Life is in the Details

I wasn’t born yesterday, or the day before yesterday, or the day before …. Am I not young or am I old? I would rather be old than a negative young. My quibbling over word choice prompts a memory of my college days. A bunch of us are sitting on the dorms’ hall floor with an over- flowing ashtray in the center of the circle and a bottle of cheap wine being passed around. We are discussing “the meaning of life ” and being very profound. Before too long several of us will think of a boyfriend we are fighting with or missing a lot and (under the influence), tears will come. The group will break up as members slip away to make that important phone call to reconnect. But before this happens we are very profound. I can’t remember any of the conclusions we reached, but the comraderie was great and the wine was bad. Thank god we were not being filmed or we would have made a very bad film. Listen and learn as the college girls discover the meaning of life, blah,blah….blah.

These days I don’t smoke or drink and getting up off the floor would be a question mark. Of course, I am still profound! As I started writing today I was headed towards the ” leave the world a better place, find your purpose” noble hypothesis for the meaning of life, but I am taking a big U turn. Life is lived hiking in the mountains, on dorm floors, in a hospital room and around the table playing a silly game. There’s laughter, tears, giggles, fears, rants and the triumphant fist in the air “Yes!”. So my new hypothesis is: the moments of life that we are present for and experience fully are the “meaning” of life. That’s it! So there we were, a bunch of college girls laughing and crying, smoking and drinking and thinking very hard about the meaning of life when all around us and within us life was shouting “Pay attention. This is the meaning of life. This moment is all there is!”

I have written about being with Roger as his dementia slowly claimed his mind and body. He was only in the moment, and when he invited me to share that moment with him I was honored to accept his invitation. Listening to the birds, feeling the sun on our faces, looking at books, playing games and going on walks were just a few of the life moments we shared. One of my fondest memories of healthy Roger was his singing the theme from “Rocky” as I finished an hour run and raised my fist and shouted “Yes!” It was a beautiful Sunday morning, warm, sunny and clear blue skies and I was alive and Roger was alive. We were the meaning of life in that moment.

In the movie “Shawshank Redemption”, Red (Morgan Freedman) says:

I guess it all comes down to a simple choice really. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

Life is in the Details

Signs

Last Saturday, my best bud Susan and I were driving to Estes Park to snowshoe. We drove past a sign that said “cemetery”. I started to giggle and pointed out those who ended up at this destination couldn’t read! Susan and I spontaneously and simultaneously began to sing “And the sign said long-haired freaky people need not apply, so I tucked my hair up under my hat and went in to ask him why. He said you look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you’ll do. So I took off my hat and said “Imagine that , me working for you.” By Five Man Electrical Band   I am sure everyone in my generation remembers these lyrics! I am going to take a little liberty …. stay with me.

And the sign said nasty women need not apply. So I put on my nice and went in to ask him why. He said you look like a nice young woman, I think you’ll do. So I took off my nice and said imagine that, me working for a son of a bitch.
And the sign said “No homosexuals allowed” So I put on my straight and went in to ask why. He said you look straight, I’ll think you’ll do. I said imagine that! You are very cute, but so not my type. Look there’s my boyfriend!
And the sign said Muslims need not apply. So I took off my hijab and went in to ask why. And he said I can see you are not a Muslim, I think you’ll do. So I put on my hijab and said imagine that me working for a bigot.

Signs, signs, lots of signs! Keep out, Do not Enter, Yield, Road Closed, Stop. With all these signs to follow how can I determine what is me, what I want, and which direction to take? I know I need to stop at the red stop sign on the street, but do I need to let every fear stop me? Where were all the signs that said “Road closed” when I tried to find love from hearts that were closed? If signs at the Y in the road had said “Heartbreak This Way” or “Love This Way” I might have taken the road less travelled for me and chose love. Or maybe not.

As the years pass, I need fewer signs to direct me. I don’t ignore a road closed sign, instead I look for the detour. It’s not personal, the road is just closed. The sign says “Yield” and I do yield more often. Some things are just not that important so I go with the flow. When the sign says sharp curves ahead I don’t assume that I can ignore centrifugal force and go faster. Currently, there are lots of signs carried by protesters on both sides of the political divide, I pick up my sign and respectfully protest. Signs can be inclusive or exclusive, but either way those based on respect and tolerance are signs we need to see more of. From the moment we are born all signs point to our final destination, Death. We will all arrive at the end of the road, but life is all about which signs we choose to follow.

