Archive | September, 2011

to whine or not to whine

30 Sep

I’ve started a blog challenge with my buddy Ogun. Both of us were finding ourselves not blogging much so we decided that we would each blog once a week or suffer the consequences (writing a blog on whatever topic the other chooses.)

I like blogging, I even have a bunch of ideas, but even though those ideas will turn into awesome blogs someday, I don’t like to write about something if I don’t have a bunch of juice about it in the moment. So here I am, 10:34 PM on the last night of the blog challenge week.

The idea that came to me earlier today to write about sounds whiny in my head, so I’m putting it on the shelf.

And that’s now what is scurrying around in my mind. How we edit ourselves.

A situation that happened yesterday has got me a little charged up, I could whip out my keyboard and share my tirade with the world. Plenty of people do it. But I am choosing to not. Why?

(more scurrying around going on in my brain)

It’s not that I want to pretend that I don’t get peeved by things, ( I can tell you all about slow drivers on Noland Rd) but more, can I look at this situation with a sense of perspective and humor? When I can do that, see the part bigger than what’s poking at me, then I can share my new (possibly brilliant) insight with the world.

I don’t claim to be a perfect example of this, but I aspire to contribute in life affirming ways not in life depleting ways to the world. Really, what’s more useful, my rant or my insight?

So, if I feel a need to share, I do so, with a friend or two who can help take the edge off my emotional attachment.  I stop and ask myself, what’s getting triggered here? What is the bigger picture I’m not seeing?

Oh yeah, and I breathe… Lots of that.

One of my bumper stickers reads: inner peace creates global peace. That’s what it’s about kids, always bringing back to center, bringing peace to myself so that I can show up in the world that way.

Maybe the situation from yesterday will show up in a future post, and maybe it won’t. In the mean-time, go out there and be the peace and love you wish to see.



PS go read Ogun’s blog


Keeper of the memories

24 Sep

“If your house was on fire and all the people and pets were already safe, and you could get one thing out, what would you get?”

This was the question posed to us by Rev Robin this summer in our storytelling class. While the others in the class pondered, my first and final answer was Frosty, my beloved teddy bear. (I assumed my phone was already in my pocket)

I got Frosty for Christmas when I was 9, she has traveled with my family on road trips, with me on planes to YOU conference, and still I take her to YOU events.

This is Frosty already in my pillowcase getting ready to head to a YOU event.

Maybe it’s silly for someone who is in their 30’s to be hauling their teddy bear around. (Frosty say’s it’s not ;-)) Obviously I get that it’s a stuffed bear, but to me, she’s the keeper of the memories.

She has been the ‘heart’ in heart talks, the pillow on airplanes, she sports a NW YOU rally bead necklace, and has been passed around at more than one rally to make it back to me only at the very end. Sometimes a person just needs a hug and she’s always been there. And maybe it’s as simple as that. Of all the ‘things’ in my house, she’s got the most emotional importance. She has been hugged by many of my favorite people and I will never forget my dad zipping her in his jacket to keep the rain off her… when I was 17…

So, I pick Frosty. Which makes me wonder: what are your beloved items and why are they such?

Frosty and I say goodnight.

PS, I Frosty has a sidekick, Paco,

who goes with me in my back pack on my non-YOU traveling adventures, usually is chilling on my car dash and at YOU events often takes a pocket of my bag for his. I’ve had him since I was 17, and he was given to me by my dear friend Zeb. Paco and Frosty have both had quite a number of adventures, they would be happy to tell you all about them sometime…

language and intentions

13 Sep

Yesterday evening my sis and I were at the grocery store. She was getting something out of the freezer case and I was waiting for her, far enough away that it might not have been obvious that we were there together. This guy walks by and says ‘hey there’ to my sis. I said, ‘she can’ hear you’ he said ‘are you serious?’ At this point my big sister claws may have shown themselves a little, because I said (which just a smidge or two of attitude) ‘I wouldn’t kid about something like that.’

By this point Mary Ellen is wondering what is up so I start telling her (in sign of course) and he’s like do you know this sign? holding up the I love you sign. The conversation went on from there, but this is where I am going to jump off and start the preachin’.

Where does some random guy decide it’s a good idea to sign I love you to my sister in the grocery store? If we were two hearing chicks he wouldn’t have been saying I love you as a conversation starter. Especially since I think his original intention of saying something to my sis might not have been as wholesome and pure as the Sunday school class where he probably learned the I love you sign.

WHY is it ok to people, this guy wasn’t the first, to sign I love you when they realize that Mary Ellen is deaf? People who wouldn’t dare say that in the same setting to a hearing person.

I can hear you dear reader, hollaring in the back of my mind, but what about namaste? We believe in a a world of unconditional love. Don’t you want to say I love you to everyone you meet?

Of course I do, but I also understand the cultural environment of the world we live in. It’s an interesting balance we all walk, between being wary of that which might harm us and living free. We all take our experiences and come up with our own personal mix. It’s like Charles Fillmore said about purchasing insurance, go ahead if it helps you sleep at night.

