Tag Archives: Be the change

What you know is simply a denial of other possibilities, other realities. Katherine Parker notcrazyjustnutZ.com

What We Know

For a long time, I had a thought buried deep in my conscious and subconscious minds. “I am poor. I will always be poor.” This thought was something I grew up with. It was something my parents reinforced subconsciously. We didn’t have enough money to pay the bills or to buy what we needed, much less what we wanted. “We don’t have enough money” was a frequent theme in our house and I took that theme and made it my own.

I remember one year when I was thirteen or so, we were at a particularly low spot financially. Mom handed my brother and me a copy of the Fingerhut book about a month before Christmas and said we could have any one item from that book. That item would be our only Christmas gift that year.

I, being aware that we didn’t have money, chose a practical gift for myself. I chose a winter coat. My brother chose a Nintendo, a completely impractical item. I always thought my brother’s choice was a bit ridiculous. We didn’t have money, why would he choose a game? Why didn’t he choose a practical gift, something useful?

I look back now and have a different perspective on that choice. I wonder why didn’t I choose a gift that would make me happy, too? Something I truly wanted, not something I needed. When did I decide that because I was poor, I couldn’t be happy?

I carried that I’m-poor theme through to my adulthood. I never seemed to be able to make enough to live comfortably. It didn’t have anything to do with wasting money. My mother used to tell me I could squeeze a penny until it screamed. It had to do with my mindset, with my thought process. I looked at other people and saw how they had opportunities that I would never have and the only difference I saw was they had money and I didn’t. Because I believed in my soul I was poor, I let that label limit my potential.

While in college, I took a self defense class for PE credits. I really enjoyed the class and signed up for the next class, not because I needed more credits, but because I just liked the class. The instructors saw some potential in me, potential I didn’t see in myself. I’m a big girl and they had aspirations of putting me in competitions where my size would be an advantage.

They told me they would train me and I asked how much it would cost. “We’ll work that out,” they said. I immediately went back to how much it would cost me. In the end, focusing on the money cost me the opportunity. They let it drop and so did I, because after all, I was poor, I couldn’t afford to take martial arts classes. The idea was as ridiculous as that old Nintendo.

I used to know I was poor, but now . . . well now, I’m not so sure. I have realized that what I know is simply the denial of other realities, other possibilities. I wonder how many other opportunities I missed because I focused on something that didn’t really matter? How many times have I let an opportunity pass because of some restriction in my head?

As of this moment, I vow to be open to those other possibilities. I will see them when they come to me and I will use them as the stepping stones in my life.

The only thing I know now, is that anything is possible if I am open to those possibilities.

Dry cottonwood leaf on a rock.

Life in Review

Why is it that we wait until a near death experience to review our lives? Why don’t we do that every month or so to figure out where we are straying from our path, from our true selves? If we did that as a monthly ritual, people wouldn’t experience what others call a “midlife crisis”. Actually, crisis is the wrong word. It isn’t a crisis, its a course correction. People going through a midlife crisis are actually coming into alignment with who they truly are.

If we reviewed what made us happy and focused on that throughout our lives, we wouldn’t need such a dramatic change to line up with who we really are. Instead of waiting until retirement to figure out who we are, we could spend our whole lives being that person. These thoughts have made me review my own life.

I realized as I wrote this that I don’t remember my mother piling a lot of expectations on me. She never indicated that she expected me to do anything other than ride horses well. She was particular about that. For that matter, Dad didn’t seem to have expectations of me either or maybe its just that I didn’t notice their expectations.

As a result of this, I’ve made some interesting choices. I didn’t get married and I’ve never had kids, a path very few women take. I seem to have followed the less beaten path in many of my choices. Often I was the only female or one of only a few women in my jobs and hobbies.

Some of my jobs and hobbies are well out of the norm for women in particular, but even most men wouldn’t have gotten into some of the stuff I have.

At various times in my life, I have been a:
Police officer
Vehicle repossession agent
Woman’s Professional Football player
Process Server
Cashier
Security officer
Web site designer
Expert level crocheter
Lamp-work bead maker
Jewelry designer
Public speaker
Teacher
Group leader
Disaster responder
Emergency management volunteer
Chaos control technician
Horse trainer
Rabbit breeder
Switchboard operator
Admissions clerk in a hospital
College student
Licensed EMT
CERT Trainer
Amateur Radio Assistant Emergency Coordinator
Skywarn weather spotter
Net control operator in ham radio
Wedding planner (not my own)
Photographer
Care giver
Cook
Dish washer
Costume designer
Seamstress
Writer
Poet

I have been going through that list and focusing on the jobs I liked and which I didn’t. I also looked at what parts of those jobs I liked and which I didn’t to find the real me. There is a theme emerging pretty clearly. I need freedom and variety to be happy. Every time I had a job that constricted me, I disliked it. Sometimes that dislike came quickly. Sometimes the job had other things that made up for the lack of freedom and I didn’t hate it immediately, but I always came to hate it.

I also need autonomy. Having someone tell me what to do and exactly how to do it drives me batty. I am not a robot to be programmed. I am a human being and a creative one at that. I need to be allowed to think for myself. I need to find the way to the desired result in my own way. After all, my way might be better or at least better for me.

Other revelations include the need to be learning new things. Okay maybe that isn’t a revelation. I’ve known I get a charge out of learning new stuff, but other things were a little bit of a surprise. I like being different and, I’m comfortable being different. I like inspiring other women to do things out of the norm. I like inspiring people to see beyond the box they have built around themselves and to push their self imposed limitations. I like pushing people’s perceptions of reality to broader horizons. I also need to feel valued and to feel that I am doing some kind of good in whatever I do.

So what kind of employment can I find with these traits?

I haven’t got a clue. The roles that have called me the most are disaster related and creative. My dream job is to create an Emergency Management team that would stage before a large disaster and step in to help the overwhelmed locals through the first two or three days. Those are the critical times in a disaster when the loss of life is highest and when I feel my chaos control skills would be most useful. When disasters aren’t happening, I could be focusing on the creative stuff like writing.

The thing is, there is no path to that role. I only know of one organization that even comes close to that and they focus on debris removal, not disaster management. Maybe they haven’t thought of that potential yet . . .

