Character

ethics-2991600_640I found a little saying in a magazine many years ago, clipped it, and pinned it to my bulletin board at work.

“Character – Be True to your Word, your Work and your Friends.”

fashion-3080181_640You can be a character, eccentric and colorful, or an actor in a movie, play or book.  I like to think I’m a little bit colorful.  But the other definition spoke to me more.

“The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.”  To me, this definition speaks of integrity whose definition is much the same.  Another simple way of saying this is “say what you mean and mean what you say.”

 

Character or integrity should be an important aspect of who we are.  If you are wishy-washy or evasive, people will lose trust in you.  Integrity is a favorable quality to have in your work, one that will get you recognition, promotions and possibly more money.  Having integrity will build character and that will earn respect.  You can be likeable and even lovable, but if you don’t have integrity you won’t get respect.

business-1869266_640Stand by your word.  Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes – you will actually get more respect by being honest and truthful.  It also helps if you step up to the plate and take action to repair the damage, even if you have to ask for help.

If someone asks you to do something that compromises your integrity, say no.  If you know that what you are doing is legally, ethically and morally right, stand on that and follow through.  Saying no to someone’s demand that you do something in opposition to that, might momentarily get you in trouble, but ultimately you will be respected and recognized for doing the right thing.

God knows we have so many people with so few ethics, that you need to hold onto every little bit you have.

Because, really, the only person you really have to answer to is yourself.

 

 

Parts Unknown – Heaven

clouds-2709662_640The 2nd in a week, Anthony Bourdain was found dead of apparent suicide. May he rest in peace.

anthony-bourdain-parts-unknownHis TV show, Parts Unknown, was entertaining and interesting and pulled us out of our busy world and into adventure. Anthony lived life to the fullest, sucking every last drop of fun out of his existence. A self-proclaimed alcoholic and prior drug user, he battled his demons through his passion for food. Heaven will be eating well.

 

restaurant-2697945_640Like Kate Spade, creativity appeared to be the outlet for all the good within. Something beautiful, whether a handbag or a dish to be savored for an evening, their true self and soul shined through. We have all benefited from their contributions.

Addictions typically mask pain. Many people are afraid to deal with their pain for the fear that it will never go away. You MUST feel, then deal and THEN you will heal. You don’t have to do it alone and there is no shame in asking for help. Your family and friends don’t need to know the details. Surprisingly, pain can be present in your life from birth. It comes in from past lives. I realize that not everyone believes in this, but I know it to be true. Why else can a small child, in a pleasant environment, display “issues”?

If you battle addictions, mental illness, or ongoing negative behavior patterns, please do something to heal yourself. There is nothing in your life that can’t be replaced with something better. You are a beautiful human being. Your needs, your feelings, your very life is important to the Universe. You are here for a greater purpose. Maybe you are here to teach someone else that you can recover from whatever troubles you and live peacefully. Maybe there is a culinary delight or fabulous handbag in your future.

I wonder what’s for dinner in The Universe Cafe tonight? Cheers, Anthony.

Bon Voyage and Godspeed, Dear Kate

41OLqVyQ+iL._AC_US327_QL65_I, like many people, was shocked and saddened to hear about the passing of Kate Spade. Kate, as we know, was the brilliant mind behind cute, quirky and beautiful handbags, shoes, clothing and housewares. I own 2 pairs of shoes and 5 of her fabulous bags and would love to have a collection. I bet they will be hard to find now.

IMG_0087

What really saddens me is her method. The report is of suicide. Darling Kate, what could have been so awful in your life for this to happen? Most anything can be fixed or replaced with something better. The only thing that would warrant a suicide is a painful, terminal illness and even then, don’t go it alone. There are doctors to help with that sort of thing.

