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Serving Life

By , July 26, 2011 10:02 PM

Today’s post is going to be a tiny bit different than most of my others.  What’s different today is that I’m going to write about something I haven’t actually seen or experienced yet.

I’m very excited about a television documentary, Serving Life, that is slated to air on Thursday, July 28, on Oprah’s OWN network.  In fact, even the advertisement for this program is phenomenal.  And incredibly moving.

Forest Whitaker narrated and executive produced this documentary which takes peek into a Louisiana prison.  The inmates in Angola Prison are hardened criminals—over 70% of whom are serving life sentences.  They will most likely die within those prison walls.

And yet, there are a group of prisoners who provide hospice care to their dying fellow inmates.  Care and compassion have blossomed in the most unlikely of places.

I suspect that we’ll all be touched and inspired by the light that continues to shine persistently and brightly, even in the hearts of the inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary.

© 2011, Tamar98. All rights reserved.

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Whole in One

By , July 12, 2011 9:54 PM

What do you like about getting older?  I’ve heard people talk about the life experience and wisdom they’ve amassed as being things they really enjoy and appreciate as they age.  While I agree that those are wonderful contributions to my quality of life, I can’t help feel that, for me, I’m really loving something else much more.

I feel like I’m becoming whole.  It’s AWESOME!

I never would have guessed that, for me, my childhood and early adulthood were all about fracturing myself into splinters and pieces to meet others’ expectations and requirements.  Of course, there were also all the modifications and critical compromises I made to protect myself.  Oh, and the interpretations I made about how best to participate in and with my environment.  Perhaps it’s a normal part of the socialization process we endure.  “Be this, don’t be that—this is valued, this is not” is a common theme, is it not?  Perhaps I was in a unique situation because of my particular circumstances with my family of origin.  I suspect, however, that, regardless of the whys, I’m far from alone in this experience.

The reintegration started for me around the time I turned 30 and it seems to have consistently accelerated since then.  It’s worth mentioning that it hasn’t always been fun or easy, but I feel like I’m finally now getting the opportunity to really have and live MY life.  That makes it worth the effort.

Some people refer to this transformational journey as their spiritual path.  Certainly, it is for me.

If you are interested in amping up your wholeness quotient, consider adding the following to your daily activities:

  • Be both a participant and an impartial observer of your life.  Use what you observe as fodder for your quest.
  • Get curious about what makes you tick.  Who are you?  Are you living consistently with your values and congruently with what’s important to you?
  • Be courageous in mining those aspects of your life with which you’re not satisfied.  Take responsibility for your experience of your life.  Ditch victimhood.
  • Really listen to what you’re saying about yourself and others.  This’ll provide wonderful clues about what has been neglected within yourself.
  • Go there!  If you find something that needs attention, make it your priority to be the archaeologist of your own soul.

© 2011, Tamar98. All rights reserved.

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Oh Pooh

By , July 7, 2011 9:07 PM

I had no idea that Christopher Robin was Jewish.  Ok, it’s not exactly a Jewish name, which may actually be why it took me so long to figure it out.  But I just saw an advertisement for the new Winnie the Pooh feature film and there he was—wearing a yarmulke.  And, of course, we know Pooh is a Taoist.

Recently, I had a friend tell me that she was reading the Twilight series with the perspective that all the main characters depicted in the story were actually all aspects of Bella.  I was so fascinated by that remark that I picked up the books as well.  So far, I’ve read the first volume and the second is in my queue.  At this point, I have no idea if her theory holds, but I feel like this first book was about laying a foundation that will serve as the stage for the real story yet to unfold.

Seeing that commercial about the new Pooh movie and reading some of Winnie the Pooh’s most famous quotes, I can’t help but wonder if Pooh is really a part of Christopher Robin.  It’s especially poignant because Pooh is a toy, perhaps representing Christopher Robin’s inner child or the purest part of his personality or soul.  And then the other characters—Piglet, Owl, Eeyore, Tigger, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo—all represent other unique aspects as well through their unique personalities.

Is this a stretch?  I don’t think so.  Have you heard some of the conversations that Pooh and Christopher Robin have?  Those two are inseparable and they play off each other in the most interesting way.

My favorite piece of conversation is one we should all tell ourselves every single day of our lives, whether we direct that outward hoping it’ll boomerang back to us or whether we can earnestly say it to ourselves.  Says Christopher Robin to Pooh…

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.”

