Monday, 26 December 2011


Living on credit. Credit cards. Credit trap. What’s your credit score? Credit limit? Credit card balance. Credit account. Huh? Oh, I got a little carried away. . . but did I? If you’ve been alive for at least seven years, you have heard at least one of these phrases. Heck some children may even have credit cards. This blog message is one that I’ll call a short-take meaning I’ll only take a short minute to speak my thoughts. It’s not written like prose or poetry, but still it is shared to make us think about . . . credit. J

I no longer have a credit card for whatever reasons, be that as it may. And the more I read about credit and credit cards I am sooooo glad I don’t have one. I just read in an issue of Reader’s Digest that if you have a credit card with no balance, and you don’t use it for 12 months, this of course does not make the credit card company happy. So they’ve created rules and laws to their benefit to make you pay just for carrying their piece of plastic in your wallet. They will charge you an annual fee up front and there’s nothing you can do about it except pay it, cut up the card and cancel the account. Not using the card does not automatically mean it is a dead dog. It is only sleeping mind you, and because the credit card company gets hungry, it will kick your dog and wake him up and demand that you feed him some Annual fee by Purina, or some other dog food company. Hmmmm. With real beef too!!

I thought this was going to be a short-take but already I’ve written more than I intended to so let’s just jump write in. Oh I mean right in. Just a warning though, for this short-take there is more reason than rhyme to what I’ve written so please just hang in there ‘til the ride is over. And then jump off. Thanks!

In the field of accounting, credit, or to credit means to deduct an amount from an account whether in your favor (what you owe to a creditor for instance) or in their favor (from your nest egg. Hmmm.). By the way, to debit means to add to your account, or in layman’s and laywoman’s terms a deposit. Now that sounds like paper music to my ears!

Living on credit: Spending resources you see with your eyes (hopes, desires, needs or greeds) only. It’s not yet yours. Has not yet landed onto the landing strip of your hands.

Living on credit: Thinking and dwelling with a futuristic view and mentality (can you say impatience, or are we there yet?) to the point that when the present arrives you never meet him, her, or it, etc., because you never saw them; because you don’t recognize the day of your visitation. But yet somehow you find yourself sitting in, with and on a mountain of debt, that you never saw coming. What a paradox.

Living on credit: Back to the future where time just passes through my fingers. My how time flies. Like the wind. Never late, never early. Always on time. (Can you say credit card payment due date? Don’t be late!!)

Living on credit: Borrowing against something you will never own. Whoever created credit may be rich now and at everyone else’s expense, but he (or she) is not your friend. But of course, no one is forcing us to go plastic, but because we have, and have just jumped overboard with it, we’re on a slippery slope of our own making sliding into a cashless society where no one will be in control of his or her own . . . Money? What’s that?

There really is no reward to living on credit. It's not like getting extra credit in school for doing extra work. Come on my fellow froggers, I mean bloggers, let's wake up and jump out of the pot before we get boiled to death! Trying to live in tomorrow today leaves nothing for tomorrow when it becomes today. Can you say where’s my social security? What’s that?


Saturday, 24 December 2011


“Trapped inside this body.” “Trapped inside my mind”. “Caught between a rock and a hard place.” These are just some of the clichés we use to describe that “feeling” (and even maybe the reality) of being in an impossible place, or situation out of which we cannot see our way. Not only does it look and sound impossible, it feels negative and ominous. Very rarely do we look at being “trapped” as being a positive thing, at least not while we’re in it.

As psychologists (and ministers of the gospel) we are trained to help others (and ourselves) to learn to see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty, even though it’s the same amount of liquid. J You say “po-tAt-o” and I say “po-TaT-o”. Hmmm, the exact letters, the same food, but it’s all in the pronunciation, or in how you see and hear a thing. (Or taste it. I still love French Fries, my favorite way to eat a po-tAt-o or po-TaT-o, but if you give me a baked po-tAt-o with cheese, bacon bits, chives and onions and butter, I will not get offended not one bit. Neither will I feel trapped in a negative way by the calories.) Anyhoooo, still we too are human experiencing life which is not always flavorful. We still have to be realistic, yet we cannot let our current and present reality become our thermostat, only the thermometer.

I recall from my own life experiencing some life-changing situations, disappointments, surprises with “no way out”. I not only felt trapped but I was trapped by my past decisions and choices (even though they seemed good and positive at the time, and I had no regrets or reasons to regret them). Commitments, loyalties, obligations, contracts, covenants, legal decisions, etc. When you say “yes” to a new job offer with better pay and benefits, you breathe a sigh of relief and make plans for a better and different future. There is nothing wrong with that at all. The only problem is “life happens” and keeps on happening no matter what positive or negative things are happening for, with, without or against you. And there you are “trapped” by your name on the dotted line. Can you say “lay-offs”, “down-sizing” and “pink slips”? What about “memos”? Hmmm.

