Thursday, April 30, 2015

On Being a Social Pariah (Part 1): Perception is powerful, but Compassion is Calm.

There comes a time in life when you have a laugh and let go. Don’t get me wrong, there are times I want to fashion the biggest mirror possible, and hold it up to the people with the thinnest of projections; but I don’t.  I’d love to spread fiery gossip about the alcoholics, gamblers, cheaters, female(and male)-verbally abusive-parents, negligent, and multi-faced. I’ve thought about it. I always, however, gravitate back to one thing:

“I have no idea what that person’s life looks like for real. In truth, it’s none of my business.”

Historically I have found solace or temporary comfort in the circles of phony relationships, and common-grounds of children. I did this even though I know it is a sacred agreement to participate in true friendship. It is a trusting, seemingly safe place to reveal yourself, give yourself and expect the same in return. For the good friends I have, I am so grateful!

Those attributes in a friendship are tested when life gets sticky. Why I laugh is because  there are women who I’ve literally heard say: “Oh, she is the dumbest person I know” or “She’s a miserable, fat waste of humanity.” Run to each other in alliance against me or any one else to point fingers at. Again I laugh and let go. I’ve seen women who spat venom about each other build ties in times of trouble like death, illness, or disappointments that were obviously unsought by the receiver. This is ultimately beautiful to me. Bygones and petty differences were muted away on a human level to support and lift each other.

At first, the destruction of my life  served as salacious and fun fodder for all. I accepted it. I even stepped into the fire instead of hiding. I was exposed, and I let them be angry, disgusted and furious, including my lover’s wife. She got two hours to ask, belittle, and say her piece. I cried through the whole thing, but I truly believed if she could run to her friends and say: “ I gave it to her”, she might find some power and some solace. Not so, and I accept that. She has every right to be angry, just as I was when it happened to me. The difference is that when I was on the other side of it, I asked myself how I played a part, could I not?

There were lines drawn, good and evil, disdain and pity, sides to take. This was no shock. I predicted it quite accurately. I didn’t predict how long, how far reaching and deep the efforts taken would go to alienate, punish and exclude not just me, but my children. I didn’t predict how personally people would take decisions I made, mistakes I am paying for in MY life that do not effect them at all.

Let’s throw it out there: If you cheat, you are no longer any other part of yourself. That remains the only label by which you are known. All or any attributes of yourself are dismissed or a “wash” in perspective to being a "lying cheat.” That is the apparent rule where I live. There is no need for back story nor inquiry of the truth. There is no empathy nor understanding that marriage is in fact hard and no marriage ends because of one thing.

In fact, empirical data states that infidelity is sadly, a mere symptom of greater fundamental issues. Ask any lawyer. Why so many “no fault” states? It was nearly always impossible to drill down the “cause” or “fault” of the complicated, multi-layered fusion of two peoples lives and true psychology behind it without living with them. Its word against word.

What divorce courts, myself, even my soon-to-be ex husband knows:

“There are three sides to every story:
 Mine, Theirs, and the truth.” 

continued in “On Being a Pariah (Part 2): “Things I learned."

On Being A Social Pariah (part 2) Things I've Learned.

....Continued from "On Being A Pariah (part 1) Perception is Powerful but Compassion is calm.

“There are three sides to every story:
 Mine, Theirs, and the truth.”

The inability to acknowledge or see this by so many people I know is...well, funny. I laugh and let go. Not in sarcasm, but in confusion and self-preservation to accept people are all different and if their truth is black and white, who am I to say how THEY should see things?

That would be ME being hypocritical, no? It’s interesting to see how the hypocrisies play out.
Here are a few facts I’ve gathered through observation:

1. The men throwing a fit and putting up a show of shock and overly enraged fury are... cheating. 
Not always, but to be clear: I do believe most men and women are different in many ways. A more normal response from men when they hear of an affair: “Shit. That sucks. I hope the kids are ok. That’s terrible.” If it’s extreme or highly emotional with gesticulations, it’s probably for the benefit of an angry wife or in fear of seeming too indifferent. (precisely because most men ask themselves, rationally, “how does this effect me?”)

