Here I am. It is a quarter till midnight on the last day of February. I am floating beyond both the physical and the intellectual into a soft and fluffy sort of sugary mind-zapping void that not only resides in but thrives in wide stretches of the world wide web…..otherwise known as “the internets”.
I am currently googling “vintage strange people fun” and seeing the array of absurdities parading before my very eyes. (If you have never done this I highly recommend it.) …okay, I have a lot of time on my hands but not as much as you’d imagine…it is that important. Mad you say? Perhaps….
I start giggling then laughing which gives way to loud and succinct guffaws. I try to stop but keep giggling….oh my family must think me mad…..
She’s quite mad you know…
There’s more than one kind of madness. There is the crazy “out there” wacky madness. For example my conversations with random squirrels around town, recording this nonsense and putting it on YouTube. That is a fun kind of madness the type that many young eccentrics like myself and probably you too enjoy.
There is also the sort of madness that comes about when the squirrels talk back. This is a not so fun kind of madness, depending really on what they say. An example of the worst kind of madness is when the talking squirrels start criticizing your life choices and making fun of your colorful outfits.
Today we’ll be concentrating on the fun variety of madness; the kind that has been scrubbed clean of any unpleasantness with a good strong anti-bacterial soap.
What follows is an example of quotable madness accompanied by some trippy pics with a side of SBI.
Happy March my friends,
Enjoy the madness
M A D N E S S
“Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?” ―Douglas Adams
“Humor is reason gone mad.” ― Groucho Marx
“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” ―Marilyn Monroe
“The mad are happy, the sane ignorant; those of us stuck on the sane side of madness or the mad fringe of sanity are in a purgatorial cage.”
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” ― Jack Kerouac
“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.” ―Philip K. Dick
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.” “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice. “You must be,” said the Cat, or you wouldn’t have come here.” ― Lewis Carroll
“You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad.” ― Aldous Huxley
“Stay mad, but behave like normal people. Run the risk of being different, but learn to do so without attracting attention.” ―Paulo Coelho
His words were simple and earthy. Words that came straight to the point, jutting out at odd angles, all the while meandering along the sandy bank, flowing along with the gentle stream. Words that reflected a quiet beauty; a oneness with nature conveyed in tiny jagged pieces that formed an exquisite mosaic of thought and feeling.
He wrote of love in such a simple and honest way and his words have inspired countless romantics on their quest to find their other half.
The general theme of Rumi’s thought, like that of other mystic and Sufi poets of Persian literature, is essentially that of the concept of tawhid — union with his beloved (the primal root) from which/whom he has been cut off and become aloof — and his longing and desire to restore it.
All the quotes that follow are his…
Daylight, full of small dancing particles. Can you see them when I whisper in your ear?
“There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled. There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled. You feel it, don’t you?”
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there
When the soul lies down in that grass
The world is too full to talk about
“The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.”
“The most alive moment comes when those who love each other meet each other’s eyes and in what flows between them.”
“In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.”
Lovers find secret places inside this violent world where they make transactions with beauty.
Reason says nonsense.
I have walked and measured the walls here, there are no places like that.
Love says, there are.
“Wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in love.”
Here’s to green fields and sunshine, blue skies ,timeless poetry and infinite LOVE ♥
May this romantic month bring you your heart’s desire.
Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī , also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī and more popularly in the English-speaking world simply as Rumi (September 30, 1207 – December 17 1273) was a 13th-century Persian poet, jurist, theologian, and Sufi mystic. Rumi’s importance is considered to transcend national and ethnic borders. His poems have been widely translated into many of the world’s languages and transposed into various formats. In 2007, he was described as the “most popular poet in America.
I came across a picture today. It was a drawing made by a someone I don’t know. I saw it online, I think it was in my Facebook inbox. The artist’s name is written in the side. It is basic but genuine and to me conveys the most achingly beautiful sentiment.
and it sparked something…
I will sometimes get an idea for a post, but I won’t know actually how it will turn out. It starts with a message I want to convey, whether it be simple or complex. Sometimes it can take days, weeks, months even. it just rolls around in that crazy head of mine waiting for something… a spark? Something to give it life. Incidences will happen; little things, really of no significance but then one day–wham! It all fits together. This picture was a catalyst.
We share a collective consciousness. The good, the bad, the everything contained therein.
The best and worst of us is inside us all. We share so much. One important need is to give and receive love. We are an empathetic species that thrives on mutual understanding and cooperation. We need togetherness.
Newborn babies can die if denied love, it is ingrained in us, the need to reach out and be held. It is a basic and human need we first receive usually from our mothers and fathers. And it this need to touch to be touched lasts through our lifetimes. It is beyond sexual desire which in itself is powerful. It is grounding, it is humbling and uplifting.
The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety. Hugging relaxes muscles; releasing tension in the body. They can take away pain and soothe aches by increasing circulation into the soft tissues. Hugs balance out the nervous system and boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”
~ Virginia Satir
Hugs are wonderful. They are warm and innocent expressions of affection. To me hugs are magical events.
They are hopeful. They are happy. They spread happiness.
We have a human need to be wanted and valued and accepted. A hug is a demonstration of that.
There is much to be said about the power of a hug. I have noticed a trend as of these last few years of people with signs giving out free ones. It is a novel thing. it creates a bit of a spectacle and maybe it isn’t all that serious but it does make people happy. and it sends out a terrific message.
I have noticed with the passage of time that hugs are becoming more freely given and socially acceptable. When I was a child one rarely would see two men hug, these days it is commonplace. This is a wonderful thing.
It is such a wonderful thing and so is a kind word, a pat on the back and a smile.
Sometimes we don’t know the burden another may be carrying and cannot fathom how one simple act of encouragement from someone; a stranger even and what sort of positive impact that it can have.
