Poem: Origami Strength


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And now this strength

is unencumbered

by doubt or sadness

so not only is it Kryptonite

but a beautiful strength

an origami formation

tough

built from intricate folding

of a fragile

adaptable creation

complicated

yet simple

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If People Were More Like Dogs


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They would take the time to play more

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They would spend less time gossiping and more time listening

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When they were afraid, they would just go hide for a bit instead of becoming bullies

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They would take lots of naps so they would always be well rested and not stressed out all the time

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They would love other species like family

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They would smile more

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They’d be OK with their bodies

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They would learn to wait patiently and to trust

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And to forgive and forget

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They would learn to love those different from themselves

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And that love is unconditional

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That you just walk away, rather than fight if you get angry

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And that territories are defined by sniffs and pee not walls or bombs

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That most of us aren’t purebred anyway, but we are just as wonderful

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That everyone just wants a home

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That we should save our voice only for the important things

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If when we were frustrated, we took it out on our own stuff, not other’s….

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That tongues are not for lashing, but for kisses and we are each unique in our own crazy way

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And if our lives were as short and precious as theirs, maybe, just maybe we would live more fully, play harder, rest more deeply, love more expansively, trust more easily, be careful not to destroy stuff and even share all we had…. For they are gone so quickly, but leave with us lessons that we carry forever.

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So they will continue to play

And we will continue to struggle

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But maybe one day we’ll tip our head close enough to theirs so we can really listen to what they’ve been trying to tell us all along.

 

Heartbeats


It struck me today as I was busting a gut on the workout equipment at the gym, that I heard somewhere that we only have so many heartbeats in our life time. So here I am, with my heart racing away and I think: is it good or bad that I’m working out so hard like this and all the years I did it? If we only have so many heartbeats allotted to us, then if we raise our heart rate working out so much, won’t we use those heart beats up sooner? Or is the converse true and we create a stronger heart like the American Heart Association would like us to believe? Or doesn’t it really matter??

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Are the number of heart beats given to us figured out ahead of time? I’m sure some would say yes, along with the exact moment we are going to die, so who cares if we do this or anything else, because it’s all planned no matter what anyway?

And yet some of us work really hard to extend our lives by eating right, exercising, keeping our stress down, wearing our seat belts and doing all the right things. But we know, somewhere keep down in our subconscious, that when it’s our time, we can’t beat the facts. We maybe aren’t extending anything really because it will happy anyway–just the way it’s supposed to, when the beats are up.

Humans like to feel they are in control. So we keep on those treadmills, hoping that it’s helping rather than beating us closer to our allotted usage. Some like to test fate and do crazy things, but I’m not a gambler. I’ll be here far shorter than I’ll be gone. I plan to cherish it and play it safe as I can.

But if all the right things I have done don’t take me to all the heartbeats I hope to get to, well then, it hasn’t been a waste anyway. Because the choices I made were for other reasons too, so I’m perfectly satisfied I made them!

Distraction


Sometimes when things are rough and stressful, the Universe does conspire to have good stuff happen. And of course the instrument is usually through your pets.

As I was walking my doggie today, I came upon another dog walker in my community neighborhood. He was walking a beautiful Greyhound. One never knows how another dog will be, so I’m always cautious. But I asked, and this gentleman said his dog was a love. So we came upon each other: humans and dogs. Dogs sniffed…wagged and people began to talk.

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Before I knew it the humans had struck up a long conversation that went on long after the dogs olfactory senses had been satisfied. This guy was a love, a Canadian originally, but in the US for 30 years. He loves it here, and in this community where I am new.

After talking and talking, it turned out we had common people, one of them being a rare person that I actually could call a friend from here. She was someone from the job I just left! What a coincidence. He knew this woman and her husband very well from restoring old cars. Amazing.

I really needed a nice distraction from all the difficulties with Mom. And to be reminded about nice things (and people) in life. We exchanged phone numbers too. It was cool.

This really is a nice place to live!

Out The Door!


From a really bad thing came a really good thing. Today my Mom and I decided I should quit my job. As many of my long time followers know, I was really unhappy in that job anyway. From the beginning that position has been hard for me with difficult co-workers, rude doctors, unreasonable managers and unkind people in general. Not what I wanted in a new position.

I felt that when I moved here, that one priority was to be relaxed and enjoy my place of employment. Stress from years of working in the Emergency Medical field had taken its toll and I was ready for a big break. But admittedly I took the wrong position offered to me from a couple of offers. Figuring this was somewhat within my field and giving me the opportunity to meet more people and slightly more money–I jumped at this one.

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How wrong I was! Money should never, ever guide us, and I should have known better. And while I did meet some very wonderful friends that I hope to keep, the bulk of the folks there were more of the same uncaring healthcare ‘professionals’ that would sooner spit on you than help you.

So when the opportunity arose to help my Mom get well, you didn’t have to ask me twice to walk out the door. I didn’t even give two weeks, which is not my style at all. I’m not sure I’ve ever done that in my life! But with her health, their attitudes and my degree of frustration, I was out.

