Friday, January 29, 2010

My Hero

Dear Reader,

I don't usually say that I have heroes. I admire people. I like people. I even love lots of people. But heroes? I would usually say, "I can't really think of anyone."

But recently I found mention of a book: I Am The Central Park Jogger, and remembered I do have a hero! I immediately checked out the book at the Ashland Library.

Many of you may remember reading, in April of 1989, of The Central Park Jogger's successful struggle to stay alive after a brutal beating in Central Park in New York. I read of her success at returning to work, her courage in taking the stand at the contentious trial of her alleged attackers.

I think it was her refusal to die, her refusal to be apathetic in the face of tremendous challenges that made her a hero to me. She inspired me to take my own life more seriously, to recognize the preciousness of life and the courage and effort it can sometimes require to choose hope and possibility (the subtitle of the book). Reading Trisha's book (that's her name: Trisha Meili) really deepened my admiration and renewed my own commitment to choose Life.

Her privacy now seems less important to her than telling her story of recovery and growth. What a gift to us all. Someone saying, "This is what I experienced, and I'm okay."

Many, many thanks, Trisha. Reading your story reminds me that "being okay" is a choice. It's a choice I can make in the face of a aching knee or a hurting heart or just a "boring" wait in the grocery line.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

ActiveWords! Yes!

My right arm's been achy from way too many mouse clicks. I was looking for more short cuts and found something fabulous. ActiveWords.

ActiveWords is a computer application you download that saves you time as well as wear and tear on the body. You can try it for two months free to see if it fits your needs. At $49.95 (for personal use) I consider it a bargain.

Here is what it does: creates keyboard short cuts for everything you do, from opening web pages and documents to creating formatted letter to correcting your (my!) bad spelling. I found it easy to use, and the support is terrific should you need help.

When using ActiveWords you also are using your own memory because you are memorizing the shortcuts (of course they are available - easily - if you forget). I've found the whole ActiveWords experience to be a lot of fun because it's a creative learning experience with a great payoff: faster computing, improved memory, and shoulders and arms that say "Thanks, that really helped."

Friday, January 1, 2010

What Should I Do With My Life?

Well, my sabbatical has been cut short. I just have too much to say! I really miss having a place to rave about my latest LOVE - book, idea, website, etc. For example, the book I just finished by Po Bronson entitled What Should I Do With My Life? It is fascinating series of interviews with folks who asked themselves that profound question. Bronson tells us their stories, along with his own.

My favorite story was the last one about Deni Leonard, a Native American born on the Warm Springs tribal lands here in Oregon.

To quote Po Bronson regarding Leonard:

"He's spawning an entire parallel economy, using sources of capital you didn't
know existed, building factories and power plants you'll never see, onland
and in neighborhoods you'll never do to. and selling the output to
customers youdidn't know were buying. If it continues to grow according to
plan, it will slow or reverse the migration away from will
diversify Native Americans away from their reliance on gambling
will restore lost will bring jobs to inner will
teach young people will give tribes an identity they can
be proud of. "

I was so inspired by this one man enterprise that I googled Deni Leonard. I wanted to know how things were turning out. Yikes! According the San Francisco Chronicle Leonard's company(s) had gone under. This doesn't make Bronson's book irrelevant. Things change. Perhaps Deni Leonard is starting this new decade asking "What should I do with my life?"

Monday, June 22, 2009


  • I'm on leave. Yes, my posts have become fewer and my visits to other blogs rare. Finally I realized that my involvement with Embodied Life and Focusing have preempted my blog writing/reading time.
  • A year off? Or five years off? I don't know yet. Yet I'm still involved with Embodied Aging because I'm embodied and I'm aging. The SoulCollage card at left seemed an appropriate image to leave for visitors.
Please enjoy the wonderful post by my mother and the one on marriage by both my parents. My mom and dad serve as marvelous models for me as I grow older. They are both 91 and full of interest about the world and fully engaged with their children, grandchildren, and friends.
  • There are fabulous blogs listed on the side bar. Enjoy the entertainment and wisdom you find there.
June 22, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Tree Lives!

