Vulnerability Unearths Strength

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With a birthday that’s so close behind New Year’s, it’s hard for me to find a reflection point. I’ve already made a list of what I want for this year. I’ve already reflected on the past year. So, I searched for ways to celebrate your birthday on the worldwide web. That’s where all the answers are, right?

My search came up with all of the typical reactions to getting older. I care less about what people think. I sever or speak up in relationships that aren’t helpful. I am less attached to consumerism and “rules”. All of this stuff is true, but I don’t really want to focus on that. I wanted something more positive to focus on. I came up with this blog:

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A friend of mine recently pronounced on an online dating site that she was grateful for her sobriety and wanted someone that would celebrate that. After all, sobriety is hard work and a sign that a person would go to any lengths to make sure they are the best person they can be. That’s a positive, right? Pretty immediately she freaked out that she put that up there and took it down. But in the few minutes it was up, a guy – interested because of that confidence in herself – contacted her, and they have started dating. She doesn’t even remember what it said because she took it down so fast.

Ironically, in our culture, recovery from addiction is a stigma. Most of us have very little control over the hand we are dealt in life. Genetics define who is susceptible to addiction, our skin color, our  mental health, and our looks. People are constantly judged by all of these – as if they had any control over any of it. Many other issues are a result of our upbringing, where we grew up and the life lessons that fell in our path. Our path is not in our control, but our reaction to it is. But we are often judged by the obstacles that were put in our way – addictions, mental illness, poverty, attachment disorders – and not the way we have overcome it.

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I know this seems to have nothing to do with the gratitude blog that I read, but I am most grateful for my quality of being intolerant of emotional pain. Sure, it led me directly into numbing through early addiction, but it also led me out. When something is painful for me, I don’t tolerate it very long. And, luckily for me, I live in a world with plenty of resources.

Even in my twenties when I realized drinking was an issue for me, I picked up the phone and asked for help. This “shortcoming” of mine of being intolerable of emotional pain has helped me avoid lots of danger and to become a stronger person with resilience in the face of adversity. The simple act of asking for help has opened me up to communities of people who are strong and brave and vulnerable. I have no idea what my life would be like if I would have chosen numbness over connection with others, but I really don’t want to find out.

One of the best compliments I ever received was from a country friend of mine when I moved home. This big, tough redneck guy told me, “When the going gets tough, and everything goes to hell in a hand basket in this country, I want you on my team. You are a survivor.” I can’t be grateful for that capacity without being grateful for the hardships and tendencies that unearthed the need. As always in God’s world, it is vulnerability that ultimately strengthens us.

On a Cold Day in Chicago: We Run

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I packed my running clothes for the trip to Chicago. The last time I was here, I had a blast running downtown Michigan Avenue. The forecast was cold, but it’s almost never TOO COLD. I just have to dress for it. Last night I looked at the forecasted temps with wind chills below zero. Hmmmm … perhaps that is too cold, I thought. I decided to wait until this morning to make up my mind.

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I took Ashok out to do her business right before bedtime, and we walked down on the Riverwalk next to the Chicago River. We had not explored it last time I was here, and I was surprised at how long it was. Bundled up, I felt fine. It made me feel a little less worried about a run this morning. And, I could always turn around and come back if I got too cold. It’s not like I’d be doing a 20-miler anyway.

The temperature shot up to a balmy 12 degrees around 9:30 AM, and I decided to go for it. I bundled Ashok up in her new parka, and I put on 4 layers on top and two layers on bottom. I added a headband, a knit hat, a pair of gloves and some technical mittens over them. I was good to go. I told the doorman goodbye as he opened the doors for us, and we took off on our first Riverwalk run. (So, this is my something new for today!)

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The shattered ice in the river sparkled in the sunshine. Glass puzzle pieces bumped up against each other amid the current below. Items like trash, a life preserver ring and even a frozen dead duck were lodged in the frozen soup. Live ducks and geese paddled furiously below the surface keeping some areas liquid. I thought fondly about my days as a birdkeeper in Knoxville when we’d free ducks from the ice when it had frozen around their feet. One of the poor ducks was not so lucky here. He was frozen right as he lay. It made me sad.

We ran out to Navy Pier and then turned back toward the city. Several runners ran past us. It’s Chicago in January. It’s supposed to be cold. I imagine they would have thought it was funny that I even worried about it being too cold this morning. I broke into a sweat beneath my layers, but I didn’t get too overheated. I’d say my layering was just right for the run this morning.

