Saturday, May 27, 2023

May 27--Acceptance--A Good Plan

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.  --Harper Lee

    Walking around in another's shoes/skin/body is impossible. We can't really know all of what is happening with anyone, so let's all cut each other a bunch of slack, shall we? That's not easy, especially with what appears to be fear, ignorance, malevolence and stupidity running rampant nowadays. 
    I need this reminder from the big book of AA: 

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.
For me, serenity began when I learned to distinguish between those things that I could change and those I could not. When I admitted that there were people, places, things, and situations over which I was totally powerless, those things began to lose their power over me. I learned that everyone has the right to make their own mistakes, and learn from them, without my interference, judgment, or assistance!

    Working on it!

Sparkling dewdrops on the grass

Friday, May 26, 2023

May 26--Carry Love

A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart.   
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    I believe that each one of us comes into earthly life with love in our hearts. Alas, circumstances and people can damage that pure essence and warp the individual's perception of the world. Life becomes a question of whether or not we see the Universe as a friendly and welcoming place. 
    There is much going on in the world these days that seeks to implant fear in our hearts. Fear generates anger and all sorts of poor behavior. This is not good for anyone. For humanity to survive, we must carry love in our hearts, living the wisdom that we are all one with each other and our glorious Mother Earth. 
    Love casts out fear,
In the neighborhood...

Thursday, May 25, 2023

May 25--Thoughts on Aging

You can only understand people if you feel them in yourself.  --John Steinbeck

    Let's take up the subject of aging. A friend mentioned this the other night as a challenge in his life. We've heard the saying often: Getting old isn't for sissies. I certainly didn't understand older people and their aging issues until I became one of them. There are new experiences on every level. 
    Physically, I can't do as much for as long as I used to. There are things I did earlier in life, like repaint our entire house inside, that I have no desire to do anymore. I've cut down the size of my garden. I pace myself better to accomplish things like cleaning. Seeing my 83-year-old brother's challenges, especially with balance, is making me acutely aware of all the ways and places that folks can fall, and falls are the primary thing to put folks in nursing homes. I'm fortunate in that I'm very healthy and active, with minimal chronic aches. Those with major health issues have not only physical discomfort but also mental and emotional distress.
    Mental, emotional, spiritual issues of aging are abundant and complex. How do we maintain a sense of being useful after retiring from a lengthy career? How do we handle the challenges of illness and loss of loved ones? It's a proven fact that we attend more funerals as we age. Looking death in the face can be terrifying. Can we stay in our current home or do we need one more accommodating to our aging bodies? How is the bucket list going? Are we at peace with ourselves and others or do amends need to be made? So many questions, and we recognize--so little time. 
    Enjoy this day!

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

May 24--Kindness Starts with Me

You can either practice being right or practice being kind.  --Anne Lamott

    I do enjoy being right, I must admit. Being right, however, doesn't always feel good, but being kind does. I have little difficulty being kind to others, but being kind to myself can be another issue. 
    I should do this, I shouldn't do that. My ego wants right; my soul wants kind. Let's use this week's house cleaning for example. I generally clean when my spouse is away for a couple days in a 3-4 hour marathon effort, leaving me cranky and sore. This week I have decided to do bits of cleaning when he is away for a few hours here and there. This is a much kinder-to-me approach. "Right" would be to get it all shiny clean at one time (which lasts about 10 minutes with a dog). "Kind" is to get it done at a pace that satisfies me and works for me physically. 
    Even kinder would be to hire a cleaning service. Someday!

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

May 23--Laugh--It's Good for All of Us

The highest forms of understanding we can achieve are laughter and human compassion.  --Richard Feynman

    On most evenings, being the introvert I am, I hole up in the woman cave to watch sports (baseball, basketball, the occasional Chiefs game). This past Sunday evening, the neighbors were sitting in their driveway with extended family talking and watching the children play on the court. I decided to be sociable and join them. We had a delightful time chatting and laughing. They even thanked me for coming over. I always enjoy it when I make the effort to be sociable. Note to self: do it more often!
    Below are some funnies from Greg Tamblyn. 

Monday, May 22, 2023

May 22--Cleansing Our Vision

Those who do not weep, do not see.  --Victor Hugo

    If we can't recognize and feel the pain and suffering within ourselves, we can't possibly be compassionate with others. There has been an unfortunate demand over the past few decades of "do not cry," especially applied to little boys. "Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about." I've heard that one; likely you have, too. That cuts off a vital part of human experience, one that is absolutely essential to being a healthy human in healthy relationships. Crying is soul-rinsing, a regularly needed self-care practice. I would add that it doesn't matter whether we know the source of the tears--it could be anger, fear, frustration or joy--just let them flow. The more comfortable we become with our own tears, the more we can be comfortable with the tears of others. I don't think anyone ever died from crying or from being around someone who is crying. Babies wouldn't survive without crying--it is a natural organic human bodily function. 
    Let's embrace crying, our own and others, with compassion.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

May 21--You & I Are Not Alone

We don't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts. 
--Pema Chodron

    I found this interesting article in Psychology Today titled "20 Common Experiences When You Have Endured Relational Trauma." It's worth the read if this applies to you. Here are a few items that especially hit home with me: 

#2... Early on, you may attach to a substance or behavior (or both or many) in the absence of having someone safe, consistent, and stable to attach to. And when stress overwhelms you now, you may revert back to your old coping mechanisms. You may feel shame for doing so. This is addiction.
#7...You know the states of anxiety and depression well. You live with these realities. They’re a part of you as much as the color of your hair or birthmarks. 
#17... You can’t even remotely imagine what it would feel like to have a safety net underneath you. Your peers are swinging from trapeze bars with a big old bouncy net underneath them, waiting to catch them, and you don’t feel that underneath you as you swing. You’d give anything for that net. 

