Tag Archives: be humanitarian

The world needs more like my mom.

First I wanted to share a YouTube video that was a good reminder for me. I told a friend the thing I dislike the most of everything going on is the polarization, fighting, and fear that an awful lot of people wish to participate in. This video is a slight twist to things I’ve suspected and suggested myself, but her words are better at conveying it.


Now for my intended topic :

For every failure my dad demonstrated, every trauma incurred by him in my childhood, my mom showed brilliance. In fact she is the one that I credit for keeping me from being completely like my dad, and teaching me better ways to live .

My mom was my protector, as much as she could be. My mom was my support, the kindness in my world. She taught me how to care about others through kindness and her own personal charity workings.

She knew how to apologise, and her biggest faults were apologizing too much and falling prey to dad’s dominance and a general poverty loop.

My memories of mom are exact opposites to the memories of dad. Where dad is mostly negative memories with a smear of positive ones, my mom is mostly positive ones with a smear of negative (and really the few negatives tie back to dad in one way or another).

My mom was the person in our family that was always doing something to help people that were less fortunate.

I remember one Christmas season my mom was worried that we ourselves would not have a holiday celebration of any significance, and knew she needed to rely on K-Mart’s layaway program to even try to provide a holiday. However, she knew someone that was struggling even worse than our family was. Their family had 3 small children and when she went to put our toys on layaway at K-Mart she picked 3 small toys for the other family to include in her layaway purchase. I remember her being worried about timing because the last payment was due right before Christmas, but ultimately she made it work and both our family and theirs had a holiday that year.

Then there was our next-door neighbor when I was about 4 years old. It was an elderly lady that had emphysema from having smoked for her whole life. The lady lived alone and had no close family to help her. She continued to smoke even while using oxygen. My mom promised her that she would come clean her mobile home and make some food for her if she promised not to smoke while her and I were there. The house always smelled strongly of cigarettes and I disliked being there, and often the lady would have a cigarette ready to light as soon as we left. Yet she never actually smoked when we were over, and my mom did continue to help her every week until we had to move away. My mom never charged her anything, only asked she pay for any groceries paid for on her behalf.

My mom was big on helping at Christmas time. She would always find an acquaintance or co-worker that was having a particularly difficult year. Sometimes she would give gifts, sometimes decorations. Occasionally, if we were having a good year she would do both. I remember several years where I helped her pick presents for other little girls. One year she helped a Mexican family she worked with and provided much of their Christmas. They had moved to Iowa City not long before that holiday season and were caring for elderly extended family from Mexico. She provided them a whole array of inexpensive decorations and small gifts for kids and even bought them a turkey. My father was very upset with her because she had helped a Mexican family in such a large way. I have always respected her choice and it always bothered me that my father kept pointing out their race.

Help is help, and anyone struggling to get through life deserves help. Those barely getting by, need the boost of a little holiday cheer sometimes, and kind hearts make the world keep functioning. That is a lesson my father missed, because he would help anyone that was white, even druggies, but not a hard working Mexican family. Charity is not about skin color, but honoring someone’s journey as being more difficult than deserved, and making an attempt to help another’s life be just a bit better than yesterday. Everyone deserves that moment.

My mom was also a nurse that mostly worked in nursing homes. Mostly working evening and 3rd shifts, there were several times that my mom would have to take us to work with her and Dad would pick us up on his way home. Hindsight being what it is, I now wonder if those supposed long shifts were parts of his affairs with other women. Regardless, what I remember on those nights is how mom always got along well with her co-workers and was kind to residents. There was one nursing home I actually enjoyed going to because they had a resident cat. The cat had made friends with mom because she was the only one that was really kind to it. So, when us kids went, we were accepted by the cat as being friendly as well. It would hang out and let me pet it the entire time I was there. The same nursing home also had a huge fish tank, or what seemed huge to me, and I loved watching the fish. But really, I remember my mom rubbing backs and convincing people to take medicine because it was good for them. I remember her patiently explaining to people that she would help them as soon as possible.

Is it any wonder I have spent nearly 8 years working with elderly? Or that I get along with my mom far better than my father?

Despite working mostly nights when I was a kid, my mom still cooked and cleaned and took care of us children during the day. I remember when I was really little trying to pry her eyes open and asking her if she was ready to get up yet. She would just say “a little longer can you watch your shows please”. I would watch all the PBS shows including Bob Ross and another lady painter that did adorable little animal paintings. That’s where I got interested in art. When I would get bored with TV I would pretend. I would play family or school or tea party, or lay in sunbeams with my kitty and daydream that the dust flecks were fairies. My stuffed animals were great friends when my mom was resting from her work shift. Then around lunchtime she would spring into action, make me lunch and start cleaning, laundry and prepping for making dinner. As I got older she would let me help by showing me how to dust or make Kool-aid.

