Making Sense of a Senseless Situation

qupteAs I watch the world unfold, I find myself struggling; wondering how to make sense of a senseless situation.

Maybe it’s just me, but the world seems to be getting colder, (and I don’t mean the weather).  Public figures are speaking out in unspeakable ways; the media is leading us on a terrifying ride through the bowels of insanity, while the public bickers and fights tooth and nail to berate and humiliate anybody who dares to have a different opinion.

Half truths and full blown lies are presented as facts.  And even more disturbing, is that people are believing these “facts” without question.  Differing opinions are dividing the world into splinters.  Jagged, piercing splinters carrying the poison of righteous indignation.

In my wildest nightmares I never imagined that our world, in this day and age, would be so full of hate and anger.

WTF people?

Take a deep breath!

Call me naïve, but I really believe that if we don’t start working together, we’re doomed.

Fighting against one another is senseless, not to mention futile.  Do we like living in a world on the brink of disaster?  Do we want our future to be a dark and looming cloud?  Don’t we care about what we’re leaving behind for our children?  Why would any one of us carry the unbearable weight of hate and anger willingly?

I could go on and on…  I am so frustrated and discouraged.  Some days it takes my breath away.

How do I make sense of a senseless situation?

I remind myself that I am different.  I am a different person, with different experiences, and different circumstances; in a different place, surrounded by different people.  Some things are within my control and others are not.

I acknowledge that I can only work with the tools that I have.  I can only develop new tools through learning and experience.  What I don’t know today, I will likely learn.

I realize that there is nothing about me that makes me any better or any worse than anybody else.  I don’t need to be filthy rich, and I don’t need to look like a supermodel. I don’t need to work a glamorous job, or go to exotic locations. I measure my worth by how I treat the people around me.  When I fall short, I work on solutions and not blame.

I understand that I am free to choose my own religion, or not.  I am free to live my life in a way that makes sense, and feels right for me.  Every one of us should have that right.

It makes sense to me that if I connect with my own personal thought and beliefs I will, in turn, develop a better understanding of the people around me.

If we can understand the people around us, we have something to work with.

If we can find one shred of common ground, we have something to build on.

If we can offer compassion, understanding and empathy instead of fear, hatred and intolerance, we open a path to healing.

We all want to create something great in our lives.  But what good is great, if you’ve got nobody to share it with?











Alone, But Not All Together Alone

you are not aloneThere she stood; all alone.  “I have nobody to play with.”

Sad eyes stared up at me, begging for my guidance to help her fit in. I’d scan the playground and observe other children laughing and playing together; searching for an individual or group that would welcome her.

I was working as a lunch monitor at my daughter’s elementary school, but outside of parenting my own child, I didn’t have a lot of experience with children. Her statement caught me off guard, but at the same time, reminded me my own insecure days on the playground.  Quiet and shy, I would linger in the background, wishing that I could fit in, but not knowing how.  It never occurred to me to ask an adult to help me.

On the days when I did find a friend or a group to play with, I was awkward. I said and did silly things.  In fact, I can recall a time when I eagerly became another child’s pet dog.  She readily called out orders such as “sit” and “stay”, and I willingly obliged, panting and barking happily in response.  Of course, it was all in good fun, and to this day she is one of my favorite people; (it’s been years since she’s requested that I roll over and play dead).

There were times when I would attempt to create order in playtime. For example, Stacey liked to climb, but Michelle was afraid of heights.  With the intention of being fair and helpful, I suggested that Stacey play on the monkey bars and Michelle play in the sandbox; I would play go-between. Stacey and Michelle didn’t agree with my logic.  They told me I was bossy, and went off to play without me.  I was devastated!

So, I learned to be what others wanted me to be, and to keep my mouth shut. These are the things that worked, and I carried them into adulthood no questions asked.  I bore the weight of these ideas for years, giving in, giving up, and accepting what I believed to be the inevitable.  Voices inside my head screamed, “You have a choice!” but darned if I knew what that choice was.

I spent a lot of years angry… hurt… alone. Alone in a crowd of people that I now believe were probably feeling just like me.  Mostly, anyway.

