Friday, November 4, 2011

What have you learned from you lately... OoooOooo Ya

Conflict is as much a creative process as it is destructive. It is life defined. We can take something useless or ugly and turn it into art. But like any art that is worth selling our work needs to be a labor of love. Inspired and directed. We need to take conflict and do something with it, we need to transform it. Among the many things I’ve learned about conflict, I value this lesson the most. Making the conflicts and trials in my life work for my benefit has changed my perception of the people I encounter every day.

I feel like there are basically two ways people deal with conflict. The first type, spend their whole lives trying to avoid it in any way possible. They walk around pretending things are fine just because they managed to run from a possible confrontation. They justify the way things are just so they don’t have to live in a world where feelings get hurt and people are yelling, but the reality of their lives is that they are miserable, blaming others for the contention that fills their hearts. The second type look forward to it, they try to cause it, for no good reason except that it distracts them from the unfulfilling lives they lead. These are the types that have road rage and make a scene when any expectation of theirs is compromised. These are the extremes, but both types are growing exponentially.

We teach others how to treat us.

Learning to accept and embrace the challenges in my life, have helped me grow. Accepting when I make mistakes and allowing the consequences to affect my life without justification have given me so much to look forward to when conflict surfaces around me. More importantly though, learning to accept how others deal with conflict has helped me create a life almost free of the stress that conflict can cause. Conflict has become an opportunity to me, either to prove myself or to gain a healthy dose of humility. Either way …I learn something. The only way to do this however is to look inward when conflicts surface around, and ask what have I done to casue this.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand how difficult and exhausting conflict can be. It is often the worse kind of demon to face. It is extremely hard to face our own fallacies as well as those of others; this is why people try so hard to avoid it. No one likes to be told that they are wrong or that what they believe to be true could be false, or that they made a mistake, or that they caused harm or pain. But learning to deal with each other’s differences and putting our pride aside in the choice to allow love to work instead is the best way to turn a life that could be fruitless into the best kind of living art, one that creates instead of destroys. One of my favorite quotes expresses this point…” every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him.” –Emerson. We can’t allow ourselves to forget this in conflict, the value of life and the potential to create, that our enemies have. Let us soften hearts not harden them.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Great Uncle Wally

I had a dream a couple of nights ago... one of those dreams that wakes you from it. Of course I don't remember all the details or what other things I dreamed that night, but I do remember the impression. I remember waking up and telling myself I needed to remember what I had dreamed. It was about my great uncle Wally.
My Great uncle Wally has been alive now for 85+ years. He lives next door to me now with my grandparents. Uncle Wally is special, he has survived unfavorable odds and a lifetime of relative silence. He was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck in which he suffered brain damage. My grandmother has taken care of him for as long as I've known him. I've lived around Wally for most of my life, I remember visits to his house with my mother and grandmother in downtown Riverside as early as my earliest memories. I remember thinking that his house was well kept for someone in his shoes. What I didn't realize was that my Grandmother went over there everyday more than once to help Wally. She dressed him, cleaned up after him, made sure he ate well. Wally can't concentrate very well and usually communicates only in yes or no. I remember trying to talk to him, but that mostly he was just Great Uncle Wally and that I felt bad for him. His likes and dislikes, his wants and desires, his dreams have always been a mystery besides his apparent love for anything sweet. Sadly to say I haven't given Wally much thought in my young adult life. Not until last night...
Last night in my dream, me and Wally shared a connection, through a microphone. It was some sort of special microphone that when he held it, I would hear on the other end ( and hidden behind a voters partition?) what he wanted to say, or what he was trying to communicate. We were in my grandparents backyard (a 1 acre garden). Like I said I don't remember all the details nor does it make much sense but what he said hit me. He was standing in front of my brother and my grandma and what I heard him say was that he loved his body and that he thought it was beautiful. Then he went on to thank my grandmother for her sacrifice and that he loved her very much.
I woke up... sweating I'm pretty sure; heart racing.
Not a nightmare.
What I think hit me was that he probably does or has learned to really feel that way.
What a great perspective, one that many of us do not share often. I know that I've been ungrateful for my body, under appreciated the health and beauty of it. Criticized it even. Hated it at times.
I'm sorry Great uncle Wally.
I'm sure my dream was a gift. One I want to share. We've often joked in our family what Wally would say if he could speak his mind, what was being pent up behind the barrier of his disability. What he said in my dream was the last thing I imagined he was aching to blurt out. My dream made me want to be able to sit down with Wally and have him tell me what he's learned and what he dreams about. Trials will make you better if you let them. They can remind you what really matters, give you restored balance and a happy grateful heart.
Remember your Heavenly Father, remember his gifts to you, including your beautiful body that enables you to live and experience all the great and horrible things this life has to offer. It shouldn't take a disability to make us be grateful for our ability.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mud-lucious and Puddle Wonderful

I am becomming mildly obsessed with e.e. Cummings. Here are just some of my recent finds from him...

"The world is Mud-lucious and Puddle wonderful"

"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter"

"The earth laughs in flowers"

There is something very obviously metaphorical about what we come to appreciate during a rainy day. It has something to do with paradoxes and opposition. It's impossible to ignore a phyisical experience reminding us that there is something larger than a persons individual will. The rain can bring you down, but the magic comes in the paradox that sometimes we need to be brought down and learn to laugh when it happens, learn to appreciate the fact that it does. Thats when beauty and joy srpouts!

