The Wishy-Washy Writer (and kindness to all)

This is the story of a wishy-washy writer (therefore all her business is out there confusing the world) and her battles with what is right, and what makes us well, and what serves the most people and animals, yet finding what is beneficial to us (because if we aren’t happy then we can’t inspire others).

This is the story of a wishy-washy writer who was vegetarian for twenty-seven years, vegan for two, then on-and-off again meat eater-then-vegan since. It is about this time each year that I become fiercely ill. My body absolutely rebels against its half a year of animal products. One year it felt like I had a hole in my stomach. One year the gout was terrible. Then there was the chronic swelling of my lymph nodes for over a year. Then the intense stomach issues. This year I am on my third week of hives and stomach issues. Every year in my journal I write, “Next time I want to start eating meat again…read this!” But alas, we inevitably go on vacation, go to a friend’s house, read a book about being a locavore or the poisons of processed food and we are back to a freezer full of meat, pretending to be pioneers until I get sick again and neither of us are feeling so hot.

Every year, I frantically erase all of the posts from the six months before. When I am vegan, I erase the posts about raising animals for meat and recipes. When I am a meat eater, I erase all the animal sanctuary posts. Vegans (even the word, vegan) can sound annoying and frantic and extreme. I have inspired a lot of people to become vegan over the years and those folks are adamant and heartfelt in their work. I feel the same but then I think it may be so hypocritical. We simply cannot go through this life without causing death to other species. From petroleum use to clearing farm fields, every time you pop an Advil, or buy plastic, we aide in the death of others.

It is easier to just consume animal products. Then you don’t have to be the annoying one at the holiday dinner or the irritated one at a restaurant. You don’t have to get creative trying to make goat cheese out of almonds. I want goats. I don’t necessarily look forward to milking. And in my heart I know that taking the baby away and then sending it to slaughter if it is a boy, and drinking the milk after my own mother’s breast milk has many decades past dried up, is probably weird, if not wrong, and probably not that healthy. I don’t know y’all. Does anyone else have these dilemmas constantly bantering in their heads and hearts?

After I get sick each year, after I take on a plant based diet again, I always get better. Every ailment that ails me heals itself on a plant-based diet. Every time I have meat on my plate, I have less room for antioxidant-rich grains, vegetables, proteins, and fruit. Can you be a locavore and eat a plant-based diet? (And if we are honest, are any of us really eating that local?)

Here is the thing, I don’t even like the feeling of eating gooey, greasy cheese and I don’t even like meat! But it is so easy in our society. On this farm, am I really going to look in the eyes of an infant or old farm animal and decide they are going to die? I don’t think it is right to kill elephants or horses or cats for food….in other places it is acceptable….why do I think some animals are just destined for the plate? I could never look in the eyes of a moose or or deer and pull the trigger to end its beautiful life. I don’t know. These are real battles in my heart and mind and the way a writer delves into those recesses of questioning is to write.

I wonder how many people have chronic illnesses that can be blamed on their food choices, but because it is so hard to change them in our society, they will never make that change or get well.

And wouldn’t I rather be an example of kindness to all?

(If you leave a comment, please make sure it is respectful. There are probably no right or wrong answers here!)

Five Decorating Elements to Create the Perfect Space (and taking life slow and easy)

When making a bedroom cozy, or a kitchen entertainment friendly, or in this case, setting up a reading nook, there are specific components to decorating a space to consider.  The addition of the following things will create a peaceful, flowing, and delightful space.

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1. Incorporate plants- Besides the obvious benefits of cleaning the air and releasing oxygen, they are beautiful live creations to share the space with.  Put a small rose in a pot from the grocery store.  Don’t be afraid to bring in big plants and some unusual ones.  I have a poinsettia year round and a large Asian aloe.  Use pots that please you.

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2. Add gentle light- Do not turn on the overhead lights!  Twinkly lights and candles make a space so serene.  Oil lamps add unexpected coziness.  My eyes have been a little funny lately so I begrudgingly hauled up a lamp from the basement and put it behind my reading chair.  It actually feels cozy as well.

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3. Add color- Add at least three colors and then repeat them.  Even if you are an austere type of decorator, add three different shades of white.  My pops of southwestern color all work together because at least some of the colors repeat themselves in the patterns.  The vibrant pink, reds, blue, and the yellow all are found in two or more items.  It doesn’t matter what the pattern is as long as the colors repeat; florals can mixed with stripes and other designs.

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4. Add comfortable places to sit.  We have our two god-awful recliners with chewed arm rests, but covering them with inexpensive blankets transforms them.  A rocking chair with pillows is always inviting.

5. Add things you love.  Like books, or souvenirs, or cats.

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Finally, take time to enjoy your space.  It’s a little crazy out there sometimes.  Everyone is in such a rush.  At the grocery store the other day there was a quite elder woman who moved slowly and kept adjusting her oxygen tube.  She stood in front of me in line and every few minutes she would mutter, “Come on!  Hurry up!” to the people in front of her.  She sighed exasperated and practically bumped the lady in front of her out of the way to get to the counter.  Why on earth was she in such a hurry?  And did she get there any faster?  On the way home, on thirty mile and hour roads, tailgaters checked out my bumper.

