Monthly Archives: September 2017

I’m thinking about standards…


“If I get to pick what I want to do, then it’s play… if someone else tells me that I have to do it, then it’s work.”
— Patricia Nourot

Are you continually struggling to accomplish what is expected of you? If so, stop to think for a moment: who holds those expectations?

Perhaps you’re trying to meet the expectations of a parent or a teacher or other authority figures who may be long gone from your life. But many of us toil under the critical eyes of a vague ‘somebody’ who always judges that we’ve never done enough or done things well enough. Who is this phantom judge? And do we need to care about what they think any longer?

We find both our own power and happiness when we begin to set our own standards around what has heart and meaning for us.

“Doubt yourself and you doubt everything you see. Judge yourself and you see judges everywhere. But if you listen to the sound of your own voice, you can rise above doubt and judgment. And you can see forever.”
— Nancy Lopez

Copyright © 1999 – 2017 Higher Awareness Inc.
Edmonton, AB, Canada T5K 0K6


I’m thinking about a lesson from my friend, the Rabbi…


A short pre-Rosh HaShanah piece I shared with my congregation

Jacob’s famous dream is a vision of angels ascending and descending a ladder, touching earth while soaring to heaven.

I want to share a beautiful Chassidic teaching about this dream with you.

In typical Chassidic tradition, we are asked a question.

When is a person who is lower on the ladder
Higher than a person who is
Higher on the ladder?

The answer…….?

When the lower person is climbing up ……
and the higher person is descending down.

As in many Chassidic lessons, what sounds mysterious is really about every-day life…….

We move up, we move down, we take steps, make some progress and then have setbacks.

That’s the pattern we encounter as we pursue goals and intentions. We have days when we get closer, days when we almost meet our aspirations, and days when our dreams grow ever more elusive.

Jacob, back in our biblical story and on the run from home, spends his night tossing and turning on his pillow of stone.

We toss and turn on our memory- foam mattresses and modern feather pillows. The era changes, the human dilemmas stay the same.

The Chassidic reflection wisely points out that in our struggles, our progress is measured not only by the distance travelled but by direction chosen.

Ask yourself – Am I ‘checking out’? Am I moving forward? Am I in withdrawal? Am I resignedly headed for the door? Or, am I steadfastly holding my own, returning again and again, to deal with life’s challenges?

The angels float up AND down, remember. They represent the continuous determination and decisions needed to reach our commitments and aspirations.

We often hear:

“You are exactly where you are supposed to be”.

That may be true.

Where we choose to go next, however, Is ours to determine.

It’s a beautiful Midrash on a well-known dream.

The same angels rise and descend, just as we rise, fall back and then choose to rise again and again in pursuit of a life worth living.

I hope this gentle reading reinforces our spirits as we rise (and sometimes fall back) on the path to creating a sweet, fruitful New Year.

Shanah Tovah

I’m thinking about 71+ years…with gratitude…


“Inside every older person is a younger person–wondering what the hell happened.”
— Cora Harvey Armstrong

“The hardest years in life are those between 10 and 70.”
— Helen Hayes (at 73)

“Old age ain’t no place for sissies.”
— Bette Davis

“Thirty-five is when you finally get your head together and your body starts falling apart.”
— Caryn Leschen

“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.”
— Frank A. Clark

“I’m looking forward to looking back on all this.”
— Sandra Knell

Copyright © 1999 – 2017 Higher Awareness Inc.
Edmonton, AB, Canada T5K 0K6


Judy Andry writes about: “MARY” in The Main Central Jin Shin Jyutsu Newsletter, issue Number 75, Winter 2012:


Jin Shin Jyutsu arrived in my life in the summer of 1984, thanks to the hands of Charles de la Vergne. Mary’s sisters, Helen and Alice, friends of Charles, visited New Orleans for the Worlds Fair over the Labor Day Weekend that summer, and Charles introduced us. As a thank you for having dinner at our home, they sent me Mary’s first Self-Help book.

After two and a half months of almost daily JSJ self-help my life was so significantly changed – body, mind and spirit – I talked my friend Mary Jane Phelan into going with me to Scottsdale for a week of sessions with Helen and Alice. It was a “watershed event” for both of us. It was impossible to even consider seeing Mary, she had standing appointments and a long waiting list in case of cancellations.

Halfway through our week with Helen and Alice, they announced they had a surprise for us. They had arranged a “top secret” session for each of us with Mary! We were sworn to secrecy, because they knew how furious folks on the waiting list would be if they found out someone was sneaked in ahead of them.

So my first meeting with Mary was a “through the back door” encounter. She was at that time kneeling on the floor treating people lying on very low pallets. I cannot imagine how she did that all day long – and into the night. As she zeroed in on my right 11 and my right 5, and I grimaced, she gently opined, “That’s not ME hurting you, that’s YOU hurting you.” Words seared into my memory!

The last time I saw Mary was in 1990 when she was giving a 5-day class in Santa Rosa. On the final day I was going to have to leave early in the afternoon in order to catch a bus that would get me to the airport in San Francisco in time to catch the flight back to New Orleans.

By this time I had attended many 5-day classes and felt like I knew Mary – and that she actually knew or at least recognized me – though I still approached her with total awe and some trepidation. So, on that last afternoon I found myself on the far left side of a large room filled with about 200 people, with Mary in front on a stage, and the exit door on the far right. To leave early meant I would have to walk in between Mary and her audience while she was in the middle of a lesson. I was mortified.

Finally I had no choice but to make my move to leave. Hot with embarrassment, I began the long walk across the auditorium. As I walked,Mary stopped her lecture and began walking herself, toward the steps on the right end of the stage, arriving there just as I reached that place. I looked at her wide-eyed as she extended both arms, inviting me into them for a giant and lingering hug. I was both flabbergasted and transported. She said a gentle and happy good-bye, and I floated out of the room. Whatever it was, something transpired that touched me deeply. To this day I have no memory of the trip home beyond getting on that bus in Santa Rosa. I was simply transported by her loving gesture. What a gift she gave to me.

Who could have known that would be Mary’s last class…

Thank you, Judy.

Thank you, Mary.

Thank you, David.

Gassho, Namaste, Blessings

All issues of The Main Central Jin Shin Jyutsu Newsletter are available at

I’m thinking about the power of being me…


“The deep root of failure in our lives is to think, ‘Oh how useless and powerless I am.’ It is essential to think strongly and forcefully, ‘I can do it,’ without boasting or fretting.”
— Dalai Lama

Angeles Arrien says that whether we are male or female, we need to develop three kinds of power. People who hold these three powers cannot be ignored.

  1. Power of presence – Being really present in each moment
  2. Power of communication – Speaking my truth
  3. Power of position – Being willing to take a stand

“A man’s true state of power and riches is to be in himself.”
— Henry Ward Beecher

“We are no longer puppets being manipulated by outside powerful forces; we become the powerful force ourselves.”
— Leo Buscaglia

Copyright © 1999 – 2017 Higher Awareness Inc.
Edmonton, AB, Canada T5K 0K6

I’m thinking about the United Nations…


“Family life! The United Nations is child’s play compared to the tugs and splits and need to understand and forgive in any family.”
— May Sarton

Faced with a child (or a person of any age, for that matter) who is angry or rebellious? Consider the guidance from Vimala McClure:

“To discover what my child needed, a deep, yielding receptivity was vital. The temptation is to become more and more rigid, but the more you do, the less you understand. When faced with a child who is testing your resolve, relax and yield ….

“As a parent, the frustration of not knowing how to fill a need that cannot be articulated can be overwhelming. Often we direct the rage that stems from that frustration toward the child, which serves to distance us even further, making it impossible for the child to open up to us. To get to this type of receptivity, a practice of conscious relaxation is a must.”

“Those who have children can become masters of patience, endurance, and steadfastness, because children will test you at every turn. …The way to make our children patient and loving is to be that way ourselves.”
— Eknath Easwaran

Copyright © 1999 – 2017 Higher Awareness Inc.
Edmonton, AB, Canada T5K 0K6