Temporary Feelings

Joy, fear, bliss, sadness.  All of these feelings come and go in our lives at one point or another.  The key, is how does one react to the temporary feelings? We can feed into them, or we can react differently.  But, being the flawed humans we are, it is not an easy task.  What I have found, however, has brought me some type of peace in all situations.

Image result for e buddhism quotesLife is filled with uncertainty.  This is something I am sure of.  Everything is impermanent.  It is in motion, constantly changing.  Our cells regenerate, thus, we are literally NOT the same person we were five minutes ago.

Being that life is temporary, how do the reactions of ourselves to emotions affect us? We can be like the ocean, ebb and flow with the waves of life.  As I have stated in a previous post, who knows what is good and what is bad? The feelings of life that can consume us in the moment, it is best t remember that it is temporary.  The feelings of sadness, grief, and pain will always pass.  The feelings of joy, bliss, happiness, and love will also pass.  But what we decide to do with them is up to us.  We can cling to the memories and moments that brought us joy.  Even though we try to forget the feelings and moments of pain, we also should hold onto them.  The moments that have tested our very being are what help to grow us.  Yet, it is also temporary!

What about you? Do you believe that the feelings of life are temporary? Certain feelings and moments stay with us.  Our choice to hold on to the anger or sadness  is what we can make.  Do you hold onto moments, or have you accepted them and moved on? Life is a journey and each walk our own path. But, we do not ever walk alone, because of friends.

~J.J.~

 

Pursue Your Destiny

Walt Disney made many of my all-time favorite movies. He is quoted as saying

All of our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.

If life, this is the especially true, within reason.  For example,  my dream job would be to work at Crayola as a color “namer”.  Yes, it is a legitimate job.  The problem: I am horrible at art. So bad that my art teacher gave me a D- so I would not have to repeat the course.  You need an art degree to perform job.  I can dream, but I know that in reality it will never come true.  That is the beauty of what makes a dream a dream.  We are free to be who we want to be, without having to worry about the affects.  You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.-Les Brown.png

I would rather pursue my passions in life, then be left to live in my dreams.  When I was able to help take care of my father, I found that my passion was in helping people who needed it the most.  It is not that they were not able to, but at that moment in their life, they needed additional help.  For many years, too many to count, I have worked in a Corporate type setting.  The highlight of my job was being able to tell a supervisor that they could go ahead and deliver a correction action.  It was not helping anyone, rather, people were ending up crushed and hurt.

Losing my job has been difficult, but it is allowing me to be able to pursue my first of many steps towards a dream that will allow me to do both. I can pursue a passion and a dream of helping people.

I will still hold on to the dream of being a color namer, but it will always be the dream job that captivates my attention. What about you? Do you still dream about something out of reach? Have you been able to pursue a passion or dream that holds your heart?

~J.J.~

Curve Balls and Vodka

The traditional dream follows this pattern:

  1. Go to college
  2. Find the love of your life
  3. Plan the perfect princess fairy-tale wedding
  4. Go on a Honeymoon to some exotic location
  5. Start your life together in a gorgeous house with a white picket fence
  6. Have a job that you love more than you thought and the pay is out of this world
  7. Have children who never fight
  8. Get a dog (or a cat)
  9. Repeat

Sure, that is perfect! Except that I do live in a reality of the curve balls. It is the bottom of the ninth and the bases are loaded. The game is so close, only separated by one point. I’m the pitcher and it is up to me to strike the batter out. First pitch and it’s a home run.  We lose. Now apply it to life and you seem to have mine 🙂

I am not complaining though! If life was perfect, there would be no chance to grow and improve. To discover you are stronger than you thought.  However, sometimes the curve balls come at the most inopportune time.  Say, you have just purchased a vehicle and find out your job is no longer needed. Panic right?

For some, and myself, yes! The first few days after letting the news sink in that I did not have a job to return to after almost five years were difficult.  There were tears, lots of tears! I was able to take some time to really think about things and approach the curve ball with a new perspective.  I was calmer.  Sleep was a something I enjoyed.  I did NOT need to set an alarm clock.  Well, I should say physically set one.  I do have three dogs who make up the puppy brigade. They are very persistent that 5:00AM is the ONLY time that they can go to the bathroom.  After that many years, old habits die-hard 🙂 But that is not the point.

