Garfield got me thinking…

I love the comic strip Garfield. For those who may somehow be unfamiliar with Garfield, he is, literally, a fat cat who gets into all kinds of mischief and who is, as one might imagine a cat to be, completely and delightfully irreverent.

Here is a description of one of my favorites: The strip was in three frames. (As Sophia from “Golden Girls” would say: “Picture it!”)

First frame: Garfield is sitting in a sofa chair directly in front of the TV. A caption bubble coming from the TV says: “I love hosting this show…”

Second frame: Same setting. TV bubble says: “Absolutely love it!”

Third & last frame: TV bubble: “It means I don’t have to watch it!”

Caption bubble above Garfield shows he is thinking: “I wish I hosted it.”

Our take on it, of course, is that Garfield agrees with the host, that he, too, would rather be hosting than watching what, apparently, seems to be neither a funny nor interesting show.  

What it brought up for me, however, was this question: How many of us host our own lives? How many of us merely watch it from some out-of-body—out-of-mind perspective, as mere observers?

And to what kind of show would we liken our lives anyway? A little more convoluted than Barbara Walters asking, “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would be?”  A question which Ms. Walters claims she never directly asked anyone, but I wish someone would answer that question one day with: “The kind of tree on which dogs are not inspired to release themselves.” In a more serious vein, I would answer: “One that bears magical fruit, produces lovely flowers, and provides some shade.”

But I digress…back to my Garfield-inspired premise: If your life were a TV show, what kind of TV show would it be? A drama…. a serial killer of dreams on the rampage? A soap opera? One calamity after another? A Lifetime movie, more prone to induce tears than laughter? Would you say it would be a sit-com where laughter is sometimes canned, sometimes real, or is it just a comedy—of errors?

Perhaps your life is more like a game show? If so, are you the host, the one who asks all the questions, the one who likes to be in charge, but never participates? Or are you the on-edge contestant, always trying to figure out the way to play the game, always hoping you come up with the right answer in time, always suspecting the other contestants somehow have an advantage, that maybe someone fed them the answers? Perhaps you are, instead, the confident contestant, sure of the way the game is played, sure of your responses? Or are you just someone in the audience, getting vicarious thrills and chills, afraid to play the game for fear you’d make a fool of yourself?

Or…dare I ask it, is your life more like a reality show? A Reality show? How’s that for a misnomer? The only thing real about them is that they are cheap to produce. No actors to pay, no script writers to pay because there is no script, per se, just some banal, repeated lines for not-so-clever hosts to say while introducing stunts. Of course, for our purposes, you might want to think of God as the host, (Let’s give a hand to the Host more clever than most!), and Your Life,  as The Reality Show. The events of your life would be the stunts God sets up for you, or that you co-created with God while still on the other side; that is, if you believe that’s the way the universe works.

What kind of TV show would my life be? Thanks for asking. (You did ask, didn’t you?) My life would not be a TV show as much as a movie, for wide release, of course, (no pun on my weight intended. Yeah, right). It would be part fantasy, part science non-fiction, starring a woman who is on the verge of discovering, or remembering, who she really is: a spiritual being having an earthly experience. It would be more of psychological filler than action thriller because most of what goes on would be underneath the surface. The events of my life would be played out as a combination of drama, comedy, and game show (as I’m always asking and posing questions), with a little bit country…a little bit rock and roll…(Hey, how did Donny and Marie Osmond get in here?). And there would be the perfunctory soap opera scene or two. (Come on, how can I be Sicilian and not have some melodrama in my life?) The second half of the movie would follow a final Aha moment, where I would get it. I would truly get it—namely, that thought really is creative, and that all I have to do to manifest anything I desire is to think it, see it  happening without a shadow of a doubt, (therein lies the rub), and know that it already exists on some plane of existence, and Poof….it would come into being.

Well, not quite Poof–not yet. Initially, it would come into being via earth-time manifestations; you know, making the right connections, showing up at the right time in the right place, but soon enough, the thing would simply manifest instantaneously, as if I had been transported to a time in the future when I would have already taken the steps to create it. Ultimately, having everything I desire, I might, of course, decide GAME OVER, choosing to move on to the next level and transition out of this existence, or I might choose to appear as though I haven’t yet gotten it, and linger on earth a while longer in order to teach others what I have learned. Hmmm…..could it be that’s what I’m doing now and don’t know it yet? Perhaps that’s what we’re all doing. God, do we operate in some pretty spectacular disguises or what?

