Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘hope

Two Wolves

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Last week, Cyndie and I squeaked in time after a hard day’s work to watch the Disney movie “Tomorrowland” (2015) that arrived in the mail on our Netflix subscription. We liked it a lot. It includes significant references to the popular teaching legend about two wolves, which highlights the importance of how our thinking influences our lives.

We have been repeating variations of the punchline with noticeable frequency in the days since.

A simple synopsis taken from the movie:

Casey Newton: “There are two wolves” … You told me this story my entire life, and now I’m telling you: There are two wolves and they are always fighting. One is darkness and despair, the other is light and hope. Which wolf wins?

Eddie Newton: Whichever one you feed.

This resonates for me, because it reflects my direct experience from my years of chronic depression through the ensuing years following wonderfully successful treatment. I learned to feed the good wolf instead of the bad one.

This recent focus on the two wolves legend has renewed my attention to how often I still automatically default to a negative perspective, despite my desire and intentions to do otherwise.

I stepped in the house at the end of a long, strenuous day of laboring on our property and Cyndie checked in with me, commenting on the vast number of things we accomplished. Without missing a beat, my response grabbed the equally vast number of tasks that remain in need of attention.

Luckily, that default response no longer goes unnoticed by me. I caught myself and admitted I was feeding the wrong wolf.

It’s as if I feel the cheery perspective of the state of things requires a counterbalance to keep it from being a false representation of reality. But, thinking about it, I could see that no matter how I chose to frame it, either mental perspective did not physically change how many projects we did or didn’t complete that day.

The reality of whether the grass needs mowing or downed branches need to be turned into piles of wood chips does not change based on how I assess our achievements of the day.

So why not feed the good wolf?

In life’s ongoing battle between darkness and despair, and the alternative of light and hope, which one should we be feeding? I vote for light, hope, love, peace, compassion, understanding, and even more love.

Thank you, Tomorrowland, for sowing the seeds.

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Thereof

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I’m trying to think what it is
that’s eating at me
I’m sentimental
this much I know
but I think there’s more to it
than that
it’s a feeling
or something that is creating
a feeling
deep in the farthest reaches
of what constitutes
me
or it could be a lack
I know there is something missing
something I’ll never get back
just like every other time before
what is it about this instance
that makes it any different
I was lost when I got here
why should it feel any different now
other than the added loss of foundation
in all I hold dear
daily being victimized by a bumbling buffoon
who somehow hoodwinked enough people
to make off with a prize
thoroughly and completely
undeserved
as if just to make some point
at the expense of all that’s good and right
and now an invisible sooty stink
sticks to everything
while the best and brightest
stumble around trying to make sense
of a system that is collapsing beneath them
like sand castles against unrelenting gusts of wind
I no longer remember
where I set the things
that mattered to me most
and the grains are flowing fast
through that graceful narrow space
of my delicate hour-glass
yet my work seems hardly done
pushing so many stones
up all of these grassy knolls
with all the water rising
and glaciers sadly waning
none of the genies
will ever go back in their bottles
and maybe that is what’s eating at me
but I have my doubts
my mind is a fragile thing to trust
busy both directing and reacting to
the chemistry experiments
simmering and sublimating
within my flesh and bones
while the invisible forces
of heart-fields and magnetic solar waves
simultaneously push and pull at us all
blindly gliding through
their ephemeral energized confines
we’re all distracted by shiny things and squirrels
dashing for the proverbial carrots
dangling in our minds eyes
sentimental racing rats
too often forgetting to focus
on the ultimate binary truth
concisely boiled down to
love
or
the absence
thereof

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Written by johnwhays

March 25, 2018 at 9:18 am

Embattled Planet

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I do my best to send love out into our world, but lately it feels a little short, in terms of effectiveness.

We had a lovely time out to dinner with family in downtown Minneapolis last night to honor Julian’s birthday. I’ll give a happy shout out to Randle’s restaurant on the Nicollet Mall. Nothing pretentious about a straightforward menu and lots of sports on tv screens covering the perimeter walls.

This is the view I had coming home, and this is about as clear as it looked to my weary eyes:

During the long drive home, I was basking in the afterglow of the wonderful time we had, while also contemplating the attention grabbing headlines of catastrophic weather and geographic cataclysms. With hurricane Maria wreaking havoc in the Caribbean and the severe earthquake that occurred in Mexico, previous travails get overshadowed, yet are no less deserving of continued support.

From the challenges of renters forced to continue paying rent for unlivable properties in Houston and Florida in the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, to the cholera outbreak in Yemen during their civil war, and the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya muslims in Myanmar, as well as everyday ongoing poverty and homelessness, there seems to be no end to the struggles around our globe.

I get to sleep in a comfortable bed, with a safe roof over my head, blessed with spectacular late-summer weather seeping in through an open window.

I don’t deserve to have it so good, and it makes it hard to fully immerse my mind in the blissfulness when others suffer so.

Sending love to all the aforementioned, as well as to all others with needs, known and unknown.

Would that it be that each loving intent we project out into the world would have influence enough to make some measure of difference, no matter what challenges others are facing.

Put more simply, I hope it helps.

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Written by johnwhays

September 21, 2017 at 6:00 am

Empowering Love

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Editorial cartoon by James T. Pendergrast for Rolling Stone, June 2002

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Imagine replacing the negative with the opposite:

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Let fearlessness enhance enlightenment to fill our crucibles with love! 

 

Let’s carefully teach everyone, before it’s too late, to love all the people, “all our relations” on this planet, fearlessly.

