Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Archive for the ‘anger’ Category

Healing Our Anger: Hurting Others Isn’t the Solution

An Uncomfortable Walk Down Memory Lane

https://www.flickr.com/photos/hunky_punk/11123678116/in/photolist-hWXKXJ-bHomCi-brw9M6-75egof-72NYQx-4JuLr7-33JWWw-jk6B3G-pnN4h8-k1nyJg-GJoSmS-5rHHCd-7cZW4U-7xzS38-CwzBDm-eXj12u-ReySpF-XRcj38-YgMmPR-aWahxP-aGx4za-24eBDCd-bCWhDp-7xzRWp-pnxQ7d-7aXGh3-75MxFi-27yzyxF-9kk3k4-6zKq5L-rUoGZt-gJVVbN-cYedPm-4gUL7N-2aQHb4T-6DucqY-bb8PRX-WsMWaM-67dgcB-2dRzmBW-69e2pi-zmc5jK-hBXNWR-ovjuK-dXGFsj-8yM2W5-ay5R5w-hjWQqE-gf7icd-fy2vCPI happened to be in the neighborhood, so I took a walk past the house I lived in from the time I was 12 until I was 18, and left to spend most of the year in the college dorms (I actually moved into an apartment when I was 20, but I didn’t consider the house my home after leaving for college, even though most of my stuff was there for a couple more years).

I stood in front of the house, noting how big all the landscaping had gotten. Yucca (one of my mom’s favorites), now towering over the 6-foot walls, and the small patch of grass still ruthlessly manicured around the planter. Through the huge iron gate one of the later owners installed across the archway in the front wall, I allowed memories to flow while noticing changes. The most obvious was a second story added over the master bedroom. The original floor plan had a kind of half second story with a balcony overlooking the family room. In our version, it had 3 bedrooms and a bathroom with on oddly slanted roof which wasn’t good for much, but was a good place for our cats’ sandbox.

Walls and Gates: A Sign of Our Tumultuous Times

That gate made it clear it was no longer my parents’ house, but it also made me sad. The need for such a structure is truly a sign of the times. Friends who live near there report an increasing rash of robberies. People are coming from outside the area to burglarize the homes of people they assume are wealthy.

In truth, some people live in homes that were purchased for 30 or 40 thousand in the late 60’s and early 70’s, but are now valued (at least according to Zillow) from the 900 thousands to over a million. Small wonder those living in apartments and worse consider the residents rich and worth driving for miles to steal from.

It made me sad to realize how many people have become so angry they’re willing to drive for miles and risk arrest to take what they believe they’re entitled to, but can’t see ever having the means to acquire. And it’s not just theft. It’s the words spoken, injuries inflicted, and even murders. For what? The American Dream which has been folded, spindled, and mutilated until only the rare few get to experience it?

What’s Happened to the American Dream?

Or is it simply that we’ve lost sight of what the American Dream really is? It’s not stuff. It’s not where you live. It’s the freedoms we still have and the choices some of us still see we have, while far too many others don’t.

Maybe I’m naive, but I think when people believe they have no way to improve their lives no matter how hard they try, they’re going to get discouraged. When they see their children going without, or even getting shot at in the streets outside their homes, they get angry.

That anger infests their lives, and combines with desperation to create a “nothing-to-lose” attitude. They take risks because they see no other way out of the hell-hole they live in.

Fueled by Anger, Frustration, and Discouragement

https://www.flickr.com/photos/armenws/5837909811/in/photolist-9TSPcr-C3VGX-24FwY6-26x1rb6-5itLut-dhFGeP-pFWFZK-abNp5y-adf5z-hL7FHE-dhFHhY-dhFvph-dauvud-dhFwgW-dhFqWQ-dhFtAn-abeFZP-dhFDeu-dhFuoZ-dhFqbq-adhZR-abKzAD-adf81-abKx9R-bpTzDn-QVxKyY-abKyYK-9gERc8-anUgst-abeFCX-bzS7hf-abeGb2-2cYSbck-8GpCMm-abNm6Y-21Uy4Gb-4NKgmb-abNkTs-begshM-hRcioi-daKq9G-aUymi2-ZRYKoW-9tsYBM-abeFsx-bNLL6K-F2o45H-6MFFvx-9SsLVR-ZAWXwiThings I took for granted; a nice home, regular meals, new clothes, books, a car to use when I learned to drive; compared to those who are struggling from paycheck to paycheck just to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. I was and still am wealthy beyond anything they know. Kids watch their parents work long hours, never getting ahead. They see the defeat in their eyes. In their position, I suspect I’d get angry too, and feel like I had nothing to lose by taking what I want from those to whom it seems to come easily.

