My Seven Daily Sanes

I’m so different than I was ten years ago. I am reminded of this daily when I look at the top shelf in my office where the shadow box sits that Grant made me for Christmas ten years ago. It contains  pictures of me finishing my first marathon complete with my hard earned and nearly died trying to acquire necklace medal. Honestly it was all I could do not to put that thing around my neck and saunter around every day ALL day for people to see. I’m not a jewelry person but THAT bling? It has stories to tell! Like when I thought my friend Bill was a medic on a bicycle at the top of the hill nearing mile 13. There he was practically shimmering like an angel and I thought “Thank GOD because things are not going how I planned.” It turned out he was Bill instead, which was even better, offering flat Coca-Cola and inspiration. “Meet you at the next mile marker and you can have another drink of this.” My friend, without a doubt is responsible for helping me cross the finish line, one mile at a time with sugar nectar and pep talks for incentive, so that I could experience Grant and our cheering kids waving and clapping  at the end like I was some kind of princess warrior. My eyes still water over that feeling. 

I think it would be funny for Grant to make me another shadow box at the end of this year to show how hard I have worked to reshape my marathon mentality and physicality. There would for sure be a picture of me first thing in the morning showing off my Fitbitch that says I already burned 636 calories and I HAVEN’T EVEN GOTTEN OUT OF BED YET! I mean, how great is THAT? I’m awesome without even trying!

I’m currently not running due to a very long battle with bad ankles. Right now I have frozen peas strapped to both sides of my ‘good’ ankle that I sprained when I fell down the bleachers when I was trying to take a picture of my son David at the end of his last home JV Football game. It was below 30 degrees that night and I forgot I had a blanket wrapped around me. I went down with a very large and painful crash. I’m pretty sure Grant was trying to pretend like he didn’t know me because he just kept walking. Two lovely older-than-me people tried to help me up but I was literally frozen solid and would have taken them down with me. “No. I’m good. I’m pretty sure I sprained my ankle but my husband will eventually notice I have fallen and literally can not get up, and come back for me. He promised until death parts us.”

Some days it’s easier said than done to not comparison shame myself to the me of ten years ago. Sometimes I dream about it, the running.  Long distance running is a powerful thing and the experiences of my marathons have taught me so much about myself and continue to give me insights and new perspectives in my daily life. The other day I had an ‘aha’ moment that I will share before I get to the point of this post, which I’m pretty sure is not about marathons. 

I was reading this beautiful novel that was just…mmmm…so yummy….see? I was deeply absorbed in the words and the story and the magic it takes to write a novel when I felt my left brain say to my right brain something really nasty “You will never write a novel. Blogs are easier. Short.  Simple. Not a lot of effort. You’re just not smart enough or disciplined enough to write a whole book, especially a novel. You should give up on that idea.”

WTF left brain? First of all, you are an overly analytical naysayer. Second, I  can remember when blog posts were super hard to write. Mainly because it was YESTERDAY that I was struggling to get one finished before the WSU Cougar Football game started. But here’s the thing:  I can also remember how hard it was the first time I ran three miles without stopping: huge accomplishment! A marathon is simply a series of short runs, that when gradually and methodically put together, becomes a marathon. Perhaps novels are of similar nature. So fuck you left brain.  

Which brings me to the point of this post, though without much logic (because I just pissed off the non-dominant side of my brain):  my seven daily sanes. 

At the beginning of the year I made a pact with myself to try and adhere to seven simple daily actions to at least keep me PAR with my current state of being a content and mostly at peace, inappropriately tight size fourteen, moderately energetic, non-running,  successful business owner, hippy chick goddess. I call them ‘My Seven Daily Sanes’.   

  1. Pages
  2. Grats
  3. Yoga
  4. Medication (whoops I mean MEDITATION)
  5. Veggies
  6. Water
  7. Walks

Now I’m not gonna lie, this list has been much harder to check off each day than last year’s list: 

  1. Grow my hair

I have been doing number one of the seven pretty regularly for over 14 years. Julia Cameron taught me in “The Artist’s Way” how important it is to check in with myself with morning pages (or what I sometimes refer to as morning vomit). Three pages of handwritten words unedited (especially by the asshole left brain) and unfiltered. I notice, on the rare days I skip this ritual, that I feel like I do when have two different colored socks on or a black bra with white panties: off kilter. The first two pages are almost always whining yucky stuff, but usually by page three I have some kind of weird little break through, like “maybe I should stop eating cookies at midnight” or “you really need to quit this job and form your own business and here is the first step toward that”. 

