Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Power of Not Knowing, or, how to Navigate the World with a Sense of Humor

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Artist, author and American icon Maira Kalman says “I love my empty mind.” Meditate, let go, empty, repeat. Michael Strang writes about this practice in The Surrender Experiment. It’s a way of life that requires courage. It’s The Artist’s Way.

In the movie Trouble with the Curve baseball scout Gus Noble is losing his sight. But he can recognize great talent by hearing “the pure sound.” I’m not much for sports movies of any kind, but I loved this one and Million Dollar Arm. They’re as much about life as baseball.

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‘Til There Was You…

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Another of Doris the Resourceress’ favorites that she used to sing to me as a child…in case you didn’t know how lucky I truly am…

“You may be wealthy with treasures untold, chests full of jewels and coffers of gold, but richer than I you could never be – I had a Mother who read to me.” -author unknown

She sang to me, too…I never appreciated her enough…

Drop the Act, or…Against All Odds, Honey, We’re the Big Door Prize

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Remember when you were a little kid and you threw a temper tantrum in an attempt to get your own way? Why, your very survival depended on you convincing the adults to see things from your point of view…smarter parents smiled compassionately and responded, “Drop the act.”

Congratulations on your successful acting debut…but sadly, over time, you convinced yourself your act was real.

It’s now five-thirty in the morning, which last week would have been six-thirty. The only reason that fact has any significance at all, is because last week I would have been so glad to have slept this LATE. Maybe I did get a decent nights sleep after all…

I woke worried about my brother. Yesterday my sister told me that he is about to become homeless again; he called her to ask if she could take his old dog for awhile. As it happens, he had left me two voice mail messages, but I haven’t listened to them yet. John leaves me messages all the time. He just says “I love you. Peace be with you.”

I am the eldest of five children, and for a few months yet, we are all in our fifties. How we lived this long is nothing short of a miracle. Our household was so dysfunctional, it would make The Prince of Tides look like a Disney fantasy. My first inclination was to call my brother immediately and tell him he could come here. My home is about to sell, and I don’t know where I will be living a couple of months from now…and never mind that it has taken me the last three years to extricate myself from the abusive clingings of other family addicts.

Like my four siblings, John has overcome alcohol and drug abuse. He’s even managed to quit smoking – several times. He works hard everyday. He drives truck and delivers concrete, and although he makes a decent wage, he can’t pay his rent and utilities. He is addicted to Maria and her young children from a former marriage, and Maria is addicted to prescription medication for her chronic pain. And when he gives her the money to pay the bills because he is working six days a week, she spends it and forgets to pay the rent. They have lived without electricity for months now, but winter is about to set in.

I woke hearing myself talking to my darling brother, such a good-hearted man. “Your emotional attachments will keep you living in hell. They don’t exist in the Kingdom of Heaven. God has no use for your emotions, and is not interested in reconciling them. Neither is God interested in healing your physical pain, or in saving your life as it exists here now.”

“God does not care what you are thinking. You have been brainwashed into believing that your thoughts represent you, and nothing could be further from the truth. Thought does not exist in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

There is only one mind, one consciousness. I use the term the Kingdom of Heaven, but it means enlightenment, freedom, PEACE. God, as consciousness, is waiting to welcome us into this state of complete freedom from our physical pain and mental turmoil and emotional upheaval, to will us the Kingdom. We squander our inheritance when we cry and plead for our way, for God to fix our circumstances, to help us feel better, to help us continue to exist, and to dysfunction ourselves. Our adoring “father in heaven” smiles compassionately and says, “Drop the act.”

What does this mean in our everyday struggle? It means specifically that we must overcome our addiction to BELIEVING that anything we think or feel could possibly lead us toward enlightenment. Will I still ache with arthritis? Yep. Will I still get angry when you wrong me? Sure – to the degree I am invested in the belief that I can be wronged. Some days I’ll let it go sooner than others. I’m living one day at a time, and to the best of my ability, I’m gonna drop the act.

Withdraw your attention from your thoughts and emotions, and do not participate in any decision or behavior that you think is going to make you feel better or because you should or because anyone thinks you should. Now that’s easy for me to say, I realize…I am just learning myself. But I know we must stop trying to figure it out. Just stop, dead in your tracks, and listen for that still, quiet whispered prompting from your SOUL…from love. Not need. Don’t listen to need. Tell need to move to the back of the bus, “Get thee behind me.” It will lead you astray every time.

