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.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Are you a victim of social media judgment?


Aren't we all? Forging a peaceful online path often means circumventing the trolls. I recently posted the following three paragraphs on Facebook, inspired by a meme, but there is so much more to this thought process. So, I decided to expand my thoughts here.

Not so much about me, sometimes I'm a bit too much of an open book. LOL But please remember, some people choose not to put everything about themselves on the book of faces or speak about everything in their lives publicly. This is not to look "perfect" or because they're being "fake" but to retain their right to privacy. We all have struggles and we all make mistakes. Not everyone is comfortable sharing theirs.

And (partially about me) don't assume someone is a "bitch" because they have a public meltdown on a bad day. We all have bad days and none of us know everything about anyone. Maybe, like in my case, they were on meds. Maybe they lost a loved one that day. Maybe their boss or someone close to them hurt them to the core that day and something you said unintentionally, reminded them or aggravated them further.

There are a lot of people getting in touch with folks they haven't seen in years on here too. Keep in mind that they have likely grown, learned and changed since then. Try to take people for who they really are, rather than what you expect or remember them to be.”

Are you a victim of social media judgment? If you are, don't feel alone. All of us have been at one time or another. Even the person who's judging you. In fact, that may be what prompted them to be hostile toward you in the first place. Ironic. But true.

And Facebook in particular seems to have taken on a more hostile, less peaceful tone in general. It's not really what it was intended to be in the beginning, is it? Rather than just being a way to keep in touch and get to know people, it has also become a sounding board for anything and everything that bugs us, keeps us awake at night or touches us.

Sometimes that's a good thing. Sometimes, not so much.

Facebook has certainly brought awareness to many and given us a podium on which to spread said awareness. You know, so that they can choose for themselves what to do about it.

Choose is the operative word, though, isn't it? It's important to realize that our social media friends may not share our beliefs and that not everyone who shares their beliefs is trying to brainwash us either. Just because I post what I believe, well, that doesn't mean I expect everyone else to agree. That would be ridiculous.

I also see a lot of defensive comments on my posts and others when nerves are touched or opinions clash. I'm certainly guilty of that myself, although I am working to improve that.

It's that very aspect of social media that makes some of us think that maybe we were better off NOT being aware of absolutely everything in real time. However, NOT knowing also means not having the opportunity for positive, peaceful change in my book.

If you agree, do try to remember that not everyone feels that way. And whether someone else agrees with you or not, as long as they are not harassing or belittling you, they have a perfect right to their own opinion. Yes, no matter how misguided it may be in your opinion.

On a side note, I have also noticed that no matter your opinion, you can now find at least what looks like irrefutable evidence to support it simply by googling it. Now, that doesn't mean said evidence is always accurate. That's why it's important that we do research on both sides of the coin, not believe everything we read and use our heads for something besides a hat rack, as my parents were fond of saying.

But above all, stop passing judgment on people, based solely on their social media posts. Because, as the meme that inspired this post says, “Just because I don't always share my troubles, doesn't mean I don't have them. At times I may be fighting battles you know nothing about.”

Be kind everyone. Help each other. Lend a hand. It's the good stuff. In fact, it's the only thing that really matters. The only thing you leave behind is memories. And as has been said, try your best to make them good ones.

But if you don't, well, apologize, forgive and start over. Because nobody's perfect. Not even you.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Of course you care what people think


Don't be ridiculous! We all do. Otherwise, you wouldn't keep talking about how you don't care what people think at all. It may be hard to admit, but if you didn't care about the opinions of others, you wouldn't be so focused on them. They'd be insignificant in the scheme of things. You wouldn't be wasting energy talking about them.

No worries. You are not alone. Goodness knows, I've spent my fair share of time worrying what other people think of me. I believe we all do, to some extent. What a waste of precious moments! I still catch myself doing it from time to time when I pound out a rant on the keyboard. I guess you could say that I'm even doing it right now, while trying to prove my point.

Which is:

News flash 1: Nobody really cares how you live.

Yes, there are always naysayers, bigots and gossips, but deep inside, most of their criticisms really are more a reflection of themselves than you. Some of them may even be trying to impress you! Everyone is mostly focused on their own life. It's basic survival instinct.

