My Dead On-Line Self

grey skulls piled on ground
Photo by Renato Danyi on

I have reconciled myself to the fact that my posts make many people uncomfortable. Perhaps I am giving voice to questions about suburban life and marriage that are better left unsaid . I have a screen name but Snarkychaser is hardly anonymous since it is linked to my profiles on Face Book and LinkedIn. Moreover, it is loaded with pictures of me. My more recent concern is not how my online self appears to society now, but rather what will my online image continue to say about me after I am dead.

When I began my blog, I realized that it was a vehicle to discipline my thinking in short posts. Ultimately, always in the back of my mind, I write it for my two children. One day, they will read what I have written and understand me. There have been times when my teen aged daughter has asked me not to post. She says that I do not understand the internet. She is wrong. I do. She just doesn’t really understand me… yet. She is worried that people in our small community won’t “get me”. I know that and I don’t care. I also realize that very few of us understand how much the internet legacies of our social networks and blogs will ultimately impact us…if at all.
In the past month, The New York Times has published two pieces on death and the internet. The first, Cyberspace When You’re Dead,discusses estate planning for your internet life after death. Unplanned death is a reality and I am constantly confronted with pictures and names of dead friends on Linked In and Face Book. I wonder if anyone knows that they are still hanging around. They are just constant reminders that we all leave unfinished business.
The second article in the New York Times, ran today on the front page. Funeral homes are now starting to post memorial services on the web. Perhaps my service will be downloaded on You Tube one day. I recently read on my AOL News about a man who not only lost his wife but also lost his children as their car crashed while they were driving to attend their step-mother’s funeral. Certainly it seems much more prudent to have a service on the web available for those who don’t want to drive in a snow storm. I can’t plan every thing…but I can start my thinking in terms of my digital legacy as a zombie.

Zombie Me
Zombie Me getting ready for Asbury Park, NJ Zombie Parade.


Previously Published on Open Salon June 25 2011 under Snarkychaser

My Grave Investment


Last month I bought my grave site in an ancient church yard. It is actually two places for “cremains”.   After I read Mary Roach’s Stiff-The Curious Lives of Human CadaversI walked around for two weeks looking at everyone as if they were meat halfway to the morgue. In my middle age, I started wondering why I was even bothering to go to the gym- I was already half decayed flesh. Why bother with anything? Perhaps it was time to just take it easy and plan my death.

However, it was also at this time, in the gym, that a weight lifting friend brought up his burial plans. He is about 25 years older than I am and was a big coffee trader in his prime. He tells me that in the 70s he was written up in the Wall Street Journal for cornering the coffee market the way the Hunt brothers cornered the silver market. He and I often discussed investments and I had never thought of the cemetery plots as being a financial investment. Yet here he was lamenting that he had not bought his little plot in the revolutionary war graveyard when he could have purchased it for “fifty bucks”. I raced over to the church that afternoon to get my investment sewed up before inflation could make it unaffordable to me.


The church secretary was wonderful as she took me over to the available plots. She showed me the new wheelchair access that they had installed and asked me if I would like to be by a bench. She said that many preferred to be in shade. I was so flustered that I decided I would prefer to be in the shade by the bench to cover my bets. I did ask her if they had many drunken teens at night that liked the bench. Over the next few weeks I told everyone about my new investment. It was then that I learned that there is a big ‘after market’ for plots.

One friend told me the she and her husband owned several plots in three different cemeteries. “We have six in King Solomon but that is a Jewish cemetery and they won’t take me. We have three in Brooklyn and one up state.These are all from the days when you got married, bought your house and then bought your plots. There was so much death in the early part of the 20th century.” she noted “My father is in my upstairs coat closet but I don’t know what to do with him.” She told me about several web sites that were like a Grave Plot’s Craig List for people wanting to sell.

When I announced my new investment status on Face Book, I initially wrote that I was not going to be buried in Queens with my husband. I got a panicked call from him to take it down in case his mom thought that I had a problem with Queens. For the record, I don’t have a problem with Queens – except that I have no connection to the place and can’t drive very well. It just feels like such a schlep to get there. My next status -with picture elicited lots of responses from people who were trying to sell grave sites in other places that they no longer felt connected to.

Many people just want their ashes spread in their back yards. I will make a query to see if the Rutgers’s Master Gardener program might be interested in developing guidelines. But I am set for now.



