Agent of Chaos

Sure, I could easily be talking about our Chief Executive Officer of the USA—certainly nobody does chaos like he does, but actually I was referring to our kitten/cat/Tasmanian 20170609_131620 (1).jpgDevil that magically appeared on our front step about 2.5 months ago.

I don’t mean to be discriminatory about orange, tiger-stripe cats here but since I’ve had a large number of cats and kittens in my life, including two previous ginger-striped ones, I knew that seeing this tiny, starving, max shoe.jpgmonth-old baby at the door was likely going to be quite a ride if we kept him because the other two little tigers had been in leagues of their own for terrorizing everyone around them, including the other cats and dogs.

But how can you turn away a gift from Spirit like that? We just couldn’t.

I named him Max—short for Maxim the Great. He’s very entertaining, very challenging, and he’s very, very naughty.

max eyes (1).jpgWhen a kitten holds eye contact with you to the extent that Max did at the start, I knew he was pretty intelligent, and would soon learn how to push all our buttons.

He’s going to be a big guy from the looks of his over-sized paws to his ever-lengthening legs and tail.

He’s also a real toughie who doesn’t back down from a good rough-housing until you’ve called the truce, not him. After the first week, he walked around here like he owned the place and we were merely his servants. I know most cats do that, but he’s worse—he’s a max eyes (2).jpgbiter—he enforces his own rules. I can trim his nails weekly but I can’t trim his teeth.  The only thing that presently saves us from blood scabs all over our arms and legs is using a water squirt-bottle on him when he bites or locking him in time-out for awhile.

Clearly we’d forgotten how good-mannered our last inside adult cats had been until Max reminded us of the difference between him and them. No plants are safe now, nor is any small object that can be pilfered from fewer and fewer locations that remain outside his leaping abilities.

The house is a mass of toys to distract him, boxes and beds to house him, and towels and blankets on all furniture to prevent him from shredding them—with his teeth, no less.

He has brought chaos into our previously quiet and stagnant lives.

max me.jpgI mean I’m trying to type this one-handed at times because he insists on being the middle of whatever I am doing; and it’s so rare when he’s loving and huggable, that you make allowances to accommodate him because Tasmanian Max is a terror of “epic proportions, unlike the world has ever seen before,” to quote the earlier mentioned agent of chaos that our nation/the world must presently endure.

I wonder if water squirt-bottles and time-outs would work with him? Someone should try it.

Anyway, I keep reminding myself that kittens go though behavior stages and soon enough he will be fat and lazy like most adult cats become. We simply have to survive the 1st-year growth phase. In the meantime, I also recognize Spirit’s metaphor on agents of chaos shaking things up in stagnant environments.

Let’s hope the nation and the world survives the large “orange one’s” insanity because I’m pretty sure he won’t outgrow it.

But as the vet said to give us hope for the future, “Neutering might help.”max on afgan.jpg

Me, Against the World

me world.jpgI had someone say this to me once—something to the effect that I acted like it was ‘me, against the world.’

“So?” I asked him back, “You mean it isn’t?”

While I might be able to laugh about it now, he likely had a point that I couldn’t see at the time. However, he also didn’t live in my skin back then to know how the world and everyone in it actually appeared to me.

I think all of us have lived through difficulties either of our own making or we’ve been the recipients of the attempted manipulations or the ill will of others. Yes, there are some genuinely nice, caring people in the world—I do know some, but at the time, they either weren’t in my circle of intimacy or they had stepped back and decided it was up to me to sink or swim by myself.

Back then I felt that I had been betrayed by the people I had called my friends—that I’d even been abandoned by those I cared most about; that they left me to survive alone with little resources abandoned.jpgor options other than by my own indomitable will.

At the worst of the worst, all I knew was that some way, somehow, I had to make it through each day and night, and to do that I needed to muster my own inner fortitude to simply endure the horror of everything that I was experiencing and to keep pushing through the darkness until something in my life changed for the better—until I could actually see the light again and pull myself out of that underworld hell I’d unfortunately been touring.

I could give specifics, but they don’t really matter because it’s all about the lessons we learn along the way. Everyone has a story. Everyone has a challenge that pits them lifes challengesagainst the demons, real or imagined, in their lives. Everyone has the choice to fight for their own existence or to lie down and die, hoping death will free them from the torment (It won’t—don’t try it—your next-life challenge might be even worse.).

So sure, I might do the ‘me, against the world,’ thing at times. That’s fine. I’ve earned the right to do it if that’s what I want to do, because I did survive my personal ordeal to be here right now laughing about some aspects of it with the rest of you.

