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Posted on | November 26, 2015 | No Comments

Thanksgiving is delightful. Let's bring the pleasures of Gratitude into every day. Why not? What have you got to lose? Well, for a start you'll lose your anxiety, your fear, your anger, your sense that the world is small, your feeling that you are limited...... and so much more. Forget losing a few pounds. Lose the truly heavy stuff.


Posted on | November 16, 2015 | No Comments

Just about everywhere one looks people are posting about the Paris attacks - about the carnage; about the sorrow; about how the absence of news on the very similar Kenya attacks is bizarre; about how Islam is not the problem or is the problem. And so on. Everyone has a viewpoint. Personally I'm not sure I have a viewpoint. I love France. I love Paris. I feel sick about killing. I feel chilled that human beings can go so deep into their Shadow that they end up doing this, even as I know that I too have a Shadow self, and that in theory it perhaps could take me over. The Shadow is real. Yet none of our education systems seem to want to address it, despite its unequaled capacity for misery and destruction. We are, in fact, sending our children out into the world with nothing that resembles an inner moral compass, no awareness of this source of power that can so easily go the wrong way. And so they become victims of their own Shadows, viciously exploited by others. Perhaps we ought to pay some attention to that.

The Laws of the Island: Section 3

Posted on | November 1, 2015 | No Comments

That was the start. Over the next two months Marco heard about them wherever he went. She was often seen with him, driving around town. Once she'd even been behind the wheel herself, people said. And there wasn't a family in Cagliari that didn't have an opinion on the matter. Most seemed to believe the Dowager would never allow her only son to marry a foreigner. So when Bonifacio arrived at their door one day with Julia on his arm, brought her in to the kitchen where Pierpaolo and Marco had just had dinner, and introduced her as his fiancée Marco was taken aback. Pierpaolo's noisiness more than made up for his surprise, however. "The fairy-tale couple!" Pierpaolo shouted, "except for your bald spot, Bonifacio. Still, that's distinguished in a man of thirty. And Julia, so beautiful! Let me give you a kiss. If you only had a sister Marco and I could fight over her. Marco, do we have any champagne in this dump?" Still, Marco was pleased Bonfacio had come to tell them himself, before it was common news. It argued a certain delicacy, a respect for their long acquaintance. And as Marco had congratulated the slim, glamorous woman in a burnt orange dress - chosen to accentuate that honey-blonde hair, surely - he'd felt the loose cameraderie of the three bachelors dissolve forever. She was so American, yet spoke such easy Italian, with that slight accent that reminded him of the American movies. Her poise eclipsed the simple male heartiness that had defined his social life until that moment. "Well, my friends," Bonifacio beamed, "if I can't come out to play you'll understand, I'm sure, that she's the one I have to play with now." They'd laughed, all four of them, and in the erotic undercurrent of the joke Marco felt the needling of his own jealousy. "We could always get together and make up a poker game," quipped Marco. "I believe four's the perfect number for poker." "Don't be an idiot," Pierpaolo said, "You've always hated cards. Hurry up and pour that dreadful cheap champagne before anyone notices it's not fit for our guests." "Bad idea, poker," and Bonifacio nodded at Julia, her blue eyes smiling back at them. "She's unbeatable at that game, that's God's truth." And they laughed again, affecting surprise that anyone who looked such a perfect lady could play cards at all. It was a brave, hollow display, but the rift was now too deep to be mended, and Marco sensed they all knew it. Bonifacio's money, his position, and now his luck in love had placed one barrier after another between them. This final stroke of good fortune had left the cousins diminished. In their clumsy maleness they'd sought to smooth over their jealousies, to pretend that they hadn't a care. And it didn't work. They'd known each other for too long to be fooled by this sort of pantomiming. This was for Julia's benefit, Marco knew. She was the reason they'd chosen to impose this silence upon themselves. But just one glance at her was enough to convince him that she'd seen exactly what was happening. And in turn, she'd chosen to accept these public professions that would save their dignity. Looking back on it Marco could see that all they'd managed to demonstrate was how much they'd under-estimated her ability to see what was going on and to deal with them all. Chapter 2 "Look. Here's Nino's. Let's have a