Wandering Mind

Second Chances

second chanceHave you ever said something you regretted?

Have you ever done something and wished you could have a redo?

I have learned, having been on this spinning orb long enough that my mind frequently loses focus, that every breath is a second chance! Every morning when I wake up, I have another opportunity! Every opportunity to meet someone new is an opportunity to make a new friend.

We spend so much time worrying about the past, and we KNOW the past has already been written. We spend so much time worrying about the future, which has yet to be written. We lose sight of the story we are writing right now!

Take your pen and write YOUR story, mistakes and all because it is truly a tale worth telling over and over.  Every moment is a second chance…make the most of each one!

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What Keeps You From Flying?

butterfly

Flying seems like it should be a rather simple feat.  One should merely spread one’s wings, flap them vigorously, and off you go.

     We make all sorts of excuses as to why we cannot fly.  We forget excuses are nothing short of our fears being vocalized.

Think about it:

     I’m too heavy!  Okay, perhaps you might be carrying more than you should…learn to let go of what’s holding you down! You see, we are hoarders of the unnecessary.  We hold on to things far longer than they should be held on to, simply because holding on to them brings a sense of comfort to us.

     Take GRUDGES for example.  We carry these mountains around with us for years and YEARS!  Even beyond the point where we can no longer remember what it was that pissed us off in the first place.  Oh we might say we have “let it go” but the truth is we have only taken them from our shoulders to our backpacks.  It’s as if we are actually afraid of trying to exist without them.  We might forget that we have a grudge against someone and, *gasp*, talk to them!  Perhaps even befriend them.

     How about our PREJUDICES?  Whether consciously, subconsciously or unconsciously we have prejudices that must be CONSCIOUSLY dealt with.  I am a Protestant Christian, and for years I was prejudiced against any group that thought differently than I.  Then I took the chance to talk with people who do believe differently than I do, and we have a mutual respect that I won’t try to change their way of believing and they won’t try to change mine.  Some of the nicest people I have met do not believe as I believe.  Yet we wear the armor of prejudices to protect ourselves from having our beliefs challenged, and in so doing, that armor weighs us down!

     I will admit that I am still prejudiced toward people who bring their children into a quiet coffee shop to run rampantly wild, disrupting the force, and generally annoying the patrons.  While their little demons gallivant about upturning chairs, plowing into other customers knocking over their coffee, screaming like banshees, these thoughtful parents/guardians/caretakers find a place to hide.

    We cling to hatred, misconceptions, anger, hurt (real and imagined) like a drowning person clings to anything that floats.  Learning to let go isn’t easy and it takes conscious effort.  But when we are able to let these heavy weights go, we begin to realize that we are not just floating, we are flying.

     Another great thing about flying…you don’t have to have a destination!  You can fly just to change how you see the world around you!

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Let The Adventure Begin!

dangerous business stepping out

As you may or may not be aware, I have been existing in absentia from my pages for quite some time.  Call it a “Reflective Vacation”; Call it “Extended Contemplation”; Call it “lazy”….they are all, in some way, correct.  Having wearied of this self imposed exile, ’tis time to, once more, take up the virtual pen and release the mental horde upon this community.

Life is, in and of itself, a rather dull existence.  We sleep, wake, eat, work, eat, home, eat, only to start the routine all over again.  *sigh* How boring is that?  Why even bother?  Just the same old thing every day, day after day……after day……..after day……until we realize that we are dead and have the courtesy to lie down.

Where’s the adventure?  Didn’t the brochure at birth promise us limitless adventure?  Mine also advertised fun filled relaxing holidays in an all inclusive package where I get to sit on the beach all day (baking in the sun, getting all sweaty and sand covered) whilst people whom I have never met bring me drinks of varying colors, textures, and alcohol contents.

Here’s the fact of the matter: If you want an adventure in life, then get off the couch and out of the chair!  Remove yourself from your comfort zone and step outside.  Adventure awaits the Adventurous!

