All You Need is Love…and Prayer…Oh, and Meditation

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Working towards my writing resolution for this year, I’m focusing on four things to do in my spare time.  – Learning, Blogging, Working, Reading.

Part of my learning experience has been to try to listen more intently and effectively.  I’ve discovered that nothing sharpens your listening like a guided meditation.  I can’t tell you that I’m an expert, or that it’s changed my life… yet.  But I can tell you that I have faith in the process.

Now, not all guided meditations are created equal.  I have turned to the master of guided meditations, Deepak Chopra.  I guess I’m rediscovering him, as I used to listen to him years ago.  His voice is relaxing to me, even when my mind wanders and I stray from listening.

He’s written roughly 50 million books.  I may be exaggerating a little, but it feels pretty close to that.  I’ve made it my goal to dig in, but I’m afraid to listen to audiobooks by him, especially while driving.  That voice.  One way or another, I’m going to sleep.

If this feels to new-agey to you, there is an element of that.  Maybe you feel like prayer is the same thing.  Some think that meditation is a secular form of prayer.  I think that they’re two components of the same thing.  You might call it God, or some other name (Mother Earth, Higher Power, etc.)  For this example, we’ll call it God.

So, when you pray to God, you are putting something out there. Sending something to God, or into the universe.  When you meditate, you are listening for the answer.  I wish I had this explanation at hand for my grandson when he was talking to me about prayer.  He asked me “But, how do you hear God?”

I think that this is a problem for most of us.  When we pray, we tend to say “Here’s my problem, God, and here’s what you should do to fix it.”  As if we would know.  Then we get frustrated and feel that God’s not listening when things don’t go our way.  How many times have you prayed for something that, as it turns out, would have been a disaster?

We never know whether something is a blessing or a curse.  Some things may not be revealed to us in this lifetime.  I don’t know what the big picture… the grand plan, is.  I could have the whole thing wrong.  I’m actually not trying to figure things out.  I’m just going to believe that things will work out exactly like they’re supposed to.

– Cat

Being Left-Handed…It’s Not Just About Scissors!

Most right-handed people will probably skip over this post.  They most likely feel like it doesn’t have anything to do with them.  Most of us left-handed people won’t notice.  We’re used to people ignoring our left-handedness.

At work, I move the mouse over to the left side on shared computers when I’m using them.  Yup, I want to use the mouse with my left hand.  I don’t move it back to the right when I’m done.  I figure that you might have to move it if you use a computer after me.  But, consider that I have to move it EVERY time I use the computer, because it’s never set up on the left.

Most of you righties think that being left-handed is about comfortable scissors for us. And a lot of it is.  Maybe you think about desks in school.  If you’re not first in the classroom to claim a left handed desk, it’s tough making a go of writing assignments.  Do they still use pens and pencils in schools?  If they do, it might interest you to know that you can buy left handed writing sets on Amazon.  If you love a lefty, you can buy them a complete left handed College Set (Also available for left handed middle schoolers).   I didn’t even know that was a thing.

Other things you might not know were available for left-handed people:

  • Notebooks – YES!  I use one that’s bound at the top
  • Kitchen Utensils (?)
  • Can Opener – Good Idea
  • Tape Measure – (?)
  • Guitar – Okay
  • Watch – Not Sure
  • Computer keyboard (Numbers on Left)
  • A Left Handed Saute Spoon (from Le Creuset) ???
  • Holster – Makes Sense
  • Playing Cards (?)
  • Mouse – YAY!
  • AND…Chopsticks for Left Handed Children

Obviously, a lot of its marketing.  But there are some great ideas there.  So… being left-handed is a different mindset.  You are often the odd man out.  You may adapt, but some things are awkward.

You want to arrange your kitchen differently than the rest of the world.  When a look at a magazine, I like to browse from back to front.  With a juicy gossip magazine, it doesn’t make any difference, since the stories are two pages tops.  Bowling balls are tough, believe it or not.   You do, in fact, drag your hand through ink when writing. The alternative is making people stare as you exhibit the left-handed writing contortion technique.  Then, your hand stays clean, but you get cramps in weird places.  I prefer inky.

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My Mom is left-handed.  None of my kids are left handed except for my stepson, Andrew.  My Stepfather is left handed.  When my Mom was growing up, they smacked you on the hands at school if you were left handed.  I’m glad they stopped that by the time I went to school.

When people notice that you’re left-handed, they feel obligated to remark on it.  It’s usually “You know what they say… left handed people are in their right mind.  HaHaHa!”  Here’s the joke I tell to left handed people who I meet:

“You know what they say about right-handed people?”

