Remembering Lisa

Lisa was 97 years old when I worked at the center for the elderly. She always sat in the chair by the door with a romance novel in her lap. I commented on her love of romance one day and she said, “I’m old, but I’m still human.”

I squatted beside her chair; her eyes sparkled. “When you grow old,” she said, “you don’t stop being human. You don’t stop having feelings or having dreams.” She shrugged, “I’m nearly a hundred, but as long as I am in this world, I have hopes.”

She then spoke of what it was like to have people look at her as if she weren’t in her right mind, because she was elderly and what it was like to have others think she needed someone to make decisions for her. She told me of how it wounded her pride to be treated like she was senile when she wasn’t, of how people just assumed that because she was old, she had somehow stopped having any pride or emotions or feelings of self-worth or that she deserved pretty things. Then spoke of how she had served as a nurse in WWII and how she had paid her dues for her country. She was a veteran. She told me of how she had come from the Choctaw Nation and she was an American of all Americans.

She asked me for hot cocoa and told me the special way she liked it. I went in the kitchen to make it and the young worker in there said, “You making chocolate for Lisa? She won’t like it. She’ll send you back. That old bitty can’t be satisfied.”

But I made it exactly as Lisa had told me to make it and if she had asked me to redo it, I would have done so. I sat beside her and listened to more stories until I had to go attend to another matter. Daily, I listened to Lisa’s stories and I read manuscripts from 80 year olds with dreams of becoming writers and I discovered something that I hope every 30 year-old will soon discover, age is nothing. Our spirits, the real us, are ageless, eternal.

Lisa at 97 was the same Lisa who had done all of those amazing things in her 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. Lisa, at 97, was more mentally clear and intelligent than that 30 year-old who called her an old bitty. It is a foolish person who writes someone off because of age or appearance. She wasn’t any more demanding than I would have been in her shoes. Who wants to eat tasteless food and drink watered down hot cocoa? She wasn’t hard to please, she just wanted to be treated with dignity and respect. I don’t know what ever happened to Lisa. I’m sure she’s gone by now or else she is 115 years old, which isn’t impossible, but I doubt she’s still with us. Still, at 97, she taught me a thing or two about life and I am forever grateful for the two summers I spent working at the center and the insights I gained into human nature.

 

2010 Ramblings about Wisdom,Purpose and the Spirit World

IMG_1788**Another post I found here in my drafts. I apparently, never finished it. It’s dated 2010. It sort of just leaves off in the midst of a train of thought, but I decided to post it anyway….

I think I’ve spent my whole life trying to communicate, to truly connect with others. This connection can’t be made in a materialistic way and it crosses all racial, cultural, gender and economic barriers.

I think I’ve always been trying to say what can’t be said with mere words, seeking a pure communication of the heart. I remember a co-worker once telling saying of me that I “always spoke my heart.” I responded with, “Is there another way to speak?”

I believe it was Like Ironweed who  said, “You must speak straight so that your words may go like arrows to the sun.” I’ve tried to speak straight, to speak my true heart and to be true to what I believed. I think that perhaps in matters of style I have often wavered and changed course, but in matters of spiritual truth (not religion for there is an enormous difference between spirit truth and religious traditions forced upon others by those in authority) I have remained steadfast.

What matters to me most is spiritual truth and in knowing those spiritual truths, how we treat one another as human beings. So often the words we use are clumsy and get in the way of what we really want to say. Edgar Cayce, an American psychic, is quoted as having said that God put artists on the earth to act as windows to the spirit world. But in order for a window to offer a clear view, it has to be clean. I believe it was King David who prayed, “Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.” I wish for a pure spirit, a spirit without malice or intent to do harm or take advantage of others, a heart that doesn’t want to manipulate or control, a heart that sees the good in others, even when it’s not obvious.

I have long believed that my entire purpose for living in this world was to be a conduit, a window, to the spirit world.  There is a way of wisdom and I long to walk in it. I’d rather be wise than beautiful. I’d rather be wise than famous. I’d rather be wise than wealthy. Once, when I was thirteen, I prayed that above all else, above beauty, above talent, above wealth, that I would be wise.

