Boredom

Boredom is good.  And yet people complain about being bored like it’s a bad thing. Boredom can stem from a complete loss of interest in a topic or situation and can even appear apathetic, but if you harness the opportunity it presents, you can use it to open new doors and ideas that can make you more productive, and more interesting. 

Most people would lament (whine) when they are bored, like they’ve been afflicted with some ailment, and expect someone or something to ‘fix’ the situation because they don’t see boredom as something they brought upon themselves.  In fact, boredom is a state of mind completely within your control and you can choose to wander aimlessly until something snaps you out of it or you can recognize it for the opportunity it is.

Boredom, for some, can cause indifference – they just don’t care anymore. This indifference expands to other aspects of their life and they are not motivated to do anything about it.  This is when you need to step back and look at the big picture, everything in your life, because all of it has led to this state of mind and when redirected can effectively lead you back out, to a better place.

I have a friend who fell into a rut.  She had a secure (conservative) job, a steady (reliable) relationship and what she termed a ‘predictable existence’. Her life lacked excitement.  In short she was bored. You could liken her life to that of someone with less and tell her to be grateful for what she has (cause we all know how well that works), or you could encourage her to use her boredom as the springboard to better things.  After making a pro/con list we discovered she actually liked the security of her job and was grateful for her ‘reliable’ relationship. Her ‘dawning’ came when we explored her need for personal time, hobbies, specifically. She loved art and had always wanted to learn to paint but time, money, and encouragement always seemed to be lacking. Over the course of the next few days we scouted out a local school that offered classes twice a week at reasonable rates and with little prompting she enrolled. This simple change blossomed into a life-long love of all things art and now, six years later, she dabbles in pottery and jewelry making, mostly as a hobby, but she has had offers to buy her pieces, much to her delight. She has never claimed to be bored since and admitted recently that she credits that very boredom for her newfound passion.  For her it was a matter of changing her routine to include time for herself, something she’d never done.

Acknowledging boredom is the first step in dealing with it. You’ve already recognized that you have lost interest in a situation; you’ve either plateaued, ie, you’ve gotten what you can/need out of it, or you simply recognized you have no interest in it and need to move on. Either way, it spurs you to action.

Recognizing your boredom can prompt you to study a new interest, look for a new hobby, meet new people; all good indicators that you are learning and growing, constantly. Boredom tells you to expand your horizons and stimulate your mind. It can be positive. It can be negative. It can also be the very motivator you need. It’s up to you. I wish you a lifetime of boredom!

 

Boredom

Choices

 

Life is full them. Some are simple and routine, others life changing, and sometimes we make good choices, sometimes not so good. Regardless of the relevance of the situation at the end of the day we have control over our choices and it is our own conscience we are answerable to. For example:

1) Oatmeal for breakfast, or that chocolate croissant? One is low fat, loaded with nutrients and just plain good for you. The other is high in fat and lethal in caloric content but totally decadent. What to do…..

2) A single woman makes the choice to have a family, on her own; not an easy decision for anyone but it was a well thought out and a very deliberate decision. When the first attempt at pregnancy was successful she called her closest friends to share her happy news. While most admired her confidence and courage, and shared in her joy, a close ‘friend’ berated her for shamefully breaking with convention and questioned her moral values. Heartbroken but determined to live her life her way, the single woman went on to have her child and is not only managing a prestigious career, but raising a beautiful, well adjusted, son. (In fact, she’s doing a better job on her own than many married parents I know). How does the ‘friend’ feel now. She had a choice. Accept that her friend was an adult and capable of making rational decisions and be happy for her, or give her a sound tongue-lashing outlining all the mistakes she perceived her as making. She made the choice and it cost her a friendship. Good choice?

3) Lie on the couch all day watching the entire series of Star Wars or take a hike through nature. One will relieve stress, clear your head and nurture your soul, the other will cultivate a civilization of cellulite on your ass. Mmmm, what to do….

4) In another scenario, a woman engages in a private correspondence with a married man. (bet this happens all the time) It was quite innocent but as inevitably expected (because a man and a woman can never have a platonic friendship – someone ALWAYS reads more into it) the ‘relationship’ innocent as it was, was exposed, threatening the marriage and jeopardizing several friendships. The woman had a choice at this point. Own up to her role in the situation; ie come clean, or feign innocence and run. In this case she chose to run because it was easier than admitting to the indiscretion and she cut all ties in an attempt to protect her squeaky clean reputation. She made a conscious choice and it cost her, dearly. Good choice?

