Saturday, May 30, 2015

Don’t let the sun go down on your anger

I am sitting here at my computer, confessing my sins. I got angry last night. Now I can get tussled about quite often, but generally I hold my peace; I can usually shake off what is bothering me and move on. Last night was not one of those times.

I have a 16 year old son, and he is a driver, but he does not have a car and we only have one car that we all share. Now usually on Saturday I take the car to work (I generally take my bike), so I can come home and have lunch with my wife (the crowd says “awe”). She will then take me back to work, and then she will do her shopping for the next week. That has been the routine since I have had this schedule.

Last night my son came home, and said he needed the car first thing in the morning. It is for a social event, and one which I support, but he came in and changed my plans.
I lost it. I did not start yelling, but my wife did say I was throwing a fit (didn’t someone say he was an adult earlier… humph).
I went to bed and I had a very restless night sleep, and I woke up this morning in a rather bad mood. I stomped around the kitchen, chanted as my mantra “I don’t want to go to work,” and grumbled about not being able to take the car (Adult: I say again humph).
I sat down at my computer, and started to settle down, and I realized I was acting as a child. I started making a list of apologies I needed to give, did a little work and my time to leave approached.
I went out to my mode of transportation, and my front tire was as flat as a pancake. Now I really felt bad, because my wife would have to take me to work and I would be disrupting her sleep.
So this is the lesson I have gleaned from that experience.
First, plans can change, and being rigid about your plans can make you break. So I must not be so set in what I am doing that I cannot make allowances for variation.
Second, resolve the problem – before going to sleep. Waking up the next morning feeling upset will only be overshadowed by feeling tired.
Lastly, be grateful for what you have, because you never know when you might have a “flat.”

Thursday, May 14, 2015

I need some WD-40

I have been writing pretty steady since January, and I am very happy with the success of what I have done. This is better than any other attempt I have made with my writing. But the wheels are getting stuck.

I have sat down here to write and opened up a vain, but for some reason the words aren’t coming out like they were: I am not able to just take a word or an idea and run with it. 
I do admit, where I do the most of my writing is here at my “Brick and Mortar,” but the atmosphere is not quite conducive for original thought; with the primary colors on the walls to offset the beige cubicles, the ivory desks, the cold monitors and the grey phone, The carpets are even a bleck color (somewhere between brown and yuck).

There is a motivational poster that hangs near my cubical that says, “Are you the weakest link?” which is kind of anti-motivational.

I suppose what I am saying, is I am lacking motivation. I find it hard to have motivation here at my “Brick and Mortar,” and (as I yawn for the hundredth time today) I am finding it hard to have creative thought. 

I need to break out of this funk, I have felt out of sorts since I got sick with the flu, and now I am just sitting here, marking time. 

I tried to play music, but my boss told me to turn it off (I guess not everyone likes Bon Jovi). I am stuck in the doldrums, I just thought it would be warmer. 

So I know this post is a little on the whiny side, and for that I am sorry, but this is something I believe we all are faced with from one time or another. Getting those new ideas, creating words that inspire and crafting ideas that motivate. When those are fleeting from us, how do we get them back?

So I sit here in my beige cubical and ponder what I can do next. I know there are atrocities that need to be righted, and injustices in the world - which I can tackle.

I have written a bit of fiction, but it is not ready for public eyes yet, and perhaps it might never be. 

I have to remember - it is alright to fail, it is alright to fall on my face, because the failure will not define me. I suppose that is the biggest thing that stops me. I am facing a wall that is over a thousand feet tall, but it is only a meter wide. I just have to go around it. 

So here I go, failure or not, I am going to step around that wall. Please catch me if I fall. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

My way or the Highway

When I became a manager for a nationwide photography company, I was placed in the middle of a season with veteran photographers, and a whole passel of attitude. My stress response is to get blusterous, and in true fashion, I said, “If you don’t want to do your job, there’s the door.”

The room fell silent, and I stood in front of the whole staff, and I knew at that moment two things were a possibility: Either I would be trampled by a stampede of escaping photographers, or they would realize I was just saber rattling and never take me serious. I kind of wished they trampled me.

