23 October Ecstatic Friday

Happy Ecstatic Friday from a bright and shiny Wichita, Ks. On my walk this morning, a Walt Whitman quote surfaced: "Some people are so much sunlight to the square inch.” Here's to your day being spent with someone who radiates sunlight for you. Or, even better, be your own sunshine and warm the world around you. Namaste!

Ecstatic Friday 16 October

Leaves are falling here in Colorado signaling that 2015 will soon be at an end. I began this year as a dedication to remove all the unnecessary things in my life, à la Michelangelo setting the angel free from the stone.

While that is still a work in progress, there is one truth I can share from this time of discovery. It comes from Dr. Seuss: "Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You."

So, get out there and celebrate being YOU today because you do it better than anyone else. Live it up and laugh it up.

9 October Ecstatic Friday

Autumn always brings a certain amount of reflection in my life and this morning I was reminded of one of my favorite Steve Jobs quote. Not sure why I want to share it, but here you go for whoever needs it out there: "Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition." Exactly.

2 October Ecstatic Friday

Today, I toast the "saunterers" of life... those people who stroll, dosey-doe and amble through this season of harvest. I read recently that John Muir hated the word "hike."

He said, "I don't like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains - not hike! Do you know the origin of that word 'saunter?' It's a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, 'A la sainte terre,' (To the Holy Land.) And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not 'hike' through them."

I woke up this morning in my own mountain tabernacle. Hope you, too, are close to nature and can take a stroll to enjoy her good tidings!

Pope Francis II and High Holiness the Dalai Lama on American soil

The Pope and HH the Dalai Lama were both on American soil this week. Both of them speaking a very simple message: be kind to each other, the Earth and all of her inhabitants. That's a lot of spiritual power speaking the same message. I pray we all hear it.

Ecstatic Friday, September 25, 2015

The novelist Graham Greene waited several years for a meeting with the wondrous Padre Pio.

When the time came, though, Greene walked out of the monastery without meeting him and said, "I don’t want to change my life by meeting a saint."

In my experience, when you meet someone whose life is aligned with the Divine, it changes you. The visit this week by the Pope seems to be working some magic. I hope all remember his wonderful advice: "We must restore hope to young people, help the old, be open to the future, spread love. Be poor among the poor. We need to include the excluded and preach peace."

Preaching peace is a sermon I can get behind! Namaste.

Ecstatic Friday, 18 September 2015

Our dog, Cooper, the bear tracking, fish trapping, grouse flushing mountain dog, has one very specific quirk.

If he ever gets his own poop on any part of his body he goes into complete paralysis and refuses to take one step more until divine intervention (in the form of one of us) gets it off. Then, he merrily trots away like nothing has happened.

While on our walk this morning, I realized that we humans are exactly the same way. We can take anything that comes our way from the external world, but the moment we come in contact with our own crap? Fuggedaboutit. We shut down. Paralysis takes over our bodies and we refuse to move until God, himself, intervenes.

Here's a revelation, folks, if you believe the Divine is omnipresent, then the Divine is in the crap, too. So, acknowledge the crap you made, but keep moving. That's the secret. Keep moving because as Hafiz says, "since Happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you." Believe it. Namaste.

Ecstatic Friday, 11 September 2015

 Ecstatic Friday is hard on days when haunting memories of the fear, uncertainty and terror of 14 years ago come rushing back.

In these past years, I met a quote from Mister Rogers that helps me: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

That's the memory I choose to keep; from the brave first responders to the millions around the world who housed the displaced and comforted the hurting.

My friend, Kevin Tuerff, urges folks on this day to do 3 kind things to help a stranger. Isn't that a wonderful way to pay tribute? We are better than hate and fear; we are compassionate, resilient helpers. Namaste.

Ecstatic Friday, 4 September 2015

Lately, I've been thinking about what being a couple means. Sometimes, being a "couple" subsumes the individuals. And for others, though -- like my brother, Jim and his wife, Fran Stout -- the individuals are stronger by being together.

In the end, whether it is being in a romantic coupling, being a parent, or being a trusted friend, we all want to find our own spot.

As Maya Angelou said: “You rose into my life like a promised sunrise, brightening my days with the light in your eyes. I've never been so strong. Now I'm where I belong."  

Ecstatic Friday, May 22, 2015

First Ecstatic Friday 2015, Colorado style. Sunlight on snow-covered mountains, bunnies hopping outside. No matter where you are, I hope you heed these wise words from Anne Frank: “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.” Here's to finding your happiness today on this gorgeous gem called Earth.

Lunch: April 27. Ode to Momma

Every few days, Ol' Dutch and I honor my mother by doing the thing she liked best: eating cheap (or better yet, free) food.

Today, I found a can of sauerkraut she had purchased for .25 at the Amish store in Monte, Vista, Colorado. While we were at South Padre Island this winter HEB gave away breakfast sausage and I had that in the freezer.

