A bit of a rant today

I had a lovely day yesterday, that ended a bit bittersweet.  News from a friend that her husband at 62 was fired in such a way the company could make it look like retirement, thus he can not get unemployment as he looks for a new job – not easy at his age.  On top of this, his work has been in shipping and warehouse most of his career.  What irks me the most, is that it is a very well established and successful publishing company here in Tucson.  While I like to believe that those who are invested in printing material for educational (as this company does) and recreational reading are above the mediocre line of morality, sadly, I have been disappointed in this.  A man who is just 3 years shy of full retirement, is put out on a place where for the rest of his life he and his family may only have $725 a month that he can provide as income to his home.  A family that has worked hard, and never had more than working wage, thus little savings.  And this may now be gone in the blink of an eye, the modest home gone, and possibly the family torn apart.  


The owner of the company is one of the wealthiest businesses here in Tucson.  Known as a philanthropist, and a respected citizen of the community.  The old saying, “Charity begins at home” obviously was not something he learned or applied in his business model.  True, there is possibly something that the employee did to tick off the employer.  Possibly still is the move to save money by pushing out an older employee who has been with the company for many years to save money.  So I will say, that there is part of the story I do not know for 100 % certainty.  But I do know what my friend, his wife, has told me, and what I have heard from her for years about the treatment of her husband, especially as he aged.  


Maybe he did slow down.  Maybe he was not able to move as much weight, but look at the years he did this, years that were fledgling years for the company, that built the wealth and respect of this business.  Is not the labor of a man worth more than a 2 week notice that he is going to be retired?  No pension.  No party.  No reward except to now wait for his last paycheck?  The owner of this business will never have to worry if he has a home to live in, or have to make the choice of eating or having a roof over his head.  Yet, a loyal now former employee will spend his golden years living like this.  Sad that this still occurs.  

Forward into….life?

Sometimes we just have to grow up.  For good, or bad, this does not always look the same for everyone.  I guess for me, and for all of us, there is a part of us who never does.  And this is good.  It is that place we go to when we are looking for adventure.  The place we go to when we are looking forward in life.  That place, where at fifty eight years on the planet, I still can see, find and feel the girl of ten, or sixteen, reaching out to grab at life beyond my grasp.  That spirit in me that refuses to believe that even with my limitations, physical, emotional or psychological, I can go beyond them and still have life and experience more than I have up to now.

Today I woke really believing this.  Some days, in all honesty, over the last several years, I have awaken and wanted to just pull my blankets over my head and hide.  I want to hide from the pain.  Hide from my cowardness to face what lay on the plate of my life.  Hide from my loses.  Mostly, to hide from some hard truths, and my culpability in them.  But mostly, hide from the work I needed to do to get to the bottom of what put me in such a place, so dark, and without the child.  So adult.

The bottom line – well honestly, there are several.  I learned during my formative years to not trust my gut.  That I had to weigh and measure every choice I made to the point of taking anything fun to a place of work.  “Every choice has good and bad consequences, so chose well.” I took it to the extreme.  I lost the ability to do this on a level that still allowed me to enjoy life.  

The few times in my life that I did not weigh the thing to death, I have now as some of my most cherished memories.  Even if I held back on a couple of things in the process.  The night I decided and then ultimately followed through to come the the University of Arizona from Iowa.   The night that my then boyfriend and I with another couple went to a movie and the “swimming” afterward.  The time I took a chance and did the “What Happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”.  The time when my debt was higher than a ten story building, and I took the plunge to go on a cruise with my pathetic little tax return.  My decision to become the religion I have always been called to be, and live my spiritual life more authentically.  The night I went on the beer run.  The time I went on a dare for an evening with a friend to places I would not usually go.  Letting myself admit to loving someone, even if it was too late, but then honoring them in ways that they would be proud.  

These are the glue that makes my life worth living.  The times I have done things and not regretted them, and not over thought them, and have been in ways the things that most people do not know about with me.  That have been done without me hurting myself or others.  The things that are the authentic me, the child in me reaching out beyond the hard and difficult times that life demands we just sit down and slog through.  We spend so much time slogging that sometimes we forget to remember the glue that always allows us the energy to slog away.  


I feel a glue moment calling me.  I am not sure what it will be, but I guarantee you, it will be a good one.

Wealth and Life

Interesting that another very wealthy person is caught behaving, or at least talking, badly.  Sadly, the cynic in me says, “Maybe this is contrived to create drama either by the man or his mistress.”  But that and the racial angle have been beaten to death.

