“If you live in the dark a long time and the sun comes out, you do not cross into it whistling. There’s an initial uprush of relief at first, then-for me, anyway- a profound dislocation. My old assumptions about how the world works are buried, yet my new ones aren’t yet operational.There’s been a death of sorts, but without a few days in hell, no resurrection is possible.” ― Mary Karr, Lit
I am waiting to be reborn. I feel like a caterpillar enfolded in darkness, changes happening inside, waiting for the moment when bindings break, allowing in the shine of a new sun. I don’t know what is waiting to be reborn. I never know. I do know something is changing: newness growing in the darkness, waiting to take wing and fly. I know this new beginning will be joyous, life expanding, another leap forward in the seven-league boots of my soul. I never consciously make the decision to be reborn. My world turns inward, chatter quieter, characters hunkered, awash in the realization that I am not breaking but becoming new.
One day, when I least expect it, my life will split open and a fully formed butterfly will emerge, wings drying in new air. What color will those wings be? What shape? What part of me will shine?
The mystery is waiting. One day soon miracles will occur.
I was looking back through my blog today and ran across this quote. It stopped me in my tracks the first time and it did again today. The world is rife with War. Every day some conflict seems to break out somewhere in the world, ending with more innocent people killed or maimed, their lives and homes destroyed.
Are we thinking about War wrong? Might makes right. The winner writes the history. The strongest survives.
But, as Calvin wisely asked his Dad, how do soldiers killing each other solve the world’s problems?
How indeed? This is one of those questions parents dread. How do you explain war to a child whose innocence you wish to protect? Should we even explain this nasty business to a child or is this one of those times for ‘you’ll understand when you get older?’
Okay, so no, we shouldn’t terrorize children with the concept and reality of war. But if we don’t start teaching them better ways to solve the world’s problems, nothing is going to change.
Man is a violent species. We’re not so different from lions or wolves or alligators. We protect our species from any perceived threat, whether real or not. Every species protests its own, even rabbits. Mice. Maybe amoebas for all I know.
The reality, however, is that we no longer consider ourselves one species. Humans have gone off the scale. Male lions fight for dominion over the pride, but they don’t go killing every other male lion on the plain just because they are male.
Why do we go that extra mile to kill everything which gets in our way, doesn’t think our way, or lives, believes or looks differently. Why have we separated our species into the right and the wrong, the weak or the strong, the human or the non-human.
We’re at war with everything. Ourselves. Our neighbors. The others just across the boundary line. Pollution. Melting Icebergs. Who controls the wealth. Who goes hungry or homeless or without medical care.
How are soldiers killing each other solving these problems?
Truth is, they’re not. We’re not. We’re not solving the problems which matter. We are just creating more division, more dividing lines, more conflict.
War never ends war. Violence only begets more violence.
Turn that around and peace only begets peace. Living in harmony makes us one again; makes us whole.
Don’t get me wrong. I honor and respect those men and women who willing sacrifice their lives and limbs and days to protect baseball, mom and apple pie, but don’t be fooled. We are no different from the rest of the world. We’ve separated our selves into the American species and might does make right.
How are those soldiers dying and suffering for us solving the world’s problems?
We try, of course we do, but one narrow opening for peace doesn’t defeat war.
War will only be defeated when we, all of us in every town and house and country, rich or poor, homeless or living in a huge mansion, stand together and say ‘Enough.’ When collectively we say nobody should have to fight or die because of our differences.
When we declare we will no longer fight. We will honor our species – every single member of our species – with the basic needs of life. Food. Water. Shelter.
How are soldiers killing each other solving the problems of food, water and shelter?
I am an American and I love my country. I don’t know anything about being Chinese or Russian or French. But you are all my species. These difference don’t make us different. They make us human.
So, next time your neighbor pisses you off, somebody cuts you off in traffic or breaks in front of you in line, ask yourself, “How do soldiers killing each other solve the world’s problems?”
Don’t we all? My biggest pet peeve is small and rather silly, bit it still burns me every time. It is when people go in the Exit Door and Out the Entrance Door. Really people? They are plainly marked. Most of you can read. What’s the problem?
See, silly, but…. it’s a pet peeve. I think pet peeves are supposed to be silly. Little things in life that, while not important in the overall picture, irritate us for no reason. I mean, really? What does it matter which door you use to enter or exit Walmart? Both accomplish the same thing.
It just seems to me this silly little dilemma speaks to a more important topic in our lives. People don’t care anymore. Maybe it doesn’t matter, but it is the right way to enter and exit. Nobody cares if I have to wait to enter the store because they are leaving through the entrance with two carts of stuff and five wild kids.
Okay, that is an exaggeration, but you get the picture. I hope.
What does it mean to be strong? There are many kinds of strength. Physical strength. Mental strength. Psychological strength. Strength in math or writing or baseball. We all know what strength means, or do we?
The Dictionary defines strength as:
1: the quality or state of being strong: capacity for exertion or endurance
2: power to resist force: solidity, toughness
3: power of resisting attack:
4: legal, logical, or moral force;
5: strong attribute or inherent asset
6: degree of potency of effect or of concentration (chili peppers in varying strengths) intensity of light, color, sound, or odor; vigor of expression; force as measured in numbers: effective numbers of anybody or organization (an army at full strength).
7: one regarded as embodying or affording force or firmness
8: maintenance of or a rising tendency in a price level: firmness of prices (the strength of the dollar).
9: basis—used in the phrase on the strength of (from strength to strength); vigorously forward: from one high point to the next.
Strength is inundated into our very being. We are expected to be strong, men and women both. Weakness is not tolerated in this world of succeed or fail.
The strength of our leaders, whether political, clerical, movie stars or sports heroes, has been transformed over the years. Men and women in positions of strength, whether mental or physical, are falling to weaknesses like wood into a chipper. Most people can name at least ten, probably twenty or more, leaders who have fallen from grace. Strength has come to mean invulnerability to many of those in positions of strength.
They are no more immune to attack and destruction than anybody else in this world. They are just better at pretending. There is no strength without weakness. Weakness is the ability to bend but not break. We all need to be strong and weak in equal measure. Those in power who feel that they cannot be torn down are broken because they refuse to bend.
Light cannot be strong without comparison with dimness. A chili pepper can’t be hot without the comparison of mild. An army can’t be strong if they are never willing to bend and fight another day. Phalanxes which fight to the death look impressive, but when the battleground is layered with bodies, what then? Was their strength well used?
One can’t be strong without having been weak. Otherwise, how would know you were strong? Currency can’t be strong without also being weak, even if we’d prefer it not weaken. One cannot go from strength to strength without first having been weak.
I hope that what we are seeing is a revolution against those who hold all the strength, those men and woman who wield strength to benefit them, not those who watch them or elected them or pay their salaries. Those people who think the rules and laws, not of nations, but of humanity, don’t apply to them.
In order for all of humanity to be strong, we must all be strong and weak. There is no strength in millions of people starving or having no safe place to live, no safe water or food, the security of knowing they are safe from the strength of those who would destroy them. Millions of tribesman murdered because they belong to the ‘wrong’ tribe. Strength?
Children bought and sold. Strength?
A finger on the Red Button? Strength?
Torturing an animal? Strength?
No to all the above, but many people will think strength.
This world will not survive on strength alone, no matter what definition you give to the word. So when you think about strength, remember that weakness can be as powerful as strength. Make sure you learn to be weak in order to be strong.
Do we leave a bit of ourselves behind in everything we touch, be it pencils, paper, a tree, a chair or even a moment of the day? A place where we’ve been, where the past and present and future collide? When I go somewhere, I can often feel the deep connection to the past. To the people who lived and loved there, to history going back hundreds or thousands of years.
The truth is, we probably do. We are all connected after all, down on the tiniest level, all made of the same stuff. You and I and the table and chair, the flowers in the garden, dogs, horses, everything in this entire world is connected at its tiniest points.
I once read that the breath I am taking now might once have been Lincoln’s. Or Cleopatra’s. King Arthur’s. Moses’. Or Joey’s down the street.
What an awesome thought that I breathe the same air as everybody who came before. That something of their lives remains and will always remain. For me, for my kids, my great-great-great-great grand-kids. (Supposing I have grand-kids at all.) That in their lives, they may breath the same breath which I am breathing now.
So do we leave something of ourselves on everything we touch? Of course we do. Nothing is ever created or destroyed. Just because we can’t always see it, or feel it, doesn’t mean it is not there.
