Monday, November 26, 2007

Six Handy Steps, Step 1, Part 3

Sometimes it's hard to identify just what is happening that we need to accept. By golly, we know something's out of whack. Just what the hell is it? We're not drowning in a lake. We didn't just marry a stranger. We didn't just win the Nobel Prize. How can we accept where we are if we don't know where that is? And, worse, are we really where we think we are?

I suspect that's a problem more common than any of us realize. Who isn't familiar with the example of the person who comes home from work and gets angry with the dog when, really, deep inside, it's his or her boss who deserves the anger? It happens. And it's good for the moment. It's ok to hang out in unawareness for a while. You're only human.

Sooner or later, you're going to want to figure it out. Your dog is gonna have a nervous breakdown and then you're going to feel even worse. So get some tools and start digging. Your location will soon reveal itself.

Grab a pencil, paper, and an emergency box of tissue. This could get scary.

Across the top of the paper write the following words:
should, would, have to, has to, must, ought, but, could, need to.

Mentally go through a few conversations or situations you've been in within the past 24 hours. Number one could be the new project your boss handed you. Maybe number two is the rumors of a complete rearrangement of the organizational chart. Number three? Your daughter's new boyfriend. The health of your cat is number four (but don't tell that to the cat.) That tire on your car that's looking a bit less than round? Number 5.

Return now to number one. Think about it. Look at the words across the top of your page. For the next 5 minutes, place a mark by number 1 each time one of the words was mentioned in the conversation or you thought at the time or you think now. Don't worry about how many of each. Just mark 'em down. Then draw a box around everything related to number 1.

Do the same for numbers 2-5.

Now look at your boxes. Compare. Contrast. Are there a lot of marks for a short conversation or situation? Are there a lot of marks for a long conversation or situation? You might want to pause to look closely at those items. These items are clues to where you are.

Take a look at those items that just might be problematic. Are they calming, nurturing, stimulating, or creative? Or would you describe them as unfair, not fair, not right, uncomfortable, or unpeaceful. So be it. That is where you are for this very moment and wherever you are is ok for now.

If you describe it as any of those words, does the word BUT immediately spring to your lips? It's unfair BUT I have to do it? It's calming BUT it won't last?

Stop that.

Remove the BUT and everything after it. If you can, erase the word BUT from your entire vocabulary. It's getting in your way. BUT and everything after it negates what you said. It's silencing your voice. It isn't allowing you to see where you are. It's preventing you from saying where you are. It is not allowing you to accept that you are in a situation that is unfair, not right. Worse, it's deceiving you into thinking that where you are at this moment is Not Good.

Everything before the "but" is where you are. It may be unfair, uncomfortable, not right, and downright despicable. And it's where you are and it's ok for this moment.

The most destructive words in the English language are not those awful epithets thrown at you, they are not " (insert unsavory saying) You!" They are not the false accusations. They are not even "I love you but I'm not In Love with you."

Whether you are saying them to yourself or someone is saying them to you, should, would, "have to," "has to," must, ought, but, could, and "need to" are the most destructive of all phrases. They are harsh judgement whether from someone else or from yourself. They harm you faster than cigarettes and more deeply than fire.

In college I had a pal from Malaysia, Hadji. I was even more neurotic then than I am now. Hadji was a gentle and wise soul. He would listen to me blather about how unfair this was and how that should be done another way and it just wasn't right. For hours. He was also very patient. Eventually he would gently caress my hair and say "Oh Booktender, this world is not small."

And he was right, of course. Not just the physical, but the spiritual and mental world are much, much greater than we will ever know. When we should and could and ought and must we put ourselves into a box. And that box gets filled with more "need tos" and "have tos" and "has to" until we barely even have room for our "buts." Our world becomes very small. Light will not penetrate. We are jailed in one place. We come to think that this is the only place. And we think it is not a good place, not even just for now.

There is a way out of the box. Thank "should" for it's usefulness in a logical equation and loose it to join that use. Thank "could" for its usefulness in speculation and bless it on its way to that. Free "ought" to join "should." Leave "must" to those who write rules and regulations and laws and procedures. Bless "need to" and use it as a tool to help fill basic human needs for food, clothing, shelter, and water. Invite "have to" and "has to" to return to their rightful place in the laws of science. Free up "but" for silly jokes and sayings.

