Monthly Archives: April 2014

No more longhand? Yikes! And what does that have to do with Powder?

Please write by hand with pencils and pen rather than use a keyboard, because the hand and the body, and particularly the heart, is linked through handwriting in a way that is virtually impossible to preserve through writing with a keyboard.

I’ve heard rumors that our schools are no longer teaching longhand because texting and computer keyboards have made writing via pen and paper archaic. I say “rumors” because I have no school-aged children who would tell me firsthand.

In any case, I am wondering what losing the art of writing in longhand may eventually cost us? As the above quote from Richard Harvey, Your Essential Self1  indicates, writing in longhand keeps us more deeply connected with our deepest, truest self, our heart centers.

Why is that important? Our heart center is where connection happens. Feeling connected, in my opinion, is how we conquer war, greed, hunger and poverty. A news story covering any one of those sad topics is just a news story unless you are personally connected to the people whom the story features. And often, the personal connection to the tragedy leads to wonderful acts of heroism. How can you cause harm to someone or something you care about? Caring inspires healing. This is why honoring connection is my passion.

An awesome moment of connection

An awesome moment of connection

Ever heard the phrase, “living a heart-centered life?” In my experience the feelings of joy, love, compassion, and forgiveness all come from our feeling connected in our hearts, not our minds. These feelings are the very best of us as human beings and what living a heart-centered life is all about.

Have you ever seen the 1995 American fantasy film called Powder? It is about Jeremy “Powder” Reed, who has an incredible intellect, as well as unusual powers given to him when his mother was electrocuted while he was still in the womb. The electrical shock caused him to be born with powder white hair and skin – hence, the nickname, “Powder.”  As stated on Wikipedia, “The film questions the limits of the human mind and body while also displaying society’s capacity for cruelty, and raises hope that humanity will advance to a state of better understanding.

Advancing to a state of better understanding happens when we feel connected. My favorite movie moment from that film illustrates my point perfectly. In it, Powder’s paranormal abilities help a hunter to feel what the deer he shot feels as it’s dying. He created a powerful connection that forever changed the hunter’s life. He could no longer harm what he felt connected to.

The key, in my mind, to living harmoniously with each other and the earth is to feel deeply connected. That connection starts from within; from knowing who you are in the deepest core of yourself – your true self, your authentic self. I agree with Richard that writing by hand helps us to feel this connection more deeply. For me, note-taking in college helped me connect to the material and retain it far better than just reading from textbook alone. So if writing by long hand connects us more deeply to our inner realms and to who/what we are writing about, what exactly are we losing as keyboards replace pen and paper?

I encourage you not to let the art of handwriting die. Write in your journals, write a note to a loved one. Send a thank you note to someone – and take notice. If you felt a warm, fuzzy feeling as you wrote it, you created connection. Let’s keep it alive!

1Richard Harvey,  (2013-07-01). Your Essential Self: The Inner Journey to Authenticity & Spiritual Enlightenment (Kindle Locations 473-474). Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.. Kindle Edition.

Oh My, the Taxman cometh!

I have to take a break in the, “What I’ve Learned from the Movies,” series to talk about spending this past week preparing for the taxman. And I know I just posted a blog, but I’ve been living so much in my left brain, that my right brain is screaming for creative expression. Thank you for bearing with me.

I was so focused on completing this task, that all other life tasks were completely ignored; important things like paying bills, eating healthy foods, etc. It was a monumental task for three reasons. One, because the inclusion body miositis mito, (learn more about this bizarre, debilitating disease from the MDA website) turns my brain to mush when I get too fatigued and causes my body to just collapse making it take several times longer to accomplish simple things. Pushing through is difficult, if not impossible, and I end up paying for it later. As I write this, I’m resting in pajamas and likely won’t get dressed today. But as my hubby just said, “I gots to do what I gots to do!” The second reason is that, though I am embarrassed to confess it, we also had two years of back taxes to contend with. The third reason the task was so daunting is the emotional toll it takes to look back through three, difficult and often painful years.

Facing that emotional element is what inspired me to write this post. Anyone else know what I’m talking about? There is a new TV ad from one of the tax prep companies that beautifully illustrates my point as it asks questions about what you accomplished in the past year. And when the years were difficult, the review is equally difficult.

What I realized is that the numbers of your life never lie. It’s quite shocking how much of life is accurately revealed in receipts and bank statements. I can see why law enforcement as depicted on TV often review financial documents to get a picture of a suspects life. As I entered all of our deductible transactions into my Excel spreadsheet, I clearly saw just how much we’ve had to overcome.