I have my grandmother’s yarn basket in my bedroom and every time I see it, I think of her. Of the part of her which made that basket special to her and now, to me. If only a memory, she is there and isn’t that leaving something behind?
We all die sometime; there is no stopping that truth. But we aren’t gone because so much of us remains in everything which we touched with our lives. I like to think of my kids saving something of mine, whether a picture, a piece of jewelry, a dish or one of my model horses, something important to me, thus making it important to them. Something I have touched, something upon which I have left part of myself.
The past isn’t really past at all, not when everything we touch, everything we cherish, contains little part of us for all eternity.
There’s a funny thing about being invisible. The Invisible Man, Harry Potter and his Invisibility Cloak, One Ring to Rule Them All, The Tempest and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Being invisible has always been a popular item in literature and movies. When asked what superpower a person might like to possess, invisibility is usually high up on the list. But what if you were really invisible? Or what if you’d made yourself as invisible as possible all your life but when you decide you want to toss off the invisibility cloak no one sees you even then.
Growing up, I spend all my time trying to be invisible. I was horribly shy and inwards, mostly because of things that happened and because I’d never not known the feeling of depression. To protect myself, I became invisible, as skill I perfected over the years.
In college, I lived behind the mask of characters, terrified somebody would talk to me, I would freeze and look like an idiot. I didn’t trust anybody. I was afraid of everything and not just in that ‘I’m afraid of spiders’ way. I was drawn so far inward that I couldn’t make connections with the outer world.
And then I grew up. Don’t get me wrong, I was invisible well into adulthood and I liked it that way. It didn’t help that my ex liked me invisible. So, there I was, invisible until I had kids. I couldn’t be invisible with kids. I learned to speak up, defend them, because I didn’t have any other choice. The mother bear will protect her cubs even if she doesn’t want to come out of the den.
It took me years to come to the realization I didn’t have to live the life other people wanted for me. I could live life my way. Visible. I no longer had to be afraid. I was in charge of who I was and who I became. Not my Ex. Not my family. Not friends or acquaintances or bosses or TV or ads or anything else in the Universe.
I. Was. In. Charge. Of. Me.
Apparently, no one else got the memo. I learned quickly that once people lose sight of you, you don’t appear just because you’ve decided to appear again. I’m not talking about people I knew casually, but family. When I finally separated from my ex, they were glad. Why had it taken me so long? When I became my own person, they weren’t happy. I was no longer the person they expected me to be and they didn’t want that. They wanted me to stand on my own two feet but only if I stayed the same person I was before. But I wasn’t the same person. How could I stay the same and change? Not possible.
I’ve had to write the remainder of this post several times. Each former attempt came out bitchy and childish. I don’t mean to be. I like taking the higher road, but sometimes I just need to express myself, bitchy or not. I know what you are going to say. ‘Are you sure it’s all them?’ Probably not. I’ve never claimed I was perfect. I don’t return phone calls in the time frame they expect. Bad? Yes, but I’m not a phone person and when I get overwhelmed by things, I just ‘turtle’ and do nothing. Could I do better? Yes. Try harder? Yes. Do I want to do better? I used to say yes, but now, I’m not so sure.
Three examples (yes there are so many more but that’s where the bitchy comes in). One – I wrote and read a short essay at my mother’s funeral. Except for my Aunt, no one in my family acknowledged I had even spoken. No ‘thank you,’ no ‘I know this must have been hard for you’. Nothing. Friends of the family (and even people I didn’t know) came up to say how touched they had been by my words, wanting a copy. Family. Not a word.
Two – After years of cutting my own hair (not pretty I assure you), I got my hair cut and styled at a salon. Nobody in my family noticed.
Three- I lost a noticeable amount of weight. Did my family notice? Nope. Not a word.
Bitch over (maybe). Truth is I am hurt and angry. I am willing to do anything they need. All they need to do is ask. Do they? No, they don’t and then are angry that I ‘never’ help. To hear them, I am selfish and think of nobody but myself. So sorry for thinking we are all adults and should not expect mind-reading among us.
