Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Laughter ( lockdown updates 1,2,3,4,5)

is the sound of mirth and joy....giggles...titters..chuckles...merriment...expressions of happiness...even some of these less spoken words cause me to chortle!

I am posting today in tribute and celebration of my dearest friend and brother Jerry A.  A true Master of "one-liners".  No matter my mood, he can and has pulled me up from my emotional depths and to get my belly to rumbling.  Those who know me well, my midriff would be very noticeable in a hearty laugh! I do try to delay, at times, Jerrys' gratification with my hysterical laughter by acting as if the joke, comment went right over my head. Much easier I might add over the phone. So now I will give you a tickler: His sons asked dad, where do you want us to scatter your ashes when the time comes? his reply, "Surprise me!"

In the '80s at a New Age workshop, a handout revealed the list of  NW indigenous Inuit tribe's favorite human attributes. At the top of the list was "humor". So I ask my question about love....and I remember a quote from Robin Williams, "basically when you laugh you have to make a fool of yourself." And I submit,  I can only do this when I love myself and feel loved. Life can be full of so much apparent seriousness and I do mean apparent. Fear can have and create a life of its own. Humor is and comes from a place that sees or knows there is a bigger picture. This is where my other question, "What has God got to do with it?", comes into view.  Romans 15:13

In memorial, I am going to mention a dear friend and my super fan, that I miss dearly, Marjorie.. We spent her last three weeks together, 24/7, and created nicknames for each other. Mine became easily chosen for me, as "My Jewel' and mine for her was "My Sunshine", after a 3am pain pill was needed and she broke out in song, "you are my sunshine!" Each day we found together something to smile or laugh about, and these were our gifts to each other. She spoke up one afternoon, as two of her sons, Paul, John was visiting, along with daughter Karen, at her bedside. We thought she was soundly sleeping. Suddenly over our laughter, she spoke clearly, "doesn't she have the best laugh!" Next, I did a laughter quote search on google. What surfaced fits perfectly here, "A good laugh is like sunshine in a house." Indeed Marge.  William Makepeace Thackery     

Look for updates of this posting during the National Emergency for the next 15 days. An observance of love, service, and laughter with each other!

March 19 update:

Toilet Paper  

Toilet paper, a shortage, and a potential threat to the American way of life.!? Wow who could have known. This hoarding of an item needed for one's own personal comfort with no regard for others' current need, and leave the shelves empty.  As Gandhi so eloquently puts it, "The world has enough for everyone's need, but not everyone's greed." Thus the empty grocery shelves in one day of panic over this pandemic. So my laughter on this subject is coming from the image of the ones who have chosen a very small view, over a greater one of love and rest in the faith all is good for now. This round small viewpoint by some, sitting safely tucked away and secure in the recliner watching FOX News 24/7.

March 20 update

COVID-19 Checklist
  • C …  "Cookies, cookies, cookies, and more cookies!" For me, for my friend Betty as we sit and sip our coffee, and for Teddy, I made him doggie biscuits. Do not forget to enjoy the sweetness of life with the ones you LOVE.
  •  O...…….."Overcome we shall" Yes I am confident, attitude is up, immune system up and then I lapse into a place of denial as though all is ok! " Come on over and visit," I have time on my hands. Why not. Enjoy technology, it is there to keep us all connected..
  • V....Visualize the news...turn off the sound on the TV. Turn on the captions.  Many commentators LOVE the sound of their voices. Gone are the days of going outside to fetch our newspaper with bedhead and being able to read at our leisure the factual information we could refer to later for updates as needed until the birdcage needs a new liner.
  • I.......Identify the real enemy here. FEAR. If our POTUS prefers to call this a "War", then I will refer to a wise leader, President Roosevelt. he reminded us, "There is nothing to fear but fear itself". His contemporary rallied with "Fear is a reaction, courage is a decision.". So choose the road of the HEART.
  • D....Driving means getting out my license and checking the birthdate on it! If it says I am over 60. DO NOT GO ANYWHERE...unless absolutely necessary..so far nothing has been!.
  • 1...………………..Number one thing to remember? Everyone else. We are in this together.
  • 9... NINE hours of REST REST REST get plenty of sleep. I go down at 11 and get up at 8...9 hours of time away from all the talk,  media, and decisions of the day...this is my checklist for the pandemic. Bless you, all..

