Monthly Archives: May 2015

The One You Feed

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life…

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

“One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.

“The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

“This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,
“Which wolf will win?”

The old chief simply replied,
“The one you feed.”

Recently, I have heard this parable several times. I found a podcast called The One You Feed which shares this parable at the beginning of each episode and the host asks the guest what this story means to them. I’ve only caught a few episodes so far, but I highly recommend Episode 54 where Eric interviews James Clear.

Then, in Tomorrowland, the young protagonist tells this story.

When I have a recurrence of information coming to me like this story, I find myself paying closer attention to the message that may be in it for me. One message is that I want to share this resource with you. It’s a good question to ask: which wolf are you feeding?

What can Creative, Inspired People do?

Sometimes I wonder why the heck I ever tweet. I supposedly have 180 people following me, and there is a fraction of that number who do actually favorite and re-tweet my tweets. But wandering around on Twitter the other day, I was reminded of its value to me when I came across a link to this article. View story at Medium.com

Well, I’m nothing if not an optimist. Or maybe I’m just the perfect moviegoer for this movie — I want to know how I can contribute to creating something beautiful in the world. I love the idea that little beacons of light in individuals can join together to bring about change for the better.

There were so many parts of this movie that made me smile. Real big. The scale of Tomorrowland was marvelous and the futuristic inventions would be familiar to George Jetson. There was much beauty in Tomorrowland.

Apparently, the film is not getting a great reception from reviewers. They feel it is too heavy-handed, and belabors the point that optimism could have a positive impact on our future. Well, I, for one, think it was just fine for director Brad Bird to make the point over and over again. There aren’t too many movies that are focusing on seeing the future as something other than a dystopian nightmare (see Mad Max, Fury Road: 98% positive on Rotten Tomatoes; Twitter is raving about it; it’s been described as one very long car chase; the previews gave me a bit of sadness to think about the children that will see this in the theaters).

NPR’s Bob Mondello closes his review with these comments:

This is, let’s note, more sloganeering than imagineering, but let that pass. The sentiments are certainly admirable and are, no doubt, heartfelt and are delivered so insistently and passionately that, while “Tomorrowland’s” sermonizing left me feeling grumpy and feeling a little guilty for feeling grumpy, it may well have an entirely different effect on impressionable children, who are, after all, its target audience. I wouldn’t be surprised if they emerge inspired by a sense of purpose they did not have on the way in and a mission to get one of those T pins. I’m Bob Mondello.

I don’t think of myself as a child, but I am glad to claim a sense of childlike wonder still lurking underneath the attention I have to pay to the traffic, getting groceries, paying the bills, and being an adult. Yes, I emerged inspired by a sense of purpose I did not have on the way in. Seems like a good thing to me. And I’m looking for one of those pins . . .

An Apple a Day!

Last week, I met a lovely, vibrant 82-year-old woman at the genius bar. While I’m sure there could be an 82-year-old woman working at the genius bar, this one was waiting for her appointment. She had brought her iMac with her, in the box, and on a trolley. I struck up a conversation with her, and was relatively amazed to discover that she is prolific at creating slide shows of her travels with her husband, even putting music to her movies. Her main motivation for doing so is to remind her husband of the times they have had together. He has started down the path of Alzheimer’s and reviewing older memories is supposed to help patients stay more connected with their lives.

I don’t meet many 82-year-olds who are that good with computers. Winifred, for that was her name, told me she learned this skill through something called “one to one” at the Apple store. Only $99 for a year, you have access to computer personal trainers, to teach you what you want to learn. Then I found out that it’s only an option at the time you buy your computer. Since mine was a gift, and I’d never even heard of O2O, I wondered if they might allow me to buy it anyway.

In the meantime, I found out about the workshops that they offer at the Apple store, and today was my first one. “Staying Organized on Your Mac.” Deuce Joy was my workshop facilitator, and he did a great job. What fun it was to learn about Airdrop, try it out, and discover how much this will simplify the process of transferring photos from my iPhone to my mac. I’ve been sending those puppies individually via email.

I had seen the colored dots known as tags. Somehow it had never occurred to me that I could change those tag titles from the color names to categories. I love color-coding things and look forward to putting colorful little dots on everything on my computer.

