Resilience

August 21, 2022

The definition of the word resilience is the ability to be flexible in all kinds of situations; in other words, to be able to weather the various storms of life. My Mom, at 95 years of age, is a wonderful example of resilience. She is a real example to me of how to just allow the world to be whatever it’s going to be and life within it. Why I feel this way is the subject of this article.

My Mom was born in 1927, just a couple years before the Great Depression. Therefore, her parents had to live through the Great Depression. She grew up during a time when what had been for sure, wasn’t any longer. This country had known prosperity for quite a while and then suddenly it all came crashing down. We’ve learned since then to be more careful with investing in the stock market (or many of us have learned this lesson, but not all!). In any case, these were uncertain times that required those that lived through it to be flexible.

In addition, my mom was born just a decade after the Pandemic of 1918 – otherwise known as the Spanish Flu. Millions of people died leaving only the strongest to survive. With no vaccine and only cotton masks, people self-isolated and did their best to wash their hands with little more that they could do. Only those with a relatively strong immune system lived through this time. My Mom’s parents (my grandparents). did and they gave this immunity to my mother.

A third point is that my grandparents were either newly arrived in this country or the first generation here. They were immigrants making their way in a new place, willing to do hard work to survive. My mother’s father was a merchant, making his living from ownership of various businesses that he created – a gas station and then a furniture store. Both were successful enough to support the family at that time.

Thus, my mom had good genes as they say and she gave those genes to me. As time goes on and I get older I reflect on just how much my mom has passed her resilience on to me. I watch how she adapts to changes in her life with relative ease. When my brothers and I graduated from high school and moved on, she started working as a substitute teacher using the degree, she obtained many years before. Eventually, she earned first her teaching certificate and then her masters from an exceptionally fine university – that of John Hopkins in Baltimore. I still get the newsletter and magazine from them as I now receive all my mom’s mail since I’m her guardian at this late stage in her life. I know how difficult it is to workday time and then attend classes in the evening since I earned my graduate degree while working (from the University of Maryland in Technology Management).

It was not easy for me and I am sure it wasn’t easy for her either; but I never heard her speak of it. She just did it in her classic style. That is the way people who were brought up during the depression are; I have no way of knowing for sure, but it just seems that way to me. Those were challenging times and people had to adapt or not make it through. When I was cleaning out her apartment to move her from California to Virginia, her graduation certificate was there. I had never seen it. My mom had just gotten it and then put it away. When I think of all the visits to my home in Baltimore and never once did she say, “I just graduated from Johns Hopkins University with my masters in liberal arts; do you want to see my graduate certificate?” I can assure you that I would have been immensely proud and would have wanted others to know about it. Wait a second, now that I think back, when I did graduate with my graduate certificate I was married, and we were moving from one house to another, and I don’t think I made any kind of special thing about it. At the time, I just completed my coursework and did not even bother with the ceremony. The more I think about it, the more I realize that, I’m very much like my mother.

How else is my mom resilient? Last October, Mom fell in her apartment and the staff called me to come over as she was badly bruised. I went over and took her to the nearby ER. After being in the ER for several hours, the doctors decided to admit Mom to the hospital where she stayed for four days. During this time, I spent the entire day with her watching the nurses and doctors coming in/out of her room with lots of electronic documents for me to sign. Of course, I had no idea what I was signing away. Does anyone these days? The staff points to a line and tells you to sign and you do it. I tried to read what I was signing but the language isn’t really understandable by a normal human being even with all my degrees. Of course, it’s meant to be that way. If you understood what you were signing, you would not do it. Undoubtedly, you are giving away your rights to any compensation if the staff screws up. In any case, after four days of every test known to man except the ones that make sense – like an EKG, Mom said, “I want to go home”. So, I told one of the nurses, “ok, you have one hour to get my mom ready as I’m taking her home”. And they did. At that point, Mom said, “Do not put me in the hospital”. My reply was, “So don’t fall and don’t get sick”.

