Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Navajo Night Way Ceremony

The following picture hangs on the wall in the entrance to my home. It is quite old. Actually, it was a page from an old calendar that reached out and touched me, so I could not let it go. Aside from the wonderful picture, it was the first calendar hubby and I ever hung in our home.  So I framed it and made sure it had a prominent place in my household ever since. 

In beauty may I walk
All day long may I walk
Through the returning seasons may I walk
Beautifully I will possess again
Beautifully birds
Beautifully joyful birds
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk
With dew about my feet may I walk
With beauty may I walk
With beauty before me may I walk
With beauty behind me may I walk
With beauty above me may I walk
With beauty all around me may I walk
In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty,
lively, may I walk
In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty,
living again, may I walk
It is finished in beauty
It is finished in beauty


The Navajo Nightway is a long healing ritual which both physical and spiritual health. The Nightway is considered by some tto be the most powerful ceremony in that it is believed to contain the combined power of all other ceremonies.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday Ramble

When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light,
for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and the joy
of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies in yourself.


I had a nice day yesterday. It takes no planning to feel grateful.  It only calls for a change in the thought process, to rise in the morning and look forward to the day. The truth is, life is only as good as we allow it to be. Constant griping and a lack of gratitude for the little things that cross our lives can make us into miserable people. It's up to us how we look at life.  For example, life hasn't blessed me with a lot of money, and I know I will never own my own home, but I don't dwell on it.  Home is where the heart is and life has blessed me with just enough to to have a comfortable place to come home to, something that many people do not have. Life has blessed me with a loving husband, loving sons, and Miss Minga, my loyal friend. Nothing gives me more joy than sitting in my rocking chair after a hard day of work with Miss Minga at my feet.  

I am grateful for the warmer temperatures and the gentle peek of the sun.  Reminds me that Imbolc is on its way.  Hubby has been sick with a cold and is now on the mend. Boy, am I ever grateful for that! The man has dealt with a dreadful car accident, cancer, numerous liver biopsies, a year of giving himself shots in his stomach that made him nauseous throughout the weekend, and pneumonia to name a few...but it is the common cold that brings him to his knees. 

I've been going through something on the job lately that has really brought me to the verge of quitting.  I've not mentioned it here before, but there is a male client who has been acting quite threatening to me and several other female counselors.  He tries to intimidate us by raising his fists. He has done that twice with me, and I tell you know, I was shaking in my boots, but I couldn't show fear.  Not easy standing there and not even flinching when someone with a known history of violence and mental illness is approaching you looking as if they are going to kick the crap out of you, but showing fear only invites further threats.  One cannot give in because when you do, you lose all control.  

Like Monday, I had just finished putting away breakfast--which clients know is served from 9 am to 9:45 am.  He came into the room at five minutes to ten and demanded a juice.  I told him "I'm sorry, but breakfast is over." He then got this angry look on his face, stomped his foot pretending to take a step towards me, and raising his fist.  I stood my ground.  If you give in once, he's got you, and that is the biggest part of his game.  One counselor is so afraid of him that she lets him come to group long after group has started.  She is afraid to tell him no.

Well, after I told my boss, "If he steps to me again, I am walking out.  I don't like feeling threatened, and don't feel that I should have to be afraid to come to work", several other people came forward.  In one group, a young intern's group, he picked up a chair and threw it across the room because she told him to have a seat.  Several other staff members from the maintenance crew came to complain that he approached them outdoors asking for a cigarette, and when they refused, he stated, "I'll f.... you up."  Another counselor went to a family Christening party on Saturday that just happened to be in the neighborhood where she lived.  He followed her in there.  She only found out he was there was someone pointed him out and said, "Why is that guy staring at you?' 

Well, I am totally grateful to all of these people for stepping up as they did.  Word got to the higher ups, and they want him out. Staff should NEVER be put in a position where they are threatened.  My boss, as nice as he is, is a wimp. I'm sorry that he got into some trouble over this, but we have to be protected.  I am grateful to her for stepping in and putting staff first.  It is about time.

Thanks for letting me share.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Today I Give Thanks

I give thanks for the breath that opens out my lungs.

I give thanks for the sun, bringing light and warmth to Earth.
I give thanks for the birds, who remind me it is morning.
I give thanks for life. I give thanks for life.
I am thankful for this day.

T. Thorn Coyle: Know Thyself

On these dreary, cold winter mornings, it can be easy to  forget about the little blessings in our daily lives. There are times I don't even want to crawl out of bed. "Why me?" I ask. "Why do I have to work so hard just to live?"  Well, why not me? Today I choose grateful words, thoughts, and actions all day long. I am thankful for the wonderful gift of being. I am thankful for all the people and things that I have in life. I am grateful for another day.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Morning This and That

We either make ourselves miserable, or we make

ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.

Carlos Castaneda

Well, it is Monday morning following a rather uneventful weekend.  I played hooky on Friday. I just wasn't into facing that brutal cold, although later on in the morning, I did head out to Rite Aid and the fruit stand.  Bought some  new candles in delicious warm weather scents--Cotton Comfort, Lake House, and Ocean Breeze (a triple header), Jasmine & Hyacinth, and Summer Rain. Saturday and Sunday were free days, oh, so free.  Nothing on my agenda.  Because I had taken off on Friday, I accomplished all my planned deeds on that day. 

On Saturday I was able to polish off "Soul Sisters", and although I thoroughly enjoyed the book, some of the chapters did open up some old wounds, but I am wondering if perhaps that is because I am finally ready to face them. They say that everything comes into our lives for a reason.  I guess that can even mean a book. Began reading "Circle of Stones: Woman's Journey to Herself" by Judith Duerk.  I'm sure many of you have already read this book. I loved it when I read it years ago and was thrilled to find it in Kindle form.  I love the way the author poses thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter and then asks, "How might your life be different?" Really gives one food for thought.

Oh, before I forget, I finally opened a new checking account.  Of course, I am afraid that they might grab it like they did before so I plan to keep only a small amount in there.  I've checked my credit rating and nothing appears, but ironically, nothing appeared the last time either.  For those who don't know, about twenty odd years ago I co-signed for my ex-husband to get a credit card.  My credit was perfect, but he was having a problem, and in those days, one could co-sign for another.  I don't know if they still do that for a mere credit card. 

Well, to make a long story short, I left my ex shortly thereafter.  Don't know why I assumed that he took care of things.  Guess I was just plain naive at the time.  My ex died in 1996, and being that I was the co-signer it reverted to me.  I never knew anything about it because I NEVER received a bill so that credit card was the furthest thing from my mind until I went to the bank one morning to draw out my rent money and found that my account was minus $5,000. Ironically from 1996 to 2008 they sent everything to my old address, but miraculously found my new address and my bank account number when they wanted to. 

It turns out that my ex had run up the card to its max. The company had gone to court and won a judgment.  When the judgment wasn't paid, they turned it over to a collection agency.  After ten years, this collection agency went to court to again to hold the judgment for another ten years.   A judgment can be held open for twenty years, but only if they go to court again at ten years. If nothing is done within twenty years, the judgment is void. It seems that all around people were slimy about this.  My ex for allowing it to happen, the credit card company itself for not bothering to follow through on the judgment, and this sleazy collection agency who held this judgment until the ten years was almost over so they could drain the most money from me. Needless to say, I had to pull the rent money from my estate account, almost draining it. Then they proceeded to garnish my salary for almost two years. It is only now that I find myself able to get somewhat back on track, but now with hubby not working and going through these treatments, I seem to be at a standstill.  This is why I refuse to retire at this time.  I cannot afford to. 

Before closing, I wanted to share the above with you. This is the wall of the building next door.  The picture was taken from my kitchen window.  Yes, I know, not so pretty to look at, but I wanted to show you the two orbs. I took this picture on my camera almost a year ago, but was then unable to download it.  It took me this long to see it again.  Notice the star like symbol within.  I've gone outdoors from and looked from all angles, but have found nothing to explain these strange orbs.

Friday, January 25, 2013


Well, the cold temperatures have abated some.  It is a few degrees warmer, but it is still colder than we are used to.  A few warm winters changed us into a bunch of 'wimps'. Yesterday's trip to the pulmonologist went much as I expected yet it didn't stop me from shaking in my boots.   Since it has been awhile, he has me scheduled for another Cat Scan, but he still claims it looks much like a benign Coin Lesion. My lungs were clear, and that is good.  My blood pressure was 149 over 84 which I think is great seeing the circumstances.  As the day wore on, and the time got closer for my appointment, I could feel my nerves starting to build up so I thought it would be sky high.  

All the while I held my Amber tightly in my hand. It was a special gift from a special friend who travelled to Mexico not too long ago and went to visit the Mayan ruins.  The Amber itself is said to come from a tree nearly 2 million years old.  I cherish it and keep it with me always.