We see this played out often in daily life. Someone with mental illness, severe depression, addictions, or severe pain – all truly a crisis. But there is always help. We get too far mired down in our own muck and we somehow can’t believe that there is anyone out there who cares or will help. We have distanced ourselves with too much technology and social media and forget how to reach out and hold someone’s hand. We don’t talk – we text. I read that you can even have Alexa or somesuch read your child a bedtime story. WTF.

Mental illness typically has roots in a chemical imbalance in the brain. We know that there are plenty of chemicals out there to balance them. However, some of the most simple things can change your brain chemicals. And one of them is human touch. A hug. A hand to hold. Tears to share. Laughter to lighten up. A kiss goodnight. Even petting your cat or dog will stir up the good chemicals. Do YOU do any of these things? There is ALWAYS someone out there who will hold your hand when you most need it. A nurse in the hospital. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know them, the chemicals will activate. Human beings are not meant to be alone so don’t suffer alone. Find someone to talk to if you find yourself sinking into a dark place. There is always another path for you.

Rest In Peace, Kate Spade, and thank you for bringing something for us all to smile about.

Tech No File

broken-153601_640Last weekend, my laptop experienced a heart attack.  I immediately applied the paddles, in the form of Restore and Repair.  It was on life support all through the night and into the next day.  I feared the worst so off to Best Buy I went and came home with Big Dog Dell.password-222331_640

 

 

 

Oddly enough, a few days before I had the thought that the next computer I bought should be a desktop.  Hmmm.  Universe warning me?

I carted the Big Dog into the house and found that my laptop came out of its coma.  Well, sh*t.  I decided to keep Big Dog as it would take me further into the future when I won’t have the income readily available.  Living in a three-story house where all the computers are on the third floor. . . well it would be nice to have one on floor one.  We have a tablet, but it doesn’t like me very much so the laptop would be handy-dandy.

Big Dog sits proudly on my desk.  It has enough ports and slots that I could connect the entire house should I choose.  It could probably power it too, but lest I get carried away I started with the simple things.  It ran through the usual I-must-update-from-my-factory-settings-for-an-hour and then it was my turn.  I loaded up the anti-terrorist/hacking/viral/socialranting software.  Printer.  Office 365.  And then it was recommended to set up a recovery drive.  I thought that was a good idea since I just experienced the cardiac event.

It was then I made the classic rookie mistake.

The available drives were: C: which everyone knows is the hard drive where all the working stuff lives, so don’t touch it; Seagate Hard Drive – an external drive that I keep photos, music and various documents in case the C: croaks; and then it listed F: with some name I never heard of.  Okay, that’s the place to put the recovery drive.  So I selected it and it said it would delete all files on it.  Well, since it wasn’t something I knew about I figured there shouldn’t be anything there.  Right?

apocalypse-2801597_640As soon as it started, the Seagate disappeared.  F*ck.  I cancelled the process and checked the Seagate.  Every last mother-f*cking file was gone.  Double F.*.C.K.  I decided that I would not beat myself up for such a colossally stupid mistake.  Surely to God there is a way to recover the files.  By now, all you techies out there are alternately laughing yourselves silly and shaking your head in sympathy.  I wish you had been there to help.  I unplugged said destroyed black box of death and loaded up the internet.  I landed on the EaseUS website and they indeed had a recovery utility tool that could suck files from the bowels of death.  I paid the 70 bucks and downloaded the program.

code-1689066_640They weren’t kidding.  It ran the initial scan and recovered FAT tables and such.  Okay. Then it went into “Deep Scan” and hit the motherlode.  Ten Thousand – yes that is 10,000 – files later it finished.  OMFG.  I had that much crap?!  It’s going to take a few weeks to get through all that.

