Archive for the ‘decisions’ Category

Redirected

It’s funny how things come along in life to serve as a point of redirection.

Yesterday I got redirected.

Yesterday I was given the opportunity to decide whether or not I truly believe what I say I believe….

….about health, nutrition, wellness, medical intervention, and more.

Yesterday I learned that I have fabulous cholesterol levels. I also learned that as far as a sonogram is concerned, most of my internal organs look pretty good.

Most of them, anyway.

And most of my blood work was pretty good. Most of it….except the little detail of my hemoglobin–my almost non-existent hemoglobin. It seems a 6-point-something-or-other is a little low when ideal is 12-16. The doc commented that she was amazed I was even able to get up and walk around. Guess that explains some of the fatigue that’s been plaguing me lately. I just thought I was really out of shape.

Then there is the matter of my “baby”. It seems there is an alien thing growing inside and around my 44 year old incubator.

No, I’m not pregnant.

Thank God.

My diagnosis was basically exactly what I had already self-diagnosed and the reason I even went to see a traditional doc in the first place. I am exhibiting symptoms of a benign uterine fibroid. I had already decided I could manage one of those, although some things might have to change about my diet.

I had purchased the “Living with Fibroids” book, and  I had done lots of research before hand. I was pretty sure I could handle this.

The part I wasn’t counting on was just how big the fibroid collection turned out to be and the unexpected thickened endometrial lining they found. Seems I have 3 mm too much for comfort.

The medical approach in such cases is referral to a GYN for biopsy of the uterine lining and likely hysterectomy due to the size of the fibroid.

I am, after all, kicking out a good solid blood transfusion each month at this point.

And I mean it’s not like I’m gonna need that uterus to make more babies, right? So medical logic says let’s just cut that sucker out and eliminate the problem.

Except that doesn’t solve the underlying problem.

My diet and lifestyle have created this thing. Cutting it out isn’t going to solve all my problems. In fact, it will add a few to the mix. My hormones are already jinked up pretty badly. I’ve known this for a couple of years now, but I’ve procrastinated doing anything about it. I’m pretty sure cutting out an entire organ that contributes to what’s left of the production of natural hormones is probably not the greatest of ideas.

And the synthetic stuff is just totally scary.

I am not a horse.

Besides, where will the alien grow next if we cut out its host and don’t change the environment that’s supporting its growth?

After processing all of the information I have so far and considering things like the expense of surgery, I realized I was being given an opportunity. …

I preach that the body has the ability to totally heal itself if given the right nutritional and energetic support.

I watch people put their eggs entirely in the western medicine model of cut, slash, burn and shake my head in pity.

I am now faced with an opportunity to put my money where my mouth is.

Literally.

I can totally change my diet and the internal environment of my body, or I can continue consuming things that deplete my body of life force energy.

I can nurture my girl parts back to vibrant health by using food and herbs as medicine, or I can let the whackers take my parts away forever.

I realize some people hit a point at which there isn’t an option left. Cutting the body  part off or out is sometimes the only option for survival. My heart breaks for them.

I, on the other hand, still have time and a choice.

On this fourth of July, 2012, my choice is eating cake and ice cream in celebration of my second daughter’s 18th birthday, or eating homemade guacamole and cucumbers. One feeds the alien. One feeds me. Once creates the acidic environment that encourages tumor growth. One provides the alkalinity to feed, nourish and repair damaged cells.

My game plan includes my MD, my chiropractor, a naturopath, a hormone-compounding pharmacist and quite likely an acupuncturist. Gotta get the iron depletion resolved immediately. I even have a game plan for that. Just gotta run it by the doc and see if she can find a way to make it happen.

It also includes an abundance of raw alkalizing foods….all of which have to be washed, sliced, prepped, and more. Broccoli and cabbage are my new best friends. Dairy, sugar, and anything with gluten are the enemy.

I think I have a new full time job.

Good thing I like guacamole and cucumbers.

Anyone for a big heaping bowl of coleslaw and a cup of herbal tea?

 

PS: I don’t need your prayers. God didn’t make me eat crap and God isn’t going to fix it for me by some miraculous intervention. I need your encouragement, positive energy, and an occasional batch of organic broccoli and carrots that I don’t have to take time to wash and cut up. I also need your massage business. Eating healthy isn’t exactly cheap. Much gratitude in advance.

Dr. Death

I just noticed a headline that indicated Jack Kevorkian, the infamous Dr. Death of assisted suicide notoriety, has passed into whatever lies beyond the back side of his own eyelids.

I couldn’t help but ponder a few questions, because….well….his “mission” is such a question gold mine for those of us who like to rock the boats of the comfortably confident God-pleasers.

So here goes.

