This is one of the most challenging, exciting, and scary presidential campaigns I have experienced – in my lifetime! Perhaps that sounds dramatic, but it’s true. For many years, I never even voted – I was one who insisted “My vote doesn’t count anyway.” That didn’t really change until 2008 when I, like thousands of others, had had enough of the Bush machine and wanted “Hope” and “Change.”
Many of us were disappointed that President Obama was either unable or unwilling to make ALL the changes he promised he would make, but then – a Republican Congress vowed they would say “NO” to everything and anything that President Obama put forth. Which means, despite being disappointed, I am encouraged and impressed with what he WAS able to accomplish in his two terms. And I, along with thousands of others, agree that he is a remarkable man and President.
And now comes a time that is really kind of unbelievable. It is almost a ‘reincarnation’ of Martin Luther King’s dream – and I am honored, excited, and terrified to be alive and able to participate in this election process. My belief is that this is one of the, if not THE most important election this country has ever held. The future of America stands on the brink of New Life or extinction based on the results of this election.
In case you hadn’t already figured it out, I am a staunch Bernie Sanders fan. I’m in the last part of my life – neither a Boomer nor a Millenial, but an Oldster. And like others my age, we have seen the results of the Holocaust, of Nazi Germany, of WWII, all the more recent wars, and the ups and downs of this country. And we stand firm with Senator Sanders. He is the only one who has the possibility of bringing this country anywhere even close to “The American Dream” – the dream of equality, of water for everyone, of non-GMO foods, of a healthy and vibrant America.
I urge you to choose love, not hate, in this season of high tensions and challenges. Rather than bad mouthing Trump and Clinton, put your energies into promoting Bernie Sanders. Choose to talk positively about him and let the chips fall where they may for “The Two Dwarves.” We don’t have to rail against them anymore – there is already a strong movement to disown them, along with Debbie Wasserman-Shultz. The DNC is falling apart, thanks to Hillary and Debbie, and the GOP has given up the reins to Trump. He has now named Sarah Palin as his VP – something that contributed greatly to the downfall of John McCain – and that will do the same for Trump. Personally, I think he is doing everything he can to not get elected – he doesn’t really want the presidency and was just doing it ‘for a lark’ – and now has been pressured into it and can’t find his way out. So he will continue to do and say rather stupid things in his attempts to lose this election. See? We don’t need to waste our time or energy on Clinton or Trump – they are handing the election to Bernie with every word they speak and every one of their actions.
What we NEED to do is to focus on getting Bernie Sanders elected. Get him nominated and then elected. Focus on the high road. When you want to spit poison at someone you oppose, think “What Would Bernie Do?” – and you know very well he chooses love over hate – so let’s us do the same.
Let’s choose love – and work to get Bernie Sanders as our next President of the United States.
I lay in bed, grasping my sides and moaning piteously in my efforts to keep from heaving my insides out even though there wasn’t anything left inside. As I lay there with a raging fever, my aching body thrashed around on perspiration soaked bedclothes, while a single thought roiled in my brain like waves crashing on the rocks below in a wintry storm: “Why bother?”
“Why bother?” The question springs up only in those times when a virulent fever ruthlessly thrusts aside every conscious thought and instead interjects outlandish hallucinations, agonized whimpers and wretched creatures of nightmare.
In other words, it doesn’t happen all that often. When it does, however, I am left drained and depleted, with only scattered images of hellish ordeals, aching and painful muscles, and the ghostly (ghastly) echoes of my own helpless moans as residua. The specter of my father, who committed suicide at an early age, arises again. “Like father, like daughter,” I think (even though he was a young man at his death and I am now more than twice his age). I wonder, yet again, “Is suicide really an option – for me?” How many times have I asked this question throughout the years? And why do I ask? Because, for me it’s all part of my most important question: Why bother? So, once again, I contemplate the idea of ending my life. How would I? Why do it, or why not? And once again, I arrive at the same conclusion that (in my mind), suicide is always an option. Will I select that option? Not today. It’s not time to end this existence. Because before I can take such an action, I need to answer this persistent and nagging question. Why Bother?
Fever raged through my body for 72 hours, most of which were spent unconscious, at best subconscious. Eventually, things quieted and semi coherent thought carefully poked its quivering nose out, braving the storm to ask again: “Why bother?” It was, after all, the only question requiring an answer. Nothing else could be accomplished until that question was resolved. “So, Jan, let’s have a go at it, eh?”