Most fun of all was learning the jellyfish motion. Swiping upward on the trackpad like a jellyfish propelling herself up to the surface brings up a screen with all the apps on my computer. Surprise! I had forgotten about half of what I had put on my machine. All of my jellyfish motions are happy ones.

The workshop flew by and was over too soon. Before I left, I asked about One to One. Deuce checked with his manager and it was approved! I have my first session next week and I’m going to learn how to do all kinds of creative things with my computer. I can’t wait to make slideshows, add music, share them, and discover each and every thing that I don’t even know that I don’t know!

Lessons from a Pond

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I don’t know how many years it’s been now since my nature-loving, beauty-loving, plant-loving husband built this pond; something more than three and less than sixteen. It has provided so much pleasure to us over the years with its underwater playground of fish, annual re-emergence from the icy winter cover, gentle sounds of the fountain, enjoyment of shopping and planning when it’s time to re-populate, and a peaceful entrance to our home.

As I was thinking about today’s blog, I wanted a huge beautiful blooming flower to emphasize my writing. While I could get one on Google, I really would like to begin using more of my own images on my blog. The lily in the top photo is from our pond, and although it is only partly blooming, it reminded me that it still has, and I still have, some areas where the bloom is not yet as full as it will be. Even though there are many new things happening in my life, I know there may be areas that are yet to open up and bloom.

In the meantime, the pond is a reminder to me of natural beauty, and offers me a tiny slice of the wilderness that I love. Watching the plants thrive is still miraculous to me, and calls me toward stepping into a bit more gardening. Considering the fish that live through the winter under the ice amazes me, and reminds me to be strong in the face of cold and darkness — a new day is always coming.

Some of the Blessings of This Day

Getting to see my 19yo son this morning.

Watching Kepler walk to the bus, and noticing his enjoyment of the process.

Having a great school nurse who called me with concerns about him an hour later.

Picking him up, bringing him home and staying close while he napped.

A beautiful sunshiny day for Field Day at the school.

A lovely text exchange with my eldest son and one with my eldest daughter.

A great speech therapist for Kepler to see this afternoon.

Satisfying interactions with my beloved husband.

More incredible teaching from Kristen Sweeting Morelli.

A stress level that has gone from off the charts to negligible.

Sweet time with Kepler between his nap and when he went back for Field Day to play games.

Fat Tuesday, Part 5 — In which The Queen’s Code Comes into Play

I have done a periodic series on Tuesdays about my love/hate/love of my hate/hate of my love relationship with food. As I listened to Alison Armstrong teach last week about emasculation, I was completely focused on my relationships with the men in my life, but we women also emasculate ourselves. At the end of Alison’s third talk, she left us with the question of what this talk brings up for us. Now that I have had five days to live in this new reality with Greg in particular, I had an intuitive sense to look into how this information relates to me and food.

I’ve done a lot of thinking over the years about why I eat what I eat when I eat it; about my childhood and eating patterns and how they are related; and about my relationship to the conflicting information we receive these days about every single food and drink out there. Even water — what quantity should we drink? Tap or filtered? Reverse osmosis or distilled? With ice or without?

Since I discovered that pretty much everything I thought about men was based on a skewed point of view, I wondered if that might be the case for food. If I start with the point of view that I should want to, need to, be willing to, and always act on eat(ing) like the perfect, ideal woman, then the values and standards I add to THAT point of view will yield conclusions founded on the skewed point of view. When I add in my goals and dreams and attitude and actions to those conclusions, I end up with results and either a sense of satisfaction or lack thereof (more likely this option).

And without understanding that my point of view is the piece that is off, I will attempt different actions, changing attitudes, releasing legitimate dreams and goals, question my values and standards, and still not end up with the results that I want or the sense of satisfaction that I desire.

I discovered in this process that one of my conclusions is I’m not perfect enough to deserve to be loved and cared for by eating in a way that actually produces the results and sense of satisfaction I long for. I’ve discovered that my point of view leads to me thinking that I am in fact dysfunctional when it comes to food, defective, and constantly misbehaving. I figured out how I poke holes in the tires of my “vehicle” and I withhold fuel from myself. A few ways: compare myself to others and to previous versions of me (especially 2002 me that lost pounds while lifting weights and ended up a very desirable (in my eyes) size 4); I complain about being too much of something and not enough of something else; I complain about the food industry, its executives, its practices; I complain about all the junk I have to walk by in the grocery store; I criticize myself for thinking and feeling most of what I think and feel about food.

