Careful The Things You Say… (Guest post by Elizabeth Rose)

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“The destiny of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost and won than by the stories it loves and believes in.” —Harold Goddard

The most dangerous thing that a person can say is- ‘don’t worry. It’s just a story’. The idea that a story can even be ‘just’ is risky. Take a moment and ask yourself- what stories have you told people today? Have you told someone you love the story of a past hurt, told a buddy a funny anecdote to make them laugh; told a child a bedtime story? How did you tell it? How did you describe the ‘characters’? Did you make your ex out to be an extreme villain? Did you claim that ‘no one was hurt’ by your past college prank? Did you tell your child that the hero wins in the end by enduring horrible suffering through to the bitter end?

Whether you recognize it or not, by telling those stories, you are creating reality. When you talk about someone in light of your anger, and subsequently gloss over what good qualities had drawn you to them in the first place, you are creating an ‘evil’ character for your listener that will stick with them for a long time. When you condone certain actions in light of nostalgia to a friend, and do not qualify for fear of ruining the humor, you plant the seed of condoning that action for life. When you tell a child a story, they believe it.

The reality that we create in stories can stick with us for the rest of our lives, too. Take, for example, a popular fairy-tale: Beauty and the Beast. We tell this to our children for a very good reason. We want them to be able to learn how to look past people’s appearances to see the goodness within them, and not judge a book by its cover. However, in many tellings of this story, a second lesson emerges: if your love is true, pure, and strong enough, you can change someone’s heart. While this may also seem like a noble message, consider this scenario: a woman in an abusive relationship is trying to deliberate whether or not to get out of the relationship, or endure further abuse at the hands of her lover. If she’s been told, time and time again, that a ‘pure’ love could change a lover’s heart, what conclusion might she come to? In my own personal experience of abuse, I was led to believe that the reason why I was being beaten was because I did not love my beloved enough. I would end up sticking it out for four years, remaining loyally by his side, because the stories that I had been told had told me that I was the one who wasn’t working hard enough.

Of course, this was not the kind of love that my particular assailant needed. He needed to have someone show him how to love in a healthy manner, whether that be through therapy or through the shock of judicial action. He was truly, and completely, sick- and I had been taught, through not just fairy tales, but the popular fiction of the day that championed brooding, mentally abusive romantic heroes (looking at you, Meyer), that my endurance would be rewarded by a kind of love that was somewhat better  than other loves because it had been through such a drastic wringer.

That’s not what I got, however, and that’s not what many women like me get. What they get are bruises and scars that never go away. What they get are traumatic flashbacks whenever they see someone who looks like him, or smells like him or talks like him (or her, women are fully capable of being abusers as well). They get side-glances and judgmental comments from the people who read the same stories, and ask questions like, ‘Well, why didn’t you just leave?’, or, ‘Well, maybe if you had done x, or y’. Their society continues to read stories that perpetuate the glamorization of domestic abuse, they popularize it, and then act surprised when the battered women’s shelters are full to capacity.

We cannot operate on the assumption that stories are ‘just’. They have such power to destroy us- they get under our skin and enflame our imaginations in ways that cannot be done through rhetoric alone. But they also have the same power to raise up victims, to empower a new way of thinking, and to teach a healthy way to love. Think of stories such as Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult, or The Woman Who Walked Into Doors by Roddy Doyle, or even just the healthy relationships in popular fiction by J.K. Rowling or Terry Pratchett. Begin to have open, honest conversations about the unhealthy relationships that permeate most mainstream, popular fiction and refuse to settle for the messages they give the next generation. I was once told that the reason why you shouldn’t tell rape jokes isn’t just because the joke isn’t funny- it’s because you might be unwittingly telling the joke in front of someone who has, or who will in the future, rape someone, and they will look back on your laughter as assenting to their crime (much as racist jokes have and continued to excuse racist practices, and sexist jokes do for sexist practices). When you tell bad stories to victims who are going through pain you could not even imagine, you are helping to keep them in their situation. When you tell good stories for them to love and believe them, you are giving them the strength to reclaim their dignity and the sanctity of their being. Don’t ever ‘just’ tell a story- you never know who might believe you.

