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Something I Checked Off My Bucket List

Life Story Club Contributor

April 15, 2021

I’d like to speak about is how I see myself now and into the future. And I like the idea of using the “I am” statements. It helps me stay in the present as well. So I am singing in the choir, dancing with the group at Unity. I am volunteering my time and energy, possibly becoming a chaplain at Unity, offering healing energy sessions using Reiki and therapeutic touch. I am photographing people and listening to their stories, and possibly taping them. I am healing. I am dancing. I am strolling. I am exploring. I’m climbing. I’m hugging and cuddling. I’m relating. I’m singing. I’m praying. I’m gardening. I’m cooking. I’m photographing. I’m traveling.

And many of these, I see myself doing with my daughter and/or friends. I’m gathering people together at my home, which has a big lawn. And we are gathering to share what’s going on in our lives and to laugh. We are laughing. And we are sharing humorous events that have happened. We are planning future dates to the Nelson-Atkins Museum, to the Loose Park Rose Gardens, and to many of the fountains that Kansas City, Missouri is known for. Let’s see. Well, we’re just doing a whole lot of fun things. I’ll stop there. Thanks.

Oh, I forgot to say I’m writing. I’m doing a lot of writing. And I see myself writing about my what are called clairs: clairsentience, clairvoyant, and clairaudient experiences. I haven’t put those on paper yet, but I think that would be interesting for my family and friends to know about and maybe remind them that they might have had these kinds of experiences too. Yeah, I see myself…I’m in two poetry classes right now. And of course, I’m in this wonderful vitae story club with y’all. Yeah, I see myself getting more active, you know, the climbing, strolling, exploring. And as the COVID pandemic wanes, I see myself hugging and cuddling more.

And I do…I am involved with Unity Church in big ways. I’m involved in the course for miracles, and in a prayer circle on Wednesday nights, which is wonderful. And we pray specifically for specific persons and also for the world at large, what we want to see changed. And it feels really good to be part of that group. And I’m in metaphysical Bible study right now. And I’m also in a book club with Unity, which right now we’re studying the dynamics of prosperity, of all kinds of prosperity by Catherine Ponder.

And let’s see. I’m growing. I’m gonna say I’m growing in terms of my way of being in the world. I’m actually working with a life coach. And I figure it’s never too late. Plus, I always wanted to be a life coach. And she’s a wonderful woman. She’s written a book called “Fearless…” I think it’s…let’s see, “Fearless Woman,” I think it’s called. And I’m studying and learning. And she and I will be meeting up for approximately six weeks, once a week. So that’s a long answer to your question.

Becoming a chaplain at Unity. I was going to study to be a chaplain back in Maine. And it was a three or four-year program, and I just could never wrap my brain around it, or my heart. And now I can learn some basics in under a year with Unity. You know, and because I think there’s a lot of people who have been suffering, especially now. And I just…I believe that I can offer listening, praying, and some counseling skills.

And as I said, I am signed up to start choir at Unity because I love to sing. I just have to have two strong people on either side of me. You know, and then also dance. There’s a dancing group that’s gonna start up. So these are imminent and exciting. And I also said healing. I’m going through some stuff now. You know I had COVID. It’s in my back…my rearview mirror. And I’m getting weller and weller all the time, but…and, I’m going but-less this year. And I am feeling better and better and just healing is now and it’s in my future.

April 15, 2021 I'd like to speak about is how I see myself now and into the future. And I like the idea of using the "I am" statements. It helps me stay in the present as well. So I am ...

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A Great Personal Feat

Life Story Club Contributor

April 8, 2021

So I’m going to start out with the second question. And I’m going to start out with a…it’s actually a short prayer, a metta prayer. And you’ll see why I’m going there. So the prayer goes like this. May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you ride the waves of your life with ease and grace. May you know love and kindness all the days of your life.

So I’m going to focus on the word, “Grace”. And grace, one of…one of the many definitions for grace is benevolent help freely given, benevolent help freely given. So I have received grace from God and all kinds of people in my life, people who have encouraged me, supported me, believed in me, and loved me. And of course, along the way in my life, I had to do the work prior to the enjoyment of what I just talked about, like an example would be, before I had brain surgery, before I committed to brain surgery, I had to go through having a cerebral angiogram and a pneumoencephalogram. I mentioned those things because it took a certain amount of, “Okay. I’m going to do this. I can do this,” you know, and in preparation for the actual brain surgery. And all around me were people who were helping me, comforting me, and making it easier for me to do what I needed to do.

