Relaxed Yet Balanced

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Albert Einstein

Scampi is our adolescent Bichon Frise. He plays with abandon and sleeps in contentment. I found him the other day sleeping on the top edge of the couch. It isn’t a very broad edge. The couch is a glider and moves easily. Yet he sprawled out, kept his balance and relaxed.

relaxed and balanced dog

Just watching him inspires me. His natural sense of play and ready engagement. After play time, he sleeps. I see his example day after day. I remind myself to relax and maintain a balance. Yet-I go about my crazy schedule every day.

I wrote a poem a year or so ago. I put it on a picture poster below:Slide1


I am reminded that we are the ones in control of our balance. Donald Trump has said, “If you’re interested in ‘balancing’ work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead make your work more pleasurable.” There is some truth to that. Most of us have to work to pay the bills. Some of us work to change the world. Few of us work as our plan for fun.

But, how we spend any hours of the day-at work, or at play-we do decide how to engage in them. Let them take over and control our emotions (you know, work drama-it is everywhere)? Or do what you can, make the difference that you can and move on? We make that choice everyday, every hour.

“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.” Aristotle


Book Basics

“A university is not a political party, and an education is not an indoctrination.” David Horowitz

Twitter exchange on #Creationism in the Textbook:

Steadfast @Oldself

@Newself  I cannot believe that anyone would put evolution into a textbook. It is just a theory. #Creationism must be taught and preserved.

Freedom @Newself

@Oldself  How can a personal belief in a God who created everything go into an educational textbook? #Creationism is a belief; evolution has factual findings.

Steadfast @Oldself

@Newself  Baloney. There are no facts to support evolution. You have been deceived. You must stop reading anything that has such a sentiment. It will ruin you and give the Devil a place in your heart. #Creationism is real. It needs to be in every student’s textbook.

Freedom @Newself

@Oldself  Are you bull-shitting me? Information can never hurt me. Data is good. Exposure to new ideas is good. How can that be bad? #Creationism stifles growth. Don’t try to indoctrinate me. Let me learn.

Steadfast @Oldself

@Newself  Burning in Hell is pretty bad. Repent, and believe in #Creationism.

Indoctrination is so deeply rooted that one has to use a great deal of energy to overcome its influence. Once indoctrinated, the old discarded teachings continue to come to mind; no matter how far I travel. It is an old internal battle of the mind. I am grateful that I can counter those old teachings and freedom of discovery prevails.

“The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.” Thomas Paine


Mosaic Marvel

The year was 2006 and the popular book, “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert was on every book shelf. But not mine. I resented her. When she went through her divorce, she spent a year abroad: Italy, India, and Indonesia. She had opportunities to work through her feelings, hurt, and anger. She received teachings from Gurus, Zen Masters and Yogic Sages.

During the same year I lost my father to cancer and my husband of 30 years divorced me because my faith had disintegrated. I wanted to crawl away. Any where. Just somewhere other than where I was. But I couldn’t. I had bills to pay, a job to report to and responsibilities that I could not walk away from. I remember thinking, ‘Well how nice for you. Your heart is broken and you get to receive this -what I believed to be- fabulous support and balm to your broken heart.’

At the same period in my life I was given, “Gift of the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh written in 1955. Anne writes this wonderful book as she stayed by herself at a Florida island cabin. Early in her book, she writes, ‘And then, some morning in the second week…” I had to put the book down. I wrote in the margin, ‘Never have I been able to do this-I have never been anywhere for two weeks for a break. How wonderful it would be, to go somewhere, stay for several weeks, and have time to rest, reflect, revive and restore.’

So the daily blog prompt has now given me permission to ‘study abroad’. It challenged me to select a place to spend one year. I am going to suppose in my fantasy, that all expenses are paid, that the experience will be a time warp so that I can return to my job without penalty of loss. I am dreaming that the year is for my own enjoyment, pleasure and restoration.

My god-what a challenge. I have never been anywhere for very long, and never gone far from the United States. What an assignment. Hence, I could not write this yesterday, I had to dream a little.

My Place- by the ocean side on a bluff. Not that I like to be in the ocean, but I love to hear and watch its soothing rhythmic crash to shore. It would need to be in a community, where I can walk to places of necessity such as the grocery. It would need a fully stocked kitchen, as I love to cook. It would need chairs on the beach to sip my morning coffee or to linger over my evening glass of wine. It would need a fabulous library where I could access many more adventures and insights from others. It would need a typewriter – or paper galore – so I could sort out my thoughts with writing. It would be grand if it was also conveniently situated by public transportation-such as trains-that could take me on one day journeys to broaden my explorations. There would not be a daily schedule to keep while on this year long experience. I could let my body sync with nature.

And I would have my beloved husband with me on this adventure. He is a comfort and encouragement in my life. He hugs my soul. As beautiful as my destiny place would be, it would be hollow if not shared with him. He may need his corner of our paradise to access internet to maintain he love of researching, but that is who he is. He loves to learn.

The final criteria for anyone who lives in my place of paradise is that all the inhabitants accept each other. We help if needed, but don’t interfere. Each is able to pursue their own interests. I would be hopeful that the potential combination of variety would not be a ‘melting pot’ where all are merged into one sameness-but it would create a beautiful mosaic piece of art that we could take home with us and keep as our survivor from this one year oasis.

“I close my eyes, then I drift away, into the magic night I softly say a silent prayer, like dreamers do, then I fall asleep to dream my dreams of you.” Roy Orbison

Inspired Learning

“My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.” Maya Angelou

What makes a great teacher?

Is it that they love, care, and build your self-esteem?  No, I don’t think so. I think that would make them a great person, but not necessarily a great teacher.

I think a great teacher is not necessarily someone who has a clear teaching plan and fabulous objectives. They may make the school look good and the principal feel confident, but I don’t think those attributes necessarily make a significant teaching impact on lives.

I think a great teacher is someone-anyone, not necessarily someone who is a teacher by profession-who inspires me to learn.   Someone who teaches me to think. A person who models asking questions. Learning is a dynamic process. It is not a one classroom event. I think it has become a terrible disappointment, and injustice to our next generation, to teach for the test. That is a one time memory project. It doesn’t teach a mind to soar and seek.

“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.” Albert Einstein



Thick Skin

“Only fools let compliments get to their heads and criticism get to their hearts.” unknown

4 people-5 opinions. You can’t please all the people all the time. Despite my rhetoric to remind me of this ancient truth, I am still concerned when I know that I have disappointed someone. My 30 years as a minister’s wife fueled the mandate to please everyone. Of course, that is impossible, yet that was my daily goal. When I finally realized that demand was unachievable, I gave up that goal. Then I had to figure out, how would I please myself.

I had not gotten in touch with what I wanted in a lifetime. I had to let myself out to see what I had to say. I am still listening.

However, a new truth is evident to me. I will make mistakes and I will inadvertently hurt people. People may be hurt simply because I do not agree. I no longer have to pretend to agree with everyone I come in contact with. Whew! What a relief that is! I can be nice, but I do not have to give up my thoughts to inherit another’s.

But, my skin is still thin. I am trying to let it thicken. Who knew that process could be so painful?

“You have to grow thick skin and that only comes with time and learning.” Karlie Kloss