Little Fish Big Pond

free

I just did something that feels both exciting and terrifying. A little piece of truth I have never shared: I have a secret dream of one day being published.

This dream is not one I share openly because I have a lot of not-good-enoughs around this that are still keeping me small and quiet. Something happened recently though that presented a door. I am not sure what it is on the other side of that door or if I am even meant to open it right now. Today  I  took a risk and knocked on this door. We will see if it opens and if it does we will see if I meant to walk through.

If this door does open and me walking through it leads to some of my writing being published then that would be a dream. I am managing my expectations though and reminding myself that this is just a little step. Something to get my feet wet, this is not everything, this is just a step on the path towards everything.

Regardless of what happens next that was a scary first step to take, knocking on that door. I definitely feel like a fish out of water. It is scary stepping into the light and allowing yourself to be seen. It is scary to be open about the things you want in your life, especially the big things. It is vulnerable. I feel like even as I write this I am exposing my delicate pink underbelly to be ripped apart by criticism.

I did it though. I took that step. I exposed myself. I allowed myself to be seen. I spoke my desire to the universe. Now it is a wait and see.

 

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Emotional Arsonist

emotional-arsonist

I was weary and ready for sleep tonight when it was time for lights out. I did not write yesterday because the words had not yet come to me. Then magically they appeared in the middle of the night as they sometimes do like a song stuck in my head. The longer I lay there trying to ignore them, trying to wait til the morning, the louder the song grew. Until there was only one choice to make, it is time to write.

I woke initially with a pain in my shoulder which makes sense because I am carrying a burden. A burden that weighs heavy on my heart and heavier on my soul.

Before I go further I would like to offer background for this post:
The Unraveling of a Family Tie
and
Boundaries are Hard in Families
will give some context to this post for anyone that wants it.

Out of respect for my family I have been doing what I consider shadow writing on topics related to family issues up to this point. For now I plan to continue to write in the shadows, I may feel differently about this as time goes on, that is yet to be seen.

So in these previous posts I have mentioned a long brewing issue that one family member is at the center of. In recent months another family member has become involved and when this took place a small flame was lit. A flame of negativity and malice, of confusion and mistrust. This small flame has resulted in a raging fire of destruction and disconnection that threatens to engulf my family.

Previously I mentioned that I am not the fire department and I hold no power to extinguish this blaze; that is still my truth. I am one person with a bucket though and today was the day I decided it was time to pick up my one bucket and use it before it was too late.

Up to this point this flame has been somewhat contained. There are two family members who started it and they have been trying to add small pieces of kindling but the fire has burned away from most of the rest of the family so we have been able to remain uninvolved with collective hope that this fire would burn out on its own given enough time. Today a flame from that fire licked my face and that was too close to comfort. It was time to set a hard boundary.

What took place was that my relative who is one of the fire starters emailed the entire family to speak their truth about another family member who they have a waged character war against. This was done as a way to further discredit this person and lambast their integrity. On this issue I remain neutral, this is not my quarrel. What I will not do however is accept any kind of correspondence that will cause further injury to my family. I did not read more than the first line of this person’s email, that was enough for me. From there I took a breath and decided to respond. My response was as follows:

_________________ ,

Please know that as I write this email I bear you no ill will. I believe that you feel that you are doing what you think is right.

With that said, I did not read your email and I will not read any further correspondence that means to further injure our family. When I say family, that includes everyone. You, ______, and _______ will always be part of my family and I will always have compassion for all of you, as I do everyone in the family.

I feel as though you have lost your way and I send you light and love during this difficult time.

As for  __________, there is nothing that anyone could ever say that would convince me that he is anything less than good hearted.

I hope we are able to heal as a family. The disconnection we are experiencing is hurtful and it does not have to be.

I am sending you love and forgiveness.

 

This was my bucket of water. This was my offering and my hope is that the healing energy of love and compassion would act as water to the flame. If not, I have at least set the boundary in an assertive way to let them know I will not accept this kind of correspondence going forward.

This person’s email was entitled “The Truth” and they spoke their truth. I took this as an invitation for the rest of us to speak ours.

I have remained silent and neutral up to this point, as the rest of my extended family has, for reasons I have listed before: hopefully this will blow over, it is none of my business, etc.

This is not blowing over, the flames are growing larger and the moment my relative sent that email to the entire extended family this situation went from being none of my/our business to this person making it our business.
There is a time for silence and a time for action and for me the time for silence ended the moment this person hit the “send” button and spewed this venom on the family.

I still remain neutral on the overarching issue because I do not believe it is my place to pass judgement on who is right or wrong. I might have my private feelings about that but I do not have the authority or the right to pass that judgement openly. I also do not believe that doing so will help me meet my ultimate goal for an outcome which is the healing and preservation of my entire family.

