Monday, November 24, 2014

STALK YOURSELF

WHO AM I?
     Today’s waves in my life have been made in the depths and the heights, both unseen. They both move the waters, and the waters move me. Here are the forces:
     The emancipatory and the imprisoning. The evolutionary and the revolutionary. The participatory and the isolating. The violent and the peaceful. The Platonic love and the erotic. The disruptive, destabilizing and the foundational launch-pads of my future. The cosmic from above and the tectonic from below. The forces of living and dying.
     These make the cultural and personal winds and weather that blow me about today – they shape my future. They blow from behind and ahead. They make my life easy and a struggle.

WHAT DO I WANT?
     I want to kiss my yet unborn grand-babies. So, I want the tools to harness the cosmic and the tectonic, to be able to predict the weather, understand the currents, manage the doldrums, to know when volcanoes will erupt and how to surf the crest of the tidal waves.
     We all want to be worthy of the challenges in our lives. But, who is it that prepares us for the unseen in our lives? Who knows the unfathomable in our hearts? Where do I get forces for myself? What is new for me is old for you. Who plans our lives BEYOND their term? Who leaves MY legacy?

WHY AM I HERE?
     I am here to stretch your time window. To encourage you to see into generations. To see today as only a step in the path trod by yourself as you are today. But, the path is much bigger than you think.  It actually leads back to your long dead great-grandmothers and their long dead great-grandmothers and further. It leads forward to your yet unborn great-grandchildren and their yet unborn great-grandchildren and further.
     If the path is so much longer, you and I will need to be stronger than we are today, much stronger.
     We will need to fish deeply in our depths for the deep running, gigantic parts of ourselves which we fear. We need the power of the unseen leviathans we have thought were only nice literary devices. We have lived our lives hoping never to meet these fierce, wild parts of our ourselves and pretending they is not there. But they are.
     We have been satisfied with the small steps on today’s path, but to kiss our great-grandbabies, we need Time and Strength to withstand the forces from the cosmos and the tectonic. Shall we fish for those parts of ourselves which can feed generations or kill us? Have we that kind of courage?
     To find them we need our Captain – the one who plans our lives beyond their term, and our destiny. The Captain stands ready to take us in hunt for ourselves.
     So, let’s pull up our big girl (or boy) panties, climb into the chair, strap ourselves in. Let’s grab the stout rod the Captain hands us, watch them bait up the hook as big as our hand. The Captain knows where to troll – over the currents which confront us, into the wind which buffets us.
     Stalk yourself.

© Copyright 2014, Jean W. Yeager
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

OUR GROUP IS FOR THE BIRDS


WHO ARE WE?
   Our group is for the birds. No kidding, we have a Host of Sparrow-like people in our group. And then we have the brightly dressed ones, the Charm of Finches. I won’t say that we actually have enough Eagles to have a Convocation, but they are so lofty, they think so. We certainly do have enough Hawkish types to have a Cast, that’s no problem. We have a Party of Jay’s and do THEY Party! A Flock of Pigeons, a Murder of Crows (I’d like to murder one or two of them myself, always stealing my ideas!), and a Run of Poultry. We do not have enough wisdom in our group which reflects the fact that our Parliament of Owls is only old Durwood. <Sigh.>  We do have a Gaggle of those types who stick their necks out, but won’t shut up! And, we have one Great Heron. And how!


WHAT DO I WANT?

     I would very much like it if our Dissimulation of Birds was better able to work together. When we get into our meeting, of course the Charm of Finches has to talk about their new sparkly accessories. The Starlings are Chattering, no doubt. And, that makes the Hens broody. They can’t be direct! They just cluck, know what I mean? On some occasions the Grouses, grouse. But the Hummingbirds join the Charm, and well, the Dissimulation gets VERY unproductive! I would have to say that sometimes we get so little work done we have NOTHING for the Larks to even THINK of an Exultation.

     Do you know Herons? Well, a pond of frogs totally falls silent when a Great Heron arrives.  We do too. When the Great Heron steps into the room, most of us fall silent. Tall, dressed in a long blue gown, dark hair she stands so tall and straight with such a long straight nose and piercing eyes that are sometimes more penetrating than our Lady Hawk. She is a giant and she knows it! Then she walks slowly step-by-step to her seat. Even though the Turtledoves try to Coo and calm us down, the sight of the Great Heron makes our blood run cold.


WHY AM I HERE?