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Ashok and I are perched in the window seat of this lovely suite overlooking the Chicago River. The hotel staff here upgraded my room as a birthday present. I had a fabulous hot shower in a shower big enough for four, ate a little after-run snack, and I’m about to head down for a coffeehouse recommendation. Chicago would be a great place to get another coffeehouse or two on my list. One down – 56 to go! I also think I might check out that new movie “The Post”. I plan to keep today somewhat simple. Walk around, enjoy the city, have a few warm drinks, chat with my new friends here at the hotel and sit by the fireplace. I may even snag a bag of Garrett’s popcorn.

Have a great Sunday, y’all! Bundle up. It’s cold everywhere.

CoffeeHouse #1: Something New for 2018

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I’m looking for a blog project. I want to be writing more frequently, but I’m struggling with topics. When I lived in Baton Rouge, I did a project called Love Baton Rouge where I wrote daily about something I loved in Baton Rouge. In part it was a way to shift my mind about Baton Rouge, but the benefit was largely creatively. It helped me write more. My feet were held to the proverbial fire. I had no excuses for not writing.

After some feedback from friends on Facebook, I’ve decided to try something new everyday and blog about it. In addition, I’m going to honor my 57th birthday this year by going to 57 coffeehouses throughout the year. I don’t know where I’m going to find them, but I’m going to find them.

To combine those two goals this morning, I decided to start my birthday holiday with a morning breakfast visit to Caffe Tosi in Saint Joseph. I know. I’ve been to Caffe Tosi’s before. But I’ve never hung around for breakfast – at least not this time around in Michigan. I got dressed, drove downtown, parked in the bitter cold and snow and cozied up to a table for some Cinnamon French Toast and coffee. I’m not supposed to have either but it’s my birthday holiday. Screw it.

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Back in December I walked in Tosi for a scone, and I told the guy behind the counter that I was going to come back and sit for awhile. It was so cozy and beautifully decorated for the holiday. He said that would be great, and I actually never made it back. I got seduced by other coffeehouses, and it just never happened. This morning, I walked in, and he said “Sharon, isn’t it?” I was blown away that he remembered my name from that short interaction. And then I was so embarrassed that I didn’t remember his. But I thought it was really sweet that he remembered me.

He brought out this beautiful round homemade cinnamon bread french toast with maple syrup, and I ate it. I ate every bite. No exaggeration, it was delicious. I watched a table of runners come in from out of the cold and cozy up for coffee at a table. I only looked at my phone to take some pictures, and I enjoyed the sparkly Valentine’s decorations that adorn the windows. I decided that I quite like Caffe Tosi. For my coffeehouse #1 in 2018, it was a good choice.

Note: I later met a group of friends for coffee on the way to Chicago. I told them I had breakfast at Caffe Tosi, and they asked me if I saw Paul there. “Paul?” I asked. Then it clicked. He didn’t remember my name because he was some superstar barista that recalls the names of every ordinary customer that walks in the door. We have mutual friends. 🙂

 

Cultivating Change

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I heard a activist being interviewed on some newscast the other day. He was convinced that in order to make people change their behavior you had to shame them about what they were doing. Nobody else seemed to notice the fallacy, but it struck me strongly that shame was the wrong emotion to be cultivating. Guilt could be a productive emotion to encourage. Compassion for others might be worth seeking. But shame? Of all the emotions that encourage change, shame is the least effective.

Shame is a debilitating emotion. When I am in a place of shame, I feel like I enter a type of tunnel. I go back to being a small child. Paralysis, remorse and fear engulf me. And when fear engulfs me, I’m more likely to react angrily and defensively than compassionately. If you want me to change the way I do something, you have to get me into a place of feeling safe. And I suspect that shame is not so different in other people either. Brene’ Brown has made a career of studying it and putting data to the effects of shame on people. It is not a motivating emotion.

 

I’ve been doing a 30-day yoga challenge with Yoga with Adrienne since New Year’s. This morning’s practice urged me to soften. The practice put me in some fairly uncomfortable positions, but gently allowed me to soften into the shape. If I don’t fight the ache…. if I don’t struggle against the tightness in my body…. if I soften into the pose, my body accepts it. With acceptance amid the softening, I can change.