Upon hearing of his death, what was your knee-jerk, first instinct reaction?

Was it …

A) I thought he died 20 years ago.

B) May he rot in hell along with those poor people who committed suicide with his machines.

C) Why do I even care?

D) That was one courageous old dude. May he rest in peace.

I confess, there was a time several years ago when I probably would have chosen B or C. Today, I’d be a D.

…Which leads me to my next question…

Why are we as a society generally accepting or at least tolerant of euthenizing animals whether gravely ill or perfectly healthy, yet we are repulsed to the point of mob mentality over the mere mention of helping a truly terminally ill human escape their prison of torture?

I’m guessing there is a God factor working on the psyches of those who have the strongest negative reaction to the idea of assisted suicide. You know….that whole twisted notion that people who commit suicide go straight to hell and that God has a purpose for extending a person’s disease ravaged, agonizing existence. We like to give God all the credit and blame for being in control of things…..

unless we don’t…

Because we all “know” that while God is completely in control of the human thing, he’s incapable of controlling the animal thing. We have animal control specialists for that. (FYI—the previous two sentences are oozing with classic Angie sarcasm.)

And that whole Bible bit about clothing the sparrow is probably not relevant to us today…..

unless it fits the sermon this Sunday.

Of course, we can carry this “God is in control of life and death” thing a bit further, if you like…..right into the abortion vs. pro-life argument.

Most pro-lifers are somewhat moderate. They seem to think that abortion should be illegal except in certain cases such as rape or mother’s life being in danger.

My question is why the exception? If we truly believe God is in control of this life and death thing, why are we willing to kill a fetus in one situation, but not in another? Maybe God wants that baby to be born and that mama to die.

OR…..maybe we say those things to avoid having to commit fully to a position that says under no circumstances should anyone other than God end a life. Except God doesn’t cause death, does he? He’s not mean like that…well…unless your name happens to be Uriah or Nadab and Abihu, or you were unfortunate enough to be a citizen of Jericho when Joshua came knocking, or didn’t get invited onto the boat with Noah when the rains came.

It must’ve sucked to be camel number 3 that day.

“God, what did I do wrong to earn a ticket to the big swimming pool instead of the floaty pass? I was trying to be nice and not push to the front of the line. If only I had known, I’d a run her over.”

Maybe, if the truth be known, we are more afraid to commit to a position that says God doesn’t “care” what the heck any of us do with life.

Don’t ask me. I’m just trying to find a little consistency in anything remotely attached to religion.

Besides, I’m still stuck trying to figure out that poor number 3 camel situation.

Stereotyping

Let’s play a word association game, okay? I’ll say a word, you notice what descriptors come to mind immediately. No looking them up…just knee jerk reaction to each word. No cheating.

Muslim

Hindu

Buddhist

Atheist

Wiccan

Shaman

Christian

Got your descriptors for each figured out?  Are you sure? Don’t go on until you have acknowledged what you believe about each of these.

Folks, that is what we call a stereotype.  We all have them. Whatever stereotype you assigned to each of the categories listed above is a direct result of your life experiences and the influences of the people around you. Many of those stereotypes are inaccurate and unfair to the majority of people who claim those descriptors.

Lately I’ve shared several things on Facebook that are quite harsh towards people who categorize themselves as Christians. Many of my Christian friends have a difficult time accepting the criticism  because they don’t see themselves as fitting the stereotypical descriptions attached to a word. Just as many Muslims recoil at the idea of being compared to Bin Laden’s followers, many Christians recoil at the idea of being lumped together with the legalistic extremists that dominate the news.

So why do we do this?

It’s programming. Conditioning. Experiences, both good and bad. They shape us and they shape our view of everything outside of us. Many of us have had experiences that have left quite a bitter taste in our mouths regarding the absolute rightness of Christianity.

So what’s a person to do when the descriptive word that has long been their identity, their get out of jail free card, has acquired such a negative connotation? Do we bow up and the people who lump us all together and whine that we aren’t all like that?

Well, that just added pouty whiner to the stereotype, so it probably isn’t the best solution. I said pouty not poultry.

Do we wear our identity plastered all over our shirts and our cars and set out to prove we are better than the fundamentalist lowlife assholes by serving and sacrificing until it kills us and destroys our family?

Not likely to change many attitudes and opinions.

So what’s a “nice Christian” to do? How can the bad wrap/reputation be shed?

My personal game plan is to ditch the Christian identity as my meal ticket and secret hand shake.

I plan to do my best to love every person who crosses my path. Hint: you will be much easier to love if you just love me back and don’t try to save me and my children from hell.

I am going to lay my hands on whomever needs and wants my touch, and wherever healing is within my power, I will give them all I have to give.

