Wednesday, February 21, 2024

February 21--Lighten Up!

Emotions, in my experience, aren't covered by single words.  --Jeffrey Eugenides

    Just for fun, here's a replay of yesterday's "Notes from the Universe" by Mike Dooley:

The top 10 things dead people want to tell living people are:

1. They're not dead.
2. They're sorry for any pain they caused.
3. There's no such thing as a devil or hell.
4. They were ready to go when they went.
5. You're not ready.
6. They finally understand what they were missing.
7. Nothing can prepare you for the beauty of the moment you arrive.
8. Don't try to understand this now, but life is exceedingly fair.
9. Your pets are as crazy, brilliant, and loving here as they were there.
10. Life really is all about love, but not just loving those who love you…

    Let us not take life so seriously!! 
    Despite highs only in the 60s, I was in the pool in yesterday's Florida morning sunshine. I might mention that the pool water is 96 degrees. I motored around for a half-hour workout, then we just lazed and shared stories and loads of laughter. My body and soul needed this time of complete relaxation.
    Our 4th girlfriend arrives today, woohoo!
    Party on!!!
Where soon I will be...

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

February 20--Pooh Bear Flies

When we're connected to others, we become better people.  --Randy Pausch

    Three of the four girlfriends are together after our safe, easy trip to Florida. The other one arrives tomorrow. We are definitely better together!
    I noticed that the man next to me on our second flight yesterday had a Pooh Bear. I commented that it looked well-loved. It turns out he is an American Airlines pilot on vacation, he takes the Pooh Bear on every flight, and it has flown over 1000! That's the pilot I want flying my plane!
    We are settling in at our friend's "resort." The Rummikub battle has begun! I am eternally grateful for the love, laughter, hugs and support this gang offers each other. Truly "another day in paradise!" 

Monday, February 19, 2024

February 19--Up, Up and Away!

Talk not of wasted affection; affection never was wasted. 
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    I had a productive Sunday to help pull me out of my funk. I journaled and cried. I appreciate YouTube so much, as I was able to use it to teach myself a new crochet pattern. This means that the baby blanket for my new/September grandbaby is underway. I did laundry and finished packing for my trip. I walked Barney, usually an OK chore for me, but he kept stopping and refusing to walk for no apparent reason. I was given a couple tiny succulent plants at a weekend event, and I moved those into a more permanent pot. And of course, I enjoyed my favorite hobby of napping. 
    Mainly my funk is leaving because I am headed to Florida today for a week of fun with three dear girlfriends. 
    Party ON!!!

Sunday, February 18, 2024

February 18--Occasionally Empty

Love is to people what water is to plants.  --Marianne Williamson

    My dad thought that I had a tendency to cry a lot, and he used this phrase, "Her water always was close to her eyes." 
    So it is a frustrated, soul-rinsing kind of morning, and I don't feel like writing a blog post. Some personal journaling seems to be the better route.
    I'll be back tomorrow.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

February 17--Self-Acceptance

It's quite simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eyes.  --Antoine De Saint-Exupery

To accept that each of us is just ourself is probably the most courageous thing we will ever do.  --Richard Rohr

    I have become aware over the past couple of years that I am an angry person. Maybe I've known it long-term and have finally 'fessed up to it. I know from my 12-Step work that more often than not, anger is a layer on top of a firm foundation of fear. That foundation was laid for me at age four when my Grammie died suddenly of a heart attack. If that could happen to my mother's mother, what was to prevent it from happening to my mother?!?!?! 
    I would say that I am now in a period of exploring my anger and fear. A lot of anger vents when I am driving. I yell at other drivers, then tell myself that was not a nice thing to do, and I should stop it! So far, this method has been unsuccessful. Miscellaneous comments by my spouse infuriate me way out of proportion to the words spoken. Because I know my reaction is over the top, I keep these irritations to myself. This is enlightening me to how I hold grudges and resentments. I think the underlying fear here is that someone or something damages or wrecks my sense of security, even though I know that security in this world is certainly not guaranteed. 
    Continually working on acceptance,
Being a numbers nerd,
the odometer always entertains me!

Friday, February 16, 2024

February 16--Improvement Is Always Possible

There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.  --Charles Dickens

    I am headed to Florida next week to spend a week with three dear girlfriends. Laughter and good humor will be virtually infinite. 
    To add to the good humor of my birthing experience (see yesterday's post), I spoke with one of the SPs who was sitting outside the practice rooms checking in the students as they arrived for their Encounters. She said that we birthing-mother-voices were making so much noise that the people on the floor below us came up to see what was happening! 
    I must comment on the Super Bowl (SB). It was a very tense watch for this Chiefs fan. I love watching the team just because they are so unpredictable. Also memorable for me was the Reese's commercial. I love Reese's peanut butter cups/eggs/trees, etc, and I love their commercials. The SB one started with "We are changing Reese's peanut butter cups." The entire country (world?), including me, yelled, "NO!!!" The next scene was them pouring a big glop of caramel onto a peanut butter cup. The entire country (world?), including me, yelled, "YES!!!" 
    I have already tried the Caramel Big Cup, and my comment to my husband was, "What took them so long?!?!?!" 
    Life is yummy!

Thursday, February 15, 2024

February 15--Five Babies in One Day!

We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at least one which makes the heart run over. 
--Ray Bradbury

    I have several budding friendships with folks I have met over the past year playing pickleball. This excites me to no end. 
    I birthed five babies on Monday! (See the Feb 6 post for background.) At the Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (KSCOM), I was in the control room behind a one-way mirror being the voice of the birthing manikin. There were six rooms with 5 Encounters each lasting 18 minutes. It was a monumental teaching effort. Each Encounter had three student doctors who did various evaluations and birthed the baby via a normal (no complications) delivery. For 10 minutes in each Encounter, I was huffing and puffing and having contractions, answering questions and encouraging the students to "get that baby out!!!" Breathing was quite the issue for me. I learned in the first encounter that hyperventilating was way too possible. My huge afternoon of breathing led to total brain-dead exhaustion.
    I stayed afterward for a feedback session. There was another person in the role that I had (they have only two full-person birthing manikins), and the staff raved about how realistic we made it. The doctor instructors loved the Encounters, and they said the students loved them, too. 
    The actress in me is getting to play!!!
Not a great shot, but you 
kinda get the picture.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

February 14--I LOVE my Neighbors!

Love is the feeling we have for those we care deeply about and hold in high regard. It can be light as the hug we give a friend or heavy as the sacrifices we make for our children.  --Cheryl Strayed

    Last Saturday evening, a chilly one, I bundled up to take Barney out to pee. We went out the front door, and the storm door slammed shut as is its habit when it is quite cold outside. Barney did his business and we went back to the porch only to find the storm door locked. It slammed so hard that it flipped the lock switch. GRRRRR! OK, we'll go in through the garage. Nope, I couldn't get the keypad to open the door. I had no phone on me. Just me and Barney locked out of the house. My husband was away at a music jam. 
    Our next door neighbors, P&M, pulled up just as I was trying to figure out what to do. They took Barney and me in, and let me use a phone to call my husband. Because it was a number he didn't recognize, he ignored the calls. M called another set of neighbors across the court, C&C, and they came out, too. Multiple tries by everyone on the garage door keypad were unsuccessful. Long story short, C finally replaced the batteries in the keypad and was able to get the garage door open. Hallelujah!! 
    My husband didn't get home until a couple hours later. I was helpless--Barney and I would have frozen without the neighbors' help. 
    Barney was a confused trooper through the whole thing. 
    Thank you, my wonderful, sweet, kind neighbors!!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

February 13--A Value-full Life

That best portion of a good man's life; 
His little, nameless, unremembered acts of 
Of kindness and of love.
--William Wordsworth

    Acts of kindness and love require that we are firmly rooted in the good values of life. Randy Woodley offers these thoughts and list of values that have been essential to Indigenous wisdom:

Why would human beings promote systems, structures, ideologies, and lifestyles that work against their own survival?

Good air quality is also a medicine. So is clean water. And healthy soil. Even a stress-free life is known to prolong people’s lives. It seems to me that people in the Western world are working against their own self-interest—against their own healing—and against their own grandchildren’s well-being. What will it take to change?

The only way I see such a destructive lifestyle changing is if people begin adopting different values and then living out these values. Our Indigenous ancestors figured this out—by trial and error and through necessity—so many years ago. These are the ancient values … that help us reconnect to sacred Earth.
    • Respect: Respect everyone. Everyone and everything is sacred.
    • Harmony: Seek harmony and cooperation with people and nature.
    • Friendship: Increase the number and depth of your close friends and family.
    • Humor: Laugh at yourself; we are merely human.
    • Equality: Everyone expresses their voice in decisions.
    • Authenticity: Speak from your heart.
    • History: Learn from the past. Live presently by looking back.
    • Balance work and rest: Work hard, but rest well.
    • Generosity: Share what you have with others.
    • Accountability: We are all interconnected. We are all related.
If we nurture these values in our lives, we will become more rooted in the community of creation.

    Practice, practice, practice. 
Our Mother is magnificent!

Monday, February 12, 2024

February 12--Soon, But Not Soon Enough!

You'll find, my friend, that what you love will take you places you never dreamed you'd go.  --Tony Kushner

    It is almost time for spring training to start. Opening Day of baseball season, this year March 28, is my favorite day of the year. Baseball, one of the biggest "loves" of my life, has taken me all over this great country. Who'd of thunk it--that I would go to games on three consecutive nights in Atlanta, Tampa and Miami, driving city to city. Or take a morning train from Philadelphia to Washington DC, go to a Nationals game in the afternoon, and take the evening train back to Philadelphia. Or go solo on two organized baseball tours. One of the most fun quests of my life has been going to all 30 MLB cities and stadiums. 
    Let LOVE lead the way!

Sunday, February 11, 2024

February 11--Communities of Love

To love or have loved, that is enough.  --Victor Hugo

    And let us continue to love, for our survival depends upon it! Here are hopeful words about our future from author and activist Valarie Kaur: 

I’m seeing people waking up, being in relationship, grieving together, raging together, marching together, re-imagining their own area of public life, their own sphere of influence in ways that I never imagined possible before. In those acts, in those moments and those gatherings around fierce love, I feel like I see glimpses of the nation, the world, that is wanting to be born.…

If we can create and nurture and inspire more and more of those containers, every school, every home, every workplace, every church, every house of worship, every neighborhood can become a pocket of that kind of beloved community, because this love stuff is not saintly. It’s practical. It’s pragmatic….

