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Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

July 25, 2014

Dorothy Sander:

Desire is a precarious guide.

Originally posted on Spiritual Awakening:

What Do We Want? And why is desire such a tricky guide?

Much of what we experience as desire is actually a yearning for connection, and the only connection that truly satisfies is spiritual connection. We desire something we already have: oneness.

As in the line from the country song goes, we’re looking for love in all the wrong places. We look outside ourselves for that which is inside. The connection we seek has always been inside, and it will always be inside.

Our passions and desires can go off the track so easily. Mine have. I’ve followed passion and desire off many cliffs – bad relationships, substance abuse, overeating. It’s not surprising that 12 step programs insist that the connection to a higher power is essential to overcoming the negative effects of desire gone haywire.

Passion is a powerful human force. Desire keeps us moving when all seems lost…

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A Grateful Heart

July 15, 2014

IMG_0679For some reason I stumbled across and read the post I wrote at the beginning of the new year. I think a little fairy dust was sprinkled over  me, or perhaps it was my muddy angel swinging by to get me back on track.

We’re half way through 2014, almost to the day since I wrote Miracles Await Us Every Day. I’ve been settling down and settling in this week, recovering from some of life’s rattles, shakes and tiny tremors that keep us moving and growing in spite of ourselves. So I suppose it’s appropriate to assess the path I’ve traveled and the one I’m traveling. I so want to live my remaining hours, days or years, whatever time I am given, in a way that is worthy of the gift of life that I’ve been given; not to squander, whine or wander too much or too far away from the life I was meant to live.

In my post I wrote, “I could walk into 2014 with a million plans and expectations for what I’d like to see come to pass, but instead,  I am choosing to start this new year with the continued commitment to follow where my heart and soul leads, and with the deep and abiding conviction that many more miracles await. I’ve come to expect them.”  I wonder today, have I been following this path?

The last six months have taken me to unexpected places and many miracles have occurred. I no longer carry the heaviness of despair and sorrow that I did, or the terror and anguish that stopped me in my tracks after the accident. This is indeed a miracle. I followed my heart and it led me to a path of healing. Still I wonder about the expectation part. Do I really expect miracles? Not so much. Expectation requires a level of trust that does not come easily to me.

As time goes by I am more aware of the regular occurrence of miracles in my life. While I have come to be less than surprised by them, I forget to look for them, to anticipate them, to expect them. I believe we have to feel worthy of miracles to expect them and I still do not.

I believe without question, for others, that a miracle is not about worthiness. It’s about love, about a benevolent universe, a loving force that dwells in and around all of us. This I know. This I can feel and sense and depend upon from somewhere deep inside of me. But accepting that this benevolence extends to me? Again, not so easy. A miracle is a gift and I’ve never been very good at receiving gifts.  And when it comes to miracles, so many need so much more than I.

I think it may become easier to expect miracles to occur when we begin each day with a grateful heart, to consciously acknowledge the gifts that come to us every day, and to be fully present to them. A practice of gratitude carves into our conscious awareness a confidence in a benevolent universe that often only lives deep within us in a place we only turn to in our hour of need.

Today I am content with the surprise bloom on a new plant, an unexpected message from my son, a few sweet, connected moments in a chaotic whirlwind of activity with my husband, a heart to heart conversation with a friend. Today I will not only be content with my new-found joy, but I will practice a grateful heart. I will acknowledge each blessing consciously. I will boldly celebrate it, not fear it, for I am learning to expect miracles.

© Dorothy Sander 2014

 

 

 

A Great Summer Read

June 6, 2014

LIFE AT 12 COLLEGE ROAD, by Eric Mondschein is a perfect book to take with you to the beach or wherever you go for your summer vacation. Eric Mondschein is a born story-teller and from the very first page I was drawn in to his tales of life as a boy in the 1950’s. Flooded with my own memories of simpler times and endlessly entertained by the complex machinations only children seem to be able to get away with, I was riveted to the stories. I found myself at times  laughing until tears ran down my face and just as quickly drawn back into the author’s quiet reflections.

I was so taken with Mondschein’s stories that I passed the book along to my husband. He loved it just as much as I did. It brought back his long forgotten memories of a similar childhood in a similar time. I enjoyed it vicariously for a second time, laughing when he laughed and talking about our favorite parts. Written in vignettes, it’s a book you can enjoy during quiet moments in a busy summertime schedule or lazy hours on the beach.

If there’s a “Boomer” man in your life, you’ll want to share this book with him.  It’s a perfect Father’s Day gift.  Just be sure you read it first!

Dr. Eric S. Mondschein has taught law and education and published and edited numerous articles and books in the field. He has worked for the US government in2999e74d88880a7e9d9af0.L._SX80_ various capacities and directed an award-winning education program for New York. He was awarded the ABA’s Award of

Excellence in Law Related Education. He also served as an advisor for an international NGO in Haifa, Israel, in external affairs, security, government relations, and human rights.

He currently resides in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York with his wife, Ginny. They have two grown children Adam and Emily, a son-in-law, Kamal, a daughter in law, Yaani, and grandchildren, Annie, Nathanael, and Eli.

Visit Dr. Mondschein’s website: EricMondschein.com or connect with him on Twitter @EricSMondshein

Available on Amazon

A Lecherous Dessert

June 3, 2014

Tres Leches CakeModern times and advancing years brings us many an occasion for laughter, both at life and ourselves. I’m not sure  that life is really any funnier as we get older, I mean how it could it be when we face daily the difficulties that aging brings.  The humor is just a bit more apparent as the absurdities and juxtaposition of the ridiculous in the common place come into sharper focus. One is able to be just a bit less serious about it all. Comic relief, perhaps.

The weekend past presented just such an occasion. My husband, Scott, and I stopped at Costco to pick up a few staples, reams of toilet paper, coffee, dog food, you know the necessities that keep one going. While we were there, we decided to pick up one of their luscious and incredibly priced desserts. We were having a couple of friends for dinner that evening. If you’ve ever had one you know, Costco’s cheesecakes are to die for and about half the price of grocery store offerings. Who cares that it’s enough to feed an army? It’s delicious and it’s cheap! (What a wonderful excuse to indulge…if one needs an excuse!)

Scott went off to pick up the milk, and I ambled over to check out the dessert selection. The first thing I noticed was that the cheesecake price had gone from $9.99 to $12.99. While still cheap, a bit more than I had I had in mind. In the cooler with the cheesecake they had an item on sale — $2.00 off . At first glance I assumed it was a fancy cheesecake, a Turtle Cheesecake perhaps.  Yummy, but rich, both in price and calories. So, I went off in search of other options.

A selection of bakery cookies for $6.99 seemed about right.  I thought I’d check with the cook and see if he agreed before picking them up. I found Scott hovering over the cheesecake.  We were both raised on New York Cheesecake and the southern fare has left us wanting, that is until we discovered Costco cheesecake. So when the opportunity arises it’s pretty hard for him to pass it up. I had a feeling he wasn’t going to go for the cookie idea.

“Did you see the price?” he blurted as I approached. “They have this thing here that’s $2.00 off. I think we should get it.” Did I say my husband loves a bargain? That’s why he can be seen at Costco six or seven days a week. (I do I exaggerate from time to time.)

“Is it cheesecake?” I ask.

“I don’t think so. It’s called Tres Leches, whatever that is. But look, it has this big slab of chocolate on the top, and caramel! How can we go wrong?”

Indeed.

“I’ll look it up on my phone,” I say, pleased with the quick and easy access of hand-held iPhones! I pull up Safari on the tiny screen and point the little arrow to the search box. “Spell it for me,” I say.

“L_E_C_H_E_S”, and I press send. (I’m pretty sure most of you know what Tres Leches is, and being one who is very familiar with La Leches League from my childbearing years, should have figured it out, however…..I’m pretty sure I had Saturday Costco brain.

When the search engines returned their results, up popped an extensive version of porn sites! I burst out laughing when I realized what had happened. Truly people, do you really think that people searching for porn are going to be looking for “leches”?  I didn’t type it with an “r” at the end.  I really didn’t !

We abandoned our internet search and bought the cake. How could we not! What a great story! We laughed our way to the checkout counter over the image of two sixty somethings in the middle of Costco searching for lecherous and lascivious websites! When we got home and did a proper search we discovered that it means, “three milks”…duh. If you haven’t had it, I highly recommend it! Yum! (And I promise, no naked women jump out of the cake!)

I thought later how I might have gotten upset and angry with the prevalence of pornography on the internet. It is a serious concern and an issue that I, as a parent, found cause for great concern. Or, as an older person, I might not have allowed myself access to technology as away of hanging on to simpler times and refusing to participate in its overuse. But, I believe its important to make use of the gifts the world provides…in moderation…and I love technology for what it has done for the availability not only of information, but perhaps more importantly for the older population, social connection. Life is about balance, learning to step into the stream and back out again, and to find the humor in the absurd!

One more thing I was glad to discover that day:  In some very important ways, we are oh so much smarter than Google! Human beings will always have the edge over technology. Of this I am sure.

Dorothy Sander © 2014

TRES LECHES CAKE is a light, airy sponge cake soaked with a mixture of three milks: evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream. (Thank you for this very clear description Pioneer Woman!)

The Pioneer Woman’s Recipe

Emeril’s Recipe for Tres Lesches (Three Milk Cake)

 

Maya Angelou: A Beacon of Truth and Courage

May 28, 2014

Dr-Maya-AngelouI had different plans for my writing time today, but when I heard of Maya Angelou’s death I was drawn like a coin to a magnet into a whirlwind of emotion. I cannot let the day go by without honoring her in some way and so it is I put pen to paper, the one place where my words sound most authentic to me, where I can speak from my heart, like I witnessed her do so many times. I knew she knew that place of purity and honesty. It’s why her words were so powerful. Truth is power.  She always reminded me of the importance of truth.

I honor her for the courage it surely took to rise above her life circumstances and speak clearly and without hesitation – something I struggle mightily to do. The world is a cruel and vicious place and yet, when we dig down deep and find the truth, we find love. We find joy. We find beauty. We find peace. In the end, that’s all that matters, but it takes courage to go to that place.  She always reminded me of courage.

Ms. Angelou’s words will live on. They will rise up and commingle with the words of so many other truth seekers and truth speakers to live on in the pulsing heartbeat of the world and in the single heartbeat of each human being who lets the light live in their hearts. I honor her for being a living, breathing example of how this can be done and for shining a light on the creative force that lives within each and every one of us.  She spoke to the truth in all of us…she lived with the courage that lives in all of us. Let us who continue to live, live in honor of her journey by leaning into our own truth and living it with courage.

 

Just a few of Maya Angelou’s most popular quotes:

 

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,

but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

 

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”  Maya Angelou

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”  Maya Angelou

 

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”

Maya Angelou

 

“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”  Maya Angelou

 

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” Maya Angelou

 

“If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?”  Maya Angelou

 

“Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation,

which is not nurturing to the whole woman.”
Maya Angelou

 

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”
Maya Angelou

 

“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”
Maya Angelou

 

Maya RIP

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