Months passed and my mother was going downhill. She was not coherent and seemed to sleep a lot. I was preparing for her demise. So, I decided to talk to her soul and I said, “It’s a lot of trouble for me to take care of you, so either be here or leave”. She looked at me and said, “You’re right”. After that she came out of wherever she had been and started getting better day by day. Her soul decided to stay for awhile longer. During this time, I got her a care worker first 3 days a week and then 4 days a week, not so much because she needed that much care, but more to keep her company. Yes, it is an expensive adult play mate, but it did the trick. I visit during the week also, but she really likes having someone around. And on Saturday, I have a guy come over for therapeutic exercise and massage. She likes Robert and thinks he is cute (no, she’s not dead yet). So, whatever he costs, it’s worth it.

We are fortunate to have the means for this type of care. I’m certainly glad that I’ve saved for the eventuality that I’ll need extensive care towards the end of my life. Meanwhile, I exercise as much as I can to stay strong and healthy.

On a final note, Mom continues to surprise me. I called the other evening to check on her with no answer. After three tries I called the staff getting worried asking the night duty person to check on her. When I called back, he told me that my mother had gone to the movie down the hall. Go MOM!


Not Knowing

April 18, 2022

I’m reading a book on Antisemitism that is the total of presentations for a conference of the same subject conducted at the University of Indiana this past Fall (2021). It’s written by Academics for Academics which makes sense since they present to each other. My issue with it is that the language is not easy for me to understand. I’m not putting myself down nor am I criticizing the presenters. When one is in a world, that’s the framework that these people have. But for those outside of this particular scope/perspective, it’s difficult to comprehend. It would be like trying to understand quantum physics without really studying it nor having a background in it.

Antisemitism

Why am I pointing this out? Because in reading this book of articles on Antisemitism, I’m learning all the things that I didn’t know about the subject. I must point out to my readers that I’m Jewish so I definitely know what it’s like to be Jewish and to have some people not like me for just being Jewish. I’ve also experienced people being really mean to me for being Jewish. In other words, I’ve experienced antisemitism without knowing the “definitions” of antisemitism nor understanding the academic framework surrounding the intellectual discussion of it.

Again, why is this important? Because not knowing, and then knowing about it opens a whole new world. Now that I know about all the ways that I was wronged in my life based on my being Jewish without realizing it, should I be even more upset than when the particular incident happened? In most cases, these incidents happened many years ago, but I’m coming to realize that many actions people are doing even more recently is actually because they don’t like my Jewishness; in other words, they are acting in an antisemitic way towards me. Does it make me feel any better or worse in knowing? Or in Not Knowing, being in ignorance of why people were being mean to me was it any better?

An interesting point is that most of the speakers who presented and who do present on antisemitism are not Jewish. So, it’s a conundrum to me how someone who isn’t Jewish and doesn’t have any Jewish blood is so taken with others not liking Jews to actually make it a field of study. Do people wonder about this or is it just me? There are many people all over the US and in other countries in this field of antisemitism that are not Israeli, nor Jewish and study this topic. What is their motivation? I see many names that appear to be Austrian, German, etc. Is there any correlation between the nationalities of the seekers with their reasons for studying such a subject when they are not connected to the situation, nor were they harmed by the subject except in concept. “When one of my fellow humans is wronged then so am I”. That’s pretty egotistical if I don’t say so myself. But I really have no idea why these academics are studying this topic so I can’t presume anything.

As I’ve continued my reading of this book, the answer to my questions is becoming more known to me: the speakers/authors are from countries involved in the holocaust and its aftermath. Again, from my readings I’m learning about how these countries are getting tired of apologizing for their involvement in the harming or not protecting more of their citizens from harm during the WWII destruction of so many Jewish lives.

Of course, people of many religions died during this period but most were killed during war times not just rounded up from their homes and murdered in one way or another. The systematic killing of six million Jews is horrific by any historical standard.

There appears to be a new generation of leaders that want to move away from apologizing and even accepting their past history to now shifting away from blame. In other words, they are attempting to change history. Not only are they re-writing what actually happened, but this new perspective is rationalizing the entire historical period away from their minds. Now it’s been done by “Others” and not “Them” so their people can breathe easier. With this new understanding, I can see why some of the authors are taking a stand on the resultant antisemitism that is arising out of this, well it’s not us, but them at fault. Again, it’s the Jews who are at fault. In other words, antisemitism is more on the rise than ever.

