Getting Un-Stuck

Salty Snippet November 2023   “Getting Un-Blocked”

     Sometimes we feel we can’t move forward, like a brick wall is in front of us.  Writers and artists often feel this, but even daily life projects can bring us to a standstill.  Actually,  if we stay in this state, the standstill becomes down-hill, our spirit gets discouraged, we lack enthusiasm for life, we’re standing still but sinking deeper and deeper into dangerous muck!

I recently got un-stuck and can feel the enormous difference, the lightening of my spirit, the energy to move forward now with enthusiasm!   How did I do it?

    First, I got myself to close a door that I’ve been reluctant to close for quite awhile. I resigned from a group I love, but for a long time the signs have been that I cannot continue participating in this group. Actually, the door itself closed before I acknowledged it.  It isn’t physically possible to participate anymore!  Even emotionally,  attached as I am to the people,  the group isn’t giving me enough food-for-the-spirit to sustain my needs.  So, I finally bit the bullet and sent in my letter of resignation.  What a lightening I felt! I felt the release of truthfulness.   Even the group probably could see the writing on the wall for me before I sent the letter.  But there was something about my accepting that “this is finished” that opened up energy in me.

Here are a couple quotes that helped me:

Helen Keller:   “When one door of happiness closes, another one opens:  but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”

And then, off an inspirational card:

     You will discover new oceans

    when you allow yourself to lose sight of the shore.

I don’t know why closing a door is so essential for a new element to enter our lives, but it just seems so.  Often, we must FIRST close the door behind us before we can see the new path!

Then,  I took a babystep towards something I wanted to pursue but felt I didn’t know how to get it going.  The desire in me:  To form a new support group for my own serious memoir writing.  I couldn’t see how to begin, but finally just called another interested person and asked if we could brainstorm together on this.  It worked!   I felt energy building just by talking about what I want to do and receiving ideas from  another! 

   Then – the next step appears.  As is often the case,  a project can’t necessarily be seen in its final structure from the beginning.  One just has to take a step in the direction we want to go,  towards what we want.  It almost seems like making a statement to the Powers of the Universe which then attracts more guidance and energy toward that desire.

   Maybe one more valuable quote:  When you think you don’t know what to decide about something,  say to yourself

 “I DO know what is the best thing to do here.  I DO know…and then follow what you see. 

Or – just change something!  Change anything!  Change the order of your doing this before that: this will shake up the energy.    Best wishes for changing something!

Eligio’s little life

An organic essay, by Marti Matthews

Basement. Folding chairs.

         Eligio’s body, open casket.

           “Illegal”; hopeless.

   Cement floor.  I had given the family money to help with the pine casket.  All was quiet, as a Visitation  should be. Friends and relatives came, passed by respectfully, and then sat here and there on cold folding chairs in the chilly basement room. 

I saw Stefan, the oldest son, who’d snuck across the border in the dark with them when he was six, thirty years ago.  They’ve all struggled here on the fringe, keeping a low profile, supporting themselves however they could, never taking government help.

Stefan looked silent and sad, as always.  He carried his little daughter in his arms, never put her down.  She must have been four?  He avoided the casket.

When he wandered out of the room with her and sat on a bench, I went and sat beside them.  “Many traditions say that the spirit of the dead stays around the earth for a while” I whispered to him.  “Many say the dead even come with curiosity to their own funeral. Go and speak to your Dad.  Tell him truthfully everything you want to say.  He needs to know.”

The son got up and went back into the room.  He gave the child to her mother, went up by the casket, and knelt for at least 20 minutes.  Only Eligio and God know what that conversation was, but this always-sad and quiet young man had held much in his heart.

The family had not gone to church for years.  A priest or minister, friend of a cousin, was supposed to come, but we all waited and no one showed. No one led us in any prayers.  I began to think I should do this; though I’m not Hispanic or part of the family, I am experienced in leading prayer.  I felt I’d rather not.  Finally, the man arrived and we all said some Our Fathers and Hail Mary’s in Spanish and English, and that was it for Eligio.


Deeply drunk, he had slipped off the leathery sofa onto the floor and smothered to death.  In quite a mess. 

