Close Encounters with the Higgs Boson

I don’t mean to steal thunder from the worthy physicists who believe they may finally have proof of the Higgs boson. Also called the “God particle,” this is that mysterious element that is thought to give mass to all matter in the universe. I have say that last week’s headlines came as no surprise–I’ve had unshakeable proof of the existence of such a particle for a long, long time.

What else can explain certain naturally occurring phenomena?

Let’s take last Saturday—day four or 40 or 400, we were losing count, of a blistering, enervating, sanity-robbing heat wave…

I was slouched in our dining room over a glass of what was supposed to be iced tea but was really tepid tea, even though only five minutes earlier I’d put eight ice cubes into the glass. The wind chill factor from the struggling ceiling fan above me brought the room temp down from 93 degrees F to a nice, breezy 92.5 degrees F.

Enter my daughter Emily. Like a hibernating animal venturing out of it’s den for necessary sustenance, she was quitting the comfort of her air-conditioned bedroom to get a snack from the kitchen.

“I think we should get a Panini grill. I just found one online for only $35,” she announced on her way past me.

I responded, calmly and in tones devoid of all antagonistic nuance, that it was something to think about but that I would not be using such a grill and was not personally interested in acquiring one.

Em bristled. She asked why not.

I explained that I wasn’t aiming to increase my sandwich intake, grilled or not, because too much bread can lead to type 2 diabetes and I knew too much about the health dangers of grilling to want to eat it regularly.

“You and your obsession with health!” Emily snapped.

“Research is my job,” I snapped back. “I can’t help knowing what I know. And I’m not telling you what to do—I just said why I didn’t want to eat it!”

“Yes, you do tell me!” Em shouted. “ALL THE TIME! Every single thing I want to eat or do you’ve got something negative to say about it!”

“That’s not true! You just said we should get a Panini grill and I said I wouldn’t use one and you –“

“I don’t want to talk about it!! See? This is why I can never talk to you!”


“I WON’T!”



Exit Emily stage left, back upstairs. Door to her bedroom slams.

Of course, the Panini Grill Debate raged through the rest of the weekend. Em is adamant that she didn’t start it, and I sure as heck know that I didn’t.  So I ask you—what force, what element could give so much weight to a conversational topic that should have floated about as light as eiderdown?

It has to be the Higgs boson.


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Open the Door Before You Walk Through It

I hit a coworker recently.

I don’t meant that I went “postal,” I was actually trying to help. Harry was sitting in our office lunchroom, coughing–a bit of sandwich had gone down the wrong way–so I gave him a few therapeutic thumps on the back. He caught his breath, said thanks. I offered the customary response: It was nothing…happy to help…we’ve all been there.

Who hasn’t? And, stupid as it sounds, sometimes it’s your own saliva that sends you into that familiar fit of red-faced gagging, coughing and gasping that makes your eyes tear and your nose run. In fact, there seem to be weeks when I can count on at least once a day having a similar choking spell. Furthermore, I’ve observed the same phenomenon among my coworkers. Harry agreed that he’s noticed this, too. We wondered why it happens.

Our conclusion: It’s a byproduct of trying to do too many things at the same time. The evils of multitasking. We have become so self-trained to perform simultaneously at all times, lest we waste precious time, that it throws off the natural rhythms of our bodies. Rather than breathe, then swallow…or swallow, then breathe…do both together, it’s much more efficient.

I feel like we no longer want to waste time letting natural processes unfold according to their own organic rhythm. I count myself among the offenders. For instance, I’m embarrassed to admit how often I bruise myself (and once very painfully injured my hand) by going through doors before I’ve opened them. Well, not actually going through, because that isn’t possible, but attempting to go through: My body propels full speed toward what it expects to be open space before my hand has completed turning the doorknob and pulling the door open.

In fact, in spite of all the alarms that ADHD is on the rise and the search for the best therapies and drugs to treat it, I think that our society rewards impatience and distractibility. We cater to attention that is only a byte long. Stop and smell the roses and you’ll get trampled by a texting, tweeting, twittering, tech-hyped herd who will leave both you and the roses flattened.

If wisdom comes from the mouths of babes, then I should listen to my daughters–who are no longer infants but most certainly are babes, even if it is their mother who says so! Emily accused me of having the patience of a five-year old and Agatha told me that I do everything too fast–and added her personal diagnosis that I must therefore have ADHD.

