Kindness

I grew up with a “hurt” mother…she spent 53 years mentally hurting me. After several therapy sessions and a lifetime of turmoil and guilt about how I felt about my mother, someone told me that hurt people hurt others. 4 little words that gave me profound understanding. I worked 30 years as a 911 dispatcher…it’s ironic that the skills I learned to deal with my mother aided me in being a compassionate and caring dispatcher. MOST OF THE TIME. It also fed my cynical nature that people are just shit! Seriously! In spite of frequent verbal abuse, I learned how to take it and be firm but also kind.

These experiences taught me from childhood to retirement that people treat you better when you are kind. Better being an operative word. There are a lot of angry and “hurt” people out there. Many would not define themselves as hurt…they are just tired of perceived shit. So they are angry at everyone else and I’m sure many of them haven’t the slightest idea that they need to go into themselves and find out where it all comes from…all of the pain, years of being slighted, years of never being good enough, perhaps years of physical or mental abuse.

I have found that when I am around “hurt” people, it does no good to repay anger with anger. It is much easier to just remove myself physically and mentally and be kind. I used to think just being kind when being treated badly just caused me to be a doormat for others to wipe their feet on. I realize that is only the case if I get caught up in the mistreatment and allow it to continue. If I walk away AND release the negative emotion I’m feeling, I will not become an angry and cynical being. We can always be kind.

Until next time….

The instruction manual for the other mind

I find my living in the moment mind amongst the rubble of life by simply realizing what is happening right now…at this moment full stop. Using this mind certainly does not happen easily in our instant gratification world. Simply, it is the mind that must be used to heal the angst and the pain we allow to control our lives every second of the day.

Here’s the on-line instruction manual with directions for how to use this peaceful other mind: ask yourself what is happening right now…right this moment! Interpreted….If I’m not thinking and living the past while constantly being triggered to react to present moments by how I felt when…what someone said …. what someone did TO me… how I felt about the last conversation or the last person I encountered. Or the future…what I have to do today while at work…the stress of grocery shopping or meal preparation … how am I going to lose weight…OMG I have to do this or that. Nope…right now in this moment. In this once in a lifetime present moment, if the mental chatter stopped, if the stories we tell ourselves stopped, right now WITHOUT all of the fears we carry…with this breath I’m breathing is everything ok? Quite frankly, I am seldom able to live here in this moment all day long because, of course, I have figured out an excuse..I have 60 plus years of habitual thinking and over thinking to stop and like everyone else, I have that persistent, incessant talker sitting on my shoulder distracting me.

But what I have found is once I find the discipline to quiet my mind, I realize that my anxiety, my angst, my fears are not from things happening in the present. They are the thoughts of my past or fears of my perceived future. There is absolutely nothing I can do about the past…it’s done and gone unless I keep my version of it alive in my mind…and the future hasn’t happen…I really have no control of the future in spite of my obsessive thinking that I can control it.

A short exercise to bring my mind to a screeching halt is to STOP! Take 3 deep breaths and say to myself….3 things I see right now, 3 things I hear right now and reach out and touch three things I can feel right now. If I practice this every time I am aware of anxiety, irritation, dislike or fear, soon I realize that what is going on right this minute is just fine…is peaceful and this is where I’m going to live….but just like having a push ups goal, it takes practice.

namaste

A smile, a chuckle, a tear, Meryl Streep

Little Women…due to the fact that I read the book many years ago and I have seen one of the remakes of Little Women, the story line was, shall I say, predictable. So I focused on the acting and the nuances of this heartwarming period piece. I had googled Louisa May Alcott before heading to the theater as the movie is loosely based on her childhood experiences….I feel it enhanced my understanding and love for the characters especially Jo. Acting was very good. The storytelling technique of jumping back and forth between the March family being young and the March family all grown up confused me at times. I was so pleased to see Meryl Streep as the Aunt everyone probably loved but generally tolerated. Worth a couple of entertaining hours at the theater. Recommend!

Next up may be the movie, Call of the Wild. Harrison Ford and the dog, Buck. SPOILER ALERT. I wouldn’t be able to go to the movie if the dog is killed.

The magic of the movies!

