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The Lesson

August 31, 2008

This short story has been moved to

Not Exactly Fiction

Castles Made of Sand…

July 31, 2008

fall into the sea, eventually.  Jimi Hendrix said it best.

I’ve been building a castle.  Of fantasy, conjecture and hope based on recalling a truly repressed memory.  Yeah, definitely not the best foundation on which to build my castle.  I learn and I live and I experience.

What I’ve learned is that a closed heart causes more harm to all involved and creates more pain than necessary for the body holding the heart.

What I’ve learned is that opening a closed heart is even more painful than keeping it closed.

I am opening my heart and I’m not building anymore castles, not with sand, not with bricks either.

I don’t want castles.  I want…

Well, I’m still not sure what I want.  I know that what I have is a castle, crumbling and a heart opening.

I’ll leave you with Jimi

You Wash Your Dish and I’ll Wash Mine

July 5, 2008

or something else about Honesty and Expectations.

A knife just flew off the kitchen counter and onto the floor.  It didn’t cut me but the words I was thinking finally cut through my victimhood.

I haven’t been responsible, in any shape or form, for how my life is right now.  I haven’t taken responsibility, because that defeats the victimhood I’ve been wearing.  Under this hood, it can always be “their” fault.  I can remain faultless and validly ask, “Why does this always happen to me?”  I can leave the question unanswered or I can answer with another victim statement, “It’s not my fault.  If ‘they’ would just do x, then…”

Not very powerful is it?  Everything that I would like to change or make better or delete from my life is based on someone else doing something that will change MY life.  Only it doesn’t work that way.  Never has.  Never will.  So on one hand, I am glad the knife didn’t cut my flesh and instead became a metaphor of my thoughts, slicing through the victimhood I’ve been wearing.

See honestly this line of questioning all started with washing dishes.  Yeah, I have this thing with dishes.  I’ve come to the conclusion that if I wash what I use, shortly after I use it, then I am being and becoming responsible for myself.  It’s a simple precept which can be applied to numerous other things.  Having made this decision also means that I choose NOT to be responsible for washing dishes other adults use.  That makes me a target.  It also offers me practical training in doing what I say to the best of my ability and leaving the responsibilities of others squarely on their shoulders.

It is not my issue that others in the home feel it is someone else’s responsibility to “take care of it”, it in this specific case being washing dishes.
So those were the thoughts I was thinking when the knife flew off the counter at me.  I immediately realized how deeply I had just cut myself with my own thoughts.  I think the knife cut could have been less messy.  I would at least know how to stop the knife cut from bleeding.  I haven’t figured out yet how to consistently be totally responsible for me in all ways yet, but I am practicing and it started with washing dishes.

Honesty and Expectations

June 30, 2008

What happens when I have one expectation and you have another expectation and were talking about the same thing?

Confusion happens. So does irritation, anger, frustration and usually the dissatisfaction of both parties and any peripheral parties involved.

Can this be avoided? Sure. Is it easy? Maybe.

When we have conversations about what our expectations are in certain situations and if we are honest with ourselves, generally the process is easy. So the question becomes, how honest with ourselves are we?

I can’t answer that question for you. I will answer it for myself. I can be pretty darn dishonest with myself. That dishonesty creates personal frustration, anger and confusion in myself and like osmosis, is picked up by others.

I was going to put an example here, yet when I thought about and edited this post, I realized it wasn’t really necessary. Suffice it to say, I find myself being more honest with myself. I am taking small steps to becoming more responsible in everything I do. I don’t need to wait for someone to suggest an action. I find that leaving no trace of myself behind is working and now that I get the habit of it, I am expanding it to include new things and to reverse old habits. It’s an everyday awareness.

My expectation is mine alone. So I have to be honest with myself now, this expectation that I have, I was wanting, hoping, expecting it to influence the actions of others. Wrong expectation. It’s no wonder anger, confusion and frustration show up.

