Sunday, November 30, 2008

Norma Loquendi

'Many terms which have now dropped out of favour will be revived, and those that are at present respectable will drop out, if usage so choose, with whom lies the decision, the judgement, and the rule of speech.'
(' . . . si volet usus,

Quem penes arbitrium est et ius et norma loquendi.')
-- Horace, Ars Poetica 1.70

Norma loquendi refers to words that are used in everyday
conversation. For the most part, that is how I choose to express myself in conversation and in print. That said, it's curious to me that I tend to use far more formal language when I am impassioned. I know for a fact that my husband has been subjected to my ranting soliloquies on many occasions. He knows better than to interrupt my thought process when I'm on a roll and sits patiently while I ramble on and on, mostly to myself, about some injustice or some act or idea which I have deemed illogical. Yeah, poor guy!

So why is it that intense emotions seem to bring out the articulate side of me? I mean, on a "normal" day I often find myself fumbling for words, tripping over pronunciations, and sounding like I barely made it past 11th grade English. All of the beautiful, multisyllabic words trapped somewhere inside waiting to be incited by a heated debate or roused by some real or perceived challenge. (If you're wondering what has set me off now... it was a religious argument on another site.)

I'm trying to trace this peculiar tendency back to a source in my past. Was it one event that caused me to bite my tongue, to downplay my vocabulary, or was it a series of events? Did I do it because I was called a snob? Did I do it for love? Or was it done during "the poetry years" so that I could be understood by the majority of my audience? I'm not certain of the reason or reasons behind the changes in my expression but at least now I'm aware of the change. Isn't admitting that you have a problem the first step towards recovery? :-)

P.S. Knowing me... I did it for love!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Music for the Mind of a Tired Body

I've been so tired these last few days. Actually, drained would be a more appropriate word. I've come up with ideas for posts but fear I lack the mental clarity necessary to bring them into fruition. That's okay, I've been taking notes. I can wait, I'm patient like that. :-)

So, what have I been doing? Hmmm... I've been listening to a lot of music. In fact, I'm sitting here with headphones on right now. "If you like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain..." Yeah, I confess, I've always loved that Rupert Holmes song. My daughters and I had a conversation about it just a week or so ago when it came on the radio.

"I don't get why you like that song, mom. It's about a guy who's going to meet someone else at a bar because he's tired of his wife (or girlfriend)."

"Is it? Is that really what the song is about? I mean, when he's at the bar, his wife or girlfriend is the one who walks in to meet him."

"Right. So, like, she was planning on cheating on him, too. How can you like a song like that?"

"Because the song is about being in a relationship with someone without really knowing them. Both of the characters in the song were looking for someone new with whom they shared things in common because they didn't realize the person they were already involved with shared those same likes or dislikes."

"How can you be in a relationship with someone and not know things like that about them?"

And so we talked about how important communication is in a relationship... again. That's the way it goes in this house. Always questions. My children keep me on my toes. I do okay... until they need help with algebra.

Speaking of music, I just discovered Ani DiFranco
the other night while browsing another artist on YouTube. I'm not sure how I feel about her yet. I did find this video and I think I like it. :-)

Monday, November 24, 2008

In Sickness And In Health

My husband has Multiple Sclerosis. He'd had it for ten years already when we started dating. He had been in a wheelchair for a year when he was with his first wife (who eventually left him because of his MS).

I knew there was a BIG chance that he could end up back in a wheelchair, paralyzed, or that he might even die in a short period of time when I married him. I loved him so much, and he is such a wonderful, caring, loving person, that none of those "negative" things made me hesitate for even a second when he asked me to marry him.

There were times during our first year of marriage when I had to feed him because he was shaking too much to feed himself. I had to help him bathe and, on a few occasions, I had to help him get up after he'd fallen down.

Over ten years have passed and he is healthier now than he was when I met him. In fact, he lives a very normal life and, unless we told people, no one would even realize that he has MS. He says its because of me. I say it's because of his positive attitude. The doctor's told him he was going to die but he couldn't accept that, stayed positive, and lived through something that ended the lives of the nine other men in his support group.

My advice to someone who is married to an individual who is disabled in any way or suffering from a disease or illness is.... LOVE THEM WITH ALL OF YOUR HEART! Make each day a joy. Love can do miracles!

My advice to someone who has been diagnosed with an illness or has suffered a major injury and has been told that they will never be able to live a normal life again... DON'T BELIEVE IT! Once you've given up on yourself, you've closed down any possibility of recovery.

It's not always easy but, if you love each other, it's totally worth every second of every day!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Emotional Reflex

It was 3:00am on a Thursday morning when I made my way into the bathroom. After washing my hands, I turned around and jumped halfway out of my skin. There, slithering across the bathroom floor, was Jack, my oldest daughter's pet snake. I'm not afraid of Jack. In fact, he's a cute little guy (until he tries to crawl down your shirt). However, not expecting to find a slithering serpent in my floor, I reacted before my brain had an opportunity to assess the situation.

My experience with Jack made me think about how often we tend to react to situations in life before we actually process all of the information associated with those situations. Sometimes it's a mere word, or even a look, and we make assumptions without stopping to ask for clarification. Why do we do this? Because we are emotional creatures and our emotions are triggered by things we see, hear, feel, and experience.