That child, the many children who came to me in this predicament, looked to me for guidance. I was floored. How could I help them, when I didn’t even know how to help myself? In that moment I realized that the time to linger in the shadows of my insecurities had passed. I had to grow up.

Young or old, we all share a common need to belong. But it is not easy.  We can only work with the tools that we are given.  To learn and to grow, we need new tools.

The child who has nobody to play with needs to find courage and confidence. They need somebody to take them by the hand and let them know that they are all right; that they are valued; and that people do care. They need somebody to help them sort through their conflicts and find solutions.  They need somebody to reassure them that their differences do not define them as good or bad, but just simply different.  And they need to learn and be reminded that every one of us is, in fact… different.  Some children might easily find these tools, but others may not.

That child showed me that my own childhood experience was not an anomaly. And if others shared similar experiences, then I wasn’t… alone.  And if I wasn’t alone, that meant there were others just like me.

You’re Not Alone. We’re In This Together.

Life is like a massive scavenger hunt. On your own, through trial and error, you will surely uncover some useful tools. But what if we all helped one another? Different people, with different tools, at different phases of their lives might have a thing or two to offer. Or, at the very least, we can work together to seek the tools we need.  Either way, know that we are all searching.  We’re all in this together regardless of our circumstances.

There will be times when we all feel like there is nobody to play with. I hope that in these dark times we can all find a glimmer of reassuring hope, and know in our hearts, that we are not alone.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller

Why Is This So Difficult?

Plant a seed and watch it grow.

As I sit in contemplation of my newest TAG’em post, my mind wanders to an old proverb; something about the road to hell being paved with good intentions…

Sounds about right.

You see, TAG’em is a little flower that I planted for myself with the hope that it would grow into a beautiful garden for all to enjoy.  In my zeal to nurture and perfect every aspect of my beautiful flower, I neglected to consider the weeds that would inevitably take root, and proceed to choke the life out of it. Those powerful weeds! The harder you try to get rid of them, the more persistent they get. They just won’t go away! As I witness the petals of my flower wither and the leaves drooping, I wonder if this was a good idea after all.

So here I am stuck; spinning my wheels in an ever-widening slick of procrastination, discouragement and fear. Why do I bother?  Who cares anyway?

Lucky for me, the feeling is fleeting and I know in my heart that this TAG’em is important. It’s important to me.  Important… to… me.

The way I figure it, there are certain things that I owe to the people around me: respect, compassion, understanding and empathy, to name a few. I make a conscious effort to offer these things. Far too often, I neglect to offer the same courtesy to myself. And this is where I get stuck. I believe this is where so many of us get stuck.

My intentions are good.  TAG’em is appreciation and choice, and positivity; and when I take the time to offer these things, the reward is always huge. I just don’t lose.  So, when you think about it, I have gained so much more than I have lost through the experience. Whether everybody, or anybody else chooses to formally adopt the TAG’em philosophy is secondary.  I can only be responsible for me.  If there is anything to the law of attraction, positivity will attract more positivity.

Consider this:

  • Sometimes we need a few weeds to show us just how beautiful the flower is.
  • Sometimes we have to realize that some people like roses and some people like daisies.  This is simply a preference; it doesn’t mean that one is better than the other.
  • Sometimes when we plant a garden, it takes several seasons to catch on; to take hold and grow.
  • Sometimes we have to watch and see what the squirrels will eat before we decide which plants are safe.
  • A flower will wither and eventually die, but will leave us endowed with it’s seeds; each one a door to new possibilities.

Nobody ever said that life is easy, because, well, it’s not.  Have faith in yourself.  Trust in your intentions.  Nurture your passions.  Laugh, even at yourself.  And don’t give up.  I believe in you.

TAG! You’re it!


You Can Do It

aliceHave you ever had one of those days where you can’t seem to do anything right?  You can’t seem to make the right decisions, your job stinks, you’re late for a meeting, traffic is backed up, and you just spilled coffee on your brand-new suit.  Just about everything you touch turns to crap!

