This project's goal is to give each family member and myself just 10 minutes of unconditional positive regard every day. All attention is focused on the other person for those 10 minutes and only positive comments or thoughts are allowed. Just 10 minutes often becomes much more. Try it and see. You'll find the Just 10 guidelines on the right side of this blog.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


My new web site is here!   I am not going to deactivate In Just 10.    Eventually, I hope to link the entries here to my new web site.

As of today, October 11, 2011, I am now writing and posting at

Thanks to the creative talents of my brother, Len.  I'm shifting my focus and starting a new direction.  I'm expanding my scope, increasing my reader base and making it easier for those lovely little search engines to find me.

It will take some time for me to learn Wordpress so check in often to see future developments.

I want to thank my readers.  Your support, friendship and interest is encouraging and inspiring.  I have been very blessed  by the amazing people that I have in my life.   Words fail to capture how much you all mean to me. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Following Your Heart

I walk a tightrope over the valley of tears.  Some times, I look down and feel panic.  Other times I look up and see a beautiful blue sky and I remember why I am on this journey.  After spending a wonderful, stimulating weekend, I found that I was searching for a way to process all I had learned, a way to understand what my true purpose is.

I waited for inspiration.  No bill board lit up my mind with a simple summary sentence of wisdom.  No words played across the inner screen telling me what my life was all about.  I was disappointed.  What happened to all that inspiration, my desire to discern my direction, my attempts to be open to what the universe/God had to teach me?

Disappointed, I turned to a familiar distraction and logged on to my computer to check my random e-mails.  There buried in all the recipes and daily updates was a simple posting in a blog (Kind Over Matter).  It was a clip of Steve Jobs giving a commencement speech at Stanford.

Had he not recently died, I may not have been as impressed as I was with his words.  I had to write some of them down as if the writing of them would some how make them more real, more easily grasped.

"Remembering I'll be dead soon is the most important tool, I ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life because almost everything, all external expectation, all pride, all fear of embarrassment and failure, all these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.  Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.  You are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart."  Steve Jobs

Suddenly, all the pieces fell into place.  I could see clearly the lesson that the weekend held for me.  In a single moment, I saw the point of my life.  I didn't have to work hard to figure it out.  I simply had to get out of my own way long enough to acknowledge what I have always known.

As for what I discovered about my purpose. . . well, some things are best kept to one's self.   Tomorrow, I may have a new purpose.  Just for today, I am at peace.  Peace is a beautiful thing.

It will pass but the memory will remain.  We all live life one moment at a time.  We string the moments together and look back at what we've created.  We often fail to realize that we've lost so many moments by not living in them.    This is something I know well.  I needed Steve Jobs, a house full of women, a son having a meltdown, conversations with  new friends and a hug from my daughter, to help me realize how precious each moment is.  I am already naked.  There is no reason not to follow my heart.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

In Between the Words

(Somehow this song feels like it fits today.  I don't have words to explain why.  It just does.  It's not the words.  It is what falls in between them.)

Words have limits.  They create little boxes into which we drop bits and pieces of our lives.   So much of our living takes place in between the words.  Inside our heads we play the endless commentary of our lives and yet never fully capture who we are.  So many things are left unsaid.  So many things fall outside the neat boxes that words create.

At home, snug in my well-worn recliner, I look at my husband in the chair beside me.  The things I want to say can't be captured in words.    We sit in mutual silence.  The TV drones on mindlessly.  So many words pour from the screen.   They say so little.  I'm not even remotely entertained.  Something is missing.  What's missing are all the words left unsaid.  They press down on the inside of my lips.  They ripple across my tongue.  I open my mouth to let them out.  They flutter away in silence. 

Feelings, raw and primitive course through my body like electric current.  They snap and crackle.  My nerves stand at attention, waiting.  They wait for words to capture them but the words can not.

This break down of language leaves me broken and mute.  I want to cry, to mourn the loss.  I'm in way over my head and I can't find a way to tell anyone.  And, then again, maybe I just did.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Risky Words

Image credit goes to my talented daughter

Some days another person can say things so much better than I can.  Today is one of those days.  I'm sharing this poem.  I'm often a lousy risk taker.  It's time to take the leap!


To laugh is to risk appearing a fool,
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental,
To reach out to another is to risk involvement,
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self,
To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss,
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
People who risk nothing, do nothing, have nothing, are nothing.
They may avoid suffering and sorrow,
But they cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live.
Chained by their inaction, they are slaves who have forfeited freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.

(author unknown)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Saying Goodbye

Cliff, Grace, Margaret and Gene

We buried my uncle, Cliff yesterday.    He returned to the earth from which he came.  He loved to garden and created a small garden paradise on his city lot.  He understood the earth, the soil, the seasons.  His life was marked and bounded by his garden.  Near the end, his biggest concern was not being unprepared for death.  He was worried about his garden and how to harvest the fruit and vegetables he had so carefully tended.  He didn't want them to go to waste.

Despite the years between now and then, the family is still drawn together when it's time to say goodbye.  We remember Cliff fondly.  We remember how young and vibrant he was.  We remember the wonderful homemade ice cream he and Aunt Marianne brought to every picnic.  We remember his quiet laugh.  He was a bright star in the constellation of all our lives.  He's gone to join the other stars that have gone before him. 

As we say goodbye, we step closer to our own mortality.  In the faces of relatives, I look through the years to see the faces I remember.  They are hidden underneath layers of time.  We let go of our uncle, our friend, our brother, our father and we let go of the fiction that we will live forever.  We say goodbye and must accept that one day we will join him.    Goodbye, Cliff.    Rest peacefully.  We'll see you soon.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wordle for Today

Wordle: injust10

This is what was generated when I plugged in my blog URL into the create window on the web site: Wordle.
For a better view of what Wordle actually created for me, just click on the word scramble box above.
Go have some fun.  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Life in Six Words

Yesterday's library trip yielded a wonderful find, a small book filled with six word memoirs called, I Can't Keep My Own Secrets:Six Word Memoirs edited by Smith Magazine.  The intro of the book mentions a story told about Ernest Hemingway.  Hemingway was said to be challenged to write a novel in six words.  He returned with "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

After reading a few of the memoirs in this tiny book with over 600 authors contributions, I wanted to write my own six word memoir.  It was much harder than I expected.  I was also a lot of fun.  I dare you to try it.  Let me know what you come up with.

