Monday, August 15, 2016

Reject The Summons To A False Dilemma

 "If you're not with me, then you're against me!" 


We take sides in family, friendships, politics, the workplace, and more!  Often, we even take pride and puff out our chests at the divide of which we are at the root, when often we probably should be hiding our faces at the damage we have done – often irreparable.  Sometimes we get so wound up in it that we can’t get out, and we collect other accomplices and victims in our ball of twine as we wind up to make sure we are not in it alone.  Then we assume that those who won't join us are therefore on the opposing side.  Is it worth it?  Does it make us better individuals or life better when we support another person, group, idea, etc., so vehemently that relationships fall into a cavern of uncertainty or spiral down into oblivion?  Did we actually provide a measurable service for anyone?  Or, was it all done for a power-feed for our own ego or other personal gain?

Sure, sometimes we find we must let someone or something go (bad match, matters of safety, etc.), but that is not what I am talking about.  So as not to justify butting in where we don’t belong, or so obtrusively inserting ourselves where we aren’t needed, I am specifically talking about occasions and instances where we are an outside party and  have an opportunity to take a step back and “assist” only if asked.  I am talking about times where a difference could actually be made by our absence and by keeping our mouths closed – where showing our support would look more like keeping our personal thoughts in our heads vs. putting them into someone else’s space.  I am also talking about how allowing the outcome to be whatever it is going to be without interjecting or injecting our personal selves into it where matters do not require our attendance, literally or figuratively.

 There is always more... or none

 Truth – this is hard to do sometimes!  It is so easy to get caught up, especially if it involves someone/something/a group that we love or despise.  We want to take sides!  Sometimes we think we have to take sides.  But do we have to?  Instead of jumping right in, how different might the outcome be if we first took some time to assess the need for us to insert ourselves in some way, and then just opted out instead?  Or in the case of family and friends, what if we just waited to be asked for assistance or advice, and then still only gave what was actually needed vs. what we personally felt?  We might stop here to consider that when we think we are helping someone with our opinions that we might actually be putting that person in an uncomfortable position with us!  They might really love us so much that they won’t say anything in order to avoid offending us.  It happens!  From there may come avoidance, distrust, dishonesty… you get the picture.  Or, you may just get an earful, and then what?  Once you have inserted yourself as someone’s steadfast ally, what will you do if they change their mind and go a different direction than what you want for them?  How are you now going to react and respond with their once-opposing side, or yet another new choice?


What I am suggesting here is to think way ahead before you jump in feet first, eyes closed, and mouth open if you are considering taking sides with someone or on something.  Once you choose sides you are dividing more than just the two entities in question.  Your energy in the matter will cause a wake.  There is more than one way to show your love and commitment to your person, cause, or group, and it does not always have to mean making the “other side” appear wrong.  Do not expect everyone to jump on board with you if you choose to take sides; and when someone chooses not to, do not fall for the false dilemma that just because they aren’t “with you” that they are “against you.”  Do not actualize an enemy or opponent where there was none.  They may simply realize they have other options, as do you.


 Here's an idea! 



Monday, July 18, 2016

Whose Side Are You On?

It is hard to tell the difference sometimes, isn't it?  Often it is very clear who is the one in the wrong, but many other times it is hard to differentiate.  What about those times when our loyalties to a person or a group cloud our judgments?  Or maybe our judgments aren't clouded so much as we are just too afraid of rocking the boat to jump ship, or to just draw the line and say "enough is enough."  A lot of times we just don't take the time to step back and even listen or try to understand the other person or group.  We "love" and are attached to our own understanding so much that we don't even take a second thought that there might be something more, something else, something beyond our personal experiences and comprehensions.  That is not LOVE.  Now I am not saying that you do not love that person, that entity, that group, etc., but if you can't love them all, then truly, it is incomplete.  It is one thing to show support, but it is completely another when the support is actually hateful competition.  

Love is ALL-encompassing, and leaves no one out.  Love does not discriminate or differentiate, and it is always complete.  It is static, yet fluid at the same time.  It is everywhere and never absent.  It is there for the asking and the taking, yet is best when given.  It is a verb and a noun, and you can give it away and even give it to yourself (highly recommended).  But we pick and choose... why?