5) You’re at a shoe store (my kind of heaven) and you see the perfect pump, your size, last pair and on clearance. You grab the shoe, slip it on, and sigh…it’s perfect! After waiting several minutes for the sales clerk to retrieve the mate she comes out to apologetically advise she can’t find it anywhere and this is the last pair in all 3 stores. Shortly after the other clerk comes to a woman sitting on the other end of your bench and you overhear her saying she’s sorry, but can’t find the mate. Yup, it’s the mate to your dream shoe. All 4 pairs of eyes meet. You have a choice. Insist you were here first and demand the other shoe (I warn you, you’d have to knock me unconscious to get it off my foot) or graciously offer your shoe to the other shopper. (bet that bitch would take it too) Remember, you have to live with the choice you make.

6) A manager takes full advantage of his staff, using their labour, skill, and trust, to selfishly build his own reputation. Once that has been secured he carelessly casts the employees aside, because they are no longer needed; their purpose to him has been served, and that’s all that matters. This manager had choices. Show gratitude and respect to encourage good morale and employee loyalty, or keep stomping up that corporate ladder oblivious to the carcasses left in his wake. It always seems that those making the latter choice here walk away unscathed, but not so. Life evens the score  –  it’s called Karma.

All 6 cases offer an opportunity to show the world (and you) what you’re really made of and if you make the right choice life will be sweeter, guaranteed. Consider the choices above and act with a clear conscience.

  • Eat the oatmeal (most of the time) Have the croissant on Sundays
  • If you have nothing good to say, shut up, even if you have to bite your tongue. You’ll feel better for not having offended a friend.
  • Save the couch for rainy days. Get out and enjoy nature and fresh air cause eventually you’ll be underground permanently and won’t have the option.
  • Take responsibility for your actions, ALWAYS. You’ll sleep better and people will respect you for your honesty.
  • Take the high road (those shoes will probably give her blisters anyway)
  • Be kind to family, friends, colleagues and strangers, because karma matters. This is my mantra.

Making the right choice isn’t always easy, (there are often bitter pills to swallow) but making the conscious choice to do something good for yourself, others, and the world, is. Take that road and you will greet each day with a happy heart, and each night with sound sleep.

 

choices

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgiveness

 

A light heart will move you forward. Resentment and grudges can only weigh you down.

In our youth we find it easy, almost challenging to ‘take a stand’ on pretty much everything. We’re arrogant, know-it-alls who think our youth gives us an edge in society, simply because we’re young. It doesn’t. We were idiots. Immature, outspoken, uneducated and righteous, but boy oh boy, did we defend our cause. Even when we didn’t know what the cause was – being contrary was our cause.

As children we had the innocence and trust to take people at face value; not read anything into anyone, and as a result we were happy. You play, you quarrel, you go home for lunch, and then you’re best friends again because no one remembers the fight, and it doesn’t matter anyway. This is what we are supposed to be; this is the true essence of our spiritual character and somewhere in on our life path we lose it.

As we approach adulthood we develop judgement, opinions, biases, and dare I say it, grudges. I don’t like him because he’s a jock and I can’t relate to a jock. I don’t like her because she said this about me. (In all fairness I should point out now that I’m not a jock lover, you know, the “mans’ man”, just don’t get them, but I digress…..) Suffice it to say we all become somewhat jaded by our parents, our friends, our teachers (oh yes, they have an influence) and society, and this influence causes us to form judgements, biases. Too bad huh? We’re born with a clean slate. Why can’t we maintain it? I guess the simple answer is that we are all impressionable and like sponges we soak up the essence of those around us. Those born into a home of consistency, love, compassion and faith, are lucky. Their challenges are somewhat reduced when it comes to relationships because they have lived in a trusting and safe environment, but this is not the majority, and even those born into this ‘safe haven’ are exposed to the real world once they are outside their home. And it is here, in the real world we face our biggest challenges….and understandably our biggest learning opportunities.

