Extreme Shopper Highs Like Heroin Say Some, Others say Like Orgasm

The addiction to stuff is ruining our lives and our society.  It really is a culture of greed not to mention false gods such as expensive toys for adults, status symbols, and the rest of the junk.  The shopping addiction is a result of things like anxiety, loneliness, and low self-esteem.  

Some addictive adult shoppers keep buying more things than they know what to do with to spite their parents.  Shopping, say shopaholics, relieves the emotional discomfort of everyday life.  It also relieves the tensions of craving.  "I want..." is an all-consuming (pun intended) battle cry.  Shopaholics compare the high they get from buying things to shooting up heroin or freebasing coke.  Others say it's more like the high of an intense orgasm.

Children and teens become craving consumersas well because unscrupulous companies market to them. Check out the brain washing your kids are getting during Saturday morning cartoons.   Sometimes they are coaxed by media to suggest to their parents that they not just buy the kid a toy but a certain expensive car or other adult toy the kid can brag about.  And some parents actually are persuaded by these begging. whining little snobs.

If you watch Oprah, you've seen the unbelievable amount of crap that addicted consumers bring home.  Some are called hoarders.  They can't live comfortably in their homes which serve as warehouses for their wall-to-wall crap. They have so many possessions they don't remember what they have, and so when they want an item they don't remember buying, they just go out and buy another one, which results in multiple purchases of the same item.  Then Peter Walsh, the hotshot professional organizer comes over with a teamof workers to get everything out of the house and out on the front lawn so they can see what can be sold, donated, or tossed.  And after that they show the residents of the home crying and thanking Walsh and crew because they have a chance now to live like a normal person.

But everything you've heard about money and possessions not bringing happiness is true.  Addicted shoppers are always chasing the dragon.  Buying stuff brings diminishing returns when it becomes a way of life, and is no longer a thrill like it was initially.  So they keep buying more trying to satisfy that craving with a shopping fix, but it doesn't happen and they just get unhappy but stuck in a buying mode because they don't know how to stop.  Stress builds, anxieties grow, and the bank stops the credit lines.  Now the addicted materialist is really in a bind because their coping mechanism for stress is to go out and buy more.


Anticonsumerism Information:

verdant Web site

list of anti-consumerists

Simple Living

How advertising turned advertising into a secret weapon

Adbusters (org)


Donate/Receive Goods

The Story of Stuff


What Would Jesus Buy? 



And Many More

Google "Simple Living" for ideas on how to live well without dependence on materialism.

When Will Your Dreams Come True?

Here is one of my favorite quotes on this topic:

Whatever you can do or dream you can begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.


Don't let anything stop you from beginning.  Don't let fear stop you, or low self-esteem, or procrastination or what others will think of you.   Studies have been done on the old and dying and their biggest regret is not taking advantage of an opportunity or failing without even beginning. 

Do you know what your soul's mission and life purpose is?  Follow your passions and you'll find it.  You will be guided to them by love.  What do you love?  Usually people find that their passion is doing something they are good at.  What are your talents, skills, interests...?

If you think you need more education to do what you want, now is definitely the time to go.   There are so many free and low cost courses to take and you can take them online.  Google your passion and see what educational resources are available.

Get a mentor.  If you know someone who is doing what you dream of doing, ask them questions.  If you've only heard of such people, write, phone or send an email.  Amazing things open up when we finally take action on making our dreams come true.

Pray if you believe in a higher power who loves you and wants to co-create with you. 

Listen to the voice within--your intuition. It might speak to you in your heart or a book or someone's words of wisdom or almost anything.  Pay attention and listen.

 Write down your dream in detail.  What is the overall vision you have for your life next year, in five years, in ten years...What service do you wish to do for others, because that is the way to true happiness.

Begin today. 


Freelance writers:  Download The Ultimate Freelance Blogger guide to blogging sites that pay well.  Go here.

And how's by you?  Drop me a line by email or comment and let's have a conversation. 

Pope Doing More For Poor Than Selling His Harley

 I like this new pope.  I'm not saying I'm ready to become an unlapsed Catholic, but you got to give him credit.  He says some great things, and he has lots of good intentions that just might get fulfilled.  Today he is attacking the "Idolatry of Money."    Money and greed and the increasing gap between rich and poor is going to kill us all.

Pope Francis uses the commandment "Thy Shall Not Kill" as meaning  killing the poor through money and greed.  Money and greed and the increasing gap between rich and poor is going to kill us all he states.   

November 26, 2013 | Pope Francis launched a long overdue campaign against inequality and out-of-control capitalism in a 84-page document released Tuesday. "In what is known as an “apostolic exhortation,” which means communication from the Pope of the Catholic Church, Francis called on politicians to guarantee “dignified work, education and healthcare” to their citizens and also criticized the “idolatry of money,” according to Reuters. Francis “beg[ged] the Lord” to deliver politicians who were more concerned with the poor and inequality. Francis blasted the current economic system as one that is profoundly unequality," according to this recent article. h
This new pope has stated his intention for the Roman Catholic Church to strip itself of all “vanity” and humbly become “a poor church for the poor.” Meanwhile one German Catholic bishop, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the so-called “Bishop of Bling,” ’s a message that stands in stark contrast to the Bishop of Limburg, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, whose personal requests for lavish fixtures such as a $20,000 bathtub for his private residence drove the cost of the bishopric estate’s renovation up to $43 million – more than five times the original estimate.
http://www.alternet.org/pope-francis-inequality-and-capitalism?akid=11189.316678.i1uD3g&rd=1&src=newsletter929418&t=3 http://www.alternet.org/pope-francis-inequality-and-capitalism?akid=11189.316678.i1uD3g&rd=1&src=newsletter929418&t=3 http://www.cai.org/bible-studies/vatican-billions http://www.economist.com/node/21560536 he molestation and rape of children by priests in America has resulted in more than $3.3 billion of settlements over the past 15 years, $1.3 billion of that in California. The total is likely to increase as more states follow California and Delaware in relaxing the statute of limitations on these crimes, most of which were reported long after they happened. For an organisation with revenues of $170 billion that might seem manageable. But settlements are made by individual dioceses and religious orders, whose pockets are less deep than those of the church as a whole.





 the best one--go to first:


auctions off harley forhttp://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/archive/segment/

Pope Francis has donated his Harley Davidson motorcycle to be sold to raise money for a hostel and soup kitchen that serves Rome’s homeless.
Watch Full Segment (10/17/2013)

This Christmas Celebrate the Sacred: Buy Nothing

buy noyhing christmas toolkit

Think of the gift you could give to yourself this Christmas if you just bought nothing.  No mall madness.  No long waits in crowded shopping lines for checkout.  No more feeling like you just cannot get in the car again.  No Christmas Eve desperate shoppping at Walgreen's.

Yes, join the anti-consumer protest against excess and BUY NOTHING this CHRISTMAS.  Keep Jesus' birthday sacred, holy, meaningful and calm. You won't have to feel like throwing up in January when Christmas' credit card bills come.

