FEAR IS THE LOCK: Ten Keys to Unlock

Sometimes a mere wisp of a sentence will wiggle and dance itself directly in front of me singing, “Write about me!” Well, it happened while reminiscing over Woodstock footage featuring Crosby, Stills and Nash. My nostalgic, poetic heart thrilled to hearing “Fear is the lock.”

Fear can lock our body from fully living. Given our current world, fear has been nagging from center stage in many lives. At the root of fear is the negative expectation of loss. Many fear the loss of health or life of themselves or loved ones due to Covid-19. Hungry folks fear another day without a meal. The unemployed fear not finding a job and losing their home. Those in the workforce fear losing their job. People plagued with flames, floods or wind fear the loss of their home or life. The wealthy fear losing their resources. What is a person to do?

I am no stranger to fear. Eleven years ago, I passed through the dark night of my soul. Our son was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Knowing this was one of the most horrific diagnoses to hear, my body began shutting down. As I was so afraid of losing our son, I felt tense, withdrawn and tearful. I could not force my body to eat or sleep normally. I began losing weight and shedding hair. This is my healing journey. These are the keys which released me out of my hellish fear.

ONE: EMPOWER OTHERS. Whenever it is possible, lift up another with whatever they are lacking.

The world has enough for everyone’s needs, but not everyone’s greed. Mahatma Gandhi

Our son endured the Whipple Procedure, losing parts of his pancreas, stomach, bile duct and small intestine. This surgical recovery caused him excruciating pain. Thanks to an open magazine I miraculously encountered prior to his surgery, I found an energy healing ad. I eventually explored four different methods with amazing results. I did earn certification in one. Not only did energy healing greatly ease his pain, but our son also believed it extended his life. He lived nearly seven years post diagnosis. This practice also served me in tremendously reducing my fear.

TWO: DWELL IN THE DIVINE. Spending time in prayer and studying holy readings has provided me with great comfort in my journey through religion and spirituality.

THREE: CREATE WITH THE ARTS. Making art, playing piano, singing, journaling, sewing, dancing, and writing poetry have all helped me in playing my way from fear to wellness. Your creative efforts do not even need an audience beyond yourself for it to work its magic.

FOUR: NURTURE WITH NATURE. Spending time out-of-doors is quite a healthful way to release tensions. The sunshine vitamin and fresh air are priceless. Walking among the majesty of trees and the wonder of wildlife does my body good. While we have no lions, tigers or bears, we do have plenty of squirrels, rabbits and raccoons. (I know you are waiting for me to say, “Oh my!”) I love to watch the gold finches, humming birds, mourning doves and cardinals, the turkeys, pheasants and eagles as well as many other makes and models of birds in our vicinity. Growing plants, both indoors and out, is grounding and counts as connecting with nature, too.

FIVE: FOCUS ON POSITIVITY. According to Eckhart Tolle, …what we resist persists. I found in focusing on my fearful what ifs, that the what ifs were more likely to happen. Concentrating on a positive thought or goal eases my mind and body. Ponder best case scenarios. This optimistic viewpoint includes practicing a news fast. I no longer expose myself to listening to the news. I do however, find headlines in print format preferable. Reading rather than listening allows me to bypass much of the drama. I can pick and choose what to investigate according to what I feel I can handle at the moment. Remember to throw your shoulders back, relax and smile!

SIX: INDULGE IN HEALTHY FOODS. The foundation of my diet consists of fresh (or frozen when out of season) fruits and vegetables, preferably organic and locally grown. For over four decades, nearly all the grains I’ve consumed have been 100% whole. Meat is more of a condiment than a main dish. In lieu of red meat I prefer poultry or fish. I do love beans, eggs, nuts, cheeses and whole milk plain Greek yogurt as protein sources. Unsweetened dried fruits rather than sugar satisfy my sweet tooth. (Shockingly, I sometimes treat myself to ice cream!) Butter as well as olive and coconut oils add the fats to my diet. For a very long time, I’ve noticed how much better my body feels if I eat foods that are closer to their natural state rather than processed. Portion control keeps me from feeling sluggish.

SEVEN: ENGAGE IN MEDITATION. I practice a couple kinds of meditation. It allows my thoughts to clear and permits a foundation of calm to permeate my being. Research has shown the brains of meditators grow additional grey matter in comparison to non-meditators. https://ncbi.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4777419

EIGHT: DELIGHT IN LAUGHTER. I am so fortunate I come from a funny family – we all enjoy a good belly laugh! Each of us did and do relish the comradery around our table and home, centered around this good-naturedness. Laughter can shake out fear. As Norman Cousins evidenced, our health can be immeasurably improved with humor. He, with the cooperation of his doctor, prescribed regular doses of humor from Marx Brother’s films, the television series, Candid Camera, as well as the book, Subtreasury of American Humor by E.B. White. By his efforts, he mentally cured his terminal, painful and immobilizing illness. https;//sites.google.com/site/laughofflife/page-1

NINE: SOAR INTO EXERCISE. Movement of the body is critical to preventing an emotion such as fear from lodging in our bodies. My favorite exercise is qigong, along with a few yoga stretches. Practicing this for a mere ten minutes a day for over ten years has given me more stamina than I had three decades ago. If I skip a day, I feel achy. That alone is encouragement enough to continue my practice. When I desire more aerobic movement, I love to take a walk down to our pond.

TEN: INVITE TALK THERAPY. If you feel you need further help, consider discussing your fear issues with a health professional. Alternatively, a trusted friend or family member could make a great sounding board. Even our fur-babies are good listeners and more than likely will not divulge your deepest secrets. An added bonus with a pet session is that stroking their fur is mutually beneficial.

Perhaps adopting one or more of these keys could unlock any fears you may be harboring within your body. If you are fortunate enough to carry a natural immunity to fear, all these keys are extremely conducive to achieving general good health as well.

Oh, you may be wondering, which Crosby, Stills and Nash song contained the lyrics, “fear is the lock”? All of you smart, hippy dudes and dudettes know it as “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”!

Intriguingly, following the group singing their set, one of them announced to the 1969 Woodstock crowd of over four hundred thousand that this was only their second time of performing in front of a live audience. They exclaimed they were “scared sh–less”!

I have my doubts if any of them still suffer from stage fright, but if they did, maybe these keys could unlock their fear!

THE 2020 TREE: Not Screaming but Singing

My friend, this is the famous 2020 tree in case you’ve not met her. It is understandable if you may think she would be screaming her leaves off with the events of this year. It may appear that she is throwing her branches up in sheer disgust. If she were, which she is not, I sincerely would not blame her. I mean, just think of the world stage with the pandemic, the politics and the division. Then there is the unemployment, the racism and the criminal justice system, not to mention the dilemmas of masks, the CDC and schooling.

What is a tree to do? Sing! She is lifting up her limbs in joyous song. When things seem so low that they can’t get any worse, they’ve nowhere to go but up. There are two choices. We can live in fear, feebly covering it by screaming and shouting. The other choice is to live in love by singing and imagining.

As an art teacher, as well as an artist of many arts, I know that everything starts with imagination. Imagine our world as exceeding your greatest concept of beauty. This is what we will create together! Start with a generous measure of joy and add a cup of peace. Stir liberally with love. I promise you this will be the lightest delicacy you’ve ever tried!

After devouring our previous delicacy, let’s join together in singing in a new future. Imagine this world in a better place than she’s ever been. This seed must be planted before it can grow. The soil is fertile and ready. What will you plant? Remember what is within leaks out. What thoughts will you nurture within the garden of your mind? I think mine shall be filled with love, light, peace and joy. These lovelies join me daily!

P.S. I give my thanks to poet, Stevie Smith, 1902-1971. Her 1957 poem, Not Waving but Drowning inspired my title with an optimistic twist.


When I think of life, many times I contemplate the flow of moving water as being an apt metaphor. The progression of life, of families, of farming comes to mind. Rivers are constantly in transition. Sometimes there is flooding and at times it runs dry. Water descriptors such as turbulent or calm, warm or icy, deep or shallow could just as easily describe many aspects of life as much as it could a river.

This is a tale of two dads, my own father as well as my father-in-law. Each of them were born in the same county. Both became farmers. They were tillers of the soil, milkers of cows, feeders of swine. While the rivers of their lives paralleled one another, to a large extent, they did not intermingle until my husband and I brought our families together through our marriage.

