An Attitude Adjustment

 

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It becomes part of our being, hugging us like skin. Not something that you can slip off at night and toss on the floor with the clothing of the day. No, attitude is much deeper and harder to change. Attitude begins to grow within us as babies when we are introduced to the world around us. We learn to love, we learn to hate, we learn to discern as bad and good. Yet somewhere along the journey of life, some of us may find ourselves consumed with the negative…like straining to see in the dark of the night…only making out the bad things around us.

Many times a parent declares, “I don’t like your attitude” or “you need to change your attitude” without understanding how difficult this process of change can be… We are asking one to quickly morph into another… or face our consequences. Yet we as parents have helped define their attitudes.  Combine that with the world we currently live in…wow it is a ticking time bomb. Take a moment and consider that children are living in a very complex world today. You and I may have walked a mile to school  (I confess I did not) but we never dealt with the intensity and gravity of cyber bullying. We may have had to eat what was on our plate or go hungry ( I hated roast beef) yet we never felt the aggression and severe emotional pressure many kids of today experience. Today for fun, our children occupy their time with a never-ending visual stimulation of violence through our media and high def gaming videos. They kill with a deft handling the game  a skill once acquired by playing jacks or marbles. They watch live social media capturing death, destruction, mayhem and violence. Some kids have had siblings, friends, parents die on the streets.  Today doomsday preppers are glamorized on tv as they are proudly hording guns and ammunition…life and death, killing and survival concepts discussed as matter of fact like cooking shows and recipes. It has become a harsh world. Attitudes become armor to protect from that which is so difficult to deal with in life. And we are partially responsible as parents. As adults we become blind to the attitudes we carry as we strive to make the dollar, pay the bills and seek our own escape from the craziness. But we all travel with deep feelings and beliefs that keep us separated from each other.  And we teach our children to do the same. Attitudes, they are so hard to change…

So what happens to tomorrow if there is not a positive shift in attitude? What happens if the adults do not begin to see that their bigotry, intolerance and closed minds are imprinted upon their children?  I do not want to go there. Attitude…while deeply ingrained does carry ability to change. We see an epiphany realized by the family who adamantly declares strong anti-gay attitudes…until a loved one comes out. We see the ability to empathize during a natural catastrophe…as strangers extend a hand or even risk their life for another. Why is it only then that we are willing to see beyond the dark…why is it only then that we feel we are all a part of a larger whole?  Those beautiful moments when a connection of respect for life of another is made with no thought of what is to be gained in return- action without attitude.

I often wonder why we wait until desperate times to rise above our attitudes. Why do we join the cause only after we feel personally affected by the war.  Cancer, poverty, unemployment, inequality, gun violence, bullying, racism, sexual abuse, domestic violence, addiction…on and on they march in front of us. Our attitudes block us from the fight unless life has chosen to throw us through the ropes. Only then do many of us awaken and see that the fight is worthy.  We take up our sword and add cause to our existence. But I ask, why wait?

Aloneness

 

It is quiet now and the click of my keyboard the only voice in this darkened room. Another weekend winding down in silence. New precious moments with my family being filed as memories like many before them. Life is like that as it bursts full like a flower in bloom only to close in repose when the laughter and sharing is gone. In this current stillness I feel age in my soul as I reflect upon the many changes in my life. So much has happened…so much time has passed. At this moment I yearn to maintain the feeling of connection with those I have so much history with- whether apart by many miles or many responsibilities. But aloneness sits here beside me as my companion.

I find myself sometimes deep in aloneness. Whether I enjoy the solitude of my inner soul depends upon where I choose to land my thoughts. There is a certain fear that may rise with being alone. When there is no distraction to drown out the insecurities and doubt that have held their own deep inside. Heavy with issues of melancholy and disconnection that can crowd within and remind me of my singularity in a world of masses.  Alone can be a hard place to be.

Yet I know that being alone can also provide a beautiful rejuvenation of the spirit. A time to relax and reflect. The inner voice at peace with life and unnerved by imperfection. A reconnection within myself that reminds me of the strength of my soul in a crazy world. Alone can be a renewal of spirit. A time to converse with the universe. A time for the flower to fully bloom.