People are acting out their own pain with every act they perform. When it affects someone else personally, their own pain is triggered. It might not be poverty and defeat, but it is their own pain, and can be set off by just about anything because it starts in our minds.

When you add all the hate being spewed on the nightly news, social media, and even social circles, the stew of humanity grows more and more toxic.

When Did We Stop Trying to Get Along?

I talked to an acquaintance this weekend who sought to avoid a mutual acquaintance because of the political views she aired on Facebook. (they ultimately had a very civil conversation, by the way). Is this what we’ve come down to? Hating each other for the views we share?

I got called out recently because I said I was unfollowing people already who were posting political bashes. Someone accused me of dumping friends for small slights. I tried to explain I simply chose to stop seeing their posts on my news feed, but had no intention of removing them from my friends list. My words fell on deaf ears. The man chose to read what he wanted to see. He wanted to be angry with me no matter what. I’m not sure why I tried to reason with him, knowing he’d stopped listening after letting his feelings be known.

Putting Up Walls to Keep Us Safe

In the 1960’s I walked 2 miles across the San Fernando Valley to school alone every morning. It never even occurred to my mom I could be in danger—back then I wasn’t. No one ever approached me on the long walk down city streets. I felt perfectly safe, and actually enjoyed the time alone to think my thoughts and dream my dreams.

In the last 30 years or more, no parent in their right mind would allow their child to walk that far alone. We know it’s not safe; that too many outcasts, weirdos, and just plain angry people prey on other peoples’ children.

The ugly wrought iron gate on my parents’ old house is a sign of the times. People who “have” put up walls, barriers, and fences to keep out those who “have not”, but are willing to risk prison to have some of it. We’re too busy being angry about this cause or that to try to understand why others are angry too.

We’re too angry and misguided by the constant barrage of propaganda to care enough to sit down with each other and try to understand—more, to try to get to the truth buried in the bullshit.

Finding Reasons to Be Grateful In Spite of it All

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for reminders to be more open-minded and compassionate.
  2. I’m grateful for the ability to see how much I have instead of how much I don’t.
  3. I’m grateful for a house with no big, ugly gate.
  4. I’m grateful for the walls I’ve taken down over the last decade or so.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, compassion, fact-checking, opportunities, inspiration, friendship, connection, dancing, joy, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

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About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

October 1, 2014 Accepting the challenge to blog on a given topic #shericonaway #blogboost

Tonight’s UBC topic suggestion, “who do you admire?” is actually a subject close to my heart.

I often take time to talk about people I admire here, sometimes naming names, while others just admiring them collectively. I tend to admire people for a variety of reasons, but most often because they set extraordinary examples for me on lessons I struggle with.

One such lesson is kindness. Too many years of working in a man’s field and a male-dominated industry toughened a skin already the consistency of rhinoceros  hide from long years of single parenthood and the joys of trying to love alcoholics. Needless to say, my kindness quotient was so far into the negative, I didn’t hold much hope of ever digging it out. Despite my tendency to drift back to those tried-and-true ways when the going gets tough, several women in my life have shown by example that it is entirely possible to be a strong, independent woman, not of the doormat persuasion and still be kind.

Not only have these women developed successful careers, often in male dominated industries, but they’ve raised strong, confident, ambitious children and have loving, charming, supportive mates.

Some have even shown me that it is entirely possible to be kind to someone who irritates the snot out of you, smiling sweetly and making them feel special without losing a piece of yourself in the process. In fact, they seem to be more just by being kind when the inclination was to be rude.

