October 26, 2010
Firewall, ME Newsletter, Vol. 3, Issue 43
Firewalls are good. They don’t let anything in. Well, scratch that… they’re not perfect. Sometimes things get through. Sometimes they shake up the system a little before we get the chance to kick them out.
I’ve slowly been building my own negativity fighting firewall. It’s been a struggle. Like any good dam, you’ve got to get that first block in the water before you can even dream of stopping the rapid flow. And then you’ve got to build, build, build. You can’t lay a foundation block and then wait too long before adding to the line. If you do, you’ll find the edges of your early blocks begin to wear away under the constant barrage. What you end up with is little places water can slip through, and water is a very adept eroder. That isn’t always a permanent disaster though. Patches can be made, as long as you keep up with them.
Same thing applies to fighting fire with fire. The only way to combat unfriendly negative fire is you’re your inner positive flame. Use your fire to consume and contain. For every negative thought you have, throw back a positive one. For every negative comment someone else throws your way, throw back a positive one. Silently, of course -I’m not encouraging conflict.
I am encouraging amusement. Remind yourself your shoes match, so today’s going ok. Admittedly this one didn’t work so well for me last fall when I grabbed two different brown shoes one morning. But nowadays when I find myself faced with an excessive griper I silently consider, “My shoes match!” I also make a concentrated effort to not giggle aloud.
Nowadays, after years of practice, I view my firewall more as a way to keep the good stuff in my internal circulation than to keep the bad out. I’m not unaware of or choosing to be blind to the constant negativity of life. I know the bad stuff is out there. I know I have some gaps in my amateur walls, after all I built the without a well mapped out plan or even outline instructions. I’ve just learned how to spot my own weaknesses, and I know they’re best sealed with humor.
Suppose the Wind
Suppose the wind kept calling your name
Suppose you wished it was me
Suppose it wasn’t so complicated
Suppose we could just let it be
Suppose it was a good thing
Suppose we stepped up with nothing
Suppose we started something sweet and rare
Suppose we could stand there
Suppose we recognized the sound
Suppose we slowly spun together ‘round
Suppose we let our hearts take flight
Suppose it just happened one night
Suppose we quietly felt the same
Suppose the wind called your name.
October 19, 2010
Bully, ME Newsletter, Vol. 3, Issue 42
Freedom from Bullies Week is October 17 – 23, 2010!
No, I’m not kidding, and no this isn’t a new recognitive.
An online poll from my news home page asked the following sidebar question: Has bullying become worse or is media just engaging in the problem dujour frenzy?
Yes, and yes. There have always been bullies but intimidation methods were more juvenile, and sometimes vague enough to make us question if we were under attack at all.
Growing up, my parent’s take on bullying was this: Sticks and stones may break your bones but names can never hurt you. I took this to heart and used it frequently as a retaliative retort to frequent verbal bully teasing about my religion, my weight, stuttering, and a mentally handicapped sibling.
Standing up for yourself was another nugget of wisdom passed on to whiny students by teachers and school counselors– only you’d better be sure you can handle the results on your own if you did.
Back then, ink markers on bathroom walls and lockers were how word was spread. Annoying, juvenile and doubt-worthy the impact was usually short-lived.
I’ve significantly bullied a bully once or twice. Maybe more but only two episodes come to mind. I defended one of my brothers once when some idiot decided to book check him in the halls. I rushed the jock and landed a good heal kick right in the back of his knee causing a nice buckle and fall. HE lloked straight at me, stunned, and then continued his searching sweep for the culprit. I skirted around the incident unscathed. Yes, I was standing right there, the closest one to the action, but no one suspected shy me.
Once a cheerleader at my new high school decided it would be fun to slam my locker door shut while my head was still in it searching for a book. Didn’t take kindly to that either, so I whipped around blindly and threw one punch. I suppose it could be categorized as successful because I caught the side of her head and broke her glasses.
