Words can be twisted into any shape. Promises can be made to lull the heart and seduce the soul. In the final analysis, words mean nothing. They are labels we give things in an effort to wrap our puny little brains around their underlying natures, when ninety-nine percent of the time the totality of the reality is an entirely different beast. The wisest man is the silent one. Examine his actions. Judge him by them.
Karen Marie Moning
When I was young, if my mom made a decision about something it was over. I wasn’t expected to make a speech expressing my disappointment and opposition to her ruling because I thought her reason for making me stay home from the party was invalid because it went against what I wanted. I had the right to an opinion and for everyone’s well being, I kept it to myself. I was taught to respect authority and especially my parents. These days, long after the ruling comes down or the vote is over, people are given the opportunity to express themselves. It doesn’t change the outcome and the bottom line stays the same. What it does though is demean or devalue the process. When did our opinions become so important that we all started to believe we had the right to be heard. An obligation almost. I know all about freedom of speech but I’m pretty sure what is going on today is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind. Maybe we need to add freedom to be quiet so we find a place of balance between the two. I guess what I’m trying to say is people talk too much and listen too little. When everyone forces their words on everyone else, we put up barriers. We stop wanting to listen to crying over spilled milk. There comes a time when enough is enough but people never seem to learn to put those limits on themselves. It’s about what I want, what I need and I’m gonna keep talking about it until you are sick of my voice. Hear me now? No? Not yet? I will talk longer and louder and plan speeches until you don’t hear anything else but what I have to say. That is the attitude and thinking of many today. I just want to find some quiet. A safe place to curl up with a blanket and listen to the rain or the wind. I want to be free of voices and dissension and disrespect and opinions because those things hold no value in my little corner of the world. Maybe that is why I love blogging. It is a quiet obsession. I’m not forcing anyone to hear my words. Reading my blogs is their choice and I can’t speak any louder if someone isn’t listening. It simply is what it is. I pray we find a way to be more tolerant and respectful of one another. We are ego driven, selfish human beings and it’s time to fix our mistakes. One can only hope I’m not the only one who feels this way but who knows. Just be kind. Listen at least as much as you talk and praise at least as much as you demean. Let’s start there.
Tough love. I’ve been raised with it and now I practice it on my own kids. I can’t help but ask myself, where do we draw the line? When do we reach the perfect amount of tough? I see tough all around me. Tough words, tougher actions and a very deep part of me quietly longs for gentleness. I’m tired of tough. Its exhausting trying to stay tough in a world that is already tough enough. We have an excess of toughness. We are fighters of things, everything. I don’t want to be tough anymore. Sometimes I forget that I don’t have to follow the rules. I can make my own. But how can I learn to soften when I spent years trying to toughen up? My intention and word for the month is soften. Time to soften that tense spot in the middle of my forehead. Time to soften my voice, my posture, my words, my thoughts, my heart. I’m done with tough for a while. I don’t want to beat people up, I want to be a soft place to fall. And you know what? I need the same as well. I don’t need people to tell me what I need to hear, I need support, compassion, understanding and love. I need someone to look past my flaws and mistakes and love me the way I am. I need someone to build me up not tear me down. Don’t we all need more of that? Being tough encourages tough so maybe the opposite is true as well. We are out of balance and it is time to tip the scale back in the other direction. We live in a place of extremes and I am desperately seeking real estate someplace in between.
I’ve heard so many people put conditions on happiness lately. I’d be happy with this… I’d be happy if that. You can try your best to put conditions on people and anything else in your life but one thing I know for sure is if you try and put conditions on happiness, you will never experience what the word has to offer. It is what it is whether you like it or not. Wishing won’t change reality, wanting won’t change it either. You simply choose to be happy in the reality in which you live or you don’t. It’s that simple. You can fight against everything you don’t want or you can be grateful and happy amidst the things in your life you are fortunate to have that you do want. You fight or you love. You create positive energy or you spread negative energy. There’s always a choice. You can beg and plead and negotiate in your mind but until you learn to choose happiness where you are right now and in every moment, you will be negotiating for something that will never be negotiable. Life isn’t about what you want and you don’t decide what you do and don’t get. Some of us draw some crappy cards and others have all the chips fall into their hands. You cannot always change your circumstances but you can change the way you react to them. Sometimes you have to see something a different way to make it look tolerable. If your a fighter, there will always be a fight waiting to present itself. If your a lover, something or someone to love will always be present in your life. We have more power than we think. We just aren’t smart enough to use it to change our own lives.
