Thursday, December 14, 2017

Making peace with zero page views


I've been in love with writing since I first learned to form letters, make words from them and put those words together to make thoughts appear on paper. In short, since I was about 5 years old. Back then, I didn't care who read my thoughts. Surprise! I don't care now either.

I write for myself. If no one reads what I write, well, that doesn't make it any less valuable to me. I also don't care if my grammar is picture perfect or my punctuation is on point. I write how I talk. It's legible enough. It's not completely ghetto. And anyone who doesn't like it doesn't have to read it. So there!

If all that makes me sound a bit narcissistic, well, I don't care about that either. People can think what they want because I also don't judge the way others write. Practice makes perfect and maybe they're not there yet. Or maybe they're like me and don't care if they ever get there. Ha!

I have a lot of blogs that nobody reads. They make me about a penny a month. OK, maybe a little more. But hey, since I don't ever cash it out, I might have a whole dollar by now. Woo-Hoo! Celebration time! Maybe I could frame it and hang it on my wall.

Meh, who cares? I think the almighty dollar gets enough air time. I save my decor space for family photos and other things that really matter. Like dream-catchers, tapestries, artwork, various handmade dangly things, cute signs and such. Most of which is truly “unprofessional” and maybe a bit sloppy. I love it!

And sure, there is an off chance that someday, someone, somewhere will find that either my meanderings or my artwork warrant a deeper look. Maybe there's even a ,little monetary compensation in my future. Still don't care. Besides, likely that would mean writing/creating the way everyone else thinks I should; conforming to consumerist demand, etc.

Nah, I'm happier just the way things are. Doing what I love to do, the way I love to do it. No promises. No demands. No battlefield. No blood shed. No deadlines. No editors. No rules. No pressure. Just the freedom to write/create as I wish.

I'm at peace with my non-existent page views. In fact, I prefer them. They represent my aforementioned freedom to be who I am. They reflect my true self; good, bad and ugly combined. They empower me like no amount of money ever could.

And you can take that to the bank.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Merry Sleigh Bells on the naughty list?


I love a good Christmas tune as much as the next person. In fact, maybe a little more. I start singing Christmas songs before Thanksgiving. I also grew up in the country, where animal husbandry is huge a part of life. Nevertheless, on my path for inner holiday peace, those merry sleigh bells are high on my naughty list. How so?

Folks, we've been using horses to do our dirty work since, well, I don't know when. In any case, it's been a long, long time. And we certainly have it in our heads that being pulled around town for a holiday joy ride is a joy. That's probably because it is a joy for us. But what about the horse?

Due to how deeply ingrained the use of horses and other animals is, we may not even think about that. Maybe we should. After all, finding peace within yourself begins with giving others peace. And I don't believe that horses being shackled to a sleigh and forced to pull us around are having a good time of it, no matter how you look at it. They're certainly not at peace.

Sure, they're strong enough. They look absolutely regal doing it. And yes, they may be well cared for. Still, it's not exactly a pleasant task to undertake. It's not fun for them. They didn't volunteer to do it. Who would? In fact, if you allow yourself free thought, you'll quickly realize how wrong we are in thinking it's OK to do this to a living creature, especially in the name of entertainment.

Now, I know a lot of “horse people” would say that “their” horse enjoys being ridden. I know because I've heard them say it. But is it really the ride they take pleasure in? Or is it the companionship?

The fact is that riding horses is physically damaging for the horse, no matter how much we tell ourselves they enjoy it.

We even refer to trained horses as “well broken.” 

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that you don't have to “break” anyone into doing something they enjoy. If it was natural and pleasant for horses to be ridden or pull us around in carriages, we wouldn't have to "break" them to do it would we?

But it's not natural. It's not peaceful. It's not even wholesome. Bits cause injury as do saddles, spurs, whips and other gear. Then there is the actual burden of carrying the rider. We literally ride directly on the horse's spine. Take a good look sometime at a horse that's been ridden a few years and you'll plainly see the curvature. It's just not healthy and in fact, causes shortened life spans.

In the case of pulling sleighs, well, imagine yourself as a rickshaw driver. Does pulling others around town all day in a cart seem like fun to you? No?

You see folks, ultimately it's really just long standing tradition that gives those sleigh rides the illusion of being merry and wholesome holiday fun. Pulling sleighs is not and never has been fun for the horse. It's not wholesome and harmless in any way.

It may not be fun for us to realize that. It may not even be widely accepted. Once our neuropassageways are programmed, it's a real b**** to convince them they're out of line. But it is the truth. And in the case of those merry sleigh bells, the truth shall set you free to live in peace. But more importantly, it will do the same for the horse.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Mistaking my ego for my identity


Oh wow! Today's revelations are huge, much like my currently over-inflated ego. They came to me like most things do. That is, after experiencing, reacting to or passing judgment on something/someone and realizing that I'm not, nor will I ever be perfect myself. And that, while I like myself, I have a few things to work on. OK, quite a few. And a lot of those things stem from ego.

Now, those of you who know me well, likely think of me as very simple and humble. Not exactly someone who lords it over people or thinks their you know what has no odor. For the most part, yes, I do try to remember that I'm just a speck on a tiny planet in an infinitesimal universe among more infinitesimal universes.

But folks, my ego really does get the better of me sometimes, just as it does every other human on this earth. And like every other human being, I have a tendency to think of my way as the best way of living. And if you don't think we're all wired this way, at least to a certain degree, just go on Facebook and spend some time in those comment sections. Do you see it now?

