A MEANINGFUL LIFE
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the attitude of silence the soul finds
the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and
deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness."
~ Mahatma Gandhi...
May 30, 2005
THIS WEEK'S ISSUE
From the Inside Out...
Yes You Can!...
Keep Gums Healthy
for Your Heart
(Pet Hearts, Too)
Untangling the Web...
What a Site!
Just for YOU...
Laughing It Off...
Daily Security Alerts
Smelling the Roses
BE the World
You Want to See!
dear friend, Denys Cope, who also lives here in Santa Fe, is a Hospice
Nurse, Author and End-of-Life Coach. She has written an incredible
book called, Dying:
A Natural Process in which she tells about "switching
from a physical energy source to a spiritual energy source."
Her book is filled with the kind of clarity that everyone needs
to have under these circumstances.
~ Chelle ~
From the Inside Out
day, my four-year-old son, Sam, told me that he had seen his baby-sitter
crying because she had broken up with her boyfriend. "She was
sad," Sam explained to me.
he sat back in his car seat and sighed. "I've never been sad,"
he said, dreamily, "Not ever." It was true. Sam's life
was happy in no small part because of his special relationship with
spring my father died, and everything changed for us. Pa Hood was
more than just a grandfather to Sam. As Sam eagerly told everyone,
they were best buddies. Long before my father became ill, Sam and
I watched the movie Anne of Green Gables. In the scene when
Anne wished aloud for a bosom friend, Sam sat straight up. "That's
me and Pa," he declared. "Bosom friends forever and ever."
My father described their relationship the same way.
I went out of town to teach one night a week, it was Pa in his red
pickup truck who met Sam at school and brought him back to his house,
where they played pirates and knights and Robin Hood. They even
dressed alike: pocket T-shirts, baseball caps, and jeans. Sam had
overnights with Pa, where they'd cuddle until late at night and
giggle when my mother ordered them to be quiet and go to sleep.
The next morning they'd indulge in sugary cereals and cartoons,
treats forbidden at home. They had special restaurants they frequented,
playgrounds where they were regulars, and toy stores where Pa allowed
Sam to race up and down the aisles on motorized cars.
I'd arrive to take Sam home, he always cried. "Pa, I love you.
I miss you already!" He memorized my father's phone number
when he was 2 and called him every morning and every night. "Pa,"
Sam would ask, clutching the phone, "can I call you ten hundred
more times?" Pa always said yes, and then answered the phone
each time with equal delight.
the months that my father was in the hospital with lung cancer,
I worried about how Sam would react to Pa's condition the bruises,
from needles, the oxygen tubes, his weakened body. When I explained
to Sam that seeing Pa so sick might scare him, Sam was surprised.
"He's my Pa," he said. "He could never scare me."
And he never did. Sam would walk into the hospital room and climb
right into bed with my father, undaunted by the changes in Pa's
appearance or in the increasing amount of medical apparatus he acquired
every day. I watched adults approach the bedside with great trepidation,
unsure of what to say or do. But Sam seemed to know exactly what
was right: hugs and jokes, just as always. "Are you coming
home soon?" he'd ask. "I'm trying," Pa would tell
my father's death, I have kept my overwhelming sadness at bay. When
well-meaning people approach me to ask how I'm doing, their brows
furrowed in sympathy, I give them a short answer and swiftly change
the subject. I'd rather not confront the questions and the feelings
that my dad's death has raised. But Sam is different. He thinks
that wondering aloud and sorting out together is the best way to
he says, settling into his car seat, "Pa's in space, right?"
Or loudly in church, where he points upward to the stained-glass
window: Is one of those angels Pa?" Right after my father died,
I told Sam he was in heaven. "Where's heaven?" Sam asked.
"No one knows exactly," I said, "but lots of people
think it's in the sky." Sam thought about that and then shook
his head. "No," he said, "it's very far away. Near
Cambodia." "When you die," he said on another afternoon,
"you disappear, right? And when you faint, you only disappear
a little. Right?"
time he offers one of these possibilities he waits for me to confirm
it as true. He is sorting out the things he's certain of and the
things he's trying to understand. I think his questions are good.
