Sides and Angles

Are there two sides to every coin? Of course.

Is there a different angle to every seat at the table of life? You bet.

Perhaps it’s the Yin and Yang of it all. Certainly if I’m sitting at the table nearest the dessert display then I may have a bit sweeter disposition on the topic at hand.

Similarly, if I’m seated nearest the roast beef carving station, perhaps I may have a meatier approach.

As I find myself getting older, I observe those that are nearest and dearest to me doing the same. After all, time stops for no one. The life experiences of my 82 year old Mom (yes, that would be this post’s namesake) are beyond compare to mine at my new medicare-ripe age of 65.

Her expectancy for me to understand and appreciate her views at 80 are often frustrating. I have not been there…yet. Why can’t she recall and include the experiences of her 65 year self to more reasonably prepare others (okay me) for aging without the process becoming framed in hostility? Yet others listen to her sage advice with wide-eyed awe. To them she is nearly a prophet.

I stay with a 92 year old and have been doing so most weekdays for 2 ½ years now. I spend the better part of my work week joining her for dinner and conversation before leaving in the morning for my job. She is indeed sitting at the other end of the buffet table. She has been waited on in a luxurious lifestyle and it has afforded her and those closest to her more options in life than most I would guess. It is none of my affair except to note the different angle from which she approaches life. Saving the world is a thought that is easily replaced to a more simple love of her dogs and “Everybody Loves Raymond” reruns.

She is angry with her partner of over 60 years for leaving her flying solo on this earthly plane. While he did everything for her, the realization is she can do little for herself it would seem. That is her side of the coin these days.

As I watch her daughter and granddaughter visit and interact with this 92 year old, I reflect on my reactions to my own Mom. It is a different side of the caring coin when it is your Mom and the Mother/Daughter history shared is your own. Personal frustration comes to lead the dance when it is your maternal relationship. Compassion dictates the pace of the song when you are accepting the unrelated invitation to assist. The silly comments and clouded memories are noticed playfully until the relationship’s history gets called into play. Why then does hostility waft in like unwanted cigarette smoke while we try to discount the seeming decline in ability? The angles are cloudy now.

Just today my Mom was commenting on the angst that surrounded the latest years of her own relationship with her Mom. Is that characteristic meant to help us let go? I wonder?  The angles are very different but the love is undeniable just the same.

I actually think it’s two-fold. As we age and sense the loss in our ability to be independent we resent it. After all, that’s what most of us thus far have worked so hard for all of our lives. As we approach advancing age we realize it is all happening so quickly and maybe we need to make a more valiant effort at it. Then, those two conditions I call sides and angles collide in a whirlpool of emotion that makes us even more painfully aware that we are fast approaching the aging topic at very different angles.  Decisions we know to be necessary and have planned for now seem invasive and unwelcome.

There is definitely truth in an old boss of mine’s statement, “Life is like a roll of toilet paper, the closer you get to the end, the quicker it goes”.

That’s one side. My angle is to do the best possible with each moment/hour/day, week, etc. After all, I’ve learned that we have the power to flip the coin to a different side at any age.  If you don’t like your view, try approaching it from a different angle!

