Friday, July 5, 2019

Alive at 65

It is good to be alive. I have outlived my family. If they could see me, would they be proud? 

My Daddy was a jazz musician. I didn't follow in his footsteps. I am a dancer.

My Mother worked for the Federal Government for years. I was not so good at keeping a job for more than 2 1/2 years at a time. Now I substitute teach.

My big sister retired from the Police Force in her city and admonished me to 'put away a little something' every week. Even if it was just $5. I didn't. I haven't. 

My second sister passed unnoticed. She was sick for most of her life. It was inevitable.
And here I stand. 

I like to think that I have come into my own. Is there a problem if there is no one to see the progression? I am impressed.

I like to think that I have matured in my own way. Is there a problem if there is no one who remembers me then? I am proud of how far I have come. 

I like to believe that I have become a better, wiser, woke and conscious individual. So are the people who surround me. We are of like mind. They wouldn't notice. I notice all the time. I am connected. I am supported. The Universe has my back. 

I still love the arts. I love to dance. I love to act. I love to be onstage. I love to be backstage. I am a star in my own show.

I love to support. I am your cheerleader. I believe in you. I am Samela Sunshine. I bring the light!

I love to speak. I love to lead. I love to inspire. I am your motivation. Look who I am. Look what I'm doing. Has opportunity passed me by? No, I say.

I am an advocate for multicultural individuals 55 years and older. Society says we are old at 50, Senior Citizens at 55, Elderly at 65 and then, Invisible. Not true! My heart is still in it. My head is still in it. My body is willing to participate to the best of its ability and I am willing to fight the good fight. For our dignity, for our humanity and for our visibility.

It is good to be alive. I know my family can see me. I know they are proud. 

Saturday, October 13, 2018

What is a concert

What is a concert? Is it based on the venue? What validates a musicians’ skill? Is it playing in a large auditorium on a college campus? Is it performing in a popular performance space in a particular town? What of the singers who hold concerts in churches? Is that not a valid medium?

I went to a concert at church one evening and the next day at work, when my co-worker asked what I had done, I said I went to a concert.

Oh, yeah?, he said, Who’d you see?

I replied, A popular singer in the new thought movement, she performed at my church.

That’s not a concert, he said, and he walked away.

That’s not a concert? I thought to myself. Is the popular perception is that a church is not a ‘valid’ performance space? Although there are many major churches with sanctuaries the size of small stadiums, and outdoor events attended by more individuals than any concert in a neighboring City Arts Center, do people not consider these ‘real concerts’?

Our society has established yet another exclusionary group. It’s a different kind of prejudice. This judgment is not based on the color of their skin, or their sexual orientation, this is prejudice against their ‘spiritual’ orientation.

How do we dispel the myth that any major gathering of individuals for the purpose of sharing nothing but fun and music is a concert? What was Woodstock, I ask you, if not a gathering of individuals for the purpose of nothing but fun and music? And what about ‘Live-AID’ – a concert for a cause? Having worked their way up through the ‘music school of hard knocks’, do New Thought musicians now have to fight for their ‘validity’ in popular culture?

These musicians, singers, and songwriters are all ‘valid’ musicians in their own right and can hold their own standing on the line next to Bonnie Raitt, Katy Perry, Phil Collins, George Benson, Patti Labelle, or Stevie Wonder. How is their music considered ‘less than’ by their choice of venue? I am certain that their peers would not feel that way.

Gospel singers have a special place in the music world because they are supported by a community rooted in religious tradition. And Gospel Music has made a significant impact on mainstream music. Many popular singers, particularly the Black Divas, have their roots singing in churches and church choirs. Well, conversely, popular music has had a major influence on New Thought music, and it is well worth the result.

I had an idea. Perhaps these singers can hook up with current popular artists and be the opening act in a variety of venues. Certainly these individuals have the right to pick for whom they’ll open; but hitching their star to an already popular singer is a start.

But a better idea came to me. A venue, perhaps already popular for hosting small theater or dance companies, open it’s doors to these New Thought / Spiritual singers. Places with season ticket holders and audiences sophisticated enough to enjoy whatever popular culture comes their way. Here would be an opportunity for these singers to get their names out there; earning their fame for their musical talent rather than their ‘spiritual’ orientation. Just a thought.

And beyond what others may say, the concert was outstanding, entertaining and 100% valid.

They Booed Last Night

When I was in high school, the drama club put on the play ‘The Children’s Hour.’ If you’re not familiar, it’s a play about a little girl who was a real BRAT.  She killed people and was generally a real demon. The play was outstanding. The girl who played the lead was excellent. However, when it was time to take bows, she was booed off the stage! Now, I understood at that moment, that they were not booing her performance, they were booing the character that she played. She ran off the stage in tears.

