1 June 2017 Streams in the Desert Reading in honor of my Dad’s birthday and Sleeping Enough to be Truly Awake (Daily Good feature article)

Good morning to you, it’s 5:00 am here as I start to write to you.  I hope this finds you well wherever and whenever you are in time.  Todays message from the Streams in the Desert devotional was visited by me 2 years ago and I revisited it again last night in honor of my Dad’s 74th birthday.  It is a beautiful message for my Dad who served in the in United States Navy as a young man.

8 May 2016 – My Dad Larry, Mom Dianne and Kyle and I at DQ Alvarado TX

(I ate at DQ yesterday in honor of this moment)

May 31

“Like a shock of corn fully ripe.” (Job 5:26.)

A gentleman writing about the breaking up of old ships, recently said that it is not the age alone which improves the quality of the fiber in the wood of an old vessel, but the straining and wrenching of the vessel by the sea, the chemical action of the bilge water, and of many kinds of cargoes.

Some planks and veneers made from an oak beam which had been part of a ship eighty years old were exhibited a few years ago at a fashionable furniture storeon Broadway, New York, and attracted general notice for the exquisite coloring and beautiful grain.

Equally striking were some beams of mahogany taken from a bark which sailed the seas sixty years ago. The years and the traffic had contracted the pores and deepened the color, until it looked as superb in its chromatic intensity as an antique Chinese vase. It was made into a cabinet, and has today a place of honor in the drawing room of a wealthy New York family.

So there is a vast difference between the quality of old people who have lived flabby, self-indulgent, useless lives, and the fiber of those who have sailed all seas and carried all cargoes as th eservants of God and the helpers of their fellow men.

Not only the wrenching and straining of life, but also something of the sweetness of the cargoes carried get into the very pores and fiber of character. – Louis Albert Banks.

When the sun goes below the horizon he is not set; the heavens glow for a full hour after his departure. And when a great and good man sets, the sky of this world is luminous long after he is out of sight. Such a man cannot die out of this world. When he goeshe leaves behind him much of himself. Being dead, he speaks. – Beecher.

When Victor Hugo was past eighty years of age he gave expression to his religious faith in these sublime sentences: “I feel in myself the future life. I am like a forest which has been more than once cut down. The new shoots are livelier than ever,. I am rising toward the sky. The sunishine is on my head. The earth gives me its generous sap, but Heaven lights me with its unknown worlds.

“You say the soul is nothing but the resultant of the bodily powers. Why, then, is my soul more luminous when my bodily powers begin to fail? Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart. I breathe at this hour the fragrance of the lilacs, the violets, and the roses as at twenty years. The nearer I approach the end the plainer I hear around me the immortal symphonies of the worlds which invite me. It is marvelous, yet simple.”

Whenever catching sight of others, look on them with an open, loving heart. Patrul Rinpoche

http://www.dailygood.org/2017/05/31/sleeping-enough-to-be-truly-awake/

Sleeping Enough to Be Truly Awake

http://www.dailygood.org/story/1615/matt-walker-sleeping-enough-to-be-truly-awake-awakin-call-editors/http://www.dailygood.org/story/1615/matt-walker-sleeping-enough-to-be-truly-awake-awakin-call-editors/

May 31, 2017— “Human beings are the only species that deprives themselves of sleep. No other species that we see will do this… And what that means is that evolution has never faced the challenge of insufficient sleep since the dawn of time. As a consequence, Mother Nature has never had to solve this problem of insufficient sleep — so there is no safety net [to bank on when it comes to sleep loss.]” In this Awakin call, guest Matt Walker, a professor of Neuroscience at UC Berkeley and director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory, describes the critical importance of good sleep for learning, memory, creativity, emotional regulation, cardiovascular health, and healthy aging. Calling the global sleep loss epidemic “the greatest public health challenge we now face in the 21st century,” Matt examines the impact of sleep loss on the human brain function. In this lively discussion, Matt also answers several pertinent questions from participants on issues ranging from the use of electronic devices during bed time to working late-night shifts to napping during the day to long-term use of sleeping pills — and helps demystify this fundamental biological drive. (5172 reads)

The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep. –E. Joseph Cossman

Matt Walker: Sleeping Enough to Be Truly Awake

–by Awakin Call Editors, May 31, 2017

“The evidence is overwhelming, it is irrefutable. Sleep is the single most effective thing you can do to reset your brain and body health each and every day,” — Matt Walker, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory.

Calling the global sleep-loss epidemic “the greatest public health challenge we now face in the 21st century,” Walker examines the impact of sleep on human brain function in healthy and clinical populations. Through his work at UC Berkeley, he has been at the forefront of sleep research. He has linked sleep deprivation to psychiatric disorders, obesity, risky behavior, post-traumatic stress disorder, learning, and memory loss in old age. And recently, his research demonstrates that a poor night’s sleep may also hinder one’s ability to accurately read the emotions of others – an impairment that may have wide-ranging consequences for our social interactions. “Few things come unhinged as quickly and profoundly as our emotional stability…when we are not getting enough sleep,” What follows is the edited transcript of an Awakin Call interview with Matt Walker, moderated by Aryae Coopersmith.You can read or listen to the full version of the interview here.

Aryae Coopersmith: Would you start off by talking a little bit about what is sleep and the different issues and ways we deal with sleeping?

Matt Walker: “What is sleep?” That is such a critical question. I think many of us believe that we lose consciousness, and our brain is dormant and our body gets a little bit of rest, and gets some recharging, and then we wake up. So what is the harm if we short change our sleep by going to bed late or waking up a little too early with an alarm clock?

Sleep is not a dormant state. It is an incredibly active state in the brain and body. There are some parts of your brain that are up to 30% more active in some stages of sleep relative to when you are awake.

There are two principal stages of sleep that we cycle through when we are asleep that many people might have learned about. One of them is non rapid eye movement sleep or non-REM sleep. The other is rapid eye movement sleep or REM sleep, which is commonly associated with dreaming.

You ebb and flow through a cycle of REM to non-REM sleep every 90 minutes. You will replay that 90 minute cycle every 90 minutes throughout the night. It is an incredible cerebral war that is won and lost between these two stages of sleep.

What is interesting is that although that 90-minute cycle of non-REM to REM is stable across the night, the ratio balances of REM to non-REM sleep changes as you move across the night. So in the first half of the night the majority of those 90-minute cycles is comprised of that deep non-REM sleep.

As you push through the second half of the night, now that seesaw balance actually changes. And instead much more of those 90- minute cycles are composed of rapid eye movement sleep and a lot less deep non-REM sleep.

If you go to bed a little bit too late—perhaps an hour or two hours later than you normally would and you asked, “How much sleep have I lost compared to a normal eight hours?” You might think you have lost 25% of your sleep since you have gone to sleep 2 hours later than normal. I am going to wake up at the same time, so I only got six hours of sleep rather than eight. But that is not true. You didn’t just lose 25% of your sleep. You have probably lost up to 60 to 70% of your deep sleep. And it works the same way on the backend, too. We can’t afford to burn the candle at either one of those ends based on how sleep plays out throughout the night in terms of this canonical structure.

Over the past 10 years, through an explosion of the most wonderful science, we understand that there is no single process within your brain, and there is no single physiological process within the body, that is not powerfully enhanced when you get sleep or demonstrably impaired when you don’t get enough.

So now we’ve been forced to up-end the question in a way. Rather than asking “What is the function of sleep?”, we’ve been forced to ask, “Is there anything that does not benefit from sleep?” And the answer is no.

Aryae: The complexity of this is very interesting. I know that my own habits tend to be I’ve lost an hour or two of sleep tonight, so I’ll sleep an hour or two extra tomorrow night. My understanding of what you’re saying is that this will not catch me up?

Matt: No, this is one of the myths that are so critical for people to recognize and embrace. We’ve found no evidence that you get back all of the sleep that you lose. What I mean is that sleep is not like the bank. You cannot accumulate at debt and hope to pay it off at a later point in time.

Human beings are the only species that deprives themselves of sleep. No other species that we see will do this without biological gain. And what that means is that evolution has never faced the challenge of insufficient sleep since the dawn of time. As a consequence, Mother Nature has never had to solve this problem of insufficient sleep, so there is no safety net.

Aryae: What is the difference between sleep in a younger person and sleep in an older person?

Matt: There are two interesting questions there. When is and how is sleep different across the lifespan? And the second is how do older and younger adults deal with insufficient sleep?

In terms of sleep across the lifespan, there are just dramatic changes. Some of the most dramatic changes happen in the first 18 to 24 months of life. Your sleep structure changes and you begin to stabilize. You start to have longer regular bouts of sleep. And then you start to have different types of sleep. An infant seems to have predominately rapid eye movement sleep and very little deep sleep. That seems to be common across almost every single mammal that we have studied. Then non-REM sleep starts to develop later in life. And we’re not entirely sure why. Why is it that REM sleep dominates early in life? There’s a theory that it’s actually a critical igniter of brain development. That REM sleep or dream sleep sparks all of these neural pathways and makes them flourish. It is like an internet service provider in the brain that populates the brain with all of these high-speed broadband connections.

Then there’s another dramatic change that happens in our sleep. And it happens right around adolescence. What we see is that sleep time preference changes. What I mean by that is that when you are a younger child, you want to stay up late, but it is nearly impossible. You fall asleep early and much to the chagrin of your parents, you wake up early. Once you hit adolescence a dramatic shift happens in what we call the 24-hour biological clock rhythm, or your circadian rhythm. What that means is that you now want to go to bed later and wake up later. And there is nothing you can do about it. No amount of parental ranting and raving is going to make you fall asleep as a teenager at 9 o’clock because you have to wake up at 6 a.m. the next morning to catch the bus. And that is one of the most profound tragedies of society in industrialized nations right now—the brute forcing of adolescent teen sleep against its biological natural tendency. And this is doing our youth a terrible disservice.

