I've been listening to Michael Jackson a lot lately. I wanted to hear what he had to say in his songs. Maybe get an insight into his modus.
I was surprised to hear him tell us that he is only human, that he has problems (and is quite open about them) and he has been asking our forgiveness for at least 20 years (probably more).
His language is mostly in the name of healing the world.
I get meaning and healing from words and five of his songs have affected me more than the bible ever did.
This got me to thinking...
How many people would miss the profound effect his songs could have on them because of judgement.
How many turn from his freakness, his effeminate manor, his preference for the company of children, his distorted colour, his genius?
And how could I not forgive him for whatever he's asking it for?
I was really surprised to get a genuinely happy, interested compassionate bus driver the other day.
I sat down, having been given a THERE IS HOPE moment, and drifted into the Halfway-Here-Lahlah-World all busfolk enjoy in common.
Suddenly we all woke, sensing something happening.
An older well dressed gentleman who looked like someones favourite Grandad, got on the bus.
He was highly aggitated and said in his English voice "I'm sorry, I don't have any cash in my wallet but can I get out at the Railway Station and run back to you with it?"
The compassionate busdriver said cheerfully "Get on, don't worry about it, I'll cover it myself".
The Gentleman sat down behind the driver and although grateful, squirmed and kept wanting to make sure the driver knew he would pay him back. He asked how much it was. The busdriver said 80 cents.
At the same time that I reached for my wallet, I could hear change being rustled all the way up the bus. The woman in front of me leaned over another passenger to pass the Gentleman the money. As she was doing that, another passenger getting off put some money in the drivers change bowl. Neither parties saw each other but the rest of the bus did.
The driver was ohwowing and delighted with the passengers discrete donation.
He gleefully showed the Gentleman who became quite confused and distraught and tried to hand the other ladies money back to her. At first she just waved him away but he kept persisting. She got annoyed with him in the end and said "Look-there's no point! It's only 80c!".
I quietly slipped my dollar back in my wallet and was relieved to get off at the next stop.
I managed to donate my dollar to someone else needing it during the day - I needed to - I somehow felt unsatisfied...
The exchange made me realise how grateful I am of those in need - the pleasure that comes from spontaneously giving to someone in need is hard to express. Even if they find it difficult to accept sometimes.
I remember when I was the one in need and being surprised and moved by peoples generosity yet somehow knowing that it was a pleasure for them also.
Thank God for those in need - I don't know if I could function if I was stopped from giving...
Here are some things I had to learn (sometimes the hard way) about giving and receiving...
And never mention the gift again
My current assignment is learning to be emotionally honest.
As with any assignment it requires research, elimination, testing of theories and objective experimentation.
It seems my assignments always end up being about overcoming addiction.
I'm addicted to so many of my ideas about myself (that are created by how I think others see me) that I find it physically painful to challenge them.
Michael J has helped me with his advice in The Man in The Mirror.
And Six Feet Under showed me how to accept that conflict is an everyday natural occurrence that I don’t need to fear and remove myself from.
Our current obsession is with conflict – the wars, politics, greed, the lack of support for suffering. But these things have been going on for so long that, like antibiotics, people are becoming immune. They have built up a dangerously high tolerance to them.
Who, in our world today, is showing us how to deal with conflict in a healthy enriching way?
All we see are the old ways that don’t work anymore.
One of my colleagues is an inspiration to me.
He deals with conflict head on. Without anger or an agenda, he is literally saying, “Alrighty, lets put all the cards on the table and see if we can make a good hand.” I see him objectively sorting chaff from hay. It’s never about him – it’s about the conflict. And to him, every conflict is manageable - it is merely another box to tick off for the day...
Oh for such objectivity...
The following are the opening lyrics from a beautiful gentle soulful song called 'Mother' by a Hamilton band called Black Jack, off their album Deal.
It was written by the lead singer, Gavin Dempsey, for his Mother...
M's for the Memories in a life full of love
Over and over she's there
T is for her Tears, and there were many
H is for the Home we all shared
E is for Every time she catched me from falling and
R is for the Reasons when I asked her why
Mother knows me
Mother showed me
Mmmm - Mother of mine
When I left my children and they got a wonderful, kind new Mother, I had to work out where I fit in.
The last line of the last verse says
"Lost and lonely, she takes my hand..."
It was me who was lost and lonely and taking either of my children's hands kept me going until I was able to work it out...
"Tell me the weight of a snowflake," a coal-mouse asked a wild dove.
"Nothing more than nothing," was the answer.
"In that case, I must tell you a marvelous story," the coal-mouse said...
"I sat on the branch of a fir, close to its trunk, when began to snow – not heavily, not in a raging blizzard – no, just like in a dream, without a wound, and without any violence. Since I did not have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles on my branch. Their number was exactly 3,741,952. When the 3,741,953rd dropped on to the branch, nothing more than nothing, as you say, the branch broke off."
Having said that, the coal-mouse flew away.
The dove, an authority on the matter since Noah's time, thought about the story for a while and finally said to herself, "Perhaps there is only one person’s voice lacking for peace to come to the world."
Clair Nuers video about Auschwitz as relayed in the book Syncronicity – The Inner Path of Leadership by Joe Jaworski Page 197
Subject: Trade Me Auction: 32420204 JANOME COMBI DX Overlocker
Date: Sat, 6 Aug 2005 19:03:03 +1200
I'm so glad to have won this sewing machine.
