Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Soapbox of Perception - Imagine (as seen in Newsletter)

I would like to lead you on a mental exercise.

Think of your day, from beginning to end. You wake up. You break your fast, and groom yourself. You start your projects. You go to work or stay to work. You pick up groceries. You come home. You eat. You hang out with friends or family or both. You relax. You retire.

How many times did you pull out your wallet and give money to someone?

If it was none, yay. It was once or more, try again. Go through your day without giving money to anyone. Go through the day without receiving money from anyone. Keep everything else the same, including the picking up of groceries. Just take money totally out of the equation.

No, you're not stealing anything. You walk into the store, or get online, search for what you want, put it in the basket, even go through checkout for inventory or delivery purposes. And you leave the store or site. With no one chasing you. With no guilt. With the pleasant (or slightly annoyed) feeling of having accomplished another necessary chore.

Imagine that in your day. All the regular activities without money.

Imagine it in your week. Your month. Your year.

It's difficult to wrap your head around. It's taken me a long while to get past the reflex reaction of… if there's no money, how will I pay rent? How will I get food? How will I have electricity?

But imagine there is no money. Do the houses disappear? Does the soil quit growing produce? Do the cows quit giving milk? Do you stop?

During the Great Depression people didn't just cease to exist when they ran out of money. They may have killed themselves, or each other, but they didn't poof out of sight. The buildings stood vacant and fell into disrepair, they didn't vanish when the rent could no longer be paid. Think of this last economic crisis. The electricity didn't suddenly become unavailable when a person couldn't pay for it. It was turned off.

Despite the way we phrase it, money does not run the world. People use money to try and run other people. People use money as a status symbol, as power. And because money is the tool we use for goods exchange, people do a lot of things because they need money.

But what is money, really? It is an IOU. It is a form of barter using a middle man. Instead of working directly for the farmer and receiving milk and eggs and veg, you spend your time and energy at work. In exchange, work gives you money. You go to a store and trade the money for the edibles. The store has traded with the distributor, and the distributor trades with the farmer.

But money no longer represents the amount of energy expended.

Did I work any harder as an accountant than I did as a fast food clerk? No, I didn't. In fact, considering the smell and the quick tempo, the hazardous conditions, and polyester rash, fast food was probably a more difficult work environment than at-home bookkeeping.

And frankly, I work just as hard at writing as I did in the drive through station during rush hour. It's just different work.

So why is the monetary return so different, between energy expenditures: writer (zero); fast food worker (minimum wage); accountant (which could be anything from "nice" to "ridiculous"); retail; lawyer; teacher; insurance agent; doctor; politician; soldier; movie star?

Yes, yes. School and popularity and trends and fashion and science. So many philosophical and psychological discussions to tackle! And in my opinion, those are all, well, opinions.

For this article, let's just take money out of the picture.

Imagine: your health care doesn't depend on what you can afford. Imagine you can have whatever house brings you happiness, in whatever state or country you wish. Imagine you can train for whatever occupation you wish. Imagine wearing the clothes you like. Imagine driving the car you want to drive.

Imagine, more importantly, you could try a hundred different options until you found one that really truly suited you down to the ground. What are you doing with your life? What opportunities, options, possibilities for happiness have just opened up?

And, yes. I hear you. If there is no money, why would anyone work? Who would provide the health care, the houses, the street cleaning? What would motivate us? How would there be enough cool clothes, or cars, or food?  And how would we decide who gets which houses? Which cars? Which fancy stuff and which crap stuff?

Good questions. I hope to explore this subject further in a future article, now that I've actually managed to articulate the thesis. That money is not an accurate representative of the energy expended.

Perhaps you have the answer.


I hope you have a great day!


Sunday, April 19, 2015

If you're like me.... Today, happiness is... Not.

If you're  like me, it's been an interesting few days. Where interesting can be translated as "painful", "frustrating," "difficult," "mind-bending," "weight gaining," "bad hair," and "suck-ass". 

So what do we do, with all this pain, all this frustration, the desire to simply return to the shell, the womb, the bed, the other world? When all of our tricks and tips and tools seem useless against the waves of anguish? When you look in the mirror and really don't like what you feel? When it's all you can do to be civil - and bright and cheerful is no longer an option? What do we do?