Yes! I checked on the oak tree we gave up for adoption last fall. Story here. It is leafing out right on schedule and looks quite content in it's new home. Big sigh of relief. Photos of the move are here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Susan Boyle Dreamed a Dream

Susan Boyle - yesterday a woman with a dream - today a star!

If you haven't seen her performance on youtube here is the link: or just google Susan Boyle. (The youtube video has had over a million views.)

I especially loved it because I think it touches something very deep in us, the awareness that our appearance doesn't define us. This video shows how easily we forget that. We know that we are so much more that our ordinary looks or lapses of memory. It's thrilling to be reminded.

Susan Boyle's gift is an incredible voice and masterful delivery. If you dine with my friend, Sheila, you will be given nourishing, healthy, food that is almost too beautiful to eat. My husband, Sam, just wrote the sweetest song for his guitar teacher entitled Bill and His Birthday Cat. My sister, Barrie, delights children of all ages with stories and puppets. My friend, Gail, takes wonderful photos to share with friends and family. My NIA teacher, Rachael, makes dance class feel like a physical way to worship God/Goddess.

Each of us has something special to share with the world. When I hear Susan Boyle(someone who looks a lot like me) sing I Dreamed A Dream, I'm inspired to keep polishing my own talents. Mastery is an offering.

Is a nagging Inner Critic putting a drag on your energy? Wouldn't it be great to create harmony with all parts of yourself? I invite you to my website Life in the Flow Lane to learn more.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Just In Time

This is a post I should have written last week! I want you to know about a fun/inspiring/enlightening opportunity from Heidi Fischbach.

Heidi offers a program called A Month of Living Curiously. I joined up for January and feel I've made a real shift in my life. I became curious about how I feel compelled to read while I eat. But it certainly doesn't have to be about eating. My friend, C. got curious about (oops, that's confidential).

A Month of Living Curiously begins on the first of the month, but you can still join for February if you hurry over to Heidi's place. I'll let her tell you more about it. Here is the link: Or start in March. It's never to late to "get curious for a change."

During the month I alternated between delight in what Heidi was offering and a bit of envy. The good news about that is that I realized she was doing something I longed to do: produce something NEW, something PERSONAL, and something that HELPS TRANSFORM (or soften) those tight spots in our psyches. I'm inviting myself to get curious about how I might manifest that as part of my work in the world. My new website and newsletter is a start. Please visit at


Sunday, January 4, 2009

What Makes a Successful Marriage?

My Dad (Gordon) is having a birthday in a couple of weeks. My Mom (Carolyn) is 6 months older. They have an interesting "tradition." When Mom turns a year older in June, Dad thinks of himself as her age as well. He rounds up. Mother does the opposite. She doesn't think of herself as any older until Dad turns that age. She rounds down. So I guess on January 19 of this year, they'll both be 91.

They've been married 68 years. I asked them the secret of a successful marriage, and I was curious to see if their answers would be radically different. They are opposite Myers-Briggs types. Mother is an ENFP and Dad an ISTJ.

Dad enjoys writing, so he sent his answer by e-mail.

Sharry: With respect to your question about successful marriage I would say the most important thing is to share a similar set of basic values - the values that are most important to you. This still leaves plenty of room for differences in personal interests that are outside of one's core values and beliefs. However, to make this work requires a strong measure of self-confidence on the part of both partners. This leads to a mutual respect for each other's differences in interests and personality traits.

With basic values similar and a generous amount of tolerance existing, each can live his/her life with support and encouragement from the other.

Of course, there are certain people around who should be avoided as marriage partners because of some psychological imbalance. One should recognize these and steer clear of them.

Marriage involves "give and take". Each partner may have to give up a few things in order to take advantage of the good qualities of the other. I have not mentioned "love", but it is one of the basics referred to above.

Remember, I am not a psychologist.
- Love, Dad.

Mother finds it easier to talk about what she thinks and have someone else transcribe. Which I did.

I feel that having the same goals is more important than your personality. Neither one of us wanted fame or fortune.We did want a good living, which means to me, having enough.
We wanted good things for our children.
We've been involved in civic and church organizations which requires
discipline and cooperating with others.
It's important to work through things, the rough spots and differences, rather than just say, "Oh well."
I think it's good to have some life experience before you get married. I lived on my own and worked first.
Gordon and I are opposites astrologically. He is a Capricorn and I'm a Leo. We were a good match because I could dream things up, and he would make them happen.

