A Machine Called Ethel

I am in it, but not of it . . .

I’ve written often of who I’ve been, but now find it most important to find out who I’m in the Process of Becoming. and find that everyone, aware of it or not, is doing the same. I take this seriously and think back on Shakespeare’s so oft-quoted words: “To thine own self be true,” and wonder, just who and what is my True Self.    

To begin with, we became what our parents and early teachers made of us. What else? But by the time we’re in our teen years, many of us find we don’t fit into their pattern but try to conform, guiltily thinking that to be different must be wrong.

The Process to find our own True Self is difficult for young people, but in some manner, (with me it was books), many of us find that we are not wrong, only ‘different’. And that’s alright. for if we’re uncomfortable with who we are, we, and no one else, has the power to change  or help us change to fulfill our inner deams.

We have initially been formed into what others wanted us to be, but for a successful, happy maturity, we must ultimately learn to respect, accept and finally love our difference.  And to  find out who and what we do want to be..  

I tell my journey. I was born one of five siblings, and different from all. I was pure Svenska, with white, straight hair, and surrounded by a dark curly- haired family. Mama must have felt God had made a mistake, but I would have fit smoothly into my paternal Swedish lineage, and thankfully, finally became mature enough to know I was not wrong, just had been born with my own Scandinavian genes.

Little by little, I learned I was not unique, and that there were many with my same physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual propensities. Needless to say, it was a deep relief to find I was not some odd, unique being and far from being the only one.

It was a blessing to me that from childhood I was a reader, and my father never once complained of the many trips to and from the Murray Library  that  I carelessly asked of him. It was an eye-opener to me, and shook me to my core, to find books explaining the thoughts and lives of thinking people from the different countries of the world.

There, but a mile from home, was where I found that I was not wrong, only different, and more important, held the power and shown the way to become the person I wanted to be.

Aware or not, we’re all Beings In Process, and I wish Teachers could let young students know that every second of the day, everyone is in the Process of Becoming a different person. And, of prime importance, it is everyone’s choice as to the kind of person they are becoming.

There is not a one of us who wouldn’t like to go back and live our lives over again, but with the wisdom we have gained along the way.  Not to be, I know, but when we reach the last decades of our lives, we don’t wish to be another  Einstein, but to have allowed our True Selves to meet and work with those who entered and continue to enter our lives.

So I ask myself. ‘Ethel, who are you now becoming?’  For none of us are through with the Process, which will continue until we enter The Next Room, where the machine, no longer needed, is discarded and Spirit, that ever-present inner Source, reveals Itself. 

I think I’ve caught a glimpse of the Goal, and shiver as I know that if I allow and grow, we all will, in some Higher Next Room, become One With The Source of All. You know that, too?   And that we’ll someday meet each other There?   What a blessed Process.


 A few years ago I penned a small booklet I titled A Machine Called Ethel, and though I’d make changes in it to-day, the concept stays firm. I walk, talk and live in a ‘Machine’ called Ethel, but I Am not that machine. I use it, take care of it, could not continue in a physical body without it, but I am not it and it is not Me.   I think you’d like the book.

Please email Ethel if you would like a copy of ‘A Machine Called Ethel’.  ethelbrad@comcast.net


Let’s See, Who Shall I Be Today?

Who are you ?

Sometimes I’m asked, “Who are you?” and I’m tempted to reply that I’m lots of Ethels, and which one do you mean?

The name Ethel Bradford, only means I belong to a family of Bradfords and ‘labeled’, so people can tell me apart from others. And that Ethel has been daughter, wife, lover. mother, grandmother,  and twice a great-grandmother.

But you know, as I do, that all those ‘names’ are actually only labels, tags you might say, explaining what role I played or play in some one else’s life.

None of them relates to the Ethel who responds, or hangs up, on those who try to beguile or fill me with fear in order to get me to vote for the one who is paying them to make the calls.

And still different from that Ethel who tries to explain to another phone-voice, that I never buy or give money to those who ask by phone. And you wouldn’t want to know that Ethel who was once told, (in today’s explicit words) to perform some anatomically impossible act. Yes, I knew the words. but was shocked to hear them  aimed at me. I was tempted to respond in the same lingo.  I didn’t. but that too, is another Ethel.

