We are all the same

The Dalai Lama in Madison, WI on May 16,2010, giving the talk, "Investigating healthy minds." Photo from the Dalai Lama Facebook page.

As human beings, we are all the same; there is no need to build some kind of artificial barrier between us. With this attitude, there is nothing to hide, and no need to say things in a way that is not straightforward. So this gives me a kind of space in my mind, with the result that I do not have to be suspicious of others all the time. And this really gives me inner satisfaction, and inner peace. ~ Dalai Lama

It is the simplest, the purest of things, that can divide or bring us together. It’s not that these things are opposites. Instead, the simplest and purest of things diminish the possibility of the opposite’s existence.

As human beings, we are all the same. What muddies the water from the start is the seemingly inherent inability to distinguish belief from knowing. All it takes is to simply sit down and think it through, to come to understand, to find the place within where believing it to be true and knowing it to be true reside. In so doing, the walls between us disintegrate. We are all the same. We eat, drink, breath, excrete and reproduce. We all live on the same planet within the same closed atmosphere. Nothing that you do goes without reaction, and it is the same for everyone.

As human beings, we are all the same. We are all born with the potential to be anything that we choose. All of us has the potential to be an artist, musician, physician, athlete, leader, physicist, mathematician, actor, dancer, orator, writer, architect or philosopher. All the potential is there in each and every one of us, and the possibilities are endless. Which potential we choose as our focus is the beginning of the wonderful variations that allow us to grow while contributing diversity to the whole. We cannot survive alone, we cannot exist outside of the whole that is humanity. And, humanity cannot exist without it’s myriad of endless diversity. We are all the same, each of us one piece of the whole pie.

Yes, we are all the same; every single one of us.


This and that for now


There are so many amazing things, those stop-and-smell-the-roses moments that are uplifting and affirming in stark contrast to all the negatives floating around.

Almost an exact year ago, I took photos of these same flowers. They are unique in that there are only two of them growing close together on my whole property. They bloom, last about a week, then disappear. The pretty color is highly visible and pronounced amongst all the other colors still struggling to change from brown to green. I’ll mark my calendar for next year, the third week of May, to capture these lovely blooms once again. I was amazed to see them again this year.

It’s amazing how wonderful it feels to have a sort-of vacation. Five days off in a row! I’m curious to see just how I’ll use the time to myself and what I’ll actually do, if I choose to do anything at all.


You can save a life

depression-worker349x442He looked like he had the strength of an ox. Wide, muscular shoulders, thick thighs and corded neck made his sitting figure seem far too still and compliant. The gray hairs over his ears and peppered among the black of his moustache and eyebrows appeared more a sign of his years of struggles than of his age.

I’d seen him at work years ago, saw his back hunched in effort to pull pallets of product onto the store’s floor, watched him pull far more pallets out than any of his coworkers; and though his eyes would smile, he never stopped to talk.

When he came in to my office last week, I finally understood why. He stutters, and he is barely literate. It took awhile, but he explained his circumstances. He had a job that is now only working him one day a week, and he is about to become homeless.

At the end, he looked at me and fought with himself awhile before he finally dared to say, “I am thinking of ending it. There is nothing left.”


All it takes is a few words

riverstonesI hope to paint a picture with fewer bristles and a lot less paint. It's comfortable for me to include as many observed details as possible to accurately convey the story. Now, I aim for that whole story without all the little details.

And that, folks, takes paring things down to the nitty-gritty, down to the bone, and building up from there. The power to tell the story lies within a few well-chosen, powerful words. All it took to boil back down to the basics was observing throughout a day or two how a few words here and there changed everything.

“I don’t care what you’re doing. I need this done right now.”

Oh, really? The audacity! Pfft. Take a hike!

“I know you can handle it and you’ll do just fine. But, if you need help, I’m right here.”

She only came for help two times, and for things that she was supposed to “bump up” anyway. And, she did a great job the entire day.

“We couldn’t do better, so we figured we’d join you.”

I was motivated by the need for safety, and quick and accurate information is necessary when the potential for a tornado is swimming around out there. I’m also terrified of severe thunder storms, so pecking out the updates kept my mind occupied and the terror at bay.

“Men aren’t interested in 50 year old women. He remembers you like you were 15 years ago, and that bubble is going to burst when he sees you are fat and old.”

Ouch! So, men are driven by the innate desire to procreate and ‘spread their seed’ in places that will fulfill that desire. Darwin was never a very romantic theorist. Can I be 100 percent sure that it all won’t turn out that way? No. But, a few words here and there from him give me hope. Those words are affirming. Those words from him make me happy and whole. Those are the words I choose to hang onto with all my might.

“That horse came up to you? Yes it is a big deal.”

Oh, so I can attract horses, but not men. Sigh.

“You just might see me at your door in June.”

