Friday, January 27, 2012


Living consciously means not only buying less and smaller but also recycling every component of the things we do buy and the containers in which they are packaged.

Americans consume more than their share of the world's goods and contribute a lion's share of environmental pollution. In good conscience, how can we as individuals and a nation continue to perpetrate our selfish, greed-ridden lifestyle?

One example of our behaviors is our quest for newer, faster gadgetry. Our choices have created a staggering amount of toxic, high-tech trash, including computers, televisions, cell phones and more. Dumped or inappropriately recycled e-waste is extremely hazardous. It contains arsenic, beryllium, lead - a neurotoxin and cadmium - a carcinogen that damages lungs and kidneys.

In the United States, cell phones are often discarded after 12 months use. For many, their phones have become a "status symbol." The owners want this gadget to be an expression of their personalities.

No object defines us. To live consciously, our choices must change. So recycle and buy smaller and less of everything. Tend your needs and not your wants.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


With alarms sounding, it is time to buy smaller and less. Like so much of the American dream, the "bigger is better" house, car, more-of-everything mentality, has become an environmental and social nightmare.

We are a nation in which our wants far exceed our needs. Let our motto become "Less is More," or "Enough is Enough." For our children, grandchildren and future generations, our slumbering consciousness must awaken to this planetary emergency.

Being a child of relative poverty, I believed the American illusion that happiness followed obtaining my material wants. I took my turn with big houses, fancy cars and furnishings galore, but there I found no peace.

In Alex Wilson's book, Your Green Home, he discusses minimizing our environmental impact by building smaller, more space- and energy-efficient homes. He is right. We don't need large homes to store stuff we don't need. I grew tired of cleaning, heating and cooling mine.

Weighing in at 900 square feet, I now live in a 1926 greenly remodeled home. My air conditioning is often open windows and ceiling fans. I drive a hybrid vehicle and am within a short walk of all my shopping needs. I deeply enjoy the simplicity of my life. I hope you discover that less is more.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Standing in lines, I often meet new friends.

Today, at the Post Office, I was behind a well-dressed, elderly lady of African descent.

We watched a loquacious boy talking to his mother. He had thick, straight, black hair and large, heavily-lashed, black-brown eyes. She wore a pink, head scarf, indicating her Muslim faith. Quietly and patiently, with humor in her countenance, she listened to her son's questions and observations and made inaudible comments.

I soon engaged them in conversation. The six-year-old boy explained they were there to obtain his passport. His family was from Bangladesh, but the upcoming, three-month, summer vacation would be his first visit. With some embarrassment, he said he couldn't speak "Banglei." I assured him, after his trip, he would speak it fluently. His mother explained that she had not been home for nine years. Her other child, a fourteen-year-old daughter, had been to Bangladesh twice. Soon, she was joined by her husband, who had completed the transaction on behalf of his son.

As we observed the child, the elderly lady spoke of how the boy reminded her of her daughter as a child. She said, "My daughter asked constant questions. She always wanted to know more, and I never said no to her." Obviously, the woman had encouraged her daughter inquisitiveness and was proud of her professional accomplishments.

Farther down the line, I watched an African male and his Caucasian wife being loving and affectionate with one another. In an infant seat, he carried their infant daughter. She was also posing for her passport photograph. The child's mother was Canadian, and the couple planned to visit the mother's family.

I was smiling on leaving the Post Office. I love our human family.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I saw a couple today whose college-age daughter will have her third cancer surgery tomorrow. Their pain was palpable. They pray, live one day at a time and wait for God's will to unfold.

On later reflection, I was reminded of Mother Teresa's comment, "I know God never gives me more than I can handle, I just wish He wouldn't trust me so much."

Then, I recalled Jesus saying something to the effect, "let this cup passeth from me." I went in search of the text, which is Luke 22:42. In one translation, on the Mount of Olives, Jesus said, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me, nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."

Monday, January 16, 2012


At sixty-five, I often feel invisible.

I don't wear the current fashions or desire to expose my breasts, legs or gluteal muscles. I wear relaxed and comfortable, whatever their date.

My hair is silver, and I use little makeup.

Without advertising, I don't attract much male attention. Besides, the men my age are usually hustling younger women.

I don't need or want center stage or even the peripheral limelight. I think this comes from being content with my life and comfortable in my own skin.

I no longer compete with others or race anyone for first place. I yield the right-of-way. I'll take the turtle's pace. It's steady and sure.

Actually, I am enjoying this time in my life. Invisibility removes the stess, and I can just be.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I have surfaced from ten days of relative silence and much painting.

In the canine department, I discovered a mobile veterinarian, and Horace was relieved of his nuts. I don't believe he's missed them. Bodhi had his teeth cleaned and is minus a loose tooth.

In addition, this is an equal opportunity household. All three dogs now sport bark collars. I am less stressed, and the neighbors are pleased.

I sense 2012 will be a years of blessings, for myself and others. As I write this, I am aware that seemingly negative events may yield the highest good for all concerned. Therefore, I must work to suspend judgement about the positive or negative nature of the events in my life.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


In my morning meditation, I read portions of Stephen Mitchell's translation of the Tao Te Ching. I want to share with you the 81st reading.

"True words aren't eloquent;
eloquent words aren't true.
Wise men do not need to prove their point;
men who need to prove their point aren't wise.

The Master has no possessions.
The more he does for others,
the happier he is.
The more he gives to others,
the wealthier he is.

The Tao nourishes by not forcing.
By not dominating, the Master leads."

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


The December 2011 issue of Ode, contains a series of articles on the healing power of giving.(

Author, Diana Rico cites various world religions views on giving.

"If you knew the power of generosity, you would not let a single meal go by without sharing it," the Buddha said ... Giving was advocated by the Buddha because it "both acknowledges the interdependence we have for each other and is the active practice of letting go, which is where freedom from suffering lies."

Paul exhorts, in 2 Corinthians 9:7, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."

In Islam, the Qu'ran discusses the practice of giving alms. "It is intended not only to provide welfare for needy Muslims but to purify the spirit of the giver (who is cleaned of greediness and selfishness) and the receiver (who is saved from the humiliation of begging and envy)."

The Torah commands its followers "to open your heart to the poor and to the needy kin in your land."

Other authors discuss the body, mind, spirit and social healing powers of giving for both the giver and the recipient.

Another family shared their abundance by selling their lavish home and giving half of their proceeds to charity.

So goes the circle of life. Peace and happiness is the result of sharing, loving and letting go.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I enjoy asian food, and I look for wisdom within each fortune cookie. Recently, I received a true gem.

"He who climbs highest is the one who gives another a hand up."

This thought is one of purity and truth. Carry it forth into this new year.