December 31, 2009

Nipple Moon - Night of December 29th

Near full, always perfect, tonight you glow brilliantly white
in the middle of your large red, pink, gray areola,
resting perfectly centered
in the cotton clouds of your breast.

Oh moon, soon to be full, patient, always waiting silently
for our upward glance.
Whether a happenstance glimpse of the sky,
or a purposeful nightly search, you sit,
unperturbed by the longings,
impressions, symbolism
placed on your celestial body.

Margaret's Birthday

December 31, 2009

She would be 63 today. Her hair would be grayer, wisps of gray in a sea of dark brown streaking her temples. Her hair carried her delicious smell, always sweet, always inviting. I could breathe in her essence and never tire of its myriad fragrant complexity. Her entire body carried this sweet elixir. Her radiant smile would light up her face; her eyes would sparkle, and her soul would come through these optic portals. Her hands would be busy, always busy; sorting sports cards or coins, stringing beads or creating animal bone and feather works of art when at home; twisting a strand of fabric, rubbing her fingers together, or kneading the ever present small dollop of clay when at the office. Her personality was contagious, people gravitated to her intelligence, good humor and ability to talk with anyone. Even if depressed, once in the world, her spirit of curiosity and genuine caring for others would get the best of the clouds and pain surrounding her heart.
She disliked this day chosen by the Universe as her day of birth. The last day of the year, filled with the ubiquitous “Looking Back”, “Lists of the Year’s Favorite Whatever”, and people already celebrating, rejoicing New Life, a New Year, New Hopes, New Dreams too busy to come to celebrate Her Birthday. Well I rejoice, I celebrate you and your contribution to end human suffering, one person, one client at a time. Would that your soul could have ceased its long suffering prior to its return home.
I honor you today with these words of love.


Watched Kinsey last night for the first time. Never realized that he was a zoologist, prior to studying human sexual behavior. So he brought his preconceived, and scientifically correct observation that DIVERSITY is the hallmark of all creation to his study of humans. And today we, of open heart and universal mind, champion DIVERSITY. How wonderful that what we feel in our hearts has been repeatedly, resoundingly confirmed by those who measure.

December 22, 2009


Each week women gather to talk, to share,
their hearts, their souls, their cares, their gratitudes,
the depth of their lives.

Each week we end with a circle of hands holding hands.

I wrote the following for the women, who I honor.

Affirm the time, the place, the circle of women,
the touch of women, the feel of women,
our energy, this sacred space,
yourself, yourself, your precious self,
your heart, your soul, your connection to The Divine.

Affirm all this....and extend this to others.
Affirm/Acknowledge is consciousness is awareness is honoring.
Honor yourself and others.

December 18, 2009

Mattock to Earth

Pounding, regular, rhythmic blows to the Earth.
Mattock in hands, hefty to lift, easy to descend
to hit, to pound, to cut
the Earth.

I till the Earth as an excuse to vent my anger.

Ahhh, so much better to hit Her, Mother of Life,
than another.

Hit Mother Earth with our tears, our blood,
our bodies, our waste, and mattock too.
She graciously receives our All, without complaint.

Hit the Goddess’ belly, firmament, mantle
conscious all the while of the opportunity
to shift my anger, to Her.
Rather than keep it in.
Each blow by blow.

...Reflecting on tilling my Mendocino county hillside in the early 1990's; I was still angry then. I'm now not angry, just grateful...

December 12, 2009

Sweet Dog

My sweet doggie dog, lying on the balcony, head up, sniffing the wind.
What captures your imagination,
what goes through your mind
as the particles of All float by?

Do you remember your youth, escaping into the wooded spaces near our home,
running, chasing, searching, always for more food I’m sure;
coming home hours later, not a bit contrite.
You were beta to your older sister who passed last year,
who wanted to be alpha even to me.
With your sister’s passing, your deepest qualities of unconditional love,
steady companionship,and fun now shine fully,
or maybe I’m now just able to see.

My sweet doggie dog, Reilley, I love that you have your routines, your rhythms, your needs.
If I don’t feed you within your perceived timeframe of need,
you whimper ever so slightly, almost inaudibly, at first;
and if I continue with my perceived timeframe of need,
your whimpers become clearer, louder, seeking
my attention, the food, the walk which always follows.

I love that you continue to lie in the morning sun, head up smelling the air,
here on our Ventura balcony; just as you did on our Mendocino deck.

December 09, 2009

Persimmon Surprise

There’s a season to eating persimmons, November and December months, when they are abundant, and newly harvested from local trees, local Ventura county ranches. When these bright orange orbs dominate my counter top fruit bowls.
Presently, they’re available for 50 cents a pound. A steal, when the only waste is truly their beautiful, dry, flowered calyx. They make the perfect snack food with either tea or coffee. They have just the right amount of lusciousness without being messy. (Now a mango is truly luscious, but unless it is served, peeled and cut, on a plate, it’s a messy fruit; best consumed over the kitchen sink while waiting for something to cook or water to boil. )

Persimmons are far from messy; their beautiful flame orange skin and flesh, have just the right amount of firmness, texture, and perfectly sweet taste.
I love both the heart shaped hachiya and the flat fuyu. They’re both loaded with unpronounceable carotenoids: cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, which keep inflammation, thus cancer, at bay. The fuyu are more popular and cheaper here, so I eat more of these. They are eaten as you would eat an apple, in hand, just bite for delicious bite. Very satisfying, crunchy, sweet, easy to eat. Occasionally a small, flat, dime sized, dark brown seed appears. These are always a wonderful tongue treat and beg to have the bit of clinging soft flesh removed prior to discarding. An uncomplicated fruit, the fuyu become the perfect package of satisfying sweetness.

The hachiya, on the other hand, must sit for several days to become totally soft, not quite mushy, but very, very soft before eating. This takes patience and occasional gentle squeezes, then more patience. Once ready, you are in for an amazing experience of joy and delight. If you think you’re going to fool The Creator and bite into the hachiya prior to the very, very soft stage, ha! you’ll get a puckered mouth of astringent flavorless mass clinging to your teeth. So wait.

Once ready, take the soft hachiya gently in hand, and take a tiny bite from the tippy top of the fruit. The pointiest part. Take a wee bite, and slowly begin to suck. You will naturally bite back more of the skin as you continue to suck; same as you would bite back little pieces of an ice cream cone, going all around.

So you’re sucking out the amazingly delicious, sweet gelatinous hachiya ooze and lo! the real surprise! You encounter a piece of sturdy, yet supple membrane which you would swear feels just like a woman’s _____ (this is left blank purposely, for you to fill in) on your tongue.

Ah, now you understand why it was so worth the wait! It is quite a wonderful tongue and mouth feel from a piece of fruit; quite a wonderful mixture of sensations. Quite a surprise!

Complex, like good wine, like good people.

Goddess is smiling and loving us love Her.

December 08, 2009


Trying to love again.
Oh...the trepidation.
The uncertainty.
The total unease of not knowing.
Is she the one?

December 04, 2009

"It's so Gay"

I just heard a young woman use the word "gay" with the intention of saying, "bad/wrong/stupid." I'd never heard gay used this way before, though I'd read about such use by our youth.
Upon hearing this, it felt wrong/bad/stupid to hear it come out of her mouth.

Will the hatred never end?

November 30, 2009


Not happiness.
An All Encompassing Happiness/Glee

May you feel it daily.


Joy is returning to my soul, my Being. I can feel her creep back in…. slowly,
yet surely.

One way she manifests is through music.
For months my world was silence, broken by the news, Bill Moyers, Ellen, Mad Men, Rachel Maddow; and regular sister phone calls. For months I was in a pit of limbo. The walking dead.

Slowly, slowly, I began to listen to music: at the computer, in the car. Only a little at a time, cause each song, each piece would remind me of Margaret. I’d cry. Especially when driving, and of course at home. Then I wouldn’t listen to music for awhile again. I knew it would cause me to remember.

But I discovered that I could find NEW music (duh! – I know, why didn’t I think of it sooner?....but... I wasn’t ready, truly) and just listen and enjoy this music which has no intrinsic associations with Margaret. So I found Annie Lennox’s new album and fell in love with her voice; and fell in love again with Tina Turner’s voice; and now Beyonce. She is the new Tina, she sizzles.

I’m now not just listening, but enjoying it too.
I am loving the sound of good music. I was unhearing before.

I was sleeping before, sleeping the Deep Sleep of Renewal,
the pullback, the necessary solitude of the soul.
I was sleeping to the world, to the beauty of Joy.

November 24, 2009

Daily Thanking

Extend the Thanksgiving holiday daily into your lives.
Give Thanks to the Divine, to the Divine Mystery, to your Higher Self,
for as much as you can.

Certainly for major events: you caught your child as she was about to fall badly;
you missed the two car collision on the freeway by seconds; you passed your enterance exam.

But more so, for the daily, hour by hour things
which work, which go as intended:
the keys found in a pocket; the bread with jam
which doesn't fall jam side down;
the computer which works smoothly
most of the time;
clouds; cell phones.
And all, any people, when they do something good.

These things, large and small, make up our lives.

Be conscious, as often as you're able.

You'll notice, that when we're conscious of the here and now
(taking a nano second to notice),
only then, when we're conscious of what we have,
can we give Thanks.

