Archive for the 'coping' Category

08
Jan
15

Let’s get busy!

let's get busyMake any New Year’s resolutions?  I did.  Actually, I’ve been thinking of it for quite some time and began it with my last post made in December.  “What was it?” you may ask.  It was to get busy!

The book and motion picture “Wild,” has been getting a lot of attention.   Society’s response to a strong female and her journey through grief to self-discovery has been encouraging.  It’s also been an awakening to the media for the need for more pivotal female roles on the page, stage and screen.  During a radio interview with Reese Witherspoon, the star and producer of the film adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s book, “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” Witherspoon referenced the lack of complex roles for women and responded by not only saying, but putting into action her comment:  “…nobody is doing this work.  I might as well get busy and do it myself.”

Obviously we don’t all have the resources like Witherspoon, but we do share the same perspective.  As a result, instead of expecting others to address the needs which have already been identified, I have decided to join Witherspoon and “get busy.”  What does this mean?  I believe that in each of our lives in our own way, we can make a difference to bring about change for gender equality.  From standing up for ourselves or others when confronted by sexism or working to make more opportunities for women available, we all contribute to society’s transformation.  No action is too small, so we must not minimize our efforts.  It’s changing our very way of thinking as a community; embracing our egalitarianism.

Awareness, education and recognition are vital.  However, without following that up with action in our daily lives, our society tends to find contentment with labeling gender discrimination as simply one of many issues which need addressing.  “Issues” tend not to have the same concern as crisis.  Why is it not a national crisis that women do not receive equal pay for equal work?  Why is it not a global crisis that women are surrounded and trapped by violence, rape and sex trafficking?  When perceived as an issue, it weakens the urgency of our condition.   This is nothing less than a crisis which demands action.

So let’s get busy!

Read interview with Reese Witherspoon

 

Support women artists by buying the book “Wild:  From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed and see the movie.

Advertisements
24
Apr
14

plowing through life

plowing through life“This is just for a short time.  It’s not forever.  You’ll get through this.”

These are words that I tell myself often, but today I heard myself saying them to a friend.  A friend who begins her first chemo treatment tomorrow.  The words felt empty.  I’m a complete fraud.  As if I have the first idea what she’s going through and how she feels.  “Just a short time.”  Sounds logical, but when that time involves suffering, suffering which is inevitable, it can feel like forever.

She’s so brave, my friend.  Though she wouldn’t admit it.  Her strength comes in her ability to face and confront reality.  It can be easy to deny the truth.   To deny her illness and the battle she’s facing.  Even to allow herself to go to some of the most dark places our minds can take us.  But in moderation, she deals.  In short spurts she tries to process this reality that seems to be so cruel and illogical.  And she does this with grace and acceptance.

“I need to live my life,” she said.  She doesn’t want this to prevent her from traveling or making plans or finding other ways to do the things she loves while she fights.  These words apply to us all.  Are we merely surviving, or really living our lives?  In the face of something that can take that life, it can be easier to see things more clearly.  But in the everyday doldrums, we tend to just try to “get through this.”

So perhaps my advice was not good at all.  Because every day is another chance for life, not just something to plow through; even if that day involves a fight for that life.

11
Apr
14

some things never change

some things never changeSome things never change.  Is that really true?  Sometimes I feel that it is about me.

For a long time now I’ve been keenly aware of a struggle I have to let things go.  Part of this has to do with my nature of being a planner.  I like to look ahead and be “responsible.”  This also stems from a tendency to put the highest expectations on myself causing me to try and put 100% towards everything I do (another thing I haven’t learned isn’t possible).  I let little things, minor details overshadow everything.

I wish I had more of a carefree spirit.  Or perhaps I just need to trust that things will work out.  I don’t think I necessarily want to control everything, but I want to be prepared if I can be.  However, sometimes you just can’t be completely prepared.  You have to wait until you get there, wherever there is, usually the next new experience or uncharted territory.  And I guess that’s the key.  I’m afraid of the unknown.

So does this change with time?  Does more experience mean less unknown?  But I’ll never know everything; even if I end up living in the same place, doing the same thing with the same people for the rest of my life.  And I do not want to live my life that way, but I also don’t want to live in fear; that’s not living, I know first-hand.  I try to keep the big picture in perspective, but keeping an eye and a mind on that can while also worrying about the unknown can be exhausting.  It’s a battle every time; one which I continue to lose.

Is this something that is just part of who I am that I will never change?  Will acceptance of this bring me freedom?  Or will I be forever trapped in fear?  Some things never change, I hope this isn’t one of them.

05
Apr
14

just deal with it

just deal with it“That’s life.  Just deal with it.”

Don’t you want to just smack someone in the face when they say that?  You’re sharing a deep and troubling issue and they throw that line out at you and it feels like someone is stabbing you in the gut.  “Just deal with it.”  Really?  Do they have a sympathetic bone in their body?  Or are they just trying to toughen you up?  Either way, it’s really evasive and belittling.