To some I’m a Teacher, and there I smile, for I always learn more than I teach, because the teacher must ‘dig’ for more information than ever used, while all the students have to do is listen, doze, or not even attend.

I’m a different Ethel when met with anger or resentment, than with arms of love. Yes, and there are Ethels that I don’t especially like, but, at times we all play such roles, too.

I remember back when I was my Dad’s Flicka, his little Svenska girl, and though I didn’t know what those words meant, I knew it was an Ethel I liked being.

I’m not sure who I was to my mother, for she could not accept the Ethel who could not unquestionably follow her steps. I was a different Ethel than what she wanted, expected, and sadness came to us both. It caused me to try to give my sons deep character training, but also the freedom to use those values in whatever System they chose. And that my love for them would not vary an iota.

And sometime who we are is a puzzle. as with me to the one I’ve called Gram. She was my husband’s mother, so I was not her daughter, and yet she said I was her true daughter. It’s an Ethel I loved being, and am glad I was given that role to fill.

And then there’s the Ethel who is a student, for that Ethel keeps me forever stepping through doors that, with just a touch, prove not to be doors at all, but new territory to explore and widen my mind. This has become my favorite Ethel, for she points the way to the Ethel I am becoming as I eagerly step through those false doors with open eyes and mind.

To my surprise, and I wish I could tell every older person, but as I get older, I’m finding an entirely new Ethel. I eagerly reach to her with surprise and ask, where have you been all this time? And I’ve found that I had to wait until years of living, and stepping through those wide-open ‘closed doors’, would be needed to give me the bravery, joy, and wisdom to dare be the Ethel I never before was ready to be.

And the best part of it all, is to find that I, by the roles I play today, am also choosing who and what I will be tomorrow. And to know that this is not a ‘new’ Ethel, but one who’s always been with me, waiting to be discovered.

I’ve caught glimpses of that Ethel peeking out from behind the thousands of roles I’ve taken, but slowly found that no matter what name or camouflage I assume, IT is the real, never changing ‘me’. And, shiver, shiver, shiver, like you, It’s who I Am, always was and always will be. Yes, the names given me will vary but the real, final Role will always be the Ethel who is One with The Source of all. And some day, I hope we’ll meet each other there.


Most Popular Hobby?

Probably not what you’d think . . .

      Most of us have a hobby. Something we turn to and enjoy in our idle time. Knitting has long been a favorite, oddly for both men and women, and other favorites run from skiing, bicycling, walking, painting, ham radio, a new language, and on and on, but not in a million years will you guess what’s rated as today’s most popular one.

I shook my head in disbelief, but when I took a moment to think it over, I decided it’s my hobby, too. Just never thought of it that way.

And the favorite one? For men, women, old, young, rich or poor???? Hold your breath, for it’s Shopping. Yeah, that’s how we spend most of our spare time. and if asked we’d all reply, “Oh, we’re just looking.”.

I agree, we’re just looking, but it’s at shopping centers where we ‘look’ and Shopping is the right name, for it’s seldom we fail to find something we didn’t know we needed, but did.

Don’t scoff and say you never go near a Mall, for that’s  okay, because lots of us don’t do our ‘shopping’ in malls. There are those who ‘shop’ for houses, and it doesn’t matter if they already own one, two or three homes, they spend time looking at houses. Old one, new ones. condos, apartments or duplexes. If they’re on sale, they go and look.  They like houses, that’s all.

Then there’s dozens of hobbies built around ‘wheels’. Motorcycles have long been a hobby for many, but bicycles have now passed them, and close by are racing cars, 4-wheelers, trucks, and then there’s the collectors of antique autos. This is a big one, requiring both space, and money. But just the same, there are lots of lookers, as well as the buyers.

It was the all-purpose shopping centers, where all manner of stuff can be found, and at all hours of the day, week or night, that put the crown on the hobby of shopping.

They’re handy. and have clothes, with many good labels available, as well as hardware, plumbing, car accessories, painting, home repairs, works of art, beauty aids, stationery. You name it, it’s there.

This is where teens go and prowl for it’s where their contemporaries hang out. and there’s always a handy spot to enjoy a soda, ice cream or such while the talk goes on, and friendships made. Retirees flock to the malls for their daily walk, and then spend an hour or two over talk and drinks. Yeah, that’s a great hobby, too.

