From This Too, I Rest

“Do not push so fast ahead, do slow down a bit! Otherwise you won't catch up with yourselves.” ~Franz Grillparzer

Yesterday was my final day of work for this week. Oh, I will return on the very same day next week; but, for a time, albeit brief, I will have some rest.

From this too, I shall abstain.

I need to feel pen on paper again. I type quickly enough that my fingers can almost pace my stream of consciousness and, though often useful when I am feeling rushed or when a topic flows easily, that gift can suppress the mind. Thinking on paper give freedom to scattered thought. There is no [Backspace] key.

It is a good time for reflection.

Not to mention, I do not have the convenience of an unlimited data plan on my cell and my parents have satellite internet and a non-working wireless router… and that is where I will be for a few days. The boys crave grandparent time.

See? It is a good time.
Consider me unplugged.

We That Never Was Us

“O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?”
~William Butler Yeats, Among School Children

Why do we dance this charade?

You cloak your words amid the blindingly beautiful plumage of a peacock’s narcissistic strut. Tapping around innuendo, I coerce from you one feather… then two… masquerading behind false confidence.

You taunt with promise.
I feign indifference.

We tease the unknown.

I curtsy.
My eyes seduce from behind veil of steel.

You bow.
Your hand extending with burning anticipation.

We touch… Fire to Ice.

I melt.
You mock.

We pause…

Footsteps echo far.
Illumination dims.
I waltz alone behind the curtain.

We that never was Us deteriorates in dark silence.

Bittersweet Aftertaste

Mount Kenya Safari Club - June 23, 1993

"I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can." ~Beryl Markham, West with the Night

I have been asked, on many occasions, what my choice would be in terms of a “dream job”. My answer changes depending on mood but it always includes travel. It wasn’t always so. At one time I intended to be an English teacher for high school students in their senior year… British Literature. Lucky(?) for me, life intervened and I didn’t finish my university degree. Had I completed on time then I would have been in the classroom before I realized that I really do abhor teenagers. (Oh, I love my own. Sort of. I’ll get back to you on that one.)

I have had a taste of this travel job or that one from time to time. In fact, I was a travel agent for a while. I thought my agency was going to go out of business (It didn’t, but it came close.) so I left. In my professional career… that’s the closest to “dream job” I have had the pleasure to come near; but, while quite tasty, it wasn’t the ideal daily meal either. I survived off the concept of “those who cannot go… send”. One should not live vicariously through one’s clients but I find myself doing it again as I now work in a resort.

The summer after my first year at university, however, I had the “job” of a lifetime though I didn’t get paid… monetarily. There was a professor from the U.S. Midwest who used to come teach classes at the seminary my father helped to found in Kenya. That summer he came to Kenya for a much different purpose. He had put together a tour group… made all the arrangements… planned the agenda, etc. He asked if I would be available, since I had returned to Kenya for the summer, to go along and be the group’s unofficial tour guide.

It was delectable.

That opportunity taught me a lot about people and about myself and even about my Kenya… as we visited places I had never been before and I had to do a bit of research after I received the itinerary. I remember vowing to take my “job” seriously despite having no professional experience and that is what I did. I also kept a journal. I dug it out as I began writing this post to discover that, after a few days, I simply stopped writing. Odd; however, what there is I now find extremely disjointed and juvenile. I enjoy the prompt of memories it evokes though reading it is quite painful.

I should have realized years ago how pleasing that particular two weeks of that particular summer was to my palate and changed the course of my life accordingly. Upon returning to school I should have switched career paths, studied anthropology or international business or something less I-adore-English-literature and more I-have-to-get-back-to-Kenya.

Oh, how I sometimes wish an aftertaste was as sweet as the original bite.

"But, for a little while, this is the place for us -- a good place too--a place of good omen, a place of beginning things--and of ending things I never thought would end." ~Beryl Markham, West with the Night

A Mild Jolt

Diani Beach - Mombasa, Kenya - 1992

The healthy being craves an occasional wildness, a jolt from normality, a sharpening of the edge of appetite, his own little festival of Saturnalia, a brief excursion from his way of life. ~Robert M. Maclver, Sociologist

My father is a firm believer in vacations. It has taken every day of my life until today to realize that fact. Ridiculous, really, because he took them as often as possible. I do remember seeing him study Hebrew under a palm tree or reading a memo or two… always a little bit of work along for the ride; but, work on the beach is highly different than work in an office.