News flash 2: Other people are not picture perfect.

Neither are you. Neither am I. And that's OK. Because who knows what perfect means to any of us anyway? Everyone has their own idea of perfection. We're all striving for something unique.

On a personal note:

I'm one of those weirdos who hides nothing in public forums. I am who I am. At least I've always portrayed the me that I think I am at the time, anyway. I change. I learn. I grow.

I even regress sometimes. Sometimes that part of me isn't pretty. I can be a little bossy, extremely opinionated and pretty relentless when it comes to my pet causes.

Yes, I have issues, but honesty isn't one of them.

It bothers me so much when people purposefully create an alternate personality for their public life. Good heavens, people, let the uglies out to play. They're dying for some air and they are a part of who you are. They're also your best teachers. Give them some credit! Be real!

It's OK if you're not the “perfect” everything, even by your own standards. Stop being so hard on yourself.

No one ever has been or ever will be perfection personified. You will always have critics, even if they only exist in your head, as is sometimes the case.

So what?

Who cares?

Be proud of your crazy and wonderfully fallible bits!

The truth shall set you free.

Always being worried that someone will discover who you really are, on the defensive, hiding your imperfections or playing the victim to raise sympathy is an exhausting way to live.

Why not just celebrate your life? Enjoy it! Revel in it! Laugh at yourself publicly. Be relate-able. Be genuine. Be imperfect. Stop looking over your shoulder for disapproval. But mostly, start approving of yourself in all your beautiful and horrible glory.

Do that and I promise you, other people's opinions can't touch you. At least not where it counts.

Be at peace with yourself inside and out!

Yes, even when neither seems very pretty.

How to drink more water


It seems a bit silly, the title, doesn't it? I mean, just drink more water, right? And yet, sometimes our old habits prevent us from doing so. Being at peace requires being healthier. Part of that is drinking more water. So what I've done, and hopefully it will help you in your quest to drink more water too, is to create new habits that make it hard to forget to drink the water.

First of all, I make it pleasurable. The best way to make it pleasurable for me is to have the best tasting, most chemical free, heavy metal free and contaminate free water possible available to me in a convenient way. We now have a 10 stage water filter attached to the kitchen faucet. So we have fresh, clean water available anytime we want it.

Not everyone can do this. I get it. Been there. A lot. But if you can't swing the 10 stage, try a filtering pitcher. You'll be glad you did. The taste difference alone is worth it. And honestly, due to having to replace the filters so often, the 10 stage is actually comparable and cheaper over time.

Now, for those habits.

Every time I crave a drink, with the exception of my morning ginger tea, I drink water instead. I even drink a glass of water before my tea in the morning. Why? Because, chances are, if I'm craving any kind of drink, what I really need is water. If you're wondering, the ginger tea is medicinal. It helps me with pain and inflammation, thereby keeping my need for meds minimal. Otherwise, I'd be drinking water exclusively at this point.

I've also made a new habit of drinking a glass of water with every meal. It helps to build new habits around old ones. They stick faster. So, since I was already having a drink with each meal, either water or something else, I've simply switched to drinking water every time.

Adding water to other routines fills out my daily requirement. Having a glass of water upon awakening, or just before bed, for instance. I now take water with me every time I get in the car as well. And of course, I take water when we go on walks or on nature based trips. I even take it if I'm just sight seeing. Needless to say, I bring the awesome water.

Taking water with me on the go keeps me from buying unhealthy drinks or bottled water. I don't like buying bottled water. Those plastic bottles take more water to manufacture than what they contain. Isn't that crazy? Plus, of course, there's the environmental consequences of all that plastic. Yuck!

I'm going to close with an observation here. You know, I kicked the soda pop habit a long time ago. But I was still fighting those cravings. That is, until I started drinking more water. As it turns out, what I was really craving was good old H2O. Now, I don't know if that will hold true for you as well. But maybe if you're still fighting a soda pop or energy drink habit, drinking more water will at least reduce your cravings.

Happy Hydrating!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Breaking up with Facebook, etc. etc.


