Friday, March 26, 2010

Cosmic symphony

Ages ago, a Facebook friend encouraged me to write a blog post about online friendships.  I tucked that thought away with intentions of revisiting it when the timing was right.  Since then, I have read many blog posts of fellow blog authors discussing this same concept.  My own interpretation of this phenomenon is uniquely mine and may stray further from the basic premise than you might expect at first glance.

I look deeply into everything...people, occurrences, music, art, unusual happenings, those breathtaking moments that, should we not take care and choose to look more deeply, we might miss, they're so fleeting.  I have been pondering this online gathering of people, looking at it from every angle, nudging with the occasional inquisitive touch, smiling in recognition often and seeing a stunning, crystalline mirrored reflection of strong purpose in the eddying waves that ripple outward from my fingertips.

Each of us is a pebble of sorts in the vast depths of the pools of Facebook and Twitter and whatever new social media forums may be birthed in the future.  The strata of social media, once thought to be a flash in the pan fad that would quickly reach its zenith and die a quiet death, has become so richly and deeply layered that I do believe it is time for us to admit it is here to stay.  We as a country and indeed, as a world, have embraced Facebook and Twitter to such farflung lengths that most of us are able to claim friendships with wonderful people on practically every continent.  I am certainly in this group.

It delights me, this ability that I have to connect with people the world over.  And it is this very happenstance that causes me to stop and, as I am wont to do, ponder deeply.  I am of the opinion that with this astonishing bandwidth of internet presence, combined with a wide range of social media forums, the world is perhaps as small as it has ever humanly been possible in history to achieve.  In mere seconds, we can communicate with someone on the opposite side of the world.  The words flash so quickly on our screen that it negates the need to even pick up a phone to communicate.

As I ponder, my mind thinks that perhaps those who dreamed up the concepts of Facebook and Twitter were led by a Higher Power to create a communication device that would, in effect, connect us to those we might never have the chance to meet otherwise.  Even here in the U.S., where travel is quite a simple thing to achieve, there are friendships I have developed - valued ones that I cherish - with people that I simply would never have had a chance to stumble across if I had been searching for them somewhere out there in the world on a face to face basis.  Yet, in a very purposeful manner, I have been guided with gentle purpose to meet these different people. 

Those of like mind, who "speak my language" with such sureness and clarity that it warms me to the very center of my being have cropped up in seemingly random connections or conversation threads....and the blinding, heart-stoppingly beautiful moment of friendship occurs.  A remembrance of sorts...that, "Oh, there you are!  I've been waiting for you!" kind of recognition that sparkles and shines so brightly that I imagine delicate, yet enduring ethereal threads stretch across the planet to reconnect us.  Some of you will read this and nod, immediately grasping my message.  Others will find this content to be another whimsical dance out there on the edge of what you find yourself capable or willing to embrace.  It matters not how you perceive my words here.

What matters most to me is that I am alive to experience this, and these relationships.  The richness of some of the connections, defying all odds to explain many of them, are so powerful that at times I am simply in awe of the gift.  Yet, part of me realizes that these happenings are of dynamic design.  I have an inner knowing that I will, at some point in the not too distant future, see some of these people, these remembered loves, face to face.  I feel a very strong sense of destiny entertwined in these friendships. 

A Twitter conversation recently with a remembered friend of my very heart spoke of this very thing....the threads of friendship as they weave across the Cosmos.  This dear friend mentioned feeling that Spirit presents a kind of grid for us to interconnect, and I agree with this mindset.  There is a curious kind of precision, an almost mathematical dance that is taking place in my life with many of these friendships.  I have created several Facebook groups and fan pages where individual groups of people are connecting, and here again, I am forced to stop and ponder the why of this.  I have always recognized myself as a facillitator of many things spiritually and energetically related, and it appears that this tendency is making itself known in the cyberworld as well as in everyday Life.  Mystical teachings call these patterns Sacred Geometry, shamanistic designs that open the mind and Spirit up to higher levels of energy and learning. 