drink," said Marco. The funeral had depressed him almost as much as his memories. They crossed the flagstones between the deserted tables and entered the cool shade with relief, catching the smell of last night's cigars and coffee. The cafe was empty, Nino himself at the till, dozing over the newspaper. He wore a black armband on his white shirt. "Thank God! Yours must be the only place open today, Nino." Pierpaolo dropped his hat on the counter and loosened his tie. "I closed this morning for the funeral." Nino rubbed his eyes, then smoothed a mustache that was far darker than his hair. "The rest of the family went to the cemetery, but I opened up as usual. I'd have done the same if it'd been one of my own. When I die it'll be like that, too. Don't know why I bothered, though. Everyone's up at the cemetery. Still, five generations this cafe has opened every day, so here I am. A sad day, all the same. The last of the Casadeltremi name. The end of an era." He yawned. "What can I get you?" "Espresso, per favore." Nino put out saucers. "Better make it cafe correto," added Pierpaolo, and Nino put two brandy glasses alongside, filling them generously as the espresso machine began to hiss behind him. He waved away Marco's coins, hesitated, then poured a brandy for himself. "For the soul of the departed," Nino said. They clinked glasses and drank. "So," he said, after a pause, "you think it was political?" "Political?" Pierpaolo squinted over his glass. "No. It was just a bungled kidnapping, surely." He ran his hand over his hair, leaving it sticking up at the back. Nino leaned closer. "Bonifacio made a lot of enemies." "Well, I wish he'd been more aware of it," said Marco, "because if he had he wouldn't have been so stupid as to go out unescorted." "Yes," chimed in Pierpaolo, "he thought everyone loved him and his plans for the refinery. I'd lay money that's why he felt so secure. Well, I told him..." "Oh do shut up Pierpaolo." Marco turned to the cafe owner with a shrug. "He blames himself. Lord knows why." "It's only natural I should. I told him not to go alone. Not two days before I said to him, if you go at least take me with you..." "Now that makes perfect sense. So they'd have killed the Count and the leading surgeon on the island in one fell swoop." He put his arm around the bulky shoulders. "There was nothing you could have done, Caro. Nothing." He gave the shoulder a squeeze, and laid his forehead against Pierpaolo's temple a moment. Tears stood in his cousin's brown eyes. For they'd both envied Bonifacio, of course they had; envied him almost to the point of wishing something or someone would check his arrogance. But not this. And now was not the time for Marco to say it. Nino looked from one to the other and refilled the three glasses. "I've heard," Nino began, holding his glass by its base and turning it on the counter, "that even though Bonifacio's schemes were in the best interests of the island, that there were others who wanted to go ... shall we say ... further ..." he glanced up at them, "... than he would allow." He nodded once, then smoothed his mustache as another customer came in. Moving forward to take the order he was gone for some minutes. Marco always enjoyed the decayed charm of Nino’s café and was grateful for its calming effect now. Its scuffed marble floors and gilded columns, flaking and careworn, made the interior a place of august presence, of hushed whispers. It hadn't been modernized in eighty years and Nino was proud of it. After the coffee and brandy things felt better. Pierpaolo sent a small boy out to buy pastries. He returned with flakey-fresh baci degli angeli in a twist of newspaper. The boy got one and the three men had two each. Marco cocked his head to one side and caught Pierpaolo’s eye. “What?” Some flakes of pastry sprayed out when Pierpaolo spoke. “Go on. Do it.” “What do you mean, go on?” Marco raised his eyebrows. “You know what we agreed. Today it’s your turn.” Grumbling, Pierpaolo fished out the loose change the boy had returned to him. “Here,” he said to the boy, who had swallowed his pastry in two swift gulps, “You need this more than we do.” And he tipped the coins into the waiting palms. “You’ll ruin us, Marco, with your damned philanthropy; I swear you will.” When the cafe was quiet again, Pierpaolo looked at Nino, narrowed his eyes, then brushed some crumbs from his suit front. "Political, you say?" "It's only a guess," Nino shrugged. "See who's at the reception tonight. Then ask yourself who gains. Watch who's making up to the young widow. You'll be there, won't you?" "Of course." "Take a look. I think this is big. Very big." Another customer came to the door, calling for Cynar and soda on the terrace, making them jump guiltily. "How big?" whispered Pierpaolo, his eyes round in anticipation. "You tell me. You're going, not me." And he was off to see to his customers.