He and Elena had been sleeping on a mattress on the living room floor for several years so the younger son and daughter could have separate bedrooms.  Stefan was out on his own by then.  Eventually, Elena moved into the daughter’s bedroom with her, and then Eligio could drink and sleep in the living room. He was too old to work now; the only job he could get was at the liquor store where they paid him under the counter; he, of course, bought liquor with his paycheck.  Now the young ones came home regularly to find him drunk, having made a mess in the living room and bathroom.   The son, Tomas, ignored it all, but the daughter, Elisabeth, was furious and disgusted at her father.   


    I had gotten to know Eligio as his counselor in the community college.  He had grabbed my heart, and after leaving that job, I kept in touch with this and with several other families.

   We had all tried to get him to go to AA meetings (“Double A”, as they say in Spanish.)  He’d go; then decide that AA wasn’t for him.  He did go to the gym to swim and work out; I paid for that for awhile but I finally had to connect it with going to AA. 

Then he stayed with AA for at least six months!  We were hopeful, and he was chosen to give speeches at other meetings. Then – he relapsed.  Because of his good history, he got into a live-in AA place and again we had hope.  I rode with them as Tomas drove us all to this facility and left his dad there to stay.

Eligio stayed a night and then walked home; about 200 Chicago blocks he walked. No one knew where he was, but he turned up back home asleep on the sofa.  It was a first-floor apartment, dark and small, and he’d climbed through the window.  Then the family put locks on the window and tried that whole routine all over again, but again he left and found his way home and slept in the car.  This was a nightmare for the family. 

     So, his eventual death was a blessing. No one, including Eligio, had the strength to save him from the slavery into which he’d wandered.


“Retirement.”  One day when Eligio had come to my counseling office, he pulled out of his shirt pocket an envelope with $10,000.00 in cash!  He explained that it was his retirement money:  he’d saved it over some years and carried it around with him because he couldn’t legally have a bank account.  He put it under his pillow at night. 

I was agape.  Several thoughts jumped up at once.  “How easily this money could be lost or stolen!”  And sadly,” how insufficient $10,000 would be towards retirement!  How many months of living would that support?”  and yet, “How difficult it must have been to save this while trying to raise a family!” 

   Inevitably, Eligio lost his job one day and had to use that money for the family to live on.  There’s no unemployment insurance for the illegal, nor any pension, even though in the factories where he’d worked as a forklift driver they’d deducted money for Social Security contributions.  He could never claim that, as his SS number was illegitimate.


And so, when the time came that his old body couldn’t work much, there was a financial dilemma.  Elena  didn’t drive, but found work caring for a doctor’s four children in their home and cleaning for another family.  She would fearfully ride home alone at night on the almost-empty bus.  By then, the young ones were college-age and trying to get training in whatever they could while working in stores or factories.  I paid for some community college courses for awhile to get them started.  The family assured Eligio that they could handle the rent and expenses so he didn’t need to work.  But then, what to do with his time?  I made suggestions and tried to find volunteer work, something to do so he could feel useful.  He did work out at the gym, but wouldn’t get involved in church, began to stay home, and to feel worse and worse about himself.   The rest became history.


Other memories:  One day he came to my office with a rose.  “You are my angel,” he said.  He always kissed my hand when he greeted me.  Actually, many of my counselees in the Adult Basic Ed Dept of the Community College have called me their angel.  I knew the details of the massive challenges they faced and I would try to find resources for them, and cheer them on as they struggled along.  Some, like Eligio, got deep into my heart and stayed there.

He often came just wanting to sit and philosophize about “life,”  “God,”  etc. He had loved the book Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse, a fictionalized story of the searchings and life of Buddha.  I believe Eligio  had only a sixth grade education, the maximum offered in Mexico as free public education.  But both he and his family always matched me in intelligence in any discussion we had.


Another time Eligio came to show me bruises on his shoulder and back where Elena had beaten him.  I took a photo of it, as he requested.  I asked him to bring her in with him and I tried to do a little couple counseling, in which I am not trained.  She was just a little woman and obviously having a tough time dealing with her own responsibilities, so I did not pursue any legal effort about this, but I made note in my mind of a family in distress.

As Eligio demised, I got to spend time with the rest of his family.