    Good food for thought.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

May 20--Light Up Your Face

If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.  --Dolly Parton

    Simple and easy. Even when I'm in a cranky mood, I try to be polite and kind to those I encounter throughout my day. Smiling gets the kindness ball rolling. 
    We have been blessed with much-needed rain here in south central Kansas. The yard and garden are loving it. Alas, there are a few hundred maple seedlings sprouting everywhere from the over-abundance of "helicopters" produced this spring. When our neighborhood was new, many silver maples were planted, and we are paying the price now. We don't have one, but our neighbors do, and the wind brings plenty of the seeds into our yard. Fortunately the rain makes pulling them out easier. 
    Enjoy your Saturday and make it good for others--SMILE!
A cute snoozing Barney to brighten your day

Friday, May 19, 2023

May 19--Some Days Are Like This

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.  --Dalai Lama XIV

    I would add humor to that list, offering this from a local liquor store sign: ​ Cremation is my last hope for a smoking hot body.
    Today I am cranky and don't feel like writing here. I need to do some personal journaling to "move some energy." 
    Back tomorrow,
At the taco joint near
TX Rangers Field

Thursday, May 18, 2023

May 18--Back Home

We have so far to go to realize our human potential for compassion, altruism, and love.  --Jane Goodall

    There's a gigantic understatement. 
    I'm back home, more or less enjoying "re-entry." I'm having a mix of the joy of a great achievement and "what do I do with myself now?"
    Miscellaneous thoughts about the baseball quest... I've seen the Cubs play in seven places--Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver, Phoenix and Houston. The northernmost stadium is Seattle, southernmost is Miami. My favorite will always be Wrigley Field. I've been on stadium tours in Chicago (Wrigley), Boston (Fenway), and Baltimore (Camden Yards). I've been to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown--truly a must for any true baseball fan. Assorted friends went with me to some of the games, but I was solo for most of them, driving and flying thousands of miles. I saw wonderful things in many cities, such as the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. 
    My one remaining baseball bucket list item is to go to Cubs spring training in Arizona... next year!

The view from my seat, 
along with my celebratory ice cream.
New stadium, excellent video boards.
The final result.

This young woman played the National Anthem--
it was a goose-bumper, so awesome!

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

May 17--The Quest Is Complete!

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.  --Epictetus

    Excellent words of wisdom, those are. 
    Hang with me here. I'm writing the full account of my final stadium for my own memory...
    I arrived at the hotel around 2:30 and took a pre-game nap. Hoping to find food near the ballpark, I left for Globe Life Field around 4:30. There was some traffic, but it wasn't bad. It took me about a half hour to get there. Google Maps guided me directly to Lot D, my parking spot, which was less than a mile from the ballpark. As I was walking toward the park, I asked two men in Braves shirts if there were restaurants near the park, and they directed me to "Texas Live!"--the mother lode of bars and restaurants. I cruised around to see what struck my stomach's fancy and settled on al pastor street tacos and an IPA. Then I headed over to the ballpark and cruised the whole way around the stadium, taking in the sights and concessions. 
    While roaming, I encountered three women who were taking photos, so I asked them to take one of me. 

The writing behind my right ear says
    I'm wearing the t-shirt I had made for the occasion. On the back is a list of all the stadiums and when I was there. There are Cubs patches on both sleeves. 
    This being the completion of my quest, I decided to celebrate with a scoop of ice cream, Blue Bell brand, of course. I settled into my seat looking straight down the first base line. The stadium is quite cool. There were several home runs. When a Ranger hits one, fireworks explode. They also do funky things with the lights during pitching changes. There was no one in the seats on either side of me, so I didn't really talk with anyone until... there was a woman to my left sitting with her three adult sons. She came over to me and said, "Are you a Cubs fan?" "Yes!" She asked, "Are you here by yourself?" "Yes!" She said, "I was sitting over there wondering if I could ever do this by myself." I started telling her about this being #30 stadium, which brought in the woman sitting behind me, who then asked about the list on the back of the shirt. We had a lovely chat and the first woman who came over to talk said, "Safe travels to you, you are an inspiration to us all!" 
    The Rangers won 7-4. I walked with hordes of people back to my vehicle and slowly made my way through the traffic, onto the freeway and back to the hotel. 
    Homeward bound, happy and satisfied with 30 adventures well done!

P.S. More photos to come when I get home to decent internet!

