Author, Writer & Publisher
Being Chosen As children, we often hear stories of people being “chosen” to make a conquest or to take on a challenge, and take a life changing opportunity. Sometimes this can have a good, adequate, amazing or horrific outcome. Being chosen or following a nudge to do something can lead to a historic opportunity or a great invention. One never knows, with nudges because they are often in control of someone beside yourself. Our doubts and fears of being USED, lead us to be very skeptical and careful about what we will commit to. After all, there are those who love to delegate their problems, and those who look for worker bees that rob us (worker bees) of our energy nectar to do their bidding. So much has to do with how gullible we are to think we can make a difference, or how brave we are to cross a line in the sand, or smart enough to reach for more.
My brief stories will example will how “Being Chosen” can bring a variety of feelings into your life and to others. From guilt to resentment, or positive outcomes and life changing consequences that play a major role in our growing and becoming the people we are.
Chosen To Sing
When I was 16 and at the end of my junior year of high school, my parents decided they would move us back to Kentucky from Los Angeles. It was a wait and see thing for me and I told my music director, he could not count on me for the next fall which was my senior year. I loved being in the Whittier High School choir and had been chosen for the school’s acapella choir at the beginning of my junior year. I could not read music, yet the director counted on me for perfect pitch to start the group wherever we performed. Considering this was a school of over 3,000 and a choir of 80, it was a distinct responsibility
Saying goodbye to everyone at school that June was difficult, and by the end of August my parents said we were staying in California. In the fall I showed up in the music choir class. My former teacher said, “what are you doing here, we thought you were moving back East. I wish I had known before sending out the notices for the Acapella Choir for the year. I already notified a girl as your replacement.” I just said, yes, I understand, I was just told we were not going. I loved the experience and let it go, just happy I could be in the main choir. A few day later in the week Mr Morton, the choir teacher said he wanted to speak with me after class. He stated he had let the lead soprano go and put me back in the acapella choir. Would I change my class schedule to accommodate this.
I was overwhelmed with hurt and guilt for the other girl, anger at Mr. Morton, pride at his need for me … yet a concern of how I could ever be comfortable talking to the girl I replaced again. I went ahead with the commitment. I told the girl how sorry I was that this had happened, I did not know he was going to do this, but felt insecure the rest of the year with the girl he moved out of the position. I knew how I would have felt if the shoe was on the other foot. Being chosen over another was a complicated situation for me and I still feel guilty, even tho that decision was not in my control.
Chosen To Lead My Community
In the l980’s MADD opened a chapter in our Sonoma County because two of my closest friends lost a child to drunk drives two years apart. Though I was working full time, had church commitments and a home to take care of, I volunteered to go out evenings once a week and be a public speaker at various organizations around our community for MADD. I chose to do this plus type up a few letters after work for them. By the end of MADD’s second year, they needed to replace their officers. There were so few of us they believed I was the only one they felt could handle the job. But neither of the officers worked a full time job as I did. The chapter would fold, if I did not step forward and be the president for awhile. So many were in court cases, some not well, and many still grieving losses was the reality of our membership. With much reluctance I walked across the line and said yes. The first weeks were a nightmare of learning what was in the files and coming to grips with the fact, we had no money. In spite of the lack of money, the past president was
pushing me to take my vacation time and go to a MADD President’s Conference being held in Orlando Florida. I even had to use my own savings for the flight and conference fees..
The subject of the MADD Conference was “Turning Lemons Into Lemonade” taught by the Disney World Marketing Team. Gaining positive publicity for your organization in a non-accepting world. These were all MADD organizations across the nation seeking to change laws in their community, move people into responsible drinking and driving habits with many in the process of grieving their losses.. While I did not make one friend, I was like a sponge with all the learning. I knew I was not the president my chapter wanted, yet I was better than nothing so the chapter would not die. The gavel was handed over in late June.
The conference was behind me and a CHP Public Affairs came to my first meeting as president. He asked to show us a video from Newport Beach High School regarding a safe graduation party. The only one of its kind. It showed only the event and none of the how to do it. Officer Mede said he wanted help from MADD. I explained our situation and stated to Officer Mede with our membership or funds there was no way we could assist at this time. I went to bed that night with many regrets and awoke around 2: am to sit and write on a scratch pad the possibilities of doing a safe graduation party. The words that kept coming back were community involvement, service clubs and teamwork between the various police departments and the business community. I went back to bed and the next morning looked at my notes. They began to make sense. Where the realization came from, I cannot say, yet there it was. It needed to be an independent group supported with insurance for safety and funded by many parents and organizations and bring the community into a strong belief, “That for the safety of their children we all needed to jump aboard. I knew nothing about forming a nonprofit, even tho I had gone to church for years (a non-profit) and volunteered for MADD, a newly formed non-profit.