I found a job for Stefan working in a bakery for a Chinese family who I also counseled.  This worked wonderfully for both:  Stefan was content to come to work at 4 am each morning in the dark and silently mix bread by himself.  He continued this kind of work for many years.  The Chinese family had impulsively bought this bakery thinking that “even in hard times, people will always buy bread.”  How I wished they’d consulted with me!  Their bakery was a block away from a large grocery chain.  In hard times, people abandon bakeries and look for cheap bread.  They eventually tried to change location, but all of the financial strain brought them down.  The last I heard from the Chinese family, their son (doted on by the mother) had persuaded them to co-sign a loan for cash so he could play international poker on the internet, “in which he is very good!” his mother assured me.  Another family, another story…

Stefan went on to work in a large bread factory.  Inevitably he caught Covid while working there. With no insurance he couldn’t and wouldn’t go to the hospital, so Elena cared for him on the living room floor, covering herself and keeping a distance as carefully as possible.

     He had married a very shy Black woman who had an ADD son she could not begin to control.  Stefan begat his little daughter, avoided the son, and eventually moved back to his birth family though he continued to support his new family.  We all worried for the safety of the little girl with the wild older stepbrother, but time has seemed to guard that along. 


After Eligio’s death, I had to move to Indianapolis but I continued to stay in touch with all of them.  Tomas and Elisabeth were “legal,” having been born here.  Stefan is still DACA, waiting forever for our country to accept him, though he’s been here for 30 years and did not come of his own choice.  Elisabeth worked in a supermarket until hot oil spilled on her foot and disabled her for some time.  She worked at whatever she could find while trying different training programs, finally landing in dental work.  She managed to get the basic training as a dental assistant but couldn’t get the next step up in pay without taking two years off from work to study full-time.  Today, that progress is stalled at the lowest level of dental work. 

   Tomas has found his true love (her name is beautiful:  “Amor”).  They’re living together, helping each other continue with their education.  He will graduate with his B.S. now in three months in something related to computers.  When I come back to the city he comes round to visit, but mostly he’s taking care of himself and Amor.

   Stefan, being back home, moved with them to a different apartment when the landlord raised the rent.  It turned out to be impossibly noisy.  The next thing I heard, he had somehow managed to get a mortgage and buy a house!  I felt fear when I heard this, that he’d been taken advantage of, that they’d be in over their head, or something disastrous would come of this.  But – the silent young man had managed on his own to buy a small house in a decent neighborhood and get the three of them moved! 

  From then on, when I visited, Elena gave me her bedroom and slept in the living room and we began to have some recovering times together. The house has a yard and one nice large tree so we can sit outside when the weather’s good.  She does live-in caretaking for old or sick folks, with a day off a week.  There is no close public transportation, so she has to take live-in work.  When I come to town, she asks for a couple days off.  I take her to refreshing places:  the Conservatory or Botanical Gardens or Arboretum to feel the healing presence of plants and trees, or to parks or the waterfront in the summer.  And she always takes me to see Senor Mario, a delightful 92-year-old Italian whose wife Elena had cared for.  Sir Mario has a gigantic vegetable and fruit garden and small vineyard and fig trees, specifically to keep people visiting him for his free produce. We must be careful about what time of day we visit as his three adult daughters keep vigilant watch over him, lest some young lady should turn his head and take the inheritance.  We joke about this and many things, wandering through the garden or sitting in the sun sipping a little wine and listening to his entertaining stories.    

        I enjoy Elena’s friendship immensely, as I usually do with Mexicans.   There is no pretense among these people.  “We are just simple people,” she’ll say, though to me she feels as intelligent as I.  I have education, but she understands anything I talk about and has her own interesting observations on the world around us.  We are two mothers, widows, women with the same enjoyment of Nature, appreciation of integrity, and the same concern for others.  I observe her children and granddaughter and give encouragement there as I can. She does the same for me and my family.

   Elena will turn 64 soon.  It appears that she and Elisabeth and Stefan will stay together as the years go on.  I will stay with them, too!  There are so many people in the world whom I wish I could help, but one interesting thing I’ve learned in life is this:  I can tell when I’m doing right-giving because I feel enriched, stronger, and glad inside myself from the giving.   This family cannot take me to grandiose restaurants or events, but I am simply myself when I’m with them, these dear and honest  and unpretentious people.   To be with people with whom I can be my simple self is a gigantic gift to me!

A Welcome Doormat

August 2023

     I picked up the old popsicle stick on my desk and it began to speak to me: “Don’t forget this large learning,” the stick said. “You still haven’t quite got it!”

   A memory came alive: a weekend workshop connected with trying to save my 15-year-old stepdaughter who had gotten caught in drugs, sex, etc.  (a story in itself).  Families of teens with similar problems were learning principles and attitudes that the young people were being taught in their program.  We’d been together now for two days doing various activities; some participants had stepped forward willing to lead things, others had contributed valuably, or quietly.   We now somewhat knew each other. 

