Thursday, October 29, 2009

You CAN Fly

A friend of mine, a wonderful musician and lyricist, wrote a song called You Can't Fly. (You can get a copy of the CD, This Train at Vollie McKinzie's website or by contacting me) The song describes a dream he had about sneaking onto an airport and taking off in a plane, though he had no idea how to fly. It's a fairly common dream, but Vollie pulled amazing insight from that dream.

He says that every plane wants to fly, that it was made to fly. And that you need to have your own flight plan and not accept anyone else's. He encourages the listener to go for it. The man is wise, I tell you. You've got to hear the song.

His song This Train is not the This Train is Bound for Glory song you might be thinking of. McKinzie's This Train states "This train ain't got not beam. This train ain't got no steam. And staying on's insane. I'm up and off this train."

I've played both songs for clients to encourage them, but mostly I play them for myself to encourage me.

How often do we stay on the train for no other reason then it's where we find ourselves. If it ain't getting us where we want to go, then staying on's insane. Sure, hopping off might be scary. Flying might be scary. In fact, it's sure to be scary. But staying on the train to nowhere or staying on the ground is insane. Besides, it's boring. And the very worst way to die must be being bored to death.

I remember details of flying in my dreams. Sometimes I don't even use a plane. I remember the way it feels when my hair is blown away from my face. I can see the different personalities of trees when you see them from above. I remember that all I have to do is step up into the air and let go of gravity and there I am.

Even in my dreams it takes a good deal of trust and courage to step off the surface of the planet. But oh, it's so very worth it just to feel like the shimmer of a full moon reflecting off a still, clear lake. It's worth the risk of falling just to feel what it's like to be inside a breeze. To be weightless as smoke and strong as steel at the same time. Totally free.

Don't let anyone tell you that you can't fly. It's a nasty rumor spread by fridged, heartless people with no imagination. And get the CD.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

spirals. gotta love 'em.


They are breasts. You may call them pink-nosed puppies, hooters, melons, ta-tas, boobs, titties, honkers, headlights, racks, bazooms, or naughty pillows; but they are actually breasts. They are a parts of a body, just as arms or feet. With very few exceptions, everybody's gone a couple.

Women's breasts are cooler then men's though, because they can feed babies - an amazing, wondrous thing. Just think about that for a little minute. A woman has a baby and her breasts manufacture the exact food her baby needs. Perfect. I could go on and on about women in this country who believe they can't breast feed because their milk "isn't rich enough" or they "don't have enough milk," but that will be a different post a different time. Suffice it to say that for thousands of years no one had that trouble and it's not a problem in most of the world now. My sister's OB-Gyn actually told her that if she "Didn't want them to look used, don't use them." Obviously a man. Obviously misguided. But I digress.

Over 355,000 American women had breast implants last year. I've got to say, this is about the silliest thing I can think of right now. We aren't allowed to show them off in public without being considered lewd, but we will spend lots of money, time and pain to get something artificial put into our bodies involving general anesthesia and cutting to make them look good. Excuse me? Now I'm not talking about people who get breast reductions to save their backs or who want reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy. I'm talking about vanity that causes women to undergo the knife to have bigger or perkier breasts. I can't quite get my mind around it.

It's not only surgery but bras that bother me. Invented by crazy men! They are uncomfortable at best, and I can't figure out why they are necessary. If breasts are all that important visually, why do we have to cover them up at all?

Now and then I see an article about a woman feeding her baby in public and getting flack for it and I consider becoming a violent person. What the heck? You can go to any beach and see more breasts "covered" by bikini tops than you can when a woman is feeding a baby. And who cares anyway? It makes much more sense to be offended by a woman feeding a baby expensive, inferior baby formula from a bottle.

We are just now getting to the place where we can talk openly about breast cancer, getting mammograms, doing self breast exams, etc. What is wrong with our culture that we can't deal with breasts. They are just breasts, for crying in a bucket! They aren't going to jump out and bite you. They aren't going to damn you to everlasting hellfire. They are beautiful, functional, and sensitive, but they don't perform magic.