Why Buy Nothing Christmas?

We all know we live in a culture of excess.  Shop, shop, until you drop, right?

Wrong.  The gap between the rich and the poor grows wider all the time.  Pope Francis compares this hurtful gap to killing and uses the Thou Shalt Not Kill commandment against it.

Buy Nothing Christmas was started by the Canadian Mennonite Group.  This religion has a long history of taking action to help those in need and working for peace and justice.  It is a way of acknowledging the crisis in the global economy.

Can you admit that spending money, money, money is a false way of living that keeps us from authentic lives?  Does your spouse really need or even want another sweater, bottle of cologne, or newest technologic gasket?

This Christmas Gifts From the Heart

Here are some alternative gift ideas from the info kit of the Buy Nothing Christmas organizers and from other activist orgs who are supporting this boycott. Check out these simple, free and low-cost alternative suggestions.  I particularly like, and plan to make, poems for loved ones, Linux (it is free or under $3.00--go here:  and personalized calandars. Naturally I wilso browse at my favorite thrift store for used books, Christmas aprons and table decorations, or maybe a wonderful ornament.  And here are more ideas:

 really like the notion of creating homemade collages for loved ones.  I made some for my children and it was a creation that came from a heart full of love.

Here's how to make this mindful gift:

Turn out the lights and listen to the silence as you think of someone you would like to give a collage to.  What qualities does this person have?  Why do love them?  What are their hobbies, interests, passions and issues they care about?  Meditate on this and wait for intuitive ideas.

Now go through the house and gather magazines.  If you don't have any, you can buy them at most thrift stores for about a dime each.  Then get a cup of coffee oor other favorite beverage, put on some Christmas music or music that reminds you of the person you are making this for and begin.  Go through each magazine and rip out any art, pictures, photos, or words that remind you of your gift receiver.
When you have a big pile of torn pieces, get a large posterboard or even a piece of cardboard, some white glue, maybe some paint, stickers, little decorations like stick-on stars or hearts, markers, and anything else that seems to fit.  Get a pair of scissors and begin to trim your pictures.  Crazy scissors from art supply stores are fun here.  When everything is neatly trimmed, spread some of it out on your posterboard and begin thinking of your design.  What do you want to put where?  Do you want to glue some of them to colored paper backgrounds.  Do you want to paint some or all of your work surface?

Go wild.  Ideas will begin to get you excited.  What do you want to say to the person you're giving it to about who you think they are, the things that turn them on, the special positive qualities they have. etc.  Maybe you want to go through some of your own photos and use a baby picture or a recent shot that really shows something about who they are.

There's more.  How about something from the Buy Nothing Catalog.  Go ahead and use that picture of a hug.

Or maybe they would like to get into the spirit of this new holiday tradition with a Buy Nothing Christmas poster.

Further reading about geting out of the consumer culture to sanity and reverence for life.




 Pinterest Anti-Consumerism

Become an activist against consumerism.  Go here to get started.

So What's Wrong With Your Life?

What's Wrong With Your Life  Click here

Dear Pope Francis, I Think I Love You and I'm Not Religious.

                            Pope and his biker buds before he got rid of his Harley.

Ever since Pope Francis sold his Harley to donate the money to a Rome homeless shelter, I have gotten the impression that he was not going to be a regular old fart pope.  Yeah, he still says women can't be priests, but what's it to me personally?  I lapsed from my Catholicism decades ago.  Still, it would have been outstanding if he had opened that forever closed door to women. And  I wonder if he'll invite back all the gay and lesbian church members and tell them all is forgiven.  Forgiven for what they'll be sure to ask.

But check this dude out is all I can say.  Any enemy of greed and capitalism is bound to become one of my new heroes.  He is the real thing with a working vow of poverty even if he is Mr. Big of the "One Holy Apostolic Church.".  Get this, he won't even live in his lovely palace at the Vatican. No, he lives in a nearby apartment.  He also gave up the expensive car and drives around in a funky Ford Focus and a 30-year-old Renault.

 He can attack the "idolatry of money" all he wants because he is putting his lira where his mouth is. Now he is saying that the nuns' convents and the priests' rectories might be put to better use as shelters for the homeless.  A man after my own heart.

I can almost put aside my bitter resentments towards a religion that would not allow birth control while some of the poorest countries in the world had families who had more kids than they could afford  to feed.

There's a new sherriff in town and he has having none of his men living lavish lives like big mob guys.  He suspended the "Bishop of Bling,"  the German bishop
who spent $42 million on expenditures such as a $20,000 bathtub, a $34,000 conference table, and a $4 million chapel.  It is not business as usual in the Vatican.

While the Catholic Church remains a bigtime money-maker,  there is no fear of Church members rising up and demanding financial transparency. The Catholics always have been mum about their incredible wealth, but because of the bankruptcy cases due to the sexual predator priests, we do know that  cost them over $3 billion and counting.

Guess it's a reminder of the "tyranny of money."  It does seem though that with the departure of Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, Cicero, IL native born not too far from Al Capone's old house,  no one is revealing anything like the $200 money laundry scandal that was exposed while he ruled the roost. Yeah, Marcinkus was another one who must have had his fingers crossed when he took his vow of poverty as a young priest.  The press said he behaved more like a "Wall Street adventurer" than a prominent, upper echelon member of Vatican officers.  I mean he could have passed as a made man with his custom-built cars, a Avana cigar stuck in his mouth, a crew of sexy  blond secretaries, and his poker-playing buddies.

But I give this fire brand his due and who cares if people are attacking him and calling him a Marxist, a Socialist, and things I wouldn't want to repeat.  Just read a little bit of his 84-page Apostolic Exhoration "Evangeii-Gaudium."  Listen to these beautiful idealistic, soaring sentiments:
"The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ."

You tell these heathen idolaters, Francis.  And again if you think he's over-reacting and that the gap between the boys with the toys ("whoever dies with the most toys wins" --popular bumpkersticker a few years back) and the poor, I invite you to readthe 200-some page "Ending Hunger in America" report released Tuesday.

Enjoy that Turkey boys and girls.

But Are You Grateful to be Grateful?

Are you grateful for what you have, who you are, people you love who love you, sobriety and being clean, and more?  Stop reading right now and write the top 20 things you are grateful for.  Here's my list to get you started:

I am grateful for:  (not in order of importance)

1.  My beautiful, healthy, loving children.
2.  The rest of my extended family.
3.  God's help with my grief for recent death of mother.
4.  My loving friends.
5.  All the great books that my higher power brings to my attention through synchronicity that are exactly what I need at the time.
6.  Sobriety/being drug free.
7.  My cat who gives me love and whom I can love back.
8.  A roof over my head even if the heat and hot water are iffy and the place is a mess.
9.   Humanity's continuing evolution.
10. The power of prayer and meditation.
11.  My good health at age 64 despite many years of abusing my body.
12.  Healthy, organic food I can afford (and food stamps).
13.  Enough money for my simple needs and wants from Social Security Disability.
14.  The fact that with H.P.'s help I had one year smoke free on 11/16/2013.  (You can do it too!  I never, ever believed I could do it.  What helped also was a powerful book called "The Little Book of Quitting," by Allen Carr.  Order it for one cent from here)
15.  That I can get everywhere I need/want to go by walking and bike and don't need a car.
16.  My meetings and the sober/clean people who attend them.
17.  My intuition and sometimes knowledge of God's will for me.
18.  Diet Coke and coffee--my fuel.
19.  My adult son living with me.  He keeps me from getting too set in my ways and I isolate less.
20.  Thanksgiving dinner that I  only have to make cranberries for and not cook meal.  Thank God for siblings!

