Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Venting....A long time coming!

It's been a long time since I've written. No time? I guess, but lately that is just been a lame excuse. It is what it is and nothing can change that. Last few days I've been in deep turmoil over my life. Its hard to put into words. It's like I woke up one day wondering what the hell am I doing with my life. I know. I hear it now! (but I thought you were happy being a barista in Grants.) Something is missing. I don't know how to explain it. I've have felt like I have been out of the picture in the decision making of my life for a long time. I just haven't really realized it until now. I think this may sound weird, but I wish I would have really tried to picture my life now, a long time ago. Did I really know what I wanted when I came to those decision long ago? I don't know. The question is, do I know what I want now? Not really! Am I asking for help or guidance? No, I just need to vent. Write on my blog for once in ages I guess to feel like maybe I am making a step towards something, somewhere, and somehow maybe this will make a difference, but again, maybe not!

Lost is a good description of how I view my life. Sometimes I get this real urge to run away and never come back, like really become lost. But maybe that is just running away. Away from choices that were made for me. Choices that I may have agreed to, but never really thought twice about it because they may have conflicted with other people's views. I'm tired of living for others. Following in the footsteps of others and not being able or capable to do it on my own. Yeah, selfish right? Hell, I don't give a crap! I am angry at my self for living this way. But, maybe I need to learn the hard way. That my choices I make on my own won't win me happiness either. Maybe I am selfish for not having children by now, for not wanting a family. For wanting my own life with out it dictating what others want it to be. But yet, I am still stuck in the same old rut I have been since these thoughts ever came to mind.

I need a change. Am I speaking from where God wants me to? Doubt it! Do I care what He thinks? Part of me does, my flesh despises his leading. Why? Sin? Okay so what if I am in sin! Really, does that change His love for me? No! But I guess what it comes down to is the choices I make. If I stay in His comfort zone or choose to step out of it!

I do not want to step out of it. I love Him. But what i hate is feeling like I don't have a choice. That I am blindly following my husband without a fucking care in the world. . .

Ugh, I hate to say it, but I LOVE cussing. It feels like a heavy weight and pressure has fallen off my shoulders. Yeah, flesh talking again I guess. . . I feel like every word I choose to use on MY blog, I have a little filter in my head that says, I have to have an explanation or an excuse for why and what I am saying... I want to yell and scream at that filter and say FUCK YOU and SHUT THE HELL UP!

On a side note. After I read what I just typed. I laugh! I laugh that I am even taking the time to pour my heart out like this so that anyone on cyber space can read this stupid blog post and comment. . .

Well, yoga awaits. Now that this is out. Hopefully now I can meditate and hear what I need to hear without that Stupid ASS filter!


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Coffee Personality Quiz

If you were a coffee drink, what would you be? Mark down your answers and continue on for your analysis!

1. You have a little bit of time to kill so you…

a. decide to go for a bike ride and try to get yourself lost
b. design, doodle, paint, or scrapbook
c. surf the internet looking for new job opportunities, or watch the news
d. read the newspaper, a book, or an internet magazine
e. call old friends to catch up

2. In a debate you are most likely to…

a. keep your opinion no matter what anyone says
b. form an opinion based on the arguments (jump back and forth in your opinion)
c. research ahead of time to get your facts straight
d. take a side right away and passionately argue it
e. not care to take a position

3. You have the choice between trying a new rare and exotic dessert over a dessert you have tried and already love. You will…

a. most likely try it, depending on how it looks
b. want to know everything that’s in the dessert before trying it
c. definitely try it with no hesitation
d. depends on how you’re feeling
e. have your favorite dessert

4. In a social setting you will…

a. incorporate new and old friends by discussing interests and activities
b. talk with people you already know while eyeing new people
c. get into heavy intellectual discussions with people
d. throw all exuberance into exchanging traveling horror stories with people you’ve never met
e. question and philosophize about life and culture with others

5. How would you go about buying a car?

a. look for the most dependable, stable, long-lasting car, or one with a warranty
b. look for a used and rickety car with unique colors, to cover with funky stickers or car seats
c. see one that you have to have, call the person up, and buy it on the spot
d. do some research but if you see one you really like, buy it
e. research online, in buy and sells, compare prices, and talk to everyone you know before choosing a model

6. What color would you paint your living room if you had your own house?

a. a mural if you could, or some calming greens or maroons
b. a new shade that you’ve never used, but not too extreme of a color
c. you’d paint the ceiling deep red and paint the walls a bright and complementary color
d. an eggshell white so that it goes with everything
e. a classy color like eggplant or tan

7. What do you do to relieve stress?

a. argue or vent with someone else (call them)
b. nap or keep it inside while doing something by yourself like watch TV
c. busy yourself with other things
d. get really moody, listen to angry music
e. go for a long walk, jog, bike ride, or swim

8. Your friends would describe you as…

a. a go-getter, ambitious, and goal oriented
b. laid back, carefree, and balanced
c. high energy, enthusiastic, and witty
d. honest, consistent, simple, slightly mysterious
e. caring, social, and fun

9. If you had to drastically change your hair what would you do?

a. I wouldn’t
b. perm it or streak it fun colors
c. get it cut short at a stylish and professional salon
d. die it all one color with one streak of a completely different color
e. get dreads, extensions, or dye it three colors

