May we never forget

These are words from some time ago — honoring the passage in which humanity now finds itself. The release of one age, the advent of another. Can we see and appreciate each step along the way, refraining from demonizing or glorifying whatever we now leave behind or walk toward? Can we walk the middle way?

Hard to put into words, but feeling a deep sense of grief right now – for all of us. For the world. For dreams held dear, striven for, oftentimes innocently, perhaps naively, and yet, the best of which one was aware. For all now gone that will return no more, not even the possibility to dream. The goals and visions and objectives that once seemed all important, now spineless points of past, shallow at best, destructive at worst. For the innocence that cultured these beliefs. Even when it proved dangerous, perhaps deadly, how beautiful in its zealousness, its vibrant grasp for life. I cannot believe that most acted in bad faith. Those times are passing, an era gone, dreams long dead. And while this is good so, so very good so, as society’s butterfly struggles to break out, I cannot help but, at least for a moment, to grieve the caterpillar. For surely the caterpillar had its own innate value, in and of itself, if only to munch on crisp green leaves in morning dew, and crawl along on all those little legglings. Like children, growing up, beautiful, good, and yet, what parent does not silently grieve the first time a child begins to suspect that there is no Easter bunny, no Santa Claus, no fairy tale. As that child reaches for the apple dangling from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Beautiful, yes. Necessary, yes. Evolving, yes. But there for that moment, when the heart was in the right place and the world still believed in magic, even in the unknowing, even in all the wrong steps, even then – oh, so very beautiful. May we look back with love, at others, at ourselves. As grown-ups who look back with kind eyes and compassion at the demanding, compulsive children we were, oh, how very wrong in our sureness, and at the same time, so very, very beautiful. May we never forget. (04/13/15)

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(C) 2017 Mary Batson, FrontPorchRambles.com
All rights reserved, especially the one to see and appreciate all angles, to consider the light and shadow in life just as beautiful and essential as the play of light and shadow in art.

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Me, Myself, and Compassion Fatigue

Mom Arkansas Golden City 096

Let Rock be Rock and Flower be Flower

This morning as I take the time to cook myself a delicious AIP-compliant breakfast and think about what dishes I need to prepare to be ready for a fast-moving work week, my thoughts shift to the connection between self-care and others-care. You know, that moment when we have the choice of whose oxygen mask to apply first.

Over the years I’ve noticed that the better care I take of myself, the better care I can offer to others (and the better ME I can offer to others!). Whether that comes in physical, mental, or emotional form, the idea holds true. When I take the time, the energy, the effort, to figure out what I really need and give that to myself, I find myself more able to meet others exactly where they are – stretching, stretching, stretching – instead of expecting them to come to me.

This can come in many shapes. When I don’t take care of myself, or listen to my needs, or when I fill my life with the countless expectations of those around me – talk this way (Momma said), dress this way (BFF said), believe this way (Daddy said), love this way (tradition said), earn money this way (Wall Street said) – bending this way and that until my entire life, my entire being is reshaped and twisted into all those other voices, rather than my own – that’s when I can find myself turning and projecting my own expectations on others.

YOU should wear this, say this, think this, be this, because I SAID SO. If you don’t, I may judge you a failure. I may even tell you so. And then if I’ve been claiming what I label as your successes and failures as my own, basking or balking in that reflected limelight, I may take those successes and failures very personally and insert myself a little too deeply in your life for healthy boundaries. Unable or unwilling to walk my own road, I’m unwilling to let you walk yours. It’s a vicious cycle.

But when I step in (or out :)) and break that cycle, starting first with myself (which after all is the only place I can truly effect change), figuring out what I believe, how I prefer to dress, to eat, to love, to live – not because someone else told me to, or even in rebellion against someone telling me to – but simply because that is Who I Am – everything changes.

In the warmth and light of authenticity, I can relax. And as I allow myself to be Me, I can allow you to be YOU. To walk your own path, to have your own needs and interests, your own successes and challenges. Perhaps our paths cross, perhaps they don’t. Perhaps our interests cross, perhaps they don’t.  Perhaps our needs are compatible, perhaps they aren’t. But one thing is clear: You are you, and I am me. And that’s perfectly groovy.

And what a relief – what self-inflicted pressure that can remove from our shoulders. I don’t have to change you. I don’t have to try to save you, which usually means I’ve only gotten lost myself. All I have to do is let you be you and let me be me, turning my attention back to the road before me, walking the good red way.

As I do that, as you do that, amazing things can happen. I don’t always understand the whys and wherefores, and I don’t have to. But this I have seen. Flowers that couldn’t be forced begin to blossom on their own. Chains that couldn’t be broken just seem to fall away. And roots that couldn’t get grounded grow strong and deep, all by themselves.

And somewhere in the midst of all that, that compassion we thought we’d lost – for others, for ourselves – it rises to the surface again. Having refueled and freed ourselves, loved and parented ourselves, we realize we have enough – more than enough, an abundance – to truly share with others. Not in a needy way, looking for what might be returned, but in a giving way, the only way unconditional compassion can truly exist.

And so the circle is complete, ‘round one turn to another. We find ourselves once more, replete, as sisters and as brothers.

