Clean out those mental closets

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Sometimes while thinking about our life we can see the places where we went off the track. It can be quite disturbing. Often we don’t want to open the doors of those closets where we have stored our missteps. The truth is that is how we learn. Looking back we can usually see very clearly how we stumbled off the path. The good news is we can also see how we got back on it.

Don’t be afraid to throw open the doors of your mental closets, sweep out the dirt, and leave it clean. Each day of life is an opportunity to learn something new. Take advantage of it.

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We can learn and remember with music

There is something about music that moves my soul. Music can take me to another place quickly. Many times music will touch a place inside and bring me to tears. There are so many kinds of music that I like. There are very few that don’t touch me in some way.

Music can lift us when we are down. It does have to be the right thing. Listening to something depressing when you are already sad is a mistake. There are some songs that just force you to feel better especially if you sing along.

I will never forget the Muppets singing about being mad. I made sure that my children learned that song and could sing it when angry. I seemed to bring perspective to those feelings.

We also don’t teach as much with music as we could. I have a song taught by a college biology professor that I have never forgotten. My children can still sing the preamble to the constitution learned in Schoolhouse Rock. I recently learned that one of my favorite people here in Savannah was key to creating that series. His talent was amazing. He is now gone by never forgotten. His name was Ben Tucker, a bass player who player with almost all the old jazz groups, and knew everyone in the music world.

Music helps us to learn and I still wonder why learning this way isn’t used more. If you didn’t grow up hearing those teaching moments here is an example.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mystery is allowed

We are surrounded by mystery. Though hard for us to accept we don’t have control over many things. We would like to be in control. We yearn to be in control but ultimately we are not.

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We prefer to make decisions trusting that they will happen as we planned. We make judgments about right and wrong, about people, about events. We can make quick certain and smug judgments. We are so sure that our way is the right way. We are sure that life will follow the path we have set. We are so wrong.

This inability to accept our powerlessness can make us blind and unwilling to see the truth. We can say “don’t bother me with the truth, I want to be in control.” We see ourselves as all knowing. We cover our heads and stick with own ideas. This action leads to a lack of willingness to see any other way. It makes us unable to have compassion for others and their thoughts and ideas.

We choose not to see our own biases, imperfections and wrongness. We do not look deep inside ourselves to find the “shadow self” who hides there.

There is so much that we do not know or understand. Pat answers lead us nowhere. We have to see the world as it is in all its mystery. We have to be willing to step out into the unknown. We have to face doubt and fear and understand that they are part of life.

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We must learn to accept the ambiguous and the anxiety it can cause. To not know the answers is understandable in the world we inhabit. I don’t think we will ever have all the answers and the truth is we don’t have to know.

 

“AHA” a new tool for me

I didn’t write yesterday as I came home exhausted from taking a class on Community Conferencing. This is a program that works with the school, courts, police, to deflect teens with offences to a resolution process instead of getting them into the system. The trainers told us that where they are teens who have been through this process are 60% less likely to re-offend. I will see how this works for me.

One of the people who was also training told us about a way she looks at people’s differences and how they live. She broke it down into this.

Tolerance: She is tolerant of how others live and their opinions.

Acceptance: She will accept that the way may not be her way.

Approval: This is where she steps back and feels she doesn’t have to approve.

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This makes so much sense to me. I may not agree with you but I can be tolerant about your life and your opinions and accept that you want to live that way but I don’t have to approve of it.

This is a way to break it down into pieces and be a tolerant and accepting person without agreeing with what it is. There are people who I love but cannot approve of their lifestyle. For me, it is usually when I see it as hurtful to them or others.

This may not work or help some people but for me It was sort of an “aha” moment. Another tool to put in my toolbox and help me understand and move on.

With thanks to Yolandra for this insight!

Explore options

My husband has taught me over the years some comments that he lives by. One of my favorites is “there is always a solution…it may not be the one you envisioned or wanted but there is one.”

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I have so often found this to be true. Sometimes the idea that we have can’t be done the ordinary way. We don’t need to give up but be willing to search until we come up with something else that will work. This kind of thinking has lead me to be creative in my solutions and come up with ideas that I might not have found before. It helps me to not give up.

Over the years I have seen my husband (a structural engineer) receive awards for buildings that he was told “it can’t be done that way.” He does it. It works and stands the test of time.

I know that over the years he has learned things from me too. I am a people person and am astute at judging motives and at nudging out the truth. People usually open up to me. I am absolutely no good at math and engineering. I have always been the literature/psychology person.