10. What type of job would you prefer?

a. one that requires creativity, none or few deadlines, working with others or by yourself (both), one that requires mainly independence
b. in a place where there is lots of variety, lots of opportunities to be social, to take on new challenges, go new places, do new tasks, and make you think quick on your feet
c. a job outside, one with some variety, cares for people, is service-oriented, interesting, uses lots of your abilities, challenging and/or flexible
d. a business job, that’s administrative, professional, and offers long term stability
e. working with your hands, working independently, own your own business, or have projects and tasks that take a long time to complete

11. When presented with a challenge that is above your ability you will…

a. take it on without hesitation and with much excitement
b. think about how it will further your career, resume, abilities..
c. regret it if you don’t at least try it, will ask for lots of help along the way, and will get a slight thrill at the opportunity to shine
d. noy do it unless you have a long time to work at it and understand all that it will entail
e. do it only if you can think through it and have no pressure to do it in time or perfectly

12. What type of vacation would you take?

a. go somewhere quiet, relaxing, not touristy, but culturally unique (where you can live among the people you are visiting)
b. find some tropical and ‘never-heard-of’ place to backpack around
c. go somewhere hot, cheap, and consistent
d. bike across a couple countries, try outdoor parasailing, or go to a place where you can do lots of sight-seeing
e. go to a European country where you can sit in cafes, shop, go to museums, or watch traditional shows

13. If you were in the magazine section of a bookstore, how would you flip through a magazine?

a. flip through a variety of magazines, read some for a longer time than others depending on the topics inside and captivating pictures
b. sit at a table, have a muffin, flip haphazardly, read a little but mainly look at pictures
c. read articles thoroughly, about things going on in the world, and compare their biases to your own
d. read one magazine thoroughly, about one of your interests
e. you flip through all different types of magazines, looking at pictures and skimming quickly before wanting to move onto another activity

14. At the last minute, your friend offers you an extra ticket for a weekend concert a day’s drive away you…

a. would drop everything and go no matter what you had planned to do before
b. would go, depending on how you felt or if you just needed some time alone to relax on the weekend
c. would rather stay back for the weekend and relax before going to work again on Monday
d. would go only if you had the money saved, no other obligations, and if you were staying at a nice place
e. go, unless you were busy

15. When studying for a huge exam you…

a. study no less or more than with regular exams, study systematically and have a certain routine that always works for you
b. study in advance, but get easily distracted by doing social things with people
c. make notes weeks in advance, have a strategic plan on how you’re going to study, and study very hard to get the best mark in the class
d. are up late the night before, hanging out with people, complaining with your friends that none of you have studied…
e. are pretty laid back, don’t worry about it, study when you get the time, would rather find a creative way to study than just read your notes


Check each question to see how many points are assigned to the answer you gave. Add up the points to determine what type of coffee drink you would be!

1. a-4, b-3, c-2, d-1, e-5

2. a-1, b-4, c-2, d-5, e-3

3. a-4, b-2, c-5, d-3, e-1

4. a-4, b-1, c-2, d-5, e-3

5. a-1, b-3, c-5, d-4, e-2

6. a-3, b-4, c-5, d-1, e-2

7. a-5, b-1, c-2, d-3, e-4

8. a-2, b-3, c-5, d-1, e-4

9. a-1, b-4, c-2, d-3, e-5

10. a-3, b-5, c-4, d-2, e-1

11. a-5, b-2, c-4, d-1, e-3

12. a-3, b-5, c-1, d-4, e-2

13. a-4, b-3, c-2, d-1, e-5

14. a-5, b-3, c-1, d-2, e-4

15. a-1, b-4, c-2, d-5, e-3

15-26 points

Your personality is definitely that of a Café Latte. This sharp coffee mixture of strong brewed espresso and frothy steamed milk is consistent and simple. To experience this drink you don’t need to be a high risk taking individual, as you are not. Café lattés are dependable, and don’t have a variety of flavors or versions. Similarly in different social settings and places, you stay generally the same. Like this genuine coffee with a rich flavor, you are one who can stand alone. No kick needs to be added to a latte because it is enticing and approachable because of its lack of surprises. Lattes are most enjoyable at a slower pace, taking it all in, and don’t require a social atmosphere to be made complete. The bottom line is that you are hard working and consistent, slightly introverted and enjoy routine. Like a café latte you need not be extravagant or spicy, but are most satisfying in your solid, systematic, and simple existence. In a familiar and comfortable environment, everyone enjoys a warm, sensible, and stable latte.

27-38 points

The Cappuccino is the java that best describes your personality. Chic and intellectual, this drink is only for the serious and mature. The air of importance ‘cappuccino’ carries cannot be spoken unless by the purely driven and successful individuals. This drink can be contemplative or social, although it is most often considered classy. With its rich espresso, relaxed milk, and slightly foamed topping it fits in most anywhere. Although slightly reserved for important occasions, there is a hint of exciting foam that is let loose only briefly. You are not given to triviality and pointless activities. You like success and are goal driven, ambitious and are comfortable conversing. You are confident and bold and no one can mess with a cappuccino. Any addition or change to a cappuccino only wrecks its calm and collected image. Responsible and slightly reserved, the cappuccino is the mirror of your cool, collected, and ‘going somewhere’ personality. To be inspired and motivated, people love absorbing the aura of confidence surrounding a cappuccino.

