Father’s Day Message

Posted in Journey of the Mind with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2016 by Sharon Matusiak

All of you Fathers out there, I have a request.  The Earth is in peril along with everything within it’s atmosphere.  The sky is not falling, it’s being poisoned, along with the water and the food.  The environment is being ravaged.  The presence of climate change, the kind produced by the burning of fossil fuels, is a fact.  To ignore science is detrimental to all of us.  To vote for candidates that deny the validity of overwhelming international methodology proving the cause of and acceleration of climate change is irresponsible.  The Earth is our mother.  Mother’s give birth, nourish and shelter their young.  The Earth provides for us everything we require for life.  Therefore calling the Earth our Mother is an appropriate metaphor.

The role of Father is to protect, guide and provide for offspring  and the Mother.  The raping of the environment and the dangerous results are upon us now.  It’s not just those living 100 years from now that will have to deal with it.  It’s happening now and it’s ramping up.  Since the overwhelming majority of those  citizens of the world that hold the power to profit from this destruction are Fathers; and since the overwhelming majority of elected leaders that have the power to address this, the most pressing issue of our time, are Fathers; I ask you to think about what your voice and vote mean to all of us on the planet.

 

What Have I Learned?

Posted in Journey of the Mind with tags , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2016 by Sharon Matusiak

Through my struggle to cope with the death of one daughter and the agony of a family crisis caused by a spider of a sister hell-bent on ripping apart our family and hastening our mother’s death in order to snatch her estate, I’ve learned a few things worthy of mention.  Here’s a tidy list of 13:

  1. No matter what you do or say, you’ll be criticized and mis-interpreted by some. It’s amazing how many different conclusions can be drawn from an experience, depending on perspective
  2. It’s easier to stay up than get up–inertia
  3. It’s easy to lose your focus, and hard to regain it—inertia again
  4. The family you “choose” is often better for living, but blood matters to your core and you can’t escape that
  5. It’s best to be pro-active. Problems get worse without intervention
  6. Every day without the touch of nature, is destructive
  7. Devotion to growing your mind and developing a spiritual awareness of the interconnectedness of all life is the path to fulfillment and peace
  8. There are always solutions that benefit everyone
  9. Greed is the most destructive of all mind-sets
  10. What we speak to ourselves largely determines the path we take
  11. Survival is possible through sheer will power. The goal is to do more than just survive. Finding meaning within the struggle is essential to growth and flourishing.
  12. Not caring what those you once loved think of you is difficult and often essential to peace of mind.
  13. Struggles often amount to an endless battle that is a construct of your mind, that by its very nature just goes round and round. Sometimes overcoming obstacles is a matter of reframing the “problem”. Often that allows a struggle to become a passage.

Traces of a Life

Posted in Journey of the Mind with tags , , , , , on January 10, 2016 by Sharon Matusiak

The first to go are the shoes.  You cling to everything else for a long time.  But as the years go by, and the moves are made and space becomes smaller, you let go of small things like clothes.  Pictures, awards, milestone markers, jewelry, her favorite books and the like are so much harder to part with, like I could remake with them the life that was once there.  Oh one hand it seems silly to cling to t-h-i-n-g-s, on the other hand there’s some comfort in touching them and remembering.

The reconstruction and refinishing of floors and plumbing is nearly finished after over two months of claims adjusters, mold specialists, carpenters, plumbers and floor finishers traipsing in and out because of a broken water valve leak while we were away at our last art show.  We’ve moved and moved once again all of our furniture, art and possessions ourselves to save on our $1000 deductible, as well as refurbishing our damaged vanity to make it better and more arty than the original custom made one.  Every closet in the house has been cleaned and re-organized, throwing away unused items.  It’s now down to the guest room, so-called Zelda’s Room for the artist-made soft sculpture Madame Zelda Zebra that reclines on her artist-made chaise, frowning down upon we brash humans that enter her space.

It’s in Zelda’s room that more of Debra’s mementos are kept in secret boxes, corners and drawers.  I still have her retainer for her teeth.  Why keep that?  I once bought her a little metal box on a trip to the races in Lexington and I keep her jewelry in it.  I still have her retainer for her teeth.  Why keep that?  Every time I open that little metal box, there it is right there beside her cross we gave her when she took her first holy communion and her ’87 pin for her 8th grade graduation, and the enamel earrings she picked out on our trip to New Orleans and…..

In the closet sits Garfield the Cat, what was her favorite stuffed animal because she so adored his cartoons.  He gathers dust.  How many times in the past 26 years have I picked him up and thought about pitching him, or giving him away…..and then he goes back up there to peer out at me every time I slide open that door.  He made it to the kitchen table this time on top of a pile of photos and mementos I’ll send to Mary for her to cling to.  She’s worse than I am about hanging onto things she’ll never use or look at again.  My guess is that he’ll go back on the shelf in the closet. I’ve pared down her things enough for now.  Letting go of some of the t-h-i-n-g-s that once belonged to a beloved child that has died, is a long and slow and healthy process in the acceptance that your life goes on.

