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Posts tagged ‘awareness’

7
Feb

Love.Live.Dream

Here’s to everyone out there looking for a new job, or any new opportunity in life.

Remember this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credit:

http://shop.holstee.com/pages/about

20
Dec

where it ends it begins and other angles

I am looking at things in different ways.  different angles. necks don’t always stick out but they should, sometimes. maybe. for others. yes. and then again.  no.  but usually.  yes.   sticking my neck out.  wondering.  in shades like salmon.  feathered. weathered. but fine. so happy.

See more here:  http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/andrea-oconnell.html

Where it ends, it begins!

(Photo taken at Flamingo Gardens,  by Andrea O’Connell, all rights reserved.)

13
Dec

the sweet taste of freedom!

Every day the wonderful folks at WordPress send us ideas to write about.  Tonight’s suggestion has to do with bravery.  A good one.

But, I rarely use the suggestions because always have something specific I want to write about.

And tonight, I have something specific I want to write about and it happens to be about bravery.  I’m writing with the mind and the heart and the soul of someone braver than me, but who is me.

The topic sent by WordPress writer, Scott Berkun, is “Where do you go to be brave.”    Bravery is a place, I found out today.  It’s a place of intuition and knowing.

Bravery is also knowing when to break a pattern after you realized it’s too harsh to be vital, too rigid to be kind, too unhealthy to be loved.

It was the classic way to quit.

I stood up and said: “I’m not going to put up with this!  You’ll have my resignation before the end of day.”

I even slammed the door on my way out!

No crying, no remorse, no dramatics.   I just did it.

“No, Andrea!  You don’t have to do this,” the Employee Services Director said as I turned to leave….

(It was SO like a movie!)

“You don’t have to do that, Andrea.”  I shot back, “Oh, yes I do have to do this!”

I’d had it with their 19th century Scientific Management-like sick rules.  I was done.

Well, I’d made my decision a while ago, but I was too afraid to give up the pay check.  That was the only thing between me and freedom – that damn paycheck.

I needed a push and I got it today.  I needed to be humiliated out of that inflexible and harsh environment.

Today the last straw was handed to me like a gift.

Things happen for a reason.

I needed the push and I got it.

I needed to get out of there.  It was a prison.  Literally.

The stark truth is, when a whole department of people use words like Concentration Camp, or Nazi Germany, and they are dead serious, there’s a problem.

I would describe it as:  having a harsh culture, punitive, inflexible, anti-team work, and consciously putting employees last….

For me, it’s about principal and common human decency.

When a person, like me, who is salaried, works like a maniac, evenings and weekends to deliver on a really great project, but in the past have occasionally been 1, 2 or 3 minutes late…. only once I was 7 minutes late – does it makes sense?

“It’s our policy.  You broke our policy, Andrea.”

I was at my desk, deeply concentrating on a project, when my (now former) boss tapped me on the shoulder and said she needed to meet with me.  She said we’re going to an upstairs conference room.  At first I thought they were giving me a raise, or a promotion, or something wonderful!  Well, that thought was brief.  My intuition told me something was wrong.

I asked, “Is something wrong?  Did I do something?”  Nothing, she said.  It’s nothing.

Nothing?!!!!!!!!!!!!

On November 10th, apparently, I was two minutes late to work, and that was the final straw.  I was given a  “write up.”

There were fourteen instances of my lateness on the write up.  September, 2 minutes. October 1 minute.  October 3 minutes.  October, SEVEN minutes – that was the worst.  November 10, that was the final one on the list.  (I’ve been on time everyday since then because the traffic-clogging construction ended.)

So, I was last “tardy” on November 10th.  Today is December 13th.  “Why the delay?,” I asked.  Because it takes that long to have Human Resources do the paperwork.

It’s true.  I’ve seen them take two months to fire someone.  It’s true.

An employee was allowing someone else to punch them out of the time-clock that hourly employees use.   When it became known this had happened, a time or two, they talked to both Administrative Assistants.  They both thought they’d surely be fired.  Then, nearly two months passed and nothing happened.  They thought they were free and clear.  Then, one of the women was called in and was fired for allowing someone to punch her in and out.

