Monday, August 29, 2011

WAVING AT THE WINDOW




If only. Those must be the two saddest words in the world.” ~ Mercedes Lackey

This week I am interrupting my “understanding others to enhance better communication” posts to share with you something my mother and I spoke about this morning. It pierced my heart and I feel it has an important message for many of my readers.

Years ago my father had a manufacturing business and the building was on a parcel of his parents land in Vilonia, AR. From the building he could see his folk's house. Each day he made the 45-minute drive to the business, worked all day, then left. Some days he ate lunch with his parents but many days he’d work straight through. 


His father visited the plant daily to visit and check things out, but his mother couldn’t. However, every day when it came time for Dad to leave she stood at the window and waved. He always waved back. However, it never occurred to him to take an extra ten minutes to go hug his mom and tell her he loved her. After all, she’d always be there, right?

But of course, she wouldn’t always be there. She died from brain cancer. Now a several decades later, my daddy who is now in his eighties, still remembers his little momma at the window waving. He aches with tearful regret for not taking the time to gather her up in his arms and simply saying, “I love you. I appreciate you.”

This kind of regret is impossible to fix.

Please don’t take those who are important to you for granted. Is there anyone in your life who is “waving at the window?” Is there anyone in your life who, decades after they are gone, you would regret not showing love or appreciation?

If so, do it today. If you cannot hug them or tell them face-to-face, write a note, send an email, make a call.

Fix it before it is broken. 



Sunday, August 21, 2011

WHEN EARTH QUAKES




“ . . . We have very little control over external forces such as tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, disasters, illness and pain. What really matters is the internal force. How do I respond to those disasters? Over that I have complete control.” ~ Leo F. Buscaglia

            Last week we looked at all the beauty and the positive qualities of an earth personality. But, as with all personalities, there are several vulnerabilities.
            People who have the character qualities of earth are very supportive and nurturing to all who need them—friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike. However, they are very closed about their personal life. Instead, they only open up to a small circle of trusted friends. It can be very hard getting to know them and this can make them appear aloof.
  • ·      Tip for earth personalities: You don’t have to open up to everyone who comes your way, but be aware of those who are making friendly overtones and be gracious.
  • ·      Tip for those of us who have earth people in our life: Don’t be offended if you are not readily “received” into earth’s circle of friends. Be patient and trustworthy.

            Earth people are very calm and stable—most of the time, that is. During those peaceful days they may be burying their problems, frustrations, anger, pain, and offenses. I call it “stuffing.” It causes a slow burn in their center. They know those things are there and may feel the burn, but it is controllable for a while. Then, when there is no more room in their center and when the burn grows too hot, the smallest thing will cause them to blow like a volcano. The unfortunate person who placed the proverbial “last straw” stands back, owl-eyed, and wonders why the huge reaction to such a small thing.
  • ·      Tip for earth personalities: Try and recognize when you are burying problems or offenses. It is better to deal with it right then. You aren’t doing any favors by stuffing.
  • ·      Tip for those of us who have earth people in our life: If this happens, step back, take a deep breath, and realize it isn’t you. It is many things. Try not to take offense.

Just as earth has cycles, those who are like earth must have order. They are very conscientious and detailed. But if they are not careful they can be obnoxiously picky and rigid. They also resist change whether it is something as simple as rearranging the furniture to applying for a new job. In addition to being very slow to accept change, they do not like unfamiliar situations. At parties they prefer to hide away or spend the evening speaking only to those they know. They hate working the room.
  • ·      Tip for earth personalities: Recognize the difference between paying attention to details and being a dictator of details. Also, be willing to stretch yourself socially. Mix a little. Ask people about themselves. This will not only enrich your life but it will bless others.
  • ·      Tip for those of us who have earth people in our life: Appreciate the fact that earth people pay attention to details and that without them many things would slip by unnoticed. And in a social situation, if you notice the earth person hiding in the corner, avoiding people, go to them and begin a conversation. Keep it light, maybe ask about their interests or family.  

Remember last week I wrote about how the earth spins but we cannot feel it? Well, the earth person’s mind spins constantly. Sometimes I will say something to Neal, and although he is looking at me, he doesn’t hear a word I say. Why? His mind is spinning with an idea, solving a problem, or making a to do list.
  • ·      Tip for earth personalities: Notice when someone is speaking to you and give them your full attention.
  • ·      Tip for those of us who have earth people in our life: Don’t take offense. Just ask him/her to repeat what you said.


Earth, we need it—them. I hope this helps you appreciate our earth brothers and sisters.
I’m sure you’ve noticed I didn’t put any tips in the water article. It just occurred to me to add tips while writing this article. I’ll add tips to the water piece this week.

Next week: Wind!


            


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

EXQUISITE EARTH




“Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.” ~ Rachel Carson

            While sitting on my porch I mused on the beauty all around me. I thought about how diversity of our earth. It supports all kinds of life. Every human, animal, insect, plant, tree, bush, lake, pond, stream, ocean, derives its life and/or is supported by earth.
            Earth is in constant motion, but we can’t see or feel it. The sphere we live on spins 1,038 miles per hour at the equator, 700 – 900 mph at mid-latitudes. It completely rotates in 24 hours. And yet, sitting on the porch the only movement I feel is my rocking in the chair.
            It is orderly, governed by seasons and time. Earth provides us with food and protection. Here is the tornado belt, we are well acquainted with “hidey holes” or what others call storm cellars which are buried in the ground.
            I like to think earth is humble. It showcases the roses’ blooms, the maple tree’s scarlet leaves, the peacock’s jewel-toned feathers, the teal waves of the ocean, and so much more for all to see and enjoy. All the while, hidden deep within Earth are diamonds, rubies, emeralds, gold, silver, copper, and many more precious stones and metals. But in order to find these treasures, we have to dig. And when we dig we discover the many layers that make up earth.
            Perhaps you know someone who has the same characteristics of earth. Maybe you have these characteristics. Earth people literally hold others up. They are creative and love beauty. You will find most artists and musicians have the qualities of earth. Scientists usually have the characteristics of earth because of their need for order, their curiosity from minds that constantly spin with questions about life, how it works and how to make it better.
            The earth people I know open their arms wide to those who need help, guidance, and a boost. However, when it comes to opening their lives to others, well, that privilege must be earned. As a rule they are very private people. One must earn their trust. And to find the treasure inside them we have to dig. They will not brag about themselves.
            My husband, Neal, is an earth person. He does so many incredible things for the company he works for but keeps silent. It nettles me to no end for others, usually wind people, to take credit for something he has done. Still, he won’t defend himself unless I, also a wind person, push him to take a stand.
            You will find those with the elements of earth in front of the line when it comes to helping, sheltering, advising, and encouraging. They are interesting people having many layers to their personalities. Earth people are stable and dependable. Just like the earth . . . well, most of the time. 
            Next blog we will explore the characteristics of earth that aren’t so exquisite!