Category: wisdom

Searching For a Miracle and A Dog Named Dug

With all due respect to dogs, I’m totally a cat lady. I love cats. I can’t help it, I feel connected to them. But I also have quite a soft spot for most all animals. Both wise and helpful to their humans, animals are special.

And they’re also somewhat dependent on us. Which is why I kicked into gear for a dog named Dug. Dug, a black Labrador retriever, is our neighbor. We don’t know him, or his human family. But last week, that didn’t matter.

I was just getting ready to leave when I thought a bomb went off in my front yard. BOOM – car alarms blaring – people screaming. I have never heard that sequence of sounds in real life, and didn’t know what was happening beyond noticing a speeding parade of first responders appearing out of nowhere, zooming down my street.

We live inches from Boston’s city line, although inside a woodsy oasis of urban conservation land. It’s still the city, where scary things we try to ignore happen every day. But bombs going off? I was nervous, I couldn’t see beyond our tree-lined property and wondered if the BOOM came from the small private college across the street.

In spite of searching for any breaking news, it took hours before we learned what happened. An 18-wheeler had taken out a car, throwing both its driver and a dog into the road. Although the hit shredded the car, the driver was miraculously ok. The ambulance took her to the hospital, but the dog…where was Dug?

Neighbors, the police, animal rescue – we all searched for a dog we didn’t know, dredging through the muddy woods running alongside the busy road, batting away mosquitoes, removing brush and woodsy debris along the way. But nothing.

Was he injured? Dead? Lost? They said it would be a miracle if he had survived. My heart was breaking.

So I dug deep and tried to conjure up my best psychic abilities. We’ve all got intuition – surely I could locate Dug. I tried, without success, until dusk. So I gave my phone number to the police and neighbors, and tried to let it go. If only I could.

After dinner I stepped outside to shake out my kitchen rug, and that’s when I heard it – barking, loud, big-dog barking coming from the woods behind our house. Sir Husband quickly ran into the woods with our neighbor. The two of them called and called, hoping it was Dug.

As I stood at the edge of the woods trying hard to wait, my cell phone rang.

“We have Dug! He just came home,” said the unknown woman from the accident. “I don’t know how he got here but your search must have somehow directed him home, and he seems just fine. Thank you so much, thank you.”

I’d say maybe that was a miracle.

Everything is connected. Everything.

 

 

 

 

All Grown Up I Can Now Be Myself

A long time ago my mother told me that no matter how old we are, we still feel the same on the inside – we feel like ourselves. That makes sense, at the core we are who we are.

Not sure we always notice the “Myself” in ourselves because we are busy navigating our day-to-day, immersed in whatever we are doing, who we are with, what’s happening on our own particular path and that’s our focus. For years and years.

But what if we change? I mean really change. Like “Myself” is not who you think I am, or even who I think I am.

I was sitting in church the other day – something I don’t usually do. I was forced to go every Sunday growing up, and it didn’t feel right to “Myself.” But since Sir Husband does multimedia communications for the Harvard Memorial Church now, I go when he’s covering a special event. It’s kind of like going to the theater. This church is the pulse-center of Harvard U, where big things take place – from Commencement or famous speakers or concerts to High Church holidays during the academic year. Neither of us are religioulsy-affiliated but subscribe to spiritual wisdom.

I sat there for the event and thought about when I was sitting in church as a little girl. I hated it and hated my parents for demanding I participate. I didn’t “feel” it, it didn’t seem right to me and I didn’t appreciate their disregard of “Myself.”

But this particular day, my past tapped me on the shoulder differently, like it does when we least expect it. I felt like a grown up. I had decided to go to church that day for my own reasons – to see the special event, to sit in what the Memorial Church calls Harvard’s “Space of Grace,” a safe place with an astounding history and a magnitude that spans brilliance and imagination, beauty, hope and possibility. Wisdom defines Harvard. And although I was never a student there, when I go, I feel like Myself. Not the struggling little girl who flailed through a lifetime of hard knocks, chaos, roadblocks and dysfunction.