To my great surprise and gratitude, my boss was very kind and understanding about it all and even said if there was anything he could do he would. If there were more words like this, maybe there would be more retention there, but sadly he is not the one to talk to most people. It happens I go to him because he’s nicer.

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Sadly it’s the loud mouths that run the place who either pretend to be nice or just plain aren’t nice or have their favorites. Of which I was not one. And I am proud not to be! I’m always glad not to be part of the crowd that played games or is too afraid to say what I feel for fear of pissing them off. Bah!

Because I know in my heart what is really important, and it’s certainly not any of those silly folks who can’t walk their talk. It’s about family, real connections and honesty. And hopefully when Mom gets better, it will be time to find a new career. But this time it will be nothing to do with human healthcare!!

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Critical Moment


It’s time like these when we face a critical moment in our lives or the life of someone we love, that we can see the truth of so many things. We can look back on our path and see all the silly things that angered us, that in the end were really unimportant. And we see all the current beautiful friends that stick by us through any difficulty we may encounter.


Facing our mortality is never an easy thing. Knowing we may be left behind, though, even worse. But if the person who leaves does so in peace and has acknowledged a life well lived, then going on is not as bitter.

So many things can come into perspective during these stressful times. Like how much we love someone or how insignificant some things (or people) can be. We learn who the really good and true people are and who the ones are that really never cared.

I’m blessed with so many amazing and wonderful people. My Mother taught me to care about people: to accept them based on inner things by asking them questions and learning who they were–and truly loving others. She has taught me to be a good friend too by having many herself.

Now is the time where things are revealed. Layers are peeled back and what I may have thought was a certain way, really wasn’t. I see with new eyes and I am grateful.

 

Lest We Never Forget


On this September 11th, as I am remembering that day now so long ago, it feels rather odd to no longer be a part of the ‘family’ of emergency workers. It was a part of my life for so many years, and when that day ripped the world apart, it hit me personally, when so many of my brothers and sisters  were there in the chaos. It could have been me….


Now, I am so blessed, as I am settling in to my new home, to be living a different life. Not that it isn’t without its stresses. But in this new place, it somehow seems more tidy and peaceful, even when the world is now full of such unrest. For me, it seemed like it really started on the awful day. That’s when it ramped up. Yes, there was always hate, prejudice, injustice. Oh yeah…don’t get me wrong.

What we’ve done in this very country for hundreds of years has been disgraceful. The inequity of people based on color, gender, disabilities or anything different for that matter, has always been an issue here. But the hate now seems so palpable. And no, I don’t think it’s just that we hear about it more through media. There is just more of it!

As I walk through my new community, one that is neat and friendly, I feel it is easy to become insulated. I want to become insulated some days. It’s exhausting listening day after day to the killing, the terror, the devastation of the planet and the hatred. One just wonders what happened to simply winding one’s life down and beginning to relax?

At work I sit and hear people talk. The constant whining, complaining, the mocking tones and downright meanness. What came first? Were people always like this or has our country turned sour because of all that’s hurting our world and therefore our souls? Maybe it’s simply decomposing us from the inside.

I ask every day in my daily meditation for peace: in my life and for the world. Trying to touch each person I meet with a sense of peace. How can I have a ripple effect?

My simple, small and quiet apartment is my sanctuary. It’s easy now to feel like I never want to go outside.  But there are good reasons to do it… Pushing against the beast of lurking depression, caused by bombardment of the seeming global demise–I do my best to remain positive. This home is my recharge point where I plug-in to be able to go out into a world that drains me of resources.

So, lest we never forget: that day September 11, 2001, changed the world. It tore us apart and we haven’t figured out since then how to come back together. The only way to honor those lost that day, and those who are still suffering, like the rescuers who continue to lose their lives because of the toxins they took in from 9/11–is to learn how to love again. To love each other, the earth, the animals, the trees, the air, the water….
And no walls, either outside or in, will help. Only learning to understand each other on the deepest level. And truly caring for our fellow human like we are one family.

Ripples


For much of my life, especially in the last years, I’ve had a strong longing to want to help people. Yes, in my years as a paramedic I did help people, but that was a job so I didn’t really feel that counted deep down.

It’s hard to express, but I guess a part of me felt called in some way to do more: to give back to humanity or the world in a greater way. My heart always just felt pulled and doesn’t seem fulfilled unless I’m giving in some way or another.

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This leaf shines with joy!

Back where I used to live, I tried a number of times to join volunteer organizations, but lack of time or the unbelievable red-tape (surprisingly) to simply give one’s time to places usually just ended up turning me off. Why can’t someone just help? It was nuts. That happened here too when I called a the central volunteer place. I would have had to take a whole day off from work just to go to some ‘orientation’ to learn to sit with an elderly person so I could read to them? Seriously?

It seems nowadays someone’s good intent gets mucked up with liability and other bureaucratic nonsense that makes it unpalatable for someone to even want to give time. Or the volunteer expectations are too demanding, so it becomes discouraging.

