Friday, May 30, 2008

Encore Career

Seeds X, 22

Seed: Encore Career

I loved this expression the first time I encountered it which, I think, was in an article in the AARP Magazine. It refers to those baby boomers who are retiring, and beginning anew. Most of them are retiring from the corporate rat race, and becoming entrepreneurs.
The most intriguing thing to me is that many of these Encore Careerists are looking at sustainability issues and giving-back-to-the-planet businesses. The people who were quoted talked about making a difference.

Whether you’re in the corporate rat race right now or not, take a moment to consider what you might do with your time if money were no object. What issues would draw your attention? Where would you want to make a difference? How would you proceed?

There’s nothing to stop you from having a second career right now, even if it’s only in your mind. The best dreams are the ones we dream over and over again, improving their details until we wake up and make those dreams come true.

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 ar Ode Magazine.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

So Many Books, So Little Time

The phrase in my title was on a button my mother gave me. It’s how I feel about books. There are so, so many of them and not enough time to read all I want to read.

Over the years, I’ve come up with a way to decide whether I’ll order a book or not. Unless a book is on a subject of my current research interests which range far and wide, I wait for three recommendations from people I know. Three, at least.

This weeds out the eccentricities of varied reading tastes. For example, I’m not a wild fan of science fiction so if a science fiction book is recommended to me three times, I definitely investigate it.

If the book is a spiritual book, I ask all of the three recommenders to tell me why. Spiritual books work best for me when they address right where I am in my own spiritual process at the time. I read the Abraham-Hicks books because they helped me take a huge leap forward when I read them.

If the book is fiction, I ask the recommenders to tell me what they think I’d like about the book. I read the Ken Follett masterpieces The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End because of recommendations.

I know people who are so busy these days that reading is a thing of the past for them. I can’t imagine living that way. I’m never without a book to read, never. There are too many wonderful things to be found in books for me not to be reading something all the time.

So yes, there are so many books. And yes, there is too little time. So what? Keep reading. I am.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Robin Tyler on Huffington Post

Dear Ones,

Read Robin Tyler on The Huffington Post!

Join me please in a prayer for her and her partner (and all those who wish to marry in California) and post this on your blogs please.

Susan Corso

Monday, May 26, 2008

Making A Loving

No, that’s not a typo.

Reading Boze Hadleigh’s Broadway Babylon, a dishy take on the Imaginary Invalid known as the professional theatre, I came upon this quote by theatrical producer Richard Barr (1917-1989), “I have to be loving what I do for a living.” Of course, the proximity of the two words loving and living grabbed my heart.

Mr. Barr was a tall, stoop-shouldered man who shared the office next door to the one where I worked for Cameron Mackintosh long before he was Sir. He was quiet, gentlemanly, always had a kind word for me in those hectic days of transatlantic calls and theatrical crises.

His words gave me a full out stop.

Of course, we have to be loving what we do for a living! But how many of us do? As far as I’m concerned if even one person doesn’t, something’s out of whack on earth. One!

Suggestion: let’s give up making a living. It’s a fraudulent phrase anyway. No one is making a living. In fact, we who are here are already alive, and we don’t have to make anything to have that be the case.

So let’s switch, instead, to making a loving.

Think on it! Every person on earth, doing what they truly love, and are, therefore, good at, to serve themselves and the rest of us. It sounds like a miracle to me.

Try making a loving, and see what happens.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Seeds X, 21

Seed: Snowflake

Do you remember folding white construction paper in the early years of school and cutting a pattern into it in order to make a snowflake? It’s one of my most tactile memories from childhood.

The message my elementary school teacher taught with our cut-out snowflakes was that no two are alike. Or, each snowflake is unique.

The same is true of humans, dear one. Each one is unique. That’s a word that takes no modifiers. It means one-of-a-kind.

I know you’ve heard this before, but have you realized what it means? There is no other like you, even if you’re an identical twin, in creation. No other. Take a moment to appreciate your snowflake qualities.

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, May 21, 2008

The Booby Prize

I’ve always liked one of Werner Erhardt’s aphorisms, “Understanding is the booby prize.” I have spent much of my life working toward understanding. I like understanding things. I’m a lifelong learner, partly in the service of understanding. A lot of my counseling practice is geared toward understanding.