Happy Grateful Day to You.  Don't forget at Thanksgiving dinner to go around and have people say three things they are grateful for.


If you can't think of 20 things to be grateful for, download this--The 2014 Hunger Report

Surrender, Dorothy or How Long Do You Have to Go to Meetings?

Answer: Until You WantTo Go. It's official. I have the personality and thinking patterns of an alcoholic. I haven't wet my whistle in some time, but I found out today that I fit right in with the other misfit sober drunks in Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.). Doctors and psychologists have described alcoholics as suffering with a superiority complex coupled with an inferiority complexes.. The result is a desperate grandiosity to prove self-worth. We want to show the world we're better than they thought we were, and they didn't think much of us. We want to do big, important things that will give us more than our fair share of fame, wealth, prestige, security and romance. Some of us once wanted to be King of the World. After being sober a while many will settle for prince or princess of the world unless the honesty required to stay sober has taught them some humility. Take me, for example. I am now willing to give up the notion of writing the greatest American novel ever, and becoming a literary giant. I will "settle" for having a stable of bestsellers and being interviewed on TV by David Letterman and Charlie Rose. Naturally, I hope that the right publications will give my books glowing reviews, and fill my fat head with far-fetched tribute phrases to keep me warm on cold nights. But enough about me for now. This is a true story of the Pandora's box of wet dreams, greedy, self-important, delusional thinking that some early A.A. members opened after Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) became internationally famous and respected for its ability to get even lost causes sober. A.A. helped restore these early members to a functional place in society, business and family life that they had long given up hope of ever seeing again. They were amazed at this miracle, and some figured there had to be a way to cash in on this great success, especially after Jack Alexander's March 1, 1941 article "Alcoholics Anonymous" (http://www.aa.org/catalog.cfm?origpage=180&product=35) in the Saturday Evening Post. This very positive article about just how successful the A.A. program was in getting drunks sober became hugely popular. Their was a national and international surge of interest in the A.A. program. In 1941 A.A. was six years old and there were approximately 2,000 men and women who belonged to it, as compared to the 2,000,000 recovering people in A.A. worldwide today. The article stressed how A.A. seemed to work because one drunk, now sober, helped another. Service was and is the foundation of the fellowship. (Meanwhile, some 70 years later there is new research proving have what makes A.A. work: helping others.) John D. Rockefeller took an interest in A.A. when it was new and struggling. He did contribute to the group's early support. But Rockefeller stressed to group members the importance of A.A.'s paying their own way, and not looking to be supported in their endeavors by outside contributions A.A. took this advice to heart and created Tradition Seven: "Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions." This tradition, as well as is one of the 12 traditions or principles of A.A. are still followed today. The A.A. members learned the hard way that they needed Tradition Six: "An A.A. group ought never to endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose." Getting back to the Pandora's box that was opened and the results which eventually led to the inclusion of this tradition, all hell broke loose after the Alexander article hit the streets. At this time there were some 2,000 members, mostly all former falling down drunks and some skid row bums who had achieved sobriety through the program. They were back behind their executive desks, driving their trucks and taxis, waiting on customers and generally succeeding at earning an income. Their families loved them again, and most forgave them, especially as the disease concept of alcoholism became well known. Alexander did point out the theory of some that alcoholism could be compared to having an allergy. An alcoholic had a similar negative reaction to their allergen, alcohol. Or, as the old joke heard around the church basements of A.A. meetings goes, "Yeah, I had an allergy to alcohol. If I drank I would break out. I broke out in bars, clubs, restaurants, at home and even at work." A great many of these sobered up drunks took A.A.'s new popularity and earned respect to heart. They felt that A.A. could do more for the world than just get a few drunks sober here and there. These recovering people got together and decided that now that A.A. was officially a success it could do more. Why not unleash the full potential of A.A.? They reasoned that they should go into business, and/or finance any enterprise in the field of alcoholism, They felt they had a responsibility to pay it forward cause whose time had come. Some of the plans they came up with for how to get more deserving folks into the A.A. program were: 1. They would build their own hospital chain. (Don't we have some of those A.A.-based chains today? A.A. itself might not finance or control these hospitals, but a person who went in for rehab would soon learn treatment was the A.A. way or go out and drink again. They are offered no alternatives or choices.) 2. They would educate the public about alcoholism, and rewrite school and medical textbooks. 3. They would gather up the derelicts from Skid Rows, sort them out into groups of those who were losers and didn't have a chance and those they thought could get well. They would make it possible for these chosen few to make their livelihood in a rarefied, if somewhat quarantined, confinement away from all temptation. These new businesses would make large sums of money, and finance other good works for alcoholics. 4. They quite seriously pontificated about changing the laws of the land in line with the view that alcoholics are not bad people, they are sick. This would stop drunks from getting thrown in jails. Judges would parole them into the custody of A.A. members and groups. (This actually is the case, as anyone who has ever received a D.U.I. and been mandated to attend A.A. meetings can tell you.) 5. They further saw themselves branching out into dope addiction and criminality despite the stated and well-known to them "primary principle" of A.A. which was written in the A.A. preamble as, "Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety." Pretty clear to many, but not all, of the recovering people.. 6. They reasoned that A.A. could cure anything. Hadn't it turned their own lives around? They would start A.A. groups for the depressives and paranoid mentally ill. . A.A. could handle misfits, crazies, those estranged from society and other misfits the sicker the better to prove the point. They reasoned, by God, if alcoholism could be licked, so could any problem if it used the A.A. program. 7. Some of them envisioned an utopia where laborers and capitalists would love one another. 8. The absolute honesty they must practice to remain sober, might even be applied to those in politics and a clean-up there. 9. They enjoyed their newfound happiness and just knew they could teach others how to get and stay happy. 10. They would endorse products and even take the opportunity to do P.R. for liquor companies that were requesting such representation to show the irresponsible drinker the virtues of moderate drinking. Although most did not touch a drop of alcohol, and none would ever achieve moderate drinking status based on the well-known fact that you can't turn a pickle into a cucumber again, somehow the liquor companies thought they were the people to speak to the irresponsible imbibers. Being endorsed by A.A. and recommended by sober group members would build their company's reputation and esteem in the public's eyes they believed. Dreams die hard, of course, and it took some very bad experiences to get these early A.A. members, some still a bit mentally and emotionally under the influence, to realize the error of their ways and end the grandiose plans. They knew that the proposed A.A. liquor company reps could well end up drunk, resulting in an undesirable alteration in public opinion. They ended up taking the name of A.A. off halfway houses and clubs where there had been a few too many relapses to continue without tarnishing A.A.'s good reputation. Some members went to Bill Wilson, the co-founder of A.A., and asked about becoming alcoholism counselors in hospitals where they could receive a salary for their experience, strength and hope. In fact, Bill himself had been invited by one hospital to work in this capacity. He had seriously considered it and was excited at the prospect until he realized he could not cash in on his A.A. experience without doing harm to the program. (Many hospital A.A. counselors today don't seem bothered by their consciences though.) The honesty and humility that these early members of A.A. learned from the 12 steps, brought them to the realization that they were, as the kids say today, tripping with their crazy ideas and plans for A.A. Recovering people didn't flock to become hospital founders or even sobriety counselors, and A.A. remained untarnished by greed and hubris. A.A. members know they are all one drink or drug away from a total relapse. Their sobriety, they learn in twelve step programs, is contingent on their spiritual condition. The members of A.A. in 1941 finally accepted that they were tripping and that their ideas were based on character defects they needed to have removed. One man who was invited by a distillery to represent the company went to Bill W. and asked if he should do it. It was a case of merely having to hear one's self speak lunacy aloud to another and finally having the lights come on. He didn't do it, of course. I got a kick from this story of human weaknesses, character defects, greed and extravagant pride because I could relate. I never wanted to be a worker among workers, or a cog in the wheel. I always wanted to be the star of the show and most of the production. In his article, mostly a glowing tribute to A.A. and its members, Alexander felt compelled to mention the general emotional immaturity of the alcoholic until he begins to grow up by working A.A.'s 12 steps. I wanted to find the cure for cancer, but without taking all the tedious science and medial classes and doing painstaking research. If the truth be told, I most wanted to be a literary lion with a long trail of bestsellers and appearances on David Letterman and Charlie Rose. Writing was hard work though, and I wanted to find an easier way to become a famous, wealthy author that didn't involve so much time and energy, well, writing, for starters. I wanted fame and wealth to come and strike me like a lightening bolt. I thought about the interviews that enterprising reporters would do with my family, friends, former acquaintances and coworkers who all agreed that they just saw that flash of rare brilliance in me and knew I would shine someday. I really liked imagining those interviews and the letters to the editors of book review publications about my early signs of extreme talent.But right now I needed to take a nap. If I had been an A.A. member in the ear
ly days, I imagine I would give high-priced speeches on the secrets of finding sobriety despite the fact that I only learned the secret was to surrender when the shards of my life were down around my ankles and I wasn't fit for human companionship. Who wouldn't surrender when it got bad enough? Hitting bottom is a rude, rude wake-up call to either grow up or die. I would have been chasing that A.A. gravy train though even if I had to do it still half in the bag and thinking pathetic mush. I would have liked to educate the masses on how alcoholics should be treated in this society. I'd rather teach than be a doer, that's for sure. The ugly truth of this story is that I did once take that I also wanted to cash in on A.A.'s success by working as a certified substance abuse counselor for ten years. In this capacity I used little of what I learned about Counseling Psychology in graduate school, and mostly answered patient questions about the length of my sobriety, my personal story of losing all and regaining my life, and sharing humorous anecdotes about some of the insane things I did while high. These conversations brought me a decent income and some status, even as the two hats I wore grew heavier and more cumbersome. Finally, I decided I never drank or drugged as bad as most of my patients, and I could afford to have just one drink. That led to my losing everything sobriety had given me. I lost my husband, custody of my children, became homeless, unemployable and ill and lost the hope that I could ever return to the beautiful sober life I had enjoyed for 15 years. These circa 1941 recovering alcoholics seem not to have had to ride their delusions into relapses, and I imagine that when they looked back at their thinking during that time they could only attribute this fact to the grace of God. Many hospital treatment programs cash in or seem to on A.A.'s reputation by using their 12 step program as a treatment model and getting all patients, and clients into mandatory meetings as soon as they stop throwing up and shaking after detox. But Alcoholics Anonymous is not responsible for this commercial abuse. A.A. should not be regarded as greedy and money-seeking on this account. They still only get the one dollar or two at most that members put in the basket at meetings to cover literature, and the expenses of keeping the thing going with paid staff workers who are non-A.A. Who or what will next attempt to get rich quick on the 12 steps is only a matter of waiting to see. I believe I have been restored to sanity and just want to leave this world a little better than I found it and I don't plan on getting any public accolades for doing so.