My Mother taught my brother and I to sew on a Singer Treadle when I was 7and I've been sewing ever since.
I've had a Janome Combi for 15 years and loved every minute of it. Actually I sold my favourite saddle to buy my first one (my exhusband didn't like horses). Once I had started making all of my childrens clothes, I thought I needed a whizzy overlocker and new machine. I traded in my Combi and hated the two new machines in the first two stitches. I wanted to trade them both back in on my Combi but it had already been sold. Luckily we rang the main branch in Wellington and they found out there was only one left in the country - and we drove to Wellington to get it.
That's the one I still have today.
Over the years, my mother has learnt to love it too. When she left her second husband and came to live with me, she did a lot of sewing and seemed so much happier. She got into another relationship, then I moved away so she doesn't have access to it anymore - or me.
My mother has been losing interest in life lately and I know that her own Combi would spark something in her.
Of course I can't help but fantasise that I could take Mum on a surprise adventure to pick it up.
Her favourite sister, who she hasn't been able to visit for many years (and who isn't too well) is also in Hamilton and the surprise to both of them would be moving.
But I walk and bus everywhere, and live in Wellington so could you please tell me how much it will cost to get it sent to my Mum's in New Plymouth - a surprise on the doorstep will be just as meaningful to her.
I look forward to hearing from you.
and thanks again
"As long as you derive inner help from anything, you should keep it. If you were to give it up in a mood of self-sacrifice, or out of a stern sense of duty, you would continue to want it back and that unsatisfied want would make trouble for you. Only give up a thing when you want some other condition so much that the thing no longer has any attraction for you, or when it seems to interfere with that which is more greatly desired."
Vishva (Vishna?)-Bahrati Quarterly. New Series 2. Part 2.
I had been learning the talk, then talking it, then, as I was transitioning into my next phase, I realised that I was now going to be required to walk it.
What I felt sure about was that the next level of people I was moving toward would be much more astute and able to see the gaping holes in my energy field that were my addictions that were continuously needing to be filled. I knew it was time to let those holes close over.
My integrity meant so much to me that I found it easy to let go of the remaining addictions in order to have the thing I wanted the most. The respect of the people that I longed to be.
I found something I wanted more and knowing that the withdrawals I was feeling were in fact the holes closing, made it so much easier.
It took my body around six months to realise the drugs weren't there to provide meaning, the depression wasn't around for internalised passion and the alcohol wasn't available to give me courage any more. It took a while but my body realised it was back to being the provider of these things again.
And I believe in it. Fuelled by the addictions, my realisations and breakthroughs felt beige the next day and I would scoff at the ludicrousness of them.
The meaning, passion and courage my body now provides me with know no limits but I have had to get accustomed to muting them - they make people uncomfortable.
But I feel sure one day soon that a few of those who are also ready to elope with their meaning, passion and courage will burst through my door, insisting I join them...
A little boy was walking through a field one day. He saw the sun reflect off something that was white, lying in the tall grass. Pushing the grass aside, he discovered it was an egg. Since it was larger than the chicken eggs back in the barn, he assumed it must have come from a very large chicken. He took it back to the chicken coop, lifted the largest mother hen, and carefully placed the egg next to the others on which she was sitting.
After some time had passed, all the eggs began to crack open. Several baby chicks poked their little heads out of their eggs. Then the larger egg cracked open, but it was not a chick at all. Out popped the head of a baby eaglet!
The eaglet looked around with curiosity at the world into which he had been born. After a short time, he noticed that his stomach hurt and felt empty. He looked around and saw that the way the others around him alleviated this stomach pain was to pick around in the dirt and gravel until they found enough food to fill their stomachs. He noticed they communicated with each other by saying 'bwaaak bwak bwak bwak" and that they had wings like he did. The chicks would fly two feet off the ground and land seven feet across the chicken yard. The baby eaglet thought to himself, Well - I guess that's better than walking... But each day, as he had his face in the dirt looking for food, as he learned to talk like a chicken, and as he used his powerful wings to fly only seven feet across the yard, dropping to the ground before hitting the fence, he thought, This just doesn't feel right. Something inside of him was telling him there must be more to life than this. But every time he would get frustrated and begin to dream about something greater, he would look around at the chickens and think, No, this is reality. I had better settle down and accept life for what it is and forget about these crazy dreams.
In the meantime, the baby eaglet's mother had been searching the countryside looking for her missing baby. One day she flew over the chickenyard and spotted the baby eaglet. She let out a sharp yell. As the powerful screech hit the chickenyard, all of the chickens looked up and saw the eagle and scoffing, made comments that if they tried to fly that high, they would fall and break their necks.
The baby eaglet, however, looked up at its beautiful mother and thought Yes! I knew I wasn't born to bury my face in the dirt in search of food, or to talk this strange talk, or use these powerful wings in a way that feels so limited - I was born to soar!
And with a few flaps of his wings, he was up in the sky soaring with his own kind...
This story is only slightly altered by me, and is at the very end of a short but powerful book by Larry DiAngi called The Resilient Power of Purpose.
I was already moved by the book but after I read this story, I sobbed
"Please help me find my people. Please let me speak my language".
Pimp My Attitude
This is where I think out loud as I transform my appearance, thought processes and most of all, attitude - no matter how unpretty.