“The Second Edition of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words.” English Oxford Living Dictionary

Wow! Almost 200K words! That’s a lot! One would think that with all those words we would understand each other better, but we don’t. One might also think that words wouldn’t be able to hurt someone. I mean they are just words right? They’re not like guns, knives or swords. Those have bullets or sharp edges that pierce our skin or other organs and can make us bleed.

Words can’t exactly pierce someone’s skin. However, they can sneak into our heads, creating negative self talk that can be just as lethal. Some words can puncture a large, gaping hole in our hearts too. So how is it that words hurt us sometimes worse than other weapons that can pierce our skin and organs?

Imagine me saying any of the following to you. “You’re dumb, stupid, ugly and a loser. You’re a racist, a sexist, a misogynist, and a homophobe. You’re a Republican, a Democrat, a socialist, a liberal, a conservative, a communist, a nationalist, a nazi, a fascist, a right/left wing extremist. You talk/dress funny.” How do those words make you feel? Hurt? Angry? How could I say those things about you? I don’t even know you. Simple I don’t have to know you. You believe/say “this” about “that”. You do “that” because of “this”.

We throw words around like this all day, every day without thinking about how the other person feels. We do this at work, at home, in school, in the grocery store, and especially on social media. To make matters worse, we lash out at the person who said those things or we take it out on the next person we see whether it’s a stranger, a friend or a family member. All this does is keeps the cycle of anger and hatred going.

Ask yourself this question. Do you like being angry all the time? I don’t know about you, but I sure know I don’t.

When we throw these kind of words around we are also practicing something called identity politics. Identity politics is contemporary shorthand for a group’s assertion that it is a meaningful group; that it differs significantly from other groups and its members share a history of injustice and grievance. It’s a way of always reacting to some type of racism or inclusivity through division.

Now, imagine I say these words to you. “You’re smart, funny, beautiful, kind, and caring. You’re a darling, a sweetheart, an angel, a peach or a doll. I love the work you do, the things you say, and the beliefs you have” Those words make you feel pretty good don’t they? Why don’t we start using these words and others like this? Instead of tearing each other down, why don’t we begin to build others up for a change?

I have a challenge for everyone reading this, especially if you’re someone who throws around negative words all day. Starting today, I challenge you to say something nice to someone, or lots of someone’s. Watch that person’s reaction. See how it makes you feel. I bet it will make you feel as good as it would if someone said those things to you. Go ahead. Give it a try.

Thought for the day: Perhaps this quote says it best, “If you proposed to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind?” ~Buddha

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Love is a Song

” Love is but a song we sing, fears’ the way we die. You can make the mountains ring, or make the angels cry. Though the dove is on the wing, and you may not know why. Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, and try to love one another right now.” ~ Chet Powers

Some songs stand the test of time. “Get Together” is a song where the words and their meaning rings true even today some 50 years later.

You may have noticed that people are fighting everywhere these days. Whether it’s in another country or right here in our own communities. What is everyone fighting for/over? You name it. More land, more money, politics, religion, who did what to whom…the list goes on. What’s sad is that most of us were taught when we were young how to share and behave around others. Seems to me we that we forgot those things when we left the sandbox.

In a perfect world everyone would get along and there’d be no fighting, or we’d agree to disagree. We need spirited debates to make changes but not when it’s sister fighting sister and brother killing brother. If we’re not careful there will be no one and nothing left worth fighting for. When the fighting ends, we regret things we’ve said or done. By the time we decide to do something about it, we are to late. We never see the person or worse – they pass away.

Thought for the day: Don’t let pride get in the way of a simple “I’m sorry”. A friend once told me, “Swallow your pride, it contains no calories.”

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This too Shall Pass

“Nothing lasts forever – not even your troubles.” ~ Arnold H. Glasow

So many times when we’re having a rough time in life, we hear words like “Keep your chin up.”, “Everything happens for a reason.”, “Fake it til you make it.”, and many other platitudes like that. A lot of times those words can help and we can put on that happy smiley mask for the world to see for the short term. Sometimes we lie to others around us so they don’t see our pain. But what about in the longer term when we are crying and dying inside?

I had gone thru a very rough time in my life. Between the divorce, my ill parent, finance problems, and temporary homelessness I was ready to give up the good fight. Some of those platitudes I repeated to myself and when I couldn’t tell them to myself, my friends told them to me. I had to remind myself that I had been thru worse times. I needed to call on my ancestors and ask for their strength to hold me up. In all honesty I found this very difficult to do. I had times I hated those words and the things my friends told me. Eventually I made it thru my darkest hours.

Thought for the day: Life, and those bumps and potholes we hit in the road along the way, do get better. Maybe not in the way we hope, plan, or expect, but they get better in the way our Higher Power feels is right for us. All that He asks of us is that we are true to ourselves as well as others around us.