© 2011, Tamar98. All rights reserved.

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Girl in the Bubble

By , June 28, 2011 11:10 PM

I got home Sunday night from a 5-day trip to Los Angeles.  I participated in an intensive training class to become a coach.  In many ways, I’m still trying to recover from my experience there.  In addition to the physical aspects (like poor sleep and extremely limited food choices that my body didn’t like), there is also emotional fallout that I’m processing.

One of the core tenets of this program is radical self-responsibility.  Translated, that means that, as an adult, you are a co-creator of your experience—no matter what your experience happens to be.  To be in this place of self-responsibility, you have to give up the role of being a victim.  Period.

After all my talk about personal power, you might be surprised to hear that giving up victimhood can actually be pretty challenging.  The unconscious core beliefs that define your unpleasant life experiences can be tough to see and accept.  You really have to take a hard look at how your patterns mirror the inner truth you hold about yourself.  Essentially, how you are being in the world determines how people relate to you.  Think about that.  Really think about that.  (An important distinction, though, is that we’re talking about this in relation to who you’re being, not who you are!)

Honestly, there are aspects of this I’m still mulling over.  My project this week is that I am coming to terms with my own invulnerability.  In an attempt to protect myself, I’ve found that I erect some pretty good, virtually impenetrable walls of super-competence and strength.  Sure, the walls protect, but they also obscure and isolate.  And they often leave me feeling unsupported by the people around me, who evidently get the impression I always “have it all handled.”

Don’t get me wrong…  I do have a number of people in my life with whom I’ve lowered the walls.  I’m most likely to use those walls in public, when lots of people are around—when I feel most vulnerable.  And so, people treat me like I’m in a plastic bubble.  (Over the years, I’ve actually had several strangers approach me and comment on how “self-contained” I look.)  It’s time to try something different.  I’ve got nothing to lose.  Do you?

© 2011, Tamar98. All rights reserved.

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A New Legacy

By , June 19, 2011 2:41 PM

Today is Father’s Day.   My good friend Erika and I have in common that our fathers are no longer living here in this physical plane.  Coincidentally, they passed within a few days of each other, although in different years.  Today she blogged about living so that you don’t have regrets with loved ones.  Living so that I can lie on my own deathbed without regrets at all is my goal—although perhaps a lofty, not-wholly-attainable one.  Somehow, though, her post connected some dots for me on a related subject.

When I was young, as I think I’ve mentioned before, the family dynamic at my house was a little weird (although probably not as uncommon as I thought for most of my life).  I, the firstborn, bonded with my father to an extreme degree—pretty much to the exclusion of anyone else in our household.  My mother and my sister paired up as a result.  Needless to say, there were distinct lines of alignment.  When my parents divorced when I was in high school, I caught the brunt of much of my mother’s anger.  Even she couldn’t keep my father and me separate in her mind.

Unfortunately, my father carried deep wounding from his relationship with his parents, which left him desperate to find love at all costs because he felt perpetually unloved.  There was never enough love for him and he was willing to go to destructive measures (to himself and to others) to get as much as he possibly could.  He simply missed the fact that you have the greatest feeling of love when you give it.  Sadly, he alienated a lot of people in his lifelong quest, including me.  Over the years I found much healing through therapy and my other spiritual pursuits.

Through it all, I loved my father very much—even when we weren’t speaking or when I was furious about his latest shenanigan.  As painful as it often was, the bond he and I share remains powerful to this day.

What has erupted in my awareness today is a question of the legacy he left.  To what degree am I attempting to keep him alive through the repetition of his patterns?  To what extent am I trying to atone for the pain of my childhood family dynamic (which I blamed myself for, of course) by punishing myself in a similar way he suffered—by depriving myself of a beloved life partner?  Are these destructive patterns a means for keeping the camaraderie alive between us?

On this Father’s Day, Daddy, I’m letting go of it all in an act of love to both of us.  I will no longer try to atone for your choices.  I will no longer keep your memory alive by making choices that replay your misery in my life.  I will no longer seek out pain to keep our connection alive.  More than anything, I’d like our legacy to be one of healing and of finally having broken the cycle of wounding.

© 2011, Tamar98. All rights reserved.