No one gets out of this life untested in some way, primarily because it’s why you came. You came to be tested. You came to be thrown into the blast furnace of your choosing and then be hammered into strong steel for whatever purpose your present life represents.

That’s why you are here: To learn, to experience the joys and sorrows of life on this dimension of existence.  Sometimes the joys are indescribable and sometimes the sorrows are nearly unbearable, but only YOU can choose to share them with others or face them alone.

myss quoteI know now that I’m not really alone here. I never was.

But those dark nights of the soul that we ALL must face sooner or later only strengthens our resolve to better appreciate the beauty of the light again, once we can pull ourselves out of that damn hole that we’ve stumbled (or jumped) into earlier.

That’s the real choice we make each day: the choice to whine and wallow away in the darkness, or to climb out of that stinking hole and come back into the light.

It’s a choice we ALL have to make.light.jpg

I made mine. I prefer the light.

Transcending Archetypes

Jung book.jpgTranscending archetypes means changing or evolving through established patterns of behavior.

If you are not familiar with archetype theory check out psychologist Carl Jung’s work on it and Caroline Myss, the author, for her books Archetypes and Sacred Contracts.  (For Myss’s archetype list see this page: https://www.myss.com/free-resources/sacred-contracts-and-your-archetypes/appendix-a-gallery-of-archtypes/ .)myss arch book

What both have established is that as humans, we tend to follow set patterns of how we perceive ourselves in the world and likewise, how we act/react to that perception; i.e., that if you view yourself as a warrior then you are continually at war with anything that seems contrary to your opinion of how it should be. The example might be that if anyone should tell you a differing opinion of a particular situation, you will defend your own opinion to the point of doing battle over it.

The problem with warrior archetype is that you are continually at war over just about everything, because you are wired to defend at all costs—that’s how you see your role in life; and during extremely difficult times, warrior archetypes survive better than most others. So there are good reasons for being a warrior, but they mainly involve doing battle with others for some reason. The problem arises when warrior creates reasons to do battle, rather than looking for more peaceful modes of operation.

warrior.jpgOr if all you know is war, then what else is there for you?

So how does someone transcend an established way of viewing the world and an established pattern of behavior?

How does warrior stop viewing the world around him/her as something to conquer—a gladiator’s arena in which to pit oneself against all takers—where personal survival is the sole focus?

And likewise, how does victim archetype, (which is a passive, accepting or even inviting the aggression of others behavior pattern, often established to gain sympathy or favorsArchetypes circle 2.png from others more powerful) change to be a bit more warrior-esque to better defend herself?  How does s/he stop trying to covertly manipulate others, and overtly declare independence and autonomy from them?

It takes changing your mindset—changing how you perceive the world around you and changing how you normally react to the stimulus that you do perceive.

I think maturity helps—putting a few decades of experience under your belt; deciding that when you keep finding yourself in the same situations just with different players, and it always seems to result the same for you, that maybe it’s less about the other person being the problem and more about your own behaviors as the likely culprit.

In other words, you have to want to change the patterns of your life, and to do that you have to accurately assess what they are. For doing this assessment I would suggest Myss’s two books mentioned earlier. The have helped me to see my dominant patterns so I can at least attempt to tame myself when I recognize an ensuing encounter that might normally trigger my natural reaction, giving me a conscious choice to try another mode of reaction rather than my most likely one.male war.jpg

Example: I do rebel and warrior very easily. But I would prefer to operate more from sage and mediator. To shift my own life view for my mode of behavioral operation requires yodaan intentional intervention meant to produce a more desired result than the usual one I experience.  It means I have to define my reactions to others that I will allow myself to reveal, and to avoid those reactions that are not helpful to achieve my long-term goals.

Many times it means getting my head out of the immediate moment and putting it into the desired future result. If I can do that, then I can curb my natural tendencies and redirect them into more productive behaviors.  But it takes practice and strong intentions to make those changes in oneself.chart

If it is any consolation to anyone, transcending a no-longer-productive archetype seems to come more naturally with age. But the desire to do so must be present or it simply will not happen.

Choppy Seas for the Ship-of-State

newsWatching today’s 24-hour TV news cycle is like booking a misguided ocean cruise to OVERLOAD ISLAND. Through some momentary weakness in escapist judgment, you find yourself captive to a 40-inch screen where a multi-level ship the size of a small metropolitan city sails choppy seas mid bouts of septic dysentery, toward some overrun tourist destination ripe with graft, seedy characters, and over-priced trinkets.  Life in the USA right now is truly a Dramamine-lovers adventure—all witnessed from the semi-comfort of your favorite recliner!cartoon ship.jpg

Daily reviewing our present ship-of-state’s nightmarish voyage in high-def pixels is not a pleasant experience, nor is it one from which we can easily escape. As with any “What was I thinking?” cruise, we’re stuck here for the duration of the journey—short of icebergs, Poseidon-tipping waves, or total engine failure (which could actually happen if Mueller is successful).