I came. I saw. I died.
It was a five dog life.
A Swanson brownie disguised as poo.
A drink of water was everything.
Tightrope walking over the hidden valley.
Slowly, Sister Mary Nobody rides again.
Quiet midnight moon watches me sleep.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Receiving Project

Discovered just in time for Free Friday. . . The Receiving Project.

Here's what Jo Anna Rothman writes on her FAQ page:


What is The Receiving Project?
The Receiving Project is a free 32 e-course designed to assist you in opening up to receiving all the gifts that are available for you.
What’s so important about receiving?
So many of people are great at giving, but not so hot at receiving. And so many are looking to experience greater abundance, prosperity, wealth, health, love.  When we learn to receive with grace and ease, we are truly able to experience all we want in life!"
There is also a picture of Jo Anna.  Her glasses reminded me of Gru's mother in Despicable Me.
My mind works in mysterious ways.  Any way. . . back to Free Friday. . .

The Receiving Project might seem a little "new agey"  but something free and positive shouldn't be passed up without a second look.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blank Page

Starring at the blank page, my mind is a whirl.  Few words are making it out of the maelstrom alive.

I google "topical Tuesday" looking for inspiration.  The results bore me. 

Topical Tuesday Tip Off -- Connective Tissue
Topical Tuesday: E-mail Snafus Can Happen to You
Topical Tuesday -- Puppy Mills

[Heavy sigh]
My life is over

I know what I want to write about. .   I want to write about all the things I can not write about.  I want to write about little, insignificant things that become much bigger than they are.

During the dog days of summer, a hose was left on. . .probably a bit more than a trickle but less than a stream.   It slowly seeped into the lawn over a period of days.   It was the unintentional oversight of a young boy.  Nothing could suck the water back into the pipes.  What was done was done.  At least, that was what I believed.  Use it as a teaching moment and move on.

This view was not shared by the other half of the parenting equation.   The air sizzled and cracked with an angry eruption.  I walked away.  At least, I tried to.  Apparently, this issue was still alive.  Today, I was summoned to view a water bill.  "See, that hose left on cost us $40."
I felt annoyed.  I expected the figure to be much higher.  $40 seemed like a bargain.  A bargain we can't afford but we can't afford most things.  I've learned to let go.  It's better than being upset all the time.  I don't need to look for reasons.

"See, that cost us $40.  I knew it would increase the bill," he says again.
I've been home less than 15 minutes.  The dog leaps for my attention and "hello" pet fest.  My daughter is eager to tell me about playing second flute and needing to practice and my husband wants to show me a water bill to justify rage. 
"I'm not sure what you want from me.  Do you want me to rubber stamp your getting upset?  Do you want me to say, 'Your anger was justified?  It was worth upsetting everyone?"
"Do you think it was ok for him to leave the water on?" His voice rises.
"No, I'm not saying that. I'm objecting to getting upset about something that can't be changed.  What is done is done."
I start to feel angry but not about the hose.  I felt angry that I was expected to get angry. 

"Forget it, just forget it."  He throws up his hands and leaves the room.
"I shouldn't have brought it up.  I'm sorry I did."  He is angry, again.
I follow and try to say as calmly as I can, "What reaction were you hoping I'd give you?"
"Forget it" he says again.
But I can not. 

The words and the anger behind them fester inside of me.  I don't want to be angry but I am.  The anger is still fresh as I struggle to write about something other than my frustration.   The words keep circling around the issue.  There is no escape. . . no one to talk to except the blank screen.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday Shimmers

From the Free

shim·mer  (shmr)
intr.v. shim·mered, shim·mer·ing, shim·mers
1. To shine with a subdued flickering light.
2. To appear as a wavering or flickering image, as in a reflection on water or through heat waves in air.
A flickering or tremulous light; a glimmer.

[Middle English shimeren, from Old English scimerian.]
To shine with a subdued flickering light. . . I like the sound of that.  Tremulous also sounds exciting.  I want more shimmering in my life.    When I look at things closely, I want to find a bit of magic.  I want things to be more than they are.  I want subdued light to appear in all the dark corners.   
I recently started reading a new book called:  The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain by Tali Sharot.    It's a fascinating, well-written book.  The author explains how optimism is often irrational but an important component in biological survival.  I had to stop reading it. (For those, who don't need to cling to hopeful illusions, I recommend this book highly.)   I was afraid it would affect my ability to see the shimmering.  I was already having a hard time finding it in my life.   If I am to harness the power of optimism, I need to maintain the illusion that it is rational and possible at least once in a while.  
To whom do I give the power of determining what is real or unreal, what is rational or irrational?  Scientists look for empirical evidence.  It's a very effective paradigm for the scientific but I find it a bit too confining to apply to the totality of a life, especially to my life.  I need the irrational, the hope of the impossible for those are the very things that lie just beyond the shimmer.   Without the shimmer what remains?
It's not rational for children to believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny but it is a lot of fun.  Some of childhood's fondest memories are often rooted in these fantasies, a time when the world contained magic and the impossible was possible.  
Years ago in a philosophy class, we read Plato's allegory of the cave. I think of it now.   In the story, Plato describes a group of people who are chained facing a blank wall.  They can not see what is behind them only what is in front.  They watch the shapes of shadows cast on the wall.  The shadows are  illuminated by a fire behind.  The shadows are not reality.  It is the philosopher's job to point out reality.  

I found this confusing.  What made the philosopher so sure that he had the corner market on truth?  Was a philosophical view really more accurate?  Isn't a large part of reality relative?  If I believe that I hear the hooves of Santa's reindeer on my roof, as a child, can a philosopher prove to me that I am mistaken?  Should he/she?  

Today, I sit in a chair facing a blank wall.  On the wall, the shadows flicker and shimmer.  I know that behind me are things I can not see.  But the shimmering light on the wall is enough for today.  I'm not ready to see beyond. . . not just yet.  I'm enjoying the shimmer.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Free Elegance

And now, for something completely different. . .

This morning I stumbled across a beautiful blog created by Lexi, a graphic designer.
She has some wonderful and elegant free printables on her blog:  Love, Obsess, Inspire. 
These were created by Amy from Three Kisses Studio

Enjoy your Friday!  Make it elegant!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Memory: Alone in the Moonlight

 Wednesday's word is memory.


(mĕm'ə-rē) pronunciation
n., pl., -ries.
  1. The mental faculty of retaining and recalling past experience.
  2. The act or an instance of remembering; recollection: spent the afternoon lost in memory.
  3. All that a person can remember: It hasn't happened in my memory.
  4. Something remembered: pleasant childhood memories.
  5. The fact of being remembered; remembrance: dedicated to their parents' memory.