   For this activity we stood in a large circle, about 100 people.  The setting of the game was that we are on a sinking ship – There is only one lifeboat!  Only seven of us can be saved!  WHO SHOULD BE CHOSEN FOR THE LIFEBOAT?  We were each given 7 popsicle sticks, and one-by-one we went around the circle and gave out our seven sticks to whomever we felt most important to save.  In the end, then, those with the most sticks stood forward as the ones to step into the lifeboat.  I had 3:  – my son, my daughter-in-law and someone else had given me my ticket for life.  But, of course, it wasn’t enough.

   Then, the game leader asked us the most important question of the game:

How many of you gave yourself a popsicle stick?

I had not; hardly anyone had!

“Do you not value your own life?  Do you not believe you have something important yet to give?” the leader asked.

   I’ve kept the three popsicle sticks and this valuable lesson for 25 years.  Today they came rising to the top of my thoughts. 

   I was preparing for a visit from a dear friend at 1:00.  When 1:00 arrived, she texted me that the friend of her morning visit was more needy of her counseling than she had anticipated, she couldn’t get to my house until 3:00.  At first, I said “Okay,” though my day had already been planned around her visit and now had to be re-arranged again.  I had other urgent work to attend to.  Suddenly something arose in me with the power of an unexpected storm: I politely texted her my regrets: “We will have to meet some other time.”  That felt right to me in my body!  And I enthusiastically lit into the project I really wanted to work on.

   I felt energized. I was choosing to act from inside my own creative center rather than bending-this-way-and-that to accommodate the needs of others. I felt powerful, and was affirming for myself that what comes from inside me is valuable.   I usually live by the image of a sailboat, cooperating with “Life” as it comes to me.  But now I felt like I was rowing – and I loved it!  I love feeling strong and on my way!  Yes, watching the wind and the waves but directing my boat with my own muscles, low enough in this self-directed boat that the wind cannot affect my direction as easily.  Sailboats are beautiful but delicate; they require alertness but not much human power.  One is less sure in a sailboat regarding where one is going to arrive. 

    I’ve learned to pay attention to my guts when I make decisions.  The wrong/less-healthy decision causes stress.  The best decision – whether it’s for me first or someone else first – the best decision leaves me in peace.  One excellent word of advice I heard about decision-making is to say to myself “I DO know the best decision. Yes, I do know.” And then – see it.

    Echoes of cultural ideals can still haunt me.  The word “selfish” scares me!  This judgment that choosing my own needs first over others makes me a bad person confuses the idea of equality and of who is responsible for what.  Am I my brother’s keeper?  Or is my brother the first one responsible for himself?  Am I obliged by the word “love” to rescue every drowning person?  I do care about every drowning person!  But I think now I understand the word “compassion.”  I used to think that word was an excuse for spiritual people to sit and meditate while doing nothing to actually help. Now after years of trying to help others and sacrificing myself, I see differently.  I CANNOT HELP EVERYONE!  There are people I seem called by life to be present with.  But even for them, they have much to do for themselves!  Generally, helping others involves watching attentively and offering just the minimum needed for a person to succeed for themselves.  Each of us is the first line of responsibility for the life we’ve been given. ”Rescuing” is not necessarily love and compassion.    And who will rescue the rescuer whose attention and values are not on their own life? 

    I’ve mentioned this before in my writings:  it appears to me that the current major religions of the world are all designed for the spiritual needs of men.  They all call us toward ever greater unselfishness as we grow older.   Even the image of a hero is of a person risking self for the well-being of others.  For me as a woman, I feel that everything in life taught me to think of the needs of others from the time I was very little.  And giving birth, most of all! To bring a completely helpless life into the world through my own body and suffering: Nature created this method to teach women unselfish love for the wellbeing of life.  “Being kind” comes second nature to me, and I believe this reality fits for many women and some men.  But little boys are often encouraged – even pushed – to get out there on their own and make a path. Cooperation and thinking of others first are not what will get a man ahead:  pushing through the crowd to the top is the first goal. Then, as a man matures, he begins to think more carefully and value his place in an egalitarian way.  We need our religions to help us think through what real love looks like all along. To love one’s neighbor as one’s self requires FIRST that one loves oneself!  If we let others walk all over us, then – would we do that to others

   Perhaps it’s the hardest thing in the world to observe someone we love choosing poorly for themselves, at least what seems to us making poor choices.  To respect that the other owns their life like one owns a house – this is their property, and I can affect it only if they ask or allow me to touch it. To watch the house of a loved one tumbling down is terrible!  But we must respect the ownership of others, what they value, what they want, what they choose.  We are all here learning and learning more, by our own choices.