Unfortunately, I heard this two times over the past couple of weeks.  I poured my soul out, sharing my woes about the past year’s struggles which seemed to happen one after another and that’s the reply I received.  “Okay,” I said.  “That may be life, but for most people stuff like this happens over a ten year period or more and mine was condensed into a little over one year.”  This still elicited little to no response.  And then I realized it.  They themselves couldn’t deal with it, so they threw it back on me.

As I reflected on the lives of those that reacted this way, I found a vast differences between them but one consistency; avoidance.  The first person really hadn’t experienced a whole lot of loss or struggle in their lives because they kept themselves at just enough distance from others so that they could quietly back away at any sign of trouble.  Meanwhile, the second person had had their fair share of difficulties and loss, but wouldn’t dare admit its effects on them.  For both, what hardships they faced they merely avoided dealing with it.  Which makes their statement all the more ironic.

Life is not something to “deal” with.  It’s not something to avoid.  It’s something to live and experience.  Good or bad, it’s part of who we are and what makes us human.  And I believe we live it better when we do it together.  So the next time someone punches me in the gut with that phrase, I think I’ll say, “I don’t want to just deal with it.  I want to live it and I hope you’ll take the journey with me.”

19
Mar
14

just be

just beingI’ll be alright.

It’s the first time I’ve said it in a while.  I don’t know if I totally grasp what that means, but I know that somewhere deep inside me I do believe it.  Perhaps it was the beauty of the day as I opened the windows and felt the cool breeze and smelled the fragrance of the flowers outside.  Perhaps it was the blue sky and thinking about how I used to walk around our neighborhood and feel a part of something greater than myself; breathing in the grandeur of the huge mountains that lay just outside my doorstep.  I took a step today.  A step beyond myself.  And I feel hope.

Hope for what?  Healing?  A future?  That despite feeling so lost, hurt and confused by the twists and turns of this life that it is worth it.  That the love and beauty of this world can fill you with purpose and simple joy which has nothing to do with one’s own accomplishments or contributions.  Something is free in this world-just being.

So many times I’ve asked myself, “what am I doing?”  Instead of asking, “what am I being?”   We get so caught up in the doing that we miss the being.  Not that doing is bad, but sometimes it distracts us and we fail to see all that we have just by being.  We look for something more; something to give justification to our existence so that we feel worthy enough to “be.”  But here we are.  Whether we do or not, we still be.

I want to fully be before I fully do anything.  And perhaps that means doing less and remembering to take more time to close my eyes and breathe in that fragrant air just outside my door.  Appreciating all of the love that surrounds me every day, knowing that that love goes with me beyond my door.

Learning to be grateful to just be.

 

17
Mar
14

fighting for life

fighting for lifeCancer.

This is not a word that people want to hear.  One of my dear friends was diagnosed with it this week.  It was totally unexpected.  She went in to get an ache/pain checked out and received this shocking news.  The only thing I thought was that we needed to kick some ass!

It seems that there are few people who have not been affected by this disease.  However, everyone responds differently.  What has been your experience?  Who did it affect-you, family or friend?  What did you find was the most encouraging or helpful to battle it?

What I found myself saying to my friend over and over again is that she will get through this and that this disease does not define her.  She is not the cancer.  It is only briefly apart of her life.  I feel like it is so easy for me to say these things to her because I am not experiencing it first-hand.  It makes me wonder if I am saying the right things or being what she needs.

With this in view, my perspective on life continues to change.  How can we find a way to live in the present without planning or fearing the future?  Why spend so much time and energy on things which don’t last or you can’t take with you?  What is the truth and purpose in life?

Once my mind starts spinning in this direction, I have a trigger which shuts it down before I get too overwhelmed.  I go into survival mode.  But survival is not life.  So how can we contemplate all of these things when we feel like there’s never enough time?  How can we live life to the fullest and still be responsible?

12
Mar
14

kicking butt

kicking buttEver feel like life is just kicking your butt?

I hesitated to write a blog today because frankly, I don’t feel like I can stay very positive.  After all, this is a blog meant to empower women and I don’t believe I have anything to give right now.  My heart feels hardened and cynical, yet angry and about to burst.  Today I got the news that a dear friend of mine is very sick.

The initial shock of it all is wearing off and a deep sense of rage is replacing it.  Perhaps this is better because I refuse to accept defeat.  I’m done wallowing and am ready to wage war on this crazy thing called life and all that it brings.  How?  Still haven’t figured that out yet, but first I am going to champion my friend to health.  Second, I’m not going to sweat the small stuff.  And third, I want to make the most of every moment.

This past year has been the toughest of my life and the one lesson that keeps repeating itself is that time is precious.  Who knows if this all has a purpose or is working to prepare me for something in the future.  Whatever it is, I’m realizing that it doesn’t really matter because what matters is right now.  This moment.  And what am I doing?  Writing.  Hopefully encouraging someone out there who feels as I do.  Who needs hope.

So I’m going to get off of my bruised butt, remove the weight of the world off my shoulders and start kicking life back!