Read more:

 The words below are an excerpt from the book I'm currently writing.

Memory is both fragile and powerful.   We all have a need to make sense out of our lives and the events in them.   We all write the stories of ourselves basing then on the bits and pieces of the past that break into our now.  We are often wrong.  Our subconscious works overtime trying to protect us.  We shield our sanity in a fragile shell.  Our capacity for denial is especially strong.

We weave the scattered parts of our lives into a past that explains our futures to us.  There is much that doesn’t make sense.  Life rarely has a neat beginning, middle and end but we so desperately seek some order in the chaos that we become masters of fiction.  This fiction supports our tomorrows.  We come to rely on it as we stagger toward an uncertain future. 

If we were to stop assembling the fiction of our lives, how could we continue?   If we were to face the truth hidden behind all that we deny, all that we block from our awareness,  would we be rendered useless before all that is to come?

We are fiction writers.   Cutting away all the layers of time as we create the character that we believe ourselves to be.   How could we bear the truth?   So few of us are really special.  We  aren’t more noble, more honest, more gifted than others most of the time but we believe ourselves to be.  Those assumptions move us forward into our tomorrow. 

Try to feel equal to, just as worthy as any one you meet today,   I dare you.  It’s very hard to do.    Critical judgment will break through our best intentions.  We all have “feet of clay” and yet we all believe we were blessed with wings.

I know that my memories of childhood and of my life carry only bits and pieces of reality.  Reality and I are often at odds.  Over the years, I have just begun discover how much my memories have tried to save me.   They guard the dark corners of my mind.  Memory protects and disturbs.  I struggle to make sense of it and in the struggle I weave a tale.  In sickness and in health, for richer and poorer, till death do us part, memory is an unfaithful partner.   It is all I have.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hold on to What You Believe

I'm breaking away from Topical Tuesday.  I'm tired of hearing the bad news on TV and reading it splashed across newspapers.  I'm looking for the good, for things I can pin my hopes on.  . . .

"But we're young, open flowers in the windy fields
of this war-torn world. . ."

The problems of the world press down on me.  My heart is heavy.   My mind struggles with the weight of reality.    I'm Atlas holding up the world.  It hurts.  I stagger. And yet, . . .

Last night at the weekly Mary Kay meeting, I won one of the raffles prizes.  Satin Hands, a new lipstick named "Give Hope",  Lavish Sable fingernail polish. . .all the things girls love.  They came in a smartly dressed coffee cup with one word printed on both sides, "Hope."  Hope was the theme of the evening.  I let it carry me away as I rested gently in its arms.

It was the thing I needed most.  It came as a surprise gift of that impish serendipity.  I spent my morning running errands, applying for a temp job, visiting the employment office.  I come home to write while listening to music.  It's soothes the savage heart, you know.  I find the song posted here. Pure chance?  Maybe. . . but just maybe "when the student is ready the teacher appears."   I open my arms to welcome hope with a warm hug.  Hope seems to be everywhere lately.

In between the melancholy elements of this song, hope shines.  Despite avoidance, denial, and escape, one can learn to question: "So what if I was wrong".  I can learn to find what is missing in what I already have.  I can hold on.  Hope is reaching out to me today.  I am young.  "I am an open flower in a windy field of a war-torn world."  Hope.  What a lovely virtue. "Hold on to what you believe."

"Hold On To What You Believe"

I, I can't promise you
that I won't let you down
And I, I can't promise you
that I will be the only one around
when your hope falls down

But we're young, open flowers in the windy fields
of this war-torn world
And love, this city breathes the plague
of loving things more than their creators

I ran away
I could not take the burden of both me and you
It was too fast
Casting love on me as if it were a spell I could not break
When it was a promise I could not make

But what if I was wrong?

But hold on to what you believe in the light
When the darkness has robbed you of all your sight

And now this land means less and less to me
without you breathing through its trees
At every turn the water runs away from me
and the halo disappears
and the hole when you're not near

So what if I was wrong?

But hold on to what you believe in the light
When the darkness has robbed you of all your sight

So hold on to what you believed in the light

Monday, September 19, 2011


September isn't over yet but twice I've got a call to come pick up my son from school.  He says he doesn't feel well.  In my heart, I know that it isn't his body but his mind that feels sick.  My heart breaks a little as I drive across town to pick him up.  He isn't coping well with the transition to middle school.

Later, I read an e-mail from his teacher.  He was refusing to do work in class.  He was throwing papers, yelling at his teacher and his helper.  Security escorted him out of the classroom.  Inside my heart breaks again, only sharper and deeper this time.  I try and imagine his future and I start to panic inside.  He copes so poorly with life.  If he knew what awaits would it crush him?  It almost crushes me.

On the drive home, he reads my broken heart and it frightens him.
"I love you, Mom", he says in a feigned weak voice.
"I love you too."
"Are you mad at me?"  He asks.
He is afraid of the answer.
"No, I'm not mad.  I'm really concerned and frustrated.  You've got to make better choices.  I'm not sure how to help you.  You know that thinking yourself sick to get out of something isn't the best way to deal with  a problem."

"I know, Mom", he says sadly.

"I'm really concerned about this problem cooperating.  School is often work and you are expected to rise to the occasion.  Not cooperating  makes your life more difficult than it has to be."

He doesn't know how often I convinced myself I was sick to avoid the exquisite torture that school provided me and later work.  There were consequences.  I don't always cope as well as I should.  I can make my life more difficult than it has to be.

His father and I work out some new "rules" for coming home during the school day.

A medical condition that requires immediate attention.

Those are his get-out-of-school free cards.  Tough love is tough.  My heart breaks a little again but not as sharply and deeply this time.     I know what needs to guide my choices.  I stand on a top of the years, looking down.  I know how important it is for him to learn how to deal with life.  I want to give my energy, my faith, and my hope to his potential to overcome what holds him back inside.

But, there are things I can't control.   This fact feeds a growing mass of worry inside my heart.  My heart breaks again, sharply and deeply.  I look at the pieces of my heart and realize that broken again and again, my heart has become stronger in all the broken places.
I tell myself,  "I can do this.  I can cope and so can he."

Sunday, September 18, 2011


This morning, I lie awake beside my husband.  Suddenly, words spring into my mouth and demand to be said.