Perhaps I should accept that I am, and will be, invisible to them. The sad part is I am almost at the point I don’t care. Is it worth fighting invisibility in their eyes when I will never be visible for who I am? How many times am I expected to try to explain who I am and why? It is hard enough to fight depression every day without living up to somebody else’s expectations.
The sad truth is I no longer feel comfortable at family gatherings.
There is something about life which makes me wonder. Which, I know sounds very basic. But is it? Life is a circle. There is the cycle of birth and death, child to old man/woman whatever your case may be. The circle of day to night. Winter to fall. The rise of Rome to its fall. Each day is a circle, dawn to dawn. The cycle of a week. A month. A year. The Big Bang to… whatever the ending may be.
So what does it all mean? I know the ‘life is a circle’ idea. Learn from your mistakes or you are doomed to make them again. But isn’t there more?
Is there a life triangle? A life octagon? How about a life parallelogram?
Stick with me, it gets easier. I hope.
I’m sure I could find, or make up, examples of the shapes mentioned above. The human brain is mystic and wise and completely able to lie to itself at all times.
Do we let our brain lie to us? Of course we do. We want to believe what we want to believe, true or false. And why do we want to believe? Because our brain demands we are the center of our own universe and anything that speaks otherwise is perceived as the lier.
I hate to say it, but all politicians I’ve seen definitely believe they are the center of their own universes. No names, but I am sure many of you can think of a multitude of your own examples.
I know I have gone from circles to the center of our universe all in a handful of paragraphs, but I have complete confidence that somehow I will bring them all together in the end. And if I don’t, you will never know, because you will never see this post.
Take the image of an heptagon (seven sides). Now draw a circle around the inside and put the politician, or whomever, inside the circle. Now there is a politician in his own universe, gathering his own power and glory. But what of the points outside the circle? Who are they?
Remember the line above about letting our brains lie to us? If you answered ‘us’ to the question, you are correct. The mistakes we make, those we leave out – the outer points of the heptagon – are forgotten.
So maybe the image of a circle is the best fit for our world. A circle is smooth, no points left out. In the roundness of a circle, we remember the mistakes of our past, the fact of birth to death, day to night, night to day. The great thing about the circle is that we are all equidistant from those across from us. It doesn’t take a miracle for me, on my point on the circle, to reach across to you on your point. Maybe you are a friend who needs comfort or a child who needs food. I am equally able to reach out of my own universe to touch yours.
I know somewhere you have seen the image of people, hand-in-hand, circling the globe. Perhaps the best circle, the perfect circle, of them all.
Imagine it. A circle of every human on this planet, and those currently above it, holding hands in a circle. Would it span the circumference of the world? The Solar System? The Milky Way? How about the entire Universe?
And, even in that all-encompassing circle, we are still equidistant from those across from us. No one is left out.
We can still reach out a hand in comfort. Or happiness. Or love.
We can still reach across to comfort a grieving mother and we can still reach across to feed a hungry child.
Maybe Disney was right this time. The circle is the perfect shape for our world.
What have you struggled with most during this 30-day challenge?
Today, be courageously vulnerable by openly sharing this weakness with a friend.
TODAY’S JOURNAL PROMPTS
A weakness that I’m struggling with …
Today, I will be courageously vulnerable by sharing my weakness with the following person …
I wish all this was easy. Isn’t that a nice fantasy about life? Easy. Wouldn’t everything be so much better if it was easy?
I’d hope so, but I know it wouldn’t. These things, whatever they are, in our lives are not meant to be easy. You don’t grow from easy. You don’t learn from easy. I suspect nothing come from easy. (Except opening stubborn jars. Lord, don’t let that be hard!)
But, honestly, I dream of easy while knowing easy will be nowhere in sight. So, I struggle with the myth of easy.
What I suspect is that easy is a state of mind rather than a label attached to things like ‘Start a Relationship Easy,’ or ‘Learn to Speak Your Mind Easy.’ It isn’t a step in the process. It isn’t a point 1 or point 2.
Easy is being vulnerable. Things are only easy when we allow them to be easy. Easy isn’t something that comes from outside; easy is internal. Inbred. As much a part of us as our heart and lungs and brain.
I am not an easy person. Not to get to know or to understand. Sometimes – most times – I am not easy inside myself. I wish for easy, but don’t expect easy, so I don’t get easy.
