Honestly?

In January 2011 I wrote Honesty: Pros and Cons, a short discussion about why people lie, and how it affects the liar.   Much to my surprise, it has become the most read entry in this blog.  Yet though it has been read over 2,000 times, only one person liked it.  Did I ruffle feathers?  Did I make people uneasy when I wrote, “Is honesty the best policy? I guess my response is, it depends.”  Honesty can be a shield, but it can also be a sword.  When I wrote it, I actually hoped more people would comment about their ideas regarding honesty and lying.

White House 2018Currently the U.S.A. has a President who lies on a regular basis.  While it is true that probably every President has lied at some point (there are truths you can’t make public, for security reasons and probably for political reasons), we have never had a President before who has lied so regularly, and even bragged about lying.  He sees himself as clever for making up lies on the spur of the moment.  On May 9, 2018, CNN did a news article about our 45th President having lied or said misleading statements over 3,000 times in his 466 days in office; that’s 6.5 lies per day.  And since then it’s gotten even worse.

Why is he lying?  In my earlier blog post I wrote, “People lie because they do not want to get in trouble. People lie because they have issues of self-worth, and want others to think better of them. People lie because others try to control them, and lying is a way of taking back control.”  From what I’ve read, that seems to fit.  People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder may lie on a regular basis, because they see themselves as better than everyone around them, and the lies bolster their self-image.  Of course, I do not know this individual on a personal basis [shudder], so I may have this all wrong.

Why am I writing this follow-up entry?  Because I want the world to know that 75% of people in the United States are ashamed that their President lies like other people drinkWeeping Statue of Liberty coffee — frequently and without giving it much thought.  We will have him out of office by the end of January 2021, if not sooner (as long as the Russians don’t interfere again).  Meanwhile, we deeply regret that none of us will be able to trust anything he says.  We realize he has tarnished the reputation of the United States, perhaps beyond repair.   We will work on that.  But please, please, do not think that his actions reflect what the majority of the people of the U.S. are like.   And remember, if it hadn’t been for George W. Bush, we might not have had Barack Obama as our 44th President.  Hang in there.

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When in Doubt, Unplug and Go Outdoors

My anxiety level went up in November 2016, but I told myself, “Maybe it won’t be as bad as we fear.”  Well, it isn’t — in many ways it is worse.  I suppose it could get much worse.

I’ve marched, wrote letters, attended meetings, and made phone calls.  (I hate making phone calls like that, which tells you how bad it’s getting from my point of view.)  I’ve voted and encouraged other people to vote.   I’ve posted and tweeted, and probably been blocked.

[In case you haven’t figured it out, the basis for my frustration and anxiety is political, concerning the 45th U.S. President and the current Republican leadership.  But this isn’t a political rant, so pardon the digression.]

I can’t fight the good fight 24/7.   I suspect no one can and remain sane.   For an empath, the atmosphere has been downright toxic.   So on a daily basis, I go out in our yard and do yard work.

Blueberries and a raised garden 6,15,18.JPGWe put raised gardens in our south-facing lawn three years ago.  We’ve grown onions, garlic, chard, kale, carrots, and have one dedicated to various herbs.  This year we are adding more beds, and attempting to grow watermelons and sugar snap peas.  We have blueberries in pots, and a monster rosemary bush.

 

 

 

Several plants in the front yard are there because they smell good.   The mock orangeHoneysuckle 6,15,18 finally began blooming a few years ago, but have yet to see a blossom on the star jasmine.  (We live near the ocean, so don’t get quite enough sunshine or heat.)   The honeysuckle is doing well, as is the alyssum.   This year we added a gardenia, which has bloomed once and has several more buds.  It smells heavenly out there.

 

While we try to keep the front yard semi-tidy, the back yard is far more natural.  Most of Berry bushes in bloom 6,15,18it is wild berry bushes, of the Himalayan blackberry variety.  Walk out there on a sunny day and most of the backyard hums because of all the bees (and hummingbirds).  No, I don’t can the fruit or even bake with it — most of it goes from bush to hand to mouth.  🙂

 

 

This year we are experimenting with growing potatoes in a trash can.  (Want to know how? Visit here.) Potatoes in a trash can 6,15,18 We have this in the small mowed section of our backyard.    The mowed section is for a bird feeder, and room to sit in the sun (when we have it and it’s warm enough).