Writing this brought tears to my eyes. I'm so lucky to have had such good parents and to have them still. I've got a nice photo from my visit with them in September, but instead, I decided to post my favorite one. It's from a few years back, but they still look at each other through loving eyes.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Blessings for Sacred Holidays and 2009

Grandkids hamming it up! That's even sweeter than the gingerbread house on which they just put the finishing touches. May all beings be well. May all beings be happy.

To see a scene of beautiful Ashland, glorious in lights for the season, visit my last year's post found here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

This Story Has a Happy Ending

Several years ago a squirrel, or more likely a blue jay, buried an acorn in the middle of our back yard. Sam saw that it had sprouted and put a little fence of sticks around it to alert me to leave it be. Before I understood the magnitude of what was happening, I acquiesced. It was little. "Oaks grow very slowly," I told myself. I should have put my foot down right then, on top of that treelet.

Fast forward to August 2008. That tree is pretty darn big. It is shading what we would like to call our vegetable garden. More importantly to me, it is blocking the sky. Now I do put my foot down. The tree must go. Sam sadly sees my point. I'm sad too, because the tree means so much to him. We had recently done some research and decided it was a California black oak. Now it had an identity and birds regularly sit on it's branches. Still, I wanted it out of there. Obviously I have a ruthless side.

We called ArborTech (Ben) to look at another tree that might need thinning (think vegetables). I mentioned that we also wanted to take down this adolescent black oak. Without hesitation, Ben said, "We can move it." I could hardly believe it, but he assured me that a friend of his was about to pay a nursery $350 for a tree that size. "I'm sure he'll be glad to have this one for free." That's how we met Barrett and his friend. The story unfolds below. It took these hardy young men most of the day. They smiled a lot, letting me know that they had not outgrown playing in the dirt and doing the next to impossible, moving a very big tree to it's new home on Faith St.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Art of Tree Re-location

Sam has visitation rights whenever he wants.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes! Yes! Yes We Can!

Cincinnati, Ohio, November 2, Barack Obama again told the American people what he believes.

We don't need to keep talking about big government versus small government. That's old thinking. We need smart government...We don't need money or reform for education. We need both.... We aren't red states and blue states, we're the United States.

Obama is a Both/And President! I'm awed and grateful that he will lead us for the next eight years. As I've sweated and fretted out the days before we actually crossed the finish line, I've listened to American Prayer by Dave Stewart dozens of times and made the SoulCollage card pictured here.

American Prayer ends with words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. about reaching the Promised Land followed by this refrain:

When you get to the top of the mountain
Will you tell me what you see
If you get to the top of the mountain
Remember me

My personal American prayer is that we continue the work started by courageous men and women before us, the work of choosing to create a country where love is more powerful than fear.

Friday, October 31, 2008

"This is the most important election of my life. I'm on a limited budget. I couldn't afford to keep contributing money, so I volunteer my time."

That was Maria's answer when I asked what had prompted her, at 80 years old, to coordinate office volunteers at Barack Obama's headquarters in Medford, Oregon. It's a small office in a small state (seven electoral votes). I've worked four hours a week over the past month and a half. Maria, along with her dog Jessie, has been here for 5-6 days a week since the office opened. I've seen her in this office doing everything from training new volunteers to entering data (see photo above) to sharpening pencils. Today she even brought in homemade snacks for staff and volunteers.

Dr. Bill Thomas asks (by way of his book title)
What Are Old People For? Maria models a terrific answer to that question. Elders offer expertise, gained over a life time, when something really important needs to be accomplished. We provide leadership or raise money or answer the phone (my job this afternoon) if that will pave the way for positive change. A lot has been said in this election about the importance of the young voters. That’s cool. Young, old, 30 somethings, midlife. This year people of all ages get it. In a democracy our role matters. Voters, volunteers take a bow.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008


About a week ago I realized that if Obama lost this election and I had done nothing more than make a few donations, I would not be able to live with myself. I find it hard to go to people's doors uninvited, but last night I started talking to voters in my neighborhood and tomorrow I'm working on the desk at Obama headquarters in Medford, Oregon. I don't suggest this is the answer for everyone, but I could feel that it was something I must do.

