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"In many ways, we are taught from the time we are children to give away our power to others. When we were told to kiss and hug relatives or friends of the family when we didn’t want to, for example, we were learning to override our inner sense of knowing and our right to determine for ourselves what we want to do. This repression continued, most likely, in many experiences at school and in situations at work. At this point, we may not even know how to hold on to our power, because giving it away is so automatic and ingrained.
"To some degree, giving our energy to other people is simply part of the social contract, and we feel that we have to do it in order to survive. It is possible to exchange energy in a way that preserves our inner integrity and stability. This begins in a small way: by listening to the voice that continues to let us know what we want, no matter how many times we override its messages."

 

I came across this in my inbox today and suddenly I understood more clearly why not being listened to as kids, by being treated as if we’re joking when Superhero kid. Girl power concept Royalty Free Stock Photoswe’re not, why acting as if we can’t possibly know what we like and why, etc, is so infuriating. It’s obvious but I hadn’t been able to put it into words. When these things take place we get angry, not because we’re giving away our power, but because it’s being taken away from us. Maybe not deliberately, or maybe deliberately but unconsciously, but taken all the same. And it may take years to unlearn the repression we’ve learned and then we feel angry and guilty, maybe, and resent those who’ve caused us to feel this way.

I remember being away at college and finally having saved enough money to be Knowledge Is Power Royalty Free Stock Imageable to buy a skirt and sweater. Not easy to do when you only make $200 a month before taxes and tuition and room and board have to come out of that, too. But getting the money together was only the first step. I had to figure out what I liked – and I didn’t know! Literally. I had no idea what color, what style, anything, I like. I’d never been allowed to choose my own clothing, almost never got anything new anyway, but wore hand-me-downs from my cousin, who was built nothing like I was, so I didn’t even know how clothes should fit. It seemed they were OK as long as they covered your nakedness.

I also remembered the one time I did get something new. It was not wBeautiful business woman lovely smile wearing suit Stock Photographyhat I wanted and my power was usurped. My mother decided that for Easter I’d get a charcoal suit and wear a pink blouse with it. I didn’t like pink, especially pastel pink. Not too long ago I read that “there is no such thing as a pastel Scorpio,” and that quote fit me to perfection. Much better than a pastel pink blouse did. No matter how I protested that I didn’t like pink, that I didn’t want that blouse, my mother said, “But it looks so good on you!” and I got the damned pink blouse.

Somewhere I still have the picture of me in that suit and blouse. It’s in black Boy Coloring Stock Imageand white but my body language says, “I am not here.” The picture of powerlessness. And I not only still don’t like pastel pink, I now hate it, and the very mention of it even sixty years later can tighten my stomach and make me feel sick. And it’s not the fault of the color pink. It’s being ignored, being told, wordlessly, that what you want and like doesn’t count, that YOU don’t count.

My energy level isn’t high any more even though I can buy any clothing I want in any color I want. My body has rebelled at the insults my energy has absorbedSad, thinking teenager girl Stock Images over the years and it has left me unable to do many of the things I want and always thought I would be able to do when I became my own person. But, over the years, I did develop more personal energy for a time. I rode horses, ran marathons, repaired my car, baked bread every week, kept a neat, clean house. None of that, now, of course. Sooner or later the body reminds you of the abuse it took in your name.

Pure Energy and Electricity Symbolizing Power Stock PhotoI still have the desire so all I lack is the energy and the physical ability. No matter what the condition of my body, all is not lost. I just have to figure out how to retrieve the power I’ve let go. I’ll figure it out.

Losing Heart


"Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.”Broken Heart Royalty Free Stock Photography

This is said to be a scriptural quote from a speech made by Hillary Clinton in the wake of the killings of two black men and the apparent backlash killing of police in Dallas. The quote turns out to speak to me more than I would expect. My own life is exhausting and wearing me out and the emotional fallout from events such as these seem to take more heart than I have to give.

And yet I remember telling my therapist a long time ago that I was persistent and determined, though not about these events, of course. I think I still am, in general, though it seems to take a lot more energy these days. So this quote propped me up, so to speak. Maybe someone here needed to hear/read it, too.


“Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose." Janis Joplin, "Me and Bobby McGee." Written by Kris Kristoferson, et al

Fifty-one years ago this month, on a Saturday in Fort Gordon, outside Augusta, Georgia, I was in an inconceivable state of disarray.
I was getting married, or I was supposed to be, and I’d driven here from Ohio just for that purpose. No big wedding for us, but not quite an elopement, either.

