Archive for February, 2012

I’ve blogged on several serious topics recently regarding our brain and research associated to the substantial power we humans possess within our body cells for recuperation and healing.  And they’ve gotten a bit lengthy I’ve noticed. In March, I intend to give your eyes a bit of a rest and bring in my blog conclusions with fewer words.

So, for now, have fun with this concluding February  LEAP DAY Blog. 

Read the following three paragraphs quickly:


Olny srmat poeple can raed tihs.

I cdnuolt blveivee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, maens taht it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the lttteers in a wrod are, the oln iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.

Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig, huh? And I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! Now you can tlel tehm taht it inst! Plsae aslo tlel all yuor frneirds to buy The Ginee in Yuor Gnees bceause it’s scuh an azaming book!


You could do it, right? Surprised? You can scan and comprehend these words almost as fast as if they had been unscrambled.  Researchers conclude we are able to do this because the brain (mind) overrides our senses.  Anna Roe, chief researcher on this Yale team project, says, “the brain is reflecting what we are feeling, even if that’s not what really is. She further concludes that we also think we know what’s out there in the physical world, but it’s all interpreted by our brains.

“Everything we sense is an illusion to a degree.”

What is the last thing you thought you saw?

PS – Let me tell you it was  much harder to type these words than it was to read them. I have a headache.  My brain and reality were in conflict. Now, that’s something to think about.

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Marshall Michigan is known to be a pretty colorful town. Besides its old town charm, it properly celebrates the seasons of the year with color, fanfare, parades, and neatly decorated storefronts calling for a little closer look.

At Christmastime, the main street and shops glow with no detail overlooked to make an inviting step back into time to Christmas of Old.

In the blazing hot of July 4th, the Circular community fountain park again takes on the vintage of the early 1900s with the Marshall Community Band playing the best of John Phillips Sousa’s marches and recreations of Civil War Battles and the musical drama of the War of 1812.

With oven bar-b-que chicken aromas floating over the park for their concert intermission, townspeople and others have come from miles around to sit on blankets, and fold-up chairs, and watch their costumed Americana children and pets in the pet and bicycle parades and then, await their awards. It is red, white, and blue at its finest from nearly 100 year old centennial elderly to probably the hours old baby, just from delivery at Oaklawn Community Hospital with a red bow in her not-yet-there hair.

I’ve been going for years and yes our daughter and granddaughter’s participation is a big draw, but it’s become deeply engrained in me as the best place to be on the fourth, for family and country celebration and I would miss it if I wasn’t there.

In the fall, there is a Home Tour, like none other, of the beautiful Victorian homes that populate this mid-southern Michigan town. Lots of pagentry, song fests, and special programs add to the benefit of being able to tour the many homes that are on display.

Many of these same homes are completed re-costomed inside and out, as October 31 arives and the ghosts, goblins, and even rockin’ chairs in the upstairs windows of these gallowed homes turn into a hilarious, if somewhat intimidating, Halloween feast.

 Even three year old Pink Princess Amy treaded bravely up many of the staired long walkways to the front porch of these homes to gather her “treat” from the character sitting by her cauldrum and the teathered bats in the nearby trees, and hastily retreated.  I think her own personal safety net was a deep belief in the sanctity of Princesses and surely no one would hurt a princess.

Recently, however, there was an absolutely SPECTACULAR, AMAZING, AND  AWESOME TECHNICOLOR EVENT STAGED AT THE Franke Center for the Arts when the Children’s Theater presented live and with orchestra, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

If I knew how to do it, I would scratch through the word children, because although it was a youth production, the level to which they rose to put on an over-the-top energetic performance made this experience top-dog professional — all the way.

Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice’s production of the story Joseph,  who is the biblical son of Jacob, and the treacherous and traitorist activities of his 11 motely crew of brothers,  is highly entertaining and successful in Broadway history.

Well — pint-size Broadway came to town in style on February 16, 17, 18 and 19th when sixty-eight performers, singers, dancers and musicians, from kindergarten through 8th grade age returned us to the time and setting of way way back, many centuries ago, not long after the bible began in Canaan and Egypt.

The whole story is told in singing verse. This kept you focused on the actors/singers. Yet the  total visual experience on stage was multi-layered and intriguing; the  antics of school children, pharoh’s wives, and detailed costumes and makeup, brilliant beyond measure,  all begged for notice. We were  multi-tasked audience members, soaking up the nuances that came at us faster than a bullet.