If we all made a point of doing this; reaching out to others even sometimes going the extra mile to tell another person you care; whether it’s just an ear to listen. Sometimes all people need is a release; someone to talk to and a little sympathy. Sometimes it is a stranger, a person you will never encounter again, this does not lessen the quality of the interaction. Every positive interaction we have with another person makes them feel good and makes us feel good. it’s all good!
And just like rabbits these positive interactions spread and before you know it the room is of full of rabbits.
Try it you’ll like it. Hug someone today.
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ― Albert Einstein
Today I celebrate the nonconformist. The one who thumbs their nose at convention. The one who doesn’t follow the crowd. The one who blazes their own trail and never looks back. It is this sort of person who creates innovation and brings new ideas to life. Without the nonconformist the world would be a boring place indeed.
It is understandable to want to blend into the background. It is safe there. Away from attention and possible controversy, judgement or dislike. I’ve spent most of my life in the shadows hiding from the light. But that is a lonely existence hiding away behind a wall and not showing your true face to the world. You not only deprive yourself of the world, you deprive the world of yourself.
Don’t do this! Stand out and be proud for being yourself. As my friend and mentor Dr Seuss once proclaimed;
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
I often liken the world to a garden and people to flowers in that garden. Through diversity in nature we find strength and resilience. This reminds me of the Potato famine in Ireland in the 1840’s. One in eight Irish people died of starvation during this horrible famine. It was a lack of genetic variation in Irish potatoes that contributed to its severity when blight wiped out the potato crop in which the people’s diet was so dependent on. This devastated Ireland’s population and economy. Evolutionary theory tells us that relying on a mono-culture is a recipe for disaster.
When we are all the same, we as a people stagnate. New ideas are not formed and our garden of humanity is in danger of being wiped out when the inevitable crisis occurs and no new solutions can be found. I don’t think our culture encourages diversity of thought as much as it should. People are led to believe the fallacy that in order to get along we must conform to rigid social norms that leads to a group vs group mentality which in turn leads to exclusion, misunderstandings and unfortunately, at times…violence. They say that birds of a feather flock together and I see this time and time again.
Everyone has their own song to sing and each one is different and beautiful. We must learn to respect the songs of others and see the loveliness in our diversity. We must also see how valuable we all are to each other and know that everyone can contribute; not just those whose personal philosophies align with our own. Lastly we must learn to recognize our own wonderful uniqueness and not be ashamed to show it to the world. The more people that do this, the more such differences will become acceptable. So if you already haven’t done so–find your own unique and beautiful song. Sing it loud and sing it proud.
Have a wonderful day!
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
– Apple, “Think Different” campaign
“The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.”
Most of my life I have taken the easy way. I convinced myself that the path of least resistance is always better. I attempted to justify my inaction to myself with excuses and feel-good sayings but in actuality I was letting my fears take over my life. This is no way to live. Where has this gotten me? Nowhere. Fate let me drift along. At times I would be lucky and float into good fortune. I believed that just being good in my heart was enough. I meant well but I never stood for anything. I let others take the wheel. I lied to myself and have learned the hard way that the easy way is not always the best way. In many cases the easy way will lead you downstream into a false sense of reality and sooner or later you are left high and dry.
I have learned that what is truly worthwhile is rarely easy and that anything worth anything takes hard work and perseverance. Most success stories are about people who never gave up; people who had fallen time and time again but always got back up. It hurts to fall and sometimes it hurts even more to struggle to one’s feet. History is full of stories of inspirational people who succeed beyond all odds and it was perseverance and plain old-fashioned hard work more than anything that was the cause of their success.
Many never try because they are afraid of failure. This is the easy way. Thomas Edison didn’t take the easy route. Once called “addled” by his teacher, Edison only had three months of formal education. This self-taught man called “The Wizard of Menlo Park” went on to hold 1,093 US patents in his name; Including a stock ticker, a mechanical vote recorder, a battery for an electric car, electrical power, recorded music and motion pictures. His most famous invention; the first commercially practical incandescent light took 10,000 tries to perfect.
This river we call life is tough and it is not fair. As someone with Asperger’s I have struggled with this one; the supreme unfairness of life. Nelson Mandela the anti-apartheid revolutionary who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999 could teach us about the unfairness of life. He certainly did not take the easy way. As a lawyer and leader he fought his own government’s policy of apartheid and because of that in 1962 he was arrested, convicted of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. This great leader served 27 years in prison and was finally released in 1990 after an international campaign lobbied on his behalf.
Speaking up for the truth is seldom the easy way and the Reverend Martin Niemoller certainly did not take the easy way. This one-time Nazi turned his back on the Fascist Movement in 1933 and organized the Pastor’s Emergency League to protect Lutheran pastors from the police. In 1934, he was one of the leading organizers at the Barmen Synod, which produced the theological basis for the Confessing Church, which despite its persecution became an enduring symbol of German resistance to Hitler. In 1937 he was arrested for treason and spent the rest of of WW II in concentration camps, narrowly escaping execution. After the war, Niemoller emerged from prison to preach pacifism and reconciliation. He won acclaim and awards and died in 1984 at the ripe old age of 92. He was probably best known for the following:
When the Nazis came for the communists, I did not speak out; As I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats, I did not speak out; I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; As I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews, I did not speak out; As I was not a Jew.
When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.
Inspiring words that still inspire today. It takes courage to swim upstream; to go one’s own way. It takes strength of will and determination to stand up for what you believe. This may entail rising up against the tide of popular opinion. This could be a lonely task; standing up for your convictions but soon enough others will join you. It just takes one to start. I recall the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes, it only took one small child to stand up and speak the truth. There are many truths and everyone has their own. Sing you song loud and proud, and don’t be surprised if a whole chorus of voices join in.
