Archive | September 2012

Let it snow let it snow let it snow!

This is the winter of our discontent.   The storms that pelt against the windows, shellac the grounds with ice, and fog in the small aircraft, are mere reflections of the inner turmoil we are feeling.

Perhaps the last time you felt good about job opportunities and housing prices, the critical thinking skills our children are learning, the national budget and the cost of preventive and healing medical care is too long ago to really remember.  Or, maybe, you never felt these things.  Ever.

The absolutely astounding thing about these things is that we never stop wanting them.  Of course, it eventually becomes harder and nearly impossible to retain hope for an easier and less costly way to live the American dream of a high quality life.  You try to stay positive through months of job searching; you avert your eyes at all the foreclosure signs in the neighborhood; you refuse to watch Fox channel’s biased and unfair news or NBC’s news sound bites between unlimited commercial breaks; you try not to count the zeroes in the national debt figure (twelve); and, you pray fervently you don’t get sick and need a doctor or operation.

It’s exactly this effort that makes it virtually impossible to be content and peaceful throughout your day.

I remember being peaceful, once.

It was about a hundred years ago when I was nine years old.  My best friend was out with her folks and I was bored.  I wanted to ditch my older brother who could be such a nuisance some times and have some peace and quiet.  I felt it best not to ask permission to leave the house for a while, as I probably wouldn’t get it and would instead be put to work sweeping the kitchen floor or babysitting my baby brother.   I casually sauntered across the living room floor acting cool, and made it to the screen door without incident.  I stood there for just long enough looking uninterested, then slowly pushed open the door.  I was soon outside on the porch.  Made it!  I took off at a fast pace across the lawn, onto the sidewalk and around the corner.

It was a beautiful, sunny morning in early summer.  The birds were happily singing and hardly anyone was outside yet, which was just perfect.  I lived in a very small town where everyone knew everyone else and would tattle to my parents if they thought I was wandering too far from home and getting into trouble.

I walked the two blocks to the main part of town and took a right.  I was into my rhythm now.  Not too many people hung around the car repair shop or the farm implement store, and the tavern wasn’t open yet.  I started to skip down the sidewalk.  Right before the street ended, I stopped at Almira’s yard and picked myself a few grapes.  She was an old spinster lady who was always nice to us kids, so I knew she wouldn’t mind if I helped myself.

I kept walking past the dead end and right up to the wooden fence.  I scanned the pasture and smiled:  the cows were gone and the bull was nowhere to be seen.  I climbed over, jumping to the ground.  I steadied myself and walked purposefully across the flat grazing land, heading straight for the little creek.  I knew exactly where the spring  fed into the creek bed and helped myself to a few handfuls of fresh water.

After I had refreshed myself, I reached down and picked a few sweet purple clover buds.  A short time later I had made it to a small hill and was settling my little frame onto the grassy patch by the big bush.  I could see the entire town from here, and more importantly, if the bull decided to come by.  I wasn’t afraid of cows, I rode them on my uncle’s farm when no one was looking.  I would have preferred a horse, but I made do with what was available.  But a bull was an entirely different proposition.

I munched on the clover and then laid back for a rest, my arms up and my head on my hands.  The sky was a beautiful blue and the clouds seemed whiter and fluffier than usual.   A gentle, wispy breeze blew across my face like angel wings.  Immediately, a wave of enormous joy rolled over my little body and I felt one with everything, and everything was perfect, so I must be, too.

I thought great thoughts that day while looking up.  I just knew everything was going to turn out just perfect.  I’d have a great teacher that fall and I’d be really smart in class, maybe one of the smartest.  I wouldn’t fight with my brother nearly so much and I’d get a new dress to wear every Sunday for church.  Oh.  And a horse.  I’d definitely end up owning a horse.

When it was time to go back home, I was peaceful and content.  I got myself up, walked back across the pasture, climbed over the fence and began to walk the four blocks to home.  I waved to my neighbors as I passed them.  I was feeling pretty cocky because everything was going to be so perfect.

I often wish I was nine again, drinking fresh, clean spring water, crossing an open field of clover, thinking wonderful thoughts about my life and everything in it.  Instead, I have to be content remembering instead of being, feeling grateful that it all comes back to me so easily.  Once you know what peace truly feels like, you never stop trying to live it.  That’s a wonderful gift for a nine year old to give to the world; well…mine, any way.