Previously published on Open Salon under Snarkychaser and as Editor’s Pick

Ricky, Cayce and the Peruvian Healer

Ceremonial Beaker courtesy Princeton University Art Museum
Museum purchase, Fowler McCormick, Class of 1921, Fund

The first time I learned about Edgar Cayce was through talking to my friend, Wendy’s husband, Ricky. I had heard about Cayce but knew nothing about the man. Even after speaking with Ricky, I thought the whole Cayce thing was just weird. However, Ricky and Edgar Cayce remained in my mind as a pair. Two years ago, Ricky died at the age of 50. His death marked the beginning of Wendy and my exploration into Cayce’s teachings.

Since I have learned of Ricky’s death, Wendy and I have talked on the phone almost every day. As part of the healing process, I have tried to keep an open mind about Edgar Cayce. Ricky was a very spiritual man and his unexpected death at such a young age, has led many of our conversations to question thenature of life after death. When Wendy suggested going to an Edgar Cayce workshop this past Sunday on his teachings of “Life-Death-Reincarnation-Eternity according to Edgar Cayce”, I gladly agreed to join Wendy and her daughter to learn more about this man at the A.R.E. of New York Edgar Cayce Center.

The lecture was taught by a volunteer and former science teacher, Jack Rosen. Rosen touched on many of Cayce’s teachings and many short videos can be found on You Tube which will give you an idea of what some of his theories were.  The unexpected addition of the lecture was that Rosen had invited a Peruvian Shaman to come to speak to the class on his experiences of death and the after life. The Shaman’s name was Jorge and Rosen felt that he was the “real thing” and he here in New York for a short period to do some healing work with people.

Jorge was a modest, small, handsome, middle-aged man dressed in blue cargo pants and a preppy blue sweater. He was former engineer from Lima, who went through special training to be a healer in the forests of the Amazon. He spoke very good English and the first thing he told us was that he was not a “Shaman”, he was a healer. Jorge explained that as part of his training process he had to go through certain experiences that would help him to understand the human condition of those that he was to heal. The first was to give birth, and the second was to die.

Jorge explained that through certain plants and a night in a cave he was able to experience something of these human conditions. The death experience was the one that he had come to describe. I did not take notes so I will just relay the most important things that I took away from his talk. The experience that he described right after death was of liberation of soul from his earthly body. The second was that he still had very strong attachments to those still living on earth. At this point, there was an instant understanding of what he did to all of these people that he had contact with in this lifetime. The repentance was very strong for those he had wronged. Also, there was enormous sadness and regret for all of the positive feelings that he had held in his heart for those still living. He had a realization that these feelings, especially love and forgiveness, should have been expressed in his lifetime. Then there was a “purgatory” where these strong feelings were dealt with so that he could move on to the next phase. Jorge was not at liberty to discuss the next phase but this phase involved creating a new identity for the soul from the one that had been established in the earthly body. This process is individual and all souls must experience this for themselves.

Jorge’s talk was just another reminder for me not to let unexpressed feelings of love and gratitude remain private. We never know when our time will be called and it would be very painful to regret what could have been so easily dealt with here on earth in the now.

Previously Published on Open Salon under Snarkychaser August 18, 2010

A Very Organized Teacher


I am tolerant of quirks, I embrace anxiety and I cherish eccentricity. Five years ago, the fact that my daughter’s teacher was rumored to have OCD did not deter me at all. In fact I believe that certain anal tendencies are what make teachers and lawyers best suited to their professions. However, what transpired over that school year made me hate (yes hate) my child’s third grade teacher. Her need to control made her an inflexible and an unkind person to my daughter.

My daughter is considered “profoundly gifted” by the school district, which means that her IQ scores fall in the top 1% of population. This is the threshold that our school district considers significant enough to encompass an “at risk” the student population. Gifted children manifest their gifts differently. My daughter is very verbal but the verbal skills seem to come at the expense of other ordinary skills. She can’t file, she can’t write quickly, she has trouble with organization and she moves in slow motion. She was also a very tall and awkward child who looks much older than her age. We had a history of teachers that had been unkind to her because they didn’t understand that, as smart as she was, she has some significant processing disabilities. Unfortunately, this new particular teacher was very big on systems and filing and her specialty was organizing.

The teacher was renowned as an organizer; she spent many days out of the classroom teaching other teachers to be organized. She had a homework collecting system that resembled a Rube Goldberg machine. Designated children would collect the children’s homework, organize the homework in numerical order and then check off whether the children had handed in their homework, and then they would be put in a pile to be graded by a parent that helped the teacher. Every quarter, the teacher sent the parents a spreadsheet to update us on grades and missing assignments. My daughter had 32 missing pieces of work one-quarter. I suggested to the teacher that she just collect the homework directly from my daughter. It seemed a simple solution but she balked because her system worked perfectly.

