Tag Archives: Attitude

Handle with Care

15 Aug

20150812_133737I’ve been shipping orders at the warehouse and slap one of these on every poster I send out. While it may seem obvious that a shipping tube or box containing glass is fragile and needs to be handled with care, looking at these stickers every day got me thinking.

Some days I wish I could just slap one of these stickers on myself, or give one to a friend who is in need of some tender care. I suppose many years ago, more people lived in smaller communities where people did know when a person was going through a rough time and they could respond with that knowledge and compassion in their heart.

But the fact is that most of us don’t go through our day interacting with folks who know the history of our lives. So how do we balance out this need to be gentle with people with our simply not knowing? The easiest way would be to treat each person you come across with a loving heart and kind smile. But let’s not pretend that all of us have reached that level of presence at all times.

Any kind of change can be difficult to traverse, and I can tell you from my own experience and the shared experience of those near to me that the most well meaning people can say the most insensitive things.

Recently I shared on Facebook that I was traveling to Anchorage to interview at the church there. This was a big deal for me, I had not shared publicly any of there other interviews I had done. In part this was because I didn’t know if I could deal with the onslaught of questions about it if I didn’t get the offer. Since before I graduated 2 years ago I’ve had well meaning people ask me how the search is going. I know in my head that each time this was an expression of caring, however I was fielding these kinds of questions a lot. It could be really disappointing and discouraging to say the same thing over and over. But I decided with Anchorage to go ahead and share it, and also ask people to give their encouragement but please refrain from asking about it until I share whatever I had to share. This was my Handle with Care sticker.

Unfortunately, it only half worked. Some folks were amazing and didn’t mention it or said I’m thinking about you, or holding you in my prayers, etc. Others seemed to not notice my request. Because when your brain is having a debate between trusting the process and oh shoot I messed up in these ways (followed by bullet points), you don’t really need anyone asking about it and adding to the times you get to hash it out. It’s my very human response to my being in the ‘in between’ place on the journey of my calling that I’ve been on since I was a child.

And what about grief? I have heard way too many stories of people being ‘should-ed’ about their grief process. Just as every person and every relationship is different, our process of grieving each relationship will be different. Who am I (or anyone else) to judge how fast or slow or intense someone experiences their grief?

What does all come down to? Awareness. I can be aware of the times I need to be handled with care and ask for that from those around me. I can notice when those around me seem tender and ask how I can support them. I can apologize if I realize I did not handle someone with care. As a community we can continue to shift our culture to one where having feelings and supporting another is the accepted norm instead of putting up walls to protect and look good.

Let’s not be afraid to say hey I’m feeling fragile right now. It doesn’t make us weak, it is a show of strength and wisdom. Let’s give others the space to work their process in the time it takes. Let’s listen more.

With love,

Ra

Seeing the Beauty

3 Aug

Two weeks ago I was in beautiful Anchorage Alaska. It is stunningly beautiful there, before you’ve even landed there is this out the window:

20150717_115944

Drive down the road and you might see this:20150718_105713

Take a tram up to a ski area and you can see this:20150718_123034

Or hike another ski area for this:20150720_182914_Pano

I loved it there.

This weekend I drove up to Woodstock Illinois. Farming country. I drove through Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois and it mostly looked like this:

20150801_14201620150801_183630_HDR

Two weeks apart, very different worlds. I got to thinking how beautiful this is also. Rolling fields, corn and other crops in rows, farms where people work hard, little towns where folks know each others families.

The beauty and preciousness of this experience of life is everywhere if we’re looking for it. And nowhere if we’re not.

Same with abundance, love, joy, wisdom, etc. It’s not simply what you see is what you get, choice matters, what you choose to see is what you get. If you are looking for proof that you’re broke, well I’m sure that proof exists. Even for someone much much more financially wealthy than I. If you are looking for evidence that you live in abundance, that exists as well.

This is not magical thinking or a surface level feel-good hippy delusion. It’s real. Or, it is as real as you are willing to commit to. It’s true that somewhere with big mountains will likely always be my preference, but I am also committed to seeing the blessing where I am at. I can hold both of those things simultaneously. I can’t imagine how miserable the last 10+ years of my life would have been if I hadn’t reconciled with the no mountains midwest and found something to appreciate!

That’s that. Find that good where you’re at. Appreciate the wisdom, joy, love, abundance, beauty that is present right now. It is the fastest way to happiness and to get more.

Speaking of more, this is from Sunday evening on the way home:

20150802_190238

Oh yes, the world is a amazing place.

Travel on!

PS After a 4 hour Alaska mountain hike, my feet enjoyed this COLD mountain stream.

20150720_195320

perspectives while driving

5 Nov

My mom lives on a squiggly road. Those of you who have spent any time where ravines, bodies of water and large hills are scattered about like a giant’s playthings know what I mean. The road from where my mom lives to the next town where the Unity church and the beach are located is 18 miles long though it is only about 10 if you could go direct. 

The thing about driving on squiggly roads is that you have to keep quite alert to every moment of the driving. There is no using cruise control and you have to coordinate sips from your coffee to the few straight stretches. Those few straight stretches are also the only place to pass a driver going slower than you would like to go. I admit my first drives down that road were slower than the 50 MPH speed limit, and I’m sure folks wanted to pass me as I was getting used to which turns were how tight. 

Certainly it was always a practice of mindfulness, but not always in the same way. When I was behind an RV or delivery truck, I noticed that my focus would shift. If we were going only 35, I would notice different things. I could see the orange house nestled up on the hill that was way out of my field of vision when zooming by at 50. I could notice more about the fences that I wrote about previously.

 Image

 

And so it became a practice of mindfulness. Not “how soon can I get out from behind this slowpoke?!” but “what is there for me to see today?” I can tell you it is much less stressful to focus on what there is to see than the few minutes later I’ll arrive. Who knows, maybe you’ll see an orange house, or a grove of trees, or someone riding horseback. (insert your own city/suburb version here) You all know what I’m saying so I’ll be brief and sign off with:

Stop and smell the roses, see the wonder that is in front of you. Turn a delay into a delight.

With love,

Ra

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!

Ra

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.