Quiz Time

Yes, it’s the hot, sweltering days of Summer and I’ve searched and found what Gerard Mosler sent me on another hot Summer day. I enjoyed his words (questions) and hope you do, too.

And it’s the perfect Quiz for such days as we are having. It’s a list of puzzle questions, and try not to peek at the answers at the bottom of my column, but, what the heck, it’s Summer. It’s hot. I don’t know who you are, so cheat on every one, if you want. I won’t know. And, if the truth be know, I cheated the first time (and the second time, too) that I read it. Who’s looking? Who cares?

1. Which was the smallest continent before Australia was discovered?

2. You have prepared ten pounds of peaches because you’re making jam. When you start to put them in the kettle, you remember the old recipe advised, for improved flavor, you to add the juice of a lemon for every dozen peaches. You don’t remember the number of peaches you’ve prepared, and so how can you determine the proper number of lemons to squeeze?

3. An old fashioned, antique six-day alarm clock will run at least five days without winding. True or false?

4. What is the only word to the English language that can be written without pen, pencil, chalk, or any other pigment?

5. Behind each girl is a boy. Behind each boy is a girl. What is the smallest number of children that will fulfill those specifications?

6. A planeload of famous people crashed near the boundary of two countries. A question of International Law arose about where to bury the survivors. It was finally decided that each country would bury half of them. Do you agree?

7. Can you make sense of the following sentence by adding to it question marks?  “Before popping the important man often time.”

8. Three women are standing under one umbrella without anybody’s getting wet. How is this done?

9. What word will be shorter if you add a syllable to it?

10.Can you tell in what case two times two is six.
 
ANSWERS

1. It has always been Australia whether we knew it was there or not.

2. Just count the peach pits.

3. No non-electric clock will run without winding, five days, five minutes or otherwise.

4. The word already is “written.”

5. One boy, one girl, standing back to back.

6. Who ever heard of survivors being buried?

7. Before popping the important QUESTION man often MARKS time.

8. It isn’t raining.

9. Short.

10. In no case!

See, I told you it was a ‘hot, sweltering summer day’ quiz. But Gerard Mosler must have enjoyed putting it together, and I enjoyed it enough to tuck it away to be found at a later date, and the same to you. And you. And you.

See you next week.

Amazing Grace

. . . in God’s eyes, we are One

I think that President Obama’s address, in So. Carolina, at the funeral rites of Reverend Pinckney, the murdered Leader of the AME Church there, and one of nine killed there, will stand in history along-side Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and will define what 160 years of The Nation’s emotional and physical evolution has brought about.

Lincoln and Obama, both spoke of the same turmoil in our Nation, but after that century and a half of time, and while the core of that turmoil might be the same, the Consciousness of the Nation has grown and matured, allowing Obama to speak from a different viewpoint.

He emphasized, as Lincoln did, that he spoke as OUR President, and to ALL of us, BUT inasmuch as so much has happened to ALL of us during that last century and a half, he was addressing a more mature, and I hope wiser people than Lincoln did.

He was also speaking as one who, at this time of turmoil, was also remembering that he, OUR respected President, is a product of both sides of the tension, and as such, how his heart bleeds with understanding for both.

And with that history, OUR President spoke as a man, who is in the position of political leader of ALL of us, and with his background, to be the one striving to bring understanding and peace to all, no matter from which creed, color or race.

And, with no apology, Obama, asked for the Grace of God to be upon both sides. Tears came to my eyes as I listened and sensed his feeling of understanding and empathy for both. Who could know better? Who else could speak out with such understanding and power?

Torn?   No, and that was the wonderful part of his words. Just as the families of those who were murdered in that So. Carolina Church, were calling upon forgiveness for both the Murdered, as well as forgiveness for The Murderer, so did Obama ask the same of us. Me and you and you and you. 

He spoke of God’s Grace, and knew that God did not separate people and that His Grace fell upon both sides, and that, in God’s eyes, there were not and never had been two sides, and reminded us of that Grace, and – – – suddenly my body shivered as he, my President, your President, with no introduction, began singing. Singing that familiar and wonderful hymn of “Amazing Grace”.  And not to the camera, not to the Press, but only from his own heart, did he sing.

And almost before that first phrase was complete, the congregation, one by one, two , three and then soon, everyone was standing and singing along with him. It was not a rehearsed moment. It was spontaneous, accompanied by claps of approval, different types of voices, but with the same words and emotions.