The environment is one of the things I worry about, so we don’t use herbicides, pesticides, or soil supplements with manufactured ingredients.   We have a gopher who regularly tills the ground, hence a lot of plants in pots or raised beds (with wire mesh underneath).

Sounds corny, but our yard and being outdoors grounds me.   That’s primarily why we have a garden, though the fresh produce does taste wonderful.  Being outdoors and unplugged, whether it’s at the park or beach or our yard, reminds me there is still beauty on this Earth and the possibility that things can be better.   And this is the only Earth we’ve got, so we better take care of it or we’ll pollute humanity out of existence.  (The planet and some form of Nature will survive.)

If you are anxious, or depressed, or any version thereof, find a healthy way to handle it.  Go for a walk, play sports, garden, knit, read, laugh with friends, make pottery, dance to music, work with wood, paint, play with children, play with pets — you get the idea.  Unplug and get out into the world around you, and do it on as regular a basis as you can.

Take care of yourself.  namaste

 

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Sateen’s #MeToo moment

Sateen was standing at the bank teller’s window, cleaning out her bags, when in the chatSateen 4,12,18 window appears, “X-Doomhammer rubs you.”  Now I can’t remember the other character’s name, but when I looked around to see where he/she was, I couldn’t find that character.

Sateen is my level 110 Beast Mastery Hunter, a Draenei jeweler.  As you can see, she doesn’t dress provocatively.  She doesn’t participate in conversations on chat, and she generally quests alone.  I created her as a Draenei, because they get an advantage in the jewelers profession.

Whoever the molester was, he/she didn’t stick around to flirt or chat her up.  They were obviously doing it because they wanted to make the person running Sateen uncomfortable.   It’s the kind of person who would grope you on a crowded subway with shifting passengers, because they know you can’t identify them.  Only they aren’t even touching anything in this case except a keyboard.  They do it to mess with the other player’s mind and emotions.

In retrospect, I should have made a screen shot (photo) of the screen right away, so it would show the molester’s name, and then complained to Blizzard, who owns World of Warcraft.  They do care about the safety of their players, and have banned players for making unwelcome suggestive comments and advances toward other players.   But now I can’t even remember the other player’s name, so reporting it wouldn’t do much good.

What kind of sick person gets off on doing something like that in a game?  Does he/she “rub” people like that in real life, or is this the only way they get their jollies?  I wish I was enlightened enough to say I feel sorry for them, but I don’t.  No matter what horrendous hand Life deals you, what you do with it and how you act toward other people is your choice.  This person is not making healthy choices, and harming others in the process.

I am not making light of the #MeToo movement.   What happened to Sateen/me earlier this evening was a symptom of the attitude that it’s okay to treat people like trash and use them for your pleasure.  As a bone fide member of the #MeToo movement, I believe it is NOT acceptable to do that.   And I will not tolerate it.

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Wild land vs domesticated land

I grew up in a Southern California suburb, where the only wild things were the birds, gophers, and moles.  Now I live in a Northern California semi-rural small town, next to a wildlife conservation area and the Redwood National/State Park.   In our neighborhood Eagles at Sandmine and 101 Jan 2018we get a multitude of birds (including bald eagles), raccoons, foxes, mountain lions, black bears, and Roosevelt elk.

I love it here.  The primary reason I live here is because of the ocean, mountains, and wildlife.  Fortunately we’ve had jobs here, but that allows us to remain where we want to be.

In the early 1990s a state prison opened in our county, and for the first time since the Gold Rush era we had an influx of people who were not used to wild land.   While it helped keep the area afloat economically (fishing and the lumber industry went downhill because of over-harvesting), it also caused problems.  People with higher incomes meant higher rents and property values — good for some, but not most of the residents at that time.  Drug use and related crime escalated.  It also meant an influx of people who were used to subjugating the land and wildlife, not living with it.

Mountain lions and bears come down off the ridge into our neighborhood once or twice a year — Spring (when the elk give birth, and their afterbirth provides free protein) and Autumn (when the fruit trees and blackberries are ripe).   Two years ago someone in our neighborhood began circulating a petition to have Fish and Game come shoot the mountain lion that had come down in the Spring.  I refused to sign.  She talked about protecting the children at the bus stops in the mornings.  I pointed out a mountain lion Elk at the end of Nickel Avewouldn’t be stalking children in a crowd, and if they were that worried they should send along an adult with bear spray (a type of pepper spray that will work with most wild animals).  Apparently they made enough noise that Fish and Game did come to check out the reports of missing cats, mauled dogs, and missing turkeys.  Turned out only the missing turkey was attributed to a mountain lion.  Fish and Game declined to shoot the mountain lion, but gave a permit to the turkey owner.