Once you make that statement the recipient has two responses, either cut tail and run or dig in their heels. Neither offers a satisfactory resolution. 

When you say, “My way or the Highway,” you are making yourself preeminent, and even though preeminence has its place, it does not have its place in love. We have a lot of people in this world trying to dominate, trying to be better than the Jones’ and trying to make their way the only way.

The only issue with this attitude is that we miss out on collaboration. When we think that there is no other person that can have a better idea of what needs to be done, we squash other’s ideas. What’s more, people stop listening. 

When I was first married to my wife, I was not very kind. We dated, and I had the typical dating face. I was kind, soft spoken, gentle, compassionate and nurturing. After we said “I do,” I turned into Mr. Hyde. 

Kelly do this, Kelly do that, you need to obey me. I chuckle now, because I realize what a “Jack Wagon” I was back then, and how patient Kelly was with me. 

She reminded me that Eve was not taken from Adam’s foot, so she would not be stepped on, and he was not taken from his head, so she would be over him; she was taken from his side - to be beside him. 

When you yield and give “right of way,” you are telling the other person. “I respect you, I want to listen to you and I hope you will listen to me.” You level the playing field, so that both of you can be equals. Because love does not insist on its own way; this is one way to show your love.

Let me break off into a tangent right now, I know I am throwing the “L” word around a lot. This can be very uncomfortable for people, because they feel that word is special. That word is special, and I am not trying to misuse it: However, if we are not showing love, and in black and white world, we show the opposite, which is hatred.

So don’t insist on your own way, it might give you the feeling of power, and you might feel like you are in control, but you might find yourself walking alone on that very same highway.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Litany of the Duck

My Grammy used to say, “Don't dig up old bones.”
One way to make yourself or someone else completely miserable and even ruin a relationship is to dig up some old bones. I am not talking about Archeology; I am talking about keeping track of wrongdoing.

When we can't let something go, we cannot move on ourselves. We miss the things around us, by cluttering our view with malice and discord.

Forgiveness is very important, especially when we are trying to move on. As I have said in other posts, I am not a saint - in fact, I would argue I am 180 degrees from sainthood, and moving rapidly away from that direction. Besides there is already a Saint Thomas and I don't want to encroach on that territory. 

This being said I have not only made terrible mistakes,but I have kept a record of wrong. Making mistakes is part of growing, and learning - we all make mistakes, because we are all growing and learning. When you keep a record of wrong, and you can't move on - you stop the growing process.

When I moved my family up to the Pacific Northwest - to pursue a job that actually fell through - we ended up sleeping on the living room floor at my parent’s house. Now my oldest son at that time was eleven years old, and my second son was 9. 

One day my two boys were playing out in the backyard kicking a ball between them, when my father came out and started yelling at my oldest son, because he kicked over a duck.

This duck was a dirty, old, plastic, lawn ornament that sat in the back yard in some ivy. My son told my father that he did not kick over the duck, but my father insisted and told him that he needed to pick up the duck. My son picked up the duck and made it sit correctly in the ivy patch. 

Let me clarify, nothing happened to the duck, it was not in any way injured or broken, it was just laying on its side, and all it needed was to be stood up: No damage whatsoever. The damage came from my father’s perspective on how the ugly plastic duck was wronged.

My father and mother, however, could not reconcile the duck incident. Later that night started the “litany of the duck,” that would last for years. 

My parents would not let the bones of the “duck” be buried, and even after my father's passing - in our family - anytime someone belabors a subject - it is called “kicking over the duck.”

The point of the story was my son and my parents never had a good relationship after that, every time my son tried to get close, my parents would bring up the duck: After a while my son stopped trying. 

When my son and his wife had their first child, my father and mother didn’t even see their great grandchild for about six months; even then they didn't get a chance to hold him, and my son had no guilt over it, because he wasn't close to them. They could not move forward, and this caused him to not move forward either: broken relationship.

Remember time and relationships are lost because of scores we keep.

We all have ducks in our lives, we all have been accused of doing things we did not do and we all have bones that need to be buried.