Bones in Common

Skull

“When I see people stopped in traffic, in the check-out lane at the store, or walking down the street, I like to visualize their bones.  It helps me remember that, no matter how different we are, deep down we are all the same.”  ~My Chiropractor

No one wants to fail.  No one wants to be miserable.  No one wants to be depressed.  No one wants to have acidic relationships.  Everyone is doing the best they can with what they have been given.  We all have dreams.  We all have vision.  We all have aspirations.  We all have a past, and we all have made decisions we regret.  We all have a spark of greatness, we all have passion, and we all have hate.  We all have secrets.  We all have scars.  Each of us is different, but we are all the same.

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Never Waste an Obstacle

An obstacle does not prevent you from reaching your goal, it only changes the path you take to get there.

fallen treeAn obstacle measures what your dreams are worth

An obstacle reminds you where you are going

An obstacle gives character to your journey

An obstacle fosters growth and change

An obstacle gives perspective

“The obstacle is the path”  – Zen Proverb

He did WHAT in his cup?

cupIf you have seen the animated film Cars you may remember the scene where Lightning McQueen is telling the residents of Radiator Springs of Doc’s history as a race car.  He explains to them that Doc has won 3 Piston Cups, to which Tow Mater replies “He did what in his cup?”

Well I am proud to say that last night I was presented with my first Piston Cup.  My youngest son, who is 20 months, is learning to use the toilet.  He does not like diapers, and if we are home, he is usually naked from the waist down.  When he first abandoned his diapers a few months ago, he was pretty neutral as far as the toilet was concerned.  If you sat him on it, he would go, but mostly he would just go on the floor, and watch as Mom or Dad hurried to clean up.  Slowly though, he began to realize that it was more desirable to use the toilet, and he has been having fewer and fewer accidents.

Last night, he was upstairs in bed, watching a movie on the kindle with his brother and sisters.  He felt that call of nature, so he paused the movie and made for the stairs.  There just so happened to be an empty cup sitting on the first landing.  Seeing that he still had a measurable distance to the bathroom, and not wanting to create an unsightly slip hazard on the floor, he stood over the cup and relieved himself.  (This is one of the reasons why, if you have children,  you should never drink out of cups you find lying around the house, no matter how wasteful you feel just dumping things out.)

If your wondering how I reacted, the truth is, I didn’t.  He made a valiant effort, and showed spectacular resourcefulness, so there was no reason to reprimand, scold, or otherwise tell him he was wrong.  But I also am not keen on this becoming a recurring event, so I wasn’t about to praise him for it.  I don’t really think I could have said anything anyway, even if I wanted to, without breaking out into uncontrollable laughter.

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Enjoy What Is

boat

“Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s laws wrong, it learned to walk without having feet. Funny, it seems to be keeping it’s dreams; it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared. You see you wouldn’t ask why the rose that grew from the concrete had damaged petals. On the contrary, we would all celebrate its tenacity. We would all love it’s will to reach the sun. Well, we are the rose – this is the concrete – and these are my damaged petals.”

-Tupac Shakur

Don’t be obsessed with your own faults.  Don’t judge the faults of others.  It’s nothing short of a miracle that we are here.  Enjoy what is.

Incurable Laziness

I didn’t make any specific new years resolutions this year, but I did look at the coming year as a clean slate, a new opportunity, and a fresh start.  And I have to tell you, my burst of “New Year Motivation” lasted nearly to March, which is way longer than usual.  I was getting things done around the house, keeping up with my obligations at work, and feeling good about myself in general.  I spent zero time on social media, and could rarely be found wallowing in depression and self-loathing.

Well, now its April, and here I am blogging when I am supposed to be working.  My motivation has left, and in its place is incurable laziness.  It’s making my work more difficult, making my home life more difficult, and really dragging me down emotionally.  and I just can’t seem to shake it.  I can’t seem to get back on the inspiration bus.

Part of the problem may be that I have no clear aim in life.  No ultimate goal or direction.  Or maybe its the constant nagging feeling of meaninglessness, or fear of failure.  But I’m not completely without hope, because this is just one part of a cycle I have been repeating for years, and soon enough I will be back on top, getting things done, and making stuff happen.  Another reason I am hopeful, is that I have been consistently working to  stretch out the periods of inspiration and productivity, and slowly abbreviate the lazy lump periods.

