Tag Archives: feelings

Keeping Up With My Own Evolution: Symbols

Symbols are everywhere around us.  Architects and artisans decorate their creations with them.  Some are simple, some are complex.  Look a child’s drawing and you will see a sun, a house, a tree, a family, etc.  Tour a church or museum and notice a cross, an organ, a pulpit, a relic, painting or sculpture, lion, elephant, cow.  The symbols we see and recognize mean something to us…..good or evil, meaningful or irrelevant…..it’s all in what we believe.

Drive along a highway and we are directed by symbols:  numbers, arrows and icons representing gas stations, restrooms, restaurants and approaching hazards.

We’re all familiar with human icons, perhaps a movie star symbolizing fame and fortune, or an historical figure representing conquest and power, etc.  Today icons have taken on an interesting commercial aspect as well.  Golden Arches…..

And then we have emoticons symbolizing emotions and connections we have with others in social media such as talents, shared interests.  I just saw an episode of The Big Bang Theory in which anger was shown by a downturned mouth on a red “smiley face”.  The color red turned that frown from sad to angry.  I loved it and laughed a lot just looking at it.

I’ve loved the fleur de lis as long as I can remember.  I probably first became aware of it in french class in high school.  It has held an increasing fascination for me as I’ve read about it in historical and religious material. To many, it’s a beautiful decoration, to others it’s an important symbol of light and power bestowed on royalty, and still others believe it representative of the power of the Catholic  Church, the Virgin Mary, the cross.  To others it is imbued with occult power and meanings.

I’ve come to believe that I am the one with the power, not the symbol.  A symbol has the power my belief gives it.

I’ve recently painted a cross that is a powerful symbol for me:  Thee Crosss.  The top of the cross, two horizontal lines of yellow represent the double yellow lines painted down the middle of an asphalt road.  Two vertical lines, representing erosion, natural, universal  forces, run down the center of the painting from top to bottom, crossing the yellow lines through their center.  This symbol reminds me who I am and where I am in the grand scheme of life on this planet.

I love knowing that we are all continually evolving.  It’s wonderful to know that beliefs I hold are subject to change and that with every experience I have, they are changing.  Life is such a magical miracle

Ode to My Grandma Orabell

My grandma didn’t have a dining room.  The table was in the kitchen and was a bright, cheery, red, metal one.  It was the place to be.  As a kid, I remember my Grandpa sitting at that table drinking coffee in the morning or after work having a beer and cigarette.  Grandma kept a ceramic “Aunt Jemima” with a red and white checked apron in the center of the table my whole childhood.  Years later, I gave Grandma a white ceramic chicken  covered casserole that she put on that table.  After she died, it made its way back to me.  I’ll always treasure it because she did!

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She agreed to teach me how to make chili.  I loved her chili.  I was 17 and living in the dorm at college.  I walked a couple of miles to the grocery store and then to her house.  I can remember coming through the alley and through her back gate and then through the red rose covered arbor to her kitchen door.

She told me to bring hamburger and catsup.  I misunderstood and brought four big bottles of catsup.  In fact!  She hadn’t said catsup at all.  What she had said was tomato sauce and canned tomatoes.  She belly laughed when she saw them and then giggled off and on all afternoon when she looked at them stacked on her cabinet.

She had soaked the pinto beans overnight.  She showed me how to brown the beef.  We chopped the onion and red and green peppers.  She showed me how to taste as the chili simmered and gradually add the spices and taste again.

I don’t remember her ever having a dishwasher.  We always did the dishes after we ate meals, snacks or worked on cooking projects.  Someone would wash and someone would dry.  At some point in the ritual, she would dance around and snap a large white tea towel like a whip in the air  (tea towel is 1950’s for dish towel) and chant:

Oh Captain, Captain, stop the ship!
I’ve got to get off and walk.
I feel so flippity, floppity, flip;
I’ve never seen New Yok!
(It had to be “Yok” or it wouldn’t rhyme with walk)

My Grandma Orabell taught me to bake in that kitchen.  She taught me how to can peaches, tomatoes and cherries.  She taught me how to make jelly and jam.  She even taught me how to embroider in that kitchen.  She said every young woman should have at least two sets of tea towels in her trousseau….and I did.  I love my Grandma and I loved dancing around her kitchen with her.

As we pass through the seasons of our lives, it seems each one will always be…..but inevitably we move on to the next.  You know how time slips through the cracks.  I’ve shared my thoughts about that before.

The Red Umbrella

Do you have a special place to go for 30 minutes, when you can’t take the day off,  or a weekend?  But, things keep piling up on you.  You’re feeling overwhelmed or frustrated.

It helps me to find a quiet place by myself with a big glass of water, if it’s early in the day, or a glass of wine if it’s evening.  It gives me a minute to reflect on what’s happening and why I’m reacting the way I am.

In colder weather, I have a window seat in a cantilevered cubby that’s a perfect place to read or to write or to think.

In the warmer weather, I crank up the red umbrella on my back deck and sit under its rosy glow.  It is an artificial enclave; but, it does the trick.  I feel embraced in a reflected light that is at once comforting and liberating.  That’s my best explanation.  Well, yes, it’s all in my mind.  I’m grateful that my mind will do that for me.

I have a friend that doesn’t know how to say no.  She is the kindest, most compassionate person I know.  To the naked eye, she is superwoman.  Inside, she admits, she often feels overwhelmed and frustrated.  When she recognizes these feelings building, she calls a friend and makes an appointment for lunch the next week…..so she has something to look forward to.

The first time she called me for a lunch date, I asked her if everything was okay.  I thought something was wrong and she needed to talk.  She laughed and explained this was her coping mechanism.  I was so impressed.

We all need a coping mechanism.  During the holidays, that need becomes even more pronounced.  If you don’t already have one, this might be a good time to take a good look at your life, what or who pushes your buttons and formulate a coping mechanism uniquely your own.

I was struck by what Finnick Odair said to Katniss in the Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1.  He said…..it takes 10 times longer to put yourself together than it does to fall apart.  So, an ounce of prevention…..you know what I mean?  A red umbrella is not a bad idea.

My Libran State of Mind

I was recently told “You shouldn’t feel that way”.  “How the hell do you know how I should feel?”  Oh my goodness.  Did you hear that?  That was my mothers voice.  And…yes…she was right.  Feelings are so uniquely personal.

When I was younger and was uncomfortable in a situation, I would just endure it and be relieved when it was over.  Was it peer pressure, living up to family expectations…..trying to appear to be someone I’m not?  It was all of that.  It was fear.  Fear of disappointing.  Fear of not measuring up.  Fear that if I spoke up and said how I really feel, no one would like me.

I googled “feelings” and “trust yourself”, etc.  One thing lead to another and I found some great quotes.  One attributed to Goethe I loved:  “As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live”.  Another went something like…..never waste your feelings on those who do not value them.  And, it hit me, that’s me.  I’m the one who doesn’t value them.  I share them.  I wallow in them.  Why am I not acting on them?

I spend a lot of time in a Libran state of mind.  I weigh the pros and cons.  I try to see all of the angles, perspectives and set up a value scale. What a waste of time!


Maya Angelou is quoted as saying:  “Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God”.

I resolve to add “I listen to myself” and “I trust myself” to my affirmations each day and then act accordingly.  Does that mean letting go of my baggage and focusing on what will make me healthy, wealthy, happy and successful?

Well,  I’m going for it.