Saturday, January 8, 2011

Salon Meeting -- Aftermath of NINE ELEVEN (09/29/2001)

Already I’m losing it. That magnificent inciteful thought! (Well, I thought it was magnificent obviously or I wouldn’t care about writing it down.)

Last night’s Salon at Joy’s. Discussing the tragedy, patriotism, and the subject of the evening – John Edward, a spiritual psychic who has a daily program called, “Crossing”. We listened to a 30-minute tape of him talking with a family who lost their little boy in a bike/car accident. Sylvia Brown, another spiritual psychic. Josie (my Michigan daughter-in-law) has read ALL her books.

Holly said she was at a place in her life where she wanted to be open to consider ALL possibilities and presented a “what if” or “is it possible” scenario.

What if there IS a dimension after/past this one, filled with the spirits of those who have gone on?. Can we open our minds to accept that possibility?

Of course I spoke up and said, “Well, I don’t have to expand my thinking to include that because I’ve always believed that anyway.”

I think God realizes that, for the most part, we can’t comprehend the wonder, the magnificence of that “other” world and so we are clothed in this finite body/mind to protect us, so to speak, until . . . we reach the other side. But some of us “seek” that understanding, that experience, and they have developed some measure of ability--that we all have--to accept/receive that experience/knowledge. And so those spirits who have passed over can use these individuals to communicate. Maybe. Possibly.

Even the Bible talks about “gifts of the spirit” meaning if you desire something, if you pursue it, welcome it, you can have it. Our world is full of the results of people who sought the gift; of words, of music, of painting, of democratic concepts, etc.

The Bible also says God “spoke” the world into existence. The Bible and other wise writings, self-help books, etc., expound “The Power of Positive Thinking”. Believing is Seeing, instead of the other way around.  Dr. Andrew Weill says we should stop discounting the “placebo effect”. Healing is healing, after all. However, his main point is we need to study this phenomenon and understand the tool it is for healing; drugs often have bad side effects. Placebos have NO side effects.

So believing something is possible is a big part of accomplishment, the catalyst. If I want to play the piano badly enough, I will practice and study and practice and study . . . until I can play the piano. To my satisfaction at least.
* * * * *
Maybe a gift is nothing more than an inclination to do, to be, and then, “you go, girl!”
* * * * *
Reincarnation. We discussed out of body experiences, near-death experiences, spiritual mediums. Some were more skeptical than others. We raised a lot of questions and “what ifs”. I said, "Well, we WILL know these answers. Some day." “Unless there is nothing”, said one skeptic. Another valid “what if”.

I do know that I meet people and think: this is an old soul. I don’t meet them too often but they are out there. In a way I feel like one myself. Isn’t that egotistical! But what I really mean is that I feel wise about life; life from the perspective of a woman born when and where, that is.
* * * * *
I know that as a liberal Christian I tolerate/am not offended by more things than conservative Christians. That is a conscious and thoughtful decision; meaning I thought about it and it is my intenion.

Although my knowledge of reincarnation is limited, what little I do know does not conflict with any principle of Christianity that I accept/believe/understand.

The same is true for what little I know of Buddhism. After attending those (3) Wednesday sessions at church a few years ago when the speaker explained the Basics. To sum up what I know of it is this: here is a problem, here is a solution, and here are the steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 broken down in easy-to-understand language of how to implement that solution. The tools, so to speak, for practicing my Christianity.  Kewl!

'Cause that is me! That is what I try to do with every task I undertake, whether it’s washing clothes or balancing checkbooks or mowing lawns. How I can I do this the easiest, most efficient way? That has always been important to me. It is the analytical side of me. It organizes and controls my behavior most of the time. It also makes me feel good.
* * * * *
And then, I have long entertained my own “What If” --

We have a mind and a body. Lots of people, myself included, believe we also have a soul. We argue or wonder where does the soul reside? We don’t know. We just know we have one. And does where matter? Somehow, though, I think the brain – not the physical tissue but the mental electricity or whatever you call it – and the soul are connected. Our intellect, process of thinking, is contained IN the soul. Wherever that is.

