Gratitude Sunday: Learning All The Way

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week – “Most people are afraid of suffering. But suffering is a kind of mud to help the lotus flower of happiness grow. There can be no lotus flower without the mud.” Thích Nhất Hạnh

Sunday Haiku

Soft gray light reflects,
rain in mud puddles refresh
little twittery birds.

Sunday Musings

We begin this New Year with all sorts of new beginnings. One of my readers (Bless you!) noticed I haven’t posted for the last month or so and kindly made a comment on my last post which was about invisibility. I went missing for a while because of a technical breakdown the fixing of which would cost as much as a new computer. I experienced whole new vistas of invisibility and mucking about in the mud. Any of you who know about constant distress, know it compromises your ability to make decisions. So I had my old computer analyzed to assess the death throes and had to figure out how to proceed with compromised finances. Some Christmas gifts and a loan enabled me to move forward.

Then came the learning curve challenge. I learned how to choose a new computer and made a decision. I learned how to set up my new computer. I am in the process of learning how to transfer files saved to a thumb drive onto my new computer starting with these Gratitude Sunday posts. Since I don’t know what I’m doing every step is an experiment in learning. At one point I accidentally moved my Gratitude Sunday files to who knows where and had a little meltdown, adrenaline and all, thinking I had deleted them altogether, but then I found the folder in a place I would have never suspected. (Glory be!). I am still learning about transferring files and hope to soon be back up to speed with my other work. We’ll see. It’s all about the learning.

Though it has been distressing for me, for you readers it might have been for the best. I get a bit maudlin during the holidays and this year was a holiday with newly found family (hubster’s bio-family) and other changes in mine, like a new great-niece and the death of a neighbor woman I had grown up with. Perhaps it is just as well I did not post and dwell on the changes and challenges of the holiday season, and subject you kind readers to a month of digressions about capitalistic consumerism and hollow holiday sentiments and whatever other inspiring madness my brain might have gone into.

Yet. The loss of my old computer brought out a support system I was only peripherally aware of into the forefront of my life. People popped up with help, like the free analysis of computer death and the subsequent saving of all my work to a thumb drive by a stranger. Like the mental, verbal, and emotional support of my publisher and the writer I am editing. Like the folks who, out of the blue, stepped up with cash, not just because of the season, but because: me (who, me?!?). Like the sister who told me how proud she is of me for never giving up despite all the crap that seems to come my way, and who provided the loan without question. Like the reader who noticed and mentioned my invisibility when here I thought I was just writing into the wayward wind. Somebody reads me!

In the midst of all this, I have been fighting to get Medicare and my Earned Income Retirement Investment (Social Security Retirement – it’s not a “benefit” or an “entitlement” – I worked for this and it is my own money for which I was never paid interest to let them use and should come back to me now when I need it) figured out. For me, as in most things in my life, it has not been an easy and straightforward process. I have called and visited Social Security offices so many times in 2018, you’d think it would be a done deal, but no. My account was flagged for fraud of all things, because I had called so many times to get questions answered. Never once have I been able to get anything finished on-line, and in every instance have had to drive an hour to the Social Security office for a face-to-face meeting to prove who I am. Now, certainly, I want my money I worked so hard for to come back to me and not go to some stranger claiming to be me, but how many times do I have to prove who I am? I have to prove who I am until I get all my ducklings to walk in a straight little line into my bank account.

I have never gone in for resolutions much, though I do set goals. And re-set goals. And re-set goals. I’ve found it futile to try to compete or keep up with others. My competition is myself; my goal is to be a better me every day. My journey is never a straight line from here to success. I get to experience the joy of potholes, set-backs, switch-backs, detours, and broken axles learning all the way. I’ll tell you the broken axle story someday. It involves an axle breaking at 50 miles an hour, and fire, and a van full of kids and dogs with the axle flying toward oncoming traffic. That might tickle your imagination.

I’ve selected a few key words to begin my year with. Perhaps they can help you with your year as well.

1. Courage. Where everything begins. Beat the fear and one shall
2. Prevail. Never give up, because
3. Tenacity. Face every day with determination (even when you don’t feel well or good) and
4. Imagination. That’s how you make your way creatively when the regular way doesn’t work.

Here’s to a New Year filled with art, creativity, and imagination.

