Blogging From A to Z: Zippy

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I knew from the beginning of this A to Z challenge that I would end it with the word zippy. I tried other Z words—zelig, zaftig, zoo, Zelda (Fitzgerald, not Nintendo’s Legends of), Zippo, even my older brother Zoltan was a potential candidate, but nothing quite stuck.

So I decided to be true to the word that apparently won’t let me go and wants its place in the alphabetic line of this challenge, and thus I offer up the word zippy. It’s a pretty versatile word actually: the classical definition is to be very quick and speedy or fresh and stylish. It can also be used to sarcastically describe someone who moves molasses-slow and for those of us who remember or who are comic book fans, Zippy was an iconic comic strip from the early 1970s created by Bill Griffith. Personally, I have no particular associations with this word except that it makes me smile and it’s fun to say.

I love the peppy and lively energy of the word. Taking this deeper, I think I wanted to end this month-long blogging event on a high note and a smile. After today, I will return to my regularly scheduled programming of posts so I want to thank all of you who have stopped by, visited, and those of you following me since this challenge began. I met some truly wonderful, incredible, inspiring people—writers, artists, photographers, and just plain folks with an outlet and something to say.

So to my fellow bloggers, artists, and soul travelers, I want to wish all of you a very zippy day.

Just took it deeper. 🙂

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Blogging From A to Z: You

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Sometimes we feel as though there is no one we can talk to; no one to turn to share our fears and hopes and whatever it is we are feeling. How often have you wished that someone would just grab you by the shoulders and say, “yes, you….”?

So, I am dedicating this next to last post in the A to Z blogging of the letter “Y”, to you:

Yes, you are going to make it through this hour, this morning, this afternoon, this evening, today.

Yes, you are going to impress them with your interviewing skills.

Yes, you are strong enough to handle this.

Yes, you can commit to this relationship.

Yes, you are going to be a good mom/dad.

Yes, you can finish that marathon.

Yes, you can go back to school.

Yes, you can stop drinking/smoking.

Yes, you will survive this and get through it.

Yes, you can write it/compose it/draw it.

Yes, you can / will _______________________[fill in the blank], and no, you’re not alone.

Taking it deeper…..

Blogging From A to Z: X-Large

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Being an X-Large person continues to be a damning label in current societal views of body awareness. There is a trend that has begun to make ripples of valuing health over size but the grip of judgment surrounding a person’s body size is far from loosening. Why is it okay to have extra large televisions, cars, houses, and yet it is not okay to be that in your physical body? Bigger is better when it comes to objects and is a sign of success (or debt depending on how you look at it!) but when it comes to extra large in bodies and clothing, it’s regarded as a sign of failure—a lack of control.

Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D. , a Clinical Professor of Family and Community Medicine at UCSF School of Medicine and Founder and Director of the Institute for the Study of Health and Illness at Commonweal, and author of Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather’s Blessings, was on an episode of “Lunch with Bokara” on rituals and she said, “We have edited life in such a way that none of us can belong to life anymore because we have wrinkles or we have illnesses. We don’t fit and so our love doesn’t matter because we’re not good enough. We’re all not good enough in some way. We are all ashamed of something in [ourselves] that really isn’t worth the shame.”

Media perpetuates this feeling of shame regarding how we look and continues to dictate how we should look. No one ever condemns the neighbor who just bought the large flat-screen TV, or upgraded his or her home theater. As a matter of fact, they are applauded and looked at as being successful. But if that same neighbor suddenly gained weight, then damnation and judgment begins of being regarded as a failure [in self-control of eating] or questions that something might be physically wrong for them to have “let themselves go.”

I just loved that quote from Dr. Remen and it struck a deep chord with me on how we are indeed editing life in a way that none of us could truly feel a sense of belonging unless we play by rules that some other people created. I am asking each of us to stop the judgment and to stop the editing. X-Large, or x-small, so what? As long as you’re a good person, I don’t care what size you are.

Taking it deeper.

Blogging From A to Z: Welcome!