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

May 16--#29 is in the Books

When someone is crying, of course, the noble thing to do is to comfort them. But if someone is trying to hide their tears, it may also be noble to pretend you do not notice them.  --Lemony Snicket

    Let's allow tears to fall where they may and not be so distressed by our own or others' tears. Let 'em flow!
    Stadium #29 on my list, Minute Maid Park in Houston, is "in the books." My friend did all the driving, no small gift in Houston traffic. He treated me to a lovely Mexican dinner at Irma's near the ballpark. Then we walked all around two levels of the stadium for me to gawk and take pictures. There were lots of Cubs fans seated around me. Despite our supportive cheering, the Cubs lost 6-4. This is not uncommon--the majority of Cubs games I've seen in person have ended with the Cubs losing. That will never deter me, however!
    Today it's off to Dallas/Fort Worth for #30, Braves vs. Rangers. 
View from our seats

Orbit, the Astros mascot

The home run train

Monday, May 15, 2023

May 15--Bliss!

If you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times... The more love you give away, the more love you will have.  --John O'Donohue

    Sunday's theme was water. It has been raining in Houston for a couple weeks and it has continued to pour on and off since I arrived on Saturday. Ditches and creeks are getting perilously full. It was good weather to stay in and nap. 
    I had my first float experience at Blissful Waters Float Center in the Woodlands. WOW!! I was in the Starry Lights room where the rectangular tank has blue light "stars" in the ceiling. The water is warm, about 18" deep, and you float--it's not optional, because of the level of epsom salt in the water.  It's an hour of pure heaven. I used a Nekdoodle around my neck to keep my ears comfortably out of the water. I don't think I fell asleep. I also don't think I have ever been so relaxed, and I loved being naked in the water. Interesting after-effects included peeing a lot, and my achy shoulder of a few weeks was ache-free. "Blissful" is correct!
    The rest of the day was lazing around my friend's house, all zenned out from the float. We binge-watched the series "Ted Lasso." It's a hoot! 
    Monday's adventure--seeing the Cubs play the Astros. Stay tuned 😉

Sunday, May 14, 2023

May 14--Happy Mother's Day!

The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.  --David Foster Wallace

    This sounds like the process of raising a child. There are "myriad, petty little unsexy" things one must do every day to accomplish the goal of raising a youngster to be a successful adult. This is an excellent quote for Mother's Day! 
    I have started the final trip of my every-MLB-stadium quest. I am in Houston, Texas, staying with friends. As a Mother's Day treat to myself, I get to do my first float experience--I'm really excited about that. Tomorrow evening I'll see my beloved Cubs play the Astros. Then I'll head to the Dallas area on Tuesday for the Rangers game. Stay tuned, lots of fun and photos to follow...

Can't wait to tell you all about it!
My float room is called Starry Night, YES!

Saturday, May 13, 2023

May 13--A Good Cry

I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.  --J. R. R. Tolkien

    Tears an evil? Maybe fake manipulative ones. Alas, tears and I have been very good buds for the past few months. My dad used to say of me, "Yes, her water always was close to her eyes." 
    I refer to crying as soul-rinsing. Our bodies are energy, and sometimes the best way to move out stuck energy is to have a good cry. It was quite common during yoga teacher training for someone to start sobbing on their mat. Yoga moves a lot of energy, and sometimes the only way to let go is through tears. 
    One way to inspire tears is watching a sad show or movie (or alas, reading the news these days). I would offer for that purpose "The Art of Racing in the Rain." It's an excellent movie that left me sobbing. 
    If you are with someone who is crying... let them cry! Let them have their flow no matter how uncomfortable it may make you, no matter how driven you may be to try and fix the situation. 
    We cry for many reasons, and no reason. It's all OK. Tears are cleansing and holy.

Friday, May 12, 2023

May 12--Learn & Be Useful

I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you.  --Neil DeGrasse Tyson

    This sounds like a very successful way to live, good for Tyson and those with whom he interacts.
    If one is observant at all, knowing more about the world each day is a relatively easy task. Knowing more about the world includes knowing more about oneself, because it is through each individual's "lens" or personal psyche that one perceives the world. 
    Last night my husband and I went on an adventure to Newton. There we learned that Genova Italian Restaurant is quite excellent. It's not fancy, but the food is great, the service is fast and friendly, and we'll go back. It is totally worth the 30-minute drive. 
    Lessening the suffering of others at first sounds like a lofty task. But it may just take a smile or a kind gesture. There's no one on the planet who couldn't use more kindness. I especially encourage being kind to folks who serve us in some way. 
    Let us throw kindness around with wild abandon.

Adopt a pet--a great way to lessen suffering!

Thursday, May 11, 2023

May 11--Purity vs. Holiness

The story of human intimacy is one of constantly allowing ourselves to see those we love most deeply in a new, more fractured light. Look hard. Risk that. 
--Cheryl Strayed

    Richard Rohr's "Daily Meditation" from May 10 is titled "Purity is Not Holiness." He offers these words from pastor and public theologian Nadia Bolz-Weber describing how emphasizing “purity” leads us away from holiness:
Our purity systems, even those established with the best of intentions, do not make us holy. They only create insiders and outsiders. They are mechanisms for delivering our drug of choice: self-righteousness, as juice from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil runs down our chins. And these purity systems affect far more than our relationship to sex and booze: they show up in political ideology, in the way people shame each other on social media, in the way we obsess about “eating clean.” Purity most often leads to pride or to despair, not holiness. Because holiness is about union with, and purity is about separation from….