In the moments when I feel alone or afraid or that this love is absent, I just have to open my eyes, feel the earth beneath my feet, remember my grandfather’s love, know that separateness is an illusion. If I just sink into the present moment here and now, I can access the love that has been poured into me, the love that I am capable of, the love that surrounds me on all sides. And that can give me enough energy to take the next breath and then push.

Let us push on for a brighter, love-filled future.

Dusk in Wichita

Saturday, February 10, 2024

February 10--For Serenity

Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.  --Fred Rogers

    In my mind I am roaming around assorted family members both close and more distant, and thinking how much there are things in them that I don't like, but still I love them. There are addictions, disagreeable religious and political beliefs, lack of communication, poor self-care, and financial instability, to name a few. I am well aware that I have no power to change any of this, other than via acceptance and continually sending love their way. 
    Free will is a powerful human force. No one likes anyone messing with their freedom to choose. If we want serenity, we accept and continue to love. 

Friday, February 9, 2024

February 9--To Infinity and Beyond!

Nobody has ever measured, even the poets, how much a heart can hold. 
--Zelda Fitzgerald

    Since February is all about affection, I tend to go to the heart holding an unlimited amount of love. Certainly that is true because our heart connects us to the infinite All That Is. 
    Our hearts hold more than love. They hold pain, sorrow, grief, and regret. One doesn't have to be on the planet for very long to encounter these. Some lives have more than others. I believe our hearts hold these emotions tenderly because of our infinite capacity to love. 
    Some hearts are overwhelmed with fear, anger and hatred. Alas, our news media shows us these hearts way too much, so we might think this is the norm for humans. It is not. 
    Let us each contribute to the world a heart full of love,

Astronomy Picture of the Day, Feb 8
Globular Star Cluster with 
hundreds of thousands of stars

Thursday, February 8, 2024

February 8--No Matter What

Love is not a because, it's a no matter what.  --Jodi Picoult

    How clever this quote is! (She is an outstanding author, by the way.) My "no matter what" leads to my brother. I listen patiently to his Fox-News-inspired political rants. We are on WAY opposite sides of the spectrum, and I keep reminding myself that I love him "no matter what" his views are. 
    Let's be real here. Love can be challenging. Sometimes we have to use a "because" to get to the "no matter what." This is especially true for the inevitable ups and downs of a long-term marriage. "Because" I said "for better or worse," I love you "no matter what." 
    I believe we create earthly and spiritual families so that we can continually practice "no matter what." Pets are a good source of practice, too.

Barney loves us, no matter what. 
However, he does give us
an occasional "talking to."

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

February 7--Another Completion

Life must be rich and full of loving--it's no good otherwise, no good at all, for anyone.  --Jack Kerouac

    Art makes life "rich and full of loving." I have completed another straight-line painting. It has taken some time for me to like my own artwork (super-self-critical), and I love this latest accomplishment. The title is "That's Odd." There are five colors: peach, turquoise, ivory, black and tan. There is an odd number of occurrences of each color. Every occurrence of every color has an odd number of sides. I started with the 7-sided turquoise splotch in the center and worked outward from there. It grew however I was moved on any given day. I started this the day after Christmas 2023 and worked on it every day since then. I believe this qualifies for complex art--at least in my brain, it does! The triple-coated acrylic paint is on a 2' square of weather-resistant sealed plywood that can be hung indoors or out. 
    Now I'm a little freaked... what is my next creative project!?!?!!

"That's Odd" by Leta Renee Miller,
February 2024

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

February 6--More, More, More

Only love can be divided endlessly and still not diminish. 
--Anne Morrow Lindbergh

    I'm so grateful for this. When I was pregnant with our second child, I remember wondering if I could possibly love him as much as the first. Sure enough, I certainly have. The arrival of each child simply makes love grow. 
    Yesterday was the "dry run" for the simulated patient (SP) gig involving a birth. I get to be the voice of the pregnant manikin from the control room. We spent most of our time learning how to load the baby into the manikin so that it pushes it out properly. It is amazing technology. The birthing manikin even blinks, which freaked me out when I first noticed it. Next Monday we do the actual delivery Encounters, five each in six practice rooms. You'll get to hear all about it...
    Love makes everything work better.
This gives you the idea, but 
there is LOTS of lube involved!

Monday, February 5, 2024

February 5--Note the Vibes

People are felt rather than seen after the first few moments.  --John Steinbeck

    I think this is a good thing, and I am a strong advocate for using that intuitive sense wisely. 
    I can think of a few people in my life with whom I would rather not be sharing the planet. They give me "the creeps" because they have displayed sleazy or deceitful behavior or said inappropriate things. I'm glad there have been only a few such folks. 
    On the other hand, I have encountered many folks in my life with whom I felt great comfort and joy very early on. This has been especially true as I have met so many people playing pickleball. It has been pretty easy to "feel" those who are "win at any cost" vs. "let's have fun." 
    Being an introvert, it can be a challenge for me to get past "the first few moments" of conversation, but I am nearly always rewarded with good feelings as I learn about another interesting earthly life. 

It's February--Spring Training starts soon! 😂

Sunday, February 4, 2024

February 4--Share My Joy

To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.  --Mark Twain

    You, my sweet readers, get some of this "full value of joy:" 

I am going to be Grammie again in mid-September!!!!!!!!!!!

    Nothing else I could write today can top that!

Saturday, February 3, 2024

February 3--Me Loving Me, You Loving You==>GOOD!

