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Category Archives: living

Surrounding

I try to surround myself with an eclectic mix of people.  I like all sorts of personality types. I get along with most everybody.
I also try to find people who have strengths where I have weaknesses, and people who are weak where I have strengths, because we are all constantly learning. I want to learn from those who have strengths where I lack. And I hope I can help build up others in my areas of strength.
But I have come to the poignant realization that there are people who only want to bring me down; who won’t share their strengths; whose insecurities chip away at us both.
I have a tendency to give far too many chances. Maybe that’s a weakness of mine. I have felt it was a strength. I believe that no one is perfect and we all need chances.  I’m not one to hold a grudge, and I try to see everyone’s viewpoint.
I make the best of whatever situation I’m in and often I give up some of myself in order to keep things going smoothly.  Another instance in where I think it’s a strength, but maybe I’ve been looking at it wrong and it’s really a weakness.  At the very least, it’s something people take advantage of. I don’t know…

 I hope that being accommodating of all kinds of people, letting others be human without expecting them to be my form of perfect, is the right thing. Because it’s how I see the world.
I am learning however, to see things differently, seeing that I don’t want to include the people who don’t share that desire to learn from each other, and build each other up. 

Have weaknesses, ok; choose to tear others down, or treat them like something to use, be only as nice or giving as far as you can get more out than you give, not ok.  Use my weaknesses against me, not ok. Tell anyone who will listen whatever makes you look good, no matter it’s level of truth or who it hurts, also not ok.  Try to twist and turn truth to suit what you want others to believe, not ok.
I always find it interesting how people will tell me not to let others take advantage of me, but then get upset if I don’t let them….
I am strong. I have been through, seen, and learned from more than most will ever read about.  And I see things with a deeper clarity because of what I’ve been through. But I’m also human, with feelings and a need to be treated well.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m also grateful that there are far more good, encouraging, helpful people to surround myself with than not. I’m grateful for my ‘soul tribe’ to borrow a phrase from a friend.  The people who don’t expect reward, payment, or ‘loyalty’ for their support and friendship.
I’m grateful for the circumstances that help me see who I can count on and who I can’t and under which circumstances.  And grateful that I get feedback from my tribe that says they know they can count on me for whatever I am capable of, just because.  That means a great deal to me, because I do try to be there for others with all I can.

Last night I was blessed to hear from one of the lovely ladies who keeps me grounded, listens and shares, and helps to build up those she surrounds herself with.  She is a wonderful reminder that even when things seem out of control, you can still find the positive, and be a positive influence to those around you.

Here’s to surrounding yourself with positivity, building up your tribe, and being good people to each other.

I’m learning to be more discerning, but also learning how much better the reward of friendship can be when it’s built on mutual choice to enrich each others lives.

Gratitude, love, light, and peace to you all!

 
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Posted by on 24/05/2017 in living

 

April is over

Another April has come and is now over.  Today is the last of the anniversary’s that destroy my April’s every year.

I’m taking a lesson from Meredith Grey and dancing it out tonight.  I’m drinking a beer.  And I simply do not care what I look like to any body that can see me from anywhere.  My brother is with me, he helps me live through this day every year.

These April’s are also my moments to remember that I have survived, I have lived, I have had much pleasure with my pain.  I have enjoyed, I have been enlightened, and I have grown.  They bring memories, these April’s, memories that start painful, horrible.  My body remembers and I am in pain all over again.  Does anyone else out there do that?  Does your physical body actually hurt Years later?  I don’t know, but that’s what mine does.  I work through it all year, in one way or another, but then it comes out again each anniversary.  Then I push through it, again.  I grow some more.  I learn some more.

I have been afraid to live again after this last time.  I was so alive and then brought so close to death.  How do I settle these?  This Libra soul of mine that wants balance gets thrown for a loop every April.  This last two years has been tough.  But then the beautiful positive moments come rushing in as well, as this day ends.  My travels, my global friends, the amazing sights I’ve seen, this is truly a beautiful world.  They bring me back to center.

