Radical Thought: Practice Kindness

It’s been a while since I set a challenge for us…and I do say “us” because when I post these things it’s a public reminder of how I’d LIKE to be…not a presentation of how I am already.

Kindness cannot be stored up easily. Kindness is flexibility training for the soul. It must be practiced. Every day. When we do NOT practice kindness we begin to forget that part of ourselves. We begin to misunderstand and mistrust when we see it coming our way from someone else.

Move this soul muscle and do it each day. Take the time to stop, consider the person in front of you no matter what your history or your lack of history and be kind. It’s a risk. It may not be returned to you. It may be met with misunderstanding and mistrust. I think that’s alright. This is not a bartering, it is a gifting. In the end I promise we’ll all find that we have little to LOSE from being kind. Stretch this muscle and gain the flexibility you need to usher in kindness.

representing…

I am deeply saddened at the turn taken by the health care reform movement. Truly. What started out as a grand vision to care for the people of our country quickly dissipated into rhetoric and fear mongering and back room politic-ing and “us vs them.” The chance of real reform now seems so unattainable.

I fully admit that I’m all about the ” massive corporation as evildoer” conspiracy theory, I fully admit it. And yet…here’s where I am right now on all of this. I believe that this is an industry that desperately needs to be reformed. I believe AS A PEOPLE we have got to want, at least the majority of us have GOT TO WANT to reign in the Big Insurance industry and frankly, judging from the election results in Massachusetts…I dunno, I just have to wonder if that’s the mind of the people.

This is what makes me sad. I can blame the politicians and the industry and the media but in the end this is still our responsibility as a people. If the majority of people in this country voted for Barack Obama (and they DID) then that is the mind of the majority of the people. If health care reform is voted down it won’t be defeated by big business or back room politics. If it’s voted down it’s because we, as a people either didn’t speak to what we really wanted and/or because we did.

I just have to accept that the country I belong to is one in which the majority of voters simply do not want this bill…and perhaps do not want any bill to reform health care. I am not sure what the other explanation can be. I have to honor the mind of the voters. They spoke their need in Massachusetts, just as the majority of voters (myself included)spoke their desire for Barack Obama as president. I do not regret my choice. I live it. This is where we are and I don’t expect President Obama to walk on water. I embrace fully his humanity and his very human capacity to err.

I just realize today that the mind of the country, where health care reform is concerned is not in line with my mind, just as the country’s mind on going to war in Iraq was not my mind. I am out of step with my country. It’s not a angry realization on my part. It’s not me being sour grapes, truly it isn’t. It’s me being disappointed. I am disappointed that the whole system is such that we treat our political affiliations as we treat our sports team preferences. We sit in the stands and point our big foam finger in the air when we win and boo and hiss when we lose. We’re fans instead of stewards and this travels across all “parties.” I find this sad and yes, I am disappointed. I truly am.

tell and show…

I’m not controversial.
I’m not Fox News worthy.

For me, the point of “blogging” has never been gaining audience. It’s a tired old story of mine, however, this struggle to know what to do with all the stuff in my head. Mrs Metaphor is a great mind dump.

If once, only even once, you read something I write and say to yourself, “She’s right. I never thought of it that way.” That’s pretty awesome. If you read something and consider it pure folly. Well, that’s fairly alright with me too.

The real point of writing is the writing. The doing. The being. That is the reason I write.

The real point of putting it into the world is the connection. The moment when words travel from one mind to another and make a home. That is the reason I show it around.

roller coaster…

ruh, roh.
My daughter is on the roller coaster of hormones we call puberty.
It’s…not as fun or as deeply spiritual a roller coaster as I had thought.
There are lots of tunnels and high peaks. So there’s that.

It’s bumpy. I guess I knew it would be…maybe I thought I’d be better at handling the bumps. Yes, yes. I did think I’d be better at handling the bumps. Damn I hate when I’m wrong.

I used to work on a roller coaster. Not metaphorically, like I am now…I mean in real life…in high school…in Ohio. I worked on a “stand up” coaster called the King Cobra at King’s Island. The park is still there. The coaster is gone. It was steel, not wood. It was a smooth ride. It was exhilerating, wind in my face, going so fast I felt like I could fly if only I could break loose of the restraints. I felt safe though all strapped in there. It held tight. It was a good feeling. It was a good time in my life.