The spirit world is all around us every day. It is in the pond, it is in the rain and wind, in a baby’s giggle, a kitten’s purr, the night songs of the crickets, early spring peepers, because it’s in us if we chose to listen. In the spirit way, ordinary things are sacred and blessed and are of far more value than all the man-made things combined. The spiritual laws is the WAY in which we should conduct our lives in order to obtain true satisfaction, which is far above what the world deems as successful. It is the way is the way of kindness, forgiveness, love, selflessness, compassion, mercy, endurance, patience, understanding…everything that is good and lovely and worth thinking about. It is the way of the spiritual warrior.

The spirit world does not operate on the same value system as the laws of the materialist world and for that reason, the person who choses to walk the spirit way will often be misunderstood by those who value the material world most….

A Penny’s Worth

 Johnny found an Indian head penny

under the seat in his truck

yellow Chevy 

primer paint

 

Hey, sis, you want this?

You could put it on a chain.

 

these thirty years later

I wonder about its worth

Red Coin Book says

it isn’t valuable, not rare

 

those book people don’t know

 

It’s a portal to see

Johnny

still seventeen

shiny brown eyes

shaggy hair

 

what might 

he have been?

*dedicated to my brother.

 

 

 

Meet Darcy, an INFP

woman lying on bed with two cats
Photo by Tranmautritam on Pexels.com

Fi=Feeling Introverted in the hero position means that the INFP KNOWs what she values, what’s important to her and she is guided by this. She may not verbalize it until one of those values is violated, but above all, she knows. Sometimes, she may immediately be put off by a person or situation without being able to put her finger on the reason why. 

Ne=Intuition extraverted in the parent function or responsible function holds her hero in check and allows the INFP to be quietly spontaneous, open ended and creative. 

Si=Sensing introverted. INFPs have a childlike need to be comfortable. It also causes the INFP to be somewhat of a collector and keep a data reference, howbeit, because their aspiration function is Te, their organizational system may look like total chaos to an outside observer.  

Te=Thinking extraverted-INFPs again INFPs have a unique system of order that works for them alone.

 

Darcy wears the same style of clothes almost everyday. She has about three brands of clothing that she will wear in about five colors. She buys everything in those brands and colors. She always wears comfortable tennis shoes or black leather shoes. She always wears the same kind of jeans and the same style of shirt. She wears her hair the same way the majority of the time, as well.

She runs an antique store in an old building on the edge of town. Inside her building, the paint is peeling, books and antiques are stacked to the ceiling and it smells like an old library. Darcy never uses scented candles, air freshener or any artificial smells. Every isle is filled with items that are unique, quaint or just plain odd.

A big gray cat often sleeps on a chair behind the check-out counter and another cat, a yellow one, has claimed the window sill facing the street. A third cat inhabits the back porch of her shop where she hired someone to build him a little house. She feels a special connection to the cats and has several more at her home. She feels they are more honest than people and she had rather have a conversation with them than with most humans.

Around the shop there are several signs that say “Do not spray.” Being an avid plant and wildlife lover, she is trying to protect her innocent wildflowers and the butterflies and hummingbirds that visit them from the thugs the city sends out to keep weeds under control.

Darcy loves art, poetry and anything having to do with the paranormal. She is highly involved in aura reading, out-of-body experiences, ghost hunting (she belongs to a group of paranormal investigators) and chakras. She writes poetry and has a large collection in a various boxes. She remembers which poems are in which boxes by the colors of their lids.

She doesn’t like “fake” people and is selective of her friend. She enjoys quiet time and spends her days off with a good friend, foraging for rare things to put in her shop. Darcy knows immediately if she likes someone or not and if she doesn’t, she won’t care to be around them anymore than she has to be. She is the same way with food, clothes and most other things. She knows immediately what she likes and can quickly send it through a pass or fail test.

She does not like rigid schedules and likes to keep her options open for discovery. She often plays around in the store, coming up with unique display combinations. Darcy has a good memory and a keen eye for detail. She can tell if a piece is authentic or fake within minutes, sometimes seconds.

She doesn’t have a lot of friends, maybe four people, that she feels close to. She also doesn’t like hot weather, background music, artificial smells, clothes that have stitching she can feel, air fresheners, body lotions with scent, shampoo with too much lather, make-up, hairspray, perfume, shoes that she can feel on her feet, collars, ruffles, lace, leather, flip-flops or chap stick, along with many other things. She collect things that hold fond memories for her.

All her life, she has felt misunderstood and all she has ever wanted was for people to just leave her alone, accept her the way she is, stop trying to force her to “play nice” and be like everybody else.

She recently started dating a musician who has been putting music to some of her poetry and is planning to record a collection of her work as songs.

