Giving away power

I was always a hugger. I can remember at church on Sunday’s when I would see all the older women. I knew they had life savers in their purses, and I would charm them, give them a hug, and hope they would share their Lifesavers with me. See I never had much candy growing up, so Lifesavers were a bright light (especially after a church service).

In any case, I was never forced to give a hug to the older ladies at church. It was my choice. I have no idea what it would have been like for me if I was forced to hug them. This Daily Om titled: “Repressing the Inner Voice” talks about giving away our power. When we are forced to hug family members against our will. It will make me that much more aware when I have kids of my own, and make sure I do not put them in situations where they might not want to share a hug with another individual.

I know as I have gotten older, I am definitely aware of when I want to share myself with another. I am probably entirely more open with love and hugs than I was when I was younger, but it is still my choice. Kids are often in positions where they do not have a choice, and parents need to make sure they are listening when their kids voice their opinion that they are not comfortable. This is such a great end to this Daily Om:

“All we have to do is have the confidence to listen to our own voice and let it guide us as we make our own decisions in life and remember the necessity for balance.”

Balance? Yes. That seems to be an ever occurring reminder in my life. Balance. Balance. Balance. Be sure that you are not giving away your power and that you are not putting others in a position of giving away their power.

“You get what you believe.”

Sometimes Oprah just nails it. I saw this quote from Oprah and Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook over the weekend. There was one of her big mega events in New Jersey and author Elizabeth Gilbert joined her for the event. Oprah said:

“YOU DON”T GET WHAT YOU WISH FOR; YOU GET WHAT YOU BELIEVE.”

Wow. That really made me think: Do I wish for things, or do I believe in them? Then my mind goes in a few ways. See, I have had a lot of anxiety going through my thoughts these last few days. I have had this flu bug thing for literally an entire week and when you get slow and spend a lot of time on the couch, your brain slows down. For me that means I think about each and every little thing, but in slow motion. All the events happening in the next few weeks, and all the things I have to do for those events. Both in my professional and personal life. Let me just say that it is a lot. To get it off my chest, I shared the list with Chris on Saturday night. In between blowing my nose, coughing, and snuggling into my pillow and blanket.

My mind then wonders — if you get what you believe does that mean that you think something bad could happen, then it will? Or is this just specific to good things? While I do not have an answer to that question, Elizabeth Gilbert later shared this on the same Facebook thread:

“Lay your wishes aside for a spell, and look deep into what you believe about yourself. Make sure your beliefs about your own life are anchored in greatness, in holiness, in worth, in grace, in joy, in excitement —in internal certainties rather than external circumstances. Because that belief? That’s where you’re heading, no matter what it may look like on the outside.”

So — then I should err on the side of leaning towards the good. I should be excited for what is before me, regardless of whatever might make me anxious at that moment, or about what I anticipate. Instead, believe it all to be good. Believe in my own worth, in my goodness, and greatness.

Believe it to be better than I can ever imagine.

Encyclopedias were my Google

I am not that old, but I did not grow up with the Internet at my fingertips. Instead, I had World Book Encyclopedias. They were not cheap either. At one point my mom sold encyclopedias. I always found it kind of odd. However, looking back I have a hunch she sold them so that we could have the sample set in our house. Whenever we would ask a question about something my mom would tell us: “Look it up.” I was never really a fan of pulling out the volumes that were massive like “S” and always wondered what was in the volumes like “Z.” “Q” (like Z) were in mint condition because they were rarely opened.

I had not really thought about encyclopedias in years, until I read this in the book: “Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family” by Kathleen Flinn:

“Encyclopedia salesmen were a fixture of suburban America in the 1950s and 1960s, widely mocked by comedians. Regardless of the brand, the hard sell invariably included an expression of grave concern that a potential client’s children would suffer without having a ‘library in the living room.’ Most offered a payment plan to help ease the impact of the investment, which could be the equivalent of half a year’s rent.” Page 81

Her book is such a great memoir and reminder of so many items long forgotten in life, such as Chef Boyardee (which I wrote about a few days ago). It is actually incredible if you think about how fast the sharing of information has changed over the years. In addition to encyclopedias, we also had issues upon issues of National Geographic. While some of the covers and photos inside horrified me, it was a view into other parts of the world. Now we can do that in just a few clicks.

Today we are spoiled rotten. We do not have to wait to print a new version of encyclopedias and know that the money we shelled out for an entire edition of encyclopedias are old the second they are printed. We can read more than one can ever imagine after a few key strokes. We have instant access to good information and instant access to time-wasting information. It makes it much harder to know the integrity of the details, but there is plenty of it, and it is fast. We never have to worry about having a “library in the living room.”

Clear. Focused. Present.

Last night I responded to an email that had been in my inbox for a few weeks. I apologized for not responding for so long, yet I have to say it is normal for me to do that. Am I horrible friend? Maybe. Or I just care about sending a focused, well thought out response? Yes, yes, yes. I feel like when I finally have quiet time to respond, I want to make sure that I truly focus on that individual. Almost as though I am sitting right across from them at a table in a coffee shop, or cozy on a couch (depending on how close you are to said individual).

I want to give their message my undivided attention. I answer their questions, check in on life, and give an update on my world. What is it that makes me do this? I care that much. Maybe it was so many years of emails in my past work life, but I think about the effort I put into a message, and I think about the person on the receiving end, hoping they feel cared for by having contact with me. Now, do not worry, I am not an angel, nor am I trying to paint a picture of goodness. I merely am sharing because I think it is a way to care for someone in this crazy, fast, digital age.

So if you write shorter emails with minimal questions you will probably hear back from me quicker. If we have a more involved conversation via email, and I do not have focused windows of time to get back to you, then you might have to wait for an answer, but you will know that when I respond to you, it will be all about you. Focused. Present.

Do you think about that when you respond to emails? Do you just try to be done and move on to your next task, or do you really focus on the other person?

Complete presence. Clear focus.

Screamin’

As some of you may know I am utterly addicted to my niece, Charlie. I have shared a few photos and a video or two on my blog in the past few months. I constantly ask my sister to send photos and videos since we live in different states. Charlie is just days away from being 7 months, and is a hilariously happy, smiley, precious one. I can only hope my future kid(s) are as happy as Charlie. Yesterday, I got this text from my sister:

“Charlie’s piano playing sounds like the audio of a haunted house and it makes the cats flee.”

Her text was followed by this video and photo. Apparently, Charlie had on her own (while banging on the keys) found a “Scream” setting on the keyboard. I guess she is practicing for Halloween in a month.

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IMG_3807How can you not find her so adorable? Especially at about 12 seconds in where she turns and smiles at you and then turns back and plays more. Then at around 30 seconds she crouches down as though she thinks she can get out of the barricade they have created in the living room to keep her safe and from crawling to other parts of the house. When she realizes she is not getting out, she goes back to banging on the keyboard. I know, I know you already watched it, but I had to give my play-by-play. Can you tell how addicted I am?