Wednesday, January 30, 2008

State of the Union

Last night, as I write this, was President Bush’s final State of the Union address. I made myself watch it; if you read this space, you know I’m no fan of the president. The speech was a resume of Bush’s two devastating terms in office and a wrist-slap to an uncooperative congress.

I heard the subtext as . . . I wanted to play this, but you wouldn’t let me.

And then I got real. Who in me wanted to play what, and who wouldn’t let me? There is nothing projected that doesn’t reflect the projector, my friend. Nothing.

I am following presidential primary politics more closely than I ever have in my adult life. Part of the reason why is because there is a woman running for whom I could vote if I so choose. When I was a little girl, I was told it would never happen in my lifetime. Well, it has.

Another reason I’m following the races is because I am a true believer in the oft-spoken saying, “If you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain.” I really believe this. Voting is a sacred duty for me, and I need to be as informed as possible when I do it.

I’m in a bit of a bind as far as whom to choose. A friend and I had a long conversation about this last night before the speech. He agreed with my assessment of both parties. I’d love to have Obama’s optimism with Hillary’s experience in one person. That would be perfect, but that doesn’t exist so I have to choose between them.

I’ll tell you one thing for sure. This is the first election I can remember wherein I can actually vote for someone instead of against someone else. To me, that means that the state of our union is growing, changing, striving, waking up and growing up.

Whatever else one might say about our current president, his policies and his actions have caused many, many Americans to wake up and participate and that’s not such a bad legacy, is it, Mr. Bush?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Meet guest blogger ELEANOR TRAUBMAN


I first learned about Eva Zeisel during a June 2006 episode of CBS News Sunday Morning. She was born in 1906 to a Jewish family in Hungary, and, over the course of her life, has designed roughly 100,000 glass and ceramic objects. As a young adult, she was made Director of Glass and China for the USSR. A year later, she was arrested and imprisoned for 16 months in Moscow on suspicion of plotting to assassinate Stalin (!). Twelve of those months she spent in solitary confinement. She was released for reasons unknown to her.

Shortly after her release from prison, Eva and her husband Hans came to New York with $64. She established the first American course teaching ceramics as industrial design at Pratt University. She also opened a design studio in the basement of her apartment building on Riverside Drive. In 1963, she created her last design for 20 years. After resuming activity in 1983, she designed metal dishes, crystal vases, lamps, office interiors, tea sets and martini glasses. She was the first person to design an all-white Modernist dinner service in the United States.

Five months after viewing Eva on television, I learned through newspaper articles and a Crate and Barrel ad that she was about to turn 100. I also saw that we shared the same birthday! That’s when I decided to pursue an in-person interview with her. My hands were shaking as I dialed Eva Zeisel’s telephone number. I was, after all, calling one of the biggest influences on 20th Century design who had just turned 100 years told.

“Who are you?” Eva asked in her Eastern European accent.

“Eleanor Traubman,” Ms. Zeisel. “I write a publication called Creative Times. I used to live in your neighborhood and I went to Bank Street [a grad school near her home]. We have the same birthday.”

Sweat was now running down my back as I stumbled to communicate the purpose of my call. “Ms. Zeisel, I would love an opportunity to interview you for my newsletter.”

I guess the spirit behind my call, certainly not my eloquence, came through because Ms. Zeisel eventually put her assistant on the phone with me. A few minutes later, I had successfully set up a time to visit with Eva in her home.

Shortly after I’d celebrated my 37th birthday and Eva her 100th, I came to her apartment for our visit. The first thing I noticed is that she was surrounded by dozens of floral arrangements people had sent to her. Eva wasn’t feeling well that day, so we kept the chatting to a minimum. She enjoyed sitting close and holding hands. At the end of the visit, with tears in my eyes, I thanked her for creating so much beauty and inspiration.

I will always be grateful that I had the chance to learn about and meet Eva Zeisel, the woman who has committed her life to the “playful search for beauty.”

Many thanks to you, Eva. With Love, Eleanor

For more information about Eva:Eva Zeisel by Lucie Young
News article in Boston Globe
Eva Zeisel Forum

Eleanor Traubman, a professional organizer by trade, helps busy New York women to: declutter and streamline homes and home offices; create easy-to-use filing systems; set goals and manage time for a smoother, more focused day. Her business, Inspired Organizing, is featured in Time Out New York, Esquire, Family Circle, Fitness, Sun Times Chronicle, and The Brooklyn Paper.