We show favor to one family member, while we backbite and gossip about another.  We condemn one group of people trying to survive over another.  We close our minds and hearts to someone who doesn't look like us or think like us, and the whole time we are claiming love for the one we chose.  It is incomplete.  Get out of the way.

Do I accomplish LOVE all the time?  No. I understand that I'm in its way sometimes.  When are you in the way?  When are you blocking it or preventing it for someone else?  I also understand that if I purposely block it for someone else, that I'm blocking channels somewhere for myself as well.  Be careful about the love you profess for someone, something, or a group.  If your "love" is a clever disguise as hate or discord, you may fool some people, but you will not fool LOVE.  If you are clouding someone else with discord, realize that you are doing it to yourself as well.  Do yourself a favor and get out of the way.

I am a work in progress, and continually working on this.  I know a few people that I think are so good at showing and being LOVE all the time, and when they aren't, they are able to quickly redirect.  That is the side I want to be on and keep practicing.  I hope that is the side you will choose.  Think about it.  Whose side are you on?

In LOVE,

Debora Lynn






Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Our Assignment

Do not lose faith in humankind. Do not break the chain that connects us.  Do not give in to the bad things that happen - because bad things do happen. Do not let the bad things chip away at your humanity. You are above that, and that is what bad things are for. Do not try to understand something that cannot be understood. Our assignment is to keep loving each other. That is all.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Sometimes "Goodbye" Takes a Really Long Time

I hope the people that love me want to be around me. And I hope the reason they want to be around me is simply because they choose to for no other reason than they like who I am, or maybe because it is just easy to. I wouldn’t want a life where people cling to me because I have something to hold over their heads, or because they are too afraid of me for some reason, or simply out of nothing more than perceived obligation.
As I write this, my biological father is dying  --  possibly in his last few days. I will not go see him. This is not an act of defiance, revenge, meanness, or some measure of something like any of that. I realize it may seem like it to some, and I am fine with that. Mostly. I suppose they are entitled to their uninformed opinions. I no longer have anything to prove or figure out. I am not going because my father blew it, and he blew it really big, and more than once. I said my final goodbye to him a few years ago, and I was fully aware at the time of all that meant and encompassed. I still feel I am, but I am realistic enough to understand that full awareness won’t come until he is literally gone. So for now, I feel complete.
am steeped in my thoughts, however. I find myself drenched in my memories of my angry, pissed off, self-righteous twenties; swirling around in my bewildered, self-discovering, transitional thirties; reminiscing and touching my transformational, self-loving, strengthened, liberating forties. But I am not really wanting to be here today -- 51. At once, I feel I wouldn’t change any of it, but am left wondering how I could have changed some of it so that I could have wanted to be with my father. The word “Dad” when I refer to him no longer comfortably, naturally rolls off my tongue. His other children, my half siblings, made the trek from the East Coast to be with him. (We are in California.) They have somehow remained in his good graces. I shudder to think what parts of their souls they had to give up to remain there. Or perhaps they are cut from the same cloth. Perhaps it is a combination. It is just conjecture on my part, and I cannot honestly say that I know. Whatever the case, what I do know for a fact is that in order to remain in step with people, we have to be in some sort of agreement with them, spoken or not.
What I am left with is that it did not have to be this way, and that is the disappointing part. That burn is cooled by knowing there was nothing more that I could do -- well, nothing more that I could do without turning into someone I wouldn’t like. I won’t sell myself short to assuage someone else’s control issues, or perpetuate their appetite for verbal cruelty, or live into someone else’s lies about who they think I am or should be. I will not change myself, injure my soul, in order to live into someone else’s needs for power. I will not ever succumb to lies told about me to help someone else look better and more powerful. I simply will not trek with that perpetuating party. So what I am left with at the end of the day, every day, is just myself. Me. And I have been okay with this for a very long time. The lie we tell ourselves is that we are left with more than that, and we try really hard for it to be more than that. When my father leaves this realm, he is going by himself. For all of the controlling and manipulating he has done for so long, and no matter how many might be by his bedside, he will be alone when he goes. That is the way of it.
I think I will always have this feeling of “it didn't have to be this way” and “what an incredible waste of time.” It was not always this way between my father and me. I was “Daddy’s Little Girl” for sure --  the apple of his eye. I thought he was so handsome, so strong, so smart, so kind  -- and then I got older and developed a mind of my own. I began to see things for myself, to hear things and understand what I was hearing from a more developed awareness. I grew my own voice, not of my mother’s or father’s teachings, but from my own thoughts. This was the beginning of a new relationship with my father, and it was one he would never accept. It was hard at first because I could not understand how someone so outspoken refused to understand why I would be so outspoken. Didn’t he see that he taught me to be this way? Wow, the irony! There is so much more to this of course, but it is pointless. Perhaps it will show up in another writing one day. So here we are.
Had I to go back and do it all over again though, I do not see it ending any differently. I can only move on and find the lesson. I do not subscribe to “everything happens for a reason.” I used to believe that, and then some terrible things happened, and I realized that a God of love would not cause terrible things to happen. The God of love that I believe in deals in “NOW.” So I understand that it is up to me to find the lessons for myself. Some are obvious immediately, and some come years later. But I will always be open, and I will always seek out the lesson even if it means creating one.
What I have learned in my 30-year (so far) inquiry is that I have to let people be who they are, just as they are. If I have something I want to teach or share, teach or share it gently, and only when it comes from a place of love --  never power or control. Some things I have learned from my father are because of him, and others are in spite of him. Others I learned from my mother in contrast. I have learned to use my voice, but I had to teach (and am still teaching) myself how to use it constructively and without force. I have learned to let my children be exactly who they are, even when I do not approve or agree. That leaves me free to just love them. I have learned that love does not have a price or a bounty. I have learned that it is my responsibility to show up for my children, no matter how old they are. I have learned that I cannot actually control others, and that I actually do not want to control anyone else. I have learned that I have no rights or responsibility over anyone’s happiness but my own. And… sometimes “goodbye” takes a really long time. 


