Not Behind On Life

Man alone in auditorium with spotlight shining down onto him

So you know a lot about me and my life.  Some of you may even remember that I have a son.  He is 25 now.  Like me, he thinks too much for his own good.  Like me, and a huge percentage of the world, he has a false narrative about himself.  And, like me, he finds it very difficult to show himself grace.

grace (noun):
\ ˈgrās \
Definition of grace:
1a:  unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification
2b: archaic: Mercy, Pardon
2d: disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency
2e: a temporary exemption: Reprieve

Yes, I cherry-picked the definitions I wanted, the ones most relevant to this post.  It comes from Merriam-Webster.  You see, most people do not know what forgiveness is, and they especially do not understand how to give it to themselves.  Our human brains want to focus on the negatives because if we are hyper-aware of the negatives about our lives and circumstances, then maybe we can fix them, and survive longer.  It is the oldest part of our brains, the reptilian-brain programming, making some of us miserable, all because our brains, our bodies want to go on living, no matter what.

I am NOT saying my son is unhappy, miserable, or suffering from a mental illness.  I am just saying he is human, doing what humans do.  And, at 25, he has been watching his friends move into stages of their lives that he has not yet reached, specifically:  marriages, houses, and babies.  We older individuals understand that is, in the long run, perhaps, a lucky thing for him.  He has more time for doing the things he wants to do before putting his personal needs and desires to the side for a partner and an eventual family.  He may have greater success at being a parent and a partner.  And, as his mother, I certainly want him to have a happy, healthy, well-adjusted family life.  I want his children to have a better childhood than he had, and that I had, and that my mother before me had.

But to him, he sees everyone around him as “succeeding,” while he views himself as being “behind on life” — his words, not mine.  And it does cause him anxiety.  It sometimes makes him question why he has not yet found a partner because he mistakenly believes he is uniquely situated.  And likely that is my fault. 

I have always felt that I was uniquely unloveable and undeserving and, as a consequence, the world kept proving me correct, at least to my mind.  I was a terrible role model in that sense, and I see him slowly turning in that same direction.  The direction I turned and the direction my mother turned before me — some would call it a “legacy,” others would harken it to “sins of the father,” while still others debate nature vs. nurture, environmental vs. societal, and then you’ve also got the chemical, nutritional, heredity debate raging on.  No matter the causation, it is something that can be worked on and improved.  And my son does understand that.

He doesn’t let any of that push him down, destroy him or his future.  Not yet at least.  He uses it as a motivator for change.  He is constantly trying to better himself.  He works hard.  He plays hard.  And he studies… everything.  He challenges himself to grow and he embraces life to the fullest.  He is working hard to create a path to the life he wants, and when the time is right he will find the right woman for him.  He plays hard, which is good because once he marries and has kids, he likely won’t have the time, energy, or money to do so.

I have so much pride for who he is, and when given a chance I try to share with him those things that I see that make him uniquely special, the things about him (not what he does but who he is) that I respect so much.  I don’t know, maybe that’s wrong too.  I just want him to see himself as I see him, and like others experience him.  Do you know what I mean?

Anyway, being grown-up is hard.  Being a parent is harder.  And I just want every one of you to know, wherever you are emotionally in your life, right now, it is okay.  Show yourself some grace.  Forgive yourself for the things that make you hate yourself.  What you carry is likely false shame* not true shame.  And you do not deserve to do that to yourself, regardless of your past, regardless of what anyone tells you (including yourself!), just as my son does not deserve to do it to himself.  Each day, if only for a moment, try to step out of fear and into courage.  God made us for love not hate and he doesn’t want us to hate ourselves.  God loves us despite our flaws and despite our sins.  He shows us grace every single day, forgiving our sins even though we do not deserve it.

Remember, forgiveness is something that we do for ourselves, not for those that hurt us.  Once you understand that as the truth and begin putting it into practice, you will be so much happier with your life because you will understand that you are special, you are deserving, and you are capable of being happy.  And so you will be!