A second thing I realized is that I need to work to change the feelings of fear and hatred regarding people who think/feel differently from me. In my case this would be Republicans. Doing that is harder, for me, than knocking on doors. It's a challenge to put the anger I feel over the Iraq invasion, etc., into a form more useful than blame. I have the sense that "feuding" somehow feeds our collective spiral downward, but it is a constant struggle not to give way to invective, name calling, and simple wailing. Well, the wailing is probably okay. It’s not a projection. It’s sorrow. Sorrow over loss of freedoms, loss of lives, loss of world stature is warranted. It’s the way we remain human when faced with monumental loss.

On This American Life recently there is an interview with a young man who returned from a tour of duty in Iraq with PTSD and much fear and hatred of all things Muslim. What did he do? He joined a Muslim student group at his community college. It is a terrific interview. It’s called The Devil In Me. You can find it here.

This veteran was able to deal with his feelings and beliefs only after the heat of battle. I currently am in that battle for the election of the next president. So off I go to score points for Obama, with good will to all as often as I am able. Wish me luck.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Are You a Renaissance Soul?

Are you a Renaissance Soul? According to Margaret Lobenstine you are if you have too many passions to pick just one. I imagine blog readers to be a bit like me, flitting from blog to blog, drinking deeply or just sipping from lots of different sources. And if you are a Renaissance Soul AND a perfectionist, Lobenstine has a great antidote. She suggests you perfect perfectionism by scoring your level of perfection for different projects. Here is an example from my own life. I am willing to weed around the giant sunflowers in my backyard at 50% perfection. I will tackle clearing our our car port at 75%. Maybe 10% for clearing my mind of all thought during meditation (some mornings it could just be .01% perfection! LOL).

My daughter, son-in-law, two adored grandchildren plus son and daughter-in-law are arriving this afternoon. I was surprised to find that, along with my excitement and anticipation, I felt a vague fatigue. Since I had no physical reason to be tired, I decided to do a self-guided Focusing session to see more about that. By listening more deeply to myself I discovered this: I could enjoy their visit 100% IF I would just do the hostessing at 25% perfection. Plus, I'd feel more present with them if I finished and published this post. Energy back on line. Blog post underway. Anticipation flowing.

Would you like to learn Focusing? For a limited time, I am offering one free session per week as part of my training to be a Certified Focusing Professional. Contact me from this site.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Life is pretty darn good

Here is Sam, off on his his radiation treatment! What a guy! He bikes most days to Rogue Valley Medical Center, a 30 mile commute round trip. Fortunately the weather has been just beautiful since he began treatment four weeks ago. I wrote about my worry over all this in an earlier post. Things haven't been perfect, for sure, but he's half finished and still biking.

Plus, I saw something really dear on my walk through Lithia park this morning: a doe with two fawns nursing!

Saturday, July 19, 2008


I'm glad I finally cleaned out my IN basket. I found this at the very bottom. It's a portrait done a few months ago by my granddaugher, Evelyn.

BTW I just found out that moi means beautiful in Dutch.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Boogie Time

In my last post I mentioned NIA, the dance form I practice. The photo at left is a SoulCollage card honoring my NIA teacher, Rachael Resch. Rachael is off to Portland, Oregon, this week to get her NIA Black Belt! This is the culmination of several years of study and practice, through White Belt, Blue Belt and Brown Belt training. Rachael is an awesome teacher. I can hardly imagine her getting any better, but I'm also sure we'll see some new moves and expanded attitude as a result of her week with Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas, two amazing innovators.

I have decided to do (daily) a NIA 7 minute fitness and healing practice which Rachael introduced this past month. I spend one minute of rest and then one minute in each of the developmental stages (embryonic, creeping, crawling, standing, and walking) then one minute getting up and down off the floor and then one minute laughing ! Well, I see that is 8 minutes if you count resting. Whatever! It's interesting, easy, strengthening, and repatterns some of what we missed as young'uns. You can learn more about each of these stages on Rachael's blog (also link in sidebar) and hear about her training as she goes through her week of Black Belt.