Happy Birthday to Me!
Yours Truly,

Decidedly Debra

Now I Lay Me Down . . . on Pillows

Yes Pillows. Soft, heaven scented, downy pillows. Pillows covered in fresh cool cotton linens. They cradle and comfort the weary mind and the tense neck as the body follows, relaxing into its place.
I unlock my door and enter my home after a long day’s work. I’m greeted by a room with colorfully printed accent-pillows arranged on otherwise lush but boring cocoa colored leather furnishings. They offer a spot to rest the head for a moment of recharge and respite before the evening meal.
Down the hall, a peek into a neatly arranged room for guests. The first room is invitingly adorned with a sense of whimsy and pillows. These pillows offer a sense of familiar in an unfamiliar place of possible adventure for those welcomed there.
The other room is where I most often place myself when the end of the day and rest beckons. Large pillows soften a corner designed for spiritual practice. It is easy to quiet the mind and feel grounded with these pillows. They help prepare the body to release the seen and focus on the unseen and the message that may lie therein.
Even the bath has its own pillow. An airy puff to engage the body in its desire to linger in a good soak. Relax. Hear the unspoken ahhhh.
Is it any wonder why I am so attached to my pillows? It is an intimate relationship you see. Much like the escort who is so giving of themselves, yet may choose to reserve the kiss. I too find sleeping accommodations easily giving of their comforts, but the pillow is reserved and off limits to most except me. Sharing is limited to a select few, unlike the shirt off my back or the comfort of a night’s rest.
Travel with me my friends. Embracers of my night dreams! Yes, my favorite pillows often go with me.
As I drove to work this morning I idled in the usual snarls of traffic. The drive there borders an undeveloped but fenced parcel. In the winter it is an atmosphere of rain water and green growth as an occasional Metro train gurgles past at set intervals. White clouds are their pillow-y canopy. In the summer it is a brown scar on an otherwise barren or cement path and the train seems more like a mirage in the background.
I often fantasize about jumping the curb and 4-wheeling the rest of the way to the office. That is a lot of risk for a five minute gain in ETA. A fence surrounds the parcel and is locked at the driveway entrance 90% of the time, thankfully. This morning, it was a spring scene set against a field of wild mustard. Their tiny yellow flowers dotting the landscape.
Against that same fence that corrals that land was a king size pillow. It was propped against the newer still shiny chain-link fencing along the sidewalk. It was placed as if it was on the cover of a fancy catalogue advertising the latest in swanky bed clothes. Proudly propped, plumped and smoothed, its black case looked somewhat inviting at first glance. But wait, was it black from wear? It looked intentionally propped up there as if by desire. Had that been someone’s less than private sleep spot? I’m wondering if that pillow felt as good to them as mine does to me at day’s-end. As I felt my uneasiness grow I reminded myself of my blessings, my own pillows. I found myself hoping that this pillow, while perhaps now disturbing to me, might be someone else’s blessing. Odd but true.
So thank you to the universe for the reminder that my pillow may look different than yours. Lord knows I do not spend fortunes on mine only to be slobbered on by four-leggers or tossed into the SUV for the next adventure. No matter what you are resting on when you lay YOU down – I hope they are pillows of the same comfort and restfulness supporting you.
With love, Decidedly Debra

That Which You Fear You Create

Lately I have been very intentional about releasing my fears. Admittedly that hasn’t been easy. Seems like we want to hold on to our fears like an old teddy bear we once dearly loved. It’s now missing an eye and has been stitched back together over the years to be held onto even though it doesn’t make sense or serve us anymore. Sounds just like much of the fear I am currently releasing.

It’s time to set my soul free and know that love and goodness propels it forward to the next right action. No longer am I expecting the worst but rather the best. That is what I aim to create!!!!

Healing of past hurts have been forgiven. The haunting thoughts and “what if’s” have now gone and it is a much cleaner space. There is a lot of redecorating going on – both figuratively and literally. It feels good!

As I search for the perfect balance in restoring the now empty space, I wonder. What is it I hope to accomplish in this place I’m intending to create for…for….for myself, for my retirement career as an audio book narrator and as a creative space for spare time projects. A place where I can dare to be me, unfiltered and unafraid.

In this place, much like my mind, as I call it my own and lay my exclusive claim to it, I know this is where only I get to edit the creative process that takes place there. It is not the egotistical “I” but rather the universal “I” that will take in all that the universe has to offer, seen and unseen, and then perceive my plan. It will be without fear. This will be a place of careful evaluation. I will assess there but not judge. The final outcome will be my own expression and it will be pure and voluntary and intentional.

I’m excited to share the fearlessness I create there!

With love,
Decidedly Debra

Spiritual Promotions

I can’t remember where I first heard this term but I liked it. Death is a final and sad word to me. For me it acts like a speed bump which slows my eternal thinking. Replacing the word death with Spiritual Promotion has made me realize exactly the opposite. I am so grateful.

My Spiritual Promotion, which I am in no hurry for any of us to claim by the way, insures my thoughtful living with good intention. Even as I approach official retirement from my job I know I can go forward and evolve in a positive way. I have many hobbies I can’t wait to pursue. My flourishing career as a voice actor and audio book narrator after retirement as an executive secretary is the plan. Until recently it seemed to me that most adventures beyond retirement were merely distractions meant to pace the time until…until…until time to leave this earthly body.