So right now I’m officially on vacation, ergo Laid Back Mode. I’m in a hotel in Pittsburgh, visiting Aggie. I turned off my alarm and slept in until nearly 6:00 am. Then I had a cup of tea, used the hotel fitness room (elliptical machine, weights, crunches on the mat), showered, ate breakfast–and that got me up to 7:42 am. Since when we parted last night Aggie had issued very firm instructions not to call her before 10:00, that left some time to kill.

So I wrote this blog post, feeling so wonderfully calm and patient (and very smug about it!). Nor did I phone Aggie at 10:01. I did text her–but that’s not the same thing.

But now it’s after 11:00 and she still hasn’t texted or called–

C’mon, Aggie–get your butt out of bed! It’s Saturday, the day’s almost half over–let’s go do something!!

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June 9, 2012 · 3:23 pm

Wind in the … Sea Grasses

I had been writing the sequel to “Seeking Wholeness” because I’m not finished with my thoughts. But I got interrupted by Presidents’ Day weekend and an extra day off. An early riser, I had finished breakfast around 6:30 am when I was seized with a compelling urge to go somewhere—anywhere. And I knew that it had to be somewhere I could look out at water, but different water from the stretch of Long Island Sound off the Greenwich shore.

By 7:45 am I had packed a picnic, my laptop, my journal book and a fountain pen and was pulling away from the curb. I still hadn’t figured out where to go, or even whether to head north along the New England coast, or south to the Jersey shore. At the entrance ramps I let the car decide. We headed north.

As you can tell by the title, the day had a Wind in the Willows feel. I was Mole, off seeking…I’m not sure what, but certainly seeking. I had no Ratty, Badger or Toad along for conversation and company—hence the journal. The plan, insofar as there was any, was to drive north, get off anywhere that looked interesting, stopping to eat when I got hungry and to write when my accumulation of thoughts needed recording to clear brain space for more.

I’ve set it down, pretty much just as I wrote it in my journal:

10:00 am: I’m sitting in the car at Guilford town harbor, facing out over the water and having a cup of green tea. I would be writing straight into my blog, but when I brought my laptop I hadn’t clearly thought through that, unless I found a Starbucks or someplace with WiFi, I was not going to be able to access my blog on the open road. Therefore, I’m using my hi-tek, electronic, wireless laptop as a flat surface upon which to rest my old fashioned journal book into which I am writing with a fountain pen. Not even a fountain pen with an ink cartridge; this one gets filled straight from a bottle of ink. Ironies abound!

But no matter. It’s cozy in the car, the sun is bright, the water glistens, the gluten free cookies I discovered stashed in the well of the armrest between the seats are not stale…well, not very stale. They’ve been there since last July when I drove out to Pittsburgh to visit Aggie, which is also the last time I ate cookies. They were meant to be an emergency cache. Clearly, this isn’t an emergency, but it fits the camping out mood. They really aren’t too bad.

There are seagulls all around, including one that has found a shelter from the wind by huddling against the cab of the truck parked next to me. Huge bird! I’m very much enjoying such a close view, relaxed in the protection of my car and the knowledge that I can munch in peace without needing to guard my cookies. Previous beach picnics around seagulls have taught me that they are very prone to consider my lunch to be their lunch.

I’m thinking about the exit signs I’ve just passed along I-95, how much I like the sound of some of the names of the towns and the vivid impressions they evoke. “Saugatuck”…weathered wood 17th and 18th century homes, spicy smelling inside…gardens of herbs, squash vines, runner beans on teepee poles, all hot in the sun…clever, curious, practical colonial tools that are just as useful now as they were when first made…crushed lemon verbena leaves and those round “handmade” soaps scented with bayberry and potpourri…

I’m going to move on. The last mouthfuls of tea have grown cold, and besides I want to find a nice place to settle for lunch. I’ve brought vegetable chili, packed in a thermos that is BPA-free, eco-friendly in every possible way—and doesn’t keep anything hot for longer than half an hour, and then only if it’s midsummer and the sun is beating down on it. I’ll bet those clever early American settlers could have done better!

11:30 am: I-95 continues unrolling and I have rolled along with it. The sun is still on the ascendent side of the zenith. It beams on marshy inlets and tall, feathery sun-bleached grasses and I have a wonderfully expansive feeling of having time, lots and lots of time. More exit signs sweep past the windows with their seductive-sounding names—Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Flanders, Niantic. They’re siren calls: “Get off here! Explore me! Here is where you’ll find what you’re looking for!” What am I looking for? Does East Lyme really know?

