Wondering

 
 

Packing It In

When dreams repeat themselves over several nights, it makes me pay attention a little better than normal to those fleeting subconscious wanderings.

The past week I’ve dreamt multiple times about packing. I’m talking about stuffing things frantically into a duffle bag, or throwing things together haphazardly into a suitcase. One dream had me zipping shut all sorts of temporary containers to take with me somewhere and I needed to hurry it up, too. I never knew where I might be going, or what I should bring with me. The only commonality in all the dreams was a sort of desperation or panic to get it done quickly and don’t forget anything important.

I let these dreams haunt my daytimes a bit and didn’t like where my personal interpretations took me, so I thought I’d consult some dream imagery sources. Seems logical to gather some information, right?

The common thread in the different places that I researched said this about dreaming of repeatedly packing represents:

  • Uncertainty or chaotic changes in your life.
  • Your feelings about being weighed down by endless responsibilities or expectations.
  • The need to establish some kind of order in our lives
  • A need for greater organization in your waking life.
  • Feeling unprepared for the challenges that you are facing.
  • An unsuccessful attempt to deal with far too much in your waking life.
  • Something definitely overwhelms you at the moment.
  • You are juggling too many things and situations.
  • You are carrying too many burdens.
  • A warning to relax and let go.
  • Somebody is pushing you to take more responsibility;

That all sounded fairly accurate in describing how I’ve been feeling lately. I find that fascinating. How do my dreams know to go there?

Would you like a cup of irony to go with my dream interpretation?

At the beginning of the year I made a short note to myself that reads as follows:

  • Simplify.

If ever I wondered what I wanted out of the year 2016 it could be found on this tiny list. The key word here, in case you missed it: simplify.

IMG_5728One reason I stopped making resolutions years ago lies in the FACT that as soon as I set myself a goal the oppositional forces in the universe unite to make certain I do not achieve what I set out for myself.

What is that all about? And do I sound a little paranoid? Well, so be it. I probably am.

I’ve had some great inspirational moments of clarity in how I could simplify my life so it feels more focused, less scattered and crazy. And yet, those few moments have been overwhelmingly done in by a giant tsunami of requests, additional to-do list items, a change in responsibilities, an inability on my part to say no, and personal lack of organizational skills and lack of self-discipline.

Chaos. Responsibility. Expectations.

How do I pack all that into neat little containers? How do I corral the wild horses, tame the unruly strands of unfinished things to do?

I own and have read dozens of books of bringing order into chaos. I know the three bin method. I’ve spent days and weeks packing and unpacking an entire household countless, (okay, seventeen) times. You’d think by this time in my life I’d have my act together, I’d have reached some point of calm. Balance should have settled into my life.

Ha!

Apparently that isn’t how it works. At least it hasn’t for me, so far.

I’ve been reading a book that a friend recommended on organizing. I don’t think it’ll save my life or change it completely, but perhaps it’ll throw me a life-preserver.

Here’s part of what I think my dreams mean, according to the book of Kami.

What I really want to do is pack one small suitcase and disappear from all my responsibilities and to-do lists. I want to say, “NO!” to every request. Could I deliver myself to some unknown place where no one recognizes or notices me and just, I don’t know, sit and read, walk in the woods, sleep, ride my bike, bask in the sun? Could I find out what a life with no expectations from others feels like?

That’s about as likely as me winning a lottery, which I don’t play.

I’d probably get bored really quickly, no doubt.  I know running away isn’t a solution, but something extreme seems necessary to achieve some balance to the shoal of chaos that my life has shipwrecked on.