The part I have trouble dealing with is what he always does after
he asks: He looks me right in the eye with more hope than I can
stand and waits for my approval or correction or wisdom. But in
this matter, my own fear and ignorance are so large that I grow
dumb in the face of his innocence. The truth is, I have no answer
to the question we struggle hardest with: How can we find a way
to be with my father when we don't know where or even if he is?
Sam's approach to my father's illness, I began to watch his approach
to grief. At night, he would press his face against his bedroom
window and cry, calling out into the darkness, "Pa, Pa, I love
you! Sweet dreams!" Then, after his crying stopped, he would
climb into bed, drained but satisfied somehow, and sleep. I, on
the other hand, would wander the house all night, not knowing how
day, in the supermarket parking lot, I caught sight of a red truck
like my father's; for an instant I forgot he had died. My heart
leaped as I thought, Dad's here shopping too! Then I remembered,
and I succumbed to an onslaught of tears. Sam climbed into the front
seat, jamming himself onto my lap between me and the steering wheel.
"I know," he soothed, wiping my wet cheeks. "You
miss Pa, don't you?" I managed to nod. "Me too,"
he said. "But you have to believe he's with us, Mommy. Watching
and loving us. You have to believe that, or what will we ever do?"
young to attach to a particular ideology, Sam had simply decided
that the only way to deal with grief and loss was to believe that
death does not really separate us from those we love. I couldn't
show him heaven on a map or explain the course a soul might travel.
But he found his own way to cope. I can't honestly say that I've
fully accepted my father's death, even all these months later. But
my son has taught me a lot about how to grieve.
while I was cooking dinner, Sam sat by himself at the kitchen table
and quietly colored in his Spiderman coloring book. "I love
you too," he said. I laughed and turned to face him. "No,"
I told him. "You say, 'I love you too only after someone says,
'I love you first."
know that," Sam said. "Pa just said 'I love you, Sam'
and I said 'I love you too. " As
he spoke, he kept coloring and smiling. "Pa just talked to
you?" I asked. "Oh,
Mommy," Sam said, "he tells me he loves me every day.
He tells you too. You're just not listening." Again, I have
begun to take Sam's lead. I have begun to listen.
Unknown, From Around the Web
Aging With Dignity: The
Five Wishes Document
To Read Many More Heartwarming Stories & Poetry
Yes You Can!
KEEP GUMS HEALTHY
+ HEART *pet hearts, too!
Keeping your pearly whites and your gums healthy may be key to
keeping your heart in good health: Researchers have found a
link between gum disease and increased risk for atherosclerosis,
the build-up of plaque in the walls of the arteries that can lead
to heart attack and stroke. In
a study published in February in the journal Circulation,
researchers at Columbia University Medical Center measured specific
bacteria that are known to cause periodontitis, a more severe form
of gum disease, as well as other bacteria, in the mouths of more
than 600 people ages 55 and older with no history of stroke or heart
scientists also looked at the thickness of the carotid arteries,
the two major arteries on each side of the neck that supply blood
to the brain. Thickening of the carotid arteries can lead to stroke
and heart attacks. The results showed a clear link between the bacteria
that cause serious gum disease and thicker carotid arteries, even
when other factors such as smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes
were accounted for.
how does what's in your mouth affect your heart? Studies have
shown that in people who have gum disease, the bacteria migrate
to the bloodstream. So, down the line, that may lead to adverse
events like heart attack and stroke. The bacteria may attach to
fatty plaque in the arteries of the heart, contributing to clot
formation, according to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP).
