What Kind of Person Are You?

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We can certainly blame others for our words and actions but at the end of the day we own every decision we make. I remember as a small child using someone else as an excuse for my behavior. My mothers response was always the same, “if someone told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?”  Of course my answer was always no. Why as a society do we have the need to place blame on someone? Why do we feel the need to inflict shame on someone already going through a difficult set on circumstances? What the world needs is a little less shaming and a lot more loving and understanding. Which category do you fit into? Are you a shamer or an understander? 

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Who Are You?

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I am always amazed when I meet someone new. I love connecting with people and rediscovering the dying art of communication. Interacting with others and sharing a part of my soul with someone, feels like what I am meant to do. If I can touch one life or bring light to a heart thats been trapped in the dark, then I have served my purpose well.

What am I really here for? I have contemplated that question time and time again. There is a quote that has really challenged me to find purpose in my life beyond the superficial things that determine someone’s importance. We are so much more than the clothes that we wear. We are not any more or less if we drive a BMW or a beat up Chevrolet. We are more than our job, the amount of money we make and who others think we are. Whether we live in as mansion or a trailer, we all have unlimited value. We are a walking miracle so blessed to have this journey with so many other miracles all around us. Ask yourself, am I open to miracles? Do I allow life to flow through my veins or do I spend time making mental lists of all the reasons I hate my life? Am I allowing love or witholding it? I am often amazed at the one question that always comes up when I meet somebody new. Can you take a guess what it is? Think about something you would ask at the start of a new friendship or even with a stranger that you meet by chance.

What do you do for work? What do you do?

It’s like a blow to my heart every, single time. It is a reminder that we are more concerned with what someone is rather than who someone is. I never quite know how to answer that question. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I do my best to spread kindness and love. I am a keeper of peace, a gentle soul with a sensitive mind. I feel deeply and I hope to inspire everyone I meet even in the smallest way. My job, my purpose is to be who I am and to walk each step robed in gratitude. Everything I do, everyone I meet serves a purpose beyond what I’ll even know. I am a writer, a wife, a nurse, a daughter, a mother but those things are not me. They are not who I am but different hats that I take on and off to fit into the mold of how society needs to label me. I am nameless, undefinable but if you look at me close you will recognize me. I am you and you are me and no word is worthy of the enormity of what that means. We are losing that connection because we become the labels that place us in into little piles where we sit in the same room together but we never seem to dance. People decide who we are and that’s who we think we are. Yet, it is not true. It is purely what we are. We are confusing the two. We just stay put in our neat little box with our label marked in permanent marker. It’s safe there. 

We are beyond the color of our eyes or the color of our skin, where we work, what kind of grades we got in school but we can find each other if we notice that little light that shines from our eyes. When we connect with our eyes, we are one. That is where we will discover there is so much depth beyond the surface. That is when we realize that what we are is the part everyone sees. It’s like wrapping paper but inside that packaging is something so beautiful, so amazing and perfectly hidden. No human being can ever really know that part of you. You may not even know that part of you if you have stopped connecting with that part of you. The wrapping is obvious but perceived differently by every one of us. It’s pretty, tall, motivated, angry, compassion, love, hatred. Wrapping can make someone appealing or it can make someone ordinary. What’s inside though is none of those things. Even though we have come to believe it is. We are all extraordinary beyond the wrapping.

Next time someone asks you what you do, smile and say I do love. What do you do?

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

What Do You Do All Day?

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My daughters friend was hanging out at our house the other day. We talked life, politics, characteristics of good role models. It was nice to have a conversation with 16 year olds about topics with substance. They were really interested and had strong opinions of their own. As I was making dinner, the girl looked at me and said, “I don’t know how you stay home all day. I could never do it, I’d be so bored”. I took a deep breath and realized I had a choice. I could either sink back and feel bad about myself, I could just blow it off or I could educate her on the value of having one spouse/parent stay at home. I told her about the way things used to be when I was a kid and both parents were not outside the home working. I explained how the person at home kept everything, everyone connected. I explained that when less people were in the work force, there were more good paying jobs and opportunity. I believe families have to do what is right for them. For me, for my family, the choice to be home was the right one. I no longer feel the need to explain what exactly I do all day. I keep things ticking and moving like a CEO in a corporation. I oversee everyone and everything. I am here when someone forgot money for lunch or accidentally left a paper home. I am there to transport the basketball team when there is a mix up and the bus leaves without them. I Make sure the house is always clean, the clothes are always washed and most of the time there is dinner on the table. I am the rock that sits at that table and encourages family time and communication. I am the one who stays up worrying about my kids when I am sure that there is something wrong. AND, sometimes I admit, I do watch a soap opera or two. My value and worth does not reside in the position I have or the work that I do. Women and men need to understand that although a job is important, it is just a job and doesn’t define who we are. Young girls need to know that being a mom and raising kids and organizing the home is important too. It may not pay well but the sacrifice is worth the benefits in the end. There will be plenty of years to fit it all in, to create a home environment and to have a career. Volunteering at Hospice and making a difference is an important part of nursing as much as working on a floor in a hospital. People can use their education and their skill set to do so many things, open so many doors. I may not be technically working but I am applying and contributing to what I know. At the end of my life I won’t ask myself what did I do, how many years have I worked. I will ask myself, how have I served and did I use my gifts to make the world a better place. I do believe I have. I don’t have to hold a job to feel good about who I am. I know many people who do need that position to feel they have worth. What happens when they lose the job? What happens to the person then?

I Dare You

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If you want people to be kinder, kill them with kindness. If you want people to be nicer, be nicer than you ever imagined. If you want to see more compassion, walk around with your heart on your sleeve. Live happily, love unconditionally and be an example who others will want to follow. This is how you create change. Don’t sit back and wait for it. Be the change, spread the change, encourage the change. Go ahead, I dare you.