I’ve said it many times, and at times with my teeth clenched, that the Universe will deliver us a good solid whack on the head when we need it.  Good things are coming out of this little death.  Several months ago, I uploaded photos and music to the Great Hard Drive In The Sky as a secondary backup.  That was the first place I looked to recover files.  And discovered that not everything had uploaded.  Lesson 1 – if you save something somewhere, close out and go back and check to make sure it is there.  Lesson 2 – if you save stuff either to your C:, the Drive in the Sky, flash drive, CD (yes they still exist), SIM card, external drive or a folder in your desk, look in those places at least once a year and pitch the sh*t that is no longer relevant to your life.  You will be happy you did, unless you really want to view those 10,000 restored files.  As I started opening each of the files that had been in the bowels of the Seagate, I found that a good portion of them just needed to be flushed away.  Into the trash bin they went.

I have to look at all the music and photos I saved, both from the recovery and from the Drive In The Sky, and decide what to keep and make sure I save them in both places.  It feels pretty good, actually.  Near death experiences do that to you.  Help you get a perspective on what you want, need and want to maintain.

I’m going to put a sticky note on the Big Dog to remind myself to clean out my stored crap once a year.  Especially those really awful pictures.  You know the kind I’m talking about.

Will & Grace

will-and-grace[1]I have never watched the show, but I don’t watch much TV.  So I don’t know much about it.  I am talking about your Will, as in your personal power and Grace, staying calm and cool under pressure.

In today’s crazy times, it is very easy to lose your cool and have a public meltdown. H*ll, we see it all the time on the news! Doesn’t mean that we all want to witness that, much less be the one who wails like a two-year-old.

Having a Will is healthy as it means that you have a sense of self and appropriate boundaries. Will helps you get up in the morning. Will gets you to the gym to do something about that beer gut. (Yes, you know it’s there.) Will gets you to survive and thrive. Will helps you write that novel.

man-1207675_640But the most important thing that Will does for you is getting you to stand up for yourself. You have a right to your beliefs. You have a right to your emotions. You have a right to be safe and cared for. Will doesn’t do this at the expense or pain of anyone or anything else. That’s Will’s black-sheep cousins, Coward and Narcissist.

When Will stands up for your beliefs, Will needs to invite Grace to the party. Grace acts with dignity. Grace remains calm, but stands firm. Grace has an inner badass. Grace does not screech and demand her way. Grace bends her Will to a Higher Power as she knows that something bigger is there to guide and protect her.

If you put Will & Grace on your team, you will walk through life being respected for honoring your needs with dignity. And some people will think you are a badass.

Let’s Talk Chakras – Part Six – The Third Eye Chakra

brow-2533110_640 (1)This is the sixth in a series about our energy body that consists of Chakras. Chakra means “wheel” or “vortex”. We each have seven of them located along the spine, from the base up to the crown of your head. There is an additional one located slightly above the top of your head. Chakras are funnel-shaped, spin in a clockwise circle, and you have one on the front of you that draws in energy and one on the back that gives out energy. It is beneficial to you to keep them spinning and have a balance of flow in and out.

The sixth chakra is located in the center of your forehead. It vibrates to the color indigo in the light spectrum. Physical issues are related to migraines, seizures, sinuses and vision.

The Third Eye Chakra is all about intuition. For many people, it is the awakened sense of clairvoyance or the ability to see beyond the physical. An awakened Third Eye is your inner “bullsh*t detector”. It helps you to see the truth behind situations and others’ motives. When you have opened yourself to your intuition, you can see your eye looking back at you when you close them. It works sort of like the shutter of a camera, but with more control to the exposure. It can be very beneficial to keep your third eye opened.

But along with an awakened Third Eye comes your need to trust. You must learn to discern spiritual truth from your ego’s barking. The ego will fight for control and try to keep you disconnected from Spirit so its messages are negative and frightfully urging. Spirit will be softly persistent and always be for your highest and best good. The more you listen to and see the truth in a matter, the easier it will become and your life will flow much smoother.

It is important to keep your chakras clean and spinning in a clockwise direction. A regular practice of meditation, with a focus on re-balancing your chakras, is the best method of keeping them healthy.