"Do you ever think that some times we love each other for all the wrong reasons?"
"Hmm," he says.  "Do you?"

"Yes.  Some times.  Sometimes I think we're way too co-dependent.  It's not good for us."

"What should we do about it?" he says back in a sleepy voice.

"I don't know.  The words just fell out of my head.  I'm not sure what they mean, yet", I say.

The Sunday morning is lazy and so am I.  I don't want to think about the words.   Understanding them would create a need to act.  Some needs feel too heavy to pick up.  I leave them in a pile on the floor while I take a shower.

After breakfast, I plug myself into music and lose myself in writing.  At least, I try to.  It doesn't take long for the words to find me.   I start to see me, see us, peeking out from between the words.

"Do you ever think that some times we love each other for all the wrong reasons?"

The meaning demands to be found.    The words blink back at me from the heart of a white screen.   I stand before them.  They are an altar of sacrifice.  We are its religion.  It needs reformation.   So do we.    Some where along the way, we've lost ourselves.  Lacking so much we each blame ourselves for what the other lacks.   We are less than we want to be.  We see this in the others' eyes.   We've lost ourselves in a chasm of all that we are not, individually and together.   We have lost the best part of us.

"Do you ever think that some times we love each other for all the wrong reasons?"

As the morning ends, this question opens into another.  It is the more important question.

"Do you think that we can learn to love each other for all the right reasons?"

For a moment, I hesitate to answer, afraid what I might say to myself.  The answer forces itself to the surface.
"Yes", it whispers, "but it won't be easy."
I whisper back, "The best things in life rarely are."

The music that I hoped would "take me away" pulls me back to earth with a vengeance.  I hear the Indigo Girls sing  "A Moment of Forgiveness".
 " In a moment of forgiveness, you reach out and take my hand."

Forgiveness. . . of the self. . . of the other. . .it is the place to start.   I'm fully awake now.  I know where I'm headed.    Loving for all the right reasons waves from the distance.

"Come and get me,"  it says.
I start walking.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Broken Things

So why is it difficult to be an artist?

Because artists break things. Breaking the status quo,
the established rules, the way things usually are.  - Seth Godin

Photo of our, Ruby
Taken by me.

This morning, I woke up with sadness sitting on my chest.  It was trying to suck my breath away.  Struggling against it required too much energy.  I let it have its way with me.  It stole my breath and filled me with the dust of broken dreams.

My mind began to kaleidoscope in the gray shades of despair. 

Yesterday, I sat to wait for my husband in a coffee shop.  I didn't buy a thing.  I picked up the Wall Street Journal instead.  The quality of the writing was superb.  The words started to feed me until I began aware of how powerfully biased they were.  I wanted impartial.  I didn't want them to try and win me over.  I wanted facts, embellished only by the truth by wordsmiths with lofty ideals.  I also want that from life.  So far I'm still waiting to get it.

As I lay awake, starring at the ceiling, my mind plays the sound bites it read in the Wall Street Journal. 
"US Postal Service to eliminate 35,000 jobs". 
Bank of America restructuring eliminating 30,000 jobs.
Unemployment still rising."

I had an interview this last week.  That was an achievement.  Several days later, I got an e-mail.  They had chosen some one else for the job.  When I left the interview, the woman said it would probably be several weeks before they'd make a decision.  She'd already made up her mind about not hiring me. 

Part of me wants to feel defeated.  Part of me knows that I can't take it personally.  All of me feels tired, bone tired.

Yesterday, my husband pointed out the rising bubble in the floor in front of the kitchen sink.  This sink has had a leak under it for more than a year.  We tried to fix it.  We were all thumbs.  It was never fixed.  Mold covers the wall under the sink.  Now the water is obviously damaging the floor beneath us.   Poverty is  mold and leaks that can't be fixed.

My mind longs for escape.  My soul demands it.  I comfort myself with the fact that the greedy bank will get the house back, in much worst shape than it was.  Plumbers are too expensive.  Let the bank hire one.  A new roof . . .  too expensive, water damage under a shower. . . too expensive.  The house is as broken as I am. 

The memory of a recent fierce argument burns still.  He and I are both broken.  We came together broken and life continues to break us.  We are broken like this house.  It is our metaphor.  I want to believe that strength can come from broken places and things but some times they are just broken.  Not strong.  Broken.

Yet, in spite of everything, I start to pick up the pieces.  Truth, no matter how painful, is still truth.  It becomes a base camp.  I will operate from here.

A tiny, eager dog comes to visit.  In her mouth a rag.  She wants me to throw it.  Her tail wags furiously.  Her eyes beg, "Come play with me." 
I tell her to find my son.  She trots off.  Her tiny toe nails tippy-tapping across the tiles.  It is a happy sound.
She's back.  No one will play with her.  Her eyes say, "Please.  Please play with me."

I take the rag and toss it.  She is happy.  I smile just a little inside.  Hope lives still.   Sadness could not steal it.   A little dog with a rag shows it to me.  Broken half truths are sometimes all that you have.  It will be enough.  I will take the pieces and make them into words.  Words are painting my life with colors so vivid that at times I must look away.  Words break the status quo.  They rise up in protest full of promise.  They drip with hope between the shards of despair.  I have been here before and I have risen.  I will rise again.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Free the Write Way

I write better than I live.  My live is often chaotic.  I search for meaning but don't always find it.  I tumble through life doing a lot of things I don't want to do and few things that I want to do.    I try to pick up the pieces and make some thing out of them but most of the time all I have to show for my efforts is a pile of pieces.

Some of those pieces have jagged edges.  They cut into me as I hold them.  Some thing isn't right but I can't seem to figure out what's wrong.  The sense that something is wrong wraps around me.  I gasp for air as it squeezes me.  I am a trapped animal.  Nothing makes sense except my fear.  Fear is all I have.

And then, the words come.  They flow out on the page and release me from my trap.  They free me.  In them I see where I am headed and where I have been.  They tell me how I feel when I don't know.  Words carry me into redemption.  They soothe my soul.  They impose meaning and order where there had been none.  I owe them my life.

Words bring magic with them. 

I challenge you to think of your own story, your own life.  How would you capture it with words?  Begin to write about it, about you.  There, between the words, you will discover yourself...  the Write Way.

Thursday, September 15, 2011



Hokusai (1760-1849)

Katsushika Hokusai, Japan's best known artist, is ironically Japan's least Japanese artist. Japan's best known woodblock print, The Great Wave, is very un-Japanese. Welcome to the artist often known as Hokusai.