And here I was, far out on Tobacco Road, looking for my matron of honor. She and her husband were emergency fill-ins for the original couple who were supposed to stand up for us. At almost exactly the last minute, a noncommissioned officer instructor in Bud’s unit had been called to duty, leaving us with nobody to witness our vows.

 
But we were lucky. One of the men in the Advanced Training Unit with Bud had brought his wife with him so they agreed to be our marriage witnesses.

It was the last day of his advanced training to be military policemen. Our wedding day. While the men were getting their certificates and awards, I was to drive out into the unfamiliar countryside to the house where Virgil and Marianne had rented a room, pick up Marianne, and bring us two women back to the army chapel where we’d meet the men when their ceremonies were completed.

Against all odds, I found the house, isolated and empty. It sat dark and brooding, oppressed under a veritable forest of live oaks heavily draped with Spanish moss. I knocked on every door I could find. No answer. I peeped in every window I could reach. Nobody.

The hot, humid Georgia day had come on strong and in earnest. No air moved under the oaks. I was still on mild Ohio summer time and I was wilting more with every minute. I could hardly breathe in the heavy humidity and heat. Not to mention I’d clip_image002skipped breakfast.

Finally I gave up and drove disconsolately back to town. I didn’t know what else to do. What was going to happen? Would we be able to get married? My two-piece popcorn-crochet dress felt more and more like it would simply melt and slide into the puddle of sweat I was becoming. My little car had no air conditioning because who needed that in Ohio?

I had no idea what to do next except return to the post. Which I did. Where I found Marianne and Virgil with Bud, ready to have a wedding – but there was no bride-to-be and nobody knew where I was or seemed to remember the plan. Apparently it had changed overnight but nobody told me. They wanted to know what took me so long. Fortunately, the chaplain was in a hurry so I didn’t have time to tell them. Or tell them anything else, either, plenty of which I was thinking.

Well, we got things underway and Chaplain Cajetan Troy was all set to begin the short ritual to pronounce us man and wife. Suddenly, in the middle of it, before the final blessing, the soldier who’d promised to take pictures up and left because he had to go get paid. He left the camera in the pew. With no pictures on the film.

So, I barely made it to my own wedding, I was thoroughly confused as to why Marianne was there and not at the house, and I was physically depleted. I was still hungry, too. Maybe I was lucky there were no pictures. Maybe I should have paid more attention to these apparent impediments. Or maybe the fact that they were overcome is just as important to my life story.
In any event, this is one summer memory that is both one of my fondest (Hey, if my wedding had been perfect I wouldn’t have a story to tell!) and one of my most painful.

Before we were married, the guesthouse assigned me to a room with a double bed. After our marriage we were assigned to a room with twin beds. Go figger. Less than a week after our wedding, my husband went off to Korea and the first thirteen months of our life together was spent apart. A not-so-good omen, I suppose.

Maybe all this disarray was a portent of the dissolution, a portent of the freedom of losing all that I held dear, a portent of the freedom of having nothing left to lose, that was to come at the statistically significant seven years. I suppose being together only three of those seven years had something to do with that. But how could I know how things would work out? How could I know?

But such freedom can be a wonderful thing once you get past the initial anguish. Without that forced freedom then, I wouldn’t be where I am now, with whom I am, and I’m glad I am. How could I know?


I would like to make an exchange.

Well, for a long time I thought that was true. I thought being richer or prettier or more loved/lovable would make my life better than the one I had. Maybe itIcon Coaching Royalty Free Stock Image would have, but you know what? As I got a bit older I began to see something I hadn’t noticed before. I couldn’t decide whose life I might want to exchange my life for. No movie star or rich jet setter or runway model, no one.

Now, I’m not perfect, or even close to it, by external Camera eye logo Royalty Free Stock Photosstandards, but I’m the only one who can perfectly be me. I don’t know why being me is so important, and maybe it isn’t in the small picture, but I’ve come to believe that in the grander scheme of things I’m very important, maybe even critical. Irreplaceable. So I’m just one pixel in the 10 megabyte picture but maybe I’m the one pixel that puts the gleam in the light in the eye of the model or something. Or maybe I’m the one pixel that clarifies the whole picture.

I’ll never know, I suppose. But one thing I can say without doubt is that my life has made me me, and I don’t want to exchange that for someone else. So, thank you very much, but I’ve changed my mind. I’ll just take my life and keep it after all.