So what is pushing my buttons about this whole thing? We were in the health section of Hy-vee, so there was no physical threat, the guy didn’t have a ‘scary’ energy, clueless sure, pushy to talk with my sis no question.

Really it isn’t an issue of the word but of the language.

When one travels to a land with a primary language other than your own, usually you try to learn the basics: hello, goodbye, please, thank you, water, where’s the bathroom, etc. When the Spanish retreat was here at Unity Village last week, I learned a couple new words that would make my interacting with our guests easier.

I didn’t start substituting I love you for all the other words I didn’t know, why, because it doesn’t make sense. Not to mention that it would seem weird and unauthentic to the receiver. Which is why the grocery store incedent annoys me.

It’s that the WHY is as important, probably more so, as the WHAT. The look of ‘huh?’ on my sister’s face couldn’t have been more intense if he’d said ‘I want a monkey.’

When we go and give free hugs, while some folks may be confused by the whole concept, there isn’t a question of the sincerity, the language matches what is being said.

So there it is, I think I worked it out. It’s about the words matching intention. And of course it’s about my big sis protection of my sis, but that’s a story for another day.

Peace and love

PS I know I pretty much just worked out my thoughts here, but I’m guessing it might give you food for thought 🙂

Adventures in painting

5 Sep

Yesterday Mary Ellen and I went to the home improvement store to get paint for the great teen room makeover. Since our area includes the old kitchen and we are just wrapping up our 12 powers series, the teens and I decided to paint the cabinets to the 12 powers colors.

We picked out the colors and handed our 10- color order over to the paint clerk, Jacquie. (Silver and Gold were available already mixed.) She said it would be a little while, so we wondered off to look at stuff and get paintbrushes. When we came back we saw Labor Day weekend must be a popular time to paint (and the weather is finally not hellish) because she was backed up with orders and all by herself.

I had a thought to head off to the pool party we were on our way to and just come back and pick them up, but it couldn’t be that much longer surely.

Mary Ellen and I wandered off again, if there is something that the Simpson girls are familiar with it’s the home improvement store.

When we came back this time, our 4 quarts were done, but not our 6 little testers. Jacquie had some help by now, but she was stuck on our dark green. The paint tinting is all computerized now and the computer wasn’t cooperating. This was frustrating for Jacquie of course, and I have other places to be than hanging at the paint counter.

We’ve all been there, that moment where we could pitch a fit, get grouchy or otherwise be unpleasant. But really, how was was that gonna help in this situation? So I practiced empathy instead. I brought a cheerful I-know-how-computers-can-be attitude to the picture and my sister and I started holding our breath and crossing our fingers when Jacquie hit the command that was not working. She bypassed the dark green and went on to the other colors which behaved much better, we hung around and cheered each time the computer cooperated. Then we got back to the darn dark green, which still didn’t want to work.  She kept apologizing and then got to commenting on how nice we were being about the whole thing.

That makes me sad looking back at it. My thought is ‘There’s another option?’ I get that lots of people choose other options, I have and you’d be hard pressed to find a regular person who hasn’t uttered at least a ‘bless her heart.’ So Jacquie and I got to chatting about choosing how we react and behave in the world. She even said that the Universe must be not wanting us out on the roads for some reason. Whether we needed to not be on the road, or not yet be at the pool, or that our work was there at the paint counter I don’t need to know. One of my favorite Unity folks to quote is May Rowland, she said:

 ‘After all, it is our attitude toward life that brings us joy in living.’

And maybe that’s all there really is to the story. I choose a life of joy which means I get to create that through my actions and attitudes. In this case, not only did I maintain a world of joy for myself, I got to play with my sis and I’m pretty sure Jacquie was having a better day when we left her than when we showed up.

It was a good experience to have, a reminder for me about being in the flow not fighting it and who knows, maybe one of my dear readers will get something out of my story.

Fast forward to today, I was running late to get to church on time. Something that should have taken 5 minutes was more like 15 and it was going to be tight. I reminded myself that it was all in perfect timing and to let it go, but I was a little worried that the teens that were meeting me might get there before me. And then I got to Noland road which is a curvy country road that is the most direct route to church and for most of it the speed limit is between 45-55, but you can’t pass people so you’re stuck behind the person in front of you for the whole five mile stretch. So who do I get behind for this trip where I am running just on the late side of on time? You guessed it, we ranged from 30-40 the whole way. This road by the way, has been my practice of patience many times. And so I took a step back in my mind, first of all, the people I’m meeting will wait a few minutes or they will call me, it’s really OK. Second, this project has been a practice of waiting and choosing… I can’t claim that I was perfectly patient about the whole thing, but I decided to be more interested on the extremes of how slow we were going instead of being upset that I was late. (and I told myself it was probably a student driver, so I was having compassion)

Of course I got to church first and everything was fine, and I saved myself a whole heck of a lot of stress. Then we got to paint. I love to paint. Here’s our current progress: 







That’s all I got to say, in EVERY situation we get to choose our attitude. What games can we play with ourselves to bring joy to ourselves and the people around us?

With Joy!


PS In case you were wondering, we did eventually get a dark green (gotta have the power of order right?) but it took us choosing a different shade in a different brand with a different finish.