What if I kept driving, on and on and on and on? At some point I’d reach Canada. Could I cross over the polar ice and down the other side? I mean, reality aside—such as the fact that my car is a Prius, not a Land Rover—can you do that?  My geography is so sketchy that I’m not sure exactly what’s directly across on the other side. But assuming it could be done, and I kept on driving…then I’d get right back here. In fact, if I made a hundred billion gazillion circumnavigations of the globe, I’d still get right back here.

12:25 pm: I’ve stopped in Mystic and am parked at the museum shop and entrance to the historic part. It’s windy and cold and I don’t feel enticed to wander around the old buildings. But I browse the museum shop, buy two wine glasses etched with the Captain Morgan, some half-price Christmas tea and donate a back pack to US soldiers—in memory of Richie. Whenever I make a donation to our service men and women it’s always in memory of Richie, whether acknowledged on a filled out form or just in my heart.

A recording of early American music is playing. It’s one of my favorite hymns, “When Jesus left His Father’s Throne”—which gives me something to sing when I get back in the car, and makes me feel happy.

This is as far as I’m going. The issue, the conundrum, the problem without a solution, the thing I can’t sort—that thing that I wasn’t even conscious of trying to leave behind—came with me. Nor have I figured it out any better than I was doing in Greenwich. But some internal sense, a sort of tide that has now turned, is telling me that it’s time to go back home.

It’s still not sorted. But I feel at peace.

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Is the Silent Lake About to Speak?

Recently, my office buddy Dave brought to my attention a news item: Russian scientists finally reached the surface of  Lake Vostok. This sub-glacial Antarctic lake has been buried for an estimated 14 million years, kept from freezing under a bottle cap of ice nearly  two miles thick. The scientists have been drilling through the ice for the past 20 years or so, trying to reach the lake to study the water. They believe it contains life in the form of bacteria that can live without even the tiniest glimmer of sunlight and that are likely to be similar to what existed at the bottom of the oceans during the infancy of our planet.

I forwarded the link with the news item to a friend, a guy with a geology/paleontology background, although he’s in an entirely different field now, but who I think will be as intrigued as I am. Then I was struck by a metaphoric parallel: I really miss our conversations and have been trying for months to get together with this guy, but his busy schedule is as daunting an obstacle as the 3,768 meters of solid ice blocking access to Lake Vostok.

The Russian scientists, though, have successfully surmounted their obstacles. Not least among their achievements is that they apparently have managed to get a sample of the lake water without contaminating its pristine purity.  About 60 tons of lubricants and antifreeze were used in the drilling process and the fear was that some could leak into the lake when the drill hit its surface. However, because the lake is under pressure—the result of high oxygen and nitrogen levels in the water and the weight of the ice on top of it, if I understand correctly, or maybe being squeezed by the ice cap caused the high concentrations of nitrogen and oxygen, or for some other reason. I don’t really know and will have to look that up. Anyway, water pushed up the bore hole of the drill when it pierced the ice and some of the pressure was released.  Once the water was out from under its thermal protection, it  froze into a plug that blocked anything from leaking back down the bore and  also provided a handy sample that could be removed to study.

The whole thing is so incredible that I don’t know what awes me most: That there is still a place left anywhere on earth that has remained unchanged for such a long period of time…the admirable persistence and patience of the Russian drilling team…the careful preparations that must have gone into such a project…the ingenuity in working out how to proceed… The longer I ponder, the longer the list grows.

What I keep returning to is this idea of contamination. Certainly, if you find a virgin, pristine prehistoric lake, you don’t want anyone dumping Valvoline and WD-40 into it. But I’m sure you must have heard the debate about whether it’s possible to study anything without changing it, even in infinitesimal ways, by the very act of examination. Following this thinking out, if all things are energy, then thoughts are energy, too. So even thinking about something has already changed it. We may not have the means of calculating by how much, but the object of our thoughts has been altered—or, in other words, contaminated.

In that sense, then, Lake Vostok has already been contaminated. And you, too, are party to this metaphysical pollution—just as you are altering me, and I you, by reading this blog post. Which makes a good argument for why we should think kindly and lovingly when we direct our thoughts to another. Let’s let the alterations we affect be beneficial—or at least benign. First, do no harm.

With that in mind, I think telepathy may be the only tool I have for getting through to my friend. I hope he’s picking up the kind, loving thoughts aimed his way…and the accompanying message that a cup of tea and a cozy chat wouldn’t go amiss, either.

