Appreciation

Appreciation. It’s a funny thing. Some people live their whole lives feeling appreciated by those they love. Walking around beaming with pride from their very soul as if the very rays of the sun are coming from within. They know that their presence matters to someone, and that mere feeling pushes them from day to day with an exuberance to top their last.  Then some people live their whole life just wanting an ounce of appreciation from one truly pivotal person in their life. Whether it’s an abused spouse trying their damnedest to make their significant other show just a hint of happiness for having them in their life, or whether it be a silently ignored child just fighting for an ounce of affection from a parent who doesn’t seem to notice or care that they exist.


The universe itself thrives on appreciation. Those who live life with a thankful heart live life to the fullest. The more they appreciate what the universe has to offer, the more it wants to offer to them. People are very much the same. The more they feel appreciated, the more they want to do. Decades ago when divorce was less rampant, what kept families happy? Why did a man continue happily slaving at an endless job every day of his life? What kept a woman happily putting every meal on the table for her family? The key word here is “happy”. Those who happily did it most likely felt appreciated for these monotonous and mundane efforts.

Appreciation. Whether you look at it in extremes or in minute instances. It can make or break a person. Lack of appreciation can turn a heart cold. It causes divorces. It makes good employees leave good jobs. It can create tyrants. Or it can create a silent and deadly depression as it makes one’s soul slowly wither away. There is an endless array of circumstances that can befall a person when they feel unappreciated. Sure it may vary based on circumstances, but the fact of the matter remains.. we all seek to be appreciated in some form or another.


We may not all care about the amount of appreciation we receive. We may not all care if it comes from every aspect of our life. But I am pretty certain everyone has at least one key component in their life where a little appreciation means everything to them. A parent wanting their ever demanding kids to realize all the sacrifices they’ve made. A young child, wanting a parent to appreciate a drawing they worked so hard on. A star athlete wanting to feel valued by a respected coach. The best employee wanting to know the boss recognizes their efforts. A stay-at-home mom who lives life day-to-day with little adult interaction while her husband entertains late into the evening. Most don’t actively do things seeking appreciation, but they do notice when there is a lack thereof.


There is absolutely nothing wrong with needing to feel appreciated. A feeling that says, “Hey I see you.” “I acknowledge your efforts.” “I understand you.” Or “I am thankful for you.” A little appreciation can go a long way. It can make one’s efforts push beyond all expectations. But a lack of appreciation can go a long way too, as it can push a person down into the deep recesses of humanity. It’s the story often told in movies of triumph. It’s the story often told in movies of despair. It’s the unmentioned catalyst in both. But if you step back and focus on it, you’ll see its presence or lack thereof. You just may come to understand what it means to receive or show appreciation.


Appreciation. It’s very much like a smile; show a little and you may just change someone’s day…a server, a clerk, a stranger helping you on the street. But don’t stop just there, for we all tend to show more appreciation to those whose paths we will never cross again than we do for the very people right in front of us day-to-day. Don’t forget those who support you, whose very lives intertwine with yours. Those may be the very souls who need it the most from you. The people we become complacent with having in our lives. How quickly we grow to expect so much from them.  Make sure they know they are appreciated. Don’t take them for granted. For no matter how much you love them, people get tired eventually. Even if they stick it out, life offers no guarantees.  As the old saying goes: take time to stop and smell the roses. This too has always be just a little reminder about appreciation.

 

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Helpless?

As I sit here to write this blog, the theme song of the 1980’s sitcom The Facts of Life is running through my head.

You take the good, you take the bad,
you take them both and there you have
The facts of life, the facts of life.

As a young girl, I loved that sitcom.  So why is this song running through my head right now?  Well, everyone has their ups and downs in life, their highs and lows, their strengths and weaknesses. I think it’s fair to say no one can deny the fact that for every positive in life, there is also a negative. Sort of like Newton’s third law: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. Except in this instance, for every positive attribute there is a negative attribute.  This is most definitely in play where humans are concerned. Myself included. I have written a few blogs regarding my very own lows, shortcomings , weaknesses, or negative traits.  No matter what you want to call them, I’ve written about them, then I deleted them.  Why? Because I can be a coward.  The strong side of me wants to admit my flaws and own up to them.  The weak side of me doesn’t want anyone to know my flaws.  I want to be perfect.  But I am human, and therefore, I am going to be flawed.  That is a fact of life.

