Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Jealousy And Where It Leads

Two children watch a third smiling and laughing, freely enjoying a lively day. One child glowers while the other smiles. One would join the play, while the other intensely wants it to stop- jealous of the happiness, the attention draw, the feeling.
Jealousy is a worm that destroys rational reaction. It causes pain, vicious words and vengeful action. Rationalization tries to hide it in politically correct outrage. Perhaps claiming laws are broken or some mistake is blown out of proportion, perhaps the truth is simply allowed to go.on holiday so that the ridiculous can saunter around making choices even someone drunk would find incomprehensible.

Walking around the block to watch someone you allegedly love, just to spy. Either you trust someone or you do not. When you do not trust someone, jealousy runs rampant in your choices regarding how you deal with them. Punishing them, feeling vindicated by chastising them or feeling a need to schedule and monitor every minute twists a relationship into something destructive. You push them away when you jab in the metaphorical marionette strings.

If you have a loved one who has scars that predispose them to suffocating under waves of jealousy, look at what is the real heart of the problem. Is it how they feel treated? Where does the trust take a nose dive, what can you do to get it back on course?

Actions. Words. Two different things that should never be grouped together. Body language. Listening. Communication. Acceptance. Trust. Some religions seem to encourage jealousy and egocentrism in a manner that fosters seeking to punish those who are different or respect different religious philosophies. They would argue but the jealousy of some Christian sects watching people dance or drink alcohol while resenting the freedom and joy of those reveling. Those sects pushing against freedom to stop people with different beliefs from making them uncomfortable and jealous. I use this as an example but historically many religious groups make different behaviors taboo- which only enhances interest in them as well as desire to do them and jealousy of those who do them freely.

Clear communication, accountability, getting to the root of that hurt feeling. Perhaps in your strength, you can help heal an old wound in someone you love.
Talk to them, listen to them, heal them.

Quality in all relations. Our society will improve if we stop worrying about and resenting what the neighbors have. Rather than ranting and throwing fits like noisy squirrels.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Magic Moments Happen Everyday

How do you approach the day? Does your awareness embrace each moment? Do you savor the positives in your life or are you caught on the one way roundabout of gripping and resentments?

Looking at the downs, they are heavy and hard but we should acknowledge then work through them. Let them go. Negativity just feeds stress.

Who fosters the positive in your life? How many times in a day do you find yourself repeating stories? Are they stories that stress and drain the listener or stories that bring a smile and a laugh? Everyone needs validation and to vent sometimes but if you're finding excuses to gripe or to rehash the same frustrating tale over and over- then it's time to stop. I look at Danny's best friend Danny, blowing up squealing balloons for the kids at free music nights in the park. He's having a great time and so are the children. Parents are relaxing as they enjoy the music, knowing the whole family is having a special time together with the community in Longmont at the music nights. 

Time to change a bad habit. I send the people I love text pictures of beautiful sights. They send me pictures or love. Recently we started a habit of taking a sunset picture and sharing it. A little thing with huge impact: smiles, thoughts of loved ones, short conversations focused on appreciation. At least once a day regardless of how rough or dark things are, we fill our thoughts and hearts with beauty.

I've got over a thousand pictures just this year from California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. I enjoy looking through them. Thinking of everyone at Tres Banderas, Renaissance festivals, and all the other friends we made along the way and hoping their doing well rather than thinking yet again of stress, tight budgets, the unknown, and all the other gnawing factors of life. Either you are devoured by the negative or you rise above it, lifted on the hearts of friends.

Magic Moments Happen Everyday if you choose to accept them. You are worth it and you never know when you might have missed the moment until it's gone.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Time Slips By, Life, Death, Choices, Love

This is an amazing week. In a month of ups and downs. Old friends, new friends, and the panoramic beauty of Red Feather Lakes Colorado.

My friend Dan and I set a hummingbird free. I held it in my hand and felt it breath. It had tried so hard to get past the screen, unable to realize there was an open door until it was exhausted and could not evade our gentle help. How human to struggle when support is offered, when a clear and easy path practically sings and shouts "over here!"