That’s just one way I’ve personally experienced feeling trapped. Here of late I’ve been assessing my life in conjunction with my relationship to God, the church, the ministry, God’s Word, and to be honest with you I have felt trapped. Now most “religious” people who feel they must defend God would get offended by my statement, and that would be their right and their prerogative, for after all, I used to be just like them. I used to get offended for God over the least little thing, until I began to let His Word and nature transform my character. God doesn’t need me to defend Him against myself neither anyone else, and neither does He want me to spend my time doing that. He’s a big God and can take care of Himself. I need Him to take care of me. Hmmm. Three m’s that time.

Anyhoooo, I’ve been feeling trapped by my commitment to God, the call upon my life, even the anointing. Why? Because with them comes responsibility to live the Word of God we call The Holy Bible. It does not mean I am perfect for no one is, and neither will we ever be in this life. However, as a child of God and as ministers we are always judged more harshly by our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. We cannot pick our nose, clean our ears or floss our teeth in public without someone making a fuss about it. J We are held to a higher standard of conduct than anyone else, yet we are disbelieved and mistreated more harshly than anyone else. On the one hand people will say “they’re only human. Why do they think they know more than we do? After all I hear from God too.” But as soon as our humanity shows, church people (and non, who know absolutely nothing about being a disciple of Jesus the Christ) will sing another song, “He’s (she’s) a minister and should know better.” And why is that pre-tell when we all have the same access and opportunities to learn and know exactly what “better” is?

As a child of God and a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ I cannot date the first man I see (neither do I want to), and neither can I marry the first man who proposes to me (and neither do I want to do that). But neither can I just run around with any and everyone without thinking about consequences. I cannot go any and everywhere which may be, and seem to be harmless to those who are not children of God through Jesus the Christ. And let’s make one thing clear here so we can be in the same story book: God is the Creator of everyone in the entire world. He loves everyone the same, and He gave His Son Jesus the Christ to reconnect us to Himself as children are connected to their father. But not everyone in the entire world thinks of Him as Father. Not everyone wants to worship or love Him, or obey Him or seek Him, and adore Him as Father. Not everyone even believes He exists. Therefore He is not the FATHER of everyone. There is a difference. Your daddy may be the principle of the school, but He’s not everyone’s daddy. Just your daddy, and any other children who may adopt him as daddy and be adopted by him. Yet he is the principle over everyone in the school. (Read the book of Romans for more on adoption.)

People claim to believe in a Higher Power, something (and maybe Someone – male or female, mother or father) bigger than themselves, but yet they don’t want to call Him “Father” or God until we start talking in the context of being “God’s children”. Hmmm, please make up your mind so you can stop being confused and walking on both sides of the street. That’s a good way to get hit by a truck. J

No, I’m not defensive but just sharing what I’m feeling at this Christmas season of 2011. No, I don’t have a Christmas blog message for they’re all over the place. As a matter of fact as I write this the movie “Shrek II” is playing in my DVD player and has given me my next blog topic. LOL!! So you see where I get some of my inspiration. LOL!! But back to my original focus.

When people say they are trapped, the first thing we do is ask questions like, “why do you feel trapped?” What’s happening in your life to make you think you’re trapped? Trapped by what? Exactly what are you referring to? What do you want to do (or where do you want to go) that you cannot, and what is preventing you from doing what you believe you want to do? Who holds the keys to your “prison doors”? What can you do about that? Why do they hold the keys? Who gave them the keys? Do they have the rights to those keys? (Who really has the rights to the keys to someone else’s existence? Hmmm.) Is your assessment of your situation real or from your emotions? Has the expiration date for your current place in life come and gone? If so, then it is time for you to move on. If not, then you're not trapped. There's still some milk in that cow for you.

And if you’re in a place you hope to never end up in again in the future once you get out, these may be some of the questions you may need to ask yourself NOW so you can learn from this experience: What choices and decisions did I make which have landed me on this island, this planet, in this cave, in this marriage, in this relationship, on this job, in debt, etc.? What’s inside of me that moves me to make those kinds of decisions etc.? (This question must be investigated and dealt with because everything we do on the outside is first inside of us, and this is from where history will repeat itself. Believe me, I know.) What is one thing I can do differently today which I’ve never done which can change ME so I can change my environment, that I may eventually change my situation? Can you see the progression here? All lasting change begins from inside of ourselves, and right now as I write, I am counseling myself. Really, Holy Spirit Who lives within me – the Great Counselor, is counseling me. J Maybe it’s a thought and a belief. Maybe that’s where you need to start. Maybe that’s where I need to start.

Another way of looking at this feeling and place of being trapped is to turn the coin onto its other side and ask positive questions. For instance, “What have I learned about life, myself, people, God, finances, health, etc. from being where I am now? What are the benefits of this situation? What is it keeping me from doing? What is it protecting me from? Have I milked this cow dry and gleaned from it all I can before moving on to the next desired change in my life? Have others been helped by me from being in this situation, and if so, how have they been helped? What has it prepared me to do? What is it empowering me and allowing me to do? Am I really ready to move forward into the new that I think I want to experience? What do I have on hand that can help me make a positive move?

Trapped. I guess no one felt more trapped than the donkey that fell in the well, and the woman who bled for many years and could not get healed. Most of you know the story of the donkey which fell into the well whose owner had no way of getting him out. So he decided to do the most humane thing he could think of: bury the donkey in the well with dirt. So that’s what the farmer did. He continued to shovel dirt on top of the donkey in the well and the donkey would shake it off and pack it under his feet. After a while the farmer would look down and still see the donkey, for he thought of course that the donkey would be under the dirt. So he continued, and so did the donkey. After a second and third look the farmer realized that the donkey was rising on the dirt, not dying under it, and eventually the donkey walked out of the well on dry ground. J When we feel trapped we tend to use extreme terms like “dying”, “under the weight of this or that”, “can’t see no way out”, “the weight of the world is on my shoulders”, “there’s no one I can call”. Just to name a few.

Imagine yourself bleeding every day of the week, month, year after year non-stop, and living in a society which “knows your business” for everyone knows you’re “unclean” and it is illegal for you to be around people, especially men. (Makes me like less the song, “This is a Man’s World.”) Yet the doctors are men and they don’t have a problem coming into your unclean house to examine you and take all your unclean cash until you have no more resources for any more doctors. And they can’t even cure you. Hmmmm. Sounds like our current healthcare system. Talk about being trapped in your body. What’s the alternative? Where do you go? Who can you call? (Ghost Busters? Well you could, but I’m just not sure if the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man will be of good help. Maybe with some hot chocolate for comfort.)

Seems like we can’t count on those who are supposed to care for us (the farmer gave up on his donkey and decided to bury him alive), neither can we always count on those who are educated to be able to “cure” what ails us. Yes indeedy, we do need to believe in and call on “A Higher Power”. This bleeding woman made her way to Jesus to get her out of her trapped situation. You can find her story in Luke’s gospel chapter 8:43-48. I will give you the first two verses, and you can read the rest for yourself, “And a woman who had suffered from a flow of blood for twelve years and had spent all her living upon physicians, and could not be healed by anyone, Came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His garment, and immediately her flow of blood ceased.” [Amplified Bible]

She did something she had never done before. She did something she was told she could not do, which was socially unacceptable. But she was trapped and no one could help her thus far. Drastic needs call for drastic measures. One of the other gospels tells us what she thought, that “if I can just get to Jesus and touch the hem of His garment, I will be made WHOLE” (not just healed physically.). She believed that Jesus would be able to restore her mentally, emotionally, physically and socially, and guess what? He did just that, all with just one touch. Because He acknowledged her in front of everyone He restored to her her dignity in the community which would allow her to come out of her home, where she was trapped in and by her body. She could get a job. She could become someone’s wife. Maybe she could become a mother too.

So now I do a hmmmmmm on myself and I think about my thoughts to see if they are trapping me, or opening another door for me. Something to think about.

Peace on earth and good will towards men and women.

Saturday, 3 December 2011


How does a magnet get its magnetism? J Yeah I know, here I go again with one of those trivia questions (or maybe to some a trivial one), but anyhooo, since we’re here let’s continue. Have you ever thought about it? What makes a magnet a magnet? What material is mixed into the metal in its liquid state that gives it that magnetic attraction force and power? Or is there some process it goes through after it is hardened that makes it attractive to some and repellant to other metals? Magnetic attraction. North and south poles attract while south repels south and north repels north. Hmmmm. But I don’t think this is a “rule” we can depend upon in relationships, for it seems that opposites attract and attack, I mean repel each other, while like personalities attract and attack each other too. J It just depends on what’s happening in the mixture of the character of the parties involved. Magnetic attraction or magnetic attacktion. A new word from my “Allnthejeans World Dictionary”.

