Ellen’s Gemstone: the entertainment of her angst and disappointment and how I taught her to lie.

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Meet “Ellen and Owen”.  They are cousins, born 2 months apart, and are dear friends with one key characteristic about their relationship being that they can be somewhat competitive with eachother.

Owen recently set Ellen off on a mission by mentioning an 18 karat gemstone he bought on Etsy. Ellen was pumped to get “her own gemstone” and rose early one morning to ask, “Mom, may I please use the computer and go on Etsy and get a gemstone?”

Sure.

She begins an extensive search – nearly an hour online –  until she finds a rainbow quartz gemstone deal for $12.99 sold from a merchant in India. She falls in love. She gives me cash and I check out my first ever Etsy purchase and her first ever online purchase.

The next morning, Ellen wakes up and says “I get my gemstone today!!”. ERR… ok – so, I explain she’ll see her gem in “7 – 10 business days”.

Ok. She shrugs.

A week later.. two weeks later.. two weeks and two days later..

“Mom. I’m never going to get this gemstone. It’s just never coming.”

Now I shrug – “It will come” with a 70% confidence level.

That same week, I arrive home from work and am greeted with a pink “Sorry we missed you note”. Surely it’s the gemstone!

How exciting! I call Ellen – she is excited – and we agree she will go with me to the post office (this is technically her errand to run as it was her purchase) and so another week goes by as timing and schedules work out before we can go to the post office (together) on a Friday.

Oh for the love of it all when I realize “Friday” is the 4th of July.

I call Ellen and explain that tomorrow is a holiday, post office is closed, but offer: “I’ll pick you up at 2:00 this afternoon and we can go get your gemstone before you leave for Innsbrook”. She agrees, I arrive on time, honk twice and she comes bouncing out of her dad’s house. Shiny and bright and happy.

Imagine her face when the clerk informs us we are at the wrong post office.

“Mom. I really don’t think I am ever going to get the gemstone”

I reassure her – the Clayton office is about 5 minutes away, let’s go!

We wait in line, we get the package, we are happy – we get in the car, she is surveying the package and she asks for my help opening it up..

I give her my house key and advise her to proceed in the way I have proceeded with many a packages in my lifetime – take the key and press it along the crease in the box to break the tape. She says she can’t. I advise further, looking over a bit, “use the key against where you can tell it is already indented” and I nod towards these dark spots on the package.

“Mom those aren’t indents that is glue”.

?? I am puzzled, she is now moaning. I say, “Honey baby it’s okay, just keep at it while I’m driving.”

“Mom. I have waited so long. It’s been so long. I can’t get this open.”

I pull over.. Hand it over, sweetie pie.. and so she did. The following pictures and captions tell the rest of the story.

I understood the child has waited a long time to finally be at the threshold of her gemstone but I could not understand the anguish I was hearing about opening the package until she handed it over and I see it is wrapped in swaddling cloth, threaded and sealed shut. At this point, I begin laughing.
I understood the child has waited a long time to finally be at the threshold of her gemstone but I could not understand the anguish I was hearing about opening the package until she handed it over and I see it is wrapped in swaddling cloth, threaded and sealed shut. At this point, I begin laughing.

 

I am laughing even now. After breaking the thread and pulling the package out of the cloth (seal remanents flying everywhere during the process) I display to Ellen that what is obviously a tupperware container is wrapped in tape. Please note her expression and body language. The poor thing. She was dying.
I am laughing even now. After breaking the thread and pulling the package out of the cloth (seal remnants flying everywhere during the process) I display to Ellen that what is obviously a tupperware container is wrapped in tape. Please note her expression and body language. The poor thing. She was dying.
At one point while I am eagerly watching her pull back bubble tape to get to the gemstone, she looks over at me and has the kind of face that when somebody looks at you with it you think you have a bubble of blood coming out of your nose or something else repulsive happening with some aspect of your face.. poison ivy on your eye lid, a purging cold sore, "what???" I ask. "You have Indian glue on your neck mom". I am cracking up. See it? lol.. It reallly was going everywhere.
At one point while I am eagerly watching her pull back bubble wrap to get to the gemstone, she looks over at me and has the kind of face that when somebody looks at you with it you think you have a bubble of blood coming out of your nose or something else repulsive happening with some aspect of your face.. poison ivy on your eye lid, a purging cold sore, “what???” I ask. “You have Indian glue on your neck mom”. I am cracking up. See it? lol.. It really was going everywhere.
Ellen was actually initiallyl very disappointed when she opened the case. The gemstone is much different than the picture online and we talked a bit about expectations and how to accept what it is and how if ever you really are disappointed, you can return something or whatever. But in this situation, she really needs to consider everything really cool about this gemstone. It is really pretty! Then I promised her a java chip frappacino and she smiled.
Ellen was actually initially disappointed when she opened the case. The gemstone is much different than the picture online and we talked a bit about expectations and how to accept what it is and how if ever you really are disappointed, you can return something or whatever. But in this situation, she should consider everything really cool about this gemstone. It is really pretty! Then I promised her a java chip frappacino and she smiled.

