A Matter of Black and White

We are all up in arms, outraged and positively incensed at the murder of George Floyd at the hands of racist cops. This horrible incident is still raw, fresh and gnawing at our collective conscience. There seems to be nothing that each of us is unwilling or lacking conviction to do, in addressing this racial prejudice and protesting the injustice. All the news reports are sharply focused on police brutality, and politicians are scrambling to get in their sound bytes. People who never prayed before, are participating in online prayer circles. Pick any city, and you’ll find its Archdiocese and all the Bishops holding vigil for George Floyd and the other black victims of hate crimes.

President Obama held a virtual Town Hall Meeting recently, with former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, to offer up opportunities for healing the systemic injustice against people of color that plagues our nation. Because, as with all the other extreme news in our world, we must get beyond the “knee-jerk reaction” and work together first for immediate relief for those victimized and then commit to real, lasting beneficial changes to prevent hate crimes in the future.

I am ashamed that I haven’t done enough, nothing at all really, to contend with this unwholesome bigotry and prejudice. The author, Robin DiAngelo has a book out now entitled, “White Fragility -Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism”. She is brilliant in her radical assessment of white race socialization. She comes from  a very knowledgeable base of experience in this field. As a diversity trainer for large corporations, Ms. DiAngelo has seen a thing or two about how white folk respond to the idea of their being racist.  Turns out our collective unconscious is preventing us from recognizing the truth of our own bigotry. Being in denial is the standard response. 

This author has encountered so much resistance in her classes, from a predominantly white audience, that she is convinced that there’s a “massive delusion” (my words, not hers) which she perceives as a fragile state of denial and strong aversion to anything unpleasant. In her book, she confronts the ugly and insidious aspects of white supremacy and white privilege that few other writers have touched upon, or even know about.

So as a member of the white, privileged class, I am in a real quandary. On the one hand, I am grateful for my status in society, and the relative safety and security I enjoy, but on the other, I decry the obscene lack of opportunity among my black brothers and sisters. Right now, I’m listening to my favorite radio station, Classical KDFC, which I adore because I derive such comfort from this music. It is healing and I feel that classical music nourishes my soul in a time of great turmoil and social unrest. Yet, I realize that all the hosts or announcers and staff at the station are white folk. So I’m listening to music composed by white people (all men back then), delivered through air waves or Internet by whites, and probably performed mostly by white musicians. I’ve never heard of an African American symphony conductor, have you? Anyway, there’s an unmistakable pattern in all this, and it’s very disconcerting. In fact, it’s starting to make me feel even more uncomfortable than the systemic injustice perpetrated by corrupt politicians.

But even so, how could I personally be considered racist? Only dishonest people (like most politicians) who are vain, conceited or arrogant look upon blacks as “inferior”.  I was taught to treat everyone equally and with respect. I’ve never put down a person because of their color, or being different from me or my friends. Oh wait, I never had a black friend in school. Then again, I never bothered to reach across the great white divide to connect with any person of color. Deep down, I didn’t feel comfortable with that. I was swimming in a milky white homogenous pool of privilege, and I wasn’t about to rock the boat! Venturing outside my comfort zone, even just a little, is tremendously difficult — then and still is now…

The more I delve into Ms. DiAngelo’s book, the more I suspect myself of being racist without knowing it. How can that be, when I pride myself on being so “enlightened”? Well, I’ve started to look at my faith now, having recently converted to the Roman Catholic religion. In fact, I graduated just last year, from RCIA – Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults – and that has given me a whole new frame of reference, in terms of God’s love, compassion, kindness and forgiveness. A way of looking at the world that liberates me from the bondage of selfish desire, and replaces that with JOY — Put Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last. I learned that from Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

As I read “White Fragility” — taking notes as I go along — I feel compelled to offer myself in service to others. I intend to do so in ways that will bring about the overhaul of an antiquated, bigoted social system, instituted by white men so long ago, and replace it with genuine respect for people of all races, ethnic origin and religious beliefs. 

I believe the BEST way to do that is through the Catholic faith. I have found that Catholicism is the only religion that truly embraces and gives real hope to the poor, marginalized and locked out of our society. In my next post, I explain how this is true.