This realization has brought about an even greater longing for a “real” vacation than I had earlier this morning. Reason being? I haven’t had one in a ridiculous amount of time... a vacation... not the longing. That's standard. And, I have always been bothered by the fact that I did not have the means or opportunity to take my children on vacations like I took with my parents.

While growing up, our vacation location of choice was Mombasa, or sometimes Malindi, Kenya. There is no predicting what deal I would make with the devil to be in Mombasa right now. But, since I cannot be there, I have managed a very little time off (2 work days + a 3-day holiday weekend) next week. As I work in a resort and it is our busy season... it feels like a coup. It also won’t be enough but, at this point, I have no clue what would be enough. I also will not be on a beach or in a European cathedral or at a Broadway musical. I definitely won’t be in Mombasa or Rome or experiencing any form of wildness; but, I will be with my boys at my parent’s home.

It is time off… a brief excursion... a very mild jolt.
For this I am grateful.
I’m sure everyone at work is grateful too.
I am getting kind of stabby.
They should probably hide all sharp objects until I leave.

Not Unhappy

Click the book to access the author's page.

“Never being happy isn't the same as being unhappy, is it?” ~Fame, Film (1980)

I am not unhappy.

I realize, in reading recent posts, that it must seem as though I am a rather miserable human being but that is not the case. Tired? Yes. In dire need a vacation that will not be coming any time in the near future? Yes. A little frazzled? Yes. But… not unhappy.

I purge my feelings on paper or… on blog. It’s what I do. I write and then say, “Whew! I feel better.” You should see my journals.

One of my favorite books on the planet (I think I have referenced it before.) is Eric G. Wilson’s Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy. It is exactly what it sounds like. He points out that without melancholy we wouldn’t have the paintings of Van Gogh or any number of other amazing artists. Without melancholy we wouldn’t have the music of Beethoven or the poetry of Keats. I do not know how you feel about it… but, Hooray melancholy! If you ever read my poetry then it will be clear to you that I never write “happy” poetry. I have tried. It does not work. I am not comparing myself to Keats or Poe or Byron. Not at all; but, creatively, melancholy works for me.

There is a difference between normal human melancholia and put-me-on-death-watch depression. I am getting pretty darn good at recognizing the difference. Or, if I feel the latter coming my way, I tell those around me. They begin to watch my behaviors. If things don’t change for me then I jaunt of to the hot doctor and beg for new meds. It’s a cycle. Woo bipolarity. But, if things do improve with a little time, then I know I just needed a little time to let it improve. Profound, huh?

Americans are impatient. They don’t like to wait for things to get better; hence… this country is ridiculously over-medicated. Read here what Wilson has to say:

Surely all this happiness can’t be for real. How can so many people be happy in the midst of all the problems that beset our globe—not only the collective and apocalyptic ills just mentioned but also those particular irritations that bedevil our everyday existences, those money issues and marital spats, those stifling vocations and lonely dawns? Are we to believe that four out of every five Americans can be content amid the general woe? Are some people lying, or are they simply afraid to be honest in a culture in which the status quo is nothing short of manic bliss? Aren’t we suspicious of this statistic? Aren’t we further troubled by our culture’s overemphasis on happiness? Don’t we fear that this rabid focus on exuberance leads to half-lives, to bland existences, to wastelands of mechanistic behavior?

I for one am afraid that our American culture’s overemphasis on happiness at the expense of sadness might be dangerous, a wanton forgetting of an essential part of a full life. I further am wary in the face of this possibility: to desire only happiness in a world undoubtedly tragic is to become inauthentic, to settle for unrealistic abstractions that ignore concrete situations. I am finally fearful over or society’s efforts to expunge melancholia from the system. Without the agitations of the soul, would all of our magnificently yearning towers topple? Would our heart-torn symphonies cease?

