Not long ago I auditioned for a TEDx jury in front of a live audience.
There were 14 passionate, intelligent speakers vying for the chance to present their “idea worth spreading” for the 2017 season.
My topic was My Unrealistic Reality. Each time I share my stories and how I view life, many people ask, But HOW DO YOU STAY SO POSITIVE AND HOW CAN YOU TELL THESE STORIES WITH SUCH EASE AND HAPPINESS?
I offer my viewpoint throughout my presentation, with examples such as: After my body was crushed in the car accident and the doctor came to offer his prognosis for my recovery, he stated, “Your injuries are extreme, your body will not fully recover and your athletic career is over”…. and I WAS DELIGHTED…. because what I heard him say was, “You have a completely different body now, so you get to choose interesting, new and exciting things to BECOME!” I did choose new and exciting things to become, and so, there was nothing wrong with the circumstances, and, after some time I also healed decently and DID return to my athletic career.
Although I give these examples and live my life with this kind of thought process, not even I realized how my personally trained way of thinking is such an engrained part of me, until a gentleman named Oliver, spoke on the subject of happiness. His focus was about how our thoughts, rather than our circumstances can help us to create our own level of happiness.
Toward the end of his presentation he said, I am going to quickly demonstrate just how powerful your mind is. Please close your eyes. Imagine a big, yellow, juicy lemon. It is on a plate in front of you. You have a sharp knife and you cut the big, yellow lemon in half. It is glistening in front of you. You see the juice dripping from the slice. Now you pick the lemon up, and you take a big, juicy bite. Now open your eyes.
He then asked, Raise your hand if you had a physical reaction of some kind during that story.
Everybody in the room raised their hand… Except for me.
Oliver then chuckled and said, That’s how powerful your mind is. There was no lemon. I was just saying words. Yet, your mouth was affected wasn’t it? Everybody laughed and nodded, yes.
I had no physical reaction to Oliver’s story.
The moment I heard Oliver say the word lemon, I chose to re-imagine a lemon as the most sweet and easy thing in the world to taste. I did not know where his story was going, or that he would ask us to take a bite in our mind. I did know that the thought of a lemon causes my mouth to have an unpleasant reaction, and I like pleasant things… so, I just made it pleasant. When he asked us to taste it, I took a completely different bite than everybody else in the room.
I did not think about the significance of this until I was on the train home after the event.
When life gives me challenges I re-imagine them into advantages and when my mind gives me lemons, I make butterscotch fudge!
My name is Harold Newcomb and I purchased your video with the training skills and I really love it. I purchased it for my grand daughter, but she wasn’t interested.
As I tried learning all these tricks and drills I found out it is a very good way to exercise while doing something very fun and enjoyable. It is no easy task for me even though I’m a good athlete. I have several problems learning and performing the tricks. I’m 6′ 2″ and I’m 80 years old, but I’ve got heart and determination.
I am an inventor. I mow lawns and use a zero turn Cub Cadet mower. I’ve invented a special mower and I can use the feet to steer the mower, so I am free to do many things with the hands.
I also must alter some of the tricks because of the seat on the mower and can not use my legs because I’m using them to steer the machine. The zero turn circle enables me to use the baton to perform many of the neck rolls, continuous elbow rolls, mouth rolls, elbow pop rolls, as well as many other functions.
I am still learning to do all these tricks and would like to someday make videos for you tube. I would much prefer teaching you to steer the mower and allow you to do the baton tricks. I do have the patten on the invention and these videos would help in selling the idea to some huge manufacturing company.
I had thought that it would be much easier to teach you to operate the zero turn mower than me to do the tricks.
Please let me know what you think of the ideas.
I play your videos every night and imagine myself twirling the baton to some wild James Bond music.
The colorfully chaotic painting hanging in the gallery caught my eye through the window.
Without hesitation I entered the small establishment and began absorbing and appreciating the creativity of the artists whose work adorned the walls. Styles ranged from sophisticated oils, to quirky, multi-media pieces.
I thought, my creations will look great in here, as I admired the painting that drew me in.
A young lady appeared and lingered behind a work counter.
What is the process for having one’s art displayed here? Ipolitely inquired.