Then we maintain this regular sleep pattern in our mid-to-late twenties. But then, sadly, the great sleep depression comes—somewhere between your thirties and forties. If you were to come into my laboratory, we could measure the decline of your deep sleep quality. So even by the fourth or fifth decade of life, sleep starts to deteriorate.

By your seventies/eighties, it’s actually really difficult for us to pick up really deep sleep. We’ve actually done work in the last five years to explore why. And it is even more profound in diseases like dementia, particularly in Alzheimer’s disease. Very recently we’ve discovered that these two things that we very commonly associated with aging—poor memory or poor cognitive function and poor sleep—they aren’t simply coincidental. They are, in fact, significantly interrelated. And the destruction of deep sleep in later life is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated factors that are contributing to what we call cognitive decline, and now it seems Alzheimer’s disease as well.

So it is very difficult with aging. All signs point to the fact that sleep need remains just as high, but sleep-generating capacity is eroded and declines. In other words, the older adult brain cannot produce the sleep that it nevertheless still needs. We are now desperately trying to find innovative new ways to restore sleep in the elderly. It is one of the moonshot goals in my laboratory. Can we give back and boost and amplify deep sleep in older adults? And in doing so can we salvage aspects of learning and memory function? And can we start to fight back against disorders like Alzheimer’s disease? That is the very real hope now.

Aryae: Would you tell us a little bit about the work that you’re currently doing in the lab? And how is it helping you discover some of these new things about sleep?

Matt: The research that I perform in my lab has many different programs. Some of them are clinical. I’m not an M.D. by the way, and I don’t pretend to be one or play one in the public forum. I am a Ph.D. But we do work with clinical populations and psychological populations and patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. But we also do a lot of basic science research. We’re still trying to uncover all of these nutritional benefits that sleep provides to the brain and body.

The explosion of research and understanding about sleep has been driven by technology. We have these new methods of brain science to explore sleep in ways that we never could before. We can measure patterns of brain wave activity during sleep. And we can also peer deep into the brain with things like MRI scanners as people are sleeping. We can look to see which parts of the brain are switching on and switching off. And we can also sort of decompose these brain wave patterns, and really understand their individual parts, like a prism where you’re beaming white light and you can break it apart into its component shades and hues. By doing this we are able to speak in the currency of the brain which is in oscillations and brain waves and patterns of brain activity and networks of brain activity. And we are able to explore the body and find out more detail than we ever could before. We can look at genetics now through genetic screening—we can do blood draws; we can do measurements of heart rate and cardiac function, and we can start to unite all these things together. We can get a holistic view of the human while they sleep. And then we can see how that predicts the same set of measurements while they are awake. And then pattern match those two and then understand so much more about sleep. So it’s been this revolution of new science and technology that allows us to understand these living organisms and live homosapiens included.

Aryae: Is there a particular focus of your research currently for this year—a particular direction that you are going?

Matt: We have several different areas at work that we are doing. For example, one of them is working with aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Right now, based on work that is coming out of my lab and some other labs around the world, insufficient sleep across the lifetime is becoming one of the most important lifestyle factors determining whether or not you will develop Alzheimer’s disease. This is an incredibly hot topic now. And it is bi-directional. What we now understand is at night during deep sleep the brain actually cleanses itself of toxins that have been building up during the day. It is important that people realize that wakefulness is low-level brain damage. And I don’t mean to be an alarmist in saying that. It is simply a scientific fact. From all of this metabolic combustion and activity that happens when we’re awake inside of the brain you build up excretory products just like in the rest of your body.

This system in your body, the sewerage system, is called the glymphatic system. At night is when that glymphatic system kicks into high gear. One of the things that this system clears out at night is this toxic protein called beta-amyloid, which is one of the leading factors that we believe causes Alzheimer’s disease. Now we realize why insufficient sleep can set you on a trajectory path towards Alzheimer’s. Because if you’re not getting the deep sleep that you need throughout your life, you’re not cleansing the brain of that toxic protein. Then we made a discovery that where that toxic protein builds up is not just in random places all over the brain. The Alzheimer’s protein amyloid will actually develop in some parts of the brain and not in others. Now we understand that if you don’t get that deep sleep at night, that toxic protein builds up in these deep sleep areas so you can’t generate the deep sleep even if you allow yourself the chance to get it. So more of that toxic protein builds up and prevents us from getting the deep sleep that we subsequently need. And through this sort of spiral, it leads to what we know is an accelerated trajectory. That is one of the areas that is exciting for us right now.

Of course, one of the other features of that discovery is that there is a silver lining—in making this discovery that sleep is a new missing piece in the puzzle about Alzheimer’s. Yet it’s not the only one. Please don’t think that. There are many factors we know that contribute to Alzheimer’s. But sleep seems to be one unlike many of the other factors—changes, for example, in the blood flow dynamic of the brain or the chemistry of the brain—sleep is a particularly treatable target. We can actually do something about sleep. It is very difficult for us to change blood flow in the brain right now. Modern medicine doesn’t have the technology to do that. But we do have some new methods to change sleep, and one of the ways that we’re exploring is by electrical brain stimulation. We’ll try very small amounts of electricity in the brain. But if you pulse that electricity in time with those deep sleep brain waves I was describing, almost as if you’re singing in time with the natural rhythm of the brain, in young healthy adults you can amplify the size of those deep sleep brain waves. And you can almost double the amount of memory benefit that you get from sleep as a consequence.

So the question now is—can we translate the same techniques into older adults and those with dementia and give back that sleep?

Sleeping pills are not advised for the long term, and in fact, they are not advised as the primary method for treating poor sleep. Sleeping pills do not produce naturalistic sleep. If I were to show you the electrical read out of your brain while you are taking sleeping pills verses natural sleep, they are not the same. Those sleeping pills have been commonly called the sedative hypnotics and for good reason. Sedation is not sleep. Now I’m not going to argue that when you take those sleeping pills that you are awake at night. You are not. But to suggest that you are in naturalistic sleep is equally a falsehood. And now there’s some quite damning evidence of the use of sleeping pills and increased risk of mortality and increased risk of cancer.

There is hope here. There’s a new method called cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia. It is just as effective, if not more effective, than sleeping pills. You work with the therapist. It doesn’t require drugs. But better still its much longer lasting than sleeping pills. One of the problems with sleeping pills is that you start to use them and if you stop you have what’s called an insomnia rebound effect which is that you not only go back to having the poor sleep that you had before but your sleep is even worse due to drug tolerance and drug expectation.

So we’re looking at non-pharmacological ways to cure sleep in the elderly. We are not using drugs because right now the evidence isn’t strong enough to prove that they are beneficial. If we can find a drug that does improve sleep, and we can scientifically prove that, I will support it.

Mila from the UK: What’s one thing that we can do to salvage that lack of sleep in our older age? And why is it that some people have dementia and Alzheimer’s and others don’t? Does it mean that those who do have it have lost valuable sleep in their lifetime?

Matt: Two great questions. Firstly, in terms of sleep as we get older, there are several things that we can do. These are things that we call sleep hygiene.

Firstly, you can try to help regulate your rhythms. As you get older you actually start to regress back to childhood in terms of your sleep preference. You want to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier.

The other thing that older adults commonly do, which is a mistake is to fall asleep in the afternoon and evening. Here is the problem with that behavior. During the day when we are awake we build up something called sleep pressure. There is a chemical that builds up. The chemical is called adenosine. The longer you are awake, the more adenosine builds up. The more adenosine that builds up, the sleepier you feel. And after about sixteen hours of continued wakefulness, you are usually so sleepy that it’s time to go to sleep. And you fall asleep naturally and easily.

When we sleep at night it is like a pressure valve on that cooker. We release and remove all of that adenosine. We clear it out. And then we wake up the next morning feeling refreshed, because we’ve removed those adenosines—that sleep pressure.

And here is now the problem. If you stay awake during the day like all us adults, and you’re building up all this sleep pressure and ready to get a full night’s sleep, and then you fall asleep on the couch or you go to the movies and you fall asleep, now you’ve released that sleep pressure or some of that sleep pressure. Even just a couple of minutes can relieve that sleep pressure. So no wonder then you find it difficult to fall asleep at night or stay asleep throughout the night. So be really mindful of unplanned napping. And falling asleep on the couch is napping.

The three final things I would say for elderly individuals: firstly, when you go out in the morning, get lots of bright light and try not to wear shades. Make sure you have sun protection. Get lots of light. Suppress your hormone called melatonin. It signals darkness to your body, and when you block it with light which is what happens—daylight helps put the brakes on melatonin—it makes your body realize that it’s no longer darkness, and it wakes you up so that you feel good and alert in the morning. But then what we need to do is decrease our light exposure throughout the afternoon and evening. So if you go out for a walk in the afternoon now is the time to put shades on. People with televisions in their bedrooms tend to sleep worse than those who don’t. People who use iPads or iPhones an hour before bedtime tend to have considerably worse sleep than those who don’t.

Secondly, avoid caffeine after midday. That is critical.

The last thing for older adults is medications. Some medications that older adults take for hypertension, for example, actually prevent sleep at night.

Parniti: Often sleep is compromised by other people—sleeping with our partner—is there a biological or evolutionary benefit to sleeping or to not sleeping alone? Also, I have a difficult time adjusting to Daylight Savings Time. Do you have any tips on adjusting to the time change every six months?

Matt: So how are we supposed to sleep as a species? If you look at cultures that are untouched by electricity, many of them are actually co-sleepers. They sleep as a community or group. We shouldn’t necessarily adhere to that sort of classic hominid curtain. And the reason is this. Firstly, the frequency of sleep disorders in industrialized nations is astronomical. About seventy million Americans now suffer from some sleep disorder. And there are over a hundred types of sleep disorders.