As I’ve watched and learned the last few years, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon. But let me set the stage, first.

Each of us finds ourselves in the position, every now and again, of having to contact customer service to resolve an issue with an account. Often it is the phone company, a utility company or a cable company, but it could be almost anything. Often, we’re already annoyed, if not angry when we make that call, and having to sit on hold listening to a perky voice tout the benefits of their product, at least for me, tends to set my teeth on edge. When a human finally answers the phone, my first hope is that English is at least their native tongue. Needless to say, by the time said human answers my call, I’m even more cranky than when I began. Here is where kindness plays a huge part. It would be very easy to take my irritation out on the first person I talk to, but frankly, those folks aren’t paid enough to be the recipients of rude or angry behavior. Yet, there was a time when I would shoot those messengers, and believe me, it doesn’t get you very far. In fact, even when I don’t shoot the first messenger, I can still get someone who will put me in hold hell now and then, simply because I didn’t like the answer they gave me, and asked for someone higher up the food chain.

I say this because I had an issue with Paypal this week, and the first person I got did exactly that. I am happy to say that when I called back today, the people I spoke to were much more willing to let me speak to someone higher up, and the second escalation gave me the results I wanted, if not a little more. (a little side note here, Customer Service people sometimes think they know everything, including what their bosses are and are not allowed to do. As an accounting professional, I tend to take issue with someone who tells me that their system is incapable of issuing a credit or reversing a payment. Sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but anyone with accounting background is going to know that it is all about permissions!) At any rate, the point I’m trying to make here is that treating those folks kindly and respectfully will usually make them more cooperative and likely to give you someone with more authority (or permissions, if you will) who can and often will respond positively to a reasonable request.

While my natural tendency would be to not-so-politely explain the hierarchy of permissions to one who told me that what I want can’t be done, I’ve found it far more effective to follow the examples of my much kinder friends, and remain polite and respectful, keeping comments like “Moron!” and “Imbecile! Stop wasting my time and give me your boss!” kept buried well beneath what might be a falsely calm exterior. That archaic saying “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” still holds true today.

I cannot even imagine being a customer service rep who has to sit on the phone all day and speak to angry customers who might just take out their ire on the first person they speak to. To me, that is like a hundred bad days all rolled into one. No matter how much training they receive in defusing a volatile situation, some of that has to hurt. People do remember how you made them feel far longer than they’ll remember what you said. So I’ve learned through a great deal of trial and error that I’d much rather be remembered as someone who was kind under duress than horrific over something rather inconsequential.

I think it’s pretty simple, really:

  • People respond best to kindness
  • People like it when you address them by their name (I learned this from a man I dated briefly. Most store clerks and cashiers wear a name tag. They address us by name, shouldn’t we return the favor?)
  • Everyone wants to be treated like they matter.

How hard is it to suck up our anger over a situation which it’s very unlikely it was caused by someone who is trying to help us resolve it? Those times when I did rake someone over the coals were, to say the very least, extremely unsatisfactory on all levels.

To the women who continue to teach me kindness, whether they realize it or not, I love and admire you all, and appreciate the example you set far more than you’ll ever know. Thank you so much, to Dezi, Judy, Lorna, Barbara, Leslie, Kay, Candy, and probably more than a dozen others who I may have lost track of, but know that the influence and the lesson remains. But for you, I would still be an angry, cranky woman who wondered why things never went her way, instead of a joyful, happy one who has everything going her way! All it took was a little kindness!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for all of the kind people who have been put in my path, in my life. I am a much better person for their influence.
2. I am grateful for interesting blog topics on a night when I didn’t have one of my own.
3. I am grateful for the process of writing which allows my mind to empty so it can slow down for a few hours each night.
4. I am grateful for my daughter who, despite the miles between us, is still very much a part of my life, and I, hers.
5. I am grateful for abundance; kindness, sharing, loving, growing, learning, joy, harmony, peace, health and prosperity.

Namaste

September 17, 2014 Harsh Reality

I put my baby out into the world and she’s already learning that she needs to step up her game.

I write well, or so I’ve been told. I knew there would be a lot of changes once others saw my work. I just didn’t realize the magnitude. So now, I step back, take a deep breath and do my best to do right by her.