So basically…and another example, of course, I had to show up. That was my part in delivering my daughter. You know, that’s part of having a baby, just showing up. And I did have some very special…the grace, the benevolent help freely given, there was a special nurse, I may have mentioned her in the past, Christine was her name, and I think I said it also that I swear she had a halo around her blond locks. And she told me when I was having very difficult contractions, she said, “Get on your hands and knees.” I was having pain in my back. And it worked. It just worked beautifully. And just her comforting was another form of grace.

And there’s many things throughout my life that I’m grateful for, that I’m proud of having gone through with some grace from God, again, as well as grace from…through other people. And, you know, when I think back even to my childhood, my parent’s guidance, my parent’s love, and comfort was grace in action. My education, the Benedictine nuns in my elementary school and also in college was a…an experience that I treasure. And I definitely received the grace in that…those situations. And I could go on and on and on, but the…I guess in summary there’s many things I’m proud of, but…which involved me showing up and cooperating with the many other people who were part of whatever I was going through. And so, the initial question of, tell me about a feat that you feel proud of, I didn’t do it alone. I didn’t do any of life…life’s many, many ups and downs or the waves of life that are referenced in the prayer that I mentioned earlier. I didn’t do it alone and I wouldn’t want to do it alone.

April 8, 2021 So I'm going to start out with the second question. And I'm going to start out with a...it's actually a short prayer, a metta prayer. And you'll see why I'm going there. S...

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When I Hear the Word Beauty

Life Story Club Contributor

April 1, 2021

When I hear the word beauty, I think of my mother telling me about when she was a campfire girl, she was given the Indian name Wabenzi, which means she who sees beauty everywhere. And that’s always stuck in my mind. I believe our world is full of beauty. Vincent van Gogh was quoted as saying, “If you truly love nature you will find beauty everywhere.” I believe this is true. And Louis Armstrong sang, “What a Wonderful World”. Maybe you remember some of the verse. I’m not going to sing it, but I’m just going to say a few of the words. “I see trees of green, red roses too. I see them bloom for me and for you. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world. I see skies of blue and clouds of white. The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night and I think to myself, what a wonderful world. The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky are also on the faces of people going by. I see friends shaking hands saying, ‘How do you do?’ they’re really saying, ‘I love you.'”

It is said also that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To me, what this means is, seeing deep…seeing deeply into the heart and soul of a person, watching children laughing and playing joyfully, seeing lovers holding hands even at the age of 90 and beyond. Listening to nuns singing hymns with the deepest of reverence in unity. Beauty is being awed by stained glass windows, like the exquisitely stained glass window of Mother Mary surrounded by roses above the altar in the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Portland, Maine, and the indescribable beauty of the windows surrounding Gabby and me in the Sainte-Chapelle Church near Notre Dame in Paris. That was quite a wonderful experience of being totally surrounded, like a dome of stained glass windows. I see beauty in art like the mandalas carefully created by Tibetan monks before they are swept away, noting the impermanence of everyone and everything. Beauty is in any food prepared with loving kindness and any efforts at presentation. I see beauty in wood carved to release the imaginings of the artists and with its cooperation. I feel the joy and beauty of dancers moving together and then apart, mirroring their desires to merge yet remain intact.

I see beauty in oriental design, shoji screens, and silk kimonos all created with care, imagination, and balance. I see beauty in the many colors of the ocean, the ever-changing sky, the birds flying overhead, shells on the beach, and people walking slowly, naturally, and peacefully. I believe it’s a choice we make continually whether to open ourselves to all the beauty in life or not. We have the power to decide.

April 1, 2021 When I hear the word beauty, I think of my mother telling me about when she was a campfire girl, she was given the Indian name Wabenzi, which means she who sees beauty eve...

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A Time I Did Not Accept Defeat

Life Story Club Contributor

March 25, 2021

I would like to talk about a time that I did not accept defeat. After four months hitchhiking around Europe, I returned to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to a few really big changes. First, I learned that my mother had breast cancer. And secondly, my seminarian friend who declared his undying love for me the night before I left for Europe met someone else while I was gone and broke up with me. I actually felt a sensation of my heart breaking.

Thirdly, I could not find a job in my chosen field of social work or rehabilitation. I was overwhelmed with sadness. Going back to my mom, when mom and I were with the doctor, who told her that she would need a mastectomy, mom’s response was immediate, ”How soon can I have surgery?” she asked. Mom had surgery and was able to stay with her daughter-in-law Sharon who lived near the hospital, where she would receive radiation in the areas where the cancer had spread.

Mom’s health gradually improved with her naturally positive attitude. Secondly, regarding my seminarian friend, I felt the loss of our four-year friendship deeply, but over time I learned to let go of the pain, a valuable life practice, to let go and let God. With regard to finding work, I did find a temporary life expanding position as a resident coordinator, working for the Sabathani Cultural Arts Center in Minneapolis. Basically I did outreach in the community to tell people about the cultural arts center.

I was 1 of 3 white people in a staff of 35, all of the rest were African-American. I was exposed to many different personalities. I had many different cultural experiences and I ate soul food every day. I was especially tested by some of the men in the center. They were wondering, was I for real? Regarding… Was I for real in terms of what was I doing there, you know? Regarding the cultural experiences, I remember enjoying the West African dancers very much, and I ate soul food for lunch every day.

I’m trying to remember some of the dishes, you know, collard greens and hominy grits and very, very nourishing and…oh pig’s feet, yeah, just a lot of nourishing food that left you full. And a year or so later, I decided to go to graduate school in Mankato where I got my master’s in vocational rehabilitation counseling. And after graduation, I got a position as a vocational rehabilitation counselor in St. Paul, Minnesota, where I enjoyed working with my fellow counselors for about 12 years. And I think I’ve mentioned before, we were like a MASH unit with lots of different characters, similar to the variety on the “M*A*S*H” television show. And I’m gonna leave you with a cliffhanger. I’ll describe those characters at another time.

I just wanted to say, you know, going through life, we all encounter opportunities every day, really as to what our response will be. And I think the reason I remember these three events where they all kind of came together, and that made the heaviness real, you know? And I remember staying at my brother Tom’s and my sister-in-law Doreen’s home for a while after I got back from Europe, and experiencing the support of family during these times is really important.

And so yeah, I, you know, I’m just trying to flash…what I’m remembering going back to the time at…as a vocational rehab counselor, I’m just remembering the skits that we had periodically and some of it was a little off color, so I don’t know if I wanna go there right now. You know, when you deal with…every day, when you interact with people who have every variety of physical, mental, and/or emotional disability, that’s a heavy interaction. And it’s so important that we learn boundaries and not taking on other people’s pain.

So the reason I mentioned the skits, it was just like a, you know, a way to let off steam or to de-stress. And actually throughout the day, one of my best long-term friends, Thomas, Tom, he had the best sense of humor, and he helped us all just get in touch with our laughter. And you know, he was a real support for all of us. I’m not tuning into…well, I think I already told the story about how I had one client who did not remember to bathe very often, and so I had my can of Lysol for when he left, and that was turned into a skit about me and my behavior.

Pete, one of the counselors, came into this place we were having the skit, and they had a short wig, black wig under each of his armpits. And then somebody else had a…a canister of Lysol and then it went on from there. So the skits were also a way for other people to show us how we were seen. And they were fun. I’ll end there.

March 25, 2021 I would like to talk about a time that I did not accept defeat. After four months hitchhiking around Europe, I returned to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to a few really big cha...

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What I Did For a Career

Life Story Club Contributor

March 18, 2021

The things I like to do very much was consulting with school teachers and nurses to identify children who had amblyopia ex anopsia–lazy eye is the short term. If I could identify them or we could identify them before the age of seven, surgery could correct that lazy eye. And that was very satisfying, to do that with children. After two years, I just decided to leave. I was kind of overwhelmed with the bureaucracy of the state department. So I left and first I went to Europe for a while, and then when I came back, I went to Mankato State University to get my master’s in vocational rehabilitation counseling.