Our very first problem is to accept our present circumstances as they are,
ourselves as we are, and the people about us as they are. This is
to adopt a realistic humility without which no genuine advance can even
begin. . . . Provided we strenuously avoid turning these realistic surveys of the
facts of life into unrealistic alibis for apathy or defeatism, they can be
the sure foundation upon which increased emotional health
and therefore spiritual progress can be built.

As Bill Sees It

This past week we watched a film in my group about  Bill W., the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. This was not the film that was shown in the theaters and on television. This was a documentary which has never been seen. The disc was a gift from an intern who worked closely with me during her time at our program. Her husband worked on the production of the documentary which included the 'real' Bill.  This was such a special treat because he was such a special man. One doesn't have to be an alcoholic or an addict to appreciate his way of thinking.  The following are some of my favorite quotes.

“To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world.” 

“Believe more deeply. Hold your face up to the light,even though for the moment you do not see.” 

"Learning how to live in the greatest peace, partnership, and brotherhood with all men and women, of whatever description, is a moving and fascinating adventure. "

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Winds of Fate

One ship drives east and another drives west, 
With the self-same winds that blow,
'Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales
That tell them the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the winds of fate,
As we voyage along through life,
'Tis the set of the soul
That decides its goal
And not the calm or the strife.

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The Fate versus Free Will battle has gone on for centuries.  What do you believe?  Do you believe that our lives are guided by fate, that we choose our destiny before we are born?  Or do you believe that there is no such thing as destiny of fate?  That only we decide on how are live will be and are given the free will to shape it?  Or, do you believe as I do that fate and free will are both working in our lives? Fate and freewill are intertwined.

The weather here has been dreadfully cold. In fact, Mother Nature has blessed us with the coldest temperatures in two years.  On the subway yesterday I listened while others complained.  We've become such a spoiled lot. I can  remember days when even in the train station my feet felt like they were going to fall off.  Now, a few cold days and no one knows how to act.  I guess I can take it more because I grew up in a cold countryside.  Northern New Jersey can have some brutal winters.

I'm off work today.  I have an appointment later with my pulmonologist.  This is one appointment I have been dreading.  In fact, I found myself putting it off and did so for far too long.  Pretending it isn't there is not going to make it go away. In yesterday's post I spoke of courage.  Well, where has my courage gone when it comes to following up on my health?  I go to my regular doctor faithfully, but as she says, "You never follow through with what I tell you."  Well, I am following through now, and no matter what, I will deal with it.  I've a lot of love surrounding me, and a lot of wonderful friends, meaning you, who are here for me.  What more can a person want out of their life?

Sometimes fate brings two people together by causing one to misinterpret a smile. 

Robert Brault

I do love the above quote. It so reminds me of the day I met my husband. Who knew that I would find the love of my life on a park bench in 
Washington Square Park. Now if it wasn't fate that guided us there, what else was it? And afterwards, free will took over as we made decisions that changed our lives.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ah, the Beauty of Courage

I believe that courage is the sum of strength and wisdom. You take away wisdom from the equation - courage may turn to rage.


As I was reading the chapter on 'The Beauty of Courage' in "Soul Sisters", and the author asked us to look over our own lives and list the times in our life that we were courageous. Moving to a new city, away from everyone I know, with only $200 in my pocket has to be up there at the head of the list.  Also on the list was my decision to leave my job, go back to school, and change my life direction and career at the age of 50. That was definitely a biggie.  But, when I really think about it, I realize that, indeed, the biggest fear of my life that took the most courage was overcoming my shyness. Without that, I wouldn't be where I am today.

I have lived a whole lifetime of shyness. School was actually torture for me, especially when we had a report that was to be read to the class. There was even one time that I coughed myself hoarse so I wouldn't have to sing at a Christmas show. It wasn't even a solo, but I felt that someone in the group might hear me. I was the child who never raised their hand...even when they knew the answer. It actually became a vicious cycle for me. Because of my shyness, the other children began teasing me, and the more they teased, the shyer I became.  Sometimes I sit back and wonder where it came from because I don't remember always being that way.

Was it my dad's alcoholism that caused it?  Or was it my cousin, the mean things he said and did?  I hadn't thought of Gary* in a long time, but then, after reading Aine's blog the other day, thoughts of family members long forgotten came to the forefront.   He was one of those family members it was easy to let go of.  From what I recall, I was a happy child who enjoyed school and playing with my friends.  One day I heard my mom and dad talking, and it seemed my dad's younger brother was moving to the neighborhood.  I didn't know much about my dad's family, so the thought of having a cousin my age thrilled me.  After all, I was an only child, and to me, Gary signified the brother I never had.  So, despite my mom's trepidations, I found myself looking forward  to meeting my new family. Little did I know that my dad and his twin had been handed over to my great grandmother when they were just lads while the younger brother stayed with their mom.  Lots of animosity there. 