I see all of this trickling down to what many would call a very mundane manifestation in social media forums such as Facebook and Twitter.  The beauty and sheer mystery of the connections do not lose a single ounce of unique energy simply because they come together in the flashpoint of social media communication.  Indeed, I think that highlights the beauty of it all....and it transports my Soul to recognize it for what I believe it to be....another pathway to connect with those my heart and Spirit recognize far before I am physically able to set eyes on these people.

In my mind's eye, at times I see it all taking place as an elegant, very controlled waltz, with each set carefully placed on a ballroom dance floor of neverending proportions.  At other times, I hear a wild Irish jig that wails and spins in a frenzy of fiddles and drums, firing each Soul to flash and fly hither and yon, sparking bright connections with such a rapid pace that the human eye and mind simply cannot comprehend.  And then it all coalesces into a physical manifestation of keyboard strokes, mouse clicks, smart phone and laptop screens.  I see fine points of light marking each individual Soul, streaking outward leaving a trail of light that interconnects in intricate Mandala-esque patterns.  I cannot imagine that this dance is without musical accompaniment.  Would that our human ears could actually hear that mystical manifestation that we produce as we whirl throughout this cosmic dance.

We seek, through the medium of art, to create physical interpretations of mathematical and geometric patterns.  Mandalas, such as those found in the Buddhist faith, show beautiful, entertwining circles and lyrically flowing curves and loops, depicting what has become an often quoted "circle of life" work of art.  I have often thought that these artists' renderings might be our Higher Mind tapping into that Universal Consciousness and creating on canvas and paper, in metal, marble and wood, physical manifestations of experiences remembered by our Souls. 

Whatever the inspiration, whatever the Divine purpose behind all of this worldwide connecting of people via social media, I am convinced there is a stronger, deeper purpose at hand than mere entertainment.  From a One World perspective, social media is allowing us as a collective people, to cross boundaries and socio-economic barriers via the internet and find ways to communicate and understand one another in a manner that has never been possible in history before.  That, in and of itself, is mind boggling when you think about it.  The great minds of our modern age spoke eloquently about embracing one another on a loving plane that eschews those barriers and labels.  Perhaps social media is yet another stripping away of needless layers allowing us to simply be ourselves and communicate for the simple joy of connecting.

As I warned in the first paragraph of this blog article, I have strayed quite far afield from my Facebook friend's suggestion to blog about "Facebook friends who haven't ever met face to face".  I could have simply written a light-hearted post about that fun aspect of social media.  I chose, instead, to plumb the depths of esoteric concepts....well, perhaps not the really deep depths, but my own ruminations of how they apply to social media.  If you're still with me as I bring these thoughts to a close, you most likely are one of two things - you are a true friend who loves me despite not always "getting" what the heck I'm rambling on about (and if so, I love you in return, more than you can imagine), or you are a friend remembered who "gets" the concepts I am spinning across the page here. 

Either way, you have engaged in this journey with me and we have produced another cosmic symphony of sorts, as our combined energies stepped across a crowded ballroom floor.  As any proper southern lady would do, I curtsy and spread my skirts in thanks for a lovely moment spent together and cast you a genuine smile as the band strikes up another tune....and the dance continues.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Care packages

I have a wonderful relationship with my Mom.  I do not say that to brag or to make those who don't have a similar relationship feel badly.  It is just a simple truth.  My Mom is a lovely person, inside and out and she's the most loving, solid, fair-minded, genuine, sincere person I know.  I could write for years and never truly capture on paper or computer screen every reason I love her and why she is so special.  Today, I'm going to focus on something she has done my whole life...she creates Care Packages.

You know what those are, I'm sure - they're little bundles of inexpensive items that someone who loves you picks up when they're out and about that captures their eye and makes them think of you.  Sometimes it might be a food Care Package, full of goodies that are sure to be your favorites.  Most holiday meals result in a food Care Package to take home with you that provides meals for you for several days.

My Mom loves her kids, plain and simple.  She now extends that love to her two Grandsons and creates Care Packages for them whenever she's out shopping.  Personally, I have kept things she's given me over the years that have very little monetary value but that hold such loving significance for me that they are priceless items. 

