Archive for January, 2013

“Those who wish to sing always find a song.”

Swedish proverb.

 “If you have ever gone through a toll booth, you know your relationship to the person in the booth is not the most intimate you’ll ever have. It is one of life’s frequent non-encounters: You hand over some money; you might get change; you drive off. I have been through every one of the 17 toll booths on the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge on thousands of occasions, and never had an exchange worth remembering with anybody.

Wow pic

Late one morning in 1984, headed for lunch in San Francisco, I drove toward one of the booths. I heard loud music. It sounded like a party, or a Michael Jackson concert. I looked around. No other cars with their windows open. No sound trucks. I looked at the toll booth. Inside it, the man was dancing. ‘What are you doing?’ I asked.

‘I’m having a party,’ he said.

‘What about the rest of these people?’ I looked over at other booths; nothing moving there.

‘They’re not invited.’

 I had a dozen other questions for him, but somebody in a big hurry to get somewhere started punching his horn behind me and I drove off. But I made a note to myself: Find this guy again. There’s something in his eye that says there’s magic in his toll booth.

 Months later I did find him again, still with the loud music, still having a party. Again I asked, ‘What are you doing?’

He said, ‘I remember you from the last time. I’m still dancing. I’m having the same party.’

I said, ‘Look. What about the rest of the people?’

He said, ‘Stop. What do those look like to you?’ He pointed down the row of toll booths. ‘They look like toll booths.’

‘Nooooo imagination!’

I said, ‘Okay, I give up. What do they look like to you?’

He said, ‘Vertical coffins.’

‘What are you talking about?’

‘I can prove it. At 8:30 every morning, live people get in. Then they die for eight hours. At 4:30, like Lazarus from the dead, they reemerge and go home. For eight hours, brain is on hold, dead on the job. Going through the motions.’

 I was amazed. This guy had developed a philosophy, a mythology about his job. I could not help asking the next question: ‘Why is it different for you? You’re having a good time.’

He looked at me. ‘I knew you were going to ask that,’ he said. ‘I’m going to be a dancer someday.’ He pointed to the administration building. ‘My bosses are in there, and they’re paying for my training.’

 Sixteen people dead on the job, and the seventeenth, in precisely the same situation, figures out a way to live. That man was having a party where you and I would probably not last three days. The boredom! He and I did have lunch later, and he said, ‘I don’t understand why anybody would think my job is boring. I have a corner office, glass on all sides. I can see the Golden Gate, San Francisco, the Berkeley hills; half the Western world vacations here and I just stroll in every day and practice dancing.'”

~ Author Unknown

 “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Abraham Lincoln

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Crabbit Old Woman

“The best and most beautiful things of this world can’t be seen or touched… they must be felt by the heart!”

Helen Keller

thoughtful old woman

Crabbit Old Woman

What do you see nurses?   What do you see?
What are you thinking . . . when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old woman. . . not very wise;
Uncertain of habit . . . with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles her food . . . and makes no reply,
When you say in a loud voice, “I do wish you’d try!”
Who seems not to notice . . . the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . a sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . the long day to fill?

Is that what you’re thinking?   Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse . . . you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am . . . as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding . . . as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of ten . . . with a father and mother;
Brothers and sisters . . . who love one another;
A young girl of sixteen . . . with wings on her feet;
Dreaming that soon now . . . a lover she’ll meet.
A bride soon at twenty . . . my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows . . . that I promised to keep.
At twenty-five, now . . . I have young of my own;
Who need me to guide . . . and a secure happy home.
A woman of thirty . . . my young now grown fast;
Bound to each other . . . with ties that should last.
At forty, my young sons . . . have grown and are gone,
But my husband is beside me . . . to see I don’t mourn.
At fifty, once more . . . babies play ’round my knee;

Again, we know children . . . my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . my husband is now dead.
I look at the future . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing . . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . and the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old woman . . . and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles . . . grace and vigor, depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . . . a young woman still dwells,
And now and again . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . I remember the pain;
And I’m loving and living . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . . gone too fast;
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people . . . open and see. . . ME!

By Phyllis McCormack

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. We will all, one day, be there too!

With gratitude to my good friend Valerie Wilhelm for sharing this with us.






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“Passion is being fully alive in the moment of NOW!”

Martha Borst


PASSION is when you . . .


Fully involve yourself in whatever you do . . .

