Lessons

The Wisdom Within Each Moment


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The Turtles – New Lessons

I can’t remember a time when I was a child that I didn’t long for a pet. I wasn’t allowed pets when I was a little girl. I thought it was because my older sisters had dogs and cats before I was born and my parents were just tired of taking care of them. Actually my first impression was that my parents were just being mean to me. I see things a little differently now.
But anyway, I was always begging for a pet. My choice at the time would have been a dog, but I was really open to any type of animal. The answer was always the same. Absolutely not. No explanation. Just no.
Even though we lived in town, there was a lake just down the road from our house. I think it had been built for some kind of manufacturing purpose years before I was born. During my childhood it was a rather unkempt, sometimes smelly eyesore that drew all of the neighborhood kids like a magnet. I believe my dad had even learned to swim there, after being thrown in by his big brother. We ice skated on it in winter and caught tadpoles in summer and also baby turtles.
I wasn’t allowed to go to the lake by myself of course since I was only six or so at this time , but that doesn’t mean I didn’t ride my bike there when no one was looking. I wanted one of those turtles. I became obsessed with the desire for one or more if I could catch them. That was the problem. I could see no way I could catch a turtle and bring it home without engaging my father’s help. He and I were buddies sometimes. I helped him work in the garden and watched while he tinkered at his tool bench. If I could approach him just right, maybe he’d give in. I prepared my argument, waited for favorable timing, and pled my case. The answer was no.
I was a rather persistent (stubborn) child and I absolutely refused to let the subject go. After a while my father relented, probably from sheer exhaustion. My mother had no part in this. She would have never backed down once she made a ruling. That’s why I didn’t consult her.
We fixed up a little habitat with all the things I thought a turtle would like and proceeded to the lake. I don’t remember the actual catch, but eventually we came home with a couple of little turtles. One of them didn’t live through the night. The survivor lasted maybe a week or two. I was excited to have them at first, but soon I was rather disenchanted. One had already died and the other one didn’t smell too good. Mother was always fussing at me to feed it and get fresh water. It quickly became a burden. But as soon as the second one died, I started harassing my father for another one. I got an unequivocal NO.
I was a child. Ignorance is not an excuse but it is a reason. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t understand how wrong it was to inflict my desires on another living being. My father knew. He’d seen enough animals die that he wanted no part of causing harm to another one. But he grew tired of my disappointment and I’m glad he did. His weakness allowed me to eventually learn that harming another is the worst thing there is; that mistreating an animal, or human for that matter by inflicting my will on them is unforgivable.
It has been a long time since I was six years old. I admit I haven’t thought about those turtles and what I did to their lives very many times over the years. But I believe the experience was the foundation that allowed me to truly understand that all life, let me repeat, all life, is precious. Those turtles and their sacrifice are now very precious to me.
Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”

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Church Camp – First Published 2012

It is very hard for people to change. Whatever was taught to us in our childhood stays as the foundation of our beliefs. When I was a child during the late 1950s and early 1960s, I went to church camp in rural Indiana almost every summer. Most of those times, my mother was there too as a counselor. One year when I was eight or nine, there was a lovely young woman who also volunteered as a counselor. I don’t know how she came to be there. She happened to be African-American (the only person at the camp who was). There were no African-American people in my county, or the surrounding counties, when I was growing up. This young woman was very popular at the camp that year. Although she was not my counselor (I probably had my mother as usual), she had a positive impact on the entire camp. She was vivacious and talented, and sang like an angel. At the end of camp, one of the other counselors from our church invited her to come home with us and sing at our Sunday services. Although I was too young to understand what was happening, I’ll never forget the emotions at the church that Sunday. There was fear, outrage, hatred, distrust, and all of the other negative emotions that make up bigotry. Everyone was in a quandary because there was a law on the books in our county that no African-American person could be there after 6:00 pm. The lovely young woman was hurriedly and unceremoniously rushed away. I never heard another word about her. This is the atmosphere I was raised in. But there was a difference for me. A difference that I think made all the difference in my beliefs. My mother cried that day.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”


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Typing – New Lessons

I have to admit, I wasn’t particularly motivated in school. I remember I was excited to start first grade, but it soon wore off after that. I have no explanation. My mother said I was just lazy and maybe she was right. I got by as an average student for a while but by the time I went to high school, I did very little actual studying so barely squeaked out a passing grades. Doing better just didn’t seem worth the effort. My parents fussed at me of course, but that didn’t motivate me either.