I withhold many other forms of support and I end up distrusting and disrespecting myself. I end up causing the long-term opposite of what I want.

Food is only rocket science if I am trying to eat like the perfect woman. God, she is a pain in the butt. She makes all of her own stuff, shops at the farmers market, grows her own extremely luscious and healthful food, cooks a hot meal every morning and night for her family, certainly gets her little Kepler to eat better than he does, never ever eats or even wants a caramel frappuccino, eats no pasta, bread or rice ever, always chooses the very best option in a restaurant, asks for the substitutions that will make her food even more healthful. She’s not really somebody who’s fun to be with. She’s uptight, tense, and unforgiving.

I’m going to make this vow here and now. I give up the right to emasculate myself. I give up the right to criticize, complain and withhold support from myself. I give up the right to allow the perfect woman to be any part of the conversation about food.

And I can’t wait to see what happens.

I Just Found Out I am Married to a King

This post is dedicated to Gregory Taylor, a man I first met in 1982 at a serendipitous breakfast meeting, and am still having breakfast with some 33 years later. I am truly blessed among women to have the love of this man, to share a life with him.

Earlier this week, I wrote about the incredible material Alison Armstrong has written about in her book The Queen’s Code and how it has radically altered my understanding of my long-suffering husband in particular, and of the common dynamics between men and women who are in relationship, be that father-daughter, mother-son, or man-woman in a myriad of arrangements.

I have been released from the prison of having to fix my husband. I think I knew my prison cell was dark and dank and lonely and I think I had a sense that his journey was tinged with a bitter realization that his wife didn’t know much about men and, sadly, didn’t think there was really much more she could or should know.

Here are some of the practical outworkings of getting out of the joint, of finding my freedom:

1. When my starting point is that my husband has a very good reason for the things he does, I have no need to correct him, fix him, punish him.

2. Amazingly, my husband is perfectly, eminently capable of finding a good parking place, knowing where to turn, how to talk to people, finding his way from point a to point b, making sound decisions.

3. Even though he easily could have called me a bitch, or just bitchy, for it was certainly 100% justified many more times than I care to admit, he never ever did so, which speaks to the goodness of this gem of a man.

4. When I laid down the whip of “straightening him out,” my mind became relaxed, able and desirous of hearing about the many thoughts and ideas he has. For instance, today I learned the difference between Formula One racing and NASCAR. I never knew and really never cared. Today I cared and was amazed.

5. Life goes from completely dark to incredibly rich when one doesn’t have to fix one’s lover and can instead actually be a lover.

6. Without the constant vigilance of making sure he does everything right, I can stay more focused on a conversation, holding onto the thread through interruptions, instead of being complete thrown off by every single little detour.

7. What I understood about men, in general, could have been written on the head of a pin, with room left over for the Emancipation Proclamation, the complete Harry Potter series, and the entire Cheesecake Factory menu.

8. Without being on guard every second to correct his “misbehavior,” I am released from the tyranny of trying to be perfect to “show him how it should be done.”

9. Even though he hasn’t changed a bit from last week before I knew anything about the queen’s code, my estimation of his capabilities, caring, and choices has undergone a 180 degree shift.

10. Life is hella fun with him when I relinquish the behaviors, actions, and attitudes that are emasculating.

I want to tell everyone. I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT I WAS MISSING. I knew THAT I was missing something but I had no idea at all how to figure out what it could be.

Maybe it has taken me 53 years to find out that everything I thought I knew about men was completely wrong, but once the right teacher came along and sowed into the receptive soil of my hungry soul and hurting heart, it took me about 53 seconds to jettison the faulty foundational assumptions I had.

Normally, I would distrust a change this radical, not believing that it could be legitimate, because how responsible would I be if I just trusted that everyone else might actually not need me to take care of them? Turns out, that’s not the right question.

I haven’t even talked about how this new understanding has impacted my relationships with my three sons, my brothers-in-law, the man at the coffee shop, myself, my daughters, my sisters, my mother, and pretty much every other living thing.

I bought a new album the other night in the middle of the night and I think this song is a perfect ending to this post.

