Thursday, November 8, 2018

Treating People with Respect

It’s a wonder we’re not all building forts around our homes with all the news media coverage of political campaigns, horrors happening in the country and the world, and then people repeating all this negativity through social media. People are mentally breaking and committing acts of violence in their frustrations and fears. It’s hard not to feel inundated with hopelessness for the human race.

I’m striving to be a recluse. Not because I’m personally afraid, but because I’m so sick of it all. (Plus, I want to stay home to do my writing and art work.) People are upset by the affairs of the country and world, but history proves we are dealing with the same issues that have been going on since mankind began. Issues such as the haves and have nots, those thinking they are better than the next guy, wanting control over others, or just plain wanting what someone else has and feeling it’s their right to just take it. Then there are those who believe their way is the right way for everyone, whether it is or not.

News lately is full of hate, accusations, unfulfilled promises, misleading comments, snippets of statements used to promote dissention, marketing products that are not honest, and more. There are those who come up with convincing words to manipulate the public. OK, every so often there will be a human compassion story, but those are getting far and few between. The media’s excuse is that the bad news is what sells and they’re in the business to sell news. (And with either news or advertising; it doesn’t matter if it’s totally true or not.)

People rant about their ancestors being slaves on southern plantations, but there has been slavery for generations all over the world – and still goes on in some places. People are angry over discrimination, but discrimination isn’t only against one race or religion. Legal immigrants to this country are still being discriminated against in some places and many of them have been here for almost their entire lives. And, it doesn’t matter what country they came from! It’s not just one set of people!

Women have struggled throughout history to break free of certain roles, and as far as they’ve come in this country, there are still issues they are dealing with. Again, look at history. Times have changed, technology has changed, new programs were introduced and, for the most part, women have more freedoms, but in some cases, they are still treated differently than men. Then there are some countries where women don’t have many rights at all and men totally rule everything.

Some rant against “white privilege.” Well, not all white people fall into that category. Many have had hard lives. There are poor whites, discriminated against whites, white people who are jobless, homeless or living in hovels, veterans who can’t get proper help, and more instances.

The real issue is not about color, religion, where we’re from, ancestry, hair styles, mode of dress, or language we speak. It’s about how people are treated! Maybe it’s about hierarchy. Those in power (governments) always believe themselves above everyone else; from better benefits and education, to bigger salaries …

So, what do we need to do to live wholeheartedly? Maybe it’s just about learning to live together, accepting and respecting one another. Bring back some simple guidelines for living well like working hard, kindness, courtesy, sharing, helping neighbors, etc. Maybe it needs for leaders to show more respect for people, to find programs to help and if a program doesn’t work (no matter how good it sounds) take it down and try something different.

No, it’s not a perfect world, and because of human nature, there are those who will always be on that “other” side of goodness. As a writer, I’m more aware of words. These days I’m particular on who and what I listen to. I watch people’s actions before I believe what they say. I look for a deep-hearted goodness in others … and work at promoting that more in myself.

I may not leave my house often these days, but when I do, I always try to say a few kind words to people I meet, give a compliment, say something light-hearted about the weather. I also take time to thank delivery people, store clerks, waiters, etc. If they have a story, I’ll listen. These little things don’t take much effort, but they can help others feel better and it gives me a feeling of accomplishment, that I’ve lived a whole-hearted day.

Let Us Be Americans First

Yesterday’s stream-of-consciousness writing sent me on the issue of being American. What set this off was continually hearing news reports about African Americans and Jewish Americans, and then there’s Chinese Americans, Native Americans, etc., and you could even add man or woman to that. African American woman, Chinese American man … And I thought:

What if we are all Americans first? People with wants and wishes the same as many others.

People often ask me if I’m Native American. My first shocked thought is, “Why would you ask that?” On one hand, that’s something to be proud of. On the other hand, does that make me different? Does it make me stand out to be ridiculed? Does it put me in a category where I might be seen as … whatever someone else might think?

Think about it. What comes to mind when you think of any of these ethnic terms? Are your first thoughts on what you last heard on the news about others of this ethnicity, something you read about these people in history, or are you looking at him as an individual person?

What would people’s reactions be if others started labeling themselves as White Americans? That would open a whole new can of worms. There are probably many who already think that way. It’s one thing to think it, another to be saying it publicly.

The minute we start differentiating between people due to color, religion, or whatever, division occurs. The minute we start labeling others, it either makes them like us or different from us. When there’s a division, people take sides. One side is better than the other. That side gets more benefits. The government gives them more freebies. That one has life easier. Those get better jobs. Whatever it is, emotions stir; and sometimes when emotions get involved it can be over something that’s not even true.

I’m not putting down anyone’s ethnicity, heritage, or religious beliefs. We all have the right to hold onto our family histories and beliefs … if we want to. Everyone should have the right to work hard to make a good life for ourselves and our families. Everyone should respect one another’s beliefs.

It’s about time people started putting these differences aside and work together as people wanting to live in this country.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Letting go and Living Wholeheartedly

This week has been another round of changing how I think and changing what I think about. One subject that fit this was in letting go.

Letting go is hard, sounds hard, but these past few days as I've been working on living at a higher level of consciousness, I find if I don’t think of it as letting go, but as releasing to the Light, it feels better, and it’s more freeing.

I started this practice by catching myself any time my thoughts began spiraling out of control. It’s not always easy. Sometimes my mind grabs hold of a subject and the thoughts go ‘round and ‘round until I’m emotionally flattened. I give myself a mental shake, and say, “Stop, relax, breathe, let those thoughts go to the Light,” the minute I realize what I’m doing.

I’m doing it and I feel so much better! Thoughts and beliefs I no longer need, release them to the Light. Bad feelings, depressing thoughts, ugliness on the news, release those thoughts to the Light.

But what about letting go of physical stuff? I thought about all my stuff that physically got thrown away after the big yard sale in May and how I cried to see good stuff, MY stuff, in the town dumpsters. Do you know how much cross-country skis cost? Two vehicles full (mine and a friend's) of things I’ve had for years, just thrown away. I knew I had to let go, but it hurt so bad. I was crushed. I sobbed all the way home. But I had to do it.

Yet now that I am taking this new thought patterning of releasing to the Light, I look back on the past months and feel the release.

By the way, I see the light as a bright universal light, a Pure Divine Light (PDL), a God-Light, if you will. (And I see the word(s) capitalized.) In my vision, the little self me is standing on a hill, and a beautiful, all-encompassing Light surrounds me, fills me. I raise my arms and whatever it is I need to release, is gently taken from me.

This is all one more step in living whole heartedly. I’m recognizing where I am in life, acknowledge life lessons learned, and move on. I strive to be the best I can, knowing who I am, yet making steps to be better. Today I am enough, tomorrow I’ll be enough for tomorrow.

Hmmm, if I think of things as energy, and energy is constantly moving ... or moving every so often, it stands to reason that we need to eventually let things move on. Heck, even WE need to move on sometimes. We can't even hold onto ourselves.

Oh, dear, where did that come from and where am I going with this? But it is life. We spend our lives developing the "me" we want to be, only to find as we get older, we have to change ... and we develop a stronger "me," then eventually we have to even let that go.

Energy is born into a human form. Throughout the life of that form, it constantly changes and grows – and eventually passes back into pure energy.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Choosing the Untraditional

This morning as I was making coffee, I contemplated my blue coffee mug. Blue, like cobalt glass, and almost see-through. I’ve had this mug for many years. I thought about how blue was my favorite color for most of my life, and how part of the reason I chose blue was because blue was not considered a girl’s color.

My striving to be different started at an early age. Maybe it was because I saw my brother treated better than me. Maybe it was because I was still in an era where girls and boys had specific roles, and I saw that boys had more opportunities (got more stuff, were allowed to do more things … seemed free). Maybe I just realized from an early age I didn’t want to fit into a mold of what others dictated I was supposed to be.

I didn’t like girly stuff. I seldom played with dolls (although I liked paper dolls and making clothes for them – because that was artsy – not that I understood being an artist at the time.) I didn’t like being in the house or helping with house stuff that wives and mothers took care of. I didn’t like wearing dresses or having to act like a girl when the boys got to be wild and be outside.

My mother wasn’t a girly-girl, either, and although she didn’t totally act like those perfect “Leave It to Beaver” housewife models, she was still part of that timeframe of life for women. She didn’t do the normal woman-thing too much either. She was always on the fringe.

She taught us hide ‘n’ seek, kick the can, and took us out in the woods on walks. So, perhaps it was from her I that made me determined to not be like other girls. She didn’t have many friends. She didn’t play the “follow the leader” games or become part of a clique.

Instead of dolls, I wanted to be outside playing with my brother’s trucks. I wanted to climb trees, explore the woods and fields, and ride my bike faster than the boys. I decided to have blue as my favorite color because it was a boy color. Girls were supposed to like red.

