5 + 1 Amazing Things I learned at TEDx Hilliard

I learned 5 AMAZING Concepts at the Hilliard TEDx event on August 9, 2019:

  1. Social Media is like going on 50 First Dates. Not the movie, but actual first dates. Remember those? You kept your conversations to positive, superficial topics even though just that afternoon a colleague stole your biggest client which sent you down a deep, deep well of self-doubt! You wore Spanx under a dress that you bought at Saks 5th, because heaven-forbid anyone would discover you’re a REAL person.  Stefanie Jackson tells us in her refreshingly honest style how the never-ending first dates of social media are killing our FLOW! DO NOT MISS IT! Watch this TEDx talk AS SOON AS it’s posted online! (In 5 weeks.)
  2. Around-the-House Football is a thing! Maybe that wasn’t the big idea Brent Wise wanted me to come away with, but once you put your ideas out there, you no longer control them! What is around-the-house football? Instead of playing backyard football between the trees, young Brent and his friends incorporated the front AND backyard for their games which included over-the-roof passes and circular yardage. Get it? You don’t have to stick by any arbitrary rules of the game if they don’t fit your purpose. It’s just slightly possible I got stuck on the ‘around-the-house-football’ thing and missed the major point…you be the judge when you watch Brent Wise’s TEDx Hilliard talk online. It should be posted tomorrow next week in 5 weeks! 
  3. Data solves a lot of not-problems. Bill Balderaz listed a number of them: getting the make-up you ordered on-line quicker than driving to the store; finding website suggestions on your smartphone; seeing Facebook ads that fit the exact thing you were looking for next! These are fixes for not-problems, but Bill says the same data and algorithms can be used to predict and prevent urban blight, hunger all over the world, and the addiction crisis. How? you ask. Bill will tell you when you watch his TEDx talk …Statistics are showing that people want to see that now, but that 95% will wait the entire five weeks until it’s posted. 
  4. I should take an Improv Class! Again, that’s not the message that Mihaela Jekic was trying to send, but once your message is out there…  Mihaela’s message had more to do with using our humiliating experiences to transform ourselves into fearless critters who will try anything at least once. What does that have to do with Improv? Well, you’ll have to find out when Hilliard TEDx hits the web. And when will that be, you ask. IN ABOUT 5 WEEKS!
  5. Talent’s just another word for ‘work’. That’s what I learned from the youngest speaker on the TEDx stage, Elise Byard. That girl can sing! But beyond that…she can play piano while she’s singing! And beyond that…she can do both while remaining on tune, in rhythm, and error-free! And she says it’s because she doesn’t quit when it’s hard. Pshaw! She got ALL the talent, that’s all! You be the Idol Judge when you watch Elise on the TEDx Hilliard stage…when? IN FIVE MORE WEEKS! 

AND, (you should be hearing a drumroll) the PLUS ONE AMAZING THING I LEARNED AT TEDx HILLIARD:

Our math teachers lied to us!

Raj Shah’s talk on using video game principles to help children love math made me fall in love with math! If you want to know the secret lies that our math teachers told us…that’s right, you have to wait the requisite...5 weeks! 


Great-Reads and Listens For The Weekend

Because why waste your time reading or listening to anything less than great?

Here’s one I’m reading now with a group of friends at the Columbus Center for Spiritual Living where I worship. I think you’d enjoy reading this book if you want to re-map your brain to lean toward happiness instead of negativity.

I’m not calling you negative…I’m just saying that we’re all predisposed for it. All of us! Even Pollyanna!

It’s a good read with a lot of solid commonsense ideas with scientific background…which many of us like to have so we can misquote it to our friends when we recommend that they read this book.

Remember, I am an Amazon Associate which means if you click and buy here…you’re helping a not-starving writer fund her addiction to blogging!

As far as the listening portion of this post goes…let’s stick with our theme of happiness, okay? And who’s the happiness guru-ess? That’s right, Gretchen Rubin!

I do not listen to Gretchen religiously, but I do think her podcast is light, filled with talk that spurs my own thinking about how I define happiness for myself, and entertaining.

Here’s a link to Gretchen’s podcast, but if you use a different platform for your podcasts, just put the name in that app to pull it up.