So then I worked with clients who were physically, mentally and/or emotionally disabled toward vocational planning. And the goal was to work toward each client’s maximum potential. I really liked that philosophy. So as a voc rehab counselor, I took the history of the client’s medical condition and their work history and so forth, and I offered testing of various kinds, intelligence testing, interest testing, psychological testing, and that all combined with counseling and toward vocational planning and specific steps to employment.

So the wonderful thing about this work was that I had comrades. We lifted each other up because the work we were doing was…well, it could be heavy at times, and so we helped each other. We had these wild skits. One skit… Oh, I am a very sensitive soul and I was a bulldog, no, a bloodhound. That was a different life too, a bloodhound and my acute… So I had some Lysol because this one client really did not bathe, so I would spray it. Well in the skit, Pete, one of my coworkers, came in with a tank t-shirt, and he had wigs under each arm, black wigs, and then he pulled…or somebody else pulled out the spray and sprayed him. That was directed at me. You know, we were always doing things like that. Anyway. the other part about that is it was like a MASH unit.

We all got along and we had a variety of interesting characters there. Well, in the 12th year of my time there, we were mandated to work with the most severely disabled in order to get federal funding. So what happened is that people who weren’t ready for vocational planning were referred, and three clients that were referred to me committed suicide in that one year. And so I just got kind of crispy and I decided to make a change. So I took my counseling skills and I learned a new body of knowledge. I became a certified financial planner and an investment advisor. And in 25 years, nobody jumped off a bridge or, you know went AWOL or whatever. And my work was to assist clients toward financial independence. I moved several times during my marriage and the clients actually came with me. And that was a pleasant surprise to me because even when I lived in Hawaii, they were…well, I could work remotely, so it all worked out.

The next thing I wanna talk about is how these two careers influenced me. Oh, I forgot to say as a heading, when I first started, altruism versus capitalism. So the first career was a heavy altruism and the second career was a combination. But I used capitalism to assist people toward financial independence. Anyway, how my careers influenced me. I learned the importance of compassion for disabled persons without taking on their journey. And that was over several years. I had to learn that. One thing that helped me was that I have a belief that before we incarnated on this earth plane, we all committed to having certain experiences for our soul’s evolution.

And the other thing that I realized, having to do with my first career, was we are all temporarily able-bodied. We’re going to run into challenges throughout our life, and so we can develop a philosophy about what that means, and embrace it as a, you know, part of a dance in life, the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows, and so on. As a certified financial planner, I was influenced in several ways. I’ve shared this before. I’ve shared it with my clients. There are no U-Hauls full of money or earthly belongings traveling or trailing behind the hearse on the way to heaven. So the idea is to use the money for good.

The other thing I used to say is the only real currency we have in life is our time and our energy and our love, which is a form of energy. And what matters is how we spend our time and our energy. And also money is a form of energy. It’s best to keep it flowing, keep it moving. We can use our money for good while we’re here on earth. You all know that there are serious imbalances that exist on this earth plane from extreme poverty to extreme wealth. We can choose to embrace working for the common good, especially in our own communities. So I just wanna say that altruism and capitalism can work together to good effect in our world should we choose to do so.

March 18, 2021 The things I like to do very much was consulting with school teachers and nurses to identify children who had amblyopia ex anopsia--lazy eye is the short term. If I could...

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Things I Appreciate About Myself

Life Story Club Contributor

March 4, 2021

I would like to talk about things I appreciate about myself. And I want to preface it with, I am a work in progress. So, these are things I practice and things I aspire to. Okay, I’m a very empathic person. Sometimes I’m a raving empath, which is not the way I want to be, it’s not in balance. But as an empath, I look at all people as divinely made in the image of God. I look for God within. I believe that God is within all of us, and all people are created equal.

And I look for the idea of the common good, that we all deserve the blessings of the earth and the blessings of kindness and compassion toward one another. I say the Serenity Prayer a lot, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” So, the wisdom is the challenge at times. I also work at accepting the joys and sorrows of this passing life. That’s from a prayer, and it just kind of speaks to me.

