Search Results for tis better to give

‘Tis better to give than watch me receive

Had a gift sitting beside me at work today.  I read the card – savored it – but couldn’t bring myself to open the bag.  Didn’t feel comfortable even opening in front of the other person in the office, and it wasn’t even FROM him.

I have the hardest time opening gifts in front of someone!!  My family included.  I get all shy and slow about it, especially at Christmas.  We each get one gift at a time and everyone opens their gifts, then another is selected for each in the group, I usually end up with a few piled up while we go around the room ‘C’mon Amanda – you’re not opening yours’. 

Ug.

Don’t look at me.

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I try to time it so the focus is on someone else and hurry and open the gift while everyone is preoccupied. 

I think I’ve narrowed my issue down to a couple of possible reasons.

1) I have a very expressive face and wear my heart (and all my other organs) on  my sleeve.  What if I don’t give that first reaction that the gift giver is hoping for??  I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.  Actually, believe it or not, I don’t like the focus on me – period.  Yes, I can ham it up sometimes – but I don’t really like being looked at.  I know.  Get the straight jacket.

(ie: Someone mentioned an outfit I wore to work, which, was quite appropriate for work, but because he liked it, and obviously ‘he’ was a man – I haven’t worn that ensemble since). 

2) I really am uncomfortable receiving anything – and would much rather be the giver.  I squirm when someone wants to do something nice for me.  I’m working on this, but honestly, I can’t even let you buy me a Happy Meal at McDonalds without feeling all indebted and awkward.

I’m sure there’s some psychological reason for #2.  Probably something about feeling unworthy etc. etc. etc. 

Pfft.

A friend pointed out a while back that I’m denying others the pleasure of blessing me.  Then I just felt even worse about it.

It is not a conscious thing I do!  I truly, truly feel uncomfortable being on the receiving end of charity or gifts.

When my son had his ‘incident’ in my new-to-me car, I didn’t have the deductible required to have the repairs done.  I needed to make my only mode of transportation operational again.  I had to borrow money from my best friend.  Oh boy.  Just asking for that favor about killed me. 

I can pay her back in a couple of months, plus interest, but the whole ordeal was incredibly humiliating for me.  Of course, she responds to my long, apologetic request with a light-hearted ‘of course!’.  I make everything so much bigger than it needs to be.

I wouldn’t think twice about helping a friend.  Giving a gift to a friend.  You could have the shirt off my back and I wouldn’t be thinking about it the next day even … but somehow, the logic that others feel that way too when they give, does not sink in with me.  I know it to be true, but don’t feel it.   

Good news is – you can trust me with a can of worms, or even a can of whoop ass, because I assure you – I won’t open them.

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Defining Forgiveness

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Forgiveness.

Through processing how to authentically achieve this, I became so stuck on the definition I had in my head, I all but decided there were some people I could never forgive!

I knew I had to change my definition.

It’s easy for me to forgive someone when they’ve owned their responsibility,  changed their behavior and are not repeating the same patterns and ceased to harm.

It’s also easy for me to forgive when I can understand that something in someone is broken.

And to be honest, it’s easy for me to forgive when what they have done reflects my own past indiscretions.

If I am guilty of having once caused the same harm to another, I have empathy which goes a long way to my original definition of forgiving.

Or perhaps, if I’m really being honest – forgiving those who have perpetrated a wrong doing that I have been guilty of – affords me some measure of  absolution for my own behavior.

And that is wrong.

Not being a religious person, I can’t turn to theological definitions or procedure when it comes to forgiveness.  I can be open to their ideas of course, many truths are universal and have a common thread in a variety of cultures and religious teachings.

But here I thought I couldn’t begin the process of forgiveness until I felt completely ready to pardon the person who had harmed me – and I don’t do things in half measures.

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I love, detest, work and forgive with my whole heart, body and soul – or not at all.

This is not an easy topic – so I reached out to some friends for their thoughts and definitions, I said ‘There’s no right answers’.

I also asked, is forgiveness Selfish or Selfless?  And so the sharing began to flow.