Why bother … trying?
I reflect on my coaching career as it continues growing toward success for me and my clients.
But … what if I don’t bother? What will happen then?
Someone else will pick up the pieces and create a success for themselves and my/their clients. So … Is success really all that important? Hmm, something to think about.
Why bother … speaking?
I think of my coaching clients and how excited I am for them when they ‘get it’ – the pride I feel for them with each step they take.
But … what if I don’t bother? What will happen then?
If I’m not around, someone else will take them in hand and help them succeed. Sooo … is it important for me to feel pride for them? Or for myself?
And what about … with relationships?
Oh, I’ve loved the many special times with family and friends.
But … what if I don’t bother?
Like George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life; I reflect that if I’m not around, it won’t really impact their lives in any meaningful way, will it. Life goes on, after all. And really, what’s the main purpose of friends and family, anyway? Is it approval, or acknowledgement, or some form of recognition – of belonging? Do I really feel a need to belong? And if so, why?
And the ultimate question …
Why bother … living?
Now, that is the real question, isn’t it: Why bother even living?
What is so important that I should keep trying, breathing, feeling, living? Especially lying here, completely wrung out and too weak to do anything about it?
It’s funny, isn’t it, that when an intense question like that arises in our minds (at least it’s true for me) it requires thought and consideration to dredge up an answer. But there is also the awareness in that chaotic swirling, still only semi coherent process, that in reality the answer is irrelevant – it’s the question that is of ultimate importance.
“Okay, Jan, this thing needs a bit of thought organization, doesn’t it? So, thoughts, start organizing yourselves, and answer the question. ‘Cause, there’s nothing I can do, about anything, until you resolve this one thing. Unable to get myself untangled from these twisted bed clothes; no food, no shower, and still not even any energy – so just lie here a bit longer and focus, and answer the bloody question. I’m too weak to do anything but crawl to the bathroom anyway, so it’s easier to just lie here and contemplate.”
Okay: The questions.
Why should I bother continuing to grow a successful business? If I don’t do it, there are a lot of people out there who will step in and do it. So my success isn’t anything truly special, is it?
And what about my coaching clients? What will they do if I don’t bother? Already stated; there are plenty of coaches who will step up and help clients become successful. Which means I’m not really needed there. Two down.
Why bother with relationships, of any kind? I mean life goes on, doesn’t it. People may occasionally think of me and miss me, but … is that enough reason to bother? I don’t think my life really impacts many others all that much, so why bother? What’s the point?
Now we’re down to the real question, Jan. Why bother living? If there is no ‘purpose,’ no ‘scheme of things,’ no particular goal, and nothing particular to achieve, then what IS the reason to keep on living?
My mind drifts off once more, floating in a nebulous cloud of semi-awareness and silence. No emotions, no needs, no wants. Only the comforting silence. Waiting.
Drifting, like a quiet breeze wafting in through the window, clearing the air and sweeping the fog from my still sluggish brain, words appear: “To experience the experience.”
In Conversations With God, Neale Donald Walsch wrote, and I have to paraphrase here, that there is no great or grandiose purpose, no goal, no raison d’etre for our lives. The only reason we are here, at least in my interpretation, is to experience the experience.
When I first read that book series and made that connection, I thought, “Well, that’s depressing, isn’t it!” I mean, If there is no purpose, then Why Bother at all? As I worked my way through the process and understood that my soul/sole purpose here on this earth is simply to experience the experience, and I mean every experience that I create, a sense of joy flowed through me. My mind excitedly embraced the freedom of that thought. No longer did I have to try to live up to some unstated purpose or reach some unreachable goal. I was given the freedom to relax into each and every moment and simply experience the experience. The relief, the joy of that discovery was profound.
And slowly now my feverish brain remembered. I remembered that the reason to ‘bother’ is to ‘experience the experience.’ No need for judgment or classifying an experience. The ONLY thing I need to do is let myself BE, and like tree sap in spring, a profound joy began to fill me once again.
Gently thoughts began to glide through my mind. No need to strive, Jan. Just let yourself experience the experience. Nothing more. Of course, success is lovely. Yes, there’s a certain high with success. Yes, yes, yes. But … that didn’t seem an important enough reason to make me want to bother. But … just to experience that experience? Who would want to miss out on that?