Eleanor also leads a monthly support group for women artists and helps organize a monthly gathering of Brooklyn-based bloggers. She can be reached at 917-499-7395 * *

Thank you, Eleanor, for being the first guest blogger on Seeds for Sanctuary! SC

Monday, January 28, 2008


I read a wonderful phrase in a Chicken Soup story this morning.

Values are caught not taught.

The story was about a thirteen year old girl finding a Valentine’s Day card from her father to her mother. When it comes to kids and their parents, I think the phrase is true, but I want to ask a bigger question about values.

What about the values that come with the soul of that child?

I know someone—a talented painter—who was drawing pictures of naked women at the age of two—before he’d ever seen one! I know another person—a gifted actor—who learned the scores of musicals from her parents’ LPs—before she ever could have known she was to be a performer. For myself, the first essay I ever wrote began, “I like to think about fairies and witches.” I was five at the time, and I’ve spent the majority of my life investigating the magical aspects of life.

There are some values that come with souls when they incarnate. I could offer you several explanations of the phenomenon, but what if, instead, it is simply a mystery? Souls are mysterious, and mysteries ask for investigation.

The next time you meet a little one, look closely at him or her. That being brought a soul into form, and that soul has its own values. See if you can assist the little one into finding out what they are and fulfilling them!

Now do the same thing in your bathroom mirror.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Seeds X, 4

Seed: ?!

You’ve probably seen the punctuation mark that appears above. ?! What I didn’t know and you may not either is that there’s a name for this little punctuational goody. It’s called an interrobang.

I can’t even remember where I learned its name, but I do remember how delighted I was to learn something new about the language I so love. The appropriate place to use an interrobang is after words that cause a question and an exclamation.

You got a hundred percent?!
How much of a raise?!
Your EMT training saved him?!
The president did what?!

What would you like to add an interrobang to from this week of your life? Go for it. There are lots of them around.

Be content,

Susan Corso

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, January 23, 2008

Ten Ways to Bring Peace to the World

Many of you know that I am a Charter Member of the Ode Magazine Readers Blog. My blog posts on Ode are always about peace since peace is my mission here on earth.

You can find them all here:

Please visit them and post your comments!

I was delighted to see get on the peace bandwagon. Check out

10 Ways to Bring Peace to the World

—and then put them into action!

Peace is a terrific theory; it’s a better choice, a choice that leads to making peace one moment, one situation, one conversation, one experience, one person at a time.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Talking Story

As you know, I’ve been researching ho’oponopono for the past few weeks. It’s a fascinating discipline. The word is Hawaiian, and it means, “setting to right.”

A social worker did a study of the technique and in her recounting of the process, she mentions a Hawaiian process she calls “talking story.”

Story is a soul task. Our stories come from our souls. Are you telling yourself stories you like or stories you don’t like? How are you talking story?

Do your Once Upon A Times end with Happily Ever After? Once Upon A Time stories are formulaic. They all end Happily Ever After. It’s the middle of the story that we are making up all the time. That’s where the challenges, problems, vicissitudes et al show up in our lives.

The phrase “talking story” is a wonderful reminder that we’re making it up as we go along. All of us. If you don’t like the story you’re talking, talk another one.

Friday, January 18, 2008

An Alphabet of Gratitude

Seeds X, 3

Seed: An Alphabet of Gratitude

If you’ve done any spiritual reading, one of the pillars of spiritual practice is the practice of gratitude. When you’re stuck, when you’re scared, when you’re mad, the teachers routinely say, “Practice gratitude.” What if you don’t feel grateful? Do it anyway.

Rev. Jane Beach, writing in Science of Mind magazine, makes a suggestion that formats gratitude into twenty-six tiny bites (at least if you’re speaking English). Create an alphabet of gratitude. Try it. It’s fun and it makes you think about what you’re grateful for.

Here are some of mine: A is for the Apple that I had for dinner last night and I’m grateful, B is for the Blow Dryer that helped me not walk around with wet hair for hours today, let’s skip a few, shall we? G is for God herself in my life, H is for Holly, the lady upstairs who took over a task in the building. Q is for my friend Queen Mama Donna and her healing, R is for Rev. Jane Beach who shared this marvelous idea..