I’ll use only their first names – but here is a sampling of responses:

 

Scot: there is nothing selfish about authentic forgiveness. It is needed for personal happiness. As long as we struggle with attachment to things, emotional responses, memories or make decisions based from an attachment based place we are not exhibiting authentic forgiveness. And that is selfish. Because of the attachment to self or ego if you prefer.

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Selina: I’ve stopped forgiving , it is like giving that person an extra bullet and say here its ok try again :)) in my mind I eliminate them from my thoughts other words their are deceased, now it takes the most dirtiest despicable low life conniving ugly person to make me cut them out of my life but I have run across a couple of them but I now feel relieved I cut ties and saved me the stress:)))

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Haley: You find compassion for others for being human and flawed, and you forgive them. In return, you can more easily and often do the same for yourself….and in doing so- let go of all those nasty “shoulds”, both for yourself and for others, that drive us all insane.

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Ann: Forgiveness is a gift. Given for the satisfaction of giving, inspiring, sharing. It is not selfish however it is given in most part for self fulfillment. One cannot be fully sure of how the gift will be received and or appreciated…..that falls to the recipient. If I apologize to you for whatever reason and you spit back at me I still, if genuinely given, have the pleasure of doing what was right for me. If you embrace my apology well then even better. Forgiveness is a gift…..intended for the pleasure of both giver and receiver. If it does not work out it is still a gift. Kinda like the Christmas gift from great Aunt Edna of a box of jello. She knows you love jello and it makes her happy to think of you enjoying that fun delicious treat.

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Jennifer: God forgives us, so we should forgive others.

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Alyce: My take on forgiveness, you can be hurt really badly by someone- but a time comes when we no longer wish them ill or mentally wish for retaliation etc. We don’t need to go out of our way to befriend them or spend time with them, but we are free from wishing harm to come to them, we wish them well in their world.

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I love that everyone spoke from their heart.

I cherish diversity – and while I agreed with parts of all of their opinions,  I still wasn’t finding that one thing that clicked in my heart and summed things up for me until I read this:

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That I can do!

The fact is, that when we are harmed, damage occurs.

That saying: ‘You don’t drink poison and expect your enemy to die’ rings true, we do have to let go and move beyond our pain – we are only hurting ourselves further and stunting our growth if we sit in our pain.

It’s certainly not exacting revenge on the perpetrator, in fact, it maintains their power.

I then thought of the saying and took it to another level –  most people don’t purposely drink the poison.

Those with scars stemming from suffering forced upon them are in fact victims – having had something toxic poured into them without consent.

What happens after it’s inside you?

That is entirely up to you.

You can remain a victim, or you can begin to heal.

You may not have a way to heal the physical damage or erase the memories of the taste of the posion in your mouth.

It may take time until the sensation of the hand that wielded the metaphorical or literal weapon or the smells/sounds/sense memories burned into your subconscious during the offense begin to fade.

But out it must come if there is to be any chance!

There are labels on poisonous household liquids – ‘if swallowed, do not induce vomiting’.  The reason for that is that it can do more harm to come into contact with your fragile insides once more.

Debilitating pain from injury and abuse are just as toxic, but MUST be purged.

Coming back up is bound to be painful – but necessary.

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I had the great honor of speaking to someone yesterday who is, for me, the epitome of forgiveness.  Mrs. Eva Mozes Kor.

I reached out to her for wisdom – this is a woman who is strong, independent, funny, kind and oh so wise.

She is a twin survivor of Dr. Mengele’s experiments at Auschwitz.

Even at such a tender age, she was determined to live through her ordeal.  She was orphaned, suffered unimaginably at the hands of Mengele and teetered between life and death – determined to survive to save herself and her sister.

Then years later … she forgave the Nazis.

Where does that strength come from???

I needed to know.

I wanted to speak with this amazing woman for any advice she might have about life in general.

I was to call her at 1:00 O’Clock – all day I glanced at the clock and when it was time, all I could do was stare at the phone.

The moment I heard her voice say my name, all nerves washed away.

Her first question to me: “Do you want to be free?”

Yes.  Yes I wanted to be free.

I had no intention of interviewing her – of mentioning our chat here.  I only wanted, as a woman, and student of life,  to soak up lessons she could pass on to me.

