There Was Calm Before The Storm ~ Early Morning Thoughts

In short ~ It doesn’t rain but it pours!


In longer:

Today was to be a delightful, warm and sunny day. A day of relaxing, regrouping, and building back up to face the week.

Tonight in the space of two hours ~ Three major events, one very personal, one personal and one involving two very dear friends rolled across the horizon and opened up and the “quality of mercy” didn’t drop as gentle rain – but in great big lumps!

I’m still dealing with two of the events, and I’ll explain them tomorrow. I can say, however, thank heavens I had the day …

Go Into The Light ~ Early Morning Thoughts

When people aren’t engaging my interest, I get some of my best thinking done on the bus (also in the shower, but that’s for a later post). I’m not sure why, but while traveling along the streets and areas I know quite well, I can let my mind run down all sorts of interesting “pig” trails and byways. Today I was looking back over events of the last four weeks, the last week and the last 24 hours. It was then I realized that I was really looking at what I wanted to call “defining moments.”

Sometimes the phrase is used politically or socially, but I realized I was looking at it from a very personal point of view. Some of the moments have passed, but I also realized I was going to be dealing with defining moments yet to come. This allowed my mind to move toward another term that can be part of defining moments: epiphany.

Epiphany (feeling), a realization or comprehension of the essence or meaning of something or someone
or to be more dictionary about it ~
e·piph·a·ny ĭ-pĭf’ə-nē)n.
1. Epiphany

3. A sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something.
4. A comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization:

“I experienced an epiphany, a spiritual flash that would change the way I viewed myself
–Frank Maier

Creativity is an instant — a moment when our lives are defined. It’s the moment we touch each other’s lives. And our response to that tiny passing event doesn’t change just us. It changes the world we live in at the same time.
–John Lienhard
The Engines of Our Ingenuity


If only there were a longer time between epiphany and epitaph
–David Glaser

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.
— John Milton

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.
–Charles Darwin

Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.
–Jim Horning

In a moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.
–Theodore Roosevelt

Part of discovering who you are and what you are capable of requires you to reflect upon some of the key moments from your past. We all have experienced “defining moments.” Those moments that define who you are and what you stand for. Those moments that help you create clarity about your life purpose and your life values. Sometimes those moments are in response to life’s challenges. It’s when you rise to the occasion. It’s when you become the person you always wanted to be.
–Mark Susnow

We are a way for the cosmos to know itself”
–Carl Sagan

Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.
–Oscar Wilde

See I’m a dreamer, man, and when I was a cook I’d always work with people who weren’t dreamers. Like, I was cooking at this restaurant and I put a hot dog on the grill and my kitchen manager came over, and he said, “Mitch, put the hot dog up here, in the right hand corner of the grill, so in case you get a whole bunch of orders at once you have all this space available.” See that’s how I knew he wasn’t a dreamer, ’cause the day I give up my dreams is the day I have strategic grill locations. A dreamer has a philosophy: the entire grill is hot!
–Mitch Hedberg

When You Least Expect It (2) ~ Early Morning Thoughts

Continuing on from last night’s post ~

Surprised With Joy –
(apologies or thank you to C. S. Lewis)-continued-

Last night I wrote about how I asked Toby after several meetings if we were dating. As I said, I was horrified as soon as the question came out of me. I didn’t need to worry. He looked at me and without hesitation said: “We keep making arrangements to meet and neither of us cancel or skip them, so yes – I’d say we are dating.” Of course, the fact that he winked at me and slightly stuck out his tongue – only underscored the seriousness of the conversation.

But The Luggage Tag Says (5)

On the 27th I wrote about ~ “Fantasy travel: A very weak color, which leads away from the bright color of reality.”

I’ve written before about my non-relationship relationship with ZZ. This is probably the most personal of the false expectations trap. Not only did I have false expectations,. . . ” but I was convinced that I could turn everything into reality – by sheer force of will if necessary.

I was so sure that everything was going to turn out as I expected and desired, I literally decorated my luggage of life with various tags – the one of fantasy travel being quite prominent. And for an incredible number of years, I clung tightly to that tag – believing that ZZ would change, that our entire lives would change. And it never happened. But, of course, I had invested to much into the false itinerary, I became overwhelmed by the idea of making it a reality and making the journey fit what I felt it should be. And long the journey, I lost myself. I fell into several major traps because my expectations were not grounded for flight school as they should have been.