Boy Am I surprised!!! My Blog Lives! People read It! Some folks, especially "Anonymous" comment every few days for months.

We must be real authentic human beings or be eliminated by crap.
Listen to this.  I came over to my old friend Blogger after God knows how many months I've been gone  because I finally missed talking to my readers.  I felt like writing about writing and any bizarre old thing that interests me.  Surprise!  I not only  still had a blog it had readers and people even left comments.  The reader levels for October were better than when I was here faithfully writing.  "Anonymous" probably left 100 comments, but most are complimentary so I publish them.  Some guy named Mike Schaeffer or something like that even published a nice piece on my blog.  I think there were other hackings too, but it's going to take a while for the smoke to clear.

I have so  much to talk about.  I found out yesterday that I am what author Barbara Sher calls a "scanner."  She is the author of  "Wishcraft", but actually I was reading it on a recommendation.  It's titled, love this:"Refuse To Choose:  A Revolutionary Program for Doing Everything That You Love." I have been camped on that porch since the Sixties, but I'm always glad to brush-up.

 So now there are these people who sound exactly like me and I have adult ADHD, but her book doesn't mention that possibility.    They live to learn but once they know it they start losing interest.  They tried to major in five things in college--at one time.  They read about 8-10 books at a time.  I know that because it's my life.  I am an information junkie like most of our culture.  They start two projects, get distracted, finish neither, start four new ones.  We are the result of a whizzing by culture that has let technology deprive the young of the ability to read more than two lines of ten articles.  Some can't read print much either.

Anyhow, Sher, a life coach, of course, has come up with some ccommodations and tools for people who addicted to knowledge and want to seriously learn five or more things at the same time.  I personally plan to try the avocation stations where every interest has its own separate space and tools.  Check it out.

So I was doing research for months about our current adult education revolution but then things went so fast and there was so much info to process that I guess I crashed and burned.  But I'm not talking about it yet until I totally accept that it could be another of my ubfinished projects.

Hey Sober Bloggers:  Walsh Nov 5, 2013 or we just say the serenity prayer and ask for acceptance, right.  I am amazed how adult everyone is about this.  Earlier recovering candidates in this country did not fare as well and it's a shame

Hey all you novelists and regular folks who think it's cool to write a novel in 30 days:
Are you ready to write a novel? It's almost Nov 1 and time for the annual live in dirty robe all day and night, eating cold fish sticks as you type, and smelling like Starbucks on a Monday morning, a smell I would wear I really love it so much.  Don't you?

