Archive for January, 2010

What’s Your Right Knee Reaction?

One of my favorite parts of being an energy healer is having the opportunity to work with my clients to interpret the metaphorical or symbolic significance of their body’s aches and pains.  What do I mean by that, exactly?  And why would I even want to do that?  

The basic theory of energy healing is this:  our harmful mental, physical and emotional habits and acts have consequences which manifest in our physical body as pain and disease.  And analyzing the type of pain or injury or disease can give us clues about which habits in our lives might be giving us trouble. Once we’ve analyzed the situation and determined the unhelpful habit, if we change our approach, the physical condition should improve.  That’s the theory.  And just last week I got the chance to test this theory – on myself.

A few weeks ago, I started working with a personal trainer, Wendy McGannon, of Smart Fitness*.  She’s a great trainer, and I began doing the workout she’d given me at my house. (You can tell she’s a good trainer, because I actually like the workout and was motivated to do it at home!)  One day, though,  I must have done something not quite right, because the next day when I woke up, my right knee was hurting.  When I went to do my workout the next time, I noticed that if I was moving forward, my knee didn’t hurt, but as soon as I attempted any of the exercises requiring lateral movement, the knee started hurting.  So I decided to rest my knee and not do those exercises.  After about a week of this, my knee was still not back to normal.  Even the slightest lateral movement caused pain, whether I was exercising or not.  It took me a week, but I finally realized that I should do what I do with my clients and figure out the metaphorical significance of my pain.

All right, so my knee hurt when I moved to the side.  And it was my right knee.  I’ve learned from working with clients, that information from the right side of the body generally relates to one’s professional life or career, rather than to personal issues.  So I asked myself, if my knee hurts when I move to the side, what could that represent in my professional life, in my business?  

The answer came quickly: I had recently begun working on a new collaboration with a doctor in an area hospital, a plan to bring Reiki to patients there.  But about the time that my knee pain started, I’d begun feeling that this new venture was going to take far more time than I felt able to give, since my own private Reiki practice had really picked up.  I was concerned that I if I gave this new project the time and attention it would require, I wouldn’t be able to focus properly on my private practice. And there were other complicating factors, on the hospital end of the plan.

My knee pain was a perfect reflection of my professional situation: here I was, planning a new project “off to the side” of my main work at my healing center, and this prospect of moving to the side was causing me distress, distress which was manifesting as the pain in my knee when I moved to the side.  This seemed like a great explanation of my pain. A great theory.  Now it was time to test it. Would addressing what seemed to be the issue help my knee?  

Last Sunday, I was hanging out with my friends Terry and Karen, and I told them my theory (as I hobbled to the front door of the Center.)  I told them that thinking about my knee pain metaphorically  had led me to decide to scale back my activities at the hospital, so that I could focus on the necessary task of running and expanding my business.  In other words, my hope was that once I resolved this professional situation, the knee pain would fade.  But would it?  

So, the next day – and by the way, my knee was still hurting just as much when I got up that morning – I consulted with the doctor about the new project, sharing my reservations about logistics and implementation.  He agreed that there were some pieces that were not yet in place that needed to be, and he suggested that we table the project until such time as these other issues were worked out. I agreed. I was relieved.  Now I could direct my energy where I felt it needed to go.  Phew!  

In fact, I was so relieved to have resolved this professional quandary that I forgot to wonder whether taking this step (so to speak) would have any effect on my knee.  I went to bed that night as usual.  The next morning I got up, took a shower, had breakfast.  In short, my usual routine.  It wasn’t until I was at the Center, walking around, that I noticed something.  My knee.  It didn’t hurt.  Not the least little bit.  Even when I stepped to the side. Not a trace of the pain that had been there strongly the day before.  

The skeptics among you might say, “Oh, that had nothing to do with the business decision. You’d finally just rested the knee long enough for the strain to heal.”  Or something less tactful than that, something accompanied by eye-rolling.  But I am sticking to my guns.  As far as I’m concerned, this is a perfect example of how you can use your awareness of what’s going on in your body to adjust your behavior patterns which can, in turn, help alleviate what ails you.  Another way of saying it is this:  pain is the body’s way of letting you know that you need to made an adjustment in your life.  If you develop your ability to interpret the messages your body’s giving you and then act on your insights, you can see dramatic improvement in your physical symptoms. That’s the process I worked through last weekend, and that’s what I do with my clients, if they’re interested and open to working in this way.

