Just When I Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Water ~ Early Evening Thoughts

When I last posted ~ I really thought my illness was fading away. That, unfortunately, turned out to be quite wrong. There are some serious concerns about what it is ~ and as a result ~ I have a doctors appointment in the morning. She wants to run a couple of tests and see if she can pin down what exactly is wrong.

To say I have mixed feelings about what is going on would be an understatement. On the one had I want to know what’s going on ~ on the other hand I’m not sure I do.

When I performed in the delightful adaptation of Robert Fulghum’s series of writings titled “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” we did a section called “Hide and Seek.” He had written brilliantly about the wonderful game – ending, of course, with “Olley Olley Oxen – All In Free! He follows that with a description of “Sardines.”

“Better than hide-and-seek, I like the game called Sardines. In Sardines the person who is IT goes and hides, and everybody goes looking for him. When you find him, you get in with him and hide there with him. Pretty soon everybody is hiding together, all stacked in a small space like puppies in a pile. And pretty soon somebody giggles and somebody laughs and everybody gets found.” (emphasis mine)
–Robert Fulghum:
All I Really Need to Know, I Learned In Kindergarten.

As he usually does, he brought the story home with the story about a man who had developed cancer, and told no one. It was discovered by everyone he knew ~ including family ~ upon his death. His idea was to protect them from worry, etc. The end result was far from what he would have wanted. His family and friends felt cheated, hurt and confused that he couldn’t or wouldn’t trust them enough to be supportive and caring during that time.

And that leads to personal community…and the need for it.

I’m going to close this with a story about Jimmy Durante. He was asked to be part of a show for World War II veterans. In his response to the organizers, he explained that he could participate, but he would be able to do only a short monologue, and would then have to leave for another event. The organizers were happy to have im at all, and agreed.

When he was on stage, however, something happened. He finished his monologue and stayed. Ten minutes became twenty which became thirty. The applause and laughter grew louder and louder. Finally, he thanked his audience and took his final bow. Backstage, someone mentioned that they thought he had to leave early. Durante said, “I did have to go, but take a look, here’s the reason I stayed in the front row.”

There were two men one who had lost his right arm, and the other his left. They were sitting in such a way they were able to clap and cheer … clapping loudly and proudly.

And Yet, It Does Matter (end) ~ Early Morning Thoughts

Yesterday’s post ended with the idea that the The symbol is NOT the thing symbolized. The map is NOT the territory. The word is NOT the thing. And this is very important as individuals. I am not a label, I am not a word, I am not a symbol. I am me.

Several years ago, I performed in a delightful theatrical adaptaion of Author Robert Fulghum’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. In once section (borrowed from one of his other books) he imagined a party where people were exchanging business cards. Each time “he” was handed one, he would look at it, then ask ~ “But, what do you do?” The reactions in the script and from the audience was ~ to say the least ~ delightful. Finally, he had this to say about what he did when he got himself a new business card:

What counts is not what I do, but how I think about myself while I’m doing it. In truth, I have a business card now. Finally figured out what to put on it. One word. ‘Fulghum.’ That’s my occupation. And when I give it away, it leads to fine conversations.

What I do is to be the best Fulghum I can be. Which means being a son, father, husband, friend, singer, dancer, eater, breather, sleeper, runner, walker, artist, writer, painter, teacher, preacher, citizen, poet, counselor, neighbor, dreamer, wisher, laugher, traveler, pilgrim, and on and on. I and you—we are infinite, rich, large, contradictory, living, breathing miracles—free human beings, children of God in the everlasting universe. That’s what we do.

And there it is ~ no labels necessary. No trying to figure out “what” someone is or is not. And that’s what I’m striving for ~ to be me…the best WD I can be.

OK TZ, it took me longer than 100 words (I delighted in the email challenge however!)

But I would like to close this post with a new (to me) quote:

Robert Fulghum in his book Maybe, Maybe Not:

I do not believe that the meaning of life is a puzzle to be solved. Life is. I am. Anything might happen. And I believe I may invest my life with meaning. The uncertainty is a blessing in disguise. If I were absolutely certain about all things, I would spend my life in anxious misery, fearful of losing my way. But since everything and anything are always possible, the miraculous is always nearby and wonders shall never, ever cease. I believe that human freedom may be stated in one term, which serves as a little brick propping open the door of existence: Maybe.