Socializing in general, at least lately, seems to have an underlying current of proving others wrong, therefore proving ourselves right. Heck, I can't even go to a restaurant for a peaceful meal without overhearing conversations of judgment passed on others or how they live their lives. And the nauseating thing is, that I see myself slipping into that mode.

Therefore, in order to be at peace with myself, I have decided to make an effort in recognizing whether it is my reasoning brain or my diabolical, self-defeating ego that is running my life and determining my actions. Because, I am not my ego. And my ego, much like everyone elses, does not have the power to reason outside of it's own selfish agenda.

My ego likes to tell me that I am right about everything. That's a problem. But the real issue is that my ego doesn't seem to be aware that being right is not all that important in the scheme of things. So, while my identity, or self, if you wish, is on a path to peace, my ego is constantly running interference. In my opinion, a superior attitude has no place in a mindful, peaceful life.

In fact, one can drive oneself literally nuts by living life according to one's ego and opinions. And yes, this is my opinion, but honestly, I just feel it's better for me personally, more peaceful, if you will, to practice understanding, rather than condemnation, spread joy, rather than focusing on the negative news of the day, etc.

I find that it's better for me, psychologically, to practice being humble/kind/considerate and admit my own faults, rather than exhausting myself by trying to disprove others or add more air to my ego balloon in an effort to make myself feel better. Because, you guys, we really are, much as our egos hate to admit it, quite small in the scheme of things.

And maybe my theory doesn't hold true for you. That's OK. You do you, as they say. And I am no better than you for following my own inclinations or feeling the way I do. That's the whole point. Folks, none of us really knows how to do life. We're all just winging it and hoping for the best. No point getting a swelled head over our triumphs or kicking people when they're down.

So, it seems I have discovered another huge step to conquer on the peace path. Better break out those walking sticks. This one's a doozy.

Your “mistakes” are not my problem


Taking giant steps today, at least mentally. Putting them into action may take time but here we go with another one. I have to stop taking responsibility for the “mistakes” of others. For one thing, they may not be mistakes as far as they are concerned. Either that or they haven't seen them for what they are yet, just as it takes me a while to see my own missteps.

For another thing, when did I become the logical choice for deciding other people's fate or how they live? Have I really done a perfect job of mapping out my own destiny? Of course not. Because none of us have life 100% down, do we? If we did, surely things wouldn't be so difficult, would they?

Why are we all so hell bent on reminding others of all their faults anyway? Isn't it more important to support their triumphs and allow them to deal with their own issues as they see fit? Don't we have enough on our plates without getting over-involved, handing out unsolicited advice and generally knocking on doors all over town, “spreading the word” of our choosing and annoying the heck out of people?

Wouldn't it be more constructive to allow them the peace required to come to their own logical conclusions concerning the areas in their lives that could use improvement? Wouldn't it be more productive to set a positive example by minding our own lives well and allowing them to draw their own conclusions concerning theirs?

And what do we expect to happen once we dish out our unasked for opinion, anyway? Do we really expect people to have revelations based on our ego-elevated opinions, raging firestorm fits and harsh judgments? Isn't that a bit egotistical, not to mention unrealistic?

And wouldn't it be healthier to allow others the freedom to make their own choices so that we, ourselves, also have the much needed time and energy for our own extensive self improvement?

I'm still working on what to do when someone elses choices negatively impact my life. Socialization is not my strong-point. It's hard for me to get past the hurt and express myself lovingly when my ego feels that I've been wronged.

Still, I'm going to try my utmost to leave people to their own devices and conclusions. And maybe that's a good first step toward not being hurt by their choices as well.

Learn and grow. Learn and grow.

Growing a smart mouth zipper


I've never been the mouthy type up until the last few years, so what the heck happened to me? I was raised to be humble and helpful, not harsh and rude. I really need to regrow my smart mouth zipper, you guys. But in order to do that, I have to figure out how I got to a place where doing so is necessary.

Now, I've always been a “nice” person. That is if the opinions of those around me are to be believed. But appearances can be deceiving sometimes. I'm not as perfect as some might think. Shhh... don't tell, but inside, there have been unexpressed aggravations building up. Lots and lots of aggravations.

So, from time to time, over the years, those aggravation have led me to release my frustrations with hurtful sarcasm and on occasion, all out rants.

I'm not proud of this and I'm not making excuses. Just stating facts.

When you are a caregiver/helper type person. It is inevitable that there will be a few people on the receiving end of your good will who take advantage. Sometimes they are aware of this, sometimes not.

It's a circle. It really is. Frustration and negativity beget more frustration and negativity, which in my case, leads to me spewing forth years of hateful baggage from the depths of my soul. I need to grow a smart mouth zipper, however justified my rantings and ravings may be.

Because there really is no justification for spewing anger, no matter how truthful or constructive it may be. It only serves to hurt everyone around me and bring them down.

But how will I grow this mouth zipper? Maybe I need a rubber-band on my wrist to snap whenever I feel the other kind of snap come on. I don't know. But I'm determined to find that sweet girl I used to be somewhere under all this baggage.

Yoda would say, “Do or don't do, there is no try.” But I say you have to start somewhere and even a slow start is better than not trying at all.

Finding peace through gradual changes

Adapting takes time
I used to be a true “all or nothing” person. In some ways, I still am. But when it comes to making certain changes, I've altered my tune a bit. I've learned that it takes time to create new habits, replace the old and eventually move on to that new and improved version of myself. And I'm beginning to accept that I cannot change the world or even myself in an instant.

Changing could be a bumpy ride. I may fall off the lifestyle change wagon entirely. I may sometimes have a hard time climbing back on. But eventually, with enough determination, me and my scraped knees will clamber back on and stay there for good.