Create Thanks as part of the consciousness of the good in your life, in the world.

This is what I try to do. I wish this for you. Daily Thanking.

November 21, 2009

Sister, The One Left

Sister, let’s not fight.
Let not words of bitterness, anger
pass between us.
Know that we love each other and always will.

We meet with friends of our most beloved,
departed middle sister.
We meet monthly, two remaining sisters,
two remaining dear friends, to honor her life.
She brings us together, these four who knew
her best.

Sharing a monthly meal, remembering her smile,
her wit, her politics.
In our monthly gather we see
each others’ near imperceptible changes
and comment on hair, health, a scarf, a pin,
some acknowledgement of love, of being seen.

We ask about the loved ones in our lives, spouses, brothers,
sisters, children. We ask about work, travel, the food.
We toast our lives, her life.
“Happy Birthday!” as glasses tinkle with touch.
“Happy Birthday!” has become our all purpose toast,
coined by a brother whose wit is used to confound others:
Someone always has a birthday, everyday!

The talk always turns to politics, and our sister is
watching and smiling from her place on the other side.
We all agree that things must change,
the insanity of their pay and benefits
while others suffer;
the hatefulness of their words meant to harm.
This is the worst it has ever been, even worse than
the nightmares of 1963 and 1968 and Nixon and Reagan.
This time is worse and God save us from their ignorance.

As we bullet fire our words across the table, my sister, my
sister’s friends, I, interrupt each other;
interject thoughts which can’t wait,
rapid words bursting into the packed din of shared ideas.

And it is always here, at this point, at this apex of our purposeful politicking
that you my sister feels slighted, left behind, unheard,
disrespected; by each, but especially by me.

Our banter winds down, our meal is ended, the next patrons eye our table.
We set another date to meet, next month again,
same time and place.

My sister has something to give me, so we walk to her car and she extracts a bag of her love.
A gift to her youngest sister, her flesh her blood
walking, talking in a separate body.
Always something extra from her home:
some fruit, dish soap, dog treats, a handy container;
something to share, to give, to extend the time, to extend her love.

And always at this time, the other two have long gone,
my sister tells me her hurt;
how she is not heard, not honored, interrupted, by each,
but especially by me.

And always I protest; not true, in fact she is the one who interrupts,
doesn’t let the others, but especially me, finish a sentence.
She vows to stop coming to our monthly meetings to honor our deceased sister.
She vents her hurt at her flesh, her blood, walking, talking in a separate body.
Her words fly, rapid fire, meant to show her hurt, her slight.

We must leave, we are loud in the California parking lot, someone might hear.
We say goodbye, “I’ll see you next week”.
We even kiss, give a slight hug; knowing we would always regret not doing so,
if the worst happens.
She always ends with:
But know that I love you.

And our sister is watching, smiling, silent, from her place on the other side.

October 23, 2009

FDA Bans "Smart Choice" Program

Today we had a victory for reason vs. insanity!

The Food Industry's "Smart Choice" program was banned by the FDA!! (See the blog: New Food Industry Fraud, Septembe 7, 2009). The FDA said:

"...such programs may mislead consumers about the health benefits of certain foods, and it told manufacturers it will crack down on inaccurate labeling."

I wonder if Bush Boy's administration would have put a stop to such a humiliating program. But HOORAY for the good sense of Dr. Margaret Hamburg!!!

October 18, 2009

How Dear Is This Life

Tina Turner's song, Way of the World starts with:
"B-a-b-y, I need a hand to hold tonight.
One bright star to remind me, how dear is this life."

What a beautiful refrain: how dear is this life.
Especially when sung in Tina's expressive, husky voice.

Listening to Tina and thinking of Lizi.
I don't want Lizi to forget How Dear is This Life.

Lizi, give yourself as much Time as you can, not eaten by the work of the world.
Give yourself the months, years, you'll need to free yourself of the daily torture you presently face. The daily numbness, heartache, and depression which causes your soul to shrivel, to desire isolation and death.

I pray you can give yourself Comfort now.

We are entering the months of darkness and retreat,
the time of frigid days and nights when the world demands
that truly the strongest survive.
When life requires dormancy for survival.
May you have Comfort now.

A hand to hold, a bosom to howl in, the warmth of hot tea and family.
The long sleep needed for ultimate renewal.
Give yourself Comfort and Time, to slowly ease out of the
clutches of Cerberus, and the hounds of hell.

I pray that you keep the need for Acceptance always in your heart.

In time, when you are ready to renew your own life, when you can look around
and feel Joy, can let the music and light in, can dance and sing again;
then I pray you Accept all that has been asked of you by this dear life.

October 15, 2009

Crescent Moon in Scorpio

The ides of October, a new dawn, I awake to see a beautiful waning
crescent moon in Scorpio.
How fitting for my Scorpio friend who just left this life, yesterday.
She slowly slipped away, held in the arms of her eternal lover.

I hope to meet her again, as a formless drop
in the Divine Ocean of Bliss.

October 12, 2009


In December of 2008, when I felt at my abject bottom, I sought the guidance of a very wise, loving woman who happens to communicate her wisdom through horoscopes and the tarot. I first sought her guidance in 1976, it made sense to do it at my darkest.
She told me things which I seek to maintain each day as I write. Her words help keep me focused, help provide me with meaning in my life. I seek to be as authentic when I write as I try to be in person.

She told me to:
“Open up to letting the Universe write through you.”
“Communicate what I love.”
“Let my vision come through. I’ve been a writer in past lives.
Approach writing with joy and no attachment. Write because I love it. Write about what I feel passionate about. Seize it and do it. Seize the opportunity. Open up to Purpose energy. Don’t allow fear to get in the way.”
And most importantly the cards told her to say: “Give myself permission to have joy and happiness. Break my karma of grief.”

I’d written down her comments about this reading, and just now took the time to re-read them, and share them.

I believe that her love and vision for me is applicable to all women who seek to share what they love with the world. Honor your voice and your vision. Be a light and model for other women.

Thank you Amy.


As the cold hard reality of the impending death of Lydia takes hold in my being, I must take great care, great effort to not allow my own still fragile re-embrace of life to slip. The pain of her loss evokes my own pain of too many losses. This pain which I vowed to move beyond; I vowed to continue with my life, to live life. The pain is so ready to surface, a slight scratch and it bubbles up creating once again the darkness, the film which can too easily color my day.

Karen Armstrong is interviewed by Tavis Smiley, discussing her new book: The Case for God, and she states an essential truth, which I paraphrase:
It's not the BELIEF in God/Goddess/The Divine which changes one's life, which creates a sense of meaning in life; rather it's the PRACTICE of compassionate selflessness which brings meaning, richness, deep peace to one's life.

Compassionate selflessness. The ability to place yourself in the other person's shoes. And not judge. Feel mercy and tenderness for another's soul, for their human condition. PRACTICE this and your life will be full.

I am feeling deep compassion for Lydia and Lizi. They are suffering the knowledge of impending loss, Lydia's death. I imagine a huge red ball of love hoovering over them, embracing and engulfing them. I imagine them holding each other tenderly, lovingly, stroking, touching, soothing the pain of separation, loss.

And I must continue to have compassion for my heart, my soul too. I must not let the anticipation of a dear friend's death keep me from my vows to practice this art of living.

October 01, 2009

Earthquake Survivors

We survive an Earthquake. The earth quakes
beneath our feet. Disrupts our life, rips our
home to shreds. Causes pain and more pain.

Those who survive Earthquakes, Floods, Fire,
Death have a taste of Hell. A flavor of the
unimaginable, unspeakable.

May Peace and Peace and More Peace pervade
their souls, our souls.

For Lizi

Lizi, wife of Lydia, soon to be widowed.
I am widowed, three plus years, and want you to hear this,
want that these words somehow ease the enormity of your pain.
Which can never happen.
I know you will have your pain, despite my words, despite my tears.

I must tell you,
Now is NOT the time to doubt/regret/have second thoughts
about any of your actions.
Now is the time to act as clearly as your soul shines
reflecting Divine Love.

For the next number of weeks, just be with Lydia fully,
wholly, as a mother is with her newborn infant.
As new lovers are with each other.
She is all hers. You be all hers.

I wish you total clarity about what to do. The ability
to go inside, to be with yourself daily. The ability to
know what to do.

When with yourself, give time to reflect, give thanks,
feel loss; cry, cry, and more cry.

I know your pain intimately. I feel my pain when I feel yours.
It is hell; sheer hell. Nothing will mitigate your torture.
I wish I could.

You will survive this, you will come out strong and clear,
and you will even thrive.
All in time. All in time. But now is the time to Act
with clarity, without regrets.

September 26, 2009

Acceptance Not (Yet)

Can I accept?
Which phrase don't I understand?
And so it is.
It is what it is.
Being Here and Now.
Being OK with the Here and Now.
The Now.
Now is perfect.

I am alright with Now, and I Love the Being Here and Now most often, and I know that what Is often just Is, and can’t be changed.

Presently, I must Accept the dying of two dear friends. One will precede the other within the year. And if not in a year, then too soon. The loss of two people who I turn to for love, answers.

Both know of their impending death from cancer. They have time to process and make peace and Accept. Just as I must come to Accept that these two dearest ones will soon be unavailable physically. They'll still give me answers, if I'm open to listen to them. But the physical here and now of contact will be gone.