There was another coaster at the park called “The Racer.” It was, I think, one of the original coasters at King’s Island. It’s still there. It’s still popular. It’s a wooden coaster. I’ve ridden The Racer. It’s bumpy. I felt like my teeth were going to pop out of my head while I rode it. Perhaps it was because I worked on The Cobra that I disliked that coaster. Probably. Truth be told in retrospect there were moments I liked whilst riding The Racer.

I thought the Cobra would outlast the The Racer…but some things stand the test of time and some do not.

I thought that my parenting through Riley’s puberty would be The Cobra…but it’s The Racer. It’s bumpy.

I hope the metaphor holds and we all survive the test of time….and keep our teeth in our heads.

why don’t you like me?

My top hit post from search engines is the one I wrote several years ago spotlighting a young artist called “Mika.” He’s all kinds of awesome. I still love the tune, the video and the artist.

Today, because I’m Mrs Metaphor I want to tell you why this song hits me, seriously. Of course, yes, it’s catchy…and fun. The lyrics are such a mirror for me.

The whole idea of changing so that someone will like me is deep. I want to be liked. Sure, most of us want to be liked. It’s our shared Willy Lohman complex, it might be in our DNA. I know it’s in mine.

In my case what I fear the most is being misunderstood. I strive to be a good communicator. I want to be direct. I want to be authentic. I want to be embraced. I suppose that’s the key thing. It’s not enough for me to not piss someone off on a regular basis. I want embrace. I want to be welcomed.

I can’t control anyone’s reaction to me. I can’t change the essential parts of me in order to be liked better. That’s not really the answer, is it?

I will continue to work toward being the best version of my self. That’s my work. I will attempt to be loving and kind, to listen more than I speak, to have arms open, ready to hold. That’s my calling.

I can only do what is within my power and from there I really do need to let it go. If someone dislikes me, turns away, I can only ask to be engaged on it. From there, it’s not mine.

It’s becomes mine only when I am engaged DIRECTLY by that person, given the opportunity to be loving and kind, to listen more than I speak, to have arms open, ready to hold. That’s my calling. That’s my commitment.

dear rush limbaugh…

dear rush limbaugh

I feel I must speak to you Rush, not about you, not with you but to you so I’ve written you this post. I’m certain you get a lot of mail these days regarding your perspectives. I imagine you have always gotten your share of both “love” mail and “hate” mail. I’m thinking you’ve gotten quite a bit of “Haiti” mail now as well.

Brother, I feel I must tell you some great truths. You may not want to hear them from me or you may hear them and dismiss them as complete bullshit. That’s alright with me. For me, this letter is more about the writer than the receiver. I NEED this, Rush. I’m writing this letter for me.

I see upon you this great veneer…when I say great I actually mean thick, not awesome…sorry. Funny thing about this veneer. It’s fairly transparent. It’s a reptilian, translucent skin you wear. I see who hides underneath, Rush. Most of us who are able to dodge the emotional flamethrower you use can see who hides underneath.

Here is a great truth, Rush. We’re all as frightened as you are. I know you shiver under that cold skin. Shivering is our body’s way of raising our temperature so that we don’t die from cold but shivering isn’t enough to save us. We need to get warm to survive. You’re going to die from this coldness, Rush. You just are. You need to get warm.

When my kids have to get out of the tub they protest that it’s cold outside the warm water. They’re right, it is. Sadly, the water is getting colder all the time, soon, it’s not as comfortable as they remember, not as comforting. The air IS cold. The towel is warm.

I’m offering you a towel, Rush. Here’s the towel of truth. Love for people is not a sign of weakness. There is no real strength in hate. I think you already know this. I imagine you simply have no real idea of how to get from the tub to the towel without sacrificing something.

I’m going to tell you how to do it.
1)decide to exit the tub, that water is getting colder all the time.
2)run like hell to that warm towel
3)dry off, warm up, be a clean version of you.

