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finger-pointing

We hear this question a lot, don’t we?  I think all generations have asked this question about those who are coming up the ranks.  Now it’s the “Millenials” who are catching the flak. Please watch this video.  It’s one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time.  While the focus is on the Millenials, I would like to stretch the message a bit further to touch all of us.  The message of this video is about all of us.  What the speaker talks about is for all of us.  Just watch……..and absorb.  And then, find the courage to contemplate:  How is this about me?

All love and blessings,

Tabitha

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Dog-Bite1

I’ve been paying close attention to sarcasm lately.  I grew up in a world soaked in sarcasm so it wasn’t something that ever really blipped on my radar; it was commonplace.  Didn’t everyone everywhere throw these cleverly disguised statements around?  No, apparently not.  It took a student of mine to reveal that to me.  There have been times after class when everyone’s together, putting on their coats, and someone throws out a zinger.  Four of five people would be heartily guffawing while one sat looking confused.  In the most beautifully innocent way she revealed, “I don’t get sarcasm.  It goes over my head every time.  I just don’t understand it.”  That one statement gave me pause and invited me to really observe this thing we call sarcasm.

Growing up, my father was a very sarcastic man.  I would watch him throw out statements at my mother that silenced her instantly, made her cringe, and seemed to make her grow smaller.  All the while he laughed and seemed to expand.  The same thing would happen with me.  He would toss out a line that caused him to chuckle but hurt when it landed in my ears.  You see how that can be confusing to a child?  I desperately wanted to please my father, to gain and sustain his attention, so I picked up his habit of sarcasm, met him on common ground, and never gave sarcasm a second thought, except to know that when I used this verbal tool, I felt good.

What I never really solidly considered is that my aim to feel good was making someone else feel bad.  Not until recently, that is.

A short time ago I was wasting precious moments of my life on social media, scrolling through meaningless memes, trying to get to “real” posts written by people I care about, when it became glaringly apparent to me that everything I was reading was dripping with sarcasm.  All of it.  Political posts.  Current event posts.  Memes filled with cute little cartoon characters backing acerbic sentiments.  It was overwhelming.  Sarcasm seemed to be everywhere.  Strangers on the street spoke to one another sarcastically.  Friends would have exchanges over the fence and out came sarcasm.  It seemed inescapable like that clingy, freaky person on the bus who’s decided you’re their best friend.  I felt like I was going nuts!

My vision broadened from there and things became even more real for me.  I noticed two things:  1)  how sarcasm feels when it lands in the body and the psyche, and 2)  how often I used it as a tool.

When I am at the brunt of a sarcastic attack, I feel pummelled.  When I use sarcasm, I mean to pummel.  It is as simple as that.

I’m not sure sarcasm is as innocent as we make it out to be.  I don’t think it warrants cutesy little cartoon characters to back it up.  I think the picture above is far more suitable because sarcasm not only has bark, it has a serious bite.  Although it’s used as humour, I’m not sure the true nature of sarcasm is funny at all.  I think it’s a weapon.  The whole basis of sarcasm, if you look at it honestly, is to strip someone down, to humiliate them, to cause pain.  Sarcasm is a verbal sucker punch.  I know when I use it I’m operating from the lowest, most base part of my person.  I am feeling small and trapped and angry.  I am feeling helpless so I will use what I advertise as my intellect as a way to spin a web, to trap you, to slam you in your tender parts, to make you look stupid so that I can feel good about myself.

There’s nothing funny about that.

I know that when I am sarcastic what I really want to say is, “You’re an asshole/a bitch,” “You’re an imbecile.  In fact, you’re so stupid you won’t even know I’m publicly calling you stupid,” “You are inferior.  I am superior.  I am better than you,” “I feel helpless so I’m going to lash out at you,” and “You made me suffer.  Now I will make you pay by making you suffer.”  Of course, I know saying these things is wrong so I twist things around, I come in through the back door and I use innocent words to hide a vicious ambush.  No canned laughter can mask this underhanded reality.

