How sweet it is

I wrote a post a couple of years ago, entitled “Eat the Christmas Cookies,” which was all about doing what you love and nourishing your body and your soul, cuz life is short. It’s become a guiding principle in my life since then – a battle cry of sorts. It has served me well, always keeping in mind that moderation is an important element in true nourishment to balance indulgence. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, right?

The last 2 weeks have been kind of difficult. A lot has happened in a short time, ranging from annoyances like a power outage at work that fried my computer hard drive, to the more serious discovery of a spot of skin cancer at a routine dermatology check-up that turned out to be melanoma, requiring removal and stitches and care of a rather sizeable wound for the last 10 days or so, and everything in between.

The stitches come out Monday, and I’ll have a gnarly scar, but that will be the extent of it, for which I’m truly grateful. The potential gravity of this situation is not lost on me, and I feel very lucky to only have to deal with this for a couple of weeks. I have lost friends, family members, and co-workers to cancer, and have watched other friends endure longer and more invasive treatments for cancer and other catastrophic illnesses and injuries. I don’t take my good health for granted, believe me.

Still, I was reeling a little bit last Friday when I went grocery shopping, feeling a little beat up. In the bakery department I discovered some M&M cookies that had been turned into little frosting sandwiches – two cookies with frosting in the middle. 6 of them in the box! Freshly made! There was no mirror nearby, but I’m sure my eyes got MUCH bigger when I saw them. Yum!

I said to myself, “EAT THE COOKIES!” as I placed the box in my shopping basket.

I have no illusions about that scenario. I felt bad, knew that sugar would make me feel better. Period. For some it’s alcohol. or drugs, or smoking. For me it’s sugar. Always has been. My mother said one of my first words was “nummy,” said in response to the offering of chocolate pudding. I LOVE cookies, and I consider cake to be merely a delivery system for frosting, which is just about my favorite thing in the world of food. Honestly. Buying those cookies was a VERY easy decision to make.

And man, were they good! And treating myself – that little “nummy” girl – in that way, giving in to that desire, felt great. I didn’t eat them all at once, though I considered it (LOL!). I had one per day for the next 6 days. I relished every bite, every day. It was the exact thing I needed to right the world, to soothe my soul, give me something to look forward to, and remind myself of all the beautiful and fun things in this lovely world. Yes, there are bad things, sometimes lots of them and it seems overwhelming, but those bad things are NOT the whole story.

There are cookies, and sunshine, and trees and flowers blooming, and friends, books, music, art and so many, many other wonderful things.

Life is rich, but it’s short. Eat the cookies, enjoy the music, spend time with people who matter. Buy the thing you want if you can afford it. Do the things that make your soul sing, whatever they are. Not all the time, maybe, if it’s something that’s not exactly the best thing for your health. I am back to my normal minimal sugar intake, but the memory of those cookies sustains me. I benefitted from the enjoyment of the cookies themselves, the pure physical joy of the taste, and also from “feeding” my soul in that way. Saying yes to soothing my bruised body and soul with something I love.

Say YES to your soul, to your beautiful challenging life. Do the thing! Be here for all of it, the bad and the good.

Eat the cookies, and don’t look back! Just enjoy every sweet minute. You deserve it.

Start at the beginning

I like to play video/computer games. They became popular when I was a teenager, and I liked them from the start because I could play them alone. Like a lot of people, the first one I ever played was Space Invaders. I worked in a restaurant bussing tables in the summer, after school and on weekends, and I spent a portion of my tips after work in the bar playing everyday. When I was 16 or 17 I got the Atari 2600 for Christmas. I was addicted to that thing! I loved Asteroids, and Frogger and so many others.

One thing all those games, and their newer cousins on computers and phones, have in common is that it gets harder to win as you pass each level. The problems are harder to solve, the best strategy is harder to figure out, the tools you have at your disposal are in shorter supply, though you usually get better tools as you level up. Typically, though, you get 2 or more “lives” to play with, so that you’re not defeated immediately. This was especially important when you were paying for the privilege of playing. Still true with most of them now, though, probably so we’ll keep playing longer and see more of the ads.

I feel like these games are a metaphor for life. For me, the level of difficulty has increased with each passing year, and though I’m better equipped to face new challenges as I age, having learned from previous experiences, sometimes I “fail” a level and have to try again. Fortunately, these failures have not resulted in death, as there are no new lives in the offing in reality! We all only get the one we start with.

Unlike a video game, you can’t just start life over, either. We can’t go back to Level 1. We can’t go back and start over as a child and do the stuff that was difficult then, but that seems easy to us now as adults. I, for one, would not go back to 10th grade and have to learn geometry again if you paid me $1 million! I like feeling like I know what I’m doing, even if that’s almost completely an illusion some of the time. The knowledge that I’ve accumulated in 61 years about how to handle myself on this planet was hard-fought and is very valuable to me now. Thank you very much.

Being a beginner is exciting in a lot of ways, but it’s hard, too. Especially if you’re not used to it, like you were as a child. As adults, we have few opportunities to be a beginner, though the rate at which the world changes now keeps us on our toes, doesn’t it? Most new things, though, if not exactly something we’ve done before, are usually similar enough to something we know how to do that we can master it fairly quickly. Very few things require a completely new set of skills.

