Truth That Serves

Land of Broken Wings by h.koppdelaney from Flickr Creative Commons

Land of Broken Wings by h.koppdelaney from Flickr Creative Commons

The truth is important, of course, and the search and recognition of it has always been important to me. These days I feel the need to get on with it, really live my life, tie up loose ends and do what I can with what I have. When we pay enough attention, life doesn’t always have to amp up the warning signals that change is needed, yet too much navel gazing and waiting for perfection in answers can slow us down and keep us stuck.

The “truth” at age 20 can be very different than at age 40. Your “truth” is likely very different than mine. It’s a huge subjective area and I want to focus on one part of it today. Giving a nod to the truth that our attitudes, beliefs, words, habits, actions and perceptions can help shape our reality, I want to briefly address the notion that when bad things happen it’s somehow our own damn fault. We created our reality, as they’re fond of repeating like parrots in some circles and usually for a huge fee. How is that helpful? How is that kind? Is it a truth that serves in the moment, where someone is at, with what they have to work with?

It can be truth on some huge, metaphysical plane but as we’re here to be living and learning in a human lifetime, how does listening to the beating drum of “you created your illness; you can create something different” truly serve us?

Recently the self-help author Debbie Ford died after a long battle with cancer. She helped many people with her work, knew and worked with Deepak Chopra and knew a lot of those folks at Hay House, which is a large New Age publishing company. Louis Hay wrote a little blue pamphlet decades ago that matched particular diseases with “wrong thoughts, attitudes and emotions”. While the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of our lives are connected, it isn’t that simple and formulaic.

Like many people, I’ve subscribed to e-zines and such for topics that I have a deep or passing interest in. Most of them I never open. One of them is a weekly e-mail from life coach, author and speaker Cheryl Richardson, which this week mentioned Debbie Ford in the subject line. I opened this one.

Richardson got to spend some time with Debbie Ford in the last few days of her life. This quote is taken from the newsletter:

“Death is a doorway to the next stage of our spiritual lives and when we approach this doorway together, hearts and hands aligned, it becomes a profoundly healing experience for all parties involved. I’m so grateful to have had this adventure with her.

Before I left, there was one thing, in particular, that Debbie asked me to share with people as I continue to travel and teach.

‘Please tell people that they do not cause their own illness – it’s a ridiculous notion that creates so much needless pain. All illness, including my cancer, is an invitation to love ourselves more,” she insisted. And then with her signature shadow laugh, she added, “The truth is, in the end, that’s what life is all about anyway – learning to love ourselves more’.”

There’s a truth that I’m choosing and it’ll serve me better than the misinformation circulating around in some segments of our culture.

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Astrology and Goals and Tea

These days are going much better since I’ve quit drinking coffee for awhile. It was cloudy and rainy today which put me in a mood for hot tea. There are lots of varieties on hand and I chose to open a box of mango passionflower tea that I hadn’t tried yet–it smelled and tasted good. I’ve been drinking tea and puttering around now that I’m feeling better.

Much of this year so far has been about learning how to structure my life and set goals (or design the life I want, wording that I like better). This is something I’ve been unsuccessful at and with my health steadily returning, I’ll need everything going for me as I make my re-entry into a vastly changing world of activity.

I don’t really pay much attention to astrology although I was on the tail end of the “what’s your sign” generation. (I’m a Cancerian, in case you’re wondering.) I do get Rob Brezsny’s FreeWill astrology newsletter in my inbox every week. I like the guy’s attitude and writing.

Anyway, this week he begins the suggestion for Cancer folks by quoting Robert Heinlein: “In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.”

True.

Oh Really?

One of the most important things for me to remember as I navigate my life is not to compare myself with others.