A lot of what I’m hearing sounds a great deal like the copywriting course I started and have yet to finish. Show, don’t tell. Grab the reader’s attention right away. Know your audience. Sadly, I didn’t get this kind of information in the creative writing courses I took. Yet, as it is presented to me, I understand the value in all of these suggestions. Those who’ve already made the Best Seller list can be a little sloppier. But those of us who are just trying to get noticed, and sell a few hundred books have to follow the rules. It’s no different than any other undertaking. You have to prove your value before you get to make a few rules of your own.

Every learning experience has value and builds on those which came before.

The first thing I’m learning is that the birth of a first novel is a long process which is often frustrating and tedious, but it is also a huge series of life lessons. I am being called upon to not only take my writing to a whole new level, but to learn new skills and be extremely cautious about accepting information without running it past several other sources first. I’ve gotten conflicting information on everything from word count to small house publishers to writing style to selection of genre. A year ago, it would never even have occurred to me to know my audience before I even started writing. Now, I’m learning that it’s just as important as it is when writing ad copy or sales letters. Either way, you’re trying to sell something, and to do that, you have to tailor it to the people who would be likely to buy it. It doesn’t mean that your target audience will be the only ones you ultimately entertain, it just means that you have to start somewhere. It makes total sense now. But then, my hindsight was always perfect!

Thinking about how my daughter keeps telling me how much she loves it, could it be that my target audience is really people like her? If so, I’m going to have a devil of a time defining that target audience as my daughter is not typical of anyone or anything. I don’t think I could fit her into a particular group if I had to, unless it was the nonconforming, marching to her own drummer, late bloomer kind of place. Her tastes are eclectic to say the least. As well as I know her, she still surprises me often. She loves Harry Potter and hates Twilight (both of which my initial pages were compared to, and not in a good way!). She’s a Whovian and loves animated movies. She reads Michener and Poe, Rowling and McCaffery and everything in, around and in between. She’s studying Culinary Arts and Marine Biology and makes friends with people from eight to eighty. How in the hell do you quantify that???

What I’m taking out of my initial feedback, though, is this: I need to identify my target audience so I can tailor my writing to their tastes. I need to show, not tell. In other words, what I deem descriptive is not even in the same galaxy as where I need to be. “The house was painted a sunny yellow with white trim and boasted a wrap-around porch.” is clearly a real yawner. Instead, I need something like “Standing on the corner like a cornflower abandoned in a fallow field, the brightly painted walls were framed by posts as straight as soldiers in snowy uniforms which marched all the way around the structure, creating both a cozy place to wile away an afternoon and a look of refined elegance.” Is this my excuse to use 100 words when 10 would do? I don’t know, but I will be learning!!

At any rate, I have to give my brain a rest before tackling this again in the morning. All I can say right now is that I have a lot to learn, and my book won’t be hitting the stands any time soon! But I will persevere.

I forgot to mention that I’ve created an Author page on Facebook. You can find it at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor . Feel free to drop by, like it and leave a comment. If you have a page, let me know where to find it so I can return the favor.

My Gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for guidance, even when it means I don’t know nearly as much as I thought I did.
2. I am grateful for a good night’s sleep to put things back into perspective.
3. I am grateful for a thick skin which I’m going to be needing more and more if I want to succeed with my writing.
4. I am grateful for patience. Also a valuable commodity with a career which is creative.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, guidance, patience, harmony, peace, creativity, flexibility, prosperity and persistence.

Namaste

September 8, 2014 A brief message to the angry ones

On August 28th, I wrote a post about de-friending vs. unfollowing on Facebook and listed a few topics on which I typically unfollow people. Of course, you (and you know who you are) took one item completely out of context and chose to post more of the vitriol I had to block when I was on the old blog platform.

