What Emerges

We see each other.

Though we don’t know beyond what stands before us.

The reflection is a fairy tale; the image, a mask of well-being.

Or it’s a nightmare played out while awake.

More likely, people pass by being barely noticeable.

Understand that the substance of lives are not predicted in the first glance.

Let’s take the time to watch as the bios unfold slowly.

Look inside.

And find the essential being within.

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Manicured Lawns

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Every day I challenge myself to walk two miles. It’s not my favorite part of the day, but moving is a requirement. Otherwise, I feel more like I’m one with the couch rather than this world. Usually, I do it in the gym. When the weather is refreshing, and weight training isn’t also on my plate, I walk in my neighborhood. What I do enjoy about being out and about close to home is seeing all the colors of nature and feeling either the heat light me up or the wind cool me down. I’ve always enjoyed that connection to all that surrounds me.

On my walks, in between all the thoughtful conversations I’m having or written pieces I’m trying to work out in my head, I notice a whole lot of people’s attempts at manipulating their front lawns. Most of them neatly done. I see every square inch of the green strands perfectly in order, complete with lawn ornamentation that on many, compliment either the house or the owner’s personality very nicely. The lawns go from deep luscious green to weather-whipped tan and everything in between. The human-made variations of lawns are as plentiful as nature’s vibrant and colorful display of foliage. But, some go to the extreme of saying a big Fuck You – I own you! to life with their manufactured look, rather than an inviting natural feel to their display.

I’m a big fan of orderliness in my regular day to day life so one would assume that I would be equally thrilled with those lawns that smack of having a paid lawn maintainer or an enthusiastic gardener as its caretaker, but I’m not. Even though the crisp look of those well-maintained lawns do add charm and a sense of ‘all is well in the world’ rightness to the neighborhood, there is something distinctly off about it too.

I believe that some Űber-manicured looking lawns are trying to present the perfect picture, but just like the clothes people wear meant to hide personal inadequacies or as the large houses chosen to impress are covering up massive debt and insecurities; these lawns are also hiding something. The facade of beautifully well-kept greenery could be concealing an ugliness on the interior of the homes that sit on those grassy pictures of perfection. I don’t know that for a fact, but it is indeed something I contemplate. Humans do try to hide their true natures sometimes. Our society, so often, demands obedience to facades otherwise judgments will be harsh. It hasn’t yet successfully come to terms with accepting people as much as they could and, in my opinion, should.

The cliche ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’ comes to mind when I think about the pristine lawn. The people go to any lengths to impress other people with their skills at lawn maintenance. It’s a facade implying they are equally as good as their lawns. 5-star quality people is the message. At least, the maintainers of those lawns hope it will lead other people to believe that. They understand what society dictates and they are playing that game of what’s truly important. The appeal may be to present this polished outward appearance to indicate a level of achievement that won’t warrant negative judgment. The fact is, their character, as individuals, should be the barometer of what qualifies for being upstanding, not their damn lawn. I will say that there are probably a few lawn aficionados who are perfectly well-rounded, well-adjusted human beings and their top priority is only to be creative masters in their lawn universes. I’m not speaking about those people.

My thoughts aren’t always accurate but with a lot of the different things this old lady has learned in her life, I’m betting I’m not entirely incorrect in my thought process today. Appearances and fear of judgment are huge in today’s world and something I don’t see changing any time soon.

Or maybe the only reason this even comes across my mind is that I don’t have a manicured lawn. This piece would help to explain it to the neighbors who don’t get why it’s not essential to me.

I hope they are reading it.

My neighbors would finally understand who they are dealing with; a person who frequently doesn’t adhere to the dictates of this society.

 

**Originally published on Susi’s Soap Box 7/25/2011 Re-posted here with revisions

Humanoid

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Did you know that humans are genetically 99.9% identical? Well, it’s true! 7.6 billion people inhabit this world. Being one individual in this pool of many seems like we wouldn’t be that special. A human is pretty much just a human. Right?

