My daughter said, “I’m reading a book you might like, it’s a love story, but written well.” I’m more into historical novels, but hey, why not read something “light” for a change? I’m in the first chapter and came across a great quote:
“But just look at all the fake smiles and sour faces
around here. I’m going to have to take a bath
with a wire brush to get all the negativity
off me when I leave.”
The author was referring to a mandated family party. But it could be any scenario. Back in the day when I was in leadership, I used to keep a role of duct tape on my desk. It had a great purpose for keeping myself sane. When someone would call or come into my office with petty complaints, I would just look at that duct tape and think, “It would only take 6 inches” [over their mouth] to SHUT THEM UP! Of course I never followed through, it was enough to think I could. When I taught leadership classes, I actually gave participants the chance to cut a piece of duct tape when they came in. There was much curiosity and then laughter when I explained how this common “tool” would be so useful to them.
How do you handle negativity, pettiness and, well your common complainer?
I’ve lived in the Northeast of the United States all my life. Therefore, my conception of “the desert” was the Sahara, just endless miles of white sand. Much of Southern California seems to fit that bill too! However, when my daughter and her family moved to Phoenix, although very different from anything I was ever akin to and dry as dry can be, there is life everywhere!
I’m not a city or suburban kind of gal but I want to see my grandbabies grow up, so when I started searching for property, it had to be close enough, but, yet, far enough away. I found a gem of a property in the desert highlands. I drove out there yesterday and easily call it “home” even though there is no building! It is so beautiful, quiet, peaceful, interesting, challenging —I could go on, but I think you get the point! It is also teeming with life.
Sadly for prospectors, indigenous tribes and homesteaders, they had no idea that this rocky, dry land has an abundant aquifer far below. I realize how fortunate I am that we will easily have water by just making a phone call and emptying our bank account! However, yesterday as I walked I realized just how wonderfully the desert provides and I’m really just a beginner at this.
The picture above is indicative of nature’s provisions and beauty. Although I understand a saguaro cactus will make you pretty sick, and the ocotillo plant is basically a sticker bush from hell, they are beautiful! Saguaro’s offer great entertainment when traveling too, each one of these giants has it’s own personality. They are majestic and beautiful. I haven’t checked into the benefits of the ocotillo, I’m just afraid of them!
If you are going to retire in the desert, a good thing to do is to educate yourself on survival skills and learn what the desert floor has to offer, other than rattlesnakes! Two plants that have great benefits are the prickly pear and desert sage which grow like weeds. They grow everywhere and are nearly impossible to kill as most weeds prove themselves to be.
I love to use the sage when cooking soup. My, my, my, it adds a rich flavor to almost anything. However, what I didn’t know about sage is the natural healing qualities the plant offers. Using the leaves topically can enhance the healing process. Sage can be used to give relief from an upset stomach and other digestive tract issues “to the very end”. Sage also has anti-bacterial qualities. Here is a great website, Natural Living Ideas, that offers 20 different ways sage can be used. You don’t have to be in the desert, you can grow sage almost anywhere, including inside. However, I find great comfort knowing the power of this abundant weed!
The other plant pictured is the prickly pear. Now let me tell you, you don’t want to be falling into one of these buggers. Yes, those spikes are as sharp as a needle and can really put a hurting on you! But see those cute little polka dots? Each dot is hundreds of mini-spikes. Touch one of those by accident and you’ve got some four-letter-word language coming from the leader of the church choir! They are NASTY with a capital N.A.S.T.Y.!!!!!!!! HOWEVER (see, Mr. Nasty capitalized cactus, the however you offer can be capitalized too!)
These cacti grow everywhere, they are like rag-weed in the Northeast.
They are tough, resilient, and life-giving as all-get-out!
I’ve actually seen evidence of the free-range cattle and donkey’s that have taken a bite. DumbASS donkeys! Actually, these animals are smart. Prickly pear offer a plethora of goodness: hydration, vitamins and antioxidants. They are rich in nutritional goodness. However, if you are a human being you need to learn how to handle with care, not just bite into like an ass! I’ve not tried it yet, but I understand that the paddles are good to grill, or cut up in a salad and eat raw.
The fruit of this plant is ridiculously good. Although many people make jelly from it, I think adding sugar isn’t necessary. I took some home the last trip. Imagine going through TSA at the airport with a box of prickly pear! Actually, I put it in my checked bags and left a love note on top. “Dear TSA, if you happen to physically check this box . . . please be careful, yada, yada, yada.”