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Chicken Soup for the Sicilian Soul!

My favorite photo of the two of us, taken around 1990.

My favorite photo of the two of us, taken around 1990.

My mother, may she rest in pizza, (and, trust me, she’d love that…as it was her favorite meal, or non-meal, according to my father), was funny.   She was not funny on purpose, and certainly not by design, but, rather, by default.  She simply did and said things we found funny.  Sometimes she got annoyed with us because she thought we were laughing at her, when, in truth, we were laughing with her…nah, we were laughing at her.  But, decidedly, with love, much love.

One Sunday morning, my sister Rosemary and I, long since out on our own, were on the phone when we suddenly decided to surprise our folks with a visit.  We agreed to meet at their house about two in the afternoon. Soon after we arrived, a female cousin and a couple of other friends showed up too, uninvited.   Unexpected company was never my mother’s favorite kind of surprise, unless, of course, they came bearing a two-pound box of Russell Stover’s chocolate-covered nuts.

As it turned out, we were five women altogether, and, of course, my father.  As the afternoon wore on, being Italian, our thoughts naturally turned to food. Knowing we had not been expected, and that my mother did not enjoy cooking, (contrary to the popular myth about Italian women), I suggested we all help to make dinner.  Mom was clearly relieved.  She said she had the fixings for chicken soup, so I assigned the various tasks. My sister would cut up the chicken, my cousin and friends would cut up the vegetables, and I would put it all in the pot and season it.   (My basic recipe was for my mother’s chicken soup, but over the years I added lemon juice, fresh garlic and corn on the cob…added the last twenty minutes; the last ten of which, I add orzo macaroni. Are you writing this down?)

When it came time to put the lemon juice in, I asked my mother for a cheese cloth so I could strain the juice into the pot without getting the pits in the soup. She said she didn’t have a cheese cloth, and brought me, instead, a large, white man’s handkerchief, which worked perfectly.

As we sat down to eat, and Dad took his first spoonful, I remarked, “Isn’t this nice! A lovely meal that we all helped to create, even you, Dad. We used one of your handkerchiefs to strain the lemon juice.”  My mother quickly interjected, “That was NOT your father’s handkerchief, it was the one I put in the crotch of my girdle to keep it clean.”

Well….chicken soup spewed all over the dining room table as we all cracked up.  Mom, of course, had no clue what was so funny!  When we tried to explain, she said,  “You didn’t seem to have a problem knowing he had blown his nose in it!  I just don’t get you girls.”

That was my Mama!

And that, short and sweet, as was my Mom, is my blog entry for today. Mangia!

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Surrendering the HOW

©
May 2004

by Camille Sanzone

(The Sicilian Dr. Seuss?)

 

“Surrendering the HOW”

 

Surrendering the HOW

sounds like an easy task,
not too much to ask.
Surrendering the HOW…
but can I do it NOW?

 

I am THAT I am,

a part of the Great I AM,

and I think I can…
surrender the HOW, that is,
…if it’s not a scam.

 

Would you like to?
Are you psyched too?
Do you want to surrender the HOW?

Let’s take a look, friend.
Noses out of books then,

and find the place of WOW.

WOW, the capital of OZ,
I wouldn’t lie; it was.
Stands for World of Wonder!
Bolts of lightening…please!
Now the sound of thunder!
WOW is where all the HOWS,
once surrendered, live.
It is the safe space where we self forgive.

Are you interested in
surrendering the HOW?
It would mean less worry,
less having to hurry,
and less being sorry.
I do not like to worry.

I do not like being sorry.
Sorry.

“But I want to know how
things could possibly work out!”
I hear you jump and shout:
“GOD, GIVE ME SOME CLOUT?”

OK. I would like some too.

CLOUT, that is.
I do not need to be a wiz,

but I would like some clout, and not a little,

for having just a piddle,
would be like playing a fiddle
while Rome burns…yada yada…
and will not help me solve the riddle.

What riddle?
Surrendering the HOW, of course.
For while it sounds like giving up,
it is a veritable Living Cup,
the proverbial knight on valiant white horse.

“Surrender the HOW?” you say.
“I am not a quitter,
just a dream sitter,
waiting for them to hatch.”
Is it so hard giving up the struggle,

or is it admitting you are a Muggle?
Ah, therein lies the catch!