So I was thinking this morning after hearing the latest Trump and family escapades blaring from our flagship’s communications deck, that something about this particular time period in history feels too familiar and equally too uncomfortable. Yes, I did live through the Nixon impeachment but I was a very young adult and not as plugged into political concerns then, so that aspect is only vaguely similar to me.

nixon.jpgAnd back then, Mr. “I’m-not-a-crook!” actually was determined to be one, and eventually he was forced to resign. (One can only hope THAT part is similar.)

But reliving that long ago, disastrous, presidential situation is not the discomfort I’m feeling about this present-day news barrage. What seems the most unsettling to me is the inner anxiety level associated with the current presidency—a disturbing discomfort that I’ve also felt during some of the most horrendous times of my life—like the hopelessnessanxiety.jpg felt during a loved one’s terminal illness where you are constantly living with a deep sense of dread and foreboding at the eventual, heart-rending disaster you know will come.

And I’m not alone in feeling this way, because to me this feels more like a collective anxiety than personal one. I think we ALL are feeling overloaded with dread over the future we anticipate ahead.

breaking newsEvery day’s biggest news headlines strike warning gongs within us, but psychologically what may be even worse is the constancy of such negative press coverage. We are being desensitized daily to this rampant administrative insanity and incompetence. When chaos is ever-present wherever you look, then comparative, rational judgment is in short supply.

We are being numbed and lulled daily into the alternative realities expressed during White House press conferences and spokespeople explanations that bear little resemblance to known truthful accounts. But many administration-sympathetic people watching are simply accepting those blatant falsities like it is normal fare, because to do spicerotherwise is to admit their own initially poor judgment—that they had been duped by a conman. And admitting that key point is not going to happen because it counters basic human nature. It’s far easier to blame it on others rather than seeing the horror of the situation for what it really is.

Every morning I turn on the TV and hear the commentator’s same incredulous gasp on delivering the latest news on Russian ties to White House staff and family, or the childish, unscrupulous behaviors of a seventy-year-old, authoritarian, narcissistic, ego-maniac who controls the world’s largest arsenal of nuclear weapons.

instabilityThe main problem is that we at home, aren’t even surprised by anything he says or does any longer—we view the latest insults, attacks, and mindless rants as simply the perpetual ramblings of an unstable mind—who just happens to be our nation’s leader. The present standard of acceptance for his oratory skills is so low that if he can simply complete an unscripted, eight-word sentence without veering into non-coherency (or last fall’s election results), he gets a pass. The base measure for acting “Presidential” has been lowered to frat-house escapades of rich kids contemptuous of anyone who is not themselves.slapping his face

In effect he’s grabbing us all by our private parts, simply because he can, and no one is slapping his face at the assault (or better yet, breaking his wrist to prevent him from doing it again).  No one. Not yet anyway.

His perverted, chaotic, dictatorial rule has simply become “ho-hum” acceptable behavior for those in congress willing to deal for promised future rewards from him.acceptable.jpg

But this is NOT acceptable behavior!

So why are so many others accepting it?

That’s really the question I want answered. Why are his congress buildingcongressional party-members condoning his dangerous, erratic behavior with our allies and adversaries? Why are they allowing his malicious and vulgar crudities to continue without countering him; without punishing him vocally, if not in actual resolution?

It would appear that our ship’s navigational system has completely shorted out. Day after day, we keep circling the same stretch of ocean, hearing the same storm warnings, being tossed about on those ever more violent seas.

Congress needs to take control now and bring this captive-laden, nightmarish ship-of-state safely back to dock again, because being fellow crew members in collusion with the Captain’s treasonous intentions, is sanctioning a course to disaster for everyone.

Do they not see this?

ahab.jpgIf Captain Ahab wants to play harpoon-chucker with his Big White Whale (Kill the TRUTH!), then put him where he belongs: in a rubber dingy alone from which to do it.

Don’t bring the entire ship aground just so he can build sandcastles on the beach with Vlad.

duties of congressDo your jobs! Protect the nation—protect the constitution—protect the people you represent!

Protect our democracy for ALL of our sake!

Because if you don’t, then WHO WILL?