And so, when we die, the soul separates from the body. Which it no longer needs. Which would be cumbersome at best if we’re going to be free to do all the things I believe we will be able to do.

What if that essence of “me”– that sum of my beliefs about everything I experienced/learned in this life – is there on the other side residing in my now unencumbered soul; the catalyst, the driver, as it were. Which can now grasp and experience the awesomeness of eternity. Do anything, experience any thing, go anywhere that my driver wishes. Amazing!

BUT . . .

What if I believe physical death to be the end of it all? What if I believe that this life is all there is? That is the mental energy that leaves with my soul when my body dies; the driver of my soul. So when I die, that IS it for me. I’m gone, goodbye, Adios Amigo, Finite.

IF we ARE what we believe, IF that is in the mental energy that is in our brain which is in our soul when we die, and IF we believe that physical death is IT, we have willed that mental energy to stop and desist, willing ourselves to eternal death. Not in the suffering sense, in the end sense. That’s it. It’s over.

Isn’t this also a slight variation on the conservative Christian take which I think might be expressed this way: God doesn’t send people to Hell. We get there on our own. By the life we lead; acts we commit, deeds we do, thoughts we have.
* * * * *
On my computer at work and home I have a screen saver that says: “Hello, M.O.M./W.O.W -- You Are The Rule”. M.O.M. stands for “Motherist of Mothers” which is the lovely greeting daughter Caryn put on a card to me once. W.O.W. stands for Wise Old Woman. I got that concept from Mists of Avalan (as in King Arthur) by Miriam Bradley. In her book she lists the stages of a woman’s life. From 50-70 a woman is considered a Crone. In medieval times, it was a term of respect because a crone was full of wisdom. (What happens after 70 I wonder? I’m only seven years away. Maybe then it’s D.O.F. Doddering Old Fool.)

“You Are the Rule” is because our young (39-year-old) marketing manager likes to tease me (I am the oldest living IMI (*) employee after all). Frequently when he leaves at night he sticks his head in my office door and says, “see ya, love ya, mean it, bye. Remember, you rule.”

When he first saw my screen saver at work, he laughed and laughed because he thinks I’m so naive, old, and out of it, that I misunderstood the slang. I didn’t. I’m not. I typed it that way on purpose so he would see it and have another opportunity to be amused with me. I try to indulge his fantasies if I can. Being the oldest and the office eccentric is a responsibility I take seriously.

(*) Irving Materials, Inc., largest privately owned concrete company in the U.S.
* * * * *
The Salon discussion turned to The Terrorism. I talked about how I feel. I am very patriotic but since the 80's(Reagan??), I have a hard time publicly expressing that patriotism because so many of the people who are jumping up and down, waving the flag, honking their horns, et cetera, hold dear to concepts of patriotism and right and wrong and justice and the American Way that are now foreign to me. Foreign meaning, if that’s where I started in my thinking as a child, I have long passed beyond that kind of thinking as an adult. Intolerance runs rampant in these herd ranks. Of people who look different or think differently. And I am intolerant of intolerance!

One woman raised the issued of patriotism vs globalism. Saying patriotism is counter-productive, opposed to, globalism. We need to care about the world, American patriotism interferes with that.

So how can we embrace/get to: I LOVE my country, I love the world. Whatever is good for my country must also be good for the world.

Because when we start searching for the “why” of these attacks, trying to understand and assess responsibility/blame, eventually the fickle finger of fate will be pointing back at us. America looks out for her interests. That has caused us to do immoral/bad things to other peoples, other countries. We are THEIR bad guy.

Of course that doesn’t justify blowing up trade centers.

What has this done to America? Can we be united, strong, tolerant and loving and supportive of ALL of us? Will this change things for a while? Six months? (Probably) A year (Likely)? Always? (I don’t think so.)

Yet I believe life in this society has been changed. And I don’t think it’s over. Now of course they’re talking about biological warfare. And talking and talking and talking!

I want to say SHUT UP to ALL the media. But I can’t. This is America, right?

We cherish our Freedoms – Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Cyberspace Misinformation, Freedom of Flapping our Jowls, Freedom of Crass Uncomprehending/Uncaring Consideration of Other People’s Pain to “Get the Story First”.
* * * * *
To those whiners and complainers and “victims” in our society I want to say: get up off your butts, stop being such babies, and DO YOUR PART. You have skills, abilities, ideas, physical prowess and we NEED you. Pull together with us to make this nation strong. We’ve carried you long enough. It’s time you pulled your weight. We have a job to do.

The job is to get up every morning and go to work and earn our money and take care of our families.

Except . . .

The radio is filled with interviews and discussions ad nauseam, many discussing the immense negative impact 9/11 is having on our economy. Many companies are laying off large numbers of people. Mostly these lay-offs are tied to the tourism industry. Of course no one is tourist--ing or flying right now. But why should this cause such widespread job loss? Why is so much of our economy service oriented? It should not impact our economy THAT significantly that people are not taking vacations and/or flying and/or eating out.

Why have we no industries for our people to work in? Where are the manufacturing plants for these folks I just criticized to go to? WHERE ARE THE JOB JOBS? Thank you, NAFTA!
* * * * *
Yesterday on NPR they were talking about biological warfare and said Anthrax and Smallpox are two main concerns of the global community. Oh, fine! Something else to worry about!

Three of my four children received their smallpox vaccinations. Along with all the other shots and vaccinations given as the result of regular visits to the pediatrician. Except Lisa. She didn’t get one. By the time she came along, the medical profession had “decided” since Smallpox had been eradicated from the earth there was no need to vaccinate so they stopped giving smallpox vaccinations. I argued in vain with the doctors. Now I am angry all over again. I couldn’t get the vaccination then and I can’t get it now. Now there is none. (Lisa, are you listening? You’ll have to be responsible for this now. And I am so very sorry.)
* * * * *
Every act of terrorism, whether it’s bullying a child on the playground or blowing up a trade center, has at it’s root selfishness and/or intolerance of another. Maybe God has put us here so that we can learn this lesson. Those of us who haven’t learned it, don’t understand it, make life miserable for the rest of us. Of course I don’t think God causes people to do bad things. People do bad things. And people do good things. Good things and amazingly heroic things.

If nothing else, these events should force us to re-examine our morals; our motives, actions, beliefs. Maybe God is using this tragedy to say. look, folks, you haven’t got it right yet.
* * * * *
All this writing and I don’t think I ever exactly said the thing I was thinking as I sat on the commode this morning musing and had this “epiphany” of understanding! It has eluded me! Isn’t that just like me! Hopefully, it will come back.

But it is always good to write. Sometimes it helps me clarify issues, or see things in a better perspective. This time it has provided an avenue for expressing my personal grief and thoughts over our horrendous national tragedy.


Is This the Party To Whom I AM Speaking . . . ? (12/03/2000)

I complain about today’s technology and where it is taking us. Even though I love it too. How you have to be an electronic engineer to know how to operate a radio, a VCR Remote, Stero, etc. Of answering machines that talk to answering machines. Of the fact that never can I make direct contact with my children via phone. ALWAYS I get their answering machines.

I DO have an answering machine. But ALWAYS answer when it’s a kid calling. If I’m there. So I tease/complain to them about it.

I do not have a cell phone.  I do not WANT a cell phone.  What is an iPod???? (Don’t even answer that!)

One day my daughter and I were discussing this and she said, “when dad calls and gets John’s machine, he says, 'well, what the hell are you mad about' and then John calls him right back.”

* * * * * * * * * *
A Few Days Later -- 12/06/2000

Message Left on Son John’s Answering Machine
(Spoken in Deep, Gruff Voice)



This is your dad.

So what the hell are you mad about?

This is your dad. Not your mom.

So.  I called to wish you Happy Birthday.

And I know you’ll call me back in about ten minutes.

Because this is your dad. Not your mom.

And here’s a new number. I know you think it’s a strange number coming from me . . . your dad . . . in Michigan.

But it’s a cell phone. I just got it. (It’s NOT your mom’s phone).

It’s me. Your dad.

So.  Call me. At this number. 228-3714.


Your dad.


A Hole of a Dream . . . (04/03/1999)

I am getting ready to go to Jackson to visit my folks and just woke from a nightmare-like dream. So vivid. Called CJ (daugher Caryn Jo) to tell her. She agreed I should write it down. Maybe some day I will understand it.

This is what I remember.  The ages of the kids puts the time-frame of the dream about 1974.

I don’t know what went before. This is where I became “aware” of the story. My current real life next door neighbors’ yard was next door in the dream. Our family dog, Brandy, had been missing. Where I remember the dream beginning (although I had the sense of it being in progress prior to this) is me looking out the window and seeing the neighbor’s yard with a hole in the back yard. At first it wasn’t that big but during the dream it kept getting bigger.

At first it was about two feet wide. Somehow I knew it was deep -- 10-15 feet.

I look out the window. It is almost evening but still light. I see Brandy. He is in the hole but nearly to the top. He is covered in dirt and mud and struggling to reach the top of the hole. And get out. Somehow I know he has done this many times. And is doing it once again. He struggles and almost makes it. But finally falls back.

I am relieved to know where he’s been. But concerned. It seems natural to think we’ll go over there tomorrow morning and get a ladder or something and help get him out.

Now it is the next day. Tom and John are about 10-12 years old. They seem to be running around the neighborhood trying to find a ladder.

My first thought when I realize Brandy is trapped down in this hole is that we could put a rope down and if we could somehow get him to grab it with his teeth, we could pull and he could claw (like he had been doing for how long?) his way to the top. But I figured we wouldn’t be able to make him understand to grab the rope with his teeth. So that’s when I decided we needed a ladder.

Why we can’t find a ladder, I don’t know. As part of the dream it seems I am aware that we make many unsuccessful attempts to do so.

The hole is getting bigger. Now it is about the size of three cars in width at the top and I can easily see down in it. The bottom is narrower than the top. Meaning the sides are slanted.

Now Jerry is down there. I don’t know his age but his hair is not grey. He is stocky, though.

Suddenly he leans back against one side of the hole. As though he is in pain or having some kind of physical problem. As part of the dream, I wonder if he’s having a heart attack.

I am the observer in all this. Although I sense that I have been directing efforts to get Brandy out.

Now there are filing cabinets along some of the sides of the hole. And Tom and John are down there now too. They and their dad seem to think pulling some of the drawers open helter-skelter would make stair-step like levels and Brandy (and they?) could climb out that way.

I “think” this is not a good idea. I am concerned that the open drawers will make the filing cabinets topple over.

I don’t know if I convey this to them or just think it in my observer mode.

Sure enough, one of the cabinets falls over. It lands on Lisa. Suddenly, she is down there too. Where she has been till now, I don’t know but now she is there. She is about 4-5 years old.

Jerry doesn’t seem to realize the cabinet has fallen on top of her. I try to tell him. He almost doesn’t believe me. But moves it enough to realize she is under there.

I can see her face. Her eyes tell me she is in pain and frightened. Her lower lip is trembling and her arms and legs are shaking also.

I am trying to make Jerry understand that she is hurt but he doesn’t seem to realize it. He seems to be carelessly pulling her from under the cabinet. Her constant eye contact with me makes me know how distressed she is.

All I want to do is grab her and hold her and comfort her.

Where Caryn has been in all this I don’t know.

That’s when I wake up.