I think I need a nap now.

~~~~~

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ~ Confucius

 

Categories: dreams, Mental Health, Priorities, Sanity, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Couple of Diet Cokes and a Convo

Let’s say you and I go pick up a Dirty Diet Coke and a sugar cookie. We’d drive to a nearby park, and we’d sit on a park bench (this is Arizona, remember?) and chat while we munched and sipped.

FullSizeRender-3 copy 3“Mmmm…I like that touch of lime,” you’d say.

“I like the coconut undertones,” I’d reply.

“The cookie’s a bit too chewy for my idea of a sugar cookie,” you’d add. “But still, it’s delish.”

Only, you probably wouldn’t say “delish” because we only really shorthand things like that in texts or on Facebook and other social media zones. Even though it is “totes adorbs,” it sounds pretty silly in real life, doesn’t it?

Our conversation would wander from dinner plans to cloud formations, from recent things we read to the symbolism of some odd dream we had the night before. We might even discuss something religiously contentious, or skirt along the edges of politics. It’s always fun to see where things go when we talk.

Somewhere in there I’d get around to asking a question that’s been on my mind, but it’d be weird to just blurt it out without some context, or without having it relate even vaguely to what we might be discussing.

Since we aren’t having sodas at the park, I can just throw out the thought that I’ve been wondering about off and on for years. (If you want to grab a Coke or Mountain Dew or something non-caffeinated, go ahead, I’ll wait.)

Here’s the question:

Do you think there’s some inspiration or creative source or new ideas or muse somewhere in the atmosphere or something that different people tap into, or ask to access, or that they simply breathe in, that they then turn into art, or song, or a written work?

And a related question:

And if that’s the case, isn’t it likely that several, if not hundreds or thousands, could “come up with” the same or similar ideas all around same time?

And another question:

Is there really any original thought or are thoughts or the seeds of thoughts put into our heads?

Fine, it was three questions…

I see us finishing up our sodas and dusting cooking crumbs off our shirts long before we exhaust the possibilities of these questions.

Surely philosophers and psychologists, Mensa members and religious people all have something to add to the answers to these questions. I’m just wondering what the everyday, soda sipping, cookie crunching public thinks.

Here’s my two cents.

I’ve had many experiences where I’ve thought of an idea, or started writing a blog post, or hummed a made-up tune, and then, within a day, or a week someone else talks about, writes, or sings the same or eerily similar thing. What is that all about?

Seriously!

Cosmic music waves hitting in-tune people? Writerly angels whispering words? Serendipity? Inspiration? What is it?

I don’t think there’s a correct answer, but it’s a discussion I’d sure like to have, with or without a soda and cookie.

On second thought, cookies should stay in the equation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: good ideas, Wondering, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

“Take These Broken Wings and Learn to Fly”

“Take these broken wings and learn to fly.” ~Paul McCartney

This person I admire more than I probably should said something yesterday that cemented my admiration. The discussion centered around helping people with disabilities in a way that allows them dignity and as much self-reliance as they can manage. His closing comment went like something like this, “Helping those with more visible disabilities allows us to better deal with our own less visible disabilities.”

Remarkable insight.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/X-ray_of_a_broken_lower_leg_Wellcome_V0030072.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/X-ray  of a broken lower leg Wellcome Images V0030072.jpg

I’d been thinking about the brokenness of every person for a few days anyway. And then to hear someone I admire acknowledge everyones shortcomings and failings, including his own, humbled me.

Every person I know is broken somehow, someway. Every. Single. Adult.

