I See The Light (I think…)

moralcompassHuman nature is a crazy and unpredictable thing. The actions, thoughts, and feelings that make up a person are convoluted at best; so much so that sometimes that very person is rendered powerless to understand or navigate the labyrinth effectively. And, to make matters worse, those actions, thoughts, and feelings are clouded and shaped by current perceptions and past experiences, all the way back to childhood.

It’s no wonder that, without a strong and steady compass, so many people get lost and confused.

If that person cannot navigate on his/her own, can you imagine the impact this person will have on other people in his/her life? Sometimes without even knowing it? Like a ship without a rudder in a storm, it is only a matter of time before a collision occurs.

All of us are susceptible to this, not only to being navigationally-challenged, but also to being on the receiving end of someone who is. We are all human, and inherently imperfect; hence, on a daily basis we struggle with these exact issues.

My questions are: How do we best adjust for this element of our humanness? How do we recover from being the victim of the navigationally-challenged? And, a more difficult question, how do we prevent ourselves from victimizing others by our own personal challenges; basically, how do we stop the vicious cycle?

Each of these questions has only two answers:

  • Honing the ability to see the goodness in each other instead of focusing on the imperfections or the things they might do to hurt us
  • Learning how to trust

In “How to Trust People – Even When You Expect the Worst” on Oprah.com, the author, Alina Tugend, suggests that trying to not judge or pre-assess why someone is doing something, and instead accepting his action at face value, can be less taxing on our day-to-day efforts and can actually make us feel better about ourselves in the process, especially when it turns out that the person really did not have any ill-intent.

But, the best part of this is that being a victim becomes less of a concern. Because instead of generating negative energy on the hurtful and possibly emotionally degrading elements of your interactions with the person, you can focus on the good points of light in that person, no matter how small and flickering they may be. In this way, you begin to create positive energy and a connection with others, thereby contributing constructively to the bigger picture of why we are all here.

Seeingthelite“Once you see the light, there’s no way you can be casual about it. It gets hold of you. It moves you and shakes you. Even if you try to push it aside and turn your back on it, it haunts you…,” says the author of “Seeing the Light”.

In my own experience, I have employed this approach to the hurtful actions of other people and it has helped me to move past my pain. In the process, I have experienced freedom of mind and of spirit.

chainlinkThere is no denying that we are all connected in some manner, if only by our humanness. So, if we are all connected, what would be the point in stressing, severing, or otherwise permanently weakening one of the connecting links?

Correct: none!

© 2010-2013 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

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In Search of Dragonflies

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science”

Albert Einstein

It is believed, in many cultures, that dragonflies have special significance. Not only are they beautiful, swift, and elegant, but they are mysterious and diaphanous and represent freedom and change, and the easy acceptance of both.

thCAQVHBM3I became enamored with dragonflies the year my father died…1999. I saw them while he was in his short coma at the very end of his life. I saw them immediately after he passed, at his funeral, and even back at home in Texas. I began seeing them all around me.  At his grave site, one very large one landed on the temporary headstone and waited with us while we grieved his loss.

When I went back home to Texas, they would light on the antennae of my car or the post of the fence and sit there for what seemed like hours, watching. One day in particular, while I was getting my daughter and son ready for their first day of school (it was my daughter’s first day of kindergarten), a large greenish dragonfly alighted on the antennae of my Suburban that was parked in the driveway and in full view from the kitchen window. This beautiful dragonfly, something that is normally so elusive and fleeting, sat there during the whole morning routine and even stayed there as we walked noisily past it toward the bus stop.

In my heart, that was the spirit of my father shepherding his grandchildren into a new day and new adventures. Out near the bus stop, a group of over a dozen dragonflies swarmed.th[4]

I envisioned my dad up there with all of his friends. “Hey guys, let’s go down and take a look!” And, every time I see a dragonfly, even to this day, I say “Hi, Papa”. It doesn’t matter whether I am alone or not. Anyone who knows me, knows that this will happen when I see a dragonfly.

Almost ten years later, a very good friend of mine, who knew my passion for dragonflies and understood and accepted their significance in my life, took a picture of a large golden dragonfly that happened to land on his desk INSIDE the auto shop that he worked in. He took a picture and texted it to me. Unfortunately, I lost the picture when my phone got broken.

I have a dragonfly pin, a dragonfly Tiffany lamp, dragonfly figurines…even a dragonfly tattoo.

So, when I was recently at The Oasis with a good friend of mine, I couldn’t help but snap this shot….and then write about it.

Dragonflies at The Oasis

Dragonflies at The Oasis

Here is a poem that captures some of what I feel. It is written by Louise Bogan and it’s called The Dragonfly:

You are made of almost nothing

But of enough

To be great eyes

And diaphanous double vans;

To be ceaseless movement,

Unending hunger

Grappling love.

Link between water and air,

Earth repels you.

Light touches you only to shift into iridescence

Upon your body and wings.

Twice-born, predator,

You split into the heat.

Swift beyond calculation or capture

You dart into the shadow

Which consumes you.

You rocket into the day.