Yesterday, I told my friend Katharine the story of my knee.  In the course of our conversation, she and I happened to come up with an idea for a new program we might be able to offer at the Center.  We were both excited about the possibility, but given what I’d just gone through, we decided to let the idea sit over the weekend and talk next week.  ”Let’s see how it feels in our gut and our heart and our right knees,” Katharine said.  That seemed prudent to me.  So far my knee feels fine, but you never know.  

Once again, a friend has given me good advice.  Thank you, Katharine!  I’m going to be paying close attention to my right knee.  At least until something else starts hurting.  And from now on, when my business owner friends start discussing new plans with me, I think I’ll start asking them, “What’s your right knee reaction to that?”

*  You can check out Wendy’s website for details about her great training programs:

www.SMARTFitnessPrograms.com

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Where I Used To Live

Having gotten all hot and bothered last week about songs and song lyrics, I’m going to use some song lyrics as the subject of this week’s blog!  It’s “Genesis 3:23″, another song by The Mountain Goats, (I mentioned a different song by them in an earlier post), from their album “The Life of the World To Come”.  I liked this album as soon as my daughter Emily bought it and popped it into the car’s  CD player the day we bought it.  It sounded a little bit mystical to me.  It seemed to touch on the demands and promises of pursuing a spiritual life, as well as the chance that someone who has spiritual gifts – or wants others to believe he or she has these gifts – can misuse them and manipulate, dupe, and mislead trusting disciples.  Having recently listened to the whole album, I concluded that ultimately it has to do with the possibility of redemption, suggesting that even the most cynical purveyors of spiritual messages can experience their own awakening.  

But even before I’d come to that conclusion about the whole album, “Genesis 3:23″ resonated with me.  Not that it was the title.  No. I do not know the bible, as Brenda Underwood, my grade school best buddy can attest: she dragged me to her Baptist bible camp one summer’s day, and when the game was to see who could find which verse in the Bible first, I had no idea where to start. I just flipped pages at random.  And later, when Brenda invited me along on a roller-skating trip turned proselytizing event, I resisted the invitation to be saved in the basement of a roadside church.  Be that as it may, this song spoke to me  Here are the lyrics:

     House up in Clearlake/Where I used to live./Picked the lock on the front door/And felt it give.

     Touch nothing/move nothing/stand still/ Keep my ears open for cars/ See how the people here live now./I hope they’re better at it than I was.

Chorus:  I used to live here/I used to live here/I used to live here/I used to live here

    Pictures up on the mantle/Nobody I know./I stand by the tiny furnace/ Where the long shadows grow.

    Living room to bedroom to kitchen,/Familiar and warm./Hours we spent starving within these walls,/Sounds of a distant storm

I used to live here/I used to live here/ I used to live here / I used to live here

  Fight the ghosts in the hallway-/Duck and weave;/Stand by the door with my eyes closed/ when it’s time to leave

   Steal home before sunset,/ Cover up my tracks,/ Drive home with old dreams at play in my mind/ and the wind at my back

    Break the lock on my own garden gate/ when I get home after dark,/ Sit looking up at the stars outside,/ like teeth in the mouth of a shark

I used to live here/ I used to live here/ I used to live here / I used to live here

(You can listen to the song here: http://odeo.com/episodes/24944281-The-Mountain-Goats-Genesis-3-23-MP3)

From the first time I listened to the song, although John Darnielle was singing about visiting an actual house, I heard it metaphorically.  Maybe it was because my first listening coincided with a moment of insight in my life.  I had recently found myself in a situation similar to some from my past, past incidents in which I had acted in ways which had turned out to be hurtful for people involved.  But this time, when the circumstances came up again, I was able to avoid replaying the past, to avoid planting the same karmic seeds once more.  Both I and the others involved were able to make different choices, choices which would avoid causing harm and break a karmic cycle.  

At the same time, I saw some acquaintances playing out a scenario similar to the one from my past.  Their present decisions reminded me of my own past.  And the stark contrast between my past/their present and my present hit me hard.  I was so grateful to see that in this particular moment in time, I had dodged this particular bullet.