YOUR CALL TO ACTION:  

Please visit http://www.obama.org and see how you can participate in restoring peace, dignity and equality to our black brothers and sisters in our communities. God bless you! 

Gratitude for Scarcity (?)

Since this post today is reflective of our current times, it may not make any sense. I picked an ironic title on purpose, however, these words contain a wealth of meaning. I profess to be a “wordsmith”, but I’m also occasionally a rhyming poet, and always a rambling one, so this is what I see:

Where does the wealth go?

Nature’s abundance in the world. I cannot see it, for the trees,

which are not there because the forests are bare… Shelves are bare in the stores, we can’t get any more…

I cannot go out until I spray paint my hair (to cover up those roots!), or put on a cap and it’s getting too warm for that!

I cannot go on with this silly rhyme, but can’t help myself – do it all the time! (Anyone who knows me, swears this is true!)

Getting serious now, even as I ramble I can see the irony… How can you have an attitude of gratitude when there’s lack and limitation?

Answer: Not only CAN you have that “attitude of gratitude”, but you MUST in order to survive!

WHY?  Because there’s so much Real Wealth in the Natural World, that we humans neglect or simply forget, so…

here’s a gentle reminder:

Roses or any glorious blooms remind us of our budding creativity!

As soon as you shift from the feelings of lack and limitation to abundance, you open up the gateways of your imagination. Better that, than allowing the walls to cave in on you! It’s human nature to appreciate beautiful things, so surround yourself in your home with potted plants, bouquets of flowers, your favorite artifacts or family heirlooms taken out of the mothballs, and proudly displayed wherever you want. Doesn’t matter that no one else will see your household decor. It’s enough that it makes you feel good just looking at your treasures! Oh boy, and if it’s a homemade item created by you or a loved one — a painting, sculpture, or clothing knitted or crocheted by hand, that’s even better. 🙂

In addition, some sage advice to remember: “Health Is Wealth”. Now more than ever, nobody can afford to take their health for granted. Whatever is touted as boosting the immune system is getting loads of press, lots of attention. But the old adage still applies: “Let your food be your medicine; let your medicine be your food.” In other words, we need to be proactive with our health, and not rely solely upon doctors, drugs or think the next “magic pill” will do the trick…

I was just talking to a dear friend of mine, of my parent’s generation, and I was really concerned about her health. She’s had a chronic condition for a long time and wears a neck brace because she fell and injured her head/ spinal column and damaged the Vagus nerve. Here is a definition: “The vagus nerve runs throughout the body and is responsible for the function and regulation of main bodily systems such as the heart and digestive tracts. The vagus nerve is used to regulate a variety of body functions including the heartbeat and the muscle movement necessary to keep you breathing.”  Her courage and stubborn resilience has kept her going, when others would have given up!

Even, being so debilitated, my friend managed to drive quite a distance to a specialist, a doctor highly recommended to her. However, when she mentioned the problem and her symptoms, this doctor said he didn’t know what the “vagus nerve” was – had never heard of that!  What?? How could that be??  After driving over 50 miles to see this so-called “specialist”, she finds out there’s nothing he can do for her! Well, needless to say, she doesn’t have much faith in doctors anymore!  Her faith is in God and His divine plan for her life. I believe that’s how it should be! “Let go and Let God” is one of my favorite mottos, and is very comforting and reassuring. 🙂

We must hold fast to Hope, no matter how difficult the circumstances. Be grateful for what you have. Reach out to others who have far less – the vulnerable members of our society. So this is my CALL TO ACTION:  Sign and Send your Petition for Pandemic Relief to include undocumented immigrants!

https://tinyurl.com/yc3qxtj7

Thanks for your care and concern! Bless you, and keep you safe!!