Everything

by Anathema

Needed time to clear my mind
And breathe the free air find some peace there
I used to keep my heart in jail
But the choice was love or fear of pain and

I…
Chose…
Love…
Cos everything is energy and energy is you and me…

Light shines in through an open window
Shines inside your heart and soul and
Light will guide your way through time
And love will help you heal your mind and

Life…
Will…
Be..

Cos everything is energy and energy is you and me…

This Post Brought To You By One of the Offspring

My mom had a pretty long day today and normally that’s not enough to stop her from posting because she is ruff and tuff and hard to guard but I volunteered to guest post and that was that. 


Yesterday at work a man asked me if I have a bucket list. My job has nothing to do with such things, so it actually left me speechless for a few seconds, mostly because of some serendipitous timing. Yesterday on the drive to work I was thinking about my bucket list. It has the usual things on it. Visit Paris. Drive out west and back just for the sake of seeing the Pacific Ocean and, as Kerouac put it, running out of land and turning for home. Finish my tattoos. Skydive. But it has some slightly less bombastic things on it too. Find a perfectly fitting white linen buttondown shirt, for instance. Have cats. Pay off my student loans.

I told him yes, I have a bucket list. I was just trying to figure out if it would be better to start checking things off now in my 20s and worry about the money later, or save all the money I can and do all the things later When I Have Time.

He was old, to put it simply. Very old, and having a bad day because he had lost his father’s Navy insignia earlier that day and it had been his father’s dying gift to him. And he looked at me and said, “It’s a matter of balance. Yeah, some things, you need the money for. Save some of those for later. But don’t wait. You’ll wait too long and then it’ll be too late.” He told me about the final unchecked item on his bucket list: a solo sailing trip around the world. And he told me he would never take it, because there was no way his health would permit him to do it anymore.

“I have no regrets,” he told me. “I’ve done almost everything I wanted to do. I raised four great kids and they’re all so smart. I’ve only had bad luck with women.” And he laughed for the first time in our appointment.

“You don’t know where your life is going.” That’s what he left me with.

Just something to think about.

On Josh Duggar; or How Can You Mend a Broken Heart

One of my FB friends “liked” a post by someone else which mentioned something about Josh Duggar molesting some girls when he was a teen. Piqued my curiosity, so I went looking for deets.

I have heard of the television show but have never watched it, nor would I be interested in it at all. I do not follow the Duggars in any form, nor look to them as any source of information, education, or anything that I would desire. So, let’s just get that straight. OK.

I visited a couple of websites to see what the story is that is being reported. And I read some of the comments. My initial response to both the story and the comments is grief at the brokenness that is part of a boy who would act out like he did, grief at the shame and pain that the girls would have experienced, no matter how they were counseled afterwards, and grief that people feel so very free to condemn josh duggar, his parents, his beliefs, christianity, christians, and anyone who would dare to suggest that someone like josh duggar deserves anything other than a slow death by the most painful means possible.

My response to the story is this. I DON’T KNOW all the details, and therefore really cannot speak to it other than to say I do believe that healing exists and occurs relative to sexual molestation, and I do believe that forgiveness exists and occurs when people hurt other people. Which means, even though I don’t know what happened and where all of the players are now, I believe that healing and forgiveness are truly possible.

Josh Duggar is outside of the scope of any legal ramifications, from what I understand, but the School of Life has certainly brought an opportunity to him to face up to and take responsibility for the choice to hide something so serious, and to take responsibility for his future course regarding being in a position of authority in an area where he may still very much have deep wounds.

Blogging about these things opens me up to expressing my thoughts as well as being in a position to receive comments from readers who disagree, or agree, or a little of both. I had the opportunity to interact on Facebook about my post from yesterday with someone from high school I have not talked with in many years. He is deeply involved in the eastern orthodox church, I believe, and has written several books about politics. The point he made initially confused me, but as I thought I about it, I realized he had a legitimate point and I learned from what he said. Maybe he learned from what I said, too, but sometimes it seems like the more confident one is in one’s beliefs, the harder it is to really listen to someone else’s point of view. At any rate, the interaction was rich and welcome, and I am so glad for the opportunity to interact with people I know and those I do not know in real life via my blog.

Thanks for reading.