In the book “The Wizard of Oz” – the citizens wore glasses that created the delightful colors of the city. The emerald color was a fantasy. Without the glasses that everyone entering the city was required to wear it was a dull gray almost lifeless set of buildings.

Which is in a sense looking at the world through rose-colored-glasses.

Some unfortunate people never take their rose-colored glasses off, but everyone wears these spectacles occasionally. This attitude of cheerful optimism, of seeing everything in an attractive, pleasant light, has always been with us, while the expression itself goes back to at least 1861, when it is first recorded in ‘Tom Brown at Oxford’: ‘Oxford was a sort of Utopia to the Captain.He continued to behold towers, and quadrangles, and chapels, through rose-colored glasses.
–From the “Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins”
by Robert Hendrickson
(Facts on File, New York, 1997)

Some of those around me have expressed concern about Toby which is more an expression of concern about me. And I can accept that. After all, I’ve written about things in the luggage cars behind me where I’ve been wearing colored glasses or decided that what wasn’t going to be – would be. And believe me, there are other stories that I will share as time goes on. However:

Little Did I Know –

That there would such interesting differences this time around. I seem to have misplaced most of the emerald/rose colored glasses. Perhaps I’ve misplaced them somewhere around – but it’s giving me quite a different outlook on what’s going on around me. Toby seems to have some faults. (as if I don’t?) And there are a couple of them that are quite serious. One of the most major faults he is overcoming, and as long as he’s willing to work on it – I am going to be able to help. I can not change anyone, but I can help support someone in the process of changing. And how do I know he wants to make that change?

Shortly after the dating discussion, he said that he wanted to “mark” me as being part of his life. I will admit that the first image that flashed through my mind was from the movie from several years ago where someone lived near wolves and just as they did – he “marked” his territory. (So never going to happen!) Thankfully, Toby doesn’t take long pauses when he talks, so the image didn’t have long to stay around. He handed me something to wear. Something simple – but with meaning to him. I thought for a bit, and agreed. It was not a couple of days later that he had a serious setback with something he was overcoming.

Several things (once I seriously thought about it) impressed me. The first thing that impressed me was the honesty to tell me. The second one – he wanted to meet to talk about what had happened. There was no attempt to cover-up, and he wanted a discussion to openly share. I agreed, but was not wearing what he’d given me. I explained to him, that wearing it was a commitment to where we were in the dating situation and the commitment had to go both ways. After two very serious talks, I started wearing it again. And he put together support options.

I seem to have misplaced my “fixer” mentality. I didn’t immediately try and make everything right, proper and lose any “oil” in the process. I also made a decision that I was going to “wait and see” how this played out before either getting back into what was going on or dropping the entire package with little or no chance of redelivery.

I’m basically relaxed in what’s going on with “us.” (I have a little trouble typing that word right now – but that no doubt will change.) I’m not looking at picket fences nor am I waiting for the “other-shoe-to-drop.” Things are very much in the “now” and not “what could/would be.” Which for this traveler could be considered quite a feat. (I think a few of the baggage cars have been removed from my train.)

I seem to have lost my expectation “maps” of territories that haven’t been explored yet. Certainly I’m not stating that I’ve turned off my mind and am simply floating down the river of whatever is happening. However, I’m much more willing to allow things to happen in their own natural rhythm instead of becoming a Koyto Drummer and demanding my expectations to be met on my timetable.

And little did I know, I agree even more with the quote Nodrin King (from A Flat With A View) shared with me:

Happiness is not something that someone else, like a lover, can give to us. We have to achieve it for ourselves. And the only way to do so is by developing our character and capacity as human beings; by fully maximizing our potential … What is important now is to work hard at developing yourselves into truly wonderful human beings. Ultimately, the relationships you form are a reflection of your own state of life.

And lastly – the poem I posted the other night, will perhaps make even more sense now …

I will stand where I have not stood before.
I will live in a way I have not lived before.