   Sometimes I’ve observed that when I put the needs of others first, I’m actually avoiding my own life!  To take up my life and make it beautiful – Why not?  What a loss to the world if I don’t!  Yes, I belong in that lifeboat as much as anyone else and I am going to ROW that lifeboat!  You will see me land and leave my footprints behind me, as I go on living and exploring in the Universe.  

Glamour, Ideals, and the Acorn May 2023

   Long ago I had a very important dream; it seemed to show me the big task of my life.  I dreamt that I was riding smoothly on a silent sailboat; I, a boy of about 12 at the back of the boat and two handsome young men at the front of the boat.  One had black hair and one had blonde hair, maybe both around age 28.  At some point without knowing how, I knew the two young men intended to kill me.  So silently I slipped into the water.  I, the dreamer,  felt alarmed because I know a sailboat has a deep keel underneath to keep it upright:  I feared for the boy.  But I saw him come up and swim toward the shore – with a deep cut in his back.  The two young men dove in and swam after him.  I saw him run up on the shore into a big brick building and disappear.

   As I thought about this dream over time, I came to this basic analysis:  the two handsome young men represented:  Glamour and Ideals.  These could kill the boy.  He ran into an institution to hide and find a way to escape.

   “Glamour “ is not so hard for me to see as dangerous:  people pretending to be something they are not,  more than they are; values like amassing money, looking beautiful, that lead to no true strength or health or maturity.

   It took me longer to see the dangers in “Ideals”.  Examples of Ideals:  love everyone equally,  sacrifice yourself for the good of others or the Whole,  push yourself to accomplish all that’s in you,  don’t be lazy, don’t be selfish.

   An Ideal can be as full of “ego” and disease as a glamour, it can be just a way to feel important by some cultural standard.  A “Hero.”  Good girls and good boys are judged by different ideals – maybe good girls are quiet, helpful, self-sacrificing, long- suffering in silence, “pretty/cute”,  kind.  Good boys are brave in dangerous situations, should make decisions quickly – and accurately!  should not cry when hurt,  etc.  These ideals may put a person in contrast to whatever truth they feel inside themself! 

Ideals can crush the real.  The ideal should beckon the real, with no judgment.  Ideals should be suggestions. The ideal should lure the real with carrots like “expansion,”  “increase in creative influence,”  increase in energy and life force.”  Good things one COULD do.

   My life has been very limited – I should say “directed” – by a curvature in my lower back.  Because it’s fairly hidden, many times my choices have been misunderstood by others because they cannot see what I’m dealing with.  But this has led to a freedom from “How I Look To Others”.  i.e. Glamour!  Looking good is just not possible for me; I’m lucky if I can look normal! So as I matured, my back problem has freed me from the grips of “Glamour!”

   Living by Ideals has also turned out to be too much for me. I’ve usually found that Ideals have to be balanced by appropriateness, by wisdom, by many values opposite the ideal.  I’ve had to learn an inner guidance that sets my own unique course, sometimes aiming towards an ideal and sometimes seeming in rebellion to them. 

I often feel like the direction of my life is “down” – down to some little acorn inside me, just the true center of what is possible in this particular life.  “Enough”:  I am enough, imperfect, always  growing and learning.  I feel the most powerful when I stand neither in looking good nor in being good.  Being truthful is the most powerful place to stand.

There IS Warm Pink Soup!  And – there IS Goodness!


Salty Snippet April 2023

The weather had been cold and wet, with a dark heaviness over the world all day.  I tried to fall asleep, but only negative feelings came up no matter what I thought about.  A yard of dandelions turning to seed, all lying flat and ugly against the wet grass – my responsibility.  The War in Ukraine going on and on and on.  There’d been bad news for someone I cared about.  Long list of people who’d been shot today or recently.  Unfinished projects all over my house. “Stuff” everywhere – endless too-much stuff.  Aches and pains in my aging body. I could not find something positive to land on and enable me to relax. 