Our experiences leave deep imprints, some good, some not so good. I spent the last decade trying to not be Myself. To unlearn what I learned growing up and reintroduce myself to Myself. And in pivotal moments, there she is. The birth of my children…unconditional love with Sir Husband after our childhood close friendship…finally moving home after a whirlwind eight moves. And sometimes it’s simply an everyday moment that seems pivotal.

That place inside my mother was talking about – the ‘feeling like myself’ place? Sure. No matter how old we are we feel like ourselves. But things change – circumstances, hopes, dreams – and it doesn’t require being in church to notice who we are. We just have to pay attention.

It may have taken me a few decades to learn all I really ever have to do is be Myself. But it’s definitely worth the effort.

 

 

Fairy Wisdom

It’s amazing when we step away from our daily routine into a new space, how our perspectives can change.
We see things and people and ourselves differently. And sometimes it isn’t pretty. But it also provides an opportunity to learn and grow. Removing ourselves from complacency is not only refreshing, it’s enlightening.
We are different. The world is different. Life is different.

Anything Is Possible In A “How-To” World

Pretty sure we live in the “How To” era. It’s a virtual world of self-help everywhere we turn. How to feel – sleep – eat better, live longer, save money, fight fat – depression – chronic pain, change our DNA, our life, become happy, aware, creative, organized, joyful…or the biggy –  find peace.

Is it working? Maybe. Maybe not.

My kindred-spirited good friend told me she will never find that zen-like state of peace no matter how hard she tries. Why? Because of what she calls a History of Horribleness.

Yea, I get that. Kind of hard to feel the zen when we’ve endured a lot of crazy and it sometimes still surrounds us. Oh she’s happy, but the undercurrent of inner peace? Forget it.

And it’s not just dealing with whatever is going on inside our own life – family, job, health, finances – all our personal “stuff.” There’s crazy stuff happening in the world right outside our front door. Anybody else notice that the outside world is the same, pretty much every day?

We get so caught up in it – all of it. Why do they do this. What are they thinking. Why are they acting like this. What are they doing. When will they fill in the blank. Doesn’t matter who “they” even is.

Life’s intensity can often define the parameters, and it impacts us. We try to explain, understand, make excuses, deal with whatever is happening – from the world-view all the way down to our bird’s-eye view. But sometimes we can’t figure things out. Or know what is really going on. Or worse, change or fix it.

We can’t always choose the parameters. So, Zen is easily thwarted.

But life itself seems to be paradoxical. It’s the ultimate bliss and torture, beauty and heinousness. And we’re supposed to somehow both manage and accept the paradoxes to obtain a sense of peace. How do we choose the parameters?

From the unlimited supply of “how to’s.” And thank goodness there are plenty to choose from. Key word? Choose.

We can choose to see things differently, feel differently and act accordingly no matter who around us doesn’t. We can choose to flow through it all as if the horribleness is just part of it. We can choose to infuse moments of sucky reality with acceptance. We can stay focused on our personal intentions, hopes and dreams in spite of “them” or “it.”

We can “create” with whatever we “choose.” It takes some serious commitment, especially after a history of horribleness. But it’s true. Choosing changes everything. 

Loving that How To.

Bad News Does People No Good

The news makes me so sad. The state of the world, the way people see it and think about it and react to it – it’s hard. Perhaps it’s no different than any other time in history, we have learned about the chaos humans create…and endure. Chaotic times go back as far back as history remembers.

But it’s hard to fight for the calmness we humans so desperately seek when we’re surrounded by a deep unhappiness that spreads like a contagious virus.

I woke up to the news of United Airlines hurting a Chinese doctor because he would not give up his seat due to airline overbooking. He is an old man who just wanted to go home, but instead was sorely mistreated by airline employees. Ugh, horrible.

Or the story about children in several states being publicly shamed in school because they could not afford to buy lunch. Worse – denied lunch when the visible stamps on their hands say “I need lunch money.” And these children walk not just through a lunch line, but throughout their day in school, every day, stigmatized, humiliated and hungry.

So incredibly sad. And as we know, that’s not the half of it nor the worst stories “out there.” Some are too terrible to even absorb.