I want to get to the bottom of these fears, to see if they’re legitimate or just neurotic grumblings. My feeling right now is that they are valid. This sense grows out of my suspicion that the predominant form of American happiness breeds blandness. This kind of happiness appears to entertain a craven disregard for the value of sadness. This brand of supposed joy, moreover, seems to foster an ongoing ignorance of life’s enduring and vital polarity between agony and ecstasy, dejection and ebullience. Trying to forget sadness and its integral place in the great rhythm of the cosmos, this sort of happiness insinuates in the end that the blues are an aberrant state that should be cursed as weakness of will or removed with the help of a little pink pill.

Let me be clear. I’m right now thinking only of this specific American type of happiness. I’m not questioning joy in general. For instance, I’m not challenging that unbearable exuberance that suddenly emerges from long suffering. I’m not troubled by that hard-earned tranquility that comes from long meditation on the world’s sorrows. I’m not criticizing that slow-burning bliss that issues from a life spent helping those who hurt.

Likewise, I’d like to be clear about this: I don’t want to romanticize clinical depression. I realize that there are many lost souls out there who require medication to keep from killing themselves or harming their friends and families. I don’t want to question the pharmaceutical therapies of the depressed. Not only am I not qualified to do this (I’m not a psychotherapist marshaling evidence, but a literary humanist searching for a deeper life), I’m also not willing to argue against medication that simply make existence bearable for so many with biochemical disorders.

I do, however, wonder why so many people experiencing melancholia are now taking pills meant simply to ease the pain, to turn scowls once more into smiles. Of course there is a fine line between what I’m calling melancholia and what society calls depression. In my mind, what separates the two is a degree of activity. Both forms are more or less chronic sadness that leads to ongoing unease with how things are—persistent feelings that the world as it is is not quite right, that it is a place of suffering, stupidity, and evil. Depression (as I see it, at least) causes apathy in the face of this unease, lethargy approaching total paralysis, an inability to feel much of anything one way or another. In contrast, melancholia (in my eyes) generates a deep feeling in regard to this same anxiety, a turbulence of heart that results in an active questioning of the status quo, a perpetual longing to create new ways of being and seeing.

Our culture seems to confuse these two and thus treat melancholia as an aberrant state, a vile threat to our pervasive notions of happiness—happiness as immediate gratification, happiness as superficial comfort, happiness as static contentment. Of course the question immediately arises: Who wouldn’t question this apparently hollow form of American happiness? Aren’t all of us late at night, when we’re honest with ourselves, opposed to shallow happiness? Most likely we are, but isn’t it possible that many of us fall into superficiality without knowing it? Aren’t some of us so smitten with the American dream that we have become brainwashed into believing that our sole purpose on this earth is to be happy? Doesn’t this unwitting affection for happiness over sadness lead us to a one-sided life, to bliss without discomfort, bright noon with no night?

My sense is that most of us have been duped by the American craze for happiness. We might thing that we’re leading a truly honest existence, one attuned to vivid realities and blooded hearts, when we’re really just behaving as predictably and artificially as robots, falling easily into well-worn “happy” behaviors, into the convention of contentment, into obvious grins. Deceived, we miss out on the great interplay of the living cosmos, its luminous gloom, its terrible beauty.

The American dream may be a nightmare. What passes for bliss could well be a dystopia of flaccid grins. Our passion for felicity hints at an ominous hatred for all that grows and thrives and then dies—for all those curious thrushes moving among autumn’s brownish indolence, for those blue dahlias seemingly hollowed with sorrow, for all those gloomy souls who long for clouds above high windows. I’d hate for us to awaken one morning and regret what we’ve done in the name of untroubled enjoyment. I’d hate for us to crawl out of our beds and walk out into a country denuded of gorgeous lonely roads and the grandeur of desolate hotels, of half-cracked geniuses and their frantic poems. I’d hate for us to come to consciousness when it’s too late to live.

I thought to try and edit down that passage but I feel the world at large, and Americans in particular, need to be aware of how wrong we are to fear our melancholia. It is not to be feared. It is to be harnessed… and I am taking the time to tap into it while it is present.