And, as an added benefit, you’ll be able to teach your sons and your daughters to do it as well.  And what a gift that will be, ending a legacy of self-incrimination, teaching our beloved children to have understanding, patience, and grace for themselves as well as others, effectively breaking the chains of the past, the family legacies, the “sins of the fathers,” and creating an environment where our children get to begin anew, with a fresh pallet, a new storyline that they can pass down to future descendants!  I wish I’d grown up with that and even more than that, I wish my son had grown up with that.  I wish I’d understood all of this decades sooner, not for me but for him.2

I forgive myself.  Now, hopefully, as I am growing to practice love and forgiveness in my own life, he will see the changes in me and learn it for himself.  I hope you’ll do the same.  Again, we forgive for our own peace and well-being.  So don’t fight it.  Work on it, for one incident by the one person that means the most to you (it doesn’t have to be a big incident,) every single day, until, at last, a day will come and you’ll realize you did it!  You forgave that grievance made against you.  They do not even have to know, because it is NOT about them, it is about You!

Popcorn is prepared in the same pot, in the same heat, and within the same oil.  And yet, the kernels do not pop at the same time.  Show yourself grace; you will pop in the moment that is perfectly timed for you!

2Doesn’t it always seem easier to do things for others than to do them for ourselves!

*
Shame and guilt are NOT the same thing.  Guilt is a feeling for an action that has been taken.  Shame is a feeling about who you perceive yourself to be, true or not.    For more information and understanding about the two emotions please see the excellent article on the Psychology Today online magazine’s website by Dr. Joseph Burgo entitled: The Difference Between Guilt and Shame.  

***** NOTES FROM THE AUTHOR*****
Though he likely will never see it, this post is dedicated to my inspiring, beloved son, DBL.  You’re gonna be a star, baby, all you gotta do is POP!  

The wonderful photograph used to create the meme was taken by Amir Geshani and the featured photo was taken by Angel Origgi, both were acquired through Unsplash. It’s a great source for free photos under the Creative Commons Zero license, so check it out!
© MemeesMusings/B.L. Memee, 2020. All rights reserved.

20 Year Reflections: Viruses & Miracles

Man playing guitar alone at home
A fun POEM — I am NOT the author — from 20 years ago about another worldwide virus that all of us survived!

I just found it typed up in a box of papers I had saved and thought it a great time to share. Obviously, I thought it clever and I thought the event was worth memorializing (as did, obviously, someone else). We need to take moments of levity during tragic times.  It is a survival mechanism that’s been around for as long as we’ve been self-aware.  EVERYONE survived this virus, the one referenced in the poem, but the fears were very real. Do you remember?  Can you name it?

I will tell you a little secret, I DID buy heavy-duty plastic and duct-taped my windows and sliding glass door, as so many others did. We survived that one, and most of us will survive this one, bettering our chances if we use Wise Mind, listen to the scientists, and patiently follow the guidelines given to us.

You’ve never heard any fireman say, “Everyone, run as quickly as you can into the flames!”  No, they tell you to “walk calmly, single fire towards the exits.” This is a great example of listening to the professionals, following directions, and patiently using Wise Mind to get through those panicked times and into a safe location.

Right now your safe location is your home. Your masks are vital, but they are not a replacement for staying home. Your gloves may make you weak and vulnerable by giving you a false sense of protection. Be aware, think it through, weigh your feelings and your thoughts before making decisions… this is Wise Mind it should be part of your survival plan.

POEM TIME!!!

THE NIGHT BEFORE Y2K

‘Twas the night before Y2K, and all through the nation,
We awaited the bug, the millennium sensation.
The chips were replaced in computers with care,
In hopes that old “Bugsy” wouldn’t stop there.

While some folks would think they were snug in their beds,
Others had visions of dread in their heads.
And Ma with her PC and I with my Mac,
Had just logged on the net, and kicked back with a snack.

His image downloaded in no time at all.
He whistled and shouted, “Let all systems fall!
Go Intel, go Gateway, now HP, Big Blue,
Everything Compaq and Pentium too.
All processors big, all processors small,
Crash away, crash away, crash away all.”

All the controls the planes need for their flights,
All microwaves, trains, and all traffic lights.
As I drew in my breath and was turning around,
Out from the modem he came with a bound.

He was covered in fur, and slung on his back
Was a sack full of viruses, set for attack.
His eyes – how they twinkled, his dimples – how merry,
His midnight approach though soon became scary.

He had a broad little face and a round little belly,
And a sack full of viruses that quivered like jelly.
He was chubby and plump, perpetually grinnin’
I laughed when I saw him, though my hard-drive stopped spinnin’.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know, a new feeling of dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work.
He changed all the clocks then turned with a jerk.