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Seeking Wholeness

There’s a reason why medicine is called a practice. Much as we, especially Americans, would like to believe that everything is clearly defined and absolute, it is not. Medicine more closely resembles art. And while its practitioners are invariably intelligent, well-educated, well-intentioned folk, pledged to bettering the lot of mankind, they are still just fellow humans trying to make their best guess from the murky soup of often conflicting data that is called scientific evidence.

I’m not the first to express this opinion, but I thought it years before I heard it from anyone else. Long ago I discovered that I stayed healthier when I depended mostly on my own resources — a combination of research, common sense, intuition, naturopaths, medical intuitives, faith healers (yes, that means psychics!) — and consulted MDs only when all else failed, which wasn’t often. Happily, in recent years something very close to my homemade approach is available prepackaged. It’s called holistic or alternative medicine. So I was eager to hear the lecture, “Your Health and Its National Significance,” given at Greenwich Hospital by an alternative medicine practitioner: Greenwich Hospital’s Integrative Medicine Program medical director, Henri Roca, MD. Henri is also one of the expert sources for information on alternative medicine topics that we at Boardroom Publications interview for our health newsletters and e-letters, including the one I work on, Daily Health News. You can learn what Henri has to say about the state of health and health care in America on his Web site,

There is no one for whom I have a higher regard than Henri. He is not only knowledgeable about a wide range of healing practices, extremely painstaking and thorough, but he is a truly warm and caring guy. His passion for getting us all back into balance shines through not just in his lectures but in conversations, a lighthouse beacon guiding us past the dangerous shoals — trans fats, processed foods, not enough exercise, self-destructive attitudes, etc. — where well-being runs aground. He is also an eloquent, persuasive speaker and I’m very grateful that he’s lending his time, talents and energy to spreading the message that a holistic approach to our health is the only one that makes sense.

The main points of the lecture were that what is currently called “health care” in our country is misnamed. Our current system is designed only to treat symptoms once we become ill. It is not set up to keep us from getting ill in the first place. Henri had a plethora of facts, figures, graphs and other data that clearly — and alarmingly — show that if we continue on the same path, we will not only impoverish our health as a nation but we will impoverish ourselves in all other ways as well. He concluded by encouraging us to all spread the true health care message to our families, friends, coworkers and to use the power of community action to take back the choices we need to have in order to lead healthy lives.

It was a brilliant presentation and enthusiastically applauded. Much of what he presented were things I already know from fact checking the articles we publish, but I was still impressed. However, going back to my first paragraph, because I have spent so much time researching these topics, I’ve also come to my own conclusions, some of which are not exactly what I heard at the lecture. But as I said at the beginning, there isn’t always an absolute right or wrong on the subject of how to get healthy. So, for what it’s worth, here are a few of my own thoughts…

Current thinking on coconut oil is that it’s a very healthful food — primarily because of the medium chain fatty acids it contains. Mary Newport, MD, believes that it reversed her husband’s Alzheimer’s disease, as she explains in her recent book Alzheimer’s Disease: What if There Was a Cure? (I hope the grammatical error in her title doesn’t indicate less than rigorous research.) Hydrogenated coconut oil is definitely very bad for you, and when Henri  listed coconut oil among the fats to be avoided that might be what he meant.  (Check our Daily Health News article “Coconut Oil Helps Keep Weight Off”  for a some more about coconut oil’s health benefits.)

Whether humans should consume the milk of other mammals has been an ongoing debate for so long that I don’t see a resolution any time soon. I can’t eat or drink cow’s milk myself, but I would not throw dairy under the bus. Milk is a good source of many healthful nutrients, especially if goat and sheep milk, both of which are nutritionally superior to cows milk, are included. Check out “Got Goat, Sheep or Buffalo Milk?” for other out of the ordinary — and very healthful — dairy delights.

Now agave seems like something you would be better off avoiding. It is at least as bad as high fructose corn syrup, which it actually contains in abundance. You can read more in our article “Agave Health Claim Doesn’t Match Its Hype”.

Then we come to the thorny — or maybe I should say scaly — issue of eating fish. Is it healthful or dietary Russian roulette?  Mercury in the oceans is certainly a big problem. But not all fish are high in mercury. The Environmental Protection Agency has compiled a list of fish that are considered safe and those that are not so safe. You can find it on the National Resources Defense Council site. Studies come out regularly showing that eating fish has many heath benefits. Most recently, a news item reported that fish consumption lowers risk of colon polyps. Since the nutrients in food work synergistically, we may need everything that’s in the fish, not just separated out omega-3.