It’s my opinion that hate, and the anger that so often accompanies iHate fist Royalty Free Stock Photost, even engenders it, are secondary emotions to fear. When humans are fearful they tend to respond with hate and anger. It feels safer than being fearful, it feels more proactive. It matters not if the target of that hate and anger actually has anything to do with causing their fear. They’re afraid, they’re angry and they’ll rationalize that fear and anger onto anything "different" from themselves, anything they think they can "conquer" and therefore make themselves "safe."

There’s much being said on social media right now, about Help us! Stock Imagemass shootings, about children who have been hurt, killed, or maybe put in positions of those things happening. And there is much said about parents who “let” their children get into those positions. The same dynamic is at play here, that if I criticize those parents, if I can prove they’re somehow at fault, my children will be safe, my children will not be hurt.

Sometimes tragedy just happens.

I don’t believe much in fear. There are all sorts of philosophical and spiritual "preachers" who can explain that better than I. I don’t believe thCaught in the Storm Stock Photoere’s anything to fear. Nothing can harm the core of Who and What I am. Of course, that’s a belief that can be hard to hang onto when the ego takes over but for the most part I can more or less live by it. I think when people are unsure of where their next meal will come from, when they wonder if they’ll still have a home to go to at the end of the day, all the existential things that seemingly make life worth living, they become fearful and then angry and often, hateful.

I have my own anger issues right now, over injustice and the widespread hatred of "other," and Chronic Back Pain Royalty Free Stock Imageseven this dam’ chronic pain issue that’s personal. I don’t know if using the anger to engender energy is the answer or somehow the reverse. I do believe that all the junk that’s going on right now around the world is the death throes of a lesser way of being and will eventually lead to a more evolved way of being. I’m just not sure I want to wait that long, if it will even be during my lifetime, or what.

There is a children’s story, by Neale Donald Walsch, called The Little SouLittle angel Royalty Free Stock Imagesl and the Sun, I think. It tells how very brave and evolved souls agree to be and become people and things that are hateful so other souls can learn how wonderful and loving they really are. And those brave souls ask that they’re not hated because of the parts they play in teaching the other souls their wonderfulness. I really need to remind myself of that too often these days. I don’t really hate anybody or anything as a rule, but the emotion of anger can be very close to that, as can being judgmental.

I have so much work to do on myself……

 

 

http://www.sapphyr.net/largegems/littlesoul-thesun.htm

Horse Sense


When I was a toddler after World War II, my parents and grandparents and I moved from the farm into town and I lost some important animals that hadscan0002 been my only friends. I’d had a special bond with the huge and gentle draft horses, Pete and Fred. I would stand and gaze into the shadowy depths of their patient brown eyes, transfixed, sinking deeper and deeper. Sometimes Grandpa would lift me up to one of their damp, sweaty backs while they calmly munched their suppers in the dusty sun-striped gloom of the barn. The hair was itchy scratchy on my bare legs; my fingers gliding over it raised a distinctive damp-dusty odor. I had a panoramic view that was unavailable to me from the ground. Pete and Fred were sold to the sawmill. I never got to say goodbye.

When Grandpa’s old black car was new, all new cars were black. This car 1928-buick-buick-town-broughamtook us from the farm to town. Our new 80-year-old farmhouse at the encroaching edge of town was tucked into a grove of graceful maples emphasized by one frumpy cottonwood. Behind the house sagged a small, white barn, its peeling paint appearing to be shadow play cast by a huge, gnarled elm. Like many very old people, the barn had a distinctive musty smell. The odor of aged finely powdered dirt combined with dry, decayed old wood hung on the dust motes constantly drifting in the pale stripes of sunlight that wavered and shimmered through the cracks in the warped siding. This decrepit yet dignified building received Grandpa’s car. Here it stayed because Grandpa soon gave up his driver’s license.

Neighbor kids and sisters came along and one day we discovered the car. There it sat, in splendid isolation except for the company of a rusty old hay rake. TheRake Royalty Free Stock Photography barn became our playground, deceptively shady cool in the heavy summer heat. The irregular beat of a dozen small bare feet raised puffs of powder from the dirt floor. Storms of motes toured the barn, whirling through each sun stripe in soft violence, to finally subside quietly onto the car when we left.