Yes,Nanowrimo has come back to suck your last drop of blood, sweat, and self-esteem.  Don't compare.  We each have our own lovely authentic voice which rings like crystal when honest and real.  Speak only from that voice, your soul's voice. Make jt real and don't get hurt out there.  See you in December. 

You novelists not me.  I'm so excited to have my blog back I'll be here tomorrow to speak about ugly book clubs, who is running ads on my blog while I'm not getting AdSense dough, Live Your Legend, loving the work you do and finding your passion, and this:  I'm starting to think that most self-help books looking for transformation are written by high school dropouts who read Psychology Today and Oprah.  I'm tired of getting sermonized by 20-somethings who know nothing except marketing tricks, buzz words, trends and, yeah, sure, how to spiritually evolve and help save the planet when we can be One.  I mean they know that too don't they or is it all niche writing, branding, event email with them?

Here's What You Can Do To Keep Prescription Drugs Out Of Drug Abusers' Hands

Did you know what the Surgeon General of the U.S., Dr. Regina Benjamin, called "the nation's fastest growing problem" at a conference this month? Hint: It's not cancer, homelessness, or unemployment. It's prescription drug abuse. Yes, the legal medications the doctor gives you are now being abused in what Dr. Ileana Arias of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes as epidemic proportions. She added that the CDC doesn't use the term "epidemic" lightly either. At the same inaugural National Rx Drug Abuse Summit held on April 12, 2012 in Orlando, FL both women spoke to a crowd of about 700 to address the increasingly growing problem. Dr. Arias told the group that "in 2010, enough prescription painkillers were prescribed to medicate every American adult around the clock for a month." The number of deaths caused by non-medical abuse of prescription drugs is now 15,000 annually at a cost of $72.5 billion in health care costs. Prescription painkillers have gone from 76 million prescriptions in 1991 to 219 million in 2011. Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, and Heath Ledger are just a few of the celebrity deaths who have brought attention to this problem into the living rooms of Americans who were unaware of it. Research shows that the prescription drugs abused are gotten from family and friend in over 70 percent of the cases. Here's what you can do to make sure your medications don't get into the wrong hands. Tomorrow, April 28, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) with the Department of Justice are holding the 4th annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day between 10:00 and 2:00 p.m. No questions will be asked and there is no reason to fear arrest. Clean out your medicine chest and put all the expired drugs, extra drugs you didn't need, and any drugs you are not currently taking or expecting to need soon in a bag and drop them off at your local drop-off center for safe disposal. Do not flush them down the toilet, put them down the sink, or throw them away because they will pollute our water supply and landfills with poison. To find out where you can take them in your area go to this Web site and enter your Zip Code or County, City and State: There. No worries any longer about the babysitter or cleaning crew or your kids helping themselves to that leftover Vicodin the dentist gave you. But it's not just painkillers that are abused. Over-the-counter diet pills, prescription stimulants, and psychiatric drugs like tranquilizers, sedatives, anti-depressants, and anti-psychotics are among drugs being abused. You may not think your meds are the type that would appeal to drug abusers, but then you thought bath salts and hand hand sanitizers were only for their primary use and they are now being abused as well.
I am a book junkie.  I currently have approximately 40 books checked out of my local library.  I also buy used and new books.  I obeyed the oft-repeated national demand that everybody must declutter, and a couple of months ago I donated boxes and boxes to a charity.  I also donated a whole U-Haul truck worth to National Write A Novel In A Month in Chicago when they had this great book drive where they had volunteers coming to your house to pick them up. 

Now I am trying to sell them, auction them on Listia (that Web site is a gas),  gave a new one to the library,  and I am throwing more in the new donation boxes I have set up.  Still, you can't walk through this place without falling over books.  I love my books so much I sleep with them.  I have a full size bed but it is so completely covered by the books I'm reading that I nearly fall on the floor at night trying to fit my body onto the very edge of the mattress.

Anybody else out there addicted to reading? 

Anyhow, I have to share titles and authors of some of the extraordinary books the Universe has put in my path to help me grow.  I am expecting Enlightenment soon but am trying not to seek it or be attached to that outcome or, I've read, it doesn't happen.   The following come with my heartfelt hope that you will see a title or two that makes you go to your library, auction, swap or thrift store and look for them.  I am not going to write reviews of each because I'd be up until the sun comes up and also I'd lose what readers I have.  (And I am amazed how many readers I still have considering that I haven't posted in this blog for a while now.  Thank you my favorite, sweet readers for being so patient with me, and I am not speaking to the large worldwide contingent that comes to see the "Naked Hitchhiking" post after searching for God knows what and finding it.)

I'll just give a brief description and perhaps try to entice you into reading these mostly spiritual and inspirational books that are not religious.  There's a big difference, isn't there?

1.  The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers: Spiritual Insights From the World's Most Beloved Neighbor, by Amy Hollingsworth.  Fred was more than my neighbor while I sat in front of the TV with my kids and frowned on their disturbing me while I was getting my calm, wise and good fix for the day.  He was my counselor, spiritual teacher, role model and psychiatrist among other roles.  Just to hear his slow, sincere from the heart voice made all my negative thoughts and feelings vanish for a half hour. 

"Dear God, let some word that is heard be Yours," he would pray before each show, but he never mentioned God or religion on the show.  The book has many testimonials from adults who wrote him to say that he helped them in diverse ways from getting off cocaine to helping them find the motivation to write a long-procrastinated Master's Thesis.  In trying to help improve and grow the self-esteem of children, many adults found that they needed to be told too that he "liked them just the way you are."  Amazing highly evolved human being. 

2.  Herman Hesse My Beliefs:  Essays on Life and Art.  I had been a big fan of Hesse since my teenage years when I was blown away by Steppenwolf and Siddhartha, perfect gifts for the teenager you are or love, BTW.  One of the books I was reading quoted from his essay, "Concerning the Soul," and indicated it was in this collection of which I was not aware.  If you don't read anything else in this book, and, believe me, you'll want to, read this mind-blowing, spiritually transforming work that is right on time for today's human being evolution into a higher stage of consciousness and compassion and love.  (But you really must read his book review of J.D. Salinger's Catcher In the Rye.)


Not An April Fool's Joke

April Fools?
Like this graphic? Get the basics of online marketing delivered in a free 20-part course from Copyblogger. No foolin’.

Hooray! This Ugly Duckling May Have A Swan Family After All.

I have just started reading "The New Yorker," and I have no idea why my mind was closed to this mental feast of reading pleasure for all these years.  Actually I think it is written for my ilk:  former English majors who didn't take education courses because they didn't want to teach.  They just wanted to read literature and for college credit until the university insisted they take a degree, and move on to the horror of horrors real world.  Professors in quite a few of the arts, sciences and humanities read this remarkably interesting and always surprising publication, as do artists, actors, waitpersons on their way to a dream, fans of Rimbaud as if he had walked among us around the time that Allen Ginsberg did, and coverage of things like walking animals made out of plastic tubes that is hard to come by in many magazines.