        Elizabeth Rose is the author of Till the Last Petal Falls, a modern re-telling of Beauty and the Beast with a social justice slant. 10% of all author royalties from the book are donated to battered women shelters in Colorado. Find her and more of her work on the Once Upon a Reality series at www.thesingingroses.com

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Valentine’s Day: A day for amateurs

“When you feel cold and warm at the same time,
When you read over the same line for the tenth time,
When your heart and thoughts somehow appear to rhyme,
And when a simple name conquers your whole mind,
Then you are in deep trouble my friend…
You are in what they call, “love”.  Philippos Aristotelous

Maintaining a loving relationship takes work, dedication, and compromises. A loving relationship needs be worked on and cherished all year round. If you wait till Valentine’s Day to do something special for the one you love, then your relationship isn’t going to last very long.

The real meaning of being ‘in love’ is that you’d move mountains for the person you love. Making a half-hearted attempt one day out of the year doesn’t even come close to proving how much you love the other person. That’s the mark of amateurs or someone hoping to get lucky.

If you’re truly in love, Valentine’s Day should be the day to say in words how you feel. It’s fine to buy jewelry or other expensive gifts if you’re courting someone, hoping to win their love. Expensive gifts are not for those already in love.

For those already in love, nothing, no matter how expensive, will be treasured more than a gift from the heart. Your own words, which convey just how special your love is, are priceless.

You don’t have to be a poet or a writer to jot down what’s in your heart. All you have to do is write exactly how the other person makes you feel and why you love them unconditionally. It’s really pretty simple, writing down why you love the other person, yet very few bother doing it. Those who are able to will have a loving relationships that’ll last forever.

If you can’t find the right words, it’s probably because they aren’t there. You might be infatuated or think you’re in love, but you really aren’t. If the love is there, the words will come pouring out. If you can’t find them, then run out to the stores before they close. There’s still time for you to buy the other person’s affections for the time being, until you find your true love.

Why do I love you?

Today marks our 26th wedding anniversary. I wrote this poem for my wife Stefanie, whom I love even more today than yesterday.

Why do I love you?

I love you because of the gentleness of your heart,
That fills me with warmth even when the cold wind is blowing.
I love the care and tenderness you show to every living thing,
So much so that it makes me smile all the time.
I love the way you open one eye to tell me you’re awake,
So you can sleep some more when I leave.
I love your quick thinking,
That compensates for my slow wit.
I love how you depend on me to keep you safe,
When I’m no braver than you.
I love how you quote me when you think I’m not listening,
Yet take no notice when I initially say it.
I love how we can sit for hours without saying a word,
And finish the other’s sentence when we do.
I love how we know what the other is thinking,
Before a single word is said.
I love how we still hold hands when walking,
Like we did the first time.
Through the hard times,
Though there were many,
Through the easy times,
Though there were few,
And through the difficult times ahead,
My love for you will only get stronger.

December is the worse time to be alone, make it easy to handle

“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.”  A.A. Milne

Those are words every parent should say to every one of their children, not just once but over and over again. Your children need to hear these words from you, not just on special occasions, or when something tragic happens, or when you thought the world was ending, but constantly.

But it should not stop there.

Brothers and sisters should say those words to each other. When the parents are gone, the ones they leave behind may have no one else to look out for them, or to turn to, aside from each other.

Over time when the parents, and the brothers, and sisters are apart, those words may become forgotten. Hearing those words makes a person feel warm inside, it makes a person feel wanted and loved. Saying them only on special occasions makes it seem they are being said out of courtesy. People are supposed to be loving and nice on holidays and special occasions. Hearing those words only during the holidays, when everyone is supposed to be nice, leaves the person hearing them empty.