Seven or eight years ago that tune had only one note; I thought I was the only broken one in a world of mostly people who had it together. But then a few things happened and my eyes opened to see the world with a bit more clarity. It can weigh on you, knowing how much heartache and hurt others deal with. It’d be easier to go through life as an eyes-half-open kind of person, in denial about the bad stuff going on around me. There’s only so much a person ought to deal with, right?

As much as I’d like to ignore or pretend or buy into the happy face people bravely put on things, it’s not always possible.

Photo by Tobias "ToMar" Maier (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Tobias “ToMar” Maier (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

That perfect couple? The one with the nice house and cool cars and adorable kids. Broken in one way or another. I’d lay money on it.

The guy at the gym you admire so much? Fractured from a tough childhood, or a difficult marriage.

That one person who always cracks the best jokes and seems to have no care in the world? Damaged and hurting, sometime, someway, for sure.

The smartest person in the room? Torn to pieces inside or struggling with something beyond their control.

That drop-dead gorgeous woman at the grocery store? She may be barely keeping it together, or ready to walk away from, what to everyone else, looks like an ideal life.

I know that sounds jaded and negative and pessimistic. But it’s the truth. Every one of us has broken parts, hurting hearts, cracked open insides, crushed, disintegrating, injured, disjointed, imperfect pieces. Some affect our lives on a daily, ongoing basis, and others only deal with it as a kind of background  theme song.

Some don’t even know they’re broken, and as they thrash about they end up injuring those closest to them. Some assume that no one can tell they’ve got a massive psychological limp, or that they’re carrying an emotional backpack loaded down with broken, sometimes unmendable parts of themselves.

Photo by Stefan Kühn (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Stefan Kühn (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

We all, mostly, keep going from day to day. We drag the broken arm of loss or sadness or abuse out of bed and make the best of things. We put a bit of makeup on over the bruises of shame or fear or loneliness and step out into our day as bravely as we can. Many heft a weighty cast of addiction, on permanent recovery, as we hobble through the ins and outs of every day life.

A few people I know, well, more than a few, have held open their brokenness for me to view. And occasionally, I’ve shared my own fractures and pain. I’ve seen enough to confidently say that yes, we’re all broken a little or a lot, in some way or another.

What’s most remarkable to me is when one of the more broken, limping, sore and worn down people reaches over and pulls up another broken, hurting, tired soul and encourages them, offers a shoulder to lean on. Weak and struggling and yet willing to lift and help where and when they can. That amazes me. But they get it and can empathize and offer understanding and caring.

We all have brokenness that can serve another. Really, we do. Whether we join a support group of fellow stroke sufferers or caregivers, or we quietly give someone we know a hug and tell them they can get through this, we can give something that will help. Perhaps we even write an anonymous note of encouragement, or text an uplifting quote that’s helped us get through. The possibilities for reaching out have no limits.

Those who’ve been the most broken, or are still injured, seem to more often be the most generous in their offers of help.

Why do you suppose that is?

I don’t know either.

Maybe the answer lies in paraphrasing what my friend said, “Helping those with visible brokenness allows us to better deal with our own less visible afflictions.”

Do you think that’s true? In lifting, are we lifted? In helping, are we helped? In caring, are we cared for?

Something to ponder, I suppose.

“We are all wonderful, beautiful wrecks. That’s what connects us–that we’re all broken, all beautifully imperfect.” ~ Emilio Estevez

Here’s the link to the Beatles song from which I got my title for today.

Categories: Being Human, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments
 
 

Throwing Down the Gauntlet of “I’m Not”

Razor-Jr.-Folding-Kiddie-Kick--pTRU1-5250467dt

