Posted by: darien7743 | September 21, 2016

Perhaps

Perhaps……what an odd and awe filled word. It can alter our experiences with a hint of something else, something different, something better…….in a sound byte, a blip on a screen or a scent on the air. Perhaps…………perhaps.

It always spells change, somewhere past, present or future. It says to me “How can I alter, realign, remove, cause, affect”…………….something I don’t like, and morph this into something I want, need, wish or missed in my life. Perhaps.

I say this way too often of late. I have reached a time in my life of considering what could have, should have, might have………and won’t have. It says that I am not happy with what is. I am sad about this. Not just the wish or the dream, the situation or the lost possibility. I am sad with the desire for something different. My Taoist teacher has taught, ( or “Perhaps,” I have surmised from my lessons.) that being displeased with what is, is the beginning of misery. I’m not saying that current circumstances are always what we want, or that we should be happy and content with it all. We never will be. Life isn’t about making us “Happy.” Life is about our finding our “Happy, in contentment with “what is,” and recognizing that if I’m not happy with it today, well……..everything will change shortly. It always does…….. I’m saying that what is, is. And that “is,” isn’t there without a purpose. The “Perhaps,” is that “it,”  isn’t what I want.” It,” doesn’t make me happy. “It,” doesn’t bring me joy or satisfaction or even contentment……….so I think I have to change “it” to be happy or at peace. I have to change “it,” so that I can get on with a better tomorrow. AHHH……….”Perhaps?”

What happens? I focus all the moments of today on wishes for tomorrow or yesterday. Only tomorrow never comes and I can’t change yesterday. At midnight, it is always, Today.

There are many perhaps’sssss in life. They don’t change a thing. Acceptance changes everything. I didn’t say like. I said accept. Whatever is guarding, guiding and arranging the universe is far more intelligent than I. It offers me today, to make my life what I think it needs to be. It offers me today, an opportunity to learn whatever it is that I am here to learn. It offers me today, to be the me that I am in the moment. It offers me today, for today, and for today, only. It is today that I must live. When there is a, perhaps, that deals with the past, I have often been regretful. A perhaps, that deals with the future, then possibly, what I am or have done is being measured against some external scale and I am finding myself lacking in some area or aspect. Whether I am or not, once a “perhaps,” pops up, I feel less than secure about tomorrow’s outcome. Sometimes what I focus on is, or was, painful, disappointing or life altering. Lately, I have been looking at something very life altering. Something that I have tried to change since childhood. I can’t change it.

At a very young age, 9 years old, I made a choice. I was far too young to make it, but I did. I believed that if I stood between others and harm, all would be well in the end. It wasn’t.

Much later in life I learned that it would never be well. I fought that idea. I thought that perhaps, if those involved learned a bit of what I now knew, something would change. It didn’t. It won’t. And I have been cautioned against trying to give others the information that helped me change my life. It is unwanted. It would bring forth unwelcome memories. It would challenge their belief system and actions. It would cause them to question their behavior and they would find themselves uncomfortable. It would separate us even more. What a shame that we fear the very information that can set us free. I didn’t like hearing that. I was determined to be the exception to the rule. I’m glad I stopped in time.

Contemplating,”Perhaps,’ if I had, it had or they had,” won’t help me mend a situation that has caused me great sadness. But does that mean that I have to live today without happiness, without contentment, without self acceptance? My life is very different from the one planned and hoped for. I am not the person I was raised to be. Nope. I am not an over achiever. I am not established in a valued position in a competitive profession. Not I. That life was never the right fit for me. It was the expectation of others. I  am a creative, living a modest life. My life has value based on what I do and who I am, how I think, what I value and how I treat the world around me. Who and what I am this day…… That’s a choice that I make each and every day.

It is only when I venture into “Perhaps,” that I talk myself into thinking that if things were “other than,” life would be better. That is a trap. It’s a slide into darkness. An addiction to action that will only bring resentment and regret. It is none of my business what choices another makes. I make my own choices and choose my responses to the choices of others. That is always the truth. No matter what occurs in a life, any life. It is the choice of the individual that determines their response to any event.

If something “is,” other than what I feel is beneficial, either I choose to accept and move forward or I lose myself and wallow in disappointment, grief or possible misery. The latter won’t serve me or anyone else well. It is my responsibility to decide how I want to see my life. I win, when I see that, “this is what is,” and chose to move forward. I may have to do it with regret, grief or loneliness. I may rejoice in friendship, love or my concept of a successful result, accomplishment or achievement.  But , what is……..is. My choice? Perhaps not. That doesn’t mean it isn’t the correct or most beneficial outcome and I just can’t see it. Think about kids and dessert vs. Brussels sprouts. Every adult has the same issue……..well, perhaps not with Brussel Sprouts.

Is there ever a positive approach with “Perhaps?” Of course. The action of, “Perhaps,” in the moment, might suggest a change of thinking or acting that positively impacts life. Perhaps, if I sit down and write something out, I will see another possibility for action that will be beneficial. Perhaps if I reach out to understand rather than to stagnate in my current situation, I may find a solution. Perhaps, if I forgive another, I may release my own anger, frustration, disappointment or resentment. I may also feel better about myself for forgiving instead of seething or stewing about something long past. Or perhaps, I would find myself able to look forward to a different, adventurous tomorrow, today.

All lives are lives worth living. Each day we all have the opportunity to contribute something good, simply by being alive. And each day, by virtue of being alive as an individual, we impact everyone in the world around us. We are also impacted by everything in the world around us and far, far into the outer reaches. We impact the organic and the inorganic life around us. And it impacts us. It is not a coincidence that all great philosophy contains the elements of the unknown. Each day is an unknown. The encounters that occur, the timing, the choices, are all unknowns. That is why we contemplate, “Perhaps.” We would like a modicum of predictability; a map of safety and security tucked under our arm. Have we considered that perhaps, all life might be an engaging adventure? All life……..every life.

Recognizing that, “Perhaps,” if we stay with life as it is today, we will find a simple contentment with what ours contains, as it is, today. Perhaps we will find that it fills us with quite enough for our “happy,” to be present. We might find our “happy,” in a night sky filled with stars, or a sandwich and a conversation with a homeless person on a park bench. Helping someone see that they are not invisible is of great value in the world. Perhaps you will find some satisfaction fostering an animal for PAWS or mucking out stalls for a rescue service like Pasados Safe Haven in Washington state. This week I learned of an organization that decided to sponsor young people who were aging out of the Foster Care system. They help them with their first apartment and all that goes along with it, including friendship. What a lonely and frightening experience it must be for an 18 year old with no place to turn. What a gift to the community of man to help them see that they are valued. I have benefitted a lot from such experiences. I have learned to appreciate how much life has truly given me. The gifts I have received from service are of more value to me than I could ever imagine. It has often turned out that I was the one being aided by the “Needy.” So, perhaps, I was the one who was actually, “needy.” Such gifts of service have offered a new perspective and a sense of awe. Excitement is missing in a life focused on self, alone.

Perhaps we can see that we all do have skills that are of value to the world each and every day. And perhaps we will also note that many of these most valuable skills are innate. They are ours to nurture and to offer simply because we are. Not because we were trained in any capacity.

