Friday, September 30, 2005

The Worrying Animal / Click To Donate

We are, perhaps, uniquely among the earth's creature, the worrying animal. We worry away our lives, fearing the future, discontent with the present, unable to take in the idea of dying, unable to sit still.
Lewis Thomas (1913-1993)

Worry is overrated and over used, in my estimation it only drains us of strength, better used in a more constructive fashion. What is fretted over does not shrink; mole hills quickly grow to mountainous sizes, by magnifying them with worry. Negative energy shadows even the brightest horizon. Why mute today's joy with apprehension about tomorrow.
Wait for the morrow, before giving into sorrow that you might not even need to utilize. The worst that could happen, rarely does, and what is imagined most times over steps the boundaries of reality. It is as pointless as adding boulders to the mountain top then wondering why it stands so very tall.
The story below came to me as an email. Enjoy!

The Cost

Tess was a precocious eight-year-old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn't have the money for the doctor's bills and their house. Only a very costly surgery could save him now and it was looking like there was no one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother with whispered desperation, "Only a miracle can save him now."
Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the backdoor and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall's Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door.
She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention, but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!
"And what do you want?" the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. "I'm talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven't seen in ages," he said without waiting for a reply to his question.
"Well, I want to talk to you about my brother," Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. "He's really really sick... and I want to buy a miracle."
"I beg your pardon?" said the pharmacist.
"His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now, so how much does a miracle cost?"
"We don't sell miracles here, little girl. I'm sorry, but I can't help you," the pharmacist said, softening a little.
"Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs."
The pharmacist's brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, "What kind of a miracle does your brother need?"
"I don't know," Tess replied with her eyes welling up "I just know he's really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation, but my Daddy can't pay for it, so I want to use my money."
"How much money do you have?" asked the man from Chicago.
"One dollar and eleven cents," Tess answered barely audibly. "And it's all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to."
"Well, what a coincidence," smiled the man. "A dollar and eleven cents, exact price of a miracle for little brothers." He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said, "Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let's see if I have the kind of miracle you need."
That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge, and it wasn't long until Andrew was home again and doing well. Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.
"That surgery," her Mom whispered. "was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?"
Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost... one dollar and eleven cents ...... plus the faith of a little child. A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law.
Author Unknown

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Tyrant Within / Click To Donate

The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

The word tyrant is somewhat repulsive to me. Webster says it means a harsh arbitrary ruler, which I cannot assign, in any fashion, to the voice that echoes from my soul. I lived with a tyrant for twenty years and his voice was a mighty roar that froze me in place for years.
My souls voice is sometimes stern, but the things it tells me are always worded gently enough not to cause panic. I am never frozen in place by what I hear there, more often than not I am spurred forward, which is their true purpose. A tyrant is a master with an agenda not always in balance with what is good for the territory ruled, and balance is an important key to peace in any kingdom.
Arbitrary means unreasonable, or unjustified, admitting no discussion or complaint. Heavens, that brings back a ton of examples, better left in the long ago. But in no way does my soul demand what is not reasonable or just, and I often have quiet discussions asking for guidance or clarity.
I do not agree with the use of tyrant in this quote, but I certainly agree with using that voice as a guide. For forty years, I never heard the beautiful echoing symphony of my inner voice. All I knew was the clashing of many voices, never my own, filling my mind with confusion. Pleasing others was my only aim, and since the demands kept changing I was constantly off balance.
While I suffered, my soul listened, recording all lessons for future reference. If I had never cleared my head of all tyrants, I suppose that would have been a mute point, when all was said and done. All the answers would have remained untapped and undeserved, all the suffering gaining nothing positive. But I did hear finally, and I make a point of staying in close contact with what rests deep inside.
When I write here, my hands rest on the keyboard and my voice tells them what to type, at times I am even surprised by things that are said here. Knowing deep down is different from facing things eye-to-eye, so in a real way I learn, as much as anyone else, from this exercise.
If you have never heard your inner voice then find it, everyone has one, often it is just buried under bullshit that does not even belong to you. If you lost the peace it takes to really listen, search for it. That voice is as much a part of us as our heart or brain, in fact, our real being is housed there. And sometimes it takes being real to find your real being.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Why Rush / Click To Donate

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.
Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