Gabi with stuff on face



Keep jumping out of the box . . .

gabi jumping



Dare to fly high . . .gabi swings



Play ’til you drop . . .

gabi sleeps


This is your life


And remember to hug the ones you love . . .

gabi & cat

The quote was sent to me by my daughter, Gabi (seen here ages 2-4) . . .

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Stress Management

strssed out guy

“Stress is simply an indicator that our minds and bodies need to change. They need to let go, stop the fight, rest in silence and find another way.”

Martha Borst

 Stress Management

 “A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, ‘How heavy is this glass of water?’ Answers called out ranged from 6 oz to 16 oz. The lecturer replied, ‘The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it.

If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.’

He continued, ‘And that’s the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden.

So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don’t carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you’re carrying now, put them down for a moment if you can. Relax; pick them up later after you’ve rested. Life is short. Enjoy it!’

And then he shared some ways of dealing with the burdens of life:

Accept that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue.

Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

Drive carefully. It’s not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.

If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on.

Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.

Since it’s the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.

The second mouse gets the cheese.

When everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.

Birthdays are good for you. You may be getting older, but it beats the alternative.

You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.”

Author Unknown


The best strategies for dealing with stress and creating work/balance can be found in my Best Seller: Your Survival Strategies Are Killing You!

 Get your copy here: Your Survival Skills Are Killing You

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A New Year’s message

“You have to ‘be’ before you can ‘do,’ and do before you can ‘have’.”

Zig Ziglar

The following was sent to me, written by a mother of an autistic son. She expresses her feeling after the Newtown tragedy and I think what she says is a valuable perspective for us to all remember as we set off to create an entirely new year.

“In the aftermath of any tragedy, be it a death of a loved one, loss of a job, or inexplicable acts of violence, it is human nature to seek answers. Some people turn to faith. Others may self reflect on personal or political beliefs. Some want to blame accessibility to guns, lack of prayer in schools, the government, or a developmental or mental disorder. I believe that none of these are the culprit. People who want to commit crimes will find a way. To suggest that because prayer isn’t allowed in school, God would turn his back on innocent children is absurd and insulting to those who were victims. (Whether that was the intended meaning of this argument or not, that is what it sounds like). And to say it is because someone may have an autism spectrum disorder is heartbreaking.

Instead of pointing fingers in all different directions, when will we take accountability? Today, I find myself asking the question, am I part of the solution or part of the problem? We teach our children to discriminate and dislike others by the hate and negativity we spew out on a daily basis – see any random news article post after the election. As a society, we have developed such a sense of entitlement and intolerance for anyone who doesn’t share our political/religious/personal views, and we are passing that down to our children.

Children, old or young, look to adults for examples on how to conduct themselves. What are your words and actions teaching those looking to you for guidance? Every day I worry my son will be bullied and ridiculed for being different to the point that he will have a break with reality. Rational or not, this thought torments me. Constant negativity and bullying will do damage to anyone’s psyche.

Yes, it is human nature to want answers and a reason when such tragedies occur. But has it also become human nature to belittle and criticize anything that’s different from you? Instead of looking for a scapegoat and complaining about what everyone else in the world should be doing, when will we, as a society, realize the answers are within ourselves. In one of the most famous speeches ever, Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.’ I find this more relevant now than ever.”

As we seek solutions for our troubled world, let us establish a context and ground of BEING that has us:

  • Passionately express our views, but not without respect for opposing ideas.
  • Listen to each other and truly look for value in another’s opinion.
  • Seek ways for everyone to feel whole and heard.
  • Find common ground and focus on our similarities and not our differences.
  • Put hate and anger to bed and awaken compassion, love and understanding.
  • Be an example of integrity, honor and grace to our children.

 Some people will say this is pretty “sappy” stuff, but you know what? It works!!

 To be sure, to provide a safer and more tolerant society, the DOING or the actions we must take are also important and will likely involve solutions that involve more community consciousness in several areas. Among them, we need to take action toward: gun control, especially assault weapons, a significant revision of our mental health system, and an accountable look at how we market and promote violence in our media, movies and video games.

 If we make the appropriate adjustments in how we think and in what we do, we will make progress and we will definitely HAVE a better year this year than last.

 I wish you all a more peaceful, happy, healthy and fulfilling 2013.

WoW pic

 Thank you to my good friend, Sue Drusch for this image.

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