   Finally, I found it!  I always remember my surprise and complete pleasure when I was visiting in Sweden and was served warm pink fruit soup.  Small amounts of dried fruits were the contents, tapioca was the soft base, and all was colored clear pink and served warm.  I’d never experienced anything so heavenly.  I’ve often remembered that amazing experience – how soothing it had felt to me.  So now as I surveyed my world of experience looking for a positive something to grab onto, I found the memory of warm pink soup brought a smile to my spirit and even my body.

    Here a friend reminds me of the currently popular Danish word “hygge” (pronounced hoo ga):

“1. The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open hearted and alive. 

2.  To create well-being.  Connection and warmth.    3.  A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other.       4.  Celebrating the everyday.”

                               [from the description of Danish slippers called Glerups]

Danish slippers, Swedish fruit soup, those Scandinavians know ways to take care of their weary spirits!  I began to feel better as I lay in bed holding that memory of warm pink soup; I felt I was floating in it.    

    Then I thought to add another good thing – “Goodness!”  A person came to my mind; she is “Goodness” walking around; she lives the spirit of warm pink soup!  I’m not sure how to define this well.  It’s not that this person never gets upset: she could get very angry at people who hurt animals and little children.  But she always glows with a calm, slow, warmth.  She took in greyhound dogs who would have been “put to sleep” after running all their lives for human pleasure; she took them in and gave them the loving retirement they deserved.  She had a reliable humility, was open to correction, yet faced life with  responsibility and courage, both gentle and strong.

   I began to search through my memories of other people I’ve known in my many years of living.  I would say most people I call friends are all good people!  To many friends I would add complimentary clarifying adjectives; to only a few could I apply the sole label of “Goodness.”   I double-checked this.  Surely X or Y, people I love and respect, could deserve this title?  No, the word belonged to a select few.  Perhaps it is a combination of humility and courage that combines into something like “reliable and peaceful integrity.”  These people have a quiet but always-present radiance.

    With that handful of people who are “Goodness” added to the bodily memory of warm pink soup – I began to feel a sense of safety return about “life”.  I kept repeating “Warm pink soup really does exist, and so does Goodness!.” I repeated the names of the people who radiated this spirit. My body felt safe in the world again and I fell blissfully asleep.                             -Marti Matthews, April 18, 2023

How To Improve Your Luck

 Salty Snippet,  July 2022   

  My favorite version of Solitaire requires two decks of cards and is a bit more complicated than the ordinary game, but it feels like a sharp person can win more easily.  I play this to clear my mind and calm my nerves while I attend to working with the luck of the draw.

   The luck of the draw has been speaking to me recently.  Usually I just wait and see what comes up and  deal with that – and then I helplessly win or lose.  But Something Inside has suggested that I be a bit more assertive if I want to win: I could SAY what is needed right now, if “we” want to win. 

   What is this feeling of “we??”  It’s the Something Inside that seems to always accompany me in my life. The very quiet little voice offering a helpful thought; it’s even quieter than Jimminy Cricket on someone’s shoulder.  Here It is, suggesting that I might suggest what would be helpful for “us” to win. 

   So I began to do that:  I’d scan the situation and say “We could really use an Ace of Spades right now.”  Or a six of hearts, whatever.  To my surprise, whatever I suggest very often comes up immediately or shortly!  It feels like I have a partner who will help me, but will not lead:  I must do the leading, I must want to win, and I must take the responsibility to say what’s needed right now for success.

   This, of course, is spilling over into other parts of my life where I tend to be passive. “That’s just the way it is for me,”  I think.  “I never X,” “I always Y,”  “It seems to be my Destiny.”  I see there are some givens in my life that must be part of my Destiny – the family, time period, location in which I was born; my body with its gifts and its limitations; and surprising life influences that come along.  But I also see choices I’ve made, both passive and active, which have influenced the course of the river of my life.  Things don’t just always “happen.”  Many times, I have not spoken up; many other times I’ve spoken or acted unwisely.

   My experience as a parent, plus my observations of Nature Itself, tell me that The Source of All Life –  Whatever It is –  surely wants Its creations to thrive and grow and to feel good.  That we will “die” is also a given, but “thriving” is the creative thrust that brings us out into life and always carries us forward.  In all situations we all try to find a next step that will feel like thriving, like something good and successful for ourselves on which another step might be taken.  Now, finally, late in life I realize that I can say what’s needed.  I don’t even have to beg!  I just have to be sharp, and then be responsible and say it, and be willing to accept the help that comes.  Help isn’t always exactly as I thought it would be, but Help comes – when I’m sharp and willing.