Thursday, April 6, 2017

Suffering 101

Beautiful Mind
Squad 38
Jealousy Incarnate
The King's Face
Love Me If You Dare
Kill Me, Heal Me
Gaekju: The Merchant
Innocent Defendant
Tree With Deep Roots
Arang and the Magistrate
Scarlet Heart: Ryeo
The Legend of the Blue Sea
Better Call Saul
Grace and Frankie
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

On Writing
Why We Eat Pigs, Wear Cows, and Love Dogs
Divine Intimacy
Tuesdays with Morrie (on hold until further notice)
Woman's World (weekly)

....and this is part of what has occupied my time since December 20, 2016.

Tuesdays with Morrie was a book I started and threw into the back seat of our vehicle until I dare to face it again. It was hitting too close to home. Morrie had time. Morrie wasn't gone in a little over a week. Everyone prepared for Morrie to leave. Morrie prepared for himself to leave and was making the most out of his final moments. We did not. My Mother did not.

The suffering and sorrow that comes with losing a loving parent is not anything I'd wish on my worst enemy. It can consume you if you allow it. Any type of suffering can.

"The soul that is absorbed in its own sufferings and concentrates its whole attention on them, becomes unable to bear them serenely an courageously....Even when our suffering is intense, let us not exaggerate it, nor attach too much importance to it: let us not foster a morbid tendency to nurture our sorrow, to ponder over it, weighing and analyzing it under every aspect.. To act in this way would result in the paralysis of our spirit of sacrifice, of our ability to accept and to act, and would make us useless to ourselves and to others. One who is oversensitive and preoccupied with his own suffering, often becomes insensible and indifferent to the suffering of others." - Divine Intimacy

Losing my Mom on that day kicked into gear every thought of my own mortality, of sheltering my daughter from the dark hole that tends to swallow the strongest of us, and, literally, staying on my feet to do all I can while I am here, no matter how small the tasks.

As she lie upon the hospital bed, connected to everything but us, we gathered around her. We talked to her, we encouraged her, and we made sure she knew how much she was loved. When the time came for her to be called home, we were at her side with prayer, and watching the life leave her body. We toasted her with her favorite drink, cans of Pepsi (which mysteriously appeared in the room...seriously, they were NOT there earlier, only ginger ale!), and we thanked her for being such a stellar mother and grandmother. We stayed with the shell of her body left behind without her Spirit, wept, shared stories, and laughed a little. We finally left, reluctantly, as my daughter said, she didn't want her to be alone.

From that point on, there has been a humongous void in my life. It can't be filled by K-dramas, books, or magazines, or even the wonderful care and love from my family. I was sinking fast into the darkness of the soul many Saints spoke of and I was fully aware it was happening. It didn't shake my Faith but Life suddenly became tedious. It didn't happen immediately. As long as I was all about the business of handling the business of caring for Mom and travelling to make sure all went well for the rest of the family, I was, well, cool.

Girls' Night Out at Tracy Morgan's Show

But returning home, avoiding the street she lived on, the stores we frequented, the music she loved and the places we had our best laughs, even sitting in the car, or our last outing to see Tracy Morgan perform, I realized this is going to take more time than I thought. I can't pick up the phone to call her. I can't drop by to see her or surprise her with anything and we can't watch movies together. What about our annual gathering with my husband to watch Tombstone!. I'll have to bring palms to her on Sunday to a different place. I can't lovingly fuss at her about eating too much ham on Easter Sunday. I do laugh with her and talk to her, still. I see things she'd find amusing and laugh to myself.

I disappeared from the negativity of Facebook. I rarely make phone calls. Loving friends call me to check in. Family called. A wonderful priest told me to stop trying to hold in the grief and let my daughter know I feel it instead of 'being strong' for her. He emphasized the need to grieve together. It's better than grieving alone and brings loved ones even closer.

The suffering is real, Folks. How we handle it is by getting outside of it. We all think our suffering is the greatest because it is ours.

