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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Everything in its season...no, seriously, MOVE, now!


"Indeed if a seed is not allowed to germinate (sprout) within some certain length of time, the embryo inside will die. Each species of seed has a certain length of viability. Many temperate zone species that use inhibitors use abscisic acid. This chemical induces dormancy in the embryo. The chemical is produced in abundance in the late summer and early fall. The seeds in the fruits become dormant so, even if they are dispersed in autumn, they cannot sprout. During the winter enzymes in the seeds degrade the abscisic acid. By spring the abscisic acid is gone and the seed can sprout." Ross Koning (random botanist sounding guy)

I'm betting the above information is just not that interesting to a good portion of the population--plant enthusiasts, old ladies with big sun hats, green cloth gloves, and plastic knock off CROCS, and ecclectic, science types (me, smile) might be included in the small group of people who care about when a seed can turn into a scrawny green buds.

Something otherworldly happens to me in my garden. I get these spiritual and mental epiphanies while I'm working the soil and tending plants. I'll be in complete solitude and silence and clear life lessons and mini sermons will come to my mind. In the most recent experience, I was frustrated by the small yield of my jalapeno plant. I decided I would just up and plant more seeds...but then it occurred to me, "THE SEASON HAS PASSED. THE WINDOW FOR REAL GERMINATION HAS CLOSED." And then the revelation came...we have seasons for a reason. I felt so compelled to value YOUTH--the spring of life. I started to think about how so many young men are wasting their seed germination time getting high, on corners, estranged from elders who would otherwise be teaching them skills, GERMINATING AND CULTIVATING the multitude of skills that would later be demanded of them to lead their own businesses, endeavors, families, children. I thought about young women losing time chasing love, studying videos on how to become sex vixens, losing valuable time with elders who would otherwise be teaching them skills, GERMINATING AND CULTIVATING the mulitude of skills that would later be demanded of them to lead their own businesses, endeavors, families, children. Because the reality is this: ONCE YOU HIT THE SUMMER AND FALL OF LIFE, THINGS ARE BUSIER, MORE COMPLICATED, AND THERE'S JUST NOT THE SAME TIME TO GERMINATE. The summer and fall of life are the times when we should be EXPLODING WITH DELICIOUS FRUIT of our labor! We should be creating, expanding, providing, developing....but if the germination time was lost and ruined, what will we cultivate when harvest time comes?

The same is true of love. There are windows.

This is not to say that if we blow our "spring" or we are ROBBED of our "spring" (due to the negligence, abandonment, abuse of the adults who are our caretakers--biological, spiritual, political), all is lost, whoa is us! I am one who believes that TIME CAN BE REDEEMED!!! Yes, Laawwwwd...but the redemption has to be swift and very intentional and decided. No more time can be wasted.

So, if you are in the spring of your life, get all you can. Love all you can. If you are in the summer and fall, produce all you can, or go back and quickly redeem that which was lost.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Independence (from bitterness) Day! aka ODE TO THE EXES

This year, my full birth date is 111111. Yup, I was born on November 11th, which means, according to the old horoscope calendar, I'm a Scorpio. Scorpios are described as having powerful personalities, being sexually alluring, successful, and YUP, VENGEFUL AND GRUDGE HOLDING. I'm not one who governs my life by horoscopes; I think character trumps it. I mean, it would really be horrible to be internally "scripted" to be vengeful and grudge holding. Or maybe it was Mom's drilling: "Jesus said, 'If you do not forgive your brother, your Heavently Father will not forgive you' "As human beings, we are so unbelievably complicated and emotionally motivated, and as a result, SO SUSCEPTIBLE TO PAIN AND EMOTIONAL HURT. People will hurt you; it's inevitable. Even the healthiest, most loving, most selfless people in your life will hurt you at least by omission.

So, no, I don't hold grudges. I am sensitive and feel deeply, love hard, and love loyally. So, I've been hurt and disappointed. I've been thinking about bitterness a lot--there are all kinds of books coming out for women--perhaps in response to our cultural norms of dating, marriage, and divorce. One book was subtitled, "Because bitterness is not sexy". It's true. Bitterness exudes from a person's face pores. You just can't hide bitterness. It makes you age, it makes you less attractive, and it's a repellant to love. People who could potentially love you are pushed away by bitterness.

I'm not glib about emotional pain caused by others. I'm not casual about relationships beginning and ending, and I don't shrug at the loss of a relationship. I work REALLY hard to maintain relationships and never to lose any, but inspite of efforts, there have been a couple of people with whom I have not been able to maintain the same level of closeness that we shared before.

