Tag Archives: listen

The Test

Headphones on.

Depress the button whenever you hear this sound.

Ready?

He leaves the room.

She listens.

Buzzing.  Static.  Her beating heart.

Ping, beep, click.

And then the voices.

Breathing.  Whispering.

Moaning sighs.

She pushes the button hard and holds it down.

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Just Jazzy 152

“If you listen quietly enough, life will whisper its secrets to you”
― Rasheed Ogunlaru

jazzy 152 001
Can the secrets of the universe be revealed to us at the bottom of a bottle of wine? I don’t know, but here’s to a delightful search.

July Post For Peace

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Write a letter for peace and send it out into the Universe.

Dear Spirit Guides of the Universe,

I’ve been told I never ask for help (although heaven knows I need it and we could all use some.)  Being independent and stubborn and believing if I try hard enough I can do it on my own often leaves me feeling alone, confused, frustrated and afraid.  You know this, you’ve heard me whine and complain about it.  It’s too hard, I’m so lost, I just don’t know.  Finding this elusive thing called inner peace can be one colossal struggle.

There will always be issues, problems, and challenges;  I get that.  I know I’m just another wandering soul in this vast universe searching for enlightenment, and I know I’ve come this close.  I’d like to know why I shut my eyes tight at the last minute, sure that the light will blind me.

So I guess I could just yell “Help!” into the void and wait to see what happens, but I’m thinking you might want me to be a little more specific than that.  If I chose this lifetime, forgive me, but I can’t remember why.  Please give me some small hints and gentle reminders.

Please help me reach deep inside myself for compassion, sympathy and understanding.   Help me to be more loving, more caring, more giving.   Help me to see and appreciate the beauty and the miracles that are all around me in every smile, every laugh, every hug.

I could use a little help remembering that when I can’t figure everything out –  it’s okay.  Tell me to simply be still and listen. Stop me when I’m too hard on myself, and when I take myself way too seriously.

Make me grateful for the people who are in my life, even when they drive me crazy, because they are here to teach me something.  Could you please speed up that learning process a bit though?   Meanwhile, I will try to stop wishing I could change who they are, because we both know that is never going to happen.  They are who they are, and there is good in everyone, even if it’s hard for me to see.  I’m a little skeptical about true unconditional love for everyone, but I know it’s not impossible.

Don’t let me be tossed about and influenced and messed up by the decisions of other people.  Help me stand my ground, but don’t let limiting beliefs close my mind.  I know, that’s a tough one.  I want to take my own steps forward, without being pushed or pulled.  Help me to accept responsibility for my own happiness, to believe that every ending is simply a new beginning, taking me in a different and better direction.

I promise to joyfully accept the happy accidents, the beautiful chance encounters, the strange and mysterious coincidences that happen in my life. I will try to do everything I can do with what I’ve got, loving and appreciating myself and feeling worthy. Stamp all that on my brain somewhere, would you please?  Along with the fact that I am strong, I am safe, and I am deeply loved.  I tend to forget all these things on a regular basis.

Help me every day to fall in love all over again, with my family, my friends, and this wonderful life adventure in our magical world.   Remind me that every small act of kindness has a ripple effect which reaches out and expands, helping to heal the broken hearts of people I’ve never even met.  Being kind is not a sacrifice, it is a joy.

Most of all, don’t let my past rule my future.  Don’t let me put off celebrating today, this moment, the power and the freedom of now.  Today is the only thing that matters.  There is nothing else.

Well, there you go, I think that’s about it.  I know you can handle all this, being that you’re all-powerful and all-knowing and eternal and all that celestial stuff.  And I know you do all these things for me already even when I don’t ask and for this I am truly grateful.  Inner peace is not an illusion and I know I will find it.

Thanks for rooting for me.

Lots of Love, Grandmalin

bloggers for peace

June Post For Peace

inspiredbythis.com
inspiredbythis.com

Monthly Peace Challenge from Kozo at everyday gurus –  “This month I challenge you to explore how to have peace in relationships or how to have peace at home.”

After 41 years of being married to W (42 in November if we both live that long) I totally understand how you might think of me as a relationship guru with all the answers when it comes to making commitments that last.  I often think of myself that way.  And then I give myself a good smack on the forehead and come back to earth for a while.  Because really, who knows why some relationships last a lifetime and others are just practice runs for something better?  We’re all different, and we all relate to each other in different ways.

bloggers for peaceThis is an excellent challenge for all the Bloggers for Peace, and for anyone who is now or has ever been in any kind of relationship, wants to end an old or start a new relationship, or wonders if relationships are all they’re cracked up to be or worth the effort it takes to maintain them.  So that covers pretty much every human being on earth.