Our President was not speaking or singing for the Nation or the world, but was  speaking and singing for himself and to you and me and every person, who knows that at the Source, we are all One. And for all  to rise and praise That Source, for the last 160 years of  evolution of the Nation’s emotions, and brave enough to show our true feelings.

Forgiveness. The answer to all our problems, not only this particular  one, but the answer which covers all. Forgiveness not only for those others, but primarily, forgiveness of ourselves. Forgiveness for our actions. Forgiveness for our thinking.

Forgiveness that rises above our pain, our anger, or any justification. Obama, for that hour on June 26th, was more than our political leader, for at that time he bravely stepped forward, and spoke as a Spiritual leader as well.

He rose above all justified resentments, and spoke of the Oneness of All. And asked us to step forward with him. More bloodshed is not the answer, for as the song he was singing says, we are all sinners, “A Wretch like me”, is how the song tells us, and that wherever we are, whatever race we come from, whichever creed we follow – – – –  in God’s eyes, we are One. You, me, those people, as well as any other people,  we all seek Shelter under God’s Grace.

And if our President has the humility to speak and sing those words, in his untrained voice, to the Nation and world, so do I, and You, and You.

And I think, that somewhere, in one of God’s ‘Next Rooms’ Abraham Lincoln also stood, and with tears in his eyes, joined in the song of God’s Amazing Grace.

Our Dreams Bring Messages

. . .if we but listen, for dreams do not come with sub-titles.

And so we dream. Every night you go to bed and dream and every night, I also go to bed and dream.

We laugh and often our first words the next morning are “My gosh, I had the craziest (weirdest, saddest, sexiest, wildest, most puzzling) dream last night” and then tell all about it.

But once you begin to understand the meaning of your dreams, you stop broadcasting them to the world, for it’s most akin to you undressing in public. Rather, you share them with one you can trust implicitly, or save and ponder them in your own private, silent heart.

For the fact is, if it’s a dream we remember, we can be sure it has a message. For us. The dreams that are the result of eating, or drinking too much, a sudden noise, or getting twisted in the blankets, are meaningless and soon forgotten. But pay attention to those you remember. They are you, reaching out to you. 

I once had a horrible dream, repeated three consecutive nights. Oh, there were differences, but all with the same message, bothered me so much that it finally sent me to a doctor. Yes, and in less than one week, I was operated upon and said TYG many times over.

Our dreams, the experts tell, consist of the unconscious part of ourselves trying to communicate with our conscious part. My dreams are me, talking to me, and yours are you talking to you. Well, except for the ones mentioned above.

They are trying to give us a warning (see above) on some area in our life where we could use help or need some wise advice. And everything, every T-H-I-N-G, in that dream is us. If we see ourselves in a messy, cluttered house, that house is us, and the dream is telling us that something in our life, needs ‘cleaning up’.

And watch which room, bedroom, bath, kitchen, basement, garage, you’re in.  Upstairs? Your Higher Self.  Basement? Your Lower Self.

It all has meaning. Your car is you, and if you are driving up hill, good for you, you’re on the right course, and if going downhill, pay attention, for in some way, you’re headed the ‘other’ way. Bathrooms are clean-up messages, and are well worth pondering over.

Our dreams reflect the culture and thinking of the era we live in. When Freud first dipped into our dreams, he came up with the fact that 95% of dreams were concerned with sex. And he was right, too. For that day and age.

The world of his time was an inhibited place with sex a big unmentionable no-no. So, his clients, in that locked-in-concrete atmosphere, had dreams of sexual freedom. But, I understand, in today’s world, where there is sexual freedom never before known, our dreams are gradually reflecting a desire for change. Of course there are exceptions, but I understand that a ‘home, with a picket fence’ is beginning to be reflected in dreams. Oh, not for you, or me, but that’s what the experts are finding. No fooling.

Not Puritanism. but ’tis said, that when the pendulum goes too far either way, in any aspect of life, our dreams nudge us toward what is ‘normal, or a balance’.

We too are told to look at our dreams, as was Joseph, in Biblical times. And the same as with Joseph, everything is in symbols, left for us to interpret, for dreams do not come with sub-titles. To-day, the majority of our dreams (like it or not), are not of freedom of sex.