     I’m a new team member but I have heard the story about the Great Heron. She apparently was with a Host of a Sparrow-types in a parent meeting, with a few mousy men thrown in, a year or so ago. She of course was bringing a very important message to that group. It was a l-o-n-g message and she paced s-l-o-w-l-y as she delivered it.  One mousy man in the corner simply would not stop chattering. So the Great Heron looked at him and then suddenly she grabbed him in her beak and plunged him beneath the surface of the meeting pond. She held him beneath the water until, well, you know what happened. Meeting adjourned.

     So when she walks into our meeting, the Great Heron gets all the respect that she demands. We had a consultant Peacock come one day to deliver a talk about Teamwork. He mistakenly called her a Stork. No amount of putting his tail up could ease that wicked look in that Heron’s eyes. But a Clamor of Rooks came to his defense and she had to sit quietly and stare angrily at us all. Could I get a Crow to Murder her? No.

     The situation is making some of us nervous types want to fly -  Fight or Flight, you know? Guess which is greater in THIS group.



© Copyright 2014, Jean W. Yeager

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

WHERE GPS DOESN’T GO


WHO AM I?
     I am lost. Oh, I know where I am PHYSICALLY, I’m on this mountain track in rural Kentucky – Wolf Creek Road. Ominous name. There was a street sign where I turned off the paved State Highway and this road has been graveled. It leads up, up, up a heavily wooded mountain. But, my GPS doesn’t go into the land of the lost.
    My heart sinks because I haven’t been here before. I don’t know where I’m going, really. The woods seem superstitious and filled with old legends of mountain people, as my wife calls them. She was born in a ‘hollar up Miller’s Creek not too far from here.
    My son has risked this journey with me – he is a modern guy who does not usually put aside the GPS and go by reckoning, instinct, and “blind faith”. He does not ever want to be lost. If his GPS does not show the destination, he is uncertain.

WHY AM I HERE?
   I am from an older generation that was raised on rarely knowing in advance where we would wind up or how we would get there on any of life journey in life large or small. I have a life-pattern I’ve long recognized of starting out on trips, business deals, relationships – most every “journey” regardless of how you would define that; and mid-way, or thereabouts, something happens that causes concern, or delays, or problems.
   This time, I feel lost, AM lost, honestly. Other times the project gets terribly complicated for unknown reasons. Or, the person I want to get to know has a problem and doesn’t show up. It is a pattern of my journey. All our lives are made up of patterns.
   Not going up unknown roads is a pattern. Relying on technology rather than personal resources is a pattern. Being fearful of people who live in certain neighborhoods. I got lost in North Philly once and was the only white guy for miles. Cultural patterns in our brains won’t be solved by some soul GPS. We have to have courage, strength

WHAT DO I WANT?
    I want to see my cousin who lives up this road so we press on. My son flips his GPS.
    We pass Tater Knob Pottery on the way up. They make hand-thrown pottery. I’ll stop for a spoon-bread baking dish on the way back. Thanksgiving would not be the same without preparing my wife’s Aunt Etta Clay’s recipe cornbread casserole and I broke the last Tater Knob dish last year. (A bad moment in my cooking journey.) The casserole is not the same in Pyrex.
The numbers on the mail boxes get out of order and the lesser numbers get ahead of the higher ones, the road splits several times and we have to guess which branch to take, we pass a pasture filled with Llamas (who would have thought?), but finally make it to Barbara’s. Her warm smile welcomes us, we have a nice visit, catch up on the family.


On the way back we stop at Tater Knob to buy the dish. The “Low Tire Pressure” light comes on and we see the passenger side tire is going flat. In very rural areas with poverty, it is not uncommon for roofing nails to loosen and when the shingle is blown in a wind storm the nails may frequently wind up on the roads.


Rural people are resourceful and the folks at Tater Know had a portable air-pump and a tire-patch kit. They wondered why a Vermonter was in Kentucky but wound up being good friends of my cousin (and most of the people along Wolf Creek Road).


Where GPS doesn’t go you may find suffering, fear, friends and joy. Get lost, you will probably find something unforseen.


© Copyright 2014, Jean W. Yeager
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Thursday, November 13, 2014

THE CLEANING SERVICE OF YOUR INNER SANCTUARY


WHO AM I?
     I am the cleaning service for your inner sanctuary - you know, that special place where you keep all the treasured memories, accomplishments, fears or catastrophes which define who you are?
     Your sanctuary is built out of iconic bits, parts of reality, half remember strong impressions, treasured kind words and accomplishments or slaps, beatings AND those regrets, can’t forget the regrets. And over time you’ve added your habits, your biases, your doubts, your criticisms, all of your favorites you WORSHIP! It's the place where you can sit and be focused on yourself totally.
     I see this one alot - Fear - like a spotlight from overhead right over you. Don't want to touch it. You're afraid to do ANYTHING, you gotta stand still! That way you're SAFE. You can always trust fear, can't you?
     So our inner sanctuaries are sometimes frozen and maintained by the physical locations where we live. The memories and the metaphors gets linked with the physical. We get locked into physical places as well as our inner spaces. Gotta leave grandma's dishes in the china cabinet along with grandma's memories. (Remember the awful fights we used to have?) I wouldn’t think of throwing THOSE out!