Our culture seems to believe that pushing and screaming will create change. Kids are beat and shamed by their parents. Teachers hurl insults to shame kids into submission. Bosses scream and rant in attempt to scare workers into performing. What we’ve created is a culture that is angry and scared with limited skills in connecting with other people. Conflict is “handled” by screaming insults at others and then further shaming them when they don’t hear it gracefully. The result is a society that is riddled with addictions of all kinds, a government that is self-imploding and a media landscape that is not appropriate for children.

New behaviors for people are like seedlings. And, if we are all honest with ourselves, change is very, very hard. When a seed is planted that I need to change, I have to create an atmosphere where I can feel safe in changing. I also have to feel confident that I can. If I’m in the midst of shame storm, I don’t think I’m capable of anything. Change is uncomfortable, and I always fail a few times if not a hundred. With each attempt, I need to feel supported and hold myself accountable to keep trying. I can’t water a seedling with a firehose.

 

A Beautiful Snowy Evening

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One of my coworkers walked over to my desk today and informed me that we were getting 20 inches of snow in the next couple of days. “What?” I asked incredulously. I knew it was possible because I’d lived here before, but at that time I wasn’t having to shovel my own snow. I lived in a condo where snow removal was not in my list of responsibilities. I can’t even imagine how many times I’d have to shovel for that much snow. My arms are going to be cut by spring.

Today’s snow was fluffy and light. Snow has many, many personalities, and the light stuff is very glittery and special. It floats and sparkles across the sky and piles up on the ground in fluffy piles that go “poof” when you walk through them. Shoveling is easy because it moves and floats to the side. But all day it kept falling and falling and falling some more. Lake Michigan kept sucking up water into the atmosphere and tossing it on top of Saint Joseph. Meanwhile the below freezing temperatures keep us in the deep freeze with no melting in sight.

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I went to the gym for a spinning class and ate some of Tosi’s Minestrone soup for dinner. The snow had stopped, and it was a balmy 20 degrees with no wind. It has been so cold lately that Ashok and I have not taken a walk in a long time. “You want to go for a walk?” I asked her. She jumped off the sofa and ran circles in the living room. We both got dressed for the cold and headed outside.

The neighborhood was quiet. I suppose most people were staying off the roads, so traffic was almost non-existent. A few folks were shoveling or running their snowblowers, but for the most part, we were the only ones on the streets. It was the first time I slowed down today to take a deep breath and relax. Ashok was energetically running from one pile of snow to another, wading in drifts almost over her head. She leaped like a rabbit until  she resurfaced and then rolled on the ground before shaking herself off. Her playfulness made me laugh out loud, and I felt pretty happy to be outside on such a gorgeous night.

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The weather forecast looks daunting, and we won’t see temps above freezing until next Monday. The little break in the weather tonight was a real treat. I hope we see a few more surprises like that in the near future and that I can take advantage of them.

 

I Miss Conversation

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I started a Meetup Group awhile back called Humans in Conversation. I advertised it as a group where we’d practice conversational skills as we humans have quit engaging in conversation and are losing the knack for it. There was lots of interest but only one person ever really showed up. We decided to be friends, and I closed the group. Conversation has lost its shine to the glimmer of technology.

I have friends in other parts of the country whose voices I have not heard in years. I know everything that is going on in their lives – or at least what is presented on social media – but we have not had a conversation at all. I hunger for it. I ask my friends to Skype or Facetime with me or call me, but most never do. It’s just so much easier to text or post on social media. But it feels empty to me.

Sherry Turkle is an MIT psychologist, and she studies how our world has changed in regard to conversation. You can read her article on Saving the Lost Art of Conversation for a window into her studies. But I don’t have to do a study to know that conversations are severely lacking in my life. And it makes me feel very lonely. I hunger for long conversations with lulls and pauses and moments of intimate connection. I have a few friends who take the time to have conversations, but most just seem to want to keep up with me on Facebook or my blog.

When I first started writing this blog, I had an inordinate amount of male followers. It was odd because I thought my main audience would be midlife women. I asked a few of the men why they would be so interested in this blog, and they said it felt like I was sitting right there talking to them. They said that they often felt the same way I did, but they didn’t know how to put it in words. My writing helped them describe their inner condition. They hungered for intimate conversation. A blog or social media or even texting is one way. Two people may be participating, but there is no instantaneous give and take that hasn’t been “cleaned up” by the other party.