Between all the posts on FB, and my personal feelings, the first thought in my head is we just push the red button! But. That's not the advice I would give to anyone else. And knowing we teach that which we most need to learn, I shall reach a little deeper than the pain and say…

We let go and we accept.

We stop trying to analyze. We stop hyperventilating. We stop forced deep breathing. We drop the bootstraps. We lower our chin. We drop the load and we stop grinning.

We give in. "I am in a nasty, sulky mood." "I feel awful and sad and frustrated." "I feel like giving up." "I feel pain." "I just don't care."

I have to tell you, the minute I started thinking that, my mood elevated. Because I was free of the self-imposed prison of who I ought to be.

I am allowed to be crabby. I am allowed to feel less than 100%. There is no reason. No rhyme. I don't know where the pain is, and I don't know why I feel it today. I don't what I'm allergic to. I don't know what's annoying me. I don't know how deep the grief is and if it will ever end and what will set it off this time. I don't know what tomorrow brings. And I am so tired of answering these questions. Tired of asking these questions. Tired of working.

I give in. Today, I give up. I am not going to push against the walls of anything; I’m not going to resist the grumpy mood, and I sure am not going try and accomplish anything when my mood is like this. I'd just have to do it over.

So I accept. I release. I let go. And I ply myself with as many caramel chocolate yogurt shakes as I want.

Because, if you're like me, when you're happy, there is no struggle. There is no resistance. There may be fear, uncertainty, and definitely a lot of practice. But none of this "oh, shoot me now!" despair. None of this blind beating against an invisible wall.

And if you're like me, you want to be happy all the time, yes?

But, if you're like me, you're human, and the weather turns, and we age, and stuff hurts. So. In order to be happy, we have to allow all the emotions to have play. The grumpy, the angry, the righteous, the goofy, the dopey, and the sad. To be in our truth, we have to be IN our truth, even if that truth is not bathing for a week or binging on alphabetizing everything in the home.

If you're like me, you eventually accept yourself, even when you're the Bitch from the Back of the Beyond. You give in. You declare. You celebrate.

And, in the middle of your pity party, you find a small gleaming nugget of happiness. Because, if you're like me, accepting your truth of the moment has set you free.

I hope you have a(n) [insert adjective here] day.


Friday, April 10, 2015

If you're like me... who shall cut your hair?

If you're like me, having someone else cut your hair can be, shall we say, challenging. Even when you've practiced explaining how you want your hair cut, expressing it to a stranger is a difficult task. And then, when it all goes wrong, you're not sure where to place blame. (and if you're like me, you don't even like the word blame.)

If you're like me, you also have that introvert thing going on, with a hefty dose of "Be polite!" in your upbringing. So when you find yourself being interrogated by a complete stranger... Who is cutting your hair.... You have to be nice, don't you?

Now, imagine walking into a place that does NOT feel like a steel and glass torture chamber. It's light and airy. It smells nice too. Before you wonder if you're in the right spot, you see the salon off to the side. Out of the way. NOT in the immediate view of anyone who walks in off the street.

Because this salon is also a metaphysical store. Cool. If you're like me, you relax a little more.

There's a nice little cubby for your purse. You give up your protective sweater. And you sit in the salon chair.

You tell the woman what you want (ooh, well done. Articulate and everything. Yay you!) You get a shampoo. You brace yourself, just a little.

The woman talks about herself and the store. And then, and THEN, as you're staring at yourself in the mirror, she says... "So, tell me a little about yourself. But only if you want to."

If you're like me, you actually turn your head and stare at her.

"I wouldn't want anyone to feel uncomfortable," she says.

At that moment, it wouldn't have mattered what she did to my hair. I'd still be singing praises right now.

However, each time I have looked in the mirror, I have said, "all right". I think she, and therefore I, has done good. 

I think I actually look forward to looking into the mirror tomorrow (after having slept on it. The true test of Lila hair appreciation!).

I am feeling pretty darn confident about looking in the mirror 2 weeks from now.

I don't think I have found the hair style I am looking for, but I'm pretty sure I have found my salon. I'm a little giddy.

A witch cut my hair, and I like it. And if you're like me, you'll like it too. Please check out

I hope you have a great day!