Joseph’s lead role played by Sam Anderson, was strong and enduring right off the bat. He played straight-man to his sanity-challenged ,demented brothers to the max and it heightened the comedic effect of the brothers. His strong presence in stature and voice, his compassionate  and understanding eye contact and placement  on stage and beyond the stage , made me sympathetic to his plight immediately (making clear he was definitely a higher-purpose man caught in difficult circumstances).

That total cast sang, danced, and enjoyed every moment on stage, as musical director Kathleen Warriner and director/choreographer Jocelyn France encouraged them to do.  They were in it and they were “on”, even when the action was directed away from where they were. They never left being in character and “waited” for their next part.

And were these kids just natural hams or what?

The speciality songs with dialects were the treat of the night. Like the hilarious French  delivery of “Those Canaan Days”  that kept the brothers’  dire famine situation on the light side.

 Then, there was brother Reuban’s country western hoedown of One More Angel in Heaven, (Josh Vreeland) as an awkward explanation  (cover-up tale) to their father, why there was no more Joseph. His “truth-stretching made it plausible for Jacob (played convincingly  by Isaiah Potter)  to swallow the bait and grieve his son’s loss in deep, tearful sobs, while the brothers were just glad he bought their story. 

Our grandson Andrew’s  (playing Judah) reggae version of the Benjamin Calypso was excellently Carribean  and helped get little brother Ben released so they could all return to their father.   

Pharoh delivered a top performance (Joseph Rockwell) of  his imitation of Elvis in his Song of the King.

If you hadn’t ever seen this show, you were blown away when he dramatically entered stage center down off his pyramid tower, having thrown his royal blue cape to the stairs, and prancing down in the “later-Elvis” version of the white-caped, flowing white studded pants singing idol of the 60s and beyond.  His deep baritone and Elvis sound left many audience members  astounded and doubled up in loud laughter.

I could be wrong but I don’t think I am. When these kids knew they were going to throw a punch line at us, they lavished every moment right up to delivering it.

The audience may have been watching their children and grandchildren dancing, prancing, singing and delivering really tedious script lines, but we may as well have been sitting on Broadway. I saw the play on Thursday night, the middle of the run and also the concluding Sunday matinee performance and they didn’t let down a beat. The show was stellar through the whole run.

There was lots of talent and time spent working with these kids and all the peripheral stuff  it takes to do something like this, but it was obvious no one dropped the ball to bring the performance to this height. Rather than doing the play to a soundtrack, they tackled this show performing with a volunteer orchestra, playing live each performance.

 Granddaugter, Devon, played several instruments including putting the steel drum touch on Andrew’s solo.

Our daughter, Kathleen situated herself mid-way in the side-stage curtain, directing both the band and the music and kids on-stage cues, wearing “many” hats as scenes changed; like a red french beret and a 10 gal cowboy hat. Ever since the show closed, she has been at a bit of a loss for her missing “brothers” she coddled and coached and made come alive to an appreciating audience.

Seasons come and seasons go. But long after many more Christmas’ and 4th of July’s and Home Tours, and Halloweens run off the calendar, the audience and performers of this show will still remember the nights and sights and sounds and fun of —–Joseph.

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Yesterday we had one of our nice Michigan snowy days. The kind that Amy would have loved to be outside playing in. But she was healing from the sniffles and sneezes and she had to stay inside.

She came to our house for what we thought would be a few hours stay while dad went to the gym. It turned out to be an “all-dayer” as things just kinda went along into the afternoon and by early evening, we thought it was a good idea to invite dad to hang out and watch TV with Dziadzia and invite mom to come to our house for a spaghetti and meatball dinner after her long day of  work as an eye doctor.

Amy made the day amazing. I wrote recently about a day I had of “ease and grace”, but  Amy’s energy and love of being here turned it into a magical day.

Even feeling a bit under the weather, she kind of designed the day naturally as the time passed. She started with her own tiny computer and playing games on it. (her favorite, Beauty and the Beast)  As she figured each clue to the new task, delighted in success marked on the screen, giggling and anxious to share her victories.

Then she treated us to some of her musical melodies on my piano. She plays and touches the keys mainly with one finger, singing lyrics and striking a musical note. Sometimes, she gets in full concert mode and uses several fingers, and without knowing how to read music yet, she creates a pleasant sound from the keyboard. 

 She also directed her small, amateur (us) band for a short gig. She needs to get a leader baton from Aunt Kathleen. Perhaps we would improve a little. She’s a very disciplined music leader. No nonsense here!

She decided she was hungry for a light lunch of a cheese tortilla and juice and helped me make the tortilla, “just like daddy does.” During her lunch, I put together my meatballs and sauce to simmer for dinner, still thinking there would just be Tom and me at the evening meal.