2.  It’s “inconvenient" to everyone else. 
This one shocked me. People are “annoyed” I’m not acting more normal, being more social or doing things I used to do. Conversely, if I do show up (school events, parties for people I care about, meetings) most peers are frustrated because THEY don’t know how to treat me in public. Huh? How is this my fault? IF how to “handle” or engage me is something you have to think about, you probably are doing or not doing it for the wrong reasons. Period. Ponder that.

3. In time, true and valuable people find their way to you. The flimsy fall out and flee. 
When any scandal hits, true and fair humans tend to sit back, collect data and then reach out with either reliability, compassion or both. I feel so blessed and surprised to see and re-meet some of my peers that I never knew were so authentic, and genuinely good people. 

4. It’s a double standard of gender. 
Men don’t punish each other. They barely acknowledge marital issues to each other and certainly don’t ascertain assumptions they can’t confirm. Women make it a cold war with me, but are fine talking to men with full knowledge they have committed the same “crime.”

5. Kool-aid is pretty sugary and fun. Perception seems powerful. 
Like anything if you say it enough, it becomes “true.” I’ve never seen it more.  Even some of the parties involved started drinking their own Kool-Aid and need to be swiftly reminded, in truth, what pure water tastes like but ultimately I hand them all a huge pitcher of whatever flavor they want. It’s their thirst.

Here’s what I know: I am never going to change anyone. I am not even mad when people look down, instead of face my husband and I at a school event or bow out of pre-planned, public play dates because I will be there. I just laugh and let go. I focus on pride in my children.

My oldest daughter initiated a group now officially offered at school called “Banana Splits” to get kids together to talk about divorce and support each other weekly. My middle daughter is excelling at reading, writing, drawing and is comfortable with our situation because WE ARE. We own it and define it.

I apologized, accepted fault, took full accountability, even more than I should have, because I seek calm. I am fully aware that what makes me who I am, is far more and far bigger, far deeper than my mistakes, my poor decisions and my choices.

A lot has happened in six months. I have broken, battled, changed, healed, rebuilt. I truly have compassion for anyone going through anything similar, or judgments, or alienation, or feeling lonely, or any number of things that happen in all facets of life.

I have compassion for the harshest of judges because something in me elicits enough emotion to justify the energy taken to punish, ignore, or waste time talking about me. Perhaps they think I threaten an ideal? Maybe my mess is scary?  Do my mistakes or the surface details trigger their own pain, fear, mistrust from some entirely unrelated event?

Or worse:  Like a soap opera, do my exposed vulnerability and failures make people feel better about themselves? 

Whatever the case, I truly meant no harm to anyone- that’s the truth. I didn’t set out to punish or ruin or lie. I assure you those were never my goals, had I seen the future and the following collateral damage, I’d probably not be here. Irony. That’s the point.

I have huge truckloads of compassion and empathy. I always have. That wasn’t my biggest Clearly, I had others. But compassion and love are not something I lack, neither is objectivity.

I beg the question: “If they WERE compassionate, empathetic, or honest with themselves,
Wouldn't they, at the very least, be indifferent; if not understanding?

So I laugh and let go.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Think You Know How To Communicate? Think Again.

Talk is cheap, but not for the reasons I once thought. 

It’s too slim, and ignores so many more important facets of communication. I’ve learned, if anything, that there is much to learn! To unravel and expose the true reasons for how you say why you say what you say when you do. 

I truly have thought myself a good communicator. Articulation in words (spoken or written) has been an easy “gift” of mine in many ways. I’ve been validated and rewarded for it. Yet, still, I realize that I am not that great at communicating. I would venture to guess very few of us are, despite what we may tell ourselves.

Recently, I was given some “guidelines for healthy communicating.” Upon first reaching my hand out for the print offs, I thought to myself. “Ya, I know, own your thoughts, say “I feel....” or "I hear you saying.... blah blah...” I was a bit right, but it is so much more. You may very well know better than someone. You may adamantly disagree on principle.

