I’ve consumed the Arnica Montana. I rub on the Biofreeze. I do the yoga, the stretching, the lifting of weights and the ibuprofen. Fifteen minutes ago, I wrestled the tennis ball away from the cat and stood against a wall with the ball centered on the hard lump of accumulated stress. I pushed against that tennis ball with enough pressure to bring tears to my eyes. I released and pushed again.
Some of these remedies offer temporary relief. Most of them just keep me busy with applying and sweating and complaining.
The stresses of the last 14 months set up camp in a muscle on the right side of my spine, just below my shoulder blades.
When I am walking, the pain leaves. I don’t know where the pain goes, but that is the only time that I am without pain, so I walk. Continue reading →
Hank placed his cell phone on the bar and sat on a stool.
“You must be done with your shift?” Joe sat on the stool next to Hank.
“Yeah. I’m meeting a friend at the river for a little evening fishing, but I’ve got a few minutes. How are things?”
“Things are …” Joe turned his stool to face Hank. “I gotta ask you something.”
Hank was placing flies in a small tackle box. “Go ahead.” Continue reading →
I had planned to check out the third in the Harry Potter Series, but some lucky kid, who finds him or herself with long, empty summer days, got to it first. Even with an ongoing list of books I’m dying to read, if I go to the library with one particular book in mind, it’s impossible for me to switch gears. But since I can’t go home empty handed, I stopped to see what’s in the New Books.
To preface things a bit, I must explain that I’ve believed in reincarnation since I was in high school. I don’t remember why. (I recently learned that INFJs struggle with remembering much of their childhood, and that certainly applies, in my case.) Also, as an INFJ, I wasn’t influenced by a friend or a relative. But in that way that INFJs have, I simply knew (more like felt) this belief in reincarnation and karma was right for me. Continue reading →
In the same way crows are attracted to shiny objects, INFJs are attracted to helping. It’s in our DNA. We are wired to listen and counsel. We naturally make others a priority.
“Oh, look! There’s a soul in trouble! I must reach out to her. Look, there’s an outstretched hand. I sense his need. I know I can offer some sort of comfort. I’ve got room on my list of priorities. It won’t take much. I’ve got kindness to spare and a few extra moments in my day.”
Is there anything better than helping one who wants help? Is there anything more gratifying than listening with compassion, being asked for help, and providing words or actions that make a difference?
(As I typed those last words, I thought of the few times I’ve been able to genuinely help, and how I felt so connected to the whole, when doing so.) Continue reading →
“I can’t look!” Margaret pulled the hem of her apron up to shield her eyes. “Don’t tell me what he’s saying. I can’t listen to any more.”
Gladys laughed. “Margaret, what are you talking about?”
Margaret let go of her apron with one hand, squinched her eyes shut and pointed. “Over there. That fellow on the bench. He made some kind of mistake, and now he’s mad at himself. Why must they do that?”
Gladys turned to look in the direction of the bench, as Basil approached. “Good afternoon, ladies. What am I missing?”
“Margaret is worried about that fella on the bench. She seems to think he’s being harsh on himself for some sort of transgression.” Continue reading →
Today is the day we’ve planned to drive around in hopes a new kitten will fall in love with our family. Last night, as we said our good nights and brushed teeth, we had a hard time containing our excitement.
This morning, Will has barely made it to the top of the stairs before asking, “What time are we heading out to find a new kitten?”
I assure him that we’ll go as soon as we’ve had a chance to ease in and have coffee.
A half hour later, I’m doing a coconut pull. Invariably, someone needs to ask me a question, or I need to tell the kids something the minute I’ve pulled the spoon from my lips. This morning is no different. Before I hit the shower, I want to tell them what time to plan on heading out to hunt for a new feline sister.
Sometimes the communicating during a coconut pull works. Whether it works or not, it’s always funny – a lot like playing charades. Continue reading →
I woke with a familiar, 40-year-old heartache. I pulled on my robe while heading up to make coffee. With each step, the strong voice in my head chanted, “That’s not love.”
In the dream, it was my birthday. He carefully, and in great deal, explained the gifts he’d purchased. He discussed the lengths he’d gone to in order to find the perfect items. He talked of how he’d spent so much energy tracking down these ideal presents. “Aren’t they beautiful? Do you like how I put this together? I found the perfect gifts, didn’t I?” I reached out to touch the smooth fabric and he said, “Oh, no. These aren’t for you.” I woke with a racing heart and a need to vomit.
The 12 year old deep down inside wanted to scream, “Hey! That’s not right. What about me?”
Fifty-something me knows the futility of trying to explain to one who lacks empathy. It’s equally tiresome to either point out that something hurts feelings, or to pretend that feelings aren’t hurt. I could say, “Hey, that hurts my feelings,” only to be told that it’s not all about me; that he has every right to buy what he wants for whomever he wants, say whatever he likes or do as he pleases.