When I was very young, my Mom gave me two small pottery trinket boxes that had gold leafed edges and pastel colors.  I remember her watching me open the boxes they came in and telling me, "Maybe you can use them for jewelry as you grow up."  I couldn't have been more than 9 or 10 years old at the time, of an age where toys were usually more desirable gifts, but those two little trinket boxes are still with me.  I use them for jewelry items that are dear to me and each time I open them, I am embraced by that inestimable, indefinable sense of love from my Mother.  All is right in my world and I feel accepted, loved and secure.

With age comes the recognition that Care Packages aren't always corporeal.  Many times we send Care Packages along to a loved one in the form of a phone call, or, as is common in this technological age, an email, a Facebook or Twitter post, a text or an e-card.  Prayers are yet another, more highly energized form of a Care Package.  I think anything that touches our heart, reaches out to someone else in the same way and leaves the day brighter as a result is a form of this time honored tradition.

No, it isn't necessary to have a physical item to deem something a Care Package.  I talk to my Mom daily on the phone, sometimes many times a day and that will fill me up inside with those same emotions.  She makes me laugh and she understands me like no other person on Earth does.  We always take pieces of those we love with us in our memories, so again, it isn't necessary to have a physical item to identify with.  There's just something so sweet about the fact that my Mom still does this for me and my sister and brother, even though we are adults.

The nice thing is that this habit has continued - by my Mom's example, I tend to do this same thing with Care Packages.  I don't have children yet, but I tend to pick up those small items for friends and family members when I spot something I know will be perfect for them and give them a little moment of surprise and pleasure.  I also tend to shop throughout the year for Christmas gifts for family.  In fact, just the other day I ran across something that is ideal for my brother and I snapped it up to tuck away for Christmas. 

I have a girlfriend whose daughter is currently deployed to Iraq and I've been gathering items for a Care Package box to send over to her and her friends.  My girlfriend mentioned that the soldiers share Care Package goodies with friends who don't receive mail; that comment literally broke my heart.  I could not fathom people in our Armed Services being overseas, working daily for all of us, yet not receiving anything from home.  So, Care Package creation is in full effect!  The picture to the left here is of SPC Whitney Moody and her family - her Mom, Janet, is one of the strongest, most positive people I know.  If you would like to learn more details about supporting our U.S. Armed Forces and sending Care Packages to those deployed, please visit the Boots on Ground Website.

True to her loving nature, when I mentioned this to my Mom recently, she said, "Take me with you the next time you go shopping; I want to help add to the Care Package."  I am confident that the package we send will be chock full of useful, fun, girlie items, as well as some things to munch on, and a few things that are just frivolous and cute in nature, such as games and toys to fill the long hours when Whitney and her friends are bored and homesick. 

Life is challenging for all of us on a daily basis.  There are so many reasons to choose to dwell on negatives.  I have found that doing for others, as was taught to me by the example my wonderful Mom set, is a sure-fire method to lift any gloom surrounding you.  There's something so delightful about picking up a small, completely foolish item that costs very little, with a loved one in mind, simply to tease a smile out of them.  It is a small affirmation that, yes, you matter - you are loved, you are in that person's thoughts and you deserve to be showered with that type of warm attention for no particular reason. 

If I could, I would gift every person I know with the relationship I enjoy with my Mom.  I think she's that special.  And as is that special relationship between loving parent and loving child, she feels the same way about me.  She shows it in those Care Packages...those little touches of whimsy, those little inconsequential items that I rarely indulge myself with, those little unusual decorative items that have no particular purpose other than to make me smile.  That's my Mom loving me in her quiet, gentle way. 

Don't get me wrong, she loves me outwardly too - she showers me with hugs when I'm in her presence, and when we are together, we have that silent language that is shared between family members.  We can also be together and not speak a word for hours - simply being together is the joyful thing, especially given that it doesn't happen as often as we'd both like.  Dratted Life gets in the way, as it does for all of us.  We laugh often.  I think that is a beautiful thing. 

I have said this before - when people comment on my loving nature, which happens rather frequently, I am always quick to give credit to the amazing foundation of love that I've been surrounded with my whole life.  I've been blessed with an incredible, large, loving clan of a family, and even more blessed with my dear Mom.  Her life hasn't been the easiest, yet she has always maintained a loving demeanor and a twinkle in her eye.  She is the most dependable presence in my life and she is my template for my own character and habits. 