I plan to donate what I feel I can to organizations whose reach and ability to make a difference for hungry people exceeds mine and who keep the proseletyzing to a minimum.

I will do my best to connect with people who feel Christianity isn’t for them by caring for them and accepting them as Jesus might have.

I will teach and model for my children as best I can that “do unto others” means showing love to them even when they are not showing love to us.

I will help my children to see a bigger picture and learn to be wary of anyone pedaling “absolutes”.

And finally, I will work to move past and release the resentment I apparently harbor toward my stereotype image of Christian. Note: It will be a much easier task if they will kindly remove their claws from our political and legal system and start caring a bit more about the “creation” they claim came from the God they hold in such high esteem.

Okay, so I still have a long ways to go.

What are your thoughts? How do the “nice Christians” shake the negativity that many have attached to the word “Christian”? Is it even possible, or is it time to find a new identity?

What Would Jesus Say?

Yesterday I posted the following video on my Facebook page:

My comment that accompanied this video said simply, “Good message. Worth the watch, even if your stance is “worth the wait”.” Worth the Wait is a curriculum us Bible Belters use to terrorize our children into keeping their venereal diseases and their penises to themselves until they are married. It does have some merit. Probably not a bad program all in all, once you get past the fear tactics. It really does present some good information.

One of my high school classmates, who has recently discovered religion, proceeded to start preaching about the video I posted. His comments were, “Nothing good about this video… it facilitates the idea that living outside of the will of God is appropriate and acceptable, for Him it is neither. Mark 9:42. If you really wanted to save planned parenthood…get a husband and wife back to church and into the will of God. Teach your children. Quit allowing the school systems, television, and radio…videos and others to mandate the upbringing they should be receiving at home. “Good Message” = God Message.”

Personally, I love how the religious zealots can make my points about religion without me saying a word. They tend to make themselves (and thus religion) look ridiculous with very little effort on my part.

However, my blog gives me opportunity to pick his preaching apart one little piece at a time.

First, I must confess. As a teen I would have been holding one of those signs. Now before you jump to the conclusion that I had loose morals, let me clarify. I would have been the one holding the sign that says, “My friends have sex.”

Because they did. Some of them, anyway.

And as for the argument that getting husband and wife back to church and into the will of God…teach your children…etc., let me say that my parents rocked on this one. We were there every Sunday twice a day, and every Wednesday. I was at every youth group activity. I went to at least one church camp every summer. I even chose a Christian college and sent in my application as soon as they would take it. I was pretty much convinced that sex outside of marriage (along with drinking, smoking, etc.) was a one-way ticket to hell. Plus I was scared to death of getting pregnant.

And then I met him.

He was so handsome. His kiss was intoxicating. He made my heart race when I was in his presence. He pushed my boundaries to the edge. I was captivated. I was a tease. I wanted him and I wanted him to want me.

And then I turned 18.

And having educated myself on a variety of “things” related to the female reproductive system, I made a decision that I wanted him worse than I wanted to please God or my parents. I wanted him worse than I feared the fires of hell.

I got lucky. Because we were both “informed” about the facts, I made it all the way to my college graduation without getting pregnant. My post graduation (from that Christian college) Christmas present was an engagement ring, and my New Year’s present was a pink stick. Our April wedding was moved to January 14th, and the following September, my beautiful baby girl arrived on this planet into the loving arms of her new parents.

Four beautiful princesses later, there is NOTHING I would change. I am still intoxicated by his kiss, and he is still gives me butterflies. He still pushes my boundaries, and I am still a tease.

So, Preacher Boy, your argument fails. My parents did everything right. For that matter, I think his parents probably did a pretty good job, too, yet I’m pretty sure there is at least one of the signs in the video he could have held as a young adult.

Flinging God and Bible verses around as justification to ignore the facts of life is nothing more than shoving your head up your arse and ignoring reality.

Religion aside, the point of the message is Planned Parenthood takes a very small amount of the overall federal budget as compared to the bucketloads of cash thrown at corporations in the form of corporate welfare. If the so-called leaders of our country want to make effective reforms, there’s a good place to start.

With that said, I personally think many government services should be relegated to the private sector for financial support. Those who believe in the importance of planned parenthood should signify so by hitting the Donate Now button on their website. My neighbor who thinks PP has ruined America shouldn’t be required to support it. Same thing with NPR, and to some extent poverty welfare.

…Which brings me around to the early morning shower thought that triggered my need to respond publicly to the mini sermon I received over the posting of this video.

What would Jesus’ response be to this video message?

I mean, after all, we are supposedly Christians around here, so it would seem appropriate that we turn to none other than Jesus himself for guidance on this thing.