Facebook is a strange mistress, isn't she? Talk about your love/hate relationships. This one is both deadly and fabulous. One minute you're chatting with someone who has literally made your day. Next minute you're in a full blown battle to the death with some utter troll who has effectively ruined it. 

So, what I'm pondering today is this: 

Is it even possible to leave Facebook? Should I? Because lately, I've had it up to my eyeballs with the naysayers, negativity and pointless conflicts that go on there. And yes, I must admit, a big part of what I don't like about Facebook is my own insane reaction to it.

You know, because I'm nuts. Certifiable, you guys. I'm not crazy enough to worry about, just world weary. Meh, we're all a bit loopy these days, from what I see. Society makes it impossible to be sane. Too many expectations. Too many rules, both spoken and unspoken.

Every day, they make more rules. Like there's a shortage or something. What? Somebody slipped on a banana peel? That's it. No more banana peels allowed. And so on. Who can keep up with all these rules? Not this crazy chick, that's for sure.

I've been mulling this over for literally months.

As an aside thought, it kind of has to do with a realization I had about the fact that we are too far away from our natural world. So much so, in fact, that we call it nature and talk about it like we're not a part of it.

You know. It goes something like this:

“Ooh, Ah, I love nature”

“Fool, You are nature! You are a natural being. You are a part of nature. It's not something to admire from afar. It's something to participate in”

Now, I'm not considering stripping naked and wandering the woods, living off nuts and berries because of this, you guys. I'm not that crazy. Besides, no one wants to see that. 

What I am considering is getting back to the way I used to live. Life before I went public. That is, life before Facebook, etc.

Because that was my best nature, you know? It was peaceful. I wasn't on a peace path because I was already at peace.

Wasn't it great, you guys? Wasn't it fun to live life fully and not feel obligated or excited to report all the highlights to all your Facebook friends? And I hate to admit it, but wasn't it great when you didn't know everything that was going on everywhere in the world all the time or how screwed up your country really is?

Because, let's face it. The world in general has always been screwed up. We just didn't know about the extent of it. We didn't know that the U.S. government, or should I say, the banking/finance/big business system (because that's who really governs us) has always been corrupt. 

We didn't know a lot of things before the internet came along. Or maybe you're smarter than me and you did. Never presume.

I won't call it the good old days because the good old days didn't exist for most people. Unless you were white as the driven snow and well off. And frankly, considering the ignorance involved, I'm glad I was neither.

Nevertheless, I feel like I was somewhat better off before social networking. Oh, you bet I've made a lot of friends that I wouldn't trade for the world. Admittedly, some might occasionally unfriend or un-follow me, due to my big mouth which doesn't seem to know when it's time to close up shop. I might even do the same to them. Ironically, for much the same reason. Ya, I said it.

And there you go.

This is who I have become and where I'm at. This is my dilemma. This is what happens when you mix the capacity to obtain instant information with someone who actually cares and thinks independently of the herd. They turn into monsters, you guys. Social networking has created a monster and it's me.

And maybe I could handle that. If it was just me, that is. I know my own crazy. I know how to deal with me. But here's the issue. There are scores of other crazed Facebook created monsters out there, just waiting to pounce, should I say something that sets them off. 

Plus, this is social networking. Not exactly a fitting place for an introvert with HSP.

Isn't that ironic? Because, from what I can see, there are a lot of us on there. And man, are we upset! 

What are we upset about? Everything! Why? Because the world is a mess, like always, but now we know about it. And, we introverts, who never had a voice before are letting out every frustration we've ever had and arguing with everyone we never had the means with which to argue with before.

It's both wonderful and awful at the same time. But we love it, don't we? At least when we're not hating it. Which for me, is most of time, with exception of the first few minutes I open that social network window to see what's happening in the world.

So, where do I go from here? Do I kick social media right where it hurts? Do I shun it forever? I have no idea. Because even though I'm not inherently social, some of the friends I only know on Facebook have shown themselves to be genuinely caring, loving and kind. What would I do without them?

I guess it boils down to social media having me right where it wants me.

Bloody hell, life is complicated for this simple girl. It's a good thing I know peace, tranquility and simplicity are best found within. Because the outside world is sadly lacking these days. 