You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.  --Buddha

    I remember many years ago at a gathering of my husband's family that his father gave a prayer in which he hoped he had lived a life of sufficient goodness to get into heaven. It was a stunning thought to me. He had made a wonderful life for himself and his family, and the idea that he was worried about getting into heaven was so sad. The possibility that there is no hell could not enter his long-held belief system. It seems we are trained, almost from Day One, that we are faulty, and what faulty human deserves love and affection? We are ALL faulty, and all deserving! Isn't it our faults that make us human?!?! 
    How boring would it be for Spirit, taking on human form as us, to reside in perfect humans!?!?! Let us love ourselves, simply for taking on the adventure of earthly life!

Friday, February 2, 2024

February 2--It Is Way Past Time to Change

One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving. 
--Paulo Coelho

    I live in Wichita, Kansas. We made national news recently with the theft and destruction of a beloved Jackie Robinson statue from League 42, a nonprofit "dedicated to bringing the love of baseball to the youth of our city." Some pigs chopped off the statue at the ankles, hauled it off in a pickup, chopped it up and burned it. Fortunately donations are flowing in to rebuild and replace it. 

Episcopal priest Stephanie Spellers describes the story of domination emerging from our collective self-centeredness:

When you see cultures based on White supremacy, misogyny, environmental exploitation, consumerism, oppression, and domination, you are actually seeing the fallout from self-centrism. Entire systems, institutions, and societies are fully capable of this sin, as when a group places itself at the center and expects the rest of humanity and creation to support its singular prosperity.

There is no possibility for right relationship if one powerful group protects and sustains itself over and against all others. From there, it’s just too easy to construct binaries and hierarchies of human existence. Our group is good; all of you are bad. Our group belongs on top; we have to keep you low. Our group owns these resources and knows the best way to use them; you will only receive what we give you. Other members of the human family become objects and tools to be acquired, controlled, used, and discarded.

    The destruction of the statue is hateful self-centered White supremacy at its grossest. 

Thursday, February 1, 2024

February 1--Affection and Reconciliation

Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our natural lives.  --C. S. Lewis 

    The February theme in "Daily Kindness" is affection. Who couldn't use more of that?!!?
    Stories... we all have them, individually and collectively, that we have made up about life. Facts may or may not be involved. I am pleased to share this from Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation of January 29:

In their e-book The Seventh Story, Brian McLaren and Gareth Higgins create a tale of the origin of seven stories of how humans—The People—interact and live with one another:

One day, a long time ago, one of The People saw another one of The People holding something shiny. “I want it,” said one of The People, so he took it. When he got back home that night, the rest of The People were amazed. “Because I have a shiny object,” he proclaimed, “You have to listen to me.” He told them a story about what he had learned about how to be happy, how to have peace and security, how to keep the shiny thing that he had found. The first story [the domination story] said that the way to be happy is to rule over others.

But every time that story was attempted, people were unhappy because the rulers oppressed them. So a second story was invented: Let’s overthrow the rulers. This [revolution] story didn’t work either because it just turned the tables, putting new people under oppression.

Another story began in which the old revolutionaries withdrew into their own isolated spaces and judged the world. Nothing changed. These island communities used the same old stories to run themselves, competing to be in charge … and dominating each other.

Meanwhile, the domination story and the isolation story had a business merger, which resulted in an experiment: if they could get rid of the people they didn’t like, who looked or sounded different, or whose customs weren’t like their own, surely that would fix things? Of course, that [purification] story just led to more suffering.…

The People still weren’t happy, and they knew it…. The People tried to convince themselves that things were okay by accumulating things; toys or nations, it was all the same to them.… The People kept hurting, and hurting each other. A sixth story [the victimization story] was created…. The People would make sure that no one would ever forget that they were the victims, that their suffering was their very identity, and that no one had suffered as much as them.…

Then, something new; a poet came to town, a storyteller who knew that the domination story, the revolution story, the isolation story, the purification story, the accumulation story, and the victimization story were all destined to fail.

They were destined to fail because they invited every human being, who is already interdependent with every other human being, and even with the earth itself, to pretend instead that we are in a competition.… The poet had a radical idea, the seed of a Seventh Story that will heal the world.… In the Seventh Story, the story of reconciliation, we still get to win, just not at anybody else’s expense. In the Seventh Story, human beings are not the protagonists of the world. Love is.

    Let's amp up our efforts toward the reconciliation story...

Creativity is an essential element
of our reconciliation story. 
(One of my barn quilt paintings)

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

January 31--Symptoms and Causes

Mutual caring relationships require kindness and patience, tolerance, optimism, joy in the other's achievements, confidence in oneself, and the ability to give without undue thought of gain.  --Fred Rogers

    I agree, but what a tall order!
    Today we finish off the January theme of respect. Mr. Rogers gives a lovely definition of respectful relationships. 
    I've been thinking a bunch about the student doctors and the Encounters I did with them on Monday. The Encounters were 20 minutes long, longer than most doctors spend with patients these days. I was a well-behaved rookie patient and followed the script. However, I wanted to say--what about getting to the actual cause of my weight problem? We discussed poor habits (sedentary desk job, eating fast food) and ways to improve, all good stuff. The students sincerely want to help, otherwise they would be studying something else. But what about my relationships? Maybe my job is too stressful. Maybe I get no time to myself. Maybe my husband is abusive. There are so many potential contributing factors in such a situation. I realize that we couldn't go into all that in a short Encounter. However, it makes me wonder whether the students will eventually move past symptoms to dig deeper into causes. 
    We are all learning!
Barney, the Adorable Snuggler

