You’ve Got to Know When To Hold ‘Em; Know When To Fold ‘Em

7 playing cards

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My weekly newspaper column for your reading pleasure (I hope):

 

“You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all…Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing.” ~ Luis Buñuel

 

            Memory is precious but unreliable. And while I think Bunuel has a valid point in saying that “Life without memory is no life at all”, I believe that sometimes it is those things that we forget that help us live coherently, with reason, feeling, and the ability to take action.

            We are inundated with many images on television, in newspapers, magazines, and on the internet that are not

so this is christmas

so this is christmas (Photo credit: mumucs)

necessarily things we want to bank in our memories. A favourite Christmas song of mine, “So This is Christmas” by John Lennon has been forever altered for me as it is being used in an advertisement accompanied by images of children in great and desperate need. Though the words do lend themselves to the message, the message is one of despair. I know that it is supposed to make me want to send money to help, but instead every time I hear the opening notes, I turn the channel. I am not heartless—I have “adopted” kids from other nations that need help and I give a monthly donation to the Red Cross, but I do not need to be reminded to be “good” in a way that makes me feel “bad”.

            One of the definitions of forgetting is to “put behind you”. And I think that having this ability is a very useful tool to deal with life when it gets just that little bit too demanding. We can only take on so much, then our cup overfloweth, and we become overwhelmed.

I was given a piece of paper with these words at the top: “Drying Out the Responsibility Sponge”. The person who gave it to me was not sure of its origins, but she remembered that I had said that I am like a sponge, taking in the things that go on around me detrimentally—as if the problems of the world were my problems when in actuality I was not dealing with those things that were within my power because I was waterlogged with the enormity of situations out of my control.

            A Google search revealed that the words are from “The Woman’s Book of Courage: Meditations for Empowerment and Peace of Mind” by Sue Patton Thoele. They target women, but I do not think that women are the only ones who take on mantles of responsibility that are too heavy. The ending of the essay says it all: “We need to be patient and gentle with ourselves as we dry our sponges (of responsibility), for the belief that we are responsible for everything is woven deeply into the fabric of our lives.” We need to put behind us all those things that are separating us from living a life with worthwhile memories.

            The cold factual definition of memory is simple—according to the Encarta Dictionary it is “the ability of the mind or of a person or organism to retain learned information and knowledge of past events and experiences and to retrieve that information and knowledge.” To me the kernel of knowledge that should be taken from this definition is that we should learn from our memories and use that data to forge forward and not dive into the depths of despair from past indiscretions, grief, revenge, and heartache.

            Many of us (me) suffer gladly from revisionist history—we remember the good things, and try to put the other stuff behind us. I believe we should learn from our errors and failures, feel our grief, seek fair retribution, but then “just let it go”.  (Believe me, I know how hard that is).

            The simple statement that “life is not fair” is true sometimes, but admit it, sometimes life is fair. And those are the times we should grasp and hold onto with all our strength.

            Session is over—okay Kenny take over—“You got to know when to hold ‘em; know when to fold ‘em; know when to walk away; know when to run…”

P.S. I had my husband read this and he said it was very thoughtful, so if you don’t like it you can blame him, but remember he has to eat the food I prepare so I think he measures his words.

A New Approach – Or Crazy Is As Crazy Does

The sceptical look

The sceptical look (Photo credit: Bjørn Giesenbauer)

I am going to try something different today. I am going to put Ms. Sceptical on a shelf and do something I am not sure has merit, but I am not sure doesn’t.

There are those of you who are much more enlightened than I; your philosophy has a depth I perhaps cannot begin to understand, and you know that your ego is really a bit of a jerk so you have parted ways with it, if not literally at least figuratively. {Ego does not have to be a bad thing per se, if it is a healthy sense of self-esteem, but so many times it crosses into its inflated guise, where we teeter on the border of superiority. But that is a subject for another day}—back to~

What is the different thing I am going to try today? I am going to take my own advice (which sounds much easier than it is). My husband and I are awaiting some news right new that will determine what path we take next. And once again, yesterday, the decision was put off. It is not something that is within our control—it seems to have a life of its own—and anyone who has ever been mired in a lawsuit knows exactly what I mean.

In an effort to fend off the reaction I know my husband is going to have (if things do not go our way—and with the judicial system you just never know), I tried to explain to him that sometimes the messages we send out, come back in the manner in which we sent them. In other words, if we are negative, we get negative back. He was not in the mood for this (he is generally quite open minded, but right now is too stressed to take on any new practices). So I have decided to do what I asked him to do: give up on what I cannot change, accept it, and move on. But move on with a difference.

The difference will be that I am going to try to send out that which I want to receive. All those crazy people who believe we should send positive messages to the universe may not be all that crazy. I do not believe that this will magically change my life (but if it does, so much the better) but what could be the harm? Always thinking the worst, so far, has not been much help. There are people who say that we are self-delusional if we think these methods work, that we are putting our eggs in the wrong basket, and not accepting things as they really are; or we are setting ourselves up for an even bigger fall.