When I renewed my spiritual path a few years ago it was truly a God-send. My life had boiled down into a slowly evaporating pot of whatever was left in the bottom of my fired up saucepan.

I had;
– shown my boyfriend the door after 10 years (I had just become aware of his wandering eye),
-let my beloved older dog go to live with my parents (it was best for her), and
-let the commute to work become a struggle and drive me slowly crazy (a short trip at only 12 miles one way).

Although I later found these things to be a blessing I found myself feeling completely alone. I have amazing friends and family and yet it seemed to me like I was waiting for everyone and everything I cared about to die. I would pass my alone time imagining the life I should be having, but for how long? What was the point?

My free time was spent attempting to enjoy myself thru travel and a gym membership. It simply reminded me of my need to embrace a more serious approach to my personal financial responsibilities as well as my physical self. It was a time of “tension relieving rather than goal achieving”. (I could write volumes on the the man in my life who coined that phrase!)

A year later I was reintroduced to God and the goodness and abundance that is our inheritance. Gone from my religious experience was the guilt, punishment and suffering. To hear the Universe has already said yes to all that I can dream of is invigorating. To know that I am human form uniquely expressing God-like qualities is amazing. The best part is to appreciate the evolution and eternality of all Creation!

It is with a full heart I’ve learned that those near and dear to me have always and will always be with me. Like a baby in its mother’s womb, it cannot fathom the wonderful life and relationships that are about to reveal themselves to itself. It is the same for us. We cannot imagine our world after transitioning from our human forms. I’m sure it will be glorious nonetheless.

So to those creations who have already been blessed with their Spiritual Promotions I send my love and ask you to save me a good spot from which to enjoy it all. To those who, like me, have yet to realize that phase of their journey I encourage you to stay the course and prepare well. With positive and loving intention your Spiritual Promotion will be well received. Replace fear with faith. You deserve to enjoy the abundant rewards of your evolving journey.

I look forward to seeing you all on the unseen side once I have earned my own Spiritual Promotion.

Until then, love and light!
Decidedly Debra

The Dough Starter

The Dough Starter. What is it?   Like sourdough bread, where did the original “starter” come from? It takes a little of the starter to add to the rest of your recipe in order to complete the process. The result is a reward of warm, out of the oven bread. Butter melts into the divots and the options for layering on top of that are endless.

Funny, I thought. That’s the same idea behind that one drawer in everyone’s kitchen or hall (maybe both) that collects stuff. Oh sure, you clean it out every now and then. Typically that time comes when the drawer requires longer than one minute in a series of mashing and rearranging moves that do not offer (drawer) closure. So it’s cleaned out, but aha, you have been left with another version of “Dough Starter”. That pile of what-nots and necessary thingies that don’t really have a spot all their own. They lie in a small pile assembled in the now cleaned drawer in solidarity. These perfectly good things, not ready for the trash, all have one notion in common.  No home to call their own.  Perhaps alone they are not significant enough to be housed in a home of their own. Yet without the item, that one piece of information that has the ability to morph into an item of great importance the task may be impossible to complete.

Similarly, the Follow-up Folder is on my desk now. It is currently void of things to do. All that remains is the “Dough Starter”. There you will find unrelated pages.  They relate to obscure notes, phone numbers and instructions that no longer have a current need. I’m thinking hey, it might be vital again, one day.   They are then joined with the clipped pages that relate to some task that has been reported complete, but is it? Once confirmed, the paper trail can be filed. But what remains is the “Dough Starter”. Like all “Dough Starters” each bit of the starter is required. The recipe is not complete without all of the vital bits. What is otherwise produced might lack that one thing that should have remained in the “Dough Starter” but was thought to be inconsequential to it.

Never underestimate the “Dough Starter”. It can make your progress or it can break your progress.   For example, a one-time Gate Repair man’s phone number was not worthy of a file card of its own. Where would I file the card? Would I remember the Company’s name or the Contractor’s name? Of course I wouldn’t. There it went, into the “Dough Starter”. Years later, when asked…the “Dough Starter” did not disappoint. There, in the plastic security blanket of a page protector was the slip with the information needed once more. That once in a blue-moon place, safely housed in the “Dough Starter”, offered another delicious bite of success without fuss.