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

January 30--Big Day of Connections

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them--we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. 
--Brene Brown

    Today is a before-and-after writing about my Monday. 
    Before--I'm spending the day at KS College of Osteopathic Medicine. Part of the day is general training, then the afternoon includes my first actual Encounters with students where I pretend to be a patient who has gained too much weight. (Let's just say I don't have to pretend very hard!) I'm a little nervous, but mostly excited. It is a great environment with amazing technology, and I'll get to meet a lot of folks. A friend who works there tells me that the students are equally excited about these Encounters. 
    After--what a BLAST! I was a little stressed getting hooked into the Ipad to use for evaluations, and figuring out the procedural stuff around the Encounters. The actual Encounters were so much fun. I did four, with a pair of 2nd-year student doctors in each. There were two sets of women and two sets of men. They all did great overall, but I'd say the women were the winners. One of the men actually called me "obese," which was discouraged. The Encounters are recorded and also evaluated by the instructors and students. 
    The next Encounters involve baby-birthing, and yes, they have manikins for that. Stay tuned!

January 29--Twilight Zone

You will never say to yourself when you are old, "Ah, I wish I was not good to that person." You will never think that.  --Khaled Hosseini

    Well, I see that somehow I was in a zone wherein I missed a day of posting. I guess the angst of the weekend messed me up. 
    Back to this quote. I must say that there have been folks in my past about whom I thought the planet would be better off without them. Fortunately I was civil to them in my interactions, so there was no need for amends. Alas, these were "church people," who in public acted quite pious and polite, but in private they were anything but.
    Enough! Most people are wonderful, and I am grateful for that!

Monday, January 29, 2024

January 28--Everything's Fine

To belittle, you have to be little.  --Kahlil Gibran

    GOOD one! Not much I can add to that. 
    As I write this a day ahead, it is 6:30 Sunday morning, I've been awake since around 4:00 am, and I have been crying for about an hour. I would write it off to soul-rinsing as there has been a pile-up of general life frustrations. One of my favorite acronyms comes to mind: FINE = F%*ked-up, Insecure, Neurotic, Emotional. My weekend plans were ruined by a case of Covid (not me). The debate rages in my head--because I feel fine, how isolated should I be? Part of me says that Covid is simply here to stay, it's not bad, and life has to move on. I don't feel like I have to test every sniffle, especially since I am a person with frequent allergy symptoms. Despite being vaxxed to the max, maybe I'm a bad human to think that way. 
    I'm especially bummed because I had planned a small gathering of golf buds for a soup supper and game night. This was a big deal for me, as it's the first time I've planned to have folks over since we got Barney, and that was four years ago. He is very protective of my husband and me, and he barks at everyone. I had decided to give it a shot. When my husband has folks over, Barney does calm down eventually. Plus I had to invade my husband's kitchen to do some cooking. He was going to be out of town. Oh, well, the best laid plans...
    This, too, shall pass.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

January 27--Making Peace with Fear

The worst thing is to give yourself away in exchange for not enough love. 
--Joyce Carol Oates

    Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation of January 26 really spoke to me. It described perfectly my lifetime of fear, primarily related to the fear implanted at a very young age of losing my mother. 

Author Cole Arthur Riley describes how she has faced a lifetime of fear, ultimately praying to God for restful steadiness.

More than most things, I’m afraid. When I say this, people always seem to want to assure me that it isn’t the case. But we know. Since I was little, I would always find a way to imagine the worst possible versions of the future. Maybe on some level I’ve grown to believe if I prepare for it, it will hurt less when it comes. But it makes for an agitated body and mind. When you always expect a demon around every corner, your most mundane moments still feel like a risk….

What do we do when our fears are in fact rational? When fear and wisdom are enmeshed? When we would be foolish not to fear? More often than we realize, fear is a protective intuition. It is what stops you from driving with no headlights on, from touching your hand to flame, from going outside to meet the coyotes. We don’t have to demonize our fear to survive it. For this reason, I have an aversion to language of “conquering” our fears. We are not at war with ourselves; it is better to listen with compassion.

As a child, maybe you were told there is nothing to be afraid of. As adults, when we’re most honest, I think we know we have everything to be afraid of. This world, which has been so unsafe to so many of us, cannot be trusted not to harm us again. This isn’t pessimism, it’s confession.

Still, to live in a constant state of fear will keep you from the rest you were meant for. They are near opposites, fear and rest. It is not likely that you’ll relax those shoulders if somewhere within you feel the house is on fire. I want us to honor our fears without being tormented by them. Sacred intuition without restlessness.

This quote from James L. Farmer is at the front of my journal: “Courage, after all, is not being unafraid, but doing what needs to be done in spite of fear.” The implication, of course, is that if you’re not scared, it’s not courage. If there is any bravery in me, it is in my refusal to let fear eclipse my imagination for anything other than pain. To maintain imagination for both the beautiful and the terrible is to marry prudence and hope.

Arthur Riley offers this breath practice:

INHALE: I will not be silenced by fear.
EXHALE: A quivering voice is still sacred.
INHALE: God, my soul trembles.
EXHALE: Steady me in your arms.
INHALE: I will meet this fear with rest.
EXHALE: God, steady me in your arms.