Darcy’s cognitive preferences are those of an INFP and while not all INFPs are exactly like Darcy, they do all have certain things in common:

  1. INFPs know what they like and dislike.
  2. INFPs are creative.
  3. INFPs are good at making inferences and connections.
  4. INFPs are sensitive to what makes them uncomfortable, whether it be physical, emotionally or spiritually.
  5. INFPs are quick to spot “what is wrong” with anything (sometimes–anyone) but may be completely unaware of their own appearance or physical environment.
  6. INFPs are collectors of information, be it photos, memoirs, mementos, etc.
  7. INFPs have their own unique organizational systems.

Meet Janet, an ENFP

smiling woman looking upright standing against yellow wall
Photo by juan mendez on Pexels.com
Ne–scans the horizon, looking for possible pathways. It toys with ideas, with relationships and every piece of data, experience or external stimuli leads to making inferences, drawing analogies, coming up with metaphors, motives and meanings. Ne is adept at what if scenarios and mirrors others. It tends entertain multiple meanings and ideas at once. 
Fi–introverted feeling in the parent position means that the ENFP will be responsible for his/her own values and will have the ability to place themselves in the shoes of another person and see from another person’s viewpoint. It may also cause the ENFP to behave selfishly if in a foul mood.
Te–extraverted thinking in the child position means that the ENFP has a pure ability to be organized when they need to be and will give them a childlike love for gadgets, technology, data, etc. Make no mistake, ENFPs and ESFPs definitely have the ability to get organized, even if it doesn’t look like traditional organization to Is-Te types such as ESTJs or ISTJs. 
Si–introverted sensing in the aspirational position means that ENFPs may tend toward moments of nostalgia or when stressed find relief in something familiar. Even though they love change and they love the new, they do take solace in the familiar on occasion. Si acts as a release valve or a balancing act for Ne. 

Janet is a perky, bouncy and seemingly carefree person, but she is also responsible and proves it everyday. She runs her own company.

When Janet walks into a room, her employees can immediately tell what mood she is in. They can tell by the way she carries herself. When she has a new piece of technology, she walks with a pep in her step that makes her appear to walk on air. When she has an unsatisfied customer or trouble at home, she walks with anger in her steps. Workers know when they can and can’t approach her with requests, all by the way she walks. Though they would never say it to her face, they all describe Janet as “moody” and say that she can both be kind and sympathetic and yet, at times, childishly stubborn and selfish. Some workers have quit because they say that Janet is insincere and acts like she is on “their side” then turns around and does something that they feel stabs them in the back.

For example, three years ago, there was an opening in the company and Janet called a board meeting. The board held interviews and voted to hire a girl name Stacey, who was highly qualified but had been struggling through financial difficulties due to the recent death of her husband and the closing of the factory where she had worked.

Janet called Stacey and cheefully told her that she had the job.  Stacey and her two kids had a party to celebrate her getting a good job and their being able to get off food stamps. She then preceded to move her belongings into her office and was all set for her first day of work.

Meanwhile, Janet was approached by a representative from a clique of workers. The representative told Janet that the other workers (meaning her little group) didn’t like Stacey and didn’t think she was a “company kind of woman.” So, Janet, in an attempt to keep her company looking top notch, decided to hire another person, less qualified but infinitely more popular with her employees. When Stacey showed up to work, Janet asked her to leave, explaining that they really didn’t have the money to hire her.

Later, Stacey learned that the other woman had received the job and that Janet had lied to her. Stacey was devastated and had to take a part time job as a waitress to feed her children.

Janet is innovative and always has new ideas. She is funny and loves to have fun. She can make people laugh and is constantly open to possibilities. Janet has worked her way to the top of every company she’s ever been a part of, and now, she has her own company. She’s also highly creative and enjoys art shows, theatrical performances and is a great performer herself, always participating in local theatrical productions, talent shows, etc.

Janet’s first marriage ended because she felt stifled and misunderstood. She left her husband after a couple of affairs that also ended with her feeling let down; when Janet finally left her husband, she did so without having anyone in the wing and truly did feel she could do better on her own, which she did. She realized that she had married wrong and had been mismatched for twenty-seven years. She never knew how happy she could be until she was living on her own. Five years after her divorce, she was perfectly happy. She spent her vacation time going places her husband was always too afraid to go and it was on one of her trips that she met her current husband, a quiet artist with a thirst for adventure. Together, they go off the beaten path and explore the novel, the quaint, the bizarre and the unusual and they both love doing it. Janet is happy in her current life.

