Saturday, March 11, 2023

Signs—Pits and Pieces

“Twould Be More Fun…to Go by Air…but We Couldn’t Put …These Signs up There--Burma Shave.”


Remember those? 


As you drove along the highway, usually on long strips of isolated roads laden with sagebrush, you would come upon a little sign…then another...and another followed by “Burma Shave.”


We kids loved to see them—reading one aloud, waiting for the next one--maybe an eighth of a mile down the road—reading it and the next until the punch line, and laughing as the last sign, “Burma Shave,” rolled by.


The above sign quote was from Charles Kuralt’s book, A Life on the Road. It took me back to Sunday mornings when I sat mesmerized in front of the Television, watching Kuwalt sitting in a chair, no props, simply a chair, where he spun out tales of small-town America.


For twenty years, Kuwalt roamed the back-roads of America and gave America back to Americans on the CBS Sunday morning TV show On the Road with Charles Kuwalt. 


How I envied his job.


And then we moved to San Diego, where John Sinor wrote folksy essays, similar to Kuwalts, for the San Diego Union-Tribune. I envied his job too. His tagline was “Every day problems of everyday people,” 


“A tough-looking but harmless lizard adds to our annual dessert hike. For a moment, I thought I was looking into a mirror.”—John Sinor.


As it turned out, although we didn’t know it, we bought a house right next to his. We were on the edge of a canyon, so nobody was on the other side of our property. I never took the chance to become acquainted with him, though--too bad. 


I remember his story about the little white deer who roamed Presidio Park in San Diego. No one knew what happened to her mate, but she, a lone deer, would, on misty mornings, give happen-chance viewers a belief in magic. I never saw her and didn’t know she existed until I read Sinor’s column where City officials worrying about her safety as she would sometimes be seen on the road, decided to move her to safer territory. Someone shot her with a tranquilizer gun and used too much tranquilizer.


Bambi all over again.


And now I think about those signs, the physical ones alongside the road that made us laugh, the inspiring writers who made us want to create something of value, and last night another sign came up-- about the spiritual nature of we, the people.


I got a glimpse into how the universe works. 


Our lives are made of bits and pieces, signs, showing us the way. 


Look what we have been through, little biological bodies carrying a soul we didn’t know we had for a long while. We had an inkling but couldn’t quite get it. We went into psychology, physiology, and anatomy to get a picture of what we were about. All the while trying to eke out a living while also trying to make sense of this complex condition called life. We muddled through—the good, bad, and ugly--but if bad was all we were, we probably wouldn’t be here today.


Remember what Steven Pressfield said about cleaning the way, so the Muse doesn’t soil her gown on the way in?


She doesn’t always come, but she sometimes does, and often after years of labor. (It takes enormous sweeping to clean our emotional/spiritual house or years of wandering in the wilderness before bumping into the giant Sequoia.)


Many a creative has felt the Muse’s effects, a formula that presented itself whole and complete, an answer to an equation that made itself known, a writer who read over his material and said, “Who wrote that?” 


These sorts of events often happen after you have swept your house. 


Burma Shave went out of business in 1963. Change happens. They sold to Remington.


Change happens with the signs too.


Last night I watched Nanci L Danison speak of her death experience and felt that that lady was spot on.


She added more signs into the link of signs—how we are biological animals of the earth with an eternal Soul, how we’re had God all wrong by believing in a Patriarchal being who lives outside us and is kind and compassionate on the one hand, and doles out punishment on the other—demanding sacrifice, admiration, and who sends people out to kill and do atrocious things. And would send his creations to eternal punishment, for heaven’s sake. 


We are afraid to stand up to that whatever, for fear of death and eternal damnation. 


On the other hand, some say, “God is Love,”


Love, smove, you say, it doesn’t feel like it.”


“I’m both enamored with and terrified by Jesus’ audacious ethic,” writes Barney Wiget, vagabond preacher. “His Sermon contains some of the most fetching words ever spoken and, at the same time, the most unachievable to live under human steam. Love your enemies, do something good for the person cursing you, and do it without telling anyone you did it seems pretty out of reach to me!” 


The biologist in me liked that Nanci Danison said, “We are all animals.”


