Thursday, December 31, 2015


It's about 15 minutes until midnight. Almost 2016.

Happy New Year!!!

May 2016 bring you joy, peace, inner strength, calmness, warmth, safety, beauty, good health, love, art and music, closeness with friends, family, animals, and nature, exciting challenges, and the increasing opening of your heart and mind, giving you the ability to accept things just the way they are with peace in your heart.


Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Well, this one is different from any other that I've created!

When I was a graphic design student, I was lucky to be in a class of serious, creative, smart, funny, extremely talented, and FUN people! We were a pretty close-knit bunch, and I really valued the time I got to spend with this group over the two years we were in school together. Thankfully, we do keep in touch and get together once in awhile.

Anyway, nerds are proud of being nerds, regardless of the focus of the "nerdiness." In graphic design, we preferred to refer to ourselves as typography nerds! Ha! We were (and are) cool as nerds go. :)

So in today's phrase, I basically call myself out as a type nerd. You know... I notice the tiniest problems with kerning, leading, margins, choice of typeface, and on and on. If smart quotes aren't used... well, that's a problem. And don't get me started on the Oxford comma (which isn't a typography issue as much as a punctuation issue, but nevertheless important to me). And if a designer uses Comic Sans... well, that's breaking one of the cardinal rules of typography!

Enough, enough, already.

Here you go.

(PS – the quotes and apostrophes in this blog may not be "smart," but I blame that on Blogger.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Keeping an open mind is something I strive for. I practice it. I have to. It's amazing to me how quickly the human mind and heart close down and harden in response to so many things... probably hundreds of times a day! Part of keeping an open mind is letting go of attachments to our views and opinions. It doesn't mean that we don't have views and opinions, but that we don't lock them down and perceive them as "the way things are." It means being open to each moment of your life as it unfolds, even if you are brushing your teeth for the zillionth time in your life or some other mundane, ordinary task, that experience in that moment is different from all other moments—it is unique. We can pay attention to it and try to have the mindset that we are brushing our teeth for the first time in our lives, paying attention to everything about it that the senses can perceive. The taste, the smell, the sound, the way it looks in the mirror, the way it feels... these are all ways to stay in the present moment. Only with an open mind can we be in the present moment. Life only happens in the now. This moment is all we have. But don't take my word for it. Try to maintain an open mind as you go about your day and notice the ways your mind shuts down. Don't scold yourself for it. It's the nature of our minds to do so after years of conditioning.

Another way to keep an open mind is to listen to other people as they tell you their views and opinions and stay open to them even if they are different from yours. Our views and opinions are just that—views and opinions. They are not the way things are. They are thought forms. The other person may be very attached to his or her opinions and views, and we can just notice and be aware of that. Much suffering results from being attached and identified with our views and opinions, with our ideas of the way things should be, or whatever. This obstructs being open to what really is happening in that very moment. If we aren't present and instead of accepting the present moment the way it is we spend the energy and time lamenting about things not being as we think they should be or how we want them to be! The most unhappy people are probably the ones who have the strong mental habit of keeping the mind closed to anything that isn't what they want in that moment. It's natural, isn't it? We seek comfort and avoid discomfort? We experience frustration, anger, fear, sadness, and unhappiness when we get things we don't want and when we don't get things we do want. This leads back to attachment. We get attached to the ideas that our desires are so important. We spend time wishing things were a certain way rather than living our lives in the present moment, whatever that moment brings, especially if it's not to our liking.

Having an open mind is also a form of surrender and acceptance. If only more people could make a decision to be on a path that includes practicing mindfulness awareness, acceptance of things the way they are, nonresistance, and keeping an open mind... so much suffering could be alleviated.

May you be able to take a deep breath, slowly exhale and feel your body relax, and say to yourself, with an open mind, "I accept myself in this moment exactly as I am, and I accept everything in this moment the way it is. I surrender to this moment. I am at peace, and I wish inner peace, joy, and the end of suffering for myself and all beings everywhere. May my heart and mind stay open to whatever life brings."


Monday, December 28, 2015


I love so many kinds of music. Most of it falls in the broad category of rock/pop, but there are so many sub genres of that. Not to mention that I really enjoy listening to nonwestern music, such as Indian, Indonesian, Japanese... and more. I also like classical, jazz, blues, country, bluegrass, funk, hip hop, and so on...

