Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Pets For Vets ...

I just learned about a wonderful organization called Pets For Vets.  I posted a lot of information about it on my Animal Ministry blog.  Please check that out at http://animalministry.blogspot.com.  The organization has chapters throughout the U.S. to help veterans suffering from PTSD by matching them (re personality and needs) with rescued shelter dogs.  There is a video there, too, and it will make you feel good :)





Thank you ...

Dear Readers,
My heartfelt thanks for the kind comments, notes, e-mails, and cards sent to me following my Dixie Lee's passing. Your empathy, kindness and caring was and continues to be a great comfort to me.  Thank you so very much ...
Clara



Monday, April 4, 2016

Dixie Lee Landau ...

Rest In Peace, Dixie Lee (8/1/02 - 4/3/16)

My beautiful Dixie Lee passed into Spirit yesterday evening ... peacefully, under the guidance of gentle hands.  I miss her terribly, though that is consistent with the deep and beautiful love we shared.  Please wish her well on her cosmic journey. I will go to her favorite park today and walk among the trees.



Saturday, March 26, 2016

Let's Help Arizona Voters ...

Let's urge the Department of Justice to launch an immediate investigation into voting problems in Arizona to ensure that all eligible voters are treated equally under the law. It only takes a moment and is so important.

 http://act.credoaction.com/sign/az_voter_suppression?referring_akid=a223834537.6501792.oM9F__&source=conf_email&aktmid=tm1741368.CxD1dG&t=2





Sunday, February 28, 2016

Thoughts For Chaotic TImes ...

Sunny, sunny day ...  Spring is on the way and on March 20th we will have the Vernal Equinox, first official day of Spring and equal hours of daylight and darkness!  Accentuate the positive :)

Things in our world are chaotic; the election politics are vicious, the middle class is in financial difficulty, our fellow creatures in Nature are in trouble, and our nation is coming apart at the seams in all the important categories. We're encouraged to vote ... and we do vote ... and yet there are super delegates who can ignore our votes and decide elections. Much of the media and both of the party national committees are definitely not playing a fair and impartial role, quite the opposite. They each in their own way are choosing our nominees and next president. There is a lot of anger being expressed in news reader comments by "ordinary" citizens and the outcome is of great concern. And so ...

And so I look out upon the sunny day and try and think of good things. The sun is helpful. I think about my walk along a spiritual path that is guided by Buddhism, Animism, Nature, Empathy, and Wonder.  For me, they go together very well. I understand and love the concept of mindfulness and am greatly helped by it. How about (to go with mindfulness) soulfulness?  I don't think I've heard anyone speak of soulfulness.  Soulfulness feels like love and compassion, deep caring. Wonderful Buddhist author Thich Nhat Hahn doesn't call it that but his writings are full of references to how each of us is part of, responsible for, and connected with the plight of others. His references to the unfortunate life roles of pirates and prostitutes, for example, are food for thought.  His wonderful references to flowers and other denizens of Nature ... and the "continuation" of each living entity, give light and hope.  Here we need to avoid confusion by differentiating between "hope" (which I consider an essential), "faith" (which I regularly pray to have), and "expectation", which can be disappointing and can cause us grief. Soulfulness comes ultra naturally to me. I think it is that mystical part of existence that I haven't really seen named. The Zen word "suchness" is very valuable to me and it neutralizes a lot of frustration when I understand that a person or thing is the way he/she/it is because it is his/her/its suchness to be so. And "It is what it is" often is the best advice to fall back on (for me) and I'm very grateful for it.

I find that I'm greatly helped when I remind myself of the Serenity Prayer -- God grant me .... the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (very hard for an empath to do because we're so sensitized to what other beings are feeling), the courage to change the things I can (I try, I try ... and I pray for courage) ... and the wisdom (ah, there's the pivotal point) to know the difference. Amen.  It's a wonderful prayer.  And some of my readers are familiar with my affinity to Nature and its healing power.  Take me to the mountains, the ocean, the forest, a lake, the park, an overgrown part of the backyard!

For anyone who is so inclined, I still have my free "Healing The Earth Family" program components standing handily by. Contact me if you or an east Tennessee group you belong to has an interest. Also, I have a few copies of my highly unique booklet "The Invisible Hand And Awesome power of My Guardian-Guide -- A Divine, Ever-Present Being Of Energy" (a revelation of some of my experiences); the photo art in this booklet has been praised.  I guess $12 is an affordable price for the booklet and postage.  Also I've got three or four copies left of my "Dr. Clara's Music For Esoteric Healing ... (Mind, Body and Spirit"; it's different than anything else that's out there and goes into detail regarding music, keys, peripherals, and color, their correlations even with the Cosmos; this is a slim booklet (13 pages) crammed with information and should be especially interesting to musicians and anyone else who senses the intrinsic value and power of music. These I can send for $7 which includes postage. Please contact me via e-mail at claralandau@yahoo.com or call me at (865) 659-5383.

OK -- meanwhile, let's think Spring!  Think Beauty, think Loving Kindness. Embrace your loved one.  Have faith in the planet's renewal. Have hope for peace and honest, ethical government. Have courage to carry your sign. Thank a tree for oxygen and fellowship. Maybe get some nice rocks and stack them around your flower bed. And send me your thoughts if you would like to :)


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Personal Stuff ...