The Buddhists teach that pain is inevitable. I think we can all agree on that……But they also teach that suffering because of that pain……is optional. Perhaps the disappointment of a planned life contributes far more to our suffering than acceptance of what is. Because in the end, what is, is all we have. And our lives, correctly viewed, as is, might not be such a disappointment after all. Sometimes being disillusioned is also being set free to discover what may bring us the joy and satisfaction that makes our life an exceptionally pleasing one. Daring to be ourselves is the greatest adventure life has to offer. There is no, “Perhaps,” about that, at all.

For tonight, that is enough……….”Perhaps.”

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: darien7743 | August 15, 2016

HELP for the Tech- NO?……………

Okay………..Techno Bimbo, here.,

Somewhere out there is someone who understands what it’s like to be completely techno stupid. I am such a person and I need help. Today I received a notice that someone in a language I assume is Middle Eastern wants to make a comment, or has made a comment, or wants to “ping???” I tried to follow the instruction for translation and somehow screwed up. Supposedly people from several countries can now read what I have written………but I have no idea how to read what they have written to me. Nor do I understand what a “ping,” is. So, please bear with me as I try to negotiate the blog world. I am very interested in what others have to say. I may or may not agree……….but I am interested. Thanks to all who have taken the time to read what I write………..Soon I will be able to do all this properly.

Meanwhile……..don’t forget the chat with William Martin on Thursday, August 18, 2016. If you check out his Amazon books, remember that this is the Taoist, William Martin, not the contemporary novelist by the same name. Use Tao as part of your search on Amazon and you should get the right one. Bill is a novelist as well. His first novel, “The Tales of the Happy Frog: the Beginnings,” was published last year and the second in the series is due out shortly. Like the Chuang Tzu, the cover of the book belies the profound tickle of it’s contents. It is not a children’s book. If you’re fuzzy about a life walked as the Tao, in today’s world, you’ll enjoy a simple, contented and peaceful stroll with  “Tales.”

The chat is at 4:30 PST  on Facebook event page. For a peek at what it will be like, go to the website “Taoism with William Martin.” It will whet your appetite. All are welcome to participate or just listen in on Thursday. You can post questions early if you wish or chat in real time.

Posted by: darien7743 | August 15, 2016

My Evolving Journey……on The Crooked Path of the Tao

Taoist or Not, read on. This is short……….or at least it’s short for me.

Recently I had the privilege of taking a Taoist class with Bill Martin, author, translator, teacher and founder of, “Taoist Living, with William Martin,” a website. Yup, He’s on Facebook also. The class  was called “Walking the Tao.”

Just as I finished, Bill published the class teachings in book form by the same name. It is a contemporary version, easy to understand, profound in it’s application and amazingly pertinent for 2016. I am a new student, Bill is the author of 11 books on the Tao and it’s application to modern life.

I first read a few verses in a copy of the Tao many years ago. It was a scholarly edition but spoke to my soul. I was skimming the book and was called away before looking at the title. I laid it down on a stool intending to read it again the next day. It wasn’t there when I returned and I never knew the name. I looked for that book with diligence for the next umpteen years and only found it again in 2012. It took me decades to learn the title and find a teacher. True Taoist teachers are few and far between. Usually scholars, teaching secular students is rare. Bill doesn’t approach the Tao as a religion or a philosophy so much as an active experience of life.

This Thursday he is hosting a Chat on Facebook at 4:30 PST, 1:30 EST, expected to last a short 2 hours. Anyone there can ask questions and he will respond. I will be there and I urge anyone curious to be there also. It will be the most easily understood approximation of Taoism with the most practical application. It too is a rare opportunity for those interested, to ask questions and hear clear answers about how it works. Taoism is an individual walk but expert guidance is very helpful.

The Tao is my chosen path for living. It is simple, direct and engaging……..but not easy. It calls for me to rethink my conditioned and cultural understanding of life. That, is what interferes with the simple and easy parts and keeps me from a complete and contented way of life. But I’m learning, and it allows me the grace to do so without judgement, shame or guilt when I falter. It offered me a chance to see life on it’s own terms, react or respond, depending on where I was, what I understood and what I was able or unable to apply. The Tao is not Buddhism. It is not Zen, although a part of it is included in the Zen religion. It is the Tao, all on it’s own.

In Buddhism there is a way of speaking about mistakes that is different from our own, but applies to Taoism, as well. Instead of saying that someone or something is wrong or bad, they refer to such situations as being skilled or unskilled. That is how the Tao teaches me to look at my mistakes, foibles and errors. I am learning to, “Walk the Tao,” one step at a time. Bill is my teacher………a very patient teacher. Sometimes I am skilled, often I am not. The Tao doesn’t care. And contentment grows as I walk the crooked Path, that step at a time. Two steps forward. One step back. It’s all good………and it’s never a mistake as long as I, “keep on keepin on.”

Posted by: darien7743 | August 9, 2016

Truesday and Thurdsay

Just for fun I thought I’d toss this in the ring. For me, this is Haiku prose.

I was writing a friend who travels quite a bit. In her last email she told me that she was leaving for the Pictured Rocks on Tuesday. I have no idea where they are located. My friend is a world traveller. My favorite gift from her was a pair of Keen shoes. She wore Keens climbing Machu Picchu. For all those who think that it’s something only advanced trekkers do, my friend is about 60. Wanting to catch her before she was out of email range, I sat down to write and found misspells every time I typed the day. Pausing, a minute, up came this idea. What if these were not misspells?  Played with that a bit. Here goes.

I have decided to dedicate Tuesday to Truesday. A misspell originally, I liked the idea of a day to check in with my language and level of thought. I began thinking about being authentic, saying something politely, without censoring it,…….not merely spouting a knee jerk response to a casual question. That’s different. Tuesday gets a bum deal during the week. It’s always Number 2. Truesday? What about a True day? Remember when they began calling Wednesday, “Hump day?” I didn’t like the visual, but using the nickname changed the picture and Wednesday, became a kind of celebratory event. People took a liking to Wednesday.

Sadly, in many nameless, hit the brake and talk, social encounters, I would not be thinking about what came out of my mouth, or the person, or whether my response had any relevance or integrity to it. I would just be saying something to fill the space so that I could hurry on to something, and usually someone, I considered more important……..Never giving a thought to the fact that the moment itself, and the person were all that was important…….in that moment. A dismissive and diminishing attitude that spells disaster for the speaker. Which happens to be me. Our lives are lived one moment at a time and we aren’t guaranteed the next one. Do I really want the last thing I do to be a dismissal of another?

“Hello! How are you?”

“I’m fine. Bye!” Scurry on down the way, perhaps not even stopping or smiling or returning the greeting. In too much of a hurry and missing today, perhaps the best part of today. The moment of, now.

Segue to Thursday. Another misspell in the same email, “Thurdsay.” A tap from the Universal?

Okay………….Perhaps it could be seen as a day to contemplate previous opinions and adamant actions. A day of grace to reverse obstinate stances, or inconsiderate comments………A pass, a bye, a chance to take back a thoughtlessly idea gathering force in the atmosphere. A way to prevent offense, to pull back, reconsider and eradicate ill will, whether intentional or not. A mending day, a healing day. A day of grace for ourselves and others.