Grats is a newer thing that has helped center my thoughts on positive things in my life (especially after the nasty brain vomit). Every day: ten things I am grateful for. Then I write thank you ten times at the bottom of this list. I think these journals will be a good thing for my kids to read when I’m dead. Unlike the morning pages which really need to be burned. My grats contain things like: “I’m thankful I didn’t kill Grant yesterday because today he is so much nicer.”

Everything feels better when I practice yoga: my brain, my bones, my skin, my muscles, my joints, my soul. That’s all that needs to be said about that, except that it is my running from ten years ago: life saving. 

I have written a few posts about meditation as holistic medication. Some days I have time for a nice long guided mediation. Most days I just try and remind myself to breath in and out: 4 counts in, 6 counts out. Repeat until calm again. As a catholic, I have found the rosary to be a good form of prayerful medication. Keeps a person off the ledge.

OH VEGGIES. I know I need to eat more of you gross fuckers. It’s a quest I’m still working on. When I feel shitty I consult the last few weeks’ checklist and say to myself: “dummy, cheez-its are not veggies. This is why you feel bad.”

Water is often on my daily grats list but it’s usually in the form of being grateful I can wash my hair or take a hot bath/shower whenever I feel like it, something so many people don’t get to do. Those very people would willingly hydrate every day if they could. So this needs to be something I never take for granted. I have rarely known real thirst. But when I don’t drink water my face looks like a dried up old hag. So.

I added walking to the list because my Fitbitch is a total nag. She says I need to move more. Plus I have this new puppy Bella who needs to move or she gets grumpy. Right now I’m a gimp but the walking thing is wonderful. She and I have these amazing conversations about the best places to poop when you are a dog (she prefers the middle of the street with cars coming for a nice adrenaline rush), the scary house that she refuses to walk past (we now go around), and how some day soon she and I will maybe do some running but for now we will just piece the short walks gradually into longer ones. 

See?

As Is

“As is” is a portal to creation, to new life. “As soon as” is a form of delusion and therefore soul death. -Anne Lamott

Anne wrote these words in an essay on her encouragement to writers on the NaNoWriMo website, an acronym for National Novel Writing Month which starts every November 1st. 

Oh Anne, could we meet for coffee? Your words sounded like whispers from heaven and felt like a kick in the ass, which is what good friends do to you when they know something is important: whisper kick. 

I had thought to commit to NaNoWriMo2019 and once again get back to the novel I am still ‘writing’ (it’s going to be good, I promise!) instead of pursuing a blog post every day during the month of November. And quite frankly, that would have been much easier to fail at. I could have at least hidden a little more easily under the premise of writing a novel. No one would know I am actually playing Words with Friends or binge watching Netflix while I am holed up in my office with a sign on the door “MOM IS WRITING. LEAVE HER ALONE: which by the way is a much different sign than “DO NOT DISTURB: DOING YOGA” which apparently means disturb as often as possible. 

Novels are this mysterious thing you can keep to yourself and no one knows except you if you have written five words or a thousand in that little window of time you desperately and adamantly carve out for yourself and keep safe from all of the SHOULDS and HAVE TOs. 

I decided to write 30 Blog Posts so my accountability would be more public and therefore more painful if I fail to write everyday “AS IS” in the middle of my personal and work chaos, without excuse or fear.   

But blog posts are instantly public and can make me feel so exposed if they are written and published before I think I have made my thoughts clear. I can’t tell you how many times I have pushed the PUBLISH button on WordPress and then thought “OMG what have I done?” And to commit to writing a post everyday for 30 days when it sometimes takes me an hour to write twenty words, well, I know there is going to be a lot of that in November. 