There weren’t security cameras in our school hallways, and there wasn’t a flurry of electronics avail for common use. Nowadays such things as digital cameras, phone cameras, webcam, and video can document arguments, spread rumors or stop rumors in their tracks. They also they provide “evidence” of a person’s weakness – real or not, staged or otherwise. Bullying is a convenient but lame word for the recent string of well publicized atrocities that invaded others’ private lives.
If there’s a national Freedom from Bullies Week then it seems we have a problem that goes beyond grade school teasing, high school false hierarchy formation and has moved undoubtedbly into the workplace. I know. I’ve seen it, and so have you. I don’t have an answer but I do have a starting place.
I don't see where it matters if bullying has increased or not. What I do see matters is how we choose to react right now, and in the future.
Here’s a pretty little idea that packs a mean triple wallop of respect, compassion, and kindness:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
In this issue: Bully, Boullion, Surrounding Yourself With The Right People.
Now posted; Facebook Gems, September 2010.
Facebook Gems September 2010
Mr. September is a Polish Frizzle of the Golden variety. Truly - that's his breed! Reminds me of Elvis, sort of... uh huh huh yeah yeah uh huh huh.
Reflecting now on how things could have been, it was worth it in the end. Daughtry
posted by Casey Alexander: Not looking back at regrets, how many people you bless is how you measure success.
You got what????? Married???? At where????? Frontier Ville??????? Why am I the last to know?????? Love, Mom
You know you're a dork when you forget girls night, go grocery shopping, remember girls pm an hour too late, think you can still make it, drive around for an hour because GPS keep delivering you to Kroger instead of Panera, can't locate the theatre either, the engine starts knocking and the right rear turn signal blows out. Yeah.... Happy Friday night...
Sept 10, again:
i think i'm over my pity party. i remembered i had one weight watchers turtle sundae left... emphasis on the "had" part.
Sept 11:9/11/01. On 9/20 I finally got through the jammed phone lines to a friend across the water from the Twin Towers. "Are you okay?" I asked. "Sort of..." she said. "Are you still coming to my wedding?" I asked nervously - knowing it was now just two weeks away. "I can't," she said. "I can still see the smoke rising." And I understood. She needed to see it through: watching until the grey skies cleared, being there when the sun shone again.
Came in from the porch and the sun and the lovely breeze because I am having a day of writer's thoughts.... Well, shoot! I've got a wireless laptop... out I go again!
Sept 12, again:
Just thinking how my little balcony and my laptop are such along way away from the days of dragging myself and my spiral paper notebook and my ink pen and my blanket to Central Park.... I just moved an entire 30 gallon tote of writing - on paper - that I need to transfer to this century. Just another winter project... they're piling up!
ack. schnuffle, schnuffle, sshhhhnickle, snort, snort, sneeze.... waaahhhhh. i need some homemade chicken noodle soup, please....
Administration of Benadryl & Chicken Ramen warps the time continuum tesseract-style as evidenced by this prone positioned, incredulous, one-eyed, digital read-out observation: known session commencement begins 6:30 pm - semi-conscious resumption occurs 10:45 pm
October 12, 2010
Affirmative, ME Newletter, Vol. 3, Issue 41
I could easily become a hermit, not exactly along the lines of Emerson or Thoreau, but I could survive… with internet and phone capabilities. I don’t think it’s temporarily inspired complacency. I do think it’s got something to do with finding a comfortable place within and without.
Finding myself at 47, alone, on the deck of gorgeously well equipped cabin sipping a fine cup of mocha was the inspiration for this train of thought.
Sure the nearest market was 20 minutes away, but would it matter if I trekked out once a week?
Not much, since I’m such an excellent planner and accomplished over-stocker.
Would it be hard to be snowed in? Not any harder than being sunned in.
Could I make those necessary extra careful decisions and not compromise my desires? Sure I could,
Hot tubbing alone with coffee at 8:30 am is way more responsible than hot tubbing alone with wine at 4:00 pm.
Taking the stairs rather than navigating the rocky terrain short cut on the way down to the private beach was another good choice, as far as I’m concerned.
