Bless You!

I go through any given day often cursing things that; bug me, thwart my attempts to accomplish a task, vex me, complicate things, get in my way, or just generally piss me off. These “things”, can be things, or people. And, if left unchecked, I find I spend a significant portion of my day cursing, usually silently, sometimes under my breath, and every now and then, out loud. Honestly, I like the word “fuck” the best. I use it alone or in combination with any number of other words to express my thoughts about something. This week’s favorite is “fuck breath”. I’m pretty creative, I know.

As far as people go, there are the strangers I curse at, usually drivers that don’t drive exactly the way I think they should. Sometimes while running, amateur cyclists who think it’s okay to cycle on the sidewalk when there is a dedicated bike lane a few feet away. And, sadly, I will often curse people I know and people I love, not usually with an “f-bomb”, but a curse, nonetheless, and usually because they have behaved in some way that isn’t consistent with my expectations, which in itself is a flaw of mine I try very hard to curtail.

Right now I am cursing Elaine.

Elaine is a toddler, a swarthy toddler of perhaps two years of age, who has come into the coffee shop I have been peacefully enjoying working from for the past couple of hours. I’ve been sitting here, sipping an iced decaf coffee, writing to my heart’s content. Then came Elaine. With her parents. For fro yo. I like kids. I love kids. I have kids. And never, ever, did I allow my kids to screech at the top of their lungs for sport. Elaine is just emitting a happy, high pitched screech every 45 seconds or so, in a public place, that echoes, she is grabbing things off of other people’s tables, smearing her fingers all over the glass protecting the frozen yogurt from her advances and walking right up to other patrons and waving at them, three inches from their faces. It was cute for about three seconds. Her (also swarthy) parents are laughing very loudly and further encouraging her with very annoying, very loud baby talk, in response to all of her antics, including the screeching. I think my ears are bleeding. Curse them all.

But, cursing Elaine, and her parents really did nothing, other than make me feel grumpy. I left, out of frustration, and as I backed out of my parking spot, Elaine and her parents left, too. Now I’m home, writing from my un-air-conditioned office on a ninety-degree afternoon. Having a beer. I could still be at the, now peaceful, coffee shop. I deserve what I get. Curses.

“Bless a thing and it will bless you. Curse it and it will curse you. If you bless a situation, it has no power to hurt you.” –

Emmet Fox,
1886-1951, Spiritual Leader

I’ve seen this saying before, and other similar teachings. And I know it, but like all that we try to encompass into our personal evolutionary process, sometimes an important lesson gets buried by others and is momentarily forgotten. Usually, about that time, a reminder lesson manifests. Like Elaine. Bless her heart.

I have a co-worker from the Midwest, I used to work with her quite a bit until she took a different position within the company. She taught, like I do, and I frequently “shadowed” her to learn to teach different classes. Whenever she spoke of someone, in class or out, she would add, “bless her heart” or his heart, or their hearts. Then she’d inform the participants in class that this was a Midwestern tradition and by blessing someone’s’ heart, in this manner, it gave you license to continue talking about them. While I find this amusing, and now often repeat the same joke when I teach classes (we steal each other’s material regularly), there is some merit to this practice. I’m not saying we can all just go about gossiping and speaking poorly of others just because we preface our tirade with “bless his heart”. I’m saying that if someone is conversation worthy, in their absence, they could probably use the blessing! I’m also suggesting that blessing people, and things, is the right thing to do. For them and for us.

This sort of goes along with forgiveness. Blessing and forgiveness both free us from whatever negative feeling we feel victim of. I saw another saying on Facebook this week, “forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.” Forgiveness and blessing both act as an acknowledgement of letting it go. “It” being whatever is making us feel bad, angry, or sad. How liberating to just let “it” go. By hanging on to it, we are nurturing the bad, angry or sad feeling, we are giving power to whatever is causing those negative feelings. Blessing it, and forgiving it, free us from those negative stimuli and allow us to move on, into more positive territory.

I once vowed to the man I exchanged vows with that I would never forgive him. For a very long time, I didn’t. As a result, I was just bitter and resentful towards him and every reminder of him. I suffered emotionally, spiritually and probably even physically as a result of my unwillingness to forgive. And this just gave him more power over me and the new life I was trying to build for myself. It took a lot of time, reflection and self-education to finally realize that forgiveness, and even blessing, was the key to the freedom I so dearly craved. And in that eventual ability to forgive, and even bless, I am totally and completely liberated. I am free of those negative feelings and of the negative energy associated with all those long harbored feelings of spite, hatred and anger. I had that power all along, sort of like Dorothy and her ruby red slippers, she had the power to get home to Kansas throughout that whole, epic journey, she just didn’t know it.

I have been, now, reminded of this lesson; to bless and to forgive, everyone and everything. But, like Elaine and the joy she derived from screeching and hearing her own voice, I’m quite certain that I will still look for opportunities to creatively combine the “f-word” with other words to communicate my momentary displeasure with someone or something. I’m sorry, it’s just sport. I’ll bless them and forgive them, I promise.

Browns Valley Yogurt & Espresso Bar, pre-Elaine.
Browns Valley Yogurt & Espresso Bar, pre-Elaine. Bless her heart.

