Rants and Raves


We all have them, our moments of sheer madness where we rant to the gods or the heavens or anyone who will lend a sympathetic ear.

Social media and the blogosphere appear ripe for “ranting”. An occasional rant is one thing. Constant ranting is annoying! And yet, like the proverbial train wreck, we can’t stop watching, or hitting the “like” button!

And yes, I know I just ranted!  I admit it. And it’s a rare thing for me to do publicly because I strongly believe you get back what you put out into this world, so I prefer to Rave“.

I know you can’t control the world, but you can control how you respond to the world. And so, I’ve stopped following the constant complainers. The “woe is me” and “my life sucks” crowd is no longer going to steal my joy.  I don’t want to watch people constantly wrecking their train and I’m not going to enable their negative view of the world.

So, let’s end this post with a RAVE!! It’s summertime after all and life is good! And if you doubt that,  may I suggest you take a stroll through the woods, visit a park or rise early and watch the sunrise.

Personally, I plan to lay out under the stars tonight and give thanks for this amazing life! And I may just stay up and watch the sunrise – wanna join me?

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  ~ Melody Beattie

Yours among the stars, 
~ Sue

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The Big Catch

This weekend I met the man I married over thirty years ago on the dock of Curlew Lake.

He was fishing in his green Camo coat and hat, patiently waiting for the fish to bite. He is happiest with a rod and reel in his hand – his form of meditation. 

I ventured out on the dock in the wee hours to bring him his “Monster” morning caffeine and sit for a while. And there he was, smiling, happy and content.

I snuck back into the warm cabin to write and found myself watching him through the cabin window. He’s never met a stranger and was shaking hands with his fellow anglers as they joined him for the early morning catch.  I could see them all laughing and talking, sharing tall tales of the one that got away. 

I found myself watching him in his element… he was happy.  In these moments he radiates an energy that is both loving and welcoming. And when I am close enough I can “catch” his energy that radiates love, and joy in the simple life.

I guess I’m fishing too – fishing for that still quiet place in my heart and mind where I can find peace and happiness. And wouldn’t you know it, there it is outside my cabin window on the dock, my happy place, my joy – my husband, with that smile of his that “caught” me over thirty years ago.

Fortunately not all the good ones get away!

2016 ~My Year of Yes!

sues-sippin-2

I declared 2016 my “Year of Yes”. I was inspired after reading Shonda Rhimes book and adopted a “sure, I can do that” attitude for the year. (This introvert needed to step outside her comfort zone!)

The year began when I said yes to a Nano to Publish writing class. I learned a lot but realized my coming of age memoir needs more editing before it’s ready for publishing. But that class led to another opportunity with the A to Z Blogging challenge in April, where I discovered WordPress and the blogosphere.

In February I joined a weekly writers group that meets for breakfast and conversation at a quirky little cafe called The Black Dog. I think we’re supposed to be writing, but we spend more time chatting about our books, characters, art, and debating if we should eat the potatoes and the toast, LOL. They’re a talented group of artists and writers! But more importantly, they’ve become dear friends.

In March I said yes to becoming more involved in the political process and attended my first State Caucus and decided there must be a more efficient way to nominate delegates… a blog for another day.

As the year went on I kept saying yes. I said yes to Tai Chi classes, poetry readings, attempts at writing poetry, a writers retreat, lectures on writing and occasionally, writing.

Over the summer, the geek in me said yes to Pokémon Go – research for my blog, of course.  As SuperSleuther, I reached level 23 with an impressive Pokédex before losing interest and looking for the next bright, shining thing.

In September I said “NO” to the loss of my younger brother. After the shock and denial phase, I surrendered and said yes to the grieving process and acceptance of the temporary nature of all things. My Bubba lived his life with “arms wide open” which was his way of saying yes to this life.

In November I said yes to participating for the third year in National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo.  I was successful in writing a 50K manuscript about witches, wolves, and druids. I had fun coming up with ideas and researching Wiccan, Paganism, and Druidry. I must confess, I am enchanted by the old religions and their connection to nature, mother earth, the moon, sun, and stars. I want to learn more so I said yes and enrolled in a year-long course through the Order of the Bards, Ovates, and Druids. 

Looking back, it’s been a busy year with twists and turns and moments of synchronicity. Recently, a friend suggested I declare 2017 my year of “balance”.  But as my final act of 2016, I’m gonna say Yes to 2017 with a shift in focus. I want to practice what I preach so my focus for 2017 will be….

…oh, snap!

I’m over my self-imposed 500-word count and I’ve probably lost most of you at this point…. but if you’re still with me, check back on New Year’s Day for the 2017 reveal!

Bada bing, bada boom… that’s a wrap! Cheers to you 2016!

Longing for Home on Edisto Island, SC

Hurricane Matthew threatens my childhood home on Edisto Island.

Edisto Island

Edisto Island

Our family beach house

Our family beach house

I guess that’s not entirely true. My grandparent’s home has long been gone, replaced by a more modern home but the island itself holds all my best childhood memories and will forever be “home”.

My sisters and I spent our summers on Edisto Island with our grandparents. Growing up military brats we led a gypsy lifestyle during the school year but every summer our grandparents flew us home to the island.

edisto-girls-framed

When we were young..sistas!

Sweet tea, boiled peanuts, blue-bottle trees and trips in the Scout down the oak lined dirt road to Pink’s veggie stand and Botany Bay are all treasured memories from my summers in the south.

Road to Botany Bay

Road to Botany Bay

My southern accent vanished long ago, save the “y’all” but my southern blood runs deep even after 30 years as a transplant in the Pacific Northwest. I went from the land of the low-country hoodoo blue root to the land of vampires. LOL. It seems every region has its lore.  But that’s a blog for another day.

Our last visit to Edisto, 2010

Our last visit to Edisto, 2010

For now, as I watch the weather channel, I want to send love and prayers to all my kin on the Carolina coast. Be safe y’all.

Monday Musing ~ Who’s your Drama?

DRAMA

Got drama? If not, you have the power to create your own.

But the real question is – do you want drama or do you want peace? You may be surprised to find that often you’ll choose drama. The choice isn’t right or wrong but it is just that – a choice. I confess to enjoying my soap opera, escaping into the drama of another world. It’s not my drama, but I’m entertained watching fictionalized drama.

As for personal drama, I try to avoid it. Most of my drama is a solo affair. My drama is self-inflicted by my own thoughts,speculations, and assumptions. One of the fastest ways to get my mind in drama making mode is to create a void, a lack of information – not knowing or only having half the story causes my imagination to go into overdrive and come up with the worst case scenario.

Drama is the ego’s art form and the ego wants a stage and an audience. Our egos are notorious for taking everything personally!  If we believe we’ve been slighted, we go into defense mode. Often times the things we’re offended by weren’t even aimed at us but we lash out anyway because our ego wants the limelight of center stage.

According to Eckhart Tolle, there is nothing that strengthens the ego more than being right. Being right requires others to be wrong, further adding to the ego’s sense of superiority.

So how do you get your ego in line and minimize  your self-induced drama? In one word, mindfulness.  When we’re centered in the present moment the ego falls away.

Now, back to the question in the title of this post, “Who’s your Drama”….can you guess?

Yep, you guessed it – YOU!  We create, invite and attract drama to our lives.  If you don’t believe that, pay attention next time you find yourself embroiled in drama. Take a deep breath, pull back from the situation and see it for what it really is, your ego on the stage, beating its chest and insisting you’re right and others are wrong. When you hear yourself defending your position or find yourself offended by something someone said – that’s your ego, in a soap opera of its own making.

Remember, you always have a choice, peace or drama. Choose wisely.

~ Namaste

 

 

Voices in the Fan

white-noise

Have you heard them – the voices in the fan? Seriously, entire conversations ensue while you’re trying to fall asleep?

I thought it was my imagination until one night my husband sprung from the bed shouting, “Turn that darn thing off! I can’t sleep for all the voices coming from the fan!

He had heard them too! And so we went about comparing note: Yes, more than one voice, clearly humans, not sure of the language. How perfectly intriguing it was! I love a good mystery!

But I can’t sleep without white noise, so we compromised. I turned off the window fan in exchange for the bathroom exhaust fan. No voices in the bathroom, at least not yet. So maybe it was our house – could it be haunted? Nah, we purchased it new at the turn of the century, surely there were no spirits lingering about. Maybe hubby and I were both going mad. And then, a few weeks later …

… while chatting with my friends over coffee, one of them exclaimed that her fan was at it again. “Oh?” I inquired.