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Dear Renata,

The Universe here, dropping off a quick note. Yeah, THAT Universe, as in the big U. Just wanted to stop by and bring you a note to say WELCOME to your new life.

I know things have been difficult and challenging lately, but I’ve been sending some people and good books your way to help you keep your sanity and to brighten your day. I’ve also brought about some new situations that I see you’ve taken advantage of to showcase your writing and art. You’re welcome.

I’ve been noticing that you’re still having some trouble despite my help though, and so I thought it best to contact you directly and send you an official letter welcoming you to this next phase of your life. The neighborhoods are the same—job, health, home, family, friends, and I’m sure you’ve already noticed that some of them have been changing with new neighbors and others that have moved out. More changes are coming and you will be exploring those neighborhoods soon enough, but today I decided to use the “W” in Blogging A to Z to welcome you to the new neighborhood that deals with taking care of your mom.

As you are well aware, she’s been having some additional health issues lately, and I’m sorry dear, but I want to strongly suggest for you to stop fighting the change. She’s not as young as she used to be and definitely not the mother that is living in your memory. So, in a sense, you have an updated version of your mother—the latest model so to speak. She still dances to the beat of her own drummer but the station has changed and there’s a new song playing. You’re the only relative close by whom she can call so instead of fighting the truth and the inevitable and feeling like your drowning with these new responsibilities, give it up and do the backstroke instead. You’re a good swimmer and strong, and take it from me, drowning people struggle in their panic so much it does more harm then good.

I don’t believe in writing instruction manuals but there are a lot of people in the same boat as you and the world is a wonderful reference library. Since I would never leave you high and dry and alone in your new neighborhood, I want to remind you that you still have God, Karma, and some pretty fun guardian angels on your side ready to help you in a pinch.

That’s about it for now. I used to do Welcome Wagons a long time ago complete with a basket of muffins and coupons for local dry cleaning, but too many people have food allergies to the muffins and everyone is so conscious with the environment now that I tend to leave notes like this when creating situations and opportunities aren’t enough. Take care of yourself and take care of mom. She needs you and I need you and the world needs you to be another volume in its reference library for the next person moving into their new neighborhood.

Love always,

The Universe

Blogging From A to Z: Vulnerable

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A newly hatched bird;
A flower bud;
The first one to say I love you;
Asking your girlfriend to marry you;
Being told you have a disease and there’s nothing more that can be done;
A newborn baby;
An elderly person’s first night in a nursing home;
A bride on her wedding night;
A teenager who just found out she was pregnant;
Openely stating your sexual orientation for the first time;
Writing your first poem, story, post and hitting the “Publish” or “Send” button;
The first public exhibit of your paintings or photographs;
Being interviewed for a much needed job;
Being laid-off;
Burying your loved one;
The first day on your own at college after all the families have gone home;
The first night alone in new a apartment;
All of us in our deepest hour.

Being vulnerable is like standing on the threshold of what was and what will be.

Some of us dance over it, some crawl, some step over it one toe at a time, and some eagerly jump over the threshold with both feet. Being exposed in vulnerability is actually a powerful place to be. Vulnerability is fragility wrapped in hopefulness, hopelessness, security, doubt, wonder, joy, and sadness, all at once.

Are you on the threshold with something that is making you feel vulnerable? Have you made the jump today? Take my hand and let’s walk over that threshold together taking vulnerability and what it means to us deeper.

 

 

Blogging From A to Z: Uncomfortable

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Come sit for a minute. Go ahead, sit back, settle in, take a sip of water and let’s begin. I saw you yawn (I know, I’m tired too). Bless you. Take another sip, I’ll wait while you cross your legs and relax. Comfortable? Good. Now let’s get ready to get a little uncomfortable. Well, okay, more than a little. You’re in the control seat and the level of comfort you want to feel will all depend on how you sit with what I am about to share with you.