theory involves a hyperinflammatory response to the abundance of
bacteria in the mouth. People don't realize that there are no other
places in the body where so many bacteria are in contact for a long
period of time, which constantly stimulates the immune system. The
immune system, in turn, may over-respond, creating hyperinflammation,
which stresses the heart and blood vessels. Then there's C-reactive
protein (CRP), a protein released by the body in response to injury
or inflammation. Higher levels of CRP are a marker for increased
a Nutshell: Because the main cause of periodontal disease is
bacterial plaque a sticky film that constantly forms on your
teeth it's essential to keep plaque at bay, especially the
subgingival kind that's below the gums. Just as important is regular
brushing (twice a day), regular cleanings at the dentist (twice
a year) and a practice many of us neglect: flossing. Flossing gets
into the spaces between the teeth and the gums. That will break
up the bacteria and never let them get established. Even toothpicks
can be used to clean between teeth. Most periodontitis starts between
Note: Medications, including painkillers, antihistamines, diuretics,
antidepressants and high-blood-pressure medications, can cause side
effects that increase your chances for periodontitis. If you notice
changes in the soft tissue in your mouth or if food and drinks taste
differently, talk to your dentist or see a periodontist especially
if side effects include a dry mouth. Saliva buffers the effects
of acid on teeth and adds lubrication to protect against gum disease.
The drier the mouth, the more inflamed it gets, and it's harder
to clear plaque from your mouth.
LIKEWISE, IT'S EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO MONITOR YOUR PET'S TEETH,
professionals say it's crucial for owners to pay attention to their
pet's oral hygiene. For anything procedural like dental work,
spaying and neutering animals are put out with an anesthetic.
Some owners may be leery of putting their pets through it, but what
many people don't realize is infected gums can lead to bacteria
in the blood, which can sometimes lead to heart disease: Checking
teeth should be part of a pet's yearly physical exam. Some local
veterinarians provide dental care for pets as well as medical care.
In some ways, it's a lot like dental work in humans teeth
are scraped in a procedure called "scaling," they are
polished and pulled, if necessary.
why it's very important to brush your pet's teeth (if possible)
and also to make sure they get their teeth cleaned by the vet regularly
once a year may not be enough. Also, watch for warning signs,
like bad breath. "Dog breath" actually may not be as normal
as you might think. Even a good clean mouth on a dog might smell
bad to us, but when they have BAD TEETH, it really smells
terrible and they need immediate attention.
By Lorie A. Parch Special to MSN
Inspiration Line's Signature Shop:
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Notre Dame Rear Gardens
the heart of Paris, on the Ile-de-la-Cité
(where the first inhabitants of Paris settled in 250 BC) sits
the architectural masterpiece Notre-Dame. This cathedral was begun
in 1163 when Pope Alexander III himself laid the first stone,
yet it was not completely finished till 1345. Notre Dame
(which means "our lady") is an early Gothic design with
glorious rose windows and the famous flying buttresses. The Romans
initially built temples on this site; in the middle ages it was
a place of refuge for the homeless, a stage for plays and a market
for merchants. During the 12th century the French cathedral school
became an intellectual center which gave birth to the Collège
de Sorbonne, which remains one of the most famous and prestigious
university in the world, having produced a number of Nobel Prize
winners from its faculty and student body.
WHAT A SITE!
"Messages from the Angels"
site delivers angelic messages on the wings of beautiful angels
and peaceful music. The angel messages are a much needed antidote
for these fearful times, for they are all about hope, peace,
freedom and love. "We see a world where differences are
welcomed as opportunity for exploration and discovery of new
points of view."
to Highlight Text"
Put your cursor at the point where you want to start highlighting
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Laughing It Off
are from a book called "Disorder
in the Court: Legal Laughs, Court Jests and Just Jokes Culled
from the Nation's Justice System"
and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken
down and now published by court reporters who had the torment
of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place:
What is your date of birth? A: July 15th.
Q: What year? A: Every year.
The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?
What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
A: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
Were you present when your picture was taken?
What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke
up that morning? A: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
Q: And why did that upset you? A: My name is Susan.
Can you describe the individual? A: He was about medium
height and had a beard. Q: Was this a male, or a female?
Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep,
he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
A: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
So the date of conception of the baby was August 8th? A:
Yes. Q: And what were you doing at that time?
She had three children, right? A: Yes. Q: How many
were boys? A: None. Q: Were there any girls?