It is Yom Kippur today, and I can't stop thinking of them.

One is Laura. She recently gave me one of the greatest gifts one could receive: words of wisdom that penetrate one's soul. Words which ring true as soon as they are heard, which cut to the quick, which must be examined, pondered, thus made my own, taken into my being. Once I caught their meaning, her words had the power to change my frame of reference, my angle of vision, my point of view, and I opened to the hormonal shifts which this new perspective created: a peaceful cascade of cellular changes. Her wisdom and power has now totally infused me, has become part of my fabric, my new truth. Laura’s words were the catalyst to help shift my focus, thus shift my pain/discomfort level.

I spent two wonderful days at Laura's home in Willits, less than one mile from where Margaret and I had lived. Being there was comforting to me on a very deep level. It felt easy to be there, easy to talk and try to make myself useful with cooking and small chores. And my comfort in her home was increased by the presence of Margaret's favorite chair and some artwork which Laura purchased after Margaret's death. So I was surrounded by pieces of my old home, as well as Laura's love.

Laura has terminal breast cancer which has spread to her liver, lungs, and spine. Her most recent bout of chemo therapy has made her bald, revealing a very beautiful head. She is graceful beyond words. She glides across the floor when up, and gestures gracefully with her hands when sitting, which is usually the case; her stamina is poor.

Sitting and talking in her living room on the first of our two days together, I complained that my soul, when I am in southern California, my current home, is not being fed. “My soul’s not being fed there.”

And she wisely replyed,: “No, it is being fed, you just don’t like what it’s being fed. It’s bitter, and you want sweet.”

These were her Words of Wisdom which jolted my being. Which caused my positive shift of perspective. After pondering her reply, I had an epiphany: Who is responsible for what my soul eats/is fed? Why me, only I alone am responsible. (Excluding Grace of Course, which may feed our soul without our doing, out of the blue, a blessing.) So I've gone about my life here in southern California with a lighter step, with more daily joy, with mindfulness of feeding my soul.

This is just one very small piece of what this woman Laura has given me. She is my dear friend and I don’t want to lose her. I know it is “only” on the physical plane, but this plane houses the specific soul package of Laura, who I can phone and ask: “Now tell me again, how do cells communicate?” She always explains things so easily and gracefully. She is one of the smartest people I know. She is a physician, can learn/figure out anything, has tremendous, true insight, is vulnerable, is self aware. She is a graceful and wise woman. And what an honor to witness her beauty, grace, and wisdom.

She shared the eulogy she wrote for herself, and I have her permission to quote from it:
"I do believe that surrendering to Divine will allows the Universe to work in ways that are infinitely benign, although unfathomable. My surrender was a daily commitment, and some days were easier than others. But even the bliss of total surrender embraces the very human grief we feel with loss."

September 10, 2009

Michael Pollan Rocks!!!

Quote from Michael Pollan's editorial in this morning's N.Y. Times, as a reaction to President Obama's speech to Congress last nite:
"Even the most efficient health care system that the administration could hope to devise would still confront a rising tide of chronic disease linked to diet.

That’s why our success in bringing health care costs under control ultimately depends on whether Washington can summon the political will to take on and reform a second, even more powerful industry: the food industry.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three-quarters of health care spending now goes to treat “preventable chronic diseases.” Not all of these diseases are linked to diet — there’s smoking, for instance — but many, if not most, of them are.
Cheap food is going to be popular as long as the social and environmental costs of that food are charged to the future. There’s lots of money to be made selling fast food and then treating the diseases that fast food causes. One of the leading products of the American food industry has become patients for the American health care industry."

Michael Pollan Rocks!!! Keep Telling It Like It Is!!!!

September 07, 2009

New Food Industry Fraud

Hello FDA,
I do hope that someone there is listening:
Please do NOT allow our disease producing food industry to use their new:

Smart Choices Program

to mislead the public by adding their newest trick,
a green check mark "Smart Choice" label to food packages.

As Marion Nestle (Professor of Nutrition/Food Studies at N.Y. University) so aptly stated, "This is just another gimmick of the food industry. People need to be eating food which is as UNPROCESSED as possible."

Please FDA, do not allow "food" such as Froot Loops to get this industry generated Smart (Stupid) Choice label.

Our food industry has mis-informed the American consumer for decades.

They are the new Tobacco Industry - creating disease and death, and getting away with it.

INSTEAD: Why not the FDA create a TRUE Smart Choice Label: with a big fat RED X marked on all disease creating food, such as:

~~food with greater than 50% refined flour

~~food with greater than 30% of calories from refined sugars

~~food with greater than 200 mg sodium per serving

~~food which contains trans fat

~~food which contains greater than 30% saturated fat

I am a retired Registered Dietitian and know the pain and suffering caused by our present food industry, and especially our fast food industry.

Thank You,

Mary Farkas, M.S., M.A. Retired R.D.

Let the FDA hear from YOU:

September 02, 2009

Dear Mr. President

I wrote this to Barack today. The White House has a place for each of us to post a letter to our President. I want him to be My President; that's why I voted for him. I am not naive, I am not angry.

But my soul is weary. I am tired of seeing lines of thousands waiting for health care from Remote Area Medical, a non-profit originally set up to serve the poor in "non-developed" nations. I am tired of seeing starving children in African nations torn by war. I am tired of hearing stories of brutality to women and children, and seeing their lives disrupted by refuge camps, rape, torture, lack of everything; I am tired of knowing that 1 in 6 people do not have access to clean water. I am weary of the Insanity that passes for human adulthood.

So I wrote a letter to Barack. It doesn't address ALL of the things I'm weary of, but it's a way to put my voice into the world, like a prayer. We put the voice of our soul into the world.

Dear Sir, Mr. Obama, My President,
I write to you as a life long Democrat who was even a Young Democrat in my youth, a Retired Registered Dietitian living on a fixed income, a Lesbian, a daughter of a Holocaust Survivor, a Concerned Loyal Citizen of our Nation.

I voted for you because you said Vote for Me and You Will Get Change. I voted for Change. I voted for a Paradigm Shift. I voted for a Brave Leader to Tackle the Hard, but Necessary Changes we must make.

We must change our system of medicine, which rewards doctors intervening when truly, it's too too late. The African-American woman with hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, maybe even some gastro-esophageal reflux, and over-weight or obesity; this woman who is working full time, caring for her grandchildren, relying on Fast Food to feed her family (McDonalds has a new: 365 Black web site, even); this woman doesn't need a Health Care Machine that eats one-sixth of our budget. No. This woman needs rest, sleep, good quality food, and security of work. When she has this, she will not have the "life-style" diseases which are a hallmark of our obese and poor. Hell, even the Insane Repuglicans are fat (and poor in their souls and minds).

Please, please, please assure passage of MEANINGFUL HEALTH REFORM: a government run insurance alternative with Preventive Care reimbursement (including Medical Nutrition Therapy and Physical Therapy); a government led campaign to change our present School Lunch requirements to those which support, not destroy, health. Tax shifts which begin to punish the purveyors of food which creates disease.

The best defense against Swine Flu or ANY infection is a healthy immune system. Subsidize those foods which promote immune health.

I Love You. I am Grateful, Daily, To God, Goddess, The Creator that You Are My President. Be My President.
Mary Farkas, M.S., M.A.
my website:

August 30, 2009

Obama At Teddy's Funeral

Did you catch the depths of emotion on Barack's face, a few minutes before Teddy's casket was removed from the hearse by the eight service men. (I had to wonder why at least ONE female military member couldn't be included......)
I believe I now understand Barack's high head tilt, with neck extended, his chin jutting in the air, eyes sometimes closed. This posture has intrigued me for months now. So unlike other politicians who seek the camera on their entire face.

This morning sitting with Michelle solemn by his side, his grief was visable, nay, almost palpable. His heaving deep sigh, quivering chin, and clenched jaw. Holding back tears. He lost the woman he loved the longest in his life, his maternal grandmother, less than a year ago.

I now comprehend that his tilted head is how he can take a private moment for himself, amist any size crowd, any number of cameras attempting to intrude.

August 28, 2009

Thank You David Goldhill

More thanks are in order to people in today's world who can see past the insanity. Today I Thank: David Goldhill who wrote an enlightening piece about our health care system.
I quote from his piece in September's The Atlantic (
How American Health Care Killed My Father:

"Accidentally, but relentlessly, America has built a health-care system
with incentives that inexorably generate terrible and perverse
results. Incentives that emphasize health care over any other aspect
of health and well-being. That emphasize treatment over prevention.
That disguise true costs. That favor complexity, and discourage
transparent competition based on price or quality. That result in
a generational pyramid scheme rather than sustainable financing.
And that - most important - remove consumers from our irreplaceable
role as the ultimate ensurer of value."

He systematically looks at a hospital and health care behemoth which will take more than a trillion dollars to feed, and which takes tax dollars AWAY form the needs which truly affect our health: nutrition (yes, righting our horrible food system which is the cause of fully one-third of all cancers, and all of our "lifestyle" diseases), exercise, education, emotional security, our natural environment, and public safety.