The spiritual person in me liked that she said we are souls, a part of the God being, 

a part of The Source. She sees the two, the biological entity and the soul, as separate.


I have hesitated to go to this place, for I know everyone has their belief system, and we want to respect that. So? What am I afraid of? Just say it. The last sign might say, “The Source in Within You.”


I have come through Catholicism, Protestantism, Atheism, Unitarianism, Science of the Mindism, and the Law of Attractionism, to a new understanding. Most all isms carry a sign, a piece of the lineup that tells the joke, but crash into the others before completing the run. 


Nothing has changed my mind from ancient beliefs that God is too big for us to understand. For example, I’ve read that some Native Africans say God does not live in a Church, but in the forest and the fields and on the mountain when the rains come.” 


My model is that God is like the ocean, and we are the drops in it. We are all a part of the whole.


But that model is my need to have a visual picture, something to explain the unexplainable. Scientists are now studying consciousness, which is probably another aspect of Source by a different name. We are getting pieces and signs and slowly piecing them together. 


Another explanation is that God exploded himself into all souls. With our human bodies, we are the little antennas, like neurons from God, feeding back to the Source. In this manner, Spirit knows what it feels like to be flesh and boney creatures, to love and be loved, to bring forth offspring, to find our spark of creativity, and to look in awe at His paradise. 


Maybe when it said in the Bible to worship God, it meant more like “Look out in wonder, and appreciate it.”


If we thought we were all in this together, we would act differently. The biological entity looks out for itself, for its nature is to survive. The spiritual entity has another agenda.


“I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature.”
— John Steinbeck, Nobel Prize acceptance speech, 1962


Tuesday, March 7, 2023


We all have a creative urge.

It doesn't have to be writing. Neither does that creative outlet have to be an occupation, but wouldn't it be wonderful if it was?

Creativity feeds the soul. Do you create a mean omelet? That's creative.

Sometimes our efforts can drive the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of us batty. That is if we are trying to put our creation out to the world or practicing to become a Jeti.

Think of a time when you were pursuing something and wanted to quit?

Did you?

If you persevered, what was the rewarding part?

(The baby was born. You graduated from college.)

Think of your successes.

What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.
— Jane Goodall, primatologist


On the last blog I mentioned our Real Estate Business, today I am including a copy of Our Newsletter for your perusal. It’s FREE for blog readers and visitors to our site

A Flamboyance

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Thursday, March 2, 2023

Yep, We're a Small Company

"What is it with business people trying to sound big? The stiff language… the artificial friendliness…the legalese. You read this stuff, and it sounds like a robot wrote it." 

"This mask of professionalism is a joke. We all know this. Yet small businesses try to emulate it."

Quotes from Rework by Jason Fried and Davis Heinemeier Hanson.


I wondered about this, too, when my daughter and I decided to start a Real Estate Brokerage. (My daughter has kept her Real Estate Agent license long enough to qualify as a Principal Broker; thus, she can create her own agency. I'm an agent. She's the boss.) I wondered if people go for the big guys and ignore us.


Yet how did Avis, the car rental company, take on Budget? With their slogan, "We try harder."


Years ago, looking for a Realtor, I thought I ought to find the top seller and go with them. They know more, I thought. They have more experience. Now, I think, "How hard is it to write up an offer?"


When we were planning to move from California to Oregon. I looked up a Real Estate Agency that was a top seller. We bought a plot of land found by an agent who presented it to us. Not the big guy. The second Realtor found the property, showed it to us, wrote up the offer, and that was it. It was a simple transaction. It was raw land at a reasonable price, just what we wanted. (We built a house on it.) I felt guilty for not going with the agent who showed us a half-dozen houses—however, she was showing us top-dollar homes for what we could afford.


Years later, I again enlisted a top seller. (I'm a slow learner.) They simply took pictures of the house, placed it on MLS, and waited for someone to find and buy it. They didn't have a bevy of buyers looking for what we had to offer. However, this was in 2009, the worse time to sell a house. 


We rented it. And moved to Hawaii--and back. (See The Frog's Song by Joyce Davis) The renter knew about a Land Sale where the renter takes over the payments. The mortgage company kept quiet for they were getting paid at a time people were defaulting on their loans. The renter was delighted, for he had a house without a down payment. We were overjoyed that we weren't making house payments on a place that was too expensive for the market, plus we owed too much on it to pay a Realtor.


