Category Archives: Mindfulness
Yesterday I was getting dressed for a presentation on Adverse Childhood Experiences (Childhood Trauma). I had placed our Beagle on a zipline previously and went outside to let him in before I left. When I looked I couldn’t see him until something caught the corner of my eye. It was Scooby in the back of the truck which was next to the zip line. I asked him; “What are you doing in the back of the truck?!?!” He looked back at me as if to say; “I don’t speak english.” I don’t know how he got in there but I could tell he was stuck and needed help getting out. I let down the tailgate and guided him to the edge of the truck bed and assisted him down.
We’ve all found ourselves stuck, needing help and not sure how we got into or get out of a predicament. Hopefully we have others in our lives who can come and guide us from places we can’t get out of without assistance.
There are days when we put our dog Scooby on a zip line so he can exercise and not be tied to a leash. He’s not on it for long but he likes the freedom and until we finish our fence it’s the best option. The zip line runs across the driveway so we take it down after we’re done so we can move our vehicles safely.
The other day I took him outside, clipped him to the cable tethered to the zip line and was going to cinch it in place on a pole when all of a sudden Scooby spied a cat sneaking through the front yard. “Pew!” he was gone dragging the zip line with him. I ran after him and rounded the corner of the front porch as Scooby ran out of zip line and cable. “Screech!” He seemed confused at first. There was something he wanted and had the freedom, ability, and determination to get it and then he was stopped in his tracks with no way forward. I shook my head, he barked at the cat that was nowhere to be seen and we both went up and put the zip line in its proper place.
Walking into the house I thought about life and the goals we want to achieve. At times we are able to claim the prize, other times we are stopped suddenly so close yet so far from accomplishing them. We have dreams which are unfulfilled, relationships that fall apart or never materialize, love unrequited.
Life can be glorious but it can also be relentless. We have this moment and we must live it fully. We are never guaranteed another second.
Normally I am a broom type of guy but today I used a Swifter for the first time. We had a cleaning service at our home last week and they used all types of Swifters for floors, furniture, appliances, and it seemed to work well. After using it today I see why it was a tool they depend on for quickness and doing a good job at collecting dust, dirt, dog hair, and more. The Swifter seemed to find dust a broom couldn’t. Oftentimes a broom pushes stuff around but the Swifter attracted the junk on the floor.
As I went over the floors in our home with my new toy I couldn’t help but think about the upcoming elections in next Tuesday’s midterms. This isn’t a politically leaning post but rather a; “I wish we could take a giant swifter over the lot of politicans and collect the junk and leave those who would take care of our country not themselves, ignore the lobbyists for firms and organizations, make decisions not based on attaining more power. All that were left, if any, would be able to govern and we’d have the tools to unite our nation and help the world at large.
What a dream…
I dropped and cracked the screen on my new Galaxy 9+ yesterday. Listening to music and bumped into the chair the phone was sitting on. Only fell about three feet but it landed on a small, hard object and the force was great enough to puncture the screen protector and send a spiderweb of cracks over the screen. Sigh!
I had prided myself on never cracking my phone screen. An almost fifteen year smartphone owner and not one crack, puncture or scratch. I’ve known several people who have cracked theirs and always wondered how they could be so careless. Now I know it only takes a second and it’s not carelessness but life.
I think many times we see a blessed, fortunate, lucky life, perhaps our own, and believe it’s all due to hard work, clean living, good choices. We might even wonder how others who aren’t so blessed, fortunate, lucky, can be so careless.
Perhaps we should keep in mind there’s a fine line, a pressure point, that if crossed or force applied, would result in our life looking very different.
A few moments ago Beth was getting up off the couch and her necklace, which contains two silver rings and a heart pendant, came undone. We immediately noticed the heart pendant hanging on but the rings were no longer attached. These rings are heirlooms given to her by people she loves. Stopping in her tracks she declared; “This is not good! We have to find them!” Everything else we were doing and going to do was put on hold. Before I knew it I was on the floor with a flashlight looking under furniture, in nooks and corners. Nothing! Then I checked a blanket on the couch and “Whew!” there they lay. Life started again.