Proposed Homeschooling Regulations for Michigan Families Could Create a Cascade Effect

Earlier this month, I was horrified to read of a woman in Detroit who murdered two of her children, and had been keeping their bodies in the freezer for well over a year.  It is tragic beyond words, and now, Michigan legislators hope to use the children’s deaths as an opportunity to tighten homeschooling regulations, as the children were said to be homeschooled.   Proponents of the new bill say it would simply require homeschool families to register with the state, and have an inspection by a social worker, police officer, or Physician two times per year.  The grandfather of the victims feels that legislation like this could have prevented the children’s deaths.  If children aren’t in school how can they know for sure that they haven’t been murdered?  (by the way, it was reported that some of the neighbors knew that she had murdered her children, yet remained silent)

But what about children who aren’t old enough to go to school?  should they be subject to twice yearly inspections?  What if there is a disabled adult in the home, or an elderly person who no longer works?  Without state inspections, how can we be assured of their safety?  What about people who have freezers big enough to store two bodies?  Or people who have kids and are taking Anti-psychotic medications (as this woman reportedly was).  It seems odd to limit the inspections to families who homeschool their children.

Michigan State Senator Pavlov, in his open letter to Michigan parents says that “this legislation would not have stopped Ms. Blair from killing her children. Blair was willing to break every law on the books, and routinely and effectively lied for years to hide her crimes.” He also says, “This tragic situation is not, and never was, however, a homeschooling problem.”

If this law is passed, this could quickly become a homeschooling problem.  At first glance it seems fairly innocuous, just register with your local school district, and have social worker pop in occasionally to make sure the kids are still alive.  However, this bill would bring to life policies that currently can’t be enforced, such as what material must be taught, how records should be kept, and the fact that anyone who wishes to teach their own children must have a teaching certificate or bachelors degree.  The many requirements (as well as the states ignorance of how homeschooling works) are outlined in a document from the Michigan Department of Education.  There is hope however.  Senator Pavlov says, “As the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee I wanted to write you today to assure you that this anti-parent legislation will not see the light of day in my Committee.”

I don’t have the words to describe my sorrow for the children, their family and friends, and especially their surviving siblings.  I just don’t want to see their death used as an opportunity for a power grab by politicians.

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Understanding Our Stories

“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you
don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not
doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or
less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have
problems with our friends or family, we blame the other
person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will
grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive
effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason
and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no
reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you
understand, and you show that you understand, you can
love, and the situation will change”

― Thích Nhất Hạnh

There are a lot of things about myself that I would like to change.  My eating habits, my organizational habits, my tendency to put things off, my fear of failure.  I have been going about the process with the idea that I just need more self control, or I just need more grit, or a commitment, or a magic word, or a rubber band around my wrist that I can snap every time I reach for a brownie.  And while these can be good things, they aren’t really working for me.  In fact, they never have.  Why then, would I continue to use methods that do not work?  Because I believe they work.  I have written them into my story.

From the moment we are born, we are writing a story, the story of our perception of reality.  This story covers every aspect of our lives, and answers questions such as “Can people be trusted?”  “Am I worth loving?”  “What is Truth?”  “What is Justice?” or “What will it take to make me happy?”  Most of the important questions are answered before we even know we are asking them.  Each of us has written a unique story, and none of them are perfect reflections of reality.

In the parable of The Blind Men and the Elephant, each man experiences a different part of the elephant, and each man comes away with a different idea of what the elephant is, and what it’s for.  Each man possesses the same amount of truth regarding the elephant, but what they have to gain from each other is perspective.  So it is with our stories.  None is any more or less true than the other.  We do not need to seek truth from others, we have it within ourselves, but what we do need to seek is perspective.  With understanding, and without judgement, there is much that we can learn from our fellow humans, about life, and about ourselves.

But other people are not the only ones who need our understanding.  We need to stop judging and blaming ourselves.  There is a reason for our behavior, and if our behavior needs to change, it is easier done with love and understanding than with any amount of self control.