Every one of us has our own individual recipe for a peaceful home with a list of ingredients that makes relationships with others work for us.  It should never be carved in stone.  We grow, we change, we evolve.  My personal formula for happiness is in constant revision.  At this particular moment in time, these are some of the things that work for me.  If I come back and read this post in five years time and wonder how I could have been such an idiot, that’s probably a good thing.  It means I’ve learned something new and changed, hopefully for the better.

Okay!  Here we go.  Grandmalin’s Relationship Advice Column.  What makes a peaceful relationship and what you can do to become a better partner.  Because there is nothing else in life I enjoy more than telling people what to do.

1.  Make peace with yourself first.  You have to create your own happiness first before you can share it with someone else.  There is no one out there who can make you happy.  That’s your job.  Another person can help bring out the best in you, but the best has to be there in the first place.  There are also no positive relationships with emotionally unavailable people. If the people you’re currently hanging around with are not happy, IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.  If you and your significant other have grown in different directions and can no longer connect or appreciate each other, by all means consider that it may be the right time for both of you to move on.

This is number one on my list because it cannot be stressed enough.  When you love yourself and are at peace with who you are, that love will spill over into all your relationships with your family and your friends and with every one you meet.  And it will open your heart to receive the peace and the love that comes back to you.

2.  Don’t try to change each other.  Go bang your head against a brick wall instead.  It will get the same results.  Accept, adapt, acknowledge.  Change and growth cannot be forced.  Overlook the little things that bug you, because they really don’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of things, and work on your own reactions to them instead.  Don’t nag, don’t harass.  You could maybe try crying and pleading, and see if that works.  But don’t get your hopes up.  Sometimes you just have to readjust your expectations and carry on.

3.  Speak up/Communicate.  Unless you are both mind readers, you will have to talk to each other.  Express your own feelings instead of trying to make the other person feel something. Saying “I care deeply about what is happening” means “I care deeply about you.”

4.  Shut up/Listen.  Unless you are both mind readers, you will have to really hear what is being said to you.  Don’t blame, don’t judge until you’ve truly listened with empathy and compassion.  Everyone wants and deserves to be heard.

5.  Admit that you don’t know everything.  Because, hey – you don’t know everything.  Confess when you mess up.  Step back when you are angry.  One person should not get to be the boss all the time.  Not even you.  Apologize when you need to and don’t stay mad.

6.  Slow down. Life is short and should be savoured at a leisurely pace.  What’s your hurry, anyway?  You’ll get to the end of it soon enough.  Be patient with each other.  Enjoy the learning process together.  Shoot for less drama and more calm.  Work through the issues.  Be strong enough as a team to weather every storm.

7.  Be kind.  Keep your promises.  Each of you deserves to be seen and heard, loved and appreciated.  Be grateful for the time and energy and tolerance it takes to support a loving relationship.  Be supportive and helpful and happy for each other’s successes.   When you fall flat on your face it’s nice to have someone around to help you pick yourself up.  Be that someone for the people you love.

8.   Give each other lots of space.  Respect the other persons right to do things on their own, to make their own decisions and their own mistakes.  You may be a couple, but you are still both individuals working hard on whatever it takes for you to be the best you can be, investing time and energy in your own personal growth.  Sometimes we simply need someone to be there, not to fix anything or even to do anything in particular, but just to stand beside us so that we know we are cared for and loved.

9.  Play.  Have fun.  Laugh.  Be silly.  Life does not have to be so serious.  Spend part of every day being a bit wild and crazy. See how that feels.  Pretty good, hey?  Do it again tomorrow.

10.  Never forget why you fell in love in the first place.  The older you get, the harder it may be for you to recall what the hell you were thinking.  Just remember, your relationship does not define you and it does not own you.  You are now, and forever will be, yourself, living your own life.  But since you’ve decided for now that you’re in this together, don’t stop working on your relationship and everything that makes it sweet.

Love yourself, give love, receive love, be in love. Practice, practice, practice.  That’s how peace happens.

peace at home

The Luxury of Choice

“Everyone has choices to make; no one has the right to take those choices away from us. Not even out of love..”  Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes

Vanilla, chocolate, or something else entirely? (Daily Prompt: 32 Flavors)  Yay, an ice cream question!  But it could just as easily be saying – Black or White, Right or Wrong, or a million shades of grey?

I am thirty-two flavors and then some
I am thirty-two flavors and then some (Photo credit: harry harris)

The minute we open our eyes in the morning we’re faced with choices – simple, complicated, life defining, meaningless.  Sometimes we think we don’t have a choice, but that just means we’ve already made up our mind about whatever it is.  And that’s our choice.  Other times the shere number of choices available is overwhelming and paralysing, so we cross our fingers, close our eyes and point, hoping for the best.

On the grand decision-making scale, which starts at wishy-washy and goes all the way to carved in stone, I like to think of myself as being somewhere in the middle with a fair and open mind.  (Hey, it’s my choice to believe whatever I want about myself, even if I’m wrong,  right?)  But I do think it’s important to listen to more than one side of a story, to consider sources, and to respect the choices that other people make.  None of us that I know of has reached the point in life where there is nothing left for us to learn.

I once read off all the flavours listed on the board at a Baskin-Robbins store at the request of my then five year old daughter so that she could decide what kind she wanted.    I thought she might choose oreo cookies and cream, pink bubblegum, rainbow, strawberry shortcake or cotton candy.  She was a little girl in love with hot pink, lime green, every shade of purple, and eating drink crystals directly from the package.  But what do mothers really know?  Not everything, that’s for sure.  Except it’s a given that their kids will constantly surprise them.  When I finished reading the long list I was prepared to make a shorter one to help her decide, but she only needed to hear it once.  I’ll just have vanilla, she told me.  (Really?  That’s the perfectly white ice cream with nothing in it, you know.)  I know, that’s the one I want.  And so that’s the one she got.

Baskin-Robbins Baseball Nut Ice Cream
Baskin-Robbins Baseball Nut Ice Cream

I suspect it was the one she knew she would be getting in the first place, and the recital of the ice cream flavour list was merely to satisfy her curiosity as to what else was out there.   Or purely to make her mother do something time-consuming and ultimately useless in the name of love.  Now she’s much more an adult of the “something else entirely” genre.  But still making her own informed choices and living with them.  It’s all any of us really want for ourselves.  My own ice cream choice has always been boringly predictable – chocolate in some form or other;  fudge brownie, jamoca almond fudge, tin roof, rocky road.   It’s lovely to have some chocolate choices, but it’s all still chocolate at the end of the day.

What a luxury it is for us, to live in a world where there are so many choices and where we are free to do what we want to do, and be who we want to be.  Even when there are limits imposed, no one can tell us how we must react, or make us feel any way other than how we ultimately choose to feel.  Maybe one of these days I’ll go way out on a limb and try baseball nut. or lemon custard.  Or maybe  I won’t.  It’s my choice.  And how wonderful it is to be able to make it.

Listen to Your Mother

If you had the attention of the entire world for two minutes, what would you say?

The whole world, hey? That’s a pretty big audience. And for two whole minutes? That’s a long time to get people to listen, considering that most tv commercials are about 30 seconds long and there’s a lot of people out there with the attention span of gnats. Never mind all the deaf and the blind and the myriad of different languages and dialects and cultures. And the time zones! Half of my target group will be sound asleep!

Whatever, here’s my best shot. For two minutes, I AM YOUR MOTHER. And lots of moms have their most inspirational moments while gazing at the peaceful innocent face of a sleeping child. I don’t care if your mother never did that, or you never knew her, or she’s long gone. Visualize and play along. It won’t kill you.

I want you to be happy. But I cannot make that happen. The happiness you seek is already inside of you and YOU are the only person who can find it and nurture it and make it grow.

Take good care of yourself and the things around you. Eat your vegetables. Clean up your mess.

Be grateful for what you have, and content with who you are.

There is beauty everywhere. If you can’t see it, you aren’t looking hard enough. Close your eyes. Reach out and touch it. Breathe it in. Feel it in your heart.

If you want something, work for it. Offer your help and you’ll get help in return, sometimes without even having to ask.

Be kind to your brothers and sisters and respectful of your differences. Stop arguing. Stop fighting. Stop making so damned much noise.

You may make your own choices and do your own thing, as long as you don’t hurt or harm anyone else. Remember that words can be just as hurtful as physical blows. Choose carefully what you say.