Would Jesus pick up the nearest scroll and begin pounding it on the lecturn as he proclaimed the evils of modern day school systems, television, radio, and the internet?

Would he point a finger at the teens holding those signs and say, “You kids need to stop having sex and get right with God!”

Would he turn to their parents and say, “This is all your fault! If you would raise your kids with an appropriate amount of God in their lives, they wouldn’t be having sex.”

Or would Jesus turn to the teens in this video and say, “It’s pretty tough being a teen, isn’t it? There’s a lot of pressure and a lot of mixed messages out there. It’s never as simple as just following a rule, is it? Oh, you over there, the blonde. Your name is Samantha, right? You are 18 and already have two kids by two different men. I bet that’s been tough trying to raise them and finish raising yourself. You keep looking for someone to love you for who you are, but you haven’t found him. Maybe I can help make your life a little easier by showing you how things work so you can make better choices. Maybe I can show you a different kind of love. ”

The woman caught in adultery and the woman at the well are the Bible stories that haunt me today.

How often do we pick up “stones”  in the name of religion rather than loving and teaching a better way?

What is that better way?

The bottom line is that for teens, relationships (and in many cases sex) are more appealing than religion. Fear works for some, but not forever. Middle aged adults can shove their heads up their arses and keep them there while they spew their religious crap about getting right with God and pleasing God, but it won’t push religion any higher up the priority pole for teens. In most cases, the desire to feel perceived physical love trumps the desire to obey  an unseen, unheard, unfelt imaginary entity.

And so we educate them. We protect them as best we can. We teach them that sex is a beautiful and incredible thing when with the right partner. We give them information that allows them to make educated choices based not on fear, but on what’s best for them and their future. If  something goes “wrong”, we love them and help them through it, and get them pointed back down the road to success as best we can.

Religion fears education in all forms. Once educated, people can make intelligent decisions and often times that leads them to the realization that religion isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. They take their checkbooks and their beliefs and walk away.

Hence, the religious right hates programs like Planned Parenthood.

I personally think Jesus would have been standing at the door of PP welcoming people in.

 

Thoughts on the Elderly

Younger generations don’t often recognize the stress and trauma our elders endure when their spouse crosses over. It’s compounded in unbelievable ways when the one who remains behind falls one too many times and the children decide it is time to move them to an assisted care facility. Even when it makes sense, when it’s in the best interest of the elderly for their own safety, the emotional toll is worse than death.

Yesterday, I helped one such sweet lady escape her nice, safe, comfortable prison for a few hours to seek help from an alternative practitioner for the toll this stress had taken on her body. It was an emotional release that was a bit unexpected. She is such a strong woman, who has held it together and put on a happy face for everyone who walks through her door.

I had no idea her wounds were so fresh. I knew her husband had crossed over, but I didn’t realize how recently it had happened. And I didn’t realize how quickly she had been moved out of her home.  I also didn’t realize that I was taking her on her first out-of-town trip since all of this had happened. It was overwhelming.

My heart breaks for her.

To my knowledge, these people are never given appropriate mental health support, only meds to help them sleep through the nightmares and forget how sucky life just got.

And grief counseling for a 90 year old?

Probably not gonna happen.

Oh, and I officially SUCK as a daughter-in-law.

Why is it easier for me to show compassion to someone else’s family than it is my own?

And why do we insist on keeping people alive when they really want to be allowed to go? Nature tends to create multiple opportunities for their escape, yet we believe we are doing them a favor by treating the illness instead of letting it take them.

I just don’t know how I feel about it.

The Connectors

Prejudice. Bigotry. Racism.

These are very ugly words. So ugly, in fact, that when my first child was born over 20 years ago, a made myself a promise. As she and her sisters grew, I refused to use race as a descriptor in identifying their friends.

I did not want my children to grow up seeing race as something that separates people. I did not want them to struggle with the same stereotyping ignorance that I have struggled with all my life.

I love watching how this effort has evolved. I also love seeing how my own beliefs and ideals are being pushed and tested in a way that makes me question whether I truly feel the way I say I feel.

It’s a “put your money where your mouth is” sort of push.

It feels as though I am part of a bridge between what once was and what is to become.

My parents witnessed and experienced public school segregation and subsequent integration. They remember a time when skin color and even religion determined the level of opportunity afforded a person. I am proud of the fact that my dad had a good friend from the “wrong side of the tracks” even when that was a bit unusual. He has had many such good friends throughout his life.

My children only know about it through history books.

Unfortunately, my children have witnessed the self-destructive poverty mentality that tends to attach itself to certain ethnic groups in our part of the country. I have seen it as well. In spite of my best efforts to protect my children from connecting behavior to race, to some extent, it has happened anyway.