Hope Springs Eternal ~ Early Morning Thoughts

I found this picture of what could possibly be a supernova ‘black hole’ in space…and I thought about the times I’ve felt and people I know have felt that everything good seemed to have vanished into a ‘black hole.’ But, there is hope — always hope. Some collected thoughts about hope….

The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
–Allan K. Chalmers

If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
–Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Not only is another world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.
–Arundhati Roy

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.
–Dale Carnegie

Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow.
–Dorothy Thompson

Fear grows in darkness; if you think there’s a bogeyman around, turn on the light.
–Dorothy Thompson

I have learned two lessons in my life: first, there are no sufficient literary, psychological, or historical answers to human tragedy, only moral ones. Second, just as despair can come to one another only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.
–Elie Wiesel

He who has never hoped can never despair.
–George Bernard Shaw

A sobering thought: what if, at this very moment, I am living up to my full potential?
–Jane Wagner

Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn!
Look to this Day!
For it is Life, the very Life of Life.
In its brief course lie all the
Verities and Realities of your Existence.
The Bliss of Growth,
The Glory of Action,
The Splendor of Beauty;
For Yesterday is but a Dream,
And To-morrow is only a Vision;
But To-day well lived makes
Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness,
And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.
Look well therefore to this Day!
Such is the Salutation of the Dawn!

Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow them.
–Louisa May Alcott

I accept the universe!
–Margaret Fuller
(Ralph Waldo Emerson’s reported response: “By God, she’d better!”)

If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

I still believe in Hope – mostly because there’s no such place as Fingers Crossed, Arkansas.
–Molly Ivins

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge — myth is more potent than history — dreams are more powerful than facts — hope always triumphs over experience — laughter is the cure for grief — love is stronger than death.
–Robert Fulghum

The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure but from hope to hope.
–Samuel Johnson

I steer my bark with hope in the head, leaving fear astern. My hopes indeed sometimes fail, but not oftener than the forebodings of the gloomy.
–Thomas Jefferson

Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.
–Thomas Merton

The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
–Winston Churchill

Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.

Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working.”
–Bill Cosby

To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.

May the love hidden deep inside your heart find the love waiting in your dreams. May the laughter that you find in your tomorrow wipe away the pain you find in your yesterdays.

Love comes to those who still hope even though they’ve been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they’ve been betrayed, to those who still love even though they’ve been hurt before.

What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise

Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.”
–Eskimo Proverb

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”
–Albert Einstein

Hope is the most exciting thing in life and if you honestly believe that love is out there, it will come. And even if it doesn’t come straight away there is still that chance all through your life that it will.
–Josh Hartnett

In all things it is better to hope than to despair…
–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Never let go of hope. One day you will see that it all has finally come together. What you have always wished for has finally come to be. You will look back and laugh at what has passed and you will ask yourself… ‘How did I get through all of that?”

When you say a situation or a person is hopeless, you are slamming the door in the face of God.
–Charles L. Allen

Hope is the dream of a soul awake.
–French Proverb

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human enough hope to make you happy.”

When things are bad, we take comfort in the thought that they could always be worse. And when they are, we find hope in the thought that things are so bad they have to get better.

Hope never abandons you; you abandon it”
–George Weinberg

Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope…

Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.
–George Iles

Hope is not a dream but a way of making dreams become reality.

–pictures four, five and six

I Am A Self-fulfilling Prophecy ~ Early Morning Thoughts

As I work more and more with integrity, I’m reminded (sometimes by that 2X4 kind of thought that “hits” with great force) that when I allow negative messages to invade my mind, I create self-fulfilling prophecies that not only slow me down – but make achieving success almost an impossibility. Rather than reacting to situations by facing each situation as it is – I react to my perception of the situation, and those mysterious “tapes” that run as some of those website that have the music player embedded – and the music simply starts (and I sometimes have difficulty finding the switch to turn it off). This does not mean that I have to have a full scale mental intervention with every negative thought that passes through my mind. After all, I am NOT responsible for what drives through on the highway of my mind – I am ONLY responsible for what I let pull over and park .