Nor is detectable mercury in your blood necessarily caused by last weekend’s clambake. I know I can’t hold my breath for the 45 minutes or so it takes to get a tooth filled, and if it’s an amalgam filling that’s getting replaced, even the most scrupulous precautions to minimize exposure can’t prevent at least some mercury from being absorbed into my body.

If you really want to freak out about mercury, listen to this: In my youth it was standard practice for dentists to distract nervous young patients by giving them some mercury to play with. The little silver puddle in my own palm soon bounced out onto the floor, where it joined the tiny beads dropped by other kids, rolled into corners of the room, collected under the file cabinets. My dentist probably went home with some in his trouser cuffs.

It seems logical to me that since heavy metals get stored forever in your fatty tissues, having some turn up in your blood — for instance any time you lose lose fat, such as if you start exercising a lot and turn fat into muscle or go on a diet and lose weight — might actually be a good thing. It might be a sign that your body is getting rid of what was stored. Interestingly, during my investigation of this topic, I read in Radical Medicine: Cutting-Edge Natural Therapies That Treat the Root Causes of Disease,written by naturopathic doctor Louisa L. Williams, MS, DC, ND, that sun chlorella is a very effective chelating agent for ridding the body of mercury. (Henri is the doctor, I’m not — this is not a recommendation to anyone!)

My take on all of this is that eating some fish from the list of those that are low in mercury is more likely to help than to harm. But I don’t expect to persuade Henri — I doubt he’ll be sharing my bowl of bouillabaise.
In a lighter moment, Henri elicited a laugh from his audience when he explained that for women, levels of oxytocin, the “feel good” hormone, actually rise when they gather together to socialize, but that the same doesn’t work for men. Men, he quipped, need to get a dog. I don’t dispute the health benefits that can derive from owning a pet (if you happen to like pets). But if that’s the whole story, it’s very discouraging. So if I were to come home after a weary night selling violets in a chilly marketplace, flop down in my Morris chair and pine for someone’s head to be resting on my knee, tender and sweet as he can be — I shouldn’t waste my energy because the guy would be happier with a dog??? How on earth has the human race (not to mention romantic musicals) flourished this long?


Eliza Doolittle and I are seeking a second opinion from Dr. John Gray, the relationship guru who wrote Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.  He maintains — and cites scientific evidence to prove it — that a woman’s “feel good” hormones rise when she receives the appropriate attentions from a guy to make her feel cherished and respected…while for a guy, the action of demonstrating his love to a woman and getting positive feedback from her that his efforts are appreciated — in other words, that he has succeeded — charges him up. Then everybody’s happy! What could be nicer? A more complete explanation is in Dr. Gray’s book Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice: Hormonal Balance–the Key to Life, Love and Energy.

Winding all this up, let me offer some general observations about healthful living. I don’t find that the majority of people I know who are not already on board are unwilling so much as overwhelmed by just trying to get from day to day. Ask them to do anything additional and they can’t even listen — it’s too much. For instance, we interviewed a doctor for an article on the alarming increase in incidence of high blood pressure among young adults. After citing the usual culprits, such as junk food and too little exercise, he commented that his young patients could be loosely divided into two groups: those who couldn’t find any job at all and those who had to work three jobs to make ends meet. I know representatives of both groups, and I can tell you that those without jobs can only think about where to get enough income to pay their bills…and those with the multiple jobs are tunnel visioned on trying to keep them.

Here’s another thought: we have made busyness sacred. In fact, the very word “scheduled” bestows on any event an inviolate sanctity. No one can argue if you can’t get together with him or her because that time frame is scheduled. But if you’re always busy and fully scheduled, where does that leave you at the end of the day?

Frequently, too, it feels as though returning to simpler ways — my goal for most of my adult life — can end up adding a lot of hassle to your life. For instance, while I agree that buying local is a good thing, I’m not going to drive around looking for local produce when I can find a perfectly good variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in the grocery store I can walk to at the end of my street. I also happen to love kiwis, pomegranates, mangoes, enoki mushrooms, etc., none of which are indigenous to Connecticut but which are all very healthful. Plus I think it’s fun to try something exotic from another part of the world that I’m never likely to visit.

Let me also point out that my Swedish great grandmother, after whom I am named, lived a very full, active life down along the Jersey shore until she died at 101 — eating all sorts of home cooked Swedish foods, which are not known for being low in saturated fat, and  lots of fish!