Okay, so is easy really a thing? Can things really be easy? I started out saying nothing was easy. One never learned from easy. So why now am I saying easy is from within?
This is one of those conundrums of life. Is it or isn’t it?
Easy isn’t a ‘thing.’ Easy isn’t something which happens to us or doesn’t. Easy is Us.
If I think things are always going to be hard – guess what? – they will be hard! Until I realized it is the easy inside myself which dictates my outsides.
Damn, it is hard to find a job! So, says easy, it will be.
Damn, a relationship is hard work.
Damn, it is hard to be bi-polar.
Damn this or damn that. Life, we think, isn’t supposed to be easy.
But, yes it is. But only if we allow easy for ourselves.
It is easy to find a job!
A relationship is easy.
It is easy to be bi-polar.
I said I was not easy to get to know or understand. Why would that be? Because I am making it hard. I want to protect myself so I put up a maze of twists and turns and tests to make sure you want to know me; make sure you are dedicated to knowing me before I allow it to happen. This isn’t vulnerable, so it isn’t easy.
In order to protect a me which no longer needs protecting, I live my life hard. And make it damn hard for somebody else to step inside.
To my surprise, some people persist until they get all they way inside anyway.
So now it is my turn. Do I allow myself to live easy or hard? Just because I say easy, doesn’t mean my Fairy Godmother is going to show up, tap her magic wand, and voila all is done. Sometimes easy is damn hard work.
The question is, ‘Will I allow myself an easy life or a hard one?’
I wanted to do something different, so I decided to dust off my other love – horses – and see what developed. What developed is a look back at one of the most famous of the ‘Cowboy Horses,’ Trigger.
Originally named Golden Cloud, Trigger was portrayed by several different horses over his TV and movie career, including Trigger, Jr. and Little Trigger. According to some reports, Golden Cloud was sired by a Thoroughbred, out of a grade mare. He was foaled in 1932 or 34 and died in 1965. The different Triggers were distinguished by their marking. The original Trigger only had a left hind stocking and a wide blaze.
Trigger, Jr. was a Tennessee Walking Horse named Allen’s Golden Zephyr. A Palomino sabino, he was foaled in 1941, by Barker’s Moonbeam, out of Fisher’s Grey Maud. Roy purchased him 1948 and he died in 1969. Trigger, Jr. was mostly used for public appearances. He had four white stockings and a wide blaze..
I have not found any reference to Little Trigger’s original name, foaling date or when he died. While Trigger, Jr did mostly public appearance, Little Trigger was usually the stand-in for TV and movies. He had four stocking and a narrow blaze
There is also a reference to three additional Trigger doubles – Pal, California and Monarch. The only other information found was a picture of Roy on Pal. Since this horse had only three stockings, he is not Trigger, Little Trigger or Trigger, JR..
Trigger’s first movie was The Adventures of Robin Hood in 1938. He was ridden by Maid Marion, played by Olivia de Havilland. When Roy Rogers was cast for the movie Under Western Stars in 1938, Trigger was brought to the set with four other horses so he could pick a mount for the movies. He chose Golden Cloud, shortly thereafter named Trigger. In all, the pair starred in more than 80 films, 101 episodes of The Roy Rogers Show and many public appearances. Trigger shared top billing with Roy on the movies My Pal Trigger in 1948 and Trigger, Jr. in 1950. Roy eventually purchased Trigger for $2,500, later adding the $5,000 gold and silver saddle so familiar to all his fans.
Roy said of Trigger, “He could turn on a dime and give you some change”. (IMDb Mini Biography By: Roy Rogers Jr.)
He also stated “he felt that Trigger seemed to know when people were watching him and that he recognized applause and just ate it up like a ham!” ( IMDb Mini Biography By: Roy Rogers Jr.)
Trigger was called the “Smartest Horse in the Movies” due to learning well over 60 tricks such dancing, rearing, untying ropes and shooting a gun . He was house broken so he could visit children’s hospitals.
For the movie Son of Paleface (1953), Trigger won a Patsy Award (Performing Animal Television Star of the Year). In 1958, he won the Craven Award. He was so famous, he had his own comic book, Trigger, and his own Fan Club.
When they died, both Trigger and Tigger, Jr.were taxidermied and displayed at the Roy Rogers Museum. When the museum closed, both were sold.