Unless, of course, you decide to do something that is really new to you, something you’ve never done before that requires a unique skill set and use of tools you’re not familiar with. Just for fun! Just because you want to. Totally outside your comfort zone, for absolutely no other reason than it looks like fun and you want to try it.


That’s exactly what I did last fall. Art Journaling. Heard of it? I had not. Totally new to me, and completely intriguing. I stumbled upon it quite by happy accident, but once discovered, it became an important element of my wellbeing practices. I invested in a truckload of art supplies and dove in head first, knowing absolutely nothing about how to use any of them. Water color and acrylic paints, inks, collage materials, watercolor pencils and crayons, oil pastels, paint pens…oh my! So many pretty colorful things! Brushes and stencils and stamps, drawing pencils and erasers, sponges. Special stuff to clean it all up after I’m done making a beautiful mess!

I set up a dedicated area at my little house, and I spend an afternoon there every weekend creating a page in my journal. I have no expectations and no plan. I just do whatever feels right and expresses what I am feeling or thinking. It’s a blast! It’s just for me – I don’t have the talent or the desire to produce anything for public consumption – and that’s exactly what makes it so freeing and wonderful. I don’t expect to be good at it, cuz I’m a beginner! I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time! I just have fun.

I have made my living for the last 28 years as a graphic designer, so I’m not a stranger to the color wheel or composition theory, so that’s helpful. All the graphics I create at work, though, are on the computer. It’s a completely different process, using programs that do a lot of the design and color work for me.

This is 100% hands-on. Nothing exists on the page unless I paint it, paste it, color, draw, stencil, stamp or spray it. It’s a direct path from my brain, through my hands, to the page. I haven’t created like this since I was a child. I loved art class when I was in elementary school, and I feel just like I did about it then – how fun is this?! How pretty! Look what I made!

I have that same enthusiasm now, because when it comes to this new endeavor, I’m a total beginner! No expectations of results. In fact, I expect to fail, so when I do, I laugh and figure out how to fix it, which, as it turns out, is usually fairly easy. It’s only paint. I can paint over it if I don’t like it, or turn the page and start over! Nothing lost. There’s plenty of paint and lots of paper. This is just for me. I’m the only one who cares about it. No one else will see it, let alone have the opportunity to approve or disapprove of it, as with my work. This is play, not work, and I’m the only person who decides its value.

I watch YouTube videos and I learn how to use the supplies, and with each page I learn something new. I’m not an artist, but I am creative, and this is filling me up in ways nothing else has. Expressing my creativity – my heart and soul – in this new way seems more meaningful in some ways than the writing journal practice I’ve done most of my life. It seems to access a different part of me that has not been expressed previously and that’s just a really cool thing at this point in my life!

I think it a very real way, I’m allowing my inner child to have a voice finally, and as it turns out, she has a lot to say! She was shy about writing, but she’s all in on this, and that’s pretty cool. We’re having a ball together! Making pictures with pretty colors and doing what we want – no one gets to tell us not to be messy, or that the sky can’t be green, or that those colors don’t look good together. Who cares? This is fun!

I encourage you to find something at which you are a beginner. It opens up a whole world of possibilities. As adults, we think we know what’s real, and what’s useful, and how to live. That’s all important stuff, but how boring! It becomes so restrictive and our worlds and souls shrink to those limits. Break out! What have you wanted to try but thought you were too old or didn’t have any talent? What looks like fun? Try that thing. Do it just for you! Embrace being a beginner with no expectations. You might be surprised by the path of hidden reality and sheer enjoyment that opens up before you!

Defy the darkness

“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” – Anne Frank

My mother likes politics. It makes me sad, especially lately, but this is her house, so that’s what the TV is tuned to in the evenings after dinner. I go to bed early, so I only have to watch a couple of hours of it, and I try not to listen too closely. I intend to spend time with her, not the TV. I play games on my phone or scroll on social media, but enough gets into my brain to make it so I feel like I would like to scrub it clean before I go to bed.

In my opinion, this is a dark time in the US. (Don’t worry, this is not a rehashing of all the vitriol going on in Congress and local governments, or of the daily news of innocent people being shot.) The war and the sadness in Ukraine, climate change catastrophes all over the world, unrest in the Middle East – our planet and all of the creatures on it are suffering. I have no control over any of it. Neither do you, probably. I will vote in the US elections when it comes time to do that, and I will hope for change, but for now, and as for the rest of the world, I’m just trying not to be consumed by the darkness, and doing what I can in my little life to keep my light shining bright.

Ghandi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” and the change I’d like to see is simply for people to be considerate of others and to be nice. That’s it. Seems so simple, but it’s eluding us in a big and dangerous way lately. I can only do my part – taking care of myself and continuing to fuel my light – so that I’m ready to shine and to care for others. That, as I see it, is the purpose of my life – of all of our lives – and there is none more important for our future on this planet.

