Ripe for the Picking

January 22, 2010

The Haitian apocalypse will be known as the largest natural disaster mankind has endured.  So far.  I don’t want to set the tone of the fist-shaking elder who prophesies doom, but:  This, folks, is a test of whether humanity deserves to endure.  If we sweep away the horrendous aftermath of that tragedy, and build a monument to the hope and brilliance the species is capable of achieving, we may survive.

But mark these words (she says with the image of a fist in her mind):  If we let the world’s corporations suck Haiti up like a failing culture in its death throes, we will prolong suffering in every sense of the word.  A former president appeared on television licking his lips at the prospect of the profits.  He even said, “Folks, if you want to help, don’t send blankets or water, people.  Send cash.”

I see some fairly clear guiding principles for reaching out to help this battered nation:

·   Do no harm.

·   Pacify the anger and despair with beautiful tents, lots of soap, fresh air, and beauty.  Plant crops to nourish huge amounts of people.

·   Build roads (one of our fortes) and make them beautiful.

·   Build public transportation that is carbon-footprint positive.

·   Build safe dwellings in a new style that honors the old, the climate and the soul of the people.  They have paid a lot for their freedom.

·   Make all dwellings durable for weather catastrophes, Lord help them.

·   Teach the people the basics: nursing, construction, public safety, farmers.

·   Always Go Green – solar, thermal (duh) and ethical.

·   Do not turn this country into a little petro-chemical poisoned island.

·   Send in teachers who speak Creole, French and English (train them quickly).

·   Children must learn their remarkable history, the natural science inherent in this island, and how to live healthy lives with work they love.

·   Build churches in the vision of native leaders.  Do not import the dominant world religions as a price one pays for assistance.

·   Build a factory to manufacture state-of-the-art bionic limbs.

·   Make physical therapy and counseling the cornerstones of the medical system, along with surgery and research.

·   Profits should stay within the nation with responsible leaders.  Corporations must not do the damage and walk away counting the cash.

·   Cherish the children and respect the elders.  Harness the remarkable energy of young adults in service to building a new nation that will dazzle the world.

·   Nurture a crop of professional disaster relief specialists who will light the dark when the next disaster hits.

·   Teach the people the arts – their art, music, philosophers, writers, dancers and actors can illuminate minds and give people the balm of beauty in their roads, homes, villages and farms.

·   Clear the debris quickly into natural recreation masterpieces.  Learn to build water storage and hydro-electric power stations.

·   Heal the wounds with a pure spirit of compassion.  Let faith-based organizations blossom here.  The second wave of healers should be low-tech, hands-on modalities to help people become stronger.

·   Honor the seasons and replant the landscape when the rains come.  And they will.

·   Someone must take the leadership responsibility to watch over this entire beehive of outreach, and make sure the system stays honest.

It will be a beautiful thing.  Let’s make it sure it happens this way.


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Oh, Did You Hear This One?

February 4, 2009

Oh, did you hear the one about the teacher who moved into an old cottage when she was 57 years old?  Uh, that would be me.  Suffice to say, I have had to guard my health, my heart and my wallet this winter.

looking south

looking south

This has been a cold, snowy winter.  That should not surprise me, since I’ve lived in the Chicago suburbs for 26 years now.  However, it did.  I had to buy, in short order, a leaf vacuum and a snow blower.  My mother died suddenly, I had a bout of lowdown bereavement, and through it all, the bright spot is me singing, “I love my house!”

If someone had told me a house could comfort and support a person who is suffering, I would have smiled.  How sweet, and how odd.  Now, I would nod deeply, sigh and say, “Oh, yes.  I understand.”  This house is my refuge and my joy.  I am still just crazy in love.  It was within the safety of its private walls that I felt free to sit for hours, writing in my journal and drawing, soaking in and releasing a lot of changes in my life.

I am just now getting my studio in working order.  I thought it would be the first room done.  (No, that would be the kitchen, then the living room, then the dining room, then the bedrooms, and then, finally…the studio.  Whew.

My first concentrated effort  is the biggest mandala so far: 18″ diameter, a polymer clay piece – organic, growing interwoven rays.  It will be in honor of my mother, called, “Liberation – Flying Free.”  The drawings sustained me when I was at my weakest.

And, for giggles, here’s my horoscope today.  They nailed me:

“All bets are off as impulsive Mars enters independent Aquarius, feeding your natural instinct to lead by example, rather than follow by duty. Reckless behavior in the days ahead may be tempting, yet it’s smarter to save some energy for later on when you will need it most.”


Filed under art, baby boomer, commentary, divorce, mandala, mandalas, meditation, observations, polymer clay, teaching

My Sweet New Home


My New Cottage

My New Cottage

Last weekend, the movers drove away and I began my new life in the perfect home for me.  I am head-over-heels in love with my cottage.  It was as though I’ve been waiting for it for years.  I am getting settled, but the most important furniture won’t arrive until mid-week: BOOK SHELVES!  I am surrounded by boxes of books until they come.

My studio is shaping up.  I love having it next to the kitchen.  I’m baking a giant butternut squash, listening to great music, and drawing ideas for my next art project all at once.

This is one of the best things that has happened to me in my life.  I am free to grow as an artist again!  I bought beautiful house plants on clearance, and have potted them up for all my sunny windows.  I commute 4 whole minutes to school!  (It was an hour a day, minimum, before).  Sweet, sweet, SWEET!

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Wise Words

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lao-Tzu

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Freedom is Feeling Good!

I am excited about choosing my new home!  I have a terrific realtor, and I’ve sent my intentions out into the universe for a beautiful cottage with terrific garden space and wonderful neighbors.  Thursday I go to “meet” my new house, and my commuting 30-40 minutes to work each way will soon be over.  This is the UP side of divorce.  The other “up” side is that G and I are non-adversarial, splitting up our material assets very fairly.  He will buy my half of this house because he hates change and I love it.  We have moments of depression over the “sudden” end of this relationship, but we both need to live independently.  He needs complete quiet and a spotlessly clean home.  I need affection and laughter, adventures and LOVE!  We will be happier apart, and will remain friends. 

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What a shock to write these words.  Just before our 25th anniversary, my husband and I agreed we will divorce.  It will be non-adversarial, but we finally admitted there is not a speck of joy left in our relationship, and that after 5 years of struggle, we are going to admit that the unhappiness outweighs the hope of better days.  I am so saddened, but in my best moments I feel a spark of liberation.  I spent so much time trying to help him find happiness that I somehow lost myself.  “Healing the Heart” at the Chopra Center was MY last hope for us, and it simply did not happen.  Now, I am working up the courage to manage the coming changes.  Whew.

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It’s SUMMER!  The kids’ last day was yesterday, and though I will go in to pack up my room for deep cleaning, I am officially on Summer Break!  It’s time for Sarah and I to assemble our summer gazebo and bring out the rattan furniture.

I am so lighthearted this morning, taking my time and spending a lovely, quiet hour in the sunrise garden with birdsongs and a cleansing wind.  My travel plans for summer are locked in, reservations made and confirmations stored.  Georgia, Pennsylvania and California are all destinations, one each month.

 Galen left for 2 weeks in Ireland yesterday afternoon.  He will be in California on our 25th anniversary.  We criss-cross all summer, hardly intersecting.  We’re not celebrating the silver anniversary until later.  I would like to have a modest garden party with a wonderful guitarist / singer named Franklin that I met in Glen Ellyn this week.  When G & I are in the same place for a few days, perhaps we’ll firm up some plans!


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