1. Have a firm handshake.
2. Look people in the eye.
3. Sing in the shower.
4. Own a great stereo system.
5. If in a fight, hit first and hit hard.
6. Keep secrets.
7. Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen everyday.
8. Always accept an outstretched hand.
9. Be brave. Even if you’re not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.
11. Avoid sarcastic remarks.
12. Choose your life’s mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90 per cent of all your happiness or misery.
13. Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out. Continue reading
In the light of all that is happening in the world, I find myself sitting alone. Off in the distance, I can hear the arguing. I am shocked at the raw emotions of people stripped back of all social pretence. We are an incredibly ugly, unkind people when we are wounded and backed into a corner.
I think I expected more. I expected better.
I am trying to hold on to my belief that this too has meaning that will find its way to a better place and it is just my smallness that cannot see. Forgive me for that.
Instead, I offer a few findings that speak to my heart, and perhaps will do the same for yours. Continue reading
I have spent a lot of time examining my belief systems and how and if they have benefited me. I have also seriously considered how and if they have damaged me. Sadly, for the most part, I have to side with the latter.
I have strong clear memories of the many times I was instructed not to do things because it was not what other people were doing. I am not speaking about setting fire to the family dog kind of things, but rather things that were expressions of who I was and harmed no-one like wanting to wear my green pants with an orange top. The only damage those types of things caused was to my family and their desire to fit in and to appear as “normal” as possible. Success was measured by how well you could do what everyone else was doing, as long as you did it in the same way everyone else was doing it. Life was one big chorus line where, to be perfect, you danced in sync with everyone else and never, ever, drew attention to yourself. I was to be assimilated, to be part of the whole and not an individual.
This, they assured me, was the path to true happiness.
It wasn’t. It never was and never will be.
The problem with trying to fit in and not being yourself is that you end up with people in your life who can and will destroy you. If I had just been myself there would not have been any ambiguity regarding our compatibility. Those people would have walked a wide circle around me and I would have been better off for it. Instead of spending so much time in complete pain, destroyed by the many unkindnesses from people who were never going to understand me, I might have found people who were actually capable of loving “me.”
Not because those people are bad people, or I am some precious snowflake, but because we both deserved the kind of love and friendship that actually was intended for our lives. Instead, we were all forced into a game of engaging one another simply because we paid the admittance price and once paid, everyone gets a ride. Continue reading
We all have our own stories to tell of our childhood, some more damaging than others. I am still struggling to put together the words that can move the darkness of my childhood into the light, where I can finally and ultimately let it go and set myself free.
Sometimes it is difficult to do that, especially when so much effort was made to keep it all hidden.
But sometimes, it is easy to get stuck on the pain and to allow our anger or our sense of victimhood to wrap around us as if it were our very skin. We get lost. We forget who we are, and without the very people who were supposed to love, nurture and protect us, there is no-one to hold on to the memory of who we once were. Parents are meant to do that. They are meant to know and understand who we are and to hold that for us while we travel physically and emotionally through life, struggling to find ourselves. They are meant to be the touchstone of our lives that pull us back to the mirror where they say, “See, you are beautiful. You are capable. You are Loved.”
Somewhere in the forest of pain and sorrow that littered my growing up, I grew 8 ft tall and I stepped up to parent myself. I am not saying that I did everything perfectly. I doubt I did much of anything perfectly, but I did survive. Continue reading
Our memories are emotional snapshots of a single moment in our lives. They may evolve around events, people or places. We take those memories and we colour them with years of handling and layering with bits and pieces of detail and meaning.
Those memories that make us yearn with an aching need to recapture what once was, cannot ever be found again by simply returning to the scene of the snapshot. It has nothing to do with a place or even really the people. It has to do with the emotions we felt in a moment during the journey of our life. Often, the very process of trying to recreate what was, shatters it forever. Somehow the idea that we could return is a greater comfort than the failed attempt to do exactly that.
Going back leads us to stand in our past. What we saw and knew as a child is often explained. The magic is lost and our own growth and understanding lend shading and depth to it that we see now because we have matured and are now capable of understanding. The huge tree we used to climb almost to the sky, where we would sit for hours, is actually a pretty average old tree of no real consequence. Our first kiss can never be re-experienced because everything in that moment was coloured with the sensory overload of new emotions. The very air we breathed seemed full of promises and all the hopes and dreams of our expectations and imaginings not only heighten our interpretations of the event as it happened, but also as we thought about it later. A first kiss from someone we loved is very different from a first kiss from someone we are not at all attracted to. The difference is not in the kiss, it is in the meaning we attach to it. Those layers of meaning are not real in the sense that they exist independent of our producing them and applying them to the event, and they are not static. Continue reading
This is another of the New Age-isms that I take issue with. I am all for opening up our children and filling them with light and possibilities but I also believe in teaching them discernment and truth.
I grew up in a world where little girls, especially, were raised to be “nice.” Reduced to expectations, that meant that having an idea, opinion, feeling, or need that was not the same as other people’s – made you bad, needy and selfish. You were meant to go along with the flow, to always sacrifice yourself for others, and never ever ask for anything. Your happiness lay in making others happy. Period.
The seventies had a mini revolution to guarantee women more rights, including the right to actually self-determine their own lives and not just be a host for their partner and children to suck the life out of. Well, that is what the pamphlets said.
Today we tell our children that if they will just reflect kindness and love, if they will be positive, or visualize nice things . . . they will get nice in return. We tell them that is how the world works.
But that is absolutely NOT how it works. The world is not fair. There is no balance, where in the end, everything always gets neatly tied up in Fair Wrapping Paper bought at the Justice Store. Often the mean horrible people end up getting all the breaks and living with money and power. The bullies don’t end up alone and miserable. The nice guy frequently does finish last and he is left as the only idiot being nice, being honest, loving and respecting others while everyone else takes advantage of him. They go on to amazing success with a world that claps every time they fart and the nice dude ends up living alone, in poverty, with other people’s cats that they could not be bothered with.
We have to stop lying to people. Continue reading
Who says that people do not care and that compassion does not have power to change lives. All it takes is just for each of us to do what we can where we are planted.
What really matters in our lives? What is worth our time and energy and what is just an illusion? None of these people may ever have fame or wealth. They may never be known, but they will be remembered. They will be remembered and loved for having made a difference in the lives of the people they lived amongst.
“Where do I belong,” was a question that haunted my soul for as long as I can remember. While some children worried about where to put their hands when under the scrutiny of a disproving adult, I had no idea where to put me, ever. Deep, soul-wrenching questions haunted my nights, robbing me of sleep. My days were consumed with trying to undo the one thing I knew with every fibre of my being. “I did not fit in.” I did not need to wait for other children to taunt me or run away from me on the playground, their cruel words and actions already had a place carved out in my being where they were meant to live. I did not fight against them, I welcomed them home. Continue reading