“Yeppers, the voices are back. Drives me batty,” she muttered. I was overjoyed to find another who hears the voices, but before I could chime in yet another friend at the table said she has the same problem with her fan! Holy smokes! Maybe the fans are haunted, or the spirits get wrapped up in them, or something to do with electromagnetic waves….my imagination was all a stir with possibilities.

“Auditory hallucinations,” came a voice from the other end of the table. “Our mind wants to make sense of the white noise rushing past our ears, hence the voices.”

“Oh drats! How sensible and mundane logic is! I rather like the idea of voices in my fan,” I said, pouting. And there the conversation shifted to sensible and mundane things one could wrap their head around. Phooey!

Pssst, just between us, I don’t believe it’s auditory hallucinations. Life is far too mysterious for such a simple answer. And I rather love the mysterious and unexplained – so voices it shall be!

Now if I can just figure out what they’re talking about……

 

Monday Musings ~ My Friend the Atheist

Spiritual Atheism framed

It all began at the local coffee bar – two girlfriends pondering the origin of the cosmos over coffee. As introverts, we dispensed with the pleasantries and dive into the deep end of the pool, discussing – parallel universes, aliens, religion versus spirituality and the nature of our suffering. I asked her what she knew of atheism and wondered how atheists deal with suffering and loss.  My friend asked if I’d read Sam Harris. I had not.

And so began my journey into the ethos of atheism and to my surprise, a deep respect, and admiration for my new friend, Sam Harris, a neuroscientist and a self-proclaimed atheist. I know Sam is controversial. I’ve watched many of his debates, listened to his podcasts and read his essays, but as I read his most recent best seller, Waking Up, A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, I discovered we were kindred spirits.

Sam is actually a spiritual atheist and in Waking Up, his spiritual memoir, he details his journey, including several years studying the Indian tradition of Advaita Vedanta, various schools of Buddhism and a year of meditation in silent retreat. As I read his story realized our views on spirituality were closely aligned. I’ve always believed that science is man’s way of discovering the magic and mystical realm of our existence.

“But there is a connection between scientific fact and spiritual wisdom and it is more direct than most people suppose…our conventional self is an illusion…and the way we think directly influences our experiences of the world.”  ~ Sam Harris,Waking Up

Honestly, I was amazed that an atheist would attempt to dabble in the spiritual realm, and further, to bring reason, logic and a scientific perspective along for the ride!

I enjoyed the chapter, The Riddle of the Self as Sam persuades the reader that the self is indeed an illusion. And in his chapter on Meditation, we are given practical instruction on transcending the self, only to find there is no self to transcend (ah, the riddles of the spiritual realm!)

The reader is in for a ride in chapter five with Gurus, Death, Drugs, and Other Puzzles. Here we learn the good, bad and the ugly of spiritual charlatans, near death experiences and the literal highs and lows of tripping on drugs.
Waking Up Sam Harris

*Spoiler Alert*

In conclusion, Sam says, “We need not await any data from the lab to say that self-transcendence is possible….Open your eyes and see.” With that I say, thank you, Sam, for bringing logic, reason and a persuasive argument in support of the mystical experience many of us have encountered on our own spiritual journey.

Although this is not a book review, I would highly recommend, Waking Up, to anyone wanting a different perspective on atheism.

As for me, I don’t consider myself a spiritual atheist – a spiritual mystic would be a more accurate description. I believe we’re part of a higher collective source or consciousness. Or as the great Sufi Mystic, Rumi says,

“You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the entire ocean in a drop.” 

Rumi Ocean in a Drop

Back at the coffee bar, my friend said the term, spiritual agnostic, might be the most accurate label for what she believes. As our coffee chat ended, I realized the only label that truly mattered was that of “friend”.

I wish all the world could sit around a coffee bar and chat, without judgment, about their beliefs with the intent to understand, not needing to agree, simply to listen and learn of, and from, one another – and upon leaving, refer to each other as “friend”.

I’m tossing that wish out into the Universe in hopes that one day we will all “wake up” and see our common humanity.

Wishing you all a magical Monday! ~ Namaste

 

 Friday Features ~ “NIGHT” by Elie Wiesel

Elie Viesel

The world lost a great humanitarian this month. Elie Wiesel died on July 2, 2016. He was 87 years old.  He entrusted us with his legacy and we must never forget.