Continuation of the Novel, part 2

Posted on | October 25, 2015 | 74 Comments

The irony was so bitter Marco wanted to spit. For years Bonifacio had emerged unscathed from things that Marco knew would have destroyed his own career, had he ever dared to try them. Such are the advantages of being a blue-blood aristocrat. The dented white Alfa-Romeo blasting around town was a familiar sight, its top rolled down, Bonifacio's dark hair curling so tight the breeze barely disturbed it. There was always a fresh scrape on that car no matter how often it went in for repair. And the strip of road along Poetto beach just beyond the Grand Hotel was known by everyone as 'the racetrack', largely on account of his exploits. Eccentric, yes; conceited, surely; with a nose too long to allow him to be handsome, but he was the closest thing the city of Cagliari had to a star. With this death, Marco realized, the city had lost its one truly glamorous son. This time he didn't get away with it. Marco and Pierpaolo stood together, their heads bowed in the marble cool of the chapel, privileged to witness the final blessing. They watched while the coffin was slid into the family vault below the crested griffins and coats of arms, crossed themselves, repeated the prayers. After the handshakes and the hugs they walked back to town, the hard blue glitter of the sea to their right, their clothes gritty from sand whipped up by the breeze. Pierpaolo shook his head and sighed. A big man, he bulged in his black suit, the buttons straining. "I tried to tell him how dangerous it was." "Listen, if you say that I'll leave you to walk alone." "But I'm only saying..." "I know what you're saying, and I know what you're going to say. And I have no intention of listening as you go into one of your damned self-flagellating whining fits. Pay attention for once, would you? No one could have stopped Bonifacio, let alone you. When did he ever listen to us, anyway? Years ago, perhaps, when you two were close, but not lately, that's for sure. It was the kind of thing he was bound to do sooner or later." "But..." Marco grabbed him by his shoulders and scowled in his face, shaking him. "It's not your fault. Capisci?" Pierpaolo avoided his gaze. Marco let his hands fall to his sides, then reached up to smooth his cousin's lapel. They walked on in silence. The late afternoon sun beat down and in their funeral black they sweated steadily. They knew better than to remove their jackets even in this heat. Pierpaolo pulled out a white handkerchief and passed it over his brow without taking off his fedora. "I'm dreading the reception," he said, folding the handkerchief back into his top pocket. "It'll upset me, even more than the funeral, I suppose; but we're relatives, even if not close ones... You see, now Bonifacio is gone..." "He's dead, Pierpaolo, not 'gone'. We're doctors, for God's sake, so let's talk like doctors." "Well then. He's dead. We have to show some sort of public support. We're the only male relatives." He was wringing his hands. "It's not a question of public support, is it? We have to go. So would you please stop that? Stop doing that with your hands. It's so - so melodramatic." Marco looked away. "He was like a younger brother to me." But not to me, thought Marco, not to me. They were walking up the steep slope of Viale Independenza towards Corso Garibaldi and in this heat they needed all their breath to keep going. Reaching the shade of the linden trees, Marco took his cousin by the elbow. "You know I don't mean to be unkind," he said, his voice softer now, "but it'll do neither of us any good to argue in the street where we can be heard. And it'll do you even less good if you blame yourself for something that had nothing to do with you. We were both fond of him, and you knew him for a lot longer than I did. But the truth is we didn't see him that much any more. We played tennis and went to dinners with him. But we weren't truly close to him. Were we?" Pierpaolo said nothing. Marco wasn’t going to admit that everything had changed when Julia arrived, two years earlier. It hadn't happened the first moment Marco saw her, the way love at first sight is said to strike its victims; but it had made itself felt within fifteen minutes. By then Marco knew his world had shifted to one side, leaving him on the margins. A young woman, a foreigner, attending the formal dinner of the Cagliari Museum? That wouldn't have caused a stir in London or New York, but here, at this bastion of male conservatism? And there she