The way may not be always clear,
open,
direct or
completely visible –

However –
I will stand where I have not stood before.
I will live in a way I have not lived before.
–wd

It will always amaze me how things happen when I least expect them.

–dating carrots by Martha Mickles
http://www.usm.maine.edu/art/alumni/alumnishow/pages/Martha Mickels, Dating.htm

Early to Late ~ Late Night Thoughts

Due to some changes the occurred today ~ there will be no Early Morning Thoughts tonight, being replaced by Late Night Thoughts – tonight only.


Everyone Needs Someone

People need people and friends need friends,
And we all need love for a full life depends
Not on vast riches or great acclaim,
Not on success or on worldly fame,
But just in knowing that someone cares
And holds us close in their thoughts and prayers…
For only the knowledge that we’re understood
Makes everyday living feel wonderfully good,
And we rob ourselves of life’s greatest need
When we “lock up our hearts” and fail to heed
The outstretching hand reaching to find
A kindred spirit whose heart and mind
Are lonely and longing to somehow share
Our joys and sorrows to make us aware
That life’s completeness and richness depends
On the things we share with our loved ones and friends.
–By Helen Steiner Rice


Friendship

Friendship needs no studied phrases,
Polished face, or winning wiles;
Friendship deals no lavish praises,
Friendship dons no surface smiles.

Friendship follows Nature’s diction,
Shuns the blandishments of Art,
Boldly severs truth from fiction,
Speaks the language of the heart.

Friendship favors no condition,
Scorns a narrow-minded creed,
Lovingly fulfills its mission,
Be it word or be it deed.

Friendship cheers the faint and weary,
Makes the timid spirit brave,
Warns the erring, lights the dreary,
Smoothes the passage to the grave.

Friendship–pure, unselfish friendship,
All through life’s allotted span,
Nurtures, strengthens, widens, lengthens,
Man’s relationship with man.
–Unknown

I will stand where I have not stood before.
I will live in a way I have not lived before.

The way may not be always clear,
open,
direct or
completely visible –

However –
I will stand where I have not stood before.
I will live in a way I have not lived before.
–wd

Maturity, A Dish Best Served…(1) ~ Early Morning Thoughts

A dear friend and I had an interesting email discussion today. Along the way the topic of maturity reared it’s hydra-type head – and glared at me. I remembered a story that would be a good way to begin.

Vintage

And to drink, sir?”

“I think I’ll wait and see what goes with Maturity.”

“Very good, sir.”

When the waiter arrived with Greg’s plate, it was thick around the middle, and had gone brittle and gray around the edges. Greg stared at the nutritious but slightly dull servings until the waiter shifted his weight uneasily. At last Greg spoke. “It looks a bit dry.”

“Perhaps some Enlightenment?” the waiter offered.

“Too strong for this early in the evening,” Greg said. And too pricey any time. “How about a fifth of Pride?”

“Good choice, sir,” the waiter said. Greg stared after the man’s retreating back. Good choice, sir. Christ, he’d have nodded approvingly if I’d ordered a split of Androgyny, or a double shot of Psychosis. Very good, sir.

“Your Pride, sir.”

Greg jumped when the bottle’s stylish label appeared in front of his face. Pride, from 1962. Blushing, Greg nodded his approval. A burgundy cascade leapt into his goblet.

Greg sniffed, relishing the heady aroma of vintage Pride. Truth be told, even Pride was a bit much for his budget. He sipped, then spat backwash that almost sloshed over the rim.

“Hey, waiter!” What was the guy’s name anyway?

“Sir?”

“What is this?”

“Pride, sir.”

“Then why does it taste like Bourgeois Self-Indulgence?”

“Is there perhaps a trace of Bitterness?”

“A trace!” Greg’s mouth worked in unpleasant memory. “I can’t drink this.”

“Not everyone has the palate for Pride, sir. May I offer you a bottle of Oblivion to whet your Maturity? Or have the bartender blend you some Nostalgia?”

Greg stared at his desiccated Maturity. Soon it would be too dry to eat. He sighed. “Just bring me a schooner of Wishful Thinking.”

“Very good, sir.”