So, each day I eagerly went to see how much progress had been made on their house. Finally, the house was completed, and I heard they were moving in within the week. Oh, I was dancing for joy.  But, Gary was not what I expected him to be. In fact, he was the epitome of evil.  From Day 1 he did not accept me.  In fact, he did everything he could to make me the laughing stock of the entire school.  He spread stories about my dad, my mom, and poked fun of me every chance he got.  He made fun of my clothes, my hair, called me names...and kids being kids, soon the entire class was teasing me.  School became a nightmare.

By the time I got to high school I was so withdrawn that I avoided others. I had no friends, never even had a boyfriend.  I hated school and skipped every chance I got. My life was on a downward spiral, and I couldn't find any way out.  I missed both my Junior and Senior proms, never went on a date, never knew what it was like to pal around with my girlfriends.  I had none.  I was a loner. I isolated myself in order to protect myself.

Perhaps the hope for something more was what spurned me on to move to the city.  I looked forward to a new start, and although it was never easy, I survived.  For many years I missed out on so many opportunities to advance in life due to my shyness.  I found it hard to carry on a conversation with others, always afraid that I would say the wrong thing. I remember clearly the first time hubby took me to visit his sister, and I sat on a log, barely speaking even when someone spoke to me.  It would be many years before I could accept myself and feel worthy/

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

Eleanor Roosevelt

According to Peay in her book, the best way to gain strength and courage is to look your fear in its face and act on it.  And so that was what I had to do the first day that my boss sent me in to run a group. Oh my gosh, I will never forget that day when I walked into the room and 15 pairs of eyes were set on me, waiting for me to take control.  My palms were sweaty, my heart racing, but I knew that this was an intricate part of my new job, and if I didn't do this, I might as well kiss the job good bye.  So, despite the fact that my body was trembling, I introduced myself and spoke about what was expected from the group.

Well, needless to say, that was 12 years ago, and today I run three, sometimes more, groups a week.  It has become second nature for me. But, if I said I was cured, I would be lying.  I'm still pretty bad when it comes to social situations, so I tend to stay pretty much on my own.  But, I am happy that way, and I guess, when you look at it, happiness is what counts.

*(A short note: This is something strange that is off topic here, but nonetheless something I have to share.  As previously stated, I hadn't thought about Gary in a good many years. Ironically, after writing this post I decided to check him out on Google to see where he was today.  The first item that popped up was his father's obituary.  It seems that he died yesterday. Were my thoughts guided to Gary?  I wonder.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

With Imbolc on its Way

There are three candles that illume every darkness: Truth, Nature, and Knowlege. 
...May these candles light your life.

Irish Triad

This week we are about to face the coldest weather of the season.  Not looking forward to traveling in those 10 degree temps in the morning.  It seemed as if Winter was finally settling in. But, there was something else that caught my eye. The sky still had a hint of blueness to it, a deep, dark blue to be sure, but it was so much lighter at that time than it had been a month before. It means that Imbolc/Candlemas will soon be here.  Soon new animals will be born into the world. It's time to dig out all the candles and celebrate the returning of the light.

Imbolc marks the midpoint of winter, and although it may not feel like it,  the coming of spring. The days are getting longer, and while it may still be winter, changes are already taking place as evidenced by the Snowdrops and Tulips arriving in the 'Flower District'.  If it wasn't so cold, I would have snapped a picture. 

"Winter teaches us about detachment, numbness. But it’s a way to get through. From winter we learn silence and acceptance and the stillness thickens."

- Gail Barison, 'The Winter Solstice of my Soul' 

Unfortunately, this is also the time of the year that I am usually affected by SAD.  The gaiety of the holiday season has gone, and it seems that the gray days of Winter stretch out for as far as the eyes can see.  Consciously, I know that Spring will soon be here, but my subconscious becomes enmeshed in the darkness.  This year, though, I plan to stave off the doldrums by making Imbolc an extra-festive occasion.  