What about those little polka dots? Each fruit has thousands of mini-prickles but if you learn how to handle them, oh my, inside is the most luscious, juiciest, yummiest and quite healthy meat. You can eat it raw, make juice, wine, add to salad, the uses are limitless.
As I have learned more about the abundance of the desert, I have more confidence moving there. Yesterday I had a lot of time to think as I walked around, with caution, a walking stick and a 357 Magnum (The desert also offers, let’s say, certain death if you’re not careful!). Here’s what I contemplated. Life can be a desert. Life can be dry, harsh, unforgiving and it can be overwhelming and dangerous, like the flats and mountains of the Sonoran. However, can it possibly be true that even in the midst of the harsh, dry times of life there is abundance? Could it possibly be that there is health, healing and life-giving-nutrients for body, mind, and spirit even in the driest times of life? I have been there too, and yes, I believe if we look for it —- there is hope, love, health, and strength giving abundance.
I hope that you are living through a wonderful time of life. However, especially during the holidays, it can be difficult for many. I hope that you can find solace, strength, and healing in the midst of your desert.
I’m adding a new blog/pages and hit Press This, expecting a page to come up as a blog—- who knew it would come up on Down to Earth Positive! Hey, pleas visit my “In Construction” page called Dink’s Digs.
While waiting for Mommy I’m walking with my grandson, and he saw a weed growing out of the sidewalk. “Isn’t this pretty?” I’m fascinated. This Pennsylvania girl is seeing a weed growing out of the sidewalk in DECEMBER! However, there are blooms everywhere, because I’m in Arizona. Blooms in December! I could get used to this!
Oh, you were looking for cuteness, not fascination? Sorry, I digress so soon.
“Honey, it’s so pretty, let’s just look at it, don’t pu . . . ”
(I tried to say pull, but —too late!).
Oh! He was quite proud of himself!
Are you ready?
He says, “I give to Mommy!”
As Dinky melts into the concrete.
I love the little gifts life has to offer. Have an awesome day!
In a short text frenzy and quite unknowingly my friend gave me “heal” as a word for the day. Then adds, “HEALING is a great word”. Yeah, she continued, “Healing happens in relationship”. Well, back in the day when I was a pastor, before I found my inner mouthy-blogger-try-and-make-the-world-a-more-positive-place-self, I used to say this:
Human beings have great power to heal,
however, we also have great power to destroy.
I’ve experienced both to incredible degrees, have you? On the one hand is the pendulum swinging, let’s say, south. Holy Shit can people be nasty! I’ll talk about that first because this is a positive blog & I want to leave you on a good note! What matters is the degree of relationship, I mean really, if someone you don’t know is, let’s call them bitchy to you, their interaction gives you a moment of shock, a story to tell & knowledge of who you want to avoid or be like, eh? However the closer the relationship is when real destruction can occur. When it comes to relationships with people we work or socialize with, or call friend, or dare I say lover, and they choose to hurt rather than hug, even with words, destruction is not a strong enough word. Sometimes it’s temporary, forgiven and we move on. Sometimes we work like Hell to save (heal) the relationship. And then at other times the only thing to do is walk away. All-in-all, I believe we have the choice to live a life that brings health and healing to others and it is worth every effort to exercise the power to bring healing in whatever level of relationship we are experiencing.
So let’s look at the other side of the pendulum, it’s a great place to be. In my 22 years of working closely with people in about every situation life has to offer, when it comes to healing, those who had a positive attitude and strong relationships just did better all-around. This doesn’t mean that they didn’t have major life issues either! Let’s take something as awful as cancer, for instance. The fear, the pain, the unknown can tear a person apart. However those who are positive and hopeful just seemed to do much better. If they were surrounded by loving people, wow! The difference always astounded me. I think it would be interesting to research. I’m sure that type of research been done already, but I’m willing to wager that those who are surrounded by love heal quicker and may suffer less. For those that are terminal, yes, one can see death as a healing. I know that sounds strange, I guess you have to experience this phenomenon to fully understand.
Life isn’t all about the full swing of the pendulum, is it? For the most part, we spend our lives somewhere in the middle of that swing. So I guess the question begs to be asked, “How can I live in a sense of strength, dignity, happiness, love, etc. First off, if you are in a bad hurtful relationship, get out. If your boss is an incurable, exhausting ass, start looking for another job! If you have issues with your family members, is there a way to avoid the poison? Know that there are some situations that you are better away from. If you are unsafe, you will not change that individual.
