Friday, August 29, 2008

Make Granola...Not War?

I noticed that my last couple of posts were a bit too serious.  I will admit that I am, on occasion, prone to introspection, but it was getting a bit much, even for me.  I thought perhaps since I shared a bit about my brother and my friends, that I would turn to my parents.  Many of us grow up with misconceptions about our parents.  Because we are looking at Mom and Dad through the eyes of a child or adolescent, our judgments of them are not always accurate.  Sometimes when we look back on our childhood as adults however, we find that we are much more forgiving of our parents' mishaps and follies.  This is NOT one of those times!
I was raised in the 1970's and 80's by comparatively young parents, they themselves products of the counterculture of the 1960's.  Even at a young age, and certainly as a teen, I noticed that my parents were a bit different than my friends' parents.  It was embarrassing and I did not like to admit it, but we were hippies.
We made our own all-natural soap and granola from scratch.  We often abstained from meat, instead making entire meals from lettuce.  We were good stewards of the earth in composting our leftovers.  We frequented the secondhand stores as to make good use of existing abundance.  Now, with a family of my own, I was carrying on these time-honored hippie traditions. Until...
During a recent family gathering, I remarked at how funny it is that no matter how hard we try to not become our parents, the inevitable happens.  At nearly forty, I had to face the fact that I, like my mother before me, was a bit of a hippie.  I had almost made peace with the idea when Mom said something that dispelled all my delusions about my Bohemian, free-spirited, nature-loving, do-no-harm attitude, "We weren't hippies sweetheart, we were just poor".
Quote of the day:  "Live fully, seek serenity, laugh often, tread mindfully, savor simplicity, love passionately, think globally, exude creativity, treasure tranquility."
--Kimberly Wilson from Hip, Tranquil Chick

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Little Advice?

Friend-noun: A person attatched to another by feelings of affection or personal regard; someone who supports and sympathizes with a person or group. Syn: comrade, chum, pal, homie!
Who are my friends? Why do we have friends? What does it mean to really be a true friend? I ask myself these questions I guess, because I have never really been good at the friend thing. My natural propensity (redundancy noted) is toward selfishness. I admire people who can love openly, easlily and unconditionally. I am not like that. I do genuinely look for the good and people and can usually find something likable in everyone I know. I am even friendly [adj: Favorably disposed, inclined to approve, support or help. Syn: Neighborly, amiable, cordial]. When it comes to real, true, deep friendship though, I fall painfully short. It seems I only care when it is convenient for me. As much as it hurts to admit, it is probably true to some extent. If I have to work too hard at it, or put myself out there too much, I do tend to hold back. I would like to change this! Perhaps I am not alone. Are there others of you out there who, for whatever reason, find yourself holding back in relationships or with things that are really important to you? This last year or two, I have been really trying to open myself up to the possibilities of this glorious, God-given gift of life! I don't want to just endure it, I want to embrace it, enjoy it, and truly LIVE it! I have tried some new things, and hope to try some more--as long as they are not too scary or dangerous--ok, old me is not gone completely ;). As part of that, I no longer want superficial, casual relationships. Perhaps we use the word friend to casually to mean anyone that we know, instead of reserving it for people who are truly our friends. I want to be real with the people who matter in my life. I want to be a real friend.
So help me out here. Am I a lost cause? Can we change old habits? Where do I start? Open up the world of possibilities to me...
To be continued...
Quote of the Day: "Live with authenticity, awareness, and alignment"
--Kimberly Wilson in Hip, Tranquil Chick

Friday, August 22, 2008

Oh Brother, Where art thou....Going?

I have a kid brother.  The best kid brother that has ever walked the planet.  When we talk we talk for hours.  When we laugh, we laugh long and hard and loud!  I am sure our parents are shocked, considering the childhood fights, but now we are great friends.  I would want to know him even if he weren't my brother (I feel the same way about my sister too, but this story is not about her).
So, Brother and I like lists.  We make lists of all kinds of things: Top 10 rock vocalists (while I acknowledge Robert Plant as #2 it is still Burton Cummings BTW), greatest guitarists, best books and movies of all time etc.  And yes, as pathetic as it may sound we do actually write this stuff down and even debate it.  So, the other day Bro was reading me a new list he had made of places he would like to visit someday.  He was doing a bit of soul-searching to reason through why all of his places were islands (Crete, Malta, The Isle of Mann, The Hebrides and the Orkneys to name a few).  We decided, among other things, that because of their geographical placement, that these islands were all places where civilizations had collided. They are places of intense history and primitive cultures that have merged and formed beautiful, rich amalgams of  customs and traditions.  He loves the blend of language and culture and people that induced.  It told us a lot about him.  We were amazed as we discussed what in him made that so appealing.  We learn a lot about ourselves with a bit of introspection.  So of course, I had to go next.
I quickly jotted down my list (which of course has been in my head for years anyway).  Mongolia, Alaska, New Zealand, Iceland, Greenland, Estonia, Svalbard.  Brother really digs on this kind of stuff, so he had to take a stab at why I would pick those particular destinations.  I hate to admit how right he was but he nailed it!  For me, it seems, the simpler the better.  I like things primitive, undeveloped and uncluttered. The draw of the open, untamed wilderness is undeniable.  God's creations undefiled.  I learned a lot about me.  My subconscious knows what makes me tick.  This exercise told me that I was on the right path with trying to live my life as simply as possible.
One other things struck us though.  With few exceptions, our dream places were the countries of our ancestry. There is something deep in our souls that draws us back to where we came from.  We acknowledged that, on an intellectual level, we have desires to see other parts of the world, but it is not the same.  These "dream" places have an inner hold on us.  We yearn to see them.  They are already part of who we are.  I wondered if all people felt this way.  Do people of African or Middle Eastern, Maori or Polynesian descent feel that draw toward their own places like I did?  Then I remembered a PBS series I watched. "African American Lives" featured several black celebrities, including Chris Rock, Morgan Freeman and Maya Angelou, who had participated in  DNA testing to learn of their ethnic heritage.  Chris Rock openly wept as he told of what he had learned about his African ancestry. Somehow, whether we even know it or not, our past is indelibly etched in our present. Who we were is who we are and who we will become...
Quote of the day: "Our heritage and ideals, our code and standards- the things we live by and teach our children- are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings."
-- Walt Disney

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Here I am!

Well, this is my first post.  A bit about me...
I am very happily married to the man of my dreams, hoping someday to become the woman of HIS dreams!  We have four great kids whom we adore but take pleasure in sometimes embarrassing in front of their friends (this is a privilege as parents we claim!).  I am a snob (although I have no right to be) about books, movies and music and intend to post quite a few suggestions (i.e. ego-driven overtly opinionated rants) on what you should read, watch and listen to.  I feel passionately about my religion, simplicity, nature, yoga, food, politics, learning and (most of the time) life!  This blog is an experiment in reaching out to long lost friends, and perhaps making a few new ones. It is also an obvious attempt to keep my mind occupied as my youngest child goes off to school...without me!  I hope you enjoy it now, and return often!  
Quote of the day:  "See school as something that goes on everywhere, all the time, not just in libraries, but in parking lots, in airports, in trees."  
--Ann Prattchet 
author of  What Now?