September 28, 2010
Placed, ME Newsletter, Vol. 3, Issue 39
There are times when we all do it: something that we don’t really want to do.
I have so much less on my plate than so many others, and yet I still feel overwhelmed at times.
Now that it’s within my grasp, I’ve developed a selfish reluctance to give up my down time when it is needed by others. I talk myself through uncomfortable approach issues – I can do this. I tell myself it’s important to show, knowing I will be able to find a way to slip out quietly if I need to. I plunge in and keep as busy as possible because I know idleness is my enemy. It finds me in the lulls, and I argue myself through flight issues. Just for a few hours. Just one more hour. Just until the event is over and things are settled. Just until…I find I have stayed to the end, even though every cell in my mind and body rebelled against it, echo-demanding “go – retreat – recoup!”
It would be nice to be able to say my philanthropic nature is easily swayed to participate. Lately, it’s not been like that. It’s been more hesitant, more self-searching, more me-driven, or more accurately: me-parked. I wish I could come up with enough self-importance to believe that GOD places me everywhere I need to be. But I don’t think that’s the truth at all: GOD puts me where HE needs me to be. And sometimes, I just don’t like it. I follow through, but in ways that sometimes make it harder for me. I’m not half committed, just slightly over – enough to be there, but still a bit removed. Sometimes being there is only an illusion that makes us look reliable while our hearts are somewhere else.
There is no obligation that holds me there. It’s deep down admiration. It’s being surrounded by people whose plates are more like platters; heavier than most, and way harder to balance. Knowing they are determined to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, is what drives me to be there. What keeps me there, keeps me in step, is that hope that someday it will be just as natural for me to rise to that level of commitment without carefully measured consideration.
Then when the crisis begins, I step up. When it’s time to get something done, I do it. It’s always been that way, but lately it’s not without second thoughts. And there is a certain sadness to that. Being there at the right time brings our hearts back to the present; to what is in front of us. It calls us into action, superceding awkwardness and doubts.
We lend our hearts and hands to situations that we could not have predicted. We put aside the annoyances of the day, the goals of the day; we instantly cease measuring our success and count only our could-be losses. We hold ourselves together while we wait. We don’t panic. We do pray. We look around at our treasures, meeting their eyes in understanding, acknowledging our unspoken fears, sharing a suspension in time that life has placed before us, and GOD has placed us for.
And that, my friends, is what is meant by - and the true meaning of - being there at the right time.
Build-A-Prayer Part 3
I have within me your gifts of peace and love and spirit, and all that I can be by your grace.
September 21, 2010
Luminary, ME Newsletter, Vol. 3, Issue 38
“You hold yourself together like a pair of bookends
But, who are you when I'm not looking
Do you break things when you get mad
Eat a box of chocolate ‘cause you're feeling bad
Who are you when I'm not around
When the door is locked and the shades are down?”
Preface: I re-fell in love with a song recently. A 2010 second incarnation of a 2007 release that reminded me of a greater love, and the greatest love of all. Yes, that’s a bit abstract, but no, it wasn’t that far of a leap for me.
Mostly, we all like to think we are who we are – always.
Even though we actually know better.
We know what goes through our minds – our doubts, our regrets, and how hard it is to keep that façade.
So now, I’m wondering who we’re really keeping it from and why? I have some fairly legitimate self-answers. No one likes a downer. A hidden weakness can’t be held against you. Anger makes you ugly, and the after affects of crying don’t look good on anyone.
Still, we like to think, in fact we insist, we share our whole real selves with some; an equally careful few whose souls may have evolved like ours. But even those relationships come with expected limitations of holding back when hurtful or afraid to hurt.
The thing is, eventually, everything leaks without consistent, repetitive repair. If you spend enough time around anyone, they’ll come to see the subtle signs. They’ll call you on a distant look or heavy shoulders, and you can’t really say that you’re fine. So, you say, “Oh, I’m just thinking….” and it’s not a half-truth, at all because by now you’re thinking… “How did they know?” That’s always followed up by a split second cost analysis of the price of divulgence versus the price of alone. We hope our cultivated mirror image, which we’ve spent hours, days, lives practicing is a luminary. But even luminaries cast shadows.
So, who do we willingly show our hidden side to, and who always sees it anyway?
GOD doesn’t need to ask us, “Who are you when I’m not looking?” But we certainly need to cultivate our presented personas to a point where they must, and do, merge with our private selves. It’s unreasonable to project infallibility when every moment is a failure. Failures in disclosure, failures in encompassment, failures in alone; we fail until we believe.
Only then do we recognize the difference between the glass refraction – our reflection of ourselves – and the luminary that allows us to see deeper. Only then do we come to and begin to know how GOD so closely follows who we are when no one is looking, answering well-hidden un-sent prayers we didn't even know we had prayed.