So, I continue the loving tradition of Care Packages.  They make me happy to create and give them to others, just as much as I enjoy receiving them.  I think they make a profound difference in the world, simply because they denote thoughtful, loving attention towards others given for the joy of making another person smile.  We need more of that in this world....Care Packages should be present in every walk of life. 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Train song

As I write this, it is very early morning in East Tennessee and I hear the northbound train approaching.  The last several days have been damp and overcast and that causes fog to creep overnight across the Tennessee Valley.  Fog, in turn, causes the sound of the train whistle and the train's passage along the tracks to carry more loudly across the hills and valleys.  Having lived a great part of my life in East Tennessee, the sound of trains has always been a constant.  Similar to how we can be lulled to sleep or calmed by the sound of rain, or a thunderstorm, so do the sound of trains rumbling, roaring and whistling down the tracks soothe those who have grown up with them always present.

I took this sound, this presence, for granted until I spent time in a city - Tampa, Florida to be specific - where trains weren't evident.  I never did figure out this puzzle while I lived in Tampa; there were certainly train tracks around and about the city, but I never once heard or saw trains traveling.  What I can report is that it took me almost a full month of living there before I finally realized part of my night time restlessness wasn't all due to being in a new city, new dwelling and new surroundings. It was actually greatly due to the fact that I wasn't hearing the familiar, comforting sound of trains traveling during the wee hours of the morning. 

Once I did identify the source, I began to ask people in Tampa about the absence of trains in and around the city.  I received puzzled looks and no ready answers as to why there were train tracks everywhere, but no trains visible.  All I can say for certain is that it took me a good stretch of time to adjust to sleeping without the soothing sounds of far-off trains rolling along the tracks, and the occasional train whistle echoing and bouncing along the hills.  Tampa doesn't have hills for the sounds to reverberate and echo across, so perhaps this is one reason I never heard the sounds the way I was accustomed to hearing in East Tennessee.

I have read of many people who have had near death experiences saying that they drifted from their bodies and went into an area that resembled a huge, limitless train station.  Other people who have lived through tornadoes and hurricanes report that the sounds of the worst of the weather manifesting sounded eerily like a train running directly overhead.  Years ago, I stumbled across an obscure book written by a hospice nurse who mentioned many of her patients who were slowly approaching death who mentioned hearing a train approaching from far away.  I apologize for not remembering the name of this book, or the name of the author, but this woman reported this mention of a train approaching to be a common theme amongst many hospice patients. 

It makes one ponder the train reference, the train station as a staging area for crossing over.  Perhaps our Souls recognize something inherent to the concept of a train approaching that beckons us to release from the physical body, step onto that mystical and spiritual manifestation and continue the journey to the other side of the Veil.

Trains do indicate travel, and before air flight was accomplished, trains were the epitome of power, wealth, commerce and a literal ticket to the far flung, exotic, mysterious corners of the Earth.  Distant and varied travel was possible, taking you as far as the train tracks lead.  Perhaps it isn't that difficult a stretch to embrace that trains could also represent a mystical form of travel for the Spirit. 

Here in my area, trains run day and night.  To someone living in an area where trains aren't prevalent, that might sound horribly noisy and invasive.  I am not describing endless activity; the trains run on schedules throughout the week and become a backdrop to our daily lives.  To me, it isn't noisy.  For the most part, it is similar to a clock in your home that you become so accustomed to that you rarely consciously hear the tick-tock sounds. Indeed, in the wee hours of the early morning, as I write this post, the sound of the northbound train is gentle, reassuring, and in its own way, quite majestic. 

Perhaps the echoes of a train thundering along the track mimics in some manner a heartbeat, reminding us of our time in the womb.  There is a rhythmic cadence as train wheels rattle and roar along the tracks.  One close girlfriend has such a trained ear for the local train schedules that she can tell which direction a given train is traveling, simply from the sound of the whistle as the train approaches.  I bow to her accuracy, because she really is incredible with this talent.  That repetitive thundering sound could remind our Soul of a sort of homecoming, a welcoming portal to traverse from here to the Unknown There, the sure sound embracing us and wrapping around our senses.

