life on life’s terms

Cracked Veneer

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Each day, we’re given many opportunities to open up or shut down. The most precious opportunity presents itself when we come to the place where we think we can’t handle whatever is happening. It’s too much. It’s gone too far. We feel bad about ourselves. There’s no way we can manipulate the situation to make ourselves come out looking good. No matter how hard we try, it just won’t work. Basically, life has just nailed us.
It’s as if you just looked at yourself in the mirror, and you saw a gorilla. The mirror’s there; it’s showing “you”, and what you see looks bad. You try to angle the mirror so you will look a little better, but no matter what you do, you still look like a gorilla. That’s being nailed by life, the place where you have no choice except to embrace what’s happening or push it away.
Most of us do not take these situations as teachings. We automatically hate them. We run like crazy. We use all kinds of ways to escape — all addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can’t stand it. We feel we have to soften it, pad it with something, and we become addicted to whatever it is that seems to ease the pain. In fact, the rampant materialism that we see in the world stems from this moment. There are so many ways that have been dreamt up to entertain us away from the moment, soften its hard edge, deaden it, so we don’t have to feel the full impact of the pain that arises when we cannot manipulate the situation to make us come out looking fine….pema chodron

i have been wrestling with guerrillas in the mirror, morals and ethical questions for a couple of months. There is a trail of crumbs that keep leading me down a path to a destination not known. As is often the case, I follow my instincts and encounter both comfort and the opposite. I then need to discern the temporary from the true. Once the veneer cracks. Perhaps that image, with the cracked facade, is the actual picture.

Everybody loves the things you do
From the way you talk
To the way you move
Everybody here is watching you
‘Cause you feel like home
You’re like a dream come true
But if by chance you’re here alone
Can I have a moment
Before I go?
‘Cause I’ve been by myself all night long
Hoping you’re someone I used to know
You look like a movie
You sound like a song
My God, this reminds me
Of when we were young
Let me photograph you in this light
In case it is the last time
That we might be exactly like we were
Before we realized
We were sad of getting old
It made us restless
It was just like a movie
It was just like a song
I was so scared to face my fears
Nobody told me that you’d be here
And I swore you moved overseas
That’s what you said, when you left me

 

chameleon

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The increased importance of Information and Communications Technology in modern business practice presents myriad strategic and tactical challenges. What specific qualities does a Chief Information Officer require in order to survive? Via a thorough review of the extant literature, this paper considers eight essential characteristics of the successful CIO in light of a guiding metaphor − the chameleon.
The increased importance of Information and Communications Technology in modern business practice presents myriad strategic and tactical challenges. What specific qualities does a Chief Information Officer require in order to survive? Via a thorough review of the extant literature, this paper considers eight essential characteristics of the successful CIO in light of a guiding metaphor − the chameleon.

the days now flit and fly around and through my nexus like hummingbirds on hibiscus. i rock and i roll with the onset of putting out fires and answering questions, calming fears, counseling colleagues, creating collaboration.  i am learning so much about what i thought i had forgotten. i still have some communication skills. thank heaven for that.

a living being’s sense of purpose and usefulness may very well be directly linked to well being. i cannot remember feeling so connected and calmly directed.

“There are people who are generic. They make generic responses and they expect generic answers. They live inside a box and they think people who don’t fit into their box are weird. But I’ll tell you what, generic people are the weird people. They are like genetically-manipulated plants growing inside a laboratory, like indistinguishable faces, like droids. Like ignorance.”
C. JoyBell C.

Holiday Letter 2014

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https://www.scribd.com/doc/250346717/Holiday-2014-Letter#fullscreen=1

 

holiday favorite

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“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”

dustin’s sober blog post today gave me a smile- for a few reasons really. firstly, his post reflects living in a mess and the havoc that it wreaks upon our psyche. holidays become just days with more holes. empty and dark, just as the depiction of the realm of the hungry ghosts suggests. secondly, it highlights how these dark days become the turning point for change in many peoples’ lives. the darkness becomes so big that it takes on a personality of its own and most often dominates the world it inhabits.

