrapped up in my hair?” And believe me I am far from the girls of glamor that spend hours and hundreds of dollars on my hair.
In the end I let her cut my hair. Just for the mere fact of experiencing the Freedom of being myself. That is what in that moment I authentically wanted to do was to allow my daughter the experience of cutting my hair. I have a lot of it and it didn’t turn out bad which is a bonus. It was freeing to authentically be motivated in my life journey. Not conforming into the expression that has been set for me by some unknown “They”. I highly recommend doing one totally free thing today. Something authentically and uniquely you.
A is for Authentic.