When I was young I wanted to be a nurse but thought I couldn’t get through the science part to get to the people part. My first college degree was History/Music. Later in life I made up my mind to defy my fears and sturdy nursing. I found out I could do the science since I love learning about human anatomy, diseases and how to help those with problems related to them.

My people skills led to living the last 20 years of my career as a parish nurse. This brought all of my experience, skills and faith and wrapped them up in one package. It was an amazing experience.

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I always tell young people to not worry if they don’t know their passion or their path right away. Just leap out and do something. You have time to do many things and pursue many ideas in your life. Never give up exploring. Something you thought early on may change with time and experience. It is never too late to make changes if you have the desire and the drive to do it. As my husband’s quote says there always is a solution. It may not be the first one you find. Jut keep on and try different things until it works!

Time for checking in

roundtoitTomorrow is Ash Wednesday for us Christians. I actually love Lent. For me, Lent is a time for reflection…a time to assess where I am. I usually plan to take on something as well as give up something. I find it more difficult to take on something. I usually begin reading a book that I should have read already. I have books on my shelf that I meant to read but never got around to it. I have pulled two books from my shelf and would like to get through both of them. We’ll see.

Taking time out to reflect can be scary. It is possible to find gaps in our lives and thinking. We may uncover the flaws. This can be upsetting. Nevertheless this is work I need to do even if it finds the things I need to change.

However, it can also be a time of affirmation. It is important to also look at the good things and see where I am gaining in knowledge and strength. It will show me where my accumulated wisdom has helped me to make changes in myself and to help others.

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This all sounds very grand. But 40 days is a big block of time and I want to use it well. I am glad that my particular faith sets this time aside. If not I would probably skip it altogether.

Thank you

Yesterday I wrote a post that was thought provoking. I knew it wouldn’t be some people’s cup of tea. That, in fact, was the case. Sometimes when we write we don’t think about how others interpret our words. The thing that I love about word press is that the resulting comments were so kind and clearly looked for my meaning. That is so appreciated.

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This forum has brought nothing but kindly worded comments even if there were differences about what was posted. This is a great blessing. I know that putting my thoughts to paper do not always speak clearly what I mean. This does happen. It is so nice to know that we can communicate with kindness AND honesty. There are so many places that sharing thoughts does not get that kind of response.

I want to say how happy I am to communicate in a place that allows us to share, agree, disagree, and still keep the conversation going. This also gives us the chance to maybe give a clearer meaning to our words.

Thank you Word Press community.

Waiting for what?

waiting isnt punishmentThe other night I had the strangest dream. I was in a situation where all I did was wait. I won’t explain the whole dream but it was obvious waiting was the point. I was with others and waited for hours. I got very upset and angry because the wait was due to poor management.

I don’t like confusion, poor planning, and waiting.

Years ago I learned the response to poor planning: “poor planning on your part does not constitute and emergency on mine.” I actually used it once and then felt so bad that I have never said it again.

I think the dream was trying to remind me that there are times when we have to wait and we need to do it patiently. We also have to remember what we are waiting for, This season before Christmas is Advent. The dictionary says that Advent is: the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. If you are Christian then the wait is for the Christ child.

I am not sure in this day and age how seriously we consider this. There is so much else….shopping, parties, baking, decorating and sometimes traveling. We are so busy that there is not time. I doubt that those who are celebrating other holidays do any better at paying attention to the meaning of the holiday. I hope some do.

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During this time before Christmas I plan to  concentrate on the meaning of it all and try to move away from concentration on gifts and gatherings. I hope that my times of meditation and contemplation will help me to focus on what I am waiting for.

Keep writing!

As I read the blogs in my reader and explore the writings of those who read my blog I am struck by the wideness of differences in our lives. Yet, we are alike. Something written has caused us to connect in some way.

The view of lives in far away places and close to home expands my understanding. I see the simple, everyday moments people experience and I feel a kinship with their thoughts. The writing is a window into other lives. We are more alike than we are different. Most of the joys and sorrows are the same. Most of us encounter love and hate. Most of us have seen grief in some way. Most of us long for a better, more loving world.

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Surely this glimpse into another life, another world, will draw us closer together. Understanding blocks hatred. The desire to reach out and draw closer will surely open the path to deeper relationships where hatred has no home. We can give love the chance to grow and encompass those around us.

Keep writing!