I'm grateful that I have a huge collection of music. I still have tons of CDs (most of which are loaded onto my itunes so I can play my ipod in the car or between sets at gigs). I also listen to Spotify and Pandora which is a great way to find new music. I love finding new music that I like! Don't get me wrong—I am a total sucker for listening to favorites that I've heard thousands of times and still love. The nostalgia plays a large part of the enjoyment of music from different parts of my past.

Anyway, back to new music. I've mentioned the group (duo, really) called The Bird & The Bee before several times in this blog, and recently I've been listening a lot to their latest CD called Recreational Love, which has my new favorite song by them on it called "Lovey Dovey." My friend Kelli told me that the genre of TB&TB is "dream pop," which I think totally fits. It fits this song in particular just perfectly.

Please give it a listen: LINK

It's so very sweet!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2015


Some of the teachings I have had the good fortune to receive refer to the "wisdom of 'no big deal'."

It's simple, really.

As humans, we often make an awful lot out of things that don't really amount to all that much. We get into patterns of repetitive thought. It's our nature. It's nothing about which to feel bad about ourselves. It's just what we do. We worry about what might happen in the future and try to cope with it, but we create something known to some as an "anxiety gap." This means that since the problem, as we perceive it, is actually not real—it's something we are imagining in our minds; therefore, we cannot actually deal with it because it isn't reality. The problem doesn't actually exist at this time.

We also make a big deal out of things that make us happy or cause us pain. The Dalai Lama once gave a wedding present to a young couple, and this is what he did. He put his hand on the head of the bride and said, "Pain is not a punishment. Pleasure is not a reward. They are just ordinary occurrences." Then he did the same for the groom. Then he just kept repeating the word, "Kindness. Kindness. Kindness." This was his gift to them.

Pema Chödrön's spiritual teacher, Trungpa Rinpoche (he was her teacher for many, many years until his death some years ago, but she refers to him and what she learned from him quite frequently in her own teachings) used to say, "No big deal..." to her when she came to him to tell him about situations that made her angry or fearful... OR when she came to him to tell him of great insights or wonderful experiences. It was like his way of saying that one shouldn't get attached to pleasure or pain. They are two sides of the same coin, and we tend to get attached to both. It is wise to recognize when we are getting attached, and remind ourselves to say, "No big deal!"

I hope this is making some sense...

I think saying, "No big deal" is also a way to accept things the way they are and to surrender to the reality of the present moment.

May you be able to relax and say to yourself, "No big deal," when it would serve you to do so.

Peace and Namaste.

Saturday, December 26, 2015


Here's hoping everyone had a lovely holiday season and is ready to get back to normal things... like cats in boxes.


Friday, December 25, 2015


I remember seeing this on a Christmas card in the 1980s. At the time I thought it was so very clever! I enjoy it because of the nostalgia...

May there be PEACE, JOY, LOVE, and the END OF SUFFERING on this Earth.

That's really the true sentiment, to me.


My dad got me a great little book of quotes called the MUSICIAN says: Quotes, Quips, and words of Wisdom, compiled & edited by Benedetta LoBalbo. There are quotes from musicians from a wide range of genres and time periods. 

So, I decided to turn a Bruce Springsteen quote into my type phrase of the day. And, what he is saying is not a bad thing at all! Maybe later I'll elaborate on this...

For now, here it is:

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


The TV show SEINFELD was so popular, many of the words and phrases have become widely known in pop culture.

"Festivus," apparently celebrated by one of the show's writers when he was a kid, is: "both a parody and a secular holiday celebrated on December 23rd that serves as an alternative to participating in the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas season. It has been described as "the perfect secular theme for an all-inclusive December gathering". (Wiki)

Let the airing of grievances begin.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


My friend Heather gave me The Bird & The Bee's first CD a few years ago. I listened to it, kind of liked it, but then didn't listen to it again for a couple of years. When I came upon it again, however, I fell in love with this band (actually a duo, but they have a band for live performances)! My friend Kelli was into them as well, and she told me the genre is called "dream pop." Perfect description!

I love the singer's voice, the chord progressions, the lyrics, the quirkiness, the production... they are fabulous!

Here is their website: THE BIRD & THE BEE

Aren't they too cute?

I could list my favorite songs... but if you go to the site, you can listen to samples of their music.

Monday, December 21, 2015


Yay!!! It's the winter solstice! The reason I get excited about it is that it means that now the days are going to start getting longer! Even though you can't really tell for awhile, you KNOW that it's happening. That does a world of good for my need for light, growth, the coming of spring... you know, things like that.

There's a website that has a countdown, and I took a screenshot a few seconds ago:

Down to the minute, this year's winter solstice is December 22 at 4:49 GMT (Universal time). The sun will rise over Stonehenge at 8:04.

As I was reading a little about it, I came upon some information about how the winter solstice is/was celebrated in different cultures all over the world. These include Yule, The Feast of Juul, Yalda, Santo Tomas (Guatemala), and probably many more. If you're interested in reading about any of these, there's plenty of info out there, including this little article: LINK TO ARTICLE.

I had never heard of Saturnalia from ancient Rome. I like the word Saturnalia and decided to use it in my phrase today to recognize my happiness about the winter solstice. :)

From the article I mentioned above:
The winter solstice festival Saturnalia began on December 17 and lasted for seven days in In Ancient Rome. 
These Saturnalian banquets were held from as far back as around 217 BCE to honor Saturn, the father of the gods.
The holiday was celebrated at the Temple of Saturn, in the Roman Forum, and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms.
The festival was characterized as a free-for-all when all discipline and orderly behavior was ignored. 
Wars were interrupted or postponed, gambling was permitted, slaves were served by their masters and all grudges and quarrels were forgotten.
It was traditional to offer gifts of imitation fruit (a symbol of fertility), dolls (symbolic of the custom of human sacrifice), and candles (reminiscent of the bonfires traditionally associated with pagan solstice celebrations).

Sunday, December 20, 2015


I am a reader. I love to read.


I go through phases of reading daily, and then I get out of the habit, can't find a book that interests me, and just get lazy about it.

I want to read more. I have books sitting on my shelves that I haven't read. I work at the Champaign Public Library, for f**k's sake!!!! I have an ipad with Kindle and other apps for reading books. There really is no excuse.

More than anything, I created this phrase (after coming across the photograph on to motivate myself to say that to myself when I'm getting ready to just veg out in front of the TV, or whatever... I want to get in the reading habit! It's a wonderful habit to have!

I recently started a book called Bedbugs, by Ben H. Winters, that is a horror story (I tend to like those if they're good ones). The first two chapters were promising.

Okay, I just convinced myself to read some of that book right after I'm finished posting my Daily HGT in the various places that I post it!

May this also serve as a reminder to others who have the same difficulties I do when it comes to being motivated to read a book!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Gloria Roubal's Daily Hand Generated Type Phrase #218

There are so many great John Lennon quotes.

Here are a few I really like:
  • Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.
  • The more I see the less I know for sure.
  • The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
  • It'll all be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end.

The one I chose for my daily phrase is uplifting, empowering, filled with hope, and positive. He was a very wise man whose life ended much too early. You do live on, John.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Gloria Roubal's Daily Hand Generated Type Phrase #216

I love Juliana Hatfield. She's a very underrated singer/songwriter, and she has a large catalog of recorded and published songs that have gone unnoticed by many people who would probably really like her work. I have a whole stack of her CDs–probably a dozen or so—and I have my favorites. In Exile Duo and Beautiful Creature are my top two. "Cry in the Dark" is on Beautiful Creature. 

The song from which the lyric line is taken is about depression. Who in this world is not touched in some way by depression? If you don't suffer from depression at times or even chronically, you know someone who does.

And then there's crying. How many of us feel embarrassed or ashamed when we "lose control" of our emotions and cry in front of others? How many of us have someone we feel safe enough with to cry, openly, and be okay with it?

The chorus of "Cry in the Dark" goes like this (the rest of the lyrics are posted below):
Do you cry in the dark?
The light hurts when it hits your face
You don't want anyone to see you this way
You only want to be loved and taken away by someone
So you cry in the dark
Here is a LINK to the song on Youtube.

May you have people in your life around whom you feel safe to cry.

CRY IN THE DARK by Juliana Hatfield

Do you cry in the dark 'cause it's easier to be alone than to talk?
When the words aren't working
And you don't know how to explain these thoughts
Every look and every emotion has a deeper meaning
Everybody hurts nobody only when they're dreaming

Do you cry in the dark?
The light hurts when it hits your face
You don't want anyone to see you this way
You only want to be loved and taken away by someone
So you cry in the dark

And the picture of you holding hands by the fire is fading fast
And your heart is closing and you don't know how to get off this track
Every day you mime a prayer though your faith is shaken
Your Godmother has got nobody because everybody's taken

Do you cry in the dark?
The light hurts when it hits your face
You don't want anyone to see you this way
You only want to be loved and taken away by someone
So you cry in the dark

This emotion is an ocean
The waves are getting high
I'll find an island, call it mine
I'm swimming for my life

Do you cry in the dark?
The light hurts when it hits your face
You don't want anyone to see you this way
You only want to be loved and taken away by someone
So you cry in the dark

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


I believe we are here to help one another... to make the world a better place... to end the suffering of all beings... to give to others and to ourselves those things that bring joy, wisdom, laughter, truth, healing, comfort, and peace, whenever possible. Pleasurable feelings that arise when we give to others are natural. It makes us feel good when we can bring a smile to someone's face. It makes us feel good to help a person, animal, or insect who is in need. I know that not everyone feels the same way that I do about all living creatures. If I see any kind of creature—even a little beetle or other bug—in harm's way, I will do what I can to help. That's a form of giving, I believe. Anyway, I digress a bit. This is the season of giving (and I don't mean just material things), and even though perhaps the entire year should be the season of giving, this is the time when giving is on everyone's mind in this society.

With that in mind, I decided to create a phrase that looked somewhat like a festive ornament, hanging from above, as a united group of words and letters. It didn't come out exactly as I envisioned, but I'm pretty happy with it.

May you have the pleasure of giving this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


This is the title of a song by Sara Bareilles. I was listening to her on itunes, and I came upon this song, played it, and decided to use the title for my phrase.

The funny thing about all of this is that the song I was listening to, which I think is so beautiful, is NOT actually this song, but I didn't realize that until I had finished creating the phrase! Ha! I couldn't understand why the song had that particular title... I wasn't listening all that closely to the lyrics, apparently.

The song I was listening to, thinking it was "Hold My Heart," is actually called, "Bluebird." I'm a dork.

That is all.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Gloria Roubal's Daily Hand Generated Type Phrase #213

If you know me, or if you have read past posts, you know that I am a HUGE fan of Fiona Apple. She is among my very top favorite singer/songwriter/musicians out there. She is so innovative and creative. I love her voice. Her lyrics intrigue me. I am moved by her chord progressions. The production on her recordings is always phenomenal. She is truly unique. I only hope she decides to record another record; she has stated that she doesn't want to do any more recording. It would be such a terrible shame! However, I have her entire catalog of music—at least I think I do... just about, if not completely. I listen to her songs quite regularly.

Her most recent CD, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do (super long title!), was released in 2012, and it is quite different from her others in that everything is really stripped down and acoustic in terms of instrumentation and production. LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

The first song on the record is called, "Every Single Night." Lyrics are posted below. Today's phrase is an important lyric line from this song.

Here is a LINK to the song on Youtube.

By the way, I'm not the only one who loves this album! From Wikipedia:
The album earned a nomination at the 55th Grammy Awards for Best Alternative Album. The album was named the best album of 2012 by Time Magazine, Stereogum, Spinner, and NPR Music's Fresh AirIt ranked at number 2 on the lists of Consequence of Sound and Entertainment Weekly, number 3 on the lists of USA Today and Pitchfork Media, number 4 on Paste, number 5 in Rolling Stone, number 10 on Idolator, number sixteen in Spin, number seventeen on American Songwriter and Filter, and appeared on NPR's unnumbered list. 
Apple's track "Hot Knife" ranked at number twelve in Rolling Stones 50 Best Songs of 2012 list and "Every Single Night" ranked at number 7 on American Songwriters Top 50 Songs of 2012. In Pitchfork Media's Top 100 Tracks of 2012, "Werewolf" was ranked at number 9 and "Every Single Night" was ranked at number 35.


"Every Single Night"

Every single night
I endure the flight
Of little wings of white-flamed
Butterflies in my brain
These ideas of mine
Percolate the mind
Trickle down the spine
Swarm the belly, swelling to a blaze
That's when the pain comes in
Like a second skeleton
Trying to fit beneath the skin
I can't fit the feelings in
Every single night's alight with my brain

What'd I say to her
Why'd I say it to her
What does she think of me
That I'm not what I ought to be
That I'm what I try not to be
It's got to be somebody else's fault
I can't get caught
If what I am is what I am, cause I does what I does
Then brother, get back, cause my breast's gonna bust open
The rib is the shell and the heart is the yolk and
I just made a meal for us both to choke on
Every single night's a fight with my brain

I just want to feel everything

So I'm gonna try to be still now
Gonna renounce the mill a little while and
If we had a double-king-sized bed
We could move in it and I'd soon forget
That what I am is what I am cause I does what I does
And maybe I'd relax, let my breast just bust open
My heart's made of parts of all that surround me
And that's why the devil just can't get around me
Every single night's alright, every single night's a fight
And every single fight's alright with my brain

I just want to feel everything
I just want to feel everything
I just want to feel everything
I just want to feel everything

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Gloria Roubal's Daily Hand Generated Type Phrase #212

I love Thich Nhat Hanh and consider him to be one of my spiritual teachers. I read books and listen to CDs of live retreats by him, and I have learned a great deal.

Here is my daily phrase, and below it you'll find an excerpt from one of his books that explains the meaning to some extent.

Excerpt from The Heart of Understanding, by Thich Nhat Hanh 
“If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are. "Interbeing” is a word that is not in the dictionary yet, but if we combine the prefix “inter-” with the verb “to be,” we have a new verb, inter-be. Without a cloud and the sheet of paper inter-are. If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the forest cannot grow. In fact, nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and the sunshine inter-are. And if we continue to look, we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And we see the wheat. We now the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger’s father and mother are in it too. When we look in this way, we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist. Looking even more deeply, we can see we are in it too. This is not difficult to see, because when we look at a sheet of paper, the sheet of paper is part of our perception. Your mind is in here and mine is also. So we can say that everything is in here with this sheet of paper. You cannot point out one thing that is not here-time, space, the earth, the rain, the minerals in the soil, the sunshine, the cloud, the river, the heat. Everything co-exists with this sheet of paper. That is why I think the word inter-be should be in the dictionary. “To be” is to inter-be. You cannot just be by yourself alone. You have to inter-be with every other thing. This sheet of paper is, because everything else is. Suppose we try to return one of the elements to its source. Suppose we return the sunshine to the sun. Do you think that this sheet of paper will be possible? No, without sunshine nothing can be. And if we return the logger to his mother, then we have no sheet of paper either. The fact is that this sheet of paper is made up only of “non-paper elements.” And if we return these non-paper elements to their sources, then there can be no paper at all. Without “non-paper elements,” like mind, logger, sunshine and so on, there will be no paper. As thin as this sheet of paper is, it contains everything in the universe in it.“

Saturday, December 12, 2015


How easy is it to be gentle?

What does gentleness mean?

I actually like some of what was written on Wikipedia:
Gentleness is the value and quality of one's character. Being gentle has a long history in many, but not all cultures. Gentleness is considered to play a very important role in life.
The quality of gentleness is colloquially understood to be that of kindness, consideration and amiability.

Gentleness is a strong hand with a soft touch. It is a tender, compassionate approach toward others' weaknesses and limitations. A gentle person still speaks truth, sometimes even painful truth, but in doing so guards his tone so the truth can be well received. "When my daughter was young, she used to love to squeeze my hand as hard as she could, trying to make it hurt. She could squeeze with all her might, but it never hurt. She didn't need to be gentle because she lacked the power to cause me any pain. Then, just for fun, I'd give her hand a tight little squeeze until she yelped. It's the strong hand, not the weak one, that must learn to be gentle."

The phrase I was originally going to use for lettering today was a little more specific: "Gentleness to oneself is key." Teachings that I listen to regularly, many of them Buddhist in nature, emphasize the importance of gentleness toward oneself. It all has to start there. We can't be at peace, present in the moment, compassionate, or truly loving beings if we don't practice love and gentleness toward ourselves. It takes a great deal of practice to cultivate kindness, love, compassion, and gentleness toward ourselves. Psychotherapy also typically focuses on self love and kindness. We need to learn to think about and treat ourselves the same way we do the people we love most dearly. Meditation practice is one place we can practice cultivating gentleness toward ourselves, but you don't have to meditate to do this!

This has been a nice reminder to me to be more gentle with myself, my thoughts, my habits, my feelings...everything. It helps my inner peace as well as my ability to help others.

I came across a short article, written by Kipp Efinger and posted on a website called THE INTERDEPENDENCE PROJECT that nicely illustrates this point.

Gentleness Toward Myself

I was standing on an ordinary street corner in DC when the change started. Lunch in hand, waiting for the cross-walk to change so I could go back to the office and eat, I was remembering something I said at a meeting, which now seemed embarrassing.

That's when I heard the voice: "You're such a fucking idiot."

"Wait, what?! Where the hell did that come from?" I thought. I was in shock. This voice was familiar, but I had never noticed it before.

There was a narrator inside my head. We all spin stories; I knew that. What I didn't realize was that the narrator in my head wasn't very nice. But of course the narrator was me. How could I talk to myself like that? This had obviously been going on for many years, under the radar.

That moment changed me for good. I had realized something my meditation teachers were telling me over and over again: be gentle toward yourself.

Gentleness towards oneself is a foundational practice. There are a multitude of reasons why. For example, we can't effectively be compassionate toward others while we are beating ourselves up.

Gentleness also gives us the ability to see reality more clearly. A person who is gentle towards him/herself doesn't have to put as much energy into protecting the ego. So when the truth appears, it is less threatening. We can hang out with the truth and get to know it, rather than defending against it.

It's amazing when I make realizations like this. Little by little meditators untie the knots in our lives, we drop our hangups as the truth becomes clear.

Of course, these kinds of realizations tend to come more quickly when you are a beginner. Maybe the trick is to always come at meditation with the mind of a beginner.

Thanks for reading. Here's my daily phrase.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Gloria Roubal's Daily Hand Generated Type Phrase #209

I believe that you can learn something from everything. You can learn something from each person you meet or encounter. You can learn from every single one of your relationships in life. You can learn really important things from people, animals, plants, places, things, and experiences—things that enrich your life and enlighten your mind in so many ways.

I was a massage therapist for ten years, and I saw hundreds and hundreds of clients over that decade. Many of them were regulars, and it's such an intimate type of encounter—physically, emotionally, spiritually, energetically—that I became very close to many of these clients. I loved the work I did and loved many of the people I came to know. However, the ones that taught me the most were people who were difficult (and there were very, very few of them). One person comes to mind as I think back. She was outwardly unpleasant, demanding, negative, pessimistic, impossible to please, whiny, impatient, irritating and irritable, blaming...the list goes on. Other therapists couldn't see how I could deal with her; even in the lobby while she was rescheduling at the counter, it was clear to everyone around that she was extremely unpleasant (that's putting it mildly). She seemed miserable and seemed to take it out on everyone she met. It was really quite sad...

I chose to have the attitude that she continued to come to the office to see me because she liked me, because I helped her, and because she had things to teach me. I was always calm and kind to her, and I developed a lot of compassion for her. It became clear to me that she had developed these habits out of a lack of confidence and a great deal of self loathing. Clients often confide in massage therapists, telling them things they wouldn't tell anyone else, and she told me a great deal about herself, her family, her relationships, her background. From this client, I learned a great deal about true compassion and patience, and even though she continued to be "difficult" when I saw her (but less so as time went by... either that or it just seemed that way to me), I was grateful to her and felt that we helped each other greatly. Was I always glad to see her? No. It was hard work! I mean, I had to really focus on the positive. There were times when our conversations were actually pleasant, though, and it became easier for me to deal with seeing her name on my schedule. What I really learned was that she was really, really stuck in negativity, and I could feel her pain. I did what I could to help her with her physical issues and also did what I could to bring out the positive in her as much as possible. She was one of my most important gurus, and I really hope she is doing well and is healthy and happy.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


I was talking to somebody today about Stephen King books. As a teenager I got into books like The Shining, The Dead Zone, The Stand, and other creepy King books. I've always been drawn to strange, creepy, scary, intense, supernatural, suspenseful stories, in book, movie, TV, or other form.

This quote by Stephen King might just explain to some extent why people like myself get into these horror stories. Even the one short story I wrote has elements of the macabre, the supernatural, and suspense. It's rather creepy, but it also makes you think.

Anyway... Some people steer clear of horror stories, and I completely understand that. Sometimes it's hard to get the images out of one's head. For me, it's an escape of sorts, at least in part. For Stephen King, his writing must help him cope with some of the horrors that exist in this world. I totally get that.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Today, for some reason, I had an insight.

Sometimes, for me anyway, insights are simply things we already know, but somehow seeing them in a different light. You might, for example, read a spiritual text over and over, and once in awhile you'll think about a phrase or section that you've read a thousand times, and suddenly you "get it!" That's what I mean. It can be anything. It's just a new level of understanding.

My insight today had to do with habits. I have no idea what got me thinking about habits, but we all have them, and some are good for us and others aren't. I struggle with some unhealthy habits at times. This leads to reprimanding myself, feeling badly about myself, and so on, which sometimes just starts the cycle all over again. Other habits that I have are good for me and I benefit from them tremendously. So, my insight was just me talking to myself. It went something like this. "Everyone has habits! It is human nature to have them. To transform habits, all we have to do is to develop beneficial habits to take the place of bad habits. It's okay to have habits. I can accept all of the habits I have right at this very moment, and I can do my best to transform them."

So therein lies the motivation for my phrase today.

PS - Pema Chödrön teaches a lot about mental habits. Here is an excerpt from her audiobook, Getting Unstuck, in which she discusses how we strengthen negative mental habits. If you are interested...


Monday, December 7, 2015


Many people find it easy to have compassion for others. It comes naturally for some people. True compassion is not to be mistaken for pity. Compassion is being willing to be with the pain the other person or animal is feeling as well as being with your own pain in a very present way. Compassion can hurt, yet it is also healing.

The one person that is the most difficult for most people in terms of compassion is his or herself. Why is it so difficult for us to be loving and compassionate toward ourselves? If we can learn how to be gentle, loving, and compassionate for ourselves—unconditionally—we are well on our way to living a life of joy, acceptance, presence, understanding, and inner peace. We are also then able to truly help others find their way to living this kind of life.

Today, please have compassion for yourself, for your fears, for your pain, for your embarrassment, for your feelings of unworthiness, or for whatever is there in the moment. You deserve it as much as anyone else. Be your own unconditional best friend.

Sunday, December 6, 2015


The human mind is a powerful thing.

It uses us... if we let it.

It can take us over, and without knowing it, we think the same things over and over and over again, usually the thoughts that cause us the most suffering.

Without a certain awareness, we just always do the habitual thing—the mind's habits that we have unintentionally strengthened by practicing certain types of thinking are very, very strong.

We can change this, through the power of the mind. But there is an awareness that has to come into play. It's the awareness that observes the thinking we're doing. When we are aware that we're worrying, obsessing, ruminating, etc., we can be gentle with ourselves for doing it, and then make a decision to do something different in that moment. Undoubtedly, the mind will get carried off again by thoughts, but even short moments of being aware of this, and then bringing our attention back to something else—say, our breath, or the sounds around us, or what it actually feels like to experience the raw emotion of fear without the story line that goes with it—can be extremely helpful in the process of changing our mental habits.

One of the things a person can do in that moment, especially when noticing that there is a lot of negative self-talk going on, is to say positive things to oneself. And you don't have to believe them to say them to yourself.

If you find yourself stuck in a negative thought, such as, "I'm so depressed," or "I can't get myself to do anything," or "This sucks," or "I suck," once you are aware that you are thinking that, you can say to yourself, "thinking..." (acknowledge that these are just thoughts). Then also make sure to be gentle with yourself for having these thoughts. Finally, say something different to yourself that is positive. "I feel depressed, but I can still do something good for myself today." "I am not depressed." "I'm going to get up and walk outside." "This is okay." "Being alive is good." I don't know... I am just throwing things out there. But doing something different from your habitual, usual thing is a way to begin to change the habit.

I've heard "Fake it 'til you make it..." I also know that in 12-step programs, the phrase, "Act as if" is important in this same way.

I know so many people, myself included, who can benefit from this short, three-word phrase today. I hope it helps you or someone you know.

Please leave me a comment as to whether this makes sense to you or whether it was written in such a way as to be confusing... Thanks!!!

Saturday, December 5, 2015


There are certain things in life that one might call the "unlimited ones." I believe some Buddhist traditions have something like this in certain teachings.

I would call joy and love two of the unlimited ones. We don't lose any of it by giving it away. In fact, the more we give it away, the more it grows in us.

Simply put, that's what I was thinking about when I came up with the phrase for today.

Share your love. Share your joy. Others will benefit. You will benefit.

Friday, December 4, 2015


I was talking with a colleague today about going to a really cool design conference in February in Arizona (Phoenix, I think). It would be quite an expense, but we think it would really be worth it. Convincing the administration that it is worth spending the money might be a little more difficult, but we are both of the mind that it never hurts to ask! So, for some reason, in my head it came out like this. :)

I'll keep you updated as to whether we will be going. Wish us luck!

Thursday, December 3, 2015


I miss Border's Books and Music Store. Yes, it was a chain store, and I prefer to patronize locally owned businesses, but when it came to finding new music (before the last decade of ways to find it online), Border's was great. They had lots of headphone stations and tons of CDs you could listen to in order to see if you liked it enough to buy it.

I found a lot of music this way. One such artist was Abra Moore. Her record, "Strangest Places" was and still remains a favorite of mine to this day. I have most other recordings of hers as well, but none of them quite measure up to this one.

While listening to my ipod on shuffle the other day, "Your Faithful Friend," a song from "Strangest Places," played, and I was taken back to the time some 18 years ago when I discovered her music. It's not my favorite song on the record, but it's really a sweet one.

LISTEN (on Youtube)



Try if you can and if you can't
Sing if you want and if you can't, make a sound
Go on and on and on 'til you can't go on
And on any longer

Cry if you can and if you can't
Fall to the ground without a sound
Hold on and on and on won't you hold on
And on and on, don't you let go

'Cause I will be around
To catch you when you're down

You see, it's all about hope, so don't lose sight now
It's all about faith, so don't give up on me
It's all about trust, I'm lifting you up
I'm holding you safe under my wing

So try if you can and if you can't
Sing if you want and if you can't, make a sound
Go on and on and on 'til you can't go on
And on any longer

Cry if you can and if you can't
Fall to the ground without a sound
Hold on and on and on won't you hold on
And on and on, don't you let go

'Cause I will be around
To catch you when you're down
I will be around

(From MetroLyrics)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Years ago, I bought the Bob Schneider CD, LONELYLAND (2000), after reading a review in a St. Louis record store publication and then seeing his posters plastered all over the loop in St. Louis... I took a total chance and bought it without ever having heard any of his music. This was one of those times I got lucky! Sometimes it pays to take a chance.

His voice is gritty and cool and emotional; his vocal style and phrasing are really appealing to me; he is a prolific songwriter; I love many of his songs; there's great production on the records. He has put out about 20 solo albums since 1998, I believe. He's won awards and his music has appeared on numerous TV shows and in movies. You can find all of that on Wiki if you are interested.

A high school friend of mine who works in radio in Chicago is a big Bob Schneider fan, and for awhile, after reconnecting at the local Ellnora guitar festival some years ago, we would email each other songs we thought the other would like. "Big Blue Sea" is one such song that he sent me. It's not my favorite Bob Schneider song, but I really do like it. It puts me in a good mood. :)

The photo I used, which I found on, was the perfect background for this song title.

Have a LISTEN and WATCH on Austin City Limits.

Read the LYRICS.

Have a LISTEN to my favorite Bob S. song from his LONELYLAND CD, "Under My Skin."

Tuesday, December 1, 2015



Today I created my 200th daily hand generated type phrase! My plan is to keep going until I've reached one year, so that leaves 165 more. I can do that kind of simple math.

I decided that my phrase should have something to do with the number 200, and I found out some things about that number. One of those things is that it is considered a "Harshad" number. This means... Well, I'll just copy and paste from Wiki:

"In recreational mathematics, a Harshad number (or Niven number) in a given number base, is an integer that is divisible by the sum of its digits when written in that base. Harshad numbers in base n are also known as n-Harshad (or n-Niven) numbers. Harshad numbers were defined by D. R. Kaprekar, a mathematician from India. The word "Harshad" comes from the Sanskrit harṣa (joy) + da (give), meaning joy-giver. The term “Niven number” arose from a paper delivered by Ivan M. Niven at a conference on number theory in 1977. All integers between zero and n are n-Harshad numbers."

Interesting! Well, to me and a few others out there perhaps. :)

So there's your new word for the day. Yes, you'll receive joy, learn math, and increase your vocabulary if you stick with me, baby...