Thursday, August 25, 2011

In Praise of Books

Just read about this - It's nothing new of course. We're all aware of censorship in schools. I'm so glad I never encountered that while growing up. Even with my strict, evangelical Christian upbringing I got very lucky on a couple of counts. 

First, from the age of 10 to 13 I lived two houses over from the library. I practically lived there. It was like heaven to me. I took it all in. I read every sort of book. I explored all the sections from childrens to teen to adult.I got my sex education there. Which is a good thing considering my parents weren't about to go there except to say it's a sin unless you're married. And our schools at that time had no sex ed either.

I read classics, modern fiction, romance (never really did care for the Harlequin types though), mystery, farce, self help, etc. It seemed back then the teen section had a lot of books that revolved around drugs (in an after school TV special kind of way) as well as the occult. I ate that stuff up. Seems I was drawn to kids playing with their darker sides but always getting out before they were consumed by it. My parents should be happy. I swear that stuff scared me away from drugs.

But then again if they had had any real idea what all I was reading they would have taken my library card away from me. Pretty sure about that! I read some super hot sexy stuff, some pretty gruesome stuff and violent stuff on top of the previously mentioned no-no topics. As it was, at one point they had to limit the amount of my reading because I was not getting my school work done because of  my book addiction. That cracks me up thinking about it.

Second, even though I went to public schools I got an awesome education. Because I was of above average intelligence I was put into their accelerated program. While the regular students suffered through bland reading books, we read REAL books. Lots of them. Challenging ones. And we delved deep into them. Even though I didn't always love the book assignments, I always felt grateful to not be reading the crap the other kids were stuck with. It pains me to see how the system has let kids down by not offering them the riches of literature; instead feeding them what amounts to junk food. I just see no reason why average kids couldn't have been reading real books too.

And frankly, I don't think our schools would now be banning great literature if the adults running things had been exposed to it themselves from the beginning. As one quote says (paraphrased) "once your mind has been stretched by new ideas it cannot shrink back to it's original form". We hold back mankind with censorship. While raising my three kids I was always thrilled to see them reading real books. And picking out whatever they wanted. I knew their horizons would be broadened and their lives would be enriched.

I feel sorry for the people who are so afraid of fantasy, of other types of living, of other ways of thinking that they need to hide it from everyone. Seems like it would be like living in a prison.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Busted Dreams, New Dreams

The other day a client asked me what I'd done with my days off lately. I answered that we'd been cleaning out some closets and getting rid of a bunch of stuff. It's an ongoing process as we attempt to seriously reduce our belongings to a very minimal amount.

He said "oh yeah, I call that cleaning out my busted dreams". I got what he was saying. However I think for me it represents more of a change of dreams rather than busted dreams. I have held on to a lot of things that at one time were very important to me and that I could not imagine wanting to let go of. But so much as changed. I care about other things now.

So while it's a lot of work to sort through it all and lug half of it to a donation center, I'm pretty excited to be doing it. It feels good.     :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tucson to Zion to Park City to Spokane.....

It's been three and a half weeks since we got back from our road trip and I'm just now getting around to blogging about it. This is evidence of my strong procrastination abilities. But, since Karin just got her new Droid phone today (this is the very first smart phone to come home with us), now would probably be a good time for me to sit down and write my little heart out. She's going to be knee deep in that phone for a loooong time figuring it all out! It will be like I don't even exist.

I love me a good road trip. Yes I do! I like to SEE all that there is to see, not just fly over it. Flying is great when time is of the essence. But I much prefer to wander slowly. This was a great road trip. We covered a whole lot of ground (3,300 miles - Tucson to Washington, on to Montana and then back in just under two weeks!), saw a huge variety of landscapes, met new people and made new connections, had lots of great times with family and most importantly we confirmed our very strong desire to make traveling the country a lifestyle, not just a vacation. The only reason we felt compelled to come home was to get back to our stuff (especially our mattress) and to be with our pets. When you take your home with you on the road, you never have to be away from them.