I can’t find that picture I took of her riding around when she first got this contraption. So this will have to do.

My favorite three-year old brought her scooter over during her last visit. So of course, we headed outside for a nice walk through the neighborhood. I pushed her sister in the stroller while she zoomed ahead on her scooter. Every once in a while she’d stop, sit down on the scooter and wait for me to catch up to her. As I got closer she’d pop up, put her speedy foot to the ground and rocket away on the sidewalk. Luckily she’d been taught to stop at corners so I don’t have to yell or run ahead.

If I had on skates or was on my own scooter, I’d still have a tough time keeping up with her. I think she’d go a couple of miles before she felt even a little tired. Oh, to have such energy!

When we decide to head down the grassy hill to the playground, she attempts to ride the scooter through the grass, but meets too much resistance in the thick green lawn. So she steps off and drags the scooter behind her.

photo.PNG-2 copy 3

We’re talking thick over-watered winter grass of Phoenix.

Yup! She drags it sideways, with the center of the wheels catching on the long grass and the body of the scooter adding more drag. If I didn’t need to manage the one-year old and the stroller I’d show her how simply pushing it in an upright position, rolling along on the tires requires less effort and more efficiency. I suggested it, with verbal directions. Her reply? “I’m not.”

That’s how she answers most things she’s not interested in doing, eating, working at, giving in on or sharing. “I’m not.”

Just two words and she’s said all she’ll say on the matter.

There’s no reasoning, bribing, cajoling, begging, threatening or consequence that changes her mind once she’s decided “I’m not.” (Her parents have better luck with this, but I’m not the parent. I’m the pushover.)

So when we leave the park with me awkwardly pushing a fully loaded stroller up the grassy hill, she once again, drags the scooter sideways until we reach the sidewalk. I offered to carry the scooter on the stroller and she replied in her two-word manner. “I’m not.”

Independent little thing! Ya gotta admire that!

I wonder sometimes if I’m like her with lifes… stuff. 

I buzz along at a nice clip, enjoying the ride and then I encounter resistance. (I think I deal with the long thick grass or rocky terrain much more often than the smooth sidewalk, but that’s probably a skewed and incorrect viewpoint.)

I could patiently step off and simply push in a slightly different way, with my wheels still rolling forward. But, more than likely, I throw my “scooter” on its side and drag it along, making things harder than necessary.

photo-25 copy 20

Feeling drenched by my bad attitude.

Maybe I’m a bit dramatic about a situation and blow it out of proportion. Or maybe I assume the worst possible outcome. Perhaps I fail to deploy my optimism umbrella and instead get drenched by pessimism.

When life gets hard and stays that way for too long, what do I do? I throw down my own well-worn gauntlet of “I’m not.”

More than likely I’ve forgotten to notice the happy stuff going on around me and I only notice the one or two big negatives. I even get argumentative with people I like, or complain out loud about “how hard my life is.” What a downer. Then I feel worse because I’ve hurt people, relationships and myself.

Funny how a three-year old can teach a lesson without even trying.

I think I need two photographs of Miss Smarty-pants and her scooter; one of her zipping along and one of her dragging the thing behind her. I could use the reminder that I have a choice in how I ride and how I manage the roughs.

It’s time to set my scooter upright and push it through the grass.

I’m sure that before I know it I’ll feel the wind whipping through my hair as I push-off once again on one of life’s smoother paths.

 

 

 

Categories: Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Perhaps,” the Grinch Said, “I’ve A Few Questions For You”

I have a question for you...

I have a question for you…

“Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.”

What is it about Dr. Seuss’s classic tale that we all admire so much?

  • Do we secretly feel the same way the Grinch does? I have at times felt just that way.
  • Do we wish for a Christmas morning filled with nothing but simple joy in our hearts and a song on the breeze? Surely I have, or something like it.