Therein lies some prejudice that I never intended my children to acquire. In many ways, they have chosen to separate themselves from the behaviors that they find unacceptable. In doing so, their opportunities to experience a variety of cultures has been somewhat limited.

My oldest child has stepped away from this place and out into the world. She is a connector, seeing people for who they are, not who they appear to be. She challenges me and my stated beliefs on a regular basis. She has landed in a place where diversity does not necessarily equal poverty mentality and self-destructive behaviors. It exists as an equal opportunity as does goal-oriented focus and success.

Her new friends have many roots, yet they are all connected. She connects and she helps them to connect with others from all over the world. It is a true melting pot of interdependence and compassion.

This generation, both here in the U.S. and in countries like Egypt, want so much more from their world. They desire peace and cooperation, and many of them know exactly how to make it happen. They have been nurtured to recognize that God is not a divider separating people into categories of worthiness. They do not see skin color, religious beliefs, or sexual preference as qualifiers. They understand that God is within them and will be experienced by others through their compassion, their vision, their passion, and their love for one another.

In a sense, they are collectively…..God. Aya. One.

They are the indigos, the crystals, and the rainbows.

They may very well be the catalysts who usher in an age of true interdependence.

They are The Connectors.

I am glad to be a part of the connection.

2010: Looking Back So I Can Look Forward

Looking back is not something I typically do. There’s nothing a person can do to change what’s been done, and spending time dwelling on it is pretty much a waste of time.

This year, however, I think it is important for me to look back at the past twelve months so that I can recognize how much has changed and how far I have come, not to mention the many adventures that I experienced this year.

Twenty ten saw me take my first REAL yoga classes.

It was during one of those yogic moments of peaceful reflection that I made the decision to resign my job of 18 years.

That decision and its subsequent public announcement led to an energy shift in my workplace that was nothing short of miraculous. I don’t know who was more relieved, me or my co-workers.

It was the year we decided that maybe building a house at the farm wasn’t the best idea. We realized my in-laws wouldn’t be with us very many more years and that no one else in the family had a desire to live in their house. We couldn’t bear the thought of it sitting empty or being sold. We began to create a vision that involved once again restoring what we had rather than buying brand new.

Twenty ten was the year my sweet man helped move his aging parents to a nursing home. We didn’t realize how quickly our prediction would come to pass.

It was also the year we said “see ya later” to his handsome daddy.  We miss you, Charlie.

I realized this year that keeping forty years worth of mail and magazines is not a good idea.

I learned that while some things aren’t mine to discard, the rest of the family appreciates not having to do as much of it.

This year I figured out that it is possible to simultaneously be mad at my man for something he can’t fix and feel guilty for being mad at him.

I discovered that when meltdowns happen, I don’t really want anyone to fix or analyze the problem. I pretty much just want to be held by my man and allowed to blubber like a moron into total exhaustion.

I also discovered that sorting through 40 years worth of mail can trigger the aforementioned meltdown.

I messaged my dad and told him I’d haunt him in the afterlife if he left all his crap for me to sort through.

Sometimes having an entire week with no massage clients is a blessing to allow one to work on a more important project.

I really need to clean out my crap so my children won’t have to.

This year also saw the ongoing work on my wellness center progress from slightly nicer than trashy (requiring closed doors and plastic sheeting) to something that has become downright adorable.

My massage clientele has grown from about five on January 1, 2010 to about 75 today and from a few sessions a month to multiple sessions a week.

I have a gift. I don’t know what I do differently, and many times I feel very inadequate to help someone, yet people keep telling me I really do make a difference.

2010 was the year I realized how much I need to feel as though I am making a difference.

This year was the first year since 1992 that I have not attended August Staff Development.

I miss my friends.

I don’t miss the beaurocracy and protocol.

Twenty ten was the year I said goodbye to windowless cinderblock and electromagnetic fields.

It’s the year I discovered how amazing it is to give a massage in a thunderstorm.

It’s also the year I learned that the sound of geese flying over head is another sweet background symphony for giving a massage.

This year gave me time to can 100 pounds of apples, oodles of tomatoes, more jalapeños than I will ever need, and even make some apricot jam. I haven’t done that in probably 18 years because I was always back at work by the time the garden was ready.

This year we took our cowgirl to the state horse show, sent her off to horse camp, sent our oldest to Germany for a month, and then moved her to the far corner of New Mexico to go to school.

This year found daughter number two with a drivers license and an appreciation for the freedom even a 12 year old mini-van can bring.

It was the year my baby played on her first club basketball basketball team and decided she could live with an occasional bloody nose.

This was the year I told a man in leadership that I wanted strong female role models in my daughters’ lives.

