June 1, 2011

Back to basics when all else fails--Denzel, etc.

"Square one," "The bottom fell out," "Loser," "Grief," "Loss," "It's 'the End.'"

I loved that graduation speech by Denzel Washington, actor, the other day, "You are going to fail. . . . If you don't fail you aren't even trying. Get used to the idea. . . ." or something like that!

At the time though, when you are in the experience of grief, loss, depression, failure, and so on, it is very hard to cope and some of us forget to reach out or encourage ourselves. We don't know that there is a way out of the despair and hopelessness and that part of getting through is to embrace the struggle by including others or certain actions in the process.

In these days of a tough economy, global change, diverse cultural engagement, we seem to be handling the change by "losing our grip" with our primate nature. Touch, hugs, face to face communication . . . some of us are forgetting our divine natures--spiritual beings having a human experience.

If you are feeling everything closing in and getting down on yourself, here are five things for motivation and encouragement that have helped me:

1. Call a good friend, family member, or good listener, who accepts you as you are and get together with them or if they are willing to listen, talk on the phone.
2. Call the hotline from the phone book (such as 1st call for help at 612-379-6363) and talk with a counselor.
3. Get a therapist or talk with a rector, pastor, or trusted other.
4. Walk and breathe in nature.
5. Hold a pet, kitten, puppy, dog, cat, etc.
5. Start attending a church, synagog, mosque, or other spiritual tradition or 12 step group.

Remember: We are worthy no matter what happens, we count and have probably lost sight of our worth if we are overwhelmed. We have a lot more of what it takes than we think we do, and we feel better when we find support and start taking risks to move forward and act on our faith and belief in ourselves. If we don't feel as if we believe in ourselves, we act as if--we act our way into a new way of being.

Pray for the will to move forward if you are not yet willing--and then see how your prayer is answered pretty quickly with an intuitive thought, a decision, or some other amazing willingness emerging--in some small or large way.

June 17, 2010


Updated June 02, 2011. This blog started in Winter 2009, as the "bailouts" and historic Obama administration began. The topic is about "recession"--the economic kind, the mental kind, the personal kind. Things recede--things move and change. Hairlines, hemlines, the tide . . . . Recessions seem good, bad, or indifferent. They "are." [We now know, as our commentors point out, just how tough this time is for many. All the more reason for constructive thinking and actions!]

In this summer of 2011, I want to direct you to my blog about "failure" based on Denzel Washington's speech recently, and numerous other tid bits of what I've learned about change and challenge:
In the summer of 2010, we were dealing with the ecological crisis emerging from the BP oil-rig disaster. Refer to Time Magazine's front cover showing the oil-soaked Pelican--Oh my--"I'd hate to have that magazine sitting on MY living room table," said the store clerk. Aren't we all like her--let's just not look at it--it's too awful to conceive of. But it IS. And it is not going away soon enough for me and like-minded folks.

So, my first entry on this blog continues to show merit--"green" priorities continue to emerge and take precedence. "In crisis is opportunity"--that wise Asian adage, continues to prove itself. We see volunteers flooding to the Gulf, bringing increased consumerism to the Gulf area. We see engineers offering solutions--though not fast enough. Certainly there is not enough opportunity in this crisis--at least short-term. Long-term however, I sense the elephant in the room is becoming less of a secret. The disasters plaguing New Orleans are becoming the death knell for a fossil fuel and energy industry heyday. We all need to look at the green implications of our actions, right? Do we really want to continue to see our recreational areas as well as fishing and shrimping and crabbing etc. areas harmed like this?!

My original questions on this blog were the following: "What is your personal recession today? Where are you feeling 'less than'? Where have you seen financial loss? What other kinds of loss?"

I'd now add: "Where are your opportunities 'to go green'? What are you doing to reduce driving distance and driving frequency by automobile? What short-term business opportunities does this Gulf of Mexico oil-rig disaster present? What long-term business opportunities does our new green economy offer you? Can you start a new vertical market to help get Minnesota out of the recession?"

