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Wear it proudly on your chest




Many of my European friends have been wondering what the heck is going on in America! Some of us Americans are wondering the same. The words and vocalizations of our next president and his cabinet do not speak for us all.

To me, America is still a land of opportunity for everyone regardless of class, culture or depth of pocketbook to forge incredible successes in business, invention, entrepreneurship, social action. I believe that we are indeed made far richer by our diversity and are “Better Together”. Judging a whole nation on the words or actions of a few is both unfair and unkind. Sometimes we need to uncover another side in order to explore where the darkness lies within ourselves.

As a teen in the 70s, I marched in Denver for the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment), joined N.O.W. (Nat’l Organization for Women), worked hard for civil rights, women’s rights & pro-choice issues and have been actively involved in the many environmental issues & efforts concerning our planet.

As for me, I vow to volunteer more, be even more pro-active, participate in more social action & causes, be kind and compassionate and helpful to those in need. Be an example of what you believe in. Actions speak louder than words, so take action to make this a better world. Make your words be ones of inclusiveness and kindness. “Liking” on social media isn’t action. DO something.

dscn2323“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
Francis of Assisi

Love is all around us!

The Heart Cave

The Heart Cave

I must remember to go down to the Heart Cave
and sweep it clean; make it warm with a fire on the hearth,
and candles in their niches.
The pictures on the walls glowing with a quiet light.

I must remember to go down to the Heart Cave
and make the bed with the quilt from home,
strew rushes on the floor and hang lavendar and sage from the corners.

I must remember to go down to the Heart Cave
and be there when you come.

                                            — Geoffrey Brown

Quotes about the Internet

National borders aren’t even speed bumps on the information superhighway.
~Tim May

The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.
~Bill Gates

Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won’t bother you for weeks.
~Author Unknown

What then?

That I feel hungry, forgive an insult, and love my enemy –
these are great virtues.
But what if I should discover that the poorest of beggars
and the most impudent of offenders are all within me,
and that I stand in need of the alms of my own kindness;
That I myself am the enemy that must be loved – What then?
~ C.G. Jung

Keep Walking!

If you were steering a large barge and decided you wanted to change directions, you’d begin turning the wheel. However, because of the momentum of the barge’s movement and the sheer size of it, the boat wouldn’t immediately shift direction. You’d need to keep turning and turning that wheel. Eventually, the barge will turn. Likewise, if you keep feeding attention to the direction you want to go, your life will change.

“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking. ”
    Buddhist Proverb

To Hear a Mockingbird

To Hear a Mockingbird

I’ve had a nightly visitor serenading me in my garden the past few weeks. I’ve recorded his song and put some words to it. Enjoy!


The Train

The Skunk Train runs from Fort Bragg east an hour or two through the Redwood forest, a classic steam train that is a familiar sound and sight in this sleepy little town.

At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel on our side. However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone.  As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love(s) of your life. Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don’t realize that they vacated their seats. This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers requiring that we give the best of ourselves.

The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way, love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.

I wish you a joyful journey on the train of life. Reap success and give lots of love. More importantly, thank God for the journey.

Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train.


Lakota Prayer

Lakota Prayer

Wakan Tanka (Great Spirit),
teach me how to trust
my heart,
my mind,
my intuition,
my inner knowing,
the senses of my body,
the blessings of my spirit.

Teach me to trust these things
so that I may enter my Sacred Space
and love beyond my fear,
and thus Walk in Balance
with the passing of each glorious Sun.

The Sacred Space is the space within you
Where the mind, heart and spirit are one
To Walk in Balance is to have Heaven (spirituality)
and Earth (physicality) in Harmony.

The Thin Veil Between Worlds

The day of Samhain, Hallow´s Eve, where the veil is the thinnest between the world of the living and those who have left their bodies – set a place setting at your dinner table to honor and converse with loved ones who have passed over – nothing truly ever dies, it just transforms! Love and laughter to my dad Sam, brothers  Mike and Karl, my grand and great-grandparents – and my family of friends and loves – Gregg, Susan, Chuck, Alberto, Joyce and so many others!!!
Here´s a beautiful relevant poem by Don Marquis:
Have I not known the sky and sea
Put on a look as hushed and still
As if some ancient prophecy
Drew close upon to be fulfilled?
Like mist the houses shrink and swell,
Like blood the highways throb and beat,
The sapless stones beneath my feet
Turn foliate with miracle.
And life and death but one thing are –
And I have seen this wingless world
Cursed with impermanence and whirled
Like dust across the summer swirled,
And I have dealt with Presences
Behind the veils of Time and Place,
And I have seen this world a star –
Bright, shining, wonderful in space.

