Tag Archives: community

Unpacking Authenticity and a Happy New Year!

31 Dec
As I reflect upon my incredible learning journey of 2019; delving deeper into understanding cultural curiosity, diversity, inclusion and equity, I continually stumble upon the “authenticity” term and find myself pondering it. I so value the opportunity the word presents. I gratefully succumb to being my authentic self in personal and professional relationships. Though code-switching is integrated into our social constructs, I am challenged to don the cloak of authentic perspective when the “switch gear” is enacted. I appreciate and meet this challenge!
However, today with the finality of 2019 upon us, I find myself mulling over this concept of authenticity. Questions that come to mind are as follows:
1) Is being authentic excuse to not grow or change?
2) Who are my personal authenticity police officers?
For my own answers to 1 & 2, I am reminded that being authentic does not mean static and staunch. It means I am a fallible human in need of continual learning and my “police” are those individuals put in my path to ensure I continue to open my mind, heart and ears to growth.
The authenticity piece is understanding who I am, how I got here and the need for continual support along the way. My police officers are many and can be found in various locations within my sphere of influence. Some of these individuals I’ve never met, such as Eleanor Roosevelt. Some are as close as my most intimate partner, my husband. Some are well aged and several (and many) are still skipping through their youthful years. The range of support, for me to be authentic, is a wider cast net than the actual Me, Myself and I concept found within the “be authentic” principle.
Bottom line…for me to be truly authentic, others need to embrace me where I am at and see the value of investment in the potentiality of my growth. Gratitude abounds for me here at this juncture, as I unpack authenticity and find a village inside.
Blessings to all for 2020!

A Man, a Woman and a Dog

10 Oct

My personal Tedx

I love women.  I also love men.  I do not believe I have the right to govern over the organs of either gender.  I believe that the decisions a person makes regarding their organs are between the person and God.  And if a person does not believe in God, I believe that too is between that person and God.  I don’t believe hair should grow out from a mans ears, but hair keeps growing.  I’d like not to believe in the wind, but regardless of my intent to hold that belief in truth, the wind keeps blowing.  Disregarding the Creator no more casts the Spirit aside than my own aforementioned fancies sway the hair growth and weather patterns.  I believe my stated opinions are valueless and in no way hold supremacy or even honor that which is supreme.  They are my own statements and journey, and should be accounted as such.

I don’t know why, for so many years, women have been subjugated while men (in general) have not.  I don’t believe to liberate one is to incarcerate the other.  I don’t understand why we state we are a free society when truly all people are not free.  I don’t understand how I can claim a human right for myself and disregard it for another.  I have long wondered, given the history of human beings and their destructive ways, how-on-earth we apply (in the English language) the word “humane” as a positive term.

Where is this questioning coming from? One may ask.  Rivka, why are you going on and on in this way?  What’s your point?  Well, if you are thinking such things, I will explain.  First off, I am a filthy rotten sinner and in need of redemption.  Thankfully I have been redeemed through the blood of the lamb.  With that said, my introspections are result of understanding the darkness within.  If I deny my own inner turmoil then I am nothing short of a liar.  And as I navigate my way through the many messes upon our global society (ISIS, DV, Economic Crisis, political rule, etc.) I cannot fathom the contemplations without first honoring the human struggle at the core of my own being.

The other day, while driving on the I5 freeway (let me just say that the “I” in the I5 equation stands for “Interstate”) clipping along at my normal rapid rate which is typically 15 miles per hour Over the posted speed limit, I spied a woman, a man and a dog walking on the shoulder of this rapid thoroughfare.  The man and woman each pushed their own metal shopping cart (borrowed no doubt from an unsuspecting grocer) with what looked like all of their earthly possessions in tow.  The dog ambled on his own, alongside his human counterparts.  And as these three living beings steadfastly moved forward amongst the speedway just inches to their left, their untold story festered in my mind.  Their plight ignites my interrogations.  Their fortitude, in obvious adversity, nods to the innate character of man (humans).  Their journey became my puzzle.

Connected to the “I5 Three” are the rights each of us is given in this United States of America, rights which have not been wholly honored on the majority level.  As stated in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I found myself thinking (and rightfully easing up on the accelerator pedal) that the I5 Three were in the same pursuit as myself, though theirs was on foot while I was in vehicle.  I no more deserve the pursuit than they do, just as I no more have the right to take it away from them nor they from me–not here in the U.S.A.  After all, we are not under totalitarianism rule.  And, as human beings, we are in this lot together.  I then quickly move from the brave ambulating strangers to the idea of Rights.  Rights for us all and how women (in general) have been in a consistent struggle, through the ages, to have those unalienable Rights bestowed them.  And through the process and rapidity in which the thoughts disperse within my being, I move quickly to the place of considering how to impact our world so my potential granddaughters are ensured the same consideration as my potential grandsons.  And why, in the first place, is it so tough for people to extend the courtesy of their own freedoms to that of another?

I am grateful to know my Creator.  I am grateful for the teachings of Jesus.  I am grateful that while upon earth The Christ exampled equality to both genders and showed love with impartiality.  I cling to the words of Jesus as stated in scripture, also known as “The Golden Rule” (paraphrased) Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Jesus himself was a champion for women and all people.  He lovingly gave us the right to choose–even if the choice made is apart from him.  So why today, in our supposedly westernized civilization, are we still politicizing the female and lording over that particular sex?  Why are some disempowered still by the lack of a Y chromosome?  Why are we wanting to rule over others and by doing so strip them of the same opportunities we are allowed to aspire to?