You don’t dare complain for fear of sounding weak; but suddenly you snap and take a fast train into meltdown-town. Then you feel bad because you realize that there are others who have it much worse.  Or worse, somebody attempts to help out by pointing out how many things you have to be grateful for, that are actually working out for you at that very moment. Then you feel ashamed for not focusing on what’s important; and well, you must be crazy because you’ve just had this meltdown, and you now know that you really had no valid reason for it. You suck, and there’s no hope for you.

Yeah, me too. I’ve been there once or twice, or three thousand times.

I know it’s hard to realize in the moment, but it’s okay.  You are okay.

There are many things that are beyond our control; like traffic, and already-spilled coffee and the opinions of others. So why spend so much precious energy kicking ourselves?

Did you ever notice that the most beautiful and amazing and inspiring things are often those that we least expect? Like when somebody is paralyzed and told they will never walk again. Somehow, despite the odds, they find the strength, courage, and determination to beat the odds. And they do, in fact, walk again.

There are moments in life when the script isn’t written in our favor.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t write your own.

Your struggles are real.  But know that with every step and every breath you are still the game.  And let me tell you that I am inspired by your strength, and courage, and determination.  You will find your Wonderland.


Home Sweet Home

Medicine Hat has take a brave step in a new direction.  The right direction.

Can you imagine being homeless?

Can you imagine living in a home that was identical to all your neighbors?  Picture row upon row of plain white houses with plain white walls and a roof; the only distinguishing feature is the number on the front door.  Within these homes the furniture is all the same: basic, functional, and plain.  There are no pictures on the walls; no shelves lined with books and trinkets.

It’s not fancy, but it’s a home.

Home is not just a shelter for most of us.  It is an expression of ourselves.  From tiny homes to large estates, mobile and mini homes to condos and apartments, where we live says something about who we are and where we are at during a particular time in our lives.

Inside we surround ourselves with the people and things we love the most.  Carefully chosen, strategically placed furniture, art, books, and food, transform a mere structure into a home.  My home.  Your home.

I think that most of us could not imagine a reason why we wouldn’t have a home.

So what about the homeless?  Do they not have the same basic needs?

We focus on the symptoms of homelessness: unemployment,  addiction, or alcoholism, without understanding or addressing the underlying cause. We fail to recognize humanity.

Every heart needs a place to call home.  With a proper foundation in place, wonderful things can be built.





My Final Tag for Santa…

Father ChristmasDear Santa,

It’s that time of year again.  The veterans are all snuggled and warm in their beds, and we can now turn our attention to the upcoming Holiday season.

I saw the elves at the mall yesterday, busily assembling your seasonal village, making it all festive and welcoming to the children who watched wide-eyed with anticipation dripping from their smiling faces.  Soon they will get to meet you in person and tell you all about how good they’ve been this year, and how they can be rewarded.  Between you and me, some of them little buggers go to great lengths to dress up the real truth, don’t they?  But, you know otherwise.  Those gosh-darned sweet, innocent children, will terrorize the line-up, sometimes for hours, until their turn comes.  In one swift movement, little monsters morph into angelic little cherubs, all pink-cheeked and wondrous, and advance to that golden throne that is your knee.  You greet each one with a smile, a Merry Christmas, a candy cane, and a neat little coloring book.  It’s all about getting things, right…

I’ve got to hand it to you Santa.  You’ve held out longer than I would have.  Don’t get me wrong; you’ve been a big part of my Holiday season for 42 years; and I appreciate every single one of them.  But the time has come to say “good-bye”.  You’ve done your time.  You deserve a rest.  I advise you to do it now, before your reputation is tarnished evermore.

You see, Santa, I’ve been giving this a lot of thought.  The Christmas’s that I long for are not the Christmas’s of late; not at all.  Despite your best efforts, Santa, Christmas has taken on a life of its own; one with peace and goodwill crammed into the background to make way for selfishness, entitlement, alienation, division, outdoing thy neighbors, bickering… everything but peace and goodwill.

As you probably know, Santa, there are people out there who have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas.  To them Christmas has become a vehicle to promote ego and separation.  As they sip through greasy smirks, from their hateful cups; beady eyes scanning the masses for response and validation; they promote a Holiday that has nothing to do with peace and goodwill.  To them, Christmas is about being right and using the proper words.  It’s about doing what they say, or they’re going to run and tell Mommy because you are persecuting them.  It’s about staking a claim on a day that symbolizes a message that they know nothing about, and certainly spend the other 364 days of the year ignoring.