Ah, you’re probably thinking, why fire only one?  Shouldn’t the other woman get fired, too?  Well, you’d think so, wouldn’t you?

It didn’t happen.

Why?  Favoritism.  The one Administrative Assistant worked for the university for nearly 30 years.   And, her daughter worked there, too.  If Mom got canned, the daughter would leave, too, and she was too valuable.  So, the one who should have been fired was not.

I was an Associate Director.  And, salariedExempt!   Exempt means, “exempt” from overtime pay.  As a salaried worker, I don’t get overtime for the extra twenty hours a week I generally worked.

So, I’m free.

I knew immediately that resigning was the right thing to do.

I know, I know!  The economy is in the tank.   I am not worried.  Not in the least.

I have thought and thought and thought very seriously about quitting for the last six months.  What stopped me?  The paycheck.   And even though I hardly have any money to my name right now, I am not in the least worried.  I’m not sad, I have no reason to worry or cry, or moan, or anything.

I did the right thing.

Tonight feels like the first day of the rest of my life.

Something wonderful is coming…..  It’s just around the corner….it’s gonna be great.

12
Dec

drop an assumption, whack #8

I have a total of 64 more Creative Whacks to post.  At this rate, it will be 2064 until I finish!

So, here’s another one. It’s a good one, too.

Creative Whack number 9 is:  drop an assumption.

There is a great deal of wisdom in this card.  I know I am guilty of making quick assumptions, though I try not to, it’s inevitable that I do.

My assumptions drive me crazy and usually involve me second-guessing myself.  It has a lot to do with self-confidence.  I don’t have issues with those big assumptions that result in generalizations.  Fortunately I am open-minded enough to not allow that to happen.

I make stupid assumptions that have to do (usually) with relationships.  When I was younger it was a big struggle.  I had this inner dialog going on that was a marathon of back and forth quarreling with myself.   It would go something like this:

Positive realization:  I haven’t talked to John in so long.  I should call him.

Negative assumption:  Well, he hasn’t called me.  What if he’s too busy to talk to me?  Or maybe he really would rather not talk to me?  I’d be embarrassed if I disturbed him. Maybe he’d think I’m needy?  Or, maybe he has a girlfriend he didn’t tell me about and maybe he thinks I’m trying to come-on to him?  That would really be embarrassing.

Positive realization:  No no no no no Andrea!  That’s crazy.

Negative assumption:  We had a nice date, but what if he doesn’t think of me as a possible girlfriend?  He’s a great guy, too.  He wouldn’t be interested in me.  And, who knows if I’m really interested in him?  Was he being himself on our date?  Was he being distant?  What if we get serious?  I couldn’t take it if he dropped me. Maybe he’s trying to tell me something by his silence and not calling?  Should I wait until he calls me?

Positive realization:  Oh God, you dumb-ass, Andrea!  Call him!  Give him a call – if he’s busy he’ll tell you he is and then you can decide on a time to get together, or a time to talk on the phone!

Negative assumption:  It would be easier to leave him a voice mail.  Shit!  I wish I could just text him, that’s so much easier than talking in situations like this!  Maybe I could call him, and if he answers I could pretend that I dialed him by mistake – tell him I was really calling Jane and got his number mixed up, but it’s nice to talk to him!  And, if he doesn’t answer, I could leave a message…..

And on and on and on… I would go back and forth.

I still quarrel with myself, but not nearly as badly as I used to.  Thankfully.

Assumptions are terribly limiting.  The best thing we can do is test the validity of every assumption we make.  I try to.

Would the photo below qualify as an assumption?

Maybe. Maybe not.  I think it’s close enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a reminder that the brilliant Creative Whack cards are by Roger von Oech.   The  Creative Whack Pack is a 64 card deck of inspirational ways to encourage creative thinking.

5
Dec

love to you, Jonah Mowry

When I have a moment to check in to Facebook (which is not too often lately), it’s usually a treat because I stumble across things in the news that move or anger me, but are always educational.

I stumbled upon this video and I am so glad I did.  It is moving and lovely and hopeful…well, you will have to see it to appreciate what I’m attempting to say here.

