Archive | Observations

How High Up You Reach. . . .


What is hidden will surface and cannot be forever controlled.


Manipulation is the black boot sitting on the head.


A broader view is the fullness of a larger life.


How to teach Within is the treasure and without the Within there is no Without.


Trying to stay sane in an insane world is not easy.  Especially when you see what you see is a curse and a blessing.


Old beliefs are a security blanket.  But already they become bare when the nap has been plucked from them.  It is then time for new thought to cover old butts.


It is not the common lot of man to pursue learning what he only glimpses.  The extraordinary man who persists is the one the heavens pursue.


Given enough rope every man will hang himself.  They will also pull themselves up the mountain.


Race the night to its completion for the morning will arrive and demand something from you.


How high up you reach is how high up you jump.


Given By Grace. . . .



As long as you don’t mind. . . .


My mother and my sister would be saying now, there you go alibi-ing again.  Why don’t you just say that you make excuses or that someone is too lazy to try, whatever they are not doing?

Because I don’t want to think they are so shortsighted or so full of themselves they think there is nothing to learn.

Yet I have watched people who cannot put themselves at the feet of someone expert to learn something.  They simply cannot.  What that does to them I do not know.

Whether their self esteem is shaky or they are arrogant in thinking there is nothing to learn, is beyond me.  I am willing to strip the knowledge of everyone; even a newborn I ask from where did you come?  I want to know what they think or wonder but when they say they know something,  I want it also.

I was brought aghast when I was so excited to learn that a beloved did something I literally begged,  show me how to do that!  She looked at me with disdain and said but then you would know as much as I do. . .

And I recoiled with hurt.  My budding intelligence and fierce desire to learn was stepped on.  I was pushed outside the circle.  There was no embrace to lean against.

I have been aware when an idea or conclusion I reached has been used without assigning origin.  Once it bothered me greatly but even realizing that there is nothing new under the sun, I chafed.  Especially when my conclusions were met with derision but now being voiced and hailed as thinking outside the box.

A dear friend reiterated time and again that a lot of work could be done in this world if one does not mind who gets the credit.  True?  Very.  I still make excuses or alibis because I cannot make judgments on what I cannot know.  A red light or green light at the corner of Main street is easy to judge.  But to judge a perilous shaky self esteem could be tragic.

A lot is Given by Grace to each of us.  The source we cannot know for certain.  Yet we know when it is a Given.  It is by Grace, a benevolence bestowed I acknowledge often.  And my good friend is remembered often when I think. . .

yes,  a lot of good can be done in this world if we don’t mind who gets the credit.   Thank you Jan, for that gem.


Artwork by Claudia Hallissey


Straight on Through. . . .











Emile. . . . 

‘Do come in,’ she motioned to the visitor.
‘Things are not straightened, but they will be shortly.’

The large home had seen numbers of people
marching through the hall; booming voices, woman whispers,
babies’ tears baptizing the walls and christening the marble.

The gentle woman swished quietly to lead the way;
her skirt evenly hemmed and velvet ribbon
threaded through  the eyelet collar.
Her hair glistened with care and was piled
neatly in waves as gentle as she was.

‘Come this way,’ she said as they moved through
a group of people murmuring importantly.
‘They will be going shortly,’ she said.
‘These people won’t be here long.  We will take
the table in the corner.’

And they made their way to the table
and looked at each other for the first time.
In her eyes she hoped the pity would not be evident.
Within a moment the guest knew it was.  But Emile,
true to the cut of her coat, rejected and dismissed
what she saw.

‘The people here are not for long,’ Emile said.
‘The family has so many parties I cannot keep up.  The house
is hardly large enough anymore to hold them all.  But soon
it will be quiet.  It is getting late and time for them to go.’

The rest of the visit was not a replay of times long gone;
no memory of dreams dreamed or books discussed.  No
memory of philosophical turbulence enjoyed.
The guest in time stood up to leave.

‘Emile, it has been a wonderful visit.  But I must get home
and see to dinner.  We will do this more often.
With so much to do each day, we seldom have time to visit.’

And Emile led the way to the door, rounding the tables
like the lady of the house seeing to everyone’s comfort.

At the curb was a car waiting with a grey haired man
standing by.  ‘Hi, Emile!  Hope you and Mother
had a good visit.  Sure do miss Alan and John now
that they’re gone.  We were good buddies.’

Emile waved her hand and puzzled to her guest.
‘He looks familiar, but  who is that old man?  Is he
the grandfather of one of your children’s friends?’
The old friend took Emile’s hand and said,
‘he is my youngest son, Paul.  You remember Paul.’

Emile smiled blankly and withdrew her hand.

‘No ,’ she said.  ‘I only know you.’
And she thanked her friend for coming and
promised a neater home for the next visit.
She then firmly closed the door.
Her friend walked down the stairs.
Emile was right for the guests soon followed.

Paul took his mother’s hand and helped her to the car.
He looked at the imposing Home and whispered,
‘I wish we could afford such a place for you.
The Largess is the best retirement home in the state.
And we can only give you a room in our house.’
Sighing, ‘where to my lady?’

And in a clear voice allowing no nonsense, she roared,
‘home, Paul, home!  To where I am no guest and do not tire
from using energy to keep a dream alive.  Home, Paul, home.’

And the rest of the journey was straight on through.


What Will You Do?. . . .


What Will You Do. . .when they tell you?

Only by observing on a constant basis the differences of genetics and environment on your own children, can you begin to see how unequal we are born.  This has been an ongoing study for me because of my own differences and peculiarities as compared to my 7 siblings and also these same differences and similarities in our 3 sons.

The topic has been repeated with added nuances and differentiation as the years progress.  Strangely there have been fewer inconsistencies simply because time kaleidoscopes into simultaneous events with my scribing.

When reading Doris Lessing’s Shikasta series the psychiatrist raises the significance in quality of thought.   Just two percent difference in the quality of thought puts both people, the talker and the listener in different countries and maybe worlds.

2 % is enough truly for different worlds.  All we have to do is look about our world.  Within families at the table, one notes the differences in emotional maturity.  When listening to the arguments, especially when tempers rise, one wonders who are the children and who the adults.

It is staggering to the senses when one notes with alarm the maturity assumed by the sons and daughters with the preponderance of classes in debating.  The elders, whether in Congress or in business depend greatly on sophistication that comes with experience.  And assume those will carry their argument.

My generation still assumes that all are created equally.  I cannot come to any word describing even one characteristic having no exception.  Coming to mind are the two girl playmates on the train to Chicago.  Both beautiful, different skin colors. . . overheard talking about birth marks, with one having a large visible mark.

Some of us have them on the outside, said one and some of us on the inside.  They both agreed.  And some still harbor the notion that all are a clean slate at birth to be written on by our compulsory education.  Even though educational systems differ throughout the country but this fact escapes their thinking.

We must stress the abilities of unique differences.  And how these enrich our lives.  When we look into the eyes of children we should see angels walking into our hearts.  If you are fortunate they will call you Baba knowing you are the safe one.  You are the haven they require if the world is to progress and they are to contribute.

When you see how much you invest in each child to instill needful habits you realize the great differences.  And muttering in exasperation where did you come from?  What would you do or think if you truly knew from where?

And what will you do when they tell you?


artwork by
Claudia Hallissey


Pieces Enlarge the Understanding. . .


When one has knowledge, one also has the obligation.
God is a word most people stop at because the mind balks
at its meagre knowledge to proceed.
To not remember to lock the vault leaves it to be burglarized.
Or easily opened at best to remember without those whose presence
would have made the memories bearable, either in joy or sorrow.
To put memories into a vault and tightly lid them is
to crowd the emotions into a body with only death as a release.
It is a work when to sit down to rest in front of the fire
one has to build it first.  But no fire made by another’s hands
warms as completely as one’s own effort in building and fanning one’s own flame.
All labor is divine for it is the creative principle at work.  And
it is the creative principle one should cherish.
There never was an all right in anything.
The all right is always conditional.
How great a problem is,
is already decided by the forgetting.
Conscience is installed to monitor one’s life for one’s survival.
Conscience is memory of acts done to one
with the memory of pain.
Two by two was for the Ark.
But two by two can only be because someone has moved over
to allow space for an Other.
We are better than what we think but never as good
as what we know.