But I’m okay with that. Because I looked back to the last time I committed to 30 blog posts in November which was in 2014 and I only wrote sixteen posts, which continues to haunt me. You see, I made a commitment to myself and didn’t keep it, for various reasons that I find to be understandable but also unforgivable. If I can’t keep a promise to myself, how can I be trusted with other people in this world? 

Writers write. They don’t talk about writing. And no Anne, I don’t want to be 70 and look back and think “Dang, why didn’t I pursue the one thing that is more important to me than breathing?” So thank you for reminding me why I committed to thirty days. Because there is only one thing that is more painful than bad writing and that’s not writing at all. 

Is there is something that you are not doing that you will look back and think “I regret not doing that; my life is not complete because I chose ‘as soon as’ instead of ‘as is’? If the answer is yes, oh my dear friend START, right now in the middle of all your life chaos. 

Start. 

Just start.

 

Inkless Pens and Chewed On Pen Caps

“Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is.”

-Thomas Szasz

I have this quote on my motivation wall. It keeps me going when I think that some of the stuff I pursue in my life is a waste of time. Funny, I never knew who Thomas Szasz was until just now when I googled him:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Szasz

It’s so rude of me to have had his words on my wall for well over two years and not actually researched who he was. I’m so sorry Tom.

I feel like I can call him Tom. We’re practically besties now, thanks to the internet.

Doctor Tom was a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and a professor.

I had figured he was a poet or a philosopher or an artist of some sort. And this quote from the Wikipedia site confirms my assumptions just a little bit despite his career label:

“Szasz argued throughout his career that mental illness is a metaphor for human problems in living, and that mental illnesses are not “illnesses” in the sense that physical illnesses are.”

How I understood what I read on his ideas about this is that mental illness is not scientifically  measurable because it is based on behavior. And who gets to decide what behavior is normal and what isn’t? There of course is a lot more to this theory that I’m mostly not interested in. I just always kind of knew that crazy is a result of being human and a very subjective term, depending on who one is hanging out with and who happens to be judging one’s behavior. So I’m going to stop there and be mostly satisfied. All you over sensitive crazies or advocates for the crazies: please don’t  be assholes and yell at me. I’m not a damn doctor. OBVIOUSLY if you’re stabbing your eyes out (or someone else’s) you might want to take some fucking medicine.

BUT  if you look at Tommy’s face, he looks like he would have been wonderful to talk to. See? Doesn’t he just look lovely? 

Screenshot 2018-03-03 at 10.21.40 AM

I’m sure he had a super cool Hungarian accent. I can see myself sitting on his couch:

Me: Tom. Why do you think I chew on my pen caps?

(When Tom speaks, imagine a Hungarian accent because I don’t know how to type that)

Tom: Why do YOU think you chew on your pen caps? Does it matter what anyone else thinks? Do you worry about THAT, or the pen caps?

Me: Well. It’s interesting to me how I only chew on cheap Bic™ pens with the blue caps. These are the pens I write with. Other pens don’t feel right in my hand, so I only use “other pens” when I’m at work. Doing work. That I often don’t feel right about. But have to keep doing. To pay the bills. I NEVER chew on work pens. I’m not attached to them like I am my cheap blue cap pens. And do you know what I LOVE?

Tom: What do you love Heather?

Me: I LOVE when my cheap chewed on blue cap pens run out of ink BEFORE I chew all the way through the caps and make them kind of bothersome and have to throw them away before the ink is all gone. Which seems wasteful. And sad.

Tom: Why is that Heather?

(I just love when people use my name when they talk to me. Why is it so soothing? Though maybe it’s the couch in this case.)

Me: Well they’re bothersome to look at, all messy and jagged and slobbered on and also at some point harder to chew on because the plastic gets kind of  sharp and pokey and hurts my mouth a little. I also worry a bit about the plasticiser ingestion…

Tom: The ‘why’ was referring to loving when your cheap pens run out of ink. And why it might be sad to throw them away before the ink is gone.

Me: Oh. Well. I think it’s because I know that all that ink is somewhere on pages that I filled up with words that didn’t exist before.  And while it’s likely that no one else will read 99.9% of my ink words, because it’s mostly doodling, it wasn’t a waste of time. Blue ink words on paper are just…serene. The accomplishment makes me feel filled and empty at the same time. And when the ink runs out before the pen cap desecration happens it means I was focussed more on the words than the anxiety of making the words. Chewed pen caps are the bi product of angst. No one wants to see that shit.