The young person in the video is 13-year-old Jonah Mowry. He’s pretty special, as you’ll see.

Sadly, this is an all too typical story.  Every day kids and teens are bullied for being different enough to stand out.  Jonah’s bullied for most of his young life.

What’s wonderful, though, is we get to see his raw and emotional transformation into person-hood.  He realizes that before the tyrants who bully him will stop, Jonah has to first accept himself for who he is.

Bullying in the schools should not be a rite of passage for kids to endure and suffer through.   Young kids, or teens like Jonah need to be allowed to grow naturally into incredible young people.  They have a lot to deal with in the coming out process.  Young men and women like Jonah who must come to grips with who they are, have a tough enough time, the schools shouldn’t be where humiliation and torture are condoned.

After posting this video to his friends, the video went viral and everyone fell in love with him, myself included.  You will love him too, I’m sure.

Bravo to Jonah for his courage, grit, and ability to stand up for himself – refusing to allow the coward bullies to hurt him anymore.   The wonderful outcome of his video is the fact he has undoubtedly given hope to many, many young people like Jonah who are facing what it means to come out.

We can only hope that every young person with the courage to come out will do so with the incredible grace of Jonah Mowry.

The text below is what Jonah left on his YouTube page.

UPDATE, PLEASE READ
To all my friends and supporters,
I made this video 4 months ago just before school was about to start. I was 13. It was a very emotionally dark time in my life. I made the video at 4:00am in the morning; I hadn’t been sleeping at night for a long time, too many things going on in my head. I was dreading going back to school and I had not come out to my family yet. Only my closest friends knew. I didn’t know how to say what I needed to say. All I could think about were all the bad things that had been happening at school last year, every year for that matter. I just couldn’t bare to go through that anymore. I was done being fake happy, pretending hateful words didn’t hurt, done hiding it from my family.
So this video was made for my friends that had moved on to High School who were worried for me, to say to them that I was going to take a stand, and to the haters at my middle school that I’m not going anywhere. I am who I am. I posted the video here and told people were to find it. That was it.
My friends were moved by the video and thought I did something important. I was encouraged to upload it to my Facebook page so more people could see it. Maybe it could help someone else going through the same thing. So I linked it Dec. 1st. My Parents saw it for the first time Dec, 2nd.
Then….. all this happened.
I never expected in a million years that it would have such a wonderful impact on so many people. I am truly humbled and truly thankful for all the love, encouragement and support from people all over the world. It’s been incredibly overwhelming. I don’t know what to say. Thank you so, so much!
Lastly, yes you have seen me happy in a couple short videos replies I posted; I would think that would be a good thing, and yes I do have friends, my High School friends, and I have made friends because when I came out they realized that they had hurt me and that they fealt sorry. The video is real, and true.
In the last few months everything eventually came out in the open, I felt a huge weight off my shoulders; I’m happy, I’m excepted for who I am, I’m more confident and feel stronger every day.
Thank you all, Love and peace to all who are hurting.
Jonah Mowry

Let’s encourage children to spread love, not hate.  Speak peace, kindness, appreciation for all our differences so kids and teens understand that being gay is not a curse.  Rather it’s a journey – a long one perhaps, but a good one, too.

What a remarkable young man Jonah Mowry is.  And, what a wonderful outcome, not only for him, but for the countless kids who are feeling the same way.

30
Nov

try a random idea, whack #8

Could I create a new map for my self?  Definitely.  Would I?  Well…..

I want to believe I am a risk taker.  But I’m really not.

Creative Whack Pack: Roger von Oech, creator

Although I am very quick at recognizing good and random ideas … I just have trouble following through because of my full-time work schedule. Ah…. but is that merely an excuse?

That messes me up.

I have lot’s of random ideas and many dreams.  Creating this blog was a spur of the moment random process – a dream that was at first scary.    I sat down one Saturday and started a blog.  Never heard of WordPress until I Googled Blogging.   I had no idea what I was doing I just really wanted to do it – whatever “it” was.  I jumped in.

I do a lot of spur of the moment writing.  It’s like impetuous creativity born of passion versus logic with a lot of right-brain thinking.