But, I say to these people, what have I got to lose?

crocus

(Photo credit: polkadotsoph)

I am reading “You Can Create an Exceptional Life” by Louise Hay (a champion of the positive if ever there was one) and Cheryl Richardson. Throughout the book they have provided numerous affirmations: things we should say to ourselves that many of us don’t, but the one I like the best and intend on repeating with some regularity is this:

“All is well. Everything is working out for my highest good. Out of this situation only good things will come.” ~ Louise Hay

There are many many affirmations throughout the book—some of them I find a little too—I don’t know, what it the word?—bizarre for my world, but many, if adopted, could do no harm. I will not be putting a mirror up in every room in my house soon (as Louise suggests) and tell myself that I am beautiful, but I will be trying to practice positivity on a more regular basis.

As you can imagine, there is not just one way to approach this—but the two I am going to work on are optimism and patience. Optimism defined in the book is “putting attention and energy toward solutions rather than focusing on problems.” Patience is “experiencing the journey fully and consciously rather than rushing to achieve a particular result.”

Perhaps with these two things in my arsenal, my journey to find bliss will be a little less rocky. What do you think?

Sometimes Giving In Is Bliss

English: Various remote controls fot TV-set, D...

English: Various remote controls for TV-set, DVD and VHS. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love my husband. I do. But he has some annoying habits.

First of all, he thinks that the remote control for the television is his. He really does. It kills him when someone else has control of it. Perhaps he feels the world is out of control, so at least he can control something.

Second, he hardly ever watches one program at a time. Even if he likes a program, during the commercial he will turn the station to something else, and forget to turn it back, until I quite sweetly and politely ask him to. (Okay, maybe not so sweetly and nowhere near politely.)

And then he has a habit which drives me even more crazy than I already am. If he cannot find a program he likes, he just keeps hitting the remote and changing the channel until I get up and leave the room. I am pretty sure he does not do this on purpose. All the time. But once in a while, he does do it on purpose even though he says he doesn’t.

Why he thinks the television is his domain is anyone’s guess – but I am guessing that he is not the only husband who has these tendencies.

Sure, he is wonderful on so many levels that I let this one go (most of the time). But really, how funny are wonderful things?

Sometimes bliss is leaving the room and reading a book. Does your significant other have a funny annoying bad habit?

books

books (Photo credit: brody4)

Published in: on February 17, 2013 at 11:42 am  Comments (77)  
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Day 4 ~ Today is Tomorrow 1/4/13

think snow

think snow (Photo credit: patiencehouse)

“Enjoy the good things in life ~ you can always clean tomorrow!” ~        Kat B., Travel. Garden. Eat. blog travelgardeneat

Love this quote, but in my effort to find my bliss, today is tomorrow. I love to enjoy the good things in life, but in order to do so I must get my house in order. I have trouble doing this by myself so I have enlisted my husband in this de-chaosing and since he has a few days off, I am thinking we can do wonders.

My sister is coming to visit mid-month and yesterday my husband asked me what I wanted to get done before she and my favourite brother-in-law (and only but he would still be my favourite) come. He knows that because I am a journalist I work to deadline so I think he thought the date of the visit would work as a deadline.  The good thing is he is willing to help.

I am so not a domestic diva, but I do like things to be in order and clean. Now you would never know it from the state of my house, but since I live in my imagination a great deal of the time, I  imagine a clean and orderly house. Now I have to imagine myself into activity. I always keep a part of the house clean, and when I have company I steer them to those parts of the house exclusively. There are a lot of closed doors at my house.

Yesterday I managed to get my Christmas decorations packed up, and today we are going to pack them away in storage. I did leave the snowmen out–I usually put them away the last day of February. They are cheery, but I figure by March, I am ready for spring even if the weather does not coöperate.

Clean House In Your Tool Box - NARA - 533971

Clean House In Your Tool Box – NARA – 533971 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So in finding my bliss today, I am going to start getting my house in order. In fact I have already started–I cleaned out two drawers in the kitchen yesterday, and I keep going out and looking in them with great satisfaction. And I found all kinds of things I forgot I had but are really quite handy–some birthday candles for those times I forget to buy them, some twist ties which for some reason are very important in my life, and a whole package of matches.

My bliss today is to uncover more treasures, and get some of the chaos out of my life.

What are you going to do today to add to your bliss?

Note to readers: Yes you are probably denoting a theme here–I am going to try to write about bliss and all its relatives for the next little while–hope you will not get bored. Some days I will be serious, some days silly–but we will see just how far this can take us.

Published in: on January 4, 2013 at 10:35 am  Comments (63)  
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