Goldhill writes, "By what mechanism does society determine that an extra, say, $100 billion for health care will make us healthier than even $10 billion for cleaner air or water, or $25 billion for better nutrition, or $5 billion for parks..... The answer is, no mechanism at all. Health care simply keeps gobbling up national resources, seemingly without regard to other societal needs....."

And David Goldhill looked into the monster of health care after his father died from an iatrogenic infection passed on by doctors who didn't wash their hands.
Oh Semmelweis would be rolling in his grave.

Free to Make Peace

I must walk twice daily to feed my desire to feel the sky
the near constant breeze, the air on my face.
I need this as much as I need/desire my two cups of strong
black tea each morning.

I love to feel how my body moves through the air
interacting with the sounds, large and small,
and the flying creatures that are at eye level;
sometimes even a precious butterfly.

I watch for the creatures at my feet, small lizards mostly,
these seem to be in all hot climes. Their beings on walls
or sidewalks have given me delight in Arizona, Florida,
New Mexico, India, Israel, Mexico, and Peru.
And now here in desert heat that is southern California.

I am making peace with being here.

The twice daily walks help me to experience the fact of air,
temperature, plants and creatures, my surroundings,
the physicality of this part of the earth that I inhabit.

The act of being in the space of the world, allowing my body
to feel the world, allowing my mind to connect to my Creator,
to connect to what is good in my life; this brings me joy
and routine.

Anytime a soul can be outdoors, she is free to make peace
with her life. Free to see a perspective broader than the
confines of her home walls and mind.

August 14, 2009

Life Always Wins

When two people you love
seemingly more than life
die suddenly, unexpectedly;
both less than six months apart…
it more than unsettles, more than upsets.
So very much more.

Such that after four years since my sister’s death,
and three and a half years after Margaret’s death,
I experience a profound, but commonplace/
everyday awareness of Death;
others’ and my own.
I take nothing for granted.
Everyday may be my last. May be their last.

This awareness becomes OK. Is OK. A given.
Matter of fact.
The awareness of the impermanence
of everyone, even everything.

I don’t dwell on this awareness,
just as I don’t dwell on the fact of the weather.
It is what is and I can’t change it.
This awareness of dissolution is just there,
as part of my given.

And it doesn’t make me sad, or angry, or
anything much; most of the time.

Then there are the times, still the times,
when the impermanence of it all
links with remembrance of something about her;
one or both of them. Margaret or Lexi.

In those melting times, they are as close to my heart and mind
as if they were still here. Still part of my life.
As if I can touch them,
because I can certainly talk with them.

Then I always laugh. Out loud. And say their name. Out loud.
Sometimes over and over.
I give a shout of pure joy, sheer glee.
To be able to feel them again.

It's in these moments that the impermanence becomes permanence.
Change becomes constant.
Dissolution is an illusion.
Death becomes Life.
Life again, always wins over death.
My memory of those I loved
and knew intimately, personally,
allows them to live again.

In my heart.

August 05, 2009

Thank You Michael Pollan

Another deserving gentleman to Thank: Michael Pollan. Thank you Michael for telling the truth about the food we eat. Your latest N.Y. Times piece deals with the paradox of Americans watching cooking shows, but not cooking. We sit for hours on end watching someone else create dishes and meals, then go out to eat, or order-in "take out." You tell us how cooking is integral to our humanness. How cooking our food allowed our brains to expand, allowed our human communities to develop. How our lack of cooking is hurting us terribly.
I grew up watching Hungarian women cook and bake, bake and cook daily. And sing, or talk, or hum while doing so. Cooking was life, daily life, what had to be done and it was done with love.
Cooking allows a deep transfer of love to what we eat. It is cementing a relationship with the person cooking for herself, or for many; and cementing a relationship with food. She learns to know food intimately. She becomes an expert on the ripeness of a peach or a melon, the freshness of greens, the melding of flavors and textures. Her creation, her love is consumed by herself, or many. There is love in her food. It can be tasted. Nothing will ever take the place of home cooked food. Industry can never replace her love. A woman always cooked for herself or others.

Pollan's latest N.Y. Times article again alerts the reader to the fact that the food we daily consume creates obesity, and disease. And how Big Pharma profits from our suffering. We are eating food industry prepared food because we're not cooking our own. We eat corporate prepared food which has become too salty, sugary, fatty, and much too refined. David Kessler in his new book: The End of Overeating has done the research to prove that the trifecta of fat, salt, and sugar leads to overeating. We overeat food which is designed to create taste bliss (of one sort), and with many more calories than we need, our overeating creates obesity.

How strange that we live in a world structured to support our continued weight gain and poor health, thus enslavement to a broken medical system. A vicious cycle consisting of poor diet, no routine physical activity, overeating, gastro-intestinal discomfort and disease, slow but steady weight gain, back and joint pain, continued lack of physical activity because of the increase in pain, more weight gain, high blood pressure, elevated lipids, elevated blood sugar, increasing inflammation which exacerbates the effect of the elevated blood pressure, lipids, and blood sugars, not to mention the increased joint pain; then finally full blown diabetes, heart disease, or stroke.

Ask any medical person and they will tell you that two primary factors leading to our current "chronic" diseases are diet and lack of physical activity. These "lifestyle" factors which physicians and nurses are at a loss to solve. If only people would lose weight, exercise more.....they wouldn't need this or that medication, medical intervention.
If only.....

Sadly, not only does our population suffer from our "constructed/industry taste" food, our factory farm animals and planet suffer as well. Robert Kenner's film: Food Inc. (see my previous blog entry) details the terrible destruction caused by thousands of animals housed in barbaric conditions. Cattle which used to roam large areas, depositing waste here and there, now deposit waste only in one place. Tons of it. To pollute water bodies, land, air, create green house gases.

Anyone watching TV sees the Big Pharma ads for the "cures" we're to use to "fix" our "lifestyle" problems. Viagra, Cialis, Lipitor, Rolaids, Tums, Pepcid, Tagamet, Phillips Colon Health, Activia, Gas-X, Pepto Bismol, Tylenol and the host of pain relief pills, diabetes supplies, lipid lowering, and the up and coming Alzheimer's "prevention" pills.
Ah, there's a pill to fix all our ills. And create Big Pharma profit; at our expense. Of course Big Pharma doesn't teach us how to PREVENT our pain and problems. There is no money in prevention.
The system is constructed to have us and our medical teams view disease, know disease, use pills to treat disease. Our TV ads daily tell us about disease, and the disease like symptoms these pills create (the "warning symptoms" whispered in the background of the ad). We hear about diseases daily that we may never have known exist.
But not once do the ads tell us about how to PREVENT these medication requiring diseases.

Our medical system does not know how to create health. Our medical personnel certainly do not create it in themselves. They are overworked, over stressed, exhausted, stretched thin, eating poorly, eating alot of sugar (go to any nurses station in any hospital in the U.S. and you will find candy, candy, candy, candy), not exercising regularly, doing many things at once most of the time. These are the people who do not keep themselves healthy. They do not "do" their own health.

If this group of dedicated, hard working, loving people who daily see the diseases produced by the poor diet, lack of physical activity and very highly stressed lives that they themselves lead; if this group of medical professionals cannot themselves stay healthy, then God help the common masses.

Can't we see the paradox, the ridiculousness of a "health care" system which doesn't care for health?
If the millions of medical professionals truly cared for health, wouldn't we have already begun the deconstruction of a food industry system which fails us. Which produces the very diseases which health care must care for. And we over pay for.

Nothing will change until the food production, food delivery system changes. Presently bad food is too cheap, too convenient, too ubiquitious and food which creates health is too expensive, hard to find, and not readily available.

As long as there is profit in not caring about the end result of industry food production, not caring about the obesity, the diabetes, high blood pressure, inflammation, back & joint pain, erectile dysfunction, gastro-intestinal distress and disorder, lack of muscle mass, arthritis, lack of movement, heart disease, cancer and tremendous fatigue that most Americans suffer, then nothing will change.

As long as the food industry can continue to make good profit on polluting and creating disease, nothing will change. We won't have health reform until we have food reform.

We delude ourselves thinking that somehow we "got" diabetes, or heart disease, or erectile dysfunction, or whatever name we give to the end result of our food industry scourge. This disease "happened" to us.
If we cannot claim, cannot "own" our responsibility for our health, then certainly we cannot hold our food system responsible.
Certainly not.

July 02, 2009

Food Inc.

The following is an open letter to Robert Kenner, director & producer of Food Inc.

Dear Mr. Kenner,
Thank You for your new film: Food Inc. It is a masterpiece of reporting and exposure of some of the darkest secrets in our nation. (As Jon Stewart said in his interview of you: It's the Abu Ghraib of our food industry.) We have an industrialized food network superstructure (farming, cattle, hogs, chickens, food production, packaging, distribution, sales, marketing, end user consumption) which has become "too big to fail."

This interwoven food system mimics the inter-dependent, global network of financial institutions which were "too big to fail", but they did. The failure of our bankers, rating agencies, government regulators, etc. etc. created havoc, pain, misery, major disruption in people's lives. This disruption was no worse than what some "terrorist" organization could have done to the core of American lives. Obama's administration has set about to alter the playing field of the financial game so that it never again allows AIG monsters which are "too big to fail."