Something good is going to happen next year.  I can see it in the sky.

— ( c ) St. John 2011

New Year’s Eve 2001: A New Year in New York

It doesn’t matter who you are.  September 11, 2001, will haunt you for the rest of your life.

I wanted to pay my respects not just to Ground Zero’s victims, but to New York.  Like a funeral service, you don’t know what to say, but you want to say something.  I had to go, and so ion December 30, 2001, I did.

I flew into New Jersey and took the train to New York.   I was walking through the station to the street exit when I passed a long wall that was a memorial to New York and the victims.  Posters from grade schools kids;  photos (“Last seen at World Trade Center.  If you have seen…please notify…”);  a flower or two;  poems;  letters;  hundreds of messages.   I put my hand up and touched them, and felt the pain behind the pleas.

I checked into the hotel, set my bags down and headed for Ground Zero.   The cab took me to within a few blocks but got stopped in bumper-to-bumper traffic.  After getting directions from the driver, I got out and walked the rest of the way.

Groups of people were walking towards the site and I slid in alongside them, into their purposeful, quiet rhythm.  Police officers were next to the curb, trying to keep warm with a barrel fire.

I paused when I saw red, white and blue wreaths adorning an overpass.  I paused when I saw a fire department door with a sign thanking New York for its support.  I paused when I saw red white and blue ribbons tied on an iron fence.  I paused when I saw flags on balconies, in windows, on buildings, on police cars and fire trucks.  It’s one thing to see flags displayed here in the Midwest, it’s another thing to see them in New York.

You know when Ground Zero is around the next corner.  All of Manhattan is closed in with buildings, tall, taller and tallest, until then.  Suddenly, you look ahead and see a wide space of sky and you know.  The openness is eerie.

I walked alongside the barricades that were used in the first weeks to block off the street, but are now moved aside.  You can hear the cranes and trucks before you see them, and slight wasps of smoke from debris still smoldering.  There’s a slightly unpleasant odor in the air.  Police vehicles are parked everywhere.

The site was barricaded off, with police directing pedestrians and authorized vehicles.  A corner of the barricade was covered in photos, flowers, notes, wreaths, candles, and stuffed animals.  There was even a Christmas tree.  The people moved in, paused, took pictures or prayed or cried or all three, and moved away.  I heard someone behind me say, “The photos are hard to take.”  The faces of real people, real losses.

A tall building opposite where I was standing was blackened and charred.  The building to the left of me had it’s corner blown out.  The building to the right had boards where windows once were.

There was an opening in the barricade that allowed you to see a portion of the site.  Daylight was beginning to disappear and huge lights were shining on the wreckage.  I could see a crane, digging.  I turned right and moved to the next block.

A crew of rescue workers were going in.  Trucks were lined up to leave the site.  Tall, massive showers were built to wash down the vehicles before they exited.  A flatbed piled high with debris drove past me.  Twisted, mangled debris that I had no idea were cars until I saw the tires.  Another truck passed me.  They were taking the debris to the landfill site, where searchers would sift through it for human remains.  There were trucks stopped down the block and lined up to the right, waiting.  As a truck would leave the site, another, empty one would start up and take its place.  The trucks never stopped leaving, never stopped arriving.  Over and over, lines of trucks, 24 x 7.

It had turned dark and cold.  I started heading back, choosing to walk on the same street where thousands had run for their lives that day.  My psyche went backwards in time.  I felt the fear that had blasted down the streets; heard the noise that overpowered the senses.  With each step I wondered who had gone before me.  I prayed for them and their families.

I wanted to touch something, to feel something beneath my fingertips, anything to get the message to my brain that this was true, that an evil so great existed on my homeland long enough to cause a century of pain and tears. Why, why, innocent victims?  Why, why, the evil madness?

The next day I struck out again.  One of Mayor Giuliani’s last accomplishments was the opening of a public platform that morning at Ground Zero, and I wanted to go back.  But first I needed to see something else.  I walked from mid-town Manhattan to Central Park.