And then I heard “Genesis 3:23″ and what it meant to me was, “I used to live here” in the metaphorical sense: that used to be me, but I don’t “live” there anymore.  Just as John Darnielle revisited his old house – which couldn’t warm or support him – walking through all the rooms, looking at all the contents, sensing, resting amongst and ultimately, leaving the ghosts he found there, this situation caused me to “revisit” the house of my past and, ultimately, to realize that those ghosts hold no sway over me anymore. I could see the part of my life where I’d lived back then, but afterwards, I could leave.  Because I don’t live there any more. And I was happy to have moved to other quarters.

Recently I had another chance to go back to an old “house”.  It seems to me that often you find yourself in an old house and end up spending quite a bit of time there before you even realize you’ve gone there.  If you ever realize it at all.  So much of the time, you just head right over to the old familiar abode, barge in, toss your coat on the floor, throw your shoes off and yourself onto the couch. And you settle in, with no intention of budging. Or any desire to understand why you should budge.

Well, this time, I was surprised  that I realized pretty quickly that I was in an old house.  Not only that, I was quite clear about not wanting to “live” that way any more.  Which meant I had to hoist myself off the couch, put my shoes and coat back on and get busy doing some major renovations.  Not an easy thing to do.  But it had to be done.  I had kind of a heavy hand, perhaps. Not a wrecking ball, but a sledgehammer.  This was real DIY. The neighbors didn’t appreciate the noise or the dust, which hasn’t fully settled yet.  My newly-renovated house doesn’t feel broken-in yet. How could it? Load-bearing walls have been shifted.  But at least it’s a clean, forthright new design, if a house can be said to be forthright.  

Is all this a little too metaphorical or oblique for you?  I apologize.  My point is this: sometimes in life we get the chance to break old habits, to stop doing things the way we’ve always done them.  To do major renovations, or “kapital’nyi remont”, as the Russians say.  That’s a particularly nice chance to have when the old habits tended to hurt those we love.  I recently got one of those chances.  And I was fortunate enough to realize it, and to be able to act on it to break a long-standing pattern, to renovate a house I’ve lived in for decades.  To plant some new, positive karmic seeds. Not that everyone involved was happy, including me.  But at least I tried to act in a timely, honest way.  I think that counts for something.

So this week, I want to say thank you to everyone in my life who has given me the opportunity to break old, hurtful patterns – or who will give me the opportunity, because this is certain not to be the last time!  And my apologies to those who have  had to put up with me when I’ve been unable to see when I need to renovate the house.  You are all my teachers, and I feel so grateful to have you – even if sometimes you’re probably not so thrilled to be part of the renovation process.  Big thanks and love to all of you.

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Snapshot

There’s something about photographs that can be so intense that it can make contemplating them very intense, almost painful.  And the same can be true when you  listen to songs which have deeply personal lyrics, I think.  A friend and I were talking about this recently, and it got me wondering about why that should be so.  Maybe not everyone experiences this, but I have, and so I decided to explore why that may be.

What I came up with first, is that photos and songs basically have to do with fixing an intense moment in time, a moment which has strong meaning for the photographer, the subjects, or the songwriter, and which he or she is trying to convey in the photo or song.  That’s logical – you don’t take a photo or write a song about any old mundane occurrence. You take as your subject something or someone which touches you in some intense way, be that positive or negative.  The up side of catching an intense moment in a photo or a song is that it becomes a record of the moment that reminds you of what you and others were feeling right then.  The downside of catching an intense moment in a photo or a song is that it becomes a record of the moment that reminds you of what you and others were feeling right then. Why a downside?  Because when we engage with photos or songs that speak to us, they elicit certain emotions which we associate with that moment in time.  And so, continually listening to the song or regarding a photo can keep us trapped in one physical or emotional place or frame of mind.  (Or also trap us in wondering why things are not now the way they were then.)

Even if it’s a positive frame of mind, the act of constantly taking ourselves back to that very specific moment in the past can also prevent us from being present in this very moment in time.  And that’s where it becomes problematic, I think.  We’re looking at this fixed image (or listening to a description of a specific incident or time) and rather than viewing it as one in a sequence of billions and billions of moments, we can fixate on this particular moment.  And when we fixate on it, it’s that moment that becomes our habitual view of the people or situation.  There’s a certain rigidity to it which I think can be very harmful.