Passion drives my impetuousness, when I let it.   I can kill it just as quickly and that’s what keeps me up at night.

All I really want to do, though this is not so random, is write.   There’s a book in my head, a play too.  I have the passion but not the nerve.

The universe keeps putting signs in front of me, as if trying to wake me up with tips and ideas.  It’s in my face at times, almost  screaming at me  GO FOR IT ANDREA!!!

Really. I’m not kidding, that happens every day.  Drives me nuts.

I keep seeing articles and messages everywhere about “going for it and taking that risk to follow your dreams….” So???  Why not?   Well…. (stand by, here come the buts).

I have student loans to pay, a mortgage and a car payment and well, you know, just a lot of bills.

I need to take a piece of leather and create a new map of my world.

I think it’s good to reinvent – I truly believe that it is.  The problem is, it takes courage and I feel like Dorothy’s lion.  I’ve got the heart and the brain….

Oh great and powerful OZ, hand me some courage – FAST!

 

5
Nov

no one wants an abortion

I spent most of today reading “Woman and the New Race” (1920), by Margaret Sanger.  I’ve carried with me certain memories from studying her work in high school and college.  I remembered all she did with regards to birth control, but I’d forgotten the magnitude of it upon society in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Cover of "Woman and the New Race"

Cover of Woman and the New Race

I did not remember the squalor that families lived due to having more children than they could feed.  Women were subservient to the wishes of her husband; they were the unwilling slaves to sex because they had no say in the matter.  The role of the woman was to be the weaker sex; she had no voice in the dynamics of her marriage; she kept the home, satisfied the man, bore children, and “remained a dominated weakling in a society controlled by men (Woman and the New Race, Sanger, M., 1920).”

What ever your thoughts on this matter, in the early days of this century, Margaret Sanger did her utmost to help women break the bonds of excessive child births to become owners of her mind and their bodies at long last.

Women were repressed – they were no more than brood mares.  There were so many cases of infanticide.  It was constant, tragic, unbearable…. those accused of infanticide were given harsh sentences.

The woman’s suffrage movement had just given women voting rights; she could also now own property and work outside the home, but she still had no control over her very being – her existence demanded she be subservient to sexual needs of the man, which meant she bore children constantly, weakening her body, pushing her into ill health and early death.

Woman’s acceptance of her inferior status was the more real because it was unconscious.  She had chained herself to her place in society and the family through the maternal functions of her nature, and only chains thus strong could have bound her to her lot as a brood animal for the masculine civilizations of the world.  In accepting her role as the “weaker and gentler half,” she accepted that function.  In turn, the acceptance of that function fixed the more firmly her rank as an inferior.  (Woman and the New Race, Sanger, M., 1920)

Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, chances are you do not like the reality or the idea of abortion.  I surely do not wish abortion on anyone, but I would never want to castigate another woman for making the very difficult and serious decision to abort.

To abort a baby is a terrible and difficult decision for a woman to make. Woman are wired to want children, to love them, and nurture them.

I had a roommate years ago who got pregnant. She was young, unmarried, very little money, and no plans to have a long-term relationship with the man she was seeing at the time.  She made the decision to abort after talking it over with her family, who did not tell her what to do, but promised to be non-judgmental and support her decision – to have the baby, adopt or abort.  Who wants to make that decision?

I took her to the doctor the day of her abortion.

She came home emotionally drained, in terrible pain, and utterly devastated at the thought of what she’d done, but knowing she had to do it.

She was out of work for longer than a month because she couldn’t stop crying.

No woman wants to abort.  And no woman wants to be told she cannot abort.

There have been terrible lies since the misogynist Herman Cain made his ignorant comments about Planned Parenthood, and Margaret Sanger.

People are actually believing that Margaret Sanger was pro-abortion!  In fact, she was not.

Sanger’s goal was to end back room $5.00 abortions with the legalization of birth control

We have Sanger to thank for birth control, for men and woman.

Do you remember the Comstock law?  She fought against the injustice of the Comstock law and suffered multiple arrests as a result.