One of the first writing assignments that she gave to these little eight year olds was to write an essay on obsession. This should have tipped me off. I thought it was neat at the time. The teacher also had frequent cleaning days where the children would spend  entire days cleaning the shared pencils, scissors and rulers. The teacher did not allow anyone to bring in her own pencils because she wanted to control the supply. The teacher’s class room was spotless and clean. One day, my daughter was watching a commercial on TV and said “Mom, I feel an impending sense of doom every time I see this.” It took us a while before we realized that her teacher used these plug in air fresheners in the classroom.

Once, when my daughter returned from her pull out program, the teacher handed her the math book and told her that she would need to learn decimals by reading the text book that night at home. She had missed the lesson for the day. She was told by the teacher, if she did not learn decimals on her own, she would not be able to do her homework or pass the math test. The teacher explained that she was going to be away for the next few days teaching seminars on organization.

My daughter cried every day that year, she would just say that the teacher had so much filing in the classroom. My daughter had nightmares in which the teacher was possessed by an evil force. My daughter was perceptive enough to know on some level that the teacher was possessed by an overriding need to control her environment. My daughter also realized that this was a force that was beyond the teacher’s control.

For that year, I was consumed with my own feelings of helplessness. My suggestions to the teacher to help her to deal with my daughter’s inability to keep up with the organizational demands of the classroom were met with disdain. The teacher would explain that her system worked and that my child should be able to meet all of the requirements.

In the end, when I play over the school year in my mind, I can only come to the conclusion that the teacher had some kind of disability that made it hard for her to be flexible enough to meet the needs of children that did not fit neatly into her mold. Other factors were: 1. The teacher was so overwhelming driven by her ambition to be the most organized teacher in the school district, 2. My inability to be an effective advocate for my daughter. I did not know how to work the system.and  3. The teacher’s  lack of empathy.

By the end of the year, this teacher had the lowest class score on our NJASK standardized test. Third grade is the first year for this assessment. As a consequence, the teacher was moved to first grade. I am told that the first graders are required to file and keep large binders. I am just glad that our disorganized family did not get her as a teacher again.

Previously Published on Open Salon July 29 2010 under Snarkychaser


In front of MSK photo by Laura Stinchcomb

I sat down on a bench to rest in front of Memorial Sloane Kettering. I had just visited my friend Wendy on the Upper East Side. I had put in a lot of miles in walking and was trekking toward Penn Station. There is no better way to travel in New York City. I knew that the only people sitting on benches in front of the hospital were there for the cancer patients. My mother had had a short stay here for a rare form of cancer, but I hoped never to have to visit again. I felt like an interloper but I was so tired.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw the man next to me twitching and tapping his thin hands. He could not stop moving. There was an internal rhythm that he had to beat out with his fingers. He was so restless that his nervous energy was trying to spill out to the rest of his body. He was unshaven and his clothes were way too big. I was not quite sure if he was a homeless man camped on the bench. He seemed off. He kept his head down and tapped. I kept my eyes closed and tried not to intrude on the nervousness.

The man got up unable to contain himself. He paced in circles around some homemade billboards in front of me. I had not noticed them before. They were peculiar. The display was both homage to a woman who had died young and an indictment of- not mal practice- but ignorant practice in the treatment of a young woman with a rare for of liver cancer. There were several pictures of a beautiful woman and a chubby man and very large public relations picture of a young, smiling Memorial Sloane Kettering female doctor.

I asked the man what this was all about. He said that his wife had died from mis- treatment from the doctors at the hospital. She had had a cancer that would have been better left encapsulated. Had it been left alone, his wife might have had more years to live. He had called friends in Germany and they had had more experience with this type of cancer. He should have taken her there. His thick German accent made it hard for me to understand the details, but his anxious grief was clear. He was very lucid. I realized that this was a grieving man who did not know what to do with his grief. He was doing the only thing that he could to try to make his misery bearable.

I asked him if I could take a picture of the display. He said sure, but he did not know if the hospital was going to come and take it away. He knew that they did not like it. I looked again at the pictures and realized that the chubby man was the very thin man in front of me. His grief was wasting him away. I watched him fold up in boards and put them in the parked shining expensive SUV  to take them home for the day.