Thanks for listening,
“If the road is easy, you’re likely going the wrong way.” ― Terry Goodkind
I’m angry…damned angry. Boiling mad angry. This is a rant my friends and if you don’t wish to see the darker side of SBI please look away. Come back again on another day. That is a warning and this is a rant!
I feel someone should speak up here. I suppose I lead a sheltered existence, safe in my little blog world where I am surrounded by enlightened and caring people. I do however venture out to the virtual world at large, and oh yes, we all know this world can be ugly, unbearably ugly.
I try to stay away from all this but I am concerned. I do care and I am curious. I recently visited the Huffington Post. It is a place I go. I have an account there and I am called theindigoside. As the name suggests it is the indigo side. I can get somewhat political but I am me, and all the me I can be.
This is all very sad. Many of us in The United States have no health care. I was chatting with a British friend of mine on Facebook and had a difficult time explaining how our system “works”. I personally have recently lost my benefits and those for my two children. It is a scary thing to be at risk like that but I am grateful and I feel blessed to have all that I do…but I digress. This rant is not about me.
This poor man in the story is a homeless and obviously desperate man. He could be mentally ill. He could have a myriad of problems. This is not my point….it is obvious again that he could be doing better but he is not. THAT is a fact. We could go over who and what the problem is. We could blame the government, the Democrats or the Republicans. We could blame the one percent or the 99. We could blame his parents, society or corporations..we could even blame the man himself.
The world is f**ked my friends, oh yes, we all know this…
This is all valid but this is not why I am so upset, at least not at this time. Right now, I am upset about the type of comments this story received. I am appalled really.
No one saw the sadness, no one had any empathy for this man. Some blamed the “freeloaders” of society. Many had someone or something to blame. Some made fun of his appearance and all the comments I read blamed him in some way. Not one of them had any sympathy for this poor fellow human.
It was a competition on who could be more clever and witty than the person before them. I probably put myself up for ridicule with these people but I had to speak up…I had to…
This was my response:
“However someone looks at it. Whoever someone blames for the ills of society. Whatever someone says trying to be clever and witty all the while sitting at home with a full stomach and a nice warm comfortable bed to retire to. In this someone’s opinion it is a sad and sorry state that has befallen us when no one has any sympathy, empathy or any sort of feelings for a fellow human being. NO one is immune to adversity. However and whatever some may think. One’s fate can turn on a dime, just like that. This story is just sad. Damn sad all around.”
And it is not just here. It is everywhere. I see smug self-satisfied people judging others. It is so easy to do so. It is easy for some to tell themselves that their luck or success or whatever is due to the deserving of it. It also is easy to save one’s compassion for the attractive while condemning those who are not so much; old people, ill people ,the homeless, the wretched, the insane, and the troubled. It is easy for some to blame and condemn, to point the finger to all except themselves.
Many rich people have worked very hard and so have many poor people. Good fortune plays a huge role and that fortune can and does change. As we all know the rain falls on us one and all.
I know for a fact that you are not like this. You are compassionate and wise and wonderful.
Surrounded by people like you all the time one could think everyone is like you, but this is not the case. I know I am preaching to the choir here. I guess what I’m trying to say….
…next time you hear some of this garbage being spewed by your fellow human please stand up for us. Set the record straight, help us all and preach understanding and compassion. Let those who hold these sorts of negative and unproductive opinions know that that sort of thing will not be tolerated. Speak up for the voiceless, the misunderstood and the ugly. Stand up for the ill and the homeless and the poor people who have done nothing wrong but be poor. We all deserve kindness.
Thanks for listening,
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” ― Plato
I have mentioned my neighbor Mrs Wheatgrass in the past and have whimsically called her my nemesis. This was probably due to the fact that my plans included this being temporary. I have always wanted to win her over. I am a big believer in “turning the other cheek.” And that everyone can be “killed with kindness.” This is something I have preached about and I really do believe it but let me tell you; Mrs. Wheatgrass is one tough nut to crack.
She and her family moved in next door about seven years ago. It was late August just before the onset of another school year. My son and I were taking a walk around the neighborhood. We were engaged in some sort of conversation when we spied a moving van in front of the beige house next door. My son was excited. He wondered if the new people moving in would have a son his age. We saw a blonde woman in brown shorts exit the front door and we immediately went up to her. We introduced ourselves and welcomed her to the neighborhood. My son who was about 10 or 11 at the time, had been working on his handshake and extended his hand. She asked him what grade he was going into. When he told her, she looked at him doubtfully and then me. She informed us in no uncertain terms that as an educator she knew he must be a year younger. “I can vouch for him, I’m his Mom” I said half joking. She seemed to doubt me too. I thought this strange at the time. My son was a little upset. His fragile preteen pride was damaged somewhat but I saw it as a teachable moment.
“Maybe this is all a misunderstanding” I told him. “She she could have misspoke or we could have misheard her.” I advised that we should give her the benefit of the doubt and so we did.
Whenever I saw my new neighbor I would smile warmly and say hello. She seemed about my age. She had a friendly husband and a sweet little daughter who was a baby at the time. I thought we could become friends. Most of the people in my neighborhood at the time were elderly and I was looking forward getting to know her.
She seemed wary of me and I just chalked it up to shyness. I am shy myself. It has been a lifelong handicap that I fight to this day. So I kept it up. I would smile and wave. I would say hello and try to engage her in small talk but to no avail. MM joked that she was afraid of me. I could be coming on too strong. I tend to overcompensate for my shyness by being “over friendly’ so I backed off. I would smile and say hello but that was it.