Woman’s passivity under the burden of her disastrous task was almost altogether that of ignorant resignation.  She knew virtually nothing about her reproductive nature and less about the consequences of her excessive childbearing.  It is true that , obeying the inner of their natures, some women revolted.  They went even to the extreme of infanticide and abortion.  Usually their revolts were not general enough.  They fought as individuals, not as a mass.  In the mass they sank back into blind and hopeless subjection.  They want on breeding with staggering rapidity those numberless, undesired children who become the clogs and the destroyers of civilizations.   (Woman and the New Race, Sanger, M., 1920)

What a voice Margaret Sanger has!  She writes with both clarity and passion.

There were many things I read, however, that proved to me that we do not learn our lessons well as a nation.  That’s a big subject for another time!

Here is the URL of the Google book:  Woman and the New Race, by Margaret Sanger.  http://books.google.com/ebooks/reader?id=VLHH8qVM0sgC&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&pg=GBS.PA118

27
Oct

under God or the Republic?

Last night during the discussion with Richard Dreyfuss, he asked the entire audience stand up.  Then he asked us to place our right hand on our heart.  Then we said the pledge of allegiance: 

I pledge allegiance to the Flag
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands:
one Nation under God, indivisible,
With Liberty and Justice for all.

And then he asked us to read it again, but follow him and he left out “under God.”

We intoned:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands:
one Nation under God, indivisible,
With Liberty and Justice for all.

The first Pledge above is what is used today.  The words “under God” were added by Congress, in 1954.

Mr. Dreyfuss pointed out that the pledge is not a prayer, though it sounds as such.  The pledge allows those of us who are loyal to this country, to articulate our allegiance to the flag and to the Republic for which it stands because we are one nation, we won’t be divided in that regard, and the core of America is to provide the due process of liberty and justice for all.

Adding “under God” says we all stand “under” God; but not all do.  There are other religions who do not believe in our God.  There are Agnostics and Atheists who do not place themselves in allegiance with God, but with the US and the Republic for which it stands.

In fact, the 1st Amendment provides for freedom of religion and the addition of “under God” is, in reality, unconstitutional.  The same holds true for “In God we Trust” in written all over our money.

That is my view.

Hah!  Politics AND religion in one post…. I’m just asking for trouble!

24
Oct

a primer about social inequality

If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark. ~Richard Wilkinson

There’s a wonderful web channel called TED www.ted.com, that I often visit for the interesting speakers and topics.  A recent speaker was Richard Wilkinson, researcher on the harmful effects of economic inequality on societies.   It creates an imbalance that impacts every aspect of our lives.

View the video:  http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_wilkinson.html

The below quote is taken from his bio and helps to sum up his reasearch:

While poverty has long been recognized as an indicator for such social ills as crime, obesity, teen pregnancy, Wilkinson and Pickett have demonstrated that societal well-being bears no relation to per capita income. They’ve also found that the symptoms of inequality trouble all levels of society. Across the board, mental health, levels of violence and addiction, even life expectancy are affected by the psycho-social stress caused by income gaps and status anxiety.

He says: “While I’d always assumed that an equal society must score better on social cohesion, I never expected to find such clear differences between existing market economies.”

Credit: Richard Wilkinson research on life expectancy from http://www.TED.com

The chart above is research data on life expectancy from England and Wales.  The harmful effects of inequality had bearing not only life expectancy: it’s the whole gamut of life experiences that prove the uber-rich are treated better in every sense.

Richard Wilkinson is not a socialist, neither am I.   He is not talking about socialism or redistribution of wealth on this TED video.  The main point he’s discussing is the social status gaps between the rich and the poor and how it harmful it is on society, especially on the poor.

I found it so interesting, I hope you do, too.

4
Oct

Knight Owl and heart strings

I am very late getting to my daily post tonight.   I don’t know where the time went tonight!   Well…, I did relax on the couch for a while… And, I stopped to have dinner, clean up, walk the dog, talk on the phone, read a few chapters of The Book Thief (currently reading), and I took some time to read the blog and comment….   that’s where the time went!

This is a quick but very important lesson, from Knight Owl and her Niece,  about taking care of our hearts.