Apparently for many people, breasts are funny if they are "too big" or "too small." I'm not sure why. Forbidden fruit, maybe? What if next Tuesday all American women decided not to wear bras? Would it bring about the end of the world? Would preachers preach? What if next July 1, all beach and swimming pool attending American women failed to put on the tops of their bathing suits. Would prosecutors prosecute?

I imagine that everyone would get over it very quickly. Well, except plastic surgeons and bra sellers. If we stopped treating them like ta-tas, perhaps they'd become simply breasts. I think this is worthy of a try.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Year may be left blank

You don't have to tell people how old you are if your profile. You can leave the year blank if you'd like. I suppose you could lie, too. My daughter accused me of being 25 for 25 years, and I have to admit that I used to tell people I was a few (uh-hem) years younger than I was.

When we were kids we wanted to be older. When we were 15, we couldn't wait to be 16. Then 18, then 21, and then, sometime around age 25 we started wanting to be 22 again. What a bloomin' waste of time.

I have 54 years! There are lots of good, adventurous years included in those. In fact, they are all keepers. Some of them were more fun than others. In fact, at least a few of them were really painful. But since they brought me to this lovely rainy autumn day I wouldn't want to change them - not that I'm likely to be given the chance to change the past any time soon.

Why is it that young people think it's better to be young? I understand that there is a biological urge to have sex with healthy-looking prospective parents of our future children, but somewhere along the line, we come to the conclusion that age ain't so bad. When people tell me that I don't look as old as I am, my mind stutters as I try to take it as a compliment. If we really appreciate age, what is wrong with looking our age? Older, even? As a matter of fact, what does it mean to look your age? It doesn't make any more sense than acting your age.

This is what 54 looks like and this is what 54 acts like. Perfect just as I am and in need of a little improvement. I'm hot, let's face it.

Take heart, Children. Have hope. There is a good chance you will get to be 54, too. And there's every reason to believe I'm going to one day be a bright, charming, sexy 84 year old. Maybe I'll take up painting. Maybe I'll become humble.

I remember my grandmother saying, "Oh, you young people think you invented sex!" I can remember as a youngin' figuring out how old I'd be at the turn of the century and deciding that I'd be far too old to celebrate. I was 45. I was not too old (blushing.) I am still not too old. It's a well kept Boomer secret (and I hope I don't get kicked out for revealing it) that things don't even start getting juicy until about 45, when you no longer have to even consider that biological urge to reproduce and can concentrate on the fun stuff. In fact, I hope to be just hitting my prime every moment for the rest of my life.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Please give your attention to your inner flight attendant to review emergency relationship procedures. In the unlikely event of a water landing, be aware that good communication is your only floatation device.

You have chosen many of your relationships and many you were just born or happened into. However you got to them, there you are. If you are older than six, you probably have some relationships behind you that ended miserably. Perhaps they haven't ended, but they remain miserable. You can't get hurt or hurt anyone with whom you don't have a relationship. Your relationships define your life in many respects.

Sometimes you get into a relationship with someone who is just so ding dang perfect you can't believe your luck at finding this absolutely flawless friend/lover/co-worker/therapist/plumber/bartender/whatever. You're both Leos, you both have three older siblings, your mother and his mother are both mothers, you went to different schools together. You know. . . .you were made for each other.

And then, something happens and you realize that your perfect partner/buddy/teammate/roommate/whatever is becoming less and less perfect as time goes by. What do you do? Do you jump and pull the ripcord? Do you open the door and push? Do you sit in silence and reach for your airsick bag? Where is that floatation device?

If you go into a relationship - any relationship - in which the participants have different expectations of how long the flight will last and where it will land, there is going to be turbulence and possibly a crash. Possibly a firey, terrifying, deadly destructive crash. If you are both/all going to be friends when you get there, you'd better share a common flight plan.

The bottom line is we all have assumptions about how life is and we don't always share those assumptions with the people who are travelling this life with us. The only way to share them is to figure out what your assumptions are and communicate them to those with whom you have relationships. You know what happens when we assume, right? (we make and ass out of u and me. )

For example, when two lovers talk about their shared dreams, it's imperative to discover what each means by dream. If one defines dream as a plan for his life and the other defines dream as something that's nice to think about, but not grounded in reality; someone is going to get hurt. Probably two people will be hurt. Yet each assumes that the other's definition matches his own.

