Nothing to Lean On

When I need them most, words that comfort and inspire me appear. Is it coincidence? Is it magic? I believe it’s my decision to live in faith and God’s tender acknowledgement of my love and trust.


File:Old woman in Canebrake in Nishapur 1.JPG

She saw that all phenomena arose, abided, and fell away. She saw that even knowing this  arose, abided, and fell away. Then she knew there was nothing more than this, no ground, nothing to lean on, stronger than the cane she held.  Nothing to lean upon at all, and no one leaning…  And she opened the clenched fist in her mind and let go, and fell, into the midst of everything.

 The moment that Teijitsu, 18th century abbess of Hakujuan,  near Eiheiji, Japan learned to let go.

This is what the things can teach us:
to fall patiently,  to trust our heaviness
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.

Rilke, Book of Hours, II, 16

photo sonia savilla

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The modern disease

We need to be “seen,” we’re aching for connection and we’re only human. But in a few moments, we can look, listen and raise someone’s spirit.



In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, “Kayf haal-ik?” or, in Persian, “Haal-e shomaa chetoreh?” How is your haal? What is this “haal” that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know.

I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Tell me you remember you are still a human being, not just a…

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Art Journal






Joyful Noise


That’s Kevin Spacey, above, singing “Piano Man” with Billy Joel at a recent celebration of Joel’s music. Kevin said it was “one of the highlights of my life!” He also revealed that he learned to play the harmonica for Billy Joel and this tune.

Don’t you love the “highlights?” Love and magic and opportunity collide and there you are, LIVING in blessed moments of joy! The highlights of our lives may be different, but they are each wonderful gifts.

I’ve been revisited my highlights of 2014, recently. There are simple moments of awareness and grand expressions of ecstasy and I’m grateful for every one! It’s with delightful anticipation that I awaken each day to the possibilities of 2015.

Happy New Year! And thank you for reading me!


There’s a “Wind Advisory,” here in western Massachusetts. It’s been howling all night and today’s gusts have climbed to 45MPH. A pack of teenagers have come down to the river; I hear them giggling and I’m drawn to the window. They’re tottering around the water’s edge, holding hands, like crackin’ the whip. Their hair and clothes spin violently around them, as they dance with nimble feet over the stone-lined path. The wind re-drapes their forms every few seconds, reminding me of the gesture drawings I rendered during my days as an art student. Youth and Mother Nature collide and a simple pleasure is born, right before my eyes! Gratitude surges and a smile spreads across my face. It’s a blessed moment, made sweeter by its presence during this time of recovery, this time of going inward to tame old demons and learn new lessons. The kids are out of sight now, but the waves and wind’s whistle remain to keep me company.




British collage artist Jane Perkins incredible, up-cycled “Sunflowers.”

Falling for Autumn

MA Pioneer Valley

Yesterday I drove to South Hadley for a massage. It’s about a 20-minute ride, door to door with little traffic, even during the time on Highway 391. Fall is moving in, here in western Massachusetts, softening the light, muting the colors and, on a clear, sunny day like yesterday, making any ride a “Pinch me, I live here!” experience. There were wonderful punctuations, like the Van Gogh, midnight blue water of a river I crossed and the occasional shock of a leaf-turned tree, so intense in color it seemed otherworldly. At a certain point, the cars I drove behind created a gentle dust up from the pavement to about ten feet in the air; yellow leaves the size of silver dollars spiraled in a delightful dance, reminding me of Colorado’s amazing Aspens.

I can see why this is the favored season for so many who live here, especially during years like this one, when the warm weather returns for an encore. The renewal and bursting blossoms have long made me a “Spring Girl,” especially since I grew up in The Garden State, where the abundance of flowering trees, bulb plants and perennials is unparalleled. Being a true Aries, I love the idea of a new beginning; I suffer through those weeks in May that lead up to throwing off my layers of clothing to play freely outside.