One statement, “I don’t understand sarcasm,” leads me to a line of inquiry that ensures I will never look at sarcasm the same way again, and I will do my best not to use it.  I have made a commitment to myself to make my use of sarcasm conscious.  It will be a long road.  44 years of use will not end overnight.  What I do know is that every time I use it as a tool, I will feel it land inside of me, it will hurt me the way it hurts the recipient.  And if I can’t say what I mean directly because I know it’s a horrible thing to say, coming through the back door is also not an option – I will work to say nothing at all.

What shadowy parts of yourself have you discovered lately?  Are you willing to sit with it, to work with it, or are you shoving it back into the dark corners?

I wish us all the courage to dig deep, to shine the light into the shadowy corners of our Selves, and to heal.

Blessings,

Tabitha

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same-change

Which way will you go?

 

Student approaches Teacher and says, “Teacher, I am suffering so deeply. I have heard you have found The Way to make this suffering stop. I will do anything. Please, tell me, what is The Way?”

Teacher replies, “It is simple. In the beginning…No sex. No drugs. No alcohol. No overspending. No overworking. No romantic involvement. No junk food. No…distractions…of…any…kind.

Lots of: fresh air, moderate exercise, healthy foods, quiet, and solitude. Get yourself a therapist, a healer, another healer, maybe another healer. Buy a journal and a pen that works. Get quiet. Go deep. Go deeper. And deeper. And deeper still. Keep going. Keep going until you feel a wisp of fresh air on your face. That fresh, clean air is coming from inside of you. Keep going deeper still. Just…keep…going.  Inside.”

Student looks at Teacher, horrified, bewildered. Blinking rapidly and repeatedly, Student asks, “Huh. Have you got anything else?”


 

May you find the courage to go inside.  May you feel that wisp of fresh air that is your true Self and breathe it all in.  May you dig deep.  May you know peace.

Peace,

Tabitha

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An excerpt from the amazingly wise tongue-in-cheek, kick-in-the-pants article “30 Ways to Make Yourself Miserable (Along with Everyone Around You)” by Lion Goodman:

This is a compilation of the top 30 ways to make yourself miserable (along with everyone around you). It’s a well-known fact that “Misery loves company.” Why hoard your suffering when it is so easy to share with others? Many people have made their families miserable. Some have succeeded in making their neighborhood miserable. There are historical records documenting experts who brought misery to entire civilizations. We can use these glorious accomplishments to compare ourselves to, which will allow us to feel incapable, miniscule, or completely unworthy (This is Technique 11, detailed below)…

I will have to admit that number 27 in the list is my personal pet peeve and Achilles’ heel all at the same time.  If you’d like a good laugh (and kick right smack in the pants), I suggest you take some time to meander your way through this list:  30 Ways to Make Yourself Miserable (Along with Everyone Around You).  It will simultaneously make you chuckle and wake you right up.

Cheers,

Tabitha

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Think about it.

 

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th_Pointing_Finger

We humans like very much to point the finger outwards when things in our lives aren’t going exactly as we’d like.

Have you noticed that?

You’re getting fat because your job is stressful and doesn’t allow time for any kind of physical activity.  It has nothing to do with shoving piles of restaurant food in your mouth and driving to the corner store.  No, no!  It’s out….there.

Your relationship busted up because your ex is emotionally stunted and refused to do anything to help the relationship.  It had nothing to do with your sitting, glazed-eyed, in front of the TV for hours playing video games instead of helping a bit with the housework.  No, no!  Again, out…there.

You have no friends.  Nobody calls you or asks you to do things.  You’re so alone.  Of course it has nothing to do with your refusal to reach out to others, or that you’re a compulsively negative, unpleasant human being.  No, no!  Go ahead, guess where.  You’ve got it!  Out….there.

How many of us actually stop and take a cold, hard look at what we’re doing to help create the painful situations in our lives?  How many of us actually have the courage to look truthfully and admit to our contributions when we see them?  Acknowledging that you have a large part to play in your own misery feels like a heart-stopping, stomach-clenching shot in the face with a pail full of cold water, but is has to be done, folks, if any real change can take place in your life.

Go ahead, take a look.

venus_mirror_silver_1

Trust me, it only gets better from here.