Looks like I have some research to do.

When was the last time you sat down to review your life? Have you ever? You should make your course corrections along the whole path so the adjustments are easy. If you wait, you may have to do what I’m doing and blaze your own trail through the bush.

Let the light shine through you. Picture of leaves with sun shining through them.

Conflict of Interests

A conflict of interest as defined by Google: a situation in which the concerns or aims of two different parties are incompatible.

I am having a conflict of interest, but it doesn’t involve two parties. It involves two sides of me. I am essentially at war with myself. One party in this conflict is my need to survive and pay my bills. My desire for survival is strong and I don’t want to be hungry, so this side of me has some compelling arguments.

The other side is my free spirit. The one that doesn’t want to be tied down. This is the side that wants the freedom to do what I want, when I want, and where I want. This spirit does not want anything to do with the corporate slave camps again. It has been reminding me of all the dehumanizing and confining issues involved with being a slave.

Another objection is how much life I’ve miss out on because I have to go to work. If I have a time clock to punch, I tend to avoid meeting with my friends until days when I don’t. Punching-in cuts short time I could spend spreading my special brand of nuttiness. Many of my significant encounters happened because I wasn’t confined by a time clock. Instead of rushed visits, I can spend hours getting to know and understand people.

The problem is, unless I’m able to find someone to support my sorry butt or figure out a way to make it on my own, I need money to survive. So I am having to face the impossible issue of which slave owner do I want to commit to so I can make money? At this time, the free spirit is winning, so my answer is none. I don’t want to be someone else’s slave to abuse at will, but if I commit to that choice, I actually commit to another type of confinement.

This other prison doesn’t have cubicles, time clocks, or corporate overlords, but it is just as abhorrent to my free spirit. Poverty is confining in it’s own right. It limits my mobility and adds a different stress to my life. I want the freedom to do a spontaneous lunch date like I did today, but I also want to be able to pay for it. I want to be able to treat others, to give gifts of not only my time, but tokens of affection as well. I also want to take care of the bills that will hound me until the day I die if I don’t.

So right now I have a conflict waging inside me. Do I keep listening to the free spirit, or do I take up the chains of bondage and fasten them to my own neck?

Clearly my free spirit side is winning. The fact that I still see it as bondage tells me what I “should do” is still not something I will do, but let’s look at it from the other side of the equation. For the sacrifice of a few hours a week, I gain the ability to get out from under my debts. Sacrificing my time in exchange for a paycheck would allow me to follow my dream of getting to Washington state. Giving up my ability to do spontaneous lunches would allow me to pay for those lunches.

Did you see what I did there? I didn’t actually see the other side of the equation. “Sacrificing” and “giving up” are not the other side of the argument and the free spirit is still dominating the issue. Persistent little bugger.

The real issue isn’t my need for freedom though. The real issue is what kind of job is worth my sacrificing some of that freedom? I don’t want to sacrifice my time on the alter of corporate greed. I want a job that will allow me to feel like I am accomplishing good in the world. Those jobs are far apart and most of them want a donation of time and don’t pay.

In all my job searches through the years, I’ve only ever seen one job that would give me what I want while at the same time allowing me to do good. That was the job that made me resurrect my Washington dream in the first place.

That job had all my major criteria:
Travel
Adventure
Emergency Management
Helping save lives
Flexibility
Being a positive change
Teaching people

Since I didn’t get that job and I need one that is local, I have been looking into the non-profit realm. I’ve worked with the Salvation Army on several disasters and was impressed with the organization. They are the only organization I would support financially and frankly, the Christmas season is upon us. For the same pay, I can choose to be a security guard working for some corporate overlord protecting someone else’s slave camp, or I can help others while I help myself.

That is something I consider worthy of my sacrifice. I don’t have to compromise my belief system to survive and that does away with my conflict. Both parties are happy.

How many times have you sacrificed your personal beliefs in order to survive? Let me know what your conflict of interests were in the comments below.

A small brass key with scratches from being run over.

The Key

I made a new friend recently and following some online chats, we decided to take a walk around her neighborhood. The walk covered a little over a mile but took more than three hours.

Yeah, I know. Snails would move faster than that!

In our defense, we weren’t always moving. We stopped for a drink and a long getting-to-know-you conversation in the middle of that walk. So, no. We were not laying our slug snot trails around the neighborhood for three hours and no, I will not apologize for that visual. It made me laugh.

Anyway, my fellow snail is open to different views and has many of the same beliefs I do. She meditates, believes we are here to learn or to teach, and she believes in reincarnation. She told me about feeling like she had been reincarnated into the same family previously. She also told me about an interesting dynamic within her family that has taken place for over a hundred years.

More than five generations has had a girl born first and almost all had a boy born second. The boy is always favored and the girls are treated badly. This dynamic was recreated in her own generation. She was the first born and she has a younger brother. She has a horrible relationship with her mother, whom she hasn’t seen in years and who now has dementia.

My friend knew about the pattern in the family early on and vowed to change it. Somehow she was able to do just that. She had only one child. A son.

The pattern would indicate that there is some unresolved issue with the souls who are choosing to inhabit the women in the family. There is something someone needs to learn and it isn’t happening. That is how I understand reincarnation.

It is a bit like school in that there are lessons. The difference is, souls have all the time in the world. So if something isn’t sinking in, they just keep coming back to repeat the lesson until it does.

I let my new friend know my thoughts and we left the restaurant to make our way back to her home. As we were crossing the street, I glanced down to find a brass key that had been in the road for a while. The surface was scratched and pitted from getting run over a few times.

I picked it up and said, “This is your key,” as I held it out to her. Understand, I had no reason to believe the key actually belonged to her. I just felt I was meant to give it to her.

Our conversation lagged a we considered the implications of that key. Neither one of us knew what it was meant to symbolize, but we both knew it was significant. The Universe had put us together and put the key in our path for a reason. We tossed around ideas about what it could mean. I decided to throw out a thought I had been working on for a while but hadn’t yet shared with anyone.

What if people with dementia had broken with this reality and they have somehow tapped into their past lives?

She paused in amazement. That explanation clicked with her. Her soul recognized the significance and she got chills up her back just thinking about it.