Traveling the World Connecting Hands and Hearts

For the life of me, I cannot recall how I first was introduced to Meetup. I know it was several years back – before the popularity of Facebook, before Twitter, before CouchSurfing, before LinkedIn– all those great virtual meeting points where inquisitive folks connect, disconnect and reconnect. It was even before “Social Networking” became a commonplace word – now a necessity in every upwardly mobile executive´s lingo and skillset.

I´ve met European newbies on a party barge docked along the river Thames; young Persians from Tehran that were delighted and astonished when my distant recollection of Farsi was sufficient to welcome them and ask “How are you?” in their own familiar language. Alone and newly arriving in London, when my birthday fell on a weekday I was not to be deterred in finding a group to celebrate with.  Searching the web, I found a social networking group Meetup gathering that very night for a wine tasting near St. Paul´s cathedral. I joined the group and checked YES on the attendance roster, posting the message that “In America, it´s tradition to buy a drink for someone on their birthday.” Put it this way, my memories of this event are all happy, but the first half was much clearer in focus than the final few hours! Returning home on the top front seat of the double-decker bus through the late night streets of London was indeed a magical memory in itself.

Gathering in a central pub in downtown Madrid for a language exchange Meetup proved to be an amazing way to gain new friends and meet people. There I was, a blonde woman in a group of dark-haired Spaniards – a beacon, an exotic “pavo real” – drawing hopeful English speakers like a moth to a flame.  “Hello! Can we join your table and practice our English?” So while my Spanish conversation was not enhanced that evening, I might as well have been a dealer at a hot table in Las Vegas for the group of enthusiastic English speakers I was surrounded by.

Barcelona is a city of amazing architecture with a vibrant art & music scene – a city that knows the joy of living la vida calma.  Here in the land of the siesta, your sense of time is stretched and pulled and tweaked until eating dinner at 10 p.m. and going to bed at 2 a.m. seems commonplace. Meetups for The Night of the Museums (rambling with groups speaking English and Spanish while visiting the late night museums FREE), the Great Photo Challenge (a scavenger hunt with digital cameras in mixed language groups), Cinebar (Films In English on a pub wall), Gratitude Reading Circle (sharing universal spiritual inspirations), The Fat Lady Sings Classical Music  group (Oh, the beautiful cathedrals and the magnificent acoustics!), the Cheap Wine Challenge (picnic in the park with wine under 5 €), Live MusicSalsa or Tango dance groups – it is all there. You never need walk alone, unless it is by choice.

I´ve met great friends from every country and continent, spoken several languages and botched many, but always with a smile on my face, a willingness to try and a keen sense of humor. Those that can laugh at themselves shall never fail to be amused!

Sketching with SketchCrawlers

Just who have I met through Meetups? A shaman from Peru, oncologists and scientists, techno-geeks, George Clooney wannabes, a past life regressionist, salsa kings & queens, movie nerds, bloggers and photographers – everyone´s there! I´ve accumulated good friends from every continent and culture (joy!), interesting job leads and a few eager TEFL English students (work!), a rare date or two (like, not love!), dance partners (joy again!), fellow artists (creativity!) – a colorful worldwide tapestry of friends to share the joys and experiences of life with.

I wish I could say I found love through Meetup, but it’s truly the opposite. I lost my husband through Meetup, in a Meetup that I had organized – how´s that for synchronicity? He met a charismatic new buddy,  a lost boy whose ideas of luring him away from our marriage to the “Pleasure Island” of San Francisco´s glittery, upwardly mobile  social scene culminated in the disastrous destruction our marriage of nearly two decades. Yes, Pinocchio wandered off with stars in his eyes and hope in his heart, but any longings he had to return back  “home” were doomed. As they say in Las Vegas “Elvis has left the building.” – and of course, in this case I am Elvis. Wanderlust and an unquenchable desire to connect with others worldwide, coupled with a healthy dose of courage has replaced the sense of sadness and loneliness I felt after that life-altering course correction.

But honestly, meeting new people, sharing interests and celebrating our common humanity –  isn´t that really the juice? It´s the reason we get off the couch, the reason we dust off our conversation skills, tackle new languages, travel across town or across an ocean, stretching our boundaries to reach out to others in friendship and community. Sharing a laugh or a sorrow in meaningful conversations is always sheer joy, all made possible by a willingness to connect. Grief shared is sorrow halved – and a smile shared – well, it´s priceless! Whether you´re new to town or new to being single, or just aching to become a new YOU – let your fingers do the walking and MeetUp!

“Thou hast made me known to friends whom I know not.
Thou hast given me seats in homes not my own.  Thou hast brought the distant near
and made a brother of strangers.”  ~ R. Tagore

Buy your copy today! Cuba for Mama: A Daughter’s Journey 2016

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