Wrong! Look at the many layers of uniqueness that make up a human. We are defined by the various presentations or absence of such as…

hair color
political views
eyes
disposition
age
origin of birth
occupation
skin color
health
location
biological sex
gender identity
expressiveness
education
sexual preference
status
personality
style
religious belief

There are even more details to describe who we are as individuals. This short list only mentions the distinct feature we can see or might openly share with one another. Further identifying each characteristic makes each of us even more incredibly dissimilar.

Then add to that a lifetime of experiences which uniquely influence and potentially change our views and perspectives. It is unfathomable how many different human beings there have been, are currently and will be. Not one like any other, ever.

Don’t these facts alone make us supremely rare and our existence unprecedented?

I think so.

And for that, we should all walk a little taller and prouder.

Don’t you?

Random Encounters

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And just like that, I have a new friend.

Two strangers on different paths, both cementing a business arrangement. It produced a pleasant encounter, each enjoying the connection made.

It’s delightful to meet someone I can feel at ease with. For me, it happens rarely.

Those few people who look at life with enthusiasm and curiosity plant a kernel of positivity in me. They enthusiastically force me to engage again. And they are invested in their lives on a scale which most people dare not even tread.

I like that. A lot.

Those are my kind of people. Rare, and precious.

We’re All Politicians

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Politics is about gaining power. Period.

In life, we are all, in some shape or form, trying to achieve power over our situations or attain it to feel more control. It’s having authority and dominion over our existence; it is the governance of our own space. And with it comes the conflict from individuals or other parties who are hoping for the ability to rule over us.

This is the eternal struggle.

We may not like to admit it, but we are wrangling with the process of politics. Yes, exactly what is occurring in the realm of our elected officials. The current political arena is quite a spectacle. It’s actually a lesson on how not to behave as we go about the day-to-day management of our own power struggles. Their display feels like a veritable asylum as we watch the different personalities and styles making headlines in full-view of their constituents. In many cases, shame on them! This is who represents us? But I digress. I’ll leave more commentary about that in another piece.

The question remains – What contributes to achieving a sense of control over our lives to retain a feeling of personal power?

My opinion is simply this – it requires an individual who possesses critical thinking skills.

Being a critical thinker means a person will make reasoned judgments that are logical and well-thought out. This leads to making better decisions. And this, in turn, makes for situations that are more desirable, and more in your control.

Of course, there will be situations which will be out of our hands. The unexpected, unfortunate tragedy and chaos that can randomly take a perceived path or plan in a completely different direction is just that – out of our control. These situations just happen to us for no reason. Other factors which can contribute to a person’s inability to retain their power are devastating medical situations including mental illness.  But what sets people who have critical thinking skills apart from people who don’t is that their reactions are inherently different.

Reasonable and logical approaches to any situation will help you to remain calm and collected. The opposite of that reaction is hysteria and giving into emotional impulses without assessing the situation. This is not being in control, nor is it demonstrating having power over an event that is impacting you. And will likely have further consequences from reacting “out-of-control.”

It would seem that some individuals are just adept at life or endured a lot of personal adversity and decided enough is enough. They have the confidence to accept challenges which would attempt to take away their power. It’s as if instinct just kicks in and they anticipate what solution every situation requires. There isn’t a hesitation or misstep in what to do next. But I would say that I can almost guarantee these people had influencers. They could have been teachers, parents, mentors or have taken a hard beating from life.  Also, it’s likely (but not necessary) they were given a solid foundation of empowerment in their early childhood. Good parents and teachers would insist on raising up a child to utilize their learned critical thinking skills at all times. My personal opinion is that these types of thinkers also remember to take away something from every situation in their life. Every challenge to navigate for control only added to their already substantial foundation of empowerment.

So you want to be a human in control of your personal power?

Learn how to think critically!

Honor Your Unique

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We’re short, balding, graceful, fat, average, intelligent, disabled, round, skinny, tall, naturally gorgeous, manually made-up mediocre, exceptional, dull and so many more labels that others use to describe what they see. That’s their impression.

How do you see yourself? Are you those labels? Do you accept it or reject it?

Whatever description you associate yourself with, own it.

It is you, and it’s ok to be you.

Don’t let anyone define you.
That’s your job.

We are more than the labels people want to give us.