When people move into an area with wildlife, they need to realize they are the newcomers there.  It is up to them to alter their lifestyle to protect themselves and their property if necessary.  Want to raise chickens?  Build a sturdy chicken coop with below ground fencing.  Want fruit trees?  Maybe keep dogs in the backyard or orchard, or build sturdy, high fences.  (Elk like fruit, too.)  Want to eat local seafood?  Then don’t dump chemicals or paint into the storm drains or sewers (which empty into the ocean).

I suppose it comes down to a mind-set that sees animals and ecosystems as being just as important as humans.  I know it is possible to learn that, because I did.   Humans have Fox in our backyard 3,9,18 cropdone FAR more damage to the Earth than animals and even natural disasters.  It would be nice if we learned to get along with all the inhabitants of Earth before we make it uninhabitable.

 

(My husband made the first two photos, I made the last one — all in our yard or neighborhood.)

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Grounding Like a Tree (Part 2)

In Grounding Like a Tree (Part 1) I wrote about using creative visualization to safely drain away stress, anxiety, and depression — the “bad stuff.”  This one is about how to take in the “good stuff” to help you heal, the way a tree does.

Most of the nutrients a tree or any other plant needs are taken in through the roots.  As itPecan tree in GA happens, the Earth and its soil also contains most of the nutrients we need — usually we get them by eating things that have been nourished by the soil.  Recently I read an article where scientists discovered a potentially powerful antibiotic in soil in Central Park.  That suggests soil has the potential to sustain and heal us.

In Scotland there is a organization and farm called Findhorn.  The people who founded it in the 1960s decided they wanted to work with Nature to make their gardens and other activities more successful, and ended up creating a self-sustaining community on what started as sandy, dry soil.   Here in the United States, Machaelle Small Wright began the same work in the 1970s and 1980s, and calls her site Perelandra.  What both these groups discovered is that sometimes the nutrients are required to be directly absorbed from the soil, and sometimes it is possible for plants, animals, and humans to absorb the essence of the nutrient and still get the positive results.  As Wright says, “What I’m going to describe to you does not fit comfortably into the recognized notions of tradition, logic or even sanity. In fact, it tends to thumb its nose at all three, especially sanity. Be that as it may, it works.

Here is part two of the grounding exercise.   It just occurred to me a week ago, although elm tree with rootsit is likely it has occurred to someone else before me (I just haven’t read it).   If you think it makes no sense and don’t want to try it, please don’t let that detract from using Part 1 to drain away your stress, anxiety, depression, and the “bad stuff” — I know that works. I learned it when training to be a therapist.  This part takes it a step further, inviting the good stuff to be absorbed.

  1.  First do your grounding and draining away of the “bad stuff” through #6.
  2.  Once the bad stuff is gone, imagine a circle around yourself that includes your tap root deep into the Earth.  Ask Beings of Love and Light (you can think of them as angels or Nature spirits or whatever) to be present with you in the circle.
  3.   Imagine medium and small feeder roots reaching out from your tap root and into the soil.
  4.   Now ask that those roots absorb the nutrients you need to help you be healthy in body, mind, emotions, and spirit.
  5.   Wait a few minutes.  You may feel a sense of completion at some point, or you may not.  Trust that the Beings of Love and Light will help you with the healing.
  6.   When you are ready, pull your attention back to your surroundings.  Thank the Beings of Love and Light, and let them know they can leave.  Mentally open your circle.  Take a deep breath, in and out.  Know that all is well.

I can’t say this will make an immediate difference in your life.  I do trust that it is apt to help, because I have seen how the things I’ve learned from Findhorn and Perelandra have made a difference in my life.  It certainly won’t hurt you.  So far I’ve found it extends the feeling of calmness and well-being that I get with Part 1 of this grounding.   If you do get some obvious benefits from this (although Nature tends to be subtle), please feel free to leave a comment.

Namaste.   namaste

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Grounding Like a Tree (Part 1)

Whenever a person is feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed, one of the quickest ways I’ve found to drain away the “bad stuff” is grounding like a tree.

