The Seeker

In between times …is NOW.


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The Art of Being Messy

Fall Tree

Kindergarten Art Work at Tecumseh Elementary School

 

All I really need to know, I learned in Kindergarten and one of those things is to clean up your own mess. But first you need to know that it is okay to make that mess, something that my young students are often worried to do. They are told not to play in the sand, in the mud, and in the paint. So I wanted my students to experience the fun of getting messy and dirty, and to create beautiful theme art along the way.

To create these fall paintings, the students first practiced blowing through a straw. This is harder than you would think for young children. After some practice, we used this fun blow art technique to “paint” our tree trunks and branches with India ink.

Next came the messy part!

The students dipped toothbrushes in various fall paint colours, and splattered away to create the fall leaves on their masterpieces.

What did we learn?

We learned that leaves change colour in the fall, we learned about warm vs. cool colours, we learned about new painting techniques, and most importantly we learned that it is great to get messy!


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You’ve got a friend

Came out of the office for coffee break and this is what I saw. A vision of loveliness.
rescue dogA perfect friendship. This is a rescue dog. Still young but too big for its age. The strongest tail, ever. Tail wagging, happy to see me, the master said stay away from the tail, too late, whipped! Wow, tail can leave a sting.
rescue dog 1As Snoopy would say, a perfect friend is:

  • always happy to see you
  • loves to share and smile
  • has a warm spot for you
  • always standing by your side
  • full of great advice
  • ready to listen at a moments notice
  • good for holding and helping
  • available to lean on.


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Mother’s Love

Photo taken from Fragrant Wood Gallery Window

Photo taken from Fragrant Wood Gallery Window

A reminder of how much your Mother loves you.

A son wants to bring his Mother into the forest and leave her there to fend for herself because her Mother is terminally ill and he is too tired to take care of her.

Leading her through the thick of the forest, he noticed that his Mother breaks every branch that they passed by.

Curious, he ask his Mother why is she breaking the branches?

The Mother answered her son loving: “Son, I break the branches as a guide for you to follow so that you won’t get lost on the way out.”

Translated from Filipino story:
Isang paalala kung gaano kayo kamahal ng inyong ina..
May isang anak na gustong iligaw ang kanyang INA sa gubat dahil sa sakit nitong wala nang lunas at pagod na rin siyang mag-alaga dito, Ipinasan niya ang kanyang INA hanggang makarating sa kasuluksulukan ng Gubat, ngunit napansin niya na pinuputol ng kanyang INA ang bawat sanga ng Punong madaanan nila, tinanong nang Anak kung bakit niya ginagawa ito, sagot ng INA – ”Pinuputol ko ang sanga dahil ayaw kong maligaw ka sa pag uwi mo.
 


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We are not special. Just be you, ordinary you.

Just be you‘Half the harm done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm, but the harm does not interest them…or they do not see it, or they justify it…because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves’ ~ T.S. Elliot

When I met Jane, I had been in the driver’s seat of my figurative car since I was a young girl. That can happen when parents require a child to take care of herself. For the most part, I drove pretty well. But I was tired of being in the driver’s seat. I was tired of making my own choices, and having to make decisions – where to go, what to do, who to be, how to be. I didn’t know this before I met Jane. I could not have verbalized it then. I could not have said out loud to myself “I’m tired of driving the car”. But, in hindsight, I was.

And Jane came along. She may have well said these exact words to me, many of them she did: ‘I’m here now. I understand you. I’m just like you. I’m perfect for you. I’m special, and you’re special too. I know what’s best for you. I know what you need. I can give you what you need. Just stick with me, and I will show you. I’m your answer. I can drive the car for you’.

And because I was tired of driving the car, I said yes.

I took the passenger seat. And for an all-too-brief second in time, I felt bliss. Actual bliss. I felt special. Do you know how being a passenger in a car feels different than driving it? You can put your head back. You can close your eyes. You can relax. You can let your mind wander. You can even look at the scenery.

But in reality, I had allowed a very messed up person to take the driver’s seat. And it wasn’t blissful, and I couldn’t relax, and my mind didn’t wander and the scenery was not pretty. As I sat in the passenger seat, what did I really feel? Sexual frustration. Jealousy. Resentment. Fear. Anger. And at the end, hatred. That was my scenery.