Then Amy was ready to take me to my room, where she has special space designed for her. This is her favorite place to get grandma into and close off the rest of the world except for the two of us.

Two new things she’s discovered and likes to do in this room is make copies on the printer and continue coloring mandala designs with my large color pencil supplies. We did both, and she exclaims how “beauuuuuuutiful and amaaaaaaaaazing each new task and color is.

I had my Reiki table up in the room and she has decided that is her bunk bed in grama’s room, so she took intermittent rests on it and I read stories to her about her favorite turtle, Franklin…..who is afraid……well of a lot of things……storms, with lightening and thunder for one.  

But she exclaims not to be afraid of storms because at her house they have had a lot of power outages with storms, so she can tell me the whole routine of  flashlights, darkness, sometimes trips to the basement, and then the return of the light.

She spies the screensaver of a North Carolina lighthouse on my computer screen and tells me all about the lighthouse’s duty to warn ships to stay safely out in the water. She learned this from listening to daddy on one of their summer trips to South Haven’s Lake Michigan beach and lighthouse.

Her dad returns from his outing with the coconut I asked him for and I take time out to make a very quick, easy recipe of a coconut cream pie I just found in a magazine and dad is thinking that’s a pretty neat dessert.

Amy, during this time, does fall asleep, on her “bunk bed” and I put chairs around to secure her. We decide to invite mom now for dinner which Carl thinks is beginning to look pretty good. Amy is only too happy to help grandma in the kitchen, setting placemats, silverware and napkins on the table, deciding where everyone is going to sit.

Then she gets right in front of me with wide eyes and says, “Grandma, let’s get cookin’!”

Which we think is a pretty good name for a cookbook we could put together over the next few years of Amy and Grama cooking together.  We have two recipes ready now.  Amy’s Cheese Tortilla and Grama’s Instant Hit Coconut Cream Pie which is so easy that Amy could make it now. We’ll also have to include Great Grama’s Sugar Cookies, which Amy rolled out, cut shapes and decorated the baked cookies with frosting and sprinkles expertly at Christmas time.

She fills glasses with ice cubes and water from our amazing refrigerator dispenser, mom arrives and dinner is on.  A little more alone-with- grandma-time after dinner, and then Amy is home to a good night’s sleep with an armful of creative and amazing coloring pieces of Minnie Mouse, Beauty and the Beast, and Tinkerbell.

I was amazingly tired as I sat down in my chair late in the evening, yet grateful for the light energy of possibility and excitement  in little things this precious four-year-old added to my day.

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Well, I found another professional neural expert, with a huge background in academia, eleven years of religious life who insists that our body contains the wisdom we need to guide us and actually be the teacher of how we can self-actualize into an exhuberant being. And that this is exactly the point!

She helps people, personally and professionally, to see around their “smallness” and encourages them instead to check out the Spark of Genius in them.

In fact, on Joan C. King’s website, http://www.cellular-wisdom.com/  Joan asks a very pertinent question: “Who are YOU to deprive the world of YOUR genius?”

Joan C. King

I used to hear a different version of that question when I was growing up: “Who do YOU think YOU are?” and the inflection of the question, made one want to duck or get on a quick defensive because of the way it was asked.

Now I encourage others to answer that question when I sense they are “downsizing” themselves or their true magnificence and reframe a more accurate answer of goodness and ability.

So I love Joan’s question and her leadership and coaching of people looking for new definitions of success, personal success, by their own measuring sticks, when the life force seems to have slowed or stopped up within them.

She doesn’t care for limits — she wants expansiveness of consciousness. When we don’t think we know, we ask instead:  “What IS it I KNOW that I don’t know that I KNOW?” That keeps the door open.

With a resume that includes eleven years as a Dominican nun and more than twenty years as a medical school professor,chair, director and researcher, Joan King’s life journey has been one leap of faith after another. But the most recent one landed her exactly where she feels she was meant to be—writing,speaking, and teaching about the divine connection between body and soul.

Could the cells teach us how to live? “Yes, they can.”

If we leave them alone, if our beliefs don’t limit what the energy field is,
our cells thrive. Their default state is to thrive. “What I did was I looked
at the ways in which cells act that are fundamental to the function of the cell. And I asked if that could be a template for how to live exuberantly.”

And one key lesson from how the body functions is that everything
flows from a central core. In Cellular Wisdomshe writes:

“Take, for example, the principle that information flows from the
interior of a cell to its outer reaches. Moreover, the principle
underlying this pattern—   that guidance originates from the center—
can be seen everywhere in the body.”

Information emanating from our core is where it all begins and ends.

