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Showing posts from 2014

Happy New Year from Robert Burns et moi

Sketch—New Year's Day, 1790 by Robert Burns This day, Time winds th' exhausted chain;
To run the twelvemonth's length again:
I see, the old bald-pated fellow,
With ardent eyes, complexion sallow,
Adjust the unimpair'd machine,
To wheel the equal, dull routine.

The absent lover, minor heir,
In vain assail him with their prayer;
Deaf as my friend, he sees them press,
Nor makes the hour one moment less,
Will you (the Major's with the hounds,
The happy tenants share his rounds;
Coila's fair Rachel's care to-day,
And blooming Keith's engaged with Gray)
From housewife cares a minute borrow,
(That grandchild's cap will do to-morrow,)
And join with me a-moralizing;
This day's propitious to be wise in.

First, what did yesternight deliver?
“Another year has gone forever.”
And what is this day's strong suggestion?
“The passing moment's all we rest on!”
Rest on—for what? what do we here?
Or why regard the passing year?
Will Time, amus'd with proverb'd lore,
Add to ou…
I rarely share stories forwarded to me by friends. I enjoy most of them, but am reluctant to add to the stream of "forwards" crowding the Internet. This story, though, touched me enough that I decided to share it here. Is it sentimental? Yes, but it includes a powerful lesson that goes far beyond sentimentality. The author is unknown. I have searched high and low for the author's name, and I will keep searching. In the meantime,  enjoy the story, and be looking for bargains on red coats. _________________________________________ Santa Claus: Where He Really Lives--All the Time I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!" My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the…

Safety in Manners: What I've Learned from "The Interview"

I am adding this link to a recent article regarding the topics in this post. It was published by the Daily Mail in the UK: I'll leave it to you to follow the many threads of its implications, but it makes for an important addition to this post.

___________________________________________'s first definition of manners is "a way of being done." The sentence stands as well with a slight edit. Manners are "a way of being." How we are is intrinsic to who we are. Good manners lead to and come from good morals (and morals are not to be confused with judgementalism).

Why bring up manners in a post the week before Christmas? Scroogish and Grinchish, no doubt, but I feel compelled by the week's news, which includes mucho bru-ha-ha over Sony's movie, "The Interview," now shelved and previously scheduled to debut on Christmas Day... because North Korea and keystone cop assassination plots have so much to do with Christmas, yes? And, perhap…

Look the Other Way ... to Gratitude

I grew up having much to be grateful for and being aware that I did. I always enjoyed Thanksgiving and loved the idea of holiday dedicated wholly to gratitude. As I enter my seventh decade, I have an ever-deepening relationship with gratitude. I've found it to be the most powerful antidote during times of loss, illness or difficulty.

When I grieve the loss of a loved one, I look the other way--away from the loss and toward the gratitude I have for knowing them and having shared life with them. The gratitude is always greater than my sense of loss. In fact, it is the one emotion I find strong enough to help me battle grief. Gratitude helps lift me from that painful depth and continue to appreciate life, even as I must live it without others whom I would never choose to live without.

When too many projects must be completed at one time, and I find myself complaining about my workload, I look the other way: to gratitude for having good work to do. That the work comes in waves instea…

The Calendar as Colander

Business has traffic patterns no signs or stoplights can help. If you own your business, or if you are in a high-productivity job (and who isn't?) there will come a time when the abundance it can bring causes a crushing stress that outweighs the gratitude you feel. You cannot change the traffic, because if you do, you might punish the business you are building or let down someone who needs you, not to mention lose income. You must let all those cars onto the bridge at one time, and hope the bridge (aka: You)  holds.

I am over-the-moon happy about the work that has come my way this year. Script-writing, book design, editing, translation for hospitals, clinics and other non-profit organizations, marketing for a financial institution. I love all of it and have the added good fortune to be working with outstanding people whom I trust and admire. The traffic of it all, though, has been producing daily panic attacks in my mind and heart. Deadlines collide. Or veer at me. Or I miss the tu…

Chocolate Silk Mousse for Your Mind

I often think of healing physical and emotional wounds. I rarely think of healing my thoughts. I have often needed to replace negative thoughts with positive ones, something much simpler to say than do, despite years of practice. I had not thought crystal-clearly about the importance of healing thoughts until I read Debra Engle's new book, The Only Little Prayer You Need, published by Hampton Roads Publishing Company and distributed by Red Wheel/ Weiser, LLC.