39-51 points

No drink suits you better than the Caramel Macchiato. This drink has the backbone of the foamed milk and espresso but is more expressive and creative with its inclusion of vanilla and caramel sauces. Smooth and laid back, this drink is a combination of a variety of tastes (as you prefer). The balance of creativity and strength make for a well-rounded drink. As an individual you need balance to be at your best; time for self-expression, but time for conversation with others. Perhaps slightly artsy or musical nothing unsettles you too much. If unsettled, you are most likely to be moody and need time to contemplate. You, like your signature drink, provide an interesting perspective and twist on what may otherwise be a simple situation. Nothing too vigorous or drastic appeals to you. Although sweet, you are not too sweet and are mysterious in your unpredictability. Your flavor changes with each sip and you might not even understand how you can be sweet at times and smooth, deep, and serious at others. The cappuccino is known to envelope others with its complex and intriguing paradox of pensiveness and confidence.

52-63 points:

You are a White Chocolate Mocha through and through. You are a combination of adventuresome and sweet, hardworking and social. The confident espresso and cocoa stirred with milk and topped with tantalizing whipped cream make for an interesting person. Fun-loving and not too serious, your stable taste but special topping shows that you are flexible to the needs of others. Your balance of strong and fun make you responsible but risk taking. The side of you that is slightly thrill-seeking and active is displayed openly. Others may have to dig a little deeper to get to your rich and deep interior. Your all-around sweet taste of white chocolate is surprising and calming. You generally are service oriented and like to be around people; but you need to relax by being away from it all. The bottom line is that you are fun loving, not afraid of challenge, like being active and outdoorsy. Your uncomplicated twist on the ordinary is exciting but calming. Your enthusiastic and friendly mocha nature warms anyone in your company and uplifts any occasion.

64-75 points

Stirred up and passionate, you definitely have a Frappuccino personality. Adventurous and crazy you are full of life and flavor. The Frappuccino’s variety of flavors is representative of your contagious energy. Whether traveling or studying you like to mix things up a bit and feel bored when things move slowly. Although your coffee base may allow for you to be mature and contemplative at times, your tendency is to embrace the excitement and spontaneity of life’s flavors. Like a true Frappuccino, you perk up another’s day, easily converse with strangers, and are often looking on the bright side of things. You keep yourself busy with activities and people and are not often one to cower from a challenge or new activity. Competitive, opinionated and bright you slow down for no one. You have a very visible presence and when spotted from far away are easily recognizable. The heterogeneous java you are, you show many sides to your personality, characterized by a variety of interests. People soak up your fervor and look forward to when you surprise them with another outrageous plan. Let’s face it, nothing is ever boring with a Frappuccino.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


When I enter a bookstore, what am I searching for? Looking for a story that is not my own. Or am I looking for a story to just find my own? Purpose and connection, isn't that what we are all looking for? Isn't it ironic that we look for someone else's story to find our own? Will we ever stop searching for our story in someone else? It’s easy to do, especially when our own story is, uneventful, boring, or not worth any attention. I think maybe a lot of us are searching for the excitement for entertainment purposes. We love to watch movies in the theater, get lost in a story, drama, suspense thriller or whatever it may be. That is what happens when we get lost in them, we forget that whatever we are filling our minds with is not real. It’s simply a movie, or a story. In the same sense, reading stories, either in the news or factious books, we want to forget our story so that we can live in this fantasy world. Sure I love to watch movies and read fiction stories, and even at times I do get lost in those moments at a time! But, maybe we are too easily drawn out of our own stories and easily thrown into a façade. So what are we looking for, more fulfillment? So much is missing, or maybe those things are there the whole time, but we are too easily distracted by all the hype and entertainment! When we lose the moment, we lose who we are and worse, we miss everything!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Thinking Outside The Box With Others.

I've been reading a new blog I came across via Twitter recently that is very interesting to me. I find it most intriguing because there are actual thinkers out there like me. For instance, those who don't think along side of the status quo on everything and are able to question those who profess to follow God. I've been wondering for quite some time why many Christians get away with it because they wear God's name on their sleeve and use him as a scape goat. I am glad to find others out there that are not afraid to stand up to the bully's behind the pulpit, who try to minimize others just so they can be noticed.

What really got me thinking about this recently is coming across Brian Woodell's blog. You can find it here:
λογοι. I offer this to you because I really think his perspective on Christianity and religion is something that needs to be heard. I have done a lot of Christian 'bashing' (as they would consider it to be) in the past, but I would not consider this bashing, but only shining the light on the truth that many are afraid to recognize or draw attention to. This kind of crap has gone on long enough in my opinion. I would rather spend my time with those who don't know God and treat others with respect regardless their life choices, than to spend time with those who think they are God themselves and tear into people just because they think they can.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Living In My Dreams

I have worked at Coco Bean Cafe for over a month now. I started writing this blog a while back but just now have been able to post it. Can I just say how thrilled and brilliantly changed my life is now that I have purpose and complete fulfillment. My bosses, the owners of Coco Bean, are incredible people and I am so blessed to have a great relationship with the owners. It makes my job and experience as their Barista manager so amazing and enjoyable.

When we started getting to know each other and getting the coffee shop organized and ready to open and started it was like the three of us were all on the same page and things have run so smoothly. The training process of our other employees have gone awesome as well. I have been doing most of the training process and its been so much fun. A little overwhelming at times, but it was like I was MADE for this. I never realized I could be a manager or have so much responsibility and hold my head above water at the same time, but this experience has been awesome and much easier than I expected.

The coffee shop in and of itself is so comfortable and gorgeous. With soft coffee colors painted on the walls, huge windows that face the front, it provides an atmosphere full of life comfort. I hope to get pictures up soon, but have not gotten around to taking any yet.

The mornings come so graceful. I rarely see my first customer until 7am, and we open at 6:00am. Mornings have not been too hard on me. I actually love them now. Never thought I would see the day, but it does help to love what I do and that is a huge motivator for me to get up and moving so early in the mornings.

Well, that is it for now. I will probably have a lot of time on my hands this coming week due to traveling to Connecticut for the week with my husband so I hope to write again soon!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Unfolding Treasure

Ever since we moved to Grants, emotional meltdowns would happen occasionally, almost like they were scheduled, about once a week to once every two weeks. My transition and accepting to live here has been a long drawn out process. I felt as though I had no purpose, and nothing to keep me preoccupied enough to make me feel like I could make a life here. I would go to Albuquerque or go out of town every other weekend because I needed to get out of this place. I am sure I made it worse for me than it needed to be, but I serious felt as though I was forgotten by God, and that I was forced to live in a barren land with no nourishment. I felt abandoned (metaphor may be a little extreme) But, it got pretty bad. Not only was it challenging, but I lost all hope to be happy here. We considered moving several times in the last several months. Either to Albuquerque, Los Lunas or even Farmington where Jonathan would have to commute to Grants to work. It got so bad, that I wasn't even sure I could make it until our lease was up in August. But, I decided if we did make a change, we would wait until August.

My passion and drive consisted of what I knew I was good at and could do. When we lived in Ruidoso over the summer, I was a barista which I loved. I was hoping to continue my career in that once we moved up here, but, there was not one single coffee shop here. If I wanted decent coffee, I would have to drive to Albuquerque. Shortly after moving here though, Jonathan and I bought an espresso machine to make the need for good coffee more available. Which became a God-send.

Slowly things began to change. I started making friends, which was something I did not have here. I continued taking classes at the college and this Spring semester I got a part-time job at the college library to keep me busy so I didn't constantly focus on my depression. I ended up going to Albuquerque a couple of weekends ago to go shopping and stopped into a coffee supply place to pick up some supplies for our small espresso machine. I was talking to the owner about what I needed and information about where I live and just casual conversation. As I was explaining where I lived, he pointed to a large espresso machine he had in his shop and told me that machine was headed to Grants New Mexico that following Monday. Immediately, my mouth dropped in awe. I couldn't believe my ears. He explained who was opening up a coffee shop and when. I was shocked and immediately over joyed. He gave me the information about the owners and where the coffee shop was going to be located in Grants.

So that following week, I made it over to where he told me it was going to be. I talked to a nice older man who was doing a remodel on the building where the coffee shop was going to be and told me how to reach the owners. I went to their house which the wife owned a home-day care and talked to the lady and inquired about the information I heard in Albuquerque. She confirmed that it was all true. Right away, when she noticed my excitement and I told her a little of my background in the coffee business, she encouraged me to apply. So I did, and this past weekend, I was hired as their Barista Manager.

You have no idea how thrilled I am. I finally have purpose, drive and passion exploding right in front of me. As I look back on how I felt about my life prior to this happening, I felt as though I was floating in thin air with nothing to hold onto or lead me. I believe this is no coincidence, but it was the plan all along. My life is unfolding and as it unfolds, treasures of gold and diamonds are starting to appear. I just didn't have eyes to walk by faith during the last several months or even notice the treasures. My eyes are now open!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Seeing Beyond the Definition of Teaching

Here is another video review I wrote for my Psychology class. I thought I would post this along with the others that I have posted as of late. This particular film, Mona Lisa Smile has really made a huge impression on my life. It reminds me of the experiences I have had at college here in Grants, where I have had the privilege to spend time connecting with a couple of teachers here that have embarked on something spectacular when it comes to awareness and knowledge. I especially love this movie and how it draws attention to what is missing in the ways of traditionalism.

I hope you enjoy!

In the film, Mona Lisa Smile, Julia Roberts plays Ms. Watson, the character of a new teacher in the art history department at an all girls school in the early 1950's, where the only goals and aspirations for women during that time was to get married and raise a family. This school was founded on these principles and education for women was merely seen as a waiting period before marriage and wasn't found very valuable for any other purpose. Ms. Watson was forced to conform and abide with the traditions and strict obligations that this school believed in. Though, her desire was to make a difference in a very unorthodox way. She pushed the boundaries of traditionalism and reached the minds of young women to think beyond the image, beyond traditions and toward a new idea that fabricated the beginning of thinking independently. This made her dream as a teacher come true because the move forward in not only teaching but in touching the lives of these women had opened up more opportunity for her to make a difference than what she or the students formally believed possible.

As she got started, she did not realize the hardships she would endure in order to make such a difference. In her first class lecture, the students were well over prepared for what she had to teach throughout this class based on the textbook given by the school, in which caught Ms. Watson by surprise. Her first lecture proved to be an embarrassment to her as she almost felt defeated. She knew she needed to step it up in hopes to make any difference with this class, so she did. Instead of sticking to the syllabus and outlined materials in which she was going to teach from, she changed course immediately and began with a method of teaching that really would catch the girls attention because she knew that these girls needed something much more challenging. Not only in their pursuit of art history, but in the pursuit of thinking outside the lines of tradition, image, and definition.

As she progressed forward and as her unorthodox teaching skills led to something much greater, she began to form relationships with these women, where most of them were finally able to start questioning the status quo. At a glance it was almost unrecognizable, but in Ms. Watson's classroom, the energy of inquiry was magnificent. Their abilities grew from believing what a textbook said, to finding their own thoughts and opinions as something of worth and value. Ms. Watson in so many ways instilled this within them all, to seek beyond what they were told is right, to finding that their own inquiries of discovery. Not only the art they studied and its history, but the meaning inside the world of education and womanhood.

An example given when Ms. Watson would open up a dialogue about a certain painting to a deeper inquiry into that painting instead of sticking to a list of facts and history associated with its existence. She got the women engaged on a level of profound interest by a clear definition into what the artist was thinking through a piece of art, what the piece of art meant in the time it got noticed, and why it was famous. Ms. Watson not only followed her own ideas into a new set of teaching abilities, but demonstrated by the way she lived and thought outside the confines of what women have always known.

Another part of this story that is worthwhile is the sense of community these women had throughout this story. As they got familiar with Ms. Watson's way in discovering art, you could sense a great strength of sisterhood these women had together. The way they all learned together and by each other made this film even more profound in the sense of how much growth happened. It wasn't as if their education was strictly about the individual, rather, it depicted a beautiful picture of women in education who actually learned and discovered together as a whole.

She knew that her position at the school was a delicate topic of discussion among the administration and towards the end of the school year, Ms. Watson's evaluation was put to question and her contract was to be finalized. The board committee determined that if she were to stay at Welsley, her new contract would be considered conditional upon the following mandatory adjustments that included the way she taught and was forced to follow the syllabus precisely the way it came from the committee. Everything was to be approved by the school and her choices were limited as far as the teaching style she choose to follow. Under the circumstances she decided to quit in hopes to leave with some sense of dignity and value for what she did leave behind with the women she was able to influence. In a sense she left behind a legacy that would never be forgotten.

A letter to the editorial was given by Elisabeth Warren, the editor of the school newspaper and also one of Ms. Watson astounding students. “Dear Betty, I came here to Wesley to make a difference. But to change for others is to lie to yourself.” My teacher, Kathrine Watson lived by her own definition and would not compromise that, not even for Wesley. I dedicate this my last editorial to an extraordinary women who lived by example and compelled us all to see the world through new eyes. I've heard her be called a quitter for leaving; an aimless wanderer, but not all who wander are aimless, especially not those who seek truth beyond tradition, beyond definition, beyond image. I'll never forget you!”

This brings me to question something. Are the educators of today willing to inquire on a more deeper level in the subjects that they teach? Can they find a way to demonstrate learning by drawing out the students interests, excitement and even passion to levels which will not only enhance the students grades, but their lives? I only wonder this because it almost seems as though many students who attend any type of higher education feel that they are only in it for what they need which is a degree. Get in, get the degree and get out. I think maybe this idea that Julia Roberts' character in this film demonstrated something much more profound than just being a good actress, but a role model even to those who are seeking in giving knowledge to others even outside the normal approach to teaching. I am happy to say that my experience thus far at NMSU Grants Community College has brought this example to great light. Where I have had a hunger and love for knowledge and the educators here have watered that seed with grace and inspiration that only has inspired me more to never stop inquiring after knowledge.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Keys To Vulnerability

Another video review about vulnerability. This video has made a huge impact on my life.

Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

Bren'e Brown, a social worker/researcher/storyteller started an adventure into the unknown and discovered what human connection is. Over some time, she grappled over vulnerability. Her expanded perception transformed her life. She shared what she found in the years of research and interviews which went into this discovery. She left a huge impression on many through the passion in which she shares.

Connection is why we are here. It is found in the core of human existence. The foundation of why we are here is to be connected to others and to feel a sense of fulfillment. This brings meaning to our lives. We are made to have connection with others. Brown gave an example about being evaluated by a boss and how they might share 37 things that you did good on and one thing that could be an opportunity for growth. The whole time the employee would be fixated on that one thing that needs work and overlook all of the positive. She found out this is the same response she got from her interviewees. When she asked people about love, they tell her about heartbreak. When she asked people about belonging, their response would be bring back memories as to when they were excluded. When she would bring up connection, they only remembered experiences that led to disconnection.

Six weeks into this research she discovered that the study of connection unraveled had fear and shame linked all throughout it. Shame is a fear of disconnection; 'is there something about me that others see that they won't like?' Its universal and we all have it. Those who don't feel shame are incapable of feeling love or empathy for human connection. The foundation of shame is vulnerability. Not feeling good enough, smart enough, rich enough, beautiful enough is the essence of where the problem lies. Vulnerability that is that excruciating sense that I may be rejected. The fear of shame is feeling is like being unworthy. In order to allow connection to happen, one must allow ourselves to be seen who we really are. This was something that Brown struggled with during her research. She initially thought she could out beat it or out smart vulnerability, but it didn't work out this way. Rather, she realized that after 6 years of hard work, she took the people that she interviewed, divided them into people who really had a sense of worthiness and a strong sense of love and belonging and those who struggle with being worthy. The one variable that separated the two was the belief of worthiness.

She gathered all of the people she researched who had a sense of worthiness and discovered that wholehearted people have the essence of vulnerability. They had in common a sense of courage. The definition of courage is to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart; the courage to be imperfect with compassion to be kind to themselves. They had connection along with authenticity. Letting go of who one should be, in order to be who they were, was the key in this character development. This is essential for connection. Ultimately, they fully embraced vulnerability. What made them vulnerable made them feel beautiful. They had the willingness to take the first step towards love and connection. They saw vulnerability as a necessity. Brown saw that they had the willingness to do something where there was no guarantee and the willingness to invest in relationships, no matter the outcome.

She began to realize that her research was the opposite of vulnerability, which was the core of problem that Brown discovered. Research is the process in which we control and predict the outcome of our data, vulnerability on the other hand is capable of being wounded and is difficult to defend. This information she found led her to have a breakdown. She went to a therapist to try and work this out. Over time, she came to be okay with vulnerability, which changed her life in the most positive way she ever experienced, and led to reaching farther in her discoveries as ever before.

The reason why we struggle with vulnerability is because we numb vulnerability. Here are some examples that she gives when defining vulnerability: having to ask her husband for help because she is sick, initiating sex with one’s husband or wife, being turn down, asking someone out, getting laid off, laying someone off, waiting for the doctor to call back. These examples clearly state how vulnerable we all are. It is evident according to Brown, that we are a culture that numbs vulnerability. The problems that this country faces are debt, obesity, addiction and the over use of prescription drugs. We can't selectively numb fear, shame, grief, and vulnerability without numbing good emotions like, joy, gratitude, or love.

When we choose to live without vulnerability, we are trying to make the uncertain, certain while we are striving to be perfect and pretend to fix the problems. Religion has gone from a belief of faith in mystery to certainty. Politics is much like this. The more afraid we are, the more vulnerable we are and what happens is there is no more discourse or conversation, but blame which is a way to discharge pain and discomfort. We perfect our outward appearance to look like someone else, like using botox or liposuction. Our children are who we perfect because we are striving for perfection in ourselves and it reflects on those who we raise. However, it's easy to overlook our job as parents when we don't let our children know that they imperfect but they are deserving of love and belonging. We pretend that what we do doesn't have an effect on other people, like in the corporate scene such as bailouts, recalls and oil spills. We just want authentic truth.

As I watched this video for the first time, I realized how much of what she was saying really underlined much of the personal problems that I have had with past friendships. I've gone through heartache after heartache of losing friends. Partly because I was the stubborn one who wouldn't back down or allow vulnerability to take its course. I've sought after counseling and the whole nine yards, only to feel empty handed when in the end I was yet again, left alone. I guess my problem is when I become friends with someone I don't think about the possibility of not being this person's friend until its over and too late. Just recently, without me actually doing anything, one of my friends dropped off the grid of communication with me all of a sudden. I wanted to see if I did something to bother her, so I emailed her to see if I did something. Her response was short and to the point saying I didn't upset her but she has other priorities. It was hard for me to feel vulnerable, but I have to realize going into relationships being vulnerable and being myself isn't a bad thing and that I am learning to accept me for me even if others don't.

In conclusion, in order to have a connection with others we must cling to vulnerability, embrace uncertainty, and practice gratitude and joy; even when it’s scary. Vulnerability is the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging, and love. When we are ready to accept vulnerability and believe that we are enough we will then be ready to love with our whole hearts.

The Dilemma of Choice

A video review I did for one of my classes that represent a distinct picture of how too many choices hinders us on so many levels than actually free us.

Berry Schartz on the paradox of choice / Video on

Barry Schwartz introduces himself as the author of a book called The Paradox of Choice. He starts out by examining us as Western Industrial Societies, who have what he calls an Official Dogma. An Official Dogma is summarized by explaining that to maximize the common good and welfare of our society is maximizing our freedom. Official Dogma also says to maximize freedom is to maximize choice. The more choice one has the more freedom one has, thus the more welfare and good one will then have by being allowed to make choices on one's own. This way of thinking is, in his opinion, so deeply ingrained in all of us, that we have never thought to question. Maybe the more choices we have, does not cause us to be more free, but choices do quite the opposite of liberation.

He gives precise examples of how choices don't necessarily benefit us, but hinder us on so many levels like; choices in a common grocery store, a consumer electronic store, communication, healthcare, identity, marriage and family, and work.

He configured that there are over a hundred and seventy five salad dressings in a local grocery store if you don't count the almost endless supply of extra olive oils and balsamic vinegars to make your own salad dressing if you cannot find the one that you want with the selection that is given.

He found that in a consumer electronic store there are 6.5 million stereo systems of components that are available for purchase in just one store.

He compares the availability of cellphone options when he was a boy to what is available today. Where there was only one place to get a phone, Bell, where you could not purchase but rent a phone. Where as today, there is almost an endless supply of cellphones, and their functions are overwhelming.