I may be a tad more melancholic than my friends would like me to be at the moment, but I am not (and you know me to be true to my word) unhappy.

For more of Eric G. Wilson’s work you can visit HIS BLOG or purchase his books from Amazon. His latest is My Business Is To Create: Blake's Infinite Writing which garnered a reaction from me akin to… Gasp! Blake! I do so adore William Blake.

Brain Questing

A friend of mine was leaving work this afternoon when, in the course of the usual “see you later” discussion, I blatantly suggested we go out for dinner. She accepted. I don’t really have the money for dinner… not after this past weekend when I treated another good friend and fellow single mom to a night out. She needed it. And, quite apparently, I must look like I need dinner tonight for my friend offered to pay. 

Then this happened:

Yep, I announced to my entire Twitter feed that I had no desire to be alone with myself. Awesome. I always have been brutally honest to a fault. Someone should stop me. Maybe. Okay… not, but a filter would be nice.

And then, before I could complete my post, this happened:

With my boys staying with their father for the bulk of the summer, I have more time on my hands. It is not time I am particularly fond of having. When they are here I don’t get much time to be overly cerebral. The sheer madness and cacophony of motherhood prevents it. When I am alone… it comes at me regardless of what I am doing… from every angle. I can be cooking, writing, reading, walking, working out (more of that should be happening), watching TV or any other manner of activity and my brain will find an opening and start to over ponder, well, everything. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G!

Dang brain questing.

“Where does it come from—this quest, this need to solve life's mysteries when the simplest of questions can never be answered? Why are we here? What is the soul? Why do we dream? Perhaps we'd be better off not looking at all. Not delving, not yearning. But that's not human nature. Not the human heart. That is not why we are here.” ~Heroes 1.1, TV Show

Conquering Everest(s)

There are a lot of things in this world with which I don’t deal too particularly well. Some, such as racism and blatant ignorance, rile my anger and I make no effort to hide it. Others, especially those that are ridiculously personal or hit me on a much despised emotional level, end up internalized and running amok within my psyche. Two of those in the latter category have taken over this week: Hope & Insecurity.

I know. You are wondering why I have a problem dealing with Hope. It’s a positive thing, right? In theory? Yes. But Hope, falsely given, is… I’m trying to find a word more severe than “cruel”, but it seems to be the only one coming to mind. False Hope is cruel. And, over the course of adulthood, I have been presented with Hope, falsely so, over and over again. Unfortunately, false Hope looks exactly like Hope until far too late. People wonder why I am wary and jaded. I am told I have to take down my barriers, let people in and be vulnerable. I am glad that works for most people and some day it may work for me; but, as of yet, I have found that the positives do not outweigh the negatives for me.

Inability to deal with insecurity is a lot easier for most individuals to understand. It seems we all have them in some form or another. My insecurities are raging right now. Recent events have compounded some of the more deeply embedded vulnerabilities. More misplaced trust in false Hope has even created or revealed insecurities I was unaware I had. But, now they are here.

I deal… as best I can… with what confidence I have left.

“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” ~Sir Edmund Hillary

[In case you were wondering… I bailed on the #Trust30 writing challenge. I found myself suddenly much uninspired by the prompts. I still enjoy reading the responses by others but, personally, it is not for me any more. C’est la vie.]

15: One Thing

Do your work, and I shall know you. Do your work, and you shall reinforce yourself. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

[In celebration of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 208th birthday… we pledge to write... #Trust30.]

Take a moment, step back from your concerns, and focus on one thing: You have one life to achieve everything you’ve ever wanted. Sounds simple, but when you really focus on it, let it seep into your consciousness; you realize you only have about 100 years to get every single thing you’ve ever wanted to do. No second chances. This is your only shot. Suddenly, this means you should have started yesterday. No more waiting for permission or resources to start. Today is the day you make the rest of your life happen. Write down one thing you’ve always wanted to do and how you will achieve that goal. Don’t be afraid to be very specific in how you’ll achieve it: once you start achieving, your goals will get bigger and your capability to meet them will grow.

(Author: Colin Wright)


This is, to date, the most difficult prompt for me to address. There are far too many “one thing(s)” in my life…all equally important. Some are selfish. Others are ridiculously unselfish. And… one would probably save my life. How to choose?

