Christmas Star in YOU

“The sign of Christmas is a star, a light in darkness. 

See it not outside yourself, but shining in the Heaven within,

and accept it as the sign the time of Christ has come.”

‘ A Course In Miracles’ T. 15. XI.2 

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Universations by Angelica Rose

Universtations  By Angelica Rose

I celebrated a birthday feeling fulfilled with experiencing Universal Love expressed in nature. I was surrounded by hundreds of gold butterflies, waterfalls, beautiful trees and birds.  On the way back, I felt pulled to go to Macy’s. I came across these beautiful, unique pair of blue jeans. They were originally $100 with forty percent off. I said to the Universe, “how pretty these jeans are. I would enjoy paying $32 for them. Otherwise I am fine without getting them.” I asked the clerk if the Macy’s birthday or wallet coupons would work. She said no. She checked online and said they were the same price. I thanked her and left. When I got back to the house, I felt pulled to go to May’s online. I saw the white and blue jeans listed on sale. The white pair was $52 with forty percent off. The blue pair was $52. I called and asked if the forty percent could be used toward the blue pair. She said no. I told I was celebrating a birthday today. She said, “If it’s your birthday then I’ll give you forty percent off the blue jeans. They come to $32.” I wear them with gratitude.

  • I opened my heart to Universal Love and felt so joyful. At that time is when I shared how I’d like the jeans.  I felt a deep sense of enjoying them without having an attachment to having them. I felt no missing out or limitations about the price. I know if you seek the Kingdom of Heaven, I call Universal Love; all shall be met according to our purpose and the Universe’s plan set for us.
  •  Being an Angel Messenger, I am able to hear Angels and see when people die go into the light. I asked the Universe for deeper clarity. The first thing I heard was, “it is about time.” I laughed

This is the channeled message that I heard

1) Quiet any mental stories.

2) Open your heart and feel Universal Love inside allowing the joyful energies to fill and empower me. This some call, the Kingdom of Heaven.

3) It doesn’t matter if I feel insecure or fearful initially because as I open my heart to Universal Love, divine pure love will transform the fears and insecurities.

 Some feel they must first transform the fears and insecurities through analyzing, fixing, or correcting. This leads to struggles and insecurities because they feel something is wrong with them and therefore needs fixing in order to be happy.  This is Ego control wanting to have instant gratification. Embracing and letting go of the fears and insecurities helps with the connection to Universal Love. Resisting, judging or attempting to force it out only keeps you stuck like glue to those fears and insecurities. Embracing them and focusing on Universal Love, is a form of surrendering them which transforms them in the higher vibrations.

 As we experience this magnificent Universal Love, we will feel the omnipresence and vibrations of love, joy, and abundance. This is way beyond any frequency that the human expression can have if it is conditionally love based or fear driven. Universal Love is pure, unconditional and nurturing. Experiencing this is true freedom.

The Universe knows our heart’s desire way before we even think them. The Universe created us so of course the Universe knows. Feeling the energy of pure bliss and joy is how I was when I saw the jeans, without any attachments to having or not having them. I shared how it would bring me joy. I didn’t feel any limitations around not having them or missing them if I didn’t get them. I felt a sense of joy and love wearing them brought heightened levels of joy. This joy aligned with the energy of Universal Love. Divine order and timing allowed it to come into fruition.

 When you are aligned to the vibrations of the Universe of love and abundance the fruitions are way beyond what you expect. The energy is beyond anything you ever imagined because you are at a higher vibration. It will feel peaceful and expansive because you are living in the realm of Universal Love and abundance.

 The stronger the connection to Universal Love, the greater joy, love, peace and abundance you feel and experience.  Connect to Universal Love in the heart and allow the magic to unfold.

 Angelica Rose, An Angel Walk-in, is a Universal gifted Angel Messenger, Love Coach, Certified Hypnotist and Author Angelica also created an online series called, Spiritual Journey to Divine Love on MP3 and MP4.

The above article appeared in the Ashland Daily Tidings on Dec. 1, 2018 titled:

Open Up to engaging in ‘universations.’ 