The renter paid the mortgage until he could obtain a loan and bought the house.


All's well that ends well.


Now I'm a new Realtor--passed my test, got my license, and have been working on a website. I keep shaking my head if I go into the Home Search engine we placed on our site. That process took a learning curve. They say our search engine, firmly attached to MLS, is better than Zillow, for it keeps homes for sale up to date. Zillow, being a national company, takes a while longer. Sometimes when going to Zillow, you find the home of your dreams pending or sold. I'm shaking my head, though in wonder. How can people afford a house these days.


The market will level out. It's inevitable.


If interested, here's a peek at our site:


Something to whet your appetite:


Something to whet your appetite:  --Home of Pink, the Pink Flamingo. If people have a For- Sale-Sign in their yard, shouldn't it have a Pink Flamingo on it--not my big fat face?

Our business card:





Monday, January 30, 2023

Chattering Minds


                                                                Quote by Mary Oliver

A hummingbird just flitted past my window, and for one microsecond, he turned his head toward me then zoomed away like a Blue Angel jet splitting a Diamond formation.

 A moment in time.

 I was just reading this line by Ruth Ozeski, “A book must start somewhere.” So, I wondered what brave word would volunteer to write this, and at that moment the hummingbird appeared. Was that a message? I am here, begin with me? I am little but if I fly close to you my sound is like a Blue Angel’s jet you used in reference. I make my presence known.

 A moment in time.

 Let’s say you are walking down the street and your internal voice is #chattering to you. , “Oh look at that  the roses are in bud. That one is going to be pink, I can tell. I love rose. They look so crappy, thought, when they wilt. We have to keep them pruned, and clip off the wilting buds. Don’t you hate it when you get stuck by a thorn. Why do roses have thorns? Oh, a Kitty is running across the street. Funny how their feet look like wheels as, they pussy foot across the street..  Oh, I forgot to call Fred.  He’s going to be so mad at me. Well, I will call him when I get back from my walk. Oh , he’ll will be at lunch break. I’ll call after lunch. Will I remember or be engrossed in computer work? I don’t know. There’s my neighbor coming toward me. What’s her name? I can’t remember, and how many times have I asked her. This is so embarrassing.”

 If you had a friend who kept up that barrage of talking, you would soon tell her to take a hike, but our mind does it all the time, and we listen intently.

Mediators talk of the chattering mind, but what about the chattering mind that occurs all the time--every minute, every second?

 “In case you don’t know it,” writes Michael A. Singer in his book, The Unthethered Soul, “you have a mental dialogue that goes on inside your head that never stops.”

 If you step back to listen, you will notice that the voice will take both sides of the conversation.

 ‘I’m hungry, guess I should stop and eat. No, I want to finish what I am doing. What do I want to eat? I had eggs yesterday. I don’t want eggs today. I don’t want cereal either. Well, I’ll settle for coffee for a while, until I need to get up to go to the bathroom. “

 See, it just chatters.

 That’s its job.

 You know the old cartoon of a person with an angel on one shoulder, and a devil on the other? Each of these entities are whispering in their host’s ear.

That cartoonist was probably depicting the idea that God spoke on one side, while the devil tempted on the other.


People got the idea that something was wrong with them that they had unwanted thoughts, especially if they were negative. Yet the voice is just throwing out possibilities. And sometimes it throws up terrible pictures, or past trauma, or injuries, or jealousy, or hatred. It apparently has no governor until you put one on it.

 People with OCD Obsessive Compulsory Disorder are quite possibly frightened by a negative internal voice, and find way of comforting themselves, like continually washing their hands, (Hey aren’t we told to wash, wash, wash, like we are dirty or something? There are germs out there, and they are going to get you.) Martha Beck said whenever she is in high places a voice tells her to jump. Her psychiatrist said that if she is with someone when that happens to tell the other person. On day while walking with a monk along a pathway on a bluff, she nervously confessed that her internal voice told her to jump.

“That happens to everybody,” he said.

That rather takes the pressure off, doesn’t it?