I wasn’t a ‘cool’ kid. I was average, and thanks to a mother who needed to move every 12 months, (she had her issues too) I was never really settled anywhere. I don’t have childhood friendships because I never lived anywhere long enough to keep them. Every September I started a new school in a new neighbourhood. I hated it, and as a result I was a shy, insecure young girl. I could harbor a grudge towards my mother but I don’t. I chose to forgive. She was a product of her upbringing, basically a warm and loving mother, but one who was clearly struggling with serious issues of her own. She did the best she could with the knowledge she had, and I get that. It didn’t necessarily give me an edge in life but it made be stronger, eventually (I was still a wimp in my youth) and I know she loved us like only a mother can.

We all have a need to blame someone for something that went wrong in our lives and we’ll find any  number of excuses to save ourselves.” I did this,,,,because he said that”. “I lashed out because,,,,they provoked me.” I’m not saying these aren’t genuine scenarios.  On the contrary, we’ve probably all spent a good portion of our lives justifying our responses; being reactive versus proactive. It’s a defense mechanism, and it works, temporarily. To be true to ourselves, we need to be honest with ourselves. Simple, yes?

No, and here’s why.

To be able to withstand all of society’s scrutiny and judgement we’d have to be perfect in every sense. Strong, capable, resilient, non-judgmental, compassionate, accepting, etc, etc. As emotional and vulnerable human beings we are not all of those things, and until we are, we are on a mission to acquire these lifesaving skills, through experience. (I guess that’s why they say age is wisdom – cause it takes ages to acquire it!) In the interim we embark on an evolving learning cycle, one that nurtures our soul and betters our spirit. Think with your head, act with your heart, and forgive… even when it hurts. You’ll be a better person for it.

 

Foregiveness

 

Mother Goose – beloved childrens author or whackjob?

 

Nursery rhymes have evolved tremendously over the centuries and it’s interesting to note what was once considered ‘entertainment’ for children. Some were complete and utter nonsense and others were downright sinister, and while history boasts a variety of children’s authors, none were more off-the-wall than good old Mother Goose – now there’s a nutjob if ever I saw one! She was one gruesome old lady! Consider just a few of her more popular nursey rhymes

Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall
Threescore men and threescore more
Cannot place Humpty-Dumpty as he was before (Big deal, so they broke an egg. Messy but not the end of the world. Also not intresting)

Let’s change that to:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the kings horses and all the kings men
Had egg salad sandwiches for 2 weeks after that

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Little Miss Muffet, sat on a tuffet, eating of curds and whey
There came a great spider that sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away (Of course she ran,,,,fear of spiders is one of the most common phobias in society, who wouldn’t?)

Let’s change that to:
Little Miss Muffet, sat on a tuffet, eating of curds and whey
There came a great spider that sat down beside her
So she took off her shoe and beat the crap out of it (ok, now we’re talkin’!)

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And of course there’s always the infamous single parent saga…….

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do;
She gave them some broth without any bread; (ok, so cooking was not her thing)
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed. (yeah, try that today old lady, and you’ll have every childrens social worker in North America down your throat….. and hellooooo….ever heard of birth control?)

And here’s one that should get the animal rights activists going….

Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to get her poor dog a bone;
But when she came there the cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.
She went to the baker’s to buy him some bread;
But when she came back the poor dog was dead. (just how far away was that baker’s store?)
It goes on for another nine verses but you get the gist of it, fun, fun, fun!
I remember this next rhyme from my own childhood. To this day I hate to do laundry and I’m not a big fan of birds!

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds
Baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened
The birds began to sing—
Wasn’t that a dainty dish
To set before the king?

The king was in the counting-house
Counting out his money,
The queen was in the parlor
Eating bread and honey,

The maid was in the garden
Hanging out the clothes.
Along came a blackbird
And snipped off her nose (well now, isn’t that a jolly old tale?)

 

Once young children had outgrown nursery rhymes (those who weren’t yet traumatized) they moved on to Grimm’s Fairy Tales; longer more intricate stories but no less gruesome. ‘Hansel and Gretel’, ‘Rapunzel’, and ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, to name a few.  All involved some form of fear tactic or child abuse.