So what do I see….two well educated, accomplished and beautiful women caught in the trap.  The man is a poor, misunderstood soul…well if you listen to him.  Likely how he gets all his mistresses.  Again, this is not the news.  This has been the ploy since man decided to try to emulate eagles and other animals that mate for life.  The sad part of humanity is that it is the female of the species that aspires to this most of the time.  Only when the relationship is not based on ulterior motives can the male buy into this. 

And the big story is not about two women vying for a man who is not worthy of himself or them.  That is also an old and over done story.

What I see is the trap.  One we walk into by wanting too much and then more.  One that tells humans that their bank account and all the toys they can acquire define their worth.  The trap that tells someone that they are so valuable that they can defy the rules of society.  They have a right to see themselves as better, bigger and entitled.

The truth of entitlement.  It is not the poor person who worked for thirty plus years, then due to illness or injury, is forced to take disability.  Entitlement is, by definition, the idea that you are giving someone the right to do or receive something.  Period.  It is a  abused word.  One is not entitled, for instance, to receive Social Security.  This is a right to anyone who has paid into the system.  How much one receives should, in a just society, depend on what they paid in.  With the idea of entitlement, comes the idea that one due to their place in society, are able to take more than their fair share.  Royalty in the Middle Ages had the right to take a bride on her wedding night before her husband had sex with her.  THIS is entitlement.  And this is why the wealthy think, even in “enlightened” 2014, they can be racists, have mistresses, sire children and not have to help in any way to raise them.  Why they should be allowed to pay less tax than the poor working class person who may have a modest family of a wife, 2 children, and they can not afford the family dog. 

It is interesting to me, that statistically, the poor give more to charity than the wealthy.  That the person driving a fifteen year old car is more considerate in traffic than the person driving the newest BMW, or similar, auto.  Yet, who is “entitled” to the less expensive insurance rates? 

So who do we, or should we, give the right to do or receive the benefits in our society?  Should we not instead of judge this on their “bottom line” judge it on their moral line?  On their ability to by human to another?  We need to call our politicians on their misuse of the word entitlement.  If someone has paid into something, then they are entitled to the benefits of that product.  Especially when they are not allowed to chose to pay into something. 

Maybe, just maybe, then women would find their value from what they contribute to the world rather than from having made a sexual alliance with a wealthy man.  Maybe then all humans would behave better.  Ahh…..I am allowed to dream.


After all this time, after all the events, after all the centuries, years, days, and still….it happens.  So sad.


The events in Overland Kansas were most likely well planned to a point.  The people killed were going about their day, when an undereducated man took their lives.  I still have to believe that if he had been better educated that his prejudice would have been less.  Pre judging is almost always done out of ignorance.  Out of superstition.  Out of fear that is misplaced.  And it is almost always acted out against innocent persons.  Like yesterday.  Want to bet he assumed (another pet peeve word for me) that he was killing only Jewish people?  Assume that anyone who goes to a JCC is Jewish, is like assuming anyone who goes to DES is poor (right?).


This was bad enough for one day.  Until I went to the local grocery store, and several young people – somewhere between 15 and 25 – were talking in line in front of me.  The conversation, which I just listened to due to not wanting to get into a fight, went like this.


“Dude, can you believe it?”




“An old man shoot up those people today.”




“Yeah, and he is a big shot.  Some new group called the KKK.”


“What does that stand for?”


“I guess it stands for Keep Killing Kids.”


“Wow dude.  Really.”


They left at this point and I just was in shock.  Is any history being taught to students in school.  The only good thing I can say is that maybe if they think that is what it means, they will stay away.  The scarey thing is that they are ripe, due to ignorance, to join a group like this and believe everything they are told, just because someone says something with a little authority, Says it based on a small incident with someone who is different than they are, and now start a group “against” that broadens the grievance to an entire population.  


That a KKK member, especially a past head of a group, would do something like this is not a big surprise.  It is disgusting, but not a surprise.  However, as much as we in the US believe that Germany has an obligation to teach about the Hitler era, we have the same obligation to teach about the era that breed the KKK.  And the things they really stand for.


As I checked out behind these kids, the lady at the register who was Black, looked at me and was shaking her head.  She is a regular, and we converse.  “Can you believe that?” she asked me.


“Unfortunately, yes, I can.  But I shouldn’t.”


No, absolutely.  We shouldn’t.  Not with all the afters in history.

Out of the fog

So, in the past week, my life changed dramatically.  I went from fear of losing everything, including a dying car that still had a 5 figure loan against it, my house, not being able to purchase my medicine, and spending about $20 a month on food, to being virtually out of debt, a little money in savings, and being able to figure out my future.  But the panic and fear I have been living under for so many, many years lingers.  