So I’m sure you are asking, where am I going with this?  Every so often, those closest to me see my flaws in their most raw form.  I am aware that often they see them before I am even in a state of mind to notice I’ve put them out there to be seen.  Then, after looking like the fool and being shunned by the very people I care about, I slip away in my own little safe haven to lick my wounds of rejection.  Lucky for me, my spirit bounces back rather quickly most of the time.  But even so, I am left in the wake of my actions pondering why it is that after all my decades in this life I have yet to master the yin to my very own yang.  Why am I not in more control of the emotional balance of my life?  Today, I caught a reminder as to why; as to who I am.  And even though it did not come as a complete surprise, it still made me sit back and say Wow. So who am I?  Well, I’m sure everyone is familiar with horoscopes and astrology signs. It’s not unheard of for someone to say something along the lines of  “he’s definitely a Taurus, because he’s stubborn like a bull.” Well I have found numerology to be an even more accurate predictor of a person’s personality traits. Not only because my own numerology chart has been a pretty accurate description of me, but others, whom I have provided numbers for have also attested to the accuracy of some of their basic numerology attributes as well. I’ve read mine so many times, and have even blogged about it, that I thought I had a complete understanding of who I am, numerologically speaking.  Boy was I wrong.

Today, while visiting with family, the discussion of numerology came up.  As a means to explain it, I pulled life path numbers for each person and then read the personality attributes that went with their life path number.  Even though I had used this same website before, I began to notice that what I was reading seemed to be different; updated if you will. Now the downside to any reading (whether it is numerological, astrological or psychic) is that, once again, no matter how positive they may be, there is always an underlying negative side that provides balance in the universe. Like dark and light, or yin and yang.  As everyone agreed that the life paths fit every person present, I finally got to my own reading.  Now I thought I knew what it was going to say, because I have read it before.  I was definitely caught off guard when I started reading and noticed almost immediately that this one was different.  While it seemed to be written lightheartedly, it did not seem as favorable as past readings had been:

The number 3 is like a gifted teenager who is still under the protection of its parents: a bit spoiled, certainly scattered and perpetually in need of guidance. Charm, wit and a sense of humor help a 3 individual along his or her path, and if that weren’t enough, good looks and compelling charisma make this “kid” particularly attractive.  No wonder so many are drawn to those with 3s in their charts. Followers are even willing to forgive less favorable traits exhibited by 3s, like a lack of focus and direction, a tendency to procrastinate, an inability to finish projects and an unwillingness to take responsibility. On the other hand, there is a superficial side to the 3 that can be harder to look past: a narcissistic streak, a vanity, a need to be the center of attention. It is easy for the optimistic 3 to enjoy day-to-day life as long as all is well, but when challenging issues arise, it can become quickly apparent that most of the 3’s focus has been on that sunny exterior, leaving its internal fortitude lacking. Without much moral strength or spiritual depth, a 3 can easily succumb to difficulties unless friends and family move in to support it.

The 3 has a nasty jealous streak, too. This jealousy stems from the fact that the 3 knows, deep down inside, that it has only been skimming the surface of life since birth. As a result, the 3 feels a deeply hidden sense of insecurity, a sense that others know things that have thus far escaped the 3. This is not entirely incorrect and, when confronted with this reality, it leaves the 3 devastated and helpless.

Wow.  Harsh words.  But I knew they were right.  Thoughts of the overconfidence I tend to have in my relationships came to mind.  Times when I thought it was safe to speak my mind and that turned out not not be so.  Thoughts of careless statements I have made without thinking that have sent my friendships tossing and turning like a ship on tumultuous waters came to mind.  Moments in my life where I found myself shut down by someone I loved, left standing alone, wondering what I said or WTF just happened.  Just like a teenager still maturing, I would be left wondering how a few quick moments of light banter suddenly turned dark and negative; leaving me standing alone feeling helpless. That word sunk in.  Helpless.  BUT I DON’T DO HELPLESS.  Then there are the moments of depression.  The anxiety attacks.  That feeling.  Helpless?  Now I understood.  But what do I do with this information?  Am I truly doomed to forever be a spoiled child, scattered and perpetually in need of guidance just because it is written into my numerological life path?  I won’t accept that.  I KNOW I am too strong to…..to what?  At this point I’m not sure.  I guess I still have a lot of maturing to do.  If that’s even possible.  I suppose I do still need guidance.  At this stage in life, that’s a fact that definitely leaves me feeling….helpless.

If you would like to learn and read about your own life path, click here.

 

Why?