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Alchemy by Rumi


The essence of milk is the cream,

Of the flower the essence is honey.

Life runs and departs like a dream

When you’re lost in pursuit after “money.”

If the essence of grapes is the wine,

And the essence of getting is giving,

In accumulating your “me” and “mine,”

What then is the essence of living?

Cream rises to the top of the years,

Sweet nectars of visions fly past,

The journey through laughter and tears,

And a life that has gone by so fast.

Intoxicating wine warms the heart,

The flame of love flickers, grows cold,

May the one who from life stood apart

Find in wisdom the only true gold.

Thank you to Ed Hirsh for submitting this poem.

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Space – The Final Frontier by Janie Chandler

Space – the final frontier!

 The frontier I’m referring to isn’t external however, but the internal space that we all have to explore for ourselves, and which is as vast and eternal as the space that the Starship Enterprise explored.

 If we can put even a little bit of space between our thoughts to gain a modicum of perspective on what goes on in our minds 24-7, we start to give ourselves some wiggle room between thought and reaction. That sliver of space is where we attain the ability to respond with awareness rather than react out of habit and conditioning. The bigger that space becomes the more perspective we have and the more freedom we have in responding creatively to circumstances and situations. Michael Bernard Beckwith says that “choice is a function of awareness”; the more awareness we have the more choice we have. I would equate awareness with the space between our thoughts; the more space we have, the more choice we have.

 I believe that our greatest privilege is our awareness, and with ample awareness comes freedom from the tyranny of the thought-reaction vortex. It’s a curious thing that, although as humans we differ from other animals particularly because of our self-awareness, we actually possess very little relative self-awareness. Many of us cannot, or do not, differentiate who we are from what we think, and it takes time, intention, and discipline to cultivate that inner space which gives us the ability to reflect on our thoughts and notice what’s driving our actions.

 I do not know of a better way to explore and expand that inner space than meditation, but I am very sympathetic to the conundrum many people have when they first begin to sit for meditation and cannot, for the life of them, get their minds to stop chattering long enough to experience the stillness and quietude they are told is in there. “I can’t meditate” are words I so often hear, which is generally accompanied by self-judgement as not being good enough, smart enough, or disciplined enough to be capable of meditating.

 This is why I am such a proponent of guided meditation (also called visualization) for people who are newly launching their quest to boldly go where they have not gone before. When we give our monkey-mind something specific to focus on -rather than attempt to focus on nothing at all- we are likely to be much more successful in accessing that inner space where we are freed from the gravity of our thoughts. Launching a meditation practice by attempting to jump into deep space without training can be futile, whereas skillful guidance (often through a recording) can be a pleasure and a relief.

 A second hurdle to developing a meditation practice (beyond “I can’t meditate”) is the belief that we don’t have time. Our culture does not place value on our mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being, and it is a struggle to value our beingness in a world that measures worth in doing. For many prioritizing the time to sit quietly for 10-20 minutes per day is bucking an ancestral legacy of working hard and prove ourselves.  This is a very real challenge. But without shifting priorities and valuing the time to exploring the frontier of inner space, we are unlikely to achieve the freedom and expand the ability to choose that self-awareness provides.

 If you haven’t already launched your own exploration into your inner space, or if you have, but have been frustrated by your monkey-mind, I encourage you to look into using guided meditations to ease your way into a more peaceful mindscape. Or perhaps you have dabbled in meditation but haven’t managed to make it a consistent practice, in which case I encourage you to take a look at the value you place on your mental and emotional health and your inner space of self-awareness, and prioritize your meditation practice now.

 Janie Chandler has been a Licensed Massage Therapist and Energy Medicine Practitioner for over 30 years. She is a founding faculty member of Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine Certification Program and has taught Donna’s work nationally and internationally. She is the creator of Your Inner Sanctuary, a guided meditation series, and The Visual Atlas of Energy Medicine, a real-time guide for energetic self-care.  She has a practice in Ashland seeing clients both locally and virtually.  Visit for more information.