I am still having dreams of being chased by people I owe money to.  Still having 3 AM wake ups where I am drenched in sweat from fear, and the remnants of the dreams letting me know that it is that I will be homeless, starve to death on a street, and be without any friends.  These fears have been very real, very pressing, and incapacitating me.  They go back pre 2000, and never went away.  I never really got over them even when I was married to my second husband.  In fact, that marriage exacerbated the fears, as he expected and demanded that I keep up financially with him, paying my way through a marriage that was so financially lopsided, that it totally destroyed my self esteem and my identity.  So for the last six years, I have struggled, clawed and scrapped my way along, alone.  Before that I did this married to someone.  Two someones.  And in their own ways, all that did was to make my situation worse.  It was not only their fault, though each of them did contribute in very different ways to the problem.  I have ownership in the problem.  Part of the problem for me was I took total ownership of a problem that was created with the help of others.  I can now say, “This is what I did, and I now understand why I did it” and also say, “This that you blame me for is not all of my own making.  You helped this along by xyz.”


I no longer find myself in need of anything, except the basics.  I do not need to prove anything to anyone.  It is as if now I have hit my Jubilee Year of life.  And the lessons, the values, the sifting and weighing of things, both material and spiritual, have come to a resting place where I can now move forward toward a place I am to be.  Not moving frantically just to keep ahead.  I can let the herd move past me into their place, and take my place behind the whirling dust of their lives.  Go be dervishes.  I chose to step where and when I wish.


But I will know when it is real rest when the dreams change and the dreams move to a cleansing place, and the chasing goes away.  Until then, I will make the best choices, do the best things I can, and move toward a life that has potential, growth and a joy that goes beyond the use of the word in English.  My own Tikkum is happening.  May from this, Tikkum Olam be a part of the world around me, and spread like seeds of the breeze, being watered with good and pure water of love.

To myself in the past, to my friends in the present

I learned a lot of lessons while parenting my three, beautiful, unique daughters.  I also learned some lessons from teaching high school, middle school and elementary school for 32 years.  I learned these lessons not from doing things right, the best or even on the equal side of good.  I learned them because I am innately a screw up in interpersonal relationships.  I will discuss that at a later time, but right now I want to talk about the lessons I learned the hard way, and thus they stuck like using Super Glue on your palms and then putting them together and expecting them to come apart.

Parenting Lessons that left me black and blue.

Lesson 1.  The saying ‘pick your battles wisely’ is too short and does not tell you how to pick said battle.  I picked a lot of wrong battles and did not fight others I should have.  I learned that the battles you never quit on are the battles that you know will impact the human you are raising all their life – even to the grave.  Making your bed and cleaning your room they will learn once they leave the house if you along the way taught this, even if it was a yearly occurrence.  Not a battle to get invested in even if it drives you up the wall.  Getting their education is a battle to fight to the death because it will impact what kind of job, what kind of life, and whether the young human can reach for their dreams or not.


Lesson 2.  Teaching choices is critical, but only effective if they understand and look at not only the benefits, but the down side and all the responsibility that each choice comes with.  One thing I apparently did well with my oldest, that I just figured my next younger one got by osmosis, was to tell her at 14 years of age, since she was entering high school, if she decided to open her legs for sex, and got pregnant, not to expect me to allow her to dump her child on me, or to get an abortion, or put the child up for adoption.  She needed to be ready to raise this child, nor not have sex.  She recently told me that scared her enough that she waited until she was 18, had a job and was basically on her own before she did this.


Lesson 3.  Children are in need of boundaries.  But with different children, this may look different.  Because I may not have liked the boundaries my parents set, to go really liberal and have little to none for my child, does not mean this is the best for that child.  It may will make my job harder.  Oh they push on these, and fight with you, especially in the teen years.  However, if they are good boundaries that protect, and you hold firm, then the child may step over the fence a little, but they will not get lost in the chaos of life.  One of my children only needed a fence of twine, and another needed a steel wall.  So what this is like will depend on the intelligence, temperament and need of the child.  Each of my children now that they have reached parenthood themselves have thanked me for this, even though I started to go grey in my 30’s.


Lesson 4.  You can never give them too much love, but you can give them too much stuff.  Money, things and no time is not love.  Sitting and listening to the stories of their day, and the dramas that you see as petty, will mean more to your young human than all the Nintendo games on the market.  Also, it will give you understanding on your child and how to set boundaries, and if they get out in the field of chaos, how to find them and bring them back.  


