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July 25, 2022

On July 28, 2022, I will be ending my name website for JOURNEY GIRL and my art and bringing my communications for everything to NAPKINWRITER, my original BLOG that goes back so many years.

I will post these to Facebook and hope to be able to see many of you here as well. Thank you.

It was so wonderful to be able to write this book

http://www.susanheffronhajec.com will be active for only 3 more days. Here is a look at the last post to the main landing page. .

http://www.susanheffronhajec.com

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Butterflies Always Make Me Happy!

I have just renewed my Napkinwriter Blog Platform for another year. In many other ways, I am limiting or ending my various social media communications. But Napkinwriter was my original foray into blogging via internet and sharing my thoughts, stories, and images with my internet family and friends. I will continue to post my Napkinwriter writings (short) and my watercolor ART BY SUE on my Facebook Page, or you can follow me at http://www.napkinwriter.wordpress.com.

Thank you for your encouragement and kind responses to Napkinwriter. My two monikers of the heart are: Napkinwriter and JOURNEY GIRL, from my memoir, still available on Amazon.com

And color makes me so happy. And with the instruction I’ve received over the past five years, I have collected a lot of high quality and expensive Daniel Smith watercolors, which I look forward to spreading all over papers in the coming year. I found it was not hard to talk myself into “must have” colors as I watched Angela Fehr work magic on her creations over the internet. Such a wonderful teacher. Such a wonderful artist community to share with. And I, myself, found some magic along the way in my own paintings. What joy this past time has given me. But I will keep watercolor in the present time also.

One of My Very Favorites given to a Viet Nam Vet

Perplexed Kitty in the Leaves

My writing and painting have been a little interrupted at this time, as I change my creative room around quite a bit to include a guest bed and one to have if needed for a medical option. I am in a focused self-care mode, as some medical specialities put me through a series of diagnostic procedures to determine the state of my health and I am doing all I can to ensure they find that I am in a good state of health. Perhaps some little tweaks to help mobility and ease some aches.

So my creative room is welcoming this change, and I see it being a wondrous relaxation site where I can dream up even more color and poetry. My memoir, JOURNEY GIRL, Steps in Secrets and Sanctuary, published in Sept. 2020 is wonderfully present and was highlighted last fall when I was feature speaker at Magnificat, Mary’s Garden chapter for Catholic women in Lexington, KY. This book also has a cherished place and mission in my creative room. And I still have planned promotion to do with it.

Delivery from Balboa Press — , Books for Sale

Mystery Mother Comes To Light

And long ago, I learned that the stage of chaos precedes the act of creativity and I believe that is true. And right now, I have a high level of chaos present in my surroundings that are just bursting with energy to get into the creative process. Just wait…..I will share the outcomes very soon.

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JUST FOR TODAY!

The Usui System of Natural Healing

Just for today, I release all worry.

Just for today, I release all anger.

Just for today, I shall live my day with integrity.

Just for today, I shall honor every living thing.

Just for today, I shall show gratitude for all my many blessings.

JUST FOR TODAY, this is my TO DO List.

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Thich Nhat Hanh, international peace activist and Zen Master Buddhist Monk, transitioned from this life on January 22, 2022 at Tu Hieu Temple, in Hue city, where he entered as a novice monk at the age of 16.

 He was actively engaged in the movement to renew Vietnamese Buddhism in the early 1950s, even as a young monk.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s mission of opposing the war led to both North Vietnam and South Vietnam denying him to the right to return to either nation for decades.  He was exiled for 39 years and was only given permission to return to his homeland of Vietnam in 2005.  During his exile in France, his work from France exponentially grew internationally, from the seed of his caring for others’ suffering.

I cannot say he died, for ‘Thay’ believed, taught, and lived the truth of – no birth, no death…”I am a continuation, like the rain is a continuation of a cloud.” He tells a personal story of his suffering after his mother died. One night he dreamed of his mother and saw her sitting with him and having a wonderful talk. After his dream, he walked outside in the dark which was bathed in the full moonlight. Then he noticed his mother still walked with him, caressing him. It felt sweet and wonderful.

In this experience, he realized that each footstep he took contained a living continuation of his mother, father, grandparents and ancestors. They were “our feet,” not “his feet.” And from that experience, the idea that he had lost his mother no longer existed.

Peace is Every Step, is just one of his writings that led me to the practice of Mindfulness, quiet mind, and being in the present, compassionate listening. And other spiritual companions teach the beauty of this CREATIVE PRACTICE; Centering Prayer, Practicing the Presence; Yoga, Mindful Walking, Sitting, 12 Step Recovery, Reiki.

For awhile now, my quiet Mind has been lost; I have only short periods of quietness before the monkeys arrive. Personal and world-wide situations are all awhirl. Shouting and shaming are magnified. I approach the Lost and Found Department of Mind.

I wish to feel the holy monk’s footprints in my own as I peacefully and mindfully touch the earth, praise her beauty, and thank the skies for my present existence. I must be stepping in the mud – but I wait and believe in the glory of the lotus which also is present in this moment.

Teaching is not done by talking alone It is done by how you live your life. My life is my teaching. My life is my message.” Thich Nhat Hahn

You taught us well, Thay

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Miss Margaret Rosann (Maggie)

And so we all tucked it away in our hearts and memory bank. The family gathered to welcome this new life into our loving arms and surround her with our prayers and love.

Tom and I became great-grandparents when granddaughter Devon gave birth to Maggie on the morning of September 11, 2021 in Lansing, Michigan. She came into the world with all the graces of good health and beauty and will enjoy a life centered in faith and love.

We, in Lexington, Kentucky, awaited the joyous news and word that all was fine and that was the case, We being her great grandparents Tom and Sue, and great aunt Laura and family, Carl and Amy. Then we would await the time between her birth and October 10, when she would be baptized and we would all be present.

We all gathered for the 10 am Mass at St. Martha Church in Okemos, Michigan on a beautiful blue-sky Sunday morning. After the Mass, the deacon baptized Margaret Rosann, blessed as a child of God.

St. Martha Church,–Okemos, MI

Margaret Rosann wore the most beautiful baptismal gown made by Grandmother Kathleen, who took the fabric and lace from her own wedding gown and fashioned it into Maggie’s baptismal dress. It was gorgeous and meaningful, as a material that continues to bless their marriage vows in graces coming down through the generations of family love.

Grandma Kathleen
Grandpa Greg
Dad and Mom Tyler and Devon and Maggie

The Mitchell’s — Great Aunt Laura, Carl, and Amy
Great Grands — Tom and Sue and Doug

One of Maggie’s namesakes is Rosann, for Great Grandmother, Rosann who passed when Devon was a pre-schooler. Rosann was very charasmatic in the Spirit, and I know she rejoiced with great joy during this baptism time. She is an ancestor present in the growing generations of her family of sons and daughters-in-law. And they are numerous.

We enjoyed a family gathering and luncheon in Tyler’s and Devon’s home and returned home filled with grace and promise of God’s love present in our lives.

Uncle Andrew
Great Grandfather Tom

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Is it hard for you to listen? It has been for me. Here are some of the reasons that interfered with my ability to listen that I describe in JOURNEY GIRL: Steps in Secrets and Sanctuary:

Listening for me, was for a long time, a highly multi-tasked endeavor. As I reflect on why this has been a problem for me….I ask myself why it was so hard for me to listen and speak in my childhood and extending well into my adult years. Here is what I see myself doing that impaired my ability to geninely listen for a very long time.

Listening was hard for me because:

  • I had to defend…my point of view.
  • I had to prepare…for what others wanted me to say.
  • I had to shield…myself from blame.
  • I had to protect…myself from negative judgment.
  • I had to know…what others wanted to hear.
  • I had to shape…my response to keep peace..

The list goes on in my ending reflection in Chapter Six of my book. Yet my commitment to learning truly how to listen unlocked the mysteries and misunderstandings around the silence my family kept about the death of my birth mother.

I completed writing my memoir during the COVID Pandemic year of 2020, although the story was being written in my heart for a very much longer time than that. JOURNEY GIRL was published in September 2020 by Balboa Press, a division of House of Hay Publishing. I learned a lot about growing up in a healthy and spiritual way from Louise Hay’s writings and so I am very proud to be an author in her publishing empire.

But I am prouder yet, that I continue to learn how to listen in an increasingly loud and divisive culture where everyone just seems to want to be right and force that upon others instead of being able to listen to each other. I also studied with another evolutionary leadership icon in 2011-2012 where that type of listening was modeled and posited it could become the new world and institution model of leadership. I see no evidence that this is happening and it is now 2021. But it needs to.

Staying true to a calling I felt deep within is my way of contributing to world peace through making the story of JOURNEY GIRL available to the public. Each chapter begins with an “Island of Silence” for the reader, where they take a momentary pause in quietness, where they can access their inner peace and wisdom. This is the very place I believe world peace begins. …and time is being wasted in the noise and disruption of division.

Everyone has their own JOURNEY. And everyone’s JOURNEY is assisted by inner peace and oneness.

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The Puzzle of Life

In my memoir, JOURNEY GIRL, published in September 2020, I have little Islands of Silence that begin each chapter in a story of mother-daughter love and discovery. These Islands are for the reader to enjoy a calming moment available to them as they wind through my own story of replacing the silence around my birth mother in our family when I was growing up with her rightful place as mother-grandmother of our ongoing heritage. Puzzle-solving is one of the momentary places of quiet and gathering when I begin Chapter Eight –-Next to Godliness.

Here is an part of this chapter.

EIGHT

Island of Silence

Living in the Questions

Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. Perhaps, you do carry within you the possibility of creating and forming, as an especially blessed and pure way of living.

Ranier Maria Rilke

I remember a fun family tradition of solving jigsaw puzzles during our summer family vacations. We would select a picture that made us happy; a dog chasing a frisbee, a scene of the snowy Alps mountains in France, a tempting fountain dish holding a banana split where you could almost touch and taste the sticky chocolate syrup dripping down the side.

These puzzles were problems to be solved, questions to be answered.

“Does this piece fit here?”

“Let’s see if this piece is part of this cluster.”

“We need to find the last border pieces.”

We would challenge ourselves by choosing puzzles with large numbers of pieces to fit together, sometimes one-thousand or more, that we would need to solve over a short amount of time.

So here’s the thing with this Island of Silence: the jigsaw puzzle was just one part of our summer day lived with all the other activities of vacation life. It was different from the boating, swimming, biking, ice cream treats, and trail discovery hiking. Puzzle-solving became a centering space and time of rest and recuperation; a time-out, usually filled with quiet and a purposeful search to “fit the pieces together.” The overall intention of our time spent with the puzzle was the certainty that all of these pieces would come together to form the whole—but it would take time and effort to achieve the wholeness.

Daily life is like that too. Each day we have problems to solve, lengthy and incomplete “to do” lists to conquer (there was always more than what was on the paper), borders of organization to construct, timelines to arrange, and human dilemmas to resolve. On this Island of Silence, we can think of these in the same manner in which jigsaw puzzles get solved.

First, puzzle solving is usually a quiet, calming activity. We pull ourselves aside from our rambunctious activities and, for some chosen period of time, focus on this one challenge before us. We take one piece at a time. When life gets overwhelming to us, we can retreat to a quiet space of our own—our inner Island of Silence. We can use that quiet to let one piece of the puzzle of life float to the top for us to see how it fits into the overall picture.

Next, we remember and realize that as we sat before our jigsaw puzzle all of the pieces to solve it were present before we even completed the puzzle. A jigsaw puzzle would not be an interesting pastime if we could not trust that all of the pieces are there to begin with. Now, we look upon our life problems in the same manner. Just as sure as there is a problem present, there is also a solution, hidden as it may be at this time. If we move enough aspects of the problem around, something that seems to be an answer appears or moves us in the right direction.

Also, it is not easy to force a piece of a puzzle to fit where it doesn’t belong. The pieces either snap together in an easy fit, or something appears just a little “off” if we force our own will upon it. Then the jig is up when we discover later that the piece we forced is needed somewhere else in the puzzle. We have to give it up for things to be as they should and then find the correct piece that fits in the other place.

It is the same in our daily life. Our attempts to force our will upon situations that need to still be open to other possibilities meet the same fate as the misplaced puzzle piece. Both time and new information may be needed to feel the full satisfaction of resolution. This Island of Silence invites us to remember the success and fun of puzzle completion and approach our daily lives with the same attitude of openness, certainty, and faith in the whole. We can trust in our ability to achieve the grand picture of life through handling each of the little pieces that bring it to wholeness and celebration. As we navigate our inner oceans of wisdom, in the different seasons of our lives, answers to our questions appear on new horizons.

……..

I still am about solving many puzzles in my life, entering some uncharted waters of living as an elder amongst the elderly. It doesn’t always feel as calm as it does when I read this Island of Silence, but I seek the calmness and I keep this island on my horizon.

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June is busting out all over with splashes of blues and greens, warm breezes from the trees, birds singing in the air, and blossoms everywhere in bright flower hues.

Wonderful motivation at the art table and for poetry writing.

Even trees suggest change
And hold their age within bark
Torn and craggy streaks.

Roots provide strength and
Form solid identity
For willow and oak.

Standing tall in storms
Braving winter cold and wind
I Am what I Am.

I stand silent here
Witness to generation’s
Sense of direction.

Color explosion into blue skies and marshmello white clouds

St Francis oversees our peaceful patio sitting.

Illusions of roses follow me into my day.

I’ve done it again
Morphed from a cocoon still wet
New butterfly wings

The path less travelled
My footsteps once again find
A stone in my shoe

Patio sitting
Blossoms of companion love
Fruitful seeds flourish

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Clearing Starts with Something Fun!

Do I ever feel stuck? Yes. Do I have things I can do to get unstuck? Yes. A big “stuckness” I am feeling these days is simple upkeep of our apartment. How do I separate out the little things I can do on a near daily basis, and how do I stop from seeing the whole big picture of overwhelm? It is not a huge apartment, but dust accumulates, laundry piles up, groceries need shopping, dishes littler the kitchen counters and sinks, bathrooms need frequent attention and garbage needs taking out to the dumpster.

I swiftly handled the last one a couple of months ago. We upped the rent payment to include garbage being picked up by maintenance outside our front door, instead of struggling my way uphill to the dumpster bin. Done! Also the grocery shopping is now handled by SHIPT and I am quite happy with that. Two things “cleared”.

I don’t know about you. But I often put “reminders” for myself that I can’t miss and here are two of them that speak to my general intention and way of life. They are posted on the wall in front of me at my computer where I work a good portion of my day.

When I read these and trace y Reiki symbols, it corrects my course if needed and establishes my mindset and intention for this day.

This one is a little out of focus here but not on my wall. It sets my direction to continue working with an on-line course I signed up for with Om to help me etch away at all the little things that make up the big picture of “stuckness” in establishing order and harmony in my daily environment upkeep. Each day, a very short email has great things, sometimes only to think about, other times specific things to choose to do. I will by the end of the year have 365 insights and also a feeling ingrained me me that there is something today I can do to feel unstuck and accomplished that benefits the big picture.

Here is just “big thing” bugging me. The kitchen area needs top-down deep cleaning. It makes me tired to look at it and think about doing it. Yesterday was Saturday and I decided to Surrender and Simplify the steps needing to get it done. I have recently gotten a walking and standing impediment, so I brought a chair into the picture to help me.

But first, I started by sitting and doing something fun….practicing trees and landscape in my watercolor notebook. Because if I don’t paint fairly regularly, I get stuck getting back to the painting table.

Next, I put a load of wash in the washer and then brought my attention to the pantry closet which needed to be cleaned and organized. I did it!!

Feeling emboldened and uplifted by this accomplishment, I proceeded to the “lazy susan” turntable cupboard and did the same turning chaos into order, and getting nutritious breakfast foods handy. After which I took an armchair break for a snack and some Candy Crush game time.

This was beginning to feel like self-care because I could see I had made a beginning in a corner of my space. Other things that will need my attention but I feel more accepting of that and that I will get to them. Yes, I am clearing.

But for now, one more thing needs to be done which will make me feel much lighter when I gaze into my kitchen The cupboard surfaces need cleaning and waxing. Today, I can do that to four lower cabinets and beneath the sink. I can finish the upper ones later and perhaps with help.

In Lesson 9 it says….”At the heart of it, clearing is not about tackling the unsightly messes, the clothes that don’t fit, the emails that invade your inbox, the to-do lists that get longer by the second. Clearing is not about fixing a problem or reaching for a solution. It is about how you relate to the experience.

It is the space between the issue and the desired outcome where the real goodies are and where the real clearing happens. Allow yourself to contemplate this one today, even if you have no clue what it means.

I am somewhere in the 60s into the lessons and I am beginning to have a clue.

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…And so I began writing about a family secret. It became a memoir, JOURNEY GIRL: Steps in Secrets and Sanctuary. Every family has secrets. Some might be told; some might not. I had called the invisibility of my birth mother a secret for the very long time that I lived it as something not to be spoken about.


But something began to change as I organized my thoughts, felt my feelings, and kept a faithful practice to putting these down on paper as best I could. What changed? My understanding expanded to amplify the difference between the words, secrets and silence. And I came to feel that my parents were not intentionally focused on my birth mother being kept a secret from the three of us children, particularly me. I came to believe they actually felt that silence about her would be more protective and loving to us than living with her presence. I am not sure that is true for me, but in terms of intention — it was a loving one for my parents. That is a whole lot different than what I felt as I discovered bits and pieces of my birth mother’s identity and truth.


A parent is always about protection. I know that to be true for me. Even though total and forever protection is impossible, it is the first and lasting thing I know as a parent myself. As babies and growing children, my top anxiety was that I care, love, and protect them into adulthood. That nothing would happen to our daughters before they reached adult age. But then, I discovered it didn’t stop there. I wanted to protect them from growing pains, from tough decision-making, from hurts of the heart, from disappointments and failures, — knowing full well these are a part of all human life. I want to protect them from losses, from losing their parents through death. It will happen and this protection desire never stops.

This quote caught my eye while I was writing JOURNEY GIRL. I had a sense that in the silence of writing my story, my ancestors were a silent, protecting presence encouraging and enabling me to go into the places I feared and felt I would judge harshly and yet when I took a deep breath and trusted and wrote into those spaces, what resulted was an overwhelming feeling of love going back through the generations from me and a sure outpouring of love coming back from the silence from them to me. For this experience, I am grateful. And from this experience came the realization that this protection truly does keep happening from parents back through the ages. What they have to give is — LOVE — and that is the ultimate protection.

I Am Loved and Protected

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