It has also been the year I’ve had to remind myself that I got what I wished for and that everything else is secondary, even though there is some frustration.

This was the year I gave up on my hybrid car and helped my oldest get her first car.

This was the year I learned to be really really patient with licensing agencies. It took three months, but we finally got my oldest licensed to practice massage therapy in New Mexico without making any state agency enemies. The holdup was one of semantics. Terminology.

It was also the year I was glad my oldest didn’t have a job, because after completely missing Christmas last year due to work and snow, she has been home with us for a whole month. I kinda like having her around.

I hope she never gets a job, but rather finds a way to make a living on her own terms.

This was the year that 85% of my 18 years worth of retirement savings disappeared. In all fairness, it did a lot. It did things that couldn’t have been done if I had continued to work at my former job. It blessed my girls.

This was the year that I finally told my story.

And the year that I released some resentment in exchange for recognizing the gifts.

This year saw me let go of the guilt of “should” and simply enjoy “being”.

I learned that sometimes procrastination simply means the time isn’t yet right.

Twenty ten is the year I learned that there is a big difference between being a Christian and being a disciple of a man named Jesus.

I don’t want to be a Christian.

I want to be  like Jesus.

This year saw my eyes open to the historical origins of the Bible and let go of my blind belief in its divine authorship.

It also saw another major shift in my belief system.

I think I might have been wrong about a few things.

Twenty ten was the year I found some amazing people who are also on a quest for enlightenment and truth: Ronna Detrick, Renae Cobb, Don Rogers, and Chris Ledgerwood to name a few. I am grateful to have made their acquaintance and experienced their encouragement.

It was the year of a broken leg for cowgirl and a broken nose for my mom. Note to both: Be careful what you wish for. Sometimes you get your wish, but with a bit of an inconvenient side effect. Good lesson for me. I wonder if I caught on or if I’ll have to learn that one for myself sometime?

Twenty ten will go down as the year that I took a leap off of a cliff and had to build my wings during the free-fall.

My wings are in place, and now the ascension begins. There’s a pretty good climb ahead, but I have a hunch the view from the top of 2011 is going to be exhilerating.

That’s a big word that means really scary but very much worth it once the mountain is climbed.

Bring it on.

I Would Have Been A Floater For Sure

Cowgirl has been laid up for over a week waiting on the medical establishment to get her leg bone secure enough to rejoin the rest of the world. That means she has been home from school for seven days now. Don’t get me started on how dumb it is for a high tech school to not be able to patch my kid who’s sitting in a high tech home directly into her classrooms. That was my previous rant.

In an effort to keep her on top of her studies, I’ve been retrieving her assignments from school, cracking the “git ‘er done” whip, and returning said assignments to the school upon completion.

One of Cowgirl’s assignments has involved reading a novel for her English class. Apparently Cowgirl was accustomed to having the novel read out loud to the class, so I was obligated to continue the learning experience precisely as had been her in-class experience.

The book is called The Witch of Blackbird Pond, an historical fiction novel about a girl in the 1600’s who lands herself in the midst of Puritan religious legalism and is accused of being a witch. Interestingly enough, there probably isn’t a twelve year old on the planet whose attention has ever been grabbed so quickly nor emotion stirred so intensely as what this 42 year old’s was. An English teacher could only dream of engaging a student at the level I became engaged.

For many readers, I’m betting the most significant parts of the story were the emotional highs and lows of romance blossoming and the terror of being placed on trial for being a witch.

For me, the intensity lay (lied, lain, ???) in the realization that not much has changed in 400 years. I identified with Kit on so many levels. Her experiences were much wider than those of the mostly uneducated Puritans. Her view of the world was so much more positive and trusting. Her ability to see past human differences was so much greater.

The Puritans were convinced of what was God’s will and what was evil. They were so sure of themselves, they were willing to kill those who did not believe or conform to their religious ways. They feared and reviled that which was different. Quakers happened to fall into the category of different and thus evil.

I know what it’s like to be part of a religion that’s convinced everyone else is wrong and destined for hell.

It occurred to me while reading through the story that I likely would have been ostracized, singled out, and possibly drowned, hanged, or burned at the stake had I lived in that time. I’m pretty sure I would have been a floater, and floaters were automatically guilty. A pure woman would be accepted by the water and God according to their beliefs.

Sounds like I’d be dead either way.

That’s got an irony all of its own. You end up dead if you’re following their life-sucking religious rules and you end up dead if you don’t. Either way you’re “Dead Woman Walking”.

Because I choose to challenge what I perceive to be ignorant, blind belief of things that I see as being far from real evidential truth, things that do not promote charity and love, but rather promote divisiveness, isolation, and hatred, I would likely be killed.