In a conversation, people grapple with words. We stumble over our sentences. Our thoughts and words tumble out and dance in a way that is real and raw and sometimes uncomfortable. But, in a live conversation, I learn. I am energized. A conversation is a journey into at least two inner worlds. In some cases, our conversation may uncover some feeling or event that has never been brought into the open before. A conversation is not merely an exchange of ideas. It is a living, breathing thing. It spikes my energy, my compassion and sometimes even my soul. It is in a conversation that we connect heart-to-heart.

I get frustrated with online dating because all people want to do is text. And when you send snippets of information and thoughts to a complete stranger, they have no context as to who you are or what you mean. Inevitably, it goes off the rails because something is said and taken the wrong way. Since you probably have never even spoken with each other as a human being, it’s hard to get it back on track. The interaction is between two soulless beings shooting words back and forth on a machine. I find it hard even to think of them as a person until I meet them.

I’m not surprised that we have become so divided as a society. We had rules and norms in place for conversation where we didn’t discuss politics and religion. Instead of having conversations and grounding our relationships in the person, we post rants on social media taking stances. So, people become connected because they have the same stance. And since we don’t really know each other as individuals outside of social media, there is no investment to converse. And there’s certainly no magic of conversation to help us learn from each other and soften our views and our hearts.

I used to call friends to ask for support or drop by their houses to check on them. Now, people just disappear from social media when they are down. Who wants to go on there and see everyone living their best life when your heart is down in the dumps? The social media world is a whitewashed world where it looks like everybody else is living the dream. The reality is we all have struggles and sadness and grief. Happiness and sadness have a natural ebb and flow. It is in the context of conversation that we provide support and process emotions. Without it, we are left alone in a world full of acquaintances. I’m not sure how we are ever going to heal our rifts without it.

I truly miss conversation. Ten years ago, I’d go into a coffee shop and talk to strangers. Often, we’d both come away the better for it. Now, everyone is head down on their computers or phones. The same thing happens in work meetings. Networking has to be scheduled, and relationships are difficult to casually build. The days of walking in a meeting and asking someone about their kids or their vacation or their lives are sadly gone. Now, they are busy with email, so I just start checking my phone. And we are both lonelier for it.

 

 

Finally 2017: Uncovering a New Path

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I always like to look at last year’s New Year’s blog to see what I had hoped for the year ahead to see if I nailed it. Sometimes I do. Other times it’s not even close. I blogged on New Year’s Eve last year but not on the first day of 2017. I know that I went to my friend Cheryl’s house for soup and socializing on New Year’s Day, but I have no idea what else I did.

On New Year’s Eve 2016, I had a great hike at Warren Dunes with my friend Karen and her dog Tippy. It was obviously warmer than today as the water in the stream is not frozen in the photos. It was a lovely day, and about a month ago I contacted Karen to see if she would be up this way this year. I longed to spend some time with her adventurous soul again. She is building community in Texas and won’t be headed this way this year.

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A part of me would love to get out and snowshoe, but a part of me would like to stay warm and cozy inside. I made the trek to yoga this morning in New Buffalo to Dancing Feet Yoga where a warm and introspective yoga practice grounded me. Don led us in a series of poses that stretched my hamstrings, twisted my spine and spiked my energy. We were warm and toasty inside while the snow fell constantly outside like a Christmas postcard. The drifts by the parking lot were so deep that Ashok couldn’t even touch the ground when she got out for a walk. As opposed to last year’s high energy ending, I feel much more internally focused and relaxed.

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I’m now comfortably hanging at Infusco having a biscotti and a latte while Ashok lounges on her blanket. The people here are not as interested in socializing as they were at the hotel last weekend, but she keeps looking for it. She hasn’t been able to spend as much time outside as usual with the frigid temps and constantly falling lake effect snow. I ran with a running group yesterday for the first time, but it was too cold to bring her. Besides, I wasn’t sure how it would go as it’s been over 10 years since I’ve run in the ice and snow. I was a little afraid of slipping, but yesterday turned out just fine. Perhaps we’ll get out for at least a little walk or hike this afternoon if it slows down.

At Dancing Feet this morning….

As far as my reflection on this year, I’m not thrilled with my adventures this year. I’ve spent too much time ruminating on things I can’t control and more time than I’d like mired in depression. But I’ve learned how effective meditation can be, and I’ve settled in to a comfortable life in Michigan. My routine feels good although I’d like to get more consistent running in the winter. My hopes for next year are around spending more time creating – whether that’s writing or teaching or learning something new.  I have a goal of attending a writing conference, finding a writing group and beginning a practice of regular daily writing.

I am starting the New Year off just as I did last year with a 30-day yoga practice. Yoga with Adrienne has a 30-day practice focused on being true to yourself called True. A few friends are joining me in the free series. I recommend it if you’d like to start off 2018 in a more connected way. I think I’ll let this practice inform where I want to focus this year. I’ll be 57 in two weeks. The clock continues to tick, and I continue to be inspired to make each day count more than the one before. I certainly feel truer to myself at 56 than I did at 46. Ten years ago today I was waiting to be divorced and in a decidedly worse spot than I am today. I had no idea what gifts the future would bring.

This morning’s email from Adrienne asked me to think about what I’m open to this year. I like the thought of being open to something rather than trying to force myself into some kind of activity. Finally, it feels like I’m uncovering a new path rather than searching for a destination. I don’t have to know exactly where it’s leading. I just have to be open to walking it. What surprises might be in store for me this year?

Be safe tonight, and have a great New Year’s Eve. 2018 awaits with adventures we cannot even comprehend. Greet them with an open heart, a sense of adventure and a seriously deranged sense of humor.

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Fiction: Almost Given Up

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Tara looked at her running shoes on the other side of the room. They look like new but had been in her possession for many months. “There’s nothing like the feel of a new running shoe under my feet,” she thought. It made her smile. She glanced out the window at the road that she had run so many times. Running was freedom. It was a longing and an attempt to maintain forward motion. She loved it.

The Chicago Marathon was less than an hour from starting. Even with the warmth of the 70,000 people around her and the buzz of excitement, she was cold. But she had waited a long time for this. She had trained a long time and through a lot of humid, hot miles. It was her first event of this magnitude, and it would be the highlight of her 40s to finish it.

In fact, her 40s seemed like a marathon. The death of her best friend, a divorce and the loss of the job that she had loved for 15 years knocked her off her pedestal of success. But inside, she felt that she was a better person for it. She’d learned how to ride the waves of grief, reinvent herself and ask for what she wanted. The muscle of her soul felt stronger. She’d chosen the marathon as a way to help her outsides match the badass strength of her insides. Every mile gave her the confidence that she was gaining ground.

Looking up at the condominiums on the other side of the park, she wondered what it was like to live there. Would she want to lug her stuff down 15 floors every morning to go to work? Slogging through snow and ice to catch a train could be an adventure if you looked at it that way. She thought of the empty space in her future where her dreams used to live. Could this be a future she’d love? Her heart jumped a little at the thought of it. She could see herself as a city girl.

The miles slogged on the roads through weather of all kinds was just a metaphor for her life journey. And her shoes lay on the other side of the room, discarded… a reminder of what she hadn’t done more than what she’d accomplished. After the marathon, she’d almost given up on herself. It was a great accomplishment, but it somehow brought on a pause instead of a celebration … a depression instead of joy.

She had wanted that 26-mile journey to be the start of something new. Instead it felt like an ending. It was the hard stop of the life that she had known before with a fist shaken in the face of defeat. The energy it had taken to get there – physically and emotionally – left her depleted. Her much-needed physical rest turned into a surrender to life. The grief was gone, but the hole left by her dreams seemed bottomless. Those almost like-new running shoes lay right where she had left them that day 6 months ago. When you don’t know the next step, who needs shoes?

She looked at the road again. The sound of her footfalls and the sight of her frosty breath on a cold day seemed like a gift. She thought about that morning in Chicago when she was so hopeful and inquisitive about her next steps. “Every journey begins with a single  step,” she whispered. She breathed in a big breath shifting the weight of the depression weighing in on her chest. “Maybe I could start with a walk,” she bargained. “Yes, I think a walk would be good.”

 

The Silver Lining of a Year Gone Bad

I’m kind of excited! I’m charting my calendar for the weekend. I have two parties to attend, and it looks like we are getting snow, snow and more snow! I may get a chance to snowshoe. I joined a local running club, and I plan to attend their Saturday morning run tomorrow. They seem so friendly and welcoming on their Facebook page. And I’ve started making the drive to New Buffalo to attend Sunday morning yoga at my old yoga studio. I went two Sundays ago, and I realized how much I miss Don’s yoga. His yoga is so different than the “exercise” yoga I find so many other places. His over 40 years of experience in teaching yoga puts him in a whole different universe than a teacher with five years of experience.