If you look at these cultures that are not affected by electricity those rates of sleep disorders are usually less than 1%. What that means is that when sleeping as a group, the group tends to sleep largely at the same time. They are driven by dusk, by the sun, and by dawn. So everyone has a much more stable regular common sleep pattern. Now that is not true in industrialized life. First, we have higher rates of sleep disorders and people are going to bed at different times for different social and professional reasons. As a consequence, having a partner in your bed who is off your schedule and sleeping at a different time and/or has a sleep disorder—snoring, sleep apnea, tossing and turning with insomnia—has a profound impact on your sleep, too. And we now know that between some 40% and 60% of couples will either not sleep in the same room or they will start sleeping in the same room but then end up sleeping in different locations, either on the couch or in a guest room. So now there is a revolution, largely unspoken of because of the stigma, which is called the wonderful sleep divorce, where people are deciding to go to sleep in different rooms where they sleep better. And the stigma around this of course is that it signals that you’re not having a healthy relationship if you are not sleeping in the same bed then perhaps you are not having a physical relationship. In fact the opposite is true if you look at the data. People who get more sleep are more physically engaged in their relationships than people who are not getting sufficient sleep in part because it regulates many of our hormones and our energies that are critical to that side of nurturing physical relationship. So that’s a big topic, and I think we’ll see a continued recognition and acceptance of it in the community.

Coming onto Daylight Savings Time, it is a problem. It is very hard on the body when it shifts between time zones. It cannot make up time zones as quickly as we can now travel with on a jet airplane. It causes a mismatch between the biological clock and the new clock time in the time zone. That mismatch causes what we call jet lag. Every day that you are in a new time zone your biological clock; your circadian rhythm, adjusts by about 1 hour of time. So if I fly back to the United Kingdom, which is 8 hours ahead of us, it is going to take me 8 days to catch up an hour each day. Now for Daylight Savings Time: what that means is it’s going to take a little bit of time to catch up. The best way to try and deal with Daylight Savings Time is to use an alarm to gradually titrate. It is almost like coming off a drug. You’re at full dose and you come down to 80% dose and then you come down to 60% dose. If you were in the springtime where you are losing an hour sleep, and we’ll have to wake up an hour early, in the weeks before, try to start waking up 10 minutes earlier then 10 minutes earlier the next day and 10 minutes earlier the following day.

Aryae: You talk about the global sleepless epidemic as the greatest public health challenge that we are now facing, and hearing what you are now saying, it makes a lot of sense. Before the call, I was curious and Googled public health challenges and I got all kinds of lists. Here is one from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that was published in March 2017. They have on the list alcohol-related harms, food safety, healthcare-associated infections, heart disease/strokes, HIV, motor vehicle injuries, nutrition, physical activity and obesity, prescription drug overdose, teen pregnancy, and tobacco use. They do not have sleep on their list. So what do you say about that discrepancy?

Matt: What is fascinating is that almost every one of those large public health concerns is directly related to insufficient sleep. So, for example, we know that insufficient sleep is tied to high rates of cardiovascular disease, the calcification of the coronary arteries, hypertension, and stroke. We also know that sleep loss is causally related to obesity. Sleeplessness has a profound impact on your immune health and in fact you can go to so many of the classic immune disorders even the common cold. People who get six hours of sleep or less are between 50% or 60% more likely to catch a cold than those who sleep more.

Cancer is now strongly related to insufficient sleep. That includes cancer of the bowel, cancer of the prostate, and cancer of the breast. So much so that in fact the World Health Organization (WHO) recently classified any form of nighttime shift work as a probable carcinogen. Set jobs that disrupt your sleep wake rhythm are cancer-inducing, that is how strong the evidence is right now.

We now know that drowsy driving causes more accidents on our roads then either drugs or alcohol combined. And yet we spend a fraction of 1% of our public health policy budget on educating people about the dangers of insufficient sleep.

Risk-and-reward behaviors are intimately tied to insufficient sleep, from risky behavior to drug addiction and drug-taking and teenage pregnancy. We’ve done a lot of work in this area, too, particularly on adolescent youth. You shorten their sleep; they become much more risk-taking and sensation-seeking. They engage in behaviors that are high-risk behaviors.

Every one of the conditions on that list has a link to insufficient sleep! So why sleep is not on that list is so desperately sad and striking to me. That is why people like me needed to become much better sleep ambassadors. We need to go to places like Capitol Hill. We need not just go there waving our hands saying look at this problem. We need to come up with 21st century new visions of solutions. And that is one of the things that I speak about in the forthcoming book. And is one of the things that I am trying to now push very hard with a number of quick advocacy policies. We need to change society for the better. We need to reorient and prioritize!

Aryae: How is the way any of us might be getting a night’s sleep affected by where we live, by our cultural background, by a socioeconomic status?

Matt: I’ve spoken a lot about how and why we sleep from a biological angle or from the physiology of our brains and our body. Of course they are strong determinants. Our biology is a big determinant of how we sleep. But sleep is also determined socially. It is a social construct. Just think about it. Like who are you? What is your social standing? And do you think that makes a difference with how you sleep?

For example, take someone who is of a low socioeconomic status. What is their sleeping condition like? Do you think that social status changes their opportunity to get good night’s sleep? And the answer is of course is yes. There are different factors that play out pressure on sleep in low socio-economic classes. There’s a deep sleep disparity right now. But it is not just biologically caused. It is socially caused. Firstly, one of the principal reasons is your sleeping situation. If you live in a neighborhood where there is high crime, for example, then that psychological threat of danger will prevent you from getting a full and normal night of sleep. And this we know from lots of good studies—that psychological weight of danger if you’re in the neighborhood where there is constant violence or there is constant threat of burglary or home intrusion, imagine how well you would sleep at night. Not particularly well, I’m sure.

The other thing is how work pressures sleep and grabs sleep like a vice grip and squeezes it from top to tail. What I mean by that is a lot of low-paying, low socio-economic employment is in the service industry right now. Service industry jobs tend to start very early in the morning. And as a consequence, people from low socioeconomic families also often don’t have a car, so they are taking public transport which can sometimes start at 5 or 6 in the morning, they may have to wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning to get to those jobs. And then when they come home sometimes they may have two jobs–one that goes from the afternoon into the evening. Often these are families that have just one parent. You have this huge burden of child care in the evening and then you are waking up at 4 o’clock the next morning to get to your job again. So there is an economic and employment disparity that forces poor sleep in these communities.

Amit: We have a lot of interest from people around the world. Isabel from Germany says, “I’m one of those people that are sleeping less and less and can that be reversed? I’ve done this for years. Is there any benefits to changing now rather than in my late sixties?”

Matt: There is always benefit. And one should always hold out hope to try and obtain the very best sleep that your brain in that time of life is capable of. As I said some of these sleep hygiene principles–you can just Google sleep hygiene–should really help your biology at this stage of life, which is about finding the best chance of producing the best quantity and quality of sleep that you can have. So I think there is usually always room for improvement.

Kozo (a caller): Hi Matt. Thank you for this wonderful information. I was really struck by when you said that sleep and bad sleep patterns can actually cause disease. I’m wondering if you know if there’s any research being done on sleep being a therapeutic for disease. So let’s say you are diagnosed with cancer, is there any research being done where they require people to sleep in a certain way for a certain amount of time and then check and see if that affects the disease? Also, is there any movement or any research being done on sleep and hospitals, because it seems to me like you said sedation is not sleep? And in a hospital environment it seems like sleep is almost impossible. They come in and check on you. You have a roommate. They are moving things around. They have lights on. I’m just wondering if that is causing more disease or causing more mortality?

Matt: So the answer to both of those questions is an emerging area but the movement isn’t really in full swing right now. The evidence is concrete. We have good evidence and clinical studies in animal models that suggest that if you bi-directionally perturb sleep you can accelerate or retard certain diseases. A good example of this is cancer. If you are fighting a battle against cancer and not getting sufficient sleep, we now know that the cancer will grow more aggressively and more quickly. So people are now trying to think about prioritizing sleep as an agent that will aid in in the fight against cancer. Some really powerful and quite disturbing animal studies are out there showing that if you are short changing animals who have cancer of sleep, that cancer can increase in its speed and size and growth by 200%. So the evidence is that sleep is causal and bi-directional. It has forced people like me to try and advocate to medicine and doctors that we need to start prescribing sleep. Not prescribing sleep medication but prescribing sleep as the elixir of life, as a panacea for good health, and perhaps one of the best Archimedes levers that we can think of for actually brute forcing health under the attack of disease. And we will see more of that in the future.

In terms of sleep in the hospitals, you are absolutely right. There’s now a slow but growing recognition that it is a major problem. The place where I would argue you need a good night’s sleep the most is perhaps the last place that you get it, which is a hospital. And one of the things that I write about in the forthcoming book, is why don’t we do what we do on transatlantic flights. We give people a free eye mask and a free pair of earplugs. Add a small cost and it would help significantly with improving sleep. Now we’ve even seen evidence in neonates in the Intensive Care Unit that if you regularize the sleep they will exit out of the Neo Intensive Care Unit in half the time. It’s a dramatic improvement in health.

Albert from Oakland: Thank you so much. So, what I’m hearing is that a nap during the day is not really encouraged, which is contrary to a lot of older stories of certain cultures that may have benefited from the tradition of a siesta. Or if you take a look at children for example napping is encouraged for them for brain development. So is there a shift that happens at a certain age where it is no longer required or needed?