The Value of Skepticism

skepticSkeptics walk a rough road in this world. If you are one, you know what I’m referring to, and if you are a ready believer in much of what you see and hear around you, then you simply can’t understand the skeptic’s perspective.

To a skeptic, the fact that you, a believer, are so willing to “believe” everything you encounter, is an anathema to the skeptic’s view of life.believr cap.jpg

So which am I, skeptic or believer?

Not sure but I think I’m a bit of both because I can see genuine value in skepticism and yet I know that being distrustful of everything or forcing everyone to prove as verifiable truth what they are vehemently claiming to be such, is ludicrous in itself.

Take the concept of GOD for example. Prove to me GOD exists or prove to me S/He doesn’t. Prove to me GOD is even a She or a He, or both/neither.

There is evidence that something far greater than ourselves does exist—this I do believe—I am actually very spiritual and feel directly connected into that indescribable guy w glasses.jpgSOMETHING; and yet the likelihood that this SOMETHING is anthropomorphically or even anatomically similar to people in general is a bit of a stretch to me. So I have problems believing much of organized religion’s verbatim descriptions of a chief deity with human characteristics or failings.  That’s just a bridge too far.

However I am more likely to believe that people, historically ancient and even present day people, try to relate to the great mysteries of their lives in ways that make those doors of beliefmysteries more palatable or bite-sized for human comprehension because it is a natural way to better psychologically deal with emotional and physical hardships in general—a way to maintain a sense of hope for something better in the future if the present situation is pretty awful to endure.

I think that many people are natural “believers” because during the course of our lives we sometimes tell ourselves what we most want to hear just to make it through a painful situation. Sometimes we even believe what we most want to believe because not doing so is tightrope walking across the Grand Canyon of infinity without a safety net; …and who, other than a Wallenda, wants to do that?

So I do recognize that the older the civilization, the more ingrained the belief, especially skeptic truth.jpgif people feel that believing such has helped them to survive to their present state of being. I can easily understand that aspect of religious teaching acceptance by many.

Perhaps the church’s authority in people’s lives during their early childhood development in the last century instilled that sense of bowing to the head of a religious organization who told you how you could and could not live your lives.

But a few decades ago as horrifying as public exposure became of the wide-spread Catholic Priesthood child sex-abuse crimes, it did do one important thing: It shook a lot of natural believers away from giving people of authority total control over their lives, and also helped them to more skeptically view ANY high-ranking official of ANY organization, religious or secular, as all too humanly fractured to be the perfect vessel for any higher spiritual function.politican lies

Then again, you don’t need to be affiliated with religions to be a “believer” in something or someone, especially a someone who tells you exactly what you want to hear about the subject or about yourself, as it relates to the subject—like a politician.

I think political skepticism is very healthy and truly necessary in today’s world. Perhaps it always was necessary, but we just weren’t as aware of such widespread lying and intentional deception in earlier times because we were more naturally trusting of authority figures.

boy w woman.jpgSo there is value in skepticism—in not blindly trusting what we are being shown or told.

Skepticism helps us view our lives with more objectivity so we can see more than what we want to see, and to hear something closer to the truth than what we would actually prefer to hear.escape to reality

A skeptic’s view of life may not be the fantasy that we want to believe in, but it helps to keep things more REAL—and that is the world in which we actually have to live.

God’s TRUTH

“The truth was a mirror in the hands of God. kalidescope stained glass
It fell, and broke into pieces.
Everybody took a piece of it,
and they looked at it and thought they had the truth.”
~ Rumi

 

Love this poem by Rumi, but then I usually love most of his poems. However this one really struck me after my recent experience with trying to help some friends save a dying church congregation.

Clearly I love my friends and valued our united effort to create a better spiritual environment for all involved, but I did NOT love the scripted “churchiness” requirements of the experience—the dogma, the empty ritual, the traditions of doing something a certain way because it had always been done like that, and the dictatorial manner of the pastor deciding the church’s focus.

That kind of ‘pseudo-spiritual’ experience is definitely not for me—in fact it is the very church ladyreason I shunned churches in general for most of my life—because of the phoniness and hypocrisy of the experience.

Even from the start I knew that my participation in the group endeavor would not be easy because of my personal views on organized religions (Religion and spirituality are two very different aspects of believing in something greater than oneself, and while I am deeply spiritual, I am not a fan of the restrictive, entrenched, self-perpetuating structure of religious teachings.).

But again, I love my friends and wanted to help them pull off this effort successfully—to rebuild the dwindling congregation for the small-community betterment.church.jpg

After sitting with clenched teeth through eight months of services/sermons over what was being said and done at the pulpit and altar, I decided I couldn’t continue what felt to me to be a ridiculous charade and poorly disguised ego-trip for the preacher.