[elevator music]

This is the part where I tell you I was able to decide on one thing but it is something I am not quite ready to share with the world… yet. But, I’ve started a project to document my “one thing” and someday, when I am ready, I’ll make it public.

I promise you will all be the first to know.

14: Hidden Paths

When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name; the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

[In celebration of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 208th birthday… we pledge to write... #Trust30.]

The world buzzes about goals and visions. Focus. Create a vivid picture of exactly where you want to go. Dream big, then don’t let anything or anyone stop you. The problem, as Daniel Gilbert wrote in Stumbling Upon Happiness, is that we’re horrible at forecasting how we’ll really feel 10 or 20 years from now – once we’ve gotten what we dreamed of. Often, we get there only to say, “That’s not what I thought it would be,” and ask, “What now?” Ambition is good. Blind ambition is not. It blocks out not only distraction, but the many opportunities that might take you off course but that may also lead you in a new direction. Consistent daily action is only a virtue when bundled with a willingness to remain open to the unknown. In this exercise, look at your current quest and ask, “What alternative opportunities, interpretations and paths am I not seeing?” They’re always there, but you’ve got to choose to see them.

(Author: Jonathan Fieldsl)


The Pulsing Heart vs. The Logical Mind: In the struggle for purpose, each perceives itself as the more powerful… the one to be heeded… the one that is right.

Are they both not correct?
Why the battle?

Can the yearning of the heart and the reasoning of the mind not call a truce and converge into a clearly distinguishable common path of life? We of the human species pick sides. Some of us listen to our hearts. Others are ruled by good sense. In my experience it is a rare occurrence, though not impossible, for a person to listen to both.

It is my nature to long to follow my heart. I don’t.

Living in this chemically imbalanced body, which habitually adapts to each new medication within a matter of months, forces to me to question the validity of every “natural” impulse. In truth, there has probably been many a path I chose not to walk down because I questioned my own judgment. Hopefully I saved myself from making terrible mistakes… most of the time. Odds are one or more of those paths should have been followed.

“What alternative opportunities, interpretations and paths am I not seeing?”
I don’t have a clue. I don't allow myself to see them.

My current path is to bring up my boys to be modern day knights. That is the goal. That is what I do every single day. I'm raising my kids and preparing for the me I really want to be once they are grown. In the meantime, I work in hospitality. Time for me will come. True, more preparation should be taking place. I need to take off the single-minded blinders and start letting my peripheral vision pick up on what I may have been missing.

Problem is… those blinders will probably require a crowbar.

13: Finding the Mojo

I'm the blonde wielding the "weapon" which, incidentally, I keep by my bed.

“I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, if we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

[In celebration of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 208th birthday… we pledge to write... #Trust30.]

Think of a time when you didn’t think you were capable of doing something, but then surprised yourself. How will you surprise yourself this week?

(Author: Ashley Ambirge)
In high school, every single time I went to tryouts, I never thought I would make the sports team for that particular semester; which, had you known me in high school, you would realize was a completely ridiculous notion. Beth in high school = Jock. I was naturally athletic.

I remember finding out in first grade that our school had a “Sports Day” and I was fascinated. That day is when I discovered I could run a sprint faster than anyone in my class. Oh, I had been good at kickball and other P.E. Class (physical education) games but this was different. The next year, in second grade… at the age of seven, my friend A.S. and I trained for Sports Day. TRAINED. We took it very, very seriously.

Still, as I got older, every tryout was unnerving. Every one a chance for failure. Yes, every time I made a team I was truly surprised. [Except track, of course, but I assumed responsibility for track events personally. After all, track isn’t exactly a team sport. I was on a team but it was individual performance that mattered most. The other two sports of my choice were basketball and field hockey.]

Then I lost my mojo. The reasons are numerous. Among them are an incredibly difficult pregnancy in which I gained over 70 pounds, a generous amount of time spent in the bowels of self-loathing (aka: depression) and living with someone not so keen on the idea of me losing weight or rediscovering that mojo I was missing.