 The above article appeared in the  Ashland Daily Tidings on Saturday November 10, 2018


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Latin American Hospitality by Martin Albert

Kris in La Libertad

Latin American Hospitality: Lessons in Keeping an Open Heart by Martin Albert

On Tuesday, Jan 13, 1972, early on in a 15 month odyssey, I crossed the border from Mexico to Guatemala in the rugged El Tapon area.

I was travelling in a jeep station wagon with my then wife Barbara and our 5 year old daughter Kris, on a journey that would take us through Central America, around the Darien peninsula by ship, and through Columbia, Ecuador and Peru. And then back.

This evening we were driving slowly on a narrow, winding road, through mountains and canyons of savannah and scrub forest. We were still far from our destination, La Libertad, when light started to fade. We pulled off the road and in a brushy field found a level place to stop and camp in the jeep, as was our custom on this trip.

Night fell as we prepared dinner in the back of the station wagon.  A group of half a dozen Mayan men and women  gathered several hundred feet away and started a campfire. They greeted us, told us we should visit the Gringo priest in La Libertad, and were a quiet benign presence as we ate dinner and went to sleep. They dispersed at the first light of dawn.

The next morning we broke camp and drove into small rural La Libertad, where a bustling market day was in full swing. We bought groceries and supplies, and one vendor, for a few centavos had a trained parrot that pulled a message from a miniature treasure chest and to Kris’ delight, placed it in her hand.

We visited the village priest who invited us to stay the night at the Church offices. Later he told us that the Mayan families who had seen us set up camp outside of town were concerned about our safety because there had been a murder in that area in the past few months. They quietly took it upon themselves to stay near us and watch over us through the night. Later they alerted the priest to our presence, knowing that he could talk to us in English, and look after our safety.

During our journey, we experienced many similar events of extraordinary kindness, hospitality and generosity from a wide range of people in Mexico, Central and South America. These were hard working people of modest means, who shared their food and homes with us with no expectations of return.

Kris, who picked up Spanish as a native speaker, eventually worked in the Peace Corp and Peace Corp administration and now teaches High School Spanish. On return to the States, I worked as a physician in a Migrant Workers Clinic in Woodburn, Oregon. I have returned to Latin America many times as a tourist and medical volunteer.

As I watch our immigration policy hijacked by hate, anger and misunderstanding, and see the cruel and sadistic treatment of vulnerable people seeking refuge in the United States, I feel incredible regret and shame. These immigrants and refugees are the sons and grandsons of people whom we met in our travels, who value family, hard work, generosity to others, and community. Given our blessings of material abundance and political stability, our current treatment of immigrants and strangers is unforgiveable.

Unless we are pure blood Native Americans, we also are descendants of immigrants– good, hard working people. As Chinese, Iranians, Irish, Italians, Mexicans, Japanese, Jews, Poles, Senegalese, and a multitude of other origins, our ancestors often faced challenges and hate when they came to the United States.

Understanding the perilous journeys of our own homeless ancestors, from their diverse countries of origins, would we not naturally greet today’s immigrants and refugees with kindness, dignity, generosity, and justice?

That which unites us as human beings and intertwined communities is so much more powerful than that which divides us.  We cannot allow those who seek to divide us push forward their agenda of hate and divisiveness. Our country has always stood for respect of human rights and supporting others in times of need and in situations of crisis. This is what has made us great. Let’s not turn away from what has always represented our hearts’ deepest feelings and values.

Martin Albert is a physician practicing functional and integrative medicine. He is working with Rogue Community Health in Medford, where he and his wife are expanding the Integrative Medical Clinic. In 2017 he moved back to Oregon from Virginia.

The above article appeared in the Ashland Daily Tidings on Nov. 3, 2018

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Who is speaking? by Angelica Rose

Who is Speaking?  By Angelica Rose

Many times we can get caught up in our thoughts and feel lost in them. Our thoughts represent either the past of what has happened that we wish was different, better, or that we had greater wisdom to handle differently. I call that the “what if” syndrome. We know more now, becoming wiser from lessons we have learned and yet we wish we would have known that at an earlier time in our life. That would have given us a different outcome in the now. We learned that lesson to become wiser now so in the past you did the best you did with where you were at. You didn’t do anything wrong rather learned from what was in front of you at that time in your life. Our thoughts also can represent the future of what we would love to accomplish. If we have so much attention there instead of the now, we miss out on wonderful opportunities. We go through a process in life. That process is filled with both lessons and creations.