Do not misunderstand me. Keeping the “Dough Starter” pure and viable is important. That drawer you are not able to shut, the folder too full to see the identifying tab at the top of, or even that stack of old purses that mysteriously manages to shove a favorite purse under the bottom of the pile is calling. (Closet purses are in cahoots with Dryer socks after all).  Maybe some of your favorite old handbags are enjoying the top of the heap but like the de-cluttering lady says, if it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it. That being said, I do have an old macramé purse in the “Dough Starter” pile of my closet. It has come out to save me a time or two on Halloween or that themed dress day at the office.

Do you have an emotional “Dough Starter”? Is there that quiet place inside you can go to? Clean out that sacred space of the things that no longer serve you. Keep the important and unresolved issues there until you can find the right place to safely store them. You will be left with that same little pile of odd feelings and emotions that you aren’t quite sure what to do with. Leave them right there. That is for your very most treasured “Dough Starter”. Do not force it. Let it age and it will come to you with just the right purpose to complete your progress at just the right time.  It is the key ingredient in the recipe called YOU.

This is Decidedly Debra. I hope you have enjoyedcropped-Debra-145.jpg this little slice made with love and a bit of my very own “Dough Starter”.

 

Chasing the Dream or Embracing the Dream

The abundance of blessings in my own story is evidence of true miracles.  When you finally learn how to make the fine distinction between Chasing a Dream vs. Embracing a Dream, the shift can bring dramatic results. 

For so much of my youth I imagined in glowing detail what I wanted in life.  Yes, that was very different then as compared to now.  Age has a funny way of changing a person’s perception on things I guess.  Suffice it to say, I am enjoying the confidence that comes with advancing years.  Life experiences brought me new dreams with a few of the old dreams still tagging along for the ride.

  

I am not certain at just what point I began to embrace my dreams rather than chase them, but oh, what a difference that shift made.  We learn along our journey that life means to give us all that we dream it can.  What a joy it is to allow that to come to us freely, lovingly and joyfully!

So many years were spent painstakingly working and striving to reach goals that all too often seemed just beyond reach.  Saving money was difficult as it seemed to always be needed to patch some hole in my symbolic leaky boat of life.  Bad decisions were lamented over for far too long, keeping the path of abundance blurred and hidden from view.  It was there the whole time, yet I literally couldn’t see the forest for the trees.  Too busy running, chasing something I had convinced myself was elusive.  Too busy being fearful that my dreams could never be reached.  Occasionally it even seemed such dreams might be undeserved.  How much time did I spend comparing my dreams to those of others rather than just living my own?

Do you have a sense of how satisfying a dream can be?  As I dream of a world without suffering, a drive to work without traffic, or more money in my bank account then I realize these dreams are entirely possible.  Remind yourself of that whenever it may seem unlikely.  Know this, they are NOT impossible.  The sooner you begin to embrace the dreams you do realize, the more you will dare to embrace all your dreams rather then simply chase after them.  More and more, you will undoubtedly find the path to realizing your dreams may be even more possible than you first dreamed.

In closing, This is Decidedly Debra and I say…Dare to Dream and embrace it!

Continue reading “Chasing the Dream or Embracing the Dream”

TRAIN TRAVEL

I thank Francine whom thanks her friend Bobbie for the following…

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LIFE IS LIKE A JOURNEY ON A TRAIN…WITH ITS STATIONS…WITH CHANGES OF ROUTES…AND WITH ACCIDENTS!

AT BIRTH WE BOARDED THE TRAIN AND MET OUR PARENTS, AND WE BELIEVE THEY WILL ALWAYS TRAVEL ON OUR SIDE.

HOWEVER, AT SOME STATION OUR PARENTS WILL STEP DOWN FROM THE TRAIN, LEAVING US ON THIS JOURNEY ALONE.

AS TIME GOES BY, OTHER PEOPLE WILL BOARD THE TRAIN; AND THEY WILL BE SIGNIFICANT I.E. OUR SIBLINGS, FRIENDS, CHILDREN, AND EVEN THE LOVE OF OUR LIFE.

MANY WILL STEP DOWN AND LEAVE A PERMANENT VACUUM. OTHERS WILL GO SO UNNOTICED THAT WE DON’T REALIZE THAT THEY VACATED THEIR SEATS!