Want an adventure? Go to Walmart at 3:00am wearing a rubber chicken costume.  Or go to the zoo dressed as Tarzan.  Or swim in the ocean with raw meat strapped to you.  How about starting a conversation with someone you don’t know?  Perhaps as you walk through your day make it a point to smile and speak to everyone you meet?  Better yet, do a random act of niceness and do it anonymously with no possible way for anyone to know you are the perpetrator.

Adventures don’t have to include spiders, snakes, and assassins!  Adventures are what you find to be adventurous!

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I’ve Reached The Point

You are hereFor some reason, I found myself in a contemplative mood this afternoon.  The thoughts dinking about my mind were becoming annoying, rather like a dripping spigot with the drops striking a metal basin. 

Reaching the milestone age of One Day After Yesterday is quite the achievement. And to celebrate, I decided to take an inventory, of sorts, of my life thus far.

I am, quite literally, twice the man I was at 16.  More solidly built, sacrificing speed, yet still sturdy.  The hair is a completely different story, being that it vacates the premises with alarming regularity and speed.  But I must admit, grass does have difficulty taking root on an active playground.

My memory is becoming somewhat “iffy” due to my inability to remember due to…..let’s go with “all the wisdom that has taken up residence in my mind.” It sounds better than “I just forgot what I was writing.”

I have reached the point in life where I dread going to the doctor, not so much for the news that I need to exercise more and stop enjoying bacon, but because it is increasingly difficult for me to take seriously this advice having come from a lengthy heritage of bacon enjoyers.

A few things I have learned in my sojourn here….

  • Asparagus will eternally be evil.
  • Nap Time should not be limited to children.
  • Chocolate does cure a multitude of moods.
  • Coffee is a necessity, moreso than pants.
  • It is ALWAYS good form to be polite.
  • What you don’t know might actually kill you, but you won’t know it.
  • We try far too much to achieve far too much without considering the things we must sacrifice.
  • No, you cannot have it all.
  • There is a difference between a “mistake” and an “error.”  A mistake can be fixed with an eraser. An error needs an apology (sincere and immediate).
  • If you strive for perfection, you will live your life in great disappointment.
  • Flowers smell nice for a reason. Slow down and smell them once in a while.
  • True friends are rare gifts. If you want one, BE one.
  • Dance with all your heart.
  • Never forget what it feels like to laugh!
  • Love is a treasured mode of travel, not a momentary destination.
  • You are only allowed one breath at a time. So make every breath count.
  • Every day is building your legacy, make sure it is a legacy worth remembering.

Tomorrow is another milestone on this journey.

Categories: Fortress of Solitude, Hmmmmm........, Koffee Klatch, Perspectives, Wanderer's Wonderings, Wandering Mind | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“You really can’t get there from here.”

backroad

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes my job takes me to some places that are not easily accessed. People seem to enjoy living in places that are difficult to find and reach, but I won’t digress into specifics.  Living in the Southern part of the United States can be challenging at times.  For example, when I must travel to some of the places “out past the tree line” (that GPS cannot even find), I find it necessary to stop for directions.

 On more than one occasion I am told, after some careful contemplation on the part of the person I asked, “Y’know…you really can’t get there from here.”  And thus begins a very descriptive and lengthy list of instructions which can include such colorful landmarks as “when you see Miz Clawson’s Brahma Bull in the north pasture, you’ll want to turn right next to the well about half a stick throw from the fence post.” 

You might think such is an exaggeration from an Andy Griffith rerun, but it isn’t. These folk are very sincere in their direction giving.  This is how they have come to know their home town.  Even had my GPS referred to once as “that devil box” because it pinpointed his home and the voice gave me directions on how to get there.

 The longer I get to travel to these wonderfully unique places, the more I can understand why people choose to live in such locales.  Once you get past the frustration of “you can’t get there from here” and take time to look around, they drive really is quite wonderful and relaxing.  Some of the most beautiful and seldom disturbed natural areas, you’d think were parks, but they are just spots along the road that local folks like to get out and have a look around.