Time passes as it does. She added to her family with another cute daughter. I would hear them in their backyard whenever I would be working outside. Back then I was able to spend more time on my yard and I have to say it looked nice. Green, well-manicured and full of colorful flowers. I was working this time in the front yard, carefully weeding around our newly planted Yoshino Cherry tree when Mrs Wheatgrass approached me.
A-ha! Obviously my friendly vibes were winning her over, I thought. “How can you stand that?” She asked and gestured to our crazy neighbor who was parked in front of his house blaring his radio and yelling “Yeah!” over and over. I laughed. I agreed it wasn’t easy putting up with him but at least his taste in music was good. “Aren’t you going to call the police?” she asked. I said no. I told her that I liked his music and frankly that was not a good reason to call the police. She said that he scared her. I told her that he was loud but harmless. “Just try to ignore him” I replied. I said the wrong thing I suppose and she walked off in a huff.
I think back to that time now and I regret not being more sympathetic. I admit I was a bit put off. If she was so concerned why didn’t she call the cops herself? Why ask me?
I wrote about this exchange at the time and that is when I actively set out to kill her with kindness. I will win her over I thought. Maybe her life isn’t so rosy. Maybe she needs to feel understood.
One day about three years ago during the onset of the “great recession” I was again walking in the neighborhood, this time with MM when we saw her out walking too. This was surprising since we had never seen her do this before. She approached us with a worried face. MM asked her what was wrong. She told us she had just lost her job. We said how sorry we were. She thanked us and wisely mentioned it could be a blessing in disguise because now she’d be able to spend more time at home with her daughters. Tragedy has the capability of bringing out the best in people. I thought of Mrs Wheatgrass and her two adorable daughters and how they would benefit from being able to spend more time together.
But there it was, Monday morning and like always there they were at seven a.m. like clockwork, lunch pails in their tiny hands waiting by the van door to be let in. Daycare again, but why? I thought it was almost like she was still working. She would dutifully take her daughters off to daycare and then return home and stay inside until it was time to pick them up.
I knew it was none of my business, but my heart ached for those little girls and for Mrs Wheatgrass. Being a parent I know all too well how fast children grow. Every moment is precious. How could she just send them off like that when she didn’t have to?
I suppose it is not my place to judge I thought…and I remembered a quote…
“Never judge others. You both know good and well how unexpected events can change who a person is. Always keep that in mind. You never know what someone else is experiencing within their own life.”
― Colleen Hoover
More time passed and Mrs W and I had many more interactions. I’ve gone over them in my mind, trying to figure out where I went wrong. What could I have done differently? Maybe it was the times I weeded the side yard we both share, maybe it was when I didn’t have the time and stopped the weeding. It could be that that I worked at home. She did snidely call me retired from time to time.
It was as if we had this undeclared competition between us with the yards. I would be out working in mine. This was my hobby. I enjoy it. I love plants, this makes me happy. I am not trying to outdo anyone. Every time she’d see me out in the front yard she’d send her husband out to work on theirs. He didn’t seem to be enjoying himself. I sort of felt bad. It was as if it was my fault he had to dig up dandelions. What can I do? I thought and just kept on keeping on… it is what it is…or at least it was what it was…
…until our home business started to wither and slow down to a crawl and I returned to the workforce. This changed things at home, inside and out. Our well manicured lawn turned brown and the backyard went wild. I am not proud of this but again, it is what it is. My weeks are full and my weekends are even fuller. My beloved hobby took a backseat to the more pressing matters of day to day life.
It was a sunny Saturday a few weeks ago. The Wheatgrasses had just removed a mature tree from their side, a tree that provided shade for much of our yard. Big branches fell down on our side and onto our tomato plants. MM asked the men cutting down the tree if they could please remove the branches when they were done. The men were very nice about it and cheerfully did as MM asked, obviously this did not sit well with Mrs W because when MM came in from the yard he had just had a heated exchange with her and was visibly upset.
“She said our fence is rotten, our yard is an overgrown mess and there is ivy growing everywhere.” She yelled at me and said we better do something about it.” I hardly ever see MM like this. His face was red and he was shaking. I admit our mutual fence is weathered-looking but it is sturdy and frankly we don’t have the money for a new one.
“I’ll talk to her” I said and went over to see her. I knew that if I explained the situation she would understand. It was if she was waiting for me. Before I could get within two feet of her she smirked and said in a condescending tone “You’re upset about the tree aren’t you?” Before I could answer she yelled to the workmen who were taking a break on her lawn. “I bet you get this all the time!” I could tell from the looks on their faces they wanted nothing to do with the whole thing. I instantly felt sorry for them…and me.
“I would have liked some warning about the tree. It’s removal did change the whole micro-climate of the backyard. I will have to move some plants but I know it was an old tree and it needed to be done. No, it’s not that…”
She cut me off before I could finish….”I don’t have time for this.” she said and looked to her van parked in the driveway.
At this point I admit that I was getting angry. I am very protective of the people I love. She had upset MM and now she was working on upsetting me. I am a small person and it takes a lot to get me going but once I do I am like a mighty lion and my roar can move mountains….
Knowing this I backed off. I could see it was going nowhere. I said we’d talk later and I went back inside. MM was worried…I told him that she had no power to make us pay for a new fence…I jokingly referred to one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies The Wizard of Oz…when Glinda The Good Witch says to the The Wicked one…
“You have no power here! Begone, before somebody drops a house on you, too!”
A couple of days went by. I asked my son if he could help by cleaning up the ivy next to the fence. As he was working he overheard Mrs. Wheatgrass talking in a nasty tone to someone in her backyard. “They’re having their long-haired son doing it now.”
That was it! He was hurt, MM was hurt and I’d had it! The lion was ready to roar when Glinda took over and asked?
