Politics Screw With Love

Almost everything that pokes at me and sends me out of my comfort zone these days originates from Facebook.  I think this window we’ve created for ourselves into the lives of people we know, but don’t really know forces us pull our heads out of the sand and admit that there are all kinds of other viewpoints out there.  If we can’t embrace each others’ differences, we at least have to learn to accept them because they exist and denying the existence doesn’t change that fact.

For me the button that is most often pressed is the one in charge of my politics.  I know that I am not the only one that could admit this.  Today a friend posted something that was so very true, yet left me feeling a mixture of angry, sad, and fearful.  I’ll try to paraphrase what she said:

Do you ever notice how when you find out someone’s political beliefs your opinion of them instantly changes and you no longer feel the same about them? It’s interesting that that happens.

Reading that made me sad because, after two years of being her Facebook friend, I know her political views and they are not the same as mine.  It was a reminder that the instant I am open about being liberal there are people who will think less of me and perhaps even write me off.  The comment made me angry because it means that all the respect and love that brings us to a relationship in the first place can be torn apart in one moment of categorizing ourselves.  Finally it made me fearful because, like I said before, it was a very true (for probably most people) statement.

I’ve been in both situations before.  I’ve been in the place where you’re hanging out with a new friend, you like them and see the potential for a great relationship and then the subject of politics come up.  They say something that lets you know their on your team and suddenly you feel those warm fuzzies.  In your mind you’re running through a field of daisies with some sweet song playing.  In one instant an alliance has been made, and yes, you like this person more than you did the moment before.  I’ve also been in the moment where the new friend expresses a political opinion opposite yours and the sound of a record scratch resonates in your head.  How could this be?  She/He can’t possibly be one of them!  And just like that, you’re not so sure you could ever find common ground with this right-wing/left-wing crazy (gotta love how our ego exaggerates)!

If there is something I want to transform about myself it is this reaction.  I want to see myself have these snap judgments and be able to take a time-out to pray for God to heal my thoughts and help me see what’s real.  In reality we all just want the same basic things.  We want to feel safe and loved.  It doesn’t matter what your political party affiliation is.  The negative reactions about our differences come from fear and that fear is used so well in politics to divide us, even from those we respect and love.

More and more these days I am finding friends on the other side of the fence whom I have so much in common with.  I am better for having them in my life and hope that in the future my political allegiances never keep me from connecting with people like these smart and loving ones I already know!

*A note to my FB friend if she is reading*

I hope I didn’t offend you by paraphrasing you here.  Thank you for inspiring me to look within at my own reactions.

Incomplete Thoughts

I have three different blog posts floating through my head today.  I can’t seem to completely pull any of them together for a 500-1000 word post so I thought I’d just say a little about each.

The first thought is about privacy.  Facebook is such a freaky thing.  I’ll admit there was a time when I was really into celebrity blogs.  I visited Perez Hilton and Celebrity Baby Blog numerous times during the day.  Since I joined Facebook I rarely visit those sites.   Reading about people I know, knew, or hope to know seems to scratch that itch for me.  This week I’ve noticed a couple of cryptic status updates from folks.  They give away just enough information to make you go WAIT, WHAT?  They stir up a reaction.  Visiting the individual’s pages you see a line of people asking how they are and what’s going on.  I find myself wondering if it is better or worse that we have this public spotlight for our private matters.  On one hand you get lots of support, but is it real support?

Another issue on my mind is parent/child relationships.  In the novel I am currently writing the main character is 15 and very close with her father.  She talks to him and he listens, they respect each other, and sometimes they even act as if they are friends.    When I look around me at my husband, my friends, and the men in my church these are the kinds of fathers I see, ones who are generally interested in relating to their children.  But in response to my writing someone called the relationship weird.  So I’m wondering if I am just delusional.   Have we moved away from the “kids are to be seen and not heard” idea or not?  Is it possible for a girl to be friends with her dad or do I have some re-writing to do?