Lastly, what I have learned is:

In our kitchen as a reminder. :)

and nothing more -- ever.

What I want to leave you with is hope. I want the readers to know, because it may come across a certain way in a brief blog post that separation from my father was easy or perhaps a quick process, or like I just said, “F_ it,” and walked away one day. It was none of those, and neither was it ever the desired outcome. It was simply necessary. I suspect you may be thinking, “Where is the hope in that?” It is right where it has always been and has always belonged. It is within ME, just as for you it would be within. When we lose hope, we perpetuate the family secrets, the family lies, tragedies, violence, abuses, etc. When we realize the hope is within, as individuals, as separate entities, we begin to do life on our own terms. This is how hope lives, and this is how we change future family dynamics. Go love your people without terms, without contract, without force. You will get all that back exponentially.
Do you, but with love and kindness, and no other intention. It all works out without all the unnecessary pain and struggling.  The clue to when you are on the wrong path is when you are wearing yourself out (and possibly the people around you)!
Not nearly “The End.”
Debora Lynn


Saturday, March 19, 2016

An Open Letter to Other Healthy People

Be careful who you judge.  Be careful how you judge.  Tides always turn.


Dear Other Healthy People,

I live with a mixed bag of autoimmune diseases, and have for many decades.  They are what we "spoonies" call "invisible illnesses."  In other words, most often we look just fine on the outside, but we feel like holy hell most of the time.  Because of this, people like me are misunderstood a lot.  We lose relationships because of it even.  We are thought to be lazy, disingenuous, feigning, or just outright lying about our symptoms and how shitty we feel.  We are thought to "use" our diagnoses to get out of social situations or work and chores. It's hard to even get physicians and other healthcare personnel to take us seriously, and more often than not, it takes many years to even get a diagnosis because of it.  So the lack of understanding, empathy, knowledge, and just general trust from loved ones and healthcare personnel is not only extremely frustrating, it's also dangerous.

