Living With Optimism, Joy, and Brain Health

27 Nov

I am not sure why I said yes when a woman I don’t remember meeting at a talk I gave weeks ago called and asked if I could speak at a meeting of a local Optimist Club the day before Thanksgiving. But I did.

It was a relatively small group – all except a few were over 65, equal parts men and women, and very racially diverse. They meet every Wednesday at a restaurant in a hotel just off Interstate 8. The soup of the day was vegetable beef and the special was a taco plate served with re-fried beans and rice. I ordered a cup of hot tea and sat in one of the booths to arrange my materials so the workshop I planned would flow well. I was trying out a new format – no technology, no PowerPoint, no devices.

The President rang the bell and woman asked us all to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Then another member stood to lead a prayer. I was a bit uneasy and braced myself to respectfully attempt to blend in to the background. The non-denominational blessing ended on an upbeat note and I let out my breath, relieved.

The President and another member pulled out a long stick with felt rolled around it. I was standing behind them so I could not see what was written on the felt but I heard the strong confident voices reciting these words.


OK, you have my interest and are speaking my language…


Wow, it was getting even better. Keep going….


As the scroll rolled out, the voices in the room got stronger.


Can this get any better, stronger, more hopeful?


Seriously powerful and hopeful words recited, I noticed, by heart – some with eyes closed but all with hearts wide open.

That, my friends, was a hard act to follow….

They gave me a piece of ceramic – a place to rest my coffee cup, the woman who invited me explained – with those words painted on the surface.

I am so grateful to this group for reminding me that there is hope and there is a way to get there together.  Our challenge is to share optimistic thoughts and good intentions in loud voices, and to raise the bar on our expectations. My hope is that, in the end, those efforts will shift a few who will shift a few more who shift a few more and so on.


Is it really day 27? So much left to say….

Paying Attention to the Stories the World Has to Tell: Written In Stone

26 Nov

Sometimes my husband and I set out on a photo walk with no expectations — just see what we can find when we open our minds to paying attention to the details and open our senses to experiencing what is going on around us.   A couple months ago when visiting Arizona on business,  we knew we set out to find very specific details.

approach to Gilla Bend site

The approach to the site…. Do you notice anything yet?

Above is the approach to the Painted Rock Petroglyph site.   If you look closely you can see some etching on the rocks.  Some ancient some not so ancient….  Now a closer look at that rock.

Petroglyph 3

 My initial reaction was disappointment and file this supposed spectacular native American site under “People can be real idiots”.   But after some thought, a quick attitude adjustment and a bit of research, both 1879 and 1907 have historical significance in the area — a different history but history none the less.  We pressed on and look what we found….

petrogly[h 4

Oh my….

And around the next corner….

glyph 5

Oh the stories on these rocks…. staggering

We have been to quite a few Native American sites across the southwest.  Some absolutely breath taking but we have never seen a site where the carvings tell entire stories.   We follow the story of a hunt and the sun rising/seasons changing and a child growing up…all documented in stone more than 2,00o years ago.   We did not have a modern translator or a book to guide us — the stories were right there for us to see.   No doubt about it….


Here are a few more images from this wonderful Hohokam site.  Enjoy, appreciate, and learn from the stories.  What do you see in these?

6 glyph




Don’t forget to pay attention to the stories the world has to tell.   Some are hiding in plain “site”!


How did it get to be Day 26?

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