It’s taken me nearly 2 years to figure it out

The difference in the thought process and the decisions I make in my life are based solely on which brain I’m using. Oh….and I certainly don’t speak from a tone of arrogance here…I don’t share this because I always listen to the right brain…but I’m speaking from hours and hours of study….I eventually figure it out and know the difference in which brain I’m thinking WITH. Kind of comes down to my “knowing” brain just knows that I ended that last sentence with a preposition. As soon as I typed it, I knew it was going to be the last word in the sentence and I knew that grammatically there was “someone” out there who learned the old school rigid rules about prepositions and would think…she just ended that sentence in a preposition “tsk”.

….and then she/he might really examine my other sentences like…OMG she just started that sentence with and…then…same person might go back to a time in school when they learned about past participles or prepositions or to spelling tests and perhaps compare themselves to a sibling who could do difficult math in their head or remember when they used to get in trouble for day dreaming and by the time that whole thought process was over, this person felt like a total failure….all over a preposition trigger. This person who first noticed the idiot woman’s blog that ends her sentences in a preposition just triggered a lengthy egoic or “personal” mind process that left them feeling inferior or insecure and in all probability introduced a mindset of being snippy with someone..sent them to the kitchen to eat their insecurity away or had them ordering something on Amazon to make themselves feel better.

This is just one of the minds we think with. The mind of fear. After many years of driving accident free, one traffic accident-fender bender might have you afraid to drive on the interstate. Having a cancer diagnosis upon returning from a long trip out of the country might have you afraid to travel again, an early life of worry about not having money to feed the kids might have you fearing poverty even with a bank or mattress full of money. The egoic mind. The mind that you fear with, compare yourself to others with, feel insecure with…the mind that provides a free-of-charge little voice on your shoulder that chatters incessantly through out your day telling you that you are not ok.

There is another mind…

Later!

It gets real tonight!

Its the annual new start night. One of those stark reality moments came for me tonight when I really, seriously realized….I will never go to Time Square on New Years Eve. It was a big deal for me to be able to be in Washington DC for the 4th of July several years ago…sitting near the Lincoln Memorial in my hideous red, white, blue stars and striped button down shirt watching the fireworks over the national mall. I also had on my list perhaps Philadelphia on the 4th of July. But…I always thought the best time ever would be Time Square watching the ball drop! Tonight while watching AC2, I realized it’s not going to happen in this lifetime. Kind of a reality check!

What will happen is lots of life in 2020. Just the way twenty/twenty rolls off the lips fills me with hope and wonder. I won’t make silly resolutions other than I’ll try to spend more time in service to others, I will not focus on the negative but instead I will focus on loving myself and being kind.

Happy and Prosperous 2020, my friends!

Opinion vs Judgment

At what point does personal opinion become judgement? As I have peeled off the layers, these thoughts have surfaced, Thoughts about people, thoughts about politics, thoughts about people “groups”, other people’s personal decisions, wardrobe decisions…mine and others, all things hair…color, cut, style. I have opinions about how people raise their kids, where people live…generally this involves extravagance. I often wonder if people are genuine, why they have a short fuse. What’s wrong with cruel people? I have all kinds of opinions….when does having an opinion become judgmental?

I think what I’ve figured out is:

    Judgment happens when I am insecure about myself.
  • Judgment happens when I have no control about the thing I’m judging
    It’s judgment when I attach an emotion to it

What am I missing in my thought process

  • Your opinions welcome!!
  • Please and thank you!

    Annual Renewal

    The loveseat enveloped my body last night when our day of Christmas celebration was over. There was the buoy effect as I tried to sink in but I was just too inflated to actually feel comfortable. “Why” I screamed in my brain as the melancholy set in. Now begins the day after Christmas.

    Unlike several of my friends, I have never been the day after Thanksgiving shopper nor do I look forward to bargain shopping the day after Christmas. Manic buying, shopping, cooking, planning and the joy of Christmas decorations ends at sunset on Christmas Day. The week before The New Year has always been the week of renewed hope. I like to think of it as I have been loved and nourished on Christmas which gives me the courage for the “start over” week….and the new year!

    So onward and upward…this beautiful sunrise reminds me I have my week of hope, love and renewal beginning.

    Until next time…..

    This morning

    Preparing for Christmas Eve brunch.

    • Throwing the ingredients for monkey bread into the greased angel food cake pan, I reflected on how many times I have cringed while greasing the cake pan all the while wondering why you aren’t suppose to grease an angel food cake pan.
    • Wondered if my mother somehow knew I greased angel food cake pans which drifted into remembering my mother and Aunt Frances cooking every holiday meal together and even after 80+ years still arguing about it.
    • I had coffee with my dad (where ever he is) in his red and black Christmas flannel shirt and I repledged my undying love for him. My best qualities…the ones I don’t take credit for, I got from my dad.
    • Realized the Christmas cry was going to happen at some point today.
    • Made “company potatos” from a beloveds recipe and I hope she knows I miss her so much today!
    • Wondered if the girls and their families have the slightest idea how much I love and cherish them.
    • Turned on the cold water in the sink to rinse a dish and wondered if I just scalded “him” in the shower, felt bad, then snickered because he’s probably cursing.
    • Realized I am feeling so much gratitude for the love around me.
    • Commencing Christmas Cry.
  • Merry Christmas!
  • We went to see Cats…the movie

    Before I delve into the movie, I feel like talking.

    Before I went to see the movie, Last Christmas, at the theater in November, I cannot tell you the last time I stepped foot in a theater. One of the Bushes was probably president…theaters had a lot of seating in chairs with seats that flipped up and down and you had to share an armrest with the person next to you and as someone mentioned this morning, you had to continually move your feet so emergency responders were not called to pry you up from the sticky floor after the movie finished. Or I could have just said, it’s had been a long time.

    Last Christmas the movie was ok. I didn’t love it but I liked it. The twist at the end still gives me a warm feeling 2 months later.

    Knives up….or was in Knives down…knives out. It was ok. I didn’t love it, I didn’t dislike it. I was entertained and that’s good enough.

    A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood…oh my…I loved it and I didn’t watch Mr Rogers when I was young. Nor have I seen the Snoopy Christmas’s movie…or any Snoopy movie or cartoon for that matter. That’s another blog topic. Tom Hanks is an amazing actor!

    Cats. Cats aren’t Dogs. That will only bring a chuckle after you have seen the movie. I was hesitant after reading reviews…pretty much everything I read said horrendous was a kind word. I liked it. I didn’t love it. There is no plot. The music was very disappointing… I was expecting heart jarring emotion from the music…it was Andrew Lloyd Webber music for crying out loud…the costumes were interesting and I think appropriate..especially cat tales. The dancing was pleasurable! I was reasonably disturbed with Rebel Wilson’s character but I should have expected it…it was Rebel Wilson. The movie is not going to be enjoyed by everyone but I lean toward it may be enjoyable for real feline lovers? There were scenes I enjoyed…ahem And if you love Idris Elba…well hold on!

    Until next time….

    Losing the need to “tell my story”

    When I was in the grips of pain, depression, and overwhelming anxiety which I blamed on my job, my role as caretaker of my elderly mother and Aunt, feeling like an outcast in my husbands family and hating who I was because of the way I was thinking and the way my body looked…whew…I felt like at every opportunity, I needed to tell my story. My story had no happiness but involved my upbringing, my loneliness, my familial burdens as well as every other thing that I considered to be my negative personal affliction. By telling my story, at least I got attention, I had a line of people who felt sorry for me, I had friends who would get down there in the mud and wallow with me. I thought I was fortunate *fist on forehead, that I at least had that!

    Each step forward I thought I could make myself feel better by changing my surroundings and my personal appearance but the brick wall I was running into got thicker and thicker. Finally a therapist led me around the brick wall.

    Today…I woke up feeling like I was going to have a sensitive pre-holiday day…but I started out mindfully feeling gratitude…I took my oldest grandson to school this morning and he chatted as if he was in my head and knew I needed to hear what he was saying….gratitude. I’m babysitting my 3 year old grandson today and he’s laughing and full of joy…gratitude. I was thinking about Christmas past and I felt gratitude….I was loved and I have friends and family who love me. When my grandson pushed the button on the paw of a toy dog that sings Blue Christmas over and over again, I felt gratitude. My mom bought this stuffed dog for herself a couple years before she died…I felt an unusual thankfulness for my mother and her gift to me of memories of those cherished christmases past. For a moment, I felt myself wanting to rethink my story…the familiar story I used to tell myself… but I just stopped and realized gratitude was my new story and here I am. Right here and right now, I’m so thankful!

    Happy Holidays….