As GPS becomes more accurate, these areas will become less difficult to find and my fear is the honest openness of the local folk will forever be lost.

 

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I Was Turned Into A Newt…But I Got Better

Good afternoon.  I realize it’s been a while since last I let loose the gerbils of my mind for some fresh air, so whilst they are having a romp about, you are stuck with me.

 Gerbils on a Bender

When you stop laughing and start breathing, we can continue…..

 

Here’s a gasper for you, a realization that slapped me awake faster than my morning coffee: I’m not perfect!  Give that a moment to sink in and the screaming of disbelief to subside.

 

It’s true though. I am in no way perfect, or invincible, or “good enough” by any standard.  But guess what? I don’t care!  I’m not here to impress anyone, smug though that may sound, it is, nonetheless, the truth.  I am rather an introvert, not given much in the way of “chatting” or small talk. As a matter of fact, I am a contemplative by nature, preferring to ponder and consider and observe.  That moment when you pick your underwear out of your butt and thought no one saw, you were seen by a contemplative.  I’m the person in the car next to you cringing while you attempt to sing the high part on Bohemian Rhapsody (and let you get well ahead of me in traffic so I no longer have to hear it).

 

But for most of my life, I dealt with Atelophobia.  I believe most of us have to some degree, and many still face it every day.  Atelophobia, for those who haven’t looked it up by now, is the fear of being “imperfect or not good enough.”  In a world that demands perfection, it’s difficult not to have this phobia. Thank goodness for airbrushing photos, photoshop, masks, and darkness (those who have photos of me are thankful for these).

 

But here’s the part I like best: I no longer care.  I have FINALLY reached the point in life where I no longer give a rat’s dinkle if I “measure up” or have reached “this tall so I can ride this ride.” Why? Because it is much easier to be who I am than pretend to be what someone else expects of me. 

 

I sing badly, so I sing where no one can hear me (i.e. in the shower where the acoustics are fabulous).  I dance like a one legged frog on a hot pavement, so what? If that bothers you, don’t watch me.  I’m not a good conversationalist until we get to know each other, so feel free to inquire and let’s get to know each other.

 I Am SEXY

When you look in the mirror, do you see someone trying to be what others expect you to be or do you see the wonderful gift that is YOU? So….Am I “good enough”? No! I am so much more than merely “good enough,” I am ME and I enjoy it!

Categories: Fortress of Solitude, Hmmmmm........, Koffee Klatch, Perspectives, Wanderer's Wonderings, Wandering Mind | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Shush! I’m Thinking Here!

As a youngster, people annoyed me.  When it came time to go to the play yard, I would find some out of the way place and read.  My parents and teachers thought I had a mental problem or had anti-social tendencies.  I, on the other hand, while not realizing at the time I was introvertish, simply didn’t like all the noise and activity. It made me tired, and gave me a headache, and, quite honestly, just prefer the exercise of my mind. 

While I don’t claim to know or understand all the physiological, mental, spiritual, emotional, or complete oddness of introversion, I do acknowledge that “I Are One”.  During social gatherings a plan is developed and put in place almost as complicated as Mission Impossible.  While there’s no secret, self destructing mission messages, there is a cooperative effort amongst a close band of friends that is triggered upon the issuance and acceptance of the obligatory social activity invitation.

A pre-arranged time is set for our departure strategy.  This will usually be no later than 90 -120 minutes into the soiree.  At the predetermined time, the chosen individual will pocket dial the rest of us, or develop some sort of distress (stress of these situations does this), or we will step out for some air and slip away.  We will make a point to thank our host, upon our arrival, for inviting us. 

Admittedly, during company dinners, this strategy is not easily employed, but we tend to arrive early to select our seats near the exit so we can make discretionary escapes to the lobby and/or lavatory as needed.  Having a bar in the lobby is quite helpful until the bartender gets tired of our escaping there.