To connect to the holy is to access the deepest, juiciest part of our spirits. Perhaps this is why we set up so many boundaries, protections, and rules around both sex and religion…. But when the boundaries, protections, and rules become more important than the sacred thing they are intended to protect, casualties ensue.

But no matter how much we strive for purity in our minds, bodies, spirits, or ideologies, purity is not the same as holiness. It’s just easier to define what is pure than what is holy, so we pretend they are interchangeable.
    I am a casualty of modern-day religion. I've experienced the glaring self-righteousness of those seeking purity. It's not pretty. An outstanding example is the current separation in the United Methodist Church over LGBTQ--one side seeking purity, the other holiness. 
    I'll take holiness.
Grass shadows on the sidewalk...
Every step we take is on holy ground.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

May 10--Guilt & Shame

Everyone behaves badly... Give them a proper chance.  --Ernest Hemingway

    Three strikes and you are out? Forgive seven times seventy? How many proper chances are too many? I certainly can't answer that one. 
    Here are some excellent words regarding shame and guilt from Richard Rohr:
What we call Original Sin in Genesis perhaps could be better called Original Shame, because Adam and Eve describe themselves as feeling naked. Some of the first words of God to these newly created people are “Who told you that you were naked?” (Genesis 3:11). Next, in a lovely maternal image, God as seamstress sews leather garments for them (3:21). The first thing God does after creation itself is cover the shame of these new creatures.

This must name something that is fundamental within us. We live, not just in an age of anxiety, but also in a time of significant shame. I find very few people who do not feel inadequate, stupid, dirty, or unworthy. When people come to me for counseling or confession, they always express in one way or another, “If people only knew the things I think, the things I’ve done, the things I’ve said, the things I want to do, who would love me?” We all have that terrible feeling of a fundamental unworthiness. It takes many different forms, but somehow it appears in each of our lives, even if we do not acknowledge it.

Guilt, I am told, is about things we have done or not done, but our shame is about the primal emptiness of our very being. Shame is not about what we have done, but about who we are and who we are not. Guilt is a moral question. Shame—foundational shame, at least—has to do with our very being itself. It is not resolved by changing behavior as much as by changing our very self-image, our alignment with the universe. Shame is not about what we do, but where we abide.
    We all experience shame at some point. It does not feel good. Let us cut each other a break. 
Alan Seeger Natural Area,

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

May 9--Learn to Love

People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. 
--Nelson Mandela 

    Amen! We have nearly infinite daily examples of people who have been taught to hate, all the way from the mass shooters to our elected and appointed officials. The madness must stop, and I believe it will, but only time will enable a more loving mass-consciousness to prevail. 
    Let us learn to love--it makes life easier in the long run for all.

Colbert Hills Golf Course,
Manhattan, Kansas

Monday, May 8, 2023

May 8--Comparison Is a Joy-Killer

One is never fortunate or as unfortunate as one imagines. 
--Francois de la Rochefoucauld

    Or, as my mother often said, it's never so bad that it couldn't be worse. I suppose there is the corollary: it's never so good that it couldn't be better. I'm thinking that is where this quote is headed. 
    This quote invites comparison. It's always possible to find someone in a worse condition or a better condition than one's present circumstances. It is human nature to compare, and I don't believe that is necessarily a good thing. We've heard the phrase "there but for the grace of God go I," which is dreadful. It implies that God has somehow chosen to favor me and afflict the other person. Nope. On the other hand, constantly comparing to those more fortunate leaves us discontent with our current circumstances. That may be OK if it inspires constructive action, but it can also generate loads of unhappiness. 
    Staying content in the present moment, while often a challenge, is the place to be. 

Astronomy Picture of the Day, May 6
"Twilight in a Flower"
Credit & copyright: Dario Giannobile

Sunday, May 7, 2023

May 7--Compassion Demands Action

Compassion is an unstable emotion. It needs to be translated into action, or it withers.  --Susan Sontag

    I think of all the compassion that snaps into action when a natural disaster strikes. The devastation is unimaginable, yet compassion and resilience rise to the top and take over in recovery. 
    That's a big example. A small example is the act of giving blood. I'm healthy, and I do this regularly. It takes only an hour of my time every eight weeks, my common blood type is very much needed, and it may save someone's life. Big needles don't bother me. It's a bonus to me because it makes me eat in a healthy manner to keep up my iron levels. 
    There are examples of compassion all around us. It is what makes folks adopt animals. It is a commitment to love and care for a critter for years. I believe humans are naturally compassionate--we are cared for lovingly when we enter this world and as we grow, we seek to share that loving care with others. My son has said that he and his wife want their son (my grandson!) to be a compassionate human, and they are nurturing him to be passionate about compassion. 
    Today is a good day to be kind.
More Colorado beauty,
compliments of our compassionate Mother Earth

Saturday, May 6, 2023

May 6--Make Someone's Day

There is a wisdom of the Head... there is a wisdom of the Heart. 
--Charles Dickens

    I experienced the most lovely kindness several days ago. On my way to teach MELT and yoga, I stopped at QT for coffee. The place was packed. When I moved to the line to pay, there was a man in front of me with his young daughter, both with handfuls of stuff. He turned to me, said, "Just coffee? I got it." I was surprised, happily thanked him, and went on my way. How sweet! When I got out to the pickup, I thought, "Did he pay, or did I just steal this?" I laughed, feeling certain he is a man of his word, at least in this instance. Plus, what a neat gesture for his little girl to witness. It made my day.
    Kindness rocks--spread it around.