Of course, many people study ancient Roman culture and they have nothing to do with ancient romans. They didn’t live at that time nor are they responsible for anything that happened then but they still study this period in history. So, I guess if people want to study about another group of people and why others hate them, it’s ok.

As for my understanding what it’s like to be Jewish and to totally feel what it’s like to have been persecuted during the war, let me say that most of my relatives were killed during the holocaust. I believe that this point makes me able to say that I feel the pain of the persecution through the fact that I have so little family left. I especially am reminded of this fact on holidays and when people tell me that they’re about to visit cousins or other family members. I do have some family but only because those members of my family that did come over in the early 1900’s have married and had kids and they have had kids so there are a few generations in the US. Unfortunately, anyone that stayed behind is no longer.

As I continue my reading into this fascinating book and my NOT KNOWING becomes MORE KNOWING, I’m learning how more of the same old perspective that got Jews rammed into pogroms in the late 19th century is recurring; in addition, it contributed to the “it’s ok to kill the Jews because they caused all the ills going on in society thinking” is again gaining momentum. This is really news to me so my NOT KNOWING here is blowing my mind. Apparently, people just don’t learn from history. Are we going to have another world war over it? Do we have to have more lives lost like before? Or is this craziness the reason that non-Jews recognize the reason to fight against antisemitism before it’s too late? As this is a huge subject, for now, I’ll leave it as the answer. We all need to use our own minds and not be led like sheep to the slaughter by those that wish to tear down the very fabric of our society – (even with it’s edges and curves!)

Comments or questions are welcome.


Discernment from guidance

July 30, 2020

As a spiritual person, one can be called by our guides and angels to assist others – whether as an individual or a group to move towards the light. I recently had experiences representing both of these types of “SOS assistance calls” to which I responded. Although I feel good that I did respond, I also learned my own lesson of discernment. Discernment is ascertaining just when to start trusting, assisting while maintaining one’s own boundaries, in any type of relationship.

My first personal lesson of discernment concerns a spiritual group to which I belong; in fact, it is the group from which I was ordained 11 years ago. My favorite saying is that some spiritual people are not so spiritual. The reason I say this is that the human ego is present in all of us on this physical dimension, and even those souls who profess to be spiritual can have an overactive sense of self-importance. Case in point is the various leaders of this particular group who have taken over after the original self-less leader led the way for over 30 years. I give people who are dedicated to a cause much credit, so don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the role that they play. It’s just that when they ask me for help and I comply, they have tended to give me a really hard time.  

 The most recent situation that has me rather irked is where I spent time developing a meditation for their Friday night service. The program that I developed was well received by this particular leader. I was then informed of the date when it would be aired on Facebook live. I did the work on my own in order to help the organization promote their spiritual message. That said, it is common practice to provide creators of programs credit for their work. My bio and hi resolution photo had been requested but it was never posted on the website. Although their website did note a program to be held that evening, there was no mention of my meditation. I tuned in that evening to hear the pastor give her talk and then my meditation came on. Unless one was online and just listened there would be no way for anyone to find it on the website later. This is contrasted to other visiting people doing programs and being very much recognized. Just to make the point that I don’t develop these programs for personal gain nor recognition, but it’s only right to give someone credit.

I did send a note to the leader indicating what I thought was a mistake and asking for it to be corrected. I never got a thank you for the program nor did I receive any indication that my concern would be acknowledged. I made a tough decision not to make further contributions for this group. I didn’t call and complain. I just will step back. If I decide to develop other programs, I will post them here for my readers to see. So my discernment is that this type of unrecognized behavior is only using me and does not serve me to do anymore for them. It’s a basic rule of the universe that when we give out we should get something back, not necessarily money, but some exchange of energy to preserve the balance of nature. Apparently, the so-called spiritual people involved are not so spiritual.