Janet’s cognitive preferences are those of an ENFP and while she is not identical to every ENFP, she does share somethings in common with other ENFPs.

  1. ENFPs are energetic and have tremendous mental energy.
  2. ENFPs NEED change and without it, they become stagnant and unhappy.
  3. ENFPs love new, novel and exciting things, like new technology.
  4. ENFPs need to return to the familiar from time to time.
  5. ENFPs are aware of they value but may not be aware of the morals and values of others.
  6. ENFPs are experts at making connections, drawing analogies and coming up with or understanding metaphors.
  7. ENFPs can be dramatic and moody.

 

Where Beauty “Lies”

img_3565.jpgI diverge from my writings on depth psychology today and revisit a concept I found in my notes from some years ago. It comes on the heels of a post I made on my artist blog concerning one of my paintings. I look in the mirror and I see gray hair beginning to peep out of my dark strands and yet, I’m okay with it. I may dye it, eventually,  if I don’t like the way it looks later on. But if I do, it’ll be my choice and not something that I feel pressured to do. However, like with many things, the voices in our world scream that we need to “fix” that gray hair, and instill fear that if our hair is gray, we are less attractive and if we are less attractive, then we are less valuable. 

We are daily bombarded with messages that we need to be slimmer, taller, prettier, smarter, richer, younger-looking; that we need newer gadgets, smart cars, smart phones, smart homes, and I-everthings. The internet tells us what to wear, what to eat, and where to go. We get the message that we need to have these things or do these things in order to have a better life, to be happier. I actually know women who will not walk out their front door without make-up, because they’re afraid someone might see them and reject them. I  want to tell them that make-up can’t make them beautiful or more acceptable. Beauty first has to come from inside.

It kind of reminds me of the story of Adam and Eve when the serpent told Eve she needed to bite the fruit because then she would be better. She would have something she didn’t already have, know something she didn’t already know. She would ‘move up in the world.’ Yet, Eve was already at the top and she already had all the knowledge she needed inside herself. All she had to do was trust the voice she already knew was true. But I don’t fault Eve. The liar was probably persistent, showing up day after day, looking good, charming, appealing, promising high rewards. The same thing happens to us all on a daily basis. The same lie, the lie that we “need” to obtain something to be worthy or better or just good enough, is being pitched to us all every single day and like Eve, we bite into it, and then offer the same critical lie to someone else. I believe happiness is found when we know our own worth and live according to our own values. In other words, we have to assert that we are ENOUGH and don’t need to bite into anything else. 

Somewhere in our pasts someone criticized us out of their own insecurities or thoughtlessness or ignorance; but the criticisms stick, the lie continues, the lie that says, “You’re not _______ enough.” The lie says that you need to do something, obtain something, to be better, to have more knowledge.

At the very least it is a lie that causes a woman to look in the mirror and turn away with a knot in her stomach, feeling that she isn’t–enough. I hear women make negative statements about themselves all of the time. They look at some woman in a magazine and compare themselves. The kind of beauty we see on television and in magazines is what some money hungry cooperation has designed to get more in their bank accounts. That’s why fashion is always changing. They want things to consistently be hard to obtain so that people will pay more to get it…and that includes everything from beautiful hair to buns of steel…anything to make money.

 

Now, I’m not advocating letting yourself go. I believe in being responsible for the house I  live in and not just letting it fall apart. Yes, we should try to eat right and get adequate sleep. We should exercise, but the belief that our value is tied up in our physical appearance or the things that we own, etc., is a lie. If that were so, beautiful young celebrities who “have it all” would not be overdosing or committing suicide.

 

Real beauty is  found with the inward adorning of the heart. It’s okay to look our best, to want to be pretty, but the mistake comes when we began to believe that our value is tied to our appearance or that anyone in this this world actually knows what true beauty looks like. Who gives “them” the right to define what is beautiful? Is not beauty in the eye of the beholder as the old saying goes? When we allow anyone to determine our value based on…anything…or when we believe that our value is determined by what we look like, what we have or what we can do…we believe the lie that we are not____enough.  It all comes down to who and what are we believe and our beliefs determine the quality of our lives, not our looks, not our bank accounts, not our popularity, but our beliefs. So, that is where beauty lies.