This magnetic stuff got me thinking of love in all its forms between God and humans especially, but as well as horizontal love between the genders, family members, friends, etc. Everyone has a different model and thus a different definition and understanding of “love”. How is this so? It’s because of the amniotic fluid in which we were conceived and the “oxygen” which we “breathed in” starting at conception throughout childhood and into adulthood. Our understanding of love was modeled for and to us by our parents and authority figures, the most important people in our lives. For many of us these models were balanced, but for most of us they were not.

For instance, if you grew up in a household where affection was little to nil, then your understanding and experience of love is one that is absent of affection. So maybe when you see people who are very affectionate you may feel a little uncomfortable or even exasperated by all that outward and public display of “love”. Or maybe if you were raised in a very affectionate environment between parents and children and between siblings, you cannot conceive of not giving and receiving affection in your relationships. Maybe you are the “touchy-feely” type and you may feel that people don’t like you when they don’t reciprocate affection.

For others love has been modeled as severity and abuse of all sorts – “I love you” while I’m hitting you or punching you or . . . The earlier in life this type of “brainwashing” occurs, the more difficult it becomes for the person to see a different type of love as more desirable and healthy. I asked the question “when did the magnet become magnetic”? I think the answer is “at the very beginning”.

I recall in science class our teacher rubbing two metals together. One was magnetic while the other was not, but it became magnetic, temporarily, because of the magnetic one. But after a few moments it would lose its magnetic powers. Sounds like a super hero story doesn’t it? J The magnetic one had the power inside of itself while the non-magnetic one did not. The magnetic one was the one that did the pulling and drawing, while the non-magnetic one was the one being drawn and pulled.

Hmmm, our upbringing, background, culture, etc. prepares and primes us for the world positively and negatively according to what is “modeled” for us as “normal”. Across the races, generations, countries, great culture divides normal will be different for everyone. But to me, what is (should be) “normal” for everyone is the pure love of God. This love does no harm to the person mentally, emotionally, affectionally, spiritually, physically. This love is only for the benefit of the one being loved. So if what is normal for you or me is not beneficial for us and those we affect, in all of these areas of the soul, spirit and body, then it is not good, and it is not NORMAL. To me, it doesn’t matter from what country you originate. For something (or someone) to be Normal, it must be for the good of the entire person, and for everyone involved, for what is inside of us either attracts others to us, or repels them from us. Who knowingly desires to attract what is abnormal? Hmmm. Anyhoooo again.

I was talking with a friend recently and we discussed the reality of some negative things that happened in real time that really should not have happened in the life of a mutual friend. As we discussed what she experienced and what we knew about her, we realized that her upbringing set her up to experience the negative events to which she exposed herself and endured. The “negativism” (ingredients) of the situation was already inside of her drawing her towards another negative situation, like a magnet. Because of her past – the environment in which she was raised, the love model she knew - her present situation thus, was “normal” to, and for her, even though she did not like it or desire it. It was what she “knew,” it was what was familiar to her. She was already magnetized for it, from the inside.

So when we observe friends and family in certain situations and life scenarios of maybe abuse, alcoholism, drugs, religion (positive and negative), molestation, positive and healthy love relationships, etc. and we wonder “how” and “why”, we know the answer. Somewhere back in the beginning – in their “once upon a time. . .” is the answer to these questions. But you remember, all “once upon a times” do have a “happily ever after.” J I do believe in them even if the “B” to “Y” is filled with wicked witches with poison apples and magic mirrors and mean stepmothers and jealous fairies and wizards and dragons and . . . Yes I have to believe that things don’t have to remain the same and that we don’t have to end where we began or even leave by the same door we came in. A change IS gonna come. As a matter of fact, everyday, as long as we are willing to change from the inside out, our change IS come. It IS upon us. It IS within us. The power to change our love model, our magnetism is within us.

In order to change the type of people you are attracted to or who are attracted to you - who are not good for or to you, you must be willing to change something inside of you which attracts them. Those character traits that are in them which you have no desire for in your space you must first be willing to evict from yourself, from your own character and personality. There is a lot of truth in the cliché “it takes one to know one.” This is why so many people get involved in one-night stands or short long-term relationships, because of that immediate first meeting attraction (i.e. love at first sight. Yeah right. Maybe, and maybe not). There is something common inside the persons pulling them towards each other like magnets. Given time, the true personality of each person gets revealed and depending on what happens next, either they stick together and work it out and help each other to grow and mature, or they abuse each other and stick together and hurt each other, or they abandon one another right away.

Those who realize that the negatives in the other person are too strong for them and that they don’t have the “resources” to invest in any type of relationship with that person will jump ship right away. For many others, we stay and endure, wink the eye and turn our heads to things that are not life and death, until we realize that the person has begun to turn on us and the friendship (or whatever type of relationship it is) isn’t going to go anywhere positive or good for all parties involved, in every area of life, but only one is getting his or her fix at the expense of the other.