There’s a story told about a child kneeling in prayer at bedtime. The child’s mother hears, “A, B, C,” all the way through the alphabet. After “amen,” she asks, “What are you doing, sweetie?” The child replies, “Oh, I just pray the alphabet and let God put the words together.”

Be content,

Susan Corso

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, January 16, 2008

Yielding to Ho’oponopono

When something grabs my attention, my natural inclination is to delve into it. The word of my title is Hawaiian. It means setting to right. It reminds me of tikkun olam, a Hebrew expression meaning repair of the world.

Ho’oponopono is featured in Joe Vitale’s newest book, Zero Limits, written with the man who taught him the technique, Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. It’s a simple practice featured in an earlier post on this blog.

When I put ho’oponopono into the search at Amazon, several books came up. I ordered and have read them all. The original use of the technique was for conflict resolution in families. Any technique that deals with conflict resolution in any setting is of value.

The point here is this:

When something draws your attention, yield to it!

Often it is the Divine asking us to pay attention. Where your interest is, there is a path for you. The only way to step onto the path is to pursue the interest.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Tinsel Angels

The Christmas trees of my childhood weren’t complete until the tinsel had been added. It was always the last thing, and it always made the tackiness of the Christmas tree into magical loveliness. I’m still a tinsel girl through and through.

My sweetie left town in early December for work and a family visit so we got our tree early this year with the idea that she’d be able to enjoy it before she left. We had the usual hassle with the stand and eventually tied the tree to the wall to make sure it wouldn’t catapult out of its home whilst I was home alone.

On January 3rd, we took the tree down. What a mess, but the enjoyment offset the aggravation totally. I write this post on January the 13th and you’ll never guess what we found this morning—a piece of tinsel. We’ve vacuumed twice since we took the tree down!

My beloved spouse said, “Who knows where it comes from? We’ll be finding it in June.”

And therein lies a tale. I have a theory about tinsel. You see, there is a separate class of angels just for tinsel. Tinsel Angels work all year round. Their task is to place strategic single strands of tinsel where humans find them.

A piece of tinsel makes an ordinary day special. It reminds me of magic and wonder and beautiful trees covered with tiny pin pricks of colored light and children and Christmas and Frosty and all things delicious about our world.

The next time you find an errant piece of tinsel, stop and bless the Tinsel Angels. They’re working round the clock for our wonderment.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Oysters & Pearls

Seeds X, 2

Seed: Oysters & Pearls

You’ve heard the expression I’m sure: The world is your oyster. It was made popular by Shakespeare’s Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor. What does it mean?

My words and phrases collection says it means that all the world’s pleasures and opportunities are open to one because one is young, handsome, rich, successful, etc. Maybe, but I prefer to think of it a different way. From the perspective of the oyster.

Do you know how an oyster experiences the making of a pearl? The simplest explanation is one word: friction. A grain of sand burrows into the womb room of an oyster and then irritates its surroundings until the oyster is honor-bound to protect itself. The coating on the grain of sand protects the oyster from irritation.

Apply this to your life. What little, irritating grain of sand has burrowed itself into the darkest, truest knowing of your being? What do you know you want or need to be, do or have? Creativity is fostered by friction, dear one. You get a pearl at the end.

Be content,

Susan Corso

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, January 9, 2008

The Cheek of Love

Turn the other cheek.

We’ve all heard it especially when people who care about us want to help us not get involved in something that might hurt us.

Turn the other cheek.

I’d never thought about it till I was reading Mabel Katz’ book on Ho-oponopono called The Easiest Way. In one simple phrase she turned my head around. Mabel calls it the cheek of love.

Turn the other cheek.

What cheek?

The Cheek of Love.

I laughed out loud. Of course! When I’ve shown up with my first cheek, it’s often the cheek of resistance. When I’m encouraged to turn the other cheek, that other one has to be the cheek of love. Wow.

Go a little further with me. Cheek is a fun word that has more than one meaning. Sure, it refers to that span of skin which appears below your eye sockets and above your jawline, but according to the OED, it also means audacity!

And isn’t audacity what it takes in this world which encourages us to fight our way to and through everything to choose instead to turn the cheek of love to what we formerly resisted? I’d say so.

Honey, turn them (whoever they are) the cheek of love and watch what happens.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Small Household Projects

Anyone else find that starting one of those small household projects often leads to major household projects? We recently bought a wallpaper border to put above the chair rail in one of our rooms along with a gallon of rich burgundy paint to add below the chair rail. Sounds pretty simple to me. Border and paint.