We found black morel mushrooms, we enjoyed them with dinner. We learned from the pros how to tell real from dangerous.

Families and best friends making memories to last a lifetime time as the time slips by as if to wander the meadows with the Elk and birds. No schedule, just ideas and enjoyment. Horseback riding, geocaching, fishing, hiking, nature and archery lessons, ghost stories, glowing poi and campfires.

Small talk, deep talk it's our choice which way to go.

I think of choices others have made in my life. I think of friends I love. Mary Erickson, setting up a charity to help people get what they need. She sewed my first renaissance festival skirt. Every memory of her and her family is priceless to me. All excellent memories, time well spent. Mary died of breast cancer recently. My eyes tear up thinking of the day she told me about reading tarot cards for Bodge. Bodge was The Queen at many renaissance festivals. She was my Queen. Bodge had breast cancer. Mary turned over Bodge's future card. It was a card that normally means change, but often put a superstitious chill when it comes up. The death card stared at them. Mary blinked back tears as she told me how her heart fell. She saw in Bodge's eyes comprehension of the card. Her words were a soothing blanket she tried to wrap around Bodge. It was change. Cancer remission, healing. Bodge died shortly afterwards. It was hard for Mary even years later. Many eyes still tear feeling the loss of Bodge, her heart and spirit were so kind and loving, she touched so many lives in the time she had. Mary touched lives. Many will have teary eyes and loving memories to share for years to come. My eyes are blurring just hearing her voice as I write. She'd tell me to savor the memories, make more and share them. Even dying she was more full of life than most people ever choose to be.

This weekend I learned my grandmother died. There is more grief in a stone than in my heart. When my cousin and I were about five we stayed the night with grandma and grandpa. My cousin and I watched the helpful horde of bats circle the light outside, eating the bugs when my grandmother told us it was time for bed. We both turned around and said goodnight. We added I love you. She turned immediately with a stern look. "Oh no children, we don't love you. We have to do things for you, it is our duty as we are your grandparents." In that moment she taught me a lesson and gave me permission to invest my love in other places to loving people and pets. My one thought, too bad she chose that path. Her choice was appearance over content. Her choices wounded many. I suppose we all make choices that could hurt, with or without intention.

On the other hand, I woke up receiving word that a good friend is dying. Randy was the Chocolate Pirate when I met him. I learned he was Santa for years in the mall. He loved to act antisocial and grumpy, but was one of the kindest, giving people. He traveled and did faires for years. When he went off the road, most friends slowly stopped keeping up communication. I know because he wrote me. He loves his family. He loves his friends, even the ones who might have forgotten to write, text, or call. Sometimes it really hurt though, on the worst days we would joke back and forth to get each other smiling. Whether it's accurate or a flattering exaggeration by Randy, I am glad I always take the time to reach out, to include my friends- even the ones far away.

I wish I could give him more time. I wish I could give Mary more time. I wish I could give Bodge more time. Three incredible people who leave huge shoes to fill. Three people who chose to be there for others, to make real magic by touching hearts. Thousands of people touched and changed. Time Slips away, I wish I could take the time wasted standing in lines, waiting for appointments that do not show up, playing video games- I wish I could take that time and shift it to time with the three of them.

What I am saying, simply is: choose well how you spend the time you have. If you have friends, family that is dear- don't waste it on low quality interactions, going through mindless motions. Take the time you have and make it profound.

When I entertain as the Painted Lady I hear the sand shifting in life's timer. I have several minutes to profoundly, intimately touch hearts. I reach for as many as I can.

When I walk through my days I do it every day, sometimes more subtly. It does my heart good. Since I made that choice, every memory has value. I wring time for every drop of sublime experience I can get.

Today I saw wild moose with new friends, friends with glowing smiles and hearts I already cherish. I took a moment to stare at a meadow vibrant green and so alive, no sign of human touch to just stand. To think of choices, chances, love and loss. Even painful I would rather choose to love my friends, even knowing one day I could grieve their loss than never know what it is to choose to love.

