Saturday, March 23, 2013

Through the looking glass...

Alice fell asleep and woke up in Wonderland... The reflection of the magical place, where white rabbits run late to croquet tournaments in sheer horror of an evil queen of hearts, finds a striped purple-pink cat smiling with perfect sarcasm residing in every slight bent of its lips. Wonderland you say? Kind of reminds me of a few people I know. LOL!

Alice awakes (in the dream) and goes running after a white rabbit, curious and curious as to what the fuss and rush is about. Run, run, run..."I am late, I am late, for a very important date. No time to say goodbye/hello, I am late, I am late, I am late."  After the rabbit came the twins, Oh Tweedly Dee and Tweedly Dum! Did I ever mention I had professor years ago who if he had a twin... yeah, you get the picture.

The Walrus and the Carpenter, the tea party with the Mad Hatter. Characters that meant something. Really? Selfish manipulating walruses that lure the innocent baby oysters to the dinner table just to eaten, every one. A little carpenter who ran him off and ended the would be hero, only too late to save any of them. Metaphor for not-so-good people, and blast to the unsung "hero" that usually gets ignored.

The best is the Tea Party... a certifiable insane host, another rabbit, a door mouse (what the heck is a door mouse, anyway) all singing "happy unbirthday to you!"  Today is my unbirthday and it is very likely your unbirthday, too! Most certainly, the tea has been spiked with a sweet treat that only the best sugar cane from my native Caribbean provides. Sounds like dinner at my aunt's--- it's a compliment, in case you are wondering. ;)

Yes, I am quite the random blogger today. What's the point? As we say at home "me fui en un viaje!"- I went on quite the trip. Relax, I am awake, very awake, for the record and I have a point. Promise.

Dreaming big, dreaming randomly, making wishes and believing, it's all me. All ME! But some times, I am  Alice looking through the occasionally faded and foggy looking glass, when things don't seem as they really are. Other times, some of us may feel like the rabbit rushing, rushing, searching for something, running after something we simply can't catch. The rabbit gets to his destination- albeit late. Alice finds him at the croquet match, only to be disappointed with the evil Queen of Hearts, along with her Marie Antoinnette-ish charm charging "Off with their heads" to all who question her.

Alice wake up, please wake up Alice. Dreaming big, making wishes and believing is me, it is all me. These days, though, while keeping these qualities and defending them with a shield of armor for protection, I also have to wake up. Being awake, aware and realizing how things truly are, how people really feel and what makes them who they are, is an option that compliments the dreams. Understanding how life works, how people are, is part of life. We may not like it and may want to go back dreaming, but so be it.

Keeping dreams alive is a must. Everyone needs magic in their lives. When the sun rises each morning reality check bids us good day and welcomes us to the newness of today- the moment.

Think about it... pray about it. Stop for a minute and think. Fast forward a bit. Unlike Alice, and while the future seems bright, I choose to be awake today. I choose not worry about tomorrow and only, only, learn from yesterday. Things often are not what they seem when we look through a looking glass... Let's wake up and enjoy now, enjoy today.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Stay calm, conclave starts Tuesday... Stay calm, you say? ;)

So, for those of us Catholics--- and college hoops fans--- March Madness has sure taken on a whole new meaning. Papal brackets, Papal Bracketology, Conclave Madness. You name it!  It's quite funny, but actually also kind of cool to see humor attached to such a seriously historical, spiritual, traditional, more so, ritualistic, process of selecting a new Pope, a new shepherd, a new leader of our Catholic church.

Now, as I often include (quite obviously insert) in my blogs, I must add one this time around. Wait for it, wait for it... Alas, here comes the DISCLAIMER! :)  For one who has already voiced a sad disappointment in my church and some of it's MAN- MADE policies (yeah, yeah, I admit they are 500 thousand years old, but seriously??!!) that I am not a big fan of, it is still my church.
Sorry, I do own that. I am Catholic, and period. That is who I am, and I can't change that. Trust me, I have tried. ;)

It pains me, breaks the heart and proves to be one of the hardest things to justify, to be faithful and not question how human beings, some of us, are "treated" by certain teachings of the Catholic church. Oh oh, I am crossing a line, maybe... perhaps. I know some people reading this are indeed rolling their eyes.. ;) Smile, please, and lighten up. We all could use -- let's refrase that: the Church could use a little lighting up. Can we have a conversation, please??? Can we be faithful and loyal to church teachings, while keeping an acute eye and EAR to how the world is changing around us? Pretty please, can we??? I don't mean putting a band aid on clear and obvious issues and real hurt that has  been done by our very own, dear church. What I mean is, own it, talk about it, apologize if you need to,  FIX it, and make a decision that will heal and make the human family whole again.

This past week has been quite a learning experience. Not that the previous ones were not, specifically considering that the lesson itself is NOT a new one, certainly not transformational, but quite practical and part of our every day.

The lesson: building relationships is key for success... is key to happiness, is key to progress and it is how we human beings, a human family, should operate---- building strong, respectful relationships.
OK, done!  Yeah, right?! It's easier said than done, you say. Well, I am an optimist, so I do believe. I do, sue me! Let's talk to each other first... Isn't that how you build relationships? Relationships are important at home, at work, in the community.

Did I just go on one of my tangents?? I think I did. Focus... Got it. Moving on.

So, conclave begins on Tuesday. Another somewhat disclaimer: I am not, nor ever pretend to be a theologian. I am simply a woman of faith. I am a believer, full of faith, I am---thanks, Yoda!

Today, at a talk given by the former US ambassador to the Holy See, students asked him to share thoughts on conclave and the new (sooner than predicted to be announced!) pope and the qualities this man should have. While I was more impressed with the ambassador's wife--also a theologian teaching at the university-- I resonated and appreciated with what he said: the new pope has to be a pastor!

The new pope needs to have, or should be questioned to have good skills in pastoral ministry. To be pastoral is to be compassionate. Don't we need that now more than ever? In a perfect world, the new pope will have a heart bigger than the norm, a strategic mind, sharp and with enough perspective to consider all angles to be played. The new pope needs to build relationships, mend broken ones and care...lord, he must care deeply for the human family. We are such complex individuals and collectively we make up what could be described as a dyscfuntional family, or certainly working/loving one in a dysfunctional environment.

The new pope needs a MBA. But if the pope is going to have a MBA, let's make sure it's from a Catholic college or university. ----National public announcement in support of Catholic colleges and universities---so he (not she--- sigh), can combine, in idealistic unison, skills in management, public relations, problem solving while keeping the mission and vision of his flock always a priority. In addition, a background in human resources, sociology and health care will be preferred qualifications.

We can dream, right?? But we must trust... We must trust in the men in red who come Tuesday, will begin the process of selecting our new leader.

Like I mentioned earlier... I am conflicted with certain aspects of our dear Catholic church, but I have faith, and that keeps me going. When I had the chance to attend and later officially join in Sunday worship services at another church, I stayed put. I have faith... I believe.

I am hopeful for a new leader to emerge that will indeed have compassion; a leader that will listen, learn and lead... My church needs a leader that will LEAD once he has LISTENED and LEARNED from what the people need, want, as a result of time... of how the world and the human family co-exhist now a days. It is 2013... NOT 1213.  As my friend, William Joseph Chaminade, has taught us even over 100 years after his death, we must read the signs of the times and find the way to adapt to change. I am hopeful, I have faith... and I can't wait to see what this week brings..

Amen... ;)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Karma is a what-a? Whatever..;)

God and I have been having really cool conversations lately. For the most part, it's all good and I look up and can't help but smile.

Truth, once in a while I look up and along with my typical "seriously?", comes an un-lady-like desire to say expletives in two languages when things happen that appear to come totally out of Telenovelas! Admittedly, I look up, yet again, and wonder WTF is going on up there?? I tell my mother, "Mama, haz algo, co~No!"- Mom, do something, da..... it! I mean, situations created by what I must describe as Harry Potter-like Dementos, who desperately seek to suck the aura or soul of every being, including yours truly, must only exist in fiction, right? Seriously??

People say "Karma is a bitch" or "Life's a bitch and then you marry one"- whatever! I guess karma is often used to describe when something good happens to you; you have good karma or good/positive karma came to you because you did something good, or are a good person. The flip side (there's always a flip side!) is that if you are a bad person, do something bad to others, then I am sorry to say, bad karma will come to you, be with you. Do onto others what has been done to you? Or, treat others like you want to be treated, right? Food for thought... positive or negative. Of course, I would never, and I stress, NEVER wish any ill on anyone, even if I have reason to. That is not the point of this entry.

Karma or no karma... I am feeling particularly positive and grateful these days. Oh, God only knows really why. You all may say, "she's always so positive, how/why?"- lol! The answer is, I don't know. However, I like it!

Feeling fulfilled in both my professional and personal life is, I know, something not every person enjoys. Ok, my friends are probably yelling STOP- what personal life, you don't have one, remember? Yeah, yeah, let's not worry about that. It will come, right??  I'd like to now take this opportunity and remind my friends, then, do something. Save me from myself! ;) Teach me how to have a personal life. I digress... Smile,

The point I am trying to make is that somehow, whether it's karma (the good one!) bestowed upon me like fairy dust from Tinkerbell reminding me to say "I can fly", or whatever, I have somehow managed to have a positive outlook on life. May God strike me the day I make a decision or take a stand that is hurtful, hateful and unjust. May God help me always find the positive in unfortunate situations, for I know in my heart, those may come and will be the most difficult ones to face.

I went to a workshop last week on change. Specifically, leading change. Who said change was easy? Who said even the person who embraces change (and I am one of them!) considers it a piece of cake when circumstances beyond one's control suddenly change an established routine. Hell no! It's not easy. It sucks! It's painful and scary. Stop. Think. Discern. Decide. Act.  That is what I have learned to do. How to do "it" - take on the change- is the challenge.

We were taught about the cost of change. The intellectual cost - all the thoughts that go through our minds when we face change. The emotional cost- all the feelings; fear, anger, loss and grief, excitement, hope. The physical cost- moving to a new location, traveling more, losing income, gaining income. Change comes with a price and it can be expensive. Is it worth it? Yes, at times!

A change in attitude can mend relationships, a change in address can bring people closer, or a change in jobs can provide a career path to a young professional. I am a big fan of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." However, a little change (with thought, discernment and action) may be a good thing. Granted, some will argue that change brought on by decisions made on a whim are just as important and life-giving. OK, sure, why not. My issue is in the HOW. Imperative it is how you present the change, how you break the news, how you deliver it, especially when it's bad. Notice my ode to Yoda, just then? ;)

Back to the point--I know, I am rambling ;) --- Change and especially leading through change, should be done with a positive attitude. I look up now and say a quick little prayer hoping I always remember to look at the positive of every situation. I refuse to focus and get stuck on the negative. I am not naive and will look at reality with facts. Even facts and raw, real-life situations have to have hope for the best and a better outcome. If they don't then why would so many amazing initiatives to better life-conditions for those in need exist.- that's just an example. This is how I choose to live. This is how I work and this is who I am. 

I will not apologize for who I am; for being born or being FORMED to look at the positive in every situation. Even when a twelve year old girl lost her mother, grew up with ten thousand questions festering in her mind about all the what if's? Even when she made life-altering decisions which lead to disaster. Even as she faced life on her own --- in EVERY aspect of what being "on her own" meant. In the middle of all that, somehow, there was hope, there was faith and there was sunshine. There was tomorrow--- Cue Annie or Scarlett O'Hara belting out the best line in fiction-turned-into-film cliche! ;) Indeed, there was always, another day. Smile.

Change comes with life and circumstances. All we are handed to deal with is the ability to make a choice. The choice is how to act when facing change. Karma or no karma. Whatever. My two cents to all who are reading this is try, just try, to find the positive in change or in difficult situations that come. It is not easy. I know. It won't be easy. I am sure. Worth the try, I must believe it is...