Last week I mentioned waiting for the birth of a great, great niece. She was already born. Now Norah Louise’s parents are dealing with her new life and being family as new normal.

Another change accents the reality and impacts of climate change.  Wall Street Journal carried a story about cats, Chicago rats, a mild winter. The last allowed many more rat broods than usual to survive.  Back yards became play lots and diners. Complaints soared. Residents began novel means to get rid of rats (No, not yet a Pied Piper). They introduced feral cats in temporary  crates and fed the felines to establish place-attachment.  They hope when cats are released they will become predator and  rats, prey. One local, a dog person, said if this works he’ll become a cat person.

The other day I learned the cholera plaguing Haiti since the 2010 earthquake isn’t  endemic to the island. For over 150 it simply didn’t exist.  A beachhead was established because of non-Haitians. A persistent outrage began and is exacerbated by Matthew’s devastation. People have begun to say “Living in Haiti was hopeless. Now it’s hell on earth.”

I beg your prayers, support, quantum energies for a project I hope will find acceptance by magazine editors. I intend to have authored a feature article (early 2017) commemorating Haiti’s earthquake  anniversary by telling an amazing story of the founding of and life at Santa Chiara Child Care Center in the slums of Port au Prince. I think an appropriate title could be this line from The Sound of Music: “How do you hold a Moonbeam in your hand?”

Two thoughts:

“You can’t travel and be racist.”   Rick Steves. PBS
“International public health care is racist in how poor and sick people, especially those of color (including in the USA) are treated.” Cost effectiveness should never govern health care.                             Dr. Paul Farmer,  Partners in Health.


No matter what, soon we’ll need to drastically change perspective.  Ruminating on implications and emotions, I concluded we’re truly in for a huge shift. I don’t take values or world vision lightly. I’m in a meditative place so I want to share some quotes, novels, and other things important in my personal discernment.

Kathryn Hepburn. “I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun.”

More about Creativity Unzipped below, but now this quote (pg. 183). “Physicist Michio Kaku once said, as a way of describing the beginning of the universe: “When Nothing became unstable, particles of Something began to form.”

Sue Monk Kidd’s novel, The Invention of Wings, is truly great. One reviewer said it’s “masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom and the desire to have a voice in the world.” Another opined that “Women [and men] whose struggle for liberation, empowerment and expression will leave no reader unmoved.” Amen to both. Creativity Unzipped: Why Your Thoughts Matter (cf below) helps to discover efficacious ways to “invent wings.”

Jan Phillips and Ruth Westreich wrote Creativity Unzipped.  I can’t remember how many times one sentence appears. I think it’s part of Jan Phillips’ DNA.  “Life doesn’t happen TO you. It happens THROUGH you.”  IMHO the last chapter is worth the price of the book.

Wall Street Journal,  10/5/16, “A Photographer’s World View” is my last ingredient. Photographer Mihaela Noroc travels the world taking pictures of women. “My aim is to have a message about tolerance & to change the way that women are portrayed for the past 30 years in the media. // … in [some] parts of the world, inequality is heartbreaking.”

Change, creativity, robustness, practicality. What a team! .



Today is my sister’s 85th birthday.  She died 4 years ago on December 23.  I don’t miss her. It’s true. I really don’t miss her. Deep, heartfelt apologies to you who do miss Anita, and are offended because I don’t.  FYI I never missed my Mother either when she died.  Dad, though is a different story. At times, when engaged in something we enjoyed together I’d find myself in tears, heart-bruised – saying – “Oh Dad, I miss you so!”

The thing is with Mom and Anita, when good memories and life lessons arise, all I have to do is mention their names.  The response is always, “Presente” like the Salvadoran martyrs.  They both live on “in their people” – at least in this person – as Oscar Romero predicted he’d do.