Meanwhile, while working my way toward the goal line, trying to stay the course, I just keep promoting the type of peaceful, kind, loving life I wish to lead, even though I'm not quite across the finish line. Hey, don't judge. 85% is better than not at all.

Now, some might see that as hypocritical. Why promote a lifestyle that you have yet to fully attain? Well, for self inspiration, of course. For self encouragement. But mostly, for reinforcement. Because all those things help create new passageways in my brain so that I can get there one day.

Better yet, the awareness I spread may help others to make positive, peaceful changes as well. Some of those changes may be huge. Some may be seemingly insignificant. Still, every little bit helps, right?

Wishing you all peace through gradual change because sometimes you're just not ready to yank that bandage!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Is Buddha-like peace possible in the modern world?


Busy, busy, busy. That's the modern life. And when it's not, we fill our “spare” time with consumerist oriented activities. I don't know why. Maybe it's the commercial brainwashing we receive daily from obvious and not so obvious sources. Maybe it's because we've become so accustomed to being pushed to “be somebody” that we're afraid to just be. In any case, the modern lifestyle seems ill-suited for Buddha-like deep thought processes or even ordinary, old-time, simple living, does it?

To complicate things further, independent living is being phased out at a rapid rate. That cabin in the woods has to pass a multitude of inspections, comply with meticulous building standards, etc. Gone are the days of sod houses and “forty acres and a mule.” Heaven forbid that we would take it upon ourselves to live off the land.

Oh, you can't even camp on your own land now, except for 2 weeks out of the year in most places. Really? I could swear that I paid for this piece of dirt. I can't live on it how I choose?

Of course, the real issue is that if someone, somewhere isn't making a buck from it, chances are, it's illegal these days. Heck, in some regions, even collecting rain water, which falls freely from the sky and literally belongs to no one, is illegal. Because by collecting it, you reduce the profit of the water company. Wow!

What a difference this is from the days when Buddha walked the earth, spreading his message of peaceful awareness. He saw the birth of commercialism and was appalled and revolted by it. Imagine what he would think of the world we live in now. Would he be able to find a quiet corner to ponder life in? Would he be able to find serenity in the here and now?

Because, you guys, I'm having a heck of a time doing just that. And sure, my house is a little fuller than most. But that's not the whole issue. In fact, most of the problems I have with finding peace involve dealing with living up to modern standards of acceptable existence. I'm not exactly ghetto, but I am old school. I enjoy a little bit of roughing it. Perfect is boring with a capital B. And working just to support my possessions? I don't really care for that, thank-you.

I guess the “American Dream” falls a little short for me.

I do enjoy home ownership. I was raised in a home built by my Dad and Uncles. But once I left home, things were getting less affordable, so I rented for many years. Now, while I'm happy enough in our little suburban fixer-upper, I still long for the simple country life I had as a child. So uncomplicated. So conducive to the peaceful, Buddha-like existence that I'm striving for. So nonexistent these days. It seems that even most country folks now strive to conform to societal success. Sigh...

Anyway... I'm not sure I can get as close to awareness, peace and enlightenment as the Buddha did. I'm an independent thinker, for sure, though. I haven't met many others who are actually able to leave behind all preconceived notions and societal ways while mulling things over. Most folks think within the realm of their learned thoughts and behaviors, which, these days, consists of a lot of consumerist hogwash.

Newsflash:

If adopting a particular way of life requires you to buy something, it's probably a load of crap. You don't even need that cabin in the woods. What you need is already within you. You just need to embrace it and give it some room to breathe.

Folks, we're exhausting ourselves, trying to keep up with all these false impressions of who we should be. If the Buddha were alive today, I believe he would say, “Just be.” I guess the modern equivalent would be, “Don't worry, be happy.” You know, we really should stop feeling guilty about not being super-productive every second of the day. It's so nice to just exist, ponder and reflect.

So, yes, attaining Buddha-like peace is possible in the modern world. You just have to clear your head of all the years of nonsense that life in a consumerist society has put into it. Life is short. Be the love.

Now, I'm off to do just that.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Finding peace where there is none


Let's face it. We need peace the most when it's hardest to find. Silly humans. Always longing for what's missing, rather than opening our eyes to what's actually there. I raise my hand in guilt. I have been there so many times. I mean, a house filled with 10 of your closest relatives isn't exactly peaceful. Or so it might seem.

Our house is slowly “clearing out” now. It may be a little too quiet. 

Once upon a time, I wished for this very thing to happen. And OK. Ya. It is a relief in some ways. The workload is definitely decreasing. Whew! What a crazy whirlwind it's been!

But something really great came out of the experience of having most of my descendants under one roof. I really did learn to find peace where there is none. And not surprisingly, I found it within myself and grew it outward, just like I'm always telling everyone else to do.

It all begins with you, you see? Because whatever you tell yourself about a situation, that's exactly what it will become for you. You create your own reality and therefore, you can also create your own peace. It's all about the attitude, boys and girls.

There was a time when I was beside myself dealing with the mess, the confusion and the utter chaos of having multiple generations share one home. I was cranky, negative and playing the sympathy symphony to anyone who would listen. And my sense of peace reflected that negativity. I was miserable.

Because I made myself that way.

Then, somewhere along the way, I took my own advice and started seeing things differently. Just look at all the beautiful people I have in my life! How could I not? I started appreciating them for who they were and not who I thought they should be. I started seeing how society had made me expect things of them that no mere mortal could accomplish.

Heck, even I'm not that perfect. Ha!

I said to myself, “My friends and family love me so much. They're always there for me, good bad or ugly.”