Instead of behaviors that say, “I’m right. You’re wrong. That’s it!,” from last Monday’s conversation……….with

a. The usual unpleasant consequences……….

b. Which may become unending.

It would be a situation of, “I’m Right?” “You’re Wrong?” “Perhaps, not.” The person’s view may be incorrect or it may just differ from my own, but I have right and perhaps the duty to consider a different way of looking at my experiences. Perhaps a day that is not simply recognized as, the day before freedom, Friday, would be a welcome change for the future. A third-say…………on what my actual experience was and an option to make it a reality for my future……….while letting others know that their words have received my consideration and attention instead of contempt and rejection. Thurdsay………….

It’s a thought.

 

Happy? Not exactly……………..but I’m learning!

I like Amazon.com. I like them a lot. I also like Google.com……..and I like them a lot. I know that there are people out there who will strongly disagree with me. That’s fine. I’m aiming for unity within diversity here. Hang in there with me. I’m new at this and this week it’s another convoluted one……..but I think it has merit. I sometimes think that Google and Amazon, are, The Lone Ranger and Tonto, of my seasoned years. Sidekicks from different walks of life that changed my world and in many ways, made it better.

When things work and are helpful I strongly feel the benefit of saying “Thank you,” to my benefactor and “Yippee!,” for me. When things turn left…………I’m just as likely to tell you how I feel about that, and…………just as directly.

Let’s start with why I like the two biggest kids on the block. I’ll begin with Google. Right now I’m happiest with Google.

I am a Techno Bimbo. Not a put down; a simple fact. I do not do techy things well. I never have. I try………God, do I try……..I tried to learn how to use a computer in 1990 with 8 weeks worth of almost free classes. No go. I tried again, on my friend’s PC. Same Year, same results. 1994, ditto. 1997, I had my own PC……….double ditto. 2000, a Dell laptop. 2006 a Sony Viao. 2011 or maybe 12………….the Viao, I was finally able to negotiate, failed. It was too slow for the modem. Now what?????…………..The suggestion. A Google Chromebook. Panic! Unknown territory……..APPS!!!!

But the Archangel, Google, descended via Amazon, and I bought a Chromebook with a SquareTrade Replacement policy. (That’s another story.) Now what? There was no manual included with the Chromebook. My only option; a Whackadoodle online group in outer cyberspace that I was supposed to contact with questions, issues and feedback via the ding dong computer that I had no idea how to use!…… The problem with that one should be obvious. One needs to be a Techno Code Talker before there can be a modicum of understanding. Techno Bimbos do not talk techie. They sputter unintelligent and monosyllabic sounds in total confusion and pure panic. Normal techies boldt when someone like me crosses their path. Their day is no longer an easy one.

Enter the “Archangel,” Google, (round 2) bearing gifts……………Google Ninjas……the Gold Standard  of Techno Wizards…………I would like to request that someone at Google go find

  1. Isha. when I think of Isha I picture, Angela, from “Bones.” Bless you Isha, I seriously wanted to send you a Christmas gift!
  2. Bob. A man who should be knighted for service to mankind. I would not have been kind to man, any man, had Bob not been there on the days when Isha wasn’t. He was the EMT on more than one extended phone call. I didn’t think they’d let me send cookies either, Bob!
  3.  Finally, finally my good buddy, (and wish he were my son, but he isn’t) amazingly intelligent and patient, Chris G.,…….The Zack, Mr. Nigel Murray, Wendell and Dr. Sweets,( Chris, is literally, the Techno version of Dr. Lance Sweets.) “Bones,”characters all wound up into one. Bless you, Chris.
  4.  Give them a huge Bonus. They Earned it. Well earned it. Repeatedly………….
  5. Because thanks to this amazing group of individuals, I now am writing on my beloved 3rd Chromebook. I know how to use almost everything I need and can figure out many things I don’t. I am alive and well and functioning in a techy world and I am incredibly happy about it, each and everyday. “RedBull,” has nothing on the Google Ninjas as far as giving you wings to fly. In all honesty, this group and many others have seen me through a mega load of questions, issues, mistakes, serious flubs and major disasters. Each, dusted me off, set me back on my feet, more than once, no matter how long it took. I’ve gone from daily therapy with a Ninja somewhere, to, “Gee, I haven’t called them in????? 11 months for tech help.” Amazing!!!!!

These gifts to the techno challenged, have treated me with dignity, and with grace, answering questions until I understood completely. All voices of professionalism, good will, and patience, using well exercised imagination, found ways to help me understand when I was sure I never would………… All of them could teach patience to Job! And Humor, lots and lots of humor! They’d make me laugh to break the tension and halt confusion.  They have stuck with me for as long as it took  and then made sure that I was doing well afterward. They set me on my feet and never abandoned me. Google lost a lot of money with my learning curve………..and they made a lot as a result of their staff. When I’m a happy customer, everyone knows,….and in just as much detail as when I’m not. To say that I am enthusiastic Ninja groupie, is an understatement.

If Google did nothing else right, they gave us the Ninjas and I will always be grateful. In point of fact, I have only had one encounter with a Ninja that wasn’t over the top in excellence, and that was years ago.  The rest were all outstanding. Outstanding is seldom what we see in Customer Service. But that is what I see in both Google and Amazon. Amazon’s Customer Service policy and individual C. S. representatives are also on my gratitude list.

I have spoken to well over 500 representatives world wide in the past 12 years, mostly with a very favorable impression……….There is some work that needs to be done with regard to Amazon, outsourced Service Reps……….Okay, there is a lot of work that needs to be done with out sourcing representatives west of California and not in the islands. Countries who think that American English is a secondary language, and are not part of Island nations, need to think again. I am not talking about South Africa, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, England, France, or the Phillipines. If your country isn’t on this list and you work at 0 dark 30 AM PST……….yeah, it’s you! And I am not alone in that concern. But, Amazon, now asks customers in the email service response, whether you felt the C. S. rep. understood you clearly. Amazon does listen. I do know that. They’ve listened to me in the past. I have seen the results.

Now, at last to the point of this topic…………..Finally! How does this have anything to do with “Happy?”

Here’s how. I’m not happy with Amazon right now……….Nope. Not happy.

In 2015 I set up a Smile account with a Piece County Animal Welfare as my charity. I read about how Amazon donates .5% of Amazon sales to the designated charity of your choice. I set it up for PCAW because of the wonderful, selfless work this organization has offered to animals of the homeless and the financially strapped since the mid 1950’s.

I live in Washington state where the failure of, Washington Mutual Bank, Seattle, in 2008, began the crash that resulted in our most recent Depression. I know it has been called a recession. No matter, we  all know it was Depression. We all felt the blow and it’s ramifications. Let’s not forget that it was the first time in history that a Presidential election campaign was put on hold. And an unprecedented event, where both candidates were called to The White House for a conference, a few weeks before the actual election. That is history. Amazon, also located in Seattle, has been dedicated to community service in whatever way they could since Jeff Bezos began this company on July 5, 1994. This is also history. Ironically, another historical, Presidential election year.