If you'r'e still with me, dear Readers, thank you for hanging in there.  It's been a while since I've posted.  Things have been on the difficult side, emotionally and physically, with my being sort of a "multiple care-giver" (spouse, aging dog, and house) and having more than 99% of all responsibility -- from the mundane to the complex.  Dixie Lee is still with me, doing her best to stay with me and life ... and is still a beautiful spirit; she requires a lot of patience and extra care now. Jerry's conditions are hard to describe and I wouldn't attempt it out of consideration for his privacy, but I can say that he is almost completely immobilized and socially out of the loop.  For me, sometimes it's hard to be here in this house in which I put two years of major repairs and a huge emotional, physical, and financial investment. The times, too, are added to the mix.  My piano student roster, once vital and overloaded, has dissipated and my Healing the Earth Family (free) program has not had any takers ...  which indicates to me a widespread mix of apathy, fear, and perhaps lack of time and energy in the population. Too, many people have their faces buried in their social media and that has largely taken the place of interacting in person with groups and individuals. There is no substitute, though (well, no genuine substitute), for the real deal -- a special person, and the natural world.  I talk to people in the grocery store and everywhere ... for conversation and my head's idea rolodex ... and I turn to the natural world for comfort, encouragement, and healing :)  I like to keep things vital and positive.  And I've got a meditation room here that I love; it is filled with things that I treasure.

I've been writing and arranging my newest song, getting in some practice on it!  Will be bringing it to my dear friend's studio to record soon.  Am jamming a couple of times a month (on average) with my former guitarist bandmate, and that is rejuvenating and enjoyable -- lately we've been adding some really old songs ... I mean from the 1920s or so.  I remember them from when my mother used to sing or whistle them many years ago, so it's fun to hear them in my head, figure out the chord progressions, and put a contemporary style on them.  Life needs music!  And it really is the universal language.




Beautiful Influx Of Robins ...

This morning hundreds of robins flew into my yard and all around and over my house -- just arriving from somewhere.  They were chirping, swirling, landing, and touching terra-firma probably after many hours of flying.  My guess is that they were forced by the storm in the northeast to fly south for food.  They are beautiful birds.  One landed in a shrub right outside the window where I am sitting at my computer -- and we had eye contact.  Welcome ... even though a bit early ... to these harbingers of Spring!




Politics & My Perspective --

The political circus and its underpinnings and rigged formats clearly show why US citizens are divided, discouraged, and angry.  The system and some federal agencies are corrupt * (please read related new post on Animal Ministry Blog at http://animalministry.blogspot.com). To repair the system would take the cooperation and sincerity of both major parties. Super PACs, health insurance companies, big pharma, and other powerful industries and agencies are running things ... and have no conscience. Repairing the system will take a major and far-reaching effort.  Of all the candidates, the two "outsiders" are the most sincere.  I like Bernie Sanders, admire his honesty and intellect, and will vote for him in the primary.




Wednesday, January 13, 2016

This Man Is A Hero ...

... a hero of the sort we don't hear or read about every day.  If you love dogs a lot (or even a little), you will want to visit http://www.rescueroadtrips.com/Rescue_Road_Trips.html. Please read all of Fido's letter!  A Google search for Greg Mahle Road Rescue will be worth your while; you can read how he started this mission and the bittersweet joy it brings him.  A true hero, it is estimated that Greg has rescued and transported northward to new homes more than 55,000 southern dogs -- healthy, affectionate dogs who were in southern "high-kill" (low adoption rate, high euthanasia rate) shelters.  At Rescue Road Trips, you'll be thrilled and thankful to see the photos and read the ongoing story of one man's courage and devotion in saving the lives of wonderful dogs by bringing them northward to waiting homes.  I will explain a bit about that here.

During the early 1990s and on into 2004 (after serving for three years as a volunteer), I worked as humane education director for a regional animal shelter here in the south.  It was a heart-breaking job and I still see the faces of many of those sweet dogs and cats.  If they were owner-surrendered they were usually euthanized immediately (probably while the pet owner was driving away); if the pet was a stray, he or she was kept for a mandatory three-day period during which it was hoped (!) that the owner would come looking for the animal, pay the citation for letting him/her run loose, and take the pet back home.  Most of the time the owner didn't come (or came too late).  The physical attributes of the shelter, itself, were ghastly and the dogs in the top row of concrete compartments had it the worst (no access to the outdoors).  During my volunteer years there, I went there three times a week to carry frightened dogs from those top cages to the outdoors where I would put a leash on them and let them walk around on the grass and relieve themselves. With the largest dogs, I would sling them over my shoulder like a bag of potatoes (holding on to their rear quarters) in order to bear their weight and carry them through two rooms to access the outdoors.  I remember one female rottweiler who was crammed in a top compartment and who had the word "please" in her eyes.  I remember her clinging to my shoulder on her way outdoors.   I loved each one of those dogs, so my heart was continually aching. The cat room needed attention too and, as often as I could, I'd stop in there and pet the cats.  The main problem across the board was overcrowding due to lack of spay and neuter by owners.  Puppy mills and backyard breeding added to it.

I came to Tennessee from Connecticut.  The need for spay and neuter for dogs and cats had been preached and promoted there for a number of years.  By the time I moved here (late 1986), the northern states had a pretty good head-start on spay/neuter.  And that is why, now in 2016, the pet overpopulation there is greatly improved. Here in the South, we got a later start, especially in the deep south areas.  My job (mentioned in an above paragraph) was to educate every part of the human population that I could get access to (classrooms of kids, youth groups, colleges, adult civic groups -- I was even invited to speak at birthday parties) --  about spay-neuter, adoption of shelter animals, general animal care, and the animals' need and right to be loved by his/her human family. Knoxville now has a beautiful, well-functioning animal shelter, a world apart from the former building, ownership, and leadership.  People still need to be reminded that spay-neuter (getting them "fixed") saves animals' lives and gives them many health benefits too.    

I am very grateful to Greg Mahle for being a devoted Angel who saves dogs.  I hope you will go to the several websites that  tell about him.  What a wonderful, wonderful human being. He can be e-mailed at gmahle@mac.com and the subject line should say RRT main page. We love you, Greg :)



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Beauty -- a sad, desperate, sweet little girl ...

Dear Readers,
I know that at this time of year, we try to wrap our minds and hearts around joy, celebration, and loved ones.  Especially this year, with all the scary things that are going on in our country and throughout the world, it is important to focus on good things.  And sometimes it is necessary to look squarely at something bad in order to help make some good and right come of it.

In the news today there is an extensive article (and I did some follow-up on it) about a Nashville woman who was arrested after animal control investigators said she  had taken a severely malnourished and neglected dog (neglected is not a strong enough word) to a veterinarian to be euthanized.  She had put this sweet dog out in the yard in the elements (apparently there was no escape route) without food or water, for an extended amount of time. The pictures of the dog indicated to me that the time involved weeks or probably months and had reached the point where the woman could see that the dog was near death; the investigation revealed that she had done this before with another dog -- intentionally starved it to death.  Meanwhile, inside her house, there is another dog who is apparently well-fed and healthy. Economics are not an issue.  To me, this is a case of intentional (sick and demented) cruelty. The vet's office was horrified and upset at the sight and condition of the dog and the vet and staff determined that the poor dog was too far gone (her systems were shut down) to save ... so she was humanely euthanized. The vet's hands on this innocent helpless living being during the exam and euthanasia process may well have been the only tenderness she had ever been shown.  A name for the dog is not mentioned anywhere that I could find, so I am naming her Beauty.  


Please, if you care that this happened to Beauty, whisper her name in your prayers and make a memorial donation in her name to the animal rescue group of your choice.  If you don't have a favorite, there are many listed on my animal ministry blog at http://animalministry.blogspot.com

The dog's owner has been  charged with animal cruelty. Her bond was set at a mere $2,500. I think she definitely should do jail time and should not be allowed to own any other animals.


You can read more about the case at http://www.wsmv.com/story/30758834/woman-accused-of-animal-cruelty-after-taking-malnourished-dog-to-vet#ixzz3uXq1WXcO.

Thanks ...

Clara



Saturday, November 21, 2015

"Healing the Earth Family"

My newly-created program entitled "Healing The Earth Family" is ready to be up and running.  It is a free program (I'll bring a tip jar to help defray expenses) and is sort of my "statement of hope" for our world.  The hour-long program will soothe, challenge, and inspire and is presented with narrative, video, and one of my songs.  It's geared to adult groups, clubs, and organizations.  I've created some very relevant print handouts and I have a display loaded with really nice pictures.  The uplifting song is at the end of the main video and the program has a particularly nice closing mode.   Those of you who know me will remember my injury several years ago in a church shooting.  It took me a long time to heal and I still have some of the physical residuals, which serve to remind me to be grateful for the gift of life.  Current happenings, world-wide, are unpleasant reminders of what happens to the human spirit when spiritual bankruptcy and the lust for power take hold of people.

I think you'll like this program.  If your group (small, medium or large) is in or near Knoxville and you'd like to view and hear "Healing The Earth Family", please contact me at claralandau@yahoo.com.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

One Important Way To Sustain Efforts Of Talented Musicians of Knoxville!

Most of us Knoxville musicians have found, over the years, that this area is challenging and competitive. The names of bands and soloists come, stay, and go after a while. The number of venues with live music declined when the economy sank several years ago. I can remember walking up to the doors of venues I played just weeks before, and finding the outer doors closed and locked with padlocked chains.  At that time, some music venues installed multiple television sets and became sports bars, others went with karaoke. Yet, some new venues opened and most thankfully, live musicians persist (new ones hit the scene and some of older ones are still around). The area also still has several music stores.  

Occasionally I make the rounds of the music stores and put up promo flyers for my adult piano lessons and my favorite professional recording studio. This morning I had time to go to two of those music outlets. One is Open Chord, where a lady behind the counter cheerfully handed me a spool of scotch tape so I could put my flyers in the front entry windows. I did suggest to her that for the open mic at which they have some resident instruments provided, it would be wonderful if they could also include a keyboard so that keyboardists like me wouldn't need to carry in a full keyboard, stand, and mic. OC is a very pleasant venue and all-around music-oriented center ... and I applaud their sincere efforts on behalf of musicians.

My gut feelings are what prompted me to write this post, because of a situation I found at Guitar Center today.  Now, for months -- maybe a year or so -- GC has removed all musicians' posting areas from the front of the store.  Granted, these needed occasional neatening up and culling (not a big deal).  Most posters were neat. The removal of these posting boards was, IMO, not the right thing to do to musicians, who are the very people that spend their money at the store.  To sort of throw us a crumb, GC set up a small bulletin board way, way in the very back of the store next to the two restrooms and the employees-only areas.  So in order to see a posting for musicians or musical services, a person visiting the store would need to use the restroom (and would probably need directions on how to find it).  I felt a sense of abandonment and that the arrangement was insulting to musicians … but I posted there anyway. Today I walked back to that restroom area to find that the musician's small bulletin board was covered up with boxes of inventory that could easily have been stacked elsewhere.  The only two visible postings were partially ripped down; probably the rest were behind the stacked boxes on the floor.  I tidied up the couple of things that were still readable … a bassist looking for a band or maybe it was the other way around … it was a neatly hand-printed posting, so I found a place where I could tack it up and did the same for a small notice put up by a guitar teacher. Then I shifted a portable inventory sign to the side of the stack so there would be a small space for the studio flyer I had brought to post. I left the store in dismay, wondering how a music store that used to have a stage and be very pro-musician could want to prevent musicians from posting their upcoming gigs, need for players, and other important services for musicians and aspiring musicians.

The loss of Broadway Sound has had far-reaching effects; for one thing, their huge, friendly musicians' board was a wonderful place to connect.  And their personnel were knowledgeable and helpful. Yes, we have Craig's List and places for paid notices but they can't take the place of a music posting on a friendly local bulletin board.

Life needs music and musicians.  Musicians need audiences, contacts, and music services which they can access via  BULLETIN BOARDS.  So my request to area music stores and outlets is to please happily provide this courtesy to the musicians who support your businesses and brighten up the world with their talents.




Saturday, August 29, 2015

My Very First Time ...

... to see a "shooting star" and falling meteor!  A couple of  weeks ago, I was alerted by my dear friend that the Perseids meteor showers were to peak that night starting around 11 p.m. "Look in the northeast sky", he added.  "OK!", I replied with my utmost semi-feigned gusto.  It wasn't that I didn't care to see the meteors.  I definitely did care, but had tried again and again over the years, even lying on my back on a blanket on the bumpy floors of back porches, with mosquito repellent sprayed all over me -- gazing heavenward, for hours, but did not see any shooting stars. The disappointment went way back to when I was a kid and the other kids (especially my two older cousins) would exclaim, "Look .. I just saw one". "Me too, right over there"  And maybe they did see them, at least sometimes -- when they claimed to.  I admitted that, no, I hadn't seen anything happening in the sky.  Many times after that when I was alone, I looked upward thinking maybe a meteor might just be chancing by and not be put off by my standing there with my neck in achey stiff mode.  But to no avail :)

So when my friend joyfully announced that "tonight is the night, starting around 11 p.m. in the northeast sky", I just couldn't drop the ball on his enthusiasm.  And so I mainly did it for him.  At 11 p.m. I went outside with my dog, Dixie Lee in tow (might as well take care of the dog-walk at the same time), and then she and I stood next to the fence so I could have something to lean on.  To the northeast there was a convenient gap in the trees, which was nice and made viewing much easier.  Soon Dixie started getting fidgety because we were standing still and she wanted to go sniff for rabbit trails; I held my ground and said "we are going to stay right here for five more minutes".  I could feel the tears stinging at the back of my eyes. Then somewhere between nine and twelve minutes after 11 o'clock I said "OK, I guess we might as well go in now".  And as I haltingly prepared to take my eyes off the sky, suddenly a magnificent object came bounding, bursting, hurtling out of the northeast sky, making a semi-arc and trail of magical light in sort of an east-to-north direction.  There is simply no way for me to articulate the feeling in my chest and gut -- those moments were so thrilling and amazing -- they brought laughter and tears of joy.  It felt like it was MY meteor with my name on it (excuse my ego, please), MY shooting star!  I mean I've waited all these 5411 years to experience it!   :)

Very memorable.  Aside from true love, there is absolutely nothing as wondrous and awesome as Nature and the Cosmos!   




End Of Summer Blues and Some Quirky Stuff ...

When I lived in New England (most of the first half of my life), summer arrived around June 1st; you could plant things a little before that but the risk for a late killing frost was real.  So by end of June people were enjoying their pools and starting to go to local beaches.  "Real summer", though, was July and August.  The first week of of August was very hot and humid and most people then did not have central air conditioning.  After the August heat wave, came those end of summer blues because the days were numbered and cold weather could blow in at any time after the arrival of September.  I remember one day during the first week of September when the kids all stood at the school bus stop wearing parkas.  That was a rare occurrence, but the icy wind and cold temps were very real that day.

For me, ever the herbalist and gardener, seeing my plants suffer and die with the cold was very sad.  Often I'd dig some of them up and bring them into the house, where, of course, they could not survive -- being outdoor plants.  I would go outside with blankets and towels and cover my marigolds and zinnias each evening until the mother of all frosts would come and get them even through the covers.

In earlier years (childhood) my end of summer blues were about having to return to school and lose my carefree nature hikes, wild berry picking, tree-climbing, and unlimited time with my piano, Estey.  Estey was a used upright that  my mother bought  for me when I was seven or eight years old. He was my most constant and faithful companion for years and years.  I still think of Estey.  Later on, he came to live in the finished basement of my first home during my first marriage.  When the time came for the marriage to end, I was unable to get Estey out through the doorway and basement hatchway (and was given an arbitrary 12 hours in which to do it). I didn't know who to call and then was told that Estey had been cut up ... and removed in that fashion. God bless you, Estey, wherever your splinters lie. And I apologize for getting off-topic -- mainly because I want to celebrate the beauty and joy that summer represents.   

Well anyway, I look at the sweet, innocent faces of my orangey-red zinnias that planted themselves this Spring from last years dropped zinnia plant seeds. The seeds managed to survive the harsh winter freezes.  How beautiful they are ... and trusting. They seem to say "don't worry, be happy"!.  I'll put up a picture of the first one that emerged during July which is kind of late for seeds to sprout.   And, yes, I will cover them if need be as the weeks march onward.

Earlier this summer, my friend gave me two Sorghum plants.  He had, at first, though he had a rogue corn plant growing in his yard but then the plant developed an oval-shaped large seed head at its top and then he found two more sorghums.  The birds love the seeds.  It turns out the sorghum is a valued plant in many parts of the world where food products are made from it   A couple of weeks after he gave me the sorghums which I planted in a pot placed on the east side of my house, I discovered what I thought was another full-grown sorghum under a tree on the west side of my house. Soon, though, it started growing a little tassel on top instead of a seed head and then I noticed a small but very real "ear" growing midway up the plant. Could this be a corn plant?  A week or so farther along and the "ear" seems semi-hollow, but most startling of all -- there are now bristly hairs growing outward on all the vertical stems, including the main stalk.  It looks spooky and humorous.  I took a picture and will put up the one that focuses on the hairs, as well as one that shows the whole plant earlier.

Yes, the end-of-summer-blues.  It seems so recent that I was scraping ice and snow off of the truck and driveway .. and picking up broken tree limbs. For me, time seems to be on fast-forward.  I try to remember that wise advice to "savor each moment".  I'll squeeze as much summer out of the weeks (and months) ahead.  Summer isn't over just because school starts. Especially here in the south, we can keep the spirit of summer going for quite a long time :)

  

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Attuned To The Voice Of Compassion ...

I'm going to type here a beautiful writing that I believe is medicine this world really needs.  It was written by Buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hahn.

"The wondrous voice, the voice of the one who attends to the cries of the world,

The noble voice, the voice of the rising tide surpassing all the sounds of the world,

Let our mind be attuned to that voice.

Put aside all doubt and meditate on the pure and holy nature of the regarder of the cries of the world ...

Because that is our reliance in situations of pain, distress, calamity, death.

Perfect in all merits, beholding all sentient beings with compassionate eyes,

Making the ocean of blessings limitless,

Before this one, we should incline."



"Whenever" and "Fantastik" ...

I've just put my two newest songs (one is two months old and the other is one month old) up on Reverbnation and they are also on the home page of my website at www.claralandau.com

I'm so enthused about these songs.  "Whenever" is a love song and it practically wrote itself one morning while I was sitting at the piano and hadn't started playing anything.  Line by line and chord by chord, the song and lyrics took form.  It is an inspired song and one I'm very proud to be the conduit for.  I'll look up my Reverbnation link and type it below.

The other song (which is the "elder" of the two) is called Fantastik.  It came into being via the medium-sized fan I run at night in my bedroom ... to keep the air moving and also to add some nice white noise.  (I also have a bedside machine that plays ocean waves and sea gulls).  Anyway, the whirring blades of the fan were, for almost two weeks, playing a three-note chord and various combinations of it, complete with a sometimes very noticeable tempo. I would drift off to sleep hearing it.  Soon, I was humming the tune. As the song took form, the lyrics ... if read out loud without music ... almost sounded like rap. But add the music and then the tempo, and it is a conversation between me and the fan, with the fan speaking the first block of lyric.  And so, I took a picture of the fan and want him to take a bow. This is a talented, reliable old fan, made of steel,  that came from Goodwill years ago.

This evening I made about a dozen copies of the the CD containing the two songs and designed a label for them.  Either of the links below should take you to the page.

https://www.reverbnation.com/clarasolobluesjazzandexoticmixes

www.reverbnation.com/artist_2943087/


Deny and Defy ...

That's what I did.

Some of my readers may recall that about a year ago, I wrote a blog post that (I thought) cleverly revealed that I had symptoms and test results indicating the probability of diabetes. The post was also, as I recall, a human interest item and it talked about the various types, ages, and circumstances of other people whose little dramas were observable to me that day. The post was up there for a while and then I went back in and edited it, changing the tone of it to something that danced around the topic like it was a "maybe, somewhat, someday possibility". I toned down the post considerably :) and, most importantly, it didn't scare me to read it after I'd changed it.  Mind over matter !

Also, at the time I was convinced, and I think correctly so, that all the day-in and day-out back-breaking, emotional, and mind-bending work I'd been doing over a period of months to get this house ready to be lived in while also clearing out the former residence (about which I felt very sentimental) ... had run my health way down.   And so I figured that taking better care of myself (emphasis on vitamins, gym, meditation) would enable me to spring back to my former vital self. Well, those items did help for sure and maybe could have been enough.  But -- during the past year or so there were two huge, no ... super huge situations that affected and exacerbated my weakened self.  Both were family-related. Jerry's hip and lymph edema (leg and foot) got much more severe and he now has very limited mobility. The other situation is associated with a family member who is dealing with severe and costly health, substance, and emotional problems and, who has, a number of times, returned to and then stormed out of my life. These took a toll but taught me to truly look at the process of understanding the "suchness" (a Buddhist term) meaning the true nature of a situation, thing, or person ... so if we truly understand the suchness of a particular person, it is easier for us to hold onto our inner peace.  I realize that some doors just need to close.

But now, I want to try and get to the reason I've entitled this post Deny and Defy.  A year ago, I really didn't want to  have diabetes  and so to deny its existence made me feel more comfortable.  The concept  goes back to the way I always dodge what I'll call "victimship".  I don't like to admit it when I'm injured or hurt.  As a child, I was a bit smaller and usually younger than my cousins and the neighborhood kids, so I got bullied quite a bit.  I would never cry.  My mother was like this, too.  One of her sayings was "keep a stiff upper lip" (don't let them see you cry) while she did her best to protect me.  She came from a large family  with several older siblings, so she had developed her set of skills to deal with things. When eight years ago I got injured in the church shooting, I drove myself home in trauma and major pain rather than getting into an ambulance.  I didn't want to be a victim, especially of that hate-filled bully man. Three months later, I went for a CT scan and, although the pellets are clearly there (passed into and across my forehead and settled in scar tissue in my right sinus cavity), my situation was viewed with a great deal of skepticism by many people and I was left to recover on my own until the reality of divine help and healing dramatically and clearly came to my aid (and remains with me).  

Well, fast-forward to current times ... during recent sustained stress, my left hip stopped responding to chiropractic care and got very painful.  Also a factor during the past year, I ate more deserts than ever before in my life (defy); yes, I was definitely proving the diabetes wasn't there.  But I got really sick.  So last week I dragged myself to the doctor where my tests revealed fully-developed diabetes and a thyroid deficiency (and a vitamin D deficiency). So I'm now on meds and extra vitamin D...and feeling a lot better.  I've researched the possibility of self-stem cell injections in my hip, which could enable it to build new, denser bone tissue but may not need that if my current improvement continues. The diabetes med has dramatically helped my hip pain as well as my general well-being.  So my hip is happy!  I really like having happy body parts :)

It seems like there ought to be a moral to this hodgepodge story. It probably would be "don't try to be superwoman" or "superman" and "don't keep a stiff upper lip". If a red flag is there, don't deny and definitely don't defy. When you're hurting or scared, tell someone whom you trust. Another line I'll add here just for the sake of levity and because I think it's one of those wonderful old show-biz lines is "always leave them laughing" :)  Well, OK, maybe not laughing, but definitely smiling!  Let's smile and be grateful for life  :)  


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Two Anniversaries Approach ...

The first of these anniversaries is Dixie Lee's upcoming 13th birthday -- a celebratory occasion -- which will be on August 1st if she is able to stay the course for the next four weeks.  For a dog her large size (Rhodesian Ridgeback), 13 is very old. She has been at varying degrees of deafness for the past couple of years (sometimes her hearing briefly seems to partially return); she has cataracts that are quite progressed; she has small bumpy growths on various body parts that her vet and I are reluctant to tamper with because giving her anesthesia at this stage of her life would be risky.  I know that sounds perversely comical as she could slip away at any moment during a nap. 

She sleeps a lot; she loves to eat; she has maintained the utmost ladylike hygiene.  Always an "aloof" dog (her breed description very accurately uses the word "aloof"), she has never been aggressive ... until now.  I think she has become fearful.  When people come to the house now, I need to put her in my/her bedroom where she remains quiet and content.


The other anniversary that I will privately observe, is the upcoming 7th anniversary of the church shooting at TVUUC.  At five years, the church (perhaps rightfully) decided that there would be no future observances.  For me, there is so much that permanently affected me -- emotionally of course. And physically -- the residuals are rather constant reminders.  Most importantly, spiritually ... in the months and years that followed the event, a part of me awakened and helps me live my life, has helped open the door for beauty and appreciation and gratitude.


So the day is one that is meaningful for me.  Last year on the sixth anniversary, I walked in my favorite local park where there are lots of trees. Trees, I find, are so able and willing to absorb human sorrows and to reflect human joys ... and to offer strengthening energies.  My walk was one of meditation and gratitude; then I visited with my dear friend and we talked of gentle and beautiful things and had tea.


Music, Of Course!

These days I'm putting the finishing touches and practice on my two very recently-composed songs.  One is the "fan" song I think I mentioned in an earlier post.  It's 99% ready now to record.  The second song I'm still finding just the right title for.  The song irresistibly flew into my head one morning two or three weeks ago when I sat down at the piano with absolutely nothing in mind. The lyrics, the melody, the chords, came almost effortlessly.  I'm mesmerized by it :)

It is a love song, but unlike any other love song I've written.  It takes me to a beautiful place and, to me, feels almost cosmic.  I'll be recording it, along with Fan-tas-tik,  next week!

HEY, HAY ...

I'm hearing from horse rescue organizations that hay prices are higher than ever and not just because of the drought.  I have a letter here in front of me that tells us that "the sky is the limit" on hay prices because China is buying up U.S. hay ... AND that China is shipping the hay back in their own ships, as they return (home) from delivering to the U.S. all the goods Americans are buying from China.  The letter also says that over the years, hay prices have gone up and down depending on weather, but the current situation is beyond "anything ever experienced".  Also, the letter mentions some dairies that are killing off their livestock and cashing it in because they can't afford to feed their cows anymore.  Of course, this leaves horse rescuing organizations and the horses already in their care in a precarious place -- that of no hay to eat because it is scarce and very, very expensive.

Someone, please tell me how this horrific trade situation (U.S. and China) has evolved to this extent.  Honestly, we in the U.S. (as a nation and as a people) have been kept so busy with a a glut of inane celebrity gossipy "news" -- while almost being pushed into taking divisive political sides regarding issues such as gun control, the ill-conceived crazy war on drugs, racism, police brutality, foreign terrorism, domestic terrorism, the struggle for gay rights, reproductive rights, government invasion of citizens' personal records, along with the myriad of issues that scream of inequities and wrongdoings and corruption connected with the wealth of our country being concentrated in the hands of a small, powerful percentage of our population ... that I guess I have answered my own question.  The country's vital import and export policies and what's actually going on, though very visible in stores and catalogs, just aren't able to compete in terms of newsworthiness.  Also and sadly, many of us have become conditioned to imported (even inferior) goods as the new normal way of life.  I hope someone in our government can and will take the personal risks necessary to initiate a policy that "encourages" U.S. corporations to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. and put some controls on our exports (such as hay) as well.   Bottom Line:  Where I'm going with this is that a giant news item about hay isn't likely to make the scene, so it remains unspoken news.  But hey, hay is extremely important!


To anyone wanting to donate hay money to horse rescue organizations that have near-empty hay barns and hundreds of horses (who have been rescued from the most horrendous of conditions) to be fed,  you might want to contact Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue at info@wildhorsercue.org; www.wildhorserescue.org, Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue, 661-727-0049; or Southern Winds Equine Rescue at 316-830-0013; www.southernwindsequinerescue.org



Monday, May 11, 2015

Talking It Over ...

(I originally posted this in March of this year and then took it down after a few days, thinking that it was too self-revealing.  I kept the hard copy and decided I ought to re-post it, so here it is):

I'll share the following in the hopes that it might benefit a reader or two in the way it helps me. This is about feelings :)

When my feelings -- especially anxious feelings -- start grabbing a monopoly on my mindset and my thoughts, I like to get out of the house and on the road or to a park.  I also have a meditation room in my home that is very welcoming, where I like to spend some time each day.


While driving or at a relatively serene natural place (or even, at urgent times, in a shopping center parking lot), I make the effort to focus on the feeling that is bothering me and causing my discomfort.  As I write this, I recall that as a child, I was taught by example and by habit to repress my feelings. So in my past (when I was young), my strategy -- if it could be called that -- was to dodge, deny, or shift my feelings of discomfort so that they would seem to "go away". This resulted in what I remember as a never-ending drama that tended to put me in the role of emotional shape-shifter.  It really was an effort to modify or appease or justify or collude with whatever was causing the uncomfortable feeling.  And it caused me to suffer.


At some point in more recent times, it became clear to me, largely through the writings of my favorite author, Thich Nhat Hahn (to whom I was gently steered by my very close friend), that looking directly at a feeling is the best thing to do.  At first that seemed difficult and sometimes it still is. But, honestly, it is one of the best medicines I have found (the others being meditation, prayer, nature, and music).


When I chose the post title "Talking It Over", I meant talking it over with Self when each urgent or important feeling arises -- truly acknowledging the feeling.  As I need to actually hear my own voice speaking of my specific feelings, this conversation is best done aloud in a vehicle or within some other personal and private environment. Yes, I'm suggesting talking to oneself.  The conversation can go into detail or it can be simple like saying "This is a feeling of anxiety", "This is a feeling of fear", "This is a feeling of need", "This is a feeling of disappointment, "This is a feeling of resentment", "This is a feeling of anger" -- and that BIG one -- "This is a feeling of insecurity".  Once the statement is uttered, the feeling becomes easier to understand and handle.  It also, I believe, helps to bring angelic energy to my aid.


I try to remember to similarly also bring to the surface positive emotional feelings like "This is a feeling of wonder", "This is a feeling of joy", "This is a feeling of trust", "This is a feeling of achievement", "This is a feeling of love", "This is a feeling of peace", "This is a feeling of acceptance", "This is a feeling of comfort", "This is a feeling of gratitude".  The utterance of the words, I believe, reinforces angelic and positive energy.


Of course it's a very good thing to be able to be "talking it over" with a trusted friend or a professional listener.  Always, though, Self is there as a valued, accessible consultant.




Sunday, April 26, 2015

Dancing With Life (Clara's Update) --

Hello Dear Readers,

Apologies for my posting lapse.  Someone recently told me that "blogs are dead" and the only thing that people read now is Face Book.  I hope that isn't true.

Blogs, to me, are original by their very nature and, as I'm an innovative and mostly autonomous person -- I do like to set my own parameters.  Anyway, I was kind of set-back at having been told that what I'm doing is pass`e and disdained.

Often readers send me e-mail comments, which I enjoy and appreciate getting.  Sometimes I gently urge them to also send comments via Google's comment options (which include an anonymous feature), so that others can read them.

Always, your interest is appreciated.  If you're an animal lover, please check out the animal ministry blog at http://animalministry.blogspot.com. Also, I've updated my own website at www.claralandau.com.  My song player is now on the home page and has twenty songs on it.  I LOVE my most recently recorded original song "Dance With Me".  It's of course what I sing to my lover, but it's also what I sing to Life itself.  Life is a dance, folks -- it really and truly is.  Do we hold this partner stiffly and fearfully in our grasp? Or do we nestle in close, embrace it passionately and surrender to it?   Do we look off to the side, or do we gaze into the eyes -- of Life?  

Please let me know if you'd like a copy of "Dance With Me".  E-mail me at claralandau@yahoo.com; call me at (865) 659-5383.



Saturday, March 28, 2015

Animal Ministry Blog ...

Recently, I put together a fairly comprehensive list of organizations that rescue, protect, rehabilitate, and otherwise do very good things on behalf of our friends, the animals.  It is called Animal Ministry and/or Clara's Animal Ministry Resource.

The list is in random order and the blog itself contains wonderful pictures of animals very worthy of a look, along with my captions :)  This is a serious list and the intent of the blog is to provide information resources to people who are or would like to become advocates for animals and our environment.  I put it in blog format for several reasons:  1) I don't need to pay for domain name and space, 2) I'm familiar with blog format and design so I didn't need to learn anything new, and 3) people can send comments, stories, quotes, etc.

I hope you will check it out.  The link is http://animalministry.blogspot.com.




Saturday, February 7, 2015

C'mon Spring !

Spring is on the way ... the daylight hours are getting longer :)  Trees are going through their annual state of confusion which they show by alternating the swelling of their buds with their holding-back syndrome.  Melodies float through my mind more copiously than in winter.  A huge flock of robins landed in my yard day before yesterday (I think they fled New England's recent weather) and they were visibly and audibly happy that there is no snow on the ground here in Knoxville!  My daffodils are up about three inches.  The sun is at that cusp-of-spring angle :)  The moon was beautifully full recently in Leo (it's always full in the sign directly across from where the sun is located ... and the sun has been in Aquarius).   

Life blossoms and renews in Spring and, perhaps on that note, I've created a blog entitled Clara's Animal Ministry Resource; it is at http://www.animalministry.blogspot.com.  Hope my readers will visit CAMR; it has nice animal pictures, some lovely profound quotes, and information about stellar animal advocacy people.

Happy Pre-Spring !

  

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Very Great Lakes --

Lake = Water =  Emotion (this equation/definition offered by me from a combined mystical, shamanic, spiritual, and psychological perspective).  I woke up this morning thinking about the Great Lakes -- Superior, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Erie, located along the border of the United States and Canada.  I hadn't thought much about them since I was in 4th or 5th grade geography class. But today I felt compelled to relearn about them and found, on a website by Live Science (www.livescience.com), that they are the "largest body of fresh water on Earth" comprise (a tad more than) "1/5 of freshwater surface on the planet", contain "six quadrillion gallons of water" and cover "95,160 square miles".  Info in parentheses I added because the coverage is actually 21% according to Wikipedia (so the tad is a tiny tad).

A lake, then, would be the deepest end of the emotional pool.  I'm thinking that it would speak to several general and "great" categories (listed here in random order) in which we tend to store our strongest feelings, urges, memories, inclinations:  1) Profound Experiences, 2) Love and Caring, 3) Fields of Study and Knowledge,  4) The Life Cycle and Agelessness, 5) Wonderment.  I invite you to let me know of any other "lakes" that should be on this list.

My own most Profound Experiences include my prison concert which was a wonderful epiphany, the injury and trauma associated with the church shooting, the cell-by-cell ingress and walloping sensation of pure love, the amazing rescues of me by my guardian angel, my satisfying joy of saving lives of animals juxtaposed with the sorrow I carry for those I failed to help.  

The category of Love and Caring is in the deepest part of the lake and is perhaps at its very best when at unfathomable, immeasurable depths.

Regarding Fields of Study and Knowledge, my own pursuits and natural inclinations are
MUSIC -- the power of creating and expressing feelings via lyrics and intonations and rhythms (and so much more); the relationship between tones as they rub against each other, create effective spaces in-between, play games, harmonize, all those wonderful things; and the camaraderie when musicians play together.
SCIENCE -- How things work, Nature, the Cosmos, Health, Numbers, Intonations, Horticulture.
SPIRITUALITY -- Science and spirituality are totally compatible and cohesive.  Once we humans get past the confines of dogma and confining walls, we become receptors of peace, love, and blessings ... and then altruism "unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others" (merriam-webster) can naturally occur.  

The Life Cycle -- Personal evolution, not  just academically; also spiritually and altruistically. Acceptance of the Cycle as a continuing, interconnected process.  The line "We are all (all beings) in the same cosmic canoe" is part of my e-mail signature.

Wonderment  (awe, admiration, respect) -- Where would we be without the thrill of wonderment?  I find it when walking among energies of trees (anywhere), in the forest and mountains, along the shore as the ocean's waves roar in and ebb out, looking up at the night sky.

And so, Great Lakes Superior, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Erie, thank you and I hope I haven't wandered too far from your majestic presence.  I don't know what made you cross the threshold into my waking mind this morning, but I'm glad you did :)




Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 ... A New Year!

Happy New Year dear readers!

I hope the world does good things with the new year it has been handed.  That goes for me, too --  I hope I do good things with it :)

I don't make new year's resolutions, never have, but I set goals sort of as I go along and I try to meet them.  Sometimes I succeed :)  For me, the goals I set for myself usually are in one of two general categories ... personal or altruistic.

All my best wishes for our individual and mutual efforts toward health, well-being, empathy, compassion, and joy of spirit!