I asked a friend and lawyer Carl for an appointment. I entered his office and the first words he said were, “Judy I am a criminal lawyer, why are you here? We both laughed for a moment of two and I politely told him of my concerns on how to file for a non profit. He explained and told me it would cost around $500 to file the proper papers with Sacramento I flinched, MADD did not have that money, nor did it look like they would. So I thanked him and he had his secretary send me the papers to fill out.
I contacted the past president of MADD and it was recommended we gain whatever information and permission that was needed to take action on this type of project. We were told that MADD National could back with their blanket insurance policy for events and gave us the national ok. My reasoning to the board was this made positive publicity for the local chapter and would lead to positive public awareness. The board approved that we do an item auction for the public’s financial support. We began letting people know with publicity on our MADD fundraiser. It was not yet time to go public with an announcement for a Graduation Program. I called officer Mede for a meeting at my home. I just told him I had an idea and would like to discuss it with him. We met with Ellen Draper who worked with teens through the County Orinda Center.
John, Ellen and I in my front room hammered out details of the possibilities. John would speak at service clubs and look for financial support. Ellen would work through the teens and county officials and I would type up the general guidelines and settle the legal aspects. All of a sudden I was wearing two hats of two different non-profits and holding down an 8 hour a day job. Both non profits were very important and struggling. During the two years I was president and Officer Mede worked the Public Affairs office, we began the Project Graduation with 4 schools the first year and it moved to various counties around us in the 2nd year.
We wrote the safe and sober party guidelnes and mailed them off to many schools, including MADD national. Within 5 years, most high schools in the nation were planning graduation parties. We began the Responsibility Hospitality program for serving alcohol for bartenders and caterers and servers. The CHP under John created a film and crash program for campus display. The chapter had seven court cases go through and they helped countless people. Our funds began to grow with increased donations. Now in 2018, 33 years later, the grad night parties are still going strong.
Within 5 years, most high schools in the nation were planning graduation parties. We began the Responsibility Hospitality program for serving alcohol for bartenders and caterers and servers. The CHP under John created a film and crash program for campus display. The chapter had seven court cases go through and they helped countless people. Our funds began to grow with increased donations. Now in 2018, 33 years later, the grad night parties are still going strong. The laws have changed over drinking and driving to the point a first offender in California is fined close to $10,000 plus lawyer fees. There is no longer an attitude to backdoor the alcohol related drivers in the jail systems. Bartenders, caterers and
servers are trained in responsible hospitality, and the films plus crashed vehicles are still being shown on high school campuses.
Chosen To Date Or Marry
Men do not realize what they are saying to a woman sometimes. Some will go over a mental or verbal checklist as they look and speak with you during a date. “Qualifications For My Needs and Desires”, seems to be a priority for the hunter to hunt. Many men have said to me, “Well I was 25 or 27 and finding a wife was something next on my list.” It took me years to decide, it was not important to meet someone elses list. I understand NOW many women make a list of what they want in a man, deciding they want to choose … for a change. Marriage and Relationship is more than a job, which answering to a list of requirements can make you feel. The main thing I found when enjoying a man’s company was all about their actions toward me. Respect, trust building actions, and dedication to time with me. Love is an action word, and a very strong VERB.
Leaving a 31 year marriage left me feeling very ugly, not very intelligent and uneducated for a better career. I said I would never marry again and was surprised when men would ask me out on dates. Within an 8 year time of being single, there were five men that asked me to marry them. I turned them all away and they went on searching for their perfect list matching partner. The healing of my spirit came from two older men I would occasionally go out to dinner with. They continually spoke endearingly of their now passed away wives. I learned from them that a man could truly love a woman. I will be eternally grateful for Frank and John. They did not want another marriage, they were dear friends. Their love for those dear wives was real and shared with me. Years down the road, I reacquainted with a man I had known from choir years before. It was always a “Hi, how are you, have a great week…. Type of knowing one another. Not really knowing one another. We rarely had a date because I was so busy building my business. We’ve always had fun together and have a harmony in voice as well as open discussion of our attitudes on most things. After awhile, he asked me to marry him. I said no five times over a five year span of time.
He kept saying, I’m not going anywhere. He continued to ask for dates and through his persistence, he proved his love, loyalty and gave action to his words. He never mentioned a list, yet he would occasionally say, “It was wonderful how we meet on so many levels and how much he enjoyed being with me.” His choosing to be with me no matter how, proved his determination to love me, challenge me, support my needs, listen to me, and most of all love me through my ups and downs. I felt the same … I was and am there for him. This is a good solid marriage and commitment.