Now, I have thoughts on what comprises that metaphorical “towel” Rush, of course I do. I’m not a religious zealot but I am a Christian so in my faith narrative I’d say you need you some Jesus, real bad. Jesus is not holding the towel, Jesus IS the towel Rush and He’s waiting for you.

Rejoin the ranks of the human race by putting aside the rhetoric and the hate and the loud mouth strong arm that has no real strength at all and run, don’t walk, RUN like hell toward where the love and warmth resides.

Sadly the unveiled, unveneered, kinder, gentler Rush really cannot live on the same planet as the loudmouth hater Rush. One must go. I hope you choose well. Alright, I’ll say it, Rush. Choose the good. Choose the best version of you. I know it’s in there. It has to be, Jesus assures me we all have this in us and He’s a source I trust.

sincerely (really really sincerely)
Mrs Metaphor

look up…

When the earth split open in Haiti this week I can only imagine what ran through the minds of the people on the ground. I have never been in an earthquake of any size. I don’t know, apart from abject fear what comes through one’s skin and seeps into the mind, what triggers in the mind and motivates the body to respond…or not respond.
Maybe fear is all that comes in that moment, fight or flight…an ancient programming in place from God to preserve us.

I don’t know.

Here in the States my response was “do.” I wanted, like so many people I know, to jump on a plane and go help. I can’t go right now so I gave money because I have money to give and I want to support the people who can go. I don’t know if it’s enough.

The response of some highly noted “christian” types was less about “do” and more about “judge.” It makes me ill, it reflects poorly on us all. He’s family (as Anne Lamotte might say) but he’s the crazy uncle we’d all like to keep in the basement in my estimation.

Today though I’m not going to go down into the chasm, the deep dirt, mud and destruction that this crazy uncle preaches. I’m going to follow the example of this Susan Isaacs I like so much and I’m going to ask you to look up.

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;

8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Look up and then do, do what you can. Look up and BE, be the hands, the feet, the mouth, the eyes, the arms of Jesus. If we are His followers, if we are His lovers…then this is what we are meant to do, this is what we are meant to be.
thanks be to God.

the book in my blog…

I have a book in my blog. I’ve thought this for a while and now I think I’m acting on it.

I know it’s called “Mrs Metaphor” but I think it needs a catchy subtitle. What say you lovely folk? Give me suggestions…if I use it for the book I’ll give you a shout out in the acknowledgements. I promise.

I am my toaster…

I am my toaster.I am, really.

I purchased this just before Christmas at Sears, it was on sale. An odd woman who looked slightly like my Aunt Yvonne rang me up. She tried most heartily to get me to purchase the warranty but I declined. She sort of futzed around for a few minutes and I realized she had no idea how to take it off my bill.

Normally I’d have taken it, in the name of convenience as Miles quietly tore the displays apart nearest us but this day I felt some resolve to keep my bottom line low and waited patiently for her to take off the charge.

She worked hard to figure it out, her over-dyed dark beehive hair shaking furiously as she pressed one button after another. “How you wanna do this, honey?” she said eventually, peering over the tops of her bifocals. It took me a moment to understand she was asking for my credit card.

“Oh!” I responded and forked over my battered Visa. We made it out of there just in time, the jewelry display near the cash register was, I’m certain, audibly sighing with relief at the demolition boy’s exit.

I got the toaster home, so proud. What a find, what a triumph, me over the system that wants me to spend more money, all the time. Yes!

The maiden voyage, however showed the toaster to be troubled. I kept thinking it’d get it’s act together by some fairy magic in the night but morning after morning it half toasted or fully toasted one side or burned or just generally made a mess of the bread we so carefully entrusted to it.

“This toaster is so inconsistent” remarked Dave.

“Well,” sez I, looking on the bright side, “at least it’s consistent in it’s inconsistency.” And this is where I connect with that brave little toaster. I, myself have finally come to embrace my own inconsistency, to be comfortable in the knowledge that if i NEVER get “better” at all the things I do at least I am always trying. I am my toaster, it’s doing it’s best and so am I.

Return it, you say? I dunno…I kind of like the inconsistency in a weird way. I like the adventure of never knowing what my little toaster has to offer that day….well, plus that I’m too lazy to return it. In the end, probably the real reason is that I just don’t care that much about toast.