 Her book, Cellular Wisdom: Decoding the Body’s Secret Language, integrates the fields of science and spirituality into an understanding of
ourselves as whole, complete beings . . . perfectly engineered.

Instead of attempting to explain how the body works, King shifts the focus to what the body can tell us about how to live and how to thrive; how to allow the fullness of the life force to enter our complete being at all levels.

Because the cells naturally do just that, she finds them to be the perfect teachers. King sees our bodies as providing the blueprints for expanding our consciousness and the process of decoding the body’s secret language as the key to unlocking the door to the soul.

King explains, “I’m using the body as a teacher because our cells
resonate fully with the life force.”

King’s search for that something that would allow her to integrate
both her spiritual and scientific backgrounds, to synthesize her
knowledge of biology and her spiritual longings lead her to cellular
wisdom. But it wasn’t an immediate match up.

“No, I didn’t discover the cellular wisdom connection until I actually
left academia and shut up! I left and I took a six-month sabbatical. In that time I did nothing but read and meditate. I did not talk to people and that was important for me.”

King credits her years at the convent with teaching her about the value of silence, of turning within in times of uncertainty and transition.

“I know that in my life I have to have the balance of silence.”

And so for six months she created that balance. “During that time,
the only question I asked was ‘Who am I? Underneath all of this
stuff, who’s the energy?’

Then I asked, ‘What am I going to do?’” It was in the silence that she first
heard the voice of cellular wisdom.

And once identified, it all became very clear. What exactly did she hear? King responds quietly, “it was the hum of the soul.”


Source of writing taken from article published in Sept. 2006 Science of Mind, written by Linda Potter, A Conversation with Joan King

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Continuing with February’s heart and love theme, I choose to pull a few quotes from Hal Zina Bennett. Many years ago, it seemed that in the books I was reading at that time, quotes frequently popped up from Hal Zina Bennett.

I had not read any of his books yet but I always liked the inserted quote of Hal’s sharing on the topic. Then a notice appeared in the newspaper that he was making an appearance at a local book store and sharing about his newly published book, Write from the Heart. 

Writing from the heart was a leading premise in the programs I was facilitating  in my “Write Now!” workshops, so my interest was high and I went to listen to him. I don’t remember a whole lot of what was said there, but we must have had a good interchange. On his autographed page he wrote to me: ”

                               “For Susan, Thanks so much for sharing
                               your story and your healing.”  HZB

I don’t remember what I talked to him about–it may have been my unknown mother and subsequent information-gathering and writing I did to make peace with this life event. It probably was.  The need to clear this within was certainly a prime motivator for my writing.

I am grateful I have the purpose to write and that I have found many avenues of expression for this writing. The main one, however, seems to be to just continue to write. It is a time-filler, but it is a way in which I choose and desire to fill time….as a writer.  And I am grateful to the many authors who published books confirming the activity and way of the writer to be valid and necessary, in itself, whether published or not. They have achieved much in the way of  keeping us seated in our chair, writing.

Hal Zina Bennett began his writing career in 1970 with the publication of The Well Body Book, a pioneering work that helped launch the field of self-help/holistic health, now a major publishing category. He has authored more than twenty successful books and consults for many of the country’s leading independent publishers.

In addition to his own books, he is one of the most sought-after collaborative writers and shaping editors in the country. He has helped more than 200 authors develop projects for today’s highly competitive book industry.

So I will share just a few quotes from his book, which I probably haven’t had off the shelf  for more than a dozen years, and find that some of the statements he makes in this book are truths, if not known by me for sure by then, have come into focus by this time. That is always delightful for me to discover…

….Words are tangible bridges of thought held over time that come into reality.  If that bridge wasn’t completely visible to me at one time, the paths of inquiry and curisosity and passion create a direction where I eventual discover and cross over it.

To begin with, he says:  “This book is about writing
                                                  …..from your heart.

                                                And it’s about finding
                                                 the Creative Spirit
                                                that lives within each of us.

                                               It’s for anyone
                                              who loves writing —
                                                a private journal

                                              Or a book
                                              of  nonfiction

                                              Or the first pages
                                             of the world’s greatest
                                            yet-to-be published novel…

                                             Or a single poem…

                                           Or maybe just in your mind. ”

He shares a Matthew Fox quote:

Our creativity is not a cute thing for the weekend dabblers in the arts; it lies at the essence of who we are. We are all creators, and therefore we all have work — good work– awaiting us.”

He says he likes what Matthew Fox says about the creative act in general. “Creativity is the link between our inner work and the outer work that society requires of us. Creativity is the threshold through which our non-action leads to actions of beautification, celebration and healing in the world.”