"We must forget ourselves, go out of ourselves and our own sufferings, become interested in the sufferings of others and endeavor to alleviate them. This is a very effective way to regain in times of discouragement the strength to bear our own crosses. We should be mindful of the truth that we are never alone in suffering: That if our sufferings are great, there are always those who suffer incomparably more than we. Our troubles, often enough, are but a drop compared to the sea of sorrows in which mankind is engulfed, and are practically nonentities in comparison with the Passion of Jesus." - Divine Intimacy

Throwing my time and energy, what little there is, into being an advocate for foster children is like a rope thrown down to me in that dark hole I fell into, helping me slowly climb to the surface. The suffering I see in young eyes that didn't ask for the situations they are in snaps me back to reality that there are, indeed, so many more worse things that can happen....and ARE happening in the World. I abandon myself to it. I must. 

I not only have to look outside of my own sorrows and sufferings but look outside of my house at others, look my city, at the State, at the Country, at the World! This, you would think, would make One more sorrowful at the overwhelming picture of suffering. But you'd be mistaken. It makes you see the needs and ignites the desire to do something about it. It forces you stop complaining and do something. It helps you see the beauty when a child hugs you and tells you they are glad you are there for them. It allows you to see that along with the suffering, there is peace. It makes you see one cannot exist without the other or you would appreciate neither.

My big brother, Dad, and Mom are not here. They are missed so very much. So, as I continue to binge-watch my Korean dramas, at the times I need to, and will pick up Morrie when I'm able to, I know this is, simply, Life. This is Living. This is Loving. This is Loss. But, it's not the End. The Love remains.

Sucarichi Reboot? What suffering can you name in yourself? How are you living with it? What are you doing to alleviate it outside of yourself?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Been There, Done That!

Imagine if he'd lost.

The thought occurred to me on the way to Mass. It would be so much worse for everyone. Stay with me now....

That fired-up population that supported Trump was being stoked into a frenzy of hatred, insults, all based on fear. Knowing they will soon become a minority in this country frightened them silly! It was predicted many years ago that the Hispanic population would grow at a considerable rate in the United States. Guess some of them had the book "MegaTrends" read to them. Sorry. I mean the rumor got around. Hence, the Great Wall of Trump.

Many rumors got around. When President Obama was elected, there were rumors he would become a dictator and have white people picking cotton. They were only off by 8 years. KIDDING! I will respect the Office of the Presidency. I will pray for the man that occupies the office. I will pray for his soul that seemed so disgustingly, dare I say, evil?, to be changed by God's grace. I've handed the reins over to God, which is what needed to happen for my own peace.

For the United States to have any semblance of Peace, this all needed to happen in just the way it did. The pseudo-manners needed to be seen for what it was. The fear, anger, hurt, and offenses needed to be heard on both sides if only to realize there are those feelings existing on all sides of humanity. I have plenty of theories about what will occur next but they mean nothing in the face of what he's promised.

It's, to use a weak term, unfortunate, that voters will find none of the promises kept, that they will lose more money, insurance, have more taxes to pay, and, sorry, no wall will be built. At least a physical one will not be built. IF the citizens of this country continue to be divided since Trump stirred the pot, we will all lose. Many cannot see that yet. Trust me, I hope I'm wrong. Still, all signs point to the egotist and what he can gain from where he is now.

He's currently stating that he doesn't want to live in the White House all the time but in his NYC penthouse apartment. So the King can look down upon the rest of the World as he's always envisioned? That's what he's concerned about now. Amongst all the work he'll need to hit the ground running to do, his penthouse and businesses are on his mind? OK. Those in his camp hint he didn't get the full job description before beginning this wild ride. I believe that. I say his party wanted anyone from the party to be there. I wish them luck controlling his impulsive, compulsive nature. Voters will find that much of what he proposed doing is not Constitutional, irrational, and, certainly, not under the description of President.

They may be very disappointed, in other words.

Me and people like me? We've been through so much in this country that this will be a cakewalk. That's why I encourage others not to lose their minds over this, try to soothe the angry rhetoric, and calm souls whenever I'm able. I do this only after I've checked my own feelings, of course. It's a struggle. But, this is just another bump on the American Road. We are the toddler of the World and were just given a loaded pistol.

