Tag Archives: who am I?

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.

Your dreams point the way. Follow them.

Rekindled Dreams

This transformation of mine seems to be a time for rekindled dreams. As mentioned in The Change post, I have been thinking a lot about moving and more specifically, moving to the Pacific Northwest.

What I didn’t mention is that I have wanted to move to the Pacific Northwest since I was about sixteen. I was so determined to move up there that I went so far as to contact the chamber of commerce in the city where I wanted to live and got pamphlets and newspapers. I imagined the day I would load my car and even what music I would play as I drove away from my parent’s house.

Sadly, at forty-two, I have not made it to the Northwest yet. Not even for a visit.

My finding that as-close-to-my-dream-job-as-I’m-likely-to-get listing in Tacoma, Washington rekindled my desire to move there again. Even if I don’t get the job, I’m moving. And this time, I’m not letting life and fear get in the way.

With that plan and my bucket list in mind, I began asking myself how I was going to do it. My bucket list includes visiting all fifty states and some pretty extensive travel, so that was a major consideration.

I first considered flying up there, but that wouldn’t let me mark off any states and I wouldn’t have a car when I got there. So I would have to drive.

I started doing the math; gas, food, and lodging for the trip I really wanted. That trip was three thousand miles and would take me two weeks to get there because I would want to sight see along the way. At least two weeks.

I couldn’t scrimp on gas. No gas, no go. Can’t really save there. Food? Well, I have dietary restrictions thanks to the chemicals our corporate fathers are dumping into food, so I would shop at grocery stores for the most part anyway. That would keep my cost down. On to lodging.

Holy crap, lodging! Even cheap motels push the price of any travel out of the realm of I-can-make-this-happen and into the forget-it-you-need-a-rich-relative realm. I’m fresh out of rich relatives, so what was I to do?

I’ve tried camp out by myself and it didn’t work. I’m an insomniac and have to feel secure to sleep. That is not something that happens when I’m alone in a tent. Then I thought about my previous plans for traveling the United States.

Back in 2008, when I was thinking of taking a really long road trip, I decided to build a teardrop trailer.

The little trailers are essentially a bed on wheels and light enough that they can be pulled by larger cars, which just happens to be what I own. You can shell out ridiculous amounts for a manufactured one, our you can build one yourself like they were originally intended.

I’m a DIYer and a tightwad, so that is the route I went. I determined early that the original design wasn’t going to work for me. The base trailer was too expensive and … well, there were a lot of reasons, the door configuration being only one of them.

So I started looking around and found an old Toyota truck bed trailer that would work for my purpose.

Image of old homemade truck bed trailer.

It ain’t pretty, but it’ll work.

I designed my trailer around my wants and needs. And, because I am a challenge master and a tightwad, I figured out how to make the trailer removable so that I could switch back and forth between the truck bed and the camper. Two trailers, and potentially more, for the licensing fee and tires of one.

Like I said, tightwad.

With the help of friends, I learned to weld and built the base frame for the trailer.

Picture of me in a welding helmet.

Welding helmets make for bad hair days. Also, dress for the work. Slag hurts.

metal frame of the camper.

In progress and upside down.

Metal frame with cooler sitting at back end.

Right side up. The cooler is in the stair leading into the trailer.

Fun times, but then I lost my job.

I was unemployed for way too long and ended up selling the trailer to my friend so I could pay the electric. And as a result the dream sputtered and went out.

Or so I thought. Poking at that old dream, I discovered it isn’t out. There is still an ember, not just in the travel dream, but in the trailer as well.

You see, my friend still owns all of the components and he hasn’t done anything with it. I know he’d sell it back to me so I could finish it. The hard part is done. Now, it’s just the wood working that would need to be completed and I have most of the tools for that.

I dragged out the old plans and have been making a parts and cost list. I think the trailer would still be cheaper than motels for fourteen nights and I would have something to show for the money. If things got tight, I could sell it, too. You can’t do that with a motel room, the owners get peeved when you try.

I have already finished the trailer in my head and on the back of it is painted, “Not all who wander are lost. ~ Tolken” and “Follow me on notcrazyjustnutZ.com.”

My dreams never went out, they just burned low until I was able to get back to them.

How many of your dreams still have some heat in them? Tell me about them on my Facebook page.

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.

Do you let fear control you?

Stand for Something

Today is Independence Day in the U.S.A. I live in Independence, Missouri and have been thinking about independence a lot lately. So it seemed fitting to talk about our independence.

Independence Day in America for many people has been reduced to picnics, fireworks, family time, and a day off from work. They don’t get what it really stands for because the advertisers don’t want them to think about it.

What it really stands for is courage to do what is right, even at personal risk. What it stands for is a little over two hundred and fifty years ago, people got fed up.

The British government handed down laws and made demands on the colonists with no input from the people subject to those laws and demands. The Colonists objected to this because it was something that was not allowed to happen by English constitutional law. They questioned why they were subject to British law when it came to taxes, but they were not allowed to elect representatives in accordance with that law.

This became such a concern that they appealed to the king directly, but King George III and his advisers didn’t see things the way the Colonists did. They kept imposing rules and taxes on the people of the colonies without allowing them to speak against them.

This is what lead to the Declaration of Independence, but that wasn’t the end of things. The men who founded our new country didn’t just run around saying, “We’re independent.” They risked everything to make it a reality.