I also believe in divine order, that God is in and works through all things and all people. I give thanks for blessings already on the way. I practice gratitude. It’s something that I plan to practice more and more, because for me, being grateful is an antidote to fear and anxiety. I can’t hold those two emotions together. It’s one or the other. So, I practice that. I believe in unconditional love and in loving kindness as practices. And I feel that if I am doing these things, then I can be a model to other people, to look at alternatives to fear, and so forth.

I am an explorer of spiritual gifts. I’m in a meeting, we meet once a week, and the topic is exploring spiritual gifts, like psychic intuition. You know, I believe we all have psychic intuition. I just want to develop whatever there is in my spirit, and it’s been very interesting. I just have had the second meeting, and already I’m getting feedback that what I’m saying, after meditation, what I’m saying in response to a prompt directed to tell another person what they might wish to know, I have received a response from that person that my words were helpful. And it’s encouraging, so I’m going to continue to do that.

I look for the good in any situation, because we don’t always know. Maybe, you know, maybe what happened, maybe it’s good, maybe it’s bad. We don’t know. I’ve got a story that goes with that, but another time. I laugh at my many mistakes that I make. You know, it’s just a first response. And I’m gonna keep it up because there you go. I’m optimistic and I’m outgoing. I like to reach out to family and friends. I don’t always get responses, but that’s okay.

I have been described as a woman of integrity. And I like that. I say yes to life. An example would be, whenever my daughter asks me to do something, I say yes 99.9% of the time. I’m open to new possibilities, new ways of seeing things. I very much like the unity principles. It’s a church but not a heavy denominational church. The principles of radical inclusiveness, of spiritual groundedness, of doing service with time, talent or treasure. I see myself as kind and compassionate to others as well as myself. And I treat people and myself as the divine beings that we are, made in the image of God. We are all connected in one spirit. We can choose to treat each other as the divine beings we are.

March 4, 2021 I would like to talk about things I appreciate about myself. And I want to preface it with, I am a work in progress. So, these are things I practice and things I aspire to...

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JOANNE KORALESKY READS AT STORIES FROM BROOKLYN AND BEYOND SHOWCASE

Life Story Club Contributor

December 12, 2020

Joanne Koralesky was nicknamed “Joyanna” by friends who experience her as an “instigator” of joy and laughter (and on a personal note, I can absolutely confirm that Joyanna is indeed an instigator of joy and laughter). She now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, having recently moved from Portland, Maine to live across the street from her daughter Gabrielle who purchased a home for her! (I feel fortunate to have seen her journey throughout all of this!)

These days, Joyanna is zooming throughout the internet to classes in Qigong, Spiritual Economics, Metaphysical Bible Study, Laughter Yoga as well as regular Yoga, Mindfulness, Meditation, Healing Energy Practices and multiple Reimagine workshop offerings which focus on Life, Love and Loss.

Post-Covid, she imagines offering Reiki and Therapeutic Touch to help people move blockages of stuck energy in order to achieve balance in body, mind and Spirit.

She continues to see Gratitude as an antidote to the anxieties of our time and will now share her Ode to Gratitude with us…


My ode to gratitude. I’m grateful for life and all of my senses, including my sense of intuition. I’m grateful for the sight of my darling daughter, Gabrielle, who brings me such joy. I’m grateful for the sound of music, especially soothing instrumental music. I’m grateful for the scent of gardenias. I’m grateful for the taste of dark chocolate-covered Bing cherries.

I’m grateful for the touch of a loved one’s hand. I’m grateful for the feeling of movement in dance. I’m grateful for the opportunity to truly know my family and my friends. I’m grateful for the opportunity to grow spiritually. When I was a little girl in Catholic school, I learned that the reason we are here on this earth is to know, love, and serve God in this world and the next. In this world, I can choose to see God within everyone I meet. I’m grateful for community.

It came to me recently that the word community can be divided into two words: come and unity. Come … unity is a call to all of us on this earth. There is great beauty and power in our diversity. We can choose to include one another in all of the joys and riches of this passing life. I’m grateful for the opportunity to choose what I think, what I believe, and what I do in each moment. Sometimes I sing a little tune to remind myself that I have the power to choose what to do and how to be. Dooby dooby doo, da, da, dooby dooby doo…

I’m grateful for a spiritual path to follow. And I’m grateful for the grace of resilience in challenging times. I’m grateful for my belief in the goodness of humankind and for my power to do good while I am here. I’m grateful for the words of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Jesuit priest, who said, “We are not human beings having an occasional spiritual experience. Rather, we are spiritual beings immersed in the human condition.” I believe this is true. It helps us to accept what otherwise might be intolerable experiences on this earth plane. We can choose to hover above these experiences in the realm of presence and prayer. We know that all is well on our spiritual plane. We can choose to be grateful.