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Verbal Confirmation: You are Enough!

“You did a great job” and “Thank you for your hard work”.  These two phrases have more in common than I thought.  In general, it means that someone, other than myself, recognized the hard work that went into accomplishing something and decided to tell me.  The concept of seeking verbal confirmation is nothing new.  Seeking approval is something that is semi-engrained into our nature. Think back to being a child, whenever I was told “good job” I would continue to do the action that resulted in praise.  Much like a puppy: good boy gets a tail wag, happy eyes, and I do believe a smile.  Seeking the approval from others brings verbal confirmation and outside affirmation to a job well done.

But…

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My Hope for the Next Generation

Generation X? Generation Y? Baby boomers? Millenials? I have lost count with all the names.  In my relatively short time (compared to some) on Earth, I have seen the changes.  Sure, I could complain about everyone on their cellphones, or the joys of Facebook.  But instead, I might not follow the beaten path.

Watching Thirteen Days with my son, I feel connected to this topic.  Each generation has had an event that has changed them.  For myself: it was September 11, 2001.  My parents: the assassination of JFK.  Before them: the Attack on Pearl Harbor.  And before: World War I.  Each generation has had an event that will stick with them until they pass away.  It is something that when someone asks where you were, you know exactly what you were doing.  You remember who was with you.  You remember standing in silence watching the TV broadcast the news.  Or listening to the radio explain that the President had been shot.  Or hearing that address that December 5 is a date which will live in infamy.

My hope for the next generation is not for peace, nor health, nor wealth.  It is simple: that you will not experience an event so horrific that you remember where you were and what you were wearing.  While peace is something the world, as a whole, dreams of.  To wake up without fear of going to another World War, only this one will involve nuclear weapons.

My hope is that they will not walk into school for a routine day and then find themselves staring at a television praying for those they do not know. My hope is that the next generation realizes the sacrifices that have been made.  That good men lost their lives in a fight not of their own accord.  That the next generations does not forget Pearl Harbor.  Nor that they do not for Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  That they do not forget Auschwitz and Dachau.  That they will understand the lessons of history.  My hope is that there are more good men and women in the next generation.  That the sun will come up, simply because of the good of the world.

I know it is a lot to ask of the Next Generation.   The survivors of WWI and WWII on both sides are slowing passing away.  Their stories are ones that allow us to live through history. Survivors of September 11 are still alive, yet many cannot put into words.  When my son asked why we take a moment of silence on these days, my answer is simple: to remember those who gave all.  It Regardless of the side that one is on, many paid the ultimate sacrifice.

So, to the next generation: my hope is that you have a life without a tradgey.  One where the sun comes up each day and you do not live in fear.  It is a lot to ask, but is a hope that I cannot abandon.

~J.J.~

March 28, 2015

At what point does childhood end? Is it when we turn 16 and can have a job? Does it happen when one becomes able to vote in an election? Does it happen when one is able to have a beer? Or does childhood end when becomes a parent?

It is a difficult question to answer, without going into a debate.  My intent here is not to create a political, societal, or life heated debated.

To me, the end of childhood was on March 28, 2015.  Granted, I had already been a parent for 10 years.  I was able to vote. I could drink (but never really liked the feeling of not being in control).  I live in my own house, on my own income.  Yet, I still had the fun dreams and visions of life.  Disney movies are still up there on my Top 50 list of favorites.  I knew that there was someone I could call, regardless of time, who would help me make decisions that mattered.  I enjoyed going over to a house and asking what was for supper.