—Greg Beatty

Greg Beatty’s stories have been published in a number of anthologies. This was published in Cafe Irreal – February 2003 (Issue 9)
http://home.sprynet.com/~awhit/index.htm

"I’m so happy to be with you." ~ Early Morning Thoughts

I have written about and thought about and prayed about two people that I have never even met – but they have impacted my life and I am sure the lives of many others. They have done this by being completely open and honest about what it going on in their lives. I’m speaking of Yen and Jesse of Two Lucky People.

Their love has been such an inspiration – regardless of your orientation. As I have said, it stands as a monument to the truth AND the power of love.

Yen wrote in February that: “When hope to rekindle memories starts to wane, when your lover is changing, deteriorating, it becomes a challenge to keep loving. Every day is a lesson in patient loving. Every day you relearn how to love again.”

And it’s that relearning to love again I mentioned before. There are three stages of Love. The first is the infatuation, the second is the romance. The third and most difficult is love – because that is a conscious choice. You can’t go to a mall and find a store for it, or get it from an email. Love is a choice. Sometimes the three stages blend, and we can move between them almost instantaneously, but in the end – it is the conscious love of two people that seems to hold everything together.

As I have said before, they epitomize to me the power of the wedding vows that people seem to take so casually today. These very old words, that seem so old fashioned carry tremendous power – and truth.

I take thee … to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish …

To my mind, that should cover a true love relationship. And, each part requires choice – better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness and health – to love and cherish. This is from Yen’s latest post:

This cancer continues to pick at our lives like a vulture.

At home, Jesse is in constant discomfort. He eats like a bird, yet vomits bagfuls every night. Walking down a block is impossible. Whether in the day, or at night, he drifts in and out of sleep, in a cycle of painkillers.

I wonder if there isn’t a moment that he wakes up, and for a few seconds, forgets that he is dying.

For the survivor, forgetting is a difficult conundrum. In wanting to capture every moment, what one recalls in searing detail only renders the loss more acute. Though love and pain make poor partners, each is inextricably twined with the other. Love gives pain comfort. The latter legitimizes the former.

How do we forget one without the other?

I cried hard today in the town car on the way back from the hospital. It did not last long, probably for less than a minute. The tears stopped as suddenly as they had come. It happened soon after we got into the car, when Jesse took my hand and said to me: “I am so happy to be with you.”

Hopefully, you will read the entire post for all that was said, but the wonder of their love shines as a beacon during this very dark time. It was during all this time I realized just how much of an illustration of the vows these two humble people are.

I spent much of the afternoon and evening grieving for them and with them. It started with the title of the post: Love to pain: Don’t forget me…

Jesse summed it up in one sentence: “I’m so happy to be with you.”

Once again, (as I looked at what would be a lover’s side of the bed covered with magazines) I want that kind of love. A conscious choice – that no matter what we would carry on…until it was time for the last part of the vows – till death do us part.

But I also want what is right…and for now, it’s better for me to be alone for the right reasons – than with someone for the wrong reasons. I’m not sure I’ve mentioned this before – but someone in England wrote me one time that they were not looking for someone to go out with – they were looking for someone to come home to.

As I looked back over the vows, I realized that there is a part of them that means: in the long run – shouldn’t we do that with everyone we care about? What a change that would make…personally.

As usual when I’m upset or grieving, I turn to poets who can say things much better than I can manage.

Full Consciousness

You are carrying me, full consciousness, god that has desires,
all through the world.
Here, in the third sea,
I almost hear your voice: your voice, the wind,
filling entirely all movements;
eternal colors and eternal lights,
sea colors and sea lights.

Your voice of white fire
in the universe of water, the ship, the sky,
marking out the roads with delight,
engraving for me with a blazing light my firm orbit:
a black body
with the glowing diamond in its center.
–Juan Ramon Jimenez (1881-1958)

Oceans

I have a feeling that my boat
has struck, down there in the depths,
against a great thing.
And nothing
happens! Nothing…Silence…Waves…

–Nothing happens? Or has everything happened,
and are we standing now, quietly, in the new life?
–Juan Ramon Jimenez (1881-1958)

–exchanging vows miniature by David Gregory
http://www.grime.net/dive/miniatures.html
–crashing waves 1 by Mark Henspeter
http://www.markhenspeter.com/index.php?showimage=209

F.Y.I. ~ Houses, Puppies and Something New

I’m going to be house AND puppy sitting for the next few days. I’ve written about D&D before, and they have asked me to watch the house and “mother” their two puppies (read: small horses!) while they are away. I will be gone from today (3.29) until Sunday evening (4.1 – no NOT an April Fool Joke). Unfortunately, there is no Internet connection at their place, so it is doubtful that I will post during that time.