Tom: Ahhhh. I see.  Does it make you feel sad that most of your ink words won’t be read?

Me: Oh HELL no. Blue ink  is so much different from black type. There aren’t any rules with blue ink. I fucking hate rules.

Tom: Why do you think you can break rules in blue ink but not in black type?

Me: I’m not saying I can’t break rules in black type. But when I type, I assume that some people will SEE the rule breaking. And judge. So I’m a little more careful with black type. It goes back to why I don’t generally chew on my work pens.  I don’t want people to think I’m gross. Or anxious, which can be perceived as being weak. I can be weak in blue ink but not so much in black type and for SURE not in sales. It’s a sure-fire route to failure. And I gotta pay for my blue cap addiction somehow. And some other stuff.

Tom: What if you tried blue ink at work?

Me: Tell me Tom, do you sometimes wish that you had just skipped med school and dove into philosophical poetry? You’d be so much more understanding about why using blue ink at work is just crossing a damn line.

Tom: Well Heather, I’m pretty much dead. Regrets are for the living. Ones who are afraid to use BLUE FUCKING ink on a regular basis. You freak. That will be $300 please.

Me: Clearly I have hit a nerve Tom. I’m sorry you’re so unhappy. You can just send me a bill. I forgot my checkbook. And my blue PEN. Jerk.

Tom: I’m sorry. I was lashing out. I mostly just wanted to paint in watercolor.

Me: I forgive you Tom. I have to go do some work now. And for what it’s worth, I’ll ponder the idea of bringing a little blue ink into the day job. Here’s a little Marianne Williamson philosophy about WORK from “Return to Love” for you to take with you when you head back to where ever you were before our couch session:

“What you want to do is not the important question. The question to ask is, “When I do anything, how should I do it?” And the answer is, “Kindly.” People don’t normally associate business with kindness, because business has come to be regarded as simply a tool for making money. Miracle-workers are not in business only to make money; they’re in business to inject love into the world.”

Tom: Ahhhh. This is good. Thank you Heather.

Me: Thank Marianne. But I knew you would appreciate this. You seem like a miracle-worker.

Tom: I’m glad we had this visit. And thank you for taking some time to get to know me a little bit. Dead guys sometimes need the kindness of recognition.

Me: Alive gals do too. Ha! And I’m glad I got to know you a little as well. This was for sure a wonderful use of my time and not at ALL boring. But this is getting weird so you should probably go now. This wasn’t at all what I intended to write in this post. Thank you Tom. Have a good… ummm… life?  

Tom: You too Heather.

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Running in Circles

I’m sitting on a bench at the park across the street from my house trying something new with the writing. I just finished a short run and want to capture the words that always come when I am running but never seem to hit paper. This will maybe be an unedited post. But we shall see. No matter how hard I try on my editing there is always improper grammar and at least one or two misspelled words. So really? Why bother.

Except that  when I read someone’s writing and see misspelled words before I fall in love with their beautiful mind I sometimes feel judgy enough to stop reading. Which is terrible and  explains why my blog site is not very well read. Karma. It serves me right. But really this blog site is not about being well read. The muse reminds me of this from time to time when he gifts me with his presence. The words in this blog site are about facing my fears and finding a piece of peace and having empathy for others who also have fear. And desire peace. Which is pretty much EVERYONE. So a misspelled word ain’t but one more means to come together in our imperfections. I just worked that one out. Empathy for poor spelling is now in my heart. More peace. Already! In the second paragraph!

I’m in terrible shape right now. I’m no longer running marathons. Not sure why doing that was so important. But it was. Probably just another way for me to run away from shit I needed to be dealing with.  I write this post right now to avoid putting together a presentation on COLOR and its impacts on the learning and work environment. I teach this in 11 days. I’ve known about it for eight months. I’m not an expert on this, but I’m interested in the subject so I opted to teach it to a group of school facility managers at their convention in October. I’ve read fourteen books and feel no closer to knowing how I will present this very subjective topic. But in my defense I work better under pressure. And the run helps things noodle. I’m at the al dente stage. But I like my noodles more soft and easier to chew.

