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Mirror Mirror On The Wall . . . July 29, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Life Balance, People, Spirit & Ego.
9 comments

When we give ourselves permission (i.e., freedom) to enjoy the journey through life by doing what makes us happy, we become enthusiastic about our endeavors, our creations, our passions.

We feel the joy of life and start to shine!

How do we share that increased enthusiasm and passion with others without being labeled a narcissist in the process?

Well, first, let’s take a peak at what a true narcissist looks like.

In A Field Guide To Narcissism, Carl Vogel (Psychology Today) shared examples of extreme narcissistic behavior:

* There’s the groom who wouldn’t let his fiancée’s overweight friend be a bridesmaid because he didn’t want her near him in the wedding pictures.

* The entrepreneur who launched a meeting for new employees by explaining that nobody ever gets anywhere working for someone else.

* The woman who had such confidence in her great taste, she routinely redecorated her daughter’s home without asking.

* The guy who found himself so handsome, he took a self-portrait with a Polaroid every night before bed to preserve the moment.

These individuals are looking at the world through the eyes of Ego.  (Not too surprising given the way we are socialized.)  Ego does things in order to gain validation and admiration from others, not to share joy with others.

In short, Ego acts in ways designed to bolster its Ego.

In the extreme, narcissism develops ~ an absorption with external opinions and appearances rather than a healthy recognition of inherent value.

From the same article:

* Real-life narcissists desperately need other people to validate their worth.

* They feel entitled to special treatment, are easily offended, and readily harbor grudges.

* Narcissists take all the credit, and none of the blame.   Fault, if it exists, is always attributed to others.

* Narcissists never see their own contribution to relationship woes.

* Narcissists are defensive and needy.

* In order to maintain an inflated self-regard, they throw temper tantrums when their unreasonable expectations are not met, and display a shocking selfishness and complete inability to engage in teamwork.

* An unhappy narcissist generally believes that his main problem is that other people don’t treat him as well as he deserves.

People on the spiritual path are rarely in danger of becoming narcissistic.

Instead of looking for external validation, they accept themselves as is, without worrying much about what other people think.  They look within, rather than without, for guidance on what to be, say or do.

They are more interested in sharing joy on the journey than in receiving accolades for reaching some set destination.

Plus, they are disinclined to throw temper tantrums.

So what happens when someone on the spiritual path runs into a narcissist?

Fireworks!!!

In fact, anyone who views the world through the eyes of Ego is apt to claim that those on the spiritual path are becoming selfish and self-absorbed.

Why?  Well, as a general rule, we are not encouraged by society to share our talents fully with the world.  Instead, we are admonished to subdue our enthusiasm and passion and joy, and feign humility, in order to be perceived as humble ~ a personality trait seen by many as a virtue.

Should we subdue our creative enthusiasm and joy to satisfy others and comply with societal expectations?

No.

We are born with different skills, interests, and abilities.  Some of us are born to be musicians ~ like Mozart who started composing at age 5.  Others are born to dance ~ like Martha Graham.

Still others are born to create with paint or words or food or jewelry.

Why should anyone allow their field of dreams to lie fallow in order to be viewed as humble?

Why should anyone allow creativity to lie buried in order to foster humility?

Who would that serve?

When friends, neighbors, co-workers, or acquaintances discourage us from allowing our innate creativity and joy to shine, they are looking to their own Egos for guidance.

Maybe they want us to “tone it down” because they are jealous or envious of  our talent, skill, or ability.

Maybe our dedication makes them feel guilty, and, rather than pursuing their own passion with purpose, they encourage us to hide ours away.

Maybe they have been raised to believe that human beings should “live small” rather than living out loud.

Maybe they . . .

Bottom line:  it doesn’t matter.  What others think of us is none of our business.

We are not here to satisfy them, we are here to share the best parts of ourselves with the world.

We do that by filling ourselves with enthusiasm for life and by sharing that enthusiasm and joy with anyone who is interested.

Those who drift away are bound to terra firma by the invisible ties of Ego.  Let them go.

Those who gravitate to us are looking at life through the more generous and compassionate eyes of Spirit.

They want us to grow in happiness by fully utilizing our talents and abilities.  They know that our candle flame, no matter how bright, will not extinguish their own, nor diminish their inherent worth.

They encourage us to Shine On!

So, back to the original question:

How do we share our increased enthusiasm and passion with others without being labeled a narcissist in the process?

Oh, we can’t avoid being labeled.  We learn to shrug off the labels (good and bad) so we can fully embrace the dance of life.

Quote:  Don’t worry about what the world wants from you.  Focus on what makes you feel more fully alive. What the world really needs are people who are fully alive. ~ Joseph Campbell

Related posts:  Our Deepest Fear: Our Inner Light * So, What Do You Do? (My Literary Quest) * Daily Prompt ~ Mirror, Mirror * Daily Prompt ~ Mirror Miror #2

A Sunset Dinner Cruise July 29, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Magick & Mystery, Travel & Leisure.
18 comments

Before moving to Florida, I wrote this piece for a Fantasy Dinner Party challenge which prompted writers to invite 12 guests (plus themselves) to any setting on the planet (or even in a galaxy far, far away) to share fabulous food, convivial conversation, laughter and love:

Setting:  On a sailboat, with a large round table and comfortable chairs set out on the forward deck, under the setting sun (and, later, the moon and stars), with a gentle breeze billowing the sails, balmy temperatures, and turquoise water as far as the horizon.

