Friday, July 30, 2010


can't win unless you play

HBO had a documentary directed by Jeffrey Blitz (Spellbound) that examined the history and seductive power of lotteries and profiles a few jackpot winners whose lives were changed dramatically - some for the better, some for the worst, by winning huge sums of cash.  This piece was amazingly interesting and confirmed what I always thought about cashing in on monies not earned.  We buy a ticket once a week for kicks but truthfully, hope my Dad wins.  Winning the lottery has been his passion since he retired 15 years ago.  He firmly believes he will, too!  I have heard too many sad stories of how people who won millions were stalked and pressured to share (one guy almost fell victim to a hit man hired by his family!) Many of the lives turned sour, and in this documentary, some felt estranged from family and friends.  Their connections were severed and proved the point that too much money does not buy happiness.  There seemed to be a recurring sadness to the stories portrayed in this piece.  
and tonight's lucky numbers are...

Odds are that you believe your best shot at getting rich is winning the lottery = 1 in 5.  Odds you will actually hit the jackpot in a powerball lottery =  1 in 195,249,054.  Is it fate, destiny or luck?   In 1612, a tailor named Thomas Sharplisse became the first lottery winner of the New World.  Profits from that lottery financed Jamestown, the earliest American settlement.  Soon the country was in the grip of lottery fever; every town large enough to have a courthouse also had a lottery wheel.  In 1823, Congress created a Grand National Lottery to support the construction of Washington, D.C., but the lottery's manager, Mr. Gillespie, ran off with all the money.  In 1894, President Harrison called the lottery "an evil of vast proportions."  To stop the corruption, it was banned in every state of the Union.  The lottery returned in 1964 with a top prize of $100,000.   In 1981 the highest jackpot hit $5,000,000.  In 2009, the record rose to a new high of $390,000,000.
take a chance

70% of lottery tickets are quick picks, random sequences generated by computer.  The rest are carefully chosen by players who believe their numbers are special. The day after US Air flight 1549 crashed into the Hudson River without the loss of a single life, the numbers 1549 were so frequently played ticket sales had to be shut down for fear that if the numbers hit, the lottery would lose millions.  The winning numbers in the New York lottery pick four turned out to be 1548.
clarence jackson jr.

Every year, a vast amount of prize money is never claimed by its winners.  Up to 2% of all lottery jackpots go uncollected.  That's an estimated $570 million in prizes kept by state lotteries.  Lottery officials refer to an unclaimed prize as a Clarence Jackson Jr.  In 1995, Mr. Jackson bought a ticket for the Connecticut lottery.  One year passed before he found his old ticket and discovered he won $5.8 million dollars three days after the deadline.  He sued Connecticut...and lost, never getting a cent.  The biggest jackpot never claimed was a winning ticket from a 2002 powerball lottery worth $51.7 million.  State lotteries know only a tiny handful of tickets will match all numbers but one for the runner-up prize, but one day in 2005, a staggering 110 people won the runner-up powerball prize.  Nothing like it had happened before;  the lottery owed unexpected millions.  State officials hired a fraud investigator who found all the winners had played the same numbers printed inside a Chinese fortune cookie!
losing tickets, but keep the faith

During economic downturns people historically cut spending across the board, but after 2008, in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, many states have seen lottery sales increase dramatically.  Of the 43 states with lotteries, 22 have set all time records.  Every year Americans spend $7 billion on movie tickets, $16 billion on sporting events, $24 billion on books,  and $62 billion on lottery tickets.  More than half of all American adults play the lottery, making it, by far, the most popular form of paid entertainment in the country.

We were wowed by this documentary and it makes you think about how powerful it can be.  Many people dream of becoming rich by winning the lottery and some spend a huge chunk of their time finding various ways to play. I personally try to affirm I have all I need, but that's me.  Whenever we encountered a close call with our sons and they pulled through, we always call my Dad and tell him "we won the lottery - our boys are ok." We still buy a ticket to be part of the world that does, but think about it, if we were to win, we would be removed from that scene.  What would we do if we didn't have that conversation of if I win the lottery, I would...