St. Francis’s Blessing of the Animals

There is a beautiful tradition I observe every year on October 4th, with our household pets. It is a holy day in the Roman Catholic church — The Feast of St. Francis. Though I may not always get over to church for the formal ceremony, I do a “Pet Blessing” for each of our cats, and even sprinkle holy water on them (though they don’t like it!). St. Francis of Assisi is my patron saint, as I am a wildlife conservationist and promote a vegan lifestyle, which does not exploit animals for food or clothing. I love that Pope Francis models himself after the “poor man of Assisi” with his kindness, compassion, and humble manner. I highly recommend the following book written by the Holy Father, for anyone who loves God’s creations and desires to protect them, and preserve the sanctity of Mother Nature:   https://tinyurl.com/y2bnfgnb

In addition, and in keeping with the Patron Saint of animals, ecology, nature and our ecosystem, here’s the statement from Pope Francis on “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” issued September 1st this year:  https://tinyurl.com/y4vmvlf9

I’ve compiled some relevant images to share on this special day, in celebration of our fellow beings! Click on any image to learn more.

Spending more time in the natural world, away from technology, is incredibly healing and restorative. Praying Nature with St. Francis of Assisi shows us the way: http://www.praying-nature.com/site_pages.php?section=Guide+for+Nature+Lovers

And here is the “Blessing of the Animals” for at-home observance with your beloved pets:

God of all creation, at the beginning of time you gave us beautiful creatures of the earth as our fellow beings. And in your wisdom, these animals, like all good things from you, became more than that. They became our friends and companions. Loving St. Francis considered animals of all species his brothers and sisters. We ask you, therefore, to bless them in the natural world, and our own beloved ___pet name(s)___, that they may have a long and joyful life. Keep them safe when we cannot be with them, protect them from sickness and harm and heal their wounds. And bless us too, their human companions, with your Holy Spirit that we may care for our pets well, and be wise, gentle stewards of every one of your creatures and the earth, Mother to all life.

We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus, who is Lord of all forever and ever. Amen.

For a radiantly beautiful and inspiring picture of St. Francis blessing eight dogs, birds and other creatures:  https://tinyurl.com/y2trncsc

Have a blessed day, with your special friends!

Encore: Our Sweet Baby Bodhi :-)

Today marks 14 years since this beautiful, scrawny little kitten came into our lives. And July 26th being just before our anniversary, that’s why I remember it so well. 🙂 Here is an encore of my last post about Bodhi, this time with pictures!

“It’s been a year to the day since my husband and I said goodbye to our feline child Bodhi, and I couldn’t bring myself to write this any sooner. It’s heartbreaking when your beloved pet dies, even when you have other pets in the household. I work from home, so I’m fortunate to have my furry kids with me most of the time. I count my blessings every day. Still grieving takes its toll, and I start crying when I happen to look at Bodhi’s favorite places to curl up and take his naps. I do find comfort in having our other cats, Pierre and Isabella, who are 4 1/2 yrs. old, beautiful, strong and healthy. Bodhi in his prime was totally in charge of the household, with me as his Pet Mom, pampering him and indulging his every whim. I even sang a lullaby to him, as he sat on my lap. We’ve had many cats over the years, but I bonded with Bodhi the most, aside from Sabrina Faire, our very first mother cat. Like her, Bodhi chose to be with us, rather than being born into the family.

Our sweet baby Bodhi began life as a stray, just an abandoned kitten. That’s one of the things I liked best about his entrance into our lives. He came to us humbly and in need, left us and went feral again,  then Bodhi miraculously came back – just showed up in our backyard after being away for almost 3 months! Most feral cats once they leave, they’re gone. But not Bodhi! Our furry “prodigal son” returned of his own volition. It was his choice to come back and stay with us, even if it meant being neutered and domesticated.

My husband and I joked about how Bodhi – a handsome Russian Blue – had returned from “Tom Cat Boot Camp”. Why? Because he was bigger and had jowls, and looked every bit a dominant male. He was really “buffed” and strutting his stuff! That soon changed, once he returned on February 4, 2009.  Exactly two weeks later (happened to be my birthday), we took him to our vet and he got “fixed”, de-wormed and vaccinated.

I should really call this, “The Saga of Bodhi”. It all started when he showed up, starving and mewing outside our guest bedroom window. We had just moved to and were settling in to our first home in San Jose. It was July 26, 2005 (day before our anniversary)  I was typing away at my desk, when I heard “Mee-you!” and thought I’d imagined it, then again, “MEEE-YOU!!” more insistent and louder. So I looked outside the window, and there he was gazing up at me, with his little mouth wide open — non-stop mewing. Poor baby! I went outside right away, and saw this scrawny, grey kitten underneath a tree. I named him “Bodhi” for the famous Bodhi tree that the Buddha sat under, and from which he received enlightenment.

