Word of the Day Two, Part 2

Humility Part 2

I thought about my experience in the military with leaders and as a leader and how humility applied. My time in the military, I experienced a continuum from terrible leadership to excellent leadership.  The better leaders possed a sense of humility as well as other positive qualities.

The worst leader I served under was a captain in the Marines.  He worked the unit hard, which is fine.  But, he also treated his Marines poorly and with a lack of respect. He saw himself as surperior to others. His attitude was his unit is a reflection of him and mistakes were not tolerated.  He owned the unit. It’s hard to put into words what I observed him doing.  “A Few Good Men” is not just a movie.  He indirectly ordered several junior Marines to “take care” of another Marine and “handle the problem.”  Three people beat the crap out of the “problem.”   The unit had the highest rate of non-judicial punishment, one courts marital, lowest reenlistment rate, and lowest promotion rate.  He taught me how not to be a leader.  

The best officer I served with was in the Army Reserve.  He viewed his commission as a way to help Soliders succeed- not only in the military but also with civilian goals. Of course, meeting mission was required as well. Do your job. He will oversee the NCOs under him.  He expected respect but he gave it as well.  He was humble. He never saw his juniors as “less than.”  Of course, he also had the other skills needed. He gave me an example of how to lead.  You don’t need an iron fist to accomplish the mission.

I spent 17 years in the military, both active time and reserve.  I led as both an NCO and a commissioned officer.  The leadership responsibilities between officer and NCO are different but birth vital.  I sought to be a positive leader.  I saw myself both as the person responsible for the Soliders and tasks but also as a mentor.  I viewed my troops as individuals with strengths and weaknesses.  My job was to build on the strengths and help them improve the areas of weakness.  I suppose I took the leadership example from Chaplain Ott.  But, it also matched my personal views of respect for others. I wasn’t a complete pushover.  I disciplined troops when necessary.

It was an adjustment for me when I became an officer.  I was used to providing training and being very interactive with junior troops.  I applied this as an officer.  An NCO pulled me aside on day and asked me if I had a problem with the NCO leadership.  I was rather surprised.  She provided the feedback about being too involved with the day to day training of the troops.  I honestly hadn’t thought about it.  I was still being an NCO.  In a way, that could be seen as arrogance or lack of trust when it was inexperience as a junior officer.  Humility was apologizing to my NCOs and telling them that I wasn’t in their lane out of a lack of trust but just being an NCO first.  I trusted them to tell me if I was “going NCO” on them.  

Humilty is recognizing mistakes, taking responsibility, and trying to correct the problem.  It also means recognizing that anyone can teach you a lesson, even if they are below you in rank or perform “menial labor” if a civilian. Even the most menial jobs contribute to the community in some manner.  

How do you handle leadership?  It is a trust given.

  

Word of the day Two

Humility: the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people : the quality or state of being humble.

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For me, humilty is treating someone with respect, no matter their job, religion, or other factors.  I still struggle with this concept, especially around issues of religion.  It’s fine to disagree but remain respectful.  My beliefs are not superior to anyone.  What abilities I have don’t make me better than anyone.  I might run faster than other people but that doesn’t give me the right to critize someone who is overweight or not in shape.  My education doesn’t make me better than the person working in fast food.

Everything we have, we can lose.  All that remains are ethics and morals.

What is humility for you?

Meditation One

I decided that trying meditation every day, even for a few minutes, might be helpful. If I lose focus I return to the meditation.  The idea is not to be angry or frustrated with myself. For ideas I use an app that displays individual quotes from Buddha.   Today’s quote was “The foot feels the foot what it feels the ground.”

Say what?


To me, this means do not take anything for granted.   If you lift a foot off the ground, it is still there- attached to you body.  Even if there is nothing touching the foot at all.  But, are we aware of the foot if there is no pain, touch, temperature, or movement that engages some nerves?  When I lift my foot off the ground, I’m not really aware of it unless I concentrate on feeling it.  It’s still there.