I just read an an online piece about a survey that showed how Facebook made the grass seem greener in other people’s lives. All the photos of fabulous times friends are having and their numerous successes can make one feel like a loser. I know it does me and anything I might have to post on Facebook seems lame. So I don’t. It’s understandable that people would want to present themselves in the best light possible and most of us don’t really want to share our dark nights of the soul in our blogs. But it’s easy to forget that our glamorous, confident friends have doubts and awkward moments.

In this age of rampant self-promotion, how can we be sure what’s presented is true? I remember in the 80’s when I worked at a job with mostly men. In that workplace during that time, they were allowed to say almost anything no matter how uncomfortable it made me. I tuned them out but was aware that there was a lot of sexual bragging going on, which I didn’t believe to be true at all. Then in other circles I was in, people would share the glorious tales of their spiritual experiences, which made my subtle moments of divine connection seem pale in comparison.

Two of the stars of the mind/body and new age community have admitted to their burn out and exhaustion while they were accomplishing amazing things in the public eye. Joan Borysenko, a stress expert has written about her own burn-out in her latest book, Fried. It’s very informative about the stages and signs that are about so much more than just depression. Debbie Ford of “Shadow” fame has had to choose priorities after her serious bout with pneumonia and shares that she was exhausted most of the years she was out there as a leading voice. She’s now had to disconnect from many of the obligations and often accessible communications with everyone she was available to before.

I’ve learned the hard way that it calls for sense and awareness of reality when determining just what I can reasonably do and whether or not it’s worth the cost. Sure, I have goals but at age 56 I very much want to enjoy my remaining years, not hyperventilate myself to the same success it looks like other people are achieving. And when I tune in to someone, I want to pay attention to their authentic self, not an image they’re promoting. It’s so refreshing to have someone connect with me for just a moment or so—and they’re not selling some thing or some agenda.

Not Another Book Right Now

I usually have six or seven books I’m reading and lately the philosophical/self-help ones have all mentioned the work of Martin Seligman. He’s a clinical psychologist with real-world experience in studying and tracking learned optimism among other things. Now, I must admit here that I’m biased against mainstream kinds of information and studies and this isn’t the sort of book I’d trust on its own. But of the three books I’m reading, I trust the authors and they make a compelling case for the ideas in the book.

It’s of interest to me now because the ongoing regaining of my health and how it’s impacted my life can be quite discouraging. Seligman writes of the three P’s—–permanent, pervasive and personal—-which is how people with learned helplessness view setbacks and obstacles. I’ve had the trials like Job in this life so have an interest/skepticism in the subject but no patience for fluffy new-age smarm. It’s amazing what a circus the new age literature has become, not relevant to what many people face in a way that can make sense to them.

Anyway, so this seems like a good book that I should read. Yet, I have piles of books to read and I want to achieve some of my goals, not keeping adding on to them. That’s one thing people with ADD do, add-on repeatedly (some people would call these distractions, but they are actually added to a list) and feel like they aren’t accomplishing anything. There’s also the budget factor. So, what to do? I guess I’ll wait and in the spring see if the library has it. Or just wait six months and see if the urgency to get yet another book wears off.

This came up while I was reading this morning and then by afternoon I felt like I was going to die. Seriously. Detoxing from environmental poisoning can feel awful and part of the process is feeling worse then better over and over. I know this and still resent it. The things I do to take care of my health and then see people eating junk food and bouncing along in high heels hurts. But that’s another post.

This one is about maybe refining my optimism, which apparently can be learned by reading this book, yet waiting awhile and using what I have. I’ve gotten some ideas from what was mentioned in the other books I’m reading. Yes, my life is a big project to me.

This blog is helping me a lot in ways I’ve mentioned before. I have optimism about it even though I log on and see lots of hits and then find they are mostly from spammers. I really wondered if I’d be able to post today but I’m feeling better already.