was, tall, blonde, elegant. Something more than that, too. What struck Marco was that she had, somehow, taken charge of that gloomy assembly room the moment she stepped past its baroque-columned doorway and liveried servant. He thought he'd come there to get a look at her, the woman who'd come to Sardinia from an American art foundation with a promise to revitalize the museum. But it was clear right away that she was the one doing the looking, the evaluating. He'd never seen anything like her. Wealth. That's what did it, he decided. And this young woman was rich. How else could she have afforded such a dress? Not just any dress but a floor length red satin dress exposing a lot of shoulder and back, and a simple silver necklace. He’d watched as she’d spoken for a moment with the Curator, a crumpled, sad-eyed man of eighty whose dinner suit was a relic of other days - superbly tailored, well-brushed - except that the shine had already begun to reappear at the elbows. She stood a clear eight inches taller than he. Her dress was a direct challenge to this under-lit room full of black dinner jackets. She was the only woman present. "So that's who they're all talking about," Bonifacio, immaculate in his tailed suit, the blue and jeweled order of San Giacomo at his throat, winked at Marco then nudged Pierpaolo. "Is she worth the strings I had to pull to get you two invited? What do you think?" "Impressive," Marco breathed out. "I'm speaking as a doctor, of course," he grinned, then glanced across at Pierpaolo, who seemed to be frozen with his glass at his lips. "Hey, Pierpaolo," Bonifacio reached across and pinched his cheek, "Stop staring and tell us what you think. She's come all the way from Columbia University. Wherever that is." "Idiot," Pierpaolo growled. "Columbia’s a country in South America. You always were a dunce in Geography. Anyway, she's more like someone from Columbia Pictures than anything else." He hadn't taken his eyes off her. And while Marco chuckled, waiting for the next witticism in their repartee, he saw Bonifacio walk forward and introduce himself to her, watched her curtsy, lower her eyes, then gaze directly into his. He kissed her gloved hand, led her to one side, and didn't introduce her to Pierpaolo or himself. That was when Marco knew he was outclassed. Bonifacio had been Count di Casadeltremi for only a year, but he had a lifetime of privilege, of confidence, of arrogance to draw upon. He didn't return to his friends until after the liqueurs and coffee. She'll be his mistress, Marco said to himself. Later that evening the three men piled into Bonifacio's Alfa-Romeo, Pierpaolo squeezed into the jump seat, his legs dangling over the side. They rocketed through the narrow streets, headed for the Grand Hotel. Even though it was late and most places were closed, Bonifacio wouldn't be turned away. There was always a way for him to get what he needed. "Let's have a drink," he said, as they settled into their usual corner. Madelena brought over the brandy bottle, her eyes smiling, her lips pursed with mischief. "To l'americana," said Bonifacio, "to Julia." He raised his glass. Madelena laid her hand on his arm before he could drink. "And who's Julia?" she asked, her smile gone. "Jealous?" Bonifacio grinned at her. Her eyes blazed. "Pig." She aimed a fist at him. But he was too quick for her and all she managed was an oblique smack on the top of his head. It was a woman's punch, spurred by emotion rather than by any desire to hurt. Then she left, tears in her eyes. Marco saw it all in that one moment. She'd loved him, and she'd been in love with him. Worse still, she'd allowed herself to hope. "You should have been gentler with her," he said. "There was no need to be cruel." "You think I was cruel?" Bonifacio dabbed the brandy off his jacket and straightened his hair. "Eh. You're right. As always. Too late now, though." Just like an aristocrat, thought Marco, he takes what he wants and lays the rest to waste. Being with Bonifacio had spoiled her. She wouldn't look at anyone else, now; and no one would want to be known as the man who dined on the Count's left-overs. Marco ached for the casual way she'd been cast aside. He'd thought of her for himself, once, before Bonifacio had made his play. He'd attached himself instead to the raven-haired bank clerk with the high bust whose husband was often away from home. Lately he'd begun to wish the husband spent more time at his own fireside. "To Julia," Bonifacio repeated when he'd refilled his glass. And the claim was staked.