For myself, the sounds of the trains each night are a lullaby that makes me smile and ushers me more deeply into sleep.  The deep, smoky belltones of the whistle echoing across the Tennessee Valley rarely truly awaken me; it is more of a background reassurance that all is well.  If I am having a night of fitful sleep, quite often the sounds of a train in the distance will relax me and help me drop off to deep slumber. 

Much like an old friend, the song of the weekly scheduled train runs become so familiar to us that, were they to suddenly cease their normal schedule, we would become abruptly aware of the lack.  As would the sudden cessation of that clock in the room, we would wonder why the wee hours of the night had suddenly grown so unusually quiet.  Perhaps we would awaken and wonder at the strange lack of sound, not quite sure what was missing.  I, for one, would be saddened to live in a world where there were no trains rumbling along the tracks, no piercing train whistles splitting the damp night air to travel, echoing their unique song across the hills. 

It is a curiously gentle presence, the night train calling out.  Distant, yet imposing as its inexorable rush onward is repeated week by week, year by year, imprinting in our memories with sound and vibration.  This moment, this wee hour of the night that is slowly releasing darkness to dawn, the sounds of the train trekking northward inspire words to flow, to give voice to a sinuous, fluid trail of thought that mimics the journey of that train charging out into the distance. 

In a moment, I will surrender to sleep, lulled by that soporific heart and breath unconsciously matching the rhythm of the faraway rails being ridden by the Iron Horse of yesteryear.  That curious anomaly of a bygone era remains an active, modern presence and continues to weave into the minds and hearts of those gifted with vision to dream, to hear a unique Industrial Age melody wailing through the night air. 

This is a jumble of perhaps not very well connected or elaborated ruminations about trains.  Perhaps I will let it rest as I surrender to the arms of Morpheus myself, and return to it anon, to read through with more clear mind and judge whether it is worthy of posting or abandoning.  The train rolls on in the distance and I am pulled to sleep....

...and the following night, I have returned, read through these thoughts, and deemed them strong enough to stand. Jumbled and disconnected though they may be, I shall publish them.  Another train calls out its song in the distance, this one southward bound, rushing into the dark to grace the mountains with its chant along the tracks, its whistle smoky and drifting out through the night.  That is the interconnecting thread, the train song that trills ever onward.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The art and language of comfies

We all have those days.  You know the ones; usually a weekend day or a week night where you don't have any particular place to be and don't feel like being particularly productive.  Household chores and responsibilities outside the house can be blithely relegated to the back burner and you declare it a Comfie Day.  Comfie Days, obviously, require comfie attire.  That can span the gamut from disreputable jeans or cut-offs (if it's warm weather) and a t-shirt that has seen better days, to sweats that are loose and soft, to yoga attire that is more form fitting but equally soft and comfortable.  If you're a guy in a relationship, you may find your personal closet lightened by a few dress shirts or t-shirts that your significant other has claimed for her comfie days.

If I'm the one declaring a Comfie Day, then you can pretty much bet that there will be one of two things involved during winter months - fuzzy socks or critter slippers.  Summertime comfie attire is completely different, but as we're still winding down the cold weather months, I'm focusing on the warmer version of comfie attire.

I've frequently wondered, since they hit the retail market, who in the world invented fuzzy socks.  They're a marvelous product!  The concept of kicked back, comfortable lounge wear reached new heights of comfie-ness when these socks were born.  They take chenille, flannel, and other soft materials and relegate them to the annals of history for what used to be comfies.  Fuzzy socks, simply, rule the world for cold weather comfie status.  They are thick, soft, fuzzy (of course) and come in a wide range of zany colors and patterns.  Some even have those little rubberized skid-proof patterns fused to the bottom to prevent you from slipping on slick flooring surfaces.

Better yet, they are very affordable and can be found at most drug stores and larger chain retail stores.   For those of you old enough to remember Toe Socks from the late 1970's, yes, my friends, there are now Fuzzy Toe Socks.  That's one trend I doubt I'll embrace, as I remember how uncomfortable Toe Socks really are to wear, but I know that teen girls the world over are probably in raptures over Fuzzy Toe Socks!  There's a fuzzy sock mania going on these days, and I, for one, hope it never dies down!