For whatever reason, I think she needed that bit of information to break the cycle of abuse that has been a part of her family for generations. The only question is, will she use the key in this life or will she let the cycle repeat in the next one?

If you have someone in your family who is suffering from dementia, consider that they may be tuned into other lives they have lived. If they don’t know you, it is because you were not a part of that past life. If they call you by a different name, it may have been your name in one of those other lives. Ask them about it. Sometimes the only thing needed to break a cycle is to understand what created it.

If you are just coming to my blog, I recommend clicking on the Start Here button at the top to read the blog entries in the order they were written.

May blessings be upon you.

Flower lit from behind so the petals glow.

Heaven as Explained by Children


Anyone who has had experiences with young children know that kids will say the most amazing things. Carol Bowman, in her book Return from Heaven quotes stunned parents who were educated about the truths of heaven by their four year-old children.

These quotes are directly from Carol Bowman’s book.

“One day when he and his father were discussing how far back he could remember, he surprised his father by announcing, “I remember when I was in heaven. I helped the dead guys.” When his father asked him what he helped them do, the boy said, “Ya know, sometimes when people die they don’t know they are dead, like when they die in car wrecks or real fast, they don’t know they’re dead. So we had to be there and wait until their soul left their body so we could help them get to heaven.”

Another child, Courtney, also four, told her parents how busy she had been in heaven.

“When you go to heaven, you have a little time to rest, kind of like a vacation, but then you have to get to work. You have to start thinking about what you have to learn in your next life. You have to start picking out your next family, one that will help you learn whatever it is you need to learn next. Heaven isn’t just a place to hang around forever. It’s not just a place to relax and kick back, you have work to do there.”

Imagine the surprise of the parents when they hear such advanced concepts coming from a child of four that may have never had any exposure to car accidents or the parent’s ideas of what heaven might be like. Bowman says almost every parent that received these gems of knowledge experience goosebumps and were surprised at a change in the normal speech patterns when the child delivered their knowledge. Almost every parent described the child as sounding much more mature than they usually sounded.

Bowman talks a lot about The Tibetan Book of the Dead which gives us another view of heaven that meshes with what other children and what people who have experienced near death experiences have described. The Book of the Dead is intended to be read to the newly deceased soul to help guide them in their new role as a disembodied spirit, a concept I believe is similar to being given last rights in the Catholic faith.

“It says that at the moment when we drop our physical bodies, the soul gains powers of clairvoyance and understands everything about the last life. The Lord of Death holds up the “Mirror of Karma,” where all deeds of the past life are faithfully reflected and revisited in minute detail. Even “places where we did no more that spit on the ground” come back with the full force of memory and consciousness, and we reexperience the emotions and intention of each of our actions. They concur that “All judgment takes place in the mind: we are both judge and judged.”

Imagine that for a moment.

Many religions teach us that upon arrival in heaven, we will will be judged by a third party, either a benevolent God or a vengeful one. But the Book of the Dead indicates we will be our only judge and that to me, rings true.

It goes to my belief that we humans know the difference between right and wrong straight from the womb. Some of us chose or are taught to ignore that instinctive knowledge and perpetrate unspeakable horrors on others, but the abuser knows its wrong on some level and hates themselves because of it. I believe this is the source of self destructive behavior.

Courtney’s statement that “You have to start picking out your next family, one that will help you learn whatever it is you need to learn next,” confirms my belief that we are here to learn something or to teach something.

These beliefs make me look at people different. Obnoxious coworkers don’t need a smack up side the head, they need patience and understanding. They need someone willing to ask why they do that thing that drives everyone nuts and to point out how the behavior impacts others so that they may learn how their behavior harms others.

People who are violent to others should not be hated. They need to be shown love and how to love. They need examples because those lessons can not be taught by books or lectures. Taking time with a person to help them make realistic changes to their behavior shows them that they are valued and worth the effort.

So look into your own Mirror of Karma right now and judge your actions and behaviors by your own sense of what is right. Examine the motivations behind your actions as well, because a good deed done for the wrong reason is not a good deed.

When you have done this, ask yourself, “What can I do to improve myself and how will I be a better example for others?”

Because when it comes down to it, we learn our behaviors from watching others. It comes down to the, “If he did it, it must be okay,” mentality.

What kind of example are you setting for the people in your life?

Image of the sun shining on dew wet grass.

Perspective

I woke up this morning and was able to get out of bed. I got food from my kitchen to fill my empty stomach. I drank clean water from the faucet to quench my thirst. I got dressed in clean clothing that didn’t have holes. I put on shoes that were not worn out. I walked outside without worrying about my safety.

I heard the birds beginning their morning wake up calls. I felt the cool air on my skin and smelled the newness of the day. I watched as the stars winked out, the moon set, and the sky lightened.

I walked to a park and smelled the roses blooming along the way. I marveled at the dew glistening on the grass and was able to crouch down to get a closer look as the sun rose pushing the darkness away.

I had the park to myself except for a black cat who watched me from thirty yards away. He didn’t bother me, I didn’t bother him. The dew felt good on my skin as I touched the dripping grass. The trees sheltered me from prying eyes and the brook burbled behind me as I watched the changing light on the wet blades.

One hundred and forty thousand other people in my city woke up as well. They fed themselves, dressed, groomed, and prepared for the day. Hundreds of thousands of people were not assaulted, murdered, robbed, or victimized during the night. No bombs went off. No chemical warfare was used against the citizens of my city or state. My country’s economy did not fail. No nuclear weapon was unleashed. No asteroid plowed into the earth and destroyed civilization as we’ve known it.

All in all…it was a pretty good start to the day.

The Reality of Food Stamps

I woke up today to a post on Facebook that said Indianapolis was going to provide breakfast and lunch to all students free of charge. One of the comments below that post made my heart hurt.

“We do have food stamps for those going through hard times. You know in our day we worked and provided for our kids. I am so afraid many parents are spending their money on themselves for alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs…”

Having grown up below the poverty level, I know my mom was forced to apply for Food Stamps while I was a kid. I didn’t have much to do with it at that time, but when I was older, I was released from the dreaded box store’s corporate slave camp and needed them.