Then eventually I started school, being the youngest for many years, and she actually got a full amount of sleep.

I remember spending holiday time baking a whole array of tasty treats with mom. I ate far too many things right out of the oven, but it was just SOOOO tasty. The best part was knowing that many of her delicious treats were for others. Should would make goodie baskets for friends and co-workers, she would give breads and cookies to neighbors. She baked pies to help other families have good holiday dinners. And it wasn’t just at Christmas. When our zucchinis would ripen she would bake loaves and loaves and give away nearly half of them. At Easter she would bake cookies and muffins and give them away with chocolates. On her birthday she would always make two cakes, one for home and one for work. All year round she would cook goodies and half always went to other people. When I was in highschool a neighbor made pickles and she would trade goodies for pickles. They would combine their leftovers for other neighbors to get some of both.

When times were really tough for my mom in Utah she would drive across state line to buy butter by the car full. She would take the butter to her neighbors and sell it cheaper than the Utah taxed butter but more than she paid. When she wasn’t running butter she hauled manure, because one farmer would pay her to clean out animal stalls and another would pay her for the load as fertilizer for crops.

She made dolls and crocheted doll dresses by hand. She baked for profit and for fund raisers for school. She crocheted blankets for friends with babies and would give them as gifts whenever she could. She made clothes for us kids when she couldn’t afford to buy new ones.

I have always felt terrible because the year bullying started for me, she had made me some very pretty dresses for school. Yet, they were not dresses found in stores, so kids noticed. They teased me for not having store clothes and then I didn’t want to wear the dresses. I knew it hurt my mom’s feelings, but the kids were hurting my feelings. There was no good solution. It was the first time I struggled with a problem like that. I have always wanted to make up for it and felt I never could.

I love my mom and I really appreciate everything she did for us and especially for what she tried to do for us. I know she did her best to keep dad’s anger at bay and protect us when she couldn’t keep it away. I know she had more than a few ingenious moments that kept our family afloat when times were tough and she made dollars go far further than most people manage. She was strong and compassionate and caring on multiple levels. She put her kids first and God second, and was always doing her best to make our lives and the lives of those she knew better. She is a kind human being and that is exactly the kind of person this world needs more of. I aim to be like my mom as much as possible, and hope maybe one-day I’ll figure out a step even slightly better.

I love you mom.


May you always have a kind person in your life. May you see acts of kindness all around you and find ways to do them yourself. May you have loving caring parents and be successful in protecting your children from the hurts of the world. May you forgive yourself and others when hurts seem to multiply or affect those you want to show love. May you know your presence in the world is helping others to have a better experience. May you know you are leaving a positive mark on the world. May you know you are loved and safe.

Siva Hir Su

Relaxing into clarity.

Yesterday I hit an exhausted wall again. Cancelled most, but not all, of my massage work today. That is an expensive habit I need to break, even if it has only been once a month.

You see as an employee I’m faced with the corporation’s rules:

  • Too many sick days and there’s penalty.
  • Overtime equals penalty.
  • Too many penalties and you get fired.

Yet the “reality” is I am working 7 days a week. 5 for them and 2 as myself. It also holds knowledge that I made $4 more last year in the job than in the self-employed work- way more hours for the same pay.

The reality is that their full-time 40-hour-a-week job has unrealistic expectations. There’s simply too much to be done to fit into 40 hours, but not enough to justify hiring an additional employee. So rules being what they are I’ve been electing to work off the clock averaging 2 to 5 hours a week of unpaid overtime, and that’s with efforts I’ve made to make certain duties more efficient.

I’d hate to see what the average Joe would need, and it has made even clearer why they keep going through activities directors like candy. Because like myself they’ve all probably hit the this-isn’t-worth-it-wall and quit caring which ultimately led to unfulfilled job duties and getting themselves canned. Unfortunately, even though I’m seeing the clarity, my work ethic demands I stick to what I’ve already done, until I find a better solution.

I’m literally putting in 70 hours a week between both sources of income, sometimes more.

So today I worked less to take care of myself. In fact I’m writing this from my post cupping, Epsom salt bath.

Thought you might prefer to not see all of me naked 🤣, but I’m loving that technology has allowed this moment.

Anyway, sunshine, cupping, massage, good healthy food, CBD oil, and a peppermint/eucalyptus Epsom bath- I’m starting to feel revived. I might actually be able to accomplish some tax prep before bed.

In the meantime, whilst I soak, I’m going to breakdown the opposites I’d prefer to experience.