I won’t even claim to know anything about platforms and apps and all things technical that allow you to listen…very much like my inability to tell you how Netflix works…only that I push a button on my remote and I’m HAPPIER!!! Wanna know what I’m binge-watching this weekend?


The Story of God with Morgan Freeman 


Columbus Jazz and Ribfest

I highly recommend that anyone living in the Central Ohio area to put the Jazz and Ribfest on your calendar for next July.

Saturday evening was a humid 89 degrees in Columbus, but in the shade with some cool jazz music coming from Funky Worthy on the Main Stage, I didn’t notice the heat.

After the sun went down, I stood in line for about fifteen minutes for my BBQ Brisket and cornbread which I enjoyed at a picnic table while listening to the Squirrel Nut Zippers, a band whose name confounds and amuses me.

I know the point is to listen to jazz while enjoying ribs…it’s all in the title, but even those of us who do not eat meat on the bones can enjoy the event, brisket, saxophones, and all.

Enlighten Me, Hard to Label

Post-Thanksgiving Ramblings

There are a few events that have triggered some deep Thanksgiving reflections this year:

  • The 57th birthday party of a sweet woman who suffered a stroke 7 months ago and is now struggling to re-learn to talk, move, walk.
  • The memorial celebration for the 53-year-old music genius who gave in to her cancer on the last full moon.
  • The Parliament of World Religions discussion about the mistreatment of farm animals in the United States forcing me to really, really consider vegetarianism. (But I did eat turkey on Thanksgiving.)
  • A visit to see my Aunt and the uncle whose overachieving bladder cannot stop making tumors.
  • A visit with one of my cousins and her family.
  • 86-year-old Ruth who is an environmental warrior and an independent lady.
  • A text message that my brother-in-law had a massive stroke.

Maybe you’re waiting for me to tell you what they all have in common; what my ramblings and reflections have taught me about life. I’m sorry to disappoint, but I cannot. Not because you as the reader need to make sense of it all for yourself, though that might be true; not because I’m being coy, because I’m not even sure what that means having never been coy in my life!

No, I can’t tell you how they’re related because I don’t know. I have no clue.

That’s probably why I’ve been holding them in my heart. I like things to make sense and so much of life does not. I like organized thoughts and events to follow patterns, but my mind usually jumps from one topic to the next so that I have to make notes to stay on track and the steps I take to finish my to-do list are anything but sequential.

I keep reading and re-reading this list. What do they have in common? What does it mean? What lesson am I to be learning from these several events? I feel like there’s one piece of the 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle missing…THE PIECE that makes the picture come together.

I can tell you that I love my family. All of them…I have the best family in the world…from my grandkids to my parents; from my sisters to aunts; from my daughters to nieces and nephews. My cousins are truly, truly special people. I’m just so lucky to have all these great people in my life.

I can tell you that I love my life…except for winters in Ohio.

I can tell you that God is a real person in my life and I don’t talk to her nearly often enough.

I can tell you that I’m so flawed, and in spite of …maybe because of…the flaws, I sincerely like who I am.

I can tell you that the gratitude I talked about on Thanksgiving doesn’t end with that day. I’m grateful every day of my life…for everything I have in my life: health, family, friends, the ability to pay my bills.

And I can tell you that I still don’t know what triggered so much reflection this year. I still don’t know why these events impacted me so profoundly.

I can only tell you that they did.

That they helped me feel vulnerable, powerless, blessed.

That they triggered a loving response, prayer, and prayerful thoughts.

That they illuminated for me the careful layering of our emotions: the bedrock sadness, gratitude that constitutes more layers than any other single emotion, the grief, the too-generous portion of fear, inspiration to do better, motivation to do more, love, more sadness, and even more gratitude.

These are emotional reactions. They don’t give me a neat little quotation that will trigger the same emotional responses for you. Nothing I’ve written or thought of writing has helped me make sense of why my mind is stuck on these events specifically.

They are just a diorama of life, right? Miniature figurines in action before a construction paper background, sun, trees, grass, stick figures playing ball drawn in black crayon.

It’s just life. Nothing to make sense of; nothing to reason out; nothing to acquire.

Life in its complexity, simplicity, irony.