I had my answer. I simmered down and thought for a while…
Why does this bother me, I ask myself? So what if she doesn’t like me or never did? So what if she is prejudiced against my family? Is it this rejection or is it something deeper? Is it a rejection not just of me but my ideals. I set out for her to like me, when she didn’t I tried to win her over. I thought surely she’d like me after she found out how nice I am, but she didn’t. There is a lesson here…
I ran across the following quotes which fit the bill…
“About all you can do in life is be who you are. Some people will love you for you. Most will love you for what you can do for them, and some won’t like you at all.”
~Rita Mae Brown
“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”
I’m taking a page from Glinda, Ann and Rita, putting on my Ruby slippers and going for a walk around the neighborhood, It may not be Kansas but it’s pretty nice here too….after all there’s no place like home…
A quirk of fate left me with no personal electronic devices whatsoever last Friday. I had no I Pad, no IPhones, no Google Google’s.. no Kindle or the like, I had nothing…not even my dumb phone which was at home. It was just me..my observations and my notebook. I must admit I don’t own any of the before mentioned list of gadgets, except the dumb phone-…I have that..a stupid phone.
So it wasn’t a big deal when I boarded the Max headed toward Beaverton without a gadget or prop.
I sat in a backward facing seat and braced myself for the long tunnel…
The Robertson Tunnel is the MAX Light Railtunnel that runs through the west hills of Portland, Oregon. There is one station within the tunnel at Washington Park, which at 79 meters deep is the deepest subway station in the United States and the fifth deepest in the world. It’s almost three miles long and takes five minutes pass through. It is cold, dark and loud…
As we travel faster and faster there erupts a high-pitched scream that echoes off the stone walls. This makes for an unnerving and uncomfortable ride for the passengers. Most try to sit there stoically and pretend nothing is going on while we ride it out. A few cover their ears. I am one of the larger stoic group. The unusually long five minutes pass and then it is over. We emerge out of the tunnel. The sky opens up and there is a collective sigh of relief…
…and then everyone is back at their screens. There are some books or newspapers and a few smallish laptops but mostly is what I once heard referred to of as “a bar of soap”; a personal electronic device that fits neatly into the human hand, becoming really an extension of it. A device that many of us seem to be transfixed on and obsessed with a good portion of our time.
According to edtechmagazine.com
84% of Cell phone owners report they could not go a single day without their device and 44% of them confess to having slept with their phone nearby because they didn’t want to miss a notification.
A bit extreme, but common. Becoming addicted to your phone has become such a real condition that experts have given it a name: “Nomophobia” (no-mobile-phone-phobia).
I know this is a world-wide phenomena. It is amazing how much things have changed in the last twenty years . I am old enough to remember what it was like before everyone was “plugged in” I suppose I use the term “plugged in” a bit sharply. I myself am writing this on a laptop and you are reading it on some sort of device.
It cannot be denied how electronic communications have changed the world for good and bad and that nebulous in-between region that we are unsure of until it passes and becomes history. Time will tell how this will effect the future world and how humanity reacts to and with itself.
Often we must give up something to gain something…and in this there is no exception.
In our modern connected world we are tuned in to the hum of the network and the buzz of the instantaneous all knowing all hearing web. We can converse and share with others all over the world in real-time. Never has the human race been so connected. Connected in a cerebral Ethernet. A system that has a collective “mind” of its own.
Of course nothing ever is all black or white..
Never have we as a species been so disconnected to our true nature, ourselves and each other….and to our planet.. Many immerse themselves exclusively in temperature controlled artificial environments, driving from one place to another in an air-conditioned fossil fuel burning car.
Why ever leave the “comfort” of the indoors?
Why strike up a conversation with a stranger on the train when you can stare at your screen and get those thumbs going. I’ve noticed and I can’t be the only one to see that people seem to use their electronic device as a social barrier,,as some sort of protection in a world where increasingly social intimacy with your fellow person isn’t as important anymore…..and isn’t too kosher. The world is a dangerous place. It is easier and sometimes safer to just keep to yourself and look as disinterested as can be.
I am reminded of the classic Science Fiction tales of the 50’s, 60’s where beings from outer space or some unknown alien force takes over humanity in subtle and not so subtle ways.
This whole thing reminds me of just that. The entity, that thing or phenomena…whatever you call it….be it the web, the internet , the screen. the hive mind or the collective or the big stupid distraction, whatever it is…..this THING is taking over.
Social realities are changing. People tune each other out almost to the point where they pretend each other isn’t there. It seems there is some unwritten law that you can completely ignore your fellow human. As long as you pretend you cannot see one another, as long as you don’t look at each other in the eye. Once you look at another person in the eye, is it is too late and now you are socially obligated to acknowledge each other. Perhaps to the point of greeting and maybe even.. gasp….conversation.
It makes me wonder what the future brings…
I suppose on occasion I will endeavor to put my dumb phone away. It fits nicely into the zippered pocket of my purse and maybe every once in a while I’ll just forget it all together…
Airbrushed models stare back with empty looks as I thumb through one of today’s popular magazines. It is chock full of these empty-eyed ones selling this and that. Their long glossy hair and oh much too white neon teeth prompt me to remember to jot down Crest White Strips when I make out my weekly shopping list; something I have yet to try but am beginning to feel bad that I haven’t.
I don’t normally look at these types of magazines. I am more of a National Geographic type but my co-worker had it lying on her desk and I admit I was a bit curious so I asked to take a peek. I instantly felt bad; too short, too fat and definitely too old. A photo of a 71-year-old actress with no visible wrinkles tells me this. She looks on top of the world and I …well…I look dumpy.