Without coffee, life would be impossible... 😉😉

Friday, May 5, 2023

May 5--So Many Mysteries

Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another. 
--Carl Sagan

    Live and let live. What a concept!!! If we could all stay out of other people's business, we would not have legislatures like the one in Kansas debating who can use which bathroom or play on which sports team. A person's sexuality is no one's business but their own, and that's just one example. 
    Each of us is unique, precious and unrepeatable. It tickles me to no end to look at my grandson and consider what a magnificent mystery he is. Where did he come from? What have his past lives been like? Why did he pick this particular set of parents? What are his talents? What will he bring to our world in the future? 
    We all began life as these precious mysteries. Let us enjoy each other's awesomeness!

We all started here.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

May 4--So Much In Common

Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something.  --H. Jackson Brown, Jr.   

    What an excellent, simple and profound statement! I am afraid of old-age illness and dependency (very common), I love my family dearly (very common), and I have lost both my parents (very common). Could we use this idea to take it a whole lot easier on ourselves and others?
    Fear, love and grief--we all experience those. It's what we do with them that matters. Fear... do we hide from the world, buy a machine gun and kill those we fear, join a riot at the Capitol, or is there some other way? Love... as my wise younger son told me yesterday, love starts with oneself, and if you can't do that, you can't love anyone else. So you don't need to search for love; apply it to yourself and the rest will follow. Loss... not just about death, we face loss on a regular basis. Allowing ourselves time to grieve is both a loving thing and one that can help with any fears relative to the loss.
    We have much more in common than we regularly acknowledge.

Near Fort Collins, CO

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

May 3--Understanding Creates Community

In time we often become one with those we once failed to understand. 
--Patti Smith

    I said often to our (usually upset with me) teenage sons, "You won't understand why we do what we do until you get married or have children of your own." While that didn't make them any happier, it was the truth. Now that our older son has a son of his own, much has become clearer. "OH, I get it now." 
    I also find this quote manifesting in my MELT and yoga teaching. As I get older and experience more assorted aches and/or injuries, I'm learning ways that sore bodies move or don't move and how to adapt my teaching to support a more comfortable practice for all. 
    Understanding is a great thing.
We need all of us to make our colorful world!

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

May 2--Help--Everyone Needs It

The only way we will survive is by being kind. The only way we can get by in this world is through the help we receive from others. No one can do it alone, no matter how great the machines are.  --Amy Poehler

    Asking for help... one of the toughest things to do, but absolutely necessary to make it in this world. The thing is--we all want to be helpful, we generally like it when someone asks for our help, but to go the opposite direction--that's another story. Asking for help is often considered a sign of weakness, but the opposite is the truth. It is a sign of strength and courage. 
    Let's face it. For each of us, there is a huge amount we do not know how to do. Nobody can know everything. It makes good sense to seek help from those who do know. 
    I think it is dependency that so many of us fear--that we will be in constant need of help. I certainly dread the thought of that. As I get older, there are more things that I cannot do or don't want to do, so asking for help is becoming more routine. 
    I know there is still within me that 4-year-old screaming, "I do it myself!!!" Fortunately my adult self has learned that asking for help is OK, necessary, and usually the easier way to go. 

CSU Gardens--it takes plentiful
help to create such beauty!

Monday, May 1, 2023

May 1--Happy May Day

Compassion is not a relationship between healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others.  --Pema Chodron

    After a month of coming up with my own or random quotes, I've decided to dive into another one of the National Geographic quote books, this one being "Daily Kindness--365 Days of Compassion." I need compassion, you need it, and so does our world. 
    We all have our dark side. If we hide and deny it, fearful of it, we will be fearful relative to others. They might see, heaven forbid! So we start with compassion relative to our own journey through assorted dark places, and then we have compassion for others. 
    We tend to be mercilessly critical of ourselves. This is a choice. It does not have to be that way. Consider one way that you could be kinder to yourself today and just do it!

Sunday, April 30, 2023

April 30--Let Go Like a Mirror

It's never so bad that it couldn't be worse.  --Madeline Miller

    This was one of my mother's regular utterances. Any journey into self-pity or discouragement would be met with that phase and specific examples designed to make me let go of my issues because things could be so much worse. Really, even now, when I look around, it's easy to see those who truly do have it much worse. 
    Spiritual director Caroline Oakes refers to "Jesus’ formula for waking up... his practice for deepening the soul’s awareness of and attunement with our innermost essence, the Divine within, as one of pause and release and return." I find that this is what I have been doing lately when I head down the path of negativity. I stop, bring my focus back to my breath, let the negative stuff go, and return to gratitude (my recent breathing mantra of grateful (inhale), breath (exhale)).
    I really like this mirror analogy on letting go by angel Kyodo williams:
We can see the thoughts that come up in our minds the same way a mirror “sees” things. A mirror just notices. It registers whatever passes in front of it without holding on to it in any way. It just lets go. It doesn’t think about it or have a long conversation about it. Since the mirror doesn’t cling to the object that it is reflecting, when the object goes, so does the reflection. It’s the same way with your mind. We don’t hold on to the random thoughts that arise over and over again in our minds and that can take us away from the full experience of now. We want to be aware only of our breath and nothing else. The moment that we become aware that a thought has taken form, we just relax and allow it to pass. We just notice the thoughts and we return to our breath. If nothing grabs onto the thoughts as they arise, they will keep on moving on, leaving no trace that they were ever there. Let your mind be like the mirror. Clear mirror, clear mind.  