Especially with Mom and also with Anita death’s break came long before they died. Mom suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease early in its official recognition. Anita braved dementia. I still remember where I was and the melancholy I felt as I really realized for the first time what had happened to my Mother and to those she loved. That day I uttered words as liberating as if I emerged from the five stages of grief: “This is not the woman who raised me!”  My mother was dead. She was gone forever. The woman still in my care needed me more than I needed her.  It took me years to accept a giant feeling of relief at her funeral because her body joined the rest of her, already gone.

Dear Kids. Dear Jim, I don’t miss Anita.  I remember her and she replies, “Presente.” Once I gave her a pillow saying, “I smile because you’re my sister.  I laugh because there’s nothing you can do about it.”  It’s still true, Anita.


Topic: language. Nature spoke this week.  She still speaks. We hoped not to hear her story although we knew it would be told.   Comic strip artist/author Dik Browne, last Sunday, depicted Hagar the Horrible and warriors winning a violent battle; celebrating afterwards. In the end Lucky Eddie chastises them because they threw away empty liquor bottles: “Hey! Pick that up! We’re Barbarians, not Litterbugs!”  What’s the message: nonviolence, ecology – both?

Lectures, stories, conversations, dialogues are permanent language transmitters needing givers and receivers. Enlightenment acceptance/rejection, conviction/disbelief enticement/repulsion, intentional action pro or con, though, depend on time, changes in culture. EXAMPLE: minutes ago came “breaking news.”  Pope Francis appointed cardinals, three from the USA: Archbishops Cupich of Chicago, Tobin of Indianapolis,  and Farrell recently from Dallas.  Conspicuously bypassed are the heads of Philadelphia’s and LA’s Archdioceses. “Wha’sup here?”  What language is this guy speaking, different from his two predecessors?  For sure he meant what he said: “We no longer live in a changing era. We live in a changed era.” He knows how to plot a 21st century story. He just proved it.

I’m reading Creativity Unzipped by Jan Phillips and Ruth Westereicb. They challenged me to follow unsought insights.  One arrived overnight. In the morning I wrote a string of Haikus based on some long-lived relationships that I plan to present ASAP.  Today I want to share last night’s nudge.  Chicago has two internationally and popularly recognized public sculptures: the unnamed Picasso (1967) and the Bean (2006), really “Cloud Gate.” People don’t understand the Picasso. It’s abstract, rational. The Bean speaks, talks to our emotions. No understanding necessary; just relate. QUESTIONS: How to relate with the Picasso? How come the gift came incognito? How come Anish Kapoor named his work but it didn’t take? What’s behind the thing called language?


I confess. Language infatuates me with its importance and relationship to planetary evolution and personal life journeys. This week Dan Berrigan’s poem “Hope:That Intransitive Being” strengthened my crush, partly  because of a seemingly similar 0bsession with language as tool of dialogue.   He sees hope as intransitive – without an object.  He begins, “This occurred to me // that faith is prose // and love is music // but hope is – poetry.” Elsewhere he opines, “Prose is useful, moves things, gives orders, is logical, serves for arguments, settles conflicts or makes war, is privy to special interests, makes money, passes information and the rest.  ///  Poetry … is unnecessary in the sense that God is unnecessary. Poetry is useless in the sense that God is useless.  Which is to say, God and poetry are not part of the kingdom of necessity, of a world of law and order (or lawlessness and disorder), and sin and war and greed we name “the Fall.” Episcopalian Rev. Matthew Fox, a long time ago,  was transformed because of research into popular culture and where that poesy led him. Today – we celebrate St. Therese of Lisieux of whose autobiography one reader said, “Once read it cannot be forgotten.” She herself said, “What I have written will do a lot of good.”