A middle- aged woman sat down next to me. I smiled. She asked me about the display. I told her what I knew and she said that her mother was dying. It was a case of mal practice. Her mother was 65 and had been very healthy her whole life, until sugar levels suggested that there was an abnormality. The doctor did not do the appropriate tests on the pancreas. It was pancreatic cancer, but at the time of the first symptom, the tumor was so small, they could have effectively treated it. The woman looked at me and said “I don’t know what I will do without my mother.”

I pulled the grieving man over and  the woman and I had a three way conversation.  I was trained in cocktail talk and business development. I am a connector and, other than my ability to listen, it was all I could offer. I pulled the commonalities from the two and wove a connection between them. I suggested to the grieving man that he might be able to help this woman since she was new to this process of grieving. I got up and offered him my seat. I hugged both of them and said good bye. When I turned around I saw the two excitedly talking to each other.

Previously published on August 3 2010 on Open Salon under Snarkychaser (This was Editor’s Pick)

There is Comfort in the Target Huddle

I have very few routines -because I hate them. I always marveled at how women that I know have days assigned to certain tasks. Monday is their grocery day, Tuesday their laundry day, Wednesday a cleaning day. Having assigned days seems like a hold over from the nineteenth century when Laundry and Baking days really would take a whole day.

My husband tells me that routines provide structure and comfort. There is so much voluntary simplicity literature out there…books on mindfulness…being in the here and now. I’ve read them all. If I could relish the small things in life, I would never be bored putting piles of laundry away. But I am. My ‘Putting the Laundry Away Days’ take me all day, but only because I let it pile up for weeks. I don’t really have designated day for this activity, I chip away at the pile on my chair when I need clean underwear.

However, I think I have discovered a routine that gives me a comfort. Once a week, I go to Target. I do not have a designated day for this activity. I go when I run out of my Diet Coke. I get there after taking my son to his elementary school. It must be around the same time- although the time that I get my son to school seems to vary by a big margin. At some point while I am shopping, there is a call for the ‘Target Huddle’. This is when all of the red shirted employees gather in a circle in the electronic isles. They must do this every morning because I always seem to get stuck in the middle of it.

The laughter is contagious. I try not to spy but I can’t resist. The topics are so fascinating. One week I found out about a stomach flu that was downing all of the workers. They were advising everyone to wash their hands. Another week, they discussed theft prevention.  Once, they discussed an earthquake that I had no idea had happened the day before. Today, I got to watch them doing stretching exercises. When the employees have their huddle, I know that I am in the right place at the right time. This is their routine not mine. I don’t have to do this. I am just a voyeur. Yet it is the familiarity of the routine that is the comfort.  I can leach off of their structure just for a few minutes.

Previously Published on Open Salon under Snarkychaser May 18 2010

No Regrets? All I Need Is To Wash My Hands?

Photo by Burst on

This Scientific American blog discusses the recent May 6th online study from Science which “reveals the power of hand washing to ease people’s minds… Often, when people make decisions—no matter how big or small—they tend to justify them, rationalizing often beyond reason that their choice was by far the best.  Resolving the sense of cognitive dissonance vastly decreased in subjects who washed their hands after having to make a simple choice.”

This might work for many, but not for me…I can’t even Google a topic without regret-which is why I can’t properly cite Barry Schwartz’s thesis of satisficer and maximizer which he wrote about in his book The Paradox of Choice. Scwartz’s theory is that there are different types of decision makers. A saticficer is able to make a decision when basic criteria are met. Once a satisficer makes a decision, they are ready to move on and not look back. Maximizers tend to have more anxiety over their ability to make the optimal decision and then have many regrets about whether they made the right decision once the decision has been made.

So in this hand washing study, is it fair to assume that there was a perfectly balanced sampling of maximizers and satisficers? I am not a scientist just a very experienced maximizer. I will guess that they had too many carefree college students as research subjects. Had they taken a more “real world sample”, the study would have determined that many people need showers and long vacations in addition to simple hand washing to minimize the “cognitive dissonance” of their decision-making

Previously Published on Open Salon under Sanrkychaser May 12, 2010

My Daughter’s Middle School Banned Her Joan Jett T-Shirt

This was the T-shirt my daughter wore. Now vintage photo courtesy Full Breach77

I am not sure if this was an official censor. Last month my 8th grade daughter came home from school to tell me that her Health Ed teacher told her that she could not wear her Joan Jett T-shirt to school anymore. “Mom, a lot of the teachers told me it was cool” she mused. In the T-shirt Joan Jett is wearing a t-shirt that says “Sex Pistols”. The word sex was offensive to the teacher.