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Too much red-tape!!

And how does one even decide who is really more deserving of time? What constitutes need in someone else to help them in some way?

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Waiting for passing bee to help…??

Today I had a bit of an epiphany about that very question.

Every day I go to work in a stressful and often unhappy place. It’s filled with overworked folks who complain, grouse about each other and can be extremely negative. They often have crabby looks on their faces, appear tired and run-down, talk about each other and generally don’t always seem to like what they do. Not everyone is like this, but the atmosphere could make Mother Teresa have at least one bad day a week in this OR.

So I thought: these people are in need much of the time. Anything they may have going on in their personal lives (and I happen to know many of them do), is only amplified by their misery at work. The pressure and stress at work wreaks havoc on some of them, even the best of them.

They get hurt physically, they get sick, have headaches, yell at each other, are depressed…it’s a mess. It’s actually quite sad to watch, I thought. It struck me today that this is the perfect place to do some positive work! I needn’t go any farther than my work place to do some good!

Actually, I started a while back by providing a big, huge box of candy for anyone who wants it throughout the day. Sometimes they have a hard time grabbing food in time, so this helps getting a quick snack. I also have a ‘medical’ stash of Ibuprophen, Tums, eye glass cleaner etc.

But the most important thing I am now concentrating on is being cheerful, kind and nice to people–even the most crabby. Taking into consideration what may be going on within their personal lives, piled with work stuff—it can’t hurt to try. I’m also doing a special feature in the newsletter where I will premier one person a month: Surgical Services Star.

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We are ALL stars in our own way!

No, I’m not going to Africa to save the world or even down the street to a nursing home, but these folks need something too. We are all human beings no matter how big or small our need. Touching someone else’s life in a positive way is simply a ripple that can’t be bad.

There is just so much negativity these days: on the news, on the blogs I read, in our work place, within families, driving down the street…  I for one just would like to change it in myself. And if I can help change it in others, then I’ve helped change the world a little bit and I’m OK with that for now.

And maybe someday down the road I’ll change the world a lot.

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There is need everywhere you look! Just help how you can….!

For My Work Newsletter


So this is the article I am submitting in response to my decision to being asked to reconsider my resignation at my job:

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My April Fool’s Day

When I moved here in September, it was for a few reasons. The main reason was to be close to my Mother, but it was also to be away from the brutal New England weather and to retire from a stressful career where my co-workers often did not care about one another.

It’s been a blessing living near my Mom and the weather is sublime.

Applying for jobs was exhausting, and when Bethesda called I was very excited. I actually had applied for a different position than the one I am currently in, but with my experience, they felt I would be better suited for this one.

They were forthcoming about the stress of the job, which made me a bit nervous at the time because of my hopes for coming here mentioned above, but assured me about teamwork among colleagues.

It’s been three months, and yes indeed, it’s stress on steroids! I’ve seen how the stress reveals parts of people that probably, under normal circumstances, wouldn’t bubble to the surface.  Some of these parts have directly affected me and, I won’t lie, this has been difficult.

For years I’ve been told ‘you are too sensitive’ or ‘have a thicker skin’ and often it made me feel there was something wrong with me. But as I grew older, I realized that I embrace this part of me and know that this is what makes me a kind, compassionate and loving person. I don’t want to keep people out with a thick skin and I prefer being sensitive to the world around me.

So I had to make a decision about the stress once again in my life and if I wanted to (not could) deal with it. And after much soul searching I decided to resign on Friday, April 1. Even though it killed me because there are so many wonderful people and I actually really like the job and am not ever a quitter. But I had also promised myself not to live a stressful life anymore.

Amazingly though, something happened. I was asked to reconsider. And many people, including some that had been stressed out directly at me, came to me and were very kind.

This made me think about some things.

  • We all have our troubles, so trying to be conscious that another person may be suffering personally may help us to be more patient
  • We all are tired and over worked, but acting as a team will help us all in the long run
  • A smile and a kind word goes a long way
  • Someone we think may not care, really might in the end but just may not know how to show it in the moment
  • Be the first one to extend a helping hand, or even consider being social with someone
  • Try to talk directly to the person first if you hear something you don’t like—remember: don’t assume
  • Let’s accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative in regards to people, how we say things and our attitudes

I guess this all sounds hokey and maybe I’m being unrealistic. But my feeling is that if we reach high than maybe we may obtain at least just short of our goals. And this is better than not reaching at all.

The decision then about reconsidering? After so many great people asked me to, and because I am hopeful and positive person…

The answer was absolutely!

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I’m not sure how my co-workers will take it. They are a mixed and motley bunch. Some may be sympathetic and find it inspiring and others may find the words insipid. None the less, I am choosing to put them forth, just like I put myself forth every day in my blog to my blogging community. Many here hail me, some have walked away. Hey, it’s a free country and freedom of speech is regarded highly and we must be brave when we put ourselves out there to a new audience.

So shall I do when this gets published in our Surgical Services Newsletter. And then let the commenting commence….