She began her discourse, There are a lot of artists who want in here, we have ten show galleries in Norway, it is very difficult…. as I registered her demeanor, my most valuable life skill kicked in.
I immediately and completely checked myself out from her reality and into my own, self-sculpted, great feeling, unreality.
She went on for quite some time, and when she took a pause to think of more reasons why she believed things were so dismal, I enthusiastically asked for web information on applying for my work to be shown.
She was thrown off balance by this. She repeated, it is very difficult.
I said, I am an absolute master at navigating difficulty, what a perfect situation for me!
She nervously laughed and dropped her pen.
I happily returned home and applied for my art to be shown.
Contentment is not rocket science.
You simply have to not buy in to the limitations of those who are not YOU.
What is it that you would like to practice and expand in your reality?
Twirlers, would you like to always perform “No Drop” routines? No drop… No DROP… NO DROP… DROP DROP DROP DROP DROP DROP.
If you approach performance routines with the focus and fear of dropping you will pound that DROP right into your experience. Or…
You can shift your mindset to the CATCHES.
Place focus on the FEELING and JOY of the baton landing centered in your capable hand.
How about mentally celebrating every catch, and training yourself to stop responding to errors with negativity? Adopting a mindset of gratitude for being talented, and having the ability to pursue an athletic, artful activity will enhance your practice sessions.
How about not worrying, talking and obsessing over the story that Betty Bigtricks is doing a triple Hoo-Ha, and just focus on what is special about YOU? And YES, there is something supremely special about you that can easily be discovered when your focus changes from Betty to YOUR GIFT, your style, your strengths, your contributions.…and SURPRISE…. this goes for every aspect of life.
You get better at what you PRACTICE.
“Oh did you hear about Fanny Fake-Face? What a JERK!”
Practice improves EVERYTHING. If you practice speaking poorly of others, you are going to become a MASTER. And guess what the result of that skill will be? Yep, YOU get to receive exactly what you offered Fanny, from others.
What is it you desire from this experience we know as life?
Whatever it is, practice the highest and best potential of THAT thing.
Do you want more love in your experience? PRACTICE love.
PRACTICE those aspects, and you will become a master of THOSE things. The things in life that are focused upon not only expand, but that expansion draws more of that very same thing to you in a variety of ways.
So…. No Drop, or ALL CATCH? SHE is a jerk or I AM UNIQUE?
It has become obvious to me that what I perceived as the shortcomings in previous relationships, began with me. I chose partners that embodied my own strengths, deficits, entrenched patterns and limitations. The illusory emptiness, confinement, and privation in those relationships, and the pain of ending them, caused me to seek more in myself.
Many consider the ending of a relationship to be a “failure”. I now believe that some relationships are mutually propitious for a lifetime and some are not. Learning what is possible from one another, and then releasing the dependency on the familiar no longer equates to failure for me. It simply means that some relationships can be concluded once all of the benefits and lessons that it had to offer have been experienced. Once there is no more for the participants to lovingly give, do or receive, it is wise to consider that rendition of the relationship complete and move on.
I stayed in some relationships due to the bromidic belief that it was “the right thing to do”. The drudgery of forcing a relationship for reasons outside of myself, (societal expectations, familial or financial pressures), leaves all involved dissatisfied and miserable with themselves and one another.
Coming to this place of personal understanding has generated fortuitous consequences in my own life. I am able to more acutely see myself as the architect of my own being. The relationships I now nurture are more stable, honest and indelible. The expectations and responsibilities I formerly placed on others have been reintegrated in to a keen awareness of my own self and self-worth.
Releasing the thoughts, habits and compulsions that conscripted others to be responsible for my fulfillment, has brought about the emergence of a ME who is fully capable of loving with ease and grace, and in return I am now receiving the same.
I believe that a strong foundation creates the base for the highest, most solid, qualified, incredible results.
Is it easy?
Does it take take time and patience?
Is it worth it?
A B S O L U T E L Y ! ! !
A mere year and a half ago I met a young girl who had a very poor foundation in baton twirling. She had been what I would refer to as, “mis-taught”. In the world of baton twirling this means, she had an incorrect “thumb-flip”, horrendous “pattern”, remarkably misdirected choreography and ZERO rolls. In fact, the first words she ever spoke to me were, “I can not roll, I hate rolls”.