PCAW assistance has remained constant through the history and hysteria of the past 60 years. When necessary they pay for care that runs into the hundreds of dollars per pet. The love of a pet may be priceless but someone has to foot the cost. I do not have a lot of money. Frequently I have very little. My discretionary funds are minimal. By establishing a Smile donation for them I believed, I had found a way that I could say a continuous and definitive, Thank You. I would buy everything that I could through Amazon and my charity would get 5% of my purchases. I thought, “Amazon has really good prices, and yes I wait a bit for my items, but, hey! I can help this way, and Amazon will get a tax break and can give even more.  I’ll even join Prime. I can save on shipping and there will be an extra 5% I get back. Win/Win/win. That should give PCAW a nice donation. Let me get everyone who supports them to do this. Amazon is great!”

Sometimes Techno Bimbo’s need to read the fine print……or better yet, take a refresher course in math.

Last week I spoke with the PCAW Administrator because I didn’t notice any mention of the AmazonSmile option in the annual newsletter. When we talked we realized that the registration didn’t get completed properly and she arranged to have it done. Meanwhile she received notice of the amount of the donation from Amazon and was a bit surprised. The amount was less than $13 for the entire enrollment period. I told her that I would follow through. It was a significant mistake. I had made thousands of dollars worth of purchases since enrolling and it would be corrected. Tonight I spoke with Amazon. Their C.S. representative took ownership of resolving my initial issue. So, I mentioned this and he was eager to deal with the situation. Until He learned the answer. This man was dignified, gracious and compassionate………..He was also trying to find a way to explain the following, while being loyal to his employer, his position, his duty and himself.

When we join  Amazon Prime, we are delighted to learn that along with several other benefits, we receive 5% back, on all our Prime, purchases. We think, if we read as I did, that we are also benefiting our Smile Charity, for the same amount. We are wrong.

We do receive 5% personally from our Prime purchases…………but our charity? Our Charity receives .5%. It isn’t the same. For every $100 you spend on Prime, you are credited $5, personally. For every $100 you spend on Amazon your Smile Charity, receives $.50. Nope. I didn’t make a mistake. Your charity gets Fifty Cents per One Hundred dollars. $.50/$100.00.

I don’t need new glasses. I don’t need a better education. I need to pay closer attention. I thought I was making a difference. I thought I was supporting a unique retailer, a conglomerate corporation that stood for the benefit of others. My intention was to contribute to a cause that has given much to the less fortunate for over 60 years. I was wrong. So now, what? I need to consider what I might do to rectify this error.  I sparked their enthusiasm, I got their hopes up. I initiated changes. I was  trusted…………..Now, I need to be flexible and change what I can while offering support to those who can effect a beneficial outcome for all.

Do I feel guilty? No. Guilt is not a productive emotion. It is a debilitating way of punishing myself and derailing my thinking. Do I regret my choice? No. I learned and there is great benefit for me to continue with necessary Amazon purchases. I have the opportunity and the ability of making others aware of the situation, their purchasing power and any changes they may choose to make. Do I have options for resolution? You bet………….as long as I don’t get sidetracked and sucked up with remorse. You can’t take action when you’re wrapped up in reaction instead of response.

Response is not avoiding an obstacle. It’s seeing it clearly and then flowing around the obstacle. Reacting is beating your head against a rock resulting in a concussion and no resolution……..of anything. …………………..Every philosophy has it’s own version of this. My Dad’s  Texsan version; “Use your head for something other than a hat rack.”

I have options.

Option One. Dear Amazon, please take the money that I would ordinarily get back for my Prime purchases and donate it to my charity of choice.

Option Two.  If Option one doesn’t work,  make do with fewer purchases and donate the rest.

Option Three. Let others know of the situation and help them to see that they too have options.

Option Four: Write this blog and end with the following.

Dear Amazon. A few years ago, I contacted you about an Issue with SquareTrade. You hopped on that one and cleared it up. Thank you. Last year, I contacted you about a less than ethical experience I had with Samsung. You took care of everything when all else failed. Yea! Amazon!!! This spring I bought two Fire tablets because I believed that Underground contained more than it did. The picture I saw showed that what I wanted was included. It wasn’t, you changed the ad. I kept the tablets. I appreciated the response. Today, well……………I’m not happy and I doubt that a whole lot of other customers will be happy after learning about what I’ve written. The way the copy for the charitable donation was inserted lead us to believe that we were doing something significant when in fact, we weren’t. We were lining our pockets a bit but simply teasing our charities.  I’m not comfortable with that kind of practice. It makes me want to take a shower. And would you be more careful about the integrity surrounding the way current copy is being written. Implying, may be perfectly legal………but it’s hinky and beneath the auspices of a company that touts good conduct, value and integrity as part of their mission statement……and, calls Oprah, a friend.

If you think it’s, “Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature!”……………….Don’t even think about trying to mess with Oprah. She holds a Phd.in, Ethics of Charitable Donations and has a vested interest in maintaining impeccable personal and professional integrity.  I’m sure you can come up with an alternative way for your customers to be of benefit to those whom we wish to support.

In fact, with the caliber of the Amazon Imagineers,  I know you can…………….We’ll be waiting to read it on your bannerhead.

And thanks for taking the initiative.  Sometimes our greatest friends  are those who most clearly show us how to be our best. When I do my personal best, I am a far greater success in every way.

 

 

 

Posted by: darien7743 | July 31, 2016

Taoism 101.01.01.01…….And,

The Tao never does what I expect it to when I expect it to. Probably because I expect it to. It teaches me that whatever I clutch, attach myself to and grasp will always be the thing that leads to my frustration, confusion and sense of guilt or failure. Let it go, experience what is in front of me, especially the emotions, and allow for the action that responds to it all with gentleness and fluidity. Gentleness and forgiveness for all, including myself should be cultivated. Then continue. At that point I will have done my best and guilt, lack of resolution and self deception disappear. Life is as it should be then. An experience, not a battlefield to overcome what I dislike. Life is quite simply, life. It took me many years to discover that I was a Taoist. Once found, recognizing it was like taking the first drink of water on a sweltering day. Letting go and allowing the Tao……..now that’s not easy peasy, at all. I fight it. What’s new? It is my cultural heritage to “win the good fight.” What else can I know? How else can it be? When I ask these questions I must return to The Tao.

Some people have heard of Taoism as in Zen Buddhism. Taoism precedes Zen and is an ancient way of life and being. It has taken many forms over the centuries. But, pure Taoism is a philosophy, not a religion and not an exercise in esoteric mysticism. Although Taoism may seem to be obscure, that is because we have learned to complicate everything, particularly in the west. Much of Taoism is simply what we learned in kindergarten. Be polite and kind, listen for direction, think before you act, share what you have with those who have not, and no one is better or more deserving than anyone else.

What’s the  real Tao, and where did it come from? Pronounced “Dow” ironically, as in the Dow stock exchange. It’s the Chinese word for a very, very old philosophy, “Taoism.” It appears to have begun as  a simple book of 81 small chapters or 5,000 characters which has been translated more times than any other book except the Bible. It is often attributed to a single person, Lao Tzu, but was probably written by several saged individuals, 2,500 years ago. The book is called the “Tao Te Ching,” pronounced, “Dow De Jing.” The name is difficult to translate but means, in general, the way of, and, to, or, life. One word? The Path……. leading to simplicity and contentment. There are a gazillion translations of ancient Chinese pictographs that scholars disagree on in several places. Hence, multiple translations with lots of independent spin. And that is only the beginning. What was intended to be a simple and direct experience of life, can be a convoluted, curious and wondrous experience of the world one moment and anything but, the next. It’s slippery but absolute, ephemeral and concrete, gentle and strong. Confused? Welcome to life. Once you have found a translation that speaks to you, it is easy to read and understand…..yet each time you read it, it seems to evolve into the next phase of understanding  you need to recognize.