Matt: Let me be very, very clear about naps and their use. Firstly, children should be napping. Children very early in life are what we call Polyphasic sleepers, which means they have many phases of sleep. Then they become biphasic, which means they have an afternoon nap and then they sleep at night. If you do look at cultures that are touched by electricity, many of them are biphasic. They will sleep six and a half or seven hours of sleep at night and then they will have a siesta-like phase in the afternoon. We may be in modern-day societies not sleeping in the way we are naturally programmed. And I think there’s good evidence for that. But here’s the problem. Most people are not able to regularly nap. And it is in that context that sleep medicine now advocates against napping.

So if you can regularly nap during the day, day after day in a very stable manner and you can do so early in the afternoon, then napping is advantageous only under the condition that you are not having problems falling asleep at night. But if you cannot nap regularly then it is not advisable. Secondly, it is not advised that you nap later in the day. And finally, for older adults, if you are napping and having problems with sleep at night it is strongly advocated against that you don’t nap during the day and that you try to just push all of that sleep pressure into getting a good night’s sleep throughout the night.

So children—great to be napping. It is natural. Human beings, innately, we may be biphasic. We may be born natural nappers throughout our adult life. It is just that in modern day society very few people can nap regularly and if you can’t then it can be problematic especially late in the day.

Amit: Do natural supplements support sleep like calcium and magnesium or melatonin?

Matt: Sadly the evidence isn’t particularly strong in clinical trials. If you are in a severely nutrition deficient state then that can have an effect on your sleep and I want to be clear about that, but many of the homeopathic medications and even melatonin—and this is melatonin in the context of once you’re in a new time zone and you’re stable and you’re not suffering from jet lag—homeopathic medicines and melatonin for the most part have not held up under clinical trials to be any more efficacious than a placebo. If you are taking melatonin or some kind of a homeopathic medication and you feel as though it helps you sleep, my recommendation is keep taking it. The reason is that the placebo effect is the most reliable effect in all of pharmacology. What that tells us is that there is such a thing as mind over matter, and science is now grappling with this. It is acknowledging the placebo effect and we should take advantage of it.

Caller: Hello my name is Suzanne. Our new president (President Trump) concerns me in that he stays awake tweeting all night Is he going to be able to judge adequately not sleeping?

Matt: Great question. And it strikes at the very heart of one of the biggest problems with sleep. The answer is no he’s not going to be able to judge based on the scientific evidence. The fact is this your subjective sense of how well you are doing when you haven’t been sleeping enough is a miserable predictor of objectively how poorly you are doing with insufficient sleep. What I mean by that is you don’t really know that you’re sleep deprived when you’re sleep deprived. The analogy is a drunk driver at a bar who has had five or six shots of vodka and a couple of beers and who may pick up their keys at the end of the night and say, “I am fine to drive home.” And your response is, “No, no, no, I know you think you’re fine to drive, but trust me you are, objectively speaking, certainly not.” It’s the same with sleep deprivation, and we’ve got great data demonstrating this. That’s the reason why people will say to you, “No I’m actually one of those people who can survive on 6 hours of sleep or less.” That is sadly not true based on the scientific data of about 17000 studies; the number of people who can survive on 6 hours of sleep or less without measurable impairment rounded to a whole number and expressed as a percent is zero.

Mish (a caller from New York): I am now questioning the benefit of my sleep pattern after listening. I’m a senior, I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow and I sleep straight through for about 4 hours. I wake up between one and three times for a few minutes, go back to sleep right away each time, and then wake up as soon as my feet hit the floor. Is there any quality to the sleep pattern?

Matt: You’re worried about the waking up throughout the night— is that your concern?

Mish: Yes.

Matt: As long as you are finding that you’re able to fall asleep quickly after those awakenings without a problem, and secondly during the day if you are feeling restored by your sleep and you’re not feeling as though you’re nodding off, or you’re lacking in energy, then the chances are that the sleep you’re getting is sufficient. But if it’s not, or you’re concerned and don’t think your sleep is sufficient, definitely do go and see your doctors and let them know about those sleep problems. But from the sounds of it, it doesn’t seem like you’re suffering one of the two forms of insomnia. One of them is called sleep onset insomnia which is having trouble falling asleep and the other is sleep maintenance insomnia which is trouble staying asleep where you wake up throughout the night and find it difficult to fall back asleep. It sounds like you do wake up, but you’re able to get back to sleep.

Amit: I’m going to go to one of our online questions: “Do you have any recommendations for getting smartphone apps for monitoring the quality of our sleep? Have you heard of things like motion eggs and are there techniques for getting dream sleep and non-dream sleep?

Matt: It’s a little bit of a mixed bag out there in terms of these sleep assessment tools, and I should also mention that I work with a start-up company up in San Francisco as the Scientific Advisor. But I think right now the apps that track your sleep are perhaps not particularly accurate. I think we’ll get there very soon, and in the next 2 to 3 years, we will have good sleep-tracking devices, and I’m excited about that because right now technology is one of the biggest enemies in the bedroom for sleep. But I think it’s going to be technology that is our salvation. And the reason is this, there’s a common adage in medicine which is, “What gets measured gets managed.” And for so many of us for so many decades we’ve never really had a handle on how we are sleeping because we couldn’t measure it apart from our subjective sense of what time we turn the lights off and what time we woke up–and that’s not a very accurate rendering of our sleep. I’m very hopeful that soon we will have wearable technology or technology in the bedroom that accurately tracks our sleep. And once we take control of our sleep we will be able to better manage our sleep, and I think that’s fast going to happen and it will only be good for society.

Pranidhi (a caller) What do you think of advocacy for institutional change in this realm?

Matt: There is just no way to cheat the brain and body out of sleep. One way or another it will catch up to you whether it’s chronic sleep deprivation across a lifetime, leading to chronic disease and ill-health, or it’s the tragedy of mortality and this brings us back to road traffic accidents. When you are not sleeping, you are having micro-sleeps at the wheel. Sometimes your eyelids will partially close. Now at 65 miles per hour if you have a micro sleep that usually lasts just for 1 or 2 seconds, at 65 miles per hour that means you’ll drift from one lane to the next. So at that moment for those 2 seconds there is a one ton missile traveling at 65 miles per hour and no one is in control. And that can lead to fatal consequences not just for you but for those around you on the road. There’s sadly no way to short change it. It’s non-negotiable; it’s a life support system. It’s a biological necessity, and it’s Mother Nature’s best effort yet to counter death.

Alissa (a caller): I work sling shift so I do have an odd schedule but I try and keep my sleep regular. And this is for all the people who can’t do what you describe and go to bed an earlier time—is that still okay as far as maintaining your sleep regularly but working at odd, different times?

Matt: Right now shift work is a real problem and working at different times of day causes that normal window of sleep to slide across the 24 hour clock face. That really isn’t an optimal way to be falling asleep. Right now the advocacy in shift work is, if you’re on a shift, try to maintain that shift for long durations of time, and then come off and have a long period of recovery, and then go back on that stable shift. The biggest problem with shift work is having shift work that is inconsistent. Now technology is going to help try to limit the burden some, but people still make that sacrifice for us and we need to make it better for them and this is one of the ways that seems to be best. If you do need to do shift work, maintain that stable shift; that off normal natural rhythm shift, for a long period of time and once that shift ends give yourself a long period of recovery before you have to go into that same shift again.

Unfortunately if you give yourself eight hours of sleep during the day versus eight hours of sleep at night, the sleep you get during the day is not the same that you get at night; it is more fragmented, and it’s not as deep quality of sleep. It doesn’t necessarily contain the same stages of sleep. The reason is that biologically you’re not designed to sleep during the day. However, other species are. We’re not nocturnal species; we are a diurnal species. And so the recommendation is make sure you do give yourself 8 hours, that’s critical, but do realize that it’s probably not going to be as good a quality as 8 hours of sleep during the day as it would be 8 hours at night.

Just a little bit of a caveat on that: everyone has their own circadian preference, the fancy name is pronotype which means some people are owls, and some people are larks. Some people like to go to bed late and wake up late. Others like to go to bed early and wake up early. It’s a natural variation and it’s determined by genetics. It also changes across the lifespan, of course. If you’re one of those people who like to go to bed late and wake up late then the schedule of going to bed at 2 am and waking up at 10 am, may actually be fine. It fits perfectly with your biological rhythm. But if you’re someone who is a lark then you would like to go to bed at 10 o’clock and wake up at 6:00, then going to bed at 2:00 am and waking at 10 is not going to be optimal for your biology.

Amit: This is a very hot topic. We really appreciate you coming to share with us today. As a community how can we support your work?

Matt: I think I would just ask people to propagate the good work. And rather than necessarily support my work try and learn more about sleep and advocate more the critical thing for us to do as a society is to get rid of the stigma of sufficient sleep. This is one of the major problems right now that we face is in the civilized world is that we have associated getting sufficient sleep with this thing called laziness. That we think people who get 8 hours are slothful, and they’re not productive and the opposite is true. So as a society we need to be proud of our sleep; we need to reclaim our right to a full night of sleep without embarrassment and without that terrible stigma of laziness. And in doing so, we may all feel what it’s like to be truly awake during the day. So please don’t chastise others for getting sufficient sleep. As parents we shouldn’t chastise our children because that parent-child transmission of sleep neglect is powerful and it is problematic. That’s the only support I would ask for.

***

Join an Awakin Call this Saturday with dedicated yoga-teacher and innovative gift ecology practitioner Pranidhi Varshney. More details and RSVP info here,

This interview was edited by Lisa Clayton. Awakin Calls is a weekly interview series and community podcast that highlights the work and inner journeys of individuals who are transforming our world in large and small ways. Each call features a moderated conversation with a unique guest. Past interviewees include a calligraphy artist, a path-breaking neurosurgeon, an evolution biologist, a pioneering venture capitalist, and a socially conscious hip-hop rapper. Awakin Calls are ad-free, available at no charge, and an all-volunteer-run offering of ServiceSpace, a global platform founded on the principle of “Change Yourself. Change the World.”