  I was particularly struck by a book review this week from the August 15, 2011 issue.. (I buy them for ten cents each at the library, the way I buy most everything: recycled.)   The book review is enticingly titled after the old Peggy Lee standard, "Is That All There Is?  Secularism and Its Discontents, by New Yorker critic and Harvard professor James Woods.  The book he is reviewing is a compilation of 11 essays on secularism and its place in the world today called "The Joy of Secularism  11 Essays for Living Now" (Princeton $35) by George Levine.  But do yourself a favor and read Woods' review which you can link to here.  It gained my rapt attention not only because of the quality of the writing and the well thought out theories, but because my A-hole brother-in-law Richard had just called me for the first time in six to eight months to tell me that my sister, his wife, and he were concerned that my blog was getting secular.

I wasn't even sure what that could mean since I don't practice religion, don't believe in a religion and have no use for religion, so how could I be getting "secular" if I never was religious?  Do I understand the term correctly?  I do believe, however, like many whole and complete, growing human beings who works to raise her consciousness and help mankind evolve as a species, that I am a spiritually centered person who, I hope, is always spiritually growing.  I'll get back to this. First I want to bitch and gossip because I'm not a saint yet.  I make progress not perfection.

I was so surprised by his out of character phone call that I immediately thought something had happened to my sister or one of her children or grandchildren.  But he said no, that wasn't why he was calling. He wanted to know, he asked with an evil laugh, "Do you even read that blog?"

What does he think I'm going to say, "No I just work here?"  I not only read it, but I meditate over the topic, content, light a candle or two on my desk for the people out there whom I hope will be helped by the post, and I pray and ask my higher power, whom I choose to call God, when I'm not calling her Cosmo, to please let me know what she would have me say not what my big ego wants to focus on, which is always me.  I get answers.  I get ideas, words, and sometimes things flow.  I feel I have accomplished something for that day, and may have helped one person who was struggling, in pain or worried or depressed--whatever.

Richard was "commenting" by phone on my last blog posting which was about getting back to spiritual and recovery basics.  There is no keeping me from talking about me, I'm sad to say, and I also just had to mention all the artsy fartsy things I've been enjoying doing like art journaling, scrapbooking and decoupaging.  I mentioned that my first plan was to decoupage pictures of the planets, stars, galaxies, etc. onto the top of my coffee table.  But when I laid it out I was underwhelmed.  I followed my intuition and decided to go with fish of all types and colors. It came out very nice.

Anyhow Richard also wanted to tell me how great, awesome and miraculous a star is, and I agree.  Does that mean that just because he is a fundamentalist reborn Christian I am not supposed to use pictures of nature's wonders in my art?  Is it like how dare I think myself worthy of pasting pictures of planets and stars when I am only an unreborn non-Christian, non-religious person?  Is that it?

Just then my daughter called from out of state and I wanted to talk to her, and frankly was less than enthralled in keeping this conversation in all its weirdness going.  Before he hung up though, when I finally realized that he may have been sober and clean a lot of years but now in his sixties he was definitely smoking something and wetting his whistle while he was at it, and maybe throwing in some hard drugs, because he was out of his ever lovin' mind.  He told me again about how worried he and Maureen are about my secularism, and that within two days I would receive a letter but it wouldn't be from him.  I guess Jesus was going to write me a special letter on account of what a special friend he was to Richard. Either that or one of those crooked, sex-starved, dishonest creepy reborn hedonist like Jim and Tammy Faye Baker were coming back to life just to have a private word with me.

Is That All There Is?

Secularism and its discontents.

by August 15, 2011

James Woods, Harvard academic and literary critic at the New Yorker, offers a fascinating review of The Joys of Secularism: 11 Essays for How We Live Now, a recent collection of essays apposite to Taylor’s claim. Edited by George Levine, the collection suggests that secularism is not a negation of meaning; instead, it has the potential to fill that spiritual lack that Taylor laments. The purpose of the collection is to “explore the idea that secularism is a positive, not a negative, condition, not a denial of the world of spirit and of religion, but an affirmation of the world we’re living in now.”

In more recent years, this decidedly lugubrious conception of secular society has given way to nostalgia for God and meaning from without. Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor, in his 2007 work A Secular Age, presents a nuanced position on secularism, suggesting that the rational-empirical turn that led to our secularization and disenchantment is both an achievement and a predicament. Yes, we have neuroscience and evolutionary psychology that explain life pragmatically. But, according to Taylor, the fact that we can no longer look outside of our phenomenal world for answers makes it hard to experience spiritual “fulfillment” in the same way that our ancestors did. Our increasingly reductionist world is making it easier and easier to explain away notions like altruism in a neuroscientific language that fails to account for its nobility.


What Is Secular Humanism?

Secular Humanism is a term which has come into use in the last thirty years to describe a world view with the following elements and principles:
  • A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighed and tested by each individual and not simply accepted on faith.
  • Commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, in seeking solutions to human problems and answers to important human questions.
  • A primary concern with fulfillment, growth, and creativity for both the individual and humankind in general.
  • A constant search for objective truth, with the understanding that new knowledge and experience constantly alter our imperfect perception of it.
  • A concern for this life and a commitment to making it meaningful through better understanding of ourselves, our history, our intellectual and artistic achievements, and the outlooks of those who differ from us.
  • A search for viable individual, social and political principles of ethical conduct, judging them on their ability to enhance human well-being and individual responsibility.
  • A conviction that with reason, an open marketplace of ideas, good will, and tolerance, progress can be made in building a better world for ourselves and our children.

How Do Secular Humanists View Religious and Supernatural Claims?

Secular humanists accept a world view or philosophy called naturalism, in which the physical laws of the universe are not superseded by non-material or supernatural entities such as demons, gods, or other "spiritual" beings outside the realm of the natural universe. Supernatural events such as miracles (in which physical laws are defied) and psi phenomena, such as ESP, telekinesis, etc., are not dismissed out of hand, but are viewed with a high degree of skepticism.

Are Secular Humanists Atheists?

Secular humanists are generally nontheists. They typically describe themselves as nonreligious. They hail from widely divergent philosophical and religious backgrounds.
Thus, secular humanists do not rely upon gods or other supernatural forces to solve their problems or provide guidance for their conduct. They rely instead upon the application of reason, the lessons of history, and personal experience to form an ethical/moral foundation and to create meaning in life. Secular humanists look to the methodology of science as the most reliable source of information about what is factual or true about the universe we all share, acknowledging that new discoveries will always alter and expand our understanding of it and perhaps change our approach to ethical issues as well. In any case their cosmic outlook draws primarily from human experiences and scientific knowledge.

What Is The Origin of Secular Humanism?