But remember, dream symbols are explicit. Terribly explicit. Surprisingly explicit. Sometimes horribly explicit. So if you decide to figure out what ‘You are trying to tell yourself’ don’t hide half your dream as being ‘not nice’, or shiver and say, “I would never do that”. Take a second look, knowing it’s only a symbol, and that every T-H-I-N-G, and every O-N-E-,  in that dream is reflecting some part of you. Don’t toss it aside, for some part of you is struggling with what your dreams are revealing. And dreams do not come with printed Instructions. 

Get your self a good dream book, (not from the supermart), and begin to pay attention to how you are trying to bring harmony into your life. It’s sorta fun, and sometimes, as what happened to me, can be very good for your health. It’s one great big eye opener as to how smart we really are. And that we really are our own best friend.

“The Dream Book”, by Betty Bethards, published first in 1983 and still going strong, is used as a textbook, and highly recommended. I paid about $13.00 for one in the 1980’s, and liked it so much that I gave copies for birthday gifts that year.  So try Amazon and get one for less than $5.00. It’s good stuff and you’ll keep it handy by your bedside from now on.

——

This is a repeat blog. Vacation time comes and I jump at it.

——

The Invisible Scar

“Bombardment, barrage, curtain-fire, mines, gas, tanks, machine-guns, hand-grenades – words, words, but they hold the horror of the world.”
Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (hereinafter PTSD) is thought, by many people, to be an outcome of around the last 15 or so years of global warfare. But tales from my family’s history, going back to World War One, reveal it to be an old, old sickness that had not yet been recognized. And anyway, they thought it affected only a scattering of the returning veterans.

However, book after book, following our Civil War also tell the sad tales of men coming home after the War, as changed, and never again the same husband, son, or brother as the one who had left them to fight for either the Confederacy or the Union. Which ‘side’ didn’t matter, war is war and the returning men were ‘Never again the same men who had left’. Call it whatever they might have, we now know it was also PTSD.

Parley Goodall, my mother’s younger  brother, ‘came back’ from France of WW 1, and retreated to his farm fields in the then isolated small town of Santaquiin, Utah, and never again left their peace and quiet. Not even, I understand to go as far as Provo, or certainly not to Salt Lake City. And now I realize he was a lucky man, in that he owned fields that he could retreat to and be able to support his family in that manner.

But Parley left us words that, a century later, remain part of the family lore and vibrate with his emotions. His words were: “If there’s another War and they ask me to serve again, there will be two men who will never go. Me and the man who tries to make me.”

My Uncle served in the French Trenches, which faced a similar line of German Trenches.  Neither progressing, but neither giving up. A yard ot two won today, with a yard or two lost the next, but either way, thousands of lives were lost in that back-and-forth futile maneuvering.

After WW 1, both France and Germany built over 3,000 concrete Bunkers which faced each other and became known as the Maginot and Siegfried Lines. And no matter how well built to protect, and to even keep the men’s feet dry, those Lines were found to be utterly useless when Hitler began WW 2 and thousands of airplanes flew over those expensive, supposedly uncrossable lines,  as if they were not even there.

But getting back to PTSD, those early vets never recovered from what finally became known in WW1, as Shellshock, and also from Trench Foot, caused by living weeks upon weeks with wet feet. It was said, there were no dry feet in the Trenches, giving those men a condition that would be theirs for the rest of their days.

One man I know served in that most horrible final WW2 Battle of the Bulge and has lived a very full and productive life, in all ways, of home, family, church and business, but is only now able to allow small phrases and words of that time, to be spoken or appear in his writing.

The veterans of Vietnam and the Korean wars were for a long time almost ignored or forgotten, for they were the leftovers of LBJ’S most unwise and unpopular decisions, but that did nothing to alleviate the post war sufferings of those men. Aromas of gun powder, sounds of explosives, whether back yard fire crackers, Fourth of July celebrations, or even certain foods that were brought back and made their way to our own tables. A man I once knew  from Magna left his own family dinner table, trembling and crying out in utter terror when such a dish innocently appeared at a family meal.

But today, the men and more and more women, are returning and their suffering is now recognized. Our hospitals are full of them, and Kenneth, a most likeable, busy, man I’ve known since his childhood, is battling his way back from Afghanistan, to a normal life in Arizona, with as much help as the overcrowded hospitals are able to offer.

If I, in my really sheltered life, can know of at least one veteran from the last century of wars and suffering, I flinch at how many others there must be. Let’s be kind, loving and understanding of anyone who has served and then blessed enough to return home. Whether it shows or not, each suffers from what has become known as The Invisible Scar.