To see more SoulCollage cards visit SoulCollage talkabout (my other blog) To experience SoulCollage on the web visit Kaleidosoul, Anne Marie Bennet's extensive site.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Lift Off!

As I headed down 505 from Berkeley, California, toward home (Ashland, Oregon) I was pondering whether to stop in Winters, CA, for scrambled eggs. Then I saw the hot air balloons - two of them getting ready for flight. Definitely a sign. I pulled off, took several photos, and found a homey local breakfast spot. The coffee was good. I took a deep breath. The evening before I'd made a huge decision. I am entering the Certified Focusing Professional training, a program that's a bit of a stretch. I know from experience that stretching is helpful for all kinds of tight places, financial, physical, and intellectual. Fortunately I have my Nia dance classes to make it lively.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

More About BOTH/AND

In last week's post I was gushing about BOTH/AND. I was so energized after the Treasure Maps retreat I came home and started photographing women for a new website, Gorgeous Grey Hair. I offered to guide several friends in Focusing sessions. I added a coaching client, and I agreed to write an article for a SoulCollage newsletter. Sort of BOTH/AND/AND/AND. As I was beginning to recognize that I might have taken the concept over the top (the tip-off being intermittent waves of panic) I got a great newsletter from Jude Spacks regarding limitation. Here's an excerpt:

"Limitation doesn't always sound like good news. But in the I Ching Book of Changes, the world's oldest advice column, Hexagram 60, Limitation, augers success.

'As a lake exists by containing only a limited amount of the infinite quantity of water, a person is defined by the choices they make based on integrity. Without the structure provided by limits, creative choice would dissolve into boundless, formless mush. But too much limitation makes for the rigid control that provokes resistance and rebellion; so it is necessary to set limits even upon limitation.' (Wilheim/Baynes translation of I Ching Book of Changes)."

(Jude offers some savvy interpretations and a cool oracle for you to try. This newsletter will be up only this month. Sign up immediately at )

Ok, limitation lives. BOTH/AND doesn't mean that you can have 145 items on your ToDo List and over-fill your calendar without agony. My mistake. So what does it mean? I really had to think about this. I've decided BOTH/AND is more like a place, a mysterious and magical land where Creativity Rules. There are lots of ways to get there. I personally like SoulCollage and Focusing, but journaling, art, chanting, praying, daydreaming, running, laughing, dancing all work well. Even a stroll through the park or three conscious breaths can bring you into BOTH/AND territory. It's a trip worth taking.

PS: Many thanks to Rain for sending me a photo for the new website Gorgeous Grey Hair. I'd love more photos from you gorgeous grey (gray), white, salt andpepper sisters. Help me reach 100 photos. sharryt at gmail dot com.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

BFF* - No Need to Choose Just One

Friends are very important to me. Have you ever taken the Myers-Briggs Typology test? If so, you may have been frustrated by the forced choice of some of the questions. One question really annoyed me: Would you rather have a FEW DEEP friendships or MANY SHALLOW friendships. I always wanted to answer, "I would rather have MANY DEEP friendships!" But the test didn't allow that answer, so it seemed life didn't either. Recently I attended Treasure Maps to the Soul, a retreat which artfully challenged that limited belief.

Ann Weiser Cornell and Barbara McGavin teach Inner Relationship Focusing and have developed Treasure Maps to work with places in our lives where we tend to feel stuck - old patterns that have not given way despite therapy, affirmations, fire walking, or church. It was a fascinating week over-all, but one concept in particular grabbed me. Barbara and Ann claim we live in a BOTH/AND world. We can have our cake and eat it too.

Driving home from Calistoga to Ashland, I mused about that idea of BOTH/AND and remembered the "few deep" vs "many shallow" friendship question. As I drove the curving road leading out of the Napa Valley I realized that I had, indeed, created a life in which I have many deep friendships. In my case it happens that a lot of these friends live elsewhere. We don't have regular quality time. In some cases we only get together every few years, but each visit is extremely meaningful. In this important area of my life I have, indeed, been able to have my cake and eat it too. Yum.