Benjamin Franklin said, “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall hang separately.”

A Department of the Interior document sums it up.

“In suggesting that hanging might be the fate of those who signed the Declaration, Franklin was choosing an easier end than the one traditionally meted out in England to traitors. Traitors were subject to the ferocious and gruesome punishment of being hanged, drawn, and quartered, reflecting the ancient judgment that a single death was an inadequate response to the crime of plotting the king’s death or seeking to overturn the established order.”

The victim would spend weeks or months knowing their fate. Then they would be dragged out of their prison cell and paraded through a crowd of onlookers to the location of their impending torture and death.

They would be hung, not the way we see in movies where the floor drops out to break their neck. No, these men would be pulled up until they were no longer touching the ground so the spinal cord would stay in tact. The pain that person would suffer being would be incredible and that doesn’t even take into account the asphyxiation.

Those sentenced to this kind of death wouldn’t be allowed to die that way though. To be hung in this instance, a person was hung by the neck until near death.

Next, the victim would be cut down, tied down, and have his genitalia removed and his abdominal cavity cut open so his internal organs would spill out. All this would happen while he was still alive and likely begging for mercy if he had the strength.

At this point the victim would then be hacked into five pieces likely with an ax, many times while still hanging on to the last shreds of life, though blessedly not for long. The pieces would be distributed and displayed so that anyone else with the intention of committing treason would think twice.

If you were faced with this kind of punishment, would you commit the crime?

This is what our founding fathers were facing if they lost the Revolutionary War, and yet they did it anyway. They didn’t pussy foot around it either. They put their names on a document for everyone to see and sent a copy to England. I’m sure their fear was palatable and the paper stained with sweat when they did it.

Why? Because they had conviction. They believed so totally in the cause, that they were willing to risk this horrible punishment. They did it to better the world for others, for you, at great personal risk to themselves.

So as you celebrate this Independence Day, remember these men and the thousands of others that stood up to give you the right to badmouth the country and the leaders of the country you live in. Remember what your freedom cost in blood, pain, and sorrow.

Remember that the fireworks represent the “bombs bursting in air.” Those bombs intended to eliminate the people who fought for your freedoms.

Make this a day of celebration, but also make it one of remembrance and appreciation. Remember the brave men who stood up for what they knew was right and made your life better because of it.

Do you live up to their legacy? Do you stand up for what is right or do you let your fear control you?

Learn to trust your instincts.

The Devil’s Tools

I went to visit some friends this week and during one of our conversations I mentioned that I read Tarot cards. This morning I received an email from the friend telling me that the cards were bad and a tool of the Devil. I won’t include her email because it was intended only for me, but this is my response.

“I got this email sometime around oh-dark-thirty and have been thinking about how to respond to it since. I understand where you are coming from. Your teaching and your religion tell you that tarot cards are bad, but I like to look deeper into why people believe what they do and I question everything. Taking one source of information as the gospel truth does not and has never worked for me. I prefer to educated myself and get my own interpretations.

I read that part of the Bible that was mentioned in your link and several others.

As I mentioned to your husband, I have a problem with the Bible because it has been edited for content. Read about the history of the Bible here. It’s fascinating. The King James version was printed in 1611 and edited in the 1700s. There are other books that were left out by man and destroyed by history. The Book of Mary is only one example.

First. Tarot cards are not mentioned in the Bible. They didn’t exist when the original papers were written by Abraham. In fact they didn’t come around until the middle of the 1400s. They were playing cards for a game called Trumps of the Tarot. They are first mentioned in detail in the mid 1400s by an Italian Friar that didn’t like the fact that people were playing the game. They were not used for divination at that time, they were used as we use playing cards.

Second, you have been told that the cards are a tool of the Devil, but that is in the teachings of your religion, not mine. As an absence of light is darkness, and absence of heat is cold, I believe an absences of The Divine is the Devil.

I don’t use the cards to tell fortunes, I use the cards to ask for guidance. To light the path God has put me on so that I know what direction he wants me to go. I have never at any time, felt the cards were evil or bad and I am sensitive to things like that. An ax is not evil, but the person who uses it to harm another is. The cards are a tool just as the ax is.

The Bible has been used as a tool for evil and yet you referenced it as a thing to be obeyed. The Crusades and the Reformation are distant examples, but more current ones are all over the television. Oppression of women is a big one in my mind.

You mentioned using the cards to speak to spirits. The Bible mentions speaking to spirits repeatedly, mostly the spirit of God and if I am asking for guidance from that spirit, can the cards be bad?

The Tarot are chocked full of religious symbols of many religions. The obvious Christian ones are the Hierophant or Pope which represents “conventional wisdom about religion and philosophy in our time.” The Chariot which shows the “Christian Soldier” or person fighting a spiritual battle. The Lovers shows the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve and represents “the choice for love and harmony, but it also represents the choice for spiritual knowledge.”

Christians find the Devil card offensive, and yet you can’t have the Devil without God, because there must always be a balance in nature. The Devil card symbolizes being bound to ignorance, addiction and the path to darkness. In the Judgment card, Gabriel is blowing the horn from Revelations. Every Ace depicts the hand of God holding something out and represents a new beginning. The hand of God shows up in other cards as well.