Dust on the high front bumper yielded to our scabby knees as we clambered up and over the bulging front of the teardrop-shaped fenders; the chrome of the big, round headlights regained a streaky shine from our sweaty hands. We’d savor the pleasure of sliding down the slope of the fender to the running board, then gleefully scramble back up the fender. Leaning against the windshield we’d grin the savor of accomplishment, sweat creating crooked trails on our dirty faces.

With bated breath and a sense of daring we’d finally undertake to crawl to the top of the car. Staying carefully in the center we would survey the dim reaches of our dusty kingdom, a panoramic view not available to us from the floor. We were always, always careful of the rounded edges of the roof. It was a long way down.

The center of the top where we huddled was lumpy yet smooth, like boiled eggs covered by thick black oilcloth, a flexible non-metallic material that sagged gently under our weight. Shortly before my father’s death we reminisced about the car. He told me that the roof had rusted thin and leaky. With wartime frugality and ingenuity, Grandpa had patched it with layers of canvas and tar.

The interior of the car held a mysterious and private fascination for me. As Tuning In Stock Photoothers jostled to see who would get to stand at the steering wheel and “drive” through the sleepy town, I scrunched into a corner of the dusky back seat, reaching for something dim and barely felt. Eventually the others would go outside to play some more sunlit game.

I was alone. The back of the hard seat loomed over my head; the worn, dark upholstery was stiff and scratchy with horsehair stuffing. Shadows layCute girl sleeping in car Royalty Free Stock Images deep and thick on the floor. Gazing into them produced a strange feeling of sinking, sinking, transfixed, into great depths. A faint yet distinctive dusty odor, similar to but different from that of the barn, pervaded all. In late summer’s heavy humidity the smell strengthened, with a strange animal feel about it, patient, ageless, a memory of unknown things remembered.

I’d sit still, still, hardly breathing in the hot breathless air, eyelids drooping in Horse eye Stock Photosconcentration. Slowly, lightly, I’d glide my fingers over the scratchy surface of the seat, raising a dusty smell that felt familiar, a faint, far off echo just beyond the edges of recall. Eventually I’d get restless from inactivity and the sweaty itchy scratch of the seat against my bare legs, yet I was reluctant to move, feeling very close to…something, unwilling to leave it. I was sure that if I sat still just a moment longer I’d find it. But I never did. I always moved. But I never said goodbye.

The Shadow Knows


Have you ever noticed the power we give to shadow? 

I mean, we "cast a long shadow," or maybe we "stand in the shadow" of Tree Shadow Stock Imageanother.  Perhaps we’re exhorted to "always face the sun and you cannot then behold the shadow," as if it’s something to be feared, avoided.  Portents of the future may be "foreshadowed" by certain events.  We can be comforted in our travails when we’re told that "the brighter the light, the darker the shadow."  In psychology we’re often told that we must bring what’s in our personal shadow into the light of our consciousness, that what’s hidden in there can run and control our lives without our being aware of it.  Now, that’s power!

Groundhog scared of their shadow Stock PhotographyAnd yet, a shadow is insubstantial, it’s nothing solid at all.  How can something so wispy have so much power?  Shoot, we even give power to control our weather to a groundhog that sees or doesn’t see his shadow! 

What is it about shadow that so fascinates us, so captivates our awareness – or lack of it?  We might seek the shadow under a tree on a hot summer day and sigh in relief, or we might move out of the shadow on a chilly winter day and sigh in relief.  Same shadow, same response, different meaning.

At the same time that shadows can sometimes be seen as beneficent, Fear, fright, shadow on the wall Stock Photowe also tend to avoid them if we’re walking down a dark and lonely street late at night.  They make us nervous.  Who knows what’s in those shadows?  "What evil lurks in the hearts of men?  The Shadow knows!"

We shadow someone when we follow them without their being aware of it.  A shadow has the same shape as the object that causes it to be cast but it’s distorted, and at noon, it may be barely visible at all except directly beneath our feet.  Shadows can dim our sight as well as reveal something that’s creeping up behind us, at least if we’re standing just so.

Perhaps it’s this shape-shifting of shadows that amazes us, amuses us, frightens us.  They show something familiar and yet not the same as that with which we’re familiar.  It’s the unknown, the different, that gets our attention, Superhero Shadow Royalty Free Stock Photographythat makes us wonder.  Just which is "real" and which is not? 

That’s the power of shadow.  It makes us wonder, it makes us think, it gives us pause, it instructs us, it hides things from us.  What else in our lives can do all this, has such power?  The shadow knows.

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