WHAT IS YOUR INNER SANCTUARY LIKE?
     Remind me, what is your inner sanctuary like? I got lots of clients I clean for - not all too different.
     Is yours simple, quiet and elegant - like a Quaker meeting room? With solid, simple, beautifully constructed benches all facing the center? 'Cause after all, YOU gotta be in the center of YOUR sanctuary, right?
     The Taj Mahal! Giant, luxurious, beautiful which YOU built to impress your inner LOVER - yourself.
     CATHEDRALS are popular. With the rank upon rank of pews so that hundreds of your personality fragments can all attend together beneath an image of you on the crucifix - a symbol for how much you have suffered. Lots of tissues on the floor in that place.
     Nature? a running brook, verdant seclusion a little nudity? Skinny-dipping?
     Oooh! Farmer's daughter? Agriculture? Tractors and big bank leins! A field of hay? Corn? A garden! Like Eden!
     A kitchen? Cooking? Is that heaven, or what? You could just feed yourself forever - forget all that other stuff outside. Just eat.
     Military sanctuary? A Hum-vee in the mid-east? Yeah, injuries are sanctuaries, aren't they? Man you get to spend some quality alone time with wounds.
     My sanctuary used to be a two man prison cell with a moron screaming when the lights went out. I hung onto that for a LONG time. Eventually that's where I learned to clean floors.
     So, what's your special place? Hmm? I'm getting the mop bucket, I'll be right back.

WHY AM I HERE?
     Your sanctuary is a pretty good size. But you know, life goes on and will eventually end. So you have your birth, your accomplishments, the wonderful things which make your sanctuary, you have some relationships, you grow older, and then you die.
     I'm here because I think it's time that we begin to make your sanctuary smaller. I think your sanctuary should be small enough to fit into a casket. That way we can put your beautiful self-impression into a casket and bury you with it.
     One of the main things that people say at the end of someone's life is that we want the dead body to look just "like we remember them". We want them to go into the next life looking as they did in that favorite moment in OUR memory.
     By making your sanctuary smaller so that we can bury you in it, we will give you the opportunity to be remembered as YOU want to be remembered. This also gives you an excuse for never making any changes in your life - or your sanctuary. For always being afraid to do certain things. For emphasizing those habits. For never taking risks. We can bury you alive, eh?

© Copyright 2014, Jean W. Yeager
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Thursday, November 6, 2014

UH-OH



WHO AM I?
     Uh-Oh is the me who is ashamed of how I MIGHT do something wrong. It hasn’t actually happened yet, but it LOOKS LIKE something wrong I’ve done before. Uh-Oh is the one that judges actions before I actually do them, and then says its name. When I Uh-Oh, I am not actually aware of what truly is – I am only aware of my fear. The fear I have is about my lack of self-confidence, poor self-image or, feeling I am a failure. I hate these fears – they fly at me and scare me into shutting down what I am attempting and so, I repeat some mistake, or make a NEW mistake. Figures.

WHY AM I HERE?
     Uh-Oh is here to lead me away from old patterns. It is the me who is an example of how many times I hurt myself, needlessly. I think things matter in life. I care. I want to be perfect and cut myself little slack. Uh-Oh guides me to realizing that it is not helpful to judge myself BEFORE I do something. Regret, sure? Uh-Oh? No. If you fail, you get one regret and an opportunity to look at what happened, learn from it and improve.  If you Uh-oh, you choke and you fail, too. Why have TWO things to grieve over?

WHAT DO I WANT?
     A strong self-image is one which tries new or even risky things; sometimes succeeds sometimes fails; but learns something as a result. A weak self-image can’t even get to the trying something new because it is afraid of choking on the new action. And, then I drop back into my good-old vicious cycle of self-doubt, timidity, or non-action. When I don't let my Uh-Oh out, if I try, fail, and learn something new I might set-myself up for success next time! Next time you hear an Uh-Oh – take it as a signal. Then, shake it off and look - and I mean really LOOK at the situation - then decide what you need to do  and do it!

© Copyright 2014, Jean W. Yeager
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