don't stop believing xo

Monday, July 26, 2010

wrath of rain

storm clouds

We journeyed down South and missed the torrential rains that flooded our neighboring suburbs and the city. We lucked out this time by not having to deal with clean up at our home but could not believe how horribly some homes were hit. I am praying for all those severely affected by these rains.  Anyone who ever experienced a flood knows how devastating they can be.  Just as we arrived in Quincy, the clouds became heavy and the rains persisted.  Uncle Steve needed some fresh air and together we watched the rains come down for a couple of hours.  It was really quite nice until the tornadoes threatened the area. 
uncle steve watching the raindrops

I was curiously captivated by the cloud formations on this trip and my camera was consistently clicking.  The drive home was filled with anticipation to finally not have to travel anywhere for awhile.  Little did we know how wrong we were.  The house in the city was hit with almost two feet of sewer water and needless to say, we travelled once again to clean things up.  Yuck.  We had to throw out our shoes and socks after that mess.  I will miss my Rocket Dogs.  Luckily I put things up high and cleared most of the junk a few months ago so the damages were minimal.  After shoveling the soot, Wayne discovered an easier method by using a hose and a squeegee. I still needed the old-fashioned mop to disinfect the joint.  We went through a whole gallon of bleach to accomplish that task.   Still, I would rather it happened at that house than ours.   Tiles are one thing; carpets another.
aftermath of basement flood

Now all the duties are completed and we can hang at home for the time being.  I must have scrubbed in the tub for almost an hour.  That stuff is nasty.  I will close for today with a thing of beauty after all the downer activity.  This flower is about 10" in diameter.  I never saw an hibiscus so huge.  We may feel the wrath of rain and the pain of flooding, but flowers and gardens are reminders of the beauty that comes afterward.  Happy endings after all. xo
pretty hibiscus

Raining on Sunday

...pray that it's raining on Sunday, storming like crazy
we'll hide under the covers all afternoon
baby, whatever comes Monday can take care of itself
'cuz we've got better things to do
when it's raining on Sunday...

Keith Urban

Friday, July 23, 2010

still celebrating

at dao's in burr ridge
steve and darcy

We began Wayne's double nickel celebration when he arrived home a little early from work and immediately we pulled out the birthday pie - key lime is his favorite - so to Baker's Square I went. After singing the famous birthday song, we carried on to visit Dan at Dao's for some sushi and thai food.  We ended up tasting his concoctions which included a pear liquor, sake, mai tai, patron and cranberry and a simple glass of merlot wine.  Mojitas were flying off the bar as the other patrons ordered them like crazy.  We met a man visiting for business and once he heard us talking about Creature Features, the conversations never ceased.  Darcy's friends stopped by and before you know it, we had a full out party happening. 

The planet Jupiter is coming through the next few days and his prominent themes cover the power of positive thinking, golden opportunities, good fortune, wealth, creation, reaching long-sought goals, educational and publishing pursuits, foresight, providence, large-scale enterprises, religion and philosophy, pride, arrogance, speculation, risk-taking, and over-looking a good thing.  Be mindful of his influence and apply accordingly.

We drove to the city to dine at Due's Pizzeria and off to indulge in a little music thanks to the fabulous Hall and Oates.  They performed at the wondrous Chicago Theater, whose acoustics are phenomenal.  The decor is so lovely, capturing the architecture of days gone by.  They played all their hits and then some.  Well worth waiting for.
chicago theater

This weekend we are making our way to visit Uncle Steve in Quincy for his 93rd birthday.  We're avidly pursuing transferring him to a home closer to us so this may be our last trip down there.  I hope they have an outdoor concert as last year, and a huge Hardee's burger is a must.  Upon our return we look forward to my all time favorite show Mad Men.  We spent the last few weeks re-watching past episodes to get Steve caught up with the series for he is now a maddict with us. 
ya gotta love that joanie

This area is getting blasted with heat galore then crazy storms and while I adore this weather, it could be dangerous to some, so stay cool, hydrated and keep inside if you must to avoid heat exhaustion.  Please pray for our Aunt Aletha who just underwent back surgery.    Recovery can take awhile but she comes from strong genes and before you know it, she will be wearing her line-dancing shoes. 