For those too young to know or those who haven't studied U.S. History, we've been here before and survived with less. The young people protesting in the streets of all races and sexual orientations, my heart goes out to them. I realize they are hurting and want to get it all out of them. The emotions are running high. We mustn't let the emotions sap up all of our time and energy, though. Petitions will not remove Trump nor will it make Clinton president. A biggie would have to happen before the inauguration in January. So far he's done everything short of burn down an orphanage on Christmas Eve and still has support. Despite the conspiracy theories and dissatisfaction with the Election process, there is a Democratic process that was followed and must continue to be respected or we are all sunk. It's the rubber band holding this country together, these days.

Everyone has an issue that they thought would be resolved by whoever they voted for. That's not how it works. For instance, abortion is legal, with conditions in several States. Both parties have had their chance in office over the years and neither has actually done anything about it, for OR against. The reason they ignore it once elected is because it is a 'hot' issue that secures their base for their party. That's all. No one will ever change it. Google "stare decisis et quieta non movere". It is Latin and means to stand by and adhere to decisions and not disturb what is settled." Good luck finding a Supreme Court Justice of any belief that will mess with it. We can't agree on anything, let alone something as important as that law. This is the reason I disagreed with the American Roman Catholic Churches and their stances which were obviously against what Pope Francis could clearly see yet all Christians could not.

Anyway, there are many other issues to consider that won't necessarily be pointed at as moral ones, unless we are speaking about our planet's health, the benefits to elderly and disabled, giving helping hands to those who need it, not splitting up families and more. It makes us look like we are not as loving and charitable as I know we can be.

Meanwhile, I've had good friends for years that thought differently and could not discern why I could not endorse the man. These are truly good people with kind hearts. Every question was met with what sound like Trump's voice. No one was thinking for themselves or about others, at all. It pained me with all that was said and done against people who look like me, against women in general, they could still say he was the better candidate. They couldn't see. It made me question if they've ever really seen 'me'.  Are they among those who've sold their souls to the Devil for money or the promise of more money? Do they really not see the negativity brought out in others by him? Did they not see the darkness in the eyes at rallies, the physical attacks on others, the lack of reason and love? It made me question so much it shook my faith in man...a little. It did confirm that there is a faction feeling they must make others feel poorly in order to make themselves feel worthy. That is sad...But!....

Hey, still me over here. Will always be. This uniform I wear, this colorful outer shell, is decorative, yes. It is the first thing others see about me. But, it can cause fear, hatred, and breaks down communication. It makes others believe I lack intelligence, skills, or experience. It makes others think of me as 'less than'...less than human, not kind or loving to others and without a loving family. Still, some want to touch it. Some want to own it. They wonder if it comes off, if it's soft or rough, if they will like it or not. Not if they'll like ME or not.  I think that's the true fear. They might like it...and me. Then they have a real dilemma. They will care. Egads!

You think it's not easy being green? Try being brown in the USA. The country's mask was ripped off and shocked itself and the World. Thank you, Mr. Trump. It is a good thing you did, even if you don't realize it.

Reboot Challenge? No more 'tolerate' other races, seek to understand. No "agree to disagree", have the discussion not a fight. Love your enemy and everyone else, too!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

One Thing I've Learned....

Alright, maybe two or three.

1) No one thinks the same as you do, 2) No one can do what you do, and 3) No one else can BE you.

I should end this blog right there. But, you guys know me by now and I am incapable of that.

When I wrote my first book and published it, although it's under the pseudonym Rostand Reads, I had many people thinking and saying, "That came out of HER?"

What I write was very different than the 'me' others know. It should be that way or it's not good fiction, in my humble opinion. It surprises many that, yes, she has an imagination. So do you. If you don't write or even think and speak honestly and truthfully from your inner being, you risk being seen as a totally different person than intended.

You are what you think. Share it. It gets others going, too.

Getting the first book out there shocked many. The second and third of the series will, too.

