Island Illusion

“No man is an island.” John Donne

Islands bring adventure! Beauty! Exotic sights! Or perhaps they can bring danger, hunger and isolation.

By definition an island is surrounded by water. Without a means to leave the island by boat or swimming one could feel trapped there. Emotions can be like islands. We can feel so overwhelmed by an emotion that we believe there is no escape. When the emotions are jubilant, we don’t mind. We would like to live on the jubilant island forever! But when emotions are dark, we wish to seek light and an escape from such despair, sadness or loneliness.

One must start with John Donne’s declaration. ‘No man is an island’. No matter how isolated one feels, there is a way of escape. The first step is an act of the will-a desire to escape. The desire must translate into actions or the presumed desire is not real. It is an illusion which further traps the inactive person in despair.

So how might one bridge the water which seems to obstruct escape?  Remember, we are not islands. We are people with connections to others. Approaching others may not be easy. A bridge may have to be built or repaired. A person may have to learn to swim to escape. Sometimes we can build the bridge alone. Sometimes we can teach ourselves how to swim. Sometimes we need external instruction. This instruction can be obtained via a friend, a counselor, a book, or a sage. When we want to escape, we must take the action required for that desire to become a reality.

“Too much self-centered attitude, you see, brings, you see, isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centered attitude is the source of suffering.” Dalai Lama



Art Gallery in My Mind

“As humans we look at things and think about what we’ve looked at. We treasure it in a kind of private art gallery.” Thom Gunn

My art gallery is in my mind. When I experience a beautiful moment, I linger there. I want to fully embrace it. I want to see it, feel it, smell it, listen to it, and taste it, if possible. My five senses become the colors for my art. Every experience doesn’t get protected in the gallery. Some experiences I remember, but I do not call up the memories. They fade some over time.

Other memories, I protect. They get placed in the art gallery and I visit them often.

Puffing my wedding veil from my face as I try not to cry as my groom is singing the song he wrote for me.

Standing on a pier in Santa Monica and watching the ocean greet the shore, seeing the textures in front of me: foot printed sand, white bubbling crashing waves, blue sky, and the green bluff of land jutting out of it’s mountain perch as it watches the same scene.

Stroking the hair at my husbands temples as he rests his head on my lap. He’d just gotten home from the hospital. As I stroke his temples, I note the gray that is beginning to appear. Life moves on and leaves it’s affects on us.

My father walking out on the empty golf course approaching a lone figure, crying in her grief. His arms folding around me, and telling me it will all be okay.

Waking up on the hospital room cot and seeing little white Kids tennis shoes gently tapping the floor as the person rocked to and fro on the other side of of the crib. I sit up on my cot, look over the crib, and discover the shoes belong to my sister who has come to comfort me while there with my infant daughter.

Feeling the hug from my friend when my world was falling apart. Feeling a comfort from him that reached to my soul.

Standing in a castle garden and giving my love to my second husband. Surrounded by nature, flowers, and the breath of spring. All full of hope and promise.

Seeing bright red flowers that grew from the stubborn black lava rock that covered the Big Island in Hawaii. Being so amazed that life could grow out of such hardship. Yet, knowing that to be true in my own life.

These are a few. The gallery is too big to describe all the art which is stored there. One of the beautiful things about this gallery, is that it never closes. I can enter it anytime I wish.

“The sun never sets on my gallery.” Larry Gagosian


“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” Plato

One day I while I was sitting in church, I was thinking about some of the struggles I was facing at that time. My mother was struggling with dementia, and we were in grief as we watched her disappear before us. I glanced around the congregation and thought about all the struggles people around me must be facing too.

They enter the church and smile, just like I did. They laugh at the light hearted comments, just like I did. But inside my heart was breaking. I wondered how many others had broken hearts too.

I work at a hospital. I have had many days and nights in a hospital ‘on the other side of the sheets’ sort to speak. I know what it is like to have your schedule disrupted, to have pain, to be frightened of the possible outcome, to be confused and to want comfort-not just for your physical pain, but your emotional and spiritual peace. Not a day goes by that I don’t pass people who are coming and going through those hospital halls that I don’t think about what they may be facing. I try and offer comfort where I can…an explanation/directions/smile..anything I might be able to do to wrap some comfort around their heart.

I’ve learned I am not unique to struggles. Everyone has them. They vary in their intensity, and there may be moments of reprieve, but another struggle will come.

So, I want to be kind to people. Kindness leads to thinking outside of myself. If all I can be concerned about is my personal struggle -and how people can help me; I am blinded to the needs around me and how I might help others.

I recently discovered a web site that is private and does not accept any grants or donations, they only accept stories of kindness and post those to inspire others with ideas of things they could do to promote kindness.

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless” Mother Teresa