Thinking Thursday

A doctor recently prescribed Aller-Chlor.  It's an antihistamine.   It was supposed to help with the congestion that has followed a sinus infection.  It did not.  It did light up my brain cells in a new and unusual way.  My brain never ceases to surprise me.

Normally, I think in words but with this new drug in my system, my neurons were tickled into thinking in pictures.  These pictures weren't based on words.  They were based on feelings.  

I was told that the medication would make me sleepy.  I looked forward to a nap.  Instead of rest, I got a mindful of art work.  As I lay there, aware of feelings that I could not capture with words, this image dominated my thoughts.  It hung on the wall inside my head.    There were many other images there but none as compelling as this "Wave".   I sat down in front of it.

It was me without words.

The mood has passed but the image remains.  Today, I went in search of the image.  I found it easily on the first try.  Today, I'm going to sit in front of it.  I think it may hold a secret, something that I really need to know.  It came to me as a gift.  I accept it with open arms.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Wordy Wednesday

Chorophobia:  the fear of dancing.

I think I have this.  Dancing without dulling my senses with alcohol is extremely difficult.  In my mind, I see myself lurching across the dance floor like a rusty Tin Man.  I die a thousand deaths of embarrassment. Now, that any form of alcohol makes me instantly nauseous,  I do not dance.

I know my fear is irrational.  I feel as if all the eyes of the world watch me and find my dancing an insult to rhythm.  I never want to insult rhythm.  I feel the beat.  Life has a pulse.  It surges, it throbs, it sleeps.  Everything affects this pulse.  Everything.  The idea makes my heart race.  I have trouble finding the line that separates me from the rest of the universe.  In odd moments, we are one and the same.

This fear of dancing must be conquered.  My life lacks form without it.  I need rhythm. . . something fluid, something memorable, something lyrical to guide my steps as they plod through the days.  Without feeling the music within me and moving to the magic of its charms, my life is dry and empty.  I need to know where I end and everything else begins.

Dancing would define my edges.

It's time to form a support group:  For those who fear dancing.  It has a nice ring to it.  A nice ring is important in music and in the dance.  Surely, I can't be the only one who carries this fear.  Maybe, as well grow together and become braver being who we are, we can start with a simple circle dance like the Hora.

Who can resist this?  It is a special form of madness guided by the frenzy of the music. A sacred infectious  madness.  No one dances alone.

Maybe, this fear of dancing taps into the fear of being alone.  Cast adrift by life, I float in the middle of a vast ocean.  There are eyes everywhere.  Watching.  Waiting.  They do not like what they see.  I feel it in my bones.  It robs my body of rhythm.  My bones slowly begin to dissolve and I melt into a puddle on the dance floor.  Life can feel that intimidating.

But is life without the dance worth living?  Life is much more than just showing up.  It's about jumping into the dance.  It's about whirling like a dervish.  It's about stepping on your partners toes and apologizing while you keep on dancing.  It's about riding the rhythm and being the music.  Any thing less cheats life.  I have been cheating myself.  I have been cheating the dance.  My dance.  My life.

Chorophobia:  the fear of dancing.

Today, I'm going to dance.   I hope to make the angels in heaven laugh.  I'll be laughing at my fear.  Dance with me.  Please, dance with me.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Writing a Bio

My assignment: write a bio.  

You "can't" have a website under your name without an explanation of who you are. 

I wish you could.  How do you sum up your life in a neat little bundle?  How do you choose the words to make it interesting to read but not give away too much of your mystery?  You've got to hook the reader so that they want to learn more. You've got to make people want to come back and see what you're writing, doing, thinking.   Does my life have that power?  Do I?

So here is what I wrote:

Carol Sturgeon is the person behind the words printed here.  Carol writes because she is and always has been a writer.  It has taken her half a life time to discover this basic truth.   For her, writing is as natural as breathing.  This is where her breath takes the form of words. 

Carol is a free lance writer and is a rather rare form of English Major who had the opportunity to work in her field, as an Editorial Assistant for a small trade journal, Resource Recycling and later as a Textbook Coordinator for a division of the publishing giant, Harcourt Brace.  Leaving the world of business to start a family, she is the mother of two children.  She writes whenever she can and is currently working on her first book.

Carol can be reached by writing to:

Okay on a scale of one to ten, ten being the best bio ever and one being the worst.  How do you think this one rates?  Since I'm usually trapped in Carol's body, objectivity can elude me.

What is Sunday Hiding?

WTC 9/11

This photo was taken on September 14, 2001. by slagheap.  See more images

Very aware of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, we deliberately set out to have a good day.  I didn't want to remember how 9/11 made me feel.

The memory of 9/11 was a surprisingly painful one.  Maybe that is the price I pay for being too stoic, too guarded.  The Sunday after, I was attending mass at St. Joseph's.  At the end of the service, we all stood and sang "God bless America."  I was so moved I was choked by tears.  I could not sing that day.

The memory sticks in my throat like a broken piece of concrete.  I am haunted by the images and the awareness that I was watching people die, live on tv.  Alive one minute, crushed the next.  Alive one minute and then in a last act of desperation plummeting to earth leaving the inferno behind.  Alive in an airplane seat, destroyed upon impact.

Yesterday, my daughter asked, "What was worse for the United States: Pearl Harbor or 9/11?"

Only seniors remember Pearl Harbor.  Japan attacked a military installation in an obvious act of war.  For that generation it was the defining moment.  It pierced the illusion of safety by attacking US soil on a calm December Sunday morning.  A morning saved for sleeping in, going to church, spending with family.

For those alive and aware in 1941, I wonder if the memory of that day was linked with the 9/11 attack. What would they choose as the worst?  Could they choose?  Can any of us choose?

So much of 9/11 is incomprehensible.  Terrorists attacked civilians who were just having an ordinary work day doing what they did every work day.  Out of a clear September sky, planes, often a symbol of freedom, technology and wealth, because deadly weapons.  The magic of television allowed too many of us to watch. Over and over it played the horrible scenes.  It burned into my brain.  On that day, I finally turned off the television and walked away. 

Yesterday, television tried to take us back again.  I refused to go.  I watched only a few minutes of a segment replaying the collapse of the first tower.  My body responded to the image with a chill and a shudder.  Seeing it again was that painful.  I walked away.  I answered my children's questions about this historic event as well as I could.  It has to be acknowledged.  It has to have some explanation but so much of  it defies explanation.  That is the nature of terror.  Terror became real that day.  It haunts my memories and it should.  The moment I no longer recognize terror, is the moment I am lost. 

