Your identity and worth do not hinge on your service to others or the work you do. Your service and work are the reflection of your identity and your worth.
Regardless of whatever caused the need to heal, learning that it is okay to laugh even as the healing continues is an important lesson. Laughing can be a way to cope and a way to reconnect with joy. As long as there is empathy, and there is no malice, laughter can be just the medicine our bodies and minds need.
In a world where we are becoming more conscientious of how our actions affect those around us, we need to pause and consider how laughter can be a harm rather than a help. Empathy helps us recognize that even with the absence of malice, laughter can hurt rather than heal.
Empathy is vital for healing laughter even when the only one in the room is ourselves.
I spend a good deal of time laughing through my struggles, especially in my little videos/vlogs. I have had time to face and process my body’s rebellion over the last few decades. I have cried my tears, gnashed my teeth, and shouted my anger. I allow myself to acknowledge frustration rather than bottle it up like I did for so long. My family can attest to the fact that I suffer in relative silence when I am in physical pain, but I am a mess when I have a head cold – a completely sad mess. I can laugh at how ridiculous I behave when the sniffles prove to be from a virus rather than seasonal allergies. I can laugh at myself, and I can even encourage my family to chuckle with me because I have learned that I don’t always need to be strong, resilient, or stoic in the face of illness or infirmity.
Empathy is the ability to share the feelings of another.
Life is teaching me that in order to have empathy for others, we must have empathy for ourselves. We cannot have empathy for another if we do not allow ourselves to feel empathetic to our own struggles, pains, and frustrations. If we are always trying to feel perfect, look perfect, or be perfect, we will struggle to have empathy. Our laughter, even when lacking malice will not heal, but will have real potential for harm.
When I record and publish a vlog, I challenge myself to focus more on self-empathy and focus less focus on the blunders. It is my hope that as I joyfully laugh though my struggles, others can learn to give themselves permission to laugh as well.
I laugh, and I struggle, and I laugh some more in my latest video.
Sometimes when the mojo seems lost, looking at the everyday items around us can often provide inspiration. In this case, the packaging that made a frozen desert appealing, inspired a wooly fiber project. Working through the project helped the mojo resurface.
The mojo wasn’t lost, it was just buried under world-weariness and needed a lift.
The journey of life can lead us to the certainty of the truths we seek, but only if we avoid the pitfalls that can come due to expectation.
Expectation can often be the biggest roadblock faced on any journey. Expectation can even scuttle a journey before it begins. Remember, expectation is only a belief in something, whereas, it is on the journey that certainty can be found.
Truth is both simple and complex – the greatest of all paradoxes. Truth is more than just a belief, it relies on a preponderance of evidence. Sometimes this evidence has little value or certainty for anyone other than ourselves, but that does not mean the evidence is not valid. It may simply mean that we are seeking a small understanding of something much greater than we are yet ready to perceive.
If we remember that expectation is simply the starting point – the hope, the belief, the dream – and that the journey provides the data, the trial, and the proof, then we should move beyond belief and gain the true knowledge life offers to teach us.
As we age, or even just as we get too busy with out lives, there are so many things we forget. There are things we wish we could forget which cling to us with a force that seems unbreakable. Then there are those wonderful things we hope to never forget.
This morning I awoke thinking of something I hope to always remember – a smile. This wasn’t any ordinary smile because the woman of whom the the smile belongs has never been ordinary. When I knew her in person, she was extraordinary; I suspect she still is.
I haven’t seen her in person in nearly 30 years, yet I can still see her smile and hear her laugh as if it was just yesterday we last were together. With the marvels of modern technology, I have seen photos that prove her smile and her exuberance has not diminished over the years. From those photos, it is clear that her family is well accustomed to her smile and laughter.
I don’t know why it was her smile that I saw when I dreamt my last dream of the night. It had been a rough night with unpleasant dreams that I am more that happy to have fade from memory. Upon seeing my friend smile in my dream, I awoke and the unpleasant memories, best forgotten, faded away, replaced by the joy I felt upon seeing her smile.
One of the things I love about hand crafts is that the process of doing the craft reminds us that we are the element of change – we are the magic that transforms one object into something greater than its original state.
On New Year’s Eve we find ourselves hoping there will be some magical force that will change the days ahead into something better than the days of the past. In recent years, it seems we cannot even make it through a full week into the new year without having this hope diminished.
When we realize the magic is inside our own selves, then we begin to understand that the hope for a better new year is a hope that can be achieved.
Just over 30 years ago, around the holiday season, an older gentleman asked me the question, “What do you do to give back to the community?” The question gave me pause, and caused me discomfort. I was a college student at the time with no excess finances to share. For a bit of time I felt pretty low because I felt I had no answer to give… then I began to remember.
I have always been a person who gives of their time and talents, but I didn’t realize until that year how much society values some contributions more greatly than others. Some service is valued as being better than other service, not because of the needs being served, but because of how the service conforms with a perception of what the provider considers valuable. Even the notion of charity seems to have a hierarchy, with some charitable acts being considered more valuable than others, not due to needs being met, but rather with how the charity is viewed by the peers of the one giving the charity.
Three decades have passed since the question was asked of me, and I find myself pondering the sad reality that for many (including the gentleman who asked the question) service and charity is measured by a monetary value rather than a kindness value. There is no rule that says that the two values cannot coexist, but there is a general notion that if the monetary is given the kindness is not necessary.
Consistently giving of ourselves, of our time, of our talents, and yes, even of our monetary surplus when such exists, is how we give back to society, and thereby contribute to a better society in which to live.
When we give with a focus on the kindness value, we need not feel discomfort when asked, “Do you give back?”
The trials of life will either be the soil that buries you or will be come the mountain upon which you stand.
As the big crafting season begins, I have been thinking about one of the most important lessons life and aging teaches. Be Kind to Yourself – it is such an important thing to do all year long, but as crafters, it is something we often neglect to do as we scramble to make just one more item before the holiday deadline.
In my latest video, I talk a bit about how bad I am with this lesson life keeps teaching me. After showing of few of my latest projects, I change gears (around the 20:57 mark). Even when I am trying to be kind to myself and not over-do it, the unexpected can happen and force me to slow down even more. Learning to find peace and joy when the brain and body war against each other is not always an easy lesson to learn. It is, however, a worthy lesson to learn.
I hope you enjoy my video – pieces or the whole – I have enjoyed sharing it.
The free pdf pattern for the placemat I share in the video is here for your enjoyment if you wish to download it.
Liberty, even when it allows for the foolishness of mankind to flourish, is better than bondage.
We must be cautious not to forget that personal liberty should not come at the cost of the liberty of another. The wise understands that liberty, responsibility, and compassion are intrinsically intertwined. Without all three, it is easy for liberty to become nothing more than a mask for self-interest, greed, and apathy.
Once liberty loses its meaning due to the foolishness of mankind, it becomes easier to convince the unwise to give up liberty in hopes of preventing the sorrow generated by foolish behavior.
Rather than rejecting liberty, it is better that we learn to find joy even when surrounded by the sorrow mankind generates through its foolishness. Liberty with foolishness and sorrow will always be better than bondage.