So where do I choose to drift on this dark night. Where shall I dare a journey.  I believe I will smell the flower of nostalgia for a while.  Oh but to remember yesterdays with games of rummy, chess and tripoly – and bantering with my brother. I choose to feel my childhood home surrounding me in the comfort of my family. Naïve in thinking life would always be so simple and sweet.  Alas…a time when I do not truly know how painful it is to lose a loved one. And in this I know that I am not alone.b3a49050703a786153aac3ed1b8ce05b

A New Day

1148888_381717655287091_1110547079_n     The promise of a new day. It nudges me awake in the wee morning hours between the sunset of yesterdays and the hopes and dreams of tomorrows. It is simply- today. Unable to determine the impending success of it, I rise to greet this unwrapped “present” and see what it has in store for me. Today…that unknown, unseen space of time which courses through my veins and continuously reminds my heart to beat and my lungs to breathe.
I anticipate the moments spent … the choices made and the road my soul determines to take. For I am not promised more than possibility, not promised that I will end this day with contentment or even in the arms of my beloved. As I sit here and contemplate, I watch the world wake up outside my window. Without notice, the lights of daylight begin to shine and the shadows around me shorten.
I think about the homeless and what the morning means to them as their journey continues. I think about the hungry as they face another day to quiet their empty bellies. I think about the sick and their struggle to overcome pain and suffering yet again. I think about the angry, bullied child who does not know love and the day is long and lonely. I think about the many who are afraid, tired and troubled…those that may not think they can or should survive another day.
I cannot stop wondering where the world will be when this day is done. There is a certain responsibility to living that should be acknowledged and respected. We are all intertwined, our decisions and actions affecting each other’s life more than we will ever know. So I contemplate what choices others will have made and what consequences will be felt. What choices will I have made and what consequences will be felt.
The unseen birds begin to chirp and chatter. The painted sunrise completes the affirmation. A new day is here.

Facing Reality

Most of us feel we are adequately educated, wise about the workings of the world and simply put- intelligent specimens of the human race. We generally pride ourselves on being above manipulation and very aware of the manipulators. Yet we have found ourselves time and again sitting in front of the tv drawn to one of the hundreds of “reality shows” like an intoxicating cocktail. Hooked by the drama, play out of personalities and relationships and the lifestyles so different from our own. But is it reality?… really?? Of course not we say. We know better yet we belly up to the bar nightly for more.

For some reason, we have long found voyeurism enticing. From the enjoyment of people watching at the mall to cranking our neck around at a crash scene. We want to know how other people live…and die. Reality t.v. seems to satisfy this little fetish of ours as we watch Honey Boo Boo’s family, laugh at their backward style and ignorance and feel relief that we are not them. Maybe you are more into Snookie as you snicker waiting for the next cat fight or backstabbing which does not involve you. Or is your thing Duck Dynasty as you are enticed by the long beards and mountain men masquerades of these savvy businessmen.

We eagerly await culture shock as we peer into the lives of Amish youths in New York City. We anticipate a major gold strike for the Alaskan miners who are at the brink of losing it all or so we are told. We choose the best mate for the bachelor or bachelorette as they attempt to find that happily ever after love on t.v. We live vicariously through it all and discuss with co- workers at the water cooler the next day. Oh but we know it is not real. Right?

While we watch, the producers demand more drama for the ratings. While we watch, the participants barter for more money per episode. While we watch, we are played and they are all the players. Reality t.v. does not give us insight into another’s world. No more than the cage at a public zoo. By simply interjecting the cameras and production staff…their lives have already been altered and the true voyeuristic view has been severely tainted. The corporations are happy as ratings come in and advertising profits go up. The actors (well they are really) are paid for their services and continue to portray a life unaffected by the mighty $$. And we are satisfied that we have watched with permission, the private lives of others play out in prime time. We are Truman and this is the show.

I have written about this because I am bothered by where we are headed out here in the real world. It is now acceptable to be conned by these “reality” shows. We know they are staged, but we don’t admit it. You may ask so where is the harm? But where is the reality…it is so fogged and skewed that we no longer seem to even care what is real or not. That is the danger. When we accept this for hours on end as our eyes are glued to the screen it becomes easier to accept this manipulation elsewhere. And eventually reality is no longer expected, demanded or even important. Then we become a mush of manipulated non thinkers fed by the hand of others. Our world needs us to demand truth and reality. We have important decisions to make and heavy tasks ahead of us… This indifference towards truth is seeping into our media as political pundits and spin become the norm and unbiased reporting becomes extinct. Hard science is questioned and facts turned into theories without hesitation. Our real world is a blur of subjective data and little facts. We are headed down a slippery slope of unmindfulness. Unfortunately we just don’t buy it.

“We accept the reality of the world we are presented.” (Christof- The Truman Show)

I Once Knew A Boy

     I once knew a boy who was as shy as the breeze on a sweltering summer day. He held big blue eyes and a smile of pure innocence that melted my heart. Wearing a superman cape and too short pajama bottoms, running through the house with The Wizard of Oz rewinding for yet another viewing- a boy I once knew.

