Tag Archives: challenge

Emotional Dictates

We’ve reached a societal point where we look at a situation, wrap a strong emotion around it, and label it “good” or “bad”.

Murder, bad. Right?

What if the person who was killed had committed a crime deemed punishable by death? Would that change the judgement? Is the guilty party still deemed guilty for murdering when the dead was going to receive a death sentence?

That’s the thought that kicked off my recent pondering. I applied this concept more locally and liberally, and realized how easily the public is manipulated by emotion: “If it feels good, do it”.

I focused on the subject of Gardening/Crops.

Almighty created all living things; herbs of the field, trees for food, animals, fish, birds and mankind. Creation was labeled “Good”.

morning light zinnia

 

Rules were established to maintain a system supported by Almighty and optimal for mankind.

Included in those rules were those specific to foods:

  • Certain animals and creatures were not meant for consumption
  • Mixed seeds and mixed breeding are not allowed
  • The soil must be allowed to rest and replenish every seven years

Seems pretty easy to follow, right? The great thing is that when the Rules were followed, Almighty would respond by giving good rains to keep the cycle running smoothly.

Enter the illusion of intelligence called public thinking.

  • If an animal or creature tastes good, then it’s meant to be eaten
  • When plants or animals don’t produce as profitably as hoped for, create a hybrid or GMO product to outdo the original
  • Use up the soil, wear it out, then toss in some chemicals to make it more productive

These emotional based choices don’t look toward the long-term effects; they’re the product of a spoiled child’s litany: “I want more, I want better and I want it now.” Forget about what’s right, what’s good and what’s been proven to endure thousands of generations. We can do it better.

Similarly, emotions are used to ploy people with items they simply “must have” to feel valuable, or to meet societal expectations, or to follow societal “norms”. This tactic has proven quite useful in separating people from their hard-earned wages. Without drawing on those emotions, we’d simply be left to make purchases that were necessary. Oh, the horrors!

Emotions hold so much importance in society, but truly they change more often than the wind direction. How can a firm stand be made on a shifting base?

A favorite quote states that permanent decisions should not be made based on temporary emotions. How appropriate. How many times have a group of pained people pressed for policies to protect others from pain? Isn’t pain a fact of life? You have joy and you have pain.

Often, state and national laws follow similar logic. Look at seat belt laws. Emotions run amok from grieving family members create rules and dictates that penalize a person for not buckling a strap on their body each time they sit in a vehicle.

It’s akin to the declaration my Hubby made when my son could have killed himself during a fall from a very high tree branch he had climbed. Hubby firmly stated “you cannot climb any more trees!” While I was similarly shaken with emotions from the near fatal incident, I was quick to alter the edict (one of very, very few times that we disagreed on issues related to the kids). Kids climb trees, kids get hurt.

top of the tree

We cannot eradicate boo-boos and pain by employing more emotion-based rules, but we can apply common sense to keep ourselves out of the most dangerous situations.

My personal choice is to look at life through the lens of Torah, where sound judgement rules – rather than emotions.

 

Suffered Life

I have recovered from a long period of depression – in the midst of my depression, every event, every duty, every change was taken in by my despairing mind as a personal attack. A thing to be suffered. Another thing to survive.

It’s so hard to believe I was like that now that I’ve healed.

But I remember.

cold outside

I know my thoughts, how I would literally be buffeted by every single fucking thing. Hammering at me. Constantly. Ceaselessly. Pressed down further into the deep pit of despair by the weight of it all.

Every little thing another burden, another suffered pain.

I cannot find the words to describe to you how relieving it is to be free of that weight. To be myself again, a person I’d lost and didn’t even know I was missing. Can you imagine?

It’s a little frightening to look back at how poorly I handled my work load, my loved ones, myself.

 

Our home reflected my negligence. Dust littered walls and decor. Cobwebs in corners and ladybug skeletons in light fixtures. Disorganized closets and drawers. Stacks of indecisive mail pleas.

bath

Work fared some better. I was busy at my job. I was completing tasks. I can’t say that I was unproductive, that’s not really the case. I wasn’t wholly engaged. I was pained by the pressures, pained by the responsibility. Procrastination took on a new level as I allowed every deadline to guide my last-minute rush to complete tasks. Challenging items lay piled like little losses across the desktop, normally bare.

Loved ones received little response from me. Conversations were stilted, as I simply had little to give. Rote queries became tiring and friendly visits a perceived personal attack on my pig pen space.