If we want to attract positive people for the duration of our lives, meaning we don’t want them to just come and go, then we must make sure we are the types of persons we want to attract. I’m not talking about the beautiful clothing and jewelry, ones gifts and talents, money and jobs etc., but we’re talking about the inward character. This is not a “self-help” blog topic because we did not “get here” by ourselves, so it stands to reason we will not be able to change “all by ourselves.” We need help from outside of ourselves to come and reside inside of us to transform and change our magnetic attraction, our love model so we can know the difference between the good and the bad, the sour and the sweet.

The Bible says about one of the prophets, when the angel told his parents they would have a baby, the child was only to eat “sweet” things so he would know to reject bad things. You see, it happens at the beginning, for permanent magnetism and not just a temporary one. But since most of us (none of us) did not “get it” at our “once upon a time”, God has made it possible for us to start again, to be “born again”, to receive a new name, with new blood (a spiritual blood transfusion to change us from the inside out) to change our inner magnets so we will desire and be drawn to the good, and reject the bad.

There was a man named Nicodemus, one of the Pharisees. He was an important Jewish leader. One night he came to Jesus and said, Teacher, we know that you are a teacher sent from God. No one can do these miraculous signs that you do unless they have God’s help. Jesus answered, I assure you, everyone must be born again. Anyone who is not born again cannot be in God’s kingdom. Nicodemus said, How can a man who is already old be born again? Can he go back into his mother’s womb and be born a second time? Jesus answered, Believe me when I say that everyone must be born from water and the Spirit. Anyone who is not born from water and the Spirit cannot enter God’s kingdom. The only life people get from their human parents is physical. But the new life that the Spirit gives a person is spiritual. [John 3:1-6] (The Healing Bible)

And I get my hope from these words everyday: “Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!” [II Corinthians 5:17] (The Amplified Bible) As long as I stay in Christ and He stays in me and I allow His nature and character to change mine to become more like His (by the fruit of the Holy Spirit), my love model will change, transforming my magnetic powers J. And I will become the Sister Wonder (thanks Jua) I was created to be! Now what color cape should I wear?


Saturday, 19 November 2011

Living From the Inside Out Part II: The Art of Learning

I love learning, new things, a new twist on old things, new concepts, new dimensions. Learning new things doesn’t mean I have to agree with everyone or everything; just be willing to see, hear and consider what I’ve not seen and heard before. I can still always say “no”. I love receiving incoming missiles of new information and revelation that can be used for practical living, and just for fun too. I agree that a mind is a terrible thing to waste (and so is time). When I returned to school to study psychology I loved having more to do than I could handle. I’d rather have a plate with too much food than not enough for guess what? I could always take a doggie bag and munch again later. J This is how I feel about learning. Surround me with books and information and I can munch on them forever.

Learning is not to be confused with memorizing. Even though I believe in memorization, I don’t live by it. For me and to me memorizing information is only temporary and lasts for a short amount of time. For instance, one subject we studied in high school was “government”. Well, I’m not a very political person, don’t like politics nor the spirit of politicians. But I know that if I am going to become a well-rounded person I need to break through many of the topics I don’t like, and decide to learn about them and identify what I dislike about them as well as how they apply to real people and ordinary living. Or is that ordinary people and real living? Hmmmm.

Back to the government class – I managed to finish the class at the end of my senior year with five A’s and one B for the entire year. I recall studying for the tests the day and night before taking them, and the morning of. I would go to school hours early, and thank God that my government class was the first class of the day, and I would polish up on everything. Then I would go in and ace the tests. But if you asked me a day or two later what many of the topics meant that were on the test and how they could benefit me and others even now, I must be honest and tell you I don’t have much to say. Why not? Because all I did was memorize the information. I did not try to learn it for understanding and application to life. It was not my “favorite” topic even though the teacher was great and I had great classmates too. (My favorite class was band. J But not for this blog space.)

Hmmmmm again. Five m’s this time. Memorization comes in handy when you need to ingest and retain information right away and for short-term situations. But if you want the incomings (I love the lingo of military, police and sci fi movies) to stick to your bones (not my thighs please) so you may be able to use the information again and again in the future, then this is where learning comes in.

For instance, when I’m trying to learn new songs I will write out the lyrics so I can see them – take a photo of them with my eyes so they can be downloaded to my brain as a photograph. I also read them aloud to myself without the music and learn the story in the lyrics. I then study the song to try to understand from where the writer is coming, and to try and relate to him or her. I try to establish a relationship with the song through the lyrics as well as the music, but also the writer. I invest time and concerted effort into the song.