The second example involved an individual that I felt called to help. A few weeks ago I came into contact with a man who was had recently separated from his marriage. Normally, I stay clear of this type of situation knowing from past experience that it doesn’t go well. Newly separated people have so much baggage to process, yet in this case I felt that guidance wanted me to assist him. Our initial contacts were cordial but after a couple weeks it became clear that he wanted to go out. I agreed to meet for dinner thinking that he just wanted a friend with whom to hang out.

Unfortunately, after just a couple weeks of interactions, he became controlling, manipulative and although I could see it coming, he had some endearing qualities which were engulfing me. I was in a quandary. I knew better than get involved, yet I felt myself slipping. My desire to help him, after so many years of life coaching this is a trait that is hard to leave behind, yet he was attaching to me very quickly. He was an energy vampire and it was taking its toll on me. Everything that happened to him was a major drama and as I tried to help him sort it out, I was getting more sucked in. I didn’t want to be his life coach, nor his therapist so my comments stopped at suggestions that I would make to any friend. Still I could feel my own energy draining.

Finally, this past weekend, my angels gave me the signal. It was time for it all to end. The balance point had been tipped. He was really wound and did some things that I couldn’t stand for which gave me cause to be snippy to him. My goal was to give him reason to end it with me so that he could save face. It worked since by the end of the day he was upset. That evening, he sent me a “good-bye” text. I was very happy. My plan had worked. I had been concerned that he would disintegrate if I walked away from him. Sometimes this approach is necessary. The very next day he tried to communicate with me but I didn’t respond. I now feel better. Whatever help I was supposed to provide, I did so until the balance point was reached. This is discernment in action. It’s good to help others but we must watch out for ourselves. I’ve also let my guides know that I’m done with this type of assistance in the future!

 Comments are always welcome.


Creating a loving reality

May 19, 2020

If you ask someone what is missing in their life, many will respond that they’d like more love. The younger generation might feel that they didn’t get enough love from their parents, whereas the older generation might feel forgotten by their kids. Or, the working class might feel that they’re not appreciated at work. Those of one belief system may feel those of other beliefs (whether religious, organizational or political) are against them. And even there are those that judge themselves unworthy of even being loved.

Wow, with all this unloving going on it’s amazing that anyone is happily in love! But of course, there are many people that walk around with smiles on their faces while in relationships, having wonderful children, and happy at their jobs. So what creates loving vs. unloving situations? The question is an age old one of how can one be happy because in actuality, we create our situations (most of the time).

According to brain research as well as ancients religious texts, we create our world one thought at a time. I recently watched a great video on GAIA, the spiritual equivalent of AMAZON PRIME VIDEO Channel, which explained how the brain is wired. This video went on to explain how our thought patterns create new neural networks almost like beating a path to a door from constantly going there.

The result of constantly re-hashing how others were mean, angry, abusive or otherwise non- appreciative of us, is creating a mental state where we begin to believe that we are only deserving of abusive behavior. In other words, by thinking negatively about ourselves we begin to believe the negatively about ourselves which in turn becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. This was a scientifically based video. The other end of the spectrum is the spiritual view where Edgar Cayce, the sleeping prophet and great psychic of the 20th century, promoted the idea that thoughts become actions become our world; or, as we think so we become. So here we have a case of science meeting spirituality; both systems giving support to the idea that thinking negatively is counter-productive to create anything positive.

Now my own universal law appropriate here is that nothing positive comes from a negative. In the case of love, if you don’t love yourself, how can anyone else do so? It also follows that if you want to be loved you need to be more loving yourself, as like attracts like. This is also promoted by many spiritual beliefs as well as the work of Edgar Cayce.

If we create our world one thought at a time and we need to be loving in order to be loved, what is the best way to create a loving reality? I believe the answer is clear! Be positive with your self-talk, have compassion with those around you, think before you speak working towards being the best version of yourself that you can be avoiding throwing stones at others for holding a contrary viewpoint; everyone deserves a place in the world and to express  their reality even if you don’t agree. Hold love in your heart for your fellow humans; one day we might need each other. There are many challenges at hand. No one knows for sure what will happen in the future. Have empathy. Stay in the light and be positive. These are all loving qualities to nurture and behold the love that returns. Voila, you’ve created a loving reality! (Granted, this may not be a perfect solution, but give it a try and see how life improves!!)

Comments are always welcome..


Sewing skills come in handy during a pandemic

April 24, 2020

I learned to sew in High School home economics class, where in I learned how to make very simple items. At the time, I never dreamed that these skills, somewhat more developed as I grew up and needed to alter dance dresses and make pillows to decorate my home, would help me get through the worst pandemic in my lifetime. As of late, I’m learning to make face masks for protection while going out into the public during this difficult period.

My first fore into making face masks didn’t go very well. Although I selected what appeared to be a straight forward pattern, complete with a how to video, I still didn’t get the final result correct. The finished product just didn’t look like the example in the video; it was too small. Taking a step back, I realized that my estimating wasn’t working; I was going to have to really measure and be accurate. Ok, so eyeballing it was the way I’d done things most of my life and this simple face mask just seemed too easy. Then again, during this trying time, my brain wasn’t working at full capacity. I guess when one is stressed the mind is so distracted that it’s harder to focus.

Home made facemask

As it was time for me to venture out for a weekly grocery run, I decided to take the masks with me. I put the five masks in the zip lock bags in my car and went off to the store. Waves of emotion came over me from embarrassment to suggest that someone take a handmade mask from me to pride that I was trying to help people who didn’t have protective gear. It made sense to me to bypass those customers already wearing masks moving on to those customers not wearing one. I asked one lady if she needed one for a family member and she refused, not even very politely. At this point I felt like she thought I had put the virus in the bag instead of a mask. Didn’t she get I was doing a good deed? Oh well, some people don’t understand the concept of helping others. Ok, keeping at it meant overcoming my own fear of rejection. On to the next person who was a lady not wearing a mask. I called out to her, “Excuse me, but would you like a mask? I’m making them” This time, the woman took it and commented that it looked very nice. Her response and acceptance made me sigh with relief both for her and for me that my efforts were ok. By the end of my grocery run I had given away four of the five masks. I took my groceries and my pride home.

I knew that my attempt to make the masks was not perfect but they actually looked pretty good. The first batch was pink, pretty much limiting my offer to women. In any case, the next day I was in the drug store and a woman actually came in looking to buy masks. I overheard her request and the clerk’s negative response, so I chimed in that I had one to give her. She initially thought that I wanted to sell it for money and I just shook my head and walked her to my car, keeping our distance. I reached into my car grabbing the last mask, handed it to her and was relieved to see her smile when she saw it. Ok, yes, it’s external gratification but sometimes it’s ok.

I’m continuing to make the masks with the material that I have and a bit more that my neighbor gave to me for this purpose. I expect that I can make 6-7 more masks which will not save lives nor make a difference in the overall death count of the country but it will keep me somewhat busy here and there. In addition, it might help a few people have some additional protection than they would have and if no more than comply with the current legal requirements for facemasks in public settings. In the end, it did make me feel like I was helping. Now I know how the women who worked in the factories during World War II felt each day as they came home. Everyone should do their part, even if it’s really small.

As always, comments are welcome.


Destiny or Blind Luck?

April 10, 2020

I’ve been thinking about how the events of late regarding the Covid-19 virus reminds me of a movie. Was it ordained by God or rather by some hate monger? What are we meant to learn from it? I see both sides of nature with some people being evil hoarding goods for themselves while others try to share in any way they can. One thing that I know for sure is that we will not be the same, nor will the world ever again. Is this the Apocalypse we are living through? Is it the new world on the other side?

It’s said that when the 10 lost tribes of Israel are found the Apocalypse will begin. They have been found by an Israeli historian. The story is on Amazon and is a great video. But according to the Jewish religious beliefs, it’s not the end but the beginning of the new age. (Check out Amazon for the back story).