March 27 update

First Responders needed

What does that mean for me as someone with 30 years of experience as a caregiver and Hospice doulas?  Here I am in isolation and at high risk and cannot be on the front lines. So I have asked how can I give care from afar with the skills I have? I am a seamstress and have the tools and cloth, so masks it is. I will be able to fill a need in a way that will keep myself and others safer and connected. I urge you to find a way to be a "first responder" in your own way to someone in need. Walk a dog, go to store, mail a package, pay a bill, set up skype on a computer for someone in higher-risk or ill.


March 30,   update

"Physical" Distancing

I want to discuss this phrase used to describe a safety measure to keep the virus from reaching one's personal space......I want to say that is the safe distance......and it is a physical one......we can keep our social contacts in so many ways in this age of technology. There is no need to have a social distance. A social, loving contact with each other will ease the stress of not knowing how we are all coping in this time of isolation. This stress from not knowing, being imposed on us is far more dangerous than the physical one. Stress can cause other forms of illness and general feelings of "unwellness". Keep in touch for the wellbeing of others and for yourself. And I suggest you even go a step further and take this time you have to be creative in how you reach out and express yourself.

Blow a kiss from your phone, learn to skype and go crazy in a costume with the grandkids, put a bow on the meals you deliver, include the pets people may be missing. I know you can find ways to keep the feeling of that distance becoming as close and loving as possible.

Practice Social Closeness

April 1  final update


Today begins the 30 day extended stay at home request by the federal govt or "Lockdown". I am rather surprised that I will be posting now about this pandemic in my "Laughter" post because what I am about to tell you is no laughing matter. A pastor in Florida held Sunday morning services for a 500  person congregation. Families during the service practiced distancing from other families. The curious statement broadcasted on the news was about his argument that this new virus was being "overblown". Like the flu, it already kills thousands a year!  So I went to the CDC for the facts and I was "blown over."

Here they are for  Oct 2019- Mar 2020 9 month season
[based on reports and projections of past seasons of 8.5% of population, 27million}

reported cases of illness  28-54,000,000
medical visits to doctors  18-26,000,000
hospitalizations              400-730,000
deaths from the flu             24,000-62,000

This is what the statistics can be for the flu and also how it impacts the healthcare system on top of the current needs for the pandemic with Covid-19. This is with no flu "stay at home" in the general population other than taking sick leave from work after you get the flu, getting the flu shot yearly, as many do, not all.

Now look at the figure for hospitalizations for the flu and imagine them being similar for Covid-19 without lockdown. Add this number to the hospitals dealing with the flu already.  Now, look next to the death rate for the flu. This is where the big awakening needs to be impressed upon us all. The death percentage is 12 times (the update is 40 times) that of the flu. So the number without a lockdown, distancing, business shut down, hygiene practices, and law enforcement, statistics could be, not 24,000-64,000 as for the flu,  the estimates could skyrocket to

288,000-744,000 DEATHS for Covid-19.

We are at 3500 deaths today, (mid-March prior to lockdown 95, April 20 update with three weeks lockdown is 43,000) the 9/11 figure, since the January record keeping. Two weeks into the stay at home orders for high case areas. Projections are still being calculated at 1-200,000 deaths in the US before this disease runs its course. This is 10-20% of a possible figure above with us following faithfully the lockdowns and safety measures asked of us all.  We are 3 months into possibly 12-18 season till the vaccine is available. So the estimates of 100-200,000 deaths are possible..And so clearly this is NOT THE FLU.

Be careful with your life and others, you are all precious.


Monday, March 16, 2020


My theme question may make this subject rather obvious. Yet I awoke with many thoughts flooding my mind for the last couple of early morning hours.  The first four blogs were about my family and friend and my relationship to them and also the "nature" of those relationships.