 

27 May 2017 No more pictures, cell phones and todays message from Streams in the Desert (letting go and letting God – true faith)

Good morning to you – it’s 5:59 am as I write.  I have come to an impasse with this blog – my picture allowance is maxed so just words and existing images.  I will say that I was going to share a picture from Gateway to the heavens – pages 104 and 105 and the meditation I did last night 1007pm that involved a drawing I had done earlier with the fragment of purple chalk….a Goddess and the Prussian iron cross.  What happened is I was burning a red cinnamon candle in the darkness and it kept going out so I thought to pour the wax out and was lead to pour it on the drawing in the lower abdomen part – this happened twice which matches the number of times I was operated on for fibroid cyst removal by two separate doctors, two years in a row.  I was pretty upset after I realized this is what I was seeing was about and tried to turn off my phone.  Well as I did a voice activation feature for the phone came on and for some reason it wanted to call my broker of several years, Seth Peritzman!  I thought that was very strange.  When that happened a very small flying insect flew itself into the hot wax of the candle I was burning and died.  Why couldn’t I just turn off my phone?  Then I started looking at the features of the phone and realized all kinds of tracking elements had been activated on it and that was interesting.  I realized if something were to happen to me, if someone were trying to find me, a tracking feature would be useful.   Cell phones can be very useful but as with any tool, only if used for good reasons.

The message from Streams in the Desert resonates with me on many levels and it puts to words beautifully a message I have tried to share in so many ways, through the years.  People like me don’t always get listened to.  People like me – middle-aged house wife with “labels” and no children who live in the lower middle-class income bracket.  I have been speaking, writing, drawing and attempting through my crafts to share so many things that if only had been acknowledged long ago could have helped so much.  I do not expect today will be any different than any other day in this regard but I have faith in the God who has walked with me thus far, through all things, that may today will be different.  I also have Hope – not the child….the daughter….the vision and spirit of the future I want for all creation.   Much love to you today wherever and whenever this message finds you.

9 years and going strong! Happy snap to note the special occasion 🙂

Streams in the Desert message for the today that is also tomorrow:

May 28

“I will not let thee go, except thou bless me…and he blessed him there.” (Gen. 32:26, 29.)

Jacob got the victory and the blessing not by wrestling, but by clinging. His limb out of joint and he could struggle no longer, but he would not let go. Unable to wrestle, he wound his arms around the neck of his mysterious antagonist and hung all his helpless weight upon him, until at last he conquered.

We will not get victory in prayer until we too cease our struggling, giving up our own will and throw our arms about our Father’s neck in clinging faith.

What can puny human strength take by force out of the hand of Omnipotence? Can we wrest blessings by force from God? It is never the violence of willfulness that prevails with god. It si the might of clinging faith, that gets the blessing and the victories. It is not when we press and urge our own will, but when humility and trust unite in saying, “Not my will, but Thine.” We are strong with God only in the degrees that self is conquered and is dead. Not by wrestling, but by clinging can we can the blessing. – J.R. Miller

An incident from the prayer life of Charles H. Usher (illustrating “soul-cling” as a hindrance to prevailing prayer): “My little boy was very ill. The doctors held out little hope of his recovery. I had used all the knowledge of prayer which I possessed on his behalf, but he got worse and worse. This went on for several weeks.

“One day I stood watching him as he lay in nhis cot, and I saw that he could not live long unless he had a turn for the better. I said to God, “O God, I have given much time in prayher for my boy and he gets no better; I must now leave him to Thee, and I will give myself to prayer for others. If it is Thy will to take him I choose Thy will–I surrender him entirely to Thee.’

“I called my dear wife, and told her what I had done. She shed some tears, but handed him over to God. Two days afterwards a man of God came to see us. He had been very interested in our boy Frank, and had been much in prayer for him.

“He said, “God has given me faith to believe that he will recover–have you faith?”

“I said, ‘I have surrendered him to God, but I will go again to God regarding him.’ I did; and in prayer I discovered that I had faith for his recovery. From that time he began to get better. It was the ‘soul-cling’ in my pyrers which had hindered God answering; and if I had continued to cling and had been unwilling to surrender him, I doubt if my boy wold be with me today.

“Child of God! If you want God to answer your prayers, you must be prepared to follow the footsteps of ‘our father Abraham,’ even to the Mount of Sacrifice.” (See Rom. 4:12.)

————–

This Kyle and I did on 27 April 2011 with our cocker spaniel Samuel and God’s answer was to let him go to God. God didn’t abandon us in our grief…..we surely thought so! But we waited and through love, patience and friendship we were blessed with Link who came to us along with two brothers on 9 Dec 2015. When Sam died, it was like Kyle and I had lost a child. I went looking everywhere to get him back – screaming in the field down the street that was my sanctuary, my church that has been turned over and made into houses for profit. In 100 degree temperatures I walked that blooming field and stood by it’s waters begging for Sam to come back….screaming at the air….the God of my understanding in all things and all it seemed I got was more searching. Then came the day I found the first part of a Christmas ornament in that field and the other at the entrance to the neighborhood. I thought it was to tell me my friend Erin was going to have a son as she is part Choctaw because the ornament was from a Choctaw Casino.  But  no…..she and I were to be blessed with Link and his two brothers. Two women not able to have human children but having maternal instincts to care for all God’s children whatever their form.

God answers your prayers, God is always listening, God never fails – it’s just that you must let go of YOUR plans, YOUR timing, YOUR expectations of how those prayers will be answered. As I have learned to pray and have shared many, many times all through this blog:

“Whatever is for the greatest, most loving good for this (person, place or situation) – not as I would have it but as you would have it. I do not know what is best for my sight is limited to this moment and what has already been and you see all directions of time and space….all possible outcomes and you know what is best….you see the big picture.”

Then LET GO! Stop holding on, “clinging” to your prayers because when you do that is not faith….that is using God like a wishing well. God doesn’t require your monetary homage to answer your prayers, God needs your faith, hope, praise and trust. Let go, Let God – learn acceptance as a path to peace.

 

24 May 2017 Meeting famous musicians and the half-breed (Dreams)

Good morning to you.  How are you today, now?  It’s 6:41 am as I begin to write to you and I hope this finds you well in your place in time. Last night I did a lot of dreaming and actually got some deep sleep for a change.  Link’s bites are healing – amazing stuff organic apple vinegar!  Nothing really worked but that to help stop him from itching so much.

I had more than the two dreams I am going to share but these are the important ones I think.

I dreamt about talking to my brother-in-law Drew about meeting famous musicians and how nice it would be.  I always wanted to meet David Bowie but it just wasn’t meant to be.  There was something about his fiancé Ale’s hoodie being cut into three parts and sewn back together.  The next one was about stopping a stray dog from running into the street.  Kyle was greeting dogs in a yard and I saw men/boys coming that didn’t like it (they were carrying what looked like gun cases) and one of the dogs in the yard tried to run but I stopped him before getting in the street – the dog looked like a mix of a King Cavalier spaniel and a Chihuahua.

The second dream was unlocked by a couple of things.  All the thoughts I’ve been about what has been going on in Europe, specifically Great Britain, thinking about Diana last night, having Queen Elizabeth on my mind and having seen some historical footage of her recently on PBS and the news I had heard about the Queen getting on Harry and William about airing their laundry too much in public.  The dog in the dream makes me think of Prince Harry.  I couldn’t access this article but it is the one that came to mind.

What the dog in my dream looked like – King Cavalier and Chihuahua Mix

  1. News about Queen Elizabeth Getting On Harry And

    bing.com/news
    Queen Elizabeth Thinks Prince William & Prince Harry Need to Put a Lid on It
    The Stir · 2 days ago

    According to a new report, Queen Elizabeth has had it up to her scepter with Prince William and Prince Harry baring their souls … feels “lonely” sometimes. While the public, understandably, can’t …

21 May 2017 Dreams, Drawings , Dr. Strange revisited and Streams in the Desert message for today

Hello to you – it’s Sunday morning and we just had a nice bit of rain, lightning and thunder pass through….yay!  Clean canvas!

Link woke me up again this morning with his scratching and I yelled out loud, “God damn it!!!” really loud and went to the spare bedroom to try to go back to sleep.  When I got up this morning, I got to clean up Link’s “panic poop” he did trying to find me after I left the bedroom. I deserved that! It’s not Link’s fault he’s got bug bites that wake him up in the night!  Not God’s fault either!

ANYWAYS! I ended up dreaming about my mother-in-law Beth and her son Cole coming home to yet another house I didn’t recognize (this happens a lot when I dream about Beth and Cole) while Kyle and I were there. Kyle and I were upstairs and I could see her and Cole walk in the door, it was light out. She had bought candles.  One I remember had a Halloween theme to it and I said, “How did you know I needed to buy another candle?” (in real life I do lol!). There had been a child there with us before the came in, he had dark hair, that slipped out before they came home like a ghost.  I can’t remember his face and something about dirty dishes in the dishwasher.

Did some drawings yesterday and one of them seems to coincide with the Doomsday vault getting flooded in Svalbard Norway. I drew the picture and then when I got on my computer, saw the headline. A lot of what I’ve been experiencing, thinking about and drawing is coinciding with what we saw again in Dr. Strange as we started watching it last night. Just going with it.  I hope my sharing this with you can provide an insight into your own spiritual journey.  Every day is a chance to begin it, that is if you haven’t already!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/20/norway-boost-doomsday-vault-entrance-tunnel-breached/

Norway to boost Doomsday vault after entrance tunnel was breached

Credit: Ralph Lee Hopkins /National Geographic

By David Millward

20 May 2017 • 11:02pm

Defenses at Norway’s “Doomsday vault” where thousands of varieties of crop seeds are stored in case of natural disaster are to be reinforced.