But at last, when the wind flattens the grasses,

For you, the design and purpose stop.

And you fall

With the other husks of summer.

Dad, this is for you. As I write, with unending love in my heart for you that will last for all time, I cry silently because I miss you. But I sure am glad that you pulled some strings up there enough to give me such beautiful and never-ending imagery to always remember you by. So that I, and my family, will never forget. 

© 2010-2013 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

What Was I Thinking?

At what point in the march toward maturity do we stop looking back at our actions, our words, wondering why we did that? We started out careless and free, but then we all had to grow up and think about consequences. Yuck!

Actions that felt right at the time they were taken but they get reviewed after the fact from the perspective of personal principles and societal views.

You look at something you did on a whim and the afterthought is “What was I thinking?”  Or, “That is definitely not me.” You second guess yourself.

But, yet, you did it and it is done.spur[1]

Whatever you did is not bad. Nor did it hurt anyone. Not even you. It is something that if someone would have told you that you did it, you would look at them with mouth agape and point to yourself “ME?”

These are actions  that you review after the fact, running the scenes through your mind like a motion picture, and can too easily distance yourself from them. Not take ownership of them. In fact, there might be scenes that if someone had taken video you would be tempted to cut those scenes right out of the picture. The actions are those of another person and are not the types of actions that represent you on a regular basis. They don’t represent the person that you present on the outside.

“Nope. I didn’t do that. That must be someone else.”

These are actions, if done by someone else, that you might find yourself envying that person for their free spirit and their ability to jump into actions for the moment and not over-think the consequences or the opinions of others. But, you might just as easily condemn that person for the same reasons.

These are actions that you might read about in a steamy romance novel or see in a movie scene, portrayed by actors who get paid the big bucks to put it in a public arena.

These are actions that you wouldn’t want your children to know about…or at least not until you are old and wrinkled, waiting for the end, and need to share the thought if only to prove that your existence mattered at some point.

These are actions that you wouldn’t want your mother to know about. These are actions that when you did them in your 20s they seemed appropriate because that’s what that age group does. After all, their brains are not completely formed yet. These are actions that you don’t attach to someone in your age group. People with fully formed brains don’t do things like this.

These are actions that belong in a diary and shared with no one.

These are the actions that if you over-analyze them, the thought can bring you low and make you question your own worth.

thCA38O3GWDon’t misunderstand. I am not speaking about regrets. I am not speaking about actions that if you had a chance to do them over you would choose a different course. Uh-uh.

These are actions that made you feel good, actions that felt right, and when you look back on them you still smile secretly.

These are actions that, if you allow yourself to go there, can be a tremendous source of comfort because the very part of what makes you think back and question what you were thinking is the same part that represents freedom of thought and action.

Because when you took that action, you were free. Free from condemnation, free from overthinking, free from all the burdens that have kept you down up until the time when you took the action. You were flying high and living your life in the moment.thCAUE75XS

These are actions that if you had stopped for a second to actually analyze whether you should or shouldn’t proceed, you probably would have stopped and made another choice, but you would have secretly regretted that you had missed the moment.

Missed an opportunity to connect on a higher level with a friend, missed a chance at a lifelong memory, missed a chance to live the life that has been given to you by the grace of God.

I have a tendency to over-analyze my life. I over-analyze my thoughts, my actions, sometimes every second; I can be really hard on myself over it all. The rare moments when I can do something free of the burden of over-analyzing are precious and few.

I take these moments now not in shame or regret, but as cherished keepsakes of the few moments when I was free.

As I proceed through my days, days when I will not be so free and will have to think things through, I will bring out these keepsake moments so that I can remind myself what it feels like to be on the other side of that burden.

WHITBY-BREAKWATERS2-quote[1]

© 2010-2013 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

Spotify As A Creative Outlet

What is your relationship with the music you enjoy listening to? Is it comfortable and dependable, the same artists, the same tunes, all the time? Or is it electric, dynamic, and changing with the scenery and your mood? Is it vinyl or electronic? Mobile or stationary? Does your music affect you or do you affect your music?

I never used to think about any of these. I used to listen to all the same artists, all the same CDs, all the same radio stations playing the same playlists in the same order…over and over again. And it all evoked the same emotions in me…over and over again.

I never realized how boring it was until I became Spotified.

By now, most people have at least heard of Spotify. If you have not, here are some main points:

  • Spotify is a cloud-based music library that was launched last year in the U.S.
  • Since then, there have been a few glitches and complaints about it but mostly it is growing in popularity.
  • By joining Spotify, you can stream to your computer millions of songs from every genre…for free.
  • You can access dozens of Spotify themed radio stations to your phone.
  • You can create and maintain your own playlists and interact with the playlists of your Facebook friends.
  • You can add friends in Spotify, even if they are not on Facebook.

In other words, in regards to music, creativity, and interactive capabilities, Spotify has all of it.

But, like any new idea, I balked at it for awhile. I was blindly happy in my musical cocoon because I didn’t know any better. Even though I was told a new way of listening to music was out there, I was unwilling to try the new way. Give me my CD case and I was happy. Give me my rock radio station and my alternative radio station and I was happy…even if they played the same music every day.