But after our long conversation, I was fixated on ‘forgiveness’, knew I must write about the topic and sent her a message asking if I could include some of her words in this piece.

Her response was an enthusiastic yes.

“My Dear Amanda,

Forgiveness is my mission, my passion and my salvation from a life of victim hood.  Once I discovered this simple idea, which is free and everybody can afford it.  I am willing to climb to a mountain top and yell at the top of my voice; Forgive your worst enemy, and forgive everybody who has hurt you, it will heal your soul and set you free.  Forgiveness is an act of self liberation, self-healing and self empowerment.  Anger is a seed for war, forgiveness is a seed for peace.  So, Amanda, by all means help me sow those seeds for peace into this troubled world.”

And so I shall.

I share with you what her answer was to my question: So then what is the difference between acceptance and forgiveness?

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She went on to say that the perpetrators need not even know they have been forgiven.  You are taking your power back in the simple act of forgiving.

She gave me an assignment, which I will be doing.  And now that I have a better understanding, and new definition of forgiveness, I feel I will get it all out and succeed.

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The last thoughts I have on this topic are these.

If you cannot find it in your heart to authentically forgive another – forgive yourself.

Forgive yourself for being in fear, for not feeling strong enough to release the pain.

We are only human after all.

When the time is right – it will happen.

This is another thing Eva shared with me – it does take time!

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I laughed, as I did a lot during our conversation and  said: “Will I really have to twirl on a hill?  It’s really hot outside.”

And to laugh – and to seek answers and to want to learn and grow is a great way to begin to process forgiveness.

 

 

Musings from the Laundromat – Giving and Receiving

First I’d like to thank Butters for only waking me up 4 times in the night.

Then, I would like to thank my weekend alarm (set when Nic was still a young school boy, you know … a few weeks ago) that went off at 2:16 am.

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It had been set for something he was going to that I had to wake him up for. What was it?? … I can’t think of it.

Anyway, in trying to turn off said alarm, I:

1) woke the rare sleeping dog

2) knocked my phone off of the nightstand, and

3) sent my glass of kiwi-watermelon drink flying – only to land in between the bed and the wall.  A nice tight space for cleaning up.

I don’t know if that is the actual flavor by the way … I’m guessing based on the portion of my carpet that is now a lovely kiwi-watermelon color.

Heard my son up several times in the night too – and when I left the house this morning, he was rocking moves like Jagger.

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A sleeping Jagger, but moving like him none the less.

Speaking of moves, yesterday I modeled a dress for a good cause.  CASA is a program that benefits abused and neglected children in the area.

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It was a lot of fun to meet the other models and attendees.  

It was also a little hilarious to be half-naked getting ready in a room closed off from the event, whilst facing a huge, wall sized window facing the river.

I don’t think any of us really cared.  The people going by on their jet skis probably were going by too fast to notice.  (Not sure about the people on the beach.)

I noticed some things though.  

I noticed that I didn’t have the fears I had in my 20’s or 30’s to stand in a slip and a bra in public view.  

And I noticed that I thought the other ladies,  in all shapes and sizes were beautiful.  Just as they were.

They were even more beautiful to me because of why they were there.  Women giving their time, wanting to do what they could to help such an amazing non-profit organization.

I refer to my growth again as a lot of things are changing.  44 has been pretty amazing so far. 

It’s so wonderful to be comfortable in my skin, comfortable in my head and full of hope and joy and promise. 

Life is amazing.  And if you’re patient enough, and do the next right thing, it turns out life has gifts you didn’t even know were coming.

I’m still processing  this.

But, as someone very special to me said recently, it is nice to sometimes  receive after all the time we gave. 

Yet, I can never forget that there is nothing worth receiving unless I keep giving.

Trekking Poles and Guilt – also, ‘leg day’

To say our hike Saturday had its ups and downs would be a pretty fair assessment of the adventure.

I was excited about where we were going for a few reasons, one of them being it was the place I saw my first tarantulas over 15 years ago.  (Still very hard to believe this fair English native, then Central Coast California transplant has been in the desert that long!)

And if I’m being truly honest, I’ve only just started to appreciate it since I’ve begun hiking.

