February 2018
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Archive for the ‘Health & Healing’ Category


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Chatterbox is the name I have given to my negative inner critic.  The badgering voice does its best to disrupt my inner peace and magnify to gigantic proportions my short-comings, failures, inadequacies, fears and doubts regardless of their veracity.

Psychologists call our inner voice ‘self-talk’.  The critical inner voice is not conscience.  It is the saboteur, the negative and well-defended part of ourselves that is opposed to personal growth and healthy maturation.

Twenty-five years ago I began the work of mastering my chatterbox.  My out-of-control, running amok, negative inner voice kept me ruminating on the past and fearing the future.  No present, no peace.

I launched an inner personal campaign to change my thinking style.  ‘I can’t’,  ‘I should’, ‘I have to’, ‘I shouldn’t’ were traded for ‘I can’, ‘I choose to’, ‘I want to’.  Like boundary setting for two and three-year-old children, every time I caught my chatterbox using negative words, I changed them to positive.

I used mantras, repeated over and over to derail this powerful locomotive of negative thinking.   One of my favorites, which I still use, is “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want….”  Initially these efforts were not enough.  I got a pair of headsets, plugged them into my bedside boombox and listened to Kitaro’s “Silk Road” for weeks and weeks.

Today my inner life is changed.  Although my chatterbox is still with me and gets really turned up by any emotionally charged situation,  it is no longer dominant, no longer able to rob me of present moments.  This is really hard work, but diligent effort pays off.

I have inner peace to a degree I never imagined possible.  I can actually be still and meditate without the obnoxious intrusion of the chatterbox. 




Until recently I had a copy of The 7  Habits of Highly Effective People.  Now sitting on my desk is The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People, an article by Cloe Madanes in Psychotherapy Networker.  I read it as satire, a well-done spoof.  But then again….

1.Be afraid, be very afraid, of economic loss.  The author points out the advantages and strategies that will contribute handsomely to your misery.

2.Practice sustained boredom.   Not as easy as it may sound.  But using the techniques outlined in this section should have very positive results.

3.Give yourself a negative identity.  Whatever negative identity you choose, play the part to its fullest.

4.Pick fights.  Be unpredictable.  Throw tantrums out of the blue.  Make mountains of mole hills and then deny your responsibility by claiming the other party is misunderstanding your intentions.  Express how hurt you are.

5.Attribute bad intentions.  Believe that no one wishes you well, that no one likes you or your opinions.  Hold grudges.

6.Whatever you do, do it only for personal gain.  Resist the temptation to help others.

7.Avoid gratitude. There is nothing in life to be thankful for.  Remind people of this constantly.

8.Always be alert and in a state of anxiety.  Nothing will ever work out for you. Cultivate pessimism.

9.Blame your parents. Your unremitting misery is someone else’s fault.

10.Don’t enjoy life’s pleasures.  Constantly remind yourself the world is a horrible place full of suffering. You don’t deserve pleasure.

11.Ruminate. Maintain a state of constant worry.  Focus on your personality defects and personal problems.  Give free reign to negative thinking and feeling.

12.Glorify or vilify the past.  If you had a wonderful moment as a child it is gone forever.  Or, your whole life has been a terrible ordeal.

13.Find a romantic partner to reform. Be selective.  Choose someone with real behavioral defects.  Perfect scenario for living as a miserable martyr.

14.Be critical.  Be critical of everything.  Get creative about what, when, where and who to criticize.  Offer these opinions to all you meet.

This article can be read in its entirety at:


Update: Rain.  Mendocino County has officially declared a drought.  Sonoma and Marin Counties are asking for voluntary reductions in water usage.


We need it!  This weather year (from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014) is shaping up as a record-setting dry year across most of  California.  Santa Rosa has received 8.71 inches of rain to date compared to an annual average of 32.22 inches.   There are as yet no calls to restrict water usage and the dreaded word ‘drought’  is seldom mentioned in reports on our current predicament.  But it is a looming reality.

Several small, local municipal water systems are running dry.  The  Sierra snow pack is 20% of normal.

There are other consequences.  Air quality is fair to bad, and ‘spare the air days’ are setting records too.   Fire danger remains high as the normally (by now) green rolling hills remain brown and crisp.  Today an unseasonal wildfire is raging in Northern California.

I recently read an article by Peter Crutchley, “Did a prayer meeting really bring down the Berlin Wall and end the Cold War?  Got me to thinking about praying for rain.  

The weather year is not over.  The majority of our rain often falls January through Spring.  Whatever your belief, I invite you to join me in praying for rain.  A wet New Year would be very welcome.