I want some Harry Potter magic!
Get rid of all life’s static,
have all things democratic;
but I would not,

I could not

wave a magic wand
and all my cares be gone.
You might say, “I would like it,”

but you would soon see

you would miss having the satisfaction,
the sense of responsibility.

For while we say

 we would like all our problems solved,
and, at that, in a jiffy,
the thought of losing all the glory
of telling our own little story

sounds just a wee bit iffy.

 

Surrendering the HOW
is not selling out the sacred COW!

It is saying…I trust
because I must
or I will ever be in the dark.
And being in the dark
is no picnic in the park.
In fact, I would say it’s rather stark.

I want multi-colored socks,
I want to out-sly the clever fox.
I want to live outside the box.
I want to hop on a train of thought
and not have it be for naught.

Surrendering the HOW…

Ah! I get it now.
Do my thing.
Don’t forget to sing.
Take out life’s sting
by removing fear and doubt.
Know that no matter what I see,
the best is yet to be,
and that a higher power
has it all figured out.

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Living on the Verge

Do you remember when, at the start of the school year, your new teacher would ask you to write an essay on what you did during your summer vacation?  Well, that’s not what I’m writing about today, for Living on the Verge is hardly a vacation on the Riviera, but the phrase caught my eye recently and I wanted to explore exactly what being on the verge means to me. Although I confess I’ve been there a few times, “on the verge,” that is, it’s one of those places you’re not sure you’ve been until you’re on your way back home from it. It is neither a nice place to visit nor to live. Too much tension — living on the verge — good and bad.

We’ve all heard someone say, “I’m on the verge of something great happening…I can just feel it!” By contrast, we’ve likely also heard someone say, “I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown.” In the first statement, being on the verge appears to be a positive place to be, full of excitement and anticipation, albeit usually far off.  In the second statement, being on the verge seems a bit precarious, and frighteningly imminent.

I went to the New World Dictionary of the American Language for a definition. In part, this is what I found:

Verge: the edge, brink, a bend, twist, margin (as the verge of the forest), an enclosing line or border, a boundary of something more or less circular.

When we’re always on the verge, we never arrive; we feel like an almost ran, a has-been who never was. It’s going through life with a thousand things on your mind, and none of them coming to fruition. It’s that right answer, the eloquent phrase that lingers on the tip of your tongue, then dissolves like a bitter pill, absorbed into your system, unuttered and irretrievable.

Being on the verge, being on the edge, on the brink, on the boundary of something more or less circular…all of it makes us dizzy as ’round and ’round we go. Being on the verge is dwelling in possibilities. Possibilities can be wonderful, and being on the verge of something can be exhilarating, but only if we finally shift into the next gear and go from being on the verge of greatness and dwelling in the land of possibilities to the place where our mojo is working. That is, of course, unless the verge we’re on is the one leading to a nervous breakdown.  And even then, if we listen to the sage advice of playwright Jane Wagner’s bag lady, as portrayed by Lily Tomlin in the play “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe,” a nervous breakdown, if viewed from the proper angle, can be a breakthrough.

So, how do we get beyond the verge, go around the bend, unwind the twist, go outside the margin, cross that border, and obliterate that boundary? Are we required to take that empty-handed but full-hearted leap of faith into the void? Perhaps, sometimes.  But just maybe the answer lies in simply changing our perspective. Changing the way we think about time, for instance, can make all the difference.

Are we hypercritical about how we use our time? As I wrote on my FaceBook wall the other day, Time is what passes and marches on; it’s what we spend, waste, kill, mark, lose track of, complain there is not enough of, and yet is on our side. But does everything we do have to be relegated to a timeline…to be task oriented? If we spend time doing something creative, something not on our perfunctory to do list, do we feel we wasted, rather than spent that time? Do we live our lives doing only those things that spell obligation or fall under the umbrella of  have to  and wind up feeling like we’re doing time, a veritable prisoner in a cage of our own making?

Do we teeter on the edge of time, living on the verge, nervously, anxiously waiting for that right moment to happen, the one that transforms our lives for the better forever? I suspect more of us live our lives that way rather than having the peace of mind of knowing that we are doing the best we can with our own level of knowledge, understanding and awareness, and that as long as we are on the earth plane, we are works in progress.   Sometimes I feel like a work in progress – others I just feel like a bonafied, certified, and, possibly, certifiable piece of work.