  • Is there part of us that wants a something in our lives or hearts to undergo an instantaneous change? Of course, but reality doesn’t work that way, does it?

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” tugs at nearly every string we attach to the holiday. We read or watch then we laugh and feel all warm and fuzzy. And then we bust out our shopping lists, our baking lists, our to-do lists, our stress and our craziness.

But.

What if?

  • What if you woke to nothing? No tree, no gifts, no feast, no traditional anything? Would it still be Christmas?
  • Have you ever gone without Christmas? I mean, really had no Christmas. No tree. No gifts. No candy. No stocking. No great meal. No thing to mark the day as significant and distinct.

(And, no I’m not talking about a trip to some fun or exotic location in lieu of gifts and such.)

  • Did this happen on purpose, because you gave your Christmas to another family?
  • Or did it happen due to incredibly difficult circumstances in your life?
  • Or did the stuff of Christmas not happen for some other reason?

I’d really like to know.

(Please comment below, anonymously even if you want.)

“Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

star-wallpapers-22

Categories: Holiday, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Do You Need?

Imagine it.

You’re walking along a beach and trip over something unmoving wedged in the sand. Bending over to sooth your ankle, which feels like you might have twisted it, you see the offending bit of flotsam that disturbed your stroll. Shiny and apparently metal, you dig a little and discover an object shaped somewhat like a gravy tureen with a lid. The Antiques Roadshow side of you sees potential in this odd object.

genie-in-the-bottle-place=card-holder

A strange house for such a powerful entity.

You step into the surf, rinse off the sand. Rub the sides with your shirt tale to dry it off.

Some smoke swirls around you and then, POOF! There’s a genie standing there.

Your mind races with the possibilities of what this means for your life. Every cliché’ you’ve ever read or heard or seen about granted wishes swirls around you.

Finally, you stop drooling and dreaming long enough to pay attention to the genie’s words, spoken slowly with an emphasis on each individual word as if it isn’t even a sentence.

What

Do

You

Need

No explanation about three wishes. No limitations expressed. No clues beyond those four words.

Once more the words echo around you.

What do you need?”

Finally, after some stunned silence a small explanation:

“You have one hour for contemplation and then you must answer or go without.”

What do you need?

Love. Compassion. Friendship. Wisdom. Integrity. Peace. Strength. Courage. Patience. Faith. Perseverance. Kindness. Hope. Generosity. Vision. Passion. Concern. Motivation. Healing. Forgiveness. Self-worth. Acceptance. Knowledge. Understanding. Energy. Ambition. Trust. Contentment.

photo-24 copy 20

Who knows what you’ll stumble on. Or wish for.

The possibilities stretch before you like the beach, like the ocean, like the sky. Limitless and overwhelming if you think too long and hard.

What do you need?

Give it some thought.

Then ask. Yes. Ask for what you need. Put it out into the universe, pray, meditate, write a message and put it in a bottle, visualize it, focus. However you ask, just ask.

Hold it!!!

I feel like I’m starting to sound like one of those late night insomniac focused infomercials for how-to-think-yourself-rich-thin-or-somehow-more-desirable.

Gak!

Okay. Let’s change direction. Don’t ask. Just think about it. What Do You Need?

A couple of clues here: sleep, food, money, fame, sex and time travel don’t cut it here. Seriously. Go read some other blog if that’s how you answer. (Of course, I’m tempted to answer with SLEEP, but then, it’s a Monday morning and I had a birthday partying sort of weekend.)

Also tempting answers, but no bueno: a maid, a personal assistant, a vacation, anything acquired with money, basically. Let’s attempt to lift our thoughts to a different plane today, shall we?

I’m not even sure what my answer will turn out to look like. Probably A) all of the above. Of course, the imaginary scenario leaves us with the requirement to give merely one answer.

How will you respond?

Give yourself an hour. Think it over.

What do you need?

 