Particularly on Facebook. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

When nobody knows your name


Ha! Has it ever occurred to you just how many people use a name other than their own on social media? Some are trying to stave off the stalkers and trolls. I used to use my pen name exclusively for that reason. But at one time, this left me so confused about my identity that I even considered changing my “real” name to my pen name to suit who I have morphed into.

Too funny! After all, everyone grows and changes with time. That doesn't mean we need a new name every time we have a spurt. Glad I realized that in time. LOL

I stopped using my pen name exclusively when I realized I was actually thinking of myself as Jaipi. Many of my writer friends still think of and address me as Jaipi, even though they know my “real” name now. Frankly, I'm thinking of dropping the pen name altogether, to avoid future confusion, but it's so deeply ingrained now. Sigh.... 

I guess what I'm really saying is that I'm the same person, no matter what people refer to me as. We all are. Changing your name doesn't change your history or your identity. It just changes your label.

I'm curious. If you know someone in person and on Facebook who uses a made up name for whatever reason, do you call them by their “real” name or their “fake” name? And if you use their made up name, pen name or what have you on Facebook, isn't it weird to call them one thing there and another thing in “real” life?

It's kind of uncomfortable and confusing for me, personally.

But check this bit out. I named my daughter after my sis, out of respect for all the support she gave me when I was coming up. But on social media, my daughter uses her pen name exclusively, just as I once did. And even though I once did the same, it still has a weird feel to it.

I mean, I chose her “real” name out of love. I thought long and hard to decide on it. It's what I have called her in “real” life for almost 40 years. So, having to call her by her social media name is strange. Stranger still, is when I have occasion to talk to other people who only know her pen name, because that's the only name they know her by so I have no choice. You feel me?

On the other hand, my daughter doesn't have my sister's “real” name anyway. Because my sis didn't like her real name, which is decidedly old fashioned. (Like my daughter, she was named after her aunt.) But unlike my daughter, her given name is one most modern people would not want to be saddled with. LOL

Does this all make me a hypocrite? I mean, the fact that I accept my sister's name change, but can't wrap my head around my daughter's name change? Probably. But nevertheless, that's how I feel.

Is all this name business just a tad too confusing for anyone else? Maybe it's just me, but I just feel like there should be less focus on names and more focus on life and living well. It certainly would be more peaceful and less confusing.

On the path for peace, there are many seemingly insignificant little pebbles like this. Gonna just shrug this one off and kick it to the curb. After all, whatever my loved ones call themselves, they're still the same person to me.

A rose by... Well, you know.

Monday, May 8, 2017

So you want that cute, exotic or wild animal for your own?


Folks, one of the things that gets me a bit worked up is people who want to own every non-human animal they see. I'm OK with pet rescue. I'm OK with saving, rehabilitating and releasing wild animals as well. Those are both positive endeavors.

Domesticated animals like house cats and dogs do not do well in the wild as a general rule. So, when they are already incorporated into domesticity, it's better for them to be adopted and lovingly cared for. But wild animals are a different story.

Taking wild or exotic beings as pets inhibits their ability to live as nature intended. It throws off the natural balance. Which not only hurts the animal itself, it hurts us too, though environmental impact.

Now, some justify “harvesting” wild animals to add to their family by saying they will be regularly fed and cared for, more so than if they lived in the wild. Problem is, the more we do this, the less helpful we are being in the scheme of things.

As more and more animals become domesticated, more are removed from the natural order and their skill set. Thus, they are less able to care for themselves and play their intended role in nature.

This creates a whole snowball effect. When we start removing other animals from nature, nature stops working like the well oiled machine it's intended to be. Sometimes, we start over-breeding other animals to feed them which throws nature off even more. Our environment is jeopardized.

Remember, the first animal we removed from natural order of things was ourselves. And we all know how badly that has gone. We are now slaves to our creature comforts. Maintaining those comforts is killing the planet quite effectively. Plus, we are also over-breeding other animals to feed ourselves, which adds to the impact.

Every animal on this earth has a contribution to make. That goal is best accomplished in their natural environment.

Part of my peace path involves leaving other beings alone to play their intended natural role so that the earth and every being on it, including human beings, will survive as long as possible.

And once again, yes, if we have the capability, we should help other animals who are under duress.