I suspect my mother was concerned that I would never amount to anything or even be able to take care of myself.  When it came time to choose my class schedule for senior year, she pushed hard for me to take secretarial classes. She was a secretary and although she didn’t work for several years while she had kids, she found a job and went right back into it when my sisters and I were old enough. That was the last thing I wanted. I had no interest in secretarial work and frankly found it boring, probably because it was what Mother did. Anyway, she finally convinced me to at least take a typing class. She insisted that learning to type would be a vital skill that everyone would need in the future. (She had an uncanny way of knowing about these things.)

I wasn’t very interested in that class either. I never practiced at home on Mother’s ancient typewriter or prepared for the tests. A funny thing happened though. I did surprisingly well. Typing seemed easy for me. I just typed what I was told to in class and it came out right. I’m not sure why. Not only that, but I was finished with the assignments before anyone else. I was easily typing one hundred words a minute or more without making a mistake! I quickly became the teacher’s pet, a position I never dreamed of having in any class!

At the end of the year, when awards were handed out, imagine my shock when my name was called. I had to go up to the front of the assembly and receive my award, which I believe was a pin. I had the best typing grades in my whole school!

I’d like to say now that I changed my ways after that. Winning an award, after all was a life changing moment. But it took a little time for the lesson to sink in. The typing award stuck with me though – I mean literally. I kept it for many years and it may still be in the bottom of a box somewhere. And I found myself telling people about it, long after I’d left high school.

I went to college and slowly began to apply what the award taught me; doing something well brings rewards.  Adding the elements of hard work and diligence enabled me to get good grades and graduate with honors. Nothing comes without a price of course. There was a whole lot of typing involved!

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”

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Valentine’s Day – first published 2016

About the only thing February has going for it (unless you like cold weather) is Valentine’s Day. It is a contentious holiday at best. I am as romantic as the next person, maybe even more so. I’ve had a few really good Valentine’s Days. I got engaged once on that day. Can’t get more romantic than that. But the really memorable, romantic moments in my life did not fall on February 14th.  For the most part, Valentine’s Day is designed for failure. Those who do not have a significant other, or their other isn’t so significant can be very lonely and sad while they imagine the rest of the world in a romantic, blissful encounter. Some receive the contrived and guilt driven obligatory acknowledgement. The card manufacturers do okay and flower shops, restaurants and jewelry stores. There are definitely some people who spend that day celebrating their love for each other. I think that is the key to saving Valentine’s Day. Why is it limited to romantic love, which is oftentimes fleeting? Everyone loves someone – their mother, daughter, grandfather, grandson, uncle, best friend, treasured animal friend, co-worker, the list is endless. And why should we stop there? We shouldn’t of course. Imagine a day set aside to express love for all beings on the planet! Imagine no greeting cards, just true expressions of caring and support! There has been a trend of late where many people have begun to widen the circle of those they include in their Valentine tribute. I say we keep that going! Maybe we should start a movement proclaiming Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers but for love! One loving act on that day from each of us would change the world.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”Happy-Valentine-Day-Red-Roses-Graphic


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Zoomies – New Lessons

Our beautiful kitty, Melody just turned five years old. She is Siamese, with a Seal colored coat that is almost black and blue eyes shining out of her mask like a perfect morning sky. I could go on and on about how smart she is or how sweet she is, but in my experience that is nothing unusual for a cat. What is unusual about her is that she is fearless. Most cats agree that strangers coming into the house – especially workers or repair people are something to avoid at all costs. In my house, my other three cats demonstrate this perfectly by hiding in the attic until the coast is clear. Melody however strolls right into danger, and noses around the stranger. If they take off their coat, she will curl right up. If someone brings a purse or bag, she will shamelessly dig away in it to her heart’s content or until the owner begins to look at me helplessly and I shoo Melody away.

She is not afraid of the Number One Enemy of cats, the vacuum sweeper either. We can sweep all around her and she’ll never move and actually she would even be okay with being swept herself and sometimes asks for it! The trash truck with its loud bangs, squeaks and squeals never disturbs her morning nap.

There is only one thing I can attribute her lack of fear to. Zoomies. Zoomies are her way of releasing tension and stress. Every day or so at no particular moment, she takes off running. It is not the type of galloping pony style she uses when playing chase with her brother. During Zoomies she runs at a very high rate of speed, low to the floor, ears pinned back like a wild cheetah. She can start from anywhere in the house, but always includes the main floor, basement and attic. She runs like a blur until for no particular reason she leaps into the bathtub and begins to work her front legs, “scratching” the side of the tub. She seems to love the feel of working her claws down the cool, smooth surface. With muscles rippling, she continues this process until for no particular reason, she stops. She then calmly jumps from the tub and goes about her normal business like nothing had happened.