Hal speaks of being convinced there is such a thing as divine inspiration and that it, undoubtedly is the most powerfuol source of our creativity. He is also convinced this power is accessible to all of us. That’s not a hard thing for any aspiring writer or creator to hear!

“If you take your journey as a writer seriously, the end product is going to be much more than a published book, poem, article, or story, or a lifetime of personal journals. The path will take you beyond the surface of everyday life toward the inner space of human experience, where you cannot escape the awareness of creative sources far greater than yourself.”

I’m sure I enjoyed reading that line on page 31 many years ago, when I first purchased the book, for it is underlined. But, now, many years later I not only enjoy seeing that but can express from my very own experience over these several years, that is is very true for me. That is exactly where my writing has taken me. And that is exactly what propels me on to the next written word.

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I confesss. I did exactly what the author asked the reader NOT to do as I finished chapter one in her book.

In the last paragraph of the first chapter of Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s “My Stroke of Insight” she said she realized the reader was eager to begin reading her personal account of the morning of her stroke, which would begin in chapter 4.

 But she asked us to not skip over chapters 2 and 3 where she gives a user-friendly scientific and biological areview of the brain so the reader can understand the anatomy underlying her cognitive, physical and spiritual experiences.  

And I must say the cognitive, physical AND spiritual experiences are more than a WOW factor. I know, because, I skipped right over chapters 2 and 3 and read all of the rest of the book before coming back to get my physiology lessons from Dr. Jill. I will be sharing some of those in another post.

But honing in on some of the science she presents in these two chapters, several facts and stats caught my attention and here is one of them.

In the history of the cosmos, she states  “the emergence of life was a most remarkable event.” (italics mine). That is to say, let’s not just take this for granted.  I do remember we had to memorize a lot of biological terms in 10th grade biology class. One of them was the amoeba, the single cell organism from which evolution began as it could divide and multiply into larger cell organisms.

“With the advent of the single-celled organism, a new era of information processing was born at the molecular level….manipulation of atoms and molecules into ADNA and RNA sequences, information became entered, coded and stored for future use.”

“Moments in time no longer came and went without a record, and by interweaving a continuum of sequential moments into a common thread, the life of the cell evolved as a bridge across time.” (italics, hers)

“Before long, cells figured out ways of hanging together and working together, which finally produced you and me.”

As a neuroanatomist professional at the PhD level, she sees Earth’s molecular brain of DNA as a powerful and successful genetic program, not only because it adapts to constant change, but also because it expects, appreciates and takes advantage of opportunities to tranform itself into something even more magnificent.

Dr. Bolte Taylor does not claim that humans are direct descendants from our treeswinging friends, but it does emphasize that the genius of our molecular code is supported by eons of nature’s greatest evolutionary effort. She sees our human code,” not as a random act, but rather that it is better construed as nature’s ever-evolving quest for a body of genetic perfection.”

FACT: “As members of the same human species, you and I share all but 0.01% (1/100th of 1%) of identical genetic sequences. So, biologically, as a species, you and I are virtually identical to one another at the level of our gene (99.99%.

Looking around at the diversity within our human race, it is obvious that 0.01% accounts for a significant difference in how we look, think, and behave.”  (italics, mine)   

Most of my big life lessons have been in how I  “look”, “think” and “behave”.  In the area of discord and angst alone, my acts “behave(iors) come from thoughts (“think”) often misaligned, from perceiving appearances (“look”) in a false reality.  All those things I’ve worked so hard to correct,  like “change your thinking, change your life”, be willing to turn to non-judgment rather than blame over how things look, etc, …There are so many trails I have traveled here, and this statistic tells me it amounts to  0.01%  of how my makeup is different from anyone else’s.  Amazing!

Wouldn’t you think from this, we are DNA destined for peace among all? If our species anatomical sameness amounts to 99.9% of who we are, how is it we don’t seem to have a foothold on a peace pattern that holds strong in our individual lives and spans across the globe  that recognizes human justice and equality of all.

And if this is in our DNA, and evolution is the natural way of seeking species perfection, then it must be true that we will persist and require change on all levels, biological, emotional, spiritual, until we “get there.”

My own brain took an opportunity to change itself into something more magnificent over twenty years ago.  I will give you the quick version.

At an eye exam, I was overdue for, the examining doctor who happened to be my daughter, quickly discovered a stroke had occurred on the back of my retina. I was referred instantly to an opthalmologist who diagnosed the stroke had occurred and the normal treatment was eye surgery, but not possible because of the placement of the stroke.