Love each other. The more love you give, the more love you get.

Live in peace and live in this moment. “Right Now” is all there is, so make it the best it can be.

If you do all these things, you will experience joy. The world needs a lot more joy.

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When in Doubt, Act Stupid

  • The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.  (Bertrand Russell)

    When in doubt, the person whose advice I seek first of course depends entirely on what I’m in doubt about.  Best to talk to an expert, somebody who knows.  Although great advice can also come from the most unexpected sources.  You only have to listen.

    When I’m uncertain and apprehensive, undecided, all at sea – the people who know me best and care enough to help me muddle through my current dilemma are my family.  Near or far, doesn’t matter.  I trust what they have to say, knowing it comes from the heart.

    Then I have to deal with my cold feet, qualms, second thoughts and skepticism and make the final decision that’s right for me.  All suggestions duly noted and considered, in the end I’m on my own.

    If I’m puzzled and confused about the facts, I google.

    A lot of the time I think we already know the answers, but simply need someone else to validate the way we feel and approve of the action we’ve already decided to take.

    If someone asks me for advice I tell them what I’d do if it were me.  I tell them what I think, and offer some solutions.  Or only one, if I think there’s only one that has a hope in hell of working.

    Nothing irks me more than being told that my advice is faulty, that it will never work, or that some other way is definitely better.  If you’ve asked for my advice and I’ve given it and you don’t like it, I think this conversation is done. Go ask somebody else for the answer you want.  And the next time you want my opinion, I’ll act completely stupid about it and just say I don’t know and save us both the aggravation.

First Impressions

There are so many things we are cognizant of in other people without being conscious of it, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what comes first.

I meet new people every day at work.  Whether they are male or female is a good place to start I suppose.  Sometimes it’s surprisingly hard to tell, especially with little kids from other cultures. I tried to sell a small boy pink glasses once.  He looked quite pretty in them but it wasn’t the look he was going for I guess.  The male/female thing is important to sort out when directing a customer to the right section of the store, but when in doubt I just advise them to look wherever they want.

Then there’s the people who give you little choice in what you notice first.  Why else would someone do something weird and extreme to his hair if that’s not something he wants everyone who’s not legally blind to pick up on.  It’s the unremarkable ones that are harder to read or easier to ignore, and I assume that whichever it is, they’ve chosen to be that way and I respect them for that.

We look at people’s faces and we look into their eyes, listen to what they say and how they say it.  And then we kind of mirror each other back and forth.  Smile for smile, frown for frown.  I don’t really care about what you’re wearing or the length of your hair or the fact that you may have sixteen rings in your left eyebrow.

But I do care very deeply about how we choose to make each other feel.  And if you think that isn’t something that happens immediately upon meeting, you are deluding yourself.

Romantic Things

Ronny Cammareri: I love you.

Loretta Castorini: [slaps him twice] Snap out of it!

(Moonstruck)

I dated some romantic men, guys who put a lot of thought and effort into sweeping me off my feet, but I sure as hell didn’t marry one of them.

The flowers and gifts, soppy poetry and grand gestures were lost on me. I always thought there must be some ulterior motive lurking under all that fuss and bother and for the most part I didn’t really trust any of it.

That kind of attention is nice, but it also makes me nervous. What made you do this? What do you want in return? If you did something or gave me something that I don’t really like or appreciate, how hard do you want me to pretend that it’s lovely?

Give me sweet honesty instead and someone who knows how to do all the little things that add up to prove his commitment. A guy who wouldn’t recognize a romantic act if it bit him in the ass. There are thousands of ways to tell me I am captivating and that you absolutely adore me.

Take out the garbage. Cook something. Change the oil in my car. Pick up Chinese food. Say thank you. Put up the Christmas lights all by yourself. Empty the dishwasher. Work in the yard. Hand over the damn remote once in a while.

Share your day with me. And when I share mine with you, please know that I don’t expect you to solve my problems for me; all you have to do is sit there and listen. And not nod off.

Be sympathetic when I’m sad. Laugh with me when things are funny. Ask me what I think and consider my advice. Share stuff with me. Let me help.

I can’t remember the last time W. actually said the words “I love you”. But there’s another three little words he says to me all the time with a charming and amorous smile.

“Whatever you want.”

Equally beautiful, straight from the heart, and it means the exact same thing.

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