Of course this makes sense from the Buddhist point of view, which stresses the impermanence of every giant and tiny part of our world. Seen from this perspective, I guess I could say that photographs and deeply personal songs serve to deepen our mistaken view of the elements of our world as somehow permanent and unchanging.  So, when we look at the photo of a loved one, a moment of time caught on a piece of paper or a computer screen, that image becomes, to some extent, our fixed image of who that person is.  The more we engage with the photo instead of with the live person, the harder it is for us to have a sense of the impermanence of the person and his or her personal qualities.  And the harder it is to see that the photo caught only one part of the picture.  There are so many nuances and details which were not recorded.  In fact, how can we even think of a photo as at all accurate a representation of the person (or place or scene) it seeks to portray?  It is an incomplete approximation at best.  And yet we cling to it as a faithful rendering of those we love.

And with songs, we similarly somehow accept the lyrics – and the music which enhances them – as reality.  Sure, we’ll say, this is the singer’s own view of the situation, and we understand that it’s one side of the picture.  But again, what we don’t tend to reflect on, I think, is this: it’s not only that a song’s lyrics incomplete, because they reflect only one side of the story.  It’s that the song is an emotional or psychological or philosophical snapshot of the singer’s experience at a very specific – and probably intense – point in time.  That may not be at all how he or she felt about the experience two months or one day or six years later, but by turning those feelings from the moment into a song, the songwriter solidifies them, fixes them in a musical form which is very difficult to alter later on when the feelings might change.  I mean, do you go back and change the lyrics of a song when you feel differently about the experiences which inspired it? I’ve often wondered how singers can keep singing the same song over and over and not experience some emotional dissonance if the emotion when they’re singing are not the same as when they wrote the song.  But that’s another question… My point is, that by listening to – or singing – the same song over and over again, our view of the inspiring incident becomes fixed and inflexible.  It’s not conducive to an in-the-moment approach to life.

This same problem can arise in another way when we look at family photos in particular. I realize now, that part of what can make it difficult to look at old photos of my family and friends, is that it is very hard to take yourself back to the point in time when the picture was taken without moving into contemplating how that moment relates to other, current or past moments, whether in your own life or theirs.  I’ll give you an example:  I showed a picture of my mom and her three siblings to a friend who had asked about my family.

Martha, John, Ruth and Robert Barbee

Martha, John, Ruth and Robert Barbee

The photo was taken in 1942, when my uncle John was en route from flight school to a posting in Florida.  My mom was 18, and the four siblings looked so happy to be together.   My friend’s response to seeing the photo, was to say that he hoped their lives turned out as well as the promise and sweetness in that picture. And what could I say to that?  It was, and it wasn’t.  It was nearly 69 years ago.  69 years of joy, pain, suffering, beauty and, for two of them including my mother, death.

Which is the story for all of us, isn’t it?  And you can’t reflect all of that in photos, or in songs. You can express only tiny bits of joy, pain, suffering and beauty, one snippet at a time.  And that’s okay, I guess.  On the one hand, it seems nice to have a record of those fleeting moments.  The happy snippets remind us that life can be happy, which can be encouraging if we’re not feeling happy at the moment.  And the unhappy snippets remind us that life can be unhappy, which can be grounding when we’re feeling a little too complacent in present moment comfort.  All of that is not a bad thing, I think.  But what causes the problem is staying stuck in the emotional and psychological landscapes of the photos and songs, because when we cling to a certain image of  the way a moment was, it makes it harder to let go of the idea of self-nature, which makes it harder for us to accept each and every moment as having its own validity, which will itself be gone in the next moment.  What we really need to do is focus on the landscapes at hand.  They are intense and engaging and constantly shifting and new.  They are here and then they are gone.  So engage with them, right now, and then let them go.

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DIY Bodhisattva Vows

 There are numerous forms bodhisattva vows can take, depending on which Buddhist tradition one practices, but the essence of all of them is the desire to devote one’s life (and all future lives) to helping other beings end their suffering and reach Enlightenment.  Sometimes the bodhisattva vows are expressed this way:

“May I attain Enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings.”

                           Or…

“May I assist all sentient beings to attain Buddhahood, and may I be the last one to attain Buddhahood when all sentient beings have attained Buddhahood”.

The idea is that only when one reaches Enlightenment (= Buddhahood) can one perfectly lead others to that same liberation, and so in order to do that, one engages in what’s called bodhisattva action, which is a story for another day.  Today what I want to point out is that what motivates people to take bodhisattva vows is their compassion and love for the beings around them.  You can think of it this way:  Most of us walk around thinking about gaining happiness for ourselves.  In the Buddhist framework, this translates to engaging in virtuous action either so that you’ll have a good rebirth in your next life, or, to gain personal liberation (i.e., Enlightenment.) 