And the 12 year old with tears welling up in her eyes thinks, “Next year, I’ll be nicer. Next year, he’ll do nice things for me. I’ll be different. I’ll be better.” Continue reading →
A book doesn’t care if you fold the laundry “correctly.” A book doesn’t care what time you put dinner on the table. As far as a book is concerned, you never have to sweep the floor.
A book doesn’t expect anything from you. It doesn’t get mad at you if you have other projects to tend to. A book contentedly waits for you to find a moment to return to it. You can give it 100% of your attention, or let it set there, by the bed, for weeks, before opening it up again. Either way, you aren’t in trouble.
A book doesn’t get jealous of your friends or your family or your successes or the other books you’ve read. A book doesn’t continually remind you of your failings, unless it’s one of those preachy self-help books, but it’d be healthier to stay away from those books anyway.
A book never gives you the stink-eye, or the silent treatment.
A book doesn’t mind if you eat while reading it. It doesn’t care if you dog-ear its corners, or smear a skosh of peanut butter on one of its pages, although the thought of that makes me cringe. Continue reading →
Cabin fever kicked our butts this year. The gloominess arrived in November, when Thanksgiving turkey and football were replaced by fever, chills, and, well…. I’ll spare you the details.
There were a few bright spots to break up the grey skies, but mostly we hunkered in and crossed days off the calendar until the snow melted and the first blades of grass braved the winds.
Yesterday was the first rain-less day in a week. For six days, we stared at the water rushing down the street as our part of the world accumulated 25 percent of its annual rainfall in less than a week. Some days, the rainwater was peppered with pink blossoms from the surrounding trees. Mother Nature was trying to tell us that even when she rains on our parade, she still provides the confetti.
The soul-crushing dreariness is finally coming to an end, and it’s time for gentle reminders and a list of what’s good and simple.
Continue reading →
“Why do you back down? If you know you are right, why don’t you prove your point?”
I reached for a cup of Earl Grey. “I don’t like confrontation.”
“It’s not necessarily confrontation, though. Sometimes it’s just discourse. Two people disagree, they talk it out, and they come to an understanding. It’s not a big deal.”
I looked at Jen and she was shaking her head. “What do you think, Jen?” She shrugged her shoulders and refused to comment.
Continue reading →
Perhaps you are that strong person who has no problem saying no to the narcissist. Maybe you enjoy challenge and confrontation. When you needed elective credits, you enrolled in Jousting 101 and got an A. You rock boats just to see how people react. But, if you’re an INFJ, you avoid confrontation like you avoid the mall on Christmas Eve, or any other time of the year.
She couldn’t say no to the narcissist.
She tried. She could be heard saying, “No?” in an indecisive, up-talking, frightened mouse-like voice, if a mouse were a 1st grader testing the waters after his teacher asked him to push in his chair. And even though that mouse had squeaked out his little no, he still pushed in his chair.
She never said no in the beginning, of course. Who says no in the beginning of a relationship? Why risk losing something so sweet? There is nothing to say no to when you are in the throes of passion and red flags aren’t on your radar. Continue reading →
John reached for his pint and muttered to himself, “The other high maintenance was easier.”
On the other side of the bar, Hank turned and said, “What? Did you just say ‘high maintenance?'” Hank leaned over the bar, “Uh oh…”
John looked frustrated. “Yeah. I did.” He lifted his pint for a drink. “The last one was the typical kind of high maintenance. She liked stuff. All kinds of stuff. If we got in an argument, I’d buy her earrings. If I wanted to golf for a second weekend in a row, I’d pay for her to get one of those manicures. As long as I bought her stuff, or wined and dined her, we were fine.”
Hank laughed, “And, this new one? Is she high maintenance?”
John shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. I can’t figure her out. It’s a whole different kind of high maintenance. She doesn’t want stuff. She doesn’t go for manicures. She doesn’t have 130 pairs of shoes.” Continue reading →
A sweet, bright light went out today.
You blessed our lives in ways unimaginable. If we are thriving and happy it’s due in so many ways to your patient, enduring love.
We will never forget you. Continue reading →
I just walked over to the dining room table intending to write “chicken” on my grocery list. I wrote in block letters and put a box around the word, but when I put down the pen, I realized I’d written the word “convictions.”
Have you heard the one about the husband sitting at the dinner table? He intends to say, “Please pass the salt,” but instead he blurts out, “You’ve ruined my life.”
Those messages rise to the surface for a reason. Continue reading →
This isn’t a plug for my book. (It should be obvious to you, by now, that I suck at self-promotion.) This post comes from an observation that I’m not as evolved as Seeing My Path indicated. I ended that book by saying that I acknowledged myself, that I truly saw myself, and that I liked what I saw.
That wasn’t enough.
It’s not possible to make that declaration and simply move on, just as it’s not possible to plant Early Girl tomatoes, say a few nurturing words, and ignore them until the shiny red globes scream to be picked. Without regular attention, those fruits will be cracked and split and assaulted by aphids.
I can’t say to myself, “Yep, you’ve been through the ringer, but you came out swinging and I like you for that!” and assume my job is done. Continue reading →