First of all, please accept my thanks for reminding me who you are so I can put the blocks back in place on this platform. Secondly, I urge you to find a support group that is based more on what you can still do rather than on bemoaning what you can’t. I have had a few friends with your condition, and they found ways to still be useful and productive, despite the fact that their abilities were, in the first place, undependable, and in the second, constantly decreasing. One, in particular, would literally drop out of site for a few weeks, often having to re-establish her walking and even, speaking skills before rejoining the world. It is not the talking about health issues which I choose to unfollow, it’s the part about feeling sorry for yourself and expecting the rest of us to do so as well.

We all have some kind of limitation we have to deal with, but how we choose to deal with it dictates just how much of a limitation it is. I wish you all well, and hope you find some purpose which will brighten the lives you’ve been given, but know that your angry, vitriolic rants will not appear in the comment section of my blog. I created this blog to emphasize ways to behave in a positive manner, regardless of what life throws at you. While not always possible, it is possible, at some point, to find the lesson in every, single one of the challenges we face. May you find yours and do what you can to make the world a better place because of what you’ve learned.

Love and light

September 2, 2014 Love those recurring lessons

Face challenge, learn lesson, move on. Repeat as necessary.

From time to time, the Universe “encourages” me to repeat a lesson when I don’t show evidence of having taken that lesson into my soul. Often, the repeated lessons come courtesy of someone else, and frequently, it is by example.

Today, I was presented with three previous lessons in one. The first, trust people and give them the benefit of the doubt, until they give you reason to do otherwise. The second: trust your instincts even when you can’t find concrete proof that you’re right. And the third, and maybe most important as I recently allowed myself to forget it: Don’t get involved in other peoples’ battles, especially if you don’t know both sides of the issue well, and have a right to make a judgement. Even then, Stay the hell out of the middle!

Several months ago, I was forced to set some pretty drastic boundaries for the sake of myself and my immediate family. Thankfully, those boundaries seemed to have done the trick…until today. I received a comment that seemed benign at first, but there was something vaguely familiar and disturbing about the second part…but I gave the poster the benefit of the doubt as I was unable to find evidence of the previous experience.

On the one hand, I feel I did the right thing by giving the benefit of the doubt, but as the dialogue continued, it became clear that my first instinct was not to be ignored. Clearly, some people’s lives are very narrow, and, I don’t know, maybe loneliness causes them to take up the sword for other people, even those they barely know. I am often inspired by people who face challenges in their lives I can’t even imagine, yet are able to rise above them and actually do the world some good. Unfortunately, a lot of us are not able to rise above our own pain and misery (and in all honesty, I can’t say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could, if faced with the challenges some of these people face), and seek some kind of outlet.

For some, the outlet is to just crawl into ourselves and close the world off entirely. For others, it might be to act as an advocate for others. But some just use it as an excuse to start fights and breed hate wherever they go. If they can’t find a cause of their own, they’ll adopt someone else’s, in fact, anyone else’s. I could go all goody-goody here and say that I give them tons of compassion and send them love and light, but the fact is, when their target is me or mine, the best I can do is to refuse their invitation.

There comes a time when the best thing to do is build a better boundary.

I may not have learned everything perfectly, and I certainly still let myself get sucked into someone else’s drama on occasion (but I’m working on that!). The one thing I have learned, though, is that when someone finds it necessary to repeatedly attack with no valid reason for doing so, and in spite of previously established boundaries, it is simply an indication that I need to re-establish my boundaries with a bit more strength.

One who engages the irrational is also likely to try to teach a pig to sing…with much the same results.

It’s taken a lot of time and a lot of lessons, but I’ve finally learned that yelling back (literally or figuratively) at someone who isn’t rational never ends well for either side. While I can’t do anything about the choices others make, I can choose not to lower myself to the level of a mindless robot who goes on the offensive just because someone told them to. What I can do is to try to learn from their actions as I’m going on about my business.

I’ve heard it said that if you find someone else’s behavior offensive, it’s because it is a mirror into something you need to work on in yourself. So I am grateful for these reminders, and truly do take them to heart. Every time I have an experience which raises unpleasant feelings within myself, I know it’s time to do some soul searching. Everyone truly is put into our lives for a reason, even if it is only to show us where we need to make improvements in ourselves.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for those people who remind me of flaws I have not finished fixing.
2. I am grateful for opportunities to show that I have actually learned and retained some of my lessons.
3. I am grateful that I feel no need to try to make others miserable when the better choice is to make myself and others happy.
4. I am grateful for opportunities to be a better me.
5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, challenges, opportunities, kindness, health, happiness, joy, beauty, love, harmony, peace and prosperity.