While I cannot answer the immensity of the questions posed, I can consider them at a level within my reach.  I can start with me.  I avow to pioneer for equality for women as well as pioneer for equality for men.  I will not take on one, without also tending to the other.  However, I will not stand by and quietly allow the rights of a woman to be disregarded while the rights of a man are not.  I will not align myself to “men haters” as that agenda is counterintuitive to the cause.  And I will not stand by and be silent, nor align myself with hypocrisy, within this nation I call home.

October is “Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” my post is in honor of subjugated women around the globe.

http://humanoptions.org

Living Between The Lines

18 Aug

I have had the opportunity, these past few years, to live out my burdens upon this blog.  And by doing so I have received comfort and condolences from family, friends and strangers alike.  When going through a hard time, some find assistance, solace and comfort, in the spoken word–oral communication.  For me, the calm silence of the written word has been the soothing provision to my soul.  I think we are funny, us creatures of humanity.  We have so many offerings we can reach for, to guide us through whatever it is our journey presents.  In fact, from the moment my son entered the hospital back in March 2011 I have been given a multitude of resources.  Several are grief specific and a few are literary pleasure reads.  The ironic thing is that for as much as writing sends my soul to the moon and ignites within me an excitement for living, while in the pressure cooker of life (at my son’s bedside and beyond) I cannot ingest the writings of others.  I can’t explain it thoroughly except to say it is as if I am using every ounce within me to live out my own story, that to take in the story of another, fiction or nonfiction, to the level a book extends, is more cumbersome to my being than helpful.

Now some of my reads are soothing just by their title alone.  Others not so much.  Maybe from one I extract a morsel from a page, others the back cover does the trick.  But all in all I am at a standstill in reading, at this time.

books for the soul

Soul Fodder

read is FUN

Library in Waiting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t normally keep books in such a disheveled manner as my photos suggest.  But upon receiving the gift, I think my head was so clouded by grief that the idea that I am one who falls within the category of the target audience irritated me.  I mean have you ever been included in a club that you had no interest in being a member?  I am there.  I am not interested in being a member of the “I’ve lost a child” club.  No, I want him back and I want a normal family life…two children, two dogs, one husband, a house, a family, a life with grandkids down the road.  So as the books on grieving were given to me, in earnest love and attempt to soothe a difficult loss, they inadvertently served as a reminder of just that–loss.  And with that word comes irritation, so I just piled them atop one another.  Yet interspersed between my literary counselors are a few gems that for some reason lift the burden momentarily, if only because their placement is so out of line with the others that the irony tickles my fancy.  Eats, Shoots & Leaves for example is one I have been “borrowing” now for over five years.  I have read and re-read the first few chapters and can’t seem to get through to the end.  But I think it is a brilliant writing as it makes punctuation the protagonist while using satirical humor to drive its cause home.  As you can tell from my overuse of the comma, I am a slow learner.  But the fact that this particular writing is stacked between such titles as “I’m Grieving As Fast As I Can” and “Grieving the Loss of Someone You Love” I find more soothing to my grief stricken state than if I actually pick the resource up and read it (the other little outcast on the works of  Robert Doisneau is equally as comical).  In the same vein, the other stack of heartfelt reads is topped by a ridiculous writing titled, “Managing the Millennials.”  It is not ridiculous because it is a poorly written resource, just that its placement among the others deems it so.

So here I am living between the lines.  As the stacks of books suggest, I bounce between places of joy and sorrow, fear and courage, peaceful waiting and restless anxiety, all of which are bordered by the lines of loss that have defined our family.  Just this summer alone our family has been touched (along with others) by the loss of a dear young friend, untimely and abrupt–just as our son.  I can see her beautiful face, streaming with tears, as we hugged on the day of my son’s funeral.  Now we grieve her passing as well, and hurt alongside her little girls and husband who grapple with their new void (though the youngest will likely not remember her mama).  We also have news that another young soul, our neighbor and father of two wee ones, is not long for this world as his cancer is not responding to treatment.  Our fervent prayers for a magical miracle remain intact and our souls (Brian and I, for we can’t bring ourselves to tell Esther) are heavy under the burden of this reality.  My brother and his family are facing the cancer intrusion in the life and lungs of his mother-in-law, a vicious disease that has already claimed the life of her husband.  These are hard, tough aspects of life.

And yet, simultaneously upon us is the elation of new life.  New adventure and the continued momentum of the living.  Our family has the good fortune to celebrate a couple of expected births come next spring.  Our niece came to live with us this summer (she just left to return for her senior year of college yesterday) and our family felt more whole with her here.  Our daughter is getting ready to head off to her university, 2-1/2 hours from home, on August 28th.  Far enough for her to experience the freedom to grow in her own direction, yet close enough that we can still be of real physical and emotional support.  I am moving into my second year working within an environment that is well suited to my natural calling and Brian’s art, clothing and lifestyle is gaining consistent momentum (I am still hoping he makes me a woman of leisure this side of Heaven!).  We had the pleasure of attending the wedding of a young couple this past weekend and we have another nuptial celebration coming next month.  Our god-kids remain a bright spot for us (though we haven’t seen them much this summer), being participants in their lives is an honor we hold dear.

So we move and groove within the space between the lines, the matrix if you will.  For the borders represent our loss, the void of the one not here.  And though the natural motion of the in-between forces us to touch the outer edge, as the laws of physics mandate, we bounce back to the middle because the lines are inhabited with a repellent within its system–a force which prohibits a long term stay.  So on to the next, whatever the next happens to be.  Books on grief will have to wait.  The middle is available and its offers of joyful enthusiasm help assuage the deep pain of each margin.


I believe scripture calls it, “beauty from ashes,” (Isaiah 61)–nothing new under the sun, just living between the lines.


 

Ironic Living

Bent-style irony


 

%d bloggers like this: