a face everyone could love

in the midst of the violence and fear that seems to bombard us from every media outlet, i thought it would be nice to share a picture of the sweet little face that greets my husband and i every morning. she's almost 7 years old, is amazingly intelligient, friendly, loving and loyal beyond words, and positively, absolutely obsessed with chasing tennis balls (or 'ballie' as we refer to them).


Radical Kindness

i thought of that term "radical kindness" upon reading the article (as linked in my title). i'm sure many of you have already heard of this story. the homeless man, staying in a shelter, out and about collecting bottles and cans, happens upon $30k in traveler's checks and rather than pocketing the money, turns them in to the shelter director, who in turn finds the owner. the owner then gives the man $100 and upon having the news story circulate throughout the country, the man has since received over $4,000.
i thought about this story and asked myself if i would feel the same way about this man if he had opted instead to keep the money. at first my reaction was "of course not!" being i am undertaking a new step in my journey that includes being aware of my defenses and my judgements, i began to wonder if my reaction was helping to contribute to the violence and fear and hatred that permeates our world.
my conclusion? it was and is.
so i began by asking myself "why would i feel differently about this man if he had chosen to keep the money?" i mean afterall--i hardly know the man. how could i pass judgement on him for one behavior? why, that is easy. it's ingrained in us to think in terms of right and wrong. black and white. we're even motivated in our behavior by fear of punishment and desire for reward.
all of it based on fear.
so then i began to imagine a scenario where this man had chosen to keep the money. having been close to being homeless myself once upon a time, having no source of income, i know how tempting it would have been for me to have kept a large sum of found money. i then imagined society embracing this man nonetheless. the term "radical kindness" then came to me. i mean honestly--how radical of a concept would that be to embrace a homeless man who essentially kept something that wasn't his? how many of us would be open to embracing such a concept? embracing such a behavior?
i imagine if he had kept the money, the news story would have had a more negative slant to it. the focus would be on some sort of punishment. some sort of punitive action and negative judgement.
i am curious to know what this man's motivation was for turning in the money. was it because he felt it was the "right" thing to do based on his values? was it because he was hoping for some kind of reward or recognition or help? did he stop for a moment and contemplate keeping it?
all of this is stirring up some thoughts i've been considering lately on the idea of sharing the wealth. communism to those who know the real meaning of the term. helen keller, i recently read, was a socialist and a staunch supporter of the communist agenda. i was applauding this essay until i reached one of the author's conclusion: most americans would be unwilling to support the socialist viewpoint. that was so discouraging for me to read. discouraging because it was a short-sighted assumption. discouraging because i believe that in our hearts, in that part of us that is free from the rules and judgements of our rigid black and white western thinking, we authentically do support the concept of equal sharing--and the author failed to dig deep enough to explore this possibility.
we teach this to our children for goodness sake, this concept of equal sharing. are we hypocrites? are we blind sheep, parenting unconsciously or semi-consciously?
i contemplate the idea why people hoard the wealth. the resources. what are they so afraid of? i know i am afraid of money--afraid that i won't have enough to support myself, own a home, have a nice savings acount. afraid i never will no matter what attempts i make. what is it that those with the wealth are so afraid of that they fail to look at their exagerrated lives and ponder this question: are there enough resources for everyone to live the life i am? be interesting to ask that question, eh? be even more interesting to hear the answer(s). reminds me of the bumper sticker: live simply so that others many live simply.... pretty powerful statement if you ask me......
president bush has the educational agenda of "leave no child behind". we need to truly embrace this concept and change the words to "let us leave no one behind".
i think people (myself included) have a sense of entitlement. i worked hard therefore i am entitled to this money. i do this job, therefore i am entitled to "x" amount of money. entitled to more money than this job or that. what about the idea that we are all worthy in what we choose to do with our lives? all jobs having an equal value in their own way.
we've removed the idea of sharing from our dialogue when it comes to money. in fact, turn on any of those tv courtroom shows and most cases are about people refusing to pay back a loan for a variety of reasons. the mantra of the judges are the same "do not ever lend money to family or friends". is it just me, or does this statement make anyone sad? there was one bold young man who was being sued by his niece for a loan she said she gave him. he was very openly upset and said he had given her money many times over the years and was very hurt this one time he asked her for money she expected repayment. the judge ripped into him and when she did, the courtroom bursted with applause.
sigh. that good 'ole rugged individualism at work.
i've given money to friends and family in the past when i've had it to give (which truth be told, has been less as i've gotten older--something i find a bit strange...). i give what i can afford and i don't expect repayment. i'm not saying i'm without fault in other areas of human life, but i believe my belief and behavior surrounding the concept of giving money is one that could really help create a more beautiful world. certainly less conflict.
in that same essay i referred to above, helen keller took many trips to a variety of towns and came to the conclusion that rugged individualism, the concept of "do it on your own" and "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" is in fact largely a myth. the american economic class system is set up to make room for only so many to own the wealth. and not everyone is raised in an environment that supports our dreams but instead is an existance of abandonment and abuse. the world is hard enough--competitive enough as it is. having a supportive family environment increases your chances for success. while i believe in the absolute power of our thoughts and our intentions, i am no longer naive in thinking that this alone is what creates our reality. we all affect one another, therefore our success IS dependent not just on our thoughts and our intentions but by others from our family and friends on up to the school system, the class system, the economic system of capitalism and our own government.
it's always made me laugh when i hear people say "i made it on my own! got no help at all!"
so i return to this dear homeless man--this human being--this soul--living now, the same time that i am. maybe his story will inspire others to view the homeless as simply people. remarkably similar in our needs and desires. maybe his story will inspire others to think along the lines that i did. why did i cheer this story and why would i be more likely to harshly judge the same story had the man made a different choice?
ultimately it is only you and i who judge. the universe certainly doesn't. it is you and i who have the ultimate power, with the cooperation of this grand universe and with like-minds to create the reality we wish to see. and i have hope that you, dear reader, can begin to embrace the idea of a new reality based on equal sharing and on radical kindness.


