Little Bits

“The first and worst of all frauds is to cheat one’s self.” Pearl Bailey

“This above all: to thine own self be true.” William Shakespeare

These are familiar sayings that we often recall when we are making a decision. We try and find our core which we believe will speak to us and provide us guidance as to a decision.

But does our ‘core’ change? Do experiences change who we are and therefore how we might decide? We are rehabbing a 200 year old home. As we work on the house, I often wonder how the house was originally arranged.  The internal walls have changed many times. Even the external walls have been altered in a few places. But the ‘core footprint’ has remained the same.

Perhaps it is that way with people. The basic core of who we are-kind, compassionate, thoughtful, truthful-remains unaltered as we journey through our lives. Yet, some have experienced hardships and become bitter, cynical, and even hateful. How does that happen? To which self are we to be true. The one pre-hardship? The innocent and naive person? Sometimes I mourn the loss of my innocence and naiveté. Or the new core honed by hardship? Honing can provide new skills-patience, perseverance and tolerance.

Truth, as we understand it, is also tricky. What we once knew-with so much certainty that lives were taken for questioning the truth (such as the world is flat, the sun revolved around the earth…many individuals were  tortured who dared to question that truth of the day). As we grow, learn, and explore our life we may alter our perspective. Is that being a fraud to ourselves? or is that becoming new and fresh again?

“I am a fraud. I have cobbled together my personality from hundreds of little bits. I am simultaneously the most genuine and the most artificial person you will ever meet.”  Sebastian Horsley

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fraud/

 

Advertisements

Idle Anticipation

“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.” Bill Patterson, Calvin and Hobbes

My last day of work is arriving soon. I will turn over my computer-yikes! Is it possible? I have checked work emails 24-7 for many years. What will I do when the urge hits to see what is happening at work? Well, I hope I smile and remind myself- ‘oh that’s right, I’m retired!’

I was raised around a puritan work ethic-make every minute count. And I sure tried to do that. I crammed into every hour not only many things, but I tried to make them as varied as possible so that I constantly had to switch hats as they say. A master juggler of multi-tasking! Well, my arms are tired and I don’t see the balls so well anymore.

I recently read a wonderful book (that I highly recommend!) A Gentleman in Moscow written by Amor Towles. The main character Rostov is questioned early into the book about his daily activities. Rostov responds, “Dining. Discussing. Reading. Reflecting. The usual rigmarole.” 

My new goal! Dining, discussing, reading, reflecting. Retirement rigmarole!

“Those who decide to use leisure as a means of mental development, who love good music, good books, good pictures, good plays, good company, good conversation-what are they? They are the happiest people in the world.” William Lyon Phelps

A Year

So much can happen in a year. A day can be busy. A week can be full. A year can change your life. They are all made up of moments.

One year ago today, my son was diagnosed with stage IIIb cancer. He didn’t live close by. I wasn’t there when the doctor told him. I was 2000 miles away connected by some unseen electronic air wave cell phone line.

He made it. He went through chemo/radiation pre-surgery. Then a 15 hour radical surgery and then follow up chemo. We traveled by air to be there. To touch. To love. To cry. To encourage.To hope. To fear. To despair. To move into another day.

PET scan showed no cancer. Celebration!

Yet…this day brings back haunting emotions. Life is very short. We all live one phone call away from very sad news. Life changing  information.

My philosophy? Live each day without regret. Love. Forgive. Don’t try and be perfect.

Island Illusion

“No man is an island.” John Donne

Islands bring adventure! Beauty! Exotic sights! Or perhaps they can bring danger, hunger and isolation.

By definition an island is surrounded by water. Without a means to leave the island by boat or swimming one could feel trapped there. Emotions can be like islands. We can feel so overwhelmed by an emotion that we believe there is no escape. When the emotions are jubilant, we don’t mind. We would like to live on the jubilant island forever! But when emotions are dark, we wish to seek light and an escape from such despair, sadness or loneliness.

One must start with John Donne’s declaration. ‘No man is an island’. No matter how isolated one feels, there is a way of escape. The first step is an act of the will-a desire to escape. The desire must translate into actions or the presumed desire is not real. It is an illusion which further traps the inactive person in despair.

So how might one bridge the water which seems to obstruct escape?  Remember, we are not islands. We are people with connections to others. Approaching others may not be easy. A bridge may have to be built or repaired. A person may have to learn to swim to escape. Sometimes we can build the bridge alone. Sometimes we can teach ourselves how to swim. Sometimes we need external instruction. This instruction can be obtained via a friend, a counselor, a book, or a sage. When we want to escape, we must take the action required for that desire to become a reality.

“Too much self-centered attitude, you see, brings, you see, isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centered attitude is the source of suffering.” Dalai Lama

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/island/

 

Decisions, Decisions!