But we have to realize that other animals do not belong to us, just as other human animals do not belong to us. They are not possessions. They have lives of their own and also families of their own that we may be taking them away from.

We should show respect for their role in nature by not taking them out of their habitats and letting them play that role.

Because not only is it better for them, it's better for the entire ecosystem.

Humans included.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Make every day a day of peace


Most people don't realize how much power they have over their own life. You can, as I have written, create your own aura of happiness by growing it inside you and radiating it outward. You can also create a peaceful world for yourself every day using the same principle.

Thinking/focusing positively and reacting with positive action (rather than focusing on all the bad things going on and projecting the overwhelming anger that builds up as a result) creates a peaceful aura around you.

I've been on both sides of that equation, which is why I know it to be true.

Striking out or reacting forcefully only makes a bad situation worse. War does not beget peace. Ever. Especially if you've created that war in your own mind by overreacting to your circumstances or not thinking your reactions through.

And yes, I realize there are certain circumstances under which one should not be expected to remain peaceful. Obviously, no one is expected to be at peace or create peace when their life or that of their loved ones is being seriously threatened.

When I say you can create peace daily, I'm speaking of everyday struggles, not being chased down by militants.

And yes, it may be that your in-laws can be likened to militants and composed of the stuff psychotic nightmares are made of. Or maybe, they're just human, like you and have simply reached their endurance limit.

In any case, who people are or what their journey is, well, that ball is in their court, not yours. All you can do is strive to improve yourself, create peaceful responses and try to see the good in them. It's just not up to you to live other people's lives or solve their issues.

Ya, I know you're smarter than them. You have more experience and your ideas are way better, but honestly, isn't dealing with your own life enough?

Note: I'm talking to myself here. I have a know-it-all tendency. I'm sure that doesn't surprise anyone. Bwa ha ha

That being said, this is a suggestion, not an order or expectation. But why not make every day a day of peace, my friends? By growing it, projecting it and reacting peacefully. Because that's the only way it ever happens.

I'm going to give it a shot.

Peace out.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Eating from the good china


Are you familiar with the saying that starts with, “Eat from the good china” and lists numerous other ways to enjoy yourself? The idea is, of course that you should live life to the fullest, always. Agreed. But you know, that china thing got me thinking....

I have some china that was given to me. I use it daily but not because of some stupid saying. I just figure there's no point in having/buying something you're not going to actually use. How stupid and wasteful are we, as a society, that we have plates we don't use sitting in a cupboard we never open just because it's tradition to do so? No wonder no one respects us any more.

And what makes the good china any better than the everyday plates, anyway? Who decided that china should have an elevated position over other dishware? Didn't that rumor get started eons ago by some guy trying to sell china? I bet. And ya, it's pretty. It's also not durable or practical at all. It breaks if you breathe too hard on it. How is that considered high quality again? By whose standards?

Why do we constantly fall for this illusion of product grandeur presented by our consumerist society? Crazy, isn't it? I've even personally witnessed people getting angry with each other over brand choice. I've noticed that those arguments usually have to do with motorized vehicles.

Apparently, you don't really have a motorcycle unless it's a Harley. You don't really have a sports car unless it's a Mustang. And apparently, those cute little plates you absolutely adore but bought at dollar tree can't hold a candle to fine china.

Who says?

Who put manufacturers in charge of deciding what we like or what we prefer anyway? Nobody. We just blindly go along with it. Sadly, most of us won't even admit they've got our number and punch it in daily to their advantage. They're so good at it, we don't even see it sometimes!

Maybe that's because most of these ideas about product quality are so firmly rooted in our society that they're accepted as fact. Meanwhile, we're turning our noses up at perfectly decent food, clothing, etc. because they're simply below our so called standards.

Folks, there are people out there in the big, wide world drinking from mud puddles and glad it rained so they could. There are little children going to bed hungry every night, literally starving to death. And here we are, arguing over which bottled water/soda pop/beer/wine tastes best.

We're pathetic.

And speaking of wine, please stop swilling it, swishing it, sniffing it and turning your snooty nose up at the “bad” year. It all means absolutely nothing in the scheme of things. Be glad you have some wine if you like it. Personally, I think it all tastes like fruity ear wax. But maybe I just “don't know my wines.” Hah!