Within the tragedy of 9/11, I found a sense of patriotism that the cynical me didn't know existed.  I found empathy and compassion.  I learned to recognize terror and to speak out against it no matter what form it takes.  I saw how misguided, misinformed people can do incredibly evil things. 

As a nation, our innocence died that day.  We were no longer a "young" country experiencing a prolonged adolescence collectively as a nation.  We had to grow up that day.  Our problems became adult problems that continue to demand resolution.  We forge ahead in the dark, children no longer with a memory that burns brightly to help show us the way.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


powered by Fotopedia

I believe that many of the illnesses we contract are physical metaphors for a psychological reality.  Our psyches are attempting to impose order on a chaotic world.   Illness breaks into our lives and sometimes fractures it into pieces.   Bronchitis has left me breathless for over a month now.  I no longer have the air intake ability required for my daily 3-mile walk.  I grieve the loss.

At a time in my life when so few options seem to be available, I have trouble breathing and filling my lungs with wonderful, cool air.    Life seems to have gotten a vicious hold on me and it is hard to breathe.  This comes as no surprise.  I am impaled by the shards of my inner landscape.   I feel squeezed by circumstance.
There is no breathing room.

But, what do I do about it?  Beyond the obvious, seeking medical care, how do I process this illness, this slowing down, this "confinement" into something useful?  Illness feels like a prison but I can "know why the caged bird sings".

Years ago, when still a child, I noticed that I was more apt to get sick in times of stress.  Every Christmas vacation found me with a cold or worse.  One year it was a hideous layer of chicken pox.  All that condensed family time was an incubator for illness.  The expectation of the holiday was too great. Something had to give.  What was given in return was a bad cold or flu or . . .a hideous layer of chicken pox.

Illness comes and causes us to slow down.  Not only does the body need rest and a chance to recuperate, the mind needs a break as well, a time to really look at all that is unhealthy in one's life.  It's an opportunity to make changes.

My body is telling me it needs breathing room.  It tells me that I need to slow down and figure out how to get better.  It's telling me that I need to give myself room. . . the mental space to be myself especially when under so much pressure to be someone else.  It's really the only healthy thing to do.

Pretty Picture Friday

Mad World 2  190x190cm 2010  oil on canvas

This photo was taken by Peihang and found on Flickr  It's a photo of a painting.  Beauty is often free.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Waiting Room

Image by Derrick Coetzee 

A late summer sun casts a warm autumn light.  Fingers of sunlight are shattered by the delicate branches of a graceful fir tree.  Below the tree, a quiet line waits for the Free Clinic door to open.  I am the last person in this line.  My quiet sigh rises into the light.  I let the filtered sunlight soothe me.    I take a deep breath and relax into the moment.

Right in front of me, a tall man fidgets.  His body crackles with restless energy.  His legs are covered with angry purple-red blotches.  They look like self-inflicted burns.

The door opens.  We quickly file pass the front desk.  A short pink form on a clipboard is thrust into anxious hands.  The electric man in front of me has sores on his knuckles as well.   He is talking to the woman behind the desk.  I tune in to the conversation after all the important things are said.
"I'm sorry, Jason but we can't help you here."
Jason thanks the woman politely and awkwardly lurches out the door.  The static generated by his presence lingers and then is covered by coughing and quiet sighs.

For most of us, it will be a long wait.  Some of us may not be seen.  The clinic can only serve so many.  Those not seen will carry the burden of our ills back into the world.

We live in the "land of the free and the home of the brave" but some days even the Free Clinic isn't free for all.  Yet, all of us must be brave.  It takes courage to crawl out of bed in the morning.  Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness teases us from a great distance.

A young woman sips the last of her water from a paper cup.  She reaches up and wipes tears from her eyes.  She tries to hide her tears but she can not.  She sniffles quietly and shifts uncomfortably in her chair.  Her pain, her need, is an embarrassment.

I've seen her before, a different face, a different person but the same pain, the same need.  I have been her before wiping unwanted tears from my eyes.  Today, I float above the tears.  I am being brave.

We all wait quietly.  We all struggle inside with the burden of being here.  We struggle to find work.  We struggle to find the money to pay for food, housing, health care.  There is never enough.  We struggle to buy our children clothes and shoes that they will outgrow all too quickly.  We struggle to hold our families together against great odds.  We struggle to keep our dignity and we struggle to summon up the hope to begin another day, to wage another battle against never having enough.

No one understands poverty better than the poor.  Yet, our voice is only a faint whisper.  The powerful can not hear.  Exhausted, ashamed of our struggles, there is little energy left to advocate for ourselves.  We blame ourselves for where we are.  We wonder what happened to the dreams were were promised as children.
"Work hard, and you'll go far."
"Everyone can be a success."
"You can be anything you want to be!"

Some how we've failed the dreams and the dreams have failed us.  Bitterness often hides behind the exhaustion.  Apathy is an armor we wear when we can't take any more.

Slowly, I become aware of the television droning overhead.  In the waiting room, a documentary about the current state of health care plays.  It focuses on the flaws in the current system and about the need for more patient-centered care.   These words are depressing.  We know what is wrong with the system through thousands of personal experiences.   We all tune it out.  It becomes another background noise, like the coughing, the crying, the cooing of a baby.  The facts are already crushing us.  We need words of hope.

People flow in and out almost seamlessly.  All that remains is a little room in which to wait.  Maybe tomorrow will be better than today.    We wait.

Please note:   I am extremely grateful that the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington exists and that I have received excellent care from the people who volunteer their time to help the low-income and uninsured in Clark County.  They are providing an incredibly valuable service to a growing number of its citizens.  They treat the people they see with dignity and compassion.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Accepting Pell Mell and Hurdy Gurdy

Wednesday Words:  Hurdy Gurdy and pell mell.  First, a Youtube clip of Mike Smith playing a Hurdy Gurdy (a musical instrument that originated some time in the middle ages.)