But, on March 28, 2015 the of my childhood started.  My father was a courageous man.  He was diagnosed in 2013 with an aggressive form of lung cancer that had spread to his brain, liver, and spine.  He was originally given six months.  Those six months can and went.  He was given another six months. They also came and went.  In November of 2014 DSCN0606.JPGwe took a family vacation to Disney World.  It wasn’t just myself, my husband, child and parents.  It was extended family.  In total,  the 14 people who meant the world to my father went to the happiest place on Earth.  We made memories that have stood the test of time.  We saw the ocean, the Space Center, and had the time of our lives.  For a week, nothing existed.  Cancer did not have a hold on my family.  It was just us and the experience of a lifetime.

We returned to life as normal, but knew that this was our last Christmas, my last birthday, and my son’s last season with his papa and my father.

The day he passed, my childhood ended.  I knew what it felt like to experience a hurt so deep that you can’t express it.  To feel that you must now the one to make all the decisions.   It was then that life would never be the same.

In the two years since, I have found more of myself than I thought.  I still love Disney.  My Little Pony is nostalgia also.  A game of capture the flag? I’m there! But there is also a sadness around holidays for the table is missing a chair.

I have also realized that suffering is part of life.  In the Buddha’s teaching of the Four Noble Truths, I found the peace I was looking for.  While one can argue for a divine existence and  reasons for everything, I found myself more upset because it wasn’t fair.  Life, however, is never fair.  It is through the basis of understanding the Four Noble Truths that I have come to accept and see that childhood never really ends.  We always have a piece of our youth with each of us.  It is what makes us, well, us.  We find the memories and the feelings and pass them on to our children.  Tree forts, coloring books, hide and seek, nerf wars.. Yes, I still love them.  I have even taught my son how to pitch better than his father! Why? Because it was part of childhood.

What about you? Do you feel that childhood ends, or that we still have a piece of us with us at all times?  I know being an adult and acting like one are two different things.  But given a chance, I will take a day in a tree fort over a day in the office!

~J.J.~

 

 

No Control

Do you ever feel like your life is spinning out of control? For me, I am there. Not even in orbit of how life was “supposed” to go.  Instead, I am grasping for a rope to pull me out… Or so I thought.

I have found that there are to many things beyond my control.  I cannot control how others feel, nor can I control their actions.  I cannot control what happens to me, per say.  But I can control how I react to the events around me.  If I chose to focus on the bad, that is all I see. By shifting my focus to something that is positive, I can also see that.  Right now, life is a little chaotic.  It is not predictable.  It also does not fit into my pre-designed plan.  But, it is my life to plan.  One that I do enjoy and one that I hope will work out for the better.

Control is something we all seek.  But by being able to walk away from the desire to dictate ever moment, one can experience a sense of freedom.  By letting things happen simply as they will, life is not as difficult.  There might be set backs, yet it is a small stone in a much larger river.

How about you? Do you let the setbacks stop you from crossing the river, or do you find a way across?

~J.J.~

Root[ed] Deep

Looking out my window, I am greeted by an old Oak tree.  It has been here for years, this I am certain.  The stories it could tell, the people it has seen, are more than I can fathom.  This tree has withstood the brutal Minnesota winters.  It has seen harsh windstorms and straight-line winds.  It has handled a vehicle running into it, horses, and everything else life has thrown at it.  But through it all, it still stands strong.

The reason for the strength of this incredibly old tree: its roots.  These roots must travel many feet into the ground, through a complex network.  It is able to take a firm hold, without given away.  The roots can be intertwined with one another, yet separate in their identity.

For me, my roots run deep.  Yes, I have my beginning with my parents. But from there, my roots have been mine to grow.  I have a small, yet close extended family.  While we may be hundreds of miles apart, we are also close together.  Another factor for my roots can be found within my friends. I have made friends who have lasted a lifetime. Some came into my life through work, some from being a mom, and some from happen-stance.  But, what does it mean to have roots?

Image result for tree of lifePersonally, it means I know that I have a solid foundation on which to stand.  Regardless of what I need, I know that they will be there.  If I did not have roots, how would I know who I am? I guess that is the universal question we are all trying to answer.  So, who am I?