Healthcare no longer gives us the answers, but keeps us fishing for the right choice. To often the choice is left up to the individual instead of the doctor. This is called patient autonomy which means shifting of responsibilities. When the doctor is not willing to make the choice for the patient who is inherently impaired to do so, or doesn't know as much as the doctor does, the choice for patients can be difficult. Another side to healthcare that he examines is the choices of prescription drugs that are advertised to us. We can't even go to the store to pick them up, but we have to call our doctor first in order to have them change our prescriptions.

He's addressed that the question of our own identity has become something of an extreme choice. We feel we have to make a choice to reinvent ourselves no matter what that looks like.

The choice used to simply be, who are we going to marry. Having children was expected, and
now its all up to choice. When, where, who, or what.

The choices where to work and when to work have expanded dramatically. Communication technology allows us to work everywhere we go.

His diagnosis to what choices do to us is this; Choices have two negative effects on people, one effect produces paralysis other than liberation. Paralysis means, a state of helplessness, or an inability to act. It breaks down our ability to make the right choice and even makes it harder to choose at all based on how many choices there are. Paralysis is the consequence that we get in having to make so many choices. The second negative effect is if we somehow overcome paralysis and end up making a choice, we become dissatisfied with the choice and with our own capacity to make 'good' choices that we make. The more options there are its easier to second guess the choice or to be indecisive.

Opportunity costs subtract from the satisfaction that we get out of our choice, even if what we choose is a good choice. We miss out on what we are choosing now when we are focused on what we could have chosen. Having so many choices, lead us to believe that we can find the best of the best out of all the choices that are available to us. It makes us expect to find exactly what we are looking for with all that is available. When in fact, the expectation that we have only leaves us empty handed and disappointed in the end. When we have high expectations and we fail to meet those expectations. We turn around and blame ourselves for not doing better, not exceeding to what we had expected. This has led to many clinical depression issues thus leaving people with more problems than necessary. Schwartz exclaims that the secret to happiness is to have low expectations and less choices.

This discussion that Schwartz gave ties in really well with the discussion John McKnight has had in his book, The Careless Society, regarding the supply of professional public services. Not only do these services make it hard to choose what is right for us, but hinders us from actually making a decision at all. It seems like the plentiful options only bombard and overwhelm people. It makes ordinary life choices way more complicated than what they could be if there was only a select few services available. The choice to problem solve on our own or with each other as empowered members of a community without the need or option to out-source for help and calling on any public service would save a lot of trouble, time and money, plus add value to our ability to fend for ourselves. (pg 17-25)

I've gotten a taste of what it is like to have less choices, and it has proven to me to be a lot less confusing as it adds to a more simple way of life. My husband and I lived in Costa Rica for a year as it being my first time to live outside of the country. It has made a great impression on how simple life can be with less decisions to make, even if they are small choices. For example, grocery shopping is a lot easier. Instead of having 175 choices of salad dressing in the local stores, they probably only have 3 to 5 choices. We learned to live with a lot less too, and there wasn't an option to find everything you wanted as if you went to a Walmart here in the states. While traveling, there are a lot less accommodations, restaurants and entertainment opportunities in the areas of which we were living. Clothes shopping was rarely an issue because the choices were all the same. Same kind of clothes for the same kind of people and very expensive. As far as transportation, if you did not have your own, there was the local bus or one taxi service. In ways, I find some of these decisions more challenging, but at the same time, much less overwhelming. Healthcare was simple too. They only had one hospital in the area and a doctors office. When we first moved down there, it was hard to get used to a lot less choices. It taught me to appreciate what we did have and in return I learned that life is a lot more quieter and easy with less to decide on.

After I viewed this video, it has really opened my eyes to see how choices truly affect our ways of living. Indecision has really hindered my ability to even make a choice no matter what the subject matter is. I often see this to be true in my every day life choices that I have to make. Like, what pair of shoes I am going to wear, or color of shirt would go better with a pair of jeans. I wonder sometimes how these small daily choices add up in hours of decision making and result in lost time.

Another observation I made was watching others make decisions. I was in the store the other day and just quietly doing some grocery shopping. I ended going down the salad dressing isle. The part in this video where he was talking about the choices of salad dressing immediately came to mind as I was passing this man standing in front of the large selection of dressings. I stopped and glanced at him, and said, 'wouldn't it be easier if there were only two or three choices of dressing rather than a billion?' He looked at me kind of in a daze and hesitantly agreed with me. My final comment was, 'it sure seems like this huge selection of choice can get overwhelming'. As I continued on my way, I would occasionally pass this isle to get to where I needed to go next, and I think it was 5 minutes later, this man was still standing there staring at the dressings.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Clearly Dizzy

Lately I've been feeling really dizzy. I woke up the other morning just really dizzy and could hardly walk in a straight line. It was hard to focus on anything particular. It felt like I was drunk and overcoming a huge hangover. Though I know I didn't drink but one glass of wine that night before and I know one glass of wine cannot make me that sick. But this wasn't related to having a headache which is usually associated with drinking. My eye balls seem to be bouncing in my eye sockets when I am sleeping. It's the strangest thing.