These are humans. People. Living, breathing, loving, and losing – people. The human race is losing. But haven’t we always? History seems to think so.

It’s easy to blame. We have a crippled democracy now, governed by a few who think it’s ok to hurt people and seemingly by no accident instill that mindset to ignite their cause. But it’s more than that. It’s the whole planet, all the way down to my street.

We live in an urban setting but ironically surrounded by nature that we see every day. Not just the usual squirrels or birds, but deer, coyote and wild turkeys. Recently traffic was stopped on my street because a large flock of turkeys was crossing the road – big, beautiful, slow turkeys.

One man continued to try to swerve his car around the long line of stopped traffic, honking, yelling out his window, flailing his arms and cursing at those of us who tried to point out that we were stopped for what looked and seemed so beautiful, so peaceful – creatures simply living their lives without concern about the turbulent world around them – but with great concern for each other.

You could see the bigger ones rallying the smaller ones, helping them cross the street. It was a Make Way for Ducklings moment right before our eyes. But the enraged man certainly couldn’t appreciate it. I think he would have run them over if he could. Sad.

I’m not sure what causes people to be so hateful. Whether we are optimistic or pessimistic, kind or cruel, observation over time shows we are who we are and that’s who we put out into the world.

There is beauty out there, sometimes it’s just really hard to see.

 

 

I Can Do A Happy Dance Especially In My Yoga Pants

I will come up with any reason in the world to wear yoga pants. Why? Not just because I love doing yoga – it’s great for the body and the mind – but because I love the pants. They’re soft, stretchy and even stylish, they feel good against my skin, and bonus – no undies needed. Nobody really wants panty lines. (No judging please.)

I have eight pairs (yikes!) all black and boot cut, comfy cotton/spandex blends, and I wear them with everything from boots with heels to clogs to flip flops. They’re fashion-forward, you can dress them up or down – in fact they’re making yoga dress pants now and even yoga jeans. Throw on anything from a tunic to a tee, a seasonal sweater if need-be, and you’ve got a winner outfit year-round.

Which got me thinking.

If yoga pants make me so happy every time I put them on, is what we wear – or what we feel good wearing – driving our overall happiness factor? Because so many people (myself included) walk around finding all kinds of reasons to be unhappy. All kinds of reasons. But seemingly…without reason.

Have you noticed that?

People get so comfortable in their unhappiness that they actually think they’re happy, but don’t know why they’re not. Yea read that again.

Then examine your own loop. We’re happy one minute for whatever reason – we love what we’re wearing or eating or watching – then the next minute something trips us up – the electric bill arrives, the internet blips out, the cat puked, or somebody in our orbit projects their own unhappiness into our airspace. Boom, happiness balloon deflated.

I only recently noticed this – or maybe I just ignored it – because it’s really easy to slip along the path of negativity. We always find reasons to be miserable in the moment some discomfort comes along. Then if we don’t catch ourselves and remember that overall life is actually really good (and yes, this may take some remembering as we ebb and flow through our day,) we might forget to be happy.

It happens, a lot. And ironically happiness the one thing everybody most wants in the world. I guess we forgot that too. I just heard the coolest thing in an online life-changing class taught by a guy who is seasoned in joy. He said we are wired to win – our default settings are perfect health, super abundance and yes, bliss. As in, we already have the winning lottery ticket, we just don’t really know it.

But I do, every time I put on my yoga pants.

 

 

 

Locking Down Our Destiny Is Pretty Hard To Do

Do you ever wonder what on earth you are doing here at this particular point in time? Are we here to evolve our souls or make an impact, or do we just live for a while then turn to dust? Because however you look at it, we are here now, making and breaking history.

The movie Slum Dog Millionaire (love it) tries answer that with a multiple choice question ~ “Jamal Malik is one question away from winning 20 Million Rupees. How did he do it?”  A. He cheated  B. He’s lucky  C. He’s a genius  D. It is written.

I’m an answer D’er. We have our own destiny, it’s already written and we’re here to fulfill it. The bigger question is, what is it? For some it’s obvious, for the rest of us, not so much.