Forcing outcomes to have more joy, love, wealth, health etc., only creates stress and more of what we don’t want. We have such a huge attention focus on getting something that we actually create the blocks to getting it because we are focused on the limitations or lack around what we want. For example, I met someone a few months ago who desperately wanted to have a baby. Nothing seemed to happen. She said she tried for years. Finally she gave up. She was going to the park and playing with the children there. A few months later, she became pregnant. The act of surrendering and enjoying life allowed for her to focus more on being happy no matter what. Divine order came about and allowed her to become pregnant.

When we allow the creations to come about from a higher power- GOD, the Universe, Source, and Christ- we receive even better outcomes than when we do it from an ego control centered place. This is because we are getting something far beyond what the human mind can conceive, something new and even more exciting. I was celebrating a birthday last week. I went into Macy’s and saw a pair of jeans that were so unusual. The price was 25% off $100. I didn’t want to spend that amount.  I said, “Universe I would love to buy these jeans as a birthday gift. I would like to buy them for $32. I won’t buy them otherwise.” I took the jeans up to the cashier and asked if the Macy’s birthday coupon I received could be applied toward these jean or any of my other Macy’s coupons. She said no. I asked her to check Macy’s online to see if it is on sale. She checked and didn’t see it on sale.  I then left but felt led to check when I got back home.  They were on sale for 50% off which made them $42. I called Macy’s seeing the white pair had 20% additional sale off. I shared how I was celebrating a birthday. She said the 20% off would not work on the blue jeans yet since it is my birthday she would apply the 20% off. The jeans came to $32.

By celebrating what we would love to have as if we already have it, we allow ourselves to become an open vessel for greater opportunities to come about. We feel led, inspired, and open to the necessary steps to take. Having patience and faith can seem challenging if we are caught up in the linear time frame of getting it vs. the divine order of allowing it. Enjoy what life is now because GOD knows what you want to have. Focus on being happy and love allowing the magic of life to happen.


Copyright 2018 Angelica Rose – The Heart Of Motivation, all rights reserved

Angelica Rose, An Angel Walk-in, is a Universal gifted Angel Messenger, Medium,  Inner Spirit Activation Specialist since 1991, a Certified Hypnotist and Author of Ebooks, Relaxation CDs, MP3s, MP4s, Talk on Spiritual Oneness and Inspirational Stickers and for more info:

 The above article appeared in the Ashland Daily Tidings on August, 11, 2018




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Trancendering the Drama by Jim Hatton


We have seen in recent days the high drama and polarization of our societies’ consciousness played out in our governments stage. This elevated drama is nothing new: someone has done another person a wrong, they are in trouble, he said-she said, and Mother (the authorities) doesn’t know what to do about it.  Our society as a whole and others around the world are being drawn into another episode of “Who Shot JR?”  Are we are molding our lives from this drama?

 This, of course, is what’s on the surface.  This is not about WHO did what to WHOM, WHEN did it happen, and WHO is lying or Who is telling the truth.

What good is unfolding is that we are experiencing the steps to transparency.  Transparency in government, Transparency in society as a whole, transparency in relationships, transparency in ourselves. We are moving, albeit slowly, to being honest with ourselves


One of the steps to our openness is the “mute” button is being turned off on women, the larger half of our society.  It is painful, but absolutely necessary.  We have seen the mute button being removed in the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) movement.  We have seen it in racial profiling, and the list continues to grow.  Painful? Yes, all change is painful when we resist it. The status quo is safe and when we try to change it, society resists it.  It hurts, but it must be done.


