Friday, September 17, 2010

September

September has a flavor; savory, sweet, and saliferous treats seek to fill your senses on bittersweet gusts of trailing Summer wind.
September brings with her greater learning; places of education swing wide their doors and windows, inviting in those who seek to know.
September will tell you secrets, for she has many in her vibrant flowing locks; each secret whispers softly, woven in the hair of Autumn's mother.
Love, blessing, hatred, jealousy, lust, and passion bang together like flint, sparking hot against one another each seeking to be the first to seize your attention. Your heart.
September has a flavor. Taste her.

~RR

*Photo Credit: September Morn, by Paul Emile Chabas

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Sun, The Wind, and The 10 Commandments

A friend of mine sent this cartoon to me the other day, and while it's a funny image, I started thinking about the 10 Commandments, and the bible, and how humans have, for both pure, and selfish reasons, have distorted the message over time.

The 10 commandments themselves are pretty straight-forward (in my opinion) but what's most important?

In Mark 12 (and I am somewhat paraphrasing, which is perfectly fine, because most people quoting scripture do it...) a disciple asked Jesus which commandment was the most important. Jesus answered:

"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment."

"And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Of course this isn't to say the other Commandments are moot, however, it is obvious that you love God, and love others. Seems to me that "Love" is the central theme... not condemnation... judgment... or punishment.

No, "Thou Shalt not Flog" is not a real Commandment... or is it? "Love your neighbor as yourself." Unless you go around flogging yourself, don't do it to the people around you.

I am reminded of the story of the wind, the sun, and the man in the brown coat...

One day, the wind and the sun were having an argument to see who was stronger. Each was trying to convince the other that he was the stronger force of nature.

"I, clearly, am the strongest of us," said Wind, "did you see the trees in the forest after I blew last night? Gone, fallen to the ground, and with one of my softer gusts!"

Sun smiled, shining his light. "I am quite strong as well," Sun said, "did you see the happy faces of the Daisies in the field when they shone their faces toward me?"

"Daisies?!" Wind scoffed. "There would be no daisies had I not carried their seeds across the valley! I am clearly the stronger of us; I felled trees, and you, you made the Daisies happy?"

Just then, a man happened by, he was wearing a brown coat, tightly wrapped around him.

"There, see that man there, the man in the brown coat?" Asked Wind.

"I see him." Sun replied.

"Whichever of us can make that man take off his coat is the stronger of us!" Wind challenged, very sure of his ability.

Sun agreed, and also agreed that Wind could have the first go. And go Wind did! He huffed... he puffed... he blew the... (wait... that's the big bad wolf...) Well, Wind blew, and blew, and blew. But the man just walked more quickly, pulling his coat tighter and tighter around him.

Finally, Wind had tried his hardest. He looked at Sun and said: "Good luck! I was as mighty as could be, and I could not get the man out of his brown coat!" He watched, very smug as Sun smiled softly, and began to shine.

Sun shined softly, warmly, and before Wind even had the chance to catch his breath, the man in the brown coat began to loosen his wrap... and then, he took of his coat, hooked his finger in the collar, tossed it over his shoulder, and whistled a lively tune!

Wind hurried off... in a huff!*


Are you Wind? Or are you Sun?

The best way to live a life that draws others to what is good and right is to shine warmly, to show love. Unconditionally. Be an encouragement to those around you. God's love is not shown in biblical scripture we can memorize and recite, and blow into people's faces; God's love is shown through us, because of the way we live... the way we love.

Go shine! (or blow off) ~RR

*The story of the Sun, the Wind, and the Man in the Brown Coat is one I remember from childhood. This is my own version, written on May 2, 2010. ~Rebecca Reece

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Anything Goes!


If you had the confidence to do anything, I mean really, anything, what would you do?

Did you think of something?

Did your "anything" consist of an activity within the realms of physical possibility?

For a lot of us, when we are asked to think of something we would do if we could, we think within the limits of what we believe could be conceivable.

I want to fly.

From the time I was a little girl, I wanted to fly. I didn't only want to fly, but I believed that I could. Of course, I set conditions for myself, but I did believe, if the conditions were met, that I could, indeed, spread my arms... and fly!

Outside of an airplane, helicopter, or other flying contraption, I am now sure... okay, pretty sure... that I cannot fly. But what about conceptual belief? I believe with everything in me that we hold ourselves back by lacking the belief in ourselves to achieve things that really are possible.

