November 29, 2011



What is satyagraha? It is a philosophy from India which means to do anything, give anything, sacrifice anything, to pursue what is right without harming another and to do this without regard for self.

Do you have the strength of character for satyagraha? I often wonder that about myself. I definitely have my values and principles and my list of things that start with,
"Well, I would never......."

But, would I? Do I?

I am a woman who has lived a blessed and gifted life. Many of the things I say I would never do, I say them because I have never been challenged by those circumstances. When you look at challenges from a distance they always seem to be constructed of black and white blocks but the closer you get to those challenges the blacks and whites fade to shades of grey.

Ghandi, a man who really introduced Satyagraha to the world at-large, a proponent of "passive resistance" and non-violence and was actually awarded a Nobel Peace prize was a great poser and coward it seems to me. He talked big in the world of men and politics but beat the women in his life. How does one live with those conflicts?

In the light of day with the world watching he taught one thing but behind closed doors he was a different person....

Nelson Mandela was, I believe, is a man who's name and face is more iconic of passive resistance and nonviolence. A man of honor. I would hope that I am more like Mr. Mandela.

I pray for the strength of authentic satyagraha and that Father/Mother/God never test me.

November 12, 2011

Spam Intervention

Dear Spam,
We seriously need to talk. If there was ever, ever, E-V-E-R, ever a need for intervention, well, let's just say I hear your desperate cry!

Please, Spam, I don't know how many more ways to tell you, but:
1.  I don't own a penis, undersized or otherwise, and I certainly do not want one.
2.  I know what my credit score is.
3.  Though my relationships are none of your business, I feel I must inform you that I am not looking for hookups so tell eHarmony, Zoosk, and all your other friends to stop bugging me. I will call them if the need arises!
4. I don't care what Bunny, Lulu or Victoria does in the privacy of her bedroom, nor do I care to share her gymnastic talents with her and her friends.
5. I do not need Carbonite. I can save my own stuff here at home.
6. I only knew 6 of my High School Classmates and I am still in touch with them. Oh yes, and my yearbooks are in the bookshelf in the back bedroom, if I want to look at them its free!

Spam, honey, please, get some help.  Get outside and get some sunshine and fresh air or climb back into your little weird shaped can of gelatinous goo. Just stay away from and keyboards....not good, honey, not good.

November 09, 2011

This Too (2) I Know To Be True!

5. I digress. This I know to be true!

Yes, I have a way of digressing. Two of my granddaughters have noticed the randomness of life and will periodically state: "Random!" and then say what has just randomly come into their thoughts. They, also, often look at each other after I have said something and smile and say "Random!"

I believe that in my case calling out "Tangent" might be more accurate! There are several definitions of tangent. Tangent is an adjective and a noun, it is geometry, trigonometry and idiom!
Now you might say that when I digress my actions are that of the idiom-tangent according to "off on/at a tangent, digressing suddenly from one course of action or thought and turning to another."

I would disagree! I think my digressions are more closely associated with the Geometric definition: "touching at a single point."

I can totally wipe out all connections to the trigonometry definitions: "the ratio of the side opposite a given angle to the side adjacent to the angle" or "a trigonometric function equal to the ratio of the ordinate of the end point of the arc to the abscissa of this end point, the origin being at the center of the circle on which..." okay, okay, you get it, right? My digressions are clearly free of ratio, abscissa and ordinate, though "end point" does relate...somehow....maybe.....

You see, my digressions are "connected" at some point. Like when I am telling a story and mention that it started on Tuesday and then realize that it probably wasn't Tuesday because on Tuesday I had coffee with my sister-in-law and then went to the library and a quick run to Shopko for some soda and hair dye because in this economy I am cutting down on my trips to see Valerie and get my hair done which has caused me to have a section of a neon shade of red close to my scalp because in Hairdresser-ese "warm" does not mean warm and cuddly, it means red!

See! Connected. Nothing shiny that grabbed my attention just connection, connection, connection.