Even Hans Christian Anderson had his dark writings; ‘The Little Match Girl’; a story about a young peasant girl trying to sell matches on New Years Eve. She is barefoot, having no shoes, and freezing but afraid to go home, because her father will beat her for not selling any matches. She finds shelter in an alley and sits down to escape the wind. She lights the matches to warm herself and in the glow she sees lovely visions of a Christmas feast and happy home. She looks to the sky and sees a shooting star, remembering her dead grandmother, the only person to treat her with kindness, saying that a falling star means someone is dying and is going to Heaven. She strikes one match after another to keep the visions alive. Eventually she runs out of matches and dies and her grandmother carries her soul to Heaven. The next morning, passers-by find the girl dead in the alley, a smile frozen on her lips. They do not know about the wonderful visions she saw before her death or how she was reunited with her grandmother in Heaven. (and you call that a happy ending? Good God, it’s a wonder children didn’t run screaming into the night after stories like these!)

Who read this stuff to their children and thought it was ok? What kind of wingnuts were raising kids back then? Thank goodness for authors like Robert Munsch and Jim Henson – they might be silly but at least they teach some sort of life lesson in a fun, non-threatening way. For my money, I’ll vote for modern day authors over history’s literary geniuses anyday. Oh, and by the way, I hated the movie “Oliver” – it was dark and just creepy.

 

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Gift from my lover

I pride myself on my ability to find the perfect gift for friends and family. I make note of their likes/dislikes and take a very personal interest in matching my gifts to their personality and desires. In fact, I enjoy giving much more than getting……especially if that gift is coming from my husband!

Let me begin by saying he’s a wonderful person; kind, considerate – my perfect mate and my best friend. He is also quite innocently, one of the worst at selecting gifts for people. Sensing early in our marriage that shopping for gifts was not his thing, I made it a point to gently guide him by dropping hints but he generally missed the mark.

One year, just before the holidays, I made a point of mentioning that it would be nice to have a nice pair of diamond stud earings. At some point that month, when I was washing up breakfast dishes, I happened to mention that the teflon coating was gone on our frying pan. Now out of those 2 comments, guess which one he ‘heard’? Christmas morning, under my tree was a brand new frying pan and just so there’d be no element of surprise, he even wrapped in in the shape of the frying pan, handle and all.

Realizing I needed to be a little less subtle with this boy, the following Christmas I specifically told him to I would love a red sweater. (how can you screw that up?) I even told him which store he could find it in and good boy that he is, off he went. He walked into the department store, ladies wear, and luck of all luck, there was a display of red sweaters, right there! He grabbed one, paid, and drove home where he quickly wrapped it and put it under the tree, his holiday shopping done. Imagine my surprise on Christmas morning when I opened my gift to find a red sweater, a really big red sweater, size 2x in fact, which would’ve been great were it not for the fact that I wear a size 8.

How could I complain? I told him to get a red sweater, and he did. The fact that he bought it in the ladies plus size department was unfortunate but I didn’t tell him to get a size 8 sweater…. I just said get a red sweater. (I really should be more clear)

This one’s the best, and I should set the scene by telling you up front that my husband doesn’t like buying flowers. They’re too expensive and they die. I love fresh flowers and he knows that. Early in our marriage he surprised me one day by coming home with a single red rose, for no reason. I was shocked and so touched because I knew how he felt about wasting money on flowers. It was lovely, came in its’ own box with tissue and everything, beautifully packaged and clearly from a high end florist. Unfortunately the box also included a card (that he neglected to remove) that read “Forgive me, Debbie. I love you, Aaron”

My name isn’t Debbie, and I don’t know any Aaron. Turns out a colleague had had a fight with her boyfriend. He sent the rose in an attempt to make up and she threw it in the garbage. My darling romantic spouse fished it out of the trash and proudly brought it home to me. Ain’t he sweet?

I have to admit that over the years the gifts from my lover have improved dramatically, but all credit goes to my daughters who learned at a young age that dad needs help. It’s even fun to see them scheming behind my back trying to find the perfect surprise for mom. Truth told, I now get more of a kick out of the exercise than the gift these days. Guess that’s all part of maturity. The ‘stuff’ doesn’t matter anymore. (course I could use a new frying pan but I’ll be damned if I’ll say it out loud)

I’ve come to accept that the gifts from my lover are best received for their intention, not their content and while he will likely never be good at the whole gift giving thing, his heart is in the right place. (his head isn’t, but his heart is) After all, this is the same guy who packed up our car and drove us 9 hours to our honeymoon destination, only to find out he’d packed nothing of mine, and I mean nothing. The clothes I wore were all I had for a week. He on the other hand had a suitcase full of clothes, his golf clubs, and his pillow (he can’t sleep without it) ………but that’s another story.

 

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