I’ve been to New York before, I know the cold reserve and rudeness for which New Yorkers are famous.  But that’s not the New York that survived September 11.  There are those tourists with cameras and accents or a language different from the native-born New Yorker, who kept to the themselves;  and, there were the teenagers or young adults who were totally absorbed in looking cool, as we all were then, who kept to themselves.  But loads of others — doormen, clerks, waitresses, walkers, police officers, shoppers — whose kindnesses were profoundly evident.  A smile here, a nod there;  a “pardon me,” an “it’s that way” with a smile and wishes for a happy new year.  It was like being home in the Midwest.

I found the Dakota and went past the doorway where John Lennon was shot down, which sickened me.

I crossed the street to Central Park to the mosaic memorial in Strawberry Fields, which made me feel sad.  I sat for a while and watched others pay their respects or take photos.  Before I left, I took off a glove and touched the mosaic.  I thought of the Beatle years and smiled.  Nothing could kill that.  I thought of September 11 and wondered what had survived for us.

I strolled through Central Park where dogs chased rubber balls or children twirled and laughed with the pigeons;  where lovers walked, absorbed in themselves and the bright light of the winter sun in the afternoon.

How could so much evil exist in a world of such beauty?

I walked back through Times Square where the New Year’s ball was being tested and hoisted, engraved with the names of the fallen rescuers.  Massive amounts of people were crowding into the area, working their way around the police vans and trucks, amidst the security personnel checking the area.  Then I went back to Ground Zero.

By the time I arrived, darkness was falling and the wind was making the air incredibly bitter.  The line for the public platform was stretched for two to three blocks.  The crowd was being informed that the average wait was 3½ hours.

I strolled on the street instead, which was partially barricaded from the traffic.  City Hall was nearby on the left and the St. Paul Chapel and Cemetery was on my right.

The church shouldn’t have survived, but it did.  It’s the city’s oldest church, dating back to the inaugural of George Washington as president.  Despite all odds, it was still there for the rescue workers when they placed the body of their fallen chaplain on its altar.  The iron fence in front was covered in flowers, wreaths, signs, candles.  One sign stood out, asking that no photographs be taken of the rescue workers, out of respect for their privacy:  they visit the church during their breaks.

I reached the public platform and stopped.  Only a small group of people are sent up at a time, but each group is allowed a few minutes before the next one is sent up.  People didn’t talk when they came down.

I looked up at the tall buildings still standing near the sight, knowing the towers had dwarfed them.  If they had fallen to the left or to the right, the destruction would have been immeasurable.

I headed back, scarf around my face and my gloved hands buried in my pockets.  Vendors were scattered throughout the area selling hats with FDNY, NYPD logos, peanuts, and pretzels.  So New York.

Why does evil live as one among us, a dark purple bruise of pain next to the yellow smiles and red hearts of beauty?  I don’t get September 11.  I want to get it.  To get something.   I was glad the church had made it through the attack.  It reminded me that we are in two worlds:  one that was created for us, one that we create for ourselves.  Life is a dance, partnering the two worlds.  I saw in New York, in all of us, a yearning to dance in rhythm with each other, to music greater than ourselves.

Why does evil exist?  Not why, but when.

When the dance step is not accepted, when the beat is not followed nor heard nor felt.  When what could or should be done is not.  When an act of kindness or the gesture of goodwill is skipped, and room is made for the uninvited guest to live as one among us, until it eventually destroys us.  Our hearts are like Ground Zero – there’s an empty space that haunts us.  If we fill it up with thoughts, actions, people, and events of good report, there is no room for unwanted guests.

The world is still good.  Good is still powerful.

I left New York the next day, but not before I signed my name to the memorial wall.

May peace be upon us all.

   — (c) St. John 2001

Sweet Good-bye and Eager Hello

I don’t understand those who mourn the end of summer.

Who could weep for the disappearing ultramarine of the sea or swimming pool when one has only to look upon the gorgeous, deep palette that is now autumn?

Bright red berries popping upon branches, burnt orange, russet red and golden yellow leaves twirling to the ground in a dance…Even the sounds have color and taste.

Crows shriek over and over, a rhythm to their speech that sweetens the memory of ripe apples, juicy grapes and plums.  The low barking of a dog knells a few times in the distance, beckoning one back home.

All of these spark a strong desire in me to put on my shoes, grab some books to carry and walk in the leaves, kicking them up as high as I can in the air, just like I used to do as a kid walking home from school.  But on closer look, there aren’t enough leaves yet so the only kicking I can do is in my brain.