I used to hate it when i overheard people discussing the weather, i thought "How boring! They must not have much else to talk about" I understand better now, the weather is not boring, it's everything. Our attitude toward what we can't control is everything, our ability to appreciate it's magic is essential if we want to witness the flowers!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Make Life Beautiful

I don't spend enough time creating. I want to be more involved in adding life to life. I love thinking about the thought behind the products that people produce. The detail and time spent making the eclectic unique trinkets that can be collected over a lifetime. Things like a tiny wire mexican skeleton statue or knitted sea creature ornaments. I wonder if these things were preconcieved or if they just evolved. If their makers had a specific purpose for them or if art, the pure inspiration to create, was taken and auctioned off after the realization of their value.
I guess it doesn't really matter except that people keep doing it. It is so refreshing to have an idea and see it begin to take shape. We create to see the fruits of our labour, to witness our inner thoughts materialize and express themselves, to have something to inspire thought in others. Art is beautiful not because it looks great, but because it's original, it's personal, and it's new. It's inspiring because of the time and thought put in it, and because it creates hope in things that arn't typically seen.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Attitude Adjustment

I have a goal to write a new entry every week and I seem to be failing at it. For those of you who care, I'm sorry.

From now on I think the goal will be to write every Monday, this way I can create some constant in my hectic schedule...maybe for our hectic schedules.

I went to lunch today with a Best Friend. I Love her. Not just because we have a history of being friends or because we are in the same place but because she really is a great friend. I am lucky enough to have a lot of those. Really Great Friends.

For a good portion of my time in the past 5 months or so i've been increasingly negative and easily upset. Yuck. I hate being that person. The hard part was that I recognized it and still couldn't stop it.
I was stressing out over life...

What to do next?
Why can't things just work out?
How can I be different?
What do I want?
Blah Blah Blah.....

My friend pointed out to me that it's weird that I am being down on myself because usually I tended to be optimlistic and full of hope. I loved hearing that my normal self reseambled the person that I want to be, but bummed out that I wasn't being myself currently. But that is what I was struggling with...Hope. Life is really hard without it.

How could I, a normally optimistic person, be stripped of my Hope?

But more importantly, How do I get it back?

Hope is a belief that things are possible? So to restore my belief in my lifes possibilities i had to do a couple of things:

1)Take away the "Justs" and "Onlys"

I am just a student, just a housewife, just a girl. I am only surviving, the only one in my position, the only one.
Open up your eyes and be honest. Because we are never alone and we play many important roles. I am a Girl, I am a Student, I am a Sister, I am a Daughter, I am a Teacher, I am a Counselor, I am an Athlete, I am a Friend, I am. And we are never alone there are others who are experiencing similar joys and trials. We are not alone.
2)Be Present

Although I spend a lot of time planning for the future I needed to remind myself that there are important things that I can be doing here and now. Pay attention to the people around you and the place you live in and try to make it better for others, if you do you will magically make it better for yourself as well, and that reminds you that things are possible.

3) Say Thanks (obvious)

But really how often are we always looking over the hill and far away at things we want but don't have yet. Want what you have and you will be satisfied. If you arn't grateful go back to number 2. When we are grateful for what we have we remember that we hoped for it once and now we have it. We don't hope for things in vain.

4) Walk a mile in new shoes

It's amazing how when we start doing things we have never done before how quickly our perspective adjusts and changes. How quickly our attitude adjusts and changes toward those new shoes. Belief and hope are things we want but can't always see, meaning we don't know how to get there. We won't ever know until we increase our understanding by gaining new experiences.

I have a renewed sense of hope!!!!!!!!!

Thanks Friends

Monday, November 1, 2010

Speak Up!

I went to a really fun concert the other night.

I'm not sure if it was the fact that the audience as well as the performers were geared up for Halloween or if the music was just fun and uplifting, but it brought me back and helped me realize something...

Say Something!

Be creative and risky about it.
Be weary though about how the whole of your life speaks to people.

Your life will say something about you. Might as well live life the way you want to be heard. I love music, like love love it!! It can pull me up from the deepest dumps or help motivate me to overcome myself. I have a fear of making it though, i've tried before. When i went to perform my song i couldn't get the words out because the audience made me nervous about what i thought was important to say.

Finding your voice is important. Living with enough purpose, passion, and courage to risk putting yourself out there is key. In order to find your voice you have to listen to yourself, and in listening to who you want to be and what you want to accomplish rarely will you be wrong. But we can't forget to speak up with our actions and be brave enough to let people in on the side of you that believes in something worthwhile.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Spiders, Crabs, Skin and Rivers

" Serendipity is the gift of life. It keeps us alive to constant growth and unending potential, if we develop a capacity to see what is found along the way and adapt creatively while keeping a keen sense of purpose" -John Lederach The Moral Imaginaion

" You don't reach Serendip by plotting a course for it. You have to set out in good faith for elsewhere and lose your bearings serendipitously" -John Barth The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor

Sometimes i feel lost and uninspired. But then i am reminded that it's all part of the path towards where i am going, and it's ok.