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:


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.


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.