Mature & Immature Decisions
It seems most of us can look back at our lives and say Foresight is better than Hindsight. Yet it is often through Hindsight that we learn the consequences of a decision. I find many people fear “making a decision and become stuck”! They would rather be stuck in a bad decision than take the chance on new awareness and thinking for their best benefit. Most women get caught up in the “best decisions” for the man, or for their children. Thus they leave themselves out of the equasion of living their own lives. Living for others becomes a habit. “The best for hubby.” “The best for the kids.” “The best for a common cause.” The best for their parents.”.... And so on. There have been many times in my life that decisions, small or labor ridden and thoughtful decisions have formulated my life. The human being makes thousands of decisions daily. Even getting up and out of bed each day, or walking out our front door is complicated for some. Each of us must endure the consequences of not make daily decisions. These are a few quick and long term decisions I have made - deeply affecting my life:
● The decision to get out of a car when I would have had to sit on a boy’s lap that I did not care too and an hour later the car was in a wreck killing three and injuring two.
● The decision to listen to my parents when they said, “No we won’t give you funds for college, because you are just going to go and get married. You do not need an education.”
● The decision to love someone so much that you think you love will change them. ● The decision to lift up on my car accelerator when a voice in my head said to. Just as that happened, a semi truck to the side of me lost a mud flap and it skittered across my car hood and barely missed my windshield.
● The decision to believe someone when he said I was dumb.
● The decision to encourage vacations and our bicentennial trip
● The decision to divorce and leave behind a 31 year marriage.
● The decision to leave a secure job and begin independent work.
● The decision to go back to college.
● The decision to hear and believe the clear message “be still and know that I am with you.
● The decision to not hear the people who said “ what do you know about writing and publishing a book.”
● The decision to be a good listener and not a good talker has made me a long lasting friend, a good wife, and better parent.
● The decision to journal my thoughts.
While these seem in many ways self absorbed, I truly believe decisions shape our lives. It is the fear of making a wrong decision that harms people the most. Moving across a threshold. The inertia that is created bogs life down. If we make a wrong decision, we can re-adjust and change. No matter how far we fall or fail. It is through this that we build strength to make the next better decision. To fail or fall short brings us toward the pattern of success. The biggest, most successful and financially successful have had many failures and wrong decisions. A favorite song has a line “ dust yourself off and start all over again “.
A favorite book I had on child rearing had the title of Logical Consequences” What truly are the consequences of one’s actions. You don’t study, you get a bad grade, You clean up the rabbit manure, then it is twice as difficult the next day. You hit someone, they hit back. You bite someone, they bite back. You say mean things about a person, those things might be said about you. I also believed the children should have choices along with the parents. That is why I had the girls make a list of things they wanted to do during a summer and we would put the lists made by each in the family - up on the refrigerator. We would see first what was matching on each list and schedule that, then each person got a turn to do what was on their list. With parents last. We each need to understand setting goals, achieving successes (small or large) and rarely do things come to us without a plan, timelines, setting goals, making decisions, and a strong work ethic. As Forest Gump would say, “life is a box of chocolates.” We don’t know until we bite into it just what we will get. I have learned I cannot let the fear stop me from making the decision on life’s choices and biting into my box of chocolates. As we make the decision to step forth discovering our chocolates, it is vital that we reflect on the fact … Our decisions do affect those near and far
A Privileged Experience
Late one evening around 9: pm I heard the crunch of footsteps on the shale driveway beside my home. It sounded like a person walking up and down. This was not normal, so I looked out my front window curtain and saw the neighbor who lived on the other side of my duplexed home. He was pacing with his flashlight across the front of the drive and appeared as if he was waiting for a driver. I opened my door and called to him. Is everything alright? He paused, said they were waiting for the midwife to come and deliver his daughter’s baby. They had called the midwife quite some time ago and he was making sure the midwife did not miss the house. It is very dark out on our country road, and difficult to see the numbers on the mailboxes. His daughter with one child had moved back in with them after her husband had abused her. But when she came, she was very pregnant for her second child. They were a very nice family, and it was great to have the child with her parents younger girls on the property. He looked so worried in my porch light. He asked if I knew anything about birthing babies, his wife was frantic because the midwife was late! Would I go over and calm her down, or help his daughter. I thought to myself, I too would be frantic if it were one of my daughters.
Having had two children of my own, in the hospital, I really was not experienced in the other side of delivery. My babies did come naturally, and with no drugs, yet there were qualified people with me. I grabbed some clean white sheets, (To this day, I do not know why I grabbed them, but it turned out to be a very good idea.) The grandmother, my renter came to the door and let me in.
Surprisingly her daughter was not in one of the bedrooms in a bed, or even on a couch, but lying on the living room rug in deep labor. Since she weighed around 200 pounds at the time, I sumized she might have been to hard to lift. I quickly moved several of the sheets under her between contractions. I knew they were not sterile, but better than the rug. We braced her with pillows and and between contraction, ice from a cup and cold cloths, I held her hand with the contractions and breathed with her. Trying to keep spirits up, I laughed and said - we’ll get through this, after all, each of us adults has had babies before. Her mom did not appreciate my humor, and asked me what I wanted her to do. We all giggled as I replied “boil water”. Something we had seen in a hundred flicks. The grandmother was so nervous, it was adding stress to the pregnant mom.