I’m definitely not sporting the new “it” color which is emerald by the way and I haven’t spoken to my manicurist about this news flash. In fact, as shocking as this may be: I don’t even have a manicurist or an interior designer, who this magazine also says I should be speaking to about custom lighting and the new vivid countertops.
I do like the mega heeled bright fuchsia shoes on the following page, but I’d break my neck if I tried to walk in them. The shiny pants are nice, emerald by the way. I haven’t felt this inadequate since I was 19 and used to read this stuff. Back then I would compare myself to these models and even then, I didn’t stand a chance.
It never occurred to me at the time those models couldn’t compare with their own doctored up photos and that no one who appears in these things actually even resemble themselves.
I went on my first diet at age 9 and stayed on one or another until age 40 when I threw out my scale and gave up on that nonsense. (one of the smartest things I’ve ever done by the way)
It is a shame I felt so inadequate. It is a shame many other people do; women and men alike. We as a society base too much importance on appearance. It is superficial, shallow, so damn unnecessary and frankly, stupid. There are so many faces of beauty in different colors and hues. Like in a flower garden, variety of shape, form and color is what lends to the loveliness of a garden. Oh what a boring garden it would be if all the flowers were tall, slender and dainty, pristine white roses.
People, especially younger ones are put under so much pressure, so much scrutiny by themselves and their peers. This leads to so many bad feelings and heartache…not to mention health concerns and deaths from anorexia and bulimia.
I remember how bad I felt when my then 14-year-old daughter, who wears a size seven and is a willowy beauty with long wavy hair told me she was fat and didn’t like the shape of her face. I remember how I felt when was that age and used to starve myself to squeeze into impossibly tight jeans because I too felt fat. This cycle must stop. Of course I told her the truth; she is not fat, that she is wonderful, smart and artistic and it’s what inside that counts and how I am so very much proud of her. She didn’t buy it…”You have to say that, you are my mother.” she said…
I can’t compete with these magazines…not back when I was 19, not last summer when I tried to convince my daughter that she is beautiful and not now as I turn the pages of this all too glossy thick magazine jammed packed of examples of how I don’t measure up.
I know better, I’ve given up on ever being perfect, I am a short middle-aged woman without super whitened teeth and I have fine, straight hair. Although I am well-groomed and take pride in my appearance, I know I am no beauty queen but I am loved by my family and my heart is pure and my conscience clear. I know better and yet this still bothers me. Reading this magazine reminds me why I stopped looking at these things years ago…
We all say that it is what’s inside that counts. We say it’s someone’s heart and soul that is beautiful, many people pay great lip service to this truism…even the media will throw us “common” folk a bone every once in a while; making a big deal out of featuring “real people” in an ad and patting themselves on the back the whole time but how many “Dove women” are there compared to those perfect ones who really don’t exist?
It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we the public; the masses, so to speak are the beholders. If we keep buying this hype, they’ll keep selling it.
I got I new National Geographic today and I’ll be taking it to work, perhaps I will pass it around a bit…and while all this was going on I ran across this quote…online, not in THAT magazine…
“Step Away from the Mean Girls… …and say bye-bye to feeling bad about your looks. Are you ready to stop colluding with a culture that makes so many of us feel physically inadequate? Say goodbye to your inner critic, and take this pledge to be kinder to yourself and others.
This is a call to arms. A call to be gentle, to be forgiving, to be generous with yourself. The next time you look into the mirror, try to let go of the story line that says you’re too fat or too sallow, too ashy or too old, your eyes are too small or your nose too big; just look into the mirror and see your face. When the criticism drops away, what you will see then is just you, without judgment, and that is the first step toward transforming your experience of the world.”
Perhaps I’ll print it up and give it to my daughter…
“The way to know life is to love many things.” ~Vincent Van Gogh
To say this man was misunderstood is an understatement. To say there were probably many reasons for that, again, is an understatement. To associate this great artist with the phenomena of color is quite obvious. Vincent lived and breathed color and he is this month’s colorful person.
Vincent Van Gogh, a man never appreciated in his lifetime is one of the most well-known artists today. His work has inspired many and his story is certainly sad and compelling. He was one of history’s tragic figures. He gave so much and got so little in return. I must admit that I have a soft spot in my heart for this man, this person who saw beyond reality, who shared his profound soul with his beautiful art and lost his mind in the process.
“I wish they would only take me as I am.” Vincent Van Gogh
In essence he was lonely. To him probably the loneliest person in the world. I can certainly identify with the feeling. Vincent was misunderstood and alone in an unforgiving and harsh world. I can understand being totally consumed and compelled by one’s art to devote oneself so fully to it….only to be ignored. Vincent wanted to share his beauty with the world and in his lifetime the only person who truly cared about him was his brother Theo. It was Theo who supported Vincent monetarily and enabled Vincent to keep painting.
Ever since I first beheld a Van Gogh I have been entranced with these genuine masterpieces. His paintings embrace the soul of color. They inspire me and I cannot get enough of their imperfect beauty.
Vincent Van Gogh made the world a better place, a lovelier place. Perhaps it was his suffering which enhanced his vision. His devotion to his craft was more than apparent in his work.
It is through this story of Vincent Van Gogh that has allowed me to realise just how fleeting life can be and how beauty and talent can endure beyond the life of the artist. It is due to his story, this wild man of color that I have learned not to be so judgemental. Who knows what hidden talent and beauty lies behind the eyes of any random stranger I may encounter. Everyone has something wonderful about them. It is the norms of society that at times does not fully appreciate this, but I try to. For Vincent’s sake and for mine.