Secular humanism as an organized philosophical system is relatively new, but its foundations can be found in the ideas of classical Greek philosophers such as the Stoics and Epicureans as well as in Chinese Confucianism. These philosophical views looked to human beings rather than gods to solve human problems.
During the Dark Ages of Western Europe, humanist philosophies were suppressed by the political power of the church. Those who dared to express views in opposition to the prevailing religious dogmas were banished, tortured or executed. Not until the Renaissance of the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries, with the flourishing of art, music, literature, philosophy and exploration, would consideration of the humanist alternative to a god-centered existence be permitted. During the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century, with the development of science, philosophers finally began to openly criticize the authority of the church and engage in what became known as "free thought."
The nineteenth century Freethought movement of America and Western Europe finally made it possible for the common citizen to reject blind faith and superstition without the risk of persecution. The influence of science and technology, together with the challenges to religious orthodoxy by such celebrity freethinkers as Mark Twain and Robert G. Ingersoll brought elements of humanist philosophy even to mainline Christian churches, which became more concerned with this world, less with the next.
In the twentieth century scientists, philosophers, and progressive theologians began to organize in an effort to promote the humanist alternative to traditional faith-based world views. These early organizers classified humanism as a non-theistic religion which would fulfill the human need for an ordered ethical/philosophical system to guide one's life, a "spirituality" without the supernatural. In the last thirty years, those who reject supernaturalism as a viable philosophical outlook have adopted the term "secular humanism" to describe their non-religious life stance.
Critics often try to classify secular humanism as a religion. Yet secular humanism lacks essential characteristics of a religion, including belief in a deity and an accompanying transcendent order. Secular humanists contend that issues concerning ethics, appropriate social and legal conduct, and the methodologies of science are philosophical and are not part of the domain of religion, which deals with the supernatural, mystical and transcendent.

Secular humanism, then, is a philosophy and world view which centers upon human concerns and employs rational and scientific methods to address the wide range of issues important to us all. While secular humanism is at odds with faith-based religious systems on many issues, it is dedicated to the fulfillment of the individual and humankind in general. To accomplish this end, secular humanism encourages a commitment to a set of principles which promote the development of tolerance and compassion and an understanding of the methods of science, critical analysis, and philosophical reflection.
For a detailed discussion of secular humanism, refer to the following books written by philosopher and Council of Secular Humanism founder Paul Kurtz and published by Prometheus Books:
  • The Transcendental Temptation
  • Forbidden Fruit: The Ethics of Humanism
  • Living Without Religion: Eupraxophy
  • In Defense of Secular Humanism

"What is Secular Humanism" was written by Fritz Stevens, Edward Tabash, Tom Hill, Mary Ellen Sikes, and Tom Flynn.


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Getting Back to the Basics That Saved My Life and Can Change Yours

I am reading a  life-altering book in terms of spiritual growth.  I haven't been this excited since I discovered Marianne Williamson.  Now I've read Julia Cameron before, particularly, "The Artist's Way," and some of her other books on creativity.  I always gain a lot from her sharing her experience, hope and strength of her recovery.  But I recently read an interview with her in a writing magazine, and I learned she had written a book called "Faith and Will: Weathering the Storms in Our Spiritual Lives," which you can get in hardcover from Amazon (here) new copy for $2.56 and used for $1.70.  It speaks about what happens when you are left wondering where your higher power has gone to.  You're just not feeling that old connection.  You'd like to do His will, but He's not letting you know what it is as far as you know.
          There are clues as to why this might be other than the old standard, "Who moved?" when God is
          missing.  She writes, "Most of us are too hurried to know God.  And yet we act as if God is too
          hurried to know us."  She's right of course.  It's not God, our Higher Power, or the Creator who
          is afraid of missing Pilates at the health club at 2:00 so you can get in the step workout at 3:00.
         "It is we who have abandoned God."  She adds, "It is easy to be addicted to anxiety.  It is easy
         to make worry our home vibration."  "Just for today, I am going to reach out toward God.  Just for
         today, I am going to act as if I am a believer."

         Just as love, I know,  is a decision, Cameron writes here that faith is a decision.

        Just remember that we are right where we are supposed to be in the here and now.  God, the world,
        your significant other, aren't going to finally love you in a few years when you are a perfect human
        being.  They love you as you are, right now, this minute, and never forget it.

        I need people--writers and teachers--like Julia Cameron to bring me back and help me remember
        what's important. Like only worrying about taking the next right step.  That's all I have to worry about.
        After that I don't know what happens.  I'll know when I get there. 

        Cameron suggests we reunite with our H.P. by praying something like this, "Dear God, I want to be
         united with you.  Here's where I am at right now:  (List what you're doing that doesn't feel good.  You
         won't shock God.  He's heard it all.  List your failings you need to have removed.  Ask for help to
         forgive yourself and others and to be forgiven.  Ask for guidance and follow it.


I have been caught up in arts and crafts suddenly.  I decoupaged a flowerpot, and now want to decoupage either fish or stars on my coffee table.  I am art journaling up a storm and releasing so much it's like writing my memoirs.  I am even scrapbooking.  I've been reading about why you should do scrapmoir as a form of memoir and I'm sold.  Listen to this insightful quote I didn't just come across at the same time: 

                                 "No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly
                                  where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present
                                  place." --Maya Angelou

I am learning so much about my healed and still healing places.  I am putting together a newer, stronger, more flexible version of me and I feel open, free and joyful while I shape the pieces and figure out where each goes. Last night I did a lot of scrapbook pages on some people who have made a difference on the journey of my life.  It was good to stop and recall and write a few words.  I still love many of them.  I even made a tiny beaded necklace to wear among a certain group of groovy peace, love and good drugs old pals. It's amazing the creativity that comes out once you get going. 

I'm cheating on my scrapmoirs and I'm glad.  I started it some time ago and then let it collect dust because I lost interest in it.  No wonder I lost interest.  It was a very boring project that went from my birth to preschool, grade school, and quit just when things were going to get good as a teenager.  But then I had to think about my first husband, getting married at 18, being so poor, a miscarriage--just so many sad things I didn't feel like jazzing on.  Instead I did a page on a few of my lifetime jobs and then went into adult friends, which is where I still am.  It won't be a normal scrapbook or scrapmoir.  I have the feeling I'd be utterly bored if I were to take a class in it--same for art journaling.  It conflicts with one of my new favorite quotes that I hung up on my desk over my monitor: 

              "Don't play what's there.  Play what's not there."  Solid advice from Mr. Miles Davis, who knew.

So go do the next right thing.  I hope for the benefit of your inner child it's something creative.  I just bought some fingerpaints, and they felt good.  I felt five again.



The Trash to Treasure Seed I Buzzed Tonight

  • I had to choose this seed to buzz.  This week alone I have decoupaged an old flowerpot I got for a buck at a rummage sale and I painted my TV table and am getting ready to decoupage it.  I can't wait to come back and see the finished "treasure" of what you do with these trashy finds.

