From the Heart

When I was young, I endured a lot of trauma. I picked myself up time and again, knowing that I couldn’t let life get me down. I had many worries about life, but I had a positive soul and chose to let it shine through.

I got knocked around, literally and figuratively, until eventually I realized that I was too sensitive and felt too deeply for some people to handle me. I was accepting of all people and just wanted to be loved for who I was. Little did I know that the world had other plans for me.

After a troubled young-adult life, I realized that I had started to hide my true self. I was afraid because I was always being bullied, so I had created armor to protect myself. I didn’t wish ill on anyone and I couldn’t understand how people could torture someone who wished them nothing but love, and just wanted to be accepted. I turned a page and started to slowly come out of my shell again, shedding the armor piece by piece .

To this day, I struggle with letting people see the real me. I am a soft-hearted soul who only sees the best in people. In a world full of manipulators and connivers, I don’t really fit in. I’m missing those hard edges, but I became a great actress long ago and can show a hard side if put to the test.

Why am I telling you this? Because I know you tender-hearted beings are out there and I feel that here, in this blogosphere, I can let my guard down and truly admit that I am a flawed being who’s had a hard life. I want to share my experiences with those who care and can relate. This is a place where I don’t have to pretend and I’m glad that I can let the real me shine through.

Please reach out and share what experiences have shaped you. I’d love to hear from you.

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Just Another Bad Day

Some days I’m not up to the task. It’s just too hard and life is too unkind. Should I continue to feel for my fellow human or realize that large numbers have turned against even themselves? Ultimately, I have to live my life the way I know how, with compassion, for myself and others. I have to look myself in the mirror and be my own best friend. But we all know our best friend is flawed, just like everyone else. So we do the best we can.

I try to maintain a positive attitude, but looking at the state of the world makes me miserable. Where will we be in ten years? Will our earth be salvageable, or will we have poisoned it through and through?

Growing up is inevitable, but life makes it hard to keep dreams alive. I don’t have the stomach to compete by survival alone. I don’t want to look at our politicians and our society and realize that many people are about furthering themselves in life and making more money. Why are most inclined to step on the backs of others to make it to the top?

I am depleted, but it’s not easy to feel otherwise. I don’t know how to fix an age-old problem that seems to get worse with time. Many people love, but a lot more people seem to be interested in self-gain above all else. Can’t they see that those aspirations will only lead to destruction of all we know?

Change needs to come. When I was young and full of hope I wanted to change the world, but I’m tired. Fighting to become my own person was hard enough, but to try to change the world requires far greater stamina than I have at this point. I am far from old, but after my lifetime of seeing destruction and experiencing pain, I feel that I have lived more than my share of years. Because there is strength in numbers and I know you care, I need your help.

I know this is just another bad day, but is it? My hope is that most people will continue to understand the pain that has been caused up until now and that the only way to right the wrongs already done is to band together and help each other solve the problems one by one. With over 7 billion people on the planet, togetherness is the best chance we’ve got. So, please, consider reaching out and lifting each other up instead of knocking down and rushing for the finish line…alone. We just can’t continue this way.

Art of the Craft

IMG_20120528_162334I love to write. In a world of faulty perceptions, words can be chosen and expressed in a way that we cannot convey ourselves with looks alone. Ever since I was a kid, I realized that I had a different way of seeing the world. I was made fun of, pushed around, and labeled. I didn’t fit in. But when I picked up a pencil and put my thoughts to the page, I found a freedom that didn’t exist in the real world for me. When I wrote my stories down, they achieved new life and so did I.

Eventually, I learned to assimilate to a great degree in order to get along and be successful. But I never lost my love of writing. I don’t record my thoughts as often as I’d like, but hopefully this blog will change some of that. I truly enjoy reading the works of others, too, so being part of a blogging community seems to be a great way to achieve both sides of the writing coin. I hope that you enjoy reading my musings as much as I enjoy absorbing a bit of your expression. It truly is an art community, with words as our medium. Thank you for joining me on our soulful journey.

Do You Live In The Moment?

My son turns fifteen today and I find myself reminiscing about the past. Time moves swiftly and if you don’t savor the moments, you may awaken one morning to find that it was all a blur. I have always been one to smell the roses, making time for the people in my life, but I find myself having to unplug in order to truly connect with people today. Social bonds are so important and relationships are a main reason why we are here. As the internet and social platforms take a greater hold on our society, are we becoming closer to one another or more disconnected? Are we more worried about taking the best pictures to post later or are we truly enjoying the moment at hand?

I, for one, am not willing to sell my real life moments for social media’s sake. They will remain my memories and I don’t feel the need to share them with the world. The relationships I forge are too important for me to let my attention be divided between a screen and the feeling. I want to breathe the air, savor the flavor, and feel my heart skip a beat. I like to share what I want when I want to, and I don’t like feeling pressure to do otherwise. But, I understand that I am more of a private person who is not looking for constant input from my cyber contacts. For some of you, like my son, it is a genuine way to establish connections and have meaningful relationships.

How do you feel about Facebook in your life? Does it make you feel closer to your friends and family or does it get in the way of living in the moment? Do you use it as a tool or do you feel compelled to stay connected for fear of missing out?

I leave it to you to decide how much of yourselves to give to the media. Sometimes we seek the comfort of many and social platforms can provide that. But think about the times when you look back on your life. Will you be looking at your memories through a type of lens or through your heart? Maybe you can do both, but I find that the best way for me to enjoy my life and then reminisce is to live each moment fully and without care of how it will look to my friends on my Facebook page. So, to my real life, and my son’s birthday, I return.