It’s about line-ups and fighting for the newest toy craze.  It’s about some people having so much, and others having so little.  Tell me Santa, how do we explain to the children that some kids were just nicer than they were this year?

It’s about that attitude that you can’t tell me how, or if, I should celebrate Christmas.  To say “Happy Holidays” to some would be the equivalent of spitting in their face.

Where do Muslims, or Jewish, Hindu, or Buddhists fit into Christmas? What about atheists? If they celebrate in a different way, or not at all, should they be excluded from any extension of good will?  And if they are included, should we expect a backlash for assuming that they would welcome our warm greetings?  How do we determine who celebrates what if we meet up with them on the street, or in the line-up at Starbucks? How can we possibly straighten this out so as not to offend anybody?

Santa, do you bring gifts to gay children?  There are those who say they should be put to death; that they are the cause of horrible things that happen in the world.  Not the children, of course; just the ones you can’t pray the gay out of.  Should we include them in our Holiday joy?

After all that you do to provide the good people of the world with Christmas joy, it is only days afterward that they’re out exchanging thoughtful gifts for what they actually want, and buying more.  More!  We have to have more.  And the shops will accommodate; dropping prices drastically so that thing we bought one week earlier now costs 50% less.  Forget about those people who scraped and scrounged for months to make somebody’s Christmas day.  They love to pay full price for Christmas so they can watch with sick bellies as it is reduced to peanuts after the event has passed.

It just doesn’t feel right, you know?  I’m torn.  On the one hand it is such a wonderful feeling to see the look of joy on my children’s faces on Christmas morning.  On the other hand this is nothing compared to the relief I feel that it is over again for another year!  And even further from the feeling of disgust in the sales stickers just a few days after.  And as the world settles back into its post-Christmas normalcy, the feeling that we are so out of touch with what really matters.

The true meaning of Christmas just flies over my head.  I see it.  It’s there.  But our world does not accommodate the true meaning.  You have to make a conscious effort to reach for it.  And if you only grasp a thread of it, you have to hold on for dear life.  I think this is what I need to do.

You’ve been such a tremendous guy, Santa!  Really!  In your day, you were all that!  But our world has grown, (much like a bad weed), beyond that.  Your gift, I am sad to say, is not enough anymore.  I release you from duty with one last wish; and because I know you’re super-cool, you won’t let me down:

Santa, I know you are a trooper, and despite my dismissal and the state of the world, you will continue to promote the spirit of Christmas.  As you continue on your journey, would you spread a little extra magic among your gifts this year?  The kind that makes people feel love, and long for peace… the kind that brings people together… the kind that seeps into the Holidays and spreads itself deep into the New Year…

And Santa, if you’re passing by and you’d like to stop in for some fine turkey and good conversation, or maybe a cup of tea and some yummy cookies, know that my door is always open for you.

You’re a good man Santa.  And though I’ve grown, and no longer need you; I’ll never forget you.

With Love and Fond Memories,


Thank You

poppyToday we remember those who fought for our freedom.  Leaving the comfort of their families, friends and communities, they fought for their lives and ours.  Many never returned; and those who did were never the same.  We thank you all for your sacrifice.

For all the families who watched as their sons and daughters faded into the unknown horizon, taking with them all their hopes and dreams… Would they return?  Would their worn eyes and tattered hearts ever erase the horrors that they would see?

Today we remember.  Today we thank you.

A Quote for Today

good quoteI love a good quote!  I found this one on Facebook this morning; (thanks for posting Tracey!) This pretty much sums up the whole reason I created the TAG’em.
Sometimes the smallest gestures can make the biggest difference.   Be conscious of the energy you’re putting out in the world.  And remember, smiles are contagious.

TAG! You’re It!

It doesn’t have to be complicated.

Welcome to my blog!  I’m so happy that you could visit.

TAG’em is a place to share all things positive.  It’s where you can come to show, or to find appreciation.  Be prepared though, positivity is highly contagious.  Once you start noticing it, you can’t help but start showing it in return.

Have a great day!