And yet . . . and yet . . . understanding isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

Here’s why: I’m smart. I can understand anything if it’s explained to me properly, but understanding something as valuable as that is doesn’t always help me change it. As I’ve gotten older, the emphasis of my life has changed from a need to understand to a much clearer need to change what I don’t like.

Now don’t misunderstand me. Understanding is helpful, important, and necessary in a lot of arenas, but when I’m dealing with a pattern in my own behavior that I don’t like I probably already understand it. This is why Werner Erhardt called it the booby prize.

I know why I’m doing what I’m doing.
What I want to know instead is how to change what I’m doing.

Understanding something doesn’t mean I can change it.

If you’re caught in a pattern you recognize and don’t like, try this. Speak aloud to the pattern, “As an act of my will, I break this pattern.” Every time you behave according to your learned pattern, consciously, deliberately declare your intention to break it.

You’ll find yourself living into the change you want to see. Another of my favorite aphorisms, this one by Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Change, my dear one, starts at home.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Baal Shem Tov on Mirrors

Someone sent this to me via email. It’s so striking that I post it here in its entirety. Wow.

You Spot It, You Got It

A student recently wrote to me: “I want to stop judging people but I can't. It's like breathing, it's part of who I am and what I do. I'd have an easier time holding my breath. What can I do?”
The great sage known as the Baal Shem Tov said something beautiful that speaks to this, but it's not poetry or philosophy or a metaphor or a nice way to live your life. It's reality, what I'm about to share with you. Here it is:

Whatever annoying behavior you see in someone else is inside you. That person is a mirror showing you what you've got to correct in your life. Somewhere within your consciousness, either on the surface, mid-level, or deep within, you have the exact same trait you are judging.

Now we've heard this all before. People are mirrors, we get it Yehuda. But the Baal Shem Tov goes one step further. He says, not only do you have to accept responsibility that what you see is inside of you, but you must know with certainty the person will never change until you do.

That's a mind-bender. You are responsible for every person you see in your life? Yes! And once you accept that charge, redirecting judgment onto your own behavior and making the change within, you'll see the change reflected in them.

There's one more part. I can say to you that the people in your life are also responsible for what happens inside of you. But you can't say it. And I can't say it about me. You get it? If we did, then we'd use it as an excuse to take less than 100% responsibility.

Spirituality is technology; it's the way the universe is hardwired. God, 'in his infinite wisdom,' (which is nothing but a giant computer calculation) arranges everything, karmically speaking, so that the people we need to confront will be in our lives.

This week, think twice about that annoying person in front of you. Maybe you won't stop judging over night, but at least you can begin to be aware of the judgment mechanism. Use the Baal Shem Tov's words as a weapon in the war against your own ego. Go inside. Take responsibility. Make some changes these next seven days.

When you do, it will feel amazing because not only will you get to change, but you will get to relieve yourself of the burning burden of judgment and hatred. Now that's what I call freedom."

Friday, May 16, 2008


Seeds X, 20

Seed: Depression

Depression is rampant in North America. Well, not exactly . . . instead the diagnosis of depression is common. Is there really more depression? I don’t think so. What I think is that we’re talking about it more, and that it’s a catch-all diagnosis.

If you feel depressed, the psychology experts say that either you’re genuinely sad, or that you’re angry and have turned it in on yourself, or that you’re feeling guilty or worried. It’s best to be specific about feelings instead of using catch-all phrases. Knowing where you are allows you to change it a lot of the time.

And for the times you are genuinely depressed, consider these words. Amy Weintraub says, “Its ‘empty pockets’ weren’t a curse, but a blessing. I had more room for the Divine inside me.”

That’s a take on depression that makes sense to me.

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.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Amnesty for All, and to All a Good Night

I am so pleased to be able to participate in Bloggers Unite’s effort for amnesty. Bloggers around the world are writing on this topic today.

Because I am a wordsmith by nature, my first stop was the Oxford English Dictionary to look up the etymology of the word amnesty. It comes from Greek roots and means amnesia!