When you wander the world you see beauty. Beauty in nature, beauty in people. If you are wise you choose to experience the sights and to make new friends- to extend your heart and grow.
Safe travels, May you choose to grasp time in your hands and use every moment you can to the fullest.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Only the Brave, Talented, and Foolish

Boulder Mall is a beautiful place to wander shops, taste delicious food, and be entertained by buskers. Busking is entertaining solely for tips given by spectators.

Seriously, if you want an excellent experience- stop and engage a street entertainer. Tip them well, they make their living taking you out of your world and into a place to set aside cares for a few minutes or perhaps as long as you choose to watch. You wouldn't appreciate someone taking advantage of your work and walking away with a few words and no pay, so do not do that to them! They can't pay bills with "thank yous" or with the old taking the wallet out and walking away so it looks like you tipped. Trust me, we aren't impressed by that and we've all had it happen enough to be disappointed now and then.

Notice they and we. I storytell in a canvas dress while people paint the dress and sometimes me. I'm a street entertainer. I'm not walking a rope. I'm not juggling. I'm not playing music or doing sleight of hand. When we walked up and down the Boulder Mall we watched and listened. Danny was excited to start busking. I was torn. He does comedy and magic. Of course he fits the busking world.

It's been a year of trials and tribulations for me. I watched a new friend do his street show. He did an excellent show. Daredevil Dan played with puns, unicycled, juggled and the laughs were surrounding him. Seriously, take a minute to look him up and catch his show in the street. Give him a tip and let him know what you liked! Walking away I thought about my character and style. Good, bad, what?

I ran into Eboshi from St. Kate's. Eboshi greeted me with a smile and a compliment. We sat and watched people walk by in their bubble worlds, faces serious. He asked what I was thinking about, as I looked serious myself. I told him, he was a great listener. He smiled a beautiful smile that made the bright sun jealous.

He said "I am unique. What I do, I work to do. I love it and I have fun. The people love it because it is unexpected and unique. You are also unique. We do not fit with the others and that is good. There are many of them. They are good too, but they aren't unique. Bring your dress and your paints, have fun."

I watched Eboshi performing, he is a contortionist. He draws crowds with his skill and sweet personality. He's been doing shows on the Boulder Mall for fourteen years, he used to travel and do shows for UNICEF representing Jamaica for crowds of up to eighty thousand people. Eboshi is unique. He is astounding. Watch him, tip him and tell your friends they should too!

I'm getting my dress and canvases ready, filling the paint bottles. We will go back. We will both busk. We'll see how I do. I'm going to bear in mind Eboshi's wisdom. I'm going to focus on having fun and see how it plays out. Perhaps it's foolish, succeed or be an odd footnote- at least I'm going to give it a chance.

Friday, June 12, 2015

For Every Uphill There's A Vista

Traveling offers the chance to explore the world. Many dream of it, while others can't imagine leaving home.  

Traveling offers chances and challenges. As a storyteller, sometimes I walk into opportunities while other times I walk into walls. "Sorry, we book six months in advance." "Who are you?" "We only hire local talent" or "Why won't you do it free, if you were nice you'd just entertain for nothing." Somehow people assume travelling means you are made of money when it usually means you've got a twenty in your pocket next to a favorite pebble, spare change, and a spoon. You never know when you'll need a spoon.

Sometimes you have a route and timeline planned, with contracts spread along the route to cover costs. When a contractor pulls the metaphorical rug out, it tumbles the best laid plans and can leave you rudderless.

Yesterday was one of those days. A lot of beautiful views help keep me positive. Support from a few amazing friends helps me bounce back. I was at a deep low. 2800 friends on Facebook, with hundreds complimenting my stories yet only 15 of my ebooks sold... Hmm... Perhaps we should use Google terms so it doesn't sting as much. 2800 acquaintances and about twenty shares, 15 sales. Still not warm and fuzzy, but a little less personal.

Trying to stay positive and not see my fall back functioning effectively at all, feeling unsupported and looking at myself to figure out what I'm doing wrong or if perhaps I am that pathetic that the best kindness folks can offer is to politely ignore my shares and encouragement to read a few free sample stories. Days like yesterday are not easy. I look at myself for the flaw. If I were amazing, talented or even just capable perhaps there would be support.