But, apparently no one is stopping the insanity of an industrialized food system which is "too big to fail." And when THIS system fails, it will leave not "just" havoc, homelessness and major life disruption, it will leave the DEATH of thousands of Americans. What's to stop another e. coli outbreak from killing "only" dozens of infants, children and the immune suppressed, not thousands?

Actually, our industrialized food system has ALREADY failed, as evidenced by the epidemics of
obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, gastro-intestinal disorders, and arthritis left in its
wake. With David Kessler's recent book: The End of Overeating, there is no longer doubt about the food industry's manipulation which creates overconsumption. Kessler joins a long list of writers (Eric Schlosser, Michael Pollen, Marion Nestle, Jane Brody, Frances Moore Lappe, Hank Cardello, Doug Garr, Alice Waters, etc.) who have attempted to address the dangers of our current "to big to fail" system. Additionally, there are hundreds, if not thousands of research articles pointing to the disease causing footprint of our food.

Conveniently, after we've become sick from eating our overly refined, processed "food", the boys at Big Pharma step in to sell us, with ever increasing TV and all media advertising, their nostrums, which don't actually cure, but just decrease the pain and suffering caused by industrialized food.

Eating poorly is interwoven into the very fabric and core of current mainstream media, and life. From commercials for food which creates disease, aimed at every age group, to the food provided in our schools, and the lack of time to actually eat this food (ha! no time to eat even highly processed food), which serve as powerful models of eating which creates disease. And
there's the Burger King Don't Bother Me, I'm Eating Man (or sexy woman). Hell, didn't we learn from the Marlborough Man???? Even "left wing" on-line media, such as Huffington Post has ads from McDonalds and Pizza Hut. Duh. Get on it folks, this is TRULY THE STORY about health care reform. Robert Kenner connected the dots for everyone to see.

The constant refrain repeated by each and every one of the food producers interviewed in Food Inc. was: "We are so very good at using/combining science, technology, and engineering [one even processor wistfully said he was truly an engineer] to create profits."

I spent 25 years of my life working as a registered dietitian attempting to un-do the pain and trauma of over consumption of industrialized food. There was no support for my work from the health insurance industry which doesn't honor (reimburse) the need for nutrition counseling (not even for diseases which can ONLY be resolved with such counseling, e.g. Celiac Sprue), nor from the government's MediCare or MediCaid systems. I was not only providing PREVENTION of disease, my work was part and parcel of the TREATMENT of the disease. Physicians too are not supported to provide nutrition guidance; the reimbursement process doesn't recognize "advice" (again this advice is treatment, not just prevention) as worthy of reimbursement.
In fact there is no societal/structural support for truly changing what people eat. Despite all of the calls to "eat more fruit and vegetables," "eat less red meat and saturated fats," "eat less trans fats," "eat less sugar and salt," "eat whole grains"; the individuals with diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, gastro-intestinal suffering, etc. are left to fend for themselves. As are the pre-morbid, pre-disease overweight/obese Americans who are walking timebombs. Presently the food which creates health is costly, less convenient, and difficult to find. (Try eating well when traveling!)

Until we give more than superficial lip service to change of diet, our food borne disease outbreaks and epidemics will only get worse. Food Inc. ended with a call to "buy organic, shop local produce, cook more," as SOME solutions to this crisis of health. I say this will NOT solve the problem and does not go far enough. The poor, the most vulnerable CANNOT afford organic, local produce at present prices. Unless their needs are part and parcel of the solution, then "eating well" will continue to be the privilege of the wealthy.

I call for: Subsidies for ALL PRODUCE (fruit, vegetables) so that a mother doesn't have to pay $2.50 for a pound of apples, and $2.00 for a bunch of broccoli. For years, my motto has been: "All produce, 50 cents a pound!" Take the present subsidies for corn and soy, and give them to the fruit and vegetable growers in the land. In addition to these fruit, vegetable subsidies, call for the restaurant/fast food industry to price their fruit and vegetable offerings BELOW the cost of their cheapest itemw.

I call for: An FDA mandate to all commercial bakeries and fast food restaurant bakery producers to substitute at least 40% whole wheat flour for refined, enriched white flour. In 1998 the FDA mandated that all refined, enriched white flour be fortifies with folic acid. This was to decrease the incidence of Spina Bifida (a neural tube defect), which in fact has decreased. The FDA is empowered to act for the benefit of the greatest number Americans. The addition of whole grain wheat to our present refined flours will help ameliorate heart disease and gastro-intestinal suffering.

I call for: Taxation of food which clearly promotes disease: trans fats, saturated fats, products which derive >50% of their calories from added sugars, and products made from 100% refined, enriched white flour.

I call for: Taxation of food producers and farming methods which contribute to water, soil and air pollution. Methane, the gas produced by our cows and cattle, contributes a full 18% to greenhouse gases. Stonyfield Farms in Vermont is showing the world how to decrease cow methane production, by (duh!) feeding cows what they were meant to eat: grass and clovers, NOT soy, corn, and animal by-products. The water pollution from chicken and hog factories is costing us our very lives, and there is not accountability by Tyson, Purdue, or Smithfield.

I call for: Health insurance (from private for-profit insurers, as well as government) reimbursement of Medical Nutrition Therapy (nutrition counseling as part and parcel of disease treatment and prevention).

Lastly, I call for a RE-STRUCTURING OF PROFIT. It is unconscionable that food industry corporations are allowed to continued to profit from feeding Americans disease causing food. Restructure the profit base to REWARD Health Production and Environmental Protection. The LESS obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, gastro-intestinal ills Americans have; and the LESS water, soil, air pollution we have, the more the corporations can make.
If the scientists and engineers can design DISEASE etiological food, they can begin to un-do this process by designing HEALTH etiological food.

When health promoting food is as ubiquitious, cheap, and convenient as the disease promoting food presently is, then we'll begin to have real change. We need recognition that
Public Health, which can only be achieved by consumption of wholesome food, is part and parcel of Public Safety.

July 01, 2009

To My Anorexic Client About to Enter University

As you contemplate the world...
Remember to remember the pain.
The pain that came through your soul into you,
your new soul embodiment.
This body which you have yet to love.
The pain was so deep that you even risked
the death of this life.

Despite the risking, and hating, and pain --
you did not succumb to your torture.
You lived.
And in living, you now make a pact with the universe....

That you will not/never forget your years of self hate.
You will put them in their proper perspective:

Your pain has allowed you to enter the realm of wisdom.
Has allowed you to feel your soul;
as well as the world's collective soul.
Has allowed you to feel the cumulative pain of eons.
Has allowed you to open to the Mystery of Life.

You must now learn the yin of the yang.
Learn the opposite of the pain.
Feel the JOY which can only come after great sorrow;
feel the joy of the world, of your life, of your body.
Your charge, your duty is to discover BOTH SIDES.
Allow yourself to enter into the Joy of the Total Creation.

June 15, 2002

June 30, 2009

Face The Music

Dying Creates a Clear Distillation
of what life truly means.
What it boils down to; its essence.....
which is Love.

Aging also distills. It makes clear
the reality of change.
Especially the change in our body, and

After 59 or so, her body becomes the
witness of her lifelong care or neglect.
And there's only empathy for any neglect.
It always comes as a consequence of too much stress,
or pain.

For her heart, she accepts that it has and
will continue to be broken, with death or
and she chooses to go on.

As we age, how much pain do we have; in our body,
in our soul.
How have we learned to deal with the pain, and
is it working?

We get to face ourselves and figure out
How To Lessen The Pain.

"If you always do what you've always done,
you'll always get what you've always gotten."

What will it take to Forgive, Have Empathy,
Have Compassion for Yourself.
Then for Others.

June 26, 2009

Thank You Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra's tribute to his friend Michael, who just died tragically, needlessly; dared to speak the truth about a medical system which creates and feeds addiction. In Deepak's words:"He was surrounded by enablers, including a shameful plethora of
M.D.s in Los Angeles and elsewhere who supplied him with prescription drugs."
Thank you Deepak for saying what everyone knows but doesn't speak.

We have a very broken medical system.
Wherein physicians prescribe medication which is not titrated to actual need, actual person - sex, age, height, weight, total condition, other meds, diet -
wherein the patient is free to consult as many physicians as they can afford and
obtain the same, or similar addictive medications and take as much as they
please. And we have had notable tragic deaths to testify to this reality.

Margaret died of drug misuse, Anna Nicole died of drug misuse, Elvis, Heath, and now Michael too. And countless ones whose names I don't know. Sudden cardiac event. Iatrogenic cardiac event.

Thank you Deepak for giving voice to Michael's pain and abuse which left
lingering physical/real cellular changes which created disease, physical and mental.

We still wish to think that Descartes was correct, that we are separate from
our bodies, that we are only our minds. "I think therefore I am. "
The people who knew deep pain as children, ALWAYS continue to suffer
pain as adults. Always body pain, sometimes pain of the soul or both.
The Cartesian split pervades medical research and practice.
We have yet to fully accept the fact that our body is dramatically
effected by psychological pain, by what we believe and feel.

Our body, this extension of our hearts and minds which only truly
functions as one with who we are, where we live, what we do,
what we believe.
It is all a perfect unity which keeps being segmented, divided up,
desecrated by the very people, physicians, who know in their guts,
that Descartes was wrong.
Who know that we are truly one unity.