So I threw in the towel and went to go see the doc. It's weird for me because I rarely go to the doctor, and I actually hate going into a place where you could pick up other sickness's. I always want to hold my breath while I am waiting in the office to be seen. You never know what people have or what you can get from others just being in a room filled with many germ possibilities. So, I met with the doctor in a room, where the nurse led me too. He came in and I believe I was only in this room for like 5 minutes. He asked me how I was feeling. He checked my pulse and ears and nose, and suggested a couple of possible diagnoses and prescribed me to three different meds to three different things I may be suffering from that is causing my dizziness. He seemed very vague and didn't really give me any other info. He left and I felt very puzzled not just because I was dizzy, but by the lack of attention and information he gave me concerning the reason of my visit. It was very impersonal and frankly a very impractical visit. This visit was expensive because we don't have health insurance. I would have hoped for a little more time for the price, gosh!

So anyways, I went to pick up my prescriptions at Walmart so that I could start on them right away. I pick them up and notice one of the meds is an allergy pill. It had a red warning tag on the box that said, 'warning, may cause dizziness'. I am a little confused. Perhaps my confusion is from my dizzy spells and disorientation's, but, this to me seems almost like an oxymoron move. Oh, but I should never question a doctor who probably has years of experience in this practice and knows what he is doing. Yet, I still do. I am a little suspicious of the entire system as it is. Medication only seems to cause more problems. My dad died in a hospital where he was supposed to get well, when he didn't. I don't know maybe I am only pulling loose hair, but there seems to be something very wrong with this picture.

I took the medications as I was told, only to find out this morning after I woke up and took my meds that the allergy pill is making my dizziness worse. Before I took them, I had been feeling much better today, but once I took my meds I started getting really dizzy again. I can't help but think that wasting my time and money at doctor visits, there has got to be a BETTER WAY... I wonder why we are so eager to go to doctors because we aren't able to fend for ourselves or even consider an alternative. It seems like this culture and society that we are in, has led us to believe that the health care system of our day is the answer.

I am not going to get into reform of health care and that garbage, but the entire system the way it is or even the way it could be someday seems to me like a loss cause. I know doctors are needed when there is a huge issue, but, for simple colds or flues or things like that, we think need to out source for help. Think about this for a minute, what did our parents do when we were sick? I remember rarely going to the doctor as a kid. I know we did if my brother and I got super sick, but for colds and things like that, I wonder that the solutions our parents used were more efficient and affective. Our dependency on the system in general to me is UNHEALTHY. It's almost like we can't take care of ourselves and always depend on out-sourcing for help. I believe there is a better way. I just need to take more time to find other solutions to problems so I won't add to the dizzy spells.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Take A Moment

Leafs are falling on my window
Turning cold in fire with the wind they go
I lost my way where do I go now
This looks just like the road I came down

Take a moment to live
Take a moment to cry
Take a moment to love
And don't ask why

Moment to live
Moment to love

A steady hand can point me somewhere
I'm all the wiser for the many wrongs I've done
I've found some courage in my battles won
Never leads me far from where I'm meant to be

Take a moment to live
Take a moment to cry
Take a moment to love
And don't ask why

My heavy heart, it pulls me
And I know you will be there

Take a moment to live
Take a moment to cry
Take a moment to love
And don't ask why

Moment to live
Moment to love

Friday, January 7, 2011

Seeing The Unseen

As I am coming more alive, I feel like I have been finding treasures. Even when I am subconscious, I am becoming more aware. It's an odd thing when my mind may not be 'mindful' of things, but my heart seems to capture what my mind cannot. Though this may sound weird, its a new profound world of discovery for me. To see what is normally missed. To hear what is normally found upon deaf ears. There is something much deeper here than what I ever would expect to find.

The last couple of days, I have been overcoming a cold. It's really not that big of a deal, but yesterday I slept in until 1:45 in the afternoon, which I don't think I have ever done in my adult years. It's almost feels like all this sleep, I've been awake in my dreams, and asleep while I am awake. It's strange how the dream world has almost captured more of my attention than being awake. Except for today!

I woke up this morning feeling much better than I did yesterday. Besides my throat recovering from this cold, I physically feel fine. I had enough energy to get out of the house and enjoy my time in Durango Colorado. We are house-sitting for some of our friends who are out of town so we are up here for the duration of the weekend. It's been a good week, except for the two days I was feeling sick! And even sleeping almost 24 hours straight, something huge was happening.

So, when I got out of the house today, I went to this local bookstore to look for a notebook for Jonathan for his work. I didn't find what I was looking for, but left with so much more than what was expected. I was browsing the store and looking at books. It's really one of my favorite things to do. During my exploration, I remember thinking about being more conscious, and praying that God would open my heart to discovering what is normally missed while I am subconscious of His reality. I always find that there are treasures to be found in titles and pictures on books. I always happen to find myself discovering so much in the philosophy section especially.

My heart all of a sudden came alive and conscious to this reality when something happened that I will never forget. I didn't find a title or picture that jumped out at me, but as I was leaving the store, this lady asked for a book, that was titled, Seeing The Unseen. As I heard this and I was on my way out of the store, I just stopped, and stared. It was like almost getting in a car wreck or seeing a car wreck and you are very aware and conscious because its like that scared feeling wakes you up. Not that this scared me, but it definitely shocked me. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard this lady asked for this book title, when I was just asking Father to awaken me.

It may be me reading into things, but to me this is huge. It's seeing the unseen, hearing the unheard. It's way cool when my heart is willing, Father lavishes his love onto me and I sense something much greater happening when I am willing to have ears to hear. Super EXCITING!