Namaste

August 28, 2014 Social media…do you want fries with that?

When it comes to social media, it really is to each her own, these days!

As time has gone on, the different ways people perceive and use social media has created an ever-widening gap between me and those who are on my friends list; but I’m not alone in this. The discussions about de-friending or unfollowing someone because of the content they share on our news feed has been escalating, at least among the people I know. Here is what I’ve observed people sharing of late (in no particular order):

  • Family pictures
  • Health status
  • Relationship status/changes
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Business promotion
  • Positive affirmations
  • Games, both, ostensibly in promotion of a cause, or just for fun
  • Observations of the world in general
  • Doom and gloom prophecies
  • Music appreciation
  • Selfies

We all have our own ideas of what is “allowed” on our news feed and what’s not, and the reasons for our choices don’t need to be explained. I’ve learned that if I unfollow someone, it doesn’t raise a glaring red flag, nor is it telling someone (erroneously) that I don’t like them as a person. It simply says “I appreciate your opinion, but I prefer that I don’t see it all the time on a place I go for fun and, sometimes, inspiration.” That being said, I’ve unfollowed people when posts become excessive in the following areas:

  • Health status, when there is an excess of posts complaining about conditions, yet failing to actually do something about it.
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Business promotion (this one only when the posts become really excessive, so it doesn’t happen often)
  • Doom and gloom prophecies. I don’t really care whether these prophecies are based in fact or not. I simply don’t want to see anything which complains or blames without offering feasible solutions.

Again, if someone posts on any of these subjects now and again, I really don’t have a problem with seeing the occasional post on my news feed. It’s like anything else. Everything is fine in moderation (except maybe abusiveness or pure evil).

Most of my friends are pretty open and honest about what they do and do not like to see, and I try to respect that, at least insofar as anything I might post to their wall. I like to think that, with the exception of positive affirmations, I don’t post any topic in excess, but I am sure there are some who might see differently. (OK, so I may post more than my share of adorable cat pictures, but in my defense, I’m not posting a bunch of pictures of adorable grandchildren!).

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

The main thing is that we respect each others’ right to post what is important for them to share, knowing that there are polite and impolite ways to shield ourselves from the ones which might annoy or offend us. Heck, if we were all interested in exactly the same things, it wouldn’t be long before we’d just see the same posts over and over and over again, and, like a soap opera, we’d only need to check in every week or two to know everything that was going on! How boring would that be? As it is, some posts already go around for awhile, then, just as we think we’ve seen the last, someone starts re-posting them all over again! I can’t tell you how many times I’ll start reading something, only to realize that I saw it a month or so ago. It just goes to show that things travel more quickly in some circles than others.

For the people out there who are tired of my content, feel free to unfollow me; I completely understand. But if you unfriend me just because we have different viewpoints, we’ll both be the poorer as our world will become less diverse. Whether it’s meant that way or not, removing someone as a friend translates into an act of anger, whether  intended or not, and it’s often difficult to bridge the gap once it’s in place.

So to those who’ve let me know that they don’t appreciate or participate in some of the shenanigans, rest assured that I’ll try to remember to exclude you next time one goes around. But if, for some reason, I forget, please feel free to remind me before you just block me out of your life. I don’t set out to annoy or offend (though I will, on occasion post a rant with clear warnings!), but as a human, I do, on occasion, err, and once I either figure it out for myself or have it brought to my attention, I’ll always take ownership and do my best to make it right. (admittedly, I won’t always agree that I have been offensive or unkind. Like everyone else, I’m a work in progress, and my experiences have colored my perspective.)