Of course, part of that was because they lived with me 99% of the time. Tee Hee! Whatever. We are still a close bunch, despite our diversity and the fact that due to the modern world's demands, we didn't have much choice but to do the roommate thing.

Anyway....

While peace starts within you, it can also spread to permeate your whole life, bathing you in sunshiney goodness even in the most difficult, trying situations. The trick is simple. You just have to believe your life is great and it will be.

Yup. When it comes to bringing peace amid chaos. positivism is absolute magic. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Taking the eight-fold path – The right view


My last post explained why I'm studying and following the principles of Buddhism on the peace path now. In this post, I'll be talking about taking my first step over again, with the purpose of aligning my path based on those principles.

First of all, I was delighted to find that Buddhism refers to our life journey as a path. This is fundamental in my belief system as well. Enlightenment, or whatever you may call it does not happen overnight, as we are flawed individuals with many obstacles cluttering our paths.

I've been studying Buddhism through a reputable online study guide. The following is a quote from that guide.

Note: For your greater understanding of the context, the paragraphs in the guide, previous to the quote describe the human struggle to overcome obstacles and the general negative human conditioning that prevents us from achieving a peaceful life.

The path to liberation from these miserable states of being, as taught by the Buddha, has eight points and is known as the eightfold path. The first point is called right view -- the right way to view the world. Wrong view occurs when we impose our expectations onto things; expectations about how we hope things will be, or about how we are afraid things might be. Right view occurs when we see things simply, as they are. It is an open and accommodating attitude. We abandon hope and fear and take joy in a simple straight-forward approach to life.”

So, my first step on my new peace path has to do with perception. How do I see the world? Am I seeing and accepting it as it truly is or merely how it has been presented to me over years of conditioning? Am I muddling it with my own jaded expectations and preconceived notions of how it should be? It's vital that I grasp this before moving on. Because unless I learn to see the world for exactly what it is, free from my own notions, I begin my path with a lie that escalates as I go, rendering my entire journey fruitless.

From this moment on, I will be working on taking each experience at face value, passing no judgment, accepting what is. I will have to realize that many of the things I “know” to be true, simply aren't as they have been presented to me. I will have to accept that the things I expect from the world may never come to pass. Some things may never get better.

While that may sound defeatist, it excites me that by leading a peaceful, more accepting, more realistic life, I may actually have the power to bring about a sense of calm that I have never experienced before. This is due, of course to the fact that, like most people, my view of the world is one cluttered with the aforementioned conditioning and unrealistic expectations.

By also detaching myself from the “responsibility” of carrying all the burdens, pain, suffering and mental anguish (caused by trying to control everything around me, people included, in the hope of finding the peace that already exists inside me) from now on, I will simply accept the existence of unpleasantness as a part of life. Because it is and always will be.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Why study Buddhism?


First of all, for those concerned with my spiritual well being, there is no need for worry. Buddhism is a philosophy of life that can be practiced along with any religion, not that I follow one anyway. It accepts all and excludes none. 

That last bit being is main reason for my interest in it. I have never been one for exclusion, cliques or even overly patriotic behaviors as I believe each and every one of us to have equal value, regardless of our racial heritage, origin, orientation, location, beliefs or standing in life.

I also believe, as you know, in living a peaceful existence, as far from the trappings of a materialistically inclined society as possible. I find doing so to be liberating, rather than limiting as some might believe.

I am a realist. A believer in seeing things as they are, rather than as how I wish them to be or perceive them to be, based on hearsay, dogma or tradition. I find that when I am able to leave those preconceived notions behind, much of the blockage is removed from life, so that I may freely navigate “my” path and reach “my” goal of greater understanding and unity.

I believe humans are naturally flawed human beings. However, I also believe, that with practice and focus on kindness, goodwill toward others and acceptance, we can learn to overcome our more negative characteristics.

All this being said, accepting and overcoming while remaining serene and positive is not an easy task for me. It's especially difficult, as a bit of an anti-socialist, to leave “me” behind and meld with the greater energy/good.

I need guidance on “my” path and the guidance I have chosen is Buddhism. This is because Buddhism very closely resembles “my” own beliefs.

Why do I keep putting “my” in parenthesis? Well, folks, it's complicated. On the one hand, knowing “my” true self, short-comings and all is vital for my journey. On the other hand, accepting the fact that we are one, there is no self-containment in life and that “my” duty is not merely to the illusion of self is “my” eventual goal.

So, friends, “my” peace path is in a bit of a do-over right now. One that might take a lifetime to travel. I am now following the guidelines of the eight-fold path laid out in the principles of Buddhism. Why? Because it makes sense. Because I believe it's the key I've been seeking, in fact, that many of us have been seeking.

Buddhism seems, at least on the surface, to be a solution to revealing the cause of the restlessness, anxiety and common woes of all mankind, so that we may heal and live lives free of undue worry and fear. It offers freedom from the burdens that living in an unnatural, human created society has placed on us.

In short, the study and practice of Buddhism speaks to me like nothing else ever has. It seems to coincide with my own beliefs like no other philosophy or principle ever has. Not only that, it does not seek to limit, but to guide me on what I know to be “my” right path.

Why study Buddhism? Because it rings true, does no harm and seeks unity, not division. That's good enough for me.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Soul Suckers and the Peace Path


Everybody knows one or has one and as the saying goes, “There's at least one in every crowd, so if you don't know one, it's probably you.” Soul suckers can be people. They can also be things. Whatever sucks out the core of your soul, no matter how hard you try to maintain your integrity and composure is a soul sucker.