With a twitch of his nose, and a quick little wink
All things electronic soon went on the blink.
He zoomed from my system to the next folks online.
He caused such a disruption – could this be a sign?

Then I heard him exclaim with a loud hearty cry,
“Happy Y2K to all, and kiss your PC good-bye!”

                                                                                                                           — Poet Unknown

I hope you had a little fun with that and that somehow, this little poem written 20 years ago for a virus the world was convinced would end life as we knew it — because all computers’ inner clocks were never programmed for dates beyond the 1900s —  helps you to remember the world is not ending.

And, in fact, the world is more alive than ever! Our atmosphere, the waters, it is all healing. Wild animals are making their presence known to us, reminding us that this is their world too. Some are even making a comeback from the brink of extinction. And we, you and I and all of those we have ever known, have woken up from a deep sleep of the mundane, our apathy, our arrogance, and our misdirected energy and now that we are awake we are now re-examining ourselves, revaluing the importance of everything, and reconnecting with our families, our communities, and our gods*.

Do you see them? Do you see the miracles happening all around us? Do you see people connecting with song whether from their windows on the streets of Italy or on the World Wide Web (we haven’t called it that for a very long time, but now it feels that way) singers and musicians from different countries to perform songs of faith together from their own shuttered up living quarters?  Do you see neighbors meeting neighbors they’ve never spoken to before? I do.  I see all of them and it is wonderful!

God turns everything for good. You’ve just got to be willing to be quiet, open your ears and listen for him, you’ve got to open your eyes and be willing to see them. And then, when you do, open your heart and 2seek Him. You won’t regret it.

(*Trying to be inclusive there.)
2And here is a poem by yours truly entitled, “God’s Child.”

The wonderful photograph was taken by Brantley Neal and acquired through Unsplash. It’s a great source for free photos under the Creative Commons Zero license, so check it out!
© MemeesMusings/B.L. Memee, 2020. All rights reserved.

Isolation Pt. 1 #lockdowneffect

aaron-burden-cEukkv42O40-unsplash

According to Business Insider, 4 days ago, on April 3, 2020, via statistical analysis of governmental measures to survive COVID-19*, one-third of the World Population is on Lockdown due to the devastating effects of this novel coronavirus.

It is a strange and scary time.

People are suffering for many reasons that are the same and many reasons that are different.  We are suffering from the illness, yes.  Our friends, neighbors, and acquaintances are dying, yes.  We are frightened and anxious.  We are feeling stir crazy and bored.  We are not experiencing as much of the life-giving air and sunshine that we need to thrive but, more than anything, we are isolated, kept apart from one another.

Our habits are changing.  Our thoughts about our actions and those of others are changing.  The world will not be the same once a vaccination is found and we feel free to leave the safety of our lodgings, coming and going as we did just a few months ago and for thousands of years before to the beginning on man living in dwellings.

I believe we will see very obvious changes to the functioning of our societies; there will be social changes that we will long for which may never return, longings that our unborn children, our grandchildren, would be shocked or repulsed by or even just curious about while simultaneously being so surprised to learn just how different our childhoods and life experiences were from what theirs is.

Will the future be filled with a world of germaphobes? Will we be wary of people standing too close? Will our children and grandchildren not yet born also be wary or will they be immune to these fears?  Will we use Mork’s or Spock’s hand gesture of greeting, or will we organically create our own (and if so will it be a worldwide greeting or different greetings around the world) or, as I hope, will we be stuck with the elbow bump?  Will little girls play Patty Cake and Miss Mary Mack?  How about Say Say Oh Playmate, Down Down Baby or Down by the Banks of the Hanky Panky?  Will adolescent boys give high fives for making baskets?  Will first loves, young marrieds, or seniors stroll through parks hand in hand? And how will sporting teams greet one another?  By standing in a very large circle and bowing in unison?

Time will tell and I think that some of these changes will be fascinating to see.  I expect there are enormous changes coming, changes at all levels of our existence.  I cannot tell you why I think this.  I can only tell you that I feel this.

I suggest that in addition to outward changes in social behavior and thinking, there may well also be hidden changes deep within our subliminal selves, the not-yet understood definitions that make up each one of us, creating infinitely unique individuals from every spermatozoa and egg that unite, even those eggs that later split creating not one but two tiny babies that will grow into integral members of future humanity.  There are changes taking place right now, today, in the mechanisms that guide us toward our behavioral choices, actions, beliefs, and feelings… our souls.