Here’s a threat/promise: Next week we’ll do language again – 21st century speak that is 🙂  Today we finish with more of Dan Berrigan’s  Hope poem.


intransitive being     which is to say

Hope     hopes for   –  nothing

like poetry    like Zen     like God

neither justifies     nor explains

No     hope stands there     noiseless as a mouse

in a cheese      made of moonlight

infinitesimal eye     all alight

a diamond chip     a catch of moon

when the wind stirs a leaf alarmingly




“Money makes the world go round; the world go round; the world go round. Money makes the world go round.” (Cabaret)  It’s true. Money is the axis on which our planet turns. It’s Mother Earth’s and  her children’s beating heart.  We’ve been socialized to perceive that money is for dispensing, to use for personal gain. Our survival, social,  economic, political, business, trade, military and ecological systems depend on its circulation.  I’ve heard recently though that …..

“Investors are worried. People are reducing debts rather than spending.”    Profits are cut at (insert name of any major company. For instance, a seller of  autombiles or other consumer toys) due to fewer sales.” Some companies don’t meet profit goals for the quarter; so reduce dividends. Retailers brace for a lackluster Christmas, poor babies.  Repercussions are global. Currency values fluctuate.  International mergers are repeatedly sifted, including those based on evasion of home-country taxes. Companies use bankruptcy or other disguises on their bottom lines. I think here of Hanjin, the world’s largest sea-container transport company; insurance and energy companies (the latest of which are BP shenanigans to re-brand itself as responsible & caring for our cars’ innards). Retailers like Walmart and Whole Foods now advertise they sell “ugly” produce because it’s environmentally good.  Drought in the SW and Midwest is over, so consumers are no longer pressed to eat bacon in and on everything. Now it’s cheese. Buy cheese! Eat cheese! Eat cheese! Gigantic dairy farms’ bottom lines are hurting.  Here’s a related question.  Why hasn’t the price of beef not decreased?

Remember? Immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, our distinguished D. officials passionately urged us to “Spend”  “Money makes the world go round”  Really!  Change Is the New Normal..  Spend? Save?  Sacrifice?  Give? Which is best for your family’s, Mother Earth’s future?



Last week’s blog brought many responses:  health wishes,  proposal for a continuing conversation on how past, present, future affects our lives. You’re welcome to join in the conversation. It’ll happen in a FACEBOOK closed group forum, “Solidarity: How Do I Live Thee?”  Someone offered her “deeply spiritual response.”  Thank you all.

I’m positive when writing that “epochal upheavals are underway” Benedict XVI wasn’t alluding to the fact that oldies will become a majority population in the Global North but it’s happening anyway. It’s an unprepared for, unaddressed future. In a few groups I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to raise the topic as an area requiring  futures planning.  Now it’s beginning to crop up in a few venues.  One newspaper, over a few months now, carries a book ad the subject of which runs something like this: “There’s an anemic response by the Church to the needs of seniors,” meaning Catholic and mainline Protestant Churches. Televangelists have no senior problem (I’m not sure about Jews or Muslims).  AARP has always been there, but often it’s sniggered at. Recently TIME magazine mentioned some products to benefit from an aging population. The latest issue carried an interesting article on “Longevity” which spoke to the ways we humans age – AND – that we do.  I noted this important something: “making peace with getting older” has “been trivialized by some scientists.”

Mostly though the issue is simply ignored (“delusional hope”  Eli Weisel might say).  How many Spirituality Centers or Life-Long Education Centers offer off-site, internet or other creative sessions for those no longer able to travel? How many discussion groups exist with specific needs of the elderly in mind?

Oldies physical needs loom large. Change Is the New Normal.  The Global North’s future demands inclusive means for humans to age well – socially, spiritually, creatively, educationally.


Eckart Tolle, you’re stating: “The present is all we have.” We don’t HAVE past, present or future.  They are always one. Present appears: poof! It’s part of the past.  Future beckons.  We are, after all, evolutionary amidst universal evolution. Future is most important in the fluidity of time. Past and present exist only for the future.  This has important results for every part of our lives: relationships mostly; but also plans, recreation, peace and justice, prayer and spiritual life, attitudes, values.  Even someone like Benedict XVI a mourner of abandoning traditions, was quoted this week: “Epochal upheavals ARE  UNDER- WAY.