Please don't tell me you understand when you clearly do not, and let's be honest, cannot. If you think it makes you mad when I tell you not to say this, imagine how angry it make ME when YOU say it!  There isn't much more aggravating than someone who tells me they understand, then turns around and is a perfect example of someone who clearly does not.  Just don't say it.  If you feel like you need to say something, search your heart first, or just don't say anything at all.  

If you love someone with an invisible illness, then love them just as they are.  It isn't going to change.  It isn't going to go away.  This is what you have.  This is what we have.  We may have good days, and we may be fortunate enough to go even very long periods feeling great!  But don't be a toxic cloud when we don't feel good and we aren't able to accomplish all that we'd like, or maybe even all that we'd promised. We are already tired of feeling guilty about what we have no control over.  Believe me, no one -- NO ONE -- beats themselves up more about not being able to do all that they want to do more than we do.  NO ONE!  So we surely don't need you spreading your nasty little comments and attitude around as well.  That serves nothing but your own ego about how much greater you must be, and how angry you obviously are that things are the way they are.  Thanks for absolutely nothing.

Have you ever thought about how hard it is to be a healthy, active, strong person one day, and then not be able to move the next, be in constant pain, and then have that rarely ever change?  In our heads, we are still those healthy, vibrant people -- just dying to get out and be who we really are.  It's a cruel joke.  It's physically and emotionally painful.  So take your disdainful looks, your snide comments, and your whispers behind our backs, and shove 'em! And now pray that you don't end up like this, because God knows that many of us have prayed for you to end up just like this so you can know, if even for a day, what this is like -- to be stuck in a body that refuses to cooperate, that is at war with itself, that inflicts constant pain and confusion, organ failures, threatened with early demise, and refuses to ever be replenished by any amount of rest and sleep.  I won't even get into the horrible medications and treatments we must face.  

None of this is to have anyone feel sorry for me or the rest of us.  It's simply to say, "Get a grip!" to the rest of you.  Either be all in with us, or get the hell out.  Seriously.  This is exactly how I feel.  We have enough to deal with to try to stay above ground and have a smile every day without having to deal with people that don't even deserve to be in our lives in the first place. So now you can't say you don't know.

If you have a relationship with me, the truth is you don't know what you're going to get from day to day, and even hour to hour.  I'm sorry, and I mean that.  It's hard, and I know it.  I also know I'm worth it, and so are the few who have stuck with me.  

Oh... I almost forgot.  We don't expect you to understand it all.  Just believe us and love us anyway.

Yours with Tenacity,
A Spoony named Debora Lynn





Friday, February 26, 2016

A Smattering Is a Big Measure

I grew up in a culturally diverse neighborhood, and probably not all that surprising, my family is quite diverse as well.  We are multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-generational, multi-political, feminists, gay and lesbian... you name it, we've multi'd it!  We share a common public service theme, i.e., teachers, healthcare workers, therapists, social workers, cops, and firefighters.  We love our music -- all types, and I can't think of one of us that won't cut a rug when a tune plays whether anyone else thinks we look good doing it or not.  Essentially, we have a smattering of just about every socioeconomic group you might think of... just about.  I think that makes us special, and I know it is a blessing.

Today, however, I'm not wanting to talk about how special we are or why.  To be straightforward, we buried my mother-in-law yesterday, and I'm feeling drawn inward by the whole experience. Today I want to express why being special in this way and having this blessing is really two other things: an opportunity and an obligation.  Depending on the day, I may feel stronger about one or the other, but my mind will never change about the importance of either.  People don't often like the word "obligation," and I'll bet a lot of people tuned out when they read that one.  It's not a bad word -- just something to live into, not always up to.  This is the case with a family like mine.  This is where people are missing the boat, so to speak.  My family is special, but we are not unique, and we are becoming less and less unique as time flies by.  That's why this feels so important to me. My own family's demographics are much like the rest of our country's, just on a smaller, easier to view scale -- a microcosm.