I was released after five and a half years for too many customer complaints. At least that is what they put on the paperwork. The reality was, it was 2009 and the economy had tanked. The box store was trying to figure out how to save a dime and I had put myself in a bad position by missing too many days of work while my dad was dying. Apparently, the company comes before dying parents.

I ended up unemployed much longer than I expected and used up all of my unemployment benefits without being able to get a job. My friends helped as much as they could, but the economy was bad and I lived in a poor county in rural Missouri. There just weren’t enough jobs.

When I applied for assistance, I was depress, demoralized, humiliated, and afraid. I had been eating pancakes for a week because the mix and syrup were cheap and could be mixed with water.

The Social worker had been dealing with the situation for a while and was ticked off at the abuses she had been seeing as a result of corporate greed. She went about trying to get me what benefits she could.

I had no income at that time, so I qualified for the maximum Food Stamp benefits of $200. I was single, had no children and I wasn’t pregnant, so that was the only assistance I could get.

I took what I could get, but knew it hadn’t improved my situation much.

After all, I had zero income. That meant I couldn’t pay my utilities or buy basic supplies. With EBT, I could get food, but how would I cook without propane or electric? I couldn’t afford toilet paper or soap either and none of that was covered on EBT. The only reason I didn’t worry about being homeless was because I had managed to pay off my parents house.

The house had issues. The roof leaked and the contractor I’d hired to fix it disappeared with the money and never came back. It rained in my upstairs bedroom, so I moved down stairs. After a while it started raining down there, too.

My situation was not a good one. I had few friends, no family help, no resources, and no job or job prospects, and not enough money to move.

What I had was a leaky roof over my head, $200 a month in Food Stamps, severely damaged pride, and a bad case of clinical depression that made it hard to get out of bed and nearly impossible to keep looking for a job.

A friend who ate out a lot suggested I could cook for him and another friend and they would pay me. I bought the groceries and cooked at his place and they gave me money so I could buy necessities like soap and toilet paper.

When I was able to find a part time job, my food stamps dropped to $10 a month. It cost about that in gas to drive to the office, so I let my claim expire and tried to live on part time at a dollar over minimum wage.

The reason the woman feared that Food Stamp recipients were using their money for drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes is because of the brain washing perpetrated by mass media.

The media has villainized people on assistance programs by running stories about a few who abused the system. The American people have accepted those exceptions as a true representation of the whole because they never hear about the true majority. They don’t know people like me exist.

People who have never walked the rocky path cast judgment on those who do and feel superior to those who need the assistance without understanding what that assistance actually means or the reason it is needed.

I don’t smoke. I have had one alcoholic drink in the past six months. I do not and have never taken illegal drugs. I can’t afford medical care or prescriptions, so even the legal ones are off limits to me. But knowing what you know now, if I did take drugs, could you blame me for wanting the release from the pain and depression?

The next time you hear about someone who has abused the system remember me and know that there is another side to that story the media will never report. Learn to offer help and compassion, not judgement and the world will be a different place.

What is eating your soul?

I Call Bullshit

This is an excerpt from a story in the Kansas City Star from 2012 about U.S. Census findings.

“The poverty line is defined as an annual income of $23,492 or less for a family of four. A record 46.5 million Americans fall into that category, though the Census Bureau notes its pre-tax income calculations don’t include accumulated wealth, such as savings and home ownership. Nor does it include non-cash government aid such as food stamps and the earned income tax credit.”

Now let’s break it down and examine the statements in detail. We’ll start with, “The poverty line is defined as an annual income of $23,492 or less for a family of four.” If we round up to $23,500, that works out to one person who makes $1958 a month. $490 a week and $12.24 an hour.

As a single woman with no children or dependents and a strong tendency toward being a tightwad, I can tell you that I can’t live comfortably on that kind of an income. The U.S. Government expects not one, but four people to be able to live on that income.

Let’s run the numbers based on my living expenses. If you divide the $23,500 by four you get $5875.

I live in a studio apartment in Independence, Mo. and pay $400 a month in rent. That adds up to $4,800 of my budget, just to keep a roof over my head.

My water, sewer, and electricity is billed on the same bill and averages to $135 a month. That adds up to $1620 a year which means I just blew my government allotted budget by $545 and I haven’t even bought food yet.

I was going through a period of constructive discontent in 2013. My mom had just passed away and my tolerance for bullshit was at an all time low.

I wasn’t happy with my job because I got written up at the request of the security client for actually doing what I was supposedly being paid to do. I wanted to make a change and sat down to do my budget. This is the result as posted to my Facebook page at that time.

This is what real poverty looks like. This is also the reality of most of the citizens of the United States or the bottom rung employees as I call them.

Too much information to pass here.  The gist of it is, there is way to much money going out compared to what is coming in.

This is what poverty really looks like.

I don’t like looking at my budget because the reality is soul crushing. I actually had to step away from the computer to cry. After all, with that kind of reality, how can I even dream about getting ahead? I’m still crying, but I want to finish this. People need to see past the numbers to the reality they are inflicting on others.

The U.S. Government claims that a family of four is not living in poverty if they make $23,500 a year. I call bullshit. With extra shifts that year, I made about $22,000 and I still didn’t have insurance, retirement or much savings. I drove a car with well over 200,000 miles and prayed it didn’t break down, because if it did, I had no money to get it fixed or replace it. Nor did I have the income or credit history to get a loan for a different one.

One person can not in reality live on $23,500. There is no way a family of four could either.

The problem isn’t in the government though. The problem is in the private sector and promoted by the corporate culture of maximizing the profit margins and making sure the shareholders are happy.

The share holders clearly make more money than I do because they have enough money to invest in a company not their own. I can’t afford insurance, but they get first dibs on the profits made from my labors.

I left my job shortly after I made that budget and went to work as a process server. Unfortunately, my financial standing has suffered a severe down turn because of the robo-signing that occurred in the credit industry. Something, I will point out, done to maximize profits. Now I have to make a choice between working for slave wages under demoralizing, soul crushing conditions in the corporate slave camps or being homeless.

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go cry again.

Bravery is a willingness to stand alone.

Resistance Is Not Futile

I was working on my Linkedin profile a couple months ago and I came to the spot where they asked for a job title. I sat staring at the blinking cursor and wondered, “How do I describe myself in one or two words?”