What about relationships then? Why else but to experience the experience! How else will you or I experience love, friendship, compassion, happiness, anger, despair and delight? The only possible way to do that is through the experience itself. And ALL we have to do is to experience the experience. Isn’t that amazing?
It’s irrelevant if ANY experience could be labeled ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ make me ‘happy’ or ‘sad’ or ‘mad’ – it’s just all part of the experience – and I remember now that the only reason I am here is to experience the experience. Not to judge the experience, simply to experience the experience. The sense of freedom has my mind soaring.
The process continued; I can succeed or fail in business, do my best for my clients, build relationships, go for a walk or a cruise, skydive, swim in the ocean, sit alone and read a book, listen to music, or meditate. It really and truly doesn’t matter what I do – because my ONLY ‘job’ in this life is to experience the experience – EVERY experience. And to continually remind myself not to judge the experience, simply to experience it. To savor it. Taste it. To smell it, wrap myself up in it, luxuriate in it, and feeeel the emotions of the experience as completely and purely as possible.
To allow myself to LIVE each and every experience, as fully as I am able, and to give myself the amazing experiences of this juicy, luscious, filled-with-emotion experience called living. Even if and in those times I might experience pain.
Since I’m not ill very often, when it does happen, my mind feels ensorcelled and this recovery seems to be slow. But each time I awaken, I discover the answer is always the same, which makes sense since the question is always the same question: Why bother?
My answer: Because the reason I am here, in this human form, is to simply and completely experience the experiences of my life. I feel no demand to serve a greater purpose, no unreachable goal to achieve, no soaring ambition to be fulfilled. The ONLY need I have is to experience the experience – of my life, of living.
You may have different answers. Feel free to share with me in the comments below. I would love to hear from you and the discoveries you have made for your life.
If you feel a knee-jerk reaction and/or compulsion to preach at me and tell me that “finding Jesus” is the only true purpose, you need make no effort to convert me to your belief. However, I eagerly invite you to live YOUR life according to your own personal belief. For myself, I’ve spent many long hours searching, studying, praying, meditating, thinking, and feeling, and allowing myself to arrive at my own conclusion, which is this: I am here on this earth for the soul/sole purpose of experiencing this experience of life. To allow each experience to flow over, around and through me; to wallow in it and to milk every last morsel of expression from it; to fully embrace and experience LIVING.
What do you think?
April 5, 2016
Update: My brain finally cleared today sufficiently to research the symptoms of my slow and delayed recovery. Duh. Due to almost 72 hours without food or liquids, I had become severely dehydrated. Should you begin to get ill, I urge you to stock a supply of water/juice/liquids by your bedside for those times when you are aware enough to fumble around at all, and to force yourself to drink, even sips, as often as you can. You may rest assured that I will be following my own advice on this as well.
Please comment and share.
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Did you know you can freeze avocados? It’s true – you can. I was really excited to learn it was possible and have tried several ways to do it over the past couple years, until I found the one that worked best for me.
The first article I saw about, the writer said that she cut the avocado in half, then snugged a baggie around each half (leaving the stone in one half) and froze them. I thought, “Whew! That takes up too much space in my small freezer!”
My next effort was to partially smash an avocado and stuff it into a snack baggie, then to sprinkle some Fruit Fresh on it. It sort of worked in that it saved space, but any portion of the avocado that the Fruit Fresh missed turned brown.
My next method, and the one I still use today, is as follows.
Cut the avocado in half and remove the stone.
Clean the meat out of the shell into a bowl.
Smash the avocado until it’s just mush, then sprinkle on some Fruit Fresh. Mix it in really well. You want to be sure that it “touches” every part of the avocado meat – sort of like mixing sugar into a recipe. Make sure it’s well blended.
When it’s ready, scoop the whole mess into a snack baggie.
Close the baggie, trying to get as much air out of it as possible. Then mush the avocado around to make a nice flat packet. One avocado fits perfectly into one snack baggie.
Put several snack baggies into a quart freezer baggie (or gallon size if you have that quantity).
Take a piece of transparent tape (Scotch tape) and write “Avocados” on it, then put that on your freezer baggie. This way, when you’re done with that freezer baggie, you can simply remove the tape and Voila! It’s good to go for its next use!
When you’re ready to make guacamole or you want to try baking using avocado in your recipe, just grab one of your baggies from the freezer and off you go!