And could there even be something within us, as a species, that is changed forever?  Will the impact of this cause a chemical change in our DNA that will be visible to science proving that we, as a species, made a sudden adaptational leap in the DNA of today to the DNA of the generation that follows?  And, if so, what will that adaptation mean for all of us, the people who are walking our earth now and all of the generations that may come after?

I have written quite a bit about isolation over the years.  And I believe firmly that isolation kills.  But now, for our mortal survival, individually and perhaps as a species, we must isolate away from one another.  And that is an enormous shift in humankind and it is why I suggest that this may, in fact, be the kind of event that changes who and how people are, how they interact with one another, how they think, as well as changes to their physical and sub-physical natures.

Of course, I could be wrong.

 

 

The wonderful photograph was taken by Aaron Burden and acquired through Unsplash. It’s a great source for free photos under the Creative Commons Zero license, so check it out!

☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀

*“…statistical analysis of governmental measures to survive COVID-19,” is my laymen’s terminology of what was created and presented.

© MemeesMusings/B.L. Memee, 2020. All rights reserved.

This month: Pet Poetry!

Pets! | Memee's Musings

Pets come in all shapes and sizes and personalities. Some of us have a favorite while others define their homes as a “zoo.”  All I know is that our pets make life so much richer.  I cannot imagine life without a pet by my side.  Families who don’t have pets are confusing to me.  I just don’t understand why people would want to deprive their children of the wonderful unconditional love and friendship that a pet can give, not to mention all we learn from them by bearing witness to their lives.

And so this month, in honor of my best friend, Forest, who has been sick this past week with his first episode of Canine Vestibular Disease, I am asking that you focus your poetry this month on your pets and that special relationship you share with them.

IMPORTANT DATES:

Submission deadline is Sunday, April 24th, 2016 at 23:55 PST.
Submit now!

Voting opens at 00:05 PST on Monday, April 25th and ends on Saturday, April 30th at 23:55 PST.*

MEMEE’S POETRY PARTY RULES OF CONDUCT:

1. No naughty thumbnail pictures. (This will disqualify you.)

2. Submit the URL address to your relevant original poem.

3. Please try to visit at least two party guests, leave them a nice compliment or begin a friendly discussion with them. It’s a party: Mingle, people, mingle!

4. This party’s unique hashtag is #pets, use it. Link back to me and, of course, if you tweet me, I’ll tweet you… tweet, tweet! (Even if you don’t have a twitter account please use the hashtag as a blog tag.)

5. Let your followers know that you’re partying at Memee’s Musings and they’re invited to drop in and join the party! Just give them this direct link: http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=625302 or send them to the Current Party tab to read this post https://memeesmusings.com/category/current-party/.

Spreading the word about your linking up is also the perfect excuse to show off your participation badge!  Because I do not vote it is important that you participate in promoting the event. The more word of mouth the more activity and the greater the traffic impact on everyone’s website. Also, remember, once we start hitting 100 bloggers linking up then tangible, in-your-hand prizes will be awarded to the winners along with their trophy and bragging rights.  So challenge your fellow poets to party with us and solicit your followers to read all of the poems and vote their favorite (while the voting window is open).

Collect your participation badge and find more answers at: Memee’s Poetry Parties.

HELPFUL LINKS:

Here’s a Video.
Or if you prefer infographics, go to this post.

*(If you don’t know PST just Google “What time is it now in PST?” and calculate against your time zone)

Bottleneck (a short story)

Bottleneck | Memee's Musings
Photo: Shutterstock

The bottle was almost empty. Just another sip. He cleaned his mouth with his sleeve. The house was still dark. He was cold. She would be home soon. And then he would show her. He would teach her a lesson. Nobody was allowed to treat him like this. He would show her! How dare she leave him. For that guy! He took another sip. The bottle was empty. Maybe he would use the bottle. She had to suffer. He would take his time. Suddenly a car was pulling up. A smile on his face he pressed his body closer to the wall, hiding in the dark.

It was 2:45 in the morning and it was the same as it was every night since she had met Ralph three and-a-half years ago.  She would be out playing, partying with Ralph; having sex with Ralph while he sat at home miserable and lonely. She didn’t care about him, she had never really loved him.  That much was obvious!  If she had she wouldn’t abandon him night after night for a man who didn’t respect her enough to marry her. Continue reading