I never did totally conform to the traditional role of woman. Yes, I married and had children. Yes, I totally love my children with all my heart, but even the role of mother and grandmother has me apart from most. Maybe my roles can never be the same as the majority. Maybe … I don’t know …

And in trying to live whole-heartedly, I have to accept who I am without feeling guilty for not following the more traditional role of womanhood. I have to celebrate my uniqueness and understand, too, I am not the only one. We can’t all be the same. It’s the differences in people that make life interesting. The important thing is seeing that we are all good no matter what roles we choose to play (or be).

These days I’m more known for my love of purple. Part of that, too, is a desire to be different. If I could find a coffee mug, just like my blue one, but in purple, that would be the cherry on top of my morning.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Changing a Word Changes My Outlook

For a while I've been using "Love and Success" as one of my mantras, but, for me, it feels a little heavy. I don't know why. Maybe love for me has a dark side with often pain associated. Oh, I know we're supposed to love one another, and everything and all that, but love also has to do with relationships that are sometimes not so good. Sometimes those bad experiences can have lasting effects.

Hmmm, maybe the word "love" is connected to "supposed to." And it shouldn't. Can I explore this avenue without it dragging me into a hole.

Guess there's some old stuff lingering here ... but that's OK for the moment. I can let it go. And perhaps, for me, it's accepting that's how I feel and not trying to figure it out or feel guilty that I might offend anyone by saying this.

It's not that I don't love. I love lots ... maybe it's just the perceived attached strings that come with loving somebody. Maybe it's about a price I've stopped willing to pay due to “failed” past relationships.  Hmmm, interesting. The topic can go in so many directions. There are, after all, many forms of love. Anyway, moving on ...

So, in striving to live whole-heartedly, I realize I feel much better when I say, "Light and Love" or "Light and Success!" The word "Light" makes me feel lighter and brighter, and in these instances, the words are in caps because this light is a God-Light. It comes from the Universe, the Great Creator, Great Spirit, the Beloved. This Light is greater than any of us, yet it is also part of us, when we open up to acknowledge it. And in saying this, I realize that it is love.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Happiness and Living Wholeheartedly

No. 543. Dear Divine Presence, Thank you for showing me that the foundation of my happiness cannot be based on others. Others may or may not add to my happiness, but the FOUNDATION of my happiness must come from my own choice to live wholeheartedly and be the best ME that I can be! Love and Success, Sasha.

I’ve had a couple of recent conversations regarding the choice to go to a doctor or not. One had to do with friends trying to get me to go. The other had to do with someone upset because a family member wouldn’t go, and that if she lost this person, she would be devastated.

I have very strong issues about the medical profession; the basis of which is that it’s gone from a service to help to one of a money-making-big business. These are my beliefs and not everyone shares them. That’s OK. It’s about choice. I’m an older adult, so I’ve seen and experienced many things, and I’ve thoroughly thought this out. My choices are mine to make!

Unfortunately, my beliefs and choices sometimes get me into trouble with others who don’t share my point of view. Even though I am strongly on the side of avoiding doctors, I can also understand that other side. I’m certainly not going to tell them they are wrong for going to the doctor. It’s their choice. There are certainly times when everyone needs to get professional help. Maybe I’d have a different view were I much younger and didn’t know what I know now.

But it’s still about choice! However, some cannot fathom how I (and a few others) feel this way. They think we are selfish by not taking better care of ourselves; that we are selfish, because if something happened to us, what would it do to those who love us?

Well, what if we are making the right choice? For us? I believe it’s the right choice for me. That doesn’t mean I will never go to a doctor, just there’s got to be a real reason. (And I won’t go on as to my reasons because that’s not the point of this writing.)

I began thinking about the reactions of others and how I’m being told that my choices affect them and that I need to think about them, too. I thought about how their words make me feel. I am not faulting others their beliefs. I don’t have to agree. The choices they make for themselves are theirs to make.

So, how does this all fit into my living wholeheartedly? It’s me standing up for what I believe for myself. It’s about acceptance; accepting me for who I am. I’ve worked years discovering who I am and how I am. I learned years ago I can’t live a life as others would have me live! I have to be me, or I’d just soon not live. (I am NOT a martyr!)

This led me into more thinking what it means to live wholeheartedly and how happiness fits in with wholeheartedness. Yes, acceptance is important to me, along with a lot of things that everyone strives for. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but I expect to, at least, be respected and not looked down upon or treated as if there is something wrong with me (mental case, for sure).

I remembered being told years ago other people cannot make you happy; happiness comes from within. There is much truth in that. It is easy to rely on others to make me happy, then when they don’t live up to my expectations, there goes my happiness. Hey, here’s the lesson in my face.