There are the evils that reside in this world, but they will not take me down.  I have a (possibly faulted) sense of unsinkable optimism.  Once I was talking with a new friend and I described it like this, “It’s like I’m at the top of a mountain singing about the beautiful universe, and then I get knocked down.  So I stand on the top of the roof and shout, ‘look at that beautiful moon’.  Then I get knocked down.  I place my feet firmly on the ground and say, ‘what a beautiful sky’.  Then I get knocked down and with my head in the mud, I whisper, ‘those are beautiful clouds don’t you think?'”  Sometimes, too much lately, I recognize that they are rain clouds, but still…..  “I” can’t even kill the optimism in me, I don’t know how anything else is going to if I can’t.  (That’s not a dare! Merely an observation.)

SO many of the blessings I’ve been asking for have come to fruition this last month, fashioned out of thin air, and then given to me.  Just as I felt I couldn’t hold on, good things happened.  I love my new job, even with all the new things to learn and do.  I love my new apartment.  I love this new country and all my new Albania friends, along with my friends from around the world that are here too.

I am grateful today is over.  I’m glad this April is over.  I am glad I am here and growing and doing this life thing the best I can.  I decided that I’m going to take 30 minutes every day with my students, and we are going to learn a dance.  A fun, silly, slightly awesome dance for the Talent Show I am organizing at school.  Not because they think it’s a good idea, but because I need a reason to make myself get up and dance every day, be silly every day in a way that makes sense to me.  I need to start taking time to give what I have instead of trying so hard to give what everyone demands whether or not I have it.  I think that will help with how overwhelmed I’ve felt lately.  And I think they need the down time as well, *and I might be able to tie it in to ‘exploring’ dance????  Maybe… I’m still learning the twists of PYP haha.

Ok, the next awesome song is on and I’m not done dancing it out yet.  Good night my lovelies, peace and joy to you all.

 

 
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Posted by on 25/04/2017 in living

 

Dear Albanian drivers

I’ve come to love Albania.  The landscape is wonderful. The people are friendly.  And there’s still much I have to see.  However, I’ve noticed a few things that drivers could make note of to make everyone a little happier, avoid the daily, random road, 20 minute, cluster#$*!, and possibly save a few lives.

  1. You are driving cushy moving death machines.  Please realize that.  Death. Machines.
  2. You are not driving cushy moving phone booths.  See note 1.  Your poker game or chat session is not more important than the lives on the road with you.
  3. You are not the only person/ vehicle on the road, and not the only one that matters once you realize someone else is there.  If you can use your eyes to look at your phone, you can use them to watch around you as you drive your moving death machine.
  4. The middle of the road is not a parking spot.  Double parking is not ok.  Triple parking is just plain rude.  Checking google maps in the middle of an intersection is both rude and stupid.  (Other people driving their moving death machines while looking at their phones instead of the road might hit you.)  If you can’t fit your car into an actual parking space, park somewhere else.
  5. The dotted lines in the road are not for decoration.  Driving on top of the dotted lines is an incorrect use of the lines.  They signify lane divisions.  The middle of the road is not a lane.  Just because you can fit, doesn’t mean you should try to fit, 4 cars wide on a two lane road.
  6. Turning left should happen from the left side of the road.  Driving past all the cars lined up to turn left and then turning in front of them is rude.  Turning left from the right side of the road is not correct.  Go an extra block, get in the left lane, and turn around.  This is an instance where using your eyes to watch the road will benefit you and those around you.
  7. You do not need to be in front, your destination is generally not going to move if you don’t arrive before everyone else on the road, (you’re not racing all the other people to your destination, because they’re going to their own destinations).  You don’t get any front of line privileges.  No one is going to give you a medal for getting to the front.  Racing past someone, only to slam on your brakes before you turn, is only going to cause an accident, it may get you some metal, but not a medal.  Honking your horn so you can race by, down the middle of the road, past the people driving in their lanes is -no, just, no.
  8. Laws of physics prove that if you are 3 cars behind the first car, you will not start moving for at least 3 seconds after the light turns green.  Honking your horn the instant the light turns green isn’t going to get you anywhere any faster.  See note 7 about not being in a race.
  9. You don’t own any more of the road than any one else, just because you have a big or fancy car.  Even if you have paid way more taxes than anyone else, your piece of road you “own” doesn’t move with you.  So unless you are directing traffic on whatever tiny slice of road you feel you own, you are sharing everybody else’s pieces of the road with them.  They have just as much right to drive as you do and do not have to yield to you, even if they’re in a POS.  Deal with it. (Since you pay your taxes to the government, it’s their money now, so they own the road, not you.)
  10. Motorbikes also get to drive on the road.  Lane splitting is acceptable here, so quit trying to run them off the road because you don’t like that they can get in front of you during traffic.  They exist, you can’t just blow by them as if they’re not there. You don’t get to honk your horn so they’ll move onto the shoulder, so you can get in front of them.  And yes, women drive them too.  Quit staring like you saw a purple turtle on a unicorn before running them off the road.