First, I said, let’s make certain we have some clean wet towels to clean the baby off, and a soft blanket to wrap him/her in for warmth, and I do need to scrub my hands. I asked for clean rubber gloves and there were none in the house. So I went to my renters kitchen sink that had been used by my household before the duplexing of the house. I thought to myself... well this is a different experience, I certainly hope that midwife shows up. The contractions became longer and deeper. I checked the mother and the baby was very crowned. Surprisingly calm throughout this entire circumstance the mother-to-be said in an very annoyed voice, “I really need to push. I reassured her to go ahead and we would help her. It took only three strong pushes and that sweet baby came out. I was so thankful this was the mother’s second pregnancy.
I took the immediately breathing baby in my hands and quickly said you have a beautiful baby girl, she has curls! Between the gasps and laughter we were cleaning off the baby when the midwife came in the door. She went to work with the umbilical cord and checked the baby over and the mother. The grandmother and I wrapped the baby in her first soft blanket and hugged one another. She presented her daughter with the baby girl and everyone was beaming, including the new grandfather who finally came in. The other children came out of their bedrooms to see the new arrival.
Leaving quietly, I went home and poured myself a glass of wine as I began to shake nervously over what had just occurred. I reflected on the fact, anything could have gone wrong and hung to the knowledge “women have babies alone everyday in this world”. This had been “a privileged experience” for me and the Lord was truly with us “Through It All”, one of my favorite gospel songs came to mind that night.
A few years later, the new mother went on to become a nurse. Amazing ! A mutual friend told me her daughter worked with this nurse and had shared with them how I helped her deliver than night.
Recently (2018) while sitting in Home Depot selecting a new carpet with the sales person, a lady sat down across from me at the work desk. She looked at me very seriously. Judy is that you?? I looked up and she questioned, are you Judy Rivers? With my hubby sitting at my side, I said well now I am Judy Moore. She announced to everyone (in the store it seemed in a very loud voice), this lady delivered my second child!!! She’s not a nurse or a doctor!!! She helped me when my midwife didn’t show up. I was astonished and said - your Valerie’s daughter, it had be 20 years since I had seen her. She immediately rushed and hugged me, showed me a ton of photos on her cell phone and said she was soon to be a grandmother. She kept saying, Judy was so cool, so calm. Little did she know I had just written the story of this privilege in my personal journal. Bob’s comments were … You never told me about this. Amazing!
In 1977 our family of four moved to a one acre ranch in the Rincon Valley area of Santa Rosa. The girls, Anne and Lynn were in awe of the horses on the nearby fences. As they met the children and the neighbors nearby, they became obsessed with wanting a horse of their own. Their dad and I were not ready for these demands, and were putting this off as long as we could. Care of big animals can keep you too close to home As long as we could get away with it, we decided to offer alternatives. We decided a nice lap dog would be grrrreat. One day my husband and the girls went to the dog pound to gain one of the sweetest and smartest little dogs we had ever experienced. As a puppy he was big enough to fit in your hands and he grew to be around 12 lbs. The girls 8 and 12, could do anything with this white ball of soft fun. For a dog, he was quite versatile, They dressed him up in doll clothes, took him on fundraising Walks For Mankind, he loved camping, and he kept us in stitches as he ran around with a Barbie Doll hanging from his mouth. All this, plus Wags loved his baths, making his fur soft like a kitten’s. This little cross between a pug and cocker grew to be a wonder in our eyes and our hearts forever. Friends gave us a small black kitten with a white middy and white socks. Sam adapted readily to all of us, and the dog and cat would be found curled up together in a loving way. It is amazing how these foundlings could adapt to one another so quickly, and so lovingly as they did.