You bet I’m going to hang onto those words. They scare the crap out of me, but I can’t think of anything I’d rather see than him standing in my doorway.


Is it safe today?

hiropeekI can’t help but ask if it’s going to be safe today. And for lots of reasons.

You see, I am confused.

If I make a mistake, the last thing I want is for that mistake to reflect on others. So, I take responsibility – loudly – and work to keep the fingers pointing at me and not everyone else. I’m the one who goofed after all.

It stymies me when I see the exact opposite from others. I don’t understand it. Would the mistake be any less of a mistake if the true source of that mistake is deflected?

The most obvious example of this today is that unbearable oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Here we are almost a month later and crude continues to gush. Spill? Not hardly. A spill is something you can wipe up with Bounty, and this man-made disaster is way beyond that a gazillion-fold. Yet, it’s more important to establish who to blame than it is to plug up the hole.

I don’t understand how a person can completely deny self-responsibility. I know of this one person who, instead of working hard spends most of the time and energy on deflection, territorialism and bad-mouthing others. There’s no way of knowing just which knife that person has in hand and from what direction the next attack will come. I can’t comprehend existing like that. I lean in, listen hard, feel with all my sense for what is within the heart…and find nothing beyond the sickly-sweet persona. That terrifies me more than anything else.


Does a horse feel? It doesn’t matter.

odingrazing42210There's an ongoing, never-ending, ne'er-the-twain-shall-meet 'issue of debate' that just may never be laid to rest, and that is the question of whether the horse – or any warm-blooded animal that isn’t categorized as homo sapiens – has emotions.

My contribution to the debate is: It doesn’t matter!

No, it doesn’t matter if you believe they do or believe that they don’t. And that, my friends, is the key to the whole debate. You see, that’s all we can do is “believe.” We can’t know.

To throw another cog in the wheel, we also can’t know how another person feels or doesn’t feel. And, there’s even times when we can’t know how we feel – or don’t.

What it all boils down to is our ability to communicate. To nail our own feelings down, we first have to let ourselves feel, then we have to categorize those feelings based on past feelings. The last thing we do is find the words to describe those feelings. Once we ‘label’ the feelings, we have a better handle on it all because that is an objective act, which means our brains have kicked in to give a bit of balance to it all. In the end, we are only describing feelings, not feeling the feelings.


Filler or dipper?

castironpotsThe following is a snippet of wisdom sent to me by a person who felt it to be important enough to share. I agree! So, here it is for you...

You have heard of the cup that overflowed. This is a story of a bucket that is like the cup, only larger. It is an invisible bucket. Everyone has one. It determines how we feel about ourselves, about others, and how we get along with people.

Have you ever experienced a series of very favorable things which made you want to be good to people for a week? At that time, your bucket was full. A bucket can be filled by a lot of things that happen. When a person speaks to you, recognizing you as a human being, your bucket is filled a little. It is filled even more if he calls you by name, especially if it is the name you like to be called. If he compliments you on your dress or on a job well done, the level in your bucket goes up still higher.


Crawling out from under the weather

The radio meteorologist said, "It's the perfect storm."


It was nothing but one "perfect storm" after another. The storms waited until after dark for the last two days to let their full force be known. Walls of dark clouds, deafening thunder, bolts of lightning connecting the clouds to the ground, and rain coming down as much as what falls over a waterfall. The conditions were perfect to produce tornadic activity.

I don't do so well in storms, normal storms, to begin with. I jump out of my skin at every loud noise as it is, so thunder is particularly tough to deal with. There's no visual prep, no way to know it's coming to brace myself. Oh sure, watch for the flash and wait for the boom. That's a normal storm. It wasn't possible to do that last night or the night before. The flashes and the booms were constant. I was a brittle bundle of nerves.

I never lost power, so I sat here at the computer and took to typing updates into Facebook what the radio said was going on. Tornado warnings, severe thunderstorm warnings, and hours of watches after that. Who'd of thunk that live reporting would be so therapeutic?


Flip-Flopping Ambiguity

It’s a balancing act, isn’t it? I mean, day after day, we run into so many things. Every moment contains tons of input and we’re constantly trying to untangle it all to keep our balance. Our minds handle this all quite well, in a way. Based on what sunk in and made a permanent home in the past, things that bombard your sensors on a daily basis are neatly filtered and categorized. GIGO – garbage in, garbage out. The end result is your own personal version of everything, otherwise known as your “world view.”

For the most part, this all works just fine. But, not always. When things start to get a little haywire, we can allow ourselves to fall back on Freud's defense mechanisms such as denial, projection, repression or rationalization; or we can let it all send us for a loop.

Therefore, you can call me Loopy. I won’t take offense, because, after the last week, that’s exactly what I am. Loopy. Undeniably, certifiably loopy. Not a thing sunk in, and not an iota made sense. No matter what I saw or experienced, it never seemed clear just what it was I was seeing or experiencing.