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Archive for the ‘education’ Category

You’ve come a long way baby! Well, maybe not..

The words to a poem started coming to me this morning as I had my morning cup of coffee. I wanted to use the word “wellspring” in my poem, but I wanted to make sure that I was using it in the right context. I didn’t have my computer on yet, so I grabbed my paperback copy of the Merriam-Webster dictionary I had bought a few years back, before I realized that the online version was much more useful.

As I turned to the W’s toward wellspring, I happened to notice a definition listed for the word “well-endowed”; a word that I thought would never merit an entry in a dictionary. But there it was, and just for fun I read the definition, which soon turned my smile to a frown. I read the two definitions listed – 1: having plenty of money or property  and 2: having large breasts. Seriously? Really? Someone actually had the male chauvinistic, misogynistic gall to write and then allow the second definition to be published? It was almost as if someone had channeled the spirit of Noah Webster himself, from the early 19th century he lived in, and asked his definition of the word. Because this could not possibly be the work of any respectable 21st century writer; hadn’t we come so much farther than that?

So my question to Merriam-Webster would be, in the light of modern day equal rights for both men and women, where was entry 3, which would most certainly be:  having a large penis. That might help to take away the sting from the slap in the face that definition number 2 seems to be, and let’s give the guys their time in the spotlight too, right?

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The fear of imperfection

Life is not all neat and tidy, presented to us all packaged up in pretty paper, with a lovely bow attached. No, more times than not, life can be messy, wrapped up in the funny papers instead. I tend to forget about the messiness of life when my own life is flowing so smoothly, with a few bumps in the road but not having to bust up the boulders that were in the way during so much of my life. But in recently reconnecting with a friend who is trying to find her way in life, having relocated to a new home many miles away just as I did, I am reminded of so many things; things about life itself and things about my own self.

My view of life here on earth is that of a classroom, with most of the lessons being learned in the experiential way, much like my internship I went through after studying various subjects in a school setting. And really, why else would we come here, if not to learn lessons from the messiness of life? Otherwise, wouldn’t we choose to stay in heaven, cavorting about in blissful perfection? No, we leave that place of wonder because our souls know how much growth comes from vast array of experiences on earth. And I remind myself that I chose to come here, to this place of many challenges, so that I could learn from all the imperfections. Relationships here are the perfect learning environment, as we dance our dances with one another; sometimes in step and sometimes stepping on each others’ toes.

After I woke up from my life I had been barely awake in for most of my years, I was able to realize and admit to myself that I struggle with issues of co-dependency and insecurity. When I did the test to determine what my Enneagram number is (the Enneagram is a system to help determine personality types), I came up as a nine, the peacemaker. Of course! I was always so afraid of conflict, of disagreements, of anything that would color my world and those in it less than perfect. And in my co-dependent way, I tried to control everyone and everything so they would be perfect and happy and peaceful. Now I can see that life and relationships are not always meant to be smooth as silk, although of course our ultimate goal is to be happy, especially with the ones we love. But along that road to happiness may be sacrifices made by one or the other, and a relationship is about loving honestly, not giving in to please everyone else just to calm the waters. Sometimes the sea has to boil, as well as ourselves. My ex-husband and I never argued in 27 years of marriage. I used to think that was something to be proud of, but now I see it as something that was so very wrong in our relationship.

So I welcome the teacher called imperfection, not running away and hiding in a corner until the storms pass. I find it is possible to love myself and others so fully with the constant knowing that we are all earth angels here together, all so perfectly imperfect.

That little voice inside my head

We all seem to hear about “women’s intuition”, and I can remember telling my daughter as she was growing up, “Trust that little voice inside your head, because women just seem to know things, even if they don’t seem to make sense.” But since that time I have come to realize that we all have that gift of knowing, men and women alike.  I do believe that it is easier for women to admit to using it and trusting it; the male ego sometimes dismissing it as much too illogical. But I am convinced our world is heading towards a time when the use of intuition as guidance will be universally accepted and trusted.

My whole adventure of moving to Portland from Minnesota was a shining example of using intuition and following messages that came from elsewhere – I was told to rent a car, what papers to bring, and I was even given numbers that translated into the zip code of the area I now live in. One day as I sat eating my yummy peanut butter sandwich, enjoying the delicious simplicity of it, I started to think about how much I wanted to move to Portland. I had a train ticket to go there in September, six months away, thinking I wanted to enjoy one last Minnesota summer before planning my move. Then I heard the voice, clear as day asking me, “What are you waiting for?” Good question – what in the world was I waiting for? So before I gave my fun- killing, logical left side of my brain a chance to reason me out of it, I called Amtrak and changed my train ticket to May. This was a spontaneous and impulsive move for me, so unusual for my usually organized, safe and calculated self – but it felt so right! And now I find a year later, having made that move to Portland, that it was exactly what was supposed to happen. I am happier than I have ever been here; I am in my soul’s home.

The past couple of days have been ripe with small examples of intuitiveness – knowing seconds before the phone rang that my step mom was calling me, and the other day anticipating the early arrival of my friend for our weekly walking date – this is my dear friend who is always running late by at least 15 minutes, and that day I just knew she was going to be 15 minutes early – and she was! Now these are not earth shattering instances of intuition at its finest, but I think they are meant to show us how us we are so much more than just our logical, thought out selves. And granted, it is not an exact science by any means! I have had my share of misses; things that come to me that I am convinced will come to pass but never do. But I look at our time here on earth as a classroom, and learning comes by trial and error as any good scientist will tell you. Intuition is a skill like any other, to be practiced and honed. And earth is not a place of perfection, that’s for sure! So while I am here, I will continue to use my intuition – I have discovered it is my very best tour guide on earth.

 

 

School of Rock really rocks!

Listening to new music that I buy is a huge rush for me, as I wrote about in my last post. But the ultimate high in listening to music has to be hearing it live, and that is just what I did last night. As I was paging through Portland’s alternative weekly newspapers, I happened to see that the students from the School of Rock here were putting on a show just a few blocks from my home at a wonderful place called the Mission Theater, performing the music of Stevie Wonder. What a great chance to hear some awesome music, and at the same time support the up and coming musical talent in my city that is nurtured through this inspiring school of music. Last night’s performance consisted of 27 students taking turns playing various instruments and singing vocals on 26 different Stevie Wonder songs. And believe me, if you ever really listen to any of Stevie Wonder’s music, you’ll realize that it is complex and not that easy to perform. It is full of key changes, rhythmic changes, hyperactive bass lines, inventive keyboard playing and room for lots of vocal improvisation. But this group of eager young musicians gave it their all, and their hard work showed in amazing renditions of these challenging songs. By the end of the night most of the crowd was on their feet dancing, my friend and I included – what a blast! Music is a drug, and how great to see these young people becoming addicted to something that gives their souls a natural high.

Kindergarten woes

Enter in another 100 word challenge, this time a challenge with just one simple word – Wednesday. Once more I tip my hat to a very entertaining blog, Julia’s Place, who always gets us writing and thinking about the wonderful world of words!

What a strange language we speak

     Dr. Suess didn’t warn me.  He taught me all about hop on pop, red fish and blue fish, green eggs and ham. But he failed to teach me how to read all those non-phonetic words, words like Wednesday, which to my kindergarten mind  should have been pronounced just like it looks: Wed – nes – day! I recall the horror of hearing my lovely teacher mispronounce that day of the week, and even more horror when I learned she was pronouncing it correctly! So I learned at an early age, the English language is a trickster.

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