“nothing”

– Cat

Paradigm Shifts

Some of those “aha” moments are pretty strange.  They say that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”  I must be insane.  It seems my thinking gets lodged in a crevice.  It gets encouraged by my emotions and there it sits.

Until… BOOM!  Hello paradigm shift!

This phrase was coined by Thomas Kuhn.  He was an American physicist and philosopher… that’s interesting as a stand alone.  Anyway, it’s a deep and fundamental change in the way you view or understand something.

Maybe it’s God saying “enough already”.  Maybe it’s a self-preservation measure initiated by our subconscious.  When I think of some of the major paradigm shifts I’ve experienced in my life, I can’t really pinpoint the catalyst.  I guess that’s not the point, but it sure would be nice to conjure one up when you feel in need of one.

I’ve had several paradigm shifts that have forced me to take my life, or my thinking about my life, down a new path.  It’s always turned out right, although it usually involves some “going through” stuff.  It also feels like working without a net, which can be scary and exhilarating all at the same time.

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                                                                                                              Mary Engelbreit

I love this illustration by Mary Engelbreit.  Pay no attention to the date, and that I’ve kept this in my memory for about thirty years.  The image is very instructive, and cuts right to the heart of things. 

Sometimes we make a choice to walk through a door.  You may feel uncertain or scared of the door you’ve chosen.  When you try to go back through it, you find that it’s locked. One Choice… Keep it Moving!

– Cat

Where is the Cloud?

Even though I’m over 50, I’m okay when it comes to technology.  Notice I didn’t use the word “savvy”.  That indicates a level of proficiency that I’m not sure I want to advertise.

I used a computer in my business in the eighties.  I sold computers in the nineties, and had one of the first, hardwired “carphones”.  I skipped the bag phone and went right for the cell phone/pager combo.  I used a computer in my home in the early nineties.  Anybody here remember AOL chatrooms?

Anyway, my day job these days is for a “technology” company.  Okay, it’s a cell phone company.  I can help with basic trouble shooting, but there’s a lot going on with cell phones these days.  I like to use words like “magic” and “gremlins” when I’m troubleshooting.   Which is probably why they don’t ask me to do too much of it these days.

I was talking with a gentleman today.  He was about my age.  He said “my phone says it’s out of room.  What does that mean?”  So I starting explaining that the cell phone has a finite amount of storage space.  I start talking about the cloud, and explaining why he should upload his stuff.

He stops me mid sentence and asks “Why are we both looking up? Is that where the cloud is?”  I decided to hand this one off to a coworker.  I know, I forgot I was a badass there for a minute.

Now, I’m really not much of a conspiracy theorist.  My Mom called to tell me a few months ago that her cell phone had been hacked.  I was able to almost convince her otherwise, and I got her the help she needed.  The problem was, as I thought it might be, that she had every app she had ever used open.  A quick lesson in closing stuff down got her back on track.

The thing about me and technology is that I can usually bang my head up against something until I get it right.  In other words, given enough time, I can figure anything out.

But, let’s get back to the cloud.  When I got my last phone, I retrieved all my info from the cloud.  AND two pictures of some random guy I don’t know, in a room I don’t recognize.  I’m glad to report that he seems happy.  How cool is that…..not!  Because, of course, that makes me think.  I’ve got three thousand pictures in my phone.  I really wouldn’t know if I was missing any of them in particular.  Has someone else received any of my photos as the bonus?

If so, I hope it’s one of these:

Because they don’t know the history of holiday butter sculptures in our family!

To the point… I don’t get mad when technology doesn’t work.  To me, it’s amazing that it ever works!  I stand by “magic” and “gremlins” as a reasonable explanation of technology.

  • Cat

You Are A Badass… How to Stop Doubting your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life!

I haven’t done a book review on here yet, but I’m stepping out on a limb to tell you about this book by Jen Sincero.  I have the audio version, and get a great coaching now every time I’m in the car!

First Warning – There will be bad language.  Jen gives you the real.  If you have sensitive ears….

Second Warning – I am now unstoppable in my quest to take over the world after hearing this great mix of wisdom and humor.

In this book, she talks about the doubt she had for the self-help community.  She thought that inspirational and motivational quotes were crap.

Right off the bat, she talks about the difference between wanting to change your life, and deciding to change your life.  What a distinction, right?  In my last post, Being Brave, I talked about being cautious vs. being brave.  I love this quote from Anais Nin that Jen used in this book that speaks right to that point.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”

She talks about being a religious and spiritual skeptic.  Like many of us, her views shifted over time.  A lot of her story reminded me of a situation that I dealt with when I owned a service business.

A had an employee with a drinking problem.  I kinda knew, and I kinda didn’t want to know.  Basically, I didn’t want to deal with it.  I had a talk with him about it.  He said he knew he had a problem, and that he was working on it.  When a customer complained, I had to call him into my office.  I realized at this point that having a good talk with him was not going to do anything. 

I let him go, and he was very nice about it.  He said that I had given him chances that nobody else would have, and that he understood my position.  So, I asked him “Have you thought about giving AA a try?”  He responded by saying that he looked into it, but it seemed like they talked about God too much.  I looked him in the eye and said “Sometimes you have to ask yourself… Is my way working?”

Jen transitions nicely from So What? to Game Plan.  She gives a refresher on the importance of mindfulness.  There’s a discussion on using meditation to reach your goals.  Then there’s the chapter called “Gratitude: The Gateway Drug to Awesomeness”.

I had never heard the quote from Albert Einstein:

Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.

Anyway, if you want to feel inspired and motivated to add more of anything positive in your life.  Go buy this book.  Or download it.  I’ll be shameless and add a link.  100 percent recommend it!  Let me know how you like it!

– Cat

 

Being Brave

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It’s hard work, being brave.  I love this quote, because it’s so true.  We do think of Braveheart, or war heroes, and even Merida in the movie BRAVE.  We do think of people without fear, being strong and living their lives, no matter what gets hurled at them.

The truth is, we’re all scared.  Of all kinds of things.  Some people seem scared.  Some people seem brave.  But none of us get out of this life without some hurt, frustration, and self-doubt.

I saw an ad on Facebook… I know, shocker, huh?  It’s advertising jewelry to promote awareness of mental health issues, particularly depression and suicide.  I’m thinking about getting this piece of jewelry.  Because it’s a great cause, and we could use some dialogue.

But really… I want it because on it are the words Be Brave.  I want it to remind me everyday that you’ve got to be brave.  You’ve got to process and deal with whatever crosses your path.  We all need reminding from time to time.

When I think of some of the cancer survivors that I know, I am overwhelmed at how brave they are.  When you lose someone close to you, it takes bravery to get through the following days.  For some people, getting out of bed in the morning is an act of bravery.  I would say that on the bravery challenge sliding scale, I’m someone there in the middle.

Another quote on bravery that really got to me:

“Be Brave.  Even if you’re not, pretend to be.  No one can tell the difference.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

That’s true, though.  By the time you convince others that you are brave, you have almost convinced yourself!

I love the complexity of humans.  Two things strike me in particular:

  • How resilient we are
  • How fragile we are

What makes the difference between bending and breaking?

It’s bravery!

The ability to say “Is that all you’ve got to throw at me, life?”  The  fine art of planning your next bold move while the walls are falling down.  Being a phoenix.

I feel as though I’ve been more cautious than brave as I moved through life.  I’ve paid the price for that too.  Some people do see me as brave.  I hope I’ve got them fooled, since that means I’m on my way to actually being brave!

– Cat

Did you ever have a QUITTER?

 

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Warning… this post is full of nonsense and silliness.  I just had to share a moment from my work life.  First, some background.  I work with a diverse bunch of folks.  We come from a lot of different backgrounds.  I can think of at least five different languages that we can speak.  I’m one of a couple caucasians, and I’m the wise, old sage of the group.  We have a blast, and love to joke around.  So, my coworker, who happens to be caucasian like me, is arguing with someone in the back, but I can’t hear the conversation.

She comes up front and says to me, “Miss Cat, what does it mean if I’ve got a quitter?”  I didn’t have to think too long before I told her that I would think she had a sock that wouldn’t stay up.

We’ve all had that feeling of dread.  You put your socks on in the morning, and everything’s fine.  As soon as you get out of the car and start walking around, you feel it gradually… or not so gradually, slide under your foot, inside your shoe.  It’s going to be a long day.  You’ve got a quitter.

When I answered Natalie’s question, she was thrilled. “I keep telling them that, and they wouldn’t listen.”  So next up, Cafiann, who comes from a Caribbean background, says “We just say the neck is broke”.  Nobody recognizes that one.  In fact, most of the others don’t even have a name for this syndrome.

So the group decides on the spot that quitters are a caucasian thing.  They suggest I write a blog post about it.  I could call it “White People Be Like”, after the popular memes on the internet.  We laughed so hard that I think we must have scared some customers away.  I thought it was funny enough to share with you, but I chose a milder title.

As a follow-up, I asked one more person today.  Stacey is also caucasian, and I figured this would settle it.  Guess what?  Turns out she’s never heard of the infamous “quitter”.  There goes the whole theory.  It’s maybe just a coincidence that Natalie and I both refer to the devil’s sock by the same name.

Hmmmm… just when you think you’ve got life figured out.

– Cat