Judgement and anger and other negative emotions would only further insight this fire. To put out a fire you have to introduce a new element: sand, water, etc. Love is my water. Unconditional forgiveness  and compassion are my water. An invitation to heal is my water.

When I sent my response I replied all. No one else in my family had responded to this relative, this is still true. My hope is that I was able to set an example of love, an example that my family will have the courage to follow. My hope is that my family will see me here with bucket and join me with buckets of their own healing truth to share with this family member in an effort to extinguish this flame.

In the end we cannot control this person or their reactions. We are not the fire department and we may not be able to put out this inferno. I will not stand by with my bucket and feel useless though. I will not watch my family burn and do nothing when I have a bucket I can offer. My family may be doomed to burn either way but at least I know I did my part.

Tonight I send out love and light to everyone in my family, we all are hurting in the wake of this crisis. My hope and intention is the light I am sending out be the light that guides my family back to a path of love and connection. We have to come back to each other in love and connection to heal and be whole again.

 

An aside: When I got out of bed to come and write I did what I normally do when I write in the middle of the night. I lit my candles to bring light and love to darkness, I lit my salt lamp with the same intention, and I made myself a cup of tea. Then I took my tea and nested in blankets on the couch for comfort. The tea I often make for middle of the night writing is a brand that has what I think of as “love notes” on the tag. When I looked at the love note on my tea it was as though the Universe knew what I am trying to do with my healing bucket of water and was sending me support and assurance in its own way.

cosmic-support

 

So Small in a Very Big Place

astronomy

4 years ago I left the professional world and returned to school full-time. It was a big left turn in my life, one of the biggest (best) leaps of faith I have ever made. My first semester back in school I arbitrarily signed up for an astronomy class because I needed a science credit and I thought the class would be interesting. To this day, and after all the other wonderful classes I have taken, astronomy is still at the very top of my list as one of my favorites.

I was thinking about my astronomy class and professor last night when Todd and I were leaving my parents home. My parents live in what is considered the country for our area, lots of cow pastures, no street lights, some paved roads, some dirt. One of my favorite parts of visiting them is leaving in the evening, and as I typed that I realized how bad it sounds! Let me elaborate, I enjoy leaving because at night in the country you can see so many stars, much more than we can see downtown, and they shine so brilliantly! Last night the sky was clear and full of bright white star light, it was stunning. I stood there outside our car for a few minutes to take it all in. This is when I thought of my old professor and everything he taught me about how vast the universe is.

Something happened to me after I took that class, it changed me a bit. I learned so much and some of it was pretty overwhelming. I remember feeling so insignificant and small the day I learned about how big the universe is and that fact that it is still expanding, I wrote about it in a post called A Smooth Sea Never Made for a Skillful Sailor.

That class made me claustrophobic in a way. Since learning everything I did about us in relation to the enormous everything that exists beyond us there have been times when I look up at the sky and feel like the planet is too small, I do literally feel a bit claustrophobic. It seems silly right? The sky is so high above me, how could it feel like it is closing in? Well it does. When you think about how big everything is beyond the sky suddenly the planet feels like a marble in a open field that has no ending point.

I think it is okay to feel this way sometimes. It gives me perspective when I get hung up on a baking disaster or any other conflict, how much does it matter in the grand scheme of things? I try not to dwell to long either though because it can kind of make me feel like what is the point of anything too.

Last night was a gorgeous night and I felt small as I looked up at the asterisms and planets above me. I considered how far away they must be, and wondered what was way out there where they exist. Sometimes just looking at the night sky can reset whatever dialogue you have going in your head, or make you rethink the importance of your latest dilemma, I know that is the case for me at least. I look at the night sky and I feel small and infinite all at the same time.

neil

Anything is possible.

Last Sunday was science and philosophy day in the Baxter-Pieper household. It started when we watched this video from Ted.com.
What’s interesting is, though Todd and I both agreed that in theory this makes sense and agree that the technology should be made available, ultimately we did not think it would be taken advantage of.

Although I personally believe that if people were suddenly living to 1000  significant advances in science and technology would be occurring faster than any other time in history. Look at the advancements in technology in the 21st century vs. the 19th century.. People were living longer. Einstein was never able to finish his greatest work, what if he had been able to? What if age was no longer a factor? I dont think that safe space travel would be such an absurd idea. What if the advancements in space travel were so great that we could safely travel at the speed of light? The next closet star is approx. 4.25 LY away, I don’t see how that is much different than when the early settlers came to America from Europe. They really had no idea what to expect and at first it was very difficult and many lives were lost but look what came from their sacrifice.

I could hypothesize all day long about the things that could be accomplished if time running out on someone’s life was no longer an issue but I digress on that. So some reasons we came up with that this technology will probably not be used for a very long time, if at all, are as follows..