Some say stay positive, smile, gloss over the rough. It's hard to when it keeps coming in waves. I take personal inventories often. I fault myself often. I try and I focus forward on trying to do and be my best. I try not to be small, jealous, or spiteful.

Last night we were given free VIP tickets to see Bare Naked Ladies At Red Rocks because Danny is friends with the group. We were in row 12. Violent Femmes went on as we arrived, we missed Colin Hay's talented performance. I have friends who really love both groups. I never really listened until last night. I needed that concert. I needed those songs. They played for thousands, the lyrics soothed my soul and distracted the monsters in my head that are constantly criticizing my choices, words, thoughts.

Afterwards we met the guys. Danny visited with his old friends. I complimented the show but I doubt my words carried the profound gratitude I have for them. The Bare Naked Ladies have become one of my favorite bands through the wonderful music, the light hearted spirit and the sincere kindness they exude on and off stage.

My life is a rollercoaster. Down at the worst depths then lifted up quickly and unexpectedly. Traveling has a cost, yet it has payoffs as well. I'm obscure everywhere rather than in just one small town. I am given the chances to give magic moments across the country. I take the time to give what I can, when I can.

For every challenge, there will be a lesson or a memory worth keeping. For every uphill there is a Vista.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Not Just Another Dry Rant on Politics, or A Bipartisan System Lubricated by "Campaign Funding" is Absurd

It's a tuesday night. Imagine we are watching a sporting event. It starts with a montage of photos and video footage promoting a competitor. Next there are snips of interviews with the competitor and their supporters. Next there is the opposition and their supporters. A lot of posing and soundbites designed to crank up the crowd. The fight begins. The fight ends. Some sports are real and it is about skill or how well the referee attends the fight. Some are entertainment, like professional wrestling and political campaigns unfortunately you only know the sponsors of the wrestlers. The political sponsors may be hiding behind sub companies names so you may not see the giant behind multiple donations pulling the puppet strings on candidates. 

An open mouth! It is a candidate using someone else's excellent writing skills to persuade you through their charisma and charm that they actually are there to represent you. Hold on, have you taken the time to review any of their track records? We are a country of inattentive parents wondering  why our metaphorical teenagers (politicians) are out of control. How many times have you looked up to see how often your representatives are attending sessions in Washington? How many times have you looked up to see what legislation they are actually signing, writing, suggesting and voting for? Are you just assuming that because they have the "Democrat" or "Republican" label that you feel fits you, that they must be doing their best on your behalf because their "shirt has the same tag"? That is as absurd as assuming that just because someone else wears the same shirt as you, they make the same choices and have the same goals that you do. Stupid, huh? 

It's human nature to want to be included, to identify yourself with a description into a group. We like being included, we like fitting. Unfortunately the parties do not fit anymore. Our political system is broken. 

Basically, if you were to hand a legislator several million dollars for their campaign you can tell them how to vote. In fact, the people funding the campaigns are corporations, and the corporations are getting the votes on the legislation they want. They are educated in politics, they follow Washington, they monitor who's showing up and who's voting on what. They have to know that stuff to know where to direct their energy so that while you are busy worrying about late bill payment, feeding your kids healthy food, appealing health insurance coverage, and just keeping your head above water- those corporations are making sure their agendas are met. For them, with the resources and finances to lubricate political wheels they smile while the American public- poor, middle class, and would be upper class all suffer at a proportion that feeds conflict. One person staunchly supports legislation because it finally gave them financial breathing room while another bitches that their rights just got stepped on and that they shouldn't have to support anyone else. 

When did anyone in this country come to deserve to be entitled? Sorry, but supporting each other rather than punishing or being intolerant of others is human and crucial. We are all human, we are all fallible and WE ALL DESERVE RESPECT AND SUPPORT. No one deserves to be paid lower than their worth, no one should be a criminal because they need medication, no one should die because their insurance coverage was declined. We should not have to teach children that water is not safe to drink, we should be working on legislation to protect the environment as IT IS THE ONLY ONE WE HAVE, there is no magic reset button or cosmic parent that is going to show up to clean our metaphorical room. 