Bodhi lounging on unicorn blanket, grooming himself. 

Despite my husband telling me not to take in any strays, I immediately put out cat food and a bowl of water.  We saw Bodhi every day in our front yard, but I wanted him to be safer in our backyard, so food and water bowls were moved there, and that became Bodhi’s territory. Aggressive male cats challenged him, and our backyard became a battleground. But Bodhi prevailed, so he was officially designated the Alpha Cat!

Bodhi may have conquered our backyard, but he was happiest in our home, as a member of the family, along with mama cat Sabrina Faire and her kittens Buddy and Midnight. It was a gradual transition, from the garage, which was Bodhi’s playroom for almost a year, to being part of our household. He had the freedom to come and go as he pleased through the side door, while our other kitties were kept strictly indoors. Bodhi had everything he needed in our “finished garage”:  kibble, water, his own litter box, toys to play with, and a comfy cozy kitty bed to take his naps. But his favorite place was curling up in my lap, as I sat in an old rocking chair. I sang to him a lullaby I wrote, to the tune of “Barney’s” song: “I love you, you love me, that is just as it should be. With a lick, lick, nuzzle nuzzle, give a little scratch.  Behind your ears which perfectly match.” Bodhi was our only cat who balanced freedom of the outdoors, with the safety of indoors. He truly had the best of both worlds!”

Speaking of different worlds, my husband and I just saw ET: The Extraterrestrial for the umpteenth time, and I love the scene with ET hiding in the closet. The mother doesn’t have a clue there’s an alien in the house!

Can you find the kitty in this picture?  Here’s Bodhi’s imitation of ET posing as a stuffed animal.  Fooled us when we were looking all through the house for him! 

“Goodbye, My Sweet Baby Bodhi”

It’s been a year to the day since my husband and I said goodbye to our feline child Bodhi, and I couldn’t bring myself to write this any sooner. It’s heartbreaking when your beloved pet dies, even when you have other pets in the household. I work from home, so I’m fortunate to have my furry kids with me most of the time. I count my blessings every day. Still grieving takes its toll, and I start crying when I happen to look at Bodhi’s favorite places to curl up and take his naps. I do find comfort in having our other cats, Pierre and Isabella, who are 4 1/2 yrs. old, beautiful, strong and healthy. Bodhi in his prime was totally in charge of the household, with me as his Pet Mom, pampering him and indulging his every whim. I even sang a lullaby to him, as he sat on my lap. We’ve had many cats over the years, but I bonded with Bodhi the most, aside from Sabrina Faire, our very first mother cat. Like her, Bodhi chose to be with us, rather than being born into the family.

Our sweet baby Bodhi began life as a stray, just an abandoned kitten. That’s one of the things I liked best about his entrance into our lives. He came to us humbly and in need, left us and went feral again,  then Bodhi miraculously came back – just showed up in our backyard after being away for almost 3 months! Most feral cats once they leave, they’re gone. But not Bodhi! Our furry “prodigal son” returned of his own volition. It was his choice to come back and stay with us, even if it meant being neutered and domesticated.

My husband and I joked about how Bodhi – a handsome Russian Blue – had returned from “Tom Cat Boot Camp”. Why? Because he was bigger and had jowls, and looked every bit a dominant male. He was really “buffed” and strutting his stuff! That soon changed, once he returned on February 4, 2009.  Exactly two weeks later (happened to be my birthday), we took him to our vet and he got “fixed”, de-wormed and vaccinated.

I should really call this, “The Saga of Bodhi”. It all started when he showed up, starving and mewing outside our guest bedroom window. We had just moved to and were settling in to our first home in San Jose. It was July 26, 2005 (day before our anniversary)  I was typing away at my desk, when I heard “Mee-you!” and thought I’d imagined it, then again, “MEEE-YOU!!” more insistent and louder. So I looked outside the window, and there he was gazing up at me, with his little mouth wide open — non-stop mewing. Poor baby! I went outside right away, and saw this scrawny, grey kitten underneath a tree. I named him “Bodhi” for the famous Bodhi tree that the Buddha sat under, and from which He received enlightenment.