How was your first marriage terminated? A: By death.
Q: And by whose death was it terminated?
How old is your son, the one living with you? A: Thirty-eight
or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
Q: How long has he lived with you? A: Forty-five years.
Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?
A: All my autopsies have been on dead people.
Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition
notice which I sent to your attorney?
A: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
Do you recall the time that you examined the body? A: The
autopsy started around 8:30 PM.
Q: And Mr. Dennington was dead at the time? A: No, he
was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy.
Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a
pulse? A: No.
Q: Did you check for blood pressure? Q: Did you check for breathing?
Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when
you began the autopsy? A: No.
Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor? A: Because his brain
was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Q: But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
A: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and
practicing law somewhere.
by Mary Lynn in Peoria, Illinois
DAILY SECURITY ALERTS
Joyful Lifestyles: Weekly Insights
SMELLING THE ROSES
following wonderful advice is from Maureen
Killoran, who is a Life Coach with a passion for
helping people connect their strengths with their vision. Maureen
offers dynamic individual and group coaching, work team empowerment
training, teleclasses, and a free monthly e-zine, Seeds of
Change. Big news this spring is Maureen's new e-workbook,
Spirit Tickling a selection of her absolutely
best articles, with questions to lead you further on your path
of personal growth.
and smell the roses," people often say. Then they smile
ruefully, because everybody knows there isn't enough TIME to
stop or, as my daughter says, to "chill." This is
the Conventional Wisdom and I'm here to tell you that
the CW is simply WRONG. Researchers in Positive Psychology find
that people actually get more done if they take time out to
SAVOR their day. Not only that, but, over time, people who set
aside a few hours every week are likely to be healthier, more
relaxed, and better able to cope with the stresses of everyday
life. Why not try it? Give yourself the gift of Savoring. (Hey,
stress is all you have to lose!)
start, make a list of 10 things you REALLY enjoy doing,
whether or not you've made time for them lately. I'm talking
about stuff that gives you real pleasure. They may be things
you do alone, or with one other person, or with a group. Look
over the list, and see if one thing says "pick me."
Choose one of those activities that you enjoy. Now: Take
out your calendar, and SOME TIME IN THE NEXT MONTH, block
out at least a 2-hour period that is JUST FOR YOU. Half
a day is better. A whole day is best of all. Do whatever is
needed to make that time free. Ask a neighbor to baby-sit. Tell
your spouse you'll be busy. Say "no" to the half-dozen
requests that will almost certainly challenge your Savoring
Time. And when Your Day comes . . . GO FOR IT, whether
you're making a picture, walking in the woods, going to a movie,
or just sitting still. What matters is that you're doing something
you really enjoy. These tricks will help you get the most out
of your day:
Give yourself permission this is Your Day.
It is absolutely 100% okay for you to be taking this time. Leave
your cell phone at home, or at least turned off. When killjoy
thinking comes along (and it will), play with it. Pretend it's
a stick floating in a stream, and just let it drift away.
2. Keep the day alive collect a souvenir
or take mental photographs to help you hold on to this special
3. Focus as though you were taking a photograph,
adjust the 'depth of field.' Focus on selected aspects of the
experience and let the others go.
4. Immerse Yourself Try not to analyze
the experience, just be there. You're savoring, remember?
5. Tell the story Share your experience
with a friend or partner the joy that's shared multiples
6. Write it down Read it over as a reminder in
a few days or weeks.
your Savoring Time is over, celebrate! Pat yourself on
the back for challenging the Conventional Wisdom. And, while
you're at it, why not take out your calendar and make another
date for Savoring Your Day?" © 2004 Life Coach
Maureen Killoran, MA, DMin, www.SpiritQuestCoaching.com
there's no time like the present, grab that piece of
paper right now and start making a list of
YOUR joyful things ... then schedule time on your calendar for
your own personal Savoring Time experience!
Thompson ('Shay'), Editor
"The intent of Inspiration Line is to
show What Is Possible by choosing new perspectives,
we can change ourselves from the inside out to improve our relationships,
our community and our planet."
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