The most frustrating soul suckers are those you can't easily walk away from. You know. Like the job that you need in order to pay the rent, the house with the cheap mortgage in the place you don't really want to be or even those ever present, constantly needy, but much loved individuals you just can't bring yourself to give up on. They all have their merits. But still, they're sucking the very life out of you.

How can you possibly make your way down the peace path in one piece with them incessantly draining your energy?

Ha! Tell me and we'll both know.

I do have a theory, though. Naturally. I'm chock full of theories just waiting to be tested. Here's how this one goes:

I plan to let the soul suckers carry on with their nasty business. That may not sound like a viable solution, but here's the kicker. I plan to change the way I react to them as well as how much I let them get to me. I also plan to stay away from them, whenever necessary or possible.

As “they” say, “A stands for attitude.” In my case, that's as in adopting a new one. In other words, let them do their worst and I'll put my energy into being the best me that I can be, in spite of their quest to destroy me.

Which, in my opinion, is all we can do in any case. We can't control some of the people, events and circumstances that impact us. We can't change some things in life. But we can definitely control and change our own choices and our own lives. So, that's what I'm off to do. Will it work? I don't know, but I think if I put my mind to it, maybe it will bring me a little closer to peace of mind.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Facebook Light


I'm still totally over scrolling through Facebook for hours. No worries on that score. There's too much life to live. And staying away entirely for a bit really gave me some perspective. But I do have a hard time giving up the aspect of keeping in touch with friends in an efficient manner, much for the same reason. Life is short and that's why I'm now doing “Facebook Light.”

What I mean by this is that when I get a chance, I'll scroll through for a few minutes at most, see what my friends and family are up to, lend support, comment positively, etc. And that's about it. Every once in a while, you might see an auto post from something I've written or a brief positive post.

And while I'm OK with others posting as they wish, I'm kind of done with getting too detailed about my personal life, feelings, politics and other beliefs on Facebook. I don't mind my friends knowing about my life, it's the trolls and advertisers I have a problem with. It's simply none of their business how I live and I intend to keep it that way.

Isn't it nicer to learn news through someone reaching out to you personally, than by seeing a public post on Facebook anyway? Kind of makes you feel like someone cares enough to give you a piece of their time, right? It does me anyway. So, I figure, I'll do the same for others.

It's nice to go back to the days of personal communication sometimes. Or all the time. LOL Heck, I might even write my Mom a good, old fashioned snail mail letter. She loves those!

Yup, Facebook done as per usual just doesn't have the same feel as good old fashioned, one on one, face to actual face interaction with a real human being. It also pales in comparison to a heartfelt letter someone thoughtfully composed just for you and penned with their own two hands.

But you know, it isn't so bad just hopping on Facebook once in a while to say hello, post an encouraging or inspiring message and ignoring all the assorted animosity, etc. Stay only a few minutes, scroll, scroll, scroll past the madness, don't create any grief myself and leave everyone, myself included, with a smile is the plan.

Yup, "Facebook Light" works for me right now. Life is so hard. Why not make it a little less full and a little more positively productive?

Now, I'm off to try and figure out how to weed my garden with a claw for a hand and a body that refuses to get up once it's down. LOL Another benefit of doing "Facebook Light." Things actually get done.

Well, most things, anyway...

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dream or do – My move – Just do it?


I once heard it said that dreaming is more enjoyable/satisfying than doing because once you remove the fantasy, reality kicks in. And reality is not quite as polished. Well, you know what? I'm OK with unpolished. Dreams can only take you so far. And while dreaming is certainly a pleasant pastime, doing is the stuff dreams are made of for me.

Huh?

I guess what I'm saying here is that I'm tired of sitting around waiting for someone to wave a magic wand over this mirage of an existence that modern society has us pandering to. Pretty darn tired of watching loved ones waste their life away on the non-existent American dream. (Let's face it, the only place that ever happened was in our heads anyway.)

I'm sick of hearing how people miss the good old days when things were like Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way. Because they never have been.

We glamorize the past when we reminisce. We leave out the negative aspects of living “back in the day” because they're unpleasant to think about. And so, we go around with this jaded view of past decades that makes us long for “the good old days” we have conveniently placed in the forefront of our childhood memories.

And let's face it, part of the reason we fantasize about the good old days is because we are now adults, dealing with adult issues, which is something we didn't have to face as a child.

However....

We all know that there is something to be said about the simplicity of the past. You know, life in the times before everyone became so involved with their gadgets and devices. The times when we actually talked to each other, face to face, all the time, because that's all there was.

Ya, I do miss that. It did exist.

Good thing I figured out how I can bring it back.

Yup. Because, as it turns out, the disappearance of simplicity in my life was my own darn fault. I had my face in my phone and computer just as much as everyone around me did.

No one took the good old days from me. I took them from myself when I stopped living in a way that brought me peace. My disdain for the modern world was blinding me to the fact that I was becoming an integral part of it. That was the real problem.

So now, rather than preaching to everyone else about their detached behavior and lifestyles, I'm working on my own.

Now, you may miss something else entirely, about the days before technology, but I miss things like playing cards and games, doing jigsaw puzzles, creating not so great (sometimes totally crappy) works of art and making things for my home. Those things never made me especially rich or famous. But they did make me happy. So, as a part of my peace path, I've gone mostly off social media so I can have the time to pursue them daily again, rather than just on rare occasions.

And you know what? It's contagious, this actual, RL (not virtual) face time instead of Facebook thing, that is. Today, my oldest grand-daughter and I are going to refinish some old beat up furniture together. We're going to live our own lives instead of watching other people's lives on television or social media. And what's more? We're excited about it. Really excited.