This is a partial quote from Totally Unique Thoughts (TUT) from The Universe, that showed up in my inbox this morning. The Universe said, ” The only person who should ever have to live by your standards, Ria, is you. Let everyone else off the hook.”

So I am. I release the expectation of influencing others. I live by my expectations and up to the standards I set for myself without believing others must do the same.

See how easy it is when we are honest with ourselves? It’s easy to say, now we’ll see how well I do with everyday awareness.

Oh and if you want to have your own Totally Unique Thoughts from The Universe, ===>Sign Up <===, it’s free and it’s more than worth it.

Wish Craft – A Quote and My First Lesson Learned (Part 1)

June 14, 2008

We think that accomplishment only comes from great deeds… Great deeds are made up of small, steady actions, and it is these that you must learn to value and sustain.” ~ “WishCraft” page 106 by Barbara Sher

Just a few weekends ago,  I was helping my 21 year old cousin drive to college over 800 miles away from where we grew up.

I told my cousin I was extremely proud of her.  What I didn’t tell her that I was just the tiniest bit jealous.

I have told her many times that no matter what she does or doesn’t do, her life is hers to live.  There will always be things that “shouldn’t be, but are” and her attitude, decisions and actions about facing those “shouldn’t be, but are” moments will shape her overall life and her day to day interactions.
When I looked in the trunk of her car, that morning before starting our journey, all I could do was laugh.   At the base of the trunk were a medium and a large suitcase covered by 31 boxes of shoes, along with 5 unboxed pairs stuffed into the mesh trunk organizer.

It brought back memories of me moving out of my parents house the first time.  My trunk looked just about the same, with many of the same style of shoes even, except my boxes were carefully stacked largest to smallest.  I didn’t have any suitcases.  My clothes were gently folded, on hangers beside the stacked shoe boxes.  I wasn’t heading off to college.  I wasn’t traveling hundreds of miles.  No one helped me drive.  I was running away. I didn’t know where I was going to sleep that first night, or any other night.  I had a few hundred dollars though and I had my *coughsputter* hotnubilebody *coughsputter*.

My cousin is a lot more secure in her esteem than I was at her age.  She is much more serious about what she wants to do and based on the conversations we had while driving, she is equally unsure about all the things that really matter to her.  She is fighting her demons, the best way she knows how, confronting them, one at a time and she is keeping her good friends around her.  She is asking for guidance from a higher power and she is listening.  All the things I didn’t do, initially.  I hope that I have encouraged her to do her best and to express her frustrations in a productive manner.  I hope that she will keep her head on straight and not get it twisted by circumstances and unwanted situations.  I hope that she accomplishes what she dreams of accomplishing, even if that means she struggles through things.  Like I said, I was a little jealous until I realized the truth.

I realized as I was crying into my sweet potatoe souffle (more details in Part 2), that I have those things too, now.  I couldn’t have talked to her about them if I didn’t have them.  I couldn’t explain it nearly as well if I didn’t also possess it.

While I may not have started with that foundation, I did slowly build it through trial and error, through a lot of the small, steady actions I have taken.  That is an accomplishment.  It’s only the beginning for her and for me.    It is the beginning for anyone that doesn’t just want Castles Made of Sand.

Still haven’t checked out “Wish Craft“? I hope it only because your life is exactly the way you want it to be.

Opps, The Mirage is Showing

June 11, 2008

I wanted to face some truths.   Yes, I wanted to face them, but, now, seeing the heat waves distorting the mirage I’ve been hiding in… Well,  I find myself pouring sand into my mouth and calling it fulfillment.  Phlet,thpp, thpp,phlet, yeah the granules are stuck on my tongue, in my teeth, between my lips and gums and it hurts and I am only partially awake. 

These are the options I see in front of me right now.  None.

Okay so that’s a little melodramatic, but since my inner brat is controlling my life right now, what do you expect?  Here is an example of how bratty, my brat can be…

At the ripe age sometime between 8 and 10, I received a whipping, with switches from the switch tree in my side yard.  After the offending switching (which by the way was wholly deserved) I collapsed in the middle of the hallway moaning and lamenting to my mother, “Look what you’ve done,  I can’t even walk.  You broke both my legs.”