Fortunately, I know that a lot of my friends are like me and appreciate the diversity as it allows us to bring each other lessons we might otherwise have missed, or at least, would have taken much longer to learn. But I think, over the last couple of years, we’ve all learned what social media can and cannot do for us, and have, for the most part, used it to connect, but after connecting, we all get out into the world rather than hiding behind our computers as the stereotypical user might do. It makes me wonder what the numbers are as far as users who think talking to people on the computer all day is real connecting vs. those who use the medium to reach out, but save the true connecting for social gatherings which actually require you to shower, dress and leave the comparative comfort of the four walls they call home…something to ponder.

My Gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my friends in all of their wonderful, unique, sometimes quirky, but never boring, diversity.
2. I am grateful that I’ve reached the end of my current hermit stage, and that my friends care enough to be concerned when I’m not present, but understand when I explain why.
3. I am grateful that I have the ability to check out from society whenever I want or need to, but can just as easily check back in.
4. I am grateful for the amazing relationship I have with my daughter, and how much we continue to share, despite the distance in miles.
5. I am grateful for all of the abundance in my life; love, friendship, health, happiness, peace, harmony, prosperity and charity.

Namaste

August 19, 2014 Perspective

The questions we ask can give clues to our ignorance

I wasn’t going to write about this, but it’s been niggling at the back of my brain for several days, demanding to come out, so I finally had to let my subconscious have it’s way (again!). Recently, a young man asked me how I would feel if someone made or posted a critical remark about my work when I was new to a job. At the time, it was clear that he felt that his question was rhetorical, so I didn’t bother to answer. However, as it crawled around in the recesses of my brain, I realized that, given how little he knew of me and my career paths, it was a rather ignorant question. I have, in the past, worked in a male dominated field, in industries which were also male dominated. As a strong woman, it presented a lot of challenges, not only from my male superiors and counterparts, but also from women who had learned that the men they worked for were relatively easy to manipulate, a characteristic I simply don’t share. Many times during my career, I was hired to update or fix a department, only to be met by resistance from the women (and sometimes, outright belligerence and nastiness), but lack of support even from the men who hired me. Needless to say, it was an uphill battle (and often a thankless one) to accomplish what I’d been told was expected of me, along with many things which the hiring manager failed to mention. Eventually, by hook or by crook, I’d make things happen, though it usually took a lot of extra hours on my part, facing down management and making it clear that their support was required if they wanted everyone on board with the changes they’d requested, and finding myself in a special, little place where I was not staff, yet, not quite recognized as management.

I think, in a way, I was dumbfounded by the question, as it was rare for me NOT to receive some kind of criticism and resistance in the first days of a new job. I was brought in to make changes, and people are naturally resistant to change. Even so, unlike men I’d worked under who came in and made changes without understanding the company’s current system, I took the time to learn before making anything large and sweeping. But nobody ever complained about the men to management, nor made rude remarks to their face.

Though I know the person who asked the question doesn’t really want an answer, I have to say, for my own peace of mind (and to shut my subconscious up) that if you can’t take criticism when you start a new job (whether or not it’s constructive) you should consider something which minimizes your exposure to people like, maybe, flipping burgers at McDonald’s. People as a rule have opinions and we don’t always think before we express them. If you take what everyone says to heart, you’re giving their words entirely too much control over your life!

While I understand that the man was defending his employee, which, on the surface is admirable, his approach lacked value in that it came from a place of anger and lacked a great deal as far as rationality. I, for one, would have retained my respect for both parties had I been approached calmly and without aggression, pointing out that I had offended someone with my less than well thought out words. Had it been handled that way, I would have found it in myself to apologize for my thoughtlessness. Under the current circumstances, I don’t feel either the need or the desire to do so.

Using words to establish a battle ground can close the door on human kindness.

Over the years, I’ve learned that how we start a conversation can and will set the tone for how our words are received. Beginning it with aggression will invariably cause the listener to shut down a part of their mind, closing it off to reason and compromise. In this case, I complied with the request, but only because it was my plan to do so anyway. I would have taken things a lot further had it been pointed out calmly that I had been unkind, as it is my desire to be as kind as possible to other people. Hitting me with the tired, old line “How would you feel if…?: simply highlighted both the immaturity of the speaker and his inability to put his anger aside and just address the issue unemotionally and logically. In all fairness, in my younger days, I still had this lesson to learn, and it took several repetitions until I became consistent, though by no means, perfect every time.