Walter Seward, oldest alumnus from my alma mater, Rutgers University, died at the age of 111. His son was quoted in the obituary that ran in a local newspaper: “He absolutely doted on strawberry ice cream and would eat bowls of it from my earliest memory on,” Jonathan Seward said. “His diet was largely a matter of fat, salt, sugar, chocolate, ice cream and vegetables and carbohydrates cooked until they lost all resistance.”

Importantly, both great grandmother and Mr. Seward were active. It was said of great grandmother that she never sat down and Mr. Seward was an avid hiker. The importance of staying in motion most of the time you’re awake — it doesn’t have to be jogging, puttering around is fine — can’t be emphasized enough, to my mind. It’s long periods of inactivity that are deadly.

I’m going to close with some Jewish wisdom I learned while I was in college. This was passed on to me by the secretary at St. Michael’s Episcopal church at Rutgers: Throughout your life, God will give you many things to enjoy and He means you to do just that. Because when you die and come face to face with Him, you’d better have a very good reason for why you turned down pleasure.

And now I’m done — I don’t think there’s anything to say beyond that!


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To Wake, and Yet to Dream…

How much of my life I’ve spent squelching words, thoughts and feelings that have as much right to existence as anyone else’s!

So I wasn’t totally flabbergasted at my first visit with a shaman when she described what she encountered on her journey: a small girl, sitting with her hands folded, wanting to say something, but every time she tried a hand was held up to shush her. So she stopped trying. She even learned to shush herself. And a soul part–the bold, gutsy, passionate soul part who knew how to speak up and what she wanted and how to get it–that soul part packed up and went to live, apparently, with a family of hawks, high up in the tall trees.

I’m not surprised. Even when I listened to the recording of the session, the shaman’s voice flows and flows–and mine halts and stutters. I don’t seem to get out any whole sentence without qualifying, apologizing and cutting off my own words.

My soul part has now been restored–by shamanic ritual–and I am very grateful to the mother hawk who took care of this vital aspect of myself all these years. In fact, it turns out that she is my power animal.

All of  this is metaphor to describe the shamanic worlds of non-ordinary reality. I am intrigued and want to learn more. But I also have to say that the experience felt familiar and very comfortable — as though it’s something I already knew and am just now remembering. And that, too, intrigues me.

“Non-ordinary reality” is itself an engaging concept. It is something like dreams — a rich lode of information — but not quite. I think that children take many different realities for granted until they are taught to unlearn them. I can remember my older daughter Emily, when she was just able to talk, bubbling over after her naps with dreams that she very earnestly attempted to get me to experience with her — and how frustrated she was with the limitations of her small vocabulary, and the very limitations of words themselves. My sister Pam told me that her son Richie also tried to describe his dreams when he was a toddler–and to act them out. One dream had something to do with red feet, and he stomped all around Pam trying to get her to understand the vital significance of those red feet.

I like that the word “reality” is used to describe these alternate worlds, because I feel like the worlds I inhabit while dreaming are often more actual than the one I walk through in waking life. I’m so happy to have my soul made whole again. I do feel different. I also now feel a responsibility to the lost part to keep a safe place for her and to let her have life — so that she won’t leave again.

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The Future Never Happens

The nature of waiting is that it takes so loooooong.

But then, I’m not a particularly patient person. I make decisions quickly–not without thinking, certainly, but I rely on intuition, and it’s been pretty reliable so far. (Of course, sometimes I’ve misinterpreted what my gut was telling me. But that’s another story.)

So what to do while you’re hanging about, ticking off time until the desired moment is upon you? Generally, what I do is fret and wish I could speed things up. From a spiritual growth perspective, that’s not good. Many things are not improved by speeding them up. A fetus needs nine months in the womb (really, it’s closer to 10–and believe me, many times during both my pregnancies I yearned to speed that process!). Bulbs underground send up their shoots when they’re good and ready. Cakes collapse if you pull them out of the oven too soon. And I have never been able to get a day to pass in less than 24 hours, despite all my earnest entreaties poured out into the universe.

The hardest waiting–I think–is for something you don’t really know will happen or not. Will an interviewer call back and tell you that you’re hired? Does that person you really miss feel the same about you—and will he/she call to tell you so?

Waiting, waiting, waiting…I’ve spent so much of my life waiting—for spring, for snow to melt, for warmer days and longer light, for the next episode of “Downton Abbey,” for the economy to improve, for my true love, for…

Why can’t I be satisfied with what’s here right now?

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