Happy International Woman’s Day

International Woman’s Day occurs every year to be celebrated by women everywhere and by the men who cherish them.

Why should we women celebrate being female?

You’re kidding.  Right?

Being female is such a strength.  A trip to France can explain that.

I was enjoying the lovely Parisian day by sitting outside a darling café, having le verre à vin et l’assietteleu fromage (a glass of wine and a plate of cheeses).  Watching the street activity in Paris is as delicious as the food.  It was my fellow females that spoke to me the most.

The women of Paris walked talk, straight and gracefully, talking often and looking happy.  There were no identical, cookie cutter looks here in Paris for the women.  But there were identical efforts.  Clothes were always cleaned, pressed and tailored.  Even jeans that are beginning to be worn are not relaxed or cut for boots in Paris.  There are no tears or zippers.  The denim is of the darker blue, neat, clean and fitted to the body.  Shoes were chosen with care.  No wore-down leather or torn fabrics.  No sneakers or chunky brown “comfort” shoes.   These shoes were stylish, often with higher heels of varying heights; fabric or leather; a multitude of colors and designs.  Whether a skirt, dress or slacks, each was well-fitted and reeked of quality.  Jackets, coats and sweaters were tailored.  Not a thread was loose or a button off.  Jewelry was minimal but scarves were everywhere.  Women wore them as elegant works of art.  I felt an aura of unmistakable glee in their being feminine.  It pierced the inner most space of my soul and hugged it with great camaraderie.

The men possessed the same sense of self-expression, though often I could not control my shock of surprise at seeing bright colors and scarves on men, too.  The absence of low-slung pants, thonged flip flops, sweatpants, tie-dye, tee shirts with stupid slogans on them, and baseball caps, made my heart skip a beat.  In their places were well-pressed pants, crisp shirts, groomed hair, and graceful gestures.  Gentle envy stirred in me for the French women who have this beautiful array of masculinity to observe and enjoy.

Flowing amidst all this glorious gender pride, I should not have been surprised then when the embodiment of it sat down right next to me at the nearby table in the café.

The lovely woman, dressed professionally in a sleeveless blouse and a flowing skirt, strolled into the café and chose a table near me, her long hair, pulled up and secured.  She sat her bag down before taking her seat. Her feet were barely covered in strappy, open-toed sandals with a small heel.   Her countenance was peaceful and she patiently studied her menu while waiting for the monsieur (server) to take her order. Her posture produced an elegant, relaxed grace to her movements.

Lest you begin to think I was staring at this woman with an unhealthy obsession, let me assure you that this assessment of her took less than a full minute.  It is very true what they say – lasting impressions occur within the first 30 seconds of seeing someone.

She held a fascination for me, because in my country it is very unusual to see a woman so self-assured and just plain happy to be by herself.  In between sipping my wine and eating from the cheese and baguette plate, I continued to observe her out of the corner of my eye.

She ordered a bière (a beer) with her lunch and when it arrived, sipped it with obvious enjoyment.  Like all Parisians, she was in no hurry.  She leaned slightly back and observed the movement around her:  the beautiful mixture of people on the sidewalk passing by, so like works of art.  Their colors varied, their sizes and shapes were unique, as were their own particular presentations and gait.  Cars, buses, taxis, and motor bikes flew noisily by, honking and darting in and out of each other.  Bicyclists rode by with briefcases purses, flowers, or baguettes in their baskets.

Back at the café, the quiet hum of multiple conversations peppered the sidewalk.  The French speak lower in social places, so as not to disturb others.  Still alone, the woman in the stylish clothes and now half-finished beer received her food from the server who was providing her with a grin and greeting.  She set upon her plate of fresh salad greens and vegetables, and her basket of sliced bread, with polite relish. Occasionally, a passerby would catch her glance and smile or  nod in her direction.  She returned the gestures in kind.   It was peaceful and joyful to watch this feminine creature bring into one synchronized moment, all that is exquisitely beautiful and radiant energy that can emanate from the female form.

As I sat not directly next to her but in her vibrational space, I became straighter in my posture.  I relaxed my face and felt the gentlest of smiles begin to form on my lips.  My hands moved in more graceful motions.  I was connecting to that feminine beauty that is in all of us women, and I felt enriched, energized and capable of great love, to give and to receive.  This beautiful woman had brought me to bliss.

