Young vs Old

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(Post taken from my Instagram account @taishka_lefler)

Our society glorifies youth & the young. Firm bodies, supple skin. Worship bodies, not minds. Fawn over skin, not knowledge, wisdom & highly tuned skills.
We’re supposed to believe that youth is the end all & be all.
Youth isn’t the end of the story, youth is the beginning of the story.

As I get older I enjoy the perks that come with age – even though it’s age unseen (I look young for 43). Without living this long I couldn’t have the life experiences that I’ve had.
I couldn’t grow the way I have.
I couldn’t learn the knowledge & acquire the wisdom that I have.
I couldn’t have the people skills, the diplomacy, the life & job skills that I have.
It took 43 years for me to develop into who I currently am. I’m so much more than I was in my 20’s & 30’s. And I’ll be so much more in my 50’s & 60’s.
I have stretch marks from carrying a child & there are businesses that will help me fix that.
I CREATED & GREW A LIFE and I’m supposed to feel bad that I don’t have my pre-life-creating body? To be self-conscious of the evidence?
Our best & brightest scientists can’t even do that!
Without women having babies humanity will die off. Yet THE VERY THING KEEPING OUR SPECIES ALIVE is supposed to be something to be ashamed of, to be fixed, to be corrected.
That, ladies & gentlemen, is the irrational thinking that I’m writing this post about. What we idolize & what we scorn is out of whack.

 

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Comparing apples to oranges

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(This post is from my Instagram account @taishka_lefler)

We seem to always be comparing ourselves to someone. We women compare ourselves to other women. Men compare themselves to other men.

But it’s truly comparing apples to oranges. These comparisons are shallow. Purely on the surface. We can never truly compare one person against another.
There’s a Carl Sagan joke: if you want to make an apple pie from scratch, first you have to create the universe.
Someone can only be compared to me if they have lived my life. Every second of it. But no one has. Not one out of 7.5 billion people has lived a life exactly like mine.

Looks are a culmination of DNA from 2 sources. But those 2 sources are a culmination of DNA from thousands of ancestors. What is the point in comparing looks unless we’re willing to compare ancestors? Just as skin colour is a direct correlation to sun exposure our ancestors experienced, features are a direct correlation to the elements.

We compare strength knowing nothing of the tools provided, or lacking, in that person’s upbringing or in their life.
We judge financial wealth, assuming others care about money the same way that we do.
We judge the looks of someone’s partner, assuming that person looks for the same things we do, knowing nothing of the character, sense of humour or compassion of that partner that drew the person in in the first place.
We compare clothes, accessories, cars…
Brand name clothes are still just clothes. A Gucci handbag is still just a handbag. A Lamborghini is still just a car. And money is merely a tool, only one of many that can usually get the job done.

You are not your things & neither am I. We are all so much more.
We bring so much to the table. We shouldn’t short change ourselves. We shouldn’t make baseless comparisons.
We can really only compare ourselves to… ourselves.

 

Love ❤

Happy couple

When we think of love this is what we think of, this picture above. In English speaking culture the word “love” is first applied to romantic love, then secondly applied to platonic love. But mostly we delegate love as meaning romance.

This limited thinking creates many barriers. We go through life hesitant to express the platonic love we have for people because it’s just not done. As I get older I notice more and more how old customs and ways of doing things are damaging society and holding humanity back.

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We see barriers everywhere that do not exist. We limit friendship to people we already know. We’re slow to let new people in once we have a circle of friends. And we’ll only work on building that circle of friends while we feel we still need friends. Then once we’re content with our circle we just stop.  We just stop. I’ve seen this many times in my years of attending college and university.

A circle can look a bit like a round fence. Keeping people in and keeping others out. And we may have various circles due to our jobs, groups we belong to and relationships we’re in. And each person in our individual circles has their own set of circles, circles we’re not allowed into unless invited. So we can have an intricate pattern of circles, our own and ones we’ve been invited into. Yet each circle has its fence, keeping some people in and everyone else out.

Love, platonic love, is present in these circles but withheld from anyone not in these circles. Being in a circle is like being a member of a private club. Being a member is great! Being invited to events, having access to this whole network of people and their contacts, and basking in the friendship and platonic love that comes with membership. But all of this is only available to members.

We are willing to love people in our various circles but not those outside of our circles. This seems to defy logic. How does someone you know automatically become deserving of love while a stranger, merely for the sake of being a stranger, become undeserving of our love?

We decide they must earn our love by doing something to become our friend; likely by doing something nice for us. Possibly repeatedly. So to do something for them, to love them, they must first do something for us.

This circle is a fence that keeps love in but also keeps love out.

Love has absolutely no limit. We will never run out of love. Yet we get stingy with our love. We treat it like a precious commodity. Even though we expect others to be free and easy with their love towards us.