As she worked the tension out my muscles yesterday, my masseuse explained that pulling on her socks and boots was why she loved Autumn. Although I couldn’t completely agree, we did see eye to eye on the colors and textures, the rich, warming soups and the scents of bread and wood fire that this season brings. I confess, “cozy” is one of my favorite words and yes, the cooler weather makes sweaters and sofa blankets wonderful comforters.

On the drive home, I realized why I’m enjoying this season like never before. Instead of thinking “Winter’s coming soon,” I’m living in each moment, another silver lining, another wish fulfilled since I survived cancer last year. How grateful I am for being given another year of this life! With the wonder and curiosity of a child, I’m taking each sunrise, each blushing leaf and each sweet breath of crisp air at a time.

The Frames of Leadership

Julian Stodd’s piece “The Frames of Leadership” was interesting reading, indeed, but it made me wonder, how widespread are these concepts from “The Social Age?” When and how is the average, non-union employee “rewarded.”

I’m looking back on years in the work force, most recently as a supervisor in the billing department of a large, non-profit behavioral health organization. I was proud to be a member of the staff, because I valued the services the organization provides, including crisis intervention, residential facilities for detox and recovery, a variety of family services and day programs for individuals with a variety of behavioral challenges. These services are not only important, they’re crucial to the wellbeing of any large community.

What surprised me was the way we employees were treated; I’d expected more from an organization with a socially conscious mission statement. Instead, the practices mirrored the model I’ve seen time and again and which is, sadly, “the norm” for most US corporations. Employees are doing the work previously assigned to two or three people, the staff is kept at “skeleton crew” level to save money, the lunch hour is now half an hour, employees who use their sick time are reprimanded, pay check deductions for benefits such as healthcare increase every year and the annual raise averages 3%, if you’re fortunate enough to be working for a company where wages haven’t been frozen.

When employers treat the workforce this way, the atmosphere may be pleasant on the surface, but if you talk with individuals, you’ll find they’re disgusted, exhausted and see their job as “doing time” until they’re able to retire, which for many folks is not at age 65. I’m sure there are some enlightened employers here in the US and reading Mr. Stodd’s post gave me a sense of hope for the future. Unfortunately, I think those working “9 to 5” these days are less than satisfied with their leaders. TGIF, indeed!

Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

The Social Age rewards agility: the ability to frame and reframe problems, to deploy our communities and experiment, question and react at speed. It’s less about mastery of process, more about communication and collaboration. Social Leaders demonstrate a rounded skill set: a holistic mastery of these skills and a consistent demonstration of these behaviours over time. Reputation is founded upon this consistency.

The Frames of Leadership We can reduce leadership to be viewed within different frames, but it’s only in the holistic application that we can be effective.

In traditional terms, it’s a mixture of hard and soft skills: sure, there is an element of technology that needs to be mastered, but there is very little process. Social Leadership is more about storytelling, sharing and reciprocating than it is about performance reviews and competency frameworks. It may exist alongside these things, but the authority is garners is consensual, granted through the community.


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Why Am I Here, You Ask?

After years of diaries and journals and professors saying “You’re a writer!” I finally mustered the courage to go public. Most of my life I’ve concentrated on the visual arts and craft and I’m a jewelry maker, today. I’ve traveled the “9 to 5” route all my life, but now that my daughter’s grown and flown and rooted firmly, I’ve started a new chapter. I write because I enjoy it, because the muse visits often and because I think it’s important to tell the truth. I’m still getting used to hitting the “Post” button and to the delightful feeling that comes from knowing someone has enjoyed my words. Connections make my world go ’round…


I’ve got lots to be thankful for, but the rain’s made me melancholy.
The kissing couples outside my window are tugging at my heart.
I want to hunker down and get cozy with more than just a book.
The blue mood is no surprise; I’ve been going it alone for years.
I’ve come through much worse, by keeping faith by my side.
So I’ll be patient as the mood swings and wait for my rainbow to appear.


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