Let’s Talk Chakras – Part Two – The Sacral Chakra

sacral-2533094_640This is the second in a series about our energy body that consists of Chakras. Chakra means “wheel” or “vortex”. We each have seven of them located along the spine, from the base up to the crown of your head. There is an additional one located slightly above the top of your head. Chakras are funnel-shaped, spin in a clockwise circle, and you have one on the front of you that draws in energy and one on the back that gives out energy. It is beneficial to you to keep them spinning and have a balance of flow in and out.

The second chakra is located midway between the base of your spine and your navel. It vibrates to the color orange in the light spectrum. A clear, functioning sacral chakra looks like a perfect orange that you would eat, whereas, an unhealthy one more like rust.

The sacral chakra issues are related to your physical body. If your thoughts are focused on your exercise habits, weight, sleep, appearance or more towards cravings and addictions, then they are about the health of the sacral chakra. Obsessions and stress are governed by the sacral chakra.

The second chakra can make you feel as though you are blocked and stuck in fear. Since the energy moves upward, not addressing your root chakra issues of feeling unsafe or insecure can cause the energy to become stuck in the second chakra. It can manifest in many ways. The blockage can be related to your inability to expression creativity or emotions. Since the reproductive organs are affected by the sacral chakra, you can literally block your ability to create life. Unresolved emotions can bring about addictions, for example, an eating disorder might cause your belly to swell. Lower back pain or constipation may be your body’s way of letting you know there is something you are not dealing with.

Maslow’s second tier is about safety needs. Constantly living in fear can create a blockage that keeps you from finding a solution. Safety needs can also relate to personal power, which we will discuss on the third chakra.

It is important to keep your chakras clean and spinning in a clockwise direction. A regular practice of meditation, with a focus on re-balancing your chakras, is the best method of keeping them healthy.

No Means No

say-no-3218695_640How often do you get talked out of your No response when someone asks you for something? Maybe it’s a cute little face begging for another cookie. Relatively harmless unless it’s right before dinner. Maybe it’s a friend enthusiastically convincing you that you should run one more mile with them to earn that margarita after.

Maybe it’s not so harmless when a coworker pleads with you to cover for them on Friday, for the 5th Friday in a row. Maybe it’s a family member asking for rent money, again, when you know they just went on a vacation in Tulum and the month before was because they bought a new car.

Maybe it’s worse, when a first date turns aggressive over pressure for sex. Or you are threatened with a firing if you don’t alter some important documents.

hand-155662_640The pressure to do something you don’t want to do can take many forms. People might try to make you think something is “good for you” or “your life will be better” or “you will help someone out”. If something causes discomfort or harm to your body, money or property you have the right to say No to any demands upon them. Your body belongs to you and you get to decide what to do with it. Not your spouse. Not your parents. Not your preacher. If your money or property is shared with others, you still have the right to say what should be done with your share.

We all have the free will to make choices. We are responsible for the choices we make,cyber-bullying-122156_640 but we are not responsible for the choices that others make. An underage child, perhaps, if they are under your care. My intent with the responsibility statement is that we are not fixers of someone else’s poor choices. No one should pressure, bully or threaten you to do something you don’t want to do. Bullies know who they can “get”. Don’t give them the opportunity – just don’t be there. You don’t have to be aggressive. Be a brick wall and stand firm. Seek help if you need someone to back you up.

The more you practice saying “No” to small things, the easier it is to say “No” to big things. People will learn you mean what you say and they won’t bother you anymore.

Except maybe for another cookie.

Tell Me Something Good

a-3308712_640Our local classic rock station just started a weekly segment by this same name. Their purpose was to dispel some of the negativity that is so pervasive everywhere. There is so much anger, hate, violence and just downright meanness that it is very difficult to come up with something good.

Has the entire planet gone bat-sh*t crazy?!

Nothing quite like the media to hype everything up, but it seems like the only thing we have to cheer us up is daffodils blooming. And we know how long those last. So many things are being revealed on a daily basis. Me Too, school shootings, missile attacks, child abuse and fatalities, homeless people, opioid crisis. . .when does it stop?