I am a mother, wife, daughter, friend, and a unique individual.  I know that I love cupcakes more than cake.  I know that I have a belief in something higher than myself, yet have not decided what it is.  I know that I feel all life is sacred.  I have a respect for those who are older than myself. For their life experiences and wisdom is something I can always learn from.  I know that I have work to do to improve and be a better version of myself.  I know that when the struggle is hard, my roots will bring me towards the right decision.  They also allow for me to know and trust myself.

How about you? Do you value your roots run deep? Do you know where the foundation of your being lies?

~J.J.~

 

 

Connected To All

In Avatar, there is a Tree of Souls that connects Eywa to all life on Pandora. It is a beautiful willow-tree style, that has the ability to see all, and hear all, according to the Na’vi. This tree also allows the Na’vi to have contact with Eywa. More or less in a nutshell. The movie is slightly confusing.

Image result for tree of souls avatar

Tree of Souls, Avatar 

In our lives, we are connected to the news as it happens via the Internet.  One no longer has to wait until the 6:00 PM news to find out what happened in the world.  Rather, we are able to see events as they unfold.  Often times, this can be uncensored, yet it is how the world has progressed.

We are all connected to so many things, but that is just it. They are things. We love our cellphones, gaming systems, iPods, ect. They provide us with a world outside of our world.  Panic sets in if one of the devices is missing. Did I lose it? Where did I put it? Oh my gosh! I ran over it in the snow… The list goes on.

While I do appreciate the things that technology has given us, sometimes I wonder why?  Sure, my family is spread out throughout the United States.  Facebook has given us a way to be connected in the moment, even though we cannot physically be there.  I have been able to watch my younger family members grow up, go to band concerts, dances, etc.  It is something that I would not trade for the world!

But social media, and technology, also has its disadvantages.  Cyber bullying is at an all time high.  Messages can be sent and then disappear thanks to SnapChat.  Through all of the interconnectedness (not sure if that is a word) it appears we are also growing farther apart.  I do miss the days of receiving a handwritten letter.  Instead, I will settle for a text message from a friend saying I miss you.  Why? Because even though it isn’t written by hand, it is written with the thought of letting me know that I matter to them.

How about you? Has the advancement in technology allowed you to become closer to those you love, or has it driven you farther apart?

~J.J.~

 

 

Do-Over or Do-Again?

Staples has the “easy button”, where you just push it and everything happens in an instant.  If there was a button in life that did that, I would use it as a Do-Over, maybe? When I sit down to think about it, not just in passing, but actually ponder, would I do events in my life over? I’m not sure.

A Chance to Do OverI have had my share of moments that I used to think I would love to forget.  However, as I have grown older, these are the moments that I now know helped build me into the person I am.  Sure there were the many nights of parties, breaking curfew (sorry mom and dad!), and shenanigans that followed.  Nothing was ever harmed, nor was property destroyed.  It ended up being a bunch of friends, beer, and a bonfire.  The memories made have lasted and brought friends closer.  Some decisions, well, let me just say that they did not turn out so well.

How about the time that I thought I was the “worst mom in the world”? Despite the fact that my son was 4, it is still something that has stuck with me.  I am pretty sure he was upset because I wouldn’t go to the pet the store and get a baby dinosaur.  I mean, I would if I could get them, but it just wasn’t in the budget to find a baby dinosaur.

Or the time that I thought it would be a wonderful idea to have two large dogs, and a medium one, for “house” dogs.  Yes, they are outside most of the day, but they live inside at night.  They bring in their share of muddy feet, yet they are loved regardless.

While these may seem like trivial events, they are part of my life.  Yes, I do have events that have happened that could have turned out differently.  I apologize for not sharing them, yet.  In my heart, I know that there is nothing in my life I would want to do over, except for one thing.

The only thing that I would change if I could would be to have one more moment with my father.  To record his voice telling my son how proud he is of him.  To hear him say “I Love You” one more time. To tell him, I love you, one more time. My Do-Over option would not be to erase anything, but to have one more moment of life’s blessing that one can never get back.  For all the other events, it is part of life.  We live. We make mistakes. We learn. We grow from our experiences. But most of all, we live.

If you could “Do-Over” any moment, would you change it, or just ask for one more moment?

~J.J.~