For most people, this wouldn’t be a problem, but for me it was. I was having a real issue with the labels being inflicted on people and the damage they did. I was working in security, but I knew I was so much more than a security guard. Coming up with a description of myself that would fit in that little box seemed like a monumental task.

We as a society have stopped seeing people as multi-dimensional. We describe ourselves and others in one word shorthand for convenience, but by doing so, we are limiting how the person being described is viewed by others and how they view themselves.

Most Americas do it to themselves by self-identifying. They make it easy for others to stuff them in the appropriate box. We identify as Catholic, Baptist, Democrat, Republican, etc. Each one of those labels means something wildly different to every person who hears them. As a result, there is no way to know how they are being interpreted.

Some might stuff you in the “Enemy” box if you identify as a Democrat or Republican. Others will see you as a friend, but their view of what that label means may be radically different than yours. The problem is, by the time you realize that, they have already stuffed you into a cubby hole and once in that hole, it is almost impossible to get out of it.

I have strong political views, but I don’t identify myself as one party or another. I would rather work to the greater good than to the agenda I don’t understand set out by people I don’t know and have good reason not to trust. I do the same thing with religion.

When I’m asked about my religious views I respond with, “I take what is good in all of them and toss the rest.” Answers like that make it hard to stuff me in a box and it works for a lot of different things, religion and politics are just good examples.

I am not a herd animal. I walk my path alone and I’m not afraid to do it.

I don’t take the easy path when it comes to education. I don’t and never have followed the path most taken. I have a brain and I know how to use it. I have learned how to gather my own information and how to do my own research. I have learned to form and trust my own opinions instead of basing my beliefs on those of someone else.

I have a very different view than those in the herd. I can see the path they are on and I don’t like where they are being driven. That is why I started this blog, to bring my awareness to others. To shine a light on the path they are following and to show the dangers along it.

That little box on Linkedin still needed filled, but I was at a loss on how to go about doing so. I kept asking myself, “What am I?”

I gave up and decided Linkedin didn’t need to be updated.

Shortly after that a male Olympic athlete came out as a woman and ended up on the front cover of a magazine for her bravery. A few days later, I was driving home from work and some radio personalities were mocking the whole labeling and “trans” thing.

One had self-identified as trans-generational. He was adopting all ages. I think one identified as trans-national. The third self-identified as trans-species and called himself a pterodactyl. The commentary was hilarious, but it drove a point home for me.

I’m not what other people see me as and I’m not what I was in the past. I am what I want to be in the future.

I went home and updated my Linkedin profile with the words “Visionary/Blogger.”

How many times have you heard, “She’s just a…” or “He’s a…?”

When someone sticks a label like that on you, are you really “just a…” anything? We have been taught to label ourselves for simplicity and this is strictly enforced in our society. Every form ever written forces you to make choices between the accepted answers and those acceptable answers are very limited and limiting. The problem with labeling ourselves like that, is we start thinking of ourselves as “just a…” and forget that we can be so much more.

We, as humans, are multifaceted gems, and those other facets need to be exposed to the light for our true brilliance to be exposed. So from now on when I’m asked what I am, I will say, “I am a world changer.”

What kind of limits have been imposed on you because you or society labeled you?

Encouraging others to bravery is being the change I want to see in the world. Resist those labels, because every time you do, you give someone else the courage to resist them and you shine a light on the problem.

Are you brave enough to change the world?

Did you drop anchor in a good spot or just a convenient one?

Home Is…

Yesterday’s post, Solving Homelessness, got me thinking about the definition of the word home. So I looked it up on Google.

Home: the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.

synonym: residence, place of residence, house, apartment, flat, bungalow, cottage; accommodations, property, quarters, rooms, lodgings; a roof over one’s head; address, place; informal: pad, digs; hearth, nest; formal: domicile, abode, dwelling, dwelling place, habitation

Most people in America would say a home is either a house or apartment. At least the people that didn’t spout off with “home is where the heart is.”

The synonym “accommodations” seems to fit my definition of home better. After all, a person living in a tent has a home, but by today’s standard would be considered homeless. Why?

Because most people anchor themselves. They need to be anchored to feel safe, but if they anchor themselves they don’t go anywhere just like a ship at anchor.

I’ve been reading the blogs of people who live in RVs, campers, and tiny homes and came across a blogger today who has lived in a camper van for 12 years. This is a choice he intentionally made and one that works for him. He likes it so much that he encourages others to join him and offers suggestions on how to make the leap from house/apartment dwelling to living in a vehicle. You can check out his blog here.

When I started telling my friends about creating The Wander Away, there were varying responses. One person said, “So you want to be homeless?” Since he has been living in a travel trailer for years now, I challenged his definition of homeless. He has a travel trailer, but he parked it in a semi-permanent manner. That was his choice. Our living arrangements would be similar, but he needs to be anchored. I don’t.

I told another friend and his response was, “You’re gonna be a gypsy?”

I hadn’t thought about it that way, but I guess I would fit the stereotype. I even read palms and tarot cards and know how to change the color of horses so I can conceal that it’s a stolen horse. These are all things the stereotypical gypsy was accused of, so I guess the title would fit.

Another friend immediately told me it was expensive, but he hasn’t done research like I have. I’m paying over five hundred dollars in rent and utilities. Expenses that would cease to exist when I move into The Wander Away. The blogger I mentioned above said he actually spends less in gas every month than he did when he had a house.

The reason? He doesn’t have a daily commute of forty miles. He travels for fifty miles or so and stays for a week or more. Then he moves on again. As a result, he has no where near the gas consumption he used to.

He also saves on utilities by installing solar power and following the ideal temperatures as the season progresses. He works his way south in the fall and wanders back to the north in the spring. He gets to see this beautiful country and stays mostly where it is free for him to stay which cuts down on his living expenses.

Imagine living in a National Park and waking up everyday to that kind of beauty. Imagine spending time in one location long enough to really get a feel for it and the people. One morning at a coffee shop with a coffee klatch will give you the inside scoop on everything you need to do while you are in the area. If you like it, you stay for a while. If you don’t, you move on to the next location.