Isn’t it interesting that we are now living in a day and age where everyone is offended by everything from a historical flag to an occupational job title that has the word “man” in it (i.e. mailman), or even the customs of a holiday that has taken place in various forms through various cultures and religions (including paganism) for centuries just because it does not coincide with one’s current religious views?  Hell, even students on college campuses are offended when they are challenged to critically think about the world, the concept of humanity, or even their own behaviors, stating that their “feelings have been hurt.”  And don’t get me started on those people who choose to immigrate to another country and then complain about that country’s beliefs, freedoms and customs (if it offends you, don’t move there!).

So if everyone is so deeply offended by these things, why is it that:

No one is offended when they see a child (or classmate) being bullied or ganged up on by a bunch of other kids.

No one is offended when “refugees” are ruthlessly attacking and raping women in their own countries.

No one is offended when countless men in our own country partake in supporting the growing sex trafficking epidemic.

No one is offended when they see more and more cops, the very people they also want to defend and protect them, being ruthlessly killed.

Exactly why is it offensive to hear a word you don’t like, an idea you don’t agree with or the reminder of true historical things that once took place, yet it is OK to see such humiliation, degradation, disrespect and brutality taking place in our world.  Are your feelings so much more important than human dignity, humanity or even life itself?

Why?

The Sound of Silence

You know I am a huge music fan.  As part of that love, I have always loved Simon and Garfunkel.  My favorite Simon and Garfunkel song…The Sound of Silence.  Well, this song has been recently re-recorded by the band Disturbed. It’s a fabulous and haunting cover, and I recommend that you give it a listen here:  Disturbed: The Sound of Silence.

This new version has resurrected my love for this song and I cannot help but listen repeatedly.  But as I sit and listen to this song, I realize not only how deep the words are, but also how true the words ring out today.  If only Paul Simon knew when he wrote this song back in 1964 how accurate his vision is today, 52 years later.  How so, you may ask?  Well let me give you my modern-day interpretation of this song.  This picture is my abbreviated interpretation.

The Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence was written by Paul Simon in 1964 and originally performed by Simon and Garfunkel.

 

Now for the more in-depth interpretation. What happened to the human element in life?  Does anyone truly communicate any longer?  Sure there may be some communication in the words we read, but where is the depth and the feeling?  Written words are so easily misconstrued and taken out of context.  Where are vocal inflections and tone? Where are the facial expressions and body language?  These are all elements that portray so much more of who we are, what we are feeling, and how we interact with each other.  As a society, we have become so self-absorbed we hardly truly notice anyone any more.  When we are in someone’s presence, we are only partially there. The other part?  On that small electronic device.  And when we are bored talking with one person, whether it be in person or online, we jump on to the next chat room to talk with someone else.  We don’t take the time to truly get to know each other.  People want a quick fix for attention, and this is how they obtain it.  And as for sharing of ourselves, well we only share those parts of us we want others to see; the parts that make us look perfect.  But the more we hide our imperfections, the more those imperfections consume us. The more we pretend to be who we are not, the more we lose who we are.  It is in that loss that life becomes complicated, stressful, even unbearable.  For I believe in order to truly enjoy life, we must embrace who we truly are.  Embracing a falsehood of this perfect image we project out into the various media will only tear us apart in the end.  And as for our brief and shallow connections with others…were you so self-absorbed in projecting a perfect image of yourself that you failed to notice that one person who is desperately seeking attention? That one person who is calling out for help?  That one person who is ready to give up?

My friends…don’t let the silence consume you.

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turn my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light (False light. Cell phones, tablets, computer screens.)
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

(Hello darkness, hello depression, hello loneliness.  No one notices me, no one truly knows who I am.  Does anyone really care?  They think they know me from texts, from social media, from pictures.  It all appears perfect, that which is my life.  But it’s not perfect.  Don’t they see?)

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people maybe more
People talking without speaking  (text, email, chat, message boards)
People hearing without listening (You hear my words, but does anyone every truly hear me, hear what I am saying?)
People writing songs that voices never shared  (So much is said, and yet so much is missed)
No one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools,” said I, “you do not know
Silence like a cancer grows  (No one is getting me.  NO ONE!  The more people I talk to, the more rejection I receive, the more alone I feel.  Like a slow growing cancer, it’s killing me.)
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell  (That meme I posted, that song I posted, that joke I made….it’s me reaching out to you.  But you don’t notice.)
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made  (see photo above)
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sound of silence (I’m here.  If you take a moment to look up, you may see me.  You may here me.  You may heal me. )

Share What You Know

What brings people together and why?  We may never truly understand the power in our connections, but every so often you may just see a glimmer of what the universe has intended.  Today I saw one such glimmer.

