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Monthly Archives: March 2014

here comes the sun

I was born into a world of words, a cacophony of languages and sounds, as I was formed. My mother and father were students and teachers. My mother was a major in Linguistics at college while she and my father created me. As I grew, I knew that there was much to learn and the need to look for the meaning in that which was left unsaid. From childhood until now, I cry at the lyrics of a sad song.

My life and deepest emotions have been formed by the greatest writers of the last half century. Songwriters, authors, politicians and playwrights filled my earliest memories with life-changing authority, creativity, and kindness.

Yearly, I have been reminded that Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream and it was ended in violence on my birthday. Each year is a reminder of good versus evil, the dreamers who dared to see beyond the shades of black and white, and the need to express your truth for positive change.

My AM transistor radio shared space on my bed with my homework. The lyrics of James Taylor, Carole King, Paul McCartney and John Lennon, Joni Mitchell, and the Bee Gees played poetry in the confines of my room and my mind.

Music has always been so important to me as I reached for the lyrics of meaning, hearing them with my head and my heart, and seeds of empathy were created. Before I even knew what the ideas and social commentary meant, I sang of my journey that would take me to the jet plane that I was leaving on. I did not know how to love him and prayed, day by day, to understand more clearly. The lesson was that no matter how difficult the times, I would always have a friend, and come running, as fast as I could, to someone who needed me too.

At the age of 10, I practiced writing the lyrics to “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John until I could sing it by heart. In Junior High, I struggled against the taunts of classmates while I read Ray Bradbury’s “Summer All in a Day.” To this day, I feel for that dear Margot yearning to see the sunlight and feel the ray of warmth against her skin. I understood what it felt like to be the sensitive girl, seemingly on another planet, with her heart on her sleeve and desire to make others understand that which they could not see or feel. I recall the sting of others’ cruelty and excuse to exclude while they had their day in the Sun.

Each day, I must use my words to comfort someone else or help them to feel that they need not face the dark alone. I write because I was born into a world of words, and there was no other choice, but to try to accept the challenge and capture their power. If my words could ease someone’s pain or give a ray of hope, then it was what I was meant to do.

So many years have passed and I can still feel the renewed spirit of the self when the Sun escapes from the dark clouds, piercing the cold winter’s air, and shares its dreams of a more peaceful and optimistic time.

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http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/writing-challenge-reflections/#more-71506

Do you like cookies? If someone offers them to you — you say I like that!

It is so hard to take away the innocent joy of an open-hearted child, but this is the sad truth of teaching Life Lessons out of love.

If this made you smile, pass it on. We could all use one! It is a great way to start the work week.

Happy Monday!

The search for Artificial Intelligence is abuzz on the Internet. Just Google “Google” and read about their major purchase of technology that will help to expand the use of ordinary items and reimagined integration with computers in the future.

Myriad articles online, and in magazines, discuss the impact that Artificial Intelligence — computers and drones — will have on employment and task-oriented jobs over the next ten to twenty years. However, one thing is clear; while computers can be trained by engineers, and complex logarithms, they are only representational of rational thought. Black and white mathematics, accounting formulas, and document sifting by computers can save thousands of labor hours. Legal firms are already using programs to help them sift through documents, needed in court trials, with the help of complex computations and search methods.

In truth, we are already surrounded by “artificial intelligence” in our daily lives.

Motivation by fear is an act of artificial intelligence. It is not a long term motivator; this has been proven by millions of dollars of psychological and neuro-scientific research. Yet it happens in homes and offices every day in desperation of grabbing hold of some sense of control. “Just wait until your father comes home……..” used to put a little fear into children. But children grow up and, as adults, know better. Threats don’t inspire or encourage growth. In fact, the part of the brain that registers fear actually blocks memory. So, essentially, while you are trying to scare someone into learning a skill, you are blocking his ability to do so. See, what I mean? Artificial Intelligence and false communications.

Intelligent people can lack people skills. Smart people can lack common sense. People, who do things with ulterior motives, can break down trust, create suspicion, and destroy loyalty. There are those who are incapable of thinking beyond WIIFM (What is in it for me). The decisions that they make and the behaviors that they show only serve the self.

Complex cognitive brain functions and processes include kindness, compassion, empathy, generosity, understanding, respect, and charity. Such characteristics are counter-intuitive to the basic primal need for self-preservation and a hierarchy of needs. Truly compassionate and altruistic people reach out to others’ needs before their own.

Empathy is feeling what someone else feels, stepping into their shoes, and how to help them in the most useful manner for his or her needs and situation. Creating empathy is not just strong for neural function but it defies calculation. There is no algorithm for laughter, a hug, true love, the delight of a new mother……those emotions cannot be replicated. If you are fake in your concern, or attempt to make conversation without emotion, human connectedness does not occur. Genuine kindness lights up neurons in the brain, and causes brain chemistry, to produce healing and strengthening chemicals to aid the wellness of a person.

If emotions are merely imitated for show, they lack the essence of spirit and heart. When someone asks you a question without caring about the answer, it rings hollow. No artificial emotion or string of words could replace the truth and gratitude in accepting sincere kindness. Asking “How are you?” and walking away before the answer is given…..The reply could be “Fine” as easily as it could be “I shot an elephant in my pajamas last night.” You don’t know because you did not stop long enough to listen.

Who knows how much good could be created in another’s life simply by listening for two minutes longer?

In my humble opinion, these are the truest acts of intelligence we need, into the future, for the survival, growth, and development of the human race.

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compassion

For some reason, in the last two weeks, a couple of people have made comments to me that it is amazing how quickly time has gone by, as it is almost a year since Mom passed, and I should be feeling better. People don’t know what to say, or how to make conversation, or are just really obtuse. I don’t want to call them stupid, but it might be time to change the batteries in their empathy chips when we turn the clocks back tonight.

I don’t count the days since my Mother has passed. I count long months, tears, memories and the knowledge that I am no one’s favorite. It has been ten months since my Mother passed and nine months since my Grandmother passed on. The period of time watching each of them deteriorating has chipped at my heart of glass and left sharp craggy edges.

I still weep copiously at the sight of my mother’s photos and I wonder when she comes to visit, as a spirit from the Light, if she will linger long enough to leave a message in my dreams.

People want grief to be defined and confined to some statute of limitations. Here is the thing that you need to remember: Grief is Messy. It does not care about times or decorum. It hits when it is most inconvenient or when anything special happens in your life. It makes you weep at the hole in your life without a Significant Other who loves you and thinks you are funny, witty and special.

Loss is a plant that never dies; it has deep roots, with periods of growing and waning, fresh bursts, and blossoms in its season, but can never be fully harvested.

People tell me not to be angry at G-d as it was His decision and his judgment. I am not; my mother was lucky to move to a better life out of her imprisoned body. However, I still miss my Mom.

I am very aware of how much time has passed and the dates on the calendar that mark holidays and other major occasions in our lives. When babies are born, I want to call her and share the news and the photos. As my father prepares to walk down the aisle as a proud Grandfather in two weeks’ time, we are well aware of her absence.

This is not a time of crossing X’s on a calendar counting down to some date of freedom. My mother’s spirit was set free and for her it was a joyous reunion with family long since gone. But, for me, I am chained to the date with full knowledge of what it means. The calendar is a masquerade of days. It is not a sign of moving forward; rather it is a measure of the time I have been looking back over my shoulder to see what is left behind.

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Thank you for stopping by. It means more than you know.

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