When I was in my early twenties, I used to joke that I was "not meant to be rich." Being fairly religious at the time, I was convinced that I was not meant to be rich because I would be selfish with my wealth. What was the truth? That I lacked the belief in myself to be successful enough to be wealthy, so I made up a story for myself, and through that thinking... made it true.

What would you be doing if you really believed you could?

What kind of life would you be living?

What's stopping you from living that life now?

Is it you? Are you living up to the story that you have created for you?

Write a new story! The amazing thing about your life is that YOU hold the pen, the paper, and all of the right vocabulary to write your own story with a much, much happier ending!

On Relationships:
Honesty and sincerity, or the lack of either, will decide a relationship.
Relationships are work, but will reward you in the end.
You don't have to settle. Period.

On Family:
Love IS enough, but sometimes it has to be the tough kind.
If you wait until you can afford children... you never will.
Family is not just the people who are related to you by blood.
Remember that children are exploring and enjoying their world, and they are washable!

On Success:
Success never works unless you believe in the possibility of it, and you're willing to work harder than everyone in front of you to get it!

On Flying:
Flight doesn't have to be literal to be possible...

Live a great story!

~RR

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day in the Life



***This is a journal entry from 3 years ago that made me laugh again... Thought it should be shared... ~RR)
Okay, so I have recently had a bit of surgery, and while it was minor, and I really am doing better, yesterday really seemed to be "just one of those days," that really qualify for blogging. I mean, who wants to read a blog with the content of a blank sheet of coffee-stained scrap paper?
You know what I am talking about, and if you have written one of those such blogs yourself, don't feel bad about it, just don't do it again... Seriously, nobody cares what time you got up, what you had for breakfast, or what a boring day at your job looks like.
Moving on...
*****
My husband, James, and I have been blessed with a three-year-old bundle of joy and energy. Raising our son, Benjamin, (also known to us as "Grover," the cuddly-est of all monsters) has been a series of ups and downs, and many adventures!
I have recently had a bit of surgery on my arm, and while it was minor and I really am doing better, yesterday really seemed to be "just one of those days."
First, though, I have to say, that since the surgery, James and Benjamin have been good sports about helping to take care of me, and to pick up some of my duties that are difficult to do one-handed. Granted, there are considerably fewer glasses and cereal bowls in the cupboards, (they are apparently quite slippery) and our white socks and underthings are now pink, and, of course, my wool sweater is now just the right size for Grover... I digress.

I had to get my stitches out, and a get new cast on my arm, so I thought I would write (okay, type, and slowly, at that!) an account of yesterday, because this morning, as yesterday's pain medication wears off, I am able to see the humor in yesterday's events...
The doctor's appointment went okay; the wound looked not too bad considering my lawn-mowing incident the Friday before (I had gotten the itch to mow the grass, after all, I was feeling no pain, thanks to Mr. Pharmacist. I was chastised for my offense, and told that I ought not be mowing the lawn any time in the next 4 to 6 weeks).
I nearly fainted when they took the stitches out; it did too hurt! (the nurse said it would just feel like a little bit of a pinch; she was right about that, as long as the "pinch" to which she referred was administered by Mr. Gregorio, a man I knew as a child who had metal pincher-hooks for hands, and was notorious for disliking children).
While I fought nausea, and watched tiny lightening bugs that zoomed their way across my vision, Benjamin (he had to come with me because James was working and we don't seem to have enough of a social life to have, as yet, enlisted a sitter) watched the procedure in rapt fascination.
Benjamin had many questions for the nurse and me, like:
"You pull out the 'titches?", "You hurted, Mama?" and, "Mama, are you sad?". To which I replied (weaving back and forth, very white, and near enough to yarking up my breakfast that waves of saliva flooded my mouth almost faster than I could swallow them back):
"No, Honey, Mama's not sad, but it hurts a little." (yeah, a little like smashing your thumb against a cement block with a hammer).
Having done our best to raise a caring child, my little sprite, Grover, in the spirit of all that is good and kind, proceeded to hug me, causing the nurse to pull VERY hard on the stitch she was working with, to which, I responded by nearly fainting completely dead away... Fun times.
I took a fair dose of pain killers on the way home, which was fine, considering that James had my car, (his car was in the shop, so he drove mine to work) Benjamin and I had taken the bus to the doctor's office; I live in Seattle, by the way, and to complete the idea of "the joys of public transportation," it was, of course, raining. (On that note, my appointment was at 10:30am; we had to leave home at 8am, and we didn't finally get back until 2pm just in case you are thinking about a day out on the bus, by the way, the public transportation service in my town is NOT the way to get around if you have an appointment, or if you have a life, for that matter!)
By the time we got back home, Grover and I, it was clearly time to slip a video in the machine for him, and another pain pill in for me, and collapse together on the couch for some relaxation.
As soon as we are cozy together under a down throw, Benjamin turns his cute little, buttoned-nosed face to mine and says:
"We ride the bus again tomorrow, Mama?"
"We'll see, Grove," I say. Which, as anyone knows from their own childhood, is a phrase that roughly translates to: "Fat chance, kiddo!"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Where is this life I dreamed of? Part One