When Sex is combined with Sex Pistols in my mind it had transcended its original meaning. Besides at 14, my daughter is so self-conscious of her body that any t-shirts are usually covered with a large flannel shirt. This has become her new uniform. I never paid much attention to the word sex on this t-shirt. It looked fairly microscopic to me.

My daughter has been a big fan of Joan Jett since the movie the Runaways had been released.  We had been collecting Joan Jett T-shirts on all of our trips to New York City. She purchased this particular one with her father and grandmother at Trash & Vaudeville on St. Marks.

When I was on the phone with the guidance counselor -in reference to some of the bigger issues- I mentioned the t-shirt thing. I heard an embarrassed pause “Well we are being told to crack down on inappropriate clothing.” I told her that some of the other teachers told my daughter that it was cool. There was another pause.  I needed to save this woman, I said, “Don’t worry. I know this health teacher. She is very conservative. She means well. She may not really be up on the changing times. When you have a cohesive dress code in place, we will abide by the code.”

Previously published in Open Salon under Snarkychaser May 11, 2010

Chemo Club

Photo by Pranidchakan Boonrom on

My mother paused before she pushed the door open to the chemotherapy treatment room and said in an excited voice “Maybe Carol will be here today.” We first met Carol three months ago on my mother’s first day of chemotherapy. On that day, I had walked into the room carrying a grilled cheese sandwich from the medical facilities’ cafeteria. My mother was sitting next to a balding woman around my mother’s age.  She introduced me to Carol and said. “Carol has really been helping me. She has had my cancer for 11 years. She used to be a nurse and has lots of great ideas for managing side affects. She is still alive and has been able to be with her grandchildren. So maybe this will work”

Carol explained that when she spoke to the doctor that morning she learned that there was another woman being treated with peritoneal cancer. They were the only two in the practice with this rare form of cancer and fate had put them in side by side chemo chairs. Through Carol we learned that Phillip’s Milk of Magnesia was the best remedy to counteract the constipating effects of chemo. She showed us a brochure from the American Cancer Society that offered inexpensive wigs and explained that she preferred not to wear one.  Carol also told us that she was unable to walk long distances and we discussed the merits of Target and Walmart and the scooters that they provided for disabled shoppers. Although I know that my mother hates the idea of being in a wheel chair or a scooter, I know that Carol will be able to yield more influence in getting to her to try it than I ever will.

I met Carol’s daughter and over the next months we learned about each other’s families. I showed her pictures of my single friend for her divorced son. By the second visit, I was bringing Carol Atkins Mocha shakes to sustain her for the next few days after chemo and Biotin to help her to regrow her hair. We arranged for a son and law to help my mother with her computer.

This last round I brought my mother and Carol the famous grilled cheese sandwiches from the cafeteria. These sandwiches and Carol were the things that my mother looked forward to help through boredom and pain of a seven hour hook up of toxic drugs being infused into her body. We discussed finding a support group that they could both attend and Carol wanted my mother to call so they could exchange news on their CA125 markers.  Today my mother called me up with “the most horrible news”. The doctor planed to do another round of chemo. “This is never going to stop” she cried. We decided that she needed to call Carol.

Previously Published on Open Salon Under Snarkychaser May 25 2011

An Intuitive’s Collage Reading for a Blogger

My Finished Collage

I was here at the ARE* in New York City psychic fair for just one thing. I wanted to have a meeting with a woman, Frances A. Smolkowski**, who made intuitive readings of people using the art form of collage. My close friend, Wendy, had an intuitive reading with her last month and described the experience as truly unique and “remarkable” and yet was unable to articulate why. Wendy is never at a loss for words or insights, so I knew that this was something I would have to experience myself.

The readers today had volunteered their time and proceeds were to benefit the ARE organization. In the large room, I could hear all of the various palm readers, tarot card readers, astrologers and Reiki healers talking. The room had been partitioned off with folding rice paper screens but I heard snatches of advice from angels and some poor woman was destined to end her relationship according to the death card. I hovered near Frances, the collage intuitive, who was in the corner with a client. It was time for me to have my reading. I was told by a volunteer that she would be running overtime and was asked if I would like to have a tarot card reading instead at this time. “No!” I cried (and I might have stomped my foot). “I want to have my reading with Frances. It’s the only reason I came here today!”