Listen folks, life is going to end before we know it and I know y’all trying to get there before it does, but slow and easy is the new beauty secret and anti-depressant.  You will get there when you get there.  We ought to cut everyone some slack and not schedule ourselves to the point of hysteria.  Take some things out of your schedule.  Take time to smile and chat with the cashier.  Drive safely.  If someone is driving in front of you super slow, pretend like it is your grandpa or your granddaughter.  Just easy now.

And after the supper dishes are cleared, pour a glass of wine and set down in your reading and resting area and enjoy the space.  The way you decorate can be a respite from the world.

 

All the Small Kindnesses

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We have a very long driveway.  In the city it would be the length of one long block.  It had one to two feet of snow in any given place so our cars just couldn’t get up the dirt path the last few snowstorms.  Our car along with our housemate, David’s, stayed parked along the road until we could get back in.  Yesterday we came home late, ready to bundle up the baby and load all of our things on our backs to hike up the driveway.  But lo, there was an amazing sight.  The driveway had been plowed.  I could not believe my eyes.  There under the twinkling stars and icy air sat a perfectly plowed block long stretch.

No one knows where we live.  And David is very private so it wasn’t anyone any of us knew.  Just a random act of kindness.  It meant so much yet there is no one to thank.  The only way to show gratitude is to pass it on.

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I write about ways to spontaneously add joy to others’ lives.  I think it is so important that we stay strong in our support for others, even if we do not know them.  Perhaps today compliment five people.  Say a prayer for a family.  Buy the person’s coffee in front of you.  Don’t tailgate.  Smile and greet folks.

A few days ago we pulled into a parking space at a shopping center.  We got out at the same time as the girl next to us.  Her hair was lovely.  I always liked the pixie cut and lamented that I could never pull it off.  It was streaked red and grey in soft curls.  I told her that I LOVE her hair!  She sighed, then beamed a brilliant smile and said that I have no idea how much that means to her.  She is going through chemotherapy and just recently had to cut off all of her beautiful long hair.  She said again how much that meant to her and how we just don’t realize how much our words mean.

Use your heart out there today and don’t be afraid to say nice things to people that you meet.  The smallest kindness can mean so much.  Spread the love and cheer of this time of year!

 

Setting Yourself Free (Part 1- Release and Being a Keeper of Light)

A fellow told me that I am the happiest person he has ever met.  My husband is the happiest person I have ever met.  We are a veritable roaming comedy team.  But happiness and balance is something that we must work for every day.  In this world of negativity and news stations we must protect ourselves, seek balance, and constantly be keepers of the light.

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The first day’s lesson in the Setting Yourself Free series is Releasing.

Releasing Others:

Here is an exercise for you.  Walk through your life, view it like an old home video.  You will see some bad things happen but they will still move on to the next memory.  When you get to a particularly hurtful thought, stop.  Think of that person that you are still hurt from.  They may be still in your life or they may be long gone from it.  Now, step back from yourself and them.  Pretend like you are an onlooker viewing the situation unbiased eyes.  What do you see?  The person that hurt you (or is still hurting your heart), do they have past issues?  Can you look from a different, far off view and see them as a human and what they might be thinking (albeit not always sane or accurate?).  By understanding where people are coming from and why they act or do the things they do we can often find a tiny bit of compassion for them (not excusing them) and can see that it was not you they were trying to hurt, but they are hurt themselves.  Release that memory, that person, that hurt.

My friend, Dora, said to put them in a bubble and let them float away.  Every time you feel a hurt from them coming up just put them in a pink bubble and let Creator handle them and that memory.  My friend, Steve, used to tell me to put bad memories in a file cabinet.  Every time you see yourself looking at that memory (even if it was from yesterday!) put it back in the file and close the door!  Pull yourself back to the present.

I sometimes find myself thinking nonstop of what I would have said, what I want to say, but if you know that it will not change anything, then close that file drawer!  We must consciously work for happiness every day and by releasing negativity and people that are sources of such we find ourselves smiling more.

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Release Yourself:

Sometimes we are harder on ourselves than on others.  The dog I had to take to the shelter twenty years ago, the cat I had to put to sleep, the thing I said that hurt someone’s feelings, the mistake I made when I was raising the kids, the list will go on and on because we are human.  Now, if we do that same exercise and pull ourselves back from our physical self and look in, we can see why we did things, understand, learn, grow, and be a stronger person because we know now and we can be compassionate with ourselves.  We must be kind to ourselves.  We are just spirits inside these frames learning on this journey through life.  Embrace it, release others and yourself from judgment and forgive all.

Lifelong Release:

Now that you have done this exercise you will find it easier to walk out of the imaginary room of past and present hurts.  You can send people off in pink bubbles with love.  You can pat yourself on the back and be kind.  We are all on a fabulous journey here.  We need each other.  We need ourselves to be strong.  We need Creator.  We are more light and happier and connected no matter what the circumstances if we can master RELEASE.