The move follows water gushing into the tunnel entrance after the permafrost melted last year.

Although no seeds were damaged there is concern that the vault, which is buried deep inside a mountain near the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, could be vulnerable.

In watching Dr. Strange again, I’ve noticed a couple of things that I also felt after the first time we saw it — the special effects overshadow the movie. The scenes with special effects are just too long and I would have liked to have seen more story and dialogue. I feel they should have let Ben “be British” because I could tell from watching him that it was awkward not to be – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Strange. Ben is an amazing British actor – he IS Sherlock Holmes to me like Christopher Reeves will always be my Superman, Chris Hemsworth Thor, Tom Hiddleston Loki, Heath Ledger The Joker and Jonathan Rhys Meyers Alexander Grayson (Dracula) – you get the idea. Sometimes the casting of an actor/actress to a role is like it was made just for them and other times it seems like watching someone wear very uncomfortable clothes and shoes….just doesn’t fit. I can see why they cast him for the part – he looks the part! Could have stepped right out of the comic book renditions of Dr. Strange. It’s important to remember that it’s more than a “look” that brings a character to life.

May 21

“I call to remembrance my song in the night.” (Psalm 77:6)

I have read somewhere of a little bird that will never sing the melody his master wishes while his cage is full of light. He learns a snatch of this, a bar of that, but never an entire song of its own until the cage is covered and the morning beams shut out.

A good many people never learn to sing until the darkling shadows fall. the fabled nightingale carols with his breast against a thorn. It was in the night that the song of the angels was heard. It was at midnight that the cry came, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.”

Indeed it is extremely doubtful if a soul can really know the love of God in its richness and its comforting, satisfying completeness until the skies are black and lowering.

Light comes out of darkness, morning out of the womb of the night.

James Creelman, in one of his letters, describes his trip through the Balkan States in search of Natalie, the exiled queen of Serbia.

“In that memorable journey,” he says, “I learned for the first time that the world’s supply of attar of roses comes from the Balkan Mountains. And the thing that interested me most,” he goes on, “is that the roses must be gathered in the darkest hours. The pickers start out at one o’clock and finish picking them at two.

“At first it seemed to me a relic of superstition; but I investigated the picturesque mystery, and learned that actual scientific tests had proven that fully forty percent of the fragrance of roses disappeared in the light of day.”

And in human life and human culture that is not a playful fanciful conceit; it is a real veritable fact. – Malcom J. McLeod.

 

 

 

 

18 May 2017 Weird night, Drawings (patio science and therapy) and Gratefulness: An Opportunity to Practice (Daily Good Feature Article)

Good morning to you. We are back from an early walk and are crabby but Kyle is preparing coffee…may be that will help. We normally don’t walk so early and avoid traffic for school and work. Living in a neighborhood without sidewalks, single family homes that have multiple families and cars attached to them means more cars parking curbside. This translates to it being more difficult at certain times for people who walk, run and or walk their dogs. Things become a lot like an obstacle course and well….it can irritate one lol. Should we ever sell this place and move…..sidewalks will be a must! The things you learn after buying your first home 🙂

Last night I know I did a lot of dreaming but the signal was weaker so none to share. I did have a weird experience though. It was being in the middle of sleeping and waking up in the middle of the night and I felt Link laying on both my legs which he never does. I had earplugs in so I couldn’t hear if he was dreaming or what but he was moving like he was protecting me from something above the bed. Well here’s the strange part. I felt like I was above and in the bed at the same time! Also there was the sound of tinkling chimes in the room which I can’t explain. We have our angel chimes in the kitchen. Probably all explainable in some way but when your in between being awake and sleep you aren’t conscious enough to try.

Yesterday was a lot of drawing and almost a sort of science class on my patio lol. It started with watching the cottonwood tree spewing a bazillion more “seed ships” into the wind. That’s what I’m thinking of seeds as now….ships.

Following this train of thought, it was fun to think that they are a lot like if we sent out a ship into space and it crash landed on a planet. The ship and it’s crew would either be alive and thrive or perish.

A cottonwood seed floating in the wind crash lands at some random destination a.k.a “planet” and either takes root and thrives or it perishes. Even if it does manage to start a sapling, there is no guarantee the sapling won’t be cut down by a lawn mower or some other random occurrence….like being eaten.

This lead me to thinking of the color palette drawings I’ve been doing, Covatina/Cavatina for example and then about DNA segments and the cells that make up our body….”life rafts.” In each cell a code for either a part of life or life in full. This is how my mind works when I follow where I seem to be lead. As I said, it felt like a science class and made me think of Mr. Greeno my high school Science teacher a bit! Come to think of it, he kind of looks like the “George Washington” man I drew the other day only he didn’t have long hair!

The therapy part of the drawings yesterday came after I drew a picture of a girl that reminded me of myself, my Mom Jeannie and a little bit of Kyle…she was going to be named Hope. Then it hit me….this could be what our daughter Hope might have looked like! It hit me hard! Some unresolved grief I guess.

On 16 Aug 2005 I had a surgery that meant Hope would never be born….a hysterectomy. Thinking of seeds and procreation must have brought this forward and I’m grateful for that.

The consolation I have always given myself about never having children, is that each day I try to give birth to Hope in energy form. Through my thoughts, feelings, words and actions she lives and is a blessing to me and to others I interact with. Drawing is indeed great therapy!

Enough nattering as my friend Les says. I hope something in my sharing resonates with you and if not, may be this wonderful feature article from The Daily Good on Gratitude will have something for you! I love the video from Brother David Steindl-Rast very much!

Much love, hugs, laughter, song and lightness of being to you all today!

http://www.dailygood.org/story/1606/gratefulness-an-opportunity-to-practice-kristi-nelson/

Gratefulness is that fullness of life for which we are all thirsting. — Brother David Steindl-Rast

Gratefulness: An Opportunity to Practice

–by Kristi Nelson, syndicated from gratefulness.org, May 18, 2017

Truthfully, it can be said that we are always practicing something. Most often, we are practicing what is habitual, familiar, and mostly unconscious…

All the great wisdom traditions teach us that life is precious; that what is happening right now IS life, not some future destination, time, or state of mind. “Carpe Diem,” they say, implying that we must take none of this moment, and its opportunities, for granted. But as we all know, this is easier said than done, especially when our lives deliver us genuine challenges to living out this simple and profound philosophy. Fortunately, wisdom traditions, including gratefulness, offer a wide range of practices so that we can guide ourselves in becoming more fully awake and present; an opportunity available to all of us at every moment, no matter the conditions of our lives.

It may sound somewhat abstract, but a “practice” is anything we do that builds mastery through repetition. Practices offer us a pathway for sustained, incremental growth, and a mode of learning that can result in a “felt sense” regarding the progression of whatever we are trying to develop. Whether it’s the ability to stretch more deeply in a yoga posture, to remind ourselves to breathe rather than react in conversations, or to bring greater mindfulness into our day-to-day activities, practices can support us to move forward in our commitments and intentions.

Seeing habits of mind as routinized practices acknowledges that awareness has the possibility to interrupt and redirect our patterns.

Truthfully, it can be said that we are always practicing something. Most often, we are practicing what is habitual, familiar, and mostly unconscious. Habits of mind can be as much a practice as our daily routines. It can actually help to think of common attitudes such as resentment, fear, and projection as practices in which we engage as automatically as we make our tea or coffee in the morning. Seeing habits of mind as routinized practices acknowledges that awareness has the possibility to interrupt and redirect our patterns. If we can know and namein the moment—that we are practicing resentment, it means we can possibly replace that practice with something more productive and in line with what we want to embody, and to do this we begin by paying attention.

When we think about all the ways we are already practicing our approaches to life, the concept of “practice” starts to sound less abstract, and reminds us that practicing is necessary to become adept at most anything, whether good for us, or bad. Proficiency arises from a regular commitment to any simple and familiar practice, and serves as a building block to all that follows. For example, even accomplished musicians practice the basic scales. No scales, no Beethoven. Same with athletes: no jogging, no marathons. Spiritual teachers: no regular contemplation, no wisdom to share.

Underlying all of this is repetition and commitment, but also a certain elegant simplicity. The form an effective practice takes is rarely complicated, maybe because we are complex enough inside ourselves, and the real work remains in grappling with the mind and persisting until something shifts and the heart knows it. Placing these ideas about practice and opportunity within the context of our day-to-day lives, it is helpful to think about how they can connect us to living gratefully.

We cannot be grateful for all that a given moment brings us; yet, in any given moment, we can be grateful for something. The gift within the gift of any given moment is opportunity. ~ Br. David Steindl-Rast

Brother David says, “We cannot be grateful for all that a given moment brings us; yet, in any given moment, we can be grateful for something. The gift within the gift of any given moment is opportunity. We may feel that we have got nothing but trouble, but even our worst troubles are jam-packed with opportunity. Our troubles create a great deal of noise. In the midst of that din it is not easy to hear the soft voice of opportunity. We need trained ears. This is why we need to train our ears long before trouble breaks in on us.”

Gratefulness, like mindfulness or yoga, is an awareness practice and a way of training, deepening, and directing our attention. The point is not to become an expert in grateful living—never wavering from a grateful outlook—but to recognize that gratefulness can offer us a “touchstone” for life (especially in difficult times) where we can return our awareness again and again in order to shift or expand our perspective. Like other forms of practice, gratefulness makes us more resilient and flexible, and also offers a way to frame and learn from everything that unfolds in our lives. Through practicing over time, we gradually become more and more able to recognize the opportunity in every moment. Practice helps us to deliver on presence, and being present leads to so much else that is beneficial.