She’s gone now. And for some time, I’ve been sitting in the passenger seat, the car pulled over on the side of the road, shell-shocked with my eyes seemingly permanently frozen on the dashboard. I don’t want to get back in the driver’s seat. I don’t. I’m afraid. I’m afraid life won’t feel the same again. I’m afraid I won’t feel the same again. I’m afraid I will never be special again. And here’s the thing. I won’t.

Accepting our experience with the disordered is largely about finding the courage to face the truth. We must be willing to choose truth over illusion. The person you loved, whether it be a lover or a friend or a mother, is not who she pretended to be.

The disordered present themselves as special with lovely masks custom-designed for you. They so dearly want to be special. They really are not special, but we believe them. We buy into their grandiosity, and we feel reflected glory. It goes like this: She’s so special. And since she’s picked me, that means I’m special too. And she doesn’t like many people and maybe people don’t like her, but that makes us and me even more special. Reflected glory.

And then shit happens and we learn they are disordered, and they are not the special people they pretended to be. And we feel angry and cheated, and duped. And in this aftermath when they’ve been unmasked, they become larger than life yet again, just in a different way. They become monsters. They’re even special in their monsterness. Except they’re not.

There are so many of them out there, and they all do the same thing: Very simply put, they’re engaged in a lifelong game called Self Esteem at the Expense of Others. They are not monsters, just human beings with a very fucked up sense of self. That’s nothing special, nothing extraordinary, not really.

And lest we think this does not cost them in real suffering, let’s remember this: The disordered are the loneliest people on the planet. Without the capacity for empathy, they are unable to connect, making them unable to attach. It’s a permanent solitude, an eternal loneliness.

For a brief moment, we are the special thing that promises change, the answer to their gnawing emptiness. You see, the mask is not all contrived. It’s not entirely a work of artifice. For a short while, the disordered are as in thrall to us, as we are to them. But their initial adoration of us, their initial ecstatic hope for us can last only briefly, because we cannot give them what they need: a capacity for empathy.

Their essential problem is on the inside. Only their own empathy could relieve them. Only their own empathy could enable them to connect – but they don’t have it, and never will. It’s too late for them; the age for developing empathy has come and gone. Shiny new thing, answer to my emptiness, disappointment…shiny new thing, answer to my emptiness, disappointment…shiny new thing, answer to my emptiness, disappointment. It’s heartbreaking. The disordered do not get off scot-free. Neither do we. In this exchange of energy, this temporary mutual thrall, this momentary leaving of the selves, there are no winners.

Our fundamental task in life is to develop a healthy relationship with our selves, a solid sense of self. It’s not always easy. Some of us succeed; some of us do not.

But there’s another piece of recovery that’s often overlooked. You have to be willing to get in the driver’s seat again. And even though it’s scary and uncomfortable and feels foreign now, because you’ve been so dutifully trained to ignore yourself in favor of someone else’s self, you have to become self-driven again.

And again, you must choose truth over illusion. No one can develop a healthy sense of self for you. No one can tell you who to be and how to be, and have it lead you anywhere good. If you martyr yourself for someone else’s self-esteem because you are burning and yearning to be special, you will suffer. If you attempt to live from another person’s grandiosity because the reflection seems so magical and special, you will suffer.

Remember, accepting our experience with the disordered is largely about finding the courage to face the truth.

By experiencing Jane, I’ve learned something very important about life. It’s this: The bulk of human misery comes from one thing – the need to be special.

We all want to think so well of our selves. We want to be viewed as special, and told we’re special, and treated as special, and we behave accordingly. But here’s some truth for you, and it might be a bitter pill to swallow.

You’re not. I’m not.

There are 7 billion+ people on this planet. And hopefully, if humanity doesn’t screw it up, there will be billions and billions more. None of us is special, but life is. Whether you believe in a God or you believe in evolution or both, it is damn remarkable that we exist. If there’s a God who so intelligently designed the human body and spirit, that’s extraordinary! Or if it’s evolution with all its catastrophic stops and starts that brought us to now, that’s extraordinary! Whatever your philosophy, the existence of life is what’s remarkable.