The Death card is number 13 and represents dramatic change. Thirteen is also significant in Christianity. After all, there were twelve disciples and Jesus. The Tower which is also perceived as a negative, represents the tearing down of assumptions and preconceived beliefs “or having the rug pulled out from under you.” I have learned that this is not a bad thing. Resisting change and denying reality are and lead to pain and suffering.

The Hanged Man has a radiance around his head and represents changed perceptions or getting a new perspective. Many think he represents Jesus though he is hung upside down.

Many of these symbols are also Jewish as their belief system comes from the Old Testement. There are other Jewish symbols represented as well. These show up mostly in yods which appear in a large number of the cards. Yods are “drops of light from heaven. They represent the life force, and they come from Jewish tradition.” Representations of Egyptian symbols as well as Greek and Roman gods appear, too.

Also, I would like to point out, Abraham wrote the first books of the Bible 1500 years ago. Man has been around for millions of years. God has been around since the beginning.

So how did we know God before the Bible? How did we know the Divine before other men started telling us what God said to them?

We knew our Divine by looking inside. Because that is where he lives. Inside all of us. There is a significance in the fact that the words instinct, insight, and introspection start with “in”. As with people, you can’t know them until you’ve talked to them yourself. So why would I take the word of others as to the nature of the Divine?

I don’t look to the outside world to find what is right. I know what is right. It’s inside me, just as it is inside you. The light is inside all of us, if we’d stop rushing around with our worldly “needs” long enough to tune in.

In order to hear The Divine though, we can’t be stressed or tired. And we have to listen. That means turning off all the distractions; the TV, radio, and background racket of other people. It means spending time alone with Divine creations, not man made ones.

As I’ve said, your religion is different from mine. If you want to talk about tools of evil, let’s talk about the TV.”

See things from a different angle.

Living in the Past

I’ve been living in the past for a few days.

I’ve come back to the town where I spent my high school years and part of my adulthood. It’s as closed to a hometown as I can get. I’ve run into a lot of people I’ve known for years and spent time visiting with my friends, but I know this will likely be one of the last times I come here.

I don’t want to live in the past anymore. I have learned that to live in the past is to live in pain. Living in the future is to live with hope. The only problem is, I have to dispose of the accumulated past first and that is what I’m doing here.

My parents bought an old Victorian house when we moved here and I ended up living in it alone when they became ill and they both ended up in nursing homes. I was broke, overwhelmed, and hip deep in depression during much of that time. I was told by an attorney that my brother and I would not inherit the house because Mom and Dad were on Medicare/Medicaid and the state would take it. With that knowledge, we stopped maintaining it, stopped paying taxes, and abandoned the property figuring the state and the county could fight over it.

That didn’t happen.

I was informed last week by the man who paid the back taxes and who would obtain the property for the cost of them, that we still own it. All we have to do is pay the taxes and it stays ours.

This man had nothing to gain by informing us of this. He informed the people he was legally obligated to inform, my parents’ financial administrators. My brother assumed he was after some gain, but there isn’t any way for him to gain. In fact, if we pay the taxes he will lose the property, but he went through the trouble of locating my information to let me know anyway because it was the right thing to do.

The timing of this is what I would count as some pretty serious synchronicity. I had just started this version of the blog and was getting in-sight. I had for years assumed I didn’t have any money, but the whole time, I had this house. We could have sold it years ago and moved on to something better, but it wasn’t time. The Divine had other plans and I had more lessons to learn.

The house is not in good shape. It wasn’t when we lived there and now it’s even worse, but it was my home. It bothers me to think that it might be torn down. It’s close to two hundred years old and solidly build. If someone would be willing to put some money into it, it could be a home again and for less than the cost of building a new one. It would last longer than a new home, too. For the want of a little money, this house could be a home for another couple hundred years.

I’ve reached out to an appraiser, but have not had a return phone call. This, I have found, indicates that the Universe does not approve of that plan. So I’m taking the hint and going another route. It doesn’t matter what an appraiser thinks it’s worth. It matters what I think it’s worth and what a potential buyer thinks it’s worth.

I’ll be selling it to improve my future and cut the binds that hold me in my past and by doing so, I will give someone else their future hope.

Namaste.

Adventure is just a wander away.

Solitary

One of my favorite solitary adventures took place during a three thousand mile road trip that took me through five states I had never been to and several I had. One of those states was South Carolina where I had decided to go geocaching at Edisto Island. I spent only one day in South Carolina, but it is the part of the two week trip I remember the most.

I was there in late October, so I missed most of the tourists and the beach was peaceful. I wandered the beach, watched the surf, took pictures, and then went looking for coffee. As I drove around on the hunt, I spotted a sign on a house that read, “Books and Lattes.”

Two of my favorite things in the same place, my idea of heaven.

It was still quite early and I got my latte and browsed the books while I chatted with the owner. I asked her where a good place to eat was and she indicated out the front door with a wave of her hand.

“Over there.”

“Oh, across the street?”

“No, ma’am. Across the deck.”

There were three houses connected by a single deck. Her bookstore was one and across the deck was a restaurant called the Sea Cow Cafe. There were no signs, no advertisements of any kind that I ever saw for the Sea Cow. I also never saw a parking lot, but when I walked in the place it was packed to the gills.