My vision in that eye went from near 20/20 to 20/200 and he prescribed a prism type eyeglass for that eye and said we would have to rely on the body to heal the eye as much as it could on its own hoping to get back to 20/40 as a best to hope for scenario.

My eye healed over time back to near 20/20 and has presented no problems since.

As a followup and a bigger lump to swallow, my doctor did an MRI as a baseline reading to have from the time of the eye episode. I received a fairly traumatizing result of finding a tumor on the pituitary gland of my brain, near the brain stem. It was heading right into the optic nerve and would cause blindness if not prevented from growing.

So all this gets pretty personal as I study the diagrams in Taylor’s book, and I am whispering many thank you’s to all the parts that went on to show their magnificence.

The crowning glory is that I healed totally and completely, to the disappearance of the tumor itself (shunk itself up and returned to the “nothingness from which it came” as I proclaimed in my active prayer life).

I was one day away from scheduled surgery, when the change in plans happened. The surgery had been postponed for two weeks due to a staph infection they found in pre-op testing. During that time,  a friend alerted me that I had the same type of brain tumor her husband had and she wanted me to see that surgeon before I went ahead. Two other friends did not “advise” me but shared information with me that caused me to listen to my intuitive self (right brain), and go to Ann Arbor to be advised there.

I went and one test they did gave me the chance to delay surgery, use a drug and see if the tumor would shrink without surgery. Everything happened amazingly fast. I took only 1/4 of the amount of drug they wanted me to take, yet continued with Reiki, Reflexology, Holistic Healthy living, changed some stressed-out situations, and they took MRI’s sooner than expected because blood tests showed dramatic changes.

I was soon out of danger and continued MRIs over a couple of years. Eventually,   the specialist wrote on my report, “There is no evidence of the tumor, not even on the floor of the brain. The tumor is gone.”

He, the endocrinologist,  also remarked to me after not having seen me for a year, “You are not the same sick woman who sat here a year ago. There’s nothing I’ve done to explain the difference in you. What have you done?”

I admitted I didn’t have a full answer, told him what I knew I was doing that was good for me. But perhaps it is my magnificent, smart, spectacular bodily cells who should have been proclaiming their awesomeness, their ability and their agreement amongst themselves to “pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and start all over again”  for they surely did.

As Dr. Jill says, ““Before long, cells figured out ways of hanging together and working together.”

 Am I forever grateful? Yes! Do I know in cat terms, I could be on a couple of my extra lives? Yes!  Am I determined to live them with joy rooted deeply in my heart and open to the wonders within and around us? Yes. Yes. Yes!

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I have been totally self-absorbed in reading and learning and s t r e  t c h i n g   my consciousness so much that exactly what I want to write about is quite a calligraphy in my mind and heart, but you shall receive it as it forms its expression in the quiet within and finds its highway onto Napkinwriter.

It surely is about heart — yours and mine. It definitely is about our phiosology and our spirituality all adding up to our individual I AM. It is about your I Am and my I AM being part and parcel of ALL THAT IS. And it is about belief giving way to knowing (even sacred beliefs), so much so that I no longer can say I believe,……but rather, “I KNOW.”

Last week Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, “Stroke of Insight” arrived, and oh, how I stold moments of the day to put both my nose and my eyes into that book. It was on my wish list long before I was able to purchase it.

I want to get in my car, drive down to Bloomington, Indiana and find this woman and give her one big bear hug. For WHO she is. For the courage and determination she brought to her recovery….and FOR the true insights  she offered us readers and listeners that came to her after her stroke. 

I will be writing several themes just from this book alone in the near future.

Today, because Valentine’s Day skipped by me as a writer, (but not as a celebrator of love), I am offering  a guest writing from HeartMath Institute, another source of incredible learning and path-sorting for me.

Both HeartMath Institute and Dr. Jill know HOW SMART our hearts and our brains are and how, if we could only listen closely enough to them….we would discover that…

 peace is a natural STARTING PLACE for our body to be……not an end goal that many of us put great effort into achieving. 

I was not gifted in the appitude for Science in school, nor later on in my life, so the scientific language and disclosures are still challenging for me from both these sources. Yet the exciting thing to me is conclusions in the sciences of physiology are coming up with confirming many of the spiritual beliefs I hold are truth.

So here, from the Institute of HeartMath’s Connecting Hearts & Minds Newsletter, written by Sara Childre, President:

Dear Susan,

That first moment of recognition, when we know that fondness has turned to love, is an occasion for celebration! We have found someone who can make us laugh, bring us a joyful tear, sustain us through life’s trials and accept us for who we are. This recognition of love brings a deep contentment and knowingness that something precious has been stored deep within our heart.