That’s what happens when legalistic religion is allowed to trump love for humanity.

Jesus recognized it in the Jewish religion. He saw how harsh and cruel and loveless the Law of Moses was and how much worse it had become under the enforcing eye of the Pharisees and the Priests of the day. He tried to be different. He did his best to love and teach love. He healed wherever and whenever needed regardless of the religious laws. He fed people who were hungry wherever and whenever necessary, even breaking the religious laws so his followers could have a few grains of wheat on the Sabbath.

And they killed him for being a trouble-maker because he interfered with the religious status quo.

And then they deified him and made up a whole bunch of new rules and said the new rules were given by Jesus himself.

And then they killed people who didn’t follow the new rules. And they killed people who saw things differently: People who attempted to find the truth and enlighten others, and people who simply chose not to participate in their legalistic game.

And it continues today. Not so much the murdering part (although there are still plenty of people right here in America who are murdered by religious extremists for choosing not to be bullied by extreme religion), yet every day people are isolated, shunned, and disowned because they choose love over religion. They are labeled and branded as trouble makers or worse, all because they have been blessed with the gift of sight and a voice of intelligence. Their eyes are no longer clouded by tradition, fear, and loyalty.

They call it for what it is, and they are hated for it.

Nope, not much has changed in 5,000 years.

I haven’t decided yet whether or not I believe in reincarnation. It really doesn’t matter. I am here. Now. In this place. At this time. But I have a hunch that if I have lived before, I was probably every bit as challenging, every bit as sighted, every bit as annoying to the religious legalists as I am now. I’m pretty sure I would have been tried as a witch and likely convicted along the way.

I’m pretty sure I would have been a floater.

And I have a hunch that even then, there were those who stood by my side, much like Kit’s Uncle Matthew did, knowing that the challenge to the status quo and hand-me-down beliefs was long overdue.

Thankfully, no one has tried to kill me this time around. Even though things pretty much remain the same, there are more who have allowed love to trump religion, even when they are employed by religion.

Imagine how incredible the world would be if everyone could simply release the religion and just be pure love.

Politically BiPolar

I figure I have now spent two days ranting about politics on a wellness website, so what’s one more, right?

Today I find myself processing all the cheers, jeers, and sarcastic comments that  have shown up in various Facebook posts of friends and acquaintances regarding the outcome of the elections. Around these parts, there’s a real hodgepodge of opinion. My county has traditionally been hard-core Democrat, yet recent years have seen a major shift to the far right as the Republican party has finally grabbed a foothold (and a noose) around our citizenry. It seems someone decided that the only way to be a good Christian is to be a good Republican, and that ideology has spread like Swine Flu in these parts.

I used to consider myself staunchly conservative, definitely leaning toward Republican ideals, yet defiantly independent, because that’s just how I am. I scoffed at the high school political science teacher who suggested that I was actually a closet Democrat and just hadn’t figured it out yet.

Ugh….I so dislike it when other people know me better than I know myself.

So this morning, my question becomes

What Am I?

Am I a Democrat now, complete with the notorious higher taxes, big government beaurocracies, and social programs out the anus?  Or am I still a conservative Republican with it’s trickle down economics, big business, war machine, and strong second amendment support?

Honestly, I’m none of the above. I don’t know that there is a party that can contain what I value.

So what do I value?

I value compassion.

I value live and let live.

I value keeping my money and donating it where I see the need.

I value good roads.

I value keeping the government and big corporations out of my way.

I value separation of church and state.

I value freedom of choice, especially where MY BODY and MY CHILDREN are concerned. When and if I choose to be a guinea pig for the pharmaceutical companies, I will let you know.

I value human life.

I value protecting those who can’t protect themselves.

I value freedom of choice. (Did I say that already?)

I value a balance between feeling safe and having personal freedom. If forced to make a choice, I’d lean toward freedom over safety.

I value personal responsibility, not legislated morality.

I value giving people a chance to stand on their own two feet without yanking them up by their bootstraps and giving them a wedgie in the process.

I value helping people toward independence rather than perpetuating dependence.

I value education that encourages entrepreneurship and creative thinking rather than creating compliant robots ready to spend their lives making someone else wealthy.

I value nature and things that promote sustainability over consumption.

I value independence and self-sufficiency.

I value teaching people to fish (and learning how to fish) rather than handing out fish day after day. There is definitely a time to hand out some fish. Jesus did, and we can, too, as needed.  However, if there is an opportunity to give someone a hand up after the handout, then I want to be ready to meet that need enabling them to pay it forward for the next person in need.

