Do You Remember?

pink-rose-in-rain-4205779_1920It is Memorial Day, the annual event to honor those who have passed on, particularly of the military. Memorial services are being held in many locations, some solemn, with flags and a lone bagpiper. Some more joyous and others even more somber. In any event, we are remembering those who have passed.

But what about those who are still living and have passed through your life? Friends, lovers, acquaintances? Spouses, significant others and even children. Memorial Day can be a trip down memory lane, with thoughts of “where are they now?” Such it is with human nature, life is a journey with many paths and many people. Too often, these missing and long gone folks left behind a scar or a bit of sadness. Only a few were able to leave behind the bright, shiny feeling of joy.

Whatever the circumstances, whether there is life or death, remember all of them with gratitude. Some people are with you for a reason, and some are with you for a season. Be thankful you knew them, because they helped you find room in your heart to allow someone else to fill the empty spaces.

Blessings to all on this remembrance day.

Easter-ly

easter-celebration-4006113_1920Brightly painted eggs. Floppy-eared bunnies. Elaborate hats. And the historical and religious significance of Jesus Christ rising from the dead.

The Northern Hemisphere has begun its rising from the dead of winter. The planet is slowly angling itself towards the sun and warming the Earth’s crust. Brilliant yellow daffodils, multiple colors of tulips and tiny purple hyacinths have poked their heads through the melting frost and announcing that warm weather is on its way.

The turning of the Earth shakes up the sky and brings with it spring storms. Rain, snow, sleet, hail, tornadoes can all appear within the space of a single day, oftentimes leaving behind some level of destruction in their wake. Spring is symbolic of renewing the dead, just as Christ rising from the dead is symbolic of our rebirth.

The cycle of life is a miraculous one, be it a single tiny flower or a human. All things must live and die, and as I truly believe, are reborn again. The Creator loves beauty and growth and experiencing everything so why not with our spirit also? We have only to look at a tiny purple hyacinth to appreciate, study and understand that this is the course of life. To move in an “Easter-ly” direction of rebirth.

What would you do-over if you had the choice? What new flower would you grow from your stem? Would it be a tiny purple hyacinth only showing its face in the spring? A long season of blooming? Or a stately oak tree lasting a lifetime? We have choices each day of our life so why not for many lives?

Whatever that may be, know that the Creator formed you out of love simply for you to experience that love. Be kind to each other and know that whatever choices someone makes is for their growth and learning even if you don’t agree.

For each of us moves in our own “Easter-ly” direction.

The Mating Game

butterfly-743549_1920Spring is teasing us with 70 degree days. Pasty white skin is showing beneath shorts wrinkled from winter storage. Straw hats and sunshades are getting dusted off. We’ll need those polarized specs to ward off the glare from the snow that will still make itself known before the earth heats up.

Spring brings flowers and flowers get crafted into beautiful wedding bouquets as young couples tie the knot in a ritual as old as Spring. Love, hope and promises swell the heart as they shout out their vows. Then begins the ritual of learning how to live together in peace and cooperation.

Statistics being what they are state that not every couple stays together. Sometimes it is big issues, those red-flags that were ignored in the heat of desire. A person will tell you everything you need to know when you first meet them so pay attention. When you are older and the sexual part of your relationship is in the waning stage, then you want to be best friends with your spouse. Too many good relationships end over power struggles that can be prevented.

Most couples fight over responsibilities and money. I have found some solutions to these issues that have worked well. First of all, share responsibilities. If one of you works outside of the home and the other in the home, SHARE responsibilities. It is very easy to have the homebound person take on most of the duties, but they are working too. Taking care of a home and children IS work. If one of you is a better cook, then the other can do the cleanup. Most resentments revolve around one person feeling that they have the bulk of responsibilities, usually housework. ASK for help when you need it, don’t expect that the other person can read your mind or will just pitch in. Ladies, this will help you avoid getting mad so ASK him.

In terms of money, the best way to avoid most fights is to have different bank accounts. Have a joint account that pays for housing and its upkeep, food, travel or any other thing that is shared. Put in an equal amount, even if you earn unequally. For example, if you both put in 80% of your income, then it is fair and equitable even if one of you makes $5,000 a month and the other $8,000 a month. The person with the higher income will put in more, but at still the same percent. Then you each need a separate personal account for discretionary money. You will have money you can spend for things you enjoy without harming either your living costs or having to justify to the other person. Just remember, do no harm. So if one of you smokes, then you aren’t using shared money to purchase them. The non-smoker doesn’t get to judge the spending either. Although I don’t recommend smoking as a spending habit. But before any expenses, be sure to save a portion of your income each month. You will want to retire someday and, trust me, you will be glad you did.