“One may have a blazing hearth in one’s soul and yet no one ever came to sit by it. Passers-by see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way.” ~Vincent Van Gogh
The world is a runaway train about to jump the tracks and head straight into a deep dark abyss. There are over six billion souls on board. People from all walks of life; men, women, children. The good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. People who have it all and those who have nothing. We are all on this runaway train together; whether we asked to be here or not, here we are. And you my friend are at the controls. You didn’t ask for this…you shout to no one in particular: “I don’t want this, what did I do to deserve this? Your desperate shouting falls on deaf ears but all eyes are on you…what do you do? Just what do YOU do?
This is a nightmare scenario my imagination just cooked up. Of course you are not at the controls and I’m sorry that I put you on the spot like that.
You are probably in the comfort of your cozy home reading this on your computer or electronic device as I am while writing this. The world, although disjointed is still relatively intact. Odds are we are alright. It is those other people that are in trouble. We have nice families and friends, a warm house and full stomach.
Odds are tomorrow we will go off to work or school or somewhere; perhaps to meet someone for coffee or to walk the dog or go shopping or to a show. The world will still be here when we get home back to our nice warm beds. The world has always been here as long as we’ve been alive and for the most part, for most of us, life has been pretty good….
…and so I get back to the runaway train part….haha lulled you into a false sense of security. I bet you thought I might have forgotten about the train and that scary abyss…
Well here we are and it’s like we are on the train and there is no one at the controls at all. We are all passengers; our fates dangling precariously. Most of us just want to get along and make it through to our destination, even enjoy the ride a bit, but there is a disturbance…a fight has broken out…
We are a world divided. As polarized as ever. Each side is 100% convinced they are 100% in the right. Pick an issue; any issue, no matter how multi-layered and complex it is and you will get the two sides and each will explain in vivid detail how incredibly wrong the other side is.
I don’t have to tell you, my esteemed and learned friends, how both sides can be wrong: no one can be 100% right on anything. We all know the world is made up of a myriad of colors, shades and hues. Nothing is all black or all white.
I myself have been guilty of this thinking in the past, actually not so long ago. As many of you have surmised; I come in on the left side politically, to call myself a liberal is not far off the mark and I see nothing wrong with being one. However I am a person who tries to see outside of the neat little boxes that society tends to shove us into.
That being said, there have been times upon hearing a remark coming from “the other side” that I became a wee bit incredulous even to the point of anger. I am not proud of this, but this I do freely admit. I have somewhat of a temper about what I feel passionate about, but there is one thing I try not to be and that is a hypocrite, so I admit here to you and everyone else that in the past I have been angered by some of the things, the other side has put forth. I don’t have to go into what nor do I want to. Most of you have heard some of this stuff and can fill in the blanks. What I am writing here is not to promote my cause or beliefs when it comes to these very hot button issues that we liberals and conservatives are fighting tooth and nail over. This is not at all what I am addressing today.
The point I am attempting to address is the polarization: the fight-fight-fight till you drop attitude and how it’s not getting anyone anywhere.
Taking governments, corporations and special interest groups out of it, while we are at it lets take the media out too–The “liberal media”, Fox news and what have you. Lets just address people here. Your average citizen. I am mostly talking about Americans here because being one, I feel I can speak for Americans…but on second thought…maybe I am speaking for us all, because I am a citizen of the world as well as you are…
We are in a state of decay. I think most of us can agree with that and I think most of us can agree that we are divided and that most of us care….care about our communities, our fellow citizens, for the world at large and most importantly I’d say that most of us care deeply about our families and ourselves.
The world is a confusing and scary place; hey….another thing we can agree on. Again this is overwhelming and most would agree on that too.
This proves my point and here is my point in a nutshell: we can agree on something. We can find common ground and this is where we can start. Next comes the listening. As I’ve mentioned no one can be 100% right about everything, at the very least we can agree to disagree and then move to what we agree on. There is too much at stake to just shut our eyes and ears to everything that the other side has to say….and while I’m at it….this Us vs. Them thing…this sets us up for failure.
We humans have this tribal mentality, it’s hardwired into us genetically. This need to belong to a group, but somewhere along the line, a long time ago, we humans decided that in order to belong to a group this group must exclude others. We have trained ourselves to search for differences instead of looking for commonalities.This has led to much heartache, death and destruction. I don’t have to tell you this. I don’t know if we can ever get over it, honestly…but I do know that we should try because there is a lot at stake, in fact there is everything at stake. This tribal tendency goes far beyond our local politics, this enters into every fight, skirmish and war we have ever been involved in…..perhaps this is irrevocable human nature and what I am suggesting here borders on the impossible…
For the most part there has always been war. Some would say this built-in aggression has been essential to our survival as a species and I would tend to agree. Out of the many humanoids who lived on the planet, only Homo sapiens have endured and that is probably no accident. We are a product of evolution and humans are capable of great change and growth and we as a species can learn. I believe we can learn to, at the very least, try to find common ground and listen to each other. We share this beautifully wonderful and diverse planet. We are neighbors and we are on board this runaway train together. We have a vested interest in getting along….
So maybe next time you hear someone; a co-worker, an acquaintance who lives down the hall, the man at the bus stop, the woman at the grocery store, even your “cranky” Uncle Pete or anyone for that matter who disagrees with your beliefs. No matter how vocal that person is, or angry or whatever…even if what they say sounds 100% insane to you. Remember that no one is 100% correct on anything and we can all learn something from everyone…so open your mind and your heart. Show some compassion (even if they have none themselves) and listen….please.
The world needs leaders, the world needs compassion, the world needs you and I… and even cranky Uncle Pete.
Thanks for listening,
“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” ~Albert Einstein~
“Let my thoughts come to you, when I am gone, like the afterglow of sunset at the margin of starry silence.”
The first time I read the words of this great poet I knew I had found a kindred spirit. Never before or since have I identified so much with another person’s words. The fact that this man was born and passed many years before me and came from a completely different and unknown culture from me mattered not.