You can do something similar with soups – put the soup into a plastic container, label the container with your tape. Once it is frozen, remove the soup from the container and put it into a quart freezer baggie. Take your tape from the container and put it onto the baggie. Makes it easy to store – and easy to give away without having to remember to give/get your container back.
Okay, so I found a house sitting gig in Lincoln City, Oregon. It’s not on the beach but still, it’s at the coast, right? The place is home to three guys – which means there is hardly anything to use; cleaning supplies, kitchen supplies, and lots more. The father, Ricardo, works for NOAA and is gone for several months at a time. He works on a ship in Alaska with a bunch of scientists. They go to specific areas (including the Bering Sea) to count pollock as the world depends on this fish (something I was not aware of before this). His son and nephew live at the house here, although the nephew is rarely around, except to sleep, shower, and head out. The son, Eddie, is 20. Although he has some quirks and needs someone here, he’s a really interesting and intelligent guy. I’m enjoying getting to know him.
There has been a lot of household stuff to do; like get supplies, clean, organize (mostly the kitchen), etc., and I’m now finally back online! And also finally have this place into more comfortable livability – yay! Yesterday, however, was a challenge. On Saturday, after washing a BUNCH of pots and pans, I looked under the sink for something and discovered water gushing everywhere. Gasp! Of course, there is no one available on a Sat evening, and no one on Sunday either. So yesterday morning, I was delighted to welcome the contractor – who was a genius! He fixed that issue – whoever had installed the dishwasher (which I was not using) hadn’t put any clamps on the hose – so the one time I used it earlier last week – well, you get the idea. Who installs a dishwasher and doesn’t use clamps for the hose?
Anyway, David also fixed the kitchen faucet, which had been installed incorrectly (same person as the one who did the dishwasher?). AND, he fixed some kitchen drawers that weren’t functional! Woohoo! Kitchen functional. Except … in this house, the washer and dryer are also in the kitchen. So, I threw the sopping towels that I’d used under the sink into the washer – which suddenly stopped working at all. After researching it on the web, I found that the filter needed to be cleaned (at least every 2 months). Okay, no problem, right? Wrong!
So I pull out the little drain hose to drain the water before uncorking the filter basket – to no avail. I tried everything I could to get that sucker open – no deal. Finally, I decided to just try the filter basket and, of course, water began gushing out. Stopped that up and then found that there was a large pedestal drawer under the washer that was empty – yay! Extra work, but hey – at least I could get to that filter, which was disgusting! It had not only lint but included tape, labels, pine needles, etc. Not surprising that poor machine couldn’t drain!
Of course, the pedestal drawer was half full of water (lucky it was only half full) that had me bailing empty. Plus more towels, of which there are only a few, getting sopping wet from all the water that missed the drawer. But the filter was clean, reinstalled and the washer was once again happy. Before the next time, I’m going to have to figure out how to get that drain hose apart!
Turns out that the landlady, who lived in this house for 10 years, had NEVER cleaned the filter basket! I’m surprised it took this long for it to clog up, but with three guys doing laundry, and now me in the mix, I guess it was time. The internet sites say to clean it every 2-4 weeks, not months as it says on the machine. I’ll be fixing that darned hose and cleaning that filter, for sure!
So now, things are in order around here and I’m back online! Woohoo!
UPDATE: The evening after writing this, my young charge did a laundry – his sheets, so a normal load. I heard some noises in the kitchen so went to check and stepped into 2″ of water! It turns out that the drain hose blew right out of the wall, spewing water everywhere! Poor guy saw the water and knew it would have to be cleaned up so took himself for a walk to the local IGA (closest grocery store to the house) and purchased a mop. He was busily mopping the water out the sliding glass door when I arrived.
An appliance person, Louis of Leppe Appliance here in Lincoln City, arrived the following day and worked his wonders; fixing the drainage hose and also getting that blasted cap of the small drainage hose by the filter basket. That bloody thing is so tight even he had trouble getting it loosened, so I’ll probably have to ask one of the boys to do it for me next time. We’ll see.
Then that marvelous man took the oven door apart for me so I could clean two long streaks of something that somehow ended up between the layers of glass. They were making me a bit crazy as I kept trying to clean the door, inside and out, to no avail. Now that oven door is sparkling clean – yay!
If you live in this area and need any appliance help, Louis is not only efficient but a delight to have around! Too young for me, darn it! 🙂
Hopefully, this is the end of the flooding around here. I hope your house misses this adventure!