I do lovingkindness meditation everyday. I try to focus on compassion and kindness in my dealings with people in my life. I try to take care of myself to ensure that I don’t fall into my own well of darkness. I journal, listen to music, make sure I get enough sleep, read things that feed my soul. I eat food that’s good for me and, in smaller measure, food I really love. I exercise most days and make time for creative pursuits. Now that the weather is more conducive to it, I walk in nature as often as I can. I have fun with friends every chance I get. These things fill me up, and it is my belief that the positive energy I’m cultivating – my light – in turn, brightens the world around me.

Your things will probably be different, cuz we’re not the same. That’s fine! Do your things – whatever they are. Do what works for you to polish up your light and get it shining brightly again. We all know what is best for us, what we need to really shine.

Is it easy? Of course not. I live with someone who tests my patience and my commitment to kindness in every way possible every minute of every day, and has all of my life. Now I have someone at work testing me as well. (See my last post.) It’s hard. I want to do what I want, eat what I want, do whatever seems fun or exciting, not the same old stuff I have committed to do everyday for my wellbeing. So the approach I take is, if I’m not going to do the thing I know is good for me, will I be letting myself down? If the answer is yes – it almost always is – then I have to decide if that’s okay. Would it be okay for someone else to let me down after they’ve committed to something? Probably not. Okay, then…

I love it when I don’t let myself down. I have no control over other people, but I’m in charge of myself; I’m the only person I can change. So that’s where I have to start. It’s not easy, but it is worthwhile. I am still finding my way day by day in my life, but I keep trying because I believe it matters.

It’s human nature to find fault, I guess, and if you feel bad or unsure about yourself and what your place in the world is, you are more apt to find fault with others and tell yourself that they’re “wrong” so that you can feel better about the way you see yourself. You see everyone different from you as a threat, cuz you’re not really sure, deep down, that you’re okay just as you are.

It’s not surprising that in our culture people feel like they’re not “doing it right.” We get that message everyday from someone on TV or online who wants to sell us something that will fix whatever shortcoming they tell us we have. All the happy shiny people on Instagram and Tik Tok are loving life and having fun, and we’re not, so what’s wrong with us? There must be something, cuz isn’t life hard for them? It’s hard for me. What do they know that I don’t? What’s wrong with me?

Of course, we’re all just fine. We all want the same things. We may have different ideas about how to get those things, and that’s fine. We’re different people, living different lives. Life is hard for everyone. Really. Human life fundamentally boils down to surviving loss, and if you don’t see that, it feels like you’re doing it wrong. But really, life is 100% about dealing with loss, and finding the things that bring you joy and doing those things so that you are better equipped to handle loss. Do the things that fill those holes.

All this folderol in Congress and with the guns in this country is in an effort to avoid loss. Loss of power, loss of privilege, loss of money, loss of property, respect, social standing or self-esteem. The harder you try to avoid loss, the more loss you create for yourself and others – loss of life, loss of integrity, lost hope. It’s a never-ending downward spiral.


The only way out of that darkness is acceptance, tolerance, and love. Heal your own losses, and you help others heal theirs. Show kindness toward yourself and toward others. Accept that everyone is different, and everyone is OKAY. Tolerate those differences in yourself and you help others tolerate theirs and everyone else’s. Love every single creature on this planet, and you will help heal the Earth and yourself. It has to start with each of us individually. Find a way to accept and love yourself. Follow your heart and know that you are just fine exactly as you are. Set an example for your friends, your co-workers, your family, your children.

Shine your light.

Live your truth, and allow others to shine their lights and live their truths.

Shine into the darkness and diminish it just that little bit. You are not alone. Together we can defy the darkness and find our way back into the light.

Sing your song

I grew up in a singing family. My dad was a barbershopper, and sang in a men’s chorus every week until just before he died. He grew up singing in churches with his brothers and sister in the 1930s and early 40s, following my itinerant minister grandfather all around the midwest US. He remembered those hymns and could sing them in perfect pitch all of his life, including when he was robbed of most of his memories by dementia at the end – he didn’t remember who I was or even who he was, but he remembered the words to those songs he had sung as a child, 70+ years earlier.

Music was really who my dad was. He played several musical instruments, and he loved listening to all kinds of music. It was not ever what he did to make a “living,” though. He played in bands on the weekend. He sang in groups in the evenings and on weekends. He was a happy guy in all areas of his life, because he was able to do what he loved. He truly sang “his” song, and I was lucky to grow up with him as a model for living.

I love to sing, too, but writing has always been my passion. Like music for my dad, it has played a large part in my life, but writing has not been how I’ve made my living, either. It has always been there for me, though, and it is fundamentally how I think of myself: I am a writer. I’ve been writing online the last 30 years, and I especially like blogging. It gives me the opportunity to speak my truth and share it with the “world.”

According to, there are currently 600 million blogs on the internet. 600 million. This is just one of them, and I don’t reach a lot of people. I don’t care about that number, though, and I can guarantee you, that there is no other blog like this one, because it’s the only one I write. No one sees the world in the way I do, thinks like I do, or expresses themselves in exactly the same way. No one has had my history, or was born with my particular talents or skills or faults. No one has my exact DNA.

I am the only me.

I trust that there is some reason I want to write what I write when I write it, even though the odds of one of the 8 billion people on this planet finding my blog in the sea of 600 million in this vast other-world, called the internet are astronomical. Truth is I’m not very good at math, never have been, and also, I don’t see that those other blogs have anything to do with me. The internet is not an either/or place. It’s an and/with place. Not you OR me, but you AND me. There’s room for all of us. I’m doing it cuz it’s what I want to do. The rest is no concern of mine. I’m the only me and I’m just doing what makes me happy.

You are the only you.

What makes you happy? Are you doing that thing?

You have come here to give the gift of you, without which the fabric of creation is incomplete. – Mary Morrissey

Nothing less than that – the fabric of the universe – is at stake. Each of us is unique in the universe and on this planet; each with a special part to play. If you’re not stepping into your role, living your purpose, singing your song, we’re all missing out. Most of all, you, though – you’re missing out. Playing small or thinking there’s no room for you, that you’re no good at whatever it is, or there isn’t enough time, or not enough whatever is doing yourself and the world a disservice.

Do what you want to do. Listen to your heart. What is it telling you? What do you want to do? What have you always wanted to try, but were afraid to give yourself permission to explore? Did you convince yourself that it wasn’t for you? That you would fail? Well, those things may turn out to be true, but what if they aren’t? And what if they are? Just trying and learning about something new may lead you to something you didn’t know about that you love more! Instead of focusing on what is, how about asking what if? That one letter could make a huge difference in the way you see the world!

What if you experience unimaginable success? What if it changes your life and you want more? Is that what scares you?

Yeah, the unknown is risky and definitely scary. So start small, and don’t tell anyone. This is for you. You don’t have to share it until you’re ready, or never, if that’s what you want. This is a big beautiful planet, and there are so many wonderful creative pursuits, fascinating places to travel, sports to experience, just SO many delightful and meaningful experiences to be had – highs and lows of human life that you can only know about if you step out of your comfort zone and try. Ultimately, whatever you want to create is within your grasp.

It’s probably not going to change the world, but if it changes you, that’s what’s important. Even if it just makes you happier, that’s enough. More happy people in the world will change it. You’re not responsible for anyone’s happiness but your own, though, so focus on that. Make time for what you love. Invest in it. Time, money, energy. Arrange it so that whatever it is can be ready to go at a drop of a hat when you have a few minutes, even if unexpected. It’s worth it.

You’re worth it.

And we want to hear your beautiful song.

No limits

2023 has been good to me. I feel lighter and everything seems a little easier. The last 3 years wrung a lot out of me, and I think that’s partly where the lightness comes from – I finally gave up a lot of expectations about work and life and relationships. I think the pandemic especially taught us all that absolutely anything can happen at any time, and the idea that we are in control of what happens is largely delusion. A useful delusion, I suppose, as it helps us keep getting up in the morning and doing what needs to be done day to day, but ultimately, when it comes to the bigger picture, it’s in our own best interest to just sit back and watch the show. Let it be.

It has taken me a long time in my life to finally really understand that, but the events of the last 3 years have convinced me. I continue to plan, but I’m much better now at letting those plans go, if necessary. (I think. 😜) So…lighter and clearer I have stepped into this new year, and so far so good. I’m excited about the future (haven’t felt that way in a loooooong time), and I’m thinking about this year and what I have yet to accomplish before retirement, and then after retirement–what is it I really want to do?

So many things!

I’ve also been spending a fair amount of time thinking about WHO I AM, and why I think I’m here on this spinning blue beauty. As part of an online thing I did last fall, I participated in a guided meditation in which I journeyed to a garden, and in the garden was a wise woman waiting for me. I asked her what I needed to know, and she said, “Trust your heart.”


You mean I get to listen to my own feelings/ideas about what I want and how I should live? Really? What I love matters? Can that possibly be true? Yes, well, I already knew that, I think, and in some ways I have lived it, but a reminder is helpful, especially when you are really ready to HEAR what someone/the universe/your life is trying to tell you. So, since then, I’m getting this message EVERYWHERE, of course, and it’s making its way through the mush in my brain and working hard on chipping away the debris that still exists in my heart from childhood and earlier life (despite years of therapy that got rid a lot of that crap).

No joke – I was diagnosed with mild arterial sclerosis a few years ago. My heart was hardening, quite literally. A very powerful metaphor. Another powerful metaphor: the doc discovered something was amiss because she heard a heart murmur. My heart was speaking to me, letting me know that it was in big trouble and I wasn’t listening! Yikes! So I’ve been diligent about limiting cholesterol and sugar, etc., and continuing with all of the other “good health” stuff I’ve been doing for several years now. I intend to live a very long time. I have to confess, though, that I didn’t recognize the metaphor or the spiritual/emotional “threat” until recently. I can be incredibly dense at times, I tell you.

So. Trust your heart. How do you do that? Intuition, my child, intuition. Listen for it, act on it. Trust it. I’m highly intuitive – always have been – but at some point, I decided someone else’s voice was more important than my own inner voice. My mother’s, mainly, for most of my life, but other people’s and society’s voice occasionally, also. I realize now that I never really believed that what I wanted was okay. I never thought that I could know what was best for me. I have always felt a little like an outlaw when I didn’t follow THE RULES, and certainly, when I was a child and didn’t do or couldn’t be what my mother wanted, I was judged harshly, and received the silent treatment or actual punishment until I changed my mind and/or behavior. I had a lot of practice using my intuition to figure out what other people wanted from me; none at all at listening to what it was trying to tell me about who I am or what I wanted.