Your mating dance can last a lifetime. Patience, acceptance, cooperation and lots of laughing go a long way. And the occasional disco twirl on a warm spring day.

Bird Dance Beat

pigeon-2332702_1920Boppa-oo-mao-mao. If you are familiar with 60s music, then you know that line from “Bird Dance Beat” released as a single in 1964 by The Trashmen. My aunts had the 45 record and I loved dancing to that iconic tune.

The song has filled my head as I watch the annual spring mating dance of birds. Sunday morning we ate breakfast at a retro diner downtown. We were seated in a booth next to large windows. There were juniper bushes next to the building, but trimmed back so they created somewhat of a shelter for some sparrows. I kept noticing a bird fly back and forth and another preening on a branch of the bush. The flying bird finally landed on the branch and then I realized that the mating dance was on. The little girl bird had her back turned, but coyly looking over her shoulder to see the display. The boy was turning on the charm, white chest puffed out, head bobbing and wings flipping up and down. [I think he could have been dancing to “Bird Dance Beat”.] Girl bird didn’t seem too impressed so he flew off. She turned back around and proceeded to clean her feathers.

Before long, the male returned with a twig in his beak as though to demonstrate “hey baby, I will build you a house”. That must have won the date, because they flew off together into bird love land. Or so I assume.

Spring is a glorious time to remind us of the continuation of all species. Birds dancing, cats meowing, squirrels winding themselves around tree trunks, and humans stripping down to summer clothes. Biology demands that all creatures seek out the prime specimens to perpetuate the herd. Creatures do what they do, but humans have a choice and so they should as we have a much greater life span than many creatures. Many of our non-human creatures won’t make it past the hour of their birth. That is a sad thought, but might be why they continually reproduce without thought.

Or maybe it is just because they want to “bop to the bird dance beat”. Boppa-oo-mao-mao.

Tour of Duty

soldier-996536_1920A tour of duty is generally related to a military or diplomatic time of service. Since I work for a local government, I also consider this a tour of duty. My tour is coming to an end. I expect to retire at the beginning of the year. I will have dedicated 18+ years to public service, but it is time to begin service to myself.

I am approaching my upcoming change with excitement, knowing that all I anticipate can fluctuate from moment to moment. I have no expectations of any given thing, just the intent of learning what makes me tick. I have worked since I was a small child, first on a family farm, and then many different private and public organizations. I most always put the needs of others before my own. This seems typical of most women I know, we’re just wired to care for others first. It is only when we get into maturity, the “menopause” years, that we begin to steam with the need to define ourselves. Hot flashes are more than just physical.

The desires, wishes and creative thoughts that have long been nudged aside to carry out our self-proclaimed duty are boiling up and demanding to be released like the steam in a kettle. We see outward expressions of purple hair and riotous clothing. We see grey-haired rock guitarists, intrepid globetrotters and small business startups. An army of blue hairs slowly taking over the world.

Our tour of duty is being passed on to our children. They are being asked to take up the reins and lead the world into a peaceful existence. We have fought the wars and fought for our rights and new-found social freedoms. We ask that our children continue this quest for a better world.

And we’ll throw a helluva homecoming parade for their every victory. We’ll even provide the band.

Your Green Is Showing

st-patricks-day-1255621_1920Happy St Patrick’s Day to all Irish folk and those who want to be. Today is the day when everyone dons their best green glitter, beads, headgear and alcohol-themed items and makes a parade of the day. Sort of like Halloween, but all in green. What’s not to love about a happy-looking shamrock, or leprechaun waving about? Especially with a live band playing a dance-inducing jig. Nothing like a little celebration for getting us out of the winter doldrums.

I’ve often wondered why people go a little nutty on this day. I think it goes much beyond just the celebration of St Paddy. I think it is the unleashing of Spring. Three days from now is the Spring Equinox, the balance of day and night. Spring flowers are pushing their tiny noses up through the melting snow. Birds are chirping and starting their mating dance. The sun is higher in the sky and much brighter than its winter tone. Lakes and ponds are slowly losing their glaze of ice.

And humans are unleashing their cabin fever in a crazed dance of Celtic partying.

It’s mid-March and volatile weather still lurks. Hail storms and tornados threaten to wreak havoc on our property. All the while, a riot of color begins to explode from the earth into perfect petals.

Many of us, me included, look longingly at our tarp-covered patio furniture and wonder how soon we can toss those covers aside. We stand at patio doors and windows, sipping our green beer, and wait for the shamrocks to grown in the lawn. Soon, the warmer air promises. Soon, you can come out and play. Soon, but not soon enough.

Do I have Spring Fever? So much so, that my toenails are green.