The urge to ignore should always be ignored. Have you ever watched a child close their eyes, in the special way used especially to make things or people disappear. Tots often believe it is that easily done, but life quickly teaches the rest of humanity that truth will not vanish simply because you close your eyes to it.
Stumbling over truth is a common human frailty, falling at its base happens too. But rushing on only robs you of any lesson it has to teach. Some of my most valuable enlightening moments have been spent on my ass, after such a tumble. I always sit, a spell, just to examine my wounds and insure that I will be able to stand tall once I regain my footing.
In the echoing silence, after the fall, I listen to the quiet voice inside. It tells of the peace that is possible once the truth is accepted, not as an enemy, but as a teacher. It tells of the beauty waiting just ahead of this momentary roadblock. It tells of strength gained from the struggle of scaling its plateau and gives a recipe just for you about how to access the endurance necessary to succeed.
It warns that to let it keep you wounded only dooms you to the place you lay. It foretells of wisdom gained from stepping high enough to stand on the truth then travel on past it. It promises to assist you in the climb, and it always delivers what is needed. But you have to take the time to listen.
This world is traveling at hyper speed. In some things we have no power over how fast we go. Why rush past the lessons that will make you stronger...longer? Why rush past the only voice that will never lie? Why rush past the answers? Why rush past peace?


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Stubborn Facts / Click To Donate

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
John Adams (1735-1826)

Bending facts does not alter their truth, denial is a poor adjustment plan for accepting what cannot be changed, and dooms you to carrying a self-imposed burden. Shadow boxing with gloom for the sake of a reality is a total waste of time and energy. The only defense is to cope.
Find a way to arrange it as a stepping stone, instead of making it brick-wall thick by wallowing at its base, as if chained there. Try being stubborn in a productive way, refuse to fold under the pressure. Grow instead, in patience, in confidence, and in self-knowledge that will make facing facts an easier endeavor.


Monday, September 26, 2005

Palming Infinity / Click To Donate

To see a world in a grain of sand And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand And eternity in an hour.
William Blake (1757-1827)

The length of your moments depends much more upon the attention given them, than in any set rate that applies to them all. Bad times seem to drag on and good ones to fly by if you do not use the power of attention to manipulate their length, it is all in point of view and how much importance you assign each. I have had some very magical ordinary moments that seemed to linger on forever, and some bad times I shook off more quickly than seemed possible.
And I know for a fact that two people, paying special attention to even a brief moment, can make time stand breathlessly still. Time is like money deposited in the bank at our birth. Some is wasted, spent foolishly with no thought of the limit of the days we are allowed. Some is given away, deserved and rewarding at times, ill-used and draining at others. But until we realize that every moment matters we fail to give them the attention they deserve.
There is no way to earn more, than what you began with, yet by making each one precious we lengthen our days to limits that are mind-boggling. The intensity with which you experience each good moment makes them more vivid, surreal and magical. The validation of every moment is a priceless investment in yourself and the world around you.

I received this in an email, enjoy a perfect example of the timelessness of love.

The Tablecloth

The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.
They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc., and on December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On December 19 a terrible tempest - a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days. On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.
The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home. On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church. By this time it had started to snow.
An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus.. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later. She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area. Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle.
Her face was like a sheet.. "Pastor," she asked, "where did you get that tablecloth?" The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria. The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten the Tablecloth. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria.
When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. He was captured, sent to prison and never saw her husband or her home again. The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home, that was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.
What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return. One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn't leaving.
The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike. He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years in between.
The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.


Sunday, September 25, 2005

Your Portrait / Click To Donate

Every man's work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.
Samuel Butler (1835-1902)