It feels nice to not push so hard like I did when I felt the need to run long distance. Currently I’m happy doing chubby yoga in the mornings and zombie running for a half hour or so when I feel like it.  Looking across at my house where most of my people are right now I wonder how long I could sit on this bench before they notice I am gone. It’s a different phase now for me.  I can go and it makes little difference. Generally I’m needed for cash and pep talks and occasional hugs. I’m not essential life support anymore. I’m frosting. But OH how I love frosting. It’s almost as important as clean diapers and carpool. And funner. Years ago I ran around this park so that I would be close to the house in case someone needed me. Stealing runs while the baby slept and the oldest watched or the husband. Miles and miles around: one lap is .60 miles. One time I ran 34 times around.  Now I run around it because I’m still recovering from ankle surgery and don’t want to have to limp too far to get home if I re-injure myself. Also I may have to pee.

Plus I just like the familiarity of a single, well known path. With everything else in my life so uncertain and unsteady, a closed, consistent loop is comforting.

Yet. It’s never really the same. Neither outside nor inside my brain. Because nothing is still. Not ever.

Today I saw a frisky three legged lab taking his child for walk. The dog was pure joy, hobbling along with ease, which encouraged me to believe that two legs were enough to keep my round squooshy goddess bod moving.

The sunshine was on my shoulders and I thought of the first record given to me “John Denver’s Greatest Hits”. I must have been ten? Maybe twelve? I can still remember the words to every single song on that album. I loved his music so much. And my record player with headphones that allowed me to mask from my parents the insomnia that’s been with me off and on my whole life: in my room, in the dark, with John and others to help me with through the awake.

Chris Cornell’s song “I Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart” came up on my playlist and for the first time since his death I didn’t push the right arrow to get him out of my earsight.  Maybe I’m finally forgiving him for leaving the world. It’s really not my right to be angry at him. I didn’t know his heart. But his words seem to know mine. Especially that particular song. And so maybe I have some right to feel sad and to not be able to face the loss of someone who sang to my heart, merged his sadness with mine making it feel okay to accept that hearts can break and we still go on living. But he didn’t. So what does that say? Except his music lives: energy from beyond the grave. And he is still making music. We just can’t hear it. Yet.  

The fresh cut grass smelled strong today, it always seems to in the fall. Is it because the air is colder? Does smell hang heavier in cold air? Is there science in this? I will probably research this later.

I saw a squirrel carrying something rather large up a tree and though my glasses were not on, I realized it was another squirrel, maybe her baby. I’m not going to have closure on what was going on there because she darted way up out of my blurry vision. But I’m going to assume that the baby was simply in trouble for playing too far away from home. Though the baby seemed big and was not putting up a struggle. Maybe a teenage squirrel party was broken up and he or she was drunk from too many nuts and passed out in the grip of mama’s mouth. It’s upsetting that I will never know if the baby (or teenager) is okay. But no one ever really  knows this: that things will be okay. We just have to perhaps enjoy that we get to experience the things. This maybe needs to be the ‘okay’ that we seek. And so I shake off my semi-autistic need for closure, for a finish, for knowing the full story, for having all the answers, because it’s time for me to get off the bench and go be frosting.  Empathetic, peace seeking frosting who runs in marvelous never ending, eclectic circles. 

My Name is Heather and I am a _____ist

According to several websites, there are approximately twelve hundred words that end in ‘ist’. Though I’m pretty sure some of them are made up words which I’m totally down with. If you want to make yourself seem like a badass at something just put an “ist” on the end of whatever it is you think you are good at and you can instantly become recognized as a resident expert on the subject.

For instance if I said I was a cruciverbalist you would know there would be NO SENSE in trying to beat me at solving crossword puzzles. Though at first glance, I thought the word meant being super good at eating vegetables. And my vegetable eating is about par with my ability to do crossword puzzles which is pretty much zilch. But I bet you too have now learned a new word today. You’re welcome.

But I digress from a place I haven’t even GOTTEN to yet.