Recognizing that we are always practicing something, we begin to develop the capacity to become more aware of opportunities, and to shift our awareness toward that which serves us, others, and the world.

Every day – even the hard days, or maybe especially the hard days – offers us a chance to hone our skills through repetition and small steps. With gratefulness, we can adopt practices that are widely used, like writing in a gratitude journal to start or end our day, watching A Good Day, or reading articles, blogs or poems that remind us about being grateful. Like its close cousins, yoga and mindfulness, gratefulness is grounded in helping us to:

stop“—to breathe and awaken to the moment,

look“—to become aware of what is happening around and inside us, which reminds us that life is a gift and that opportunities abound, and only then to…

go“—to take action in our lives that reflects this greater awareness and great-fullness

We often begin to truly practice gratefulness once we realize that we may not have full agency over all that happens in our lives, but recognize that we have choices about how to direct our attention and actions. Recognizing that we are always practicing something, we begin to develop the capacity to become more aware of opportunities, and to shift our awareness toward that which serves us, others, and the world. Working with these opportunities, we can gradually guide our hearts, minds, and bodies in such a way that we can more readily access real gratitude for the phenomenal gift of life—so precious, so temporary, and so worthy of our care and humble celebration.

“A Good Day” With Brother David Steindl-Rast

A Network for Grateful Living

This article is printed here with permission. It originally appeared on Gratefulness, the online magazine of the A Network for Grateful Living. This is a global organization offering online and community-based educational programs and practices which inspire and guide a commitment to grateful living, and catalyze the transformative power of personal and societal responsibility. Kristi Nelson is the Executive Director of A Network for Grateful Living. To read more about her visit this page.

In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart. Gandhi

 

16 May 2017 More Than Your Average Cup of Joe (Daily Good Feature article and last nights drawing) and U2 in my dreams again

Good morning to you. How are you doing in your here and now? I haven’t had my morning coffee yet but it’s made; waiting for Kyle to deliver it with a kiss!

Another bit of synchronicity for me to share with you here. I did a drawing last night before dark to help me wind down and as you can see it’s a purple doorway with lots of “particles”, “seed ships” coming out of it and Metatron’s cube and an eye seeing it all. My internet home page is the Daily Good and the feature for today — yep — Purple Door Coffee! When you pay attention, it’s amazing the amount of synchronicity that is going on all around and through you!

15 May 2017 – Drawing before bed last night that is perfect for Daily Good Feature story today! Purple Door Coffee!

Reader, I know your tired, I know your busy, I know it seems like it’s too much sometimes but remember you are the co-creator with the God of your understanding of the life you are choosing to live. Sometimes just being still for a moment will guide you to your “door.” Pay attention, this life is truly all about “the little things.”

I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light. Helen Keller

http://www.dailygood.org/2017/05/16/more-than-your-average-cup-of-joe/

Home > Generosity > More Than Your Average Cup of Joe

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. Ralph Waldo Emerson

More Than Your Average Cup of Joe

May 16, 2017— A popular coffee shop in Denver is making a difference, and not just through their drinks. The Purple Door Coffee Shop, founded by Madison Chandler and Mark Smesrud, helps support youth coming out of homelessness by offering them jobs behind the counter, and teaching them skills such as customer service and budgeting. Moved by the overwhelming number of homeless youth in the region, Chandler and Smesrud sought a way to help them get back on their feet. No one who’s 13, 14, 15, 16 should be homeless, says Chandler. Purple Door creates rewarding experiences not only for their employees, but for their customers as well. Each bean brewed keeps them coming back, and offers a simple way to give even the most vulnerable members of the community a chance to thrive. (106 reads)

The next time I get to Denver I hope to visit this place: https://www.purpledoorcoffee.com/

About Purple Door Coffee

About Us

Madison Chandler and Mark Smesrud founders of Purple Door Coffee Denver CO

Purple Door Coffee is a specialty espresso bar and coffee shop in Denver, Colorado that employs teens and young adults who have been homeless and want to leave homelessness behind.

Our Mission

To reclaim and sustain the lives of homeless youth and young adults through supportive and meaningful employment.

Purple Door is committed to creating a loving, Jesus centered environment where every single individual is valued no matter what their life has looked like up to this point.

Our name comes from the fact that historically the color purple is the color of royalty, and we truly believe that every person, no matter their station in life, has unsurpassable worth and value and deserves to be treated like royalty.

Purple Door Coffee hopes to be a place of not only employment, but also restoration for those who want to reclaim life.

I woke up at 1:15 in the morning after this dream. I guess my mind was processing the Irish history input from yesterday and Irish music was apparently part of things also!  The dream was about making a low budget music video and the song was pretty corny if I recall. There was something about walking through a mall at Christmas, someone getting embarrassed. I remember hearing, “The Christmas Story isn’t over,” seeing Bono from U2 and his talking about “they did it too”, something about for a “Jane Fonda hand grip?” Weird I know, but those are the pieces I remember.
(Suzy’s Field is Jonathan Rhys Meyers brother’s band, obviously Irish 🙂 )

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/15/arts/music/u2-joshua-tree-30th-anniversary-tour-review.html?src=mv&_r=0 – didn’t know it but U2 has been busy!

14 May 2017 Mother’s Day, Birthday wishes, Pergola demolition, Dream about traveling in space and drawings

Good morning to you – for those of you that are “Mom’s” of any sort,  to include my own – Happy Mother’s Day!  I hope all my Mom’s know it’s not just today that I love and appreciate you!  Today is also our friend Billy’s birthday!  So Happy birthday Billy!   Much love, hugs and light to all of you today!

Mother’s Day Poem

Kyle Wygant May 20 2003

Hope and dreams she helps me with

An audience when needed

Plans things out for the help to need

Pays with stress to teach us right

Yet loves us no matter what

Moment’s times she appears when need most

Only the one I choose to always love

The bearer of my favorite gift, life

Helps when needed

Everyday full of something new

Relentless of trying to get things right

Special to everyone she meets

Determined to have turn out all right

At the time to help she does

Yearning, I say Happy Mother’s Day

 

Yesterday was pergola demolition day!  We were so grateful to have had help from  Kyle’s Dad and two brothers to do it!  More than a two-person job to do safely.  Together we were able to make pretty short work of it.  I must say there is some truth to demolition being therapeutic!  Kyle tells me people in demolition are pretty happy people and I could see and feel why yesterday lol.  There were things about the pergola I liked but now I have a clear view of the sky and lots more drawing space lol!  We are ready for the new siding to be installed!

So the dream that woke me up this morning was pretty cool.  I guess my mind’s way of processing all these thoughts I’ve been having about particles and life.  Well in the dream I was traveling in space and it was like a black and white grid.  We actually “went off grid” and beyond what was charted or known.  Something about a ship “picking me up” (the round cell shaped ship) that was free-floating and if you passed through it, you were on a new ship.  I encountered life forms that were just light and colors.  To the person in the dream they were kind of annoying as they “poured in” through rainbow light and had voices but it was hard to understand them.  There was a blonde woman who was very mature but wasn’t very old that was a “life-form.”  I can remember seeing her talking, she was shy but don’t know what she said.

13 May 2017 Dream about a King and the Wizard (Christopher Lee) and “Particles”

Hello to you wherever and whenever you are.  Today is going to be a busy day so can’t spend too much time here.  I will express Happy Mother’s day but will do something special tomorrow for that!  LOTS and LOTS of dreaming this past night but the one I am sharing is the most epic of them all.  It is like something straight out of a mythology story.  I am surprised that someone like Christopher Lee graced my dream world but he did.

13 May 2017/6:20 am

Dreamt about a *man who was King and witnessed the birth of his son. Then I saw a young boy talking to some women about himself and saying his father was the *man and his Grandmother was Queen and I corrected him to say, “Queen Elizabeth.” Then there was something about a man coming through and looking for the child, “He’d be about toddler size now?”

Then I was standing at the edge of a dark pond and watching a man who looked like an old wizard, it was Christopher Lee. He was holding a gigantic sword and he plunged it into the black pond and into a giant behemoth of a fish. It was an ancient fish that was black and red, had huge eyes and tendrils like a catfish. He pulled this giant creature out of the pond and to shore and left it there but he didn’t kill it. I can remember his pointing at it like you would a pet to “stay” and seeing the eye of the creature look almost forlorn to be “left.” I watched Christopher walk away.

*man means I know who the person in the dream.  This interview from 1975 is fascinating.

Yesterday afternoon I took my pen and paper outside and had some interesting “dialogue” I want to call it.  When I do these drawings or the other things that I do, that’s what it is like.  What is in these drawings may not be “new” or “revelationary” to those much more educated than myself in these matters, but it is for me.  It’s like having a conversation and being open to new thoughts, ideas and ways of thinking about things.  Particles is the theme here – everything and everyone are energized particles activated by full-spectrum light of the sun.   What came to mind is how we can take everything apart and how sometimes when it gets put back together it is a little different but can be very similar to it’s original form.  You can shred a leaf into a billion pieces and with the right ingredients make a new leaf that looks very much like the original one but a key element will be missing – it cannot live on it’s own without external energies to animate it.  Very “Frankenstein” train of thought lol.  If a form is not “born” with the original spark of life it must be animated by external forces – like children at play with action figures.   As with anything, if the “animators” intention is positive so shall be it’s creation and vise versa.