~~~~~

“For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.”~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Happiness, Mondaze, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Pays to Look a Little Closer

What in the world?

What in the world?

I’ve driven past this sculpture countless times in the past few years since it went up,  baffled and only slightly curious. I’ve even walked under or around it in the past few weeks, but that doesn’t mean I really saw it.

It’s about twenty feet off a main road and fronts a canal with its two paved walking/biking trails. A cop parks there some mornings, either for a donut break or to catch speeders. It’s not really a spot that encourages visitors to sit or slow down long enough to pay attention to it.

Weird!

That’s what I’d think to myself. Until yesterday.

Yesterday I slowed down, wandered around it and took a few photos. I also read the inscriptions.

Turns out it’s a representation of an invention drawn up by Leonardo da Vinci called an Airscrew, kind of an early concept of the helicopter. You can read more about it here and here if you want more details.

Leonardo's sketch of a flying machine.

Leonardo’s sketch of a flying machine.

Several quotes encircle the base of the sculpture. A fun spiral word mirror for the “wings” above the inscriptions. To read each quote I had to walk all around the base. An interesting interactive twist, wouldn’t you say? Here are the three masterfully chosen quotes.

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered. The point is to discover them.” – Leonardo da Vinci

 ~~~

“The process of scientific discovery is, in effect, a continual flight from wonder.” -Isaac Newton

 ~~~~~

“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” – Leonard da Vinci

This Night Heron is about a foot tall.

This Night Heron is about a foot tall.

Did I fail to mention the sculpture also sits at the northeast corner of the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch? That’s an important detail, I suppose, in coming to an understanding. You see, The Rip, as I affectionately call it, is a renowned birding location. Several rare birds hang out there.  I suspect Leonardo’s curiously odd drawing (and now work of art) of a way to achieve flight serves as an homage to the bird refuge that the riparian preserve has become.

Not only that, but I think it serves as an invitation to discovery and wonder. I’ve logged a bunch of miles over the 110 acre plot of land and have never become bored. I’m always seeing something new or in a different light, always surprised, delighted or refreshed as I round each curve in the trail.

Looking up through the sculpture's wings.

Looking up through the sculpture’s wings.

On researching a bit more, I found out that this sculpture is considered “the crown jewel” in the city’s evolving trail system. Meant to provide shade, a place to rest, and a chance to refill a water bottle at the fountain there, it also invites curiosity and contemplation for those willing to take the time to wonder and pay attention.

Draw your own conclusions and metaphors.

I regret that it took me so long to look closer at this work of art. Driving or walking past, this spiral can now remind me of the possibilities waiting for me along my path, wherever that might lead.

 

The attribution, cemented in.

The attribution, cemented in.

 

 

Categories: Outdoors, phoenix, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“I’d Agree With You But Then We’d Both Be Wrong.”

I’ve debated off and on over the past six months about disconnecting from most social media. There’s plenty of reasons out there for doing so, and you’ve heard them all and perhaps even considered doing so yourself.

Plenty of great reasons remain for staying connected; improved distant family communication, getting to know other people outside my normal sphere, information to learn and share, great laughs, instant news.

Lately the scale tips more toward the disconnect side.

What’s the tipping point?

image by Smurfy.

image by Smurfy.

Fierce, unchecked, unscreened, hate-filled anger.

I’ve been surprised by the anger expressed about certain issues. Oh sure, I expect to run into differing opinions as my online social circle expands. I’m not talking about simple differences. I’m referring to vehemence, vitriol, spite, meanness, wrath and fury.

Those sorts of emotions aren’t directed at some mass murderer, nor at people who traffic in slavery. Surprisingly, even terrorists and child killers aren’t catching this kind of heat.

Just your average Jane or Joe are catching heck for expressing an opinion. Or attempting to live their religion. Or for making a choice. Or for a simple mistake.

It doesn’t seem to matter which side of which issue anyone is on, the predominate response can only be described as furious. Both sides respond with a frenzy likened to sharks with blood in the water.

Crazed, illogical, uncaring.

People I thought I knew and shared basic common beliefs with suddenly appear as strangers to me.

I don’t comment. I simply read, my mouth hanging open in shock, disbelief and horror.

Who says such things about other human beings?

I feel such dismay.

MSH pointed out that I get that way when I’m behind the wheel of a car. Hmmm. Let’s say he’s correct about that, even if I don’t completely agree. I’ll play devil’s advocate for a moment.

If the behavior I exhibit while I drive mimics the comments and rants I read on social media and elsewhere then:

  • I’d be throwing angry hand gestures out my open window. I definitely don’t do that.
  • I’d yell out loud through an open window at the person whose driving irritated me. I wouldn’t dream of doing that.
  • I’d pull up as close to their bumper as I could without actually touching the “Vote for” stickers. Do you think I’m crazy? No way would I do that.

What I do instead

What I do instead is talk out loud with the windows up and tightly closed. “Dude!! What are you thinking?” Or perhaps, “Had a little too much beer with your burger earlier I see.” And more frequently, “Get off the phone and drive, lady!” and more, “Hello! Texting and driving don’t mix.” And the infamous, “I know I’m desirable and all, but get off my butt.”

