Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

C: The Easy Way Out?

uphill battle To say that V and I have been challenged by life lately is an understatement.  She is totally consumed by family illness and other family distractions; I’m having trouble sleeping because of my workload. 

When I come home from work at the end of a long day, my mind really wants brain candy, so I turn to “Top Chef” or any of the mindless offerings of TV (some of which I am embarrassed to admit to watching).  Let me just say that if it is “mindless” you are looking for, TV has a lot to offer.

Lately, however, I have been enjoying Oprah Winfrey’s “Lifeclass” series. Oprah is splicing in some clips from her many shows, having guests and audience participation to explore what lessons we can all learn from these episodes.  Some of them are quite good.  I have actually been congratulating myself that this, at least, has some substance as opposed to some of the mind-numbing things I have been known to watch at the end of a day.

Last weekend as I was doing some bedroom cleaning, I turned this show on.  This episode featured one of the editors of oprah Oprah Magazine, “Beth,” who is also a life coach.  Beth told of an experience she had while “out” during a surgery.  She did not die or nearly die, but she had some of that out-of-body experience you hear so many of the near-death people relate,  She “floated” above the operating room, watching her doctors.  She was bathed in light, which brought utter and complete happiness.  She hated leaving it and came away with the “understanding” that this complete happiness was the way she (and all of us) should feel all the time.  She “understood” that it was our own doing that our happiness in this life was so diminished, and she set her life’s path to exploring why that is and what she could do to avoid that diminishment.

She has decided that “truth” is the key.  She says that any time she shades the truth (even, “I like your hair…” when you don’t) diminishes her happiness in a way that she can feel.

So the rest of the segment was about lies we tell ourselves (even when we don’t know we’re lying to ourselves) and to others and the way that destroys a happy life.

The clear theme:  If you stick to the truth and only the truth, you will live in the bliss for which you were created.  If you are not living in heavenly bliss, it is because of untruth—even that of which you are not conscious.  You must, therefore, discover what secrets you are keeping from yourself so that you can be totally truthful and, therefore, totally happy.  Voila!

Well, it is a hypnotic proposition, and I literally sat on the edge of the bed, thinking about what lies I was living in which were diminishing the ecstasy for which I was truly destined…because, Lord knows, that is diminished at the moment. 

As I fell toward that message, suddenly Elvie began jumping up and down on my shoulder.  Remember Elvie?  I have written about him, here—he’s the “Little Voice,” the one that rides around whispering in your ear, and he’s always right.  My son and I use his initials “L V” to refer to him as “Elvie.” 

And what Elvie was saying was this:  “What about those people in Africa where some guerilla-type soldiers come in and hack people to death in front of their children’s eyes?  What shades of untruth was it that got in the way of their happiness?

And, “Gee, could it be that if only V would get truly honest with herself, then her daughter would be healthier and V could, therefore, be happier?”

And suddenly I saw myself, having been entranced by the allure of the message I was hearing, like this depiction of poor little Mowgli hypnotized by the scheming Kaa (first couple of minutes—although the rest is classic, too!):

Now, let me be clear: I believe we should be truthful.  I totally believe that lies we tell ourselves can hinder our happiness and success. I believe that lying (however small) sometimes can cause havoc in our lives, and we should avoid it.

But, c’mon! 

As I sat there, awakened by Elvie, wondering about my own readiness to fall into this New Age message, I also wondered why?  I believe it is a search for the easy way out.  I would LOVE to find a formula to life’s happiness, where I could be assured that if only I would follow that formula, life’s unpleasant challenges would dissipate.

But I don’t think that’s gonna happen.

No, instead, I think I’ll try to remember that I should not fall for “easy fixes” to cure any discontent or unhappiness I may have.  I simply do not think that someone in a third world country who is watching their child die of starvation because of drought needs to look inside herself to find what lies she is stuffing.  Let’s face it, life just brings difficulty.  Yes, we exacerbate them by our own actions, but sometimes we have nothing to do with the misfortune that comes our way.

And, I think that (I’m speaking of myself, here, as much as anyone else) only too-fat—from-too-much people who have the luxury of time (not to mention a steady supply of potable water) are sitting around seriously wondering if getting honest with oneself is the key to happiness.  That scene is probably not happening very often in, say, Haiti.

thanksgiving So, that’s a nice Thanksgiving message, isn’t it?  Maybe we should accept the challenges that come our way, do our best to overcome them with honesty and truth but also remember that struggles—and, yes, unhappiness—come with life.  There isn’t an easy way around it. 

Let’s concentrate on our blessings this season and derive happiness there.  C

P.S. – And about that “total honesty” thing…I am in/from the South.  If you ask me about your hair, I am probably going to tell you I like it whether I do or not.  Sorry, It’s the Southern way.  Guess I am not destined for heavenly bliss…

Thursday, November 10, 2011

V: The Important Things in Life: Update & New Development***

 

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***We learned this morning since I wrote this post last night that my daughter has a blood clot in her arm. Please pray for it to resolve safely.

For those of you who drop in here from time to time, you may know that my oldest daughter has been ill for some time.  She suffers from serious chronic health problems and recently discovered she is pregnant.  YES, it was a surprise!!!  Because of her health issues, it was not the plan, and she is in the hospital again—this time  because of a serious blood infection she contracted from her IV port.  I have left my job for the time being to care for her children.  All of your prayers are appreciated very much! 


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I have some important decisions to make in the near future.  I’ve felt the need to keep working for financial security (like being able to have  health insurance and not  be a financial burden to my children in my retirement years)—Hubby is also reluctant for me to give it up.  If I leave my job (of which there are scarce few in these parts –will I regret it later?

 

Bag Lady Fear

Yes, don’t miss the caption at the top of the cartoon:  “There’s a little bit of the bag lady fear in all of us!”  “C” and I have often joked about this very thing!  Still, I have to confess:  My lack of faith disturbs me.

  I love  helping take care of my grandchildren; shopping for groceries, driving kids around, etc., but it’s hard after I’ve put in a full days work.  My job involves working with disabled teenagers  in a school district which is struggling financially, has been cutting staff left and right.  Truth be told, I’m struggling also with the stress and pressure that has increased in my job.  My job is much more difficult than a few years ago! Even if it were not for the situation with my daughter’s health, I would find it difficult. Also, my daughter’s health problems are chronic—they are not going away.  There’s just a lot to consider, but  I keep thinking—what will matter most years from now?

So, I’m throwing a line out there to the blogging neighborhood.  Any ideas out there?  I’d love to hear and again, I’m so very grateful for all your thoughts and prayers!

V

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