Thursday, April 30, 2009

Turning emotional lead into gold

For many of us who have a sense of brokenness, it can be helpful to identify a symbol of our pain and torntopieceshood and then turn that symbol into something beautiful. Here's the story of how I did just that with a symbol of my own brokenness.

I had an accident in July of 2007 that left my left shoulder shattered and my left wrist badly broken. you can read about this in my book A Spirituality for Brokenness, or by visiting my web site:

I had to wear a cast on my left forearm for about 6 weeks. The cast was white and pretty boring to look at. It quickly became dingy. But my partner, Fran, decided to decorate it for me (see the picture above). What was boring became beautiful and many people commented on how interesting it look.

When the cast came off, I kep it around. I knew I didn't want to throw it away. But I struggled with what to do. I experimented a little with turning it into a vase, but the fact that it had an opening for my fingers and separate opening for my thumb made it look pretty odd.

So Fran and I stored it away in art room at home. It rested there for more than 18 months.

Recently the cast was in my mind again. I'm not sure why.

It occurred to me that I might be able to turn my cast into a lamp (by slipping it over the verticle stick of a table lamp). I tried this and it worked fine.

I now have a lamp in my living room that displays my cast as something beautiful.

And there was one last little bit of gold in all of this.

After she saw a picture of the cast lamp, ran reminded me that the accident that resulted in my wrist being broken had begun when I turned of a lamp.

It seems rather fitting that I have now turned a symbol of pain into a work of sculpture.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

World Laughter Day is May 3rd

My friend Melanie praqctices laughter yoga. It's not laughing ABOUT things like jokes. It's about the joy, refreshment and mending power of laughter.

This Saturday is World laughter Day. Try it out. You might find it a balm for your brokenness.

Here are information and links that Melanie shared with me. I hope you find them useful.

World Peace Through Laughter.... The World Needs Laughter Now More Than Ever....

For Your Information..... Sunday, May 3, 2009 is World Laughter Day...

There are Events Happening Around the World... Take a Look :-D

Spend some time on May 3rd... laughing in your own unique way...

There are a few options.

1. Go to and find a Laughter Yoga Class Near You.

2. Call the Laughter Yoga Phone Line.... . There are 11 Live, Free Daily Calls a Day.

3. Spend Some Time Laughing with Your Loved Ones/Family/Friends, etc....

A Friend Recently Shared a few Hafiz Poems with Me that I will share with you:

Two Giant Fat People

God and I

have become like two giant fat people

living in a tiny boat.

We keep bumping into each other

and Laughing :-D

Hafiz c. 1320-1389

When the Violin

When the Violin can forgive the past-It starts singing

When the Violin can stop worrying about the future-

You will become a drunk laughing Nuisance

that God will then lean down and start combing you into his hair.

When the Violin can forgive every wound caused by others

The heart starts singing.


What is This ?

What is this precious Love & Laughter

budding in our Hearts?

It is the Glorious Sound

of a Soul Waking Up.


Wellness Club

Live to Laugh...... Laugh to Live :-)))

Love to Laugh..... Laugh to Love :-)))

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Few Words About the Proper Use of Hammers

Last Wednesday evening I attended a presentation at Louisville's Unity Church by the spiritual leader called Byron Katie.

Katie, as she is called, is the champion of a technique for overcoming problems that is called, "The Work." The Work is built around your answers to a set of key questions that Katie asks you to address regarding a consuming problem that you are struggling with.

Here are the questions she asks you to use in dealing with what has happened to you, or more particularly what you believe about something that has happened:

  1. Is it true?

  2. Can you absolutely know that it's true?

  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

  4. Who would you be without the thought?

I think these are very valuable questions to use, especially in dealing with the the event or events that have led to our sense of brokenness. In fact, in the chapter about Lectio Divina, in my book, A Spirituality for Brokenness, I encourage readers to use these questions in exploring key life events. Why? Because sometimes what we think happened, or believe happened, may not be real, or at least may not have happened in the way we recall it. On the other hand, what happened may have been real. It's just good to do a reality check.