The restaurant was in an old house and the main room had a bench running around the walls on three sides. Tiny tables for two were pushed together in groups of two with maybe twelve inches between every other one to allow access to the bench. More were packed into the central area.

I loved it.

One of the tables along the wall freed up in the few seconds I spoke with the waitress. I sat down, decided to try something I had never had and placed my order as the table next to me cleared.

The ice was broken when the new guests excused themselves bumped my table trying to get seated and apologized. I chatted with the woman who sat next to me and told her I was a tourist. Her son or daughter lived on the island and they were visiting as well, but she’d been there before. She asked where I was going and recommended I stop off in Charleston at Market Street.

I hadn’t planned to go to Charleston, but her recommendation made me curious. I wandered Market street and bought several souvenirs.

The point of this story is, I never would have had those conversations or found out about the Sea Cow or Market Street if I had not talked to strangers. Those conversations were sparked because I was out of my comfort zone and asking questions.

This morning I went out into the world. This is not a pleasant thing to do anymore. When I am alone and can go at my own pace, things are great. But when I’m in the world, I see and hear things that bring me down. Things that darken my outlook and mute The Divine. I absorb them into my soul and it takes a while to shake it off.

This morning wasn’t too bad though. I went to a coffee shop to have breakfast while I waited for a shop to open. There were a couple coffee klatchs present and I listened to one of the groups talk about the things that are important to them. One of the men made eye contact with me several times and as I met his gaze again, I noticed a man behind him at another booth.

This other man was elderly and alone as well. I pick up on physical cues and read people pretty well. He was depressed and lonely. He watched the other four as though he’d like to be part of the group, but he was across the room and they were at a table that only seated four. I felt sorry for that man.

He didn’t feel comfortable inserting himself into a conversation the way I do. He wanted and needed the emotional connection, but he denied himself because he didn’t want to intrude. I know at least two of the men in the klatch could see him. I also noticed the table was one of those that expanded.

The problem was he was just part of the background to the men in the group. If they had seen him the way I did, I think they would have welcomed him.

How often are the people around you just part of the background? How often could you brighten the day for both of you just by inviting someone to sit with you?

Look past the label to the person behind it.

Wanderers


To Travel by Me

Oh, to travel the world on giant wings.
To see new places and new things.
To travel to the mountain tops and
travel to the ocean shore. . .
happiness forevermore.

There was a second stanza to that poem, but it has been lost to my memory. What is significant to me is that I have remembered this portion of it for decades. I wrote it when I was sixteen and it perfectly sums up my desire to see the world. To wander.

This morning I had the honor to meet a fellow wanderer*.

I got up early this morning, oh-dark-thirty as I like to call it. God speaks clearest at that time or maybe it’s just that I hear better when there isn’t the clutter of other people’s thoughts getting in the way.

I walked out my front door and lingered as the smell of honeysuckle and petunias met me. I didn’t know where I was going, I seldom do. I just walk where I feel compelled to go.

This morning I was lead back to the labyrinth at the Methodist church near where I live. It wasn’t my destination starting out and I was within a few hundred feet of it before it became my destination. I felt compelled to go there even though I had no questions to ask this morning.

Then I saw the man who had been sleeping on the bench and sat with his blanket wrapped around him.

In the past, I would have kept going. After all a homeless man is dangerous. They are all mentally ill and inclined to hurting people. I ignored those teachings and approached anyway. I knew there was a reason why I was there, a reason why he was placed in my path.

I spoke to him, then went to the entrance of the labyrinth. I had a question after all. “What am I supposed to do for this man?” Within seconds I knew I would buy him breakfast. I can’t end world hunger, but I can feed a hungry man a meal.

I finished my meditation and went back to where he was waiting. I say waiting, because he was. He was in tune enough to know I was there to help him, to know our meeting was significant.

I asked him if he’d had breakfast yet, then invited him to meet me at the coffee shop a couple blocks away. I went home to get my purse and some cash then met him as promised.

He is a fellow wanderer. He’s been all over the country and we spent a few hours talking about traveling and the books we’d read. He spent years with the Lakota and he told me things he’d learned during that time.

It was a great conversation. One I would have missed had I allowed the label I’d originally stuck on him to influence my behavior.

I’m having a problem with labels lately. This man is homeless, and for some people that is all his is and all he will ever be. But it isn’t all he is.

I took the time to get to know him and found a smart, self educated man who happens to not fit into the box society thinks he should fit into. The fact that he doesn’t try means he’s smarter than most.

I didn’t want him to go hungry as long as I was able to help him, so I bought him some energy bars knowing our paths would diverge soon. Then I wished him well in his travels and we parted company.

Our paths may never cross again, but mine was brightened in the few hours we spent together. I hope his was, too.

How often do you find yourself afraid of others because of a label stuck on them by society? Start seeing past the label to the person behind it and the world will be a better place.

* I won’t use names from now on, because I believe I have met souls before and have known them by other names. It’s why I have trouble remembering the names they have now.

Perfection is an illusion.

The Change

I have been thinking a lot about moving. I have also been thinking a lot about what to do with the things I own. Included in that list are eighteen orchids in varying degrees of health. I have rescued some of them from stores where they were being abused and have had others given to me when they stopped blooming.