They received those scars as they fought for me, you, and those who have never even heard of those old fights. So, for all who will carry that The Invisible Scar, plus the additional thousands whose  scars  are very visible with lost arms, legs, and upon their bodies, May God Bless Every Single One Of Them.

Education Funding In Utah

The rest of the story . . .

We all flinched at the headline on the lower left corner of the front Page of a recent Salt Lake Tribune issue which read: Utah Last Again in Per-Student Spending, telling the world, or at least implying, how little we really care about our children’s education..

But although we cringe to see such words, we also know  that they’re not exaggerated. They are proclaiming the facts, for Utah is and always has been among the lowest, of all 48 and then 50 States. in how much we pay yearly, for each of our children’s education..

The point, however, is that we most certainly care deeply about our children and the above headline , is only the tail end of the story, for all that headline told is the Result, while the Cause of why we have such low funding, per student, is seldom, if ever, mentioned.  

There’s so much  more behind the words in that headline, and it takes a brave (gutsy?) (stupid?) soul to dare tell of the whole thing. And so, Ethel being Ethel, I speak out.

We all know the reason for the problem, seldom spoken about, for the answer comes in how many students that money must be divided amongst. And here is where the half-told and twisted news stories come about.

In any manner of reckoning, Utah is not a Poverty State, and yet those headlines make it seem as if we are poverty stricken, or worse still, and more untrue, is the implication that we care little about our children’s education.

The truth, of course, is that we are far from being a Poverty State, and we care deeply about our kids, and the solution is both simple and obvious. You can take $100.00 and divide it among ten students and each one gets Ten Dollars. Divide that same $100.00 among twenty students and each gets $5.00. But divide it among 50 students and each poor kid gets only $2.00 each.

We happen to be among the States with the most crowded classrooms, and so our tax dollars must be divided among the greatest number of students. Ergo, we’re among the highest in percentage of money received for education, but among the lowest in how much can be allotted to each child.

A few years ago a national weekly, (Newsweek?) pointed out the above truths, in a two-page spread,  by naming every one of our 50 States, and showing the rate taxation for schools; and again, State by State, the number of students that money must be divided amongst.

It shocked me with its matter-of-fact telling of the situation for ALL States, and I vividly remember how clearly it showed, for uninformed ones, such as Ethel, why the rate of taxation for education ranked Utah among the highest, yet how we ended up among the lowest in what each student was ‘given’.

I am, I suppose, a slow learner, but I doubt if much has changed since I saw that graph which outlined the ‘why’ of where every State ended up, and Utah was not the only State to shiver over where ‘they’ each ended up.  But for us, it showed that Utah is high in rate of taxes, but low only when that money gets down to each child.

And now when I read of how little Utahns spend per student, I no longer flinch, but become angry. The news ‘stories’ are giving people only half the story, and should either spell out all the details of the difference, or leave the story alone. We’re often given the ‘Result‘. but the ‘Why’ is slurred over, or seldom or ever mentioned.

This dichotomy, I’m sure, is one of the biggest causes of the escalating number of requests for Home Teaching and Private Schools. They can’t get away from being taxed, but they can control the kind of education their kids get. 

And that’s not bad. We should look at the whole story,  and then, perhaps begin helping the Private Schools, too.

 

Indian Stories

Whose moon is it, anyway?

I tell you an old story this week. But, no,it’s really two stories, and while the first one is well documented and included in odd happenings in our Nation’s History.  The second part I can find no official words telling of it, but just the same, I’ve read about it from places where others have thought it true.

It’s a good one, came from a good source, and rings true for its time and space. So, here’s the first story. The one nobody questions, and tell of it with pride.

During World War 11, the Allies, England, France, United States, Canada et al looked long and hard for some language or code to use for their private and terribly important plans for the War. A Code that wouldn’t be routinely broken by Hitler’s people, within a few weeks. It took time, but finally they found one, and it was purely American and was our own Navajo Indian language coming from centuries back, that did the trick. Notes, in that language, went back and forth during the entire war, and far longer when needed or wanted.

It was never once broken, but now, since the ‘sacred secret’ is well known, they no doubt have other methods, but who knows and who would tell, anyway?

But now for the second story. It was a couple of decades later, when, in the 1960’s, we were making our first steps in exploring Outer Space, and there were many who wished to send a message to be left on the Moon, or whatever Planet we might land upon.

And when a Navajo employee, asked if he could add a message along with other messages being allowed, and was told “Of Course” but also told that all of the messages had to to be checked and okay-ed by those in charge, before finally accepted.