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“Each moment, each person, is sacred and worthy of respect- especially you.” ~ Amy Leigh Mercree

I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I really don’t get kids today. As a young child growing up until the day they passed away, I respected my elders, even if I vehemently disagreed with them. If I had spoken to my parents, teachers, or any elder the way kids do today there were consequences.

Problem is that far to many adults are acting the same way these days.

I was grounded or, on those rare occasions, swatted with a plastic spatula a couple times. And I do only mean a couple of times like when I dropped the “F” bomb by accident or took the Lord’s name in vain. I was busted once or twice sneaking out of the house and I was grounded for it. I skipped religious education class one time to go to a club with my boyfriend. Not only was I caught but I was also grounded AND I got a lecture from one of the nuns. Thank goodness she was the more lenient nuns but I still got an earful from her nonetheless.

As you can see I wasn’t an angel growing up but I certainly wasn’t the worst. My parents were somewhat strict, I’d dare say middle of the road strict. I learned respect from them. If I respected them, they respected me in return. It was later in my life I learned more about giving and receiving love, honor and respect. We learn many things from our parents, at least we’re supposed to. For whatever reason it doesn’t appear that anyone is being these basic principles.

Thought for the day: If you don’t have respect for yourself how can you 1) respect others let alone 2) demand respect be given to you?

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“The truth is, time marches on and you have two choices: You move forward, come what may, and you experience all the sour and sweet things that fly at you from around corners, or you sit still. Don’t sit still.” ~ Suzanne Palmieri

No matter what happens in life, good or bad, time marches on despite it.

There was a time in my not to distant past that tried to escape my reality and what was going on in life. I thought that if I escaped into my own little world, that what was going on around me wasn’t really happening. Or that I could run away in my mind until life returned to normal. I was sadly mistaken. Despite all my best efforts life continued on around and even past me.

I eventually came to realize that I wasn’t the only one that felt this way. I met others who had done the much of same in their lives. With their help I came around to seeing that time and life go on with or without me. I could either get sucked into staying stuck in my own little world or I could deal with my thoughts and feelings and get thru my circumstances that were keeping me stuck.

Thought for the day: Today I enjoy living the life I have to the best of my ability. I know that bad moments pass. I know don’t have to run away to escape my reality.

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We Are Related

“Let us walk softly on the Earth with all living beings great and small.” ~ Cherokee Proverb

In my journey on the Red Road I have learned many things. From the music to the beautiful dances and especially the love Creator has for and wants for all of us. He also wants us to share that love with all creatures great, small, winged, legged, animal, plant, mineral… And of course people with different skin colors; red, white, black, yellow, purple, blue, etc. ALL creatures we see. Other faiths and religions believe this too.

Somewhere along the way people changed. They have become impatient, intolerant, selfish, self-centered and dishonest. They dislike, even hate, people who are different from them in many ways. The color of one’s skin, their belief or lack of belief in a Higher Power, their religion or faith, anything the person is or does that’s not “right” or “normal” in their eyes. What we don’t seem to understand is how this affects the ones we are judging and gossiping about. It still hurts them.

One example, while setting aside any political viewpoints, is people protesting about Blue People and making it sound like they’re all bad. As i see the protesting, I find myself asking where are the protesters when Black People kill other Black People? What about the atrocities that the Red People endured? Or the Brown People and the Yellow People? And there’s also the Four Leggeds, the Winged Ones and the Standing People. Is anyone protesting for their lives?

Perhaps the ones who are hurting others never outgrew those schoolyard days when the bullies took their lunch money.

Today let’s try to understand and be kind to one another. Remember this. When you’re pointing 1 finger at someone you have 3 more fingers pointing back at you.

Continue reading We Are Related

Thorns in Life

“Every rose has its thorn. Just like every night has its dawn…” ~ Poison

A number of years ago, my best friend and I used to go berry picking. Oh, how I dreaded it! I always got scratched up. And then we had our “secret” spots that had their own set of dangers besides the thorns. One time I accidentally stepped in a woodchuck hole and twisted my ankle. Another time she felt a sting followed by another and another. Suddenly she was yelping and ripping her clothes off while running around with her arms flailing in the air. Come to find out, she was standing on top of a fire ant hill and they weren’t to pleased. Thankfully we were on a private path where no one beside myself saw this hysterical spectacle!

After all was said and done, the berries washed, our wounds cleaned and bandaged, we ended up with sweet treats and even a little wine. Our first batch ended up more like moonshine, but I digress.

In order to enjoy life’s rewards, we need to go out and pick the berries. Anybody who’s been berry picking knows that to get that sweet fruit you need to watch out for the thorns. Of course no matter how careful we are we can still get snagged by a branch, step into a woodchuck hole or, Heaven forbid, stand on a fire ant hill. If the worst thing that happens is that we snag our clothing, get a couple scratches or sprain an ankle, that’s ok. We can always bandage or patch that stuff up. Dirt washes away, wounds do heal, and we still survive.

Thought for the day: Sometimes we can reminisce the times we got scratched up, bit up, or stepped in “stuff” and can have a little chuckle at our own expense.

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