I was looking through photos yesterday and I was amazed at how we change as time moves on. We don’t see it from day to day but compare this years picture to last and the evidence is there. So often I find myself saying, I”ll start tomorrow. I’ll do better tomorrow. I’ll be in a good mood tomorrow. Tomorrow’s find a way of sticking together and before I know it, years have gone by and I’ve missed out on celebrating today because I am always focused on what’s coming next.
What if tomorrow doesn’t come? This is your reminder to be awesome today. Stick to the diet, go for the run, be the person you promised you’d be before you closed your eyes to go to sleep last night. You can do it today and everyday. Change is often so slight that we hardly notice it. We discourage ourselves by convincing our silly minds that one pound is not enough and one good day is barely noticeable. Celebrate those subtle changes everyday. Honor your accomplishes like they are the biggest thing you have ever achieved. Build yourself up and encourage yourself to keep going. Find the strength to say, I AM AMAZING EACH AND EVERYDAY and someone else’s standards will not define me or become my own. I don’t have to wait for tomorrow and who I am does not need to be conditional based on how I think I measure up or against someone’s unfair expectations of me. Those conditions hold me back. They make me feel like a failure because they blind me to all the wonderful things I do and the amazing person I already am. There is no need for perfection. We are already perfect just the way we are and there is no need to strive for something that is no more than a illusion created in our own minds. So again, today be amazing. Be you. Let the world adjust. In a world where our effort is ignored and perfection is the expectation, embrace your imperfection. It is the very thing that makes you real. You are already enough.
From the time we are born, our parents tell us how special we are. We throw tantrums until we get what we want and then we grow into adults. Somewhere along the way, we missed the part where the world doesn’t accommodate us anymore after a certain age. We cannot special order the world, people, our president, or an outcome the way we can special order eggs at a favorite, local restaurant. The truth is, we are all special in our way but not so special that what we want holds more value than what someone else may want. The world does not owe you or anyone else a single thing. As an adult, we must learn to adapt to whatever is and to find a way to survive in situations that make us uncomfortable. We don’t get a fuzzy blanket wrapped around us every time we are cold and a lollipop each time we bump an elbow on the same corner of the wall. We don’t have the right to make everyone else’s life miserable because things in our own life are in disarray. We have to leave the tantrums behind because the result of this ridiculous behavior is stealing any chance for peace for people just trying to make ends meet while wanting desperately to live a happy, decent life. Just my two cents. I know life is hard but all the lollipops have been handed out. You have to learn to do this without a reward.
I get it. Time keeps ticking. We are forced to keep moving with the motion of the clock.. There is a small part of me though that wishes I could go back. A part of me that wants a second chance to pay more attention so the memories are clearer and crisper in my mind. I was looking at a picture of my son from four years ago. He looks so small and naive at 11 years old. He was still my baby then and I felt like I had the power to protect him. He turns 15 tomorrow and the physical changes between then and now are astonishing. I can only wonder how many changes have occurred internally. The world changes as we get older. At least our perception of it does. Our openness slowly narrows, our faith gets tangled. Our beliefs change and get challenged with the passing of each new day. Four years ago he was a different boy. I was different back then too. Change is inevitable and necessary but once in awhile I long for the simplicity of years ago. I miss the days when we would throw the sleeping bags and pillows on the floor and make a mess with popcorn as we argued over which movie to watch. I miss the days I didn’t know I couldn’t hold onto my kids forever and I was too caught up to ever think there would come a time those days of camping out on the floor would come to an end. As I sit here today, I realize more than ever how little control I have over anything. All I can do is hope that the good moments slow down long enough to imprint the permanence of this memory of him in my mind. I know I can’t physically go back but as long as I have the memories I can linger there from time to time. It seems like yesterday, I was bringing him home from the hospital on that rainy day. How did fifteen years pass by so fast? It seems like a blur. He’s desperately trying to grow up too fast and I’m desperately trying to hold onto my little boy. Happy birthday Chase. Slow down just a little because I’m having a tough time keeping up. Time waits for no-one. Ready or not, here it comes.