Sounds like heaven to me, so I guess I am a gypsy, minus the stereotypical horse thievery which I suspect most times they were not guilty of in the first place. What they were guilty of was challenging societal norms. People are not comfortable with nomads, but that is exactly how the earth was populated. It was also how America was founded. People, unhappy with where they were, came here to live. Some of those people found their spot. Others are still looking for it.

Challenging societal norms seems to be my lot in life. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid and I think I’ll keep doing it until people wake up and accept that societal norms are not healthy nor one-size-fits-all. Some people just don’t fit nor do they want to live in a societally accepted box. Because let’s face it, that is what a house or apartment is. A box.

Maybe the people that said, “Home is where the heart is,” were on to something. Maybe instead of sticking people in boxes, we need to be asking “homeless” people what their definition of home is and then make that definition acceptable and possible.

My friend’s desire to end homelessness might be possible if we accept that people have different definitions of home.

How would you define home? Let me know on my Facebook page.

To change the world, invest in the people around you.

Solving Homelessness

A few days ago, I went to dinner with a friend and we got talking about my beliefs and observances. I talked about the book Get Out Of Your Own Way by Dr. Cooper and then asked the questions that got me thinking in the long term.

What would you do with your life if you had half a billion dollars at your disposal? How would you change the world for the better?

My friend has a wandering heart and said he would travel full time like I want to do. When I pressed him for an answer to the second question he said he would end homelessness.

That is a pretty lofty dream and since I’ve had that fear of being homeless for years, I’ve been thinking about it every since.

A few years ago I looked into buying a foreclosed house. It was small, only six hundred square feet on a half acre and the only thing I could find wrong with it was a broken drawer front in the kitchen. It was move in ready and I was ready to move in.

The monthly payments on it would have been less than three hundred dollars. I was and still am paying four hundred in rent on a studio apartment. I figured if I could afford four hundred in rent, I could afford three hundred in house payments and I’d have something to show for it.

I contacted my bank and the loan officer there pulled up my credit history then said, “You don’t have a lot of credit history.”

“I live on what I make and save for what I want,” I responded.

“Well, in order to get a better credit rating, you need to get more credit cards to establish it.”

I stared at the phone, then thanked him and hung up.

Take a minute to think about that. I did.

A person who lives within their means is rejected for a home loan because they think and plan ahead and don’t mooch off of others.

Yes, mooching. That is exactly what loans and credit cards are designed for. After all, what would you think if your friend came to you repeatedly through a month and said, “Hey, I can’t afford to buy these things, will you loan me the money?” That is exactly what people juggling credit cards are doing, mooching. They just aren’t mooching off friends.

That home buying experience got me looking at the banking industry and home loans in particular. Why would they reject people who live within their means?

Bank officers don’t sit down with you to look over your budget to see if you are a good option for a loan. They go straight to the numbers and generally don’t talk to you much. They analyze how much credit you have extended to you and whether you have been paying those bills. But in their quick numbers crunch, they don’t look at the most important factors.

They don’t ask how much money you make. They also don’t check to see if you are making your rent or house payments on time. Because let’s face it. When I’m broke, I and most Americans, prioritize keeping a roof over their head over paying a student loan or credit card payment.

The credit card companies know this, too. That is why they have such high fees for late or non-payment and are quick to report you to the credit bureau. They want you to put paying them at the top of your list of priorities because they don’t give a crap if you have a house. They care that they got their profits.

The mortgage issue ate at me for quite a while, then one day it clicked.

Banking is a for profit industry, too.

They are punishing people for living responsibly because those responsible people don’t ask for loans and therefore don’t pay interest and don’t make the banks any money.

That revelation ticked me off. Responsible, intelligent people are being punished while irresponsible people are rewarded for bad behavior. What the freaking hell is wrong with our country that this would not only be standard practice, but not questioned and challenged?

Then I realized, I’m ahead of my time. I’m still thinking outside that box everyone else finds so comfortable. Americans, as a people, don’t stop to think about stuff like this because they are tied up with the competition of getting to the next level in the game of life.

That game has rules that are being rewritten by industries like the banks. Those rules are not in the best interest of the greatest good. They are in the best interest of the greatest profit.

We can solve this problem by rejecting those rules and writing our own. We can do that by helping each other instead of relying on the profit mongers to do what we as a society should be doing.

That is the first step in solving homelessness.

If you own investment property, take a look at your renters. Many of them have lived in your houses for years and pay their rent on time every month but, for whatever reason, they can’t get a house loan. Why not talk to them about rent to own? After all, you can afford to by another house. They can’t.

The next step is buy up cheap rental houses in the worst part of town. Let the people pay rent for a year and establish their credit with you, then offer them the rent to own option. If you are really generous, make the year’s rent their down payment.

That one step could change the worst parts of town into nice neighborhoods and would leave the banks and profit mongers out of the equation.

Invest in the people instead of the property and you and I can change the world.

Get closer to the earth.

Time in the Slave Camp

I think farmers would make good corporate CEOs. In fact, I think they would make better CEOs than people with business degrees.

Of course, I think so far outside the box people have trouble seeing what I see. I must be pretty far afield because I’ve never even seen the box. So let me tell you what I see from my vantage point.

Corporations today are lead by one person at the top telling people below them what they want done and generally how they want it done. Those people tell other people and those people tell still more, until finally you have someone who actually does the work. These are what I call the bottom rung employees or slaves.

If you think “slave” is harsh, take a look at that business model. It forms a pyramid with the person at the top being the all-important-must-keep-them-happy ruler. The pyramids were built not by the all-important-must-keep-them-happy ruler. They were built by slaves.

This one person kept happy at the top sounds a lot like a monarchy to me. Didn’t we as a nation decide monarchies were bad? There are plenty of examples to support this argument and King George III wasn’t the only one. The more recent non-sense with the banking industry is a modern example.

Now let’s take a look at farmers as CEOs.

Farmers know that to get fruit you have to lay the ground work or in their case take care of the soil. Why? Because you don’t get fruit without happy roots. Farmers know their livelihood comes from the bottom of the plant, not the top, so they do everything they can to keep the roots happy.

Keeping the roots or bottom rung employees happy is the best way to create a successful company and to get the fruit you are after. I know this, I’ve been that bottom rung employee most of my life. I worked for the dreaded corporate American box store that treats employees like slaves. In truth I think some slaves were treated better.