The first section of another novel

Posted on | October 17, 2015 | 74 Comments

I'll be posting the whole thing over the coming days. The Laws of the Island Chapter 1. Sardinia, 1955 Even in spring weather corpses decomposed fast. The grey-faced dead, unsmoothed by any mortician's art, lay with pebbles over their eyes - coins if the family was rich - for the shortest possible amount of time before burial. That was the way they'd always done it. Marco paused to catch his breath, pushed a hand through his hair and let his eyes grow accustomed to the gloom in the Cathedral. He spotted Pierpaolo's bulky form by a pillar, and edged through the crowd until he stood beside him. "Where the hell have you been?" Pierpaolo hissed, not taking his eyes off the Monsignor who was now leading them in the Pater Noster. "You've been gone for days." "It's nice to see you too," Marco muttered back, crossing himself. "I got here as soon as I could." In front of them the Monsignor, resplendent in his white silks, wrinkled face like an old apple, nodded over the coffin at the end of each phrase. Beside him a slow-eyed altar boy suppressed a yawn. "I was out on one of the islands. Woman in labor. Cesarian. I drove straight home, changed, and ran down here. What on earth happened? The news reports just said he was dead. No details." "Kidnappers got him, then it all went to hell. When you didn't turn up I thought they'd got you, too." Marco nudged him until their eyes met. That was when he knew Pierpaolo meant it. "I don't understand," he said. "We haven't had anything like that for years... The gangs…" "Well we've got it now! I'll tell you the rest on the way to the graveyard." He paused to add a loud Amen to the general response, then looked at Marco for the first time since he'd come in. "Hm. Scruffy as ever. You could have taken my spare jacket rather than that old thing. Come on, it's our turn." He took Marco's elbow and they joined the dignitaries at the bier. Ahead of them stood Julia, veiled from head to foot in stark, anonymous black, more like a symbol of grief than the energetic young woman he knew. She moved forward and placed a single red rose on her husband's corpse. Behind her the Dowager Countess - also veiled, and leaning on a maid - could be heard sobbing. When his turn came Marco advanced to bow his respects. A phalanx of four nuns muttered rosaries, and he could smell the incense and lilies masking the first hints of corruption. He crossed himself and looked down at his old rival. He'd expected to see the gold braid and blue enamel of the Order of San Giacomo at his throat, the praying hands clasping a rosary on his chest. Instead folds of white satin had been arranged around Bonifacio's patrician face. Marco wondered what wounds they concealed. On the eyes lay two gold twenty lira coins from the time of Napoleon. Outside Marco took his place beside Pierpaolo, squared his shoulders, and prepared for the long walk to the cemetery. He ran a finger inside his collar. It was too soon to think of loosening his tie. People would notice and take it as a sign of disrespect. Anyway, he was single, well-connected, still young enough to be considered a catch - they'd all be watching, whispering, judging. There was hardly a family in the city that wouldn't want to secure him for one of their daughters. The sun crashed down out of an empty sky, and he felt the sweat trickle from his armpits. He was tired, hungry, and wanted to know what had happened. No one spoke. Everything was being done as befitted the family's importance, everything from the traditional horse-drawn hearse - black ostrich plumes and a foot procession - to the honor guard of Carabinieri in full ceremonial dress. That would have been the Dowager's doing, Marco was sure. The cathedral emptied and the throng stood silent, a herd of black shapes, waiting, jammed into the square and side streets. Then the silver crucifix swayed, gave a lurch, and the procession was under way. At its head the funeral cart rattled towards the graveyard, tottering on thin dignified wheels over the cobbles to bury Count Bonifacio di Casadeltremi. Above the rows of bared heads the back of the crucifix swayed and jumped. Behind it bobbed