How do we react to the End of something?

There are or may be many endings in a life:  graduation from school, moving away from “home,” divorce, leaving a job, miscarriage, moving far away, buying a house, death of someone close to us, learning we have a terminal illness, starting a business, having a child, and so on.  Every beginning means an ending, and vice versa.   Each ending/beginning — each change – creates stress.  Part of how to handle the stress is grieving what is ending.  As proposed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, the five stages of grief are denial/isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  We may bounce back and forth between the stages, but eventually it is hoped we can accept and move on to the new beginning. 

These are personal issues.  But the same holds true for global issues:  Wars, famine, genocide, sexual violence, corporate autocracy, et cetera.   We hold on to hope, writing letters, changing our lifestyle, teaching our children, talking with people, doing whatever we can to make a difference.  Sometimes there are victories, and that encourages us to carry on.  Sometimes it makes a difference to one person ( Starfish Story ), and that is something.

Over the past few years I’ve had conversations with various friends, most of them with degrees, and we’ve come to realize that there are some things about the global ecological crisis that can not be fixed in time.   Such as global warming.  Even if we instantly do everything “right,” the momentum will still carry us to change and problems.  This is a difficult thing to grapple with. 

Here is an article about how some people are dealing with this change.  Am not saying it is the best way to face this change, but I do think it is important to face the issue rather than ignore it. 

 “It’s the End of the World as We Know It  . . . and He Feels Fine.”

Paul Kingsnorth by Kenneth O Halloran for the New York Times

Posted in family, health, Interesting people, Mental Health, nature, social issues, Sustainable living, world | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Earth Day!

Pacific CoastLet’s treat the Earth with respect — she’s the only planet we’ve got!

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Astrology as Sign Posts: Cardinal Grand Cross

[Note:  This is not a professional astrological look at the Cardinal Grand Cross.]

AriesMy mom and aunts used to follow their astrology signs in the newspaper columns.  But how could a few sentences give meaningful information to 1/12th of the planet’s population?  As a teen I researched astrology, and when I was 17 had a professional cast my first chart.  I remember bits and pieces of that session, and she was right.

No, I don’t believe the planets and asteroids control our fate.  Yes, I believe they provideCancer signposts as to what is ahead.  The “curve ahead” sign doesn’t cause the curve, but it gives you a warning that it’s ahead.  What you do about it is your own call.

What is a Cardinal Grand Cross?  A Grand Cross is when four planets are all separated from each other by square aspects (90 degrees apart).  The twelve planets are each assigned a quality: mutability (able to adapt, go with the flow), fixed (stable, determined, resolute), and cardinal (active, quick, ambitious, leaders).   So what you have now is four leaders in a committee:  Aries, Libra, Capricorn, and Cancer.  And they have advisors calling for change and the use of force [other planets; now it gets too technical for me to understand and explain].  That is a Cardinal Grand Cross. 

LibraThese events build to a point, and then slowly retreat afterward.  A lot of us have been feeling the tension for a while.  The feeling we need to do something, to make a choice, has been affecting our relationships, our jobs, our health, every part of our lives. 

The event itself began on Sunday, 20 April 2014, and will finish on Wednesday or Thursday (depending on your time zone and which astrologer you consult).  There are a lot of good astrologers out there, and for basic online astrological information I tend to go to AstroDienst.  Because I know only a little about astrology, I enjoy a page put together by a friend, HiC.  He combines astrological influences and tarot on his Card of the Day.

How do we deal with a Cardinal Grand Cross?  The consensus seems to be, we stay calm atCapricorn the center.  For some that calm center is their spirituality, or nature, or family.  Whatever it is, mentally/emotionally go there, and then think about what its meaning is for you.  Does something need to change?  Do you need to change in your relation to that center?  What goals (daily/long-term) can you set to move toward that change?  And then do some action in relation to those goals, even if it is as simple as cleaning out a closet or talking a walk through the park.  This time calls for action, so channel it into something constructive.  Don’t let it dissipate in anger or depression.

The potential for the Cardinal Grand Cross is a bit scary.  Let’s make it into something good.

Power to change

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“The Big Year” (2011)

Big Year posterWe saw “The Big Year” when it first came out, and  bought the DVD when it was available.  With three actors like that — Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson — it was bound to be an enjoyable movie, even if it was about something I knew nothing about:  Birding.  Add in excellent performances by Rosamund Pike, Brian Dennehy, Anjelica Huston, Dianne West, Kevin Pollak, and JoBeth Williams, and you’ve got a cast that doesn’t go wrong.

What is a Big Year, you ask?  John Cleese’s voice does an entertaining quick explanation.  In the late 1800′s, sportsmen in the United States celebrated Christmas by killing as many birds as they could in one day.  The president of the Audubon Society suggested they should count birds instead, and eventually this led to the competition of the Big Year: the most bird species counted in the United States and Canada by one person in one calendar year. 