As this is Spring and all, I want to mark it as a time of new beginnings. A time of hope, laughter and … love.

I vow to remember that today is a new day
Full of new beginnings and fresh moments
Today, I will not cling to events of yesterday nor yesteryear
But stay connected with what today brings.
I will not madly pursue my desires at the expense of others
Nor flee from challenging tasks.
I will remain true to the unfolding process of today
Without losing myself in thoughts of what was or what might be.
I will treat today with awareness and sensitivity
Even in the most ordinary of tasks.
I will apply myself wholeheartedly to the fullness of today
For I know that today holds the resource for authenticity.



But The Luggage Tag Says (3)~ Early Morning Thoughts

In my last post, I mentioned that at one point I was working for a resident theater company. I had directed several productions while there and they were very successful (even award winning). There was a script that had been around for several years. Each year it would be considered and for various reasons not included in the season. It was a play with a delightful premise and was quite amusing as well. I finally prevailed in committee and the play was added and I was to direct it. As a premier (premiere?) I was sure that there would be no problems with either the script, casting or production. Quoting from the last post:

I spent a tremendous amount of time with the script – many meetings with designers and such, and would then plunge off into what I expected the production to be like and look like. (are you paying attention to the pronouns and expectations here?) Rehearsals went quite well, and I was quiet pleased with the result. There were a few nagging questions from various people associated with the theater, but I was convinced the final result would answer all doubters. The show had spectacle, humor, tenseness, drama and a happy ending. I had even added a number of abstract moments in the show (something that was only hinted at in the script) and expected that the audience would enjoy and follow along with them.”

I was sure that my expectations were going to be fulfilled the way I intended. There would be amazing reactions from all concerned. There were reactions, to be sure. However, they were not what I intended nor, in some cases, wanted. I ran headlong into the wall of expecting answers according to my expectations. While not a failure, it was not a success either.

I’ve written before about my non-relationship relationship with ZZ. This is probably the most personal of the false expectations trap. Not only did I have false expectations, but I had various people at various times point out that my expectations were false and that I was headed for serious problems. But along with the false expectation I had added yet another luggage tag:

2) Fantasy travel: A very weak color, which leads away from the bright color of reality.

I was so sure that everything was going to turn out as I expected and desired, I literally decorated my luggage of life with various tags – the one of fantasy travel being quite prominent. And for an incredible number of years, I clung tightly to that tag – believing that ZZ would change, that our entire lives would change. And it never happened. But, of course, I had invested to much into the false itinerary, I became overwhelmed by the idea of making it a reality and making the journey fit what I felt it should be. And long the journey, I lost myself. I fell into several major traps because my expectations were not grounded for flight school as they should have been.

My identity is not a by-product of activity.

Even at my … ahem … age, life can be quite full of activity. But none of these defines who I am, and what journey I’m taking. I can be going and doing various tasks all day and sometimes into the evening, but these are simply tasks – things to accomplish. None of these are really who I am.

My identity is not a by-product of relationship.

I learned this painfully with ZZ. And, of course, still have to have an occasional refresher course as my journey continues. That’s why the quote that a fellow blogger Nodrin King left me is so powerful and true. I have to develop who I am. I have to take the journey of finding myself and becoming comfortable with myself. And as the quote puts it at the end – My relationships can be a by-product of how I view my identity and myself.

“Happiness is not something that someone else, like a lover, can give to us. We have to achieve it for ourselves. And the only way to do so is by developing our character and capacity as human beings; by fully maximizing our potential … What is important now is to work hard at developing yourselves into truly wonderful human beings. Ultimately, the relationships you form are a reflection of your own state of life.”

