Category Archives: non-conformity

Dorothy’s Quest-Part 2

Following the Yellow Brick road is a an adventure that demands clever use of all our resources, both internal and external. We undergo a quest with our lunch basket well stocked with the skills. talents, values, wisdom and curiosity we have accumulated over the years. In previous travels we have collected these qualities like souvenirs, brought them home where we pick over them and rearrange, keep some discard others until we have refined our explorers kit.
Those of us who have chosen the path less traveled have a different set of souvenirs than most folks; and it has always been my mission to help us realize that our basket of goodies is no less valuable than anyone elses. Now as I see the state of the world, the economic woes, high unemployment, government that is barely functioning and millions taking to the streets in protest I can’t help but feel that perhaps our time has come. Obviously the “normal” way of doing things isn’t working out. Those who have been complacent, who have always done the “right” thing aren’t faring so well. This is not their fault, by any means. It is the fault of the greedy and self absorbed who take advantage of money and power and feed  on the backs of those who work hard, do the right thing and follow orders. Now people are beginning to question the status quo but many don’t know where to turn. Maybe now is the time for those of us who think outside the box to offer our perspective. If you’re wondering how, well that depends on you! I think the most meaningful opportunity lies in our personal relationships. We all know someone whether a family member, friend, associate, who is being disenfranchised in some way. Maybe they’re losing benefits at work, or maybe they’re about to lose their home. Maybe they can’t find a job and are suddenly living hand to mouth. In times of crisis those of us who have survived instability and uncertainty know how to manage. We have earned our sea legs as the tides of life shifted and raged beneath us. Louisa May Alcott said “I am not afraid of storms for I am learning to to sail my ship”. We have learned to sail our ship in spite of storms, we have survived Dorothy’s twister and we did it without getting in to the cellar because we were busy attending to other matters. (What would have become of Toto if Dorothy had followed orders?) Maybe our tendency to non-conformity and rebellion is the power within us that we needed all along to solve our problems, find our way home and rescue a friend along the way. Think of someone you know who might be struggling. I bet there’s something you have to offer, even if only the gift of how to maintain one’s balance in shifting tides, to hang on to the house as it is wrenched free by the twister. Maybe the two of you can look out the window as the cows and grandmas and fishermen float by and hold each other close.
Please, though, watch out for that loose window frame!

© 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

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More on Employment Deficit for Rebels and Rogues

I find myself again compelled to revisit last months topic dated August 17, “Attention/Employment Deficit”. It is a much larger issue for many of us, on both personal and societal levels.  It involves an emerging cultural trend, one that is dictated by the economic political partnership as are most cultural trends are these days. The present movement unabashedly favors conformity. Like the cycles of the stars and the seasons,  humankind weaves it’s way into, through and out of various seasons and stages. The conformity cycles are always uncomfortable for me; this one feels absolutely frightening.
I suppose my age may intensify my sensitivity. I know more, I analyze with greater discernment and skepticism. More significantly, I am less adaptable. My strategical options for coping with the popular trend, whether they be to cooperate or to rebel, seem be diminishing at a rate equal to the rise of restriction and control. There are within society itself, fewer options available. There was a time when it was much easier to make a living by “doing your own thing”. And if you did work for someone else there was more job security, generally better benefits and in many industries, room for creative development. Ideas from staff were  welcomed and sometimes actually taken into consideration. This was especially true in the non-profit sector where many agencies were still operating by the grassroots community organizing principles upon which they were originally founded. Now, due to stricter regulations and expectations demanded by funding sources most of these agencies management style and atmosphere have become more corporate, less personal. 
As the workplace has changed there are also increasing internal limitations. If you are over 50 and you tell someone you’re looking for work 8 out of 10 people will shake their heads in some sort of ironic sympathy. If you are lucky enough to get hired you’d better keep your mouth shut, follow the rules to the ‘t’ and for heaven’s sake do not by any means get sick.
 The problem is the older you get the less likely you are to hold your tongue and take someone’s nonsense (especially if they are younger than you) and if you do hold your opinions inside you are more likely to experience stress related illness. That’s 2 out of 3 “do not do in the workplace if you are over 50”
Frankly, I am too tired and achy to work a 40 hour week, I could do it but I’d do little else. That’s how life is for most of my middle aged working friends. I’m pretty certain I don’t want to live that way.
I have lots of Utopian ideas about opportunities for people my age. Industries could hire us as Mentors for example. Using our experience to break in the next generation. Unfortunately it seems, based on anecdotal evidence, that many industries do not want fresh young minds corrupted by the crazy anarcho-syndicalist tree hugging whimseys of a generation out of time.
 “So there we were all in one place, a generation lost in space” to quote Don McLean, and although the next line states that “there’s no time left to start again”, I have to believe that there is. We have to carve out our niche in society, because no one else is going to do it for us. We either adapt to the changes and conform, or we adapt around the changes and clear our own path.
Guess which road I’m taking?
© 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard
“American Pie” Lyrics by Don McLean © Universal Music Publishing Group

Ramblers, Rebels and Rogues

I have spent many years of my life in opposition and I rather like the role.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Hello My Rebellious Queens,
I have had the opportunity to chuckle at myself a bit since yesterday. forgetting a blog post, horrors! Yet on the other hand when I decided to make this a daily commitment, a routine with an actual schedule; I did it knowing i was challenging myself stretching my limbs a little farther.
I’m not always, um, shall we say, focused? or organized? or consistent? at least I haven’t been in the past. But in the now, i really do want to commit myself to a consistent effort, a solid path stone by stone set before me as I travel. Don’t ask me where I travel, one commitment at a time, please. I see it like this, some of us tender the hearth, build the home, and nurture the garden. these are the people who go to the office, get to work promptly on time day by day. They have savings accounts and good credit and lead fairly predictable lives. They keep the wheels of enterprise going and they are ok with that. And so am I; I’m happy to know that my garbage will be picked up on Tuesday and that my utilities will work when I turn on a switch and such comforts as we are accustomed. Our society relies on the consistency and reliability of the hearth keepers to function.
our culture uses them as a Blueprint for “normalcy”. They exemplify the way we “should be”. we are promised rewards like all inclusive vacations and funparks and new cars for low, low financing, as long as we tend the hearth. Then there are the rest of us, the Ramblers, Rebels and, rogues. we are the dreamers, the ones who can’t seem to pay attention to the power point presentation and who don’t wear the latest designer clothing.. What we do is create, innovate and motivate. We are the Women with the Past, because no true rambler doesn’t run into some trouble on her journey. We are the rebels because we listen to our heart, not just our head and we aren’t afraid to speak up when something doesn’t feel right. We know we have to take action because, most likely, we learned the hard way that if we don’t speak up, if we try to fit in a place that does not align with our nature, we will suffer. our spirit will shrinks and wither, leaving us vulnerable to the desire for escape in the form of drugs or alcohol or to illusion of acceptance in a relationship that may not be healthy or of becoming shrouded in the depths of our own depression and isolation..
Some of us have had more encouragement and freedom to live by the call of our inner voice than others.. Some of us have had to discover it later in life, and some of us are just awakening to the knowledge.
Where ever we are in our travels, we must remember that we do have our place in society. If it weren’t for those of us who question authority, who go against the grain, there would never be progress, change or, I believe, true freedom..
What “rules” have you challenged? How did it change you or your perception of you?

© 2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard