Look Homeward Angel

Ginger Bear
Ginger Bear, 1999 – 2018
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Desire and the Chase

Relaxing on the porchDoesn’t it seem that the more we chase the things we want in Life, the more elusive they seem to be?

In Buddhist lore, desire and greed are interchangeable concepts, both being seen as “poisons.” The notion of chasing something we desire is the equivalent of ingratitude for what “is,” and can hook us into an insatiable quest for more, more and (yes) more.

Our culture worships those who make it big financially and materially.  As we see with various famous and powerful people in our country, those who have accumulated material abundance believe themselves to also possess virtue and wisdom.  This is often far from reality.  The endless chase for more makes us vulnerable to the addictions created by desire and greed.

I guess “sufficiency,” or having enough, doesn’t fuel capitalism.  But insufficiency and a sense of inadequacy, definitely create stress, anxiety, depression and a host of other maladies that allow the pharmaceutical industry to thrive.

The one impoverishment that may help us all is less and less desire and slowing down the chase!

With love, Rosanne Bostonian

Let Your Heart Break

Broken HeartWhat a curious title, considering that we humans use so much energy trying to avoid heartbreak and its miseries.   Why should accepting heartbreak be a goal?

When the heart breaks it’s a sign that we were open, we tried, we were fully present.  When the heart breaks we rolled the dice and bet on Love.  And when the heart breaks the Jury of Angels celebrates our faith, even though the desired outcome wasn’t reached.

There’s a saying, “The heart breaks to open wider.”  I’ll try to explain:

We have a choice to bet on Love or live from fear.  To choose love, especially after heartbreak, it celebrates the courage to remain open, regardless of our pain.  To love again we’ve affirmed Love as our source of energy, and we’ve conquered fear.

How did I do?

If we think that we can avoid pain and still remain open enough to love, we’re sadly mistaken.  Openness includes ALL emotions.  There’s no filter that only lets the happy moments in and keeps the sad ones out.  All addiction is based on the distortion that we can pick and choose what we experience, only letting pleasantries in.

I’m interested in what you think about this.  I’m listening!

With THAT love, Rosanne Bostonian

“Despair = Suffering – Meaning”

Man's Search for Meaning

In his book “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Viktor Frankl documented his concentration camp incarceration during World War I.  As a psychiatrist, he gave meaning to his terrible experience by observing his fellow inmates closely.

What he discovered was those who made the conscious choice to give their lives meaning, survived at higher rates despite horrific conditions.  Those for whom each day had no meaning slipped into despair and gave up.

In the typical life, those with vibrant and energetic pursuits thrive while those who become passive observers don’t do as well.  We can see an illustration of this principle in retirees who envision a carefree life, but they find the lack of meaning taking its toll on their motivation and overall health.

The recent Parkland tragedy is another illustration.  Students and parents in that community have given the otherwise meaningless slaughter a purpose by taking on a variety of causes.  They made a choice.

The losses and tribulations of human life can either cause despair, or we can choose the antidote, “meaning.”  If we choose to invest our lives with purpose, we can thrive in painful circumstances.

Viktor Frankl stated that the last thing we relinquish is our freedom to choose a life with meaning.  It’s the one element no one can take regardless of circumstances.

I’m going to sit down and think of what gives my life meaning.  Sharing a few ideas through these blogs is definitely on the list.

With love, Rosanne Bostonian

The Turkey Trot

. Slowly, but gathering momentum, he charged. His “gobbles” intensified and my speed increased as I headed for the refuge of my vehicle. I can’t say I felt turkey breath on my derriere, but he was close enough.

Turkey Trot, turkey scratches on car door

 

I’m one of those people who marvels at living things, so much so that I majored in Biology.  The fact that I saw nothing alive during my entire program was discouraging, but that’s a tale for another day.

I was heading home last week from the Woodland Park Campus of Berkeley College where I’m honored to serve as an adjunct professor.  Driving past Garret Mountain Reservation there was a traffic backup…not usual.  People were honking, but no one was moving.

I looked down the road and there was a great big turkey standing proudly and blocking the thoroughfare.  I joined the honkers, but we were getting nowhere.  Nature lover that I am, I left my vehicle to shoo ol’ Tom Turkey back into the woods where he would go on his way and so would we.