As the moments sweetly passed, she finished her course and ordered dessert.  When her plate of cheeses and baguette arrived, she did not set upon her plate, but as she had done with the meal, calmly took one piece at a time, sipping her beer, thoroughly enjoying the individual flavor of each piece.  When her check arrived, I was sorry to see her go.  Such a sense of presence is rare here in the states and I hated to break off the sense of connection I had made with it.   As she gathered her bag, I noticed flowers peeking out of it, and wondered who she was decorating for – just herself, or a new lover?  She left the café, walking down the sidewalk with confidence, I knew in looking at her that I was looking at what made the French women so French and secretly envied by the rest of us.

Why do we celebrate being female?  Because feminine energy is a continuum of beauty, not a one stop shop.

The woman I described was not young, but mature. She had a slightly full figure. I would guess that she was in her late 60s or even 70s.  If an elderly woman in this country with a slightly full figure, wore a sleeveless top, sexy sandals and drank a beer for lunch, the most kindly thing that would happen to her is that she would have been labeled “eccentric:” — or an alcoholic.

Of course, youth is always attractive because of the energy, though some of our young women sort of miss out on that and think at 17 they have to act older than their age.  I see the 30 and 40 somethings and I see strength starting to settle into them, and I love the maturing of their faces.  It adds such a beautiful dimension to their spirits.  In Paris, when I saw the women who had to be well into their 70s and 80s, I immediately spotted a dignity and yes, a radiance to their faces.

It makes me giggle in delight.  We women have an enormous amount of untapped power within us that is given to us naturally by our femininity.  Deep in our gut, we know the fullest way to live is to value ourselves as women at every stage in our life.

International Woman’s Day is a gleeful, all-embracing celebration among us not only for our sameness as females, but for our uniqueness among ourselves.  So vive la difference between the genders …and vive la difference among ourselves, mon soeur! 

Happy International Woman’s Day

To learn more about the organization behind International Woman’s Day, click on International Women's Day

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy, Hot Days of Summer

The air chokes with heat.  Not a leaf or parched blade of grass is moving.

The lone tomato plant in the pot guzzles water for its six clusters of small green orbs.  Tiny yellow flowers announce more orbs will be arriving soon.  Four days ago the peppers  were no bigger than a fat thumb.  Now they are almost as large as my palm.  How do they do that??  How does a flower or tiny thing change into a substantial, edible vegetable so quickly and wondrously?

Clearly, my plants are loving the heat, the blistering rays of the sun, the hugs of the stifling air.  Remarkable.  As a human, wilting in the early morning, I am humbled by the power of nature to win out.

My scalp beings to sweat and I have only been in my patio chair for three minutes.  It feels like someone has placed a wool blanket over my bare legs.  My skin is beginning to feel oppressed.

The grounds are so ugly now.  Little band-aids of green will soon disappear into the dry, mustard yellow brown of a scorched earth.

Cicadas are screaming, competing to be heard above the traffic, and they win.  The high pitched vibrations drown out the tire and engine noises from the nearby pavement.

A bright, beautiful red male cardinal lands on the corner of the balcony.

I swear, its eyes looked disapprovingly at me.

The cardinal flits away to a nearby branch and waits.

He has me well trained.  I place a handful of seeds on the corner of the balcony railing.   OOPS.  The “rules” here prohibit kindness to birds, but I sneak a bit of it in any way.  Some rules are just stupid.  I know of no one who can resist beauty, especially when it comes around just for you.  And he is gorgeous.

My entire body is beginning to melt.

I am going to celebrate summer today.  I will purchase a bag of lemons and squeeze all the juice out of them.  I’ll pour in some sugar — the natural, healthier, Dr. Oz kind.  I’ll get unhealthy brats, some peppers and onion, and fat hoagie buns and grill the brats in the corner of the balcony that will still be in shade at lunch time.  We’ll drink up the cold lemonade and eat the brats.  I will remember how my nine-year-old self didn’t give a hoot how hot it got in the summer.  There was no school and I was with my best friend.

Yep.  It’s time to celebrate what is; and summer…in spite of its current drought and brutal temperatures..has alot to offer.


Are you feeling uneasy in 2012?


There’s no getting around it.  2011 was a bad year upon a not-go-good year, going into an iffy year.  There is not one person who has not suffered in some way, innocently or by their own behavior and actions.

We are all in this confusion and void together.  It’s not the best way to be united as a country, as a people…I’d rather be dancing…but there is strength in standing together and facing it down.

Whether your grief has been emotional, physical, economic, or spiritual…or a combination of more than one or all of the above, the wall of pain can be walked through.  You can come out the other side not only intact, but with greater peace.  I may not have the answers to get you through it, but perhaps I can lean upon others for inspiration to help guide you.

It’s hard being in a void.  The economy…environment…government…world unrest…nuclear threats.  Who knows what the heck will happen to the world tomorrow…next week…next month.  Election year only makes the void echo insanely because it is the same ole, same ole, with few promises acted upon.  Andrew Peterson, EdD, in his book “The next ten minutes” looks at the void a bit differently though.   He absolutely agrees it is a place of uncertainty and how we human beings are not wired to like uncertainty.  But he happily goes on to say about the void, “…it’s the gap between the poles, where all things are possible.  It is, in fact, the present moment.”  He’s particularly delighted about that, because that’s what his book is all about:  being in the present moment.

All spiritual books point to this present moment.  “Be in the moment, in the now.”  But when the present moment and the now are painful, why would you ever want to go there?!  Give me a great fantasy escape any day.

But I get their point.  In spite of our humanness to avoid uncertainty, we cannot avoid the lure of beauty.  And there is beauty in the moment, even if it means just paying attention to how you breathe and how you don’t even have to think about it to stay alive.  Can you imagine how tedious it would be if you had to remind yourself every few seconds to breathe?!  If I want to be reminded to “breathe…just breathe” or to “take a deep breath,” I want it to be because I am so excited about something that if I don’t slow down my breathing, I will surely faint dead away in pure delight.  But it doesn’t have to be as common as paying attention to your breathing…whatever causes you to concentrate so heavily that you hear nothing else around you…that’s the present moment.  That’s the now.  That’s pure delight.  That’s the best escape fantasy going.

I certainly hope that Andrew Peterson is right, and that all things are possible at this moment.  Because that’s how I want my dreams to come true…when I’m not paying attention because I’m having so much fun, just being.

Next I turn to Julie Cameron, a particular favorite artist/writer of mine (The Artist’s Way, Transitions, etc.).   In an inspirational prayer book she offered this consolation:

“Sometimes people fail us in terrible ways.  We are betrayed, abandoned, cast aside.  In times of such personal trauma, we must hold to the larger picture….I realize that while people may indeed fail me and turn away, there is an underlying goodness to the Universe which brings to me new friends and new situations.  These gifts heal and soothe me.  I see the merciful hand of providence despite my pain.”

The larger picture can mean many different things to each of us.  For me, it’s the idea of goodness; that it can exist in one human being or another without ever disappearing completely.  When you can reach outside of your pain and grab on with all your might to that goodness – kindness and respect – and offer it to others, you find the friends who are connected to the higher picture and can elevate you to that higher place of healing and peace.  And, better yet…

sometimes those friends even find you.

But for me it’s Don Miguel Ruiz and his book, “The Four Agreements” that really brings things home on this idea of we humans suffering at the hands of others.  Maybe I’m quoting directly or maybe I’m paraphrasing…I’m most certainly jumping around…but he gets the credit for the following perceptions:

We all love the best we can.  We all can trust ourselves.  We all suffer.

We can’t always give what the other wants or needs.  Sometimes, someone leaving your life or disappointing you is a gift.  It hurts to be with some people.  But the hurts will heal.         When the hurt heals, you can choose what you really want, how you really want to relate to others.  You don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choice to be with them or not.   Your sadness, anger or humiliation will disappear.  When you establish a new belief you won’t be in that hell of pain ever again.  You will become immune to disapproval, shame and harsh resentments.

As for the gossips, the hell that they create when you go your own way, don’t take it personally.  It won’t affect you.  You can stand in that hell, in serenity.  The poison of harsh words will poison the sayers of them, not you.  You are not responsible for their words, neither is your behavior responsible for their unkind actions.  You did not cause the harshness, resentment of abuse.  You can stand in the middle of this pain and still experience inner peace and happiness.

