ac·com·plish·ment 1. an act or instance of carrying into effect; fulfillment 2. something done admirably or creditably
-- I was feeling really proud of myself the other day. I had finally crossed off a task that’s been on my To Do list for a very long time. I had such a sense of accomplishment. So I rewarded myself by taking a few minutes to catch up on some emails, in particular a video a friend had highly recommended.
That’s when I realized that accomplishment is relative.
If you haven’t treated yourself to this brief video by Fred Margulies, I suggest you take three minutes and do so today.
Good afternoon, Bravehearts! I don't usually post more than once a day, but I wanted to acknowledge how special today is for me --
I posted my first blog with Braveheart Women.com on May 13, 2010. With very few exceptions, I have posted my thoughts, observations and feelings almost every single day.
I want to thank every Braveheart that has taken a moment to comment on something I've written. To write a note in response to a blog post takes time and energy and everyone here leads full-to-overflowing lives. So thank you.
Every piece I post goes through my own internal filter of, "Will the reader feel inspired from reading these words? Will the reader feel valued? Valuable? Will the reader pause, take a moment, consider? Will the reader feel encouraged, uplifted, moved?"
I'm certainly not saying I always get it right, but I always try to get it close.
I have no idea what the next year will bring -- but I know that it will be good.
On behalf of my fur-bearing muse, Rex, who reminds me to live in the moment, I wish you all wonderful moments.
“An advocate is someone who speaks on behalf of another person, especially in a legal context. Implicit in the concept is the notion that the represented lacks the knowledge, skill, ability, or standing to speak for himself.” – Wikipedia
-- I’ve always felt we were responsible for standing up for those that can’t stand up for themselves. Seems that capacity to step in the gap for those that cannot – that’s just be part of our Human genome, right? Hair color, eye color, blood Type, advocacy.
Which is why my husband is off, spear in hand, to take up the charge for a loved one. He’s going to team with other family members in interceding – advocating – for a very special patient.
I find it pathetic that states have had to legislate decency – but they have. In Texas we have an “Administrative Code,” a whole bunch of legalese that spells out compassionate care, which includes a patient's right to a "reasonable response to specific requests for treatment or services."
I’m not sure the legislation’s working; maybe no one can read it.
Who knows why but once in a while it seems like members of the medical profession get stuck on autopilot – going through the motions of life or death in robot mode. I’m not judging – I’m sure there are a gazillion reasons why doctors, nurses, and technicians appear complacent, dispassionate, annoyed, or bored.
But in this field? The life or death one? Isn’t “give-a-damn” a prerequisite? Couldn’t we save the buck-passing, 'not my job", and “I’m at lunch” to the Department of Motor Vehicles?
I’m not asking that medical practitioners be perfect, just human, or to just act like they are if they aren’t. Since there’s no guarantee that they will, it is up to the advocates, the patient care warriors, to remind them.
As I was meditating on my prayer list this morning I felt a little like a modern day Dorothy. No, my friends aren’t needing a brain nor a heart – there’s are exceptionally large and they have courage galore. No, these days I’m praying for voices, blood, and digestive systems.
Sometimes life throws a lot of lions, tigers, and bears in our paths.
As I started thinking of the original girl’s story I wondered if she appreciated everything around her. Certainly the colors had to be pretty magical after the black and greys of Kansas. And she made some wonderful friendships and met some extraordinary folks. I hope she didn’t spend her entire visit wishing she were somewhere else.
I hope we don’t.
And before I start waxing too philosophical I hear my fur-bearing human clamoring for our walk. To be sure he won’t fit in a bicycle basket, but he’s excellent company on this yellow brick road – he thinks everything and everyone is magical!
"There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope." – Bern Williams
-- I’m not a big fan of night time. I like the sleeping part okay, but in general I much prefer daylight. It’s safer. I’m not nyctophobic, mind you. I mean, I’m not scared of the dark so much as I am fearful of what happens sometimes when darkness comes.
