Sometimes, when climbing a steep mountain, it is important to stop and look back, to notice how far you’ve come and summon your courage to continue.  Likewise, the challenges ahead for humanity seem daunting when listening to the daily news, but surely there’s been tremendous progress.  The pictures in the attachment speak volumes about our advances over two centuries. Some are merely interesting, some are heart wrenching, all are worth seeing. Most of them, by the way,  were made when people truly believed there wasn’t enough to go around on planet Earth.

By coincidence, some other information came to my attention that sheds light on our progress as a species.  John Mackey, in Conscious Capitalism reminds us that “85% of the globe lived in extreme poverty just 200 years ago.  Today that number is 16%. Life expectancy has more than doubled and individual freedom has bloomed.”

Through technology, invention and the release of our inborn genius, there can be plenty for all, if we make good choices and course corrections in time.>



One day I wandered into the Fountain City Art Center, just out of curiosity.  Hanging on a wall was Aurora Bull’s enchanting painting of Norris Lake, the emerald-green setting for so many cherished and important memories of my childhood.  I dared to wonder if I could possibly capture on canvas the joy and glory of that place.  And wouldn’t it be fun, I thought, to have the creative activity of oil painting once a week to counterbalance the hard challenge of caring for Mom as she advanced toward the end of her years.

So I took the plunge, thinking I would probably be satisfied after one six-week course.  Wrong!  One thing led to another and another.  I had primed the pump and was amazing myself with what gushed out.  All these years later (8 or 9), I’m still at it, painting only to please myself, using that three hours per week as the exact medicine that can heal, restore, release and breathe life back into me. Each session reinforces my realization that   the process of creating is actually as natural and miraculous as the blooming of a flower.

Sylvia Williams can never possibly know the full extent of the good she has done by so faithfully and creatively following the mandate of her magnificent vision of a small, deserted library being turned into a thriving center for the nurturance of artistic creativity.  She has brought forth an oasis of peace, beauty and caring and that engenders life, originality and genius  every single day. Highest praises to such a wonderful human being.

And Aurora?  She embodies all the best qualities of a perfect teacher. No matter what the student wants to do, she’s game.  She always finds things to praise.  The guidance she gives is focused, precise and demonstrated by her own masterful hand.  Furthermore, her funny stories and occasional delicious homemade surprises make each session delightful.

There are simply no words to express my gratitude for all the fun, friendships, knowledge, skill and juicy life I have found at this truly sacred place where so many drink deeply, are refreshed, restored, set free and re-created.

Congratulations on your 10th anniversary, best wishes for the future and profound thanks to you from a deeply grateful heart.


Ah, Saint Patrick’s Day!  How lovely when nature is finally turning green again, to think about Ireland, surely the most enchanted place on earth.

I happened to hear Cathie Ryan on the Fiona Ritchie radio program night before last.  She sang beautiful, soulful ballads in her exquisitely clear and haunting acapella voice as she talked about her childhood in Detroit.  She told how her immigrant family kept their Irish heritage alive by singing their old songs, literally all day and half the night, against what must have surely been a bleak, grim industrial backdrop.  As a small child, Cathie thus developed her incredible ability to sing her thoughts with the same natural ease with which most of us simply learned to talk.

Fiona would ask her a question about her life and Cathie would say, “Ah,  yes, of course we felt that way…” and with without a second’s hesitation, she would begin singing about her memory – – straight from her heart in what I believe is the purest, most poignant voice on the planet.

Such amazing abilities more than likely exist in us all but never get developed to any outstanding degree through simple non-use.  What a caring, happy and wonderful world it would be if all of us related to each other through song and dance as the Irish do!  They have shown us what can be done – – they’ve opened our minds to our own awesome latent possibilities.

Here’s my Irish treat for you:  Cathie singing about Ireland.   Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Enjoy


I have enormous regard for the human potential to learn  – – the natural genius observable in babies.  But perhaps once in awhile I need a counterpoint for my consideration:

“Humans think they are smarter than dolphins because we build cars and buildings and start wars, etc., and all that dolphins do is swim in the water, eat fish, and play around. Dolphins believe that they are smarter for exactly the same reasons.”-Douglas Adams, writer, dramatist, and musician (1952-2001)