Signs

Comfort

I’m laying here sick
and the damn birds
Are singing away.
No respect
For me and
My pain.
My doggies are
In their usual
Niche snoozing
In the curves
Of my body.
Not getting any
Sympathy from
Them.
This is not right!
Lying here I notice
One bird
Is singing
A song that
Is clear and strong
Like a solo
With a Chorus.
There is no director
But the breeze is waving
And pointing.
It’s easy to doze off
With the warmth
of my dogs’ bodies
And their quiet snoring.
2 Dog Night and day.
A song and warmth.

Comfort

Undeserving Pie

When I am young again, then I will…
When I get published, then I will
When I get thin, then I will
When I die, then I will…

Wait a minute! If I am dead then it is too late, way too late! Do I need to get permission, attain a certain goal, or prove I am worthy before I do whatever it is that I want to do? If I am seeking evidence to prove that finally I have suffered enough, then maybe I need a different equation. I have a deep-seated feeling and belief that I am undeserving . I do not deserve to be happy. I do not deserve to enjoy my life. Most certainly I do not deserve to spend money on something I can afford but do not need. I almost stutter when I say “I want”, its hard to speak when this voice in my head is shouting “selfish”!

Reviewing my first paragraph I notice how many sentences begin with “I” and I feel uncomfortable drawing attention to myself. Permission needs to come from someone else doesn’t it? Without validation from others, I question even my questions! The committee in my head is loud and disagreeing. My toxic companion, Depression, throws it weight around too. I get lost in this maze and soon I am paralyzed with fear and undeservingness.(not a word, but it works for me). I am waiting for a booming voice from above that tells me ” Go for it Danita, you deserve the best life has to offer.” Do you hear anything? Me neither.

Damn! It looks like I am responsible for changing my beliefs and practicing compassion for myself. So what I tell myself is the origin of my best or worst life. My beliefs are not facts or alternative facts, I can change them and allow the good into my life. So challenging my negative beliefs is a good place to start my abundant life. First I need to hear what my thoughts are saying, especially when they come so fast I can have a feeling without realizing that a negative thought preceded the feeling. If I become aware of my negative beliefs, I can then ask “Is this true?” or as my friend Susan says “Would it hold up in a court of law?” It would never go all the way to the Supreme Court, case dismissed! I can choose my beliefs about allowing abundance in my life and mute the naysayers in my head.

It is hard work challenging my negative beliefs because for many years they have been in charge of my life. They are part of my status quo and my brain has ruts where my thoughts have travelled so many times. Neural pathways of negativity. With practice I can create new thoughts, new neural pathways and new habits that support abundance. I can over-ride the undeserving thoughts and resolve that I will survive the backlash of guilt and shame which come up. I am very excited about a cruise I am taking in October and several shows on my calendar. Guilt and shame, I am warning you that I might just let you go!

Undeserving Pie

Give Up, Quit!

 ” … in surrender what actually happens is that your own nature comes to a flowering.” Osho

Give up! What kind of advice is that? I can’t just give up, wouldn’t that make me a quitter? Remember when we used to say 7 take away 5 equals 2? Lately my life has been about subtraction or take away. I subtract so that I can weigh my choices and see what my life equals. Do I want to keep this knick knack or this judgement, attitude or belief ? Does this serve me or am I serving it? Maybe I should donate some of my clothes rather than buying more hangers. I think that a life take away drinking and smoking equals a fuller life. What can I quit or give up that helps me live my fuller life?

“There’s gold in dem thar hills!” Panning for gold uses water for sifting out what is “not” gold, like rocks and sand. It is also true, “All that glitters is not gold.”. There is a rock called Fools’ Gold, it looks like gold, but is not the real deal. I don’t want to be fooled into pursuing goals and accumulating things I don’t need or want, because I believe if I quit, I am a failure. There are many societal messages that tell me what I “should” want, but not many that help me discern between real and fools’ gold for myself. So what’s left if and when I take away the “shoulds”? Trying to get through just one day without saying “I should…”, should be easy. Damn, I blew it already.