Great reminder that there are just “things” and the “things that matter.” Knowing the difference is knowing what life is and is not.
“Waiting on a hurricane is like being stalked by a homicidal turtle!” I read this statement the other day and thought it was humorous and true. My wife and I have friends up and down the east coast and they are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best with Hurricane Florence looming as she’s still deciding when and where to make landfall. The slow-moving storm has people on edge. There’s something to be said for a challenge or difficulty that comes out of nowhere to cause chaos in life and then goes as fast as it came. It’s hard but at least one doesn’t have the agony of waiting.
I was talking with a friend last night about depression and anxiety and the way they steal the joy out of life. It’s a dark storm that hovers filling you with dread as you prepare for the full brunt of the fury. You wait, you pray, you look for signs of the storm passing but it stays in one place and never gives you a true moment’s rest. Your strength is sapped by the anxiety of the approaching darkness and when the storm finally hits its wave and winds batter and beat you into submission. Rest is elusive when something is stalking you, wearing you out with threats and anticipation, and finally, when it strikes, you’re too weak to fight back.
Be kind to each other. You never know the storms that are brewing in each of us.
For more posts, reflections, and other writings, please visit: http://www.thewannabesaint.com
What You Put In –
This morning I got up early to prepare for a presentation to a classroom that would be filled with teachers. It can be intimidating teaching those who teach as a profession. I prepared the coffee maker, got a shower, shaved, prepped my clothes and went back into the kitchen for a nice cup of joe. I poured the coffee slowly to avoid splashing and instead of dark brown delicious goodness, it was a hot cup of light brown water. Instantly I realized my mistake, I had forgotten to put coffee grounds in the filter. *Facepalm!* I put new water back in, made sure to also put in coffee grounds and waited. Finally, I actually had coffee in my coffee mug.
Later this morning I presented to the teachers and everything went well. They were engaged, asked questions and the eighty minutes of lecture time went by quickly which is usually a good sign. Afterward, I was packing up and a teacher asked if I could come back and present to another group of educators and parents. I told her absolutely.
The presentation I gave is powerful. I wrote it, then a media specialist added the slide format, and it was reviewed, refined and approved by our publicity department. A lot of teamwork and effort went into the presentation and it shows because it’s always engaging and informative. All the right things were put into it and all of the right things come out.
Now, if I could just remember to do this to my coffee and the rest of life…
For more posts, reflections and other writings, please visit: http://www.thewannabesaint.com
Perhaps the most “spiritual” thing any of us can do is simply to look through our own eyes, see with the eyes of wholeness, and act with integrity and kindness.
Out of Outrage –
This week I read two articles about people being outraged. One was about the singer, Carrie Underwood, mentioning in a magazine that she was thirty-five years old and that she might be too old for her and her husband to have a lot of children. Fertility rights activists (who knew there was such a thing?) voiced their outrage on Twitter and in other online forums wondering how she could dare make such a statement. The other was about Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson going with his wife and daughter to an aquarium. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and other animal/marine life defenders accused the “Rock” of supporting the harming and captivity of these underwater creatures. Let’s not forget the daily outrage of Trump supporters and never Trump supporters over almost everything the president does or doesn’t do.
Honestly, I need a break. I’m can’t handle all the outrage, negativity, vitriol being spewed out on, it seems, everyone and everything. A woman muses about the difficulty of having a lot of children at her age and a dad spending the day with his family at an aquarium is controversial? It’s as if we are looking for more reasons to be upset and ticked off at things. There are enough bad, evil, wrong, people and events in this world right now that should elicit legitimate outrage. We don’t have to search for more.
If we are outraged at everything then we are outraged at nothing. It is nothing but angry voices screaming at each other and no one hears, nor cares to, what the other is saying. Instead of getting upset and angry about everything, choose what really matters to you and do something about it. If you make a list and a thirty-five-year-old country singer and a movie star are on the top of your list? Maybe you should think harder.