Back to my earlier blog comments from 2009; notice how much of it still does apply!

* * *

John McCain talked about our country having a mental recession. To me that means we're are not talking enough and using our heads - not reflecting enough to learn what we need to do next.

It looks like we are a bit too much into fear, greed, and materialism. Maybe if we "let go" just a bit, we'll all be a lot better off. We may create new jobs that are really needed for our green economy for example!

So again, tell me about YOUR recession and your thoughts about it.

> Are you creating something new, moving into the unknown?

> Are you hunkering down, retreating, doing less? Taking fewer classes?

> Did you get the grades you thought you deserved?

> Did you learn something new that was real difficult, like Calculus!?

It's all OK, let's just talk about what makes sense for now. A dialog may take us somewhere worth going to :)

January 7, 2010

Epiphany Epiphany - Dodd and Carla at St. Mark's

Senator Dodd resigned yesterday and mentioned that he was resigning on Epiphany.

This felt like a supernatural connection as I heard his discussion of "why" he is resigning. My reptile brain was shouting, "No, you cannot do this to 'us!'" Doesn't Dodd know how much "we" need him? "What about the healthcare bill--it's not a done deal yet!"

And his response was "no one is indespensible."

Humbling words to hear. Did any one else feel the weight of his decision in light of his cancer diagnosis and his young wife and family? The man spoke of the death by cancer recently of another indispensable man, Ted K. You know who I mean, we all do. Dodd had his epiphany at Arlington Cemetery at the Kennedy gravesite.

The coincidence (or supernatural connection referred to ealier) was aligned with a conversation had ealier that day. Yesterday, about 12:30 p.m. at the Job Seekers group for congregants I met with Carla at St. Mark's Cathedral. Carla told me the story that the Wise Men were professionals on a mission. They were seeking answers to what the stars were telling them. Yet these professionals who came with the usual detachment of professionals found themselves kneeling in reverence before a humble human scene.

Thank you Carla and thank you Senator Dodd for rising about the temporal frey of urgency and fear. Thank you oh ye Wise Men of old. Thank you for setting your sights on what matters.


What is your epiphany this winter? Where are you surprised? Where do you find energy and engagement?

June 12, 2009



This is a great breakfast slow food--not too slow!



Comfort food is defined simply as food that gives us that warm inner feeling of being nutured by "mother" or a surrogate! My mom would be the first to agree that she was not such a great cook. But I know what my comfort foods are. They are what I call "old fashioned"--they can be made "from scratch" (as close to "scratch" as we can come but of course not nearly as "from scratch" as some of the originals) and at home. After all, some of those pioneers ground their own flour for example and pulled water from the stream.

Here are few really old foods I love.


My gramma pan fried this and served it with fried eggs and toast on Sunday's. My brothers and sister didn't like it. I think it DOES require a bit of a special pallet--you usually like pork, sage and pepper if you like scrapple.


This is a food eaten by the pioneers of the U. S. Women would make a porridge of cornmeal mixed in with leftover pork parts, broth, and seasonings. Some people added lard.It was packed as a loaf that was then sliced and pieces pan fried--a quick way to get a fast meal of starch, fat, and protein.

My dad (born at the turn of the 20th century) and gramma (born in the late 1800s) loved to cook this. Today's versions to me seem to have more cornmeal and fewer meat parts.

Scrapple cooking:
You usually open the pack. Let it defrost if needed.
Cut a slice or two for a quick breakfast.
Pan fry, letting each side get golden brown.

In the Twin Cities I have found scrapple at Byerly's in Edina and Lund's in Uptown. Be sure to call any store before going many stores do not carry this food choice any more. But I guess there is still a dedicated following; thus it IS still available and manufactured and nationally distributed.

There are also recipes for this food on the web.
You'll note that some vegetarian versions are available.


The product Vrapple is a vegetarian version of scrapple. Haven't tried it, but I like the ingenuity of its producer!