My friend, Pepper*, has been thinking of starting a business of her own. She has also worked with plants for years and I figured she’d be able to bring the orchids back to health and maybe even sell them or use them as starter stock for cloning. Orchids are amazingly easy to propagate that way.

I called her yesterday and found out she was suffering from constructive discontent as well. She isn’t happy and stated that she had been thinking she needed to make a change of some sort.

I commiserated with her and recommended Dr. Cooper’s book, Get Out of Your Own Way. Then I mentioned the orchids. Pepper hesitated, she didn’t know much about orchids.

I gave her links on YouTube where I got my information about growing the little beauties and told her about the business idea. This morning, in my head, Pepper will be happily poking happy little orchids into their new pots in no time. I don’t know if that will happen but, since I’m going down to visit them in a week, I decided I would get the plants ready for travel.

I carried a few of my sickest out to the porch to evaluate and transplant. Most people think orchids are hard to grow, but they aren’t. They are plants and as long as you give them what they need, they thrive.

Orchids like air around their roots and are best planted in a bark concoction that supports this. As I worked with the two sickest plants, I tried to pull one of them from the pot, but I couldn’t get it out. The grower had packed it so tightly with spagmoss that I had to use the scissors to pry it out of the pot.

That plant wasn’t savable. The spagmoss had rotted the roots and I hadn’t gotten to it soon enough. The sad thing was, it had looked healthish when I got it, but it was just a facade. The plant had been tortured for so long, it had given up and died from the bottom up.

Orchid roots growing in the shape of the pot they were in.

I think I can save this one. It’s root bound, but they aren’t dead.

Orchids have a reputation of being floral divas, but they got this reputation because of the growers. Growers, interested in mass marketing, package the plants for shipment in a way that is detrimental to the plant. The store on the other end, isn’t interested in the plant either. Their only interest is in whether they sell and make money.

If the plant looses their flowers, the stores throw them away. It doesn’t matter that it is still a viable plant. It doesn’t look pretty, so it must be worthless. But if someone like me is willing to spend a little time, those plants can bloom again.

People are the same way. They get down. Sometimes this shows up as depression or illness. They put on a show to fool others, but they are dying from the roots up. All it takes to make them thrive is to make them feel valued.

They don’t want money. They don’t want titles, and they don’t want things. They want to know someone sees them as valuable.

Pepper may not take me up on the orchids, but I have opened her eyes to a new path by making the offer. When we got off the phone she had a brighter future and more confidence than when I called. And it was just because I was willing to invest a little time and effort in her.

And if that is the only thing I ever do, then I have lived for a purpose. If I inspire, motivate, educated, or enlighten even one person, then I have been the change I want to see in the world.

But why would I stop with just one?

How often do you dispose of something that just needs a little work? How often do we dispose of people in the same way?

*Name has been changed for the not yet ready to fly.

Accept who and what you are.

Standards of Behavior

As it says in the About Me page, the domain name of this website is from something my dad used to say. “I’m not crazy, I’m just nuts.”

Today is Father’s day, so I thought I’d talk about mine.

Dad worked a lot of hard manual labor and he provided for us in the best way he could. I don’t have many childhood memories of him because he was always working or working on something. Most of my memories come from after I was an adult and his health and mental state went bad. His illness tainted our relationship.

When Dad’s bi-polar disorder kicked up, he would be in the manic phase for months until they could get his meds regulated to normalize him. During his manic phases, our relationship was pretty rough.

I used the words “we don’t get along” when I described our relationship to a friend I knew at the hospital, but one of the paramedics that had just transported Dad corrected me.

“Don’t let her fool you. He hates her.”

Dad hated me because I held him to a certain set of standards and would not compromise or lower them. Ever. I set my standards for his behavior and made sure he knew what they were. Then I made him comply with them.

At one point, he was in a nursing home and had a doctor’s appointment. My schedule wouldn’t allow me to pick him up, so the social worker brought him to the appointment, but I was the one who was talking to the doctor.

During the visit, Dad got agitated, loud, and was ramping up his behavior. I sent him to the waiting room while I finished talking to the doctor. On the way out, I stopped to do the paperwork. They requested Dad’s identification and I asked him for it.

Dad was still agitated. In his mind, he was going to be forced to have surgery which had been mentioned, but was not actually an option. He was defensive and excited and for some reason he thought I would keep his ID. His behavior was getting in the way of getting things handled and I said one word.

“Sit.”

It seems like a little word written out like that, but I have been told I channel a drill instructor sometimes.

When I said, “sit,” he sat. No questions, no argument, no hesitation. Instant compliance, because I said it with authority. It was how he had taught me to deal with him when he was agitated. It was the only way to get him to do what I wanted.

The social worker, whom I had already decided was a pansy ass bleeding heart, did not like this. She thought my tone of voice was abusive and called a meeting to discuss it. I took my mother in her wheelchair and another nursing home employee attended as a witness.

Dad got excited within a minute. The rest of the time was spent with the social worker repeating his name over and over again, trying to get him to listen to her.

My Dad was ill, but he could behave himself when it suited him. He demonstrated this when my brother took him to the hospital for an involuntary mental evaluation. The doctor didn’t see the problem because Dad behaved himself the whole three hours they were at the hospital. The moment they were in the car on the way home, not so much.