The High Jumper. . .

It has been said with anger
that I set the bar
too high
for mere mortals to scale.

It was not for them
the bar was set
but for me,
to rise as high

as the immanent god
had deemed for me.
I could not know
that they would try


to jump for me.
I was not the reason.
It was for them, you see,
for someone told them

they would never do it .
I showed them though
they could .
And they believed.

And they surprised themselves.

(Please understand that even when I learned that I was not abandoned, I was not spared.  This was not a known premise for me until I was quite aged.  Heaven does not play favorites.  The log was always in my eye;  hard going.)


Worry. . .Still An Advanced Skill. . . .

I Am Sorry, but it takes smarts. . . .

When I hear the words hitting my soft spot with a why should I worry?  You do such a good job of it! I want to be mean and snarky and say we would still be crawling on our bellies if we did not have those who gave thought that this mode of travel  would be hazardous to the health of upright humans.

But I am certain that upright humans probably were not in a future of non thinkers.  Not everyone has the ability to trudge a perilous territory seeking out reasons for problems.  It takes immense knowledge to see connections when events appear to have no connection.

Immense for the time when common thought sees no problem at all.  And that is the kicker.  Common thought.  For those who are new to my work, I update this previous essay.


My mother, the Jenny, was an orphan adopted at 8, by owners of a barroom. To not go back to the orphanage, she learned to work hard to survive, emptying spittoons and scrubbing wood floors. She became a worrier also because she was late every day running to parochial school and being punished by the nuns.   She escaped by marrying too young and giving birth to 8 children.

All she knew to survive was to anticipate problems.  All 8 of us became professional worriers.  Four of us still survive, the eldest within 2 years of a hundred and the younger babe at 87.  We 4 are still expert at worrying.

 When the doctor stood at the door of the ward and mourned the death of the newborns and their mothers,  he observed the young doctors moving from one bed to another.  He noted also they only wiped detritus from their hands with a dirty rag.  Could they be carrying something from one to the other?  So he instituted the washing of hands between patients.  And the babies stopped dying and so did their mothers.

He connected the dots.  He worried long and hard enough and came to conclusions.  Worry is an advanced form of thinking.  It is impossible for some people because they simply do not know enough to see cause and effect.

Most do not know how to encircle the problem.  To have a human being who understands the fuller picture,  we have to introduce more levels of experience.

When this planet, our Earth, is called a classroom, it is because of advanced classes of education.  One crisis after another is chosen to further our advancement of chosen work.  When we complete a class, we move on.  It is with ultimate concern we who see the devastation of this natural classroom worry that future generations will not have it.

It is with a sacred blush that we who have loved it to distraction ask that its inhabitants become worriers.  Study the behaviors that have led to these elements of crises before our beloved best school be destroyed.  Not everyone knows enough to worry.  Let us be the smart ones.

Perhaps we who worry can do something because we know only an advanced form of thinking now will save us.


art by Claudia Hallissey


Favorite Aphorisms. . .


Favorite Aphorisms. . .

We are the cabbage and the rose at once.  Earthy and ethereal at once.
Memories are the bridge to the future.
To go over the same road again and again, until the pain as well as the joy no longer overwhelms, requires tough love.
Life was not meant to be a vehicle of convenience.  Breathing itself is an imposition of sorts at times.
Education is a thing of the heart and spirit and no learned institution  can impart what is necessary to complete a life.
Man can strike the essence of what is wrong in an area the heavens cannot reach.
Man must process an enormous amount of garbage in the place where integration of the human is of vital interest.
The sounds of mortal life cut deeply and quickly and with great pain to those who have ears to hear.
Television is the answer to a lifetime prayer for some.  To be entertained without having to participate is the ultimate dream.
It is always more enlightening to apply criticism of an Other’s behavior to oneself.
Rehearsed rhetoric is a game to use for one’s own justification.
Humanity’s progress comes quarter inch by quarter inch.  Not even baby steps it seems.
Mass evolution is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms; never a fact and never a reality.

photo by John S. Hallissey


Time Is Now. . .

