Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All The Rage

I’m borrowing my title today from the cover story of this month’s Utne Reader. The cover read “Why Are We So Angry?”

The article was called, “All The Rage.” It detailed the growing evidence of rage in America.

We are in the midst of major climate change. Climate change used to have another name: Global Warming. I’ve already written about global warming as a global warning.

Rage, in the sense of temperature, is hot.

So what came first? Global warming? Or the rage?

It’s all a mirror, dear one. All.

Monday, October 29, 2007

13 Grandmothers

The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers crossed my radar through Nina Rothschild Utne’s column in Utne Reader. They first gathered from all four corners of the globe from October 11 through 17, 2004 in Phoenicia, New York

Here is their Statement of Alliance.

Statement of Alliance

WE ARE THIRTEEN INDIGENOUS GRANDMOTHERS who came together for the first time from October 11 through October 17, 2004, in Phoenicia, New York. We gathered from the four directions in the land of the people of the Iroquois Confederacy. We come here from the Amazon rainforest, the Arctic circle of North America, the great forest of the American northwest, the vast plains of North America, the highlands of central America, the Black Hills of South Dakota, the mountains of Oaxaca, the desert of the American southwest, the mountains of Tibet and from the rainforest of Central Africa.

Affirming our relations with traditional medicine peoples and communities throughout the world, we have been brought together by a common vision to form a new global alliance.

We are the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. We have united as one. Ours is an alliance of prayer, education and healing for our Mother Earth, all Her inhabitants, all the children and for the next seven generations to come.

We are deeply concerned with the unprecedented destruction of our Mother Earth, the contamination of our air, waters and soil, the atrocities of war, the global scourge of poverty, the threat of nuclear weapons and waste, the prevailing culture of materialism, the epidemics which threaten the health of the Earth's peoples, the exploitation of indigenous medicines, and with the destruction of indigenous ways of life.

We, the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, believe that our ancestral ways of prayer, peacemaking and healing are vitally needed today. We come together to nurture, educate and train our children. We come together to uphold the practice of our ceremonies and affirm the right to use our plant medicines free of legal restriction. We come together to protect the lands where our peoples live and upon which our cultures depend, to safeguard the collective heritage of traditional medicines, and to defend the earth Herself. We believe that the teachings of our ancestors will light our way through an uncertain future.

We join with all those who honor the Creator, and to all who work and pray for our children, for world peace, and for the healing of our Mother Earth.

For all our relations.

Prayer, peacemaking and healing.

I can’t tell you how relieved I am—our grandmothers know one another and are at work! Thank God/dess.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Seeds IX, 43

Seed: Busy-ness

The number one cause of death in the world these days is heart disease. Consider this: the Chinese pictograph for busy-ness means heart-killing.

I can’t be the only one who gets it. Let me lay it out in no uncertain terms: we, as a race (race!), are too busy. We over-schedule, under-perform and wonder why we’re disappointed a lot of the time. Why is because we don’t give ourselves the time truly to experience what we’ve chosen to do.

Years ago I had a friend who loved to “fit things in.” She was notoriously late, so not only was I fit in, but because she was almost always late, I missed the first fifteen or so minutes of our time together. One night, I’d had it. I left before she got there. After a quick, clear conversation, she was never late to meet me again.

If busy-ness really is heart-killing, are you really all that interested in being so busy you can’t stop and enjoy what you’re actually doing? Get out of the heart-killing business and make the switch to heart-filling.

Be serene,

Dr. Susan Corso

Seeds are remarkable gifts. Sown in consciousness, they bring you to the most important part of your being—your Divine Spark.

When you have friends you would like added to the Seeds e-mail list, send their addresses to me at and please visit my blog at Ode Magazine.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bush League

One of the things that delights me in this life is to be surprised by a new way to look at an old word. Yesterday’s New York Times crossword puzzle sent me a doozy. The date is October 23, 2007 if anyone wants to check.

The across clue read: 20. Amateurish

There were four squares, meaning I needed a four-letter word.

I was almost through the whole puzzle before I got it.

The answer was: B U S H

I burst out laughing. Then I sobered almost immediately.

The word amateur means one who loves. See the Latin root, amat, in there?

I looked up bush league in Wikipedia:

“Bush league is a general term used to describe an action or thing as being amateur, inferior or crude. In a literal sense, it refers to a low quality minor-league in baseball not associated with any of the major league teams. The term originated from the state of minor-league fields that often were ringed with shrubs and bushes."

There is a predominant Bush in the reality of the Western world at the moment, that being of the George W. Bush variety. The puzzle made me think of our Bush as being bush league when it comes to war. Amateurish. I think President Bush loves playing war.