Every day you will become better at being you.  You will remain a beautiful soul and you will live up to that soul.  Accept yourself.  Do not commit the sin of self-rejection.

Regardless of how high or down you are in this challenging year of 2012, one bit of prophecy or truth, if you will, keeps popping up…kindness and respect connects you to the innate goodness of the universe to other like-minded souls.  So if all those you are connected to are neither kind nor respectful, just hang tough and don’t waiver…those who already are will be grounded in your space even more deeply.  You and the goodness of others in your space will draw to you the same.   And the best part is, that those in your life who aren’t kind or respectful and can’t/won’t become so, will suddenly find there is no room for them at your inn.

Too bad, huh.  And you didn’t have to do anything, except be your higher self and stay the course.  See?  Life can be good.

(Because chose it to be.)

— ( c ) St. John 2012

(Some) Women Say the Darndest Things

There’s been a super interesting dialogue going on in the comment section of an article written by Cathy Kightlinger of the Indianapolis Star.  It was posted June 18, 2012, and I have no clue how I latched on to it, but I did and there you are.

I will hold off just a bit on sharing the title of said article.  (I am sure you will have no problem figuring out what it is W-A-Y before I tell you.)

On this particular topic, some women get objective and others get nasty.  There appears to be little space in between in which to exhibit the higher traits of feminine strength, grace and kindness.  Surely, I am wrong about that.  But au contraire.  Those traits of a good Christian, Buddhist or whatever, are instantly deserted by the NOs (the Nasty Ones), all the while proclaiming they ARE good women, Christians, Buddhists or whatever, while all the other women who do not think like them are not.

Some behavior of the NOs:

“I can’t stand her…or the yellow flag champion she’s married to.”

Said NO number 1 does not know the woman under discussion, nor her husband.  But number 1 NO is adamant she not only wouldn’t like her, she wouldn’t be able to STAND her.  Why such venom?  Because said woman under discussion is rude, belligerent, psychotic, mean?  Nuh uh.  Read on.

“Me neither, Lynnie…she’s a phony.”

Said NO number 2 does not know the woman under discussion.  But number 2 NO is adamant the woman she never met is a phony.

Did you hear a “MEOW?”

“Not “everybody” likes BLANK, especially those as yet in utero.  She is a loon, period.” 

Oh my goodness!  This is a male voice trying to get into the act.  Sorry, dude, but unless YOU have a utero, please do not discuss my internal organs as if you know what you are talking about.  Do I talk about your prostate like that??  No.  So don’t talk about my uterus like you have one.  Sheesh.

“Don’t you mean supporting the murdering of unborn children? Hell, if it were just birth control, I’d be a fan, but Planned Parenthood performs ABORTIONS! So that’s okay with you? Really?”

Ummm…what the heck are you talking about, NO number 2?  Planned Parenthood IS about parenthood…healthy and thoughtful and desired parenthood.  And, if you looked beyond your nose (or belly button as in uterus),  it is also about women’s health issues and health care. GOOD health care for women.  One would hope in your quest to produce life, you would make the connection between the current living human and the cells that have the potential to become one.  One would THINK.  Thinking being the key operative word here.

“She “shuns the spotlight”? Really? Last month she acted as if SHE had won the race, not her husband. And isn’t it peculiar that a woman who has never experienced having a baby growing inside of her is such an avowed advocate of murdering them in utero under the guise of being a “women’s right’s activist”? You don’t need to take up for me, BLANK…I can fight my own battles.”

I LOVE NO number 2!  She is absolutely fascinating.  If you notice, NO number 2 has two reoccurring themes:  utter disbelief (her overuse of the word “really” with a question mark) and her reference to breeding.  (This woman needs to get her mind on something else, I’m beginning to think.)

Personally, though, I am delighted that NO number 2 will take on her battles herself.  She’s beginning to annoy me.  Her logic is without real logic, her decisions are reactive and emotional, and she’s well.. not very nice about it all.  I wouldn’t want her on my team for women’s rights at all.  In fact, I kinda think she may be one of the people I would be working to thwart.  Really.

