Luck Has Nothing to Do with It

Friday the 13th wasn’t always considered unlucky. In fact, up until 500-600 B.C., january-2017-printable-calendar-1both Fridays and 13s were considered extremely lucky, with some very feminine roots.

According to an article in the Huffington Post, the number 13 is the average number of menstrual cycles a woman has every year. Both the day and the number were associated with the Great Goddesses, and therefore, the day was regarded as the sacred essence of luck and good fortune.

Thirteen is also the annual cycles of the moon.  The Egyptians revered the number 13 as auspicious, and believed that life has 13 stages, with the last stage, death, leading the transition to eternal life.

According to boldsky.com, in ancient Greece, Zeus was the 13th and the most powerful God of Greek mythology. Therefore, in some cultures, 13 is the symbol of incorruptible nature, power and purity.

The number 13 is prime number and can only be divisible by itself, making it a complete number in itself. Some people see 13 as the symbol of totality, completion and attainment.

Friday is more than just the end of the workweek for most people. It was actually the day held holy to honor Shekinah, the female aspect of God. Those of Jewish and Islamic faith observe the Sabbath at sunset on Friday evenings.

Friday was associated with the early Mother Creation Goddess, for whom that day was named. She was known as Freya, or Frig. Friday was called Frig’s Day or Fredag in Danish. In Mediterranean lands, she reigned as Venus. In Latin, Friday is the Day of Venus, Dies Veneris.

Fear of the number 13 came about in Western cultures for several reasons. According to History.com, one of the reasons involves one of the world’s oldest legal documents, the Code of Hammurabi, which reportedly omitted a 13th law from its list of legal rules. In reality, the omission was no more than a clerical error made by one of the document’s earliest translators.

Another theory is that mathematicians believed that because 12 was often considered a “perfect” number in the ancient world, the number 13 must be “unlucky.”

The ancient Sumerian’s numeral system, based on the use of 12, is still used for measuring time today. Most calendars have 12 months and a single day is composed of two 12-hour half days.

In the Bible, Judas Iscariot, the 13th guest to arrive at the Last Supper, is the person who betrays Jesus.

Another ancient myth includes Norse lore, which tells of the evil and turmoil that were first introduced in the world by the appearance of the treacherous and mischievous god Loki at a dinner party in Valhalla. He was the 13th guest, upsetting the balance of the 12 gods already in attendance.

Fear of the number 13, or triskaidekaphobia, is a real malady, and should be taken seriously. For example, Winston Churchill refused to sit in row 13 in the theater or on an airplane. According to Donna Henes, J. Paul Getty, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Napoleon also suffered from triskaidekaphobia (paraskavedekatriaphobia is the fear of Friday the 13th).

“Christopher Columbus, too, seems to have been afflicted. In the 1950s, the Columbiana, a group of Italian Columbus experts, concluded upon careful study of his ships’ logs and notes that Columbus actually landed on the Western Hemisphere on October 13, 1492. The date, apparently, was deliberately changed to October 12, to avoid the imprint of such an evil omen.”

It’s a fear that many cannot control, and even though logic dictates that a number can’t possibly be held responsible for our destiny, we have a difficult time convincing our minds of it.

Friday, on the other hand, just happens to be the day that bad things seem to happen. According to the telegraph.co, in the 14th Century, Geoffrey Chaucer referenced Friday as being an unlucky day in his Canterbury Tales, “And on a Friday fell all this mischance.”

It is also possible that Thomas W. Lawson’s popular novel, “Friday, the Thirteenth,” reinforced the superstition. The novel depicts an unscrupulous stock broker, who takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on Friday the 13th.

So, if you feel better staying home on Friday the 13th, that’s your prerogative. But if that’s the case, you might want to make plans now for Oct. 13, which also lands on a Friday this year.

Read more at tributecr.com

Sensitivity is a Gift

I came across a Facebook post that contained a link to a study that was done in 2011 that links social anxiety to empathetic individuals.

And because I am always intrigued with articles that try to explain my unique character, I read on:

“Being an Empath means you literally feel what other people are experiencing emotionally. You can feel it in your body, your mood, sensations and in your thoughts. You can also feel it consciously and on a subtle level without realizing it.”

I know this for a fact I can literally feel the tension and negative vibes when I talk to people who are upset or excited or anxious, even on the phone, and I can’t wait to get away from them. I want to stay and listen, and if they need me to listen or talk, I will, for a while anyway. But the entire time, I am looking for an out, trying to wrap things up, or ask them to call me later when they calm down. (I leave out that part so I don’t offend them.)

Which brings up the whole co-dependent thing. Consciously I know I am not responsible for people’s feelings, but I don’t want to hurt their feelings if I can help it. Sometimes I can’t and I just have to accept it. But I know I am more considerate than many, and I take that into consideration. (It’s exhausting just listening to myself as I write this.)