The role of spirituality and mysticism has come roaring into our culture fueled to a previously unforeseen level thanks to mainstream media. Individually and collectively, many of us are realizing that things aren’t working so well anymore in our lives and there is still something deep inside the deepest part of our hearts that niggles at us, incessantly knocking from the inside trying to get our attention. We are saturated with seeking ways to satisfy our feelings of lost spirituality, but perhaps it’s not spirituality we seek but the connection to our soul. There. I just saw you blink and shift in your seat. Now you’re uncomfortable, at least a little bit, aren’t you? It’s okay. You can admit it. It’s just you and me here.

I’m not writing to answer the questions of why are we here and what is our life’s purpose. I’m writing to say that we can search all we want, read and meditate all day and all night, eat only organic foods and wear only natural fibers so that we can say we live in perfect accordance with the Earth but that does not mean we are living in accordance with our true selves.

It’s not the road that will get you to Nirvana but the potholes and fallen trees and the cold rain that soaks you to your bones when you have no umbrella that will make you uncomfortable and make you wonder why you are doing this. Let us be acupuncture needles with each other and learn from those people and situations that make us uncomfortable and look into why. Are you being mirrored and don’t like what you see? Are you being reminded of something you’d rather not be? Those things that make us shy away and fearful and uncomfortable are exactly the things we need to be with and not turn away from.

It is our human nature not to want pain, but it is our ego’s nature to create comfort and distraction regardless of what is at stake to keep our soul path in the shadow. How do we avoid this? By remaining present when we notice our discomfort. Let the pebbles in our shoes be reminders of moving forward out of our comfort zone. Change can only happen when we go through the muddy, thick, uncomfortable, and sometimes painful metamorphosis that will birth ego and shadows into the light.

You have to get off the mountain and get off the mat. Get angry. Get dirty and then shake the mud off like a dog that got wet to move forward into our true selves and get closer to our bone. Life is messy. Buddha taught that life is pain, and so pain equals being uncomfortable. Personally, I would rather be kicked out of my comfort zone on an hourly basis if that were what it would take me to make me shed my ego habits.

Taking it deeper.

 

Blogging From A to Z: Tenacity

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I believe that tenacity is a very important trait to have. Maybe it’s the scales in my astrological chart but I strongly believe in the underdog and admittedly I have a deep need for balance and justice, which tends to call in my tenacious nature.

I don’t look at being tenacious as being a bad thing. In Latin it means to hold fast, and I believe in holding people and companies accountable for what they say and are supposed to do. It’s not about being right but rather it’s about being ethical, moral, standing by one’s word, and really just doing good business.

I especially become dogged and steadfast when it comes to insurance companies, healthcare, banking, and Internet providers (!) and can be fiercely tenacious when it comes to family and friends. In matters of business, it’s not that I am inflexible when mistakes happen, but when it’s clearly evident that the mistakes are the result of sloppiness, miscommunication, and poor training that get me. In business, I’ve noticed an increasingly pathetic disconnect between the proverbial right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing with misinformation and lack of follow-through rampant.

I have a deep understanding of another person’s shoes almost to the empathic level but sometimes being understanding just doesn’t cut it. I realize that the downsizing in companies can result in a lack of drive to do a good job for those who are left but I think more of a factor is that so many people are overstressed and overworked and there is no real training made available to employees anymore, that those who are left to work can’t help but end up playing a crucial role in widening the gap of disconnect.

People have called me bitchy and obstinate to which I say thank you, because if that’s what you want to call someone who holds fast onto doing what’s right and fighting against inaccuracies, miscommunication, and lack of caring, then go right ahead. Being tenacious can be something like a superpower in that it can be used for good or evil: holding people and businesses accountable or it can be used as harassment and unrelenting obstinacy. Like the Avengers, I choose the former.

Is tenacity your superpower or does it still need to be summoned? I embrace my inner superpower and celebrate it in today’s “T” post. Embrace your inner tenaciousness and take your inner superpower deeper!

 

Blogging From A to Z: Stories

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We all have them. Even if you say you don’t have a story, that’s still a story. So tell me a story. Not just a story. Your story. Not just your story. Your truth.