First, a confession. I would not ordinarily buy a book whose title tells me what I need, but this book is written by someone I know and admire. Debra Engle and I were colleagues in a PR company years ago. Having that past connection with the author kept me from having my usual stubborn resistance to being told what I need. And, it's a good thing it did!

This small jewel of a book has made a significant change in my life, because it clearly shows me a way to heal thoughts. And, my thoughts did indeed need healing. Thanks to …

Send Los Médicos to Listening School Before It's Too Late

The infuriating, heart-breaking bit of the recent Ebola news stories has nothing to do with WHO, CDC, or poor health care systems. The most heart-breaking part is a handful of doctors' unwillingness to listen and pay attention. Based on my own experience in the health care system and that of my family, this is, unfortunately, a norm in health care, a condition that no law or system has effectively addressed.

Thomas Eric Duncan has died. While people are stressed about being exposed to a virus, precious little is said about this loss of a life and what it means to those who love him. Based on what I hear from news sources I trust, he contracted the virus helping someone whom he did not know was infected. His one simple generous act cost him his life. He deserves the dignity of being remembered as a man, not simply "the first case of Ebola in the US." His family deserves sympathy. 

Duncan told the ER staff he came to the US from Liberia. That one fact alone makes it unthinka…

Meaning Trumps Passion

One thing Glenn Morshower told us in the presentation I covered in my previous post is that our inner whisper will not lead us to do everything we want, but rather to what we want most--to do, to be. Katharine Hepburn said it a different way: "You can't have it all." 

I watched an interview with a millionaire entrepreneur last week who said the key to his success was following his passions for surfing and racing cars. They led him to develop a product line that people all over the world can use.  I've heard the "follow your passion" advice often over the past decade, mostly from financially successful people in the Western world, and more narrowly, who live in the United States. When I hear this, I think, "That makes sense." Then somewhere inside me a cracked bell rings. It's not a false note I hear through these recommendations to follow our passions, but a wrong one. It's a wrong note for five reasons. 

It's Not Universal
First, this ad…

The Shower in the Glenn

Millions of people were transfixed by the television series "24." The show was based on a ground-breaking concept of airing episodes as though in real time. I've just had an amazing 24 hours myself, thanks to one of the show's stars, Glenn Morshower, who played Agent Aaron Pierce. 

I attended a presentation by Mr. Morshower yesterday. To call it a presentation isn't quite accurate. It was, rather, a shower of sharing that honored the rules of a good presentation at the same time it did not obey those very rules. 

Glenn Morshower is often described as a "character actor." Character actors are the core of the acting arts. The performers we call "stars" could not have "stellar" careers without them. They are often the best, most thoughtful practitioners of the craft. Glenn Morshower is a character actor who deserves every ounce of his fame, though we did not see any evidence that fame is one of his favorite accessories. Nor did he "p…

A Call to Magic Sharing

I live in a safe place. No one is shooting at me. There are no bombs exploding in my neighborhood.  I do not need to flee anywhere for my or my family's safety. This stirs deep gratitude in me and no small amount of guilt. I think it is similar to survivor's guilt, though less intense. I am, in a word, fortunate. I like Joan Baez's cover of a song by Peter, Paul, and Mary. The proverbial saying is, "There but for the grace of God, go you or I." The song changes it to "There but for fortune..." I don't believe the grace of God is unequal toward humanity. I do believe that good fortune is.

I am fortunate, which means I have a different kind of responsibility toward life from those who have the misfortune of having to fight to survive under terrible and unjust conditions. I have the responsibility to find what is special and share it, simply because I can,  a duty, if you will, to share joy and wonder, because I can. It sounds like lightweight work, I…

Location, Location, Location

No lo entiendo. No lo he entendido. No lo entenderé nunca. I don't understand. I have not understood. I will never understand the disregard the United States government has now and has had historically toward its neighbors to the south. I am not talking about disrespect. We have a long history of that, unfortunately, which won't be the subject of this post. I am talking about sheer, monolithic disregard for what goes on in the neighborhoods next door. 

I heard a news story today about a Salvadoran youth, interviewed after his second failed attempt to escape to the US in order to flee gang violence. PRI story by Jude Joffee-Block. José has never been part of a gang, yet lives in hiding, because rival gang members believe anyone outside their own gang whom they don't recognize must be from another gang, and if you are from another gang, then you must be killed. "I don't know who you are." Ergo: "I kill you."

Think of José as your tall, thin son who wan…