The recent and current events are divisive; change vs. no-change.  This wound needs to be healed but there will be salt in the would of we continue to buy into the charades.  In order for healing to occur the drama must be transcended and the only path is with an open mind and open heart.


 Condemnation of either or all sides plays into continuance of the drama. CNN and other news outlets play it continuously.

It takes courage to speak up.  Once one person does it others are motivated to do so as well. If one person speaks up and is successful, they will be talked about.  If on person speaks up and fails, they will be talked about AND condemned. But by doing so we begin to step into our own natural magnificence, our own unlimited potentiality. This can be scary as it so often happens that this is unfamiliar territory and we resist change. We may be afraid of our own potential. We all must learn to allow our light to shine, our full potential to be lived.  This is the only way to grow, to promote healthy change, and to help others.

 Healing will only take place when we stop making the other side wrong.  Right and wrong is a judgment. Only without judgment can transformation and transcendence take place.

 Non-judgment does not mean we allow oppression, aggression, defamation, murder and rape. Non-judgment does include compassion, understanding, and guidance.

 To transcend the drama, we must look to the bigger picture.  We must visualize and pray and hold our consciousness for a transcendence and transmutation of drama into a greater understanding.  With that comes Love, with that comes Peace.

 The World is not broken, Be in Peace…

   This article appeared in the  Ashland Daily Tidings on Saturday, October 13

Copyright © 2018 Jim Hatton.   Jim Hatton is author (under the name James Apollonius Alan) of A Spiritual Master’s Guide to Life available on Amazon. 

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The Source of Good and Bad by Jim Hatton



Someone suggested to me that if we can find out where Good and Bad come from, then we can go to the source of Good and experience more Good.  Our lives would be happier, we would feel better and things would be a whole lot easier.

If we ask five different people what Good and Bad is, we would probably get five different answers.  The concept of Good and Bad can be relative to each individual. Here are two examples:

 A flight attendant was scheduled to work on the United Airlines plane that crashed into one of the towers on 9/11.  By a wrong computer keystroke the attendant was scheduled on a different flight instead. She didn’t want to work and was upset the whole flight until she found out that she should have been on the plane that crashed into the twin towers.

The man who worked at the World Trade Center was running late to work and couldn’t catch the “fast” subway to work. He arrived just in time to see the plane crash into the one of the towers.

Was accidently being scheduled on the wrong flight or missing the fast subway a bad thing?  The two individuals might have thought so at the time.

How can we define what is “Good” and what is “Bad”? Are good things the ones we like and bad things the ones we don’t like?  If so, we are individually choosing what is good and bad in our lives.

 Maybe there really isn’t Good or Bad, just an “Is-ness”.  We have a choice to call it “good” or “bad” or not judge it as anything at all. It’s just what IS. We do, however, have a choice to appreciate something and want more of it.

If we look back on our lives and try to see our experiences from the highest or broadest viewpoint, all those things we may not have liked, all those challenges and all the “bad” things have led us to this point now in our life: we somehow benefited from those experiences.  We may have gained in safety, prosperity, advantageous circumstances, received a greater understanding, experienced more love, or gained a deeper wisdom.

The mystics tell us Good is always given to us.  It is the nature of the Universe, the nature of our being to experience the good in our lives. There is no “BAD”. What the bad is, is when we block the flow of Good by focusing on the bad things or judging what is good and what is bad. Judgement stops the flow of Good.  Therefore, one might conclude that ALL is good, and indeed it is!

“Look for the Good and praise it” is a common expression found on signs, bumper stickers, and writings. I have never seen “look for the Bad and praise it.” But that’s exactly what we do when we judge, complain, and tell our woeful story over and over.

Judgment is a Mind-made thing.  We choose whether or not to judge. Any type of judgement places a filter, so we do not see or experience the real thing.  If we judge someone by the color of their skin, we cannot experience or know the real person until the color of their skin no longer matters. If we judge another for their actions we will never see the good in that person. Jeshua Ben Joseph did not heal anyone by judging them as sick.  Being sick or well was not an issue for him. He only saw the whole person.