My favorite phrase describing someone like me in a situation such as this is “Baby Bigginger.”  Very unsophisticated. Highly inaccurate. Were I as wise as an infant I would see the world as it naturally is. I would not be looking at it through years of cultural misinformation, familial traditions and educated ignorance. I would see what was there without filtering it through assumption, ideology, and a staid ego. Having said that, my “conditioned mind,” as the Taoist author, William Martin, calls it, wouldn’t be blocking my view. I would have the ability to see situations and events in their proper perspective. Life would be a whole lot less complicated. I would be a lot less reactive. And I would probably be much less afraid of where life was headed than I am at the moment. Can one be Happy and be afraid in the same moment? There is a subtle form of fear lurking just under the surface of my thinking. Maybe I should call it, Self-terrorism. It’s a pandemic today. I am not alone.

No one ever graduates from the Taoist school of thinking. Once you realize that it’s part of who you are, you are on the road to discovery. You,……are on that road. Others aren’t……It’s the road of unlearning and relearning life. It’s the way I learn to see and think, without thinking. Nothing is haphazard. Twisting and winding with hairpin turns and roundabouts, the Taoist path is the straightest way to find home…………..Does that mean that when I have finally stumbled on this way of life that I will become a sage?

Good Luck!……………The only true Sage is the fictional one found composed, smiling and confident in the, “Lieh Tzu,” or thumbing his nose at life in the,” Chuang Tzu.” Two famous Taoist writers well worth reading.  Even the story of, Lao Tzu, doesn’t contend that he is a sage. Just a wise man getting ,”The H out of Dodge!” meeting a guard  on the road and being required to write down the way he sees life, before he is allowed to pass and continue on his way. Confused? You’re on the right track. That is the intention of those writers. One can’t think themselves into Sagehood………… Saginess, (not sagginess,) is a quality gained as we begin to experience the world without filters and respond with grace, dignity and wisdom to what’s happening around us……….So far the world doesn’t have a good batting average………Instead of wisdom and consideration, international human response is mostly, anger.

Anger doesn’t suit most situations. It extrapolates them……….I learned what that truly means, at least for a beginner, via The Tao. You don’t defuse something by pouring acidic thoughts into the atmosphere.  But we do just that, all the time.  And we know it. No matter what the size, scale or implication, if it’s an uncomfortable situation, fear enters the arena and all is lost. We sizzle and seeth even if it’s under the surface. That’s our training.

Is anger illegitimate? No. It’s there to teach us something greater than we realize. I seldom learn that lesson. But at least I know the place to look for the answer when I stop long enough to listen. Anger teaches us that there is a tremendous amount of pain present. Pain of that level produces acute and chronic suffering. Acute suffering increases exponentially. It produces an angry world. That World is now our world.

Let’s look at it. Now…….Let’s listen to the fear and pain pouring out of a sea of international atrocities. Let’s look at the people behind the anger, ours and theirs, and see if we can find a way, a means to touch that pain and restrict the venom flowing from it. It would be wise to find a way of easing it and redirecting the energy it produces. Let’s find the authorities behind the “causes,” and search out our common ground and our antagonisms. They too are frightened.

All suffering is caused by fear. Pain is inevitable in life. Suffering comes from a choice of behavior before the suffering of anyone begins.

Often the enemy we see standing in front of our fear has suffered decades of personal abuse and violation. Destroying them only increases anxiety and suffering somewhere, either here or there. What results?  An increase in the numbers of those who follow even more aggressively. Escalation of atrocities.

Some of us have had similar experiences of individual suffering, but do we understand even a fraction of their pain?  Our lives and families have been disrupted often in horrendous ways. Frequently it has been the loss or the disfigurement of a loved one. “They,” live with a daily expectation of their entire family being devastated. We do not greatly fear all out war on US soil. The “other’s,” know nothing but all out war on theirs.

The tragic and devastating events on our soil have only given us a small taste of what others are experiencing on a daily basis. No wonder they fight. War doesn’t work. It never has and it never will under any circumstances. There are alternatives and we can find them if we look in another direction. The US prides itself on the ability to lead. Leaders are intended to dedicate themselves to the well being of all under their care. It seldom happens but that doesn’t mean that it can’t. We have the individual ability to begin the change. While we are mastering our change we can practice it in the world beyond our home.

Change, all change makes a difference. Remember the adage of the Butterfly flapping it’s wings across the world. It can produce an effect that results in a hurricane elsewhere.

Perhaps it would be wise to give this a try in our daily as well as international lives. We might discover the way to  a peaceful existence for us all. Won’t it be wonderful when war is obsolete!

Posted by: darien7743 | July 17, 2016

Compassion and the 1%

Not long ago I decided to begin to pay attention to areas of my life that I have neglected. I decided to look at compassion first. I don’t see compassion the same way that others do. Everyone feels compassion at some point for someone or something. Usually the object of our compassion is in an obviously sad or disappointing situation. I’m a great one for the underdog and I’m also a militant consumer activist……..at times. But I have a very wise Taoist teacher who knows just how to phrase something so that I will pay attention. Not long ago, during a class, he pointed me toward considering the concept of compassion.

I was more than a little irritated by the rantings of a certain political aspirant whose behavior would make a five year old look mature. He was rude, insulting, critical, arrogant, selfish,…..Yup, You know who. But my irritation had to do with a lot more than someone hurling insults and making baldly transparent, maligning statements about everyone who didn’t agree with him. My irritation wasn’t simply because he was rude. It had to do with fear. My fear, that this person would create even more havoc than I, in my ignorance, could imagine. I felt threatened by  the fear that this person’s cavalier approach and conquest would result in serious detriment to my country and more specifically to my personal life. If elected this individual could, and clearly would, visit devastation on anyone he felt got in his way.

Normally, one might think he could never get away with it. Until that is, well respected members of his party refused to stand up to him. Members of his party claim to be upstanding, well educated, well bred individuals.  Experienced diplomats for their individual interests, they are well versed in extemporaneous speaking. Saying they’re comfortable with it is not hyperbole………….These same individuals, initially expressed repugnance and then, silence, at his insults. Then one by one they began embracing the man and his aberrant behavior.

Our Sarah was silent.  Gov. P. is seldom without and opinion and she is by no means silent……..until now. Sarah silent? Spooky scary! Brought out like a marionette at the Iowa Caucus and then put away without a word. Could anyone fail to get the message? Silence is golden………or else. A demonstration of a man not to be trifled with, ever.

How did this happen? Money. Power and Money. Power, money, success and privilege? Isn’t that what life’s about? Perhaps not. Perhaps the things that we think will make us happy won’t really do so at all.

Money. He does have lots of it. Those of us who lack strong financial resources seldom consider the price to be paid for having money. Mega Millions lottery winners aren’t all that happy according to some news reports. The power of money to turn life upside down. The pain of the monied isn’t understood by the masses. Instead of fearing him, this individual deserves our compassion. He is bored. We all understand how that feels. With all that he has, were he engaged with it, his life would be full.