Science Matters

Posted in Thoughts with tags , , , on October 10, 2015 by Sharon Matusiak

Tonight we watched a wonderful documentary on Nova titled Dawn of Humanity.  It’s a real-time video-taping of the discovery of a new Homo species.  More than a thousand skeletal remains were found in the first weeks of gathering their remains from deep within a cavern in South Africa.  The carbon dating was not available yet at the time of the taping this year, but most likely the remains are around 2 million years old.  One amazing finding is that the site appears to be a cemetery of sorts, indicating these very early hominoids displayed a spiritual manner of behavior quite unexpected at such an early stage in evolution.  My thoughts on this is that a cave deep within the earth was a natural return to Mother Earth for a body that had come from her.

I was crying an hour into the documentary while seeing these scientists wearing their video cameras as they squeezed through the narrow passageway down deep into the earth, and coming upon ancient bones and teeth, untouched and unseen by humans or animals for all of these eons.  To be able to watch their work as it unfolded was absolutely incredible.  Such is the power of videotaping research, discovery and creation.  It was just overwhelming to me.  It called to mind my year of anthropology at the University of Illinois.  Though the subject matter was fascinating to me at the time, and I learned a lot, it was very dry stuff  compared to learning over the shoulder of these young Ph.D candidates.

And then it calls to mind the fact that some of our congress members  are so woefully ignorant of fundamental science, that they talk foolishness that is endangering our  very existence.    A failure on their part to understand that science and religion need not be at odds with one another is a lesson worth learning.  Denying evolution seems ridiculous and climate change denial is a recklessness that we can not afford.  The fueling of that for personal and corporate gain can not be tolerated.  We need to be prepared.  A species survives only as long as it is adaptable to changing circumstances.  And it begins with a sound education for our youth.

Turning a Weight into a Fleeting Thing

Posted in The Book of August with tags , , , , , , , on August 26, 2015 by Sharon Matusiak

They’re called fleeting memories, those that pass by quickly, not retained for lack of importance.  But other memories can be like lead sinkers pulling you under to flounder.  How do you transform those memories?  Do you outlast them?  Yes.  Do you grab them and breathe the life from them?  Yes.  Do you thrash them?  Yes.  Do you pick them up and sort them into order and then blow their dust away.  Yes.  And then they become fleeting.

Debra's pondDeb & monarchDebbie

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Posted in Journey of the Mind with tags , , , , , on August 6, 2015 by Sharon Matusiak

One of the few mementoes I have from my childhood is my gold pin representing 5 years of perfect attendance  at our Lutheran Sunday School–I believe from age 2 through 7, or thereabouts.  At some point early on, I remember having a Sunday School teacher that seemed so warm and friendly.  I guess I thought I could trust her.  I remember speaking up to ask her of a bible story, “But how do we know that really happened?”  To which she replied, “Because The Bible tells us so.”  Eyebrows furrowed, I even asked again, “But it was so long ago, how do we really know?”  This time she was clearly agitated because she got that stone face as she reiterated with a frozen jaw “Because The Bible tells us so!”  That angry look had a chilling effect.

It was just like at home.  I should have known not to ask questions.  Asking questions made people mad.  Even as a small child I guess I understood the response of anger was caused by frustration over not being able to put into words what they didn’t know or didn’t understand or what they didn’t want to feel.

Falling in Love With the Earth

Posted in Journey of the Mind with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2015 by Sharon Matusiak

There’s a great need for socio/political reform in America.  Aside from getting money out of politics, tax reform and revamping the banking industry to prevent another economic meltdown,  we on this globe must deal with burgeoning population growth and climate change.  To ignore them is to doom our very existence and virtually all life on Earth.  We are running out of time.  We must engage in a national in-depth conversation about how we are going to deal with population and climate control.  We have to address how we will adjust–not as individuals, but as a species.  We simply can not survive climate change without a mass effort aimed at benefiting everyone.    Government comes before liberty and capitalism–otherwise we end up with chaos.  There’s a need for a massive change in how we share resources, how we educate our youth, who has children and how many.  These are taboo subjects, I know.  We don’t like change.  And maybe you’re thinking, we’re fucked, we’re doomed! You may feel we’re incapable of making that massive a change, in which case you may choose to ride  it to the end, snatching everything for yourself.  If you take that path, well then you’re lost.

You think we’re not capable of saving the planet and creating a utopia?  Social psychology tells us that it takes just one person to stand up in the face of overwhelming odds to change the course of history.  Why?  Because people follow.  And as more and more follow, there’s a big wave created. People follow heroes.  Who will stand up and say, I’m in love with the Earth, I’m in love with life and I’m going to do my part to save it?  The commitment and fervor of a single human can create miracles.  This is THE Good Fight.

Falling In Love With the Earth   is the title of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s essay, and one I highly recommend.

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