The truth is, there is no source of Bad.  Only the “Good” or Is-ness is constantly given to us by Source. The question is, “Are we blocking it or are we letting it in?”

  •  The World is not broken, Be in Peace…Jim Hatton
  • The above article appeared in the Ashland Daily Tidings on Sept. 15, 2018

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Wake Up! It is Late Already by Gokul Gokani

Wake up!  It is Late already 

Peace is always inside because “Outer peace” suggests that it is not ours but is outside! And outer peace can’t take you “IN” unless you are an alchemist, which is a rarity, if not impossible, like one in millions or billions!

A Real person with absolute peace either is followed by masses or at the same time makes more multitudes of masses real enemies, as they may not have the understanding of truth told by such Teachers! There is no other alternative than these two, either to fall in Love with such person’s divine Being or to contemplate to kill him/her. The majority of the general public, whose interest and understanding only allows them to use five percent of conscious energy thus a huge reserve of vital virgin energy they were bestowed at birth as a blessings from Beyond is ignored.  It could have made a Buddha with just a turn or changing direction from out to IN if they had shaken of all their dogmas, conditioning and desires.  In a busy life one needs to make time to look deeper than the physical looks in the mirror or in the eyes of others.

That is why we miss our own hidden treasure, though we carry it for millions of lives without even a glimpse of it!  What a waste of moving or running in circle without reaching to the SELF, which is waiting from time immemorial to be  discovered and then Celebrate ad-infinitum. But it is a pity and waste of life living in a mundane world of material pleasures racing in many directions.  Though we all know that one can’t ride on two horses or sail on two boats at the same time, we still try to ride on many mental horses and dissipate our very special gift of Existential Energy.  We gather pebbles instead of Kohinoor or diamonds on the beach of Life and miss the opportunity to Love, Live and Laugh.  We miss an invaluable opportunity to experience the ultimate, which is why we have come to the ultimate rung of the ladder on this evolutionary opportunity. But who cares! We are mad for more and more, which is left behind at the end.

If we don’t wake up in this very present moment then we have forgotten, as time is here and now only in this very present moment.  The moment is very precious and we are bent upon competition, greed, jealousy, possessiveness, miserliness, politics, envy, passion and such trivia! Time to wake up!

 I am reminded of one such wonderful anecdote. A seeker of truth was doing everything that can be done by a human being, but still salvation was avoiding him/her. Once as per the routine in the early morning while walking to the holy river for a holy dip in river Ganges in Haridwar, India, he/she heard from the nearby hut on the side of the road the voice of a mother, who was waking up her school going son by saying, ” My Dear Raju, wake up now, as it is late already!”  This seeker of truth was in the right place at the right time, because it hit to the core of this traveler of the Truth so thoroughly and the time was ripe and right for the completion of the Inward journey.  Self- Realization happened instantaneously in that very moment! When it happens, it is like lightening. It depends on us either now or never, as it is just like waking up from the sleep! This Mother never knew that she was the instrument to awaken a Soul, while trying to wake up her son. This is the way one receives an Enlightenment, Inner Peace, silence or Self Realization, if one is open available and receptive into this very moment. So to be available in the moment is an art for all Truth seekers for the inward authentic journey.  But one can be asleep in the present moment contemplating and complaining for this or that, even while praying, meditating or while on a pilgrimage! Thankfulness is the only Prayer rather than making existence or fulfilling wishes their God.  Time to wake up!

Swami Anand Krishna (DR. Gokul Gokani) is a retired E. N. T. Surgeon, who has worked in England, India and Africa and has lived in Ashland since 1999.  Born in India, he shares the experience of Mediation with fellow travelers, is a Reiki Master, Ayurveda counselor, healer and spiritual counselor and teacher of Olli classes.  Email:  or

 The above article appeared in the Ashland Daily Tidings on Saturday Sept. 1, 2018

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A Litany for Bob by Jenine Baines

When Bob texted one evening, I never expected it was to tell me he had died.

 I still don’t know who used Bob’s phone to relay the news, but I do know that I stared at the one sentence message – “Bob passed away this morning” – in disbelief. Last I’d heard, Bob had finished his treatment for intestinal cancer and was recovering. Bob was going to be okay. Someone was playing a very nasty, sadistic prank.