We’ll touch back on that in a while.

Anyway,  I’ve been chomping at the bit to capture wildlife on my camera.  So far, lizards, butterflies, burros, cattle and long-horned sheep – but my secret deep down wish was to snap a close up of a scorpion or an arachnid and yes, even a snake.  Oh, trust me, the zoom lens would be the key there!  I’m wishful but would also not like to trust my snake guards that we wear to such an extent.

We arrived at Grapevine Canyon and my first mistake?  I wore a cotton t-shirt.  (Why oh why do they give those away at 5K events?  Cotton is not conducive to a comfy hike or run.)  I am usually sporting wicking wear, and I’ll have you know that I’ve successfully completed all previous hikes sans sweat.  So, that either means that I didn’t push myself hard enough or … seriously, cotton is not the ideal choice.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m the Queen of Tangents, you’ll have to bear with me.

We arrive.

I don my pack and my snake guards and … my gift from my guy, trekking poles.

Another tangent.  When we return from hiking, he’s sore. He, with the Popeye calves.  He who can not only put his hands on the ground in a straight legged position, but also touch his forehead to his legs.  I, on the other hand, feel no pain upon return – nor the following day.  (Also can’t do any of those things.)

This weekend?  It hurt to squat to reach the toilet seat lol!  ‘Leg day’ happened.

We started out past the tourists who were there for the petroglyphs and the waterfall.

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Surpassed them and began our trek.

Me, clumsy  and awkward with my poles.  My honey a little frustrated because he’d put so much thought into buying them for me.  And, no, it does not escape me that he bought them for me because he wants to spend time with me.  It also doesn’t escape me that he bought them because he loves them and wants me to have the same experience.  So, I felt like an asshole and here’s why.

The terrain he fell in love with them for was the Pacific Crest Trail, so not only was that ideal for that, but he had MILES to become acquainted until they were like additional limbs.  Me?  I’m trying to snap pictures, which meant holding them in one hand or putting them down, and it seemed every time I did that, he happened to turn around.  I felt awful.  A gift not being utilized as intended.

We carried on.

Now might be a great time to mention that my guy also has experience rock climbing.  Serious rock climbing.  And, after the birth of my son I was suddenly scared of heights.  And we were high.

I say this because he was like a freaking mountain goat and I kept being told, “Stay perpendicular!” This, after a particular steep rock with nothing to cling to.  Thing is about such a rock, once you’re half way up, you’re kinda screwed.

It’s either, A) Have faith in  the experts and just keep scaling without looking down and pray you don’t fall to your death or B) Get chastised for wanted to be on all fours.  OR C) F#@* this, I know my limits and THIS isn’t happening today.

Well, it happened.

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I am not going to lie (again) I was terrified.  Literally.  What I wanted to do was that dramatic, “Go on without me … save yourself with this hike and I’ll wait.”  What I did?  I kept going.

And the psychosomatic part of it is that if a hand is held out, you tend to suddenly become invincible without putting too much weight on said hand.  It’s just the knowledge that someone has your back and is there to assist that tends to erase a majority of the worry.

Okay, so now I’m up.  And ‘height’ phobia cracks in.  I swear, I couldn’t even count how many times I heard, “This part is steep, but after this!  It evens out.”

I always want to impress my guy, I also always want to live.

We kept going.

And, OH. MY. GAWD.

The day was perfect.  The juxtaposition of desert meets … rustling trees … meets water?  lol, was awesome!

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An egg … I didn’t touch.

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Crunching on leaves was bizarre!

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Look easier than they were to navigate – but I nailed it.  Thought of the Olympics and wanted to do a back flip and land it – then remembered I couldn’t even touch my hands to the floor straight legged lol.

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The rustling tree.  Was breezy for a bit. (Thank goodness for my pits lol!  Remember, cotton … not conducive.)

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Just … beauty in everything.

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Zoomed in – this was my elephant rock.

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This was my heavy-headed person resting their forehead on the peak.

 

This was freaking AWESOME!  The curves get slimmer and slimmer to the point that yes, (OH, Yay!) You have to climb out of it.  I think this, and the slides back down due to complete water smoothing (imagine a rock slide!) were my favorite parts.