THIS TRAIN RIDE WILL BE FULL OF JOY, SORROW, FANTASY, EXPECTATIONS, HELLOS, GOODBYES, AND FAREWELLS.

SUCCESS CONSISTS OF HAVING A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH ALL PASSENGERS…REQUIRING THAT WE GIVE THE BEST OF OURSELVES.

THE MYSTERY TO EVERYONE IS: WE DO NOT KNOW AT WHICH STATION WE OURSELVES WILL STEP DOWN. SO, WE MUST LIVE IN THE BEST WAY – LOVE, FORGIVE, AND OFFER THE BEST OF WHO WE ARE.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO DO THIS BECAUSE WHEN THE TIME COMES FOR US TO STEP DOWN AND LEAVE OUR SEAT EMPTY – WE SHOULD LEAVE BEHIND BEAUTIFUL MEMORIES FOR THOSE WHO WILL CONTINUE TO TRAVEL ON THE TRAIN OF LIFE.

I WISH YOU A JOYFUL JOURNEY FOR THE COMING YEAR ON THE TRAIN OF LIFE.

REAP SUCCESS AND GIVE LOTS OF LOVE.

MORE IMPORTANTLY, BE THANKFUL FOR THE JOURNEY!

LASTLY, I THANK YOU FOR BEING ONE OF THE PASSENGERS ON MY TRAIN!

-AUTHOR UNKNOWN

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I love this, I hope you do too,

– Decidedly Debra

From My Burbank Home

I was driving to work from my Burbank home last week and it occurs to me that at the ripe old age of 63 I can still be “the procrastinator”. It did not leave me feeling very highly evolved, which of course we all know I am (insert eye-roll here.)

On my routine drive into the office, from my Burbank home, I have become familiar with the scenery I pass. I look for the neat and tidy yellow apartment building on the right, just after the apartment building which is missing its tree. After that I know the old Circuit City building will be approaching on my left. That means it will not be long until I reach Ranchito Street. There is where I find the apartment building I want my house painted the same color as.

It is the missing tree that is the visual for my point today ladies and gents. The enlightened path we are on has taught me that what matters is right here, right now. This present moment. So last winter I was on my journey to work, from my Burbank home. I approached a lovely but rather plain apartment building along the way to my right. Suddenly I was struck by the beauty of this young birch tree draping its fragile limbs. They almost seemed to be reaching for something unseen. It was one of those atmospheric days and it was about to rain. The sky was dark and cloudy, covered with large clouds. The clouds had arranged themselves in a symphony of whites and light to darker grays. Alone they looked like a beautiful watercolor. This tree, dancing in the breezes against the lack-luster blue gray building for its backdrop was also dramatic. The scene was so remarkable to me that I thought about pulling over to take a photo of it. But no, I might then be late to work.

I passed this tree for the next several days. Each day I thought I should capture the loveliness of that small birch in a photo. Day four. I approached the small tree and to my shock and dismay it had been sawed off to just a foot or two above the ground. It broke my heart. There its small white and black dappled stump stood all alone against the backdrop of that building. It looked abandoned. No movement, no feeling, no photo. Why hadn’t I stopped to take that photo.

Had this young tree fought mightily against the harshness of the day’s elements and snapped, only to have some do-gooder trim its stump to an even disgrace? Perhaps the neighborhood hooligans also noticed the speck of beauty in their otherwise grim hood and were offended by it’s suggestion of goodness and had retaliated? I might never know.

Each day on my way from my Burbank home, I look for that tree stump still there. It reminds me of what was once there.

I honor its creation in my mind.

It reminds me of how fragile life can be with its “here today, gone the next” tendencies.

I give thanks for mine and thanks for those I love.

Most importantly, it reminds me to live in the here and now without hesitation or regret.

I know I will now take photo opportunities without procrastination.

Yes folks, all this while driving to work – from my Burbank home.

With love and wishes for a joyous New Year,

Decidedly Debra

Lessons Learned At School

I was glancing through my FB posts recently. We all know the variety of opinions that we can find there.  Some, in my opinion, are intelligently expressed and some are downright rude. I usually decline to respond fearing a lengthy on-going litany of unappreciated remarks that typically fail to enlighten anyone. Often the only outcome is a ranting contest geared to blame and blow off steam.