The main point I learned even if that feels true to me, communication isn’t about convincing MY TRUTH, but hearing the other perspective, summarizing it, and then giving some introspection on what that makes me feel and why. Historically,  I would react, respond, and make my understanding of the subject matter a debate, or a debate until someone bowed or conceded. This doesn’t mean screaming. I hate screaming, it can be in calm tones, or deflection, passive aggression, sarcasm....etc. 

More in simplicity. Which is a hard thing to grasp. Simplify? Be less articulate? Don’t make your point the second you realize your point is the hook, line sinker?! Yes. All of us are so busy prepping the next thought, healing the hurt from a backhanded jab that we lose sight, and point.

The rules I thought I understood:

1. There are two roles. A "Speaker" and the "Listener.

You can only be ONE of the two roles at a time. (see number 2 and 3)
It is helpful to use a "speaking symbol." No, I'm not kidding. 

The Speaking Symbol: a physical item which could be a talking stick as was used be the American Indian while communicating, but which in fact could be any small item that you choose and which symbol sizes that the one holding it is the ONLY one allowed to talk and who passes the symbol on ONLY when finished talking).

2. The Role of the "Speaker" is to do the following:
Picks the conversation topic.
Speaks only from the ownership of SELF. "I feel." "I am." "I want." "I have."
Cannot speak for or about the Inquirer. All words and thoughts should be framed only from his/her vantage point.
Tips: No blame. No shame. No sarcasm. No prescribing emotion. No assumptions. No judgments outside oneself.

3. The Role of the "Listener" is to do the following:
Remains a silent, active listener. S/he does not interrupt, comment or ask questions.
Speaks only after the initiator verbally stops speaking and hands off  "the symbol.”
Then while passing the symbol back and forth:
Summarize what s/he heard the Speaker say.
Ask clarifying questions only. 
Tips: No non-verbal communications. (eye-roll, guffaw, sighs, hand movements, negativity.) Clear, direct, genuine questions only. 

Sound Easy? Familiar? Yep, I thought so too. I realized quickly...if we all communicated THIS way, and there was a "family-feud" style buzzer button pushed each time a rule is broken, the world would be a mere cacophony of buzzers and swear words. All of us bring in so many "habits" and defense mechanisms. We all have triggers we didn't think existed. Most importantly is that you are not a bad communicator if this doesn't work at first. It's NOT natural...Yet!

Stay open. Try having a learning mind and you may discover how unbelievable you can be if you truly understand, take the time, and HEAR what is being said. You may learn something new about yourself if you SAY and OWN what you feel, but also listen with respect to what the other feels is their truth, and how they say it. Who knew?

Godspeed. Set low expectations as first. Practice. Love. Listen. 
So what I think you heard me say is.....Go listen. Ha.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Eyes as windows to the soul, explained (For fun): Your “Truth” Vs. “A Manufactured Projection."

Its an age-old idiom.  “The eyes are the windows to the soul.”

I was recently told by someone I deeply respect, not only for his scientific and medical background, but also for his understanding of energy work and the human body, spirit and mind. He passively asked me if I knew of the “Left eye, Right eye Theory”? I stared at him blankly.

Apparently it is believed in some scientific circles, and in other non-scientific ones too, that as the images are received in the optic chasm, they are also reflective of the division. Below in the excerpt from DeWitt, it further explains how information is received, separated and sent to opposite sides of the brain. I will paraphrase what I was told:

The LEFT eye is the reflection of a soul’s or person’s authentic self. Their truth. This being because it is the side that receives the information that is linear, scientific, logical, and pragmatic.

The RIGHT eye is the reflection of the soul’s or person’s “manufactured projection” or “self-created” self. This in turn, being from the emotional, creative and artistic side of the brain it can present something less authentic, more controlled and contrived.

THIS IS NOT EMPIRICAL INFORMATION. I am not trying to “sell” a theorem or convince anyone of anything. I merely find it fascinating. The way I find astrology, neuroscience, religions and myths, human history, and pscyhology equally interesting.

It’s fun to think about. So I took pictures of a friend and some of my family including myself. It’s quite eye-catching to see and differentiate the difference. My source used Bill Cosby, Miley Cyrus, and other famous pictures as examples by covering the right or left side.

Take a look, decide for yourself. If nothing else, it’s a fun fact to ponder:

Note: If you take a “Selfie” to play along, it is the OPPOSITE. This is because the camera on your phone flips the image so what looks like your right, is your left, and vice versa. If the picture is taken by somebody ELSE, it’s true to form.

Looks projected, lines and creases
straining to smile.
Sad, but open. Soft and less forced.
 <---Left (selfie) TRUTH
   Right (selfie) PROJECTED--->

This is me, January 2015. My life was falling apart and I was clinging with white-knuckle to be “in control.” They actually look like TWO different pictures to me.

Warm, kind, open and soft.
A little forced, detached and
fearing a bit.

<---Left TRUTH
This is my six year old. I notice this is fascinating. Hers are opposite of most. This makes me laugh because she has a little “deviant” or “curiously dark.” side that she hides. I help her and nurture her because she will soon see that hiding is unnecessary, and she is perfect being ALL parts of herself.

His projected self is intensely
serious, and edgy. 
His truth is calm, happy,
 kind and endearing. Even his lashes
are softer and present. (same pic)

<--- Left TRUTH
    Right PROJECTION--->

My husband, after a rough wknd. We had “family” dinner as we planned in spite of our separation.
His is quite interesting, and makes me happy. It is also exactly how I’ve always seen him.

Like mine above, she is straining a smile.
Lines and creases, but she seems
energetic and in control.
Truth is soft, open and learning.
There is aacceptance.
<---Left TRUTH
     Right PROJECTION--->

My friend of twenty years. Life has been hard lately, divorce, ill father, new routine, but she is happy now. She has always, however been very SURE of who she is.

Truth is intense, has an
Projection is SO similar to Truth,
only difference I see is a buffer on
intensity and empathy with kindess.

 <---Left (selfie) TRUTH
 Right (selfie) PROJECTION--->
Another friend of twenty years. She is an old soul, mother-nature, soothing, very enlightened woman.
                                                        <----Left (selfie) TRUTH
Right (selfie) Projection--->               Me. Today. Separated for two weeks. Sad and processing all the changes, but also at my creative peak. Everything that was my life has changed, so too, have the people in it. So here I am. 

I had my mother look at the last pictures of me. She thinks my truth looks bright, strong, calm and sad but present. My Projection, however,  looks stonewalled, angular, nervous, anxious and cold. 

Some background on the subject (found on Wiki, and from as well as a famed neurologist.):

Below is an excerpt from Dr. David A. DeWitt. He holds a PhD in neuroscience from Case Western Reserve University. Currently chair of the Department of Biology and Chemistry and director of the Center for Creation Studies at Liberty University, his primary research efforts have focused on the mechanisms causing cellular damage in Alzheimer’s 

NOTE: He does NOT endorse, or have anything to do with my “truth vs. projection” theory. He is cited only to clarify the optical biology, function and fascinating inner-workings of our eyes and brain. 

"Consider just one aspect of your vision: rich, full-color, moving 3D images. Did you realize that is not what your eyes pick up? Your eyes detect two separate two-dimensional images. Your brain must then recombine these flat images into one, steady-stream, 3D representation of the world.

To perform this miracle, your brain constantly compares the information streaming in from each eye and makes instant calculations to derive the right depth, distance, shape, color, and shading. This allows you to tell where one object ends and another begins, such as your friend and the tree behind him. With this perception you can confidently cross a busy street or swing a bat to hit a baseball.

Furthermore, the images that land on your retina are literally upside down, but the brain restores every last pixel to an upright position.

Consider another blessing of our brains. When we blink, does the world go dark? No, because the brain fills in the missing details. Our eyes don’t see this, but our brain lets us think we do.