Now I don’t want to have a long-term relationship with every song I may sing because sometimes I’m asked to sing songs that on the surface seem to be “okay” but the spirit behind the artist singing and marketing the song is of such that I don’t want to become intimate with. So I relegate that song to be memorized and not learned. I may wait for the last possible minute to work on it, or I may carry it around on paper even to the performance so I may deliver it well, but when the performance is over, so is my relationship to the song. Memorization is for short-term relationships while learning is for life-long ones, in my opinion. (After all, this is my blog. Thanks for reminding me.)

There are so many methods for learning, and I enjoy learning new methods for learning too. This keeps me on my toes and keeps life exciting. Subjects that intimidated me in school as a youngster now appeal to me because I see from a distance cognitively, and up close and personal experientially that I will benefit from them the more I know. For instance, marketing and economics (Econ is what my fellow geeks in school would call it). Now I must understand these topics in order to understand why some products do well in certain geographical regions and not at all in others. Also investing and investments. Ugh! But hey, I know when the compound interest begins to roll the dice in my favor, I will be glad I invested (pun intended) my resources. Anyhoooo . . .

To put in my time and money (especially when it comes to attending a university for instance, or other learning institution) means I am serious about what I’m uh . . . learning. Education is too expensive just to relegate to the top half of the brain through memorization. Aren’t you glad that your doctor, lawyer, firefighter, and other serious public servants are required to put in the time and energy to LEARN rather than just memorize information?

While studying to become a nurse, we worked with cadavers. Yeah, cold dead peoples' bodies. We had to learn all the organs and veins and arteries, what they did, to what they were connected, abnormalities, why they happened and so on and on. It was so much information to learn in such a short amount of time that I burned out with the cooking. J I knew that I needed to learn the information and why I needed to learn it and that it would benefit me later in life for life . . . but I was tired of learning something I was not excited about learning. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy learning and understanding how the body works etc. but at that level, I don’t think that’s what I need to know in order to do what I desire to do, now that I know what I desire to do (“to thine own self be true” means you must put in some time learning YOU).

You see, the fun part of learning, (can you say “art class”?) is learning information about topics which not only will benefit you for life, but which you enjoy. Like I said before, sometimes it is necessary to learn things that are “boring” but we don’t have to build our lives around learning boring things. We just need to be willing to eat some peas, okra, brussel sprouts and other fibrous green veggies that we hated as children, in order to nourish our bodies in a healthy way. Boring but important subjects would fall into the category of “vegetables I hated as a child”. LOL!! Yes, like politics. They’re not going to go away and we will be affected by what we know and don’t know. (Ignorance is not bliss. We need to know what a “Stop Sign” means so the end of our life will not come when we’ve only just begun.) It’s just how will we be affected and what will we be equipped to do about “it” when the rubber meets the road and stuff starts to hit the fan?

The art of learning has within itself the willingness to be stretched beyond one’s current capabilities to embrace new experiences and the willingness to change one’s mentality to accommodate the presence of new information as a reality, and not just as abstract principles on paper (or the computer screen). To be willing to let go of the “old” to receive the new, especially when the old has already fulfilled its purpose and it’s expiration date has come and gone. When we learn something, we never lose its benefits no matter how old the lesson(s). Au contraire. Instead we build upon it, and it makes room for new learning. We mature through it , because of it, and by it.

Sure enough the art of learning does involve change and if we are afraid of change, then more than likely we may not be having much real fun in life. I have never been one who could draw beautiful pictures, but I do love colors, crayons, magic markers, paint etc. I loved finger painting because I didn’t have to explain what I was creating. Because I did not know. LOL!! I loved it when the art teacher would change us from one form of art expression to another for it allowed me to investigate what was hidden inside of me that I enjoyed and would be willing to become vulnerable to expose to the world. Of course children laugh at what they don’t understand, but you know what? It doesn’t matter. We are no longer children, but laughter is good for the soul and body. (Learn to laugh at yourself, in a nice and healthy way.) Change is a part of the art of learning which enables us to move from what we’re not comfortable doing to what we finally discover to be our niche.