Never assume your children, your brothers, and your sisters know that you feel this way. The only way to be absolutely sure they know it, is by saying it to them over and over again, just as you should always tell them you love them.

Why does it matter?

There will be times when someone will be alone. One or all of your children may be alone, either by choice or circumstance. The holidays, especially in December when so many people are observing their own holiday, are a difficult time for someone who’s alone. More people get depressed around this time than any other time of the year. Knowing there is someone far away who loves them and will always be there for them, will carry someone who is alone through what may be a difficult time for them. Hearing those words before the holiday comes gives them meaning, so that when they are heard during the holiday, it is known they are given from the heart.

I’d like to wish everyone a wonderful Holiday and a New Year full of love and happiness.

Omar Kiam

There is enough sadness in the world without yours

“Be happy. Talk happiness. Happiness calls out responsive gladness in others. There is enough sadness in the world without yours…. never doubt the excellence and permanence of what is yet to be. Join the great company of those who make the barren places of life fruitful with kindness…. Your success and happiness lie in you…. The great enduring realities are love and service…. Resolve to keep happy and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” Helen Keller

Happiness is infectious. A smile is the only infectious affliction people are encouraged to spread. When you are happy, and you talk happiness, it becomes difficult for those around you not to be happy as well.

There really is enough sadness in the world, with justifiable reasons, such that it is a crime to add your sadness to the mix.

No matter what has occurred in the past, no matter what has happened, always remember that it is in the past, and should not dictate the future. What is yet to be can be the greatest thing to come, if you will it. Once you acknowledge that the best is yet to come, it will happen, over and over again.

To ensure your life is the best that it can be, exude kindness at every possible moment. Kindness begets kindness. Be kind to others, for the simple sake of being kind, and the satisfaction you receive will be greater than anything anyone can give you.  A common trait among the great people remembered throughout history is the kindness they show to their fellow man and woman. No one is remembered for being mean, but there are many who are remembered for being kind.

Success and happiness is controlled from within. These are not controlled or dictated by others. Others can try to influence your actions, but ultimately, it is you who decides what you will do, and how you will feel. Once you know these things, success and happiness will always follow you.

Love yourself and those around you. Serve yourself and those around you. Resolve to always be happy, to spread your joy to others, and you will find that no difficulty shall cross your path that you will not be able to handle and that others around you will always be there to support and help you.

 

Falling in love with you was beyond my control

“Meeting you was fate, becoming your friend was a choice, but falling in love with you was beyond my control.” Author Unknown

Who we meet for the most part is beyond out control. We can try to limit the number, but fate will step in from time to time to bring two strangers together. A car accident, an absent minded bump while walking, two carts bumping in the grocery store. When least expected, fate will bring two strangers into contact with each other.

What happens next is within your control. If you like the other person, you can chose to interact, to begin a conversation, to get to know the other person better. You can chose to become friends. This is something which happens all the time with people, especially when coming across someone with a personality that complements theirs.

Most interactions never get beyond friendship, or slowly fade as time goes on.

Once in a while, not too often, something happens that neither person has any control over. One day out of the blue, when you’re talking with your new friend, it will happen. It could be something the other person says, a slight move, a facial expression, or the touch of their hand that triggers something within. You lose track of time. Your brain stops working. You eyes get the slightest of tears, so slight that it’s just enough to make them look like they sparkle.

You notice the lips, how full they are as they move, although you don’t hear anything coming out of them. You notice the slight bump in the nose, how it’s perfect. You look at the face and body, seeing nothing but perfection.

Your heart begins to beat faster, giving your checks a reddish tint. Your forehead gets hot, reaching fever like temperatures.

You remember how you met. How it was destined that you two should meet.

And then you look into the eyes. You admire the beautiful color. You look beyond the eyes, into the person and goose bumps appear all over your body.

You quickly look away, realizing what just happened.

Now you hear the other person yelling at you, asking what’s the matter. You say it’s nothing, but you need to go.