I’m sure that the following list can be expanded and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, possibly these thoughts will help to bring relational healing into our lives for the benefit of our body, mind and spirit:
Seek to be around people who are pleasant to be around. People who are real. People that appreciate you for who you are and don’t try to form you into some fantasy that they have conjured up in their minds of who is worthy of their presence.
Talk with people who naturally smile.
Seek relationships that are encouraging rather than critical.
Seek relationships that are give and take. There is nothing better than giving, but it is important to receive with grace too.
Seek to be around people who listen and engage.
Seek like-mindedness, but understand that everyone is different, we may agree on a lot of things, but chances are there will be times that we differ. That’s ok. How does that person handle your difference of opinion?
Seek to laugh.
Seek to be around someone that enjoys your company, but understands you need self-time too.
Ultimately, we can all be e a catalyst for a healthy and healing relationship. Be who you are and know that your attitude and actions towards others can be the difference between a good or great relationship! Look at the above bullets and ask the question, “Am I anything like this?”
I know this is far from an exhaustive list! Please add to it in the comments below!
Early in the morning, before the crickets begin to sing, silence calls me. The sky is dark, no distractions, no cries, no pressure other than the coffee cup by my side. The world is still asleep and not ready for the noise of the day. I can begin to hear my own thoughts, or sit and do nothing without boredom.
Somehow there is a naive peace in this silence. Possibly it is the world calling out for the voices to be stilled. Why is it so strange that the “natural” silent noise of the earth seems so unusual. We are so used to noise in this generation that I wonder if we are able to hear anything at all. Silence scares us, why?
Why did I not wake up earlier? I now begin to hear the low roar of the Hwy 101 bypass, soon the beeps, the vibrations and voices will overtake this unnatural natural peace. A new day is here to work, to play and to love. The silence reminds me to choose what noise I listen to. The silence reminds me the world doesn’t need to be so loud. Even in a crowd I listen for the voice of silence, she is not far away. Eventually she will quiet the anger and stress, that consumes our attentions. It is good to remember that our noise is temporary. The silence of the earth will live on long after our noise is done . . . maybe we can find peace if we would only learn to listen.
I’m simply intimidated by numbers. Those numbers are 911. Last Tuesday I was all ready to start a pithy little blog about this watermelon I cut. I noticed there was a heart shape in the cut, so I took a photo. As I was writing a short blog with a message something like, “How can you not be positive after cutting into a watermelon and finding a heart?” I looked down at the date. 9.11.18. I found that anything I tried to write fell short of inappropriate, maybe even stupid on this particular day.
I also had a very weird intuition about that Bitch in the Atlantic, Florence. Why intuition? Why did you have to be right this time? I’ve come to trust intuition —-sometimes it’s helpful, other times, you just wish it was wronger than wrong.
Considering positivity, one must acknowledge there are times of serious remembrance and fearful anticipation in the world. Additionally, when that anticipation becomes reality, a sense of empathy for the suffering and loss in the aftermath is in order. Sweet little stories need to be quiet. There are reasons to be less than positive aren’t there? At the same time, I constantly wonder, thus this blog, why look for and embrace the negative? How has it become good marketing technique to emphasize negativity? There are enough things that happen in life that make me want to quote something from the book, “Alexander’s Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” without the constant barrage of negative marketing.
When crisis occur whether that be world, national, weather related or at home, there is nothing positive about it. However, our response can be.
I’ll write about 911 in “Numbers” (Part 2). However for today, let me tackle flooding.
I’ve lived in Central Pennsylvania since 1995. For a Jersey Girl, it was quite surprising to me that there would be a great problem with flooding in the mountains. Yet, creeks rise, run-off happens and, wow! I’ve seen homes destroyed again and again. The Red Cross, churches and civic groups all collect much needed funds to help the victims of flooding. Yet, what I have found to be even more rewarding is volunteering. Whether it be along the Susquehanna River in Shickshinny, or a helping a year after the flood in a town up high in the mountains, help is needed. Often by folks who fall between the cracks where assistance is granted. Or something as terrible as Hurricane Sandy, or now Florence, getting involved with clean up, rebuilding walls and helping those who just happened to be in the path of something awful is incredibly helpful and personally rewarding.