So he wrote his note, but in Navajo, and after going from desk to desk with no one able to decipher it, was routinely sent, with all others, to Code Headquarters in Washington DC, to see what it said, and if allowable. Or if it was something that just might need deeper investigation.

The letter, in Navajo, of course finally reached the desk of a Navajo who just happened to be one of those who had worked The Code during the War years, and recognizing his own language , he read it and then laughed.

When asked what was so funny, he told them that the message was to whoever in Space it might end up with, and that they were advised to treat the visitors very well, for they were likeable people, but to be careful, for, in the long run, they could not be trusted.

He told that they (You and I. All of us.) would make promises upon promises, but their Goal, and their (our) ONLY ultimate goal, was to gain control over the land and all of value upon, under or over that land and when they finally accomplished that, they would kick the original people out to wherever they could go, but just to get out.

Everyone laughed, but every one did so with guilt, for, again, everyone well knows  what happened to the Indians when ‘their’ land was being ‘explored’. And we also know  how many empty promises we made, but which, as soon as something valuable, such as oil, farm land, timber, railroad rights, became suddenly of great value, the Indians, were pushed back and back and finally forced into reservations to live solely upon what ever we doled out to them. And, of course, a thousand excuses for our broken promises.

The Navajo man who wrote the letter, was speaking from his people’s long experience with us. He wrote from our true history, and his one wish was to warn others of such amiable, friendly people.

I don’t know if the last story is true, but it is supposedly well documented and was well passed around during the early days of our Space Exploration. And if not true, it should be.

I hope the ‘right’ people read and are keeping it in mind, for our reputation concerning our early explorations has not always been as pure and honest as we, today, might like it all to have been.

Good stories, both of them, and to me, the very truth and oddness of the second one, makes both of them worth keeping. And heeding.

We’ll Meet Again

     It’s Memorial Day and we think of those who once were a great part of our lives and are now in God’s Next Room. And right with those thoughts come the thoughts that it’s a Pathway that every one of us will someday take.

Some of you will remember LaRee Pehrson who contributed so much to the ‘Ole Green Sheet’ newspapers from Magna, and who gifted me with a book on thoughts of death, and they are so good that on this day, I’m sharing some of them with you. And those of us who think our thoughts of Death come mostly in the A.D. period  of time, just might be surprised at what The Ancients thought about it all, too.

So———–fasten your seat belts and come along with me:

“Birth and Death are one, in exactly the same way  that the river and the sea are one.”     Kahill Gibran 1934

“In reality there is no birth or is there Death,   it is simply being at one time visible,  and at another time, invisible.   “Apollonius of Tyana 70 A. D.

Thoreau , less then two months before his death, said he was enjoying life, which was different, but his life  had changed several times before, and he had  enjoyed every change, and had no regrets. . A member of his family asked him if he had made his peace with God, and only Thoreau could have answered as he did.  That he was not aware that he and God had ever quarreled.

Look upon Death as Going Home.   Chinese Proverb

I cannot think of Death as being anything more than stepping from one room into another.   William Blake   1826

To die is when we begin to really live.    Sophocles, 495 B.C, at the time of his execution.  (And why was he executed?  For his bold thinking?)

I stand at the seashore, where a ship spreads her white sails to the breeze and moves into the wide ocean, an object of beauty and strength.   I stay and watch until she is only a ribbon of white cloud where the sea and sky come to mingle, and I sigh, ”Oh, my! She is gone!”       But someone at my side asks,  Gone where? Gone only from our sight, for she is just as large in mast, spar and hull as when she left our side, and just as able to bear her load to the place of destination. All diminishment in size is in us, not her.    And just at the moment when you say “Oh, look, she is gone”, other voices, on the other side,  are taking up the glad shout of, “Oh, look.  Here she comes”.  And that is what we call dying.  Anonymous

Death, to a philosopher is the final fulfillment, much to be desired, because it opens the door to true knowledge.   The Soul, freed from its bonds to the body, at last achieves undimmed and celestial vision.   Socrates, on his last day of life.

We are not snuffed out at Death, but absorbed into a greater Flame.     Anne Morrow Lindbergh   1973

When you were born, you cried, but your whole world rejoiced. Live so that when you die, your world will cry, but you will rejoice.  Writer unknown but came to me through Dr. Ushurbad Arya. Bless him, for he gave so much, and  to so many.

“Here lies food for worms only, But the work shall not be lost, for it will, as he believed, appear again in a new and more elegant edition, revised and corrected by the Author.”  Benjamin Franklin, epitaph.   Written at age 22,  and decades later, his own words were engraved upon his gravestone.

Michelangelo did some of his best painting when past 80 years. Goethe continued to write when long past 80. Edison was still inventing at 93. Franklin Lloyd Wright, when  90 was named as being the world’s most creative architect. Shaw was still writing at 90. Grandma Moses didn’t begin painting until 79, (until then she was too busy raising her family and grand kids), and Winston Churchill was over 74 when he became the catalyst that stopped Hitler from victory over all of Europe in WW 11.

Years may wrinkle your skin, but lack of enthusiasm will wrinkle your very Soul.  General Douglas MacArthur, 1950

It’s a tragedy that most of us die long  before we ever really start to Live.  Erich Fromm

Old wine, old leather, old wood and old people all improve with time.  Anonymous

Nothing must be postponed. Eternity can be found in every  moment, and the wise ones seek for it.  David Thoreau, 1855

Who knows if this experience we call dying is not really living, and if living is not really dying? Who knows if to be alive is not really to die, and if dying does not count, in the nether world,  as being alive?  Euripides 454 B. C.

But then,  as tne  song we all know. says——–

“We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day.

You’ll smile at me just as you always do
Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds all away.

Please say hello to the folks that we know
Tell them I won’t be long.
They’ll be happy to know,
That as you saw me go,
I was singing  this  song.

We’ll  meet again, don’t know where,  don’t know when,
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day.”

Ethel’s Eleventh

Ten commandments on life, plus one by Ethel . . .

     I’m no expert on Life, but after we live a while, we find that whatever our life is, it has been of our own making. And that if we don’t like what our life is, that we, and no one else, can change it.  We define the events that come to us, or those events will define us. Shiver, shiver, shiver.

      1. Take time to work.   Each day you have 24 hours to use, two hands that need something to do, and ‘work’ is the answer to each. We all need the satisfaction of a job well done, and ever since Eleanor Roosevelt set the example, even every First Lady has done volunteer work. And our tired bodies sleep better at night, knowing “Today I saw a need and tried to help.”

 

       2. Take time to play.   It is the secret of youth and while youth in years cannot remain, youth in spirit is ageless. The old, familiar words still ring true. “There are ‘old’ young people, and there are ‘young’ old people.” Take your pick.

 

         3. Take time to read. The wisdom and humor of people from all ages and climes are in books, free of charge, on any library shelf. Oh, read, read, take time to read, for a life’s pathway without books can be sterile and empty. What a difference a book makes.

 

     4. Take time to think. The Mind is a Power source and the power I speak of is the power to master and control our own lives. Milton knew all about that back in 1666, when he said: ‘The Mind can make a Heaven of Hell, or a Hell of Heaven”.

 

       5. Take time to worship. The pathway to inner joy, doesn’t mean just sitting bored on some church bench, although it can happen there. It can happen any place and no matter what task you are doing, take time to remember that Adam, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, et al, had no fancy clothes or buildings for worship. In times of labor, play, relaxing, or in a crowd, no one will know what your mind is doing. Worship.

 

         6. Take time to make friends. There is no life as barren as one so full of busy-ness that no time is found for friendship. Lover, spouse and ‘significant’ other, often come and go, but friends are friends before, during and after such changes. Make friends and don’t let them get lost. Ever.

 

         7. Take time to love. It is the most sacred sacrament life can offer, and if you limit your love life to the sexual aspect, you’re missing a lot. There are so many other kind of love, all the way up to Agape, and marriages flounder unless young love develops and reaches into deeper realms. Marriage without sex would be boring, but marriage for sex only is doomed from the start.

 

           8. Take time to laugh. It is Balm of Gilead for life’s burdens. A great big hearty laugh that rocks the room is so healing it relaxes places you didn’t know were tense.

 

           9. Take time to dream.   Dreams lift you to the stars, and don’t ever apologize for your dreams. because every accomplishment on earth, from going to the moon, to writing a sonnet, began with ‘just a dream’. Ah, yes, take time to dream.

 

             10. Take time to plan. It is the secret seed for all the rest. You know the adage, one found on many a refrigerator door, or bathroom mirror, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.”