Therefore my experience recently watching a film about the life of Mother Teresa became profound teaching. She spoke very clearly, when you give, "give with love", whatever you do, "do it with love".  I watched her closely for the remainder of the film to see how she expressed this teaching. She began her ministry in Kalcutta by searching for the "untouchables" left to die alone in the street's gutters. They were given a safe, clean abode to live out their lives. She would not just bathe them in water for a bath, but in loving caresses all over their heads and later their eyes would fill with light and animated outstretched arms as she returned for a visit. Her greatest gift was to give them something being denied them, a relationship. She gave them someone to love back. Now they were not alone   . 1 John 4:8    says anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love

My next thoughts went to my studies reading the Old Testament. I repeatedly heard in my heart the message in the scriptures,, simply, "I am".   Exodus 3:14.    Now I also hear " I am... in relationship with you".    Isaiah 41:10.    This is a promise. Even though I have spent most of my life living in denial of this, and visualizing myself in a motion of "turning away" from this truth. I now know that this can not be possible. My visual today is one of everywhere I turn, 360 degrees, Father is there, love is there, waiting for me all along the way.  To deny this truth, connection, promise and relationship is THE Sin. At the moment I lift up my eyes out of my darkness to acknowledge this, I am who I have always been.

Repentance is about me acknowledging the relationship. Repent means to "turn or return".  Zechariah  1:3b   Forgiveness is about God's loving response to our believing we could ever be out of a relationship with Him.  I will forgive their wrongdoing, I will never again remember their sins.    Hebrew 8:12

As my mind moves out from here some final thoughts are how a relationship is the "nature" of ALL I can see now. Obviously, as in nature, we are beginning to understand how each plant and animal is vital to the health of environments on earth. As the wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone Park the direction of river beds badly eroded by deer overpopulation change courses... Being an artist, my life long pursuit of painting one color next to another and discovering how the colors change is inexhaustible.

studies in astronomy, with my professor in 1970, revealed his summer research at an observatory searching for a very large 10th planet beyond Pluto with a definite "pull"!

My cup has it's saucer.....like I said everywhere I look.

Just as I was about to sign off. I remembered the origins of my name. I was given a Buddhist name, Hokyo Soen, at my Lay Ordination in 1986. The first name is designated as one's true nature, the second is one's life work.  Hokyo means Jewel Mirror my first and middle names. Soen [not legally taken] means round, perfect, and lucid. What is somewhat miraculous to me now about this name is what a Jewel Mirror is. It refers to Indra's Net. It is a Hindu/Buddhist description of the interconnectedness of all of creation.

 It is a net with a round jewel at each knot of the net that reflects all other jewels in the net. This goes on for eternity. My life's work, therefore, is to keep my jewel in its form, a perfect round and clear reflective orb, unblemished. My name is about existence as a relationship and what kind I will have with others. When the darkness appears on my jewel it will be mirrored onto every other jewel, my suffering is shared and others suffering with me. There is NO other.     Mark 12:30-31   Love your neighbor as yourself.. When we choose to live in the light of love and joy, this brightness is reflected out endlessly.

  A late-night NBC news flash came on with an update concerning a week-long debate about how to free the last two men.  A week earlier a disaster struck a construction site at a coal mine resulting in 50 men being trapped underground. This mine, located in a small New England state's rural area, has been inundated by reporters after the story broke on Monday. Currently, there are three trapped below. One is a young 33-year-old physician who arrived earlier this week at the bequest of his father. When arriving on the scene he reported to a journalist privately, he was there to fulfill his father's request. One of the last two men trapped in an old childhood buddy of his father's and they had become estranged as young men. They have not spoken to each other face to face since. When his father heard of the need for medical personnel to help with rescued miners, he asked his son to join the medical team.  For the last two men, there were injuries causing them to need direct emergency medical care before they could come up top safely. The son volunteered to go down into the mine and attend to the two men and stabilize them. They were brought to the surface safely, both were DOA at the hospital. His father's friend has his wife by his side in the ambulance, the woman both men had loved deeply and was the cause of the rift in the relationship. The physician and devoted son that remains behind in the mine, dies before his rescue, as the result of a sudden collapse in the mine brought on by a small local quake when it closes off the shaft with large boulders.
  His father, three days later, while in mourning and surrounded by family, was watching an  ABC Sunday Morning news commentary show about the mining industry's failure to value their workers' safety over profits.
  Then the phone rang. His son, Joshua's voice spoke, "Dad, it is finished, be at peace and call on me anytime, I love you,"