He tried being a celebrity. I first saw him in a Pizza Hut commercial with his wife, Ivona, after their divorce. He was funny. I liked them. I bought pizza. Then he starred in his own “reality?” TV show, cast as the person to impress. His costars? Other celebrity names…….Their job? To impress him. Admittedly, I was fascinated for a while. Then I realized that this was a mere distraction for someone whose success had left him without a significant, unrecognized, something…..A challenge?  The zest for something was burning in this man. He’d climbed every mountain a businessman can.  I remember thinking that he might consider running for President as a cure for boredom. I think that was one of the first times I considered how confining it was to have wealth. I felt a tad of compassion then.

Did I hear that right? Compassion?…….for the person just trounced? Yes, compassion.

We may well be entering a phase of life that will tear our country and us inside out. And, as much as I hate to think about it, it could be a blessing. Some say that having money solves all one’s problems, if it’s well managed. I don’t think so. I look at this person with all that they have and I see a sad individual, an angry personality, someone at a loss to explain the sense of an unfulfilled life, someone with, “Agenda,” stamped on his forehead. Segue to “I have it all, but I’m still not happy. I need more! And then I’ll be happy.” I know that song. It keeps life off pitch.

Someone singing, not all that different from me. At the opposite end of the economic scale, I find myself singing the chorus more times than I want to admit. Do I really envy what I see or do I simply misunderstand? Do I resent those that appear to have more than I or is it the other way around. Perhaps I have more privileges than I know. Perhaps it is a time for me to develop a true sense of compassion with the blinders off. toward those that I believe are exceptions.

Those in the spotlight must behave as though all is well. Having been in the forefront of business, he well knows that even if he has a blinding migraine, the show must go on. He must pretend that all is well. His position, his authority, his stock value, all depend on maintaining the effigy of perfection. There must be no sign of vulnerability. Money, fame, a beautiful, intelligent wife, an apparently loving and supportive family and all the trappings that go with it, do not spell anything close to happiness.  An overabundance of money is not for the feint of heart. Money is work, worry, and often a prison for those that acquire it in excess. It becomes a burden that few would wish for if they fell into it. Money holds you captive, in a glass cage, with the lights on day and night. There is no privacy for the wealthy. Even the anonymous wealthy do not fare as well as we believe.  Less yet for the celebrated and wealthy. They cannot afford to forget their position. Someone is always ready to exploit them, take from them. There is always a cache of attorneys waiting to address someone’s assumption that they are entitled to what this individual has acquired, whether they have had any right to it or participation in it or not. No one is standing in line claiming a piece of my networth. We know so little about the true effect of money.

We talk about the rights of freedom. Those with money know little of the freedom I enjoy. Once money is acquired, the Genie never goes back in the bottle. It can’t be undone. They can never again do what the rest of us can, without an escort, whom they have to pay, who needs to watch them 24/7. The amount of money it costs to be rich would stagger the imagination. And when you are bored and have achieved what most people would call the pinnacle of success, what do you do for an encore? Try being the Supreme Commander? But where do you go from there? You have everything else. Or do you?

Whenever I choose, I can go for a walk, sit on a beach, have a drink with a friend and talk to strangers. I don’t need to check for security, ask someone to clear the area, be escorted from room to room. I don’t need a stylist before I walk out a door or someone to sweep my residence for my personal safety every day. Sometimes twice a day.  If my children want to go camping with a friend, they need a convoy to keep them safe. Forget Boy Scout camp. That’s never going to be on the radar. They can’t go anywhere alone and they have to be very careful making friends. Those friends and their families must be vetted before they enter their world? It isn’t enough that they enjoy the company of another child. Many families won’t want their children for friends. It’s makes their children targets also. Surrounded by many, it can still be very lonely for those who live at the top.

With what little I have, I can talk to my neighbors, ride a bike, see a sporting event without being in danger (as a general rule, or should be…..now under question.) I can go to street fairs, festivals and concerts in the park, or a kid’s soccer game. I don’t have to hide away behind fences and gates in a house too large for my entire extended family, with bullet proof glass in my windows……. I don’t need gold leaf on my ceiling for it to be lovely. I have the privilege of being alone, attending an ethnic festival or watching fireworks with the crowds on Ruston Way. I can walk in the woods, have a picnic and run in the rain without fear of public exposure. I am free, as long as I don’t post things on FB. Another issue.

At the end of this election year, life will change. We will have a new regime in the White House. The Obama’s will have the first taste of peace they’ve known in the past ten years. We will have a dramatically different governing body. We may have the first woman President and we may not. But life will be very different. The playing field has altered. We will have to adapt and that won’t be easy.  We don’t like change. It pinches our lifestyle and we have to pay attention. Our new shoes may not fit. That will get our attention. It’s clear that the status quo hasn’t worked in decades. Now, it has to change and so will we. Let’s make it for the better.

Let us look at our financial situation as a tool that needs to be managed, groomed and refined. WE need to rethink and reestablish the definition of being well off. The multitude needs to rethink it’s options, needs to resee it’s position, needs to find it’s purpose as something complete without excess. And we need to learn to understand and  have compassion for those who do not know how to live without excess. And for those who cannot. The one percent at the top of the pyramid are there because all of us hold them up. They are afraid of what will happen to them. If they don’t stay on top, they will fall. And it’s a very long way down if you’re the 1%. Let’s catch them. Let’s learn the value in and of our own lives. Our lives without excess anything and their lives with excess everything. Let’s find a way to eliminate the fear on both sides.  It has never served any of us well. When we do, we can gently say no and vigorously say yes to the changes that are coming. We can hold on to our values and maintain our integrity. We can share and support each other and we can thrive along with the one percent.

Let us remember, whatever comes, that Compassion should be there for all. We are not the underdogs based on our financial well being. We are the people who have a voice. We are the people who accept or reject propositions based on whether,  OR NOT, we vote and how we choose to respond to our world. There is an epidemic of Ugly behavior in the world. It needs to end. Seeing that we are all confused, burdened and struggling we can extend compassion to everyone.  Compassion just may prove to be the key to stabilization for us all. So let us extend it generously to the 1%. What changes that may bring.

 

 

Posted by: darien7743 | July 13, 2016

Contentment vs. Happy ?

When my brother was younger I used to ask him if he was happy, so much, that he grew to dislike the question. He would talk about something he was considering and I would ask, “But, are you happy?” with this or that.  It irritated him and often he would respond saying “What’s happy got to do with it?” When he became engaged he called and told me, “Now, I’m Happy.” Eleven years later, divorced. No one was happy.

But, he was right. It seems that Happy doesn’t have a great deal to do with what we’re doing. It has to do with what you believe about the situation.  Different for each person, Happy is precocious, changes in a moment, disillusions us and surprises us at the same time. It can be very confusing. What makes you Happy today can make you miserable tomorrow.

I read an article a few weeks back where someone pointed out that when we think of Happy, quite often we mean Contentment. He was right. I recognized that my blog’s name might be viewed as misleading……………So be it. I don’t think I am alone out there. Lots of us think of Contentment as Happy. We also think that Contentment is passive and uninteresting. Kind of dull, like the Carnation cow we grew up seeing on television.  Happy is fun and exciting, pleasurable, peaceful, the final goal, or so we’d like to believe. Perhaps we need to rethink that.

