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June, 2022

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Monsoon Moments

New Mexico Monsoon picture by Lucy ChianPhoto by <a href="">Lucy Chian</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a>

photo credit to Lucy Chian

June 26, 2022

I was sitting on my back patio this morning, soaking in the effects of our overnight soaking. New Mexico is part of the American Southwest, and contrary to opinions of those who are not familiar with this part of the country, we do experience a rainy season. This is vital to our desert life. Animals, fauna and humans all depend on the moisture the “Monsoon Season” brings.

It is amazing to see how the colors are suddenly more vibrant. The air is fresher. Although I love the heat here and even the drier climate that makes the summers more bearable without the oppressive humidity of other warmer climates, it is very refreshing to get some rain.

If you live where rain is plentiful you may wish for dry and sunny days. The weather does affect our outlook, or so I believe.  And it adds to memories. I have one vivid recollection living in Oklahoma during my college days and sitting on a front porch watching a veritable river of rain roll down the street.

It is important to me to not take for granted nature’s blessings. Blissful moments when I can watch hummingbirds flutter about the backyard flowering bushes or watch cloud formations make a painting of cosmic proportions across the sky are gifts of creation.  Of course there are also violent times when storms rock us and the destructive forces of nature remind us just how small we are in the “big” picture.

The Monsoon Season in the Southwest lasts from mid-June to September. It’s not as famous as the tropical monsoons in Asia, but similar weather patterns create the conditions. This year in particular we welcome our rain as New Mexico has been ravaged by some severe forest fires and the dangers are still very much with us this year.

The spirituality of my morning revelry today on the patio will stay with me. It is because I recognize it, experience it, and record it in my journal. Now it is part of my life story and while it may seem relatively insignificant I know that’s not the case. Little moments like that are very much a part of my life journey. They keep me centered and in the now.

Reunion Revelry

June 20, 2022

Reunions are a time to come together and celebrate your past and your present.

Family reunions are important, especially when there needs to be healing. As we all are aware, family relations can often be messy. But the beauty of forgiveness and repaired relationships cannot be underestimated.

School reunions are another type of get together that can be both real and surreal. High school years have often been important times in our lives. However, they also can be awkward and challenging. We were all trying to figure out who we were or were hoping to become. Anyone who has lived a while discovers that it is a lifetime journey. But seeing those we knew in those high school years often brings up memories that we may or may not want to revisit. I’ve been to a couple of my high school reunions, but none recently. In a couple of years it will be 50 years since I graduated and it could be worthwhile to make that reunion.

This past weekend I got together with a bunch of former friends from a pivotal time in my life. We all worked at a rock radio station in the 1980s. I hadn’t seen some of those people in nearly forty years. Others I have stayed in contact with off and on. The time warp of our gathering was fun. We talked about the glory days and toasted those who were no longer with us. I have found the reminiscing has continued after we said our goodbyes and “until the next time.”

Looking back at our experiences, especially the formative ones, is part of the journey. The goal is to learn from our past and continue to evolve so that we can have a full and valuable life. It is important to never forget that the other people in our lives are part of that journey. Yes, sometimes they drive us mad, or we might have resentments. That can be turned from a problem into an opportunity. We learn to forgive, to extend grace, and to recognize our own shortcomings.

A life story includes reflection. Cherish the ability to recognize your path because we only understand our journey through our experiences. It can often take a lot of time to appreciate it. I continue to find both joy and value in writing about my life and I certainly learn from the stories of others.

Stars and Stripes Today

June 14, 2022

Flag Day Stars and StripesIt is Flag Day 2022. I bought a new American flag yesterday because the one I’ve had for years is tattered and worn. The new one is currently waving in the wind in front of my house.

Like Rod Serling on the “Twilight Zone”, I submit for your approval the Stars and Stripes of today. I consider myself a patriot, but not one that turns a blind eye to injustice or corruption. The ideals of the United States Constitution are idealistic and I like what they say. But I long for the day when it will be universally applied to all our residents.

It’s been rough politically the past few years. Democracy can be difficult to uphold, especially when there is power and money involved.  But let’s face it, that’s a dilemma for any of us. As long as we are divided into camps then we will always be threatened by some “other”. I am not saying we shouldn’t defend ourselves from enemies. But don’t forget what has been said by some wise folk (even wise-cracking cartoonists), “We’ve met the enemy and he is us.”

Yes, sometimes we are our own worst enemy.

And sometimes we are our best cheerleader.

So I am waving the Stars and Stripes today because I still believe in championing freedom and righteousness. That’s for everyone, not a select few at the expense of others.

Hospice Patients Get Story Medicine

June 6, 2022

Preserving life stories is an important endeavor. The urgency increases when it is someone nearing the end of life.

Hospice patients are finding it very beneficial to get their story heard and saved. Thanks to hospice nurse Dottie Kluttz who sat with many people at their end of life, hearing their stories and encouraging them to ask questions about themselves, a growing effort has been happening where more and more people are getting the opportunity to tell their story.

This “story keeping” is helping people prepare for dying as they reflect on their life and even work through unresolved things. Additionally, it preserves their memories and wisdom which is so very important for anyone. Kluttz states, “I believe the person dying, who is the storyteller, wants his story told, wants to be remembered for more than one generation.” (Read the post on Nieman Storyboard)

This is not the first time I have seen reports of the health benefits of preserving and sharing your life story. But it is particularly significant for those close to the end of their life. It’s incredible work that people like Dottie Kluttz and others are doing. The past couple of years with the Covid pandemic has brought more attention to the need.

The emerging research is showing that certain chemicals are released in the brain as people tell and listen to life stories. But Kluttz is doing it because of the benefits she has seen over and over. “I know there are a lot of people studying this,” she said. “But I don’t care about the science of it. I care about the magic of it.”

Everybody has a story to tell!
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