 

No More Hate

Hatred needs to end. I know it’s cliché, but can’t we just all get along? We are different people, yes, but we’re all human. We have different opinions, upbringings, amounts of money, just to name a few challenges; however, we can choose to see what we want to see in other people. We can take note of differences, celebrate them, and learn from each other. If done respectfully, bonds can be created that foster understanding. The choice to move forward from our past is up to us.

 
America is a melting pot of cultures, so shouldn’t we have learned tolerance by now? We should applaud differences and appreciate opposite viewpoints. Diversity helps us to understand humankind. If only surrounded by like-minded individuals, our lives would lack the heterogeneity that is the key to our existence. We learn and grow by knowing each other on a deep, personal level. The experience and compassion gained by knowing people of different backgrounds is invaluable.

 
Think about when you are trying to solve a problem. Oftentimes, an altered perspective is needed to figure out the answer. That same idea holds true in personal relationships. Friends give each other many ways to look at their lives and move in better directions. By embracing dissimilar opinions, races, creeds, and religions, we are able to experience the true nature of this collective strength. We all have something to give and teach one another, so open your door to a greater variety of influence.

 
Strive to understand your fellow man/woman because they are with whom we share our world. We don’t all get along right now, and perhaps we never will, but by changing the way we see one another, we can stop blaming each other for events in the past and move closer to the dream of peace. We can choose to live our lives with compassion, truth, and responsibility. Associations are strong, but negative emotions are even stronger, so shed negativity and strike back with kindness against the hatred of diversity. Learn to forgive, forget, and forge friendships anew, ensuring we can all move forward with love and understanding.

Water Quality in the U.S.

I have read a handful of articles and books in the past few years about water quality in different areas of the U.S., and what I have found has kept me up quite a few nights. I am truly troubled by the seemingly uncaring officials in charge of our country’s water quality standards. So, living in the Puget Sound area, I wanted to find out how Seattle water stacked up. So I dug around a bit.

 
Per an article in the Seattle PI in 2010 entitled “How clean is Seattle’s drinking water?” the majority of our water supply comes from the Cedar River Watershed. This has been the case since shortly after the Great Fire in the late 1800s. The city owns more than 90,000 acres of land around the area, meaning that they control to a great degree what does and does not go into our water supply. Since this area is fed by the Cascade Mountains, it is as close as you can get to fresh in a highly populated area.

 
But apparently the city’s attentiveness doesn’t stop there. The SPU (Seattle Public Utilities) tests 200 different sites in the coverage area every two weeks to make sure that no bad bugs get into the water. These bugs include E.coli, Cryptosporidium, and giardia, which can make people sick very quickly. The other thing that has been tested in the water is levels of pharmaceuticals. It appears that none of those are in our water either.

 
This all makes for water that is safer than many municipalities, which in light of the most recent water crisis in Flint, Michigan, makes me feel a whole lot better about Seattle’s water. That is a great thing, but I am still appalled by the lack of serious action taken by certain areas of the country with their water issues. It is truly unacceptable when you think of the consequences. Here is a link to a National Geographic article that touches on a few past crises and the idea that we should be more worried about water on a regular basis, not just when a spill or an outbreak occurs: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/02/140217-drinking-water-safety-west-virginia-chemical-spill-science/

 
Toms River, New Jersey went through a long, arduous water quality lawsuit that resulted in a relatively measly settlement for people and their kids who were forever affected by the horrible quality of their water. This you can read all about in a haunting book called by the town name, Toms River.

 
And the previously mentioned article in the Seattle PI states, “In 1993, during a two-week outbreak of Cryptosporidium in the Milwaukee area, more than 400,000 people became sick with cramps, fever, diarrhea and dehydration. More than 69 people died, according to one study. The outbreak cost $96.2 million — $31.7 million in medical costs and $64.6 million in productivity losses.”

 
Just how bad does it have to get before something is done to remedy an issue that only seems to be getting worse? Water is an absolute necessity to life, and if we can’t trust that our water is clean, then we’re gambling with our lives. The compilation of all these stories should make it clear that vigilance is the only way to deal with water quality. So, I think that everyone should take a moment to check up on the quality of water in their area. And make sure to put pressure on those in charge if you find anything that seems less than acceptable. It seems to be up to all of us now, so instead of waiting for a water crisis to occur in your area, be proactive and do what you can to keep your water clean. Good luck and let me know what you find.

Life In Transition

We don’t always have to know what we’re aiming for or where we’re going in life. The unknown is a common thing to encounter on our way through life. But sometimes pressure from friends and family makes it seem like we always have to have a plan and be ready for the future. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to take your own path, even if you don’t know the way, because in life you are ultimately going to decide your direction, whichever direction it may be.

We typically see transition at a few distinct times in our lives. Teenagers are notorious for having fleeting wild ideas or no plans whatsoever at times. That’s okay because they usually figure it out. Midlife crises are another time when indecision comes about and paths can take a decidedly different turn. Again, we are allowed to muddle through this time with the understanding that we will right our boat in due time.

But what happens when we feel that we are in the wrong shoes or that we want to make a change in our lives for no particular reason? The decision is often met with scorn or judgement, full of the what ifs of the unknown. What I say is that it should be a common theme in life to question your direction and to take turns when you feel you should. We are here for a relatively short period of time and should be allowed, without feeling guilty or judged, to do what we feel is right.

A change in your life’s path shouldn’t be seen as a slight to the people around you or as a lack of responsibility, but as a statement of the fleeting nature of our lives and the necessity to grasp each moment in its fullness. We should be allowed to enjoy, change, and be free to choose with no judgement. No, we will not shirk our responsibilities, but we will have more confidence to forge ahead into the unseen and the unknown. And with that effort, we will create a world full of greater promise and creativity. We will feel a better connection to ourselves and the world around us. Just think of all the good that could come from reaching out of predictable lives to try new things and change direction. We should all become invigorated to make changes in our lives. Then we would see how amazing our collective future could be!