Cows Don’t Wait

cow-2896329_1920I like cows, especially the milk-producers. I like their big, clunky bodies. I like their ability to go from complete Zen peacefulness to the occasional tail-flying romp. I like the interesting patterns and colors of their hide.

On the family farm, we had big, black and white Holsteins that produced enormous quantities of milk. A few of the more docile, brown and white spotted Guernseys. And one precious sweet-faced Jersey, whose milk was pure cream. Small, golden brown with delicate faces, the cow-version of the Arabian horse, the Jersey was my favorite.

cow-961790_1920There is much to bovine wisdom if you pay attention. First and foremost, they teach us a lesson in work ethics. Cows must be milked every single day or they suffer. They will bellow louder than your alarm clock if you don’t tend to them. No lying in bed, no calling in sick, no swiping your cell phone.

 

They teach you how to treat them. I was never allowed to help with the milking, because I was too little. Yet I hung around in the barn during milking time. It was all hands-on; we didn’t have enough cows to require milking machines. It took a certain amount of finesse to milk a cow. A heavy hand got you a tail swipe in the face. Too heavy of a hand got a hoof poked at you; most of the time only resulting in a tipped over bucket. It was important to learn a rhythmic, soothing squeeze, not unlike our trips to a massage therapist. For the big, full-bagged Holstein, milking kept them calm and happy.

holstein-cattle-2318436_1920For humans and animals alike, feeding time is a ritual. Like clockwork, cows lumber along single file from the outer reaches of the pasture to gather in the feeding area by the barn. Buckets of grain, fresh hay and a lick from a salt block created contentment and satiety.

cow-2945515_1920Simply sitting and observing cows is a peaceful time for humans. They contentedly graze, mull over their cud, with the occasional flick of a long tail if a fly ventures too near. A twitch of their soft, velvety ears. They occasional lulling moo, especially if there are suckling calves nearby. Just small, simple message to remind us to take our responsibilities seriously, but move through our day with ease and slow, sure steps.

Cows don’t wait for our procrastination. Cows don’t wait while we rush around filling our day with meaningless activities. Cows don’t wait for us to get the need for rest and relaxation. They just do.

Or is it moo.

Chewing My Cud

cow-44702_1280Last week, my workweek was a little rough.  Too many meetings, which I hate anyway, and one that included a person that seems hell-bent-for-leather on demeaning my work and reputation.  I think she is carrying a grudge because I made a prudent business decision without getting her permission, of which she really has no authority over, but it pissed her off.  My manager and director were on board with the decision, so it wasn’t as though I ran wild on my own.  Needless to say, she was once again a nasty b*itch in last week’s meeting.  It is getting OLD.

Today is President’s Day and a work holiday.  I decided to use the day to ruminate and try to come up with some ideas on how to deal with the situation.  Being around this person is extremely toxic and I am not the only one that feels this way.  Because I am very empathic, her nastiness coats me like tar and it takes awhile to recover.  I am left feeling worthless and depressed.

This morning I told my Sweetie that I was going to ruminate today and he said “oh, like a cow regurgitating and chewing their cud”.  I laughed and looked up “ruminate” and one of the definitions was “chewing your cud”.  The funnier part to this was the further comment of “cows release more methane while ruminating”.  I guess it seems apropos that I named this blog “Loving Your Sh*t”.

apartment-3677491_1920As I ruminate on the situation, a recurring theme comes up with worthiness and responsibility.  I often feel as though I continually need to prove my worth, which causes me to take on too much responsibility and them I am tired and resentful of those around me.  Being an empath causes me to feel chaotic energy, which results in a deep need to have an organized, near-perfect environment.  To get that, the need to control takes over and then I must do it myself to meet my standards.

cow-1983720_1280I’ve done enough study and research to know that I am not alone in these feelings.  Many people, especially women, are caught in this recycling trap.  Chewing our cud, so to speak.  This emotional bind is very often caused by emotionally unavailable parents.  For women, it is primarily the mother and causes a deep loss of self.  There are typically two types of coping mechanisms that result: Mary Marvelous and Sally Screw-Up.  Both play out the core wound of Not Good Enough and the efforts to portray this result.  I happen to be a Mary Marvelous and overdo everything I tackle in order to be recognized and valued by someone.  It is a pattern that is extremely difficult to break, although I have progressed greatly within the last decade.  I may never be able to completely break the pattern, but I’m damned sure going to try.