Ok. Calm down. Of course I wouldn’t be alone all the time. There’d always be holiday visitors to consider.
Affirmation is the confirmation of anything established. So I hereby affirm: I’m quite comfortable in the void of solitude. However, since the established may not always be what my heart will desire, here is where it all goes wrong: the trouble with getting away is having to come back. What I have convinced myself was ok is truly at best mediocre, which is better than awful, but not quite fine. Yet.
Daily affirmations occur whether we realize it or not. A good deal are negative based, some are positive enlighteners. Inner monologues consisting of half happy mantras are becoming more common for me.
Years of dreading a job I had come to dislike has preconditioned me. I still have the residual “I don’t want to” thoughts when the alarm goes off. But at least I have changed the meaning of the ’”I don’t’ want to get up and go to work because I hate my job and my commute.” to “I’d rather stay home read a good book and bake a loaf of bread than go to work.” Truly, who wouldn’t?
It’s taken some diligent purposeful practice, moving toward the more positive side of things.
I’ve found it gets easier to identify the true underlying negativity in our pretend positivity.
What I need to do, and what I want to do, is get past what I don’t want and get to what I do want.
In this issue: Affirmation, Worry, Alexander Haig, Build-a-Prayer part 5.
Build-a-Prayer, Part 5
I step back now, willing to watch your universe unfold.
October 05, 2010
Fours, ME Newsletter, Vol. 3, Issue 40
Who decided to measure significance in fours?
4 years of high school. 4 years of college. 4 score. Scholarly times, significant times, self discovery and soul expansion; whether we realized it or not.
First year scared, uncertain, going through the motions and just trying to keep up. We don’t think about seniors because it’s unimaginable that we will ever be them.
Second year more comfortable, finding routines to follow, not so much worried about being lost, we know our place, for now.
Third year holding our own, established, feet planted firmly in ownership of our roles, noticing a new class of freshmen.
Fourth year – accomplishment, realized a pinnacle, and confidently measured our success and scholarship.
Some of us went on to college and some of us decided not to take quarter ride again.
Widowhood is a lot like that.
First year scared, uncertain, go through the motions and just try and keep up. We don’t think about happy because it’s unimaginable that we will ever be that again.
Second year not so uncomfortable, not so much worried about being trampled by anniversary dates, holidays and every days since we’ve already been through a round of those.
Third year it seems we’re holding our own, sort of established, feet planted firmly because we’re tired of change, noticing more freshman faces and wondering if they’ll survive.
Fourth year – taking careful measure of each minor success in our educational journey, we don’t really need to decide to go on pursue a higher education. It just comes with this particular type of scholarship; not exactly a free ride - this one comes with a moral obligation to guide, if we can. Some of us will decide we’ve learned enough. Some of us will seize the opportunity to further our education.
So here I am, four years later having completed a reluctantly personal four year scholarship to widowhood. Not a freshman, or a sophomore, not even a junior anymore: I’m a senior. I’m sure I haven’t learned all the “alone” there is to know in the universe, but I’ve established a pretty firm, well-rounded foundation. I’m sure additional unanticipated lessons will come my way. Circumstances seem to dictate further education is in store. Never content standing still I guess I’m headed into the college years now.
Maybe, after another 4, I might qualify for some sort of teaching certificate. Although after another 4, I will no longer be a “young” widow, so I’m not sure how much help I’ll be to the younger accidental scholars. On the other hand, I anticipate, not with happiness, that there will be more peer aged victims of the inevitable.
I keep coming back to the conclusion that timing is everything. So how we count it is important. Whether it’s a four-year program, a five or eight year program or an accelerated path, time doesn’t change the way you hurt, it merely adjusts your tolerance for the pain and moves it towards a strange and previously unimaginable acceptance.
Build-A-Prayer, Part 4
Constant thanksgiving and gratitude for all that I am comes from all I have ever been, ever been given, ever will be given by GOD's grace.