 

You are driving a death machine.  A moving vehicular machine that can kill, if driven carelessly.  Start driving as if you realize the responsibility that goes with the privilege, please?

 
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Posted by on 14/04/2017 in living

 

It’s a new post!!

April fool.

 
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Posted by on 01/04/2017 in living

 

Don’t disrespect me.

When I’m teaching beginning English learners about verbs, I categorize them into 4 basic types; state, do, feel, and think.

A state verb is basic ‘to be’; I am (a woman, a mother, a daughter, a teacher, alive), I am — years old, I live in –. Your basic states of being…

A do verb is whatever you do….   Run, eat, play, sleep, etc.  Feel verbs are happy, like, love, angry, wishful, etc.  And a think verb is along the lines of want, plan, consider, believe.

So, what is respect?  For me, respect is a think.  Respectful can be a feel or a do, or even a state, but actual respect is a think.

And along the lines of you can’t love anyone else until you love yourself first, I believe that you can’t respect someone else until you respect yourself.

So how would I define respect?  I find it difficult to define think verbs without using variations of the word, but if I had to choose one synonym it would be equality.

When I believe that the life of another is equal to mine, I respect that life.  Which, when turned around, if I believe that someone else’s life has more worth than mine, I cannot fully respect myself.  If I believe that my life has more value than someone else’s, I can also not fully respect myself, because then I have subscribed to a value system that ranks life value, which automatically places me on a spectrum, in which I can be less than, putting me right back at unable to fully respect myself.

So, in my definition,

Respect is the belief of equal value of life, its states, thoughts, feelings, and actions.

When I feel respected I feel as if I am seen with equal value.  When I feel disrespected, I feel that I am seen as having less value, by the other person.

This concept of respect, it is something I think about a lot.  I’ve been through enough situations, seen enough abuse in my life, that I’m constantly trying to figure out how to respect myself and others, without being victimized.

Can someone be respectful without having respect?  Yes.  Doing a respectful action is part of social manners.  Someone can know and perform all the social manners without having ‘the think’ of respect for the other people they are performing those manners around.  Abusers use that skill very, very well.

Abusers are sure to point out all the “nice” or “good” things they do, trying to prove they’re a good person.  Look at this thing I did.  I do everything for you.  Watch me do this good thing, see I’m good.  I got this for you.  I did that for you.   I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking. I would never hurt you, remember all those good things I do?  Those prove what a good person I am.

But see, abusers don’t respect themselves or the people they abuse.  They’re trying to stay on top to prove they’re not less than anyone else.  There’s a deep need to be seen as being good, that people who respect themselves and others don’t have.  In my experience, people with high levels of respect don’t have to point out the good they do.  They hardly even recognize their respectful behavior as anything but just what should be done.  There’s no need within themselves to prove they are good, they just are good.  It becomes a state verb, not just a think verb.

Abusers, in my opinion, have subscribed to a rather stark value system; one with very few steps between, a rather black and white system.  They need to feel as if they are seen at the top of that system, because they feel that they’re not.  They make sure to use more, have more, be more so they aren’t seen as less.

And they see their victims as lower.  They test, and then pick people that have more respect, who subscribe to a much different view of the value system.  Isn’t that the crazy thing, I think to myself all the time; the people who respect others, who value the people around them, treat people well, fairly, respectfully, those are the people preyed on by abusers.

Truly, I think that if we subscribe to a value system on life at all, we are all, at some point or another, within a wide range of abuser and victim.  But, it has really struck me that the people who respect the lives of others, treat others the way they want to be treated, are caring, empathetic, giving, those are the people most often targeted by abusers for relationships.