     I once knew a boy who  was the quietest child in preschool – so I was told. He often played alone and never ever bossed or demanded of another. Swept away by the diagnosis of severe hearing loss at age four…I simply smiled in his presence but cried many tears apart from him. I felt an unfairness to be true- a certain sadness that his future would not be as envisioned. You know, perfectly planned out as parents do once we count the fingers and toes.

     I once knew a boy who read books in utter silence for hours- stuck in his hands as if glued to the fingers. Carefully respected, never dog-eared and ever broken at the spine. Books were his love and sweetest treasure, especially those with maps. Reading became a world yet to discover and full of possibilities. A world he loved dearly. This little guy knew the beauty of the written word and its ability to transcend the present taking him to new places and adventures- without the demand for sound and leaving spoken words unheard.

     I once knew a boy who taught me that life is what we make of it. We can stop and give up when the road ahead seems just too hard and long or we can walk on and figure it out along the way. We can wish for what we cannot have or appreciate what we possess and use our talents wisely. We can step over those who are in our way or reach down and pull them up with us. I have learned a lot from a boy I once knew…now a man I call my son.

The Road Less Traveled….

  Facing social issues tends to cause more cramping and discomfort than constipation for many. Therefore, denial becomes the medicine that is fed by those who themselves fear evolution of the human spirit from intolerance to acceptance. I think these same individuals would certainly still shout that the earth is flat because it was so written- if it were not for the brave, adventurous souls who dared to prove them wrong. To them change is dangerous, as it opens the doors of freedom of thought and discovery…away from the safety of rote thinking.

      I admit there is some benign comfort in hiding behind blind traditional beliefs. Recitation and rituals of psalms and pledges- even if one does not take the time to understand the meaning behind the words spoken. Tradition is comfortable and soothing with little responsibility of individual input and thought processing. Our morals and values dictated to us from those before us. The ways of the world mapped out already and the road ahead marked for us with directional signs clearly pointing which way we shall travel and how we shall think. We are assured that to follow along is the road to redemption. But is that really what traveling through life is all about? Only taking a glance at a detour sign when you hit a bump in the road. Only turning off from tradition when you are personally affected by the journey ahead. The desire to further question only then appears as a viable option…and thus one turns down the road less traveled.

      Oh the road taken only by those whose journey includes a search to understand humanity, society, morals and coexistence. Those willing to unmask tradition and seek deeper meaning to life beyond the man made boundaries that currently exist. Those who find more hard questions and less easy answers. Sadly, this road is mostly driven on by those on a personal mission for clarity. For the love of another overrides blind tradition and stirs one past intolerance quicker than anything else. Love seeks acceptance for another. Love has brought them here…to the road less traveled.

       It is my sincere wish that in the quietest of moments, full of solitude and spirit- more people would dare to turn away from the easy road. Not waiting until a personal crisis pulls them to do so. Our society is pleading for our attention and deep reflection. Turn to the road less traveled and use empathy for humanity as your map. Be brave, consider if you must- how would you feel if personally affected by the issues of today in some other unique way before such presents itself to you to face in your tomorrows ….take the road less traveled.

      There is a chance that you and I may never have to personally face many of our societal issues but we must still own them as our own. Less we forget, we are a family of humanity on this planet. Someone else is facing the trials of intolerance, bullying, bigotry and the humiliation of homelessness. Someone else has lost a loved one to a senseless shooting or the abhorrent hold of addiction. Someone else is hanging on- just waiting for you and I to extend a hand without judgement but as an equal. I urge you to think deeper about all sides of an issue….and take the road less traveled.

My Dear, Dear Auntie

Even though she walks with the deliberate, slow steps acquired with age and arthritis, she continues to move forward. Her hands may search about grasping the back of the chair or the nearby wall to steady herself, but she carries herself forward.  My dear, dear Auntie is one determined lady.

I love to hear her speak of the past, her life continuously revealed to me in layers by stories I had never heard as well as those I will never forget. Her past personal trials, as well as her adventurous travels and Lucille Ball antics charm my heart.  Always able to recite a joke with precision, punch lines totally intact, she is a brightness that fills the room with laughter at a moments notice. A courageous woman who has suffered great losses in her life yet continues to shine.  Her wit is pure and her spirit a delight. My dear, dear Auntie is amazing.

Even the quiet moments with her are full of life and the silence whispers with reflection. And here and now I admit that secretly and with some selfishness…. I randomly seek and discover glimpses of my mother in this woman. Sisters are they, yet Mom departed and when I am around my dear Auntie, I am drawn to her like a moth to the flame.  A connection unspoken, yet even more present than any words could declare. Yes, she is my closest female reminder of Mom and sharing our thoughts, hopes and life is a joy and I believe Mom is smiling as well. My dear, dear Auntie…I love you so.