“Shoo” I said, with gestures that were shoo-like.  “Hell” he said, furrowed his turkey brow and fixed his gaze on me.  Slowly, but gathering momentum, he charged.  His “gobbles” intensified and my speed increased as I headed for the refuge of my vehicle.  I can’t say I felt turkey breath on my derriere, but he was close enough.

I barely got into the car but couldn’t close the door because a red head with a hostile face was pecking and gobbling.  I finally got the door closed, but he continued to peck and gobble.  Traumatic!

When I looked at the other drivers expecting to see the horror I was feeling, I saw hysterical laughter instead.  That sort of broke the tension for me.  If the incident goes viral, you know the story.

Tiring of me, the turkey took up with the car behind me and I escaped.  I looked to the right as saw a harem of female turkeys and realized that Mr. Tom was doing his manly duty and protecting his girls.

Humility first in all things.

I will say I had the last laugh… I ordered a turkey wrap for lunch.

With love, Rosanne Bostonian

Draining the Swamp

Draining the Swamp

Since I generally try to flip things over to see the other side, I was reflecting on our President’s goal of “draining the swamp.”  His campaign for the Presidency was based on “change,” and as an outsider. As a person from the business world, his battle cry was that he would expose the underbelly of the Washington establishment.

Oddly enough, his lack of guile and his vulgarity have brought to public view the narcissistic tendencies of those who seek power.  Back in the day, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Bill Clinton, etc, etc., were known to, shall we say, indulge in pleasures of the flesh outside of their wedding vows.  I’m sure some of the presidents in antiquity did the same.

Aside from extra-marital dalliances, presidents used vulgar language in the privacy of their meetings, and records of their phone conversations have disclosed a variety of “swampish” intrigues.  The fact that Mr. Trump, Tweeter for the Ages, is overt can in fact drain the swamp.  What was happening under wraps is now out for us all to see.  If we don’t like what we see, it is for us to self-examine and realize that our leaders are projections of our culture.  With eroding morals and a free-for-all attitude, why would we be surprised by the antics we’ve observed in his administration?

The standards to which we hold ourselves will be visible on a grander scale in those who we elect.  Maybe it’s not Mr. Trump who needs the only attitude correction.

With love,

Rosanne Bostonian

Be-Longing

Diversity and belonging

When I was 5 year-old I was marched off to kindergarten.  I had no idea what was going on, but I had motivation to be able to read.  When the Sunday papers arrived, I could see the bright colored comics, but had no clue what was in “the balloons.”  Kindergarten was going to be my salvation.

On the first day of kindergarten, there I was among many children my age.  I was amazed that there were that many in the world, so I guess I wasn’t listening to the teacher.  One little guy in overalls was racing for the door and dutifully marched back to his seat.  In retrospect, I should have joined him on his hot retreat.

I was different. I wasn’t listening.  This apparently was cause to send me to the coat room.  Over time I knew every figure on the coat room walls; Humpty Dumpty, Little Bow Peep (What kind of a name is Bow Peep? I guess she didn’t belong either) and a variety of others amidst an array of little coats. I can’t tell you what sins I committed to be relegated to that dark space!

In antiquity “belonging” meant surviving. There’s a part of our brains that wants to hide in a crowd, circle the wagons and have someone care enough about us to fight the good fight on our behalf.  There is no part of a 5 year-old that feels good in a coat room. To that I can attest.

The Coat Room Saga was exclusionary and made me feel different. I thought different was analogous “unacceptable,” so I compensated with high achievement.  I guess that’s better than drugs and antisocial behavior, but the root causes of extreme manifestations are the same.  Not feeling welcome in the world.

This is what I now know:  Those of us who are different are part of a mosaic of many colors.  Blue shouldn’t try to be red, but should find a beautiful place in the sky.  There is room for everyone in God’s world, but sometimes not in man’s world.  Driven out of man’s world, we can become the Child of God.  To accomplish that shift, we’ve got to see that belonging isn’t the same as to be-longing.

To be-longing is to reach for our highest and best, out-picturing our uniqueness to expand the human mosaic.  From the roof-tops (and from the Coat Room of the Past), I proclaim that we are ok, that we are welcome and that our longing will only be answered with our own authentic voices.

With love,

Rosanne