"Consider the lilies of the field..."

Friday, January 26, 2024

January 26-- Displaying Your Best

You your best thing... You are.  --Toni Morrison

    I must share the "Note from the Universe"  by Mike Dooley from Jan 25:

Perception Management for Very Advanced Souls:

The next time someone upsets you, think, "Thanks for pointing out that I've begun depending on your approval. Time I lose the expectations."
And the next time someone doesn't take your view into account, think, "That's okay, I was once like that."
And if someone steals from you, think, "It was nothing, my supply is the Universe."
Or lies to you, think, "I'm sorry you feel that need.
Violates you, "All for my growth and glory."
Is rude to you, "Cheer up, dear soul, it'll be okay."
Judges you, "Thanks for sharing your truth."
Drives by you like a bat out of hell, "Be careful, my friend. You’re loved."
And the next time someone greets you with a smile, smile back, like you're sharing a secret.

The Universe 

    This presents quite a challenge, huh?

We have had lots of gloomy, rainy, gray days,
so I am dreaming of the beach and sunshine.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

January 25--Plenty of Good Humans

In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit. 
--Anne Frank

    January is still with us and already this year I have been to the dentist twice. There are few places on the planet where I dream of hanging out less than the dentist's office. I'd rather be nearly anywhere else. The first visit was to crown a broken tooth. The second was for a cleaning and check-up, which revealed a cavity that I will be getting fixed in March. Right here with these very words, I am convincing myself that I am GRATEFUL to have an efficient, competent dentist, because (drumroll...) I want to continue to EAT!
    Back to "kind and gentle spirit"... I'm thinking this morning about the melting pot of folks who show up to play pickleball at the West YMCA. The variety of race, ethnicity, age, physical size, capability, dress, and personality is delightful. Some games may not look like "kind and gentle spirits" in action, but that is what is happening. It is lots of folks just having fun, with no agenda or cross to bear (other than "dang, I shoulda had that one!"). 
    Let's multiply good interactions!
It's a THING... June 2, 2024

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

January 24--Lower the Volume

Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.  --Rumi

    Who hasn't yelled at their kids? Possibly Jesus, but that was because he didn't have any (apparently). 
    Yes, I have been guilty of yelling at my kids. Comically and belatedly, the whole "don't raise your voice" thing was really brought home to me with dog ownership. Barney loves it when we yell. He gets wound up, excited, racing around, ready to play! That is generally the exact opposite of what we want. So I've learned to stay calm with him, most of the time. 
    Then there are times when one simply has to move some energy. If I am very frustrated, I enjoy the practice of yelling when I am driving alone in the Spaceship (our RAV4). Roaring like a lion is my favorite style of private venting. I can release a lot of random annoyances that way, which helps to keep my interactions with others in the more pleasant range. 
    Both flowers and humans grow better without yelling.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

January 23--What's Your Approach?

When we approach with reverence, great things decide to approach us. 
--John O'Donohue

    I like the idea of approaching "with reverence." What if we encountered everyone and everything with reverence? With respect? With an attitude of "we are all in this together, so let's cooperate"? I believe great things would happen then. 
    Reverence implies to me actually paying attention, really seeing what is in front of us, rather than overlooking or taking for granted. People need to be seen and heard, and approaching with reverence encourages that. When I'm walking in nature, reverence comes more easily for me. I'm especially fond of our Mother Earth, plus I'm looking for interesting photo opportunities. Nature is infinitely interesting.
    Reverence to me also includes a "live and let live" attitude. I may not agree with your choices, but they are none of my business. Reverence kills judgmentalism. 
    It's a lovely practice to remind oneself that every step is walking on holy ground.

I approach the beach in Jamaica
with extra-deep reverence!

Monday, January 22, 2024

January 22--Good? Bad?

Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results. Bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results.  --James Allen

    I don't know about this one. Oftentimes I think I am being helpful ("good action") and my husband heartily disagrees. Also, many times in my life I have uttered these words, "Sometimes a bad example can be a good thing." "Bad thoughts and actions" can at least teach us how NOT to behave.
    I get the idea, however. The truth always comes out eventually and shines light on every sort of behavior. Motivations become clear. 
    As I continue to ponder this quote, I see that the problem is defining "good" and "bad." We need look no further than our current political landscape to see that these terms are defined very differently by each individual. On a personal level, I consider it a good thing for people to make choices relative to their lives and bodies without the interference of the government. Others consider this a bad thing. 
    Resilience enables us to live with differing opinions.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

January 21--Pretend Fun

Love can often be misguided and do as much harm as good, but respect can do only good. It assumes that the other person's stature is as large as one's own, his rights as reasonable, his needs as important.  --Eleanor Roosevelt

    I had a training session on Friday for my first simulated patient (SP) gig at the Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine. We get to be pretend patients with assorted conditions to give the med students practice interacting with real people. Comically enough, in this encounter, I play a patient whose doctor is discussing the uncomfortable subject of too much weight gain. Let's just say that this one won't be a tough acting job for me 😉😉
    This opportunity is WAY "outside my box," and I am so excited to participate. What fun to meet a bunch of aspiring doctors and help them with patient interaction! We do a dry run on Monday, then the actual encounter the following Monday. 
    More to come...

Flu shots in London...
does "jab" make it better or worse!?!?