Even then, I marched to my own drummer on some things and on others I listened to what society (and my mother) had to say. I went to college because I wanted to, but the major I chose was not what I wanted. I didn’t want children, and I was pretty clear about that, but I also didn’t really want to be married. I figured for a long time, though, that I had best try to find a “suitable” mate, cuz that was what I was supposed to want, and I put myself and quite a few men through hell until I finally came to terms with my reluctance to compromise/commit. Really what I wanted was to be FREE. From everything, really. I have achieved that in many ways, that is, I have achieved freedom from most of society’s constraints because I did listen to my intuition when it mattered, and said “NO!” when I absolutely could not compromise or pull off whatever it was that was being asked of me without wanting to curl up and die.


I didn’t achieve total freedom, and that brings me to the answer to the rest of my question: Who am I and what is my purpose in this life? When I look back, I realize that I’ve been serving, certainly all of my adult life, but also as a child, and that has been my role.

I have worked in service jobs, including serving in restaurants, as a Customer Service Representative for a large manufacturing company, and in my own business providing services to small businesses. The position I’ve held at Acme Health Services the last 22 years serves the greater community.

Most importantly, though, for all of my life and continuing now, I have served my family. When I think about all the trouble the universe went to in ensuring that I grew up in this particular family, with its particular dynamics and issues, I know that it was no accident. I’ve thought that for a long time, but I have struggled with resentment in that role for most of my life.

In the last couple of years I’ve been thinking of it differently, and that’s a relief. Resentment is insidious and just eats you up from the inside out. I like serving, as it turns out. I value being of use, and feeling like I’ve made a difference. In many ways, it is a fundamental part of who I am and who I always was and I feel good about that.

I was still getting hung up on the issue of time, however. The lack of time for some of the things that matter to me was a result of the role I’m playing in my mother’s life, in addition to working full-time. I’ve been working on that with mom, ascertaining her expectations versus her actual needs, and my supervisor has helped me adjust my work schedule so that I have some time to myself a few days a week. Both of those things have helped so much, and I feel so much lighter and freer!

Instead of being a super-caregiver and super-employee, I’ve been honest about expressing my limitations and needs recently and it has changed everything. Imagine that. Who knew? I’ve been listening to my intuition and trusting my feelings and making changes that support me and the life I want going forward. I’ve been asking myself “What do you really want?” before making decisions, and listening to the answers. Most importantly, I’ve been giving myself permission to show up in each moment exactly as I am; not pretending to want what I don’t or pretending that I don’t know what I want.


I don’t want to work anymore, so I’m retiring. I miss my house and I want to live there again someday, so I’m sprucing it up and preparing for that, and in the meantime I’m spending more time there. There are other things, but those are the two “biggies,” that have made a huge difference in my outlook the last couple of months. I’m reaching (stretching) for increased freedom in all areas of my life, and I’ve no doubt that what I’m envisioning will come to pass sooner rather than later. I aim to find out where the limits are and go beyond them if I’m able and if I choose to. One thing at a time, one day at a time. From now on, as long as it’s legal and doesn’t harm another, the only opinion on how I live my life that matters is mine!


Word by word

Get. To. Work.


I came across this quote yesterday in a book about writing. It struck me because it’s not only how I feel about writing, but also about life, in general. I’ve written here before about my desire to be of use in the world, an impetus behind my life I’ve recognized consciously for many years. For me, writing has often been a way of being of service, at least in my mind. That is my intention – for what I write to be of use to the people who read it. I have had a lot of blogs over the years, and my drive to write them has always been the same, to share my experience of life on this planet, in the hope that someone will benefit from it. I do the writing, and I figure it’s the Universe’s job to send people who need to read it.

Writing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was quite young, 2nd or 3rd grade, I remember trying to figure out how books were made, cuz I wanted to write actual books! I wrote story after story and taped or stapled the pages together, made covers out of cardboard, illustrated them, and agonized over just the right titles to go on those covers. I wrote scripts for puppet shows, and put them on for my playmates in the neighborhood. Admission price was a penny, but if you didn’t have a penny, that was okay. My goal was to entertain, not collect pennies. I’m not even sure why I chose to charge admission. I suspect that like making books with cardboard covers, charging admission made it seem real.

I wrote stories about EVERYTHING, and I read them to my dolls, the cat, and later the dog, who was a lot more attentive than the cat. Most have been lost, but I still have one about a priest who lost his faith, that I wrote when I was 11 or 12. I can’t imagine how I presumed to think that I had any idea what it was like to be an adult, let alone a priest, and how I ever came up with that idea is lost to me now.

I just loved to write. I loved stories. It was fun to make things up and write them down. I thought for sure I would grow up to be a successful writer, like P. L. Travers (Mary Poppins), Lucy Maud Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables), Laura Ingalls Wilder, or Louise Fitzhugh (Harriet the Spy), who were my favorites, along with many others. I read everything I could get my hands on, and I wrote everything I could think of.