Imbolc celebrations center around light and purification. I've already begun purchasing extra candles to place throughout the house in honor of the returning sun.  A thorough cleansing and blessing of my home with Holy Water and sage is also in order.  And, while I am at it, Imbolc, aside from typically being a time of Spring cleaning, is also a time to clean the limiting thoughts out your life, think of new beginnings, plant the seeds in yourself to make things happen when spring comes, and start the season with a clean slate. Problem is, I still haven't thought of what I want to accomplish, and every time I think about it, my mind closes up and goes blank. But, that's the SAD that is trying to take hold, I know that, and awareness is the first sign of healing.  So, hopefully, by the time Imbolc arrives, I will have plenty of ideas on my plate.  

And last, but not least, there is a menu to develop. That is pretty easy, and I already have it in my mind. Traditional foods for Imbolc include all dairy products, foods made with seeds to symbolize growth, and eggs, lamb, pork, and poultry all representing  new birth. Bread puddings and greens are featured because they symbolize spring’s imminent arrival. So far, I plan on serving the following:

Cheddar Potato Soup with Brocolli
Irish Soda Bread
Tossed Salad 
Raisin Pudding

Even better yet, it falls on a Saturday.  I'll have the entire day to enjoy it.

"I stood beside a hill

Smooth with new-laid snow,
A single star looked out
From the cold evening glow.

There was no other creature
That saw what I could see--
I stood and watched the evening star
As long as it watched me."
- Sara Teasdale, February Twilight

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Morning This and That

The weekend is over, and if felt good to sleep in a little.  It's a brutally cold morn so it felt extra good to cozy up in my long flannel gown. Now, I really don't mind the cold, but this is just TOO cold, especially when one has to stand and wait for the subway out of doors. Hopefully, the trains will run well this week, and the wait will not be too long.

Spent all day Saturday cooking.  Made both a pea soup and a black bean soup...which has turned out to be my utter favorite.  Yummy!!! Also made a pot of my low sodium chili, and for dinner Saturday cut up a salad and ate it with Chili Cheese Fries. Yes, it is possible to eat some of your favorites and still keep the sodium level very low.  

"From the time we are born, there is a wildish urge within us that desires our souls lead our lives, for the ego can only understand just so much."

Clarissa Pinkola Estes

This weekend, I was looking in Amazon to buy a book and came across 'Soul Sisters: The Five Sacred Qualities of a Woman's Soul' by Pythia Peay,  and immediately the title reached out to my soul. Ironically, when I tried to purchase it, it turned out I already had it, and when I searched in my Cloud Reader, there it was. By the date I realized that I must have bought it when my son gave me the $100 Amazon card for my birthday and pushed it aside.  Needless to say. once I found it, I couldn't put it down.

The Divine Feminine encourages interdependence, interconnectedness, and mutuality: instead of dominating and controlling nature, the Divine Feminine represents reverence for nature’s web of life. Instead of dismissing feelings and emotions, the Divine Feminine interprets them as a source of wisdom.

from SOUL SISTERS by Pythia Peay

Briefly, Peay, like many of us, grew up in a religious household, but always felt that the patriarchy of the church was holding her back from spiritual fulfillment. The feminine qualities of self was missing, and it wasn't until she discovered the goddess movement that she began to feel whole again. In this book,  Peay uses examples of different female figures from world spiritual traditions, both past and present, to demonstrate the following five 'Divine qualities'--courage, love, faith, beauty, and magic--and  provides a road map on how to find and nurture these feminine values and principles that have been pushed aside by a one-sided patriarchy. This remarkable book is for anyone who considers themselves to be on a spiritual journey.  Do get hold of a copy if you have a chance.  You definitely won't regret it.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Weekend Wishes

When the power of love
overcomes the love of power,
the world will know peace.

 Jimi Hendrix 

Wishing you all a weekend filled with love, peace, and joy, and if, like me, you have a long weekend, use your extra time wisely to  do some of the things that you enjoy, but never seem to find the time to do.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Old Habits are Hard to Break

Good habits are worth
being fanatical about.

John Irving 

You will have to forgive me if I seem to be having trouble finding things to write about.  Actually, that is not quite true.  I've plenty of thoughts of things I would like to write about, but I am still trying to get my bearings after dealing with the flu.  Been a long time since something drained me so, physically and mentally, and I wouldn't wish that on anyone. 
I did return to work and, just as I said I was going to do, immediately downloaded educational materials and began working with my groups to make the program a safer place for everyone.  On Tuesday, it was my woman's group, and I do have to share the following story with you.  In group, we explored the educational materials that I provided them with, and I felt really good when they all asked if they could keep them. There was one issue that I really stressed to them, and that is that doorknobs are a huge source of germs.