Maybe I don’t need to make sense of it. Maybe feeling this deeply was enough.







Elton John

elton-john-style-gallery-2017-billboard-1548It’s a little bit funny…this feeling inside…I’m not one of those who can easily hide…so when I felt overwhelmed by the amount of talent in that one human being, I didn’t even try to hide it!

I screamed, shouted, raised my hands toward heaven, danced, clapped to the music.

I came close to crying when he sang Believe after a brief little monologue about how mean the world has gotten and that the only thing that can heal us is compassion and kindness because, although I’m not always kind or compassionate to others and even less frequently kind and compassionate to myself, I do believe that Elton John is 100% right about what we need to heal our world…love.

In the famous…or infamous…Milgram Experiments in which participants were asked to deliver an electric shock to another person, the researchers discovered 3 groups of participants: 1) those who obeyed and justified their behavior in some way, 2) those who obeyed and blamed someone else for the results, and 3) those who rebelled and refused to deliver the shocks.

The rebels usually said that there were higher ethical, moral and spiritual imperatives that they followed and that contradicted the needs of the experimenter. I’d say, they believed in love too. This is the group I hope I’d be in when it came time to make a choice about hurting someone else, but sadly, I’ve been in the other two groups more often than I’d like to admit. I’ve stood by silently while someone was bullied; I’ve used insults and hurtful humor to express my anger instead of just expressing my feelings in a straightforward manner; I’ve been in a circle of ‘mean girls’ and participated in hurtful behaviors. I’m not proud…just being open and honest.

Listening to Elton’s words, watching his fingers glide across the keyboard flawlessly, letting the music and the lyrics seep into my heart and soul, I was reminded of who I am at my core and how I want to show up in the world.

I want to show up as someone who accepts others just as they are without judgment because none of us can live up to our higher calling when we’re surrounded by judgment.

I want to show up as someone who listens with compassion, holding space for others while they process through difficult times knowing that I know that I know that everyone can find the right answers if they only have space, time and encouragement to find them. Advice only clutters things up.

I want to show up as someone who helps people smile and laugh and enjoy life.

Elton John rehearses for a full week for just one performance, but life isn’t a performance…it’s life! I can only practice showing up by showing up; I can only practice compassion and kindness by learning from my mistakes when I’m less than compassionate and kind.

Unlike EJ, I’ll play sour notes, make mistakes and once in a while sing off tune, (maybe more than once in a while).

Nobody’s perfect. Not even Elton. Though, after this concert, I really can’t prove that!


I attended the concert with friends I have known for over 20 years. We all remember when rock was young, so when Sir Elton pounded out Crocodile Rock on his Yamaha piano we danced.

We were Still Standing, better than we ever did…looking like true survivors, feeling like little kids…

Because that’s what love, friendship, compassion, joy can do for you.

They help you stand, dance, run, celebrate life…which we did…

until he disappeared beyond the Yellow Brick Road.


Thank you, Sir Elton John for providing a soundtrack for my life.

Thank you, Friends for providing the accompaniment to my life with love, acceptance, kindness and compassion.

Thank you, God for providing the substance of my life, the many blessings that bring me joy…


my family


and the ability to go to an Elton John concert

Really an amazing experience.

Namaste, Sir Elton John…
May you know peace;
May you know kindness;
May you be well;
May you experience joy every day for the rest of your life in full repayment for the joy you’ve brought to all of your fans.


Enlighten Me

Root Chakras and Tuning Forks

Sound Healing

My friend Kristy is a sound healer. She uses perfectly pitched tuning forks to activate the energy fields in our bodies called Chakras. These are spinning centers that allow the prana (life energy) to flow more freely. I guess there are many chakras in the body. I don’t really know, but that’s what I read so we’ll go with that for now.

Most of us, however, only focus on the seven major chakras…which is good because who can remember more than 7 anyway?

The Seven Chakras

  • Muladhara
  • Swadhishthana
  • Manipura
  • Anahata
  • Wishuddha
  • Ajna
  • Sahasrara

Okay, so if we have to remember the names in Hindi, I’m out! In layman’s terms, we have:

  • Root Chakra (Muladhara)
  • Sacral Chakra (Swadhishthana)
  • Solar Plexus (Manipura)
  • Heart (Anahata)
  • Throat (Wishuddha)
  • Third Eye (Ajna)
  • Crown (Sahasrara)

You can get a really good education about chakras on-line, old-fashioned books, Buddhist temples, and sound healers like Kristy!