Saturday, January 20, 2024

January 20--Dumb Stuff Happens

Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.  --Mark Twain

    Mark Twain had a good understanding of human nature. 
    I had my first injury at pickleball the other day, and I was not even playing! We were setting up the nets, and I was bent over working at the middle section. A piece of metal hit me in the eyebrow. I said "OW!" and continued on my merry assembling way. Soon I noticed that blood was dripping on the floor. What the hell?!?!?! Head wounds bleed a lot, but really--this is a quarter-inch minor scrape. I got myself cleaned up and played for a couple of hours. Now I have a shiner that looks like I have eye shadow on one eye. Fortunately the wound did not prevent me from wearing goggles and swimming. 
    Minor. Goofy. Comical. GEEZ!
Just colorful, doesn't hurt.

Friday, January 19, 2024

January 19--Good Value Every Day

Value yourself more.  --Oprah Winfrey

    The Richard Rohr Daily Meditation of January 18 offers this sentiment expressed by a Georgia elder: "I'm living between Oh Lord and Thank You, Jesus." What a great way to express what we are all living through these days--nearly incomprehensible horribleness intermingled with the goodness of humanity trying to shine through it all. 
    A huge part of "value yourself more" is self-care via a daily spiritual practice. This keeps us connected to Something Bigger, the essence of goodness within all of us. The practice enables me to acknowledge the "Oh Lord" without falling into complete despair. The goal is to stay focused on "Thank You, Jesus." It's not a blind Pollyanna attitude, simply being able to hold bad and good, and not be crippled by the combination. 
    Note that the practice of "value yourself more" does not include "value others less." 
    Let us lift each other up.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

January 18--ONE WHOLE!

You must live life with the full knowledge that your actions will remain. We are creatures of consequence.  --Zadie Smith

    One of the challenges I have faced as a MELT Method and yoga instructor is helping folks acquire the mindset that our bodies are one magnificent whole, not a bunch of separate parts attached to each other. This mindset is behind the common statement, "If your feet hurt, you hurt all over." Gil Hedley, explorer of the human body, offers these words:

In our love for these particular structures (Gil is referencing the vagus nerve and fascia or connective tissue--what I teach about in MELT), we do well always to remember that in our whole bodies, and in our whole person, we have operating a unity of differentiated structures that all, and always, work in the concert of the whole. Nerves are embedded in fascia, including the vagus nerve, and fascia are innervated, vascular, and living aspects of the whole body.

"Things" are only separate from the whole in our mental constructs, not in reality. And so a quest to "bring them together" and identify "connections" comes from our predilection to imagine things as separate in the first place.

    "Separate" happens to us at birth. We come from a unified whole consciousness into a human body that is separate from every other body and everything else. But we are one whole in essence, and we do well to remember that, both related to the individual body and our earthly family, human and otherwise.

Gil Hedley is currently on The Nerve Tour offering a five-hour journey into the human nervous system. He is taking this to 111 cities, offering an in-depth look at our magnificent WHOLE bodies. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

January 17--More Goodness Please

Simple, genuine goodness is the best capital to found the business of this life upon. It lasts when fame and money fail, and is the only riches we can take out of this world with us.  --Louisa May Alcott

    "Simple, genuine goodness" is all over the place, but it doesn't make the news. It is kindness practiced with those we encounter in daily life. It is offering a ride to a person who no longer drives. It is donating blood. It is taking care of one's family, home and property. It is helping those in need. It is visiting a homebound person. It is raising independent, useful children. It is expressing oneself in some creative form. It is the understanding that we are all in this together, and together, practicing "simple, genuine goodness," we are a resilient and uplifting current for all. 

Simple, genuine goodness makes for
a peaceful flow...

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

January 16--Where Is Your Happiness?

I don't see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.  --Hunter S. Thompson

    I'm learning this. It has been lifelong learning, but most intense over the past year and a half. For me, for a long, long time, happiness came from THAT direction, and rather suddenly and unexpectedly, it stopped. That was quite disorienting, and it has taken me a bit to redirect myself. That process is ongoing. 
    I believe each of us has within all the resources needed to create happiness, regardless of what is happening "out there." This is not necessarily an easy task, because "out there" likes to have a lot of influence.
    Today is normally the day I would start tax prep work. I did that for eight years. I've let that "mini-career" go, and now in the January-April time frame, I have considerable time to fill. My happiness shall include at least one trip to somewhere warm and plenty of pickleball. 
    Revisiting my 2024 intentions goes along with today's quote: 1) Stay healthy and active. 2) Encourage and allow myself to be a happy human. 
By Karin Zeller

Monday, January 15, 2024

January 15--Womb to Tomb

Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others. Past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future. 
--David Mitchell

    I wish more people knew this, and that I would be better at it. With this knowledge, how could people start wars or shoot up a school or church? This quote explains why I (and many others) are so terrified at the prospect of another round of "President" Trump. His whole mode of operation is on the crime end of the spectrum; there is no kindness involved. What kind of future would that be birthing?!!?
    We can't harm another without also hurting ourselves. The sooner we embody this, the sooner we will be living in a kinder, gentler world. 