I am far from being a perfect person, the perfect friend, the perfect mate, the perfect mother.  I am human.  I try my best to be everything to everyone, but every once in a while my human side comes through and I fail.  I consider being human my greatest flaw.  For to be human is to get jealous, to fear, to falter, to make mistakes, and to sometimes hurt others.  Yes, being human is my greatest flaw.

Today I complete my eighth class in school.  With each class the work load has increased and the content seems to get more and more difficult.  I may be smart, but I still struggle, and with the struggle comes a great deal of stress, including the stress of relying on other people.  So last night, after a weekend of having written two papers, created a PowerPoint presentation and completing my final exam, I did a human thing and wrote on Facebook “After all these years, and after all I do for so many other people, yes I am shocked that I still have not learned that I can never count on anyone else but myself.”  The responses I received indicated that this looks like a universal truth for many people, especially for one new Facebook friend of mine.  I do not know this woman personally; however, she seemed to gravitate towards this post and had a lot she wanted to say; needed to say.  I suggested she start writing or blogging to help her get things off her chest.  When she responded ” I don’t know where to start or how… I want to write my LIFE story n get it published…I need guidance to get it rolling,” I knew why I was meant to be friends with her.  I knew how to help her.  I know blogging.  I know websites that convert blogs into books.  I know!

My new friend and I messaged back and forth.  She shared her determination.  I shared my knowledge.  We shared a connection.  What I did may not have seemed like much initially, but when she told me I had made her Monday “so rewarding”, in that moment she instantly made my day just as rewarding.  What is even more powerful is that she has a story to tell.  A story that can help others.  She just needed guidance to get her story out to the world.  Who knows, maybe her story may save just one life, but that one life is worth it.  And when that one life is saved, I would like to think that I may have helped in a small way.

So if you have a story, please share it with the world.  You never know who may need to hear it.  And if you just have the means to help someone else share their story, then please help.  We are all connected and our connections can create a better world for all.  And “T”, I am looking forward to reading your story.  Thank you so much for allowing me to feel blessed.

God bless.

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Quit Blaming, Start Healing

Rarely do I write two blogs in one day.  Rarely do I comment on controversial topics anywhere, but I am so tired of all the comments about whose lives matter. Everywhere on social media I see hashtags for such-and-such lives matter.  Screw that!  ALL lives matter regardless of age, race, religion, occupation, etc.  People need to stop blaming “all” for the actions of one.  Start taking responsibility for your own actions. If you weren’t part of the situation first hand, don’t point fingers and accuse. Be respectable citizens of your community.  Be good neighbors even to the neighbors who are a different race, religion, whose names you don’t know, etc.  Respect law enforcement. 99% of them really DO care. They are in their profession because they want to work to protect and serve their communities. Stop making everything “us vs. them”; whether that be “white vs. black”, “civilian vs. cop”, “christian vs. atheist”. We are all a part of this world. It is up to ALL of us to make it better, not worse just because of the actions of one or two individuals.  All whites are not to blame for the evil in this world. All cops are not bad.  All atheists are not evil.  All Christians are not righteous.  Accept people for their differences. Do not tolerate the actions of criminals.  Just simply stop living to fight and blame and point fingers.  Start living to enjoy life, to learn about each other.  To get along with each other.  This country, hell this world, has come a long way in one hundred years.  Why do I feel like people are regressing recently.  Don’t fall for mob mentality.  Open your eyes and critically evaluate the world around you, and I will repeat this…IF YOU WERE NOT PART OF THE SITUATION FIRST HAND, DO NOT ACCUSE OR POINT FINGERS!!

There’s my rant. I love you all and may God or whatever deity you believe in bless you all. It’s time for healing, especially in this country of ours – the UNITED States of America.  It’s time for peace.

 

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If I Only Had a Brain

I was watching a show this weekend called “Your Bleeped Up Brain“.  The show talked about how the brain really does trick people’s perception of things more often than you realize.  When they indicated that most people will only remember .5 millionths of what they experience, I didn’t feel so bad about my poor memory.  But when they talked about people with photographic memories, I started joking about how I have trouble remembering what I ate for breakfast or even famous movie quotes.  I know many people who remember quotes almost as if they are reading them. They can tell me something I said verbatim and assume they know the intent behind what I said.  Sometimes I feel like a loser because I don’t remember things like that.  But I do remember things that I feel in my heart. For example something said to me out of love or even something said in a hateful manner. Yes I can quote you then.  Why is this?  I think it may be because I don’t live out of my head so to speak.  I don’t always say the best thing to portray what I am feeling, because I also don’t expect it to be thrown back at me, and when it is, ironically it is out of context, because that person did not realize what I meant behind what I said. It’s sort of like talking in parables, something which is done quite often in the bible.  Parables are meant to convey meaning and understanding, but they are not to be taken literally.  Oh the dilemma of the human language.  No wonder so many misunderstandings occur between people.