Just last month, when I was leaving Buenos Aires 3 days early from my vacation, just hours before the Argentine government closed the borders; hundreds of people were in line many hours early for the last flight back to the US – the one I was on to DC. Many people were then making connections to other parts of the country. There were 12 airports doing testing prior to allowing entry – I had selected routing through Houston – the only airport, as it turned out, that was not doing testing. Those other airports had lines many hours long. I went through quickly. After a 17 hour journey, it would have been horrible to wait in line for hours. Was I lucky or was it ordained?

While I was in the check in line in BA, people were in panic mode. They weren’t thinking straight. I found out I could print my luggage tags at a kiosk rather than wait so long in the main line. So someone watched my bags while I went over to the kiosk and printed my baggage tags. Putting them on is pretty simple. One merely peels the paper strip apart, put one end through the handle and stick the two pieces together. Several groups of elderly people were holding the tags in their hands with empty looks on their faces. As I gazed at these people who clearly needed help, I began to ask if they’d like me to assist in putting the tags on to speed things up. Their empty looks turned into big smiles as I was handed their luggage tags as this single gesture became an act of service. In turn, I was given a rare opportunity to feel good in the midst of a crisis situation. In addition, as I periodically looked up, I could tell that my efforts were being noticed by the United Airlines staff who, with their eyes told me that they appreciated the support too.

I did get home and have been doing safe distancing for these last four weeks. I do appreciate having food and enough money to pay my bills. I know that it could be months that we need to stay inside. I plan to organize my day to do what I can by dividing my time between being active and resting, talking and writing. The hours will go by. At least men are not shooting at us. We are not going to gas chambers. But I’m in the high risk category by virtue of my age. My wish is to live through it, to stay busy, and be of service where I can.

 What do you hope for? Comments are always welcome.


Don't cry for me

March 23, 2020

My dear friend Teresa died yesterday from complications of a rare form of cancer. She knew she was dying and totally prepared for the event. I was fortunate in being able to see her before I left on my trip to South America in early March.  I was one of the few of her friends that saw her in her last days before her doctor prohibited such visits due to her weakened condition. Our friendship was unusual in that we rarely saw each other but for some reason that I can’t explain, there was just this underlying like and appreciation for each other. Unlike myself, her life path had included a very healthy marriage with children and grandchildren that loved her very much.

During my visit with Teresa, she recounted a near-death experience she’d had several years ago, where, during a heart attack and treatment in the hospital she essentially died on the operating table. During this episode, she sensed her soul floating up to the ceiling of the operating room, hovering over her body where she could see the doctors and nurses working to revive her. She was aware of what they were saying as well. I could appreciate what she was telling me, although never experiencing an out of body experience, I have spoken to souls after they’ve passed on. So there was no issue in my believing her story. She also told me about seeing the most magnificent light as she travelled very fast through a tunnel of time and experienced what she believed was God. She was told that it was not her time and she needed to return to the Earthly plane.

When she returned to her body, the doctors had no rational explanation. Her heart seemed fine and she fully recovered. But Teresa knew in her heart, excuse the expression that she was merely being given time to prepare her family for her eventual passing. However, she was also angry with God for sending her back. She felt such love that she really wanted to stay in that other spiritual dimension. For the last two years she’s really been in a preparation mode planning her funeral her last days being happy with her family knowing full well that she would leave. Thus, when the diagnosis came of cancer it came quickly without much warning but she was ready.

Teresa and her husband had gone on trips that had many happy days and she was ready; so, in her words “Don’t Cry For Me because I’m going to be okay as I know what it looks like on the other side and my departed family are there and I am looking forward to being there too. I know my family will be okay here; they will miss me but they will be okay.”  So when the call came last night from the rabbi’s wife that my dear friend had departed yesterday morning, part of me was glad that her suffering was over.

I will try not to cry for you. You were a good friend and I will miss you.


We are our own worst critic

October 5, 2019

We know that being judgmental is not good behavior yet we judge ourselves all the time. That voice inside our heads can be positive or negative; this is called self-talk. Unfortunately, that inner voice is more often negative than positive reminding us of all of our faults rather than of our wonderful qualities. Why do we do this? The answer is low self-esteem.