...we could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world. Helen Keller

The soul cannot choose to be anything if there is nothing to choose from.  Neale Donald Walsch

Follow your dream...If you stumble, don't stop and lose sight of your goal, press on to the top.  For only on the top can you see the whole view. Amanda Bradley

live happily ever! xo

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

for my sugar babe

happy double nickel

birthday to you! Your sense of humor keeps you young at heart and us giggling at your funny antics.  There is never a dull moment when you're around, my Shuka.  We have known each other a long time and made tons of memories together.  The best extension of our essence is through our sons, Mike, Dan and Steve.  Each of them carries the best of you, making the world a better place. I hope you enjoy your day and look forward to celebrating with Hall and Oates on Friday.  We have wanted to see them for so many years and will surely be entertained. 
Dues for dinner brings me back to the many years of Friday night visits.  I hope we get our favorite table.  Remember when we would envision our future home and draw designs on their napkins?  We were so young and filled with dreams.  We made them all come true, you know...

Our souls are connected through music and we have a collection of our memories with songs.  You have an uncanny knack for knowing precisely what year a song came out and attach something in our past to them.  You have accomplished so many things and our future holds more to enjoy.  I look forward to sharing each and every moment with you.  My wish for this passage birthday is for you to continue looking for and finding the silver lining in every cloud.  Keep holding joy in the simple pleasures and count the blessings as they are bestowed on you.  Keep liking big butts and nesting with your pups.  I'll be right here ready to hold your hand and walk the trail of aging with you gracefully.  Just for today, your day, smile, reflect, dream, have fun and be happy. 
a toast to the most!

Stephen Stills

You can do what you want to do
You can be who you want to be
Just remember that me and you
Ain't all there is
to bein' free

People need love
People need trust
People need one another
And that means us
My sugar babe
Believe me sugar babe

Everyone knows it ain't easy
But when you get it all together in your heart
It's the easiest thing to do to be pleasin'
Folks ain't made to live apart

Let yourself be open honey learn to bend
Remember everyone gets scared,
But I'm still your best friend
When you forget about yourself,
And think of things to do
To make me happy then you love me boy
Like I love you
How do turtles talk to one another
They just look, there's no reason to cower
Just like people they're drawn to each other
They don't live in no ivory tower

So close, then again so far away
Where are the answers, I hear them everyday
Lovin' you from a distance never did make it anyway

Come on now sugar babe
You know you hear me sugar babe
You're my sugar babe
Believe me sugar babe. xo

Sunday, July 18, 2010

the graduates

steve, jackie, ginny, andrew, matt, jill, brian

Saturday we visited my sister Marilyn who hosted a graduation celebration for all the Benes/Mielzynski graduates this year.  Frank's family is just as large as ours, so you can imagine the gathering.  He is so talented with his craft that the backyard felt like we were in a tropical paradise.  Every corner held a new surprise of some little delight.   Our entertainment was by their dog, Dunkin.  When Frank tells him to go in the house, he makes a dash for one more dip in their gorgeous pool.  He spent hours just running around and getting excited.  I was exhausted just watching him. 
the fountain is amazing
dunkin the dog

It was nice to see how the wee ones have all grown.  I am grateful for a chance to share my love.
favorite gathering spot

There is something about kitchens.  No matter how vast a home may be, the kitchen is where most of us find our place to settle in. I believe it is because our creations are in this room.  We prepare and serve food as an extension of our love and offer it to those we do.  It is the most comfortable of all rooms. 
the hug

Did you know that it is scientifically proven hugs help boost our immune system?  Yep.  The energy exchanged heart-to-heart keeps us healthy. 
brother wally~sisters marilyn and penny

Thanks to Marilyn and Frank for hosting this party.  The food was superb, provided by Uncle Bub's.  When they were slicing the guy, everyone started ewwwing and Marilyn cracked me up by commenting, "I have chicken and macaroni if you don't want to eat him."  Priceless. 
wayne-o and frank

A toast to the host with the most, Frank.  Your abode is warm and friendly and full of love.  Thanks for welcoming us to enjoy this day with you.  You are helping to fill my memory bank. 
see what I mean?  happy day

The fragrance always remains in the hand that gives the rose. Heda Bejar

A complete reevaluation takes place in your physical and mental being when you've laughed and had some fun. Catherine Ponder

Kind words do not cost much.  They never blister the tongue or lips.  Mental trouble was never known to arise from such quarters.  Though they do not cost much, yet they accomplish so much.  They make other people good natured.   They also produce their own image on men's souls, and a beautiful image it is. Blaise Pascal

