Defining Sanity and Humanity

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I’ve been away from my blog for some time. Knowing it exists, and that I would return, was always a comforting thought. I am pages from completing a fascinating, enlightening, true story and could wait, no longer, to share it.
I am grappling with the term “forever changed” by this book. Instead, I think it is more accurate, in my own case, to say “finally aware” or “forever defined”.
This is a firsthand story of a brain scientist’s stroke. There is a wealth of science about symptoms and perceptions, from the victim’s view. It is an essential part of the story and, really, not hard to learn and appreciate but the overall message and “insight” into the human psyche will “blow you away”!
We are a single being which operates, through our world, by using two separate, yet connected, brain hemispheres. The story exposes the purpose and function of those hemispheres in enlightening detail. The author’s conclusions about the necessity for both to function in unison in order to offer a life “rich” in a common conscientiousness are extraordinary, possibly, life changing.
As I read this book, I was thankful for my years with children for my primarily hopeful perspective about living “in the moment”. Jill Bolte Taylor hits the “nail on the head”, in my opinion, about how much of our own happiness is a matter of how we CHOSE to perceive the world. Embracing how ordinary events make us “feel” (emotionally and physiologically) just may be the biggest tool in the counteracting of everyday depression and sadness.
The author does not disregard the fact that our mental health is subject to chemical reactions beyond our control. The awareness that we CAN control much of it, though, (beyond brain damage and illness) offers a primer in a more fulfilling, happy, existence.
Incidentally, the carefree, forgiving, nature of man’s best friend seems to further explain why our Left Brains (containing speech and ego) can be our worst enemy if left to control too much of our time. On the other hand, who wants children, or dogs, making critical decisions?
As with everything we learn about life, balance is the best medicine.
I’ve barely scratched the surface of the wisdom between the covers of this book!

  • How to recognize a stroke.
  • How to treat stroke victims.
  • The recuperative power of sleep.
  • How our brains interpret the world.
  • The importance of patience and kindness.

I give this book 11 stars out of 10.

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For our souls…

My husband and I had many differences. One centered on our music preferences.

As an ex-naval man, he’d had a few unfortunate instances where black friends felt the need to abandon friendship (his and theirs), in favor of, their racial affiliations. He was hurt by this, and therefore, felt discrimination of a different kind. He talked of having really wonderful “buddies” who acted as if he were an “enemy” when grouped with “their kind”. You know, I don’t think he ever had a prejudiced inclination until this occurred.

Well, my affinity for Motown, didn’t make him happy. My goodness, R&B is awesome and sensual. I’d never considered it a racial statement but dang good music.

He aged and mellowed, a bit, before I put my foot down. I loved R&B and his unfortunate experiences, had nothing to do with whether I could continue to love it.

This post is for anyone, black or white, who has felt the “heat” and ugliness of racism. Grow-up! Rise above the hurt and embrace our humanity. We can only adjust our own attitudes, but that’s a great start.

The Confederate Flag was not all about anti-black sentiment and Motown is, truly, all about soul…. Not black soul or white soul. The human soul.

“Tuning in” on Nature

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I spent most of my Autumn getting caught up in the political debates. It was a depressing time for me. I felt agitated and angry, as well as, without hope. My journals and photography went from plentiful and bright, to almost nothing.

Today, I posted in my Nature Knowledge category for the first time in months. It made me feel good. Then I happened upon 2 articles that gave definition to my happier endeavors. I’ve entitled the 2 links:

Seeing is Believing

and

Connecting with Nature

Disconnecting from social media in favor of being outdoors is a prescription for true happiness. One of my status posts during the political rumble of last Fall asked everyone to stop labeling each other and look at their neighbors. I dared them to find bigots, baby killers and ugly Americans. In taking my own advice, I noticed charity, compassion and goodwill surrounded me.

The first article, linked above, clearly states that what we see is too often predicted by what we expect to see. The second article is a scientific experiment about our brains and what technology does to us.