Learning has so many colors. Maybe you learn best by seeing, your cousin learns best by hearing, and your aunt learns best by touching. It doesn’t matter how you learn, it just matters that you keep an open mind and a willing heart to learn and to use different methods for learning. Repetition is a part of learning too, but some people say they only need to hear or see something one time, and they believe they “have it”. That’s cool too. Whatever floats your boat, but just don’t ask me to believe that you will make a good doctor, for I would prefer that you take a second and a third look before making certain decisions, and incisions. J

Some of my favorite Bible verses are found in the book of Proverbs: “Get skillful and godly Wisdom, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation); do not forget and do not turn back from the words of my mouth. Forsake not [Wisdom], and she will keep, defend, and protect you; love her, and she will guard you. The beginning of Wisdom is: get Wisdom (skillful and godly Wisdom)! [For skillful and godly Wisdom is the principal thing.] And with all you have gotten, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation).” (Proverbs 4:5-7) [Amplified Bible] ((Pretty repetitive isn't that one?) Some people believe that if you speak about verses from the Bible that they only apply to things connected to the church, but this is not so. The God of the Bible created the universe and all knowledge and wisdom originates with Him. He knows marketing and economics, nursing and psychology better than all of us. Wall Street has nothing on Him (“Can’t touch this”!). He is our sea and wealth of knowledge and understanding. Wisdom was with Him when He created the world, so if we want to learn anything well that we learn, we need to consult the Greatest Teacher and Artist in the universe.

The artwork our Creator has given to us is for our living and for our enjoyment, and its purpose is for us to spend time learning Who He is and how much He loves us. The art of listening is to aid us in the art of learning, and the art of learning is for the art of living. Listen well, learn well. Learn well, live will. Stay tuned for part three: The Art of Living.


Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Fractures, Breaks & Bruises

Recently I witnessed up close and personal (albeit not against or towards me mind you) a situation where someone was injured. As I observed this person’s actions in the wake of the incident I allowed my mind to recall injuries in my own life and in the lives of others I know personally, and some of the lessons we learned through them. And this is what came to me . . .

Fractures and breaks are those injuries which involve the bones and they can appear on x-rays. I’ve talked to those with fractures and they say the pain is worse than a broken bone. Wow! A fracture is like a crack and it is an awkward injury. Not quite a break, but yet rendering the limb or body part useless for a while, and also needing to be guarded and protected with plaster of paris (no pun intended) i.e. a caste.

A break of course is a . . . break. The bone is no longer one piece but at least two, maybe more. It too must be protected, is painful, and the limb or other body part cannot be used for a good minute. Because it can be seen by all, the patient can and will receive sympathy and much needed help without solicitation.

In my own personal experience I’ve never had a fracture or a breakage (maybe to my little toes when I stumped them on the coffee table in the dark while walking through the living room on my way towards the staircase.), but I have experienced bruising/bruises from time to time, and they can be so painful, especially depending on the location, and of course the depth of the bruise. I noticed that you rarely if ever cover a bruise with a special bandage unless the skin has been significantly cut which would invite an infection. Again in my case, that was never the case. I was blessed for the injuries not to be that extensive, yet deep enough that I am able to empathize with others who have been bruised – physically as well as emotionally and psychologically.

When caring for the bruise I would guard it with my hand or the positioning of my body so as not to allow anything to come in contact with it. I was very “defensive” concerning that injured area. Hmmmm. You can hear what’s sizzling in the skillet can’t you?

Because we’re trying to protect the bruised area we usually keep it covered and hidden from view, but also because they are unsightly and we don’t want people to suspect anything false or maybe the truth, or to think the worst when there is no "worst". Nevertheless, bruises don’t have a good reputation. They can occur at any time for myriad reasons, but our responses and reactions to all kinds of bruises are the same: protect.

Protection usually comes in the form of defensiveness, as previously stated, guardedness, emotionally closed, as well as shortness, impatience, cutting and biting, having a sharpness to one’s personality. So when you think of weapons that are used to physically protect – knives, guns, bats, sharp objects then you can get a mental picture of what happens beneath the surface of our being human when we experience “internal” injuries.

The problem with living from a bruised disposition is that we treat everyone as a potential and probable “criminal” against us, a perpetrator of our pain. Over time, if we do not seek help from being bruised by the words, actions, or deeds of others, but instead continue to internalize them, we build our entire personality around the bruise, and even after it no longer exists in “real time”, our character will still be molded to a phantom. It will be as though we are rehashing the past again and again even when we’re not thinking about it. Yet from time to time something will happen, what psychologists call “triggers” which will awaken the memories in our psyche and we will be taken back to the future. Because the past becomes the present and the present becomes the future; it will be like “groundhog day” until we get tired of being harassed and hassled by what others have done against us, for they’ve done what dogs do: they do their business and move on, but leave you standing smelling like . . . (feel free to fill in the blank with your own descriptive terms.). Ahem. Anyhoooo, we cannot Undo what has been done to, for or against us, but we can decide what we will do in the wake of it all, each and every time. I’m still learning to practice these tips, so I’m sharing them with you as I continue living.