  • Ballance between work life and home/social life.
  • Quality time with my children (wanting to play in the sandbox with Ian and go for walks outside again, now that the weather is improving).
  • I’d love to get paid above the real, current, highly inflated, cost-of-living for doing a 40 hour week. Less hours, more pay. I feel I’m worth it. I’m intelligent, hard working, detail oriented, and do go the extra mile when it’s called for (it shouldn’t be a daily expectation at low wages like it currently is).
  • Legally, I’m due to be paid for overtime when it’s necessary without penalty. Companies should acknowledge that if they are choosing to have fewer employees than workload dictates, they are to pay accordingly, or adjust the workload. In this particular case there are 3 people with time available to help. 2 of which are computer illiterate (as far as many of my duties are concerned) and the 3rd is one of “the mean girls” above me in rank. That is the additional clarity of why I just work off the clock, instead of attempting to shift workload elsewhere. They are simply either not able or willing to help in a genuine caring manner.
  • I wish to work with people willing to go the extra mile and be supportive of each other, but in an environment that tests it less frequently. Lower stress environment.
  • I prefer to work with people that are more open, accepting, and understanding. We all have oddities, quirks, and strange habits or mannerisms, just because someone else’s might bother you doesn’t make it right to mock them.
  • I enjoy being around friendly people.
  • I enjoy being appreciated.
  • I am grateful I leave lasting positive impacts on the people and places I’ve worked with.
  • I enjoy the feeling of belonging one gets in a tight knit community.
  • I enjoy being around people of all ages and all backgrounds. It is more interesting and brings more ideas to the table, the “compromise-challenge” is worth it.
  • I prefer to live the sentiment Summer Osborne addressed in her TED talk. (see here)
  • I would love to have genuinely good insurance that covered providers of my choice, even home birth, chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage. That is truly progressive and preventative medicine.
  • I would love to have my dome home and an electric vehicle.
  • I think I would really enjoy being on the providing side of these sentiments through owning my own community- my dream of Atira gets clearer with every day I’m alive.
  • I look forward to a day when I know my efforts help produce profits that go to good charitable causes instead of investors bank accounts.
  • I look forward to having a hand in those charities as well; a way to make a greater and even more positive and lasting impact.
  • I look forward to easier times ahead for me and my family.
  • I look forward to being able to take vacations occasionally with enough budget to do so easily and comfortably. Even once a year would be grand.
  • I look forward to experiencing the cafe and bistro I’ve dreamed of where I can walk in knowing there are multiple truly healthy and truly tasty options to choose from.
  • I look forward to being able to stay home on messy winter days and being able to take full advantage of those perfect sunny days, even if it’s just a walk in the park.
  • I look forward to being able to release my CDL comfortably knowing I no longer need to keep it as a backup plan, let alone my source of income. There are plenty of people that love driving more than I do.
  • I look forward to having a great playground in my close knit community…. And a dog park… And trails… Mmmm good.
  • I look forward to manifesting greater good in this world for God. I choose the archetypes Shiva (Zeus/Poseidon), Kali (Hera/Brighid), Ganesh (Hermes/Mercury), etc., because they resonate with me and I have such a layered understanding of God’s aspects. Regardless, we are here to further manifest on behalf of God. We are conduit for the Divine to produce more, and I acknowledge the weight of that willingly. I choose to do better, to strive for better, and to leave a positive mark on this world. Part of me wishes everyone had that same intense desire, and on some level we all do, but I acknowledge some are simply not able to accomplish what I am reaching for. I hope that I am able to accomplish what I am reaching for.

With that, my bath is cold and I am going to reach for tax progress with the remainder of my evening. Adeau and Happy St. Pat’s day if I don’t get a chance to write again before then. Blessings everyone.

Journeys make the dream.

Recently I just finished watching “The Kindness Diaries” on Netflix (I believe that it is a NetFlix original). It was the most amazing story of a spiritual journey that I have seen yet. I am utterly grateful for Leon’s journey for it brought hope back to my heart and provided a great expansion in my being. Essentially, he travels the world solely by the kindness of others, which leaves him in some very interesting situations. In the end not only was the kindness that he was shown amazing, but the kindness he returned was amazing too.

It has made me think yet again about ways that I might do more for others. My heart so yearns for a large scale helping of others. I have acknowledged lately that I am not here to make money; I am here to help make the world a better place for as many people as I can. It’s why I became a massage therapist a decade ago when my art degree failed so miserably. I thought that if I couldn’t make the world beautiful, perhaps I could help people instead. They are really elements of the same aspect of my being that is my soul manifest. Beautiful sound, beautiful images/objects, and treating others beautifully- they all contribute to a beautiful world.