You might think I am taking this too far, but just to show you how moronic it is to blindly buy into and support a candidate because of their party affiliation here: 

Apache Junction Arizona: Pinal County elections for Constable in 2014. John Acton was running Republican, he was caught using misleading and false statements in his campaign after he was elected. The county decided on a recall election, giving the public a chance to vote again- thinking that the public would make a wise decision considering the candidate was inappropriate based on the behaviors he was caught doing in his campaign. A little about Apache Junction; it is lovely but it's mostly retired folks and loud, proud Republicans. They voted him in again over an independent candidate who had no record of wrongdoing with 58% of the vote. Several months later, he was already in trouble for harassing residents, threatening them using his title as if he were a wild west shoot them all Sheriff. The county is trying to figure out how to deal with the loose cannon the public permitted to step into a position he is not fit for. John McCain slipping in a hand off of land that a prior President designated to NEVER allow mining- knowingly to a large mining company on a defense budget bill for a small profit in comparison to what the company will take home to their owners overseas while they destroy land that has historical significance to the Apaches. 

Democrats do not sit back and pat your backs, your party has also had it's share of inept and corrupt officials. Obama could have refused to sign the defense bill until the rider McCain added was removed; instead he said play nice and ducked out of the controversy; he also hasn't made a move to free Leonard Peltier although he could step up and resolve an old wrong instead of perpetuating it. Hilary Clinton moved to New York State to give herself a better shot at presidential candidacy. These examples may seem opinionated or weak but I save the best for last. Democrats, do I need to bring up the names of Democratic Governors of Illinois convicted of corruption? 

Time for us to stop picking a generic description to become a part of a group. Time for us to make a description for ourselves - if that is what we need- to become responsible citizens. To monitor our politicians and their actions; to review candidates not based on sound bites or media coverage but on their actions, their demonstration of skills and their choice to decline taking funding from corporate sponsors if the funding includes corporate puppeteering. Corporations do NOT care about your health, they do NOT care what you want, they CARE about THEIR profits. It comes down to what they can convince you that you need to consume, how much you NEED to spend and have the things they sell. Do not HUMANIZE them, do not allow advertisements to cloud your judgement. At the end of the day it comes down to numbers, to money, and how much of yours they can get. 

Become Independent. Be Proud, be original, be a thinking, autonomous American. Choose to join a growing faction of people who do not care about labels. Actions speak louder than words. Let's start hearing the speeches and talks in Charlie Brown adult noises and start looking at the bottom line. 

Resumes, references, lists of achievements- we should want to see them. We should also be asking: who is funding you and WHO IS DOING YOUR WRITING!?! 

We should be pressuring for legislation changes to stop PACs. We should be pressuring for legislation to abolish or limit the potential of lobbyists. Instead we're playing games, watching sitcoms, and whining. Time for change. If we don't like how dirty our metaphorical room has gotten, it is up to us to make changes. 

We can boycott products, we can use social media to create petitions and to form groups to watchdog political actions and choices. Instead we share moronic memes. We have power. Each of us is capable of more than we realize. A majority of us is easily possible. Think if 10,000 people protest a political bill through boycotting products, that is a large profit lost; media coverage fuels further impact. If one million people protested through "sick out" i.e. calling in sick on the same day across the country to protest a political choice- it would bring the country, the politicians and corporations to their knees within a day or two. Think about it. You are free whether you realize it or not, whether you utilize your freedom or choose to see yourself caught in the endless hamster wheel of American society today. 

The choice is yours. Instead of treading water, voicing the same concerns repeatedly- take steps to change. Take steps to educate yourself, to vote with your spending, to monitor political issues not through social media coverage but through the numbers, through the decisions made. 

We could make our country one to be proud of again, rather than an opinionated, biased, irrational, unpredictable and mostly mediocre one. Wouldn't it be nice to be proud of our international status, rather than be viewed at oblivious world bullies and users? Wouldn't it be nice to work with people, to exercise tolerance and to promote good health and wellbeing here- and around the world? 

I could be wrong. The track records of BOTH parties demonstrate that I am at least partially right. Government is supposed to be about REPRESENTING THE PEOPLE; not the Corporations.