 

All of this, of course, had us running a bit late for her dad who was headed out to his family’s place to spend the holiday. Yet we were parked in front of a Starbucks which surely woo’d me as I had work to return to and a bonding moment with Ellen to seal forever.

We plotted in the car about how we were going to handle it if her dad was upset that we got Starbucks. I explained the difference between lying about going to Starbucks while hiding the frappacino and saying “I love you daddy we didn’t go to Starbucks” while drinking the frappacino. It’s about being playful. Which – though I could see how this story is about consumerism and bad parenting offering coffee to your 9 yr old – it’s also about some serious good times.

See, my role in all of this was to thread her along the experience of wanting something bc somebody else has it, spending instead of saving, being patient at the mercy of the post office and third parties, using the experience to interact with people, doing what you want while caring about other people’s experience, and working it out when you are disappointed with a purchase. And I found myself really putting her in the driving seat a lot in all of this and – in doing so – I was wildly entertained.

This parenting thing is interesting. You have to be both smart like a parent and free like a child – I don’t think I’m doing it all right, but I’m doing it. And so I share. Have a great weekend..

 

Happy People Blog: a response, an apology, and the last thing I wanted to do tonight.

This is incredibly uncomfortable.

So, about a month ago, a close friend of mine shared an article on Facebook and I, in one way or another, ripped it apart. I agreed with the premise but admit my disdain for the tone of voice of the article and my opinion that it was short-sighted caused me to cringe thinking my friend really aligned so closely with the voice. Truly I should have allowed it to not be so pointed.. my friend did not write the article, he agreed with it. Which – aside from my disdain for the tone of voice and the variety I would have brought to the article: “10 Things That The People Who Love Their Lives Are Doing Differently” – I did too.

Side note: I claim that the reason I am not as avid of an online reader is because I get easily agitated both by strong conviction and by people saying what I thought first. So my reaction was a lil of that too..

To write this blog post makes my heart sink knowing that I am about to do three things that make me incredibly uncomfortable: 1) take my head out of my ass and take the time to write what I really do think (it’s sooo much easier just to vaguely disagree) 2) read an opinion blog (for the second time) and 3) in doing all this, somewhat publically apologize.

I want to run away from my laptop right now, by the way.

Here’s the Elite Daily article

Here’s what I commented on my friend’s share:

…”So though each of those points touches on a belief I in some way carry, this article is mans a selfish point of view as it does not mention happy people giving others the opportunity to love and be valued, and happy people ultimately rooting themselves in one thing or another in order to build community. it claims happiness exists as a moment conducted by the genius vision of one rather than happiness as one’s view on the grander vision they are a part of.. my happiness is all of these ten points with social and relational meaning.

Here I go:

The article’s statement #1: They don’t bother trying to make others like them — mainly because they don’t care if they’re liked.

Alright – Marcus Aurelius 101 here: Compliments or criticism don’t matter. If you tell a gem it is beautiful, does it get more beautiful? If you tell a gem it is ugly, does it get ugly? No. Flattery is fleeting. Being whole is where it’s at. You will have the right friends at the right moments. It’s not “I don’t care if you like me”, it’s that you actually become oblivious to the idea of “being liked”. Really! I don’t ever think “this person does or doesn’t like me” – I used to, it was horrible. I think happiness here is being comfortable with exactly who you are and allowing people to fall in place exactly as they do and knowing that love comes from somewhere far greater than man.

The article’s statement #2: They do things because they want to do them, not because they believe they have to do them.