The social worker, didn’t understand how to handle Dad. She approached him in her touchy feely way and wasn’t smart enough to see that approach didn’t work with him. As she said Dad’s name for the fourth or fifth time, I cast a little smile at Mom.

She smiled back. One word from me and Dad would pipe down.

I didn’t say it. I watched. I found it amusing to watch the woman try the soft and gentle approach with a man who didn’t recognize or respond to either. They finally had to talk him into leaving the room. Again, one word from me and he would have sat down and been quite.

The social worker explained that she thought my way was abusive. I told her Dad didn’t respond to softer approaches as had so clearly been demonstrated a few seconds before and his behavior at the doctor’s office was unacceptable.

She argued, “But your father has a disease.”

“Yes, he does,” I responded. “But that disease is a reason for his behavior, not an excuse. I’m not going to lower my standards because he’s sick.”

The social worker thought I was being mean to him, abusing him. But it wasn’t true. My father was the aggressor in every encounter we had.

He’d start it, but I finished it.

When he raised a hand against me, he learned not to do it again. Sometimes, he learned the hard way. He ended up on the floor at least once, and I remember facing him down with a fist cocked when he made a move to slap me. I went toe-to-toe with him every time he tried something with Mom or my cat as well.

He learned I wouldn’t tolerate the abusive behavior and he modified his actions to suit. Dad hated me because I held him to a higher standard, but he behaved himself and respected me because I did.

I don’t hate my dad. I didn’t like him very much, but I never hated him. His disease tainted our relationship, but that relationship is why I am the way I am. His lessons were also my lessons. He is a part of me and always will be. Warts and all.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

How many times have you seen people lowering standards for someone who has trouble meeting them? When do we stop lowering them and start expecting people to live up to them?

Find your own rhythm.

Rise of the Machines

Dr. Robert K. Cooper, in his book Get Out of Your Own Way, says:

“But a clock-based sense of time has literally made its way into our bodies and brains. For example, if we sleep in a room where a clock ticks, our hearts adjust their beating to the ticking of the clock: sixty beats a minute instead of the more desirable thirty or forty beats that we would experience if the heart found its own rhythm- and which would be much better for deep rest and restoration.

“Our innate rhythmic orientation goes haywire when the clock takes over. We worry when we’re late, we space out when we’re early. Life becomes about keeping time instead of living to the fullest.”

I read that and thought, “Holy crap! The machines are controlling us!”

I eyed the cheap ticking clock I had sitting a few feet away and thought about the number of times I had glanced at it in the past hour. I thought about my sleep pattern and how I seldom felt rested when I got up. Then there were the days that I had to get up before I wanted and felt dopey and spaced out the whole day.

I swear I heard a mechanical voice whisper, “Resistance is futile.”

Since reading Cooper’s book, I have been aware that anytime I have to be somewhere at a specific time, my stress level ramps up. It doesn’t matter that I left forty-five minutes early for a drive that takes less than thirty. I worry that I am going to be late. I check the clock, sometimes five or six times in under a minute.

I am scheduled to work tonight, hours from now, and I have just checked the clock three times in the last three minutes. This behavior annoys me now I’m aware of why I’m doing it and I have been taking steps to eliminate the clock from my life.

I’ve stopped timing myself when I meditate or walk, nor do I measure the distance. Right now, I’m working on getting into a job that allows me to set my own schedule to do what I want, when I want, and where I want, so I can ignore the clock altogether.

Cooper says, “We take working by the clock for granted now as the model of how businesses should be run. But even in recent American history, that model was vehemently rejected. In the 1860s, New England textile mills began harnessing the power of steam engines to drive mass-production looms. To make the most of that technology, it was necessary to ensure reliable attendance by the mill workers, so the owners of the mill posted a new set of rules: All weavers were to enter the plant at the same time, after which the gates would be locked until the end of the workday.

“Deeply offended by what they called a “system of slavery,” the weavers – who until then had worked whatever hours they pleased – went on strike. The rules were withdrawn, and it was not until several years later that they could be successfully reintroduced.”

Well if that is the case, and Dr. Cooper cites his sources, why did it stop being slavery? What changed?

The answer to that: perspective. The worker’s perspectives changed because someone convinced them it was okay to give up a little of their freedom for a pay check.

Giving up that little bit of freedom didn’t help the mill workers. They were doing fine before. The people it helped were the mill owners and investors. The people with money who wanted more money and were willing to compromise some freedoms to get it.

The problem is, those mill workers passed those chains down to their children who passed them to us. We didn’t have a choice in the matter since we didn’t know any better and we accepted them without protest because that is they way it’s always been. After all what’s a little slavery if it makes the shareholders happy?

The clock’s subtle tick, tick, tick stopped being part of the background noise. I glared at it. Then I got up and pulled the batteries.

If Captain Picard could get out of their clutches, then so can I.

If it causes stress let it go.

Dropping Weight

I got up this morning and decided to weigh myself. This, in the past, has been a disappointing experience and inclined to set me up for a touch of depression.

Not this morning though. This morning I had dropped ten pounds. Ten pounds in seven days to be exact. HaPpY dAnCe!

I can hear your thoughts, “Oh, that’s bad. She probably has diabetes or something.”