These two dads each knew the ebb and flow of the seasons. Spring brought the gathering of seed and preparation of ground. They scanned the pastures for new born calves. They planted, they cultivated, they watched for the rains. There was always excitement in being able to row, or view, the first green sprouts of corn!

Mid-summer meant loading sweet smelling hay bales onto a lowboy while sweeping the sweat off their brows. Corn was always well over the old standard of knee high by the fourth of July unless it was a rare year of drought. Walking beans to hand-cut tall weeds provided the visual beauty of contour planted bean rows. When combining golden fields of oats, the year was half spent.

Hearing the rustle of the dry, pale tan corn leaves in the breeze told them the crop was restless for harvest. Cool autumn weather was for reaping the rewards of hard work by filling the bins with corn and soybeans. Fall meant many long days of work, provided the grain tested dry enough to glean. The hum of grain driers would sound through the valleys. These two farmers were always grateful for the completion of harvest, especially prior to Thanksgiving.

When the weather permitted bringing in the crops before the early snows, there was time for field work and turning the soil. Once winter rolled around there was meticulous record keeping as well as testing seed germination and ordering new seed for the next season. The cold weather months were spent hauling hay to the cattle pastures. Checking that the tank heaters were operational for the thirsty cattle was a must. Yes, these farmers knew the nuances of the seasons well.

Our family tree grew within that river of life, surrounded by the rolling fields and pastures. Branches were eventually added to this tree with three generations of children beyond our dads. Life was and is good. Then, there were family members whose branches broke from the tree, seemingly before they touched the winter or even the fall of their lives. My mother-in-law was one. Our son was another, as was my brother. Yet, the river of life flows on.

This week marks the thirty-six year anniversary of my father-in-law’s passing. The very same day he passed was the birthday of one of his granddaughters. My dad’s departure two years ago was the very same date. It was also my dad’s mother’s birthday. Out of 365 days in a year, how could all four of these events be on the very same day? These types of synchronicities seem to be one of the mind boggling mysteries of this great river of life. It is as a bend in the river where it was least expected.

I’ve no doubt that our dads are still with us. You see, there are people who are gifted to view our loved ones beyond the veil. They do watch over us, help us, interact with us. In fact, when I spoke of our family tree, perhaps a more accurate comparison would be a family river. Generations upon generations before us as well as after are intimately connected, flowing from one to another, just as the seasons flow on the farm. I am ever grateful for watching the river run.

Relationships: Energetic Flow and Strength

Contrary to how this photo may appear, it is not the creepy, boney hand of a ferocious monster. It is the remains of the most unusual tree stump I’ve ever observed. Interestingly, the only unrotten portions are the inner core of the branches that were within the trunk. The parts that resemble heads of nails are where the branches were cut long ago, flush with the trunk.

Of course, this piqued my curiosity. I wondered why these specific parts within the trunk lasted longer. Then, I pondered about the flow of nutrients within a live tree. This concolor fir would have been drawing water and minerals from deep within the soil through its roots. The needles on the branches would have been photosynthesizing the solar energy as well as utilizing the carbon dioxide from the air. These inner branches were energetic pathways between the roots and needles, distributing benefits to all parts of the tree. As this symbiotic relationship helped all parts of the tree, perhaps that is why these particular parts were stronger and more enduring. The unbranched sections of the trunk itself probably didn’t feed the rest of the tree. Perhaps that portion not being as critical was weaker, so it rotted earlier. The parts where the energy flowed were most vital, lasting and protected. Those boney looking appendages were actually the highways of giving, taking and sharing.

The workings of symbiotic relationships intrigue me. Where might these sorts of connections occur in society? One such example came to me regarding late night talk shows. Prior to the pandemic squelching large crowds, audiences were able to provide immediate feedback to the host’s stories and one liners. The speaker would then catch that spark of laughter, applause and enjoyment. The audience appreciation would in turn give the entertainer more encouragement which enhanced the presentation, contributing to a cycle of sharing energies. When the hosts first began performing to a mere camera, they felt severed from their audience, from the source of their joie de vie or joy of life. Finally, some of the hosts are regaining the vigor they once enjoyed in the symbiotic relationship.

Another example might be in the education field. I feel I became a far better teacher once I realized it was perfectly possible for me to learn from my students. Of course, we think of students learning from the teacher, but the converse can also be true. Experiencing this can be quite humbling as well as fulfilling for the teacher and extremely validating and encouraging for the students. This also would be symbiotic.

Both my entertainment and education examples illustrate a two way flow of energy, mutually benefiting various parties. This flow strengthens the bonds and leads to long lasting value.

Our world is in the flux of change. Where might symbiotic relationships take us further, not only within the education and entertainment fields, but also other areas such as economics, leadership, health or religion? Where might a symbiotic model be of benefit? Dare I ask, would it look like love?

All You Need Is Love


Broken? What are some possible scenarios which may make a person feel broken? Do you think it could be a frightening health diagnosis? That could be. Could it be losing one’s job or home? What about coping with the loss of a loved one? Could it be the loss of a relationship or a business? Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

How many people do you know who seem to lead a perfect life? I’m certain there are quite few, if any, who have never had a factor which could potentially cause one to feel broken. It is part of being human.

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway from A Farewell to Arms

The tipping point which shattered my life was losing our son. It can be devastating to lose a family member, particularly from the younger generation.

Imagine our lives as fragile clay pots. What are we to do to pick up the pieces of our lives to enable us to continue? Some pieces are never able to be replaced. Those will leave holes. There are also tiny fragments which splinter away and are perhaps not as necessary or important. Regrouping and gluing oneself back together reveals the cracks and holes. What if those cracks were highlighted with gold? Our learning journey through the rough lessons could be seen as celebration.

The clay pot technique of Kintsugi means golden joinery. My previous description of our lives as clay pots describes how the Japanese culture repairs their pottery. In fact, a pot which has been broken and gone through this Kintsugi process is considered more valued than an unbroken pot. This art parallels our broken human lives.

In our lives, we generally have a choice. We may choose to give up and allow our brokenness to go the way of Humpty Dumpty. Or, we may choose to investigate any and all possibilities to permit a continuation of life with a different format.

Had we not lost our son, my life may have simply carried on with the status quo. However, when he received the cancer diagnosis, which could have been my undoing, I was faced with a choice. I could have chosen a fixed mindset, meaning I had no power to change anything, so why try. However, I loved him far too much to do nothing. I chose, instead, to adopt a growth mindset to stack the odds in our favor. As a result, I had experiences which helped to piece together my fragments.

Our son did stay with us roughly seven years post diagnosis, but then he had to leave. I would have never thought to become an energy healer if he hadn’t become ill. I would not have had experiences of oneness with everything. I would not have been as aware of messages from beyond the veil if our beloved son was not on the other side. I would not have started a blog. These have become some of the golden highlights in my life journey thus far.

The gold filled breaks emphasize the unique story lines of our lives. Our cracks and broken natures can become things of beauty when valued as part of our path, just as a treasured Kintsugi vessel.

Michelangelo Inspiration

Many times famous artists inspire the creativity of others.

One of my favorite elementary school art lessons was influenced by Michelangelo. My students each taped a sheet of paper beneath their tables. They had a direct experience in feeling what it was like to paint above their heads. One of the most memorable student questions still makes me chuckle. Since Michelangelo took four years to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel a student wondered, do we have to spend four years making our paintings? I bet you have the very same question. Being tender-hearted, I only required one class period, measured in minutes rather than years.

Michelangelo also inspired my sonnet.


A sculptor first and foremost in his heart

was Michelangelo, Italian born.

When asked to paint the ceiling with his art

responded to the Pope with mighty scorn.

Well, “painting is my shame” as you can see.

The metamorphosis of marble block,

he carved until he set the angel free.

His masterpieces – cloth and skin from rock!

Consenting to the Sistine ceiling scenes,

built scaffolding so he could make his mark.

His skyward gaze provided him the means

to paint four years until the disembark.

Through cramping neck and paint dripped face he brought

to life the God whom mankind long had sought!

Copyright, Wolfe, Linda M., Lyrical Iowa, 2008

Last but not least, the Bosnian immigrant and artist, Paco Rosic, was motivated by Michelangelo. Using the unconventional medium of spray paint, Paco recreated his rendition of Michelangelo’s ceiling in a Waterloo, Iowa building. It became Galleria de Paco. Until Covid-19 hit, this establishment was a restaurant offering fine European fare in a breathtaking atmosphere. This attraction drew visitors from around the world! When my husband and I dined there, despite the fact that the delicious food was beautifully arrayed on the plate, I just wanted to take in all the paintings. It was not a trip to Europe, but it was certainly the next best thing.