The last thought is how I’ve been a bit swallowed up.  I finally started writing this novel and it is all I can think about.  It sits in the back of my mind no matter what I am doing.  The Ray’s and White’s are demanding my attention.  I have a lot of mixed feelings on this.  On one hand it is fabulous because after a year of only writing blog posts and essays I am writing fiction again.  But it is also distracting me and I find myself losing track of my schedule, forgetting things, and neglecting healthy habits because my mind is elsewhere.  My vision of this project is exciting though.  I wonder if I can see it through.  Once it is complete I wonder what will become of it.  At writing group last night I was reminded of the work still left to do and the writing time I need but don’t have.  I have to admit, it’s frustrating and scary to think I may be traveling a path leading to a dead end, just one more book collecting cyber-dust on a shelf in my hard drive.

So that’s what’s on my mind today.  Just a few incomplete thoughts….

Dominion

I “like” the Vegetarian page on Facebook and today there was an interesting post that started a discussion.  It stated that humans weren’t created to eat animals.  Of course one of the responses was that the “Good Book” says differently.  This was in reference to the idea that God gave humans dominion over the earth and creatures.  This is an idea that bugs me because I think that it is abused.

As human beings we have abilities that most animals do not.  We can think, reason, and make rationale decisions.  We have intelligence that allows us to adapt and invent in order to make life easier.  The fact that we can use our abilities to create makes us like God or “in his image,” and with that comes a degree of power.  But with this power or dominion also should come other qualities of God like respect and love.  Most of what is done and defended by “The Good Book” is lacking both of those.

Calves are taken away from their mothers and fed formula while their mothers are pumped full of hormones to provide milk for human consumption.  Cows are fed corn which they are not intended to eat and cannot digest so that we can eat Big Macs.  And because they are not built to eat corn they get sick and are pumped full of antibiotics so that we do not become sick.  What happens instead is we ingest these levels of antibiotics in the meat we eat and then become immune to them so that when we actually need antibiotics they don’t work.  Chickens are overfed and pumped full of hormones so that they will grow bigger, so big that they can’t even stand up.  Basically animals are tortured so that we can eat unhealthy levels of meat.  I looked at the passages in Genesis and from what I read it sounds like the Vegetarian FB people are right.  Genesis 1:29-

“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”

In my interpretation I’d say that if we are to eat animals it should only be as a last resort.

Dominion or not if we believe that it is God’s creation and we claim to be Godly people we should have respect.  For years we have been raping and pillaging the earth using the bible as our defense.  We hunt and kill animals for fun or to feel powerful.  We clear land and cut down trees to build new houses and shops while older houses and shops are left abandoned.  There is a balance in nature and we have a role in the circle of life.  We have been upsetting the balance for a long time and it is time to live more consciously and stop using The Bible to excuse ignorant behavior.

Happy Song

This week @lesleehorner has been very low key.  It’s actually an interesting story.  For a long time now my intuition has been telling me to spend less time online.  I think you guys know this about me by now.  I’ve written about it before.  When I try to do it on my own, I can’t seem to resist the urge to just “check” my email and pages.  The checking usually turns into chatting, replying, tweeting, and updating.  By the time I am finished my 5 minute check turns into an hour or more of playing.  On Sunday, I had popped onto the blog and thought my Sunday Quote had not published.  I was frantically trying to post a new quote when suddenly the internet just stopped working.  Mark went to troubleshoot and realized the router had just died.  What a coincidence?  I still have internet access but not on my own computer and the set up is complicated.  So my goal for the week has been to spend no more than 30 minutes online per day.  Luckily I had scheduled the entire week’s worth of posts except for today’s before our problem occurred.

So with that in mind, I’m keeping it short.  I went to the gym on Monday and listened to my Ipod while on the elliptical.  It’s when I am working out that I realize just how much music touches me.  I don’t have extremely sophisticated taste in music.  I mostly enjoy what’s popular.  I like a catchy tune and sweet lyrics.  I recently added a few new songs to my collection and one of them is currently my favorite.  It’s odd to say it, but as I listened to it during my work out Monday, I experienced pure bliss.  It was like my entire body was smiling.  I allowed myself to forget about everything else, including where I was and what I was doing, and just get lost in the song.  So for today, in honor of simplicity, I decided to just share my current happy song.  Catchy tune, cheesy lyrics, enjoy!  (And if this is not your happy song, I suggest finding one and letting yourself escape in it for a few minutes!)

Ramblings

I have had no burst of inspiration today.  There’s no words of wisdom or deep questions I have for myself or you.  I’m writing this on Sunday, April 25.  The 25th of each month is no longer just another day.  The 25th will forever be the date that signifies one more month without Amy in my life.  Someone wrote the other day on Facebook that they think of her everyday.  I paused for a moment realizing that I don’t think of her as much anymore.  Everyday seems like a lot, but compared to every minute it is not.  For so many weeks, maybe even months, a minute could not pass without a memory or thought of Amy coming to mind.  But yes, like the friend on Facebook, I do still think of her everyday.  Yesterday I was on the couch reading and I stopped for a moment to think of her.  I looked up from my book and on PBS was a commercial for a documentary about frogs.  Today the girls brought me yet another mysterious toy frog that they found in their room.  She’s still sending me signs.  I hope she never stops.

I used a gift certificate and bought two books yesterday:  Love Without Conditions by Paul Ferrini and The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel. I started reading them both yesterday.  Apparently The Master Key System is a 24 week program.  You are supposed to read each chapter over a week period and apply what you are learning.  I’m excited about it, but hope that I can stick with it.  I’ve bought and read several books like this one and never treated them like a class, but instead just devoured them and placed them back on the bookshelf.  Intellectually I understand a lot of what (I think) is going to be presented in this book, but it is really time to take it to the next level.  The best way to get to that next level is to use the book as suggested.

The other book, Love Without Conditions, is just wonderful.  Seeing as I had my belief in Jesus shaken a bit a week or so ago, this book is just what I needed.  It is not a channeled book specifically, but the text comes through the author from Jesus.  Ferrini says in the introduction that we all have access to Jesus and can commune with him and get the same information from within our consciousness directly from him.  I believe that because I have experienced it!  I have realized through some of the comments I received on that post, some answers I received within, and from what I read in this book that I really don’t need absolute proof of Jesus’ human existence on this earth for me to know that he is a spiritual teacher for me.  His words and lessons will not change.

Happy Monday everyone!  Have a great work/school week and for those of you who might be wondering…I did sign up to give a talk at church this summer.

Virtual Education…

A couple of days ago I saw this status update on my Facebook feed:  Just overheard a student say: “I can’t wait until all the classes at FSU are virtual.”

It got the wheels turning and me thinking about all sorts of things.  I could go in various directions with this post.  I could write about how we seem to be drifting out of our real lives and into cyber ones (and I am most definitely included in this as I spend a great deal of time connecting with others through my computer).  I could write about how helpful it would be for us to take time during our days to turn off our phones, close our laptops and just BE Present.  I could also talk about how important I think it is that Universities stick with business as usual as well as offering more options for those who need them.  But what (or who) I’ve decided to write about is Dr. John Hancock.

Dr. Hancock, or John as he insisted we call him, was one of my history professors in college.  In fact, I loved him so much that I took 3 classes with him and would have taken more if they were offered.  He was incredibly passionate about history and politics.  When I sat in his classes, I could feel his energy.  I soaked it up, listened intently, and always left wanting more.  It was because of him that I decided on a concentration in History.  He was larger than life, yet he was one of us.  He wore jeans to class and would often be found indulging in a pre or post-class cigarette.  But when he stood before us talking about slavery or the Vietnam War, he was brilliant.  He put his heart and soul into his work.  I’m not sure if his passion would have been as apparent if I’d taken his class in my own living room, virtually.  I would have missed the way he moved around the room or the way his eyes lit up.

He influenced my life tremendously.  My passion for Civil Rights was ignited in his classroom.  He gave me the words and background for what was in my heart.  He taught me not only history, but compassion for my fellow man.  In essence, he gave me the facts and the figures to explain my bleeding heart.  And it happened because I was THERE with him, because I spent two semesters and a summer session in his presence.

I am grateful that I had the ability and the means to go to college.  There is nothing like the feeling of sitting in the classroom with someone that is on fire about a particular topic.  Sure there were lots of times I was lazy, tired, and barely awake.  If I have any regrets, that is one of them, that I didn’t take advantage of those great minds that graced my presence for my 4+ years in college.  Online degrees are a good option for those with busy lives and no superpowers, but to think that a regular full-time student might wish that all their classes were virtual makes me a little bit sad.

What about you?  Care to tell us about a teacher that influenced your life or share your thoughts on virtual universities….