The girls were still haggling for horses, but we were hoping they would be quite content with these sweet animals for awhile. We still had freedom to go abalone diving, have fun at the beach and vacation easily when there was time and money to do so. We had a small travel trailer at that time and did take off for Tahoe adventures with the dog, Wags, happily heading out with us. I think “Adventure” was his middle name. It was with guarded desire for another animal, that we found ourselves targeted by a feral cat - born in a nearby neighbor’s barn. She showed up one day while we were cleaning abalone on the patio. The girl’s father gave her a few nibbles of the cutaways, and she hung around for days in hopes for more. I told the girls she should not be fed…. In hopes she would find another home. To the cries of the girls, “Mom she is so beautiful.” “Mom she gets along great with Wags and with Sam.” “Can’t we please keep her!” My response, “Why would you want to keep a cat that won’t let you touch her? She is so young and it is expensive to have her spayed...no … no… no…
Well you can guess who won. The girls put cat food and water out for her every day. Soon they gave her the name of Callie Cat. She was beautiful, a calico with light green eyes and very delicate boning. Of course we could not touch her, and she would not come in the house….. But eat she could... and she began getting plump. You would see her lying near the dog and cat and sometimes chasing the black cat in play. They were fast becoming a family within a family. After a few months, I noted the girls were giving Callie too much food as her belly was really filling out on her tiny body. I finally realized she was very pregnant...Oopps too late to get her spayed. I had experienced many cat litters as I was raised on a farm. My biology teacher husband laughed as the girls happily discussed how many kittens she could possible have. They were about to experience their first (and if I had my say), last litter. They went to the shed and prepared a box. They led her out with her bowl of food, as if she would not find it on her own to use. Callie was feral, we could not catch her to show her the prepared box. But as cats are a bit independent, she decided on an entirely different spot - indeed. At the time, I was a puppeteer and children’s entertainer. I had a huge box of very large puppets that were kept in the closed garage. Closed I thought very carefully every day.
We spotted Callie looking a great deal thinner and realized she had had her kittens. The girls went to the shed, the rabbit cages, and finally the garage. There were many boxes in there, and as we looked, we heard a distant mew from the bottom of the puppet box. Taking layer after layer off, there she was at the bottom with three little kittens laying on my large furry bear puppet! Needless to say I was a little disturbed, but the girls were ecstatic. It’s ok mommy, we will clean it up…. Of course the puppet was washable and none the worse. She was a wonderful mother and verrrry proud. We carefully closed that door at night, just in case the poppa cat came to visit. She let the dog visit. You could almost see a smile on his face. Blackie the cat was eventually introduced to them as they began to move out of the new shorter box we gave them. Blackie was spayed when we got him, so we knew he was not the daddy. He would let them jump all over him and tug on his tail. Even tho she did not like the people visitors that came to select a kitten, we found homes for each and gave them away when they were old enough. We quickly had Callie spayed. She would now let us catch her and pet her, but she never came in the house. We tried coaxing her in, but to no avail. She had the softest coat, but all petting had to go on out of doors.
While we could teach our children not to go in the roads and to make certain the dog did not get out on the road, we could not teach cats. Sam was hit on the road one morning and we took him immediately to the vet. After x-rays, the vet said no head trauma, but Sam had experienced a broken hip and that would be $500 to pin the ball in his hip. It was a clean break, but we could not afford this type of bill at that time. The vet offered to put him down. I said, we would take him home, see how he fared, and if we could get him well. If we saw it was not working, we would bring him back and put him down. The girls placed a basket in the indoor laundry room, gave Sam water, tried to feed him and tended to him - as did their father and I. Two days went by and Callie Cat was on the patio waiting to be fed with her nose against the glass. I opened the sliding door to place Callie’s food outside. This time she dashed between my legs into the house. She was in on the rug, her nose up in the air. By the time I finished turning around she had quickly dashed toward the open laundry room. As I looked in, she was licking Sam from head to toe, purring and nurturing - her new baby and dear friend. She came in as often as we were alert to her at the door. Wags and she made themselves present to Sam. We would look in and both animals would be in visiting. Yet it was her care that grew his health and desire to live. He began getting stronger, and healthier.
One evening we were all in the living room watching TV. We had forgotten Callie was in the house with Sam. I nudged the girls as I realized Callie Cat was backing out of the laundry room and making low sounds with her voice. We turned off the TV as we were astounded by what occurred next. Out of the laundry room, came Sam on his belly with his claws in the carpet pulling himself forward a little at a time on the carpet. She coached him across the room and back to his bed in the laundry room. He drug his leg behind him, but the other three legs were in action. We were astounded! Callie continued to do this for a week and finally led him to the back door and onto the patio. He lay in the sunshine for awhile and she coaxed him back in. What a coach, What a friend, What a mother and What a nurse she was. After a month you would find Sam up on the fence with his leg dangling off the side. He would chase butterflies, and enjoy his life for many years. The vet was amazed when we told him this story!!!!. After this, Callie would come into the house, sit on our laps, and she would let us pet her. She was so soft, and joined Wags and Sam for evening attention.
