A Time to Witness

AAt this point in my life I find myself witnessing the world.  Everything that is happening in it, everyone that is speaking, taking action, making a difference, all the things that I used to do thirty years ago; and now, I find myself having reached a place of silence, patience and calmness where I can step back from the chaos and just observe.  That’s not to say that I don’t take action. I do in my own way.  But I witness at a much larger scale than I ever have in my life.  I see things I never saw before.  I care about things I never cared about before, like politics.  I immerse myself in people’s opinions, confusions, struggles in ways that in the past that I only reserved for private clients or myself.  I now witness the world for its chaos and its treachery.  I now witness the truth behind the lies, the truth of the derangement of people without getting caught up in it.  When I was younger, I was so sensitive and susceptible I would suffer because of the derangement of people around me, as well as because of my own.

After decades of meditating, sitting still, quieting my mind, witnessing my own suffering, and learning to love with an open heart, I can be open to observing the world and the huge chaos and pain of its suffering, individually and globally.  Is there hope for us ever creating a perfect world?  I doubt it.  Is there hope for us spreading kindness, compassion and dignity? Yes, absolutely.  The formal procession and funeral of former President George H. W. Bush held the kind of dignity we have not seen in this country in a long time. I became aware that this level of love and respect still exists in this country, and this gives me hope.

a meditation for times of fear

At Peace with Myself

Find a comfortable position with your arms and legs uncrossed.

Take a long deep breath and let it out slowly.

Allow your breathing to become full, deep and relaxed.

Focus on a situation in which you feel fear.  It may be a present situation or something from the past.

See yourself as clearly as possible, and how you were feeling then.

Is there any way that you’re trying to hide or mask your fear?

Now, experiment with courage in the following ways.  First become aware of how much you judge outside forces of being the cause of your fear.

Now take the focus back into yourself, and feel yourself responding to this situation from your deepest core energy, from the most powerful place in your soul.

Breathe and feel yourself responding from your heart, from love and compassion, and from your center of willpower and strength.

From the strength that God has put in your soul.

From the courage that God has put in your soul.

As you breathe, feel this strength, clarity, security and compassion that exists within you.

Allow yourself to feel the life energy that is your connection to God, to the universe, to the earth.

And with this energy, make a commitment to your own healing process.

See yourself fully healed. fully healthy, fully  normal, feeling the best you’ve ever felt.

See yourself a short time in the future, being able to put behind you the difficult time you’ve had, and being able to walk into a new future: healthy and free, confident and courageous.

May you be well.

May you be healthy.

May you live your life with ease.

May you always have peace of mind.

So be it.

Continue to rest with your eyes closed allowing the healing to flow through you.

The Etiquette of Bees

Everywhere I go, I am being pursued by yellow jackets. This may not mean much if you are being pursued by Hurricane Irma, and I do sympathize with you.

But the other night Tom and I went out for a special dinner to celebrate having made it through a two day tag sale. We were exhausted. I just wanted to relax over a glass of wine and a nice dinner on the outside porch of our favorite restaurant.

My dinner arrived, roast duck with chestnuts and root vegetables. Along came a yellow jacket and flew directly into my dinner, upside down. As I stared at its dilemma and tried to decide the best course of action for both of us, it righted itself and proceeded to sting me on the knuckle of my index finger.

It was quite painful, and I could not see the stinger to pull it out. I dunked my finger in the glass of ice water and proceeded to eat my elegant dinner with one hand, the other hand remaining in the ice water. I must have looked quite a sight.

That yellow jacket then told a relative that I was going to a Labor Day barbecue the next day, and as soon as I sat down to eat, it’s family member dove at me and my lunch. I yelled, ran off, got another glass of wine and felt betrayed by bees! Tom comforted me with his conclusion that I’m just too sweet and all the bees line up wherever I am. Right. The next time I go anywhere I’m going to carry a large hammer with me. So much for “do not kill”!

(I have since been told that yellow jackets and honey bees are completely different in their behaviors.  Honey bees would not be so “churlish” as to attack without provocation; yellow jackets are more like gang members looking for a fight!)


The Last Day

If tomorrow were my last day

On earth

I would lie in my lounge chair

Rest in the sun

Listen to the birds sing

Watch the deer nibble grass

The geese enjoy the tennis court

The turkeys walk through the woods

And the groundhog munch on clover.

I might walk through the wildflowers

Look up at the blue sky, with clouds floating above me.

If tomorrow were my last day,

I would be grateful for all that I

Have been given,

Family, friends, music, beauty,

Books, art, my beloved animals,

The experiences of living.

I would be grateful especially

For love, kindness, and tenderness.

At the moment of death,

I want my entire consciousness

To be filled with love.

I want the culmination of my life

To be the awareness

and expression

Of love

And only love.

War Wounds

I miss you as I’ve missed you

for a long time.

Bikinis on the beach,

angels in the snow,

getting lost looking for halvah,

sleeping on a cot

when all the hotels were full.

I remember the last sight of you

as I sat in the plane,

as you stood on the balcony

waving to me.

I knew I would never see you again.

I don’t know how or why.

Just a feeling

in my stomach

of loss and grief.

Never completing the dream

seems to be a theme

in my life.

Maybe it is for many of us.

In the movie Field of Dreams, Kevin Kostner’s

father looks around and asks

“Is this heaven?”

“It’s Iowa.”

It looks like heaven to me,

if heaven is where you get

to live out your dreams.

I hope it is.


Yesterday my college classmate Jon Marc Hannibal posted the VICE News video of the torch march in Charlottesville, VA. The camera person was up so close to the marchers that I felt as if I were there. I was horrified. I could hear what people on both sides were shouting. The white supremacists/Nazis were shouting “blood and soil”, a Nazi rallying cry during the 1920’s. But some were also shouting “They won’t replace us. The Jews won’t replace us. The blacks won’t replace us.” The camera shifted to a young black woman shouting “Black lives matter! Black lives matter!”
It was not until this morning that something clicked for me: Everyone wants to matter. No one wants to be replaced. Everyone wants to be important. And when people are raised with fear and hatred of “the other”, because of their own insecurities, that hatred becomes racism, malignant narcissism, and sometimes murderous rage.
In babies and very young children, narcissism is normal. In adults it’s a disorder showing excessive need for admiration, superiority, and a disregard for other people’s feelings. In Buddhism, no one is more important than anyone else. We all have the Buddha within us. We all have a heart of compassion. Whether it can be accessed is the real question. Present day psychology says that treatment can help people with the disorder, but it can’t be cured. If this is true, where do we go from here? We need leadership that can enforce restraint on those who would harm others. And we need it now.