Moving on to critter slippers - this is another pinnacle in comfie status.  I rarely mix fuzzy sockedness with critter slippers because I'm fairly warm natured and wearing both make my feet feel smothered.  I also never wear fuzzy socks with shoes because they're so thick and plush that my toes get squished inside my shoes.  One or the other is my choice, but I realize I may be unusual in that regard.  There may be many who wear fuzzy socks outside the house; I wear them in lieu of slippers. 

When I do choose slippers over fuzzy socks, my slippers are of the critter variety.  I have one pair of the half-slipper, backless kind that my Mom got me years ago and these have baby lambs on them.  Baby lambs complete with ridiculous, flirty eyes with long lashes and equally absurd long, floppy ears with pink satin inside, soft fleecy, lamb-ish fur outside.  When I walk, the lamb's ears flap and wag, adding all sorts of hilarity to my sashay. 

My ultimate comfie punctuation, of course, are my Snoopy ™ slippers.  If you know me at all, you know I am a Snoopy fan and have a genuine appreciation for the Peanuts™ brand of humor.  Again, a gift from my Mom, they are wonderful!  They are these big, poofy, marshmallowy kind of full slippers that keep my feet warm as well as appeal to my sense of comedy.  Snoopy just makes a fashion statement of the best comfie kind and I wear these slippers proudly.

Okay, yes, I admit that this is perhaps more of a girl thing, embracing comfie-ness with fuzzy socks and critter slippers.  Manly men have their version of laid back attire for a quiet day or evening at home, but rarely do they embrace fuzzy socks and critter slippers.  That's more the territory of women who are not afraid to embrace their inner child and delight in the pure silliness of being relaxed. 

The best part about fuzzy socks and critter slippers is that they "go" with any and everything (well, within the confines of home, of course)!  In fact, the more bizarre and absurd your fuzzy sock colors and designs, the better.  When I was in my mid-twenties, I worked in a restaurant that had a very rigid dress code for the front of the house staff.  Black slacks, white button down Oxford dress shirt, black tie and suspenders, black shoes for everyone, male and female alike.  The one way we could express ourselves was through our socks, and I amassed a huge collection of colors and designs.  Jump forward to present day and fuzzy socks are being created in equally unique designs and colors.  Obviously this appeals to my sense of humor and once again, I am expressing myself with the language of socks.  Critter slippers are just a happy adjunct of that theme.

Why choose something of this nature for a blog article?  Because I feel that mental and emotional health can be addressed and catered to with humor and a dash of irreverance at times.  Taking time for ourselves and just being relaxed and free in whatever expression that appeals to us is important in the grand scheme of things. 

Something that I have always found of interest is that men like women in comfie attire!  I've taken informal surveys over the years about this with close male friends, and also with men I've been in relationships with and surprisingly, the overall consensus is that laid back, no makeup, hair in a ponytail, wearing comfortable clothes and the odd splash of personality via socks or slippers look is when they all find us ladies to be at our most attractive.  That never ceases to amaze me.

Granted, men are always appreciative when we do the full, glamourous, girlie presentation, done up to the nines for a night out on the town.  But from the informal surveys I've taken, it is when we are relaxed and not trying to impress anyone that our true beauty shines most brightly.  This always makes me smile, because it is true for everyone, regardless of embracing any fuzzy sockedness or critter slipper humor.

The art of comfies will vary from person to person, from season to season, from age to age.  Not everyone will "get" your personal application of comfie-ness.  That isn't important; what matters is that your particular brand of comfie-ness gives you joy and allows you to completely relax, be yourself and find that inner glow of peace and contentment. 

Spring is approaching and my fuzzy socks and critter slippers will be relegated to the winter clothing storage section of my closet.  Comfie attire will shift to yoga style clothing and oversized shirts with cutoff shorts.  Bare feet with cute pedicures will rule the warmer months of the calendar.  Flip flops and pretty sandals will be the form of expression that is embraced.

The art of comfies are simply an extension of who we each are, deep down inside.  If you look closely at that comfy attire, it will tell a unique story and if you ask questions, will spark a fascinating conversation a good 90% of the time.  Moving days, rehabs of furniture or additions to a home will be told in the form of tears in fabric, paint stains or ragged hems.  Clothing that should be banished to the rag bin or garbage will be held onto for those warm memories and brought out on comfie days to give voice to that inner contentment we all have deep inside. 