He’s given us a gift as well. He’s made us all look at how we feel about war. Seventy percent of the American people want out of this war.

Let’s graduate to the majors, vote our genuine convictions and get out of the bush league once and for all!

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Hole in the Bedroom Ceiling

There’s a hole in our bedroom ceiling right now. During the day, I can see a bona fide beam of sunshine in a room that usually gets very little sun. It’s disconcerting. Not only that but, in a way we paid to have that hole put there.

Mystery solved. The porches were falling off our 1889 Queen Anne Colonial Revival house so our condo association is hip-deep in a renovation project. In order to hang the new, sturdy floors on the building, the crew made a hole in our bedroom ceiling.

Sometimes renovation is like that.

Especially when it comes to self-renovation.

Think of the last time you had a big, rock-your-world realization about some aspect of yourself, or your life, or your past. Didn’t it take time and space to integrate it?

Our crew needs to integrate the porches onto the building. There’s a cost to integration. Namely, sometimes it makes holes in your ceiling. This week the crew will patch and repaint the hole in the bedroom. Next week the porches will be integrated in full.

Give yourself and your process a break. If there’s a hole in your ceiling, enjoy the beam of sunshine while you can.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Breath to Complain

Seeds IX, 42

Seed: Breath to Complain

Mattie Stepanek was one of former President Jimmy Carter’s best friends. President Carter was Mattie’s hero. A desperately physically ill young man, his dream was to meet Mr. Carter. He did. They became friends because of their shared commitment to peace. They even wrote a book together.

One of the hardest things about Mattie’s disease was breathing. Something he wrote puts life into immediate perspective.

If you have enough breath to complain,

then you have enough to be thankful for.

The next time you take a breath, which should be pretty soon, think before you speak. Were you about to complain? Why not skip it and go straight to gratitude?

Gratitude that you can breathe. Some people can’t.

Be serene,

Dr. Susan Corso

Seeds are remarkable gifts. Sown in consciousness, they bring you to the most important part of your being—your Divine Spark.
When you have friends you would like added to the Seeds e-mail list, send their addresses to me at and please visit my peace blog Ode Magazine.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fear—Who Cares?

I read the words of my title in a brilliant book entitled Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Her prose is delicious, her insights better.

The words come from her unnamed guru who is, without doubt, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda of the Siddha Yoga lineage. I like the words because they encapsulate a freeing truth.

Human beings experience fear.

Stating the obvious has become an art these days, and Gurumayi got it in one. So okay, we are afraid. Does fear always matter? I don’t think so. Oh sure, in the Serengeti Desert facing a hungry mama lion, fear is an instinctual, natural human response to a life-threatening situation. Sure, in a dark alley hearing heavy anonymous footsteps in counterpoint to gunshots, of course there’s fear.

But what about our small, everyday fears? Fear of humiliation, fear of being wrong, fear of making the wrong choice, fear of the dark, fear of the monster under the bed. Who cares?

“Who cares?” is a good, healthy response to fears which can paralyze us but in the long run aren’t really important.

The next time you’re caught in the headlights of fear that is not life-threatening, ask yourself, “Who cares?” I think you’ll be delighted to find that you, for one, don’t.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Good Place to Stop

I’ve spent the last few months working with an editor on my novels. We’ve cleaned up some less-than-ideal writing habits, fixed some unclear plot entanglements, changed some overused words. I was working on the third book when I realized that I’d changed the same thing three times.

Then I remembered something my favorite ex-husband, a painter, said to me years ago.

“A good painting is never finished; there’s just a good place to stop.”

I stopped editing. I’ll let the book sit for a few days and then I’ll reread it to be certain I got to that good stopping place. I think I did.

The thing is, in creating anything—dinner, a novel, a painting, whatever, there does come a point in the process when one reaches a good place to stop.

The art is to know when that place is.

The next time you’re working on anything, if you find that you’ve made a change, then changed it back, then changed it back again, that’s the place. Stop. Do something different and let it sit. Go back to it when you can. My guess is that you’ll discover your own delightful stopping place.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Wild Rebirth

Seeds IX, 41

Seed: Wild Rebirth

Today I am reborn . . . into the second half-century of my blessed life. Happy Birthday to me.

This past Easter we were invited to Easter dinner with precious friends. Our place cards were provided by another of the guests. She set these words in front of each place.

May the season of wild rebirth remind us
to renew our passions, hopes, loves, struggles, ambitions, and adventures.
May our thoughts, words, and actions reflect
the ancient festival of reawakening.

To everyone who has a birthday this year, let this be a reminder.

Be reborn this year. Be wild.
Renew yourself this year. Be passionate.
Remember to wake up this year. Be part of the ancient festival called Life.