Contentment occurs when things are in balance and we feel comfortable with life. When we are content, we can handle a few ups and downs without being thrown off base. We don’t expect Contentment to be perfect peace. But, it is always comfortable, within tolerance of our emotions and expectations.

Comfortable is also conditional. But it’s conditions are more within our reach. You may be happy that you found a good book. But are you comfortable taking the time to read it? As I see it, Happy is the getting, Contentment is the experience that results when something is worthwhile…….

Nothing in life is ever stagnant. We’d like it to be…….then we could have a bit of control. We’d like to believe that there is an end in sight and when we reach it all will be well. That can happen, and often does for everyone. We feel it, the Happy, then it’s gone, replaced by the next desire we choose to run after. Yes, we choose it. We know we do. Everyday we make numerous choices based on what we think will make us Happy in the moment or in the end.

Sometimes we don’t feel they are choices at all. We feel they are conditions that have to be faced, work that has to be done, people we need to please, things we need to have. But do we? What if what we had or did was enough. What if we didn’t need to be or do more to be okay with our life? What if our life contained a little more Contentment? What would it look like?

What if we enjoyed a book or a good conversation more than watching TV? What if we didn’t need a Lexus in our garage? What if we wanted a restored 1974 Volkswagen Beetle instead, so we drove one? What if we set aside one evening a week for the family? Would we get to know our family again? Would we share a meal? Would we plan a time all for us? Could we eliminate technology and focus on humanity for just one night, or would it end up in a frustrating sense of loss and total silence? What then? What might our life look like if we did these things? What might we feel? Can we see another choice, another path toward enriching our experience of life?

Could it be that if we changed our belief about certain things being necessary for happiness, we might find more of the conditions we equate with being Happy showing up?

Wouldn’t it be fun if we could all do just one thing that made a difference, for us? Perhaps we could find a tad more Contentment in daily life. Wouldn’t that be something to look forward to?……………..AHHHHHHHHHHH.

 

 

Posted by: darien7743 | July 11, 2016

Life Being Life 101

Finding our Happy includes things that we often don’t think of as Happy, until they are over. It depends on how long we cling to the illusion of what Happy should look like and find out what it really looks like for us. At the moment, Happy, for me, is when I recognize that all that disturbing chatter in my head is now peaceful and quiet.

Life 101 is life as it is. It contains what we think of as good, bad and ugly. It is also the opportunity to learn from each and every experience without guilt. Regret? Yes, maybe.

As we grow we begin to learn that all life is in constant change. WE don’t like it as a general rule. Societies, cultures, and traditions  try to convince us that we Can control it and we Can change it and we Can put a stop to xyz.  We can’t.  No matter all the propaganda to the contrary…..we are not in control.  But we can mitigate some of the unpleasant effects. Sometimes we miss the signs and we turn what may have been some regrettable pain into suffering. WE need to remember that when we suffer, others do as well. We are always part of all.

Pain isn’t something we think of as part of being or finding, “Happy.”  But it is a resource. It’s there to get our attention. It says “stop, look and listen,” better than anything else. Suffering happens when we don’t pay attention and don’t take the steps we need to assuage the pain. Suffering, always begins with our thinking. We recognize that something is wrong when we feel pain. Our brain alerts us. Our “Mind,” either sends us on the road to alleviation or drowns us in the deep end of the pool. The deep end is the one where treading water is our only option. Treading water means we can’t remember or never learned how to swim. The first step to learning how to swim is learning how to float.

The first rules of not drowning are stay afloat, pay attention to the elements, don’t fight them, and remember to breath. I realized this morning that I had forgotten how to float.

I received an email from my Taoist teacher, William Martin. Bill is the author of some of the most thought provoking books on Taoism for the western mind. He publishes through some small publishers and ones the size of Amazon. Hard copies, ebooks and if you’re really fortunate, hand bound limited editions, released by NW Publishing, can lift the veil of confusion that rests on weary shoulders………..The trick is that you need to pay attention. And you need to incorporate what you hear from the inside out.  He doesn’t tell anyone what to do specifically. Taoism isn’t self help. He guides readers toward their own way of gaining guidance. I have studied under him, though him, and by him for a few years. Each year my life gets better and each year, my life,….. seems more challenging. This year has been a Run For The Roses year……………….It has made me behave exactly like someone who has never heard of Taoism. I have been aggressive rather than assertive, or proactive. I have been rude, restless, frustrated, angry,………..not depressed……..Angry! (Add to this all the other adjectives no one wants to think about. They all probably apply.)

At least I know,……now,……. that I was angry.

Why? Because I was fighting all the changes and challenges coming my way rather than stopping and listening for “why.” I forgot how to float. The reasons were there. I just wasn’t listening. I didn’t want to listen. In my case, I’d pushed things so hard in my life that those little voices in my head evolved into a tidal wave of criticisms and self abuse……………..And I not only didn’t see it coming, I didn’t recognize it when it arrived or set up camp on my doorstep. Not a drop of contentment………. at all. Nada. I was too distracted by Life 101. I was focused on the outside and listening to a litany of errors, missteps and wrong doing, collected in my indoctrinated consciousness. The process of mind that I was taught to follow. ” This is what you do, This is how you do it, and you better do it well…………….Because this is what defines you and how you are judged.” “This spells out your value. This is what you are really worth,” echoed 24/7.

What little I have learned of the Tao has usually helped me to recognize when my life is out of sync. But I need to pay attention. (I didn’t.) I need to stop and take 5 precious minutes out of my day and quietly listen. I can’t set an agenda, “Okay, girl, I need to use the bathroom so you have 5 minutes to meditate all your worries away.” But that’s what I’ve done. And it doesn’t work. Never did, never will. That isn’t listening. That isn’t honoring my presence, or any presence of any kind. Nor is it respecting my need for balance and rest…………or anyone else’s…..

What it is, is fear,  in full throttle. Work, work, work, hurray, hurray, hurray, produce, produce, produce………….and while you’re on the roll, produce some more, with perfection, in your spare time. Sound’s funny? It isn’t. It’s tragic. For everyone. I never remember that what I say do and appear like affects everyone around me. My actions do not stop at my front door. They have consequences. The consequences were that I had prolonged a lifestyle and a relationship that needed dissolving years ago. The relationship ended in an eruption along the lines of Mt. St. helens. Lots of destruction. Fall out everywhere. All unnecessary.

My world didn’t evolve the way I thought it should. I tried to do all those things we think will result in a good life. We are taught over and over again that A + B = the good life. Nope. A + B = somebody, ( including me,) being affected by the stuff I just bought, mentally, physically or, (and always,) emotionally. I didn’t say profited. Profit is not synonymous here.

When we need to make changes in our way of life, our jobs, friends, location, religion,………..we need to make those changes. Holding off, trying to fix things, trying to be better? How many times have we all done this and how many times has it blown up in our faces? Sometimes doing the “right thing,” is the worst thing we could do for ourselves and others. We are all entitled to make choices in our lives. We are all entitled to change them. When we take the time to get quiet and listen, we know what to do. It’s like the dentist. The dentist we see may be a fantastic individual. Nevertheless,…………….do we really like having to make the appointment? It’s either that or a mouth full of bad teeth. Remember that relationship? It was like pulling teeth without novocaine for almost a decade.  Not fun. But there was more and I needed to listen.