Whoa there, my friend. Then we started to look closely at the paint above the chair rail and noticed some streaks in the old plaster. The paint store said it was the way old plaster takes the paint. Just paint over it was the advice.

Then I looked online for how to hang wallpaper borders. In three sites, I was completely intimidated. To test how we liked it, I chose a tiny eight inch section between two closet doors, and chicken me, taped the border to the wall! You’re supposed to submerge wallpaper in water and miraculously not get it stuck together whilst you plumb it and level it and hang it perfectly before its pre-pasted side dries! And I have some sections that are eight feet long.

“Oh, and while you’re at it, dear,” I said to my beloved spouse, “I’m left-handed and the hooks are on the awkward side of my closet. Could they be moved?”

“Sure, baby.”

Then the old plaster crumbled so now we have to go get filler and molly-bolts and whatever else will let me hang my scarves on the left side of the closet and not the right. Simple project? Move the hooks? Ha!

The thing that put it all back into perspective for me was a break we took to sit on our newly constructed porch and relax. We started talking about how we’d change the place if money were no object. As we began to spend an imaginary half million dollars on the place, the question we entertained was, what would you do first?

My sweetie had all sorts of ideas and so did I. I had the last word though. “The first thing I’d do,” I announced, “is invest in an architect to find out what I could do!” We laughed.

Our little household project(s) will take as long as they take. I may learn to hang wallpaper borders and I may find a wizard to do it for us. I love the deep red under the chair rail. It will take three coats to really get it done. I have the whole winter. What’s the hurry? I may as well enjoy the process.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Beautiful Dreamer

Seeds X, 1

Seed: Beautiful Dreamer

A woman dreamed she went into a store and God was behind the counter. God said she could have anything her heart desired. She asked for “love, wisdom, and compassion.” God replied, “Oh, you misunderstood, I only give out seeds, whether they become flowers or not is up to you.”

What seeds are you dreaming of for the flowering of your life this year, dear one? Love, wisdom and compassion are good ones. How about beauty, joy and freedom? Or, truth, honor and justice? Fun, wonder and plenty?

Art Buchwald once wrote, “The best things in life aren’t things.” They’re seeds. Seeds that grow flowers and books and children and homes and shoes and all things good for you and me.

Bright blessings for a fully-seeded 2008!

Be content,

Susan Corso

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, January 2, 2008

100% Responsible

We’ve all heard it in all sorts of consciousness circles. We have to/get to take one hundred percent responsibility for our lives and our experiences, so that we can change them. In the past two days, I have heard of a take on one hundred percent responsibility that has solidified a long-standing idea of mine.

When I say we are one hundred percent responsible, I mean it. I mean that whatever we encounter is our responsibility. It’s the “absolutist” posture of the turn of the century metaphysicians. If you so much as hear of . . . fill in the blank, it’s on your radar to address and heal.

This includes Osama bin Laden, pigeons, pollution, climate change, the dry Christmas tree in the living room, health issues, wealth issues, work issues, relating of all kinds, a president you like or don’t like, pundits, articles, a war you do or don’t believe in. EVERYTHING without exception. If it’s in your experience, it’s yours to deal with.

It’s hard not to get overwhelmed.

Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len agrees with me. He’s the co-author, with Dr. Joe Vitale, of a new book called Zero Limits. If I could, I’d buy a copy for everyone on earth and ask them to read it, consider the premise, and commit to its practice for thirty days.

Based upon an ancient Hawaiian healing technique called Ho’oponopono, it’s all about the use of four healing phrases all the time. They are:

Thank you.
I’m sorry.
Please forgive me.
I love you.

The acronym I use to help me remember the phrases is T.I.P.I.—a sometime old spelling used in crossword puzzles for first peoples’ homes found in North America.

The system is for repentance, forgiveness and transmutation. Like the old metaphysicians, it allows us to see our own participation (even if it’s just awareness) in the existence of a problem. The repetition of one or two or three or all four of the phrases cleans up the mess both for your own awareness and for the problem itself.

2008 is a bright, shining promise of a new year for each one of us. Shall we do the work we can to make our home, our selves, our lives, our minds the bright, shining beacons of love they were meant to be?

P.S. If you want my T.I.P.I. document to print out, email me: I'll gladly send it to you as a gift for the beginning of this wondrous new year.