Color Watchcolorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – No need to panic when the little greenie heads of daffodils, crocus, and iris show even before the end of winter. My favorite red rock, hauled from house to house for years, and the soft green moss that grows on it. The asymmetry of naked brown branches with fat red berries and russet colored dragon rider leaves.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} I spent the four weeks of December with The Christmas Chronicles (rated TV – PG, 2018) with Kurt Russell as Santa Claus. I needed something fun and sort of uplifting and I might be shy to admit how many times I watched it, but by the time I watched it with my sister and the son (separate viewings) I knew most of the dialogue and some of the songs. My sister insisted her husband watch it with her the next night, and I caught the son laughing more than once. I might need to own this movie. Recommended. * After Christmas was over I went back to other guilty pleasures like corruption and cover-ups in Los Angeles by re-bingeing all five seasons of Ray Donovan (rated TV – MA, 2012-2018). Season 6 is available on Showtime, but I don’t buy cable. I get to share and wait in queue at the library, poor people have a wide variety of choice and delayed gratification. Patience can be good, grasshopper.

Currently Reading – My Winter Classic choice this year is Scarlet Sister Mary (fiction, 1928), the Pulitzer prize novel winner in 1929 written by Julia Peterkin. While not widely acclaimed or widely read, I chose this novel for a multitude of reasons: it won a Pulitzer in the year my mother was born, though it wasn’t the author’s first novel; the author was among a handful of women who won a Pulitzer for novels between 1920 and 1930, which included Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, and Edna Ferber; it is about race and the dialogue is written in the Gullah dialect and I’m hoping it will inform some of the studies I am pursuing in racial issues, women’s history, and anthropology as fiction often does. I am very excited to read this novel as it just arrived on inter-library loan and is truly like holding history in my hands: the cover is tattered and worn, the pages are crisply fragile and yellowed nearly orange with age; it smells like an old book, and the story within, while only just begun is already rich with language and place. * No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering (spirituality, 2014) by Thích Nhất Hạnh. Life is hard. Sometimes we are hard on our selves. I search for contentment rather than happiness, but for me it’s a journey, not a default emotion. It’s not merely a case of no soil, no flower. Who knew there is a right way to suffer, or that one can suffer well; it’s rather like just buckle up and enjoy the ride, because some of it is tough runnings. Always learning.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Courage.
  • Adequate time to make decisions when decision making abilities are compromised.
  • Learning. And still being able to.
  • The techno-ditz once again prevailing in the struggle to master technology.
  • Being gifted a new queen sized bed. Since I am a queen sized woman and I’ve been in a twin for far too long.
  • The treasures I’m rediscovering while I clean to get the new bed in.
  • Having treasures to re-discover. I am stuff (treasure)-rich and cash poor.
  • Some things in life that, so far, remain the same, like the little twittering birds who bathe in the mud puddle in my driveway.
  • Spending time with beloved family I rarely get to see. Short as it is, every minute is precious.
  • Hugs from the littles who barely know me because we get to see each other so infrequently.
  • Food banks when your food stamps get cut back.
  • A fresh crisp white tablecloth to welcome the New Year.
  • Sisters and friends who step up to help when the need is real.
  • Readers who notice I’ve gone missing and bother to say.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, Art, Education, Family, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Technology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Gratitude Sunday: Learning All The Way

  1. Megan says:

    Welcome back! You were missed. Good luck with the new computer. I am learning to use the old phone my daughter gave me when she upgraded, my first “smart” phone.

    Like

  2. piratesorka says:

    Now see, it never dawned on me to inquire why you weren’t writing, I just figured you were busy and then once the computer when on the frizzt I just chalked it up to tech issues. I am, most certainly glad to see you writing again! Yay for new computer!!

    Like

  3. Tee says:

    Glad to see you back. I can so relate to this post. Invisibility, suffering/struggles, holidays, family dynamics – all of it. Us old broads gotta stick together in order to get through this sometimes chaotic and unpredictable world.

    Like

  4. Joy says:

    Happy new year to you. I hope your ducklings line up a bit more easily than they have been. And blessings to all who assisted you in the new computer and to you for tenaciously sticking with it and learning the new stuff.

    Like

    • sassy kas says:

      Thank you! I’ve learned not to pray for easy any more. I pray for strength to endure, and it seems to help because ease rarely comes. Amazing how well a strong work ethic can serve one. We’ll talk about those days spent in bed hiding under covers at a different time (ha) for today we prevail!

      Like

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