One of its meanings is oblivion. Another is its more common meaning: an intentional overlooking.

There is not a soul on earth who doesn’t at one time or another need amnesty.

I recall a time when I was less than fully present to someone who needed me deeply. He was grieving for the accidental death of his older brother, and I could not find it in me to be present to the experience because I too was grieving. I suppose this excuses my behavior, but to my most truthful self, it really doesn’t. My beloved friend needed me. I let him down. Many years later, long after he’d forgotten my transgression, I hadn’t forgotten it. I needed amnesty from him.

Fortunately, we remained friends, so I called him and asked for forgiveness, an intentional overlooking of my less than cleanly intentional behavior at the time. The amnesty I needed was instantly forthcoming.

In this particular case, I was sorry for what I’d done, but what about those who are unrepentant? They need amnesty even more! I can’t begin to explain or understand the motivations of those who flew the planes into the World Trade Towers on 9/11, but I do know that for as long as I fear them or revile them, they will remain an unsavory influence in my soul.

I want my soul to have a better ride for this lifetime so I offer them amnesty. No blame, no need for explanations (how could they possibly help?). No, just intentional overlooking of their deeds because of who they are: humans made by God, just like me.

For those of you reading these words, consider taking action please. Where you need amnesty in your life, go and request it of those from whom you need it. Where you need to offer amnesty, go and do it!

My title rephrases the last line of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Wouldn’t this be an amazing planet if we all offered and received amnesty—the intentional overlooking of our faults and missteps? And wouldn’t we all sleep better knowing that unforgiveness was a thing of the past.

Amnesty for all, and to all a good night.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Irena Sendler's Legacy

I wrote about Irena Sendler in a blog post dated March 31, 2008. In yesterday morning’s New York Times, her obituary startled me into tears.

She was a genuine heroine who rescued 2,500 children from the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. The kicker is that she didn’t consider herself a heroine. She often said, “I did what anyone would have done.”

Mrs. Sendler was one of the first of the so-called righteous gentiles honored by the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem in 1965. Her government at the time did not allow her to travel to accept the award. She finally did in 1983.

Toward the end of her obituary, it says, “She is survived by her daughter, Janka, and a granddaughter.” But is she?

Isn’t she also survived by me, and you, and the children and grandchildren of those she saved? Inspiration is an amazing thing. There’s no telling what will cause a human spirit to be inspired. I wish I could assure you that I would have done what Irena did, but, truthfully, I don’t know what I would have done.

What I do know is that Irena Sendler’s long-ago actions have inspired me now. Her legacy to all of us is a legacy of willful blindness—the very best kind of blindness! What her Catholic self saw when she looked at the faces of Jewish children and their parents, were not Jews, but children and parents.

These are the faces we need to practice seeing everywhere in the world today. The children and parents where Hurricane Katrina happened. Children and parents amidst the Chinese earthquake and the Myanmar tornado. Children and parents at the grocery store and the pharmacy and in traffic and in the park.

Irena Sendler was ethnically and spiritually blind, and she leaves us an invitation to see human beings wherever we go, human beings that are more alike than different, human beings all seeking the same things in life, human beings who deserve respect for their dignity.

Irena Sendler lived what the best of any of us would do.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Election Burnout

Anyone else feeling afflicted with what my friend Paul calls TMI on the election front? I used to be an avid Chris Matthews/Keith Olbermann fan. Now I can hardly bear to watch them. I’ve had it with the mud-slinging and the gun-slinging. Let’s have the election already!

It’s not going to happen that way though. No matter how much I want it to.

I went online to research how much money has been spent in the 2008 Presidential race to date. Any guesses?

In January 2007, Federal Election Commission Chairman Michael Toner estimated that the 2008 race will be a $1 billion election.

A billion dollars. A billion.

Gee, what do you think we might have done with a billion dollars rather than spend it on persuasion?

I don’t begin to pretend to understand how elections are funded. There are complicated formulae. But I do know that I receive emails asking me to contribute to candidates, parties, and special interest groups daily. I’ve taken to adding them to my blocked senders list as I can’t seem to get them to take me off their lists by personal request.