Sam was with us for several more years and disappeared on a Halloween night to the dismay of Lynn who was very attached to him. No more than Callie, who looked for him over several weeks. She could be heard calling out to him from various parts of the property. As the years went by, the girls grew up, and my marriage ended. Even tho it was my decision to end my 31 year marriage, I cried, cried and cried every evening, every weekend. It was so weird to function at a full time job in an office all day and come home, open the door, and begin to cry as soon as the key fit in the door. As I would walk in, Callie would run in beside my legs. As soon as I laid down with my tissue box, she would plunk herself right beside me or on me. She would place her little pink velvet paws on my cheeks and purr. I will never forget her selfless tenderness and constant attention. As it does, LIFE righted itself, and things became more than good. Callie would still run through my legs as I arrived home. She spent time on my lap, and was there to talk to in a very empty house. It was no adjustment to doing things, I was always the worker bee who did lawns, gardens, laundry, cooking, bookkeeping, home and fence repairs, shopping, etc. I would be on the roof clearing leaves out of the gutters and Callie would have found her way there from our tree to coach me on. While she would hide from the lawn mower and vacuum cleaner, she loved grocery sacks and boxes, so my laughter seemed to motivate her to do a fair share of hide and seek in them.
One late evening she walked toward me from the fireplace and lurched to the floor. At twelve, it was not too surprising, she was getting older. I scooped her up in my arms, called Lynn who worked for a vet at the time and held Callie close, speaking softly to her. I thanked her for all the GOOD she had brought into our lives and of the LESSONS she had taught each of us. She soon had a second stroke and was gone. I was so thankful she had died in my arms, not on a stainless steel table, and most of all -- not under a bush somewhere. My daughter Lynn came over the next day and we had a little farewell for a life well lived. We buried Callie back of the shed, talked at great length about her, and had a little cry together. Anne, Lynn and I occasionally talk of Callie and how we are still in awe of her wisdoms. No one will ever tell me that all cats are aloof, independent and only want you to care for them. They truly give us great messages of love, loyalty, sympathy and caring. Callie came with one more GIFT, she was a great teacher. I am very thankful that we were her chosen students. Copyright, 2002, Life Is, Judith Rivers-Moore, Santa Rosa, Ca.
Snippets Of Finding The SELF
SEDONA & THE CRYSTAL READER
Who can say how life works the way it does. In my late-forties I was searching for answers. Going through a divorce, wondering if it was me or my reality with the way I was being treated. I continued to search and found myself signing up for a self-help conference in Sedona, Arizona. Costly, considering my budget was limited, but I got the week off from my employer and managed a flight to Sedona I had a private room at lovely Sedona, Arizona resort that looked out over thousands of miles of beautiful red rock canyon and bluffs. It was a very quiet environment with great food, enjoyable people to meet that were a combination of woo woo types to straight, strict and starchy people. Being a bit of a social extrovert I could talk to anyone. The event was run by a former old acquaintance from nursery school days who’s husband had created the event along with others. The man with the money who backed the conference looked like a New York gangster, so I eventually accepted the fact we can not all look like wholesome Californians.
Interesting activities jelled this life experience conference. We were to delve through various activities, art, exercises and discussions some of the EST and Ehrhardt Seminar Training techniques were utilized. I never had any of this training or knowledge in my past. It was a unique mix of Indian beliefs, Christian and Buddah, plus other cornerstone religions where part of the materials originated. As the days wore on, there were times to be quiet, times to ask questions, and times to realize a few things about myself and others. We were instructed to stop placing our hands on shoulders of those who appeared to cry or be going through crises as complaints had come in that we were breaking their aurora? Aurora? While I have never had an auroa that I am aware of, others told me I truly had one. Hmm? Getting Through The FEAR Exercise My “waterloo experience” came when they had ten counselors line up facing one another and we were each to walk down between them. They were screaming and yelling with angry looks on their faces. I went to my old friend and said, I’m sorry, I cannot go down through that. She calmly said, yes you can, and it sounds like you need to. I barely got through that line without upchucking and fainting. She was there to meet me at the end of the line. She took me by the hand and led me back around to the beginning of the line and thrust me back into all those yelling and angry people again. This time I made it much faster and with more determination. When I came off the line, she was there again. I was very angry with her for doing that. It was hard to deal with.
She took me off to the side and said, In nursery school, I always suspected you were in an abusive relationship. I wish I had talked to you about it then. I am truly sorry. Toward the middle of the conference they announced we would be taking an evening walk out through the desert. We were to have jeans and hiking boots or shoes. We were given flashlights and moved toward the trail. This was a gorgeous twilight and later moonlight night filled with red rock canyon views. Several hundred of us trailed through the cactus and sagebrush. We arrived at a large bonfire area and they incorporated an Indian dance by a special (hired) group. Beautiful, as we sat in a circle around the campfire. Over the large bonfire, and hanging from the limb of a tree was a large metal pail. Toward the end of the time together, they moved the bucket to the side and we all filed by the bucket and pulled out a crystal. We were told much of our future was in the crystal we had chosen. Hmmmmm?