I took note, and ignored reality.
After all, this poor soul was Norwegian. Norwegians are not usually recognized in the sport of TWIRLING.
….I have chanced upon a champion.
I KNEW it the moment I saw her.
Ingerlinn Sundby is a Champion.
Aside from Baton Twirling, this young lady possesses a spirit that can change the world. She may not yet know it, but SHE IS SPECIAL.
Ingerlinn has endured ME for some time now. She may not always like the direction I am leading her in, but she has trusted my seemingly “wacky” guidance.
Ingerlinn is humble. Ingerlinn is quiet. Ingerlinn has fears….
I am not humble. I am not quiet. I have nearly no fear.
This Kid Is A Gift.
With patience, sensitivity and guess-work, Ingerlinn and I have blazed our path. We KNOW when it is okay to push and when I need to back-the-heck off.
It’s been a HUGE life lesson for me.
My favorite twirler in history is Janae Dorn, and I find it quite amusing that this kid is the physical reincarnation of Ms. Dorn.
I love this child beyond words.
I am, (and I NEVER use this word), “Proud” of her resilience.
Ingerlinn and I continue to work for her highest potential. Competition is a secondary aspect. HOW GOOD can she become from her effort? This is the only question that matters.
What do I believe?
I believe I have found the result of my life’s work. I believe I am engaged in an important mission to heal the small part of the world I am engaged in. I believe I have been gifted the possibility of hope, through a metal stick and a beautiful young lady who has dreams of becoming a champion.
Ingerlinn…. YOU are already a champion.
I love you.
PS. Ingerlinn has the most vertical, impressive, non-cheating, breath-takingly-amazing rolls I have seen since the 1980’s.
When I was pure bliss, among the bright stars, I floated in knowing for eternity.
At some point I chose to have an adventure.
I chose to experience the illusion of splitting myself into what would seem like a countless myriad of colorful parts.
I chose to ride in a separate vehicle called a human body and to be given a name, and a life.
I knew life would pass as a near invisible blip on the radar of everlasting beauty, yet, I desired to feel, see, absorb, know and expand.
In the creation of my own adventure I thoughtfully chose one particular part of myself. I asked it to help me more than any other.
I said, “when I am separate, and have forgotten that I am only ME, and that the “I” ME is YOU, as well, I would like YOU to remind me of WHO I AM.”
The part of me playing YOU asked, “how might I do that?”
The “I” ME was very creative and bold. The “I” excitedly painted a picture that would provide the most opportunity for expansion, adventure, growth and wisdom.
“I” asked YOU to deliver life, to love ME, and to stay with ME throughout the journey. YOU said, “Yes, of course I will do these things, I love ME. I can agree to anything “I” desires.”
“I” was pleased and continued. “I want YOU to offer ME pain, darkness, sadness and oppression as well….”
“What?” YOU exclaimed. “Why does “I” ask for such things?”
“I” smirked and breathed deeply. “I asks for an experience that will provide the most opportunity to remember “ME”.
The place ME is going has many variables. I want the highest possibility to feel ALL of the emotions, to see ALL of the contrast, to absorb ALL of the beauty and horror, to know ALL of the pain and glory, and to expand ALL of the ways I desire… Can YOU provide ME these gifts?”
Without hesitation YOU confidently stepped forward. “Not only will YOU provide all of these things, YOU will give ME clues in this adventure to help uncover ME’s magnificent and whole origin.”
“What will the clues be?”, “I” excitedly asked.
YOU now looked pleased and mischievous.
“”I” shall be named, ALL.”
“Oh! That is lovely!”, “I” exclaimed.
As the ME separated and YOU began the journey to Earth, “I” waved with joy and lovingly called out…
“and “I” shall name YOU, Mom!”
Thank you for ALL of it, Mom.
~Annetta Louise Lucero
I am compelled, through personal stories, a desire for truth, balance and an opportunity to educate, to write this today.
Due to my own incredible history of familial and spousal abuse, my studies, research, lectures and conference presentations, I have developed a keen sense for recognizing controlling and abusive patterns in the lives of others. Many friends and “strangers” have shared their own stories and sought my advice, knowing that I am someone who may identify issues, and listen without judgement. Surprisingly, some of these people are men.
Research demonstrates that the same abusive tactics and behaviors demonstrated by men (physical, verbal and emotional threats and intimidation) are also demonstrated by women. The resulting shame and fear of being abused, as well as the excuses made to cover up the abuse, are not gender-specific.
Men who are “trapped” by control and abuse have the same denial issues as women. Humans of either gender are adaptable to familiar situations, patterns and lifestyle, and in my experiences as an observer and listener, I have seen men deeply struggle with the possibility that their circumstances fall under the category of “abuse”. The concept of victimhood does not often make sense to a construction worker, martial arts master, or firefighter. I see my former self in their shock and denial every time.
When I was court ordered to a Victims of Domestic Violence course after a dramatic escape from my husband, I was stunned.
I remember telling the instructor, “there’s been a mistake, I’ve never been a victim of anything in my life. I am a well-oiled machine.” By the third class I was even more surprised, realizing that my situation was blatantly abusive, meeting every physical and psychological category of behavior, patterning and conditioning presented.
There are many reasons people stay in abusive relationships, ranging from believing abuse is normal, to embarrassment, abuse/why-do-people-stay/, Cultural and societal pressures condition many to believe that relationships are to last FOREVER, regardless of the circumstances. Many people tough it out, even in the midst of escalating pain and entrapment.
Of course both the abuser and the one receiving the abuse become unhappy and dominated by the patterns of control. I do have compassion for all involved, as those who act out with abusive behaviors are suffering as well, and often times will never learn to recognize or seek help for their conditioned outrage. Gender is not indicative of who is dominated and who is subdued.
Whether or not you are a tiny woman or a burly man, if you call your partner 14 times in a row, making up stories in your head why they are not answering, and intently hit them while they are asleep, you have a serious issue that needs addressing. If you are accepting this behavior, it is important to seek an education in the area of pattern changing and get the hell out of Dodge.
We all have experiences throughout our lifetimes as being perpetrators, victims, hero’s, failures, and everything in between. Recognizing these attributes, admitting they are a part of us and keeping it all in check, regardless of what side we may be on, is the key to growth and expanding the best possibilities for ourselves.
Here are some very common traits that present themselves in those who are abusers, these traits are not gender specific. It is not the purpose of the listing to imply that every person with some of these attributes is an abuser or potential abuser.
At the start of the relationship, an abuser will equate jealously with love. The abuser will question the victim about who the victim talks to, accuse the victim of flirting, or become jealous of time spent with others. The abuser may call the victim frequently during the day, drop by unexpectedly, refuse to let the victim work, check the car mileage, or ask friends to watch the victim.
In the beginning an abuser will attribute controlling behavior to concern for the victim (for example, the victim’s safety or decision-making skills). As this behavior progresses the situation will worsen, and the abuser may assume all control of finances or prevent the victim from coming and going freely.
A victim often has known or dated the abuser for a brief period of time before getting engaged or living together. The abuser will pressure the victim to commit to the relationship. A victim may be made to feel guilty for wanting to slow the pace or end the relationship.
An abuser expects the victim to meet all of the abuser’s needs, to take care of everything emotionally and domestically.
An abuser will attempt to isolate the victim by severing the victim’s ties to outside support and resources. The batterer will accuse the victim’s friends and family of being “trouble makers.” The abuser may block the victim’s access to use of a vehicle, work, or telephone service in the home.
Blames others for problems
An abuser will blame others for all problems or for the abuser’s own shortcomings. Someone is always out to get the abuser or is an obstacle to the abuser’s achievements. The victim or potential victim will be blamed for almost anything.
Blames others for feelings
An abuser will use feelings to manipulate the victim. Common phrases to look for: “You’re hurting me by not doing what I want.” “You control how I feel.”
An abusive person is easily insulted, perceiving the slightest setbacks as personal attacks.
If you are in an abusive situation that you feel you can not safely leave, seek help.
