Hello New Year

Hello New Year! Hello fresh clean slate filled with possibility.

It’s a neat feeling to feel so pure, so unblemished as a brand new year begins. Hell, it’s already 8:30AM and I haven’t had any chocolate yet, or fried food, or carbs on top of carbs. Ok, well, I did have ice cream right after midnight, but I could never give that up anyway, so even if I was making a resolution that would not be it. So far this year, I have not cussed or struggled or made any mistakes. I haven’t had my feelings hurt or hurt anyone else’s. I have not said anything I regret or done anything I wish I hadn’t. I haven’t smoked any cigarettes or drank any alcohol. Granted, I haven’t smoked or drank in many years, but still, I haven’t this new year either. So cool. I remember watching the movie Bridget Jones Diary years ago and identifying as she changed her resolutions every hour on the hour after caving to whatever vice she had promised herself she would absolutely, positively, not do that year. That identification was a lifetime ago though, so long ago.

And so, I wonder what 2022 will bring, but even as I wonder, I know that there will be many blessings for those I love. I know that I will keep promises to myself and have a purposeful year. I know because I am manifesting these things right here, right now and will continue to do so all though the year. It’s exciting to have learned that the delivery lies in the believing. It’s exciting to understand that I have a choice in what I believe the year will be. I love that. So, bring it on. I am ready.

A Covid/Election Saturday Morning

I woke up this morning excited. Yippee, TGIS – a fresh new day and a weekend one to boot. No appointments, no place I absolutely have to be. Just a wide-open, fresh, clean slate. Cool.

But then, I turned on a television news program. And the day took an immediate turn for the worse.

Listening to the news commentators talk about our upcoming presidential election, within minutes the adrenalin level in my body was high enough to set aside the coffee I had poured. All I could think was, “No wonder my therapy clients are struggling so with anxiety and depression.”

I went to graduate school to become a clinical social worker because I want to make a difference. To offer a place for clients to come to process challenges, stressors, fears and doubts. To help them turn around their worries and doubts through cognitive behavioral therapy and other modalities. I feel privileged to be able to do that, but right now, with so many people struggling with a sense of Covid 19 disconnection and confusion, the heaviness they bring in to the office sometimes weighs heavy on my heart.

Yesterday, my client load was full with community members of varying ages. Some were young adults needing to discuss how they are grappling with anxiety and depression. One was a teacher trying to make sense of life in her formerly beloved and now live/virtual blended classroom. She expressed that “too many parents are not paying attention to what is really going on with their children (students) right now.” The teacher and I spoke about the local school where she is employed. A large percent of her students are failing, a few with grades far below fifty. Many are not handing in assignments from home. Student accountability is at an all-time low and there seems nothing she can do about it.

Although parents have access to their child’s grades via the internet, it seems clear that many are not looking at them. If they are, they are not addressing what they see. The teacher shared that she and her colleagues have exchanged stories of their current teaching experiences with blended virtual and live classrooms. Some have learned that students are home alone and left to educate themselves (and sometimes younger siblings too) virtually. This takes the idea of latch key kids to a whole new level. Teaching staff has learned that many zoom/google classroom students, when they opt to go “off camera,” are actually opting “off from school” though their ability to prove this is challenging with everything else going on around them.  

The levels of anxiety and depression in therapy clients, especially young adults, is staggering. Our future generation does not have ample physical or emotional outlets right now. They lack much needed socialization and in turn, are not garnering essential life skills, skills such as emotional self-regulation, the ability to communicate thoughts and feelings, negotiation strategies, the importance of sharing and healthy competition. Kids seem only able to unwind through video games, but these bring up entirely different challenges as kids are sometimes connecting with strangers during game time and are often exposed to violence, age-inappropriate content and even angry background music. And all too often, when kids are gaming, it is under the guise that they are doing homework.

Because peer to peer interaction is not happening, there is a severe lack of connection and more and more youngsters are turning to drugs dispensed through “carts” and pens. These drugs are provided by known drug dealing students and sometimes the buyers get a lot more than they bargained for. When I explained “half-life” and the way drugs stay in your system (in particular THC) to a client the other day, she was wide eyed and afraid. I hope she stays that way and opts out of trying marijuana heavily laced with it again as a source of entertainment to help her with her boredom and depression.

Although societally we seem invested in finding where to lay absolute blame for our dramatic challenges these days, the challenges of Covid 19 and accommodating both live and virtual education, there is nowhere to put absolute blame for what is happening, at least not in my opinion. However, there is a fervent need for solution and I really wish that more of us would focus on that going forward.

“What do we do? Where do we start? Who do we get to listen? To listen to what is really going on and not just what is being expressed publicly?” And all the while on the news, as I saw this morning, I see promise after promise about the future from candidates running for office. I say, “Forget about funding election commercials filled with promises meant for later. Put that wasted money towards figuring out a way to get our nation’s schools back on track now.”

Problems within our schools, substance and alcohol issues and youngsters disconnection, none which discriminate by the way by gender, race, ethnicity or religion, did not start with the introduction of Covid 19, though the virus has certainly severely exacerbated things. Though administration may want to deny it, long before any virus fallout, young clients say that they knew whose water bottle had water and whose had vodka in their class, this in middle school. I remember being shocked, but then again, not too shocked. Title one schools show high grades, but as someone who has interacted with local children as a coach for some years, I can attest that many of our passing students have not been promoted ready for their next grade for quite some time. Administration’s investment in reporting high grades has sometimes gotten in the way of children’s actual learning. Now, in the midst of the pandemic, touting high success numbers is still critical for school administration, but that is coming at a cost.

And so, it won’t much matter which person is elected next week for President of the United States if this goes on. The future of America depends on our children. Please pay attention folks. Maybe there are one or two children in your immediate vicinity you can hello. Heck, maybe those children are even in your own home.

Out Here …

When you learn to stand still, to take a breath and then another,

When you remain quiet enough to pause in the question,

When you wait in uncertainty with no answer in sight,

When you are willing to ask for help and show vulnerability,

When you honor what you knew all along without knowing,

As well as what you didn’t know when you didn’t know it,

When you linger in recognition of all you are learning now,

When you reach forward in gratitude and become witness to all you have, instead of focusing backwards on things you may have lost,

Or on things you were sure you were supposed to get but never did,

then and only then will you be able to fully appreciate the journey…”

MaryLois Altmann


Idle Time

Over many years I have read Deepak, Pema, Wayne, Eckhart, Rumi and so many others. Each one presents their spiritual messages differently, but the takeaway is consistent. In the past, although I had a voracious appetite for these messages, while still striving for busy, purposeful days, sometimes what I garnered was a bit confusing:

Go within. Reach out.  Forgive. Own fear. Fear is a liar. Stand Raw. Try. Hold on. Let go. Be in the now. Honor the past. Grab for the stars. Dig deep. Remember. Forget. Trust God. Trust yourself. Use Your voice. Stay quiet. Say Yes. Say No. Love deeply. Be still. Say what you mean, just don’t say it mean. Go Big. Be humble. Stay in the Middle. Risk the fringes. Make mistakes. Be a force. Be humble. Stand Raw. Try. Hold on. Let go.

Now, after forced time being still, I am not confused anymore.

Over the past seven weeks, laid up first from a car accident and now quarantined due to Covid-19, I have had lots of extra time on my hands. I used to be afraid of too much time, of idle time. It was more comfortable to keep moving, keep going, keep doing. Recently, while not being able to move or go or do much, I realized I could choose to take comfort in the stillness of my body and my thoughts. And so, in the tranquility of my home and the powerlessness out in the world, my thoughts are hopeful. They are willing. They are mine. I am safe with them.

Within these safe thoughts, I feel grace and gratitude for my life, for my family and for any administration making hard decisions right now. I do not allow thoughts like the ones which used to want me busy, to delude me into believing that I would know better, that I could know better, were I making these decisions myself. I choose to have faith and trust. I choose to believe that everyone will get still enough to see that we are all doing the best we can with what we have available to us. Standing in judgment is busy work and nowhere in the pages I have read by the spiritual guides I still choose to learn from, do I see that as part of their advice.

So, although I am not Deepak or Wayne or Pema, I too have a message:

Being comfortable while standing still is a cool decision. Trust takes work. Love is a choice. Risks are part of life. Laughter is essential, though it’s okay to cry. Others will believe what they want about you or the world at large. Although their reality may not be yours, you don’t have to convince them. Speak your truth, even when it’s hard. If someone asks, tell them. If they don’t, stay quiet and leave the rest up to them. And never, ever worry about being still. It’s where we find the answers.

“Yay, F–K” … Well, it’s True

Watching a Showtime series last night, the underlying message from the show’s finale episode was this:  “Life is basically, Yay, Fuck.” Yep, this was the show’s message, and the reality is, it is true. Right now, we are sitting in an extra-long stretch of the latter, so to say we are all under stress would be an understatement. Our amygdala’s are on overdrive and even our usual go-to fight, flight or freeze response has been affected, because in fact, there is absolutely nowhere to take flight to.

Right now, we have more time for introspection than any of us would like. With offices, restaurants, movie theaters, sporting arenas, malls and beaches closed, time is what we have in abundance. All the things we would normally do when we have time are not accessible. I am not even a regular manicure person, but I feel stir crazy not to be able to get one. And of course, my hair is at that, “I need it cut NOW” length. But a manicure or a haircut seem so trivial really. Last night, my high school BFF filled me in on the situation at the Brooklyn hospital where she works as a nurse manager. The pediatric and psychiatry units have been transformed into Covid care rooms and the running total at her hospital thus far is four hundred cases with many more coming in every moment and a death toll that is staggering. I would write more about what she said, but I fear it would only serve to create more stress for anyone who may take the time to read this blog. Suffice it to say, this virus MUST be taken seriously.

As much as I miss connecting in person with people, what I miss more is not worrying so much about the people I love, especially my son and daughter-in-law who are cooped up in their home office/living room in an area of Connecticut hit hard with this virus. I know I am not original in that I have never experienced anything like this, and from a spiritual perspective, I can’t help but wonder if we are being called to get quiet, very, very quiet.

And so, yes, I have gotten quiet. And in the stillness lies the realization that there is so much about my usual day to day world that I have taken for granted. A trip to the bank or to a store, coffee or dinner out, these things I have done without thinking. I hope that when we can once again get back out and pick up life as we knew it, that I will remember to appreciate what it was like not to be able to and thus be extra grateful.

I never realized how much I took for granted. I always knew I could say yes tomorrow to something or someone I put off in a today. Now that getting together in groups is disallowed, I want to go back in time and say yes to everything. I want people I love to know that I miss seeing them and being with them.

Across the nation there is a daunting sense of What if? What next? Who knows? An overall sense of fear, uncertainty and confusion. Many are afraid and working on that fear one hour at a time. Although I am disallowing fear from taking over, I am certainly pushing back against it on a regular basis. Every time I hear from a family member or friend up in New York or Connecticut and become privy to the extent of this Covid-19 nightmare up there, I pray, pray, pray for them/for all of us.

Today, this day, I wrote my gratitude list, made a promise to not dive in to fear and I prayed. I asked God to watch over and protect us all and, as a direct result of what we are going through, to make each of us a more empathic and generous human being. I asked that as a nation we may grow from this experience. I prayed this morning that all of us, no matter what political party we stand for, can let go of animosity and discord and hold on to community, love and honor for each other.

I prayed especially for my son and daughter-in-law, and all the rest of my family and friends. I prayed for each one of us, for our doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, EMT’s and all other first responders, for teachers and all workers being of service, for our President, our government, our politicians, our CEO’s, for everyone, everywhere in our nation and beyond.

My eyes are open to how difficult this is for every single one of us. I want all of you workers and leaders to know that I see you and how tirelessly you are trying. I see your efforts. Please know that, in case you feel unnoticed or attacked or discouraged in your efforts. May God Bless you one and all. May God Bless all of us one and all. Wishing love, peace, good health and serenity at this challenging, scary and confusing time and always.

The Richness in Our Elders

Over the past two years, I spent a large percentage of time working with the elderly and infirmed; most had a diagnosis of some form of dementia. This work proved to be both rewarding and disheartening and, as with most things I have taken on in my life, I had no idea what I was getting into when I started. Every day, as I sought resources which would better enable aging clients to maneuver within their lives, I was reminded that toys, money, accolades and trophies become somewhat meaningless towards the end of life. It’s ironic really, because we spend so much time amassing, clutching and grabbing for things as we go along, things which, after reaching old age, inevitably wind up in the back of a closet, or in a box in the attic or basement. In far too many cases, I bore witness, to someone’s treasures becoming curbside pickup when a family cleaned out their parents’ home to either move them into an elder care facility or bury them after they passed away.

So often, I stood looking at framed certificates touting master’s degrees or Doctorates earned by one of the older men or women I was privileged enough to assist. These degrees enabled some of these same folks to amass plenty of disposable cash. But I’d bet my own last dollar that each one of the folks who earned these accolades or saved this money, would give up claim to all of it for better vision or hearing, improved cognitive health or greater mobility.

It was very hard to not get too attached to the elderly men and women I worked with; but after all, how could I not? In truth, I believe I always will attach no matter how hard I try not to. This is largely because so few of the folks I assisted had viable peer support. Some had an aide or a physical therapist, but rarely did they have someone from which to receive the benefit of regular hugs. Former clients may have lived in lovely facilities, buildings with marble foyers and grand stairways, but they still ate their meals virtually alone, even when at a table full of others. Particularly, at the memory care facilities, so many in the dining room struggled to concentrate on eating, leaving neither energy nor mental capacity for engaging and socializing with table mates. For so many older individuals, meal time or hobby time do not hold the same joy as they did in the past. Yes, there are Bingo games and movie nights. There are crafts and even shopping trips, but with walkers, wheelchairs, hearing aids and other necessary devices, the payoff for attending events or field trips is trumped by the stress of the logistics involved in participating. Sadly, it seems that for too many elders in our society, companionship and sociability come with a price.

Looking at life from a clinical perspective, it seems that we, those who still have our vision, have lost sight. The enormous amounts of energy often spent arguing about the sad state of the nation on social media could be channeled and shifted into getting involved on a neighborhood level; involved with someone watching the world from a very lonely vantage point. Perhaps they are living alone in assisted living, or struggling with dementia in a locked ward. These people are right down the street and up the road from where you live.

I wonder what would happen if we channeled the rage that drives posts, tweets and chats and shifted it into compassion for the forgotten citizens, the ones who are not capable of posting angry rants, and are instead living with inner torment due to deterioration of their bodies, minds and spirits. These non-tweeting people have so much to offer in life experience, but they are too often tucked away and living lonely, dismissed and undervalued. I think we, as a society, are missing something very important by allowing this loneliness. I wish we could look around more and really see, instead of always reacting before we stop to. If we did this, I believe we would recognize the vast resource currently tucked away with the forgotten generation.

Once we recognized it, we might then realize how much we can learn from our seniors! How I wish more and more of us would take a chance, visit some of these elders and start asking them to share a few stories. Ask them for advice. They have so much to tell us and so many stories; stories of resilience and courage, of heartache and joy, of wars and epidemics, of hatred and love. We have so much we could be learning from our eldest generation if we only stopped to see them and to ask. Continue reading

9/11 and Resiliency

This morning, September 11th, I was taking an early walk before work. As I walked, I reflected on another September day years ago, remembering where I was the moment I heard; it was a conference room in Massachusetts where colleagues had gathered for an early AM meeting. I remember all too vividly that morning and the disbelief that followed me like a shadow for a long time afterwards; a morning which permanently altered my spirit and so many other spirits in our country and the world.

This morning as I walked and reflected, sending out heartfelt energy to my brothers, sister in law, cousins, extended family and friends who were touched both physically and emotionally as an all too direct result of that day, a Martin County firefighter walked towards me. He was in full gear with an American flag draped over his shoulders. He was determined and purposeful, making a proud and glorious statement on a very somber day; a statement about resilience and service. I was so touched to see him.

I stopped and we spoke for a moment. As we did, I noted how drenched he was with perspiration; here in Florida the heat was already well under way for the day. All I could think of was that the warmth he was experiencing was nothing…in comparison…we both acknowledged that.

As I made a loop and u-turned back on my route, I saw him again. This time there were two other county public servants who had joined him. I asked if I could take their photo and share it. They gave permission and then we four had a moment of reflection, of honor and of glory. I thank those men for the statement they are making today.

God Bless them and their fellow brothers and sisters in service. And God Bless America, the land of the free and resilient and the home of the brave.


My cap and gown hang in the closet waiting for graduation. The Phi Alpha cord and stole are draped over the hanger; their blue and gold fringe hang down to the floor. And every time I open the closet door and see them, I am brought to tears. You would think they should be tears of joy, of elation, of purpose and of hope for what lies ahead. Tears expressing completion and finishing, accomplishment and learning. And yet, they are tears of sorrow and grief. Tears of wishing I did this younger and of hoping it’s not too late to make a difference…

When I started this Master’s program with its 2 year internship attached, my goal was to become a therapist and yes, I have arrived at a place to be able to do this now. A place where I will help others to not have to writhe and wrangle through life the way I have done for decades while trying to press back against past trauma. I just knew that God was asking me to strive to pass along some of the “work” I have done; to make an effort to help to offset some of the pain others may experience along their life journeys. And so, I set out on the path.

But just because it is time to give back on a deeper level, and just because you are ready to heed God’s call to your spirit, that does not mean that your life or those you love within it will be able to see or to understand just what you have embarked on. It does not mean that God will hold back on delivering challenges. It does not mean that you will easily have the vigor to hold on to what you know and already have in your energy fields and yet still make room for all you are asked to take in.

With so many lectures these past years, there were tugs and tears. The classes on grief brought up every loss of my past and the all too close present; the lectures on divorce and its effects on children felt like bullets to my soul because I knew none of this when I made my own choices around that subject. I just didn’t know. Studies on polyvagal theory and neuroplasticity blew my mind, very literally blew my mind, because I could actually feel electrical sparks of understanding coursing through my brain as I learned; I really could feel them.

The power point presentations on rape and its after effects could have been taken from my CV. Those on childhood trauma transported me more than once to the long ago; bruising my little girl spirit again, yet again. Still, I wanted to learn more. I wanted to understand more and understand I did.

And now, at this milestone moment, it has become clear that amid all the learning and the A-OK’s, amid the holding my breath while trying not to be triggered, there is additional learning. I never in my wildest imaginings believed that I would be called to process still more, this when I have spent the last year striving so hard to finish so that life could get more relaxed.

I am reminded of what a professor explained to me when I sought her counsel in the first semester after a death in the family. She told me that she grows more adept in her practice every day, as she learns more about herself through dealing with life’s challenges. She also said that because of past trauma, it was important to be vigilant in maintaining breathing space during my learning; this in order to detach each day because the stuff we were studying could kick things up. And in the middle of the kicking up, new challenges abounded all the while. I have been grateful for this professor’s messages at the moments I had mental space to remember her wisdom, because she helped me keep on. I remember a moment where she looked me in the eyes and I knew that she understood. It felt like a long time since I believed someone could. I remember her telling me about all the mistakes she has made which press her forward in her clinical practice. I recall her reminding me not to look for understanding from others in this work, because I would be left wanting, but merely to do it.

But to not seek understanding from those we love when we feel we need it is not easy for humans, especially because all the while, all along the course of this learning, in my life outside class there was loss, there was death, there was illness and challenge. Yes, there was still suiting up and showing, even when the armor grew heavier atop the burdens of this emotional learning. There seemed not space enough to either ask for understanding or to understand. Yet, all the while, there was needing and wanting and tired. There was ever so much tired. And being in my mid 50’s, there was also the lack of cooperation from my unrecognizable body and ever so much heat constantly coursing through me, though I kept attempting to deny what was going on.

When my clinical year started and I set out for an elder certification, all I could see in the eyes of my clients was my mother; my deceased mom who just like many of them both wanted help and refused it at the same time. Counter transference at its finest. I saw dad too in the spirits of cancer patients writhing in pain and in the eyes of Alzheimer sufferers, former corporate giants who could no longer pick up a fork or brush their teeth. Every paper I wrote for two years was with a personal experience in mind. And I kept wishing, and wishing, that I was younger and had less references to pull from. Oh, how I wished I had not already “been there done that” as I wrote and wrote and wrote.

The lectures on drug addiction were unbearable. They hit too close to home on so very many levels. The professor’s solution of offering sanctuary to addicts incited a wish to stand up and scream at the insanity of what she was teaching. I wondered if the instructor had walked the streets of LA trying to find a stepdaughter the way I had the year before. Had she seen the addict’s and dealer’s tents pitched everywhere, infringing on the city the way I had? Had she ridden in the back of a police car and heard the pain in the officer’s voice as he spoke of the hopelessness of any solution? Did she know that the subject she was touting was shaking my home? My family? My security? Did she know? And then came the exams where I was called to put aside personal knowledge and access the answers I was being taught; answers which I know are not really the answers, not really.

It seems that the years of being immersed in these lessons and these reminders have taken a deeper toll that I ever imagined. The Masters graduate wants to stand proud, but the little girl in me really, ever so badly, needs a hug. OK little girl here goes; here’s a big fat squeeze. Can you feel it? Now then, go ahead and put one foot in front of the other as the woman in you promised she would, because perhaps down the road, there may be someone, somewhere who will be served because of something passed along to them from all this learning. Maybe then it will seem that it has been worth it.

We Can All Give Back Right Now

Thus far, in my last year of graduate school for clinical social work, I have spent approximately 450 hours working as a clinical intern “out in the field.” My clients have ranged from elders with Alzheimer’s disease to teenage girls operating under thick defensive armor in order just to survive, let alone thrive, in today’s middle schools.

I feel blessed for these opportunities, but it is hard to see what I am looking at.

What I have witnessed are elders who are alone, even sometimes while living with others. I see visually and hearing impaired women and men trying to cope whilst their caregivers lack the ability to “get” what  lack of vision or hearing actually means. I am exposed to medical offices that, even though they have extensive records, don’t seem to know much about the patient who is calling. Some of these same offices have asked me, the advocate, what paperwork the client needs to get specific medical help; this when I have called them to find out; this after I have been kept on hold for over an hour. Yes, this has happened to me more than once, more than thrice.

I have had physician’s staff call patient’s with dementia (rather than the caregiver) to remind them of appointments and then been asked to help with the frightened fallout. I have come into someone’s home while a chicken pot pie was burning because she couldn’t smell the smoke or hear the timer. I have been told by an 89 year old woman that she slept with an aluminum baseball bat under her bed just in case of another break-in, because she couldn’t dial the phone; thankfully, she now has an assisted device to do so. Hopefully she will never have to make the call.

Trying to assist some of these elders with medical logistics is a full-time job. There is lost paperwork, hours on hold, lack of transportation, financial stress, but most of all there is a lack of empathy. And I am left to wonder, how we can as a society begin to repair the many breakdowns in communication between a loved one and their caregiver; between the family and an advocate; between everyone and the doctor’s offices.

As for the young folks, I now understand that they should:  1. Never send a text unless they are OK with it being screen-shotted to half the school. 2. Not expect to sit with selected friends in the cafeteria, because seats are assigned. 3. Not expect to vent or have too much fun in same cafeteria; and definitely not get up from the table without permission. 3. Prepare, and be ready to take a stand, even though they may not yet have all the information needed before taking that stand. 4. Not report someone for bullying, because if they do, they are subject, along with the person bullied, to be written up; this is firsthand information from two high school-ers this happened to.

Now, it is possible that I am getting misinformed, but from what I see, from what I hear, from what I encounter and from the kids (both young and old) who share their burdens, things are not working very well in our society. I asked one struggling young middle school girl why she thought she was so angry. She said, “because I always feel like I have to take a stand. I always feel like I am supposed to stick up for myself and because I can’t trust anyone.”

So, my dreams and goals to help others seem daunting. However, I am hopeful. Hopeful that there are lots of others out there who want to help too and who are willing to learn the best way how. Here’s my thought:  Take a moment today, as soon as you can, to decide to understand a teenager or an elder. Know that they are up against challenges that you will not easily understand, either because you are not yet “there,” or because things were a helluva lot different when you were in middle school. But try to understand. Ask them questions. Make them put their cell phone down or in the case of an elder, teach them how to use one. Look them in the eye. Ask them what is hard for them. Find out what they love.

You can help right here, right now. Will you please work to try to do so? There are so many who need it. Spread the willingness. Spread the hope. Spread the love. By doing so, you can help to change the world.

On Using Your Voice in America

Although finding our voice and learning to use it is a huge part of life’s journey, the way we are teaching our children to do so today, the way we are communicating as a nation is truly heartbreaking. People are screaming so loud that you can’t even hear them anymore. Did you hear me? I said, “PEOPLE ARE SCREAMING SO LOUD THAT YOU CAN’T EVEN HEAR THEM ANYMORE!!” So, is it any wonder there is so much violence and rage with our young people today? Is it any wonder?

Is it any wonder, when we are surrounded by negativity; by so many raging against our very brothers and sisters in public office? The insanity that children are being taught today is not the fault of “them,” it is the fault of each one of us who accepts it. I haven’t even looked at who won or lost the elections yet this morning, because it has begun to feel as if it doesn’t even matter; instead I am digesting how happy I am that at least for now, the ugliness is over. My recycle bin will get a break at the very least.

I am exhausted by what went on prior to election day yesterday here in my neighborhood. Local commercials based only on slander. Mailbox fillers every day filled with hate. Posts and Tweets and Articles and Videos…filled with nothing but hate, hate, hate.

I don’t know how we got here, but it did not start this year or even last. It did not start with one man or with two or with one woman or three. It did not start with the last election or this. It did not start with this Congress. It started as a ripple effect some time ago and it worsens rapidly and exponentially because so many seem to be forgetting that we are today, tomorrow and always, supposed to be human. We are supposed to try and hope and guide and reach high. We are supposed to be brothers and sisters and tap into compassion and grace. To aim high for the stars instead of low at the jugular.

I hope, pray, and yes, do believe…that we can find peace. But first, each one of us has to be accountable to stop the hate right in our own home, in our own mailbox, on our own television and in our own heart. Right here, right now.

I hope you will join me. I hope you will try.