Those of you familiar with this blog, and so many others like the wonderful Humble Opinion, Niecy456, Kim’s Blog, Marinade Dave’s, Mainstream Fair, and others (they’re all on my Blogroll below), know that Knight Owl, one of the dearest persons who visited and posted here, and elsewhere, passed away in August from, as we know now, a massive heart attack.

A terrible loss of one so young (she was 61), and vibrant, and dear.  Her passing has saddened so many of us.

Tonight, Knight Owl’s lovely niece visited and explained what happened.

Knight Owl died on August 14th.  On the day of her heart attack, she had done what we all hate to do, clean the bathrooms.  Afterwards, she felt sick – nauseated, and complained that her arm was sore.   Thinking it was the smell of the cleaning supplies making her feel sick, and because she’d been scrubbing with that hand and arm, she thought, not a big deal, she’d been using that arm to scrub.  Perhaps she wondered if she was coming down with a bug, or the flu?  It’s easy to ignore these warning signs – we tell ourselves stories about what it could be, as if we’re M.D.’s!  Right?

Knight Owl’s husband walked her upstairs to lay down and lovingly gave her a wet hand towel to cool her forehead.

She was resting, and all was well.  Only it wasn’t.

Knight Owl missed the warning signs of an impending heart attack.  There are usually some warning signs that tell us things are really not right with our bodies.

I imagine you and I may have done EXACTLY what Knight Owl did after spending time doing such vigorous, smelly, and laborious work.   But, let’s let this be a wake up call – let this be a wake up call for all of us.

Learn the warning signs of trouble; listen to your heart and your inner guide when it says, “Something’s sure not right about how I feel.”

There are resources that we can use to educate ourselves about heart disease.  There is one in particular that I like.  It’s called Heart Sisters and the website is: http://myheartsisters.org/

The articles are wonderful, the tips will be helpful, too.    The author and owner of the site is Carolyn Thomas, who is a survivor and a lovely person.

I know that Knight Owl will be so pleased if her story educated us about heart disease, and the warning signs of a heart attack.

Sweet dreams, sweet Knight Owl.

28
Nov

HOPE for a BETTER WORLD

This is a short, but powerful, video featuring one of the most famous speeches by Harvey Milk, given in 1978.

Listen to Harvey Milk.  Listen to his message of  hope, peace, equality and justice for all.

We are all one people in this wide world.  Let us stop bullying each other.

Our classrooms are filled with children who, because of ignorance on the part of their parents, condone Gay hatred and thus we have young people committing suicide.  Young people who were born Homosexual but are too young to understand what it means to be Gay.  They are too young to know that being Gay is RIGHT for them.  Children who are too young to appreciate that no one should care about an individuals sexuality because it belongs to the individual.

There is no right or wrong in being Gay or Straight.  One is not better or worse than the other.  Believe this.  Live this for the sake of our children.  For the sake of children who will grow up to be lovely human beings, not necessarily because of their homosexuality, but because they will have grown up with a sensitivity that will become a lovely sensibility.

Believe this.  Stop the hatred.  Stop the bullying.  Condone kindness, empathy, and appreciate the different colors and the different sexuality that others own.

Live your own life without fear or judgment.

Just.  Live.

Say no to fear.

Somewhere in Des Moines or San Antonio there is a young gay person who all the sudden realizes that he or she is gay; knows that if their parents find out they will be tossed out of the house, their classmates will taunt the child, and the Anita Bryant’s and John Briggs’ are doing their part on TV. And that child has several options: staying in the closet, and suicide. And then one day that child might open the paper that says “Homosexual elected in San Francisco” and there are two new options: the option is to go to California, or stay in San Antonio and fight. Two days after I was elected I got a phone call and the voice was quite young. It was from Altoona, Pennsylvania. And the person said “Thanks”. And you’ve got to elect gay people, so that thousand upon thousands like that child know that there is hope for a better world; there is hope for a better tomorrow. Without hope, not only gays, but those who are blacks, the Asians, the disabled, the seniors, the us’s: without hope the us’s give up. I know that you can’t live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. And you, and you, and you, and you have got to give them hope. -Harvey Milk, 1978

27
Nov

the work of forgiveness

Thanksgiving weekend and the air around us seems to literally sing as our friends and loved ones gather around us – as we give thanks that our loved ones joyously grace our lives.