The opportunity in a family like ours is a rich one, not unlike our total human family. But the opportunity doesn't exist at all if we refuse to listen to each other. This is true of the human existence overall -- no different than my own special family.  If we refuse (I won't use the word "can't" here, because it really is a refusal.) to validate each other's individual life experiences we are truly doomed.  Our family is doomed.  This country is doomed, and you can follow the trail from there.  Because we don't look the same; because we don't worship the same; because we have lived in different parts of the country; all these things have given us different experiences -- ones that we don't all share. For some reason those of us who don't share them feel that those experiences somehow don't exist or lack validity.  We pick and choose simple arguments to prove our points, rather than just simply listening to our loved one's experiences.  Isn't that crazy? I personally find it near insane and completely unloving that we'd rather pick a random article, written by a random unknown person to prove our preconceived notion than to lend our loved ones our ear, much less grant them some validation, or better yet, give them some credence and climb on board.

I posted this the other day after watching some family and some friends do and say some very destructive things, and also out of worry for another whom I think could be selling herself short:
Don't limit yourself by listening only to those who you know are already in agreement with you, and be mindful of surrounding yourself with limited thinkers.  Growth and learning don't happen in the dark.  Open your heart and soul to the light of others.
Then in response:
I used to think it was common sense, but not anymore.  I really think it's a learned skill, and a heart condition that is WILLING to hear another's experience and validate it, even in the possibility of learning that we might need to admit we need to change our own thinking.  Most people just can't align with this.  We'd rather stand in our rightness and righteousness than to admit we might be wrong or not understand something fully.  It's sad.
I realize there is a lot of obligation wrapped up in this post, but I hope that the readers can recognize how much opportunity there is as well, and that they actually go hand-in-hand. There is ALWAYS obligation if you want opportunity.  However, often when we associate obligation with family and close friends it may feel like opening the door to be trampled upon, or like extra work.  That is not at all what I'm suggesting, nor am I suggesting that you do the trampling.  But if you can't own up to the obligation of who you are in your family, and even bigger, the world, you absolutely will miss out on the opportunity to love and be loved for who you are as well.  You absolutely will miss out on blessings that will undoubtedly enrich your life.  If you can see the differences only as something to immediately dismiss and/or disagree with, you are ultimately selling yourself short, though you may at first be selling the other short.  You will be the one who loses out in the end.  At any time and any place in life when you deny someone their right to just "be" in their existence, to allow them the space to have an expression of how life occurs for them, you are also shutting the door on yourself.  Imagine that it would be like an opportunity to step through a door that takes you on a trip through a place you've never seen, but choosing to just shut the door instead.

It's real comfortable to go through life only with people that already agree with you.  It's easy to read only things that you already know, or things that sound like what you already say.  It's even easier to spread posts and articles without drilling down and researching what is being put out there simply because we like what it says.  How does this enrich your life?  Where is the learning?  Where is the discovery?  Where is the growth in this kind of behavior and thinking?  This is actually inaction at its finest, and it's also sadly the stuff that is not worth hurting people we care about over, yet it happens daily.  We are quick to be indifferent to or minimize someone's experience when it is something we don't know, and adamant about standing in our own opinion even in the face of losing someone, even in the face of limiting our own experiences.  We humans will do all this, risk all this, avoid all this --  because we would rather be right than to just listen.

We could change the world, but we refuse to even change our minds.  A smattering is more than you think.  We can only change the world one mind at a time, but we forget we must start with our own.  Give yourself the opportunity of living into something more than what you already know.

A Smattering of My Beloveds



Monday, February 8, 2016

On Feminism

For me, being a feminist means that I not only hold up my sisters and myself to a higher standard, but it also means that in conjunction I hold up my brothers to a higher standard and expectation than from where they were once as well.  Note that I expect more from them than that typical machismo, male-dominant, womanizing, misogynistic bullcrap.  My reason for this is pretty simple.  I've learned that with ALL people, I get what I expect.  So, if I don't expect much, I don't get much.  If I don't open the door wide enough to let much in, not much gets in.  So, I expect much.  Capisci?