I was reminded of this last night when I went to see the play ‘Waitress.’ The guy that plays her husband was a real jerk. He mistreated her and had a real misogynist view of the world. When the play was over and he took his bow, several people in the audience booed. Again, not because of his acting, but because of his character.

I don’t know if this is written anywhere…and I don’t know if this is just an example of folks who don’t know how theater works. When an actor does an outstanding job of the character her or she plays, it is normal to give an ovation, a powerful, positive ovation. When an actor gets booed, at their level of sensitivity, it often might not be a good sign. Tell them later. Stay after and tell them that you booed the character they played, not them as an actor.

I hope that the actor on stage last night, as well as that young girl from my high school, appreciate that what they did then and what they do now is outstanding and that they are being booed for all the right reasons.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Paris Poem

I alit from the train, bright sunlight in my eyes
In the dark, on the plane, on the bus, on the train
I have been sitting in the dark, for hours now
I walk along the city streets, foreign language in my ears
See the shops, city cars, festive vendors on the way
I have been walking, for hours now
Breakfast at a Patisserie, with Café au lait, salade at a sidewalk
café, Dinner in an African restaurant, fine aromas in my nose
France is ripe with Africans – they are everywhere
I have been moving, for hours now
The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Invalides, and the Champs Elysees,
Pictures with new found friends
I have been touring, for hours now
On the train, on the bus, on the plane, in the dark
I have been sitting, for hours now
I am home.

My Birthday Cometh

Did you know that there are places in the world where women are allowed to age naturally and gracefully without any regard for their age or weight?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in an environment where time is measured only in celebrations and milestones without regard to dates or time? Where women are allowed to age naturally without the scrutiny of an age-obsessed society where the goal is to always look and be the epitome of youth rather than the wisdom of agelessness?

Unfortunately, I have not discarded numbers entirely. I still celebrate the decades. Beyond that, however, my life is one exciting, eventful marvel after another. My first time in an airplane. My first love. My first kiss. My first trip to Europe. Class Mascot. The passing of a parent. Moving across country. Dancing on stage. The birth of my twins. An adventure filled trip across the country by car with kids in tow. A sold out dance performance. A trip to Hong Kong. Another baby is born. My first cruise. Managing. Directing. Producing. Presenting. These are the measure and the memories.

I have the pleasure of watching myself grow, watching my children grow and watching their children grow and on and on without regard to a NUMBER OF YEARS. For what is age anyway except a recording of the times the sun has revolved around the earth - sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly? Age is only a number. How is that number relevant? It is only society that gives it relevance…Oh, you’re only how old? Oh, you’re really THAT old? Unnecessary observations. Forget about it. Keeping track isn’t really necessary.

My life is a miracle every time I wake up and open my eyes, therefore my life is a celebration every day. One good time becomes one good day becomes one good week…and so it goes. Good times, good friends, family and adventures. Milestones, discoveries, spiritual awakenings, revelations. Time is an illusion. We have no control. Time passes. Keep track of the good stuff, the great stuff, the important stuff. Celebrate the arrival and the departure of our bodies here on earth, and all the magnificence in between.

 The Dash by Linda Ellis, Copyright Inspire Kindness, LLC 1996,
 I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning…to the end.
He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own, the cars…the house…the cash. 
What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.
So, think about this long and hard. Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real
and always try to understand the way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile,
remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash…
would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?

© 1996-2018, Inspire Kindness, LLC

Thursday, June 28, 2018


Do we ever stop getting tears in our eyes when we stub a toe?

Do we ever stop missing our parents when they are dead? I read a quote once that said, “No matter how your parents treated you, you’ll miss them when they are gone.” 

Do we ever stop pining for our first true love?

Do we ever stop feeling so overwhelmed with joy sometimes it, too, drips out of our eyes?

Emotions are like children, often allowed to run wild and rampant and free. As long as no one gets hurt, all is well.

It is great to be happy, to keep a smile on our face, especially when there is so much going on that is out of our control. Have faith that it will work itself out.

It usually does.

When you are sad, be sad. Sometimes overnight. Sometimes for days. Weeks can be dangerous. If it stretches into weeks, seek consolation in a friend, partner or therapist.

In the passing of friends, remember the good times.

In the debilitation of health, be grateful for what you can still do.

In the loss of a relationship, remember that your heart won’t really break.

If you are grieving, get a hug from somebody. Anybody.