In this issue: Edith Wharton, Luminaries, Lighting a Path, Autism Hope of Lenawee @ Clinton Fall Festival
Now posted: Faith, Current, Build-a-Prayer 2
Build-A-Prayer Part 2
I am with you because you are always with me; we are one - universal.
September 14, 2010
Changing My Position, ME Newsletter, Vol. 3, Issue 37
I changed my position on prayer.
Basking in a sunny Sunday morning, listening to the crisp fall breeze carry caws and chirps and chatters, coffee cup in hand, I realized I have been praying down - eyes closed focused on my hands or lap or perhaps the floor.
About a year ago, in my ever active pursuit of peace and contentment, I purchased a daily affirmation book: Spiritual Diary, An Inspirational Thought for Each Day of the Year by Paramahansa Yogananda and others. Occasionally, I remember to thumb through it, always choosing the appropriate date.
Yesterday’s 9/11 daily rumination apparently caught my attention in a way I was unaware of. It’s not like I consciously carried it with me all day, or even thought much about it after it was read.
Then, this morning, in the perfect surroundings, I thought to aim my prayer focus into the space between the brows know as the spiritual center. Before I even began to name my morning prayers, I realized I was praying up. My body followed my closed eyes, trained upward, chin slightly raised, shoulders straight, back tall.
In many religions we are trained in supplication, positioning ourselves as naughty children, davening, bowing our heads or down on our knees, forever asking for forgiveness and guidance. I've found this new position promotes something more powerful. It brings about an awareness of prayers that are flowing from the heart up through the head to pinpoint place of concentration.
My prayers were not so much a lame and lowly “forgive me” but a more powerful, highly aimed “give me.” Dear Lord, give me strength to face whatever lies ahead, as I change my heart and my body, my mind and my focus both physically and spiritually.
I reposted this 9/11 comment from a friend who wrote: “[she] stands arm in arm with all who mourn, regardless of what they call their book.” Wholly against fanaticism, I hold my beliefs solidly; yet open enough to know there is something to be gained from every method of spiritual focus.
I plan on holding my new position, whether alone or among others, praying this personal prayer:
Dear Lord, give me strength to face whatever lies ahead, as I change my heart and my body, my mind and my focus; both physically and spiritually.
In this issue: Bindi, Spirit, Build-a-Prayer, Paramahansa Yogananda
Now posted: Humor, That's Random, 15 bras
September 13, 2010
Build-A-Prayer Part 1
My GOD; creator of all life, director of all things, light of the world, receiver of prayers.
September 12, 2010
I tried on 15 bras at Macy’s.
Disclaimer: If you are not a woman, you might want to stop reading this right now.
Disclaimer Retraction: If you’re a man, this may be something you need to know about. It could provide a lot of clues about a woman’s psyche.
The truth is I have sadly come of the age where gravity is winning.
The truth is I need old iron sides support.
The truth is I don’t need the cone-like Madonna-look that accompanies it.
Muffin top is a cute name for the disaster that happens when pants that sit too low and fit too snuggly end up on mature hips.
Has anyone come up with a cute name for that middle-aged side-boobage catastrophe?
I haven’t yet... probably because there’s nothing about it that inspires a cutesy name.
In any case, after 15 bras, I managed to weed my selection down to two types. After about an hour, I admit I was an emotional wreck. Tired of the whole buckle in - buckle out - buckle down, strap adjusting aerobic work-out. It’s actually a lot tougher than we readily admit to wriggle our arms around our backs, over our shoulders, as we attempt to adjust the misnomer of “fit.”
As a lady it is my obligation to my sister-hood to acknowledge that we always end up “settling.” In true trooper form, I settled on the most comfortable style of my limited two choices. Plus 3 bras, minus $67.00 (on sale) and a cranky-meter reading of about 9, I wearily headed home. Lucky for me, and other drivers on the road, my previous trek of 36 miles home from the mall has been delightfully minimized to less than 3 miles. In some ways this is good, in others I can see it going badly, quickly.
C’mon, girls – let’s admit it – even thought we get new contraptions, we rarely throw away the old immediately. Why? Not because we’re fond of the faded color or because they hold such great memories of having held our mammaries. We save them because what passed as the best option in the store usually morphs into a poking torture device as soon as we pull the tags off. We know we’ll get “used to” our new group support, if we ease ourselves into it as gently as possible.
Surprisingly, my first tag ripping, big-breath, here-we-go securing session went well. The bra was dang comfortable! And there I was thinking, “Go figure – I finally won one!”
I pulled a blouse over my head and stood there dumb-founded. “Go figure” had turned into “No figure.” I simply had no assets. Confused, I removed the blouse and assumed the not-really-yoga-but-almost position of elbow to ear, hand to shoulder blade, grope for the tightening of straps position. After nearly dislocating my shoulder and my wrist, I determined they were tightened as far as they could be tightened to achieve optimal lift. Well, then…
Must be the blouse shrunk in the wash – I do have a different washer and dryer now. Maybe… just maybe… I was wrong about the situation. The blouse went back on, and I now noticed it was also a little tighter in the arms. Maybe all the side-stroke pool swimming I'd done over the summer had changed my bicep measurements which in turn made the frontal property less frontal.