Nutmeg

There’s a mess in my kitchen that involved melted butter. I was preparing brussel sprouts for the slow cooker and then piled chicken thighs on top. The melted butter was mixed with Dijon mustard, soy sauce and black pepper. I think. Not remembering the exact measurements, just remembering how good it was when I fixed it a few weeks ago, it’s definitely a keeper recipe. I got it from Stephanie O’Dea’s blog. It lands in my inbox with slow cooker recipes, often using gluten-free ingredients. She’s written several cookbooks–I’ve just saved the posts with recipes I want to try, in a folder.

Rebuilding my health, after things I won’t go into, it’s good if I eat mostly organic veggies and some organic meat.  When you feel really, really tired it’s challenging to learn a new way of meal shopping and preparation.

I’ve been looking through the side dishes in the WordPress food blogs and found some interesting posts about turnips and beets. Filing the general information away in my head, I’m not able to provide links.

The one that caught my attention was turnips roasted with nutmeg. I decided to do both beets and turnips. Nutmeg is a spice I’ve never used in my years as a sporadic and rather sloppy cook. I was surprised how expensive it was. Running around doing lots of errands yesterday, I didn’t notice until I got home that I’d bought whole nutmeg. Dang.

Looking it up online, I learned that freshly grated nutmeg is far superior to using ground nutmeg. O.K. I looked at the graters and grinders too  and decided to pop on over to the gourmet cooking shop a few blocks away. Like almost everyone else, I am really keeping an eye on my finances. (We all know about that reality and we’re going to do our best here.)  Too expensive.

Later I ended up ordering one from Amazon and bought a book to make enough for free shipping and ended up spending more that if I’d just bought it at the shop. Now I need to wait also.  Well, I’m moving in the direction of better financial choices.

I can find some way to grate a whole nutmeg in the meantime or use lots of ginger instead. Ginger and turmeric are my favorites.

Nutmeg needs to be used sparingly.  Ingesting more than two tablespoons at a time gives it a hallucinogenic effect.  That isn’t at all what I’m intending while searching for ways to eat tasty, healthy vegetable dishes.

I’m continuing to really enjoy watching “Victorian Farm” on YouTube. Looking at the meals they’re eating puts me more  in a mood for old-fashioned  home-cooking.

The woman of the house is having a laborious time cleaning. The coal they cook with,  leaves dust everywhere. For cleaning metal, she used brick dust and vinegar. When she swept dust off the stairs she used saved, damp tea leaves so the dust would clump into balls instead of flying all over.

Women usually had three or four dresses at one time and made them last as long as they could. The woman in the series made a new dress for the May Day celebration and it took her over sixty hours.

The farm had lambs born–also piglets, chicks and ducklings. Almost nothing went to waste. They boiled a pigs head and ate the eyeballs along with everything else. It was mentioned that the work was so hard the historians participating in the documentary began to crave animal fat where as otherwise it wouldn’t sound appealing at all.

Most of my impressions of the Victorian age are from novels that are usually set in London instead of the country.  Anne Perry comes to mind–I’ve especially enjoyed her novels.  The poverty was grim and frightening but the upper classes had their restrictions and constraints also.

That was their mission, even if they didn’t articulate it, to explore and develop the outer world and get humanity to a place where it wasn’t all about survival. Now in many ways, we are needing to explore and develop the inner world more. People are at all ends of the spectrum on that one. It’s in a transition phase. I’m all for the inner-directed life but recognize that it’s dangerous and ineffective to neglect the material world.  All too often I seem to get de-railed into survival issues.

After watching the segments of this series, I’m really appreciating tap water, flush toilets, forced air heat and my electric range and lights.

Valuable but no Deliverables

No outward pressure for me, having just awoken from a long nap on a quiet weekend. I’m feeling  slightly chilled and groggy and also committed to posting again.

There was no sun again today although a lovely pinkish tinge appeared behind the clouds this morning. When I glance quickly out the windows at the snow-sprinkled foothills, they remind me of the Lord of the Rings. Longing for food not prepared by me, I went out for a sandwich at a local deli. Gluten is so very not good for me– it was a carefully thought choice. I even had a glass of high fructose corn syrup pop, which is even more rare for me. The weather and the meal may have contributed to the somewhat coma-like nap.