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Love cannot be fenced in. It cannot be withheld from people, merely because we do not yet know them. It cannot be treated as a reward for positive behaviour. It cannot be stifled. If love is not given room to grow it will wither and die.

After oxygen, water, food and shelter love is the next absolute necessity for survival. We use love to handle all of life’s hurdles. We use love to build confidence to do what we have to do in life and to make the decisions we have to make. We use love to rebuild our lives after we’ve suffered tragedies. We use love to empathize with others who are going through tragedy, to take action to help end that tragedy.

And we use love to say a few kinds words to someone that, unbeknownst to us, kept them from going home and committing suicide as they had planned.

As a fetus, before we have a brain we have a heart.

Love surpasses geography and time. Love is magical and everlasting. And there has yet to be a weapon designed that can conquer it.

What I’ve learned from being ‘homeless’

Sometimes the easiest way to handle things is to turn our emotions off, so that we’re only dealing with the situation at hand. I treated my impending homelessness like an event. It was going to happen anyway, there was nothing I could do to stop it, so I just planned for my eventual homelessness. I donated everything, only keeping my text books and clothes in a storage unit I rented. Damn was that storage unit a drain on my monthly welfare cheque! Now I know why people would actually consider living in their storage unit….because I sure did!

Because I rented a storage unit I’ve been asked why I didn’t just keep everything. I gave my stuff away because it felt like this was a learning lesson. Being homeless is a big fear. Losing our possessions is a big fear. I’d use this situation to confront both. And you know what? It’s not as scary as you think! It’s quite freeing actually. (Luckily I live in a socialist country that provides homeless shelters.)

After I became certified as a Life Coach in 2012 or 2013 I started paying attention to people and their behaviours, as well as my own. I wanted to have a better understanding of people and why we do what we do. This understanding included my shelter-mates. In them I was able to see behaviours that led to their living in such an environment. It doesn’t matter whether we have a roof over our head or not, many of us create our own problems. We do not take a lot of responsibility for our own actions, reactions, or decisions. If someone is raised or always around people who behave this way then they also learn to behave this way. Our society also has a lot of self-centeredness. This grows mainly out of fear. Fear of not having enough and fear of losing what we do have. We are also taught this fear. We get this from our caregivers who worry for us and who only want what’s best for us. They think instilling this fear in us will protect us from the big bad world. We also get this fear from all forms of media because it sells goods and services. Fear is a great motivator so the advertising and marketing industry milk it for all it’s worth.

Since my life has been pretty nomadic I wasn’t falling far by becoming homeless and possession-less (that was the 4th time I’d had to give up by belongings). But I did get to see things through new eyes; I got to see things through the eyes of others. I lost friends due to being homeless. Why? I imagine the fear it instilled in them was just too much, it made them too uncomfortable. Fear, even when it doesn’t directly impact someone, will still affect them and drive their actions. This thing, which only exists in our mind, becomes as real as anything we can touch.

FearAll BarkNo Bite

I was fed, clothed, given a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, daily access to a shower, and provided with personal hygiene products. Yet all around me I saw people acting out of fear of lack. They did NOT lack anything essential yet the fear was all around me. The need for more, more, more. That tells you why so many people are so far in debt. They spend money they Do Not have on things they Do Not need. Will Farrell’s movie Everything Must Go is a serious look at a man who is forced to let go of his possessions. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1531663/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_31

What I learned:

  • We CAN get by on less and with less.
  • When you really need things: money, clothes, food, shelter they will become available. There are programs to help, though you may only find out about them when you need them. But trust me, they are there.
  • Possessions are just things. The world is full of things. THERE ARE MORE THINGS. Don’t live your life afraid of losing your things. Don’t make decisions solely to keep things in your life. The world has more houses, the world has more cars. On your deathbed you won’t be surrounded by your things, with them telling you what a great person you were and how they’ll miss you. Think about it.
  • What, and who, truly matter will never be impacted by where you live or anything else material. Aim for living a life that matters.
  • People will not usually take the first step to being kind, caring or thoughtful. YOU must take that first step. People are more willing to reciprocate than to initiate.
  • The world you live in is what you make it. This is not affected by material possessions or titles or anything fleeting. It is the way you see the world, your behaviour, your actions, your character. It is YOU. The world you live in is what YOU make it. It is all about you and only about you. Most people had no idea I lived in a shelter for that year. I didn’t tell people, act like it or look like it. Each day that I walked out those doors it ceased to be my reality.
  • We are too impressed by titles. The lowest segment of society is VERY impressed by titles. They actually see them as better than the rest of us, like a whole other breed of human. I have gotten to know people with titles, people with higher education. And you know what? They are just like the rest of us! They are just as fallible. They cheat, having drinking problems, have poor social skills, suffer depression, etc. They are no different from you or I and ARE NO BETTER. Please stop being impressed by titles. Please. There are so many amazing people we meet every day who get underestimated. People who Have done and Are doing amazing things.
Life path's tend to be more bumpy than smooth.

Life paths tend to be more bumpy than smooth.

I get underestimated by everyone, all the time. This pisses me off but doesn’t deter me. I answer only to me and I’m Very happy with who I am and what I’ve become. It’s been a rough ride but I’ve come out better and stronger than ever. Without every twist and turn and detour in my life I wouldn’t have become the person I am today. Don’t ever regret a single thing that has happened in your life. Years later you’ll be able to look back and see how each event helped you to become a better, stronger person. You’ll see how your own hardships gave you the strength to help others along the way.

We are all superheroes in the making, helping countless people along the way.

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I’ve learned that…‏

liveameaningfullifeblog

“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it

seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that

you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things:

a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that

regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re

gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as

making a life. I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both

hands; you need to be able to throw some things back. I’ve learned that whenever

I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve

learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to…

View original post 63 more words

How to Smile No Matter WHAT Life Throws at You! 😃

Update: I wrote this over a year ago. I’ve been out of the shelter system since March 2015. The 3 places I’ve lived since have actually been worse than living in the shelter. I was more upbeat, productive and treated better while living in the shelter. I never had to deal with being ignored (like I’d become Casper type of ignored), flooding, mold, my room smelling of drugs 24/7, blasting music, screaming matches….. We tend to see things from only one perspective, such as nothing could be as bad as living in a shelter, until we’ve arrived at that point. I honestly fear very little now. I’m actually living in a pretty negative environment right now (since July actually). It’s my fault I’m here and it’s my responsibility to get myself out. Freedom….. is within sight 😄

If you read my post https://taishka.com/2014/12/01/jesus-take-the-wheel/ you know that I’m currently living in a shelter and have been for almost a year. This is about to come to an end but in that year no one has had a clue that I live in a shelter. I don’t dress like it, I don’t act like it and I’m a pretty happy, grateful person despite my circumstances.

I have learned a LOT during this past year and I’m going to share it with you. Some good advice is courtesy of Sonia Ricotti http://www.leadoutloud.ca/index-1.html. In the shelter system I have learned, unequivocally, that we are responsible for MOST of our problems. No one is immune from this responsibility. I’ve been watching, listening and learning from the people around me, and in the past year my learning and self-growth has been speed up exponentially. I couldn’t put a price tag on the benefits of this experience. I also plan on never repeating it again 😉

We are indeed responsible for most of what happens to us. Not all, but most. In how we react, how we make decisions and live based on fear, how we communicate, how we don’t listen, how we assume, how we just don’t try hard enough or give up too quickly, etc. Almost everyone does these things to some degree. Feel bad? Don’t. Welcome to the human race.

I wake up every day in a shelter bed. How would you feel? What would you think if this were you? My days have many pros and very few cons.

Pros

  • I woke up
  • I was warm
  • Someone in another room was noisy and woke me up early. Was I angry? No, it was almost time to wake up anyway so I had a head start on my morning.
  • I was able to have breakfast and catch the morning news playing on the TV, even if it’s donuts. I have not gone hungry while living in the shelter. I’ve put on weight but have not gone hungry.
  • I had access to a shower. I’m able to bathe every day.
  • Meals can come with entertainment; the other residents usually do or say something that makes me LOL.

Cons

Cons are really just of my making. Things are only hard to deal with if I decide so. I don’t have to interact with my environment if I don’t like that environment, including people. As long as it’s not after curfew I can leave the shelter at any time for a break, go for a walk or hop on the subway. I also have library books I can escape into. I can listen to music. I can do things on my laptop. As Sonia says we have no worries “in this moment”. Right now, right this exact moment, we have Nothing to worry about. Getting myself out of the shelter is not a worry, it is just something to do, like a goal. Being in a shelter is not a problem, it’s merely my current situation. We live where we live. If we don’t like it we should work on finding better housing, but in the meantime we live where we live.

A place is only as good or as bad as we make it out to be. It’s all about perception.

I am currently housed, fed, and kept warm. I have access to donated clothing and government services. I live with some kooky characters who both frustrate me and make me laugh (that sounds a bit like family, doesn’t it?). I felt the need to give up almost everything I owned last March yet in the meantime I have been given…enough. When we have absolutely no money new money will come our way. When we have no possessions new possessions will come our way. Maybe not a lot but enough.

When I walk out of the shelter every day I hear beautiful birdsong, I appreciate the tea in my travel mug, and I’m happy for being able to afford a bus pass so that I can get to where I need to for the day. My mindset is of gratitude and it truly colours how I see the world and my situation at any given time. I have what I need, I have enough.

Our situation is just our situation.