Much of what happened last week centers around our budgeting process.  It is something I have prepared since I first started working there, and I took responsibility for it all.  To the point that I only had the managers add the discretionary spending.  They didn’t even have to be part of the justification process, which is endless questioning about why we need to spend money for something.  Our department’s budget has many complicated funding sources and programs, so there is a lot to the process.  These complications don’t fit in with the basic process as dictated by this woman, and she is making this year’s process difficult.  She wants it her way.  It hit me that why should I continue to take the brow-beating and not let the managers be responsible?  I will be gone before next year’s budget so I think it is time that they learn how to do this. 

cow-2896329_1920I realize that I created this whole deal with my un-ending need to prove myself.  Well, I’ve done that and now all my effort is being stripped away by this person.  I must step back and begin to withdraw from so much responsibility.  I must teach them how to do the work and provide the justification.  They need to meet with the person and deal with her dictates.  I know all of this, yet it is difficult.  My core wound doesn’t want to disappoint nor deal with the b*itching that is sure to come.  My core wound says you aren’t good enough to ask others to do the job they should be doing.  If I don’t, the cost is my well-being and possibly health.


So I’ve been praying to the Universe for help.  I’m asking for courage, for strength, and for the words to ask for these changes.  This truly is about “Loving Your Sh*t” and I must walk my talk.  Or else I end up face first in a cow pie and I’ve stepped in enough real ones to know.

Love Is All Around Us

hug-2702900_1280Tomorrow, February 14th, is Valentine’s Day, another retail gold mine involving chocolates, roses, teddy bears, more chocolate and occasionally something sparkly.  A time when we declare our love for someone through gifting.  Nothing wrong with that, gifting is always about expressing our love and appreciation with material items.  A gift, like our love, is with the intent of lasting value.

But for many people, tomorrow is Thursday, just another Thursday in a long list of Thursdays.  That is not meant to be sad, either, some people just don’t care about V-Day.  Some people don’t have a romantic partner and don’t care about that either.  But for those that don’t have one and do care, tomorrow can be a difficult reminder of the single state.  It is during those times, that one must remember that love can come in many forms and from many places.

We were created out of love and joy, not just from our birth parents, but from the Creator.  No matter your upbringing, environment, personal characteristics or anything about you, you are loved and you are lovable.

Have you ever reached down to pet a puppy?  Unconditional love and joy bounces up and licks your fingers.  Or waved at a baby in a stroller in the grocery store.  Their little eyes focus on you, sparkling a little as the hint of a grin curves their lips.  A hug from a friend you haven’t seen in a long while.  I could keep going with a list of every molecule of love that surrounds you, but I don’t have that much time to write and the file would be too big to upload.  That’s a lot of LOVE!

But the biggest love of all, is the love you feel for yourself.  When you love yourself, accepting all your warts and faults and farts, you will never do without love in your life.  You are lovable so there is no way you can’t not love yourself.  Got that?

Love is not just all around you, it is eternally within you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Thar She Blows!

mount-st-helens-164848_1920Many of us have been taught that “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.  At the same time, spewing nasty, foul, never-to-be-taken-back, words of hate is not the way to go either.  But like the pressure relief valve on a water heater, you have to let out some of the heat or you will blow up.  And like the water heater, you don’t want to become a missile and go through your roof, or at worst someone’s head.

If someone offends you or steps on your toes, holding back your comments does neither of you any good.  First, you just taught them that it is okay to be unkind to you.  Second, you just deposit resentment energy in your body.  And we all know what that does.  (Create dis-ease, if you didn’t know.)  You need to respond immediately and tell the person that you didn’t like what they said or did.  Screaming at the top of your lungs is not necessary, unless they physically hurt you, and then maybe you need to deck them in return.  Just kidding.  An eye for eye isn’t always the best strategy either.  Sometimes that gets you a free ticket to jail.  A very simple “please do not talk to me like that”, is often all that needs to be said.

It’s not always easy to respond quickly.  Sometimes we are caught off guard, with the “I can’t believe what I just heard” thought delay.  And then it seems like the moment is lost.  Sometimes a lifetime of being treated as though you don’t matter keeps your voice silent.  Resentment begins to build in your body like a water heater on full throttle.  It is times like that when you need to find a safe zone to let off some steam.  Some people do well with releasing anger through physical exercise.  Others need to vent to a friend.  Whatever is your preferred method, use it. 

When you release your anger, it subsides and you are able to look at the situation more clearly.  You will give yourself the opportunity to replay it in your mind and develop a new response to future situations.  Practice what you would say if it happens again.  If it is a situation or a person that can never be resolved, share your feelings with a trusted friend.  Venting is healthy.  Wallowing in it is not, because that is with the intention that you don’t want to resolve it in any way.  Venting releases the toxic anger that could cause you illness or erupt in harm to something or someone.

Heat-seeking missiles cause destruction and you don’t forever want to be known as a nuke.