Events of this past week have shaken us all. Time is now that changes will be evident.  Time is now that much will be demanded.  And the young whose memories now of the violence that has taken their friends and innocence will demand restitution and behavior that comes with adulthood.

The children shall lead us.  And force the children in adult bodies to grow up and let loose  the behaviors that have kept this beautiful planet hostage.  It is time and the children shall lead because they have memory.  Of the worlds they have come from and where they exhibited behavior that showed accountability.

It is time now for all of us to grow up.



Kindergarten. . .

It is kindergarten, this place of play
that tells us that we are just boys and girls
and everyone wants us to be happy.

And we vow again like Tinker Bell
that we play the girl at heart and
like Peter Pan we will not grow up.

And we are adored to be  just as we are.
Never growing up to do those things
of pain we see.  Never growing up because
to grow up means to grow old and hurts
not only bodies but feelings we drown in.

There is no one to save us so
to grow old means we die.
We all know that song, don’t we?

There is no fun like ours when we stay young
to play with the wind in our hair and someone
pushing the swings higher and higher.

Nothing is expected then, is there?
Every day is a day to play. And if we are lucky,
we will die in our sleep and never have to think.

We ask, where is the fault in that?  Where is the fault?



The Journey Begins. . .


(When asked often lately, how to survive as a mystic in today’s secular world, sometimes the questions just need a repetition of previous work.  I edit for space.)

Previous entry the Teacher speaks. . .

When your mentor, the Nazarene,  thought man should be accountable, he did not wish for man to keep coming back and lamenting his ancestor’s anguish and never lift himself out of his mire.  He wished for every lifetime to be accountable. 

This is what making a difference is all about.  Not to become responsible for our ancestor’s inability to fulfill dreams.  Nothing can be done except by those who tied the knots.  The ones who did not meet obligations are needing forgiveness by their progeny.  There are enough worlds for this to happen in. 

Let their gods work it out and take them as responsibility.  It is not for the child to undo the parent’s tribulations.  Let the children be free to make a difference and the whole planet will survive as well as the people in it.  It will be a classroom of supreme order and not the hellish place it is today.


Continuing that entry I wrote. . . Like Machiavelli’s letter to Vettori, I put on my evening clothes (which in my case were flannel pajamas, ) and went to my table of books where I sat with my teachers of yore.  I, too, was lovingly received by them, where I pestered with arguments the injustices done to my world.  And answered by reason what their arguments were for the day.

I was revived in mind and attitude and went into sleep preparing again for the day’s events.  Like Machiavelli, the starving mind of me was fed and feasted on thoughts designed for the credentialed.  I was taught what no university could or was able to teach.  And given information only the gods in their compassion were able to garner and assimilate.

With understanding of the behaviors of peoples never to be voiced and nor even easy to live with.   It brings to mind the understanding of the word ‘expert’ the fledgling grandson in his growing knowledge of new words announced at dinner, ‘expert is a person who knows too much.’  And I followed with ‘and has nowhere to go.’


July 14, 2019. . .added notes today. . .for those who question how possible to live today like this.  There were those who say my life was not normal and neither were my interests.  All lives are different in ways peculiar to others. I came with an open head and one foot dragging in the world I came from before I was born.

Married young, we were of moderate means with no money for household help so I raised our children,   and in the vernacular, I painted and papered and mowed lawns and did yard work and appeared in public; an average life with no appetite for frolicking.

One does not need to take to the woods, (I sorely wanted to) nor to the mountain top.  Those are within.   But heaven does heed the crash at the gates.

Often with a ‘well, look who’s here!’  So the journey begins.


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