the four gold encrusted lanterns normally reserved for the processions of the Settimana Santa, each ebony pole gripped by a sweating acolyte with white gloves, forming a square around the banner of Sant'Efisio and its looped gold chains. Marco had seen death in many forms during his short time as a doctor, but this time it was someone he knew; a friend. Almost a friend. The knife-edge of loneliness touched him again. The wasted years. Bonifacio, his junior by a year, lay dead, and yet Marco's own life seemed scarcely to have begun. He sighed. At least he hadn't been idle. No one could accuse him of that. He'd advanced professionally, he'd made a reputation; that was something. But his heart had not been filled. Absurd. He hadn't even known his heart was empty until he'd met Julia, and seen that in competition with Bonifacio he didn't stand a chance. Now she was free, and all the old longing had welled up again. Except now she was a countess, and beyond his reach. He glanced across at Pierpaolo, the confirmed bachelor, forty-two, heavy-set, already gathering fat, puffing as he walked. His cousin the famous surgeon. Is this how he'd be in ten years? Marco swore under his breath. "What?" Pierpaolo narrowed his eyes at him. "Nothing. Got a stone in my shoe." "How did it happen?" Marco spoke low. The procession had begun to straggle, and no one would pay much attention to them now. "He drove out to the beach at Pula. Without body guards.” "Why on earth…!" "Not so loud. Julia wanted to see the Roman ruins." They were going uphill, and Pierpaolo needed his breath to walk. "Anyway, he wanted to give her a treat, and to show her the new developments at that refinery he was so proud of. You can see it quite well from there. So I'm told." "Without guards? Why?" But Marco had already answered his own question. There could only be one reason they wouldn't want company. And, after all, what could be more poetic than to think of making love on that empty stretch of beach, in that wonderfully deserted spot, on the site of a Greek port that had been overrun by the Phoenicians before the Romans had laid siege to it? Bonifacio: probably thinking of the son he wanted. For it would have to be a boy, the new order conceived where the ancient orders had crumbled - so of course he'd have no guards. That would have been just like him. Romantic. "It's in the Corriere, Marco. They printed a report of sorts. I feel sick just thinking about it." "I didn't have time to get a paper. Anyway, I don’t believe what they write in the Corriere. I want your version." Pierpaolo groaned. "Well then: this is what I heard. They took the coast road and turned down the lane leading to the ruins. A couple of miles down a truck forced them off the road. Boh. When the dust cleared there were hooded figures all round them, apparently, and they dragged Bonifacio out before he could get to that automatic pistol he was always so eager to talk about." "What about Julia?" "No one touched her," Pierpaolo panted. "They didn't even speak to her. That's what makes everyone so sure it was the old-style bandits and not political assassins, or something like that. They respected the laws of abduction and ransom." "Then why did they kill him?" "Accident. A damned stupid, Godawful accident. He pulled the mask off one of the men when he struggled. Got a good look at him. So they had to, didn't they?" Marco could picture it only too easily. Bonifacio enraged, dragged from the car as his wife of less than a year looked on. He has to put up a token struggle, at least. His pride demands it. So, insulted, he pushes someone who's manhandling him, there's a scuffle, the hood comes off. Senseless. "Julia didn't know what had happened at first," Pierpaolo continued. "They were fifty yards away from her at least. She saw them drag Bonifacio to the ground, then one of them pulled out a machete." He lowered his voice. "It took four blows to cut his head off." Marco closed his eyes. Pierpaolo coughed, then continued. "They say she sat by the body for three hours in the blazing sun, in the middle of the road, cradling his severed head in her lap. That's how they found her." When Marco looked across at him Pierpaolo was weeping.