Saturday, April 29, 2023

April 29--Haircut and Pedicure Heaven

Always be nice to the person who is holding scissors next to your head. 

    I was blessed on Thursday to have my monthly haircut and pedicure by Cris at Salon Bella in Mulvane. It's a long drive for me, but it's worth every mile. I met Cris when she was in Xenon cosmetology school in the 2007-08 time frame. She was changing careers. I had a friend who taught at the school, and I agreed to go there and be a practice client for the students. I lost track of Cris briefly after she completed school, then reconnected when she opened her first salon in Mulvane. 
    It is enormous good fortune to have a wonderful hair and nail person to play with. Cris always puts glitter sparkles on my toenails. We occasionally add streaks of color to my gray hair--when I went to Jamaica last December, she added black, green and yellow, the colors of the Jamaican flag. She gives wonderful leg, foot and head massages. She's just a bit younger than me, we have much in common, and several of my friends go to her also. We can gab easily for hours. 
    Thanks, Cris, for taking such good care of me these many wonderful years together!

Cubs blue & red--my pedi for Opening Day 😍

Friday, April 28, 2023

April 28--Bored or Peaceful?

Dogs are our link to paradise. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring; it was peace.  --Milan Kundera

    While I love the dog reference of this quote, what struck me is the idea that those times which I consider boring could be much improved if I could see them simply as peaceful. I tend to think I'm bored far too often. 
    But the question arises... Am I peaceful? Oftentimes when I'm hanging out with myself in my own head, there's very little peace resting there. There tends to be a lot of "I should be _____" going on. Or I distract myself with my phone. Or I roam off into the future and worry. Something to practice... peace rather than boredom. 
    When I think about it, those times when I'm hanging with our dog Barney giving him bellyrubs--his peace and my peace are one. 
This is a photo of my Chromebook screen. 
This is a drone shot of Wrigley Field (CUBS, Chicago)
at sunset. So cool and so peaceful!

Thursday, April 27, 2023

April 27--Without Butter, Life Would Be Impossible

I don't trust anyone who doesn't eat butter.  --Leta Miller 😉😉

    I was visiting my in-laws a couple years ago, and my dear mother-in-law served waffles for breakfast. She saw me looking around and said, "You don't want butter for your waffle, do you?" I think my head probably snapped back. That's what the divots in the waffles are for, for heaven's sake!!! I just said politely, "Yes, please." 
    My family of origin worshiped butter. Mom bought it in the one-pound slabs--none of that fancy 4-stick packaging for her. She believed margarine to be evil, possibly to the level of a Communist plot. Homemade bread slathered in butter with fresh strawberry jam--it doesn't get any better than that. 
    My husband has adapted nicely to my love of butter. He uses it appropriately in cooking, but if there is an opportunity where I would like more, for instance, a little butter pool in a mound of mashed potatoes, he sets the butter dish right in front of me. What a sweetie!
    Butter--mmm, mmm, good!
Making me hungry!

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

April 26--Ode to Barney

If you don't own a dog, at least one, there may not necessarily be anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.  --Roger Caras

    I guess there was something wrong with my life for decades until we adopted Barney nearly four years ago. Picking out a name was fun. I am especially fond of the name "Zeus" for a dog, but we recognized early on that Barney was not a Zeus. He's a Barney of the "Barney Fife" type (Andy Griffith Show, yes, I'm dating myself). 
    Barney was scared of our stairs at first. My husband carried him up and down a few times before he figured it out. Now he races up and down nearly at the speed of light. For the first week we wondered if he could bark. He has turned into quite the talker. 
    We don't know what breed he is. We suspect a lot of border collie based on dog-knowing friends' proclamations and his intense desire to keep us safely herded under his watchful eye. When he sees another dog approaching, he lies down and waits, even in the middle of the street. He may hop up and greet the other dog, or not. 
    We have a very smart dog on our hands. My husband has trained him to run downstairs and yelp/squeak/bark at me when lunch or supper is ready. Barney takes this job quite seriously, because it means he will be fed also.
    Barney barks at everyone. EVERYONE. Even the neighbors and friends he has seen dozens of times. He does not like to have his head petted, and don't even think about touching his front paws. Then this happened. Barney and I were headed out for a walk, and our neighbor was sitting in her driveway chatting with a friend I had never seen before. Barney walked right up to the friend, no barking, let her pet his head, and just went ga-ga on her, tail wagging wildly. What?!!? My neighbor and I were stunned. 
    Dogs are a glorious mystery of love and devotion. 

Did someone say W-A-L-K?

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

April 25--B-R-E-A-T-H-E

Every time we catch ourselves getting reactive, every time we catch ourselves acting as if the outcome of the situation has the authority to name who we are, we are to take a deep breath and remind ourselves that it’s not true.  --James Finley

    I was given this gem in my morning spiritual practice readings yesterday. It fits perfectly in my current state. My thoughts have been roaming way too much lately into negativity. To counteract that, I have been practicing this mantra: inhale to the word "grateful" and exhale to the word "breath." Simple but effective, it reminds me that breathing is the most important thing I do. 
    Breathing is the most important thing you do, too. Let us not take it for granted!