Paco is currently feeding his creativity. He hopes to eventually reopen as a coffee shop, utilizing the space for its original purpose of showcasing his new art.

I feel that I would be remiss if I didn’t answer a question that must be hovering in the back of your mind. Did my students also use spray paint for their paintings? While that is a logical inquiry, I feel it is time to reassure you. No, my students used watercolor paints because we weren’t allowed to apply the fresco technique on the underside of our school tables. Oh, and spray paint wasn’t lingering in my supply closet.

Contemplate who or what inspires your muse in absolutely any field or area. Imagine your possibilities!

Listen to the Children

This is very nearly a Jack and the Beanstalk story, except it has to do with a little girl, maybe even two little girls. Oh, and I guess it is not a beanstalk at all, but a tree.

Many, many moons ago we brought our wee, little daughter home from Sunday school. She was carrying a fragile tree seedling in a small container. Perhaps it was a gift for Mother’s Day. However, it could have been for Father’s Day. Did I tell you this was many moons ago?

We decided to place it behind our home. Of course, our daughter wanted to help plant it in the ground. It was just a little tree. it would look very nice there.

Sometime later, my husband put the hose out to water the tree. He must have gotten distracted. We left for the day. When we arrived home much later he discovered the water still running. He rumbled loudly enough for a giant to hear. Thankfully all was well. Any potential giants were sound asleep at the time. Also, the tree was very thirsty before the watering.

Over the years, the tree grew and grew and grew. It is now one of the tallest trees on our property!

A couple of years ago our granddaughter, who was only six years old at the time, was studying this very tree. She opined of the pine, “Grandpa, why don’t you cut off some of these lower branches? Then, you could put your bench beneath the tree.”

We thought that was a marvelous idea! Grandpa did her bidding. As you can see, we have a lovely sitting area, complete with shade.

You may think this is the end of the story. It is not. Shortly after our yard remake, our daughter was visiting. She decided to sit under her tree, now shading the very bench her niece suggested moving. It soon came to her that this very little tree had grown to the Land of the Giant! However, she did not perceive this as a malevolent giant. It was a very gracious one as long as she was a paying customer. You see, her tree had become an antenna to the giant in the sky – a cell tower, far, far away.

This very little tree had developed into the only place on our property where she gets a phone signal! Our listening to two little girls made it happen!

Our world is changing. It is in need of new ideas. Listen, do you hear that sound? Do you notice the tapping of feet, the lilting of voices, the swishing of brushes? It is the children dancing, singing, painting our future into existence. Listen to the ideas of children. Sometimes they can be wise beyond their years. Let us put our hearts together and imagine our future as beautiful as can be! Quiet! Listen for the children!


Pain relief, whether from physical or emotional sources, is something sought by anyone who has been given more of this burden than they can bear. Pain creates tension. Natural forms of alleviating pain seem to work by inducing a relaxation response.

I’ve worked with success by using tuning forks in reducing pain for others. The particular frequency which acts as a natural anesthetic is 174 hertz.

It is so much easier for people now that You Tube has produced many videos with various healing frequencies.

In order to try these techniques, it is recommended that one’s medical professional be consulted to be certain that it is a safe practice for you. If you do opt to try these, it is wise to allow yourself to settle before you try to stand as sometimes one can become dizzy. Having a pinch of pink Himalayan salt ready before you listen can be helpful. If you feel dizzy afterward, just dissolve the salt in your mouth and remain seated until the feeling passes.

I have included two videos with 174 hertz. The first one has an overall tone interspersed with a pleasantly resonating gong as well as other sounds. It made me fee a bit buzzy after a brief listen! The second one has some intriguingly complex visual designs if you opt for an open eye experience. This low tone on this one has an overlay of other frequencies. As both of these are quite relaxing, I recommend sitting or lying down while listening. Please take your time before you resume normal activities.

Knock down pain!

For another post on healing with frequencies, scroll back five weeks ago to my post on June 24, 2020. This one is Tuning into Healing: Grief.