Despite my husband telling me not to take in any strays, I immediately put out cat food and a bowl of water.  We saw Bodhi every day in our front yard, but I wanted him to be safer in our backyard, so food and water bowls were moved there, and that became Bodhi’s territory. Aggressive male cats challenged him, and our backyard became a battleground. But Bodhi prevailed, so he was officially designated the Alpha Cat!

Bodhi may have conquered our backyard, but he was happiest in our home, as a member of the family, along with mama cat Sabrina Faire and her kittens Buddy and Midnight. It was a gradual transition, from the garage, which was Bodhi’s playroom for almost a year, to being part of our household. He had the freedom to come and go as he pleased through the side door, while our other kitties were kept strictly indoors. Bodhi had everything he needed in our “finished” garage:  kibble, water, his own litter box, toys to play with, and a comfy cozy kitty bed to take his naps. But his favorite place was curling up in my lap, as I sat in an old rocking chair. I sang to him a lullaby I wrote, to the tune of “Barney’s” song: “I love you, you love me, that is just as it should be. With a lick, lick, nuzzle nuzzle, give a little scratch.  Behind your ears which perfectly match.” Bodhi was our only cat who balanced freedom of the outdoors, with the safety of indoors. He truly had the best of both worlds!

There’s more to show with kitty photos, but today is difficult with no access to a computer to download and include them here. Also, I have to take time to pray at my altar. I am now placing our beloved’s urn there, which is inscribed: In Loving Memory – My Sweet Bodhi Boy, Who Gave Me So Much Joy, Rest In Peace My Love, In God’s Heaven Above.”

Goodbye, my furry child.  I shall never forget you. 

Lucky – In Memoriam 5/10/2014

This day – today – I am in double sadness because it is the anniversary of our dear canine companion, Lucky, who passed away of a heart attack, day before Mother’s Day four years ago. I had just started my Twitter account, and paid tribute to him there, but that’s really not enough to show my deep gratitude to Lucky – not nearly!

The additional sadness is loss of our cat Bodhi very recently, who had to be euthanized April 3rd. I started to write a post for him, but didn’t finish. The hurt is so raw, and I am in the midst of grieving… I cannot bring myself to write about all that I loved about my sweet baby Bodhi. Not just yet, but I will write a beautiful tribute for him and post it here on my blog. Bodhi’s story is unusual and very colorful… But I do have our other beloved kitties to take care of, a house to clean, a husband to feed, etc. Many chores that never seem to get done! But sometimes you just have to stop and reflect on what you feel at the time. Each day comes and goes so quickly. One moment your beloved pet is laying at your feet, nuzzling your hand with his wet nose, the next he’s laying dead down the hall. It was such a shock, and there’s no way I was prepared. It was just after midnight, so we had to wait until morning. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep that night.

My husband was out of work at the time, so we couldn’t pay to have Lucky cremated and placed in a decorative urn. So his body had to be taken to San Jose Animal Care Center for a “communal cremation”. I’m surprised that I didn’t just “lose it” with this family tragedy, but somehow I kept it together, and we even went to our Mother’s Day celebration at my sister-in-laws house. I am notorious for having a “delayed reaction” to very upsetting events, so I must’ve been in a daze, or denial the whole day long. It took awhile to really sink in that our rescue dog Lucky was gone. All that was left was his collar and pictures to remember him by. His brother, Chance, whom I did write about in a more timely manner (see post, “Chancey Baby – In Memoriam” ) has an attractive urn which is displayed with others from our pets who have lived and loved with us, in our cabinet in the living room. But these “displays” are for our human need to have something of them to cling to. Our pets don’t have any such “needs”. They are beyond that, and when they pass on and cross that veil, they are welcomed into a heavenly domain called “Rainbow Bridge”, where they live in eternal bliss and contentment. And just like with the poem, “Footprints”, the poet who wrote the following is unknown. It is one of the most beautiful and moving poems I have ever read, and always brings tears to my eyes:

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=rainbow+bridge&&view=detail&mid=BE64C6EF21E059F9E9E2BE64C6EF21E059F9E9E2&rvsmid=01C80D23DD8C2C33842301C80D23DD8C2C338423&FORM=VDQVAP

There is another version on my other “memoriam” post for Chance, so please enjoy both. I cannot find that perfect picture of Lucky, and I really need to post this now, so I will have to include in a follow-up. Like his brother, he gave unconditional love and affection throughout his life, and I cherished every moment spent with my adorable Lucky! He is romping through the meadows with Chance, deliriously happy and free at Rainbow Bridge. As I said before, there’s no pain, no disease or disability in this beautiful field of eternity, only happiness and contentment. Lucky is in God’s forever care and at peace. Bless you, my brown-eyed beloved!

Ringing in New Year with Old Friendship

The first weekend of the New Year, I visited a dear friend that I hadn’t seen in 25 years! It didn’t seem like that much time had gone by, and it’s almost like we picked up where we left off!  We talked and reminisced about our childhood and how things have changed over the years…

Weathering the tough times of divorce, losing our parents, ourselves getting older (bummer!)! Finding comfort in our beloved pets and the simple things in life. Feeling so wistful and waxing nostalgic about the “good old days”. But one thing that will never change is our enthusiasm for the performing arts – acting, singing, and especially dancing! We performed in high school musicals, and had a blast!! “Am I still doing my ballet?” my friend asked. “Eh, not so much” – Well actually not at all anymore, though I loved my ballet lessons and performing in dance recitals as a child, but felt I didn’t have what it takes for the serious training to become a professional. Such unyielding dedication is required, with little time for anything else in life. It is rewarding when you’re successful and reach the pinnacle of your career. But alas, most of us will never know!  We give it up once we grow up.

So here’s a 77 yr. old woman who did persevere in her talent and excelled as a ballet dancer when most are retired in early 30’s. Good for her! I applaud the fact that this women loved ballet so much, she couldn’t possibly give it up. Bravo, and Encore!!  https://www.facebook.com/bbcthree/videos/10155421420910787/

I may not be continuing this beautiful art form, but I will keep up my long-term friendships, and be grateful that they are lasting. 🙂

Thankful Thursday: Gratitude to Red, White and Blue

On November 11th, I attended a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial in Santa Clara, California. My husband was playing trumpet in the Cupertino Symphonic Band, and there were quite a few military luminaries there, giving their presentations, awards and recognition. What a fantastic tribute to our fighting forces and those brave souls no longer with us. I’ve never considered myself to be patriotic, but I actually saluted twice during the proceedings, recited “Pledge of Allegiance” and sang “America The Beautiful”. It felt really great, and I surprised myself!

There was a special “retire the flag” observance, and I was reminded of my days as a girl scout, and learning how to respectfully handle the American flag. You’re supposed to lower the flag at sunset, OR make certain that it is illuminated all night long. I watched the servicemen removing “Old Glory” from the flagpole, folding it properly into a tight triangle, and putting it safely away.  Then they attached the new American flag, along with a smaller flag and ran them both up the flagpole, which had a sculpture of the American Bald Eagle at the top. The other flag showed words of mild admonishment: “Never Forget Those Who Serve” (I’m not sure of the wording, as I didn’t see it up close.) My gosh, the very idea of forgetting, or neglecting to honor these courageous men and women, brought tears to my eyes. There’s an old saying, entitled “A Rule of Three”…

Three things to Govern:  Temper, Tongue and Conduct.

Three things to Cultivate:  Courage, Affection and Gentleness.

Three things to Command:  Thrift, Industry and Promptness.

Three things to Despise:  Cruelty, Arrogance and Ingratitude.

Three things to Wish for:  Health, Gracefulness and Beauty.

Three things to Give:  Alms to the Needy, Comfort to the Sad, and Appreciation to the Worthy.

https://www.santaclaraweekly.com/2017/issue-46/santa-clara-veterans-day-ceremony-call-to-peace/

This link is an article from Santa Clara Weekly about the service.  Also, I found a rendition of “America The Beautiful” that’ll knock your socks off. Enjoy!