Over crowding, as Dr. Aubrey stated. I do think there would be a long term solution for that but probably not a short term one so that could pose a real dilemma. Because of overcrowding strict regulations could be put in place about the amount of children a family could have, similar to the laws currently in place in China. For that matter, the whole idea of even having children could turn into a lottery system. Your number isn’t pulled, no baby for you. Who knows.

Also, there would be no more debate over whether or not there should be a death penalty. What choice would we have? Prisons in the US already deal with over crowding. Either they would have to loosen the laws so it would take more to put someone in jail/prison to begin with, potentially causing increased crime rates, or they would have to lower the standard on what can get you the death penalty. You molested a child? Death.

Speaking of death, I would not be surprised if the suicide rate sky rockets too. I mean, 1000 years.. I don’t know, that’s a long time. I don’t think I need to hang around that long. I think I could get everything I want to get done in 600 easily. Anything past that would just be me waiting around for sweet release I am sure.

Another issue with overcrowding would arise when it comes time to bury the dead. What are we going to do with all these dead inmates we are killing and victims of suicide? Not to mention those who die naturally.. Mass burials? I’ve never been a big fan personally. I guess everyone is getting cremated. I mean any land we do have would be developed, no room for cemeteries. That’s always been my plan anyway so I don’t mind much on that.

I think a lot of these issues are short term problems like I said previously. I think in the long run things would catch up and everything would level out.

Guarantee though, that politics and religion, especially religion, will keep any of this from coming about for years. Seems to me there has always been a bit of lag time in advancements in the biology field. Poor guys always have someone breathing down their backs about ethics. “Cloning isn’t ethical, stem cell research inst ethical..” Pardon me if I respectfully disagree. Not going to even open that can of worms. Maybe they will get lucky this time and it wont take years upon years. Anything is possible right?

So, After we watched the Ted Talk we had another interesting conversation in the evening sparked by this 60 minutes segment we were watching. 60 Minutes

Here’s the thing, I don’t completely buy this study. I think it brings up interesting points but I think a lot of factors are being overlooked. I don’t believe, may be by no fault of their own, the results were attained without a level of bias..

I mean, do we know if there is a color that children tend to gravitate towards versus a color that most children seem to be neutral towards as far as the shirts they were putting on the stuffed animals? How about certain noises or facial expressions playing a role in their picks.. I don’t know, I am not saying that this wasn’t all legit, I am just a bit skeptical is all. Either way, it was interesting and does make you think. The second study that suggests that all humans have a built in predisposition towards bigotry  was really interesting in my opinion.

A Smooth Sea Never Made a Skillful Sailor

I found out two days ago I am not receiving any financial aid this semester. Of course this is disappointing news and it forces me to change some of my plans but it will be OK. My classes and books are already paid for so it’s just a matter of making enough money to cover the few bills I have. I am stressed but Todd keeps telling me we are OK and that nothing worth having comes easy. This is worth having. I knew there would be ups and downs, this is just one little storm I need to weather.

Aside from that bit of bad news things are wonderful. Yesterday was the Autumn equinox marking the first day of fall. 🙂 The weather has not changed much yet but the weather man keeps talking about cold fronts, I am sure one of them will bring a chill soon enough.

This past week I spent with my family. It was so fun. Dad and I played Scrabble and I won 300 to 243. Then Todd, Dad, and I played Scrabble and I won 240 to 217 and 177 respectively. Todd did stomp me in Up Words though. My Mom returns from Washington tomorrow, I’m excited to see her. Her birthday is just around the corner, I got her a hand painted casserole dish. This coming Saturday Todd and I are having friends over to grill and play games. My girlfriend was saying something about a game called Cards Against Humanity. I am excited to try it.

I spent most of the weekend studying. I have an Astronomy test tomorrow along with an Economics quiz. Wednesday I have a test in Sociology and Government.  I am ready for the Astronomy test and Econ quiz. I did flash cards all weekend.

I am really enjoying my classes. Astronomy in particular right now has my attention. My professor was explaining how vast the universe is last class and it was so overwhelming to me I felt like I was going to throw up. Apparently it showed because he asked me if I was OK. I told him just that, “This is so overwhelming I feel like I am going to throw up.” He laughed and said he wished all his students thought so. I left that class feeling more insignificant than I ever have in my life. Everything feels trivial and unimportant when you think about how small we are in comparison to the universe. There is so much other stuff out there and it’s so far away. Polaris, the North star, is 450 light years away which means that if Polaris died 200 years ago we wouldn’t know for another 250 years! We could be looking up into the sky at night at something that no longer exists! How does that not blow your mind?! And the fact that some people think that there is no other life in the entire universe.. Talk about egocentric. This class is changing the way I look at the world, at life really. I have never enjoyed science this much.