You can't win a relay race when one of the runners is heading in a direction different from the others or if one of the runners suddenly stops because she can't decide if she really wants that blue ribbon. That's why organizations need to review and restate their mission statements, goals, and projections. I've seen organizations get all excited about an addition, event, or expansion with so much energy that I thought there was no way it could fail. Yet the new idea failed because it didn't relate to the mission. It was a tangent.

Don't get me wrong, not all tangents are bad. They are the basis of adventure. They are the Road Less Travelled. Wondrous, beautiful, vibrant. But when you take a trek down the road less travelled, know that way leads on to way and you are likely not going to get back to your original route. It's ok if you are aware of what you are doing, but you can't always expect your fellow travellers to feel the same way about that particular road.

We all carry our assumptions like skin cells. We feel comfortable in them. They usually change so slowly that we don't even notice it, though sometimes we have an accident and a bunch of them get painfully torn off at once. We can't avoid all communication accidents, but we can steer clear of a great many of them just by sharing our assumptions. It's always better to check them out than risk a crash.

Some people tend to fly high with no flight plan, working instruments, or even a seatbelt. They tend to die young (in terms of relationships.) Alternately, some people choose never to fly and remain safe, boring, and going no where. And while I'm usually not one for moderation, there is a happy medium. Relationships can be strengthened and sometimes even mended with communication about assumptions.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What is your race?

Will someone explain to me why the state requires us to collect information about race when it is illegal to do anything differently according to race. We say African American, Black, White, Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic, Latino, Native American, American Indian, as if that actually means something. Young (younger than I) friends in Durham, NC, carry around copies of their application for a marriage license on which the options from which they had to choose included Puerto Rican and Colored. Huh?
I'll ask people about their ethnicity when I have to, and very often end up checking other. No one has ever been offended when I ask, in fact usually they are very happy to explain. A person with dark brown skin might say "Well, my grandfather on my mom's side was half Cherokee and my grandmother came from Ireland. My father is Black, so I guess that makes me. . . " And I'll suggest, "American?"
Or someone with medium brown skin will say, "My dad is Mexican and my mother's mother came from England."
A person with light tan skin might answer, "My great-grandparents came from Germany and my other great, great grandparents came from Scotland."
Or they might take my question from a different angle and state, "I was raised in the inner city;"
or "I'm an orthodox Jew;" or "I grew up in a series of foster homes."
These last examples might actually tell me something useful about them, but there isn't a box for me to check for those.
One of the coolest things about America is our blended ethnicity. We can get any kind of food and wear any kind of dress and listen to any kind of music we like because we are in America and it's all handy.
But how is race determined? How many races of humans are there? How can I tell if you are Black or White? Sure, I can look at your skin and eye color, the color and texture of your hair, the shape of your nose and I could make a guess about what continent your ancestors came here from. Is that race? That could be some quirk of genes. Perhaps your father has red hair, green eyes and freckles. Are you still Black? What about a dark brown skinned person who was born in Haiti? Is that person African American? Is Oback Barama Black? Is Tiger Woods Black? Does it matter? If I call Tiger Woods Asian is he going to play golf differently?
I think Hitler decided that if someone had one great grandparent who was Jewish, that person counted as a Jew. But if it was only one great-great grandparent, then you weren't Jewish. How they determined Jewishness is not clear. I've read that most of the Jews from Germany who were killed and/or tortured during Hitler's rule considered themselves German.
How long must my ancestors live in a certain part of the world before I'm considered the race associated with that area? If we go way, way, way back, I reckon we all evolved from people around the same one (or possibly) two parts of the planet. Doesn't that mean we're all the same race?
We are mutts. And that's a good thing. Pure breeds tend to have genetic weaknesses. Mutts tend to get the strengths from all donors.
When I am asked to check a box declaring race for myself, I tend to be creative. If they want me to describe the way I look (never happened) I guess I'd have to call my skin pale to see-through. I've never had a tan, but I can burn really well.
When my son (also very pale to see-through) was a toddler, a priest from Tanzania was visiting our house. The priest was intrigued with Patrick's toys and they'd been crawling around the floor playing with trucks and blocks for quite a while when Patrick rubbed the man's arm and said, "Fodder, you're green." My daughter, much more worldly at 22 months older, explained that Patrick was just learning his colors and told him that Father wasn't green, he was really dark brown. Then she went on to say that she and her daddy were light brown and Patrick and Mommy were light tan.
The priest said, "Well, I've been called lots of things but never green."
I'm not trying to get a sing along of Ebony and Ivory going here. I just can't figure why we need to keep categorizing people according to race. Especially when no one has yet given me a good, working definition. There are so many better ways to categorize people.
Maybe we should have people check if they are grouchy, silly, loving, happy, angry, hungry or tired. Those things might be important.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Circles within circles within circles.
It's turtles all the way down.

Coming out as a Pantheist.

I am a Pantheist by philosophy. I'd say by religion, but I'm not big on that word, as I believe that a large percentage of the world's ills are caused by people who use religion as an excuse to be wicked.
By Pantheist I mean that I believe the Universe is all there is and that it's more than enough. We are all parts of the Universe. Everything is divine - that includes you, me, this rock, the trees, and the stars. In fact, our bits are not separated by anything other than our narrow perceptions from the rest of the Universe.
That being perfectly clear, I'd like to say some things about god. I think it's silly to say "God loves you from his throne in a place where streets are paved with gold and he's keeping a big book recording everything you say and do so that when you die he can decide whether to move you in to heaven or burn you for ever." It's more than silly, it's irresponsible, contradictory, and insane to believe in a god like that.
It's irresponsible because people who believe in that god don't really have to take responsibility for the way they treat others or the Earth. They can blame the devil, god's arch enemy, for bad things and they can wait for god to make things right. Well, wake up brothers and sisters, we're it. It's up to us to stop killing in the name of an all-loving god. It's up to us to stop destroying the world. It is irresponsible to think you can do any ol' thing you want because god will come along and take you to a better place soon anyway. Besides, if god created this beautiful planet, wouldn't he like you to take better care of it?
It is immature to let someone else do your thinking for you. When you accept something on faith or because your religion told you to, you are abdicating your responsibility. You're saying you are just too lazy to decide for yourself and that you are so without a moral compass that you must rely on someone else to tell you what is right and wrong. And let's face it, the big three religions don't have all that good a track record when it comes to right and wrong.
Speaking of contradictions, pick an Abrahamic religion that isn't full of them. God loves you. God will burn you in the everlasting pit of fire if you get out of line. Turn the other cheek and kill the enemy. Not by good works will ye be saved. Love without works is dead. .I don't have to go on, do I? Come on. Sure it takes some getting over to grow out of the religion of our youth that managed to shape our thinking (or lack of it). And sure, we were scared and blackmailed into "believing" all sorts of things. But you can't really buy the stories, can you? And if you can, how do you decide which bits are true and which are just "mysteries?"
When someone hears or sees a big guy in the sky who tells him what to do, we call that insane. Sanity may be consensus, but most of us would agree that cutting ourselves, hitting ourselves, starving ourselves isn't emotionally healthy. Unless of course, it's for religious purposes and that religion matches our own. Then it's spiritual, right? Same for killing other people. If I kill a bunch of people because Bosco, a big purple head that follows me around told me to, I'd be put away and medicated in this world and burned in the next. But if I bomb a building because god wants me to, I get a bunch of virgins or a gold paved driveway or something. And if I eat human flesh I'm a monster, but if I eat the body and drink the blood of god, it's just ducky.
I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The Jesus who is peaceful and wise and loving is a good person to emulate. Churches that feed the hungry, house the homeless, provide healthcare, etc. are admirable. They are doing something worthwhile.
But good things are done by Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddists, Pagans, and even people who talk to big purple heads. Bad things are done by them, too. And some of the best music, painting, sculpture, literature I know is spiritual or religious in nature. The greatest percentage of my friends claim religion, though I don't think many of them are true believers of the whole schmere.
But I'm not an atheist. It is my understanding that atheists don't believe in the divine. I think everything is divine. And that is why it is so important to take care of each other and our world. It is,and we are holy.
It's not without some hesitation I have written this and put it out there. Basically I'm afraid. But I'm not as afraid as I used to be. And I'm sad that people (I know you're out there) have to be afraid in a country with freedom of religion to be thought to be without it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Low battery