Lesson 5.  Our children are mirrors sometimes of our worst selves.  So when they are really acting up, we need to ask what need they are not having filled, and if that does not yield and answer, who are they mimicking.  (Ouch, some days this really sucked to ask.)


Lesson 6.  Accept that when they make a mistake, it is because they are human, and we need to look and see if the lesson from the mistake is learned.  If it is, then we need to start to trust.  But sometimes when the trust is broken badly by a mistake, this is not going to be an easy or quick event.  It may take years, even going into their adulthood.  Broken trust is usually broken on both sides.  So building this only comes from both sides being able to be transparent and open in communication, and both sides being willing and able to take the part of the blame that is theirs.  And both sides wanting and working to build it back.  It may well be that there will never be the trust that was once there, or it may look very different after the event.


Lesson 7.  Never discipline your young human when you are not in a place you can respect yourself.  I am not talking about stopping them from running out into 12 lanes of traffic at rush hour when you feel bad about yourself.  I am talking about when a discipline needs to be given, and it is going to be one with long term consequences that will need to be upheld.  If done while the parent is not respecting his or her self, then the child will not respect the discipline.  If it is a discipline that you would accept for yourself if the table was turned, and you could do it with dignity and learn from the experience, then it will be an appropriate one for the child.  There will be no end of yelling and screaming matches if respect is not in discipline.  When a child yells, they are not respecting you, himself or the process.  If you are doing this respecting yourself, then you will not feel the need to yell back, and can see that if the child yells, they are wrong, just at a higher decibel than they were the moment before.  Usually, you can say, “We need to take a time out, and will come back to finish this” and then discipline with a clear head.  Or when they are no longer yelling.  You do not always have to discipline in the moment.  Especially with teens.  In fact, when you do this, it scares the shit out of them.  Stop trying to discipline when said young human starts to yell.  Let them yell for a moment, and then tell them, in a very, very soft voiced, that if they continue, then they will have less ground to negotiate on, as they are digging themselves into a hole.  To go to this quiet place, you have to be in control of yourself, and this control only comes when you are respecting yourself.


Lesson 8.  None of us are perfect parents.  None of us were perfect children.  And what works at one point in a life to teach a person changes as the person gains life experiences.  We, and they, have to learn to be open to the one thing none of us like – change.  When we quit changing, we have a dead life.  How we change is always in the hands of the individual.  If an individual is closed to listening to us, even for a season, then sometimes, to keep the change in a positive forward motion, we need to seek out people who will help our child change in the appropriate direction for a full life, not a life full of dead ends, but a life with roots and wings.  A person they will listen to, and one we can trust.  Sometimes the person who worked last month, is not longer a person we can use this month.  Not easy.



Half full

This 2014 I am making a concerted effort to stop, and think before I react. By just letting myself “feel” or “be in the moment” mindlessly, I have done the easy thing in the last few years. Granted, I had several years where to stop and think about anything was a luxury, but this is not the case now. I do not just have to run pell mell through the race course of life, and hope that the decisions and the way I think of things is going to in the long run work out. I do not have to do this. I do have the time to, well, take time and think. I can do this about what food I will buy, meals I will make, people I will be with and for how long.

Most important in this realization, I can look at anything that happens to me, and decide how I want to react to it. Or better, instead of react to it, what can I learn from it. Maybe I learn that I am too trusting and need to lock my car door or shut the window before I leave things in it and go into a store. Maybe I need to learn that what I purchase can either help me and add quality to my life to give to others, or it can steal this from me. I can learn that time is a precious commodity, and once that moment is gone, it can not be returned.

Best of all, I can learn to appreciate all the people who have traveled through my life, even the ones who were difficult and hurtful. The ones who brought joy and are now no longer a part of my life, I can look at what they gave me, support, love, adventures, that nobody else could bring or give to me. Not like they did, at any rate. And know that as souls touch in the earth plan of the great plan, that the energy, the light, and the passion we share or hold back will either help or hinder our process.

I have held back, a lot, over the last years of my life. The method of holding back was mindless reaction. I was tired of being hurt, but finally the message go through. My reaction was aways “stop”. If I hold back, I can not feel the good either. I will miss the pain, but also the gain. But I will allow myself to take risks, to let my gut (or soul) feelings guide me. To allow my instincts (or inner light) to illumine my path.

Oh, what an adventure this will be. Giving, finding the good, and enjoying the trip, even the packing and the change – things I do not usually enjoy. For without this, I will be doing nothing, even not existing. To exist, to be to move. Here I come…..