12 May 2017 4 Dreams, Anniversary Card and todays messages from A Woman’s Spirit and Streams in the Desert with Drawing

Good morning to you.  I hope this finds you doing well in your today and if not, if you are in a time of difficulty which seems to be going around these days, may be there is something here for you. I always hope someone can benefit from what I post here!  Sometimes it may only be me lol but that is ok!   The message from the Women’s Spirit strongly resonated as did the message for the 13th from Streams in the Desert.  There have been so many times in my life that I thought “nobody was listening” but everything worked out just like it was supposed to….patience and faith were key!  Don’t give up on you, Don’t give up on the God or Goddess of your understanding.  A phrase that comes to me a lot in times of anxiety, fear and worry is the loving voice that says to my heart (my insides), “All will be well.”

4 Dreams/6:05 am

1st – was the most detailed about being with Donald Trump. His saying “he felt like an outcast.” The women in his life caused a lot of drama. I remember a room that had a large window – like a french door with sheer curtains? There was a view – that’s where he said he felt this way.

2nd – Something about touring Hitler’s childhood home and 13 pictures were taken. The last one was of a little boy at the entrance of a large doorway. I couldn’t see the details of him, just a small boy in shadow.

3rd – About being in a military like complex — seemed to be many floors. I spoke with someone in this place who was in a position of authority.

4th – Someone watching women dancing. This dream was not in color but black and white. The women dancing were modern and like in a dance studio. This person was on the outside looking in. There was a woman who seemed to be trying to lure this person inside (pornographic) but the person watching “wasn’t into that.” There was something about a very large neon green bra being put on this person just before I woke up.

The message today from A Woman’s Spirit goes perfectly with the amazing anniversary card we received from our dear friend Les yesterday! It’s the little things that you miss in a significant other when it is time for them to transition on. Never take them for granted!!

A Woman’s Spirit Hazelden Meditations

May 12

I want to be loved, and for that to happen, I must love others and I must want love for them. – Betty MacDonald

Feeling loved is so elusive. We savor the feeling when it comes, and we think if we hang on tightly it won’t leave. But we must give love away if we want to keep feeling it. That is the paradox. It is also a principle we can rely on absolutely.

Feeling generous in spirit toward others gives us a powerful blessing in return. We quickly sense that whatever we feel toward the friends and associates in our lives we feel about ourselves. Carrying love for others in our hearts assures us of feeling loved too. It’s easier to understand once we begin utilizing this principle. What we give away, we get back.

__________

I can influence whether or not I am loved by how I treat others today. What I sow I will reap.

Streams in the Desert Daily Devotional – Cowan Publications Inc. 1925

May 12

“All things are possible to him that believeth.” (Mark 9:23.)

The “all things” do not always come simple for the asking, for the reason that God is ever seeking to teach us the way of faith, and in our training in the faith life there must be room for the trial of faith, the discipline of faith, the patience of faith, the courage of faith, and often many stages are passed before we really realize what is the end of faith, namely, the victory of faith.

Real moral fibre is developed through discipline of faith. You have made your request of God, but the answer does not come. What do you do?

Keep on believing God’s word; never be moved away from it by what you see or feel, and thus as you stand steady, enlarged power and experience is being developed. The fact of looking at the apparent contradiction as to God’s Word and being unmoved from your position of faith make you stronger on every other line.

Often God delays purposely, and the delay is just as much an answer to your prayer as is the fulfillment when it comes.

In the lives of all the great Bible characters, God worked thus. Abraham, Moses and Elijah were not great in the beginning, but were made great through the discipline of their faith, and only thus were they fitted for the positions to which God had called them.

For example, in the case of Joseph whom the Lord was training for the throne of Egypt, we read in the Psalms;

“The word of the Lord tried him.” It was not the prison life with its hard beds or poor food that tried him, but it was the word God had spoken in his heart in the early years concerning elevation and honor which were great than his brethren were to receive; it was this which was ever before him, when every step in his career made it seem more and more impossible of fulfillment, until he was there imprisoned, and all innocency, while others who were perhaps justly incarcerated, were released, and he was left to languish alone.

These were hours that tried his soul, but hours of spiritual growth and development, that, “when his word came” (the word of release), found him fitted for the delicate task of dealing with his wayward brethren, with a love and patience only surpassed by God Himself.

No amount of persecution tries like such experiences as these. When God has spoken of His purpose to do, and yet the days go on and He does not do it, that is truly hard; but it is a discipline of faith that will bring us into a knowledge of God which would otherwise be impossible.

May 13

“We know not what we should pray for as we ought.” (Rom. 8:26.)

Much that perplexes us in our Christian experience is but the answer to our prayers. We pray for patience and our Father sends us those who tax us to the utmost; for “tribulation worketh patience.”

We pray for submission, and God sends us sufferings; for “we learn obedience by the things we suffer.”

We pray for unselfishness, and God gives us opportunities to sacrifice ourselves by thinking on things of others, and by laying down our lives for the brethren.

We pray for strength and humility, and some messenger of Satan torments us until we lie in the dust crying for its removal.

We pray, “Lord increase our faith,” and money takes wings; or the children are alarmingly ill; or a servant comes who is careless, extravagant, untidy or slow, or some hitherto unknown trial calls for an increase of faith along the line where we have not needed to exercise much faith before.

We pray for the Lamb-life, and are given a portion of lowly service, or we are injured and must seek no redress; for “he was led as a lamb to the slaughter and…opened not his mouth.”

We pray for gentleness, and there comes a perfect storm of temptation to harshness and irritability. We pray for quietness, and ever nerve is strung to the utmost tension, so that looking to Him we may learn that when He giveth quietness, no one make trouble.

We pray for love, and God sends peculiar suffering and puts us with apparently unlovely people, and lets them say things which rasp the nerves and lacerate the heart; for loving suffereth long and is kind, love is not impolite, love is not provoked. LOVE BEARETH ALL THINGS, believeth, hopeth and endureth, love never faileth. We pray for likeness to Jesus, and the answer is, “I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” “Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong?” “Are ye able?”

The way to peace and victory is to accept every circumstance, ever trial, straight from the hand of a loving Father; and to live up in the heavenly places, above the clouds, in the very presence of the Throne, and to look down from the Glory upon our environment as lovingly and divinely appointed. — Selected

I prayed for strength, and then I lost awhile

All sense of nearness, human and divine;

The love I leaned on failed and pierced by heart,

The hands I clung to loosed themselves from mine;

But while I swayed, weak, trembling, and alone,

The everlasting arms upheld my own.

I prayed for light; the sun sent down in clouds,

The moon was darkened by a misty doubt,

The stars of heaven were dimmed by earthly fears,

And all my little candle flames burned out;

But while I sat in shadow, wrapped in night,

The face of Christ made all the darkness bright.

I prayed for peace, and dreamed of restful ease,

A slumber drugged from pain, a hushed repose’;

Above my head the skies were black with storm,

And fiercer grew the onslaught of my foes;

but while the battle raged, and wild winds blew,

I heard His voice and perfect peace I knew.

I thank Thee, Lord, Thou wert too wise to heed

My feeble prayers, and answer as I sought,

Since these rich gifts thy bounty has bestowed

Have brought me more than all I asked or thought;

Giver of good, so answer each request

With Thine own giving, better than my best. – Annie Johnson Flint

 

11 May 2017 A Woman’s Spirit (Hazelden Meditations) and Dreams

Good morning to you. I hope your today is going well for you. Last night before bed I decided I wanted to pull out a devotional my first AA sponsor, Monica, had given to me to see if there were any messages for me there. Ironically, I had received the devotional from her in this very month 15 years ago! Timely right?! The messages for yesterday and today spoke to me and also speak to what I see with the folks running our Government right now. What isn’t mentioned here that I feel is going on is a whole lot of holding on to a soul-eating levels of Pride. It would take letting go of this cancer of the soul in order for us to move forward as a country and as a people. It shouldn’t matter “who gets credit” for greatness – it’s supposed to be a team effort! When people work together for a common, positive purpose, everyone wins!

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness. Seneca

I hope something here resonates with you whether your a woman or a man:

May 10

Life is for enjoying, it is not a race to see how much you can get done. – Jill Clark

Before we quit using alcohol and other drugs*, we wasted precious hours, days, maybe years. Consequently, we feel we must make up for lost time. We make promises and commitments we don’t have the time or the energy to fulfill. This is a normal response to hindsight. After all, we missed many wonderful opportunities when our focus was on getting and staying **high.

*Drugs – there are many types of drugs, to include the quest for and the keeping of power.

**High can also mean position or place

Making up for the past is different from making the most of each twenty-four hours. It’s not how much we accomplish in life but how we treat others along the way that counts. We can accomplish our daily tasks while being kind to other people. But choosing the latter as the more important action will bring a far greater sense of well-being than succeeding at “moving mountains.”

_______

I will get done everything I really need to do today if I focus on being kind to the women and men who cross my path.

 

May 11

Once conflict has arisen, we are kidding ourselves if we think it can be ignored. – Linda Richel

Conflict is ordinary, some may even say necessary. And it generally makes us tense, but that’s primarily because we want to “win” every disagreement. Through our role models in this program, we learn that feelings should not be stuffed or ignored, but they don’t have to be resolved immediately either. Simply sharing with someone that we are angry about a situation is often enough. Doing more often escalates a minor conflict into a major confrontation.

Choosing to be peaceful, rather than right, isn’t copping out, even though it may seem so at first. rather, it’s opting to put our energies into positive exchanges with others. Remembering that every relationship is given to us by design, not accident, gives us reason to pause before stepping on the toes of our “teachers.” Honoring them with love and acceptance diminishes our need to be right. *2004

___________

Letting go of my need to be right today will truly give me peace. *2017

 

Dream before woke up this morning:

I was watching black women singing on tv and singing along, sounding the same. Then my ex-husband Ken walks in wearing a brown suit with a top hat and clown make-up on. He said he was going to be in a picture with 28 people and then I tried to get up and there was a ghost in the room and I told her to get out. It was the ghost of an old woman from what I could make out.

 

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