But waiting for Frances was taking too long (so far it was only five minutes). I could barely contain my excitement. I wavered between telling Frances that she was running over (I was sure that she did not know) and not wanting to make her mad at me for interrupting. I settled on peeking my head to the side of her screen with a questioning look. Frances lifted her head up to me and said “I am finishing up shortly”. I couldn’t hide my type A behavior from these psychics for too long. Of course, I was already making my self an “easy read”. However, I was to discover that this was not at all what Frances was about.

Frances was still cutting paper for the person hidden behind the screen. At what seemed to be a snail’s pace (Frances reminded me later that this was only my perception), Frances finally led her client out and ushered me behind the screen. When my impatient body sat down, I looked across from me and saw a woman who clearly did not easily get ruffled. She calmly said “I may be running overtime but I promise you that you will get all of your time – or at least what you need to have.”

Frances explained that she was creating a collage for me “My collages are beacons and also energetic bridges from the present state of functioning to the desired new state of preferred experience. They let folks experience in the present the energy of their fulfillment”. This was for the future not the past. Frances was an intuitive healer or empath.

She placed a solid blue block of paper on a folded card. This was the foundation and color that was right for me. Blue is the color that is “about communication…throat chakra, speaking & writing. It also represents a clear sky, as in space without challenges, inclement weather, so to speak. It is right for you as it sets a tone of clear communication, that joyous blue sky feeling”

Next Frances started cutting out the most gorgeous golden pieces that looked like sun rays. She explained that these represented “OUTPOURING” they were my need to express myself creatively. Frances said that I had a lot to say and express…perhaps with writing or painting.

The golden rays were placed in a special order by shade and she told me that this was my need to “PRIORITIZE”. At this point, I asked Frances about blogging as an appropriate venue for self-expression. She loved blogging and noted that with blogs “there is an audience.”  I told her that I already had a muse. I write my blog for him and he is my audience.

Intuitive College
Frances Smolkowski cutting my collage


I explained my belief that creativity comes from conflict. There is yearning for the unattainable and in the conflict and pain comes the art. “How 19th century!” Frances commented. (Frances later explained that there are newer models of new models of creativity coming from joy and not conflict.) I explained that the creativity, for me, comes from the chase, it was (for me) like shopping for the perfect thing. Frances agreed that shopping was a good metaphor but she saw me creating an original item as opposed to just looking from a set of existing items in a store. “Ah ha but that is where I begin to create” I exclaimed! “If I can’t find what I want, I make my own thing with what is available”. Frances suggested that I could make the “manifest an uncatchable muse, if you need or want it to be that way.” This is something that I will need to evaluate at great length.

I noted that she was not gluing any of the pieces down. She replied “I only do that when we are sure that they are in the right place. Some people can even feel it when I put the glue on. Others are so sensitive that can feel the colors and me cutting the shapes.” At this time I asked if I could take some pictures for my blog and she said “Not yet. I want you in the here and now” ( She did seem to get me)  Next she cut out a cup of blue and pink and said that these were feminine and playful. She said could see that I had a childlike delight (she really did get me). Frances explained that my approach was to take the serious matter and use irony, dry humor and play in getting my point across (Okay how did she know?) which she added could be very effective.

Frances added a handle to the cup and firmly added a fastener to keep the handle from slipping. The handle was the key to keeping control. We discussed how much more efficacious a bucket was than a cup for any kind of OUTPOURING. Frances affirmed that I was the kind of person who was most alive when I was giving. Others need to fill their buckets but I had more than enough to give and did not run the risk of going empty.I would always be happiest giving. I would continue to be sustained with the material: money and health as long as I stayed in line with my purpose. She advised me to keep the collage on my desk and meditate on it to keep me focused. Frances, I am so glad I finally took a picture because I lost the collage under the clutter on my desk. I hope I can still manifest my dream***.




* A.R.E. is the Association for Research and Enlightenment is a not-for-profit organization, founded in 1931 by Edgar Cayce

**More information on Frances A. Smolkowski can be through her

*** As for losing my finished collage under clutter…here is what Frances has to say: the collage as a thing operates as a portal or facilitator for you to reconnect to the positive feelings you had in the session…so you can perpetuate and extend the positive feelings & metaphors. You can reconnect by remembering the image, even if you lose it or destroy it. The art object is a tool to accelerate manifestation of positive things, if you choose to use it in meditation. But, you don’t have to ever look at it again. Some people use it by feel and sit with it, eyes closed. Others use it for focus by drawing the outlines of the shapes with their eyes or staring at an element they particularly want to manifest…like the handle for control. So, no joke, you can bury yours anywhere….and it can still work for you!!

Previously published on Open Salon November 23 2011 as Snarkychaser