You my friend, have just fallen madly and deeply in love. It was not something you planned or asked for. It wasn’t something you could have prevented. How could you? You had given up on finding love a while back and was content with just having friends.

If you’re truly lucky, the other person will get the same feelings, at the same time or shortly after. When it happens, that is what’s known as ‘True Love’, the kind of love that lives on forever.

The parent, not genes, is responsible for how a teenager is

“I have also seen children successfully surmounting the effects of an evil inheritance. That is due to purity being an inherent attribute of the soul.” Mahatma Gandhi

No one is born evil, or good for that matter, just because their parents or ancestors were that way.

A baby is born pure, balanced, with no pre-disposition to do what others in his or her blood line have done before. It’s not what has happened in the past which determines how a child will grow, but what happens at present that matters most.

The first two years of a babies life are the most crucial. That is when the brain is beginning to develop. Shower the baby with love and attention, and the parts of the brain relating to love and emotions will begin to develop more.

Babies which are given plenty of love and attention within the first two years of life, are more likely to grow to become loving and caring individuals.

Babies that are not held, not shown love, and not given any attention during the first two years, never fully develop that part of the brain. They are more likely to grow up to become unfeeling, emotionless adults.

It’s the babies environment and upbringing which determines the type of character the baby will have as an adult. To try teaching love and morals when the child is a teenager, or grown adult is much too late. A parent has to begin showing a baby the traits they want the child to inherit while the brain is forming, within the first two years of life. The parent then has to keep re-enforcing these traits as the child grows. This duty of a parent never goes away. It doesn’t go away when the child is fully grown and moves out. A parent  becomes free of this duty only upon death. If at all possible, it may not even end there.

Parents cannot be held blameless for the actions of their children, if they didn’t shower them with love and affection during the most crucial years of life. A parent can’t say they don’t know why their grown son or daughter are evil, if they never showed them any love when they were born, and as they grew.

To ignore a baby, to only give it the basic necessities for survival, ought to be a crime. Parenting is more than just bringing a baby into the world. The character of the baby is directly influenced by what the parents do or don’t do. An adult who is prone to evil wasn’t born that way. An adult prone to evil was ignored as a baby, never shown any love or affection.

What parents do or don’t do directly impacts which parts of the babies brain develop more.  This is one of the reasons middle children are different than first or last born siblings. Depending on the household, either first born or last born children would get the greatest amount of love and affection during the crucial years. Those children usually grow up being the most balanced and with the best traits.

To raise a person of morals and good character, begin when the baby is born. Impart the traits you want the baby to inherit by doing them repeatedly and consistently. If you want the teenager to hug you, hug the baby. If you want the teenager to love you, love the baby. If you want the teenager to talk to you, talk to the baby. The teenager will be a reflection of you, the way you acted when the teenager was a baby.

Are you really in love?

“Meeting you was fate, becoming your friend was a choice, but falling in love with you was beyond my control.” Author Unknown

How many of you really know what true love really is? For those of you that are in love, think back to when you first met. Was it fate, which stepped in to get the two of you to meet? If you said no, then you probably aren’t in love. If you’re in love, you would look at the first time you met as something ordained, something that was meant to happen.

When did you fall in love? Where you friends first, and then gradually over time fell into love?  If you fell in love at first sight, then it’s not true love, it’s infatuation. You might think it’s love, but trust me, it’s not true love. True love develops as you get to know the other person. When you first meet, you may like the other person enough to become friends. Sometimes, you may not even like the other person.

After you became friends, did the amount of time the two of you spent together get longer each week? Did your heart start beating fast in anticipation of spending time together? Did you lay awake in bed, unable to fall asleep, because you couldn’t stop thinking of the other person. Did you find yourself smiling as you walked down the street, or got on the bus, because you thought of the other person? If none of that happened to you, then you’re not truly in love.

When the two of you were together, did you lose track of time? If you kept looking at the time, or thought about food, or thought about work, then you’re not in love.

Did you get up one day, and decide that you love the other person? If you did, then it’s not true love.

True love happens when the two of you know so much about each other that you become almost one. When you look into the others eyes, you can see into their soul, the same way that they can see into your soul. True love is not something you fall into or out of. True love is something that happens, and never goes away.

When you’re truly in love, you’ll do anything to please your love. Everything else becomes secondary.

How many of you would change jobs to be nearer to your love, or to make your love happy? Those of you who wouldn’t change jobs are not truly in love. You may think you’re in love, but over time it will fade and the two of you will drift apart. True love never fades. You and your love will never drift apart. You will be the couple we occasionally see, walking hand in hand into a restaurant, celebrating their 60th anniversary. If you watch that couple closely, you’ll see they still have that glazed look every time they look into each others eyes. It’s the same look they had when they first fell in love.

To see if you’ll be celebrating your 60th anniversary, look into your loves eyes. Do the two of you get that glazed look? Then congratulations, you’re in love!

LOVE

LOVE is not made of kisses, or of sighs,
Of clinging hands, or of the sorceries
And subtle witchcrafts of alluring eyes.

Love is not made of broken whispers; no!
Nor of the blushing cheek, whose answering glow
Tells that the ear has heard the accents low.

Love is not made of tears, nor yet of smiles,
Of quivering lips, or of enticing wiles:
Love is not tempted; he himself beguiles.

This is Love’s language, but this is not Love.

If we know aught of Love, how shall we dare
To say that this is Love, when well aware
That these are common things, and Love is rare?

As separate streams may, blending, ever roll
In course united, so, of soul to soul,
Love is the union into one sweet whole.

As molten metals mingle; as a chord
Swells sweet in harmony; when Love is Lord,
Two hearts are one, as letters form a word.

One heart, one mind, one soul, and one desire,
A kindred fancy, and a sister fire
Of thought and passion; these can Love inspire.

This makes a heaven of earth; for this is Love.

Feeling down? Let the magic found in a child lift you.

“Look at the children around you and you will find the magic curtain, magic indeed in this respect, that instead of dropping slowly down before your wondering eyes, it is growing up, unfolding and expanding some new beauty or exposing some well-remembered fault. What pleasure to note the many wonders of this all-revealing scene! What innocence in the sweet child face, what purity in the clear child eyes!” Nellie V. Anderson

Children are our future. How anyone can not look at a child and be moved is beyond comprehension. When you look at a happy, excitable child you see magic in their eyes. Too see real beauty, gaze into the face of an innocent child. Children still have that single quality which seems to evade many adults: the belief that anything is possible.

Look into the eyes of your own child. How can you not be moved? Gaze into their eyes and you’ll catch the glimmers of innocence, which seem to think that anything is possible.

Look at your children as they sleep. Do you not see yourself? Do you not see potential? Do you not see yourself starting over?

Watch your children as they play. Are you not transported back to an earlier time when you were as carefree and happy? For a few fleeting  moments, don’t all of the worlds problems magically disappear?

Hug your child and feel the magic that passes between the two of you. Close your eyes and feel their love filled arms embracing you with all their might. Can’t you see the future? Isn’t it a view of yourself twenty or thirty years from now, happy and content?

Gaze into their eyes while they’re still holding you and you’ll see what true love really is.

Now take all of those feelings and remember them any time your feeling down, or that the weight of the world is too much to bear. A child is your miracle contribution to humanity. When you reflect on the feelings a child inspires within you, there is nothing you won’t do to ensure that child gets every opportunity that you missed out on.

If you don’t have a child of your own, you are missing out on one of the greatest miracles on Earth. It doesn’t matter if it is not your biological child. It doesn’t matter if the child is adopted, a grandchild, or your best friends. What matters most is how that child is loved and raised in order for the magic to show.

Will you love me in December as you do in May?

Now, in the summer of life, sweetheart
You say you love but me
Gladly I give all my heart to you
Throbbing with ecstasy
But last night I saw, while a-dreaming
The future old and gray,
And I wondered if you’ll love me then, dear
Just as you do today?

Will you love me in December as you do in May?
Will you love me in the good old-fashioned way?
When my hair has all turned gray,
Will you kiss me then and say,
That you love me in December as you do in May?

You say the glow on my cheek, sweetheart
Is like the rose so sweet
But when the bloom of fair youth has flown
Then will our lips still meet?
When life’s setting sun fades away, dear,
And all is said and done,
Will your arms still entwine and caress me?
Will our hearts beat as one?

Will you love me in December as you do in May?
Will you love me in the good old-fashioned way?
When my hair has all turned gray,
Will you kiss me then and say,
That you love me in December as you do in May?

by former mayor of New York, James J Walker, in 1907

Are you in love or in lust? When it first happens, it’s easy to confuse the two. With both, you feel that you need the person you’re in love or in lust with, that your life would be complete with that other person. When the feeling is reciprocated, you stand taller, prouder, head held higher, smiling so all the world can see the joy in your heart.

When you’re first starting, the two, lust and love, are interchangeable. They both make you feel alive and give you that warm feeling deep inside. It doesn’t even have to be a physical attraction. You can fall in love or in lust with what the other person represents: success, power, intelligence, confidence, kindness, gentleness, ruthlessness and so on.

With lust, it is more likely to happen much quicker, like love at first sight. When you’re with the other person, you feel the attraction, the deep longing to be with that person, the quickening of your heart, the sweaty palms, the light headiness. When you’re apart, you start to fantasize about that person. You create a whole new world and new events between the two of you. You create your own vision of that person, one that makes the other person greater than they really are.

You’ll get the same feelings with love, but it usually takes longer. As you get to know the person over time, you start learning new things about them, noticing things you didn’t see before. Over time, you begin looking at that person differently. You begin thinking about that person more and more each day as time goes on. Rather than fantasize about imaginary encounters between you two, you visualize things the other person did which caught your attention. You remember things the other person said or did which made them unique.

When you’re in love, you get the same deep longings, light headiness, quickening of the heart, but these occur when you’re away from the other person. When you’re together, you feel as though you can walk on water, you’re head is in the clouds. You begin to see the other person as who they really are, which only increases the attraction.

This is love or lust in May.

Over time, with lust, these feelings begin to fade away. You no longer get these feelings in August. Most never make it together till December, having gone their separate ways long before. Those who do last, no longer look at each other the same way, choosing to stay together out of necessity. With lust, others with the same qualities which attracted you earlier, begin to attract you. Your eyes and heart begin to wonder, looking for someone with the same qualities which you lust for. You will stay with the same person only as long as they have the qualities which attracted you; beauty, power, success, confidence and so on. When these start to disappear, or someone comes along with more of these qualities, the distancing begins.

With love, these feelings never fade away. They may weaken now and then, but come back just as strong as before. With love, the qualities which attracted you to the other person get more refined. They way the other person speaks, the things they say, the way they look at you with that glint in their eyes. These things grow stronger over time.

When December rolls around, the couple that fell in love can still be seem holding hands, almost every time they’re together. They can still be seen flirting with each other, to the point that it makes others jealous.  They can complete each others sentences, or sit together for hours at a time without saying a single word. Most importantly of all, they would each make sacrifices to ensure the others happiness. Each would gladly give up something dear to their heart to make the other happy, in May and in December.

When both are in love, nothing can break that bond, not in May and especially not in December.

These words are lyrics from a song originally recorded by the Elysian Singers in 1907.  Itunes seems to have the most variations of this song.

http://ax.search.itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZSearch.woa/wa/search?entity=song&media=all&page=1&restrict=false&startIndex=0&term=will+you+love+me+in+december

The one I liked best is by Bob Hope:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/will-you-love-me-in-december/id542308716?i=542308843