It’s a weird kind of circle, abusers feel afraid of being less, so they make others feel less, to feel like they are more.  If you stay, you are clearly less because the abusiveness is tolerated.  But….. at the beginning, it’s tolerated because of the very respect for others that makes them a target.

And if you show any kind of equality, then they must knock you down to make sure you are less.  Insults become more personal, more derogatory.  Threats become more realistic.  And, I’m sorry’s become more frequent.

Sociopaths and narcissists aside, the abuser feels bad for being abusive, making them feel bad about themselves, perpetuating the need to make you feel bad, so they can feel good, which cycles around and around and around.

The nice side of an abuser can only be seen for a limited time though.  An abuser can only allow themselves to be seen as not having the power for short amounts of time.  Those short amounts of time are a manipulation, a way to stop the consequence of losing their victim; win them over again, prove how good they are again, be equal again.; because they want the respect, from their victim, that they can’t give themselves.

That respect then becomes demanded for.  Respect me.  Look at everything I do.  I’ve been good, now respect me.  I’ve been respectful, respect me.  Respect me -or I won’t do these things -or I’ll take these things away -or I’ll make you fear me.  Fear=respect right?

Once those cycles have repeated enough….. it can, and often does become more than threats, more than derogatory slights.

People who haven’t seen these cycles, in all their stages and multiple wraps around a relationship, struggle to understand.  But it really comes down to value, equality, and respect.

 

I continue to stretch out and increase the many increments of the value system, trying to get as close to the zero point on this half-life depreciation.  I meditate and pray for help to respect myself, by seeing the intrinsic value of all life around me, as well as preserving my self-respect by not allowing others to treat me as less than.

I’m not finding it very easy.  Power is a corrupter for those who don’t respect themselves or others.  I do not seek out power.  Others see that as weakness.  I am open about my short-comings, because I want to learn, not because I think I am less than, but others see that as a weakness.  They cannot see their own faults, and so shift the repercussions of their faults to me, blaming me, saying she even says she has faults, this is her fault.

Because I do not seek out power, does not mean I don’t have power.

I have my power, my control of self.  I do not need to control others, because I understand that any form of trying to control someone else, is abuse.  But others see that as weakness.

 

I am not weak.

 

I keep getting up, and I learn.  I learn and I grow.  I have been getting stronger and stronger.

 

Just like learning a language requires repetition, practical experience, and meaningful use, so does truly learning respect.

I’m confident I can say, I respect me.

I respect you too, so understand that means that I won’t accept your disrespect of me or others.

I’ve spent a life time earning my own respect through giving, forgiveness, educating myself, kindness, tolerance, and doing my best to understand even those people who have hurt me terribly.  I’m not perfect.  I still have trouble fully shaking the value system.  I have spent a lot of time working through that system to get where I am now.  I still have much to learn; but I respect myself enough to understand I don’t know it all.  I respect others enough to know that I can learn from them, I can talk with them, I can share with them, without ever needing to hurt them, belittle them, or make them feel less than.

This is my life in words.  I keep writing about abuse, learning, traveling, and being me.  Glimpses into my head means glimpses into my progressions through healing.  It’s a freaking process man.

Maybe someone out there today needs to read that they’re not alone in trying to understand respect.

Maybe it was watching the special on the Dalai Lama…..  maybe it’s just my life right now……

Whatever it is,

Light and love to you all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Almost

It’s almost time to write…. Still processing….. But almost

 
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Posted by on 08/02/2017 in living

 

Contemplation

I, to the dismay of a few people, spent my New Year Eve in my apartment, in meditation.  As many of you know, I have had my share of demons these last 2 years.   As the weeks coming into the close of 2016 began, I felt myself begin to turn inward.

There were moments these last three weeks when I felt almost outside myself, looking at myself begin to fold in on myself as the year-end approached.  But, whereas in other times that would scare me, there was no negativity in this turning inward.  I sensed nothing negative or bad about it, just a simple realization that it was happening.  And, the realization that I needed to heed the call to heal myself so that I could emerge on the other side of this in a good place.

And so, I sent out my request to be left alone for the evening, and began to prepare myself for whatever was going to happen.