–more on all this later

But The Luggage Tag Says (2)~ Early Morning Thoughts

Nodrin King (from A Flat With A View) left me a quote that added to what I had been thinking about as far as one of the luggage tags I’ve been dealing with …”Happiness is not something that someone else, like a lover, can give to us. We have to achieve it for ourselves. And the only way to do so is by developing our character and capacity as human beings; by fully maximizing our potential … What is important now is to work hard at developing yourselves into truly wonderful human beings. Ultimately, the relationships you form are a reflection of your own state of life.”…. The last sentence is so true. And he’s figured out part of where I’m heading with some of these postings.

I had been thinking about the false luggage tag of expecting every answer to be according to my expectations.

To start this, I want to take a story from the Old Testament. Regardless of personal belief, there are some stories that are universal. It’s about a royal with a big head. His name is Naaman. Now, he was quite an important person – he was a warrior, a highly regarded leader, and his life could be considered a success. There was just one “little” problem to make his happiness complete. He suffered from leprosy. No matter how great a warrior or leader he was, his life was headed toward the leper colony – a total outcast. Now, amidst his spoils of war was a young girl that offered a solution. There were prophets in Israel who could and would cure Naaman. Of course, Naaman immediately petitioned the King of Syria to take the “cure” in Israel.

The King of Syria was more than happy to oblige and sent a letter to the King of Israel (along with a small payment for services rendered). Of course, the King of Israel (KOI) was more than glad to receive the money for the treasury, but making sure that a major player of Syria returned home healed of leprosy – that was asking the impossible. So much so, that the KOI began tearing his clothes, and wailing at the top of his lungs (That usually happens when the right message has been giving to the wrong person, but that’s another story altogether).

By this time, the entire household was in full hysteria mode – after all, failure to cure Naaman meant failure to continue in the lifestyle they had become accustomed to … or perhaps even failure to continue living. The wild cries of “OMG, what will we do now” finally reached the ears of Elisha. He sent a message to the KOI suggesting that he stop with the clothes tearing and yelling at the top of his lungs, and send Mr. Naaman his direction. Relieved to have someone else that would answer for failure – Naaman’s major parade was sent Elisha’s direction. Of course, being the important personage he was, Naaman fully expected a major show for his benefit. No such show happened. He didn’t even get to meet the prophet personally. The gate was opened by a servant who merely informed the exalted Naaman that he was to dip himself in the Jordan seven times. And with that – the servant closed the door. And life inside went on as usual.

Outside the gate, things were anything but usual. Naaman proceeded to have a major fit. I’m sure there were incredible threats hurled at everyone – including the King of Israel. After all, he had just been humiliated by this … this – at that point, he probably ran out of words – or at least words that were recorded. He was leaving and leaving NOW! Why was he going to leave without being healed? Because he had a false expectation of what was going to happen. He expected a grand show … perhaps even television specials to follow. He was expecting a major event. He wanted it how he wanted it!! Instead (although not exactly the purpose of this post – but worthwhile anyway) he was handed the total prosaic problem of obedience.

Finally a small one of Naaman’s group that was trooping around with him , managed to get his attention and told him that if he’d been asked to do something weird, amazing or even appear on a reality television show, he would have done it right? Naaman appears to have simply stood there with his elegant and important mouth open. The little one continued by basically telling Naaman 1) he needed to drop the grand expectation and 2) he really didn’t have anything to lose – and a healing to gain by doing something completely simple.

In other words, he had to leave the false expectation of what he thought would happen and go with what could happen.

An old saying (which I used to hate): The definition of insanity is repeating exactly the same actions over and over and expecting different results.

On a more personal note, I had the opportunity to direct a premier of a play for the theater company I was working for. It was a delightful script – although not without its problems, but nothing (I believed) I couldn’t handle. I had had several very solid (and award winning) successes with this company, and was convinced I could “do it.” I spent a tremendous amount of time with the script – many meetings with designers and such, and would then plunge off into what I expected the production to be like and look like. (are you paying attention to the pronouns and expectations here?) Rehearsals went quite well, and I was quiet pleased with the result. There were a few nagging questions from various people associated with the theater, but I was convinced the final result would answer all doubters. The show had spectacle, humor, tenseness, drama and a happy ending. I had even added a number of abstract moments in the show (something that was only hinted at in the script) and expected that the audience would enjoy and follow along with them.