 

I cared little about keeping up and was quite surprised to find my nails too long, and my shoes scuffed and dirty, and my socks worn bare. I realized that I had chosen a few outfits and wore them repeatedly, a pattern of my ailment.

wine thirty

I see now that challenges had overwhelmed me, robbed me of my confidence. I could no longer believe that I had any abilities, any worth, anything worth fighting for.

Perhaps that was driven by my affected memory loss, my lack of B12. It’s also a symptom of depression. Realistically, it’s a sick cycle – which came first, the B12 deficiency or the depression? It doesn’t really matter now, does it?

I suffered life.

The shame of this does not escape me. I regret with my whole being the time that I lost to this down. Life is too short to waste time, as we only live once. This is our opportunity and it doesn’t wait around.

What I know is that life is hard, and there are going to be icy patches that take your legs out from under you and the landing might bust your ass.

The patriarch Jacob/Israel nailed it when he said it had been a long, hard life.

But there are joys and beauties and challenges and people who make those hard things seem better, easier, worth it.

There is the living, the breathing, the taking it in and giving back out. The push and the pull, the ups and the downs, the ride – the scenes.

There are the connections, those electrical charges that occur when you are affected by another human being. Warm hugs and handshakes, twinkling eyes smiling and sorrowful eyes sharing pain.

heart angles

Belly laughs, crying because you’ve laughed so hard, laughing too hard because you’re trying to retell a remembered funny and it just makes you laugh more, sighing because that memory was so sweet.

There is beauty around us that makes us silent, steals our breath, the majesty of creation – acknowledgement of an Almighty that put this tiny sphere in the universe for a reason, a purpose that escapes us. And that’s okay. We’re not meant to know.

heart angle focus

And work to keep our minds active, and flexed and eager for the next challenge. Labors that produce more than the material design that we’re striving for, but that also build muscle and endurance and an appetite for the bounty of this great planet.

And something here might seem to have some faint recognition in your brain, some far away bell sounding a muted alert, some rusty hinge squeak coarsely affecting your ears.

have a heart

Listen, pay attention, you who are suffering life.
Get help!

Find the reason and pour every bit of energy you have left into fixing yourself.

You deserve it, you’re worth it.

Life is.

Don’t miss it.

On Behalf of the Cat, and More

It seems that the camps are often split. No matter the topic, the opinion, there’s not much middle ground and all parties line up on one or the other side of the fence, the rope, the line in the sand:

Democrats vs Republicans.

Black vs White.

Country vs Rock and Roll.

Us vs Them.

You vs Me.

Ya know? Why is it always one or the other? What is it about us that makes it so hard to come to terms with each other? Why can’t we just agree to disagree, and get along? Why does it always have to be a competition of opinions?

Okay, not a problem that’s left for me to solve, right? But I can share an opinion about a rather minor sort of split.

Dog vs Cat
I saw a post about animals yesterday and found myself countering a recent cat vs dog post last night. The post is about the difference in how dogs and cats greet their owners.

There’s a photo of a dog, mouth in a happy and open pose, tail in the mid position, obviously in wag mode – and the phrase “omg you’re home, I’ve missed you!”
Then there’s the photo of a cat, kicked back in ownership style on a recliner (presumably the master of the house’s favored chair) and with a look of indifference – and the phrase “I see you’re home, feed me now.”
I’ll concede, I have seen cats act similarly (and there’s no question the dog pose was straight on). The strange thing is, the cats we’ve owned (albeit there have only been two) do not fit that stereotype.

Both of our cats were the first to the door as we came through. Both were vying for attention alongside the dog, and both were extremely happy to get that attention.

For the record, both the dog and the cat are trained to expect a ‘treat’ when My Love comes home from work each day. That may be the key… but I get the same reaction whenever I walk through the door. I don’t give treats by schedule. No sirree bob! It’s always going to be a happy little surprise when it comes from me. I’ve always said that our cats truly think they’re dogs. Perhaps that is where the real secret lies. Who knows.

At any rate, could I judge the whole cat kingdom by mine? Could I presume that all cats will playfully box a dog snout several times during the day and the dog would always playfully nuzzle the cat’s belly? Could I solidly state that every cat would sit at the window watching for our arrival and then be the first to the greet us at the door?

Sorta like saying all Muslims are out to kill Americans, huh? Or like saying all Mexicans are trying to overtake America? No? Maybe it’s like saying all men are pigs, or all cops are power freaks? Or like saying all women are shopping crazed, man-hungry bitches?

See? It’s not that simple. Not one side or the other. And certainly not solid facts splayed across an entire segment of a population based on the action of a few.