That’s the basic idea of Buddhism.  Within this framework, you probably have a certain degree of compassion for other beings.  You may even think, “I would really like other beings to be happy.”  A wish for their happiness.  For their eventual Enlightenment.

What sets the Buddhist bodhisattva path apart from this orientation is that rather than simply wishing for others to be happy, you decide that you personally are going to take responsibility for creating others’ happiness, for leading them to Enlightenment.  And you will keep being reborn in this human realm time and again, so that you can help beings achieve that.  And only when every last being has done so will you, too, retire to your own Buddha paradise. 

See the difference?  The first path is like having a yummy German Chocolate cake in front of you, thinking of all the other, cake-less people in the world and saying, “This cake is delicious.  It would be nice if those people over there had one too.” And wishing that somehow they’ll encounter a German Chocolate cake.  The bodhisattva has a German Chocolate cake, too, but instead of sitting down and eating it, he or she realizes that all beings should have one, too, and so he or she gets busy in the kitchen, tirelessly baking and delivering cake after cake after cake, until every last being has had its share.  A long, arduous, time-consuming task.  Occupying countless lifetimes.  Only when all beings have been served does the bodhisattva sit down to partake of the joy of the original cake.

And why does the bodhisattva do this?  Out of boundless love and compassion for beings.  Because he or she cannot stand to see them suffering. And because the bodhisattva has the recipe for happiness, so to speak, he or she is anxious to share it.  No leaving out of key ingredients here.  The bodhisattva passes on the recipe as it was transmitted to him or her, making sure all beings get it just right.  This is also very time-consuming.  I’m sure you can see how this work is endless, passing the recipe for liberation to being after being, making sure they understand the steps and the ingredients.  So, in other words, the bodhisattva not only passes on the cake, he or she also teaches everyone to make it themselves and makes sure they can do it, with the bodhisattva’s supervision.   Because the bodhisattva wants everyone’s cake to turn out perfectly.  So, in a way, the Buddhist bodhisattva path is like being the head chef and teacher in the ultimate cooking school.

But the thing about bodhisattvas is that their every action, because it’s motivated by this boundless love for beings, is a help for beings.  The ways in which they can help are endless.  They say that even the bodhisattva’s act of giving a tiny seed to a bird becomes a seed for enlightenment because of that great compassion. 

We can phrase the whole bodhisattva way of life this way: because of their great compassion for other beings, bodhisattvas tire endlessly and selflessly for others’ benefit, putting others’ needs before their own.  Because this work is about getting everyone else liberated and not about one’s own happiness.   To give you a more poetic idea of the bodhisattva’s approach to his or her work, I’ll quote “The Way of the Bodhisattva”, by the 8th century Buddhist master Shantideva .  This teaching, which Shantideva presented orally, lays out how the bodhisattva lives and practices and works.  These verses, from the chapter “Commitment”, are my favorites from the whole book:

          May I be a guard for those who are protectorless,

         A guide for those who journey on the road.

         For those who wish to go across the water,

         May I be a boat, a raft, a bridge.

 

         May I be an isle for those who yearn for landfall,

         A lamp for those who long for light;

         For those who need a resting place, a bed;

         For all who need a servant, may I be their slave.

 

         May I be the wishing jewel, the vase of plenty,

         A word of power and the supreme healing;

         May I be the tree of miracles,

         And for every being the abundant cow.

 

         Like the earth and the pervading elements,

         Enduring as the sky itself endures,

         For boundless multitudes of living beings,

         May I be their ground and sustenance.

 

         Thus for every single thing that lives,

         As boundless as the limits of the sky,

         May I be their livelihood and nourishment,

         Until they pass beyond the bounds of suffering.”

 

That about sums up the bodhisattva frame of mind.

And so, you might understand my surprise when, upon opening up this month’s issue of “Spirituality and Health”, I came upon a very short piece entitled, “Create Your Own Bodhisattva Vow”, adapted from a new book called “Awakening Joy: 10 Steps that Will Put You on the Road to Real Happiness.”  Here’s the piece, in its entirety:

“You can make up your own version of a vow to relieve suffering in the world.  The basic principle is to see your own happiness in the context of how it can benefit others.  Take a few moments to ask yourself which words would sincerely convey that wish in a way that uplifts your heart.  For instance, you  might say something along the lines of May my happiness lead to the happiness of others.  When you’ve found the phrase that resonates with you, silently state those words as a promise to yourself, and connect with the sincerity of intention they express.  Notice how your body and mind feel as you do this.

In other words, as you’re eating your cake, think, “Wow, I’m happy.  May others be happy because I’m eating this cake.”  (Not to mince any words…)

I think you can easily see that this misses the whole point of bodhisattva action, since it takes as its starting point one’s own happiness.  Reading this piece saddened me, not only because it shows how little understanding there is of the bodhisattva vows, but also because it perpetuates the focus on attaining individual happiness which seems so prevalent in today’s world. It’s like giving people a way to vow to do what they’re already doing. It’s like, as one of my friends quipped, suggesting that people write up their own ten commandments. 

I’m not saying people should not be happy or work toward their own personal happiness.  What I am saying is this: please don’t take the Buddhist vows which are the most selfless and focused on others’ welfare and toss out their core: the commitment to taking personal responsibility for leading others to happiness, whether one every gets an ounce of pleasure from it or not.  Is that too much to ask?

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Eraser Magic?

 

If you read my last post, you’ll know that I was the happy recipient of the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser pads on Christmas Day.  And that I was anxious to try them out on my stove.  Today’s blog is the story of that experiment.

To start with, here is what my stove looked like BmCmE (before Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.)

 

IMG_0791

IMG_0790

I was really hopeful not only about the stove surface being clean, but about those darn grates with the really baked-on grime.  So, I removed one of the pads from the box and followed the instructions: 1. Wet (squeeze our excess water.) 2. Erase.  These photos show the process:

IMG_0792

  

IMG_0793I worked on the stovetop surface first.  Emily and Renee were watching, with Renee taking the photos.  We were all waiting in breathless anticipation to see what I would accomplish with the first swipe…  Not much. Sigh.  The pad seemed to remove only the surface layer of stove grime.  It was definitely not a Hollywood ad person’s dream.  The second, third and fourth passes with the sponge gradually lessened the buildup, but it was by no means MAGIC.  MAGIC would have been a gleaming stovetop in one swipe, with no stains remaining.  Swipe, swipe, swipe.  Little by little.  Definitely not what I would call erasing.

Emily asked, “What would it be like if you just used the regular sponge?”  By which she meant our usual Scotchbrite-clad sponge. “About the same,” I replied.  We were all kind of disappointed.  See Renee’s reaction:

 

Renee's reaction - sideways, unfortunately!

Renee's reaction - sideways, unfortunately!

We were all pretty disheartened.  There didn’t seem to be much point in even trying it on the grates, although, as Em said, the pad is supposedly “great for concentrated cleaning on.. alloy car wheels.” Maybe the problem is that my stove grates are not alloy car wheels.  

There were a few success stories, such as the vent hood and the back of the stovetop:

 

Pad works fine on the stove edge!

Pad works fine on the stove edge!

 

...but not on dried egg white.  I had to use my thumbnail here.  Sigh.

...but not on dried egg white. I had to use my thumbnail here. Sigh.

 

And the burner top?  Hopeless.

And the burner top? Hopeless.

So.  There we were, Em, Renee and I, feeling somewhat less than magical about the whole experience.  Then Renee said it.  She said, “Maybe it would work better if you used it to wipe stuff off as soon as it spilled.”  We all exchanged glances.  I shook my head in dejection.  

So true, Renee.  So true. As much in terms of life and karma as with the stove.  That was not the outcome I was hoping for.  As you may recall from my last blog, I was so hoping for a way to magically wipe my stove – and metaphorically every other slate in my life – clean.  Didn’t work with the stove.  Doesn’t work with karma, either.  I knew that. Really, I did.  Just thought I’d try the quick fix approach. For fun.  But in the end, it was Renee who said what needed to be said.  So, that’s my New Year’s message.  For all of us.  Courtesy of Renee:  

Clean up your messes as soon as you make them.  It’s a whole lot easier than ignoring them in the moment and then having to spend seemingly endless time and effort to cleaning them up later on. Because, as we learned from my stove, there is no quick fix.  Happy New Year!

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