The portrait I leave behind matters to me. I hunger to echo now, then echo on even after I am gone, with positive energy and living words that inspire healing and hope. What I write here is not a fairy tale, I possess a strength of purpose born from experience. I found something inside myself that belongs to my fellowman and I place it in full view for their sake.
It drives me for a reason, this work that is as natural as breathing. My life has never been easy, but I do not hunger for ease in material form. I have spent years learning to find satisfaction inside myself, so that my happiness will never depend upon the dollar, although I would enjoy not needing to worry in that direction. But my needs are simple.
I have no price. I give without demands, knowing the value of what I do, even if I have no chart of earnings to show its worth. I cannot be bought, or sold, or owned, or broken down to nothing, because I have internal wealth. But I can be supported in what I do. Only time will tell if my portrait is vivid enough to inspire support.
I know how to give; my whole work history has been spent in tending to the helpless. I have gentle hands and eyes that see much deeper than the conditions and situations that leave people wounded. I know well the look of relief on the faces of the ones I have gazed upon with eyes that always sees the person inside.
When you read the poem below you will glimpse a reflection of what I have always been able to view. Open your eyes wider as you travel along, look deeper into the eyes you meet.
If someone you love is in a nursing home, do them a huge favor. Print this poem out, place it on the wall above their bed, next to a picture taken when they were young and laughing. Not a child's picture, but one of a happy and hale, young adult. Change it to fit a males voice if need be, I am sure the author meant it to serve a purpose. If you do that you will inspire a wider view of your loved one, and guarantee gentler care. I know this from experience too. Sad, but true. Facts are often cruel, but some solutions exist if we only embrace them. I did not write it, yet I have echoed it in every nursing home I have ever worked in.

An Old Lady's Poem

What do you see, nurses, what do you see?
What are you thinking when you're looking at me?
A crabby old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice, "I do wish you'd try!"
Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe...

Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill...
Is that what you're thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse: you're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of ten...with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters, who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen, with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now a lover she'll meet.
A bride soon at heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.

At twenty-five now, I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide, and a secure happy home.
A woman of thirty, my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my husband's beside me to see I don't mourn.
At fifty once more, babies play round my knee,
Again we know children, my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead;
I look at the future, I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own,
And I think of the years and the love that I've known.

I'm now an old woman...and nature is cruel;
'Tis jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
And I'm loving and living life over again.

I think of the years...all too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, nurses, open and see,
Not a crabby old woman; look closer...see ME!!

Below is a daily dig I recieve in my endless search for subject matter and quotes that will be a perfect fit for this quiet place. Humble love is a mighty healing thing.

Humble Love
Jean Vanier

My heart is transformed by the smile of trust given by some people who are terribly fragile and weak. They call forth new energies from me. They seem to break down barriers and bring me a new freedom.
It is the same with the smile of a child: even the hardest heart can't resist. Contact with people who are weak and who are crying one of the most important nourishments in our lives. When we let ourselves be really touched by the gift of their presence, they leave something precious in our hearts.


Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Beauty Of Truth / Click To Donate

There's more beauty in the truth even if it is dreadful beauty. The storytellers at the city gate twist life so that it looks sweet to the lazy and the stupid and the weak, and this only strengthens their infirmities and teaches nothing, cures nothing, nor does it let the heart soar.
John Steinbeck (1902-1968)

The world is full of truth twisters, and the internet contains more than its fair share, but there are enough real people to be worth the bother of weeding out the liars with hidden agendas. Some huddle behind nicknames, several at a time sometimes, to reach their chosen destination. I stay as real as possible, even with them, although I often know many things I do not say out loud.
I have come to realize that letting them feel the victor does not really make them so. I use my own private timetable and questionnaire to decide if they add more to my life than what they take away. The balance is theirs to juggle, yet the final decision is always mine. And if they are missed, once dismissed, it is only the real portion I glimpsed amid the rubble of lies and deceit, so the longing is short term, at best.
There is no shame in believing a lie, for a time, either by fashion or by design. The real shame only comes in holding tight to what never can be, and by choice living a lie that makes you their willing victim. Each of us possesses a lie detector deep inside, in the doubt that will not go away, no matter how hard we try to swallow it, or in the uneasy sensation that just will not be denied. Listen when it speaks. I do without undue stress, if I lead myself off course I am still in my comfort zone, if I allow others to do the same I could end up anywhere.
The real ones never cause doubt or worry, face-to-face or online. Some people are pure light, others are mostly shadow. Choose carefully where you stand then stand proud with the confidence of one who owns the space they inhabit. Let truth be your guide then soar on its wings, past all agendas not your very own.