Did I ever tell you how much I enjoyed diagramming sentences when I was a kid in school?

I know, I know, you are thinking to yourself, "She's done it now, that is totally random!" If that is your thinking, then you are totally wrong! You see, Tangents, geometrically speaking, are connected at points.

The Tuesday-sentence above had many connections which reminds me of diagrammed sentences and how much joy they brought me creating those little sideways trees on my lined paper. That makes me happy!

So, I digress. But not in the "attention deficit...squirrel" kind of way. Nope. Though I am feeling a strong allure to look up the definitions of abstract and pulchritude...

So, as long as we are speaking of wandering since the definition of "digress" is not just about wandering off the subject or point in speech or written topic but it also suggests to wander from one's path or main direction.
Yes, this is a more archaic meaning of the word but this part of the definition sings to me. Nothing I like more than to wander from the main path.

Driving on the main highway and an enticing side road invites you to slow down and discover new things. Do you stay the course or do you digress?

I digress. This I know to be true.

6. Happy is a choice we make for our own life. this I know to be true.
It is not my job, or your job or God's job to make someone happy.
If you spend your time trying to make someone else's life happy, you are assuming responsibility that is not yours. It is also not your business.

Now if you would like to make someone smile, Great! That would be very nice of you, but to dedicate yourself to making that other person always smile is a waste of your life and a waste of theirs.

Helping a person to learn to smile on their own would be a much better use of your time as long as its not the only thing you use your time for.

Also, it is not someone else's job to make you happy! If you think your happiness depends on someone else, well, get used to being sad or a whiny, demanding manipulator.

Being happy is a choice we make, this I know to be true.

November 05, 2011

These Things I Know To Be True

The blogging world that I frequent has been presenting blogs about "things" or "Truths" we know for sure.  Most are captioned "10 things I know to be true."

I want to play along but I think I am going to do this in series! There is the Time involved and mix in a little humiliation because, quite frankly, I am not really sure I know 10 things for sure!

Socrates said "an unexamined life is not worth living"?  I swear, my life is nothing if not self-examined and over-self-examined, but I have never counted or made a list of "Truths According to Toni" or entitled a journal, "Toni's Universal Truths!" Though I confess that my ego and I are quite tickled at the idea of a little leather tome with just such a title etched in gold leaf on itselegant little spine!  I would publish it in a New-York-minute if I wasn't so sure that the magnus opus of my life would just sit unsold and un-dusted in a clearance book store at the far side of some factory outlet mall.

Maybe I could talk my friend Brooke into placing it into her library at school and conduct a "token" check-out once a month for the sake of my image to my descendants! (Does one's ego burn up in the cremation process or will it linger about for a century or two still seeking external validation?)

Toni's Universal Truths: These things I know to be true.

1.  There is a God.
Frank and I were driving through the mountains last weekend listening to a CD from his repository of inspiring presentations. (digression:  (which will be one of the universal truths for me but don't know where on the list) We always take talk-CD's for inspiration, yellow pad and pen for notes, soda on ice to stay hydrated and a loaf of good bread, grapes, cheese and maybe little chipotle chicken strips to keep the growling tummies from interferring with discussions), anyway...
Frank and I, still driving and listening, when the speaker reminded us of the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's comment during his flight through space, "I don't see any god up here...".  I pushed the button to stop the CD and looked at Frank. He looked at me. Both of us,  profoundly saddened by such a statement and the poverty of spirit!

Neither of us can imagine, floating in space, thousands of miles above the earth, surrounded by the dark and stars and could one NOT see God!!!

Our old friend, Pastor Jim Ledbetter, once told me if you don't believe in God there is nothing anyone can show you that will make you believe but if you believe in God, everything you see is proof that God is real. I truly see the hand of God in almost everything I see.