If other people ride along with me they definitely hear what I’m saying. It’s as automatic as signaling, or putting my foot on the break to slow down.

I’m a hypocrite

I’m not proud of it. I could do better. It isn’t nice. It’s not consistent with one of my core beliefs of being kind to others.

I like myself better when I treat others with respect. I’m happier when I think the best of others. “They’re doing the best they can in their circumstances which I know nothing about,” should always underscore my thoughts about the behavior I see around me.

Point taken. Resolved to do better.

But there’s still this thing out there I just don’t understand.

Verbal and literary pummeling everywhere I read. Image by Giulio del Torre Zwei raufende Buben 1927Public Domain Giulio del Torre (1856–1932)

Verbal and literary anger and pummeling everywhere I read. Image by Giulio del Torre.  Zwei raufende Buben.

I suppose what’s most upsetting about much of the anger I’m reading and hearing falls into that same category. Hypocritical. The hate and vitriol seem so out of line with these people I’m hearing it from. People I thought I shared values with. People I thought employed compassion and caring as their central tenants.

The rest of it is simply unsettling and scary. Why are so many so angry?

Do they see how out of proportion and vicious they sound? Do they care?

What happened to reasoned debate? What’s happened to compromise? What happened to agreeing to disagree without hate as part of the equation?

Maybe that never really existed. Maybe I imaged it was once that way.

Can we disagree without being disagreeable? 

Do you have any insight for me? Can you explain what’s going on? Should I move to the wilderness and erect thirty-foot high razor wire fencing with attack dogs to protect myself?

Should I pretend it all away and disconnect from social media and the internet?

Pretty tempting to adopt a hermit’s way of life.

 *~*

“In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.”  ~Buddha

Categories: People, The World, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Rode Hard and Put Away Wet

While visiting my parents recently, I attended church with them. Much to my surprise I heard the following statement: “Some of you look like you’ve been rode hard and put away wet.”

The wordsmith in me immediately pulled out my phone and tapped in the phrase to look up later. Turns out it’s a horseman’s term that refers to someone not taking care of a horse after a hard day.

Long day?

Long day?

So we looked like we’d not been properly cared for, huh? Tuckered out, bedraggled, ragtag, worn down, scruffy. It had probably been a tough week for a few people there. In any large group there’s a high probability that more than a few were run ragged that week either physically or emotionally.

The last time I threw my leg over a horse to go riding I hadn’t graduated from high school yet. Now, what feels like nearly a hundred years later, I still remember the sway and roll of sitting in that saddle. The muscles of the horse under me felt powerful and yet, somehow, very gentle. My friend, whose family owned the horses, led the way on her horse through open fields and along the foothills. I could have sat up there all day, feeling like a queen surveying the world.

If you’ve never ridden a horse you’re missing out on one of life’s most eloquent pleasures.

That phrase, “rode hard and put away wet” has stuck with me for days now. Curiosity pushed me to research a bit more about how to care for a horse after a ride or a day of hard work. A few basic steps, about twenty to thirty minutes, and a horse can relax and rejuvenate after a days work.

Loosening the saddle some, pulling up the stirrups so they don’t bang around, letting it walk a bit to cool down are the first things to do. Following that you’d take off the bridle and put on a halter and tie the horse off. Loosen the cinch and take the saddle off being careful not to hit the horse’s back. Remove the blanket, clean off dirt and sweat with a wet sponge and brush and then dry off with a towel. While doing so check for cuts, nicks, and scratches. Check the hooves for stones and mud and use a hoof pick to clean. Lead the horse to pasture, take off the halter and let the horse cool down a bit more before feeding.

Here, let me pose for you.

Here, let me pose for you.

I wondered why someone wouldn’t take care of horse when the steps are basic common sense and fairly simple. If it keeps the horse happy and healthy and you care about the animal wouldn’t you do this every time?