Posted on | October 13, 2015 | No Comments

Plenty has been written about forgiveness, but honestly -- it often feels a bit cerebral, technical even. If you want to learn what forgiveness is then you have to go to an expert. I’m lucky enough to know several. My grand daughter, aged 2 1/2 has been my great teacher in this respect, and her sister, aged 8 months, has been fairly impressive too. In the course of being with these two I’ve done just about everything wrong. I’ve put on diapers back to front; I’ve offered food they really don’t like; I’ve failed to know the right way to stop them crying. These can be real crises for small children, don’t forget that. In every case my blunders caused tears and upset, but within minutes they’ve returned to being their usual serene selves. They just let it go. What has this taught me? That forgiveness is instinctual, immediate, and free. It doesn’t have to be asked or begged for. It’s our natural condition. It’s also told me that not forgiving – holding a grudge, clinging to a resentment – is almost certainly a learned response. We have to teach ourselves to do it. And then we only do it because we imagine it will bring us a reward of some sort eventually. This is not true, of course -- unless one considers pouting and blackmail to contain any rewards. So we can only conclude that that is exactly what people believe when they fail to forgive.

Do The Right Thing

Posted on | September 23, 2015 | No Comments

In the military soldiers are trained to do what they are told is right (follow orders), and to do so without hesitation, even if it means they get killed. Wouldn't it be beautiful if we were to encourage our citizenry to do what they feel to be right in their hearts, and to do so without fearing the opposition? Wouldn't it be transformational for the world if we were all to be truthful and compassionate without hesitation? We spend a lot of money getting our military trained for a very lop-sided version of this. But that simply shows what could be done if we were to shift our focus towards peace.......

Exercise, anyone?

Posted on | September 14, 2015 | No Comments

This summer I've noticed that, in my neighborhood at least, almost all the people I see running, jogging and speed walking are women - and mostly under the age of 40. Some are even running while pushing strollers. I wondered what had happened to the men, those impressive young fellows who used to sprint along the sidewalks of our town with impressive athleticism. Then it hit me, the explanation. Women, and perhaps specifically young women, tend to think of fitness in terms of aerobic exercise that involves the whole body. So they go out running. In contrast, these days men seem to be more focused on building muscles. So they're in the gym, lifting weights, pumping iron. Men and women are different, very different, in our society.

Wayne Dyer

Posted on | August 31, 2015 | No Comments

Wayne Dyer's death has shocked and dismayed many of us - a quick scroll through Facebook will show you that. Yet in many ways - all the important ways - he has not ceased to be with us. His writings and videos remain. And, face it, sometimes it's only when a great teacher retires or steps into the next room that we realized just how large a presence he or she was in our lives. That's when we appreciate anew all that was done and said and the love with which it was said. He's alive in our hearts, and he has permanently enriched our souls. Thank you, Wayne, thank you.

Donald Trump

Posted on | August 29, 2015 | No Comments

I know -- even talking about this individual is a way of bringing publicity to his door, so I'm reluctant to do it. And yet.... Trump has said he'll deport 11 million people he deems illegal immigrants. He's said he'll build a wall 50 feet high across the southern border of the US. He's said a lot of hateful things about immigrants generally. We should be very wary when someone starts blaming the ills of any country on "others", or foreigners, or on "immigrants", or any minority. It's known as racism, and it played particularly well during the time of the Third Reich. It was a very popular view at the time, in several countries. Japan, Italy, Spain, Russia and Germany spring to mind. What happened in each place? Frightened citizens were turned into racists. The question we need to ask ourselves is not how we can shut Trump up, but why is it that so many people seem to think he has any answers at all? The sickness he is expressing is a sickness shared by many, it seems. This is the problem that needs to be faced, and healed. We can be grateful to Trump for causing this sickness to surface. Now we have to deal with it. There is only one way to do so, and that way is not easy. It's the way of love, compassion, and forgiveness.
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    Hi—I’m Allan Hunter, author of The Path of Synchronicity, The Six Archetypes of Love and Stories We Need to Know as well as two books on writing for self-exploration, Life Passages and The Sanity Manual. If you’re looking to live your best life I hope you’ll find lots of inspiration here.

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