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{This is in Response to Gaia’s Questions and Reflections for December 24, 2009}



patience.

but then, I’m not even sure it was a gift. I’m actually afraid it’s been a cop-out.

I am so tired of obstacles. Man, over and over in 2009 I feel like I’m just bopping along all innocent-like, and wham! Right in the kisser. You know? jeez.

So my tendency to react with fury, indignation, superiority, fear, defensiveness, etc. is weakening. I’m starting to think that I’ll get blindsided periodically for the rest of my life, and that it’s normal and natural and I need to learn how to relax and accept it with grace.

For what it’s worth, in answer to the question, I’ve given my patience. Rather than add some mean & nasty energy to the planet, I’ve merely sighed and trudged on. I guess that’s good. I mean, I guess it’s better than being angry. Or fearful.

Or is it?

Faith.

And no, this has nothing to do with any deity. I am the poster child for atheism. ha ha.

I am a dedicated believer that humans are all powerful, and the only thing that limits us is our inborn fears and lack of confidence. People who are powerful are those who BELIEVE!!!

The smells of nature are so far unmatched by human attempts at scents.

I love the smell of dirt after a rain, the smell of old snow on a mountaintop in early summer, and the smell of weeds getting baked by the sun.

My heart stirs at the smells of low tide, deer so close I can scent their pelt, orchids and lillies, spruce trees, clean air, and cut cedar.

I also love the domestic nature smells – my kitty’s fur, lavender, tomato plants, a hand-woven wool carpet.

That most of the time, if you’re patient, I’ll eventually get it. Thanks for waiting for me and for having faith. ❤

This question makes me think of courage.

I am filled with fear. Fear is an excellent tool for introducing caution into my life, and my challenge is knowing how to accurately assess the dangers and how to move forward in a wise way.

I have decided that to “live fearlessly” is to have the courage to make decisions within a dangerous atmosphere. Have the courage to face up to the consequences of my thoughts and actions. Have courage to fail, and have the courage to succeed and face the consequences of THAT.

Should I let my little girl ride her bike to the park by herself? Scary. Should I apply for this incredible job? What if they reject me? What if they offer me the position – can I do it well? Should I strike up a conversation with that interesting stranger? When the crazy bum on the street starts talking to me, do I engage or hurry past? Should I give my heart completely to someone I care about? Should I default on my mortgage? Should I call up my mother and apologize for what I said? Do I have the courage to call up my daughter’s father and exchange information about what’s going on in her life?

In all of the above circumstances, it is tempting to NOT make a decision. Just let things sort of slide on by and hope the decision gets resolved without me. But that is not how I live authentically. In order for me to like myself, I can’t shy away from things that introduce fear.

My job as a meteorologist for 11 years helped with that. In some parts of life there is no way to know the outcome. Meteorologists are painfully aware of this every day of their lives. Despite that, a good weather forecaster needs to understand that their job is not to be perfect, but to make wise choices amongst limitless data which may or may not be relevant.

Another great thing about forecasting weather is that there are time limits. The longer one waits, the more data comes in. A person can be tempted to wait for that one magical piece of information which will make the right choice clear. But we usually don’t get any sense of what would have been the best choice until long after a choice has been made. Nothing to do for it but take that leap! As the deadline approached, I had to decide, and then make it public. And I had to be prepared to justify that decision.

Like meteorologists, we don’t have to be perfect, but we do have to do the best we can with what we’ve been offered. AND, we have to make those choices within a reasonable time frame, and be prepared to face the consequences.

If I can do that, it’s as close to fearless as I get.

An Aleutian Williwaw! It was one of those fierce, deep, low pressure systems that you can’t even imagine, even when your Air Force military occupation is a weather observer and you’re observing it. I was living on a teensy little flat wedge of an icy island near the tip of the Aleutian chain called Shemya, when this puppy hit the Remote Observation Site I was working at. The wind was so fierce before work started that I needed permission from Base Security to even go out in a vehicle to get to work, where I would be the solitary human in the station. By the end of my shift, winds were up to 45 knots prevailing, with frequent gusts to 80 knots. In those conditions, I was not allowed to leave the building, nor was my relief allowed to come to work (nor would I really want to go outside for that matter), so I stayed there. It hit 92 knots before deciding to mellow out (that’s 114 mph). In the weather biz, hurricane force winds are considered to be 75 mph or more. But there was no hurricane… just unrelenting Alaska weather.

With my mother, as long as we’re talking people relationships.

And, like all my long-term relationships, the longer I know her, the more things I find I like and dislike about her, and the more I love her.

Siona! This is a perfect question!

Responses to this should roll off all of our tongues: of course I write my own story! I assess my resources, make a decision, and voila, I make my own life happen.

…anytime I don’t answer like this, I know I am straying off my path. I have the fortune of having been born in, and raised in, the United States. I can’t speak for other places, but here I know that any individual can make anything happen.

Yes!! It *IS* the land of opportunity. There are no victims. No poverty, no minority status, no trauma that can hold us down if we don’t want it to.

And no, I was not born into security which makes me blind to reality. My obstacles are challenging. I came through darkness and I am sure I will walk through darkness again, but I refuse to think of it anything but opportunity to make myself even better.

This is brilliant, just brilliant. Thank you so much for having this question around, Siona, for me to find it on Thanksgiving Day. I give thanks to the circumstances that allowed me to be who I am in the place that I am, with the people who make it into my radar beam.

Everything good that’s ever happened to me has been because I both opened my heart, and because I also busted my ass to make it happen.

