Pulse

by Rick on April 15, 2021

by Kathleen O’Hara

And maybe it’s only this:
We. Emerging on amphibious legs.
Rising from ponds, shaking off from our skins
weeds and water.
Climbing ashore, and crawling;
swiping the luck of the draw out of hands that
do the dealing
and building from sand, a fiction:
a believable story
where all children grow strong and the land
goes un-plundered,
where a heart
is where the home is, where home is where
we’ll always be. A place on a green earth where we are
never cold, never broken,
where we lie in our stillness, riveted
to our truest feeling
and we pulse with the planets
and we are safe
to walk
alone in the night.

We’ll find ourselves ourselves;
annulled of doubt, saturated in the grace of random goodness.
Our sudden arms muscled with gratitude, we are reaching
for a sunlight
that doesn’t blind us to each other that doesn’t
burn us into cancer, but with
its sturdy brightness
unfolds us into
the strength that we share, enfolds us into
the warmth of belonging.

 

 

 

 

 

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There is no polite way to suggest to someone that they have devoted their life to folly—Daniel Dennett

In 1943, Ann Lake was born into a prominent Washington, D.C. family. She was expected to be good. She didn’t dare be otherwise. Her single mom had a temper, and Ann tried hard not to upset her. If she didn’t cry, complain, or express any negative emotion there was a chance she wouldn’t be punished. The law of the land: Be positive.

Ann survived childhood, Catholic boarding school, and in the mid-sixties, married her opposite, a fun-loving frat boy who was kicked out of Annapolis Naval Academy for hijinks. His joie de vivre was refreshing, and for a while they were happy. But things started to unravel after her mother died by suicide. Ann was pregnant, and although overjoyed at the thought of being a mom, she fell apart. The marriage didn’t survive, and Ann moved with her daughter to Lake Tahoe, CA.

In 1977, a routine visit to her eye doctor revealed that she had a rare eye disease, Chandler’s Syndrome, and might soon be blind in one eye. She felt alone and terrified.
Chapter 1 of her memoir, Escaping Freedom, begins like this:

In many ways our life was idyllic. We were comfortable financially (I had inherited a significant amount of money) and we lived in a beautiful place. Yet in the quiet moments of the night, my aloneness was oppressive. I was still troubled by my mother’s passing. Suicide wasn’t something one talked about back then. I hadn’t shared the cause of her death with anyone. I hid the sleeping pills. Her doctor assumed it was a heart attack. I said nothing. It was too shameful, even illegal in some states. She wouldn’t have gotten a proper burial. I kept it all inside. I was the one who found her, and I couldn’t get the image of her lying in her bed, sleeping pills by her side, out of my head. She was so dead. And so young, at 51. She was healthy, financially secure…I couldn’t understand it. I was pregnant, she had a grandchild on the way. I needed her.

Questions haunted me. Why? How could I not have known she was this troubled? What signs had I overlooked? Was there something I could have done? Where do people go after they die? Was the Catholic Church right that Hell is where those who take their own lives go for an eternity? No, that can’t be, I screamed inside.


Her death changed everything. I lost something important—hope. Hope that someday we would be friends. The finality of death terrified me. There was no fix, no solution. There would be no “do overs” or “take backs.” I lost faith in God, religion, the establishment, and the belief system I had grown up. Was God good? Was God great? I didn’t think so anymore. I was mad at life; at my husband; at God. I felt completely alone in the world.

Seeing Ann’s distress at her medical diagnosis, a friend gave her a book, Dianetic: The Modern Science of Mental Health. “This might help you,” he said.

It gave her hope. The author, L. Ron Hubbard, claimed to have found the solution to all mankind’s problems. Through a kind of therapy, he called “auditing,” Scientology could erase the pain, suffering, and illness from your life.

Intrigued, Ann began taking Scientology courses. She was electrified by her experience of auditing. Although expensive, it made her feel good, at least at first. She became addicted to the high. And within three years, the “Church” had managed to separate Ann from her inheritance.

Raising her daughter under these conditions, struggling to support herself and her daughter, marrying again, dealing with with a Scientologist husband, getting divorced again, by age 69 she was, in her words, “a complete and utter failure.” Ann’s memoir, Escaping Freedom, is the story about the thirty-year journey into and out of Scientology.

In my darkest moment, I had an epiphany, a moment of surrender, of letting go of ego, the need to be right, the need to prove myself. Letting go made room for the light, for the truth that I was loved. I found an inner voice, and that was enough.

Today, at the age of 77 she has found herself and lives happily in a small midwest town with friends, a mission and rebuilding her life one relationship at a time.
(Ann’s memoir, “Escaping Freedom”, is soon to be published.)
www.escapingfreedom.com

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Hardships and Character

by Rick on April 2, 2021

Your hardships are the corridors to your character (kharakter: the mark that the gods put on your soul at birth).

Bob Kniffin

In grade school Bobby Kniffin came over to my house often to play. We were good friends. Fifteen years later I met him in New York, and we went to lunch at The Brass Rail on Lexington Avenue. He worked on Madison Avenue. (Yes. He was a “Mad Man” at the time).

During this most excellent catching-up conversation, I asked him why we always played at my house and never his. He said, “I didn’t want you to come to my house. It was a chaotic, unhappy home.” Read More…

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What is a Life?

by Rick on March 21, 2021

Gen·ius n1. The tutelary spirit of a person, place, or institution.

—The New Oxford American Dictionary, 2001

What is a life? What’s to become of my child? What is my life to be? What am I supposed to do with myself? Even at the age of 76?

It all comes down to the word character. I don’t mean “character” the way it is most commonly used today in America: a fancy word for “good” or “moral.” I mean the original meaning from the Greek kharacter: the mark that the gods put on your soul at birth. Your character is the YOU that is becoming. Genius is the voice of your character…, and you can trust it. What does that look like? It’s different for everyone.

Introducing Peter Richards

One morning in the early days of fourth grade in my new school, the teacher of my section of fourth grade stood in front of us and said: “Someone has locked all the stalls in the bathroom from the inside, does anyone know who did it?” Read More…

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First Date

 

Look at what’s new in comedy. (Proud Stepdad talking) This made me laugh.

visit her website: https://www.lizzielogan.com

 

 

 

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