I believe, when coming from a motive of love, everything you have to do becomes something you want to do: to maintain peace, to help others, to enjoy solitude, to build experience, to be a good citizen. The list goes on. To take the views of this world and turn them inside out is true spiritual living. Take the demands into your own hands and be an individual who knows the rules (and when to break them). A great example of this applying in my life is when I feel pressure to “be somewhere” – I really break that down to understand why and trust that I am in the right place and in the right pace. I offer relief to people who are late as I know that as I live out my present moment, I surely may end up needing that same type of relief. It’s all a cycle. It’s not just “what I want”. It’s not just about you all time. (I know, as an evolving narcissist, it’s hard.)

The article’s statement #3: They love their friends but don’t rely on them.

<deep breath> this one was especially hard to swallow considering I read this post during a time of grieving when I “needed” my friend the most.

To quote my sister, the most valuable thing you can give a person is the opportunity to love you and show long-suffering when you need it most, love when you need it most, joy when you need it most, and compassion – always. Let your friends be needed but be happy knowing their life island can float away from yours and trust that connection can always happen; it is not something you control. I agree not to base happiness on them, not to source love from them. But recognize the universe loves you through others: It’s a matter of impermanent attachment.

Bond and let be, baby. Bond and let be.

The article’s statement #4, #5:

When you ask them what they do, they don’t give you a job title

When you ask them where they live, they say, “At the moment…”

I actually agree with both of these 110% – when I am asked what I do, the first thing I saw is “a whole lot of things”. I heard a contractor once answer that question like this: “I’m a truth seeker”. I totally dug it.

And though I’m a futuristic creative little momma, I do believe the present moment is the place to be.

The article’s statement #6: They have their own philosophies, their own religion they created and live by.

I believe you cannot be wrong when you are not trying to be right. Test out your belief system, know you get to change it. The assertive person’s right is to change your mind, be irrational, and stand up for yourself. Come from a motive that is safe for others and go for it.

The article’s statement #7: They embrace their impermanence.

I also agree with this one 110%. I once sat through a meditation where I was in such a specific emotion and I felt it was so complete, so me, so everything. And the teacher said “now take that feeling you have right now and realize – you will not always be this way – you will not always feel this way – as you have been sad and then felt happy, so you will change again”. This is a powerful understanding and I do believe it greatly brings a valuable point of happiness.

The article’s statement #8: They see the world as their playhouse and their mind as the conductor.

This was another prickly point where the author’s point of view got me in the gut.

I believe you create your reality and I believe we have a responsibility to do this by bringing peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, joy, self-control, love, to the present moment. I believe that when you create your own reality otherwise, it ends up being quite materialistic and can cause neurosis; you rely too heavily on your self.

I believe this is a dangerous place to be. I do.

The author doesn’t note the community aspect and I have to ask:

What mode does this force one into when they feel threatened? I believe creating and manifesting reality works true to the cosmos when one intentionally builds community; realizing that a sustainable reality that pushes us as a human race forward is one that attributes the gifts of others, connects them, and allow all to become a resource.

That being said, to those who are happy without nurturing the community aspect of reality building: I believe you experience happiness. My Christianity sees challenges with this model.

The article’s statement #9: They live in the moment, but dream in the future.

I strongly believe in working your current landscape and I believe dreams are the best place for the future.

I believe that you will always have the resources you need in the present moment and that too often we waste time looking for tools in our present moment we think will get us the future we want. When really, meeting yourself in your reality is what cultivates the soil.. what makes manifest.. what helps you expand into dream world without even trying. My pastor once said “if you think you know what lies ahead then you aren’t doing faith right because God works beyond anything we could ever imagine.” I think that’s powerful.

The article’s statement #10: They don’t bother changing others, but instead learn how to deal with them appropriately.

I cannot stress how much “deal with them appropriately” pains me – again, it’s this author’s voice but ok, I can do this.

So my therapist told me ten years ago “if you change, the relationship will change”. And I think this is sound. To say happy people “don’t bother changing others” suggests that they could if they wanted.  Change occurs through change in the relationship. Change in the relationship can begin with you and you alone. I think it is very easy for us to believe it is about “the person” but it’s not “the person” we “deal with”, it’s the exchanges / the relationship.

And whether you need to understand and possibly alter your beliefs that are causing you to feel the way you are feeling or whether it is a matter of modifying your engagement, either way: any person who stops banking on change in others in order to feel satisfied will immediately feel free.

And freedom is happiness.

Because I believe what I believe, I respect and honor the post. I had to do this to in some ways prove to myself that I wasn’t pacifying my response saying that I incorporate these 10 points. I do. And in understanding how, I am now better able to see how the compatible thought runs. The world needs all sorts of people.

I love you friend, I am sorry I “facebook yelled”.

Being Responsible with Love: Two things I think to remember (especially when problem-solving)

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This picture of two little girls looking at the contents of a purse and a box is where I choose to begin to answer the question I set for the day:

What does it mean to be responsible with love?

The child on the left is my youngest daughter who loves boxes (especially as gifts). You can surely count on her opening the box to show the most random things: heart shaped walnut shells, red feathers, pearl stones from somebody’s sandscapes, etc.  As Lucy can be protective over her secrets inside the yellow music box, I called her over from where she was standing to give permission to there child on the right to explore the world inside the yellow German music box I gave her for Christmas.

How many times have you been in a situation with another person where you know such love for them but are completely lost in a different feeling? The moment has pained you, confused you, or otherwise made you spellbound backwards?

From these moments and in these situations, comes the planning – “the next time we talk” – “what do we do” – “I know how I feel but what about you” type of conversations. And we get really super good at predicting endings. A lot of times, we predict endings that compound the feeling of that moment with some finality or devastation. I have said this before in one of my favorite posts about grace: hypothetical sadness chokes hope.

My two things are this, and then I’m going to wrap it up and get ready for a busy week:

1 – I wanted to give Lucy the opportunity to decide whether or not to show and share what was in the box. She chose to open it up but there was a strong possibility she was going to say “no” and I was not going to do any “ohhh but Lucy she really wants to see!”. If her answer was no, her answer was no. And so I think asking and allowing the decision to be another person’s is a great way to be responsible with love. Your feelings of love should drive you to be assertive, set boundaries, “be you” while also giving others the grace to say their peace. It seems to me that if you were the one asked to speak or make up your mind, what I described is the relief you would want in that moment – so I say offer it to them.

(NOTE:  If, when prompted to speak up and make your mind, you really would want the other to challenge your decision in order to make you change your mind because somehow you think that might bond you and get you to come to something that you actually want, please buy this book and start at chapter two: “Assertiveness Skills”.)

The thing number 2 – to get a little Biblical on you, is to be responsible with love is to be resourceful. I really think that most people (I know I do for the most part) think we walk into situations and create, that we conjur up the vision,  and we execute.  Ahhh but though we have “a view” we do not have “the vision”. So what does it look like to “go Moses” (reference Exodus 33) on the situation and believe that God has already been wherever we are going?? Not that fate is decided, but that a divine precense has gone ahead and laid out tools and hints, clues and sparks that could all serve as catalysts for some kick ass manifestations?

What does it look like to believe that you don’t go into that conversation trying to make anything inparticular happen?

What does it mean to believe that God works through you and his will plays out in the discernment of others?

How much freedom do you feel knowing that you don’t actually have to do anything but sense for peace and patience and kindness and if you don’t find them, bring them forward?

Do you know what it means to be the precense of Christ?

Do you understand that to be responsible with love you have to be willing to be resourceful? Tap into the strengths of others, bring them forward, and love completely from a place of grace.

Be both brave and smart.

Being the relief to others that you yourself want to feel is a pretty basic first step here. No matter where you are on the consciousness spectrum, you could start this tomorrow by softening sarcastic blows and ceasing to challenge every decision your spouse tries to make. (I recently heard a woman talking about how she jested her husband “there is NO WAY you actually want that for dinner!” – that equals an easy first place to begin growth!)

That being said, being able to bend the mind to where you see difficult decisions as opportunities to step up and take the broader view rather than grow weary trying to understand the internal engine or to look under the rocks of another is a bit more difficult…

So I say, close their hood – put down the rocks and ask yourself this:

Why try to decide what to have for dinner tonight based on what you or another person might want to eat six months from now?

Remember, to me, being responsible with love (especially when problem-solving) is simply asking and allowing the decision to stand and letting go of whatever power you claim or wish to have over the future. Live present, love uncontained. (More on my beliefs on bonding coming up in the future..)

Check this snippet out that I read today off a new friend’s page and have a great night..

“Carl Jung: All the greatest and most important problems of life are fundamentally insoluble… They can never be solved, but only outgrown. This ‘outgrowing’ proved on further investigation to require a new level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest appeared on the patient’s horizon, and through this broadening of his or her outlook the insoluble problem lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms but faded when confronted with a new and stronger life urge.

namaste

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