Sunday, January 14, 2024

January 14--Spiritual Practice

When you come right down to it, the secret of having it all is loving it all. 
--Joyce Brothers

    I believe the secret to loving it all is to have a consistent, rewarding spiritual practice, staying regularly in touch with Something Bigger Than Me that I know loves me and all of creation. The 12-Step programs base recovery on this with the oft-heard statement: "What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition." There is good reason for the word "practice" in the phrase "spiritual practice."   
    Just like all of us are unique, so are our practices. I have several "daily readers" that I use, plus I write the blog. It is a wonderful energy charge to open a new post with no idea what to write about, and yet something comes through me. I'm working on another straight-line painting, and the process of allowing that to develop is very spiritual for me. Much patience is required, not my strong suit. I review my intentions and hold loved ones in my heart, my version of prayer. I work in at least a subset of this practice even when I am traveling, because the chances of having a good day without it are slim. 
    Consistent spiritual practice is an act of self-love that enables us to bring our best selves to the world.
Painting progress

Saturday, January 13, 2024

January 13--Complication Unnecessary

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.  --Dalai Lama XIV

    As I write this, I am enjoying breakfast and coffee at MOXI Junction in Maize, Kansas, my favorite coffee shop. I am upstairs and there are two sets of fathers and daughters up here playing games together. This makes my heart sing. It reminds me of all the precious time I had riding in the lumber truck with my dad making deliveries. We didn't have GPS in those days, but somehow that truck always knew where the ice cream stand was on the way home. 
    I also learned yesterday that I am going to be a great-great-aunt again. JOY!
    Back to today's quote. I appreciate the simplicity of the Dalai Lama. I have officially (to myself anyway) become a "none." That is the term in use these days to describe folks with no religious affiliation. My spiritual practice is rich and rewarding. I don't need someone telling me what to believe or what I can or cannot do to "get into heaven." I'm fully aware that everything I believe could be complete bullshit, but that knowing keeps me humble. 
    I believe in ice cream,
Black raspberry custard,
my favorite choice on the truck rides with Dad.

Friday, January 12, 2024

January 12--Words of Wisdom

All I'm saying is, kindness don't have no boundaries.  --Kathryn Stockett

    I have come across two additional quotes to share with my blog readers. The first is for a chuckle to brighten your day. It was expressed by Stephen Bardo announcing the Penn State v. Northwestern basketball game from Bryce Jordan Center in State College, PA: 

It is so quiet in here you can hear people change their minds.

    The second quote was the absolute bulls-eye describing the angst I have been through the last 16 months. It is an utterance of Jiddu Krishnamurti:

The primary cause of disorder in ourselves is the seeking of reality promised by another. 

    I'm going to spare myself the gory details of writing any more about my disappointment. I am making a determined effort with my 2024 intentions to pull myself out of that disorder. 
    Lesson learned, I truly do hope, 

Not one of mine, darn it! Artist unknown.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

January 11--Choose Words Mindfully

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.  --Don Miguel Ruiz

    This is one of the Four Agreements described by Mr. Ruiz in his book by that name. The actual Agreement is "Be impeccable with your word." 
    I appreciate that he specifically mentions gossip. This is one of the very common character defects of addicts (as well as everyone else, though I would claim that every single one of us is addicted to something). While it is easy to oppose the practice of gossiping, it is not necessarily easy to stop. We all love those "tidbits of information."
    I also love the admonition of not using our words against ourselves. We are much too critical of ourselves, and we take ourselves way too seriously. Our bodies, minds and spirits take in the words we use on ourselves. It really is just as easy to use kind words as it is nasty ones. 
    "Say only what you mean." OK, winter sucks. We had a lot of rain, then a couple inches of snow on top of it, and now, with our cold temperatures, there is ice everywhere. Parking lots are a mess. I've turned around and come back home twice from the YMCA because the parking lot is treacherous, both for driving and walking. I zoomed my Tuesday night MELT class from home due to the hazardous conditions. 
    Ready for spring!

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

January 10--Small World

If you want to be respected by others, the great thing is to respect yourself. Only by that, only by self-respect will you compel others to respect you. 
--Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    One thing I am noticing as I get older is that with age, one's world tends to get smaller. Friends and family pass or move away. We can't do as many things physically so we drop activities where we had been interacting with others regularly. We don't venture far from home. Simple daily activities that we used to do without thinking wipe us out for the day. Health issues can bring even further isolation. The pandemic certainly exacerbated this trend. 
    I have watched this happen to my brother, who is now in a memory care unit with multiple health problems. It is gradually happening with my in-laws, who at 94 are still living independently. 
    The idea of my personal world shrinking scares me. Fortunately at the moment, I have a choice in the matter. Having a couple sets of folks to play pickleball with is a big world-expander. Travel plans with friends are underway for 2024. I am making a conscious effort to see folks I haven't seen in a while. 
    I LOVE time by myself, but I don't want too much of it!

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

January 9--Great Potential

The truth is humbling, terrifying, and often exhilarating. It blows the doors off the hinges and fills the world with fresh air.  --Augusten Burroughs

Miraculous things occur when we leave our reality and move toward our potential.  --Jeffon Seely

    "Our reality" tends to be "I can't" for a multitude of reasons. "Our potential," i.e. "the truth," is that we can express and experience whatever we set our minds to. One of my realities used to be "I can't paint." The truth is that I can paint, and I have created several paintings that I am quite fond of. (This is going to be my dangling-preposition post 😉) 
    It is an act of self-respect to learn, to go for it, to try. Every endeavor may not be a resounding success, but every move toward expressing more of our potential is a win-win for all.

The fresh air of central PA