So, avoid the need to be special. And avoid the need to assign specialness to someone else.

Be you, exactly as you are. Just be you, ordinary you. That’s no small feat. That’s something you can be proud of until your dying day. And when it comes to this being you, this living of yourself, always choose truth over illusion. Just be you, in all your ordinariness, in the only special thing going, Life.

The question is: Do you have the courage to be ordinary? Do I?

Reflection of Hope: I am not special.

When I was a child, the message from my parents was clear: Take care of yourself. We don’t want to do it. You are not special. And so I became an adult very early in life, full of determination to be self-sufficient and self-determined.

At forty-five, a disordered person took an interest in me. Narcissistic Personality Disorder, at the least. Diagnosed, I believe. Malignant narcissist? Sociopath? Possibly. She admitted had no conscience, was sadistic, and had a penchant for the chase. Either way, the terms are blurry and it doesn’t really matter.

We will meet the disordered. That’s unavoidable. Estimates of those without conscience and empathy range from 1 in 100 (Checkley) to 1 in 25 (Stout). And if you get close to one, you will suffer. These are relationships of inevitable harm.

This morning, I woke up with an analogy on my mind. Call it the story of my thrall. Analogies are good for the soul. They quiet the confusion. We call it cognitive dissonance, but it’s really all just a terrible and awesome mind storm.

When I met Jane …

Note: With thanks to Hope and Ursula of anupturnedsoul,


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The Wild One

AC does not want me to think that he is still playing with stuff animal as I mentioned in this post.  So he sent me more evidence that this is what he does in his one and wild precious life in Thailand.

To prove his point that he is not the baby but the Tiger. Note the long line up on the right of the monk. Many are experiencing this one and wild precious life.

Here kitty, kitty, kitty: BREAKFAST!
ac in thailand (4)


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Death to the Fruit Flies!

After feasting on juicy strawberries, tomatoes, cherries, plums, and other summer fruits, the remains of a good summer bumper crop produced an inordinate amount of flying objects indoors. I could see black spots darting in and out of my face. Fruit flies, the curse at home or at work.

The early morning news, the anchor has to excuse himself in the middle of the program and then whack his ears. He explained that there was this annoying fruit fly that bee lined into his ears.

Soooo…… fruit flies. What to do and how to get rid of them. With great difficulty.

Last year, at work, we have to get the fruit fly buster. Several traps were placed on each cubicle. I call them the “Las Vegas Hotel.”  What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. I checked the contraption daily and see what they were doing behind doors.  Need I tell you that those flies that checked in did the Vegas

Fruit Fly Las Vegas Hotel ~ Science Project

Fruit Fly Las Vegas Hotel ~ Science Project

thing? Yes, sir. I see those little darlings from pupae stage to becoming a tyke. It was very interesting.

Every week, the hotels were replaced with new ones. But it’s very difficult to attract them all.  Some must have taken the elevator to the Penthouse, some have hitch hike to another department. What a dilemma we had.

We thought we have eradicated them. After 50 days, a new batch hatched and we have no idea where they came from. Back to the drawing board.

Plan B: no eating on our desk, no throwing of food in our garbage can, eat at the cafeteria and we have to take our plants home. My computer keyboard missed all the crumbs that fall between the keys. This is the best strategy to clear the desk of workers since we love to snack while working as well as losing weight.

The flies were getting smarter. They just hang around on top of the container. So we added another attraction for them, a swimming pool.

Yes, a bowl full of apple cider vinegar covered with plastic wrap. It was such an easy method and the flies died a swimmingly happy death.

If you need to try this experiment, all you need is a bowl or a jar, plastic wrap and toothpick.

Fruit Fly Swimming Poot

Fruit Fly Swimming Pool

Directions

Fill the bowl or jar with apple cider vinegar
Cover with Saran wrap
Poke holes on the wrap with toothpick
Place the bowl in the kitchen.

At work, we placed it on a moving cart where we can roll it from one corner to another. I call it “meals on wheels” for the fruit flies.)

I must admit I killed plenty of fruit flies. As much I hate killing any sentient being, they are getting bigger and I am pretty sure there’s a nest somewhere in one of my plants.

Stay tuned.

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