“…an intelligent, beautiful woman who has never held a child inside of her body. Give me a break. A role model for ALL of humankind? I felt my babies move inside of me at 14 weeks…”

Hmmm, NO number 2 (who is talking a LOT, I notice), if a woman is intelligent and beautiful…of course she is a role model.  We all are role models for being intelligent and beautiful.  As for feeling your babies inside of you….what has that got to do with being a role model?  Maybe for your daughters, but not mine, thank you very much.

The key word you used is ‘worth’. I agree–every living being is ‘worth’while; why not afford that ‘worth’ to unborn babies? And I do not believe I ever stated that BLANK is not ‘worth’ anything because she is not a mother; I’m simply making the obvious connection between her non-motherhood and her advocacy for abortion. BLANK, and every living person on the planet, was WORTH being born!

Nope.  I don’t see it, NO number 2.  Speaking about women’s health care does not equate with anything other than health care, in my books.  And “non-motherhood” is the silliest phrase I’ve ever heard.  It makes one think “Mothers” in this corner, and all other non entities in this corner.  According to your thinking, NO number 2, men are abortion advocates because they are non mothers.

I said it before and I’ll say it again:  I LOVE this woman!  She is SO strange, she is absolutely fascinating.

That’s all she felt compelled to utter, so I’ll go on to the article itself.

The title of the article is, “Ashley Judd to Keynote Planned Parenthood of Indiana’s 80th Anniversary Party”.  That’s it.  That’s what has incurred the wrath of the NO number 1 and NO number 2 and that weirdo guy who has to get mixed into all this “girl talk.”

But it isn’t really what incurs their wrath.

What really has incurred the wrath of the NOs is that a beautiful, intelligent, gracious woman can also think for herself and make her own choices.  NOs want women to be defined solely as breeders of children, nothing else.  We criticize men who think just of their penises…aren’t women who think just of their uteruses just as warped?

NOs want the minds, hearts and spirits of women overlooked and demeaned, in favor of producing more population upon the earth.  That is NO’s unlimited, unenlightened and totally unnerving view of a woman’s purpose.   NOs truly want to regard women as Erica Jong hinted at decades ago:  a uterus with a pair of legs.  If the NOs associated a uterus with a mind, they’d understand why bearing children may be lovely, noble and rewarding, but it is NOT the end all nor be all of a female human being’s existence…an animal’s, maybe…but not a human being’s.



Copyright St. John Journals 2012

Courage Called For

Courage is demanded

to stare into the darkness of an airless tunnel of despair

where no light shines, not even at the end…

Courage is demanded

to be a door for fears and despairs to pass through,

and open you to your separateness…

Courage is demanded

in the airless tunnel of despair

that separates you from yourself…

Courage is demanded.

to become the light…

if only because otherwise there would be none.

 — (c) St. John 2012

Whose Eyes Do See Me

Someone tells you

You are smart

You are kind

You are good.

Seeing yourself in someone’s eyes like that

Is a wondrous thing…

When the eyes belong to someone

Who is smart

Who is kind

Who is good.

But when the heart behind the eyes is




It shatters your reflection like glass,

Pieces falling to the floor,

Shards beneath your feet.

Sliced and cut

Your soul bleeds as you walk away.

The only eyes that mirror a true image of who you are

Are your own.

— (c) St. John 2012

In Pain

Life has torn the bark from my trunk

And the leaves from my branches.

I am stripped bare and vulnerable

To life’s blows and cracks,

Bent and weeping,

Trembling under the onslaught.

I was once tall and straight.

I stood against the wind for others,

Buffeting, covering, protecting,

While life slashed and dismantled me.

What have I done?

I have stared a monster in the eye.

It turns its strength on me

And hacks at my trunk,

Searching for my life’s vein.

And all the while it taunts me with its power over me.

And so I stand alone,

Rejected and rejecting now,

Semi-dead and hurting,

Wounded and bare against this brutal attack.

But a new wind blows.

A gentler wind, a healing wind.

I look at the missing leaves and bark torn from my trunk.

I look at what is left of me,

Bared to me.

And now I see,

It is the best part of me,

The strongest part of me,

The infinite part of me.

The wind continues to caress.

I stand tall now.

I will thrive another day

To color the life that is before me,

Green and thriving,

Red, yellow, orange, and shining,

Loving and giving.

For I have seen my soul and know

It can never be broken or breached or compromised,

But will always be.

Stripped of all that I had,

I have,


Seen me.

— (c) St. John 1986