(Could it be that we rarely, maybe never, have to choose between things that really matter to us? If your life sometimes feels like important needs are being overlooked, abandoned, or buried, you might want to consider Focusing.)

The picture with this post is a SoulCollage card honoring Ann and Barbara. More SoulCollage cards at SoulCollage Talkabout.

* Best Friend Forever

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Human Cost of War

As I drove to town this morning I was stunned to see a display of white and red flags completely covering the lawns of Southern Oregon University. They stretched out for blocks! A small sign said Iraq War Memorial.

I stopped and talked with some folks at a table on one of the lawns. The exhibit is traveling throughout the country to demonstrate, visually, the cost in lives in Iraq since 2003. Each red flag stands for 5 American deaths. Each white flag stands for at least 5 Iraqi civilian deaths due to the conflict.
The project is called the Iraq Body Count Exhibit. I plan to come over on Saturday to help take down flags. They will then travel to Sacramento where they need 100 volunteers to place flags in front of the California State Capitol for Memorial Day.

Big numbers like 86,000 sort of skid off my brain, but seeing the flags, rows and rows and rows and rows is just heartbreaking.

To learn more about this exhibit or make a donation to help keep it moving, visit

Edit: After I wrote this post I found the brochure from the Iraq Body Count Exhibit. They have the number of Iraqi deaths at 655,000 and American deaths 4050. The figure of 86,000 above came from a different site (also informative) They have, obviously, used different sources for determining the number of Iraqi civilian deaths. Whatever the number, it's too many.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Whole Foods - Ashland Style

Like fafner, I am doing my best to make friends with vegetables. I'm planting lettuce and sugar peas along the path to our front door. As soon as I finish writing this post, I'm heading to the kitchen to roast a cauliflower I purchased from Josh and Melissa of Barking Moon Farm. Our local Grower's Market has a number of booths and CSA's similar to theirs. We are blessed here in the Rogue Valley.

Over the past year I've read thousands of words regarding diet and healthy eating. So controversial! Fats, yes or no? Meat, yes or no? Grains, yes or no? But there is some agreement, best summed up by Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. He says, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." And, I would add, the occasional brownie or lemon bar.

I thought it was so sweet of Lydia (comment in last post) to wonder if I was having too much fun to post or was in too much pain. I didn't quite realize that when Spring blew in, blogging would become something I should do rather than something I love doing. I'm not keeping up reading my favorite blogs (see blog roll for some great suggestions) and even find myself skipping The Elder Storyteller's Place to head outdoors. But I'll be posting irradically. If you want to catch the occasional blurb, you can subscribe for e-mail updates. The form is in the sidebar.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Big News at the Bottom of This Post

I do get it about memes. I get tagged and I tag 5 more. It’s a great way to network. However, I don't like tagging others. Call me churlish (or shy). I recently was tagged for two memes. The first came from Mismell. Her answers are here. Read mine below.

4 places I’ve been:
Paris (Yes!)
North Uist, Outer Hebrides, Scotland
Kerens, Texas (home of mygrandparents)
The Big Island, Hawaii

4 jobs I’ve had:
Mother (covers a wide territory of duties: job description would take a page) Present activity mostly includes listening and trusting.
High School teacher/counselor (23 years)
Creative movement for kids (a few session s, years and years ago--lots of fun!)
SoulCollage Facilitator (current)

4 shows I tivo:
Zip. Television is barely on my radar.

4 favorite foods:
Brownies, fudgey is best.
Lemon bars with ginger made by Lauri
Apple crisp made by my daughter, Sally.
My mom's peach ice cream.

I was also tagged by Alice, of My Wintersong, to write a 6 word memoir. Easy. It's the tagline to my blog: Sharry’s my name - Connection’s my game
Note: change in tagline May 26, 2008.

Alice’s memoir is here. It was fun to answer these. If you'd like to play, consider yourself tagged!

Here's the BIG NEWS:
I got a lovely e-mail from Emily Lunday Garrett. The story of my contacting her is here. She appreciated hearing from me after so long. Her health is shaky, but her spirit is standing tall and strong. It was a joy to make that connection. I feel blessed.