WANTED: Happy News! Or two tickets to Europe will also suffice.....

what a week.............and i mean what a week.........the kind where come sunday evening, i slump down in my recliner and let out a sigh as i mutter "thank god that one's over!"
for starters, a job i was promised didn't come through. what made it more distressing to me was that i had to contact the person to find this out. oops--decided to hire someone else even though this same person had told me they would be in contact in 1-2 weeks to arrange a time to train me. just 3 weeks ago i had a phone interview suddenly canceled. why? company decided to hire others with high tech. background, even though their ad originally said no experience was necessary--they were instead more interested in those with great customer service experience/skills and a love of the arts. fit me perfectly, which is why i was asked to interview. never had an interview canceled like that. that was certainly a first. but it seems to be a growing trend amongst employers--this energy of inconsideration and thoughtlessness. or as i say when i am pissed off "what a flake!"
there was the guy i met at a party a month ago. he was good friends with the host, a friend of my hubs. a group of us were talking and he was talking with us about his non-profit he has and how he is looking for writers. i told him i had worked as a freelance writer for a few years awhile back. this peaked his interest--we talked about what he was looking for, etc. he said he would put me in touch with a woman who was going to be doing some writing for him. a few days later, the dude who hosted the party informed my spouse that i should know this friend of his suffers from schizophrenia. anything he says you just cannot take seriously. he creates a lot of stories in his mind. honest to god. my husband asked "why didn't anyone say anything to my wife? she was very interested in the possibility of working for him." his friend apologized for that and said he wanted to but didn't wish to embarass his friend.
at that point i was thinking "oh man......." that and he should wear a damn sign that says "i suffer from schizophrenia. anything i say cannot be taken seriously." but now that i have had these additional experiences--now i am thinking "WTF?!"
when it comes to trying to pick up additional part-time income, i have come to the conclusion that i have a "FUCK ME" sign around my body. invisible of course but still there nonetheless. i could write down my experiences in the job search/income producing as of late, but being i have a hard time believing my own 'bad luck' or whatever you want to call it, i will spare myself the time in doing so.
my spouse threw his back out and is now pretty much laid up. not so annoying when the weather cooperates or when i haven't had a suck ass week. however, we have been hit with 100 plus temps for the past several days and our little window a/c unit only cools things so much. we're used to temps in the low 80's during our peak summer time. this is unreal. as a result, he and i (and likely the whole state) are so drained from the heat, neither of us want to move. and someone has to fix some food, feed the dog, go the store, etc...........
a good friend of mine lost a friend of hers she had been caring for for the past several months. her death was inevitable but of course when it hits, it hits hard. so i tried being there for my friend as much as i could. she has also just dealt with the break-up of a relationship and some other personal crisis so the phone calls have been plenty and honestly, at this point for myself, just draining.
good lord.....i could use some caretaking right now!
i've been following the story of the young boy from virginia (or west virgina--can't remember). he's 16 and is dealing with a return of cancer. he doesn't wish to go through chemo or radiation anymore so he and his family have sought out alternative treatments. some social worker with a stick up her nazi-ass decided this was child abuse and neglect so she stuck her nose into where it didn't belong and got a court order for the state, granting them temporary custody where upon he would be ordered--forced--to check into the hospital and undergo the western way for treating cancer.