What happens when these basic steps aren’t taken? A horse can develop saddle sores, or have untended wounds, become lame or simply be dirty and unkempt and uncomfortable.

I wondered why we don’t do this for ourselves. After a long day working or caring for others do we take basic measures to make sure we’re healthy and cared for?

At the end of the day do we loosen up a bit, set aside worries so they aren’t banging around, cool down a bit and shake off the weight of the day? Is there some basic self-care we could engage in that’s equivalent to having a brush down and our hoofs checked?

More than likely we push ourselves nonstop from the minute we wake up until our head hits the pillow at bedtime. Sure we might turn on the TV or browse the Internet some. For me that’s not much different from wandering into the stall untended. I need a more active, conscientious and deliberate effort to relax and care for my physical and mental well-being.

Reading or writing after a long day works wonders to wipe away the “sweat and dirt” of my day’s ride. Other times, having a conversation with MSH helps me lift the saddle weight of worry from my shoulders. Sometimes simply sitting and doing nothing, staring, thinking or meditating can wash away a day’s stress. If you’re the praying sort, that might be your emotional and spiritual grooming time to work out the kinks of life’s demands. Or maybe a literal washing in the shower or a soak in the tub serves as an emotional cleansing in your day.

Whatever we need to do to avoid being “rode hard and put away wet” seems like a good plan to me.

Well, hello there!

Sounds like basic horse sense to me!

 

“A horse loves freedom, and the weariest old work horse will roll on the ground or break into a lumbering gallop when he is turned loose into the open.” ~Gerald Raftery

 

 

 

 

Categories: good ideas, Mental Health, physical health, Wondering | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Now Trending: Not Trending.

I’m not much for following trends. The term “trending” makes me want to turn and run the other direction. I’m not big on crowds or trying to fit in.

I couldn’t tell you about “in” styles, name brands, car models, or the cool songs or shows.

 

 

Variety equals energy, joy and fun.

Variety equals energy, joy and fun.

Clothes consist of shirts, pants, dresses, skirts, shoes, socks. Vehicles are cars, vans, SUVs, trucks and big rigs. Any name associated with any of them escapes me.

As much as I love to read I resist reading the latest and greatest. I avoid the NYT bestseller list until multiple friends insist I’m missing out on an astounding book, then I’ll put it off six months or longer.

If Oprah suggests it, I’ll avoid it. If some sitcom or Dr. Phil or Judge Judy or whoever on a late night talk show recommends it, I won’t do it. If it’s something I’m already doing and I hear they’ve touted its benefits, I’ll probably stop.

Does that make me antisocial? 

Probably.

Oh well.

Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs

I went for a walk today in Old North End of Colorado Springs. Most of the houses here came into existence in the nineteen fifties. At the time, I suppose, they probably all kind of looked alike, two or three basic house plans, two or three basic paint colors. Today, over sixty years later every house’s personality sings out.

Some have enclosed front porches, others sprout wings toward the back or side, and some have lovely balconies. Still others boast art glass windows and meticulous yards, while others choose to let vines ramble and allow nature to dictate direction and style. And the colors! Oh my! I saw lovely grays, blues, violets, periwinkles, pinks, stonework, yellows, brickwork, lilac, tans, creams, and white, ivory, apricot.

I loved the variety.

I pictured people of all sorts gathered inside, prepping for a lovely Sunday dinner, family and friends visiting, kids out back loving the spring weather.

Love this cheery home.

Love this cheery home.

The thought of going back to my twenty-year old neighborhood with the same stucco cream-pink cracker boxes saddened me. And to think homeowner associations exist to guarantee such sameness and boring identical identities.

I suppose I’m just an old house, metaphorically speaking. I’ve evolved into something other. I’m a periwinkle siding, open front porch, extra bedroom and bath added, a few upgrades, real wood floors, rambling garden yard with laundry on the line in back kind of place.

Don’t expect me to fit in. It’s not in my blueprints.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: People, self-image, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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