i can relate to these aspects of the addiction and recovery landscape. they echo my own. but the holidays can be double-edged sword because there are so many memories and are a ritual that we trudge through or skip through each year touching upon the very sacred and the primal in us.  these memories can be a slippery slope. many a person slides back down when push and shove become real. the spiritual practices i have in place may be the only protection i have some days from sliding down that slope myself. i have new coping skills and have honed them and invested in them over the years. the light that the holidays have developed over centuries to bring into our hearts and hearths is meant to be a comforting cultural spritual practice providing sustenance to last through the rest of winter. it intends to remind each other we have a past and we have a future.

in my life, this is exactly what it achieves. it provides light by asking me to remember what the value of light is. it offers me the memories of life without light to compare. double-edged sword- those dark days were potent. toxic and potent and memory wiping.

none-the-less i am grateful to have read dustin’s honest holiday offering. it stirred memories of secrets and lies and reinforced the hope and promise of today. thanks to him- and give him a shout.

dustin’s blog- remember the eve of christmas

 

 

there’s something about mary j

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I know who I am. I am not perfect. I'm not the most beautiful woman in the world. But I'm one of them. Mary J. Blige
I know who I am. I am not perfect. I’m not the most beautiful woman in the world. But I’m one of them.
Mary J. Blige

 

that’s it in a nutshell. she is just something else. i have not been a fan forever, but i have been a fan for some time now. she is real. she is down to earth. she is easily relate-able. i don’t have to guess who she is. it’s pretty clear. what is surprising though are a couple of things. the first is how she remains relevant. after the success, the ups and the downs, she continues to be a testament to telling the truth. if there was ever a symbol of healthy growing up, mary j is “it”.

shine on mary. shine on.

“Whole Damn Year”

Tryna find a way to explain this
Why you can’t touch me tonight?
I can feel you’re getting impatient
But I really can’t let you inside
Bad, how deep the pain is
Or you just couldn’t believe
And yes I’m good on the surface
But I’m a mess, I’m a mess underneath
See winter took most of my heart
And Spring punched right in the stomach
Summer came looking for blood
And by autumn, I was left with nothing

It took a whole damn year to repair my body
It took a whole damn year
It took a whole damn year to repair my body
It’s been about five years
Gon’ take a long long year for me to trust somebody
Gon’ take long long year
Gon’ take a long long year for me to touch somebody
It’s been a bad five years

i purchased her new collection titled london sesssions and really glad i did. here are some of the highlights for me.

 

wounded animal

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If the love within your mind is lost and you see other beings as enemies, then no matter how much knowledge or education or material comfort you have, only suffering and confusion will ensue.....dalai lama
If the love within your mind is lost and you see other beings as enemies, then no matter how much knowledge or education or material comfort you have, only suffering and confusion will ensue…..dalai lama

oh dear

what a year this has been. i have decided to refer to 2014 as the year of adjustments.

 

refinanced my home

purchased new car

vacated a position after 5 years

started and left another position

enrolled and dropped college in the same month

trained as peer coach and peer coach trainer

resigned volunteer board president position

contemplating developing new not-for-profit organization

painted interior of house different color (eucalyptus)

set new boundaries with family members and co-workers

de-activated facebook account

celebrated 10 years sobriety

started a consulting company

i guess it’s safe to say that 2014 has been a year of adjustments. i can’t say it was easy, but i can say it was worth it. have had a hella good year despite all the changes. in fact it was good due to changes. can definitely say i am looking forward to 2015.

“Wounded Animal”

I carried your heart
Like a wounded animal, soft
I kept my condolences to myself, soft
I spent my last hours defending how I fell

I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry
I didn’t try harder
I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry
I didn’t try at all
I lost myself when I found you in the fall
I left it all
I lost myself when I found you in the fall
I left it all

I carried your love
With a kind of urgency, scared
I kept all my senses from feeling you too much…mary lambert

do it

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There is a saying in Tibetan, 'Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.' No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that's our real disaster. By Dalai Lama XIV
There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.
By Dalai Lama XIV

bought a new car on sunday. friday morning i left my home for work and discovered that someone had sideswiped my car all along the driver’s side leaving freddie krueger finger scrapes and apple-carting the sideview mirror. my assumption is certainly it was perpetrated by an itoxicated driver. that’s payback kharma no doubt. all the times i drove drunk and got away with it.

my heart sank. i went numb. this is the first week at a new job and i had major damage control to do with a police report, finding a body shop, and insurance procedures.

must say that the my inner drama queen made an appearance. i recognized the gloria swanson quality of that posturing fairly quickly though and remembered that i am not a victim here. i’m merely a student with a $500 deductible.

worked a holiday party last night and the host tipped us $250 each- with my hourly i received my entire deductible in one 6 hour gig. go figure.

everyday above ground is a good day- so i celebrate.