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Making Scents

By , June 12, 2011 10:09 PM

Groupon is awesome!  There are some local versions around here also for my city and county.  Just in case you’re not familiar with Groupon, they allow you to pre-purchase products and services at a greatly reduced price—usually around 50% of what you’d normally pay.  You can get a $20 gift certificate to a restaurant for $10, for example.

Earlier this week, a Groupon email arrived in my mailbox for a perfumery in Boulder.  (Who even knew there was a perfumery in Boulder??)  For $35 (normally $75) you’d get an hour-long appointment to meet with a perfumer to custom blend a scent for you based on what you like and what smells good on you.  In addition, you walk away with your new perfume.  How could I resist?

For many years, I wore perfume every day.  It helped me feel put together, feminine, and sensual.  In the last ten years or so, I found myself getting more sensitive to scents—both those I wore and those others wore—so perfume left my daily life.  From time to time I’d pull one of the old bottles out of the bathroom cabinet and give myself a spritz or two, but it always felt overpowering and somehow wrong.

Yesterday morning I had my appointment at Essense and I’m excited to report that I walked away with three new scents—two that I “designed” and one sample of an “off the shelf” blend.  I like all of them and they all reflect different aspects of me.  This might sound odd, but the process of blending a custom scent has helped me identify different aspects of myself—what I like, what I want to express to the world, what makes me feel good.

As you’ve probably heard, your sense of smell triggers the deep recesses of your primitive brain.  Wouldn’t it be great if I could use a perfume to help remind me of who I am at my divine core??  I think that having a tool like that to support me in showing up in the world in all my glory could be just what I need right about now!

© 2011, Tamar98. All rights reserved.

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Brain Freeze

By , June 8, 2011 10:12 PM

One of the foods I’m seriously not supposed to eat these days is ice cream (no dairy, no sugar, no eggs).  But, I have to admit, there’s really nothing like it.  Rich.  Creamy.  Yum.  My favorite flavor is usually rocky road—you know, chocolate ice cream with marshmallows and nuts mixed in.  (Yeah, not supposed to be having chocolate or almonds either.  Darn it!)

I’ve recently found an ice cream made from coconut milk and which uses agave as a sweetener.  It’s not bad, even if it is a little two-dimensional compared to good rocky road.  It has me thinking that I could probably make my own using coconut milk and stevia.  I’m dreaming about maybe banana-chai-coconut or, once July rolls around, peach-coconut.  Maybe raspberry-hibiscus or coconut-lime?

Who knows if I’ll end up making any of those frozen flavors.  I don’t even have an ice cream maker, but I might be able to whip something up in my Vitamix.  And, of course, there’s always the question about whether I can effectively execute my vision and net a dessert that truly tastes like what I think it would.  Or should.  Even a delicious—if unexpected—surprise would be awesome.

Whether I actually make them or not, I have fun thinking about the possibilities.  I have to admit that I often hold myself back from even trying the doing.  I don’t want to waste perfectly good food that ends up tasting disappointing because I don’t know what I’m doing and have ruined it.  Worse yet, I don’t want to have my ineptitude in the kitchen in my face again.  At that point, the question becomes was it just a bad idea or did my execution of that idea suck?

What’s really sad to me is that I know this attitude can pervade other areas in my life as well.  I often want a reliable level of expertise before I’ll try something.  Even if I get over that initial hurdle and give it a go, if the attempt bombs, I often won’t try again.  My brain goes haywire invalidating me.  (And sometimes I have others around me who also join in.)

This summer, I’m going to change things up.  I’m going to make a delicious frozen dessert that I can actually eat and enjoy enough to share with friends—even if it takes me all summer.  My critical brain can take a vacation.  Maybe even a permanent one.

© 2011, Tamar98. All rights reserved.

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All Shook Up

By , June 7, 2011 9:53 PM

Didya miss me?  I’ve obviously been AWOL for the past several weeks.  Why?  At this point, suffice it to say that things are changing in my life and I’m doing my best to adapt and, hopefully—ultimately—thrive.  Transformation is afoot!

Before my absence, I actually had a post that I’d been working on for a good couple of weeks.  For whatever reason, it never felt done.  Frankly, I didn’t understand it enough to post it either.  I still don’t feel like I’ve learned what I need to from it.  I’m still missing something, but I’m getting closer.  So I’m going to continue to let it incubate for a bit.