December 12, 2020 Joanne Koralesky was nicknamed “Joyanna” by friends who experience her as an “instigator” of joy and laughter (and on a personal note, I can absolutely confirm that Joyann...

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Joanne Koralesky reads at Stories from Brooklyn and Beyond Showcase

Life Story Club Contributor

Joanne Koralesky was nicknamed “Joyanna” by friends who experience her as an “instigator” of joy and laughter (and on a personal note, I can absolutely confirm that Joyanna is indeed an instigator of joy and laughter). She now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, having recently moved from Portland, Maine to live across the street from her daughter Gabrielle who purchased a home for her! (I feel fortunate to have seen her journey throughout all of this!)

These days, Joyanna is zooming throughout the internet to classes in Qigong, Spiritual Economics, Metaphysical Bible Study, Laughter Yoga as well as regular Yoga, Mindfulness, Meditation, Healing Energy Practices and multiple Reimagine workshop offerings which focus on Life, Love and Loss.

Post-Covid, she imagines offering Reiki and Therapeutic Touch to help people move blockages of stuck energy in order to achieve balance in body, mind and Spirit.

She continues to see Gratitude as an antidote to the anxieties of our time and will now share her Ode to Gratitude with us…


My ode to gratitude. I’m grateful for life and all of my senses, including my sense of intuition. I’m grateful for the sight of my darling daughter, Gabrielle, who brings me such joy. I’m grateful for the sound of music, especially soothing instrumental music. I’m grateful for the scent of gardenias. I’m grateful for the taste of dark chocolate-covered Bing cherries.

I’m grateful for the touch of a loved one’s hand. I’m grateful for the feeling of movement in dance. I’m grateful for the opportunity to truly know my family and my friends. I’m grateful for the opportunity to grow spiritually. When I was a little girl in Catholic school, I learned that the reason we are here on this earth is to know, love, and serve God in this world and the next. In this world, I can choose to see God within everyone I meet. I’m grateful for community.

It came to me recently that the word community can be divided into two words: come and unity. Come … unity is a call to all of us on this earth. There is great beauty and power in our diversity. We can choose to include one another in all of the joys and riches of this passing life. I’m grateful for the opportunity to choose what I think, what I believe, and what I do in each moment. Sometimes I sing a little tune to remind myself that I have the power to choose what to do and how to be. Dooby dooby doo, da, da, dooby dooby doo…

I’m grateful for a spiritual path to follow. And I’m grateful for the grace of resilience in challenging times. I’m grateful for my belief in the goodness of humankind and for my power to do good while I am here. I’m grateful for the words of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Jesuit priest, who said, “We are not human beings having an occasional spiritual experience. Rather, we are spiritual beings immersed in the human condition.” I believe this is true. It helps us to accept what otherwise might be intolerable experiences on this earth plane. We can choose to hover above these experiences in the realm of presence and prayer. We know that all is well on our spiritual plane. We can choose to be grateful.

Joanne Koralesky was nicknamed “Joyanna” by friends who experience her as an “instigator” of joy and laughter (and on a personal note, I can absolutely confirm that Joyanna is indeed an instigato...

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What Starts My Internal Love Engine

Life Story Club Contributor

November 5, 2020

Things I do just for me, you know, a bath. It’s been 12 years since I’ve had a bath. I only could take showers in my previous dwelling. But now I have this lovely deep bathtub. And it’s just such a pleasure to sink into the warmth and Epsom salts, and I just really relax. I like to play music, well, mostly soothing instrumental music.

I do guided meditations, I go for walks, I do yoga, I also practice Qigong, that’s definitely something I have committed to first thing in the morning. And I like to dance on my own or in class, of course right now, we’re not meeting that way. I very much like to go through photos and memorabilia, I have many boxes full of photos that I will take time this winter to begin to go through. I can feel my face smiling when I’m going through photos. So it’s very nourishing to do that.