I got a new one for ya
I like the way that sounds
(reporting live from Spain)
I’m about to do it for ya
I like to break it down
(Tuxedo)
This joint has got me open
Ooh that’s my favorite song
(Mr. Worldwide)
I put my thing in motion
(I don’t know how I do what I do)
I do it all night long
(I just do it)

You know the resume
Call it what you want, boy as it may
Not from the paper, hella paid
Every day above ground is a good day so I celebrate
Mami got that bubbleyum bootie
I wanna run through it like Rudy
She said do you own Nike
I said not yet, she said then just do it
Fresh at the Grammys in a tuxedo
Play about 18 hoes on any given day
Tiger Woods D low
Yea I get around but only on the D low
Now I’m changing the world
Just to think I used to dream about kilos
Bank account used to be negative
Now it’s like that thing on reload, do it

I got a new one for ya
I like the way that sounds
I’m about to do it for ya
I like to break it down
This joint has got me open
Ooh that’s my favorite song
I put my thing in motion
I do it all night long

Do it, do it, do it
Oh, here I go again
(Gotta hit ’em with that)
Do it
Do it
Do it…. pitbull and mayer hawthorne

 

was that all it was

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"This day is a special day, it is yours. Yesterday slipped away, it cannot be filled anymore with meaning.  About tomorrow nothing is known.  But this day, today, is yours, make use of it.  Today you can make someone happy.  Today you can help another.  This day is a special day, it is yours."
“This day is a special day, it is yours.
Yesterday slipped away, it cannot be filled anymore with meaning.
About tomorrow nothing is known.
But this day, today, is yours, make use of it.
Today you can make someone happy.
Today you can help another.
This day is a special day, it is yours.”

i spent yesterday with 2 groups of guys who are living in a halfway house. there was a distinct difference in the energy of the 2 groups.the first group was packed to the gills and filled with whining, blaming, and posturing. the second was dominated by individuals who are taking responsibility for their situations and trying to make some changes.

i was relieved that the last group was the motivated group. it left me with a sense of hope. it also left me with a sense of ennui. i came home and downloaded some old tunes by a 1970’s recording artist who was popular at some of the clubs i loved. i definitely have lived an amazing life, seen,heard, and participated in astonishing bits of twentieth century culture, and lived a life in vivid technicolor.

is there a connection here? not sure, but after ongoing and intermittent reflection, i believe that today is the miracle in front of me. i can’t change the past, but can change the lens it is viewed through and i can immediately affect the future.

many thanks to jean carne because after all these decades, her voice and her work still inspire me.

holiday focus

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If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.... dali lama
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion…. dali lama

there are times in my life that find me having lost my way. for some reason or another these misadventures wrong turns have not killed me. they have indeed given my experience depth and resilience.

the task this month will be to remember that as i encounter conflict or change that beyond the immediate discomfort there awaits a gift of discovery that might just change my world.

 

collide

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I'm quiet you know You make a first impression Well, I've found I'm scared to know I'm always on your mind Even the best fall down sometimes Even the stars refuse to shine Out of the back you fall in time I somehow find You and I collide Don't stop here I lost my place I'm close behind.... Howie Day
I’m quiet you know
You make a first impression
Well, I’ve found I’m scared to know
I’m always on your mind
Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the stars refuse to shine
Out of the back you fall in time
I somehow find
You and I collide
Don’t stop here
I lost my place
I’m close behind…. Howie Day

 

i had lunch with a friend today and she shared some struggles she is experiencing in the now. it amazed me how closely her struggles could  be ascertained to be aligned with some in my own life. strangely (and sadly perhaps) our conversation gave me hope. as i move forward in my chitty chitty bang bang life, i continue to open my heart to the struggles and the challenges i face as i  absurdly vacillate between  being a perfect saint and a hopeless phony. boundaries and conflict are the major contributors to these rough spots. turbulence is just one aspect of taking a flight. and i know i need to fly to get somewhere different.

 

Sometimes, we all need to ascertain whether we’re inadvertently contributing to the struggles and challenges we face.

When we have to deal with a tough issue, it can be hard to decipher whether it is truly an objective problem, or if we have (at least some) subconscious ownership of it.