I happened upon a wonderful book by Sophia Dembling called “The Introvert’s Way” (shameless plug that I don’t get any royalties for), and upon reading it, saw my own life habits in her words.  Needless to say, it is always good to know that Introverts are not alone, even though we like to spend time alone.  There should be a club where we each have our own soundproof cube and can all be alone together.

Anyway, where was I going with this?  Oh yeah, a few things about introverts I have learned:

  • Introverts are weird, not psychotic.
  • Introverts recharge our minds by being quiet and processing.
  • Introverts can sit together for hours without speaking more than 3 sentences.
  • Introverts ARE social, just not in the way some might think.
  • Introverts have an incredible sense of humor, albeit sometimes subtle and dry.
  • Introverts enjoy having coffee conversations (if you talk with coffee in your mouth it will burn and stain, so the silence pockets are greatly desired).

 

Please do not take offense, but I am one of those insane people who believe libraries are for reading, not chatting or eating or engaging in various amorous activities in the reference sections.  If you have the need to smack or pop your chewing gum, rattle your candy wrappers, or have a nasal ailment, please step to the restroom and deal with that, as a courtesy.

Which brings me to another question: Why are the wrappers for foodstuffs always so loud? 

Anyway, that’s what has been meandering between my ears for now.  Feel free to ponder at will.

Shoosh

 

Categories: Fortress of Solitude, Hmmmmm........, Koffee Klatch, Perspectives, Wanderer's Wonderings, Wandering Mind | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

And The Question Is…

Stress ReductionHaving a bit of a mental wander today. Part of my habit includes listening to people. And of all the conversations I have been party to, there are a few things I’ve never heard:

  • Will you hold my kangaroo while I paint the piano?
  • I really don’t have enough stress in my life.
  • I never learned to smile.
  • I like being around crabby and critical people.
  • Love doesn’t exist.
  • If this makes me look fat then I’ll just have to go naked.
  • Would you please pass me that honey badger.
  • I think I’ll start working on becoming an alcoholic today.
  • Why no, my poop really doesn’t stink.
  • Don’t need to turn the light on, the furniture will move out of my way.

There are probably more, but that would require more coffee and another mental wander.

 

 

Categories: Fortress of Solitude, Hmmmmm........, Koffee Klatch, Perspectives, Wanderer's Wonderings, Wandering Mind | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

When Life Feels Too Hard

candle light

Of late, life has felt overwhelming. There never seems to be enough time or energy to accomplish all I want, and there is never enough money to help those I want to help. The busier I get, the more I know a difference is being made, but it can be overwhelming.

You see, I am a Law Enforcement Chaplain. Yes, I have theological training and am credentialed by a religious entity to perform the rites and rituals. But, I don’t try to convert anyone or preach to anyone to become part of my way of belief.  My job is to take my training and experience (lifetime of making mistakes) to listen to Officers and their families and offer counsel (if requested).  It’s a lot more difficult to listen and NOT speak than one might think.

When I first began this life adventure, I didn’t think I could possibly make a difference. The best I could do was offer encouragement and perhaps a little different perspective. Then one night after spending an entire 12 hour shift with one of the Officers, I was walking to my car and heard the cruiser back up and get ready to pull away. But then I heard the cruiser stop for several seconds.  I turned to wave to the officer, and the officer rolled down the window, grabbed my hand and said, “Thanks for listening Padre.” And with that, the officer drove off home, leaving me standing in the dark parking lot next to my car.

When I got into my car, I sat there for a minute and just looked at the sky watching the stars flicker.  Then an image came to mind that I hadn’t considered: One can only see the stars when it’s dark.  Hmmmmm….  The more I thought about it, the more I kept remembering some of the lessons I had learned over the course of my life. A single candle doesn’t produce much light, but in the darkest place where there is no light, it’s almost blinding.