When did she do that? How did she do it? Why didn't she say something about it? I have my reasons. When I complete something is when others find out about it, normally. That is to avoid the naysayers and fear-mongers of the world afraid to move and veer off-course. Not that I have any special talents that I know of, but when you do what only you can do, it's done in the way that only YOU can do it. Does that make sense?

For every step you take in life, it's yours and only yours. No one can step for you. No one else can bring you up or down (or shouldn't be allowed to!). No one is on your journey but you. Walk on. Oh, whatever, RUN if you want to!

There is only one You ever created on Earth. You have not existed in the past and will not one day in the future. What you leave behind you will matter to someone somewhere. Make it count. I'm leaving a beautiful, accomplished and fearless daughter behind one day, for sure. I don't expect to leave masterpieces behind in writing, painting, composing, or the cure for the common cold, but I'll tell you a secret.

Someone I greatly admire pointed this out to me recently and I have to share it.

The way you can tell how a person lives is not by judging them but observing them. It tells how they are and will be with you. It's how they treat the people they are responsible for in life.

You can see how parents are with their children, how politicians are with their constituents (and families!), husband and wives with each other, teachers with students, owners/managers with their get my drift. There is a wealth of information there about "the Person". In saying this, I realize, personally, how I must be aware of those I'm responsible for, including myself.

Be the person others can turn to. Be the person who cares for themselves. Be kind to yourself. Be the one that is willing to help and to listen. Be the one that respects and encourages others. Be the one that cheers when others do well. Be the one that loves everyone and wants the best for them and yourself. For there truly is only one 'you'.

Reboot Challenge? Start being the best YOU today.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Dove Right In!

With every blog post, I've tried to encourage others to live their lives to the fullest, in peace, try new everything, and love everyone. I, mostly, have hinted at leaving your comfort zone, not in that terminology.

Well. I decided to take my own advice.

I wrote a book. It may not be a classic any day. But, I wrote it. I edited it. I designed a cover for it. I self-published it. And, I market it on my own. I learned each step along the way and made mistakes that I had to brush off and start over and start all over again. It's been quite the learning experience. There are still quite a few things left to understand and grasp, but you get the main idea.

Who knew that I could do such a thing? It's not bragging. It's telling you that leaving your comfort zone that keeps you in one place and miserable or stagnant, is not as difficult as you think. I want to shout it from the rooftops but only my neighbors would hear me. Not sure my husband would bail me out or have me committed to an asylum, if I did.

So, that's the main topic I thought of this morning. Whatever it is that you long to do, do it! Whatever it is that you desire to learn or try, try it! It may not be the best, but it will be YOUR best. And that's really all that matters in the long run, right?

I refuse to be 80 years old one day (God willing!) and regretting that I never tried. It's not for the huge amount of sales one imagines. It's not to get my name out there because I publish under a pseudonym. It's not for bragging rights. It's just because I wanted to experience it.

There is more under wrap for this story, as a collection, for other book ideas I have on various topics, and who knows what will come next. We all have a book in us waiting to be written. This is what I imagined from The Five Chinese Brothers and Pippi Longstocking to Agatha Christie and Victor Hugo growing up. I'm an information-junkie and that will never change. My imagination can take any news article and bring up questions to be solved, lots of "what-ifs" and change it into a tale of whatever spills out.

Fear must have no part in any of the process. "What will people think?" "What if it doesn't sell?" "What if it's just baaaaaad?" Who cares? The process was for you and no one else. I want to get this book out there just because I want to share it with others. There is no other reason. If they like it, great. If not, O.K. my feelings aren't hurt. In fact, I encourage ALL honest reviews and opinions. It helps me become a better writer and stronger person than if all my family and friends said "That was fantabulous!" but didn't mean it. The bad comments will never kill you, I've decided.

If anyone is interested, it's here with probably some formatting issues I missed, but the story is a good short-read with more to come.

(Don't forget that review!!)

Book One ,We Were Choi and Lee is being sold on for Kindle, etc. and paperbacks. It's free for Kindle until 8/29/16 as a promotion to jumpstart it!

Reboot Challenge? DO IT! Whatever it is!