I challenge you to see the other side, to read between the lines. I challenge you to not accept every stated fact-ism at face value, but to get to know the real information behind the quote, the article, the statement. I challenge you to check your ‘facts’ before you share them, before you help spread vitriol.

So, to speak on behalf of the cats out there: They’re gettin’ a bad rap. Ya gotta give those cats a break!

Gross Abuse

I’m not going to write this to be popular, to look for agreement.  I’m not expecting to turn heads, or make people take a closer look for themselves.

I’m aware that this is highly controversial and may piss off everyone.

I’m saying it anyway.

There are a few issues on which I stand my ground, those proverbial mountains upon which I would die, the fight that I’ll take to my grave.  What follows is one of those.

You’re free to exit the page now,

go on –

I’ll give you a second.

Still here?  You can’t say I didn’t warn you.

Predominantly, when there is a leader, the position has been granted with the expectation of specific results.  The guidelines are established and the leader has some leeway, but must produce the intended results or lose the leadership position.

This post is about a specific, well known, and much loved leader:  Moses.

Most people would readily agree that he was chosen for a major leadership role, given a specific set of instructions, and given the tools to accomplish the assigned tasks.

Most would say that Moses did his job, completed the task, since the end result of leading the Hebrews into Canaan was accomplished.

I contend that Moses grossly abused his role, and would go so far as to point out that his transgressions while in the leadership role are evidenced by the fact that he was not allowed to put one foot into the ‘Promised Land’.

close reflection

The common perspective is that it had to do with splitting the rock.  I thought the same for years, the text leads us to believe that.  That’s abuse, but not a gross abuse, not of the magnitude that I am about to present.  Granted, when you’re in the position of representing Almighty, you’d better give credit where it is due – Moses’ neglect to honor Almighty was enormous.

I’m talking about another abuse, an interwoven thread of corruption that makes the rock event pale by comparison.  I’m talking about taking the Laws into his own hands and reforming them, refashioning them, adding to them in a manner that seemed not only allowable and acceptable to Moses, but to an entire populace for thousands of years.

It’s not a new thing in religion, it’s truly not.  We’re pretty gullible if there’s a word encased within the bindings of a cover titled ‘The Bible’ — would even go so far as to call every single word Holy, immutable, penned with the absolute permission of Almighty, even directly attributed to Almighty.

I warned you –

you should have left sooner…

you still have that opportunity –

fire moon

Where was I?  Oh yes.

Holy, immutable, every word.

Let’s look at Proverbs 31.  The favorable woman.

I’ll first agree, the characteristics described are seemingly good ones, mannerisms and fortitude that are not bad aspirations.  But they are not commanded.  Yes, I said that – Not Commanded.  Not even attributed to Solomon, to the wise man himself.  Look it up.  Lemuel, likely a king, quotes words or vision from his mother.  Not attributed to Solomon – and most definitely not attributed to Almighty!

Okay.  There may be some of you who concur, who have made that connection.  I give you credit for your learning.

I’ll offer one other example.  This is a big one, are you ready?

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh”

Attributed to…

Adam.

Not Almighty.

So, back to Moses.  Back to the corruption, the gross abuse of the powerful role of leadership that he was granted.  Back to the extreme punishment he received.

Forty years.  Forty years of leading a large, grumbling mass of humanity through a rough terrain.  Forty years of knowing that there was an ultimate goal in sight, a promise of a land bountiful beyond anything seen before.  Forty years of the same foods, the same people, the same views, the same routines.  Forty dull years that followed a year of monumental, earth shaking events.

Then a firm denial.  Look, see what was within your grasp.  Take a long distance peek at what you’re going to miss, you’re excluded from, denied entrance.  Lay yourself down and die, your options are no more.  Almighty would perform the final act, would remove the leader and take firm credit.

I’ll not question if the punishment fit the deed, as Almighty has clearly cast that Judgment, rightly so.

altar rock stack

I’ll propose that there’s more to the story, and it’s in the text, it’s available to any who cares to read, should they accept it for its worth.

Look at the words attributed to Almighty, those immutable Laws, directions, instructions, conditions.  Take care – if you’re not paying attention, you’ll get too relaxed in thinking you know which words fit the category.  Do what Almighty instructed and look for the voice of Almighty (see Ex 15:26 or Ex 19:10 for examples).

Now, look at those words attributed to Moses.

The entirety of Tanakh has been fashioned after those words, the words of Moses.  In fact, the entirety of the New Testament could not hold water if the words of Moses did not exist.

Abuse of Power.

To the Highest Degree.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.