I was already feeling hunkered down in my shell before going out and noticed I didn’t bother to wear earrings. In the northwest, where I live now, wearing makeup doesn’t seem to be as common as it did in the midwest and in the south. Usually I wear earrings though–it’s higher up on my list than running a comb through my hair before I leave home.

Earlier this morning I’d had a phone appointment with an energetic spirituality healer to remove a cord of attachment to someone I knew twenty-five years ago.  She actually is effective and down-to-earth. The transitional phase of healers and new age practitioners is unregulated and there are few standards of ethics and measurement of results. A consumer needs to beware–many sessions can be wasteful, ineffective and even harmful. It’s all part of learning, I guess but I feel done with those kinds of lessons for a long while.

Sure my positive thoughts, efforts, behavioral tweaking and psychological insights help me to move forward. When my energy body carries old pain and recycling toxic energy,  it complicates and undermines what I’m choosing to do to heal. The lessons were learned–it’s great to have the stuff surgically removed.

Many people think that their life is very unique. I know mine is and I’ve experienced things that many haven’t, in a way particular to me.  I’m still standing in an inner-directed way. I know things. I have clues about life. My passion makes itself felt from time to time.

One can have wisdom and insight and be willing to share and serve. Sometimes the opportunities for that are clear–one can step up and lend a hand in a way that isn’t harmful to oneself. It’s another matter to have a consistent way and means to contribute one’s gifts, being qualified to share and serve.

It’s odd what is considered valuable in our society and what skills can demand more monetary and other rewards than others. It isn’t always clear how to channel one’s gifts into a way to earn a living or be respected and appreciated.

Like me, many others are very valuable. Weighed down by past experiences, lacking a victim-stance but also low on confidence and self-promotion, we don’t have explainable deliverables.

How to answer that question, “what do you do?”.

Strengthening My Backbone

The Windows Live Writer 2011 that  I mentioned yesterday is for word processing and the drafts can be posted directly to my blog. I like it. I also like using  software that came with my computer—most of it I never even look at.

Now on the third day of this new endeavor, I wasn’t expecting to be writing about troubles so soon. I won’t be going into details. They don’t matter and could be exchanged for other details a week, month or year from now.

These days peoples circumstances can change very quickly, everyone is being challenged unbelievably and perfect storms happen frequently. If people are going to be designated as winners or losers, it’s more accurate if instead of evaluating their current situations, what’s  looked at is whether they complain, whine or blame or whether they take responsibility and address the situation as best they can.

These days I try to avoid doing business as much as possible, wanting to stay out of the fray. Lately I’ve had a streak of poor customer service and businesses and companies dropping the ball, cutting corners and screwing up.

I’m usually an understanding, patient person–which doesn’t always serve me well in the moment.  In the past I’ve subscribed to the new age rule that I create my own reality and that what I focus my attention on grows. That’s still believable most of the time. I certainly don’t want to scan for problems and reasons to take offence.

There comes a point where the expense,  hassle and indifference of doing business with someone is simply not worth it. It doesn’t always mean that I attracted the experience, that I deserve it and that it’s up to me to resolve it on my own by thinking happy thoughts.

Like those old “kick me” signs, I really don’t want to go around with a sign that says “I’m so nice that I’ll tolerate almost anything and won’t stand up for myself.”

So today I sighed and made the phone calls, wrote the emails and let the businesses know that it’s not O.K. with me the  way they are conducting our recent transactions.

Being a thoughtful and considerate person, I’m again reminded that not everyone else is.  I’m not willing to treat the world way better than it treats me.  So without whining, complaining to parties not involved or blaming, I’ve hopefully got these problems taken care of.  In hindsight, the transactions really weren’t worth it. That’s something I’ll take into consideration in the future.

Peace, love and light is great but businesses need to be accountable.