From that day, I have remembered that even though I may not understand or even see how my light may help someone else, in their darkest moments, hopefully they will remember.

Watch this video and see what I mean:

Light Up The Sky

 

 

Categories: Fortress of Solitude, Hmmmmm........, Koffee Klatch, Perspectives, Wanderer's Wonderings, Wandering Mind | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Want WHAT?

One of my hobbies is people watching.  I like to observe this creature called “human” going about their daily routines and in the habitats where they feel more at ease.  My efforts have revealed some interesting observations regarding the behaviors of these beasts.

Realy

The first behavior I observed is one-upmanship whereby when a group of these humans gather in a setting, they begin comparing positions with the following inquiry: “What do you do for a living?” Upon receiving the answer, a perceived hierarchy begins to develop.  For example, a business executive will assert his superiority over the administrative assistant or salesperson.  The successful professional will be judged to be superior to the young professional just starting their career.  Social gatherings don’t seem to function until this pecking order has been established.  I question the validity of this need and wonder why a person’s profession is more important than the person.

Another behavior I observed is the customer service ‘I want to punch you in the throat’ look. I find this in restaurants, stores, DMV, and any other place where a worker is required to deal with the public.  I, also, deal with the public and sometimes feel this way. Why do customers, of any kind, somehow believe that they are the center of the universe and are not expected to be courteous, polite, or even nice?

I will limit my examples to two:

  1. A person comes into a restaurant, is seated, is given a menu and a rundown of the specials. Server goes to take care of another table. Instead of deciding what to order, the customer begins a conversation, phone call, check emails, updates Facebook, anything except pick up the menu and make a decision. Upon the return of the Server, the customer says, “I just can’t decide, what’s good?” The Server would be VERY unprofessional should they ‘recommend’ something that appeals to THEIR taste, because it might not be something that appeals to YOUR taste. And if their suggestion is not something you like, your experience will be noted by you as “bad” and you will tell others how “awful that restaurant is” even going so far as to blast the place (and server) in the VERY public forum of Facebook. I’ve seen it too many times for this not to be true.
  2. If you have had a bad day, this in NO WAY is a license for you to vent your anger, frustration, irritation, or just plain obnoxious arrogance on anyone else.  Especially the one providing you with goods and/or services. For example, if you go to a pub to drown your rough day and call for the “BAR WENCH” you can pretty much be guaranteed some sort of revenge will be wrought. Perhaps your beverage will be brought in a dirty glass, or saliva has been added, or a dead roach was drowned in your beverage and removed before you got served.  Rule of thumb: Do NOT irritate those who provide you with immediate goods and/or services.  If you have had a bad day, take a walk or go to the gym or go play in traffic.

The barbershop where I get what’s left of my hair trimmed (“cut” would be far too drastic), the barber knows I am introverted. As a result, she keeps the conversation to three questions or less.  Why? Partly because she knows I dislike chatty people who talk just to fill the silence. But, more importantly, because she has taken the time to observe and remember.  I am a regular. I like to have the same barber. As a result, my gratuity reflects the extra effort she put in to help establish this relationship.

Gratuity, in and of itself, is a tangible way of expressing GRATITUDE for a job well done. Now I do take offense with establishments that put a “tip jar” right next to the cash register, as if a gratuity is an expectation given PRIOR to the service being provided.  A coffee shop I visited recently had such a setup. When I paid for my coffee, I was given my change in singles (as a hint to tip for a job not yet done). I stepped away from the counter to await the delivery of my coffee, and when it was given to me, I provided the tip directly to the person performing the service. Not out of requirement, but because the service was quick and courteous.

There is no reason to be obnoxious, arrogant, or ignorant. THINK! Reverse the roles for a moment, how would YOU wish to be treated?

Categories: Fortress of Solitude, Hmmmmm........, Koffee Klatch, Perspectives, Wanderer's Wonderings, Wandering Mind | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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