My first experience with sound healing

When Kristy first became certified as a sound healer, she needed people who didn’t mind being guinea pigs. I don’t mind being a guinea pig for any type of energy healing so I signed up. That first session was AMAZING! I was laid out on a massage table, eyes closed, while Kristy struck her tuning forks in harmonious successions and waved them over me.

Big deal, right? Truthfully, I thought, ‘well, this will be a great nap’ and I did leave the session feeling energized, refreshed and rested. But I did not nap! In fact, my brain was so active that it created a light show for my personal entertainment.

I saw swirling colors, mostly purples and greens but there were flashes of yellows. They splashed across the screen of my closed eyelids…not literally…and swirled like perfect tie-dyed t-shirts in neon colors.

Something was happening. 

Beyond the light show, I left feeling more relaxed and organized. Organized? I know! Sounds far-fetched, but I entered with about a thousand things on my to-do list, feeling overwhelmed and under-resourced. I left feeling purposeful and confident.

How did that happen while I was zoning out for a private laser light show? 

Kristy explains that my root chakra was blocked and my crown chakra was wide open. The combination, is apparently, not great. I was taking in energies and information that lead to enlightenment in someone who is well-grounded, centered and focused, but in someone (ME) who had a blocked root chakra…not grounded, centered or focused…it just overwhelmed my human brain. When she ‘tuned’ me, she activated ALL 7 chakras and through the various tones, got them dancing together.

The Importance of Being Grounded

When I took my basic Reiki course, the instructor spent most of the weekend class teaching us how to center and ground ourselves before beginning to use energy on anyone else.

When I took a Natalie Goldberg writing workshop, she spent much of the time teaching us meditation…a grounded, focused starting point from which to create better writing than I thought I could ever produce.

When I gave birth to my daughters, the nurses spent much of my labor helping me focus on my breathing.

Being centered, grounded, balanced, is a necessary condition for anything and everything else…especially creativity; especially spirituality; especially relationships; especially…you get the idea.

Here’s your assignment, should you choose to accept it…

Before you begin each day, get centered and grounded.

Get clear about your values and create your own grounding ritual around them before you interact with another person.

I begin my day with a full glass of water, writing my 3 pages in my journal and then a short breathing, meditation. It reminds me who I am so when I walk into the world, I walk in a gorgeous light show that illuminates my tiny corner of the world.

I think it’s the best thing any of us can do…what do you think?

What do you do to get grounded?

What energy healing modalities do you love? And what do you think I should try next?

If you live in Central Ohio and would like to try sound healing, contact me for Kristy’s information or go to the link to her Facebook page provided above!




Hard to Label, Just Funny

3 Ways I Sabotage…

7ad1e1f6d081e65e2c87313a39743f8bLast night, or should I say, very, very early this morning, I thought of all the ways I sabotage my sleep…there are…you guessed it…THREE because I’m on a roll with threes this week. Here they are:

  1. Happy Hour at Starbucks. Are you kidding me? Who thought it was a fabulous idea to offer caffeinated deals from 4-6? Well, apparently, me, until about 3 AM.
  2. Destination Solitaire. One more game on my iPhone. Spider Solitaire relaxes me a bit because let’s face it, it’s pretty boring. But Destination Solitaire is anything BUT boring. You’re racing the clock while trying to rack up enough points to earn the little star that moves you farther up the Champs Elysses. By the time I earn my star, I’m wide awake and jazzed to earn more, get farther, conquer Paris so I can travel to Rio, and London, and Greece, OH MY!
  3. I Can’t Remember. That’s number 3…there was something I needed to do tomorrow, but I can’t remember what it is. I would have written it down, but at the time I thought of it, I was: a) driving, b) having Happy Hour at Starbucks, or c) playing Destination Solitaire. It’s 2 AM, my phone is in my hand ready to type that elusive thought into Notes or Reminders, but since I’m up anyway…and I already have my phone…maybe just one more game?