I bought a fashion magazine the other day (hey, I'm on vacation!), and I read something that Eva Longoria said in an article. It's hard to miss tabloid news as it's shoved down our throats; so if you remember her situation, her husband cheated, and consequently, they were divorced. This was her second divorce, and she's only 35. She said, and I'm paraphrasing, "You learn not to be bitter. You learn to celebrate what you learned and the love you had."

I still think our society is not as honest as we should be about the damage of divorce or rampant dating and "breaking up", but I did appreciate the heart of her comment. Instead of focusing on how a person hurt you, failed you, disappointed you, why not cherish what you learned and shared in the relationship. Now, I'm not saying we absolve where there should be no absolution, or that we should not have boundaries for people who disrespect us or damage us emotionally, nor that we should just "forgive and forget" (which is physiologically impossible by the way). In some cases, we do have to really just cut people out of our lives because they are toxic. But even with those people, there is something to celebrate. Some way we've grown. Some way we see differently. Some way the experience prepared us for the wonderful man we meet and marry. The woman who makes you want to forget all of the others...

So, let this entry be the public ODE TO THE EXES (ex friends, ex boyfriends/girlfrieds, ex spouses)--a PUBLIC JOURNAL TO CELEBRATE HOW WE'VE GROWN FROM "EXES". How did you grow or learn from your lost relationship? What skills did you gain? What new things did you discover?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

"Little" things keeping us from love (of self and others)

I'm laying in Granny's bed with a half dozen posts in my head. This one in particular is cause of my 2.5 month blogging hiatus. The idea seems complicated to translate to others. This idea--more of a HUGE UNIVERSAL TRUTH (at least in my head)--has taken about two decades to take shape,and honestly it's more like a theory that I want to subject to a scientific peer review. That's how much conviction I have about it.

It's the idea that choices and exposures, whether passive or aggressive, that we shrug off as "insignificant" or as "not a big deals", actually have the power to change our character and quality of life and potential to fully and freely love--to love platonically, romantically, and in every other way. I intitially have examined choices or exposures that could be seen as negative (premature, inappropriate, harmful, etc), and their impact upon our dispositions. I think about a number of my own students who I met as freshmen. That group of students who had started their rookie year as bright eyed, curious, respectful, happy, engaged, were suddenly, and for the time being, permanently, sullen, rude (or nasty), "bored with school", incorrigible with parents and other adults. This was not the normal hormonal temporary episodes of teenage melodrama or a shift in personality due to TITANIC losses such as death of a family member or homelessness or victimization of violence. When I would inquire about these subtle and gradual changes, other students or family members would say things like, "Oh, he started hanging with 'so and so'" or "She's sleeping with 'so and so' who's also sleeping with her ex best friend". This high school gossip took me clearly back to my junior or senior year in high school. I remember a boy telling me, "You smile too much. You need to have sex."

WHOA. Smiling = happiness and innocence to him. So, he was telling me to have sex to "numb" that innocence out of me? Scary.

This entry is not about sex. It does, however, make me think of choices, when in the wrong context, and wrong time, and when just the "WRONG CHOICE", can really rob our souls of authentic happiness, innocence, and goodness--can numb us. In the example above, sex is often seen as a "little" thing to teens that is not a big deal as long as condoms are involved. But in actuality, it's often a decision, when made through pressure or coersion and without counsel and discussion with elders, that numbs and hardens young people (and adults too--let's keep it real).

Sex at the wrong time and with the wrong person/people is not the only soul spotter. Insatiable desires for power, money, envy, bigotry, jealousy--in forms that can be easily shrugged off as "little" or "insignificant" also damage us and our ability to love others. You ever know someone who just couldn't stand you? Hated you? But if asked why, they couldn't articulate why, or created some bogus reason that made you want to just stick a pacifier in his mouth? He/she allowed a little bigotry or jealousy or envy or unforgiveness in--an "inocuous" amount--that tainted their treatment of you. But what we don't realize is that when we allow for those negative things to be in us, we begin to radiate negative energy (as hardness, callousness, mean spiritedness) even when we don't intention to!

Any time we are used or use others for power, sex, recreation, money, control, influence, etc, our souls become more spotted, and sometimes, we become less human.

Old cantankerous people don't get that way overnight. As my sister was reminding my niece today, children start as innocent and radiating love and faith, but the grime of the world begins to stick on our hearts. Some things happen to us, and we have no control over those things. We, do, however, have control over how we respond. The "little" things that we tolerate have huge dividends in our souls--when those "little" compromises or poor choices are not addressed, they take a toll on our ability to love ourselves, others, and God.