Another fun kitchen towel I found 
during a Fort Collins shopping adventure.

Monday, April 24, 2023

April 24--Getting Real

All great spirituality is about letting go.  --Richard Rohr

    These are the writings of Anne Lamott relative to prayer, when one is so desperate that surrender is the only option:

Prayer … begins with stopping in our tracks, or with our backs against the wall, or when we are going under the waves, or when we are just so sick and tired of being physically sick and tired that we surrender, or at least we finally stop running away and at long last walk or lurch or crawl toward something. Or maybe, miraculously, we just release our grip slightly.

Prayer is talking to something or anything with which we seek union, even if we are bitter or insane or broken. (In fact, these are probably the best possible conditions under which to pray.) Prayer is taking a chance that against all odds and past history, we are loved and chosen, and do not have to get it together before we show up. The opposite may be true: We may not be able to get it together until after we show up in such miserable shape….

My belief is that when you’re telling the truth, you’re close to God. If you say to God, “I am exhausted and depressed beyond words, and I don’t like You at all right now, and I recoil from most people who believe in You,” that might be the most honest thing you’ve ever said. If you told me you had said to God, “It is all hopeless, and I don’t have a clue if You exist, but I could use a hand,” it would almost bring tears to my eyes, tears of pride in you, for the courage it takes to get real—really real. It would make me want to sit next to you at the dinner table.

So prayer is our sometimes real selves trying to communicate with the Real, with Truth, with the Light.
I've been there many times, and I can state that the other side of surrender is a good place to land.

Letting go is nature's way.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

April 23--Love Our Mother

Yes, I'm a day late on Earth Day.
This is a song, "Weep for the World," by Brian McLaren. You can listen to him perform it here

Let us weep for the world
being broken apart
by humans,
foolish humans.
Let us grieve the desecration
of forest and stream,
of glacier and ocean and humans,
like us.

Let us be mindful of the children,
being born today,
in a world torn apart
by humans.
Let us show our children
a more excellent way
to walk on the earth and be human,
truly human.

Let us love this world
we’ve been breaking apart
and let our love bring wholeness.
And let us love one another
with a compassionate heart
for it is love that makes us human, human.

Let us weep for the world
We are breaking apart,
so we can love it back
to wholeness.
Let our hearts be stretched
by great sorrow and love,
so they will never contract
to being less than human.

Our magnificent Mother delighting us...
Astronomy Picture of the Day, April 19, 2023
by Juan Carlos Casado

Saturday, April 22, 2023

April 22--Simple, But Not Easy

Don't take anything personally.  --Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements, #2

    The Universe is hammering me on this one. I've been moving in and out of a depressed state. I spent the second half of yesterday mostly curled up in a ball with much needed soul-rinsing. I have several relatively minor but quite annoying physical issues going on, mostly from last week's wipe-out in the golf course rough. I just finished a lackluster tax season, finally fizzling out of that "career." I'm not spending nearly as much time as I had hoped with my new grandson. My codependency issues are making daily life frustrating for me. There is a ton of stuff that is completely out of my control. This is not an unusual life situation, I am well aware. My practice is to not take this stuff personally, or as I stated in the April 19 post: It doesn't matter. Surely all this crying is releasing something big. 
    The Universe delivered its message loud and clear yesterday through the tears: If this was your last day alive, would you want it to be one with a shitty attitude?
    There's a wake-up call for me!

Words to live well by...

Friday, April 21, 2023

April 21--Escaping Hell, Continued

Here's the back of the "GET OUT OF HELL FREE" card. (See the April 20 post for the front view.) The text of "the fine print" is below for your ease of reading.

"Would it be nice if avoiding Hell were as simple as having a card like this? Many religions teach that if you do enough good, say enough prayers or follow enough rules that you will escape Hell when you die and go to Heaven. The Bible teaches that God hates these types of religions (Amos 5:21, Hebrews 10:11-14) and that no one is good (Romans 3:23, John 3:19, John 7:7). It is appointed once to die and then the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27) Let's take a quick test based on God's standard, The Ten Commandments (John 8:47, John 9:41). Ever lied? Stolen? Hated, which Jesus calls murder? Lusted, which Jesus called adultery? Would you be innocent or guilty? Would God send you to Heaven or Hell? Can you get out to Hell for free? God is perfectly just. He must punish sin. The good news is that Jesus chose to receive on Himself the punishment that justly belonged to you. Jesus being fully God and fully man became the only acceptable sacrifice for sin. He lived a perfect life, then died on the cross and rose from the dead. Repent of your sins and trust in Jesus for salvation (Mark 1:15). Only Jesus can save you from Hell! (John 3:17)
    I must admit that the website name "AfterLifeCatalog" scares me more than "Hell." I'll stay clear of that one!

Thursday, April 20, 2023

April 20--Someone's Lucky Day?