 

         11. Turn Off the D___ TV. It’s hypnotic with unending fake laughter, people giggling and trying to persuade you to buy something, or discussing subjects they no nothing about. Foolishness by the hour, obviously doing anything just to fill those 24 hours a day, day after day, and ends up with at least 22 hours of pure trash that no one wants or needs.   Turn it Off and find out what YOU think. And don’t let your kids grow up thinking TV is the answer to all life’s questions.

  

       Yes. all are good, and some are easy and some aren’t, and the ones that will be ‘a piece of cake’ for you , will probably be the ones that broke my back. And while they might not make a new person of you, they’ll make the most of the kind of person you already are. Be happy. And isn’t it great that the choice can be ours? Especially that curse of today that can be cured quickly by simply pressing one button. The OFF one to Television. It’s all our choice.

 

 

Around And Around We Go

Perpetual Motion Indeed . . .  

Yesterday I brought up an old blog about Becoming and Work In Progress to reread, and, somehow, my own words made me laugh.  At myself, and also at the following  comment from Rudi:

Ethel, I like the way your mind works. This last blog, on Change, is great, and I waited from paragraph to your last line to find the words of Perpetual Motion.

All my life I’ve read that endless search for P. M. and while you described it perfectly, you did not name it. Whether you have not recognized it as such or not, but it is at work from the most microscopic atom, to the most remote ‘planet’ in the far stretches of the universe. Man, animal, whatever, it’s change change change. Nothing destroyed, just changed. Perpetual Motion in action.

Thanks for your weekly words, Ethel. I look forward to where your mind takes you/us each week. I know you know of Perpetual Motion but as long as you didn’t mention the words, I apologize for intruding on your work and put those two words in black and white. Keep the blog going. ~~~~~ Rudi

See,  and thanks to Rudi, right there before me, on my own blog, was at least one  answer to a question I’ve heard debated ever since I learned how to read, and that’s been more than a year or two, and the question was about Perpetual Motion.  Beings in Progress. 

I was a kid when I first saw the question on a Sign Board as Dad was taking the family on a Sunday ride to see the Countryside. And, as an aside, where did the countryside go??? Is it still there under concrete waiting for you to re-discover it? Oh, that’s for another day.

But at one time scientists were constantly seeking to find some machine to produce Perpetual Motion. And over and over would fail. Yet ever so often I’ve read where another is proclaiming they have the answer. No one has, as far as I know. And I laughed over last week’s column (thanks Rudi)  for it was actually about Perpetual Motion, and I hadn’t recognized it. 

Change, is Perpetual Motion. Change, everything is changing, including our bodies and mind, and no matter what we look at or even think of, is changing. And while I’m no ‘brain’, I still have my days and even have a book by Einstein that I get out occasionally to check up on him. He never spoke of God, but did speak and write of some Power that is the basis of all and said it was Energy. Ever-changing, but never disappearing.

And so, I searched his words to find if he spoke more of how Energy is ever changing, but never disappearing, and no doubt he did,  but in words that are beyond my scope. And the thought remained with me, that the only perpetual motion in the world, no matter when, where or how, is Change.

From the most minuscule part of an atom, change. Water, ever changing from steam, cloud, blood, ocean, urine, ice, glacier, to the Soup Pot on my kitchen stove. Water in form after form. Then there’s the earth, rock, sand, animal, leaves, all changing slowly from one form to another. Universe, planet, moons, change . Trees, wild animals, plants, seeds, dry leaves, excrement, the same basic material, but ever different.

I gotta think about this one, and you smart ones who sometimes find my words, think of it also, and tell me, for I’m a  ‘slow learner’.  This world and all that’s in it, is changing. Is it the long sought answer to Perpetual Motion???   So simple, so commonplace???

All we look upon, like it or not, is changing, even as we see it. Our hair, toe nails. People on TV were discussing the earthquakes of a week or so ago, and one stated that the earth, deep down under Nepal had been moving each year, the distance of how much your fingernail grows in the same time. But that small change, eventually builds, until it shifts the weight of the mountain, and we have an earthquake.

You, or me. Those other people. Those people who lived thousands of years ago, and in time became you and me, and those people who will live thousands of years from now and will become so from the changes within us this very moment. We’re part of it.

Change, Perpetual Change. Perpetual Motion. And you can answer back about that bane or blessing of today’s world . . . plastic . . . and in spite of what Thor Heyerdahl, who with companions crossed the Pacific on a raft, told us, that the ocean, once you got 10 or so miles from shore, was so pure.

Then half a century later he and others took the same trip accompanied by scientists, and he wept as he said they never got away from the debris of plastic. All across the Pacific, shore to shore, was our discarded plastic in one form or another. But I again say give it time. Slip forward a few thousands millennia and plastic too will have changed.  Betcha.

Change is Perpetual Motion, we are Beings in Progress, and it is all in force and action right before our own eyes. But it comes so slowly we miss it completely. Give it a thought. And tell me, for Ethel thinks, Ethel wonders, and needs more “Rudi’s” to  help  her along. Ciao.

Wake Up !

I’m not a Buddhist, but . . .

I have explored that Teaching enough to be deeply impressed. and my interest was first sparked when I found that the root meaning of the word Buddha is from the Sanskrit word meaning WAKE UP.   And I needed that one.

So, so, so. ‘They’ say that Buddhists maintain that God gave us lives of suffering, but that’s not what I understand. What I think they say, is:

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First: Life, is ever-changing and so we find it unsatisfactory, and it is that lack of constancy  in our lives, that we allow ourselves to suffer. The Sanskrit word is Dukkha.

Happy or sad, sooner or later, everything changes. We try to insure ourselves against change, but it comes. Our health, job, children, age, our cherished possessions. The wealthy person’s business crashes. Children grow up. Drugs enter lives of those we love. Or even ours. The marvelous evening is over.   The ballerina gets arthritis, the artist goes blind, the musician deaf. Wise people get Alzheimer’s. The baby grows up. Good, loved ones have Strokes. People get old, wrinkled, and die. Fire, earthquakes, floods. There is nothing that doesn’t change, and in our futile fight to stop that change, we feel anger, fear, bitterness, and suffer.

Second: Suffering is of our own making, and not punishment ordained by heaven, or someone else’s, sins. We all want life to remain the same if it’s a happy life, and quickly change if it’s sad. We find it terribly difficult to let go of the past and cling to whatever we have lost that we loved. We mourn, feel anger and are bitter, feeling life is unjust, and  we suffer. We want life to remain happy, mourn if it’s sad and feel we’re being punished.

Third: Buddhists say there is a way to change that suffering. That  there is a cause for our suffering, and that cause can be found,  ‘used’,  and we can be ‘cured’. Like a doctor who tells us we have a terrible disease, but there is a Cause of the disease and if we work to rid ourselves of the cause, the suffering will be healed. It won’t be easy, but if we get rid of that cause, the suffering will go..

Fourth: That Way, that ‘Cure’, is called, The Eight-Fold Path. and the steps of That Path are:

  1. Right Understanding, knowing that our suffering is of our own making and not doomed by Heaven, we then can blame no other one for our pain.
  2. Right Intention, always want and intend to walk the Path.  And ‘Oops, I forgot,” doesn’t help or is it an excuse, either.   
  3. Right Speech: be friendly and not lie, insult, or hurt any person in any way by your words or manner.
  4. Right Action: try to do everything as well and right as you possibly can.
  5. Right Means of Livelihood: to earn your living in a right, decent and lawful manner. And we find that the word about being ‘lawful’ reaches far, even to the lives of  your high management people. It trickles down to the least employee.
  6. Right Effort: to continue producing the Energy needed to continue on the Path. Meaning the right food, exercise, attitude, etc.
  7. Right Awareness: to recognize and know the situation in which you happen to be, so that you can control your reaction to the situation. And maintaining   ‘I didn’t know about that’  won’t work. You define the moment, or the moment will define you.
  8. Right Meditation; And how you do your praying or meditating, doesn’t matter, for, with not a word spoken, both you and God know when we’re cheating and where our hearts are.

These eight have been put in a list, and the above list is in the wrong order. but only because there simply is no right sequence, for at  a certain moment one step is vital  and the very next moment it is one of the others that’s needed.

 

In fact, we need them all. And all at the same time, too, every moment of our day, for they intertwine, with one step supporting the others. They are all part of the whole and belong together like the threads of a piece of fabric, where one, two, three or more threads dropped upon a table, don’t make a piece of fabric. They must be woven together.  All of the time.

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No, I’m not a Buddhist, but dang it, those Eight Steps cover a lot of territory, and in my own blundering way, they’ve helped me over a lot of ‘changes’ that I’ve had and needed. And I finally remember that there is no place in any of God’s teachings (that I’ve found) where He ever said Life would be easy.   As it’s said: WAKE UP.