I don’t know what a former generation did with their spare time, but it wasn’t what we do with ours. And also, can do under one roof, and with one swipe of a Charge Card, handle what it took our parents going to five or six different stores to accomplish. 

Shopping centers changed our lives and hobbies. We casually meet old friends, catch up on the news of what others are doing, and the counters are an ever-changing showcase of what we can do with or in our own homes, wardrobe, hair care, and on and on..

Sound familiar? You’re darn right it’s familiar, but who would have guessed it to be Americas favorite hobby? It long ago nosed out TV, reading, visiting, or any of those former hobbies.   Imagine. And to top off the list, I’m one of them, and betcha you are , too.



An Eagle’s Eye View

One young family at work . . .

     You’re missing one of the most unusual and fascinating ‘programs’ on the Internet if you haven’t yet found The Eagle’s Story, from Berry College, Georgia.
       It’s one continuous viewing of the lives of a male and female Eagle who first came to the campus two years ago, and caught everyone’s attention, as they built a nest in a tall pine tree. When they came again last year, the college hoped the Eagles were calling the campus ‘home’, and so when the birds left for the year, they installed an infra-red camera and waited with bated breath, crossed fingers and wonder of wonders, their Eagles returned.
       By the time I ‘found’ them, an egg had hatched, the chick about a week old and immediately found myself clicking http://www.berry.edu/eaglecam/ many times daily, to see what was going on in the Eagle’s nest.
       It is not an ‘action’ program, but one of surprisingly constant change. Bringing in new grass, two eggs appearing, and then it was keeping them warm, exchanging hours of eating, sleeping, going and coming, bathroom duties, boredom, fighting off an intruder, to the hatching of one egg and then the utter devotion of the parents. The male the provider, the female the nurturer.
       There’s no chance of boredom, those Eagles draw you back, along with thousands of others, for a Click to keep track of what ‘your’ birds are doing.
       The male brings fresh fish, mice or such and the female, who, nine-tenths of the time, is absolutely nest-bound,   proceeds on an orgy of eating, and then tiny bit by tiny bit, she feeds her chick. And as the days pass, I see her offering larger bites to the chick, and today I see the eaglet reaching out to take its own bites. You can almost ‘see’ it grow.
       The pair are devoted parents. A rain and wind storm came and for hours she (?) made her body into a shelter for that chick. It was far more than just a breeze, and her body feathers became tossed and wet, but the chick did not feel the brunt of the storm, and when the gale was over the child was well examined, fed, and only then did the female take care of her own bedraggled self. I was enthralled.
       I must ask any reader to excuse my errors in this tale, for I’m no ornaethologist and so no doubt am far off-base as to if the male or the female does this, or does that, for I can’t tell them apart. But between the two of them, they manage wonderfully, and as I said, just stay with the Eagles. They are worth my blunders.
       Another thing, however, is that I swear the birds communicate.   I saw the male return one day with a fish and mouse, put them down and then, he and his mate, no more than two inches apart, looked into each other’s eyes for, almost two or three minutes without a blink, or movement. But there was communication of some sort, and so strong it was almost palpable right through the camera. It gave me goose bumps.
       Another time I caught the mother and babe doing the same thing.   Unblinkingly peering at each other. No movement, and again one knows that some thought or energy is going back and forth. You ‘know’ that one aware being is communicating with another aware being, and that they are far from stupid.
       The male comes and goes, and once (?) a day, the female leaves him in charge of the nest. For an hour or so, she flies afar, perhaps to stretch, breath deep, visit a stream or lake for water and a bath. Who knows? But other than this, the female lives her entire time in that small nest.
       So far the only time I’ve seen the chick alone was when the pair fought off a young male (?) Eagle who attacked the nest. Took about an hour to do so, and no aid was given by the watching college people, because to get a true film of the Eagle’s lives the birds must cope with whatever comes, as if in the wild.
       Berry College says that, if the infra-red light or camera should stop working, they still will make no repairs. Even if some horrible event should occur, the Eagles, although watched, photographed, hoped and prayed over every moment by the entire Student Body, are to be left on their own.
       Eagles mate for life and so have at least 25 years or longer with each other. The male is the main provider, and no matter what the chick needs in the early weeks, is, except for foraging for the food, under the female’s care. Hers to feed, cover from the cold, rain, wind, protect at night. Together they provide all that’s needed.
       As an uninformed viewer, I   know I’ll see their ‘jobs’ and responsibilities change as the Eaglet grows and becomes ready for other teachings, so I, along with the rest of the world, will watch and learn. Get on line and even if you only click in a couple of time a day, it’ll be worth it.
       Berry College gets our applause for their fascinating work that is capturing the eyes of the world. Huzzahs, over and over.