No I don’t. What I do have in insight or as I prefer to write it In-sight. I’ve learned to listen to my body, to hear the messages it has been trying to get through for years. You know, those ones we are taught to ignore or to consider bad.

Over the past week I have noticed several things. One, I am drinking huge amount of water. Two, I have been feeling energized and optimistic. Three, I’m sweating more. Four, my diet has changed and not because of any conscious effort on my part. Five, I’m getting out of the house for daily walks. Sometimes two. Six, I’m ignoring the clock.

I’ll take these one at a time.

Water. I realized last week that I had increased my water consumption. It wasn’t anything intentional on my part, I just became aware of it. I thought about it and my first thought was, “Of course. I have to wash the toxins out.”

Those first thoughts are key. They are the purest. After that, influences from outside start tainting things.

Energized and optimistic. I have broken free from the cycle I’ve been living. The cycle of fear, depression, and helplessness. I have hope. Naturally, I’m going to be energized.

Sweat. It’s summer. I’m drinking more water, I’m going to sweat. But it also indicates my metabolism is up. I’m also moving more, with daily walks, yoga, and the photographic wanders. I’m burning fat, so I’m going to sweat.

Diet. I’ve done this before. When I go though these periods of meditation and In-sight, my diet changes. I stop eating out all together. I notice the foods I do choose are few ingredients and no chemicals. Simple, natural, and healthy. They are not labeled that way. They just are.

Walking. The walks give me time to think, to make connections I normally wouldn’t have time to make. This blog is another way I do that. Things come to me while I’m writing and while I’m walking and they just make sense. I accept them as fact and figure out how this new information changes my perspective on things.

Clocks. This will be addressed in the next post it got too big for this one.

All of these things reduce my stress and I’ve been dropping weight from my shoulders that happens to be showing up on the scale.

What little bits of stress can you drop?

I have turned off the comments section. The spam was one stress I didn’t need.

Break away from what you were. Become what you are meant to be.

Enough and Nothing More

Everyday, I get a new lesson. The method varies, but many times it seems to be the writing of these posts. When I sit down to write, things come into focus.

This is how the lesson came to me today.

I have been taking a lot of pictures lately and have been using both the JPG and RAW setting on my camera. My thought process when I started this, was that I would keep the RAW so I could make changes to it later, but I used the JPG images to create the inspirational posts because I can crop them in MS Paint.

RAW files are huge and each one uses up tons of memory. I filled up my SD cards and have been thinking about buying more. Then I went through one of the SDs to free memory for today’s photos and realized I don’t need more SD cards. I need to clear what I will never use and change the settings so I only take only what I need.

When I create the images you see on this site, I don’t alter anything. I use MS paint to crop and write the words. I decided at some point that I would not alter them in any other way. I want the image pure and free of the meddlesome hand of man.

I’ve thought about buying an image editing software so I can watermark the images and fancy up the script, but a meditation message from last week keeps coming back to me.

Enough and nothing more.

This message came to me before I started the posts. It is what started all of this. It was my divine spark.

I have enough to do the job The Universe has given me. I have enough knowledge, skills, and resources to change the world for the better with what I already have. I don’t need to buy anything. It doesn’t need to be bigger, better, fancier. I need to use what I have.

What amazes me when I make the inspirational images is that when I start out, what I want usually isn’t want I need.

Today, I wanted an image that said, “What you need is inside you.” I have a sweet potato that is sprouting on the table. I’ve never done anything with it except move it to the table where it would get more light. I glanced at it while I was writing and thought the potato was a perfect metaphor for what I wanted to get across.

I carted the spud outside and took some pictures of it. I wasn’t happy with the lighting. The sun is shining today and the images I capture are best done when it is cloudy.

I also wasn’t happy with the background. I moved that potato around looking for a less cluttered background. I finally settled on a spot and snapped the pictures. Four to be exact.

This is one of them.

tater

I don’t care for the image. It is over exposed and the potato doesn’t stand out the way I wanted it too. So I checked the other images.

This one came closer to what I wanted.

Close up of a sprouting potato.

It shows the growth I wanted to portray but, I was still dissatisfied. It’s an uninspired image of a potato. Big woop.

I opened the JPG in Paint to see if it could be salvaged and gasped. This is what showed up on my screen.

Click on the image to get the full effect.

very close picture of a new sweet potato leaf. Back lit.

Click the image.

When you make little things big, miracles happen.

I scrolled around the image and found what I was looking for. I always do when I look closer. What I thought I wanted was bigger. What I needed was minuscule by comparison, but it was exactly what I wanted. Enough.

I’ve been doing that with my life. Seeing the details. Those details are what makes up the whole.

If you are unhappy with your life. Look at it and see, not what you think is there, but what actually is.

Picture of a cat.

Recognizing the Messengers

I went for a walk this evening. A wander really. My only goal was to see what was around me. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for a couple years, but I’ve never explored it.

It was warm and I paused to study how the light played on a Neo-Roman church. I didn’t know there was a Neo-Roman architectural style, but that is what the sign said. Then I spotted a bed and breakfast with a beautiful garden out front. It was dark, but I could see enough to know I wanted to go back with my camera in daylight. I lingered reading their brochure and then moved on.

I studied the light coming through the stained glass windows of a church and decided that churches should never be empty or dark. Someone should always be available to give aid and solstice. As I passed by, I noticed they had a garden and made another mental note to visit it in daylight.