Kindness is the heart of living.  It is what makes life bearable, meaningful and delicious. xo

Friday, July 16, 2010


Sogno is Italian for dream.  Steve and I went to see Christopher Nolan's new movie, Inception.  Riveting. Captivating. Thought provoking. Truly a mind-bender.  Leonardo DiCaprio was fantastic in the primary role, but the entire cast was outstanding.  Nolan's fascination with lucid dreams was the catalyst for his 10-year creation.  It was exhilerating until the final scene where I shed a few tears as the powerful movie ended with a touching moment.  A must see, especially if you are intrigued with the concept of lucid dreams and astral projection.
Lucid dreaming is a dream in which the sleeper is aware that he/she is dreaming.  A lucid dreamer can actively participate in and manipulate imaginary experiences in the dream environment.  Lucid dreams can seem extraordinarily real and vivid, depending on the person's level of self-awareness during the dream.  Usually a lucid dreamer chooses simply to observe and not control their dreams. This type of dreaming has been researched scientifically and its existence is well established. The first step to lucid dreaming is recognizing that one is dreaming.  Lucid dreamers have clear memories of the waking world.  Meditation before sleep can improve the occurrence of a lucid dream.
An out-of-body experience is an experience that typically involves a sensation of floating outside of one's body and the feeling of leaving their bodies.  One in 10 people think they had an OBE in their lives. Astral projection is an interpretation of any form of out-of-body experience that assumes the existence of an astral being, separate from the physical body and capable of travelling outside it.  Astral projection or travel denotes the astral body leaving the physical body to travel in the astral plane.  The idea of astral travel is rooted in common worldwide religious accounts of the afterlife in which the consciousness or soul's journey or ascent is described in terms as OBE when the spiritual traveller leaves the physical body and travels in his/her body (or dreambody) into higher realms. 
According to classical, medieval, renaissance Neoplatonist philosophy, the astral body is an intermediate body of light linking the rational soul to the physical body, and the astral plane is an intermediate world of light between Heaven and Earth composed of the spheres of the planets and stars.  These astral spheres were held to be populated by angels, demons and spirits.  A common belief is that the subtle body is attached to the physical body by means of a psychic silver cord.  The final chapter of the Biblical Book of Ecclesiastes is often cited in this respect ...before the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be shattered at the fountain, or the wheel be broken at the cistern...Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, Ch. 2, v. 2 refers to the astral planes...I know a man in Christ, 14 years ago (whether in the body, I know not, or out of body, I know not, God knows) such a one caught up to the third Heaven.
While dreaming, we can receive a divine answer to a question by meditating before sleep.  A dream question is the practice of divination whereby a person attains a prophetic state.  Perhaps this is why we were taught to say our nightly prayers, offering gratitude for daily blessings and taking time to beseech God for answers to our prayers.  I have made a ritual of lying supine (face up) on my bed and breathing slowly while clearing my chakras and affirming everyone to be blessed to their higher good and holding them in the light with love.  This could be done during the day, taking respite from chores and resting for a short while (my dogs know this as rosary and follow me on the bed.)  This practice is especially profound when applied right before sleeping for the night.  I have been privy to numerous astral projections, out-of-body experiences, flying and saving people, visitations by people who are departed and those still living have interacted with me in my lucid dreams.  I always vividly remember the experiences.  I particularly like the feeling of flying and know what it feels like while conscious.   If I wish to get an answer to a situation, or am perplexed or bewildered, I ask my guardian angels, Metatron and Sara, and spirit guides, to provide the proper direction.  I tend to receive my answers sometime during my waking hours; then out of nowhere, while driving, cooking or gardening, I will know how to proceed with my situation.  I encourage you to try this, for in dreams and in love, there are no impossibilities.