It will appear to most that you have lost your mind (oh, we can only hope!) and become lazy, uncaring…and when some person says to you – and they will – “God helps those who help themselves,” laugh and walk away. God isn’t interested in our petty preferences. He is completely invested in our freedom.

Learn to trust your inner voice, your truth, by giving it a chance. Stop trying to get your little way in the world. You have outgrown this behavior. Drop the act.

I love you, John. Peace be with you.

On The Street Where I Live…

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It was one of those dreams…again…early in the morning, barely awake.  I had come across a bicycle out on the street, abandoned. So I took it home, knowing it had been left for me. And then all sorts of magical things began to happen…but wait, if this is a magical bicycle…
I can’t have a magical life…if too many good things happen, then the bad things will be really bad. And I heard “It doesn’t work that way anymore. This is the age of your enlightenment.”

So, I’m keeping the bike…

One morning recently I woke hearing this song. Where the bleep did THAT come from? I mean, I probably heard Dean Martin sing it on television when I was a kid (and TV was still in black and white!) and I’m sure I saw My Fair Lady, also as a kid…but that’s been a few years- like forty, give or take…

So, why this song? Why now? It absolutely changed my state of consciousness. It was God. Singing. To. Me.

And I share this with you, whoever should happen to be reading this, now…because it is for you, too. It is for us to get it, once and for all…he is waiting, on the street where we live…he’s happier there. Go look, he left you a bicycle.

There Will Always Be…

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My heart is broken. My friend Dick DeVinney passed away yesterday. He and my dear friend Marion had owned Synchronicity Gallery in Glen Arbor, Michigan for seventeen years before selling it and retiring back to their native Grand Rapids. They had employed me for nine years, but they became my family, too. This picture was taken with my iphone at ArtPrize this past fall…we had such fun.

Dick was an accomplished musician, choir director, teacher and author of both music textbooks and a novel, an untiring supporter of the arts in northern Michigan. He and Marion founded the Celebrations Art Show at the First United Methodist Church of Grand Rapids many years ago, and that show has grown since.

More importantly, Dick was a remarkable human. He never met a stranger. He fought for equal rights all of his life, he was a loving husband and father above all else, a “mensch”. It was a privilege to have him in my life…and my world is a little dimmer today…although he would say to me “try to remain calm”…I will miss him.

Just tryin’ to make his way home…

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What if God were one of us?…when I anthropomorphize God- and do not pretend you don’t!- he is a big, clumsy galoot like me…just a slob like one of us…but I’ll bet he cries a days’ worth of nourishment over the rainforest in awe of a tiny blue beetle…I imagine he wonders for eternity over a drop of dew hanging from a delicate petal…and I’m certain he rejoices as a father watches the moment that the daughter he has always believed in meets her destiny…if there is anything I know of God, it is that he is incomprehensible in his faithful and infinite love…a stranger…just like one of us…just tryin’ to make his way home…

If God had a name…

You Know, the Preacher Likes the Cold…

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Yesterday I told my Dad that I have come to realize I am solar powered. He looked over at me quizzically, as you can imagine…but it’s true…I don’t seem to have any energy unless the sun is out! And here I live in the darkest corner of the United States. Literally, the northwest corner of the lower peninsula of Michigan has less sunny days than anywhere in the fifty states.

It has been a long winter. We have had record snowfalls, less sunshine even than normal. We are still experiencing record low temperatures for this time of year. It was in the teens last night, my sidewalk and street are covered in ice. My dear little corgis and I have really packed on the pounds this winter.

But it has been a long healing, this isolation…through the dormancy of my expectations, a new life is beginning to emerge. The preacher likes the cold…he knows I’m gonna stay…

I Am New Here

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Your inner wise self is SO in love with you…self love is not narcissism, it is self care. Why is it important? Because it is the only way to save the world…it is how miracles happen. Live juicy, because the opposite of young is not old, it is new…and I am new here.

Good Will Hunting Comes Out of the Janitor’s Closet…

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Peter Diamondis, one of the greatest minds on the planet, speaks about the moment when the fall of the American Empire began- not long ago, perhaps a decade or so now,and HOW this occurred…when RISK AVERSION became the acceptable modus operandi…and he says it is killing us.

He then presents the model of a new paradigm which will transform life on the planet…and take us into The Age of Abundance. Do yourself a favor and watch his inspiring videos.

We all hide our genius, in so many ways…we are Will Hunting waiting for our ride to work, spending our days mopping the floors… it is time to leave the mop in the closet and solve the problem on the board when no one is watching…to step outside our limited thinking and IMAGINE, to be ARTISTS.