There are also sound effects that go with this ritualistic run. Siamese are known for being quite vocal and Melody is true to form. She does her share of meowing, purring and kvetching. But for zooming, only turkey gobbling will do. Yes, that’s right, our glamorous, pedigreed Siamese gobbles like a turkey while she runs. Honestly if you were just hearing the performance without seeing the cat, you would believe you were hearing a turkey. She gobbles at the top of her lungs! This sound effect seems restricted for zooming activity alone.

I am convinced that one good zoomie keeps Melody balanced and healthy until it is time for the next one. She seems to know when it’s time and we just step aside and let her rip. I think we should all incorporate zoomies into our lives. We need that physical release that comes from working or playing hard to get rid of our tension and stress and make us fearless. We need a few moments at least to just completely let go of what is keeping us out of balance. In the past, it was built in to our life styles in the hard work that was required to just survive. But today, we must plan for it and fit it into our mostly sedentary lives. It needs to be routine. It needs to be fast and sometimes, we may need to gobble like a turkey.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”

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The Beatles (first published January 2014)

As I write this there is a lot of discussion about the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. In February of 1964 I was ten years old. That Sunday night my family had returned from church as usual and again, as usual my parents had sat down in the living room in front of the TV. I was playing in my room and my teenage sisters were doing whatever teenagers did in those days, probably listening to the radio and arguing with each other. Mother called to all of us and told us to come in there. Reluctantly we all moseyed into the room, and I was wondering what I’d done. She said she wanted us to watch the TV. On most nights my father only watched Westerns, but I guess she’d pulled rank on him too. We all fussed a bit – watching TV with the folks did not appeal to any of us. She insisted we sit down. I remember she said something like we needed to see this. It was important and would change the world. Great, her opinion of what was important did not necessarily jive with mine. I expected to be bored.  People can continually surprise you. Just when you think you have someone all figured out they do something so extraordinary it blows your preconceived ideas right out of the water. My sisters and I hadn’t even heard of the Beatles yet, but somehow Mother – who was in my opinion not in touch with the popular culture, knew, and I witnessed one of the most significant events in my lifetime.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”


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You Have To Be Carefully Taught – New Lessons

When I was a child, my grandparents owned a small grocery store in our town. My dad worked there as the butcher. They were the only regular employees, so it was very much a family affair. Until I was about twelve and the store was sold, it was the only place our groceries came from. My mother never went to another store. Dad brought home everything that she needed. There were a couple of other stores in town, but my father was adamant that no one in his family ever go to them. As a matter of fact, he forbid any of us to set foot in another store. He had reasons. One store was “too dirty”, another cheated people with high prices, and of course there was the obvious competition among the stores. This was drilled into my head so often as a child I began to believe that the other groceries were bad places and something awful would happen to me if I went in them.

I remember one time spending the night with a friend whose father was the manager of another store. The only reason I was allowed to go to their home was because they were members of our church. I guess that made up for where the father worked. Anyway, imagine my terror when the girl’s mother announced that we were going to run to the store to get something for our supper. I didn’t protest, but I worried all the way there about what would happen to me when I got there and even worse what would happen to me when Dad found out where I’d gone!

At the store, my friend and I played in her dad’s office while her mom shopped. Much to my surprise, nothing bad happened at all and I had a good time. I decided not to tell my dad where I’d been. That one experience was not enough to convince me that other stores were safe.

After my grandfather died and our store closed, life changed drastically in many ways. One of them was, my mother had to grocery shop for the first time in 20 years. I don’t think I appreciated at the time how awkward that was for her and how out of practice she was. It was weird for me too, going with her. It was okay to shop in a store that had been so taboo before.

When I grew up and began to buy groceries for myself, it was still weird. Our store had been closed for seven or eight years by then and I was shopping in another town, but I felt intimidated by the task and was not a very good at it. To be honest, I’m still not. I spend as little time as possible in the grocery store and every once in a while feel like I’m not supposed to be there at all.

Ridiculous isn’t it? Such a silly childhood rule that had nothing to do with me can still creep in and make me uncomfortable. I know now that it was my father’s insecurity that made him fearful of the other stores. At any time my grandfather could close the store and Dad would be out of a job. Dad was only a salaried employee after all and made barely enough money there to provide for us. But it was his version of security.

There are always reasons why children are taught the things they are taught. I think most of the time, adults believe they are doing the right thing. They must. How could a loving parent teach their child something that is harmful to that child or others in our society? Maybe the better question is, why do they?

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”

Lily