*Tell Somebody. If you have covered it up for so long that it is hard for those around you to believe, tell it anyway. *Contact a Domestic Violence Prevention Advocate or call the HotLine: 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) *If you are monitored by your abuser go to the library or use a friends computer to view the Domestic Violence Website: http://www.thehotline.org/help/ *When you escape file a restraining order ASAP. The piece of paper cannot protect you from physical attacks, but if you are threatened or attacked and you have the piece of paper it can cause a quicker, easier conviction and jail time for your abuser. If you are killed by your abuser the restraining order points the police in the right direction. *Attend meetings for survivors of domestic abuse. Swallow your pride and go to these meetings. Every city has domestic shelters and classes. They are free. I was court assigned to a 12 week course. It was mortifying at first because I did not view myself as “one of those women”. The class ultimately changed the course of my life by giving me information and tools to step away from patterns of abuse and victimization. *If you are abused you have nothing to be ashamed of. You are not weak. You deserve your freedom and your own voice. Please leave the situation. You can do it. I did it.
I keep learning and expanding and finding more understanding for myself and others; but I am getting further from societies expectations and guidelines, so I must leave all criticism and judgement or I chance making myself miserable worrying about what others think.
I do not think like many, and I do not want to.
I am not interested in conforming.
I am not religious or spiritual. I’m more of a Philosopher-ish – Ponderer – Question Asker. I claim to know nothing and I reserve the right to change anything at any moment. I am not married to my opinions, ideas, concepts, thoughts, feelings, or existence.
My interest does not lie in hoping others will think as I do, for I may be completely askew. My current beliefs may be appalling to some, yet I do operate with as much self-honesty as I am able to muster, under my current condition of being trapped in this meat costume.
In my flowing search for realness, I have come to a point of releasing cultural and societal conditioning.
I am not keen on standard sentences such as, “it’s going to take a long time…” or “He’s in a better place.” or “I’m trying my best”, or “God only gives you what you can handle.” or “and they lived happily ever after… ”
They didn’t live happily ever after. They eventually died, and most likely they were woefully sick of one another because they stayed together, “through thick and thin”, even after they no longer shared the kind of love they once experienced when they were enthralled. Of course, they “did it for the sake of the children”, who have learned to stay with somebody they nag, complain about and believe they possess on a daily basis. They have learned to fear that their mate may be “cheating” on them and behave in jealous ways that cause more of a rift; yet, they wear matching sweaters for the Holiday photos and send greetings to others that say “Peace on Earth”, when 3 minutes prior to signing the card they sneered and snapped at their “beloved” for leaving the milk carton out.
Of course there are folks who find a particular someone to truly respect and love for a lifetime. Possibilities are always limitless so I do not rule out any scenario. But as an observer, those life-deals are rare in comparison to the, “it’s easier to stay together than go through splitting our assets.”
I’m not claiming to be above any of this. I’ve actually experienced all of it. These situations, my own jealousy, fear, limitations naiveté… lack of thinking my own thoughts caused me to live out most of the things I previously mentioned.
Personally, I will not put the pressure on anybody else to be “my everything” again. I’ve experienced the pain of that for all involved. I’ll leave my options open to have different parts of myself activated by those who resonate with those needs and desires. I will continue to give to others the very things I wish for myself. Love, a moment of time, respect, adoration, kindness…
There is no “worse case scenario” that can happen by living the way I feel is the best direction for myself.
So, others gasp, disagree with my viewpoint, gossip, do not invite me to get togethers with the “acceptable crowd”.
Cool. None of these things affect me in the least, the opinions of others have nothing to do with me. Anyhow, I’ll always be invited to get togethers, I’m fucking entertaining.
Worrying about money, “I haven’t got a penny to my name”, not true. Possessions, politics, nationalism, “America, we’re number one”, PLEASE. blah, blah blah…. not my deal. I’m done with the standard thought process about these and all other things.
So what if I move to a different country, take chances, make a mess, create beauty, succeed or fail? I’m prepared to become entirely ME, and if I’m rejected, accepted, praised, shunned… arrested, well, I’ll deal with it, it will pass, and I’ll eventually go home to paradise and swim with my beloved gays and dolphins.
I will live my truth as often as possible. I will leave my kids with stories to tell. And I will leave them with my viewpoint and advice that they may choose to adopt, alter or furiously reject:
Make mistakes, travel, seek knowledge, forgive yourself and others, be kind, create beauty, show generosity to all… LIVE.
Live well. Eventually we are all dead and on to the next thing… or not. ~Lucero