So what is my point? Ironically as of right now I forgot.  But I do know I was trying to convey that I don’t live out of my head. I live out of my heart. I guess if you had to compare this to something, I would be the scarecrow in the wizard of oz, and not the tin man.  I am all heart, and yes (laughing that I am admitting this here) no brain.  I may write pretty well, but I don’t convey myself very well when speaking, which can make things come out wrong. And when I find I’m misunderstood, it hurts me as much as it hurts the person who misunderstood me. It’s a blessing and a curse to live out of my heart. I may not think before I speak (another curse I am trying to change), but I most certainly feel, and I feel very deeply.  So please forgive me if I don’t always think before I speak or can’t quite back up what I say with specific statements that were made somewhere along the line.  Chances are my emotions fumbled up what I was trying to convey anyway.  One day I may get it right.  If I only had a brain.  😉

heart brain

Mixed Tapes

Mixed tapes

 

One of my all time favorites subjects thus far in school and life is psychology.  I may not seem like a very intelligent person when it comes to dealing with people, as I do have many of my own relationship flaws.  However, I do observe more about others than I convey.  Both in person and online.  Sometimes observing online is much easier than observing in person, but believe me, I notice things you may not think I do.  For example, what is shared and why, as well as what is not shared.

Why do we share so much on social media sites? I for one am still big into sharing music. I see many others do something similar (not necessarily music) on Facebook, on Twitter, in blogs or various other places. Day after day, we pour out who we are in pictures, songs, jokes, innuendos, and thoughts in the hopes we will be heard (and appreciated) for our individual idiosyncrasies that make is who we are.  Does this mean we care what people think while most of us say we don’t?  Maybe. Maybe not. Or maybe it’s just so one particular person out of the 100’s we follow or who follow us will take notice and see us for who we are. Not only see deep within the depths of our being, but love what they see.  So say that you don’t care what others think.  I beg to differ.  Why else do you show what you do and hide what you hide?

So in my thought processes I wrote this little thing (pictured above) about mixed tapes, as music is my soul pouring out to you.  Perhaps my social sharing, like this blog, is my modern “mixed tape”. I appreciate that you gave it a listen.  I hope you like it and will want to keep listening.

Fireflies

I have come to learn there are some great people and some not-so-great people in this world.  Then there are the rest of us somewhere in between doing the best we can with what we know, sometimes inadvertently hurting each other in the process.  Yes it has taken me 42 years to learn this.  Everyone struggles for the same thing…love and happiness.  The path we each take may provide different scenery, but each is still lined with struggles, doubts, fears and hardship.  Ironically when we are on our own path it’s easy to not notice the paths of others.  When faced with our own fears and realities, our paths darken and we think nothing in the world could possibly be worse for us.  This darkness keeps us from noticing the person on the path next to us that has it much worse.  But if you are just able to jump off your path for a moment and stop and take a look around, you may see someone who truly needs a helping hand.  This may not mean they will accept it, but maybe, just maybe, that one small acknowledgment will shed a little light on their darkened path to ease the burden that they carry.

So often I feel my own path has gotten so dark that I cannot see and don’t want to go on, but then a little light will come my way and I will find it’s not as bad as it may seem.  Perhaps something from another’s path will catch my eye, and when that happens, I have found that the light I want to project to them also illuminates my own way.  It’s really amazing how that works.  That which we give out will come back to us ten-fold.  Yes we all have heard that, but it’s nice to have a refreshing reminder once in a while.

So I thank all of you for the light you have sent my way.  Like magical little fireflies they inspire me to keep on and to continue to share my light with others.

Fireflies

Honesty

honest

I believe in honesty
You should never tell a lie
Lying is too much work
It’ll eat you up inside

Think back to happier times
What was different then
You were being true to yourself
Not hiding from lovers or friends

Those who will love you
Love you with all your faults
And it’s easier to love yourself
Without unnecessary haunts

When you live honestly
There comes an inner peace
No awaiting for repercussions
Lying steals happiness like a thief

The truth may not bring
The results you wish to see
But in the grand design of things
What’s meant to be may be better than anything you can dream

You need to have a little faith
That things will be as they’re meant to be
So be brave and be honest
The truth will set you free