Thank you Antonio Damasio for telling us so.
Thank you Deepak for reminding us that it is so.

June 23, 2009

Twenty One Years

Today is twenty one years of relating to Margaret.
Eighteen of them in flesh and blood and three of them
in my heart, mind, and soul.
I have H-O-W-L-E-D at losing her. My being was
daily dragged through Hell, inch by brutal inch....

And here I am, out the other end, reborn.
Learning again how to live, wanting again to live.

Yet I love every minute when I choose to connect
with her, actually "talk to" this human being whose
essence becomes clearer and clearer as I reflect on
her, and our life. My heart still swells upon this reflection.

Twenty one years has brought total peace, acceptance,
and love of her soul as well as of mine.

June 21, 2009

Oh Rumi

Rumi, I love to enter into the soul of your words.
Words which express an ecstacy that only
Lovers comprehend.
Unconditional; Complete; Giving;
Receiving Love.

This Love is the true reality of the world.
It is the only purpose to life.
Everything else pales.

Eldermuse. June 23, 2009

Loving Love

If Goddess/God/The Creator Is Love;

Then loving God/Goddess/The Creator is loving Love.

Hugging Amma Ji

Hugging Amma Ji is Hugging Divinity.

It is both, and at once, the experience of hugging the wind
and hugging a solid, mature, smooth manzanita tree, together.

She is small, slight even, yet massive and powerful.
She is transparent, unseen, mightily felt and enveloping.
While sitting in a field of roses and sandalwood, her Divine
fragrance announces her purity.

All senses fully, profoundly experience her embrace.
Her feel, touch, warmth, softness, power, ambrosial smell,
color and body envelop and absorb you into her.

My head in her bosom, her right hand at my back, her left
hand clasping my head tight, my right ear to her lips....
she repeats softly, gently, magically: My daughter,
my daughter, my daughter, my daughter; over and over
and over. I don't want this to end, but it does with her
firm letting go of the moment, and without thinking I am
helped to my feet by her attendants, and she or they,
who cares, press an Amma blessed flower petal and a
Hershey's kiss into my hand, and I stumble away from

I immediately placed the flower petal in my mouth and
added taste to this embrace. I wanted to take her love
directly into my body.

I sat down, flooded with tears, my soul melting.
My tounge tasted my salt tears together with her
sweet perfume on my lips.

Such fulfilling love is a miracle to feel. I am blessed.

Two Saints

I have had the grace, the extreme fortune to meet two living Saints in my life.
I repeatedly sat at the feet of one, Sant Ajaib Singh Ji, for hours and hours,
imbibing his Grace and sweet words of Naam and Wisdom. This was the Soul
who allowed me to make sense of the insanity of the world. This was the Soul
who provided me with a bedrock of consciousness for my actions, who made
me a moral being.

Last year I encountered another Saint, Amma Ji.
I have friends who had spoken lovingly of her,
who go to her retreats when she visits the United States.
So I knew who she was, but had never bothered to seek
her out. But a visit with Seattle friends proved to be just
the right ticket to my first Amma Hug.

That first Hug left me limp with longing for more.
I was hugged to the core of my soul.

So this year I went on my own to get my second Amma Hug.
(See Hugging Amma Ji, next.)

How perfect that one Saint was a man, and one is a woman.

How perfect that I have begun both my 60th and 61st years
with a Divine Embrace.

No better Birthday Gift ever.

June 17, 2009

Delete Photos

My aging computer balked at the one thousand
or so new photos I added to her failing memory.
She began to move even slower than before,
and I found myself waiting, waiting, waiting for
simple tasks to be done.

So I began to delete old photos, to save space.
Making sure I'd saved them first (but can one
ever truly save anything?).

I came across a group of Margaret's Puerto Vallerta
photos; the 100 or so bullfight ones and the 200 ones
taken in the nearby La Tovara river and crocodile reserve.

A bloodsport never to my liking, but for Margaret,
the ritualistic, ceremonious killing of bulls spoke volumes
about her four formative years living in Spain.
She loved Spain, her people, her customs and habits.
Even this seemingly barbaric bloodsport, now played
in the New World.
So nearly the entire fight was captured digitally.

The La Tovara photos spoke of her eye for detail and
showed the caprice of her camera choices. Egrets here,
turtles there; an entire series of crocodiles, somehow
not menacing, just curious, scaly, large eyed
ancient beasts captured up close.
Lots of apparently meaningless river vegetation, fallen logs,
the bow of the boat, other birds, and even her hand.
She took a photo of her hand.
Outstretched, palm facing the camera.

I took the time to find the disk I knew I'd saved all these to;
to make sure.
Then I went about deleting, deleting, deleting.
I am now about to Empty the Recycle Bin, pull the trigger
on these 300 computer images, and I am overcome,
once again, (will it never be raw,
will it ever cease to elicit such deep emotion)
with profound saddness, deep appreciation, and love
for this woman who was my life of eighteen years.

June 08, 2009


June 6th 2009

I am home from a month of travel.

I allow myself to look at my home
with new eyes.
She is safe and beautiful.

Now I have more beauty to give her,
to adorn her. From my travels.
Vessels, wall hangings, bits of glass,
beautiful posters, a bell;
From Israel. Croatia. Hungary.
Small things which tell a story.

I acknowledge that I have created
a beautiful home and a beautiful life.

I count my blessings. Daily.

Travel and Compassion

June 6th 2009

Travel allows me to exercise choices, on a daily basis,
which provide proof of who I am.
It allows me to choose
compassion for others while balancing compassion for myself.

What gives, what doesn't give.
What do I tolerate/allow, or not.
When do I intercede, or not.

My back hurting, with about 18 pounds on it, I want to sit
taking the tram in Budapest. And there's an empty seat.

Do I give up my seat to the older woman?

I motion to her that I will stand and she motions to me that
I should stay seated.
And we smile at each other.

It warms my heart and confirms our goodness.

March 22, 2009

Gimme The Heat

Daily, hot taste in the mouth, heat;
Then digest the flesh, the form of the
plant from which this heat is derived.
Taste and enjoy. Feel the heat.

Ginger and pepper (myriad kinds) -
no wonder the spice trade once flourished.
The combination of mouth euphoria,
mixed with the vital, beneficial, colorful
phyto-chemicals, poly-phenols contained
in the flesh of the heat providing plant
creates immunity.

Along with adequate sleep, safety, food,
exercise and of course the indispensable
Love and Purpose will yield
Health and Happiness.

March 01, 2009

Getting Through The Slow Grind of Grief

Getting Through The Slow Grind of Grief

The pain is real. The pain is more intense than any physical pain I have ever suffered.
It is the clawing at my soul, the ripping open of my heart. At its worst, it brings a sense of
utter hopelessness which pervades my every morning, afternoon, evening. In dreams I sometimes find relief, but not when her presence is felt, her essence enveloping the structure
of the dream, the waking to longing, then the cold realization that she will not return, she will be gone forever.

I pray each day: God help me to realize that loving you is the most important thing in my
life. I believe that this prayer has been answered. I truly comprehend that the real purpose
of my life is to love God/The Divine/The Almighty/She. I accept this belief, my faith, my love of The Divine as a fundamental, very real thing in my life. A given. A gift. A jewel. A sweetness in my heart that helps wash away the pain of grief. The sweetness envelops me with a soothing caress. It takes away the bitterness of loss.

I wrote most of this piece at the height of my feeling distraught/hopeless/negative. After reflecting more about what I want to tell you, my gentle reader, I realized that I need to let you know that I got through my worst morning in weeks, because my nephew David called me. He knew immediately that something was wrong. He knew, and told me several times that he could not stand to lose me. I am his last best link to his mother, my sister; her son who loves me as fiercely as I love him. As fiercely as I loved his mother. He pulled me through. I am indebted to him, and grateful that I can talk to him from my heart.

Getting Through The Slow Grind of Grief.

So I must say to you, dear reader, that you are to create a group of several people in your life with whom you can share your heart. People you can trust to hear you; with whom you can be vulnerable. People who love you and care enough to listen. Find this group of people because they can save your very life.

Learn to fall in love. With yourself; your home; your work; your talents; your thoughts and voice; and learn to fall in love with the things which will keep you vital as you age. Fall in love with routine, because the body, as all life, thrives on routine/rhythm/rhyme. Honor the things which keep you whole.

Vow to not stay stuck. Vow to go on. Difficult as this is. The routine in your day will help. My daily walks helped save me. One step in front of the other as my tears streamed down my face, as people passed and I kept my head bowed. For months on end I walked without seeing. I didn't want to see. In needed to remain inside of myself. The pain was too near the surface and would ooze out, unbidden. No contact with others created safety to remain inside. Inside myself. There was no taste to the world. No joy.
Routine kept my body whole, kept me sane, kept me alive, kept me healthy; allowed me to withstand the storm in my soul, the emotional void, the pain of my heart. Routine carried me on her shoulders and allowed me to come to Acceptance. In the deepest part of my soul, I knew I had to continue to live. The Acceptance was my vow to do so.