Paths

Now that I am a parent, I often think about the role I play in my children’s lives.  There is the obvious of course, that I will feed them, clothe them, keep them healthy, make sure they get an education and give them lots of love.  But when it comes down to my desires and vision for their lives, how much will reality match the fantasy?  What really decides our paths?

Facebook has been an amazing look into people’s paths and how they often go in strange and unexpected directions.  When we step out from the consciousness of our families, we attract to our lives the situations and challenges that test us and bring us into our own.   When I was in high school I became fascinated with all things “unique.”  I would take weekly trips to vintage shops and artsy/New Agey stores and just walk around, mostly looking at clothes I loved but didn’t have the nerve to wear.  I was attracted to guys with long hair and piercings (too young yet to be into tattoos).  When I met a perspective boyfriend, I’d often ask “What do you do?” with the hopes of an answer like write poetry, paint, or play guitar.  All of my serious boyfriends did one of those three things.  The sirens of creativity called to me, even if vicariously through other people and places.  These days the vision I hold for my life is a marriage of creativity and spirituality.  My path, with its odd detours and speed bumps, seems to have brought me to me.

I have a friend named Toby.  You will meet her tomorrow in the first in a series of four click stories.  For a short period, Toby and I walked our path together.  We spent weekends hanging out with boys with long hair and piercings.  I tasted artichoke for the first time in Toby’s kitchen standing between her and her mother.  We played soccer and rode in Heather’s convertible Firebird singing Hotel California together.  I took my very first college road trip to visit her at NC State our freshmen year of college.  We were both poets and loved to write.  She was a lot more outgoing than me, but other than that we were very similar.

The last time I was with Amy we sat on her bed (she was on bed rest) and looked at each other’s Facebook pages.  Amy was so excited to share that she had found Toby.  I honestly don’t remember the exact connection but Amy and Toby were also pretty close friends.  Amy was the first to tell me that Toby had been a heroin addict.  When Toby and I finally connected on Facebook she was quick to share with me what she had overcome.  I also learned that she was a proud new mama who was finding her way back to writing.  Despite how drastically different the past fifteen years had been for us, we were now on similar paths…maybe even inching our way onto the same path.

Toby has now sent me four of her stories and has started her own blog.  As she put it on Facebook the other day, she is “writing furiously.”  I read her stories and am greatly aware at how simply and easily our lives can be changed…but also how we at some level create these challenges.  In one of her posts, Toby shares how she was always fascinated with heroin.  She read books and watched movies about addicts and fantasized about her own relationship with the drug.  And just like she always knew, the drug found her, was even presented to her as a birthday gift.  She made a choice that day and it was the only choice she could have made in the moment.  It brought her to where she is now.

What I think is that we are here to choose our on paths and make our own destinies.  Our parents will raise us, teach us, and love us but in the end who we really are will find it’s way through.  Sometimes we are just like our parents and families, sometimes we are not.  There are many crossroads.  Sometimes we make choices that could be described as selfish, careless, or just plain fucked up.  And sometimes it is those very choices that ultimately bring us salvation, even if that salvation comes after a long and hellacious battle.

Agnes’ Click

EFT (emotional freedom technique) is something I have heard about from several sources. A couple of friends of mine swear by it. Last year I took a mini-workshop on the tapping technique.  It is easy and effective but not something I’ve utilized a lot.  Some time ago, a friend of mine requested that I write a blog post about the benefits of EFT or tapping but I didn’t feel I had the necessary experience to write such a post.  When Agnes joined the Owning Pink Posse, I immediately noted in her profile that she works with EFT.  I asked her right away if she’d be willing to write about her EFT click and she agreed.  So without further ado, here’s Agnes’ EFT journey.  At the end of the post you will find links to learn more about Agnes and to learn more about EFT!

My journey with EFT.

I stumbled upon EFT almost by chance during a time in my life when I had an incredible amount of stress which lead me to be off sick from work. The circumstances were horrid. My job was at stake, my boss had been replaced by a man that had harassed me in the past, and I was dealing with some challenges in my private life as a single mother of two. My employer wanted to export my job to another country but I didn’t want to move and they didn’t want to pay me redundancy. I had to go to court. I also had very little prospect in finding another job in my line of work as I was not qualified to work in the UK, where I now lived. No need to say that my stress levels were high. But the most disturbing part of my life then was flash backs of inappropriate behavior from my former now newly appointed boss from ten years before. No matter how much I tried to not think about it, these images would haunt me in what I can only describe as PTSD symptoms. I struggled to eat and sleep and generally life was not a bed of roses.

I made an appointment with a nutritionist who did kinesiology and EFT. I can’t even remember why I contacted her and how I found her number. I had never heard of EFT before. I love how the Universe brings me what I need almost despite myself, though. In a matter of one session of tapping, she managed to reduce my stress levels to a manageable level and helped completely clear the flash backs. I was gob smacked.  I had to work really hard not to laugh during the sessions because I was then a corporate lawyer and she did EFT the “old fashioned” way which involved singing happy birthday and doing the gamut which can really seem unusual to someone who knows nothing about how the brain works.

And then, life went on, I left my job, trained as a clinical hypnotherapist and a reiki master, did various things, had another child and completely forgot about EFT. I had purchased a book on the back of my positive experience with my nutritionist but it gathered dust and I never found the time to open it. I guess I had to be ready. And here is what happened when the time was right. I had planned to do a play therapy course to start working with children and was really looking forward to it. I had gone through the selection process and been told that I had been accepted and everything was looking bright in my world. And then in a matter of weeks, EFT was mentioned everywhere I went. Several of my friends on Facebook posted videos about it, particularly about how easy it is useful for children and I suddenly got the message that EFT was the way to go for me. I had just written a book about holistic slimming, the Journey of the Slim Soul, and wanted to include EFT as part of the tools to help my readers so the time was right.

I signed up for a three day course with a lady whose name had popped up several times in my life as well. I liked her picture and when I looked at her, she felt like the right person for me. The first day of the course was on my birthday. I was still a bit skeptic as up to then, I was convinced that the combination of reiki and hypnotherapy was the way to go. I had seen so many benefits from that combination that I came to the course thinking that I had it all already. And it is true that it is a very powerful combination but I can now see how EFT was the part of the puzzle that was missing. Reiki is great to clear energy patterns and to recharge someone who is run down. Hypnotherapy is great to help clients understand how the mind works and how through positive thinking, they can increase their levels of happiness in their lives and get their act together. But EFT was the tool that enabled to release trauma at cell level.

I now see EFT as the acupuncture of the emotions. What you do, is you tap gently on meridians (those energy paths that are described both in Chinese medicine and acupuncture) whilst talking about the trauma or the feelings that are trapped in your body and the tapping releases the emotional content: it clears it. You continue the tapping until you get down to a flat line: no emotions left. Of course, this is used for negative emotions. We can keep the wonderful memories that uplift us. It’s just the negative ones we want to clear. And it is true that every thought has an energy and many thoughts make us weaker. I recently watched a video by Dr Wayne Dyer who did a demonstration about this on u-tube and it is absolutely fascinating. When we clear those thoughts and feelings that make us weaker, we are stronger happier and healthier beings.

What is quite extraordinary is that it seems that EFT was like a rocket that was waiting to be launched in my life. The day after the training, I was doing a support group for slimmers and I used EFT and it was phenomenal. I have used EFT every week since. EFT works wonders in groups because you can borrow benefits from someone else’s issues and in support groups, you often have similar issues amongst people who attend the group. This article is too short to mention all the benefits of EFT but it works for both physical conditions and emotional states because even with illnesses, there are always emotions attached to being ill. There is always something that needs to be cleared, something we hang onto.

What is wonderful about EFT as well, is that it is a self help tool. Once you have been shown how to tap on yourself, then you can do it whenever you need it. It is such an empowering tool to deal with what life throws at you.

You can learn more about Agnes Vermorel on her three websites: www.mosaicdreamer.com, www.journeyoftheslimsoul.com and www.healthyadrenaline.com

Links to learn more about EFT:

http://www.emofree.com/

http://www.bodymindhealing.co.uk/index.html

http://www.drjudithorloff.com/

Four Months

Yesterday, Gavin and Brantley turned four months old and tomorrow will mark four months since Amy passed away.  For those of you who are new to reading this blog, this post explains more.