Every one of us suffers from foot in mouth disease at one time or another.

Mishandling difficult situations is part of everyone’s learning curve, I believe. It doesn’t make us bad or stupid. It just makes us human. Everyone does many things well, and a few things…not so well. If we can look back and recognize the ones which show where self-improvement is needed, they were a valuable lesson. It is only then that we can make the necessary changes and become a better person. If, however, we get so caught up in our “rightness” that we fail to see the learning opportunity, we’re going to find ourselves in an oddly repetitive loop where, if we’re paying attention, we’ll start feeling a slightly ominous sense of deja vu on a regular basis. Whether we like it or not, the Universe has a way of administering head slaps when we need them most.

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful that my subconscious rattles around at times and forces me to share uncomfortable thoughts.
2. I am grateful for the opportunities which show me by reflection that I haven’t completely mastered certain lessons because they still give me pause when I see them in other people.
3. I am grateful for my own home, my own bed, and my own furry sleeping partners.
4. I am grateful for days which allow me to catch up.
5. I am grateful for the abundance we can all achieve; love, joy, happiness, kindness, harmony, health and prosperity.

Namaste

August 14, 2014 Lessons, lessons and more lessons

The Universe has many ways in which to lead us down the path towards learning the lessons we need.

Before I begin, let me apologize in advance for the dreadful appearance of my posts over the next couple of days. I neglected to bring my codes with me when I wandered away from my normal posting site.

Now that I’ve dispensed with the administrivia, let’s get on to the topic at hand.

Most of the time, when I’ve been given a lesson repeatedly, yet failed to master it, the Universe administers one of its infamous head slaps and makes me pay attention. But there are times when a picture is worth a thousand words, and a demonstration is in order.

Today was one of those times.

“Being angry with someone means letting them live rent-free in your head”

This concept was brought home to me today when I was treated to an example of someone expressing anger over something I said. After watching them fume and storm off, I recognized some of my own, past behavior and I was, to say the least, unimpressed with myself, if only for a moment.

I was very fortunate to have a better than two hour drive ahead of me in which to relax and contemplate my thoughts and feelings. Less than half way through the trip, I reached the conclusion that I didn’t want this person letting me live rent-free in their head, and hoped that they would soon release the anger and move on. While I do understand, on some levels, what spurred the anger, the conversation took the form of a scolding rather than a discussion so there wasn’t any real resolution, at least to the other person, as far as I could see. My only hope, at this point, is to send some happy thoughts their way, and hope that they will see fit to oust me from their head by releasing the anger sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, I’ll hold good thoughts for them and send imaginary heart shaped confetti to help lighten the atmosphere overall.

The behavior of others is a mirror for us to recognize what needs improvement in ourselves.

I am grateful for this very vivid demonstration of how pointless it is to express anger over another person’s actions. We might think that by railing at them, we have control of the situation, but nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, we’ve allowed them to control us! I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want is to be under the control of another person, even for a single moment in time.

My intention, now, is that I will, when tempted to respond to something or someone in anger, to pretend that I have to wait a couple of hours before I’m able to respond. In this way, I believe I will find that by the time I can express myself, the reason to be angry has passed peacefully away without any snarky comments or unpleasant voice fluctuations.

In some ways, I can see that this was a very gentle head slap, but one which made me see things more clearly than I normally might.

I can and will control my own actions and reactions. Doing so may or may not help those who have the good fortune or misfortune of crossing my path, but at least I can say that the lesson got through to me.

My gratitudes tonight are:

1. I am grateful for lessons, in whatever form they cone.
2. I am grateful for reasonably light traffic, despite the fact that Google Maps took serious issue with the route I chose to take.
3. I am grateful for my friends who still love me even when they don’t agree with me.
4. I am grateful for a visit with my daughter, son-in-law and grand furries, and the busy, fun-filled weekend we have planned.
5. I am grateful for the abundance we can all enjoy, simply for the asking:joy, health, harmony peace, love and prosperity. In the immortal words of Abraham, Esther and Jerry: “Ask and it is given!”

Namaste

and send

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