The ability to feel thankful rises from one’s ability to be truly grateful, this goes without saying. But, what about forgiveness? From where does that rise?

When one cannot forgive is it because gratitude and forgiveness are inexorably weaved together via our near-perpetual state of humanness? Is it due to our being human and thus imperfect, that we can not always forgive? It seems to me that choosing to not forgive is the ultimate negative emotion. Think of all the negativity involved in the act of refusing to forgive!

Often we hear people cry, “I just can’t forgive this”, or “I just won’t forgive that….” We nod and say, “I hear ya’, you need to just walk away from that.” And, yes, it is true, there comes a time when, to save our sanity, it is necessary to “walk away” when we feel put upon, abused or used. That is a positive first step. But I think it’s only the first in a long series of steps in the work of forgiveness.

But, do we always walk away with an intent to forgive eventually? What does it take to forgive? Is it necessary to forgive?

When one thinks of what it takes to forgive, really forgive, can that also include a murderer on death row?

Who among us could forgive a murderer? I don’t know if I could, but I have read about people who have been victims of murderers who go to the prison, face the guilty, and forgive them – right in the face of the murderer they say, “We forgive what you did because we know you are sorry for what you have done.” (Will forgiveness work only when the wrong-doer is repentant? I tend to think that is the case.)

Think of the redemption in the act of forgiving like God would forgive! Does the thought of such deep forgiveness stir something in you, as it does me? I want to believe that I could be such a forgiving person should a murderer kill my loved ones, but, to be honest, I don’t know if in reality I could be so forgiving.

I say so often, “Well, we are only human.” In the case of forgiving a murderer, I think it applies – we are not God, right? Well, this is indeed true, but can’t we be “god-like” in our actions and reactions?

I write about the Casey Anthony case because I have so much vested in the case – I’ve followed this case for so long and though I tire of it at times, I am fascinated by it, as many of us are.

And I often think, who is left to forgive Casey Anthony?

Her parents and family can’t forgive her and this is why they choose to believe someone other than Casey killed Caylee.

Can we forgive Casey Anthony? Does it even matter if we choose to forgive her or not?

I don’t have the answer to that. However, here’s a short passage from a little book I treasure. It will not answer the question for us, but may get us to think about what it really means to forgive and live with a grateful heart.

Maybe.

The following is taken from the text: “Attitudes of Gratitude”, by M.J. Ryan., pages 111-113.

Nothing blocks feelings of gratitude more than anger and resentment. That’s why the practice of gratitude requires the work of forgiveness. We can’t feel grateful to our parents for what we received from them when we are still angry about their abuse, self-involvement, insensitivity, alcoholism, or neglect. Nor can we receive the gifts of a relationship that has ended when we still feel hurt over betrayal, angry over deceit, sorrowful over abandonment.

Nor should we. Trying to force ourselves to feel grateful when such strong negative feelings exist only compounds the injury. We have been hurt. Let’s not deny our woundedness on top of everything else. Healing, in the form of acknowledging the grievance and grieving the loss or wound, needs to happen first.

However, there comes a time in the process of emotional resolution for forgiveness. For only forgiveness can move us out of the victim stance and free us to move on. Depending on the kind of wound you have suffered, this may be deep psychological and spiritual work. No one can talk you into it. No one can do it for you. Only you can come to the place where you want to forgive.

What helps the forgiveness process is to understand that resentment is a second-hand emotion, a cover for underlying feelings that have never been expressed….

….At some point you realize you are a better, stronger, more loving person than you might have been if you hadn’t been so hurt, and you recognize the gift in your particular suffering. In that moment, you move from victim to victor, from victor to venerated teacher.

Forgiveness leads to gratitude, and not just gratitude in general but, in a beautifully healing movement, to an outpouring of appreciation for the very things that caused such pain in the first place. Thus is our suffering redeemed.

There are many ways to victimize people. One way is to convince them that they are victims. ~ Karen Hwang

18
Nov

mantra….