Dreaming Wide Awake
Lizz Wright

My eyes burn
I have seen the glory of a brighter sun
My heart aches
It has felt the peace of perfect love
My mind fails
As I try to recall the bliss of a glorious day
When I was sleeping, eyes wide open
Dreaming wide awake

Who are you, stranger
To come here, and answer all my prayers?
Where are you from, angel?
You saved my life and disappeared
How do I find you?
Will you come when I need you?
I'd love to be sleeping, eyes wide open
Dreaming wide awake

Sogni d'oro (sweet dreams) xo

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

hot and humid

global warming

Just the way I like it!  It may be too much for some, especially if you are a winter person, but not me.  I enjoy the summer weather and this season we have Mother Nature to thank for keeping our gardens lush with her nightly rains.  Thanks!  Air-conditioning is a pleasant reprieve from the intensity, but if you sit outside at night, the gentle breezes are soothing.  Yesterday our Comcast service was down due to a fiber cut which affected over a thousand people.  I have been busy trimming trees and pulling weeds during the day and running around with errands so I did not miss it until night when we relish time to watch the news.  It is uncomfortable not being able to know what is going on in the outside world.  Good thing we have a radio but it's not the same.  I sat outside until dark sipping lemonade with my lemon leaves from the garden while reading the new Sookie book  I must say, however, it is a little boring compared to her other works.  Everything works today so I can catch up with my fellow clickers and share their world.

dog days

Ponti gave us a scare the other day, for he was trying to go down the steps and could not, so I helped him down and gave him his medicine for the hip and it seemed as if he was having a seizure.  His eyes got crazy, he was panting and shaking and I called the vet, who suggested I look at his gums and if they are dry and white, it means he is in distress, if pink and moist, he will be ok.  They were pink so I gave him reiki to calm him down and he was better.  We hovered over him all day for signs of a repeat, but he is good now.  Last week it was Thumper, this week Pontiac.  That's enough, already. 

my basil

Today is calmer.  I am preparing a sirloin tip roast in the crock using au jus; sides are potatoes and corn, with a fresh salad from our garden.  Our cherry tomatoes are ripening and the basil and dill are yummy.  For an appetizer I decided to make my special treat:  sour dough bread, sliced, with a drizzle of olive oil, layered with bella mushrooms, basil, tomato and brie cheese.   Pop under the broiler for a minute and delicious.  Cubed watermelon and oatmeal raisin cookies for dessert. I don't like to use the oven during heat waves.  Why tempt the fates?  We have had enough power outages, might as well do my part for the global warming.

To live means sharing another's space, dreams, sorrows, contributing our ears to hear, our eyes to see, our arms to hold and our hearts to love.  Paul Tillich

What most of us want, is to be heard; to communicate. Dory Previn

There is no such thing as a non-working mother. Hester Mundis

Have fun and be happy.  xo

Monday, July 12, 2010

good times

feast at bucca di peppo

We have been trying to get together with Aunt Diane and Uncle Bill for a few weeks and finally made it happen by celebrating her birthday on Sunday at Bucca di Peppo in Orland.  Aunt Aletha and her daughter, Carissa, as well as Wayne-O are also celebrating their July birthdays, so it turned into a bash.  Happiness to you all.  If you have never frequented this restaurant, or any of its chains, bring your appetite and leave room in your fridge for plenty of leftovers.  There was so much pasta and we all ate until our bellies were beyond full.  We brought back most of the leftovers and I must say, the Winds devoured it: two packs for Mike and Margarita; two for Dan and Darcy; two for Steve and Karen.  Thanks~now I don't have to cook tomorrow.  These gatherings are precious as we don't do them often and the company is incomparable.  Thanks for more memories, and pictures!  We still have to visit Bourbonnais as I must see the Girtman garden in full bloom; their photos are teasing me too much :)
delightful day with dino and dana

I wrote about passions in my recent posting and realize gardens are my passion.  Not only flowers, but viewing all the creations people I know and love create.  Tending gardens takes love, care, patience and time and it shows when I see them.  We befriended a darling couple last month thanks to Margarita and her family.  Sometimes you just click with someone and the energies are in high gear.  This is how it is with Dino and Dana.  They invited Wayne and me to enjoy a lovely afternoon where we indulged in fresh garden salads, stupendous garden soup and beef dish.  Dana popped open her bottle of Lithuanian liquor and we toasted way too many times and three hours later we left our friends after non-stop conversing and sharing stories.  I learned so much about garden tips and their travels around the world. We look forward to being with them again and continuing our bond. 
fancy schmancy at dao

The weekend began with an impromptu visit to see Dan at Dao, his new bartending gig.  If you are a sushi aficionado, please take time to visit this new restaurant in Burr Ridge.  They have an extensive menu and the best bartenter (my prerogative to brag here) We so enjoy watching our son do his thing.  He makes excellent mai tai's, our favorite summer cocktail.  We have yet to sample the menu and look forward to that soon.  And it was an excuse to cruise in Wayne's car.