I still love and do both of those things, though time is limited now, and my taste in books has changed, although those are all still favorites. I have always thought of myself first and foremost as a writer, though that has not been the way I’ve made my living, except for a brief stint as a journalist many moons ago, which I didn’t enjoy very much. I didn’t stick with it, though the training was valuable.

Writing is simply the way I process life, the way I look at the world. I still love it like I did when I was a little kid. I’ve blogged, in one form or another, since the internet was text only, though in the beginning it wasn’t called blogging. Most of my writing online then was on news groups and bulletin boards. I’ve taken time off over the years, but for the most part of the last 30 years I was writing on a blog somewhere. I still write short stories, and poems, and I’ve knocked out large parts of several novels that never were finished for one reason or another. Writing has always been life for me – there is no separation.

So, having said all that, I also realized yesterday when I read that sentence, that I’ve been absent from this blog for a long time, and I haven’t been journaling or writing at all for too long. It’s time again to get to work. My life is complicated these last few years, and time is at a premium, but if I’m not writing, I’m not living.

It’s really that simple.

What work are you neglecting? What will cause you to get back to it? The world needs all of us now, doing whatever it is we were meant to do, playing whatever role toward healing this planet and our humanity you feel you were given. The best gift we can give to the universe right now is simply being true to ourselves. Trust your gut, and get back to it. You may or may not be paid for your important work, and you may not feel like it’s good enough. None of that matters. Find what you love and just do it. Whatever it is. Trust that the universe gave you that love for a reason and follow it through.

Be brave, and get back to work! It probably won’t make you rich and famous, but it just might make you happy, and that’s all that really matters. Let me know how it goes!

Toleration Moderation

I’m tired of nasty people.

Really just sick and tired of people whose mothers apparently never taught them, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.” Maybe mama taught them, and they’ve simply forgotten. We’re suffering a nationwide, maybe worldwide, case of amnesia. We’ve forgotten how to just be nice.

If I’m supposed to be learning from people spewing vitriol at other people – strangers – because they object to something about that person, it’s just not happening. It causes me to shut down, not learn. I reach a point at which I’m no longer even engaging with the person. I’m heartbroken, disgusted, infuriated, and I’m gone.

I stand firmly with Kahlil Gibran on this. If I’m supposed to be learning from these people how not to behave in the world, then I’ll pass. I want to learn by example from people I respect. I want to feel good about people again. I want to feel like the universe is a friendly place again. I want to feel like we’re going to be okay.

I fear we’re so far from okay right now, especially in this country, that we will never find our way back, or forward, for that matter. Now that we know just how awful some (I hesitate to say most, but that’s what it feels like lately from where I’m sitting) people can become at the least provocation, how do we feel safe talking to strangers again? How do we engage with friends and family members who have shown us who they really are? How do we become less divided if we can’t even talk to each other for fear we will be abused?

Is there a middle anymore? Doesn’t feel like it. I can’t imaging bridging the divide between myself and someone who feels it’s not only okay, but their right, to snipe at someone they don’t know online, using the most offensive anger-fueled language they can think of. I’m supposed to be tolerant of that? I’m to learn kindness from that? Someone spewing abuse at someone for doing their job? Really?


Just NO.

It’s not okay, and it can’t be tolerated. It doesn’t teach me anything. It breaks my heart, makes me angry, makes me afraid. These folks are not my teachers. They are destroyers, not creators. They are not people I want to emulate. There is a way to get your point across without being mean. It seems though, among many lately – especially online – that meanness is celebrated. The meaner the better. If you can demean someone online, using the cruelest possible language, especially someone in power – someone you don’t know – the better you feel about yourself.

That’s the very definition of bullying, isn’t it? It’s like the whole country is back in school, and the bullies are running the show. How did that happen? When did it start?

How do we stop it?

I’m in the not unusual position lately of knowing who I would like to be – tolerant, compassionate, kind, disciplined, responsible – but I can’t see my way to that person in relation to others. What would Buddha, or Ghandi, or Martin Luther King, Jr. do? What would Jesus do?

It just kills me that many of these folks claim to be “patriots,” and that many also profess to be Christians. Pretty sure Jesus would be shaking his head, too. The Founding Fathers and Mothers, too. Really – is this what countless men and women have fought for? The right to be mean?

No, sorry. Nowhere in the bible does it say it’s okay to be mean. The Golden Rule doesn’t say, “do unto others before they do unto you.” Jesus didn’t say “be nasty to your neighbors as to yourself.” The great leaders – those who inspire us – are all about love.

Those are my teachers. The folks who are kind, compassionate. Those with empathy.

The rest have nothing I want to learn, and I am most decidedly not grateful to them.

Who’s with me on this?

So the last 18 months have been a real cluster, haven’t they? Cuz life isn’t hard enough, right? Let’s throw a pandemic into the mix!

And where the hell have I been? Well, I’ll tell you. Right. Exactly. Where. I. Was. 18. Months. Ago. Still at Acme Health Services, still caring for my mother, and still just trying to keep going. Nothing has changed, and yet EVERYTHING has changed, hasn’t it?

Working in public health has definitely changed. We have been Public Enemy #1 since March of 2020, and it gets worse day by day. For the first time in my life, I’m afraid to tell people where I work, and I’m afraid to be at work. We have beefed up security in all of our buildings, but I am watchful in the parking lot, and fearful for my co-workers who are working outside the office in off-site vaccination and testing clinics.