I have written here, on this blog, over and over again about how “now is the time” for me to take control. I will no longer allow the excess weight to define me. I will no longer use the pregnancy excuse or the inevitable bipolar medication weight gain excuse. True? Yes. Still excuses. I get fired up. I get ready to make a change. I stick with daily exercise and a healthier diet for two weeks… maybe a month… and then my good intentions fade into oblivion. I have motivation issues.

The urge to do this is reclaiming my every thought... again. Wouldn’t it be lovely if I surprised myself this week with the motivation of my seven-year-old self and the mojo to back it up?

12: Petrified of the Amazing

These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world. Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

[In celebration of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 208th birthday… we pledge to write... #Trust30.]

Is fear holding you back from living your fullest life and being truly self expressed? Put yourself in the shoes of the you who’s already lived your dream and write out the answers to the following:

Is the insecurity you’re defending worth the dream you’ll never realize? or the love you’ll never venture? or the joy you’ll never feel?

Will the blunder matter in 10 years? Or 10 weeks? Or 10 days? Or 10 minutes?

Can you be happy being anything less than who you really are?

Now Do. The Thing. You Fear.

(Author: Lachlan Cotterl)


Put myself in the shoes of the me who has already lived my dream…
                                  … the me who many never live that dream?

Maybe this is my dream. Clearly it is my purpose. Or, it is now.

I lived so many tortured years feeling angry and guilty that I was forced to live with the consequences of my own not-in-my-right-mind actions. Not normal actions, mind you… I can deal with those. Accepting responsibility has never been my problem. Coming to terms with decisions that I made and actions I took prior to my bipolar diagnosis, however, has been the most difficult personal reconciliation of my adult life. One ridiculously manic summer, the year I turned nineteen, drastically altered the path of my life… for many more minutes than ten and years far beyond ten.

Here’s the kicker: Given a time machine and the chance to change it, would I? Likely not.

This is who I am… although something is missing. I have yet to pinpoint exactly what that something is to me… but I know it is vital. I know that when I find it, I will be unstoppable… and that is my fear. Yes, to an extent, I am petrified of the amazing within me.

Can I be happy with less than who I really am? Yes.
Can I be content? No.

It’s time to start pulling back the layers in search of what I am missing. Hopefully I will know how to control what I find.

11: Divine Idea

“Imitation is Suicide. Insist on yourself; never imitate.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

[In celebration of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 208th birthday… we pledge to write... #Trust30.]

Write down in which areas of your life you have to overcome these suicidal tendencies of imitation, and how you can transform them into a newborn you – one that doesn’t hide its uniqueness, but thrives on it. There is a “divine idea which each of us represents” – which is yours?

(Author: Fabian Kruse)

A “divine idea” that represents me sounds suspiciously like my motto from my last post:
“My job is not to impress people, it’s to intrigue them.”
Perhaps I am fated to be one day ahead of the prompts. Or not.

I do have a divine idea. Quite grand, in fact. It’s one I have had for years though I cannot claim that it is unique. It is very possible someone else has had the very same idea. It would be lovely if it were implemented. And, yes, I guess it does represent me… in a way. I am extremely analytical, I like to solve problems and I care deeply about both humanity and this planet.

My idea? Interstate aqueducts. Hey! Do as the Romans do… or did, right?

Here in the United States we have this ridiculously semi-organized interstate road system that interconnects all over the place. We also have a water problem. Some places have too little… others have too much. There are even areas humans were not necessarily meant to populate and, yet, we did. Ahem! Las Vegas. We built reservoirs such as Lake Mead to be the main water source for these slightly uninhabitable locations and expected them to last forever. They are not. The aforementioned Lake Mead, for example, is dropping rapidly. We people are using the water out of the lake faster than it is going into the lake. It isn’t about to be a problem. It’s already a problem.

Instead of funding more dams or levees or dikes with the vain notion that humanity can control or stop water, why are we not using that money to construct an aqueduct system that runs parallel with the interstate system that already exists in order to divert it?