The urgent aftermath is daunting, but trust me in months, even a couple of years from now, people will still be picking up the pieces of their lives and homes. When I was working with Penn State students we did quite a few trips to help others that were affected by devastating storms. What we found was very grateful recipients of our attempts to help. What I also found was a great sense of humanity at it’s finest. I saw students that never picked up a hammer before helping to stud-out a room. I saw others climb under crawl spaces in what looked like space suits pulling insulation out of the floor joists of a home that had been flooded (6 months after the storm). The results were wonderful. A sense of pride in a job well done. Statements like, “I never thought I’d ever do anything like this!” or, “I can’t wait to tell my Mom!”
I think anyone would agree with me that there is nothing positive about any crisis. Nothing. However, our caring response is priceless. Knowing there will be folks that will give of themselves in coming months and years to help gives me reason to celebrate humanity. Looking at first-responders risking themselves for others is the beginning. However, I see those who will be last-responders too. There are many unsung heroes who will respond to crisis in very practical and helpful ways. For this I’m grateful.
When I think of these good things that will happen in the near and far future in response to crisis, my heart is full. (Maybe a heart in my watermelon isn’t inappropriate after all).
All we knew is we were visiting my Son and his girlfriend “at a cabin in the woods”. We live in Central Pennsylvania. Some call this mountainous region Pennsyltucky. Truly, you never know what “cabin” means. We were planning to spend at least one night. We spent two, but hubby wanted to stay until Christmas. (Darn, when you’re having such a nice time why do we have to be responsible and go home to work?)
The cabin was lovely and although quite private, it was in a planned community and since it was a holiday weekend, there were many activities. Old fashioned games for the kids were offered that required being outside, running, playing with balls, slip & slides and, you know, FUN STUFF. (How scandalous!) I got to shoot a rifle and actually hit in the target five of ten shots! (Not bad, eh?) Smiles were everywhere and a wonderful sense of community abounded. humans smiling, enjoying themselves and getting along with each other.
Dogs were unleashed everywhere. From pups to old hounds, they were a welcome part of the fun. These two were having the time of their lives.
You could participate in pancake breakfasts, a church service, sail boat races. One of my favorite activities was the saw mill demonstration, and even better yet, being given a gift of the most beautiful piece of poplar wood with a grain that cries out to be shown off!
My second favorite was square-dancing. For my readers around the world a square dance is done with a group of people doing specific moves together as the steps are “called out”. They say things like, “swing your partner”, “do-si-do”, and “box the Gnat” whatever the hell that means! I think it means step on the big toe of the guy to your left. The problem is no one knows what they are doing, and you end up stepping on everybody’s toes . . . a lot. The result is a lot of laughing, and smiling, and laughing, then laughing some more.
During one of the square dances, I was next to Emily, she tried so hard and smiled a lot. She slowed down the whole process as we danced. However, no one cared that we were so out of tune. Emily was 88! When I asked her age, she said, “Right now, One hundred and eleven!” What a joy she was. I want to be her when I grow up.
Another highlight for me was the dancing dogs ! Imagine this, we are watching a group square dancing and a German Shepherd joined in. It was wonderful!
What a greatl time had by all! No cell service, no internet . . . old fashioned activities, new friends and time with family. Who could ask for more?
Step, step, step back in time!
Enjoying the Adventure (With a few more precious memories!)
I don’t know about you, but for hubby and I days off are . . . MINIMAL. When we have a day off we tend to drive ourselves nuts trying to make up for lost time at home. Yeah? Then you go back to work the next day, or over the weekend and wonder what happened to the time. You too, huh?
We actually went away for the weekend! Imagine that.
Our little mini-vacation was a perfect scenario, we got to visit with my Son & his girlfriend at her parents beautiful cabin nestled in the mountainous woods of Pennsylvania. There was no cell service and no internet—-After suffering a short period of withdrawal, we relaxed at the camp-fire, took lengthy walks, enjoyed the abundant wild-life including deer, turkey, squirrels. We even square-danced!
It was particularly interesting when a huge green bug about the size of a Pterodactyl landed on my wine glass at the fire. Yes, of course I finished my wine!
I’m not proposing a life of ease, nor would I want to not-work-so-hard. It’s in my nature and I would be totally bored if I wasn’t as active as I am. However! In order to keep up I think it is important to take time to relax; to enjoy guilt free down time; to build positive and fun memories with family and friends. Honestly, when you take time to just enjoy yourself, (without trying to build that business you so enjoy) you end up more productive when you return back to work. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, expensive or stressful to plan.
So, my positive thought of the day is enjoy yourself every now and again, even on a regular basis! Don’t feel guilty about it! Enjoy this wonderful adventure of life!