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Double Back –
Last night, after dinner, Beth wanted a popsicle. I was getting up anyway and told her I’d get her one. I opened the top freezer door on the refrigerator and grabbed two by mistake. One fell to the floor and using the three-second rule I quickly stooped down and picked it up. Unbeknownst to me, the freezer door was swinging back and when I was two-thirds up I whacked the top back of my head on the corner of the freezer door. “OUCH!” It hurt so much I crumpled to the floor rubbing the wounded area. Beth heard me, came and looked at it and thought there would be bruising and soreness. She was right. It never occurred to me until it “hit me” that the door was doubling back. My mind was elsewhere and the freezer door brought me back to reality.
I was listening to someone describe addiction this week and they said; “It gets inside of you. You think you have a handle on it and then you begin to crave it. It comes back again and again and again.” I thought about other things which come around over and over. Grieving the loss of a loved one who has passed on, anger at being taken advantage of, bitterness at being betrayed, the pain of past memories and experiences that hurt us emotionally and physically, drug, alcohol and other addictions, friends who have negative influences on us, wounds which seem to never heal. All of these can cause us to crumple to the floor when they double back into our lives.
There is a needed balance of awareness and acceptance. Awareness is needed because perhaps we can see it coming and side-step the toll it would take on our minds and spirits. Acceptance is important because we are human, are not all-powerful, and difficult and challenging experiences are part of what makes us unique.
It is in this balance we may find wisdom and peace.
Not Yet –
A quick word before my phone runs out of juice. We’ve been without electricity for almost four hours. A mighty storm blew through our area a little after 1PM. We have several big limbs down and according to social media there are lots of trees down and other damage in several places.
I’ve made good use of the time. I took a nap, walked outside and snapped a few pictures, tried to calm the Husky down who’s afraid of storms. Almost an hour ago the lights flickered, ceiling fans began to turn and I was thankful. However, everything stopped and so we wait. What else can we do?
It’s amazing how distracted we are every second of the day and only when things come to a full stop do we notice it. So, patiently I’ll be silent in the stillness and attune myself to the breath, the rhythm of a quiet beating heart.
What You Hear, What You See –
The new debate that is dividing the nation is no longer pro-Trump or Never Trump, democrat or republican, progressive or conservative, not even black and blue dress or white and gold dress. The division now is whether you hear; “Laurel” or “Yanny” when you play the following audio clip; (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDiXQl7grPQ). The numbers are almost even, 53% to 47%.
As I listened to the audio file and the scientific reason behind what and why we hear a certain word I also began reflecting on our brains and how they interpret information. There’s a quote that reads; “You’re unique just like everyone else.” It’s funny but also true. Not one person on this planet has lived the same life. We are all on this path called life but in different, never walked on before places.
I read an article last week about the “version” of ourselves we want others to see and how its impossible to successfully project this image to another. The problem is each person has experienced a myriad of choices, events, experiences, that have shaped who they are and how they see people. In other words, people see us mostly because of who they are not who we try to be. As many people as we know there are this many “versions” of ourselves.
The question isn’t “Laurel or Yanny?” but why do we spend so much time trying to be someone other than ourselves?
For the Moms–
Not that there’s any doubt but I am not a mom. I do wonder, however, what’s it like to be a mom, a human being capable of growing another human being inside them, and then feeding the offspring with their bodies. It truly is a miracle.
I also know, with a few exceptions, that a mother’s love is staggering when it comes to these little ones she has produced. There are no mountains too high, valleys too low, burdens too heavy, distances too great that she will not travail and overcome for the sake of her children.
Wisdom, in many cultures, including the Hebrew and Judaic, is painted in feminine colors. Too often wisdom gets the short end of the stick compared to justice and strength. Wisdom, however, is like a mother’s love; fierce, unrelenting, overwhelming, and never to be underestimated.