The moment I had to leave my much-loved career because my body simply couldn’t handle it anymore is glaringly obvious. That year was the last I filed taxes.  As I was dealing with that, my wonderful husband was also contending with his own debilitating PTSD condition. In the subsequent two years, we also faced the death of two close family members as those of you who follow my blog already know. As I entered the deductions of all of mom’s possessions that we donated, I again felt her loss keenly. “How odd it is,” I thought, “that someone’s entire life can come down to a few lines on a tax receipt.” Sometimes, survival itself takes precedence over taxes. Sorry, Mr. Taxman, but there are times when you just aren’t the priority!

Four years later, we have both adjusted to the “new normal” of our lives. We have learned how to face our challenges in mutual compassion and understanding. I could not have sorted through the mountain of receipts without his help. Still, I do not think of myself as disabled. I just have to do things very differently now than I did before. But I am still here. I focus on the things I can do rather than what I can’t. And my hubby is still here, too. We teach each other about acceptance every single day. He is still
learning to cope with the PTSD. We both have good days and some not so good ones. Though he is better now it has forever
changed him, too.

Today, we are finally more able to accept what is. I think that’s because life itself demands growth. There comes a time when resistance is more painful than acceptance. There is freedom in acceptance and that allows for forward motion once again. You could say that some parts of our lives were frozen in resistance to what is. I am grateful that we are now finding ways to break through the ice. So Mr Taxman, it’s ok if you come for us now. We are finally ready and able to deal with you.

I’ll Meet you in Valhalla

Part Two in the “What I’ve Learned from the Movies” series

                “Don’t say we have come now to the end, White Shores are calling, you and I will meet again.”
~ From the song, “Into the West” by Annie Lennox

There are some friendships that remain strong beyond the boundaries of time and space. There is something about the strength of this connection as depicted in fictional stories that speaks to my heart much more than a romantic connection does.

I watched the finale of one of my favorite SyFy channel shows last night. There was a powerful moment (loved it so much I had to rewind and watch again and oh yeah the waterworks flowed) that spoke to me of that transcendent connection. I won’t give too much away other than to say that if you like women warrior roles with lots of spicy sexuality thrown in, Lost Girls is a must for your entertainment list (and I was told about it by one of my Kindred Soul friends). lost girls

That Lost Girls moment, akin to the Sam/Frodo moment in LOTR when Sam goes beyond his own pain and weariness to carry Frodo to his destiny, inspired me to examine why I find this friendship bond when depicted on film even more powerful than a romantic one.

I realized that the wonderful kindred spirits I’ve been lucky enough to know in my lifetime have given me strength, courage, and above all, complete acceptance without expectation. Though there are also struggles as in romantic connections, that element of acceptance seems to shine through more easily in kindred friendships.

Perhaps it’s because we put too much expectation on our romantic partners to “complete us,” as depicted in the famous Jerry Maguire scene. Often, there is that unspoken expectation that our romantic partners will somehow fill up the empty spaces inside of us and make us feel whole. Can you find the fatal flaw in that expectation? Well, best leave that topic for another day.

BFFs have the ability to inspire us, encourage us, strengthen us and help us to be more ourselves. There is a Japanese word called, “Kenzoku.” That one word describes the unique, deepest connection in friendship; a connection that is felt in the very marrow of our bones and is not dislodged in physical absence, a soul connection.

In a blog post titled, “Happiness in this World,” by Alex Lickman, MD on the Psychology Today Website, he describes a true friend as someone who is committed to your happiness. He writes, “A true friend is consistently willing to put your happiness before the friendship. . . a true friend won’t refrain from telling you something you don’t want to hear, something that may even risk fracturing the friendship, if hearing it lies in your best interest. (Is it not true that it is easier for us to hear such truths from our BFFs rather than our romantic life partners?) Dr. Lickman also says that a true friend will never ask you to compromise your principles for the sake of the friendship, or any other reason, and that she will always inspire you to live up to your highest potential.

Vallhalla is the Norse mythological Hall of the Heroes ruled by Odin. To the women who have stood beside me in all things, perhaps one day we will meet in Valhalla for you are my heroes.

For more great BFF moments, follow the link below to a great blog by Amelia McDonnell-Parry. My favorite quote from the post is in reference to the movie, Frances Ha. She writes, “I think the movie is, in part, about the potential for friends to be soul mates; that even as life changes occur, these friendships serve as guideposts on our journey towards finding out who we are.

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