                                                            
There are times in our lives when we don’t feel good about ourselves like when we decide that we’re not moving forward in our lives in some way that we think we should. We have a tendency to look at others then judge ourselves. They have the house already or a better job therefore we failed. We should be thinking that the other person is just ahead of us and we will get there in our own time. Everything in its own time, right? Or that’s how it should be. Instead, we judge others for having more or being prettier or thinner or going on a neat vacation.

Rather than judge ourselves, or others why not just accept the situation for what it is? Its human nature to compare one to another; we are creatures of a pack, team or community. But in those relationships we must take care not to think less of ourselves for our points that are just different. We all do this. Last night I almost didn’t go out dancing because I’ve gained a few pounds due to less activity while my ankle was healing from an injury. I convinced myself that I needed to go out and that being with people would make me feel better rather than being alone. The woman in charge of the dance who is very tiny commented that due to her hurting foot she had gained 8 pounds. Wow I was surprised. So it happens to many people. I felt ok and decided that rather than judge myself for having gained weight I would focus on losing it now that my activity could increase.

In other words when your self-talk becomes negative find a way to stop yourself to make it positive. Life will flow better and you will soar along with your self-esteem. Comments are always welcome.


Personal Accountability is the Way to Go

September 5, 2019

There is so much in the news lately about planning for retirement. We have at least 40 years to start putting some money away to take care of ourselves when we get older. Yes but you say, what about the current house, kids and bills? There just isn’t anything leftover. Well I disagree. I see how people spend their money. The kids have to have candy and soda at the movies or the parents have to have the next version of the iPad, cellphone or tablet. Perhaps it’s the necessity of eating lunch hour or going to Starbucks…

Yes you can enjoy your life when you’re young but one must pay the piper when they are finished playing as the saying goes. Whether its small change or dollars saved, there are ways to do it. Something has to be given up in order to have something later. Sorry but one cannot have their cake and eat it too. Why is it the government’s responsibility to provide for all that a person can’t pay for? I’m not talking about those truly in need. I give plenty to charity and believe in helping those less fortunate. I’m talking t people that get caught up in living the good life and then wonder why they are still working at 72 because they can’t retire….as they don’t have enough money to live on.

Let’s break this down. Daily Starbucks is $25 A week just for the world week. Then lunch is another $50 if it’s kept simple. What’s wrong with fixing a teabag in the office or a cup of coffee? And there are a ton of options to save money lunchtime from prepared meals from the store to actually making something or even just sandwiches from home. If one adds up 40 years of teabags and lunches from home we have lots of money. Ok not enough? Vacations once a year versus every holiday.. staycations can be fun too. An event locally can be fun and usually a lot less expensive than a quick trip to the Caribbean over  four day break. An exaggeration? Perhaps, but I know people like this…

I might be the exception but I took my lunch to work most days, ate a nice salad at the salad bar otherwise, was careful about electronic consumerism and was moderate about vacations. I paid extra on my mortgage to pay it off by retirement and saved yearly. I can now reap the benefits of the savings that I slowly put away year after year. In other words, I’m living the American dream. I worked my 40 years in a normal corporate job, saved my money and now can pay my bills and do a fair amount of travelling. I feel blessed that I have the money for doctor bills, household expenses and a trip here and there. Being in abundance by giving to charity means that God lets me keep the rest.

In summary, personal accountability is the way to go; slow and steady for 40 years not trying to screw the system in the last few years to make up for what you did or didn’t do all along. We pay into social security and Medicare so these are earned benefits not optional entitlements. That’s my version of the story and I’m sticking with it! Comments are always welcome.


People and processes don’t always cooperate

August 26, 2019

We all know, or have learned the hard way that human communication is not an exact science. The old adage is that’s why there are lawyers! Today, I’m going to relate a situation that I experienced regarding a transaction on EBay. The whole interaction went from a misunderstanding to bad then to worse. Then it got ugly! Sometimes people and processes just don’t go as one might expect.