We ended our hike on a flat rock and chatted.

Here’s where I touch on the beginning.

“And if I’m being truly honest, I’ve only just started to appreciate it since I’ve begun hiking.”

Begun.

I said to my honey at one point, “You’re really good at a lot of things, but I’m just a beginner.”

And as we sat on that rock, he apologized for any impatience.   But, the truth of it was that he was NOT impatient.  Or, I didn’t read it that way.

He pushed me for sure – seeing things in me I didn’t.  Seeing me capable and cheering me on the whole time.  Mostly during our exit when I took a total (on purpose) slide down a steep rock – and it was fun!!!!!

He doesn’t coddle me.  But, he does pay attention, even with his back to me.  (Dad eyes in the back of his head lol!)  And always has just the RIGHT way to encourage me to be a better version of myself.

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Extras!  Me the next day with my burros!  (With the right gear on, but we ended up napping at his home. lol!)

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This was Sunday, and we violated a mine – NOT ON PURPOSE!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s for sale!  And, um, saw this a little too late.

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Lastly, some fun pics.

Wait!! Wouldn’t be complete without those trekking poles. xxxx

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Thanks Soupers for continuing to read my journey through life!  I love each and every subscriber and reader!

Let me know what you want to see more of!

 

 

 

 

 

Musings from the Laundromat: Tracks and Crumples and Butters edition.

Tracks!  Tracks in my yard.  The two doves that spend a lot of time in my neck of the desert seem to have nested nearby because I see them daily now.

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Here’s one to refresh your memory:

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There’s a few other creatures sticking close to my home – one of which I have lovingly named ‘Crumple Bunny’ which has morphed to ‘Crumples’ already.

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It’s little left ear is in constant flop – or – crumpled mode.  I’m not sure if it was born this way, or has been injured.  I’ve started leaving baby carrots around the area for Crumples and his able eared friend.

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A closer shot.  It isn’t caged by the way – I took this from my porch, the rabbit was in my neighbor’s yard behind the fence.

Or – my EX neighbor’s I should say!

YES! They finally left!!!!

They also left, 3 tires, an old car, a broken shed full of gawd only knows what – a mattress, toys – and various other items. *sigh*

I didn’t expect less of them.

Back to animals – and speaking of little left things …

Butters has been stepping gingerly on her left hind foot.

I investigated as much as I could considering:

A) She doesn’t like to be prodded or examined – doubly so when there’s something to actually examine.

B) I am not a vet.

I can’t find anything in her paw or pads – but she had been nibbling furiously on the foot attached to said leg for some time.  I thought she needed a bath – but that didn’t fix the problem.

Then she seemed fine.

I should also mention I switched her food to a more expensive “joint care” one after her last limpy period.

(This happened last year and the vet had suggested it could be arthritis since the anti-inflammatory’s she was prescribed with seemed to give her back her usual gait.)

I then noticed she wasn’t – um – ‘Answering natures call’ on a regular basis.  Also noticed her food bowl was left for meals at a time untouched.

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I (again, with all my veterinary training) just assumed since her foot/leg was bothering her, perhaps she just didn’t feel like eating.

Yesterday I thought I’d buy her old food and give that a shot.

I had barely put a scoop in her bowl and she dove in head first!

Kibble was flying – the bowl was clinking and … I felt like the worst dog mom on the planet.

She freaking HATED the ‘better’ food!

Poor thing has been hungry!  No wonder she hadn’t used the yard, she had nothing to give it!

I swear she gave me dirty looks all day yesterday after that.  At one point she lay on the couch opposite mine with my son – I could feel her looking at me, but when I returned eye contact, she turned her head.

She was probably thinking, “Really?  REALLY mom?  It took you a bag of food to realize I only ate it when I was flipping starving and wondered why I wasn’t going potty??!”

Sufficiently shamed.

She is now giving what little attention I deserve as she works on forgiving me.

As for her leg – I guess it’s back to the vet with us.

THAT will be an adventure.  And when I say ‘adventure’ I mean a drama packed, hyperventilation filled 5 minute drive followed by self asphyxiation by leash in a waiting room.  And that’s just me!  😉

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