I hope it's the start of many more peaceful pursuits in the real life zone for us. I hope we have so much fun that we inspire the people around us to do the same on a regular basis. Because, folks, as I am learning more and more, we can't change the whole world overnight. But we can certainly change our own little piece of it.

So... Dream or do? What is my move?

I move to make my dreams of a simpler, non-virtual existence a reality and ignore the social pressure to Stepford wife my way through life like a zombified, insane, brainwashed, “good” citizen. After all, no one's going to do it for me. And if I sit around waiting for society to change before I change? Well, you've seen those skeleton memes, right? I have no desire to become a skeleton while waiting for anything.

Ain't nobody got time for that and I have less time than most!

Dreaming of a different kind of life? I highly recommend you do something you love, that brings you closer to your dream every day, my friends. Who do you want to be? How do you want to live? Be that. Do that.

Now!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Something you don't know about empaths


There is something about deeply feeling people you likely haven't been told. And if you have one of these people in your life, it's important that you be aware of it. Empaths generally walk a peaceful path, however....

Empaths can be surprisingly vengeful when wronged or used.

Empaths are highly sensitive and caring individuals. They normally have your best interests at heart, for sure. They can also turn “evil” when you have loaded them up with too much for too long. If you become destructive, disloyal, negative or violent, they will see right through your “cleverly” disguised manipulations. They know you inside and out. Sometimes, better than you know yourself.

Empaths know their way around your head because they are right in there with you. Don't take that lightly. Empaths can play games you didn't even know existed when they've been wronged. They are experts at both emotional healing and emotional warfare because they experience constant emotional input from absolutely everyone they encounter daily.

They know your secrets and they will use them to destroy you if they feel taken advantage of.

So there you go. Empaths can be your best friend or your worst enemy, depending on how you treat them. And they know everything about what makes you tick. That makes them a powerful force.

If you have ulterior motives, tread carefully around the empaths in your life. Treat them with the respect they deserve. They will nurture you through those bad times with great enthusiasm and insight. However, they will also turn on the unappreciative in a heartbeat.

Literally, oh snap!

Putting it all together – Seeing the light


Lately, I see something incredible happening. It's being revealed to me that everything I believe or experience is a puzzle piece in a wonderful landscape that represents who I am, where I've been and what I stand for. But that's not it, exactly. Let me continue.

It's all connected. Everything I believe, that is. It's all bringing me to where (and who) I'm supposed to be. All of it.

Now, some of the pieces of my life seemed unrelated to each other in the past. But as I learn and grow, the puzzle picture and the relationship between the pieces of my life and my varied beliefs gets clearer daily. And I know that I will be more than OK. I know that who I am is whole and right and good. It always was and always will be.

It's such a beautiful and complicated realization that I find it hard to describe.

Even the “bad” bits of my life have been pushing me toward this realization. So, it must be important, yes?

Is it fate?
Was I born with all the clues?
Is my destiny to put them together?
Once I do, what does it mean?
Have I arrived then?
Does it signify what I should be working on?
Or is it a sign that since I have seen the truth, I'm ready to depart this world?

I don't know the answer to those questions. But for me, the beauty of realizing that all my beliefs, experiences and ideals are connected, like a brilliant message to my soul is it's own reward.

I don't know if I can accurately describe how this “enlightenment?” makes me feel or even exactly what it means because it's just too big for that. But I'll try.

It feels like finding myself except that now I know I was never lost. I can see that I was being guided to this place. It feels like I have been on an incredible journey and come out of a cave into the sun.

I know. I sound a bit like a nut job, right? But I swear, it's all true.

And you guys, all this outer stuff we spend hours and hours dwelling on daily? The “trappings” of a mad society? Pondering what to do, who to do it with, whether we are worthy or successful, etc.? Well, it just doesn't matter. Because we are perfect exactly as we are. We always have been. The inner stuff, that's the stuff dreams are made of. And we have always had that since the day we were born.

It doesn't cost us a dime because it has always been ours.

I believe that if we can manage to find and grow our respective “lights” at the end of the tunnel we should shine them out into the world without ulterior motives or selfishness. Why? So that others can see to find their own way out and therefore be connected in light, rather than stumbling in the dark confusion of a “normal” self serving thought process.

Yes?

It's not me, it's my meds


Ha! Do you feel me, chronic illness peeps? Oh boy, when I was on high dose prednisone, I was an argument waiting to happen. And not just any argument, either. I was on fire with burning emotion, resentment, jealousy and just plain old meanness. Hormones had nothing on me. I was dealing with feelings I didn't know how to deal with at all, because I'm normally a very mild mannered, soft spoken person.

Stop laughing.

I really am.

That's why when prednisone got a hold of me, it all came pouring out. Years of frustration. Years of “being nice” and holding things in. Yup everything that had been bugging me for the last 40 years came bursting out in tirades of epic proportions.

It was anything but peaceful.

I'm sure it's much the same for other introverted people taking steroids and other toxic wonders for chronic illnesses.

Which brings me to my point.

Folks, I'm not asking you to let people abuse you because their medications or painful, exhausting illnesses are turning them into monsters. But do try to understand they, personally, are not the cause. They are not evil incarnate, just because they sound like they need an exorcism.

They're in pain. A lot of pain. Unimaginable pain. They're not screaming in pain because it's a daily occurrence they deal with. You won't see their pain, but believe me, you don't want to. And those meds! Holy crap! Mother Theresa would freak on some of them. I'm serious.

I did not recognize myself when I was on meds. I was literally a different person altogether. Some days, when I have to high dose to to flares, I still am.

But inside, I'm still the same old peace loving happiness guru, even if it doesn't show. I am not the enemy. I promise.