I walked on, but paused as the bells on the courthouse or some church in that direction started ringing. It was late for bells. Probably close to ten and I wondered at the significance and what kind of schedule they were on. I’ve heard them at other odd times as well. Maybe it’s God’s way of making us look up.

I contemplated an old filling station that had been renovated and thought that I would like to live in a little place like that. The long roof where the pumps used to be would make a perfect area for a shade garden and a chair.

I found a cross street to take me back toward my home. One I’d never been on and looked with concern at the old houses that were being neglected. Not to the point of falling down, but they needed a little TLC. They looked sad.

A little further on, I spotted a cat laying on the corner of a retaining wall. I have an affinity for kitties and always want to pet them. The dark tabby didn’t pay much attention to me until I spoke asking if I could.

I always ask cats. It’s only polite.

The cat didn’t look alarmed so I took a step toward it. It raised up to a sitting position and I paused.

“Can I pet you?” I asked again and it mewed. I took that as assent and took another step.

I curled my fingers into the soft fur behind the cat’s clipped ear and realized it had a bad case of fleas. The clipped ear and fleas told me it was a stray. The fat tummy told me it was good at getting food from somewhere. I chatted and pet it while it mewed back.

It was a sweet kitty and I lingered for quite a while, but eventually decided I needed to move on. I started down the street and it came with me. I paused petting it again and decided it probably didn’t get many snuggles or attention and no kitty should go without snuggles if they want them.

It looked up at me and I considered picking it up, but that’s just rude. Instead, I found a spot to sit and gave it the option of climbing into my lap.

The cat chose to ignore the offer and after more petting, sat on the stair purring behind me. It started washing and I decided it was a good time to continue my wander. The cat followed me, mewing and getting in front of me. I watched it, blocking my path and realized it didn’t want me to go that direction.

I looked up wondering if there was danger there, but couldn’t see anything but a quite city street. I listened to the message the cat was delivering even if I didn’t understand why. I turned, heading back the way I had come and the cat, who had been under foot, lingered before following me a few feet. As I walked, it fell further behind and I quickly lost view of it.

I wondered about why I needed to turn back, but didn’t have a clue until I rounded the corner for home. I smiled. Something large, dark, and angular was laying in the road ahead, though in the dark I couldn’t tell what it was.

I’ve known my purpose in life for a while. It is to clear the path for others and I recognized a confirmation of that in the obstacle blocking the road. This was the reason the cat wanted me to turn back.

No cars were close and I walked into the street to move what turned out to be an old charcoal grill. I righted it. A couple cars approached the intersection as I worked and I knew the cat would not be the only messenger this night. My act of working in the middle of that intersection in full view of both drivers was a message to them. Their purpose is to clear paths as well.

I picked up the pieces of the grill and wondered how many times those drivers would have messengers before they understood the message. Sometimes the messages are subtle. A stray, flea riddled cat with a clipped ear delivered mine.

I am much less subtle.

You have a purpose in life. Look for your messengers. They’ve been there all along. You just have to slow down long enough to see them.

I am not the person I was yesterday. Tomorrow, I will not be the person I am today. I wonder how I will be better tomorrow? Katherine Parker notcrazyjustnutZ.com

Transformation: Step One

Motivated by my previously mentioned “constructive discontent” and having read the book Get Out of Your Own Way, among others, I have begun a transformation. You might have noticed one aspect of it in the fact that I am posting to my blog again.

The books I have read lately have directed me to figure out what I want more than anything in the world. The problem is, what I said I wanted and what I really wanted were hard to reconcile. I self limit…bad.

You can recognize your own self limiting if you start hearing things in your head like:
That’s stupid.
You can’t do that.
Have you lost your mind?
Okay, back to reality.
There is no way I’m gonna get that.

I started making a list of the things I wanted in my life. I started out small. Very small.

A new buckwheat hull pillow
Clothes that fit
To feel good about myself
Shoes that fit

Then I remembered a sign in my local coffee shop.

What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?

Feel free to share or pin. Photo by Katherine Parker

That is when I gave myself permission to dream. This is what I came up with in the same order I came up with it.

Happiness
Give presents to my friends
Help others
Fun
Spend Christmas somewhere the northern lights are visible.
Travel rural Japan
Travel through China
Travel Australia
Set my own schedule.
Spend an extended period on a coast overlooking the ocean
Explore Oregon and Washington
Get the other twenty-five states (I’ve been to twenty-five already)
Go back to Hawaii
Cross the equator

I found a theme in my list. Travel and lots of it. I realized, that is part of my Polaris Point.

What is your Polaris Point?

Grab a pen and notebook. Go ahead, this post will still be here when you get back. Don’t put it off. This could change your life forever.

Waiting

Back? Okay, now do this exercise.

Imagine you have just won five-hundred million dollars in the lottery. That is eight zeros and looks something like this: $500,000,000. In fact, it is half a billion dollars.

This money is sitting in your bank account right now. Imagine it. Feel it. Then answer these questions.

What would you do with the money?
What would you do with your life?
What would you do to help the world be a better place?

Dream big. After all, you no longer have to work for a living and you have enough money to buy and do anything you want.

Tell me on my Facebook page, what you would do.