As I’ve said before, a self-fulfilling prophecy can occur when I accept something that is not true, and let it rule my life, thoughts, actions, beliefs. When I was growing up I accepted some really negative ideas about myself that were untrue. I think all of us probably did at one point of another. The difference is what we do with those ideas.

If they become the truths that I never question
– then they are truths that will govern my reactions. And, it becomes negative truths that draw other negatives into my life. Really? Yes – negative attracts negative. Positive tends to attract positive. What I “hug” will be the predictions that my life will fulfill. It’s taken awhile, but I have chosen to live out the positives that will allow me to be happy and free. I have to make the decision to ignore or, in a sense, kick out the negatives. They have had their parking permits revoked and I try to get them towed soon after they park in my mind.

Whatever you think about creates what you experience. In this respect, we are all living out self-fulfilling prophecies, because whatever your perception of reality, whatever thoughts you accept as true, will lead you. You attract negative “energy” by focusing on the negative– that is part of the law of attraction.

Now that I have said the phrase: Law of Attraction, I immediately want to take it back, and try to find another one. The reason for my hesitancy is frankly the terrible use and overuse of that three word phrase. I think that most of the religions of the world have a similar view of it – “as a man thinks – so he is”(Judisim) – “If a man’s mind has evil thoughts, pain comes on him as the wheel comes behind the ox…but if one endures in purity of thought, joy follows him as surely as his own shadow.” (Buddhism)

Unfortunately, there are people that take something that has personal value and “run” it to the extreme. These are the ones that firmly believe (and want to convince me to believe it) that NOTHING bad can happen unless I think it and thereby attract it. My reaction to that is less than kind or positive, so I’ll leave it at that.

Let me give you an example of what I mean by extreme. JO visited an acquaintance’s home for the first time. These people were not wealthy by any means, but were getting by – and doing quite well with what they had. He was shown around the house, and then (surprising to him) taken out to the garage. Their car was parked in the driveway – but the garage was empty except for a large white X that had been painted on the floor. “That,” said the man, “is where the BMW we’re going to receive will be parked.” Now, these folks were simply taking something to the extreme. There were no plans as to how they were going to achieve the goal of a BMW, no plans on how to pay for it and certainly no plans as to how they would keep it once they “received” it. As a very wise man once indicated: “don’t ask [the universe] to give you a Cadillac if you can’t keep gas in your VW bug.”

Keep your feet on solid ground. Know who you are, how to handle the storms of change and adversity, and attract the good and create the positive wherever you do have control. You can be at peace in the uncertainty knowing you have the tools necessary to handle life’s tides, and you know where to turn for strength.

You were created with a mind and a will to determine what you embrace and what you eliminate from your thoughts. A child repeatedly told horrible things usually internalizes the messages as true. At some point, that child will grow up and learn there are other messages available. You must decide what to believe.

Keep remembering the term I’m (supposedly) talking about it “self”-fulfilling. What messages have I accepted that STILL control my life and its outcomes? What kind of people do I accept as part of my life – and allow what they think or say to effect my life and outcomes.

Maybe these sound familiar:

you are stupid, you will never amount to anything, you can’t make it, how could you have even thought you could succeed, you should have known better, why did you even try, what an embarrassment you are, you are ugly, worthless, unintelligent, incapable, and a failure, you are unlovable, no one cares what you think, no one believes what you say.

These cut deep wounds, and it takes intent (and, I’ve discovered) a lot of work and thought to replace them with positive truths.

The determined intend success and keep going despite obstacles.

They dwell on positive thoughts, and attract the truth they believe. If you are determined, you find a way to make it happen because you believe that you CAN.

If you believe that you cannot, you will not. (It may be difficult, it may be different than you had originally planned, you may have to adapt to the unfamiliar, but if you are focused and think positively, you can achieve your goals.)

If dandelions were rare and fragile,

people would knock themselves out to pay $14.95 a plant, raise them by hand in greenhouses, and form dandelion societies and all that. But they are everywhere and don’t need us and kind of do what they please. So we call them weeds
and murder them at every opportunity.
–Robert Fulgham

More on this later ~

Dandelion painting by Gundula Jacobs
http://www.thebrighamgalleries.com/Artists/GJacobs/Gundula Jacobs