His words show a deep and profound connection to nature and spirituality: a connection that I have always instinctively felt for as long as I can remember. My upbringing as a lapsed Catholic couldn’t be further from this, but it is this very sentiment I have felt most deeply.
Tagore seemed to have an understanding of the world and a profound love for the smallest of the small lives mixed with a delightful childlike whimsy that has intrigued me. In my ignorance I thought I was the only one who felt that way and now that I know he lived I don’t feel so alone in my feelings.
As a typical American in that regard, I have not been exposed to or do I know much of other cultures, especially non-Christian ones. I consider this a deficit and I have recently been dipping my toe into the deep waters of the beautiful art and literature of wonderful India. I have been drawn to what I consider a wildly exotic and ancient culture that impresses me greatly.
Rabindranath Tagore in my opinion is the perfect first teacher. I have discovered his works not very long ago and I can’t seem to get enough. What follows are some of my favorite quotes by this amazing poet and fascinating individual.
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
“If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.”
“Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.”
“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in you. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”
“By plucking her petals you do not gather the beauty of the flower.”
“Let your life lightly dance on the edges of time like dew on the tip of a leaf.”
“The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures. It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.”
“Perhaps the crescent moon smiles in doubt at being told that it is a fragment awaiting perfection.”
“Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them.”
♦ ALL QUOTES BY RABINDRANATH TAGORE ♦
Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913 “because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West.”
“The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them.”
*Henry David Thoreau*
I have been finding myself slipping ever so slowly into what is commonly referred to as “middle age” apparently halfway between birth and death. At 43 I’d like to think that I still have a few years before I officially hit that middle mark. This middle age business can take its toll on the ego sometimes, especially at those times when I am being called “ancient” by my smartalacky teenagers. I don’t feel ancient or old at all…really.
In fact I still expect to see that smarmy teen looking back when I look into the mirror, to see traces of age where there wasn’t before, tells me time passes quickly… much too quickly.
One day I’m young and full of attitude. I am a self-proclaimed knower of all that is worth knowing..I have the world by the tail and can do no wrong…and then…
and then… I really don’t know what happened…time passes like it always does, it goes faster than you think it will…it seems to be going faster and faster and then, in what seems like a blink of an eye….you wake up and take notice. It’s like waking up from a dream and find you’ve been asleep for far too long.
There’s a moment that sticks in my mind; a time that time made me wake up; it was probably the first time that society sent a subtle message to me…
“You are getting old, you”
I wasn’t ready to hear that…
I was in the car changing radio stations like a maniac, as I do. I found a song from my youth…I think it was AC/DC’s “Back in Black”, this was a favorite of mine in earlier days: to me it symbolized youth and fun and….rebellion…..back when I was a youth full of fun and rebellion….and so I hear the song and all those feelings rushed back and it’s like it was yestersday…I am a punky 14-year-old clad in my black leather jacket and spiky hair, wearing pounds of makeup and tons of attitude….I’m right back there and it’s fun, I enjoy this… Music does that to me. I enjoy stepping back into little pockets of my past with music…it was all good up to that point…until the end of the song when the radio station proudly proclaims itself as classic rock station…..What?! How can that be classic rock? I remember when that song came out….what?! Are they implying that the music of my youth is old? ….what?!….that would make me old….NOOOOOO!
(I think it was this screaming that woke me up)
That wasn’t the first time nor the last that society has tried to point out to me that I am no spring chicken anymore…this bothers me….another thing that bothers me more than anything is my generation’s acceptance of this “old” label.
It seems that a lot of people my age are in too much of a hurry to be old they do seem like a bunch of old people–I can’t help but notice this.
It is a sickness how rapidly they embrace…….eeek….Nostalga!
I hate to say it….
I do admit however it can get tough to fight off that sick and pathetic nostalgia that tries to knock on the door of my conscious mind. I’ve seen it in others before. I watched the generation before me: The baby boomers embrace nostalgia like nobody’s business. Ka-ching Ka-ching. I enjoyed feeling smugly superior. I guess the kind of smug superiority that comes with the flush of youth and ignorance.
I’ve also watched how the boomers have looked age square in the face and said: “Not me, not yet.” I have always admired spunky older people.
I just have never seen myself as becoming one of those spunky older people…
I know I’m repeating myself when I say this, I guess old people do that, but I don’t feel old. I do feel the privilege of experience, I remember a fair bit of history and I feel more solid and sure of myself. I am more realistic; life has stung me a few times but I appreciate a whole lot more and I’d like to think that I’m a much kinder and compassionate person in my “old age”
In fact I have never felt better. I hate to brag but I am in the best shape of my life, mentally, emotionally and physically. I feel on top of my game. I also am at a crossroads. In a sort of in-between time. I am in a state of flux and in a transition and for the first time I don’t know what I’m transitioning into. I surprise myself daily. That I am writing this amazes me…
I came across the definition of a mid-life crisis that I thought…interesting..
“A midlife crisis is experienced by many people during the midlife transition when they realize that life may be more than halfway over. Sometimes, a crisis can be triggered by transitions experienced in these years, such as andropause or menopause, the death of parents or other causes of grief, unemployment or underemployment, realizing that a job or career is hated but not knowing how else to earn an equivalent living, or children leaving home. People may reassess their achievements in terms of their dreams. The result may be a desire to make significant changes in core aspects of day-to-day life or situation, such as in career, work-life balance, marriage, romantic relationships, large expenditures, or physical appearance.”
THAT sounds a tad too familar…so what am I to do?
I’m gonna’ crank up that Classic Rock station, dig out my old leather jacket, put some purple dye in my hair and fight fight fight all the way baby!