Treat Yourself to Ambience!

During this highly unusual time in which we are living, there may be a number of ways of life we miss. One of them is dining at a nice restaurant. Depending upon your location in the world, this option may or may not be available or recommended.

What are the elements of that experience which one could recreate? Of course having someone else prepare the food is ideal. If that is not a choice, another aspect of fine dining to consider is the atmosphere. Sitting and interacting together with loved ones at the table is a large part of the picture.

What else could we do? How could one establish a highly ambient quality during a meal time experience? Music is the answer!

I am so fortunate to be married to someone who gives a sense of ambience to virtually each and every meal of the day. It is highly unusual to not have this aspect to our meals. Other than a couple of meals a week consisting of popcorn, nuts, fruit and cheese in front of the television, all our other meals are consumed together at the table accompanied by music!

Enjoying music with our meals is such a lovely, decades-long detail that I very nearly take it for granted. We are each such cultural beasts that to not have this as part of our routine, it can make us feel as if all is not right with the world.

I took a tour through our treasured music collection to give you a sampling of some of my favorite dining music. The selections I’ve opted to share with you are each stylistically different, but you will notice a thematic similarity emerged. Of course, during our meals, the CDs play in their entirety rather than skipping from one artist to another.

The first piece, Angels of the Deep, is by Raphael. This music is classified as new age and punctuated with the mysterious calls of whales. Eva Cassidy’s melody, Wade in the Water, is soft jazz. Acoustic guitar is featured in the final selection, Aerial Boundaries, by Michael Hedges.

In the beginning of our musical journey, I’ll take you through the secrets of the deepest, darkest parts of the ocean. Perhaps we may feel our world closing in as the pandemic surrounds our lives, much as the waters of the sea. May the majestic giants of the deep beckon you to a place of calm.

Next Eva will transport your dancing spirit to the surface of an adjoining river. Allow her beautiful voice to gift you with an aura of calm as you imagine yourself wading in the water. Let the gently flowing water wash away any remaining residue of distress.

In the third and final selection, Michael Hedges takes you higher to the lofty skies with Aerial Boundaries. Permit yourself to fly free as the birds with this compelling delight. Just as your bird’s eye view of the world appears, feel any problems proportionally shrinking into nothingness.

May this musical triptych invite you to create a way to linger over your meals, savor your food and treasure your companionship. Whether you live with others or one other or the famous trio of me, myself and I, I encourage you to engage in the healthful practice of pleasurable eating with musical accompaniment. Contemplate which musicians would best enhance your meals. May you transform your dining experience into an oasis of nurturing peace!

Michelangelo – Reach and Look Up!

The great Italian Renaissance artist, Michelangelo, was tasked with painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by papal request. At the time, Michelangelo was contentedly working on sculpting the tomb of Pope Julius II. This sudden change of plans prompted the artist to declare “painting is my shame!” He very strongly identified with chisels and stone rather than brushes and paint. Somewhat reluctantly he agreed to undertake this momentous project.

Just imagine building scaffolding up to a seventy foot ceiling and painting over three hundred biblical characters during the span of a four year period! Even though Michelangelo did not consider himself a painter, he created the figures and their environments in this magnificent masterpiece as if they were quite life-like and three-dimensional.

He must have endured countless drips of paint upon his face, hands and clothing. I’ve often wondered after those years of gazing upward, how long it took him to comfortably stand straight or if his neck could bend sufficiently to view his toes.

Michelangelo was a poet who loved to pen sonnets. The pairing of his passions of sculpting and sonnets intrigues me. I hear his chisel and hammer continually tap in iambic pentameter. Alas, during these four years his brush, most certainly, must have inherited this innate rhythm of the sonneteer.

Michelangelo worked on this upside down surface doing a job he initially wasn’t planning to do. Prior to starting, he had to learn the technique of fresco in order to accomplish the goal. He, by necessity, had to continually reach and look up in order to do the work.

Many of us may feel as if our world is upside down. We may be doing a job that wasn’t in the plans. Some of us may need to learn new things. Just as Michelangelo, we must reach and look up. Perhaps if we all reach and look up together, we can create a better world. We can do this! Then maybe, just maybe, we will be gifted with something just as beautiful and amazing!

%d bloggers like this: