The Holy Encounter

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If most of us on the planet have the instantaneous instinct to stop our cars to protect life (if we aren’t going to cause a greater calamity by doing so), then why can’t we show this instinct in our every day lives in being kind to our families, friends and strangers? We have the capacity to be instinctively kind and caring towards life itself….this is how we will collectively create peace on earth. It is possible. This is the holy encounter presented to us every day.

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A Word Misused

essay, humor, non-fiction 6 Comments »

I do not like this word at all.  And the use of it is becoming more and more popular in spiritual circles, meditation groups and other enlightened people (including many dear friends and family).

The word is transition.  It’s partner words are: transitioning and transitioned to replace the words death, dying, died and dead, referring to time after the last breath of the physical body, or death.

In a conversation the other day with my good friend, Dee Meyer, we were speaking about this word.  I explained that to say “My father transitioned yesterday” sounds very sterile, extremely emotionless and ultimately an attempt to stave off fear not only about death, but about the word death.  This doesn’t even address the real possibility that someone may have no clue what you are talking about.  Transition, every time I hear it, takes me out of the moment of really hearing the words and feelings of someone’s loss.

When I hear “transition”, the first things I think of are transactions and transistor radios~which I realize having nothing to do with transition.  I know that sounds funny, but that is exactly where my head goes and I do know what the “new” intention of the use of this word means.  The second thing it does to me, is makes me wonder why it is frowned upon to say “My father died yesterday.”  “Transitioned” seems so generic to me, it has no heart in it.  Dee added that “It has no room for compassion.”

And, for me, this word replacement possibly has a subliminal warning in it that says there is NO reason to be sad because it is only the death of this life ~ what if I want to be sad, want to embrace the end of this life, the loss?  Know that I fully believe that the death of this body is only the death of this life, that a new life or new journey begins.

“Your father transitioned about an hour ago”  feels cold to me and when someone speaks these words, I’m not sure how to respond.  Because the person has used this word instead of died, I’m thrown off my game of heartfelt pain.  I’ve been jerked out of the moment and can’t think of an appropriate thing to say or the appropriate feeling to have.  Pain is part of life~pain helps us grow into more compassionate people.

Using “transition” (in any of its forms) takes away an opportunity for emotion from the listener, because the emotion of the teller, just by the use of the word “transitioned,” catapults me into a, well, dead zone.  And if transition is being used to avoid the grief that accompanies the word dying, died, death or dead, that  means there is great fear around those words which point to grief.  Let us not reinforce fear into the death of a loved one by using this no-nothing word.  Don’t encourage denial of the emotions~that is what is to be feared.

I know I’m particularly sensitive to “transition” because I’ve experienced a lot of death in my life and for a time I even had mixed messages about the acceptability of grieving.  Grieving is necessary for the living to move on…it doesn’t prevent the person who has died from being dead.

This new description of death simply does not work for me, ME.  When someone I love or care about dies, it is about my loss and others that were close to that person; I get it and always have that the person who has died has begun a new journey…but that’s not what I’m thinking about when I’m vacillating between tears, laughter, exhaustion, restlessness and the sadness that that person won’t be physically with me anymore~I’m thinking about my own transition, getting used to life with out my father, for instance.

Further, and finally, to see a lighter side of this new word and this piece, I’ve considered how ridiculous it would sound if we were to change the names of things in order to avoid the words of death:


The Transition of a Salesman

On Transition and Transitioning

As I Lay Transitioning

Transition Be Not Proud

The Transition of Ivan Ilyich

The Night of the Living Transitioned

The Transitioned Zone

Transitioned Man Walking

When Transition Comes Knocking

Things to do in Denver When You’re Transitioned


Pray for our sins, now and the hour of our transition…

Until Transition do us part…

As I walk through the valley of the shadow of Transition

Transitioned as a doornail.

Give me Liberty or give me Transition.

Drop Transition Gorgeous.


The Grateful Transitioned (of Jerry Garcia fame)
And their followers: Transition Heads

I am a very spiritual person and I have always and forever believed that this life right here does not end with the death of our physical body~the word “transition” is not necessary to me for this understanding.


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An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life…

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“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

“One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.

“The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

“This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,

“Which wolf will win?”

The old chief simply replied,

“The one you feed.”

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The Seven Blunders of the World

non-fiction 1 Comment »

The Seven Blunders of the World is a list that Gandhi gave to his grandson Arun Gandhi, written on a piece of paper, on their final day together, shortly before his assassination. The seven blunders are:

* Wealth without work.
* Pleasure without conscience.
* Knowledge without character.
* Commerce without morality.
* Science without humanity.
* Worship without sacrifice.
* Politics without principle.

I was doing one of my favorite things…looking up something on google and when I was reading one thing, these blunders were mentioned as a link, which of course I clicked on and there it was.


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Today I am blessed~

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The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow. Today I am blessed.”
— Maya Angelou

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Quote Recipe for 2010

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quotesRemember what the airlines say~Put the oxygen mask on yourself first~

1. Drink eight glasses of water a day~heath practitioners everywhere

2. All happiness depends on a [leisurely] breakfast~John Gunther

3. An apple a day keeps the doctor away~anon

4. If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough~Meister Eckhart

6. It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes~St. Thomas Aquinas

7. The more that you read, the more things you will know~Dr. Seuss

8. If you are doing mindfulness meditation, you are doing it with your ability to attend to the moment~Daniel Goleman

9. If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking.  Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk~Raymond Inmon

10.Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together~Thomas Dekker

Personal Growth

11. Be grateful for what you have~not envious for what you want~anon

12. If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought~Mildred Lisette Norman

13. Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened~Dr.Seuss

14. Twelve laughs a day keep the doc away~Mary-Anne Reed

15. If you have nothing kind to say, don’t say it at all~all moms

16. Dream more while you are awake~anon

17. Sometimes you have to let go to see if there was anything worth holding on to~Unknown

18. Find something to love in everyone~anon

19. No one is in charge of your happiness except you~anon

20. Realize there is a gift in every moment ~ even the obstacles~anon

21. Whether you say you can or you can’t, you are right ~unknown

22. You don’t have to agree with everyone, but you can agree to see things differently~anon

Your human family

23. Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born~Anais Nin

24. Each day do something good for another~anon.

25. Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die~Unknown

26. What other people think of you is none of your business~W.Dyer


27. And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years~Abraham Lincoln

28. Declutter~anon.

29. Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’~Yoda

30. Allow the best days of your past to be the worst days of your future~anon

31. We Are all One ~ me and many, many many others ~


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It’s a Wonderful Life

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Dec 23 09 006If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. Meister Eckhart

The journey of the holidays, the season of love, the start of a new year, the path of life is now. No matter what your particular tradition is, the energy is undeniable. If you are wrapping gifts, preparing a meal, building a fire, playing a game with your children, holding your partner’s hand, remember to open your heart and prepare to give and receive. As Yoda says, “Do or do not… there is no try.” Choose to do. These are the things of which memories are made. Make the memories good ones.

Pay attention to each precious moment, love all who come your way, live with purpose. Remember you are sacred and unique~ just as when Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life, wishes he’d never born and Clarence the Angel grants him his wish, everything changes. Each moment is extraordinary. Savor these small increments of your wonderful life. Without you in the mix, nothing remains the same.

Remember, you are always on the journey of the holidays, the season of love, the path of life. It is always now ~Live in the season~

I am grateful for my followers on twitter, my friends on facebook, and all my family & friends.

Love & peace, nannette

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