Here’s an outrageous idea:

What if the candidates were allowed to spend one dollar per registered voter in the United States collectively?

According to the latest statistics, there are 2.8 million registered voters.

That would leave 7.2 million dollars for . . .

Health care
Job retraining and greening
Alternative energy programs
Medical research
Education initiatives

I could spend 7.2 million dollars on a ton of things outside of elections, couldn’t you?

It’s time to insist upon radical campaign finance reform.

Friday, May 9, 2008


Seeds X, 19

Seed: Hurry!

One of the most important things I’ve learned through living a spiritual life is that Spirit is never in a hurry. Never, never, never. Did you know that?

Think on it. Mother Nature is the prime example. Gestation, whether you’re a mayfly or a human being, happens in its own time. The sun never rises in the middle of the night. The seed always comes before the blossom.

If you are meeting a challenge in your life, and you feel that you must hurry, the best course of action is to stop, right where you are. Stop. Let go the hurry. In my experience, often when I hurry is when I make mistaken choices.

Take a cue from Mother Nature. Everything in its own time.

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, May 7, 2008


It’s always nice to feel recognized so I was delighted to receive VerveEarth’s invitation for this blog to represent Boston on their world map of the Internet. The widget appears below.

One of the things that consistently amazes me is how people all over the world read this blog. A techno-savvy friend turned me on to StatCounterLocs, a site that tracks where in the world people are when they read this content. They’re from all over! In fewer than six months, people from six continents have read this blog.

Does anyone know someone in Antarctica who they could email and ask to sign on to Seeds for Sanctuary? That would make it seven continents.

Forty-nine of fifty states of the United States are represented. Does anyone know someone from Wyoming who they could email and ask to sign on? That would make it fifty states.

I know much is made these days of our global village, so I was shocked at myself to discover how little I know about world geography.

Anybody know how many countries Africa has?

I didn’t.

It’s 57.

People from five of those 57 read Seeds for Sanctuary.

Truth is, I want people from all 57 African nations reading Seeds.

According to Wikipedia, there are 192 countries in the world, and one non-country (Vatican City). There are Seeds for Sanctuary readers in 71 of those countries. I find it thrilling.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Yo, Rev!

Many years ago, whilst pastoring a tiny church in southeastern Washington, I was hired by a high school to teach a basic theatre class. The teacher had wound up in a painful divorce and needed time to take care of herself. It also paid my bills.

Dutifully, I showed up in the classroom every single day. I had only one unbreakable rule—we started every class with one minute of silence. Everyone had to participate, and if anyone broke the silence, we started over. One day it took us 42 minutes to get to one minute of silence.

Finally, one of the kids asked me why I insisted upon this.

I explained that I wanted them to use the time to put down whatever else had happened that day and come fresh into theatre class. Silence is one way to do that.

Well, to make a very long semester shorter, the kids somehow found out what I “really did,” and they brought that knowledge to theatre class. I got a new name, “Yo, Rev!” Once one of them started it, it stuck, and they all used it.

As I think back, that new name was the beginning of being able to reach those young people in a way I might never have had they not discovered my true profession. Somehow what it did was give them permission to ask me their real questions about life.

So the coolest thing happened just the other day. One of those long-ago students found me somewhere online and wrote me an email. She said she’d learned confidence in that class, and it had stood by her ever since.

“Yo, Rev!”

Friday, May 2, 2008


Seeds X, 18

Seed: Togethering

Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi was interviewed by Joan Borysenko for a book on spiritual experience. She asked him, “How can genuine spiritual guidance be distinguished from one’s own self-will or ego?”

He answered, “If you can tell me how to tell the difference, I’ll become your disciple.” One thing he did suggest he called Togethering. Togethering is making reference to others, asking advice, listening deeply, waiting for guidance together.

My spiritual experience tells me that if two people consider an issue from a spiritual standpoint, they usually come up with the same solution. This is togethering. When I’m attached to the outcome of a particular situation, I need togethering. We all do.

When you know you’re attached to a particular outcome, let go and seek the advice of a spiritual friend. Similar guidance is usually direct from the Divine.

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.