As Rumi said above, my piece of the mirror didn’t reflect what was being said and done there, so to me, it could never be MY truth. And I don’t feel bad about quitting the group endeavor or for leaving my friends there who are still a part of it.

What I would feel guilty about is if I hadn’t quit, because then I would be betraying my own self—my own spiritual connectedness that always feels pure and direct.

A week ago someone said something derogatory to me, and I let it go without responding or feeling ill will toward the person for saying it; and my best friend said to me that I was being a good ‘Christian’ about the situation.

rumi religion.jpgI had to bite my tongue to keep from saying back to her, No, ….that was being a good Muslim, or a good Jew, or a good Buddhist, or a good Jainist, or a good Taoist, or a good Hindi.

 

What I actually was demonstrating had nothing to do with any religion in particular, but with ALL in general: I was being a good PERSON!

We throw these religious labels around far too easily to separate us from others—to make distinctions between US and THEM—and what THEY believe as opposed to what WE believe.

But the entire point of living this life is to recognize our similarities and our sameness, not accentuate our differences. character quote

So to me, if you want to build a better world and create more loving and peaceful environments for everyone, including yourselves, then be better people, not proselytizers of elite-ness and separation from those who don’t share the same piece of God’s TRUTH mirror that you have in your hand.

Let’s put all those mirror pieces back together and then look within the reconstructed TRUTH mirror because it is only God’s TRUTH when it is in Its wholeness.

gods truth

Vestigial Appendages

While reading a novel I ran across a humorous sentence—the main character was describing his boss’s mindset against treating others with basic human dignity.  “He viewed doing so as a vestigial appendage”—meaning it was similar to wisdom teeth and the appendix in human anatomy—an unnecessary present-day function and a left-over remnant from an vestigial.jpgancient time.

I chuckled at the reference, thinking it worthy enough of further consideration to have written it down on the napkin beside me. Those two words inspired memory flashes to my ninth grade Biology class—possibly a test question using that same mouthful, multi-syllabic, moniker for “the appendix” that I would eventually have removed forty years later.

In our current world, we deal with society’s vestigial respect dignityappendages all the time, but I wouldn’t call treating people with dignity and respect as one of them. Unfortunately in the last decade, our society has devolved into this particular mindset. We don’t respect others—we don’t respect differing opinions—and we don’t respect those who think differently than we do.

When a presidential candidate, and now The President of the United States, calls people that he wants to demean or diminish by childish, hurtful, disrespectful names, it lowers social mores in general to the level of street-slang and playground taunting.

Hearing a candidate for president doing so is disgusting, but hearing the chief representative of the American people doing it daily is appalling and unacceptable.

The problem, in my humble opinion, is that there are too many other adults who enjoy the childish nature of disrespecting others—too many people in our nation who like to put others down just to feel better than them—too many people who like to feel superior or separate from others for cliques.jpgone fleeting, delusional moment in time and alternate reality.

It’s like reliving junior high all over the nation—with mean-girl cliques and popularity trumping group camaraderie and compassion for all others.

Grow up people!  We are better than this!

Treating people with basic human dignity is NOT a vestigial appendage.

As the Senate now shows its take on the health care bill to the rest of us and many responsibilityviewing it aren’t surprised at the Medicaid cuts to people who need the most help, or the abundant tax cuts for those who need it the least, this situation is simply representative of a far deeper problem: How do we view ourselves in relation to all others around us?

Societies are only as strong as their treatment of the weakest among them. If some members of a society are considered expendable and not worth the rest of our time or expense, then how do you make the determination of where each of us rank in that same scenario?

hands of societyAre we already expendable now or perhaps will we be in another decade or two? Is there an age limit to caring about others? Are others too old, too young, too challenged, too needy, or just too much trouble?

When other people’s problems aren’t presently MY problems, how will I feel when suddenly life flips like it often does and I suddenly need help, and now MY problems aren’t something anyone else wants to deal with?

What we are seeing right now are the warning shots of a aree to respect.jpgGreat Society in peril of losing its sense of humanity—of losing its premise of basic human rights and dignities—of losing compassion for others, or failing to recognize that by one nasty twist of fate, you or I could be on the wrong end of someone else’s refusal for social responsibility.

This is a certainty: That social pendulum has to swing back to center soon or it is just a matter of time before we ALL will be considered vestigial appendages—easily removed from public consideration by a surgical slice—or the slash of a pen.

Do you want to find yourself on the operating table this year or maybe the next?

I know I don’t.strong together.jpg