As a story teller, I am always captured by other peoples' comfies, and I will always be the one asking questions about that intriguing dash of outlandish style you have chosen to wear when you are the most genuinely relaxed.  It gives me an open door to learn beautiful, profound things about who you are at your most authentic level.  Comfies will definitely be different from one person to the next, but what is true for all of us is that our comfies define us in a very elemental manner. 

Who says each day should be rigid and formulaic in clothing? Embrace your unique comfie-ness, I say!  It is a slightly different version of the old standard of "Let your light shine"!  So, shine on in comfie-ness, my friends, and give voice to your own laid back contentment. 

*Disclaimer:  Mention of Snoopy ™ and Peanuts™ brands in this article are not meant to indicate, imply or suggest monetary compensation of any form was received by the blog author.*

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Push me, Pull you
Inspired by my dear friend, Beth Chapman's wonderfully thought provoking post, Saying Yes in her Hope's Breath blog, here I am a while later, with the thoughts a-whirling.  What is it that we do, that dance of aggression one moment, magnificent dismissal the next, yet another time rushing in with earnest enthusiasm, all with an eye towards creating an exchange of energy.  "I'm right, you're wrong."  "Don't do that, do THIS."  "That's nice, but let's change it."  Someone always wants and needs to be holding the upper hand.  That phrase, by the way, "getting the upper hand" is derived from...a GAME, people!

"Having the upper hand is one such expression which originated with the advent of the game of baseball. In order to determine which team would bat first, a player from each team would come forth. One player would hold the lower end of the bat and the player from the other team would place his hand above it. They would continue alternating hands this way until the last hand on the bat would be the upper hand and that team would get to bat first, having got the upper hand." The Tribune
How's that for being as triumphantly "right" as any euphemism can be?!  It is the epitome of "one-upping" and underscores how we so often look at life as a competition.  Personally, I have never been competitive with others.  In fact, I find it to be a very unpleasant situation to be in when another person practically sprouts fangs and salivates in delight at the opportunity to beat someone else down "in friendly competition".  There is nothing "friendly" about that "I win, so you must lose" mindset, and it doesn't foster anything positive that I have ever witnessed. 

As always, I take a bit of time to get to the point, and my point is, we're always in motion.  Saying "yes" or "no" to anything, any situation, anyone, causes a reaction.  Entropy ensues.  You don't stick a glass in mid-air, release it and walk away thinking it will hang suspended, do you?  Of course, not; you recognize the glass will fall, hit the ground and shatter, spilling contents, requiring cleaning of broken shards that might injure, messy liquids that can stain.  That is a very good analogy for our daily actions. 

Our "yes/no" responses to every moment cause such reactions....sometimes there are broken shards of ourselves to pick up, attempt to repair, or recognize that they are best left broken and discarded.  Other "yes/no" responses cause proverbial wounds and blood to spill and leave a stain or scar.  We tidy up as best we can, of course, neaten it up, slap on a bandage and keep moving forward.  Sometimes the wound heals in a practically invisible manner, other times there is a dramatic mark left behind to note the drama that occurred.

The "push me, pull you" part of life is what presents moments of discovery, wonder, beauty.  Recently, I was involved in a work-related drama that had been brewing for a couple of weeks.  My Higher Mind recognized this immediately and began to communicate warning signs via dreams and those "feelings" of intuition we all experience.  I'm happy to say that I recognized all of the above and kept mental note while also continuing to live my life. 

The situation came to an abrupt head with absolute boat loads of drama just dying to happen, to come crashing down and shatter and splash, cut, gouge and destroy.  Years ago, I would have gotten caught up in the drama, I would have allowed myself to get sucked into the negative pool, all with sincere intent to "fix" the whole mess.  I would have been affronted and determined to defend my reputation.  Fortunately, with age comes wisdom and a calmer approach. These days, and with this situation in particular, the absolutely wonderful part was that I simply didn't engage beyond the necessary interaction to put a swift end to said drama.  I was also given the gift of one friendly face in the whole bundle of personalities who embraced my own mindset of stepping back from the dramatic overtones and finding a rational solution to the situation.