 Yet, even as I resisted the news, I accepted it.

 “Oh no!” I texted back. “I’m so sorry.”

 Sorry is a sorry excuse of a word for times like this. While, of course, I felt compassion for Bob’s wife, daughter, siblings, and mother – especially his mother; imagine outliving a child! – sorry as in sad, regretful, distressed, or disconsolate didn’t begin to cover the range of emotions I felt as memory after memory after memory of Bob-times pummeled me like a rough surf. Each was lovely, overwhelming, even refreshing in a weird way – reassuring me that Bob wasn’t really gone; when I missed him, I could order up a memory like take out spring rolls. But the memories stung, too – sea salt in my wound because, let’s get real, no recollection is a match for the real thing.

 I was also bewildered. Bob and I were longstanding pals. Still, we weren’t that close. If we had been, I’d have known he’d taken a turn for the worse. So why was I taking this so hard, crying “Oh, Bob, no. Oh, Bob, no.”

 Joni Mitchell supplied a partial answer in Big Yellow Taxi. “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?” she sang. And, as much as I hate admitting this, I did take Bob a bit for granted. It never occurred to me that, cancer or no cancer, he wouldn’t always be there.

 I have vowed to learn my lesson. I’ve met my goal, too – oh, maybe 50% of the time. To better my odds, I list daily in my journal one friend/colleague for whom I’m grateful, following this with a “thinking of you” text or email or, better yet, a random act of kindness, even if that kindness is simply saying a prayer.

Increasingly, I find myself doing this for strangers on the street or ahead of me in line – without even trying! Years ago, I’d sing along with John Lennon’s I am the Walrus. Much of the song is gibberish. Who sits on a cornflake? The opening lyrics, however, nail it.

 I am he as you are he as you are me

And we are all together

And all you need is love. Which Bishop Desmond Tutu calls ubuntu. “A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good,” he explains. “For he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole…”

 I met Bob because I handled PR for an orchestra and he was a music reviewer. But Bob was also a staunch Presbyterian who, in his sixties, became a pastor. Look at me, Bob – propelled by your death to launch into a sermon! Are you smiling?

 Which reminds me of a favorite Dr. Seuss quote…

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.

 Thank you, Bob. Thank you for calling to chortle when I wrote “flamingo music” instead of “flamenco” in a press release. For advising me to “close my eyes and listen to the music” when I was stumped by The Ring. For informing me after a less-than-stellar performance, “I’m going to do you a favor and not review this.” For countless coffees and email exchanges, where we’d discuss everything from my divorce and church politics to the relentless, often thankless challenges of marketing classical music to how music not only reflects but fuels faith.


 I learned of Bob’s death on a Thursday evening. That Friday morning, I wandered outside to check on my plants, which included a deader-than-dead tree in the corner. Only the day before, I’d considered hanging ornaments on it to make it less of an eyesore.

 Someone had beat me to it. Each ugly grey branch was strewn with blossoms.

 “Hi, Bob,” I said.

 It turns out that “Bob” is a peach tree. And what do peaches symbolize?  Immortality.

  Bio: An avid gardener and copywriter, Jenine Baines heads to the garden for inspiration/relief from writer’s block. She is currently attempting to unearth an agent for her book of essays, “You Don’t Have to Tell Everybody Everything: Confessions of a Chatty Cathy & Late Bloomer.” Her works can also be found on


The above article appeared in the Ashland Tidings Inner Peace Column on Sat. Aug. 25, 2018

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    The Inner Peace blog is a place to share wisdom about peace practices and inspire, learn and explore all aspects of inner peace. A team of writers will discuss varied qualities –€” intuition, courage, fearlessness, friendship, forgiveness, gentleness, giving and receiving, tolerance, faithfulness and kindness –€” that help us all through the tough times, the challenges, the joys and the sorrows with inner peace as the ever-shining goal. Whether 2 or 92, your inner peace is up to you.
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