This makes use of creative visualization and a bit of meditation.

  1. Make sure you are in a safe, quiet place the first time you do this.  The first time may take 10-15 minutes, but the more often you do it, the quicker and easier it will be to do, even in less than a minute.
  2. Close your eyes and imagine you are a tree.  We want a tree with deep roots, sobig old oak tree oaks, hickories, walnuts, sycamores, and maples might be best, but you can imagine yourself as any tree you want, because it is the roots you imagine that will be most important.
  3. Imagine that root begins at your heart, tail bone, and the soles of your feet.  The root is one very strong root, and it goes down, down into the Earth.   It is strong, and goes down quickly into the Earth, pushing aside soil and rock, down, down, all the way to the Earth’s inner core. The Earth’s core is a ball of molten lava.  Your root is so strong and magical, it can survive contact with the Earth’s inner core.
  4. Now think of what is upsetting you right now, whether it makes you stressed or anxious or depressed or whatever.  Send it down that root, and let it travel with the speed of light all the way to the Earth’s inner core, where it will burn to nothingness in the heat and harm no one. diagram of the Earth
  5. Think of everything that is upsetting you, and one by one send it all down that deep, magical root.  All of it is destroyed at the Earth’s core, without hurting you or anyone else.  Keep sending all the bad stuff down that deep root, until you feel you have gotten rid of everything.
  6. Now pause for a few moments, and savor the feeling of having all that bad stuff gone.  Feel the Earth holding you safely, protecting you from all that has harmed you.  You are at one with the Earth.
  7. Slowly become aware of your surroundings again.  Hear the sounds, feel the air upon your skin.  When you are ready, open your eyes, and take a deep, slow breath — in and out.  All is well.

You can do this exercise anytime you want, although it would be best to choose somewhere you feel safe.  Once I did it in the middle of a traffic jam, but I was sitting still in traffic at the time.  The more often you do it, the easier it will be to do, and the more often you will feel that calm connection with the Earth.

Namaste.  namaste

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Meditation

One very effective way of dealing with stress is meditation.  Scientists and researchers have been paying more attention to the benefits of meditation over the past 5-10 years, and have found that meditation increases the amount of grey matter in the brain in areas that deal with your senses, working memory, decision-making, emotional regulation, and empathy.  Meanwhile, the amygdala, the fight or flight part of the brain which is important for anxiety, fear and stress in general, gets smaller.  (For more information, check out this article, and this one.)

There are SO many ways to meditate.  I suspect that is because all of us are unique, and what works for one person may not work for another.   Some people do walking meditations.  Some people meditate while doing yoga.  Some sit in groups and softly focus onCandle a point on the wall (or a shadow on the floor, or a candle, or . . . ).  Or they sit alone.  Or count slow breaths (in and out).   Some meditate while knitting, or doing another repetitive, non-dangerous activity.  Some listen to calming music, or the even voice of someone talking.

One thing that appears to be central to successful meditation is mindfulness meditation.  This “practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing, and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future.”  (Article here.)   When a thought drifts into your head you notice it, then let it drift away again without dwelling on it.

When I first tried doing mindfulness meditation it was difficult for me — thoughts kept streaming through my head and demanding attention.   Over weeks and months, my mind finally got the hang of noticing and letting go.   What worked for me was listening to meditation music, specifically Caroline Myss’ Chakra Meditation Music.  The sounds occupy the part of my brain that might otherwise be used for conscious thought.   Thoughts still drift into my conscious mind, but it has become easier to let them drift out again.

Meditating is a bit like exercising — five minutes a day is better than nothing at all, but if you really want results more would be better.  Forty minutes a day seems to come up as a good amount in most of the articles I read.  But the authors of those articles also admit that their meditation varies from daily to once a week.  If you want to give it a try, start with ten minutes, and then work up to more (if you wish).   The amazing thing is when you realize how good meditation makes you feel, and you start craving more.   It’s almost like a runner’s high.   Meditation leaves me calmer and more able to deal with whatever happens in my day.

It’s taken me years to get to this point of craving meditation time.  At the beginning I figured I would never get here.  But the benefits of meditation are worth the continued effort, even for children.  (Article here.)  Think of it as something to play with.  It’s worth a try.  🙂

namasteNamaste

PS  Here is another take on meditation.  I love the light-hearted way The Unusual Buddha writes.  🙂

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