As Paul Harvey might say: The rest of this story tomorrow.

–fractal painting of simplicity:
http://www.cowlix.com/site/digitalart/evolvingsimplicity
–center of universe art
http://desta.jp/desta/img/centeroftheuniverseprev.jpg

But The Luggage Tag Says ~ Early Morning Thoughts

When I started thinking about excess baggage cluttering up life, I realized that 1) there is a difference between baggage and luggage, and that 2) I want to keep the luggage and get rid of the baggage. Luggage is what makes us – well – us. Personally, it’s what is at the core of my being. The centrality of who I am. Sometimes it may get a little clouded or even dented – but it’s still there. and just like those beautiful expensive pieces of luggage – I want to keep it around me. Baggage, on the other had, is all the “stuff” that we drag around causing excess weight, heartache and other problems. Excess baggage can get in the way of living, loving and just being around other people.

The other night I mentioned an actress/teacher that I personally know. She spends quite a bit of time traveling speaking to conferences and meetings. However, for quite awhile when she first started traveling, it was joked that her luggage was going to more exotic places then she was. When she would arrive at her correct destination – the luggage would be off on a vacation of its own, sometimes not to return for quite some time. Finally, it was discovered that she had not been removing the old luggage tags when she started a new trip. There were pieces from various trips still attached to the suitcases much as barnacles attach to a ship. And therein was part of the problem. Those incomplete tags were sometimes seen as the correct tag – and off the luggage would go to an entirely different destination.

I’ve discovered that if I want my luggage (not my baggage) to be with me, I’ve got to deal with the tags and make sure that we (my luggage and I) are going on this journey of life together. And there are several “old” baggage/luggage tags I’m going to have to get rid of. (And I must make sure that baggage isn’t trying to pass itself off as luggage either.)

1) the old baggage/luggage tags of false expectations (that lovely rosy colored tag with just a hint of brightness that can lead to real chaos)

It was the Law of the Sea, they said. Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top.
–Hunter Thompson

Disappointments often stem from unrealistic expectations. Take Christmas for example. When I was growing up a Christmas list was always expected. I would carefully write out what I wanted and then would dream for days about what I just KNEW I was going to get. Alas, the reality never seemed to match the list. Now, adults might not have a Christmas list as such, but how many have the assumption that everyone can, should and will enjoy a wonderful holiday season and gifts and good behaviors will abound.

When I traveled to India, I was not going there to teach I was in a sense running away. (I’ll write more on that another time). I traveled to New York, and then took Pan Am 002 (Pan Am 001 went west) and flew to India…a place I had never been. My expectations were very high. I knew all about India – from Rudyard Kipling, of course. I knew that the New Delhi airport was going to continually hacked out of the jungle by natives with the help of elephants, everything was going to be made from rosewood and the air would be pungent with saffron, sandalwood and laced with the scent of roses. (to say nothing of all the Rikki-Tikki-Tavi’s that would be there being sweet and friendly) Now there was a set of serious false expectations. 1) We landed in what I thought was a desert, 2) the buildings looked as if they were about to fall down or crumble at any time and 3) there was definitely a pungent smell at the airport – nothing like the smell of jet fuel and burning oil at four o’clock in the morning after a 30+ hour flight.

Sometimes relationships fare no better. Somehow believing that no matter what: everything was going to be made from rosewood and the air would be pungent with saffron, sandalwood and laced with the scent of roses. And when I discover that the rose has thorns, or that the air is NOT laced with roses but other scents …

So now begins the process (ongoing process that is) of looking at what is a false expectation and what I’m going to do about it. Give up on expectations? Never in this lifetime. I know people who have basically no expectations – and you know what? They are never disappointed, but they don’t have much enjoyment out of life and living either.

Some people have adopted the part of the song (I believe it was by the Rolling Stones) that says: “You can’t always get what you want”. I like to remind people that the next lines “But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.”
–more to come

–final picture by dilekt
www.deviantart.com