Some of us have had this experience more than once in our lives, while many are hoping it will come and wonder when or how to find it. In my experience, we don’t have to wait for that magic to happen; we can learn to cultivate it in our current relationships, and as we do, we draw more fulfilling love to us.

It starts with considering the qualities we value most in friendship. Perhaps you feel a special friendship or love flourishes because you and the other are always willing to accept each other as he or she is. Or maybe it’s the person’s kindness, compassion or forgiveness toward you and others. Or do you attribute a lasting relationship to honest, open and respectful communication? All of these qualities contribute to the foundation of true love and friendship. They are qualities of the heart.

February is Heart Month and Valentine’s Day celebrates the heart, love and friendship. There are myriad magazine articles and books that offer advice for cultivating true love. What if we add a little science to the mix, research that could perhaps help us cultivate the love we want to experience? The Electricity of TouchResearch at the Institute of HeartMath (IHM) has found that the heart literally can make sparks fly between people. When two people are in resonance, there is a powerful transfer of energy produced by the heart. In fact, the heart generates the strongest electromagnetic field in the body, about 100 times stronger in amplitude than the magnetic field generated by the brain. Maybe this is why our heart speaks louder than our thoughts at times.

Think of the heart as a radio station, broadcasting a pattern of information on a radio wave through its electromagnetic field. That pattern changes based on what we are feeling. The pattern that’s broadcasted through the heart’s electromagnetic field can be detected (measured) in another person’s brainwaves, when two people are touching or in close proximity. In other words, we are always transferring nonverbal emotional information to each other. This research gives scientific meaning to sayings like, “You could feel the electricity between them,” or “It felt like a current running through me,” or “You could cut the tension in that room with a knife,” or “I could just feel his vibes.”

Additional scientific findings like this, which reveal the extraordinary mysteries of the heart, are summarized in IHM’s “Mysteries of the Heart” video that can be viewed on their YouTube page at http://youtu.be/Kyfm5_LLxow. What are you Broadcasting Today?According to IHM Research Director Rollin McCraty, Ph.D., “A handshake, a hug, a pat on the back to a teammate – these interactions help us communicate and perhaps say more than what meets the eye.” So we need to ask ourselves, “What are we broadcasting?”

To cultivate love, it’s important to take pause and consider what emotions we are broadcasting to other people and into our environment. Or as we often say at HeartMath, “What are you feeding the field right now or today?”

The nature of true love is care, kindness and other heart-felt emotions that create resonance. By focusing on and broadcasting these heart feelings, we create a deeper connection with others.

So for Valentine’s Day and February Heart Month, let’s celebrate this heart research and take our love gestures a step further than just flowers or candy. Let’s focus on what our heart is broadcasting to our loved ones and into the field environment. Perhaps we can ask ourselves each day, “What am I feeding the field?”      

To share these important and but not often known understandings of the heart, the Institute of HeartMath is conducting a research campaign this month and giving away one of its best-selling electronic books, The Energetic Heart. The book explains the transfer of energy between people and how we can enhance our resonance with each other. To celebrate HeartMath’s understandings of the heart during Heart Month and to download the free book, go to http://on.fb.me/explore-IHM


The NapkinwriterI likes the image of tending her heart as a garden and she looks forward to putting a small garden in the backyard of her new home, once spring comes.

So even though February is a short month, I see it as a good time to start “checking over the soil” of my heart and having it be just-right ready to live in this world as a presence of peace and an extender of love to my neighbor and where ever I am called to share it.


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These two words — ease and grace — sounded in what I thought to be a most unusual place for me to hear them, but maybe not. I was getting a “hold-over” to next appointment with my cranio-sacral and accurpressure, reflexologist practitioner.  She, as she worked near my side thoracic muscles asked me to “forgive and release with ease and grace” anything I no longer needed to hang onto, and current and family ancestor issues came to mind.

Love was the feeling and tears were the immediate result with a pain in the heart, not the knee which has been presenting a problem to my mobility. I have two brothers and a sister-in-law experiencing difficult physical problems and I am at an arm’s length distance to be of any help with this ongoing challenge. I wish to do and be more for them. I do what I can in my prayer and Reiki healing gift and hold out for the Highest Good, knowing it truly does surround them.

The words, “ease and grace” though surprised me yesterday at that juncture, so I am applying them to my physical self. They are big in my spiritual concepts and work. In fact, in one of my regular spiritual readings from  Unity’s Daily Word, the word for Sunday, Oct. 16 and Mon. oct. 17 were Grace (Sun) and Ease (Mon).

