Winter Solstice – Finding Balance

Winter Solstice – Finding Balance

One of my favorite days of the year is approaching. No, it’s not Christmas day. That arbitrary date to acknowledge the miracle of Jesus’ birth has long since been hijacked by the overwhelming pressures of consumerism for me to truly enjoy. The day I really appreciate is the Winter Solstice, which comes and goes almost without notice during the days before Christmas. I can feel my sense of balance returning on this quiet day before the big holiday. On the solstice, we reach the tipping point between dark and light when day and night are equally in balance. Technically, December 21, 2017 is the longest night of the year. It’s also the first day of Winter, which could be depressing, but I find comfort in knowing that from my spot on the planet (in the Northern...

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Praying For Nazis – How Loving the Lowest Can Lift Your Spirits

Praying For Nazis – How Loving the Lowest Can Lift Your Spirits

In this world of divisiveness and false equivalencies, it’s easy to get pulled along with the tide of hatred. There are days when I want to scream at the television. I want to shake the people who seem blind to the injustice taking place. I can feel my blood pressure rise. I am drowning in hopelessness and cynicism when I hear a calm voice inside my head offering these words of advice, Pray for them. “But I don’t want to pray for Nazis!” I scream to nobody in particular. Days later, more horrible events unfold, which leaves me wondering how people can commit such atrocities. Again I hear the call to pray for them. I argue, “Absolutely not! I won’t pray for members of ISIS or Al Qaeda.” Neo-Nazis, the KKK, ISIS, Al Qaeda I’m certain there are important...

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Love Affair With Pretty Words

Love Affair With Pretty Words

I’ve been trying to get a handle on why the written word is affecting me so deeply. Pretty words leap off the page and stick to me. I call these pretty words poetry, but I’m not sure that’s a good definition for what poetry is. Whatever I learned about poetry in school got lost in iambic pentameter and the formula for Haiku, not to mention, simile, symbolism, and alliteration. It’s as if I were shown the tools of the trade without understanding the purpose of what they are used to create. Poetry got placed on a shelf and labeled “Not For Me” some time ago. Yet is it possible, I survived this harsh world without poetry? Was it there, like a guardian angel with me all along laughing at my ignorance when I can’t see the thing that saves me on a regular basis....

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A Time For Nothing: How Doing Nothing May Be the Best Form of Resistance

A Time For Nothing: How Doing Nothing May Be the Best Form of Resistance

There is a thief who robs me of my happiness every time I see him. Yet every morning, I open my door via television or social media and let him in. Which one of us is the bigger fool? This individual is one of the most powerful people in the world. Why should I give him any of my power? I can march, I can donate, I can call, I can write. But at some point, all the resistance in the world doesn’t change the fact that the party I align myself with has very little power right now. This leaves me feeling powerless in the face of what I see as a series of injustices. I won’t list them all. The exercise will only compound my worries, but I won’t forget about them either. Do I give in to despair, ignore the news, or stay permanently agitated? None of these are viable...

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Turn Friday the 13th into Your Lucky Day

Turn Friday the 13th into Your Lucky Day

No one has any clear explanation as to why Friday the 13th is supposed to be unlucky. There are plenty of theories which stem from bad stuff happening in ancient history, but even that is speculation. Fear of the date seems to be more of a Western phenomenon, which inexplicably grew during the 19th century. The fear is real, however. The condition even has a name; friggatriskaidekaphobia, which is fun to say and makes you sound smart at cocktail parties. Friday the 13th turned out to be pretty lucky for the makers of the Friday the 13th film series, which has grossed over $700 million. It’s also a lucky day for fans of Alfred Hitchcock, Steve Buscemi and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who all have Friday the 13th birthdays. If the date really bothers you, you’ll be glad to...

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Here’s To A Non-Grinchy, Non-Scroogy, Christmas

Here’s To A Non-Grinchy, Non-Scroogy, Christmas

My son, just home from college, asked if I was excited for Christmas. It was a reasonable question as I was in the middle of addressing Christmas cards. I thought for a minute, wanting to be honest without sounding Grinchy. The truth is my favorite day of the year is December 26; my personal “Hallelujah, it’s over” day. I reply, “I’m working on it.” He raised one eyebrow – a genetic gift passed down from previous generations. Neither his father nor I have the ability to move our eyebrows independently. I take a deep breath and respond to his one eyebrow question. “I’m really trying to be excited. I want to love Christmas, but it’s a struggle.” This makes me sound like I’ve suffered some personal tragedy; the holidays being difficult because of grief. That’s not...

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Losing My Religion – How Maya Angelou Saved Me From Post Election Grief

Losing My Religion – How Maya Angelou Saved Me From Post Election Grief

As someone who has a rather tenuous grasp on faith, I find it is tested on a regular basis. It’s as if God gets a kick out of watching my histrionics. I’m at least learning from the pattern though. As soon as I feel like I’ve got it all figured out, something horrible happens to completely rock my world. When it does, my immediate reaction is to shout, “Screw this and screw God! All this magic belief crap is bullshit and I should accept reality. You live, you die, and you become worm food.” My temper tantrum doesn’t alleviate my pain and I’m left to stew in my thoughts. My misery does not lift right away, but eventually, I get tired of wallowing. I begin to consider my options of either changing my circumstances or changing my attitude – often a combination of...

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