An able captain and crew will handle the sails while an unobtrusive wait staff serve the food and pour the libations, liberally.

Attire:  Casual Comfort or Sporty Style.

Menu:  A Vegetarian Buffet representing cuisines from around the world.

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Appetizers and Starters:  Peanut Soup from the King’s Arm Tavern in Williamsburg; Greek Salad overflowing with Feta and Olives; Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves); Spanokopita (Spinach and Feta cheese wrapped in flaky phyllo); Hummus with Warm Pita Triangles; Vegetable Tempura from Japan with Horseradish (or Wasabi) dipping sauces

Entrees:  Vegetable Curries and Stir Fries from India and Asia, served with fragrant Basmati Rice and assorted chutneys; Vegetable Paella from Spain and Portugal, with Saffron Rice and fresh grilled Asparagus; Spicy Noodles with Chinese Vegetables and Peanut Sauce; White Pizza with Broccoli, Artichokes, and Black Olives; Spinach Lasagna with melted Mozzarella

Sides: Colcannon from Ireland and Bubbles and Squeak from Jolly Old England (Mashed potatoes sautéed with onions and cabbage ~ served as is, or deep fried); Tabbouli with fresh Mint; freshly baked baguettes from France, Scones from Scotland, and Jalapeno Cornbread, Hush Puppies, and Corn Fritters from the Deep South

Desserts:  Gourmet Cheese Tray with Red Grapes and Bosc Pears;  White Chocolate Truffles; Dark Chocolates from Switzerland and Belgium; Tortes from Vienna; Chocolate Eclairs, Napoleons, and Crepes Suzette from Paris; Bananas Foster from Louisiana; fresh Gelato from Italy; and Coffee Heath Bar Crunch from Ben and Jerry’s

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Duration:  Until we’ve had “enough.”

And now, the most important part of any gathering, the Guests:

First, let me thank WinterJazz for the spark of inspiration.  She mentioned the Fantasy Dinner Party game (that many of us played) in The Casting Game (on her Collective Misgivings project).  Since her piece prompted the Fantasy Dinner Party project, my guest of honor is . . . Winter Jazz!

Second, being a fan of English literature, I want a few “less contemporary” writers in attendance.  The value of their work arises from its timeless quality.  The English authors invited to my dinner party are none other than . . . Charles Dickens and Jane Austen.

Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, is the center point of the Christmas season at our home.  We read it, watch it, and grow inspired to live with its message in our hearts for the coming year.

And, dear Miss Austen, a talented “old maid” who understood love and shared that understanding through brilliant writing and clever dialogue in Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, and other good works.

Third, being a fan of all things magical, my next guests epitomize, to me at least, that there is magic in each moment, that change is constant, and that we need to pay attention to the shifting winds.

Please join me in welcoming  . . . Mary Poppins and Merlin, the most magically delicious wizard of all.

While Walt Disney brought the story of Ms. Poppins to life for me (and countless other children) with his brilliant casting of Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke and wonderfully clever special effects, I had already read the book, “Thank you very much.”  Mary certainly measures up in my book ~ she is, as she will tell you herself, “practically perfect in every way.”

I met Merlin for the first time by way of introduction by Walt Disney, in the animated story, The Sword in the Stone.  Mesmerized by Merlin, I decided that I too should like to develop the ability to wave a magic wand and change the state of the world around me.  While not nearly as proficient as Merlin, I expect that my talent will continue to develop, especially after receiving a few pointers from him at my party.

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While we are on the subject of wizards and wizardry, my next invitee has the dubious distinction of being one of 19 alleged witches hung in Salem Massachusetts in 1692 ~ give it up for my great, great, great . . . . great grandmother, Susannah North Martin, whose trial testimony is testament to her acerbic wit and “devil may care” attitude.

Like many of the alleged witches in Salem, Susannah happened to be a female landowner with no male heirs.  Once accused of witchcraft, she lost her land, but not her sense of self, or her sense of humor.

When asked what she thought of her accusers, she laughed.

When asked why she laughed, she replied, “Well, I may laugh at such folly!”

You go, girl!

As a spiritual seeker, I would be remiss if I did not include as guests those individuals who have understood more of this world than meets the eyes.  Namely, Jesus of Nazareth and Buddha.  Although I have some rather pointed questions to ask them, I anticipate being met with less than pointed responses ~ paradox, my friends, is just the nature of this beast we call life.

Next, I want to invite two individuals presently sharing the planet with us, who understand the challenges we face, and solutions we must implement, if we are to survive as a species:  The 14th Dalai Lama, and Thich Nhat Hanh.

Many of you will already be familiar with the beliefs of these inspiring individuals.  For those of you who are not, they remind us all of the need to bring full awareness to this moment, both for internal peace of mind, and for achieving lasting peace on earth.