  1. Take a bath. LOL!! This is the first thing to do when you encounter a disrespectful dog. Get rid of the stench and mess, and maybe even discard the clothing. On the emotional and mental side this may take the form of prayer and reading God’s Word first to “cleanse” your mind and emotions from the situation so you can think more clearly. (Even talking it out with a safe humane person.) I know this is what is necessary for me, and it works. But sometimes I have to take several baths after one incident. Don’t worry, this is normal. Think about people who come in contact with skunks! Ick.
  2. Forgive, release and bless. We forgive because we too need to be forgiven. None of us are perfect and we all hurt others from time to time, whether we know we’re doing it or not. Sometimes people may never come to us and tell us what we have done. They may be exercising forgiveness, release and blessing towards us, or they may just be avoiding us to prevent from being hurt again, or they stay away to heal and regroup. Jesus tells us in John’s gospel that if we don’t forgive other’s their infractions (i.e. sins) against us, then God the Father will not forgive us our sins against Him. Hmmm, I really need and want God to forgive me of my imperfections, so I work hard to forgive and release. What does it mean to release? It means you are willing to “let it go” or “let them go”. It’s like setting a prisoner free, not making him/her pay for their crimes. This doesn’t mean you become a doormat for them to walk on you again and again. Think about it: in order to keep a prisoner, you have to become like a “watchdog”. You’re not free to go either for if you leave, who’s going to keep your prisoner for you? And think again: would you want to be held captive by someone you’ve injured? Injured animals are dangerous to be around, and so are injured humans who don’t seek help and healing. And to bless. To me, when I bless those who have hurt me, I experience the greatest relief and release in my spirit, soul and body. Words are a powerful force and when we use them for good towards others, not only do they experience something good, so do we. It has been scientifically proven that people with arthritis are full of unforgiveness, deep resentment and bitterness, and when they forgive, release and bless those who hurt them, their bodies release the toxins and pain of that painful dis-ease.
  3. Learn. The first thing I’ve learned is that as long as I live and remain among other humans, there will be lifelong opportunities to be hurt by them, some in passing, some in my close relationships, some work-related. And guess what? There will be the same number of opportunities for me to hurt others whether on purpose or inadvertently. Another lesson I am learning is to be more quick to hear and listen than I am to speak, because most infractions can be avoided if we learn to use our two ears more than our one mouth. For once words exit our lips, they cannot be taken back. I often ask myself “is it necessary for me to verbally respond, or would it be better for me to just be quiet?” Will my speaking help, or add something good to the situation, or will my words leave victims in their wake? The Bible in the book of James says the tongue is a fire. Here, I’ll let the apostle say it in his own words, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and it can boast of great things. See how much wood or how great a forest a tiny spark can set ablaze! And the tongue is a fire.” James 3:5 &6a (Amplified Bible). Remember how the wicked witch threatened the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz? Hmmmm. Don’t play with fire.
  4. Be considerate. Treat others the way I would want to be treated. Think about how what I do and say will affect others by thinking about how I would feel if they did it to me.
  5. Let love rule. Love does no harm to a neighbor. I Corinthians 13. Once again, this is not being a doormat, so you will just have to read this love chapter to see what (and Who) love really is. Love is not sappy and syrupy. Love is not a bisous and it is not a song or a flower. Love is stronger than that. It is not an emotion, for emotions change. There is human love – phileo, eros, and storge. And there is Divine Love = Perfect Love = God – Agape. It is not affected by who and what we are or what we do. It is not controlled by our emotions, words or deeds. It is the most powerful force in the universe and one must receive God into his/her heart in order for this Agape to become a reality within and through one’s life. Period.

I am sure you can add to this list from your own life experiences, and you know like I know that it is not always easy to pat your head and rub your stomach and chew gum and walk backwards all at the same time. J But once we begin to slow down our roll i.e. our thoughts and words and the speed with which we share information and respond to incoming missiles from others, we can decrease the number of casualties in society from becoming bruised souls, for what goes around indeed comes around and we reap what we sow. But maybe this sowing and reaping principle will open our eyes even wider when explained this way: when we sow a seed, it is not a seed that we reap. No, instead we reap a tree (or some other plant) with fruit which contain more seeds with the potential for more trees and fruit, and so on. And don’t forget, unless we cut down the trees after the first season of fruit-bearing, they will bear fruit again, and again and again.

Do we really want to reap the words and deeds we sow into the lives of others? Do we really want a return (compound interest style) on our “investment”? Do we really want to be bruised as we have bruised others? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Anyhoooo . . .