But, I’d like to share some general strokes about what’s been going on for me, just in case it’s not just me who’s slogging through this.  Perhaps we can support each other.

I’ve realized lately that I have a commitment problem.  Sure, I readily make commitments to my job and to people I care about—even if they treat me like crap and/or don’t reciprocate.  Where I feel like I’m falling down is in the commitments I make to myself.  I’ve shone the spotlight on the fact that throwing myself under the bus to save/benefit others has been an annoying pattern of mine.  I’m working to change that now, but I have to admit that it’s sort of freaking me out because I’m getting glimpses of the level of self-destruction that has gone along with those choices.

What’s your barometer?  How do you know if you’re doing the right thing for yourself?  Can you tell?  Do you care?  I have to admit that I’m really learning that how others treat you is nothing compared to how much you value yourself.  When you are taking care of yourself, honoring yourself, and loving yourself, what others do doesn’t really matter all that much because if they are not behaving in alignment with what you deserve, the interaction or relationship you have with them will be very short-lived.

© 2011, Tamar98. All rights reserved.

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I Need a Dick

By , May 26, 2011 10:04 PM

Do I have your attention?  I thought I might.  But I’m going to keep you in suspense for just a little bit…

Where do you find inspiration?  For me, very often, an aspect of inspiration is actually the surprise at where I find it.  When I least expect it, I am transformed.

Let me explain that when I talk about inspiration, I’m talking about something that usually feels like it originates from outside myself and makes a direct connection with my heart.  It’s not simply an idea that my mind concocts.  It’s powerful, brilliant, exciting, whole, magical, and normally not something I would have expected to be able to come up with on my own because it’s somehow bigger than I am or is outside the box of my usual reality.

About a week ago a friend and I attended the Indie Colorado Cinema Experience during which we watched about 7 short films either filmed or produced in Colorado.  After each screening, if the director was in the house, he or she would field a few questions about their work.  As you might expect with such an event, the material was varied—everything from a humorous training film about customer service, to a few dramatic pieces, to a documentary about haunted places in the state.

One film sandwiched in between the other offerings was a film noir style short.  What really stood out about this film was the dialogue.  It was hysterical!  The language was barely recognizable as English given what a normal conversation today sounds like because it was all in extreme beatnik slang.  Even though the words in many cases didn’t seem to have anything to do with anything, what the characters were communicating came through clearly.  It contained the best line of the evening, delivered with a straight face by a woman: “I need a dick.”  She was, of course, speaking that line to a private detective, but I found it to be a simply fascinating, rich line.

That single sentence sparked quite a conversation between my friend and me.  And, naturally, she and I had a good laugh about it also.  The director of that film said she’d been inspired by a book about beatnik slang.  I felt like the director was able to pay her inspiration forward.

That’s what it’s all about.

© 2011, Tamar98. All rights reserved.

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Urge to Purge

By , May 19, 2011 11:22 PM

Apparently, it doesn’t take very much for me to feel like a genius.  I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, but it feels pretty good at the moment.

Why the self-satisfaction?  Well, I have an old Dell computer that has been cluttering up my house for the past 5 years.  I wanted to salvage the files on the machine before I took it to be recycled.  You might think this’d be a fairly straightforward undertaking.  Not so much when you have a floppy drive and zip drive, but no cd writer on the old machine.  Oh, yeah, and Windows 98.

Needless to say, I had to get creative and lots of things didn’t work.  Tonight I managed to come up with a combination that did.  Yay!

From a timing standpoint, I’m very happy that I’ll be able to get rid of this computer clutter, along with a 21” CRT monitor and an ancient printer.  I am having the urge to purge.  My closets better watch out too because I’m feeling a little merciless.

People always say that endings are just openings for new beginnings.  That’s true, of course, but they are also often poignant and sad, no matter whether it’s the right ending or not.  And there’s the other aspect of not knowing when the next beginning will arrive.  I had such an ending yesterday and I’m finding myself in that mode of letting go of whatever might keep me from taking flight.

I’m reminding myself that the simple act of letting go can be, in itself, a power move.  As the grief is processed and the sadness abates, the new possibilities have an opportunity to guide me in a new direction.

© 2011, Tamar98. All rights reserved.

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