I’m not even going to mention the abuse our agency has been taking on social media, and on our information and scheduling phone lines. Oh, I just did, didn’t I? Well, it’s unbelievable. Previously unimaginable to me how vile people can be to people they don’t know; people who are just trying to do their jobs. As I am the social media manager, I’ve had to field most of the crap-slinging on Facebook, and it has definitely gotten to me. I don’t take it personally, cuz the people who are commenting are hurling abuse at an entity they feel is ruining their fun, not me personally. I get that. Still it has had an effect.

It has changed my view of my fellow human beings profoundly.

That whole “everybody’s doing their best,” thing I used to write about all the time? Yeah, not so much. I know better. For a while it really did a number on me. I took a lot of vacation time this last year, including 3 weeks in July. I needed those breaks in a way I have never experienced before. I’ve been working since I was 14 – 46 years – I have never felt that depleted at any job, including this one in the last 21 years.

I’m ready to leave my job, and my country, but I’m not sure it would necessarily be better anywhere else, and I can’t leave my mom, anyway. She is steadfast in her desire to stay right where she is. She’s got it good, after all. She doesn’t leave the house, and she has a full-time housekeeper/servant. Mostly she lays on the couch, watches TV and plays solitaire on her phone. Why worry?

I worry.

A lot.

I worry about the future of this country. I worry about my future and my health. I wonder how I/we go on from here, knowing now how divided we are and how utterly horrible, self-centered and gullible people can be. I worry about our beautiful mother Earth, and how long greed will rule. I worry about whether I’ll be able to retire given the recent news about Social Security and the fragility of the stock market.

There is plenty to worry about, and not much hope to hang on to. The things that used to bring me joy are gone for the most part, either because of the pandemic restrictions or due to the time constraints of having 2 full-time jobs. Now the weather has started affecting the one thing I had through the summer to look forward to – being out on my bike – but I’m making the transition to indoor riding on Zwift and BKool again this fall, and that’s almost as good.

I’m hanging on as best I can, to life and to hope that things will get better, not worse, which of course is just as possible. Everyday I get out of bed and try again. Try to be kind. Try to be effective in my work. Try to keep my mother happy and healthy. Try to do my best in every moment.

I’m not always successful, but I try.

And really, what else is there? The saying is that it doesn’t matter how many times you fall down, just that you keep getting up. So that’s what I’m doing. I fall 20 times a day, and then I get back up and try again.

How are you doing?



Winston Churchill has been a hero of mine for quite a while. To me, he embodies the word “resilience,” and that’s something that has meant a lot to me over the years. My goal throughout all of my life, through some pretty rough stuff, has simply been to keep going. No matter what.

I didn’t want to. There have been plenty of times, deep in the cold morass of the blackest depression, especially, that I’ve thought of giving up. In the middle of bitter disappointment, abject failure, burning rejection, aching loss, I asked myself, “Why?”

Why keep going? What is this all for? What will change?

I didn’t give up, though, and it turns out the answer to all those questions is: ME.

Life hasn’t changed – it’s still hard, and will always be so, but I’ve changed. Turns out I’ve always been resilient, though I didn’t think of myself that way. When I look back at my life, though, I see it. I kept getting up. I took some pretty hard blows, but I got up every time and went on. Bruised and bleeding, for sure, but I got back on my feet and I went on. Every. Time. Sometimes I had help, sometimes I didn’t. Either way, I was the one who had to find the strength to go forward and I did.

As I’ve gotten older I find that I get up faster and that I see those difficult times differently. That’s what’s changed. I see the benefit, the opportunity for growth, quicker than I used to, and while I probably still don’t welcome hardship, I am able to embrace it more fully and faster than I used to. For that I’m deeply grateful.

Last weekend brought me to my knees, literally and figuratively. It pressed all the buttons, hard. In thinking about it now, though, I realize a couple of important shifts.

First, I didn’t get angry. Amazing, cuz that’s my first reaction to most everything unpleasant, typically. I didn’t this time, though cuz I didn’t take it personally. I joked about being punished for taking time off, but it really was a joke, not something I truly believed. It was all just stuff that happened, and I got that right away.

Second, I didn’t make more of it than it was. I did what needed to be done, for myself and then later, for my mom, which is normal. I’ve always been good in a crisis. Afterward, though, I didn’t obsess about it for days and days, and that’s new. It was nasty, and not something I hope to go through again anytime soon, but it’s over. Life goes on.


Never give up. Never, never, never, never. We all have the capacity – that resilience. All creatures are resilient, but for humans it’s different, in that we have a choice. You have to make it over and over.

Everyone I know goes through really rough stuff, again andagain; really gnarly rotten stuff. We all have our own curriculum here in Earth school, so the obstacles are different for all of us, but there are always obstacles, no matter who you are, or how in control you think you are. There is no way to do it “right” so that everything goes well for you. There just isn’t. There’s no point to that. We don’t learn from easy.

We don’t get stronger. We don’t get better, unless we’re challenged. That’s another thing unique to humans. That’s just the way it is. Getting angry, or bitter, or blaming someone else, or numbing out in some way is not helpful. Those are not ways of going on; they are ways of getting stuck.