 First, let me say that my perspective on EBay is pretty laid back because it’s not my main business; it’s very much a hobby and a casual one at that. I sell stuff to get it out of my closet and if I’m lucky, I get a few dollars for it. So what’s my story? I offered a beautiful designer red silk dress for sale at a fabulously low price plus shipping. The woman in question, whom I will call “The Buyer”, sent an offer. What I saw on my end was “an offer to buy at $50” which I accepted. I’ve been doing EBay for about 8 years so I don’t question offers. I just look at the figure and either accept the bid or not. Usually people pay within a day or two. My listing clearly states that non-payment after 48 hours will result in a cancelled transaction. If someone made a mistake in pushing “buy”, then an email to me indicating such will solve the problem. I’m not out to force any sales, so if there’s a mistake, I’ll cancel the transaction.

I accepted the offer and the EBay system put the offer in as a sale and sent the Buyer an invoice for the price plus shipping. No response. Several days go by. I sent a nice note with a reminder invoice – “is there a problem, I ask?” No response. More time goes by.  The EBay system opened a non-payment case against the Buyer automatically, which when she received the notice made her furious resulting in her sending me a scathing email stating that I hadn’t read her offer. What? I never saw any email or further detail about her offer. Apparently, she writes that she’s retired and doesn’t have the money. (Why buy if you don’t have money??) At this point it was very confusing to me because she referred to 8/30 which I assumed meant August 30, but it was August 20. I had no idea what she was talking about. Rather than calmly explain to me that she’d get money at the end of the month which eventually I realized, she raved at me that I hadn’t read the offer details (that I’d never seen) and basically was saying how stupid I was for causing this problem. As it wasn’t an auction item, just a fixed price, make an offer, she could have waited a few days until her pension check arrived. Rather, she chose to expect me to make the system work according to what was best for her. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.

It became obvious to me that she had anger issues and was venting at me for other situations where she hadn’t been heard. I was just the one getting her venom over these frustrations in her life. I kept trying to write to her calmly explaining that the system was automated, that offers are translated into purchases, and that non-payment cases can be opened without me doing anything. She insisted that I cancel the transaction at this point which was impossible according to the EBay system even after I tried calling them directly. I wasted so much time over almost a week for a non-sale with this woman. I had packed this gorgeous dress with tissue paper in a strong box so that it wouldn’t get wrinkled… basically for naught. After 2 days of her insisting that I cancel the transaction, I find that she paid. It was the night before the payment was due or a negative mark would go against her. I figured that she paid to clear the case so that I could cancel the transaction. So I went into the transaction, which was now clear, and cancelled it. I thought this was what she wanted. She had not sent me an email to tell me that she changed her mind about cancelling the transaction and now she wanted it. So what happened next?

The next morning I got a wailing email, “oh, I’m going to cry. You cancelled the transaction after I paid for the dress!”  Well, yeah, after receiving email after email insisting that I cancel and no communication indicating otherwise, what else could I do? Then I get more communication about why did I do that? It’s like being in Wonderland! Ok, so I thought about it and my final email to her was my best attempt to be spiritual, “I’m sorry that you’re not happy with this transaction. Sometimes people and processes don’t go as one might want or expect. Rather than directing anger at me, a bit of patience might have been a better idea. It would also be a good idea to find a healthier channel to vent your frustrations that to direct them at me”.

The moral of the story is that when crazy interactions occur like this story; take a moment to reflect on the situation. Chances are there’s more going on than the immediate reaction. Usually, there are related experiences that the person is reacting to in this lifetime or a prior one. It’s easy to ignore the person but just a bit harder to consider how you can be a guiding light. Just consider that she needed to be reminded of her behavior and it took me going beyond the physical to tell her about it.

Although I had planned for this to be the end, there’s more. The woman wrote back telling me that “You’re a fool!” Well so much for being a messenger of light. I thought about her response a lot and I truly believe that I was guided to write back to her what I had to give her a chance to reconsider her self-righteous position. Unfortunately, she failed the test. Now the universe takes over and karma steps in. I believe that she’s really in scarcity and has a lot of hatred, anger and hostility built up over being in a compromising financial situation. But what got her there? Meanwhile, I live in abundance and reap the rewards. Comments are always welcome.             


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