I’ve taken classes for myself, I have taken many classes, at the University of Southern Maine, classes in holistic healing modalities or what would be called alternative or complementary kinds of classes, and book clubs. I love to be involved in book clubs, right now reading a book called “Spiritual Economics.” And with my background in financial planning and investment advising, I feel like I can contribute some to the discussion there. It’s being offered through Unity Church, which is another thing I do for myself.

I’ve just moved here to Kansas City, Missouri about a month ago, and I’ve been to Unity three times now. And I really enjoy the philosophy of the church, which is all-inclusive, all denominations are welcome. And I really like the pastor. I like his positive attitude and values that are very strong. I’m also going to a women’s group tomorrow, also through Unity. We’re gonna distance and sit, physically distance, but I guess there’s about 10 people coming. So gatherings of women is something I really enjoy, nothing against men. I just feel that the women’s circles I’ve been in, the women are more inclined to share deeply.

I love to give parties, of course, that’s kind of in the past right now. I love to connect to people, just say some offhand remark that kind of disarms people, makes them comfortable, and have people make new friends. So connecting with family and my daughter nourishes my heart immensely. So there have been a lot of moments. I’m enjoying being here with you all. I guess the way I look at it is I can choose to practice feeling joyful or happy in a given moment. Chunyi Lin, the Master Qigong, he says, “Smile.” When we put a smile on our face, he said it stands for, “Start my internal love engine.” I just love that. For me, a lot of this is a choice. Amen.

November 5, 2020 Things I do just for me, you know, a bath. It's been 12 years since I've had a bath. I only could take showers in my previous dwelling. But now I have this lovely deep...

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Trips Around the World

Life Story Club Contributor

December 3, 2020

So when I was about 20 years old, which was 50-some years ago, I decided to go to Europe for four months. I got on a charter plane, and it was the first experience of being really close, like sardines in a can. And I finally arrived in Europe, but it just seemed like a very long time. I traded my suitcase for a rucksack very shortly after I arrived … in Amsterdam.

So I’m just going to list some of the hostels that I stayed in where I always met interesting people who were very good about sharing where to go and how to get the best minestrone or whatever. So in Italy, I stayed at Mussolini’s summer palace. In Venice, I stayed right next door to the Guggenheim Museum. In Norway and Oslo, I stayed in the hull of a sailing vessel they called the Wasa, W-A-S-A. In Leysin, Switzerland, I stayed in a chalet where I had the first experience of literally being above the clouds. It was just such a delightful experience to be sitting outside and being above the clouds.

Those are some of the hostels that I stayed in while I was traveling. Now, I want to jump to Japan. In 2010, I visited my daughter who was living there. She had planned out several outings for us. One of them was to go to the Koyasan monastery. Anyway, we’re at the Koyasan monastery with Buddhists and it was for our retreat. And while we were there, the one thing I really liked is I would open the door from our room and there would be a Buddhist monk on his knees who would ask us how we were doing, did we need anything, and invite us to come for…or tell us when dinner would be served. I remember some delightful things about that monastery, one of which was heated toilet seats.

And one of the experiences that we had together was my daughter and I went to bathe in a community pool. Luckily we were the only ones there because we were nude. We were asked…well, we weren’t asked…it was suggested that we wash up with soap and water in the sinks along the perimeter of the pool. It was a shallow pool. And it resulted in some deep sharing between my daughter and I because here we were two women who hadn’t seen each other naked. I highly recommend it for any mother and daughter.

So the hotel in Paris, I told my Paris story. A year ago April, my daughter invited me to join her in Paris. And our hotel was in the Latin Quarter. It was actually an apartment that we rented out. We were very close to Notre Dame. In the middle of the week together, April 15th, Notre Dame burned and the experience…well, being in the hotel, we could smell the smoke from our hotel and looking out, walking out, people were quiet, very, very quiet, and you could sense the heartbreak in the streets. And occasionally people would start singing hymns. And that experience was phenomenal, and it was good to be with my daughter during that time. Thank you. Amen.

December 3, 2020 So when I was about 20 years old, which was 50-some years ago, I decided to go to Europe for four months. I got on a charter plane, and it was the first experience of ...

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