In our office, up until recently we only had one of those wall gadget air hand driers.  I've always felt it made no sense to wash one's hands, scrub them clean, then give a quick swipe of air, and then touching a germ-filled doorknob to exit the bathroom, so, from day one, I was a strong advocate for paper towels in the bathrooms. Finally, about a month ago they put a paper towel holder up.  Until that time, I was using toilet paper or bringing my own paper towel.  That's how strongly I feel about it.

And so, when I went to the ladies' room after group, one of the clients from my group was in there washing her hands.  After shaking the excess water from them, she walked over to the air drier, hesitated, then reached for  a paper towel instead. Then, paper towel in hand, she headed for the door. That made me smile because it showed that someone had listened, but what did she do?  She opened the door with her right hand and held the paper towel in her left.   All I could do was stand there, totally speechless.  I guess it is true what they say, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink it."

By the way, before I forget, the hand sanitizer was replaced yesterday.  It pays to open your mouth.

Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time. 

Mark Twain

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wednesday Ramble

Be respectful to others as you grow. . . If we lack respect for one group,
then there is a tendency for that attitude to spread. It becomes
infectious and no one becomes safe from the ravages of prejudice.

Walter Annenberg

Most of you know that my biggest pet peeve is the lack of respect and loss of vales in today's world. I rant about it all the time. Young people will practically knock you down to grab a seat. The following is a true story.  

It was a few years back, before I used a cane, that I got onto a crowded train.  My back was paining me so that day.  There were  three teen-age girls who brushed quickly by me, almost knocking me down, so they could grab the one available seat for one of them. Then, they actually laughed at me. "Look at that lady.  She wants this seat so bad.  Well, she is not going to get it." And the three of them got such a kick out of it.  Then, when they got up to leave, she looked over at me as I hobbled over to take the seat and yelled real loud, "See? What did I tell you? She couldn't wait for me to get up so she could grab the seat."  

That is total ignorance. I mean, when you put the numbers together, I was old enough to be her great-grandmother.  I never forgot that incident, and it remains as clear in my head as if it were yesterday.  You are probably wondering why I just stood there and let it happen, but, the fact is, here in the city, there are teen-age girls deliberately on the prowl to pick a fight. Take, for example, the time that a girl was sitting on the train shoving a plate of spaghetti down her throat like she had never eaten before. Her friends all thought it was funny. Spaghetti was falling all over the floor and on the seat next to her.  When an older woman chided her about her rude manners, the got up and pulled the woman out of her seat by her hair and began punching her to the glee of her peers. I'm not going to let that happen to me.

Let's face it.  Those are two extreme examples of the rudeness of youth.  And probably in both situations those girls were just up to no good, hoping to stir someone up so they had an excuse to fight. Usually they will just sit there and ignore you. Sometimes they will look at you, look at the cane, and you think that they are going to offer you as seat, but they quickly look away pretending that they just didn't see. But, I am not going to get into that in this post.  What I really want is to share something with you that I happened upon the other day.  I thought the message in it is worth putting out there.

The woman was old and ragged and gray
And bent with the chill of the Winter’s day. 

The street was wet with a recent snow
And the woman’s feet were aged and slow. 

She stood at the crossing and waited long,
Alone, uncared for, amid the throng 

Of human beings who passed her by
Nor heeded the glance of her anxious eyes. 

Down the street, with laughter and shout,
Glad in the freedom of “school let out,” 

Came the boys like a flock of sheep,
Hailing the snow piled white and deep. 

Past the woman so old and gray
Hastened the children on their way. 

Nor offered a helping hand to her -
So meek, so timid, afraid to stir 

Lest the carriage wheels or the horses’ feet
Should crowd her down in the slippery street. 

At last came one of the merry troop,
The gayest laddie of all the group; 

He paused beside her and whispered low,
“I’ll help you cross, if you wish to go.” 

Her aged hand on his strong young arm
She placed, and so, without hurt or harm, 

He guided the trembling feet along,
Proud that his own were firm and strong. 

Then back again to his friends he went,
His young heart happy and well content. 

“She’s somebody’s mother, boys, you know,
For all she’s aged and poor and slow, 

“And I hope some fellow will lend a hand
To help my mother, you understand, 

“If ever she’s poor and old and gray,
When her own dear boy is far away.” 

And “somebody’s mother” bowed low her head
In her home that night, and the prayer she said 

Was “God be kind to the noble boy,
Who is somebody’s son, and pride and joy!”