    This is the seed I buzzed through the Buzz Program.  I was very impressed with how popular this blog is, and how much they fix up and send back into the world beautified.  

    Here's what my 300 characters I was limited to said:
    The best thing I have found was in my very own apartment dumpster.  I believe my personal recovery from alcohol and drugs has transformed me from a cocoon to a butterfly.  One day I was feeling in need of a sign to remind me of what a miracle I am.  Right there, clean and pristine, on top of the garbage, was an iridescently beautiful, sparkly, huge butterfly from legs and antenna to wings.  I knew it was right where it was just for me to find and bring home and put up on my wall where I could see it and be reminded of just what a miracle I am.  I cried when I found that. 

    Well I'm happy to say The Pink Flamingo has reached the 100 mark on our Facebook page and like I said after reaching 100 fans I would do a Give Away. So here ya go.It's simple and easy and that's ohhh so how I like things. All you have to do is tell your friends that you are tryi

Time for Renewal and Rebirth?

"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for enough good people to do nothing."--Edmond Burke.

 I saw this symbol of rebirth (above)  flying over my head one day this week and I knew I had just been visited.  In case I wasn't being mindful enough, I "happened" (synchronicity at work)  to come across a blurb on the Internet saying the Monarch was the symbol of rebirth. It's also a symbol for the soul and some cultures like the Chinese believe your soul comes back as a butterfly.
"Oh Lord, I feel like a change is gonna come."
♫ ♪ ♫

There are signs, symbols, books opened to pages about rebirth and change, and intuitive feelings afloat.  Here's how it is, "Every morning, we have a choice:  Will I seek out God's plan today or will I go about my day as a slave to my ego's agenda?"  (from: "The Gift of Change," by Marianne Williamson--Subtitle: "Spiritual Guidance for Living Your Best Life," also 0.1 cent used).

I had an epiphany this morning, and now I am setting aside my top ten priorities, my 40 some goals, my day's activities that I have posted, and my to-do list.  It is time to become a "conduit for the miraculous" and let God use me for His plan. (or Her plan, but actually there is no pronoun that fits).

Marianne Williamson writes that as soon as we start asking how we can help with God's plan, rather than asking for help with our plan, things get better.  Miracles happen.  Am I willing to put my own plans aside in favor of supporting God's plan for me and for the world?  I do believe I am. .

My own plans haven't been working out.  In fact, they are mostly stalled.  I rarely get more than one or two things done on my long, 20-30 items to-do list.  I've been beating my spirit, mind and heart with guilt, regret, remorse and frustration, and today the light dawned:  I'm not supposed to do the ego's bidding.  I need to focus on what God wants me to do in a larger plan designed by God.

God wants me to stay sober--I'm sure of that.  God wants me to practice love, forgiveness and compassion  I believe.  Does God care if I write a bestseller or even have a book published?  I have my doubts.  God doesn't seem to care all that much about our "needs" for security, prestige and romance as much as whether we love and forgive.
I think my newest plan is something God wants for my life.  I "happened" (synchronicity) to see an intriguingly titled book at the library called "Stick Your Neck Out," by John Graham.  It is subtitled, "Street-Smart Guide to Creating Change in Your Community and Beyond:  Service As A Path of A Meaningful Life."  I am right now ordering a copy of this must-have book for 0.1 cent from Amazon.  It has everything you need to get started making the change in the world that  you want to see by beginning by being that change, as the bumper stickers say.  This book includes: how to choose your issue(s), the meaningful life path, deciding on the form of your participation and so on including making your plan, building your team, giving persuasive speeches, getting institutions to do what you want, and public testimony and legal action.  I need to own this book so I can refer to it along the way of changing one small corner of my world. 

Don't know what issue to choose to work towards?  Start with progressive publications like AlterNet.com and their section on activism and vision or Op-Ed News.com.  Or just read your local newspaper or a copy of a news magazine.  Pick something that really turns you on, that you can be excited about, because you want this to be for the long haul. It will take your time and your energy.

One of my issues is going to be safe food, food that is free of cancer-causing pesticides and herbicides.  There are already organizations in existence working on this issue, and I can check them out.  I probably don't need to reinvent the wheel unless I want to for some reason.
Decide on your issue(s) and/or order "Stick Your Neck Out," and make a difference in your life and in the world.  We do because we love.  Isn't that every soul's mission on Plant Earth: Bootcamp for Souls, as I call it?
I have a quote posted in a prominent place on my desk that is another Marianne Williamson quote: "We need to remember this: If God has given you a job to do, she will provide the means by which to accomplish it.  All we have to do is ask what she wants us to do and be willing to do it."  Don't worry if you are a semi-hermit and can't imagine getting out among others to work for your cause.  The courage will come. Don't worry if you are not the best writer, organizer, speaker or publicist.  Let God mind those details.  Just choose an issue and get started by doing research on the history of the problem, what has been tried with what results, organizations that work for this issue, etc. Then start signing up, volunteering, reading more about where and what help is needed for that cause, getting people in your community or even nationally to work for the answer to the problem, guiding and directing others who want to help, raising money if necessary, and so on.

Wear yourself out on this. "Better to burn out than to rust," as Neil Young sang.  You will be happier if living a more meaningful life of accomplishment.  Ask any volunteer or someone who works in the social services for starters.  They will tell you the work that you do to create positive change will bring joy into your life.  It will wake you up if you're sleeping, make you mindful if you're not paying attention to what's going on.  It may stir controversy, but you will find courage.

Here's a prayer or mindful meditation from A Course In Miracles:

"Where would you have me go?
What would you have me do?
What would you have me say and to whom?"

How wonderful to be used, of some use to yourself and others!  Everyone knows that kind of fulfillment brings joy into the most desolate, self-pitying, wasteful life or even your average busy life.

"We look to God to give us new life when the old one has begun to die," (Change).  There could be a wonderful reason your current life plan is failing or just not working out the way you had hoped.  Dreams only die if you let them.  Transform.  Become new.  Be reborn.  Put a photo or painting of a Monarch Butterfly somewhere where you'll be reminded that you are being reborn in the spirit.  (No, I am not talking about reborn Christians.)

When everything seems blah, boring, and you feel worthless or just over the hill, then you are ready for rebirth.

Buddhism says it's not so much what we achieve that gives meaning to our existence, but we at least die trying to do. Jump in.  The water will feel exhilarating, fresh.

I'll leave you with this perfect prayer for this purpose: the purpose of your life:

Dear God, (or Universe, or Higher Power, or Cosmo...whatever you're comfortable with),

"If left to my own devices, my perceptions will be skewed.
I surrender to you everything I think and feel.
Please take my past, and plan my future.
Send your Spirit to redeem my mind,
That I might be set free.
May I be Your vessel
And serve the world.
May I become who You would have me be,
That I might do what you would have me do.
And I will, dear God." (Change)


Take even a baby step towards being part of the solution today while you're thinking about it.