Until this year I never really questioned my place and time in history, I was always just happy to be an American at a time that life in our first-world country was pretty okay. So I just went about my business trying to fulfill my unknown-but-written destiny.

Turns out our path to destiny comes with challenges we have try to work through, hopefully learning as we go. Doesn’t matter what they are – health, job, people, life – I was feeling pretty happy recently to have finally overcome (or so I thought,) years and years of rollercoaster challenges, thereby rocking my destiny.

Then things started getting tricky. Trump tricky. And all of a sudden some of those challenges I thought I was done with – bullies, narcissists, abusers, sociopaths, dangerous, angry humans – is happening on a massive, grandiose scale beyond what most people really imagined. Doesn’t matter what side you’re on, historical chaos ensues.

So the other day when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed by the state of national affairs, I asked myself, any idea why you are here at this particular point and time? Was this written? Did you pick this time to exist to experience this? Or are you just lucky? Because some might say experiencing hardship is good for the soul. Think about Moses and the Israelites. Or slaves. Or Jews in Nazi Germany. Syrian refugees. Was that good for them? Did they meet their destinies or their fates?

And now why, all of a sudden, do I feel like I need to re-examine my own destiny more closely? To dig deeper and lock it down? I thought I already did that. But thanks to our lifetime’s history-in-the-making, I get the opportunity to keep on keeping on my own path of destiny discovery.

Maybe that’s the whole point. Whether we are here to evolve, make a known impact, or simply turn to dust, wouldn’t we really like to know what on earth we’re doing here? I guess I shouldn’t work so hard at it. After all, I’m pretty sure it’s already written.

 

 

The Ups And Downs of A Blogger’s Heart

Blogging is not for the faint of heart. Putting ourselves on the line for the whole world to read takes some bravery. Bloggers share some pretty intimate details of their lives, our deep thoughts, values, what makes us tick, the nitty-gritty of our heart and soul right from our hands, onto the keyboard, then in one click it’s all handed over to the ether – unprotected, visible and out there.

Sure, people do that every day, especially on social media, throwing their thoughts into their bubble of friends and followers where they will likely be supported. If not, it’s easy to just delete a post when things get uncomfortable. Not to mention it rolls away in a matter of hours, noticed but mostly forgotten.

But writing your life’s topic of the day, or week, or month, and sharing it on its own website to be read, scrutinized, examined, dissected, or worse – ignored – by the world at large? Yea it’s tough.

Then why do it? Well, why not at least try doing what we feel we are called to do? I have a good grip on my life’s purpose – writing – and I not only love it, I do it, even when it goes unnoticed or not many people like it…see it…or read it.

Truth be told, I’m pretty let down by my blogging dream. Nobody really gives a sh*t about much more than the election and state of the nation now. I get that. Every single time I open Facebook it’s nothing but sickening information from that growing disaster.

And I care about how things make me feel.

So I try to listen to my gut, follow my instincts, and like most writers, question everything and then wonder why.

I had a dream.  Blah blah blah. Scroll back a few hundred posts and you can read all about it, every post offers a nugget of heartfelt wisdom. After all, my soul’s purpose is on the line.

But much like speaker-outers, protestors, commenters, and yes bloggers, in the spirit of never, ever, ever giving up, especially on our dreams, why negatively confirm that my blog feels a bit like a fizzled failure. When feedback is minimal and it seems like what I’m saying doesn’t matter…well then what else can I do but let myself off the hook of defeat and carpe diem?

Tomorrow is another day.

 

It’s Easy To Be Yourself If You Remember Who You Are

Last night my historian husband started singing a song (he does that a lot, just starts singing out loud, usually songs from the 1970s,) that he used to karaoke at a club he frequented way back in the day. This was before karaoke even existed mind ya, he used a beer bottle as his mic and people would clear the dance floor for him to croon. Then he stopped mid-song last night and said, Wow, I can’t believe how many people I have been during my lifetime. 

