Creating Our Own Normal

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What is normal?

William Somerset Maugham said, “Normal is an ideal.  It is a picture that one fabricates of the average characteristics of men, and to find them all in a single man is hardly to be expected.”

That is why each of us creates our own normal.  Normal may be living with a disease, a handicap or the results of traumatic brain injury.  It’s the way we pursue our lives that creates our own normal.  Some will never walk without an artificial limb; some may never grow beyond age 12 mentally and socially, and some may be dependent on medicine to survive.  It’s what we do with our time here on earth that makes a difference, not only in our own lives, but those of others as well.

Unfortunately, anger can alter our time and alter the outcome like no other emotion – especially unexpressed anger.  I’ve been reading “8 Keys to Eliminating Passive-Aggressiveness” by Andrea Brandt.  It’s full of wonderful information and helpful tips on how to live your life without hidden anger.  And part of that hidden anger is admitting that we have it and forgiving ourselves and others who were unable to express it themselves.  We pass it from generation to generation and somewhere along the 4th or 5th generation we desperately need to break it down, call it out, and get over it while those we need to forgive are still alive.

Forgiving is the hardest part because we have to acknowledge that we haven’t done it right and need to.  Then we have to tell the person we forgive them, and then we can begin to move on.  A parent, a spouse, a child, a best friend, all can play into the drama we create in our heads. And that drama becomes all consuming.  It wasn’t until I took my own advice that I could move on – as a Congressional Aide I counseled people on issues from Social Security to building bridges.  So many times their dreams were based on getting even.  I would tell them, “You can move forward or get even, but there isn’t time, energy or money to do both”.

Without forgiveness, without expressing our anger in a healthy way, without sharing that growth with those you have forgiven, there can be no healing and we cannot find our own normal.  One beautiful woman in my life is learning about her own normal.  She’s diabetic – her day is dictated by test strips and needles.  Her bag of life weighs heavily on her shoulder or on the back of a very nearby chair.  It’s not fair, it’s not fun, it’s not easy – but she hasn’t lost her inner beauty.  It’s just the anger she harbors for her fate.  I have no doubt she’ll overcome this, in time, as she has so many other challenges she’s set her mind to.  Once she gets to forgiveness, she’ll get to expressing her anger and moving on.  It’s her own normal.

2014 – Who will you be?

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Today is a great day to reflect and plan for 2014.  Will you write your book this year?  Will you build a website for your business or self?  What will you set as your priority for the coming year?

That’s what winter is for, not to complain because it’s cold, lonely, dark, dreary, etc.  It’s to provide the opportunity for us to sit quietly and reflect on the past year and what we’d like to change for the coming year.  I’ve always done this for my business life, and now I’m using that same time for my personal life.  What do I want to spend time on this coming year?

First, these are not New Years Resolutions.  These are opportunities I plan to take ahold of and see what I can do based on them.  And writing my blog on a weekly basis is the first priority.  Getting in the habit of a new daily routine is imperative.  So, first few hours in the morning with a fresh brain, write.

Second, I will spend the next 5-6 hours working in my jewelry studio and producing product for our Gallery. If you don’t make money you can’t have a website to have a blog.  I enjoy the creative time to produce beadwoven jewelry and help visitors choose the necklace that enhances who they are the best.

When you have a talent of any kind, use it, take care of it, guard it.  (Sauk)

When you have a talent of any kind, use it, take care of it, guard it. (Sauk)

Third, I’ll spend the next three hours cooking, cleaning, sorting, and working around the little house I so enjoy.  It’s just big enough to enjoy but not too big to have to spend hours and hours cleaning.  In the summer (which doesn’t really start here until Mother’s Day) I’ll spend time planting, trimming, and having potted gardens on the deck.  The rest of the yard is Xeroscaped and doesn’t need water.

Lastly, I’ll spend the rest of the evening with my spouse and best friend.  We tend to sit and read, talk, I’ll knit, or watch PBS.  We keep track of the weather for the tourists that visit each and every day, and bizarre events of the world.  It’s these hours that keep us connected, even though we’re within a stones reach all day every day.

We purchased a “new to us” pickup this winter and plan to take a couple of trips this year when we acquire a travel trailer to go with it.  That gives Tracy a chance to photograph the spots he so enjoys, time for me to make double-wall reed and cedar bark Cherokee baskets while we’re out and about, and a “get away” from the daily routine.

And 2014 will at least start with personal responsibility and giving birth to “new”.  Staying alert to my feelings and above all – being patient.  That’s the most challenging part!  LOL

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”                                                                                               Ralph Waldo Emerson

Until next week!    –  Jana