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” Lao Tzu

Clarity is a valued commodity. How many times do I wish I could look up in the sky, or down on the street and see sentences written by my future of exactly what I should be doing. I have never seen it, and it is not from a lack of trying!

Sometimes I am faced with a clear decision which must be made. I weigh the pros and the cons, discuss with friends, and seek ethereal guidance. I realize that the point of absolute certainty may never arrive, so I make the decision based on the facts I have at hand.

Other times, the need for a decision is not so clear. It isn’t that I must make a decision, it is if I WANT to make a decision. Wanting to make a decision changes things by choice. Sometimes other people are affected by that choice. If others would be unhappy with my selected choice, it could seem that I was callous to their feelings.

Yet,I believe that there are natural ‘change point’ times in a person’s life. Somehow your soul lets you know that it is time for a change. You don’t mean anyone ill will. You don’t mean for your decision to have any negative impact on anyone else. But you know that the time is right for you to make a change.

Such has happened in my life over the last few months. I have been at my current job for 13 years. I like who I work with, and I like what I do. Yet, when I read Steve Jobs tip: “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, if today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been NO for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” I knew that his sentiment rang true for me.

I studied to be a nurse. I moved into the administrative role for the last many years. I have decided to return to working with patients. I will be directing a research department and working with the physicians and patients who come seeking clinical trials. Our first clinical trial is for patients who have had surgery for melanoma. Melanoma is not the most prevalent skin cancer, but it is one of the most progressive. We are working with a company to develop a vaccine to prevent re-occurance of the melanoma.

I am certain that when I look into the mirror in the mornings, there will be days that I wish I wasn’t going to spend my day at work. But if I have to work, I am pretty certain that when I look into the hopeful eyes of a patient who is seeking medical advances for such devastating diseases, that I will be grateful that my days of working will be in an effort to help those who so  desperately need help.

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/decisions-decisions/

 

Freedom!

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” Thomas Jefferson

What a wonderful time for our nation as we witnessed a milestone in our legal system which just enabled more citizens to embrace a long with-held freedom. The freedom to obtain a legal certificate of marriage for same sex partners.

I think the definition of marriage, is the legal union between two people. At some point in time, the concept was added-between a husband and a wife (male and female). But that is a very limited definition. The full definition is a ‘legal contract’.  Having that legal contract allows one to speak on behalf of their injured/or medically impaired partner, to be provided spousal privilege  in not  testifying in court when it could harm your partner, and in issues related to taxes.

Many of these issues were unknown to me until I became friends with those who did not have those same freedoms. I am happy today that they can now experience them.

Our nation has many concerns to think about. We are starting the presidential campaigns and must look at issues related to our financial processes, and defense resources to name a couple. It is time to put aside social differences.

“I have never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” Thomas Jefferson

Let’s be inspired by our founding fathers as we ALL celebrate freedom today!!

 

 

Compromise

“Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval.” Thomas S. Monson

I was recently asked what 180 degree turn has occurred in my life. What was a change in my views, reversed decision or an action not otherwise expected from me.

I thought-are you serious? That list is long. Let’s see..

I was in church, am now out of church.

I was a faithful Bible teacher, am now unsure what is truth.

I once was positive that the Bible was the only inspired, infallible Word of God, now see it as a ‘sacred writing’ along with others.

I once was a part of a community who taught women couldn’t be ordained, teach men or preach. I now view that as ridiculous.

I once was a part of a community who taught it was wrong to drink or dance. I now enjoy wine with dinner and dancing to almost any melody.

So, how would I narrow that down? All the above are tiny, individual activities that were largely sponsored by a group of people who taught there is no compromise. There is ONLY BLACK and WHITE- GOOD and EVIL.

That is the greatest change. I now see gray. I see the need to compromise. Before, we were taught to ‘die on the sword of truth-be a martyr!’. Now, I;m not so willing to take that sacrificial tone.

I see beauty in discussion. I see wisdom in exploration. I see value in looking at two sides of a situation and coming to a consensus on the way to proceed. My mother always said, “there is good and bad in everything.” and I think she had it figured out. It is how we approach, use, and impose our actions that can make them good or bad. And oft times the same action can evoke both responses from others.

War may be an example. Think of the millions killed out of ‘courage’ to stand for what that group believed was right. Maybe they were. Maybe they weren’t. Would we have become a nation had we not rebelled over what we believed was right? I personally do not like war. I do not like hurting other people.

Have we lost the ability to communicate and see both sides of an issue or activity? I hope not. That is my change. I no longer take the ‘provided response.’ I search for myself, and in many cases find wonderful opportunities to compromise and bring peace to many people.

“I simply do not think that yelling, swearing, threatening or belittling will get you to the place you want to be faster than kindness, understanding, patience and a little willingness to compromise.” Rachel Nichols

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/180-degrees/