It’s not just people; social activities, even the ones I want to be at, or so draining I have to leave after a short amount of time.  I can tolerate social gatherings, but I’m not comfortable. I would much rather be home, in my room, on my computer. I’m a journalist, and kind of expected to experience the world I am writing about.

It was easier when I was drinking because a few drinks would take the edge off and I could relax. But since I quit almost 11 years ago, I don’t have that “crutch,” and it’s difficult to relax at social gatherings, even with my own family.

Most people understand, but some are offended when I leave a party early. It’s just to hard for some people to understand.

Imagine a wild deer in a locked pen. It realizes it’s trapped and frantically looks for a way out. It paces back and forth until finally the gate opens and the deer bolts out. That’s kind of how I feel in many social situations. A little extreme, I know, but I have learned to manage it. I no longer run for the nearest exit. I edge my way towards it …

I have always been extremely sensitive and because I  care so much about what other people think, I viewed my sensitivity as a curse. It wasn’t that long ago that I heard, “Don’t let people walk all over you,” “You need a thicker skin,” or “Get a backbone.”

I thought there was something really wrong with me. When I was angry, I’d cry, because I was more hurt than angry. I couldn’t understand how people could be so hurtful and hateful. I became confused about love, because how could people say they love you, and then hurt you?

But once I understood how my sensitivity is a gift, not a curse, I accepted it, and now I’m glad I’m ultra-sensitive.

I feel things deeply and I connect with others on a new level, which is important to me. I actually look for that connection, that common bond, which helps me relate to that person on a deeper level. By empathizing with them, they will know they are not alone with whatever they are dealing with.

Some people say, “You’re too sensitive,” like it’s a bad thing. But maybe the people who see it as a bad thing are actually jealous because they don’t have the same ability.

And for the record; being sensitive is not the same as being emotional.  According to psychologist, Nancy Schreinre, “being sensitive implies empathy towards others outside of yourself. Being emotional doesn’t necessarily imply empathy and is more about the person being emotional than about the person needing empathy.”

Crying at sappy movies is one thing, but I cry at the horrible things going on throughout the entire world. I cry because I feel bad that others don’t have a place to live, or not enough to eat, or are abused, neglected, or bullied.

I cry for all human kind. That’s who I am. And though I am learning to stand up for myself and getting good at creating boundaries, I will always feel empathy, and I will always be socially anxious.

Psychologist, Nathaniel Branden said, “The first step in changing anything is being aware it needs changing.”

I agree with the statement, but there are some things you can’t change no matter how hard you try. Besides, in this case, would I even want to? I would much rather be sensitive and have to manage the anxiety that comes along with it, than be inconsiderate and uncaring toward others.

tributecr.com

Turning words into action

My heart goes out to the people of Paris. Terrorism is an ugly truth that every human being has to live with. It’s everywhere we look; in the news, on Facebook, even in our own backyards. I have experienced several forms of terrorism myself; disguised as bullies who have nothing better to do than to make my life miserable. We don’t ask for it, but there it is.mother teresa

The group that claimed responsibility for the attacks on Paris yesterday are nothing but bullies, who just so happen to have a huge supply of guns and bombs. The world is letting these groups terrorize the world and we need to stop talking about it and do something to send the message that we refuse to tolerate it any longer. We need to turn our words into action.

America had its first real experience with terrorism in 2001, when terrorists used planes to do their dirty work.  Soon after, May 29, 2002, the Council on Foreign Affairs met to discuss what should be done to combat terrorist groups. Speakers were Frank W. Sesno, Senior Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief, Host of CNN’s Sunday Interview Program, Late Edition with Frank Sesno, CNN, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Counselor and Trustee, Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Samuel R. Berger, Chairman, Albright Stonebridge Group.

Zbigniew Brzezinski made a statement that has become common knowledge since then, but needs to be restated: Terrorism affects the entire world.

“I think it’s very important to understand that terrorism is a manifestation that’s widespread. It’s global. We’re not the only victims of terrorism … My question is who’s the enemy? You know, terrorism is a tactic; it’s a technique of killing people or of intimidating people to achieve a political objective. But you don’t wage a war on a technique. You wage a war on somebody, and I would like to know who the terrorists are.”

This meeting took place 13 years ago, and now that we know who the groups are most responsible for the terrorism, why aren’t we doing more to stop them?

Maybe it’s because when the world celebrated when Osama Bin Laden was killed, we expected something to change, that somehow the terrorism would stop, but it didn’t. Someone immediately stepped in and took his place, and someone else took that person’s place, and so on. There will always be someone to lead these delusional men and women, and there will always be people who want to hurt others in the name of politics and religion.

Our leaders stated years ago America would wage a war on Terrorism, but now it seems that it might be an unwinnable war. It’s not just men and women fighting for their rights; they fighting and killing because they have hatred in their hearts. They kill anyone who doesn’t believe in their religion and/or politics, and won’t listen to reason. They believe they are right and the rest of the world is wrong. They believe murder is the only way to get what they want.

