A Crisis of Napoleon and an Aging Coffee Pot

butter-and-syrup

What do Napoleon, maple syrup, and an aging coffee pot have in common? According to my tangled dendrites, they have crises!

Some years ago, I read a book pondering the “what-ifs” of history. Among them was the odd occurrence of early winter falling upon Napoleon’s naval fleet. The author claimed that–had the frozen waters of the French port not immobilized his ships–America would be French instead of English. Crisis! (Understandably, Europeans probably have a much different version of this tale.)

And then there was our aging coffee pot staring weakly at me this morning, daring me to make one last cup of lukewarm coffee. Crisis! Instead, I opted for black tea with honey and lime–something I was first served on a houseboat off the coast of Kerala. Accompanied by a toaster waffle with real syrup and butter, it made for a happy breakfast. (My husband and I have decided that life is too short not to enjoy real food.)

The Greeks coined the term crisis to describe moments of decision, while just yesterday I had quoted President Kennedy’s observation that the Chinese character for crisis juxtaposed danger with opportunity. Today, I’m going to try embracing my crises in hopes of discovering what wonders might lie ahead.

What wonders have crises created for you?

Love, ❤

Mira

 

 

Erase the irrational thinking

Breakthrough
483px-erase_stub

No doubt this post will be rather controversial, and if it gets very few likes, so be it.

In my experience, the so-called rational mind can get us tangled into a convoluted mess of he-said, she-said, and difficult-to-verify understandings. It seems that the more we try to think our way out, the greater the problems become. All politics aside, one candidate has a little mantra that does seem rather rational: “If you make it a practice to always be honest, you don’t have to remember as much.” My next thought went to wondering what the corollary statement would be–something like the more you add to the story, the less truth can be identified. (I’m sure there are a gazillion other possible versions!)

My first exposure to the field of psychology was in high school. The more I heard in this elective class, the more I was appalled to think that the reasons I was who I was–or thought the way I did–were no different from the ways a dog was conditioned to think. It scared the crap out of me! My conclusion was that I could trust myself no more than I could trust the people who tried to teach me. The idea that there might be no moral or ethical compass that could be trusted felt like the ultimate darkness.

Have the fields of psychology and sociology served us well? It seems to me that in the end, all of our doubt, hypotheses, testing, and theory-making tend to validate the original idea that love is the human activity that prevails above all. If we could ever figure this out, the learning, the information, the governments, the protections might become a moot point.

Perhaps the best way to affect a breakthrough to a world beyond the “isms” is to simply stop thinking about them. Stop talking about them. Erase them. Get busy and work to take care of ourselves and each other.  That sounds a lot like forgiveness.

(I’m going to go clean out my closet now.)

Mira

 

A day without writing…

Jump

bubble-bath
This may be the shallowest, most nonsensical thing I have attempted to shake out of my laptop.

Today was a day without writing. I’m missing my high-board jump into my bubble-bath of words.

For the past ten weeks or so, I have poured out things I thought I knew, things I thought I understood, things I have tried to see through others eyes. Today, nothing. Today, I think I didn’t think. And that was the thought that sparked my comfort-zone of consciousness off the couch.

When even my simplest words haven’t been extruded and examined, I feel as though I haven’t really been here. My eyes, searching up and left (as they always do when I’m trying to get the synapses firing) snatched the day’s random images: the golf shot that I should have been practicing mentally, the synchronicity of fellow bloggers working out why we feel compelled to validate and adopt each other’s view–valiantly attempting to cobble together our own little soul-groups of security. And stranger still–in our  state of nonsensical conundrum–mystified as to why our soul-group is so different from theirs.

At the end of the day, I may not know any more than the morning, but through my struggle to feel alive through the demolition and reconstruction of my elementary words, I’m feeling worthy of taking up space again. It’s the old, familiar brain-muscle-burn, feeling satisfied that I have tried.

How about you? Do you experience a free-falling existential angst when deprived of your me-time bubble-bath of words?

Mira

Judgment ≠ Discernment

Hike

 

scoldingpenguin
Take a hike, chump! You’re not worth my time!!! (judgement or discernment?)

Judgment vs. Discernment (Psychology Today)

Wait–don’t we need to make good decisions?

Sometimes my forays into cautionary tales about being judgmental are met with vehement cries of derision–especially when one’s work hinges upon the ability to make informed and wise decisions. As a teacher, I remember frequent reminders that teachers make upwards of 1,500 critical decisions each day affecting students, parents, schools, communities—well, you get the picture. Teachers are hardly alone in their circles of influence.

My new growth mindset of possibility:

I have come to the place where my most solid assurance is that there is no end: that the conversations go on between all the souls who love each other, living and dead. I have no certifiable proof of this–only that this understanding gives me peace and allows me to maintain open conversations with basically anyone. From a mindset of no end,  nothing seems catastrophic anymore; we just continue learning how to love better. That also allows me to allow others’ their own interpretations of end vs. no end. And yet, when I see others in pain, knowing that there can be life here on the terra firma without emotional pain, I suppose that I cannot, in good conscience, stop myself from putting these thoughts out there.  (Most solid assurance, after all, is not without doubt.)

Each person comes to their working core truth in their own way and at their own time. When you get to that place, I don’t think that you never want to leave that solid foundation. You just build from there. I would love to know what you think: have you reached a meaning-of-life that works for you? If so, how has it affected your interpretation of judgement?  

Decisions, words-meanings, and relationships

So, the building: we humans have our gargantuan task of working out the fabric of meanings that fashion our relationships. Our life-raft relationships that we build despite the raging oceans of our many languages, cultures, contexts, values–all of it, might be secured or destroyed upon the interpretation of a single word: judgement. To me, judgement can mean allowing a relationship or dismissing it.

In my opinion, our interpretation and application of the difference between judgment and discernment is worth mindful consideration.

Value of souls vs. value of physical matters

Claim: Judgment addresses the value of a person. If we can accept that we are all differently-gifted for our own unique life’s purpose, every individual would have equal value. We each contribute to the whole in our own way. I see it as the value of one’s soul and worthiness to take up space, to be heard, and to be loved.

Claim: Discernment, according to conventional interpretation, is based upon what can be observed: objective matters. (Granted, there is also a  Biblical application of the word discernment, which may or may not integrate well. This would probably also make for a good discussion!)  I discovered an article published a few years ago (2011) in Psychology Today. It was written by Dr. Raj Raghunathan, who explains it much more eloquently than I. Here it is again:

Judgment vs. Discernment (Psychology Today)

What do you think? What determines the difference between judgment and discernment for you?  How does that kind of distinction play out in your daily living?

Love, ❤ ❤ ❤

Mira