A post I read yesterday expressed dismay from a dog owner who, with the so-called permission of teachers, had been exercising their dog daily on nearby school grounds. The breed of the dog is medium to large and does have a reputation that many find alarming, particularly off-leash. The post went on to explain someone must have contacted local authorities and complained. The police then responded to the location and advised the dog owner that the activity was not acceptable and they could be cited for an off-leash animal in public. They were not cited. That is an expensive ticket to receive and requires a court appearance I believe. But the dog owner was not pleased.

Here is where I admit I have also enjoyed watching my dog frolic freely on the expansive yet fenced safety of a large grassy area at my local school’s playground. While my particular dog’s breed usually incites giggles and awes as well uninvited outstretched hands, she is 64 pounds and nonetheless capable of biting when feeling threatened.

Over a year ago I stopped letting my dog off-leash in my local neighborhood school grounds after receiving a rather stern talking to by the school’s custodian. It was after hours. I was not intent on mingling with the daily throngs of those whose designated purpose was to be there. I was reminded that the next time I was seen there, even after hours and while the gates were unlocked, I would be locked in and left to figure out how to hoist mself and a 60 plus pound animal over the tall locked gates. Additionally I  would probably need to contact local authorities for assistance and the result would be a citation or two for my continued behavior.

Meanwhile, let me get back with the follow up FB comments to the original post. Most were wondering why “Joe Public” had nothing better to do than make it their business to complain to authorities. Many suspected the breed in question had prompted the call. Still others believed the police should have something better to do like focusing on more significant criminal activity. After all it was the dog owner’s belief they had teachers’ permission to be there in the first place.

I admit to being astounded at the outcry of responses laying blame on the person who reported the owner and their dog on school property, the nasty and unreasonable police as well as the misunderstood breed. Only one of the 20 replying to the post, besides me, suggested that the pet owner take their pet to the appropriate “Dog Park” for the desired off-leash exercise. It seems many are willing to attack those who see this behavior as  inappropriate. It saddens me that we are so quick to name call the authority we expect to protect and serve us. When will we, as I since have, take a hard look at ourselves and wonder why we are selfishly choosing behavior that is clearly only convenient for us, party of one?

While my dog is well behaved I never let her out of my sight. I remember the days at my own school when a student would come to class unknowingly tracking in a shoe-bottom full of grassy stuck on excrement. It took a moment for the odor to waft about the room causing the groans and gags of students expecting to accomplish the day’s lesson(s). Usually not until or after traipsing the offensive attached bundle around the classroom is it noticed and a finger then pointed at the innocent offender who is mocked mercilessly.

The same teacher that spends valuable time trying to calm a classroom rather than teaching our children now has to summon custodial services to help with the poo-trail. I am guessing that teacher, who may have found it easier to offer permission to the after school activity of a friend and their dog, is now faced with a smelly classroom. Why? Because it is easier to offer unauthorized permission rather than trying to explain to a friend or fellow pet owner that a school yard is not the place to exercise a dog, or ten, or twenty, no matter what the breed. Especially when you consider the many who do not even have the desire or readiness to clean up after their pets.

I would invite each of us to stop the name calling and take a good look at ourselves. I have had to ask myself what my motivation is for the many things I choose to do each day. Is it for the benefit of many or just myself? Would I love to have a fenced in acre or two to let my pet run free? Of course. Would it be practical? No. I would be asking for snake bites, poisoness plant encounters and other uncontrollable situations, but in a perfect world it would be lovely. That does not make it right. That does not make someone trying to stop me wrong. It just is what it is. Our fantasy. Usually I find that it means we are looking for the easy solution to our wants and desires, with little or no regards for much else in reality.

I remember working at a large equestrian facility’s many years ago. It was huge and full of wonderful amenities. When potential boarders came to inquire about the possibility of housing their fine steeds there it seemed like heaven on earth at first blush. I was quick to remind them that they were going to be sharing that facility with 600+ others, all who believed their needs to be the most important. Perhaps that backyard horse facility for one was better suited to their liking? It was a notion I reminded them of often yet it was exasperating for them to hear, particularly considering the price they paid for their place in a facility that, albeit beautiful and well appointed, was often restricted in their enjoyment of it. It would have been easier for me to simply paint a rosey picture, but that was not the reality we would all be dealing with.