well naturally his family was outraged and they put up a fight. unfortunately, the family and ultimately, this young boy lost and the judge has ordered the boy be admitted to the hospital.
i hope they pack up and leave the country or at the very least, the state. i would be more than willing to put them up. i am sure they are receiving hundreds of similar offers. makes me want to put up a sign on my house that says "THIS IS A SAFE HOUSE. A GOVERNMENT FREE ZONE."
i watched a news story tonight about these americans who are wired 24/7. who work 60 plus hours a week. who IM and e-mail their own spouses WHILE AT HOME TOGETHER. who are so addicted to work and their gadgets they are missing out on real human connections. they talk about the downfalls of this loss as though they were referring to losing a cheap piece of jewelry. it's the new american way. gotta have more more more. gotta work more more more. gotta gotta gotta gotta do do do do.
the europeans have it right. they work less hours. they take tons of vacation. afternoon siestas. government paid health care. they also have less stress-related illnesses AND higher productivity than we over-worked, enslaved americans. (where's my visa and ticket overseas? any european wanna temporarily adopt a couple of burned out americans who are looking for a new way??) in as much as they have become westernized in their own way, they haven't forgotten what really matters: taking care of ourselves and one another. connecting with one another. pleasure and health and play. they haven't adopted the western rugged individualism concept. let's hope they never do.
the latest statistic on the average size home for americans? 4,500'. jesus louisus frigging flipping chrissy. i mean come ON don't these folks stop and think about the word gluttony??? who in the world needs a home that big? unless you have adopted a bunch of kids or run a medium size business out of your home, i cannot imagine anyone really NEEDING this size of a home.
i know some would say "that's none of your business"--the same crowd that says "that's none of your business" when i have asked "why do you own a hummer?" but know what? it is my business. it's my business because i care about our planet. if our planet could handle everyone owning a 4,500' home, could handle everyone driving hummers and other gas-guzzling vehicles, i'd say ok, so be it. however being this isn't plausible (and i am operating under the value that everyone is worthy of owning such a home and vehicle and that income should not be the determining factor that it is), that is why i feel i must speak out and say ok, come on now......let's rethink how we live. let's be more conscious of how we interact with those around us and our planet. let's be more responsible. let's begin to think in terms of "us" instead of simply "me".
this is probably why i feel so annoyed when i see these big name celebrities talk about poverty and other unnecessary, needless human suffering then get into their limo and go home to their 10,000 square foot mansions.
then there is the fighting in the middle east and the spin doctors of our corporate media doing their thing to provide the favortism for israel. violence though is entertaining. we're taught that. we eat our meals and watch violent programming on the news, in the movies, etc. study after study has shown that watching such violence has damaging effects on the body. it can raise blood pressure. it can release stress hormones. and watching such violence while eating provides additional damage. it's like before putting that bite of salad into your mouth, you pour a drop of gasoline on it.
that's why when i want to watch tv in the morning, i watch mr. rogers when i eat my morning cereal. : )
ok.........so it's just been too much of a week for me. i spent part of the day reading the book "the celestine vision" trying to center myself and restill my hope and faith. the author talks a lot about a changing world and how all of this chaos we now see will blossom into a new spiritual age where peace and harmony will be fully realized as we remember our authentic selves.
all i wanna know is this: IS THIS GONNA HAPPEN IN MY LIFETIME??? cause if not, i'm ready to pack up what i need, sell what i don't, and go find some abandoned cabin and live as far away from modern society as i can cause this american way of living no longer suits me.