Happy Birthday to you.

Be serene,

Dr. Susan Corso

Seeds are remarkable gifts. Sown in consciousness, they bring you to the most important part of your being—your Divine Spark.

When you have friends you would like added to the Seeds e-mail list, send their addresses to me at and please visit my blog Ode Magazine.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Spectator Sports

I recently bought a t-shirt from an online merchandiser. Their company had a tagline by its logo that has stayed with me:

Democracy is not a spectator sport.

In fact, none of the things that really matter to us in life are. None of them.

Peace is not a spectator sport.
Beauty is not a spectator sport.
Prayer is not a spectator sport.

Neither are eating, sleeping, loving, wondering, growing, learning.
Nor are healing, enjoying, asking, receiving, reading.

Spectator sports have value without doubt. Football, baseball, and my favorite, basketball, are fun to watch, but life itself demands that we participate. That we be participants and not spectators.

Is there somewhere in your life where you’re watching instead of playing? Go ahead, jump in.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Herding Cats

Some of you may know this already but I live in a six-unit condominium in a beautiful Victorian house in Boston. Our Grande Dame is 119 years old.

This summer the spacious, elegant back porches decided to fall off the building. This is a problem. It took us two months of solid, daily work to figure out what to do. The learning curve was so steep as to be perpendicular to the lift-off platform. No one who lives in the building is a builder or a contractor. Every contractor had a different idea about how to fix/replace/repair the porches. We had no idea how to make the decision.

Add to this that no matter what we did, the cost would be at least five figures and more probably six, AND that all six Trustees, one for each unit, had a different idea about what was expensive, what was not, and what was appropriate to spend to fix the sagging porches.

I was the point-person on the project and I felt like I was herding cats most of the time. Ever tried it? Cats are not herd animals, dear one.

Not to worry, I still have my beautiful red hair but it was touch and go there for a while until I let go and let the process happen. I disagreed strongly with some penny-pinching that won out. I was annoyed that people couldn’t be bothered to read or, heaven help me, answer emails. You get the picture.

What I got to let go of was the need to herd cats.

The process continues apace. The contractor and his crew are noisy, enthusiastic and efficient even as I write, and the cats have settled down in patches of spotty Boston fall sunshine for their afternoon naps.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Walls & Bridges

Seeds IX, 40

Seed: Walls & Bridges

Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, and alchemist, regarded by many as the greatest figure in the history of science. I read this quote by him and it startled me to quietude.

“We build too many walls and not enough bridges.”

I don’t think of myself as someone who builds walls. I like to think of myself as open, welcoming, affirming, generous. Sometimes I am. Other times, though, I build a wall around my heart or my self so I don’t have to deal with things or people I don’t want to face. I feel it most often when I watch the political news.

How can I expect to have an effect on the politics of our nation when I’m building walls around my heart to hold the politicos away from myself? I can’t. I have to build bridges to them. Wynona Judd sang a song on an episode of Touched By An Angel years ago called “Love Can Build A Bridge.”

Here’s how to transform walls into bridges: let love, no, Love, dismantle the wall, one brick/stone/plinth at a time, and stretch the wall out toward the things you’ve fortressed yourself against till there’s a two-person wide bridge you both can cross and meet together in the middle.

Be serene,

Dr. Susan Corso

Seeds are remarkable gifts. Sown in consciousness, they bring you to the most important part of your being—your Divine Spark.

When you have friends you would like added to the Seeds e-mail list, send their addresses to me at and please visit my blog at Ode Magazine.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

More Naps!

Alright, we have it on the Highest Authority—Harvard University—that it’s okay—no, essential—to nap at work.

A Higher Authority than Harvard says it’s okay, no, essential to nap whenever you’re tired.

The Harvard Nap Wizards say that napping doesn’t really prevent fatigue, but it does manage information overload.

Has it dawned on anyone else that we might need fewer naps if we curtailed our information overload?

More naps! (See you in an hour.)

Monday, October 1, 2007

No Longer Immune

Has anybody else noticed that it’s chronic diseases that are rising dramatically on the planet? Even stranger, most of them are auto-immune imbalances.

What’s going on with the collective human immune system?

I’ll tell you what I think it is.

We’re no longer immune.

More, we can’t be immune any longer.

Immunity is a fascinating word. It comes from Latin roots. Im-munis means ready to serve. In the word lies the antidote to the epidemic (as is so often the case.)

The message seems clear to me.

It’s time to be ready to serve.

Think on this, dear one. It’s no mistake that AIDS is called what it is, and it’s no mistake that its acronym is also an English word which means helps.

What better way to help one another than to serve one another?