Mary Dow Brine

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Morfning This and That

The best six doctors anywhere
And no one can deny it
Are sunshine, water, rest, and air
Exercise and diet.
These six will gladly you attend
If only you are willing
Your mind they'll ease
Your will they'll mend
And charge you not a shilling.

Nursery rhyme quoted by Wayne Fields, 
'What the River Knows, 1990'

It's been a pretty rough weekend, especially Friday and Saturday when I was much too sick to do much of anything. I didn't want to read; I didn't want to watch television. I didn't even want to mess around with the computer. All I wanted to do was pull the covers over my head and sleep it off. I had no appetite, something unusual for me because I can always eat when I am sick. I lived on homemade lentil soup with lots of pepper to keep the lungs open, clementines for their vitamin C, and hubby's special ginger tea. On Saturday I actually felt so bad I sat down and cried. On Sunday I began feeling somewhat better and wanted to follow through on my weekend plans, but decided it was best to stay in and give myself another day to heal.  Even today, I am not up to par. 

Auntie was right when she said that I saw this coming.  I did, and unfortunately, if something isn't done, I see even worse coming in the future. With two shelters in the building--one with 300 beds, the other with 150--a detox, a housing program, and our program of 150 clients, that is quite a few people who pass through those doors every day. And most of them have lived on the streets and just don't know how to protect themselves.  The following is an example of something that 'could be done' to help prevent an epidemic and what is 'not being done'.

In our program, we average an average of 70 clients per day come through our doors.  Most live downstairs in one of the shelters; some live out in the community.  All of them have to sign out at the front desk and 95 percent of them use the same pen. Then, not knowing any better, they rub their eyes or put their hands to their mouth and presto, just as easily as that, the flu has been passed on. We have a hand sanitizer gadget on the wall, that all have to walk past, but it is always empty. I often joke about having to purchase my own supplies--pens, paperclips, file folders--but having a useless hand sanitizer on the wall is no joke, not with an epidemic going on. And, should they find a way to refill it, education is in order.  Each and every client has to use it after signing out. 

Every day we touch what is wrong, and, as a result, we are becoming less and less healthy. That is why we have to learn to practice touching what is not wrong—inside us and around us. When we get in touch with our eyes, our heart, our liver, our breathing, and our non-toothache and really enjoy them, we see that the conditions for peace and happiness are already present. 

Thich Nhat Hanh

When I get back to work I really plan on throwing myself into lobbying for more education and much-needed supplies to keep this flu epidemic at bay. All clients, and not just ours,  need to be educated on how the flu is passed on and the basics of protecting themselves. If our nurse don't want to do it, then I will.  I also plan on contacting management about providing us with the supplies we need to keep this environment safe. I don't want to hear that they don't have money. They have two other 300 bed shelters besides ours and 46 housing programs. For a non-profit they are raking in the money, but where is it going?  I doubt that it will break their pockets to ward off what could be a major catastrophe.  Don't forget.  These clients also go out into the community and frequent the stores. Something definitely has to be done...and quick.

Well, now that I had my little rant, I'm going to fix myself a bite to eat.  This is the first time that familiar little rumble in my tummy, a sure sign that I am on the mend.  Thanks for letting me share today.

Live in rooms full of light
Avoid heavy food
Be moderate in the drinking of wine
Take massage, baths, exercise, and gymnastics
Fight insomnia with gentle rocking or the sound of running water
Change surroundings and take long journeys
Strictly avoid frightening ideas
Indulge in cheerful conversation and amusements
Listen to music.

A. Cornelius Celsus

Friday, January 11, 2013

TGIF...but I am Under the Weather

Your body has natural healing capacities that nobody in the
field of medicine can pretend ultimately to understand.
If you break a bone it will heal itself. All the doctor does is
make sure the pieces of the bone are properly set back together.

Wayne Dyer

I should have known this cold was on the way when the persistent tickle that stuck with me all night and all day appeared. That was a sure sign sickness was coming. And, I am so not surprised. Since my office moved to its new space, I do seem to be getting sicker more often.  It's not that I am not taking care of myself.  In fact, I've never taken better care of my health.  But, when you work in a building and have to ride in an elevator with over 300 homeless people, germs are passed around quicker than they pass around their cigarettes.  It's scary because just the other day my doctor told me we are in the midst of the worst flu epidemic in years.

Just the other day, I sent one of my clients home.  He was sick as a dog...coughing, nose running. In a small, enclosed room, these germs jump from one person to the next in a flash.  Personally, I think we need to educate these clients more because most of them are from the streets and really don't know about colds and the flu. Not only do they not know how to take care of themselves, but they know nothing about the dangers of coming to program and exposing others to their illness. That building can reach epidemic proportions in a week.  I'm not the nurse in the facility, but I think that will be one of my group topics next week.  

Well, I'm off to bed now. Rubbed some Vicks on my chest, took some cold meds, and had a cup of tea with honey and lemon.  Now I am going to sweat it out. Just wanted to check in and wish you all a wonderful weekend.  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

There is Magic Everywhere

“Magic lies in between things, between the day and the night, between yellow and blue, between any two things.” 

Charles de Lint, The Onion Girl 

The following is something I just had to share with you. Yesterday, I was at my computer working and as client stopped by and inquired whether or not he could ask a question of me. Now, mind you, this is a brand new client. We've never spoken. I don't know his name, and he is not in any of my groups. He is literally a stranger to me at this time. I looked up at him, "Of course"

At this, he held up a deck of cards and asked, "What do you see?" "A deck of cards," I responded. He now goes through the deck and shows me that it is an ordinary deck of cards. "Pick two cards", he says. All right, I think to myself. I'll go along with this, so I chose two cards. "Now, put them back in the deck", so I did, one near the top of the deck and the other in the middle.  "Now, tap the deck three times".  You all know what happens here.  Of course, my two cards mysteriously show up at the top of the deck. 

Okay, so that's an old trick, fun, but nothing really special.  Lots of people know card tricks. Next, asks me for a piece of paper.  I had none, so I gave him a blank sticky note which he promptly ripped in half.  "Okay, now ask me a question about yourself.  It can be anything from your middle name, your date of birth, anything."  "Okay, tell me my cat's name." I responded, smug in the fact that I just knew I had got the best of him.  He writes something on the sticky, folds it, tells me to hold out my palm and then places the folded note in my hand.

"Okay," he says, "Now, let's say you are going to buy a doll for a little girl in your family. Which doll would you choose?  Snow White or Cinderella? And don't tell me.  Just keep it in your mind."  A hard choice, but I chose Snow White.  He writes on the paper and does the same, folds it and puts it in my palm.  "Now, close your hand and shake the papers. Open one." I opened the first one and it said Snow White.  Okay, I'm willing to admit that was a good guess, but let's face it, he only had two choices.  "Now open the second one."  I did so and almost fell off the floor because on the paper was written the word, "Minga".  No one names their cat Minga, and there was no way he could have known what question I was going to ask. Later, I found out he told my superviser her middle name which NO ONE in the office knows.  

The man is downright eerie and uncanny, and perhaps a little frightening.  One can't help but ask, what else does he know?  However, his was a much-needed time out on a very busy day.  We're having an unexpected audit today, and yesterday was a race to get my files in order. I've always prided myself on being up-to-date, but with such a huge caseload I have fallen behind...and I am not alone.  We are all overworked and burned out. Perhaps now they will see that we need more help.

    "Come, if thy magic Glass have power
"To call up forms we sigh to see;
    "Show me my, love, in that, rosy bower,
        "Where last she pledged her truth to me."

    The Wizard showed him his Lady bright,
        Where lone and pale in her bower she lay;
    "True-hearted maid," said the happy Knight,
        "She's thinking of one, who is far away."

    But, lo! a page, with looks of joy,
        Brings tidings to the Lady's ear;
    "'Tis," said the Knight, "the same bright boy,
        "Who used to guide me to my dear."
    The Lady now, from her favorite tree,
        Hath, smiling, plucked a rosy flower:
    "Such," he exclaimed, "was the gift that she
        "Each morning sent me from that bower!"

    She gives her page the blooming rose,
        With looks that say, "Like lightning, fly!"
    "Thus," thought the Knight, "she soothes her woes,
        "By fancying, still, her true-love nigh."
    But the page returns, and--oh, what a sight,
        For trusting lover's eyes to see!--
    Leads to that bower another Knight,
        As young and, alas, as loved as he!

    "Such," quoth the Youth, "is Woman's love!"
        Then, darting forth, with furious bound,
    Dashed at the Mirror his iron glove,
        And strewed it all in fragments round.


    Such ills would never have come to pass,
        Had he ne'er sought that fatal view;
    The Wizard would still have kept his Glass,
        And the Knight still thought his Lady true.

Thomas Moore