I believe spending time with Nature is an awesome learning experience. Mother Nature has no agenda but for life. She can be cruel but never hateful. She can be beautiful but never vain. When I feel depressed and without hope, I choose to listen to Nature with my eyes and heart wide open. I suggest we introduce our children to that wonder for their own happiness and future.

Questions?

I found this clip and kept it in my drafts until I could use it. Everybody Loves Raymond was a show with a great deal of  insight into being human.

What we find funny is usually something that strikes a cord within ourselves. I love a good discussion and would we really have any meaningful discussions without questions? 🙂

So, while this clip ruminated in my stash, a poem “popped” into my head. In my world, poems “pop”.

Also, most questions are easiest to answer when we consider how a kid would answer. Kids are our most insightful companions. So enjoy this clip and then the poem that “popped” from my inner child.

What would we do without questions?

Where would our interests lead?

How would we get up each morning,

Without  a curious need?

How would we create a vision?

What direction is best to move toward?

Questions are God’s way of making,

A world where no one is bored.

Humanity First

My sister and I were discussing raising children a few weeks ago. I cannot remember what prompted it but she made a comment,”You don’t know what it’s like to be a black mother.” I agreed right away. But, that whole exchange bothered me and came into focus moments ago when I posted,”In my opinion, once you entertain the idea that there is a black way of thinking and a white way of thinking, you become a racist. Kids are kids and need just the same kind of support. I don’t need to know what it’s like to be a black mom…just need to know what a mom is.” as my Facebook status.

One very thoughtful friend already responded with,” But cultures are different.”

My response to her comment helped me clear up my mental dilemma further.”Until we embrace our humanity first, (people are so much more alike than different) we won’t become brothers and sisters in spirit.”

Which brings me to the disclaimer: My sister and I would never refuse our last coin or food for any living thing in need. We are alike in most ways except in the arena of  “liberalism” and “conservatism” . I am in no way claiming one side is more or less compassionate. For the sake of this inquiry, let’s say my sister and I are from different “political” cultures.

When I watch a “war movie” the most frequent thought that I have when any soldier dies is, “How will his mother,sister,wife feel?” Even Genghis Khan had a mother, after all.

Political correctness sticks in my craw , by the way. In fact, I feel that political correctness has the exact opposite effect it wishes to engender. To focus on our differences keeps us apart. I know in my heart if  alien beings invaded our planet, what color a person is would hold no importance at all!

At a gathering of  family recently over the holidays, we were watching football. I noticed that Michael Vick had such a dark complexion that I couldn’t make out any of his face lest he smiled. I made a comment to that fact only  to have the  “political correctness genie” whisper in my ear. I didn’t rescind my comment and fell immediately, at ease, because I was among my family after all. This portion of  family weighs heavier toward liberalism than my conservative leanings but they know me better than to be cruel.

I played with that  uncomfortable PC  “genie” in my mind.

  • what I had said was visually true and only meant as an observation.
  • I absolutely do  dislike Michael Vick , not because he’s hard to see but because he tortured dogs.
  • I TOTALLY resented that, in another setting, my comment may have brought a dramatic response from people who didn’t know me and, possibly, a demand for an apology!

Gosh, can’t we all agree to be people first?  Moms,Dads,neighbors,mentors,etc. We all want to protect loved ones, pursue happiness and to be treated with respect.

Soon the politically correct posse will be marching to remove Andrew Jackson from the twenty-dollar bill. After all, he DID ignore congress and was personally responsible for the Cherokee Indian (oops, Native American.) Trail of Tears. As my Mom (a history teacher) had said to me when I was considering the need to erase Jackson from our consciousness for that very crime,” He was a man of HIS time.”

On that same theme, the word nigger and the confederate flag are from a different time. I don’t see the need or wisdom of erasing them. Why not let our words and misdeeds stand as an example that we dare not repeat?