My real work began the day the light turned on in my head and I realized that I was an abusive partner.  I was using the circumstances of my life as a (weak) excuse for my horrid behaviour.  I was dealing with my own abuse history.  My Dad was chronically emotionally unavailable.  I suffered from depression.  I thought I might be gay.  Blah, blah, blah.  Admittedly, all very stressful things to contend with, but as an excuse to use my partner as an emotional punching bag?  About as useful as saying, “I shot the guy because I didn’t like the weather.”  There was no valid excuse for my behaviour.  True, I was acting unconsciously up until the time consciousness smacked me in the face.  Then there was no going back.  It was a terrifying and nauseating feeling to realize I had been as abusive as my own abuser, only in a different way, and it was the best thing to ever happen to me.

If, according to you, your life sucks right now, I encourage you to take a deep breath, grab that mirror, sit down and have a hard look at yourself.  What are you doing to contribute to the muck?

Here are some of the muck-stories I’ve heard:

1)  There are no good available wo/men to date.  Really?  Is this true?  Beyond the very easy question of  “Have you put yourself out there,” I encourage you to dig a little deeper.  How available are you?  Are you clear and open to the possibility of love, or are you still hung up on, and bitter about, all the things you believe your ex did to you?  If you’re even a little bit hung up, my friends, you are not yet single and available.  You are still dating the ghost of your past partners.  Break up.  Don’t you think it’s about time?

More interestingly, ask yourself if you stand in this world as a quality partner.  If you were a stranger looking in on you, would you want to date yourself?  Do you have the kind of personality and attitude that draws people in, or repels them?  If you wouldn’t date yourself, you’ve got some work to do.  Become the partner you wish for.  Develop and harbour those qualities within yourself.

2)  I wish I had a friend to hang out with, but no one calls me or asks me to go places.  The friends I do have are all into games; nobody communicates. When was the last time you asked someone out for a coffee, or invited them over to your place just to chat?  Have you initiated contact with someone in your life just to see how they’re doing?  Are you playing games with the people in your life, dropping little emotional bombs on their doorsteps and then running away?  Are you communicating with your friends? Honestly, are you?

As you did before, ask yourself if you would have yourself as a friend.  Are you the kind of person others would like to befriend?  Are you warm, approachable and engaging?  Do people feel safe and energized in your presence?  Are you able to reach out, to communicate, to give?  If not, and again, you have some work to do.

3)  I can’t stand drama, but I have so much of it in my life.  🙂  Do you really hate drama?  I mean REALLY?  I used to have a good deal of drama in my life, although I lamented that I couldn’t stand it.  It took some doing, some gluing myself to the spot until I could see that I sucked drama towards me just as powerfully as my lungs suck air.  I used drama as an excuse, as a cover-up. I used drama to hide my fear of doing the work I wanted to be doing.  I used it as a way to avoid the painful reality that I was dissatisfied with the quality of the relationships in my life.  I created a whirlwind of drama when I felt bored or stagnated in my life instead of creating art.  I used it as an antidote to depression instead of working to figure out the root cause of my depression.  I used drama like a drug to anaesthetize myself, to numb me out so I didn’t have to actually make any changes in my life.

So, from one who has been there, I ask:  For what purpose are you using drama?  I’ll bet the farm that you’re at the centre of that maelstrom, conjuring up the forces to keep you from seeing something you don’t really want to see, or to get in the way of your doing something constructive about an uncomfortable situation.

mickey2

What are you avoiding?

4)  My life would be so much better if…  Would it?  If you sincerely looked into yourself right now, is your internal environment receptive, even slightly, to things that are good, or are you committed to seeing nothing but the dark side of life?  Because, let me tell you, if you are hanging strong to the idea that the glass is perpetually half empty, there could be a conga line of good fortune parading in front of you, and you will smack it away as if it was an annoying insect.

Try this instead:  My life would be so much better if I realized how good my life is right now.  My life would be so much better if I realized how much I actually have.  My life would be so much better if I learned how to say thank you for simple wonders and small mercies.  My life would be so much better if I realized I’m here because of the decisions I’ve made so, if I don’t like it, I can choose differently and create change.  My life would be so much better if I allowed my life to be so much better.