This is especially hard since the biggest challenges in our lives are typically intricate and complex. Human nature leads us to believe that other people are at fault when we experience conflict, that we have been “wronged.”

If we look closely, we’ll see that our actions and reactions are useful tools, as they provide insight into our own perceptions and can fuel personal growth and development.

I am a glass-half-full person. I operate under the belief that the more I take care of myself, my life, and my own happiness, the more I can give to others, especially my loved ones.

But recently I hit a wall. It entailed a series of events over a two-week period when every part of my life seemed to be straining under the presence of a dark, erratic storm.

I had been very busy in my job and had stopped enjoying it. My relationships with my colleagues had become so tense that I was close to jumping ship. My patience had practically disappeared, leading tostress and anxiety.

I was struggling to keep my (sometimes) short temper in check. Even when dealing with small challenges, I was seeing red at every opportunity. I was arguing with my partner, interpreting his every move as a threat to my already delicate and vulnerable state of mind.

What was wrong? Put simply, I just wasn’t right. There I was, brought to my knees by an emotional hurricane charging through my life and everything in its path, and I just couldn’t understand why.

Was it a twisted coincidence that all the areas of my life were simultaneously conspiring against me? Was life simply testing my patience, strength, and resilience? Or was there something personal going on?

After avoidance, quiet contemplation, and then much careful thought, I had an epiphany—the kind of realization that completely floors you, a “eureka” moment, if you will.

The wall I faced was actually a mirror.It forced me to confront things that I had been ignoring. I had stopped doing the things that I love, the things that keep me strong. Basically, I was in need of emotional, mental, and spiritual TLC. 

I had outwardly projected my internal struggle onto my surrounding world, and it was being reflected right back at me, compelling me to notice—refusing to let me bury my head in the sand for the umpteenth time.

Because I had tunnel vision regarding my external difficulties, I couldn’t see the real source of conflict: I had neglected to nurture my core. Even though I did this for a brief period of time, this still affected me in a profound way.

We all have different levels of “holistic care and maintenance.” Mine happens to be high.

I love being independent, spending quality time alone, enjoying and exploring my creative strengths, connecting with my loved ones, living life fully and joyfully, and appreciating the small things that make me happy every single day.

But during this particular time, I settled for a poor level of emotional holistic care.

Realizing this reminded me how delicate and vulnerable each of us can become when we forget about ourselves and our needs.

When daily life and all its trappings take over, we can sometimes lose ourselves and neglect to do the things that help keep us strong—and that can lead to conflict all around us.

If you’re struggling with various challenges and wondering if the root may be something internal, these tips may help you find out:

1. Be brutally honest with yourself.

This is hard.It’s the kind of honest that is scary, but ultimately liberating. This will help set you free from blinkered thinking and open your mind to new perspectives on what you are really dealing with.

Try writing down your feelings. Have a brainstorming session and write down anything that pops into your mind. You might even be surprised by what comes up.

This is a great opportunity to really explore and process your emotions. This freestyle approach can help lead you to identifying what is really troubling you.

2. Ask yourself: What is my mirror showing me?

Is this immediate problem really the issue, or does it highlight something else that you need to pay attention to?

This is built on the previous step of honesty. Take a good look at that mirror and don’t let fear prevent you from receiving its message. Have an open heart and mind, and welcome the opportunity to learn from this experience and grow into a stronger, more aware person.

Of course, there will be times when the problem does not reflect any internal struggle or conflict. You’ll only know if you get radically honest with yourself.

3. Ascertain your ideal “holistic care and maintenance” level.

This is very important. What do you need every day to support you in being the best person that you can possibly be?This is different for everyone, and yours will be as unique and individual as you are.

Try making a list of things that you love doing every day, which support you in being a strong, empowered, present, happy person.

These things don’t have to be grand or fancy. They can be anything that reminds you who you are, why you are amazing, and why you love yourself. For example: being a great parent, appreciating the great outdoors, or indulging in your hobbies. Extend your list when you discover something new.

We all strive for peace, purpose, and happiness in our own unique ways, and this is something we must never lose sight of.

At the end of every day, if we have lived in accordance with our personal beliefs and principles, taken care of our emotional needs, and nurtured our hearts, minds, and souls, there is little room left for conflict or struggle….reposted from tinybuddha.com