Of course, such an endeavor has costs.  Time off is essential, to take advantage of weather and migration patterns.  Having enough money is a BIG factor, for all the travel.  But if your significant other is not a birder, or has other goals in mind, those relationships can be the biggest cost of all.  Steve Martin plays a retiring CEO, Jack Black plays female ruby throateda computer programmer whose greatest passion is birds, and Owen Wilson plays a contractor who holds the current record for most birds counted . . . and his wife wants a baby.

The scenery is beautiful, the birds are fascinating, but it is the interplay of relationships that makes this movie.  If you watch the DVD, I highly recommend the extended version of the movie.  John Cleese does the narration, and it has an additional star: the female ruby throated hummingbird.    On a scale from 1 to 5, I give this movie a 4.

Big Year bookP.S.  Have just begun reading the book the movie is based on:  “The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession,” by Mark Obmascik (2004).   Obmascik is a birder, but wasn’t always, so he makes things understandable and entertaining.  And yes, this really happened.

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Yes, I’m still here. :-)

It’s been a long time since I’ve written. Life happens. Today I was catching up with Crazy Aunt Purl, and her posts stopped with one in April 2013, without a hint of why. She had such a good following that she wrote a couple books. I find myself hoping all is well with her; that she is so busy living a happy life, she doesn’t have time to write about it.

Made me think about this blog. I know there are a few people who were reading it. :-) Might someone be wondering what happened to me?

Am thinking I will write again. In the meantime, here’s the short version. Things got busy. I could no longer do my posts during breaks at work, and evenings were short. My energy was flagging, and eventually we figured out why. That got taken care of, but it became obvious I needed to slow down a little. Work became more administrative (I like working with clients), and there was no chance of shortening my work week. So I retired. Now I’m trying to catch up with a couple year’s worth of housework and yard work that didn’t get done. And rest. :-)

IMG_0114Today is our son’s 36th birthday. Here is a photo of us when we were both a lot younger. :-) Now he rides his own Triumph. :-) Life goes on.

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Is the world a better place because you are in it?

This morning memories of a person popped into my head, and I found myself thinking, sadly, “The world is a better place without you in it.” 

I try very hard not to be judgmental, and I don’t always succeed.  But I can usually find something positive about most everyone.  Having studied psychology, am well aware people tend to be the product of their childhood, and many get a rough start.  I am also aware we can decide what to do with what life gave us.  Understanding why a person acts in unacceptable ways does not give them a free pass to act that way. 

The key is what people do with what they have.  Being a positive force in the world doesn’t require money (although it helps  :-)  ).  Making the world a better place is mostly about attitude — things like smiling at people, being polite, taking responsibility for your actions, being kind, being considerate, picking up your trash, doing your job, that sort of thing.   There are many “lights” in the world who are heroes, and would never see themselves that way.  They make the world a better place.

Is the world a better place because you are in it?


PS  I have been knitting, and doing things (like going to Fair) and will write about those — eventually.  :-)    Sometimes there are more things to do than time to do them. 

Posted in family, Random thoughts, social issues | 1 Comment

Bullies: Beyond the school yard

Bullying (from Wikipedia):

Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior manifested by the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when the behavior is habitual and involves an imbalance of power. It can include verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability.[2][3] The “imbalance of power” may be social power and/or physical power. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a “target”.

Bullying consists of three basic types of abuseemotional, verbal, and physical. It typically involves subtle methods of coercion such as intimidation. Bullying can be defined in many different ways. The UK currently has no legal definition of bullying,[4] while some U.S. states have laws against it.[5]

Bullying ranges from simple one-on-one bullying to more complex bullying in which the bully may have one or more ‘lieutenants’ who may seem to be willing to assist the primary bully in his or her bullying activities. Bullying in school and the workplace is also referred to as peer abuse.[6] Robert W. Fuller has analyzed bullying in the context of rankism.

Bullying can occur in any context in which human beings interact with each other. This includes school, church, family, the workplace, home, and neighborhoods. It is even a common push factor in migration. Bullying can exist between social groups, social classes, and even between countries (see jingoism). In fact, on an international scale, perceived or real imbalances of power between nations, in both economic systems and in treaty systems, are often cited as some of the primary causes of both World War I and World War II.[7][8]          

This is one of the best definitions of bullying I have found.  Many think it happens only to school-age children, but like domestic violence it is a form of power and control that is used a LOT more widely than people want to believe.  I especially appreciate that last paragraph (I put it in bold).

Gossip can be a form of bullying.  You may not be able to stop hearing it, but you can stop repeating it.  Facebook, Twitter, and other social media are often used to bully, with photos and innuendos.  Employers get away with bullying, because in this economy few people are willing to lose their jobs.  Advertising can be a form of bullying, when they imply you are stupid or “less than” because you don’t use their products. 

People can have any opinions they want, and there is nothing wrong with logical argument and appeals to someone’s better nature.  But when people try to make others feel badly or scared to make them do something, that is flat out wrong.  No matter who does it.

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