We talk about clearing the decks and getting down to brass tacks when we are ready to get to work. I want to clear away what is not essential and does not fulfill me. This means I have to quit my frantic pace so I can get down to me. People pleasing and living someone else’s life keep me too busy to ask what I want for myself. Don’t bother me with this bleeding heart, feeling stuff! I don’t have time, but when I do….  My husband Roger died a little over a year ago. He thought he would have time to finally enjoy his life when he retired, but it turned out that time was the one thing he didn’t have.

Henry David Thoreau:
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

My goals are: 1.Give up, 2. Quit

Give Up, Quit!

In the Streets

“We won’t get fooled again.”  The Who
It was an early fall evening, and we were all in sweatshirts and jackets. The clear night offered just a bit of chill and together we held hands , warming and supporting each other. The stars were witnesses to our chants: “Hell no, we won’t go!” and “Power to the People!” There were signs, speakers and music. I remember I felt so alive and charged with energy. I had something to say, we had something to say, and we were shouting to be heard. To end our protest, the organizers asked us all to sing “Imagine” by John Lennon. It has been many years since that night, but even now I can hear all of our voices beautifully joining together, and echoing across campus. “Imagine all the people sharing all the world…” We could still imagine a world at peace and we were asking for peace on that clear night. I was 19 years old. I believed I had the right to protest peacefully and be heard.

It has been over 40 years since that night, and now the fervor of protest has been stirred in me again…thank you President Trump for awakening this sleeping giant. On Tuesday, I was one of two thousand, to protest recent immigration policies ordered by President Trump. It was a warm winter day in the upper fifties, and the march was at noon. We didn’t hold hands but we carried with us the dignity of each and every American. Young or old, white or black, heterosexual or LBGT, man or woman, Muslim or Christian, it didn’t matter. No walls, no lines drawn randomly in the sand. We could have sang ” Imagine” and it would have resonated just as it did forty years ago. Will we ever learn from the past, or is it “different” this time? It looks the same.

Of course I am not that strident and angry college student any longer. At 19, my boiling point was much lower than it is now. Now, I may simmer with experience and discernment, but I can still reach my boiling point of “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” In all the forty plus years from then to now, how have I changed and what have I learned? Honestly, there are times when I am certain that I have not learned one single thing in forty years. I still think I am always right, but I can’t deny that I have been wrong many times. Damn! So I try to pause before my mouth spews out words that I will regret. The sign I carried at the Tuesday march said “Build bridges, not walls.” Nothing puts up walls faster than judgement. It’s a bitch to take down a wall brick by brick when you finally figure out that your brother and sister are on the other side. I have to go, and get to work taking down that wall.

My political blog is: makesomenoise.blog

In the Streets

Ice Melt

I hate ice melt. God knows what’s in it, and it always ends up on the carpet, hardwood floors or entry rugs. It travels far on the soles of boots and shoes. Those little crystals are irritating inside, but can be lifesavers outside on the slippery sidewalk. I finally broke down several years ago and bought ice melt that is not harmful to doggie feet. My little doggie Mia went running out the door onto the deck, intent on emptying her bladder, and almost slid off the deck. There is a railing, but the bottom is 4 or 5 inches off the deck. This is high enough for Chihuahuas to fit under, and the drop is eight feet or so to the ground! Now ice melt is a winter staple.

As I was scattering ice melt this morning I noticed how quickly it works. Little holes appear in the ice within a minute, and soon ice and snow are melted. The City of Fort Collins gives homeowners 24 hours to clear their sidewalks. If the City does the sidewalk they charge the homeowner a hefty fee. I walk a lot, and walk my dogs, and I really do appreciate ice free sidewalks. I think daggers when sidewalks are not cleared and are very slippery. It seems a young lady, (able bodied) homeowner down the street is not a compassionate person. After several snows and uncleared sidewalks, I turned her in to the sidewalk police. People do not bounce when they fall, and my old lady bones are vulnerable to fractures. My point? If you don’t care about your own safety, be compassionate and act to protect the welfare of others. Maybe I am the old biddie down the street, but is compassion ever out of style?

Ice Melt