My battery is low. I feel as if I need to be recharged.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hope, trust, future

With all the bad news, sad news, crazy people and crazy things that fill our lives and our media, people, like my little girl here and my brand new son-in-law - perfectly sane, articulate, intelligent people, mind you - choose to marry. It's just a wondrous, hopeful statement. It says "You hang in there. Enjoy everything. Life is grand."

Loving it

It's the coolest thing to look forward to going to work in the morning and look forward to going home in the evening. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Acorns and Mushrooms and common sense

Although I'm a psychotherapist by trade, I will never understand why people do some crazy stuff and don't do some really sane stuff. Maybe someone can help me with this.
Why don't more people eat acorns?
Why don't more people learn which wild mushrooms to eat?
What's wrong with free, wild food?

Why would people spend money to bring toxic chemicals into their homes when less expensive, safe things work just as well?

Why doesn't every building have a rain collection system (rain barrels?) and use this "gray water" for flushing and watering plants?

Why do people think it's a good idea to put chemicals on their lawns to grow grass that they then mow with air and noise polluting lawn mowers? Who came up with the idea of grass lawns anyway?

Why do people drive to a gym to exercise?

Why do we (Americans) pay more for healthcare than other countries and still have such a large percentage of people who can't get proper healthcare?

Why do we teach our children good nutrition in the classroom and poor nutrition in the cafeteria?

Why does our government subsidize tobacco and subsidize anti smoking campaigns?

Why is marijuana illegal, morphine and benzodiazapines legan when prescribed, and alcohol legal to anyone of age?

Why does it evidently make sense to people to kill people who kill people to show them that violence is wrong?

Seriously, does any of this make sense? Can ya splain it to me, Lucy?


I'm staying home today. I'm not sure what it feels like to be hit by a buffalo, but I'm thinking this might be close. My chest burns when I breathe and hurts when I cough. My bones ache. I think I'll go to sleep again so I won't just complain.

It might be silly to be grateful for a body that hurts, but I am. I'm not quite grateful for the hurt itself yet. I'd like to say something profound, but I'm much more likely to say something profain.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A bright, crisp blue autumn day today. I planted a shade garden which is most of my front yard. The goal is to never mow and have a beautiful, peaceful garden under four huge oaks . Sixteen hostas, four ferns, lots of English and Virginia bluebells, lilies of the valley, coral bells, foam flowers, creeping myrtle, and probably other things I'm blanking on now are now doing their autumn magic in the secrecy of the soil.
I outlined a winding path through the garden with bottles waiting on a trip to the recycling center. I wanted to make sure didn't plant in the path, which I heaped with extra mulch and walked back and forth on to compact. I was amused when a neighbor drove by and shot me the peace sign as I carried empty beer and wine bottles to my front yard. I was even more amused an hour or so later when I remembered that I was wearing a shirt with a big peace sign on it.
Planting a big garden requires a lot of bending, squatting, talking aloud to the Universe, and happiness. I gathered rocks as I dug and carried them to the back yard where a veggie garden to be is surrounded by a French drain to keep it from washing away on it's sloping location. On one trip to transport rocks and stretch my legs I found toadstools growing in a cluster the size of half a basketball. I took them to my compost bin.
The compost bin is an amazing thing. It makes me feel all green and wonderful until I realize that the Earth has been doing this without my help for its whole life. My little attempt must make the Earth smile if not laugh. Still it's a joy to watch it work. Put in chicken poo, vegetable scraps, weeds, leaves, the occassional toadstool. . . . and out comes stuff your garden loves.
I don't at all mind making the Earth laughing with me (as my siblings used to tell me, they weren't laughing AT me, they were laughing WITH me). My best hope is that I'll always laugh along.