What is real? Definition: "real, noun, realm of actual or practical experience as opposed to theoretical, abstract or idealized realm."  Do I believe that somewhere there is a throne in heaven and a male-being with a long white beard is sitting there?  No, absolutely not, but have I had actual and practical experience with God, hell yeah!  Okay, maybe I could have said that better, but I KNOW and BELIEVE with everything in me that a Universal Spirit of unimagined intelligence and passion exists.
There is a God. This much I know to be true.

2. There are Universal Moral Truths.
Truth is not something that should be voted on nor should moral laws.  While some things or notions can be declared to be the truth my majority of voters or critical mass or 100th-Monkey-thinking there are some things that are flat out not open for interpretation or relevence.

I feel my whole body slipping back in time now, being drawn back to Ethics class in college (ah, those were the days, oops, digression! ).  Ethics: Critical Thinking? Just Wars? Theory of Value? Morality? Yes, that's it, Morality?  Are there universal laws ruling morality? I say, again, Hell yeah!

Swept back in time, I sit in the classroom, the heavy, emotional, discussion is about defining morality. How do we define what is moral and what is not? Majority of the students were, apparently, die hard believers in the values of democracy. Opinion was majority rules on what is right and what is wrong?  "Is prostitution moral?" "Is rape moral?" Popular opinion in the classroom that evening: What does the majority think?  Well, excuse me, who is the majority in any given situation?  In a world of 200 sailors, home from years at sea and a village of 20 women and children what do you think the majority is going to vote for?

I tried to explain to class that there has to be a universal moral truth that surpasses democratic principles of voting and majority rules.

In a skilled nursing facility you will usually find a demographic ratio of 30 percent (give or take) Medicare, 60 percent Private Pay and, hopefully (bottom-line-ese)  not more than 10% Medicaid/MediCal/Welfare patients. In such an environment the Majority of residents would be paying privately or through insurance.  If a vote is taken as to who's call bell should be answered first, the majority might suggest that money talks and money provides privilege.  The residents paying their way should get first call (according to last Wednesday;'s vote) but what if the private pay resident just wants someone to fluff a pillow for them or hand them a phone or their knitting and the resident in the non-out-of-pocket-minority of voters is in desperate need of assistance to the bathroom?  Morally, who should be served first?

Lets say you desire to get out and dance a little, drink a little, score a little and your dependent child is hungry, dirty, sleepy, or just wants you to hold them?  Is there a universal moral answer to this dilemma?

There exists Universal Moral Truths. This much I know to be true.

3. If there is a Heaven it will have Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia in unlimited supplies. This much I know to be true.

4.The spoken and written language is inadequate when it comes to true communication.

Love cannot be described in "real world" terms.  When an expectant mother feels that first stir of movement in her womb, an emotion that has been developing (good choice of words, huh?) with the baby reaches a level of intensity that threatens to sweep mother away.  How can one describe the intensity of emotion with the mere word "LOVE!"
I love lasagna! I love autumn! I love homemade clam chowder in a sour dough bread bowl!  Okay, the word love kind of works there. But I LOVE Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia just falls short. Doesn't quite tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
How can I use that tiny word to pronounce the depth of emotion when holding my husband in my arms in the wee hours of the morning, or when he is teaching one of our granddaughters about clouds or photography?
When I witness a mother giggling with her daughter or a father smiling at his young son as they throw a softball back and forth? LOVE falls short, way too short.
The profound emotion that surges from your heart the very moment your newborn baby utters her first sounds? Can this emotion be described in words?
The consummate grief one feels at the loss of a loved one? Can you tell me in words just how much this hurts?
Psalm 46:10 states (more or less, I am not that good with Aramaic to know the original statement): "Be still and know that I am God."
"Knowing" is very much a way of being still, being passive and letting the truth come to you, allowing the knowing to fill you up.  Communication is only part spoken or written word. Communication is about communion.
The spoken and written language is inadequate when it comes to true communication. This much I know to be true.

to be continued:

November 02, 2011

Seal Talk

‎"Go get the ball!"
"No, you get it""
"No, YOU get it!"
"SOMEBODY! Get the ball!"