Showing posts from August, 2011

Words to Heal Ourselves

Image via Wikipedia It never ceases to amaze me how a few kind words can heal even the most grievous wounds.    "I'm sorry."  "Forgive me." "I'm here." "I love you." Simple phrases, easy to say, that sometimes, we say them without thinking.  However, when we take the time to look into the eyes of another human, saying with all our heart these phrases, healing happens. Take for example the healing that Nelson Mandela brought to his country through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which gave South Africans a tool to forgive; thereby, giving them the opportunity to create a new life in South Africa. Interestingly, the words, "I'm sorry, forgive me," and "I love you" are seldom said to the one person who needs to hear them the most...ourselves! When was the last time you looked in the mirror and said, "Forgive me," or, "I love you?"    It's not easy.  We feel foolish.  We don'

Words that Heal, Words that Hurt

Today, I have the pleasure of sharing a guest post from author/artist, Melissa Foster.  I just finished reading Melissa's book, Megan's Way , a mother/daughter journey through life, death and the paranormal, which held me captive all weekend.  I had to squeak in time to read between helping my daughters care for their little ones, but I finally finished on the train ride home from New Hampshire.  (At which point, I began her other book, Chasing Amanda ...more on that book in a later blog.) Megan's Way touched me on many levels.  There is the intrigue of secrets shared, discovered and hidden.  There are the bittersweet moments between best friends, parent and child and lovers.  There is the heart-pounding tension of a parent's worst nightmares.  All of which builds a story that captures the reader's attention, satisfies the senses and leaves an afterglow of satisfaction. The following is a short video promotion of Megan's Way. The Healing Power of Words ,

Haiku Highlights

Image via Wikipedia Recently, I had the pleasure of teaching a course on haiku for Women on Writing .  In the course, we discussed the art of writing traditional haiku, using the 5-7-5 beats per line as well as American or English haiku that doesn't worry about beats or measures, just the use of as few words as possible to create a clear and interesting word picture. We took a look at the history from the origins in Zen Buddhism to the Beat Poets.  Then, we wrote. We used prompts to stimulate the writing.  The prompts were both visual and textual.  The results blew me away!   Some of the textual prompts were: • Hanging laundry • Train whistle blowing on a winter night • Wind chimes in spring storm • Crickets by the hearth • Scattered pumpkins in a field • Early morning sounds • Sounds at midnight • Smell of apple pie or cinnamon cookies • Smell of hay • Taste of hot soup on a cold day • Baby asleep on your chest • Feel of pet's fur Visual prompts were taken from Wikimedi

Letting Your Light Shine

Image via Wikipedia A little east of Jordan, the women of ancient times lived very different lives than we do today, yet there are many similarities. Like us, they had children, cared for families, helped others in the community, and searched for meaning in their lives. Sacred stories, tell us that many women traveled difficult and lonely paths through life. The examples of their inner strength and wisdom can be a guiding light during times of difficulty, confusion, pain and suffering. One of my favorite stories is that of Naomi and Ruth. Naomi is widowed and both her sons are dead. Ruth is one of her daughter-in-laws. When Naomi decides to return to her own country, Ruth goes with her. She says to her mother-in-law, “Your people will be my people; your God, my God.” For me, this is such a beautiful display of selflessness. Ruth could easily have stayed were she was, perhaps even remarried, but instead, she goes with the woman to whom she was no legal obligation, treating Na

Fellow Americans

Growing up in South Boston, I always wondered why everyone considered it the enclave of the Irish.  People would ask me what part of Ireland the Neas' came from, which caused me no end of confusion.  My Dad told me we were "Black-Irish" and my mother told me we were linked to Irish royalty.  My grandmother (Mom's mother) was an O'Riordan, which translates from Gaelic into The Kings Bard or Poet.  It took me years to weed through the legends and tall tales.  Truth is I am an American mutt, just like many folks these days.  While I am still proud of my South Boston, Irish heritage, I am also proud of the German, Slovenian, Northern Irish, Welsh and other ethnic groups linked to my family.  As a girl growing up, my mother always shared the cultures of our neighbors and friends with me so that I "understood who they were."  No one was ever "bad," simply different.  Different was never a problem.  It was OK to be different in Momma's eyes.  

Teacher Student Connections

Taylor Mali, a well-known slam poet and teacher, does a monologue that discusses, "What Teachers Make."  In it, he shares a story of how someone asked him, rather condescendingly, what he makes as a teacher.  The video is a must see for anyone who has been a teacher, is a teacher or is thinking about becoming a teacher. Making a difference takes work, something teachers do not get credit for doing, because most people unacquainted with education think anyone can stand up before a group of people and teach.  Truth is, teachers work well-over the time they are paid for teaching.  Teachers research, they prepare lesson plans, we correct papers, they attend seminars, conferences, workshops and other gatherings of our peers to learn, inspire and share.   Realistically, not all teachers are perfect, but neither are all doctors, lawyers, mechanics, engineers, clerks, and so forth.  However, most teachers give their students 99.9% of themselves or more.  What does this mean?  It