Think of it this way: evening rolls around and the sun dips below the horizon and it is nighttime. Dark. The darkness can feel like a very scary time to many people. I guess that is why we go to sleep. A time to rest and clear our minds. To let go of the difficulties of the day and dream of peaceful times. Nighttime is for healing. Your body knows how to rejuvenate itself. When we are rested, we wake up and usually the sun is coming up. We are back to light. The sun always comes up. The Light always returns. The sun shines, trees grow, flowers blossom, nature feeds itself and so do we.

These dark and difficult times are necessary. What if all those things we hear about had stayed hidden? And grew and grew. How awful could it become? Horrible things must be revealed so that they can be changed, fixed, healed and reborn into something new and better.

Can you imagine what the world will be like when people feel safe, sheltered, fed and cared for? How will you feel? What if you could send your children or grandchildren off to school and see the excitement in their faces instead of worry and fear? What if a bar of chocolate replaced opioids, kind of like chocolate frogs in Harry Potter? (and they didn’t make us fat) What if you could have Christmas packages sitting on your front porch until you got home?

christmas-2411764_640There are no easy answers to any of these questions. How can you answer “tell me something good”? By changing your focus. They say it takes fewer muscles to frown than it does to smile. Really?! Well, then bend over. You’ll get a head rush in the process so you’ll feel giddy. That will cause you to laugh and then you’ll think of something funny. Maybe when you bend over you’ll bust the seam on your pants and you’ll get the giggles. Then you’ll look in your closet and find one of those “Men”, as I’ve written of, and you’ll preen in the mirror a bit. Some killer shoes and the next thing you know you’ll be strutting out the door and off to do something. Someone will catch your smile and return it. Their day will be brightened and someone else will benefit. And it goes on and on like an amoeba. All because you blew out your pants.

It doesn’t take some big “thing” to change your focus from bad things to something good. It doesn’t cost money. It doesn’t take much time. It doesn’t hurt.

It just takes a smile. So tell me something good.

I Showed Up

work-47200_640Have you noticed the increasing lack of empathy, courtesy and service amongst people around you? No one seems to care. No one wants to put out any effort. And there is an enormous amount of entitlement going around.

Whatever happened to good old-fashioned work and attention?

You need a service call for some equipment that isn’t working properly. If you can get someone to answer the phone, they don’t really give a sh*t about your problem. “When the guy gets out of bed, he can be at your house sometime between 10:30 am and 4:00 pm.” And then usually shows up at 4:05. If you are working or have family responsibilities, that just screws up your whole day. Especially when the guy says he doesn’t have the right part and will have to come back next week, but it might not be him ‘cause his day off is Tuesday and that’s when the part comes in.

WTF?!!!

You are in the checkout lane, waiting, because two of the clerks are having a party over their cell phones.

office-620823_640The employee that strolls in at 9:00, goes into a meeting to get their daily coffee and bagel fix, checks email at their desk, wanders around the building chatting with the other slackers, leaves for lunch, goes to the gym, comes back at 3:00 and has to leave early. Remember the “Merry Old Land of Oz” song? Those same people come in with their newly minted $200k college degree expecting the top of the salary range too.

The neighbor who thinks grass will mow itself. Or driveways are to park their car – permanently.

What is wrong with people? Are we supposed to BOW because You Showed Up?

cashier-1791106_640I can only speculate that it is because peoples’ lives have become meaningless. I’m all for technology and innovation, but it is too often used as an excuse not to do anything. Directionless, meaningless, uselessness. Translates as a Totally F*cking Boring Existence. No wonder so many people are doing drugs. We are getting dumber by the hour.

Start small. When you wake up in the morning, give yourself a goal. What one thing can I do to bring a smile to someone else? One smile will lead to another and you’ll feel so good that every day will be about being in service.

And you won’t Just Show Up.