I still think of Amy everyday.  Most of those days I have at least one misty-eyed moment.  This past week I’ve spent a lot of time on her Facebook page reading all of her “notes” and looking through her pictures.  The other day I was reading one where she’d answered the question “Who do you miss?”  Her answer was “living-Heather and Leslee, not living-Paw Paw.”  Who would have thought that we’d never have the chance to live in the same city again.  And who would have thought she’d be with “Paw Paw” so soon.

I am becoming friends with the woman (K) who is taking care of the babies and I keep up with her too, through Facebook.  She traded in her car a week or so ago and bought a Honda Odyssey so that she could trek the boys and her own son around.  I laughed because Amy HATED mini vans with a passion.  She swore she’d never buy one and I’m pretty sure she made fun of me when we bought ours.  K posts pictures of Gavin and Brantley pretty regularly and she updates her status with comments about diapers and laundry.  I love having the insight into what is going on with Amy’s family and I know K is a loving soul who is giving her all to the boys, but I still can’t believe it’s not Amy.  I forget sometimes, but only for a second and then it rushes over me again.  The boys are absolutely beautiful and I wish I could hear Amy describe them and tell me all about their schedules, quirks, likes, and dislikes.

I don’t really have that much to say.  I just wanted to make note of the significance of today and honor Amy.  I’ve been thinking about her a lot the last week.  One day I was sitting on the couch on my laptop when Callee came over and handed me the thank you card Amy had sent following the baby shower.  The card had been on top of the dresser that Callee is not tall enough to reach and between two books.  She’d done some climbing and searching to get to it.  I like to think it was Amy who put her up to it.  When I went to take it back the books were neat and organized.  She hadn’t disrupted anything in retrieving the card.

In the card Amy writes that she is grateful that her and I are closer than we have been in a long time.  And it was true.

I miss her.  I love her.  And I am so proud that she was my friend….

You’re the Star!

This month at church, Rev. Jean is doing a series on the new book “The Fifth Agreement.” The book and the series include a review of “The Four Agreements,” so that’s what the talks of the last two weeks have been.  Last Sunday she discussed agreement two: Don’t Take Anything Personally.  I particularly enjoyed the way she presented the idea.  She had us all imagine a scene from our life and watch it in our mind like a movie.  Then she pointed out that the way we view the scene is only our perspective and if we watched the same movie through someone else’s eyes it would be totally different.

The reality is we are the stars of our own movies, but for everyone else we are merely supporting characters in theirs.  As I write blog posts, I often wonder what people are going to think.  Thanks to Facebook, I’ve reconnected with a lot of people who knew me at different phases of my life.  Everybody has a different version of me in their minds.  I question how my version…the real me…measures up to theirs.  Are they disappointed, pleased, shocked, or attracted?  Sometimes when I am retelling events as I remember them I worry.  I worry because A.)I have a terrible memory and B.)what if my memory doesn’t match up with those involved.  I’ve read a couple of comments on other blogs where the writers have more or less been accused of lying.  The thing is, I don’t believe they were lying at all, but rather recording the memory how it played out in their movie.  When I was in 6th grade I was best friends with a girl named, Brandi.  I remember so much about our friendship.  I remember listening to Bon Jovi, playing with my hamster, jumping on the trampoline, interviewing each other on cassette tape, and climbing out her bedroom window late one night at the end of the summer (don’t worry we didn’t go any further than the driveway).  When we got back in touch on Facebook she sent me a message saying that whenever she drives by my old neighborhood she remembers swimming at my house and eating frozen Milky Ways.  We had carried with us completely different memories of the same exact friendship.

There are a lot of things that people hide or change about themselves depending on who they are in the company of.  We do this because we are afraid of what others will think of us.  We are afraid of rejection.  A positive thing we can learn to do for our own peace of mind is to not take anything personally.  Everyone is the center of their own Universe.  Whatever statements they may make to you or about you doesn’t really have anything to do with you.  It’s just a role you’re playing in their movie and that role most certainly does not define you.  For me, I am learning not to let the criticism or praise from others become a master over me.  I have an array of ideas in my head and people of all walks of life could read my blog and find stuff they love and hate about me. If I tried to please them all (which I have spent a lot of energy in my life wanting to), I would not be living my own truth.