I proceeded to pull myself four and three quarter feet down our narrow hallway, using only my arms, wailing the entire way.  I was serious, she my mother was in the living laughing her ass off.  I didn’t remove myself from the floor or miraculously re-discover the full use of my legs until I was safely ensconced in my bedroom.  I don’t recall what happened after that, but it was summer time and I am certain that I did not stay ensconsed in my room for very long.

My inner brat has always had the flair for melodrama.  It’s a wonderful hiding place.

I, the adult, kind of awake me, know there are several choices available.

The adult me says, I can work a plan designed to make the dream real and offer hope to others that it can be done even when we can’t see past the mirage.  I can work towards fulfillment and enlightenment.  (I’ll be talking more about it, just a few sentences down in this post.) 

I can let go of the dream, mourn it and move on to something else, like a soul stealing corporate job or a menial low wage job and become an alcoholic, overweight, bitter single woman with lots of cats.  Melodrama, I know.

I can stay stuck in the status quo of the mirage and keep eating sand until my insides burst and I die.

Hmmm, which to choose.

So far I’ve chosen to stay trapped in the mirage.  It has been working, I am still surviving, with the unwavering support of Mom and Dad.  It’s unwavering but contains it’s own brand of parent guilt and future promises of caring for them when they can no longer work and care for themselves and don’t have any savings or retirement (wait, that’s a whole other issue and not one I want to talk about here.) 

… and, anyway, I don’t know how much longer I can continue to live with my parents (and continue respecting them).  I’ve also managed to make a mess of my finances and I am unwilling (not unable, but unwilling to get a soul stealing corporate job or a low wage menial job, here, I’ve gone here to apply.  I Love The Loco Value Menu) .   

I became depressed thinking about it.  I became depressed not thinking about it.

So, I decided to act and not think about it so much.  What has also helped me take action is that I’ve been going through “Wish Craft” a book by Barbara Sher.  In the book she asks, what would make our lives ideal.  She then takes the reader through a process of suspending all disbelief through writing down what an ideal environment is for you and what an ideal day from morning to night would look like in your ideal environment.  She says we can have anything we want and to put it down if we think we want it. (Turns out, I’ve got the whole suspending disbelief covered and I am really good at it  For those of you scoffing, I’ve got a few questions for you later on.) She then moves into a process of assessing if that is what we really want, you know like the fairy godmother or the genie in the lamp, poof, it’s now yours, are you gagga over having it or are you running way going gahhhhh?  From there she details the process to determine what, if any, of those desires in our ideal environment and our ideal day, we already have.  I’d be willing to bet we have more than we realize.  I did.

That process is what has brought me to right here, right now, still phlet, phtfft, thppping out sand.

At this moment, I want to WANT to be alive.  I mean, I am waking up, breathing, walking, thinking, talking, responding, reacting and I am grateful for those things.  Still ultimately, I feel as if I am not using them to my fullest potential and that I am just passing through life.

So, I’ve made a mountain out of a grain of sand and I’ve got more work to do now than ever.  The longer I wait, the higher the mountain will seem.

First, I’d like to turn the tables and ask you something, since you’ve read this far. 

Are you wanting to do something that consistently awakens your passions?  Is there something that calls out to you that you procrastinate in doing?  Do you want to follow a calling, or make real, a dream you’ve had since childhood?  Do you even remember any of your childhood dreams?  Is your life how you want it to be with no or very few regrets? Are there any childhood dreams still in your mind, taking up space, creating a mirage of someday?  Are you letting fear, lack of confidence, or maybe circumstances stop you?  If you can answer with yes, maybe or even I don’t know, then seriously, grab “Wish Craft” and go through the process in this book. 