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Written by johnwhays

March 26, 2017 at 10:03 am

Which Way

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In the months following Cyndie’s knee replacement procedure at the end of November, I admittedly neglected the labyrinth. Contrary to previous winters, this year I haven’t bothered to walk the path each time it snowed. On Sunday, Cyndie mentioned that she wanted to use the labyrinth again. It was time to tread that pattern.

It wasn’t as easy to execute the proper turns as I had hoped. With the rocks mostly buried, I needed to start from both the outer entrance heading in, and then from the center, heading out, before I figured out precisely where I needed to be.

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Once I had figured out the correct route, as we walked the path and chatted I began to notice a lift in my spirits. Cyndie pointed out something I had completely overlooked: she was walking on the snowshoes with her new knee. It was a noteworthy achievement.dscn5770e

I also discovered something else that was occurring.

My neglect of the labyrinth for the previous months had been intentional, giving me one less thing to tend to during Cyndie’s convalescence. During those months, I felt a small sense of pleasure over not spending any energy on it. What I didn’t realize was, ignoring the labyrinth was contributing to my feelings of hopelessness.

There was this duality again. (See comments with Jim on my post “Being Me.”) I didn’t want to have the labyrinth, and I did want to have it. Both feelings were present at the same time.

It feels like having Cyndie and the labyrinth both functional again is helping me to find my way once more.

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Written by johnwhays

February 7, 2017 at 7:00 am

A Glimmer

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I stumbled upon the television broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards show on Sunday night. Finally, I experienced a glimmer of hope that has been missing for me. My heart swelled when Meryl Streep publicly expressed some of the same sentiments I share about the prospect of our country having a President who displays boorish and bullying behavior.merylstreep

I know there are a lot of people who feel these same concerns, but I just haven’t been seeing the type of response Meryl provided: non-political, public, to a large live audience, and well thought out and articulated. A moment to point out the king has no clothes.

The tweeted response —in itself, a very un-Presidential behavior— was as juvenile as usual, saying Meryl is “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood…”

Really?

There are other voices expressing their views of the pending commander-in-chief, like this reference that I saw in Monday’s StarTribune Opinion page commentary:

“But there is no chance that Donald Trump can or will ever represent and nurture our best values, behavior, aspirations and ideals.

 That is the great contrast between Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

It’s an irony, for sure, that Obama — a man of discipline, dignity and intellect — will yield the office to Trump — a man of impulse, vulgarity and demagoguery.”

Dick Meyer Scripps Washington Bureau (TNS)

Reading an opinion piece in the paper doesn’t provide the same rallying hope as witnessing a public message delivered live to a wide audience.

I don’t expect any of this to alter the outcome of having the current President-elect assume the duties of leading the United States of America. His mysterious agenda will play out whether or not the universal public opinion of him suddenly becomes fully aware of who he really is.

What is his weird (scary) love for Russia and Putin all about, anyway?

Didn’t we discover who he really was when we got to hear him disparaging women? When we witnessed him bullying interviewers and other candidates? When we heard him boasting about any and every topic that he was the best, or loved (fill in the blank) more than anyone, whenever he was challenged?

Meryl explains things clearly:

It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I can’t get it out of my head, because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life. And this instinct, to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.

Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.

No wonder I have been suffering from a losing feeling lately. The bully is using his powerful position, and we all are paying for it. Disrespect invites disrespect. That’s a chain I would gladly break.

It’s a shame that the chain of disrespect will be starting all the way from the top now.

I hope I can find more occasions with public expressions of views like Meryl shared Sunday night. More than ever, we need to sow seeds of hope and love from the bottom up, to fracture any chains of bullying disrespect coming down from the highest position in this country.

Amen.

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Written by johnwhays

January 10, 2017 at 7:00 am

Improving Outlook

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It is said that one way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. I won’t deny being an easily satisfied eater. Ply me with delectable delights and I will instantly offer my allegiance. Cyndie and George hatched a plan to assuage my recent exhaustion and woe with a promise of homemade pizza and some massage.

Who wouldn’t begin to feel more hopeful at offerings like that?

I decided to take some of my own advice, choosing to turn off the sad news flowing constantly out of my car radio and replacing it with my personal library of long-cherished music for the drive home from the day-job yesterday. It was bad enough that I had to commute to the day-job on my usual extra day on the ranch. I didn’t need the added downer of endless news-feed distress.dscn5679e

I stepped in the door from walking the dog and tending to the horses to find George’s smiling face in the kitchen. He was working dough and creating scrumptious food art that looked as good as it smelled. And trust me, it ultimately tasted even better than it’s aroma implied.

As if that wasn’t enough to loosen my strings, Cyndie had a fire glowing in the fireplace and offered up the opportunity to have my stress headache massaged away.

Yeah, those knotted muscles in my back and shoulders were real. Real crunchy.

Right up until they weren’t.

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And as quickly as that, the ache in my head wasn’t so noticeable, either. Now that’s my kind of medication for what ails you. Turn off the news, put on good music, get massaged, and eat a special meal prepared by hand with loving care. No pills or alcohol required.

I’m feeling some hope that these steps of intervention have me well placed to carry on a search for that hope I lost somewhere along the way in November.

Cyndie is gaining strength and ability every day in her journey of healing and rehabilitation, post knee replacement surgery. I am beginning to believe once again that she will someday be able to help care for the horses and walk Delilah, which would lighten my load considerably at a time when the demands of the day-job appear to be intensifying significantly.

If I am unable to find hope in anything else at this time, I am at the very least relieved to have found hope in this improving outlook.

Here’s to the prospect of a lighter load.

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Written by johnwhays

January 7, 2017 at 7:00 am