On the Contrary

I beg to differ. I disagree. You’re wrong. Nuh huh. Yah, but …

How many times a day do we disagree with someone we’re speaking with? Our parents, our friends, our co-workers, our children, complete strangers, our significant others; everything seems like a debate class topic we must win in order to pass the course. Am I right? (Yes.)

Why is it so important for us to be right all the time, or most of the time? Why are we so dang contrary?

The answer is, it isn’t us, we aren’t actually all that contrary. It’s that ego of ours. The ego being that voice in our head, which really isn’t us. You and your ego are separate and learning to identify the difference and separating yourself from that voice in your head is actually one of the biggest steps you can take towards happiness and success. There are lots of books on the matter, I enjoy Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” and “Make Every Man Want You” by Marie Forleo. Both highly, highly recommended.

Why does our ego want to be right all the time? For validation. We, our true selves, are far more peaceful than that. We can take in all the information and agree or disagree without making a federal case about it. Can you imagine what our world would be like if everyone shut their ego up for a while! Ah-mazing! Don’t you think?

I was married to a man for many years who felt very strongly (gross understatement) about certain political points of view. If I told you that twenty-five years ago, our clock radio went off each morning to the voice of Rush Limbaugh before anyone knew who Rush Limbaugh was, yes, while he was still only on a local Sacramento station, you may have an idea of his beliefs. My (former) husband’s twin brother was as opinionated, but at the other end of the spectrum. The twins were extremely vocal, extremely opinionated and extremely loud, because the louder you were, the “righter” you were. Phone calls between them were long and insufferable, only hearing one side. It was far worse when they were together, in person. Family gatherings were always a nightmare. The women folk would always beg for a “no politics” family get-together, but that seldom lasted more than five minutes and any objection or enforcement on our part was drowned out in the din. Neither of them were completely right, neither of them were completely wrong in their opinions. There is no right or wrong, only opinion. I have mine. We’ll leave it at that.

Like “the twins”, the nation is divided, politically, about 50/50. What does arguing, bickering, and slandering get us? Annoyed and upset. And that’s it. You, no doubt, land on one side of the fence or the other, if not completely, then, at least on some of the key points of debate (e.g. gun control, healthcare reform, abortion, the budget for defense, education, Medicare). Tell me that anything anyone could possibly say would convince you to “switch sides”. Interestingly enough, this is one of the few areas we are pretty committed to as individuals.

Politics. And religion. Again, lots of heated discussion and debate here. I have admitted before, I hate bumper stickers. But, there is one bumper sticker, these days, as I have mellowed with wisdom in my advanced years, that I actually smile inwardly at (no, I will not put it on my car); the “Coexist” bumper sticker. I’m sorry, but are all the stories really similar enough that they could just be different interpretations of the same story? Who cares who is right and who is wrong? I’m a believer!!! I believe that if you live a good life, do service for those less fortunate than you, work hard and stay out of prison, you’re alright. Call me enlightened or call me a fool, but you’re not changing my mind by arguing with me. And if arguing is “saving” or “witnessing”, um, bye bye. I’ve got work to do and service to perform. See you in the “after life”, I’ll have time to chat about your righteousness then. Do you really think your god and my god are duking it out somewhere over which of them is right? Hint; pretty sure our “god” is all the same dude, just in a different storybook. Blaspheme.

We’ve covered a couple of taboo topics; politics and religion. Shall I venture into another? Sports. How is it that fans have become so rabid they are willing to kill for the sake of “their” team? Right? Meth-fueled, pit-bull walking, bumper sticker covered egos on steroids. Just my opinion. And what about the parents of future (or not) athletes; soccer moms and dads, Little League parents, hockey moms; they make Raider fans look tame! But it’s all in the name of good sportsmanship. Bang. Bang.

What is wrong with us? Let’s put down the energy drinks and the triple shot espressos for a minute and listen to ourselves! In the end, does any of this matter? At all? Um, no. In the end, no matter who you cheered for in Little League or in the Major Leagues, no matter which church you prayed in, which “god” you trust, and no matter who you voted for in whichever election year, we are all going to die, decay and turn to dust. And, at that point in time, we will be completely equal and, for the first time for most of us, at peace.

I prefer to pursue a little peace, now. So, whether you agree with me, or not, I really don’t care. My ego may care, but I don’t, and my ego is on a short leash these days and is not likely to engage in debate with you. I just want some peace and quiet so I can go about my day; work real hard, spend time with people I love and cherish, serve those less fortunate than I am, do something active and enjoyable, take in a new experience, improve my physical and emotional health, eat clean, maybe read a little, maybe write a little and get a good night’s sleep. Those are the things that are truly important to me, not how you vote, who you cheer for or who you worship. I have my philosophies, I have my beliefs, and I have my values. I have educated myself on them all, I have thought about them carefully, and yes, they are subject to change, but only I will illicit that change, if I choose.

Am I trying to change the way you think, or what you believe in? On the contrary. I only want you to consider thinking – for yourself. I only want you to consider believing – in yourself. The rest, is up to you, you’ll hear no argument from me.

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Visited my dad’s gravesite today. In the end, we all die, decay and turn to dust, no matter how loudly we express our opinions. No one is right, no one is wrong, in the end.