I also signed up for my first writing course! It starts right after my birthday. I’ve been noodling this for months and just decided to bite the bullet. If I can come up with $1200 for emergency vet bills, I can come up with $300 to invest in learning something new. My goal this year is to start writing some fiction to see if I like it.

Today is the day I start to ratchet down my overconsumption of caffeine and sugar that has been my habit over the last week or so. I can’t wait to feel better and have a fun-filled weekend filled with good health and friends – and probably a coffee shop visit or two. This week has been slow at work, so I’ve had a chance to be productive and create a few things that I haven’t had time to work on due to meetings and interruptions. Overall, this week has given me a chance to think about where I want to go personally in the new year. I think I will be writing more, trying some new exercise options, practicing more yoga and continuing to make new friends.

Most of my podcasts are doing “year in review” segments. 2017 was a monster  truck in overdrive, and it has never stopped. I’ve been looking for the silver lining in all of this because I know it’s there. It always is. The Daily from the New York Times is one of my favorite podcasts to explain the news. Their year-end review has been particularly inspiring and has helped me find the fabulous silver lining on the last year. I’ll link to some of them at the end of this blog. It is a reminder to me that the good in life is found in the interpersonal relationships of people and in the resilience of the human spirit. We are at our best when we focus on individuals and put down our stereotypes.

 

I hope you have a glorious New Year’s weekend, and I urge you to take a few moments to yourself to set up a plan for a better 2018 – for you, your family and friends, our country and the world. We all deserve it.

If you are needing a more positive take on 2017, here are some great stories:

  1. This podcast illustrates the goodness of people when we connect individually instead of focusing on stereotypes. It is set in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and it is the story of a young man who vandalizes a Mosque and the reaction of the Muslims to his heart-felt apology. Forgiveness, humility and self-compassion are key ingredients. Click here for a story on vandalism and forgiveness.
  2. This podcast shows how one of the budding leaders of the alt-right changes his mind about his family’s political views. It’s the connection, kindness and respect of his Jewish and liberal-leaning friends that gently lead him down a path of awareness. We will never change people’s minds by screaming at them or shaming them. It is only with love and patience that people listen. Click here for this amazing story.
  3. This podcast shows a town learning the hard way how tougher immigration laws impact one of icons of their community. Nothing is ever completely good or bad, and this story shows the impact when hard lines are drawn. Click here for the heartwarming story of Carlos.

 

 

 

I have a Proclivity to….

 

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Today’s prompt is proclivity. I had to look it up.

I have a proclivity to…..

  • Get angry and irritable when I’m hungry.
  • Spend too much money on clothes.
  • Choose chocolate over oranges.
  • Forget to turn the lights out when I leave a room.
  • Believe that I can handle most things on my own.
  • Think that I look 20 years older than I am (even when I was young).
  • Assume something is wrong with me when relationships don’t go well.
  • Feel like a little girl around authority figures.
  • Depression and anxiety.
  • Trust women more than men.
  • Trust myself over others.
  • Research topics that interest me.
  • Order soup over salads.
  • Kill plants.
  • Be embarrassed and ashamed over my shortcomings.
  • Avoid housework until it drives me nuts.
  • Get up at 5 AM or earlier.
  • Be afraid of the future.
  • Take care of my physical and emotional needs better than most.
  • Be attracted to men who are emotionally unavailable.
  • Throw up walls when I’m hurt.
  • Cry when I’m afraid.
  • Dislike meat except for fish.
  • Become addicted easily.
  • Prefer being outdoors to being inside.
  • Talk to people about feelings and emotions rather than things.
  • Follow my intuition.
  • Notice synchronicities everywhere.
  • Value my girlfriends more than dating.
  • Believe God is good and kind and supportive.
  • Do anything rather than watch TV. I don’t even have one.
  • Enjoy audiobooks and podcasts over reading.
  • Give too much advice and then beat myself up for doing it.
  • Minimize my capabilities.
  • Feel shame when criticized.
  • Process and feel emotions rather than bottle them up.
  • Wear my hair curly instead of straightening it.
  • Wear skirts instead of pants.

What are your proclivities?