  • Good relationship with parents? Because I had to grow and learn and work and agonize and be humble until I was ready for that relationship.
  • Good Job? Because I had to sacrifice and be humble and work hard and maintain the utmost in ethical standards in order to get opportunities, then I had to be brave enough to take them, embrace them, and to believe that I deserved them.
  • Loving healthy daughter? Because I had to give up my selfishness, and my ideals, and I had to sacrifice and open my heart to a love and a learning that would never ever have been possible without considering that my dreams were not reality.
  • Loving partner? Because I had to SHUT UP for a change, and listen, and learn, and practice loving tolerance. That even deep deep down inside people are STILL different, and it’s a good thing. In fact, we are all different and it’s so beautiful. It’s a gift. Finally I learn how to appreciate another human being living his own difficult path with joy and pain, and in loving him for who he is, I manage to have a healthy relationship.

What is my relationship to my life story? Could an analogy be made to what I’ve learned in my human relationship? Perhaps loving tolerance is a factor in being happy with my life, and I certainly could practice it more. My life is what it is. As my awesome brother said in his blog  “There’s nothing wrong with being unfocused and spoiled. It’s just a path.”

But I hold true to my agency in all this. My life is not a result of anyone else but me. Every single person on this planet is doing their own thing in a way it works for their own life. None of them are doing anything to me and my life. If I want a life in a certain way, I must go out and make it happen.

Comment from the old blog:

april

Beautiful response to this question and such a perfect reminder of why I love and admire you so much. You take complete responsibility for your life and seek always to evolve.

You are my first expression of gratitude on this crisp Thanksgiving morning. The Universe really blessed me with you and my heart is bursting with gratitude.

crystal

Oh, my lovely Ophelia. I return your gratitude with just as much gushing love. You are truly one of the greatest people to ever happen to me. You were and continue to be a major factor in my own ability to grow. Thank you for you.

Stoopid poodle still life

It’s a metaphor for growth.

{Note: in my blog at Zaadz, my profile image was the head of a poodle painting.}

My partner is teaching me that the best way to deal with uncomfortable truths is to embrace them. Take them on, fully! So things like divorce, homosexuality, being unemployed, etc., are not taboo in our conversations. More than that, we aren’t even gentle. Well… we are brutally frank about the stuff that hurts us the most, and making light of these things frequently takes all the power out of them.

This is hard to explain in a blog, but it has been a very effective tool for us. For example, though we’ve had many intellectual discussions about how my multiple past marriages don’t reflect my honor or integrity… I still have these evil, biting voices which tell me I’m a bad woman for not remaining married no matter what it took. The way my partner and I try to work through my worried conscience is to face the voices in my head. We tease each other, using the exact words of our fears, and expose it all. He tells me I toy with men’s hearts. I tell him I’m only using him because I’m lonely. Once we’ve said outloud all the things we carry in our minds (no matter HOW ridiculous or unlikely those critical thoughts are), our fears suddenly seem so trivial.

….ok, ok, back to the poodle. I hate this still life. ha ha! Yuck!

It’s from an art class I took, and my professor set up the stupidest still lifes ever. Stuff I just could not bring myself to get inspired about in the least. This was the one I hated the most. It was a painted red bottle, an old poodle-shaped handbag, a pear, and an ugly inside-out quilt. The colours are awful, my skill dubious, and the assignment was that we were allowed to use only four colours. To top that off, the professor was so excited about our work, that we slaved away on these horrible things for two full weeks.

I don’t want to hate a creation from my own hands.

So… in my attempts to embrace that which evokes strong negative reactions, I chose this despised painting as my profile photo. Now, every time I come to my profile, I see that this horrible oil painting is the world’s image of me. It’s actually working! I don’t feel such powerful negative reactions to it anymore.

Comment from the old blog:

crystal

OK, here’s another example. This morning I found out my grandmother died. I came home from work and cried all over my man’s clothes, making them damp. I followed him to the refrigerator. I held his hand and played with his hair. Later, he got up to stand by the wood stove. I was nearby, so I moved over and wrapped my arms around him and buried my face into his shoulder. He goes “Why are you so clingy? Give me some space, woman!” I laughed and punched him and he held me harder.

He forces me to face shit, like being sad and clingy because my Gramma died, so that we can talk about it and it doesn’t become bigger than it needs to be.

20 year old me

Well, there are a bunch, of course.

But I try to think about them in a different way. I am one of those freaks who actually enjoys the painful growing process. [maybe Miss Ophelia shares this quality with me?]

Sometimes I am truly angry with my parents for leaving me so unprepared in some ways to make my independent way in the world. And sometimes… I know that this is the only way to learn.

So I guess I learn the lessons I’m ready for. When something comes to the forefront of my mind, and it irriates and grates at me till I can’t stand it anymore and I address the situation, and in the end learn from it… well, then, I assume that I was primed and ready for that particular lesson. I believe that when it goes like that, then I am learning in the best possible way because that’s when the lesson will stick with me.

*sigh!* but if only I could have avoided so many stretches of utter foolishness…

If you read any previous posts, you may have seen that I am writing a book about a significant time in my life when I was stationed in the Air Force on a remote Aleutian Island. In getting my head into that time so the memories will come back, I’ve re-read old journals, and letters that my mother saved (she saves them all – BLESS her heart!). Sadly, I find myself embarrassed of who I was then. Geez Louise, could there have been a sillier, more ridiculous girl ever? Oh my, was I a dingaling. My mother calls me “boy crazy” back then, and I am afraid to say that’s an understatement. Here I am, pushing 40, and my memories of that island are the landscape, the weather, the isolation, the pressure, the crazy antics we participated in to entertain ourselves and keep ourselves sane. What do my journals and letters say? Boys, boys, boys. Like I have no other thought in the world. If only there was a way to go back and do that year again with a bit of maturity…

…but then, that’s the point of my book. It was at that dreadful place that I learned a few life lessons. So, getting back to my original point. I think the way my life has gone so far is the way it was supposed to go.

One of my many guises

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