I have been very verbal about that, even responding to queries from my residents regarding things that Trump is doing, that I am a humanitarian at heart- I want to help people and I wish there were more humanitarians in the world. I explained to one resident (when he was asking about military budget), that the biggest problem that I had with spending more on the military is that it wouldn’t go to the soldiers it would go to the military machine- that our country has a long history of sending people off to war, getting maimed and traumatized, often killed. The ones that do return home are “released” and left to their own devices; often having to fight for medical care through our pitiful VA system. I pointed out to him, that even he chose to use up all of his retirement savings on a private facility rather than go to the VA home. It really is sad how our veterans are treated after having fought for our freedoms. Yet the system continues to function the same way, because there are too few humanitarians willing to put their foot down and refuse to perpetuate that very system.

Regardless, I am essentially aware that I myself have not been able to produce monetary gains of any sort. I’m not here to make money. However, I’ve been having long conversations with the divine of late that it’s much easier to help others if the monetary flow is great. The greater the flow in fact: the more people that I could help. The better effect I could have on the world. The more beauty I could bring.

I have acknowledged that the archetype of Lord Shiva (aka Zeus, Jupiter, Thor, Cernunos, you even could compare to the burning bush God of The Bible) is speaking to me of late. That archetype:  Father God with strong firey powers that can be both destructive and life giving; is speaking to me on a level that I am still having trouble wrapping my brain around. It feels so amazing, yet very surreal. The messages are flowing strongly, the mental images are intense yet very comforting. I am literally feeling the divine love lately. I am feeling the love in me and my life much better than the broken depression wrought brain I had a few months ago.

[Because believe me when I say that: not only does depression eliminate the ability to feel love, it also makes me a very angry aggressive monster, and I end up even despising myself and the things I have done.]

Yet, I have conversations with this power about how I could be doing so much more for others, especially if I wasn’t worried about my own self and family so much. I say “if only you could drop a ‘whole lotta money’ in my lap, I could build Atira” and create that beautiful perpetual giving machine to help thousands, perhaps even millions of people. I emphasize that I would do it all in the name of the Divine, that I know I personally am not here to make money for myself. I have proven time and time again that I can exist on little to no money. I can and would contribute all of it to building the giving machine. As long as I had a peaceful retreat (room of my own) and enough food (which really isn’t much these days)- I would give everything else to create Atira and help everyone I could.

And then the surreal gets blissfully even more surreal.

I realize that without the hard journey Nathan and I have experienced, we would not have gotten to where we are. We would not have been so concerned for the safety and security of others. We would not want to help others out of situations that we narrowly missed. We would not have wanted to fix things that other people are blind to. We would not have the desire to be such intense humanitarians.

So then I ask: can we cut to the chase now? Have we experienced enough journey to be like Leon Logothetis and give back in a big way? Can I start having the OPRAH experience now? Take that twisty-windy-curvy, long, painful road, and make it short, straight, sweet, and to-the-point? PLEASE?!?!

As if trying to yell a response, my days get even more surreal.

Messages are everywhere. I realize that a residents’ wall I’ve been staring at for 2 years has objects on it that validate my current experience. I begin to wonder what the remaining objects mean.

I also get messages in text speak- lots and lots of them!

For instance, in one spot I see: L247282… 8 has always been a reference for infinite for me. L or LU  has always been Love or Love You for me. So then I translate the text speak into “Love 24/7 to the infinite too”, essentially telling me show some love back please.  My response- OK, done!

How does one show love to the divine?

For me it’s always been through mantras, art, nature, dancing, and music. They all help me feel connected, help me feel that love much more. So I’ll step up my work some more. Mantras have already been stepped up, and I’ve already been listening to a lot of music that makes me want to dance. I don’t feel like a great dancer, but I do love to dance around a fire on a cool summer night. I can’t wait for the weather to get a little better so that I can do more of that. That leaves art, being in nature, and playing music. All of which I could do lots more of. DONE! Making room in the schedule.

Yet, what about that 24/7 part?

I need to bring the feeling I get when I’m doing those things into all of my waking activities… and sleep too! For sleep, just set the tone before drifting off… it always works for me. Waking hours might be a bit more challenging, but challenge accepted. If that’s the missing link, then I’m going to do my best to show the love 24/7. I’ll bring more love to my residents, more love to my work environment, more love to the road, and For Pete’s Sake more love to my ever-frustrating super-smart yet very beautiful children. If love’s what’s missing, I’ll do my humanly best to bring more love to the table.

 

So, today I brought the love through stopping to smell and take pictures of flowering trees. I flirted with the lifeguard at the Y, I said hi to complete strangers. I gave what little pocket change I had to a man on the street (I’ve been sorely short cash moneys lately), and I drove oblivious to the traffic conditions that would normally frustrate the living daylights out of me.

It was and still is a beautiful day, rain, clouds and all. Things feel good again. I look forward to the future manifestations of that.

Next installment of Atira I’ll talk about the different business things I want to do… I’ve been working on fine tuning mentally the order of things before I sit to write it.