The Hate Generation

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This is a message to haters and all haters of haters. Hate seems to be creeping into the lives and hearts of many. We hate people who are a different color, a different religion. Heck, now we even hate people who are intolerant to our own standards. Hate is a pretty strong word and the feeling behind it reminds me of a tornado, picking up everyone in its path and eventually leaving nothing but devastation and wreckage. We feel justified in speaking out for what we believe, but in doing so we stir the pot. It gets bigger and bigger until it is spilling over and the hate, judgement, insults, bad behavior and negative energy is poisoning everyone in its path. NEWSFLASH, I don’t care what you believe. I don’t care about your passion for a cause. There is no justification in spreading or encouraging hate. There is no justification for being mean, cruel or disrespectful to someone else because they think differently than you do. Who do you even think you are that you believe your beliefs are more valid than someone else’s. You do not have the right to shove your thoughts and beliefs on anyone else. The outcome is not what you expect. You are not getting people to jump on your cause train. You are pissing people off…stirring the pot violently until there is push back. Is that what you want? I will say this again. I don’t care who you are or what you believe. Everyone has value and deserves respect. This fighting, this knocking, this disgusting infestation of hate disguised as our latest cause is killing people literally. I hear people speak about what is best for the greater good. There is not one belief I can think of that everyone would agree on. I have an idea though. You can bet your bottom dollar that more mutual respect, kindness, and peace would be three things most wouldn’t argue would change this place we live in for the better. Will your beliefs do that? Will “fighting” for what you want serve the world? Fighting leads to violence, anger, hatred. Of wow, maybe that’s why we seem to be stuck there now. Be accountable for the energy you bring to your space. Whether it is a room, a Facebook page, a tweet or a simple conversation. What is it you are actually spreading? How are you really changing the world? Rant over.

The Self Serving Mentality

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Like most parents, I am having issues with my children. How in the world do we get them to be grateful for the things we do? I often wonder if I have created some of the problems myself. It’s hard to know how to parent kids who are growing up in a different world than I did. Entitlement seems to be a good things these days. That doesn’t sit right with me. I was brought up to respect and fear my parents. I wouldn’t even dare think to not do something they asked. That doesn’t mean I didn’t give them lip service or an occasional eye roll but I did it what they asked, eventually, every time. Kids don’t seem to have the same respect or fear of authority that I did growing up. They are self centered and it is difficult to stand back and watch.

Just today on the way to school my daughter was expressing how annoyed she is that her friend doesn’t drive to school. What right does she even have to dare choose an opinion in the first place. It has nothing to do with her right? Ahhh, but yes it does because it’s chilly and she doesn’t want to walk across the street in the cold to get lunch so she skips lunch. When I asked why she doesn’t eat in the cafeteria she responded the food there tastes disgusting and when I finally suggested she bring a lunch to school, she told me she didn’t have time. My heart hurts. She can take the time and energy to complain about every little thing and even be creative enough to come up with a thousand reasons why something is the way it is but did I not raise her to think of a million reasons to solve a problem or do something for herself? It’s disheartening to say the least. I’m a fixer, a doer. Got a problem? I’ll find a solution. The constant complaining and playing the victim is excruciating to watch. Ask not what I can do for others but what they can do for me. Sigh! It’s against everything I stand for.

Be an example to others. Be a doer. Offer solutioms. Stay positive and maybe someday the negative self serving Nellies will come around. What’s a parent to do but give parenting the best shot they possibly can. Every day is a challenge and every day is a choice to rise above the petty little selfish teen mentality and not engage in it and certainly not fuel the fire. For now, I will take a deep breath and hope like every other phase, this one passes too.

Don’t Let Anyone Put YOU in a Box

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We are always placed neatly into little boxes. We are categorized, placed inside and then it’s duct taped tight until we become stuck, trapped in our little prison until eventually we believe that box is home.

One of my greatest challenges as a parent is to make home bigger than any box. It is an uphill battle every single minute to teach my kids to think outside the box. It is only when their mind believes they belong in one that they remain trapped. Life is constantly defining who we are. You are varsity, jv, a team, b team. It’s what whispers quietly behind those labels that destroys the potential of what someday we are now guaranteed to never be. What do those words REALLY mean? You are awesome, you are the best, you are average, you suck, you are the bottom of the heap. We use these words in the name of sports and competition and convince ourselves that these lessons are necessary for us to grow. Really? Grow what? Greatness? Suckness? I guess it depends on who you are. Grow where, in our little box that someone else gets to stick us in. Our label of talent, be it work, school, sports, whatever, puts us in a place that eventually cuts off our very own spirit until we become exactly who people tell us we are.

What can you do about it? What can any of us do about it? I don’t have all the answers but I can tell you what I do. I build their spirits up so great that they will never be contained by a little cardboard box. I tell them that hard work and effort and character and attitude all outweigh that little piece of talent determined by someone else. Those traits are so much larger than the confines of another’s opinion. They are like a magic key that will guarantee you will never belong to someone’s opinion, you will never be someone else’s prisoner.

If I’m being honest, we are not labeled by our determination or even our talent. We are just simply labeled and that label is handed to us by someone who has no idea of a single ingredient we are actually made of. That is his truth and not ours and it is not even the truth at all. Rip that box open. Have the courage to fight your way out and step into the box you know you really belong in. Don’t close it up. Stand proud and say this is who I am and I decide where I belong. Then the box that could have been a prison will be a gift to everyone your life touches. You will be a hero, a voice and an inspiration for the ones who choose to remain trapped. Don’t be a victim. Be a hero.