Practice

Struggle, Hurt, and Choice

I am struggling and I am hurting. I am struggling to be what I ought to be and hurting when I think it will never be enough. I am struggling to build relationships and community and hurting when those efforts leave me feeling unloved and unwanted. I am struggling to raise my daughter in a way that keeps that light inside her shining strong and hurting when I see shame or self-criticism flash across her face after harsh words pass through my lips.

Part of living a good life is owning our choices and today I take this hurt and choose my struggle. When I think I will never be good enough, I choose to be kind to myself regardless. When I feel unloved and unwanted, I choose to accept the unconditional love and acceptance of God above. When I see my daughter hurting, I choose to put aside my own discomfort and stand by her always.

This hurt and this struggle will not be for nothing, I choose to view them as growing pains.

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Practice

Comfortable

Recently someone came to my home for the first time and she asked, “Are you comfortable here?”

I answered, “Yes,” because I am lucky enough to have superficial comfort in a home that I am grateful to have and share with little Goose.

Am I really comfortable though? No, I am not. I am far from it.

I am not comfortable because there is no comfort to be had while children are being ripped from their families’ arms in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I am not comfortable because many of my fellow citizens claim to be Christian, yet are aligned with a political party which has never walked so far from the path of Jesus than they do today.

I am not comfortable because our beautiful planet is about as comfortable as a menopausal woman having a hot flash in an Alabama swamp and those in power would deny her relief.

I am not comfortable when it is considered radical for a government to provide for its citizens’ basic healthcare needs when it was designed to be for the people and by the people.

I am not comfortable because so many refuse to treat our neighbors to the South with any amount of neighborly respect, kindness, or love when the Good Book is pretty clear about this.

I am not comfortable because those in power treat corporations with more humanity than they do real humans because somehow corporations meet the requisites for personhood. I never saw a corporation bleed or breathe, but the message I hear is that they don’t need to as long as dollar is king.

I am not comfortable because the Earth we are gifting our children does not have the same stability that we ourselves were given.

I am not comfortable because the leader of the free world is a bigot, racist, and pathological liar and my fellow citizens care less about that than what I do inside my own uterus.

I am not comfortable because we forget that the only race that exists is the human one and the only skin color that matters is flesh.

So, the next time you ask me if I am comfortable here, do not expect a socially acceptable white lie. The first step to true comfort and a fulfilled life on Earth is knowledge of the problem and I will no longer hide my discomfort for you to be able to keep yours at bay.

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Practice

Someone Said it Better

As a writer, I often get the gist of something and am compelled to re-explain it from my perspective. A few times in my life and again recently, I had the joy of reading the work of another writer and all I wanted to do is either read more or share what they wrote. The book I am introducing has my wholehearted recommendation. I will not go on because Cheryl Strayed said it better when she wrote Brave Enough. Here is the book on Amazon and also on GoodReads; check it out, enjoy, and feel free to comment below.

This is Amanda Marie and reading this book is an idea for a good time on earth.

If you buy the book after clicking on the Amazon link, I receive funding. This is my otherwise unpaid, unadulterated, and unsolicited opinion. 

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Practice

Philosophy for Instant Perspective

Memento Mori – remember death or remember that you, too, shall die

Our time on Earth is the only thing we know for certain that we have.  Remember that you will die and you do not have to waste a second on anything less than the good life or opportunities which move you closer to it.  You are an unique creature on this beautiful planet first, human being with to-do lists, errands, and bills second.

Often finding myself sleep-deprived and cranky after work, little Goose will do or say (demand) something that elicits a much more severe response than I would like.  On the brink of action that I may regret, I try to remember the two words, Memento Mori.  When I am lucky and the practice pays off, I have a split second for my mind to reconsider my imminent behavior and I remember that my sweet, loving little daughter will die someday, albeit hopefully long after I do.  With this healthy dose of perspective I am able to think more logically and choose my actions instead of being subject to reaction.

Taking a moment to truly stop and fully consider that it is only a matter of time before your children, parents, spouse, etc will no longer be here is challenging.  The more seriously one considers it, the easier it is to be swallowed up by it.  The goal is to just consider it long enough for it to touch your heart and move you to the place you prefer to act from.  It does not serve us to become upset about this universal fact of life, so use it to be a better version of yourself.