With all of these words ending in ‘ist”, of which FIFTY or so start with the letter ‘R’ my question is did any of you jump to the conclusion from my puzzly attention seeking title that you were going to read about me confessing to being a racist?

Really? What the fuck people? ALL those words to choose from and you assume it’s THAT?

You clearly don’t know me very well.

I forgive you though. I really do. Because racism (and other words that create dark division) is on many of our minds lately thanks to social media and news reporters suffocating us with stories about mean things we are doing to each other on a regular basis all over the damn world, except in Australia, where apparently nothing bad happens.

So it’s natural I suppose that some of you would make the assumption that I am admitting to being a racist. Especially since my last blog was about why it’s my fault there is war. I tend to be a little dramatic in taking on the world’s problems as my own. And the truth is, I have been stewing for MONTHS about whether or not I am capable of intelligently writing about the subject of racism. It’s a dark, heated and emotional subject and quite frankly has given me a terrible case of writer’s block.

TWO painful months of it.

I wish I could blame the muse for the block but he and I are getting along relatively well. The problem is that I have been unwilling to sit down and FACE this subject. I’ve been full of perfectly logical reasons to stay away from it: work, kids, sleep, painting a bunch of things in my house BLUE while listening to the comforting voice of the late, great Bob Ross tell me from the television “Yeah…just tell the paint what you want it to do…it’s easy really, juuuuust let it happen”, me saying back “Yeah Bob, blue is where it’s AT.” And the muse is unwilling to chase me down and make me sit still. He is difficult that way. Apparently it’s an unwritten rule that sitting still is my part in this writing “gig”. Some kind of damn free will thing. His job is to whisper “H. You’ve got this. Just settle yourself down and focus on what calls to your heart and TELL about it.” And I nod at his soothing words, start typing and pretty soon sentences turn into paragraphs.

But this topic, this mean spirited hateful thing that is happening all around us from all different directions: it’s painful and AWFUL to have calling to my heart because I simply can not make sense of it.

The writer’s block hurts just as badly though, maybe worse, so I am sitting still now, doing my part and  the muse is whispering to me: “Write it H. Make sense of it in YOUR way.”

So, with permission given to do it MY way, I’m going to take a little detour and talk about a phrase one of my friends recently sent me, suggesting I write about it:

“I’m an island of such great complexity.”  -Author Unknown

My first thought was “Hell NO I’m not going to write about a statement like that! Whoever wrote it is self absorbed and braggy about being all complex, which means that they are above being “figured out” by the average Joe and henceforth are hoity-toity. But the statement has been festering in my head (annoying) and when that happens, well it needs to be addressed or it won’t go the fuck AWAY.

AND really? Doesn’t this describe us all? Each one of us really IS an island containing blood, bones, water and organs wrapped up and contained and physically SEPARATED from each other by this thing called we call SKIN. Damn skin that we hide our unique souls and our beautiful minds behind because we so often let our egos run the island and egos do everything based on fear. They try to protect us from looking stupid or being hurt by other islands that don’t seem to care enough about us to transcend their skin and say “Hey! What’s goin’ on beautiful complex island sister? You sure look different than me and that feels scary and so while there is no way I’m EVER going to know everything that’s going on in that fantastic brain of yours, how about we figure out a few things we have in common and see if we can’t get a little CLOSER to each other because I’m lonely and kind of wondering how I stop this sad, lost feeling from blowing up inside me like volcanic lava.” Our egos tell us “Why should WE turn ourselves inside out for anyone? Why should WE try and see past someone else’s SKIN and find out what’s going on below the surface? No one does that for us!” And so we all keep our distance from each other and our complexity remains unexplored. It’s just so much easier to judge a book by it’s cover than dig deep into the story.  

So yeah. Islands. Which we can simplistically describe as little land masses surrounded by water until we zero in closer and see that each island, which has pulled up from a larger piece of land for one reason or another (maybe it was tired of being under water and wanted to see the sun) contains its own complex ecosystem defined by soooo many other things than just the color of the soil. And while each island is different and complex and thinks it is isolated, it is still connected in some way to the mainland, a.k.a. mother earth. It has just forgotten. See?