So far I have recovered this from my mismatch of childhood memories…

What I wanted most as a little girl was to marry and as a couple, run a really successful and profitable business.  Then we would  adopt two or possibly three children.  That is what I dreamt about when I was 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.  When I turned 15 and got my first job, I met a woman named Carol.  She and her husband owned three resturants, along with the wholesale butcher shop that supplied those resturantsand other local vendors withfresh, farm raised beef, pork, chicken and fish.  I didn’t like her.  She didn’t particularly like me.  She fired me more than once.  We were both very outspoken, stubborn and knew that we knew what was right.  I am certain she didn’t know how much I admired her for what she was doing especially because it was exactly what I wanted to do “when I grew up.”

Somewhere, in that slurry of adolecense, I was also turned on to another passion.  One I’ve been too scared to follow through on because it means possibly letting that little girl dream go and stepping out of the mirage.  I realized in 8th grade, that I wanted to be an _________.

(I’m not telling just yet, since I’ve committed to finish going through “Wish Craft” to see where I end up going and what might come back to me first.)

The thing is, either I am really scared that I won’t be a good _________ or being an _________ is just part of my mirage.  I don’t know any other way to find out which one of those theories might be true besides spending the time finding out. 

Spending time, makes me nervous as well.  I mean I really don’t know how much more time I have to spend, but like this a story I just read recently about a college freshman standing in line and noticing an older gentleman behind him registering for the same classes.  The college freshman was surprised to find out the older gentleman was 71 and about to embark on his Bachelor Degree.  The older gentleman said, “I’m going to be 75 anyway, I might as well have a degree.”  I’m going to have to give up the mirage anyway, I might as well make some dream real.

The facts are hard to face.  I know staying in the mirage will require nothing of me except to continue to believe in someday, knowing that someday doesn’t really exist.  I can pretend to be okay inside the mirage because it’s easy being a believer in someday.  It is much easier than setting a date and then taking action to make the dream real.

What about you?  How much of your world is a mirage and how much is real? 

Just so no excuses get in the way, here’s the link again for “Wish Craft“.  It might be the push you’ve been waiting for to change your world, your life and your outlook. 

If that isn’t something you are ready to do then you won’t do it.  No problem.  That’s okay too. 

I’ll be writing and talking more about my journey through “Wish Craft“.  I hope you join me.  That’s the last link, up there,^ Click it.  Go on click it.  The link won’t bite.

I’ll be back to tell you more on Saturday.

I’m Not Sure I Understand

May 11, 2008

Do you remember Highlights?  In the late 70’s I was for one year a member of the Highlights club.  I would get a magazine I think once every two weeks or once a month.  I would dig into it immediately.   It had games, stories, puzzles, jokes and sometimes connect the dots pictures.  I could almost always see the picture before I connected the dots.  Then I would connect the dots and sit there staring looking for other pictures that might show up, unexpected, unintended pictures.  I usually found some.

I thought life would be that way to.  I mean I thought I would see the picture I was supposed to see.  The one that was intended to show up when I connected the dots.  I never really accepted that the unexpected and unintended would be the best parts.

This post was meant to be for my mother, but I cringed today when she told me, “You know what would be a good Mother’s Day gift?  If you would wash the dishes.”

Yeah dishes that have been sitting for the last two weeks.  Dishes that each day she’s said, “I am going to wash the dishes.”  Yet hasn’t.  Dishes that have cooked meat (mostly pork products) and still contain the grease.  It sickens me, literally and figuratively.  I almost felt guilted into washing them.  I knew I wouldn’t, but the guilt and repulsion she pulled up in me made me question, everything again.

She’s been playing me all these years.  It looks like love, it sounds like love.  She makes me think it’s love because her poems say so.  She makes me think it’s mothering because that’s what mothers do, give up their lives for their children.  Mothers.

I’m not sure I understand her.  I’m not sure I will.  I’m not sure I should post this.  It is after all Mother’s Day.

I wanted to wish her a happy mother’s day, on Mother’s Day, but I knew I couldn’t.  I knew it last night, so that’s when I gave her the card and a pint of Butter Pecan Haagen Dazs.  I did it while I was happy to have her as a Mother, because today, right now, not so much and I’m not really sure I understand why.