Did you ever stop and think for a minute about how many people you may have been in your lifetime to date? I don’t mean multiple personalities, although sure why not – our personalities can and do change to some degree depending on our situation. I’m talking about who you really “were then,” verses who you are “right now.”

He began reminiscing about those different people he was – during his formative years, as a teenager, a wild fraternity brother, a banker-turned-journalist, husband, father, husband again, step-father, photographer, writer, furniture-maker, antique car enthusiast, Harvard University employee and student, and of course a pseudo-karaoke star.

As he did that I was overcome with physical and emotional discomfort – not from his chronicled narrative, but from whatever is locked up behind closed doors in my own mind. Memories that I can’t see or hear, but I can feel. I think it’s called dissociative amnesia – the stuff is in there – I just can’t remember much after too many years of overwhelming stress.

I don’t know many people who lack some of their autobiographical memory. I try not to talk about it because it’s hard. I hate that I can’t remember much of my life, especially when people around me are reminiscing. So ironically, I try to put my amnesia out of my mind.

But I live with a walking Wikipedia. Sir Husband remembers pretty much everything, and most days I’m in awe and astonished not just by his vivid memories all the way back to his toddler years, but by the smarts he accumulated and maintained along the way. He actually remembers every word to every song he has heard throughout his life – and sings them, in tune. He recalls worldwide historical events in detail, like he was there. He even remembers what I was wearing when I was a teenager and he picked me up for school every day. Wow. I can’t compete.

I’ve been lot of different people in my lifetime too – but the things they did, places they went, the clothes they wore, I’m not really sure. They say our life flashes before our eyes when we’re changing realms, so I guess eventually I’ll remember who I was.

On the other hand, I do know who I am now, today, in this perfectly memorable moment. And I’m thinking that’s who really matters.

 

 

Coping With This Crazy World Takes Courage

I’m trying to ignore the world at large – as if that’s even possible. Sometimes a gal just needs to dive into her inner landscape and find a comfortable spot there, steering clear of external chaos. Honestly, I’m working hard at minding my own business, reaching for happy thoughts, figuring out how to jettison my fibromyalgia so I can get on with the daily task of living and enjoying life, but it’s not happening. Nowhere is safe, and “nowhere” is a pretty big territory.

Until now, chaos and drama lived behind my closed doors and I could escape it “outside.” Growing up it was the breathing life-force in the people around me, and I soaked up that thick air for far too long. It was out of my control as a child, then I stupidly married the very wrong man. When I wised up and corrected that giant error, I tripped into even more chaos with the love of my life’s ex, whose crippling horror was unmatched, until now. Thanks to a few million really naive voting people, the entire world is directly exposed to toxicity beyond measure with America’s new government. It almost feels like a sick, cruel joke-turned-worsening nightmare.

So how do you pay attention to the outside world and maintain your own sense of well-being?

It’s killing my journalist-husband – although he is sort-of out of the field, it’s in his blood because he feels like he’s been personally called-upon to help correct this huge political debacle, like our founding fathers.

But he can’t answer the question, plus he’s got a whopping case of PTSD from the chaos perpetuated by the contemptibles in our life. We’re both pretty tired. I literally just learned (after years of therapy, self-help books and a kick-ass shaman,) how to disengage from their debilitating chaos, and it feels better. Except not anymore, because everywhere we look/see/hear/listen in the real world is  c-r-a-z-y.

So how do you participate in life but disengage from it at the same time?

This is not one of the tools I acquired in my studies along the path to enlightenment. And I’m kind of desperate because we have a long road ahead of us if “we the people” can’t figure out a way to change the powers that be before our one indivisible nation isn’t shattered beyond recognition. Been there done that in my personal life, don’t really want to go through it anymore, and my shaman retired.

So that basically leaves one answer. No, not gratitude, although there’s value in everything and gratitude is key. I think the answer is courage. That’s it. Courage to rise to the occasion of life as one of my favorite gurus says. Courage to speak up, dream big, protect, love, lead, be creative. Do not be detained by the past, or afraid of the future. Courageously get on with the business of your life, despite the odds, and make plans to celebrate. 

Ok.

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