I value our constitution and the intentions of the people who created it. Yes, they probably envisioned a nation blessed by God, however, the concept of God and what God supposedly wants has changed substantially since then thanks in great part to preacher politicians. The founders knew the dangers of allowing religious ideals to drive government decisions. They sought to create freedom of and even (when necessary) from religion. This generation seems to be pushing towards religious control by the government.

I value local decentralized leadership and decision-making as much as possible.

I value social programs run by charitable groups rather than the government.

I value the right to defend myself, my family, and my property.

I value the recognition that we are all interconnected and interdependent. It’s in my best interest to help someone else succeed, live, thrive, prosper, be healthy, and I must realize my actions affect others as well as future generations.

To some, it may seem that I have lots of contradictory values. Maybe so. Maybe that’s why the political process is so frustrating to me. People want things to be black and white.

They can’t be.

They never will be.

The world is not two dimensional. It is multi-faceted, multi-colored, and loaded with a million shades of gray to blur the edges. There are no absolutes. There can be no black and white.

In the end, the only platform that matters is the Jesus platform, which happens to be quite similar to the Buddha platform and several others.

It’s really quite simple.

Love God, the source of life energy.

Love People.

The end.

Can your political party claim these two as the primary issues? If not, maybe you need a new party.


Identifying NOTs to Find My AMs

Life takes us on some interesting journeys. Doors open and close. People walk in and walk out. Opportunities sprawl in front of us awaiting our decision to reach out and pluck it’s juicy fruit. Yet sometimes what seems like an opportunity is actually a glimpse at what may not be part of our dream.

I typically prefer to focus on the dream itself, keeping my energies directed at what works for me rather than what doesn’t work for me. However, occasionally, it becomes necessary to look closely at the NOTs in life in order to more fully reveal the AMs.

And often times, the process of experiencing a NOT leaves me with a small treasure that enhances the AMs in amazing ways.

This morning finds me meditating on what I AM, my dreams, my desires, my space of expertise and influence. It’s leaving me with a strong desire to identify out loud some of my NOTs.

Apparently, I am NOT interested in being a fitness-center-type personal trainer. The idea of calculating METS and reps and VO2 Max just annoys the crap out of me. Of course, a good class and good instructor might have been able to send that in a different direction, yet for now, this does not feel as if it is for me.

Dear Amarillo College, enjoy my $300 donation. Be sure to use it to pay that teacher for not teaching his online class at all.

I AM interested in coaching and teaching people basic principals about how their bodies work, what strengthens and weakens the body, as well as how food, stress, and exercise work together to support health and wellness. I am a cheerleader for these people.

I am NOT interested in being tied to a bureaucratic hierarchy that is public education. Too many chiefs, not enough warriors, and way too much rigid scheduling. I’m all for having some structure in my day, but lose structure seems to be more my thing. I like choosing my schedule as I go.

I AM interested in working when I choose to work with whom I choose to work. I am also interested in answering mostly to me and the person with whom I am providing services. That process eliminates a lot of second-guessing, condescending supervisory crap that tends to make me nuts. I am rapidly approaching the point at which I think I’ve made a good decision in choosing to be an entrepreneur.

I am NOT interested in trying to please supervisors by keeping my mouth shut when I see something with which I disagree. I am not thrilled about being bound by chains of command and 47 jillion policies and procedures which have been designed to discourage negative feedback. If compliments required as much hoop-jumping as requesting a review of something that is causing concern, no one would ever get an ataboy.

I AM interested in working with those people who will provide immediate feedback on what is effective and what doesn’t seem to be improving the situation. That just works for me.  And it strokes my ego.

My ego needs lots of stroking.

I am NOT interested in working for someone from whom I have to request permission to get or give professional training. I must admit, it is nice when their dime picks up part of the tab, but that frequently seems to come with a side dish of guilt, some soul-level ownership, and a dose of “you owe me”.

I AM interested in work that allows me to choose what, when, where, and how much training I will receive or provide. Yes, taking this approach means I am likely going to be paying for the training from my own earnings, but in most cases, the earnings out pace the cost of the training in some way.

I am NOT interested in working with people who don’t value what I have to offer. Hmmm…. that pretty much eliminates my children. Except when I offer money. Then they seem to value dear ol’ mom.

I AM interested in working with those people for whom my training has the potential to impact in a HUGE way. That would include children with disabilities, adults desperately seeking something outside of the ordinary box, those looking for information to help them take control of their health, people looking for a way to release stress and tension, and service providers who know there is something out there just begging to be revealed to them.

Let’s see. If I enter this information into the trusty ol’ computer, divide by my desire to take a vacation whenever I like, add in a smidgen of creativity, weirdness, and nature, the result is……….

Exactly where I am today.

Thank you, Universe, God, instinct, Spirit, whomever or whatever you are that has led me to this particular place in life.

I’m lovin’ it!

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