Americans were awaken to the threat of terrorism after 9/11, but countries in the Mid East had it introduced to them much earlier.  Suicide bombings and innocent killing and be-headings had been occurring way before then, but we didn’t pay much attention, until it actually happened to us.

I’ve noticed in the past few years that people are much less willing to talk about their differences; there is too much discontentment, too much hatred in the world, and I wonder if peace is even possible. By creating discord within our own country, we seem to be making it easier for terrorists to recruit those who think their group can offer them a better life.

These people are easy targets because they have low self-esteem, they have a hard time making friends, they hate their lives and they don’t have a reason to live. Terrorists know this. They probably have had extensive training to learn how to recruit unsuspecting victims through social media. They target the weak-minded and it’s so easy because these people are so miserable. Anything is better than where they are. They are promised huge rewards for their servitude and promised adventures beyond their wildest dreams.

Once in their clutches, the groups brainwash the individuals into believing this is what they were born to do; to kill others without a second thought. They are used as weapons.

So how can we turn a seemingly impossible situation into one of action? What can we possibly do to make a difference when it comes to terrorism?

To start, we can try to be better people and set a good example for others. We can raise our children to be compassionate and caring adults.

Mother Teresa once said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.” What we do ultimately affects others.

  1. Our children learn what they live. They see everything. They learn by mimicking us. Teach them to respect others, and you can set a good example by respecting others, too.
  2. “The world is full of kind people. If you can’t find one, be one.”  A smile goes a long way.
  3. Attitude is everything. When you think positively, you automatically create positive vibes that tend to extend out to others. Have you ever been around a negative person? Yuck.
  4. Figure out what it is you love to do, and do that. If you are happy, you have no room in your heart for discontent.
  5. Be grateful for wherever you are at any given moment. You woke up this morning; that’s something to be grateful for. Gratitude is one of the keys to living a happy life.
  6. Take control and quit blaming others for where you are in life. You make the decisions. You create the life you are living. You alone have the power to change it. “You’re not a tree. If you don’t like where you are, move.”

 

Nobody wins

I don’t understand why people argue so much. I understand, “different realities, different views and opinions,” but when they become so focused on wanting to be right, they miss the point entirely.arguments

With all the information available today, it’s almost impossible to read each and every claim that comes out about an issue. Global warming for example: There are actually people who believe that we, as a whole, do not have a problem when it comes to the way we treat Earth.  These people insist that the glaciers are not melting (in a recent article, scientists actually say the ice caps are coming back, but I don’t live in Antarctica so I don’t know for sure) and that pollution is not affecting the Ozone layer that we desperately need to survive. But even if the ice caps aren’t disappearing, how can people say our beloved Earth is not becoming damaged by all the carbon being released into the air? We need to accept responsibility and do something about it, before there’s no Earth left to protect. (I know, I sound like a Public Service Announcement.)

The people who don’t believe we have a serious environmental problem are the same people who believe that their religion is the one true religion, and if you don’t believe in their religion you should be burned at the stake. (Really. There are people who post stuff like that on Facebook.)

They believe that all politicians are evil, except for the one they have latched onto, the savior, that one God-like person who is sure to bring the nation out of chaos. (I actually know a few people who believe this.)

These people believe that vaccinations are the cause for their child’s autism (I’m not saying they’re wrong; I’m just saying they aren’t looking at all the facts. I have a son who is autistic, and it never occurred to me it could be the vaccination, not when he has three older sisters who aren’t autistic.)

People tell me, “Don’t eat that; it’ll kill ya,” as I eat my potato chips and drink my diet soda. (Hey, I like fruit, too. Just not while I’m watching TV and surfing the internet) They also say that too much or too little coffee and wine is bad for you.

And please don’t get me started on the health care system in this country. (Spoiler Alert: It’s not all the President’s fault.)

We rely on health care to stay alive, but they charge so frickin’ much every time we go to the doctor,  we end up dying bankrupt anyway. Does anyone ever win?  After all is said and done, we all die anyway. No matter what we do, or how healthy we eat, or what religion we practice, or even who we vote for, no one lives forever. Will it matter then who was right and who was wrong?

So I got off topic a bit, but the reality is, some people just like to argue. It’s a game to them, as though they get points for maliciously putting down anyone who goes against them. (I was bullied when I was a little girl by someone who told me she would beat me up if I wasn’t her friend. Same principle. I wonder where she is now … just kidding, I don’t care.)

But really, it takes too much energy for me to try to persuade someone to see things differently when they refuse to even listen to another perspective. They automatically become defensive and develop tunnel vision, and all they see is what they believe. These people are so good at twisting the truth, they end up winning the conversation purely by default. Everyone gets tired of listening to them and walk away.

I learned a long time ago that sometimes saying nothing is your best bet, especially if you don’t want to get sucked into a meaningless argument where nobody wins. If you’re smart, you’ll seek out others who know how to have a knowledge conversation where you can share ideas, instead one where there’s a lot of yelling and accusing, but little benefit.