How do you like the title? Do you agree or disagree? I was going to call this blog post; You are who You Choose to Be. In my opinion both titles start at the same place, with YOU.

It’s the last night of Chanukah. The candles have already burned down and out. Quite soon the days will begin to get longer– though here in the Western mountains of the U.S. we are guaranteed very cold weather, snow, some ice… and some beautiful views of the mountains, trees, night scenes, children sledding… on and on.   I Believe

Personally I’m not too thrilled with cold winters. Perhaps all those years in North Carolina spoiled me. Fairly quickly I remembered how to dress in layers, though my feet get very cold just as I get into bed at night and one day soon I WILL replace the last hot water bottle. What I love are seasonal changes in the environment around me. I’m inspired by nature. This winter I’m going to focus on NOT building up my store of fat, like a hibernating bear,  to stay warm.

I’m wondering if you see a common theme; between the titles and my attitude about the cold season now upon us in North America? I have the ability to think myself out of dislike, out of sleeplessness, out of nasty thinking that will depress me. So for the sleeplessness I turn over in bed, lay my head on the fluffy pillow my grandchild uses when visiting, and tell myself; “go to sleep.” My wonderful grandmother would say; “gey shluffin.” That was one of her Yiddish phrases, she didn’t have many. Same meaning as my English command. And it works for me.

Similarly, I tell myself to stop when I’m letting my mind operate the record player that clicks on and whines with every complaint on a subject that is years old and notGrandM and me-Med worth listening to any more. I really, really believe we can control our thoughts, and by extension our feelings.

And now back to; You are Who you Choose to Be. I loved being a mother with a large brood of children. I still love my kids, but they are all grown up, some having their own kids,  out in the world. I’m actively working on making my life meaningful. It’s a work in progress. As is all of living. Pretty cool, that. We can make it up as we go along. I’ve recently chosen to change friends and change activities. There wasn’t enough compassion in the folks or the circumstances that brought us together.

And so I changed what I was doing; because it’s more important to me than most any other aspect, that the people I spend time with have and show compassion, empathy, caring, and love. Perhaps not directed at me, as long as it is there.  I also believe in peace, and the only road leading to peace, I believe, is carved of compassion, empathy, caring and love. And that’s what I’m choosing to do– to be– to want in the people I spend time with– and in the people I love.

Pick your emotions carefully. Be who you choose to be.

Picture of card with saying: “I believe we are always attracted to what we need most, an instinct leading us toward the persons who are open to new vistas in our lives and fill them with new knowledge.” -Helene Iswolsky. Second is photo of my grandmother and me, Atlantic City Boardwalk, eons ago.

Tuesday,
I’ve been trying to figure out why the blaring headlines, and copious news stories have made me feel depressed. Finally… finally, an article on Huffington Post by Pamela Gerloff that made me feel good about my reaction to the self-congratulatory goings on over the news of the murder of O. binL.
And am I the only one asking why there was no trial? Just brutal murder? Yes, I know he murdered first, even if by proxy. So much infamy carried out by humans under the influence of strong emotions. One person who commented asked: “What is it in folks that they so desperatel­y need to feel like they are better than someone else?” Another wrote that we human beings were allowed to occasionally give in to baser instincts. To which I say; “Oh really?!!!”
One of the most difficult tasks I’ve had to learn in last years has been accepting my role as parent to my disabled son, when I am long past having children at home, long past having the patience I had when younger, and long yearning for a quiet life by myself. I have come to peace with my life as it is, and also realize that it is not that adversity makes us stronger, it is using our cognition that provides us with the reasoning and sense to learn and apply new learning.
So I circle back to where I started in this post. Some people who commented on the article cited above, mentioned public response to Mussolini and Hitler as either representative of the human need or desire for revenge, or the wild reaction to being free of tyrants. We Jews just celebrated Holocaust remembrance day, and a speaker said a U.S. soldier liberating the death camps mentioned the incredible smell of incinerated bodies that hung like fog over the camp he entered. And that all his life that smell remained in him. So… memory, cognition, and the ability to sort through our feelings and MAKE CHOICES. Gerloff in the article says this; Do we want to become a species that embodies peace? If that is what we want, then we need to start now to examine our own hearts and actions, and begin to consciously evolve in that direction. We could start by not celebrating the killing of another.”
Pictured here: 2 new cards using recycled card stock and usual range of collage items.

21 January 2011, currently -2F [at 1:30p.m. central time] on the prairie – brrr!!
Today I need this picture, to remind me winter is only SOOOO long and then it will succumb to nature’s rhythms, global warming or no global warming. I hope.
Two bits in the news to reflect on; A story about Dr. Abuelaish, whose 3 daughters were killed and another lost sight in one eye two years ago when Israeli tanks fired on his village and hit his home. He has written a book; I Shall Not Hate; a Gaza Doctor’s Journey. Read an excerpt at http://www.randomhouse.ca. He said in a N.Y. Times article; “it is the future of children, that should spur both sides toward peace.” There is a beautiful memorial at http://www.DaughterForLife.com/memorial.
And in a news piece on NPR about [Congresswoman] Gabby Giffords, a doctor provided a comment in the story and he was called; “an expert in gunshot wounds to the head.” Is this crazy, or what? I am not saying I want to go back to living in caves with ONLY rocks and tree limbs to use as weapons, but why do people today think they need guns to be safe?
It does not work. It is a wrong premise. Ask Dr. Abuelaish, or any other live victim…

And so I found this little video clip/interview especially welcome.