Fall in love with vegetables/whole grains/fresh and dried fruit/nuts/seeds/legumes/hot spices – ginger, cayenne, garlic, onion, parsley, cilantro/fermented food. Fall in love with the food which will keep you alive and vital. Begin to eschew the food which will cause inflammation, disease, pain for you. Fall in love with daily stretching/daily walks/daily movement of muscle, especially large muscles. Nothing has to happen all at once. Let it happen gradually, but for it to happen, the falling in love with these elements must happen. Fall in love with yourself, and with the basic things which will allow you to function at your best, allow you to be your best to serve. I am convinced that I wish to serve with my writing. You will find the way that you can best serve. You will find your way through this pit of grief. You will come out the other side wiser. Stronger. Better. You will live again, fully.

I have taken to writing as my way to stave off the very worst of the pain of grief. I want to write to enable my thoughts to live on. To enable my words and voice to find their way to others’ hearts. I hope to let others know that they are not alone. That there are others in the
world who feel their hopelessness and despair. Others who trudge through the muck of this
deep grief, who keep trudging in hopes that by not giving up, their words can be a reason to
live. Maybe my words will be of some use, some help to someone. This is my hope, and this
is why I write; to let others know they are not alone.

Grief slowly grinds down the heart, wears down the soul, relentless, unforgiving, brutal.
Does it get better? Yes, but achingly, agonizingly, slowly. As the months and years pass, the grief is not as intense.
Trust that grief's grip of pain will loosen. Trust that your world will get better. I’ve come through the worst of the agony, and know now that the feelings will shift. They will shift, I promise.

February 05, 2009

Letting Go of Old Jim (Crow)

This is the story of how I let go of a friendship. This is one of only a handful in my life that I've let go. Generally/Mostly I hang on to friendships. I've held on to at least 10 relationships that are greater than 30 years. These are the 9 women and 1 man who, along with my family, I love the utmost in the world. These are the ones I commune with at very least once a year. These are the friends who have known me for a generation, who I can tell my heart to, tell my soul to, and they can hear. They've been hearing for over 30 years now. We're good at it.

But this is about one I let go after only two years. Jim was 88 years old the summer I met him. I was 58. He walked a neighbor's dog each morning wearing Bermuda shorts and an old straw hat. He'd leave one ripe tomato on my front porch each morning for the month of tomato harvest the summer of 2006.
He'd knock on my door and want to come in to talk. The talk that people do when they're just becoming friends. But I rarely spoke; I just listened. I was still in shock from the unbelievable loss of both my sister and partner; talking about myself would elicit a flood of tears, so I didn't.
He'd talk about his wife who passed 20 years ago, he'd talk about growing up in Fon du Lac Wisconsin, about his jewelry business, about the woman who he last dated, about whatever. I'd always ask questions which kept him talking, so I'd just have to listen. It was good to have a human being in my home to break up the day. I knew how to ask questions so that I could get to know people; I'd done it for work for years.
And slowly, it became clear, not by action, but by Jim telling me , that he wanted physical intimacy. With me.
"I'd like to cuddle and have a hand to hold again." And he'd look at me.
But I never responded.

He had no idea whatsoever that I am a Lesbian who clearly wants no intimacy, other than verbal, with someone old enough to be my father. I was clear that I was just interested in being his friend.
"Jim, first of all, I'm YOUNGER than your DAUGHTER, and besides, I'm a Lesbian."

"Ohhhh." He said drawn out, slowly.
"I can see that now." And he looked at me fully for the very first time. He now saw.

So we became friends, cause I could be authentic with him, and he could have companionship. Like a puppy, he'd go just about anywhere with me, and wanted me to go places with him. We did this about once a week, for maybe a year. Movies, his doctors' appointments, CostCo, Walmart, Trader Joe's, more movies. Some weeks a movie and some appointment or chore.

As months passed, each visit produced a tenseness in me which lead to an insistence on looking for/hearing/noticing a sexist or racist remark of his. Or noticing that he would always remark on how good I looked. I was appraised, based on my looks. His objectification of me grated.

There were those remarks; his sexist and racist remarks which told his way of seeing the world. He didn't see women as equal to men, and he always/sometimes only saw their looks. His racist remarks, said off hand, common to white men of his age were appalling. If women were unequal to men, people of color were less than even women.
Words matter. Words count. And his words told his beliefs, as words always do.

And his remarks of objectification always came. Always grated, always left me feeling disrespected, and frankly disgusted. He would comment about the "girls" or "Mexicans" or reminding me that he'd only seen Black people "in the circus", and that he thought a "wide nose and thick lips" are "ugly." Oh this hurt me. Or how his past female friend had become "dumpy looking; she's let herself go." His words caused me to be sensitive to what he would say next, what obscene remark would come next. The very worst, the one that came as a physical blow to my stomach, as if he'd punched me: he said he would not vote for Obama because "if you let one in, others will follow." His distrust, his fear of "the other" was real; and it was all too typical of white men of his age. His age when Jim Crow laws were the norm, when Black men were jailed for no good reason other than to be used on farms and factories as slave labor in the south; when Black men, women and children were hung from trees, for no good reason other than sheer hate, the "Strange Fruit" that Billie Holiday sang of. The time of Jim Crow when the overarching norm was acceptance of hate, acceptance of the idea that skin color determines goodness, decency, trust. As in Nazi Germany, the acceptance of hate as the norm allowed brutality and mass murder to flourish. When we acquiesce to a norm of hate and discrimination, we further
its cause.

Could I truly believe what I was hearing? It seemed as if most of our time together became my hearing some obscene comment of his, then my pointing out why the comment was offensive to me, but also, made no logical sense. People's skin color is no different than people's different hair color, or eye color. Truly. He truly could not comprehend the idea that all people are one, because we are from One. He would try to correct his speech for the next ten to twenty minutes or so; but that's exactly the point. He was just "correcting" his speech to make me feel good. Not in any way because he too saw the hatefulness of his words. Words which were so indicative of the general feeling, the general mood of his life, that for those of his generation, they became convention. Words which bespoke another era. An era when it was just assumed by all whites, talking to each other, that any one of any color was somehow not to be trusted, was inferior. An era when "everyone knew their place."

So there we were. Me feeling the need to comment to him on comments he would make. He threw out his hate filled language as if he were talking about the weather. Listening to him, it was clear that in his circle of friends, everyone took it for granted that this is how one spoke. He would mention the "Mexican" who committed a crime, muttering about the "illegals." Or how the "girl" looked behind the counter at his doctor's office, commenting constantly about how this "girl" or that "girl" looked. Always about looks. I would point out that he wouldn't call a man of 40 plus years a "boy." I would point out that we spend more money on corporate handouts than the sliver of funds that go to provide human basics for people in need. The tenseness always lead to my becoming upset, angry that he couldn't comprehend how offensive he was.

And he would always say: "I don't mean anything by it. They're just words. I just say them. They're what everybody says."

And I'd always say: "But they mean something to me. If you're going to hang out with me, I cannot hear them."

His words stung my sense of decency. He doesn't understand that we are all One. We are to be judged by our character, by our integrity, by how genuine we are; and repeatedly he'd judge by gender, by color. People were seen through a filter of preconceptions, prejudice.

He spoke what he truly believed. Because try to hide anything, people always speak their truth. He spoke how he saw the world. His truth.

Not mine.

There we stayed for about a year. He truly believed that his words had no consequence, and I could not help but see the consequence.

Then something in me said enough is enough. I was aware of feeling frustrated, irritated, angry, when in his presence. I began to avoid contact. Especially face to face contact. I knew that each time he saw me, he looked me over and did a mental check. Not to notice skin, eyes, sheen, glow, overall demeanor; no, to notice if I were still pretty to him. To see my "prettiness".

I resented that he did this. I resented his words from a generation prior to mine. In his words
I heard the hatred of the southern sheriffs with their whips and bullhorns and clubs. And the southern folk, with so much hate and fear on their faces, in their eyes. T.V. for the first time showed societal hate and insanity. And the Chelsea Massachusetts folk, especially the young white men. They hated too. It showed in their faces, in their attacks on the Black children bussed to white schools. It was ugly. It was obscene.

I experienced Boston in the early 1970's to the mid-1980's. Each day the papers threw in our faces the hatred of the Irish-Italian establishment. In the early 1980's Black women were being killed in Boston and no one noticed, no one cared.
It was during this time that I lived with and loved a woman of color. Demita, a proud, strong, intelligent Black feminist. She never took bullshit. She was clear as a bell, and beautiful. She taught me so much about how to be strong. She kept me sane the time that my mother almost died. She'd hold me in her arms at night and talk to me and soothe me. She let me cry and hold her and be comforted. Mightily. We were not lovers. We just loved.
And I grew up in New York City, the Lower East Side, with Puerto Rican, Black, Chinese, Jewish kids in my neighborhood, my friends. I truly didn't see skin color, I was just one of the kids. We played together, had band class together, did stuff after school together. And on the subway, my mother taught her daughters to look closely at people, and to see the beauty in everyone. So we did.

So here I was, always "correcting" this man who claimed to be my friend, but who always said things which hurt me. When he made the remark about Obama, I felt as if I'd been kicked.

Sometime in the fall of 2008 I said goodbye to Jim. I accepted that he will never change and I do not need to try to change him.

I live with my decision to let him go as a friend. I know I hurt him. I know he did not at all comprehend my inability to continue to call him a friend. I know he did not "mean" to hurt me, but he did. I have family members who are racist and sexist, but I don't keep friends who are.