That’s my cue to share why no blog last week. It’s a case of change really being the new normal.  I’m not young and I know it. Although I preach change as a way of all life, when it comes to my health I sometimes fall into the universal attitude that what is will continue as is. With the help of doctors over the past few years I’ve lived with problems, principally weakness because of the lungs.

Last week this situation flared up causing hospitalization, lots of blood tests and removing almost a liter of fluid from one pleural cavity.  Back at home the pulmonologist’s assistant phoned to tell me there are no malignancies. Surprise! I had never given it a thought. Also I haven’t thought of TB. but they’re testing for that too. Tomorrow I’ll converse at depth about the future with my gerontologist with whom I see eye-to-eye.

I’ve been reflecting on Elie Weisel’s book NIGHT.  While hospitalized I watched the movie, CABARET. They both send the message that the future happens even while the present deceives us as permanence.  The truth is we don’t have any present because “epochal upheavals ARE UNDERWAY.”


“The doors were nailed, the way back irrevocably shut off.” (Elie Wiesel’s Night)  “How do you keep a wave upon the sand?” (The Sound of Music  What unites these events is “seeing” or not; “hearing” or not, change as it occurs. “Walk in Beauty”

I like a TV commercial where the protagonist shows good arising out of possible bad by means of preparedness.  A golf ball gone astray can hurt. A hungry predator too close will harm. A cloudburst soaks. Falling plants are dangerous. Helpless strangers become victims of crime. “Be not silent.”

An ad enticing change to faster devices shows a family frustrated with “slow” downloads. The youngest says, “It’s been one minute. Something happened in the world and we missed it.”  “…. our technical prowess has brought us to a crossroads.” Laudato Si :

I love how Francis of Rome commiserated with Italian earthquake victims. “You have my spiritual support” means we’re in this together. I’ve got your back. It shows solidrity. accompaniment, compassion, communion. You’re  not  alone; we’re together. “I’ll pray for you” expresses separation, division, dualism, distance, individuality. “I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue…. a conversation which includes everyone.” Laudato Si

“Thank you for all your beautiful words that describes perfectly to this reader the power and majesty of life and how interconnected we all are, even across the w0rld.” A response to Gerry Straub last week about Haiti. “I am because you are”

May it be beautiful before me.

May it be beautiful behind me.

May it be beautiful below me.

May it be beautiful above me.

May it beautiful all around me.

In beauty  it is finished. 

In beauty it is finished.                Navaho  Chant


It really is. For some weeks now I’ve been eagerto write about some evolutionary events. Whammo! The other day Gerry Straub, a good friend and change avatar, told a  story that eliminated all others.

Gerry divides his life between California and Haiti. On Wednesday he was at LAX on the first leg to his Haitian home. A bit of background: Gerry, his wife Ecarlatte, the Board for Pax et Bonum  and friends are deeply concerned about 2017 funding, especially rent for Santa Chiara Child Care Center. In less than a year it grew over capacity while making a tremendous difference in the lives of vulnerable children (75+) and hopeless parents. Due date to pay a year’s rent of $20,000 is December 1.

As luck? (No! Providence) had it, a Haitian businessman, who also divides his time between the two countries, was also waiting at LAX . This man, Chris McNally, began a conversation leading to a revelation he owned a place for rent in the Delmas section of Port au Prince.  Measured by number of toilets, a Delmas SCC Center would be about 300% larger than the one in Peguyville where there are two toilets (one housed in a shed). Delmas has six, all indoors. Remember that Santa Chiara, with about a dozen staff, cares for 75+ children.  That’s close to 90 humans for two toilets

In Peguyville 2017’s tent alone is $20,000. Compare that to the two-year rent cost of $23,000 with probably half due in December.  The owner is dedicated to making the world, especially Haiti, a better place. Gerry and his Board are relieved.  They now have renewed enthusiasm for finding contributions to fund other necessities.