Stand up. Dig deep and find your own resilience. It’s in there. Shake off the past. It’s over. Look ahead. Check in with yourself right now. Figure out what you need to do to keep going and do that thing, whatever it is. Take care of yourself and soothe your wounds. Reach out if you need help.

Then go on. Take a step, and then another,  and before you know you’re on to the next thing. The other thing – the past – that’s a part of you now, part of your life resume. It’s not all of you, though. You got through that. Pat yourself on the back. You did it!

There will be more, and you’ll do that, too. Cuz you just keep going. That’s all there is. There is no other way. No matter what. Through all of it – the highest highs and the lowest lows – all that this amazing human life has to offer.

Never give in – never, never, never, never. Thank you Mr. Churchill, for showing me the way.

What it’s like here


Autobiography in Five Chapters


I walk down the street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in
I am lost … I am hopeless
It isn’t my fault
It takes forever to find a way out


I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I pretend I don’t see it
I fall in again
I can’t believe I’m in the same place
But it isn’t my fault
It still takes a long time to get out


I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I see it is there
I still fall in … it’s a habit
My eyes are open
I know where I am
It is my fault
I get out immediately


I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I walk around it


I walk down another street

© 1977 Portia Nelson

I love it when the universe sends me a love note. They don’t always get through – my “mailbox” isn’t always open, I’m sad to say – but when they do, they are appreciated. This time the love showed up in the form of this poem, which, at the time I heard it for the first time this week, snatched all the air from body in a most insistent way for a moment or two, and hasn’t given it all back yet. It made me laugh, and then it made me want to cry, cuz, man, ain’t it the truth?!

This is the autobiography of all of us. For each of us the streets and the holes are different, but we’re all out there everyday falling prey to the again-ness of life over and over and over and over, aren’t we? You drag yourself out of whatever hole – hell – you stumbled into, and then, right around the corner, there it is again. Different hole, maybe, but the same stinking pile of muck at the bottom of it.


Yep. That’s life. The poem ends, but the holes don’t, even on another street. The autobiography continues to be written for as long as you’re walking around, right? Many more than five chapters, I hope. Some of my holes have been patched. Some of the really big ones, I’m happy to say. But I’m always discovering new ones, or old ones on new streets.

Most recently I encountered one of the larger craters on my particular street – my birthday.  It comes around every year, and that’s a good thing, right? I’m so happy to be alive for another year. Truly. I never thought I’d live this long, so every year is another milestone reached. I couldn’t be more grateful for the life I have and for the life I’ve lived.

The hole’s still there, though, of course. In the bottom of that particular gaping pit labeled “Birthday” is a great big pile of steaming, stinking dung that I’ve plunged into every year for a long time. Even when I finally could get out, I still had the stench of it all over me for a while.

Adoption. Loss. Rejection. Abandonment. Muck. The anniversary of the pain of my entry into the world, for me, and for everyone involved. A month later joy for my adoptive parents – yes! But that day, there was only the sadness of a young woman giving birth to her first child in a strange place – a baby she would never see or hold or care for – and the sadness and fear of a baby without a mother.

Ugly Black Sticky Stinky Muck.

Though I have no conscious memory of the day, that baby resides somewhere in me still, and she is hurt, and angry and so, so sad. When I was a kid and a young adult, I was sad only for myself, and I was down there in that hole alone, unable to share my pain with anyone else. As I got older and could better understand my birthmother’s experience of that day and the days after, I was sad for both of us.

Now it’s a part of my autobiography, but not the all-consuming story it was for so many years. I don’t fall in that hole very often anymore. In recent years I’ve stumbled over it a couple of times on the actual day, which is mostly the only time I think of those events anymore, but I haven’t fallen in. It’s not the months’ long slog through the depths trying to claw my way out that I experienced as a younger person. Thank goodness for that.

This year, I didn’t even stumble over the hole. I saw it was there. I stopped, said a little prayer of gratitude for both my birthmother and I, and then walked around. I realized that it really doesn’t matter anymore. It probably didn’t really matter for as long as I agonized over it, but that’s just the way it happened, and I forgive myself for that. This is my autobiography, and I’m writing it with my one-of-a-kind pen. If I could have done it differently I would have.

I wish her and myself well. Happy Birthday to both of us. We’ve survived. Our lives went on, chapters have been added, and our autobiographies are still being written. She’ll be 77 in August and now I’m 58. We made it to another street.


I would like to meet her, but that’s probably not going to happen. We corresponded 10 years ago, or so, and she answered all my questions. That contact helped me make peace with the whole thing, and I’ll always be grateful to her for that kindness. I’m sure it cost her something. She doesn’t want to meet me, and though I wish she felt differently, I have to respect her choice. She doesn’t owe me anything. She gave me the greatest gift of all – life – and that’s enough.

So on to the next chapter. There will be more of all of it: streets, holes, chapters. A lot more, I hope. For all of us. Each of us writing our own autobiographies, describing for each other our own again-ness, sharing our stories of what it’s like here in these bodies on this planet at this time, in this moment. Right now. Tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine.

Happy Birthday to me. Happy Birthday, Linda.

Many more.