Thanks for inviting us to be part of your lives and letting us make more memories together.  We love you all and look forward to being with you again.  Until then, have fun and be happy. xo

Sunday, July 11, 2010

solar eclipse

We will experience a total solar eclipse today.  This can be seen near New Zealand, southern Chile and Argentina and will last 5 minutes 20 seconds.  The next time a total solar eclipse will occur will be November 2012 visible in northern Australia and the South Pacific.  Remember when we were little and we made boxes with pinholes to be able to view this occurrence? 
I shared how eclipses affect our lives in detail last week, but focused on the lunar aspect of them.  Most of the information pertains to both lunar and solar, but I will specify the solar portion today.  A solar eclipse occurs when the moon stands between the Sun and the Earth, cutting off the light of the Sun.  A solar eclipse is always a new moon and in astrology tends to mark new beginnings.  An eclipse of the Sun will more likely focus you on a prominent male in your life.  Solar eclipses work somewhat differently than lunar eclipses, and emphasize beginnings - that is why they are so exciting. Most of the time they make us happy!  Occasionally something may end, too, but the accent will be more on the start than the finish.  The changes could come gradually or suddenly.  The news or timing of those changes often comes as a surprise.  Although most solar eclipses are almost always positive, if they form hard angles to other planets, the effect on you can be jarring and difficult.
Eclipses do mark major life events that make us value the good parts of life even more.   You may suddenly be expecting a baby, buy or sell a house, start a new business, get a major promotion or new client, meet someone or get engaged.  You may come in to a lot of money or sign a business deal, acquire a new pet, or find a new love.  Eclipses often change the status of a situation and are capable of helping you in a positive way, such as to help you find a partner or be asked to interview for a big position.  The luck you uncover can be the change in status you will receive.  Eclipses show us capabilities and strengths that surprise us.

Today is a perfect time to affirm all positivity in your life.  Your desires and faith in yourself will move mountains, for the universe is ready to help you accomplish these things.  Kick off a health program (Dr. Oz has a great one), take a yoga class or nature walk, organize your desk or files, give yourself a makeover.  This is the time to do something nice and positive for you.  Be your best and believe.

Sunny, yesterday my life was filled with rain.
Sunny, you smiled at me and really eased the pain.
The dark days are gone, and the bright days are here,
My sunny one shines so sincere,
Sunny one so true, I love you.

Sunny, thank you for the sunshine bouquet.
Sunny, thank you for the love you brought my way.
You gave me your all and all.
Now I feel ten feet tall.
Sunny one so true, I love you.

Sunny, thank you for the truth you let me see.
Sunny, thank you for the facts from a to c.
My life was torn like a windblown sand,
And the rock was formed when you held my hand.
Sunny one so true, I love you.

Sunny, thank you for the smile upon your face.
Sunny, thank you for the gleam that shows it's grace.
You're my spark of nature's fire,
You're my sweet complete desire.
Sunny one so true, I love you.

this song always reminds me of Uncle Bill xo

Saturday, July 10, 2010


What is passion?  Passion is surely the becoming of a person.
John Boorman

Passion is embodied prayer.  Passion is holy - a profound mystery that transforms through awakening and rapture.  Passion is illumination.  Passion is driven by desire; the desire that your soul is longing for Something More is Spirit-directed.  Passion is the yin of yearning.  Passion is what might be.  Passion is paradise found.  Passion is the explosive energy behind the sexual obsession between two people.  White-hot.  Combustible. A flash fire.  A compulsion that cannot be resisted, controlled, or contained within the confines of convention (which is everyone else's opinion about your life).  We think of passion as a synonym for the sinful, clandestine, forbidden.  But passion is not a sin.  It is our saving grace. 