I’ve always had a vivid imagination – it’s part of my charm. During the day my dreams and flights of fancy are bold and happy and bright and fun. But at night, the same creative machinery that spent all day drafting sit-coms and stand-up routines goes to work on the scary stuff. In the dark, even wild and crazy imaginings seem more plausible, bigger, real-er. I’ve never needed to look under the bed for my boogey-man, he was always right there in my head.
Fortunately, I know a litle bit of morning will usually chase all the scaries away. Try as I might, by the light of day nothing I can think about seems quite as ominous or menacing as it did just a few hours before.
Which is why I sleep with a tablet and pen on the table by my bed. It’s great when I want to capture a random brilliant idea or the whisper of a dream before it fades away. But it’s a lifesaver when I wake up and find myself wrestling with a problem – real or imagined.
Before I invite the boogey-man in for a sleep over, I jot down a couple of sentences and then release the issue to the morning when I’ll be able to consider it afresh in the light of day. Where reason lives. And the boogey-man doesn’t.
In hindsight I could have been a lot happier going home last night. Rex the puppy had been alone all day in his crate and I had dogmommy guilt and was hurrying to get home and traffic wouldn’t move and I got myself all worked up into a really bad mood, really, really fast.
Notice I said I did.
See, I learned some time ago that people, places, and things don’t make you happy or unhappy anymore than they make you smart or fat. I can’t do much about circumstances but I can do everything about how I behave in the midst of them. Sometimes I do a better job of behaving than others.
So I got home later than I’d wanted and tireder than I needed to be; frustrated and ready to blow if Rex gave me one moment’s grief with his whining and need and dogness. And didn’t he just show me. He came bounding out of his crate to greet me and proceeded to leap and cavort, jumping from furniture to floor to sofa to tile using his dogmommy as the perfect springboard for momentum and loft.
Despite his circumstances – confinement, loneliness, thirst, (and in sore need of a walk), this dog was ready to party! He gets it: What’s past is past; now is now, let’s not waste a moment.
As I set my purse down, Rex crouched in full play mode position: paws forward, rear in the air, head tilted, and eyes fixed on me expectantly: “C’mon! First things first! This is the good part!"
Indeed. We’re just getting to the good part. And it’s starts just as soon as we say it does!
I caught myself doing it again this morning. Overthinking. There I was, cup of coffee in hand, perusing my day’s to do list that had about twenty items on it ranging from real important to "why is this task on here?" And then “it” happened -- I got mesmerized by the list and sucked into a black hole of analysis.
All of a sudden I began weighing the relative importance of each intended activity, judging how long one might take versus another; which I could do right away. Then determining whether I need to do that one or that one or either of them at all. And if I chose that one, they why not that one, or if I did that one would I really need to still do the next?
Then, in rapid succcession came all these nonsensical reasons for putting off one chore, going ahead and working on another, tabling several others, sorting, editing, formatting, programming, organizing, rethinking, evaluating, planning, plotting, reasoning, ranking, prioritizing until… STOPPPPPPPPPP!
There’s no telling what I could’ve done in the time it took me to perform that frenetic ballet of indecision. I took a deep breath. Then another. Then I told myself, loudly: “Pick one and do it. Any one. Just pick one and get this party started!”
Some days I’m so busy I don’t get anything done. Which is why I’ve found sometimes the best way to get started is to get started.
“Well there's a rose in the fisted glove, and the eagle flies with the dove, and if you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one you're with, love the one you're with.” – Stephen Stills
-- I have a guilty confession. I have puppy envy. When I was walking Rex last night and pretending to be the one controlling the leash, we passed all these calm, well-behaved, socially adjusted dogs.
Some were riding shotgun on their Masters’ golf-carts; others were docilely ambling along, tails wagging and sniffers sniffing. At the end of our struggle – er, walk, we saw this itty-bitty, fuzzy, soap-on-a-rope sized pooch. You know the type. Precious. Cute. Tame.