Friday, September 23, 2005

Substitutes / Click To Donate

Speech is conveniently located midway between thought and action, where it often substitutes for both.
John Andrew Holmes (b.1874)

Thought is the first step, speech the next, and action the only way to travel to any chosen destination. Different issues pose assorted difficulties for each step, but without the first being well-done, the second being done-well, ending up at where you intended is often impossible.
Talk is cheap, action dear, yet by spending enough time in thought and phrasing your map of action in a direct enough line, often makes it much easier to put your money where your mouth is. Telling others inspires a feeling of self-control that at times disappears soon after the dust settles, but most times it is much easier to follow through than to make excuses for why you did not.


My mind has been overflowing today with the plight of the multitude who are fleeing a bitch named, Rita. I saved one special corner for Nanner and her safety. And one corner was Zack's alone. Whatever strength or comfort that can travel with the good-will of pure thoughts, were directed the way of the ones most in need of it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Happiness / Click To Donate

Happiness is not simply the absence of despair. It is an affirmative state in which our lives have both meaning and pleasure....The three components of happiness are something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to.
Gordon Livingston (b.1939?)

The state of happiness has no preset boundaries, nothing limits its size, except you. I can find hundreds of reasons to be happy, but only a few to be sad about. Why in heavens name would I rent more space to a handful of melancholy fellows than I would to a multitude of happy gents? My mind is the home I live in, I own it, who lives there, with me, is my choice and mine alone.
Bothersome visitors will come, but you are not beholden to allow them squatters rights there, anymore than you would be if someone distasteful showed up at your address and set up a tent. How long would you give them to vacate before eviction? The same principle applies to the brain space that is your internal home. In fact, I believe this is the most important location to keep squatter free, because it is a task you have to perform alone. Just a short verse for clarity follows. I hope you enjoy.

You cannot call 911 for help to clear your head,
of a thought taking up precious ground.
Police cars will not suddenly appear,
to arrest and haul it out of town.
But, the intense freedom of evicting a negative
is worth the struggle every time,
So, scan often for all invaders,
who only shrink your happy state of mind.
Toss them out and burn their tents,
then send them packing down the road,
because if joy is your final destination you cannot afford the heavy load.

I got the email below and share it here to broaden the subject at hand.

As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let you down probably will.
You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it's harder every time.
You'll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken.
You'll fight with your best friend.
You'll blame a new love for things an old one did.
You'll cry because time is passing too fast, and you'll eventually lose someone you love.
So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you've never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you'll never get back


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Understanding / Click To Donate

Understanding others is wisdom. Understanding yourself is enlightenment.
Lao-tzu (c.604-c.531 BC)

If I could only choose one type of understanding, I would naturally opt for the enlightening kind. But...Thank God, it is more than possible to do each separately, or both at once, interlocking lessons learned where they apply. We so often give others the benefit of a doubt, thinking higher of them than they ever do of themselves, while demanding perfection from ourselves. Seeing yourself clearly, warts and all is not always pleasant, but it is always enlightening.
Once I gazed deep, so much of what had happened to me made better sense. Looking not only at facts, and acts, but the reasons behind them gained me valuable knowledge that inspired change and growth. Love, made me turn my eyes toward my tormenter with the same unwavering gaze, which encouraged him to travel with me. It was not a pointing finger, of blame, that inspired him to drop all the walls and finally be real. My hand in his, and soft reasonable words made the trip less threatening. The blame game is for the ones with no clue of how to repair what is broken.
Wisdom and enlightenment dawned in my life, during that time. He knew soul deep that if he chose to stay where he was I would quickly out-grow that location. I would have walked away, guilt free. I knew that finally, and once I possessed knowledge from my secret garden, he knew by proxy. Not because I ranted, but because I unfolded to my proper height. How tall are you? Chances are you may be underestimating your true height. I know I certainly did.