While my brief interaction with Jack may be more closely related to the "flight or fight" response, it does show how quickly our reflexes rush to save us from harm. In the same way, our emotional reflexes hurry in to rescue us from any real or perceived attack on our person. When and how did we form these emotional reflexes? Were we born with them or are they products of our relationships? Though I do believe that some are natural, I think most of these reflexes are developed through life experience.

When I was a child, my father said many things to me that I can't imagine saying to my own children. When I had forgotten something or committed some trivial error, he would call me stupid. The pain from that one word was tremendous. Out of that pain was born a heightened sensitivity to being referred to in any way that would insult my intelligence. I spent ten years crying every time my intellect was questioned and ten more years after that becoming angry, defensive, and resentful at the insult. Then... I decided it was time to heal the damage.

While emotional reflexes may always trigger a response within, we can train ourselves not to
automatically react to those triggers. By becoming aware of our sensitivities, we can remind ourselves to take a breath and think about the situation before reacting. Practicing this awareness allows us to differentiate the true meaning of our situation from any false ideas we may form based on events and situations from our past. It also gives us the opportunity to choose not to retaliate against those who have actually set out to cause us harm.

When we can stop for a moment and view the situation from a higher perspective, we may realize the situation is born from the other person's own sensitivities, fears, or insecurities. This realization offers us the opportunity to practice compassion for others instead of allowing ourselves to be controlled by our own emotional reflexes.

That's my story... and I'm sticking with it. :-)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wisdom or Insanity?

The Hierophant

Personal Card
This Deck: Ukiyoe
Use your inner knowledge to lead.

Astro Association: Taurus

General Meaning: Traditionally known as the Hierophant, this card refers to a Master and the learning of practical lessons from the study of Natural Law. This energy of this card points to some agent or resource that can reveal the secrets of life, the cycles of the moon and tides, the links between human beings and the heavens.

Because monasteries were the only places a person could learn to read and write in the middle ages, a Hierophant was one to whom a student would petition for entry. He was the one to set the curriculum for the neophyte's course of study.

Often pictured with the right hand raised in blessing, the Hierophant is linked with the ancient lineage of Melchezidek, initiator of the Hebrew priestly tradition, the one who passes on the teachings. All shamans of any tradition draw upon this archetype.

I must admit, as much as I love the tarot and as beautiful and mysterious as some of the images can be, it's not often that I do a reading or pick a card for the day. How ironic, then, for this of all cards to make an appearance on a day when I've been rambling on about spiritual matters to three different people.

Oh, but don't think for a moment that I don't sit back after all is said and done and question everything I've shared about how the human experience and the spiritual experience intertwine. I often wonder, "Did that make any sense to anyone other than myself?"

Tonight, while I was questioning my own insight, I thought of something I hadn't before. I thought about the theoretical physicists on a program I watched on the Science Channel. It was a program about String Theory and Membrane Theory. This group of three physicists were riding on a train on their way to see a play. As they were riding along, they began throwing ideas out to one another, all kinds of wondrous,
seemingly improbable ideas, until one of them said something that made them all stop and think. That's when M-Theory was born.

Then it occurred to me -- that's how we make sense of this crazy experience of life. We join together and throw out all of our brilliant
, hair-brain ideas and, if we're lucky, we occasionally stumble across something that resonates with our own, personal experience. Maybe it's only one word or a single idea, but that word or idea sticks with us -- almost haunts the back of our mind. Then one day, perhaps when we're in the shower or while driving to the store, we'll be "in the moment", not thinking about anything in particular, and we will have a sudden epiphany. Then that one word or idea will make perfect sense to us and we will understand the connection it holds to even bigger and bolder ideas.

So, while I may not make sense to others all the time, it's comforting to think that even a madman eventually says something profound if you listen long enough. I hope my friends are patient. :-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thinking Makes It So

There's a little section from Hamlet that you might be familiar with:

What have you, my good friends, deserv'd at the hands of
Fortune, that she sends you to prison hither?

Prison, my lord?

Denmark's a prison.

Then is the world one.

A goodly one, in which there are many confines, wards, and
dungeons, Denmark being one o' th' worst.

We think not so, my lord.

Why then 'tis none to you; for there is nothing either good or
bad, but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison.

That one line - "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so..."

To Hamlet, Denmark is a prison, and a terrible one. However, Guildenstern and Rosencrantz do not see it as such. It appears Shakespeare knew a little bit about manifesting our reality, eh? He (or possibly she, because some believe the works of Shakespeare were actually penned by a woman) knew that prison bars and dungeons often only exist in our own minds.

By the way... I am writing this for me. I NEED to really KNOW and FEEL this in my life. I NEED this reminder because, for a while, I forgot.

I don't leave my house very often. I tell myself, "If I go out into the world, I will pick on on negative energy and it will cause ill effects." Guess what happens?

The day before my husband and I attended the wedding of a friend, I was stressed out about it. I was making up stories in my mind about all of the negative things I might experience. Then... I caught myself. Then I remembered! Then I filled my head with LOVE and positive thoughts and prepared myself for a beautiful evening.

On the way to the wedding, I centered myself. I sent out my grounding cord into the earth, cleared my chakras, and brought divine energy from Source in and let it completely fill me. I told myself, "I AM a divine being of LOVE and that LOVE pours off of me and effects everything and every one around me."

Yes, it was a wonderful evening. So wonderful, in fact, that I want to do it again! I want to start going out into the world and experiencing it from this place of LOVE. I want to get back to the ME I used to be and enjoy the beauty of life.

That is all. :-)