Think about that with me for a minute.

Now QUICK: what is the first thing that comes to mind when you read the word “race”?

I wish I could ask 10,000 people this question and see what the most common answer is. Was your first thought “skin” or a vision of someone’s skin color? Or did some of you think of a contest? Like a marathon or the Indy 500? Did ANYONE think of rushing water? If you did, you are either a linguist or a vampire. I vote the second option but only because it’s funner to think vampires are reading my blog than linguists, who can be kind of judgy.

Logic has never been my strong point.

But I’m going to try for a bit of that by taking a simplistic look at the etymology of the word RACE. The very first definition of “race” came about in the 12th century from a Scandinavian word “rasen” a verb meaning “to rush” which is akin to the Norse word from the 13th century “ras” a noun which means “a strong current of water or a rushing”. (Do you see now what perfect sense it makes for me to believe you could be a vampire? How else would you remember words from the 13th century? You look GREAT for being 600 years old!)  In the 14th century it came to mean “the act of running”. It wasn’t until about 1510 that the word came to mean a “contest of speed” and then LATER in the 16th century, about the year 1540, the word came also to mean “a people of common descent” from the Middle French/Italian word “razza”. The English sense of the word at this same time period was a way to classify things like wine flavors, occupations and generations. Then around 1774 the word became associated with the idea of dividing or grouping mankind based on physical characteristics.

And skin color, to this day, is one of the more obvious surface characteristics upon which our eyes help us define, group, sort and sometimes sadly DIVIDE ourselves. Which is the most asinine thing I can think of. A skin race. Determining the winner can be pretty fucking subjective.

The reality is that despite the fact that the actual word RACISM wasn’t recognized in the English language until sometime between 1933 and 1934, this has been mankind’s thinking since the beginning of recorded time. Just because we don’t have a word for it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

I don’t think that we can pin this divisional thinking on any one specific person, unless you want to take the easy way out and go all the way back to the story of Adam and Eve. And heck if I know or care what color THEIR skin was. I bet they didn’t care either. They had a lot more important things to worry about than who had the best tan. Like that nasty meddling serpent who brought to their attention not that which made them joyful and peaceful and connected to life in this yummy symbiotic way but who instead LIED to them and told them that KNOWLEDGE was being kept from them and they were therefore inferior to God. And in this awareness they became separated from their maker, from the universe, from each other. Isolated, on a complex island.

Without the very knowledge that they had all along until they believed that they didn’t.

Does being aware of the differences between us make us racist? Does this disconnect that came about with Adam and Eve’s ‘awareness’ of being different from their maker, that same disconnect that comes about on a daily basis in each of our lives that causes us to strive to find meaning and balance and our PLACE in this universe by doing what we humans naturally do: define, sort, label and seek order so that we have some kind of comparison and the illusion of control as to WHO WE ARE and how our island connects to the earth, how our souls connect to our God, does this create division instead of unity, isolation instead of wholeness? But viewing racism as a journey toward wholeness seems kind of absurd.

“Absurdists” also focus mostly on the differences between us all but simply chock it up to the fact that the universe is irrational and meaningless and that the search for order and understanding just brings more conflict. Racists place superiority and scorn upon the differences whereas absurdists just throw their hands up in surrender to the chaos. There is no salvation in THAT thinking.

“Salvationists” (otherwise known as evangelists) while meaning well, often have a rather narrowly defined path for which to reconnect to our origin, calling all other roads taken to be fatal.

Yet “fatalists” believe all things and events are inevitable and without ANY option to change things. They say that we are powerless to do anything other than what we actually do. That things are out of our control. But there is NO WAY that our existence can’t be altered by the choices we make when we set ourselves out to discover how we are all connected.

 My name is Heather and I am a connectivist.

“Connectivists” believe that life is a precious and amazing treasure hunt where we explore how we are all woven together into this fluid, infinite mosaic by glorious, loving, technicolor thread.

What if we all let go of our fear and tell our egos to rest a little? They must be so tired from thinking they needed to protect us from the knowledge we forgot we had about our eternal connectivity. We just thought we were all separate. It gets confusing when the colors are all so bright.

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