Rather than falling into the typical, "Oh no, this is awful, the sky is falling, I must fix it!" mentality, and thus, driving myself into a frenzy of worrying and eventually making myself physically ill, I just recognized the drama for what it was.  An attempt to be the top hand on the baseball bat - a determination to win at all costs, regardless of the fallout or the possible victims.  There was definitely a negative result that I personally experienced, but it had already happened weeks ago and I had dealt with it, come to peace with and about it and had already moved on to newer, better, more positive endeavors.  The other actors in this particular drama were still stuck in the old energy, still very invested in playing the drama up to the highest levels possible.

The good news is, I weathered the storm as though it were less than a single raindrop on a sunny day.  I am still quite captured and captivated by the true simplicity of this whole thing.  "Push me, pull you" can become a person's singular identity if they choose it to be so.  A neverending saga of dramas, arguments, jockeying for power and position, always fighting to have the final word.  OR, "push me, pull you" can become a different dance of energy where you choose to flow in a form of cooperation that actually turns out to be a more true example of success.  Some might call it passive resistance, or if you want to be completely negative, call it passive aggressive behavior...that psychological darling of a catch-phrase. 

I choose to see it, claim it, identify it as STRENGTH.  Rather than engaging in a squabble full of needless drama, I chose to acknowledge the issues, state my opinions in a professional manner, stay cheerful and upbeat and refuse to be sucked into the morass of negativity.  To be honest, the reactions were borderline comical, and I do not say that in a snide manner.  I heard true perplexity in the voices of those I was speaking with as they grappled with someone who would not engage in their carefully crafted scenario.  I could see it clearly for what it was, yet I chose to hold on to the wonderful, positive energy that has been flowing around me and saturating my Life Path in the last several months.  Mark Twain, he of wry, understated humor, said it best, I think:

"Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand."
This is not to say I was laughing at these people.  It is to indicate that I chose to not be sucked into a needless tangle of negative energy when we were dealing with a moot point to begin with.  In light of this fact, the "push me, pull you" dance really couldn't take place, but as we all know, there are those souls who will determinedly create something tangible where it doesn't exist, just for the sake of stewing in that negativity.  I chose to flow with them, rather than push against or pull away from them.  This is key, my friends.  It is a sister to the analogy of when one door closes, another opens.  Think about it.  If that door is closed and locked and you don't have the key, you can rattle the door knob, push against it, kick the fool out of it and you'll never get it to open.  Isn't it easier to just turn away, glance about you and see that, oh, look open doorway is steps away!?

I am not suggesting abandoning a situation and leaving loose ends that you are responsible for - I am saying to give a difficult situation a fair amount of attention while maintaining a cheerful mien, a positive focus on all the good things surrounding you.  Do this and you flow with the energy.  No struggle is necessary and no harm comes to anyone.  You flow in cooperation because you are maintaining focus on the lightness, the good, the positive, the purposeful.  As a result, the drama and negativity will part around you in a smooth flow of cooperation, parting as water does over an obstacle and flowing onward down the river.  The obstacle is left behind and the water goes rushing merrily onward.  That is what I experienced this week and it was glorious!

Yes, the situation was frustrating and annoying.  It was completely unnecessary, the way it was handled.  There was real opportunity for the whole thing to have lasting and negative fallout on me, personally, in my small town, had I chosen to engage and go in with guns blazing.  What defines us, in the end, is how we choose to react to a given set of circumstances.  I chose laughter.  I chose light.  I chose to flow with energy rather than push against, pull at, kick doors or stir up dissent. In southern terms, we call it "picking your battles" and that is most likely also a euphemism that is widespread.  Some things merit aggressive action; in my opinion, this was not one of those moments.

Perhaps I have strayed far and wide from my friend Beth's original blog post, and that is okay.  That's the beauty of blogging - we cause sparks of inspiration to flare brightly from one another.  In fact, when I think about it, it is another beautiful example of flowing with energy, grasping that spark of inspiration and moving it forward in perhaps a completely unexpected direction and application.  You will read this article and have your own thoughts, reactions and opinions and the flow of energy will continue.  That makes me smile!