Thinking outside of societal norms


The society we're raised in has a weighty influence on our everyday life and decisions on how to live it. It can be very difficult to lift that weight and think independently. However, I recommend that you do it, at least occasionally. Seeing things from an unburdened perspective will, more often than not, reveal many hidden truths.

Free thinking has been invaluable on my peace path.

You may also find, as I have over the years, that some societies are very, very good at convincing you to do the wrong thing, while making you think it's right. Unfortunately, ours has become one of them. Don't get me wrong. I love my country. I am happy to be here. But I'm not happy about how we as average citizens are often taken advantage of by those in power.

In fact, in my opinion, our society is swiftly becoming nothing but a giant machine designed to generate money for a chosen few riding on the backs of the many.

And they do manipulate. They do it through newscasts, through media, through advertising, through paid promotion of businesses that they have an interest in, etc. etc. etc. They do it through others who have been manipulated to believe they are doing the right thing. Herd thinking is a powerful thing.

They even do it through social media, you guys. Where did you think those memes came from? Sure, some are just for fun but others are designed to manipulate you into thinking a certain way. And if you see them enough, they become so common place that you begin to believe in them for that reason alone. Social media can be informative and enlightening. It can also be dangerous and dishonest.

That's just one reason that independent, unbiased thought is so important.

Bear in mind too that some powerful, yet misguided individuals even manipulate by telling you that you are being manipulated by those who are actually telling the truth and trying to help you see the light.

All this can have you so overwhelmed that you are more susceptible to the lies. And that's exactly what “they” want.

Think about it. Here in the good old USA, we are taught many basic principles that just don't hold water. They don't mirror the truth. And yet, we go right along with them, mostly out of habit, tradition, forced patriotism or previous long term societal brainwashing.

For instance, in this country, it's subliminally suggested to us that religious people are morally superior to non-religious people. Many people believe it, but it's simply not true. It's actually a mixed bag, isn't it? Some religious people aren't moral at all. Some are somewhat moral. Some are very moral. The same is true for non-religious people. Morality depends on the individual, not their religious persuasion.

Also, this country was based on freedom from religious persecution and freedom from forced allegiance. Yet, we are taught that patriotism means blindly and exclusively adhering to one common religion and one common way of thinking.

That's an example of dictatorship, not patriotism!

We are also taught that cow's milk does a body good and beef is what's for dinner and coal is clean. There are multi-million dollar campaigns designed to promote these ideals for profit. In actuality, milk is designed for baby cows, not humans. Beef is highly polluting, depletes our resources and isn't all that great for us. Coal is very, very dirty.

However, all three of those things are promoted heavily and generating huge profits for those who have an interest in them, as well as those in the government who help spread the lies.

So, what else does society ingrain in us that simply isn't true? Even if you don't believe the examples above, you should do a little factual, unbiased research of your own. Why not start thinking for yourself, outside of everything you've been conditioned to believe? What's the worst that can happen? You learn something you didn't know?

But how do you know the difference between the truth and a lie designed to manipulate you into thinking a certain way? Well, that's the tricky part, isn't it?

How I do it is by asking myself a simple question. Is a bigger profit being made by the person responsible for spreading this info and influencing me to think and behave this way? If the answer is yes, well, that's when I start analyzing it, independent of what I've been taught.

Now, sometimes when I do this, I find that despite the fact that someone profits, the information is good. But honestly, most of the time, I find that the reason I am being influenced so heavily is to disguise a lie as the truth so that someone can profit from it.

Now, I'm not telling you that you have to believe everything I believe or that my way is the only way to live. What I'm saying is that a little deep thinking, independent of society is good for all of us, no matter our beliefs or way of life.

Free thought: It does a mind good.

This positivist struggle is real, but I got this

So, I'm working hard to create my positive aura. I'm literally exuding sunshine and happiness. But wait, what's that? It's the negativity fairy paying a visit to my peace zone. She has inadvertently flown into my joyful airspace and she is packing heat. Her missiles of relentless resentment, anger, conflict and general foreboding have burst my happy little bubble and torn it to shreds.

My friends, it seems no matter how hard I strive to be positive, there is always someone waiting to shoot down my plane. Unfortunately, it's usually someone I can't exactly ban from my life. And so, while my days always start on a positive note, which I try my best to hold on to, other forces are doing their best to make sure I lose my grip.

The endless bickering, complaining and downright negativity of some people makes it a very real struggle for me to remain positive. And you guys, my little ball of sickeningly sunshiney, sweet as pie, do no harm, mother's love, happiness is HUGE! I am literally bursting with positivism and determined to stay that way.

I will prevail. Because remaining positive is high on my peace path list of priorities. The way I look at it, I can choose to be miserable or I can choose to be happy. We all can. So, even though the struggle is real and the road is long, my peace of mind is worth the price.

Hit me with your best shot, negativity. Because not only will I withstand you, I may just turn you around. After all, negative people crave peace too. Even if they don't know it yet. 

Be careful. If you're not careful, you might smile, Felicia.

Finding peace in a crazy capitalistic world


A related, connected thought in my "leaving Facebook alone" journey.

Last night, I opened the door of my house to go for a drive and my phone immediately chimed, “light traffic in your area.” No. Just no. I've had enough of this bologna. Enough of the prying eyes. Enough of the constant sales pitches. Enough of the greed. Enough. How can we find peace in such a crazy, intrusive, busy-body, capitalistic world?

And yes, there has always been crazy stuff going on. I know that. And yes, there are times when technology is a friend to me. It's just that I'd like to be the one to choose when that happens, rather than having it shoved down my throat 24/7. If I need a traffic report, I'll ask for one. Otherwise, I'd like to just live in peace, OK?