School is now out for today but let us remind ourselves of the lesson I believe we can all benefit from. There is a place and a time for everything. We should be careful what we wish for – not only for ourselves but for each other. It is our responsibility to regard our actions with our own integrity and bring personal accountability to our conduct. Do not assume that others have our worst interests at heart. Try to see the bigger picture and align personal agendas with those we know others would wish for as well.

Pit Bulls and Labradoodles aren’t really that different.  Neither are you or I.

Class Dismissed.

Forgive Me

I have been working very hard at forgiveness. In doing so I have forgiven myself for the things others might perceive I’ve done wrongly. More importantly I have finally forgiven myself for the things I perceive I have wrongly done.

Like the character Sophia in “Golden Girls”…Picture This

Not Sicily, but 2017, Encino, CA…I’ve agreed to go pick up lunch for myself, the boss and a coworker. I really don’t want to eat fast food (but I forgave myself) and as I pull into the drive way leading to the drive thru I glance to my left and wonder why a parked car is idling there (honest). As I approach the order speaker I hear a car horn and look back. I begin to realize that was not a parked car but rather a car approaching the drive thru as well. They were thoughtfully leaving space for those driving in to park. Horror of horrors, I would never intentionally do such a thing as cutting in line! This appears to be exactly what I have done. Just then a man approaches my car window and begins to point out the now realized obvious and asks me “who do I think I am?” Still stunned I thank him for pointing out my mistake as he irrately storms back to his car. It is now I realize there is little or nothing I can do about it since more cars have now moved into the cue of cars behind me. I forgive myself and wonder what else I might do about it.

Options? I get to the order speaker and explain to the faceless voice that I just want to drive thru without ordering. I will park and go inside since I UNintentionally cut in front of people. But wait, I forgave myself and instantly realize that will do little to ease the burden on those behind me. The voice agrees with me and I place my order. Should I pay for the order of the car behind me? It is not the angry man. That might make it better, but others have also incurred a time delay from my action and I don’t have the means or desire if I’m honest to pay for lunch for everyone. After all, wouldn’t this now involve my faux pas extending uninvited effort on the part of the faceless voice. The Voice reassures me. We are in agreement that it was a mistake, an innocent error on my part.

The point is, are we so challenged that we cannot afford to forgive each other of our mistakes? How small or large does a wrongdoing need to be before we can dispense a dose of forgiveness? Must forgiveness require a person to want forgiveness in order for it to be offered?

It occurs to me the man took more time and effort getting out of his car to confront me vs. the amount of time my error caused him delay or effort for him to forgive me. I get it – he mistakenly thought my mistaken action was intentional. His intention seemed clear. I asked the person who took my exact change and at the next window that young woman who gave me the goods for their forgiveness. I requested them to extend that to the customers that followed (yes, even Mr. Grumpy pants). I pulled forward and waited by the wall for an attendant to bring me my order.

The still offended party pulled up behind me (I was anticipating the possibility) doors locked, windows rolled up, a/c on. Hopefully realizing that enough time had been spent on this he pulled away while yelling loudly out his window a word I would never utter. I forgave him. I hope everyone else who heard it forgave him too.

Time is certainly a commodity these days. It seems forgiveness is invaluable. We are forced to waste time in traffic while we witness what would seem to many as intentional and unintentional wrongdoings. All is forgiven. We see many trying to be efficient with time as they fiddle with phones, checking in and keeping up while seeming to be intentionally or unintentionally rude. All is forgiven. That is a personal choice. But while time is fleeting and cannot be held onto – Forgiveness can be long lasting and oh-so healing.

The moral of my Sophia-esque story this day? Clearly I seek forgiveness from those who perceive I’ve wronged them. I have lovingly forgiven myself! I hope the handsome young man can find a way to smooth his angst with his own forgiveness. I’m guessing all who heard the word shouted from his car in such desperate and frustrated anger would also hope the same. Something in my heart tells me it might not have really been me but something bigger that is eating at him. Just a guess, but I hope he finds peace. I prescribe a dose of forgiveness today, it certainly helps me.

Enjoy,

Forgiveness Doctor,

Decidedly Debra