Monday, September 19, 2005

Nobody-But-Yourself / Click To Donate

To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best to, night and day, to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
E.E. Cummings (1894-1962)
A Miscellany, 1958

This quote is so true, I struggle, daily, against the urge to put everyone else's wishes above my own, to please the masses and lose myself. But if I am not happy then nobody around me will be happy; placated maybe, yet still unsatisfied in some way or another. A puppeteer does not move the puppet into one position then freeze it there. One manipulation, begets the next, and so on, and so on, in an almost endless dance. A fools jig is not a dance I enjoy.
I do not seek to be a puppeteer, but I rejected the puppets role long ago. Each of us should hold our own strings, they are a birthright, after all. Free-will is the gift everyone is born owning, it is all we need to be satisfied with our lot in life, no matter what that is. Choice is the great equalizer.
I think people, who try to change someone else, are really dissatisfied with themselves and just too lazy, or frightened of failure to do the work to alter what makes them unhappy. They delegate blame and labor onto others, yet still end up empty handed. If you have a flat tire, calling up a neighbor and demanding they change one of theirs will not solve a thing.
Life is much harder than it needs to be sometimes, but allowing people to jerk your strings only makes the journey more difficult. When you deny their manipulations they often give up, or grow bored and take their foolishness to a more willing victim. Be nobody-but-yourself and let the puppeteers dance alone.


Sunday, September 18, 2005

Little Back-breaking Straws / Click To Donate

Men often bear little grievances with less courage than they do large misfortunes.
Aesop (620-560 BC)
The Ass and the Frogs

What gets you really worked up? Chances are the things that make you the maddest or upset you most are the small straws. I have a list, the same as anyone; sometimes life's little back-breaking straws make a mess inside my three feet of personal space, but not nearly as often as they used to. I draw clear lines that I expect others not to cross now and defending my comfort zone is the only thing worth all the bother of a major explosion. But little shit, piled one upon the other, can cause momentary insanity if I am not vigilant in keeping things in perspective.
The time it takes to melt down, is brief unless you lengthen your fuse. Long minutes venting only pollutes the air with ugly noise that the listener most often just tunes out anyway. Wasted breath is such a foolish investment. The time it takes to calm down, forgive or be forgiven then regain the position you owned before the big boom can drag on for days and days. And each time you risk doing damage that will never be put right.
Saving the strength for the big stuff, we each have to face from time-to-time, seems the best way to insure that it will be there when needed. Small straws are often held firm, by the camel they ride. If not tied upon the beast, in question, shaking them off is only a matter of a side step or two. The choice is the camel's, don't you agree?


Saturday, September 17, 2005

Adaptability / Click To Donate

Adaptability is not imitation. It means power of resistance and assimilation.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

Adaptability, is an art form often at war with human nature. I see people who fight, so hard, against brick walls of reality that they have little or no strength for getting past the point they assign themselves. Facts cannot be altered by force. The only way to lessen their power is to adjust to their boundaries while you continue forward movement that will eventually change your location.
Shit happens folks, smearing it all over you only makes the stink last. Situations of the factual kind must be faced then adjusted to before you can move on. Wallowing in a misfortune gives it more importance than it has to have, even the worst things only get more so with extra validation. If its hateful to be there then get up and move on as soon as possible.

Compelled to Hide?
M. Scott Peck
How strange that we should ordinarily feel compelled to hide our wounds when we are all wounded! Community requires the ability to expose our wounds and weaknesses to our fellow creatures. It also requires the ability to be affected by the wounds of others...
But even more important is the love that arises among us when we share, both ways or woundedness.
I address what is written here to the wounded part in each of us, because I am walking wounded myself and understand, so well, the pain that is all around me. I share my pain to ease yours. I soothe and am soothed by this quiet place of contemplation. I deal out hope for a better tomorrow with confidence that it is more than just a possibility, since I have experienced it myself, over and over.

I put the item below up with pleasure. Thanks Annie for forwarding it to me. Any item like this always makes a short trip from email to post. Gonna be buying some m&m's, it seems.

New M&M colors Pass this on to all of your friends. There are many women out there who have breast cancer. Lets do all we can to support this cause.
New Pink & White M&M's
The maker of M&M candies has teamed up with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to raise funds through the sale of their new "pink & white" M&M candies.
For each 8-ounce bag of the special candies sold, the makers of M&M (Masterfoods) will donate 50 cents to the foundation. The next time you want a treat, please pick up a bag (now sold in stores nationwide) - you will be donating to a great cause and satisfying your sweet tooth.
Please pass on to all your family and friends. -- Thank you.