I knew of Eli Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, a survivor of Auschwitz,  author and humanitarian, but I confess I had not read his most notable memoir, Night. I read his book this week, in one sitting. The most recent edition is 120 pages and is a new translation in English by his wife, Marion Wiesel.

I cried through the entire book.  I had to find a box of tissue before I finished the preface, which read in part,

“If in my lifetime I was to write only one book, this would be the one….Did I write it so as not to go mad or, on the contrary, to go mad in order to understand the nature of madness, the immense, terrifying madness that had erupted in history and in the conscious of mankind?” ~ Wiesel

My heart still aches having read of the atrocities he witnessed and endured as a teenager in the concentration camps during World War II. I can’t imagine a world where such things happen, where humans inflict so much suffering on their fellow man. And yet this is our world – humanity’s history.  Night, is Wiesel’s legacy and a reminder to the human race of our potential for great evil, and great good.

“Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere.” ~ Wiesel

We must all ask ourselves how we can best serve humanity.  Because as Elie so eloquently stated when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize:

“There is so much to be done, there is so much that can be done. One person of integrity can make a difference, a difference of life and death….Our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately.” ~ Wiesel

After reading Elie Wiesel’s book I was inspired to write this poem, Rise Up in Love.

Rise 3

do you hear the wailing cries of humanity
echoing through time and past atrocities?

have we lost our minds? we must not lose our hearts
when consumed with fear, humanity comes apart

our hearts know our true selves
love is where the heart dwells

we must quiet our minds and be still
and listen to our beloved’s goodwill

hear the call of our beloved proclaim
rise up in love for your neighbor without blame

rise up in service to humanity; we are all one
never forget; there is much to be done!

Poetry By Sue

Friday Features ~ Digital Deadwalkers

google image

google image

They wander aimlessly in circles and into one another, unable to lift their gaze from the small digital device.  Who are these digital deadwalkers? Is this the Zombie apocalypse– the end times?

Nope.

Welcome to the wireless digitized world of augmented reality (AR). Ok, maybe this is the zombie apocalypse… bwahaha!

I first heard the phrase “digital deadwalkers” in a commercial and laughed out loud. But recently the deadwalkers have amassed a new following. By the thousands, they are flocking to the streets, taking over parks and other public spaces. The deadwalkers are engaged in a new reality. They see things we don’t. They chase things we can’t see and engage in battles with invisible monsters.

Confession. I have joined their ranks.

I have officially become a digital deadwalker, fully immersed in AR and loving it – all in the name of research of course! My new zombie friends are fierce competitors, even if they’re only 12 years old!

If you’re still living in the analog world, or under a rock, you may have missed it, but look around your neighborhood and tell me what you see. Remember all those kids slumped over on the couch playing video games until the wee hours of the morning?  Yeah, those kids – pasty white, zombiesque from lack of sun – those kids are outside walking in search of …. wait for it….. drum roll ….. Pokémon!

You heard me right folks – what’s old is new again – welcome to POKEMON GO ! Free on both Android and iPhone. I hit level two on my first outing…just down the street from my house at the cemetery – spooky right?  Take two minutes and watch this video – mindblowing stuff – I kid you not!

I know many are skeptical of this new Pokémon phenomenon, but kids are getting up and moving. I’m all for a game that gets kids outside exploring their neighborhood with friends.  Something tells me our digital deadwalkers are gonna need sunscreen! Maybe there will be a new meme: digital healthwalkers!

It’s FRIDAY peeps – escape your cubicle and get outside!

(Warning: yes, this game sucks your battery and yes, it collects data…oh well)

Monday Musings ~ Founding Fathers

Adams & Jefferson Framed

Did you know that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day?

July 4, 1826

Amazingly, they each took their last breath on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the

Declaration of Independence.

John Adams, the country’s second president was 90 years old when he uttered his last words, “Jefferson survives.” There was no way for him to know that the country’s third president, Jefferson, 82, had passed away five hours earlier at his home in Monticello.

As we celebrate the 240th anniversary of the birth of this great nation I’d like to think Adams and Jefferson would be proud and astounded at our progress. And lest you think they’d be disappointed in our political discourse – just look back at their respective political campaigns! Can you imagine if they’d had Twitter!

HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY 4th  MY FELLOW AMERICANS!

Happy 4th