 

Total Eclipse of Heart, Mind and Spirit

I have been “outed” by this solar eclipse, spanning the United States. The intense thrill, joy, excitement and global connection of a cosmic event is my first experience, as the last eclipse was 38 years ago.

I was away and in hiding for the last several months. This has been such a “trial by fire” for a lot of Americans, so shocking and unexpected that it’s difficult to believe that’s it’s really happening. The easy thing to do is retreat, sink into avoidance mode. I did that for awhile, hoping I’d wake up from this nightmare. But then I open my eyes, and lo and behold the red-headed POTUS is still there!

All this time’s gone by, and I’ve been involved with the Resistance Movement and town hall meetings in my community. There is one coming up with Ro Khanna, who replaced Mike Honda as Representative from California. Because of what’s been going on in our country, I’ve seen people who are boldly expressing themselves and joining in solidarity. I envision this monumental event as a catalyst for moving forward in our determination to honor our country and the world. And like the Bonnie Tyler song, “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, the Great American Eclipse 2017 is a sensory experience of such huge proportions that you can’t help but be swept up by the grand ceremony, even if you’re just watching TV coverage. Commentary by astrophysicists, incredible views of the moon passing over the sun, throngs of delighted onlookers gazing upward – whoa! What a rush!!!  It really makes you feel humble and respectful of the Universe.

No matter what troubles are wrought in the name of “progress”, the forces of Nature will always prevail. This is what I take away from my own experience of this cosmic spectacle. And it has definitely registered in my heart, mind and spirit, as I’m sure it has in yours as well.

 

New Year’s Intentions and Being Kind :-) Encore for 2017!

“So much has been happening lately. This blog post truly resonates with me as much now as a year ago – ohmygosh, even more so!  I offer it again to you, and hope reading this can help soothe your nerves and calm your busy mind as well.” ~ Jacqueline

I am definitely DONE with “New Year’s Resolutions”, and grappling with halfhearted attempts at changing myself for the better. Is anyone else tired of resolutions (however sincerely made) that fizzle out? Do you start out chugging along with high hopes of major personal transformation and by February, you’re losing steam and don’t feel worthy of being anyone’s Valentine? I’ve a very sneaky suspicion I’m not the only one who feels that way.

I’ve discovered that having high expectations just sets yourself up for disappointment. Why? Because they are so often a mixture of what other people expect of you, and unrealistic demands on yourself. These resolutions can be trite: “I’ve got to lose weight this year!” or grandiose, such as “This is the year I make my first million $$” which is not likely to happen, unless you’re already a successful investor. Both statements are so rigid and absolute as not to allow intuitive flow. It’s good to set goals and have a detailed plan to achieve them, but give yourself a little wiggle room so you can celebrate the incremental progress you make along the way. Think “baby steps” and notice whenever you are inching toward your goal, like inches off your waistline even though the scales don’t show any different.

Sometimes just getting back to basics will relieve the pressure of “accomplishment”. Be kind to yourself despite disappointment, say “Hi!” to your neighbors instead of ignoring them. Sure it has nothing to do with losing weight or making money, but you’re planting seeds and cultivating NEW habits. You’ll start feeling better about yourself. Really! I know it sounds simplistic, but it’s true.

When you make an effort to be thoughtful, considerate and kind toward others, your focus is off yourself, therefore no pressure. 🙂 Then progress toward your goals becomes more effortless, since you’re not thinking of it and “Voila!” things seem to naturally fall into place. Serendipity is the reward for intentional kindness.

I haven’t stated here my own personal intentions. No matter, I simply wanted to share some insights with my readers, and especially what I learned from Jack Canfield. He said, “Have high intentions, and low attachment.” Intention is not the same as expectation. With intention, you have no expectation of any particular outcome (non-attachment) but instead rely upon faith that you’ve chosen the right path… The learning and personal growth is after all in the journey, not the destination.

Someday I will be somebody’s mentor as Jack is for me, and my salient advice will be what I’ve said all along: “Do your best and leave the rest up to God.”