I turned sideways thinking I would find a better view and that the solution would be more obvious. Having changed my view, my eyes gravitated to the clock, and I realized I had to leave immediately or I would be obviously late for work. Still confused, I stumbled out the door without my travel coffee mug. I devoted my entire 6 minute commute to analyzing the situation. There had to be a simple and reasonable explanation, but I couldn’t come up with one.
As the morning progressed, I became aware that my arms were not sitting comfortably at my sides. I kept flapping my elbows out - like that would help. There came a time when the nasty office coffee had to make an exit, so off to the rest room I toddled feeling like a bulk ridden body builder unable to achieve normal straightening of the arms. As long as I was in the semi-privacy of an oversized stall, I decided to re-investigate. Off came the blouse and the bra. By now, I had come to the logical conclusion that I simply must have purchased one in the wrong size. I’d tried on so many, you know?
Nope, no such luck. The size was correct, although… wait a freakin’ minute! There was a word - a very tiny word very placed un-obstructively under the fancy scrolled name and serious printed size. I didn’t see that little gem in the dressing room because I stopped replacing my glasses somewhere around the 4th or 5th round. The minute but hugely offensive word? Minimizer!
Have you ever wondered how a bra can “minimize” your reality? Well, I have, and now I know. Minimizer bras don’t minimize nothin’ – the darn things flatten the front and squish what’s been “minimized” to the sides. At last I had determined why I was flapping like an uncomfortable hen and experiencing a severe short-fall in front.
Big sigh. I now own three very expensive doing-chores-around-the-house bras, and have resorted to my old double-buddy double-barrel slingshot stand-bys even though they are a bit lacking in support and a bit too elasticized in give.
I hope y’all have learned something by my sharing here. This is why you don’t throw old bras out until after the first full-day test run. If you’re in any doubt, go ahead and purchase one for yourself. And then you too can clean the house in glamour!
September 07, 2010
Down Load, ME Newsletter, Vol. 3, Issue 36
Sometimes restrictions can be more freeing than we ever imagined. Trading a house for an apartment meant having to off load extra items, and re-evaluate finances. I walked away from the house with just two rooms of belongings and a bit of cash that I’m sure will come in handy when my eight year old vehicle inevitably needs repairing or replacing.
Some expenses went down, others went up. Others went completely away. Like the house phone which only ever received messages for some delinquent family named “Berciaga” who thought it would be a good idea to give everyone my number to call. For almost 5 years I weeded through calls from schools, truant officers, doctor’s offices, repair shops, major retail stores, mortgage companies and banks, the list goes on and on. I found myself telling my tale of “they-annoy-me and they-fooled-you” woe to anyone who called looking for them, including one thugly sounding fella who demanded, “Gimme Joey, now!”
Where was I? Oh, yeah – down loading. Going from three computers to two computers seemed like a triumph until I recently involuntarily downgraded to one computer. Of course the old tower, used mostly for storing itunes is the one that now refuses to turn on.
Significantly and a very thought out deletion – no television. About 6 months before I moved, I realized that I just hadn’t watched tv in just that long. Was going to eliminate it, but the sales rep talked me into a basic news plan for $21 a month, down from $70. However, I still didn’t find myself mindlessly parked on the sofa, so I said so long to that expense.
I wasn’t really in for bucking the new electronic system of things. I was just trying to lessen the load; remove distractions, find more time to do things I want and need to do. I’ve got cards to make, books to read, exercise goals to meet, frontiers to conquer, and a café to run – there’s no room for boredom.
However, on the slightly over-consumption side of things, I rarely have less than three screens open on my laptop computer at any one time. Writing the newsletter, playing a game, checking email, and balancing my checkbook are common multitasks. I do sometimes find myself lost in that realm for a few hours at a time. I came across an article the other day citing research that indicates multitasking is damaging our cognitive processes.
Hmmm... where was I? Oh, yeah... extoling the virtues of restriction.
In this issue: Fractured Multitasking, Video Magazine Ads, Bryan Beckstead.
‘comes around ‘cause I let it,
encourage it, nurture it, wait for
this time of year, breathing in the air,
and the feeling that maybe now
maybe now, the time is right
or at least better, feeling
stronger, with stronger feelings
and thinking maybe now
I won’t be waiting, maybe now
our time aligns, the way I’ve
envisioned it, for a long while
from the long ago beginning, even when
I knew it wasn’t possible, then even
when it wasn’t likely, still stubbornly
believing in a someday, which now
and once again, like you, has failed
to come around to me.