Shadow-reflections

It hurts to take an honest look at yourself, to see where and how you create your own misery, but it’s the only way to freedom.  To skitter around trying to change external circumstances, things over which you have no control, is positively futile and will only lead to exhaustion and collapse.  You cannot change the world; you are not that powerful.  And the world owes you nothing.  But you can change yourself, and maybe you owe yourself a little bit of peace.  The only way to do that is to look deep into the looking glass and to fall in.  There is magic in that space and your world will never again be the same.  You wanted change, right?

Now, dive.

Believing in your ability to float,

Tabitha

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It was a year ago, April 1, that I made the difficult decision to drop one day of work at the office and to, instead, devote that day to my writing.  The plan was very clear:  create pieces, enter them into contests and work to get them published.  I can say with pride that, but for a few days here and there, Wednesdays have become my writing days.  My loved ones have made the transition with me (Thank you so much!) and now support the time I spend locked away in my room.  While I may have “lost” a day’s pay at the office, I gained an extra teaching day and have managed to essentially fill my weekday classes; therefore, nothing, really, was lost.  After a relatively short time, I got to spend more time in my life getting paid to do what I love.  Amen.

Today another one of my pieces was rejected.  That makes for a 100% rejection rate.  One year later, not one single piece that I consciously put out into the world has been accepted by an outside source.  And still I write on.  I remember sitting with my teacher in a private session as I began the process. She was questioning how I thought I would manage any rejection of my work.  I recall saying, with absolute calm and certainty, that I would be okay.  I knew that, just because some judge in a contest did not choose my work, did not mean my work was crap.  There are all sorts of reasons for a rejection and, so long as no one was nasty to me, I would be just fine.  One year later I can honestly say that all really is well.

The whole experience has been very interesting and has provided me with a number of learning experiences.  I was approached by an online publication to submit poetry on a regular basis.  In questioning one of their policies, I discovered I was not particularly fond of their philosophy nor their style of communication.  That experience allowed me the wonderful opportunity to tell a publication that their product was not a good match for my work–I got to reject them…and it was fun.  I have also learned that the whole process of submission destroys a bit of something for me.  Adding an element of competition to my creative life gets me feeling like a crab in a bucket filled with other crabs dragging each other down as they try to reach the top. That’s not why I started doing this.  I started because I needed to, because, without feeding my relationship with the written word, I go a bit nuts and nobody likes that much.  I do it for the sheer joy of creating word-pictures, and for the challenge of taking the complex mess that’s in my head and straightening it out with words.  I do it because I love it, but the competition was killing that so, I’m glad it’s gone.  I feel no further need to compete.  I have my glorious little blog-home and, for now, that’s perfectly good enough.

If I could say something to the writers out there it would be this:  Don’t let anything get in the way of your love affair with words.  Don’t let the rejections stop you. Don’t let silence stop you. Don’t let others’ opinions stop you.  If you need to write, write.  If you love it, commit to it as you would a loving relationship.  Fight for it. Nurture it.  Romance it.  Just don’t let it go.  If you need to write, write, no matter what.  And if you need to share your voice with the world, start a blog, leave notes on public benches, slip a poem inside a book in the library, just do something.  You don’t need the outside sources to make your voice be heard.  The establishment writers once relied upon is gone.  If you need to share, self-publish, baby.  Go all the way!  😉

In honour of my one year anniversary, and of all the things I’ve learned thus far, I offer the very first poem I created back in April, 2012.

Many blessings, much love, and all the support in the world for your creative ventures,

Tabitha

Emergent “I”

 

Silent listening

            to water to wind.

Sun

stamp –presses down

on

my

skin.  I

soften outwards

— a tender pool of waves.

Wind-whisked water, warmed by sun,

nourishes the earth.

That

is my soul.

At the depths,

wind finds a crack and enters,  filling me

with pulse.

Dropping to open, I

ripple out

— liquid gold.

Liquid Gold by Deevona

Liquid Gold by Deevona

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