The word hurdy gurdy made me think of pell mell.  Both words sound like thoughts tumbling down hill.  At least that describes the feeling that wrapped itself around my heart as I awoke. This feeling that was demanding definition but the words did not come easily.  When they did they dashed pell mell down into the valley of my soul.  They lie there. . .at the bottom. . . broken and incomplete.

pell-mell [ˈpɛlˈmɛl]
1. in a confused headlong rush the hounds ran pell-mell into the yard
2. in a disorderly manner the things were piled pell-mell in the room
disordered; tumultuous a pell-mell rush for the exit
disorder; confusion
[from Old French pesle-mesle, jingle based on mesler to meddle]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

Both these words were a screen.  They tried to hide what I  knew.  Pell mell to the tune of a hurdy gurdy was only a means of getting to the bottom.  The confusion that I feel isn't necessary.  It is a soothing salve, preventing me from fully acknowledging the role I was playing in my own suffering.  Words can sometimes form a barrier between us and what we already know in the bottom of our hearts.

When what you know isn't what you want to know, suffering moves in.  Some where at the bottom of the hill, in the mess that lies broken and scattered, the truth also lies.  It whispers one word:  "Accept."
I repeat this word again,  "Accept."
No blame, no name calling, no self-incrimination.  What is, simply is.
I repeat it again, and again, and again.  I rise to meet my day.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday March for Maturity

Recently, in a moment of self-awareness,  I realized that I was sprawled over the coach in a rather child-like position.  My inner critic chided me for "not being more  grown-up."

But exactly, what is grown up?  I know that we have an age to define the line between childhood and adulthood but we all know that "growing up" happens over an entire life time.  Inside most of us, still feel a much younger age than we are.  If you don't believe me, just start asking people, "What age are you on the inside?"
A recent informal poll discovered that most of us present chose an inner age between 12 and 18.

This topic of maturity has haunted me lately.  I'd been feeling like some how I'd managed not to "grow up."   So, I decided to figure out what maturity means to me.  I went straight to the Internet and searched "maturity".  Emotional intelligence caught my eye.

Here's a little test developed by Nick Arrizza MD   Just how grown-up are you?  According to Nick, I've got some growing to do.  I would agree.  I'm re-framing my disappointment with enthusiasm for something to work on.  I may not be completely grown-up but I can pretend, can't I?

Article Source:

The Emotional Maturity Questionnaire

Please rate each item as outlined below according to your life experience.

a "1" score each time you answer "Rarely",
a "0.5" score each time you answer "Sometimes", and
a "0" score each time you answer "Often"  to each item in the questionnaire.
Then add up your total EMQ score.

1. I look to others to validate my decisions before I act on them.
2. I tend to follow rather lead others.
3. Taking responsibility frightens me and so I avoid it.
4. Being on my own makes me feel uncomfortable.
5. I rely on others to make me feel secure.
6. I tend to make snap decisions.
7. I rarely stop and think through what I'm going to do next.
8. I tend to make impulsive decisions.
9. I'm generally an anxious person.
10. I tend to worry a lot.
11. My mood is easily affected by what is taking place around me.
12. I am a moody person.
13. I've been told that I'm moody.
14. I tend to get angry or frustrated easily.
15. I'm not very successful with relationships.
16. My relationships tend to last only a short time.
17. My relationships are very turbulent.
18. I don't enjoy looking after children or pets.
19. My confidence level is low.
20. I have trouble speaking in public or to strangers I don't know.
21. I often feel like there is something wrong with me.
22. I indulge in feelings of self pity.
23. I tend to complain about how others have hurt me or made my life difficult.
24. I often blame my parents for how I am.
25. I dislike myself.
26. I'm afraid that being honest will make my life more difficult.
27. I tend to tell people what I think they want to hear and not what I feel.
28. I need others to approve of me for me to feel good about myself.
29. I'm afraid of rejection.
30. I'm afraid of disapproval.
31. I tend to turn to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes or something else to take away my emotional pain.
32. I have trouble opening up to others.
33. I have trouble feeling relaxed around others.
34. I fear others will think there's something wrong with me
35. I have trouble managing my money.
36. I neglect my health.
37. I tend to ignore my healthcare practitioner's advice.
39. I'm a loner.
40. I hate being alone.
A total EMQ score of:
1. Greater than 30 is a sign of good emotional maturity.
2. Between 10 and 30 a sign that you will likely have some challenges ahead in your life if you fail to address the relevant issues.
3. Less than 10 is sign that you are going to run into significant trouble if you haven't already.
If you want support in improving your EMQ, your life and your chances of success then kindly visit the web link below where you can set up your introductory telephone consultation with me at no risk to you.

Article Source:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Few Good Women

It's been over a week since I attended a "cousin reunion."  It is limited to the female cousins on my father's side of the family.   It gives us a chance to really talk.

I've wanted to write about this event but haven't quite known how.

I love my cousins.  While, they probably know more about me than I do about them, thanks to my blabbing in this blog, they still always feel familiar in a good way.

Those of us born in the 50's and 60's were very lucky.  Our parents got together often for picnics, potlucks, birthday celebrations.  We saw our aunts, uncles and cousins frequently.  Most of us lived in the same area.  Many of us went to the same school, same church.  Our lives crisscrossed in so many ways that sometimes we'd long for anonymity.  We wanted to be defined by something more than the clan to which we belonged.

People several towns away could tell what family most of us came from simply by our facial features and body type.  We were as easily identified as a Holstein or a Guernsey or a Black Angus.  Most of the time they could even accurately guess who my father was.  If they guessed incorrectly, they were always very close.  "No, Uncle Herman isn't my Dad".
But it was close enough.

Growing up, I used to hate standing there waiting while they played this guessing game.   I felt I could never win.  I didn't want to be labeled so easily.  I didn't want the gossip circuit in town to refer to me as a "typical Hendricks."  I would imagine them shaking their heads and saying, "That's a Hendricks for ya."

I longed not to be so well known by the people I'd meet.

In time, I got my wish.  Almost every stranger's face I'd see was exactly that, a stranger.  And, I was a stranger  to them.    I had learned to see people without looking at them.

And, eventually, I learned just how lucky I am to come from a big family, one that celebrated so many things with cousins and kin folk.  Baptisms, First Communions, birthdays, 4th of Julys, holidays, weddings, and funerals took on an added meaning when shared with family.

Without a doubt, our family suffered the typical family dysfunction.  Descendants of German immigrants we were never hugged or loved openly enough.  Criticism was the norm, negativity a defining characteristic.  Yet, for all these shortcomings, after all the years, all the personal neurosis, we cousins, still make an effort to come together once in a while.  We reminisce, share stories of our parents, who as siblings are/were remarkably alike.  It's the best kind of therapy, sitting in a lawn chair under Kim's patio, sharing food.  Yes, all of us are pretty good cooks and love to eat.  We get that from our parents.