The only sin passion can commit is to be joyless.
Dorothy L. Sayers

It is the soul's duty to be loyal to its own desires.  It must abandon itself to its master passion.
Rebecca West
Most of us long to be swept away, to live passionate lives - but could we please do so at a safe distance and in small doses?  That's why we are drawn to juicy novels, three-hanky movies, soap operas and celebrity love affairs.  Passion, according to the tabloids, means the abandonment of reason in the reckless pursuit of pleasure.  Passion is wild, chaotic, unpredictable.  Permissive.  Excessive. Over the top. Indulgent. Out of control.  Women who get swept away by passion cannot help but exult in their emotions, revel in their desires, run naked with wolves, make out in the mail room, howl at the moon, act out their X-rated fishnet-stocking fantasies, brandish knives, boil pet rabbits for revenge.  Passionate women get burned at the stake, don't they?  Who wouldn't be afraid of this? 
But passion's nature is most often cloaked in the deep, subtle, quiet and committed:  nursing a baby, planting a rose garden, preparing a special meal, caring for a loved one who is ill, remembering a friend's birthday, persevering in a dream.  Passion is the muse of authenticity.  She is the pulsating energy that infuses all of life, the presence made known with every beat of our hearts.  If our moments of passion have an indelible signature, it is this:  they transend all forgetting.  The image, the gesture, the embrace, the exchange, the risk, the reach, the smile, the kiss, the power, the gift, the thoughtfulness - every passionate impulse lives with and resonates through us forever.  
Think for a moment about romantic, passionate images from the movies.  Some of my favorites are: An elderly woman visiting her younger soul mate Christopher Reeve for a final goodbye in this life in Somewhere in Time, Kristin Scott-Thomas in The English Patient admonishing Ralph Fiennes for behaving badly because he is in love with her and doesn't want to be.  Daniel Day-Lewis burying his head in Michelle Pfeiffer's lap and caressing her leg through her silk gown until he is kissing her foot in The Age of Innocence. Kate Winslet hurling herself out of a lifeboat to sink or swim with Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic.  Bergman and Bogart in Casablanca.  Diane Lane recalling her passionate afternoon while on the train back home in Unfaithful.  And my all time favorite - Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood as Francesca and Robert in Bridges of Madison County.  Your turn. What moments of passion were so romantic, exhilarating and moving that you would have traded places with the heroine in a heartbeat?  Try reading Rosemary Rodgers Savage Love series or Kathleen Woodwiss novels.  Sigh.

The fiery moments of a passionate experience are moments of wholeness and totality.
Anais Nin

Passion is part of Real Life's package - we were created by Love, for love, to love.  If we don't give outward expression to our passions in little ways every day, we will eventually experience the spontaneous combustion of our souls. If we are to lead deep, rich, fulfilling lives that are anchored in what is important, what is precious, what is real, so that our souls can soar, passion must fuel our flight.  Asking to be delivered to my passion is the only thing worth praying for. 
True passion is intoxicating and invigorating, soothing and sensuous, magical and mystical.  I just thought you should know what you're in for.
found on the back of a Tazo tea bag

Whether we are comfortable with this truth or not, we were conceived in passion, born in passion and will die in passion.  When we search for Something More, it is simply the soul's plea to live passionately. 

The following is from Marianne Williamson's book Illuminata, Thoughts, Prayers and Rites of Passage.  This particular prayer is found on the book cover and one of my favorites.
Deliver us to our passion.
Deliver us to our brilliance.
Deliver us to our intelligence.
Deliver us to our depth.
Deliver us to our nobility.
Deliver us to our beauty.
Deliver us to our power to heal.
Deliver us to You.

Embrace your passions.  xo

my sincere gratitude to Sarah Ban Breathnach and Marianne Williamson
you keep inspiring the goddess in me xo

Friday, July 9, 2010

settling down

marriage certificate
bob and virg mielzynski
July 9, 1956

Dad gave me his marriage certificate yesterday so I could share this as today would have been their 54th anniversary.  He still connects with Mom every day, even as she enjoys her place in Heaven.  Today I am posting some quotes about marriage and settling down in honor of those couples who have weathered so many storms and stayed strong by continuing their commitment to each other.  You are a bit of a phenomenom in our times and deserve kudos. Good for you!