We become more aware of the foot when we have it on the ground, even if it’s just sitting down.  We feel the ground/ floor.  But, we generally “tune it out” because it’s normal for us.  We do this every day.

When we walk or run, we feel the foot striking the ground.  This is definitely more noticiable.  But, again, we never really think about it.  We miss the beauty of the mechanics of the foot’s working to propel us forward.  We tune it out.  The foot gets noticed when something changes, such as pain.

Feeling the ground.  People who walk or run barefoot are more aware of the ground and their feet.  They are intune with the feel of the foot on the ground. This is noticiable.  This is when people understand the foot and are aware of it as part of our bodies.

The foot feeling the foot is an awareness of what is there. How many times do we walk past a familiar object (like a picture) and not notice it’s there?  Do we notice our friends and family or take them for granted?  Don’t take things for granted.  Notice.

 

Word of the Day

Yesterday was a hard day.  Emotionally, I was imbalanced.  My mind raced, finding no solution to the fear and anxiety I felt.  I wanted to just give up: take some medication and just sleep with the hope everything will be better.  Finding balance and acceptance is a continuing process.  Some days are better than others.  Live for the good days.

I decided to meditate.  My focus was not positive: “I can’t handle this anymore.  I’m tired of being afraid.”  I wanted to co next with my Guide.  I needed help and maybe some guidance and hope.

The word that powerfully came into my mind was perseverance. 

:” continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition : the action or condition or an instance of persevering : steadfastness” (Merriam Webster). 

This is not a foreign concept.  Training for and running a marathon requires dedication and to persevere, even on days you don’t wa t to train.  I visualized being in Marine boot camp.  One of the obstacles on the infiltration course is to low crawl under barbed wire.  Crawl through the mud, face down, go over the wall, just keep going no matter what is thrown at you.  All the way through boot camp- crawl, walk, run- just keep going toward the goal.

Life after brain injury requires a special type of perseverance.  My mind is different, my physical abilitie have changed, emotions are closer to the surface and harder to manage. I also have aphasia. If is particularly frustrating not being able to speak clearly and effectively.  Some days are better than others.  At times, I feel better about the situation; pretty much accepting the changes while still continuing to define my life and move forward. At this point, my goal is to create a meaningful life. And to keep hope that there will be additional improvement in my medical issues.

I certainly received my marching orders. What are yours?  No matter what: persevere.

  

Anxiety 

  
Pretty much how it is.  Anxiety digs it claws into you.  It never shuts up- the fear messages in your head.  Its grip may loosen at times but you’re never totally free.  It’s always in the background.

It’s misunderstood.  Telling me to “relax” won’t help.  I can’t snap my fingers and not be anxious.  I wish I could.  

  
It rides,your back. You carry it because there is no real choice.  Carry the pack or give up.  Make it look easy so no one knows there’s something wrong with you.  Keep going.

It’s exhausting.  I can do more than before with less anxiety.  But sometimes, it just kicks my ass.  

There is a Lesson here.  But I am not sure what.  Maybe that I am stronger than I think.

So Fast

I took Bobby Ferret to the vet today.  I felt a lump in his abdomen during nail cutting last night. It wasn’t there last week.  Unfortunately, my fear was confirmed.  He has a cancerous tumor in his belly.  Unless the predinsone slows the growth, he will go to the Bridge within a month.  The prednisone might give him two to four months.  It’s moving fast, so the prognosis of the longer time is not good. I opted to provide hospice support rather than more invasive treatments.  He’s an older ferret and surgery or chemo would cause more pain/illness and be no guarantee that the tumor can be removed.

Bobby’s story.  Someone found Bobby in a vacant lot in Spokane.  His right front leg was broken and the left shoulder dislocated.  He received vet care and went up for adoption.  I am the lucky person who became his “mom.”  That was five years ago. 
  

He healed fine and is a wonderful little ferret.  He loves to chase his remote control care, playing with the knit eggies, and cuddling.  He also enjoys his Carnivore Care and stealing the cat food.  He also is a little explorer. Outdoor trips are a blast for him.  So much to sniff and dig in.  He is a survivor.  
Bobby was the name given to him by the rescue.  I kept it.the name matched him and was his “survivor name.” I identify with him.  He went through three sugeries, faced a lot of pain, and survived to be a healthy, happy ferret.  He joined my family a few months after my brain injury.  I survived too.  His life changed because of his injury.  Mine did too.  He didn’t let the injury get in the way of a ferret’s life.  I try to not allow my injury to ruin mine. I try to have a good “ferret life” so to speak. Losing any ferret is rough.  He’s a special one.

  
Last fall

 Watching a ferret sicken and eventually having to make the decision to help him/her to Rainbow Bridge is so difficult and sad.  I hate having to make these decisions.  Yet, I owe it to the furchild to make the best choice for them.  Quality of life over quantity. In the long run, life with ferrets is worth the difficult decisions and the grief losing a ferret brings. 

Five years went by so fast.  I was trusted with a very special ferret and he has brought me comfort, laughter, and now tears.  Five years isn’t enough.  Hell, 20 years would not be enough. 

In the meantime, he is still with me, if only for a short time.  That matters. Even when he goes to Rainbow Bridge, I know our spirits will cross paths again.   Souls don’t die.
  

Fear

So easy to say. So,hard to do.  Some many times I am haunted by my past for various reasons.  It’s hard to outrun the monster behind me whose claws want to dig in and drag me back into the “I should have….” “I would have”.. “Why did/didn’t do that?”  “Why did I trust that person?” “I wish that..” “I failed to…”

The largest one for me is: ” Why did I take that route.”  If I went the other way, the brain injury would never had happened. 

 Many times people have to let go of trauma. 

Sometimes people have to release something or someone they lost.   Sadly, many dreams die.

That’s a lot of crap for people to carry.  But so hard to release. Learn from the past but don’t take it for a hike in your backpack. 

The future is similar. Here exist the “What if’s” “What will happen.” And anxiety and/ or fear of what might happen.  We give the future power over our present and are generally miserable.  Yes, visit the future to set goals such as getting a job or going to school.  The key is to look to plans but be flexible within them.   The future is not what you might think. Don’t  stay there.  Don’t play the fear game of what might happen. Frightening place if you get stuck in the fear game. 
  

The present is where things happen.  You might want the job but if you don’t apply or go to the interview, that future won’t happen.  We take action. We adapt as the future unfolds.

Yet, we often make the mistake of rushing to the next thing: trying   so hard to meet the needs of life.  The future becomes terrifying. Our present becomes fearful- often because we are projecting the worst of our fears in the future that may never be.

Don’t be so busy that you forget to enjoy the present time.  Take time to motive and enjoy your surroundings.  Taste you food fully and slowly.  Experience the smell and texture of that orange you eat.  Be fully present in the moment. 

Marathon running highlights these concepts.  

Future: We fear the future.  Will I catch the shuttle? Will I finish? Will I get hurt?  What if I have to pee? Will there be an aid station?  If I fail, what would people think? Will these shoes give me blisters?

Past:  Was my training enough?  Did I eat the wrong meal last night?  Did I bring the right shoes?

Present:  Staying in the present is a challenge.  We want to project into the future or just plain worry.  “What clothes do I wear: long sleeved, short sleeved?  Tights or shorts? Jacket or not?  Damn, it’s raining.  What do I eat?  MRunning, we are so focused on what we are doing: the course, aid stations, other people. 

Slow down mentally.  Enjoy the moment you are in.  Notice your surroundings.  Stay in the present.  This is where we run.  Enjoy the moment.  That is one pretty bridge. Taste life.  Understand life is a balance.  

  
The past is gone.  The futures is unknown. Stay present. Notice and enjoy what  surrounds you.  

Now, it I could only do these things myself.