Ask And Ye Shall Receive. Does that mean UFO's too?

last night around midnight, my hub and i decided to take advantage of the clear night skies. we gathered the blankets and pillows and settled down for a nightly star viewing. as we lay there silently, i thought to myself "it's been about a year since i saw a 'ufo' in the night sky. i'd really like to see another one." as an afterthought, i said to myself "it would be really cool to see one during the day."
as i watched the sky, i got this peaceful feeling. i thought it didn't really matter if i saw a ufo or not. what i was witnessing was beautiful and spectacular on its own.
after seeing a shooting star, hub and i decided to go inside and retire for the evening. i forgot about my desire to see a ufo and quickly drifted off to sleep.
this morning, as i was outside on my patio enjoying a quiet breakfast of cereal and freshly picked blueberries, i noticed something in the sky. it struck me as odd. it seemed to be out of place. it looked like a long cylinder with a small tail at the end. no wings. i remember thinking how wide it was. it was headed due west and was absolutely silent. at first i thought, given its size, maybe it was a local aircraft--a glider of some sort. but then i realized it was flying way too fast for a glider. it wasn't gliding--it had a definite course it was charting. and a local craft would have been loud. i determined it was even too fast for a regular jetliner and certainly too large, given the elevation. i later determined you could have fit 2-3 jets to cover the length and 3 or so jets to cover the width. we have enough air traffic over our house for me to distinguish between the different aircraft. this was something i have never seen in the daytime skies.
given it was moving along at a fast clip, i raced inside to grab my digital camera and told my spouse. he came outside with me and grew all excited. he kept insisting it was a ufo. "whatever it is, it's flying out in space," he kept saying. i was able to get two shots as it headed off into the horizon. however, when i uploaded them onto my computer, after zooming in as much as my photo editor program will allow me to, nothing appeared in the picture. don't know if that's due to my camera's pixelation or my photo editor software. or perhaps it's something altogether mysterious, much as this object itself was. (if anyone reading this has a good photo editing program and knows more about photo editing than i do-which is next to nothing-please contact me and i will gladly send you the two photos i took.)
the next step, we decided, was to check the nasa website. i kept thinking that it looked like the space shuttle. so after going to spaceflight.nasa.gov, there was no shuttle or ISS (international space shuttle) trackings. the shuttle is headed our way--but it's coming from the west, headed east and going to the north of us (the border of canada). this object was headed due west.
so who knows what it was. i used to believe that all unidentified objects in the sky were craft from other galaxies. other intelligient beings. now i have come to a place where i simply don't know. while i absolutely believe in life on other planets, in other galaxies (how people still don't know that is something i have a hard time being understanding of), i also believe there are so many projects and technologies our government and our military have been exploring and developing. it wouldn't surprise me one bit if one of these craft i have seen in the past 5 years (today's sighting making it 3) were one of 'ours'.
but until such information is made factual for my eyes and mind, i tend to lean towards the side of the mystery. this was not just about me seeing a ufo. it was about me making an intention, releasing it and having it come back to me in a surprising way. it's about my growing awareness, my "remembering" if you will, that we are not alone. we are part of some grand cosmic, wonderous intelligence that is always available to us to tap into. its scope beyond what our brain's are able to fully comprehend given our current evolution. whether this object i saw today was local or not doesn't really matter much to me. what matters is that last night i had the intention of seeing a ufo in the sky. the day sky. a desire i surrendered and actually forgot about as i went to sleep. a desire that came back to me, just 11 hours later.
that in and of itself is pretty darn cool. i may be just a little spot in this thing called life. but like all the other 'spots', i am equally as powerful, at least according to the laws of the universe. and that is about the most empowering gift i can imagine.


my city wants to impose a new tax

a telecommunications tax (all phone usage--cell, mobile, land). from what i understand, this would lower (or erase) a tax (franchise one i believe) on my bill, which would initially lower my phone bill. however, if i have voice mail, caller id, call waiting, etc., my bill would actually go up. i have voice mail so this tax would place its creepy little fingers into my pockets and want more of my income.
i thought about all of this earlier in the morning. i thought about the expenses in my life and my income. that ratio. here's what i put together. since 1999:
1) my housing costs (rental) have increased 20%
2) cable costs (if i were to sign up again) have increased 100%
3) electric costs have increased 30-35%
4) the cost of a basic plan for health insurance has tripled
and my income? drumroll, please...........
my income has decreased by approximately 18%. (i had steady employment until i was laid off.......replacement jobs have been extremely difficult to come by with the competition growing fiercely........i have had to settle for employment at a lower wage as a result.)
and now my city wants to impose yet another tax. and the well-to-do citizens of this city, the corporate supporters, are talking about how we're all in this together. how we must all pull our own weight. how this tax is needed to fund necessary city services. while i agree with them in theory, i would like to ask them what their income has done. has their income been able to keep up with the ever-increasing costs of basic expenses?
i have an idea. let us have this tax be an option. those who really support it can choose to toss in their change every month to ensure city services are adaquately funded. those of us who simply cannot financially withstand yet another hand-in-our-pockets-tax can opt out.
at this stage in the game folks, new taxes on those of us currently in the lower income brackets is unfair. we need to have a choice. the choice to opt out. those dollars and cents are better spent trying to get ahead.


Pink Floyd co-founder dies.

May he rest his peace..........and may this brilliant music always remain a part of our world......


would you like salt and pepper on that egg?

just another reason not to be plugged into your cell phone............

cell phone chatter

july is the month we celebrate cell phone etiquette. i am totally serious. i heard it on the radio. does that mean i am to be extra tolerant of the cell phone user who is rambling on about what they had for dinner to the invisible person on the other end, standing right next to me in line at the store? or does this mean the cell phone user needs to show the consideration and hang up until they are outside in their car to have their conversation. oh but wait--that would mean they would likely drive away while talking and pose a threat to those around them.
the guy on the radio who announced this month long holiday seemed confused as well to as to the meaning. anyone care to take a stab at this one?
i am not one to multi-task. this has probably weeded me out of certain employment opportunities and was likely behind at least one of my "sorry we must let you go" terminations. ask me to multi-task and i simply get flustered. ask me to focus on one project and i can stick with it for hours. don't even have to stop to pee or eat. i am capable of being that focused. in fact, once i am in that mental space, you can walk up to me, ask me to look at you and ramble off a request. it will appear as though i am both looking at and listening to you. however, looks can be deceiving. i am really still focused on my previous project. drives my husband nuts. he has slowly learned over the years to state the following: "nina. NINA. honey. LOOK AT ME. look at me please," all while tapping me on the shoulder. hearing my name a couple of times, followed by a tap or two usually begins to break the ice. once the other person hears me say "huh?" followed by a look of confusion can be assured i am slowly plugging myself into their reality.
my point is.......how do cell phone users have conversations and drive.....order their espresso's......shop for videos and groceries, etc.? i don't get it. i wouldn't know how even if explained to me. what would likely happen if i were to attempt to talk on the phone and say, oh, shop for groceries. my original intention would be to buy peanut butter, bananas and bread. i would likely leave with jelly, apples and hamburger buns. not too bad of an exchange of course but i would certainly not leave the store with the items in which i was shopping for. imagine if i were shopping for videos. dr. zhivago would be replaced with dr. death, ax murderer.
i have actually seen folks talk on their cell phones while riding their bikes. it used to make me laugh until i saw a young man fall off his bike while attempting such a feat. he had on no helmet and fell into the street, a street that is normally very busy. it obviously wasn't his departure time because miraculously, there was no traffic. he also avoided hitting his head. he did, however, manage to not drop his cell phone. explain THAT one to me would ya?
much to my dismay, cell phones are here to stay as are the public conversations. now they have those phones that have the plug that goes directly into the ear. for those who have hair that covers their ears, you can't even tell they're on the phone. until you realize this, they appear to be having a conversation with themselves. not a bad thing of course considering i do this myself at times. however, some of these folks, when they look at you in the eye, give the impression they are talking TO you. i had that experience a few months ago. honest to god, true story. i was in ROSS, the discount clothing store. i thought i was minding my own business when i heard a woman repeat herself. "hey are you listening to me? hello? i said are you listening to me?" i glanced up and she was looking directly at me. i did what anyone else would do. i looked around to see if she was talking to someone else. nope. no one else but me in the general vicinity. did i know this woman? nope. never seen her before. so i looked at her, pointed to myself and mouthed "me?" she seemed to stare straight through me. it was pretty creepy at this point. then what she said next made me turn and walk away to find the nearest psycho patrol. "fine. look, i said i don't want to be your friend anymore so stop calling me!" as i headed off i thought the words "stop calling me". calling me. huh??? i wasn't calling her. oh wait, i thought, turning around.....noticing she was no longer looking at me but instead was ripping something off her ear, stuffing it into her purse. that's when i understood.
my spouse's boss has one of those things....confuses my sweetie at times......not knowing if boss is talking with him or someone on the other end of that tiny microphone. as i said above, kind of creepy.
it all just feels so pretentious and downright weird to me. i screen my calls in my own home. i cannot imagine wanting to be wired to the world 24/7.
so given it is cell phone etiquette month i have a compromise to offer cell phone users. please keep your conversations quiet and private. you do that and i will promise not to give you dirty looks or think nasty thoughts. and please don't drive or bike and talk. we're counting on you to save the multi-tasking for when you aren't operating heavy equipment.