I woke up to round two, today, after a few simple comments from my teacher. Favorable comments, that I paid attention to. The result is that I am giving up a career, a belief that I had skills where I don’t and the frustration that plagued me. I have been feeling, as all do, who aren’t doing what is theirs to do. I was tortured with the thought that one day others would see that I was a fraud. I couldn’t see the good work that I had done because I was always competing with those I thought were better than I.  Many were. They were better because they were following the path they were intended to follow. I was not. I knew that, but I refused to see it and do something about it. Talk about suffering for your art. I did. There are some aspects of this that will still give me pleasure and I can incorporate them into my personal life. The rest must go.

And you know, when the garbage can of feeling like a failure was lifted from my soul, I felt relief. No more hiding. No more pretending that the label fit the person. I called myself an artist. I did the work of an artist. People enjoyed the creations that came from my hands. I bought and used only the best products. In fact, I am still waiting for some of them to arrive. When they do, I’ll have a, “Soul Sale,” I’ll sell the things I gave my soul for………to those who could not have afforded them on their own and who will make good use of those I pass to them at a price they can afford.

I am not an artist and it’s okay. I am a writer. I have been one since I first held a pen. I’m also verbos. That needs to change. Be patient until then, if you can. I know that I’m on the right road because I don’t feel critical of my errors. I feel curious. I’ll still draw, for fun, but only for myself, with graphite, colored pencils and watercolor pencils. I like them and they like me.

Plain, simple, honest and authentically me. What a relief. I’ll bet that I’m not alone…………………….Floating, at last. Feels great.

Posted by: darien7743 | January 18, 2015

One Person Matters

In August 2013 I started this Blog and had about as much knowledge of blogging as a 2 year old. Fast forward to today and I’m about 2 1/2. But something happened over the past few days that put me back on this page……….One Person……………Emily K.

Never think that one person can’t make a difference. Emily, has.

Shortly after I began my attempt at blogging my world began to fall apart. I love to write but my passion was drawing and my eyes weren’t letting me see the detail I enjoyed putting on paper. I drew landscapes and I was having trouble getting things in perspective….Something had to give and I let writing go in favor of concentrating on my drawing……..Segue to November, 2014 when I finally had surgery to correct the problem. I knew that I would never draw again.  No more viewing life in the grey scale. If I wanted to create it would have to be full on, because that’s how I approach life,………and in Living Color.

Just before my surgery a funny thing happened…….I found that I loved painting abstracts….not realism as before………..Abstracts……Abstracts?………..and that Alcohol Ink, the most vivid form of color, was the medium that made me sing.

With Alcohol Ink, as a Fine Art medium, you have to have a willingness to let go of the end result. You point things in the right direction……….and then you let go…….or you “make mud.”………A term that is self explanatory……Most of my life, I have held on for dear life and much of what has happened turned into “mud”..

Once I let go and Simply Followed the Ink as it flowed out of my hands instead of insisting that it be a certain way………a second funny thing happened…..No Mud! Several beautiful pieces fell naturally into place……..with cooperation, appreciation, minimal interference. It worked. Trusting, that after I had done my part the Ink would do it’s……… result: synchronicity.

Over the course of a lifetime we all make a whole lot of mud. That is the direction the beliefs of our world force us. We over think. We force our ideas to fit into a mold they were never meant to deal with………We are eternally seeking the mythological, “They,” and trying into to be what “They,” say we should……..or, we are certain, We, will never, “Be Enough.”

Like everyone else, when I began something new, Alcohol Ink, I reverted right back into the conditioned thinking that made me loose my “Happy,” eons ago……Doing things according to what others said was “The Right Way.”…….Pleasing…….Pleasing, the “Them,” I see on Pinterest, Facebook, TV, Gossip Columns, “News,” Magazines,………Social Media. Fine Art Journals and Online Experts……..wasn’t working.

Some rules you just have to follow if you want to live well. Eat, sleep, dress, bathe, put a roof over your head. Pleasing isn’t on the list.  To be happy, we need to put into place what we learned in Kindergarten……Share, Play, Be Kind. Tell the Truth ……Communicate clearly……Cooperation can be important but not necessarily concession. There are choices…….You remember!…..But then, Life as we know it interferes. And the next thing you know,………..Life’s mud.

I think, we need to let go of opinions and the “shoulds,” and let life be life on it’s own terms. And just see what happens. I thought that I had gotten out of my way, like I had with the inks…….I had learned the lesson………..”Not quite so, McGee.”

16 days after my “Christmas,” replacement computer arrived from Amazon, it went hey wire ……..and life skidded sideways once again….or so I thought.

Amazon was no longer carrying this computer…….The self same computer, rated at the top of it’s class, that I bought in November and had to wait through 3 shipments to get on December 11th……Amazon would only offer me a refund………about $80 less than it cost through an outside seller……I decided to wait until I could see if the problems could be corrected elsewhere. I made a call that turned my life around……Synchronicity!……….and then Emma pushed “Follow.”

Someday I need to write about an ancient Chinese story called “Maybe so.” where a man tells his neighbors that things aren’t always what they appear to be. This computer issue was definitely a “Maybe so.”

My “Fixer,” had to stay with me for many hours while different procedures were corrected and there was lots of time while we waited for the different steps to finish………We tried sitting quietly on each end of the line……….It didn’t work. I became anxious that my phone had died or the connection had been broken when he was too quiet for too long……….We talked and soon the neutral topics turned to philosophy and life………In short order I was pointed back to basics. We spoke about the “They,” Who the hallelujah are the They?  Where do I find Them? And why………oh why, should I care what They think? We spoke about what was important to us, as individuals. We spoke about where to find all this. We spoke about what matters in this world verses what mattered in ours.

That was 2 weeks ago tomorrow. We’ve spoken, texted, and I’ve even learned the basics of Hangouts. I’ve met someone that thinks as I do and whom I can bounce ideas off of………

This lead to Emily……….Emily decided to Follow my outdated 2013 blog. I got an email about it. She read what I had written and was interested. I believed in what I had said. I had just discussed it with someone who belongs in Mensa………literally. And then, then came Emily……Right on Time. Synchronicity.

Emma K with a push of a button tickled a memory of the commitment I had made. I had started to write something earlier this month, but left as a draft. I had committed to writing again for New Years. Once again I had stopped. I finished it and published it just now.

My new friend fanned the spark 2 weeks ago……..Emily K. pushed “Follow.”…….

Chris told me to write for the internet………..Emily pressed Follow, which showed me where to begin……….again.

So, I decided to actually look at my blog and found that over 1,000 people had decided to view my page. One blog. 1,000 people thought that what I had to share might be of interest.

All because Emily pressed “Follow.”

So, once again I am Finding my Happy………My place and my value………..Maybe others will find it helpful. Maybe not. But it gives me back my voice and that makes me very Happy.

Thank you Emily…….You see, Emily,……..the unknown Emily, matters to me. And if you have read this, she matters to you.

One Person has added something to our lives. One Person Matters.

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