I won't spend much time discussing details of the trip. There was just too much going on in a short period of time! I will let the pictures speak for themselves. I took about 1,000 shots which I then kept a little under 500 of. So what I'm posting here is a teeny tiny sampling only. Sorting through and editing pictures was a major chore for me when we got home. Lucky for me I enjoy that sort of thing, huh?    :)

I decided to split this into two posts due to being so very picture heavy. The following is the first week more or less.






Not posting much from Spokane. That was all family/wedding/baby shower stuff. It was GREAT; just not of interest to most of you!   :)    We were surprised by how pretty it was there. Loved the river running through downtown, and the setting for the wedding was just gorgeous. 


I'll cover the second week of the trip next post. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Go Poop On Someone Else's Party! :)

Yesterday a friend on facebook posted a link to this blog post - I read it because I am a big believer in positive thinking and I wanted to hear what they had to say against it. I need to mention that the link now seems to take you to an abbreviated version of what I read yesterday.  Much is left out in this version, which takes away from the initial effect it had on me.

While I would have to agree with what they say when taken literally, that positive thinking alone, will not get you closer to your goals, I take great issue with the overall tone of the post. Positive thinking (or visualizing success or whatever you choose to call it) is a tool, and a great one.  Can we please not throw the baby out with the bathwater? In all the reading I've done on the subject I don't think I've ever heard anyone claim that merely wishing for things will magically make them happen. If there are people out there doing that, then they may very well be missing the point.

And I believe that the author of that blog post has missed the point as well if that's what they think of positive thinking and it's place in reaching goals. They state that "Negative" thinking, on the other hand, has gotten a bad rap. This is mostly because the people who advocate "positive" thinking lump all the "negative" thoughts together in one big unpleasant pile, not realizing that some kinds of negative thoughts are actually necessary and motivating. There is a big difference between "I am a loser and can't do this" (a bad, self-defeating negative thought), and "This won't be easy, and I'm going to have to work hard" (a very good negative thought that actually predicts greater success)."

My thoughts are , since when is acknowledging that something will be a challenge the same as a negative thought? That makes zero sense to me. That's in effect saying that challenges are negative things. NO No no......challenges are the very things that provide us with the most personal growth. They are good and necessary, not negative! So to my way of thinking (screwy as it may be), the author just contradicted himself. Am I that far off base in not viewing a challenge as a BAD thing to be dealt with? That's like saying that life is basically a negative thing cause let's face it folks, life is one challenge after another! If I went around looking at life like that (and for way too long I did) I would feel no hope in ever living the life I want. 

Reading that post (the full one) had the immediate effect of causing me to feel despair. That may not have been the intent and I acknowledge that I am fully responsible for feeling that way (I was tired?). The good news is that after a few minutes of self pity I got over it. Once upon a time I would not have been able to pull myself out of that feeling so easily. The doubts would have taken me over to the point that I would have been immobilized. That was before I found out what a useful tool positive thinking is. Now I know that getting stuck in negative feelings is a sure way to keep me from doing what needs to be done. I am waaaaay more productive when I am feeling positive about life and my place in the world. 

I am a regular reader of the Tiny Buddha blog. From today- The quote this post is based on is "Believe nothing no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and common sense.” ~Buddha. Boy do I ever love this quote! And down in the comments someone writes "When experience contradicts what's written, follow experience. To me this is authentic living". That does it for me even more. 

I have personally experienced the benefits of positive thinking in my life. I'm sticking with experience! And for the record, I use more than just one tool in my approach to reaching life goals. I'm really into using thankfulness as a way to open myself to all the good that is available. I'm also using the daily morning pages concept as taught in "The Artists Way" by Julia Cameron. And then there's this little thing called being flexible. That may very well be the single best thing in my arsenal. When I lose the tunnel vision and allow for possibilities that had not even occurred to me before, the most amazing things happen.  :)

I am overall a picker and a chooser. I am a cafeteria style spiritualist. I do not believe there is any ONE right way. I do not follow any one faith or program. Through trial and error I figure out what works for me. And I in no way assume that it will work for anyone else. While I am happy to share my thoughts, I understand completely that the listener may either not be in a place to hear what I'm saying or may simply not be interested because they have something else that works better for them. And that is a beautiful thing. That we can all be free to express ourselves as different facets of the universe.