Positivity takes work! Using others for happiness is taking the easy road – but then when the road washes out, I’m devastated. There’s no real easy street, so it’s up to me to build a solid foundation, an inner base, for my own happiness. That takes training and vigilance (every time I come across the word vigilance, I am reminded of the Harry Potter stories.)

I was asked the other day what would make me happy. Of course, there are the same things that everyone wishes for. However, I need to dig deep and think about this to come up with what is the solid happiness foundation of my soul.

The self-work goes forever on as I strive to live wholeheartedly. Today I feel I’ve reached a milestone.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Deep-Wreck Diving on the Inner Self

I am always working on myself in my quest to live whole-heartedly. That takes a lot of courage and even extends into my other work. Every time I work on a painting or do a writing and show it to others, it’s an act of bravery. It’s setting myself up for comments – sometimes negative, although for the most part, people are nice.

But I love what I do! It takes courage to put myself out there and not hide from people. What I do is MY way of paying it forward. If someone enjoys reading what I wrote or even gets inspiration of a little self-awareness, that is all for the good. If people enjoy my photos or paintings, then I am helping to spread beauty. Of course, if anyone buys a painting, I am so very grateful!

My inner work recently involves changing how I think. It’s important to think positively and stop any negative thinking. Yes, I will admit that I return to a topic and/or will repeat what I’ve said before. Repetition is a teaching tool. I often need to repeatedly remind myself of things, and sometimes I need to hear/read something more than once (or a dozen times, ha ha) before it totally sinks in.

I love treasure hunts and I'm finding more of that type of analogy in things I do. Writing a poem when the ending often surprises me by going in a direction I didn't expect. The self-work definitely is a treasure hunt. I search through the muck for the gold because too often the past has filled us with muck. On one hand, this way of thinking makes the self-work interesting and fun. It's also a treasure hunt when I do a painting because the journey to the finished piece throws out nuggets of learning.

And here's a continuation of that analogy: I'm re-reading some books on deep-wreck diving like to the Andrea Doria or Empress of Ireland. (Something I would NEVER do for real, but it’s so fascinating!) Deep-wreck diving is far more advanced and dangerous than just scuba diving. What the divers go through from breathing apparatus and air mixture; then slipping down over 200 feet into sometimes total darkness except for whatever type of light they can carry; of not being able to see more than a few feet in front of them; of getting inside the wreck with jagged pieces of metal and dangling cables and wires that can ensnare them; to any movement (including their air bubbles) dislodging tons of silt to cover them making even less visibility.

Often the wreck settles on the bottom at angles, so ceilings are walls and floors might be ceilings or decks have collapsed onto others creating impossible obstacles. There’s the possibility of finding human bones and realizing that these wrecks are often graveyards. Then there are the dangers of the air mixtures which can cause narcosis or oxygen toxicity. Excitement and fear exacerbate the problems by causing the diver to breathe harder which depletes the air supply quicker. A diver can get lost penetrating the depths of wreck and never find a way out.

Then the diver sees a glint of something shiny, reaches in the muck, and pulls out a brass bell or a gold-rimmed piece of china ...

Doing inner self-work can be similar to deep-wreck diving with that deep, inner self being the wreck. How many years has the wreck been down there? How many decades of silt has accumulated and what kinds of things are growing on it? What kind of bodies are buried there. What obstacles are there to get around, get caught on?

It’s an emotional dive, for sure. For some, it’s a simple exercise in exploration. For others, it’s the opening of a whole new world. Sometimes a stirred-up memory can be like sharp, jagged metal ripping a hole in the skin. Other times, as the darkness presses in, claustrophobia sets off intense fear. What about the monster hiding around the corner? Is it that one that hunted you as a kid?

My favorite poet is David Whyte. He likened inner work as going down into the well and digging through the muck. (Your own personal well inside you.) That's been my favorite analogy for years because it IS like going way down into my inner well, deep within my abdomen which can feel like a bottomless pit at times. And now with this deep-wreck diving analogy, I can see myself swimming down dark corridors filled with dangerous obstacles and sometimes feeling I'm never going to get out and I'm going to drown in my own stuff.

But then my hand reaches into the gooey silt and I pull out treasure! That makes it all worthwhile. I’ve gained a better understanding of myself. I’ve learned. Another step in the journey to whole-heartedness.

As with deep-wreck diving and doing inner work, there are men and women willing to take those risks. WE take those risks whenever we go down (or back to our younger years).