Let them go. As they go, the walls of the box will fade away. You will see where you truly are instead of where you thought you were. The illusion is gone. You are free to accept where you are for that moment. And you are free to accept that where you are is ok for that moment.

"....all is well, and all is well, and all manner of things shall be well. " - Julian of Norwich

Monday, November 19, 2007

And sometimes they really are funny

The kids. Sometimes ya wanna kill 'em and sometimes they just slay ya.

He looked to be about 9 years old. Kinda wound up. Like Mom and Dad had dropped him off after he'd had a large cola with a whole lotta sugar. They'd asked the older brother to stay with him but that lasted 5 minutes.

So the kids walking with his legs wide apart, rocking side to side and he says "Hey! Wanna know why I'm walkin' this way?"

Dummy that I am, I said "OK, why are you walking that way?"

"'Cause my brother just gave me a big wedgie and I'm even wearing two pairs of underwear under my shorts!"

Stifling a giggle I told him that was too much information. He then wandered away, taking huge sideways steps. Really, I think he was having a good time. Perhaps this is brotherly bonding.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Reading, Listening, Viewing

Reading
Finished reading Suzanne Brockmann's Force of nature : a novel. Ripping good fun as always with a Seal Team 16/Troubleshooters novel. Lots of action. New and old characters. I'm surprised I've stuck with the series this long. I have to give Ms. Brockmann props for her inclusion of the blossoming, ok, now blooming, love affair between two gay characters, Jules and Robin. Her inclusion of this take on love in a mainstream guy/girl romance series is really well done. Maybe this will help let homophobes know that there really is nothing to be scared of and (gasp) gay people are just like heterosexuals when it comes to emotions. Rock On Ms. Brockmann!

Listening
I'm taking a break from audiobooks for a little while. I need the ride home for head-clearing time.

Musical Motif
I must sing. When I'm angry, when I'm happy, when something needs to change, I must sing. I can post and blog all I want but my best communication is my voice. I want to audition again. I want a folk/rock acoustic kind of social justice anti-war kind of group of kindred spirits.

No idea how I'll find them. Female vocalists are a dime a dozen. Must tap into my ultra-secret top-notch pinko-commie liberal-hippie network.

Buzz Girl: Penguin Press, Spring 2008

Buzz Girl: Penguin Press, Spring 2008

Monday, November 05, 2007

Laugh, cry, sigh, or run away?

Sometimes at the reference desk you just do not know what to do with your own emotions. And they are undoubtedly Yours because it has nothing to do with a user's question.

Some of our users are absolutely brilliant. Perhaps they read a number of foreign languages or are interested in obscure mathematical theories. And they know it. They really do know what they're talking about. It's just the interface that prompts a difficult-to-contain emotion.

Take a gentleman in a safari hat. Not so unusual here. They don't call us the Valley of the Sun for nothing. A safari hat is a good call. Why he has it reinforced with layers and layers and layers of wide masking tape is unknown, but it's his fashion choice and I can respect that.

His entire ensemble of layers and layers of clothing topped off with said hat and a towel draped around his neck is not unusual. When your body is the only way to carry your belongings you have to layer.

The fake nose, however, has always brought a thousand questions to mind. You can see that he at least has nostrils and his nose attached to his face. It's just a fake overly-mauve vaguely flesh-covered fake nose stuck over his nose. It doesn't cover his whole nose, just the bridge and tip. You can't help but wonder why. It's curiosity-inspiring.

Does he have a deformity of the top and tip of his nose? Perhaps part is missing due to some horrible cancer or tragedy? Is it extra protection from the sun? Does it in some way improve his protection from germs? How does it stay stuck on there with no band around his head? More masking tape? Can a man of his apparent means afford spirit gum or other adhesive to keep it firmly attached? Do people have nicknames for him? The schnoz? Noseboy? Could this be the result of years of bullying?

I'll never ask and I'll probably never know. The best I can hope for is that he recovers quickly from that runny nose he had this morning.