I do not spend a lot of time thinking about the specific, morbid details of death and understand how doing so could make this philosophy inaccessible.  It is less gore than remembering our impermanence.  Whether or not a person believes in an after-life, it would not be the same as the life we have now.  Whether our consciousness lives on for eternity or our self ends with our last breath, this life is precious.  Reflecting on the fact that our breaths, heartbeats, and moments with our loved ones are limited ensures that we know what we have before it’s gone.

We can all use a healthy dose of Memento Mori because enjoying our lives and being the people we want to be is simply a matter of perspective.

This is Amanda Marie and an idea for a fulfilled time on Earth.

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Practice

Step into the Light

A close friend eloquently paraphrased an idea I was fumbling to articulate, “I won’t turn down my light for you.”  To do this, brace yourself, step into the light, take a deep breath, and take up some space.  Accept the good things life has to offer.

Imagine a small child cowering in a shaded corner, arms crossed and shoulders hunched, protecting their little neck from assaults imagined and real.  The compassion you feel and encouragement you lend them is true, now realize that child is you.

It is wonderfully simple and immensely challenging to see yourself as the child, worthy and resilient; Love yourself.

I am open to the good things life has to offer, I am enough, and the question is not a matter of what I can handle.  The question is how gracefully I will handle the opportunities that life presents to me.

This is me, Amanda Marie, stepping further into the light, unafraid of being seen and this is an idea for a fulfilled time on Earth.

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Practice

Writing Prompt: The Majorities

Prompt: Humans have become increasingly specialized such that eighty percent are now on an autism-like spectrum with one exceptional talent coupled with mediocrity at best in all other endeavors: Reddit Writing Prompt Thread

 

I awaken and cringe at the awareness of a new day.  It is not that being unconscious is much better, but at least during sleep the enormity of ‘it all’ could be fictitious, which is the dream I relish most.

My subconscious dutifully attempts to process that which cannot be processed due to sheer and unforgiving volume.  “Good try, old chap,” I sarcastically think to myself with an inner chuckle.  Everything I’ve read on the subject tells me that humor is necessary for coping, but that advice is intended for people who are generating emotions that only feel like the weight of the world.  I like the chapters that say that sometimes you just have to talk it out with someone who understands.  Well, I would love to tell someone all about it if I could manage to produce a comprehensible sentence.

After fifteen minutes of trying to convince myself that I could sleep for a little while longer, I lug myself up from my sleeping pad and make my way to the lavatory to attend to the morning necessities of this dreadful flesh sack.

The room is dark and cool and saturated with perfect silence.  An erratic organizational system is marginally apparent with the only discernible theme being creature comfort and a marked lack of bright color or light.  Rich, thick textiles drape the edges of the sleeping pad and where they meet the wall, the layers of art begin.  One piece stands out among the others.  He’s standing in the center of a thick, mahogany frame and is objectively beautiful and scantily dressed.  His eyes are haunting and have a tendency to either capture people such that they lose awareness of space-time or reel away from what they seem to know.  He was created by a majority who’s ‘gift’ is visual art, specifically painting.  If only she had any command of language, I could send a note thanking her for bringing him to life.

After my lowly base needs are met, I dedicate the next two hours to my morning em-balance routine.  Recently it’s been a bit of mind-clear, body-stretch, and body-move.  With this, along with my more extended evening em-balance routine, I can complete my service on most days.

Most majorities can function independently with no more than the basic minority-provided Majority Support Systems, if they need them at all.  Common sense dictates not mixing incompatible ‘gifts’ among majority life-partners and the idea of a majority working outside of their ‘gift’ is laughable to most.  Some of them long to endeavor elsewhere despite the known difficulty, but most keep it to themselves unless they are passing as a minority.

I know what it feels like to have a ‘gift’ and be functional enough to choose, but since day one, there has been no chance of me passing off as anything but what I am.  I was born with what they call the ‘Gift of Permeable Sense Boundaries, Uncontrollable Type, Class IV.’  Like most gift classifications, the name isn’t completely accurate, as most of us can discern between sources and focus well enough to effectively reverse-emote.  I am the current working Regional Empath of 3b.275.