Aqueducts with reversible pumping systems could help us lessen a disaster in one area in order to alleviate a disaster or drought in another area. The recent floods in the Mississippi River valley alone would have refilled the rapidly shrinking Lake Mead and other disappearing reservoirs with water to spare. I’m not suggesting we change the landscape of our country. There is no need to alter the beauty of the deserts of the southwest by turning it all into lush farmland although, as the economy continues to deteriorate, perhaps that isn’t such a bad idea either.

But, I’m not an engineer. The concept seems simple to me… possible, even. Underground? Above ground? Probably a bit of both. With our technology… we can do this. Every time I take a road trip I find myself analyzing the landscape and interstate interchanges just to try and prove myself wrong because… seriously… has no one else thought of this before?

This is my idea. It is divine.

PS – I think Emerson is wrong. I don’t believe imitation is suicide, but… that’s a tangent for another day.

10: Be You!

Uh.. yes, that's me. Names removed to protect the guilty.

“To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, that is genius.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

[In celebration of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 208th birthday… we pledge to write... #Trust30.]

What is burning deep inside of you? If you could spread your personal message RIGHT NOW to 1 million people, what would you say?

(Author: Eric Handler)
My advice: BE YOU! I could get political or force a cause for which I am passionate (Ahem! Global warming.) down your throats; but, I’m convinced the world would be a better place were we all predisposed to BE OURSELVES without absorbing the negative influences others have on our personalities.

I adopted a motto in high school… immortalizing it in my twelfth grade yearbook (see photo):

“My job is not to impress people, it’s to intrigue them.”

In seventh grade I began attending Rift Valley Academy, a boarding school in Kijabe, Kenya, by my own choice. I had other options but I wanted to attend RVA. That year my brother was a senior and his athletic, very good looking presence made me one of the more popular junior high students. That ended with his graduation.

Things changed once he was gone. Teasing about my size began. I was small. Very small. The quintessential tomboy, I also didn’t give much thought to clothes, hair or make-up. I spent two rather miserable years during eighth and ninth grade. I took solace in the confidence and instruction of one very influential teacher and sports. I played junior high basketball (my weakest sport) and junior varsity field hockey my ninth grade year; but, then… I earned my varsity letter in track … as a freshman (Which, I just realized for the first time, isn’t mentioned in my yearbook photo. HA! Varsity Track 9, 11, 12.). Apparently that prestige meant something and just before the end of that year being in my presence was no longer taboo… and I hated it. I wanted to be liked for me. In truth, to this day I really have no idea why I was so disliked those years. It doesn’t really matter now.

The following year, in tenth grade, we were located in the States and I was away from boarding school for one year. I chose to not play sports that year, despite being asked, and I think my body took a breather. It decided to grow. I had just passed five foot at the end of the prior school year. Ten months later I was five foot six inches. I began to care more about my appearance. With the new body came a better wardrobe, make-up and a rather glorious mane of hair.

I returned to Rift Valley Academy to visit at the end of my classmates 10th grade year since the USA school year ended earlier. It was a Saturday and there was a rugby tournament. I wanted to mingle and visit. I found myself introducing myself to astonished faces. People I had known for years didn’t recognize me. Again I found a semblance of “popularity” and again I despised it for what it was. I made two pledges to myself that day for when my junior year began in September:

1) I would never treat anyone as I had been treated during those eight and ninth grade years.

2) I would be me. Only me. I wouldn’t accept popularity simply because I was more cute or prettier. I would do what I could to befriend everyone.

That’s when I coined my motto and tried to live as such. And, my final two years of high school were amazing. I know, we aren’t supposed to like high school, but I did. At least… my junior and senior years. My commitment to being me didn’t work for everyone. There were those who didn’t like me for it and I chose not to care. After all, I wasn’t there to make a good impression.

It worked for me.
It can work for you.

9: Bene Gesserit

“The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

[In celebration of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 208th birthday… we pledge to write... #Trust30.]

Emerson says: “Always do what you are afraid to do.” What is ‘too scary’ to write about? Try doing it now.

(Author: Mary Jaksch)

I think we have pretty much established here that I will write about pretty much anything. And… if I don’t write about it here then I’m definitely writing about it somewhere. It’s what I do. I purge. There have been times I’ve written things and then burned the pages. That’s serious purge. I have kept my sanity by purging my fears on paper since I was in elementary school.

What is ‘too scary’ to write about? Nothing, really. So, I give you this:

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear... And when it is gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear is gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” ~Frank Herbert, Dune

8: Dimensionally Transcendental

“There will be an agreement in whatever variety of actions, so they be each honest and natural in their hour.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

[In celebration of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 208th birthday… we pledge to write... #Trust30.]


What would you say to the person you were five years ago? What will you say to the person you’ll be in five years?

(Author: Corbett Barr)


5 Years Past
I know you are scared. In truth, I would be worrying about you if calm and stoic was all I sensed from you right now. This shows you care. No one gives up on twelve years without second thoughts. You will do this and, yes, it will be hard. You will be fine. The boys will hurt, you know this, but they will be okay too… in time. Three pieces of advice: 1) Do not let yourself get drawn into ridiculous arguments or rehashing of behaviors. 2) Do not jump into anything else too soon. Seriously. 3) Quit trying so hard to leave Arkadelphia. It’s not so bad. There is a reason you are here but it is not going to be realized for a few more years. Have patience. Oh… and call your grandfather.

5 Years Future
I refuse to make any assumptions about where you are in life right now. I hope you are happy. No, that isn’t enough… I hope you are content. I hope you are not alone. I hope you are pursuing something you love even if only for your own personal satisfaction and not any sort of monetary gain. And, for the love of biscuits and gravy, I hope you stopped eating them and started truly taking care of yourself. Let me see you. Yes! Good girl.

Pardon me, but does anyone have a TARDIS I might borrow for a moment?

7: Being Realistic

© Warner Bros.

“Our arts, our occupations, our marriages, our religion, we have not chosen, but society has chosen for us. We are parlour soldiers. We shun the rugged battle of fate, where strength is born.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

[In celebration of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 208th birthday… we pledge to write...


The idea of “being realistic” holds all of us back. From starting a business or quitting a job to dating someone who may not be our type or moving to a new place – getting “real” often means putting your dreams on hold.

Today, let’s take a step away from rational thought and dare to be bold. What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to accomplish but have been afraid to pursue? Write it down. Also write down the obstacles in your way of reaching your goal. Finally, write down a tangible plan to overcome each obstacle.

The only thing left is to, you know, actually go make it happen. What are you waiting for?

Matt Cheuvront)


There is nothing wrong with “being realistic” when, as a natural dreamer, I need a bit of realism to bring me down from La-La Land. There are certain scenarios, and mine definitely qualifies, where responsibility and realism and rational thought absolutely must prevail. Being bold can have both drastically good and bad consequences. I know this from experience.

There are many things that I’ve wanted to accomplish but being “afraid to pursue” them hasn’t exactly been the problem. I’m not afraid of much... except love. Yes, love. More accurately: Being loved. Pursuing other accomplishments doesn’t scare me but doing so would likely not be in the best interest of my children at the moment.

The big “to do” on my list is finishing my college degree which, for a myriad of ridiculously valid reasons, has been on hold for many, many moons. I actually applied to a local university this time last year and I was accepted; however, I never made it to enrollment for the fall semester. Thank goodness. There was a series of events that took place last fall that would have forced me to drop out… again. Can you imagine how disheartening that would have been? To go back to school after x-number of years only to withdraw a few weeks into your first semester back? Had that occurred, my dream to finish would have been shattered forever. As it is… I’ve merely put back on the shelf and I am waiting for the right time.

That’s why we have logic. Some dreams should be pursued. Others should not. Certain dreams are meant to be realized only at certain times. “Being realistic” is what helps realize what is important and what is not.

Tread carefully when peering over the side of the bridge everyone else seems to be jumping off of in the name of personal satisfaction. You might just slip before getting your bungee harness attached… dragging your dependents with you.

Quote from the rest of that really long prompt:
“Next to Resistance, rational thought is the artist or entrepreneurs worst enemy. Bad things happen when we employ rational thought, because rational thought comes from the ego. Instead, we want to work from the Self, that is, from instinct and intuition, from the unconscious. A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.” ~ Steven Pressfield, Do the Work


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