“Oh,” I sighed, wistfully. “Is she always this well-behaved?”
“Why, yes,” her owner confirmed. “Never given us a moment’s bother. She doesn’t bark, shed, or bite. She’s loves to just sleep in our laps, and wherever we are that’s right where she wants to be.”
“Oh…..” I cooed, petting the mop. “She’s exactly what I wanted.” Rex, bored with the discussion of Miss-Priss-Pup’s attributes, growled menacingly. In dog talk I think he said, “I could swallow you.”
I pulled Rex away from the hors d'oeuvre, and headed home. As I bent down and struggled to unleash him I asked the Divine Dog-Distributor why He ever paired us up. “He’s willful,” I said. “Wild, headstrong, obstinate and uncontrollable. Difficult, hyper, tireless and crazy and…”
On cue, Rex spun around, put both paws on my shoulders, and started licking my face like I’d washed in Gravy Train. “Oh. Yeah. There is that.”
Love whoever you are with, whenever you are with them, and soldier on --
I admit the public’s fascination with reality television escapes me. I don’t care what Snooki, Cookie, the Bachelorette, and the Apprentice, are up to or surviving. I’d much rather lose myself on the Love Boat then see how desperate some housewives get. I’ve had plenty of real life this week, I’m looking for escape. That’s why I’ll be on the lookout for a rerun of Bob Newhart or Dick Van Dyke, Barney Miller or WKRP. I may be able to recite most of the dialog by heart, but I know for sure I’ll laugh.
My sister agrees with me. She reminded me today of all the hours we holed up in our shared bedroom watching countless episodes of “I Love Lucy” on our black and white TV, the one with bad reception and rabbit ears on top. Lucy Ricardo was our surrogate mom, model, and mentor.
Just the memory of those shows makes me giggle – Lucy grape-stomping, Lucy in the candy factory, Lucy and Vita-meta-vega-min. She could get in the craziest situations but everything always worked out just fine in less than thirty minutes.
I’m glad I grew up when I did. I’m glad I missed the Internet and the multimedia information barrage and 24/7 exposure to war, natural disasters, serial killers, kidnappers, recessions, depressions, and disease. Instead I learned about “real life” from a red-headed life-coach who taught me you can handle just about anything if you just use your head and keep your sense of humor. Sometimes all you really need in life is a laugh track.
I’m at least three blocks into my morning walk before I get my eyes open. The puppy may be bounding about, but this mistress is lumbering along behind him, wiping the sleep from her eyes. I’m still surprised I’m can even ambulate this early in the day.
As I followed our regular route, (it keeps me from getting lost) Rex paused to, uh, ‘smell the flowers’ where he isn’t accustomed to, uh, ‘smelling’. He happened to stop right there in front of an enormous lavender hibiscus bush, that I swear wasn’t there yesterday.
This wasn’t some newly planted, still in shock, seedling, this was a fully established, grown-and-then-some specimen, fabulously adorned with dozens of lilac blooms in full flower. Wow! I’ve never seen one like it.
Who put that there? How many times have I passed right by it and not noticed and appreciated its splendor? What else have I overlooked?
You know, if we aren’t careful, it’s easy to wander about this world of ours in a semi-somnolent stupor, utterly unaware of the blessings right in front of us. It makes me glad I’m out and about lumbering and not slumbering – I really don’t want to miss a thing.
I got a surprise package yesterday! My sister had mentioned she was shipping some clothes to me she no longer needed, but along with the pretty, fun summer tops she had included some baby pictures she had found. They were of me. I’d never seen them.
They were professionally done – nice black and white studio portraits carefully matted, perfectly preserved, that were never framed and never made it to the family album. She had found them among the dozens of boxes of stuff she had moved when she sold my Dad’s place, the house I grew up in.
All those cartons of someone else’s stuff. She wasn’t sure what to do with it all. Some of the boxes contained my grandfather’s papers and files. Personal belongings my Dad had held on to after he cleaned out his Dad’s place. Things he hadn’t known what to do with.
I was reminded I come from a long line of hanger-on-ers. I used to think we were just especially sentimental – unable to part with anything that belonged to someone we loved. I realize now it has more to do with not knowing what we want to let go of and what we want to keep. I still wrestle with those decisions.
All I know is when I opened that plain brown box of tank tops, I was glad that first my dad and then my sister had decided to hold on to just one more thing.
I miss all of my twenties and most of my thirties. No, no, no. No because I had more hair, I had so much I had to have it thinned out. And no, not because I was a size 4, I wasn’t. No, I’m not missing any of the physical aspects of youth; I’m missing the bravery that comes with inexperience.
I miss how I behaved – or didn’t. Before I learned the protocols and politics, before I became appropriate, before I cared more about suits and suitability than what suited me.
There’s a certain daring do that comes before daring don’t. When I was twenty-two I commuted to downtown Los Angeles by train, then walked several blocks I wouldn’t travel today in broad daylight with a police escort. At the time I carried a canister of pepper spray on my key chain, like I would’ve known how to use it if I had needed to.
When I was thirty I relocated to another state to a new job and a new city where I didn’t know a soul. Couldn’t wait to go! I was bullet-proof. Everything was an adventure and consequences were inconsequential. Almost any course seemed reversible, and any mistake could be corrected. I miss the fearlessness of ignorance. If a little knowledge is dangerous, a lot of it can be paralyzing.
Once I learned the ropes, I stopped swinging from them. I miss how it felt to sway.
“The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.” – Thomas Moore, Irish poet
-- I got back from a get (not very far) away yesterday. One of those brief out-of-town conferences requiring an overnight stay. The meeting site’s proximity to the Gulf was appealing. Anytime I can have lunch on the water is cause for celebration!
Rex, I knew, was not celebrating. He had to sit out mom’s sojourn in the slammer – er, Kennel. Call it what you want, to him it was a combo platter of confinement and punishment. He was pretty wild when he got out.
As soon as I got him home I tried to calm him with some order and routine – dinner, water, treat, toys -- nothing helped till I took him for his evening walk.
Once he was on the path he knows by heart, smelling all the safe and familiar scents, the spring returned to his step and the wag to his tail. He was happy to be home. Sometimes, the very best part of going away is the coming back. If I had a tail I would wag it too. Celebrate me home!
Focus - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Focus (cognitive process), selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things
I cannot tell you how many times I started to look up the definition of focus today. I wish I’d kept a log.. It’s not that it wasn’t important to me, I just keep getting distracted.
It's amazing how many people have suggested that I might have ADD -- attention deficit disorder. As I grew older they threw in another A. ADD for big kids. Gee, me? Have some difficulty staying on task? Have a problem sticking to a subject? Really? Y’think? With today’s pressure to do all and be all and be all that right now, aren’t we all just a little scattered? Maybe it’s not that we’re so easily distracted, maybe we just get interrupted, a lot.
And not to change the subject, but before one-track minders throw the alphabet at me, I’ve got some letters of my own. Maybe the folks that can only focus on one idea/notion/topic/problem at a time suffer from multitasking deficit disorder. Betcha they’ve got MOMS --. Multiple Opportunity Missing Syndrome.
What funny creatures we are. When someone doesn’t do something exactly the way we do it, or the way we think it should be done, we immediately presume there’s something wrong with them. Maybe we should be looking at what they do right? It may have taken me a while to get around to seeing what Wikipedia had to say about focus, but in the meantime I got a lot of other things done, I’m almost sure of it.
And if I’d only gotten around to making out that to-do list, then I could tell you exactly what those things were.
"There are heros all around us, all the time." - President Barack Obama
This Memorial Day, I'm remembering mine.
"Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there, I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace Where never lark, or ever eagle flew — And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod The high untrespassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand, and touched the face of God."