I gather the nerve to subject myself to another day’s work and with a click of the lock and a turn of the handle I open the door to my workspace adjacent to my sensory-controlled living environment.  I stagger slightly as I acclimate to the morning light streaming through the floor-to-ceiling windows along with the region’s morning struggles.  Immediately feeling guilty over my selfish desire to stay inside, I get to work and am relieved, feeling immediately that there are no Level IX-X situations to report to Emergency Intervention Services.  Starting with those people currently at Level VIII, I diligently work to help them achieve and maintain their personal Level of Acceptable Function while constantly reassessing demand as the people go through the natural ups and downs of their day.  The region is down to Level IV and below by the time I need to start my evening em-balance routine.  My Class I-III Local Empaths take shifts to cover maintenance for the night in their respective localities as I gladly step inside and feel exponentially lighter upon hearing the lock click back into place.

Today, as much as any day, I yearn to feel the understanding that is achieved by sharing yourself with another as my differently-gifted majorities and the minorities do.  I feel their loads lighten when another understands and accepts their nature and experience, yet their relief I feel is not my own.  I do not remember tolerating the sensation of direct human or mammalian interaction and am restricted to reading and writing to communicate.  Most empaths do not maintain stimulating galleries or libraries due to the perceived increased risk of a sensory comatose episode or, worse, an uncontrolled reverse-emote event.  Then again, most empaths fail to survive past adolescence or to provide much service in adulthood.  The layers of human emotion on my walls center on the knowing man within the mahogany frame.  He with the eyes that ensnare or revolt hold within them all the possibilities and depravities of the human condition and is the closest thing I will ever have to being known by another as others are known to me. And once in a while, as I float between consciousness and unconsciousness, I feel that I may be loved.

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Practice

Discomfort Toleration

Tolerate discomfort.  Imagine a world where we stop telling children that they should just be quiet because their tears make us uncomfortable.  Imagine it being okay to look your friend in their grief-filled eyes and feel no urge to change their sorrow, just to sit alongside them in solidarity.  This is the world I imagine and I wish for you to join me.

Often, a person will move out from under the spotlight of discomfort as quickly as possible.  In conversation, thought, movement, and many other activities, our internal barometer will alert us to the fact that something is not ideal.  Something may be unpredictable or outright painful and we move away.  Here is where I ask you to deviate from standard operations.  Don’t fight, flee, or freeze; just stay.  Acknowledge that your preference would be another reality and make the conscious decision to accept the reality you are in.

Let’s try this together.

Choose a flag to remember to practice.  It can be anytime you are interacting with someone else, a physical practice, or anything of your choosing.  The flag matters a lot less than remembering to practice and the more you try, the more skilled you become.  I am proposing this: the more we practice tolerating discomfort, the more we can embrace uncomfortable situations, which is a powerful ability.  We shall stand strongly in the throes, where others would shirk, calm and unwavering until consciously choosing to move on.

 

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Practice

Pain and Joy

Being in the throes of injury is an interesting space for introspection.  Through the fog of pain medication and the difficulty in accepting assistance, a brain wanders.  This uncharted territory may show some hiding in fear and others venturing with curiosity.  A single person may likely oscillate between the two.  It seems like there are places in our bodies that exist that we are unaware of until they become damaged.  It is something familiar made foreign, an estranged lover.  In exploring this part of ourselves, there is a fine line to be walked between keeping the mind positive and accepting the cold truth.  There is also a secret option.  By being fully aware and present with the truth of a situation, one may find strength in awareness.  By tolerating the pain and inability to fully know the extent of damage, one may inhabit the barren land of discomfort.  A person can delight in the joy of the present moment while simultaneously being encumbered by pain of multiple varieties.  Our society, in particular, seems to have lost the skill of tolerating discomfort.  More discussion regarding tolerating discomfort shall come at a later date.  Today, I prefer to propose that although the body may be injured, the mind can stay strong.  This is not done by ignoring the pain and the feelings, but by relishing them as a normal part of life.  If we choose to live the joy and refuse to live the pain, we are losing a part of the human experience.  If it is there, it is there for a reason.  If that is not enough, the fact that there is a wall is enough reason to climb.

In pain and joy, Amanda Marie

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Practice

Snow Day

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