With all that the Dalai Lama has been through, both personally and as the leader of the displaced Tibetan people, he still meets the dawn of each day with a gentle smile on his lips, and ends each evening with gratitude for the grace he has received ~ shouldn’t we, with our less significant daily frustrations, strive to do the same?

Finally, to round out my guest list, two more relatives:  Nora Logie Rogie, my maternal grandmother, and her older sister, Edith Logie.

My grandmother died of bone cancer when I was only 10, despite my best efforts to bargain with God in order to save her life.  When God “failed me” by allowing her to die, I vowed never to believe in “Him” again, and kept that vow for a quarter of a century ~ at which point,  God (a/k/a The Universe) got my attention with the ease of plucking a ripe tomato from an overloaded vine.

Since then, I have felt a connection with Spirit which is both filled with wonder and wonderful.

As we sail around the seas and the Southern Cross, I would chat into the wee hours with my grandmother (who was taken away from me before I could truly appreciate her love and laughter) about things I remember, and things  I never knew. What I remember:

* playing Canasta and laughing
* Mystery Rides ~ once all the way to Maine!
* picnics at Deer Lake, with creamsicles and Adirondack chairs

Grand memories make me want to know more about my mother’s mother.

My grandmother’s sister, my great aunt Edie, lived into her nineties.  When we were young tots, she would entertain us endlessly, playing “Dot to Dot” on a scrap piece of paper, or acting out the skit, Knock on the Door:

* “Knock on the door” (a quick knock on our forehead)
* “Peep in” (pull up on our eyelids)
* “Lift the latch” (pull up on our nose)
* “Brush your feet” (paint an imaginary mustache above our lip) and
* “Walk in” (march two fingers into waiting mouths amid laughter).

So, that’s it.  That’s my list of twelve.  If only there was more room at the table to expand the guest list.

Of course, once a dinner party becomes too large, conversation can become cumbersome.  Perhaps, the solution is to enjoy this party, and then begin planning the next.

Quote: I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.  ~ J.B. Priestley

No rules.  Just write!

Who would you invite?  What would you serve?  Where would you serve it?

Related posts:  Fantasy Dinner Party Challenge * How NOT To Throw A Dinner PartyDescribe a Perfect Meal (WP Prompt) * Dream Dinner (Thoughts From Finchley) * Dream Dinner (WP Prompt)

Aphorisms from Aa to Zz: Ee July 29, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Humor, Life Balance.
3 comments

Enjoy

Happiness requires that we enjoy what we have, not that we have all we want.

Simple pleasures are life’s treasures. ~ Adage

Jazz Fest + Walk on the Beach + Sunny Skies + Turquoise Waters + Bike Ride = Fabulous!!!

Everyone will be called to account for all the legitimate pleasures which he or she has failed to enjoy. ~ The Talmud

Enjoy this moment, it won’t last.  The future soon will be the past.
The day quickly becomes the night.  Fill each moment with delight.

It’s easier to be happy if you enjoy your own company.

When we hang on too tightly to what isn’t working, we lose the opportunity to gain that which is worth having.

Enough

Don’t make me call the flying monkeys!

STOP THE WORLD . . . I want to get off.

Enthusiasm

Enjoy all life has to offer.  Strive to be happy.

Expand the horizons of your world. ~ Unknown

Embrace all with Joy.  Anything can be a gift of gold in disguise.

In work, love, and life, play hard and play fair.

Find pleasure in things others take for granted.

I’m on the top of the world!

Enthusiasm = inspired by God  . . .  Inspiration = in Spirit

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Excellence

Excellence doesn’t require perfection. ~ Henry James

Our glory lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.  ~ Nelson Mandela

There are fellow travelers out there who take the high road, even if it sometimes feels you’re traveling it alone.

The sad truth is that excellence makes people nervous. ~ Shana Alexander

I’ve never liked the quote, “Good guys finish last,” because it implies that greed, and power, and arrogance will get you to the finish line first . . . but that’s not the finish line that I’m aiming for.

To be a success in life is more than racking up dollars in your bank account . . . it’s about being the best YOU that YOU can be.  Success is sharing the best parts of yourself with the world.

Some say Keep your eyes on the prize.  I disagree. When your eyes are stuck on the prize, you’re going to stumble and crash into things. If you want to excel at life, you’ve got to keep your eyes focused on the path. ~ Russell Simmons

How do you define success? By quantity or quality?

Do more than belong: participate.  Do more than care: help.  Do more than believe: practice.  Do more than be fair: be kind.  Do more than forgive: forget.  Do more than dream: work. ~ William Arthur Ward

How a man plays a game shows something of his character, how he loses shows all of it. ~ Unknown

To succeed in writing, or life, follow the Path of P’s: Purpose, Passion, Patience, and Persistence.

It is a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.  ~ W. Somerset Maugham

Exercise

I wrestle with my weight.   Does that count as exercise?

Exercise your autonomy to achieve your aspirations.

Thanks to Cindy Taylor for the William Arthur Ward quote!