Saturday, October 29, 2022


So, today I want to write to you about stucco.

Okay, I know.

Stay with me?

I am in the midst of some pretty major home renovations. It began with impact windows, the cost of which was a very major impact to my bank account! Sixteen windows, a patio door, and three standard doors.
,br> Wow. Ouch. And thankful it is done and paid for.

Our home is of CBS construction, except for an add-on Florida room. The original owners built the Florida room of wood sometime in the early 60’s. There was some minor rotting to the wood when I purchased the house almost twenty years ago. It has progressed to the point where it proved to be problematic to the impact window job. I knew it was time to have some serious work done on that part of the house. One section of the wood had to be replaced to be able to support the weight of the impact window. After some investigation and advice from others far more knowledgeable about such things I contracted someone to stucco the outside of the Florida room.


Still with me?

The general contractor brought a laborer to assess the situation. A job cost was given, which, while high, seemed tame after paying for the impact windows. As I listened to the gentleman describe his process details, I was internally troubled by what seemed to me to be a missing aspect of the job.

He kept speaking of applying stucco over the existing wood.

Wood which was noticeably rotting.

I politely thanked him and him that I would let them know.

I let my contractor immediately know: no way.

He confirmed my assessment and said he would find someone that would replace the rotting wood, and then stucco over top of it.

So, why am I sharing these details with you?

My early days of new thought spirituality were revelatory, radical, and extremely exciting. They were also largely about the externals of my life. While I did not realize it at the time, they were a lot like applying effectual stucco over rotting wood consciousness.

Are you with me?

I know you are.

Trying to fix and plaster over situations and circumstances without addressing the underlying causal consciousness will always be a temporary distraction.

Had the first laborer applied stucco over the rotting wood it most likely would have appeared to solve the problem. It could have been painted over and looked great.


The wood would have continued to rot under the stucco, and, after a time period, the stucco would have fallen away. It would have revealed the unattended rotting which would have advanced under the surface of the stucco.

Can I get a witness?

When spirituality is primarily about the surface it is much like stucco. Conditions and circumstances are always effects of our underlying consciousness. We all have some level of unconsciousness which amounts to our own personal “rotting.” This results in a level of discomfort and discontent. We don’t like what is showing up. Especially when it repeatedly shows up. In earlier stages of spirituality, we then try and stucco over the conditions we do not want to see. We misuse affirmations and plaster our minds with vision boards while skipping the most crucial step in any transformation.

We must deal with the rotting wood of old limiting beliefs. Outmoded senses of self. Core beliefs that bind and constrict. We must attend to consciously what lies within our own unconsciousness. Otherwise, we will stucco over the rotten consciousness with something that appears better temporarily. It will appear shiny and new.

And then…

The underlying “rotting” will advance while we are entranced with the surface. At some point sooner or later the surface stucco will fall away and the causal consciousness, in all of its rottenness, will be worse than ever.

A house or a home is always metaphysically representative of a field of consciousness. If a home is not properly maintained problems begin to occur. Short term fixes can lead to long term problems. Pink painting over rotten wood is a very short-term fix. Plastering stucco over rotten wood may buy more time. And it does not address the real issue. The causal issue.

When there is something amiss in my experience, I now know enough to explore the interior first, rather than trying to only fix external conditions. If there is rotting and decay, it is first and foremost in my field. It is causal. It is in consciousness. Everything out there reflects something in here. Always. Every time. No excepptions.

Every external problem must be resolved at the internal level.

I did my share of stuccoing over rotten wood in my consciousness. It never lasted. The effects I thought would solve the problem and satisfy my longing always fell away. I am grateful to know that. Very grateful. Grateful enough to want to share it with you.

I have moved from stucco to foundational spirituality. It does not mean I do not address circumstances and effects. I just do it at the causal level. I do it beneath the surface. I address my own wood rot rather than blaming and damning outer conditions. I attend to the withinness and then I seek to make the outer as pretty as is possible. I like beautiful things. But I do not identify with them. I live by the admonition “as within, so without.” As I let the outer reflect my transformed interior my life and my “house” get better and better. More and more beautiful at the real and depth level.

And as a result, my inner house is solid and stable. Much of the rotting has been exposed and attended to. I am not seduced into believing that if I stucco over problems the problems go away. Denial and suppression are not healing. Covering over and pretense are not healing. The rotting occurs in aspects of consciousness that indeed need to be exposed and that ultimately need to die. Only sustained, unflinching, and compassionate presence can do that.

It is indeed an inside job.

I type these words to the staccato rhythm of hammering that is the sound of the workers applying new wood to my Florida room. That wood then will sustain the soon to be applied stucco. I am confident in that the causal problem is being addressed and corrected first. I am grateful to immediately recognize the bigger-picture lesson, and I share it in hopes that it will be helpful to someone else.

A stucco spirituality isn’t about hiding the underneath.

A stucco spirituality is about deeply knowing that everything occurs in consciousness first. If you want a different result, you must deal with what may be rotting underneath. Do your inner work first. Forgive. Pray. Look intimately within. Be courageous. Be diligent. Address the inner and then have fun redecorating the outer. The more you put into the interior the more stable and lasting will be exterior effects.

Impact windows. Replacing rotting wood. Stucco. And finally, a new paint job. I picked a color called Kind Green. Got to love it. All part of making a house a suitable and sustainable home. Strong walls and supports. Pretty, warm, and even “kind” exterior.

Just like in here.

Saturday, October 22, 2022


Date night by yourself is surely a different experience.

I have been questioned several times recently about what is going on a) with my husband’s health, and b) why I have not been more public about that.

Alright. I guess that is valid.

So maybe today is the day. And I guess this will be the vehicle. After all, I do call this blog RADICAL EXPRESSION.

In 2016 my husband Donald was diagnosed erroneously with Alzheimer’s Disease. This came less than two months after my mothers passing. To say that I was devastated is the king of all understatements.

I felt shattered.

Donald was emphatic that he did not want other people to know about what was going on in him and for us. While I honored his request, I also knew I could not cut myself off from the support of those closest to me. With his hesitant permission, I was able to slightly enlarge our circle of transparency and so support.

One person particularly close to us helped us get into a research center that was Alzheimer’s specific. While I am leaving out many details for brevities sake, Donald and I began an adventure in Alzheimer’s that lasted for over two years.

In most ways Donald received excellent support and care. And yet something felt off about it, at least for me. I noticed physical symptoms that did not coincide with the usual effects of that kind of dementia. I brought this to the attention of the head of the research center, who assured me I was mistaken about what I increasingly believed to be a misdiagnosis. I stubbornly pointed to what I saw to be an extremely different trajectory of the disease. Donald was not declining at the rate typical of an Alzheimer’s patient. While grateful for that I was also internally nagged that the doctors were missing and so not treating what was going really on.

At the end of a rather contentious session at the center a palpable dawning occurred for the lead neurologist.

His usually booming and assured voice dropped several decimals as he said, “I think I may have been mistaken.”

And so ended our journey with Alzheimer’s.

And so began our journey with Lewy Body dementia.

Donald was and is a genius. That has gifted him with a brain that compensates in miraculous ways for the losses the growths are neurologically claiming. The trajectory and prognosis for patients of Lewy Body dementia is always unique. Donald’s has been comparatively slow.

Until recently.

As privately as Donald wanted to traverse through this illness it is no longer possible. Many obvious physical symptoms telegraph not exactly what is occurring, but certainly that something serious is occurring. It can no longer be hidden. He now requires a level of constant care. While I am blessed to be generously gifted with some in-home care for him, it is mostly mine to feed, dress, and provide for his everyday needs. His opportunities to venture away from home are minimal at this point.

Subsequently, so are mine.

He remains the undeniably adorable expression of humanity that I fell in love with more than thirteen and a half years ago. He is cognitively still at a relatively high level of function, especially for where we are in the typical progression. He has moments of wit that still bring me to gales of laughter. His smile still melts me. His eyes still dazzle me. He is still Donald.

And the Lewy Body rheostat dims his expression slightly with every passing day.

He is still Donald.

And yet somehow, he is not.

Little, almost imperceptible parts of him are lost, and I cannot get them back.

I cannot get him back.

No matter how well I feed and dress him, I cannot get him back.

No matter how privately I go about this, I cannot get him back.

No matter how much I am criticized or praised for how I go about this, I cannot get him back.

As I have an aide who watches over him on Friday evenings, I have taken to allowing myself an evening away from home on that night. It is my version of a date night. Except it is without my favorite date.

Last evening, I went to an outside café in a busy public space. It is somewhere Donald and I had been together. As I settled into a table and awaited my dinner, I looked around at a bustle of people all going about their Friday evening activities. I recalled the last time Donald and I had visited this spot together. I pondered our level of engagement at that time. What we said and what we did not say. What we might have said had me known it would be our last chance to date night there together.

As I glanced about, I noticed a couple at a nearby table. They were busily scrolling on their phones, seemingly oblivious to each other’s presence.

I wanted to go to them. I wanted to grab away their phones. I wanted to implore them to look at each other. To listen to each other. To speak openly to each other. To be fully there for each other. I wanted to somehow impress upon them to relish each precious moment they had together.

I wanted to shout to them: "Be together!Be here, now! Do not lose this experience!Do not miss this chance! You cannot get it back!"

Dammit. You cannot get it back.

To you reading these feeble yet heart-felt words: you cannot get it back. Each wondrous, awkward, painful, joyful, heart opening-breaking moment. Once they are gone you cannot get them back.

And so I am here to tell you that date night by yourself is surely a different experience.

And I chose to be fully present to the experience that I was having, as I allowed myself to simply have it. All of it. The memories and the current reality. What I have lost, and what I still have. The man Donald was, and the man Donald is now. Even with the rheostat continuing to dim, he is still the only man for me. He is still warm, smart, adorable, and witty. No one has ever loved me like Donald loves me. And I have never loved anyone the way I love Donald. And while Lewy Body can take many things it cannot take our love. No diagnosis can rob us of that. The prognosis is our love is forever. It is undimmable.

This is long. This is not really the blog I set out to write. I suspect it is more than most of you will want to read, let alone digest.

Yet it is what my heart feels compelled to share. It is what is currently unfolding for Donald and I. When asked for transparency I will not veil it with filters for other people’s comfort.

When asked to be real I give you what is real.What is raw.What is authentic and vital. And once I share it I do so knowing I cannot take it back.

And so my words go forth.

And I cannot get them back.

Saturday, October 15, 2022


I have grown to deeply appreciate the sweet discontent of urgency.

For the past few years, I have been dwelling in a growing sense of urgency. While there is a certain tension to it, a subtle sense of discomfort, it colors my days and moments in a way that I have no desire to change. I has added significant meaning to how I make choices, and to how I choose my ways of expressing.

Urgency has become a dear and trusted friend.

In my youth I had many lofty goals and dreams. Many of the things I wanted to achieve in terms of career were largely time relative. While my singing and acting capabilities were less so, my dancing and modeling expressions had expiration dates built in. As age had its way with physicality, I knew one day that those aspirations would peak and fade. That fact had an intensity about it, yet it was decidedly different than the urgency I feel long after those dreams were laid aside.

Perhaps that is because the dreams of my personality self are vastly different than the evolutionary aspirations of my Soul. I am extremely clear at this point in my human adventure that my entertainment career was never about those expressions as ends in themselves. I was never a great singer, dancer, actor, or model. I had just enough talent to make me viable in the New York market at the time. I needed to be in New York not to set the stage on fire. I needed to be in New York so that an inspirational fire would be set in me. It set the stage for what I was truly to be about on earth.

I look back at my life from my current perspective and I see so clearly how each situation, circumstance, relationship, move, talent, encounter led me to the exact next right thing along the journey to now. I see it all as a wondrous map of awakening. And awakening is where the sense of urgency kicks in.

In my youth I thought I had time. In fact, time was a context for how I lived. Sometimes my sense of time worked for me. And often, my sense of time worked against my highest expression.

Now, I know that my time in this human realm is limited. I guess I always knew that. But it has a very different feel at 65 then it did at 35. The sense of a limited time span is not in any way scary to me. It sweetens my days. It adds color to my mornings and my interactions. I weigh what is most important. My priorities have never been clearer.

I live with a heightened sense of urgency. This urgency is directly related to the fact that I very likely have a limited time left on this earth. I live each day aware more than ever that it could be my last. That adds an element of not only urgency, but also passion and even enthusiasm. I want to live with as much clarity, certainty, understanding, and love as possible. I want to be intensely conscious of the energy that I am emitting in each moment. In what I am adding to the field.

I feel an urgency to leave this world a better place for my having been here.

I did not and will not take the entertainment industry by storm.

I do not regret that. It was never mine to do.

I will not leave a memorable mark on this world.

I have no attachment or sense of remorse regarding that. It was never mine to do.

My moment-to-moment urgency is all about my state of being. My state of awakening. The way in which I relate to and contribute to others and to my world. My urgency is about doing my own inner work so that I can be my very best and highest expression. That is what colors my days and raises me up.

I urgently want to serve the world. I urgently want to help alleviate suffering. I urgently want to bring tenderness, love, compassion, mercy to my every encounter.

When I fall short, as I so often do, I feel a discontent. I do not try and deaden that feeling. I move right into it. It is the sweet discontent of urgency propelling me to be more. To give more. To love more. To use whatever time I have left to urgently make my little piece of earth a heaven for all I encounter.

And it is urgency that prompts me to share these words. These waves within my heart. It is urgency that types these feeble symbols that could never really capture the passion of my desired expression.

But here it is. My little urgency-driven gift to you, dear readers. I pray that you will receive it as an act of love. And if I never write another blog, please know that this was what I was meant to share on this day. In this time-limited life span. In a way that only I can express.

I urgently pray it will touch your heart.

Saturday, October 8, 2022


I cannot swim yet I know I will never drown.

And that is not because I choose to stay away from the water.

During childhood one of my favorite escapes from an often painful and turbulent household was the annual week I got to spend away at church camp. There were admittedly aspects of this experience that I did not relish. Anyone who knows me as an adult would not have to stretch to imagine I am not the camping type. That was already established early in life. This camp did not entail tents or cooking over an open fire. The facilities were, for the time, simple yet not rustic. The grounds were beautiful, and the property had a good-sized lake so for me it was several acres of heaven.

And I was away from home.

Everyday we campers were kept to a specific schedule with mandatory activities. Those included morning prayer circle and chapel, Bible classes, and evening vespers followed by yet another chapel service. This was, after all, church camp.

Three meals were shared in a large dining hall. Between lunch and dinner there were (mandatory) periods of athletics on the field and then swimming in the lake. I was as inept at sports then as I am now. I endured the time of field sports in order to get to my time in the water. There was only one caveat to the swimming experience.

I couldn’t swim.

I have never learned to swim.

I also have never held this as a problem. Well, almost never.

On the dock that jutted out into Round Lake there two diving boards. There was a low board. And there was a high board. As a child the high board appeared equal to the height of the Empire State Building. While the sight of it filled me with fear it also captivated my curiosity. I was determined that I would begin by mastering the low board as a precursor to conquering the high board.

Did I mention I cannot swim?

It never occurred to me that the fact I could not swim was a problem in terms of my diving aspirations. I was too fixated on a vision of me jumping high into the air like a soaring orca to worry about landing in a medium I had no idea how to navigate. I basically figured that I would deal with that post-splash. And I knew I had a secret talent that applied would make me a shoe in for the diving experience.

The camp personnel had a different idea.

In order to be permitted to use the diving boards each camper had to pass a non-negotiable swimming test. The test consisted of swimming from the main dock to a floating dock several yards away.You were then required to swim back to the main dock. As I pondered this temporary obstacle to my Mark Spitz moment I did so looking into the chiseled jaw and steely eyes of the lead lifeguard.He seemed to have no flexibility regarding his authority over the lake and the activities that occured in it. You had to know how to swim in order to be allowed to dive.

I knew this was not going to be easy.

I also knew that this was only a six-day experience and so I was going to either rapidly learn to swim in record time or hatch a plan to get past this Godzilla in speedos really quickly. The latter seemed the more viable choice.

While I knew for sure that I could not swim a lick I also knew that I was an expert floater. This was my secert super power. I have no recall of ever being taught this skill. It simply was something I could do from the first time I entered a pool. And so, it made perfect sense to my still optimistic childlike mind that this was a suitable substitution to the required skill of swimming in order to dive.

On Monday afternoon of church camp, I was in the group that had field athletics first. This torment was made durable by the mental planning I entertained as to how I would orchestrate my way around Mr. Lifeguard. I mentally rehearsed various approaches. As I missed catching the last ball from center field the whistle blew, and I knew my chance was at hand.

My stomach churned. My mind raced. My palms sweated. Though I was at a church camp with no less than six hours of Bible everyday my faith was shallow as I longed to dive into the deep.

This is where I should confidently report to you, my readers, that I mustered all the swagger available to an eight-year-old Olympic protégé bound for a gold in floating and dove into the portals of Round Lake history.

And reporting it would not make it true.

I caved.


I approached, caught Godzilla’s notice, and then shrank away into the shallow end. I was literally and figuritively all wet.

During Wednesday’s touch football debacle, I knew this was to be my day. I changed into my mildew scented trunks and determinably approached my by then wise to me nemesis.

“I am ready to take the swimming test.”

One eyebrow raised. He smirked. I strode to the end of the dock and Godzilla loudly proclaimed “get in.”

Pointing to the floating dock I meekly asked “Does it matter how I get from here to there?” I then stuttered. “And back?”

His stare was piercing. Unwavering. I thought I had lost him and any hopes of the boards.

And then I saw a faint flicker of humor in his eyes. Almost imperceptible yet also undeniable.

I had him.

“Go ahead and give it a try.”

And so I floated my way to one of the sweetest victories of my life.

I did not attempt the high board that year. I belly-flopped off the low board unashamed and undeterred. I floated back to the ladder and climbed out of Round Lake and into a life-long realization:

There are many things that I will never be able to accomplish in this lifetime. Many hurtles I cannot leap over. Many mountains I will never climb. I am not a being of great physical strength or prowess. I am not a physical overcomer. I will never jump off a high, low, or any diving board ever again.

Yet I can float as well as anyone I know. I can and do go deep. I move with the currents of life. I naturally allow life to buoy me up. I have my own way of accomplishing, and my own standards of success. And when the odds are against me, I will find a way to both go deep and rise above. And I can charm my way past any Godzilla, even ones wearing church-inappropriate speedos.

So, in the lake of life, it is true that I cannot swim. And yet I know I will never drown. Because I was born with a natural ability to float. Situations can pull me under, and I pop right back up. I can’t catch a ball, but I can step out of the way of one. I am always teachable, usually flexible. I may fear the high board, but it doesn’t stop me from climbing and fearfully leaping.

I know that when I leap, I will plunge deep. I also know that I will rise to the surface. And I will float easily until I leap again.

A lot of time and experience have happened since my days at Round Lake. Yet I carry the lessons with me.

And I know if I can float I will never, ever drown. And I can always choose to float.