In other words, what a bunch of absolute hooey we let ourselves get roped into by people trying to sell us the goods. Stuff is just stuff. It's all the same. Folks, please. Be who you are. Like what you like. You don't have to “Be a Pepper” unless you really want to and FYI, it doesn't make you special if you are.

Have it your way? You bet. That one I agree with.

But in the end, it's all just a pile of junk riding in the trash truck to the dump or being crushed at the recycling center to make more stuff we don't really need isn't it?

The only quality we should be worried about can be found within the content of our own character. Got a lot to work on in that area myself, as witnessed by the judgmental slant to this post. So, off to do just that!

Here's to finding peace through self improvement!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Truly sick of being manipulated


Or maybe I should say, sick of people trying to manipulate me. I'm also sick of watching the people I care about fall for societal brainwashing. It's all around us.

It's in commercials. It's in crowd mentality. It's in politics. It's in organized religion. It's in media news and entertainment. It's even programmed into supposedly non-conformist, non-conventional thinking now.

That subtle undertone that plays off our emotions, fears, anxieties and more to the point where it's nearly impossible to shut it out or be influenced by it has got us just where it wants us..

Nearly.

But we don't have to listen. We don't even have to expose ourselves to it. We can choose to shut it out. We can choose to think independently.

We forget that. Right? We get so caught up in dealing with the day to day struggle of the environment we live in that we forget that we have the ability to create and experience something better.

A big part of my peaceful path journey involves surrounding myself with better input, better thoughts, interacting with mentally healthier people, taking more constructive actions and so on.

As I travel further down the peace path, I hope to break free from or at least close my ears to all the subliminal manipulation preventing me from doing so.

Is that an impossible dream? Maybe. It may involve living an entirely different lifestyle, away from mass media, social networking, etc. for a while. Or maybe forever.

Am I, by choosing to stay away from media manipulation, also condemning myself to a life of complete ignorance? And is that amount of ignorance really bliss?

My life has always been centered on knowing. I've always been a seeker of truth. So, I want to know what's going on, still. I just don't want all the slanted views that seem to permeate nearly every source of “news” out there.

Is shutting out the media altogether a viable long term solution?

In the past, I've gone by a simple rule. If someone profits monetarily or otherwise from the “news” they are spouting, it's more than likely their truth is jaded. That policy has served me well. However, it still leaves me open to experiencing those manipulative attempts.

Which not only disrupts my peace but makes me feel as if something is going to slip though. You know. Catch me unaware. Brainwash me despite my cautionary habit of unbiased, multiple source research before belief.

Perhaps taking a temporary break from media influence might be a solution. By removing myself from the constant barrage for a set period of time, then coming back to it, might I be better able to see things for what they truly are?

Might that give me more power over slanted information, hidden agendas and such?

I believe that it would. But surely, as time goes by, that initial heightened sense of awareness would fade, leaving me once again open to manipulative suggestion.

Which brings me back to making a gradual, permanent change in what I choose to expose myself to.

I remember growing up in the days before the internet when we only had 2 TV channels to choose from. It was a much more peaceful life for sure. Of course, I was a child, so my world was a different one. As an adult, I likely would have known about and seen things differently.

Of course, the brainwashing was still in place then and not that much different than it is now. It's just that the manipulative didn't have quite as many avenues by which to manipulate us. They also weren't quite as practiced as they are now. Therefore, it was more difficult to influence us.

Funny though, they managed to accomplish their goals anyway, didn't they?

At least some of them.

They still played on our fears and emotions. They still knew what buttons to push. If not, the world would not have been molded into what it is today by the powers that be, would it? It wouldn't be serving them as well as it does. And it does serve them well, doesn't it?

So, full circle then. I really don't know what actions I will have to take to kick the manipulators out of my life. Going back in time certainly isn't a solution. This kind of thing has been going on for centuries.

But if you haven't heard from me in a while, I guess you'll know what I decided to do. Because I do know that mass media and online social networking is a clear avenue of manipulation. So clear, in fact, that some people don't even see it as such.

Damn, they're clever, the powers that be.

That's OK. So am I.