Being from a Christian background this was where I had to put my Jesus hat on and understand the history and various origins of religion were not to be rediculed, but received with base appreciation. Most religions are base line steeped in developing wholesome behavior from their believers. But this was a strange mixture. To my knowledge, at that time, crystals and Indian bonfires did not go together. My Crystal Held My Future ? I put it in my pocket for the walk back. The next day, as many were doing, II started looking for someone to “read my crystal so I would understand what the future might bring.“ Why I bought into it, is beyond me. But search for that specific person I did. Asking a few of the counselors, the other participates, etc. It alway came back to one name. I began asking for the name and they would point to a place in the room and by the time I got there she had left for a class and was gone. This went on for 2 more days. Just getting to this one lady who could read the crystal, or give me insight was very difficult. As I packed my bags to go home, I placed the crystal in my purse for the ride home.
We were being loaded into buses, I was about to get on one and they diverted me to another for the brief ride to the airport. With one seat remaining on the bus near a very heavy lady, I plunked myself down. We began talking and found out where she was from. I must have met and spoke with over a hundred people at this week’s conference. I began telling her about my dilemma in finding the person who could read my crystal and mentioned that I had never been able to find_______- __________ She looked at me and softly said... That is me, may I read your crystal for you.
Are YOU For Real ???!!!! I was, and still am flabbergasted that this was the woman I had searched for over the past several days. She took the time and went over details regarding my life that no one could have known. Surprisingly she knew I had two daughters who were grown up. She knew I had lost several pregnancies. She knew I left an old and very troublesome marriage. This was the strangest ride to the airport I could have, or would ever have in my life. Predictions For Anyone What was so interesting regarding her predictions: She said I had many pathways my talents could take me down different roads, and it would be difficult to choose. She stated I had three watching over me at all times and never to fear. She said I was very spiritual and love was my cornerstone. She could say those thing to anyone I reflected on later, yet there she was in the seat next to me - saying them. Again being at the right place at the right time - as only Forest Gump's sister would be.
What Do We Really BELIEVE
So much of life is quizzing ourselves on what we truly believe, looking for evidence on what is proven to us and in general, setting our own scope of philosophy. Yes, so much has to do with how we are raised, but somehow things have occurred for Ms Forest Gump, to find extreme rationals that displace many strong beliefs from earlier life. We hear many people ask, “Do you believe in predestined situations? Is there such a thing? We are often asked to understand why many must make WAR over their religious beliefs! Why must each man and woman think and feel the same about religion in order to go to heaven. Something none of us - base line- know exists? We are propelled to be entertained by sports and entertainment to not even take the time to contemplate our true spiritual beliefs, but lazily quote and promote doctrines dictated by some debased leader who says it must be a certain way or we are OUT. Just like a baseball umpire calls the batters plays, we are out.
Our family members may not agree with our choices, and we leave possible long-term friends behind because they say something against our present attitudes on a subject. We align ourselves into our own comfort zones, in order not to have to listen to another viewpoint. As thinking individuals, we are threatened by a real conversation, and debates, and wonder why our political parties do not speak out on the real issues of government, when THEY KNOW, we can not handle another’s opinion We have trained them by our reactionary, not responsive position taking. The question is??? What have we done with what our for fathers fought so hard to gain.
Our media in television, movies and print are mostly owned by one or two voices who propogate FEAR of anything; change, the government, the loss of a job, the loss of retirement, the police, the neighbor next door, the gays, the teenagers, the food and medicine we use, and the work place superiors We fear lack of in a world where plenty is possible. At some point in our lives, we must in all mindfulness Stand up for what we believe. While I am not a rebel, radical or person to be feared, I want desperately to hear the CONVERSATION. We cannot afford to leave the conversation up to Corporate paid lobbiest to hand over to the congress or senate or the supreme court. Notice I did not give the political positions a capital to their word, but only to the the Corporations who now rule everything through a group called ALEC. Yes politics are a big part of my greater SELF.
Life In A Box
. The Captain Of Her Ship
Being single and a business person, I had a photo of myself with a captains hat on my head at the helm of a SF Bay Cruise dinner party ship. I placed this in the photo insert spot of a small swivel frame box. This cocky, but fun photo was an expression of my freedom, change and growth. I was now the “captain of my ship”. The interior of the box had room for small items, so through the years I have added:
● My high school graduation photo.
● A few NASA X-15 lapel pins.
● The watch the crews, pilots and engineers who chipped in to give me as a gift when I left the job in 1965.
● Two little green elephant pins my grandfather gave me.
● My mother’s watch.
● My red ping pong ball clown nose & kazoo from a 12 year entertainment business.
● Small photos of my daughters when young.
● The 1976 Olympics necklace purchased while there.
● My Volunteer Of The Year Award pin for Project Graduation.
● Small photos of my grandchildren and my loving husband.
Mementos with meaningful memories and thankfulness. I am eternally aware that timing is a major part of living a life.