Friday, September 16, 2005

Trying Days / Click To Donate

I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once.
Jennifer Unlimited

Trying days are something we all suffer from; no matter how rich or poor, or how bright or dim, we each are due our share of days that grab us by the short hairs and tug hard. I could make a list, almost without end, if I cared to dwell on them, which I certainly do not. There is just no point in lingering in places I left without regret. The worst trying days I have ever lived through were suffered for the sake of loved ones, or because of them.
The incidentals of life may make me stumble, yet they usually have some sort of solution that will resolve the situation, making for momentary irritations, easily recovered from. But unresolvable trials demand a willingness to work through just how you are going to live with the unchangeable things. I cannot resurrect my dead husband, so I had to learn how to live without him. Death, divorce, break ups, health issues, or anything that drastically alters anyone's lifestyle have only one solution available and that is to get past the pain and live again.
The death of one way of living is also a rebirth of sorts, suddenly everything has a different meaning, and all the answers belong to you. I have learned so much about myself during this trying time. Things that mattered so much, long ago, have little importance nowadays. Living on has a price, but it has rewards too. Every dark cloud has a silver lining, the trick is to look for silver and put your back to the shadow. Trying days strengthen as well as weaken. And the choice is yours alone.

I got this email and wanted to share it, so as per my habit, I placed it where the most could see it. For the curiosity of all who wonder, I remember almost everything listed below, and am grateful for living through a gentler time. I hope your walk down memory lane is enjoyable, if you remember. If it is all new to you read history and taste a pace slow enough to enjoy fully.

All the girls had ugly gym uniforms?
It took five minutes for the TV warm up?
Nearly everyone's Mom was at home when the kids got home from school?
Nobody owned a purebred dog?
When a quarter was a decent allowance?
You'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny?
Your Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces?
All your male teachers wore neckties and female teachers had their hair done every day and wore high heels?
You got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time? And you didn't pay for air? And, you got trading stamps to boot?Laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box?
It was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents?
They threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed. . and they did?
When a 57 Chevy was everyone's dream cruise, peel out, lay rubber or watch submarine races, and people went steady?
No one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the doors were never locked?
Lying on your back in the grass with your friends and saying things like, "That cloud looks like a .." and playing baseball with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game?
Stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger?
And with all our progress, don't you just wish, just once, you could slip back in time and savor the slower pace, and share it with the children of today?
When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the student at home? Basically we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! But we survived because their love was greater than the threat.
Share this with someone who can still remember Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Laurel and Hardy, Howdy Doody and the Peanut Gallery, the Lone Ranger, The Shadow Knows, Nellie Bell, Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk.
As well as summers filled with bike rides, baseball games, Hula Hoops, bowling and visits to the pool, and eating Kool-Aid powder with sugar.
Didn't that feel good, just to go back and say, "Yeah, I remember that"?
I am sharing this with you today because it ended with a double dog dare to pass it on. To remember what a double dog dare is, read on.
And remember that the perfect age is somewhere between old enough to >know better and too young to care.
How many of these do you remember?
Candy cigarettes
Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside
Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles
Coffee shops with tableside jukeboxes
Blackjack, Clove and Teaberry chewing gum
Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers
Newsreels before the movie
Telephone numbers with a word prefix...(Raymond 4-601).>
Party lines
45 RPM records
Green Stamps
Metal ice cubes trays with levers
Mimeograph paper
Beanie and Cecil
Roller-skate keys
Cork pop guns
Drive ins
Washtub wringers
The Fuller Brush Man
Reel-To-Reel tape recorders
Erector Sets
The Fort Apache Play Set
Lincoln Logs
15 cent McDonald hamburgers
5 cent packs of baseball cards - with that awful pink slab of bubble gum
Penny candy
35 cent a gallon gasoline
Jiffy Pop popcorn
Do you remember a time when...Decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-moe"?
Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, "Do Over!"?
"Race issue" meant arguing about who ran the fastest?
Catching the fireflies could happily occupy an entire evening?
It wasn't odd to have two or three "Best Friends"?
The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was "cooties"?
Having a weapon in school meant being caught with a slingshot?
A foot of snow was a dream come true?
Saturday morning cartoons weren't 30-minute commercials for action figures?
"Oly-oly-oxen-free" made perfect sense?
Spinning around, getting dizzy, and falling down was cause for giggles?
The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team?
War was a card game?
Baseball cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle?
Taking drugs meant orange-flavored chewable aspirin?
Water balloons were the ultimate weapon?
If you can remember most or all of these, then you have lived!!!!!!