All my friends at school grew up and settled down. 
Then they mortgaged up their lives...
They just got married 'cos there's nothing else to do.
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

It was during the 1600s that the expression settling down came to be associated with marriage.  Women have always longed to create stable, orderly, serene, comfortable and safe surroundings in which to raise their children, and since Eden, have preferred not to do it alone. We would like a little help from our darlings' fathers.  You know what they say about mothers inventing out of necessity. One day a brilliant woman thought of stuffing the soft downy feathers of ducks and geese into mattresses made of muslin and hay.  Now you know where the expression making hay came from. "Don't sleep out in the cold and damp," said our woman sweetly. "Come inside and settle down here with me where it's cozy and warm."  Thus began a pivotal chapter in connubial history.  Soon feather beds and plump pillows became prize possessions in a new bride's dowry, and single men, eager to reap the multiple rewards offered with such bedding, flocked to marital unions.
One way or another, women have been telling each other,
"If you want to get married, don't ask questions."
Mary Kay Blakely

We believe there are only two kinds of marriage - good and bad.  But really there are three: good, bad and indifferent - and the last of the three is really the worst kind.  It is not possible to be the kind of wives our mothers were because the world is different and so, therefore, are our needs.  There isn't any single formula for marriage which all couples should find right.  Marriages should be as diverse as the people in them are and those who don't want to love, honor and obey should be able to promise each other anything they choose, without having to ask anyone what they think of that, particularly themselves.
I don't think marriages break up because of what you do to each other.  They break up because of what you must become in order to stay in them.
Carol Matthau

We work out our karma through our choices.  I believe we are always asked to choose between loving and learning.  Sometimes loving someone means walking away in order to be happy.  The truly moral and courageous choice, the good choice, is to leave if both parties are living a miserable existence.  Sometimes this is the generous way.

There is a stage with people we love when we are no longer separate from them, but so close in sympathy that we live through them as directly as through ourselves...We push back our hair because theirs is in their eyes. (my favorite)
Nan Fairbrother
Since women view themselves through the prism of their love relationships, it is crucial that we take a closer look at the reflector we hold up to our eyes every day. Can there be anything better than waking up with a smile and a snuggle next to the person you want to grow old with?  The sweet days of marriage are nothing less than Heaven on Earth.  The bad ones strip you of the fear of death.  The truth is, our marriages are only as emotionally healthy, happy, holy and content as we are.  The hardest, most heart-wrenching conversations ever had have been with myself. Mirror, mirror on the wall...

Some women wait for something to change and nothing does change so they change themselves.
Audre Lorde

It takes a long time to be really married.  One marries many times at many levels within a marriage.  If you have more marriages than you have divorces within the marriage, you're lucky and you stick it out.
Ruby Dee

One couple would use a January/July code "Look kid," he would say to his wife, "if we can make it to January, we can make it to July." The first hour after he comes home from work is their time together to sit, talk, and reconnect over a drink.  They were not to be interrupted unless it was a matter of life and death. 

Nothing in life is as good as the marriage of true minds between man and woman.  As good?  It is life itself!
Pearl Buck
Experience teaches us in a millennium what passion teaches us in an hour.
Ralph Iron

Passion is what the sun feels for the earth.  When harvests ripen into golden birth.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Passion is what Spirit feels for you.  This probably is not your first image of passion, but it is much closer to the essence of passion than any clandestine bodice-ripping cliche.  We must learn to recast passion's image to reflect our authenticity, not the world's lack of imagination.

Passion is such an intense topic, I will elaborate further another day.

It's a funny thing about life.  If you refuse to settle for anything less than the best, that's what it will give you.
W. Somerset Maugham
We do not lose ourselves all at once, but rather day by day, washing away our pain, the same way carvings on stone are worn down by water.  One day, settling down becomes resignation - settling for something else instead of pursuing something more.  We settle for a loveless marriage, a dead-end job, a diagnosis that predicts we won't get well, or someone else's opinion of our gifts, dreams and what should make us happy.  We settle for a passive, rather than a passionate, life.  Self-sacrifice is one of the more popular ways women betray themselves because it is condoned by society. What a good woman you are, offering yourself up on the altar of self-abuse.  Do we get extra points for suffering gratuitously? How about with a smile? I don't think so.  Settling for anything less than we desire or know we deserve is how we begin to betray ourselves, moment by moment, day by day.  When we disown and discount ourselves, so does the world, including the men we want to share our lives with. 
Self-esteem isn't everything.  It's just that there's nothing without it.
Gloria Steinham

Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its heights... Live in fragments no longer.
E. M. Forster

I believe settling down does not mean settling for less than your authentic self.  Settling with someone, allowing your true spirit to illuminate is key. xo

my sincere thanks to Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Something More, Excavating Your Authentic Self and Simple Abundance