When I leave and return to my life, where so many people are absolute strangers, I carry the memory within my heart.  I have a big, flawed family who provides an anchor in a world with so few anchors in it.  My family helps define who I am.  Despite our individual differences, our unique talents and abilities, they remind me that on the face of this huge planet, there is a special group of people who belong to my special clan.  I belong.  It is my birthright.  I am very grateful and extremely honored by my relationship with them.

So, heres to my cousins.  I love you.  Always have.  Always will.   But in my typical, stoic, repressed German way you may not always have been sure.  "Die Katze" is out of the bag now.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Shimmering Sewage

For those of you not familiar with the term: septic tank. . . it is a holding device that accepts the gray water and sewage in a residence not served by city septic service lines.  Tanks are served by drainage channels that help siphon off overflow, etc.

With this opener, I bet you're dying to read more.   I can hear you now,
 "Great!  She's writing about sewage.  How pleasant?!"

It's not pleasant but it is inescapable.    Into each life, a little sewage must fall.

Can sewage shimmer?  I want my Saturdays to shimmer with potential, with the supernatural, the miraculous. This Saturday seems to be mired in a stinky cesspool of limited options and borderline despair.  Life sometimes does a wonderful job of crapping on one's happy especially if a significant portion of that happiness has been an illusion.

While there is a bit part of me that longs for an eternal, mystical youth that floats along on pixie dust and gossamer wings, it just isn't my destiny.  There is no pixie dust and no gossamer wing is going to hold me up.  No, if I'm to discover the shimmer, the magic, the mystical in my daily life, I'm going to have to look for it while face down in a nasty mud puddle into which a little sewage has seeped.

When I was a kid, my Grandma Laux's ("Gram" to me) house had a small drainage ditch that ran outside of the  bathroom.  It came up along side a lovely flower bed complete with a metal wishing well.  The grass on the banks of this small trench was always lush and green.  It seems the kind of place the fairies would have played.  But this ditch was not the stuff of fantasy.  It was sewage draining from the bathroom.  It often smelled foul and occasionally, we'd step in in and cover our tennis shoes or bare feet with its nasty gray goo.  Then, with much noise and drama, we'd race to the outside water faucet and rinse off our foot/shoe (or feet/shoes if you were so lucky) loudly squealing:


I'd forgotten all about that ditch until now.  The memory is so strong that I can even smell that ditches peculiar and unpleasant odor.

That memory rapidly rolls into another.

When still quite small and living on my Grandparents farm after they'd moved to town, the septic tank began to bubble.  Outside the bathroom, under a large fir tree, the most amazing lifting of sod occurred.  Somehow, the septic tank burst its confinement underground.  The collecting gases and matter caused the sod above the tank to rise in a perfect mound.   Threatened with a certain horrible death if I walked across it, I studied this spot from a safe distance, occasionally tossing a rock or branch on top of the bulging earth.  Sometimes it would ripple.  Some fascinating and frightening alien seemed to simmer just below the surface, just out of view.  Danger can be very enticing.

I don't remember what happened to the rising mound.  Was the tank replaced?  I have no idea, but I do know that I never walked over that spot and never had to face that certain and horrible death by sewage.  Well, at least not literally.  Psychologically, I'm convinced that I've experienced several "deaths by sewage."

In writing this, I have learned that sewage may play just as important a role, if not a more important role, in my life than shimmering.  While I do believe that a little shimmering in life is a good and healthy thing, maybe, just maybe, learning to deal well with sewage is more important.

Friday Run Wild, Run Free

On this particular Friday, I'm taking a much needed mental holiday.  I found the perfect article to share on a blog called Metta Drum.    Now, free from the pressure of having to write a word, I'm going to let my mind run wild and free for a little bit.  It needs some fresh air.  Freely, I wander over the landscape between my ears.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Run No More

Every once in a while, a day of reckoning comes.  The things you've worked so hard to deny, to overcome, to ignore, bring you to your knees.  You stare reality in the face.  It overwhelms you. 

"Deal with me!" it demands.

I am the deer in the headlights.  Please pray for me.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We Are the Earth

A recent sunset in Vancouver, WA

Symbiosis is my word for today.

Here's how defines it:


  [sim-bee-oh-sis, -bahy-]  Show IPA
noun, plural -ses [-seez]  Show IPA.
Biology .
the living together of two dissimilar organisms, as inmutualism, commensalism, amensalism, or parasitism.
(formerly) mutualism def. 1 .
Psychiatry a relationship between two people in which each person is dependent upon and receives reinforcement,whether beneficial or detrimental, from the other.
Psychoanalysis the relationship between an infant and itsmother in which the infant is dependent on the mother bothphysically and emotionally.
any interdependent or mutually beneficial relationshipbetween two persons, groups, etc.

Lately, I've been possessed by an interesting idea: 

                              The earth is in turmoil because it's inhabitants are.  

Yes, I know it sounds a bit crazy but bear with me.  Hasn't the United States experienced wild and unusual weather this year?   Record heat for some, record rains for others, a huge hurricane, deadly tornadoes, floods.

Don't forget the East Coast earthquake, an rare event.   That's just for the US and we've yet to factor in the turmoil and unrest that leads to war, military conflictand revolution all around the world.  Libya and Egypt have risen up and deposed long-time leaders.  Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia are not happy places.

Recently, in London, unhappy youth with little hope for employment and a better future, rioted in protest of government budget cuts.  Pictures captured a world on fire, a furious earthly hell.

A restless earth reflects a restless people.  Peace, satisfaction, achievement, success, prosperity are words we don't hear enough.  So many lives don't reflect these qualities. Neither does our planet.  A planet, we continue to abuse.  As the rain forests continue to disappear from the face of our earth, we have yet to grasp the truth.   

 Killing the planet, its resources and each other will only bring about more death and destruction.   

We tumble through space and time, lost souls desperately seeking comfort.  Few know where to find it.

Maybe, the earth isn't alive but you'll have to prove otherwise to me.   The Earth is troubled and I know its people are.  Instead of dividing, conquering, looting and pillaging, maybe we could try working together for everyone's mutual benefit.  What a revolutionary idea.  It is not mine alone. 

Today, all I ask, is that you:

* Think harmonious thoughts.  
* Try to work well especially with the difficult people.  
* Learn to listen to what others are saying.   
* Know where you end and where others begin   
* Focus on the positive things we hold in common.  

In doing so, we could create a different world, a more peaceful and more productive one.