If smart phones were really smart, they'd know to leave me alone and that I'm not in the mood for their incessant intrusions. Ever.

And.... turning off system notifications now.

Because that's how we find peace in this crazy capitalistic world. Little by little, bit by bit, we decide what our tolerance limits are and make adjustments accordingly. It's not going to change, you guys. In a capitalistic society, we will never have what we really need, no matter how large our bank accounts are.

We have to change our character, not our station in society in order to find our place of peace. Because what we need can't be found in a vault. It simply can't be bought.

So many illustrations I could use here. So many. Stopped going on Facebook last week sometime. Still have messenger on my phone so I don't lose touch with all the great friends I've found there. Just don't go to my “news” feed any more. It's too manipulative is the thing. Too intrusive. Too negative. Too one sided, no matter which “side” you're on.

Facebook is not a victim-less application.

And then, there's another aspect. Some of us weren't really made for the kind of life they're pushing on us now, on or off social media. Some of us really could live in that cabin in the woods. A lot of us would be OK without the trappings of modern society. Problem is, we're not allowed to live simply any more. It's not up to us how we choose to live.

Social media and mass media work together to make sure we are obliviously occupied, while our pockets and brains are picked clean by the powers that be. It's the American way. Or maybe I should say, it's the U.S.A. way, since we do not have exclusive rights to this continent.

At any rate, things have been developing in this direction for a lot of years. You see, that's how it works. Brainwashing doesn't happen overnight. It's sneaky. It's subtle. And suddenly, you have no choice but to go with the flow.

Or do you?

Facebook – It just doesn't matter


Last week sometime, I started not going on Facebook to further my peace path journey. I decided that none of it really matters to me except the people on it. My friends matter a great deal to me. We've weathered many storms together over the years. But Facebook itself? It just doesn't matter at all. At it's core, it's a business, you guys. And some of the things it's in the business of doing are downright ugly.

Facebook is invasive. It knows what you and I are doing every moment of the day. Why? Well, in some cases, we tell it. Because, as it turns out, we really are that “special kind of stupid” mentioned in meme after meme after meme.

And even when we don't share much at all, Facebook steals our browsing history. Advertisers, the powers that be and even our exes can find out everything they need to know about us through Facebook as well. Sometimes it might mean hacking our pages, friending our friends and scrolling through our messages. But they are a determined bunch. They will find a way.

That's right, you guys, thanks to Facebook and other social media giants, our private lives have evolved into a highly effective, highly profitable public commodity. And much like conventional societies, Facebook society has manipulated us to the point where we don't even see the manipulation any more.

Well, some of us do.

And when we do? What do we do about it? Sadly, most of us just let them. That's right. Just like we have let big business and the banking industry tell us what to do for the last, oh, let's say, a couple hundred years? Don't kid yourself. This is no democracy we live within. It's a subtle, hostile takeover of our lives, our thoughts, our feelings, our values and everything that we hold dear.

Every society has been, since the beginning of time.

And what of those of us who have awoken? Well, it's inevitable that those people are seen as nut jobs, conspiracy theorists, etc. by the “herd” we have become. To the point that, some of the manipulators are clueless as to their own participation. They're pawns, just like the rest of us.

So, now, what do we do about it? To a certain extent, we do have to cater to whatever society we live in. After all, one has to live. And in order to live/breathe/eat/survive these days, we need to make a buck, don't we? There's just no way around it.

But we certainly don't have to allow Facebook and other social media giants to monopolize our time, do we? We have no obligation to them whatsoever. Because, while many of our friends, acquaintances and business contacts can be readily communicated with on social media, “they” forgot one tiny little detail.

Our social media “friends” can also be interacted with in person. We don't need Facebook for that.

How about this? We have used social media as a tool to find these people. Now, we can reject the calamity it has become by leaving it and keeping them. Facebook – It just doesn't matter. Only the people matter. And we can all get together without social media.

Tables are turning, Felicia.

Nothing like a day of Facebook to...

Folks, I wrote this one a few weeks ago, before the nagging feeling that being on Facebook was becoming a constant psychological tug of war culminated in me staying off it for a bit. However, even though this one is old news, as thoughts go, I'm sharing it and a few successive posts on the subject. I'm now in a pretty good place with this issue, having spent many hours writing my way through the struggle.

The peace path is a bit clearer, now. My past ramblings seem irrelevant and outdated to me, but since you weren't there for the journey, maybe they'll be of interest to you.

So here you go. My thoughts, circa 2 weeks or so back....

Nothing like a day of Facebook to....

What? Lighten the mood? Worsen the mood? Show you how lazy you are or how ridiculous modern life is? Meh, maybe a little of all of those. But also, there is nothing like a day of Face-booking to make you decide to stop Face-booking altogether.

So what gives?

Well, you know, you guys, sometimes it's just time to move on. And sometimes you just get to the point where you realize that Face-booking all day is not a constructive or particularly meaningful use of your time. And that you lack the self control required to use it moderately.

But then, we have the actual leaving. Probably best not to think about it, because if you do, well, let's face it, you probably won't go through with it. Because there a a half million things to consider. You know.

What about all those people I've become friends with who only know me on Facebook?
What about those old classmates I found here, years after leaving school?
What about those family pictures and updates I'll miss?

They get me every time.

Then, I tell myself that I can do this. I can be moderate. I know I can't, of course. Oh, maybe I believe it initially until the next all day Facebook marathon occurs. So, at this point (which is now a couple weeks ago, remember?) I am still pondering my next move where the book of faces is concerned.

Stay tuned for further developments.