We tell stories to each other to makes each other feel less alone, to feel less afraid. Some of us tell stories because we are proud and we want to share. We are all storytellers on some level—if not with our words, then with our actions or in our being. We are even storytellers by our silence.

Our stories tell us by the way we hold our head high (or low), and the laugh lines and crows feet that map our joys and sorrows. If there is Botox there instead, then I can still see your story in your eyes. Do you meet mine or would you rather gaze to the distance or to the floor?

There is a story in your hair—the length, the color, and whether it covers your face to further conceal your mask or do you wear it swept back daring the world to gaze at your features as you stare back?

Your chin tells me a story. Is it jutted out in defiance and pride or does it tremble in fear or sadness?

Your shoulders tell me a story. Are they rounded as if you try to hide your existence or are they rolled back, your chest and heart open and wide?

The jewelry you wear tells me stories. Do you shine and glitter like a thousand lights in a chandelier, or do you carry bells on your fingers and toes to dance to as you walk into a room?

I’m interested in the stories of your hands and the babies and lovers that they held in sickness, health, passion, and love.

Your scars and tattoos even share. They tell me one story while your piercings scream another.

I’m interested in the stories in between your stories; the pauses and the sighs in between your words because they speak just as loudly and sometimes louder.

Come closer and whisper to me your secret, whisper to me your story and I’ll tell you mine and then we’ll whisper them into the wind. It doesn’t matter if you are a boy or a girl or a man or a woman. The young have stories called dreams and the old have stories they call memories. Let’s use our imaginations and listen to the stories of the trees and birds and the lions and monkeys and then we’ll tell them to the stars and the moon and the sun until we are one big story with a thousand different voices, a thousand different names, a thousand different experiences and yet, somehow, some way, all one.

So take off your mask and let your shadow step forward, because I can already see your story whether you tell me or not but I want to hear it come from you. I can see your story already as your lips part slightly and your gaze rises to meet mine. I smile in encouragement and nod my head yes, so we can take it a little deeper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blogging From A to Z: Retro

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Nothing makes me feel older than to see something from my youth referred to as retro. It’s weird and amusing in a “Are you kidding me? How is that possible?!” sort of way. When I see something I either played with or wore from my formative years referred to that way, I can’t help but shake my head in disbelief at the reference and label.

It was bad enough wearing some of those clothes originally and now when I see them in magazines or in stores, I shudder. It’s also strange to see toys I used to play with showcased in vintage and antique store windows! Really? Who would have known we should have held on to our Rockem’ Sockem’ robots and real metal Tonka trucks as an investment? There are just some decades living through them once was enough and I’m just not interested in shag rugs and would rather eat avocados and mustard then have them be the color palate for my home.

Sometimes I wonder when retro anything rears its head, is it because people can’t think of anything new and creative anymore, and so the old becomes fodder for another generation or is it just a case of everything old is new again? If the latter is true and the cycle of reincarnation averages every twenty years or once in a generation, I look around now at our disposable and plastic culture and can’t help but wonder what will be around long enough to reawaken as retro for the 2030s from our 2010s? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Taking retro a little deeper!

 

Blogging From A to Z: Quiet

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Have you noticed that there seems to be different kinds of quiet?  The quiet of a snowfall versus the quiet of the early morning dawn? The quiet of the house when the family is still asleep from the quiet of a room when you’re alone?   There is something about the quietness of a Sunday morning that just makes the air itself feel holy.  And then there is the almighty silence that comes when the power goes out! I’ve always believed there were different kinds of quiet. Maybe it’s not so much the level of sound in the quiet but rather the energy. Each of the scenarios I mentioned has it’s own distinct change in energy, which in itself can be immensely soothing.

Call it what you will–down time, being unplugged, quiet time it all comes down to the same thing–a regathering of ourselves and our senses and finding a moment, just a moment, to settle down and listen to your inner hum.

Taking ourselves deeper.