I suspect it has a lot to do with learning to enjoy the present moment, without regrets about past experience or worries about what might yet go wrong. Maybe it’s as simple as “Surrendering the How,” as I suggested in my poem of that title, and trusting that all unfolds as it should.

In the mean time, (Curious, time often seems mean when we’re waiting….), along with all the other things we do with our days, we can choose to bring into our world more activities that we enjoy, more of what we love to do. Then we will be spiritual millionaires of time, for each moment will be precious, and we will not tremble so on the verge.

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Growing older Versus Growing Old

I read a short story half my lifetime ago, when I was in my thirties. It was written from the perspective of an old woman who spoke eloquently about the young woman she used to be being, trapped inside the old woman’s body she now possessed. It was fascinating. I’ve thought of that story from time to time over the years, but have never been able to remember the title or recall the author’s name.

We are all getting older with every passing day. I’m not overly conscious about growing older because age has never really bothered me, and it’s not as if I woke up one morning and looked in the mirror to find an old woman looking back at me. It has happened gradually. In my head I feel about twenty-five. Of course, my body has betrayed me just a little! No, that’s not true. The truth of the matter is that if there has been a betrayal, it is I who have betrayed my body. I don’t drink or smoke, but since thirty-five I’ve been eating for two. I think they call that hysterical pregnancy.

I remember seeing my first white hair. I had just stepped out of the shower, was drying myself off when I noticed in my nether region, (my “pubic area” to those less squeamish), what I thought was a white thread from the luxurious white, fluffy towel I was using.  I reached to pluck it, and recoiled when I realized it was a white hair, very much attached to me!  Oddly enough, I still don’t have many white or gray hairs on my head though, even at sixty-six. I don’t have any major wrinkles either, just tiny ones at the corners of my eyes when I smile, which I tend to do a lot. Perhaps it’s all the olive oil we Italians use in cooking. Of course, also due to that cooking, my waistline has become the equator that separates my sphere of a body. When I wasn’t looking, a second chin started to grow, and I also have a few rebel eyebrow hairs that strayed to several conspicuous places under my chin line; now I have to tweeze my face along with my eyebrows. Not nice, Mother Nature!

Seven or eight years ago I reunited with a friend I hadn’t seen in about thirty years. We hadn’t even seen pictures of each other in all that time. We arranged to meet for lunch and wondered if we would recognize each other. We did, of course. I arrived first and saw her come into the restaurant.   I knew in an instant it was she, but she had aged a great deal.   Her hair was almost all white.  Her face was full, and once full lips had somehow become thin.  I stood and waved her over, but couldn’t help thinking what a fantastic job some Hollywood makeup artist had done to hide the girl she once was. It was the oddest sensation.  As she got closer, I could see the further ravages of the years, as armies of tiny soldier crevices marched across her face.  I told her I recognized her immediately.  I did not say she looked the same, for she, clearly, did not.  She, of course, lied and said I looked the same.  I know that’s supposed to be a compliment, but think about it. I hope I didn’t look like this at twenty-seven!  

My concern has never been with age itself, but with having the grace to grow older with some style. As long as we’re alive, growing older is not a choice, but growing old is. By my estimation, I am not old. Oh, I may get achy at times, but I don’t have the monthly cramps I endured from the age of ten to fifty four.  I am still comfortable in my skin even though there is considerably more of it spanning my globe.  That tiny yellow rose I had tattooed on my left breast has become a long-stemmed one. Kidding! I have no tattoos –at least not yet!   If I were to get one, it would say I AM NOT AGING, I AM FERMENTING.

The important this is that as I age, I grow more comfortable with who I am. I still want to look good, but I’ve lost the vanity of having to be fully made up whenever I leave the house. I’m more interested in connecting with other people than connecting the dots that create my made-up face. And, please may I never become that old woman who puts more rouge on than Emmett Kelly, the clown!

Growing older is nothing we can study for, yet growing older gracefully may be a test, or, perhaps, just a testament to the way we’ve lived our lives in general. I don’t think we really change much in personality as we grow older. We may be less able to do certain things, but I think we become more of whatever we were, or are, because we worry less about what people think.

I suppose, for some, old age brings up thoughts of mortality, and it is often the appropriate period in life to reminisce, to tell one’s life story. I have always felt that every person’s life is worth at least one novel, and that there should be a massive library somewhere containing all those works. Some would be more interesting than others, some would be shorter, some longer, but everyone would have a book on the shelf. Mine might be called I Never Got the Last Shipment of Rope…when I was at the end of mine!

Perhaps you’ve heard this story: A man was being chased by a tiger to the edge of a mountain. His choice was to jump off the mountain or be eaten by the tiger. He chose to jump. As he fell, he grabbed onto a branch of a tree protruding from a crevice in the side of the mountain. He knew he could not hold on for long but he did not want to die in fear. He suddenly noticed wild strawberries growing on the branch from which he was hanging, and decided to pick and eat one. As he put the strawberry in his mouth and declared it the sweetest strawberry he had ever tasted, he lost his grip on the branch, and fell to his death, but he did so smiling and happy to have had his last experience of life be so delicious.

I think we begin to feel old when we lament about the things we can no longer do as well as we used to, or that we can no longer do at all, or about the things we never did. Instead, we might focus on being grateful for those things we have in our lives, those things we can still do, and concentrate on enjoying them. We can always choose to reach for the strawberry.

There’s an old Norse tale the punch line of which is that if you tell a joke when you arrive near death, it shows Death that you are not afraid. I like that idea, and I love strawberries, so I’m asking my loved ones to have strawberries and a microphone handy when my time comes. Then I can do my last standup (or lay down) comedy routine, have a strawberry or two and leave everybody laughing. Then I’ll be able to die laughing too.

Ain’t life a hoot?

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Happiness Always Returns

Happiness always returns.  Just thought I’d let you know, in case you should ever sense its absence.

Perhaps it returns, in part, because while it’s away, it misses you even more than you miss it.  “What’s that?” – you say.

Of course, whether we are being assaulted by the daily doldrums or struggling with an enduring, deep depression, there are times we are certain we will never know happiness again. Is it possible that the simple act of being certain we will never know happiness again could keep it from our door? After all, if we don’t know a visitor is coming, we might not be home to invite them in.  If we are asleep when they knock on the door, they might think we are not up to entertaining them, and move on.

We need to be willing to entertain the notion that happiness will return. We need to consciously leave the door to our soul open, place the key under our spiritual doormat, a light in the window of our mind’s eye. We must expect and be ready to receive happiness when it returns, when it comes back home where it belongs. I know I want happiness to find a home with me. I want it to live within me, to set up residence, rather than merely visit, but, at the very least, I want to remember that happiness returns, and live in happy anticipation.

For some people, the times of year that traditionally wreak of happiness for most people,  the holiday seasons, for instance, are filled with sadness and gloom. Maybe the holidays always find them alone, or they just bring back too many painful memories of holidays gone wrong, or happier times that are no more. Those are the very people who sorely need to find out that happiness returns.

I was a caseworker years ago in New York in the Children’s Division of Protective Services. Unlike happiness, I was not a welcome visitor—well, at least not at first, for my initial visit, always unexpected, was for the purpose of investigating allegations of abuse and or neglect. I found that one way to get in the door, after announcing who I was and why I was there, was to assure them that I was there to help the family, and that I was interested in the safety of their children. Once inside, I gave them a few blank, unlined sheets of paper and a pen. I asked them to write down what they felt was going on in the home and if there was anything with which they needed help. That set a tone that usually opened up the lines of communication. I wanted them to see me as someone who was willing to listen to their side of the story, who respected their opinion, and who would leave them with their dignity intact.

I gave them unlined paper so that I could later do a little handwriting analysis. I would also verify their birth date, so that when I returned to my office, I could do a mini and very rudimentary astrological chart on them. OK, you caught me. I did most of that at home because, let’s face it, those methods were unique to me, and not part of the traditional arsenal given to us to do the job. In point of fact, the only training we had was  of the “on-the-job”  variety.

Armed then with their perception of their situation based on what they’d written, a better idea of their character from their handwriting, and a clue on their nature from their chart, I constructed a plan of action that incorporated several viable approaches to solving any problems within the family. If I had learned, through my unconventional but hardly nefarious devices, that they had trouble making decisions and required direction, I would say, “There are several things we might do. We could do (a), (b) or (c). I suggest we try (b) first and see if that helps. What do you think?”  They would quickly agree and feel they had contributed to the solution. If, instead, I learned that they needed to feel in control, I would say, “There are several things we might do. We could do (a), (b) or (c). Which would you like to try first?” I, of course, was sure to provide them only with viable alternatives. I never asked an open-ended question like, “What would you like to do?” Or “How can we help?” I instinctively knew doing that could have disastrous results because they might easily come up with things that we could not permit, or which we were unable to do. However, given several viable choices, they would make theirs and we would go with that, which gave them some semblance of control over their situation.

Curiously enough, after several months working in that unit, my supervisor, who had started giving me cases that the other, more seasoned caseworkers, couldn’t seem to handle, approached me. She asked me to close the door to her office, sit down and tell her what I was doing that was not in my reports because I was more successful at resolving cases without having to remove the children than any of the other caseworkers in her unit. I knew the other caseworkers would never adopt all of my methods, but, speaking strictly off the record, I, more or less, described what I did. My supervisor, although impressed, admitted she would only be able to share with my coworkers my idea of asking clients to write down what they saw as the problems in the family. She said she could not formally encourage or endorse the use of graphology or astrology in dealing with clients. To her credit, however, she never asked me to stop using them.

You may think I have digressed from my topic, but I have not. I was setting the stage.

In my five years as a caseworker, contrary to popular opinion about what kind of person abuses or neglects their children, I visited people from all walks of life. I visited the homes of attorneys and police officers just as often as I went to the pockets of poverty nestled nearby. I met people of every race, strata of society and economic background. I encountered women who were wearing designer outfits, yet leading lives of quiet desperation with husbands who abused them and their children. I came across men and women who had succumbed to alcohol or drugs and left their children to fend for themselves. I witnessed strong women, proud women, with six children, ten children, struggling to put food on the table, embarrassed that their children weren’t properly dressed for school. I saw weak men who beat their wives and children. I saw defeated men who had been beaten down by a system that sought to judge them rather than offer them a leg up.

God has forsaken me.”  “There’s no God, you know.” Those are a couple of the things I would hear at some point from quite a number of the people I was allegedly there to investigate, but was truly there to serve, for I viewed my job as a higher calling. Of course, I was not there to discuss God; it would have been outside the realm of influence for my position. However, I could not bear to leave them in such spiritual pain. What I did in those cases was to say Camille, the caseworker, was going to take her lunch break, and I would leave their apartment or home, then come right back in and visit with them for a while as Camille, the woman, and we would talk about God in a very nondenominational way. Of course, those talks never made it into my reports either, and while I disclosed my use of graphology and astrology to my supervisor, I did not share my lunchtime discussions about God with her.

When I spoke with my clients about the notion that God had forsaken them, they unilaterally pointed out the debris of their lives as evidence, and I always made this same analogy. God is always there and does not forsake us. Just as the sun is always there, but clouds sometimes obstruct our view, when we can’t see God’s hand in our lives, it is because of our cloudy thinking. Then I did just two simple things: (1) I assured them that God loved them. (2) I taught them a new way to pray.

Sadly, most people pray, beating their chests, imploring God to grant them what they want, while at the same time claiming that they are unworthy. That’s like telling the judge you’re guilty, then asking him to set you free. I suggested they accept on faith that God wants to give them their good, and that when they pray, they say THANK YOU for whatever it is they desire, as if it is already theirs, rather than ask for it. I also asked them to get a notebook, and to write in it every morning upon awakening, and every night just before going to sleep: ONLY GOOD COMES TO ME – ONLY GOOD GOES FROM ME. I said to write it over and over for at least one full page, more if they felt like it. Then I asked them to write down in that same notebook, at least once a week, all the things for which they were grateful, and to be sure to include those things for which they prayed.

Before I left, I would ask them to tell me what they expected the next day to be like. A few would say, “The same as every other day has been.” If they said that, I would counter, “If that is what you truly expect, then you will not be disappointed, for that is what you will get.” Others would say, “Better than today.” And to them I would respond, “If that is what you truly expect, then you will not be disappointed, for that is what you will get.” Still others would say, “I don’t know.” I would answer, “You don’t know? Great. Your future is a blank canvass. Now paint it the way you want it.”

And so it is with all of us. We must expect happiness to return, for if we do not, it might find another place to lodge.

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