The other day there was a moth in my kitchen; the moth was very beautiful, strikingly so, actually. It was early in the morning; no one was up but me. I stood next to the sink sipping my first cup of coffee of the morning at watched the moth. It was still dark outside, so the moth fluttered here and there around the dim light over the sink, a tiny dusting of iridescent powder floated around the moth like pixie dust every time it banged against the light. I marveled at the tiny details on it's wings.

"How many people actually see such things," I wondered aloud.

The moth banged hard against the light, and seemed to knock itself off balance. Before the moth could right itself, it flickered and fluttered down to the sink, and landed in the casserole dish soaking from the night before. Covered in cold, greasy soap, the moth struggled, just getting more and more covered in the muck.

Suddenly overcome with sadness, I set my coffee mug down on the counter and my eyes filled. I shed hot, bitter tears for the dreams I had carried and somehow lost along my journey when life got in the way of living them.

What can you do when you wake up, I mean, really awaken with awareness that this is not the life you dreamed of? Is it possible to turn the life you are already living into the life you always dreamed of?

Going back to the moth for a moment; not accounting for the amount of awareness that a moth can or cannot have, do you think the moth expected such a disaster? I'll bet not. What "disasters" have we experienced in our life's journey that stopped our forward movement.

What knocks us out of our chair, or out of happiness?

Death?
Illness?
Relationships?
Loss of wealth?

The moment of awareness is different for everyone, as is the path to survival. I believe that there is hope, however, for everyone.

The first lesson that I am learning on my own path, is the importance of grieving loss. Whether it is the loss of wealth, material things, relationships, or even a life, it is crucial for us to grieve. While everyone will grieve in a personal way, there are some generally accepted "stages" of the grieving process: *

Shock
Denial
Anger
Bargaining
Depression
Acceptance

Shock: This stage began for me with the loss of colors, smells, and tastes. I still had my senses, of course, but I had no appetite for any of the things that brought me pleasure. I lived on coffee and auto-pilot.

Denial: This is where I hung out and justified... everything! I made up reasons that I thought made my loss acceptable, and even deserved. If it was supposed to happen, then nothing changed; "it is what it is!" I kept telling everyone. This stage, for me, tried to disguise itself as acceptance, but it wasn't really.

Anger: I thought I would break teeth here, from all of the angry jaw-clenching I was doing. I snapped at everyone, could often be heard muttering, "I hate my life!"

Bargaining: This was another stage of justification for me. Hanging on to false hopes and creating my own solutions that really weren't going to go anywhere. I think of this as my "busy-work" stage.

Depression: This stage really explains itself. I found myself muddling through days, just thankful that I had a child to take care of, otherwise I would not have found reason to even get out of bed in the morning.

Testing: This is where I started "tapping my toe out on the ice to check the thickness." I started to realize that no one could, or would, give me the decisions to make, no one would tell me what to do, or how, or when to do it; I had to try myself. So in small ways, I began to try little things to get moving, even just a bit, in a forward direction again. For me personally, I began to seek work, and in seeking work, I started to feel like I had my own purpose again.

Acceptance: I will let you know when I'm there. But the best part about this place, is that I know it exists!

There are no hours, days, or weeks that are set by grief. Depending on the type of loss, the process could take hours, or much longer. More important than the time it takes, is the direction that you're headed in.

One thing I strongly believe in, is that we should always endeavor to keep moving forward!
The realization that we have lost sight of some of our dreams is a horrible moment; the realization that there is opportunity in that awareness is the moment where we gain freedom!

Until next time, Dream Prolifically!

~RR

*
K├╝bler-Ross Grief Cycle