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Just For Fun / Click To Donate

And how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home winemaking course, and I forgot how to drive?
Homer Simpson

Education teaches us new things, but one of the most valuable lessons is just how much we still need to learn, to know much of anything. I pick and choose what I allow inside my head, because of limited space and lost time, so I can relate to Homer's frustration. What is allowed in, passes through a strainer, letting all unnecessary information drain out to make room for the next serving of knowledge.
I think education that points out how clueless you really are, encourages most of us to never stop learning. I have a healthy fear of waking up tomorrow just as uneducated as I was yesterday, so I use today's to fill in any blank spaces with new knowledge of some kind, worth the knowing.
Some things, we learn from books. But some of the most enlightening things come from connecting with people who are sent to teach us life lessons we could not learn any other way. Reason people are like gifts, acting as private tutors; if the connection is intense enough both learn and grow from it, each expanding in a unique way.
Never stop learning, to close your mind to knowledge is a short road to noplace. The humans that no longer feel the urge to know more, settle for the wisdom they already possess. And for some that is a feeble crop. Grow a garden in your mind, plant it with things that enlighten and amuse. Your brain is a miracle, celebrate it.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Slinkie People / Click To Donate

Some people are like Slinkies... Not really good for anything, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.
Author Unknown

I would never do the deed, but that did not keep me from laughing at the sentiment here. It is far above my ability to judge anyone useless, yet human nature being what it is, I bet each of you can name someone this quote instantly brings to mind. It is a sad fact that some people do all they can to be unlikable.
Some you can simply avoid; for the ones you cannot it is always up to you how much brain-space is rented to them. Arguing, only shows you are sharing their unhappiness. And that seems to be their only aim. Displeasure is the infection they give to you. Unhappiness is their God, nobody is allowed to feel good, since they feel so bad, their only joy comes from making others squirm.
Silence is a powerful weapon; nobody likes talking to themselves. A huge smile dazes and confuses anyone, expecting a frown. You will fail at times and feed them some joy, but always resist the temptation to shove them down the stairs, no matter how much you would enjoy watching them bounce.
Try to remember that somewhere, too deep for you to notice is a grain of goodness. With gentle tending, by the ones who refuse to feed their unhappiness, it may grow enough to change their attitude. If not then it will certainly alter yours.

Every Human Heart
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. Even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained; and even in the best of all hearts, there remains a small corner of evil. It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.





Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Hopes Worth Trusting / Click To Donate

Trust your hopes, not your fears.
David Mahoney

My hopes are simple and worth trusting; my fears are more complex, but much less apt to slow me down than they were during my hopeless years. I struggle to reach my hopes for this site, not because of what it will gain me, it is simply not about fame or green paper. I am driven by knowledge of intense pain and the soothing effect my words seem to have to ease the aches.
I began working as a nurses aide at nineteen. I quit at forty nine, only to continue with the most brutal task I had ever attempted. I accomplished one of the hardest things I will likely ever be called upon to do and I did it with steady hands. I looked into panic filled eyes and gave real comfort, putting my own needs in a less important place, because they were less important.
When my friend was killed by her abusive husband I made a promise. When my husband died I gained the time and energy to give to that endeavor. Every thing I write is aimed toward the walking wounded, because I know that wounds can heal with gentle tending. My nature is to sooth and give, not to hunger for a pile of money or a bright spotlight. If either comes to me naturally upon this road I travel I hope to make good use of them, but what I do comes from the soul, which has no need of such things to be satisfied.
I cannot go against my nature on this, no matter the cost. And I cannot make myself care over-much for things I have never had. Who is richer in the end, I wonder, the man with the most money or the one with silence of the soul. I gain by giving away. My whole life has led directly to this place. I trust my hopes soul-deep and fight my fears, bravely when it assists others to avoid or repair agony I have suffered alone.
I learned a valuable lesson, from someone very wise, just the other day. I used that lesson, last night, to soothe myself in ways never imagined when disappointment threatened to overcome me and slow me down. For that he has my eternal gratitude, for any bother I caused him, he has my deepest apology.