Bottom rung employees make the product. In the case of the dreaded box store, they are also the ones that have the most contact with the customers. Unhappy bottom rung employees are the number one reason customers don’t come back and the fruit or in this case, money doesn’t materialize.

But corporate CEOs with no background in agriculture don’t understand this. They sit in their high rises looking down at the little people and don’t see or understand what is happening at ground level and below. They are not happy, so they crack the whip at someone. That someone cracks the whip at a few more people until they get to the slaves at the bottom.

This makes those slaves unhappy. Those slaves give up time with their families and are working too hard and too many hours trying to meet unrealistic objectives created by people who have never done the work. Why? To keep the shareholders happy. They are working to make people who have money more money.

Those bottom rung employees decide that the company doesn’t care about them, so why should they care about the company. They start doing only enough to keep getting a pay check because corporate America is all about the numbers, not about productivity. If you put in your time, you get your company coins no matter how little you managed to accomplish.

The farmer, on the other hand, notices that the plants in one area are looking unhealthy. He climbs down from his tractor and gets a closer look at the plant. Then he sticks his hands in the soil to see if he can determine what the problem is. If he still can’t tell, he takes samples and does more investigation. The farmer tries to find out why the roots aren’t happy and gives them what they need to make them happy so they produce the fruit he’s after.

I served my time in the corporate slave camps. I did five and a half years at the dreaded box store as well as other corporations. I won’t do it again. I saw their priority list. At one place it was literally in the writing on the wall.

Number one on that company’s list of important things was the shareholders. Number two, was the customer. It wasn’t until number three that they got around to being concerned about the employees.

They put that right there on the bottom rung work site for all the employees to see. That company, an international corporation that made parts for car interiors, was horrible. Not even the subcontractors liked working there. I hated it and got out quick.

In one day I watched three different people go through the mental process of determining if they could quit. Three in one day. I made myself a part of the conversation in which the manufacturing manager stated that the workers needed discipline and if they were thinking about quitting they probably weren’t worth keeping anyway.

I’m betting King George III had a similar conversation right before the colonists told him to piss off.

I didn’t tell him the three people I watched were his front line supervisors. I pointed out the writing on the wall and I could see the light dawn in one of the supervisors. Suddenly, she saw what I saw.

So, if you are a corporate leader, I’d advise you to take an elevator ride to the bottom of your pyramid and check on your slaves once in a while. Keeping them happy is the key to keeping your pyramid intact. Get a little dirty while you’re down there. Its good for the soul and will reconnect you to the earth where you should be walking anyway.

Everyone grows at a different rate. Accept yours.

Wander Away


My life plan has taken a couple turns in the past few days. I know now that the job in Washington state is neither mine, nor what I really want. The Universe has made that clear. I understand that it was a catalyst to get me thinking about moving, getting out of this rut where I’ve been stuck.

That job listing started the thought process that will change my life and I hope yours as well. You see, my new plan is to live full time in the Wander Away traveling, writing, meeting people, and taking pictures. I have a few ideas about how I can fund this. One will be through writing and I think another will be speaking and teaching others how to do what I’m going to be doing. Both things I’m not only good at, but I also like.

I spent all day yesterday thinking about my little camper. I’m calling it The Wander Away. The engineering of it just plain wore me out. Anyone who thinks that thinking is easy has never done it. A hard day thinking can be just as exhausting as a hard day working.

My challenge is with the floor layout. I’m working with sixty square feet, but I have two wheel wells that are about 30 inches by a little over a foot. These will pop up twelve inches and I’m trying to figure out how to get a twin size bed into a six by ten foot space as well as a tiny galley, clothing and supply storage, and a toilet of some sort.

Image of a hand drawing for the floor layout of the Wander Away.

This is what I’m working with. One square equals three inches.

To complicate things, the interior walls at their highest are only going to be a little less than four feet tall and will be a tad shorter in front. Weight distribution has also crossed my mind. I don’t want one side of the trailer heavier than the other.

Side view showing the profile of the Wander Away.

Side view. End result will vary.

I have the whole thing taped out on my floor and am using that to visualize what I need. Nothing will be single purpose. That just isn’t practical when you plan on living long term in sixty square feet.

I had thought to create a Murphy bed to free up floor space during the day, but I think the wall height might prohibit that. So, if that doesn’t work, what I could do, is create two foam panels on hinged trays. These will allow the tray closest to the wall to go upright and create a sofa. The space under it would be taken up with the wheel well and storage.

To combat the low ceiling, I’m going to have a rolling stool that will save my knees and work as a foot stool when I’m sitting on my nifty sofa.

The Wander Away's tentative floor plan.

Still a work in progress. Galley design is next.

On the opposite side, I will have my closet and some storage as well as a camp toilet. To save weight I’m going to build the shelves out of one by two lumber and use plastic or fabric bins for drawers. The whole thing would be modular and removable without much hassle. Another advantage to this type of shelving, is the fact that light can get through so I can see what is in the cubby and if I don’t like the look I can always wrap it with a pretty fabric.

The whole point to this is that I am designing everything around exactly what I need and how I live. Everything from the size of the bed to the location of a shelf will be exactly what I need and nothing more.

I don’t know if the ideas I have today will be in the end result, the Divine will let me know when its the right time. After all, there may be something even better that I would never think about without the right trigger.

So, for now I think, plan, and dream of wandering away.

Please share or pin this post so my dream can happen. It’s just a click, but that click could change the way someone looks at their world.

Thank you and God bless.

Are you stuck or just standing still? photo by Katherine Parker notcrazyjustnutz.com

Fearless Coward

I have always been just a touch not right in the head. In some aspects I am fearless. For example, I chose to be a police officer. When I did the law enforcement gig, I was involved in a shooting in which the suspect died and the officer standing arm’s reach in front of me was hit with a ricochet round.

One friend, asked me if I was going to get out of police work as a result of that experience. To her, it seemed logical. After all coming face to face with the grim reaper isn’t for everyone. Grim scares people. My response?

“Not a chance. This is fun.”

Like I said, not right in the head.

That experience tested me in a way that most people never experience. I learned I have a special talent for handling dangerous and scary situations with an instinctive calm and a rational thought process.

One moment I was standing holding my flashlight in one hand and my gun in the other. The next, I was peering around a concrete wall to see what the hell had just happened. I had gone to cover without even knowing I was moving.

I had the honor of pulling an injured officer to me and seeing to his wounds. I remember scrubbing that officer’s blood out from under my nails later and not being particularly…I don’t know, disturbed maybe? It seems like I should have felt something, but to me it just seemed like another day at work.

Through time I’ve come to realize that I have a warrior heart and since I’ve also come to understand our souls comeback to earth in cycles to learn and to teach, this makes perfect sense to me. I have a warrior heart, because in another life, I was a warrior. That’s why danger gets my heart rate up, but doesn’t really do much to my psyche. It’s just another day at the office.

I accepted death a long time ago as part of the living process. It’s going to happen and anyone who denies it or avoids thinking or talking about it is living in a fantasy world of childish denial.

And then there is the other side of me. The total coward.

I guess you have to have the yin with the yang. So it makes sense that I have a bit of coward in me. I will defy death, but unemployment scares the holy living crap out of me.

That is why I find it so hard to bring up problems with my employer. I would rather just blend into the background. I don’t want to be the squeaky wheel, because I’m afraid it will result in termination of my employment. I have no idea where this fear came from. Probably another past life.

That is why today is really hard for me. I’ve been having problems with my employer not paying me the way they should be. I discussed this in Ancient Dilemma. I’ve been allowing the employer to abuse and take advantage of me in order to have a job.

Well, that has to stop and today, I’m telling my boss that I quit. Then I’m reporting them to the Department of Labor because I can’t trust them to do the right thing. This is an ongoing issue and clearly, doing the right thing is beyond them.

I don’t have another job lined up, but I do have resources, ones I didn’t recognize until just a few weeks ago. I also know that The Divine will see me through. I just have to keep my eyes open for the opportunities and take the leap of faith.

It’s scary as hell, and even just thinking about sending that email freaks me out. Give me a guy with a gun over unemployment any day.

Yeah, I know. But like I said, I’m just not right in the head.

What kind of an example are you setting?

Stop/Not a Stop

I live in a large city and very close to a four-way stop intersection. I have a problem with sitting on the beautiful front porch to meditate or for any other purpose.

You see, I am a former police officer and watching people run those stop signs drives me absolutely nutZ. I might not be a badge toting cop now, but as they say, once a cop always a cop.

This video is an example of what I witness every single time I sit on the porch. Please watch and share it. Educate yourself and your friends.

You can’t fix other people, but everyone should do their best to be a good example for others. Integrity is demostrated when you think no one is watching and people do notice.

Watch my YouTube video here.

Find your inner peace.

Rainbow Energy

Rainbows keep popping up in my life. The Gay Pride flag is all over my Facebook page because of the Supreme Court ruling, but I’ve had rainbows in my life since I started yoga and meditation.

Yoga and meditation practitioners hear about chi or qi and prana pretty quick if they do any research at all. You’ve probably heard of the first two in relation to Feng Shui and the flow of energy through living spaces. Well, it happens that your body is a living space as well.

Chi, qi, and prana are all the same thing. Life energy. I will call it chi, because that is how I first learned of it.

Chi flows up and down the body and through channels that I think are similar to veins and arteries, but invisible to the human eye. There are seven energy centers that run up the body from the genitals to just above the top of your head. They are called chakras and have colors of the rainbow associated with each one.

In meditation, when I know I’m stressed and my chakras aren’t happy, I lay on the floor in something like the Vitruvian Man by DaVinci position.

Image of DiVinci's Vitruvian Man

By DiVinci. Image obtained from Wiki Commons

While I’m laying there, I focus for a few minutes on each color of the rainbow.

~ Red for the root chakra and feelings of security and basic survival.
~ Orange is the sacral chakra and is associated with sexuality and the sex organs.
~ Yellow represents the solar plexus where most of your will power and motivation are oriented.
~ Green is for the heart chakra where love and self love are based.
~ Blue is the throat chakra and has to do with communication.
~ Indigo represents the brow chakra located where your third eye is and governs inspiration and concentration.
~ Violet is the color for the crown chakra that focuses on your belief in a higher power.

As I focus on the chakras and the colors associated, I begin to feel a tingling. I perceive this to be the life energy freeing up and flowing through me. Depending on how stressed I am, it may take a little bit for me to feel it. It is very subtle and for some reason it usually starts in my right leg. Once I’ve run through all the colors I focus on pulling that tingly feeling up both legs and through each one of the chakras, balancing it on both sides of my body.

Sometimes when I do this, I feel a vibration or an odd feeling in the area of the chakra I’m focusing on. That tells me, I’ve got good flow though that chakra and can move on to the next. I have on occasion felt a pop associated with the chakra and actually felt it shift into alignment. It is good when that happens, but bad that I was so far out of alignment that I could perceive the adjustment.

Aligning and opening the chakras isn’t something you do once and you’re done. It is an ongoing process because knocking them out of alignment is an ongoing process. Life happens, you know. Meditation is best done on a daily basis and over the long term.

Meditation has been proven to bring about huge changes in your sense of well being and numerous health benefits. I personally believe it is the preventative and cure for most diseases, because if we tune into our bodies, we learn to listen to them when they say something is wrong. This is something modern humans don’t think they have time for.

Since I’ve been meditating, I have reduced my asthma and allergy reactions as well as my psoriasis and depressive feelings. My stress level drops along with my blood pressure. I have many more happy days and can take challenges and annoyances in stride. When I can get my heart chakra aligned, the hardest one for me, I have a sense of love and awe that feels wonderful and makes me more comfortable in my skin, because it allows me to love myself as well as others.

Just think, all those benefits from laying on the floor and thinking of rainbows.

If you are interested in more information, click on the links embedded in the text or check out these links.

Web site:
Opening the Chakras
YouTube:
Chakra meditation sounds

Books:
Total Chakra Energy Plan I love this book. The model and images are beautiful.
A Handbook of Chakra Healing Lot’s of basic information. Not all if it falls into what I believe, but everyone is different. Some things resonate with me, but other things will resonate with you.

Good luck and Namaste.