January 28, 2009 Is Coming To Your Internet Soon Speaks To Your Better Half. That part of you which realizes that our present world is insane, does not honor Human spirit, because it does not honor Human Beings. Especially female Human Beings, and their children. All over the globe women suffer mightily, daily, in almost always mute pain. But this is not to lay blame. This is to speak to your better half, to honor the part of you which loves life. The part who loves the here and now, who loves and feels passionately about beauty in the world, who seeks it out, who surrounds herself with it. Truth is beauty. Beauty is truth. Thank you Mr. Soc. speaks to the part of you which wishes goodness and justice to prevail. Which seeks no revenge, because she realizes that ultimately there is no revenge. There are just Human Beings who must learn to live with each other. Without fighting. Without fighting. Without fighting. Enough fighting already.
Why fight when there are so many other ways to rectify what must be rectified, in fairness to all, to all parties. (Sorry, the side of insanity keeps flirting, keeps wanting to be heard. Keeps wanting to intrude into the fabric of the world. Fighting, war, cruelty, greed, cruelty, hatred, torture, cruelty. The usual suspects. The Bogey Men. Darth Himself. Always presents Himself to someone I know, or to me. He causes great pain. Great suffering. Great hardship in an already too hard life.)

Eldermuse has experienced the worst of darkness, but certainly not the worst of pain. But quite enough, thank you. Quite enough.
She has chosen to be free of the worst of grief, to move on, to not stay stuck.
She has chosen to Create, and to share what she is creating. She will share herself because she wishes to Teach. Teach what has always stirred her heart and soul; what has always been true for her; what she knows to be true. She has only this to give to the world. And she is grateful for your eyes on this page, and your heart rising in your being to sing a love song of loving your self. Of honoring who you are; your being in and part of the world.
Eldermuse has a good heart, very slowly, again, filling with joy; slowly finding a reason to live.
A good heart and a weary soul.

January 27, 2009

How Your Mind Worked



For two and one quarter years
ever since your death
I have been unable to move, to change,
to alter the various and sundry small
containers, mostly jelly jars or such like,
placed haphazardly in my new home; the home I fled to
after your death.

These jars housed your collections of the miscellaneous.
The extra screw left over from a repair. The straight
pin taken off some doll or child’s toy in your office.
The many buttons that fell off pants or blouses grown
too tight, never sewn back, but kept with good intentions.
The glob of molding clay which you would absently knead
between your fingers to help your anxiety. A small spring,
not to hold the pen refill, no, fatter and shorter than that, of
some mysterious origin. The odd shaped, factory molded
rubbery piece that once upon a time fit between some electronic part.
And of course the push pins, thumb tacks, paperclips, and the
half inch of staples which didn’t fit when a new row of them got replaced.

These jars and their contents became almost sacred to me.
I would look at them and think I knew how your mind worked.
Think I could see you drop one or another of these objects, absently,
to be housed till the day you would retrieve it. Important enough to
not toss; rather, add to life’s detritus.
Invariably, the objects would be forgotten.
The jelly jars would half fill, and new ones would be started.

Frequently, since your death, I would pick up the screw or plastic molded piece and
kiss it, knowing that your hand, your energy, your life once held this thing.

Today, I emptied one jar.
I undid your accumulation of insignificance, so significant to me.
I was terribly conscious of what I did.
I have enough jars left to remind me of how I think I knew how your mind worked.

January 24, 2009


I've known that I feel a very definite connection/very clear link with the Divine for at least the last 50 of my 60 years. When I consider when it began, when I became conscious of this knowing, I can remember that while taking Sunday communion I would feel a special jolt/a special kind of zing in my heart. It would feel good. Or after saying the last Hail Mary or Our Father for confession of some inane thing, I'd walk home from Saturday night confession feeling lighter/feeling a special connection to something greater than myself. I didn't really know how to think about it, but I clearly felt it. And I liked it. Taking the communion wafer and letting it melt on my tongue always felt good. Special. A cementing of this connection between me and the unknown.

When I was eight years old, my mother was placed in Belvue for "observation." New York state had only two ways to end a marriage: proof of insanity or proof of adultery. My father had my mother committed to prove she was insane. She wasn't. But she had to stay there for at least a month, and I was devastated. It was December, close to Christmas. One afternoon my father took me and my two older sisters to visit my mother. After seeing my mother in Belvue, I felt raw and in shock. There was my mother in her pajama's, with a cheap terrycloth robe, at two in the afternoon, in this place where everyone looked strange. My mother had been taken from me, to this place where she could not put on street clothes, could not own who she was; could not show her humanness via clothing identity. The institutional dress was actually undress.

I was sobbing as we said our goodbyes, and I felt shock and disbelief at what I'd just seen.
My father, sisters and I walked down Fifth avenue, and stopped at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
It was very cold outside, so we went into the Cathedral to get warm. The creche was on display for Christmas. We entered, and I was allowed to wander off on my own. I went over to look at the creche but the rows of small voltives in red glass caught my eye. It was only ten cents to light one, so I did. I took the wax starter, put it into a lit candle, then found just the right one to accept this flame. The fire took hold. I knelt down, put my head in my hands, and I began to cry. I was distraught that my mother was not with us, was not coming home. And as I cried, with my head bowed, I gradually felt a presence. Not human. Somehow I knew that I was not alone. I knew that God/The Almighty/The Universe/The Sacred was with me. I knew that I would be alright, and that my mother would be alright.

As profound an experience as this was, I believe that I didn't reflect on it as a kid. My mother came home, and my world was right again. Some years later the divorce laws changed, and my father left. We moved to California, and as a teen I became obsessed with sex and politics. There were years that I never once contemplated my Saint Patrick's awakening. I stopped going to church, and fancied myself Agnostic, during the time that I fancied myself Socialist. Then during the summer I turned 15, while taking a physiology class, my soul stirred again.
Learning about the intricacies of the human body, I realized that this perfect harmony that is our body, our being, is no accident. Could never be an accident. There is some Divine plan afoot.
It again became clear to me that we are not alone.

Reading Gertrude Stein in the university library I fell in love with her maze of words. With how she hooks the reader into considering all the nuances of language. But most importantly, she meditated, and I vowed to learn how to meditate. I knew it would be one of the things I would do in my life.

Next I realized that I no longer wanted to eat flesh. This was a very very gradual awareness. At first I eschewed flesh because of the World Hunger Crisis. This was just before the start of the Green Revolution, and Paul Ehrlich had pronounced The Population Bomb and had shown the water and soil toll of breeding animals for food versus using feed crops for humans. The desire to not eat flesh gradually changed from a political statement, to the realization that I didn't want to eat flesh because I began to find it repugnant. For me eating one flesh became eating all flesh.
I tried to not cook meat meals for me and my husband Bob, but he objected. He would have his meat daily, thus I did too.

Till I left. After six years married, ten years together/inseparable, I left Bob.
The fact of my loving women began to consume me, and I strayed. I discovered what I didn't know could be discovered because I didn't know it was there, for me, to discover. The discovery of loving women propelled me to Boston. It became very clear that I must leave, that I must be in Boston; that I must restart my life.

In Boston I stopped eating meat, and I learned how to meditate. I found my Life's Teacher: Sant Ajaib Singh Ji who initiated me into Holy Naam. I have been given five names of God to use as a mantra, to help me stay focused, to help me not fear, to help me remember The Divine. These five names have seeped into my core and repeating them has become as natural as breathing.

My one and only prayer, each day, is:
"God Help me to realize that loving You is the most important thing in my life."
This has been my daily prayer since I was in my late thirties.

After my move to Ventura Couty, I found Margaret's copy of The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.
Her lover Marisa gave it to her one Christmas. "Una amiga siempre es una amiga.
Sinceramente, Marisa 12-77." I'd read The Prophet in my twenty's' of course, but I sat there and re-read it. Gibran's section on Prayer made we weep. It expressed what I feel; what I've been praying to the Universe each day since my late thirties.

Gibran says:
For what is prayer but the expansion of yourself into the living ether?

And if it is for your comfort to pour your darkness into space, it is also for
your delight to pour forth the dawning of your heart.
And if you cannot but weep when your soul summons you to prayer, she
should spur you again and yet again, though weeping, until you stall come laughing.
When you pray you rise to meet in the air those who are praying at that very
hour, and whom save in prayer you may not meet.
Therefore let your visit to that temple invisible be for naught but ecstasy
and sweet communion.
For if you should enter the temple for no other purpose than asking
you shall not receive:
And if you should enter into it to humble yourself you shall not be lifted:
Or even if you should enter into it to beg for the good of others you shall
not be heard.
It is enough that you enter the temple invisible.

I cannot teach you how to pray in words.
God listens not to your words save when He Himself utters them through your lips.
And I cannot teach you the prayer of the seas and the forests and the mountains.
But you who are born of the mountains and the forests and the seas can find their
prayer in your heart,
And if you but listen in the stillness of the night you shall hear them saying
in silence,
"Our God, who art our winged self, it is thy will in us that willeth.
It is thy desire in us that desireth.
It is thy urge in us that would turn our nights, which are thine, into days which
are thine also.
We cannot ask thee for aught, for thou knowest our needs before they are born in us:
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all."

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