It was something I could depend on.

I was first introduced to Spotify during a weekend road trip. Entertainment during the 12 hours of driving was provided by Spotify playlists. I was instantly enthralled by the huge variety of music. Much of it I had heard before, but not in years. The other part of it I had never heard but it piqued my curiosity.

But I continued in my musical darkness, even when the pinprick of light representing musical freedom and creativity was out there…somewhere.

When I did venture out of my musical cocoon long enough to investigate what Spotify had to offer me, I was pleasantly overwhelmed. At the click of a mouse, I was able to get to all of the music that I loved, and still love, from my youth. Bands like Boston, Billy Joel, Guns ‘N Roses, Aerosmith, Ratt, Def Leppard, and more. That list is exhaustive, but easy and dependable.

From this base, I began to create playlists. I began with one labeled Adrenaline, which included Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ratt, Metallica, Nickelback, Foo Fighters, U2.

I got bored, in a way, and began to venture into other music. Not only music from genres and bands that I have never heard of before, but songs from bands that I have heard of but that never got airtime on mainstream radio.

I am now a fan of bands and artists like Richard Ashcroft, Jason Aldean, Imagine Dragons, David Gray, Matthew West, Easton Corbin.  With the help of artists like this, I created a few more playlists, like Chill and Introspection and Perspective.

As you can see, the pinprick of light was growing. My cocoon was cracking. I was being freed.

I have established a love affair with artists that I have heard of but never truly had the opportunity to experience freely, like Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Dream Theater, Apocalyptica.  Some of the music from these artists ended up in my Dream On playlist.

When I attended Austin City Limits (ACL) recently, I used Spotify to research the line-up. By this method I learned about artists like The Avett Brothers, NEEDTOBREATHE, Noah Gunderson, Royal Teeth, and Moon Duo.

I have used all of this new music to update my five active playlists: an eclectic mix of the old, and the new. None of which would have been probably as cheaply, easily, and quickly as it is with Spotify.

Now, I am completely free; no longer bound by physical media or held at the mercy of the radio stations that only play what they are told to play.

I choose; I create; I listen; I enjoy. I am free.

I highly recommend Spotify to anyone who is bored with their current music and is interested in expanding their old musical tastes in new ways. Who wishes to experiment with music and engage their creativity.

I guarantee that for the open-minded and curious, Spotify will not disappoint.

 

© 2010-2012 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

Perspective

Which way to go?

What do you do when you get lost?

Not lost in a good book or lost in his eyes.

But truly lost…confused, turned around, misplaced, misdirected.

Have you ever been lost? Have you ever allowed yourself to lose your way, move out of your element, be the tossed ship at sea in the middle of a storm. Put yourself in a place where you don’t see any landmarks you recognize. A place where the GPS is clueless and the neighborhood is changing from posh to poverty. Where you are in unstable and/or unsafe surroundings.

That’s the type of lost I am talking about. You can get there by accident, by mistake…or you can choose to go there. Doesn’t matter.

A complete loss of perspective. Nothing familiar to grab onto. No breadcrumbs to follow.

What do you do? What have you done in the past? What would you do now?

I guess there are some who choose to wait it out, stay close to what they know. Maybe instead of foraging forward into a scenario they are unsure of, they hang back…afraid, tentative. Do they have perspective? Maybe…but only in terms of the perspective a fish may have of its fishtank. Confined, constrained. No way out. Possibly distorted and myopic. Can’t make out much of anything past the boundaries of the glass container. No lush details to expand perspective and outlook on life. (not to mention that a fish can’t breathe out of water ~ a topic for another post).

Not really lost…only afraid. Fear holding perspective hostage.

There are expanding variations of this ‘cage’ metaphor, of course. The barred cage where one can see the outside and the detail but still can’t get there. This connotes a certain longing to be free but an inability to break the chains.

If the fish breaks the boundaries of the bowl, like Nemo, or the lion escapes the pride and can roam freely, like Simba, what next?

First, an immediate change of perspective from the comfortable to the distressing. The lines that were drawn within the previous boundaries are broken and ineffective. They either must be re-drawn or extended and tweaked to fit the new environment.

Panic may ensue; questioning of self and purpose. Flight or fight.

Flight will feed the fear and thus strengthen the captor. Fight will break the captor and free the hostage, and hence allow new lines to be drawn.

Drawing these new lines leads to the discovery of new touchpoints, new bread crumbs, new landmarks.

Shortcuts, scenic routes, fresh concepts….

New lines….fresh perspective.

Purging the fear and releasing the hostage.

Baz Luhrmann said it in Everybody’s Free: “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

What scares you? What makes you feel lost and confused? What makes you uncomfortable?

Do it and free your mind, your soul, to experience a brand new perspective. After all, if you don’t do the things that scare you, and you don’t open up your perspective, how can you ever hope to find the beauty and perfection, the pure freedom, that God has planned for you?

© 2010-2012 Kimberly Bluth or Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss (Bluth).