It’s Not Just For Fingernails Anymore

Swiss Army Knife in a bottle . . .

       A bottle of Nail Polish should be in every household ‘fix-it-kit’, and not for finger or toe nail decoration, either. And for a complete kit, make certain there is one of Clear polish and another of the fairly new Glow-in-the-dark polish. Dozens of uses.
       I find the Clear is great for a fingernail that has a roughness that nothing but growing out will eliminate.   And, it’s the answer, if you happen to have one of those fingernails that ‘layers’, and not only looks bad, but are always ‘catching’ on clothes, and forever forming another loose layer. Keep it covered well with dull, colorless nail polish and let the nail grow out. Might take a month or two, but it’s worth the trouble and what other choice have we?
     My husband, was one handy man around the house and before he ever knew or thought of colorless polish, he kept a bottle of polish, on his shop bench, and any color I happened to have would do. He didn’t care.
     But when he was installing a screw into something, he would coat that screw liberally with the nail polish and then immediately tighten it into place and the screw would really be tight. And, making doubly sure, he’d also ‘paint’ the head of the screw.
       When he became aware of colorless stuff, he would cover the heads of nails and screws on most everything he saw, for it keeps rust, dust, and other kinds of stains away.
       I once had a pair of metal salt and pepper shakers at my stove, but they often were left damp, and in a day or two there were stains where they stood. One quick clean up and then with a coat of colorless polish on the bottom of the shakers, any staining was a thing of the past.
       If you have a measuring bucket or whatever for measuring liquids, mark off, on the inside, the correct lines so you know when you’ve reached a pint, quart, cup or whatever you need. It works, and the time spent figuring out where the lines should be, saves you hours of time later on.
     The Clear polish will fill in the dents on the top of wooden furniture, and if you coat the brass handles and knobs around the house with the clear polish they’ll never tarnish. Mix a bit of vinyl dust with the clear polish to repair any scratches on your vinyl flooring. Nice.
      My husband would have grabbed onto the new Glow-in-the-dark polish, for it now spells the end of fumbling through the bed covers in the middle of the night, to find the Remote to turn OFF the tv or music when sleep came and left the programs going on forever. I’ve found that a few daubs on the edges, as well as painting the On and Off buttons are godsends. Betcha more bottles are sold for such purposes than for finger or toe nails.
       Touch up the ends of a rope, string, or blind cord to keep them from fraying as well as mending small cuts or tears in window screens.  And the Glow polish is a wonder in helping you find the key hole in your car when it’s dark, too.
       When the knobs on your dresser or cabinets become loose, dip the screws into clear polish before tightening them and the tightening will be good for a long time.
       Never tried it myself, but was told to use acetone polish remover to repair burns on wooden furniture. I think they were referring to hot ashes accidentally dropped from a burning cigarette, but of course, no one smokes any more, so cancel that one.
        All together, I think we’ve found more uses for Clear and Glow nail polish than the makers imagined. Or maybe they did, and left it to us to find out. And we have.





Our Silent Helpers

Listen for them.  Thank them.

       People speak of who influenced their lives and so I pondered for myself. and for me it was odd, because it hasn’t been people, but I can name scads of books that have made a difference to me. Those of the last century, many older than that, and some of them downright ancient.
       Of course, the New Testament marks all Christians.   Not so much the Old Testament for they were tales told round the evening fire, and kept alive until the written word came into being. All of the Middle East told and revered The Creation and Ten Commandments,  long before Moses went to the mountain for us.

       Then, for me, there was Pearl Buck. Oh, that wise woman. Her books were based mostly in China, for her parents were life-time Missionaries there.  Buck’s characters, however, met and coped with circumstances much the same as all people do, and they marked and taught me. No Therapist could have been better or wiser. At least for me.

       Also high on my list was Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.   Her tales of Florida and its people before Big Money found and bought it, are heart-breakers.  The situations in the Scrub Oak are the same as in Murray, Utah, or any  other  place.  People are people where ever found. 

       I read “Lives of a Bengal Lancer”, during an early spiritually critical time of my life. Matching what was happening to me, with the wisdom Francis Yeats Brown found in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in India was a wonder to me. It was a Library Book, so not mine to keep. But much of its wisdom stayed with me, and a month ago I recalled the part it had played in my thinking, bought a copy, and knew again how it had helped me through difficult times. Oh, the wisdom of the printed page. And I mean a well-chosen printed page.
       Socrates never wrote a book, but his students did and so his words come to  us. Not a bad teacher, either, for Plato was one of his students. ‘Google’ his name on your computor and read a few of his words. Bless him.
       The Murray Library was my teacher, and I still recall the wonderful freedom to prowl and take what books I wanted. I read much that I didn’t understand, but years later when I was older and wiser, (wiser?) I remembered what I’d read and remembering, could say, “Oh, now I know what that long ago book meant”.
       Marvelous. Unseen Helpers give us aid long before we know they even exist.  When I began writing seriously, first for the Murray Eagle and Green Sheets, I found that my long years of reading had taught me how to put words together, choosing how to make them flow and tell my thoughts. Reading is the best teacher (influence) there is.

       My Dad had no school training beyond elementery  classes in Sweden, but he was reading a huge book on the History of China when he died.   I wish I’d been smart enough to talk to Dad, but due to his late-in-life marriage, and as I was one of the last children, he was like a grandfather to me, I didn’t know we had the same kind of mind until he was gone. What a waste for both of us. I wonder if he ever prowled the books I brought home? He never commented, if he did.

       What and who influenced your life? Send a silent Thank You to them, even though they’re probably in The Next Room by now, but just maybe they can feel our Thanks and smile back at us. Hope so.

A Crazy Little Thing Called Love

       The word ‘love’, is not primarily a Noun, but a Verb.   A verb is a word of action, and action, once put into motion, continues in motion. Recognized as such, the more Love we use and send along to others, the more love comes back to continue being used.

      The supply is endless, and the wise ones tell us that first, we must learn to love ourselves. To make it our own inner joy, and then silently send it along to others making us more joyous. Some of the easy rules follow.

Love yourself and therefore;

     Take loving care of your body, feeding it nourishing foods and beverages. Groom and dress it with love, and watch our body respond by giving us health and energy.

 Love yourself and therefore:

     Our home will comfortably fill our every need and be a joy to live within. The rooms will be filled with love’s vibration so that all who enter, ourselves included, will feel and be nourished by it.

Love yourself and therefore:

     We will enjoy our work for, no matter what it is, it will use our creative talents and abilities, and allow us to know and communicate lovingly with those who become part of our life.

Love yourself and therefore;

       Our every need is met and often will come into our life before we are aware such a need was approaching. The Source is all-knowing and, if we but allow, the way is prepared before us.   .

Love yourself and therefore:

     Think in a loving way toward all people, for we know that whatever we give, (love or its opposite), returns to us multiplied over and over, filling our world, and mirroring exactly what we sent out.

Love yourself and therefore:

     Forgive and totally release all past experiences which, at the time, we worried about, resented, yet clung to. Only with utter, loving, forgiveness, can we be free.

Love yourself and therefore:

     Live in the Now. Experience each moment as good, and know that our future is joyous and secure. Everyone is a child of the Source and that Source lovingly cares for us, now and forever, the same way we, as loving parents, care for our children.

Love yourself and therefore:

     We will discover we can love all others. Including the many in this world whose deeds we cannot love, because The Source teaches us to love the do-er, not the deed.

     True Agape love is the only way to end the violent and dangerous actions that we see or read about in the media news each day. Love is the only answer to wars, street crimes, home disagreements, violence, greedy political debates, and arguments of all kinds.

Love yourself and therefore;

       Silently send love to all people, no matter of what creed or color, and if right next door or the other side of the world. Silent love is the only action that will someday change the world, but the action must begin, and continue to live, within each of us.

      Learn to respect, accept and love our own worth. Then, no matter where we are or who we are with, don’t wait or say a word, but silently start sending love. Right then. We are the only one, from the special spot where we abide, who can set in motion Love’s eternal action.

(I found these words several years ago in some book or magazine. Liked them, saved them, altered or added here or there, and now pass them along to you.)

No author’s name was given.


Free Room, Board, and Medical Care

But the victims are long forgotten by the system . . .

       A few weeks ago I wrote of prisons and prisoners, and quite a number of you ‘clicked’ in and it didn’t surprise me, for more of our tax money goes there than we might think.

       Ten or so years ago, I read that the Government was building several huge prisons and long-time inmates, from all 50 States, would be sent there.

       And, unsaid, but taken for granted, that you and I would continue to ‘foot the bills’. And cost of the new prisons, too.

       The prisons were to be the Final Cells for  ‘Lifers’, who had developed Alzheimer’s and Dementia and had needs far beyond what could be given by regular prison staff. They needed and each year more ot them need, Care Center.

       What bothers me, is that there are thousands of men and women who need the attention only Care Centers can give, and yet cannot afford it. They may have done nothing more illegal than Run a Red Light, or caught Speeding, and yet prisoners, guilty of violent crimes, are now getting such Care, with absolutely no charge to them. We pay the price, not only for that care, but the new prisons, medical staff, medications and procedures..

       If you didn’t read my words of a week or so ago, titled Finding a Home,  In Prison, go back and bring it up. In it I told that at least 75 % of the men over 45, bluntly stated they had never had it so good as they did in Prison.

       First time they’d ever had three meals a day, a place to sleep, rest rooms, clean clothes, and often the first time ever getting Doctor, Dental or Eye care. They repeatedly stated, if ever ‘put out’ (never ever using the word Released) they would commit some crime the very next day so they could get back in.

       Recidivism???   Yes, and according to those men of 45, 50 or older of age, much of it is coldly planned. No accidents.

       Adding to the utter unfairness of this plan, is knowing that many of the people they robbed, or relatives of those they killed, cannot afford the kind of medical care that the culprits who did the deeds, are getting, and Free of Charge. Yeah, they were right. They never had it so good.

       It’s true that prisons, the same as private homes, were not built to provide hospital care, and the average ‘outside’ person, who has good Insurance, is lucky. But remember, the ‘ outside’ person, worked and paid for it, while prisoners get it for free.  At least to them.

       We put them there for Life and it’s taken for granted that their needs are taken care of.   And with the good care they get, their life span is long.

       It’s now a fact that the aged criminals are better cared for than many ‘on the Outside’.  Who can say what the answer is, but it’s unfair that the person who killed and raped anyone who ever got in their way, is living a life of ease, so to speak, while their ‘victims’ would appreciate a fraction of that ‘free’ care.

       The prisoners, culprit, murderer, killer. raper, call them what you will, all stated the truth, when they would say, we’ve never had it so good.. Perhaps in a civilized world there is no civilized answer, but to me, there’s something wrong with the way it now is.

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep… Or What?

To sleep:   perchance to dream:  ay, there’s the rub *

       Today I have a simple question and I bet that someone reading this knows the answer. But it isn’t me. Or anyone I’ve asked so far, either.

       It’s like this.   When we go to sleep, what part of us is it that “goes to sleep”? Every one I’ve asked, looks at me with unbelieving eyes and replies, “Well, for heaven’s sake, Ethel, it’s your body that sleeps. to get needed rest”.

       But take a short moment and think. Your body does not go to sleep.   The heart goes on beating, day in and day out, sending blood to every tiny part of our body.

       And our lungs remain awake, also. We breath air in and out, in and out, and,  pooling resources with the heart,  feeds every cell of our bodies. And if there is an infection in the lungs, the body coughs until whatever was ‘asleep’ wakens for some medication.

       Our digestive system works like an assembly line, and is so ‘awake’ that it often rouses us to make a short trip to the bathroom.  Yeah, our digestive system doesn’t sleep. No matter what ‘our sleep master’ does, the digestion system goes placidly along its own way, and the food we ate or drank in the evening is so far along its way that by morning we find our stomach is ready for more.

       Our hair grows.  And so do our finger and toe nails.  And one fellow, when he realized that his body did not sleep, amusedly added, that he thinks his body is doubly active and makes him fatter when he sleeps.

       Our muscles are awake, for we unconsciously turn over or reach and scratch an itchy spot. Don’t believe me?   Well, test it out. Wave a feather, or soft tissue or such over the face of some sleeper and see how quickly a hand reaches out to get rid of whatever is tickling their face.

       What part of us sleeps?   When we are under an anesthetic, some doctor monitors our heart beat carefully to make certain that it, the heart, does not “go to sleep”.

       I’ve finally come to one point that makes me wonder if I’m getting close to what, and how,  we go to sleep.

       We all have heard of the people whom doctors call Brain Dead. In other words their five senses are completely  ‘dead’, and their bodies must be fed artificially, given water and cared for by others. But their body goes on living and there is a family in the news now, who is fighting to take their daughter from such a ‘life’.

       And once there was a young woman . . . pregnant . . . . and the fetus continued to live and grow. Again there was a difference of wishes between family and doctors and I’ve never heard the results. Did the child reach birth? Was it normal? Or would people, even doctors know if that child were normal until it reached adulthood and it would be obvious if it did or did not develop in all ways, i.e. mentally as well as emotionally. And then did they ‘let’ the body die???

       So, I wonder. Is there some spot in our brain that ‘puts us to sleep’ but lets the rest of our equipment remain aware, and continue calmly functioning? But if some person gets physically injured in that specific, critical, spot in the brain, injured beyond what’s meant to be, and as a result,  can’t come back???  In other words, do we each night, come near being a brain dead person???

       Yeah, I know I think of odd questions, but tell me if you know. It’s such a simple question.   Sleep. We do it daily, often more than once a day. Does someone know the answer?

       What part of me is it that goes to sleep each night??? And wakens again when that need is filled???

*  Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1

Valentine’s Day: Eros, Meet Agape

El amor todo lo *

       Love. Oh me. Men have died for it. Women have lied for it. Billions sigh for it and countless songs, stories and poems have been written about it. Greece fought a war because of it and it’s behind every marriage, and its lack every divorce.
       All for Love? So what is love? It is not food for the hungry, or drink for the thirsty. It will not knit the broken bone or give rest to the overworked. It isn’t a drug for the suffering, and yet, today, right now, there are people giving up their hold on life and slowly dying for the lack of it.
       Love is the T.L.C. prescribed for children. So important that every child in any hospital is actually scheduled to be tenderly held, fondled and played with, in addition to the routine times the child is also scheduled to be fed, bathed and otherwise attended.  And is the reason that some ‘qualified’ visitor is asked, if they have time, to hold and caress children whose parents are from out-of-State, or otherwise unable to make frequent visits.  Been there, and done that. T. Y. G.
       It is the magic that changes homes for the aged from dull, lifeless places where, so often, men and women sit silently and dully in empty rooms, waiting for their lives to pass. Yes, it changes them into homes (no more affluent) of quiet activity, alert eyes, contentment and days that are lived. Not just endured.
       Love, Every civilization, culture, people or tribe from earliest times until now, have recognized its strength and made rules and provisions for it. Oddly enough, too, the more ‘un-modern’ the culture, the better their over all concept of love has been.
       Only in modern America has love become synonymous with sex. Other environments recognize and explore the other aspects as well; the mother playing with her children, the grandparent caressing the infant, listening to the child’s woes, or giving cautious monetary aid to the college student who is always short of cash. Are these not also love?

       Yes, and there’s the often forgotten taken-for-granted, love of the parish priest or local bishop for their flock. Only those close-by could know of the countless hours that are cheerfully, thankfully given. Hours whose very numbers make the task seem impossible. And it would be, too, if it weren’t for love.
       No, love is not food for the hungry or drink for the thirsty. It cannot be put under a microscope, analyzed and then prescribed for a broken body or diseased mind. But yet . . . 
       It is both food and drink for the Soul. It is rest for the overburdened and new energy to the sorrowing. the bored and the listless. It has given more peace than all the tranquilizers ever made, and brought a shine and glow to tired eyes and faces. It is the magic medicine that every doctor in the world wishes he could patent, bottle and prescribe for his patients.
       Love. That most tender of emotions. With it, life and the world is a happy place to be. Without it, life loses its savor, its ability to revitalize itself. and dies. Yes, that’s how vital love is.               
       It will soon be Valentine’s day. Give all the love you can, and of all varieties you can find.  See, I’m not knocking Eros one bit, but take time to remember Agape as well.

*  Love conquers all