Here is my concern about "The Work" in the way that Katie uses it. She seems to see The Work and the four questions as a sort of panacea that will enable you to fix anything that is wrong with you.

My friend and partner, Fran Englander, sometimes says that, to the person holding a hammer, EVERYTHING looks like a nail. There's something of that in what Katie does. For her, The Work is a hammer, and everyone's problem is a nail. While The Work is very valuable, there are lots of other techniques that can help as well. And the can be used with The Work.

Having offered that caveat, I still encourage you to use the four questions, and to answer them as honestly as you can.

And explore Katie's website to try the technique for yourself.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Chanting the 99 names of God


When we are focusing too much on our own pain an anguish, we can often turn to music to ease our suffering. One special form of music that touches deeply on suffering is chant.

Here is a link to a beautiful video on utube that presents the chanting of The 99 Names of God. This practice comes out of Islam, and its reverence for Allah or God (the same God worshipped by Christians and Jews). This link was sent to me by my Turkish Sufi friend, Gonul Ozturk. The Sufis represent the beautiful, peaceful, eloquent side of Islam.

So, take a few moments to savor the sounds and images on this utube site. You might also want to save the link to use in your meditation practice from time to time.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Watch the 5-day creation of a sand mandala in five minutes!

A couple of weeks ago IPP and the Drepung Gomang Institute premiered a short video by Eizabeth Windisch and Human-Kind Poductions. The video documented via time-lapse photography, the creation of an elaborate sand mandala by visiting Tibetan monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery in south India.

Here's a link to check out the video. I hope you find it as restful and refreshing to watch as I do!

The story of a heroine who recognizes her brokenness

A book is being published today that seems destined to become a bestseller. It details the story of a woman named Tori Murden McClure who was the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

But that distinction isn't what drew my attention to her story. What got me interested was the fact that Tori was woman enough to recognize her own limitations. She had failed in her first attemp to row across the ocean, and when she neared the end of her successful second attemp she and her boat suffered the onslaught of a storm she feared would drown her...almost within sight of her destination. Here's what she said to the Louisville Courier-Journal reporter who interviewed her:

Before she reached land a storm struck her cabin, causing her to collapse.
She prayed, "I've helped the disabled. I've pulled homeless people out of
Dumpsters. I've comforted individuals in distress. I've put myself out there
time and again. How much more do you want from me? How much more can I

Then came her revelation. 'When I looked up from my
prayer,' she writes, 'the storm seemed to shine blue with electrical energy. It
was then that I realized the sublime truth of what I had been missing. I'd
intended to slay the sea monster of my helplessness. But I am, after all, a
woman. We don't slay our dragons; we embrace them...

Helplessness was not something outside me, some malevolent force that I
had to defeat," she states. 'Helplessness was a part of me. I am a human being.
It is our brokenness, our helplessness, which makes us human. I thought I'd been
trying to earn God's forgiveness, but the forgiveness I needed was my own. I had
only to forgive myself.'

The quotes above were taken from an article about Tori that appeared in the Louisville Courier-Journal on Saturday, April 4, 2009. The article was written by Linda Elisabeth Beattie. Here's a link to the full story:

Monday, April 6, 2009

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month


Last Tuesday I took part in an event here in Louisville called Denim Day. This event draws attention to the problem of sexual assault. In fact, April is sexual assault awareness month in the U.S. The event that I was part of was sponsored by The Center for Women and Families in Louisville, an organization that serves women, children and men who have survived sexual assault and domestic violence. To learn more about the Center, and about Denim Day please visit:

Did you know that one in six women will suffer the brokenness that results from sexual assault? Or that one in thirty-three men suffer such a shattering experience?

For more information about the shattering problems of sexual assault and domestic violence, and for help if you have been a victim of these crimes visit the web site of RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network at

If you know someone who is in a domestic violence situation, urge them to seek help immediately.