Frozen In FEAR
Be Careful - Don’t Get Hurt From the time we are toddlers, someone is building fear into our minds and telling us to be careful. It is natural to want to keep someone from hurting themselves, or from diving off a cliff into shallow water, or take a chance with a decision. As I have grown in age, I begin to reflect on the mistakes and ignoring of fears that have lead to success, so I decided to step up to my cliff and get into the business of publishing and marketing my books. Fear Is A Paralysis Lesson Learned - Being afraid of a parent or husband is a waste of my own life. My dad used to say, “To Thine Own Self Be True! I moved from my parents household into my husband’s life, and really had never been on my own.
When both my girls made decisions to do the same, it was terrifying to me because I KNEW what they were giving up. What I saw in other women who had some single years was ...The strength and wisdoms of learning from early mistakes was vital to life long living. A person gets stronger by Dusting one’s self off and starting all over again - often with egg on one’s face. This is crucial to building strength against fear. I must have sounded very strange trying to convince them to wait awhile to marry -- considering I was swallowed up in my own fear. Moving forward with life I learned, a project or decision takes ridding myself of fears. My Parents wrong decisions were apparent from my viewpoint. When I was young, I remembered the pain they would go through with the few errors they made, but memorable ones too. The one thing that kept my attention was how they would say, “Well that did not work well, let’s do it this way, and they would set a new course of action.” Fortunately I worked at NASA for two years 63, 64. There everyday could add up to a bunch of experiments going wrong, mistakes, errors and sometimes the wrong course that lead to huge piles of money being spent. There were times we lost pilots in experimental airplanes. I was at NASA when President Kennedy was assassinated from the big error of not placing him in a protected vehicle. I was there when the metals they were testing on the X-15 for the space program failed and were re-created to finalize the right formulas. I was there when the telemetry and concept of the Lunar Lander were introduced. All were failures in the beginning. But I saw the mechanics, engineers and craftsmen turn their mistakes into working realities by accepting their errors ... and moving forward. So it still makes me wonder why our personal failures give us so much fear to move our personal lives forward. Personal Fears & Failures Bog People Down We are all born with a doubting Thomas in is. We believe everyone is judging us or looking for our weaknesses.
We often have an inner voice that says we are less than what we are - or we interpret statements and criticisms. We either become better actors/actresses to show others that NOTHING they could say will bother us, or we succumb, and become bogged down - paralyzed to act in our own behalf. Sometimes our life partner is pushing us down too, or adding their criticism to our already weak efforts. Like pillars of salt, we quickly become eroded with “posturing” until no one really sees the “real us”. As I became well after my sick abusive 31 year marriage ended, I vowed I would only share the problems with a very few. That meant a large church congregation would not know why I was leaving the marriage of 31 years. The teachers nor working staff of my job or my husband’s job would not know. It was all on me. At first it mattered and it was a heavy burden to bear. Eventually NONE of it mattered because I was heading toward a new and improved person - ME. I have learned, we will always make mistakes and errors in judgement, and really -- that is what the journey is all about. At the time of my divorce I looked at what I had - no medical insurance - no retirement - and I decided I needed a career.
For my next fear challenge, I decided to quit my secure job and to sell insurance and did pass the exam. Great, I was not as stupid as my husband said I was all those years…. But alas I could not bring myself to sell and close a client. So I gave this up in the middle of a nasty recession and being around 50 could not get a job to save myself. So I worked part time and went back to school at the JC…. hardly any money, but survive I did by renting most of the house. My education led me toward business and writing skills. This was a healing and dealing with tough times for me. Blossoming After Fears My dear friend Frank Gillette said to me recently - you’ve been like a cocoon and now you are spreading your true wings as a butterfly ... WOW, this is so true, I am beginning to walk with more confidence, take more opportunities in my business, and see the rewards of my writing endeavors pay off. For the first time, since I was eighteen, “ I am feeling beautiful.” It surprises me the men who want to date me - I turned fifty-five, and even tho the mirror does not reflect this … I feel twenty !
I have learned finally that it took going through my fears that makes me stronger. The blame is equal - his abuse and my staying so long in a bad marriage. I will never LET someone beat me down like that again. Even tho I understand more about the problems of emotional abuse, as yet, I cannot excuse/forgive myself completely for loving too much and staying to long in a bad relationship. Eventually I will forgive myself completely - as God does. I finally give myself permission to make mistakes. Even so, I struggle each day doing things I never thought I could do. Organizing is easy compared to advertising sales, writing is easy compared to the business bookkeeping, etc, etc - But the “big critic” is not around to tell me I can’t do it, or that I am too stupid to do it, or why do it if it does not make x amount of money!!!. While some friends seem to have moved from my life, I am seeing the “real friends” and “wonderful daughters” be there continually and I am very grateful for their alliance. So often they feel like my “cheerleaders and rooting section.” Copyright, 1995, JR Publications, Life IS - Judith Rivers