On that Sunday, we went to the Open House of the house that was to become ours. On Monday, Oct. 17 the word was Ease and I wrote on the page, “I accept our new home”. and “We found our new home today.”

That day we began conversations and number crunching activities that moved us into our new home on Dec. 3, less than two months later. Using all resources we had to obtain the home, the mover even provided the truck and two men to move us into the home.


I am trying to change a tendency I’ve had for a long time — and that is to either make things hard on myself or harder than they have to be. I’ve made great progress with this but know it is still an error in my flesh.

Today, I see grace and ease working in my life and I open the door to let Spirit express in me in wise and wonderful ways. I call on wisdom and understanding as I realize the innate divinity within me.  That is the mystery I contemplate now.

I am hoping that as ease and grace continue to fill my life and I give into it, that I take inspired action (and thoughtful contemplation) and sow the seeds of more good upon the earth, enjoying the act of co-creation along the way.

I see others doing this. I can do this too.

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Welcome, sweet writer. My pen is in your hand. Trust me. Accept each new day as one I have designed for you. I am the Pattern. You are the piece. I will talk to you when you give me the time and space. Just look and give thanks to how I have connected you to the written word and so many others who know their pen is their express highway to me.

Trust me. I am on the straight and narrow of this writing road and around every bend and curve. You cannot pass me. Just follow my lead along this writing journey.

You have the right of way on your writer’s road. Our Road Trip continues together. You only think you are the driver.

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Institute of Heart Math Image
February — the month of heart. Probably nowhere else is it more celebrated that at the Institute of HeartMath, whose research is focused on empowering heart-based living.
Instantly, one thinks of good nutrition and exercise, which is one part of the whole equation. But at the Institute of HeartMath, their research and resources goes well beyond that. Their mission is to help establish heartbased living and global coherence by inspiring people to connect with the intelligence and guidance of their own hearts.
Ah, but can we trust that lovable, yet occasionally fickle heart?
The HeartMath Institute thinks so. In a newsletter dated Spring 2007,  they note the worldwide trend (back then!) of increasing levels of stress. This was BEFORE  the economy bust and political hassles that have ensued, the mortgage foreclosure stompede, the nation-wide massive loss of jobs, and world-wide economic bank and financial systems broken-ness and failures.
Global Coherence – IHM
Research at IHM has shown stressful feelings not only create incoherence in our bodies, but like radio waves they also radiate outward and are detected by the nervous systems of others who are in our environment.
Occasionally I notice a general but very non-specific feeling of anxiety within. I always hate that because being a Type A, I always want to KNOW what I am anxious about! I wonder if this is what happens here.
IHS says in Energetic Heart, that when our nervous system detects these subtle stress waves, it can create a background feeling of incoherence or unease that that often is hard to put into words.
Their claim is that back in 2007, global incoherence seemed to overshadow coherence, which accounted for the increasing intensity of the stress. But it also caused people to take a deeper look at their own inner resources and find deeper connections with others. As a manifestation of natural human resiliency, this they say is a sign of a coherence momenntum beginning to take shape.
One of the signs? The increasing number of people who are turning to their heart, listening to their heart, following their heart, and connecting with other heart-based people.

Heart-brain conversation - IHM

This in turn also led to an increase in appreciation, gratitude, compassion, caring and personal and social balance. If I look at my life over that same time period of 2007 – 2012, it is the absolute truth of me.
They were very tough years; dreams destroyed, business collapse, life-savings swallowed up, heart-health challenge met head-on. Yes there was fear, misery, confusion, grief, all rolled together in one big ball of incoherence, yet we kept a dialogue going that made all the difference, provided resilience beyond our own human capability, and pulled us into a new future that feels quite comfortable now.
That was the dialogue of faith and heart; heart and soul; Creator and Co-creator. The line was very busy. We were put on hold many times…..wait and see……trust…..Stay in the present………….”feeling sorry for yourself, Oh wrong number, you dialed into the past.   “Afraid down to your toenails?” Disconnect the line to the future. 
Be still!
Connect with other heart and faith-based persons.
We did and we continue to do.

Inner & Global Awakening

Doc Childre founded HeartMath to help people find their way through times of increased planetary stress by facillitating a shift to heart-based living, one of the necessary steps to achieving global coherence.
At HeartMath, they teach people to connect with their “spirit” primarily through the heart. They call this “accessing heart intelligence”. They have learned, and now have the value of timed history and research that following our heart’s intelligence and intuition and increasing care for ourselves and others are the most important qualities of heart based living.
You can check out many other facts about this organization, their work and their research at www.heartmath.org

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