Monday, September 12, 2005

A No Vacancy Kind Of Brain / Click To Donate

If you leave the smallest corner of your head vacant for a moment, other people's opinions will rush in from all quarters.
George Bernard Shaw

The temptation to adopt random opinions as my own died years ago, when I unpacked the trunk that overflowed with so much dead weight. I have come to know well that it is hard enough to carry, with comfort, the things I believe without taking on the added burden of someone else's baggage. I say with all honesty that until I cleaned house I really had no idea what my real opinions were. And parroting someone else's never earns love or respect, no matter how much you wish it would. A yes man is as easily manipulated as a kite in the breeze, constantly shifting to suit the wind. The one holding the string has all the power.
I spent years trying to mold myself from a pattern cut by other hands, and all it got me was the grief of never feeling good enough to deserve love. I never pleased until I stopped trying to placate and merit what can never be gotten by those means. I stood up and found myself suddenly alone in virgin territory, of an almost silent mind, but it did not stay silent for long and has not been empty since. Nowadays, I have an opinion about everything, sometimes profound, sometimes not, but always simply my very own.



Sunday, September 11, 2005

Daily Oughts / Click To Donate

One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if possible, speak a few reasonable words.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Today is the four year anniversary of the 9-11 that changed the world forever. My thoughts linger on the surreal images recorded as events unfolded on that day. For a moment the smell of bacon and coffee is almost overpowering, as I recall how ordinary the morning began. I ache for that simpler time and for all the lives lost and forever changed by insanity. To make the world a more dangerous place seems a foolish legacy, since we all inhabit the same planet.
This quote should help to remind us all to bring beauty into our lives every day, to see something besides the ugliness that is a part of life. Share what you find with someone, doubling your pleaser in the process. Insanity and panic may be contagious, but so are reason and kindness. Being aware of the ugliness does not change the power of beauty to lighten the dark places. The simple fact is that nothing is quite as breathtaking as a light seen from total darkness.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Eternal Present / Click To Donate

The present is the point at which time touches eternity.
C. S. Lewis

The present is composed of ever changing moments; a series of snapshots, playing out like a slide show our whole lifetime long. Surreal images scattered among the ordinary, or tragic mixed with joyful inspires an intensity of awareness that is eternal. Some moments just pass almost unnoticed, others freeze in a way that stretches time. A life is a magical thing, miraculous to an almost mind-boggling degree.
Moments deserve attention, validation of their existence and honor for their passing. When we do enough of that, even to moments of ordinary everyday importance, the amount left to us does not matter all that much.


Friday, September 09, 2005

Large Thinking / Click For Red Cross Donations

We think too small. Like the frog at the bottom of the well. He thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well. If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view.
Mao Tse-Tung

Large thinking requires space not available in a mind overcrowded with unresolved issues. Lofty thoughts soar above the mundane, making it difficult to assign more importance to them in the bigger picture only visible from the air. After all, point of view is only limited by the point at which you choose to view things from.
I do not claim to always make the right choices, I am just as human as anyone else. But I do a lot of large thinking now that I never did when I lived at the bottom of the well. And it has been a very liberating experience to unleash my notions and let them grow without censure.
Some days it is simply okay to have unstructured thoughts. Free thinking invites you to know yourself better; demanding that the conclusions reached come from internal spaces, instead of external places, is the first step on the road to self-awareness. Large thoughts give you a much broader base to build a full life upon. And for me being satisfied with being a frog at the bottom of a well is foolish, when a few hops will free you to reach for things, as yet, unimaginable.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Trivial Acts / Click Here To Donate

In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia. - Unknown

Rut dwelling is easy, all it takes is the constant redoing of commonplace actions. After a surprisingly short time it becomes automatic, needing no thought at all to accomplish. We program ourselves without knowing or caring that we act out of habit alone with no notions loftier than the height of the walls surrounding us.
Our alarms go off at the same time, morning routines precede afternoon routines and the day follows the same predictable path from start to finish. Weeks pass, months follow, and years tumble by without much being accomplished outside the tight tiny orbit we create for ourselves.
Do something unexpected. Peek over the ruts edge. Dig your way out. I cannot promise that escape will be as effortless as it was to get there in the first place. But I can say that every moment lived outside the confines of the commonplace will be almost magical in intensity and once accomplished going back will be impossible.