How impressive is that?

The optic nerves coming from each eye meet briefly in a region called the optic chiasm. Here all the information is deliberately split into two parts of the brain. The left half of the visual field goes to the right side of the brain, while the right half goes to the left side."

In Egyptian folklore: Horus was the ancient Egyptian sky god who was usually depicted as a falcon, most likely a lanner or peregrine falcon.[10] His right eye was associated with the sun god, Ra. The eye symbol represents the marking around the eye of the falcon, including the "teardrop" marking sometimes found below the eye. The mirror image, or left eye, sometimes represented the moon and the god Djehuti (Thoth).[11]

In Christianity(according to “”: Often in Scripture, eyes indicate people’s character. Included in these uses are personality traits people possess, as well as their moral condition. As we might expect, the book of Proverbs comments frequently on the character of godly and ungodly people alike. It is the charitable eye of the generous man that indicates his liberality (Prov. 22:9).152 On the other hand, it is the miserly eye of the stingy man that describes his parsimony (Prov. 23:6).153 For the Hebrew, the eye indicates the character of the man—in this case, either his generosity or his stinginess. The humble man who is brought low is described in the book of Job as having downcast eyes (Job 22:29).154

Just for fun, take your own pic to see the truth!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Balances of Truth: Being vs. Being SEEN Trying.

She discovered that pain is more than pain when felt in full truth. Its a darkness so black that no lights, no other possibilities can even penetrate the thickness. Everyone watching and witnessing are merely masks of her self-hatred. It is a silly waste to even think they need to punish her. 

These, are furious and fighting words of a night not slept well. So seldom do they roll in, but when one does, it is with gravity and pounding thunder.

The discovery of such dark pain also exposes the heights and beaming hope of happiness found in truth. The capacity of joy and contentment are so great she cannot yet paint its hues yet.

Balances are the force that keeps all of nature tightly woven. Lion kills for a cub. Suns gravity swings in harmony with lunar pulls. At its smallest; the atomic positives need the opposite to exist.With endings there are so few this unforgiving. Broken social norms and lies told create such a barrier for empathy. This she understands. 

Even her softest, most capable hands cannot reach past the collective ill-wishing from so many. Too much of  life exposes those less awake and merely confirm their own “innocence" of sleeping through it.

She has a deep dwelling in being. She always has, nameless as it is. She holds no tools or machinery to remove it. Before it was destructive and nihilistic searching for fertile ground. Now she irrigates that same ground with grace and gratitude. Words are getting worn with use but they prove stronger than ever. She does fear the drought though. At what point does the flow stop attempting to push through the soil?

The hardened winter hurts the bud at first. Then the next centurygravel-paving, and now the concrete. Even with cracks for aesthetics, these narrow spaces are too slim and the hard rock too dense to  squeeze through. A bud all too often denied light and food will sink back and wither. A refusal of such proportions over such lengths of time may just shrivel the beginnings of hope.

I am she. 

The broken bud may eventually bow in defeat. Or perhaps it will rise to light through pollen and seed to begin again as all of nature has intended. From bowing to bud. One more time yet. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Only True As*holes should Fear it: Facing Your Truth (really, really.)

truth tro͞oTH/
noun: that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.
Seems simple enough. Franklin Roosevelt was on to something profound when he said: "The only thing to fear is fear itself. 

Why is our own truth so scary? I’m not talking about “Yes, I am mad at you.” or “Motherhood is hard”-type of truths. I’m talking the perceived rabbit hole at the center of ourselves. I speak of that trap door hidden under the rug in the deep dark corners of our hearts. 
Yep. That. Most of us avoid it at all cost. I did. I figured my "truth" was this : “I’m damaged.” I now know that I’m just HUMAN. 
Truth is all kinds of things...a side to a biased story presented. Sometimes it is revealed as a secret one shares in a new relationship. People get either disarmed by truth told or they repel an entire person for one portion of it. This I know for a fact. I have lived it. 
In my discovery of some ugly core lies, I have found that people harshly judge or pretend to judge in fear of being called out for not judging! What? That’s when you have nearly nothing left to lose (reputation-wise.) Very different from having “nothing to lose.” 

It’s the counter-intuitive gift I never thought would be so incredible, so giving and so freeing. I realized I’m not “half full”, but in truth neither am I even close to “half empty.” Why only two choices? I hit the bottom. It was ever-lonely and sparse but with enough blessings that I felt: “I’m just happy to be the glass that will contain.” 

In spite of the actual (and whole) truth, the damage is so wide-spread that you are huddled within yourself, shaking like a child against a wall. This is when you have a choice:

Stay scared and berate yourself (Insert: drink wine, drugs, disappear in work..etc)  
or turn inward and see what is causing all this. 
Are you an asshole? I mean a true, evil self-righteous jerk that can do no wrong and has made no mistakes, ever? 

Didn’t think so. Me neither.
So imagine there are two people in the proverbial room when you get down your rabbit hole. You are cynical, self-doubting and cringing as your shaking hand turns the knob to the “Inner Truth of You” room. In near panic just thinking about opening the door, you inhale deeply, count to three and push it ajar. Bracing for the worst, um...Silence.
There is no one else present, except the “purest” you. The sweet, kind, loving, vulnerable, confident un-jaded version. You see your mirror image but without all the learned “rules" and lost magic. The sweet and intrinsically valuable you is wide-eyed and eager and completely unsuspecting of anything bad. That inner self KNOWS who you are. Only YOU would come to the door. So she receives you warmly. 

Huh. The process isn’t without emotion, mind you. I cried a lot. I was enraged I had let myself get “here." I was in devastating awe that I deviated so far from that girl. I look at her with empathy and love and shaking my head in recognition that I (me-conditioned and constrained by all kinds of useless junk) let her get to this!
Family events and members can convince that child of untruths. Some give you a role. Life will indeed disappoint and so we morph and shift into a version of that self with less expectations, less hope, and fiercely limiting beliefs. We get hurt and build walls. We create well-hidden defenses like an animal in the wild would....but at what cost?
NOT ONE THING ABOUT FACING MY TRUTH was scary. Sad? Sure. Heartbreaking? Absolutely. This, (much to the dismay of many wanting me to fit into some predetermined, categorically-chosen box) revelation in a room inside myself proved quite clearly that
I am NOT an evil, hateful, disingenuous asshole. 
There was no fear. There was only compassion, self-awareness and love; so much love. I saw  the likeness of so many people I know. I saw friends and strangers hurting in decade-long ways merely to survive. I had no judgments. I’m not trying to sound benevolent or esoteric. Most people I know understand those words thinly and misuse them. 

The seemingly hardest thing to do in look at our “ugliest” and “deepest truths about why we are WHO we are" begets compassion, love and gratitude. I’m so happy I got to see this at thirty-seven. Gone are the days of judging and comparing. I slowly continue to spin a chrysalis. Even this is mistaken by most as “a wall” or “distance.” It is the opposite. 
So I rebuild. I rework my way of living and slowly I will emerge trusting again. I already I trust the process. I will own my “stuff." I will seek to be compassionate and kind. The real way...not the way  people smile while you walk by, then say something nasty. Not the “friendly” types that are anything but friends. I can see the difference now. I recognize in some what I was too.
I’ll work on me. The working assumption I have is to have none. I will never get lost again in the sea of opinion, perceptions or fear of myself. It’s insane. Fear oneself? That’s the biggest mistrust of all, how then, do we trust another? 
Fear not. Love big. Realize you ARE NOT an asshole and get that truest, truthiest self out. Unless you plan on mistreating and rejecting the purest version of yourself, let the freak flag fly away. Deem the dorky self-aware free!  Whatever you find, is exactly as you should be. This beautiful life will adapt and present all things in line with that truth. If you find a problem, trust there is a solution inside yourself. The rest can just do what it does. 

BE GRATEFUL ...... and