One very, very good thing that came from 2016 is the reassurance that when I leave myself open to the possibilities Spirit can bring me, no matter the challenges, great things are part of the package.  It is only when I close myself, believe that I know what is supposed to happen next, that the challenge is only a challenge, none of the greatness gets to come along.  Essentially I block my own ability to progress.  I stay stagnate in the challenge every time I say,   “but if I do this, that is supposed to happen”, “I want this thing”, “.

Also, the old adage, “You made your bed, now lie in it”, Yeah, that one can go screw itself.  It is nothing more than a progress blocking saying.  You can’t learn from that place.

Some would try to say that the saying is about consequences, but in truth that saying is dictating remaining in an unlearned and harming place as a punishment.  AND I SAY NO WAY.  I will rip the sheets of that bed, I will over turn that bed, and I may very well burn that bed.  I will learn my lesson of how not to get put in that position to begin with, but I will not just bow my head to the whatever gets dealt out because that bed got made to begin with.  The lesson is the important part.  I will learn the lesson and move on.

Being open to the possibilities of my dreams does not mean there won’t be challenges, of course there will be.  I will make mistakes along the way, no doubt.  I will learn the lessons as I go and become stronger for them.  But the challenges have a different ring when they are part of the progress towards the goal, than when they are consequences based on a bad choice or someone else’s abuse.  I spent this New Year’s Eve releasing the negativity from my challenges, while keeping the lessons learned, so I don’t need to repeat a lesson.

Recently, someone said, “You keep bringing up things from the past.”  I thought about that last night.

On one hand, there is the forgive and forget idea.  And I agree, if I, or anyone, is bringing up past events as a “punishment” or a reminder with a negative connotation, that is not ok.  I need to watch myself, to see if that is what I am doing at the time.  It certainly could be, and if that has been true, I offer my sincerest apologies.

BUT, and for me this is a big but, if I am bringing “it” up as a positive reminder of a lesson learned that I do not want to repeat; if the past event is an action I have to base how I will decide to react to ‘this’ event about to happen, then it is not a punishment to them, or a negative moment I am dwelling on.  It means I am trying to make a decision on how to proceed, and based on what I know to have happened before, I want to know if there is a conscious choice happening for things to go differently.  It is only by confronting the choice that we can make a conscious one.

I spent some of my meditation time releasing ties to those who have hurt me, and those I have hurt.  I also allowed myself to heal from those pains.  It’s an ongoing process, but it has to be a conscious process.  Emotional wounds dig deep inside, the mind plays them over and over.  Some of them have been playing for so long, there are Grand Canyons that I need to heal inside.  That doesn’t happen overnight.

I was given a vision of what happens to our pain as we release it.  I’ve been afraid to release; I felt that I didn’t want to put the pain into circulation. I was afraid that if I released it from me, the pain would go to someone else.  My vision was the most healing part of my night, it brought an understanding that Spirit is truly magnificent and that energy  is always positive until intended to be negative.  When released in a neutral or positive way, it will always return to a positive state.

My intentions going into this new year are for an increased openness.  I will be open to all the positive, no matter the challenges that brings to overcome.  I will be open to healing myself and others.  I will be open to whatever Spirit brings me.  And I will be open to becoming what I am meant to be.

I have a great dream.  A dream that is part something I have been dreaming of most of my life, and part something that I have recently acquired.  There is a long way to go to accomplish it, a lot of work I need to do.  There will be challenges along the way, and there may be direction changes I am not aware of yet.  But isn’t that a wonderful thing?  To know that if you are open, there are even better than you could dream of things yet to happen?

There is a saying that I really don’t like, “F@!$ my life”.  Guys, I have been through some astonishingly sick things, things that many people could not have gone through; yet,  I will not say “F@!$ my life”, I will not.  My life is good.

I have so many larger blessings.  I have great children.  I have great friends.  I have family that tries to keep me part as I heal.  (Progress can be heart-breakingly slow, I know.)  I have a career I love.  I have been traveling around the world for the last 4 years and seeing so much.

None of my life that is negative, has stopped the blessings from coming.  I have a good life.

This was my “guide” as I began my evening.  I wrote this in contemplation.  I believe I made the best choice for myself and in turn for those that I influence in whatever way.

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May everyone’s 2017 be one of openness, of love, and of greatness.

 

 

2017

 

 
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Posted by on 01/01/2017 in living

 
 
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