Thanks to some fennel, rosemary, garlic, red pepper flakes and a dash of sugar, the breakfast sausage became Italian sausage. It was then rolled into balls and cooked over a medium heat. Sautéed thinly sliced apple pieces and put to the side. Sauerkraut was added to the Italian sausage in the pan. Simmered for several minutes then served adorned with the apple slices. 

A wonderful German comfort meal which cost a whopping .85 cents. whoo hooo. Momma would be so proud.

Ecstatic Friday, April 24

Confession: for two weeks or so, I've had a whirling, twirling fear twisting in my solar plexus. It has no known cause nor does it change. Instead, it sits. Present. So, on this Ecstatic Friday, I decided to engage it in conversation. And, you know what it had the audacity to do? Quote Dale Carnegie: "Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." So, I'm off for a walk. Time to put these fears to rest and conquer a mountain. Happy Friday, everyone!

Ecstatic Friday, March 27, 2015

Happy Ecstatic Friday. One night this week was warm enough to coax a few fireflies to dart-and-dash outside. When I was a child, I always thought their light was the Divine saying, "I'm here. I'm here." I guess that's why this Gandhi quote came to me: "If you don't find God in the next person you meet, it is a waste of time looking for him further." Whether it is a person, an insect, an animal or just looking in the mirror, the Divine is already there. All you have to do is greet it and say, "Namaste!"

Ecstatic Friday, March 20, 2015

First day of Spring and Ecstatic Friday is a day of contradictions for me.

It's been 5 years today since we lost Liz Carpenter (Secret Service code "Springtime") and yet, even in the face of that loss, spring arrives, wildflowers grace the land and blossoms pop on trees. As Mrs. J fought to preserve the natural beauty of this country, Liz walked every step with her. I think this tribute of David Mixner's for Mrs. J works for Liz, too: "Every spring, this country will be reminded of the Lady from Texas. As trees bloom and flowers carpet our nation's capital, Lady Bird Johnson will be remembered. Only Lady Bird Johnson could, with her vision of a beautiful America, lay claim to spring as her memorial." Want to celebrate life like you're a former First Lady? Go outside and look at the colors... really see them. And, then give thanks for this riotous party known as Spring! You have been blessed with sight. Use it. Happy Spring!

Ecstatic Friday February 27, 2015

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Iwo Jima flag raising and the loss of 26,000 lives this week, Dad and I went to the Iwo Jima museum in Harlingen, On this Ecstatic Friday, when all around people are certain that thanks to immigration, religious extremism, changing times (fill in your own blank), that the US is headed for doom, it was a good reminder of Bill Clinton's quote: "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America.” While some of you may believe we are on the path to ruin, I steadfastly hold that the spirit of democracy, innovation and compassion will always be the right course of action. It's going to be okay, people. Just breathe.

Ecstatic Friday, February 20, 2015

Ecstatic Friday and I am feeling drawn to something read long ago in The Art of Racing in the Rain. Enzo, the dog, says: "Here's why I will be a good person. Because I listen. I cannot talk, so I listen very well. I never deflect the course of the conversation with a comment of my own. People, if you pay attention to them, change the direction of one another's conversations constantly... Learn to listen! I beg of you. Pretend you are a dog like me and listen to other people rather than steal their stories.” So, my day will be spent listening. Please, tell me your story.

Ecstatic Friday, February 13, 2015

I proclaimed 2015 the year of removing what doesn't belong to reveal the masterpiece beneath (à la Michelangelo.) Two months into it, here's what I know: chipping away and discarding is heavy, discouraging, confusing work. Masterpieces do not reveal themselves quickly. So, for this Ecstatic Friday, I'm clinging to Anne Morrow Lindbergh's wisdom: “Every step, even a tentative one, counts.” So, if you find yourself in your own winter slog, take heart... spring will come and there will be cherry blossoms, daffodils and the magic of bumblebees. Already the days are longer and the sun is brighter. Every step counts. And, that's the truth.

Ecstatic Friday, February 6

Celebrating Ecstatic Friday with Paulo Coelho: "You have to take risks, he said. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen. Every day, God gives us the sun--and also one moment in which we have the ability to change everything that makes us unhappy... If people really pay attention to their everyday lives, they will discover that magic moment. It may arrive in the instant when we are doing something mundane, like putting our front-door key in the lock; it may lie hidden in the quiet that follows the lunch hour or in the thousand and one things that all seem the same to us. But that moment exists--a moment when all the power of the stars becomes a part of us and enables us to perform miracles.” Come on, unexpected! I'm ready for a miracle today.

Ecstatic Friday, January 30, 2015

Before opening my eyes this Ecstatic Fri morn, two things crossed my mind. One was Johnny Cash singing the old hymn "In the Garden" and the other words from Franz Kafka: "You need not do anything. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need not even listen, just wait. You need not even wait, just learn to be quiet, still and solitary. And the world will freely offer itself to you unmasked. It has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet." What divine paradox! If you want the world to unfurl its mysteries, be still. It's that simple. Namaste.