If you are just feeling a little out of sorts, often a smile or a laugh can make it better.

When you don’t feel like smiling, take a nap.

Or go to the park and sit on a bench and watch the children play.

Or go to the beach and sit on the sand and watch the waves.

Or go to the mountains and bask in their majesty.

Or just take a walk around your neighborhood. Movement is good for the soul. 

Any movement. All movement.

And remember, as long as you wake up, get up; 

and as long as you can get up, keep moving. 

It’s forward from here.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Moon Rise over Tecopa

In October, my friend was hosting a retail booth at the Grape Stomp at the Pahrump Valley Winery. It's an annual affair and people said it would be great fun. I hadn't been to the winery since I first moved to Las Vegas and we had their wines as part of our Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame Dinner Dance and Golf Tournament. I wanted to support her and I wanted to visit the Winery.

As I was driving along the highway I saw a sign pointing to the left that read 'Tecopa'. Now, I am very familiar with the name Tecopa as it is synonymous with the hot springs I've heard so much about. I did not believe that this was where the sign was pointing, though, because Tecopa is in California and this is Nevada, right?

I had a great time at the Winery and as I was driving home, I saw the sign again and it intrigued me. California is the Bay Area or the beach to me, not out here in the middle of Nevada. 
Somebody get me a map! 

To my delight, I discovered the entire western coastline of Nevada is California. Well, duh!

The next weekend I emailed the folks at Tecopa and asked if I could visit and tour. We emailed back and forth, confirmed a visit, and I drove out to the Hot Springs.

A delightful woman runs the facility with her assistant. We toured the facility, talked about the different spaces, and then climbed the hill to the labyrinth. The view was spectacular. At that moment I decided that I would hold my first retreat here.

I walked the labyrinth that day and I felt the seven cycles seep into my soul and my chakras as they are meant to do. On the way back down the hill, she asked if I wanted to soak. I was afraid that because of the level of my consciousness at that point, I would melt away in the pools, so I declined.

Leaving the hot springs, I felt energized. I was incredibly excited and motivated. I came home and set off to creating a way to make this retreat happen! I hired a VA. I spoke to several friends about the program, the cost, the timing. I emailed the Hot Springs back and forth for the next month. I decided I needed to go out there again. I needed to meet with the restaurant owners in person to negotiate some food deals and I wanted to be immersed in that energy again.

It turns out that I had no time to hang out as I had to meet with various restaurateurs. Negotiated a great deal with the Bistro and I determined that the guy who runs Steaks and Beer and his partner are the best for dinner. Great spaces, great vibe. Both small and intimate indoors, beautiful surroundings outdoors. Secure in the knowledge that I had food for all my meals, breakfasts at the Bistro, dinners at Steaks and Beers, I would be on my way back home.

I realized that it was going to be dark soon. It was the night of the largest full moon of the year and I had planned to go to the Sophia Center Full Moon Gathering. As I said my good byes and got on the road, the sun was setting quickly. In a matter of minutes, I found myself surrounded by almost pitch darkness except beneath the streetlights, few and far between. Miles of darkness. Nothing in any direction. Nothing.

As I drove, I saw a light in the sky over the mountain. At first, I thought it might have been the light bouncing off the city of Pahrump. As it rose into the sky as a ball I realized that it was the moon! It was so bright and so intense I was almost instantly overwhelmed. I tried to keep my eyes on the road. This moon was HUGE, incredibly distracting, and rising RIGHT BEFORE MY EYES! I had never witnessed a moon rise. I have seen the sun rise and set, yet I had not ever seen the moon do the same.

And in a moment she shifted and bathed me in total luminescence. I could feel her energy boring through my windshield. There were points along the way where I had to put my sun visor down to be able to stay focused and on track to see where I was going. There were waves of energy passing over and through my body at intervals. I turned off my book, my radio. I was riding in silence. I could feel the stillness.

Occasionally, I had to make a conscious effort to keep my eyes on the road. She was mesmerizing. I would not fall under the spell of her intensity. I could not take my eyes off the road. I could feel her, though. Wave after wave of energy pulsing through my body. My body would shiver, my organs would vibrate. Her energy was powerful. The moon affects the tides and the ocean. Humans are 98% water. It is she, Mother Moon, who has her way with us.

As I finally approached the lights of the city, I breathed a sigh of relief. The intensity had subsided. The light was less intense. I could make it the rest of the way.

When I got home, I got out of my car and looked up at the moon for the last time that evening. We shared a moment. I thanked her for her energy. I was grateful to get home safe and sound. 

And I knew that I would forever regard the moon differently.