Namaste – and enjoy your breakfast.

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(C) 2017 Mary Batson, FrontPorchRambles.com
All rights reserved, especially the one to a slow, relaxing breakfast.

Like a Child

recess

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (KJV Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:11)

Words that keep coming to mind of late… Recess is over, folks. Time to buckle down to the work that needs to be done, to lead the way for the next seven generations that will follow our footsteps wherever they lead – evolution, or devolution.

That doesn’t mean we turn our backs on our inner child, or cease to carry a child-like spirit within. It doesn’t mean we ignore the wisdom of the young, who sometimes see things more clearly because they *do view life more simply. But there is a world of difference between child-like and child-ish, one a form of chosen innocence in all we do and see and say, and the other a form of dangerous naivete.

To me it simply means, it’s time to stand up and be counted, to take charge, to move forward. Quit passing the buck. Stop insisting on being entertained every minute of the day. Quit ignoring our responsibilities – to ourselves, to those around us, to our larger society, to the planet itself. Stop ignoring what needs to be done, that thing right there at my feet. At your feet. We can still have our fun, still have those child-like moments. But in between all the giggles, it’s time to be the grown-ups.

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(C) 2017 Mary Batson, FrontPorchRambles.com
All rights reserved, especially the one to giggle while I do my chores.

Evolutionary Drivers At Work

BirthingFor those who have come to see this time in our country and the greater world as a birthing process, it is helpful to remember that “labor pains” is not a metaphorical term.
 
Many have pointed out that problems are evolutionary drivers. Or as Gran put it, “…breakdowns become breakthroughs become breaks of day.” (Going Home, 2010)
 
And for those new to that metaphor, here’s an brief intro. It’s happening across the board – in each life, each pocket of society, and each succeeding level of the greater whole. The baby has crowned – it’s time for that big push!
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(C) 2016 Mary Batson, FrontPorchRambles.com
All rights reserved – especially the one to bloom.
 
 

What You May Have Accidentally Done When You Voted For Trump

Zachary Helton

Dear Trump Voter,

I can’t say that I know why you voted for Trump, but I have a pretty good idea, and I get it. I’m not saying I voted for him, but I see that there are plenty of legitimate reasons to vote for Trump. Sure, he’s not the best role model, but you’re not really voting for him, you’re voting for the party. You’re voting for a conservative, Republican administration. You’re concerned about economics, foreign affairs, and the direction of the Supreme Court, and you think a Republican administration can do a better job. That is completely legitimate. That is democracy.

Now that the election is over, you kind of wish everyone could move on. I mean, we can all agree it’s been a particularly stressful election cycle. The Democratic candidate lost and you think everyone needs to move forward. You might even think your Democrat friends on…

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It’s Not Just a Dream

Don’t like where this country is headed? GET INVOLVED!

I don’t care how you vote. If you care about the good of our country – which is really the good of the people in it – that’s something we share, common ground on which we can begin all kinds of beautiful initiatives. So let’s get out and do something about it. Find a cause you feel passionate about, and pursue it.

I so appreciate the meme that has been floating around Facebook recently – something to the extent of, regardless of what happens on the national level today, WE are the ones who can chose to take charge of shaping the heart and soul (and economic sustainability) of our local neighborhoods and communities. Like it or not, we ARE the government – there is no THEY. There is only We the People – and we are a mighty power, when we have a mind to be.

If all we do is vote every few years, then shut ourselves into our little 4-walled prisons surround-sound high-distraction-factor homes and worlds of social media, which we begin to mistake AS the world – nothing is going to change. Well, it will, but most likely not in a helpful direction. It’s like standing on a treadmill – you may think you’re standing still, but just give it a minute.

Care about the national level? Then get involved HERE. NOW. At the community level. In your own home, your own mind if that’s where the healing needs to begin. In your street. Your neighborhood. Your place of work or worship.

Life is not about pointing fingers and placing blame on those around us. Life is about taking ownership of everything that is ours to do – in all aspects of our lives, from the personal to the progressively larger circles in which we exist – our communities, our nation, the world at large. Taking charge. Accepting responsibility. Practicing accountability. Not just saying “I don’t like this, but I do like this,” then retreating to a wi-fi-fed cocoon. But hey – even that’s a start. It all begins somewhere.

Please – whatever you believe, whatever you prefer – life is happening out there. Right here. Right now. Get involved. Don’t sit this one out. If you’re not sure where to begin, start with a discussion. Or start with some digging – do some research (and check out their sources and funding, while you’re at it). And then – take that next step. And the next. And the next.

Together, WE create that village. ALL of us. Together. Let’s get to know our neighbors, and make our worlds ones we can be proud to pass on to the next generation. Let’s show them how grown-ups really can be – how we can learn to get along and work together, in spite of, who knows, perhaps because of, our differences. How that diversity is exactly what we need to keep a system alive and well and breathing and healthy. How we learned and recognized and accepted that we ALL can bring some good ideas to the table, where we can hash them out, as we focus on highest good for all involved, and that common ground we’ve finally realized we share.

It’s not just a dream. Today, let’s make it our reality.

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(C) 2016 Mary Batson, FrontPorchRambles.com
All rights reserved – especially the one we gained in 1920.