Growth ~ A Guide(My art-firmation would not load.)
Millions of Americans seem to heartily embrace growth without regard to the outcome, whilst “decay” and “reduction” seem to be completely overlooked. We might work hard so that our savings increases, yet disregard the reduction of free time normally spent with our families; there’s always tomorrow. We heartily add to our waistlines by consuming fast food and other unhealthy treats, unconcerned with the lessening of our lifespan; we’ll diet tomorrow. Our coping skills seem to become more and more fleeting as our fascination with computer games/video games, television, and other forms of mind-deadening entertainment take hold; we’ll by a brain function “booster” game for our cell phone tomorrow.
Growth is a fabulous thing. We should all welcome personal progression in our lives. Let’s spend our efforts on proper growth rather than inappropriate habits designed to be self-destructive. The first thing would be to throw away the brain function booster games on the market today. Your brain does not need to be trained; you need to exercise your own mind.
Grow as a Global Citizen: Challenge yourself to learn a new culture. We hear of news from the Middle East and from China. Learn about Tibet. Study about the Dalai Lama. Try to learn Mandarin or Cantonese. Pick up an Amy Tan book (she masterfully weaves Chinese history into each story.) Find a picture online and try your hand at writing a short story about what you see. Is China not your cup of tea? Try a different culture. Study the growth of the American Southwest. Research your ancestors. Learn the history and culture of biblical times. Discover your hometown history and take pictures of the buildings.
Grow as a Spouse: Better Half and I have recently blushed as people compliment our marriage. We were told that we have a strong marriage; “you can just tell your marriage is good, just by looking at how you react to each other.” Truth is Better Half and I have had our share of shouting matches. We have never been perfect spouses and we each have much to work on. However, most pleasantly, we have strength because we agreed to disagree but never fight over the normal things, such as money. We are an undefined partnership. The only thing that we write down on paper is the occasional shopping list or, when holidays are here, a To-Do list that assigns us chores on a schedule. We might refer to something as “mine” or “yours” but truly all things are “ours”.
Couples wither their own marriage by complicating it with too much individuality and selfishness. It is important that you never lose your sense of self in a marriage; it is also important to never make your self out to be more important that your partner. You must look at the tolerances and hindrances of your partner, and you must incorporate those into the marriage. If your wife is not comfortable with a bare breasted bimbo calendar hanging on the wall, don’t put one up. Sacrifice your wants for the betterment of your marriage. Likewise, if your husband hates the pink lace and roses bedroom scheme, don’t force the poor man to endure it. Find a neutral theme that you both can appreciate, for the sake of your marriage. The titty calendar and the rose bedspread should not outlast your marriage. If you feel that a material thing is more important, you should do your spouse a favor and grow up.
To grow as a spouse, you must permit your self of self to wither a bit. You must put the other person first. You can not change your spouse but you can enhance their fantastic qualities by celebrating them.
Grow as a Parent: This is fairly straight forward and it is written for all of you who parent under the baleful glow of the monitor: get off your fucking ass, turn off the computer and take your child outside for a game of chase the butterfly. Take them to a park and bird watch. Buy some cheap chalk from Dollar General and draw on the sidewalk; perhaps play hopscotch. Read to them. Take marshmallows and pipe cleaners and make animals. You are creating memories. Your child’s mind is enhances by interacting with you. It is important that they learn to interact with their parent; in their teen years, you will need that bond.
I am a firm believer that little Johnny does not need a television in his room. He does not need a Playstation. He does not need endless hours on the computer playing games. I am very old school. Books are a staple. Puzzles that challenge the mind are a bonus (in animal behavior studies, such puzzles are termed “enrichment toys” because they stimulate the mind. Captive animals that do not have access to enrichment toys become destructive to both their surroundings and themselves.)
You, as a parent, have the responsibility to raise your child to the best of your ability. His growth as a human being depends upon your determination to enhance his life.
Grow as an Environmentalist and Good Neighbor: You do not need to join Greenpeace. You can run to a DIY store in the early spring, when trees are on sale for $14, and you can plant a nice Japanese maple or a Dogwood. The tree will provide a home for birds once it matures.
Find an old terracotta saucer and put water in it for an instant birdbath. Change the water and scrub the saucer as needed. Hang a feeder in your yard.
Plant a patio garden. If you have nothing more than a 3 x 6 foot balcony, you can still plant herbs or tomatoes. Eat what you grow and share the produce of your good harvest with your neighbors. If you have a large amount of yard to spare, plant pumpkins and invite the neighborhood children to pick them in the fall. If you have a very large yard, ask your neighbors if they would be interested in a co-op garden; everyone contributes and shares in the bounty.
Donate to the ASPCA. Volunteer at an animal shelter. Offer to foster an animal. Inquire in your area about a Compassion Animal program. Adopt a retired racing greyhound (these make excellent Compassion Animals for hospital visits.) Bring cans of cat food to the local cat rescue lady.
Be conscious of what you buy and how it affects the environment. We can save the world one plastic bottle at a time. Recycle your cans. Don’t buy products made in countries that heavily pollute the environment (not many people are willing to do this; they do not want to give up all their comforts.) Grow as a Buddha/Example of Christ: If there is a need, fill it. Do so with the expectation that you will not be recognized. Make your actions count as acts of love. Allow your personal glory to wither completely away. You will not be seen (or treated) as a doormat if you approach your voluntary compassion with a sense of strength.
I wish you all the best of luck in your quest for growth.
There is music on my blog. Amazing, that! I had music many moons ago but the link was lost during all the template modifications. (You can turn it down at the very bottom of the page, left side.)
There is a meditative feel to the song selection, which was chosen deliberately. Now ask me why! Go on. It would compel me to dream up a decent answer. I really don’t know why the music is what it is nor can I put my finger on what lured me to it. Perhaps my soul desires tranquility. Perhaps I am meant to give out tips in relation to achieving it? I can not say.
I have spent the night attempting to get comfortable. My joints have been on fire; relief was a bit elusive. I do not mind. I’m accustomed to it. I will nap a little later on today and then go to my appointment slightly groggy. I am mentally eager for bed (I have been ready since 10 last night.)
I researched Saint Philomena last night. Her medallion was part of a recent acquisition; I was interested in an old prayer book and rosary. Saint Philomena, as it turns out, is the patron saint of lost causes (such as myself) and of the ill. She is also the patron saint of the infertile. Her medallion comes from France.
The rosary is almost too old to use. The blackened links are still sturdy but I’m afraid of accidentally damaging them.
The prayer book is a (possible) First Communion book from 1929 and once belonged to Agnes Lehrter, who scrawled her name on top of the very first page. The book is coming apart at the seams yet it feels like an old friend in my hands. It is also pre-Vatican II. I am not fond of Vatican II so truly this book is a little treasure.
I wholeheartedly hope that I can fall asleep soon.