    This is what was handed to my husband from a booth at the recent Open Streets ICT event:

    The fine print at the bottom says, "This card may be kept until needed or sold. (For complete details, see the reverse side of this card.) *Offer will expire when you do."
    Let's go first with believing in hell. All I need is this card to avoid it?!?! Given that this card can be sold, that makes me believe I can simply buy my way out of hell. In this day and age, isn't that a typical attitude!?!? By the way, I'm taking bids. The card goes to the highest bidder. I'm not sure I trust this card to actually do the job, as it says it expires when I do. But I want it working after I expire so that I can be sure I have avoided hell for all eternity. 
    Tomorrow I will offer the text on the back of this interesting specimen. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

April 19--Maybe, Maybe Not

It doesn't matter.  --Leta Miller

    One of my goals for this year's golf is to stop swearing, especially using the f-bomb. The last two rounds I have played were dreadful, with huge scores and even a painful fall. I think I escaped both rounds with only two uses of the f-bomb. That is enormous improvement for me. What I did was keep reminding myself that wherever this shot goes, "it doesn't matter." No golf shot, no matter how bad, is worth going ballistic over. Slow progress is being made. 
    Then I began to think, does anything matter? Yes! There are a huge number of things that don't really matter, but there are some very big ones that do matter. I tried to tell myself that a feeling of frustration didn't matter, but yes, it did. My feelings do matter. My connections to other people matter. Kindness matters. Care for our magnificent Mother Earth matters. 
    I am having some fun considering what really matters.

Sand dollar in Jamaica--
nature matters a LOT!

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

April 18--Make Your Heart Happy--Use It!

A hand towel seen on a recent
Fort Collins shopping adventure...
    Amen! I read an article recently discussing facts vs. bullshit, and how we are inundated by so much bullshit these days that we are losing our ability to distinguish between the two. Sane life is calling us to more inner awareness, following the heart, while at the same time the outer world is attempting to drag us further and further from our inner wisdom. "Do this." "Don't do that." Look a certain way; weigh a particular weight. "Wear this." "Eat this; don't eat that." It's endless!
    It's time we do more measuring with our own wise hearts!

Monday, April 17, 2023

April 17--Spring Happiness

Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.  --Abraham Lincoln

    This is my first Monday in many weeks not going to work at the tax office. Woohoo!!! I am quite happy about that. After a chilly, windy weekend, warmer temps are predicted for this week which means I can start on multiple garden projects. It's time to buy veggie, herb and flower plants, one of my favorite spring rituals. I will get lots more golf practice this week. There will be Barney walks and happy hour beers on the deck. 
    May I remember that I have every reason to be happy, and none to be unhappy. 

The solo tulip blooming in
my garden

Sunday, April 16, 2023

April 16--I Encourage Questioning

When medicine became a business, we lost our moral compass. 
--Steven Nissan, MD

    This quote comes from the book "At Peace: Choosing a Good Death After a Long Life" by Samuel Harrington, MD. It discusses at length the over-treatment, over-testing and over-medicating that is rampant with folks over 65. It is a very empowering book about making conscious decisions about how one lives out the later years. 
    In October 2019, I was scheduled for a much-needed hip replacement. I asked one too many questions via email of the surgeon, whereupon he decided that I was a bad patient and refused to do the procedure. I questioned the need for a very high-dollar drug used after surgery to avoid blood clots. Fearing that I would damage his income by refusing the expensive drug, he cancelled on me, stating it was because "I wouldn't follow his directions." Long story short--I found a surgeon who used baby aspirin for the anti-clotting precaution, and one year later, I had an extremely successful surgery and quick recovery. I was a model patient 😉 And I had experienced Dr. Nissan's quote above first-hand. 
    I don't have any brilliant suggestions to fix our broken U.S. medical system. It is completely motivated by insurance, legalities and greed, and the patient's needs are quite far "down the list." It's a sad state given the amount of money spent on "health care." 

Saturday, April 15, 2023

April 15--All I Wanted Was a Nice Evening on the Course

When we have exhausted our store of endurance, 
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done, 
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources, 
Our Father’s full giving is only begun. 
--Howard Thurman

    I am one tough broad. Here's my story, along with assorted roaming through my brain. Thursday afternoon I headed to Auburn Hills for my ladies golf league play. It was breezy, but otherwise a lovely night for golf. I invited the "golf gods" to have some fun with me. Play started on the front nine, which I find especially challenging, so much so that it is not only a physical challenge, but a mental one, too. I quickly learned that the "golf gods" idea of fun did not match mine. On the second hole, a fairly easy par four, I was in both sand traps and plenty of rough, taking a 10 on that hole. The next hole, a par 3, found my second shot in some nasty rough. I hit my ball out, and took a step to walk toward the green. I didn't see the tiny "stumps" (3" tall, 1" diameter) that were sticking up all around me. I stepped on one and down I went. Twisted ankles, bloody shin, assorted scrapes. I regrouped, got myself up, and finished a dreadful 9-hole round. Nothing was broken, and the fall could have been much worse. 
    However, the most troubling thing, since I was not horribly hurt, is that I attribute this to getting old. Anyone at any age could have wiped out in the area I was in. Age was not relevant, but that's where my mind goes. I do not want to be an old person who falls down. I don't want to fall down, period. This frustration did bring on a good soul-rinsing cry. And I gave the "golf gods" a good talking-to!
    I'm mostly recovered and grateful for my rock solid bones, 
I should get one of these!!