Life changes every minute of every day. You lose friends. You gain friends. You realize your friend wasn’t ever really your friend. And that person you used to hate can make a really good friend. You look for love. You find love. You lose love. You realize that all along you’ve been loved. You laugh. You cry. You laugh so hard that you cry. You do this. You do that. You really wish you hadn’t done that. You learn from that and are glad that you did. You have your ups. You have your downs. You see good movies. You see bad movies. You look at others and wish you were them. You then realize who they are and are glad that you’re you. You love life. You hate life. In the end, you just find yourself to be living life no matter what’s thrown at you.
~ Source: x3bbycakes


13
Nov

mirror images

You were the mirror image of me when we were kind enough to have patience.

Without patience is life barren?  Oh, that’s contradictory, isn’t it?  Without patience, life becomes overgrown with gray spiny weeds, trees that break and bristle to the touch, and sand spurs that draw blood.  Mirror images in tranquil repose look toward each other for peace and solace and perhaps live like these two butterflies do.  In a separate but equal space, in peace.  And though the wind, should it roar, these two could be swallowed up in a millisecond, it is patience that holds them steady through the rowdy wind.  Mirror images find strength in the other.

7
Jun

and I said thank you

Today I am choosing freedom from anger.

I hate myself for even wondering what people – rude people – say about older geeks like me in the workplace.  They talk and talk and I wonder why they, in their little sophomoric cliques, shoot wayward glances at certain people, including me, with such enjoyment.

A quote I just happened across is apt for this post.  It’s by Sandor McNab.  He writes:

Nothing determines who we will become so much as those things we choose to ignore.

So, as of now, TODAY, I choose not only to ignore, but I choose the absence of ignorance!

A blissful ignorance?  Yes, in this case a self-imposed ignorance is indeed bliss. (I abhor any kind of ignorance and hardly think it is truly bliss, but in this instance, I make an exception to the rule.)

Doesn’t it make perfect sense to never get to the place of ignorance in the first place?  That, to me, is empowering.

You see, by not even getting to a state of ignorance, we avoid giving terrible people (who do or say awful things), any power whatsoever.

They have no power over us unless we give them power.  Ignoring them is a choice, yes, but will we eventually get to a place where we won’t need to “choose” to ignore them – they will “be” ignored?

I think so.  Two negatives do not make a positive.  My mom always told me – you surely heard this one too – “two wrongs don’t make it right.”  Anger breeds anger.  Hate, hate.

It is far more powerful to choose gratitude rather than anger.

If negative thoughts derive from the negative actions that are witnessed in others, instead of dwelling and wallowing in the anger of it, can we choose to be grateful instead?

Yes, I believe so… but, how?

It’s about thought process.

  • If I hear something negative about me or others; I could choose to turn my attention to something beautiful like the sight of Herons, butterflies, or, the sound of a child’s laughter; what the waves sound like and what the sand would feel like between my toes at the beach.
  • If a loud and aggressive person talks over me and ignores me in a meeting, I will be thankful for the time it gives me to sneak a peak and re-read a lovely email from a friend; glance at a photo that I love, or daydream about an upcoming event.
  • When somebody is loud and unruly in the office and it’s difficult to think; I won’t care because it’s the perfect opportunity to listen to a brand new CD.

This is what I did today:

I noticed the sky outside my office window was steel-blue and the clouds were so enormous and made delightful shapes in the sky.

So, I said “thank you” out loud to no one in particular.

I felt (as I often do) that I have more work than I could ever finish; so I said a little gratitude-prayer  because I have a job when so many are unemployed.

So, I said “thank you” out loud to no one in particular.

I got a new project today that will be a bear.  I allowed my fingers to enjoy how it felt to flip through the mountains of reports that I must read.  I let the paper feel good in my hands and I enjoyed the smear of color that my highlighter made as it painted a splotchy yellow swipe across words that I found to be important on each page.

I said “thank you” out loud to no one in particular.

I found a piece of Orbit Peppermint Bubble Gum in my suit jacket from the last time I’d worn it.  My mouth literally watered in anticipation of chewing it.

And I said “thank you” out loud to myself in particular!

Do you see what I mean about gratitude?

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