Van Goth cut off his ear trying to stop hearing his internal voice. The television, the Internet are great distractors, fill the head with noise so we don’t hear the voice.  

Manifesting gurus tell us to focus on what we want, “I want a new car. Oh, but you can’t afford a new car. Have you seen the prices these days? You don’t need a new car, the old one is good enough. Besides, what do you need a new one for anyway? You don’t deserve a new car. If you’d taken better care of the old one, it would be in better shape.”

 Pretty soon you are beaten down, and think you are a rotten person for even thinking you wanted a new car in the first place.


What if, say people who teach meditation. “You just observe the thoughts and let them glide through.”

 That voice isn’t you. You are outside it. It is the voice’s job to talk.

 That voice is not different, says Singer, than placing three objects in front of you. Let’s say its a flowerpot, a book and a rock. “Which one is you?”

 “Well, none,” you say. “I‘m not a rock or a flower pot, or a book. I’m just observing them.”

 So it is with that voice. It’s just either narrating your life, such as in the walk, or throwing out things to consider.(Should I marry that person, or not marry him? Remember what happened before, you shouldn’t have married that one.”

It often gives you both sides, the angel and the devil sitting on your shoulder. 

The fact that multiple spiritual traditions have both feared our inner voice and noted its value speaks to the ambivalent attitudes to our internal conversations that still persist today.

The teacher Abraham says to reach for a higher thought. It’s incremental, you can’t pop from despair to exhilaration in one fell swoop. (Maybe.) If you hold that thought for 17 seconds (I don’t know where the 17 seconds came from) if you do another higher thought will join it. And it’s the same with the lower thought.

 I just completed Ozeski’s book A Tale for the Time Being where I was amazed at her description of a meditation practice, she called Zazen. As I read the 16 year old protagonist’s description of what was going on with her as she sat in zazen, I thought that was the best description of meditation I have ever read or heard, and I found it in a novel. (At first the girl’s internal voice just wouldn’t shut up.)

After I finished the book, I found that Ozeski is a Buddhist Priest.

 I don’t know why I bought that book, it’s a tough read in parts. Man’s inhumanity to man is immense. (The girl is a tough talking Japanese bullied to the extreme.)

And yet, I thought, yes, there is extreme cruelty in the world, but there are also noble beings.

 In the book the protagonist spends a summer with her Grandmother, a 100 year old Buddhist Monk, who tells her that zazan probably won’t cure her of her syndromes and tendencies, but it would teach her not to be so obsessed with them.

 Now scientists are saying that chattering voice is a release valve.

 And spiritual leaders such as The Dalali Lama and Archbishop TuTu both agree that we are Masterpieces in process. And that rather than think we ought to be happy, we ought to live in joy. Laugh at life, and at the voice. 


 Carl Jung, the great psychologist, and a friend of his who was a Pueblo Indian chief named Mountain Lake. They got to be close enough friends that Jung said to him one day, "So what do you people think about white
folks really?"

Mountain Lake said, "To be honest, we think you're completely
insane. You're always staring. You always want something. Why
are you obsessed with it? By the way, you say you think with your

Jung was like, "Yeah. Where do you say you think?"

Mountain Lake indicated his whole body. "With everything. We think
with everything. We're part of everything.”


I had to laugh this morning when I found the quote I was wanting and thought I should look it up. And then I opened Martha Beck’s email and there it was.


“Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

--Mary Oliver



Google: Tools for Providing Chatter Support

  • Address people’s emotional and cognitive needs. When people come to others for help with their chatter, they generally have two needs they’re trying to fulfill: They’re searching for care and support, on the one hand (emotional needs), and concrete advice about how to move forward and gain closure, on the other (cognitive needs). Addressing both of these needs is vital to your ability to calm other people’s chatter. Concretely, this involves not only empathically validating what people are going through but also broadening their perspective, providing hope, and normalizing their experience. This can be done in person, or via texting, social media, and other forms of digital communication.
  • Tell your kids to pretend they’re a superhero. This strategy, popularized in the media as “the Batman effect,” is a distancing strategy that is particularly useful for children grappling with intense emotions. Ask them to pretend they’re a superhero or cartoon character they admire, and then nudge them to refer to themselves using that character’s name when they’re confronting a difficult situation. Doing so helps them distance.