New Year 2013

It’s that time again – time to change calendars to 2014;  time for making and breaking resolutions; time for retrospection and introspection; time to rest.

As we continue in the labor of birthing a new age it is vital to take time for ourselves – time to renew, to ground, to pray and meditate, to nurture and heal; to allow joy; to connect with Spirit.

Wishing you all the ‘gift’ of time in the coming year.  


Christmas 2013

It is Christmas eve eve.  I momentarily got a little frantic as I realized how unprepared I am for Christmas this year.

Stepping back from the shopping, baking, cards, visits and other activities of the season, I settled into ‘I don’t have to….’  I don’t have to let my type ‘A’ energy hook up to the onslaught of commercialism that pounds on the door of my Christmas consciousness.  I have choices.

I played Christmas music and baked with enjoyment.  I eschewed the shopping hordes.  What I have done is what I have done.  With the aroma of cookies filling the house and the Hallelujah chorus making me tingle, I wrapped a few gifts, made a few calls and relaxed into the moment.

Our tree is beautiful, our neighborhood festive.  I look forward to enjoying family and friends and especially the unconditional love of the Spirit of Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all!!





Saturday’s Solstice heralds the return of the light.  Most of the country suffers in the grip of freezing cold.  I find it hard to imagine the warmth that is coming, but I rejoice in knowing that I will thaw out eventually.

I am so done with this deep, bone-chilling, record-setting cold.  I have curbed my grumbling and complaining after the spate of hypothermia deaths suffered by the homeless in the Bay Area.  I struggle to stay warm, but my struggle pales markedly in comparison to so many others.

Solstice offers time for introspection.  In keeping with a recent blog, I am ever so grateful for a sound roof over my head, hot water, heat, indoor plumbing, a stove to cook on and food to eat.  Things easily taken for granted, especially in seasons of warmth.

I invite you to celebrate Solstice with giving and gratitude.




Life has an abundance of tough moments – none more so than the loss of a loved one.  Cycles of birth and death are part of the human experience.

A passing over that’s expected is no less traumatic than a sudden, unexpected loss.  But they are different.  And when they come this time of year, there is an added sadness.

The ‘Merry’ in Christmas is not so merry.  The tinsel, the lights, the giving of the season, all lose luster.  The lights are not as bright, giving is poignant, and celebration is muted.  However the Holy Spirit is closer.  And if we allow that presence, we are comforted.

My heart flushes with tears around your loss.  I love you cousin!


Savoring a mug of cinnamon laced hot tea, I realized how comforting and satisfying is a good cup of tea.

My beloved Grandmother made the best iced tea in the world.  But like her Southern Fried Chicken and Cornbread stuffing, try as I might, my tea just does not hit her mark. But that does not stop me from enjoying the rich pleasures of tea.

Tea has a long history.  Perhaps dating as far back as 1000 BC in China. Tea is an essential part of Chinese medicine,  and has many contemporary applications for healing.  And, it would be an oversight not to mention the ramifications of The Boston Tea Party spilling over into contemporary politics.  However, my focus is  enjoyment of tea.

Tea ceremonies thrive in almost all cultures of the world; Britain and Japan being most notable.  If you have never had the pleasure of experiencing High Tea, you are missing out on a memorable event.   Several first class hotels throughout the world offer High Tea and traditional Japanese Tea Ceremonies.  For example, the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans serves an authentic English High Tea.  They also offer themed Teas; The Princess Tea for young girls and The Alice in Wonderland Tea.  And, at the Kitano in New York,  you can arrange a Japanese Traditional Tea Gathering Ceremony.

I am happy to have found a Jasmine tea like one from my youth.  I love Rooibos and Blackberry.  In summer,  Hibiscus and Mint over ice with a squeeze of Meyer Lemon is so refreshing.  And watching Numi tea blossom in clear glass pots is simply downright cool.

Won’t you join me?  Any season is a good season for tea.




We live in tumultuous times.  Thursday we celebrate our national day of Thanksgiving; and identifying what we are thankful for can be challenging.  

Amidst the hustle and bustle of this week, I invite you to take a few moments to  give thanks for our freedoms;  for the air we breathe;  for  hot, potable water that is accessible by a turn of the tap…you get the idea.  Being thankful for what we take for granted.

And there’s  the giving part of Thanksgiving.  Giving to a food bank, a homeless shelter, taking food to an elderly neighbor, volunteering time  with one of the many helping organizations in your area, all  great ways of caring and sharing…of giving. Remember our troops on active duty throughout the world and their families.

And, whatever your belief system, give thanks to the unseen Spirit of the Divine Provider.

Wishing you all a very peace filled Thanksgiving!



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